twins

Hungry, Hungry, Hippo Marbles and Unraveling

I found a Hungry, Hungry Hippos marble in my garbeurator recently.* It’s been months since we had a marble sighting, but I know that there is at least 17 more to be found around our house. It is a true statement that 74%** of North American households with children has a Hungry, Hungry, Hippos set, and every single one of them promptly loses 18 out of the 20 marbles. If you can still place more than two Hungry, Hungry, Hippo marbles, you are supervising your kids too much. Let them go: it is the beginning of an unraveling that you can’t fight any more than time itself, or the magical allure of an Oreo cookie.

There were days, early on,  when I put all the puzzle pieces back together at the end of the evening and kept floor mats down, and gates secured. Those were the days where the boys just loved the feel of objects, and were constantly trying to understand the physical laws of the world they were born into. What tastes good, how things stack, that things exist even when you can’t see them. But the scale is small; it exactly fits the capacity of their imagination. It is easily tidied in a few minutes, life can be ordered.

Somewhere along the way they have learned to navigate the world around them enough that the mundane turns fantastical. Your children’s play takes on a life of its own as imagination makes every surface is a cliff, every object something completely other than it appears to be, and every game rule is just a starting point for another thousand completely contradictory and complicated ones.

They pick up skills. Their little fingers and brains learn to navigate finer and finer things and before you know it, it’s no longer building the Duplo wall; you are being told how many legs are on the Lego Hobbit Spider they got for their fourth birthday. Moments later they smash that spider into smithereens and start building it anew into something completely different. They are fitting themselves in and out of costumes, shedding their identities every few minutes. They try to understand the mystery of families and how they come together and what they want for themselves, while loving their own so fiercely the mere mention we’re not all together makes them cry. Except one day you will look outside and you will find your son, fully dressed in winter gear that you didn’t wrestle him into, gleefully flinging himself into a snowbank completely of his own accord.  He’s never been outside alone before, but there he is, with you watching through the glass.

But it’s not just them that change. Who was that woman who kept all the puzzles ordered in Ziplocs and religiously swapped out age appropriate toys? I barely recognize her anymore. Now I’ve lost count at 14 stuffed angry birds and I am mildly concerned they’re breeding in the walls at the alarming rate they appear all over the house. I no longer look below adult eye level in order to ignore the stickers all over the closet door, and I am only asked to arbitrate in serious matters such as a brother suggesting that he would like to change his middle name to Corndog. I have someone peeking over my shoulder when I cook or work, and I gladly invite them in to my world too; this duller one they will inherit. There is crayon on my walls, and unadulterated joy in my heart that we have arrived at this place. Because while it is hard to rein Luke Skywalker’s and puppy dogs’ attentions back to practical matters, it is witness to them come into being.

It is apart from you. Without noticing, at some point you feel yourself relaxed in a room alone while they are happily brandishing swords in another. This is life, as it is. Their worlds will grow ever bigger and expand outwards from yours, with secrets and jokes and opinions that represent them, entirely. And that is the point of all of this; not to make them in any image, but to provide a world sufficiently large to find their way in it.

Notes:

*I wanted to take a picture of the marble, but I promptly lost it again. It will turn up.

**74% is a completely made up statistic, but I bet it’s not far off. Any takers? Actually, you know what, I don’t need a gambling problem.

Making Halloween Happen

Kind of.

My four-year olds are totally enthralled with costumes, and I have had occasion to dine with a unicorn, giraffe, lion, or Captain America. Batman helps me pick out tampons at the drug store (complete with drawn out and loud discussions about female anatomy), and a jellyfish has had a fit about buying pancake mix for some indeterminate point in the future instead of setting up shop in the homewares section like some insane Top Chef challenge and making them RIGHT NOW. This is just our every day life. When it comes to Halloween, I feel like we have to up the ante a little.

It turns out that one aspect of parenting I am not terrible at is costumes. I discovered this when the boys had a recital at daycare. The kids had to dress up as various animals, making costumes out of “inexpensive household items”. I made this instead:

They were supposed to sing a song about animals, but they mostly just stood staring out at the sea of iPhones recording them. The Unicorn yawned throughout.

They were supposed to sing a song but they mostly just stood staring out at the sea of iPhones recording them. The Unicorn yawned throughout.

To be fair, a lot of other parents went kind of over the top too, but I can safely say that I went the most over the top by a wide margin. A lot of glue was involved while I cracked the whip over Mr. Giraffe to custom paint the costume while I fiddled around getting the eyes right. I am still not satisfied with them. I am still finding bits of foam everywhere in our house.

