Things I Don’t Miss

I’ve been organizing clothing and toys to sell at Half-Pint Resale next month. Frankly, I don’t have a lot of clothes to pass along, since the glory of having an older child is that they stay in their clothes for longer than those blurry days of poop-stained onesies. While sorting and tagging, I realized that there’s a lot I don’t miss from years 1-3:

  • Onesies. Man, those were a pain. And each brand was so vastly different in size, so the drawer would be jammed with a wide range of sizes. And even if you looked at a new one, a mysterious or gross stain emerged.
  • Toys. Miss Red still plays with toys, but her favorite activity is “baking,” where she mixes ingredients into different bowls and adds food coloring. Our kitchen is a disaster each night, but she loves it and it’s cheap fun. I buy a pound of the cheapest flour and sugar possible each week, and it is promptly used. So I’m OK with selling more than half of her Legos. We’ll still keep one set, but that’s all we need. One set. Ditto on blocks.
  • Diapers. Understandable.
  • Diaper bag. See above. Also, the freedom to leave the house with nothing. If we’re smart and headed to a restaurant or coffee shop we grab some scrap paper and crayons, but no more sippy cups, wipes, bottles, change of clothing, etc.
  • Small dishes. I’m selling the set of small cups, plates, bowls and spoons.

Toylandia

Of course, there are things I miss from 0-3. That list would be way too long, such as that little bop she did when she was too little to move around. The squeals of happiness. Playing simple “How Big?!” games. The cuddles. Really, that list is longer.

What about you? Anything you don’t miss or really do miss from the early years?

 

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Brave

On Sunday afternoon I got to see The Hunger Games with a dear friend. It was a treat, really, since, as many parents know, going to a movie is a luxury. And it was a matinee, no less.

When I got home, Miss Red and I took a walk. “I saw a movie about a girl who was brave.” ”

Oh,” she said. “Was it about me?”

 

 

Shapewear

I had a few key meetings today – the kind where I needed to wear something more than business casual. So I put on a dress and a jacket, pearls and heels. Because of said dress, I added a Spanx-y type undergarment to the ensemble. You know, shapewear being a lady’s foundation for clothing. Or something like that.

As I huffed and puffed to sausage my way into them, I was reminded of the times growing up I saw my paternal grandmother enfold herself into girdles. I would see her struggle and think, “man, I am never doing that.” {I also foolishly thought during my high school years that I would never be a double digit size, so my younger self can go take a flying leap.} Fast forward: I was wearing some serious shapewear. And for the rest of the day, each time I needed to pull those darn things on again, I had to think of my grandmother’s wriggling into flesh colored bindings, all while I did the same.

And then I realized that I wouldn’t want Miss Red to see me foolishly tucking myself into something uncomfortable.

By the time I made it home I was done with them. As I changed into yoga clothes I tossed the offending undergarment into the trash. It was a gift to past me, present me and future me.

– MD

Compassion

Last week Miss Red came home in new clothes. “I pooped my pants, mama,” she told me matter-of-factly. The next day I asked her lead preschool teacher if there was any concern. “No, but ask the other teacher for a funny story.” The assistant teacher smiles. When Miss Red was changing her clothes, a boy walked in, saw her clothes and said, “Ew!” Miss Red looked up and said, “what’s the big deal? It’s only poop.”

Yesterday I pick up Miss Red from school. Her teacher told me that she is so impressed with Miss Red lately. There’s a new girl in the class and she had a lot of pee accidents that day. Miss Red went over to her and said, “It’s OK. I had an accident last week. The teacher will help you.”

I was so touched by her compassion for that other girl and her ability to see things as they are – accidents, a moment, nothing more.

At dinner, during our favorite parts of the day portion, I shared that mine was learning how nice she was to the new girl in her class. “I love that you were so compassionate.”

“What does ‘cashun’ mean, mama?”

“It means you see someone else and understand that they might have a hard time and help them out.”

“Oh, yeah!”

– MD

Another Mother Taken for Granted (and Loving It)

Hello, dear readers. I invite you to read the following guest post written by my step-mother. Enjoy! – MD

I just returned from another whirlwind 500 mile round trip in three days to see my parents. They are getting older – late 70’s/early 80’s kind of older – and I like to see them often, every 4-6 weeks. It’s not easy. I always take my son with me. He is three now and a somewhat better car traveler than he was. Though this is not saying much. He does not sleep in the car. We do not have a DVD player for him. He talks. He eats. He asks for things by genre. He wants something to play with. He wants something to read. He wants something to eat. He wants something to draw with. He wants water. Miraculously all of these desires are fulfilled by the pop-up laundry hamper, the cooler, the narrow cardboard box that once held a digital projector and an odd assortment of bags all within my arm’s reach.

