Category Archives: Parenting

Spring Break Adventures -2017

 

This past week was Carter’s Spring Break at preschool.  To offset the cycle of clean the house in the morning and then spend the rest of the day trying to keep it clean, we would leave the house for fun adventures and then come home to a house that was miraculously still semi clean.

***Disclaimer:  What follows are pictures of our kids looking sweet and somewhat compliant.  Our kids are super sweet and even compliant SOMETIMES.  I did not take photos of meltdowns or “bad attitudes” or strangers’ faces filled with judgment or the many stern “talks” that included the phrase, “Do you want to go home right now because you’re acting like you want to go home right now.”   I’ve unfollowed Instagram accounts and blogs that only present the photogenic side of parenting because it’s just way too easy to look at the perfect photographs and feel like a bad parent.  If you’re similarly inclined, just know that these are the pretty moments and the other, not so pretty, moments were there too but we chose not to document them for posterity.

We started our week at Disney’s California Adventure for the Food & Wine Festival.  Also, we’d recently started back on Weight Watchers and a food festival seemed like a great place to get our minds off food. HARDY HAR HAR!  The portions are small and when shared they are just a couple of bites so Oprah would approve.

I had great ambitions to take pictures off the food at the festival but when faced with the food we would scarf it down before I could take a picture.  This is the one picture that I took.  It’s even nicely styled on our stroller seat!  It’s the French onion mac and cheese topped with parmesan crumbles and chives at The Onion Lair booth.  It was topped with too too many French onions.  Once you got rid of some of the onions you could taste just how good the mac and cheese was but you had to sacrifice the parmesan crumbles to get rid of the onions and the crumble was an important element.  Everything else we tried was great but the Sweet corn nuggets with beef chili, spring onions and sour cream was my favorite.

It’s not like the Disneyland parks aren’t normally packed but with the Food & Wine Festival it is too infinity and beyond busy.  We managed to still have lots of fun anyway.

Then, we tried the children’s museum, Discovery Cube in Santa Ana.  We’ve been there before but Carter didn’t seem to enjoy it because he was too young to really interact with the exhibits.  Now he’s at a really good age and he LOVED it.  I would say that kids between 5-9 are at the target developmental age to really enjoy it.  Carter’s favorite part was the outside dinosaur exhibit where he met a kid even wilder than himself so the day was a win.  I even got some cute pictures of both of the kids.

To end the week we took a trip to downtown LA for the Discovery Science Center for the, soon to be gone, Disney Pixar exhibit.  I’d forgotten how great that museum is and … wait for it …it’s free!  The special exhibits aren’t free but the rest of the 3 story museum is free.  We saw an actual space shuttle, a giant aquarium with sharks and several other kid-friendly exhibits.

The Pixar exhibit was the highlight for all of us (except maybe for the baby who needed a nap BAD).

He’s back a preschool Monday and then we register him for Kindergarten on Tuesday! And then we rest?  Probably not!

Little Lying Squares

I’m a horrible judge of what other people think of me. It’s not that I can’t be bothered with other people’s opinions–I wish it was that simple. In fact, I spend most of my time trying to figure out how I’m viewed in the eyes of others. It’s a sickness, I tell you!  I bring this up because I found myself following a path of links to this article, What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life Is A Lie.

Instagram is my favorite social media mostly because it’s fairly nonconfrontational and it’s a quick creative outlet. So, this article got me to thinking about how those 300+ little photographic squares represent me. Has someone looked at my photos and thought “Damn! she has her shit together.” I seriously hope I haven’t lied to that extent with my photos.
Like the author of the article does, I’m prepared to confess. Below is “what I’m really doing in all those Instagrams vs. what I presented to the world.”

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1. The Ultimate Kids’ Chef

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…
I wake up early and make my child a homemade breakfast in the shape of any character of his choice. Then, my child eats said breakfast and smiles at me in gratitude.
What I’m Actually Doing/Thinking…
This was a semi-botched birthday plan. We were going to go to Disneyland super early on my birthday, watch the “rope drop” ceremony and eat those Mickey Mouse pancakes that I always wanted as a child but my mom said they were too expensive. Well, the hotel reservation got misconstrued and we ended up going weeks in advance, there is no “rope drop” ceremony at Disneyland (or at least there wasn’t on the day we went), and those pancakes were cold and nasty. They were actually really nasty! Also, our child wouldn’t eat them because those tiny pieces of fruit had touched the pancake and, as some 2 year-old children know, fruit is super poisonous and made out of poop.

