I caught you a delicious bass; wanna play me?

My kid does this thing with his hands whenever there is an uncomfortable moment in our day. He calls it Awkward Turtle and I'm pretty sure it's something he's picked up off of thems there internets, but I don't care because it's AWESOME and I'm going to use it right now.

*puts one hand on top of other*
*sticks thumbs out and spins them around in circles*
*inches turtle forward*

Oh, nevermind; ask me to show it to you next time you see me.

So there's no real seque from that post into this one, except that

A) everything is fine for now, and
2) I can't believe I didn't do that years ago, I feel *that* much better and
lastly) I have bigger fish to fry.

Fish like blogging conferences. Blogging conferences like BlogHer, which is where I work now.

Um. Yeah. I cannot believe it, either.

After, like, 87 Internet Years, Jes Ferris moved on from BlogHer and I somehow duped them into letting me take her place as Conference Programming Manager, which is so very awesome and so very time consuming that I think I will henceforth just be a Saturday night blogger, if I'm lucky. I made it all of nine days into my Highly Lofty Plan to Post a Picture Every Day and posted two whole times at my Babble blog this year so they're probably going to fire me, but that's okaysih because I really, really, really truly, madly, deeply love my new job.

Really. I'd stand with it on a mountain. I'd bathe with it in the sea.

I'm Going, Y'all! - BlissdomWhile we're on blogging conferences, I'm going to Blissdom for the first time ever, so if you're going too, I'll be the person continuously standing under something taller than she herself is, wearing rubber shoes and eating all the imitation Jesus-meat crackers I can get my hands on, just in case. Say hi, if you dare.

2012 Dad 2.0 Summit - March 8-10I'm also going to the Houston Meet-Up for Dad 2.0 summit this Thursday night at The Stag's Head Pub downtown because, ironically enough, I really need a fucking drink. That, and I think that Doug French and John Pacini are stand-up guys and fantastic leaders in the dad blogging community who are going to throw one hell of a boy's weekend out conference, and I fully support their efforts that I won't be able to attend, see: new job.

And I think that's pretty much the total summation of every minute of spare time I have from now until August 6th, which means Daphne Brogdon is going to have to keep flaring her nostrils at me for pretty much abandoning everything I was up to at my kids' schools, but that's okay because, well, frankly? She's stinking adorable when she roars her terrible roars, she says from several thousand miles away.

Volunteering At School: Do You Buck Up Or Bow Out? w/ Daphne, Janice and yours truly on Momversation.

Sometimes apples do far kind of fall, it turns out.

I always dreamed of being a rock star, like my daddy was. (Not a famous one, unless you're from Delaware in the 80's, so don't bother googling him). In a lot of ways, we do much the same thing, I think. We both write things for a living, though I don't get to write a few versus and then repeat a chorus, so I guess I win this round. We both have pretty buff fingers, though you don't need to trim your nails or develop callouses to type, so I guess he wins that round. We both had to learn other languages (music/HTML) and we both had to just embrace the fact that to do what we love best, we had to learn to drink. 

The thing that separates the boys from the men in our situtation is 'the road'. My dad did his very best work on when he traveled but I...well...I suck when I travel. I take a million notes on tissues and cocktail napkins. I write opuses in matchbooks. I write up my arms if I have to because, like my dad, traveling inspires me but unlike him, I don't do a damn thing about it. I blow my nose on the tissues and roll my gum in the cocktail napkins and burn the matchbooks because, um, burning things is fun, shut up, and nothing I write when I travel ever sees the light of day. 

I was in China in September and have yet to write about the culture, the history or the squat toilets. Last night, I returned home from Boston which is an extrememly cool city filled with history and vibrancy and art and I found myself utterly inspired, doodling furious notes on every scrap of paper I came across.

Of course, all I have to show for it is a video of kids playing songs with their noses.

I can't even imagine how proud my father must be right now.

Gone Fishin'

It's 10:07 am on a Monday morning and every single one of my children are asleep on one of my couches. They're on the couches because the a/c unit for the upstairs of our house has broken, again, and it's hotter up there than it is in Denver right now.

(Yes, we have two a/c units and yes, I also thought this was the most outlandishly stupidly indulgent thing I'd ever seen...until I saw summer in Houston. Turns out, when one of them breaks, it takes two days of running the Last A/C Unit Standing ad 65 just to get your house cooled to a balmy 78, with 1,034% humidity.)

(That scream you hear on the 5th will be me, opening my electricity bill.)

They're asleep because we sat up until 12/12:30 watching some bullshit on the tv and playing games, like we do every night, beccause it's summer vacation and they weren't tired yet. They're tired now

I always admired parents who could set a bedtime (7:30 seems to be the standard, from what I hear) and stick to it, even in the summer, even when the sun is up, even when there is not a damn thing to do the next day. I am not one of those people. On a school night, sure, we're all in our beds by nine, but I am one of those people that pronouces vacation harder than summer

I believe in vacation. I believe in summer vacations. I don't agree with year round schools and I don't think that kids need to be shoved into a bunch of camps and classes to retain the infomation they learned the previous school year. (To let their parents go to work? Absolutely.) Summer vacation is survival of the fittest for education. What was taught well and what's important will stick...the rest will get washed away by the water park. 

I think it's important for kids' brains to go fishing on a regular basis. I think it's important for the rest of them to, also, but that's just me and my unladylike hobbies talking. 