I am an old mom. Not older. Old. I was 43 when Henry was born. I tell you this so that you can understand how thankful I am to have the chance to be Henry’s mom.

I grew up in a charmed family situation. My grandparents lived near enough to babysit and visit multiple times during the week. My paternal grandmother actually baked bread and knit mittens for me. I didn’t think about it much when I was younger. Seeing my parents parents so often, I expected them to be there and ready to share the fun. Singing songs with them. Planting flowers. Going for walks. Talking to squirrels. Baking pies. Though I know not everyone saw their grandparents with the frequency I did, it didn’t seem special. It just was. I took it for granted.

Here is where you, the reader, expect me to lament my youthful ways and regret my lack of gratefulness. But I am not regretful. In fact, I want Henry to have the opportunity to take my parents and me for granted. I want him to expect me to be there. To anticipate the drive to my folks’ house. To expect them to dote on him and to play with him and make time for him. I don’t want him to have to be thankful for a parent or a grandparent who is patient and thoughtful. I want him to believe that he deserves these kind of relationships. In fact, my desire for him to take my parents for granted is the reason I make the trek through Chicago more than 20 times a year with a passenger seat filled with 50 cent toys and books from the thrift store.

– NK

Rehearsal

This afternoon I sat in on my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother. It was held at the lovely Century House, and while waiting for people to arrive and during our break I eye-drooled over the gorgeous furniture.

But enough furniture talk. Can I say that attending rehearsal, sitting with the other cast members, and reading my words, is one of the most empowering things I’ve done for myself lately? The fellow cast members are so. cool. Sometimes I get my Madison goggles on and can think that I know almost everyone in this town, but I sat around the table with 10 other people I have never met, heard their amazing stories and cried with them. Yes, we all cried. And we all laughed. Together.

I can’t tell you how great the afternoon was. Well, I’m trying to, and failing. Take my word for it, grab a ticket, and come see for yourself in May.

– MD

Money Matters

I’ve been thinking about how to talk to Miss Red about money. Money was a tense subject in my house growing up and I want her to have a sense of empowerment about budgeting and monetary decisions, because it’s something I still struggle with at 34. My husband and I have a pretty good way of talking about money – sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s tense – but in the end we generally reach the same conclusions. Most of the time.

I’m working on not seeing spending as something to feel guilty about, and doing my best to witness my relationship to money. Geneen Roth, the author of Women, Food and God, wrote a book called Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, where she chronicles how she lost everything to Bernie Madoff, and how her relationship to money is related to food. Interesting, no?

My mother-in-law was able to be part of a cool Sesame Street project, which focused on financial literacy. She even met Elmo and got to stand in Oscar’s trash can! Sesame Street’s model is an interesting one, but I’m wondering what you all do to talk about money with your kids. Do you plan on giving them allowance? Will you ask them to save for college?

– MD

Indoctrination

My husband and I were raised by very politically progressive parents. You know, liberals. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree for both of us, and while I consider us to be open-minded and left-leaning, there are some areas where our parents might out-leftie us. I consider this an advantage, and yet I am always so curious when I meet people who are now socially progressive, yet grew up in conservative homes. What made the change? What do their parents think? How awkward are family holidays? Then again, I like to pepper people with a lot of questions.

So, as someone who has worked at non-profits and now works for a union, my family remains committed to various causes. And we talk about them with Miss Red. Some might call it indoctrination. Whatever you call it – family conversations, belief structures, family plans, goals – I hope she grows up knowing that she can make a difference. I mean, with more than a year of Capitol protests under her belt, how can she not?

My favorite protestors.

What about you? How do you discuss and navigate the waters of social causes and issues in your family?

– MD

About Listen to Your Mother…

Folks, remember when I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother? Well, I got an awesome email last week telling me that I made it as one of the 12 cast members for 2012 Madison show! The email came on the heels of a very difficult day for me, and the news could not have been more perfectly timed.

What does this mean? That I’ll be on stage this Mother’s Day sharing my story. I am excited and nervous. I hope you’ll join me!

– MD

Revelation

My family was downtown last weekend, and walking back to our car we encountered a gaggle of drunk college-aged men. They stepped aside, but as I looked at their backwards hats, weaving walks and heard their asinine conversations, I realized that one day, some guy like that might want to sleep with my daughter.

Oh. Em. Gee.

– MD

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