Love is a Battlefield

One of the most commonly repeated pieces of advice on parenting is “You have to pick your battles.”  The original quote is actually “choose your battles wisely.”  Oh, if only I had the wisdom to know.

I think this is true of course. I try, of course. I do let things go sometimes, except I have a toddler fast approaching two years on this screwed up beautiful painful dark evil wonderful healing psycho bi-polar planet and for her, battling me is a deep instinctual urge.  Most days it feels like she chooses every single battle.  She will fight whether I engage or not.

At the moment it feels like I am cursed to battle her over food.  After many years spent creating and then battling my own food issues, I am now doomed to deal with someone else’s and it’s not her fault but, she’s totally irrational about them.  I mean, I can’t blame her I guess.  So was I for a long time.

Where as I once longed for permission to eat anything I wanted, my daughter now longs for permission to eat only a list of pre-approved foods, which feels like it gets smaller all the time.

For the longest time she would eat pretty much any kind of pasta and she used to love lasagna.  I gave her some tonight and she wouldn’t even taste it.  As soon as she laid eyes on it she began loudly and obnoxiously rejecting it, shouting, “I don’t like it! I don’t want to!  I don’t like!” and pushing the bowl away.  Then she grabbed a little fistful and smeared it all over the table, then grabbed the spoon and flung it to the floor, then ran her cheesy saucy hands through her hair.

I halfheartedly went through the motions of trying to convince her to eat it, but I knew it wouldn’t work and it didn’t.  I’ve asked people for new ideas on how to get her to eat and everyone responded with stuff I’d already tried over and over again.

As a baby she tried everything and regularly ate vegetables and other healthy foods.  At school she eats everything they serve.  I am enraged with jealousy.  Her problem doesn’t appear to be the food.  It appears to be me.

I felt insanely defeated.  I let her have some blackberries and yogurt just to get something in her belly.  She then demanded a bowl of goldfish crackers.  I gave them to her.  She ate two and demanded I clean her up and let her get down.  I was too exhausted to fight her.  Dinner time is the worst.

Then we were sitting on the couch and she asked to watch Mickey Mouse.  This child is obsessed with Mickey Mouse.  She’s his biggest fan.  Given the choice between watching Mickey Mouse and doing just about anything else, she will always choose Mickey.  She has a little toy Mickey she MUST sleep with at night or all is lost.  Her favorite book right now that she has to read 45 times a day is a Mickey Mouse Christmas book.

But this is one of the areas where I have the total upper hand.  I control the remote.  I am the only one who knows how to use it right now, and I get the say in what goes on.  I’m fine with Mickey and his friends, but I would really like her to get back into Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which I like a lot better, and she used to love before Mickey took over our lives.

So I said to her, “Nope, sorry.  No Mickey because you didn’t try your lasagna.”

“How bout… Doc Stuppins?”

Doc McStuffins is her second most favorite show ever.

“Nope, sorry, no Doc McStuffins.  You didn’t eat any lasagna.  How about some Daniel Tiger?”

“No Daniel Tiger!  I don’t want to!”

“Well, how bout nothing then?”

“How bout… Daniel Tiger?”

I cannot tell you how good it felt to get her to ask for Daniel Tiger, even out of desperation for some screen time, lol.  It was an episode she hadn’t seen yet and she followed the story really well, afterward pretending to do the same things the kids on the show were doing. Then she asked for another Daniel Tiger!  I know it’s stupid, but I really needed that.

When we were reading books before bed, we went through this one that’s basically like a book of opposites with dinosaur illustrations.  Every page I ask her which is which.  If it’s happy and sad I say, “which ones are happy?” and she’ll point.  I ask her why and she sometimes has a good answer.  My favorite page of this though is the page that says, “Dinosaurs Cute and Dinosaurs Not.”  It has an illustration of two different sets of dinosaurs.  The “cute” ones are thin and attractive with a little bow and the other ones are big and bumpy and awkward.  I have never told her which ones are “cute,” but every night I ask her which ones are cute.  She always points at the “not” cute ones with the awkward lumps.  I have no idea if she even understands the word, but it makes my heart swell with so much love for her every time.  I love that she’s choosing the weirdos so much.  I love that to her the awkward dinosaurs are cute.  I will never ever correct her on this.

