Friday, March 28, 2014

Let Them Wear Pink!

I'm standing here at the counter at Sprout, and I'm getting a tad disgruntled because Google is not being my friend right now.

I carry a great t-shirt line called Rock n' Roll babies, which has fun images on organic cotton shirts, all designed and printed in San Francisco. Sadly, they've gone out of business.

My son's favorite shirt, until he outgrew it
They had one t-shirt in particular that I was eager to re-order. My customers always love it, and I've been proud to carry it in my shop where I encourage fuzzy gender role definition and have happily sold nail polish to boys and toy tool sets to girls, because, um, who cares? The shirt was pink and read: "Boys Can Wear Pink."

In doing a quick search for an alternative, I found an underwhelming selection, and far too many blogs and discussions about whether its even 'okay' for people to dress their sons in pink in the first place. Needless to say, it ruffled my feathers. Why is this even a discussion in 2014? Sure, that's mostly a rhetorical question because while I am lucky enough to live my life in an accepting way and surround myself with other open-minded, tolerant people who care more about their children's happiness and emotional well-being than in carrying forward archaic and ill-advised 'rules' that someone told them in preschool, I realize that there are a lot of people outside my bubble who don't feel the same.

The first story to come up in my search for more pink shirts was called "Should Little Boys Wear Pink?" to which I say, duh, why not? However, the blog is very Catholic-y, so frankly it's what I would expect to find there. In it, the author sites another blog post which she disagrees with, and while I also wasn't surprised to find that one at, I was shocked and saddened by the uber-hateful, angry comments that poor guy got. Yikes.

I'd like the authors of both to know that they seem like very nice people and I respect that we are all entitled to our own opinions. The fact that we've created this platform with which to express our thoughts shows that we are confident in those opinions, regardless of whether others agree or not.

One thing from that first post I did not agree with, among others, was this statement: "Any dad who wonders if his sons are naturally more active and aggressive creatures than their sisters should spend an afternoon watching them play. Here’s a hint: There won’t be many tea parties."

Erm...really? You don't think so? Huh.

First of all, Paulie's son spent countless hours as a child playing with and intricately arranging his tea set. I'd venture to say it was his most prized toy. I've met roughly a bajillion little boys in my day between my business and, well, my life, so I can say with confidence that he's not the only boy I know who loves himself a play cuppa. So seriously, with that statement, puhlease. Perhaps you're not seeing it because boys in your circle are being told they can't. Here's a hint: if you stand back and give your children a little freedom for creativity, they'll play with whatever they damn well please, and be better adjusted, more confident, compassionate adults for it.

Second of all, if you haven't already met them, allow me to introduce you to my children:


My daughter is the first one to reach the top of the gravel pile. She speaks her mind, fights for who and what she loves, and Takes. No. Shit. She dresses herself in anything from what can traditionally be described as 'girly', to her brother's beloved hand-me-downs because, again, who cares? And nobody gives her a hard time when they see her wielding a hammer or wearing blue cargo shorts.

My son's most long-lasting favorite color was purple. He played dress-up almost 24/7 using scarves and other crap he found around the house - sometimes he was a pirate, sometimes a mermaid, sometimes a superhero. (Yes, I said mermaid. If any of you have a problem with the fact that my son sometimes pretended he was a mermaid, I will NOT threaten to kick you in the throat - because I am not that agile. Also, I am a peaceful and loving person and I don't have time for your ridiculous noise). His favorite shirt, until it fell apart, was the afore-mentioned Boys Can Wear Pink t-shirt. So when I saw one of the comments found on the above linked blog, I laughed out loud:

"This past weekend, hubby took the family out to dinner at a local pizza parlor.  While seated, hubby sees this a little boy, approximately 10 yrs. old wearing a pink shirt emblazoned with:  “Tough enough to wear pink!”
Hubby, turns to his 4 sons and says:  “Not on my watch!  Just try it…that boy didn’t pick out that shirt and neither did his dad.  His mom bought that.  Shame on her!”
God bless real men."

