new and adorable


There is nothing more adorable than a brand new baby…and the brand new parents. Everything is shiny, new, perfect, clean and sweet smelling. Oh that new baby smell! Then they burp and puke and fill their diaper with the most foulness that is literally twice their body weight. How is that even possible?

Still babies are amazing and the newness of them and their parents discovering it all is oh so adorable. Like how the newbie parents I know with their perfectly precious babies have discovered all things breastfeeding and babywearing and cloth diapering. I mean how did the parents before them…their parents and grandparents… manage before these awesome things? A new parent I know literally said that recently.

?

Oh you brand new parents! Y’all are absolutely precious!

Some of you I have known since you were kids yourselves. You know, back in the day when I seemed to be always pregnant or carrying a baby around…in my baby sling…when they weren’t attached to my breast like that one I nursed until right before she turned FOUR YEARS OLD. I’m pretty certain that my sister in law believed me when I joked that I was going to continue to breastfeed her right up until she graduated from high school. I was dead-pan serious when I told her that in answer to her question, “How long are you going to keep doing that?” And when I wasn’t babywearing or breastfeeding those babies of mine I was cloth diapering them with real SAFETY PINS. What can I say, some of my parenting peers and I were way ahead of our time. We were kind of hard core too because safety pins.

Erm, actually no.

To the generation or two before me I apologize for being certain that my baby parenting style of babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, breastfeeding was something we parents of the 80′s, 90′s and 00′s invented because, OMG, I was pretty obnoxious about it all, wasn’t I?

Note to the generation before me, this is likely one of the only times I will apologize about my early parenting know-it-all obnoxiousness so savor it while you can.

Now don’t stress my dear newbie parents. I’m not judging you or poking fun at you. I’m just observing and realizing that I was pretty much the same way. I think it is part of the process of figuring out what kind of parent we are going to be and feeling confident in who that is in spite of the grandparents’ well-meaning critiques. Sorry newbies, they never really stop that even when you have somehow managed to raise a human up to be an adult who makes an honest contribution to society…or makes human babies of their very own.

I know. It kind of sucks.

But you did invent this new cloth-diapering style with those sweet little fancy wraps and baby wearing amazing wraps for every day of the week that coordinate with your hipster wardrobe and co-sleeping and breastfeeding and everything else awesome that you are doing for your little ones. I know that you believe this all to be true. It’s okay for you to believe that because there are some exhausting days and sleep-deprived nights where it will seem like that is the only truth you can cling to in order to reassure yourself that you are doing this parenting thing right.

You ARE doing this parenting thing right.

You also might cling to the novel idea that it’s going to get better and so much easier when they are older and can mostly take care of themselves. Then, at long last, you shall sleep…like babies.

Oh you adorable parents of young ones who long for when they are older & can do things for themselves so you can relax and sleep well.

Heh!

You have no clue.

Absolutely no clue.

You think you do.

But you don’t.

Those grown and nearly grown beautiful children of yours go out and sometimes make bad choices. Of course sometimes they don’t because of your amazing parenting skills but they are still out and it is late. Are you beginning to understand now why years ago I declared to darling daughter #1, Hollie, that the car had a curfew even if she was 18 and an adult? One night she came home, bringing the car home in time for curfew and offered that I didn’t have to wait up for her. I immediately answered back that yes I did. Nineteen year old Hollie would never understand that yes I did because though she be all grown up and an adult, she was still my baby girl and how in the world was I supposed to sleep like a new baby if she was out and about town?

How?!

I think mother-of-two-little-girls Hollie might begin to understand…soon…as soon as her girls let her have an uninterrupted night’s sleep. I know that big sister Hollie definitely understands.

Meanwhile, there isn’t enough coffee to get through today after last night’s epic bad choices because part of becoming a grownup sometimes involves making such mistakes…the kind you’ll likely never, ever make again and the kind that you will never, ever let the children you might have in the future (the distant future) ever even try to make.

Good luck with that.

Excuse me, I’m going to pour myself another cup of coffee.

damned if they do, damned if they don’t


So there I was, sitting in the outpatient registration waiting room of a local hospital with Hazel Faye.

Don’t ask. It was no big deal. Really. But yes, there Hazel and I were sitting in the waiting room with the Fox News Network blaring shrilly as it does in the waiting room of outpatient registration of our local hospital. I’m not sure why it must be Fox News, but it is.. Maybe because we are quite possibly in the fifth circle of Hell sitting in an outpatient waiting room.

Trust me, the last thing a five year old wants to do while waiting endlessly in a boring waiting room is to listen to some shrill pundit kvetch and moan and tear at their clothes worrying about why the President would appear with Zach Galifnianakis on Between Two Ferns. She also doesn’t find other people in the waiting room shouting at the tv entertaining at all. She’s five. All this is boring; especially sitting in a waiting room.

See?

BORING!

Don’t worry. I’ve got this.

Frozen on Mima’s iPad! You are welcome everyone waiting endlessly in the outpatient waiting room! Hazel is happy. Hazel is entertained. Hazel is sitting still. Hazel is occupied. And save for her quietly singing “Let It Go” (with perfect pitch and sounding great), she is not bothering anyone.