That is a battle I get to win every night for now.


Afraid of Dinosaurs

museum-367730_960_720Ever since my toddler has started going to preschool three days a week, I have been amazed at the things she is learning. For sure, the things I love most, are the things she picks up from other kids.  She came home the first week and suddenly knew how to roll a car across the floor, something that had eluded her before, playing alone in our house where she showed very little interest in cars.

Today, she was sitting in the shopping cart at the store and we passed some toy and she said, “That’s 5 dollars.”

What?  I mean, I guess she could have picked this up from me or from TV in some roundabout way, but it was so specific.  My mother’s intuition told me this was some statement she was parroting back that she had heard a bigger kid say (she’s the second youngest in her class) while playing.  I have no idea if the toy in question was actually 5 dollars, but I doubt it.  It was just fascinating to me that we were in a store, she saw something and randomly announced, “that’s 5 dollars.”  I laughed so hard.

One of the more random things that she started doing a few weeks into preschool is coming up to me (especially when my attention is elsewhere) and saying, “Afraid Dinosaurs Mama!”  Then she asks me to “hold” or buries her face in my leg.  This is a little performance she does almost every day.  She comes to me, “Afraid Dinosaurs Mama!” and then I have to snuggle her.

As a mom, I sometimes find myself at a total loss for the right way to respond to something, especially seemingly irrational toddler things, especially when I have no idea where they’re coming from.  So I had just been holding her up until now saying, “Mama will protect you.  I won’t let any Dinosaurs get you,” and trying to figure out where this fear is coming from.

At first I thought maybe it was my step-dad stomping around the house, which can be kind of alarming, but she did it even when he wasn’t around.  Then one day at school, she pointed out a giant mural of a dinosaur on a storage building in the playground area of the school.  That could totally be it, I thought, she’s remembering this from school and… I don’t really know.

What I do know is that she wants my affection in this moment and she’s pretending there’s a dinosaur there to get it, so I give it, freely and happily.  I am her mama and I am not gonna let her down, but today it occurred to me to try something new as well.

I taught her to flex her muscles and say, “I’m Strong.  I’m Tough.  I’m Not Afraid.  I’m Brave.”

She LOVES it.  She still wants me to hold and cuddle her, and I do, but now it’s an even more fun game of putting on her “tough girl” face and repeating the mantra.  “I’m Strong. I’m Tough.  I’m Not Afraid.  I’m Brave.”  We did this about 90 times tonight because toddler.  It was an incredibly good feeling.

I needed it.  I needed to teach her something good.  I wish that I grew up in a time where these qualities were fostered in me, where being strong and tough and brave was as important for me as it was for the boys around me.  I learned them anyway, the hard way.

My mom has been trying to console me all day.  She knows I’m grieving over this election loss, over what it means for me and my daughter, for our rights.  I haven’t been able to let much positivity in.  I tell her, “Afraid Dinosaurs Mama” and she tells me, “I’ve felt this way before too.  We will get through this.”  She made spaghetti and it was so good.  She tells me my daughter will be the first woman president.

I am legitimately afraid for people’s lives.  I am afraid for soldiers who may be sent to another unending bloody war at this man’s hands.  I am afraid for Muslims, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, refugees, people of color, and women who will lose much at this man’s hands.  I am afraid of Black churches being burned.  I am afraid of schools falling apart.  I am afraid of nuclear weapons.  I am afraid of the never-ending bitter objectification of women.  I am afraid that so many people don’t care about that, or don’t understand it.  I wish these things were dinosaurs.  I feel better prepared to deal with dinosaurs.

But I have a daughter, and I have to teach her, and I have to hold her and protect her.