So, let me get this straight - your husband saw a kid in a public place (i.e. none of his business) wearing a shirt he didn't like (not his kid, none of his business) and was so put-off by said shirt (because of it's...color, ahem) that he threatened his own children should they dare to wear that color in his household. He drove his point home by not only shaming the child, but also the child's mother (based on his own assumptions), in front of his sons. And you, wife of hubby, are proud of this behavior and the lessons it is teaching your four sons in what it means to be a 'real man'.

Wow. Thank both your god and mine that I am not in your family.

What are we teaching our boys when we tell them they can't? They can't play with tea sets, can't dress up as feminine characters or even animals - ladybugs, bunnies, kittens - any of those okay? No? Okay then, moving on. They can't wear a specific color. Can I just go out on a limb here and be the one to ask WHY? Why are you so threatened by the idea of your son doing any of the above? Because guess what: all of the reasons you're coming up with right now? Those are 100% about you, and your insecurities. Maybe try keeping them to yourself.

Kids are born liking what they like. Period. Hey, one of my six brothers ran around in a purple sparkly one-piece bathing suit for an entire summer as a kid and sews for a living now, and he's a confident, well-adjusted, totally hetero dude - and if he wasn't, who cares? Another one did the majority of the cooking and childcare in our household and grew up to be a super-tough Marine. They turned out fine, you guys. Settle down.

When my son walked into my shop and first saw the Boys Can Wear Pink t-shirt, he eagerly asked if he could have one. I could see it in his eyes: he was feeling validated for his love of all colors, despite recently being told by some Kindergarten peers that some of those colors weren't allowed in the world of boys. How sad.

My kids know that I don't just hand out stuff from the shop to them willy-nilly. If they want things badly enough, they earn it through their behavior and by doing chores and helping around the store. That kid was hell-bent on getting himself the t-shirt and, once earned, he wore it as often as possible. 

Would you share crayons with a kid in pink?
On his first day of first grade he walked into the kitchen where I was cooking breakfast. As usual, he'd gotten himself dressed and he was beaming, proudly wearing his favorite shirt. He said "I'm going to wear my 'Boys Can Wear Pink' shirt today, so everyone at school knows it's okay for boys to wear pink!" He was so excited to to be the self-appointed bearer of a positive message to others. At this point in his young life he was not unaware or unaffected by the dark scowling under-element of insecure judgement floating around out there.

But he did want to change it. I was so freaking proud.

His decision didn't hurt anyone. He wasn't promoting violence, or hatred. He was just wearing a shirt that he really liked and told him - along with his parents, family, friends, neighbors, community - that he could wear it, if that is what he wanted to wear. So, yeah, what's the big deal, yo?

To the 'real man' dad referred to in italics above - what if that kid's dad did buy his son the pink shirt? What then? Or if his mom bought it, maybe it was at his request - how is that hurting you? Because what I'm seeing here is that the kid in pink has a much higher level of social intelligence and love of humankind than you -- you, the God-fearing Christian who chooses to threaten his sons should they try wearing a color you don't approve of -- could ever dream of. Yes: a child is more evolved than you. Congratulations.

Rant over.

Oh, and to anyone who might suggest that I, as his mother, am responsible for my son feeling comfortable wearing pink as a young kid but he would 'know better' by now, sorry to tell you this but he still wears whatever the heck he wants to, and he couldn't give a hoot about what you think, so go find some other completely undeserving person to judge and bully. You are disappointingly adept at it.

Super-rad pink & purple tie-dye tank
made lovingly for him by his sister

On another note - does anyone want to make a cool new 'Boys Can Wear Pink' t-shirt for my shop? I know a couple of kids who'd love one.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Out With the Old House

My short sale is finally over. According to the internet, short sales take 4 to 5 months on average. Mine took 8 months. The circumstances that affect the length of a short sale are well beyond my comprehension, and at this point well above and beyond my caring. All I know is I've signed my last paper and now my house is someone else's problem.


