32 Things: A Day in the Life of, Like, EVERY PARENT I KNOW

Just a quick review of the day, friends, in a list of 32 things. Honest to God, as much as I want to think today was unusual, honesty compels me to admit this is just like every day for, like, EVERY PARENT I KNOW.

  • OK. I went to church this morning, but I couldn’t find my travel mug for coffee. My 4th grader suggested I use my whiskey flask. I was seriously tempted because whiskey flask + church makes me happy the same way profane embroidery + church makes me happy, BUT, contrary to public opinion, I do occasionally behave in socially appropriate ways, so I did NOT drink my coffee from a flask in church. I was simply late — as always — because I obviously couldn’t go until I found my travel mug.
  • It was in the car.
  • There was solidified milk in it.
  • I didn’t gag when I cleaned it out — and it fell in one heinous, gelatinous, fetid mass into the disposal — because that’s apparently one of my super powers now.
  • I was leaving the house with my clean, filled travel mug when I discovered the dog chewing on a glass ball she stole from the Christmas tree.
  • Yes, the Christmas tree is still up and it’s the tail end of March.
  • Yes, of course the ball was already in shards.
  • Yes, of course I checked her mouth.
  • Yes, of course it was full of glass. I pulled it all out. Piece by piece. She’s fine. No cuts. Sad dog, though, that I took away her toy.
  • Yes, I got glass and dog slobber all over myself.
  • No, I didn’t change my clothes. I’m not a rookie. If I changed my clothes every time I was encased in things like slobber and glass, I’d never do anything but change my clothes.
  • I wiped off the slobber as best I could with someone’s sock, discarded for, I imagine, just that helpful purpose next to the door.
  • I made it to church with coffee and without a trip to the emergency weekend vet, so goal accomplished.
  • I came home.
  • I made homemade stock. You know why? BECAUSE I’M A BOSS, and that’s what bosses do. BOOM.
  • “Mom?” asked my kid, peering into the pot. “Is that a mole you’re making into soup?” 
  • He didn’t mean mole sauce.
  • He meant mole, the animal.
  • It’s not a mole. It’s a piece of smoked pig. But I saw no reason to say so.
  • “Yes,” I said. “Yes. We’re having mole soup for dinner. I caught a mole, I marinated it, and I threw it in the stock pot. Should be DELICIOUS.”
  • “Huh,” said the child. “Am I allowed to add cheese?”
  • “Yes,” I said. “You may add cheese. Cheese is, in fact, the traditional garnish used with any type of rodent soup.”
  • “K,” he said, and he ran off to watch a video.
  • I, in other words, have lowered standards SO FAR that my son thought a soup made from dirt-dwelling rodent flesh, albeit smothered in cheese, sounded acceptable.
  • I have officially won parenting.
  • I have not won dog-sitting.
  • In fact, I had to come to terms this very afternoon with my dog, Zoey, leading sweet baby Hazel, a lovely baby Golden Retriever I’m watching this week for my cousin, astray.
  • Unlike for mere slobber and glass, I DO strip down to wash muddy dogs.
  • My kid videoed that bit, Internets. You’re welcome. Now you get to watch me sit in the bathtub in my granny bra and lecture the baby dog. “IF ALL THE OTHER DOGS JUMP OFF A CLIFF, HAZEL, YOU DO NOT JUMP, TOO.”
  • I suspect this lecture will turn out to be as effective for the puppy as it is for my children. Which is to say, I suspect she’ll become a cliff diver any minute.
  •  ...  read more

    It Was a Cat in Heat. Or a Baby Crying. One or the Other.

    I rushed out of the house, wearing just my nightie, at 6:30am a couple days ago and peered over the front porch railing, looking and listening. I waited, silently, looking and listening more before I tiptoed down the front stairs and around the sides of the house to repeat.

    No cat, though.

    No baby, either.

    The sound was totally gone.

