Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Parenting Style is Roller Coaster*

*First, a toddler anecdote: Our new house is close to an interesting train crossing. It's a fun twisting-turn at the top of a small hill, and it's bumpy as ----. K thinks crossing it is great fun, and she excitedly cries out "roller coaster!" every time we go over it. Bob's even got her putting her arms up in the air. For someone who has never been on an actual roller coaster, she's got great form!

In general, I consider myself a proponent of attachment style parenting. We exclusively nursed for the first six months, and practiced* extended breastfeeding. We co-slept for a long, long time (and, if I'm being honest, we probably would still be co-sleeping if Bob wasn't in the picture. Alas, a toddler in the bed makes a new romance difficult -- though she's a terrific form of birth control.) I did the babywearing thing. She was with me constantly until I had to put her in part time daycare at 18 months.

*I'm as pro-breastfeeding as they come but, Dear Baby Jesus, please get this thing off my boob already. 

When I'm well-rested, I don't believe in "crying it out." I don't believe in corporal punishment. I don't believe in foods made with high fructose corn syrup. Naturally, I do believe in unicorns and fairies.

When I'm especially not well-rested? When I've spent half the night trying to get her to sleep before tiptoeing down the stairs, trying to will the 100 year old hardwood floor not to creak, then crawl with cautious optimism into the grown-up bed, then hear "Mommy, where are you?!?" right as I'm starting to fall asleep?

My parenting ideals go out the window. I want to spank her little baby butt. I want to not only let her cry it out, but also lock her bedroom door and find my earplugs. The next morning I want to go ahead and hook her up to an IV of Capri Sun "juice" if it'll buy me five minutes of relative peace.

Yesterday K woke up at 5am after going to bed at 1:30. (I hadn't gotten to bed until 2!) She ignored my threats of great violence  gentle urgings to go back to bed. I lay down with her (contorting one's body to be half on the floor and half on a toddler mattress is good for you, right? Like yoga?) and instead of graciously accepting her partial victory in the Make-Mom-Sleep-With-Me-Not-Bob battle, she wanted to engage in an epic staring competition. Around 7 I gave up, went downstairs, turned on the coffee maker and fired up the laptop. I grumbled. I worked. She sat next to me on the couch with a smug little smile on her (admittedly adorable) face.

Bob, conveniently enough, had taken the day off work. He volunteered to stay home with her while I went on a much needed work-off-the-stress run.  (I like this having a co-parent thing.) I was in the middle of making a snarky comment about how with each step I was going to imagine ... well, maybe not stepping on her head, but --

then she threw her arms around me in an enthusiastic toddler hug and said, "Love you, Mom."

Way to work that guilt, baby. You've got this down to a science.

I went on my run. I came back feeling less homicidal. I didn't beat myself up (too much!) over the things I'd thought under the cloud of sleep deprivation and general parental stress. I know that there will always be a discrepancy between the kind of parent I want to be and the kind of parent that I am. I get that that's a part of the game.

I don't like it, but I get it.

Parents who have survived the toddler phase: at some point this evens out a little, right? I kind of feel like starting an It Gets Better campaign for parents of two-year-olds wouldn't be a horrible idea. . . (Consider this an open invitation to leave inspiring stories in the comments section!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Between Noon and Four

Oof, it's been a week since our last blog post. A week! I've barely had time to breathe recently, let alone blog. (I like to have tea at night as my little "mom break" in an effort to restore sanity, right? I had to re-heat my tea THREE TIMES the other night before I actually got to drink it. One of those times I didn't even get to take it out of the microwave before it went cold. Tangent: yeah, I microwave tea.)

But we've made it through a full week of cohabitation, and so far neither of us is having "Oh, God, what have I done?" thoughts. . . or at least none that have been vocalized ;-)

