May 27

What I Wish I Knew Before Having Boys

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I watch my children run around outside, playing together and laughing in the beautiful weather. My heart fills with joy, as they do “boy” things, like play in the dirt and pick up bugs they find. I feel like the luckiest man in the world, blessed with a beautiful, happy, set of sons I get the pleasure of watching grow up. I shuffle them inside, marching them to the bath to clean the fun dirt from behind their ears so we can sit down for a nice lunch together. Family, it is such a beautiful thing. Washing my son gets awkward. His little trooper stands at full attendance, as I wash around his body parts to make sure everything is clean.

No one ever told me about this. They told me about colic and how to deal with a blow-out. I learned, from the parenting books, what was best to pack, the good and bad of crying it out. I learned fun games to help my sons grow cognitively and how important balanced meals were. I must have missed a chapter.

No one told me about the baby boner and now I am left to feel like a worker at a seedy massage parlor when I wash or change my son’s diapers. I think Viagra should rebrand it’s self.

“It will get you up like you were a baby!” 

I only speak of the baby stiffs because literally had no idea a baby could do that until my twins were born. Pull the diaper back and HELLO, THIS ISN’T THAT TYPE OF PARTY, YOUNG MAN!

I found out a baby boner supposedly means the kid is about to pee. Which, completely confuses me from my own personal experiences with erections. It makes me wonder why my children always are about to pee during Princess Sophia.

They don’t have to pee, they are perverts.

The twins, recently potty trained (hallelujah), have taken to pulling their underwear to the side and flicking their little boy toys while saying “Daddy, look! Pee Pee!” I have zero interest in looking at my son magically make his balloon animal grow, which I am quite vocal about.

It means they are about to pee, said the female expert. Have you ever had a boner, lady? Peeing with an erect..erm…member is like trying to convince your child to finish their vegetables. It ain’t happening, professional baby boner chick.

There is a lot you deal with when you become a parent. I didn’t sign up for dealing with hard-ons. I will wipe a butt and give a bath with a smile. I did not sign up for dicks dicks dicks all in my face.

You think they could have covered that in health class? I mean, I feel it would have deterred me from parenting.

“Let’s make a baby, baby!”

“Uh, what if we get a boy, babe?”

“We can name him after you. He can be Junior. Oh, please, my love, let’s make a baby!”

“Uh, I ain’t dealing with baby boners you better pass that box of condoms and pop your birth control or I am gonna go back to Netflix and Chilling without you.”

#Sorrynotsorry

I am here to expose this issue like my son exposes himself. Inappropriately. I can get by with school not teaching me how to file my taxes or do a mortgage but I will stand up against the lack of education about willy wonders of the toddler world.

Why didn’t anyone give me a heads up. Oh my god, I am gonna be sick.

May 19

Am I A Mommy Blogger?

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I was super excited recently because I decided it was time for me to take down mommy blogging. Then someone beat me to it. With like, a bajillion words more than the seven hundred I probably would have dedicated to the subject. Seriously, it was like the blog equivalent to War and Peace.

Mommy blogging has provided me with an existential crisis. Unsure of what I am in the big blogosphere, I must go on a vision quest to find my true identity.

Am I *gasp* a mommy blogger?

Outward appearance would say no. I am a dad. I have this penis, making me giggle like a twelve year old for using the word penis. But, I pal around with the mommy babble crew.

Are there dad bloggers? Yes, there are. Yet, I feel I identify more so with the mommies than dads.

I will pause briefly for you to insert as many trans- jokes you can. Extra five points for a joke about Target bathrooms AND trans.

I will also briefly pause for those who feel I crossed a line. I guess you don’t read much of me.

I identify with and hang out with the mommy crew. For most of my bloggy career, I have been supported almost a hundred percent by women. During the time I was and participated in a group of dad bloggers, I still found my blog and page being supported almost entirely by women.

Now, were these just lonely housewives and I was their cabana boy?

*Wink* *fetches ice cold refreshments*

Whatever the reason, I made a lot of friends that were, for a lack of a cooler term, mommy bloggers. Is the community oversaturated with females writing about their experiences in motherhood?

Well, if I said yes, it would make a constant theme of my writing null and void. I have always held fast to the belief everyone has a voice and their voice should be heard. So, if a ton of women want to be heard, who am I to say it is saturation?

