yesterday we went to quinn’s first “class” ever. toddler gymnastics! it was hilariously cute. eight two year olds, running around, stretching, crawling through tunnels and balancing on balance beams. he had a blast. there was an obstacle course set up, where you’d go from one station to the next and do whatever it was, and he kept skipping 5 stations to go back to the ramp-like mat where he got to log roll down it (those were the instructions). then we went to the “live-berry” and traded in charlotte’s web for wind in the willows… and got a few others. madeline and the gypsies. the first dog by jan brett- her illustrations are amazing and we have a few of her books, and keep getting her other ones out of the live-berry. this one is about a little cave-dweller human and his paleowolf friend who warns him about cave bears and sabre tooth cats and saves his life and they end up being friends and it is the first wolf to “wag his tail” and he names him “dog”. it’s so cool.
quinn is good. he kept me up till midnight though. sigh. but he is so darn sweet. he has lately been out of the blue telling me “i YUVV you!” he caught a fish yesterday and was asleep when i got home, and when he woke up he was telling me all about his fish. quinn has caught a few fish. this one was a little steelhead salmon…. every day he knows mama goes to work “to work on the salmon” so he is thrilled to be seeing them in real life. his dad told me that he reeled it in all by himself, felt it pulling, and everything. maybe it just comes with being a pisces, but i have seen him cast and it is amazing that any 2 year old can do this. i know it’s a silly thing to be proud of and i don’t desire for him to grow up and be a fisherman… but i do like that he will grow up knowing HOW to fish.
this weekend plans: gymnastics, then having sarah and gracie and hope over. they’re coming for lunch, diapers, and playtime. her last email though ended with “may god bless you and keep you…” it seems like every person out here, no matter how hippie they are, is also christian. it’s hard for me to not feel judgmental and think, never mind i don’t want christian friends. i’m realizing i have this bias and looking at it as an opportunity to work on my own tendency to judge. i am hoping it’s just something i need to work on, and here are some people to work on it with. sarah came by the tent 2 weeks ago, bought a diaper and had an hour long conversation with me about cloth diapers, life in general, etc. she has 3 daughters. breastfed little hope right there while we talked…. her other daughters are grace and joy….. given their names i thought hmmm but she seems like such a hippie! surely not… well that very first time we met, something came up about church. i was kind of surprised, but kind of not, given this had just happened to me with another person. i like both women, and i think other than the church factor…. they have everything else in common with me. in some ways, more than trina does, but trina was that special someone who also grew up christian and had questioned it like me and totally understood me on that….. it’s making me look at my own issues for sure.
when i wrote sarah back i actually said “blessings to you, too”. my version of blessings is more the pagan/nature-worship/goddess format though. i don’t mind the word bless…. but the “bless and keep” part and God capital G father in heaven man with beard on cloud…… to me “bless” can be a pleasant thing to say to anyone- i enjoy when quinn blesses me when i sneeze for example. but that is because it does not have to be a blessing from one particular organized religion or any religion at all, though it does imply some level of spirituality (so if one doesn’t believe anything is ever a blessing then that’s a whole other story.) but i think the universe is full of moments that i can point to and say -wow i count that as a blessing. i guess i could count it as a coincidence instead, but i do feel blessed, and that seems more hopeful and optimistic to me than coincidence. i guess what i’m saying is, i appreciate that sentiment of hers- she is basically saying “i send nice words to you” or “i think of you” but when it comes from a place of “i send nice words from a particular branch of christianity to you” i get squirmy.
definitely noticing things about myself, and a place in my consciousness that could benefit from some introspection. i definitely don’t want to be judgmental of others just because they come from a religious path i have found can come across judgmental towards me or my way of life. i don’t want to be the pot calling the kettle black.
yesterday quinn and i went to gymnastics which was again hilariously cute. there was this trampoline with a bar for the kids to hang onto (so they didn’t bounce right off the thing) and they had to count to ten jumps, and quinn kept skipping back across the obstacle course to go back to the trampoline and count way beyond ten. he had fun. i had fun. then we went home and had a lot of milk for some reason and then i finished cleaning while he played. sarah was running a little late but that was actually good since i was behind on the cleaning. and then they came over and sarah had brought stuff to make pita bread and hummus (like she brought flour, yeast, chick peas, etc.) it was cool. and yummy. and we played a lot and quinn and grace had a few sharing issues but mostly had a blast playing together in quinn’s kitchen and just being kids. Q got tired but couldn’t nap (we tried for ten minutes but no go) and he was SO cute with little hope (the baby is 3 months old) if she was lying on the couch, he would go over to her and just dote. he would hold her hand, and kiss her repeatedly all over her head and face, and he wanted to pick her up and hold her. he came and got me once to tell me “i gotta hold that yittle guy on my yap.” “guy” is his “person” word lately. it just means whoever, no gender.
