Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the evening rituals

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.  No two people - no mere father and mother - as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child.  He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.  ~Pearl S. Buck
I know why families were created with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.
-- Anais Nin
Bringing up a family should be an adventure, not an anxious discipline in which everybody is constantly graded for performance -Milton R Saperstein  

Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. -Elizabeth II

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Check out Ever and I in Babble Magazine

Here we are in our nursing glory, on Nat The Fat Rat's Babble column for My Babies First Year
How awesome being included with other publicly nursing mommas!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Very Superstitious

Watching Lola dance I thought about the forward motion of life and how we can be still inside although the world, of course, moves onward. This persistent timeless movement cannot be timeless and movement in the same juncture, can it? Or can it. So my childhood was so terribly hard, but then-  Dakota and then the children in succession and my husband and fighting daily for health has given me the freedom and right to say in all honesty life just keeps getting better.  So my childhood was terribly hard, and while it all keeps getting better I have one witchy eye rolled backward, to view the other spinning side of the coin... the dark and faceless. No matter how many self help books or gurus or almost dead grandmothers tell me to stay in the moment and stop worrying, my blood is full of cortisol aged as brutally as I did as a child.  So that it sticks to the cellular membranes as if it fears for it's life. It fears.

If I am laughing with Ever's little tongue poking in my mouth as it does when I kiss her, and Lola's long arms wrapped round my waist and my family around me and the dogs and music and everything illuminated, then the witchy eye is rolling upward to the sky in fear of a God who might decide I am too blessed and too happy and the pendulum has swung too far from the place of my birth, and lightning will strike and where there was this joy there will only be a sign that says  She Was Stupid Enough To Believe It Would Last

I am telling you these things and I have faith that you won't mock me.*

So I come to write about my life and my fingers are heavy and full of fear.  I could write i have never been so happy but I must be punished if I do. That's the ridiculous nature of my brain and still, the incessant warnings take iron discipline to ignore, and I am not known for any kind of discipline at all. 

Perhaps this is why sex has finally become the torturous ordeal to obtain that we are always warned it will be when married with children. We made it through three kids and still went at each other often, but Ever's CSection and hospitalization and being the fourth and first baby I have to work with, Mr. Curry and I keep promising each other all kinds of pleasure that feels totally out of reach once we actually lay down.  We are so exhausted.  The fatigue of babyhood and children and illness and working has taken us into another world where we are practically reduced to tears at the thought of truly cleaning the house and making dinner. I think about Mr. Curry all day, his long knotted arms, the muscles of his thighs, the broad thickness of his shoulders and back, the working grit of his nails, the rough of his hands on my skin... and then when we face each other we fall asleep snoring like the grandparents at the nursing home in Raising Hope. We leave each other sexy  notes, we sex-t, we whisper into each other's ears and nuzzle like cats, we do everything but actually have sex. But when we do? It's memory making. That has to count for something. 

*She Was Stupid Enough To Believe They Wouldn't Laugh (?)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

no parkin on the dance floor

lola's beeeelated 9th birthday party began with Queen and a totally crazy game of Twister on a beautiful, warm Friday evening in sunny San Diego California
the laughter was contagious ( and loud. VERY LOUD )

i'm not sure if you realize that Mr. Curry and i now have FOUR children. because we barely realize it. but here they are. my heart is so full it hurts on a daily basis.
here we are and below, my mom, Mary, with her four grandkids. she's a truly awesome Grandma. the kids love her deeply and spend a lot of time with her. they see her pretty much every week, to spend the night, or go to dinner, or hang at her house, whatever.

Mr. Curry lit the candles, pirate candles, matching the pirate pinata.
my girl and I

the house looked awesome. Mr. Curry cleaned and decorated almost all day. he rocks.
the girls all wrote on a balloon and then set the balloons into the air. Lola's wish:
tell Anne Frank Lola Moon said hello and she loves her 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Saturday

Ever's outfit is from a trade with my sponsor, My Sweet Muffin
i <3 it

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Play, Children

Lola had a little friend over, a beautiful brown eyed pixie faced girl with a sad, sloping mouth. I walked past them into the kitchen. Lola was standing over her friend. Well what about fairies, she asked? The little girl shrugged. Connect Four?, I heard Lola ask as I trailed into the bedroom with Ever on my shoulder.