Over the weekend I did one last walk through to see if I'd left anything behind. We had cleared out of the house completely back in July to make way for the blind man, and the place had been left vacant since. It had an odd feel. The air was cold and a bit stale, the weeds I'd fought for five years were taking their revenge unencumbered, and the pool was teeming with life. The only thing I had left behind were a few kegs in the garage that I'd used for winemaking and a couple of cases of "port" I had made in 2009 for Liam. The port was so I might have a homemade wine from Liam's birth year that I could share with him when he turns 21. Unfortunately, a few months earlier someone took a brick to the back window of the garage and relieved me of my son's birth right. Cheers to them.

Having spent the first years of my sons' lives in that house, the place is full of memories that I found tugging at my heartstrings. Jodee was helping me move the kegs and could see the telltale signs. "Don't get sad," she said. I'm not, I'm just doing algebra in my head while I hold my breath.

"I'm fine," I lied. I kept it together well enough and was just closing up the garage door when I found an old toy. It was dusty and cob-webbed and sitting among the broken glass left from the bastards who stole my son's hooch. It was a little squeeze toy giraffe. You know the one, they're ubiquitous at baby showers. It was Liam's first toy. I gave it a squeeze and burst into tears.

The extremely macho act of lifting two full 15-gallon kegs into the back of a pickup truck all by myself wasn't quite enough to restore the masculinity lost after bawling over a dirty Vulli Sophie teether. I figured a hasty exit was the best idea. I hopped in the truck, tucked the giraffe in the center console, and got some distance between me and that house as quick as I could. It's a beautiful house, but I'm glad someone else is going to call it home now. I felt the weight lift as I drove away for the last time.

Next Up: "In With the New House"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Biggest Asshole in Berkeley

Last night I drove to Berkeley with Paulie and my dad, who is visiting from Michigan. I'd been invited to read at an event called Lyrics & Dirges, which takes place at Pegasus Books on Shattuck. The organizer, Rad Dad founder Tomas Moniz, had invited me with a small amount of notice, when someone else he'd lined up dropped out. I was excited because I love getting up in front of people, reading, and this would be a rare opportunity to read something other than my old diaries.

Me, wishing I looked more Radical
When I saw that the theme for the evening was Radicals, Dreamers and Freaks, I got a little nervous. I guess I wouldn't call myself very Radical, Dreamy or Freakish in any of the 'Berkeley' ways - like, I don't channel crystal energy into my chakras and dance inside sidewalk drum circles. I don't protest very often or make much of a point to piss off The Man. I don't color, pierce, impale, wildly dress or otherwise tamper with my very average looking body.

In short - I'm pretty 'meh' by Berkeley standards.

I asked Tomas if it was okay that the material I had didn't fit in with the theme. He said "of course! Just have fun and make us smile, or laugh, or cry." Okay, no problem! I've never had any problem getting the laughs. Although, in hindsight I can see that I might be getting laughs because those I'm reading for have a sense of humor.

The first woman read a poem about the female body and all of her wonders. I expected some poetry about the female body, because Berkeley, so no surprises there.

The second person read from a book he'd co-published about poor and working-class radicals in the 60's and 70's who'd organized political struggles against racism and inequality. It was powerful and insightful work, which gave me pause for a minute. I thought, "hm, well this is pretty serious stuff. But hey, whatever. Berkeley."

Then a lovely young Chicana got up and read about migrating to the Bay Area, living in Oakland, racial profiling, and other relevant, serious issues that she was involved in. Her work was beautifully written and optimistic, and full of words I didn't recognize because I don't speak even a tiny bit of Spanish.

By this time Paul was looking over at me sympathetically, squeezing my leg in support. See, the piece I'd chosen to read was a light-hearted one that takes place in a Mexican restaurant, and which basically highlights what a dick I am. I think it's funny.

Scratch that - I thought it was funny.

