Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Game Time

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to invite you to play a game!  People of all ages, gather round for a guessing game that I like to call:

Toddler or Cat

All you have to do is correctly guess the answer to each question by using the word either Toddler or Cat.  

Winners will receive the right to pat themselves on their own back.  No further prizes exist.

So now, if you're ready, let us begin!!!

1.  Likes to scream at the door anytime she or he is not allowed to follow the dog out.
Did you guess cat?  Give yourself one pat!  He will continue to cry until the dog comes in or he manages to escape, resulting in much cursing, crying and barefoot chasing around the yard.

2.  Likes to dig into the laundry and get a pair or pairs of underpants wrapped around her or his head.
Did you guess toddler?  One more pat!  This is an EVERY. DAY. OCCURRENCE.  

3.  Attempts to get all of the things off of all of the surfaces all of the time (think counters, tables, etc).
It's a tricky one!  It's both toddler AND cat!  Did you get it right?  Once more pat for you!

4.  Tries to climb into the washer and or dryer each time that I am doing laundry thereby significantly slowing down the laundry process.
Another trick question!!  Toddler AND cat would be the correct answer.  One more pat for you my friend!

5.  Has climbed into the bathtub during other people's baths multiple times.
Cat.  It's the cat.  The inexplicable cat.  Did you say cat?  One more pat!

6.  Attempts to get into the shower repeatedly during and after my showers.
Here's another toddler AND cat for the win.  Pat pat!

7.  Meows upon waking.
Did you see this coming?  Toddler!  Hope you earned a pat!

8. Climbs on top of the furniture despite repeated admonishments.
And…it's another toddler AND cat!  Pat yourself if you're starting to catch on that they are very nearly one and the same.

9.  Loves to chase the little red laser beam!!!
Both.  Both the toddler and the cat.  Because…well, because.  Did you get a pat?

10. Is one of the great joys of my life.
Toddler.  But the cat is a close second.

Monday, October 26, 2015

3AM Won't Last Forever

During the newborn phase of parenting, I found it important to remind myself that those middle of the night wakings would end.  I needed to keep up the mantra to myself that it won't last forever.  Newborns take a lot from a parent; all of that missed sleep is such a difficult thing.  Knowing that at some point I would get back to a normal sleep schedule was the only thing that got me through.

Now, though, every night at some point, The Munchkin will fuss herself awake.  At 21 months, she goes to bed like a dream and sleeps most of the night through.  But somewhere between 3 and 4, inevitably, she wakes and needs a cuddle.

I go to her and lift her from the crib, bring her to the rocking chair and we rock.  Usually only five minutes or so, sometimes longer if one of us needs.  Sometimes I have a bit of an internal battle with myself about this nighttime ritual.  I tell myself that I am only reinforcing the waking by picking her up and rocking her.  I tell myself I should let her cry it out.  I do the thing that I often advise others not to do: I "should" on myself.

But then I remember: it won't last.  No matter how I approach the situation, it won't last.  She will continue to grow and change whether I wish it away or embrace it.  It won't be long before, like her older sister, she tells me that I am making her too hot and asks me to leave her side so that she can get to sleep.

So, on nights when my eyes are bleary from tiredness, I remind myself of how fleeting it all really is.  When my pillow begs me to leave the baby and stay, to get her fully sleep trained once and for all, I creep out of the warm bed anyway.  I find the energy for those few minutes together (how few I will get in this life).  I quietly enter her room and rub her back.  She sits up and reaches for me and we rock.  I nuzzle her head, smell her sweet hair and try to remember how fast it all goes. It's funny how in a year and half I have flipped that mantra on it's head.  Now I know, really know, that 3AM won't last forever.  And I'm going to savor every moment of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


One of our little family obsessions games is finding shoes on the side of the road.  Just kind of a road game that The Mister and I play as we drive along wherein we see a shoe and scream "SHOE!".  Maybe not so much a game as a thing we do.  I brought it to the marriage.  

I have noticed for years that people seem to lose an absurd amount of shoes either in or along side of the road.  It baffles me.  I mean, I can understand the occasional flip flop flying off of a foot propped out the car window, but often times I see shiny dress shoes, nice looking tennis shoes or boots.  How IN THE LOVE do you lose a tie on dress shoe while driving down the road?  I think I started yelling out "SHOE" just so I would know that I wasn't the only one seeing these things.  Once I saw a whole gaggle of shoes in the road, like 10 in a pile.  It's like they were there just for me.

