Tuesday, April 14, 2015

team parent

my friend has a child who can be high maintenance. or spirited. or stubborn. or she just knows what she wants and she works hard to get it.

i don't know what you call it.

i have one of those, too. we call her spicy. she's not all bad, you know? hardly. but she can be difficult and demanding and she has a lot of emotions that we have to work our way around. so i get it, i do.

and my friend's child has been being mean to a child of another friend at school. and my friend of the child who is being mistreated didn't know what to do. because if you go to your friend and you say, "your child is behaving badly." you are breaking the mom-friend code.

the mom friend code says you must support your friend's brand motherhood. to be honest, i find this to be very tricky and have lost several friends because of it. i cannot support every kind of motherhood, especially if it is putting my own children at risk.

my friend of the mistreated child went to our friend of the spirited child and told her what was happening. and this is what happened. my friend of the spirited child listened to our friend of the mistreated child with her arms folded. and when our friend of the mistreated child was done, our friend of the spirited child said, "well, we have to understand first what it is that your child did to deserve this."

and when the mom of the spirited child told me about it later she said, "mistreated child is very sensitive and has a lot of problems."

and when the mom of the mistreated child told me about it later, she said, "i don't think she would believe that her child could do anything like this. i don't think the mistreatment is going to stop. i don't know what to do."

awhile back i listened to a TED talk about why it's wrong for parents to say that all they want is for their children to be happy. "why are we putting this pressure on our children?" she asks. "happiness is too elusive to be our goal for our children."

i have a few issues with modern parenting.

one of my issues is that we revere our children. this is, of course, backwards. they should revere us. yet somehow, these tiny miracles that we will to define us, to glorify us, that must be amazing, are the bosses. and we ridiculously believe all others must revere them, too. so when your child gets called in because they are being unkind, or inappropriate, we stand there and listen, with our arms folded across our chest.

because this musn't be true. not without a reason.

and then we say things like, "you're right, she shouldn't have put her hands on your child like that, but what did your child do to make my child put her hands on him in the first place?"

children are really, really imperfect. that's why they need us, the parents. and parents are really, really imperfect. you could argue that we have children so that our flaws might be highlighted and we might be able to deal with them head on. to assume that our children, for the sole reason that they are our children, ought to be exempt from consequences, trials, or error is completely egotistical. and to assume that our child is going to grow up to be the one human without any quirks or imperfections because we finally nailed this parenting thing is preposterous.

but here is my biggest issue with revering our children: because i am team my children and you are team your children, we are not ever going to be able to be on the same team unless our two children are playing nicely for the moment. and you guys, we need to be on the same team: team parent. because i can't be everywhere. and when you see my kid in a place where he shouldn't be, with people he shouldn't know, and with things he shouldn't have, i want to be able to know that you'll be the one to grab his hand and pull him out of there. i don't want you to judge me for my obvious imperfect parenting, i don't want you to gossip with your spouse and i really don't want you to wink at my child and promise him that you'll keep this little secret between the two of you. team parent means that my child will have more parents to watch out for him. it's harder, i think, because it means more laundry will be aired, perhaps my shortcomings, or the shortcomings of my offspring will be highlighted a little more easily, but it also means we'll have more support.

if we leave our children behind for a moment, and if we check our egos at the door and we realize that we're all just trying to do our best, we might be able to make this work. so when your sensitive child is being terrified by my spirited child you can come to me and say, "my child is having a hard time" and i can say, "let me see how i can help".

because i choose to be team parent.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

house tour, part 1

I have to admit, when i started taking these photos and putting this blog post together i felt silly. and sort of lifestyle-bloggery-y, but in a bad way. in the way that's like,"look at me! look at me! everything is lovely and great and clean!" i considered not posting any of these, just shrugging it off, but when i looked at them, i realized that i wished that i'd done this sort of post with the old house, as a way to remember everything. i'm glad i did this. i just want you to realize i shot these right after i cleaned the place and that only fifteen minutes earlier the children watched in fascinated horror as the cat killed and ate (yes, ate) a lizard right under the dining room table.

i steam-mopped extra hard right after, i swear. but that didn't stop george (the cat) from looking extremely satisfied and even regal. and that didn't stop kate from alternately between anguish and outrage. she sat on my bed and wept, her face buried in her hands, before taking a break to shout angrily, "this is really affecting me, MOM! that lizard was just a KID! GEORGE! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO KILL A KID???"