Later I walked through the living room and they had barely moved. Lola was sad. What's going on, I asked. What are you two going to play? Lola looked at her friend, her friend shrugged. She just wants to watch T.V., Lola told me. We aren't allowed to have the T.V. on during play-dates, for the most part. PLAY-dates. See? So I suggested a few games, and her friend kept shrugging at me. A familiar shrug. Lola has playdates every weekend, sometimes just kids down the street she is hanging out with, sometimes an official 'playdate' with a friend from school, and lately there has been a common theme with these little girls: prepubescent malaise, otherwise known as I'm Bored. And these girls are really, really, really bored. Jump rope? Yawn. American Girl dolls? Naw. Pet Shop Creatures? Been there. Baby dolls? Animal hospital? BARBIES, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?!!! Nope....

But I'd really like to watch T.V.

I've taken to getting involved with their play, something I would have died if my own mother had done. I took Lola and another tragically bored young lady on a 'explorers walk' and by the time we got home they were trilling and tinkering and happy with their collection of acorns and rocks. So by the time we reached the millionth and three play dates of boredom, I had it. Look, you two, I said grimly. You can either find something to do and look like the playful, carefree children you are meant to be, or this play date is over. Harsh. I know.  Lola and friend headed out front and within ten minutes were engaged.

We watch T.V. Sometimes, we watch too much T.V.  We have a computer. Sometimes, we spend too much time on the computer. ( we=me ) We have video games, cell phones, and Ian has an I-Pod. And, we play. We make room for play, on a regular basis. We insist on it.  Imaginative play is so crucial to the development of empathetic, intelligent and creative human beings that to consider it's erosion is truly depressing. Lack of toys never killed imagination, but overuse of toys that don't involve screens could.  

Here's a game: let's pretend all these children are on a playdate together at your house, and the power goes out. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Better Than Hot Buttered Biscuts!

Stacey from Any Mommy sent Ever this gorgeous little summer outfit from Mini-Boden, just in time for a hot weekend ( which has since reverted to overcast and yuck ) Ever wanted to send her thanks...

drool, xo, lick and love, Ever Elizabeth

Monday, April 18, 2011

In Our House It's OK To...

Embrace the strange

Skip a shower and sleep instead

Leave the sink full of dirty dishes but make the kids lunches for school

Let the kids stay up late to have a quickie with your husband

Tell inappropriate jokes

Slam a door when you're mad- just not TOO hard and not every time


Bite the baby's butt ( no teeth marks, please )

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meet Mary Potts

I'd like to introduce you to Mary Potts. She is a fellow blogger and mother of four who lost her beautiful daughter, Erin Elizabeth, at age 18 to cancer. And now Mary is doing something so awesomely brave and loving that it makes my heart speed up. She is preparing to donate her 'gently used' (as she put it) left kidney to her older brother. It's hard to imagine something more tangible as an expression of love than literally cutting out part of your body to place it in the body of the person you love. Mary, my hat is off to you, and my heart and prayers with you. I hope some of you will take time to visit Mary and give her a 'bloggers hurrah'.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blue Collar Love Letter { scenes from a marriage }

My Husband,

I know it weighs heavy on you that we don't have 'enough'. I know you want more for your family( of course you do ). I know sometimes you can't sleep just because of how badly you want more for us.

We may not have enough through the years, but we always have plenty.

It's just true. I know you know it, really, if you look hard enough, deep enough. You see the faces of our kids. You see how I look at you.

If I ever make it through The Middle, to the financial place I'm trying to get to with my writing,
then I'd like you to know that some of the things I cherish most about you would be corrupted with change- I am requesting that the following remain the same:

