Have You Eaten?

My Auntie Ollie would greet everyone with a giant hug, a kiss on the lips, and always the same question: “have you eaten?” It didn’t matter if the answer was yes, you were about to get fed. Homemade baked goods, some form of roasted meat, cheese, nuts, her famous pickles and meatballs, she could pull together a gourmet plate in two minutes flat.

I know that food isn’t actually love, but sometimes it feels an awful lot like it.

I had a bit of an odd day. I woke up and finished reading Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved, which left me feeling discombobulated and a bit raw. It was a well-written book, and I enjoyed it, I just wasn’t expecting to connect so emotionally with the story.

My emotional hangover and the pouring rain set the tone for the day. I started with buttermilk pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse and dotted with chocolate chips for Grady, followed by a shrimp omelette for Shawn. I spent hours stirring Poppy’s favourite pasta sauce as it simmered away on the stove. I hard-boiled eggs and layered them with bacon and local tomatoes and baby spinach for packed lunches. I washed peaches and blueberries and contemplated picking blackberries before the rain picked up and kept me inside.

Food isn’t love, exactly, but we all need to be fed and there’s something beautiful in the simple act of feeding others.

Eleven

Twelve years ago we ate cheeseburgers and watched the fireworks and you asked me to marry you.

Eleven years ago we stood on the rooftop of an Irish pub and sealed the deal.

Last week we celebrated Grady’s eighth birthday. This week we celebrated Poppy graduating out of diapers.

Life is a trip and there’s no one I’d rather be on it with than you.

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Moony

I’ve always been a full-moon kind of gal. My brain works best with a visual aid to process what’s there, and so I’ve felt disconnected and almost indifferent to the new moon.

But lately I’ve felt a pull toward the new moon. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or, I don’t know, more weary? But I feel like the darkness has something to offer me. The new moon doesn’t put on a show. There’s no razzle dazzle with her. The new moon is a blank slate, ready to be filled up with whatever I’m feeling, and prepared to meet me wherever I am.

Tonight is the second new moon of July. It’s been an intense week; we’re coming down from the high of Grady’s birthday celebration, and Poppy has been making some big kid changes from toddlerhood to preschooler. I welcomed tonight’s new moon with an open heart is what I’m saying. I lit a candle and tried to fit a short meditation in between kid chaos and checked in with where I’ve come since the last new moon.

Saying goodbye and letting go have never been easy for me but I think my moon practice is helping me see the value in it. I can’t move on and progress if everything stays the same. Checking in with the moon helps me see where I’m going and how far I’ve come.

Do you roll your eyes at woo or are you here for it?

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Crap

Today is day two of potty training Poppy. Look, I don’t love the term “potty training” either but I don’t know what else to call it. I’ve heard it referred to as “instilling toilet independence” but I dunno, seems to be more words for the same idea? Anyway, call it what you will, this week is devoted to getting Poppy out of diapers.

I don’t remember potty training Grady. I remember being lazy and letting him decide when he wanted to be out of diapers, and then when he did decide well after he turned four, he just stopped using diapers. We had some struggles getting him to give up Pull-Ups for pooping (I will never forget my Poop Doula days) but overall it was a relatively pain-free experience.

Poppy has some skin issues that would be better off not in the warm, dark, moist confines of a diaper. Her daycare is closed for two weeks so I’m home with her this week, and we’re spending next week at my parents’ house, so now is the perfect time for us to instill the crap out of some toilet independence. We figured she was physically ready (she goes long stretches with dry diapers, she knows when she’s going to go, she’s uncomfortable in a dirty diaper, etc.) but we were struggling with the mental aspect. Her tenacity is daunting. She told us she didn’t want to give up diapers and none of our attempts to frame it as fun, exciting, grown up, etc. worked to change her mind.

So I did what millennials do. I one-clicked a solution straight to my door.

Full disclosure: the book is long and my attention span is short. I made it about a third of the way through the book before our self-imposed start day but I credit what I learned in the first few chapters with getting us through an extremely rough first morning. I think my biggest takeaway of this experience so far is that diapers can provide a real sense of security. When Poppy woke up yesterday morning and her nighttime diaper came off and I reminded her she wouldn’t be wearing daytime diapers, she had what I can only describe as a toddler panic attack. There were buckets of tears (hers and mine), negotiations, confusion, anger, and regret (mine, all mine). But the book helped me stand firm while being empathetic instead of frustrated. We cuddled, read stories, coloured, listened to music, watched her favourite show, played cars, and talked about the potty a lot. We didn’t have a single successful toilet experience all morning, but it didn’t feel like a failure. My attention was 100% on Poppy for hours and to be completely honest, that doesn’t happen often.

Once we got through the challenge of morning, it was like a switch flipped. Poppy started voluntarily running to the potty on her own. We had some successes and some messes but we made it through day one.

I appreciated how the book prepared me for the first day. I didn’t expect to get anything else done, I knew I wasn’t going to leave the house, and I fully expected to be doing a whack of laundry that night. And all of those expectations were met.

We’re on day two but still in block one (the book separates the different stages of potty training into blocks) but Poppy’s confidence has grown. We even left the house in underpants and drove to the far away park, played, and made it home before Pops emptied her bladder on the bathroom floor. Progress, not perfection as the book says.

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