Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For The Times, They Are A'Changin

So, hi there. I, uh... I'm sorry I haven't called. Er... written. I mean, I know you feel like we're growing apart. It's not you, it's me. How are you?

I dunno. I got nothin. Life is busy? Kids and stuff? The school year started? OH! HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS! School started! I have a kindergartener! I HAVE A KINDERGARTENER. That's insane. I'm a little bit baffled by this particular development. He cannot possibly be in school. Like, actual school. Except that he is. And it's completely terrifying.

Not for him, of course. He's totally fine. He loves it. It's terrifying for ME. I mean... he's out there just, like, living his life. WITHOUT ME.

I know. I KNOW. That's precisely what he's supposed to be doing. It's good for him. We all have to do it eventually. Autonomy n' shit. Yeah, yeah. But jesus, it is hard letting him just wander around in the world doing things and learning things and struggling through things and only getting the tiniest snippet of what that's like for him. It's harder than I thought it would be.

This was the Big One's very first day of kindergarten, and look:

Who's the one marching along, head down, looking all forlorn and pouty? Not him. He's fine. IT'S ME.

After we dropped him off that day, we came home and I was completely overwhelmed with this terrifying feeling that it was over. Our time together was done. I sat in his room and cried and because he doesn't belong to us anymore. I mourned us.

That's completely melodramatic and slightly ridiculous, but it's also kind of true. The us we were doesn't really exist anymore. I've been home with him since he was born, and I've been a part of his entire life -- including his education -- up until now because of co-op preschool. (What? We live in Seattle. It's awesome. Shut up.) Now, he has this whole life at school that I'm not a part of for the first time in his life and it's a bit sad. I don't really know what his days are like, and I miss that. I miss watching him experience things for the first time.

He's doing well though, and we've worked our way through the transition hiccups and he's becoming this little person. This little person who's starting to read! Which !!!!!!

So anyway, big changes à Chez Squishy. Because in addition to the Big One starting kindergarten? The Little One started preschool. And DUDE was that kid excited. Like, AMPED. He has been waiting to go to school for a year and NOW HE GETS TO GO AND OMG. It's the cutest. Every day he's excited to go, and every day he leaps out of class and into my arms and says, "Mommy! I work and sing and play!" And I melt into a giant puddle of oozy love. I get to be with him in class once a week and watch him do all these amazing things...  Actually, he mostly just plays with the blocks and trucks and sandbox. Like, pretty much the whole time. But he's SO HAPPY about it. He'll shake it up soon, I'm sure. Or not. Whatever. He's happy.

My little squishies, they are growing up. Oof. That stings a little.

I have been working on getting things published (and writing things that are publishable), so there's that monopolizing my time. But it's working! I posted in August (oh... is that the last time I posted? OOPS) about my pieces in Brain, Child Magazine, and Luna Luna Magazine, but what I forgot to tell you is:

1. My piece in Brain, Child then went up on HuffPo and 15,000 people liked it on Facebook (so conceivably more than that read it) and WHOA.  I was totally blown away to even be there, and deeply honored to reach that kind of audience. Amazing.


2. I'm now a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine! I am so excited to be a part of Luna Luna and look forward to writing much more there. We talk lit, we talk feminism, we talk pop culture, we talk makeup, we talk tarot, we talk about all kinds of things and you should come on over and check it out.

So... stuff is happening! There's more coming out soon, too. It's a little surreal that I'm actually getting my work out there, and it is such a thrill to know that people want to publish and read the things I write. But even more meaningful is the idea that something I've written might have helped somebody. Or made them laugh. Or made them think. Or made them say, "Me, too." Ultimately, that's all I want.

And also, I got new glasses for the first time in 15 years. Turns out you should really have your eyes checked more than once every 15 years! Go figure. Here they are:

And with that, I'll leave you with the promise that there will be more from me soon and in the meantime... bizarre word combos that come out of our mouths. You're welcome.

Weird Stuff We Say

Daddy: "No. A penguin doesn't need a vacuum."

Daddy: "Who's on my team?!?"
Little One: "Not me!"

Little One: "My baby toe is 'llergic to dogs and cats."

