Blue is for Boys. I am a Girl.

I really didn’t expect that phrase so soon. I mean … THREE.

I’m sure I helped perpetuate the norms of boy and girl separation. We are potty training, so when we were out at Olive Garden once, she attempted to go into the men’s restroom and I redirected her to the little icon with the dress and said, “Girls go in this potty.” Mostly , so that she would know that boys and girls don’t go to the bathroom together, but well, I think I just made it stick in her head that girls wear dresses and boys don’t.

Now I’m frustrated. Not because it’s that big of a deal and frankly, she can like what she wants, be what she wants.

She’s old enough now to make her own choices. I’m doing my very best to make sure she knows she has options. She doesn’t have to be stuck in the social norms of what is expected of her.

She loves pink. Absolutely loves it. And I’m okay with that. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday theme to be, she told me Minnie and Mickey. I asked if she wanted Minnie to wear a pink dress or a red one. She picked pink. No hesitation. So pink it was and that included her pink castle cake. (Yes, that’s a cake, thanks Grammy!)

IMG_3221

Her Minnie Mouse Tea party was a little more low key than we have been used to, but with my being out of work right now, we didn’t have the money we usually have to rent the clubhouse and hold all the people we wanted to invite. So we invited her friends and mostly immediate family like grandparents and aunts/uncles who could make it.

Teaparty

She likes to climb shit. Loves it. She loves to climb, the higher the better. And I’m well, I’m not okay with it as it gives me anxiety, but I’m okay with it.

PicMonkey Collage1

The pyramid she’s climbing in that second picture is 30 feet high made of metal and ropes. The sign outside the pyramid says for 5+ years and it probably makes me an irresponsible mom, but she’s been eyeballing the damn thing for over a year. Kim came with us to the park this last time and convinced me to let her climb it.

maxresdefault

Kim helped me keep my cool while my heart was in my throat, threatening to pump right out of my body! Literally, I was having small panic attacks the whole time, small squeaks emitted from my mouth and I was bouncing around on the ground like a spotter in gym, waiting for her to come tumbling down from that thing.

climber

But no matter how terrifying it was for me, so much so that Kim had to remind me to take pictures, which never happens. I am ALWAYS taking pictures, I don’t want her to lose that adventurous spirit. I don’t want her to be stuck in a box that says Boys do this and Girls do this. That doesn’t mean I don’t want her to be “girly” or traditionally feminine if that’s what she wants to be. I’m not bucking society just to be “progressive”. I just want to make sure that she know she has choices, that she has options. She can be whoever and whatever she wants to be!

Since she has had her birthday, we have kicked up our bedtime routine a notch. We read a story or two before bed every night and I think she really enjoys it. She can actually sit through a story and she can interact with me. It’s amazing to me the things she remembers.

We even went to the library the other day and she got to pick out her own book. From the time I told her we were going until we got there, she told me she wanted a “spider book” (YUCK), so we got her a spider book and she loves it, so much so, I may have to purchase it. She also got a Princess book, the “mouse and cookie” book, and “Llama Llama mad at Mama”.

IMG_3378IMG_3375IMG_3368

Along with a bed time story, I always ask her what her favorite part of the day was and what she wants to do tomorrow. I also ask her what she wants to be when she grows up. She’s been pretty consistent for the last several months in saying “Doctor”. Guess I better save some money!

IMG_3412  IMG_3414 10653445_10153719675099148_4336994017286241258_n

Whatever she wants, I just want to nurture her spirit, her imagination and creatiivity. I want her to know she has so many options that she doesn’t have to stick to the norms of society, the gender stereotypes. I was just so disheartened today when I heard the phrase come out of her mouth.

“I don’t like blue. Blue is for boys.”

But blue isn’t just for boys. How do you relay that to a kid? She has to have heard that somewhere and it makes me sad. I have been working really hard to break those thoughts and really steer her down her own path, where ever that will be, I will follow her lead. And if she really just doesn’t like blue, that’s OK! I just don’t want it to be because she’s a girl and girls don’t like blue.

The more she grows, the more personality she gives and shows. I’m enjoying seeing her grow into this little person all of her own, but I want her to be the one making those choices, for herself. Because I love her with my whole heart and I want her to love herself with her whole heart.

17691_10153721315629148_3195705265140043739_n

Settling In and Smoothing Out

There are hard parts about this move and the transition from independence to the changes that we have had to come to terms with. I like to think the hardest part right now is that we had to take Punky out of school, because we got so backed up on tuition and it now needs to be caught up. It will get there, but it is a sacrifice that I am so very sad about – she was starting to thrive socially, her teachers kept telling me how much more she was talking and interacting. She’s a shy kid and she’s not exactly a social butterfly – especially when she started school, so to hear those things – made me so happy! And, now, we are back to an only child being at home with adults.