I have long thought about what a great coffee table book this would make.  At least to me.  But maybe I'm the only one who notices this phenomenon.  Also, I often spot these shoes on the side of interstates and the photography would prove difficult and dangerous in the best of conditions.  I did make a point for a couple of weeks a while back to stop and photograph shoes that were in a safe and reasonable place.  It didn't take long to collect quite a few photos.

Maybe some kid threw this out the window?

Just ready for a new style?
Walked out of it?
Just not your sole mate?
Came unfastened?
The elusive pair of shoes.  I'm guessing the owner got
a new pair that he or she couldn't wait to get into.
Knocked off by the train?
I assure you, the above photos were all collected in and around where I live.  I saw more shoes than this during my photo period, but these were only ones that could be easily photographed.  None of these are staged in any way.

So is it just me?  Or, more accurately, now that I have dragged The Mister into this, us?  Do you ever notice how many shoes are left alongside the road?  Have you ever lost a shoe while in transit?  If so, share your story.  I'd love to know even part of what's going on out there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Munchkin - 18 Months

My spunky little girl, how is it that you are already 18 months old?  You have gotten so big!  You are taller than the kitchen table now.  As you have for months, you love to climb.  Everything.  Mommy, primarily, but also Daddy and Sissy and the kitchen tables and the fridge and the stove and pretty much anything you can get purchase on.  You are on the go and BUSY all of the time.  You have already learned to climb out of both your pack and play and your crib.  Lucky for Mom and Dad, you still wear your boots for clubbed feet at night, so I think that will buy us a little more time in the crib (at night, anyway).

You love your sister.  You climb on her a lot too, which incites a lot of screaming on her part.  But you two are finally getting to an age where you will play happily together sometimes and it pleases me so much to hear you both giggling away.

You love to explore and have no fear.  When we took you to the ocean this summer you went right for it and didn't miss a beat!

I won't mention what happened to that swim suit but suffice it to say we never saw it again after that day.  No, it is not safe to go to beach without a swim diaper.

You CANNOT STAND having your hair fixed.  You will rip out any bow or barrette or pig tail I put in and, on top of that, you will rub as much food in your hair as possible if I try and fix it.  So natural it is, often very messy and natural.  But I still try sometimes:)

Words are FINALLY coming for you.  This has been a frustration on both sides, you because you cannot communicate what you want and therefore wind up frustrated.  Mom and Dad because we can't deduce what you want and also wind up frustrated with the amount of screaming you do.  Your favorite words right now are: dog, cat, up, go, mom, dad and the sign language word for more (which you pretty much use any time you feel agreeable to a suggestion).

You are busy.  You are silly.  You love to dance and to hug and if I ask you to get the baby you will find a doll and hug it and pat its back and say, "aww".  You can be very sweet and you can also get VERY angry when you don't get your way.  You exhaust me and challenge me every day and I certainly feel every year of being an older mother when I am with you, but you also make me laugh and smile every day too.  I love you, little one.  Here's to many more happy, busy years together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


We are driving back from meeting her first grade teacher when my daughter cries out, "Mom!  Look at that cloud!  It's shaped just like a heart."

I glance quickly out the side window as I navigate the road.  "Oh, yeah," I say softly, not really looking hard because I know that often the shapes in clouds are meant for only one viewer.  My answer, initially, is a lie meant to let her know that I'm listening without causing me to nearly crash the car trying to see what she does.

Then, right before I look away, I see it.  A single cloud, big and puffy, in the perfect shape of a heart.  "I think it's shining love down onto all of us," says The Nugget.  I smile.  She is so kind hearted.  As we turn a corner she wiggles in her seat, twisting and turning to keep the heart in her line of sight.  Already, part of the edge is drifting apart.  "I never want it to go away!" she cries.

"Well, honey, clouds dissipate.  That's just what happens."

