Monday, October 29, 2012

Sports

Overheard today from Patrick:
"I got the ball in the basket! Strike two!"

I love their total lack of understanding of sports.

Seeing them today was interesting. I was definitely a fan of vacation, but we went over Rainbow Dash's house, and her mom and I kicked the kids into the downstairs playroom while we chatted. It was needed, after the crazy tantrums of the morning.

My favorite moment was when Patrick came upstairs and announced he had to poop, went into the bathroom, Lilly came up and said the same thing, he called me to wipe him, she went in and pooped, Rainbow Dash came upstairs and said the exact same thing, I wiped Lilly, and then Rainbow Dash went and I wiped her. All in the space of five minutes.

...hm. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with the amusing moments of my day coming from preschoolers' rear ends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shoes

Kali has a thing for shoes. She just turned a year and a half, and it's been going on for a few months. It was one of her first common words, coming out in a high pitch, drawn out "shoooooz!"

Her favorite pair are these light pink knockoff crocs that her mother hates. But Kali thinks they are the shit, and wants them around, always.

I showed her mom the "Oh My God Shoes" video that made the college youtube rounds three or four years ago; it's inane, which is why I'm not linking it, but at the same time is strangely perfect for this child.

"Shoes. Shoes. Oh my god shoes. These shoes rule. These shoes suck. These shoes rule. These shoes suck. Shoes. Shoes. Oh my god shoes. Shoes."

...there's a reason I'm not linking it. But it plays in my head every time she squeals "shooooz!"

Kali, in her hideous shoooz, visiting the neighbor's horses

Monday, October 22, 2012

Observe

Vacation, day one. Lest I go through child-withdrawal, I opted to spend the morning observing V in action at her internship classroom. I've met the faculty and staff there once, when I helped out with a work day, but by my reception this morning, you would've thought I'd known them all for years. Big hugs, everyone excited to see me...

It was an awesome feeling to be introduced as V's wife. I talk more, and am more open about us, so I'm frequently introducing her as my wife, or introducing myself as her wife. But at her school, she's both awesomely comfortable and proud of me. And everyone is excited to meet the wife that they've heard her talk about!

The 3-6 room in a Montessori school is chaotic. It's a controlled chaos, mostly, but my stress level was definitely up at first, waiting for an explosion or collapse. (This may be due to spending every day with Lilly.) I chatted with the program director (awesome, unexpected opportunity) about intervening, and how the teachers really don't: she said if a child is harming themselves or others, or disturbing friends, the teachers will intervene, but they really try to let the child/children resolve it alone. I would love to do more of that with Patrick and Lilly, but since we aren't in a classroom with rules, there is less formality...and sometimes more hitting and pulling and biting.

The 6-9 room, which I was also able to see from the observation room, fascinated me. I wasn't familiar with the materials in it or what exactly the kids were doing, but there was something about it that drew me. I watched a wonderful eighty-something woman who learned from a direct disciple of Montessori, and who now comes in to work in the classroom every Monday, teach a lesson with farm animals that ranged from different prepositions to word forms to spatial relations. All in her Scottish accent.

It was a neat opportunity. Teaching isn't for me (too many kids!), but I like watching it happen successfully. I understand now why V comes home tired and worn out. I get why she says the group at work feels like a family. I can picture the kids, when she rants about this or that misbehavior. I'm more a part of her world, and that always makes me happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Potty

Patrick is an independent kid. Lilly is, too, but she's smaller; she physically can't be quite as on her own yet. She can't reach.

But Patrick is at that wonderful age where we can all walk into a bathroom, he can go in a stall by himself, come out with his pants up, usually reach the soap and sink (or we frequent places that have stools), and be all set.

He's four. Barely. I'm not going to send him into the men's bathroom by himself, not by a long shot.
But it is mildly frustrating that when he asks which door we're going in for a potty break, my response is always "this one, the girls' bathroom." (Being the boy he is, he doesn't care. But I do.)

Melissa's post about bathrooms, and particularly the first comment, brought all this to mind again. It's not an issue for us; he isn't the kid to pull some sort of "But I'm not a girl!" fit on me.

But why is it even necessary?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Real

I finally read the Can You Feel the Sex Tonight post that I've been seeing referenced, and all I can say to it is, yes.

My Gay Lifestyle is most commonly, V sitting at the table, writing one of the thousands of things she has to for school, or editing pictures, while I stare at the pantry in the kitchen and try to figure out what combination of things I can call dinner.

Or it's watching the Colbert Report on her laptop, snuggled on the couch, while I do a crossword puzzle.

Sometimes it's both of us trying to keep Latke from eating all the other cats' food, rolling our eyes at our little chubby ginger kitty.

It's me coming home from work, ranting about Lilly's latest tantrum, and her bringing me some hummus and chips.

There are times I nag her about the litterboxes. There are moments I put off doing the dishes.

On occasion, we have really, really, really great sex.

So why is it that last part that is all people can think of? One of my brothers and his wife give us such awkward looks every time we're around; I swear, all they can think of is "gay sex." But I remember being there. (Though, to be fair, I just thought about sex a lot: I had the same sort of thoughts about all the straight couples I knew.)

Trust me- I'd love it if my life included as much crazy gay sex as people seem to think we queer folk have. It would be pretty awesome. It also is completely impossible, and completely unrealistic.

Do you spend all your time going at it with your significant other, while also scoping out everyone else, while also plotting the downfall of civilization via sexualization? No? Then why do you think I would?

