Tag Archives: parenting

Tiny body, big feelings.

I don’t remember where I left off, so let’s start from right here.

I’ve spent a lot of the last… recent amount of time – and here I should say that I haven’t been keeping track of time in any sort of real, measurable way. I actually wear a watch sometimes – I mentioned I might like a watch for Christmas, and Phil bought me three, each more exactly in line with my tastes than the last – and I was wearing one yesterday at Ulta and I had to do something for fifteen minutes, that’s a story for a whole different day that both you and I know probably won’t be tomorrow, and the woman who was involved with doing the thing with me said, “What time do you have?,” and we both peered into my watch and I said, “I don’t actually know, I just like the way it looks.” And it’s been kind of like that recently, in that time has been going by and I have had the ability right at hand to measure how much of it has passed, but not really the desire or oomph of effort required to really do it. So it’s been some amount of time that I have spent, recently, in preparation for PJs at TJ’s, which starts, officially, three weeks from today. Are you coming? I’m so excited to see you. Are you not coming? I’m so bummed you can’t make it this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing you next year, especially if it’s our triumphant reunion/first meeting ever. Both of those would be equally exciting for me. If next year is going to be your fourth visit, I’ll point you to the trash bags and dip bowls. You know what to do.

To be honest, though, at this point, most of the planning for PJs is shopping, and a few years in, I have gotten slightly wiser and more of the shopping is done from a chair than in previous years, so that leaves… all the rest of the time, however much that has been. A lot, I assume. It feels like it’s been a lot. What, a year or two, at least? I’ve (well, we, in case anyone thinks I’m not giving my husband credit for his share of parenting, I totally do, but as I’ve said many times before, a person who would like his side of the story fairly represented is a person who maybe should stop registering domain names and then not actually writing his own blog, maybe) been dealing with Penelope and her big feelings in her tiny body.

I know you didn’t think the title was about me – my feelings are small and more than adequately housed in what we’ll call luxury accommodations. They’re in there, they’re comfortable way down in there. I think they’re the same size as when I got them. I think I was probably born with the same size feelings I was going to have for my entire life. I think that makes sense, because I think Penelope has got the same size feelings now as I’ve probably got. Maybe bigger, but it’s hard to tell, since she’s so much smaller.

So she’s got these feelings – happy or sad or whatever, a whole range, really, almost definitely as nuanced as yours or mine but much easier for her to explain or for me to explain to her in broader categories like happy, sad, angry, ascribing to her about four or six feelings in total when in reality, there’s probably about 75 million or so – and they’re very big and she’s very small. Eventually, her body will be in line, size-wise, with her feelings, but for now, she’s got the full set in one size fits all, and that is almost never true, but that’s how they come, so that’s how she’s got to deal. Or how we’ve all got to deal, rather, because she’s having them all, but her small casing is not enough to hold them.

But that’s not really the problem, right, because we don’t expect people to hold their feelings. Well, some people do. I don’t know, if that’s your way, that’s fine, I guess, if that’s how you want to do things, I say, using the most judgmental sentence form possible in order to demonstrate without actually saying that I totally don’t agree with your way of doing things and think it’s kind of weird. No, instead, in general, we expect people to release them or work them out or handle them in some way, and everyone has their ways (except, I guess, if you don’t, which is fine, I GUESS), except for toddlers. Who have feelings, big ones, and tiny bodies, with no little release valves on them. They haven’t developed their ways.

Not, for example, like me, with my small feelings in their luxury accommodations, that are not only totally comfortable, but have beaten a well worn feelings-path out (hint: it’s through my mouth – “YOU ARE A SHIT, YOU ARE A TOTAL SHIT, YOU ARE THE REASON I CAN’T STOP SAYING SHIT.” (Someone won’t stop turning on the air conditioning in the house at night.)) and also a well worn feelings-path back in (hint: it’s also through my mouth).

No, she has got big feelings on the inside and there are no preferred feelings-paths beaten down yet for her. She wakes up from her nap sometimes so weepy. Just can’t stop crying. I ask her, “Are you having sad feelings?” and she wails, “YES!” and I ask her, “What do you think will help?” and she doesn’t know. So I offer her this or that and some things make her cry even more and some things sometimes help and sometimes don’t. Sometimes a hug will help, sometimes it’s the WORST THING EVER. Sometimes she needs to be left alone to gather herself, sometimes I’VE ABANDONED HER and NO ONE LOVES HER. Seriously, she will lay there and rattle off a list of who doesn’t love her, from me right down to our dogs, by name. No one she has ever met has ever suggested for half a second that they don’t love her, just for the record. Anyway, sometimes she just wakes up very sad, and while that happens to everyone, the thing about it that makes it so tough is that she’s just as confused by it as she is sad. And of course we eventually work her out of it and cheer her up and life goes on.

Other times, though, she’s angry. Or excited or worked up. Or upset for some reason. And those less calm big feelings have gotten to be very tough for us. And you should understand that I’m not saying any of this like I think it’s unique to Penelope. No, instead, I often remind myself – and Phil – that this is the age, not our child. I mean, of course she’s our kid, but this is not the entirety of Penelope, this isn’t who she is and who she’s going to be. She’s two and a half and this is what two and a half is (and please, this is not the type of post where you tell me in the comments the horrors of three and four and teenagers, that’s not helpful or kind), and it’s beneficial for us to remember that when we’re coping with this stuff – that what we’re dealing with definitely is not unique to her or to us. That big feelings, tiny body is happening in mini-explosions all around our neighborhood right this second. And with all the parents we know. So I’m not writing this in a “listen to the very special snowflake unique struggles that I’m having with my especially difficult child” way. I’m just telling you what’s happening. And tomorrow (probably not tomorrow), I’ll tell you about what I’ve been doing – pretty successfully – with a kind of difficult dry skin problem I’ve been dealing with. You know those flaky peelies that crop up when you try to put foundation on when your skin looks normal otherwise, right up until you applied the foundation? Yeah, that. Ugh. Awful. Been working at it for a while, really pleased with how it’s coming along.

Anyway, I was talking about when Penelope gets angry or worked up or agitated. That’s when we really struggle with her not yet knowing how to handle her feelings in a more constructive or positive manner. There’s lots of shrieking. Just a wordless shriek at whoever she is mad at. Sometimes she’s not even mad at someone, though. Just mad. There’s also lots of throwing. Dangerous throwing, even. My reflexes are really improving, although as you have probably surmised, I was pretty lithe and catlike to begin with, so there was hardly room for much betterment there. Of course she hits, too, and kicks. I don’t mean to make her sound like a demon. This behavior isn’t constant. She’s actually a fairly good listener for her age, and her public behavior is on point most of the time. It’s just that when she becomes overwhelmed with some feeling, she just can’t control herself. At a point where some people would work through their feelings by talking it out, or exercising, or eating a box of donuts, or saying shit a lot, she just starts behaving in the only ways she knows, all of which are extremely physical.

Obviously, that’s not good. Ideally, we’d figure out why she was angry and address the situation. Ideally. But most of the time, she doesn’t know why she’s angry. We don’t even know for sure if she is angry, or if it’s something else. Upset at something else? Just really excited about something? Luckily, Penelope is extremely verbal (I actually will brag about her for a second on that one, she’s out of control and outstrips every kid her age we encounter with the talking) and I’m getting better at trying to get her to explain what’s going on, but a lot of times, it’s hampered by a trip to time out, because I’m sorry, I just can’t take a kick to the face and then sit and talk calmly about your feelings, because right then my feelings are that I just got kicked in the face and I want to say shit a lot and I’m trying not to do that. In front of Penelope. As much.

In the moment when something is being thrown at you, or you’re being repeatedly hit while you say, “No hitting, no hitting,” it is very hard to remember that the tiny person in front of you might not be doing those things because she is a crazy person with no sense of boundaries or self control (actually, a lot of times it is exactly that), but instead because she has not spent 30+ years perfecting the string of rage-filled invectives that she personally finds instantly calms the feelings and prepares the mind to deal with the underlying cause of said feelings. Rather, the tiny person is just stuffed full of unidentifiable feelings jabbing pokily at a too-small host body with no positive (okay, questionably positive in some cases) way to come out. And it can be really hard to discern the two – crazy/boundary-less vs tiny/jabby feelings – when you’ve just had that frippin frappin toy train whipped at your head AGAIN. And then even once you do have it reliably figured out, then what? EVEN THEN, THEN WHAT?

Penelope is delightful. She is so funny. She will blow you away with her talking, and don’t think I’m not going to demand that the people who come to PJs back me up on that, because I could just BLOW UP ALL OVER THE PLACE with how proud I am of her when people’s mouths drop open in shock. When she and I are talking, if she doesn’t know how to say something, she says to me, “Mama, I can’t say the word, help me say the word,” and then we try words back and forth until we figure out what she’s trying to say BECAUSE SHE’S A GENIUS AND I’LL DELETE YOUR COMMENT IF YOU SAY SHE’S NOT.

It’s just this one part, and it feels big, because it’s important, because I care a lot about helping her express her feelings appropriately, and it also feels big because these loud and throwy periods, even when the incidents themselves are short, expand in my mind to sometimes feel like that was my whole day. But it’s not. I can hear her right now, playing with Phil, and they’re laughing and having fun and these outbursts are not all of her or all about her, or even a giant part. They’re a hard part and I think about them a lot, but like I said about – this isn’t all she is or unique to her, this is just a phase and it’s the one we’re in, and it’s what I’m thinking about today, because it feels important to me. Maybe – probably – when she’s 25, I’ll look back and I’ll realize that how I handled the development of how she handles her own feelings really meant nothing in the grand scheme of parenting, I overthought this and underthought something else. So be it, it’ll probably happen again, too.

It was noticed and it deserves underpants.

