I had my first day out with both of my girls on Saturday. We went to Julia’s practice dance recital at a local nursing home.
It took us three hours to get ready. We were twenty minutes late (but that was mostly because we had to turn back once we were on the road to drop off my asshole cat Jasper who stowed away in the van while we were loading up).
Julia was beautiful and brilliant, as usual. Lucy slept through the whole thing. And I sported my post c-section Mommy Pouch, because there ain’t no covering that thing up.
a.k.a. Squishy McMashy Cheeks.
Seriously, don’t you just want to nibble all over them?
Whenever I tell people that we homeschool the question of socialization always seems to come up. Let me state for the record that I believe “socialization” for most homeschoolers is a non-existent problem. It’s something that non-homeschoolers like to point out because it makes them feel better about their own choices. But this is not about that. That rant deserves a post all its own and it deserves to be written on my own blog so when the nasty comments start pouring in they will come to my inbox instead of going to my kind friend Leslie who didn’t know what she was asking when she invited me to write a guest post.
So, if this post is not a rant about socialization, what is it? Why even bring the topic up? Well, I bring it up because part of socialization is about learning interpersonal skills such as understanding the art of introductions, small talk, sarcasm, compromise, offering sympathy, and a number of other language essentials. These we cover pretty well within our home. Another part of socialization is about making and keeping friends. To this second point, I make a concerted effort to ensure my children not only have a relatively consistent group of people to interact with but are also regularly introduced to new potential friends. We go to karate and girl scouts. We schedule playdates and sleepovers. We go to storytime at the library and meet random children at the park.
The short encounters are the ones I like. Get in. Get out. Don’t pick up any bad habits on your way through.
The long encounters I approach with some trepidation, nay even fear, because while my children are always kind and thoughtful and they never hit or throw sand or refuse to share (HA!) who knows how those other children may influence them. No matter how much I wish for it no one else seems inclined to raise their children exactly like I do and I fear that from the children of these other parents my kiddos may learn a new word (or two) or *gasp* gain a new perspective. During these long encounters, I have so much less control over this bubble I maintain around my family. And it makes me uncomfortable.
Every family has a certain collection of experiences that shape and define them – our baggage, so to speak. And it’s not really that each of us has any more or less baggage than anyone else. It’s that we like our own baggage. Or, if we don’t like it, we are at least comforted by its familiarity. We know which zippers don’t work quite right and how the handle must be held “just so.” We know what’s inside without looking and we know where each piece came from.
Each time I allow my children to venture from the bubble they seem to return with someone else’s luggage. Not a 5 piece set, mind you, but something small – a handbag, maybe or a carry-on. And whatever they bring back can’t be returned. Instead we have to shift things around to make room for this new idea or behavior. Sometimes we have to re-arrange our conversation to explain some previously unknown concept. Herein lies the difficulty for me.
Do I limit life to our bubble? Or do I let my children explore knowing they will return with thoughts I did not give them and quite likely do not agree with? The reality (in case you hadn’t guessed already) is that I can’t keep my children “safe” in a bubble forever. Oh, maybe I could come pretty close but the reality (because I need to remind myself sometimes) is that I don’t want to. As much as I like my own luggage I suspect my children’s journey will be all the better if I let them start out lighter. They’ll have their own set soon enough.
About the author: Toni is the wife of her best friend and the mother to two incredible little teachers. Each day they explore their world and and when there is time she comes to her blog This Simple Life to share their discoveries with you.
by Jenn in Holland
One of the great untold secrets about becoming a parent is the amount of goo a baby brings along. I don’t think I had any idea prior to my firstborn’s arrival just what parenting would entail (I mean that on every level—I was a pretty naïve first time mama) and I certainly had no concept at all just how much goo I would be witness to.
First there is just the goo of birth itself. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience or witness such a goo fest, you can just trust me here when I tell you that there is A LOT OF GOO involved in childbirth. Mama goo, the baby’s goo, the goo that leaks from your eyes (after the mama goo and the baby goo combine to make a helluvalotta goo) which you let flow down your cheeks as you stare at this very gooey creature which has just emerged. Strange, but everyone involved just acts all normal about a moment like that—like this level of gooiness happens everyday.
Hmmm. Maybe it does.
So the docs hand you a gooey baby and you ooh and aah and goo all over him/her. And then others come round to ooh and aah and goo too. It’s just the beginning of a life of goo. And sticky stuff.
