A Successful Blogger works from a well-planned editorial calendar so her posts are perfectly scheduled to reach the maximum number of eyeballs at the point of maximum impact, thereby rendering said posts effective at generating traffic (i.e., money), by which said blogger can be objectively judged–by peers, clients, and judgey lookers-on–as “relevant.” Someone somewhere has no doubt made a perky infographic flowchart illustration that makes this all crystal clear.
Meanwhile, I’m just going to throw stuff at the blank screen and hope it sticks long enough that someone out there gets at least some use out of something here before it’s too late. This enchanting visual brought to you by the fact that I only have ten minutes to write tonight because I need to go clean pureed sweet potatoes that landed elsewheres other than my baby’s mouth and ears.
1. There’s still time to do festive crap for Valentine’s Day! That’s right, you’re not off the hook yet, slackers. Come see how to make hand-stamped kitchen towels (grandma-approved, not that hard, and less than $1) and also quick and easy needle-punch Valentines that you can do while sitting on your duff in front of the telly.
2. If you’re in the market for a Valentine’s Day book instead of or in addition to candy, or if you just love LOVE, get your hands on Dallas Clayton’s An Awesome Book of Love. It’s charming from top to bottom, and the only thing I disliked about it was that it didn’t come with a warning that parents will probably cry all over it. (See also: That time I read On the Night You Were Born at ten days postpartum and cried so much the pages stuck together.)
Disclosure: I somehow got on the Nice List at HarperCollins, so they sent me this book (and a bunch of others) for review. Also recommended if your kid, like mine, is into stickers and cats who wear tutus: the Mia books by Robin Farley. Not Great and Enduring Literature by an stretch, but kids really dig it.
3. Remember how I tricked myself into taking a trapeze class? (TODD BRIDGES!) I still haven’t done it, but I wanted to mention again that Cloud 9 Living‘s experience gifts are excellent for any occasion but are especially awesome for Valentine’s Day because it means not forking over your hard-earned money on something lame and expected and for which the price has been jacked up. What would you rather have? Last-minute drug-store flowers and chocolates or a day of wine tasting? How about a (couples?) massage? Helicopter tour? Bungee jump? Private chef?
4. Not related to the holiday but to Work It, Mom (see point 1), here are a few recent posts:
5. And finally, related to being human, and to feeling like our best selves–to loving ourselves in honor of Valentine’s Day (see, I can do SEO!), here are two posts I’ve really, really liked recently:
Both of these women are excellent and you should be reading everything they write anyway.
And now, my friends, I must leave you to your crafting and buying and gifting and reading, for duty (sweet potatoes) wait for no one longer than ten minutes (because I mixed them with rice cereal and when that shit dries it’s like cement.)
At 1:30 in the morning, Wombat slap-slap-slapped out of his room on treaded pajama feet to the side of my bed, where he whispered that his tummy hurt, then barfed neatly into his cupped hands, and then–cradling his vomit in his palms–was escorted by Simon to the bathroom for a few more rounds, the last of which (hopefully) we experienced at 10 a.m., when he horked into the popcorn bowl I was still by great fortune holding under his chin even though we had made it as far as through the living room, dining room, kitchen, and hall to two steps away from the toilet.
As follows from earlier memorable parenting moments, I was plenty concerned with the poor little dear’s well-being while at the same time being consumed with worry that I would be next. As sad as a sick kid is, and oh, it is sad, logic tells me a sick kid is preferable to a sick adult taking care of a kid who, if he’s not sick already, will inevitably be sick in the not-too-distant future. In short, if we can’t all be well, at least let me be well. I hope that doesn’t sound as terrible as it’s suddenly sounding to me right now (although it’s certainly less terrible than the way I kept cringing whenever he’d lay (lie?) his head on my shoulder–cringing! from my sick child!–as if those two seconds of tense muscles were any kind of protective barrier against the germs of a kid I was just going to hug and kiss and affectionately hair-rustle not three seconds later because he is my sick kid and I am his mother, self-preservation be damned). (But I’m still scared to death it’s the flu and I’m going to have it when I wake up tomorrow.)
