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Tag Archives: Parenting

The Bee’s Bruised Knees

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Elle and I are a lot more alike than either of us will probably ever readily admit. In the pursuit of being your own person, sometimes the driving factor is to show who you are not.

And yet, I see Ellie’ s banged up shins next to my own bruised legs and can’t help but think, “Yep. That’s my girl.”

Ok, so it's really our shins. Whatever.

We are not particularly careless, but we are not overly cautious either. I’m a mechanic and like a gardener, getting dirty is pretty much part of the job description. By Sunday, my hands are usually not too gray — unless I work on our cars over the weekend — in which case, forget it. However, my legs tend to bear the brunt of my work. On our smaller buses, the Type As (the rest of the world knows them as Short Buses), I remount the tires by resting them on my thighs and then lifting. Don’t judge. It works. So that’s the twin bruises on my thighs.

Then there’s the abrasion on the outside left leg paired with a two-day-old bruise on the inside. Inside is where I banged my shin after a test drive and outside is where I gouged it BEFORE the test drive on some sheet metal.

It’s cool. My tetanus shots are up to date.

Elle on the other appendage, is a complete mystery. I ask her, but I don’t think she always notices when she gets injured. Mr. Pirate and I have encouraged her from the get-go to dust herself off and pick herself back up again. She cries, but almost always follows it up with, “I’m OK.”

Maybe she’s been watching a bit too much “Paw Patrol” and has accepted the accident-prone Dalmatian, Marshall, as her personal hero?

Marshall the firehouse dog

He really is OK. He’s just still growing into his paws.

Regardless of the why, I think I’d rather she learn to be resilient and aware enough of her own body so that she knows when to sit it out and howl, and when to bounce back with a grin and a wave.

So for all of the Moms like mine who had semi annual visits to the hospital, thanks for letting us learn our limits. We’re out there raising up the next batch of cheerfully bruised kiddos, and I think we’re all better for it.

~*La!

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Making Friends

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Ellie is having her first ever play-date on Saturday and I envy her ease at making friends.

Granted it’s with Sia, her best friend since they started in the infant room together at day care, but still. She’ll engage with other kiddos at the park and just instantly start playing with them as if they’ve always been friends.

I wonder if it’s the same for dog parents and if secretly, introverts have children or dogs in our lives as a way to force us out of our comfort zone?

Oh, you don’t like talking to other people? Here, teach this little person how to talk and play well with others.

Need to keep your social engagements to a minimum? Puppy needs to go for walks and everyone likes to talk to you when your pup is so dang cute.

This evening we had a picnic dinner at the library park and Mr. Pirate and Ellie were playing on the rock structure when a younger kiddo came up and started playing with her. Without much else to do, Mr. Pirate and I eventually wandered over to where the other girl’s parents were sitting. We talked a little, about the girls and their ages, about the fact that they’ve only recently moved to the area and then about the weather. By then, I was pretty much tapped out for conversation. I just don’t know what to say to people beyond that.

I think I’ve always felt introverted although my mom insists that I’m not. She’ll tell you that I’m out-going, and I can be. But I also reach a point where I’m ready to retreat inside myself and want to be left alone. It’s a balancing act though. One thing I have learned about myself is that there’s only so much social isolation I can handle – four months maternity leave was almost too much. I like people, just in moderation.

Maybe I just need to take a page from Elle’s book and play with people whether they want to be my friend or not.

In other news:

  • Camp NaNoWriMo was a slog this summer. I need to get back to writing in a very large way. My spelling has fallen off and ideas and thoughts don’t come so easily to my soggy and tired brain.
  • SO MANY BUSES! We took delivery in June of 10 new buses. Because they will be assigned to my terminal, I’ve been assigned to checking them in. That’s been an adventure. More on that later.

 

The Awkward Kindness of Strangers

One of the very best t-shirts I ever received as a gift is one that reads: “A girl with a certain, je ne sais quoi.”

It’s pink and is in my cedar chest for the day when Ellie expresses an interest in what her mama used to wear. Who knows? Maybe she’ll also grow into the kind of person with an indescribable “I don’t know what” attitude (I mean. I hope she does, but I can’t know that.)

At the time, the shirt helped me feel pretty and identify myself as someone whose sense of identity is her own. Sometime in high school, I stopped caring about my appearance. I still put an effort into what I looked like, and how I dressed. I just stopped being overly concerned with how others viewed me. It was very liberating.

I do sometimes still wonder what I really look like to strangers? Do they see the sharp profile of my nose? Do they know that I prefer to think of my hair as gingerbread blonde rather than dirty blonde? I just don’t know.

What I do know though, is that apparently when you pay with change at Goodwill, you look like someone who could use a break. Or a helping hand. Maybe both.

Ellie is growing like a 2-year-old wildflower. She comes up to my waist and size 3T shirts are getting too short in the torso. The cuffs barely come to her wrists anymore.

As a result I suggested to my mother-in-law, Nona, that she go shopping with Elle and I today at Goodwill to find some long-sleeved 4T shirts just to get us through the rest of the season. We made our selections and were next in the queue to checkout when Elle very clearly announced “I have to go potty.”

