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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Kind of Good Bye

By now, many of you have probably noticed that my blog posting has waned significantly in recent months.
There's a reason. An exciting one. No, I'm not pregnant.

I've always been a writer. It's in me to my core. Since I was small, I've kept journals. I've written books of poems, song lyrics, stories, you name it. When I took the Holland career test during my career counseling class in graduate school, the test identified "writer" as the most ideal career for my personality type. Duh. Unfortunately, it took 8 years of college and several years as a therapist for me to come full circle and begin to identify myself as such.

Recently, someone told me that if you want to write, write about your big questions. If you do, your passion will be evident in your writing. Nearly three years ago, I was preparing to begin a brand new, terrifying, all encompassing phase of life and I had a lot of questions.

How do I integrate my current identity with parenthood?

What if I ruin a tiny human?

What if I lose myself?

These questions will never be fully answered. I'm constantly learning and changing. Cecilia and William continually challenge me: my thoughts, my beliefs, my values. I love them for it.

It's time for me to examine new questions. I need to dig deeper. I'm craving more. Some of the questions I need to explore are very private matters for me, others aren't. Either way, a blog isn't the best place to explore them. I'm going to focus more of my time writing in other capacities.

I deeply appreciate the feedback and encouragement I've received from readers over the past year. I've read countless emails from you guys that have moved me to tears. I sincerely thank you.

Don't go too far, though. I'll still be here when I need to unload some snark. Just not as much.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Surviving a Toddler

Even armed with training in child development and counseling, I've been no match for the force of nature that currently inhabits my home.  She has little regard for authority and leaves empty juice boxes and plastic necklaces in her wake.

She's bossy, opinionated, and particular. She's absolutely nothing like me.

She wants things immediately, in the fashion she determines, and from the person she designates to do her bidding. I've been told this is a positive sign, that she's developing a sense of self, and her nature demonstrates that she's well on her way to determining just who Cecilia will become. Super.

In the meantime, I've managed to stay sane using a few tactics I've picked up along the parenting path. These tactics are informed by my education, but most certainly not recommended by those who did the educating. I'm passing them on in hopes that we can stay a step ahead of these wily little fuckers.

  • Form all their food into a smiley face shape. This works well with sandwiches and pancakes. Also, since we're on the subject of food, it's easier not to feed them vegetables or anything containing vitamins or minerals.

  • Pay $300 a month for the Nick Jr channel if necessary. You may need to work part time at Hot Topic to afford it, but discussing the nuances of the first 30 Seconds to Mars album with a 17-year-old coworker is preferable to a child holding out a finger to you while announcing "Mommy, I got boogers" repeatedly.

  • Let them do it for Christ's sake. Just leave them alone while they're trying to put on their pants or draw a triangle or start a campfire. They need to learn how to do things on their own. Otherwise they'll blame your helicopter tendencies when they score a measly 500 on the verbal portion of the SAT's.

  • Smile and nod and make shit up. Yesterday, Cecilia asked "Mommy, what's his name?" every single time we drove past a male walking down the street. She now thinks that every man in our town is named either Fred or Santa. Her answer when I asked what she thought his name might be? Shrek.

  • Two-year-olds are easily tricked. Pull a blanket over your head and take a ten minute nap. Your child will think you're playing hide and seek.

  • If you'd like to end up alone, encourage your child to "make new friends" and "be herself". I'd prefer my daughter live in the basement apartment when I'm sixty, thankyouverymuch. We'll have a great time watching Family Feud reruns.

Good luck. I thought I was prepared for this stage. I spent years in school and received additional training in play therapy. I was formally educated on how to deal with this child.

I'd like my money back, please.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Write a Non-Shitty Parenting Blog

Did you know that there are roughly 4 million active parenting bloggers? Do you actually think that your crappy little slice of the blogging world is going to attract followers, and eventually, advertisers? Oh, you do? Maybe I can help.

I'm not an expert. I write a modest blog with no aspirations of making money or becoming famous. I laugh at myself because I think I'm clever. I hope that you think I'm clever, too. That's about it.

I am, however, a fairly avid reader of blogs. I don't read them everyday, and I don't read them to learn how to be a better blogger. I read them because they make me laugh and I need a short break from life and for no other reason. I think there are lots of people out there like me. We just want to be entertained, dammit.

Wisdom from a reader that your friends, family and followers are too nice to say:

Stop caring what I want you to write. Right now. Write from your gut, and I'm more likely to remember you.

I can tell when you're trying too hard. I'd rather you just save it and give me something real next week.

Please tie your story about your kids, your pinterest recipes, or your pet giraffe to a more general concept or idea so that I may relate.

On a related note, please know that you are your stories. If you've never received feedback that you're an interesting, smart, or funny person, your stories probably aren't either.

There is an overkill of posts writing letters to children, spouses, your teenage self, your dead grandma and Dora the Explorer in parent blogging land. I'm over it.

Please don't blog just because you want to stay home with your kids and you need additional income. It makes my would-be-writer heart scream.

If you think "Fifty Shades of Grey" was a well written book, you probably shouldn't try to make money blogging.

Have a little class. Swearing is welcome; stories about your latest sexcapades with your hairy overweight hubby, not so much.

Make me feel something. Take a risk. Don't be such a pussy.

There you have it. Now, take these tools and get writing! Best of luck with your fuzzy animal blanket giveaway.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I have a unicorn in my trunk.

I saw this bumper sticker on a car downtown awhile back on a girls' night out.

So many questions about this bumper sticker.