Is this industry rife with sell outs who would make Gene Simmons proud? Sure. But, who cares? The amazing thing about the internet is the ability to literally walk away from it. Literally.

You can’t see, but after the second literally, I stepped away from my laptop to prove a point. So, like, imagine that. 

Am I a mom blogger? I don’t know. 

Do I meme so hard motherfuckers want to take my word pictures and take my name off them.

Check. 

Do I get unreasonably upset about things that don’t affect me and go on long tirades about them?

Uh…Check. 

Do I incessantly post about my children and the little things they do all day?

Check, and brb got to hit up my Instagram with some photos from dinnertime. 

Do I review products and tell people how they must have them?

Have you seen Multiples Illuminated is available NOW on Amazon!!!!! Also, Check. 

Have I pushed a baby out of my body?

Ch—Challenging this question due to the fact that there are mommies with adopted children. Boom. 

So, if you look at it, Punk Rock Papa ain’t nothin but a sucky mom blogger too. Aw, shucks. Maybe I am not purebred mommy blogger. I am, at the very least,  like the little brother they are forced to bring to their friend’s house.

“Why is he here? I can’t believe they always make you bring him! Let’s peer pressure him into wearing makeup.”

FYI- Purple totally makes my brown eyes POP. I know this, from being the younger sibling forced along on my older niece’s hangouts with her friends.

What you write doesn’t define you. If you use your blog as a source of income, it doesn’t define you. I don’t identify as a forklift driver because I do that at my job five times a week.

What defines you is how you treat those around you. How you lift those people up along the journey. So, if I am a mommy blogger, I hope it stands for encouraging. Proud. Nurturing. Loving. Attentive. Kick ass at writing lists about what to do with your day off. A devoted parent.

That’s something I can live with.

May 16

Teenage Angst

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“Look, I found one.”  he said, holding up a half smoked cigarette to me. Lighting it, I took a huge draw before handing it back. We each got two puffs of stale tobacco before the cigarette was gone and the search for another half-smoked discarded cigarette renewed.

The air was warm and humid. Humid enough that you felt a slight weight as it clung to your shirt. Here we were, searching through discarded smokes, trying to sate our nicotine urges.

It had been a long, blurry night. At about eight o’ clock the party arrived. While I didn’t have a job, I had something most didn’t. I had a place to party. The two bedroom apartment with connecting kitchen and living room was strewn with the clutter of broken furniture and stains of people who couldn’t make it to the toilet to throw up after a night of drinking. People would come over to drink and do whatever drugs and would share their booze or narcotics. It was a fair trade off. The urge to party sometimes runs headfirst into the problem of not having a place to rage.

I provided the space, people provided the party. My stomach, along with my cabinets, hadn’t digested anything but cheap beer or even cheaper vodka for the whole week. It was only Thursday.

It wasn’t always this way. I was six months removed from a decent job, a family and a respectable living arrangement. My life had done something I was all too familiar with.

It had fallen apart.

That was the summer I almost lost everything, including my life. The appetite for destruction couldn’t be sated and there wasn’t a drug that went through that apartment I didn’t personally test.

Sifting through cigarette butts, we found two more that were good for a drag or so. What do you do when you’ve got nothing to do?

Our friendship was about as new as my latest spiral out of control. It worked, because our spirals somehow aligned.

How the fuck did I get here?

I wasn’t a terrible bad kid. I was a bad kid, I wouldn’t say I was a terrible one. School and I never agreed on a subject. I was an honor student. It wasn’t that I didn’t like school, I wasn’t a class skipper. The problem was more so the amount of time I spent in class waiting for the teacher to move on. The regular courses came so easy to me that I found myself sitting there; bored and restless. In the time I spent waiting for the teacher to make sure no child was left behind, I daydreamed. Since a young age, the studies were easy and I found myself having to look busy. You know the tortoise and the hare? I was the hare; too fast for my own good. So, while my peers struggled to understand the complexities of the multiplication table, I would sit there, furiously scribbling on a blank piece of paper seeing who would win out; the paper or the ink in the pen. My notebooks were filled with pages saturated in nothing but ink as I scribbled and scribbled to see if the pen would run out of ink before the page became a black hole.

So, as kids slowly progressed, I filled notebooks with nothing. Throughout elementary school and middle school, my class notes were nothing more than pages black and torn from extreme pen abuse.

