Annabel is big now. Not big like teenager big, not big like first day of school big, but big in a way that is precious and sweet and alarming all at the same time.
Big, like it's the beginning of something new. Big in a way that gives me glimpses of who she will be when she's all grown.
I am so proud of her and my heart is just swollen with so much muchness.
I love getting to know her. I love seeing her grow into the person that I have been so carefully cultivating for the last 10 years. I love seeing her become her own person. Taking my guidance and her dad's guidance and then doing her own damn thing. And so far, her own thing is fucking awesome!
I wrote more about it on Portland Mom's Blog. Check it out.
Turns out writing for two blogs is tricky. Actually maybe it's not tricky and I just need to do a better job managing my time. Probably that's it. But that's not going to happen right away, so in the meantime, if you'd like to read the stuff I'm writing (and I hope that you do) you can check it all out at Portland City Mom's Blog. All the cursing gets edited out which really detracts from the quality, but anytime you think the word fuck or hell belongs, just go on ahead and imagine it. Also, if you think you can fit the phrase douche-canoe anywhere in the piece, please please imagine that. Because, well, douche-canoe is funny. And sometimes it's an apt descriptor. You're welcome! At any rate, the link above takes you to the archive for all my writing.
If you care at all about children, old people, poor people, brown & black people, the environment, or animals you might have noticed that things are tricky right now. And by tricky, I mean that we are living in a country with a government that appears not to give a fuck about these things. And maybe a base of people that also don't give a fuck. Sometimes I feel motivated to incite change because I live in Portland and I'm in this bubble where the people I know and interact with on a daily basis do care. They are putting signs in their yards that begin "In our America . . . " (you've seen this sign/sticker/shirt/meme; it's lovely) and they are showing up at town hall meetings and at the airport to welcome immigrants. But much of the country is cheering on this shitty president who is "getting things done". What the actual fuck?!
First, I said an emphatic "Hell no" (actually, I just said no, but in my head, it was emphatic and involved the word hell) to the bikini. It's the most hyper- sexualized article of clothing in the clothing repertoire. A has been asking (begging and whining) for a couple of years now to wear a bikini and lately I started questioning my stance. Most of my super smart mama tribe also has said no.
And then we really started talking about it. Delving deeper into the quagmire of the swimsuit dilemma revealed that maybe saying no to the bikini was more about my shit than her. More about my fears of what other people would think when they looked at my perfect child in her teeny tiny suit. More about the way that I would look at her in her teeny tiny suit. I want to drag on the wheels of time and seeing her in a bikini (which I see as a sexy and adult article of clothing) makes her look more grown up. I hate that!
I like to measure the success of my summer by the number of nights spent outside. Admittedly, this summer, it's been a little trickier, what with the rainy weekends and all. But we're pushing through. We're getting muddy and hunkering down. We're packing up in the rain and playing more card games under the tarp than other summers, but we're getting outside anyway. And, it is excellent. Even if a little soggy. Though, to be totally honest, if it looks like it might be rainy aaallllllll weekend, skip it.
Every summer I feel like I get a little better at the planning piece. A little better at not running around like a crazy, very irritable person as I prepare for departure. A little better at not forgetting shit. At least not the important shit. I made some checklists and I published them on Portland Mom's Blog. Lists to help you not forget the important shit. You can check them out here.
Let me say right here, though: I forgot to put beer on the list! Also, I like to pack iced tea, lemon and Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka. It's the best camping cocktail ever! Not the beer and vodka together. Two separate beverages. I did put fancy cups for cocktails on the list. Twice. So, there's that.
So last summer we stumbled into a huge victory. My dear husband created Tuesday Night Sporting Club. I was skeptical. Not for any particular reason except that I think it's overwhelming to host anything. I'm always afraid that no one will come. But, it turns out, people like to play. At least the ones that we know. They showed up. And they played.
We thought it would be a good idea to have a regular thing for our high maintenance kids to do. Something that involved other kids and running and a smidge of organization. Daniel named it Tuesday Night Sporting Club because it's on Tuesday night and we expected that everyone would be quite sporting.
I wrote about it for Portland City Mom's Blog. Check it out. I can not recommend highly enough that you start your own Tuesday Night Sporting Club. On whatever night you choose, but do it. Every week! You're welcome.
Now that the weather is not quite as oppressive, all I want to do is get out. My kids don't know that's what they want, but I can tell by the way they roll around the house like puppies nipping and yapping at each other that outside is what they need. What their little bodies are screaming for. They bitch about my insistence that we all get out and enjoy the beauty, but once they're out adventuring and scrambling over logs and fording small streams, they cease to be obnoxious puppies and they become explorers. I wrote some tips for helping your kiddos enjoy hiking. I also listed my girls' favorite hikes in the area.
I wrote a letter to my big girl because shit has gotten so much more more difficult than I anticipated and I was increasingly losing my mind. More and more often I have felt like our interactions escalate quickly and my behavior devolves just as quickly. I find myself answering her snotty, argumentative retorts with my own sharp remarks or with consequences that don't make sense. It was ugly and we were both losing sight of the people that we really want to be.
Check out the letter on Portland City Moms Blog.
I wrote a letter to A when she was three and it is a manifesto that I have tried very hard to live by and, call me naive, but I didn't realize how hard it would be to continue living by each one of the promises I made in that letter. They seemed straight forward and reasonable. I'm still working hard at it, but now I'll also remember my new plan.
So, I confessed to being a fraud. Probably not all that I do is fraudulent, but it feels like much of my time is spent messing up, running around, and scrambling to cover all of my commitments. On the surface, I look like I totally have my shit together and that I am just killing it every day. I'm not. It's painful to admit because the truth is, I like the have it all together image. I like people thinking that I am a mama rock star. I wrote a bit about it for Portland Mom's Blog. Check it out. But don't judge me too harshly. Please.
A is convinced that we love her sister more than we love her. Not in the "she got to choose the story! It's not fair" kind of way, but the "deep sadness, sulk quietly in your room and cry to yourself because you are not properly loved" kind of way. It feels really fucking heavy.
This sadness and deep sense of inequity drives her anxiety. She becomes obsessed with controlling all the interactions. Trying desperately to read every word we say and every move we make. She has an unspoken, elaborate and mystifying rating scale for hugs, snuggles and smiles.
I'm Molly. I'm all in for parenting. I'm all in for good food. All in for big and small outdoor adventures. And really only partly in for homemaking. I want a Martha Stewart home and meal, but the truth is, we mamas just can't do it all. Not really. This shit is tricky!
This is a collection of musings and missives about parenting like you mean it. I mean really mean it. About how you can pull off a really mostly decent meal, keep your house kinda clean, do some of your laundry, and also even remember to usually feed your pets. But mostly about how being a mama is hard and we can totally rock it, but maybe that dream of perfection has got to give a little.