click-through for public nudity

MY BOOBS ARE SO IMPORTANT AND SPECIAL AND IN NO WAY CAN YOU SEE EVEN A TINY BIT OF THEM AND I WILL SEW SOME MASSIVE BRIGHT CAPE SO YOU KNOW YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO SEE THEM

Because, you know, it’s pretty damned exhibitionist to nurse a baby without something like this (I should have warned you PHOTO EXTREMELY NSFW!!!).

I was trying to find a picture of myself nursing my babies today; instead I ended up doing a random Flickr photo upload of the family. Enjoy.

The Two Paths

just LOOK at that slutty hat she’s wearing!

It thrilled me to find this today as I have totally been hitting the mark for most of these milestones – in both columns!  (P.S. although today we think of “dissipation” as being more like Merriam-Webster’s second definition – “an act of self-indulgence; especially : one that is not harmful” – what they mean here is “excessive drinking”; and again, NAILED it!).

Here’s the male version (more turn-of-the-century decoding: “self-abuse” means wanking).

your daily dose of Mama-defrag

Do you want to feel better as a Mama?  Sure, we all do!

Not only did I immediately begin obsessing on the pan this woman uses to cook lunch (a takoyaki pan), I also knew my friend Paige would notice it as well; we shared a few DMs over it yesterday.

Now: “giant ants with top-hats dancing around” – this is very funny, but also NSFW (language, sexuality). I like the whole clip, but the minutes after 6:20 are dear to my heart:

On a more serious note, I just finished Rachel Simmons’ new book, The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence.  I highly reccommend it – especially for parents of girls, especially for Mamas, and especially for women.  Although it doesn’t escape me that the many, many men who are (and choose to remain) clueless regarding the myth of female perfectionism are part of the very problem that plauges American women and girls today.  Women who choose to act outside this trope and speak out about their real feelings can help educate the men in their life.

This week I also finished Lenore Skenazy’s work, Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry.  This is an easy, fun read, and precisely relevant to my family and so many families I know.    Her website a wonderful place to spend time if one is ready to give up the default paranoia / parental perfection trip we mid- to upper-class Americans have tied ourselves in knots over. My children have experienced a higher quality of life in direct relation to the Free-Range Kids movement (which isn’t so much “new” as the way things used to be – but not in my lifetime).

Finally, I also spent a late night flipping through, looking at the pictures in, and reading Sheila Kitzinger’s Homebirth. Even though my baby-birthing days are behind me, I beileve birth is so very important and we have an opportunity to experience far more healthy births (and healthy deaths – but that’s the subject of a different post).  Remember if we are lucky we will one day help our children usher our grandchildren into this world.  Keep birth in your heart.

if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense

“Mama, mama, mama!” I’ve run a bath for my son in the middle of the day; he and our kitty Mabel just spent a solid hour in our greenhouse exploring and eating tomatoes. They are both filthy upon their return. Now he’s calling for me, his voice audible over the sound of rushing water.

“I need a knife,” he tells me when I come in. He’s crouched in the tub, naked, his hair blonde and skin golden as the sun, with two of the dirtiest heels I’ve ever seen.
He needs a knife – in the bath, while naked – because the bar of soap is cemented to the bottom of the clawfoot tub. I decline the request for cutlery and peel it loose, hand it to him.
“Did you see me pee in the greenhouse?” he asks presently. This is funny. Because he knows on some level I’d tell him not to urinate, you know, right on the food we eat. He can’t figure out a way to ask me if I spied this naughtiness (I did not) without coming out and outing himself.
“Oh,” I say, declining to answer the question (this child, I’d hope to keep him in the illusion Mama is all-knowing, all-seeing).”Do you think you should have done that?” I ask him.
“Well, I put Mabel outside when I did it,” he defends.
So… pissing in the greenhouse, totally fine – as long as you don’t subject the 14-week old kitten to the sight of it.

a nauseating bit of minutiae

A little stream of consciousness, for those who’d willingly get to know me better:

My husband and I listen to music a lot. We’re always trying something new – he more often than I. Ralph writes music – so much so that today in the car I heard something beautiful through our car stereo and after a while I realized it was something he wrote. I truly am in awe of his talent, and I’m so thrilled he’s expressing it. Our children are growing up musically adventurous: listening to our selections, their father’s songs, and writing their own music.

I’d love nothing more than to actually sing in a band in front of people. This is so completely unlikely to happen it’s funny I would even mention it. I think my voice is okay, but it can’t carry. And I don’t have the confidence to sing in front of others, nor do I want the applause or esteem some performers crave. I just like singing a lot and would like to do it more.

I stockpile rags. It’s kind of one of those good habits that becomes obsessive and shameful. Recently I reduced my rag inventory by at least half. This took me months to consider doing. I will point out I use only cloth at home: no paper towels, paper napkins. I’m forever swiping down things and dusting with these rags. P.S. old, sturdy cloth diapers are the best rags ever.

My feelings are easily and often hurt. I find myself mentally churning over arguments or sleights (some real, some imagined) while I’m washing the dishes or biking my kids somewhere. Sometimes I don’t answer my children’s questions or even listen to them very well because I’m thinking of people, online articles I’ve read. I am considering this character flaw as something that deperately needs to change.