That’s the way forward.  Raise more women who know that they are strong, tough, and brave.  Support the women in your life who are afraid but still fight.  Hold women.  Protect women.  Teach them they are strong.  Teach them they are tough.  Teach them they are brave.  That’s how we change it.

What Happens When You Throw an Anti-Trump Rally in Mississippi

img_20161009_184224Donald Trump has brought out a side of me I haven’t seen since my college days.  He has made me militant af and so far there’s no sign of my backing down.  My level of rage has not abated.  Hearing that garbage human talking about women that way on Friday was very triggering to me and apparently I just live like this now and because I am back to pre-pregnancy, pre-breastfeeding levels of caffeine intake a day  I have a lot of manufactured energy to burn.

I got the idea to throw a “Never Trump” rally and immediately texted my friend Lindsay, who is a very reasonable person, and who has protest experience, and whose husband is a police officer and would know if I was doing something illegal and is also a normal mom with kids who doesn’t want their president and role model to be a sexual predator.

I knew if she agreed to show up, I would go do this rally even if I could only get a few people to show up.

For anybody who doesn’t live in Mississippi, it’s hard to explain the level of political apathy and willful ignorance people engage in here.  The polite term for racists, misogynists, and white supremacists here is, “my redneck cousins,” or “my REALLY redneck cousins.”  When people have gotten engaged lately, it mainly seems like they support Trump.  I wish I could say it were just everybody’s redneck cousins, but it’s not. It’s average people, working class, etc…  He has held rallies here with thousands of people in attendance.  The headline our local TV station chose in the aftermath of the tape was about Trump apologizing for the tape, instead of you know, that a candidate for president had bragged about sexual assault.  It’s no secret that this is a very red state, so why bother protesting?

At the end of the day, I just couldn’t keep quiet.  It seemed too important not to make some kind of statement and I truly believe that most people here would never leave their daughter alone in a room with this guy and would be deeply ashamed if their son acted like that, so I thought it was worth it to try something.

It was very important to me to do it before the debate and in a timely manner before the press moved on to whatever Trump scandal erupted next so I created an event Saturday to protest the next day, Sunday.  I knew this short notice would probably prevent me from getting a bigger crowd, but I didn’t want to wait.

Lindsay and I got the word out fast.  We posted our event on the WLOX article about Trump “apologizing,” and we DM’d multiple likely anti-trump groups.  Our event was shared 14 times in 24 hours by regular people and large progressive groups with huge followings.  We invited people across political party lines and we got at least 54 interested people.  I knew we would only get a small fraction of those to actually show up and I was right, but the people who did come, were so amazing.

I made some very basic signs that said “Never Trump” and a few other phrases, got there early and waited.  I used my stroller to carry everything and set up camp in Gulfport’s largest and most prominent public park right near HWY 90, the main drag on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  People slowly filed in.  We ended up with 8 adults and a few of us brought our kids.

We had a brief prayer/moment of silence for Survivors of Sexual Assault.  My toddler interrupted me and squirmed throughout my short speech where I read off a list of different things Trump has done to disqualify him for the presidency (and public life at all) and then we got our signs and headed toward traffic. (I wore my babe in my Tula, so she was safely attached to me, not running off).

I was very nervous about safety.  I told everyone to stay together, and not to engage with anybody who came at us with negativity.  I told everyone that if at any point they felt threatened or unsafe we would shut down, and if anybody looked like they would get violent we would immediately call the police.  At one point a young skateboarder kind of scared me because my overactive imagination (and the reality that there are tens of thousands of gun owners here) made me question if his cell phone was a gun.

So imagine my relief when the first cars drove by our signs and started honking in support!  We did get a few people (all white) who gave us the bird or a thumbs down or yelled something at us.  We could hardly ever make out what they said.  My absolute favorite moment was when a guy shouting his support for Trump and giving us the bird got slapped in the face by his girlfriend in the front seat.  I was dying.  It was like watching a metaphor for the feminist struggle physically manifest itself in front of my eyes.  The skateboarder kid?  He politely asked to take a selfie with us.  His mama raised him right.