There will come a day when Penelope’s issues are too Penelope-specific and sensitive to be talked about on the Internet, and probably by that day, I’ll just be beaming my thoughts directly into your heads to be downloaded in batches once a week or so or whatever. I hope so. That would be great. But right now is not that time, and her issues, which are actually my issues, because Penny Badger don’t give a shit, are so standardly two-and-a-half year old that I’m just going to throw a whole bunch of them out here right now in hopes that those of you that have made it through to two-and-three-quarters and beyond can point me in the right direction on some of this stuff because we are just FLAILING trying to settle on some kind of sensical methods.

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1. I think I mentioned this the other day, but whenever Phil and I talk to each other, she yells, “STOP STOP!” until attention is focused back on her. This also happens during the day when it’s just me and her, and she’ll yell, “MAMA, TURN ROUND. LOOKA ME. TALKA ME.” This is especially unpleasant if I’m working, because she’ll try to force her hands under mine on the keyboard and has erased some stuff before.

What I’m trying: So far, I’ve been trying the same thing that I do when she tries to do something and within half a second, screams, “I CAN’T DO IT!” and runs away having a shrieking tantrum. I said to her over and over, every day, “Do you need help? I can help you. Do you think it would be easier to ask Mama or Daddy for help instead of getting upset and throwing a fit?” And after seriously weeks upon weeks of that, one day, OUT OF NOWHERE, the heavens opened up and Penelope walked over to me and said, “Mama, I need help, can you please open my room?” Just the day before, she would have walked to her room, seen that the door monkey was on, and come screaming down the hall, “MY WOOM IS WOCKED!” and thrown herself on the ground crying. It’s still hit or miss on if she’s going to choose the screaming or the asking for help (mostly depending on how tired she is), but when she picks asking over tantrums, we praise her and throw treats into the air and give out high fives like they’re coming back into to and then going right back out of style.

So, with the interrupting, I tell walk her through the proper way to ask for attention several times a day. I tell her that when she has something to say, she should say, “Excuse me, please,” and wait until we have a moment to talk to her. I’ve told her that when people are talking to each other, she needs to wait for her turn. I’ve told her that when one conversation is finished, she can have our full attention for her conversation. I’ve told her it’s not good manners to interrupt, especially if you just want to show off that cool trick with your butt again.

I don’t know if it’s that she can’t put together that “excuse me” can be used for both rude noises and interruptions, or that it’s not sinking in at all, or that she just doesn’t want to do it properly, but this is not working. I know that she’s two, I know that this could be a phase, I know all of that, but as her parent, I still have a sort of responsibility to teach her not to be a total social knob. So, what’s the best way to handle this? Is there a way to keep a two year old from constantly demanding that all the focus be on her? Is there a way to phrase the concept that if you let us know that you have something to say, we will get to you as soon as we finish what we’re saying in a way that she’ll understand? Or should we just keep talking over her right now? Is that the most effective course of action at the moment? Because it is getting LOUD IN HERE.

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2. TIME OUTS. We’ve been doing time outs pretty successfully for a long while now. She does something wrong, she gets a warning. She keeps doing it, she goes to time out. Up until recently, she only stayed in her room (since we have a floor bed, her room is zero fun – there are no toys, games, etc) for a couple of minutes, until she was ready to apologize. She understands apologizing pretty well – she even puts on a faux gentle voice and strokes my arm. It’s kind of creepy. Most times, the threat of time out was enough of a warning to get her to stop doing whatever she was doing. Time outs are used for only a couple of things in this house – safety issues and not listening. Which is to say, constantly. But it was working really well.

Recently, though, it’s not going so great. She’ll be doing something she knows she’s not supposed to do, or that she was just warned to stop doing, or that she was specifically instructed not to do, and she will keep doing it right through warnings, right through an adult marching over to her, right up until she is grabbed up and hauled away to time out. Then, once she is in the air and being carried off down the hall, she starts saying, “I WANT TO SAY SORRY! I WANT TO SAY SORRY!” As soon as she is in her bedroom, she presses her face up against the crack the door monkey leaves and yells, “I WEADY TO POWOGIZE!” So she’s figured out that she can do whatever she wants for as long as she wants or until she gets caught, because all she has to do is apologize as soon as she’s thrown into time out, and it’s back to burninating the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, she BIT me. She hasn’t bitten me in I don’t know how long. She never had a real biting phase. But she BIT ME SO HARD, and I saw red because it hurt. I picked her up and I put her in her room and the whole while, she’s yelling apologies. This was at the end of a ridiculous day of behavior from her and Phil was already on his way home, so I just left her in there while I cleaned up the play room. She kept yelling at me about how she wanted to help clean, and I kept yelling back, “YOU BIT ME!” I may have been holding a slight grudge. After everything was picked up and I was looking at less physical evidence of her bent for destruction, I went to collect her from her room and I asked, “Are you ready to apologize?” She came over to me, stroked me arm, and said in her fake soft voice, “I sowwy I hit you, Mama,” then ran past me down the hall. SHE BIT ME. NOT HIT ME. I reminded her 87 times, yet still, mechanical apology, escape.

So now how do we work time outs? She’s got time outs set in her head that she sits there til someone comes to get her, then says what have becomes apparently meaningless words and runs off. Should we set timers instead? Do we still require an apology? Do we need to reexplain apologies? What do you do for discipline for 2/2.5 year olds? Is there something other than time out that’s more effective for different types of things? Like breaking known house rules, ones WE KNOW SHE KNOWS (being rough/mean with the dogs, coloring on not paper, going out the back door) vs stuff like not listening?

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Threw all these THROW pillows outside on the patio, parents made me bring them back.
When it’s MY kingdom, I’ll tell you what.

3. LASTLY. What are the best toddler underpants? I got a couple of packs of Hanes or whatever they were at Target, but after going through the dryer, the elastic got a little snug at the waist so they’re hard for her to get up and down. Maybe ones with a wider band of elastic at the top rather than a thinner one? I’m totally going to put underpants in her stocking. I mean, Santa is. Because that kid bit me and stuff like that doesn’t going unnoticed.

I remembered one of my complaints.

I remembered one of my complaints.

I like Louis CK. I like him a lot. I think he’s a funny guy, and his humor hits me just right. I loved the series he had on HBO, with the little kid, and the ballet routine she did to the hilariously inappropriate song about the vagina and the buttcrack, but not before asking fifteen times, “Are you READY for the SHOW?” I like what he’s doing with his new specials, offering them for download on his site at a low price and just asking people not to pirate them, because, hey, here they are for you. I think he’s a smart guy in basically all the ways he needs to be smart as a guy and as an entertainer and as someone I want to entertain me, specifically.

Anyway, he’s a smart, funny guy, which is what I like in a guy. I mean, it’s most of what I like in a guy. I also like an essential Phil-ness in men. Luckily, I found one that was pretty stuffed up on that quality. I don’t know what I feel the need to quickly clarify that I like smart, funny guys that are also my husband. I can just like smart, funny guys and still remain married to my husband. Smart, funny guys can exist independent of the smart, funny (let’s not get into types of funny because you just can’t drill down to specifically into your list of wants or you’ll be alone forever and sometimes you have to settle for the guy who thinks puns are just THE BEST and decide that okay, you’re going to go ahead and CALL that funny because at least, while he does think puns are hilarious, he also recognizes that YOU’RE funny, and that counts for something – a lot of something) guy that I married. OKAY. I LIKE LOUIS CK. GUY’S GOT SOME SMART, FUNNY THINGS TO SAY. AGREE? AGREE.

So recently, I guess on a talk show, Louis CK talked a bit about why he thought cellphones and spending time with faces buried in a screen is bad for kids. It’s an opinion he’s got, the host asked him about it, he talked about it a bit. That’s what these shows are for. You ask celebrities to talk about stuff. Louis CK is a guy who can speak eloquently (or entertainingly, depending on what you consider eloquent, I guess) on a pretty wide array of topics. He’s got kids, he’s talked about them before. He’s also talked about technology before. So for a couple minutes, he talked about both. Okay, fine.

BUT THEN. The next day. All those parenting sites, you know, the stupid ones we never read because they’re totally without editorial supervision (okay, not totally without, but this one time, a column was nearly completely plagiarized and when called on it, the person supposedly in charge said that they have a lot of writers and she can’t possibly be expected to watch over them all, I am not kidding, that is a thing that happened in real life) and full of slideshows about shit no one actually cares 15 clicks worth about? And some other sites. Tons of headlines like (and I’m saying “like” because I don’t recall exactly what and I don’t care to go look because temerity-jane.com just has tons of authors and I can’t be expected to keep track of all of them and hold them to any kind of standards like accuracy and non-assholioacy) “LOUIS CK THINKS OUR CHILDREN SHOULDN’T USE CELL PHONES!” and “FIND OUT WHY LOUIS CK THINKS SMART PHONES ARE BAD FOR KIDS!”

As I said above in a big chunk of about a hundred to a hundred and fifty words like I say everything else, I like the guy, and I think he’s smart and he’s funny. But unless what Louis CK has to say about kids and cell phones or screen time or whatever the hell we’re calling it when we put the little “be quiet for a while” machine in front of our kids is punctuated with the word “fuck” or “fucking” or “motherfucker” or some variation on “shit” or “shitty” or basically any kind of profanity because I think it’s funny when he’s profane, it’s like a cow’s opinion to me, in that I don’t give a fat fistful of gross chewed up and regurgitated wet grass about it.

