Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

So, how do you all feel about this season?

I’m pretty conflicted about it. The babe is going to be bombarded with piles of stuff stuff stuff. I can’t help myself. This is the first year that I know he’ll be excited about Christmas, about presents, and I want to feel excited too. It’s selfish, I know that, but I don’t mind. It’s so hard for me to hold on to something happy about Christmas that I’m not going to let this go. It took me so long to let myself feel happy, to tell myself that happy is okay, that I don’t really want to admit that I’m spending money that I can’t really spend to give the babe things that maybe possibly he doesn’t even want. All because I want the smile. The squeals of joy. The, “Christmas! Presents!”, that will come when he wakes up.

Three years ago sister and I went from store to store scouting out unique gifts. We made plans, we split the cost, and we wrote both our names on the package. It’s hard for me now to write just mine, and so on every gift I write, “From Jude.”

The gifts may not be healthy. I know it’s not a tradition I want to start with the babe, piles of meaningless things that I bought. But I know too that a lot of them will be fun for us both to play with, a lot of them will encourage outdoor play, and a lot of them will be tossed to the side. I wish that I had spent time making them. I wanted to make puppets and a puppet house and a cardboard kingdom. I guess it’s okay though. Christmas doesn’t have to be the only time for gifts and fun.

We spent yesterday at the plant nursery looking for herbs and playing in the “Jungle”. We looked for lions and the babe swam in the gravel.

The babe with his can full of gravel

Passion Fruit blossom

What's that over there?

A lovely green anole, deceased at the park

I know my pictures kind of stink, they’re blurry and out of the phone (not even an Iphone at that!), but I like to look at them and I hope you do too ūüôā

I look forward to the rest of this season and the rest of the year. I look forward to Christmas and presents and cookies and I feel happy. Happy. I hope all of you out there do too.


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We’ve been spending our rainy days like this:





Our toes slide and slip into mud puddles and roll around on the edges building monuments in the clay.  Our fingers find hidden stones.  The ground smells like millions of bacteria waking up for the swollen clouds.


I used to want to sleep through the rain. ¬†The pat of it on the glass outside and the muted colors it made of the trees made me feel cozy. ¬†I would wrap up in blankets and spend the day in softly interrupted slumber, the only excuse I needed was; “It was a rainy day.”

Now the rain brings adventure. ¬†Little voice says to me, “It raining”, and then louder, to make sure I understand the significance, “IT RAINING MAMA!”. ¬†And out we go.

When he was very little and covered in rolls of chub I would bathe him in the rain that collected in his baby pool after the summer storms.  The water was always warm and fresh and it was okay if he drank it, and it was okay if it splashed a little in his eyes.  And I never used soap.  I would bathe him in the pool the first day, and then the next we would venture out to watch the mosquito larva dance around like tiny tadpoles on crack.

Now, he bathes himself.

And does a pretty darn good job of it.

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“I do love you and care for you and this is making it so difficult.¬† I just want you to be a good dad to our son.”¬† I told this to my part time lover/baby daddy today.¬† Via text message, of course, because this is the kind of conversation you have over text.¬† So that you can’t see the persons face or even hear their voice.¬† So you can pretend to be a strong and powerful heartbreaker instead of the terrified 24 year old that you are.¬† So that you can demand child support and love and commitment even though you aren’t sure you know what those words even mean.

While I was texting these things, baby was emptying a carton of blueberries onto the ground.  And then he was smashing them into the carpet.  And then he was taking his pushy toy with the cheap plastic blue and green wheels and really really smushing them into the carpet, and feeding him to the mastiffe who was also rolling around on the blueberries on the carpet.

Sometimes I think I am a terrible mother.¬† Sometimes I think, “What am I doing?¬† Why am I doing this? Shouldn’t I be doing something else?”.¬† I spent the next fifteen minutes with a bowl full of hot water and dish soap scrubbing the carpet with a sponge, while baby emptied the hot soapy water into a soggy carpet puddle on the floor.¬† What was I doing?¬† Why was I doing that???

I don’t know what it means to be a good mother.¬† Or a good father.¬† Or a good parent.¬† I know that my parents were good parents.¬† Even though we went a summer without air conditioning and a winter without heat my parents bought a pass to the local pool and took us swimming.¬† They piled blankets on our beds and put space heaters in safe places near our feet so that we wouldn’t get so cold.¬† They saved pennies to drive us to Sea World.¬† They worked hard, they still work hard.¬† Even now when the hard isn’t so hard they take care of me and they do a lot to take care of baby.¬† I know that’s a good parent, but my world is different, my parenting is different.¬† Is it still good?