All in all, it genuinely seemed like people were happy to see us out there.  Practically every black or Latino person who drove by us honked or shouted or waved or gave us a thumbs up of support and even some old ass white people did too (and a few other white people).

My favorite was the black guys in their big trucks revving their engines.  It’s just such a quintessential way to show your feelings in the deep south.

It was really nice to meet the other people who showed up to protest.  We all added each other on Facebook and exchanged info about our backgrounds and political involvement.  I think I’ll see them again at future events.

My daughter loved it.  We were outside. There were other kids there.  I brought crayons! Her absolute favorite part was when we would chant.  If you’ve never heard a little baby shouting “Never Trump!” you haven’t lived.  It sounded like this- “Ne-ba Chump! Ne-ba Chump!”  I’m so proud of my little activist.

All in all, it felt amazing.  It felt very empowering to be holding a bright blue sign and shouting at the top of my lungs, utterly rejecting this sleazebag, out loud, in public, unashamed, not hiding.  I felt like I was accomplishing more than I might just losing my shit on facebook during hour after hour of my rage spiral.  I had my laughing baby on my back, good people at my side, perfect weather, sunshine and a cool breeze.  It was a beautiful day and people saw us, they listened, and maybe we let people know, who wouldn’t dare come to a rally, that there were people out there who felt the way they did, that they weren’t alone, and it’s ok to stand against the crowd of people telling you to tow the party line, or not to vote your conscience.  It felt like freedom.

So that’s what happens at an Anti-Trump rally in Mississippi, you have fun, your baby is cute, you get an overwhelming majority of supporters versus cretins, and you meet super nice politically engaged people!  I think you know what your weekend plans are everybody!

I’m Not Thinner, I’m Just Gorgeous.


(This image of me was taken in a photo booth at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, when I was reporting on a fashion show for Allie is Wired.  I was easily one of the fattest women anywhere in the tents that day, and I think I looked AMAZING.  I really love my outfit, which was completely non-designer cheap ass H&M stuff except for the Coach bag, which was a gift. I have no money.)

Whenever anyone asks me if I’ve lost weight,  a lot of times I say no, or “I don’t think so,” or in the past I’ve said, “Thank You.”

The truth is, I really don’t know, but I suspect not- I rarely weigh myself- and I don’t even trust scales anyway.  The same clothes have fit me for years, with a brief interlude where I was pregnant.  I was chubby before I got pregnant.  I only gained 30 pounds when I was pregnant and lost most of it in a few weeks after pregnancy, probably because my daughter breastfed constantly day and night.  It certainly wasn’t exercise or a juice cleanse.

Other than that I’ve worn a size 14 jean for years and usually an XL in dresses and tops. I’ve stayed a 38DD bra size, a size 8 bikini underwear, a size 7 shoe, except for sneakers which are 7.5.

I don’t sweat my weight.  I feel beautiful and hot.  I never diet (it’s a huge scam) and I eat what I want and I dress how I want and I exercise when and how I want. I am 100% in charge of my body.  I have no real health issues (seasonal allergies?).

I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about my weight, and I am proud and happy to call myself fat, not in a self-deprecating way, but just because I am and that’s ok.  Of course, I didn’t always feel that way.  (I’m a woman on Earth).  I used to really hate myself, a lot, and my number one target of my self-hatred was my body.  I would beat myself up over it.  I starved myself trying to fix it.  I let myself wallow in misery and depression and compared myself to thinner girls and really let every mean thing I’d ever heard about how women need to be thin in order to be beautiful or loved or human into my brain and poison it.

As soon as I stopped doing that, I actually lost weight.  This is true.  The last time I lost weight, was several years ago when I gave up on dieting.  I went from a 16/18 to a size 14.  Or maybe I didn’t, because I stopped weighing myself, so how the hell do I know?  I think I did, but maybe I just let myself wear size 14 clothes because I wanted to wear tight clothes and stop being invisible.  Maybe I was never a size 16/18 but that’s just how I saw myself.  I honestly don’t know, but that’s what happened.

