Category Archives: Uncategorized

The blogging faucet has been turned back on

For the past couple years I haven’t been writing much on my personal blogs.  I have still been working online, creating content for client’s websites and maintaining my own niche blogs, but I have been avoiding hitting the publish button on my personal blogs.  I’m done with all of that.  I’ve still been writing in the interim and maybe one day I’ll decide to back-publish the stuff I simply saved as a draft.  But right now, I’m moving forward and I’d like to invite you to hop over to my personal blog at and subscribe there, please.  I’m sharing personal transformation stories, unschooling and homeschooling helps, parenting insights and other things in my brain.  I hope you enjoy the other website and that your life is increasingly more awesome each day.


Random Russell Updates

OK- I keep telling myself I need to blog more often. Life’s fun.

I think after writing so much nonfiction all the time, and sharing the little funny stories on Facebook all the time, I end up actually blogging less. I have several posts in draft about my older girls, but they don’t want me publishing them, and I do respect that. The entire blog is, after all, supposed to be a family scrapbook of memories anyway.

Last week we took the kids to the pet store for an impromptu field trip. Grace wanted to go see fish, so I’m trying to get some info on a hatchery in the area, but I think they may not give tours. We’ll see.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here that I’m itching to play on a trapeze. Actually- it’s the aerial silks that have me most excited, but it’s considered a trapeze art and I’d love to trapeze, too. If deschooling myself is all about doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do (and the gymnastics school doesn’t offer anything for adults) then I’m going to take a Trapeze class in Seattle. Actually- I want to drive the RV over and take every single class they offer for a week-long intensive, instead of driving back and forth every week. And I know I’m strong enough for this because I can hang by my toes from the Perfect Pullup Bar in my kitchen door frame. Actually- I can do a lot of tricks on the bar, but I want to fly through the air on a Trapeze and get tangled up in 30 feet of silk. My husband was supposed to build me a trapeze earlier in the summer and I’m pretty bitter that it hasn’t happened. So I won’t talk about that anymore.

(Honey, if you’re reading this, I’m bitter, and I’m complaining about it in public. But if you build my effing trapeze, I will delete it and write nice things instead.)

I also don’t think I’ve mentioned our RV here yet. We got a killer deal on a 36 foot RV. Even the repairs we’ve had to make still don’t override the bargain factor. We were planning to drive it down to the Rethinking Everything Conference in Dallas, Texas last month, but that was apparently not in the cards. We’re looking forward to traveling aimlessly all over the US, except that my teenagers have decided that THIS is the year they’ll try public school.

That’s a whole ‘nother nightmare. Leaving the house, driving toward the sun and helping with algebra homework while driving is a bit beyond my pleasure zone. Oral algebra should never occur before coffee. The girls are enjoying themselves, though. I made an ass of myself at my first-ever “Open house” night. Plus, I’m raising funds for extra copies of The House on Mango Street for one of the teachers. So donate, OK. Each book is $5. The teacher likes every student to have their own copy of the novel they’re reading and this year they’re reading The Outsiders, The Giver and The House on Mango Street. She has enough of each book except the one, I ordered one for my daughter, but I know some of the other families won’t do that.

Our garden is ginormous, 6000 square feet with winding pathways and benches, statues, a windmill, a scarecrow, rows of corn, watermelons, pumpkins, tons of tomatoes… Evelyn call the the tomatoes “mato’s” and she knows each variety (Roma, cherry, grapette, Juliette, yellow pear, giant ones…) and she eats them all day long. We also got double harvest on our artichokes. I didn’t expect that, we got about 12 from 3 plants in the middle of the summer and now each plant has 3 more (bigger ones) that we’ll harvest in the next few days probably.

We also have chickens, it’s so cool to have them following us through the garden. They know how to peel open the corn while it’s on the stalk and peck at it to eat. They don’t bother most of the plants, but they do eat grasshoppers and other bugs, which is cool. They grow very fast. They all have names, too. The only one whose name I remember is Gabriella’s, it’s called “Dudley the Dark Lord Muffin.”

I have elaborate plans for decorating the RV, too. Like a steampunk gypsy wagon, in case you wondered. And we’re planning to do an East Coast Christmas, and visit friends and family, plus check out historical sites.

Oh yeah- so one day a strange dog comes around and she’s super sweet, just starts sleeping in our house. We’re amused – this dog just moved in. I mostly just wondered how long it would last. The kids call her Dorothy and she’s super sweet. A few days later, Dorothy is at the edge of the yard, talking to another dog, a very shaggy looking long-haired dog. Dorothy runs off to play and the shaggy dog comes INTO OUR HOUSE and lays down. WTF??? But I notice that this long-haired dog doesn’t have matted fur, she looks clean and brushed. She’s very friendly and sweet. She’s clearly someone’s pet, right? After I decided she was passable, she scampers off with Dorothy and I wonder if we’ll ever see her again.

Later, Brandon tells me, the two dogs come to the garden gate. Dorothy runs off and Shaggy comes and lays her head on his lap. Strange greeting from a dog he’s never met before. Brandon is amused, Dorothy must have said “Go kiss up to him and you can stay.”

So next thing we know we’ve got these 2 dogs who just suddenly move into our house. Dorothy is sweet and all, but Shaggy stole my heart. We took them to the vet to see if they had microchips, we posted “found dog” signs at the gas station and on Craigslist. Shaggy seemed so grateful to be brushed, and followed me from room to room in the house, lying in the doorway. After about a month, Shaggy didn’t come in for dinner and the following morning, Brandon saw her on the side of the road. About a week later, we lost the black rabbit, too.

Dorothy is still with us. We suspect they may have been together when it happened because Dorothy hasn’t really left the house much since that day. She’s been kind of mopey. She’s very sweet and very good with the kids. Plus, she hunts squirrels, which is absolutely fascinating.

Have I mentioned that I’m in school? I’m going to school online. When I first signed up, I wasn’t sure if I wanted Journalism or pre-law. I went with pre-law and learned that if I change right before I graduate, it will extend me another year but I’ll end up graduating with both degrees. See, no tough decisions necessary. So far the courses have been really easy, English, writing, psychology and media literacy. Through the school’s library, I have access to all the latest research journals, which is a lot of fun. In my English course, we were all writing, reading and discussing Education Reform. I was worried that I’d have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about my radical ideas, but I got an A in the class. I published my papers online, Reclaim Liberty in the US by Ending Compulsory Education and Adler’s Defense of a General Education is Lost on Modern Readers. My final paper in Media Literacy will be against regulation of the Internet.

I think that’s all I’m in the mood to write about right now. Have a great week.

1 comment to Random Russell Updates

Death On a Silver Platter

My husband and I were discussing a radio talk show (I don’t even remember the topic) and we were struck by the irony of a caller who said “Kids these days have everything in life handed to them on a silver platter and they always want more.” I really wish I remember what he was responding to, but his outrage, at the modern “generation of spoiled kids” really set me off.

Does this caller, or any of the other people who believe modern kids are “spoiled” really believe that? How do they define spoiled? It’s not really a word I use. To be literal, a human can only technically be spoiled after death, when the body begins to decompose. Truly, decomposition is the root of the term “spoiled” which was probably a reference to sour milk, when it was first used. Children, living children, do not spoil.