Halloween prep started shortly after this. Angry Birds are the order of the day here, so Angry Birds it would be. The Engineer wanted to be Chewbacca Bird and the Unicorn wanted to be a Slingshot.

*scratches head*

Uhhh… ok, let’s roll with that.

Plans changed when we found amazing Yellow Angry Bird and King Pig masks at good ol’ Wallyworld. Mr. Giraffe was tired and I think vaguely optimistic that we’d just achieved a somewhat easy holiday.

It should come as no surprise at all to you that a month later I found myself finding Angry Birds templates for pumpkins, buying eavestrough joints, and hoarding boxes and cardboard to “just add a little something” to Halloween festivities.

I am a busy woman, so I left the eavestrough at my dad’s house with instructions to turn it into a slingshot for Yellow Bird. I think he thought I was insane, but he totally made that shit happen, and made me completely envious of the fact that he 1) owns tools, 2) knows how to use the tools, and 3) is retired. The final product was better than I would have ever been able to achieve and happened with very little input from me. It worked out so well I am going to see if I can outsource a lot of things now (See: aforementioned tampon and pancake mix purchasing).

In retrospect, I wish we’d stuck with his original vision and just gone with the slingshot. That thing is a work of art.

Two days before Halloween, Mr. Giraffe excitedly messaged me to ask: “Are we making Halloween costumes tonight?” I was confused by his enthusiasm and participation until I realized the subtext was “Are you going to be knee-deep in cardboard shavings, hot gluing your fingers together for the next two days?”

Indeed, I was.

King Pig needed a TNT box.  Parents out there can attest to the fact that diaper boxes are the most useful byproduct of child-rearing, and they proved their worth again here. As my dear friend Sara noted later, I was going balls out. I couldn’t half-ass this with markers. No, I was going to make a 3D textured TNT box that looks just like real life. Except, you know, the 2D cartoon version of real life. Or something. I think I have my dimensions confused. Anyway, it was going to be epic.

The first night I thought really hard about how I wanted to achieve the box. I even cut 3 strips of cardboard and a head hole. Feeling really good about my progress, I rewarded myself with as many rounds of Candy Crush as I could manage (5. DAMN YOU CANDY CRUSH, I WILL NOT SPEND MONEY ON YOU) and went to bed, confident that I would be able to complete my project before bedtime on the 30th.

I did, in fact, complete the costume before going to bed on the 30th. Or rather, four hours past my bedtime at 3 am on the 31st. At 6 pm on the 30th, my parents came to deliver the slingshot. At 7:30 pm, the groupthink and yelling about how to attach the slingshot to the Unicorn’s body was accomplished, as was the total and complete defraying of all of my nerves. At 7:35, Mr. Giraffe had delivered the kids to bed, and wisely disappeared, not to be seen by the rest of the night. At 9 pm, I had a bloodied hand and 3 Angry Bird themed pumpkins that had to have various parts of them hot glued back together.

It occurs to me that Halloween pumpkins are sort of like those Buddhist sand drawings, except that I don't achieve any sort of spiritual ascension and no one dresses up as a sexy hot dog to celebrate sand drawings.

It occurs to me that Halloween pumpkins are sort of like those Buddhist sand drawings, except that I don’t achieve any sort of spiritual ascension and no one dresses up as a sexy hot dog to celebrate sand drawings.

Pumpkins achieved, I turned my attention to the TNT box. At 11 pm, I ran out of hot glue, and narrowly avoided impaling myself with a box cutter, then remembered there was a bottle of wine in the freezer. At 11:01 the top of that bottle shattered while I was trying to reef the cork out with all my might. At 11:03, I strained the glass shards out of that wine and drank the hell out of it.

True story

True story

Without the benefit of hot glue, I had to hold the pieces together while watching nine episodes of Duck Dynasty. Those dudes are really wholesome. I think I would get along with Uncle Si. I had a long time to think about this. Finally, I had the genius idea to hold the glued pieces together with my hair band, and called it a night. It was 3 am.

At 3:04, I discovered that the Unicorn had an ear infection. At 7:30 am, I had a complete mental break where I believed that “just ten minutes” of sleep would carry me through the day, and I was at risk of murdering anyone who told me otherwise. At 7:42 am, the Engineer declared that he wasn’t going to wear the TNT box because it hurt, and I had an aneurism, while I simultaneously wondered if I could somehow squeeze my middle-aged carcass into it instead.

