Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Talking About It

I have a new essay up at Brain, Mother right now about approaching sex and permission and rape with my boys.

It was another tough one to write, both because it's deeply personal, but also because it's hard to imagine my boys ever doing anything brutal. Still, I think it's something we have to consider as parents so that we can figure out how to teach them NOT to do these things. All the rapists out there were someone's child. Parents have the to power to stop it. Maybe not all of it, but we can sure as hell try.

So anyway, here's my essay. I would be honored if you read it. And perhaps you'll find something there that will help you speak to your kids about these difficult subjects. No one wants to talk about it, but sadly everyone needs to.

xo

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Closets

So, today I came out on the internets.

Kinda. Halfway out? I came halfway out on the internets? I was only halfway in the first place. I don't know. I told the whole wide world that I am neither here nor there, that I am nebulous, and it felt both glorious and terrifying. Because OMG I CAME OUT ON THE INTERNETS.

I've been expecting somebody to say something godawful to me, although -shockingly- that hasn't happened yet. It will, I'm sure, but for now I'm enjoying the overwhelming and unexpected support and kindness being thrown my way. Did you know there are still so many lovely people out there? I KNOW. I'm a little surprised, too.

Anyway, it's been good. I'm so grateful Luna Luna Magazine picked it up, and I'm so grateful for the support they've given me and my writing. And I'm grateful that it's not something I'll have to worry about anymore. It'll be nice not to have to remember who knows and who doesn't. It'll be nice to just be, as much as anyone can.

I wrote this essay because I think a lot of people live in the middle, like me, and don't quite know how to explain. I hope that this might give a few people the encouragement- the support- they need to understand that there's nothing wrong with the middle. I hope.

Most importantly, I hope my kids are never afraid of the middle. I hope that if they find themselves unsure or confused or definitively in the gray, I hope they won't be afraid. I hope they'll talk to me, or if they're too afraid to do that, I hope they'll know that I will always always love them, and anything nebulous or ambiguous or gray about them is part of what I love.

So it's out there. Like me. And I hope we both do some good things in the world.

Living in the Gray.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Of Patience and Spontaneous Combustion

So, I've been thinking a lot about patience lately. Namely, because I have none. The kiddos are testing my limits these days, (SUMMER!!) and oof. Just... oof.

Yesterday, I very nearly burst into flames MULTIPLE TIMES. Holy hell, these kids sometimes. I love them, but JUST LISTEN TO ME AND FOLLOW MY DIRECTIONS SO I DON'T FEEL THE NEED TO STAB MYSELF IN THE EYE PLEASE. Turns out I didn't burst into actual flames though, so I win. Sort of.

Anyway, I wrote a thing about it over at Rattle and Pen. Read it, won't ya?

Also, I am delighted to discover that other people have this very same problem. It's a thing, Squishies! It's a thing! This piece by Paige Kellerman over at HuffPo rings true for me. And gives me the giggles. It's about patience and saying "fuck" a lot. A friend recommended I go read it AND I JUST HAVE NO IDEA WHY. Eh em.

Here's a tiny snippet:

How Not to Swear Around Kids
1. Don't be around children at all.
2. If you ignored number one, the key here is to pinpoint where your kids are going to be during the day and then go hide.
 
Read it and pee your pants a little bit. Seriously.



While you're reading those, I'll be over here working and wrangling kids and trying to find time to write all the things I have to write. And taking my kids to swimming lessons in the pouring rain. That's right. Outdoor swimming lessons IN THE RAIN. What? I live in Seattle, people. Ain't no thang.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer and Weird Stuff Parents Say

Hi! I keep disappearing! I apologize!

Things have been busy with work and submissions and a summer filled with swimming lessons and trying to keep my kids entertained and slightly less whiny (I'm failing spectacularly on that one, by the way), and so I haven't had much time to write here. But I will! I swear! I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. For you, my Squishies. For you.

