Parenthood: June 2009 Archives

Mother, interrupted


This was the centerpiece for the Father's Day/Chris's birthday meal I hosted on Saturday. Normally I'm not a fan of pink but the swamp-like humidity of summer in St. Louis does something to me. The white hydrangea is my favorite flower on earth because it's so versatile and feminine-looking. I've a hardy hydrangea bush growing in our backyard that thrives in the naturally acidic soil. It's the only plant that Ewan has not hit with his Little Tykes bat because he senses sincerity in my threats, I think. I told him that if he hits my stuff with a bat then I'll hit his stuff with a bat and since that's the currency to which my preschooler responds, I'm rolling with it.

I've been a little light this week as I've taken over morning show hosting duties for Jamie while he's on vacation. Doing a daily show, albeit every other day, isn't easy, unless you're used to dipping into your RSS feeds and monitoring the news to prep. Also, the boys came home completely sunburned after a lake trip with their grandparents, and when I say "burnt," I mean Ewan-had-blisters-the-size-of-quarters-on-his-arm burnt. Normally I'm fascinated by such weirdness but upon removing his shirt in preperation for his baking soda and oatmeal bath, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. In addition to tea compressess, vinegar rub-downs, coating them with aloe, I've had to keep them indoors for the past couple of days so their skin can heal and I've run out of both inside activites and the motivation to do them. It's like trying to keep water in your hands, this job of trying to keep two boys entertained indoors on bright summer days. As Ewan points out, "there's no worms in here to play with."

So this week is a bit slow; however the site overhaul is coming along and will melt your face soon enough. And OMG Ewan just brought some FREAKY looking bug in here.
Last night was the big grand opening party for Chris's studio and I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out. The place was packed; there was something like nearly 600 people in attendance and it was a huge success. It was wonderful for everyone to finally see the fruit of his hard labor and to congratulate him on the physical realization of his dream. Our friends came out, people whom I love dearly, people who can always be counted on and who've always supported us in all we do, people whom we've always supported as well. They are like family to us and the night would not have been complete without them. There are many people to thank so if you're one of them, I thank you - also Monster Energy Drinks, Vitamin Water, Benton Park Cafe, Hodak's, for their part in making the night so successful.

That the opening took place right before Father's Day and his birthday was apropos, I thought. When we we exchanged vows almost nine years ago, I never would have foreseen us on the path we are now. For better or for worse, it's been an extraordinary ride and I'm so grateful that I get to share it with my best friend. Who is also a fantastic father. And has an incredible backside. Which isn't related to being a father, except maybe in an obvious way, so it bears mentioning. Ahem.

Chris joined Danny and a few of the Momversation men for a special episode on dads for Father's Day. It's sweet to watch these men open up their hearts and profess just how much they love their children and how, YES, they WILL BE OK solo with the kids. I think dads are under-appreciated in our society, underutilized, under-loved. Whenever I read things about how men aren't performing up to women's expectations in the home these men will forever stand out to me as more than just an exception to the rule, but possibly proof that the rule itself is false. These men want to share the joy of raising children, they want to help out their wives and maybe if we women recognized that and gave them the credit they deserve we would find our own burdens relieved. It's just a thought.

Happy Father's Day to all the men in my life, to all the men out there., and happy birthday to the man in my life. You are so loved.
Love this man

Keeping a gun in the home

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A hot-button topic that was fun to do with The Ladies. The topic for this week's episode of Momversation is kids and guns: Do you keep a gun in your home?

Because of time constraints, points are always unfortunately left out and I want to address a few of them here right quick:

- More kids die every year from accidents involving space heaters, drowning, bicycles, et al. than from accidents involving guns. We should protect our kids with education and awareness.

- There are a variety of gun safes available which allow a person to access their gun quickly but also serve as a deterrent to children obtaining them, i.e. biometric safes. Personally, I'll settle for the set up the Green Arrow has in "Smallville."

- As I said in my full-length video, I also think women should be able to defend themselves physically. I came from the Ozark School of Self Defense in which the motto is "kick arse now, ask questions later" for crying out loud. However, as a child who was raised in a home where I witnessed domestic violence regularly, as a woman whose close, kick-boxing friend from college was raped by three men, none of that matters because the bottom line is that most men are stronger than women. Unless it's a teeny tiny little man. I don't think it's a sign of weakness; just the women I mentioned simply reached the limits of their physiology or were outnumbered. I think it's great to make a point about female power, but at some point it becomes about survival in such instances where your life is threatened.