You.

Are.

Welcome.

Except the three older people sitting in the corner aren’t so sure.

Is that a game or something?“, a little old lady shouts out at Hazel.

Hazel looks up briefly and answers back, politely, “No, it’s an iPad.

The little old lady clucks her tongue and looks to her two companions, “Kids! They just can’t do anything but stare at some screen.

“They’re spoiled. Parents can’t be bothered so they give them cellphones and smart computers and games and those ‘Pads’ and tvs.

Yup, they’re spoiled!“:

Parents just don’t care.

The three of them nod together as they look up at Hazel then at me glaring.

Oh for crying out loud!

The first old lady nods in my direction, “How lucky she is her mother can buy her such an expensive thing like an iPad.

Hazel looks up again, rolls her eyes and says matter of factly, “I don’t have an iPad. This is my Mima’s.

I put my arm protectively around Hazel and say out loud, to no one in particular, “Well I guess a kid like you is darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

And Hazel answers back, “Yup!

For the record, I did say darn.

play it again: Dear Mrs. Hall


Mrs. Hall certainly struck a nerve in September. Some loved her and some, well, some could not believe that which she wrote to the young girls out there taunting and tempting her poor, dear, sweet, innocent, adolescent boys. As the mother of daughters and a son and the wife of a darling husband who time and again calls bullshit on the idea that a guy just can’t help himself I had to say something…as did, oh my goodness, pretty much every other blogger out there.

Originally published September 4, 2013

You wrote and shared a blog post to inform and educate teenaged girls everywhere on how they should behave online if they want to be friends with your boys.

Um…

And then you shared it again.

Well, Mrs. Hall I get how you sit down with your boys and, as a family, check out that which appears on their Facebook feeds, Twitter stream, Instagram and anywhere else in their social media world. Good for you! I creep on my kids’ social media sites too. Sure you might balk at me referring to it as creeping but let me assure you that kids do call it creeping when their parents check their social media feeds. You don’t have to be defensive about it. You’re just being a good parent paying attention to what is going on in your kids’ world. Good for you! Good job! You’re still creeping…so am I.

Like you, I sometimes see things posted by their friends that could be considered inappropriate or perhaps something they wouldn’t want a coach or teacher or college admissions clerk or employer to see; something you hope to never see on your own children’s feeds.

Right?

They way I see it is these are those teachable moments for my kids and me. Kind of like you do.

Except I see it as a teachable moment for my OWN child of how THEY should behave online…not how they’re friends should behave…or whether or not that person is good enough to be their friend. Like it or not, it’s not our job as parents of adolescents to dictate who they can or can not be friends with…unless you want them to hang out forever with exactly who you don’t want to hang out with. We certainly can and should keep tabs on the people they choose to hang out with online and offline but our kids are thisclose to being adults who can choose friends without our consent. As hard as it is, we need to respect this reality just a little bit.

Mrs. Hall I don’t blame you for being shocked by some of the more provocative pictures you might see on your boys’ social media sites from their friends. Really I don’t. But honestly, you really think a selfie of a female classmate or youth group member is going to lead your precious boys astray down that horrid path of thinking about…

S-E-X

???

because teenaged boys with raging hormones and body parts that sometimes seem to have a life of their own is not happening in your house full of teenaged boys unless they are PROVOKED by a GIRL!

Of course it is the girl’s fault you say because she is posed that way in her jammies and, and she’s not wearing a bra! It’s stirring things up in your boys that they just can’t control…not at all!

Bullshit, Mrs. Hall!

Yes, I call bullshit. Sorry if that offends you. But it is bullshit. My darling husband says it is every time someone plays the men just can not control those urges and thoughts card. Of course they can because those are somebody’s daughters. Enough with the slut shaming and blaming. Boys can be taught to have some self control and some respect. They need to be. They should be.

Mrs. Hall you missed the teachable moment…the right teachable moments.

First of all here is one of those moments where you teach those boys of yours how to treat a young lady…any young lady regardless of how she might be dressed or not dressed. These girls, as you yourself noted, are so much more than their tits and asses with a unique and colorful world-view that you enjoy. Like you yourself said, these girls are interesting and smart people. Teach your boys that. Teach them to look beyond the physical of the person…the person who just so happens to be female with female body parts just like your female body parts. Teach them this. Those are the men who are good, moral and upstanding…and who make great husbands..and fathers of daughters and sons.

Second of all teach your boys that provocative selfies probably aren’t the best thing to make public…probably not the best thing to share privately…probably not the best thing to take at all. Yes it seems that sexy, pouty selfies in the bedroom or the bathroom or anywhere practically are the thing with some teenaged girls but let me assure you that TEENAGED BOYS DO IT TOO! Remember I have creeped on my teenaged GIRLS social media sites. I too have seen things that I can’t ever unsee of nice, good teenaged boys from good homes just like yours! Selfies of them shirtless, in their shorts, in their boxer briefs, with just a towel barely wrapped around their body below their waists….

BOYS DO IT TOO!!!

