As most of you know, I lost half my body weight between Dec. 2012 and Sept. 2013. That left me with a lot of excess skin and two very very sad boobs. Because of all the exercise I did, underneath that skin I was pretty fit, so my joke was I had the body of an extremely fit 80-year-old woman. Joking aside, that extra skin really impacted my view of myself.
Caveman is five. FIVE—as in one hand. His room already carries the distinct odor of boy.
Parents of boys, or teachers, or coaches, or humans who have ever been near boys know what I mean. It’s a kind of musty, stinky smell that just, well, is the smell of boy. I knew it would come one day, but I thought there would be two digits in his age. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I couldn’t find this place on Yelp, so I’m forced to leave my review here.
I should have known that visiting this “salon,” if you can even call it that, was a bad idea when I was basically forced to visit it against my will. I thought perhaps the name was a cute marketing trick, but no—this “salon” is literally located in a bathroom, as in there is a tub, toilet, and sink. My choice of seating was either the toilet or a footstool in front of it. Reasoning that it would allow better access to my hair, I chose the footstool and hoped that I wouldn’t regret my decision to allow Princess to style my hair.
This isn’t the column I was planning to write. I had something planned—something light, and kind of funny, and that captured one of the sweet moments of parenting. But then something happened.
A friend lost her six-year-old daughter. This mother, Libby, who was part of Caveman’s playgroup as a baby, is amazing. She and her husband struggled with infertility for years, coping with miscarriage after miscarriage. Still, the couple never lost hope, and eventually their faith was rewarded.
I love the holidays. The music, the decorations, the way I can manipulate my children into behaving for a solid month. I mean, sure, deep down I know I’m probably going to have to pay for it with a therapist when they’re older, but it’s amazing how effective a well placed, “well, I hope Santa didn’t see that!” can be when you’re tired at the end of the day and just want a minute of peace.
Sometimes I think Caveman gets a bad rap, especially if all you know about him is what I write in my posts. Sure, he punches kids in the throat every now and again, but in general, he’s really a good kid. He’s sweet (today while I was in his class he came up and gave me a kiss in front of all his friends). He’s funny (Hubby and I are constantly cracking up at the things he says). And he truly is adorable (reddish-blonde hair and ENORMOUS blue eyes). Which, of course, is part of the problem. When you’re cute, people tend to give you what you want and excuse your bad behavior. Great for YOU, but not so great for your mother.
This has been an autumn of transitions at our house—Caveman is in school full time*, I am back in the paid workforce part-time, and Hubby has taken on a new role at work. To say we are all adjusting smoothly would be a lie.
First, there is the insanity that is our schedule. Despite my mantra that my children should only do one activity at a time, I’ve somehow managed to allow Princess to enroll in ballet, take part in Brownies, AND play soccer. It’s not a crazy competitive team—one practice a week and one game—but it’s still 2 more things we “have” to do. Poor Caveman only has basketball, but even that is more than he’s used to, since in the past his “sports teams” have met once a meet for a “practice” and “game” which mainly consisted of herding cats with a ball thrown into the mix. I feel like I come home from work, throw food at them, and load them in the car. Since it takes approximately ten years to get my kids in the car and they have no sense of urgency, I am generally yelling at some point in this process.
I’m the kind of mother who wears a velour tracksuit on a good day. For me, putting on a pair of jeans counts as “dressing up.” In fact, I’ve been known to take off my jeans when I get home and put on a pair of sweats or yoga pants because that way, my jeans don’t get dirty and I can wear them again the next time I leave the house (and despite the fact that I probably own 10 pairs of jeans, there are maybe 2 that actually fit). I own make up, but I don’t wear it very often, and I’ve been known to go 6 months or more without a haircut. I usually intend to at least blow-dry my hair on days when I get a shower, but about 80% of the time, I’m at school drop-off with wet hair.
This fall is full of changes for my family: both Caveman and Princess will be in school full-time, and I am going back to work.
Yep, that’s right. After 7 ½ years of being at home with the kids, after an extended 5-year stint in grad school (with several semesters off after Caveman), I actually managed to find a job in my field (Teacher Librarianship) near(ish) to home that is part-time, allowing me to still fulfill the parent participation requirement at Princess’s school. I’m excited, but nervous. I have no idea how this is going to go. And even though I technically have not started yet, I already know one thing: childcare arrangements are the most stressful part of being a working parent.
When I was Princess’ age, we lived on a mountain, in an airstream trailer, with no electricity save what was created with a water-powered generator my father constructed in a nearby creek. My parents were hippies, and our “off the grid” mountain home was their dream. By the time I was a 2nd grader, though, circumstances had changed and we moved into town. Knowing I spent my early childhood catching crawdads in the creek and playing “mud woman” with my sisters, though, you’d think I would have a deep love of the outdoors and all outdoor activities. You’d be wrong.