By the time I hit high school, my two talents were getting under people’s skin and hitting people who got under mine. In my eyes, all my fights were justified. The principal had my parents on speed dial. Maybe it was the feeling that I wasn’t noticed unless I was in trouble that drove me.

That’s what any number of psychologists might tell you. The truth? I was bored and the only way I could find interest was pushing into the unknown.

By high school, a mix of sports and an ability to choose harder classes had leveled me out. Honor courses gave me less time to fill sheets with empty blackness.

if there was something I enjoyed more than pushing into the unknown to see what would happen, it was proving people wrong. By the time high school had arrived, my main goal in life wasn’t to fill notebooks with nothing, it was to prove people wrong. When my guidance counselor looked at the tome of a file on me, she adamantly refused to put me in honor classes. I would be a high school drop out before sixteen, she said. The only classes I ever excelled in were the ones she told me I would fail in.

My parents began a countdown to when they could get rid of their troubled child my senior year. To say I had teenage angst would be an understatement.

I fucking was teenage angst.

Halfway through my senior year, I moved out. Taking a bag of everything I felt I needed, I shacked up with a friend who had already graduated. My parents assumed that was it, I was finally proving everyone right and dropping out.

Quite the contrary.

As I took the stage at graduation, it was hard not to raise a middle finger to the bleachers. Just a nice fuck you one last time. I had no intention of ever talking to them again and I am sure with the burden of me lifted they would be just fine in their day to day.

How did I get from stage walking to sifting through the cigarette butts?

I was broke. I was bored. I was filling the nothing with blackness, just like through grade school.

The summer had begun to reach a tipping point. As more and more drugs and alcohol made their way through my apartment (and my body) my spiral only quickened.

By spiraled, I mean I began to just smash unapologetically into oblivion.

That’s what can happen when you just don’t care. I mean, fuck, no one cared. If anyone did, they certainly weren’t showing it. Nights were spent inhaling anything we could get our hands on.

The substance was the substances.

We gathered empty beer cans from around the house, making our way to exchange them for any change we could get. The change wouldn’t go towards food, but a black and mild to tide over until the party began to show up again.

These were my days and I thought I was living.

The party came. The alcohol flowed. The drugs popped. The party went. I found myself in a room of broken furniture and spilled drinks, looking for meaning in the form of a late night visitor.

When the alcohol and drugs are gone, sex or violence are good substitutes to continue filling with blackness. I didn’t care who she was, I just needed her there. Some semblance of relationship till dawn. A pretty little thing, enabling in a crop top.

Maybe everyone saw how much I didn’t seem to care about my well-being, so neither did they. Maybe, they had enough of their own shit to deal with to worry about the problems of others. We were all young and fucked up, angry with our parents and the world; looking to lash out with sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Walking cliches. Young, dumb and full of cum.

I told you the spiral began to transform into true, pure, destruction. Right?

By Sunday, I was threatening to kill myself if I didn’t get my late night fix of human connection. Did I want to off myself? Well, being alive didn’t really seem all that great. Besides, at nineteen, I felt invincible anyways.

When the cops showed up at my house, asking me why I wanted to kill myself, I laughed. I couldn’t kill myself with so much to live for I told them, hysterically laughing as they shook their heads and made their way to go do whatever cops do after they feel their time is wasted.

Did I want to die?

Yes. Absolutely. I wouldn’t off myself though. For all the self-loathing and destruction, I knew my story didn’t end in some shithole apartment.

No, there had to be more to life.

May 5

Trendy Activism

Do people still care about bathrooms? I mean, not just the people affected, but other people. The other people, who saw something on their newsfeed everyone was talking about and took it upon themselves to weigh in with their opinion. And why not? It is Facebook, also known as the Athens of the internet, where people can get all philosophical and show their progressiveness.

This isn’t about bathrooms.

I remember Starbucks red cups. The anger over boycotting Starbucks. It is always all those religious folk, trying to keep the world backwards. Recently, I purchased an expensive coffee from Starbucks. The Sulawesi, Single Origin, Dark Roast. It is delicious. I would drink it out of a cup that said 666 on it or some sort of Fascist quote. The coffee is moral compass erring good. But everyone was mad at people being mad about the PC or something. I didn’t really understand red cup fever to be honest.

This isn’t about red cups.