We've survived:
-a night when K woke up four times between 3 and 7am
-six days with no kitchen appliances. (I wanted to kiss the delivery guy when he finally brought our shiny new refrigerator and range on Saturday.)
-so many trips through the McDonalds drive-through that K now, as a regular part of her goofy backseat chattering, spontaneously orders "kids meal, chicken nunnets, fries, choca-milk..."
-More trips back and forth with loads of boxes, furniture, etc. than I can count.
-Lots of cursing about how early it gets dark these days. If there's anything more fun than unloading truckloads of boxes in the freezing cold with a toddler in tow, it's unloading truckloads of boxes in the freezing cold with a toddler in tow in the dark.
-The realization that the electrician I'd just called and given my phone number and address and an invitation to come to my house to shares a name with a high-profile murderer.
-So. Many. Phone calls. (I'm not a phone fan, as anyone who has ever tried to get me to return a call knows ;-)
-The soul-crushing discovery that the new TV we'd ordered for the house would not, in fact, be delivered before Thanksgiving (thanks for nothing, Amazon!) Do you know how much fun it is to live in a house with a little toddler who only wants to watch Dora/Elmo and a big toddler (hi honey!) who only wants to watch football/whatever is on SyFy when there is only one television and a long holiday weekend? *I know it's kind of absurd to complain about this, since it's not like I'm bubbling over with time to watch TV.
-Thanksgiving dinner at Old Country Buffet because, man, I was tired (and applianceless) and they were open. I love to cook, but --

We made it to (some of) K's extracurricular activities, too! She got to go to yoga. She got to play with friends. We visited one grandma, and called another one. I even fit in a (freezing cold) run (where I was rewarded with multiple snakes on the trail. Isn't it about time for you to check out for the winter, snakes?)

I didn't get everything on the list done. I still have two manuscripts I need to read for work (sometimes I almost forget that I have a job-job amidst everything else) in boxes next to my bed. I still have unpacking to do. I would, at some point, like to feed my family a dinner that isn't ordered by number. I --

am as happy as I can remember ever being.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Babies, Boxes, Blissful Sleep

K is a tough little kid. (I first typed "baby" here, but that's not really accurate anymore, beyond the "she'll always be my baby" sense.)

When we run together (not when I push her in the stroller while *I* run -- she wants to run *with* me) she almost always takes a spill or two along the way, usually because she gets distracted or starts laughing so hard over who-knows-what that she just kind of forgets to think about her feet. Do you know what she does after she falls?

She stands up, brushes off her hands, and starts running again.

This started when I (playfully!) modeled the hand-brushing for her and tried telling her to "walk it off, baby!" as a way to distract her from the instant exaggerated tears any time any sort of tumble happened (like on soft carpet.) But it worked. (Telling an injured baby to walk it off? Whoa, publishers, don't all come knocking at my door at once trying to sign me for that book on parenting you'd love to have me write.) And now, 95% of the time, even when she falls full-force from a run onto cold asphalt, she really does it. She brushes her hands and (runs) it off.

She's had a broken bone. She survived an assassination attempt via peanut butter. (That's when we found out the fun way that she's allergic. Sorry, K!) She spent her first year of life with two parents one parent and one additional adult in the house, then took it all in stride when one disappeared. After having never been apart from me for more than an hour, ever, she adjusted to going to daycare starting at 18 months. (*Well, she's still a bit of a crankpants about the daycare thing.) She's had three different addresses. Three.

Last night was our first official night in what is hopefully going to be her last address for quite a while. (Unless we win the lottery. Then I might be willing to put her through one more move . . . )  She'd been helping me move a little at a time for a few weeks now, and she understood, as well as a toddler can, what was going on. (She could differentiate between/discuss "our house," "Bob's house," and "new house" a single conversation.) When we got done dropping off a load of boxes and pulled out of the driveway, lately she'd been waving and saying, "Bye new house!"

Yesterday Bob's sister took K off our hands so that we could move the Big Stuff. (And by "we," I mean a team of strong friends ;-) By the time we got K back, the house was looking more like an actual home, complete with furniture! I didn't know what she'd think, but -- she just kind of looked around a little, settled in on the couch with me and Bob and a bag of popcorn, and watched How to Train Your Dragon. After that? She went to bed in her own room, in her own bed. She stayed asleep for the entire night. No bed crashing. No crying. No 4am parties. It was glorious. I climbed (quietly!) up the stairs around 9:30 this morning to peek in her bedroom, to make sure she was still, you know, breathing.

Tomorrow I might be tempted to put her out in the barn, but for now? I'm just a little in awe of her resilience and all around awesomeness. She really is a trooper.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Arms, Don't Fail Me Now

You know that point in the moving process where you shift from neat, organized, labeled boxes packed in a logical, relaxed manner to OhForTheLoveOfGodJustThrowTheCrapInABoxAndGo? We're so there.