- I rely on myself for defense more than I rely on the police. We have alarms, et al. but I don't want to chance my survival on the window of time it takes for the police to arrive; furthermore, not many people know that the police are not legally obligated to protect your life (a Supreme Court case!), thus leaving you as your own last line of defense (which I think is pretty feminist, too).

- Nothing frustrates me more than irresponsible gun ownership - irresponsible anything, be it automobiles, pools, child neglect, etc., pet ownership, wardrobe choices, it's a big list. We need more firearm education and safety courses; even if a family would elect not to keep a gun in their home there is the old adage that those who do not live by the sword can still die upon them blah blah and it's good for kids to know enough to keep themselves safe (if you see a gun, stop. Don't touch. Tell an adult) at the very least.

I can totally appreciate and respect someone not feeling comfortable with a gun in their home and I would never force them to own one just as I appreciate others respecting my desire to own firearms. Every family does what they think is best for their family unit - it's also a great lesson in diversity for kids, too. Hugging out our differences. It's the American way!

So what are your thoughts? Even if you, personally, would not own a firearm, what do you think of educating kids about gun safety; what do you think about guns for self-defense?    

Weird things kids draw

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Weird things kids draw

This particular piece owes its beauty to Ewan, who took to the dry erase board while his brother played a math game on the computer. I love the way a child's skill translates what they see in their mind - or the way their young mind interprets what they see. It always comes out looking like it was processed through some Mad Hatter filter and I enjoy watching it; it's one of my favorite things about parenthood.

But seriously, I have no idea what this is supposed to be. A dog? Zero from "Nightmare Before Christmas?" A ghost? Montauk Monster? I like it, whatever it is.

*Ewan finally told me (after laughing and saying nothing) that is was a crocodile. Makes sense. 

Life and death

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I was mulching the garden over the weekend and right before I emptied a bag of Black Forest mulch on the ground I happened to notice what looked like a piece of mold on the ground. As I looked closer I saw the mold move.

It was a baby bird.


It's little face was buried in the ground and it was moving its flimsy little pink wing nubs in a lame effort to right itself. Its eyes were nothing more than swollen purple lumps beneath a flimsy slip of skin. What I thought was mold was actually its feathers. In all reality, it looked like a giant wart with a beak.

Minutes earlier I had heard birds squawking and I found a broken nest on the ground just feet away from where I found the baby bird but at the time I thought nothing of it. 

Baby things get me because I see my children in every other child or baby critter and it's just, well, disturbing.

bird2.jpgI told you. Disturbing.

I scooped the little dude up into my gardening glove and showed the boys before calling wildlife rescue - who weren't open and accepting animals until 9 a.m. the next day, so the boys and I made it a priority to keep the baby alive until then. Chris shook his head sadly as we gathered leaves to fix the broken nest and caught and mushed up earthworms with which to feed it. I ascertained that the bird had fallen three stories to the ground as I'd seen birds going to a nest on the top of our house earlier. The bird's neck was all weird so I wasn't sure that he was going to make it anyway, but I couldn't leave the bird there to just die on the ground.

We told both boys that the bird may not make it, so do not be surprised if, when they go to check on it in the morning, the bird is dead.

"Well, at least we tried and I think God would be happy about that," Liam said, doing his best Benjamin Button impersonation.

We tried to feed the bird the mashed up worm concoction to no avail. I gently laid it in its nest and set it back in the spot where I found it originally, hoping that the mama bird would come back, else I was going to call DFS on her. I went to check on it once and I thought I saw a swallow on a fence across the street. Not wanting to impede a reunion, I left the bird alone.

I checked back on it around midnight and it was dead and already covered with jerk ants. Sometimes I wish nature had a bit more courtesy or I a bit more balls, but whatever.

We told the boys later on that morning and they took it in stride. Things die, things happen. A message easy to understand with a baby bird, but whether it will translate to a building block for trials later in their lives, who knows.

In search of a nap

My gentlemen

The boys have been with Chris's parents for the past two days because of the charity event that Chris helped plan and because I spoke yesterday about netroots to a roomful of politicians and politicos. A man with whom I had slightly disagreed in the past by way of a third party was in the audience and it's always fun when two people who know that they don't particularly care for the other lock horns, albeit mildly, in a public setting. I was disappointed that he didn't stick around to chat.

It's been a long week and I've missed my boys. The house feels weird when they're not whooping and hollering through the halls and throwing stuffed animals down the stairs. Since they've outgrown the toddler tent I got them a few years back, they've asked me to construct them a new one in the backyard because they have "planning to do." It sounds ominous. So I'm off to the backyard with blankets and string and, if I get my way, they'll let me take a nap in the middle of it.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"