I love that you walk out of 7-11 with a styrofoam coffee cup in your hand, black coffee, and that the jacket across your broad, thick shoulders is a bit worn, ragged on the edges. It makes me want to tear the jacket right off of you and eat your face, kiss you silly, do you on the hood of the car. Your effortless authenticity and grounded ways are the anchor of my life. I love the darkened lines of your workman's hands. I love the paperbacks, wet with bath and coffee, that you read and leave all over the house. I love your thin boxers, hanging over the round tight apple of your beautiful ass. I love your muscled long legs, hard from labor. I love that you think deeply about your political viewpoints from the position of a blue collar worker. I love that you voted Obama. I love that your cell phone doesn't have a 'leather binder' or 'application options' but instead folds open and snaps shut, antenna and all. I love that when you take out your wallet, it's small and wrinkled leather with bills stuffed inside. You don't wear accessories. Your shoes are tennis or Chuck. Your face shows the compassion, exhaustion and resilience of a man working hard for a living. I love that when you take our sons or daughters out, it's for ice cream or nickel arcades or tiny earrings from Claire's. I love that you take our sons to lay concrete for twenty bucks on a Saturday. I love that your first car was a broken down Nova you still miss. Most of all, my darling... I love that when you touch me, kiss me, and lay me down in our bed, you make me feel like a diamond in a coal mine.


Your Wife

Thursday, April 14, 2011

" she thinks the babysitter is supposed to sit upon the baby "

Lola Mom, Ever just drooled in my mouth!

Mr. Curry Argh, Ever puked on my face!

Myself There is baby poop on my foot.

Ever *burp*

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

kickin it

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cosleeping, A Sex Life and All That Jazz

We co-sleep with Ever. We've co-slept with all of our
babies. Shocking fact number 1 for you to digest, getting the goddamn hippie factor right up there in your face-Dakota slept with us until he was seven. Right up until Lola was born. Ian slept with Mr. Curry off and on until about five, when we married. Lola was sleeping in her own bed, then I was sleeping with her for a while. When I write 'was sleeping with us' it's a casual reference. Dakota slept with us off and on would be more correct. It's a flexible situation when our kids our little.

This brings us to shocking goddamn hippie fact number
2: Current sleeping arrangements are as follows

Queen Bed / Myself, Ever, Lola
Small Pottery Barn Sleigh Bed / Mr. Curry
Bunkbeds / boys

After I came home from the hospital with Ever, Lola was in a panic. Unprepared for the swelling, tubes and strangeness of a C-Section ( me too, kid ) she clung to Mr. Curry and I like a rhesus monkey. So we set up the most comforting arrangement we could imagine, and pulled Lola's mattress onto the floor next to our bed. We spent each night snuggled together falling asleep to almost muted Harry Potter DVDs.As we all adjusted, we began to make plans to slowly transition Lola, when Ever became ill with RSV and was hospitalized. When we came home from the hospital, we went right back to our comforting nest and that's the way it is. Mr. Curry is a light sleeper and because of the Bipolar, it's more crucial than the average bear that he get regular, decent sleep. Between my nighttime anxiety ( can't just lie there and fall asleep in the dark, for God's sake! ) reading and T.V., Lola's routine of being read to and reading, and Ever's nursing to sleep intermixed with bouts of fussy, Mr. Curry often sleeps in the room with the kids bed and the crib- you know, the room we made for the kids. The one Mr. Curry painted and assembled the crib and reorganized for me?

Let me reassure you, this is not some accidental, gee we have no idea what's going on in our family and the kids are in control family quark. It's the direct result of our family values, and what we believe really matters when raising small people to become the kind of big people you can stand to talk to at dinner. The most important thing for children to have is love. The most important thing for them to know is that they are loved. The most important thing for them to learn how to do? Put new toilet paper back on the empty roll damnit! No, love, by a small margin, wins again. All the choices we make for our children are defined by two main ideas:

Is this loving?
Does this teach them how to live?

Those two questions, for us, encompass discipline, integrity, compassion, coping mechanisms, perseverance- all of the good stuff. Life stuff. So when we have an 8 year old girl with a predisposition to biologically inherited anxiety ( Sorry, kid ) and truly stress producing circumstances ( C-Section, anxious mom, baby's hospitalization ) we made the choice to keep her where she felt safe and where she felt loved. What makes a person feel loved can be wildly different, as any married person can tell you. For me, it's eye contact, a tone of voice, help with the house. For Mr. Curry it's respecting his need for downtime, sex. For small kids, it's the way we transition them into this world. All of those things have one thing in common: feeling loved comes from being compassionately cared for in the places of our lives where we feel most vulnerable. From weaning to sleep to potty training to sixth grade camp, our kids look to us to be the safe place.