And it’s not even that I begrudge the guy for having an opinion about kids and cell phones, it’s an issue. He has kids. And I don’t begrudge him for talking about it. He talks about things. That’s what he does. It’s his job. He’s ragged on cell phone addiction before, and it was funny, and I know I’m not the only person in the world to have obnoxiously told someone else to “give it a MINUTE.” So yeah, it’s something he’d talk about. No, no, what’s kind of ridiculous to me is the reprinting and rehashing of it on sites like the aforementioned content pile, on Slate, on Mashable, on the Wall Street Journal’s site! As if I am to sit and ponder the SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS OF LOUIS CK’S OPINION ON CHILDREN AND SMART PHONES and how I might best apply that to my own parenting.

There is already enough pressure and implied shame about limiting screen time from actual sources. We don’t need a literal MADE UP SOURCE brought into it as well. AND I’M NOT SAYING the guy isn’t entitled to his opinions. HE IS. And I am INTERESTED in hearing them. On the television. And then going to bed. And then not discussing them over coffee and a notepad because holy shit. We can silently self-shame just fine without bringing Louis CK into it.

I really, really don’t want to discuss with anyone, now or ever, if your kid has a cell phone or if they’re allowed to use yours, or use an iPad, or for how long each day, or how much television they’re allowed to watch. I don’t want to have that conversation today, where someone says they agree with me that the self-shaming is enough, “and, actually, my kid watches a lot of screen stuff,” and then lists what she thinks is a lot, but someone else feels bad because that doesn’t seem like a lot to her, and someone else thinks that’s WAY too much and lists HER schedule of much, much less, and someone else actually just built a yurt in the woods with her kids, so fuck all the rest of us anyway.

THE POINT OF IT ALL IS, it’s really hard not to raise a shitty kid. It’s especially hard not to raise a shitty kid when other parents are letting their kid be shitty right to your kid’s face. Or, worse, when the ADULT is being shitty right in front of your kid, doing the very things you’re trying to teach your kid not to do in an effort not to raise a shitty kid. On top of it, everyone you know and everything you read carries an opinion on what it is to be shitty or not shitty – both for your kid, and for your efforts and methods in creating your not shitty kid. You spend your whole life picking and sorting through your own ideas, goals, hopes, and gut feelings to cobble together a parenting method that you hope is going to result in the happiest, least shitty, HAPPIEST kid possible. At night, when I settle down after maybe crying in the shower or maybe staring blankly in the steam for half an hour or maybe just rhythmically thudding my head off the wall for a while, and I settle down to be entertained for a bit, I’m not going to sift through all that stuff, too. Because it’s moo.

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I have seen just enough 30 Rock to think it’s hilarious to say, “You’re not a paht of this, Lemon,” to a dog encroaching on my fish stick and Stovetop preparation space.

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Remember how I said registration for PJs at TJ’s was opening on 10/10, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, so for the best and most up to date information, you should join the Facebook group? I hope you took me at my word if you wanted to go and weren’t waiting for more updates here, because it sold out in 30 minutes, which was surprising and awesome. That was a thing that happened that I did not think was going to happen.

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Something, something, here’s Penelope.

Penelope waiting for ham.

Traditional Sunday Waiting for the Ham.

I should explain that caption. See, on Sundays, after church, we go out for lunch, and Penny orders a ham sandwich. Then I take a picture of her, waiting for her ham. I did not need to explain that caption.

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Here is a thing I am suggesting to you.

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It’s Wet n Wild. I’m real n serious.

So, apparently, while I wasn’t looking, Wet n Wild has been stepping up the quality a lot over the last few years. Tons of beauty bloggers who are actual beauty bloggers have covered that, so I’m not going to, but definitely look up some reviews and swatches of a bunch of the eye shadow trios they have out, for example. They’re still priced very low and they put out a lot of seasonal and limited lines in fun colors, so they can be an inexpensive way to add some out there shades to your collection without spending $10 or $12 on singles from the high end brands.

Now, some stuff is still hit or miss, like you’d expect with a cosmetics line at this price point. When I picked up this powder, I also got a Color Icon Shadow Trio in Spoiled Brat that was just a mess when I tried it. The lid shade had fallout all over my face, the crease shade wouldn’t blend, and the browbone shade… actually, I don’t think that one was so bad, but I just tossed the case aside. More talented makeup people could probably make it work with no issues, but I am not an expert. I’m like Louis CK when he talks about kids. He has some. I have some makeup. Doesn’t mean you should look at me like I know what I’m doing, sitting on top of my hoard and chortling like Scrooge McDuckface. Whatever, it was $2.50 at Wal-Mart and I’ll pass it to someone else at PJs.

THE POWDER, THOUGH. If you’re very fair and have a hard time finding a powder foundation to match your skin, Wet n Wild Coverall pressed powder in 821B just might be your match, and I picked it up at Wal-Mart the other night for $2.43. You can use it with a big, fluffy brush to set all of your makeup in place. You can use it as a powder foundation if that’s the style you prefer. For me, I’ve been using a BB cream instead of foundation lately. I use this powder to set my under eye concealer and brighten that area up just a little bit, and then, since BB cream doesn’t offer full coverage, I use a sponge and press this powder with a kind of rolling motion over my chin and next to my nose where I have some redness. I haven’t been able to use a powder like this before, because until now, I’ve been using (and loving) Rimmel’s Stay Matte powder in translucent. Translucent powder is awesome for the super fair/pale, but a powder that actually matches skin tone has way more utility.

Give it a try. You may have to hunt around a little for the shade, but try Wal-Mart or Walgreens. You can always order online, but that takes a little away from how great the price is.

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Last thing! Just a reminder that I will keep reminding you about just a little bit because Phil and I are a team: he’s participating in the Extra Life marathon for Children’s Miracle Network and it’s coming up. His fundraising page is here, and we’d appreciate anything you can do to help. There are social media buttons on the left hand side of the page, so if you’d share the page to your friends and family and guilt them with our adorable child, that would be swell. This is my part of the team effort, because I’m having no part of the whole “24 hours” thing. Nope.

Victory shoes and Makeup Monday 2: The Balm Apricot Skin Renewal Lotion. And Stuff.

Note: Please save part of this post for tomorrow. Which part you save is up to you. I’m not controlling or anything.

Toward the end of last week, I started to feel crappy, details don’t matter, but I had a rough couple of days, and Phil really stepped up in taking care of things around here and letting me get some extra rest in order to make sure that sort of crappy didn’t take a turn for extra crappy, so on Friday, I was kind of rushing around in the afternoon to pick the place up before he got home, plus do the couple of things around the house that he usually feels like he has to do the second he comes in the door. He’s one of those types, you know, can’t relax until his things are done. So I figured I’d do all the things, and he could just kick back after really stretching for most of the week.

Except things kept happening. You know, after last Monday’s entry, I guess typical Penelope stuff. Stuff I’ve come to expect from a Penelope. I forgot to lock the dishwasher (we have to lock the dishwasher to keep her from getting in it, but that doesn’t stop her from randomly starting it up whenever she wants) and she got out some serving forks. I could hear her with them, so I approached slowly. You have to approach slowly when the Penelope has contraband, because if she knows you’re coming to take it, she’ll run. With FORKS. Or whatever she might have. And if she’s running, and you’re closing in, she’ll throw whatever she’s got, like some teenager with pot running through the woods behind the house party that just got busted, flinging the baggie off into the brush in desperate hope of not being caught but also maybe being able to find it again later. Except it’s not pot, it’s my cell phone and it’s not the brush, it’s probably the kitchen floor. Anyway, this time she didn’t run, but she did throw the forks at my face.

She threw ham at the wall.

When discussing Penelope’s behavior on Twitter the other day – which I don’t do too often, because of reasons, but I wasn’t feeling very well so was just generally totally beaten – someone suggested that I possibly might need to reevaluate what behavior I consider acceptable, because it is hard to believe that a two year old could be that bad all the time. That is, could it be that my standards of behavior for Penelope are much too high, making it seem as though she is constantly misbehaving, when in reality, it is just me, expecting too much from a toddler? Is this just a case of me not knowing that I need to pick my battles? Am I exhausting myself – and probably Penelope – with my impossibly high standards?

No. No, that’s not the case. I let the ham go, y’all. I do choose my battles. I do. If she’s not throwing something at my face, I mostly let it go, with a reminder that in this house, we pass things to each other. We don’t throw.

(Oh yeah, we’re those schmucks now. Come into our house, and you’ll get pulled aside for the little speech, like those, “Oh, we try not to say ‘No,’ we feel like it crushes her spirit,” except it’s more like, “Oh, please don’t throw anything in front of her, not even your car keys to your spouse to move the car, we feel like that’s why she keeps throwing shoes at my face, so if you could just pass things to each other and then make a huge fucking deal about what a great pass that was, that would be GREAT, thanks.” We know we sound like a couple of pass holes. We know.)

This is what’s not okay: hitting, harassing the dogs, eating out of the trash/throwing things in the trash, taking things from the fridge, throwing things at people, failing to obey reasonable requests when it’s very clear you understood and are deliberately disobeying for funsies.

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t totally let the ham thing go.

I... I can't explain this.

In my defense, I just asked her to get it.

So I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my expectations, and as you can see above, she might just be a BIT UNREASONABLE IN HER INTERPRETATIONS OF MY REQUESTS. I’m not saying she’s in any way an abnormal child, I’m just saying that normal is a range and to compose a range, you need to have children at each end. What you’re looking at here is an end child.