The part-time lover/baby daddy is a parent too.¬† His life is different too, and his parenting is different.¬† How do you know what’s right?

In an attempt to be a better parent, baby and I will venture outdoors every day this summer.  We will swim, bike ride, garden, explore.  Will will concoct mud pies, we will go out in the rain, we will jump in the puddles.

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I am drowning in a literal sea of French. ¬†And by literal, I mean, proverbial. ¬†I took a French class online this summer to fulfill graduation requirements, and also secretly to sound sexy and mysterious. ¬†Instead I sound, to be completely politically incorrect, deaf. ¬†I’ve listened to pronunciation over and over and still my mouth just doesn’t move that way. ¬†Maybe sexy just isn’t inherent in me. ¬†My brain speaks in American; dirty, twangy high-pitched American. ¬†When I try to make the sexy french throat noises it comes out sounding phlegmy.

To escape the tedious hours of Franconphone homework, and the half a snickers bar and can o’ ginger ale that I had for breakfast yesterday, baby and I took a trip out to our little square foot garden. ¬†I’ll edit this with a picture of it later, but basically our garden is a four square foot box marked off into square foot sections with a square foot of yummy compost in each. ¬†We’re growing strawberry (except that season is over so it’s just the plant), turnip greens, mint, basil, small white flower, lemon balm, and pineapple sage. ¬†The turnip greens are outta fuckin’ control. ¬†They creep up on all the other plots and lay their fat ole green leaves over the other plants so that they block out their sun. ¬†So, yesterday, baby and I went to town on those bad boys. ¬†I clipped and preened and took at will; baby stuffed some dirt in his mouth and laughed.

I brought the leaves inside and washed and chopped them, threw them in some boiling water, and then drained and washed again. ¬†I’ve cooked up some greens from the garden before sans the boiling step (blanching for all you chefs out there) and they were bitter as your grandma’s toe jam, blanching is important! ¬†I then boiled with some clams, chicken broth, ginger, and red pepper. ¬†I made this soup on a hunch once before, traditionally greens are boiled with ham and spices and aren’t generally associated with soup, but when I was little my Chinese grandma used to make this turnip soup with clear, homemade chicken brother, ginger, tofu, and perfect squares of turnip. ¬†Before Christmas dinner she used to set it out in little porcelain bowls with big Chinese soup spoons. ¬†It was always my favorite part of the meal, but she always only made just enough, in a Chinese household there are no seconds. ¬†This was my variation on that, not as good, but still with the nice turnipy flavor that I wanted.

Jude and I spent the rest of the day at the park, we sat in the lake and dug up clams and mussles, we buried our feet in the cool bottom and felt squeamish over what was hiding there and burying it’self in the cool darkness of our toenails. ¬†I crabwalked with baby so that we could be buried in the foot of water on the shore and we climbed up the slide and slid down the steps on the playground. ¬†The positives of looking like a 15 year old mom: no one questions it when I play on the playground or dig up clams on the shore.

Later, the baby daddy came over. ¬†And I had put off French for the whole day until he got here. ¬†He looked handsome and young again, like the way he was in highschool when I dreamed of his naughty little drug addict hands, even though guys like him never, ever went for girls like me. ¬†He swam with baby-cakes and they sounded happy while I¬†conjugated¬†verbs. ¬†When they came out I stood next to him and looked at him. ¬†I yelled at him a little bit because I didn’t know what to do with my words and all I could think was to make him feel as confused and tired as I did. ¬†Then he walked away and I yelled a little bit more, and then I wrapped my arms around his neck, and tried to choke him, except I just held on tight and kissed his mouth. ¬†I must love him. ¬†Even though I don’t want to, everything points to “love”. ¬†That’s what everyone says it is, painful and confusing and the only thing you ever want. ¬†Then I kissed him more and he kissed me and held on to me just as tightly, like he wanted to crush me and pull the life out of me, but can’t because he knows if he does he’ll never feel this way again.

And then he left.  And I went upstairs and snuggled with baby face and cried a lot while he laughed and we went to bed.

More French to do today.  It never ends!

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