Little One: "Mommy? You smell dat fart? Oh... dat not a fart. Dat the fries."

Daddy: "Did you wipe your nose, Little One?"
Little One: "Yep."
Daddy: "Then why are you wiping your nose on your shirt?"
Little One: "Because dere's booger water in dere."

Daddy: "Stop it. Just sit for one minute and be happy with your life."

Big One: "Sometimes, I accidentally eat toilet paper."
Me: "How's that taste?"
Big One: *pause* "Not very good."

(Apparently he was referring to when he's blowing his nose and the toilet paper gets stuck in his mouth. So at least he's not INTENTIONALLY eating toilet paper. There's that. Tiny victories!)

Big One: "Daddy? I need a cookie. Cookies help me remember stuff."

Little One:
bongo beans = garbanzo beans
bandeds = band-aids
tattoon = tattoo

Big One:
Star Vors = Star Wars

P.S. here's how I know having children causes you to lose your mind: My children made me start a puzzle with them and then abandoned me with the puzzle and then I really wanted to finish the damn puzzle BUT THEY KEPT WALKING ON THE PUZZLE. And then I was angry. The end.

P.P.S. the Big One declared that he would have a band called "Hands Droppin' Through a Tile." He would play the drums. I would play the maracas. Little One would play guitar. Daddy would sing.

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.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


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


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.

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....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guide To Surviving Urgent Care and More Stuff They Say

We took yet another trip to Urgent Care a few weeks ago, and although it sucked as always, I'm, unfortunately, getting pretty good at this.

So I'm going to go ahead and claim it: I am now an expert on surviving Urgent Care with two toddler boys in tow.  Learn from my experience, won't you?
(But for gods sake... avoid Urgent Care like the plague.  Bubble wrap those kids if you have to.)

Take this guide and pack it away in your purse.  You're gonna need it.

Guide To Surviving Urgent Care: The Toddler Years

What to Bring:
  • Food: They'll get hungry and complain incessantly and LOUDLY about how starving they are. People will start to stare.  Bring lots, though, because they will throw or drop have of it, and UGH, those floors.
  • Books: They need something to look at or have read to them while you take part in the epic wait-fest that is Urgent Care.  Reading material is essential.  Bring lots, though, because they will drop or throw half of them and UGH, those floors.
  • Toys: Anything that's not huge or loud will do.  Toy cars, little dolls, an abacus, whatever.  As long as it's portable and will keep them busy for more than 5 seconds, toss it in the bag.  But bring multiples- and don't bring anything deeply beloved- because they will throw or drop half of them and UGH, those floors.
  • Proof of the responsible, loving relationship you have with your children: Let's face it.  The second you arrive in Urgent Care with your kid, you begin a CPS checklist.  You'll want to show that yes, in fact, you're an awesome parent and no, thanks, you were not being negligent when your kid split his head open/broke her arm/swallowed that thing.
  • Patience: You'll need this in spades because, as I mentioned, the wait will be horribly long.  And people everywhere will look terrifying.  You'll have to keep your children (especially the hurt/sick one) entertained and distracted while that guy in the corner hacks up his intestines.
  • Your insurance information.  Because Urgent Care = $$$$$$$$
What Not to Bring:
  • Anything that matters to you: Lovies, favorite books, slaved-over meals, your sanity...  Anything that matters to you will be lost in the Urgent Care vortex.  Or it will be dropped on those floors.  And UGH, those floors.

You're welcome.  Now, get thee to the UPS store and get a jumbo roll of bubble wrap for your kids.
(Remember not to wrap it too tightly or cover their faces, though, because that will also send you Urgent Care and UGH, those floors.)

*          *          *

Also, while the children weren't doing things that land them in Urgent Care, they were staying funny stuff.  Wanna hear it?

Big One

Big One: "Daddy!  We're making a new place for the fan!"
Daddy: "That scares me.  A lot."

Little One

Little One: "Mommy?  Why you have farts on your cup?"
Me: "WHAT?!?  OH.  Stars!  Stars on my cup!  They're there because they're pretty."
Little One: "Farts.  Farts on your cup.  Mommy?  Noooo...  farts outside!  Aw.  Is too dark.  Can't see farts outside."

