Friday, June 25, 2010

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit...

Here's a great visual for you of the generation gap. In the middle are my mom's shoes which she wore when she dated my dad. They're about a size five I think. I couldn't squeeze half of my big flippers into them. Even Asa at age ten can't get her feet into them (she's now into a ladies' size 7). Then comes my feet, at size eleven they are not dainty. But hey, I'm a swimmer and they make great flippers. My dad (size 12) always said he gave me a good foundation in life, and he was right! On the outside are Mackenzie's shoes. Size 13: same as his age. I sure hope they don't go up in size as he gets older! As it is, he looks so much like Jeremy from Zits it's scary. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the creators of Zits are parked across the street from my house with binoculars gathering source material on a daily basis.

Last week Mackenzie and I went camping together for a few days. I packed an enormous amount of food, in quantities that could've seen Hannibal and his elephants safely over the Alps. I'm not kidding:

One package of hot dogs
Two pounds of hamburger
Two quarts of pasta sauce
Two packages of pasta
One can of refried beans
One loaf of bread
One bag of tortillas
One brick of cheese
A gallon of milk
A half gallon of pancake batter, pre-made and ready to go
A jar of peanut butter and one of jelly
A container of hummous
A dozen eggs
Carrots, celery, grapes, watermelon, salad, snap peas, apples, bananas
4 Clif Bars
Two containers of nuts
One baggie of raisins
One box of graham crackers
Two bars of chocolate
One bag of marshmallows

AND.... you guessed it, I had to go to a grocery store three days into the camping trip to resupply. No, I am not making this up. The kid has grown four inches this year and somehow managed to lose five pounds in the process, despite eating us into the poorhouse.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

It's almost summer and around here everyone has been busy with a variety of activities. Asa just finished up her big end-of-year dance recitals, although their dance team will be competing at the "Dance Magic Grand Champions" this summer since they won 1st place in their division. So the excitement of dance team is not quite over for the year, which cheered her up immensely when she was feeling sad over dance being over for the season. She also just finished up with performances of Little Shop of Horrors a couple of weeks ago, which was a very fun production (and their theatre company has just been outdoing itself in every production, this was very good!). Now she's heading down to my mom's house for her annual week of Missoula Children's Theatre. She'll audition on Monday and hopefully will get a part again, so then it will be full-day rehearsals for a week and a performance the following weekend.

In the meantime, Mackenzie and I will take that week and go on another camping excursion like we did last year. This year instead of the high desert, we'll be heading to the coastal redwoods, taking both kayaks and both dogs. That should be exciting! Last year on our trip Mackenzie plowed his way through the first few books in the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (this photo is of him celebrating Towel Day 2010). This year he's taking a book called Going Bovine that looked funny enough that I have even started reading it and now can't put it down. He just finished up with his computer science classes (where he was very excited to have earned an A in his first graded class ever), and has also been building computers with a friend.

Everyone is looking forward to some warmer weather after the unceasing rains of May and June. Asa optimistically made these wonderful popsicles this week, yet another hit recipe from the DK Children's Cookbook that she has checked out from the library enough times that I really ought to buy a copy! I got lucky last Saturday and hit the sunshine jackpot, squeezing my first triathlon of the season in between a rainy Friday and an absolutely torrential Sunday. I left the kids with Wayne (who had the unenviable job of getting Asa's hair, make-up, and costumes all ready for the first of the big dance recitals) and took off with some friends for the outskirts of Portland and the Blue Lake triathlon. As you can see, we really enjoyed ourselves! I always feel like such a big girl when I travel without the kids. It's so different to have them at these ages now where for large chunks of the day, or even for a weekend, I am not with them. Motherhood was so all-enveloping for so many years, but now suddenly it's not anymore. I'm going to have to adjust to this new phase of existence.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Saddest News of All

When I started on my parenting journey, I didn't really know anyone in real life who parented like I wanted to. Didn't know anyone who homebirthed, wore their baby in a sling or nursed on demand (even when the demand proved to be great), co-slept, picked their baby up when they cried, didn't "sleep train" them or slap them with wooden spoons when they misbehaved ala the Pearls (if you don't know who that is, you can just be thankful, I won't post a link to their child-rearing nutcase garbage philosophy here).

So in the nascent days of the internet, I was grateful to find an online list of like-minded mamas to discuss these issues with, commiserate with, share the joys of parenting with. Many of them had children slightly older than mine and were blazing a trail that I could see myself following. We even met up in real life. I discovered that one of the list moms lived only a few miles from us and we became friends before our babes even crawled past their first year. When Mackenzie was two, a big meet-up was planned in Chicago and we packed up our toddlers and boarded a plane and got to come face to face with some of the wonderful parents and kids who had only been virtual up until that point.

In time, one of our most talented members even became semi-famous for writing a book on Attachment Parenting. This week, that same mom, Katie Allison Granju had to say goodbye to her son Henry who lay dying from complications of a drug overdose and a brutal assault that left him with a critical brain injury. In ripples traveling out from this event are waves of sadness, horror, disbelief, grief, and an astonishing sense of "how could this happen?" Because if something horrible like drug addiction could happen to a child who was so loved, so wanted, so cared for, then whose child is safe??

We'd like to think that all of the things we do for our children will somehow weave a magic web of protection around them. And the studies back up these assumptions. For instance, a recently publicized study found that every month of breastfeeding an infant improved their behavior and impulse control in their teenage years (leading me to exclaim My God, my kids ought to be angels as teens!, LOL). But the sheer fact is that there are no guarantees, no magic formula. Sometimes you can do everything right and bad things still happen.

I am, as I imagine all of my mom friends from way back, reeling right now, feeling such incredible disbelief that the young Henry of the curly mop of hair and the talent for music could be dying, could be dead. It doesn't seem possible. Praying for Katie, her husband, Henry's siblings, and their extended family as they make their way through their grief. Thinking hard about the difficult choices we have to make when we parent teens and things are not so easy as they were back when the children were small. Talking with my husband and kids about the roads that we go down in life, how things that might look fairly harmless (smoking a joint with friends) can lead to ever-increasing dangers and as we have seen, even death. And praying some more.