Pythagorean Vision

Billie: “Did you know that I see math everywhere?”

Me: “You do what now?”

Billie: “I see math. I see it everywhere. It calms me down.”

Me: “How do you see math? Can you explain it to me?”

Billie: “Well look at this tile. It has four sides, right? But inside the square are four quadrants. Each quadrant has its own measurement- Its own number. There are numbers in everything. There are measurements everywhere. And, if those numbers weren’t there, that tile would fall down on top of itself. It can’t stand without its number. And that’s why I like that I see math everywhere. It tells me that things won’t topple down on me. It makes me calm. I like that.”

Pythagorean Vision

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Billie: “I just hate everyone. I hate them all.”

“Hate is a really strong word. And a powerful one. It’s the kind of word that can really blacken your heart. Are you sure that’s the word you want to use?”

Billie: “Ugh. Fine. Will it blacken my heart if I spell it? I H-A-T-E them.”

“Yea, dude. Still means the same thing.”

Billie: “Then why does this word even exist if you cant use it?”

“Well, it exists because it’s real. “Hate’ indicates a super strong dislike for something that really consumes you. And people can and do use it. And, when they use it against other living things it has the potential to destroy. Hate is what some people used to justify enslaving others. Hate is what makes people walk into schools and shoot up playgrounds. Hate is a very dark thing that can cripple your heart if you let it.”

Billie: “Is my heart broken now because I said ‘hate?’ Did I just break my own heart? Can I fix it??”

“Oh, for sure. The heart is incredibly resilient. And love and patience and understanding can totally drive it out and fix it.”

Billie: “I feel bad that I said ‘hate.’ I feel bad that I felt it.”

“You felt a human emotion, just like everyone else. And the best piece of advice I ever got was to try and judge yourself on your second thought. Your first thought is a reflex- it can be what society trained you to believe or what your darkest thoughts want you to believe. But it’s your second thought that determines who you are. If you think, ‘I hate them’ but then you follow it up with, ‘Ahg! No! Hate is bad. But I really dislike them and I gotta find a way to fix this and make it better’ then I daresay you’re on the right path. You’re doing good work. Just keep working.”

Billie: “So I’m not crazy?”

“You’re one of the most brilliant people I know. Crazy is relative.”

Billie: “I’m going to just take that as a ‘No, Billie. You’re not crazy. You’re awesome.'”

“You should definitely do that.”

I call this exchange: “Channeling My Inner Dumbledore.”

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Just because the day is calm doesn’t mean I have to be

Let me set the scene:
My kid, in the middle of an empty schoolyard (empty because the first bell has just rung and the classrooms are full) flapping her arms like a frantic baby bird, screaming at the top pf her lungs, “IT’S A CALM DAY! IT’S A CALM DAY! YA HEAR ME, HUMANS!?? CALM!!”

“That is so great, sweetie,” I whisper at her, ” but, if that is the case, we might need to calm our energy.”

Her response?

She eventually skipped away but, as she pounced into her classroom, I could hear her mumbling something about being so happy she would do “circle handstands” if she could.

I can only assume she meant cartwheels.

And I can also only assume that her teacher will not be as thrilled as she is about the day…

Just because the day is calm doesn’t mean I have to be

The Things We Say

Things I have said to my six year old today:

“Wait, what? What about a T-Rex’s vagina?”

“No. No buffalos in the restaurant. That’s a rule.”

“I don’t think you can do that and call it a ‘face five.’ Let’s be real: that’s a headbutt. Also: you should probably apologize to your father.”

“Can you please finish sitting on the toilet singing ’99 things of poop on the wall?’ There are people outside ready to use the bathroom.”

The Things We Say

The Other 10% is a Mixture of Watercolors & Weird Smells

FLASHBACK: April 28, 2014

It took us ten minutes to get Billie to brush her teeth tonight because she insisted she didn’t know how to use her legs.
Now, an hour and a half after her bedtime, she’s wide awake on her bed singing to her building blocks and drawing giraffe kitty cats.

Billie: “Daddy! Come in here and see my drawing!”
Doug: “I would, Billie, but I forgot how to use my legs.”

…I feel like 90% of parenting is passive aggressive retaliation.
And I’m totally OK with that.

The Other 10% is a Mixture of Watercolors & Weird Smells

My Daughter Is My Soulmate

When I was little I never fully grasped the concept of a soulmate. I understood it like this: the soul was a pizza missing a slice and someone came along with a slice that exact size (with the same toppings and everything) to complete you.

And, honestly?
That seemed lame.
One dimensional.
It excluded a world of people, possibilities, and circumstances that I had yet to imagine.

I couldn’t stomach limiting myself that way.

