Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Puffy heart

I’m having a head over heels for my kid kinda day.

Andrew is just growing up and it is cool and crazy.

We went on a preschool field trip together. It was to a “farm” (emphasis on the quotes) and I decided that M would go to daycare and it would be the two of us.

Well, this morning I set off the smoke detectors while trying to make us popcorn to take as a snack. They both did amazing and then I noticed that he put away the broom and pole I had to use to turn it off when the noise and chaos was over.

Then we had a great time at the field trip. I loved watching him with his little friends and it made me so happy that he is still little enough to enjoy me being a part of his posse.

We then went to lunch with my mom and he sat and colored while she and I chatted about boring stuff.

Then he and I attempted to go shopping for out adopt a family for USVI relief. And he sorta got it. He suggested getting them pumice stones but....

After dinner we went to the elementary school and he scaled the big play structure like it was nothing.

Finally while I was getting M into bed he colored. But I loved watching him trying to copy the colors to match the sheet to a sticker he had.

He’s cool. He’s big. He has his moments- even today we didn’t get to make the crafts he wanted because he got himself into trouble. But man, I was having a day of such deep appreciation for the kid he is.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Things I've learned this year

It's my birthday on Monday.
Here's what I've learned this year:
1) I am a stupid idiot.
This time last year I was so hopeful and excited. Like a big stupid idiot. The events of the past year have shown me how idiotically blind I've been to the depth and depravity of the ills of this country and the world. I am humbled and cowed by my idiocy.

2) How to fry a dippy egg.

So, I guess this year has been a mixed bag.

Pictures of a few of the people who've been the highlights of my year.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

I wish I didn't hate religion

Because I’d LOVE to belong to a church.

Last weekend the whole family volunteered at our neighborhood elementary day for a big city-wide school clean-up day. It was open to the public but was organized by a religious group.
We had a great time. It was fun being in an elementary school- for me and Michael out of nostalgia and interested in the ways things have changed and for the kids because they’d never been in big kid school before.
We were as helpful as we could be. Andrew and Michael sharpened pencils, Miranda and I wiped desks and fetched some supplies. Michael and I helped a bewildering collating project and the kids played in the gym/picked up trash.

I LOVE a volunteer group. People are generally in such good moods and willing to do things they aren’t great at or don’t take the most specialized skills. I get to see how different organizations run and how the slack is picked up by a helping hand. Everyone is usually really friendly and there are typically donuts.

I wish religion wasn’t so demonstrably terrible and based on worshipping an incredibly cruel or at least indifferent being who is all knowing enough not to care about miniscule things like you.

The opposite of the terrible things people do in the name of religion are the wonderful things people do in name of religion. Building orphanages, opening shelters, manning soup kitchens. I adore this about humanity. The snag is that I hate that people need God as the motivator and justification. Or worse, that recipients are pressured to believe to receive. That grosses me out in so many ways.
In my humble opinion, if there is a just and caring god then we should all be able to sit back and enjoy. It is because we are all humans and subject to the hardships and opportunities that come with this physical world that we should be helping one another out.

I know what I’ll do. I’ll start a secular organization dedicated to volunteerism alone. Since it’ll take a lot of my time I might ask people to give money to help. And to keep us on the same page, ideologically, I’ll probably give a talk once a month or once a week or so. And since it might be hard for people to keep that message in their heads I’ll write a pamphlet or book of some sort that can be used as reference.

PS we were ready to head after the break for a group picture. Miranda refused to be in the group shot and stood grumpily out of frame 😂😂😂 I think she was hoping for a solo shoot.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

It goes to Intent

Alternative titles:
Are you fucking serious right now?
I'm raising a thug
Why we can't have nice things
Kids are the Worst
Serenity now

I don't even know what to say about this.

Let's set the scene.
Andrew was coming off a phenomenal weekend.

There is a reason they are so cute.

On Saturday morning we had a birthday party for a friend's daughter who turned three. That party was the first time I clearly saw how some of the HARD work that had been three was starting to come together for Andrew. For whatever reason stealing was rampant at this party. Swift and at every corner. And kids (younger) kept stealing stuff (food, balls, coloring supplies) from Andrew. Adults dealt with it but his reaction was exactly what we've been trying to work on. He was rightfully pissed but held it together so beautifully and he never retaliated and as far as I could tell was never the thief. He had a lot of fun despite the injustices.
Three has been rough. He is such a mix of know it all/bossypants and desperately seeking closeness to us as he realizes how confusing the world is. Both of those are cute and charming in their own way but together it is dizzying and frustrating for us.