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2. The Child Model

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…
My child stands obediently while I take a picture. We can let go of his hand and he will pose with a smile.
What I’m Actually Doing/Thinking…
We rarely let go of his hand or don’t have him strapped into a stroller. He’s a runner/sprinter at high speeds. See how he’s leaning forward in the “After” picture with a gleam in his eyes. That’s because he took off a second later down the hilly sidewalk towards the street causing dogs to bark and shopkeepers to check and see what criminal had escaped.

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3. A Relaxing Stroll at Target

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…
Casually shopping at Target for eclectic household items while my child sits back and relaxes.
What I’m Actually Doing/Thinking…
Since having a kid, I HATE Target. Maybe I just hate the experience of shopping at Target with a toddler. I swear the place turns children into possessed demons. There’s no child restraint my child can’t get out of and he won’t sit in a cart for longer than 3 minutes. This cart in the picture is GIANT. It has the forward-facing seat and then a regular cart attached. It’s like pushing two carts down the aisle train style. It’s kind of embarrassingly large but my child will tolerate it for about 15 minutes, which is heaven.

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4. A Glowing Social Life

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…
Enjoying the company of friends. See you can have a rewarding social life even after having kids.
What I’m Actually Doing/Thinking…
Enjoying the company of my friends and while distracted by real adult conversation my child pulls down his pants in front of everyone and pees all over their (thankfully) hardwood floors. Also, to the mother of the one-year old who was also at the party and looked on in judgmental horror, just you wait! Payback for this kind of stuff is always a BITCH!

Truth is now told!

December Pages

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We bought a new desktop computer and “Wow!” 

Our old one was close to 7 years old but it really didn’t seem like it was THAT long ago.  It was the first desktop that I’d ever purchased and I made some upgrades which I thought made it fancy.  Lately the poor thing has been pushed into the corner of the baby’s room and only infrequently used.  After all, we can’t just work on the computer in the baby’s room while he plays next to us.  That room is a disaster and probably the least baby-proofed room in the entire house.  The only time he sees it is when his cute little butt gets changed. 

Instead, I have been working on the laptop from the dining room table but the baby likes to try and kill it by pouring water on it and beating it with a stick.  He has even succeeded in pulling off some of the keys that I can’t figure out how to get back on.    

When we seriously started discussing replacing it I researched the hell out of the subject and ended up with the simple conclusion that the higher the memory, processor, and hard drive the better the computer but the higher the price.  I’d figured out the realistic price we would have to pay for the one we needed but I wanted to find a deal/bargain and so I held out.  Then we left the baby with my mom and went to Costco because he HATES Costco.  This gave us time to leisurely walk around spend a crap ton of money we don’t have and impulsively buy a new computer.    Lesson learned; always bring the baby to Costco.  He screams while we run around collecting items on the list as quickly as possible with no extraneous glances at “luxury” items –eg, a pillow-sized bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn. 

So, we now have this beautiful new desktop that even has a keyboard with no keys missing and when you press a button things actually happen . . . right away and not 2-3 minutes later.  How much of my life do I waste waiting on computers?  

Ahh, it’s been so nice having this new one.  It took be several days to reload all the software and transfer files over in a more organized manner but now it’s just the way I wanted it to be “somewhat organized.” 

This past year I’ve been working on a digital life project, more about this in another post, but it has lead me down a path of accumulating a LOT of adorable files and I had no way of being able to find them.  I took a short online class about the ACDSee 17 program and I was sold.  Being able to find the files I need and do so quickly has made journaling less frustrating and more productive.  I just finished December’s pages and maybe with this computer I can finally catch up.

A Doodle Doo

Print-PeterPan-6x4File this post under “Kids Say the Darndest Things” category but with an element of wisdom gained.

Mumford has started parroting words he hears out in the world.  Lately he’s been interacting with a toy that says the name of an animal and then makes the sound that the animal makes: “Dog.  Dog says ‘Woof!  Woof!’”

Can you see where this is heading already?

One of the animals is a rooster and the rooster says “Cock A Doodle Doo.”  Yeah, he’s started shortening what the rooster says and he says it loudly and repeatedly.

We were at the In-N-Out drive-thru windown when he started up with this newest trick.  What does a parent do?  He isn’t saying many words and we want to encourage his speaking and we don’t want to make the word enticingly taboo.  To help restore our dignity as parents, Shannon started saying “Yeah! The rooster says “Cock A Doodle Doo” to give his shouting some context.