How dare these boys pose in such ways and post them where my sweet daughters can see them and cause them to think thoughts…thoughts that they have no control over…

Oh for goodness sake, Mrs. Hall. Here is where we must teach our own children how to behave and think and have some self-control.

Mrs. Hall, teenaged girls and teenaged boys are going to do a lot of stupid things all in the name of growing up and discovering who they are as an adult…an adult like it or not who is very much a sexual being. Yes, it is our job as parents to guide them with what is appropriate and what is not appropriate and how to make good choices for themselves and anyone they might be attracted to. Then we are to trust them. We also need to trust ourselves…trust ourselves as parents who have done our very best to raise up our kids to be the best possible men and women that they can be for themselves and their future partners.

I know it’s hard but we have to…unless you really want to be helicoptering over…

EW!

Along with trusting them and ourselves we need to be forgiving because they are going to make some mistakes and even some bad choices… like everyone else…like myself and like you (you did point out that you have made some doozies of mistakes). We need to be willing to offer second chances…and third chances…and fourth…and fifth…and sixth…and seventh and eighth chances. We don’t have to offer ninth chances…unless that one of my kids makes that mistake again for the ninth time then I will have to wrestle with that line I have drawn.

Believe me, Mrs. Hall, if you have done your very best to raise up those sons and daughter right they will be okay. They will be men and women we can be proud of. They will be the man or woman their in-laws will adore. I have three adult children now to reassure me of this truth everyday that my darling husband and I continue to nurture their younger sister and brother.

Thank you for your time, Mrs. Hall.

You take care now.

Mrs. Scarborough

play it again: where is the light today


“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

originally published December 14, 2012

I had already prepared a little light-hearted bit of fluff for my blog featuring a cute, happy, smiling, clapping toddler but coming home from dropping my two youngest children off to school for the day to sad news…horrible news…WTF kind of news I just could not publish it. Not today.

Catherine‘s sweet nephew, Tanner, is no longer able to breathe on his own. Yes Tanner of Tutus for Tanner fame. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Then I turned on the news and…

Yes.

Again.

We could discuss mental illness and guns and Second Amendment rights and what not and my bleeding heart would likely explode. But it doesn’t change the fact that twenty boys and girls…FIRST GRADERS kissed their mommies and daddies goodbye for the day and skipped off into their classrooms for a day at school…where they should be safe. Instead they laid bloodied and shot alongside teachers and a principal who tried to protect them from such evil, dark insanity.

Such darkness there just did not seem to allow room for light-hearted fluff. How could anyone see it in such darkness?

I could not.

So instead I followed the news of the events unfolding and watched the President choke back tears as he remembered beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old and he called us all to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

I went for a 4 mile run hoping to make sense of today’s sadness because I do some of my best thinking when I am running. Unfortunately answers did not come. But the tears did.

I held my breath when I learned that dear Victoria was waiting to hear from family of the whereabouts of her 6 year old nephew, a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. Then I cried bitter, sad tears later when I learned that her nephew, Noah, was one of the victims of today.

Where is the light today?

I waited at Daniel’s school during the afternoon pickup weeping…weeping for Tanner, for Noah and for so much loss today. Then the bell rang and the boys and girls came rushing out of the gate. For them it was the joy of school being out and, hurray, it is the weekend. For the parents waiting it was the joy of being able to hold their babies, hug them and kiss them. There was so much hugging. Again the tears began to roll down my face. Daniel approached the car and I wrapped him into my arms and held on for as long as I could.

“Mom, why are you hugging me so long?”, he asked.

Choking back tears I reply, “Because it has been a very sad day.”

“Well then I need to hug you more, Mom!”, and he did.

And then there was a tiny spark of light in that beautiful boy’s face and his warm hug. Still it was bittersweet as I thought of families today who did not get to hug their children and won’t be any more like I was hugging mine.

We all find ourselves in this cold, dense darkness and we all are desperate for light, any light because even the smallest of light can overpower the darkest of darkness. Those of us with our families near cling to the light that shines from them; and yes, the darkness will be scattered in the brightness of their light, no matter how tiny it might be.

We are blessed people…don’t ever doubt that.

But tonight, while you hug your children, pray for Tanner’s family, pray for Noah’s family, pray for the families of Sandy Hook.

Tomorrow we must take action. We must. The light we are fortunate enough to possess can only chase away this darkness if we stand up with it and move forward. We must. For the children…for our children. Our children deserve the right to feel safe in movie theaters, in shopping centers, in places of worship, in malls and at school and not fear being gunned down.

thirty one times


Thirty one times I have nagged my darling husband to help me deck the halls and make this place all holiday jolly. Truth be told, I do most of the work…with a little help from my minions which would be the other reason why I had so many children. The first being so I don’t have to do the dishes. Just ask my kids, they’ll tell you; I had children so I would never have to wash dishes ever again. But yes, every year I have my darling husband help to haul our Christmas crazy packed away in the shed because spiders and the decking the halls begins.

Thirty one Christmases. Thirty one times. We’ve come a long, long way from that first year with our Charlie Brown tree that had no branches.

I look at him…then I look at other husbands…then I look back at him…

I am the lucky one.

NaPhoPoMo day 30