Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

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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Baby got a new bath toy courtesy of my mama bear:

It’s this plastic doo-dad that suctions to the side of the tub with lots of little swirly and drippy water toys.

He is particular about where the parts go.  And when he plays with it I remember the toys I played with in the tub, which were mostly a washcloth and plastic cup.  Even so, I remember the underwater adventures and deep sailing seas and mermaid days of my childhood.

The water is blue from some more oh so fun bath fizzies that we drop in.

It also makes me remember bath time when he was small and I would cradle him in one hand with about an inch of water just getting him damp and sing silly bath time songs.

It also makes me want to get in with him. ¬†Which I sometimes do, even though I worry, “Oh no, is he too old for me to splash around in the bath with him? ¬†Should I put on a bathing suit? ¬†Is this weird? ¬†Am I weird?”, before I think, “To hell with it”, and grab the water spout toy.

Bath time should be enjoyed by the young and the old, amiright?

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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’m making a¬†perfume¬†out of basil blossoms. ¬†Basil blossoms and these little flowers that have pink and yellow tiny blooms that remind me of childhood and making fairy crowns with sister. ¬†They’re from a time way back when we all lived in a tiny house with a huge back yard. ¬†Oak trees towered over us and we picked these tiny fragrant flowers and pulled out each¬†minuscule¬†tulip blossom. ¬†We littered them on the leaf covered ground and mixed them with mud to make dinner. ¬† Now, when ¬†I wear the basil blossom perfume the hungry will flock to my feet in anticipation of an italian feast-and we will devour them whole.

Basil from the garden in a little glass jar that held maraschino cherries.

Immersed in alcohol, this is before I added the flowers.  Leave the lid off, opps.

I’m going to leave it on the windowsill in the jar for a couple of weeks. ¬†Then I will open it up and dab it on my wrists and the soft pulse that hides behind my ears. ¬†My part time lover will salivate at the idea of leaning against my neck and rocking me to sleep.

Speaking of part-time lover, happy fathers day!  The baby-daddy was a daddy before my baby, so today he got double doses of fathers day love.  Baby and I spent most of the day with my daddy, who has set the bar so high for what a father should be, in my eyes, that I worry that the baby-daddy will never reach it.  He drove us to the park in his antiquated car with the hole rusted through the floor.  We imagined we were flying across the pavement as we watched it woosh woosh woosh beneath our feet.  He came to every lacrosse game.  He wrestled me to the ground and told me he loved me when I wanted to run back to the part time lovers hungover and scar stained arms.  He has loved me when I was nothing to love.  He was strong for our family when we all fell apart.

Today I made him a pineapple upside down cake in an attempt to recreate the favorite treat of his childhood. ¬†It didn’t turn out as good as he¬†remembered, but it did turn out good. ¬†I also made an apple caramel cake for my mom and I that is gluten free. ¬†I may not have a job or a degree, but I caaannn coook!

Baby and I took baby daddy out to dinner, along with his daughter. ¬†I imagined some trendy little joint with interesting meal names and mixed drink options. ¬†I wore a short dress with flowers that sister wore three years ago. ¬†On her I thought, “Geezus, why can’t I look like that? ¬†Where are my curves???”. ¬†On me it looked like this shapeless flower thing with too long straps. ¬†Even so, I tried a push up bra kind of thing and pretended I was just as tantalizing. ¬†I also curled my eyelashes. ¬†I also wore heels. ¬†Baby-daddy part time lover didn’t seem to notice. ¬†And we ended up at Huey Magoos.

But, a midst the deep fried and juicy pieces of chicken, and the french fries, and the ranch sauce, the part time lover watched me speak.  His face turned in sharp triangles and thick neck muscles.  His lips looked red and moist and parted perfectly.  When he smiled tiny wrinkles formed around his eyes and I imagined him old and me old holding hands in bed before we fell asleep.

Daddies end wars.  They save worlds.  They raise babies that end world hunger and brush their wives hair before they go to bed.

This is to all you daddies out there!

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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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