grace kept calling quinn “she” and “her.” i kept reminding grace “he” because i want quinn to know i don’t just let that slide…. that has been my stance for a while now, not to just “let it go” when someone makes the gender assumption and says she. i did that at first (before a yaer old) because it seemed best not to draw attention to it, but now i correct people. i had enough horrible experiences in the check out line of men in line saying “oh what a cutie she’s gonna have all the guys following her when she gets older” nonsensical comments from strangers, so i nip it in the bud before they embarrass themselves now.
probably about 50% of the world comments on how cute my “daughter” is. i see no reason why everyone has to label and categorize every child into one box or the other. i guess so they can be sure and give him a soccer ball if he’s a boy but a dolly if he’s a girl. sigh.
but then, i get a lot of “sir” because of my height. ok and also my lack of cleavage.
i was up with quinn again- he napped till 6:30 so he again didn’t go to sleep till midnight. but he did eventually just lay on me and fall asleep (he had exhausted the milk supply and was still awake.)
more thoughts on gender – quinn still seems oblivious to it. but i know he is always aware of stuff before i realize he is aware, so maybe he is picking up on it more than i know. regardless, when he does start knowing, he will realize that i stick up for him (as if there should have to be “sticking up” for someone’s gender! so messed up!) that is what i want him to know. maybe he will think i did the wrong thing later- if i don’t cut his hair. but i don’t think so, because i think he likes his long hair, and i think he will be able to understand gender in a much better way than i ever could when i was little- i only knew things in black and white, girl and boy. but i understand so much more now about how gender is really such a continuum and i know, for example, … lots of women who do stuff that is “mens work” myself included (sailing, farming, etc.) i just think he will have a lot more understanding of himself, his own gender identity, and other people and their neuroses about it (honestly i think what helped most when i was a kid was if someone close to me turned to me (after being called a boy) and said “how could they think YOU are a boy? you have the most beautiful girl face” or whatever. but that is only helpful to a certain extent- I could see why they thought i was a boy. i wear jeans and red turtlenecks, have no figure, have no hair…. it was pretty obvious that that person just made some sweeping glance and yeah i have boy characteristics…. oh so my face is a girl face ? and what exactly does that mean? so sometimes i comment to people who get it wrong, that yeah a lot of people make the assumption because of him having long hair…. and i sort of emphasize the “assume” part…. they usually apologize, and i just hope i’m changing people one embarrassing moment at a time. maybe everyone who does this, who i tell off, (lol) will stop assuming they know, or thinking they NEED to know, every baby’s gender they walk by. there are other assumptions i fight, too…. many strangers think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask quinn his name. (i think now that i am pondering this, they ask that to FIND OUT whether he is a girl or boy. HA! quinn could be either!) but i always tell them, then tell them i’m mary beth, and what’s YOUR name? they are usually SURPRISED by this. and i think they realize how intrusive it is to ask a complete stranger, a CHILD, no less, their name, without telling THEIR name in return. but they had no intention of doing that up front….. when i want to know someone’s name, i TELL them MY name. that usually works, and if not, THEN i ask, because i feel i have leveled the playing field. and been respectful- i am not asking you to give something i am not willing to give. but so many people are asking just that, because they don’t think children deserve the respect that THEY THEMSELVES feel they deserve. it’s so crazy!
i don’t really get offended when people say sir to me (usually). but i do notice- i mean it’s part of my identity. but…. i don’t feel it is the be all end all OF my identity, like so many people seem to think (and therefore we have segregated words for sir and ma’am.) but it always gets me thinking about this stuff, and how can i teach people, one person at a time, to be aware.
yesterday we went to the farm again for a csa party/potluck. we got to pick pumpkins to bring home, ride around in the big truck while farmer john gave us a tour (starting with… the compost!) quinn got to meet the pigs and see the chickens and turkeys again… john dropped us in the strawberry patch to go pick up the other people, and said “help yourself!” so we gorged on berries and then walked around, picked punkins, then went and built our pizza that they baked for us while we got our plate full of other potluck yumminess. it was so cool. i love it there. so funny how the people who showed up for it were like all the couples with young children, and then old couples. a few young couples without kids, who you could tell were “foodies”. i was like wtf? no single cute guys?!?!
quinn asked me, when we were coming back from ona beach on saturday- i was putting him in the car to come home… “do you love me as big as the ocean, and as big as the sky???” we read guess how much i love you, but he gets “i love you as big as the sky” from my bff lauren (i added the as big as the ocean as my own personal touch.) i love you to the moon and back is a nice one, too. all of them apply!
i’m really good. and yet… i’m sort of feeling the change of seasons to fall and feeling like changes are coming and a little bit unsure about it all…. not even sure what i mean by that. just sort of feeling a little……. cautious? if that makes any sense whatsoever. i feel good though…. maybe also a little bit standing back and re-evaluating my life- which also feels like fall. just sort of like huh…. i just sold my hundredth diaper (but so much more than that… hard to explain). where am i at, and where am i going next, and what are my goals and hopes and stuff…. where do things stand in various areas of my life and what do i want them to look like…. down the road.
