Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Down the Rabbit Hole Day

Apparently, yesterday was Down the Rabbit Hole Day, when bloggers are supposed to write a blog post different from all the other ones. Not that I follow blogging trends particularly (or, you know, post that often) I thought I'd give it a shot:

Reasons Why I Love My Life
See? Different.

1. I live in a place without miserable winters. Seriously, how does anybody cope with dreary weather month after month? Here in Austin, if you don't like the weather this time of year, just wait a few hours. Like today, where we had freezing rain (imagine!) last night but can expect a high today around 50F.

Not so happy about the drought, though.

2. There are still tomatoes growing in my yard! True, they take weeks to ripen this time of year, but just the other day we had a salad with a home grown tomato. Ok, a cherry tomato, but still...

Now all I have to do is be sure to keep Stella the Free-Range Outcast Chicken from eating them all.

3. We are stepping up our commitment to sustainability, with a vegie garden and chickens and all kinds of stuff. And the raised beds are made entirely with leftover, scrounged or found materials--rebar abandoned after a nearby remodeling project; leftover construction lumber; bamboo cut from the creekbed behind the house.

4. SweetBabyGirl continues to be the most adorable child ever. Allow me to elaborate: the girls at school are all into princess and pony stuff and she is, too, but she gives it her own twist--she's also been watching the Star Wars movies with her dad and so the other day, when she wanted to play ponies, she wanted to be Jedi ponies with light sabers. Jedi Master Rainbow Dash battles evil! Whooo hoo!

5. Our neighbors are back in town and owe me free babysitting for feeding their cat.

6. We have a new president, one who doesn't go around saying that I (and people like me) hate America and embolden terrorists and are weak losers for thinking that it's wrong to waterboard suspected terrorists.

More seriously here, I wept while I watched the inauguration and still get teary now and then thinking about what we, as a nation, have been through and how good it feels to be hopeful again.

The other day, SBG and I (with some participation from Humphrey) were running up and down the hall upstairs, sliding in our socks. I could feel that I was using muscles I hadn't used lately. I was a little sore the next day, but it felt good, too.

Likewise, being an optimist, for a change, feels good, like I'm using muscles that haven't been worked in a long time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello? Hello?

I'm kind of appalled to see how long it's been since I've blogged. I suppose I can summarize the intervening months pretty quickly:

1. Wow, it sure seemed like a good idea to drive 2 days each way to go to a weekend family reunion. What was I thinking? Who would have thought that the wide-open spaces of the Texas Panhandle weren't sufficiently boring to put the child to sleep?

2. Wow, flying to Boise to visit the in-laws wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. And thank God, because the month of August was long--it was good to have a break. Long and hot. And boring. I owe the local PBS station bigtime, because without PBS kids on TV there would have been blood.

3. SweetBabyGirl hates her new school! Loves her new school! Hates it! Loves it!

4. Also: "I don't like Audrey anymore! She's not my friend! She's mean to me!" And repeat, over and over, substituting the names of just about everyone she knows.

What exactly does "being mean" entail? Not doing exactly what SBG says, immediately.

5. "I want to be a skunk for Halloween!"
"No, wait, a mummy!"
"No, wait, a fairy princess!"
"A vampire!"
And so this went on, for the entire month of October.

For the record, she was a skunk at school, then a fairy princess to go trick-or-treating. That is, trick-or-treating at a total of 4 houses, before it got to be too scary.

6. Finally, the weather turned cold, as of this very morning. At which time I had a flat tire on the way to school. And had left my phone at home. I tried to convince SBG that walking a block-and-a-half through the cold wind to the nearest shoot-n-scoot to use the payphone was An Adventure! and she didn't buy it for a second.

Also? She had never seen a payphone in use before. She was all, you put quarters? In the phone? No! Way!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Like A Baby

I tend to avoid being one of those moms who's always sneering at other parents for the way their kids are behaving--mostly as a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I sop to karma, but also because I generally try to mind my own business. But Saturday I found this policy hard to maintain.

I was browsing in a kids' clothing store while Hubby and SweetBabyGirl finished up in the shoe store next door* and I noticed another mom with her little girl, who appeared to adopted from China just like SBG. Other Mom was browsing, too, and girl was fretful and started crying when OM moved out of sight. I had a moment to think, hey,my girl does that too when she's tired,maybe that happens a lot with adoptees and then OM started in with this: "Stop crying! You're crying like a little baby." Which of course upset the girl more, not just the words but the tone, which was dripping with disdain.

I, meanwhile, tried to keep my face neutral. It's not so much that I cared what OM thought of me--I've given up seeking approval from Other Mothers who aren't my friends--but I thought she'd think my frown was at her girl's behavior, not at the way she was talking to her little girl, which made my heart ache. And it went on, with more talk of acting like a baby and threats not to go to the playground.