What other trends have swept the blogging world’s Parthenon (Read: Facebook) into a heated frenzy?

Well, we could talk about the Me-ternity sensation sweeping the blogging nation. Holy crap, want to piss off mothers in your vicinity? Announce you need a me-ternity.

This isn’t about you-ternity or whatever that is.

What about the presidential election. Puff Daddy or P Diddy or Diddy or whatever he goes by now must be pouring tears of joy as his VOTE OR DIE campaign finally is a success. Everyone is into politics now. I mean, it is trending.

This isn’t about politics.

Facebook has allowed us to care, somewhat, about current affairs as they ebb and flow through our newsfeed. It has given platform to our opinions that people should use whatever bathroom they fancy. Drink from any cup they wish. Not compare maternity with vacation. Vote.

The problem is, do we genuinely care? When topics no longer are trending, we move on to campaign other causes.

Well, yeah, we don’t want to beat that week old drum longer than any of our peers. Besides, if we took the time to continue to care about topics trending down, how would we make time for the topics trending up?

I will be the first to admit to getting caught up in feeling like I was a part of a movement, only to realize a week later I didn’t care as much as I thought I did in my mobbed up moment.

I cared about Syrian Refugees, but I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I wanted a difference to be made, I contributed to that difference being made, with my many Facebook fights and blog post(s). Hadn’t I given my everything to the cause? Besides, no one really cared about Syrian Refugee Crisis anymore. My readers certainly didn’t.

Well, maybe the refugees still actually care…

What happens to these causes, when they no longer decorate your newsfeed? Have they been solved?

I don’t know, since no one is continuing to talk about them. If they are still talking about them, the words have been lost as the next battle in social justice wages on for it’s week. If it’s lucky, people might care beyond a week. Hell, it might rage on for a long, weary, two weeks.

But, why are we talking? Are we talking because we are empathetic to a situation or are we *gasp* speaking from our soapbox in an effort to maintain a sense of relevancy. Maybe grab some likes, with our forward thinking and unique approach to the situation everyone is talking and reading about.

The problem is, when the time in the spotlight is up, we toss issues affecting real people to the wayside. This isn’t activism.

“Are they protesting? Well, they will get bored in a week and go protest elsewhere.”

Kids these days ain’t chaining themselves to trees no more.

It makes me sad to think, maybe, we aren’t as empathetic and understanding as purported to be.

I won’t hold my breath for anyone to come forward and admit, maybe, they did it for the likes and shares and views and to show they are progressive or relevant. That they rode the coattails of a trend to Facebook page likes or a small paycheck from a submission based site.

Maybe people do truly connect to every cause that seems to sweep the book of face into frenzy. They truly connect, on an empathetic level, and feel these causes to their very core. I could just be a cynic, or worse, an ass.

Next time you get caught up in something. A few weeks later, as you fight a different social justice battle, think back.

Did you really care as much as you said you did? Did the problem get solved? If not, why are you no longer fighting for something you felt so deeply about?

Hi, I am Briton Underwood and I am addicted to social justice. It’s been two weeks since my last Facebook fight over an issue I never heard about before that day or talked about after.

April 27

What if One Of The Kids Is Gay?

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“What if one of the kids is gay?”

The question echoes in a quiet living room. Toys litter the floor, but the weighted question, about the possibility of one of our children being homosexual, fills the room. Our kids are still in diapers, they don’t know a thing about love, attraction or relationships yet. They hold their cousins’ hands and give kisses freely as signs of affection. It’s far too early to wonder about the sexual preference our children may or may not choose. But, as we sit there after a long day, the question arises. What if one of the kids grow up and are gay?

“Well, I guess we won’t be doing sleepovers.” I say, laughing off the question.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t know. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s to acknowledge my lack of answers for most questions. Before parenting I had an answer for every scenario from tantrums in Target to getting my children to eat their vegetables. After years as a parent, I find more often than not I am eating the promises of perfection I made before my children were born.

I can’t handle a tantrum at the grocery store with the grace I purported I would.

My kids throw their food on the floor far more often than I care to admit.

What if one of my children is gay? How would I react?

I like to think I won’t be judgmental. I hope to sit there, caring and understanding; as a pillar of support for my child. Well, I hope my kids are comfortable enough with our relationship to come to me about their sexual preference and trust in me to support them. Would them not being heterosexual be a culture shock? Yeah, absolutely.