However, just to humor him, I’m trying to be fair… does he mean “ruined?” because humans are resilient and can really not be ruined under most normal circumstances. It’s in our nature to bounce back, to survive. Humans have been known to overcome all manner of abuse and neglect and still turn out quite awesome. Beethoven, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey (surely you can think of several more) … An entire generation of ruined children would not look like todays’ kids. More on that later.

His premise is that if you give children too many “things” or even too much happiness or affection, that their lives will be ruined, they will grow up with a false sense of entitlement and expectations and an aversion to working toward their goals.


I’m really rather disgusted with this attitude, which seems pervasive in parents of my 30-something generation, as well as those older than myself.

Are these people unable to distinguish between WANTS and NEEDS? Here’s a little bit of a reality check:

Needs- nutrition, shelter from inclement weather, human affection

Wants- a house in the suburbs, designer jeans, seat covers,a crock pot, insurance, shoes, painted trim, duct tape, toenail polish, pink shoelaces, blonde highlights, an electric razor, matching bra and panties, a new laundry basket, Christmas napkins, fabric softener, peace of mind, twist ties, fleece blankets, mousetraps, dog food, dust ruffles…

I think you catch my drift.

What do these people think life is all about when they say modern kids have “life handed to them on a silver platter?” Because the children they’re speaking of have bodies (and therefore minds) robbed of nutrition, and are sheltered even in nice weather. And what of human affection, when mainstream parenting “experts” defy thousands of years of human evolution by speaking out against co-sleeping and saying that daycare is OK for infants? Or when schools disallow hugging and physical contact between children in the name of “sexual harassment.” I think what modern kids are getting is really “Spiritual Death On a Silver Platter.”

I can’t even think of a time in history when kids have been more starved and neglected than today. They speak of an “obesity epidemic” as if it’s the children giving it to one another. But the reality is, aisles and aisles of dead, processed foods sit on grocery store shelves, devoid of nutrients but high in calories and marketed especially for “busy families” with cartoon characters on the labels and “kid approved” stamps. As if the children really understand that prolonged exposure to non-nutritive foods is DEADLY. How could they know? What, in the history of evolution, would ever cause children to be skeptical of their food source? And the USDA food pyramid? What a joke, it has white bread on the picture. That’s not food.

So what about kids with cell phones, designer jeans and things like that? Why should kids- surrounded by the same advertising messages that cause their parents to piss away their income, be exempt? And in a culture that values consumerism, shopping-til-you-drop and “feeding the economy” – should the children be blamed for wanting? Of course they want, how could they not want? They are TRAINED and CONDITIONED to want. And it’s not because their parents gave them their old cell phone, it’s because 80% of the people in any given town have a cell phone, because there are no pay phones, because families who aren’t together still need to communicate and every night on the news, some kid is kidnapped and because cell phones really are more convenient and why the hell would anyone call a child spoiled just because they’re easy to get in touch with? Are we defined by our possessions? Oh yes, I forgot. In this culture we are, aren’t we? So adults with phones are important or responsible. Adults with iPhones are badass, but kids with cell phones are spoiled? Or are they only spoiled if they happen to want an upgrade? I’ve always had trouble with rules, sorry. And if the child has some remarkable character traits, like maybe they care for their elderly grandmother, they knit sweaters for the homeless, they call their elders Mr and Mrs, or maybe they dislike the taste of coffee, then are they still spoiled by virtue of the jeans they wear and the phone in their pocket?

And nutrition- isn’t it frightening that there’s a multi-billion dollar industry who makes a goal of reducing the number of women breastfeeding. Isn’t it rather disgusting that people view infant feeding as a consumer choice, rather than as a child’s inherent right to grow and develop the way nature intended? Why are chemicals the “popular alternative” and not banked human milk? Many of these kids are doomed from the day they are born, fed lies and toxins designed to turn them into lazy consumers.

Sorry, sir, you can’t convince me that today’s kids are spoiled because I think YOU are the spoiled generation. Yes, you, old man. You got to walk to school and decide, with every step you took, that you were going to make the best of it. Of course, you didn’t have to start attending until you were 6 or so whereas today’s kids are forced when they’re 4 or 5. But developmental psychology is bullshit, right?

When you were walking to school as a little kid, it was an empowering experience, you were excited to be a big kid, you enjoyed the silence and magic misty morning world and the peaceful fresh air and when you arrived, your teacher was allowed to hug you. In fact, so were your friends. Today’s spoiled kids aren’t allowed to hug at school in many towns and teachers can be punished for hugging students, too. Even if you’re not the hugging type, physical affection is a human need, Russian orphans go crazy without it, but American kids are supposed to cope, right?

When you were a kid, you poor old man, you had to work in the fields, right? Modern kids know nothing of hard work, right? Close your eyes and remember the delicious taste of a homegrown tomato, or the blueberries that grew by your swimmin’ hole, and then try sending my daughter a text message telling her what it tastes like. Because modern spoiled kids don’t often get to taste fresh produce and you probably don’t know how to use the latest technology, which means my “spoiled kid” is already a step ahead of you, who probably couldn’t get a job as a cashier because you don’t adapt well to technology.

I don’t mean to insult your generation, Mr Grump. In fact, there are a lot of things you had that modern kids don’t. You were spoiled in ways my children’s generation may never know.

You and your buddies camped out in your tree house while my kids are led to believe that every time they’re not supervised a child molester will hunt them down.

You and your childhood friends got to play until the streetlights came on, while today’s modern kids are too busy with dance class, soccer, scouts, drama, singing, music lessons and karate to bother with playing outside, where it’s dangerous anyway.

You snuck a flashlight into bed to read under the covers while my kids can access their school textbooks from their cell phone, which lights up all by itself.

You got to trick-or-treat, facing the devil himself and living to tel the story while modern kids often drive across town to the one neighborhood where kids still trick-or-treat, if their parents dare to put their soul at risk like that. Otherwise they can dress in costume for the church’s harvest party, but they can’t do both because, coincidentally, “harvest parties” are always on Halloween, now and they involve tons of candy (without the work of walking up and down the street) being given to them by religious people who claim that our bodies are made in the image of God, but it’s OK to fill them with high fructose corn syrup, right?

One trend you might be missing here, Mr Grump, is that your generation owned their own minds. You were not bombarded by media messages designed to trick you into spending your piddly allowance on candy. In fact, the candy you bought with your allowance wasn’t laced with addictive chemicals, either. You, Mr Grump, were allowed to make your own decisions. If you chose to hide in the bushes and smoke with your buddies in 8th grade, you might not even have gotten caught. And if you did, it would have been dealt with by your parents. Today’s kids, however, don’t have that “luxury.” The school’s automated attendance system would send a voice mail and an email to their parents, their grandparents and CPS. The fat man who failed police training that sits watching the security cameras would see them smoking, they’d be called into the school counselor’s office whereby they’d undergo psychiatric testing and their parents might never be notified about the smoking, but may end up facing prosecution for the unexplained absence. But you call them spoiled?

Are you aware that malnutrition can affect the mind? Surely you must know it affects the body, or did you think all of your impotence and digestive problems were from aging? Impotence is the FIRST sign of heart disease, but these days there’s a drug to undo the impotence, so instead of advising men to take better care of their bodies, they’re given a drug. Crazy, isn’t it? They do the same thing to little kids.

