The Lost Chapter of Genesis

07 Nov

Lego Adam and EveTo the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; and in sorrow you shall forfeit sleep from the child’s 4th month of age until a time seeming befitting to the Lord, for whom a day is a thousand years. Your desire shall be for your bed, but your child shall rule over your night.”

And the woman besought the Lord, saying, “Oh Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear. Wilt thou not have mercy on me?”

And the Lord relented and said, “It will come to pass that the season of the sleep regression shall end.”

And the woman thanked the Lord, but then the Lord continued, “And then there shall be puke. And the puke shall come without warning, like a thief in the night. And the child shall bring forth puke abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, and into your bedchamber, and upon your bed, and upon your people, and upon your clothes, and into your hair, and onto your floors. And there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth whilst you clean the puke from the child’s ear canals.”

And the woman asked, “Where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?”

And the Lord laughed heartily, for his sense of humor is great. But the woman was not amused.

And so the Lord God took pity upon her and provided a leafy plant and made it grow. And the woman asked the Lord God what was the purpose of this plant? And the Lord God presented the woman with a good and perfect gift taken from the plant, which renewed her strength.

And she called the gift Coffee, which means “The Lord Has Preserved My Sanity.”

So the woman was very grateful for the plant. But as the day drew on, the effects of the coffee faded. And it happened, when the sun set, that the child let loose a vehement east wind in the form of a tantrum; and the tension overcame the woman, so that she grew faint. Then she wished death for herself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Then God said to Eve, “Is it right for you to be overwhelmed?”

And she said, “It is right for me to be overwhelmed, even to death!”

And so the Lord God created a second plant, one which bore fruit. And again when the woman asked the purpose of the plant, God bestowed upon her a gift taken from the fruit of the plant. She looked upon the gift and declared, “It is good.”

And she called the gift “Wine” because she said, “Again, the Lord God has restored my soul.”

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Posted in Parenting, Writing


Bad Mom

21 May

New York Mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, has publicly stated to New York Magazine that she had a hard time transitioning from full-time worker to full-time parent when her daughter was born.

Subsequently, the New York Post has taken it upon themselves to label her a “Bad Mom.”

Bad Mom

I am particularly struck by the assertion that “the disclosure — bound to horrify most moms — shatters the carefully crafted image of de Blasio’s close-knit family.”

Well I’m pretty horrified.  Mostly by the fact that journalist Bruce Golding apparently doesn’t spend much time around moms, or close-knit families.

Because let’s be honest.  Anyone who has ever done it knows that PARENTING IS HARD, Y’ALL.  And taking care of little kids IS OFTEN VERY BORING.  Doing it 24/7 is just not for everybody, at every stage in their lives.  And it doesn’t have to be.

In a couple of days (or less?), I will officially be on maternity leave with my third infant.  I am looking forward to it for all sorts of reasons.  I’m excited about meeting my little girl and spending time with her during these precious first weeks. I can’t wait to see her grow and develop.  And frankly, it will be a relief to not be pregnant anymore, even if that means being ripped apart and hooked up to a catheter for a day or two.

The weeks at home that I will have with my infant will be a blessing, and a very precious and important time of bonding, in which I will have the privilege of getting to know this amazing new person.  It will be a very special time – a very special time that I will also kind of hate sometimes.  I have done this before, so I know. I’ll be sleep deprived, recuperating from a pretty significant injury (I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to mesh underwear and ice packs!), and suddenly bound to someone who needs me around the clock for the most mundane and bizarre things (I’ll be honest – the whole idea of breastfeeding has always kind of weirded me out).  Anything I WANT to do, for ME, is probably off the table for a while, or at least made too complicated to still be worth doing once I work around nursing, nap schedules, etc.

I have an advantage this time, because I know what to expect and have ideas on how to keep myself from going insane.  But the first time, it came as a bit of a shock (as does everything about first-time parenting).

I suddenly went from a full-time job in which I learned and implemented complex processes to solve analytical and creative challenges, to a full-time “job” in which the most intellectually stimulating decision I made every day was which stain treatment to use for a load of laundry.

I went from something I was good at, to something I knew nothing about.  I went from feeling valuable and rewarded, to feeling uncertain and obligated.  I went from the top of my game to being physically and mentally impaired, and having my body go through changes that were entirely unfamiliar (and  uncomfortable).

I genuinely looked forward to returning to the world in which I felt somewhat in control – conversing with adults, solving problems that didn’t involve spit-up.