Anyway, Wombat seems to be on the mend (fingers still crossed for the rest of us), and so I mention this only because (a) it’s his first major sickness and (b) the other thing I want to write about is the two birthday parties we threw on Saturday, but I obviously need more than 15 minutes to capture every excruciating detail of the festivities for your forced delight and (c) Simon keeps saying how cool it is that our kid puked into his hands and got nothing on the floor, not at all!, not a drop!, which is, like, super-awesome professional-level vomiting or something. We did a lot of talking about barf today is what I’m saying, which I guess is not all that different from what I did yesterday.
N.B. There is puking in the movie Pitch Perfect.
And how are YOU?
(Raise your hand if you’re glad this post contains ZERO pictures?)
Fox was born at ten in the morning, and three hours later Wombat stormed the hospital with a balloon and a smile and a tiny stuffed fox (and my parents). His smile was shy in comparison to the one the nurse drew on his bright pink Visitor badge (“My favorite color! How did you know?”), and I experienced a brief (and rare for me) few minutes of absolute zen as I let my children, my boys, meet each other for the first time, on their own terms. I was clear across the room on a bed, on an ice pack, and unable, thankfully, to interfere. This wasn’t about me.
Wombat gave Fox the little stuffed fox, and Little Fox gave Big Wombat a big stuffed fox.
“It’s a mama and her baby!” he said, because, until then, all big/little combos were always such.
“No,” someone corrected him, “it’s a big brother and a little brother.” Paradigm: shifted.
As is well documented here, I was momentarily overcome with “feelings” about having another boy, and one of those feelings that was not just regret dolled up in pigtails and puffed-sleeve dresses was that I didn’t really know the ins and outs of a brother/brother relationship. I have a brother, Simon has a sister, my mom only had one brother, my dad only a sister. This was uncharted, and I am, by any account, a person who needs charts and graphs and maps and outlines and Venn overlaps and PowerPoint slideshows to diagram what, exactly, I’m getting myself into at every turn. I scanned the index of the “So, You Just Had a Baby, Sucka” handbook in the hospital room and came up empty.
Empty was good, though, because it meant more room to fill with the likes of this:
Not wanting to be one of those parents who’s all “Love your brother because he’s the only one you’ve got blaaaaaaah,” but also totally being one of those parents who’s all “Love your brother because he’s the only one you’ve got blaaaaaaah,” I stumbled into something while talking with Wombat that I thought worth mentioning here.
I told him that as he went through life he’d have to/get to share a lot of things with a lot of people–toys, benches, KitKats, one single experimental cigarette, secrets. Some of the things he’d share would even be actual people; he’d have to share friends, favorite teachers, maybe even a girlfriend in the event of an awkward elementary-school isosceles. Now that his new sibling was here, he’d have to share his parents with Baby Fox, and his grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles, and probably eventually some friends too.
He tilted his head up at me like your standard quizzical cartoon terrier.
“And sharing isn’t bad, right?” I reassured him. “You like it when people share with you. It’s just one of those things you do when you’re a nice person. And you’re a nice person.” He was silent, waiting for the “but.”
“But…” I dropped to a whisper “…not sharing can be really cool too. And guess what you never have to share, not with anyone, not ever?”
A stage-whispered “What?!”
“You never have to share being brothers with Fox. You are the only person in the whole world who gets to be his brother, and he is the only person in the whole world who gets to be yours. Isn’t that awesome?”
His face brightened with the reflection of gold emanating from an opened treasure chest.
They are my boys together and I am their mom together, but they are brothers to each other alone. They have something that I’m not a part of–that no one is a part of–and recognizing that has been a strange comfort to me, not just that they have this singular relationship but that this feeling of “yes, this is right”ness came to me as easy as anything ever has. It turns out I gave them to each other more than I gave them to myself.
It may not always be smooth sailing through these waters, and we may not have maps, but our boat is strong and our wheel manned by four pairs of steady hands (mind the drool on the littlest ones), and even just sitting here stock still on dry land thinking about it I can feel the wind in my hair and sense adventure on the horizon. Avast, my heart. It’s going to be quite a ride.