YES. YES. YES! My vision come to life! Brought down to earth moments later by kiddo shenanigans. I am not enough of a narcissist to force him to wear a costume just because I made it. Just to be clear.

YES. YES. YES! My vision come to life! Brought down to earth moments later by kiddo shenanigans. I am not enough of a narcissist to force him to wear a costume just because I made it. Just to be clear. He wore it later entirely of his own volition, and promises that his candy haul would be improved if he had a really good costume.

At 9 am, I was at the walk-in clinic with the Unicorn where he was crying so loud and so hard that they let him in ahead of a lady with a spurting head wound.

The Unicorn would have gotten into the doctor faster than this guy. (image from delvedigger.com)

At .. oh fuck, I don’t even know. Later in the day, we found ourselves wandering around the drug store. The Unicorn laid down in the aisle. He was curled around a discounted stuffed Angry Bird, and it appeared to be the only thing keeping him alive. We purchased that bird: who was I to say no? I lamented that Angry Birds came into our lives only during moments of weakness; like when we hand over the iPad because we’re tired. This had delivered me directly to this moment, scarred up by Angry Bird costumes, undone by my own weakness There were a lot of surprisingly complicated thoughts going through my head given the fact that I could not form complete sentences and had to have a nap in the van before I trusted myself to drive home.

At 6:30 pm, everyone was properly propped up on ibuprofen, and we were out trick or treating with the neighbors. I made hot chocolate and Baileys for the adults. When Mr. Giraffe inadvertently spilled my drink all over me, I made lemonade out of lemons.. or rather, skipped the hot chocolate, poured whisky out of the bottle, and drank an entire mug, and made excuses twice to run back to our house to refill it. The boys had a grand time, and I am pretty sure I was unfit to parent by that point, so thank the Great Pumpkin Mr. Giraffe was out too. Maeby dressed up as a bee.

This was not at Halloween; this was at a Meadery.

This was not at Halloween; this was at a Meadery.

The End.

Lesson Learned: STOP DOING ALL THE THINGS, STUPID.

On being at home with the kids

My time at home with my babies is over. Four years ago, almost to the day, I was heavily pregnant with twins and left my job with only a vague idea of what was to come. I had notions of heading back to work as soon as my maternity leave was over. I was all “I am woman, hear me roar” about it and there was no way I was going to give up a career I had worked so hard for.

That didn’t happen. A different kind of feminine notion took hold in the minute between the first and second of my sons was born. In an instant, holding them both in my arms for the first time, I grew up, got wise, and became the fierce mama I am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This. This is when it happened.

Being a stay at home mom has been an experiment in extremes, punctuated by life events that were completely out of control and all the expected things that kids bring, but double the intensity. The highs are higher and the lows are lower with two, and we have ridden that rollercoaster 1398 days now.

My boys are wild, loud, beasts who will take over the world some day with sheer force of abandon. My Unicorn has imagination beyond compare and an incredible depth of kindness. My Engineer has an aptitude and precociousness for figuring out how the world works and he does it with wit. These are things I already know about them, and I know in my heart who they will be long before they get there. And so I don’t worry for that; I know that they will be themselves, and if they’re lucky, be happy at that.

Fall 2012 090

The Engineer and The Unicorn

And tonight, tonight it hit me with the force of a speeding railway, after they were snuggled into bed, after all the dishes were done, and the wine drunk, the relaxing over. Tonight, as I went to check on them before I turned to bed myself, I realized that tomorrow we will wake up and be a different kind of family. I will be a different kind of mom.

I know that the fact that I had a choice to stay home and now go back to work was a great luxury, so I won’t dwell on it. But I will grieve a little for this shift in my universe; this separation that I never wanted. I will still do all the mom things that moms do everywhere every day. I will still be there in the morning and at night and every minute that I am able. They will still need so much from me.

And oh my god, I am grateful, so profoundly grateful that I had nearly four years to spend with my little folk and grateful that I found it in me to do it, because I was so afraid that I didn’t. I am grateful for the things that they have given me; the patience, the knowledge that time passes whether it’s good or bad, and how to find joy in those small moments even when the day has been hard.

Summer 2012 645

Like this. This was hard. OMG I HAVE CLEANED UP SO MUCH SHIT IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

So tomorrow I send them off into this world a little bit in a way I am not prepared for yet. I will have to approach it the same way I approached becoming a mom; vague notions and blind faith that it will all work out alright. And it will, because I am armed now with the knowledge that as long as those two little goofballs are in this world with me, everything is ok.