I was 40 years old. I had a life. Especially with Chiara—will we feel guilt forever more? Of course, yes. But the truth is, I could not spend every day with her. I didn’t want to do that. I looked for all kinds of reason not to do it.

-Chirlane McCray

Once I did return to the office, days that I worked were stress- and guilt-ridden.  I SHOULD be with my child.  She cried when I dropped her off with the nanny this morning.  I’m so tired.  I can’t focus on this project.  What am I going to do about childcare if it falls through (again)?

But days that I spent with my daughter were endless, mundane, and void of breaks, even during nap time – there was always something that I SHOULD have been doing while the baby was resting, but motivation was pretty hard to drum up.  The challenges that came with the territory didn’t always have solutions (Why won’t she nap???  If I have to spend another minute playing “stack the blocks” I’m going to implode), and even if they did, I was too sleep-deprived to figure them out.

I love her. I have thousands of photos of her—every 1-month birthday, 2-month birthday. But I’ve been working since I was 14, and that part of me is me. It took a long time for me to get into ‘I’m taking care of kids,’ and what that means.

-Chirlane McCray

It means the work is constant and mundane, but the stakes are higher – you’re suddenly solely responsible for the well-being of another person!  A tiny helpless person with constant needs and no self-sufficiency.  I couldn’t even take a complete shower without being called away by her cries.  (And that was my easy, happy infant.  My second child, due to physical ailments, was neither – and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 4.)

My first was an early walker (runner), at which time my role morphed into 24-hour caretaker AND suicide watch, because toddlers have the executive function and impulse control of a drunk monkey, and are nothing if not determined to end their lives at every opportunity.


I also struggled with a form of postpartum anxiety (which I did not know was actually a thing until years later) that I seemed unable to control.  So even when the baby was sleeping, I was not.  I would lay awake for hours indulging and silently weeping from night terrors.  Replaying imagined scenarios in my mind, in which horrible things happened to my baby under my watch; things that I would be either too stupid or powerless to do anything about.

So am/was I a Bad Mom?  Bruce Golding and the New York Post might say yes.  After all, there are moments and choices I have guilt about.  And I will readily admit that there are times I did not WANT to spend another minute with my children, and looked for ways to get a break.  I have a full-time job, and expect to again after my maternity leave is over – because I CHOOSE to.

Yet I don’t feel like a Bad Mom.  I am pretty secure in the relationship I have with my kids.  My friends and family tell me I’m a good mom.  My kids tell me I’m a great mom.  My family is what I would consider “close-knit.”  I adore my little hooligans, and one of the most rewarding pieces of my multifaceted life is being intimately involved in their development.  Yet, there is more to me than motherhood, and my devotion to my children is not entirely bound to the number of minutes I spend in the same room with them every day.

Personally, I think I am a Real Mom – a term that has enough room for the good AND the bad.  And I suspect that Chirlane McCray was/is also.

Because in the Real world, parenting is too big a role to be reduced to “Good Mom/Bad Mom,” based solely on the desire to spend every waking minute with one’s children.  It has to allow for both the joy and wonder of raising little people, and also the admission that sometimes it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  The best way to handle that balance looks different for everyone, and that should be allowed.

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Posted in Current Events, Parenting


Stuff My Kids Have Said in the Past 48 Hours

21 Apr
This is what I get when I ask them to stand up straight, like a soldier.

This is what I get when I ask them to stand up straight for a picture (like a soldier).  Hooligans.


This weekend we took our kids to dinner at a nice sushi restaurant.  As we were leaving, one of the restaurant staff members stopped us to comment how cute, well-behaved, and well-mannered our children were – that clearly we had “the whole package.”  We thanked him, and left the restaurant thinking, “If only you knew…”

Sometimes I think it’s a wonder that we’re even ALLOWED to have more kids.

*  *  *

“Mama, I’m not saying you’re fat… but I can totally tell you’re pregnant from the back.”
“Thanks, Koren.”
“What?  I’m not saying you look fat.”
“That’s exactly what you’re saying.”
“No, because you’re not fat, you’re pregnant.  I can just tell from the back because you’re … bigger.”
“Koren, it would be a good idea for you to stop talking now.”
“No you can not.  Please go somewhere else now.”

*  *  *

Pastor: “We have died to sin…”
Kaelin: “You don’t look dead.”

*  *  *

“Mama, we learned in school that Forgiveness is ‘deciding that a person who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay.’  So you can’t give me a consequence for disobeying, because that means you haven’t forgiven me.”

(I may need to suggest that the school examine the differences between “forgiveness” and “grace”…)

*  *  *

“Mama, look!  We mixed our paint colors together and made a new color!  We call it ‘Alchemy.'”