To the owner of this sporty crossover SUV:

Why are you hiding a unicorn in your trunk? Wouldn't you want to share the majestic glory of the unicorn with the rest of the world? It's not nice for the unicorn or the world.

Did you use Skittles as bait?

How did you fit the unicorn into your Honda? Is it a miniature pony unicorn?

Are you concerned about the unicorn's horn breaking your rear window?

Since unicorns don't exist, why wouldn't you choose a bumper sticker claiming you're hiding a more bad ass mythical creature, like a centaur or Big Foot?

Do unicorns really poop glitter?

How long can unicorns hold their breath?

Are you planning to bury the unicorn by the rock quarry?

Is this one of the steps you've taken to become a mob boss in Fantasy Rainbow Land?

Are you planning to ride your unicorn in the Care Bear Rodeo?

If not, can I ride it?

Where do you keep your spare tire?

If you know the unicorn owner, please help me get in touch. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

600,000 Broken Crayons for Sale

When I got divorced, I moved out of my home quickly and left a lot of my stuff behind. What I took with me was mostly crap, and I decided to get rid of it. I'd never lived such a lifestyle, so I didn't expect the feeling that comes from owning few possessions. I felt lighter, less tied down. I felt free. I dumped another dumpster load after moving into my apartment. I held a rummage sale. I slowly chipped away at the mountain of stuff that I didn't realize had been bogging me down for years.  A few months later I moved to Montana, and I was able to make that journey with all of my possessions in the backseat of my car and in the back of my parent's blazer.

You would never know this about my recent past if you walked into my house today. We have succeeded in filling up our home, our basement, and our garage with junk. It's necessary junk, mind you. At least that's what the Baby Sales juggernaut wants you to think. We own so much more crap than we'll ever use. I feel weighed down again, and I don't like it.

A taste of the crap currently bogging down my home and spirit:

Four strollers

my house in a few years if i don't intervene on myself
25 half used gallons of paint

1 million onesies

14,000 bottles and sippy cups

487 stuffed animals

3,245 children's books

600,000 broken crayons

13,000 coloring books with
one mark on each page

 I'm one fuzzy blanket away from an episode of Hoarders. Someday, the show will come and find my dead cat under a pile of 20-year-old Highlights magazines. (Poor, Jane Seymour. She was such a good kitty.) They'll threaten to declare my house a disaster area and I'll be forced to live with my second cousin and her fourteen bratty kids. That can't happen, you guys.

P.S. 600,000 broken crayons for sale. Will cut you a deal. Willing to split into lots of 100,000.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ode to DJ Tanner

I loved you DJ Tanner.

I identified with your poofy bangs and brightly colored socks and awkward way about you. I was so sad when that boy in school didn't like you as much as the more popular girl. I laughed when you accidentally became betrothed when relatives came to visit from Greece (I'm pretty sure he was your cousin, by the way). I cried right along with you when you spoke of missing your mom. And you better believe I danced my ass off when you all magically sang in perfect harmony with the Beach Boys.

Rockin the Poof.

You taught me a lot about life, DJ. I took some of the lessons I learned from your happy little television world to heart.

I learned that being an oldest child can be really cool. Your little sisters really looked up to you.

I learned that family doesn't always mean you have to be related. Were you actually related to Uncle Joey? I can't remember anymore. Then again, who really cares? I loved that goofy son of a bitch.  

However, you confused me with one small thing. Whenever some boy called you fat, or your sisters didn't have to help with the cleaning, or Kimmie copied your homework, your first course of action was to stomp up the stairs, grab a pillow, and sulk. Without fail, someone would come into your room to talk you through your troubles until you were once again dazzling us all with that 1000 watt smile.

Here's the problem: that didn't work for me.

I vividly remember watching your show as a preteen and wondering whether I could stomp my way up the stairs so that someone would listen to and correct any horrible grievances that had been done to me. I stomped. I stomped hard. I stomped in huge purple snow boots. And I got nothin.

You know what my mom said to me?

Stop it. Just stop it, Susan. Right now.

I guess she didn't watch your show.

I do miss television programming that gives examples of happy, healthy families. But as an adult, I realize your behavior has another name: whining. I'm a little glad that you're not around to teach my children that lesson. I really hate whining, but I still love you. 

PS- If you've never heard of DJ Tanner, then get the hell off my blog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Radioactive Eggs

I'm writing this post mostly so I can use the phrase "radioactive eggs".

I ate said eggs yesterday before having x-rays taken of my stomach to see if I'm digesting food properly. Don't worry Grandma, I didn't tell you about it because it's not that big of a deal. Really.

Coincidentally, Radioactive Eggs is now on my list of possible band names right next to The Theo Huxtable Project.

As I was walking down the hospital hallway toward the testing lab, I passed an elderly couple. They were stopped in the hallway mid-conversation. The woman, who I presumed to be the gentleman's wife, was scanning the floor.  "Did you leave your cane in the car again?"

I wondered how they could get this far and not realize they didn't have the cane. The car was obviously long gone.

The gentleman, seemingly confused,  raised his voice to her. "I don't know where I left it; I thought you had it!"

She smiled and touched his arm gently. "I'll go check the car. Don't worry, we'll find it."

It was a short snapshot, but it made my brain fast forward. I hope Pete still displays that level of patience with me when I bite his head off 50 years from now. Based on our relationship thus far, I think he will. He displays more patience with my antics than any man, woman, or child has managed to muster.

That's good, because I will probably forget my cane every time we leave the damn house.
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