After the potato incident I mentioned last week, and the peanut butter incident – did I tell you about the peanut butter incident here? Brinkley ate half a jar of peanut butter, and then Penelope got the jar of peanut butter from the trash, and she had some. That happened. So after the peanut butter incident and the potato incident, we had some deliveries last week. We got some more child locks, and some more Door Monkeys, and a ridiculously priced Simple Human trash can with a pedal and a lock. Of course, after her nap, I turned my back for what I swear was the space of a super human speed bathroom visit and came back to this:

This is just a normal day, though, so no big. I mean, she gets into things, I pick them up. It’s just particularly ridiculous because that day was one thing after another, and, well, okay, she’s sitting in a pile of child locks. The point is, though, that I keep Phil updated on her doings throughout the day, and while he doesn’t ever come out and say it, I do kind of get a “… really?” vibe from him pretty frequently. It can kind of seem like, if he were home, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening. Aren’t I even watching? How can stuff like this happen so frequently? He’s here every night and all weekend, and he doesn’t see this much stuff happen…

It doesn’t help that, a short time later – and, okay, I admit it, this is all on me – I had put her in her room for sneaking into the locked side of the linen closet (DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HER HIDING IN THERE AND NOT MAKING A SOUND WHILE I RAN THROUGH THE HOUSE YELLING HER NAME OH MY GOD) and retrieving soda cans in order to fling them onto the kitchen floor, and I forgot that when I had to chase her out of her room earlier, I had left a tub of body butter on the floor. Okay. That was no good. That was no good at all. Especially because the body butter I have been using on her lately is one of mine (it works), so it is especially stinky and greasy. And it was so quiet in her room, and I went in there, and she was rubbing greasy, stinky body butter all over herself. And her hair. And the carpet. And everything ever.

BUT LET ME GET TO MY POINT, HERE IT IS, PENELOPE SCRIBBLED ALL OVER MY NEW SHOES!!

I slept in a little bit on Saturday, and when I woke up, Phil and Penny weren’t in the living room, or the kitchen, and I wandered into the playroom and didn’t find them. But I smelled some really strong cleaning smell, and I found them both in the guest bathroom. Phil was standing at the sink, with the water running, and my new sneakers that I had just gotten, just the day before, scrubbing at the toes with a magic eraser. Penny had colored all over the toes with a ball point pen.

“I JUST LOOKED AWAY FOR A SECOND,” he said.

ENTIRE LIFE? MADE.

Okay, I will keep you, WITH YOUR PERFECTLY-TIMED SHOE RUINING!

*****

It is Monday again, which means it is time for Makeup Monday, which is the second part of my post, because maybe you are not into makeup, which means you can abandon ship here, but I may not always be so solicitous as to write a whole other thousand words not about makeup, so don’t go getting used to it or anything. Thought I guess you’re totally SOL if you don’t like makeup OR my kid. Are you just hanging around waiting for me to start writing about World of Warcraft again? I mean, it could happen. My account is open. If you are, I mean… I probably should. Just to reward you. Because that is some dedication.

In the spirit of the No Buy, No No Blog, I have actually gone and USED SOMETHING UP from the pile in the picture in the original post detailing all of my restrictions and rules and plans for the whole project. Here is that picture.

So, while this isn’t my entire makeup collection, for my No Buy, No No Blog, this is what I’m working with. I’ll deal with everything in the picture in one of the ways described in the original post before the no buy ends. Well, everything in the picture, plus some things that hadn’t arrived yet at the time the picture was taken.

Today, I’m talking about the product indicated with the arrow – Apricot Skin Renewal Cream by The Balm – as well as some eye makeup remover wipes that came in the Allure Summer Beauty box, and the two facial moisturizers I currently use, and why they can go right to hell.

I am currently using the two facial moisturizers pictured. I’ve got pretty normal skin, I think. It’s not particularly prone to oiliness or greasiness, and I have what I think are pretty standard hormonal breakouts – probably one or two actual pimples once a month, maybe a threatened pimple here and there the rest of the month. Pretty lucky, I think, but I suffered for it mightily when I was younger. I’ve got really irritating patches of dryness, though, on my forehead between my eyes, next to my nose, and sometimes on my chin and next to my mouth depending on how hot my shower was, so I have to moisturize every day and heavily before makeup or my makeup will look flaky and horrible.

The two moisturizers pictured – Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Up & Up Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, oil free – can go right the hell to hell, each for separate reasons. I use them in a pretty standard fashion – after the shower and/or before makeup, I put on a pretty thick layer and let it soak in. I put it on my face. My face, where the FACIAL MOISTURIZER is intended to go. My FACE, where I keep both my EYES and my MOUTH, most days.

If I use the Cetaphil, I get a taste in my mouth that I am pretty sure is poison. And it just hovers in the back of my throat for most of the day, ruining things and making life miserable. And look, smartbutticus, I know I’m not supposed to eat it. I don’t eat it. It’s on my face, all smeared around on there, and some of its fuminess kind of gets into the general mouthy area. I’m not rubbing it directly into my tongue. I guess it performs its general moistness duties okay, but the fact remains that when I use it, the back of my throat feels like a little man is standing back there with a fireplace bellows, releasing puffs of TERRIBLE all day long. It’s no good. It’s just no good.

And then there’s the Up & Up. I’m a pretty big fan of Target’s store brand of products, I haven’t had too many stinkers. Well, unless you count shmazors. And for a moisturizer, this does okay. Just okay. It’s not really anything super special as far as under makeup goes, considering my especially flaky spots, but for every day (I don’t wear makeup every single day) and before bed, I don’t mind it. Except for one thing. One teeeeeny, tiny thing. It’s trying to blind me. It gets into my eyes somehow – AND NO, I AM NOT APPLYING IT DIRECTLY TO MY EYES – even hours after application, even if I don’t feel like I am sweating any especial amount. It runs into my eyes when I’m just sitting on the couch, and holy shit, does it burn. It burns to the point that shortly thereafter, I’m barely able to keep my eyes open, what with the tearing up and the flames of hell and the rubbing and the splashing of water. BUT DON’T SPLASH THE WATER. Because that just seems to reactivate all the REST of the moisturizer on the face, which then rushes to my eyes. I’ve actually texted Phil at work near the end of his day to ask how close he was to coming home, because hey, I’m blind, and I can’t afford to show any weakness to Penelope, she kind of has the upper hand as it is. But it doesn’t happen every TIME. Only sometimes. At random. Maybe when Pen-o is about to stage some kind of coup. Maybe there’s a connection. I don’t know. I’m not a Makeup Scientist.

SO AS YOU CAN SEE. My current moisturizer selections are NOT EXACTLY EXCELLENT, so the samples I received in my recent order from The Balm were pretty well timed. I got two, and decided to start with the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream for no particular reason. I actually had a reason at the time, but I don’t remember it.

The Balm website says that this lotion smooths the skin and also slows down the aging process, but a small foil packet is hardly enough product to really evaluate those claims, so what I was really looking for was how it dealt with my problem areas, did it try to poison me, and did it try to kill me and/or enter into cahoots with my daughter?

Texture: I probably should have taken a picture, but I DIDN’T. This is a pretty thick lotion. It’s less liquidy than it is creamy, and has a greasier feeling than the two lotions I’m used to using. It’s not a slap on the face kind of lotion, but more of a rub it in type. It has a higher quality feeling to it than the two I normally use, which makes sense, considering it costs several times more than they do.

It actually made my face feel kind of greasy when it was on, too. I don’t know if greasy is the word. I think makeup people prefer the word dewy. Yeah. I was dewy as shit when I put this on. I used it at night only for the first two applications, which was about all that was in the packet. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually wear it under makeup, because it felt… tacky. Not tacky like the way I usually dress, but tacky to the touch. I kept thinking about that one scene with Jordan and Ted from Scrubs, before she was in that other show that makes up for the fact that she’s not a great actress by just writing for the fact that that’s her face. You know what I mean? I WANT TO TOUCH IT BUT I DON’T.

I didn’t really time it, or do anything really professional in nature like any kind of actual reviewer of products, but normally I put on my moisturizer and let it dry down for a bit, then put some more on my trouble spots before applying my primer and foundation, or BB cream, or whatever the hell I’m going to wear that day. I didn’t really notice this stuff drying down completely for a while. I don’t know how long a while is. You’re going to have to ask someone with a clock. I probably could have gone ahead and applied primer over this, but… I don’t know. Not my style, really.

Poison-ness: I don’t know what something called Apricot Skin Renewal Cream is supposed to smell like, but I’m guessing apricots. It doesn’t. But, good news! It doesn’t smell like poison, either! You know what it smells like? The Dollar Store at Christmas. Or that one store in your hometown that you go in and quickly realize it is really not for you because it’s all dolls or sun catchers or wall plaques with country ducks on them, but you’re the only person in the store in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and the lady who is clearly the owner came out from behind the counter when you came in, so you feel obligated to give a kind of courtesy wander of the store, but the longer you stay, the more it seems like she thinks you might actually be the type of person who is really into country ducks or whatever, so she starts kind of following you and maybe pointing out different things in the store that she thinks you might like, or that are on sale, and, really, if you were into that kind of thing, you’d have to admit, you’d be a FOOL to pass up the deal, but you’re NOT into that kind of thing, and now it’s awkward, and you have to walk out the door without buying anything. So that’s kind of a weird smell for a lotion, and it’s even weirder if you think that it was maybe intended to smell like apricots, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t think country duck when I think apricot. I like apricots.

Kill/Cahoots: No attempts were made on my life during the use of this lotion. This probably could have gone under texture, but it didn’t run at all, and I don’t feel like if it did run, it would have caused any pain to my eyeballs.

Effectiveness: Like I said, the foil packet really isn’t enough to judge if the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream can, you know, renew skin. I got two full applications out of it, and in the interest of the No Buy, No No Blog project and using things up, I squeezed out the last bits and applied them to my most troubley areas, and you know, I was pretty pleased. I ended up just applying makeup in the middle of the night to send ridiculous pictures to Diane and Jonna, but hell of my skin didn’t look kind of fantastic under the clown face. I could actually see using this at night, something a little lighter out of the shower, and then this again on my flakiest areas.