Growing up, the term gay was tossed around loosely. It wasn’t identified as a derogatory term for a group of people. I didn’t learn gay as a slur until my teenage years. If I didn’t like something, it was gay. There wasn’t this deeper connection to hatred for a whole community of people. As high school came and went, we learned gay and other words had deeper, darker, hateful histories.

As parents we want our children to be accepted, no matter who they are. If my child is gay, I worry about social acceptance. While this is a super progressive era we have the fortune of living in, being gay is still being different. It isn’t that I am scared of my child being different, I am more scared of my child being treated differently.

If my child were gay, will I shrug it off as a phase? Will society?

Would he be embraced for being proud of his orientation or will he hide it out of fear?

The question is weighted and goes beyond the face value of preference. It reminds me of the importance I have in my own household to be open and welcoming. To create an environment of understanding and pride in who you are as a person.

What if one of my children is gay?

We will cross that bridge if we get to it. Hopefully with some grace and understanding.

April 21

If You Don’t Agree With Me, Engage Me

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“If you don’t agree with me just unfriend me please.” Has become my biggest pet peeve. On the adult playground we know as Facebook, you can see it everywhere. People so ready to end friendships because you don’t agree with them. This mentality, I can only assume, came from watching children stuff their fingers in their ears and scream “la la la, I can’t hear you!”. Someone saw their kid do that and thought, ‘How can I do this , but in a real grown up way?” Oh, yeah, on my Facebook safe space.

Trigger Warning : People who deal in absolutes like agree with me or don’t be my friend- I might call you a pussy one or two times. 

I get it, defending the things you believe in can be tough. You have all this space to spew opinion, no time to have your opinion questioned.

If you don’t agree with me, accost me. Engage me. Question me and allow me to question you. Don’t deflect. Don’t end friendships. Engage in thoughtful discussion. You want to mudsling? Do it.

Stand in the face of things you disagree with and voice your opinions loud and clear. Then, defend those very opinions of yours as they are not unquestionable facts.

Let me repeat that-

Your opinion is not a fact. It is open to debate.

Too often nowadays we don’t like hearing we might be wrong. We don’t like to sit there with someone who doesn’t agree with our infallible look at the world.

Is it an absolute sureness in our opinions or a fear our opinions might not be 100% right?

Disagreements used to lead to duels. Now they lead to someone turning into a keyboard samurai, swiftly and deftly dealing that deathblow move; the unfriend.

Change, growth of ideas, thoughtful evolution, does not come at a refusal to address counter beliefs. Now, sure, there are those out there content to not actually discuss their opinions in a thoughtful way. They resort to attacking you directly usually.

I do that. All the time. Pussy. The problem is, when you shut EVERYONE out, from those educated in their beliefs to those who enjoy calling you a pussy, you are closing the door on any sort of critical thinking whatsoever.

You are putting your fingers in your ears and saying, “I’M RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG. LA LA LA- I AM AN ADULT.”

But, that is the joke. You’re not. The unwillingness to defend your beliefs isn’t valiant or deserving of the coveted Facebook like affirmation. It is a way of saying, ‘I think I am right, that’s good enough for me.’

It’s stating you believe in your opinions but not strongly enough to stand by them in dissertation. In the face of being called a pussy, or worst, an idiot.

Historically speaking, it is shown what happens when people refuse to engage in discussion. When they sit comfortable and fat in their own self- righteousness.

This is when we see bigotry at an all-time high. This is when we see the evolution of backwards thought. And why? Because people chose to sit and ignore adversity. To sit and not argue with differing opinions. Afraid to be wrong or be dragged into a drawn out fight.

If you fear illuminating other minds because someone might be mean to you, then what is the point of even holding your light up and saying you are a beacon of progression?

It isn’t always the person you are arguing with whose opinions and thoughts you are trying to persuade. A presidential debate isn’t for one candidate to convince the other to think their way. It is for the onlookers.

The skeptics.

The thoughtful spectators, looking for a well-formulated thought defended. If you turn your back because you don’t like what the other person is saying, you erode at your own arguments.

And you’re a pussy.

April 20

Should You Buy Multiples Illuminated?

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I will be the first to tell you I don’t trust reviews. Not only do I not trust reviews, I especially don’t trust reviews of self-published books. You got a bunch of your friends to review your book? Yeah, they totally won’t be biased about it.

