parenting, writing, remodeling and um, chickens
A strong ego

When my son was very young, I was grateful that he had a strong sense of self. Even when he seemed to be edging towards braggart, I felt it would serve him well at some point.

As he got older, his ego was sometimes greater than it needed to be. This bothered me. I’m talking about the teenage years, when you want to see some humility slip in from time to time. I know this is developmentally appropriate, but it really bugged me. I feared it would make it harder for him to learn from his mistakes if he refused to acknowledge that he made mistakes. He was not leaving room to learn from others, to learn from his “elders” (parents and teachers). He knew everything and everything was someone else’s fault.

He is now in college, and still has an ego of iron, which I think has finally served him well.

This weekend I drove several hours to watch him play lacrosse for his college team. His father and grandparents flew out from the east coast to watch him as well. His coach played him a total of 3minutes in game 1 and did not play him at all in game 2. This is ridiculous for a club team. Trust my knowledge of the sport when I tell you he should have been put in.

I was so angry that I almost cried. His father was furious, his grandparents disappointed. In talking with my son and his teammates later, they reported that they have many problems with the coach - one of those problems being he doesn’t play everyone. To make this even worse, my son and his teammates tell me the coach has it in for him. Even with this information, even with his own frustration, my son refused any help from his pissed mother or father. He firmly believes it is the coaches fault, and he will deal with it.

I went from feeling helpless to relieved. He is well protected by that huge ego of his. There will be no self doubt following that game that he did not play. And he will be correct in his belief that this is someone else’s fault. I may again feel frustrated at his lack of humility, but today I am grateful.

The top 12 reasons that I want to be four again, even if just for a day.

Today was one of those days that I marveled at the way my daughter moves through the world. It is days like today that I feel it would do us all some good to be four again for a day. This is my list of the reasons why.

1. They pick up every pretty rock, leaf, stick, bug and flower that they see on the ground and they see each one as a new exciting treasure that is worth keeping. They then stuff their pockets with these treasures. 

2. They believe in fairies

3. They take their clothes off whenever and wherever they want. They can do it while running, and they can just throw their clothes on the floor for someone else to pick up. When they get dressed again they don’t care if their pants are on backwards. 

4. They can and do run everywhere. All the time. Laughing hysterically while running. I can run two miles and it almost kills me every time. I don’t laugh while running…ever. 

5. They try to do everything themselves. Even when you tell them they can’t, because really, they can’t.  They want to do it. They believe in themselves. They may pour an entire half gallon of milk on the floor while trying to make their own cereal, but they are determined to try it. 

6. They refuse to get dressed and they really mean it. They may lose that battle eventually, but they have crazy and amazing determination. 

7. They can express their emotions without any filters. They growl, stick their tongues out, scream, cry, pout and howl. Sure, sometimes the emotion is greater than the injury, but think about it, how many times do you want to growl at someone? I want to growl at someone pretty much every day.

8. They are brutally honest. They will tell you exactly what they think, or see. Grey hair, wrinkles, fat, ugly dress - whatever it is, they will tell you.

9. They can lie. Not well, but they will tell you they did not sneak a bite of chocolate even as the chocolate is dribbling down their face. They stick to their story. Period. 

10. They laugh, giggle, shriek and hoot with joy. About everything. About nothing.

11. They make friends with everyone. I can barely manage a conversation half the time, but my four year old will talk to anyone- anywhere - about anything and everything. Today she told a lady that our dog was shy with people, but that she is not at all shy with people. This is true, if you have ears and can communicate, my daughter has something to tell you.

12. Best of all, they think they are beautiful, smart, amazing, fast and strong. My daughter looked in the mirror tonight after her bath, all snuggled up in her purple pj’s and said, “I look perfect.” and she meant it.

They thing is, she did look perfect, and she always will look perfect, but at some point she won’t see it anymore. At some point we start seeing imperfection,  stop believing in fairies, stop running everywhere with joy and start doing it in stress, we stop laughing hysterically and giggling uncontrollably, we stop being honest, we stop expressing our emotions and we thankfully stop ripping our clothes off. Some of these things are good, I don’t want my coworker to growl at me, but I do want to look in the mirror and see beauty and strength, I want to be confident enough to try new things, I want to say what I mean, run and laugh and make friends just because.  So, today I want to be four, and the rest of the days I will try to help my daughter hold on to the magic that she showers me with everyday. 

thesahmmy:

meowmoewkitty:

throwindown-inthedirtydirtysouth:

thatvegancosplayer:

Companion animals are for life.