Modern spoiled kids are fed “fiber bars” and boxed cereal and frozen sausages with high fructose corn syrup and even hfcs waffles and pop tarts and sugary chocolate breakfast drinks, and then they’re expected to go to school and sit still. Sounds a bit like sabotage, doesn’t it? I bet you ate eggs growing up. Did you know modern grocery-store eggs have only a fraction of the nutrients you’d find in a backyard flock? It’s because the chickens are genetically modified to lay more eggs, then confined and fed food filled with hormones to get the most eggs from each one. The end result is a nutritionally deficient egg with The Frankenstein Factor– mother nature would NEVER EVER create foods like this. Even grocery store “organic eggs” are often made this way.

This is what I mean when I tell you modern kids’ minds and bodies are STARVED. But you insist upon calling them spoiled, even though they can’t possibly function at their most optimum level because their bodies do not have the vitamins and minerals they need in order to thrive. How can they be spoiled when they’re starving and not allowed to think for themselves?

Empty calories, excessive amounts of sugar and salt are just one factor behind modern kids’ obesity. Early schooling is also a culprit. Kids are trained to be inactive. Because we’re in a fear-based culture, parents would rather their kids stay home than play in the neighborhood or- god forbid- explore beyond the neighborhood.

When you were a kid, you got to ride your bicycle after school, and feel the wind in your hair. Modern spoiled kids must wear helmets (even in the summer) because there should be no consequences for reckless behavior, right? Kneepads and elbow pads at the skate park are for safety, but what ever happened to just being careful, and maybe bleeding every now and then? Instead of giving kids safety gear as an intelligent option, it’s made mandatory, because our culture likes to impress upon children how very stupid and fragile they are, every step of the way. We can’t trust kids to want to ensure their own safety by being careful. Heck, those stupid kids probably want to get hurt, right? We can’t expect them to voluntarily wear a helmet when they’re doing a new stunt, so we force them to wear it at all times. Did you wish for a helmet when you were a child, is that why you’re calling them spoiled? Or did you, like I, think they were the stupidest thing in the world when you first saw them?

When you were a smaller grump, did you enjoy the feel of sunshine on your back in the summer, or wind in your face in the winter. Even a little? Or sledding with your friends on a snow day or lying in the grass in the summer, watching the clouds change shape. Did you ever sleep under the stars, or have to close your window in the middle of the night because the rain woke you up? Shelter is a good thing, But being trapped indoors all the time is not. It’s a lot like prison. Are you aware that in a recent survey, less than 1% of 6th graders had ever even been on a camping trip? How can you expect a child to be grateful for having a roof over their head when deep inside, part of their soul is dying to just be free for a little while?

I can not imagine how anyone would think modern kids are spoiled, when in every possible way, mainstream culture seeks to destroy their minds and bodies. The real and natural world that humans have evolved to live in just doesn’t exist for American kids, whose government schools are training them to be the inventors, marketers and primary consumers of a world of products that are constructed in third world countrieswhere, generations from now, those kids won’t know how freeing it was for their grandparents to get water from the well or run around barefoot. But they sure will be grateful for their factory job, their free education and American style health care, right?

Give me a break, old man. Modern kids have struggles that you can’t comprehend. Their basic needs are ignored while they’re trained to be consumers, and you sit back and criticize them for wanting their phone upgraded.

And for just one more perspective, here’s Rose…

4 comments to Death On a Silver Platter

I am that mom, too

Apparently Flo Gascon lets her kids eat ice cream for breakfast and Ronnie Maier (another unschooling genius mom) was inspired to host a blog carnival so she wouldn’t feel like such a loser so all us yes-sayers could shout it from the rooftops (or… our mommy blogs, as the case may be)

So before you announce that I’m crazy (as if I haven’t already confessed to that) check out the people commenting here because they’re THAT MOM (or Dad, maybe) too.

OK- I’m the mom that lets her 2 yr old eat a bowl of candied walnuts and rolaids, which she calls “drugs,” by the way.

cereal made from tums and candied walnuts

The breakfast of champions
I’m the mom that photographs her daughter’s bloody nose. In my defense, she WANTED pictures.
bloody nose
I’m the mom that lets her kids kiss poultry
kissing chickens
I’m the mom that lets her kids play with fire. That’s right, the kids like to light birthday candles and hold them until they burn down. They drip hot wax on the table and their skin and peel it off and mold it into other shapes and play chicken to see who can let it burn down farthest. Why not?
kids play with fire
I’m the mom that lets her kids draw on their bodies with sharpie markers. in this photo, those aren’t serpents of Wal-mart, that’s actually the mark of the dark lord- that’s right, my kids are death eaters (I’m the mom that lets them read that evil literature) I do realize permanent markers might be toxic, but I’m also that mom that grows organic veggies and doesn’t buy a lot of processed foods, so I think we have some wiggle room in the carcinogen department. I also clean with natural things instead of chemicals, so I’m sure that helps, too.

I’m that mom who lets her kids talk to strangers. Terrible, I know. I have this backwards socialization theory that states “Everyone is a stranger until you know them” and that “just because someone is a stranger, it doesn’t mean they’re bad” and that MAYBE kids are smart enough to know if someone is creepy or not and if no one ever talked to strangers the world would be a pretty boring place. In fact, everyone I know was a stranger at some point in time. But what do I know?

I’m that mom who lets her 2 yr old sit at the top of a bridge. Honestly, it was horrifying. And we got down right away. We spent some more time climbing all over the bridge, but the kid knew it wasn’t a good idea and couldn’t wait to get off of the ledge. My only regret is that I didn’t sit taller. Yeah- I’m that mom.

I’m that mom who takes the kids to the playground after dark. And plays with them instead of supervising them. Sunshine is for suckers.

I’m that mom who spends WAY TOO MUCH on art supplies. So shoot me.

I’m that mom who lets her 2 yr old put on lipstick, and wear it in public. she felt like a princess.

I’m that mom who pulled over so my teenagers could take their photo with the Sealy mattress sheep (but a non disclosure agreement prevents me from posting their photos on this blog) 

I’m the mom that sat in a parking lot so my 13 yr old could catch a rabbit and bring it home as a pet

I’m the mom (and I’m not the only one, apparently) who lets the kids skate in the house, mattress surf down the stairs, build tents in the living room, use the roof of the car as a stage for impromptu performances, stay up until whatever time they feel like going to sleep…

Yeah, that’s me.

And I’m in good company, too

July 27th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | 10 comments

10 comments to I am that mom, too

  • LOL! The funniest thing I’ve read all day. You ROCK!

  • Oooh, we haven’t mattress surfed the stairs in a long time. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I’ve been nodding along to all of these blog entries, but yours was more than most. Art supply overload? Markers on skin? Teaching my child *how* to talk to strangers? Playing with fire? Check. Check. Check. And check.

    Loved this!

  • Aw the lipsticked princess… I luv this post!

  • Skating in the house – check. Wiggle room on toxics- check. Playing at the park – check. Kids in makeup – check… You’re definitely not the only one. If only we could all move to one town, or state, and take it over.

  • Awesome! I’m moving more towards being THAT mom.