Rebuy: So, would I buy this again? Well, it smells funny, but that kind of wears off eventually. It’s expensive, to me, at $29 for 2.36oz, compared to, say, $7 for 4oz of my usual murder lotion. But can you really talk about price when you’re talking about murder lotion? I have three more lotions to consider in my No Buy, No No Blog project: a Nutrogena from the Allure Summer Beauty Box, a sample from VMV Hypoallergenics that’s been kicking around my tippy piles for a while, and another foil packet from TheBalm – Grapefruit Antioxidant Day Face Cream (spoiler: it smells like the locker room at the YMCA.) I know that the poison/murder lotions are out the door for sure, but I don’t know for certain what will replace them.

****

SPEAKING OF APPLYING THINGS DIRECTLY TO EYES: Simple brand Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes! Yes! Ish! I have definitely applied these directly to my eyeballs in my attempts to learn how to tightline my eyes (which I can now successfully do THANK YOU), and I was not killed, nor was my daughter allowed to launch any of the multiple plots that are surely in any of several different stages of hatchery at any given time. Excellent. EXCELLENT.

EXCEPT.

Any makeup remover pad, when confronted with waterproof makeup, or lots of makeup, or lots of waterproof makeup many times over, like when someone with ham hands is learning a new skill very close to the eyeball, is going to be rubbed over the delicate eye area lots of times. Waterproof eye makeup is tough stuff, and eye makeup remover, especially that designed for sensitive eyes, cannot just go at it with fire and chemicals and burn that shit all to the ground. So it takes some swiping. And swiping. And swiping. So any makeup pad, no matter how intended to be gentle, is going to start to feel like you’re taunting your eyelids with a fiberglass mitten. These are no real exception.

So. If you’re sensitive to actual makeup remover, as in, the formulation of the stuff hurts your actual eyeballs and skin, Simple Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes are an excellent choice. If you’re sensitive to having the eye area rubbed repeatedly with cotton-like pad thingers, well, maybe just rub it once or twice and call it good enough. You know what they say. Tonight’s mascara & eyeliner are tomorrow’s smoky eye.

Rage balls, Makeup Monday: Starting a Collection, and being in.

Maria has started doing Makeup Monday for the month of May, and you can look to this post on her blog for more explanation, but since I have makeup to talk about and a No Buy, No No Blog going on, it aligns nicely with my goals, so I decided to hop on board with one of the questions that came up a couple of times in the last post and sometimes on Twitter, or anywhere, really, when talk of a makeup collection gets going, and that question – we’re still in the same sentence, I think – that question is this: How does a person get started making (getting? building? having? gathering?) such a collection?

But first I have to say, I did not even think I would even get to do a post today at all, and I guess for most people I am not even really doing a post today at all, because I think the Internet is closed for most of the country at this point, or the people who have the good channels or DVR are watching all of that stuff, because it’s 7pm in Arizona, which is pretty much No One’s Here o’clock, Internet Standard Time. I’ve been laying in bed for the longest time because I’ve had terrible stomach cramps all day, and there’s maybe a two percent chance they’re related to the stomach cramps Phil had yesterday, considering we eat mostly the same food and go the same places, live in the same house and are exposed to all of the same things, but I’m 98% certain it’s a rage ball in my stomach, and if it is a rage ball, then I’m 100% certain it’s Penelope-related.

  •  Evidence One: Every morning, she snuggles up close to me, on the love seat, so that she’s practically up IN my love seat cushion, even though it’s clearly a two person sofa, and — actually, you know what?
  • Evidence Two: Once she’s snuggled up, she puts her left foot on me. And I subtly push her foot off of me. And she will be drinking her milk, or looking at the dogs, or watching television, or just otherwise occupied, and she just puts her foot right back where it was. Like it was comfortable there, and she’s just putting it back, no big. So I move it again. And she puts it back. So I move it. And she puts it back. Only by then, I can SEE HER SMILING. And she might hook her foot over my arm, or put her bare foot flat against my forearm, or whatever, anything. So I shove her, gently-ish, to her own cushion, as it should be, on a two cushion couch. And she will snake her left foot down the couch and TOUCH ME WITH HER FOOT. Until I am yelling, at a two year old, “GET YOUR FREAKING FOOT OFF OF ME. STOP IT. STOP TOUCHING ME WITH YOUR FOOT. STOOOPPPP IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!”
  • Evidence Three: Speaking of snakes (I did, up there, you can go back and check), she refused to eat her lunch today because it was snake, even though she knew FULL WELL it was steak. SHE KNEW. I knew she knew. SHE KNEW I KNEW SHE KNEW. She’s always snake-punking me. (There is a video here. You might not see it in whatever crappy substitute for Google Reader you’ve been forced into.)

  • Evidence Four: The numerous time outs today specifically for throwing things while yelling, “No THROWING!” as she heaved the item across the room.
  • Evidence Five and Six: These two potatoes she removed from the fridge, bit, and then left places.

    There’s a buttmunch loose in this house. I’ve got the evidence RIGHT HERE.

You: That’s how two year olds are!
I know I just told you.

You: Have you tried —
We are trying parenting and waiting for her to age. Those are the methods we are going with.

I just – I KNOW. I know other kids are like this. This isn’t the other kid blog, it’s my blog and my rage ball, and I’m telling you, just because other kids behave this way doesn’t make it any less of a justified rage ball. She touches me with her foot WITH MALICE AFORETHOUGHT. “All two year olds are crazy” does not make me feel any less like laying face down in the carpet come 2:30pm. She learned how to open the fridge and used her new found knowledge to bite my potatoes. Potatoes are my favorite. What did she think was going to be different about the second one? She didn’t think anything. She’s two. There isn’t any thinking. There’s a desire to bite a potato, and then there’s biting the potato. And then the potato adventure is through. No thought involved. No thought for Mama who has to have a pre-bitten potato for lunch.

I KNOW IT’S BARELY BITTEN. IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING. WE’RE A CIVILIZED PEOPLE, HERE.

I know all the sciencey stuff. Exploring her world! Checking shit out! Learning that this potato tastes just like that potato! Not learning that a decent human being RETURNS THE POTATOES WHEN DONE BITING THEM. I watched Mr. Rogers with her today, the one where he narrates while the film shows the crayon factory? That was always my favorite, I’m not unique in that, and holy shit, her mind was BLOWN. I know it’s a miraculous time and all of that, but so was pregnancy, and that was still a fucking shit show. I’m feeling all defensive because you get so many explanations. Oh, she’s two. Oh, terrible twos! Just learning about her world! This is an important time for them! No, no, I get it. I do. But if you are using those words like a sponge to wipe away at my frowny rage face I will just tell you now, there is a frownier, ragier face underneath, because one, gross, sponge. Two, foot. Three and four, my potatoes.

So anyway, my stomach hurts really bad. Two percent chance it’s what Phil had, 98% chance Penelope has put something in my food to destroy me from within. I just felt really blergh all day, so I didn’t think I’d get a chance to do my Makeup Monday post at all, but I didn’t want to miss out on helping Maria get this off the ground (seeing as how having it steaming along benefits my No Buy, No No Blog goals as well, after all), so since she expressed interest in seeing everyone’s collections and she went with lip stuff for her post, I gathered up all my lip stuff and posted this on Twitter with the Makeup Monday hashtag.

Penelope very much wanted her Lipsmacker included. She likes it applied directly to tongue.

That is, I believe, my entire current collection of lip products. Some are part of the No Buy, No No Blog project and some are just in my regular rotation. There are probably a couple of things that can be pruned out, but since I enjoy the researching/shopping/picking aspect of makeup as much as the having/using aspect of makeup like a lot of other kinds of hobbies, I don’t really end up with a whole lot that doesn’t work out for me. All of it is current, or at least most of it is, and should be still available for purchase or relatively easy to find, so names and swatches of anything you might be interested in seeing more of can be handled tomorrow. Which is today, probably, since the Internet is closed for most of you.

The question, though. Of how to start a makeup collection. Obviously I have one, but when people would ask that question, I would immediately think, “I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask someone else. I can’t help you, I have no idea.” Because, honestly, what do I know? I just buy things. But then, to anyone on the outside, who isn’t familiar with makeup at all, that probably sounds really daunting. That’s like me asking a knitter how to get started, and getting the answer, “Oh, I just knit.”

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m fairly… enthusiastic… about the things I like. Doctor Who, makeup, Korean television dramas. If I like something, I want everyone to like it. I don’t see the value in liking something before everyone else does, or in being the first one there, or in being “in the know” while everyone else is still on the outside, because I don’t see the value in loving something alone. When I love something like those things I listed, I love it. I don’t want to love it alone, I want to share it. There’s no prize in exclusivity for me – the more, the more better. The more people who share my interests, the more people I can discuss them with. The wider my circles expand. The more ways I can relate to people who were already my friends. When I am excited about something, I don’t want to turn my back and hunch over it to hoard it. I want to turn around and yell for everyone to COME OVER HERE AND LOOK AT THIS. And I do. A lot. Which, again, if you follow me on Twitter, you are well aware of.

When there is something that looks cool and you want to get in on it, there are several ways to do it. You could check a book out of the library. You could search online. You could jump in and just start doing it. Or you could find a friend who is into whatever it is you want to be into and ask for help. Those are all valid ways to explore a new interest or hobby, right? And people who were interested in makeup but had no idea where to start – that’s what some people were doing. Asking me. Some people want to know how to start a makeup collection, they see that I have a makeup collection, so they asked me. And what have I done up til now? Throw up my hands, say, “Oh, I can’t help you, I just do it.” Like a knitter saying, “I just knit.” Or if you wanted to learn how to ski, and you asked someone who skis how to get started, and they said to you, “I don’t know, you just ski.” It doesn’t make any sense. There are ways to get started. So I thought of some.

