In the beginning, neither Brian nor I had grand ideas for parenthood. Honestly, it was a selfish endeavor for me –– I wanted to see if I really could, you know, create another human. I also, somewhat mistakenly, saw pregnancy as a great opportunity to eat a lot of ice cream. Our daughter was an easy baby, especially once we’d made it through those first six weeks, and Brian and I settled in to parenthood rather effortlessly.
And things went along this way, with the usual ups and downs, until last year. That was when we realized that the skills required to nurture a big kid and help them become an upstanding person are pretty different from the ones you need to nurture a baby. It’s been a tough transition, with lots of instances of helping our oldest navigate her relationships with others, resolve conflicts, and right wrongs. These same things happen with littles, but the social web of interactions is so much more immediate. Also, there’s homework. read more »
With a chill in the night air and a few recent professional disappointments, the past couple weeks have been a time for long, hot showers. At night, the bathroom all steamy, I listen to the BBC News, which focuses on Africa in the evening and often serves as a reminder that, with my safe home and clean water, I’m still ahead by more than any of us deserve. No one can blame me for being rooted in my own life –– it’s an essential part of being human –– but remembering that all I have is mine by chance is good way to keep things in check. read more »
Our family of four relies heavily on a delicate balance of personalities. Brian, whether by nature or force of will, is stoic and patient almost all of the time. I strive for the same, but most days just holding it together feels like an accomplishment. If there’s one thing you don’t have a lot of as a parent of two, it’s space, both personal and mental, and I need a lot of it. I thought, now that our littlest one is in school five days a week, I’d have plenty of time to recharge and conquer the world, but it seems the more space I have, the more I need. Making up for lost time, no doubt. We had thought our girls each took after one of us –– the oldest being sensitive and prone to the same types of high highs and low lows that her mother experiences. Until recently, our youngest seemed to have inherited her father’s quiet introspection and mellow exterior. I say until recently because just a couple weeks after she turned three, something changed. All of a sudden, there were tantrums, as well the intense desires and a stubbornness that you might expect from any other toddler turned preschooler. We just really didn’t think it would happen to us. read more »
Home decor, especially kitchen appliances, can last a long time, so even though I was born after the heyday of burnt orange and pea green, the palette persisted well into my childhood. Even now, overly warm wood stains, yellow undertones, and dimly lit television shows all send me running for aesthetic cleansing. This may be why I have such difficulty embracing the hues of October. Besides the pervasive orange-ness of the season, to embrace all things squash or pumpkin is to admit defeat. For me, winter squash signals the end of the growing season, meaning everything from now until April is either a storage food or from someplace else. read more »
At the McCarren Park Greenmarket a few years ago, I overheard a woman getting an earful over the phone for suggesting a purchase of non-organic apple cider for a child’s party. She tried to speak up for the local orchard selling cider right there in the market, but this was in the middle of the great apple juice arsenic scare of 2011 and so she lost that battle.
Which is too bad, because the orchard in question was a low-spray orchard that takes a thoughtful approach to integrated pest management. Whatever organic juice the woman bought instead was likely trucked from the other side of the country or even farther away, which has an environmental impact just like pesticides do. And though it may have been organic, it still may not have been as responsibly grown as the cider she was forced to pass up. read more »
For the squirrels, it started a month ago. The first day of September, before the acorns fell, panic washed over the animal kingdom. Squirrels were more furtive and skittish then ever. Either a deer or a groundhog decided to eat all of our late strawberries, leaves and all. These days, it’s the birds who are nuts; the blue jays have returned from wherever they summer and the crows are back to making a ruckus.
In the human world, early October is a more appropriate time to freak out. read more »