  • i am that mom who lets her kid rip up or color on books when she wants to. afterall, the books belong to my kid, not me. if she rips them up and tape won’t fix it and she is sad them maybe she will remember that next time. but really, she has never ripped a book so badly that we couldn’t repair it unless she was totally over it. and that has only happened 3 or 4 times. and then we had some cool collage material. but i still remember my good friend’s face when we were car pooling and i put my daughter in next to hers and her daughter had a pad and crayon and i knew mine would want to draw, too, but i had no pad or crayon so i grabbed a book (of my daughter’s) and a pen and handed it to her. priceless!

    i am there with you with most of the above stuff. except the rolaids, and the bridge. but i only have one kid who is not quite 3 so give me some time ;)

  • Shoot! One of these days my daughters sharpie tattoo art will become a permanent tattoo on me!

    Another one of THOSE moms :-)

  • So great! Funny, I am trying to be “that Mom”. I have spent the past 2 weeks trying to let my kids do things I wouldn’t normally do. One of these things was letting my 6 yr old jump of an 8-10 foot ledge into the river. I was terrified, but we were both so jazzed after she did it. I have been letting my kids stay up later and ride their bikes in the rain (which resulted in a scary accident last night, but that’s life right)! thanks for sharing this!

Stupid ugly little baby


Baby Madelyn snoozing in theMaya Wrap Baby Sling

Sounds terrible, right?

When I was pregnant with Madelyn, I was working 50-60 hours a week at a Chinese restaurant. I was one of two people who were not Chinese. Maria was the other. She was 21 years old, the youngest of 19 children and still lived at home, very much “babied” by her entire family. She had a LOT of questions about sex, as if her family had never told her how it worked. She was a sweet girl, very kind hearted and helpful.

About a year after I left the restaurant, I ran into Maria at the grocery store. Boy was I surprised to see that she was holding a little teeny pink bundle. Apparently she was taken into the ER for stomach cramps and came home with a baby. A beautiful little Mexican baby with amber skin, the blackest hair and 18 aunts and uncles who were probably very surprised by Maria’s situation.

We chatted for a little bit, she loved the baby and was so excited to be a mother. Her family was helping her and taking care of her. She wasn’t planning to go back to work for a few more months.

Imagine my surprise when she leaned into her little baby’s face and said “Who’s mamma’s stupid little baby?” HUH? You can’t call a baby stupid, I was thinking. The baby giggled, like all 4 month olds do when you raise your pitch and speak directly at them. Then, Maria said “Are you mommy’s ugly little baby?”

Stunned, we finished the conversation and I moved on, so very tripped out by the entire interaction.

I know babies don’t KNOW what we’re saying. I know we could be reciting The Raven or reading them The Wall Street Journal and they’d be just as happy as they’d be if we read nursery rhymes or something else. But it never occurred to me to actually talk smack to my baby like that.

I spent a lot of time thinking about it and decided that I guess I do the same thing. When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to say “shut up.” My mom found it terribly offensive and expected us to ASK one another to be quiet. In my house, though, we do say shut up. It’s not always an angry phrase, sometimes it means “you’re kidding, right?” and other times it means “no way” and other times it really does mean “be quiet, dammit” when we’re not feeling kind enough to say please. It happens.

That’s the whole point. It doesn’t matter WHAT we say, it matters what our intentions are.

My life experience has taught me that “stupid & ugly” are insults. Until I met Maria’s baby, I’d never heard those words used with a different intention, so I only knew one “meaning.” Hearing them used with a different intention was really confusing.

I thought about this story a lot as I was learning about the power of intention. When we say certain things to our children, they understand our intentions sometimes better than we realize. Have you ever said “Maybe” and your kids roll their eyes because they KNEW you meant “no” or jump for joy because they know you meant “yes.”

Kids have a lot to deal with when they’re learning how to communicate. Our voices, intentions and words don’t always match up. And each adult in a child’s life will have a different way of communicating. It’s an important skill that simply CAN NOT BE TAUGHT. Understanding this has made communicating with toddlers and small children so much easier for me, but it’s made me doubly aware of how precious and fragile these years are and how important it is that they’re allowed to participate in conversations all day long.

I’m not about to tell my children they’re stupid or ugly. However, I’ve considered very deeply that when Maria’s daughter gets older she’ll probably be very confused, but not insulted if words stupid and ugly are ever hurled at her in anger. But I don’t think it will affect her self-esteem, because she knows her mom’s intentions weren’t to insult her.

So what about you. Do you say anything in your house that could be misinterpreted if people didn’t “feel” your intentions?

July 21st, 2010 | Category: A girl’s gotta have friends | 5 comments

5 comments to Stupid ugly little baby

  • your sister

    Name calling…..we do it all the time. Sometimes it’s silly names, sometimes “mean” names like dummy or idiot. Matt and I always laughingly call each other those names when we are joking around or trying to make light of a stupid situation.

    Funny that you should have this post today because something along these lines happened today.

    We saw one of those crazy people who have their bikes all decked out with crazy stuff and bags (you know the ones I mean!) and it is obvious this is all they own in the world. Well, the guy had a long white beard and Mason says “That guy looks like Santa Clause, what an idiot!” and then starts busting up. I asked him if he knew what an idiot was and he said “A really cool funny person?” I about lost it laughing, then explained that most people don’t KNOW that it means that, everyone else is silly and thinks it means something mean so he should not say it to people because it might hurt their feelings. “Are you an idiot Mom?” My reply? “Yup, I sure am”

  • we are pretty loose with our language around here. when i hear my toddler repeat ‘choice’ words (that she heard me say in traffic, perhapse) i either let it slide or laugh a little to myself. my husband is even worse. we both crack up when we hear her in the other room practicing her most venoment, “damn it!! god damn it!! jesus christ!” she got that mostly from my grandfather whom we had the fortunate experience to live with for 6 months ;)

    we don’t mind if she lets off a little steam by cursing in the other room. she is almost 3.

  • Oddly we have very strict rules about name calling, even going as far as to no allow calling oneself names. My daughter thinks horrible things about that use of the rule, but so far hasn’t been able to express that outrage because of the rule. I do however say horrible things to them in great humor. “Don’t make me beat you in public!” usually gets both a knowing smile and a change in behavior from them. My son thinks it’s hilarious. They’ve never been beaten, but they know this means I’m not happy with their “company manners,” as it were, and the absurdity of their pacifist mommy beating anyone usually brings enough giggle to distract them from a power struggle. I also stick my tongue out, a bad habit I got from my grandmother. In some families it’s the height of rudeness, to me it’s just a playful retort, a non-verbal “so there!” It’s actually become part of my secret handshake with my daughter. Public floggings are one thing, but name-calling is right out around here.

  • mat

    my oldest son was about 10 1/2 years old when our daughter was born. he would do the same thing as maria in the article. lovingly hold her in his arms and say “aww…you’re so stupid…yes you are…aww…what an ugly little baby…” all in a sweet baby talk voice while smiling. she just loved the fact that he was holding her, talking to her, and making eye contact. she could care less “what” he was saying. he just thought it was funny to shock his friends by talking to her that way. she is now almost 7 yrs. old, well-adjusted, has great self-esteem, and a great relationship with her now 18 yr. old brother. he still affectionetly calls her “stupid” occasionally, but she knows he’s just teasing and says “whatever idiot!”.