Why on earth do parents talk like that to their kids? SBG and I have an ongoing struggle, in which she wants to pretend to be a baby--often at inconvenient times, like when we're at the mall--and talks in a baby voice and refuses to walk. I tend to react by saying eh, babies are boring and being a baby is pretty dull, too. Plus babies don't get to eat chocolate. That sort of thing. But yesterday, without thinking about OM and her girl, I did something different: I just picked up SBG and said, I like you the way you are. You were fun as a baby but you're more fun now.

Because, really, since when is being a baby, or acting like one, so shameful? Most of the time they're fairly agreeable creatures, and when they're not, well, they can't help it.

Also: when Hubby and SBG caught up with me at the clothing store, OM and her girl were still fussing at each other. And Hub made one of those classic shopping-with-a-kid errors: he let SBG try on a $75 flower girl dress, which of course she loved and made preliminary I'm-gonna-cry noises when he told her she couldn't have it. (Honestly, I suspect that I didn't occur to him that a little girl dress could be that expensive--he leads a fairly sheltered life when it comes to insane spending on kids, bless him).

And what did he do? Simple: he took the dress off her, scooped her up and took her outside for a chat about how to behave in public. (Bear in mind: she was wearing her regular clothes under it--not that the little nudist would have minded her taking her outside naked, but still...) And here's the important part: I don't have to have been there to hear what he said, but I know that it was about her behavior, not about her being. Because he's a good parent, he knows to talk about behavior, not to shame her for having unpleasant feelings.

I wish more parents were like him.

* So what were SBG and Hubby doing at the shoe store? She was making Daddy try on shoes, of course, because that store specializes in comfortable shoes and all they had for kids was Crocs and Birkenstocks, which SBG dismissed out of hand as too unattractive for her own use.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fashion Girl

How did I end up with such s chic daughter? This is one of her little outfits that she put together--at least, it's one that covers her Private Parts, something that, up to now, I considered essential for clothing. Now, though, SweetBabyGirl has shown me that, indeed, that requirement is Just So Over.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Goodbye Forrest

You know what's so hard about losing a dog? Well, a lot of things, but a big one is that a lot of people think you're silly to be grieving for a dog.

But I am, and I miss him more than I can say. What a wonderful, sweet, noble creature, who made my life so much richer.

RIP, Dogboy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guilt and Reconciliation

Yesterday I was puttering in the kitchen and thought, o I feel awful because the place is a mess and I should be cleaning things up--

And then I came to my senses: it's spring break so my SweetBabyGirl has been home (and desiring entertainment) all week. And I have a nasty cough. And I had already baked whole wheat bread and made homemade yogurt that morning. So I thought Jeez, woman, what more could you demand of yourself, anyway?

But I come by it honestly, because my mother does the same thing. One time we were talking and Mom was berating herself out loud for not keeping the house neater and I said, offhandedly, you know, Mom, as virtues go, neatness is overrated. Mom laughed and laughed, relief clearly evident on her face. And I thought, yeah, she did teach me to feel guilty about stupid crap like how messy the house is, but she does suffer much more than I ever did.

Note to self: work on modeling sanity for my kid. Cleaning house isn't as important.

By the way, when I had the page linked to in the title on my screen, SBG looked over and said I don't like her! Yeah, me neither...

Friday, February 29, 2008

What I Do All Day

I get interrupted, is what I do. Constantly. I'm lucky when I get to shower in privacy. Given that I am both an introvert and an inhibitionist (ie. the opposite of an exhibitionist) I find it intensely annoying when I hear the patter of little feet and the door banging open. And given that SweetBabyGirl is perfectly comfortable running around nekkid, I'm not surprised that she doesn't seem to get the idea that Mommy wants privacy.

Oh, and she positively hates it when I insist on privacy when I'm in the bathroom. If I lock the door she stands outside sobbing brokenheartedly until I emerge.

You know how some characteristics skip generation? That seems to be the case here because my mother never let me have any privacy when I lived at home, either. Amazing, considering that my mom and SBG are not genetically related.

The house is always a mess because there is no household chore that can't be interrupted by a 4-year-old. Sometimes it's a demand that I play with her (hard to turn down completely so I end up cutting what I'm doing short) or a demand to help that tends to end up making a mess and more work for me. Sometimes I can get her involved in some kind of parallel activity (like running naked in the yard while I plant herbs) and that helps.

When I'm trying to accomplish something despite all the interruptions SBG will sometimes ask, Mommy aren't you happy? I end up saying, I'm fine I'm just tired, sweetie. I've tried to explain that I get tired when I'm interrupted all the time but I don't think she understands. How can she? She's just four years old.

And SBG has an uncanny ability to know when someone on the phone has reached a crucial part of the conversation so that she can start yelling at me and make it impossible to get a phone number or directions. Today, I actually hissed "You! Shut! Up!" at her while I was on the phone, thus setting back my efforts to teach her not to say shut up AND persuading the person on the phone that I'm an evil bitch.

Eh, whatever. If evil bitches get some respect, that's fine with me. Then again, I don't think I want my kid in therapy describing me that way. Isn't that always the way?