i had a good weekend with quinn. the “as big as the sky” comment was so great. and there were other things this weekend too…. a few nights as we lay down to go to bed, he has told me “and i wanna have milk back in your belly”. or some variation on “back in the belly” and it is just so cute to hear him say that! and i asked him what he means, and he means- literally, he thinks of when he was in my belly, when he has milk. it makes me so happy that he can connect the two things, that he may actually be able to remember past age 3 what it is like to have a mama and what it was like to be in her belly and how having milk (which he might be able to remember, too) reminded him of that…. i think a lot of the ways parents “normally” do things, make this kind of content-with-life-ness impossible in kids. but i like what i see in that department with quinn. god he is getting so big. it’s hard to believe how HUGE he is. he is so “kid” now. and yet so very much my baby. yesterday when i saw him after his time with his dad, he climbed up on me (as usual) and put his hands on my cheeks and said “i yuvv to hug you and touch your skin”. and “i yuvv your cheeks”. how cool is that?! he is such a sweet little person.
oh and back on the reflecting about where i am and where i’m going- my high school bf, who got in touch on fb- he asked me this: “So, I’m curious to know how you are. You were a very conservative and religious young lady when we were together – are you still? Tell me more about mb and what she has come to be today!”
oh to try to connect the dots of the past 15+ years!!!!! wow. how to even put that into any sort of words… it’ll be a fun challenge… not sure i have time this week! we are cutting fish tues-thurs….
i’m feeling so ready to move on with life….. i want to close the book on the “break up” and have some sort of formal parenting agreement, signed, stamped, filed…. done. i know it will always be evolving… but somehow i need the process to go forward and i think having a signed paper, for whatever reason, seems like it will help.
we skipped the market on saturday…. it was looking really threatening and i had heard a forecast for thunderstorms…. and when i woke quinn up to go (i was all packed but kind of still deciding…) he firmly put his foot down that we are NOT going! it was easy to twist my arm. we haven’t missed one ALL season. 1 out of i think 26 weeks, not bad. and it turned out to be lovely, and we went to the market anyway, but just to get our stuff (veggies, hot dogs, eggs, coffee beans, and a treat! we get EVERYTHING THERE.) and then we went to the toy store and got quinn a new shovel he wanted (he went there the other day with his dad and got another toy, but was upset about not getting the shovel and his dad and i spoke about it and agreed i would get it for him.) then we took the shovel to ona beach, he was naked nudie in the water BRRRRRR i couldn’t believe he wanted to! it was not warm! though the sun was out. it was a nice weekend.
the new shovel, at ona beach
i have been reading a book for the last year and a half (it has seriously taken me that long to read it, a few pages at a time) called ‘creative mythology’ by joseph campbell….
i am now like 8 pages away from finishing this ~700 page book (it’s like a textbook though- footnotes, endnotes, it’s kinda crazy! and very very technical reading where you have to actually have your brain turned on to be able to absorb any of it….) and finally starting to think that it’s not just other people who can put this stuff into words, maybe i can do it too. though i don’t feel good at it yet, i am starting to at least get my mind wrapped around what i believe (at the moment) and what i want my spirituality to look like (or not). it’s interesting that now that i feel that way (just barely) i am given a friend who is devoutly christian… hmmm universe, what is the message?
i guess i get to practice talking about it!
yesterday was awesome. the whole weekend was good, nice weather, sold a bunch at the market, not too windy there, surprise visit from sarah and her girls right at the end of market. but sunday, omgoodness, it was such a good sunday.
i woke up before quinn, and he slept for at least another half hour, maybe 45 min? which is always a perfect way to start a day- i get some time to center and finish my bagel and tea with my book, before he wakes up. then i crawl back into bed with him and snuggle and nurse and then WE get up.
we went to panini, to get a muffin and “soy milk in my sippy cup, and coffee and milk in your purple cup.” we sat at the tall chairs at the counter, to eat our muffin- quinn devoured it, he was hungry and this was breakfast. he usually eats it up even when he’s had bagel. it was a yummy blueberry one, with lemony cakey sugary goodness. we took our time. i read an opinion column in the sunday oregonian newspaper on race and extremists and obama and whatnot.
we got in the car, and went for a drive up the coast. right there, from panini. i had had the forethought to put a couple snacks and diapers and jackets in the car, and the sling. yay for being prepared! so we didn’t have to go home first or make any side trips, just right up the coast. i had asked quinn what beach, but then checked my tide chart, saw that low tide was at noon and that it was a nice low (some are lower than others. you know you’re a local when you have a tide chart in your wallet!) so i asked him if he would want to go to otter rock and go tidepooling- yeah! so we drove up there, but it was only 10, and a beautiful clear sunny day, so i decided we’d make TWO stops, since high tide wasn’t for a few hours, we went past otter rock and up to a place we’ve been once before to watch for whales. it’s a little early yet for the southward migration of gray whales back to mexico, but the conditions were perfect so i wanted to just see. it was GORGEOUS out there, we just sat on the rocks. we saw tons of sea lions, playing. and lots of pelicans (had fun saying “peli-kin! peli-can!” over and over) i also saw a whale, far off in the distance, and it was there pretty much the whole time- i cuold only see its spout, but it stayed pretty much in the same spot- probably a resident, not a migrant. as i said, it’s early. but still, awesome to see one!