The decision that being fat was by far, the least of my worries as a woman, changed me forever. Kindness, respect, dignity, intelligence, and confidence became my only goals, WAY above outer beauty.  Being thin is not a moral obligation and it is not an achievement and it does not bring peace into your life, so I quit trying to attain it.

Coincidentally, my only spiral back into a place of shame and food issues and all that glorious bullshit associated with the pressure to be thin, was when I was pregnant, and for a while after I had my daughter, which is a whole other chapter in my story, and I have been clawing my way out of that pit for some time now to tell it, and I will soon, now that I am finally feeling the light and the joy again of not giving a crap about my weight.

There is a lot more that I have to say about this, but let me get back to my original point.  After this big decision to give myself permission just to breathe and live and not worry about my weight, I got asked this question a lot, and I still get asked this question ALL. THE. TIME.

Whenever I am looking really good (maybe I am wearing clothes I didn’t used to dare wear or people think I “shouldn’t” wear because of my size and pulling them off or maybe I am just feeling good, feeling happy and feeling confident) people ask me if I have lost weight. They mean it as a compliment, sort of.  They mean “You look beautiful.  The only way to be beautiful is to be thin.  Therefore, you must have lost weight.”

Maybe they’re being sincere.  Maybe they think that’s what I want to hear.  Maybe they don’t mean it at all, but they just want to say something nice and they think implying that I have lost weight is nice, because I’m not thin, so that must be my greatest desire and success.  I don’t know, but it is probably the most common “compliment” I get.  What a passive aggresive af compliment that is, right?  I can just hear Lucille Bluth saying it with a painfully phony grin plastered on her face.

My answer going forward has to be that, absolutely, I have lost the weight of fear, shame and depression.  I have lost my obsession with striving to be thin.  I have certainly lost a lot of my pain.  That’s what happens when you reject what you know in your heart to be a lie.  You become free.

So you can stop asking me that.  You can just tell me how beautiful I look or even, don’t worry about how I look at all, or how any women look.  You can let that one go, and if you’d like to know any of my secrets to achieving joy and purpose and happiness, I’m happy to share.

Our country’s future.

A couple of nights ago our country and my toddler had a BIG NIGHT.  My toddler got to stay up 2 hours past her bedtime to attend her Godmother’s birthday party.  She got to eat a dinner of crackers, strawberries and plain white rice (which sounds like a prison diet but I assure you, it is her favorite meal).  She also got to eat cake, or I should say, she got to eat frosting, which is her main focus when it comes to cake.

I got to eat a lot of good food too, for anybody wondering.

Our country though, got to watch our two major party candidates debate on live television.  The timeline of these events was eerily similar.

Donald Trump started about as strong as it is possible for him to start a process for which he was woefully unprepared and so did my toddler.  Donald talked a lot about trade, and my toddler was tolerating if not warm to the few family members that arrived early like we did.  She played with Mardi Gras beads (for those who think I’m overprotective- see exhibit A: completely fine with this obvious choking and strangulation hazard in the name of getting to stand around eating shrimp for five minutes) and a stuffed dog that I think, but am not certain, may be stuffed with the actual ashes of a dog no longer with us- that’s fine right? Meanwhile, I was able to make polite small talk with relatives.

Hillary gave clear concise opening statements and kept her cool throughout Donald interrupting her and attempting to talk over her, a lot like me, holding off my clingy toddler’s inevitable meltdowns, ready with the next cracker as soon as my toddler’s fear of strangers and separation anxiety kicked in.

About halfway through the night Donald really started unraveling and losing his cool, just like the overstimulated 19-month-old as she neared “pumpkin hour.”  He gave nonsensical rambling answers to questions, he lied, doubled down on his racist “birther” position, claimed not to have said things that he did actually say, criticized Hillary a lot for among other things her “lack of stamina,” her “horrible decisions,” including the one to actually prepare for the debate, and that her ads, which consist mostly just of video clips of Donald’s own statements, were “not nice” to him.