The good part about the move is Miss Punky is sporting the best tan on a toddler I have ever seen. Seriously. Grammy has a small pool and our little fish is out there in her swimsuit as often as she can possibly get an adult to take her out there. She goes on trips to the park with Papa in the wagon.

IMG_7382

 

Yea, we have a park – literally in our backyard. Do we live in the basement, yea, but we also live in a neighborhood. Last time I pulled Punky around in the wagon – over to the park that is pretty much right across the street, I got to thinking that we didn’t have this when we were living our apartment. We had a cluster of apartment buildings, but we didn’t have ‘neighbors’ or kids playing in the streets. We didn’t have houses to walk past and she didn’t really see lawns being mowed.

Another silver lining, new things to explore. Of course more thing to hurt ourselves on. I fell down one of the three sets of stairs today and busted my knee and threw my camera on the concrete of the garage in the process. I am currently wearing my knee brace, but I think I will live! Punky’s lip is healing up nicely, this morning it was scabbed over, and I was resisting the urge to pull it off, it fell off by itself this evening before dinner.

IMG_7395

 

My little monkey is such a little curious thing. So it was great to see her be able to explore and enjoy herself. Its super hot, so when we get the chance to make it to the park in the early hours of the day – when it is cooler outside, we take the chance. She finds all sorts of great things to play on and I love capturing the moments. With a pool and a park in our backyard, this summer may be the best yet, no matter where we live!

 

IMG_7400

 

Another weight lifted off my shoulders this week, when my FMLA was approved for my absences as work. It means that for all things that have gone this last year, my job is being held for me. Thank goodness it was approved. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have a job and I am not dismissive about the fact that there are a lot of things we need to work on and I have a plan in place – but its a weight that makes me feel lighter and a little more free.

With all the weights getting lighter from my shoulders, it feels like someone else is holding onto the reigns and keeping me afloat. My heart isn’t as heavy and for now, I will let someone else push me. (AKA, Miss Punky was insistent that she push me on the swing, no she did not want to sit on the seat, Mommy, you sit and I will push you.) Silly as it is, but being pushed on the swing – really gave me a sense of freedom and it was great to hang out with my little girl in what feels like the longest time we have ever gone since the last time we spent time together.

IMG_7424

 

We get to spend more time together lately, and with the basement being a smaller space, we spent it closer together. I really do love coming home from work and the three of us going down into the basement and sitting on my bed with  my little girl and talking about what she did that day. We don’t spend all night down there – we sit down to dinner with Grammy and Papa, that’s different for us to, cooked meals and sit down at a table together for dinner, we didn’t do that at our home. So many good things are changing as a result of something that may not have been so good.

Kim and I have things to talk about again. I mean, I can come home and we can just decompress and talk about our day and talk about something other than the mundane and same old thing. We have conversations. We are closer. The metaphor of the small space, the closeness of the basement means we are all becoming closer, bonding and in a way, regardless of what I expected – its a great outcome for us, so far.

 

IMG_7458

Of course, we have only been here for three days – its still the beginning and I have no misgivings that this will be the way this situation will stay. I am sure there will be days when the closeness is the last thing I want, when the lack of private space is the last thing I want, when the constant companionship is something I will want to get away from and have no where to go. But, for now, its just calm and comforting.

We are making new adventures. New memories. We are building new hopes and new plans and new situations. We are exploring, growing and expanding and in all of it, my only hope is that we can bring forth a sense of strength, courage, and determination to our daughter. She doesn’t have to know the circumstances of our situation, the analogies of the bottom in the life we are in right now  – she doesn’t need to know the tears shed behind closed doors or the decisions made in the conversations we have in the dead of night – in the whispers words we speak in desperation of what’s left for us to do.

Instead, she will only know happy. She will only know the memories and the joy. I will only allow her to know the light and the peace and the childhood that she is to have. She is not a grown up and by whatever means necessary, she will not have to be one as soon as I had to be one – I will keep her little and I will let her be a child for as long as I possibly can keep her that way.

IMG_7456

Being a grown up is over-rated and believe me when I say if I could figure out how to go back and make that part stop, be a child longer, savor the playful moments longer, linger in childlike joy and entertain my teddy bears and Barbies just a little more – I would! Alas that’s not allowed, once you are grown up, there’s no turning back and I will not force my baby to grow up. I won’t.

So we are making the best and we are slowly getting out of the holes and smoothing out the bumps. Its not a fix all and its most certainly not the end, but the beginning is looking bright.

Oh and as a side note, all heavy shit aside, I am so proud and pretty darn excited that my kid loves Minnie Mouse and Batman equally! 😉 Its a pretty fantastic thing to me. Raising a kid without stereotypes is my ultimate goal and so far, it’s working out. She thinks for herself and that’s just the way we want her to be!!