The next reader spoke about the injustices currently being acted out against the Romani people, and passionately acted out a scene about unsuccessfully attempting to assassinate the evil dictator Mussolini. While I enjoyed his performance very much, I spent a lot of time during it wondering if anyone would notice if I ran away as fast as I could. The damn old woman with her damn walker next to me prevented this escape, though.

How could I forget?
After Tomas enthusiastically introduced me with "well, now it's time for a change of pace!" and it was finally my turn to stand at the podium, I looked out at the audience and noticed several bike helmets tucked under chairs. Oh yeah, I remembered. Berkeley is suuuuuuper into bicycling. Heh.

I read about how much I love margaritas and tortilla soup. How inconvenienced I felt when a bicyclist got hit by a car and I had to leave my margarita and soup. I failed oh so horribly at the Mexican accents of the restaurant employees in my story that, in written form work just fine but when reading them out loud, sound downright offensive.

I have literally never felt my heart pound so hard. I tried my old trick of laughing at myself in hopes of encouraging the crowd to lighten the fuck up, but they weren't really having it. When I dared to look out at the crowd, I saw people shift uncomfortably in their seats, or whispering to each other and smirking. The only laughter I heard was coming from Paulie, and I knew it was mostly caused by recognizing how awkward the whole situation was.

So...yeah. That happened.

Afterward I attempted to 'mingle' as encouraged by Tomas. My 'mingling' consisted mainly of me hiding by the bathroom for a while, then trying to keep a straight face while telling Paulie that I had basically picked the worst possible story to read, and him trying to convince me that it hadn't been that bad.

Finally we left and I was able to take a deep breath. "That. Was. The. WORST!" I laughed in horror. Paulie and my dad did not disagree. (Although, being my dad, he told me that my story was his favorite - thanks dad!)

As we crossed the street I did a brief re-cap: "let's see, I've got the fact that I admit that I feel a margarita is more important than a human life, I'm in a huge bicycle-loving town talking about a bike accident I don't care about, I've got fantasies about forcing someone to have sex with me, and I've got a mangled Mexican accent in a cultural town and with at least one very proud Chicana in front of me...yeah. Amanda for the win."

Paulie, ever my number one fan, tried to console me. "You know, if you think about it, your piece was actually the most radical story of the whole night, because it goes against everything that Berkeley stands for."

That cheered me up. But, I don't take myself too seriously, and I have a sense of humor, so I guess I'm easily cheered. Even if I am the biggest asshole in Berkeley.

To read the story in question, click here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Paddy's Day 2014

Yesterday was St. Paddy's Day and it was the first time the boys were really into the annual early morning Healdsburg St. Paddy's Day Parade. It's probably also the last time we'll go.

Here's a quick visual recap of previous years:

2010 as Mr. Healdsburg with baby Liam
We missed 2011 but here's Liam being sweet
2012 Liam giving me the mental finger
2013. At least they were warm.

Then there was this year. Oh man did they love it. It started out rough as usual.

Daddy, we hate you.

But once we were up and out the door it was a different story. We got to walk there for the first time since now I live so close to downtown. This meant they could take in the commotion from a distance as we approached so the shock of it was easier to take in. Once acclimated to the scene, they were unstoppable.

There are two reasons this may have been the last hurrah for us and the early morning Healdsburg St. Paddy's Day Parade. First, the last few seem to have conveniently fallen on my days off and that's probably not happening for a while. Second, the boys were destroyed afterward. They crashed from the excitement high eventually and did manage naps, but they were emotionally and physically wrecked. For the rest of the day they were like two jet-lagged borderline psychotics off their meds. Next year we'll probably sleep in.

Or maybe not...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Snack Attack

I've been trying to beat Paulie and his son Finn to grocery shopping because I buy food, whereas they buy snacks and entire pallets of canned black beans. I did this week's shop and within hours Finn came up to me and asked if I could take him with me the next time I grocery shopped. "I need more snacks," he told me.