Turbo updates:
- The Big One has decided to no longer eat meat. Unless it's bacon. Or deep-fried. Otherwise, he has a real problem with it. So now with the Little One's sensitivity to dairy, things have gotten really interesting when it comes to meal planning. Suddenly, I'm accidentally vegan quite often.

-We went on a family vacation with my husband's parents on the Oregon coast! It was beautiful and chilly and the boys got to build sandcastles and run in a HOUSE and play and be kids and that was fantastic. Also, this happened:


-Swimming lessons! They're taking them. And while I was thoroughly terrified that they'd drown (or the secondary drowning, good god, and if you don't know what I'm talking about DON'T LOOK IT UP or you will never stop worrying ever), they haven't. And they love it. And I get to watch them love it for 30 minutes every day while sitting in the sun wearing 900 liters of sunscreen.

-Summer! So much free time! SO MUCH FREE TIME. For them, of course, not for me. I'm trying to keep them busy enough so we don't all lose our minds, and I'm trying to work. Which really means keep them busy, still losing our minds, and I don't start working until 8:30pm. ppffffttth.

-I don't know what else! Both kids will be in school (Little One in preschool, Big One in kindergarten OHMYGOD) in the fall, and I don't quite know what to do with that. We'll discuss it later.

Anyhoo. In the midst of all this busy, I've been writing down weird things that keep coming out of my and my husband's mouths, so here. I offer these nuggets of odd as a peace offering. YOU'RE WELCOME.

*    *    *
Weird Things Parents Say

After finding that my kids had ripped the bottom of a shopping bag, just to check it out, I said:  "Much like the cardboard at the bottom of the xfinity bag, the children are destroying me so they can find out what I'm made of." And it's true. They totally are. (And like the xfinity bag, they're finding I'm sort of shoddily held together.)

"Everyone leave everyone's butt alone."

"Please be nice to your penis."

"When's the last time you changed your underwear?"

"I'm sorry I made you mad when I asked you not to call me dead."

"And that's a marble.  Don't eat that."

"No.  We don't shoot anyone with our butts."

*    *    *

And, of course, the kids out-weird us sometimes, so here's some stuff they say, too. Both weird and adorable.

Little One

After the Big One got up from the table for the zillionth time to go blow his nose: "Brudder!  He pit-peered!  He witch!  I fwared of him." (Translation: Brother! He disappeared! He's a witch! I'm scared of him.)

cerebra = zebra

callcano- volcano

Toefood = tofu

You-me = we; as in, "You-me played soccer!" or "You-me going to da park?"

Little One [while eating waffles]:"Mommy!!  Der sugar in dere?"
Me: [Nodding] Mm-hmm.
Little One: "I wuv sugar!  I wuv it!"

While I was singing an improvised song during dessert, the Little One said, "Mommy?  Dat song not good for eating."  Always a critic.

Big One

"Mommy?  I love a little artist like me.  Do you?"

amblee-ance = ambulance

apple critter = apple fritter

"These blueberries are so organic that I love them." I love my tiny hippy.

"Daddy? I am so compacted with laughs."

Friday, April 25, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour: Part III

The third installment of the Writing Process Blog Tour I've been participating in is up over at Rattle & Pen!  You can check it out here.

It's been such a pleasure (and mildly terrifying) to think through my process as a writer.  I'm still learning how to do this well.  Hearing about how Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum and Ginny Robinson at R&P think about their work and sometimes struggle to put thoughts to page is delightfully reassuring.

If you're a maker of anything- art, food, people, crafts- I highly recommend you read the full series thus far.  I guarantee you'll find something that helps you breathe a sigh of relief.  Making is hard work, people.  But it is always worth it.


Big thanks to Lauren Gordon, also of R&P, for sharing her process on her own blog, and inviting me to participate as well.

I am honored to be a part of the community of women writers over at Rattle & Pen.  And I'm always honored when anyone reads what I have to say.