Snowy Sunday Misadventures

It looks like this outside this morning.

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Stop focusing on the fact that my Christmas lights are still up and look at all that stupid snow.

That is some major bullshit. To some of you southerners this might appear like the end of times, but up here in Canadaland we just call this “March”. It’s Sunday so people will still go to church if they’re really dedicated, but less people will go shopping and we shall collectively roll our eyes and generally endure.

So anyway, that’s happening today. I may have over-imbibed a bit with the neighbors last night and my kids have the sniffles so I was really looking forward to a movie day. Maybe some baking. If things got wild, I’d make popcorn. You know, really earth shattering type stuff. But nothing that would require me to put my winter jacket on because I am totally done with that fucking thing. I am really serious about that.

You can imagine how delighted I was to wake up to the following conversation:

Engineer: Mommy, get the gray thing out of my mouth.

Mommy: (launching self out of bed) WHAT? What grey thing? What did you eat?

Engineer: The grey thing. From playgroup.

Mommy: (stabbing at eyes to make eyes work before remembering to put on my glasses) WHERE DID YOU GET IT?

Engineer: (Points at desk)

I surveyed my desk. Grey things include: paperclips, staples, tacks, money, BATTERIES. No grey things that seemed like a good idea to eat. Maybe I am not being imaginative enough, but I can’t think of any grey things that seem like a good idea to eat. (Google says buckwheat noodles. I’ll give them that.)

Mommy: (In shrill, shrieking voice) Where is the grey thing?

Engineer: In my tummy.

And so in a flurry of coats and hats and boots and car seats, we found ourselves at the Children’s Hospital before breakfast. Not to cast aspersions on our local Children’s Hospital, because they are wonderful people who have given us excellent care over the years, but they were NOT AS PANICKED AS I WANTED THEM TO BE. In fact, they barely registered any alarm at all. They directed us to the waiting room where we sat next to the poster full of “Actual Items Swallowed by Children”. The actual items were glued to the poster and included things like buttons, pennies, small toys, a safety pin, magnets a KNITTING NEEDLE. Not one of those little crochet hooks, either; this needle could have been a bonafide weapon.  I am not shitting you. This informative poster did nothing to make me feel better.

There was virtually no waiting time because not many children were committed to self harm on a Sunday morning, so it was us and a few pukers. The Engineer informed the doctor that a grey thing was in his tummy and he wanted a picture of it, so off we went to x-ray. By the time we got to the x-ray, I was kind of didn’t know what to wish for. I kind of suspected that this could all be a lie, and here I was calling his bluff by shooting him with radiation. I had only a couple of seconds to ponder the risks of either proposition though, and decided on the balance it was better to find out what he ate.

The Engineer was a superstar about it and laid as still as he has ever laid for five seconds at a time. And we learned just a few minutes later that the kid was completely full of crap. Literally and figuratively. But no dangerously sharp, life threatening metal objects that were going to poison him and shred his insides, as I had naturally assumed.

Then we braved the blowing snow and crappy roads home. I am sure that the worst part for the Engineer was the twenty minute lecture, borne out of complete gratitude that he was totally fine and this was just a misadventure. Now we can get started on doing absolutely nothing today.

Winter 2013 063

Resume regular programming. MORE OF THIS TODAY, CHILDREN.

 

Things I found in my printer

Today’s edition of “Things I found in my printer” include:

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The natural reaction to having these items jammed inside the paper tray of your printer might be upset. On the contrary; it makes me feel better that the cordless phone thing wasn’t all my fault; we were playing a really advanced game of hide and seek with it. I am also happy to report that I am not losing my marbles in thinking that I owned a stapler. The rock; I can’t explain its origins except that I think it’s some kind of sedimentary rock from the Badlands of Alberta.

Three year olds are delightful, aren’t they?

Red Letter Verses from the 3 Year Old Bible

And they* will get popcorn from the store for Mommy and Daddy and The Unicorn and The Engineer**. And grandma and grandpa and all our friends. And other grandma and grandpa. And crabs and lobsters. And Batman and Spiderman and the Increbabel Hulk and the Hulk and Capan Merica and Batman and Robin. And Miss Sharon and Capan Merica. And lobsters! And My Big Big Big Big Big Big Big Big Friend***, and (unintelligible string of names, presumably people the Unicorn and Engineer met or saw on TV). And grandma. And the Hulk. But mostly Spiderman.