Daddy: "You're starting to talk like a human being!"
Little One: "I not a bean!  You a bean.  You a big bean!"

After it snowed: "Mommy!  I foop the hfnow!!" (Translation: Mommy!  I scoop the snow!)

Upon seeing light reflected on the top of my coffee: "Frank the wite, Mommy!"  (Translation: Drink the light, Mommy!  My little poet.)

paterpillar = caterpillar

Since turning 3, the Little One has been SO excited about the possibility of going to school or a class.  Today, he talked randomly about going again and this was what he had to say:
Little One: "I go school!!  Teacher WUV me."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Employed! (And More Stuff They Say)

Life has changed in the House of Squishy- yes, indeedy.  I just got a job writing (for money!!) and it is the perfect combination of my (former?) teacher life, and my writing life.  It's both!  At the same time!  But I can wear pajamas!  Because this gig, my friend, is a work-from-home gig.  Which is awesome!  And hard.  Because I have children.

We are now two parents working from home and learning the ropes of working at home AND learning the ropes of our new work-from-home gigs.  Which means, of course, that our two part time work-from-home jobs are actually two full time, work-any-spare-second jobs and WHOA.  This is a transition.

Thankfully, we're both delighted about our new gigs.  And, thankfully, we're both feeling pleasantly challenged ( I DO still have a brain!  Who knew?!?) and happy to be getting paid to do what we each paid 29872384234 gazillion dollars to learn to do.  So that helps.  But currently one or both of us is ALWAYS WORKING and that is a pain in the ass.  Also, the kids are not enjoying that aspect.  The following sentence is common around these parts: "I know.  Mommy/Daddy's working."  Following by a HEAVY sigh and seven thousand tiny violins.

Poor kiddos.  Change is hard.  I get it.  It's hard on us, it's hard on them, it's hard on the whole family unit.  Honestly, I'm a little confused about how to do it right because these 1am jaunts are kicking my ass.  And Mr. Squishy's, too.  We're figuring it out, though, and slowly but surely I feel like there's a light at the end of this damn tunnel we've been living in.  This tunnel that still manages to have asshole neighbors.

It's exciting to be on the road to stability and to feel that we're BOTH taking part in everything again. We have been all along, of course, but now it's easy to see from an outside perspective, and that brings relief.  Now, we both have to take on the kids, we both have to do stuff around the house, and we both have to work.  I've loved being a stay-at-home parent (and technically, i still am a SAHM), but hot-damn is it nice to know that I'm not going to have to respond to this anymore: "Oh, you're a stay-at-home mom!  So... what do you DO all day, anyway?"  Oy.

So here's to stay-at-home moms!  And stay-at-home dads!  And here's to working parents!  And to work-from-home parents!  And to every possible variation in between!  We're all working our heinies off and, shit people, we all deserve a drink and a night off.  ONE DAY.  Cheers to all of you.  (And our kiddos, too.)

*       *       *So, even though I'm working now, I'm still also home with my kids.  So I still hear the delightfully ridiculous things that come out of their mouths.  Wanna hear?  I THOUGHT SO.

Big One

Daddy (while reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas): " And the one speck of food that he left in the house was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse."

Big One: "Well... the microbes will eat it."

Daddy: "Thank you for sharing with your brother."
Big One: "But I hate sharing."
Daddy: "Don't hate sharing."
Big One: "But I have to hate something."

"And then this song came on, and I was like, 'YEAH.  That's my jam!"
"glitter" = litter; as in, "Mommy?  Why do people glitter?"

Little One
"flumber" = slumber; as in, "Flumber!  I flumbing!  Brudder?  I fleep.  I fleeping."

"fleep" = sleep
"telesgoat" = telescope
"microfope" or "microsgoat" = microscope
"pisspeer" = disappear
"hair rawr-oo" = where are you
"shrank" = drink
"freet" = treat
The above 3 just resulted in the following sentence: "Hair rawr-ooooo, Brudder?  I get a shrank and a freet!"

*       *       *

AND, I'm still happily contributing to Rattle & Pen, where I recently wrote a little something about the balancing act women live through every day.  Which I now relate to on multiple levels.  I'm dropping a lot of stuff.  Go check it out here.