  • Willie

    I think this is also very cultural. The dutch use many fecal related words as terms of endearments. Don’t ask me why. I didn’t realize this till I started referring to my daughter as ‘my stinker’: here is this bundle of sweetness that can produce bigger and better smells than any adult I know. To me it seemed appropriate but I’ve had a lot of splaining to do since then.

un PE class

OK, my theory is that humans are designed to move, a lot and that’s all we really need to do for fitness. Babies are in constant motion, flailing around until they realize they can turn over, then flailing around until they figure out how to propel themselves and after a while they grow into little kids that constantly zip around simply for the joy of zipping around. It’s a good thing. They always come back, especially when you feed them.

I’m always amazed that people don’t connect the rise in obesity among children to the fact that more and more of them are spending their days confined in small spaces and eating things that aren’t really food. I’m also constantly amazed at the amount of people who allow their small children to be drugged into compliance, just for the privilege of participating in things like “all day kindergarten.”

But that’s beside the point, right? I don’t really know anything about obesity and kids because mine don’t sit still long enough to eat a full meal, so I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned about the idea of taking a body that’s supposed to be in near constant motion and training it to subsist on an hour of motion a day. And not just ANY hour of motion, an hour of specific motion, directed by another person, and injected with competition and skills assessments.

Is there a connection between the fact that busy active kids are trained to sit still in school & grow up to be adults who sit still at work, then go to the gym for an hour, replicating PE class?

I always wondered exactly WHAT was “educational” about being told to play volleyball with the other kids in my class, or doing 100 jumping jacks in 8th grade (I think the teacher was a pervert) or running through any other series of specific exercises simply designed to make us sweat and get our blood pumping, then being forced to sit still for the rest of the day.

broken-down war memorial, or graduated balance-beam for my 2 yr old?

Broken-down war memorial, or graduated balance-beam for my 2 yr old?
And don’t even get me started on the lack of dignity involved in the high school PE showers. I mean, come ON- even the WORST gym or adult fitness center has a few private showers available, y’know. 

Anyway. Shouldn’t physical education actually be something that results in learning to appreciate the wonder that is our bones and muscles working together? Can it really be accomplished in a group setting? What if high school had worked like the gym does, with yoga, spinning, water aerobics and other courses students could CHOOSE and change at will, in order to get the workout they WANT and NEED without the stupid pretense of “physical education” that’s planned out in the mind of a teacher who doesn’t live in your body or mind? Fitness should be personalized. That’s why the rich and famous choose personal trainers over Richard Simmons Videos (except Sweatin’ to the Oldies is so much fun)

Maddy, working her legs, arms and abs

Maddy, working her legs, arms and abs
Today, when I take my kids to the park, I PLAY. I have to, it’s part of my “Let’s not get depressed again, you idiot” plan of action. And it’s extremely fun. I absolutely love hanging from the monkey bars and doing flips. I’ve scoped out all the best (highest) swingsets in town and I can push the merry go round faster than any of my kids. I can also do the splits in all 3 directions and one day I will beat my 9 year old in consecutive cartwheels. She’s teaching me how to do walkovers, too. I have a friend with a trampoline and whenever the kids are done playing on it, I climb up and jump until I get sick of it. I don’t count them, I don’t time myself and no one is telling me to jump differently. All that stuff isn’t necessary for fitness. I’m in motion and I know what feels good. I know what makes me sweat, I know what makes my muscles work. I can FEEL IT. Instead of paying attention to someone outside of me who is “teaching me” about fitness, I’m just doing it. Isn’t that what Nike said? (after it yelled at the little Asian kids to hurry up) 

Are we trained by PE class to be oblivious to our own inner workings? A personal trainer can help you with specific goals, but are they always necessary? My favorite routine is 20-30 minutes on the swings, followed by deep stretching and THEN flips on and off the bars. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that that jives with what the pro aerialists recommend.

Why all the talk about aerialists? When I was a kid, I wanted to take gymnastics. I’ve always been flexible. In fact, I stayed limber throughout my pregnancies, doing the splits just to freak people out. Anyway, when I was 12 I wanted to take gymnastics. I wanted it so badly that I made my parents come in for an appointment at the gymnastics school to enroll me in classes. They said no The following month, my 2 yr old brother started karate classes. Yeah, I was pissed.

I can’t change the past, but nothing is stopping me from doing it now.


me, doing sit-ups, MY WAY (no spine-on-the-ground pain)

me, doing sit-ups, MY WAY (no spine-on-the-ground pain)

I think the idea of institutionalized physical education for small children is really kinda evil. Look at any playground full of kindergarteners and they KNOW how to move. They’re climbing, they’re running, they’re jumping and totally having a blast. In kindergarten, PE kids learn the rules to different sports games and that’s all fine and dandy, but don’t call it “PE” call it what it is, games, competition, exercise or something else. At 5 years old, they know their limits. I’m sure the rate of muscle & bone injuries goes up with age, because kindergarteners are perfectly capable of managing their own physical activities.

I’m often amazed at the park to see moms NOT playing. At what age do people LOSE the ability to occupy themselves on the playground? Oh wait— I know the answer to this one. PE class stole that desire, training people to exercise during a specific hour each day and to sit still the rest of the day. Recess stole that desire with 250 kids on a playground with 2 slides and 4 swings.

I wonder if there’s a personal trainer out there who recommends people climb trees, run up a hill as fast as they can and roll down. I wonder if there’s one who specializes in helping me remember how to do really fast flips on the bars. I wonder if there’s one out there who really knows that swinging works your arms, abs AND legs. I wonder if there’s a personal trainer out there who says “don’t count the reps, just play.”

I’m always thinking of new business ideas, and one that I’ve come back to several times is a gigantic playground.

Remember when you were a kid and the slide was five times as tall as you. Remember how it felt to climb that ladder, your heart racing faster and faster as you got to the top, the inner debate about whether to turn around or keep going, until you turned around and freaked out about how high it was. The feeling of letting go, the sliding down and the bliss of reaching the bottom intact and wanting to do it again? Adults need this just as much as kids. How often do you feel that as an adult?

Remember when you were a kid and you learned how to jump from the swing; slowing it down just enough to get the courage to leap off and hoping you wouldn’t fall on your ass when you landed? Then you’d look around to see who witnessed your jump?

Me & my 9 yr old seeing who can hang upside-down the longest

Me & my 9 yr old seeing who can hang upside-down the longest
Remember climbing on the monkey bars, to the top of the dome, then squeezing through the triangle to hang upside down or pretending to be a monkey or gymnast on the bars? 

As an adult who plays on the playground, I have to say that it’s not nearly the same kind of fun now as it was when I was a kid because all the equipment has shrunk. I can stand under the dome of the monkey bars and touch the top. I know, it sucks. I used to think it was cool when my parents could reach the top, now I realize it’s NOT COOL AT ALL.

Swinging with my kids

Swinging with my kids
But back to this wild business idea I had… Someone should build a gigantic, grown-up sized playground, like in an airplane hangar, and have giant tubes we can crawl through and slides that are 30 feet tall and monkey bars we can’t reach the top of and things like that. 

It would be a great business because they can sell memberships just like the regular gym but there’s never rain on the slide, which is never scorching hot from the sun. Being indoors, they can cater to adults’ pansy-ass need for climate control and seasonal allergies.