Later that night we were at Disneyland in the bathroom at the changing table and he starts up again.  I will repeat, we are at DISNEYLAND surrounded by parents and kids and our son is shouting, with conviction, the shortened version of “Cock A Doodle Doo.”  Once again, my quick –thinking wife tries to give the word some context but she has an extra stroke of brilliance and she changes the pronunciation.  She tell him, “Yeah, the rooster says “COKE A Doodle Doo”  and because he’s parroting and he’s interested in saying the word exactly like we do, he starts shouting “Coke.”

The moral of this story is that it’s better to be the fat parents whose kid shouts “Coke!” than to be the lesbian parents whose kid shouts “C*ck!”

A cliche day

Fck

The internet is full of videos and memes of children creating chaos. I guess they are supposed to be funny. I’ve never been a big fan. When I didn’t have kids, I would see them and think that their parents need to have some control over their kids. After having a kid, I see them and think something along the lines of “There but for the grace of God.” Every evil or messy thing I see a kid doing, I can imagine my child upping the ante. For example, at this very moment he is standing on a chair across from me and painting the other laptop with lotion. He’s not harming it but it’s a mess. I’m choosing to pick my battles.

Here is a recent example of the memes I’m talking about:

Well, a few days ago I had a similar moment but one that couldn’t be easily washed off. The moment was baby + Sharpe = chaos. I’d been working on recipe cards and using a Sharpie. I put the Sharpie down on top of the bookcase and went in the kitchen. You can probably imagine the mess I came back to.

No, he didn’t get a spanking. We are a “no spank” family and how can he be blamed at almost 2 for not knowing the difference between a washable crayola marker and a furniture-tattoo Sharpie.

I felt like a parenting cliche at that moment. “Ha! Ha! Ha!,” I heard the world shouting at me, “All parents have been standing where you are standing right now.” Our family is supposed to be special and different. We are crazy radical queers who are parenting a child conceived from unique circumstances. I didn’t feel any of that. I just felt defeated and near tears.

To deal with the banality of the situation, I put on my rainbow-colored “Equality. It’s not that hard” t-shirt and went to the grocery store hoping that someone in this conservative area would look at me with a slightly sour look and make me think that raising a child with two moms is somehow unique or radical.

No one did . . .

Impending Sense of Doom

Cleanse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a baby at 39.5 puts eating healthy and exercising into a whole new perspective.  I think about growing old and dying probably 10-fold more than before The Sweet Baby Mumford came along and I was already kind of a morbid person.

I first realized my proclivity for morbidity when I was a junior in High School.  It was getting close to the end of the school year and there was a graduation picnic for the seniors happening later that day.  For the picnic, they had a small baby elephant brought in for the seniors to ride.  I can’t imagine a High School doing this now but that’s what they did…they brought in a small elephant, wtf?  Our gym teacher wouldn’t let us stop whatever torcher she was putting us through to go get a closer look.  She kept saying that it was for the seniors and we would get our own elephant rides when it was time for our graduation picnic.  I couldn’t even imagine graduating high school and immediately jumped to the thought that I’d probably die before graduation.  Honestly, I didn’t have a death wish, my life wasn’t in danger, and I wasn’t suicidal but at that moment I really believed it.  The following year: I did graduate, there was no dying, but also NO elephant.

Over 20 years later and it’s still a discussion topic inside my head.  Now the thoughts are about what happens if Shannon and I die in some horrible accident and The Sweet Baby Mumford is left alone.  Heart attacks, cancer, strokes and their aftermath are each tiny dramas that play out in my head as I try to sleep.  I just desperately want to be around for as much of his life as possible.

To try and tame these fears, we’ve recently stepped up the healthy eating and somewhat increased our activity.  We’ve seriously stepped things up.  No more pizza 3 nights a week and a combination of bean and cheese burritos or In-N-Out the other 4.  This time we’ve combined “Eat to Live” with Weight Watchers.  Mostly our meals are vegan with only a few processed foods.  A few meals a week we splurge and go out to eat.

The first week was HARSH!!!  Migraines, headaches, and ennui for close to 7 days-mostly from the caffeine withdrawal.  Sticking with it seemed impossible.  We were trying to follow a specific detox diet for seven days but several of the recipes were pretty bad (a cup of lentils, a half cup of brown rice, and 2 cups of steamed broccoli).  By day four, we stopped using the detox recipes and found similar ones that we could enjoy.   We were able to complete the 7 days of detox.  On the 8th day we did splurge and have some delicious pizza but we we’ve maintained the healthy eating for the most part.  Today is day 14 and to celebrate we had smoothies for breakfast and tofu & hummus wraps for lunch.

We do feel better.  We have lost some weight.  We are spending less money on dining out.  These are all good reasons to continue.  Maybe someday this healthy stuff might even lessen thoughts of not being around and, when that day comes, I will probably be run over by a bus.