    I’d been laying in bed, dozing off and on for 30 minutes, listening to what I assumed was a cat in heat, yowling, then silence, then yowling some more when it occurred to me it might not be a cat. It might be a baby. Like, a human baby someone abandoned. And left on our porch. For me to find. Which I was not doing because my bed was very warm and the baby inadvertently sounded like a cat. Listen, we have discussed Lizard Brain and the fact that I have it, and once it occurred to me that it could be a baby — even though it really, really sounded like a cat holding a seance and trying to open a portal to the Netherworld — there was no way Lizard Brain was going to allow me to sleep. We can put this on the list of Things Lizard Brain Cannot Live With — FINDING OUT LATER THAT THE ABANDONED INFANT DIED BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO LAZY TO GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED, BETH...  read more

    My Kid Experiences Disability. He’s Potentially a Very Rad Human. Right Now, Though, He’s an ASS.

    Look. There are certain things that are harder to write than others. Mine tend to get a little flip flopped. Writing about the church? Ugh. HARD. Writing about pooping my closet? Surprisingly easy. So I’m not necessarily like everyone else when it comes to which subjects are agonizing and which are delightful, but, on this one, I suspect I’m like everyone else. Writing about my kid who experiences disability = hard. One of the hardest. Partly because I want to protect as much of his story as possible. And partly because there’s a sort of unspoken Hippocratic Oath among those of us who parent children who experience disability; we want, above all, to do no harm to these kiddos who already have enough challenges without their mommies making it worse by speaking out. You know? And so there’s an almost-covenant; if we DO tell our kids’ stories, we tell OUR PART ONLY. We tell the bits that help other mamas and dads like us know they’re NOT ALONE. We speak of our children in the BEST POSSIBLE LIGHT, always with sympathy, always with understanding. The world is already judging them, after all, more harshly than the world judges me or you, and we’ve made HUGE STRIDES over the last 5 or 10 years in helping the world SEE our kids as HUMANS FIRST and not CHALLENGES FIRST. ...  read more

    Because I Needed to Fix ONE Damn Thing

    There’s paint on my fingernails. Some of it’s nail polish. Some of it’s wall paint.

    Abby came home from college for Spring Break. She left warm, sunny Hawaii where her friends spent the week on the beach in teeny, tiny swimsuits getting perfect tan lines, for cold, rainy Oregon and her mommy and daddy. I told her she’s doing college and Spring Break wrong. But kids these days; they never listen. ...  read more

    Where I’m From

    When I first had a baby who was soft and snuggly, who smelled good and was dressed the way I liked in Baby Gap dresses I snagged from the consignment store for a steal, I felt sad for the mommies of bigger kids. I watched them, mostly at church, and I thought they were just so… homely. With horror show teeth growing on top of each other, forgetting to let the little ones fall out before the big ones came in. And mismatched clothes with tears in all the wrong places; a pocket attached but barely, a toe sticking out of a sock without a shoe. They were gangly and awkward and socially cringe-worthy. They smelled wonky and had funny hair. And, I suppose, I remembered myself at that age and felt retroactively embarrassed for myself. So I felt sorry for their mamas, and I suspected they longed for their kids to be little again, still sweet and small; still pretty; still perfect and unmarred by time and teeth. ...  read more

    March Book Selection for It’s A Likely Story Book Club

    ALikelyStory

    My friend, Korie, a librarian here in my little Oregon town, has been reading books for months now with one theme in mind — not a white protagonist. Children’s books. YA. Fiction. Nonfiction. She realized a while back how very white her reading list was and made a commitment to change that, both for her personal reading pleasure and also so she can better recommend books that feature people of color to our library patrons and customers. Korie’s the one who recommended An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir in January, my favorite book club book so far — and she recommended the book we selected for March, below, which I’m VERY excited to read. If you’re interested in following Korie while she curates books with leading characters of color, you can look at the hashtag #notawhiteprotagonist on Facebook which has a few of her selections listed or, even better if you’re looking for her comprehensive Not A White Protagonist list, follow her on Litsy where her handle is BookInMyHands. ...  read more