Thank you, dear Squishies, for riding this ride with me.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

THE NEFARIOUS POTTY TRAINING POST

Oh, hey!  A thing happened!  A glorious thing!  A thing we parents fret over and suffer over and cause our children to suffer over!  And that thing is called.... POTTY TRAINING.
Buh-buh-bummmmm.

Potty training happened in the House of Squishy.  In fact, it happened over a month ago, but I was too frightened to write about it, lest I jinx it and kill it dead.  But that didn't happen!  It stuck!  And I will tell you something: I did not do the potty training.  Nope.  I can take zero credit for this occurrence.  This was, exclusively, AN ACT OF THE LITTLE ONE.

You see, potty training is a nightmare.  I know this, all parents know this, and secretly, I think all kids know this too.  There's so much push and pull and stress and MONEY that goes into the damn process (the books, the DVDs, the products, OH MY!), and really... we have no control over this situation.  I really, truly believe it.  NOT IN CHARGE HERE.

So, we've had the little potty and potty seat out and available for a good year.  The Little One had periodically shown interest, but that interest quickly waned when he realized we were getting excited.  "Oh, you want me to do that?  Cool.  I'm totally not gonna do that."

We went back and forth with him showing interest in sitting on the potty for like a week, and then it was all, "NO!  NO POTTY.  I WEAR DIAPERS."  He was fond of diapers.  He was comfortable in them, and he did not want to quit them.  Even around 2.5 when we broke out the beloved character underpants, he'd want to wear them, pee in them within 10 minutes of putting them on, and be TOTALLY SHOCKED AND TRAUMATIZED that he'd just peed on Lightning McQueen.  Every. Time.  For months it seemed like he had no awareness whatsoever of when he might need to pee.  He'd look up all wide-eyed and baffled, hollering, "Mommy?  I pee?  Pee in my underpants?  OH NO!!!"  Completely shocked every time pee exited his body.

And he had never once peed in the potty any of the times he'd sat on it.  Not once.  Never.  So, not surprisingly, we didn't think he was ready.  He was resistant, had no body awareness, and just not into it.  So, fine.  The Little One is a child that you DO NOT push (unless you want to experience the wrath of Kali + Demeter + Old Testament Yahweh), so we decided not to push it.

Then one day, in his diaper, the Little One grabbed his crotch and yelled, "I GOTTA PEE!!" with utter urgency.  And volume.  I whisked him into the bathroom, where we ripped off his diaper, sat him on the potty, AND THE CHILD PEED.  For the first time ever in the potty.  It was a goddamn miracle.  And then, I asked if he wanted to wear underpants, and he said yes.  And he wore them for the rest of the day and continued to announce when he needed to pee and only had one accident that day and two the next and that's it and oh-my-god-how-did-this-awesomeness-happen!?!?

There were two instances of pants-shitting (both proceeded by blood-curdling screams that, shockingly, did not tip us off that he was about to poop rather than die or burst into flames), but even that seems to be over.  *manically knocks on every reachable wood surface*

So... now he's potty trained?  It's all very weird and anticlimactic, really.  And I realize this is the post where you all decide you hate me forever and I AM NOT COMPLAINING.  Trust me.  It was just so weird!  He decided and he did it and that was that.

I don't know why I'm surprised since the Big One did the exact same thing when he was only 2 years old... but, dude.  I can tell you one thing.  We had a full on NO MORE DIAPERS party.  There were donuts, there was dancing, there was joy and laughter.  And also, my house no longer smell like shit!  Or... well... I do have two boys.  So, I suppose my house smells less like shit?  WHO CARES.  No more diapers.

Holy shit.  No more diapers!  It's a whole new world, people.  A world in which I have a lot less literal shit to handle, and I can get down with that.  Oh yes, I can.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Essay: Rattle & Pen

My latest essay is up at Rattle & Pen!  This one's about the Education of Parents and the shocking revelation that sometimes, it's not helping us.  At all.  Check it out here, won't you?

More soon....