while we sat on the rocks, we threw rocks and sticks in the little pools, we fished the sticks back out with a bigger stick, we climbed around, we sat on mama’s lap and just chilled. we ate trail mix, we talked about pelicans waving. then quinn told me the ocean was waving (i was like, whoa! play on words buddy!!!) at some point i looked up and directly out in front of us, due west over the ocean, was the moon. it was a half, and we could see it in the daylight, and i pointed it out to quinn, and went off on some ramble about how the earth casts a shadow on the moon, and the sun lights it up, that’s why we can see it and why it changes shape over the month and gets bigger and smaller again and then goes away for one night… i always figure he’s absorbing 1% of this type of explanation but i just say it anyway. but he goes, “yeah, like in the day you were born!” he has a book, on the day you were born, and every page is some amazing natural wonder like the sun, or the moon, or migrating animals, and every page is along the lines of “on the day you were born, the bright moon promised to bring a new face, each month, to your windowsill” or something like that. i’m not doing it justice, but it’s a very awesome book, and that page has pictures of every phase of the moon, around the outside border of the picture of the kid dancing on his windowsill. yeah, JUST like that!
then he said, let’s go home and read it! and i said, oh…. well, i’m having too much fun to go home, but i know a story i coudl tell that i don’t need to read- i’ll tell you about the day you were born, because i was there and i remember it! and he was like, ok! and snuggled onto my lap again and i told him this long story of his birth. and he reacted with “tell it again. ALL of it!” oh i just love him. he was completely hooked on my every word. i told him nothing about pain or hospitals. just told him i knew something was happening and that you would come out soon, because i could feel it. stuff like that. and like “i had to work very hard for a long time to push you out.” and told him about all his hair, and that after his head came out, his body came out- just the basics, really. and told him that then i gave him milk. then when i was telling it “again” and i got to the part about him coming out, he told me “yeah i came out, and then i had milk!” love him.
as we climbed back up the hill/trail through the forest (Q: “i love the forest! i LOVE the forest!”) to get back to where we parked, i was saying we should think of a name for this spot- our whale watching spot. and i said some ideas, but none that i was hooked on, and he said- “yeah i have to think of a name in my brain. like sea lion.”
then a little farther up the trail, he told me “and i will see a hawk and an owl up in a tree. and they will talk to me and help me feel better. and my voice will change all different colors when i talk to them.” i so wanted him to repeat this. i think he may have had some sort of psychedelic experience out there on the rocks. !?!?!? actually i have heard of this type of thing before, i guess it’s called synesthesia, where there is cross over from one sense to the other. i just think it’s awesome he can put it into words! his voice will change color so he can talk to the hawk and the owl!
after that, we drove back to otter rock beach, and hiked around the tide pools. quinn was excited to touch a bunch of anemones. then we threw a bunch of rocks in the water (splash!). and then we were playing with a big piece of driftwood (like size of my arm or a little smaller) and he was trying to float it in the stream, but the water wasn’t deep enough. so we took it down to the ocean and when he’d try to put it in, it would come right back up, so he asked me to throw it in, and i did. it took a while for it to come back, and we just watched it come in. then we were ready to leave, and i asked him if he wanted to get in the backpack and have me throw it out there again before we go, and he said “no, we have to take it home, so i can use it to toss my balls with it.” he has never witnessed baseball, the only reference to it is in one of his books, it’s a sesame street book and big bird and elmo and whoever on ONE page of the book, play baseball. it’s not what the book is about, it’s just one page. and one time, that i can remember, i explained the concept to him- one person throws the ball, this person swings this stick, called a bat,…. etc. and he and dada have been playing a lot of catch the past couple weeks- and now he wants to toss his balls with the stick! he is something else.
we came home, he napped while i did stuff, but i felt like i got a lot done and yet got some relaxing done somehow. we even got our co-op shopping done (the natural food store place where there are toys in the corner he can play with.)
there’s no question, my milk IS super milk. but i don’t think it confers special super powers on him. just super duper growth into “a bigger boy” he tells me- “i am a bigger boy now!” and “i’m getting to be a bigger and bigger boy!” i never liked “you’re a big boy” because it always sounds like a chastising thing to say to a kid- c’mon tie your own shoes, you’re a big boy. i’m not into that. i like the bigger boy- his dad started it, he incorporates it into the stories, like about when he gets to be a bigger boy and drives his own garbage truck. (they will have a partnership, apparently, with quinn emptying the blue recycling cans, and dada emptying the green garbage cans, with his truck. apparently, garbage man was one of his dad’s childhood aspirations as well, it appears to run in the family.)
