New Blog! For November 2012, and Possibly Beyond But Don’t Hold Me To It

Oh hi – (cough) – sure is dusty in here. Holy cuh-rap is that a spider? OK. Anyway, I have a new blog now. I have a new blo-og nowww. I have a new blog now and it’s Over HERE .

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Post 3225, Which Count Includes 80 Drafts You’ll Never See

I didn’t mean to be gone so long from here. There is so much I want to say and I have no words. No, I didn’t get a book deal or a job. I’m not having another baby, or getting a dog, or buying a house. Those can all be put into words. That would be easier.

But also I don’t want to say any of it here. I’m not uninspired elsewhere. I am writing every day. Just not here.

In most TV dramas involving a doctor, there will be a scene where the doctor tries to revive someone who isn’t breathing. The doctor pounds and pounds on the patient’s chest and blows into the patient’s mouth and this goes on for far too long while dramatic music plays until finally someone else, often the doctor’s love interest, character foil, or nemesis says,

“Enough. He’s gone. He’s GONE.”

That’s how I feel about this blog.

Except it’s still here. Representing eight years of my life. Representing my 30s, I realize, as I prepare to celebrate my 38th birthday.

And I don’t measure time in decades, so it’s not that my 30s are ending and zomg what do I dooooo. It’s that this little spot I carved out and sat down on, back in 2003, has been slowly dug out around me and now when I look around all I see are the walls I’ve built. I can’t see anything outside the walls. Until I climb out of here.

I did the digging! And I’m proud of the digging I have done and the walls I’ve built. But writing about the walls you’ve built is, well, not very interesting. A writer who can’t see anything can turn as pretty a phrase as she wants and it will still be a pretty phrase about a dirt wall that everyone has seen before.

So, in the past couple of months I have visited here, looking at this body of work and appreciating it for what it is. Appreciating the growth that I see from the first post to the most recent. Loving the sanity and clarity it’s brought me over the years. The outlet, the writing practice, the escape.

The most wonderful thing it’s brought me is community. You people. (You are people, right? Because I’ve met some of you, but not all.) OK, well, even if some of you are Borg (I don’t understand the joke but I make it anyway)(it might not even be funny)(I don’t care) or really smart cats, so be it. I’ve made friends by writing words on the Internet. I’ve met people I’ve borrowed child-sized socks from and not (yet) returned. I’ve met people whose pants are in my closet. I met you all here. Talking about shoes and cheese and kids and stuff.

I never wanted money. So that’s a relief.

And if the cheeseblog is the patient being stubbornly attended to by a physician who refuses to believe that it’s over and time to move on to a new patient, let us say that this post about Anthony Wiggle is the zombie heart (again, does that even make sense?) that refuses to stop beating. An honourary slow-clap for the post about Anthony Wiggle, which keeps getting comments, including one from someone who knows his wife? or something? bringing it to FORTY TWO comments over the past three years. The most comments any of my posts has received. Forty two. The meaning of life.

If that isn’t internet success, I don’t know what is.

I keep wanting to write “I’m not quitting,” but I am. I am quitting. Not writing. Just this space. I will maybe — possibly — probably? want a new space. A new patch of ground to sit on, if there is any left in the world.

And when I do make a new space, there will probably be patio lanterns. That’s all I know for sure.

xoxo, Gossip Girl. Wait. No.

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In a comment on my last post, Jana said,

I am just going to ignore everything except the one about cuddling because I am trying to survive the SHITSTORM THREES over here and if you’re telling me that four is no better but in fact WORSE I might have some problems.

I know Jana knows this because she has an older child as well, but I know, too, that every child is different and her younger one HAS BEEN TALKING LIKE THIS FOR YEARS kind of like Fresco, which I suspect her older one did not (as mine did not), so OMG it’s going to get louder? I am quitting is a totally reasonable response.

I only had 20 minutes to write the last post so I didn’t get to a) the good things about Four, and b) my personal strategy for surviving it, other than earplugs and gin.