My toddler similarly melted down and among other things, knocked over a big box of Mardi Gras beads, subsequently tried to carry every single one of them around the room at the same time and completely lost her shit when I attempted to pry them from her tiny sticky little fingers that somehow still have a superhuman death grip that makes me think I gave birth to a mutant.

Sidenote:  I often irrationaly think (and I don’t think I’m alone here) that one of the reasons I didn’t get further in my life is because I was actually meant to be the mother of somebody who does get really far in life, that like, the mental and emotional tools I was given are really more suited to supporting and nurturing a really smart capable young woman (no pressure kid) who will do amazing things through my unconditional love and ability to nag and manipulate her into being a super genius who saves lives or becomes president, than they are to like, actually getting myself anywhere career-wise.  So NATURALLY, I also sometimes think that maybe the reason I never became one of the X-(Wo)Men, is because my superpower is actually a recessive mutant gene that I can only pass on to my children, but will imbue them with supernatural powers.  I’m super normal guys.  Totally together.  Don’t worry about it.

After the debate finished, Donald Trump himself, in an unprecedented move by a presidential candidate, went directly into the spin room and started throwing temper tantrums.

As soon as one of the other parents of small children at this party started getting ready to leave, the rest of us IMMEDIATELY seized on this opportunity to make our exits as well and it was NOT a coincidence as the childless among you may eventually find out.  When my toddler got home, she also went into her spin room (she just goes in a room and starts twirling- which I am not making up for comedic effect, this happens all the time, I have it on video) and started bouncing off the walls.  Any time I mentioned bath time she would start spinning and saying “nope, nope, nope, Mickey, nope, no more bath, watching tensis.”  “Watching tensis,” is her way of saying, I want to delay bed time by saying this phrase that I know you think is cute so you will let me lay in my Amma’s bed (Grandma’s bed) and turn on the Tennis Channel while I wiggle around and goof off.

It seems to me that much like cake and staying up late are a recipe for a grumpy whiny toddler, facts and scrutiny make Donald Trump dissolve down to his own true colors.  My kid gets pissed that I insist she take a bath and get some rest, and Donald gets pissed that he has to answer for the bullshit he serves up.

Maybe I’m just a boring over-protective mom, but that’s the way I see it.



Some feminist things I’ve done today.

I fed my kid a breakfast of pouches of pre-made baby food even though people keep telling me she’s not a baby anymore because they are A. Already Cooked  B. Organic Fruits and Vegetables C. Portable D. Require No Cleaning Up and E. She will actually eat them.  I also gave her a cheese stick (non-organic), a cup of milk (organic), some “go-go fish” crackers (non-organic non-food based) and that was that.

I forgot to meditate.  It’s a thing I decided I would do, I did for one day, and then promptly forgot about.

I drove my kid to pre-school and I cranked a Fleetwood Mac song the F up on the radio.

I committed to saying F around my daughter instead of just straight up F since she can talk now and repeats e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g I say and she can sing her ABC’s now like a little genius.

I drank coffee and I shouted at the women of The View.

I listened to Nate Bargatze on Spotify who is a REALLY funny comedian from the south that I totally love and did a little updating of my blog, started a facebook page for it, and promised myself I would write a post.

I took a long shower and thought VERY hard about writing a post about the debate tonight and why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton and why I became a feminist at like, 8 years old, and how Hillary has been this lifelong role model for me and a prominent figure in my feminism since childhood and I had lots of ideas and things to say about that…

and then I felt really hopeless because thinking about politics drains me and Donald Trump supporters enrage me and my child is going to grow up with either one of the most defining incredible female role models available to women right now or she’s going to grow up with one of the most vile fascist sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, racist monsters our under-educated pop-culture obsessed society has ever churned out.

And then I thought about how I’m a white lady raising a person of color and how before my kid has even learned how to jump (I mean, like, she does a sort of knee bouncing thing and like, lifts up a foot) she has been categorized into weird sexual and gender roles, how she’s already been subjected to racism and misogyny, except she’s too little to understand that stuff, so I her mother, have been the one to feel and filter through that and I can’t fucking bear it.