I’m pretty good at confrontation. I’m good at telling people how I feel when it’s necessary or would cause more pain to demur (my recent discussion with the neighbor vis-a-vis her dogs eating my chickens is a good example). I loathe the personality trait that finds it “awkward” or weird to have a conflict of interest or a dissenting opinion with someone. I also heartily dislike bullying, which is the resort many will take when they believe they need to win out. I’m more of the, Tell them right away! approach. This has occasionally backfired on me. For a trivial example: one time at a party everyone was gushing about this odd apricot / cheese pate on the table. Everyone had their say and at my turn I said, “I don’t care for it” and the room of chatty ladies got silent. You’d think I’d climbed on the coffee table, dropped trousers, and taken a piss. Ever since this incident I’ve wondered when it’s cool to be “honest” and when one is being “honest” in a way that isn’t necessary, and is in fact rude. I literally wonder about this every day.

I find my life with children more fulfilling and fun than anything I’ve previously known. It isn’t that my kids give me a social life, or something to live vicariously through, or that I didn’t have a fun life before (I did!). It’s that they’ve multiplied love through my life by a hundredfold. It’s brrn amazing to have so much love in my life.

In some ways I don’t think anyone knows what makes me tick; although I have a spouse, and a few close friends, who know bits and pieces.

for your consideration on Ash Wednesday

My daughter is a puzzle to me. I’ve known her her whole life (of course) but I still can’t always conjure the magic you’d think I should be able to. I want more than anything to do right by her but she’s harder for me to parent correctly. I’m not even talking about conflict between us (which everyone assumes when you say you’re having parenting difficulties); I wonder sometimes if I can feed her soul what it needs.

Today worked out, though. She visited me in the sewing room this morning as I labored over the silk gown I’m creating for her upcoming Daddy Daughter Dance (this Saturday). She saw my embroidery kit and instantly asked me to set her up with a project. In many ways she’s a typical six year old: easy to distract, putting something down only a few minutes after picking it up. In fact I sometimes wonder if Sophie is more flibbertigibbet than typical; for instance I swear not one time does she come in the house and hang her coat up (rather, she throws it on the floor), despite the fact that one hundred percent of the time I stop her and ask her to correct herself.

After she was equipped with scissors, hoop, fabric and floss she remained completely focused on the motif (a rather large seahorse she had me freehand), changing colors five times and executing it in a precise backstitch. It surprised me that she took up with perfection my special, magic knot – in fact, learned it quicker than my five college students! She embroidered in the car, in the cafe, at home. Something about the sewing soothed her and kept her agreeable; cleaning her bedroom before we left, going above and beyond carrying our swimming gear out to the car and in general being a peaceful, equable presence. “I’m glad God invented such things as embroidery,” she says to me serenely at the table as I sip coffee and overlook Aberdeen’s busy streets.

God is on her mind a bit I think. While washing hands a few minutes later, she asked me who I thought would be the prettiest girl at the upcoming dance.

“Well it depends who you ask,” I said. “I mean, who gets to decide who’s beautiful?”

“God,” she responds, surprising me.

I’m stumped for a minute. “Well God, I mean… God thinks everyone is beautiful. He made everything, you know, people, animals, so it’s all good.” I’m wandering off into iffy territory here. I’m suspicious my daughter’s theology is a heck of a lot more solid than mine.

She’s looking skeptical so I continue. “So, I mean, think of the ugliest thing you can.” I’m envisioning critters from our recent viewing of a rather excellent David Attenborough special – specifically, it must be admitted, the hooded seal and it’s inflatable nostril membrane.

My query ignites a spark, and she responds: “Oh, that’s a tough one! Hmmm… I’m going to say… Um…

“Sewage.”

Again: I’m stumped.

i learned it from watching YOU!

IMing with my brother last night:

Kelly: I saw a kid today at the Y, a little boy who was naked.

Kelly: I went up to his mom later and said, “It’s none of my business. But I think it’s awesome that you didn’t circumcise your son.”

Kelly: We talked for just a minute about it

Kelly: Here it seems more boys are cut than intact

Kelly: However when I asked the high school boys to let me check they seemed reluctant and offended.

Kelly: I had to drive off in my van, really fast.

Dr. Science: with your sunglasses on

Dr. Science: and a fake beard

Kelly: hahaha

Kelly: My arm in a sling

Kelly: mud carefully splattered on my license plate number to obscure it

Dr. Science: mhm

Dr. Science: you’ve really thought it out.

I like how he goes with the joke, and then when I take it to the next logical level, he calls me out on it. CLASSIC BILLY.

"look, i’m going to be honest with you. just climb in the back of this van…"

We’re sitting in the doctor’s office and waiting an awfully long time, so while the kids play hangman on a blackboard I pick up this kids’ safety brochure and begin reading bits to my husband. It’s a very earnest publication that ends up occasionally being unintentionally comedic: including a “bonus” Missing Kids poster of your very own!, a tale of teaching your kids a “magic phrase” and an Uncle who takes this safety precaution to creepy, gaslighting lengths, and a quiz that sternly instructs children, among other paranoid restrictions, not to climb trees. Ralph and I are have already had some inappropriate giggles out of all this when I read him the following from the article on child abduction:

“Abductors sometimes dress in disguise as Santa Claus or a clown, in order to inspire childrens’ trust.”

Ralph gets a furrowed brow and a frown. “That’s not right. I mean that they have to be dishonest like that.”

“What?” I ask, my intended point (that I always found Santa and clowns creepy as a child and likely wouldn’t have fallen for the ruse), lost for the moment.

“I mean they shouldn’t have to trick kids, they should be clear about their intentions.”

I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He wasn’t joking: his tone had completely changed and he was very serious. I kept digging until some comment or other of his revealed the misunderstanding: Ralph had thought I’d read “doctors” (rather than abductors) and he was thinking of the little white lies he suffered as a child: physicians being dishonest about how much shots would hurt, etc.

Once I realized the mistake I could hardly set him straight. Because I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face and I was shaking into the little booklet.

‘Cause you know. Those abductors should really be more straight-forward and honest.