*assuming this is some form of deity that goes grocery shopping. I pray to this god myself.

**not their real names. I am not that terribly cruel.

***pretty sure the original bible had links in it too. I don’t know, someone else did my catechism homework for me.

Twin FAQ for the Overly Inquisitive Stranger

Strangers like to make conversations about babies. Baby twins make you into a D-list celebrity at the mall. I don’t even know how higher order multiple parents handle the attention. Most of the time I appreciate that people are good and kind and generally curious and I am more than happy to chat. Every so often I run into a douchehole who interrupts me while I am trying to get other things done, or is just your general expert on every goddamned thing around and here’s what I would really like to say to them.

1. Are they twins?

I am not sure, I just found this stroller at the grocery store. Just kidding, I found them at the playground. I was looking for a matching set.

2. Did you do fertility treatments?

Wow, that came right out of the gate. They were spontaneous, but in general I do not discuss the shortcomings of my ladyparts with strangers. Tell me more about your ovaries, do they function?

3. How do you do it?

I don’t fucking know. Babies have pretty good ways of compelling you to do their bidding. Sometimes it’s like wrestling an octopus, so I feel like I am developing other skills at the same time.

4. Are their personalities different?

Personality is so complex, isn’t it? How do you define ‘different’? What criteria would you use? Do you have a scale for multiple factors for me to rate them? I am not sure if they’d score statistically different in enough categories to qualify as different. Oh wait, NO. You just want to know if there’s an evil twin. No, their mother can be a bitch on wheels when people get all inquisitive though.

5. Are they identical?

Yes, they are identical. (no smart comments needed here; it’s going to get worse)

6. How do you tell them apart?

I don’t fucking know. How do you tell your hands apart? How do you tell these little baby rhinoceroses apart?

Everyone join me in saying awww (desicolours.com)

Chances are if they lived at your house you’d figure out a system to remember which one steals shit out of the pantry all the time and which one thinks he’s a unicorn. I can’t describe it to you.

7. They don’t look identical.

Well, due to the weirdness that is epigenetics and the developmental process, including the fact that my twins developed twin-twin transfusion syndrome late in my pregnancy, there are small differences in their weight, height, face shape etc. And they have different personalities, so they tend to use different facial expressions.

8. No, those kids aren’t identical, I don’t believe you.

Please refer to my comments on epigenetics and, you know, I am not even sure why I am bothering; you clearly don’t know science.

9. They are not identical.

Well, you got me. You win at the “spot-the-difference” game. YOU MUST BE SO FUN AT PARTIES.

10. Well, they just don’t look identical to me.

Six sonographers and my OB were obviously wrong. You know what, just go fuck yourself.

11. Humph.

(ANGRY FACE)

12. Twin boys! Do you have any drywall left?

No.

13. I would die if I had twins.

Probably.

Camping Tetris

I took the boys camping over the weekend. A great time was had by all, except that it was minus a gazillion in the mountains at night (I swear to god snow turned up on the peak next to us while we were there. Total bullshit. It’s STILL AUGUST, MOTHER NATURE) so no one got any sleep at all because we were too busy staving off hypothermia and convincing ourselves that camping is a good idea. Usually by 6 am we had come to terms with camping and drifted off to sleep, just in time for the kids to adopt tigger-on-ephedrine levels of energy and start bouncing around the tent so hard I am sure from the outside it appeared like we had set loose two small bears in there. It felt like that when I was woken up with a kamikaze ninja jump onto my head.

Anyway, this level of sleep deprivation always takes its toll. On the way out to the campsite I was patting my back for my superior packing skills. Everything was organized neatly into the back of the van, rolled up in their respective bags. Never mind that I had to text my husband eleven times to bring stuff out that I forgot; eleven is about average for a trip to the mall. For a weekend of camping, eleven is great news. When I got out there my neighbor had already set up her campsite, sans husband, with two small children in tow, and in the spirit of looking like I was up to the same level of amazingness I attempted the same. And it happened! The tent got up, the van got unpacked, the beds got set up and the husbands arrived to a very charming scene. With beer. Everything was perfect.

The ensuing lack of sleep caused us to flunk the post-camping cognition test. Despite the fact that we trashed a few chairs, ate most of our food, and drank all the beer, we could hardly fit everything back into two vehicles, much less one.