i don't even want to think about what the neighbors are thinking.

 the chalkboard vinyl days of the week to keep our family all on schedule, the magnetic chore charts for the kids that feature spots for both the weekly and the daily chores, and peeking out from underneath that second hand towel, my apron from my days serving food to all the homeless at the rescue mission
 the dresser that my mom stained years and years and years ago fit PERFECTLY into this spot, my favorite cookbooks (americas test kitchen's best recipe), and those cubbies to fill with pretty things. i love those cubbies.
 this is a gas stove and i have always had an electric. i know people who are wild and passionate about their gas ranges, so i'm trying to keep an open mind, but the difference i can see is that it cooks a lot faster (so i have to be vigilant) and that it warms everything up. so use hot pads.
 my grandma sent me those wooden canisters when i got married. i have no idea how old they are, but knowing her they were probably my great-grandmothers. i love them. those elephants ryan and the kids picked out for christmas from anthropologie and the cookbooks are some of my favorites.
the chairs do not match because we don't have six of one kind,not because i am cute. sometimes i like to pretend i'm cute and this is the way it is. alas. 
 ah, my h collection. i collected them for ages before my sister suggested putting them up over the sink at the old house. i loved the idea so much that i found a new place for my collection at the new house. 
you know, it is not a fancy kitchen. the sink is lousy, to be honest, the cupboards are old and the countertops are something cheap and old. but i like this little kitchen, with it's white cabinets and open light. i love those old knobs and the way that dresser fits perfectly. itis a kitchen that we will remember for a long time. parties will be thrown here, dinners will be fixed. pancakes on saturday mornings and grilled cheese on busy weekday nights when i am tired and ryan is just about to walk in the front door. it is a good kitchen. i'm grateful i get to remember it.

next up: the living room and the office. or something like that. maybe bedrooms first. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

7 quick takes...on a monday

1. kate has been crying or freaking out consistently since she turned four. please, someone tell me that this is a phase and she'll get over it. right now i'm considering launching her over the back fence.

2. four hours at ikea and ryan and i rolled out with the following: two bookshelves, a dresser, a shoe storage thing-y, some frames, a cushion, a nightstand...as ryan moved some seriously long and heavy boxes on to those ikea carts that are impossibly hard to push, i thought to myself,'if i were doing this alone, i'd have four kids with me.' and then the idea of four kids, all of those heavy boxes, those carts, the lines...oh my gosh. i was grateful to him. and when he assembled the bookshelves and the shoe storage thing-y the next day (shoutout to james for his help!), i was even more grateful. the weekends make me grateful.

3. ryan detests throw pillows. he thinks they are nonsense. you can imagine his horror when his mother brought over an armful of throw pillows she didn't need anymore. the living room is stuffed to the gills and has never been more comfortable.

4. you guys, i have a desk.

5. and soon, i will have a place to put the millions of business/photography/office/art supplies that are cluttering that desk. and then i want to step back and take photos. does anyone want a house tour?

6. the roadshow is on saturday. we. are. almost. there. i hope it doesn't kill me. (and if you're local, you should come by!)

7. i have the best babysitter. she comes once a week and the girls love her and she always tidies a little so i can work without children hanging off of me. it is the best. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

on the rug this morning

the light in this house is unbelievable.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

we are here! we are here! we are here!

we have moved.

i'd like to say we're settled into the new house,but let's be honest, it's pure chaos over here. except in the master bedroom and bathroom, where in a fit of panic i unpacked the hell out of that thing because i was so sick of going room to room and seeing nothing but boxes and a bunch of stuff piled around the boxes and making enormous to-do lists in my head.

packing is a little like christmas, except it's rife with disappointment. here are lots of boxes and i'm not quite sure what's in them. and i have so much hope. "please," i pray as i pry off the tape (something i'm really good at now), "please be cereal bowls. please be cereal bowls. cereal bowls. cereal..."

 it's not. it's a box full of dollar store margarita glasses i bought for a cinco de mayo party years ago and haven't used since. i am disgusted. they are being donated as i write this.

our first morning in the new house we all had cereal for breakfast, except we took turns eating it out of the same bowl because that's the only one i could find.

anyway, we love this new house. there is light everywhere! and space! oh my gosh, so much space. i have yet to find the chord that attaches the camera to the computer so i can transfer photos, but when i do...

back to the to-do list!
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