We've been moving a little at a time for a couple of weeks now. A pickup load here and there when the schedule/weather/toddler allow. (The toddler, actually, has two almost entirely furnished rooms already at the new house -- a bedroom and a playroom. The adults? We don't even have a mattress there yet. Or dishes that are not made of paper.)

This weekend we're cranking Operation Cohabitation up to eleven. (Relatedly, are you guys on the make Nigel Tufnel Day happen bandwagon for next year? You probably should be.) Child care has been arranged. Friends have made promises to show up (in the morning on a Saturday!) to carry heavy things. If all goes well, by Sunday evening we should be living less like nomads (good lord, we're currently splitting our time between three houses) and more like a Real Official Family with a single address.

Wish us luck, ya'll. We're going to need it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not At All Wordless Wednesday!

Ignore my gross hand, ya'll. Focus on the ring!

Bob proposed on Saturday.

We had dropped K off at his sister's house for her first overnight away from home (our little girl is growing up!) and we stopped at the new house afterward. He said he wanted to check something out in the back, so we walked up the little hill together, where we could look out over the stream and the woods.

Where he got down on one knee. And brought out the (gorgeous) ring.

It. Was. Perfect.

I said yes, then called him a jerk (or maybe it was the other way around?) because he'd done a very thorough job of convincing me that this was actually *not* going to happen that weekend. And because I'm totally sweet and romantic like that. Ahem.

Aaaanyway, post-initial-surprise/stumbling-over-my-own-feet-because-I-was-so-focused-on-the-ring ("I don't think you should drive with that on," Bob said. "You're going to get distracted and veer off the road,") we high-tailed it to Ann Arbor where we had reservations here. (Going to restaurants without a toddler in tow is awesome, by the way. No crayons or chocolate milk in sight!)  We had a table right by the window, and everything was delicious. There was sashimi. There was awesome (cooked!) fish. There was rice in pyramid form. (Bob SQUASHED my pyramid-o-rice, and I was so incredulous over it that the manager brought me another pyramid. "I didn't want to see your fun ruined," he said. Ten points for you, manager dude. No points for you, fiancĂ©!) There was also chocolate-covered-chocolate for dessert. I didn't even think about calories once, that's how good everything was.

And then? Then there was hot tubbing under the stars, complete with cheesy love songs. Swoon. 

Maybe the best part of the night was that we got to sleep for as long as we wanted with NO BABY CRASHING OUR BED. (Thanks again, Bob's sister!) 

Not a bad weekend at all ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Toddler Moments

from the last week or so. I have big, sickeningly romantic news to write about here when I have time for a real entry, but for now? Cute toddler junk!

*"There's a buffalo on my head!" /Repeated for most of the hour-long drive between the new house and our current house, as she tried to balance her stuffed buffalo on her noggin.

*Me: "Sorry, K. The baby seat for the potty is at the other house already. There's no baby seat here."
K: [pats regular toilet seat] "No baby seat. Daddy seat!"

*K, upon waking up one morning: "Turkey Sandwich."
Me: "Is that what you want for breakfast? A turkey sandwich?"
K: "Turkey Sandwich . . . and chocolate."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our First Giveaway Winner!

THANK YOU to everyone who entered. You made me feel like a real, official Mom Blogger ;-)

Random.org has selected comment number 8 as the winner, and that one belongs to Nat! Congratulations! I'll be in touch to get your mailing address soon.

We've got more fun stuff in store for the future. For now: Happy Friday, everyone!

Late to the Party

I usually am. (Late to the party, that is.) There was a time when I actually got things done according to schedule, and even arrived early for appointments, but --gosh, how long ago was that? Oh, right. About two years. Hm. Interesting.

At any rate, when Bob and I first started kicking around the idea of writing complementary Veteran's Day posts, I thought -- yay! It'll be the first time we're actually going to use the blog in the way that we thought we'd use it from the beginning -- to share two different viewpoints on issues that impact the family unit. He posted his Veteran's Day entry yesterday morning. Then waited. And waited. Then went to sleep.

Sometimes I can sneak in late-night blogging when the baby is in bed. Last night? Nope. Passed out ten minutes after she did. "I'll just do it in the morning, when my brain is actually working," I thought.