But this weekend it was clicking! We had a sleepover Saturday/Sunday and he was a fun and gracious host. He was excited to have her and shared his stuff and us so well.

So this morning.
I had a pretty bad headache but otherwise our morning was clicking along. When I drive them to daycare I get Andrew out first and then we walk to Miranda's side to get her out. He keeps a hand on the car while I unbuckle Miranda and then we hold hands through the parking lot. EVERY DAY.

Today I look down and there is a circle drawn with a rock on our car*. I was SEETHING with rage. My kid somehow managed to key my car in the five seconds it takes to extract his sister. Seriously.

Immediately the two voices in my head were a competition between LIVID and a reasonable jerk who kept reminding me that to him the infraction does not involve a monetary or long term issue. I saw him seeing how upset I was, apologizing for "not listening" and being genuinely contrite. But I was losing my mind inside.

Drop off was curt. And likely the blood pressure spike shifted my headache into a full blown, nausea and everything migraine.

When I picked him up we had a talk about things that an apology can't fix. I'm sure we all had this conversation around something glass and precious of our parents that we broke. Mine was when I cut up one of my mom's favorite photos for a collage. She was so mad and I didn't get it- I was making something for her.

In that respect I guess I should be glad that this was not something irreplaceable. I attempted a scratch buffing treatment that possibly helped.

My other unreasonable reaction was/is something like shame. Like, WTF, is my kid a vandal? Is this where his life of crime begins? Where did we go wrong. Which is dumb because he doesn't have any context for body damage and BBV.

Eventually my migraine subsided and I got to pick the kids up early for a dr appointment for Miranda. After that we went to the park. Andrew has spent the evening being his usual self with what seems like a few extra random kisses and snuggles.

I'm proud of myself for my outward reaction and disappointed with myself for my inner one (all of the alternative titles above). I sort of feel like we've leveled up in parenting and I have not found any cheat codes.

Sorry child #2. I'm onto the "kill em with cuteness" plan. But good effort.

*the O was about 6" long. it was not our brand new car and it is a surface scratch which can probably be dealt with pretty easily. BUT STILL
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Monday, May 8, 2017


Things are improving (at a snails pace) in the getting Andrew to not be afraid of his room front.
The process has involved more of his sleeping in our room then his entire life to this point combined.

He comes in and sleeps in a little cot near our bed.

If I'm playing the glad game I'd call out this:

The night Andrew was born (wee morning I should say) when we all finally were alone and turned out the lights, hours old Andrew was in a newborn sleepy fog, Michael was in an exhaustion coma and I was wide awake on adrenaline and hormones.

The two of them on either side of me.

I just sat there looking at them. My family. By choice, by luck, by miracle. It was pretty amazing.

And tonight and a few times in the past weeks I've found myself in the same position. And it is still pretty amazing.

Oh- and now flanked with this silly girl in the next room. So bizarre and amazing.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017


My friend died.
Suddenly and even more sudden to me since I didn't know she'd gotten sick.

Man, this was one of the really good ones. I can't believe the world doesn't have them anymore.

I'm realizing by the outpouring on her Facebook page how she was one of those friends that you feel like you have a special relationship with but it turns out they made all of their relationships special.

This was one of the first friendships I made in Washington and in a lot of ways she was what helped me through those early days. We worked together and bonded over lunchtime hummus and a big lab move.

She helped me buy the last beater car I've owned. She was the one who encouraged me to try pho instead of bun at Vietnamese restaurants- and changed my impression of that dark murky broth forever. She ate the radicchio out of all of my salad mixes. She fielded my IM's at work when I was bored or hungry.

She showed me Seattle proper. She was a native and mostly loved this place. We clubbed on capital hill. Ate food on the Ave. We had a standing date to do a stairs workout in capital hill then Pho and a movie. She made me watch scary foreign films. She let me tag along to different interesting things her more artsy friends were doing. We went to step aerobics.