It can accommodate both organized and spontaneous games of kickball, volleyball, basketball and tether ball.

It would have a giant tree with a tire swing big enough for 4 adults to sit on. And a giant sit-n-spin, like the teacups at Disneyland.

It would have a smoothie bar where we can get fresh organic juices and smoothies, with or without kelp, blue-green algae, brewers yeast, flax seed oil or whatever else grown-ups like to spike their smoothies with.

It would have a heat-sensor camera photo booth so you could SEE which muscles you worked and personal trainers on hand to drool at because they often have the best bodies challenge you to climb higher, see if you can pull yourself up from THIS position and point out that your love handles are shrinking.

Speakers would pipe in the sound of little kids laughing and playing, because when I go to the park with my kids in the evening, sometimes the working parents act like they’ve never heard that sound before, which is the most joyous and free kind of noise on the planet (unless it’s coming from my kitchen at 2am)

Yeah- so this magical giant playground would be called “The Playground” and in the commercial, two big guys in suits would be in a heated boardroom discussion when one looks to the other and says “Meet me on the playground after work” and in the next scene, they’re competing to see who can swing highest, or even boxing in a ring with one another while the secretaries cheer them on.

So there ya go. If you decide to build this business, I think I deserve a free membership. Until then, I’ll just play with my kids on the equipment that’s not quite my size. Did I mention that my husband is building me a 30 foot trapeze unit, so I can practice real aerial acrobatics. I’ll keep you posted on that one :)

Lynx Magic Aerial Silk Performer

Laura Morgan, Aerial Silk Performer

May 18th, 2010 | Category: GabriellaUnschoolingmom-sanity | 4 comments

4 comments to un PE class

  • I think you’re on a winner with that business idea! Quick, do it before someone else scoops it up!!

    My problem, which I’m trying to get over, is self consciousness. Oh no, what if people see me on the swing! I’ll look silly if I do that. I’m really trying to conquer it but its had a lot of years to get in there..

  • Administrator

    Awww- JUST DO IT, it’s so much fun. Try to switch it around in your head. Next time you’re standing around watching the kids play, imagine you’re listening to the thoughts of someone on the other side of the park saying “Why is she just standing there, why isn’t she playing? She looks so silly…” It’s so worth it, and it feels SO GOOD.

    And the business idea… between 6 kids, law school (which starts in less than 2 months) and working from home, I think I’d rather give the idea away :) You’re more than welcome to do it, I wish someone would.

  • Becca

    i knew you’d feel better once you played again. You’re still me hero. i can’t wait to see pictures of you on your trapeze, that is so cool. i want one. We’ll totally have to get together if you ever come out this way, i hope you stay in touch.

  • Melissa

    I love playing on the swings with my girls! Imagine the day when you see adults milling around the park swing set because they want a turn too. Ha!

    Also, it’s nice reading a blog about a mom hs’ing (us’ing?) her girls. I have 3 girls learning at home and find it has it’s own unique issues and joys.

Forts, Butter, Cookies, My Memoir and Shabbat

This is a flashback post, from Dec 2008

So my morning coffee is interrupted by …”She said I can’t come into her fort.” So I responded by saying “that fort is not more important than your sister and if that fort is going to be in my living room, then all of my children are welcome to play in it. How cool you are to have made a fort that everyone wants to play in. I have decorated every room in this house, and she chose your area to play in, what a compliment. You must be an excellent decorator.” So she marches over to the fort and says “You’re lucky mom loves you. Otherwise she’d never let you play in here, she says I decorate better than she does and she doesn’t want you messing it up.” I almost snapped at her for lying, but there was peace, so I stopped. Is that wrong?

Today we went to Fred Meyer to do some grocery shopping. I had some coupons that allowed me to get butter for 1.25 a pound, quite a bargain. We go through a lot of butter, like 5 pounds a week. We don’t use margarine or anything like that, just butter, and a lot of it. I might have mentioned that my 3 yr old likes to eat it like a banana. She has her very own stick of butter in her special spot in the fridge, so we don’t find teethmarks in “our” butter. She loves it when we run out and I ask her permission to use her butter. She always apologizes for the teethmarks. Sometimes she uses a spoon.

Anyways, we’re baking Christmas cookies for the neighbors. I don’t know why the cookies we bake them at Christmas are any different than the cookies that Meagan tends to bring them all year long, except these will have a card and a red ribbon yarn on them. And I guess, technically they’re “holiday cookies” because even though the town is overwhelmingly Christian, we wouldn’t want to alienate any Jewish or other non-Christmas-observing people by saying Merry Christmas especially because we’re not really religious even though my husband was raised Jewish and we’ve had some of the kids officially named in Hebrew.

That said, I also got an electronic singing menorah. I stopped off at Goodwill for cool plates to put our Cookies on, and they had this toy. I’m reading “A year of living Biblically” by AJ Jacobs. I don’t really know what that has to do with this silly menorah toy. Except that I like the idea of deciding to do something interesting for a year, and then write a memoir about it as you’re living it. it’s like blogging, except, like, you get paid for real and you might meet Oprah. So I’ve been thinking of Memoirs I could plan to write, and I think I should find a publisher for them.

“A Year in Hawaii With 6 daughters”
or how about “European Travel With 6 Daughters” or even “The Screaming Never Ends; My Life With 6 Daughters” or “1 Load of Pink Laundry Every Day for 30 Years; My Life With 6 Daughters” or how about “Is Everyone Wearing Panties? My Life with Six Daughters”

I’m leaning toward the Hawaii or Europe one. Hmmm, we have Russian roots, maybe “Our Pilgrimage to the Homeland With 6 Daughters” Maybe our girls could fall in love with boys from a culture that still gives us presents in exchange for their hand in marriage. We should learn how to milk goats.

1 comment to Forts, Butter, Cookies, My Memoir and Shabbat

What is obvious? (About war)

Apparently nothing. I read a statistic about soldiers committing suicide. Apparently more of them are killing themselves than are being killed in battle.

To me, it was obvious that this indicates that no matter what we’re taught, or what we think we believe, that killing our own (war) is NOT natural, in fact it’s so deeply and disturbingly WRONG that there’s no way that even the most devious of military “training” (brainwashing) can convince a human to find it agreeable to kill another human.

Apparently other people thought it indicated that the soldiers need more mental help.


Not an end to war and killing for political reasons?

The soldiers are somehow in need of professional mental care, in order to help them be OK with the fact that they’re being trained to kill other humans.

I think that would be a horrible abuse of professional psychiatry’s commitment to “do no harm.” Why, then wouldn’t we go counsel murderers in prisons so that they can go on to live normal lives?

Killing is wrong- it’s natural and normal to be disturbed and bothered by it.

How about professional mental help for the people who are doing the training. Or the people who think war is OK. Or how about the kids who have no other way to fund their college education, so they pimp themselves out to the government, just praying to God that they don’t get sent soewhere dangerous and then can’t live with the fact that they killed someone.

Because killing people is WRONG.

Because murder is WRONG.

Because humans are humans and it’s not mental illness that these poor soldiers are suffering from, it’s because they can’t figure out how to continue looking themselves in the mirror each day, knowing what they did back there.