Lately I’ve started to view the soul as a galaxy.
A vast and deep neighborhood of constellations circling in, out, around, and through you- unbound by time, physical form, or logical necessity. Just stars. And energy. And light.
And, by that logic, a soulmate is anyone who enters into your self-made universe (with stars and constellations all their own) and expands it. They give you more to explore, they offer answers to questions you didn’t know you had, they challenge and inspire you to get outside of the comfort of your own silly solar system and stretch into infinite darkness until you find whole communities of light you didn’t know existed. They bring parts of yourself to you that you didn’t realize were yours. They offer you a complete sky’s worth of different viewpoints.
A soulmate is anyone who gives you growth in that way.
And you can have hundreds, hell *thousands* of soul mates. You can expand your world an infinite number of times in an infinite number of directions, never limiting yourself, going as far as you can before the fear freezes you.
Your universe is only as grand as the souls you let complete it.
And, for me, my favorite little soulmate of them all is Billie. It will forever be Billie. She offers me parts of my heart that I didn’t know were missing. She challenges me, enrages me, scares me, and makes me hysterical with love. She’s the most brilliant galaxy that I’ve ever been able to set my telescope on. She’s precious and ferocious and terrifyingly astute. She has the ability to shatter my heart then completely re-inflate it in one sentence. She’s the perfect mess of emotions and tenacity.
She’s my soulmate, my heart, and everything that makes me smile rolled into one incredibly ridiculous child with the most insane comedic timing. I thank my stars every day for her.
And on this and every day I am simply thankful.
For her.
For whatever fate that made it possible for me to be her mommy.
For the opportunity to be invited into her universe.
I am grateful to have found a unique soulmate that completes me in surprising ways.
And I look at the sky now and I’m filled with peace.
My Daughter Is My Soulmate

The No Thank You Bite

I thought I was a freaking genius when I instituted the “no thank you bite” rule.
I thought I was freaking brilliant.
You see, Billie has always had an issue branching out and trying new foods.
She, quite unlike her mother, is a creature of habit. If you gave her the same meal for the rest of her life she would probably be just fine.
Hence the “no thank you bite” rule.
It compels her to take a bite of everything on her plate, even if she doesn’t really want to. She tries it once, says “no thank you” and we move on. 70% of the time she decides that whatever she just put in her mouth was actually delicious and, despite saying a quick “no thank you” after tasting it, she ends up going back to it.
Thus my daughter expands her food horizons, makes healthier choices, and, most importantly, I feel like a good parent.
Except when it backfires.
Apparently, in my excitement of instituting the “no thank you bite” rule, I forgot to also institute parameters. Namely parameters that prohibited me from having to be responsible for any “no thank you” bites…

I have had to eat some really disgusting stuff, guys.
No amount of “no thank you bite” solidarity is worth this.

Worse? Her talents for negotiation are growing. The following conversation ensued last night:

Billie: “Mommy, can you put a baby in your belly, please? I want a brother or sister. Please?”
Me: “No, baby. Not anytime soon.”
Billie: “How about a ‘no thank you’ try?”
Me: “…”
Billie: “Yup! You have to! A no thank you try!!”

I… I… Just…


The No Thank You Bite

Cat’s Got Her Grade

“How was your day at school today?”

Billie: “Good.”

“Were you a good girl today?”

Billie: “No. But I was a great kitty cat.”

“Did the teacher want you to be a kitty cat?”

Billie: “No.”

“Did she ask you to stop?”

Billie: “Yes. Again and again and again.”

“Did you stop?”

Billie: “No.”

“Why not?”

Billie: “Because I was a kitty cat. Kitty cats don’t know how to stop.”

Either she’s as obstinate as her mother or she’s taking method acting to a whole new level.

Cat’s Got Her Grade

Parenting: Life’s Biggest Contact Sport. In Fire. With No Protective Gear.

Someone once told me: “You should not become a teacher unless you are prepared to get your heart shattered every day.”

I truly believe that advice. It’s one of the reasons I stopped teaching, because I had had my heart shattered twice by what my students were going through and that was enough for me. I just wasn’t strong enough.

…But no one told me that the same held true for parenting.
That there would be moments when my heart would get so wrecked that I wouldn’t even be able to breathe.
And some of it is bittersweet and some of it is devastating but all of it is incredibly painful.

And I am glad that nobody told me how painful it was going to be. I’m glad that they left these moments as a surprise. Because, as devastating as they are, they are also the most rich and beautiful moments I could’ve ever imagined. They completely engulf and enflame you until you’re unable to accept any reality other than the one your child is living in. They connect you to a pain so simultaneously punishing and affirming that it actually breathes life into every embrace and makes every touch, every kiss, every giggle that much more crucial to your existence.
It’s the kind of pain that torches your gut and tickles your skin.

It’s a pain born of love. Of selflessness. Of complete and utter insanity.

And it’s fucking beautiful, ya’ll.

And maybe I am strong enough.

Thanks, Billie. Mommy loves you.

Parenting: Life’s Biggest Contact Sport. In Fire. With No Protective Gear.