the managing of expectations

Confession time.

Yes. Again. Apologies, but this does seem to be a good forum for such things.

I have been slacking lately in the meal department. Purchasing and preparing meals is a household task that I have, until recently, embraced.

Especially since it means The Dada handles the laundry. Yes, all of it. Yes, I do realize how lucky I am.

But lately… a half-hearted hug is the best I could do. The Family has been eating more than our fair share of quesadillas, pizza, and assorted pasta dishes, garnished with the not-infrequent dinner out for good measure. Suffice it to say I was quite pleased with myself Sunday evening when I served homemade squash apple soup and homemade truffled shiitake parmigiano reggiano risotto in the same meal.

Smug. S-M-U-G. Smug.

As is the case in oh-so-many cautionary tales, that hubris foreshadowed my downfall, for The Kidling began to sing during the meal:

“You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit. You get your risotto, and you don’t throw a fit.”

I give up.

one of these things is a little different…

The Dada has a thing about matching: he hates it. If we are wearing clothing that even approaches the same color family, he either changes his clothes, or he politely requests that I change mine. I have no desire to be the parenting version of Thing 1 and Thing 2, so it seems a fair enough request.

This isn’t the book of the dada, so you are probably wondering, dear readers, why I am telling you this.

I thought you’d never ask.

The Family was prepping for an outing Saturday morning and we were at varying stages of “ready,” per normal. The Kidling was about half ready, The Dada was showered, dressed, and prepped to walk out the door, and The Mama– well–

I was washing my face in yesterday’s tee shirt.

Yeah, sorry. I’m notorious for that sort of thing.

The thing is, yesterday’s tee shirt was black and The Dada was wearing a tee shirt, too. A black tee shirt. Unaware that I was sporting a pre-worn, about to be tossed into the laundry chute tee, The Dada stopped in his tracks and uttered a worried, “uh oh…” when he spotted my ebony swath of cotton.

The Kidling, curious about The Dada’s seemingly unfounded concern, looked at me quizzically. I smiled and explained that The Dada doesn’t much care for matching. Before I could continue, she interrupted, disputing the notion that we matched by explaining, “But your shirt has short sleeves and Daddy’s bottom is smaller.”

You can’t get anything by The Kidling. Particularly when that “thing” is The Mama’s bottom.

flashes of brilliance (or sparkle, as the case may be)

This weekend, The Mama got her hair done. Finally. I’ve been rocking the same look for nearly two years, and the time had come. Now, we’re not talking about a little trim here. No, this was a major change: bangs. And it looks damn good, if I do say so myself.

The Kidling was less than convinced. When she first saw me, she smiled in greeting before her face fell. “I liked you better without those,” she informed me.

“You’ll get used to them,” I replied. The look in her eyes told me that was not likely.

Later, I told The Kidling we looked alike now, since we both had fringe on our foreheads. Clearly I was reaching, but I thought–perhaps–making the fringe seem more familiar might lead to less animosity. Right?

We walked to a mirror and studied our reflections. A moment passed before I noticed, “You can see my gray hairs now!”

“That’s too bad,” The Kidling responded.

“Oh no,” I corrected, “I like them. They’re sparkly!”

The Kidling shook her head, “The older you get, the less you’ll like them.”

How does this chiłd know everything?



ego check

Alice: Mom, your face is red.

The Mama: All of it?

Alice: Just part. The rest of it looks like a normal person.

and on the seventh day

We were out running errands one recent weekend when I loaded the trunk with The Family’s exciting new acquisitions (Toilet paper and kale. Jealous yet?), closed the trunk, and hopped in the car. As we were preparing to drive away, The Kidling noticed that the trunk was cracked open. You see, the back seat of our new-to-us car has a nifty fold down arm rest with even niftier storage hidden inside. This means

  1. Alice can always have sh*t to do in the car without it looking like a pit; and
  2. The armrest is always down. Seriously. Always.

The result of item two is that Alice has a view into the trunk. This can be funny, such as the time she told me she really wanted to climb into the trunk NOW before her bottom gets too big to fit.

Let’s pretend she didn’t get that from watching me try to squeeze under the couch, okay?

It can also, apparently, be useful. Such was the case on this day, when The Kidling yelled to notify me of the deficiency in my trunk closing abilities. I thanked her, and she responded,

“Sometimes I can be a big helper. Like now! I helped you that time. And it was good.” 

And on the seventh day, The Kidling rested.

a compliment

The Kidling, like most children, is honest to a fault. And I love it. Her lack of a filter is always usually a beautiful sign of her lack of inhibition and ignorance of the notion of judgment. And sometimes it is little embarrassing. Sometimes it is awfully embarrassing. Hell, sometimes it is incredibly embarrassing. Sometimes it is even inappropriate for this blog.

Not often.

Regardless of whether The Kidling’s candor is a little embarrassing or unbloggable, it is always refreshing. Even when it bruises my not-at-all fragile ego. Case in point? Dinner.

The Mama loves to cook, but I don’t do recipes. Sometimes this yields a delicious, healthy meal and sometimes it means a meal that is, at best, edible. One evening just after Thanksgiving, I made a delicious soup (if I do say so myself). The Kidling, however, was not convinced. Taking a small bite, she smiled.

Well done, Mama, I thought to myself. She likes it!

Self-satisfied, I continued to eat my soup. The Kidling took another bite before offering her assessment, “I like it more than I hate it.”

Thank goodness for the not-at-all-fragile ego.

on beauty

I have previously mentioned The Kidling’s propensity toward honesty. Typically, said honesty falls into the “total” category, yet it occasionally crosses over to “brutal.” Please, no comments about what it is going to be like when she turns 14. I don’t want to hear it.

La la la la la la la la. I’m not listening. Hmmm hm hm hm hm hm. La la la la la la. What? Oh, you’ve stopped? Good. Don’t try that again.

Where was I? Oh yes, honesty. This story refers to the brutal variety. You probably saw that coming.

First, a confession: I really like to look in the mirror at The Kidling and The Mama. A lot. I pick her up, find a mirror, squish my face next to hers, and stare. I know it is a little weird and a lot narcissistic, but with my limited understanding of genetics and biology, I am forever amazed by all of the people I see in her tiny, perfect face. The Mama and The Dada, sure, but also myriad uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins… her face is like a little window into our past.

And, well, I admit it: we are just so darned cute together. There’s that, too.

But Alice sees it differently. Just a few days ago, she was pondering her mouth. I have no idea why, so don’t ask. Whilst considering their beauty, she declared of her lips, “Mine are like red strawberries. Yours are like… like… pink strawberries that aren’t very healthy.”

Thanks, babe. Consider the ego checked.