what the–

Once upon a time, a million years ago, in another lifetime, The Mama was a singer. Not a famous one, though someone did tell me a few weeks ago that I look like Carly Rae Jepsen.

I confess, I resorted to Google Images to make my own assessment. I am that lame. Don’t get me wrong, I have no way of not knowing that brainworm of a song, I had just never seen the person behind the noise. (Confidential to CRJ: I’m sure you are really nice. I just can’t handle anything that catchy.)

As I was about to get round to saying, way back when, The Mama had a passable mezzo-soprano. No one ever paid me to use it (except for that church choir…), but it was precisely “not bad” enough to get me cast in small roles at my local university. No, I’m not being humble. Tiny roles. Think Third Boy.

Yes, really.

As a result of this once-upon-a-time-a-billion-years-ago-I-didn’t-make-ears-bleed voice, I like to mix up my lullaby repertoire. I’m not saying I don’t sing a whole lot of Baa Baa Black Sheep, because I do. I really, really do. I simply like to use my Mama-given chords as they were meant to be used.

I can’t thank god when my Mama’s got the chops she has. I know where this voice of mine came from. Can I get an Amen?

So one evening, I sang two pretty little art songs to The Kidling after I tucked her in. She listened intently. I finished. We chatted.

I’m kind of jealous of something,” she said.

“What’s that?”

I’m jealous you have a beautifuler voice than me,” she continued.

“Sweetie, it’s just different,” I assured her.

Not to be dissuaded, she insisted, “Yours is more beautifuler.

“Well, it’s older,” I explained. “You know how our bodies grow up? It’s not just the outsides of our bodies that grow up: it’s the insides, too. Your voice will mature and then you’ll probably sound a lot like Mommy.”

She nodded in understanding, “And my nipples will get big, too?

Choking back a giggle, The Mama replied, “Yes.”

So they can hold milk?

“Right.”

And with that little twist, I kissed The Kidling goodnight and promptly ran downstairs to share our conversation with The Dada.

an open letter to The Kidling and to kidlings of a certain age

“How are you dealing with Kindergarten?” a drop in to our running-club-that-isn’t-really-a-club asked.

“What?” I replied. “Oh. Great! Honestly, I am just excited for her. She is damn smart. She is just really ready to be a reader.”

And with that, I brushed aside all thoughts of anxiety regarding my youngest–my only–child’s matriculation into the garden of children… until two Saturdays ago. On that day, it all came. At first it whispered, politely tiptoeing toward me. Shortly thereafter, it spoke more firmly and picked up its pace. Then it whacked me right over the head.

Jerk.

Because on that fateful Saturday, I found myself at Standard Department Store. Yes, the same one that gave me corduroy shorts with opaque tights in adolescence. Perms and bad bobs in my childhood. But that day, it gave me something else: anxiety.

On that far-from-fine day, The Mama decided to buy The Kidling’s new school clothes. Pretty striped cotton dresses, practical tees and leggings, perhaps a fall jacket… things that scream “The Kindergartner from The Middle(west).” And I did find those things. It’s just that I also found… Other…

Things.

Things that I wasn’t ready to see in size 5.  The details aren’t worthy of recounting,

Tight things, short things, one-shouldered things, things with words I don’t want to read in places I don’t want to read them

but the outcome is: fear. Genuine, chest-tightening fear. Fear of the influence of the world. Fear that The Dada and I will no longer control the message. Fear that–god forbid–The Kidling will actually want those awful things.

Fear that the world won’t be kind.

Fear that The Kidling won’t be kind.

Fear that she will struggle–with friendships, with learning, with anything.

Fear that she will be cruel to friends who struggle.

Fear that she will be judged.

Fear that she will judge.

Fear that she will get hurt.

Fear that she will hurt someone else.

Fear.

Fear.

Fear.

Fear.

Fear.

I was so busy with my fear that I nearly forgot to notice today. But first times are sacred and deserve to be memorialized. So I noticed.

And I am writing.

*********

Dear The Kidling (and friends);

This morning

After you went outside in your perfect first-day-of-school outfit and played with sidewalk chalk in your perfect-first-day-of-school outfit and covered your perfect-first-day-of-school outfit with said sidewalk chalk and apologized for covering your perfect-first-day-of-school outfit with sidewalk chalk and went inside to take off your perfect-first-day-of-school outfit and changed into clothes.

you went to Kindergarten. Kindergarten! I know you are a genius, but this seems extreme. You were, after all, born just yesterday. Which is why my heart could burst, I am so proud of you.

A few weeks ago, we sat on our front steps and ate ice cream. When I thanked you for being part of my life, you laughed at me. Then you shrugged your tiny little shoulders

Shoulders on which the weight of the world seems sometimes to rest.

and said “Well, you created me,” because you had no choice in the matter.

Which is kind of awesome, because I know you would choose Nana.

Whether by choice or by nature, I am ridiculously lucky to have you. Not that I am foolish enough to think that you are meant to be had. Rather, I am so, so fortunate to have you here. With me. With The Dada. Every day, as part of our crazy little ride on this planet. And, for what it’s worth, I have no idea what I did to deserve you, but whatever it was, I am damn glad I did it. And if that thing that I did occurred in a past life, then I am seriously thanking dead-previous-The-Mama.

Really. Thank you for not being a total jerk to someone with the power to ensure future-The-Mama got screwed over with a boring, bratty kid.

On such a monumental day, I don’t have nearly as much advice as I wish I did. What little I have to offer is so very important: No matter what, be you. Always be you. Even when you forget who “you” are. Even when you lose “you.” Even when the “you” you find is wholly different from the one you lost. Be you. Strong, kind, quirky, clever, smart, stubborn, loving, rambunctious, curious, agile, witty, loud, beautiful, spunky, mouthy,

but not too mouthy

you. Because I love the shit out of you. And I always will.

Love,
The Mama

The Name

I clearly hover on the edge of obnoxious when it comes to telling stories about my kid. And okay, I occasionally cross over into the ultra-obnoxious. I admit it. Who am I kidding, I embrace it. In fact, I tell anyone who will listen that I worship at the Church of Alice.

Thus, the book of alice. It feels wise and a bit holy, no?

pint-sized proboscis-picking party

Okay, I’ll bite. 

I saw on The Daily Post that the weekly photo challenge theme was friendship. I don’t do a lot of picture posting, so I typically don’t think much about these. This time, though, they posted a darling image of three happy boys and I thought about my girl. 

You might recall that The Kidling has a cousin named The Kidd-o who is her dearest friend. They have an intense love/be-mean-to-one-another relationship. They are too innocent to call it love/hate, but there is something somewhat sisterly about it all. Anyway, the girls get really worked up when they are together, and I remembered this hilarious episode from two years back that I was fortunate to catch on camera. 

Cheers!

Have I ever mentioned that The Kidling picks her nose? I have? Well, it ain’t a new thing. Nose-picking circa 2010.
Also, have you ever seen someone look so cute whilst doing something so gross? I most certainly have not.

 

Oh, friendship. What started as The Kidling digging around in her pint-sized proboscis lead to a proboscis-picking party. Pictured, from L to R, The Kidling and The Kidd-o.

And as you all know, where there is a booger, there is a snack. Note that The Kidd-o knows better. Her parents must feed her well.