26 August 2015

late summer

The late summer in our front yard can look a bit bleak. The iris leaves are getting brown and wilty (I think I need to dig up a good number of them and space them out- we've got an iris forest forming). The lupines didn't flower this year (apparently they sometimes don't once they've been at it for a few years?) so they are still relatively short and just look like foliage to the untrained lupine-loving eye. Nothing is flowering and everything looks tired. With one massive exception...

The previous owners of our home left a good number of unwanted gifts behind: 3 kitchen sinks and hundreds of pounds of scrap metal hidden in the backyard jungle, walls and ceilings seemingly tacked together, a large painting of someone wearing a headdress (which is still hanging in the barn). They also left behind this glorious hibiscus plant, that blooms without fail every August.

FLOWERS THE SIZE OF YOUR FACE. Bigger than your face, in fact, when you're a toddler.

Alice points and squeals every time we walk out the front door and she sees them.

21 August 2015

work it, girl

I have poop on my shirt front. There are green-yellow marks on my left shoulder and I just pulled a bit of green-yellow crust off my collar. Yes, it was one of those mornings: it took a while to get dressed and then my child's bodily functions laid claim to the outfit I'd finally scrounged. I couldn't be bothered to change, already running 15 minutes late to get out the door, so through today I will attend meetings and eat my lunch knowing that there is feces on my shirt. And it is fine.

I can be as vain the the next person, but motherhood has stripped down a lot of those kind of concerns. Thank God. I still like to look "put together," whatever that means, and I still wash my hair quite regularly. I even shave sometimes. Of course, I still feel self-conscious sometimes too. Just a couple weeks ago we drove up to a party and I complained "I'm wearing the wrong thing- I don't feel comfortable."

But, how lame is that!? That my dress would determine my comfort? Despite whatever I was wearing, you know what else I had in tow? My health. A glorious, 15 month old babe with high-functioning bowels. A man who calls me babe and crawls around on the floor with our pets, baby, niece and nephews (occasionally all at once).

I guess what I'm trying to say- and this is for me, to me!, as always- is that I don't think the worst thing to happen in life would be for me to lose my figure or have a blemish at an inopportune time. I want to remember this if and when I fret over an ensemble or, God forbid, an expanding waistline. I want to remember contentment and identity and priorities, because for me exercise and diet can too easily skew to be about something other than deep, soul-seated health, and then its not healthy at all.

I have a friend who is working through a break up. She shared that she woke up one morning this week admitting to herself a hope that this man would have loved her so much as to not let her go. Then, in short order, she realized she needs to love herself that much and in so doing fend off losing herself in this mourning.

Yes. That's it exactly. Can we love ourselves, please? The good book tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and I think we too often forget the ourselves bit. We can't love others if we're all jacked up with self-doubt and distaste.

Kimberly, love yourself- your physical body, your achey mom heart, your anxious tendencies and abrasive passions. Love 'em. This is what you've got to work with, so work it girl. 

PS: Who knew Chaplin was such a deep guy? Not I. You can read his whole piece about self-love, written on this 70th birthday, here.

11 August 2015

on parenting, currently

Something I adore about parenting thus far is the ever changing motion of the whole endeavor. Our darling 15 month old has already dipped her toe into the realm of tantrums and potty training. She has come full circle back to adoring bath time (and protesting its end after 45 minutes of tepid water play). She finds sincere enjoyment at putting things away- board books back on their shelves, shoes matched and in line, empty yogurt containers into the recycling bin. She takes multi-step directions (can you pick that cucumber up and put it back?) and just recently fell in love with coloring. She loves to pick tomatoes in the garden and smell flowers (or, even more so, hops!). She is fiercely independent about feeding herself and has started to let little words out, but not consistently- "hi," "Layla!," "mama." One constant for the last six months or so has been Alice's dreamy sleep schedule. She takes two naps a day, each is two to three hours long, plus she clocks a solid 11+ hours of sleep at night. Dream-y.

So, that potty training and bath time I mentioned? Oh. My. Gosh. What a night we had. Alice was laughing so hard in the tub last night- hysterical over splashing me and getting me wet- that she pooped in the tub. She didn't even realize because of her own overwhelming laughter. Of course, I stole her right out of the the beloved tub to clean up the situation, placing her on the potty to continue. She did NOT like the change of scenery, but sure enough went #2 on the potty for the second time in her little life and we both applauded. Soon after, the tub was clean, so back in she went. We re-sudsed, were soon back to splashing and, I kid you not, she again laughed so hard that she pooped even more. You have got to be kidding me. So, again, I swooped her out of the tub and she was having it even less this go around. At this point, I was cleaning more watery poo out of both tub and bath toys, while Alice cried and ran around our kitchen naked. When the tub was finally cleaned up again I plucked her, naked and crying, off the stair landing, and put her in the tub one last time for a quick shower and scrub (because, poop).

Needless to say, she and I were both a bit, ahem, pooped by the end of the entire clownish ordeal: three baths, three poops, so much laughing and crying. She mostly cuddled for the final half hour before going to bed.

And still, bodily functions aside, this is the best. best. best gift in the whole wide world- to be this little love's mama, even when she leaves a bruised bite mark on my neck for taking her out of the tub again. I'll take so many more bites- except, no I won't, we're working on that,- and so much more #2 in the tub- again, not really, we're working on that too,- and savor every hilarious moment with our girl. Favorite age so far? Every. Single. One. Though, 15 months is ranking quite high on the list.
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