For all I know, every invitation to write a review of a friend’s book comes with a five dollar bill and a wink.

To be fair, no one asks me to review anything, so the going rate for a good review could be even less than five dollars. It could be more. Book people, how much do you pay for solid reviews and can I get in on that. Your friend, BookLurver69.

We all know each other in the blog world. There are many secret groups where we kick back, share word pictures and call our followers names.

I am just kidding, we don’t kick back. Most bloggers are neurotic and wound too tight to kick back.

So, I find myself at a weird crossroads of sorts. A ton of reviews are coming in about the book I am in. All of them good. Some of them even highlighting me in the book.

The spotlight, it burns so good!

What do I do? Do I continue my mistrust of reviews or do I accept these might be people genuinely liking the book? I could write my own review of Multiples Illuminated, but am I not even more bias because I am in the collection?

It is a quandary for sure.

Should You Buy Multiples Illuminated?

Here is what I do know;

1) If you like my humorous writing, you can find it in this book. If you don’t, then I really don’t understand why you are reading my blog right now.

2) I was paid a set amount for my writing. After I signed my rights away to the writing, I could have stepped away from promoting said book. I didn’t because I believed in the project. Once I got my advanced copy of the book and began reading it, I continued to promote because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3) I hate self-promotion. I am not promoting me. I want to promote the book as a whole. Why? Well, I think the other writers in the book are better than me. From the get go there are beautiful stories. It kicks off strong and by the time I got to my piece towards the back, I was enjoying an amazing collection. I wasn’t reading to see my name anymore. I had moved to reading because I truly liked the writing.

4) A tremendous amount of care went into putting this book together. I felt lucky to see the inner workings of self publishing. The grinding to build a platform for the book inspired me. Alison and Megan have been nonstop working on this and their work has paid off into a seamless book, equal parts resourceful, heartwarming and humorous.

5) After purchasing multiple copies (see how I used multiples. On purpose.) I actually didn’t make any money off the book. I had to purchase a copy for myself. A copy for each of my children. A copy for special people in my life and I need to purchase a copy to send to my high school with a ‘suck it’ note attached. So, I actually lost money on this book. Excuse me as I panhandle out front of my house. The book is $15.95. Not exactly a bank breaker.

6) I personally offer to sign every copy bought. You buy the book, message me and I will give you my address. Send it, I will sign it and send it back. I will even pay the return shipping. Look, I can see my GoFundMe on the horizon to pay for the massive debt being in this book has created.

7) The book is written by parents of multiples. It is written with parents of multiples in mind. (That shouldn’t be too big of a spoiler. Sorry if it is.) Now, you might not have multiples. This book is for everyone. It offers an amazing glimpse into life with twins, triplets and more. Instead of stopping the person in the grocery store with twins, just read this book and let that family get their groceries. They will be grateful. I know I will be if it was me. You can carry it around with you, pull it out and point at it while winking as if to say, “Don’t worry, I already know your secrets. I am a cool and hip onlooker in the know.”

I don’t know if this counts as a review. I hope not, because I still don’t trust those sort of things. Over the next few weeks I will probably do some sort of free giveaway or something. I don’t know, it depends on if I have to declare bankruptcy. I believe in this book. I believe anyone who buys it will realize not only is it a resource but also an amazing collection. If you don’t like the book, use it as kindling  for your summer bonfire. I won’t hold it against you. I bet the book even burns good.

 

Order here. Tell me whether you like it or are using it for fire starter: http://www.amazon.com/Multiples-Illuminated-Collection-Parents-Triplets/dp/0996833501/

Here is a collection of the reviews I am mistrustful of: http://multiplesilluminated.com/2016/04/buy-multiples-illuminated-2/

April 17

Look At This Photograph.

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I take a lot of pictures of my children. I don’t know if I take more than the average parent, but I constantly have the camera at the ready, snapping a good ten to fifteen photos of my children at a time.

To me, it’s important to document their growth.

Maybe it is a bit more personal than that.

You would be hard pressed to find many images of me as a child. The handful I have were uploaded online by a dear family member. The only one who seemed to treasure my childhood enough to preserve documentation of it’s existence. Besides the half dozen or so photos she uploaded online, I have zero photos of myself as a baby.

A small collection of me at a creek as a toddler. 