Because no matter how many people say “Thanks for serving our country” they know the real truth. They were sent overseas to murder people’s children. people’s brothers. people’s fathers.
hero's burden
This is America. How can we put our sons through this? How can people live with this? How can we, as a culture, simultaneously say “all life has value” and then send them over to kill people? How can a nation of people who claim to be following Jesus’ footsteps decide that this is OK? I don’t recall hearing of Jesus killing anyone.

War is wrong. It’s disgusting and wrong.

Soldiers who kill themselves aren’t mentally ill.

Killing people isn’t good for your sanity.

Training people to kill is just as wrong as killing.

Supporting war is wrong.

Supporting HUMANS is right.

The best way to support the young men & women who put on those uniforms in order to pay their college bill is to support peace. peace. peace. peace. And federal student aid that’s not contingent on the armed forces.

The first act of war is defense.

War does not lead to peace.

Killing your opponent does not make you a winner.

This is life. we’re here to live.

A soldier who feels wrong about this, instead of killing themselves, needs to acknowledge that this feels wrong, and instead of becoming ANOTHER casualty of the evil, devote their lives to peace. Don’t go looking for mental help drugs. No drug will make you feel alive.

Centre for research on Globalization A Sign of Empire Pathology
More US military personnel have taken their OWN lives than have died in action

Edmonton Journal – Suicide cause of more military deaths than battle
Study of death records flags key areas for prevention, such as alcohol abuse, smoking

and finally (I love The Sun)

The Sun’s Like Wandering Ghosts Edward Tick on How the US Fails its Returning Soldiers

Is worth a read, too. Edward tick helps soldiers restructure the way they see themselves and the situation, and refuses to give in to the notion that PTSD is a disorder and instead, acknowledges that it’s a healthy coping mechanism.

He also says “I believe, though, that if a veteran makes the difficult inner pilgrimage to discover the sources of the suffering, and works hard to give meaning to the wounding, and finds ways to reconcile and forgive, then healing is possible.”

“Difficult inner pilgrimages” aren’t really encouraged much around these parts, Gomer. This is America. Have an Ambien, instead..

His key to recovery is FORGIVENESS. Can’t buy that in a bottle. Forgive the American public for the lynch-mobs that occur whenever Fox News says that terrorists are responsible for something. Forgive the lawmakers and others who decide to send you to the warzone, after the obligatory handshake with a politician. Forgive- Forgive- and finally, forgive yourself for doing what you felt you needed to do at the time.

AND- here is the kicker. This Edward Tick is opposed to war. I wonder why.

Perhaps this is part of the reason… “We were told to just shoot people.”

And if only ONE thing from this entire post stands out in your mind from here on out, let it be this wisdom from Andrea Gibson, thank goodness for YouTube:


1 comment to What is obvious? (About war)

Daily Things-To-Do (for my 2 yr old)

Six or seven times this week I’ve heard the term “terrible two’s” and honestly, I thought it was gone; dead, like the notion that it was OK to leave infants to cry alone in a crib and that women were less intelligent than men. I haven’t ever experienced a terrible two year old. Ever. Two has developmental distinctions from other ages and perhaps it’s the exploring, investigating and vocalizing that parents have a hard time dealing with. It’s always been one of my favorite ages, though, even when I was a mean mommy.

Madelyn, at 2 yrs old

Madelyn, at 2 yrs old
Personally, the developmental stage I’ve most often called “terrible” occurs around age 4, but since we’ve learned so much about peaceful parenting my current 4 yr old really doesn’t seem terrible. Translation- I have learned to be a better mom, our family is more sensitive to the kids’ needs, so I’m not having a “terrible” time understanding her, like I did with my older children. 

I have full faith that the ease with which we’ve navigated the teen years thus far is also credited to a developmental understanding and open, honest communication. Genetically and historically, there’s absolutely no backup for the idea that any specific “age” in childhood be any more “difficult” than any other. Parenting is a relationship, not a set of hurdles.

Anyway- I find 2 yr olds amusing and amazing, here’s a list of things my 2 yr old has done today (in order)

1-wake up & tickle my neck saying “you want yours coffee mama, come on yets make yours coffee now, time get up”

2- “Nooooooooo” upon seeing me turn over & try to steal a few more minutes of sleep “It’s sun shining mommy, geeettt uuuupppp ppllleeassee”

3- “gankgoo” which is her word for thank you because I just couldn’t resist her saying please to me, I don’t want to teach her that good manners don’t work, so in our house, please really IS a magic word. I’ve noticed that if I ignore my kids when they’re two they become demanding and repetitive. Do you know any kids like that?

4- We arrive in the kitchen (she’s pulling me by the hand) and she gives me step-by-step instructions for making the coffee. I’ve noticed that I can be lazier if I keep her talking, so I just ask “What do I do next?” and she enjoys telling me. If her instructions are vague or worded wrong, I smile & enact a literal translation which simultaneously frustrates & amuses her. We make it as far as putting the cup on the counter when she says “You do the rest yo-self now, I need go potty” I offer to help & she yells “NO- I do myself, I big girl”

2 year old Grace

2 year old Grace
5- She yells from the bathroom that she needs help. Removing the TP from the roll is hard for her, she hasn’t quite figured out how to rip it off. I often leave a few squares removed for her, but today there were none. I didn’t detect any shame at having rejected help, then needing it. I pondered for a while if that was a natural feeling, or if we’re taught to feel bad asking for help. I return to the kitchen. and hear her washing her hands and flushing the potty 

6- I’m playing farmville on facebookmaintaining online relationships with family and friends all over the world and she climbs up on my bed with my wallet. It’s a daily ritual of hers, to remove the contents, separate all the coins, cards and receipts into three stacks and count everything. Today, I notice, she has a few different stacks of coins. it looks like nickels and dimes are in one stack, there’s another stack for pennies and another for quarters. She’s counting everything. She counts 18 pennies, 7 nickel/dimes and 18 quarters (even though there’s only 12 there) After she’s done counting, she puts everything back very carefully and puts it back into my purse.

7- After disappearing for about 45 minutes, my FaceBook time is over and she wants something to eat. She heads into the kitchen to see what everyone else is eating. At one end of the table, there’s a jelly sandwich, then leftover corned beef & cabbage, then plain noodles with butter. After discussing their food with each sister, she decides upon the plain noodles. The other girls and I are amused at the way she “works a room” making eye contact with everyone, then having a brief conversation “Whatchoos eating?” and “It’s yummy?” and “Oh, yous make it for you?” and “Is any yeft for me?” and, when offered a bowl of it, replies “No gankyou, maybe yater, OK- I talk to Maddy now” I think the girls decided to eat slower, so that they could have a turn discussing their food with her. When she decides upon the noodles (I had a hunch) I put them in front of her high chair and she ravished me with hugs and kisses and “thank-you’s” and proceeded to eat with her sisters while I took a shower.

It’s only 9am. I can’t really record her entire day’s worth of activities, but here are a few other things she’s probably got on the agenda:

Changing her clothes after she’s done eating. She changes her clothes several times a day because whenever she spills the slightest thing on them, it bothers her. Who am I to thwart a child’s preference for being clean? I just make sure that her laundry is always done because she usually knows EXACTLY what she wants to wear. The funny thing is, she calls it all “jammies.”

