UPDATE TO Mrs. Flinger October 16, 2015
Because the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, after this delcaration, my blog threw up all over my last upgrade.
So I'm starting over using Craft. Turning 40 and kid entering Jr High next year, sometimes it's just time for a change. These archives will still exist in the way the last child goes off to college and their room is the same for 20 years, but it's just time to move forward.
Hidden (or not so much) messages of Motherhood Aug 10, 2009
Ellis Aug 09, 2009
I have a sound clip from 1997 that features my college roommates and I interviewing each other on “what we wanted to be doing in five years.” I’ve stumbled across that clip a few times since graduation, always giggling to myself and wondering if any of the other girls thought about those goals.
“I’ll probably be teaching” G stated, matter of fact.
“I’ll be hiking or something,” Nicole mused. (She was.)
“I’ll be servicing humans,” (insert fits of laughter here for our Human Service Major friend wasn’t kidding) Paige giggled.
“I’ll be… um…” I offered. And this is how my young adult life started.
We’ve since gone on to graduate school, re-educated ourselves in new areas, got professional jobs (and became a river guide), had children, and grown up. We are as different as we were back then but also just the same.
Time is a funny thing. We’re no longer the wistful young twenty-somethings fresh out of undergraduate school hoping to find love, a career, a life. We’re older, wiser, more mature (in some areas) and we no longer wistfully dream as we did twelve years ago.
Oh, but we do.
We may not pass notes to each other with poetic quotes from Thoreau or Emmerson, and we may not write in our journals at the coffee house for hours each night, and we may not even see each other but once every few months at best, but we are not so different when we are together. We are still the same stories, the same memories, a shared path. We remember things about one another that few people may even know about. We can discuss with a light heart a time in our lives that is precious and delicate. And we can watch as our children play and dance together in a new life, twelve years later, in the yard of the house I never dreamed of owning.
We are in new lives but we are still the Ellis girls. Each of us with a personality so different. I would hope this for my children, the chance to connect at such a young age with friends that remain for life; however much time may wash away and erode our minds and fill our days.
“I have learned this at least by my experiment: if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” -Thoreau
In the quest of the perfect eyebrow Aug 08, 2009
I only started plucking my eyebrows in my late twenties. As in VERY late twenties. As in, I was already a mom and labeled thus, “mother plucker” my Mr. Flinger.
When it comes to beauty, I’m at a loss. Makeup? Learning how to apply that still. Hair? Well. I can blow dry! But as my friend Michelle stated in exasperation, “You don’t even have the RIGHT kind of flat iron.” I didn’t realize they went out of style. And apparently, I have an old style, the big one? With the FLAT IRON?
:: shrugs ::
Since 2004 when I started the quest for the perfect eyebrow I have done a lot of research. I’ve polled readers. I’ve goggled “how to pluck your eyebrows you stupid later bloomer.” I’ve even started a PhD in Plucking hairs (for) Dumbasses. But still, my eyebrows, they lament over their current state.
It’s becoming an illness. It’s the Eye Brow of Holy Grails. It’s the Punch to my Pickle. The Prize to my Package. The Treasure to my Chest.
So I’m asking you, please, PLEASE, help me: Do you wax? Shape? Pluck? Stick your face in to a frying pan and char? I’m so utterly unsure of shape and texture. Of pencils and brushes. Of over plucking and under arching. It’s anxiety inducing.
Almost as much as a bikini wax.
Words We Aren’t Allowed to Say Aug 05, 2009
Words. They can be powerful. They can be meaningless. They can send chills down your spine. They can go in one ear and out the other.
Or is that just me getting all giddy to use a word like “PERPLEXING.”
So why is it that we have all these “RULES” about words? They’re just… words. Meaningless until someone attaches a feeling around it.
We’ve called my daughter, “Stinker” her whole life. We’ve called her “Pooper” “Pooper scooper” (honestly, I have no idea why, but it’s a term of endearment, I swear) and “Stinker Butt.” We rarely call each other our real names in this house at all, actually. “Man Baby!” “Buddy” “Babe” “Little Man” “Yo I want some more milk.”
So it was a bit of a shock yesterday when our daughter informs us that we’re no longer allowed to call her “Stinker” in school. “We’re not allowed to say Stinker” she scolded us. “That’s a bathroom word. You use it in the bathroom.”
I taught four year olds for a few years back before I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I learned that words get tossed around as a way to “test” their power. If you give the word power, the kids will run with it. My husband and I always said cussing is just that.. cussing. Meh. I do it all the time. But there is a time and a place and that’s what we want our children to understand. At the playground? Not the time or place. When you smash your finger with the car? Let out a huge fbomb if you want. We won’t judge. It’s a word.
I often say back to my children, “Hun, we’re not going to say shit at the playground, ok?” Because it shows I’m not afraid of the word “SHIT”. She knows it’s a word and that word we don’t say here. In fact, I remind her, let’s just say “OH MAN” like Swiper the Fox? Ok? Because you’re four.
So far so good.
This is the “Take my picture, Mommy! I wanna look fourteen!” look. She’s perfected it, yes?
We’ve decided that teaching our children to handle various people will do them more good in the long run than sheltering them from said variations. In theory, this will work out lovely. We’ve yet to come to cross roads with that theory but I’ll be sure to fill you in on that day.
So the day my daughter comes home to tell us she can’t stay “STINKER?” The word we’ve used as a love pat to our baby girl since her first fart 3 days old? Well, it’s a little heart wrenching. It’s like we’ve been doing something wrong these past four years unknowingly breaking some rule of parenting by calling our child little shit to her face.
But also? What the hell.
And I didn’t even close the bathroom door to say that.
