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Archive for May, 2014

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Chapter One

A week ago I took part in a performance, part of a really cool project that turns poems into songs. Rehearsals had gone reasonably well, I had practiced quite a bit the week before the show, and I knew my keyboard and vocal parts well enough that I wasn’t nervous.

Then I had a massive brain fart in the middle of a song I’d had down cold for weeks. Started singing it in a different register. Lost my place. Stopped singing. Somehow found my place again and trudged on.

I had a strong desire to flee.

But we were less than halfway through the show. The song I’d written was coming up. And I was sitting as far from the steps as I could be. To leave the stage, I would have had to either hop off the front of the stage, or thread my way through cords and people and instruments.

So I stayed. I made a decision not to cry, to focus on not screwing up the rest of the songs. And that’s what happened. The rest of the set was fine, and the last song, where I had the most prominent keyboard role, was great.

Chapter Two

A few days ago during a bath, the Boo piped up. “What’s that?”

I turned around to see what no parent wants to see in a tub.

I had a strong desire to flee.

Instead, I mustered every scrap of Zen I had in me. Calmly, like it was no big deal, I said, “Oh, that’s your poop.”

I scrubbed my little boy, again, several times. I dried and dressed him, chatting all the while about the basic points of potty training. Then I attacked the tub with bleach.

So that’s the metaphor for the week, I thought as I scrubbed. Fighting the urge to flee, sticking around to deal with shit.

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Flowers aside, I don’t go in for Mother’s Day all that much (though I am looking forward to weeping over whatever my kid makes for me at school). I do, however, like to use the day to navel-gaze about what I’ve learned in the last 2.25 years. Herewith, my list for your amusement.

1. I loathe washing bottles. And yes I’m still washing bottles because…

2. I get off on being able to give my kid what he needs, whether it’s a new pair of flip-flops or another month of bottles because he’s just not ready to give them up.

3. My mistakes will not permanently harm my kid. I once made him cry because I yelled at him as he was about to grab a cup of scalding coffee. And I’d do it again tomorrow.

4. Having less free time makes me better at spending it well. Sometimes it’s chopping veggies that floats my boat, sometimes I just collapse back into bed, but when my kid goes down for a nap, I make the minutes count.

5. Staying home with the kiddo has turned me into a person who likes chatting with the neighbors despite being introverted.

6. That thing about getting dressed in non-stretchy clothes every morning even if you’re not leaving the house? Just doesn’t work for me.

7. I firmly believe that the garbage man should not be allowed to see me without makeup. You’d understand if you could see how fabulous he is as he waves to us every Monday morning whilst executing a flawless three-point turn in a behemoth of a truck.

8. All parents should be given as much kindness as possible because you can’t always tell when they’ve had a rough day with their kid. Compassion goes a long way on days like that, believe me.

9. I need my mom friends, to whine with, to laugh with, to shake my head with.

10. I’m so much better than I thought I was. More patient, inventive and fun. Able to claw my way through a day on very little sleep. Willing to let someone puke on me for hours because I know they need me to hold them. I can change a diaper like a goddamn ninja. If this sounds like bragging, that’s because it is — and more moms should do it.

And because this blog goes up to 11…

Nothing has ever made me as angry as celebrity anti-vaxxers, and nothing will give me as much satisfaction as seeing them go down in flames.

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You can climb onto this all by yourself:
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You have begun eating open-faced peanut butter sandwiches, a definite step up from peanut butter off a spoon with a side of bread bits.

You picked out your own outfit the day we went to Mama’s office: jeans, a white polo shirt, and one of daddy’s ties. The tie cleared the ground by about 4 inches. You charmed the pants off everyone you met.

You are fond of saying, “Mama forgot.” We are fond of hearing you say it because of the way you draw out the second syllable of “forgot.”

You have developed a fondness for gargling whatever you’re drinking.

You still refuse to take even a sip of juice, even after asking for it to be poured into your most favorite cup.

You like to give your baby doll baths, then have Mama give you a pretend bath. Both of you use the same “tub,” a toy bin that’s the perfect size — for the doll.

You’ve checked out your first library books, which you like to have read to you one after the other (there are only three of them, phew!).

You tried to use Mama’s library card to get a digital jukebox to play.

You’ve had your first trip to Blueberry Hill. You enjoyed eating your usual carb smorgasbord there (graham-and-PB sandwiches and Cheerios followed by a dessert of chocolate chips). Our dining companion was flummoxed by your refusal of mac-n-cheese.

You delight in watering the plants on the deck and in the front yard, and you want to count the sunflower sprouts every time we water them. More precisely, you like Mama to make your hand point at each sprout as she counts them with you.

You delight in watering the plants in the front yard, and strongly desire full control of the hose at all times.

You like to take to take rides in the wagon at the end of the day, but at a certain point you want to pull it yourself, and will swat our hands away if we attempt to help you.

You like to look at and play with your potty seat, but you have no interest in using it for its intended purpose, preferring instead to make a mad dash to the next room to do your business.

You were told you had to hold someone’s hand when crossing the street, and so you grabbed your own finger and said, “you can hold your own hand!” (your pronouns are still charmingly reversed).

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