Sunday, February 24, 2008

A special day

The Kraken had her first playdate with a child that is not the child of a friend of mine today.

A week ago at the neighborhood playground, the Kraken recognized another child and after a moment's conference, the child's parents and I determined that they are in the same class at preschool. I know many of the other childrens' parents by name or at least face, but they are an a completely different arrival and departure schedule than we are, so I have never seen them. We chatted while the children played and agreed that it would be nice to give them another opportunity. On Friday, I found a note in the Kraken's cubby from the other child's mother (we'll call the child Nancy) with a phone number and an offer of an actual social event.

Normally I would be reluctant to accept such an invitation. I have my own little universe. My own friends. My own routine. I dislike any aberration from my patterns. But the Kraken, she loves Nancy. She talks about her all the time. And for the Kraken, I will do almost anything.

And you know what? We had a great time, the Kraken, the Minotaur and me. Nancy's parents are not our tribe, as it were (not aging goths, or steampunk junkies), but they are really, really, really nice. They laugh easily. They love their kid with the same fierce intensity with which we love our own. They are close to our age, and similar to us in financial and social status. And as I get older, I am beginning to think that the things I used to look for in friends don't really matter at all. I should already know this. My best two female friends are "friends of the tribe", but they are of their own tribes entirely, and our friendship was always based on more visceral, primitive connections. This family is like ours - the organized mom, the gregarious dad, the adorable kid. They are us, with different college experiences and different taste in music. We liked them. I think we might just be making some new friends. Maybe the Kraken does know best after all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From the mouths of babes

I got a haircut today. And lo, it is horrible. I look good with short hair, but this is a little much. I look like a 10 year old boy whose mom cuts his hair with a Flowbee. It's not cute, and it was a complete accident. I have been growing out my hair for 8 months, and having a horrible time of it. Today, I finally succumbed to the desire to look decent again, and went in search of a sweet, shaggy pixie cut. I even had pictures.

By the time I got home, I had almost decided it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. And then the Kraken asked me "Why did you want someone to do that to your hair?"

It's going to be a lonnnnng few months waiting for this mess to grow out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The smell of Spring

Okay, well, it wasn't much in evidence today, but this weekend was like a promise of things to come. And I find myself experiencing irrational bursts of happiness with the knowledge that I will soon be able to dig in the dirt and plant things. Drought be damned. I'll use my daughter's bathwater for whatever my rain barrels can't provide.

Speaking of which, if anyone's in need, I recommend They deliver, and fast. And they're way more attractive than giant blue ketchup containers in your yard. Plus they smell like the whiskey they used to house, and the idea of drunk squirrels meandering all over my yard is perversely appealing to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

When she runs.

I love to watch her run.

Arms flailing, legs pelting at double speed.
Hair flying.

No sense of rhythm or purpose.
Just the pure joy of legs that work and wide open spaces to use them in.

She already cares about her clothes.
She wants to be a princess.
She wants her toenails painted.
She's afraid of car accidents.
Of dogs.
Of loss.
She is a human being, with all the dreams and limitations that come as part of the package.

But when she runs, she transcends.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

.....And the trials of homeownership

The Minotaur, Kraken and I were enjoying a perfectly lovely, unseasonably warm day in the backyard this afternoon, pulling weeds, cleaning up pine cones, running amok (Kraken), and reveling in the combination of sunshine and bracing wind.

Then the tree came down. On the neighbor's house. Through the window into the room where their young son would have been sleeping if it had been nighttime, or even naptime. We ran to their door, but no one was home. A mercy, but it still means they'll have to come home to that. After watching the pine trees in our own back yard bending gracefully and ominously over our own house, we opted to come inside and spend the afternoon with the wii instead of the weather.

Half an hour later, we looked out, and the Kraken's Dora house (giant plastic monstrosity that it is) is not exactly we had placed it in the playyard. Neither is the 50 pound wagon. Sheesh.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ah, the joys of parenthood......

I just found a turd in the washing machine.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Princesses Don't Wear Pants

That's what the Kraken informed me this evening, with disdain in her voice and certainty in her heart. This after a brief discussion about what she was wearing, about what I was wearing, and about both of our options for pajamas. My feeble suggestion that she could wear something that wasn't a dress and still BE a princess was slapped down without a moment's hesitation.

The Kraken's recent obsession with all things pink, fluffy, sparkly, shimmery, and otherwise traditionally feminine (at least in this culture) has got me to thinking about my own aesthetic, or lack thereof. I work in an office with a fair number of 20 something whippersnappers, all of whom have well styled hair, fashionable pants, belts that look like something we wore when I was in the 5th grade, and such an assortment of shoes that they seem to never wear the same pair more than once, a la Leona. I, on the other hand, am the quintessential mom - pushing 40, same shoes every day, sensible yoga pants with Land's End tunic, and it's a fine day indeed if I manage to get my makeup on before I get to the office. I didn't used to BE this way. I used to actually care.

Oh, to be sure, I was never one of those girls who read the fashion magazines to figure out which purse I'm supposed to be carrying this season. I never even thought of clothes in terms of seasons, unless it was to be aware of the fact that sweaters were for cold weather, t-shirts for warm. But last season's shoes? What the hell does that mean? You're supposed to only wear them for one year? I was never trendy, never fashionable, even when I actually would have liked to have been, but I certainly cared about how I looked when I went out of the house.

High school, college, and the subsequent years I had a strong sense of my own style. Problem is, that style wasn't something I could gracefully carry over into later years. It's hard to wear four inch platform shoes when you're toting a car seat. Equally difficult to wear a nightgown with a cardigan instead of clothes when your destination is Costco and not the local dance club. My wardrobe consisted of skanky, skankier, and so skanky I'm not even sure I can wear it without getting arrested, along with a small selection of items for work/parental visits that were completely separate from my other clothes. Now my "play" clothes are my work clothes, minus the bulky sweater that hides my tattoos in the office. I am shapeless. I am unisex, because I don't know how to be feminine without being slutty, and slutty just doesn't cut it anymore.

It's weird. I don't think I realized how much of my identity was tied up in the way I presented myself to the world until I had to present myself differently. I remember feeling like a princess, in black vinyl go-go boots and an ensemble my girlfriends still refer to as "the slip" because of transparency. It might not have been the blue ball gown and glass slippers, but I was comfortable in my skin in it, and I felt strong when I wore it. I never feel that way anymore. The best I can manage is to feel like I occasionally don't look like somebody's mom. I'd like to find my inner princess again, but I may have to settle at this point for being the fairy godmother, and hoping the Kraken chooses a ball gown she can wear gracefully into middle age.