And then I DESPAIRED at the fact that there is probably just no changing anybody’s minds about anything, and how my vote doesn’t matter because I live in Mississippi.

Then I waxed my moustache for the first time in like, 2 years.  When I was pregnant and when I was in the early early days of motherhood I just had zero space in my life for one more ounce of pain so I stopped giving a fuck about my moustache, and then I worked at an all girls camp for 3 months and then today, I was finally like, I don’t want this on my face anymore and I think I’ve actually had five minutes to come to terms with it hurting, and so I waxed it.  I have mixed feelings about the process.

Then I had a minor panic attack because I was like, “Where is my Baby??? Why haven’t I heard her voice, oh my God, what have I been doing all day? Is she alright?!! Was my mom watching her??!!” and then I remembered I took her to school and laughed at myself for 5 minutes.

Then I entered the codes from diaper packages into the Pampers Rewards website so I can get some free nonsense in 12 years.

In a little bit I’m going to put on makeup and clothes and go pick up my kid from school.

Then I’m going to make blackberry cobbler and buffalo chicken dip for my cousin’s birthday party like an effing rockstar.

And I’m going to DVR the debate, or watch it on facebook or something.

And then I’m going to fall asleep exhausted as hell, proud of my beautiful baby and wondering when Jessica Jones season 2 comes out on Netflix.

Dog and Baby Show

(originally posted on my old site 10/4/15)

img_0505Yesterday my baby turned 8 months old.  Today she went to her first pumpkin patch.  While we were there, I tried to explain to her the purpose of a pumpkin patch.  You see at first glance, she probably supposed it was merely a popular place to do dog photo shoots, as several childless adults were there doing just that.  I told her, “When you go to the pumpkin patch, you walk around and you look for the perfect pumpkin to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern, but that’s not why we’re here today.”

She chewed on some grass.  “You see baby, we live in a world now where everybody has to have a picture of their baby (or dog) at a pumpkin patch.  It’s a fall tradition.  That’s why you’re wearing the one and only skirt you own.  Every October, parents get their kids dressed up and bring them to whatever church parking lot is closest and sit their child on a bale of hay.  This is a rite of passage and your mom is largely a conformist when it comes to things that are extremely cute.  Let’s take a selfie.” She stared off into the distance.

“I know we could pick out a pumpkin here today and justify our trip with more than just cute photos, but I am completely over carving pumpkins.  I’m not doing it again until you beg me when you’re like 5-years-old.  I’ve had to do it for every kid I’ve nannied for the last six years and sticky pumpkin guts have lost their charm.  I bought you some stickers to decorate our pumpkin.  You’ll just have to live with that.  Also, we have to get some that are small enough to hang out inside on the kitchen window sill, because our neighborhood is overrun with creatures of the forest.  In our yard alone, I have seen a posse of 6 raccoons, several lizards, squirrels, frogs, turtles, a snake, a possum with three babies on it’s back, two mangy cats, several birds, and too many bugs to list.  Not to mention, we don’t do trick or treaters so we’re not exactly trying to advertise our halloween spirit.”

Elsie mostly seemed confused by this little field trip.  Then, when we got home she actually crawled on all fours for the first time, not just scooting around aimlessly. She purposefully crawled into the dining room trying to get to me in the kitchen.  Then!  She pushed herself up into a seating position with no help for the first time ever.  Then she ate two entire jars of baby food (unprecedented) had a bath, read a book with me, and passed out in her crib within seconds at bed time.  I am completely overwhelmed and proud and bewildered and I can’t believe how lucky I am.  It would be cool though if she could just chill out and stop all this growing because I’m like, “Hey! You’re my tiny little baby.  What are you trying to pull?”

I blame it all on the pumpkin patch.  I think as soon as she laid eyes on a schnauzer outperforming her, she knew she had to step up her game.

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