Nona had brought with her, her change purse. They’ve only just moved to Colorado and during their packing found a lot of loose change. As in, a good two or three pounds worth of coins. My father-in-law, the Curmudgeon, teased her that no cashier would want to count out that much money and she, like me, figured that half-price Saturday at Goodwill would mean we wouldn’t rack up that much of a bill.

So while Elle and I are answering the call of nature, Nona is counting out change in orderly piles while the previous person finishes her return (Yep. We got the line where someone wanted to make a return for torn merchandise. To Goodwill.). Ellie and I return and Nona has exactly $15.00 stacked in piles by quarters, dimes, and nickles.

The clothes are all off the hangers, the items rung up and our bill comes to $15.64. I fish the 64 cents out of my wallet and both Nona and I are pretty pleased with our combined math skills. The cashier swipes all of the coins into a pile and begins to recount them.

“You’re a dollar short,” she informs us and then begins to recount the money again.

Nona is a retired elementary school teacher. Counting out coins is the sort of thing she could do in her sleep, but as she starts to get another dollar out of her purse, the man behind us swipes his credit card through the reader and says, “There. Now you’re good. You ladies go treat yourselves to lunch.”

My jaw drops. Not because of what he did, but because we are absolutely not the people most in need of this kindness.

“Thank you,” I tell him. “You really didn’t have to do that.”

I can’t meet his eyes. He’s wearing a flannel jacket and has a small pile of clothes in his arms.

“Don’t worry about it and have a nice rest of your day.”

Nona and I leave Goodwill and don’t speak another word to one another until we get to the car. A car that I maintain myself and recently invested $300 in for its 100,000-plus-mile preventive maintenance. There we try and figure out why we appeared so shabby and resolve that maybe we need to look a little less clueless the next time we go to Goodwill.

That, and decide that the $15.64 for Ellie’s new shirts needs to go to a good cause since I will not be able to look at the shirts that we picked out for her and not think of the fact that some stranger was willing to buy my daughter clothes. I think SafeHouse Denver might be a good place to start.

Either that, or the Denver Aquarium because I sure feel like an awkward turtle after that whole exchange.

~*La.

Blame It On the Toddler In the Nicest Way

There is a slogan often applied to clothing for small children that states: “I am the reason we can’t have nice things.”

Mr. Pirate and I have come to understand exactly what that entails. He amended the slogan this morning after Elle found an uncapped pen and her dad’s open book and personalized it as: “It’s not even nice things. I just want things.”

After the holidays that’s a terribly materialistic thing to say when a person is supposed to be self-sacrificing and interested in goodwill for all. But there you have it. We young parents are super self-centered and our goodwill pretty much extends only as far as our toddler’s attention span.

I’ve been away from blogging for almost a year and although it’s a cheap and lame excuse, it really is all Elle’s fault. Children change you. No matter at what age they enter your life – whether you’re 30 and a parent for the first time or 45 and marry into a per-existing family unit – the introduction of a new, and permanent person in your life is a major life change.

I marvel at being her mom. It’s crazy. There’s this walking, talking person in my life now who didn’t used to be. Without even realizing it, we’ve adapted.

Jonathan Coulton understands.

We plan weekend errands around her nap/feeding schedule. Social engagements have to be kid-friendly. My wardrobe really does revolve around how easy it would be to scrub out unexpected stains.

The Jade House though remains an ongoing-exception. All projects have been put on hold for the time being, but not completely dismissed. We just have to look at them differently. A working hall bathroom would be great before she starts potty-training, but getting a handle on the organizational nightmare our house has become is a higher priority.

This brings me back around to the selfish nature of new parents. She’s napping right now. I should be folding laundry. Or cleaning up the kitchen. Ravenholm, the basement, is still a lost space. But I’m not. Instead I’m blathering to the Internet and giving strong consideration to jumping in the shower. Maybe even I’ll take a nap.

~*La!

Baby-proofing: Push and Twist

Elle is four plus months old and trying so hard to start motoring on her own. As she planks and flops her arms up and down I can’t help but laugh. I know I shouldn’t but it’s better than fretting about how un-baby friendly our house is.

Mr. Pirate and I are not house keepers. Things land where it’s convenient and our filing system is pretty much non existent. We try to keep things organized (sort of) but for the most part our house is basically a lost cause.

Worried about baby smacking her head on the hearth? Not me, she can’t even get to the hearth. Heck. I can’t even get to it and I can step over the piles.

Even though we spend most of our time on the main floor, we’ve installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs since that’s where our bedrooms are. The cats, however, are not amused. Last night Harley sat on the other side of the gate and yowled piteously. They have not figured out how to jump over the gate and they’re both too wide to fit through it.

The one major safety thing that we don’t have to worry about at all, are our electrical outlets. When we had an electrician update our wiring, we also went ahead and spent a little extra money to have kid-proof outlets installed. Like an inverted version of the plug-in variety of outlet covers, these have the protection built in. Pretty cool and pretty much Manda-proof too. It’s fairly normal for Mr. Pirate to come into the kitchen and find me struggling to plug in appliances. There’s a trick to it, he tells me. And yet even after two years I still haven’t figured it out. Maybe that’s secretly why people like me have kids, so that at least someone in the house can open up the aspirin bottle.

~*La!