If you can’t handle it when they stop being “cute little babies” then you aren’t mature enough for taking care of any being.

I can’t reblog this enough.. 

If you do this I do not like you. Dogs are family. 

This happened to our shepard Jack. luckily we got him the day after the person dropped him off. every day he lies comfortably in a nap, i’m so grateful. dogs are family.

A different kind of therapy dog

As I have said before, I am an animal person. I currently have one dog, with another on the way. I acquired my dog, Toby about seven years ago from an animal shelter in a small town on the Northern California coast. My son was 12 at the time, and we both wanted a dog. His father and step-mother had a dog that I loved. I dog-sat Jolie as often as I could (yes, we are that kind of a family), and I wanted my own canine pal. However, I wasn’t supposed to have a dog in the house we were renting, and the dog adoption process in the Bay Area of SF is very militant. You have to prove that you will be a good owner, that you are allowed to have a dog, that your children can handle dogs, that your yard is safe, etc….. It is easier to adopt a child in SF than a dog. Interestingly, there are more dogs in SF than there are children. 

There was no way I could adopt a dog in SF or anywhere near SF because my landlord was not to be swayed. Naturally, I just expanded my search. I was at a point in my life where I just could no longer submit to the control of my landlord. Some may argue that this was a bad example to set for my son, and I would ultimately agree. I broke the rules, and I lied. We really wanted a dog. 

The animal shelter was loud, cold and concrete. They were a no kill shelter, but I would imagine being a dog there would kind of suck. We met a bunch of dogs, old and young, but it was poor Toby, a shepherd mix, that pulled at my heart strings. He was chubby and frightened. He urinated on me when I pulled him from his kennel. He was so scared he was paralyzed. We took him home. 

Toby was not just frightened because he was five months old and alone n a cold concrete kennel at the animal shelter. He was frightened because it is who Toby is. Maybe he was abused before I met him, or maybe it is just his nature. He would not leave his kennel, even to eat, he would not look at me, he was afraid to move. He had an almost catatonic fear/depression. We worked on this…. a lot. 

Seven years, a lot of chicken, a dog walker, a dog trainer, prozac, and hours and hours of gentle training and a ton of love have turned Toby into a very scared and depressed seven year old dog.  The only thing that ever made him happy was Jolie. Don’t get me wrong, he is a wonderful dog, he is sweet and gentle, but he is not a happy dog. My four year old can climb all over him, and he submits to whatever comes his way, but he is not happy.

As a young dog, the thing he loved was playing with other dogs, especially Jolie. Unfortunately, when he turned 2, his dog walker had to fire him because he suddenly developed a deep dislike of boxers and began to attack them at the beach. He then had a very bad year of growling and snapping at brown dogs, boxers and bull dogs. His only friend was Jolie, and they loved each other dearly. Then last year, Jolie moved to Philly, leaving Toby without the one link he had to dog happiness. 

My husband, the one who loves my animals but is not an animal person, finally said we had to do something. Toby is making all of us depressed. He just lays in his kennel all day, he won’t walk with anyone but me, he is afraid of everyone - even me if I move too fast. Toby makes you need therapy, that is how depressed he is. We made the decision to get Toby a therapy dog. We are hoping this works. 

Little Solo, Lando, Fezzig, Gimlee, Sparkle, Inigo (whatever we name him or her) will be coming home in a month. Toby is no longer cranky with other dogs, and this one will look nothing like a boxer. This is a cute little labradoodle, and no, it is not a rescue. Toby was, and still is my rescue dog. I think he would have been euthanized without me, and somewhere deep down, he knows that I saved him. I just hope that my non-rescue puppy can rescue my rescue dog from his profound sadness and fear.  

Animal People

I realized while giggling over a post from dogshaming.com that there is a big difference between animal people and non-animal people. I found the pictures of dogs with signs calling them out for their wrong-doings deeply funny. I found it so because I have had some of these things happen, I have had dogs eat my panty hose, cats pee on my purse and everything in it, lizards scratch my arm, parrots bite my hip (yes, my hip), rabbits chase me through the house trying to bite my ankles, and chickens go for my toes like they are chunks of watermelon. To me, these moments are juicy slices of the chaos of life, beautiful wonderful moments that are carved out of what could otherwise be mundane and flat.