"There are apples!" I said this very enthusiastically, because I haven't yet learned that teenagers can't be tricked with voice inflection the way little kids can. "I don't like those apples." "There are two kinds!" "Yeah I don't like either of those." "Okay. There are dried apricots!" "I hate dried apricots." "Uh huh. Well, there's some yogurt. And some grapes. And...there's all kinds of stuff." "Yeah but I want chips!"

I've never been much of a snacker. Once a month or so I make a meal out of chips and salsa, but I don't really think that counts, because it is strictly for the purpose of satisfying an intense hormonal need and if I don't get my salt quota the PMS monster will wake me up from sleep and harass me about why I didn't feed it it's chips and salsa that day. Why, hm?! WHY?! Such a nag.

So yeah, I tend not to buy snacks. I buy fruits and vegetables and pasta and things that, when put together, make a meal that isn't a burrito.

Later that night we were all hanging out around the table, and I excitedly observed that, having not been provided with chips, he was snacking on the grapes I'd put out earlier like they were the new Chip. I gave myself an imaginary high-five.

But hey, I don't want to be one of those mean people who denies a kid chips - when you want some chips you want some chips, amiright?!

So I made him some kale chips. *high five!*

Delicious kale chips

He sees the kale chips

He loves the kale chips
My work here is done.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blogging Therapy: The Worst Day Ever

There was a moment that's been haunting me since last summer and I think if I write about it, get it out of my head and into the ether, it might help. The moment took place on a hot July day. Liam was dressed in a t-shirt, short little pants, and some beat up old hand-me-down shoes in need of retirement. I'd finally found an apartment to rent after weeks of couch surfing and was moving some boxes in a borrowed pick-up truck. I hadn't spent much time at home with the boys. My split with Erin was as amicable as they come, but things were tense so I kept my distance. I'd missed them terribly and felt relief that I had a place I could take them where I could spoil myself rotten with their company.

I didn't have a lot of stuff to move. I had hoarded dozens of cases of empty glass from work, all of which had been slated to go in the recycling bin. It was too old for commercial winemaking, but it passed the quality control standards for my home winemaking project with flying colors. I had to take the boxes to storage and Liam was "helping" me load them, the way three-year-olds do, by climbing all over whatever it is you're working on, but he wasn't his usual chipper self. I tried talking with him to figure out what was bothering him, but with his pretty severe speech delay he only had a few words mastered, and that day he wasn't using any of them. But he didn't have to. The look on his face told the whole story; he was clearly heartbroken. He had been processing everything that had been going on with Erin and I over the past few months, maybe even longer. That day it was all culminating with him seeing his daddy pack his things to leave the only home he'd ever known. He didn't understand.

To this day I don't know why I felt compelled to take pictures. I still can't look at them, or even think about them, without having to go sit alone for a while. I think there are some painful things we don't want to forget.

I'm not an emotional masochist. I like to write this blog as a record of all the fun and ridiculous joys of parenthood because they abound and I don't want to forget a single moment. But I'm new to this parenting thing and so naive. My missteps can hurt my children and the last thing any decent parent wants is to hurt their children. It's a terrifying prospect to me that we're the ones most capable of doing so.

My break-up was the right move for me, but it came with an unavoidable consequence that didn't fully impact me until I saw it so clearly on my son's face. I know it won't seem like such a big deal to some. No one died and there was no tragic accident or horrible injustice committed against humanity. But for whatever reason that moment was like a poisonous bite that won't heal, and flares up every time you scratch it.