No, four is not worse than three. Really. In my house, anyway, so far, and bear in mind that we are still a few months from Four, so I reserve the right to change my mind / sell my kidney, buy an RV, and leave this town forever.

The tantrums are fewer, with Four, but they’re bigger. And meaner. Three (sometimes) accepts what you say at face value, then punishes you later with tantrums and you have no idea why. Four does not accept what you say, so it’s more straightforward. Four will respond immediately by refuting your statement, so you must remember to NOT ENGAGE in dumb arguments. This is key. You cannot — as I tend to do — argue about the sky being blue or not blue. You have to learn to say you are wrong, even if you aren’t. Because if you insist you are right, Four will argue with you until you are crying for mercy. And then you will be too tired to enforce the rules that matter, like no eating chocolate bars off the shelf while I buy groceries.

Listen. You are right. It doesn’t matter if your child believes you or not.

And lest you worry — as I tend to do — that setting a precedent for letting your child win an argument or believe that something is true when it is patently UNTRUE will result in him becoming some kind of sociopath, or bully, or right-wing nutjob, it won’t.

I think of developmental growth as like being in a tornado. You’re over there, and your mouth is moving, but your kid can’t hear you because he’s in a tornado. When he comes out of the tornado, your house will be messy, but he’ll be himself again. He learned a bunch of stuff while he was ‘away from you’, and now is ready to listen to your seminar on Manners and Cutlery Use.

He’s not going to make the connection: “I’m always right because Mommy agreed that the sky was yellow even though it was blue.” He doesn’t even remember that conversation. It had nothing to do with the sky and everything to do with CONTROL.

(however if you give in on the chocolate bar, even once, that one will come back to bite you)

I survive by not giving a toot about him eating his crusts, or him calling the table a stupid table, or saying he hates the cat, because it’s the intent behind it that he is immersed in and when he emerges from the bath of that intent, he will be cleaner and probably ready to love the cat / clear the table / eat the crusts.

And finally, some great things about almost-Four are:

1. Sustained concentration — 45 minutes building with Lego? Check.
2. Incredible imaginative play. (just make sure you let him be the director)
3. Wicked sense of humour / great bubbling giggles and belly laughs.
4. Ability to walk for miles without complaint.
5. Drawing faces.
6. Hugs still fix 80% of life’s ills.

Courtesy of Saint Aardvark, T.O.R.N.A.D.O by the Go! Team.

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The Ten Rules of Being Almost-Four, By Fresco

Fresco will be four in April. I know. It’s ridiculous and it shouldn’t be happening, but there you go. Life, wheels, turning, yearning, etc.

It has been harder lately to ascertain what of my children’s behavior is related to developmental stuff and what is related to a) they are getting sick b) they are getting over being sick c) it’s the holidays AND they’re sick d) I had a headache for a month and made a grimace face at them approximately 11 hours a day e) it’s back to school f) they’re getting sick g) and not sleeping h) but when do they sleep? Really? Ever? Like, could I complain about this any more?

HOWEVER. We have been healthy and well-slept for four? five? days now, and the holidays are over and the back to school routine has been well re-established and my headache stopped on the 14th of December, so I can safely say that Trombone is settling down, now that he is five and a half (don’t get me STARTED on how wrong that is. His head is now as big as his whole body was when he was born. Cat’s in the Cradle! Etc!) and Fresco is moving into a period of some, transitions, and um, other bullshit ways of saying PAIN IN THE ASS.

Guys, they don’t call it The Fucking Fours for nothing.

Here are the rules of four.

1. He is the Boss.

You want him to do that thing that he loved doing last week? He isn’t doing it. He loved the cat. He might still love the cat. If you ask him to feed the cat? He will say, “No. You can do it.”

2. He is right about point 1 and everything else in the world.

“Please feed the cat. It’s your job. And the cat is hungry.”
“It’s not my job. It’s YOUR job. I hate the cat.”
“You hate the cat?”