Batman

Moving From Baby to Toddler

Our little Punky is going to be 2 in four and a half months. When the hell did that happen?! I’m STILL astonished we even have a child. I’m STILL astonished when I look at her and feel like I’m in a dream. Like is this really my life?

I know that work has been a little stressful for me and frankly, I’m pretty sure I had a mild nervous breakdown a couple weeks ago when the supervisor position went haywire. But, I saw a side of me that I haven’t seen in years. I don’t want to see that side of me. I’ve worked very very hard to leave her behind, the bitter, angry, selfish, bitch me has no place in this new life we are building with our most precious baby girl turned toddler.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am going to be getting my medication readjusted and I’m relieved about it. I’m not a nutjob, seriously, but I have a lot of mood problems and my hormones are still out of whack from having Punky, and my anxiety  is “through the roof” if you hear K tell it. So, I’m getting it fixed.

I also learned, while I have always known this, that my childhood was lacking in places I didn’t really notice until I had a kid. I know my parents did the best they could, I didn’t really lack for much, but my noticing it now, makes me even more determined to make sure that Punky has the childhood I didn’t have.

With that said, we do so much with her that I never got to do. Tuesday, we went to the pumpkin patch and she had fun, even though she didn’t have a nap and kind of started to melt down. In the end, I think it was a success.

IMG_2067

This picture warms my heart, I absolutely love seeing Punky and K together.

IMG_2088

Punky is checking out the chickens.

IMG_2136

Taking a little break and looking around the scenery.

IMG_2169

This last week or so we have been putting together Punky’s big girl room. We finally got the non-essential furniture out of there and now, I’m totally going nuts! We have picked the universe theme. I like the sciencey bit of it and she really enjoys the stars and the lights that go with it.

We live in an apartment, so we aren’t supposed to paint the walls, so I did have to improvise some of the wall decor!

IMG_2192

IMG_2193

IMG_2197

So, while Punky heads into being 2 years old, we are getting ready to put together her toddler bed, finish up her room and continue to make me thrilled to have the child we have, tantrums and all!!

My next post will likely not be until after Halloween or the Halloween party we are going to this weekend. More pictures of that to come, for sure!

The Roles of Parents In A New Generation

I do realize that being a two mom family out in the open is something a bit new to our society. With the Supreme Court ruling in the US, while our families existed, there are some who are being recognized and for that, I am grateful. However, there are times that I am reminded the typical stereotype of a family cannot be changed overnight. LGBT families have existed for years, they are in history, hidden in the shadows and they are finally getting a chance to come out in the open.

Families like ours are redefining what it means to be a family, but it’s no different than single mothers, adoptive parents, divorced families, or families headed by grandparents or aunts and uncles. Family dynamics are not just black and white. Parents are not simply made up of a man and a woman, a mother and a father.

So, why then, do the first things out of people’s mouths consist of gender specific roles in family. When people see pictures of my family, especially my daughter, this is usually how the conversation goes:

Them: “Are you married?”

Me: “No, but we’ve been together for 10 years.”

Them: “Is she laying on Daddy’s shoulder, there?”

Me: “That’s my partner, yes, she’s laying on her mom’s shoulder.”

**Cue embarrassed look from the other person**

This makes me feel like shit. Why? Because I don’t come out the gate with my sexuality. My sexuality is not what makes me a person. It’s not what makes me a mother. It’s not what makes me who I am. My sexuality is not about anything that affects anyone else. My sexuality has nothing to do with sex, frankly, it has to do with who I love and who loves me. Who has loved me for 10 years and who I have walked through fire with for the last 10 years. And, that person happens to be another woman.

Why is it my fault that that this person assumes there’s a man in my house. I don’t fault them, I’m not offended by the question. I’m offended by the reaction. Don’t make me feel bad because you can’t think about your words before you say them. It’s not my fault that you have not yet figured out that there are different kinds of families.

What if I had been a single mother? What if my child was sitting on my sister’s lap? Or my brother’s? How is it that we have been so programmed in society to think of families in simply one way? The world is changing and I know change is scary – but let’s get with the times. Not for my sake but for theirs. I hope these people who meet me and realize I am not my label will think about their word choices next time they ask about someone’s family.

No two families are the same. My daughter doesn’t have a Daddy. She doesn’t realize that yet, but she will soon. I am not concerned about this because we will teach her about the different types of families and the different way that families are made. She will not feel any different or less important than anyone else she knows with a mom and a dad.

I’m waiting for the day when someone mentions something to her about her Daddy. What will she say, how will she respond. I’m certain this will spark questions for her and we will have answers for those tough questions. We are teaching our daughter to think about things and question things, she’s still too little to make her own choices and decisions, but she’s curious and she has inquiry behind those big brown eyes.