I love my animal pals, I love the unpredictable chaos they sometimes bring. I may not have loved it in the moment, especially when my cat pee’d on my husbands shoes - that was a really bad moment. I can look at it now and laugh about it. He is still not laughing.

My husband is not an animal person, but he loves my crazy dog, is humored by the chickens and even loves my personality disordered cat. Seriously, he spends more time snuggling with the cat than I do.  He is willing to tolerate their bad behavior because he loves me, not because he loves finding his child’s toys in the dog’s kennel. He is not an animal person, but he is an animal lover, it is a difference that is subtle, but important. My desire to be surrounded by the animal kingdom is balanced by his desire to live in a home that is dander, feather and scale free. I could end up like one of those ladies you read about in the news, surrounded by my 13 cats… Really, I could. My great-grandmother did, and my grandmother did. The only thing between where I am now, and my destiny as cat lady is my wonderful, tolerant and understanding husband. 

We will see how we do when we bring the puppy home next month……

I hope the promise I made about my new dog not needing a sign is one I can keep. My husband, who is not an animal person, has been so understanding with the dog, cat, chickens and now a puppy on the way. I hope that my promise can be kept

mammalingo:

I revisited one of my favorite things to write about for Scary Mommy. It’s called, “28 Reasons Kids Are Awesome.” That said, please do not get the wrong idea. I don’t even like children! They’re sticky and never have any good gossip. Anyway, here’s 1-10. And then a link to the rest.
1. They make friends fast. “Do you want to play?” That’s it. As adults, it’s much more difficult to form a relationship so quickly. Unless you are in a bar at closing time.
2. They don’t hold grudges. Sure, little kids fight. But when it’s over, it’s over. This is why “Real Housewives” doesn’t revolve around the lives of a bunch of four year olds.
3. They go with their gut. Small children don’t fret over whether they made the right decision. They’d much prefer to spend time fretting over whether you gave them the right color cup.
4. They live in the moment. They don’t dwell in the past. They don’t worry about the future – unless they are being told that it’s bedtime.
5. They make stuff. They draw. They glue. They paint. They cut anything they can get their hands on. Seriously, keep your scissors hidden and don’t say you weren’t warned.
6. They say what they mean. They don’t need to get anything off their chests because they’ve already said everything. If adults did that, there would be a lot less drinking at Thanksgiving.
7. They get excited. Little children can find spectacular in the mundane. Two-year-olds have been known to cheer for clothes in a washing machine the way most people would a favorite sport’s team.
8. They don’t discriminate. Until taught otherwise, they’re accepting of everyone. Well, everyone except babies. The number one insult from a small child is being called a “baby.”
9. They admit when they’re scared. This lets us help them alleviate their fears. They also admit when they’re mad. Hell hath no fury like a three-year-old who discovers that you’re out of string cheese.
10. They accept compliments. When you give a child a compliment, she’ll probably answer, “I know.”

- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-kids-are-awesome/#sthash.5Xd9fVNn.dpuf

Love this

mammalingo:

I revisited one of my favorite things to write about for Scary Mommy. It’s called, “28 Reasons Kids Are Awesome.” That said, please do not get the wrong idea. I don’t even like children! They’re sticky and never have any good gossip. Anyway, here’s 1-10. And then a link to the rest.

1. They make friends fast. “Do you want to play?” That’s it. As adults, it’s much more difficult to form a relationship so quickly. Unless you are in a bar at closing time.

2. They don’t hold grudges. Sure, little kids fight. But when it’s over, it’s over. This is why “Real Housewives” doesn’t revolve around the lives of a bunch of four year olds.

3. They go with their gut. Small children don’t fret over whether they made the right decision. They’d much prefer to spend time fretting over whether you gave them the right color cup.

4. They live in the moment. They don’t dwell in the past. They don’t worry about the future – unless they are being told that it’s bedtime.

5. They make stuff. They draw. They glue. They paint. They cut anything they can get their hands on. Seriously, keep your scissors hidden and don’t say you weren’t warned.