K had other plans. She woke up yelling at 2am, I went to her room and tried to comfort her/keep her company/hold her/etc until 3:30, and which point I grew tired of contorting my body so that I was partly on the floor, partly on a toddler mattress. She tricked me into thinking she was going back to sleep a couple of times, but at the slightest twitch? MOM I'M NOT ASLEEP YET WHERE ARE YOU GOING??? OMG!!! WERE YOU GOING TO ABANDON ME? LET ME SCREAM SO THAT I CAN EXPRESS TO YOU HOW UPSETTING THIS IS TO ME.

Finally, Bob (who has to get up at 4:40am to get ready for work) hauled her little butt over into the bed with us. Was this her goal all along? Most definitely. Did we care at that point? No. We were tired. She lay there in between us, wide-awake and pleased with herself, for at least another hour before finally crashing again.

All this to say: yeah, that meaningful, coherent blog entry I was going to write about Veteran's Day? Hahahaha. Instead, here are some bullet points. Sorry, crew. It's the best I can do without a crapton of coffee.

Pros/Cons of Growing Up with a Military (Air Force! Woot!) Father:

Pro: The Christmas Parties. Santa flew in every year on a fighter jet. We all waited eagerly in the hangar, fingers-firmly-plugging-ears, for him to land and distribute our gifts.
Con: It's really tough to be impressed by/care about regular Santas (Aw, your sleigh is pulled by reindeer? How quaint.) when you're used to a Santa who is such a badass.

Pro: The postcards/gifts/etc that arrive in the mail when your dad goes to training or to work on special projects in fun places. Like Arkansas. Or Alaska. Or Texas. Or . . . exotic Alpena, Michigan. When he was in Texas he sent me one of those postcards with a Jackalope on it, and -- parents, don't do that to your kid. I really believed that those existed in Texas. Like Santa, I spent a long time thinking it was totally real. Another time I got a neat t-shirt with a bear on it. Another time I got a rock. (. . . when I say these things out loud they do not, in fact, sound like awesome gifts. At the time? I loved them.)
Con: See Jackalope note. Also? It stinks when your dad is gone. After the novelty of "No dad around to enforce rules! Party time!" wore off (and it wore off pretty quickly) we missed him like crazy.

Pro: Sunday brunch at the Officer's Club. It's been at least a dozen years and I can still remember that buffet vividly. Mmmm.
Con: Weight issues? No. Probably unfair to blame that one on the military. Semi-relatedly, as much fun as it was to go on base for things like obscene amounts of breakfast foods, it was less fun when my dad insisted on driving us hours out of our way to visit other bases. (Visiting Tucson? Let's just take a quick jaunt two hours up the road in the desert in the summer so that I can show you girls where I did my flight training!)

Pro: The uniforms, and the endless dress-up play potential they provided. Is there anything cooler than stepping into your dad's combat boots and BDU jacket with your last name on it! when you're a little girl? Maybe. But it was totally awesome.
Con: My dad has been gone for a decade now and I still have most of his gear. It's like a little tiny stab in the heart whenever I look in the back of my closet.

Pro: I understood, from a very early age, that what my dad did was special and something to be proud of. We knew why he was in the military and what he was prepared to do should the country ever need it. We were incredibly proud of him.
Con: It was terrifying to understand that it would only take a phone call to take dad away from us, maybe for a long time, maybe for forever. As scary as this was when my mom was alive, it became truly horrifying after she died. A war might have meant that we lost the only other parent we had. Definite con.

Thanks, Dad, for doing what you did. And for that rock. It was a neat one.

(And here's a picture of my other favorite veteran, because -- on a lighter note -- isn't he crazy handsome? Don't get any ideas, ladies. This one is mine ;-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On this Veteran's Day...

Bob here, speaking about Veteran's Day.

I served in the Army Reserve for a little more than six years, from 1984 to 1991. It was, apart from Karinya, the best thing that's ever happened to me. I was in during a relatively quiet time for the nation's military; post-Grenada and Panama and pre-Iraq and Desert Storm. I'm so very proud to be a veteran, even though my service didn't entail any really dangerous deployments. Unless you count two weeks in the summer in western Wisconsin "dangerous."