Stinker in all her glory.
*Stealing the idea from The Bloggess: Best Comment Of The Post
Kid: Mommy, what dat called? (pointing to her little girl parts)
Me: That’s your vagina.
Kid: (looks at me confused, puts her finger to her chin) MOMMY, MULAN IS FROM FUH-CHINA!
Me: (cue me, laughing my ass off) Yes, darling, we’re all from there at one time or another.
My snatch got stuck Aug 03, 2009
So I was talking to some good friends and one mentioned, “You know what I miss? Sneezing without having to tense up my cooter before hand.” And I joined in, “Oh, I KNOW!” But! BUT (There is always a but in there somewhere) “YOU didn’t even have to blow out your snatch.”
I reply, “I know, dude. I know. My snatch got stuck.”
We all have these wonderful visions of labor and delivery when we’re huge pregnant for the first time because it’s LOVELY! And NATURAL! and HOLY MOTHER JUST GET THE BABY OUTTA MY UTERUS. So we think of the wonderfulness of pushing, just like in the movies, a brand new four month old baby outta our snatch.
And then reality.
I labored for nearly 24 hours with my first. Her head got so jammed in to my pelvis, she was experiencing decelerations and shaping her lovely little head in to a point so she could star in the movie “The Cone Heads” when it comes back in to fashion in another 15 years. She’s a planner like that.
So they decided (they being ME and oh, yes, the doctors and nurses) that we needed to get THE BABY OUT as in RIGHT NOW and it was time to operate because my snatch? My snatch got stuck.
So my first C-section occurred allowing myself to keep my snatch in tact while ripping out my ab muscles and four major organs.
The next child was a no-brainer, “We’re ripping that suckah out via your belly. Let’s not even TRY that crap about birthing ok?” I had to agree. That whole experience pretty much sucked and I wasn’t about to try that again.
And thus another baby was delivered via a small slit in my imperfect abdominal muscles along with my liver and a few other organs they shoved back (mostly) in place (so they tell me).
But my snatch, it sure is lovely.
If I had to do it over I’d still want the chance to push a kid outta my cooter. My abs, and that little thin scar hanging out just about the pubic hair that is OH SO SEXY, will never be the same. But I get it. I can appreciate the “grass is greener” feeling. Because while your snatch might be all stretched out and sex is like throwing a hotdog down a hallway, lemme tell you what, you don’t have people asking to see your c-section scar or offering to teach you pilates because your ab muscles still have a six inch gap from that time you shared your organs with five doctors and three nurses.
And the kicker? I still pee when I sneeze.
Community Aug 02, 2009
I watch the clock. 12:24. 12:25. ...
My daughter rambles on in the back-seat about her hair and her dress. “AnnaBella is going to LOVE my dress, Mommy!”
She has no idea what a failure I am.
She chats on and on about her invisible mice and her dress and her school friends and whose birthday it was today and whose birthday is next. I can barely hear her beneath my own self talk, “Great Big Parenting Fail. Can’t get child to a single thing on time, let alone a birthday party within two hours of the start. Well done, loser.”
I grab my iPhone, shaking the GPS one more time. I know where I’m going. I thought I did, at least. But the streets aren’t looking familiar.
We arrive, at last, as the sound of “Happy Birthday” pours out the open kitchen window. We knock and I realize we’ve missed most of the party, but not the cake and presents. I comfort myself that this is the best part and maybe my daughter won’t notice.
She hides behind me as everyone ooooos and ahhhs over her princess dress: The one she chose because AnnaBelle, her friend, would love it.
I coax my daughter in to taking a piece of cake. AnnaBella shrieks at first site of my princess daughter. She howls, “You look SO PRETTY!” My daughter takes the cake and sits without the children, next to me, at an empty table.
Her friend climbs in to the empty seat next to her and says, very loudly, “THIS IS MY FRIEND!” She whispers to my daughter and soon the two are playing. The shy is over. My daughter is welcomed.
I barely pay attention to this as it happens nearly every new place we attend. There is The Shy. The Hovering. The Hiding. And then there is a kind stranger, or a new friend, or an old friend, who declares my daughter fun and she is off to enjoy the companionship of another four year old little girl.
I rarely reflect on this phenomenon. Until today. AnnaBella’s grandmother sits down next to me with a paper napkin in her hand and years of experience etched one her face. She dabs her wet eyes and says, “They understand each other and they take care of each other. The children, they can sense these things.” She tells me she had to step inside to have a silent cry as the thought of the children taking care of their own was too beautiful to miss. She tells me this is how things should be, people, caring for each other.
I nod in agreement and she tells me more of her life, the hardships, the differences between now and then. I have no words. I can’t compare my life. I am too fortunate.
I try, as often as possible, to be that person who takes a note of the lonely one. The past week at BlogHer, I introduced myself to dozens of people, most of whom never heard of me or I, them. But I enjoyed meeting them and taking care of them, even if for minutes out of the conference. I watch my dearest friends care for each other. I sit as Victoria does my makeup and Dawn shops for bras online for me. We watch out for our friends, for the people we love, for our children and our husbands. I see my friends at home rise up to care during times of crisis, of cancer, of new babies, of family illness. We are there for each other in ways only women can fully be. Emotionally. Compassionately.
I think of this as I’m leaving the party realizing how easy it is to care for others. Finally, it hits me as my daughter rambles on about her “party swag” (stickers! candy! PENS!) It is so easy to care for others, why is it not as easy to care for ourselves?
I would never tell a friend she is a failure as a parent so why would I utter such harshness in my own thoughts?
I don’t know. Thankfully my mind forgets the negativity as I listen to the talk of my four year old daughter. And the car approaches home.