How I needed this lesson this night.  This week.  This lifetime.  Clouds dissipate.  It has been a tough week for me.  I have been feeling raw and sensitive.  I have struggled to find my voice in so many ways.  A very old friendship has been floundering and I still don't know if it will be saved.  My other daughter's birth mother criticized me in a public forum.  All of my favorite people keep leaving from work.  I've been swimming in the deep end of race and racism.  My heart has been heavy.  I have been stress eating and not sleeping and I am tired and somewhat grumpy.  But then I get this message from the sky.

Clouds dissipate.

A heart will shine on you for a while.  It may change.  It may grow or look different.  It may block the sun for a while.  Perhaps it will come back again, perhaps it will move on for good.  But it will not block the sun forever.

Clouds dissipate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

If You're a Racist and You Don't Know It

Just sit quietly.  Do not clap your hands.  Do not attempt to understand anyone's viewpoint other than your own.  Whatever you do, cling to symbols such as the confederate flag as marks of history and deny that they ever represented anything to do with racism.  Discount any feelings from people of color who note that having this flag hanging in an official capacity makes them uncomfortable.  Tell people to "get over it" because it is "just a flag".  Have absolutely no insight into the fact that perhaps it is YOU who should "get over it" and agree to take it down because it is "just a flag".

If you're a racist and you don't know it, then by all means, please refer all acts of racism back to the days of slavery and make sure to note that you were not responsible for this.  Tell people that they should move on, that even though things aren't perfect they are so much better than they were then.  Disregard the families whose unarmed children are gunned down in our streets TODAY because of the color of their skin.  Remind them, again, that they should get over it.

If you are a racist and you don't know it, ask yourself no questions.  Certainly don't ask yourself if you know any people of color on a personal level.  Don't ask yourself if you could or have ever dared to LOVE a person of color.  Because if you do, then everything gets much more gray.  No more black and white answers in a world where that is all that so many people see.

If you are a racist and don't know it, tell everyone about how you don't see color.  Say thing like, "I don't care if you are black, white or purple".  Ignore the fact that nobody can be purple and that possibly seeing color is a GOOD thing.   Forget that celebrating differences can be beautiful.

If you are a racist and you don't know it, post pictures a murderer - who attacked innocent black church members and left a lengthly explanation as to race being the primary cause of the attack - burning the American flag and note that the liberal media won't let you see this because it shows that the boy was out to kill all Americans, not just black ones.  Believe that so you can sleep better at night.  Please, don't notice the many black churches that start to burn after this attack.

If you are a racist and don't know it, there will never be a need for you to apologize to anyone for ways they may have suffered due to racism in this country.  You can continue to deny that you have ever benefited from white privilege.  You may wave your confederate flag and you may close out the voices of those who, while doing better than they were as slaves, are still struggling.  Perhaps it is less painful this way, to not acknowledge that we as members of this society could be complicit in anything that caused such a long and painful legacy.

But remember this: if you are a racist and don't know it, you are free to express every one of these views and more in this country.  You are not free of the consequence.

Of course, if you are a racist and don't know it, you won't see yourself in this, won't be able to hear these words.  And I, as a white person who knows that I will never understand what black people face but knows that I will try, I will never understand how to engage you in the dialogue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Growing Pains

The first one awake, just before 1:00AM, is The Munchkin.  She is starting to get some molars and the poor thing is struggling.  I awaken to her tears and go to her crib, Tylenol in hand.   She drinks it eagerly and we snuggle up in the rocking chair, both nodding off together for a time before she is fully relaxed and I put her back into bed.

A couple of hours later, I bolt fully awake to the tears of The Nugget.  She is half-crawling, half-walking into my bedroom, crying out, "Mommy, my legs hurt."  She has had these growing pains since she was a baby.  They are terrible to endure.  I carry her back to her bed and bring her some ibuprofen.  I lie next to her and sing quietly, rubbing her legs and stroking her hair until the medicine takes hold and the tears abate.  When her breathing is regular, some 20 minutes later, I cover her up and return to my bed.

It's funny, I realize, but I am grateful for these kinds of growing pains.  I know just what to do to ease them.  Some medicine and my touch are enough at this tender age to bring peace back to my babies.  I fear the times when I am left to grapple with much less concrete growing pains - broken hearts, crushed dreams, or worse.

I fall off to sleep knowing deep inside of me how lucky I am to be right here, right now.