This is exactly as full as the van was on the way there. Packing up we took up the same amount of space.

Plus this.

And this.

Pre-camping, I put this pillow in the bag in under 30 seconds flat. Post camping I wandered around the campsite for nearly 20 minutes trying to just get one corner shoved in with this result:

A drunk lab rat could do better.

Putting the tent back in the bag proved to be too much for my damaged psyche and if it hadn’t been for my husband I would have just abandoned it. I might have cried a little. I might have also stomped my foot like a five-year old.

I have never loved this man more. Not even on our wedding day.

So in the spirit of this, I’d like to share an open letter to Coleman, purveyors of camping products everywhere.

Dear Coleman;

You make a fine camping product, it’s true. Your brand has been a part of many cherished family memories. But your storage bags are not condoms, ok? It does not matter if there is a little extra room in there because no one is going to get pregnant if it falls off. Let’s be honest, most of the people buying the fluffiest sleeping bag around are driving a huge SUV and parking it eleven feet from their tent. There’s no need to kid ourselves about conserving space and packing light. Think of the Sunday morning hung over and sleep deprived among us when you’re designing your products. We’re just pretending to be outdoorsy; make it easier for us to feel superior and you’ll have a lifelong customer in me.

Sincerely,

The Rollergiraffe

P.S. Also, if you can figure out an un-tippable camping chair I would be forever grateful. I am just saying that balance is not my best attribute after six Pilsners. I am funnier, just not more upright.

Down with domesticity!

I have complained about this before, but I am not super domestic. In my head I am this:

Makeup! Apron! Brushed hair! Spatula! Sass!

In reality I won this trophy last year:

Friday Night Pints Commitment Award of Excellence Winner, 2010

Every so often I get ambitious though and I am going to turn it all around. In my daydreams I plan parties and make magnificent cakes and everyone will be dressed in clean, ironed clothes every day.

This time I focused on the cakes. On a whim I signed up for a cake decorating course, convinced I was probably going to be asked to be the instructor. I was going to spend my nights practicing and making shit from scratch. It turned out to be  a mompetition over who could make the best pink icing. I hate pink, so I lost. I was the one squirreled away in the corner focusing on my piping technique, ladies. Anyone can achieve neon orange icing. Anyone.

I ended up making this.

Happy Campers! (cakecentral.com)

Cute right? Except I totally didn’t make it. I made this instead:

Avant garde camping cake. Rustic, even.

Yes, those are crumbs in the crappy, uneven icing. And the trees I made were heavily depredated by a unicorn.

Distinct branch breakage

Surveillance shot of unicorn fleeing the scene

I had to quit halfway through finishing the cake and skipped the class because we are going camping and I needed to pack and we have house guests and I was really tired and SO MANY EXCUSES. I really could go on forever, but the truth is that I didn’t want to hear the instructor congratulate all the other novice decorators for their gorgeous flowery cupcake designs and charming colour schemes while I was busy trying to make realistic rocks out of grey buttercream. It was so hot in there, you guys, I wanted to stab everything with my piping bag.

Anyway, I had a revelation as my boys devoured the cake. Maybe I am just trying to justify my laziness, but I really don’t think they care if I am a domestic genius. And I can raise them not to care. And their future wives will thank me for lowering their expectations. And I can train them to do domestic stuff for me, which their future wives will also thank me for. I just figured out how to be the best mother in law ever. Best mom went out the window some time ago.

I had a similar thought when my husband turned down boxes of nostalgia that his parents were throwing away. It never occurred to me that I could do the same. When my mother cleaned out her basement and dropped off every single piece of paper that I ever wrote on until the age of 18, I put it all in my basement in case I ever needed to remember how angsty I was when I was 13 (Hint: pretty angsty). It takes up space in my life. And every three years I have an argument with my husband about it. I don’t have to do this to my kids! I don’t have to scrapbook. I don’t have to finish those baby books. I probably will fill them out with the wrong information and crusty advice for them so they’ll have something to remember me by after they shove me in the cheapest nursing home. But I don’t have to; they won’t be upset if I don’t! I’ll show them my boxes full of depressive mournful teenage meanderings and they will thank me for not forcing the same on them. Then we’ll have a bonfire with all those heaps of paper and toast my parenting skills. Bring your marshmallows.

So fuck it. I was totally right to stay home and have dinner with my boys tonight instead of cake class. Beets are better for you than cake and sanctimonious crafters anyway.

You know, maybe I do need a hobby.