this land was made for you and me
having a “party”
tea in his tea pot
coloring his leg
a face quinn drew. it got better. he sat there, telling me as he drew that- first the circle- this is a face, and here is an eye, and another eye, and the nose, and the mouth…. so i know that’s what it was…. although i look at it, and even if he hadn’t been telling me that- it’s a definite face! and THEN he drew two arms- long lines coming out of the head. i need to take more pictures of all the drawings he was doing that night… the next one he drew, he had one “broken arm” (a line intended to be an arm, but it had gone off the page) so he drew two other arms, that were long and wonderful. i was saying are these arms? about the three lines, and he said, yeah, but this one is broken. but this one is alright. and this one is alright. (something like that).
the face with a broken arm (goes off page) and then two more arms. then the bottom one is the first face he drew with arms (the arms are vertical) and then when i wrote words about what he said about it, he wrote his own words on top.
oh speaking of broken- yesterday he fell on the rug in the bedroom and kind of got a slight owie (nothing big, no broken skin but ow) and i picked him up as i always do, asked if he wanted a kiss, as he always does, and he said, yeah, my knee is broken. my other knee is broken too. 🙂 then i kissed each one, and he told me “they’re all better now.” he IS bigger.
i’ve been pondering parenting styles, and how it seems that some value connection more than obedience, while others value obedience over connection.
gracie and quinn were playing playdough and gracie basically had the whole hunk and wouldn’t share it with quinn, he asked her for some and she said no. he got upset, but (and i’m so proud of this!) came over to get me to help- it was not a tattle, i don’t think, it was help me mom! what do i do? which is what i want- for him not to take it into his hands and punch her. and i went over with him to “handle it” and basically was all set to sit there and talk it over with gracie, let her take as long as she needed to share (quinn was cool with this, he just sat there watching). and grace, as i’ve mentioned, is real stubborn, but i am stubborn, and had a feeling i could outlast her. so i was asking her if she could share a little of the playdough with quinn and she was pinching off miniscule pieces, i said how about half? and she got upset, and i said oh are you afraid you won’t have enough to do what you want? she said yeah…
but i have had so much “luck” asking quinn in those situations if he is scared, and thinking of a way he COULD be scared and asking him is it this? and i usually am spot on, if i ask about fear. it looks a lot of different ways. i am learning to recognize it much more easily. i think that’s why i place a higher value on connection, myself.
one time, one of the kids had overturned my salt shaker on the floor while we were in the other room, and sarah thought it may have been grace, who said no, and sarah pressed her again but i said hold on it may have been q let me ask him, and i said, hey boo, did something happen with the salt? and he looked at me and said, “yeah, i poured it out on the floor!” and he totally felt safe telling me that, then i explained we needed to work together to clean it up, could he get his broom, and he did, and he swept it across the floor even more messy and i helped him get it in the dustpan.
i realize i have a chip on my shoulder about being seen as lenient. i just take a lot of time to work things out with kids. that is not leniency, it is respect. if anything i like to think of it, not as “how i discipline” but as “how i use self discipline” to speak with kids on their level. i don’t think that makes me lenient. oh you give them an inch……
they… tell you the truth?
i don’t even like to think of this all in terms of getting the results- if quinn lied to me constantly i’d likely chalk it up to his creative brain. it probably wouldn’t change much about my style. i mean, i would be thinking about it, figuring out if there was a way to help him learn to be honest…. within the connection-oriented style of parenting. if i were asked, how do i “get” quinn not to lie…. i would have trouble answering- it is entirely his choice whether to lie or not. that is how i “get” him not to- i DON’T get him not to, i believe in him. so i am not sitting here “getting results” i am just nurturing my connection with him, and the results are secondary.
i think it is common for people to look at gentle parenting styles like mine and people think it’s the lazy route. it is HARDER. because of the self discipline aspect, it is the hardest thing to do. the easy route in my opinion, is to just do whatever comes to mind (not instinct- that’s different; whatever comes to mind is almost always what our own parents did, not instinctive but learned).
pita bread video
we are attempting to go camping this weekend. we are driving out to the camping place together, but camping/hiking/cooking separately. splitting up our time with quinn normally, etc. two tents. quinn may get to sleep with dada at night, as a trial run, with the safety net of me close by in another tent, etc. more we have to deal with together, not necessarily a great thing.