3. He is ANGRY that you will not acknowledge how right he is, and that he is the boss.

“I’M NOT FEEDING THE CAT. Anyway. It’s evening. Where’s my dessert.”
“It’s 9:30 am.”

4. He loves me so much and wants to cuddle and kiss my neck and pet my hair.

Tickle games. Snuggles. Made all the more bittersweet because, well, it’s ending. The sweet snuggles are ending and he’s becoming his own person (more so than before) and this is it no more babies oh god what have I

wait. No. It’s OK. Because.

5. He wants to punch me in the face.

“I need to get a drink of water now. I’ll be back to snuggle in a minute.”
“I’m thirsty, Fresco. I need a drink –”
“Stay or I punch you. Those are your choices.”

6. He is so, so sad because I yelled at him because his fist was in my face because he loves me so much.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you. I don’t like your fist in my face.” *
“This is all your fault. All of it.” (that’s a direct quotation, by the way. OK! Thanks kid!)

*note: he has not actually punched me in the face.

7. The best way to express excitement about something is to shout at the thing that excites you!


8. Don’t tell him what to do.

“Please put the chocolate bar back on the shelf. We’re not buying a chocolate bar.”

9. Didn’t you see the top two?

(cover your ears)

10. He is the Boss.

(might want to block your face, too)

But he’s still not getting a chocolate bar.

(photo credit: Fresco’s preschool teacher, who apparently denied him his autonomy right before this photo was taken.)
(just kidding)

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The Best Stuff

In one of my darker moments of the past week, I wrote an e-mail to 2012. I asked it to bring good things for me and my friends. I also asked for maybe a month or two of health, just because it would be nice.

Today 2012 called me, on the telephone.

Hello? I said.
What are you bringing me? said a deep voice.
Who is this? I said.
This is 2012. I start tomorrow. And I am wondering, since you want so many things, what are you bringing me?
What? I said. Like a sacrifice? Are you that kind of god? Do you want a goat or something?
My point is, I’m a year. You’re a person. You’re in ME, not the other way around. I don’t bring you things.
Oh. OK. So — how do I make this — you — a good year?
I’m not good or bad. I’m a block of time. I think you’re confusing me with someone else. Like God. Or Santa. I don’t care what you do. So don’t blame me for your shit at the end of next December.
I didn’t want to be a year, you know. I wanted to be a virtuoso pianist.
You’re lucky. You’re a human. You can be whatever you want. Who wants to be a year? It’s like being the weatherman. The news one, I mean, not someone who actually makes the weather. The weather is made by Science.
Science is Real.
I know.
OK, so… I prompted.
So, it said. Bring me your best things. And you will have the best year.
It’s that easy?
It’s that easy.
It’s not like putting lipstick on a pig?
No, more like using real butter in your cookies.
Like smiling with your eyes?
Yes. Like smizing. Exactly. Except with fathoms more moral depth than Tyra Banks.
You get what you give? I asked.
You got the music in you, it replied.
I have to go. I have more calls to make. Have you seen facebook? People are asking me — a year — for all kinds of stuff. Cars! Girlfriends! Good fortune! It’s like I’m the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy and Santa, all rolled into one. And people are talking SMACK about 2011. 2011 didn’t do anything except exist as a series of days, you know?
Yeah. Got it.
See you on the flip side. Remember. Bring the good stuff.

The good stuff.

At the end of a calendar year, people talk about meditating on a word for the coming year. They talk about resolutions, although it seems resolutions are uncool anymore. More people are resolving to not make resolutions. I’ve had ample time to think, lately, and nothing is presenting itself to me, resolution or word-wise. Or, you know, life-wise, career-wise, anything-wise. So I think I will do two things:

1. Ask myself if what I am about to say or do is true.
2. Ask myself if what I’m bringing is my best stuff.

I guess my word would be authenticity. But yesterday, walking in the forest, Fresco decided he would name his new stuffed puppy “Deciduous” and I kind of like the sound of that too.

Happy 2012, friends and foes! Deciduously looking forward to all your best stuff!

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