This was the first friendship where we both talked about relationships and how much we wanted one and how for our self-conscious selves it was a true struggle.

We went on vacation together to Maui and she tolerated my white knuckles while we attempted to drive up volcanoes and approximately 1/10th of the road to Hana. The only girlfriend's type trip I've ever done. We took surf lessons and attempted to beach in rainy Maui weather.

I watched (and I hope supported) as she found her passion, went to school for it and moved to Denver to make a life.

We texted, IM'd and Facebook messaged.

She met both of my babies and ate dinner at both of our homes.

I had 100% taken for granted that we'd wind up in the same city. Her family and heart were here.

I'm going to miss her so much.

She was a great example of how even though you're shy you have to push out of your comfort zone to make a difference in things you care about.

I'm not ready not to have this person in my life anymore. I'm heartsick about the things they never got to do. I'm sad for the world not to have this goofy, passionate, generous, opinionated, fiercely loyal and exceedingly loving person here.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Inalways guessed that the biggest challenge for me in parenthood would be the sheer relentlessness of it. Unlike many of my other guesses I was absolutely right.

I'm finding myself becoming weirdly unreasonable with Andrew because it feels like it is constantly something. And for some reason I'm like "dude, I kinda thought we'd figured most stuff out for you. Pull it together THREE YEAR OLD" (sarcasm font used)

Last night* was one of those relentless ones.

Michael was out of town and this is the email I sent him:
Oh man, I was a mom disaster last night. It was clearly my fault because when Ali was asking how it was going yesterday I was too positive. I was saying what a great week we were having. Andrew has honestly been a total delight and drop offs have been good. Checklist and bed time were awesome on Monday and Tuesday. But man I totally failed last night.

After I put Miranda down, he ate cereal and had two glasses of water (foreshadowing) and we chatted before bed. Checklist was great but then you witnessed the “I don’t want to be alone”/”what if I’m scared”/etc. I thought talking to you had helped but no, we tried starting over with checklist stories and trying again, I sat and sang to him until he seemed calm and sleepy- all fails . Finally I turned on his light and said he was free to play and I was going to bed.(here is where you might be annoyed at me if this bites us in the ass but bear with me) I left our bedroom door open and I was lying in bed and I see a little face in the hall and I told him to come lay with me. Truth be told, it helped me sleep better and we were both out like lights. Until 3am when he wakes me to say he wet his pants- and our bed.

I got him new jammies and told him he would have to lay in his bed. He starts SCREAMING as I walk back to our room. I definitely yelled and asked a dumb question to a tired 3.5 year old ( “what do you want us to do Andrew?”, which he had no idea, he was as tired as I was and frustrated too.) He screams some more until Miranda starts screaming. Then I cried. I sat in his chair and cried. He sat with me for a few minutes then laid down, he seemed a little sad and maybe confused at why I was crying. I did apologize and tell him that I was tired and sad he couldn’t get to sleep. He was quiet, Miranda had settled back down and then I was up feeling like SHIT for about an hour (interrupted by one call for me saying he heard a loud sound). Then I slept next to his pee.

We were out of milk and I wanted a fresh start this morning- so we got up and dressed and out the door in 15 minutes and went and had Starbucks for breakfast. They were two of the happiest, cutest, chattiest kids ever and it was lovely and wonderful. Drop off was great. I went home and showered and was to work without trouble.

I’m not sure the moral of that story. I suck? I don’t try hard enough and I suck? I try, but still suck? I try, but still suck but hopefully he knows that even if I suck I love him?


Since then he is now apparently afraid to be alone in bed.

Things were going great! He even invented blackberry tacos.

And it makes me totally sad for him and I can actually totally relate to that feeling.

But it also is an example of how, even when the hard work fades to the background and you are just in the moment enjoying things something will pop up to show you that this gig is truly never ending.

I'm not handling this one well (mostly because it is sucking the life out of me to spend the 1-2 hours we have after they presumably are in bed dealing with this rather than get a little alone/couple/housework/paperwork time). Luckily Michael is handling it with a cooler kinder head- I handled our last crisis so I don't feel entirely terrible about this.

But yeah. Parenting is fucking relentless. And like aging that is better than the alternative.

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*this was last Wednesday so now we are a week into this situation