*  *  *

Koren was following Kaelin around, nit-picking everything she was doing (or not doing).  She was ignoring him, and headed out to the sun room.
“Kaelin, you need to pick up your shoes.  Kaelin, you’re supposed to be-”  (The door closed in his face.)
He let out a big sigh and shook his head.
“Oh, Kaelin…  Sometimes life with her is so hard.”

*  *  *

“Koren are you sure your slippers need to be washed?”
“Yes, they’re dirty.”
“They’re brand new.  How are they dirty?”
“I stuck them in my underwear to see how big it would make my penis look.  It looked really big!”

*  *  *

During the church service, Kaelin entertained herself for a few minutes by listing members of her family and one word to describe each of them:
Cousin: Active
Aunt: Busy
Uncle: Willing
Kaelin: Funny
Mama: Firm
Daddo: Ridiculous
Koren: Weird
Grandmommy: Kind
Grandpa: Patient

Koren asked her what “firm” meant.  She spent a few moments in consternation, trying to come up with a definition, and eventually said she couldn’t tell him because “Mama won’t like it.”

“It means I make you follow the rules,” I suggested.  She readily agreed to that as a suitable way to put it.  I kind of wish I could have been in her head when she was filtering her OWN definitions though.

*  *  *

“Kaelin, you’re getting tall. Are you growing AGAIN? Who gave you permission to grow?”
“Daddo, YOU gave me permission to grow when you sexed Mama and made me.”
Realizing that he had just completely lost control of this conversation, J stood there blinking in shock – which she apparently interpreted as his failure to comprehend what she was talking about.
So she punctuated the announcement with, “You know, …” (insert pelvic thrust).

DISCLAIMER: While the fact that we are having a baby soon has opened the door to many … delicate … conversations about where babies come from, at no time did any of them involve any form of pelvic thrusting.  I HAVE NO IDEA where she learned (or came up with) that.

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Posted in Kaelin, Kid Quotes, Koren, Parenting, Pregnancy, School


Apparently You STILL Can’t Put New Wine in Old Wineskins

01 Apr

worldvisionWow.  So World Vision reversed the policy change on allowing its legally married gay employees to engage in sexual activity with their spouses. (Despite media coverage to the contrary, the policy was not really around hiring gay employees.  World Vision already hires gay employees, provided that they commit to the Employee Code of Conduct).

Well done, Evangelicals.  You won.  You withdrew enough financial support within 24 hours to bring the organization to its knees and open its eyes to the true message of Jesus.

Which is, apparently, that God is more interested in winning cultural/textual debates than alleviating poverty.

I keep hearing that this is acceptable because “World Vision is not the only way to help the poor.”  This is technically true, BUT…

It might be the only way to help that child.  You know, the one whose picture is taped to your refrigerator?  The one you committed to financially supporting, and who counts on your commitment for things like food, shoes, school supplies, and education?  Sure, you can maintain that you’re still fighting poverty by putting your money somewhere else, but you’ve sent a pretty clear message to that child:

“Enforcing my version of theology may not be more important than (the broad concept of) helping the poor, but it’s more important than YOU.”

I commend World Vision for backtracking on their decision.  I am saddened that they were forced to make that choice.  But I can’t fault them for bowing to the will of the evangelical base because as painful as it probably was for them, it shows where their priorities are.  They sacrificed their own policies (and in some cases, employees) to do what is best for the children that they serve, even though it’s not something they agree with.  They put the children first and stayed true to their mission.

The organization was correct in asserting that it had made “a mistake.”  But the mistake wasn’t when it backed off of policing the sexual activity of its employees.  The true mistake was assuming that its patrons shared the view that needy children are more than pawns in a cultural war.

“There is a tremendous amount of energy going into these [marriage or sexuality] issues from within the church, and certainly because of who we are at World Vision, we see that the issues of poverty and suffering and caring for the least of these around the world, these issues sometimes seem less important than these issues of policy and sexual morality in the United States.”

Rich Sterns, World Vision

See also: How Evangelicals Won a Culture War and Lost a Generation

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Posted in Culture Shock, Current Events, It's a Controversy!, Politics, Religion


A Letter to My Future Son-in-Law

14 Mar

woman_writingSo, this is apparently making the rounds.  I decided to write a response, in case my future son-in-law is out there writing letters (and in need of a good dose of reality).

I don’t know who you are yet. I don’t really care about the color of your eyes or skin. Maybe my daughter does, I don’t know. Maybe she’s like Marie Miller and has a specific set of physical characteristics already picked out for her future spouse. If she does, don’t be surprised or concerned if you don’t fit any of them.