But, if you follow the blog at all, you know there are plenty of "salving" moments. In fact, any problem the boys have with my break-up probably exists only in my head at this point. All it took for Liam to recover was for him to quickly realize that daddy wasn't going anywhere. Sure there's the half of the week I'm not with them, but when I'm with them I'm WITH THEM. In fact the only time I'm not in their faces when we're together is during the occasional private potty break, and even those brief moments are exploited for their maximum fun potential. Just this weekend one such moment was interrupted by the loud "clunk, clunk, clunk" of Finn seizing the opportunity to snatch a full glass of OJ off the breakfast table and try to wear it as a shoe. I jumped up and chased him in desperation, not so much because of the sticky mess he was making, but because the downstairs neighbors' late night obscenity screaming session had run long and they were probably trying to angrily sleep in. Liam was so happy to witness the whole scene he peed his pants. I think we're all gonna be fine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Many Hands Make Medium-weight Work

Paulie and I have been trying to come up with a functioning chore system for our kids, (read: I grumble about the state of the house and he agrees that I should enlist more help). So far, the results are iffy. I tried just asking people to do things verbally: FAIL! Then I made a chart with rotating chores for a week: FAIL! Most recently I just gave everyone specific tasks to do the entire week long.

I tried to go easiest on those who are the least used to doing (or willing to do) chores, and loaded the rest of us up with the brunt of the rest (read: Jonah and I did most of the chores). That worked okay. 

I won't lie: when I was a kid, I had a shit-ton of chores. I made the mistake at a very young age of asking my mom how the washing machine worked and that was that - after she showed me she said "this can be your job now!" like it was fun or something. From that day forward, I washed, dried, folded and put away the laundry. Allllll of the laundry. The towels, my laundry, my brothers' laundry, visiting guests' laundry, my mother and her husband's laundry. Lots of laundry. 

But it didn't stop there!

Work, Work, Work!
I also got to dust and vacuum the living room, take the garbage out and burn it (country livin' folks!), cook meals, and do bajillions of dishes. Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating there - I didn't do a bajillion dishes. Just six kids and two adults' worth.

Perhaps as a result of this, I've been a little soft with my own kids. They have chores, of course, because as much as I resented my workload as a kid and teenager, I was certainly prepared for real life after I moved out, and I pitied the fool who didn't know how to wash their own damn socks.

So I do believe in the importance of knowing how to do chores and manage a household. But I try to keep the expectations light. And I'm always surprised at how willing my kids are to do chores. 

"Jonah, can you please take out the recycling?" "Sure mom!"

"Evie, it's time to do the dishes." "Okay mama, can I use lots of soap?"

"Jonah, did you put the chickens to bed yet?" "Oop, nope, I'll go do that right now!"

The chicken whisperer
It's kinda...great. I have to vow to myself not to go the route my mother did by just turning all of the chores over to the kids, then not letting them do anything fun or extra-curricular until they finish said all chores. It's pretty easy to find a balance among all of these people. And as long as I can keep convincing them that it's fun, I think we'll be alright.

Lots of soap: check!

Friday, March 7, 2014


You know all those internet videos of fathers coming back from Afghanistan to their overjoyed children? I get that twice a week, every time I pick up the boys. It is easily the best part of co-parenting. Inevitably though, once the hugging, dancing, and tears have subsided, Liam gets straight to the point. He lifts his head off my shoulder, holds my face firmly in his little hands, stares at me way too seriously for a four year old, and says "greyhouse."

What is greyhouse? Greyhouse is my shitty little apartment. Liam and Finn LOVE my shitty little apartment. I don't get it.

I always pick them up right after work so I never get to go directly home, there are always errands to run along the way. The boys must know this by now, but it doesn't prevent them from completely losing their minds when I deviate at all from the straight shot to greyhouse. Liam gets all Shakespearean screaming "GREYHOOUUUUSE!!!!!" while Finn just screams "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!"

Is it because it's like their little club house? Who knows, I'm just so grateful. I'm grateful because their love of the place helps assuage the crippling guilt I feel for my failed marriage that forced them out of a luxurious three-bedroom home with a pool, into a crappy second floor shanty. Maybe when they were sleeping soundly in their well-appointed private rooms they were actually dreaming of someday sharing a living room/kitchen instead. Perhaps they always wished that the pool was a puddle in the parking lot, that the garden was a concrete stairwell, and that the birds chirping in the maple tree were the downstairs couple screaming obscenities at 1am.  Well, dream of it no more my loves! Your wishes are granted!!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


If you haven't already heard (like, maybe you've been hanging out under rocks for a while? Or you just don't pay much attention, perhaps?) Paulie and I moved in together in December. December 15th, to be exact. For all of our fans who pretend not to care about the majorness of major holidays, that is ten days before Christmas. This was a dumb time to move and it was a bit of a whirlwind, but because we and our friends are incredibly amazing and talented people, we totally rocked it. Big time.