yesterday was ok. gymnastics, then a trip to the book store (got two new awesome ones) and then home but quinn said no let’s go to the beach, so he stayed in his car seat while i grabbed beach needs, and we went. i knew we’d only be there a few minutes- it was gale force winds the night before that, and still pretty windy. so we were there 10 minutes when he got up on me in the sling, in my jacket like old times, sweet. then in the evening he was at the shop, building his very own work bench there, and making a new toy boat. when i got there he was standing by the bench, and he had “some things i gotta clean up” that he has little nails to hang things on, and then he had to unclamp his boat (glue was dry) so he could try it out with some of his pirates, and he sailed it “to a wonderful spot where the boat wouldn’t float away.” yes, he uses the word wonderful. and then when dada asked him what color he wanted to paint it and asked- do you want to paint it green? and quinn answered, “yeah, and pink!” oh, it made my whole world.
yeah most definitely separate tents… ideally in like separate valleys. i am not sure we’re even going at this point. he wants to go to the desert, and i have felt ok about the whole thing except the location. now he has been telling me the whole time it’s so much closer than it was from portland, but i have been skeptical. he said 3.5 hr drive time. i just consulted google maps- 6 hours 38 minutes. a bit off? and usually i take LONGEr than google says. the weather is going to be nice ENOUGh but not exactly ideal. though it would be way nicer than it’s supposed to be here… rain at the market tomorrow.
i imagine we will still go, and i will just drive the whole 7 hours and not point it out to him that it took 7 hours. i just am so scared of quinn havnig a hard time with the long drive, i’m really not dealing well with the car aspect.
problem is, his dad has been talking it up to quinn forever. since BEFORE we decided to go at all, and well before we had decided WHERE to go. he planted the idea in quinn’s head. i am not kidding- i asked quinn where he wanted to go camping- the desert! as if quinn has any clue what that means. last time he was there he was 8 weeks old.
and to sit here and listen to quinn, as we took down the tent from his “room” last night (my closet lol) and packed it up, he was going on and on about how he would sleep in his tent by a stream, and an owl would land on the branch outside his tent and he would be inside falling fast asleep. he also told me yesterday that he was going to go to the desert and go find kip’s knife that he lost, and give it back to him. kip is the cave boy in quinn’s book the first dog, and we’ve noticed that as kip gets chased by the mammoth he drops his knife (that author/illustrator is a genius- how cool that it shows “artifacts” as they are being used and dropped….) anyway it’s hard to deny him this trip now.
really liked this article about parenting. it’s by one of my favorite authors of parenting books… sums up his philosophies pretty well. with some relevant research.
can’t wait to move on…. financial stuff is so stupid i just never want to revisit it ever again!
pics of quinn and his boat and other stuff:
on the parachute at gymnastics
🙂 yeah we love twins around here. i loved his faces in these. he is saying “cheeeeeeeeeese!” in some of them.
saving arugula seeds- after he came home on wed night, i had him help me empty the seeds out of the seed pods- i almost let him just go to bed, but knew he’d dig it and this way he has now seen the full cycle and isn’t 3 yrs old yet. brainwashing like crazy…… he thought popping the pods was so cool.
the drive to the desert did in fact turn out to be longer than 3.5 hours. it was 6.5, google was right on the dot. i knew this was the case. i remember it always taking longer than he claimed it took, and i also knew he hasn’t changed, nor does it make sense that it would be “closer” from newport than from portland. true, there are no changes in route to negotiate (highway 20 goes from the ocean to the middle of the state, whereas from portland you have to take a few different highways) but it is still just as long, if not longer because the road from the coast is winding.
but i am really glad i had a conversation with him about feeling manipulated before we left. i wrote this in my journal (once we were out there):
“emotional integrity points for me for this trip. before we left, i already felt manipulated and resentful. jim claimed it was a 3.5 hour drive. google maps on friday told me, 6 hours and 38 minutes. i was already having anxiety about the car ride together, mostly because of what could/would happen if quinn freaked out, about being cooped up for too long. i briefly thought about just holding back those feelings until we finished the drive, but i knew that was a recipe for mt st helens explosion, so i realized i had to tell him the way i felt. he did not listen well, or react very well, but the amazing thing is, it didn’t really matter- me clearing my feelings mess up did not depend on him hearing me, taking me seriously, or acknowledging how i felt and why. i kept my cool the entire drive, even when quinn DID have his major freakout starting around hour 5…. through 6.5…. and even when his dad got his feelings all hurt that i wasn’t “letting him” exercise his parenting style. he is mostly off collecting things so i have not had to see him much. yay!”
quinn really wanted to “turn around and go the other way so i can have milk in the big purple boat because i’m sad.” he repeated this like 50,000 times while crying for the last hour and a half of the trip. then when we turned off onto the “bumpity bump” road to get to the camp spot, he felt better and got excited again about camping, but that was only the last 15 minutes or so. the big purple boat is the bed. i have purple flannel sheets, and quinn likes to pretend the bed is a boat and we sail our laundry basket boats up to it, or we jump off of it (splash) and swim like fish on the floor when we wake up, etc. (he pretends a rock in the desert is a boat and throws rocks off of it splash in the “water”- he lives and breathes boats. actually i think part of his homesickness had to do with being so far from water. i say this because even when we woke up the next morning, he wanted to go home briefly until he got into the camping thing, and then last night i put him in the bathtub when we got home, and he stayed in extra long. i think he is a water child through and through.)