A good marriage, a happy marriage is crucial, and we balance our need for intimacy against the kids need for security and togetherness. Which brings me to shocking fact number 3 : When our kids are babies, we have sex in the room while they are sleeping, sometimes in the same bed. Or we used to. With Ever, this has changed. Whereas Lola used to lie there as an infant, oblivious and snoozing, when we tried to begin making out with Ever on the other side of our bed, we turned our heads to find her staring straight at us, gape mouthed. As Lola would say: awkward. We are a naked kind of family, with our kiddos watching us shower and pee until they are about 6 or 7, whenever they start to become uncomfortable. That is nature's biological signpost for those kind of transitions, the child's discomfort. When they start noticing and feeling embarrassed that they or you are naked, it's time to quit with the natural and get out the robe. Last week, Dakota ( 16 ) walked in the bedroom and I was nursing Ever. I didn't realize but part of my breast was hanging out. Dakota sat down next to me and said ' Mom, your boob is hanging out ' before he launched into a story about something that had happened at school. My kid has a good, healthy comfort level with the human body, male or female, that I think will serve him well for the rest of life.

Co-sleeping with babies is perfectly safe under most usual circumstances, despite what the American media would have you believe. Here are a few thoughts:

# mothers don't roll over on their babies under normal circumstances. think about this:
have you ever rolled over on a cat or dog sleeping with you and squished it? probably
not! abnormal circumstances include: obesity, drug or alcohol use, sleep disorders
or other physical problems that would make it less safe.

# a mother's heartbeat helps regulate the infant's entire and incompletely formed
nervous system. a mother's breathing and heartbeat help the infant from getting
into too deep of a sleep and stopping breathing- or SIDS. the mother's movements
and breathing help the baby to lightly arouse while sleeping.

# a mother's heartbeat, breath and scent are comforting to the baby.
babies in the womb are in a tiny, warm space with little or no room to move.
coming out into the big world with cool air and space everywhere is overwhelming.

# why do you want to sleep with your husband? ( or do you? :) outside of sex, it's
the intimacy. a mother and her baby have one of the most intimate relationships
a person will have in a lifetime, and being close together physically is a crucial part
of this. in a country where most of us moms have to work, co-sleeping becomes
the last place in our lives that is just about being together. not accomplishing anything
else other than togetherness and sleep.

Which brings me back to my family, to Mr. Curry and I. We give up our aloneness in bed
when we have a baby because we believe that our marriage is cared for well enough to survive
the temporary sleeping arrangements for the needs of our babies. Sex suffers for the first 3-5 months with every baby, and then heads back to normal territory with relief. We have an awesome sex life. I've heard many people say what about sex in reference to co-sleeping, to which I reply, Ever heard of @ early morning @ midnight @ after the baby falls asleep @ the bathroom @ the shower @ yougettheidea

Although Lola sleeps with us, she goes to Grandma Mary's on Saturday nights often, and other nights she's out on the couch while we lock the door for a while. We make it work. Soon, she'll be back in her bed. Until then, we won't ever look back and wish we'd done it any other way.


I know this is one of those issues that can make people feel attacked. Which is why often, moms like me ( who do do the hot button issues like cosleep or extend nurse ) don't talk about it- because we don't want our enthusiasm for our beliefs and family life to be turned into an attack on other moms or other families. I'm not attacking anyone. I know that some babies HATE co-sleeping, that they fuss and fidgit and kick all night when someone else is there, even mom. I know that some people can't cosleep because they literally can't sleep. Etc. Yo. Haters gonna hate, and I'm not a hater. xo

Sunday, April 10, 2011


new haircut from a mom at my preschool
feathers in her hair
true love
texting on mom's Blackberry at Wendy's
Ever asleep with her Ungee- the bunny her sister bought her before she was born
looking at crime novels with Daddy
the Borders I've taken my children to for 16 years is closing
i actually cried
our house is Beyond Thunderdome
goodnight, Everkins

Saturday, April 9, 2011

marriage phase four {poem}

the baby's a girl, she's a she
fat hand in mouth, my mouth
our mouths. the cocoon made
same, same, same, same.
mothers can't see you at all.
children don't see you at all.

i remember myself to you.
today is light and wind
flickering leaves against our window.
your eyes follow me
make outline of shadow.

tiny moth, baby butterfly
scream dust and long nights,
suck breast, sluice juice.
i am silenced with motherhood.

your hands are working hands.
they make me.

image richard gray
poem maggie may ethridge
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