Gender doesn’t matter in this house and in the end, my daughter will be enlightened and more aware of her surroundings. She will not be caught off guard or embarrassed when she asks another child about their parents. She will not be confined to a rigid set of rules that define a family. For that, I am grateful. She really can be anything she wants to be.

So, Punky doesn’t have a Dad. I don’t have a Husband. Before you ask about someone’s situation or family, think about what you say. Change the wording to make it less specific to the ‘norm’, because in the end, what’s normal? Really? In the end, there is only family. Save yourself the embarrassment and uncomfortable silence by choosing your words more carefully. You don’t offend me when you ask these things, but it sure does make the conversation awkward when I have to correct you.

Not Repeating The Cycle

People wonder why we don’t drink alcohol. Why there is no alcohol in my house and why we may take a sip or two of a wine cooler once a year. I’m not a prude. I’m not judgemental of those who drink socially. I’m not going to shun you if you have a little drink now and then.

The reason is simple. I don’t want to repeat the cycle of my childhood with my own daughter. I will not subject her to the trauma that I was afforded as a child.  I do my best not to call people out in my blog, because I do know people personally who read it. I have family and friends who know me outside the internet and will likely read it.

However, this time, the straw is broken. I am so fed up I can’t stand it. My little girl is playing happily in the livingroom where I am typing, my partner is asleep. The only way to vent this anger I have about to explode is to write it down. To share it with unsuspected internet followers.

For that, I apologize.

I will never understand why grown people find it FUN to get drunk. To get so wasted they don’t remember what happened. It’s so incredulous to me that grown people think it awesome to teach their teenagers that it’s ok to disrespect people and it’s ok to be violent. Especially when you are drunk, you just don’t know what you are doing, so it’s ok.

I will never understand why these grown people are parents. I suppose I shouldn’t say that, because if the grown people I am talking about were not parents, I would not be here. Yes, I am talking about my own parent. I am the product of alcoholism.

Growing up, I have learned, especially after having my own daughter, that our parents do the best they can. The baby doesn’t come out and hand you a parenting manual with their screaming first cries. Parents do the best they can with what they have. I get that. I give a little leeway for that.

Frankly, though, no child should have to hide under a bed with a pillow over their heads to muffle the sounds of glass breaking and screaming matches in the kitchen. No child should have to watch their parent dragged away in handcuffs – headed off to jail. No child should have to worry where their next meal may be coming from because their parent is too busy locked in another room drinking it up.

So, when people say that my daughter is at a disadvantage because she has two moms, I want to remind those people of my childhood. A child with two straight parents. A mom and a dad. I don’t ever claim that I had a worse childhood than anyone else. I don’t write this for pity. I write this for awareness. I write this to remind parents that their children should come first.

I understand addiction. I do. I was addicted to cigarettes. I am the first person to admit that I smoked throughout my ENTIRE 42 weeks of pregnancy. Demonize me if you must, I deserve it. I am so ashamed of those moments when I lit up a cigarette while my daughter was kicking in my womb. Thank goodness, she’s healthy and had no birth problems. I am still ashamed.

That addiction was a hard habit to kick. I have been smoke free for over a year now, so I know how hard it can be to stop something that has it’s claws in you. I also know how hard it is to make that decision to stop an addiction for the sake of your child. So, I don’t write this from a martyr’s standpoint. I don’t stand here and proclaim perfection.

Parenting is about decisions. It’s about sacrifice. I don’t care if you are a mom and a dad or a mom and a mama or a dad and a papa. It doesn’t matter your family dynamic. Children benefit from love and responsibility. Children benefit from support and encouragement. They benefit from parents who try their best and do what they feel is right.

Society says that children need to have a female and a male influence. I agree that children benefit from seeing gender roles that are set forth by society. I do not agree that they have to be a mom and a dad. I also don’t agree that children have to know the gender roles set up by society so that they can emulate them, because I don’t agree that children have to be what society wants them to be.

I got off on a tangent. What I mean is, children benefit from parents who teach them to love, respect, and encourage. They benefit from parents who show them acceptable ways to behave. They benefit from parents who care enough to put their needs before booze or addiction.

I’m so angry that I am 29 years old, and I am still affected by the parenting I was raised with. I am still crying – still having flashbacks of myself at 12 and 15. Then, just when I think it’s over, just when I think I am over it, something like this happens.

Something that makes me remember why I plan to teach my daughter about love, cause and effect, and learning from our mistakes. So many of the people I know, have never learned from their mistakes. That’s the biggest lesson of all.

I apologize, I am all over the place. My head is not quite here today. I just don’t understand how some people get so far off track. Anyway, thanks for being a sounding board for my rant.