There are a lot of things I don’t know about you, but there are a couple of things that I want you to know about her.

I quite agree with you that my daughter is beautiful. I have no doubt that you will notice it when you meet her. But she is so much more than that; a pretty face is the tip of the iceberg. She is also sharp, creative, gifted, and competent. She is determined, knows what she wants, and has more critical reasoning skills than a lot of adults I know. She will challenge your opinions and assumptions, and if you give her the choice between two options, she will immediately come up with a third. She will not be content to hang passively on your arm like a decoration; she will take her life by the horns, and at times you may feel like you’re along for the ride.

I sincerely hope that by the time we meet, you have developed enough maturity to talk about the female body without using words like “goodies.” Consider it a personal request from your future mother-in-law. Because, seriously…. Her body is not a package of Hostess cupcakes that she carries around in a basket, waiting to hand out to that one special guy.

As her mother, my hope is that she retains an appreciation for modesty. However, I want her to do so from within – out of the confidence that comes from being comfortable in herself and knowing that she doesn’t NEED to show off for attention or approval of someone else. Modesty born out of some quest to make her beau feel like a “lucky ducky” doesn’t seem all that different to me than immodesty born out of desire for attention.

Just like her mind, heart and soul cannot be acquired, neither can her body. You will not understand intimacy until you can fully come to terms with this. Since your instructions to her seem only to revolve around what she does with her body, I suspect you’re not there yet.

It’s not a dowry that you get for making a marriage vow, so don’t start worrying about her spending your money before you get it. It is part of her. And when she shares herself with you, she is not giving you an object to possess and feel ownership over, as though it can be separated from any other part of her. She is sharing her SELF, just as you are sharing your SELF, and together you will create something more than either of you can strive to be on your own. This is a holistic relationship, and the physical part of it cannot be carved out  and treated differently. (As a side note… the inherent value of a Lamborghini has very little to do with how often you see them. It has to do with where it comes from, how it’s built, and what’s running on the inside.)

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but my daughter is not a princess. This is a lesson she learns daily, because I will not do her the disservice of letting her believe otherwise. She has to work for what she gets and take responsibility for her own actions, just like everybody else. In fact, if you call her “princess,” she will probably just stare at you.

So, I guess we can throw out the “act like a princess” bit – which is good, because if you’re expecting her to wait around in some imaginary tower for you to come whisk her away, I think you’ve got another thing coming. She’s too smart and too headstrong for that kind of crap. I have no doubt that she will have a world of possibilities open to her when she leaves this house. If you would like to take her hand and join her on this journey, by all means do so – but know that it will be as a partner, not a savior. I don’t know who you imagine that you’ll be fighting in all these grandiose displays of valor, but know this:

She doesn’t need Prince Charming. She doesn’t need to be rescued, taken care of, or sheltered.

She needs love. She needs loyalty. She needs someone who keeps her mind and curiosity stimulated. She needs someone to make her laugh, and who isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. She needs someone who’s attentive enough to know when she needs a little extra help – and is willing to give it without expecting anything in return. She needs someone who can put his own ego away and apologize, or even admit defeat during a “discussion” from time to time. She needs someone who she can trust with her insecurities in a way she has never been able to trust another human being. She needs someone who will (lovingly) call her out when she’s being absurd. She needs someone who understands that true leadership doesn’t require being the boss. She needs someone she can admire. And she needs someone who brings her closer to God, as the secure and unbreakable relationship she shares with her spouse cultivates her desire for holiness.

As for your last point, I agree – she is beautifully and wonderfully made by the hands of a perfect Creator. He gave her attributes that she will be learning to develop (and in some cases, tame) over the next many years. Being her parent is not for the faint of heart, and I have no doubt that the same can be said about being her spouse.

I sincerely hope that you’re up for the challenge though, because I can tell you that she is so, so worth it.

~Your Future Mother-in-Law~


Elfcapades 2013: Day 8

06 Dec
The elves hijacked the camera and took 'elfies.

The elves hijacked the camera and took ‘elfies.

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Posted in Christmas Elves


Elfcapades 2013: Day 7

04 Dec
Paper-Bag Racing in the hallway

Paper-Bag Racing in the hallway



UPDATE: The above picture shows the elves as they looked when the kids woke up this morning. This is how we found them a few minutes later. Methinks my daughter might have a competitive streak in her…

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Posted in Christmas Elves


Elfcapades 2013: Day 6

04 Dec
Movie Night

Movie Night

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