Paulie and I make a great team. This is basically due to the fact that I don't nag him about stuff, because I am a patient and loving woman. Also, he just...does stuff that needs to be done, without being asked - what the whaaaaaat?! Yeah, I know. It's kind of incredible.

As for me, I do the dishes. And, I make a concerted effort to not lose my shit when, say, a lone upside-down slipper lays askew near the top step of our front porch for several days, without anyone seeming to notice or care. Or a wadded-up piece of paper towel lays in front of the garbage (as opposed to in it, for my less tidy readers who might not see what the problem is there). We're all still learning about each other's comfort zones and habits, so there's some space for total and complete error in there.

There are obvious advantages to living together. The biggest one so far is knowing where we'll be sleeping on any given night. Knowing where we'll be hosting when we invite people over is handy, too. Gone are the constant emails, texts and phone calls confirming first the plans, then the 'your place or mine', then the 'can you bring over your big pan?' then the 'oh shit I forgot my big pan, I'll have to go back for it, gaaaah!'

Then there's the whole 'oh, things are different now that we're living together' thing. For example, keeping up any level of mystery has gone to complete handbasketed hell. I've seen homeboy pee so many times - not because we're in the bathroom together a whole lot, but because he often forgets to close the door because...doors. I've grown fond of the sound of his sleeping after he's applied his snore-b-gone nose strip - it's adorable! And unfortunately he now knows that sometimes when I'm kind of grumpy, it's not because I'm just tired or PMSing, which were my go-to excuses when we lived separately. Sometimes it's because I'm off my game and haven't pooped in more than a day.

See, this was taken before we lived together.

All in all, living together has been pretty magical. I mean sure, there are many more bonks in the head of that ever-sneaky reality to deal with, but having a really, really great sense of humor, a natural ability to look at the world through uninhibited rosy glasses, and an inherent ability to look the other way just in the nick of time makes it all seem a lot more manageable. And, we're loving it.

"I swear to god if I don't poop soon SOMEONE DIES!"

Monday, March 3, 2014

Peace of Cake

People always warn you against giving your kids cake because they'll be bouncing off the walls, but I've found the opposite to be the case. I went to my friend Sarah's birthday party last night with the boys. I'd taken the boys there once before and vowed never to do it again. They have a marketable talent when it comes to testing a house for "child-proofness." I swear I could charge new parents $50 a pop to have my kids test their homes out for just 3 minutes and make a quick fortune. It would probably pay for college. Sarah's house has scalable furniture, thousands of dollars worth of fragile things within reach, and even one of those wrought iron fireplace tool sets. It is the wrong place to set the boys free.

But they're not to be blamed. Being a little kid is very confusing. There's a lot of inner turmoil. Little ones are plagued with such conflicting desires: wanting freedom and independence but also needing security and safety, seeking parental approval but needing to head butt daddy in the crotch when he's texting, not wanting daddy to get evicted from his upstairs one-bedroom apartment but jumping off the bed at 6am is a blast, it's nuts! This inner battle fuels destructive behavior and the need to smash glass figurines with a wireless keyboard.

Fortunately, last night there were balloons. Sarah's daughter had littered the floor with dozens of balloons which was a perfect means to sublimate Finn and Liam's rampage long enough for me to say a quick happy birthday and down a glass of wine. I figured that would be it for my visit, but…

Lo'…there was cake. 

Plop a little cake down in front of a small child and suddenly their confusing world becomes very simple. The entire universe around them, and the conflict raging within, becomes hazy, out of focus, and very quiet. Nothing exists but them and a piece of cake.


I had a second glass of wine.