2011-07-04_12-55-25_382

I said everything else I had to say in my latest Momversation contribution. Which we are now doing solo. And it kind of freaks me out. See, voice for print.

To Bikini, or Not to Bikini

My son's year-end band trip was to Splashtown last week and since I was out of town the week that the $25 and permission slip was due, I got to spend slightly over $300* to take all three of my kids. On Field Trip Saturday. To the only waterpark in Houston. By myself. That was fun.

waterpark ftw>


*In fairness, it would have been closed to $250 but season passes were $10 more than a ticket and I am incapable of turning down a good deal. Busydad tells me this is because I am almost an honorary Asian. And then he pulls his eyes all slanty and says, "What a baahgain!" and his ancestors are currently accepting bids for the outsourcing of the avenging the dishonor he shows them. Bygones.

So my sons run off in search of school friends and I am left alone with my daughter to tackle the waves pools and ride on the not-so-lazy river and I realize I'm getting old as hell because all I want to do is run around covering up every little girl I see in a slinky little string bikini.

And I realize why it bothers me that those girls all wear stuff like that when it really has no right too, since my daughter modeled suits just like that in her toddler days. For me, it's not what those girls look like, but how they are seen.

No one mistakes a 2 year old for a teenager, but it isn't so hard to look at a 12 year old today and see a 16 year old, an 18 year old, a woman. A very awkward woman constantly tugging on her swimsuit trying to make it sit in all the places that it needs hips or breasts to properly sit, and will never on a child's body. Which just goes to accentuating all the things that are not, but soon will be, and makes the problem that much worse.

The thing is, adolescent children just aren't capable of understanding how they are perceived. Most adults aren't really, either. It's not fair to assume our girls can grasp what it means to wear something like that, and it's not fair to let then strut around with "naked and clueless" signs strapped to their backs. Every time one of those kids passed by me wearing a teency little bikini, I caught myself scanning the crowd to see if anyone was looking at her the wrong way. I can't help it, I'm wired to protect. I'm the damn Michael Ohr of under-clothed children.

We had a lot to say about this on Momversation. A lot of what we say gets edited out for time on these things, and my favorite point - made by Jessica Gottlieb - was (paraphrased) that it's pretty hard to go be a kid and splash and ride rides and have fun when you constantly have to watch that you didn't lose your swim top, and maybe we should just encourage our girls to have as much fun as the boys do, and part of that is making letting them dress for the occasion properly. My 10 favorite points on this entire subject were made by Mom 101. We'd love to hear your take, too.

Lies

Children are wretched secret-keepers because they haven't yet learned to detach themselves from the rest of humanity and live solely in their own heads. This is arguably their greatest attribute.

My sons told my daughter about my mother. It was an accident, an off-the-cuff like duh remark made one day in passing that she zeroed in on and has been hunting since.

Your mother hurt you?

Your mother doesn't... ...love...you?

She cannot grasp the concept of a mother not loving her child and I thank every god I can think of for this gift.

She associated fear with the word 'mother', and I cannot make this better for her. She was thrust, headfirst, into her gene pool and now she will have to learn to swim in it, just as I did. She cries sometimes because she doesn't want to grow anymore so she can't be married so she won't have babies and I tell her that she doesn't have to do any of those things. I hold her in my arms and tell her lies that feel like wishes; you don't have to grow anymore. You can stay right here in my arms forever. I will always be your momma and you will always be my little girl and no one can change that.

Her questions come faster than I can bear to answer them, ruthlessly unrelenting, hashing over old details that taste bitter against my tongue. I sweeten and spice and kneed them so they are palatable to her fragile heart. She asks what did you do, and I answer nothing every single time, as if the repetition will lead to belief. She wonders why I don't call my mother and I tell her that I don't know where she is. She informs me emphatically that I need to tell my faddur and he will tell my mudder that I am sorry, because if you say you're sorry and you mean it then everything can be okay again.

I take her face into my hands and stare as deeply as I can into her perfect big brown wondrous eyes and I tell her that she is right, silly old me; I will do that right away.

The shades of gray that color the excuses I make for what happened - my mother was broken and it wasn't her fault, that it didn't hurt me and I am not sad - give way to the vibrance she recklessly splashes across my past.

She asks me if we can go see my mudder after my fadder talks to her and I say in crimsons of course we can, bugga-boo. She asks if my mother will hurt her and I tell her pensively orange no, my mother will love you so much. The truth in that statement rips new holes in my heart. She asks what we will do and I tell her powder-bluely that my mother will read you a story and you will have tea and you could even brush my mother's hair if you'd like; she always loved that. She asks what color my mother's hair is and I realize that my mother isn't yet a person for her, merely a concept.

This has nothing to do with my mother, and everything to do with knowing that her mother can be hurt.

I keep waiting for her to move on from this but she cannot. So I continue to lie to her, and I will as long as she will let me, because I don't know how to share this truth with a five year old child. I cannot. She tells me that maybe she could grow up, and when she does she can be my mother, and I tell her that would be the grandest thing of all, gosh you'd make a good momma for me. She sleeps easier, knowing she has healed me, while not knowing at all that she is healing me.

Together we paint different pictures over this canvas I drag around with me, flooding the gray spaces of my life with her bright lightness.

{Separate yet equal: we're talking on Momversation about tragedies, and how much you tell your kids.}