Winging it? Question Mark?

Anything I was ever good at (anything I ever succeeded at is more accurate… good at might be a stretch) was because I just sort of walked into it. Stumbled into it, through it, oh this is where I am now. Not that I didn’t work hard or make the best of wherever I was whenever I was, but so many experiences in my little world could have been absolutely non-existent if I had actually thought and planned and followed a play book.

In college I just did stuff. I just up and got an internship. Moved to North Carolina for the summer, stayed on Wake Forest’s campus. It was insane and expensive and lonely and oh god so so so hot. I took a red eye that flew through Ohio and it wasn’t until I was in a really long cab ride after my second flight that I thought, holy shit I am ALONE and I am really far away and I know nothing about what I’m about to do for the next few months. How did I get there?

I moved to San Francisco without ever being there before. Just drove on in with my best friend and set up shop in an apartment I HOPED would fit all of my stuff, an apartment I had signed a lease for sight unseen. It had mice and it was moldy and dark and terrible, but it was somewhere.

I met my husband off of twitter. Not even on purpose. I told him to pick me up on my cross streets for a photo shoot that was his idea because I thought that was internet-stranger-safety.

There are a million examples. Biggest maybe being Gabe. What did we know about having a baby? Nothing. What does anyone who has never had one know? Nothing, nothing at all. And I know nothing about having a 2 year old, and I know absolutely nothing about having a teenager, but so far we’re doing pretty well.

I do well when I jump into a situation and then assess. I work well when I can figure out the specifications of whatever is going on and act accordingly. I get anxious and make mistakes when I try to anticipate what’s about to happen. I didn’t read any parenting books when I was pregnant. I didn’t read any pregnancy books either. I just did it and as things came up I asked questions.

The only thing I know about marriage is what kind of person I want to be as an adult and what kind of person I want to be with me during that time. I work to try and make that a reality and that’s pretty much it.

A few weekends ago I felt completely unheard by Kamel. One of those days where all the little things piled up and toppled over and it was the kind of fight that starts out as a very calm, “hey would mind next time…” but then quickly turns into, “And then… AND THEN… AND THEN!!!!!!!!!” And Kamel left before I was satisfied  and took Gabe to the park and I stewed in my own pissed-off-ness and I’m-not-being-heard-ness and I’ll-show-him-ness. And I went around the house systematically picking up all of Kamel’s wonderful handheld game devices and his fancy headphones he cherishes so much, and I hid them, scattered them around the apartment in places he would never look in a million years. And then I felt way better. He thinks it isn’t such a big deal to inconvenience me? Well I’ll show him!! I then sent him an ominous text about “All the things he loves most” … very ransom note style … and waited.

When he got home he knew there was a mystery to solve and my petty vindication turned into a lovely game where he understood that at any point in time I could fuck up his world and I felt loved because he was adorably searching high and low and not at all getting annoyed with me for briefly, if only on the surface, fucking up his world.

What I’m saying is, we’re starting to potty train Gabe and I just can’t bring myself to adhere to a certain program. On one hand this makes me anxious, on another all of my parenting successes have been of the brand “Well this seems to make the most sense and isn’t going to kill him, so…” So I’m just winging it? And remembering in the back of my head how to potty train a dog? And also being patient and kind and encouraging? And we bought a potty? And I figure eventually he won’t need diapers and we’ll call that success. This is me giving myself permission to not totally know or understand what I’m doing, but to have faith that it’s all going to work out. So that’s what I’m doing. Pat on the back for Lauren, it will all be ok.

11 thoughts on “Winging it? Question Mark?”

  1. Here is how I potty-trained my older two kids (youngest is 8 months so no hurry there): Daycare. Their teachers told me they thought the kids were ready, I said okay, and then they did the work. You say it’s time for pull-ups? Okay I can buy those. You say I should bring her in just underwear and if she pees on the floor you’ll clean it up? Sounds great! I seriously have no idea how to potty-train a child so I leave it to the experts. Whatever works, you know? Good luck with Gabe!

    1. After I wrote this post we informed daycare we were potty training and they said, “great! we take them to the potty every hour!” and I almost cried from relief.

  2. “The only thing I know about marriage is what kind of person I want to be as an adult and what kind of person I want to be with me during that time. I work to try and make that a reality and that’s pretty much it.”

    This is so smart. I feel like people are always trying to figure out the rules, as if happiness is an equation with only one solution. But no one would suggest that the equation is “Have a stupid fight + hide your partner’s things + ransom texts = feel loved by adorable search for things.” That makes no sense, and it would probably not even work a second time even after it worked once. There just are no rules and no equations except what you stumble into when moving towards the ever distant horizon of where you think you want to be.

    Also: HAHHAHAHA. This post is hilarious and makes me miss you and I’m not kidding when I say it is my dream that we all move to Mexico and retire together and live in little bungalows during the winter months so when Kamel bugs you I can wander over and help you hide his glasses and extra special old man headphones or whatever. (SORRY, KAMEL!)

    1. hahahahahaha!!! I dream about retiring to mexico always. Can we have an adjoining courtyard? I’ll meet you there for margaritas every day at 3. Then we can watch Kamel wandering around trying to find his glasses.

  3. Oh Lauren this is just so perfect. And I am sure you will do great. You are a great mom, and such an example. I always look up on you, oh she did this like this, oh remember when she wrote about baby food. Case in point I am crazy looking for aluminum and glass bottles, and they are nowhere to be found in Holland and crazy expensive via the UK. But I will succeed. Bottles are findable I think, straw sippy cups are more complicated.

  4. I am probably going to come off as some internet creeper, but I have been reading your blog from around the time Gabe was born. I had my daughter a few days before and finding someone who was going through the same things I was made me feel just a wee bit less crazy.

    So basically what I’m trying to say is I think you are amazingly inspiring and awesome! Thank you so much for making this girl feel ‘normal’

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and you are not a creeper at ALL. It’s comments like this that make ME feel like not a total weirdo. They mean the world to me.

  5. I am sort of the opposite in that I research ev-er-y-thing and try to plan ahead and get all the info, etc. etc. but it’s something that I find weirdly comforting. I know that I can do it my own way (and do, often) but I just like researching things. BUT I did identify with this post a lot anyway because a few years I gave up on having a long-term life plan. Welp, I quit my job and now I’m doing this photography thing and OH GOD one day I’m going to be like 50 and what will I do then?!? Um, self, I will figure that out when I get there! A lot of times you just have to keep taking one step after another and eventually you will get somewhere and if you don’t like where you are, well you just keep walking in some other direction! I like that you are doing it on a micro level and I’m doing it on a macro level 🙂

    1. I love this. Yes. Micro and Macro.

      I do have my moments of intense research. Especially when it comes to spending money. Vacations? I am a research FREAK. Buying stuff for the house/kid…. i read all the reviews and make a list of pro/cons. I’m exhausting.

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