Coloring- she likes to draw pictures. She prefers a fresh sheet of computer paper and a variety of crayons, colored pencils and pens. She makes several scribbly shapes and then rolls it up & folds it in half. Then, she comes to me to tell me what’s in her picture. It usually takes her longer to interpret her artwork then it takes to actually draw it. When she’s done telling me about it, I ask her if she’s done coloring. The answer is usually no and she runs away to color the back of the page. (lather, rinse, repeat)

Going on a hunt- this is what they call it when Grace (4) draws a map and they wander around the house on an imaginary search for something (usually saving a Princess)- this map apparently leads them through every room in the house and makes them collect things from one room and bring them to the next. later when we clean up, I will hear the details from both of them, in case I missed them the first time.

“Helping” me in the yard. When we moved into this house, part of the deal was that it was filled with shit- for lack of a better term. Room after room the carpet was covered in 30 years of cat and dog pee. the previous resident left all kinds of crap behind- furniture, broken appliances, and garbage. We were in a hurry to move in & the guys that were helping us hauled it all to a back corner of the yard and every week I spend a few hours filling up our dumpster to get rid of it all. When I work in the yard, I’m either getting rid of the crap or I’m maintaining our vegetable garden. She likes to “help,” either way. while we’re outside, we discuss the plants and animals we see. it probably lasts about an hour a day.

A bath, after she’s played outside in the afternoon. She enjoys looking at worms and bugs, she’ll pick up a rock to LOOK at the roly-poly bugs underneath, but she doesn’t like touching them. Every time she comes in in the afternoon, she wants to wash her hands and then her feet. When she discovers that she’s mostly wet and cold, she decides to take a bath.

SUGAR- she tends to want a sweet snack after her bath. Usually fruit will do, but if we happen to have other sugars in the house she likes those, too She went through about a week where all she wanted was a spoonful of plain white sugar. that was hard for me, but it passed quickly, thank goodness. Today she’ll probably eat grapes and a spoonful of strawberry jelly.

Unload the dishwasher- She really thinks this is her job. I try to load it while she’s in the tub. It’s not because I want to rob her of hot water, it’s just because she likes to climb inside of it and I kind of enjoy loading it, I listen to my iPod and rock out, trying to invoke a feeling of bliss to be mentally associated with providing my family clean dishes. It’s a lot more fun than grumbling about it. When she helps me unload, I grab all the sharp knives & put them away while she’s walking back & forth with cups & bowls. She likes to do the silverware, pushing a chair up to the counter and placing each piece in its spot. I prefer that she does it, because I tend to just dump it in the drawer)

Caillou or Kipper the Dog- these are her two favorite shows. Sometimes she’ll watch Dora the Explorer, but I think she’s mostly grown out of that now. She watches for about an hour. Sometimes she falls asleep, sometimes she stays awake. I call it her “nap” because she’s restful. Wherever I am, she climbs up to the computer (because that’s where she watches, on Netflix) and yells “MOM, I WA WATCH CAILLOU NOW” and wherever I am in the house, I put it on for her. If there’s an older sister around who can do it, she sometimes tolerates their help. other times, she insists that “Only mommy do” which is fine :)

After her show is over, it’s usually near dinner time. She’s always “starving, mommy” when I’m cooking, so we sneak little bites of dinner. She pushes a chair over to the counter and “helps” while I try to set aside jobs that she can do. She rarely asks for specific jobs, but when she does, I let her do it. When dinner is served, she always tells the girls “I made dinner for you.”

After dinner, she sometimes goes in for a second bath, sometimes with sisters. If I have the energy, I load the dishwasher again.

When the final bath is over, it’s time for real jammies. She loves bedtime stories, and usually has one picked out before her hair has dried. She tends to fall asleep during stories.

I really honestly have never experienced a terrible 2 yr old. It can’t possibly be genetic, or a coincidence. It HAS to be environmental. Our lifestyle allows them to live at their own pace, 2 yr olds are on a mission. The way she explores her world matters, and having the freedom to do what she wants when she wants, to forge honest relationships with her siblings and live life on her terms really makes her rather agreeable and fun to be around.

This week we had a round of some sort of vomiting bug hit our house. So far actually only 3 of us have been affected, but one was me, so I feel very much attached to this affliction. I really don’t like vomiting, I never did it much while pregnant and I also never really went through any kind of drinking rebellion, so I can’t say I’ve vomited much ever- for any reason- YUCK.

2 year old Evelyn, very tired

2 year old Evelyn, very tired
I was hunched down, losing my lunch when she runs past, playing. She sees me & says “Awww, you pooking, mommy?” “Yes,” I moan and she replies “Awww, pooking no fun, huh mommy.” “Nope,” I tell her, “it’s no fun at all.” 

Each day, she reminds me to be grateful for our freedom, to not get worked up about the stupid things, to embrace whatever may come and to explore the world as if I’ve never seen it before. How can that be terrible?

9 comments to Daily Things-To-Do (for my 2 yr old)

  • your sister

    I feel the same way! Our biggest problem is that he does not want to follow safety rules – that is what he gets in trouble for 9 times out of 10 (the other time is usually for hitting or pinching instead of using words – then I call it “cooling off” not time out). If I just let him explore and help and be Mason, we have wonderfully beautiful days! We have had some terrible days – but I usually blame myself. Fatigue and not feeling well this pregnancy have made for some tough days, but that is not his fault. I can’t wait to experience 2 y.o. again – they change every day – it is AMAZING!

  • Lisa, that quote up top i didn’t notice yesterday. That is one of the most powerful quotes i have ever read! Thanks for posting. The world would be a better place if we all shared and practiced tolerance.
    Leslie (aka Sara)

  • […] Home for Girls writes about her youngest child’s daily activities. This spring she is two which is terrific and not terrible at all. She includes some very cute picture of her daughter. I must agree that I love two year olds too. […]

  • My youngest is ten … Reading through this just really brought it all back to me … Sure wish I could have one more :)

  • I miss my oldest being 2, and my youngest is about to be 3 in May. I also like the 2rd old stage. I’m learning to like the 5yr old stage as well.

    This was a really nice post. Thanks for sharing!

  • what a gorgeous funny life-filled child. thank you so much for sharing her day with us! our daughter is 7 (and three quarters, she reminds me) and i remember these busy days well. YAY!

  • I have twins that are 7 now, but looking back we never had terrible twos either. Funny I used to call them the terrific twos also. It was almost like people wanted your kids to be bad so they could say it. All kids have their good days and bad days. No matter what age they are. Great post and she is adorable.

  • Interesting point on your daughter’s not being embarrassed to ask for help. I think it’s something we develop, and I’m not sure it’s something unhealthy. Children come into the world as takers – and our goal is to learn to be givers. So while being so embarrassed you never ask is a problem, feeling comfortable asking for people to give you their time, energy, resources without end would be a problem.

  • Administrator

    I guess we operate from different paradigms. I think children are, by nature, VERY giving, and adults can learn a lot from that. My kids show me every day, more ways I can be giving. “Needy” adults, in my opinion, are the ones whose parents made an issue of their childhood needs. I can see the extreme that you mention- the “Vampire” personality, it only lives when you feed it. I hope that makes sense. No one can take from you, that which you don’t want to give. I can’t think of any adults in my life who do that sort of thing because I don’t tolerate it. But I’ve heard friends complain of such a thing. Just say no, they’ll go away. I don’t think people are born that way, I think it’s created, 100%