My father was a veteran as well. He was a company clerk for a field artillery unit during World War II. While I spent my time safely in the woods of Wisconsin, he spent his in the sands of North Africa and the mud and mire of Sicily and Italy. Needless to say I honor him a great deal for his service. He never talked much in detail about what he did, though when he did it was with a sense of pride.

My dad was an immigrant. He, my uncle, and my grandparents came to the U.S. from England to seek a better life. Unfortunately, they sought that better life just in time to find The Great Depression. But that's another entry for another time. He was drafted in 1943, still a subject of His Majesty, the King. When he went to tell the draft board about this, their response was that he was an American now.

I was inspired to enlist by my dad. Not encouraged by him, mind you, because he'd seen what war really was and didn't want to take the chance of me seeing it first hand as well. But I did enlist -- as much for personal pride and patriotism as for money for college. My term was, as I mentioned, pretty quiet. But during the nearly 20 years since I left the military, my pride for having served has always remained. I place those who have served before and since my time, who went into harm's way, in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, far above me on the ladder of honorable deeds but I take pride in being on that ladder at all. I hope that I have instilled in the generation who follows me a sense of that pride; both in their country and in themselves. My nephew and niece, Mitchell and McKenzie, have invited me over the last several years to their elementary school to take part in Veteran's Day activities. Several dozen other veterans, from all eras are also in attendance. We are all overwhelmed by the way the children there embrace us and thank us for our service. It is this, more than almost anything else, that makes everything worth it. I think in many cases we're a little embarrassed by all of the attention because we certainly didn't do any of this in expectation of adulation by seven year old kids. We did it because we felt a need to.

So today, on this Veteran's Day, thank a vet for his or her service. You never know what that service may be, whether it was in the sands of the Middle East, the jungles of Vietnam, the cold mountains of Korea, the mud of Italy, or the quiet forests of Wisconsin. But all of them were there standing at the front of the line to volunteer to go into harm's way so that one day we could sit back and smile at the children playing and laughing -- safely and securely.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday for a More Balanced Week

K's favorite - "tree pose!"

Demonstrating "downward dog" for the class!

Since April (when K was about 18 months), we've been attending a "Yoga Tots" class on Wednesdays at the local library. It took her a few classes to catch on, but now? She's a full blown little yogi. And she loves it. (I do, too!) I'll post more about it another time -- this is supposed to be "wordless Wednesday," after all -- but for now, I thought these pictures were fitting to post. This week has been much better than the last -- things are moving in the right direction on a number of fronts and we're halfway through the week and have had no major tantrums yet (I realize I'm probably jinxing myself here, but. . .)

Things feel good. More balanced. Maybe this yoga thing does work after all ;-)

(For our Michigan readers, check out our wonderful yoga teacher's website HERE!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clarification re: the giveaway

Hi crew,

Just so we're all on the same page, the "confession" part of the giveaway is meant to be fun! I'm not asking for deep dark secrets. Goofy is just fine! Did you let your little munchkin eat chocolate for dinner? Did you go a whole day without realizing his shirt was inside out? Did you text or check e-mail during your daughter's piano recital? I'll even take admissions of re-gifting ;-)

This is, as the title says, a celebration of imperfect parenting. (After all, perfect parents are boring, aren't they? What goofy stories are their kids going to tell about them at family reunions in thirty years? Yep. I thought so.) Let's embrace the fact that we're providing our children with fodder for cocktail party stories (or, uh, therapy) down the road.

Comment on. If you're having trouble commenting on the contest entry, please e-mail us at unlikelyorigins (at) gmail (dot) com.

Celebration of Imperfect Parenting Giveaway!

This is my baby. With wine. In a box. Doing her crazy face. Yep.

With regards to this blog, there is an emerging pattern that goes like this:

1) I babble on in a post where I make some terrific parenting confessions. (See: depriving my child of a jack-o-lantern, dragging her barefoot through Sears, screaming at her for wanting to change her shoes, etc.)

2)I get lots of private messages from folks making similar confessions. (If I owe you a response? I'm sorry! I really don't ignore people on purpose. I'm just unorganized.)

3)These notes make me laugh/feel better/etc, but they don't do much to foster a sense of community here on the blog.

To remedy this, I am going to take the high road. I AM GOING TO BRIBE YOU.