if i go back there, it will be because quinn asks for it (which i am not sure he ever will) and i will pick someplace closer. quinn did not really get into the searching for kip’s knife (obsidian artifacts) and there are plenty of spots to camp in the desert that are closer than that place. plus, we passed a bunch of really pretty spots to camp in the mountains/forest that would also be much closer. anyway, i don’t plan on camping with jim again. i mean it was not a disaster, but i just really do not enjoy his company anymore. he can be funny in moments, but there is this overbearing quality to everything he says to me, i really just do not like how he speaks to me at all, i don’t like for quinn to listen to it, and i just would rather not. but i am committed to taking quinn camping more in the future.
but yeah overall the weekend was good- did i mention i didn’t spend much time with his dad? he was off doing his thing. in fact, if he wasn’t, he was agitated, but he would sometimes remember to check in about who was “on duty” and if he wasn’t, he’d split. i realized he keeps diverging a bit from me in the parenting- that whole thing in the car where he felt i wasn’t letting him parent his way was a misunderstanding- he had told me he needed to tune out quinn’s crying, so i said please do, i will stay engaged with quinn and it will be easier if it’s one of us anyway. then when he tried talking to me about methods of dealing with the crying, i told him how my ideas differed from his, then i was talking to quinn again, then for some reason his dad felt his toes were being stepped on, and i explained i thought he was still “tuned out” so i was handling it as best i could.) anyway, he said stuff about having to “draw the line” and things where he would say to quinn in a somewhat stern voice “we are NOT stopping the car” or whatever whereas i would just say quinn honey i’m sorry but we can’t stop the car, i know that is what you want and you are feeling really sad about it…. or whatever touchy feely thing i say to validate him but not shut him down…. and his dad made some comment as we approached the very very end of the drive there and were almost at the dirt road, literally like 10 minutes from there, he said something like “finding something that will work” and i said, nothing is going to “WORK” except stopping the car. he doesn’t have to feel happy about riding in the car against his will, but it will end when the ride ends, and it doesn’t need to end before that. i basically think he had his panties all in a bunch “needing” to get quinn to stop crying and i was like, i am bloody well sure he will cry for the next ten minutes and i think as mature adults we have to just grit our teeth and listen to it. yelling at him to stop is not going to stop it. talking nicely to him is not either, but it is what i’d rather be doing. it is that “results-oriented” approach to parenting- the whole mentality of “i have to get it to stop!” is just nuts. i mean logically, why WOULD it stop? he’d been crying for 1.5 hours. obviously he was upset, and wasn’t getting what he wanted. why would he suddenly change his mind and be happy about it? just silliness.
quinn had fun with the different way you live while camping- like dada’s coffee pot is different than the one at home, and mama also made coffee differently (with the cone thingie “like the man at the farmer’s market!” he noticed) and he wanted to participate in all those little things- pouring water for this, picking up firewood for the campfire, etc. i think he was really fuzzy about the landscape. in the morning, i tried to get him to focus on the big hill (glass butte) which is the highest spot there, and he looked at it and said “sand!” and it was like… hard to explain that it was the color of sand but it was really dried grass, sage brush… see the green? those are juniper trees, etc. then when he realized it was a mountain, he said “look! it’s a mouintain. i am going to go climb it.” and he walked off, about to go climb it, i kid you not. he walked quite a ways…. i followed far behind, until i really had to get back to check the breakfast that was cooking, and managed to distract him with bringing some firewood back to camp and telling him we’d hike the mountain after breakfast….. but it was so cute how he just set off to conquer the mountain.
he is in a cute phase of singing songs to himself. honestly, most of the 13 hours of driving he entertained himself really well. the drive home he didn’t freak at all- the last half hour he repeatedly asked me “mama stop driving for a moment please, i need to have some milk” but he was not crying and was asking very sweetly, not whining. and he only even napped for an hour yesterday- during the drive there he had napped for 3, and still freaked in the end. but i think yesterday he was ok because we were going home to the purple boat, he knew we were headed back towards the ocean, and he had done the drive and knew how long it was… he sang “strummin’ on the ole’ banjo” over and over again.
after breakfast that day, we set off to climb the mountain. i ended up carrying him most of the way. his dad went off to some other part and met us at the top, then took off again as soon as we got there basically. q and i sat at the top and had milk, and talked about seed pods and looked down at the little cars on the highway far far away, and just talked and did silly things.
