Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tigers and Flybyes

So, Last Friday we went to his main gal pal's birthday party. All the other boys got batman and spiderman painted on their faces. Bug, asked for a tiger and his gal pal had a cat's face. To say he loved it would be an understatement. He WAS a tiger in his mind. The only time he has bitten another child was when he was wearing a shark costume and I was afraid we'd come to that with this tiger face. But no. Just lots of realistic snarling and claws and running. He is 4 now and assured me that he knew "real pretend tigers shouldn't bite anything but birthday cake." None-the-less, I had to assure him that even though he was now a real tiger, he still had to listen to me, the mama.

His fangs wore off due to lots of Vegan Chocolate Cake, recipe due to the Netherloves from Seattle. Shout out. We've found a nice group of friends through Bug's school and we had a very nice time. G had "flybyes" on her arm, a rainbow, clouds, twinkles (Stars) and a few raindrops painted on within a 3" space. Amazing. Tears all around when the makeup had to come off lest the neighborhood social worker called us in on childabuse. It looked a wee bit gruesome as streaked purple flybyes do...
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Monday, July 27, 2009


So, one of the great things I've learned from LS and working with children with Autism is to set up situations for someone to succeed. To teach a child with Autism that guessing is fun, imagining is great, and that wondering is cool, I put his favorite teddybear all scrunched up in a clear box. I told C, "What is in the box?" every day. Every day I modeled questions and ideas like, "It's something that soft. I see it's fur." Or, "It's something that you hold onto every night." Or, "It's something with a nose and eyes. I can see it's nose and eyes." I would never ask, "CAN you see it's nose and eyes?" That would be a test. "Can you? Yes or no? True or false? Succeed or Fail?" If C did not because he was fixated on the scarf or so overraught he was flapping his hands, he would fail. No, in that state he COULD NOT see the nose and eyes. If I had asked a yes/no question of him, he would have failed more times than not. There is no way to learn that imagining is fun if you fail everytime you are asked to guess. I never tested C. I only explored and modeled exploring and the language of EXPLORERS.

In the same right, I don't want to corner my children into being "artists" or "zoologists" or whatever. G certainly loves to color and draw. She does studies in blue with a pencil examining how dark and how light she can make the color blue. She has artistic tantrums where she seems happy one minute and then throws down the pencils and sulks because her imagined objet d'art is clearly not what she had hoped it would be. I have been told as often as she has colored that she must be an artist. And, I like the rest, enjoy imagining her as an artist -a grown woman with clay under her nails and paint on her cheeks and a studio filled with light and dreams.

But, my responsiblity as a parent is not to corner her. I can't bear to say, "I think she will be an artist." Because what if her art is the farthest from what I think is art? What if her art is creatively thinking about numbers? or diapering children? or speaking 5 different languages? or daydreaming about the perfect island on which she will retire? Not paints and clay and colors. I can't bear for her to fail at some test -"Can you be the artist I've imagined you to be?"- that I've put on her due to her early enjoyment of color. For Pete's sake. She's only been alive for 800 days give or take a few.... Cornering, labeling, identifying these all come after EXPLORING. I am bound and determined to explore with my children before cornering them.

But the temptation is great to corner her. Especially when G finds my letterpress ink, strips down all by herself for the first time, rubs it all over her body, gets a kick out of how the ink changes texture and color while I'm cleaning it off, and tries to mark the house, the steps, the concrete, and myself througouht the process. She is not making my parenting goal of exploration very easy. I feel cornered.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009


I love any peeks I can get inside a person's soul. I can't get enough of people's personal stories and really I don't want much more than to sit down with you or have you go on a walk with me and just have you blab. Few things make me happier.
Every so often, my kids let me inside just a bit more than usual. While CC was here, we took a big red tour bus all over Glasgow. Just past a towering cathedral, G sunk down in her chair convinced we'd never get off the flippin bus. She scrunched her face up and spewed two-year-old venom which amounts to "No." "Want to" (G short hand for I don't want to) and blowing raspberries in an unpredicatable pattern. I love knowing that G thinks tour buses are boring and that she wonders if I'm crazy for thinking she'd have fun on the top of the double decker bus in the rare bit of Scottish sun. I love that she was so tired that night that only a tutu with it's own name, the pink revenge, would do for nightwear.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

payment part deux

As payment, I also get to observe conversations that would be lost. I offer a few other examples....
Bug, "No one likes to get a facewash even if it's Mimi helping you."
Bug, "Your head is very fuzzy. Why is there no hair on your head? Who did that to you?Feel his head G."
G, "Fuzzy. Fuzzy. Head. Fuzzy. etc. etc."
JB: Patient soul that let my kids pet his fuzzy head and then left quickly thereafter for lunch.
Bug, "Mama, what would happen if you cut Gigi's hair?"
G, "Hair. Haircut. See. Eyes. See."
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Friday, July 17, 2009