Some Ways to Start a Makeup Collection When You Don’t Know How to Start a Makeup Collection at All so You Have to Start From Somewhere: a List by Temerity Jane

∞ If you have any skincare concerns at all (very dry skin, aging skin (I’M NOT BEING INSULTING, YOU JUDGE FOR YOURSELF), very oily skin), a goo idea might be to go to a department store counter like Clinique known for good skin care systems, especially at a time when they are running a gift with purchase special. The counter lady will help you select some skin care stuff, they will maybe help you pick some makeup if you like, and you’ll get usually a little makeup bag with some free with purchase makeup products in it – which ones will depend on the promotion.

∞ OR? You can just pick a department store counter and ask for a full makeover. You’ll have to commit to buying some products at the end, but you can ask them to show you how to do what they’re doing, you can tell them what kind of “look” you want, and you’ll have all the colors chosen for you so you won’t have to worry about picking something terrible on your own.

∞ A brand like e.l.f. (carried at Target or available online, their site is always running a sale) is great for figuring out what types of products you like. Like do you prefer powder eye shadows, or cream? Or do you like pencil eyeliner, or liquid? With almost every single product under $5, most under $3, you can cheaply figure out your preferences and then step up to better brands.

∞ Ok, you know where you should start if you don’t have anything at all? Mascara. If you want to just start with something to break the makeup ice, you should buy some mascara. If you want a one item makeup collection, it should be mascara. If you want to buy two things, it should maybe be mascara and blush. Or mascara and a tinted lip balm. Mascara, blush, and a nice tinted lip balm. That’s a good way to start a collection, with those three things.

Continuation of the above point: I will be more specific now, but you and I both know that everyone is different and someone may recommend three different options in the comments, and then you will have to go your own way (YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAAAAAY (go your own waaay)): Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher, a blush of your choosing (Physican’s Formula has some foolproof ones and CVS regularly does excellent sales), and Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain.

Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter, because I am on a No Buy, No No Blog, and all day long, I point out things I would like to buy, and things I think other people should buy, usually on sale, or on sites like HauteLook. If you buy all of the things I would like to be buying, you will certainly have a collection. Quite quickly. I don’t think this is the best option. I think you’d like it, though.

Anyway. That’s it. Those are some ways that I think you could build a makeup collection if you don’t have one, and don’t know where to start. I hope it was helpful. I’m sorry if I’ve seemed closed off to the question before. That was… closed off of me. It was probably my rage ball talking. In the future, I will remember that I appear to be just as enthusiastic about makeup as I am about Doctor Who, cloth diapers, and Korean dramas, and I shouldn’t be such a knob when people want to be in on it.

Seriously. When people want to be in on what you’re in on, let them in. It’s fun when we’re all in. Unless it’s a secret. If someone tells you a secret, don’t tell. Unless it’s your spouse. You’re allowed to tell them. Don’t tell me secrets and say, “But don’t tell Phil.” Because in my head I’m already telling Phil. Unless it’s about a surprise for Phil. You can tell me those things, that’s okay, I won’t tell Phil. This is so exciting, Phil won’t even know what hit him!


Any resemblance to any person living, dead, or ridiculous when the word “you” is used is a figment of your imagination and not the intent of Temerity Jane.

A lot of thoughts about a lot of things that are mostly my kid and makeup and the HOA. You’ll need a juice break.

Hi. Before you commit to this post, I should warn you, it’s a double. Not a double blog post, but a double me blog post. So maybe scan for some words you like, or skim, or whatever. Or get some snacks, maybe a stool or ottoman for your feet. Stretch out. Settle in. I’ve been lonely. Let’s not be apart again.

We’ve been in our new place for about two weeks now. Or a year. It feels like forever, because a forever amount of things have gone on. On maybe our first or second night staying here, our neighbors started pounding on the door. It seems that in our attempt to figure out why we had next to NO water pressure in the house (delightful), we had turned a valve on OUR house that THEY had previously turned off, reactivating OUR sprinkler system that apparently had a GIGANTIC leak, flooding out their yard where they had just laid down a whole bunch of weed killer. They let us know that they had let several people who had been in and out of the house know (maintenance, property management employees, former resident) about the problem, and obviously, no one had passed the message to us. After heavily hinting they’d like us to pay for their expensive weed killer that had been washed away while at the same time assuring us that they understood it couldn’t possibly be our fault, we went inside, where I did not sleep AT ALL all night, knowing I had to call the property management company in the morning, totally prepared to have to argue about who was going to pay for it, and when we could get someone out there, and fretting about the water bill and tons of water leaking into the ground, and just prepared to do BATTLE, after what hell our LAST property management company was.

Yeah. 45 second phone call, someone was at our house within hours. He fixed the sprinkler system, then ALSO fixed a shower inside the house that – okay, you don’t need the details, but it was stupid. And broken. And THEN he relit the pilot light of the water heater which had – okay, you don’t need the details, but again. Stupid. And all of this was exciting because the water pressure appeared! And we had hot water! Because until THAT point, we’d been going back to our old place to shower, because we had the electric and water switched to our name, but since the place didn’t have a gas stove, we neglected to get gas turned on… not realizing there was a gas water heater. Oh, and gas heat. We were cold. And dirty. But just for a couple of days. And it’s warm in Arizona now. So now we’re just warm and dirty. And it’s just Pen and I who are dirty. And it’s by choice.

EXCEPT NO, IT’S NOT TOTALLY BY CHOICE. BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT WEEKEND? Both the toilets got blocked. One even in that way where it’s all clear water and you give it a cautious flush and then the water comes up and you have to RESCUE YOUR CHILD DRAMATICALLY from the oncoming flood [of a quarter inch of water] rushing toward her. I shut the bathroom door and left the house, because it seemed like a problem for future Phil. When he came home from work, both toilets were working fine, except making bubbly sounds? And then we noticed some… sediment. In the shower and tubs. And then by morning, both toilets were overflowing, and all the showers and tubs had water backing up into them. And this was a Saturday. Phil put in a call to the landlord, who put in a call to the property management handyman, who works a regular M-F schedule, so rightfully told us he could come on Monday. Because he doesn’t get paid to come from an hour away on the weekends. Phil called the property management woman back, and she was QUITE reluctant to send anyone else. Because it would cost money. It took more persuasion that was understandable to get across that no showers and no toilets from Saturday until Monday was not okay. Not. Okay. But, uh, anticlimactic ending, he did. At around 8 or 9am, she promised us a plumber between 3 and 4pm. At about 6:30pm, one arrived. Auuuggghhh.

So in the midst of all this, we’re unpacking at this house, and overlapping at the other place – finishing packing there and cleaning it, etc. Before we moved in, as part of the lease/promises of the property management company, they were to send gardeners over to restore the backyard and overall landscaping to a manageable point, and from there, it would be our responsibility. It wasn’t maintained before we moved in, and while maintaining it is part of the lease, and also part of the HOA covenant we signed, it was at a point that professionals are kind of needed – we can’t really handle the dead tree in the back or the palm tree maintenance on our own at this point. Well, though our landlord keeps checking in, the gardeners haven’t shown up, and we got a letter in our mailbox from the HOA saying it was the second notice and we need to weed/edge the front yard.

Since we just moved in, it was the first notice we received, but still. We signed the HOA covenant. We’re fine with the HOA. We know we need to take care of the yard. We feel like dicks that it isn’t done. I hate special snowflake situations. I know that I’m kind of claiming one for myself here. I’m asking you, Internet, to look at the totality of the circumstances here. We’ve been here for two weeks, we’ve had disaster after disaster, and our promised gardeners haven’t shown up. We are very aware we are not keeping up with the HOA rules that we agreed to when we moved into the community, and we know that we need to at least weed the front yard if the gardeners are not going to show up as promised, especially considering we got yet another notice from the HOA. Which is weird. Because… you’ll see.

Yesterday, Phil was outside trying to take down some of the weeds the best he could, just trying to be a good neighbor, because WE KNOW IT’S THE RULES. We’ve just had some PRESSING SITUATIONS. I know how I sound. You don’t have to tell me. I’m aware. I’m trying to get that across. Is it coming across? That I fully understand that we’re in breach of the HOA rules, and that I don’t really excuse us, but that it got away from us, and reasons, okay? There. Phil is outside taking down some of the weeds, and the “I kind of expect you to pay for this” neighbor wife sidles up to him and starts hinting around about how SHE would have expected the gardener would have come by now and how it’s just INSANE that the property management has let it go on SO LONG and SHE would be withholding rent by now.

We know now who finds the weeds to be such a pressing issue.

Here’s what’s strange. There’s not a whole ton of bylaws in the HOA covenant. Keep the lawns nice. Don’t leave the trash cans out. Don’t be loud and disturbing. No visible basketball hoops – yet, they’re all over the place. Okay. And no vehicle mechanics to be performed in driveways at all, absolutely none – but there are plenty of weekend mechanics doing their thing outside. And on street parking is prohibited. Well, people park all up and down the streets – including said neighbor, who use the cul de sac as their personal parking spot for their second pick up truck.

I’m fine with it if we live in a community where the HOA is lax. I’m totally fine with it. I’m even fine with it if we live in a community where the only bylaw they care about is the lawn. I just want to know, you know? I don’t want to be the only schmuck making my guests carpool because my driveway only fits one car, even though the people next door aren’t even using their driveway. So. Which plan do you like better?

  1. An apology to the HOA people, explaining that we just moved in, but also asking for clarification – you know, “we’ll get right on the lawn maintenance, but just for future reference, which of these rules we agreed to actually matter? Just so I’m clear.”
  2. Waiting until the next time neighbor lady strikes up a conversation, mentioning – a little embarrassed, of course – how we got tagged by the HOA for our lawn and how it got away from us with all of the plumbing emergencies we kept having during our move in, but how weird it is. “It’s so strange, though – they’re right on top of us about our lawn, but we read the rules really carefully when we moved in, and they don’t seem to care about the basketball hoops all over the place – which is great, obviously, because where else can you put them that isn’t visible? – and of course they don’t seem to mind the all the on street parking. MEANINGFUL GLANCE AT THEIR TRUCK.”