6. They say what they mean. They don’t need to get anything off their chests because they’ve already said everything. If adults did that, there would be a lot less drinking at Thanksgiving.

7. They get excited. Little children can find spectacular in the mundane. Two-year-olds have been known to cheer for clothes in a washing machine the way most people would a favorite sport’s team.

8. They don’t discriminate. Until taught otherwise, they’re accepting of everyone. Well, everyone except babies. The number one insult from a small child is being called a “baby.”

9. They admit when they’re scared. This lets us help them alleviate their fears. They also admit when they’re mad. Hell hath no fury like a three-year-old who discovers that you’re out of string cheese.

10. They accept compliments. When you give a child a compliment, she’ll probably answer, “I know.”

- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-kids-are-awesome/#sthash.5Xd9fVNn.dpuf

Love this

And I am an NP…..

mammalingo:

I don’t know about where you live, but in Portland, OR, there’s a whole lotta flu going around. I’m not a doctor. But if I was, I’d describe it the same way: a whole lotta flu going around.

I’ve heard a lot of parents mention that they don’t want to get their kids flu shots (or mists) because…

mammalingo:

If you buy Balenciaga perfume, you too can be this happy. 

Haha

mammalingo:

If you buy Balenciaga perfume, you too can be this happy. 

Haha

Dinner battle won, but the war will continue I am sure

Dinner in my house is not straightforward. There are many special needs and restrictions. There are late arrivals from work and school, early bedtimes and meeting/practice conflicts. 

The dietary restrictions cause the most chaos. In an effort to spare you the long list, let me just summarize. My eldest son eats mostly meat and despises mushrooms. My husband likes to think of himself as a vegan, but he eats fish and chocolate, and he has a daily demand for mushrooms and spice. Sophia (16) has eaten no meat since she was 8. I eat fish and an occasional organic, range fed chicken. Maya (18) can’t eat gluten, but will eat everything else. Naima, who is four, eats mostly cheese, fruit and bread. She hates to try new food, she will only eat one green food item (broccoli), nothing red (except pizza sauce), and hates spice of any kind. 

As the cook for the house, you might imagine that I sometimes struggle to appease the masses in this old house. Every night I make a meal that will hopefully please everyone, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. Unless I make some form of bread and cheese, Naima will protest. The protest of a four year old is never diplomatic and well thought out. It involves howls of injustice, tears and the violent flinging of her small body onto the floor to demonstrate to the world how utterly mistreated she is. 

A few days ago I implemented two new dinner rules clearly aimed at the four year old. Rule 1. You do not have to eat all of your dinner, but I am making one meal and one meal only. You either eat it, or go to bed hungry.  Rule 2. You get three warnings to sit in your seat at dinner. If you use up your three chances and get up a fourth time from your seat to run around the house, crawl under the table, lay in the dogs bed with him or flop on the chair next to you, you will be excused from the table and go to bed hungry.

Before you judge me, know that I make a whole variety of food for dinner and there is ALWAYS something that everyone likes and can eat. I am not going to make a separate dinner for anyone as I am already working with a crazy list of can and can’t eat items. I also do not think it is unreasonable to ask everyone to sit at the table to eat. The teenagers and husband have to leave their phones behind, I can’t read a book, and Naima has to sit still. Dinnertime is together time, period. 

Last night I made a very tasty farro, fennel and citrus dish that was served with panko crusted tilapia and steamed broccoli. It was very tasty, and as it was just the husband, Naima and I, I was not violating any food rules. Naima looked at her plate and howled her usual howl of injury. This was not what she wanted for dinner, she wanted goat cheese and toast.

"I won’t eat it", she said.

I reminded her of rule 1. 

She tentatively took a bite of her tilapia, “I love it!” and she inhaled three pieces. 

She then tried the farro (sans fennel and onion), “this is good, mama”, and she finished it all. 

During this tilapia and farro eating, there were two moments of chair flopping, and one jump to the floor to retrieve some item forgotten in play. Rule 2 was reiterated. She stayed still, she finished her meal. She was rewarded with an episode of old school spiderman on netflix. Entertaining for all of us.

My husband and I were rewarded with a really good glass of wine. 

One small battle won, but the war will continue I am sure.