I am a stay-at-home-mom. There was an article in last week's newspaper about how a working mom forced to stay at home really enjoyed it. She ironed her husband's shirts. She had a free calendar filled with playdates. She sewed the straps onto her daughter's ballet shoes in a delightfully unrushed way. She realized she put work before her family. I think she must've also spoken with the animals, wore a bow in her hair and changed her name to Snow White. Her only complaints were frustration and boredom.
My complaints are not as idyllic as hers. My complaints are that my coworkers (my children) sit on my lap, soil themselves, and whine for food 24/7. I realize I have no transferrable skills because my husband's coworkers (his colleagues) do not sit on his lap, soil themselves, and whine for food 24/7. There are days when my husband's coworkers do indeed whine about things and metaphorically soil themselves. But, they do not sit on his lap and they do none of these things 24/7. I think there is an element of stamina that is required of a stay-at-home mom that no one speaks about. I think it's because we are all too worried about trying to look like we are Snow White, well, except for me some of the time. Today is not a Snow White day. Today, I am just thankful I got a shower in before writing this.
So, what is my payment? Not a pension. Not transferable skills. Not sleep. I'm not Snow White so there is no hope of a drug-induced coma that is ultimately refreshing and brings with it a castle, a secure financial future, a personal staff, and a husband with tight abs (sorry M, no one is perfect). My payment is something that I know will be lost and never retrieved if I'm not on my toes to catch it when I can. I get the wee moments that aren't anyone else's. They are just mine. You can see evidence of them, but you don't get the G on your back and the Bug in your arms listening to teenage street musicians that are so good they still the busy beasts that are my kids.
p.s. This is Princess Imperial from CC and Mama T. A dinosaur with the word Imperial and a crown impressed on her plastic chest and a bespoke barbie dress. CC's friend DB makes them, and it is as girlie as G gets.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Questions, questions

Bug always has questions. Why is CC's nose pierced? Why does PL have a baby in her tummy? If it rained enough, with really a lot lot lot of water, could a Minke Whale live in our backyard? Bug goes to his second day of "Summer Club" at his Primary School tomorrow. A full day relying on others to see the signs of anaphylaxis. Today we talked about how he can't have peanut butter sandwiches at school. He asked why kids could have milk at school then. He is afterall anaphylactic to milk. I don't have an answer. Peanut butter is one of our main sources of protein, but no one really gets milk allergies. The world belongs to nuts.

I took this pic of him leaping from Castle Mugdoch. I used to jump easily into new situations. Now I do not. I am also more injury prone and not nearly as cute. Tomorrow I will look easy and calm on the outside and have mouth ulcers forming on the inside. Today he also asked why I was growing my hair out. I asked if he liked it long. He said no. I asked why not. He said that my hair was beautiful short, like a sheep's. Baaaaaa.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009


I get it. There is indeed a difference between how boys play and how girls play. Bug's cars go fast and crash. G's cars go fast and stop for a chat. But make no mistake, G is not a "girlie girl." She has no idea how to play with dolls. I sometimes think it is a reflection of poor parenting of a second child. No time for dollies, sorry G. But that's not true. I try to teach her about dollies by saying things like, "Oh my, the dollie wants to go for a walk with us." I try to pick active things to do with the dollies....walks, eating lunch, taking a bath. Things that might be interesting as the activities reflect what G is doing in real life. G looks at me like I'm nuts. Dollies aren't nearly as interesting as cars or dinosaurs. Cars and dinosaurs can go fast and leave a wake of destruction in their paths. I repeat, G has no idea how to play with dolls. She does not care about dolls. She does not think dolls are fun. I offer this picture as evidence.
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Hair troubles

I've tried everything. Two ponies. One clip. A barrett, two barretts.

One pony, two clips...whatever....
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Hair Trouble

I'm not implying that G looks like a cow. I'm impling she is soft and cuddly and has a hard time seeing through her bangs.  As a result of the last 9 months of difficulties in figuring out how to handle this initial growing out of fine baby hair, I posit this theorem: Girl troubles, like growing out your bangs, start early and persist across species.
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Notes on Graduation....

So, Bug graduated from preschool two weeks ago. Note that he is never far from a teacher. The school where he went was great in that the preschool teachers listed his qualities as simply that. Qualities. Each one bringing its own mix of the good and the questionable to the table. As stated before, the Bug is particularly unexpected at times. (ie, He's the only one not wearing a proper shirt. Wild Alaskan Salmon needed to be represented, of course.) The teachers enjoyed this quality, but knew it was not one conducive to the preschool concert performance at graduation. Note that there is never a teacher very far from him.
That is because he likes to have a laugh, entertain, just get a rise out of anyone. A laugh, a groan, anything that let's him know you aren't sleeping through life, at least not on his watch, is good enough for him. Below he is making his "go-to" silly face. My daughter, whom you can't see in this picture, is stage-diving from my arms onto the heads of parents who've taken off work to see this graduation. She is screaching. "Bug! Bug! Funny! Funny!" She proceeds to do a sympathetic silly dance in the back of the gym. Most of the parents are chuckling. I am groaning. Also note that it is the one time there isn't a teacher within 6 inches of him.
He graduated. Note the joy of the teacher in the background.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Just because

Just because I like her messy cheeks
And the way she runs
And is always up for playing a trick on gravity
And she has some of the funniest faces I've ever seen in my life. That's why I posted these pics.
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The Cape

We shipped this cape all across a continent and an ocean and I am glad I insisted. Currently this is the "Robert the Bruce" cape. If you don't know who Robert the Bruce is then please do a Wikipedia search. Bug will correct you on any questionable details.

These are of my son with a winter glove on one hand, a stuffed dolphin from Kas D, and a cape that is really a long bit of sparkly fabric from our old neighbor's birthday party...two years ago? Anyway, one paltry definition of sublime is when something becomes more than just what it is. A long piece of blue fabric becomes a portal to this guy's mind. I'm glad I shipped the cape.
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Love in All Its Forms

I've tried to write about CC's visit and the special relationship she has with us and our kids. But, really there is no other way to put it than this... Bug wrestled a blow-up wading pool for ten minutes when she arrived. He was so excited he had no idea what to do with himself. The best part is that with CC I don't feel I need to correct or guide Bug's behavior. We just talked as he wrestled in the background and called for CC to watch now and then when he felt the pool needed a break. I think this explains why boys think they are flirting and girls think that boys are just dumb - for the good long while that girls think boys are dumb.
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