Not that kind.

This weekend I got to have the following conversation with Fiona.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of travelling soon, Kiddo,” I said, trying to lessen the blow of having to leave the hotel pool.

She got really excited, jumping into my lap in the hot tub. “Really, Mommy? Like time travel? I want to see dinosaurs!”

I was silenced and sat blinking at her.

“Erm, no.” I said slowly and slightly strangled. “We’re going to go on a long car trip to see family.”

“Oh.” She frowned just a little. “Okay. That sounds fun too.”

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My Favorite Part

Grass is a wonderful place to vomit. At least it’s not my couch? Parenthood makes you cheerful about the strangest things.

Fiona is sick. She has been sad, cranky, miserable sick. She had the flu a couple weeks ago and just hasn’t really kicked it. So, with the addition of puking to our misery checklist, I took her to the doctor.

I don’t know if it’s normal, but my kid LOVES the doctor. She wiggles with anticipation as the doctor checks her nose and ears and has the biggest grin on her face when her doctor listens to her heart and lungs. After the doctor moves the stethoscope she whispers happily, “That’s my favorite part!”

The doctor, says that she does indeed have an ear infection, and that she needs antibiotics. Now, 24 hours and three doses of Amoxicillin later, Fiona is not coughing. She’s not cranky. She is feeling better. And that’s my favorite part.

A good reason

Bedtime is often an adventure around these parts. Which is a vast improvement. A year ago, I would have said that bedtime was an unmitigated disaster every day. So, “often an adventure” is a step in the right direction.

The process of this has been painstaking, tedious, and gradual. We’re at a midway point between holding and snuggling and reassuring until sleep finally flattens us despite tears and theatrics, and a kiss and hug and walking out (the goal). This halfway point means that I sit in a chair next to her bed until she falls asleep, usually about 15 minutes.

The key word there is usually.

Last night it was closer to an hour. Despite the clear need for sleep, she just couldn’t seem to slow her mind down enough to fall asleep.
I spent 45 minutes of being asked questions in between suggesting, cajoling, and ordering her to sleep.

“What lived before people, but after dinosaurs?”
“Mammals, that were just starting to evolve and then got bigger and more complicated and birds. ”
“But which ones?”
“I think you’ll feel better if you get some sleep.”

“But Mommy, what if you did send me to school with a broken bone?”
“I wouldn’t do that. I am a good Mommy.”
“But what if you did?”
“Fiona, please go to sleep.”

“What if zombies were really real?”
“They aren’t”
“But what if they were”
“They aren’t”
“But what if they were?”
“THEN I would go to the butcher shop and buy cow brains!”
“But –”
“Go. To. Sleep.”

Finally, she rolls and on her side and says, “Mommy, will you scratch my back?”

Through slightly gritted teeth, I respond, “Give me one good reason that I should?”

She raises her little eyebrows, grins beguiling and says, “Because it itches.”

I scratched her back and after a few minutes, she was quiet and fell asleep. And, honestly, it’s a pretty good reason.

Gender Awareness

Fiona was sitting playing a video game this morning and I was surfing the net and I happened to over hear a conversation she held entirely with herself.

“Mwua-ha-ha-ha,” She laughed her best deep voiced wicked chuckle as she created some kind of gate across a path blocking her opponent from something.

Then softly said to herself, “Only, I’m a girl.”

And I had just a brief moment to dread her editing herself, changing herself to something softer and gentler in the pursuit of a culturally imposed perception of femininity, before she corrected herself.

“Mwua-ha-ha-ha!” She said again, more loudly, more fiercely, and about an octave higher in pitch.

I smiled to myself. I think I can live with that. Being a girl to her doesn’t mean being less ruthless, it doesn’t mean not chuckling over the defeat of your enemies, it doesn’t mean being softer, or gentler, or sweeter. It does seem to mean that your voice is higher pitched and you don’t have to force it low to be fierce.

For Peace and Politics

Some months ago…

“Awww….” I said, sipping my coffee and perusing my morning feeds. I tend to spend a little while at my computer every morning looking for all the things that make the world big and round when you can only see a tiny corner of it.

“What, Mama?” Fiona came clambering onto my lap.”What ‘aw’?”

I showed her the picture I’d been looking at. A beautiful wedding photo, the happy couple radiating joy and love as they kissed, both wearing full lovely wedding gowns.

“Awww…” Fiona repeated. Then she giggled, “But they’re both girls.”

“Yep.” I said. “The laws just changed where they live and they can get married now.”

“Oh.” She said in a thoughtful tone. I watched the wheels in her head turn.

After a minute or so, I added, “Mommy and Daddy think that two people who love each other should be able to get married even if they are both boys, or even if they are both girls. More and more people are starting to believe that and so the laws are changing.”

She squints at me, and turns back to the picture on the screen, “Let’s look at more pictures. They are so cute.”

This week…

“And these two are getting married, ” Fiona says to her friend. I glance over at them. Their heads are nearly touching as they play with dolls, glossy black hair against ruffled tawny curls.

Her friend laughs, “No, Fiona. They can’t marry. They’re both girls.”

“They can too!” Fiona sounds outraged.

“Cannot.” Her friend argues.

“They can.” Fiona states. “Two girls can get married here. It’s the law. And they’re my dolls and I said it was okay.”

“But they’re both girls.” The other girl argues. “They can’t!”

“They can!” Fiona’s volume and temper are both rising, so I decide to intervene for the sake of peace and politics.

“Fiona’s right.” I call out, “Here in California it’s okay for two girls to get married. Or for two boys.”

“Oh.” Says the  other girl,”Well not my dolls.”

“These are mine though,” says Fiona with exaggerated patience, “so it’s okay.”

After a few minutes of wedding planning their play returns to a quiet sort of murmuring.

‘Is that true?” Says the girl’s mother, my friend, from across my dining table where we sit sipping coffee, “Isn’t it odd? It doesn’t happen often does it?”

I smile. “It happens fairly often. It isn’t uncommon. It’s a good thing that the laws are changing so that anyone who loves each other can marry. But she’s right, it is the law here. “

She gives me look that I find indecipherable. Truth be told, I think for the sake for peace and politics I’ll not try too hard to figure it out.