One of me on a small horse.

On the back of a quad. 

Some school photo. 

Me, doing homework during my first return to California after the rocky transition to living with my brother in Connecticut. 

My childhood, is largely carried on through stories told to me. I try to pretend to remember the details of summer days and toddler foibles.

The story of when I jumped in the pool without a life vest. When I was brought to the surface and asked why I went swimming without it I said, “I wasn’t swimmin’, I was drownin’!” 

The time I threw a rock straight up into the air and knocked out my front teeth. I looked up, wondering why the rock hadn’t soared over the fence. I remember looking up. 

I try to remember more than extension cords running between apartments. More than my strawberry patches being picked clean by a bully. My watermelon being knocked out of my hands by another bully.  

I don’t remember much of the good from being a child. The memories I do remember are an assortment of feelings.

The good is really good though. The pride of buying a ruby ring for a woman I loved as a mother. Watching Wallace & Gromit. I remember enjoying church. Looking forward to learning about God through Kiwanis.

I am hard pressed to find many memories of my childhood. Try as I might to search my consciousness for memories, most exist in a weird state of ‘did this really happen or did I make it up to fill in a gap?’

I am terrified of my children having to live like that. I want them to have access to their childhood as adults. To see the good, the bad and every moment in between.

I photograph nearly every moment, sometimes filling my camera roll with hundreds of photographs a day. I fill my Facebook with images of their childhood, in part due to the serious lack of my own.

They say as a parent, one of the biggest things you want is to try to give your children everything you never had.

I want my kids to have proof of their existence. Tangible proof of the moments, so they never have to second guess whether they really happened. Someday we will be able to look back together, and I won’t have to question how their childhood went, like I question my own sometimes.

April 5

What the F*ck is Konmari?

Awhile back, I wrote about needing a new hobby. I got some awesome feedback over the hobbies I should pick up, even putting some of them to action. I am now a farmer, my proud plot of dirt sitting in my kitchen windowsill. Three of the four herbs I planted might even survive my intense glares and constant watering. The forth never popped out the dirt. I thought about sacrificing a child to the great windowsill planter gods, but decided I couldn’t spare a child. And the knives were all in the dishwasher. I mean…

In my quest for hobbies led me towards all the cool and hip things people are trying these days. One in particular stood out to me. Konmari.

My laptop doesn’t even want me typing the word. It keeps auto-changing it to Kenmore.

Kenmore KONMARI is a decluttering method seeming to sweep the nation. While the idea of turning spring cleaning into a hobby seems, to me, to be absolutely mind-numbingly boring, it has really picked up among people I know. Good for them. I can’t hate someone for doing something they enjoy. But, I can hate what they are enjoying.

It’s not you, it’s the Konmari.

I wonder what is next? Is Konmari new? I don’t know, because I stopped reading up on it. On account of I fell asleep.

Maybe Konmari scares me. Is it the final rite of becoming an adult? Does it lead to the mystical Laundrigami where I find myself folding underwear into triangles to better Feng Shui my underwear and sock drawer?

I have a lot of questions about Konmari. Growing up, when we practiced Konmari it went something like this:

“Clean your room or I am going to come up there with trash bags.” 

Is this the same thing? If so, I am very familiar with Konmari as my parents practiced it on my room at least a few times while I was growing up. Now, I am sure at this point, my blog has been put into the ‘does not spark joy’ category, headed to the trash along with that book you’ve held onto for sentimental value for the last decade.

I am sure Konmarenthusiasts (I made this up, but feel free to use it) will scoff and say, “How is this any more stupid than your precious football games. At least we are doing something on our Sundays other than spilling nacho cheese on our shirts”

To which I reply- Football is a NATIONAL TREASURE. Watch your mouth. I just started a diet and this is goat cheese. It isn’t even football season, talk shit on the current seasonal obsession of hockey.

But seriously, if any Konmaraddicts want to come over and declutter my house, this is less an attack on your art than a plea to clean out the piles of shoeboxes filled with random stuff that take up space in my closet. I reserve the right to shout “SPARK OF JOY” at anything I want to keep and offer you permission to fling things at my head for making fun of Konmari. Please don’t use a black trash bag as it gives me flashbacks of when my parents would trash bag my room after I promised to clean it multiple times.

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This is a picture of a puppy, victim of Konmari after too many accidents in the house.