by the time we got halfway down, he wanted milk and was upset that i wouldn’t stop to rest (afraid he’d fall asleep) but i did take a break and he started to fall asleep so i put him in the sling and he did conk out. i still had to crawl under one barbed wire fence (it is grazing land out there in the “national forest” or maybe it’s bureau of land management land or something) to get back to camp, which was interesting with him asleep in the sling. and then he napped in the tent, while i made myself tea, read and wrote in the journal, etc. it was nice for me just to be outside, to be in the very, very quiet place. i didn’t do much honestly, other than climb that hill. i had wanted to climb that every other trip we’ve taken there and never did, so i’m glad i did that.
quinn did not attempt to sleep in dada tent (the recycling truck. my green tent was the garbage truck and dada’s is blue…) and we didn’t push it but asked him each night. he said no. he slept in the garbage truck with me. the second night (after climbing the mountain) we both got to hear an owl that was nearby and hooting almost all night- every time quinn woke for milk (more frequent in a strange place on not-as-comfy bed) i heard it, and one time i asked him if he heard it- usually i don’t speak out of fear of waking him up, but i did just so he’d hear it and we fell back to sleep anyway and he remembered hearing it in the morning. i was glad for that, he had been looking forward to the owls in the desert. we decided it had been in a tree nearby singing us a sleeping song and giving us an owl blessing.
he got to do some “boy” things. at one point, he and his dad were picking up dried up rabbit poop and putting it in their pockets because “it’s good for starting fires.” in the car during the freak out, i started reciting the lorax (i can do almost the whole thing) and that helped a little, and his dad interrupted me right in the middle to ask if quinn wanted his boogie, and that helped a lot… and quinn said yeah, and he gave it to him, and quinn flicked it. it was hilarious in the campsite when there was some sort of thing (maybe a piece of food that had dropped) and quinn picked it up and as he did it he commentated “and i flick it like a boogie.” hilarious the way flick has two syllables and a “w”. fuh-wick.
quinn has always been obsessed with coffee- but i suppose his parents are too. he likes to grind the beans (except he hates the sound) and some mornings if he is awake before his dad arrives he will get the coffee pot all set up for dada (i don’t make it at home much except for weekends). but yeah first thing when he woke up camping, he was so excited to learn the camping coffee systems, (dada’s is a percolator pot that he sets in the fire to “cook”, mine is i boil water with the backpacking stove and do the cone thing) and then the next morning he was telling us how they work. “and then you dump out the old coffee over here, and then you…..”
it was not much drama, but enough for me to remember why i don’t do this with him anymore. certainly a reminder (that i don’t even need anymore) why i am not WITH him, but also, aaaaaand i don’t even want to do trips with him. the whole trip was supposed to be about quinn- but it really felt like his dad was pretty stoked to be off on his own. which was fine- the result was i got extra time with quinn. things like, he changed one diaper the entire trip. he really pretty much left the feeding of quinn up to me. (in the car yesterday i suggested “maybe you could offer him a snack” when quinn got fussy for a split second. and got, “what is there available?” i mean, obviously he depended on me to provide the snacks, and most of the meals. it was very “tribal” in the sense that i made the bulk of the food- mac and cheese, eggs, pita bread pizzas, and jim would give quinn pieces of meat here and there. i mean, if that was supposed to be evenly split it was very far from it. luckily, i know better than to expect that, and i basically operated while packing as if quinn and i were going ourselves, and brought enough food for us both.
i am writing this not to complain but as a reminder to my future self that this is how it went… major eye roll.
yay for pumpkin seeds! the punkins quinn and i got at the farm- mine already rotted, and his looks like it will last till january. i also have 5 (and counting… more this week i’m sure) squashes i need to use in the next roughly two months…. seeds! yay! need to start in on the muffins, etc. but the first squash (acorn) we ate plain, just baked it and ate it right out of the skin.
ok work is exploding around me. but i am going to take ten and type this out. i need to breathe. and eat this yummy slice of pumpkin bread that quinn and i made together yesterday. (omg it is SO good.)
separation agreement…the whole financial “clause” of the separation agreement has really been the kicker this whole time. it’s just dragging on and on. i wanna be done now. don just kept repeating over and over “the actual amount of money is not going to matter in 15 years, what will matter is that you two solved a problem together. that is what it will be important for quinn to know. i got out my calculator last night…. it is really ridiculous. it came down to he owes me 1246 and i owe him 1273 or something really really stupidly small like that. i’m not kidding. after ALLLLL this grief.
quinn is good though. yesterday we did gymnastics, went to the co-op, had a long snuggle but a short nap and another long snuggle, then took a short walk then baked pumpkin bread. took him to his dad’s, where he painted his boat all white, then when it dried, he painted over it, all green. hehehe. (he chose white, green and blue, when we finally went to buy paint- no pink, sadly. but at least the green is like neon vibrant.)
i am in another nonfiction mode to try not to do my escape routine with the books….
quinn and his fine finger motor skills- i know they have always been up there, but he has just started clipping his own fingernails. i was cringing, thinking he’d cut himself but he is doing great! i am just amazed by this. i doubt i could do this until i was 5 or 6.