My favorite quote in that post was about "ignoring 99% of someone’s relationship in order to focus on the 1% we have a conflict over." I think one of the things that has helped V's mom start to relate is realizing that she can, well, relate. The more we talk about the mundane: work, school, cats, cleaning, car maintenance, dish soap, Ikea rugs... the more she seems to get that those are the things that make up our life. The vast majority of our life has nothing to do with us being naked (well, unless it's the middle of summer, and I'm still too cheap to turn the air on).

I'm too busy trying to keep the cat from overeating.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blended

Today, V and I shot a wedding. It was tiny, at a local park, and we prefaced it with a family shoot of the couple and their kids: him, his two daughters, her, her two sons.

They already are such a family. The kids interact amazingly, and the two little girls kept running to stand over by their new stepmom.

It's such a contrast to my childhood. I wasn't able to be present at my dad's second wedding; to this day, our family is split. I am his child, and my stepbrothers are my stepmom's. I'm not correlating my absence at the wedding to that, but still.

After the vows, before the end of the ceremony, the parents and their four children held hands. Then the dad fetched four little boxes; dogtag necklaces for the boys, silver heart boxes for the girls.

I teared up. It's not that I wish my family had done things differently. I honestly think I'm done caring about that. But watching this beautiful picture - literally, because I've seen them on V's computer, the fall leaves in the background - made my heart happy.

This is a family who will make it. Today I saw a man who loves his sons as well as his daughters, and a woman who loves her daughters as well as her sons.

And it was a beautiful picture.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Polite

I was at the playground with Patrick and Lilly on Monday, waiting for Rainbow Dash to show up. A lady walked by, walking a dog.

Lady: Hello!
Me: Hi.
Lady, staring at the twins: Don't you say hi?
Me, irked: Sometimes we're shy.
Lady: You don't have to be shy. You can just say hello!

I ignored her, and she kept walking. But really? This is in the same category as ruffling a strange toddler's hair. Just because they're smaller than us does not mean children always want to be touched, spoken to, or forced to interact.

I believe very strongly in manners. I also believe very strongly in autonomy. If someone is giving the kids something, I expect them to say thank you. If someone is walking by, I don't expect them to necessarily engage in conversation.

We haven't had any sort of stranger-danger or don't talk to strangers conversation, but this plays into that as well. I want my kids to be friendly, but if they aren't comfortable saying hello to a random person walking by, more power to them. Which, in fact, is frequently what preschoolers need. More power.

Keep your mouths closed, kids. I got your back.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Joined

I forgot to mention that I would be away this past weekend, celebrating a friend's wedding. A good friend of ours, and in many ways our "lesbian mentor," one of the eleven who attended our wedding, had met, fell in love with, become engaged to, and now married an awesome girl, all in the past year and a half since we last saw her at our wedding. It was wonderful to meet her wife, spend time with them, and see a few college friends. And meet more! As a girl we had breakfast with this morning said, "I love meeting people from [our college] like you guys. People who don't seem like they went there." So true. Somehow we managed to spend a large chunk of the wedding hanging out with this girl, who graduated two years ahead of us, without ever learning that she's a teaching assistant at a Montessori school where she lives. Thank you, Facebook, for cluing us in on that part. And she might come visit! I've missed having people stay with us.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Debate

The presidential debate is raising my blood pressure, I'm pretty sure.

Neither candidate is coming across so hot.
However, one of the candidates is the reason that
  • I have health insurance;
  • I could, if I wanted, serve in the military without fear;
  • if I were raped, heaven forbid, I would not have to worry about carrying a child;
  • there is a hope for my marriage to be recognized beyond a handful of states;
  • my religious views or lack thereof aren't something under attack;
  • and I can (sometimes) sleep at night.
Nothing in these debates will change that, for me.
But I will sleep even better a month from now.
Hopefully.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reason

The real reason I do childcare:

Lilly, as she's blowing soapy water through a straw to make bubbles: Wow! I am such a good blower!

Patrick, pulling his shirt up: Sissy, have my boobies gotten bigger yet?

Oh yes. I'm just there for the cheap laughs.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quatre

It's not often that I can post pictures of the twins, since I don't want to show faces or too much identification. But in honor of them turning FOUR, I'm going to do what I can. I remember their second birthday. I had no idea I'd be around for their fourth. We spent it watching a show (a big treat), buying balloons, and playing with friends (who insisted on finding cookies and singing happy birthday). Tomorrow, we take cupcakes to preschool.

One of the first pictures I ever took of them. They're so young!






This past summer, at the zoo.
Doing some water activities I set up for them.
These kids make my world so much better, when they aren't leaving me stomping down the stairs being screamed at. And there is so much more of the former than the latter. They've grown so much; it amazes me what two years can do. They are funny, smart, beautiful, frustrating, and altogether heart-stealing.

Boy

Last week, Offbeat Mama ran a piece entitled My Son the Cross-Dresser. The article was fascinating and familiar. I've written before about Patrick's bow-wearing tendencies and love of "girl" things; he takes full advantage of having a sister with princess goodies and pink things. Lately, they get into dress-up, and he takes a blue pair of those awful plastic dress-up heels and clunks all over the house. I'm still not sure I've seen Lilly even put any on.

Apparently, when the family went to a picnic a few months ago, with the twins' group they are members of, he caused quite a stir by wearing a bow in his hair. I know this because Laura and Danielle's family went as well, and their mom commented on how cool it is that Patrick's  dad really doesn't mind.

Today, for their birthday, I took them to go get balloons. Lilly picked out a clear one with flowers and a bird. Patrick gravitated straight for the Disney princesses. So I bought it for him, and he latched onto it for the rest of the day.

I love my boy. I love his flexibility, even though he doesn't know it yet. I love his zest for life and adoration of all things sparkly. He makes me smile.

Dress-up in action