Seriously. I will follow HOA rules. I will. They’re there for a reason. And the neighbor lady can report me up one side of her frustrated life and down the other when I’m out of line. BUT TO DO IT WHEN SHE HERSELF is breaking the same bylaws just REALLY GIVES ME THE RED ASS. I just need to know. Which laws can I ignore?

Pep puts her butt on the dogs.
I don’t know.

Pep is having some kind of sleep regression. I don’t know why. I’m not going to give you the details because even with the details, you can’t fix it. No one can fix it, not at this age. It’s not a matter of teaching her how to sleep. She knows how to sleep. In fact, she’s an excellent sleeper. Except for the fact that she’s never been one of those twelve hour a night sleepers I was promised in the brochure, she’s the kind of sleeper one might envy. She puts herself to sleep for naps at the same time every day in seconds. She goes to bed at bedtime, again in moments, without complaint. Usually. Sometimes, lately. She generally sleeps right through the night, occasionally requiring a parental visit to retuck a blanket or locate a pacifier, something I’ve suspected for a while we should just stop doing, because she’s perfectly capable of doing both of those things herself. But we’ve done them, because it’s hardly anything, especially in the previous house, where our bedroom doors were so close, they were practically touching. I almost didn’t have to open my eyes to dip into her room for a second, I was practically still asleep when I got back into my own bed.

But now, the house has a split floor plan, and the trek over to her room is not as easy. And now, starting a couple of days ago with a cold that disrupted her sleep with sad cries of “Nosey! Nooosey!,” we’re ending up over there a lot. A lot. For long periods of time. In the hours that should REMAIN UNSEEN BY DECENT LADIES SUCH AS MYSELF. Is she scared? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think she doesn’t actually know how to put herself to sleep, because she usually just falls asleep. I think that side of the house is too quiet. I think she’s aware of how far away we are in this house. I think she might be scared of the sound monitor we added to her room. She calls it the “hello,” because we can talk to her through it, and we say, “Hello, Penelope, it’s Mama/Daddy.” I don’t think she knows it’s us on the other side. I think she’s a manipulator and knows if she just cries LONG ENOUGH, we’ll show up. She sleeps straight through the night some nights. She falls asleep despite her distress if she’s exhausted other nights. She won’t calm down without parental presence and repeatedly walks to her bedroom door to beg for Phil to come over no matter how many times she’s replaced in her bed on the bad nights.

It’s a phase, obviously, and it’s either attached to the cold we’re still just coming out of, or attached to moving to the new house, or it’s attached to some magic combination of circumstances that we haven’t quite put together yet, because some nights are absolutely perfect, not a peep heard the whole night through. It’s a stupid phase, and I hate it, because I already don’t get as much sleep as I require (one million hours) during the week. It’s frustrating because of course it tries our patience and we’re not our best selves with her when she’s dragging us from bed at two in the morning, but she’s crying, “Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy!” And who doesn’t feel like a buns hole stomping angrily away from that? Answer? Me. I don’t. I don’t, until the next morning. Because I’m tired.

I guess I did give you the details. But seriously, don’t try to fix it. Come on. It’s a phase. I know the whole “lead her back to bed without saying a word” thing. There’s not anything else. You can’t force someone to sleep. I can’t teach her to sleep, she knows how to sleep. We’ve introduced her to all the stuff in her new room, and the thing is, she needs to suck it up and deal, because we live here. So. Life’s tough. Get a helmet. AND GO TO SLEEP. AH’M TAHRED.

ANOTHER thing about my kid and my house? We have those handle door… handles. Like not knobs, but handles? Yeah, Pen can open those. It’s not good. She’s always bringing me shit from the pantry, which is kind of her, but my need for a box of lasagna noodles in the middle of the afternoon is low, and my need to have my window washed with a combination of her hands and the innards of a can of Coke Zero that she somehow busted open by slamming it repeatedly against the glass is slightly slimmer. Enter this thing Phil found – the Door Monkey. THE EMMER EFFING DOOR MONKEY. All hail that ridiculous piece of plastic. I love you, Door Monkey.

When Phil ordered it from Amazon and handed it to me, I did not understand what I was looking at. It makes no sense in the package, unless you’re the type who can, uh… look at things. And make sense of them. But he put it on the door in about a second and a half and my life was instantly unruined (it was ruined when I moved into a house with stupid handles for door workies, keep up).  It’s out of Pen’s reach, she can’t open the door, neither can the dogs. It can stay on the doors all the time, and you can work it from either side, so it’s not like adults are locked in if it’s on. So I can go lay in our bedroom to read with it on the door, and Phil can come in or I can go out, without removing it or having to ask to be let it/out.

It does leave the door open a crack, and the site says it’s a benefit “to allow for air circulation,” but whatever. It leaves the door open a crack. That’s either something you like, because fingers can’t get pinched, or something you deal with, like if you’re using it on bathroom doors. It comes off the door and goes back on in a hot second, so it’s not a huge deal to take it off if you are using it on a bathroom door and then put it back on when you’re done, if you don’t want someone peeping at you through the crack, but aren’t YOU fancy, using the toilet without an audience standing two inches from your knees.

DOOR MONKEY. SERIOUSLY. DOOR. MONKEY.

MONKEY ALL THE DOORS.

Benefit Cosmetics recently came out with a new concealer called Fake Up. I checked it out at Ulta, but was waiting for a couple of real reviews to come out on sites like Makeup Alley or Makeup Addiction on Reddit, or reliable beauty blogs, because all I had seen up to that point were glowing write ups from people who had attended a release party and gotten some swag bags, so not especially helpful in my eyes. Finally, though, a review came out from a blog I really like (it’s linked up in the blog crouton as well, I suggest you read the whole thing, I did), and I was especially impressed by the before and after pictures. I have an appointment this week for a free brow wax with a $50 purchase from Benefit, so I added this product to my list to buy. Maybe. But, then, I thought, I don’t really have a problem with under eye circles, so maybe not. I mean, it seemed to work well, but if I don’t have the problem it’s designed to fix, why spend the money, right?

But that thought coincided with one of the very rare days I was on the non-clicking side of the camera.

And Fake Up slinks quietly back on to the list.

Oh, are we talking about makeup? Neat! If you’re following me on Twitter, I almost always am these days, and I want to clear something up. I’ve heard quite a few people say, in response to a picture of something I bought, or me talking about some kind of makeup or tool I use or want, that due to not having/using/understanding what I’m talking about, they’re not “good at being a girl” or they “fail at girl” or something like that. I get that the sentiment is a joke, but I want to be clear that one, I don’t hold those kinds of feelings at all – I don’t think of makeup as essential to girliness/womanhood in general, or even essential to my girliness/womanhood. At all. Period. And two, I don’t know what to say when people say that to me. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I’m either on the defensive, or that I need to comfort. Either I’m too girly and that’s “uncool,” or I need to say, “Oh, you’re plenty good at having a vagina! Let me see it! I’m sure it’s there!”

I like having makeup. I like owning it, and collecting it, and doing things with it. I spend my extra money on it, and I disappear into the bathroom to play with it when I have free time. I’m not going to get into the whole “why women wear makeup” thing, because OH MY LANDS, not today, but for me, it’s a hobby. Lots of people have hobbies. Lots of people have things they spend their money on, and things they spend their free time doing. This is mine. Sometimes I wear lots, sometimes I wear none. Sometimes I look really nice, sometimes I look really terrible. I just… this is what I like to do with my time. I also like to play video games and watch television, I like to read books, and I hate to cook and I’m bad at art, and I cannot decorate a house to save my life, and I have zero hostessing skills. So. Let’s not get into a who has the tiniest most shriveled up vagina battle over it, okay?

In the new house, I have gotten all of my makeup into one smallish drawer, so it’s really not that bad. Well, one smallish drawer, plus a couple of things in purses here and there. One smallish drawer, the purses here and there, and then the tall bottles on the counter. The drawer, the purses, the bottles on the counter, and then like some samples and stuff I don’t use very much in an overflow drawer. Well, the drawer, the purses, the counter, the other drawer, and then the stuff that isn’t unpacked but that’s not a lot. And that doesn’t include hair stuff, lotions, or perfumes, but that stuff isn’t make up. And of course, brushes are separate in a different bag. So, really, it’s not a lot at all when you think about how I’ve been able to consolidate it together.

I’ve claimed the second bathroom as my own.

I wasn’t planning on this post taking two hours to write or being 4000 words long, so let me just tell you some quick opinions about some of the stuff I’ve picked up recently.

  • Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette – this isn’t pictured because it had to go back. Only a couple of the shades were really workable for me. There was a ton of fallout from a couple of them, a couple of the others were really muddy when they blended, and at first I thought that with patience, I could make it work, but… see above about this being a hobby I like to do. I realized that this palette would just NOT be any fun to play around with. Chalky shadows, muddy colors, fallout all over my face – nope. First time I EVER took advantage of the Ulta return policy allowing me to take back something that just didn’t work for me. Nope. Nope.
  • Sugarbomb – This is one of the Benefit powder boxes. As you can see, I have a bunch there lined up on the left. LOVE IT. Coralista was my first, Hervana is my every day, Bella Bamba is one I’ve stayed away from and am just inching in to using, but I loved Sugarbomb from the second I used it. It’s perfect for the summer. It’s a little bronze-y-er than Hervana, and not as soft. You can see swatches here. (That’s a good beauty blog, too.)
  • Mascaras – Clump Crusher by Cover Girl and Big Fatty by Urban Decay. I love them both. A lot. One is significantly less expensive than the other, neither makes my eyes water when I inevitably forget I’m wearing mascara and rub them. Huge bonus.
  • Naked Skin Liquid Makeup by Urban Decay – I bought this after trying the Benefit Oxygen Wow stuff that turned out to be a bad color match. I recognize that I am pale, but I always turn out to be more pale than I think I am when I’m shopping for makeup, and I turned out to be the 0.5 shade in this stuff. I liked how it went on in the store, but I’m still struggling with it at home. It’s buildable, and I like to wear it a bit more sheer, but at home, I haven’t been able to find the balance between my skin being so dry that it goes on and I get flakes between my eyes/next to my nose, and so moisturized that the makeup slides right off my nose. So I end up with a heavier layer than I’d like (it still looks fine, I’d just like to wear a more sheer layer), set with Hello, Flawless from Benefit, which defeats the whole purpose, for me, of wearing the liquid stuff, if I’m just layering on the powder stuff ANYWAY. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just only going to get the results I like from powder/kabuki instead of liquid/sponge or brush. It could be. BUT. The formulation is great – it’s super light, it feels like nothing. The range of colors is awesome, with warm and cool versions for every shade. The price is okay.
  • Brushes – My two favorites at the moment are the eyeshadow “C” brush from ELF and the Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques. If you need brushes, and you don’t want to spend a zillion dollars, these are two good places to go. On eyeslipsface.com, stick to the Studio line of brushes. They’re about $3 each, and they’re not the best thing in the world, but I like the ones I have – especially that “C” brush, the powder brush, and the small stippling brush. They won’t last you forever, but they’re better than expected for their price. The essentials line, the white handled ones, they’re not so good. The brushes are super scratchy. The foundation and concealer ones are okay because you don’t rub/blend with them as much, but that’s about it. The Real Techniques brushes are just great. If you have an Ulta near you, they often go on sale for buy one, get one 50% off, but even not on sale, they’re a great price for the quality that they are. There’s two sets that are a good deal, but I think my next purchase is going to be the travel essentials.
  • I… could say a lot more things here. I should not. You didn’t ask for this. Nobody asked for this.

I really need to stop saying things.

Please don’t sic your flight attendants on me and parenty rectangles.

The trip to Pennsylvania was hard. I mean, it was really hard. All aspects of it. Getting there was miserable. I thought the flight attendant was going to put us out on the wing. When your kid is being a total shit on an airplane, there is no stored up credit you can draw upon for all the times you’ve picked up and left stores without your shopping or sat alone at a table, waiting for your food to be delivered straight from the kitchen in to go containers while your husband circles the parking lot with a shrieking infant. No one cares about that, about how you have ALWAYS done the right thing before. And no one but the nice gentleman next to you can see that you’re desperately hunched over your child, trying everything – EVERYTHING – that you’re allowed to bring onto the plane in your one teeny tiny bag.

Nope. No one cares. The best I can figure, they just want to see you be told. I don’t know what else to think. I don’t know why else other passengers would send the flight attendant to me repeatedly to say, “Okay, what’s the problem here?” or “Okay, what can we do?” or “Well, there are other people on this flight,” and things like that until I was crying, too. All I can think is that it made them feel better to see that something was being done. I hope it made them feel better, to see me be told. I was told. I cried. I’m crying again just thinking about it. I hope my fellow US Airways passengers from that flight are feeling a little extra psychic satisfaction today.

I sound bitter, I guess. I don’t mean to. We all know how miserable it is to be trapped on a plane with a screaming child. I know. I felt for everyone else on that plane. I’ve been the person on the plane gritting my teeth with every shriek. You can’t help that it annoys you. It’s grating. You ARE NOT A BAD PERSON if the sound of a shrieking child goes right through your head. You ARE NOT. You are not a child hater. Well, you might be, but not because of that.

Before I had a kid, I would think about how I didn’t want to be stuck on a flight with a screaming kid, and I guess I thought parents thought the same way. That they didn’t want to be trapped on a flight with a screaming kid, either. But when that flight attendant came up to me and said, “Well, there are other people on this flight,” I swear, I wanted to slap her face off her head. No shit, woman. You think if it was just ME here I wouldn’t tune this tantrum the fuck out?

I CAN LISTEN TO THIS ALL DAY. I AM THE PRO OF THIS SHIT. I CAN GO TO THE OLYMPICS OF PENELOPE TANTRUMS AND TAKE HOME ALL OF THE GOLDS AND THE BRONZES AND LEAVE THE SILVERS FOR MY HUSBAND TO BE NICE.

Look, I guess I am kind of bitter. I just feel like there were people on the plane that weren’t going to feel satisfied until they saw that THAT MOTHER, that terrible one up there who clearly wasn’t doing anything correctly, was appropriately scolded for her obvious failings. You’re not bad and you’re not wrong if a shrieking child is making you LOSE YOUR MIND on a flight. But don’t fucking send the flight attendant up there. What do you think is going to happen? That she will hand us parachutes and send us on our way? That she’ll work some flight attendant magic on the baby I’ve known her whole life, something I don’t know?

You know what happened? She came up there, and she made me CRY. I was doing everything I could, I was already doing EVERY FUCKING THING I COULD, and she made me CRY. I know some people out there really hate children, and I know some people out there will read this as me saying that you need to DEAL WITH MY SCREAMING CHILD, and anyone who has read this blog for a long time knows that I am not normally of that mind. We are staunchly in the Leaver category. I wish I had a bag of credits I could dip into. I wish I could understand what the people who sent the flight attendant to me thought they might accomplish. “Oh, this is BOTHERING people? I’m sorry! Let me just actually try something instead of sitting here with my thumb up my ass! I deeply apologize!”

Anyway, anyway. I’m sorry. The whole thing was just so frustrating. I was so well prepared. Or, at least, I thought I was. You know, you have EVERYTHING, but it turns out to be just tons of the wrong stuff? Eventually I was just shoving snack after snack after snack into Peno’s face, you know? And the flight attendant walked by at one exact second when she happened to be chewing, just this one silent second, and the flight attendant says to me – you guys – she says, “See? She was just hungry.”

Are you imagining my eyeballs right now? Are you imagining them?

*****

I didn’t plan to dedicate so much of this post to my flying adventures (oh, when I was preparing to get off the plane? Another flight attendant helpfully said to me, “It’s just that the screaming really bothers some people’s ears.” OH, IS THAT IT?). There was this other thing that really made the trip to Pennsylvania kind of hard that I wanted to tell you about.

So, you know, I went to Pennsylvania for a month, just me and Peno, without Phil. And it was really tough. There was a lot of floundering with just me and Pen. We did get a lot of support in some form or another from family, but the first couple of weeks especially were very difficult, mostly due to expectations not being met, on both sides, both what was promised and what I think are natural expectations of a stay at home parent and kid or even of just a mother and kid. Expectations that, while probably natural, I think do a disservice to my husband, and maybe a lot of other husbands.

So, if you think of parenting as… a shape of some sort. Say a rectangle. A rectangle that is completely filled in with some percentage contribution from both parents, giving you a 100% parenting experience. In a two parent household like our own, I suppose you might find it fair to think of it 50% blue and 50% pink, using standard gendered colors because, whatever, I like them and it’s easy.

Then, when I went to Pennsylvania with Peno, you’d be dealing with a 50% pink rectangle, and a 50% big white blank that you’d be expecting me to stretch over on my own, with cobbled together help from relatives and people in Pennsylvania, right? 50% is a lot. A person would get a lot of credit for covering her 50% and then doubling herself somehow and covering the same over again. Maybe. If it was just a person,  for one thing, and not a mother, and for a second thing, if we were even talking about a 50/50 divide.

But if we’re being realistic, I’m both the mother and the stay at home parent. So, consciously or not, if we were to ask people to take a stab at shading our rectangle – mine and Phil’s – it would likely be more pink than blue. Fair? Doesn’t matter. We’re talking about assumptions here. Not even necessarily deliberate ones. Just assumptions. Maybe when I got to Pennsylvania, people were expecting me to be covering more like  a 40% white gap. Or even a 25% white gap. And that’s not that much. That’s not twice what I’m used to like the 50% example above. That’s just a small stretch. And just for four weeks. And I’m the mother. Mothers can stretch.

The thing is, just because I’m home and Phil works, or just because I’m the mom and he’s the dad, does not mean that our parenty rectangle is more heavily pink than blue, or even that it’s an even split. I’ll tell you the truth – it’s not. I felt a lot of confusion at times in Pennsylvania – why are you handling this so poorly?  Because the bulk of the rectangle IS NOT HERE. I can only cover so much of this white space by myself, and without Phil, it is MOSTLY WHITE SPACE.

And the sad thing is, I don’t think that ever would have occurred to anyone. Sure, lone wolf parenting for an extended period of time is hard, but the mother can do it, albeit in an exhausted, clunking along fashion.

At different phases of Peno’s life, we’ve both taken turns making up the bigger shaded portion of the rectangle. This particular time is not mine. I don’t really feel like I need to explain the inner workings of our parenting any farther than that, other than that it will shift back, and back again, and back again, who knows how many times between now and forever.

Everyone who I visited with in Pennsylvania was sincere in expressing their appreciation to Phil in giving up an entire month of Penny’s life, to let them spend that time with her, but not necessarily as sensitive to me about what I was missing for that month. My husband, for one (okay, it’s hard for parents to see their kid as grown with a husband). My house (or a home of her own that she might miss, why would she? She’s in her home! That she grew up in!).  Or an absolutely enormous chunk of what keeps the whole Penny machine rolling.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’m going with this. Maybe your husbands get enough credit. Maybe husbands in general do. I’m just saying, just because it looks like a stay at home mom and dresses like a stay at home mom doesn’t mean its parenty rectangle is… mostly… pink… someone should have stopped me six hundred words ago.