Unlikely Origins is, starting today, hosting what we're calling our Celebration of Imperfect Parenting Giveaway! The prize? A Target giftcard (conveniently in the exact amount that a 4-pack of wine juice boxes costs*) and a package of high-quality earplugs, to aid you in your continuing imperfect parenting efforts. Throw 'em both in the diaper bag and you're ready to go!

There are four ways to enter. Entry method one is required (no skipping to number two without jumping through my hoop first!) and the rest are optional ways to earn extra entries for a better chance of winning.

1)You must leave a comment here on the blog wherein you make an imperfect parenting confession of your own. You don't need to write a detailed tell-all. You don't need to try to outdo the person before you. You don't even need to be a parent! (If you are not yet . . . "blessed" with children of your own, give us some dirt on *your* parents. Or your siblings. Or what you did to your dog. I don't care. Confess to something.) NOTE: THIS IS MEANT TO BE FUN! Your "confession" can be something totally goofy or lighthearted. I'm not looking for tales of child abuse so I can tip off child services. I promise.

2) Like us on Facebook! That's it. Then come back here and leave a separate comment telling us that you've done so.

3) Subscribe via RSS/add us to your reader. (Upper right corner.) Then, same deal, leave a comment letting us know that you did/already are/whatever.

4)Pimp us out. Post a message on facebook or twitter or your blog or pretty much wherever with a link to this post, then leave a comment here so we know.

Entries will close on Friday (11/12) at 5pm (EST), because I feel like Friday at 5 is an appropriate time for a contest to end when there's wine involved. The winning entry will be chosen by random.org and I'll announce that lucky duck here.

*Of course, you don't have to spend the giftcard on wine. Though I will think a little less of you if you use it on something practical like diapers or nutritious food.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Other Names

The three of us were hanging out this weekend when K referred to me as Kathryn (her actual name, though I bet you've already figured that out).

It wasn't the first time she'd done that. It seems like, while she realizes that I'm mommy and she's baby, she thinks we both share the "other name" of Kathryn.

"K," I said, wanting to prod at this a little more. "What's my other name?"
K: "Mommy!"
Me: "Yes, but what's my other name?"
K: "You!"
Me: "Yes, but what's my other name?"
K: [thinks] "Friend."


We played a few more rounds of this game, and I told her that my Other other name was Karinya, and -- my name is not an easy one to pronounce, but she just about nailed it! It was the first time I'd heard her say my Other other name, and it was . . . one of those amazing motherhood moments that sort of cancels out things like last month's Desitin-on-carpet-and-favorite-chair incident.

Names are something we've been thinking a lot about lately. When we started the blog, I asked Bob what he wanted to be referred to as in posts, and after some deliberation about what labels to apply to ourselves in relation to each other and our family, we decided to just use our real names instead of "mom" or "dad" or whatever. Parenthood is all-consuming and life-taking-over enough (not that it's not worth it) but it's nice, sometimes, to remember that we have "other names," too.

*For those keeping score, K usually calls Bob dad or daddy, even though he didn't come into our lives until she was twenty months old. She started doing it on her own (there was no goading on either of our parts to encourage her to apply that label to him; it just happened organically. This thrilled me beyond belief) but she still sometimes rotates Bob or Bobby into her daily speech.

I'm a little tired and birthday partied-out, so I can't come up with a smooth way to tie this into the rest of the post, but: Unlikely Origins now has a facebook page! If you like us (and I hope you do?), please consider "officially" liking us on facebook. If you really like us, perhaps use facebook's handy "suggest to friends" tool, too? (Don't make me play the birthday card, folks. I TOTALLY WILL.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One of Those Weeks

I don't really know how else to put it.

Monday brought with it a surprise letter from the IRS (ended up not being my problem, but it took six phone calls and an anxiety attack to straighten out). Tuesday brought sleep deprivation and tough work issues. Wednesday? Most of Wednesday was spent in a state of mourning due to the state's election results. Thursday I sat in a waiting room for over an hour before getting disappointing and unexpected news, then I topped the evening off by spilling the dish of the stuffed peppers I'd made for dinner. (Cue tears and Bob's offer to make it all better by ordering a pizza ;-) Friday I accidentally busted a bottle of wine during my moving efforts (one pickup truck load at a time... with a toddler!) and then later K treated the two of us to an epic, flail-on-the-floor, scream-at-the-top-of-her-lungs tantrum in the middle of the mall. (No nap & molars coming in & . . . being two, I guess.)