The moment you know mundane gooreality has set in is that moment when you reach over to wipe your baby’s snotty, gooey, leaky runny nose. And you do it without a tissue. Yup, it’s a bare hand swipe and wipe without a thought or even a shudder.
Because the truth is the gross factor long got passed when the first moment of catching baby’s gaze in yours riveted you to your very soul.
That’s when parenthood happens. And it’s a moment that sticks.
Here’s wishing Leslie, Dave and Julia much joy in the arrival of baby Lucy.
Oh, and lots of goo too.
Veel Success mijn vrienden!
Jenn in Holland
by Karly Campbell
When Leslie emailed me to ask if I would be interested in guest posting for her while she was off doing all the things new mothers do (sniff the baby’s head, count and re-count the fingers and toes, stare at your boobies in fascination as they grow and grow and then grow some more, etc.), I told her that I would be HONORED to guest post for her. But, in all honesty, I would rather just BABYSIT for her while SHE blogs. I mean, seriously. If she had offered to let me be the one to sniff Lucy’s head or count her little piggies or have an impromptu boob job I TOTALLY would have jumped at the chance. But, noooo. She doesn’t trust me with her freshly birthed little baby girl. Given my propensity for nibbling on baby toes, I don’t really blame her.
So here I am.
I’ve really been struggling lately with this blogging thing. I seem to be out of things to blog about, which is odd, considering that I blog about my life and, well, so far as I know I’m not dead. LUCKILY FOR ME, something popped up that I just knew I had to share with Leslie’s fans.
You see, a few months ago, I wrote about a little problem I was having with my hand. The doctor told me that there was a possibility I had gout. Yeah. I know. I’m not 90 years old and I don’t use a walker and I have all of my teeth. Quite odd that I would get gout considering those facts, eh? Well, my readers (especially Leslie) seemed to find it humorous that I possibly had gout. (I didn’t. It was a ganglion cyst. I think.) In fact, Leslie (sweet little Leslie!) still teases me about the gout. When she interviewed me for her This Is Motherhood column in
February, she asked me about gout.
When she emailed me the user name and password to her blog for my guest post, guess what my password was? Go on. Guess! If you guessed “thegout” you win. (I’ve since changed it, because I HAD TO share that password with you. I peed my pants from laughing so hard.)
The reason I bring up the gout is so that you’ll understand why I had to share the story of the goiter on Leslie’s blog. The story goes like this: I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago with a tiny bump on my bottom eye lid. It was sore, but not overly so, and I assumed that it was just a sty. I got a washcloth wet with warm water and held it on my eye for a few minutes and then went about my day. As the day wore on my eye got more and more painful. I actually took Tylenol before I went to bed because it was painful to BLINK and, well, I don’t know about you, but I tend to blink every few seconds.
I woke up the next morning and MY EYE! OH, MY EYE! That wee little sty had taken over my eyelid while I was sleeping and was now the size of a pea. Yeah, I know. Peas aren’t very large, but TRY PUTTING ONE IN YOUR EYELID. (Also, I MIGHT be exaggerating. But it WAS big.)
/This is not my eye. THANK GOD./
As the tumor in my eye continued to grow, I continued to stress out about the fact that it could possibly burst and then I would have TUMOR GOO in my eyeball and if that doesn’t make you want to scream, I don’t know what will. I was beginning to think that I should go see a doctor, because whatever it was wasn’t going away on its own.
And thats when I heard the commercial about goiters. I, of course, became convinced that my sty was actually a goiter. Because, DUH! It was! Yes, I know that TRADITIONALLY goiters are enlarged thyroids and not enlarged eye bumps. MEDICALLY SPEAKING, it might be a bit wrong to call my sty a goiter. But, answer me this: If you had a gigantic, painful bump on your eye and people were asking “What the hell is wrong with your eye?” would you answer A.) Its just a sty, don’t be scared or B.) It is a MEDICAL MYSTERY or C.) My doctor said its a goiter?
Obviously C is the correct choice. Because its just more funny that way.
Thankfully my goiter cleared up on its own in about a week. It did, however, get so bad at one point that I actually PLUCKED AN EYELASH from my goiter. It was just itching so bad and I couldn’t help but think that pulling a hair out of the bump might actually SCRATCH the INSIDE for me.
Yes, I was desperate. And no the plucking of the eyelash did not feel as good as I had hoped. In fact it caused me to curse and scream and maybe cry a little.
So there you have it. The gout and the goiter. I’m just one big old person trapped in a 26 year old’s body.