I'm not an especially pleasant person to be around right now. I'm tired. I'm overwhelmed. I'm burnt out. Those damn kids need to get off my lawn.

But the worst part of having a bad week, I think, is the way I let it affect how I parent. I can feel myself being short with her. Is it annoying when I find her changing shoes for the fourth time when oh for the love of God we have to go now this has to be at the post office today and they close in ten minutes? Of course. Is it worth screaming at her over? No. I know she's not part of a vast global conspiracy to mess with me (I hope?) and that she doesn't understand the way her usual toddler antics are, more often than not, just that proverbial straw that on top of everything else is making me lose. my. mind.

Today is Saturday, though, and I'm officially declaring today the first day of next week, which promises to be full of awesome. (Full of it!) The new week is bringing with it lots of exciting things, life-wise and blog-wise. We'll be launching the Unlikely Origins facebook page (and subsequently harassing you all to "like" us there), one of the Unlikely Origins crew will be turning the big two-seven (I'm sure you can't guess who!), Bob's sister has, perhaps foolishly, offered to take K off our hands overnight next weekend so we can do exciting grown up things (sleep),  and -- and! Unlikely Origins will be hosting its first "Celebration of Imperfect Parenting" giveaway.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On a Lighter Note...

Today on my run I hit a big milestone. It wasn't a longer distance or a new high number-of-minutes-I-can-run-without-collapsing (though I actually did that too!).


Today, in response to K's request for "somfing to drink," I fished out her Capri Sun (HFCS is evil, I know, I know), unwrapped the straw, poked it into the package, and handed it back to her, all while keeping one hand on the stroller and not breaking stride.

I was darn proud of myself afterward.

I am such a mom.

Starting 'em Young

(Disclaimer: this was mostly written last night, but wasn't posted until today, so -- please just roll with me on the today/tomorrow stuff?)

K went into her first voting booth at six weeks old. She endures, mostly without complaint, how I squeeze her a little tighter when a particularly cringe-worthy political sound bite hits our ears -- or whenever we're in a waiting room where the television is tuned to Fox News. (I want to believe that if I hold her tight enough, we'll form some sort of a magic barrier between her and whatever hateful/fearful/xenophobic/etc propaganda is being spewed at her from the speakers. That's how it works, right?) She stood by patiently as her phone-phobic mother worked up the guts to actually call her representatives when some semblance of the health care bill was working its way through, and she refrained from crying or demanding attention until the phone had been hung up. In a few hours (I'm writing this late at night -- ah, motherhood) I'll be dragging K out of bed early so that she can go vote with me before it's time for daycare. I could (and probably should, actually) let her sleep in a little longer and just hit the library to vote after I drop her off at her care provider's house. Without the toddler distractions I'd probably be more focused, and the absence of a toddler eliminates the possibility of one of those epic toddler meltdowns occurring in the relatively sacred (and quiet) space of the voting booth. Unfortunately for my fellow voters, it's not gonna happen.

She's coming with me to vote, whether she's being a crankpants or not. I know that at 25 months old it's really, really unlikely that she'll remember this at all -- and of course she won't remember the first time she "voted," but I feel that it's important to have her with me, and to be able to tell her later that she was there. I remember the thrill of going into the voting booth with my parents when I was little. They took my sister and me every year and we each got to pick a parent to accompany behind the curtain. When we were little-little we didn't know what we were really voting for (beyond the basics -- they'd explain that pulling the lever here meant we were voting to give money to our school, or the zoo, or whatever -- ballot initiatives that kindergartners can kind of grasp) but I knew from the beginning that what we were doing was special, and important, and -- hey, you get a sticker at the end!

I want K to grow up in a house where being an (at least semi-) involved participant in the political process is the norm. I don't want her to take anything for granted. I want her to know how things work, and why. We'll probably save the 19th amendment lesson for next year (with a feminist mom and a historian dad, she's going to get lessons, oh yes!) but we've got to start somewhere.

Anyway, sleeping K: rest up. Tomorrow is a big day.