What’s Happening?

I dropped off the blog with no announcement. My book club schedule  gone awry. Podcast… what podcast? What is even happening anymore?

I don’t know.

There are a good number of things I want to talk to you about. That I want to write about.

Things like… how I died my hair purple.

… how I LOVE IT.

… how I will never ever do it again.

Things like… what happened with my kitchen!

… how all of the construction finally ended.

… how now we have a space that feels more like me, like us, like ours.

… how the first summer in our home feels.

Things like… Fae is almost 2. She turns two on Thursday.

… how did that happen?

… how that is making me feel unaccomplished and frustrated.

So many things. So many marriage things I want to talk about on the podcast – which WILL return. With willpower. And time.

But I’m also enjoying feeling not rushed to the computer. Feeling like I don’t have 3 jobs. Feeling like I don’t even have time to think about what I think about, let alone write it down. There is no leisurely tea drinking, gazing out the window time over here. I have been so busy and feeling like I’m barely holding it all together. Barely squeaking past the deadlines, barely grabbing the kids on time from school. Barely making it to my bed before I fall asleep.

Kamel gets annoyed that I need to sleep so early. 9pm? Delicious. But I explain to him how I go hard all day, from the minute a child forces my eyes open, I am go go go. On the weekends we are up! and going! to the zoo! and to the store! and to the park! and snacks! and lunch! and naps! and yardwork! and laundry! and and and. During the week it is everyone to school, everyone to work, shoveling salad into my mouth in front of the computer, finding 45 minutes to sweat until I maybe feel like I’m going to barf. Kids. Dinner. Bath. Chasing babies in the backyard, beach towels, sprinklers, wiping down counters, folding more laundry, turn fans on, cracking open bedroom doors. Realizing I haven’t showered since….?

And being in it is good.

I want to be here too.

I’m finding my way back.

(TWO on THURSDAY. HOW.)

The Burden of Being The Oldest

I have been thinking about this post for weeks but have not had a quiet moment to sit and right it until now. I have been feeling painfully protective of Gabriel lately. The necessity of mothers and fathers everywhere to hang back and hold your breath and watch your small (and big) child exist in the world becomes harder and harder the older they get and the more injustice and mean-spirited crap they face. I am just at the very beginning of all that.

But more than Gabe telling me that so-and-so doesn’t like him or someone at school doesn’t want to play with him, I am most protective over his interactions with adults.

When you are the only 3.5-4 year old at any event. When the other kids are babies and young toddlers, who are adorable even in their tantrums, whose desires are simple, who have only a few demanding words – it’s hard. I hear all of his questions, his attempt at organizing the world, his energy level, his magnetism to touch all the things he shouldn’t touch and play with all of the things he shouldn’t play with and I feel self-conscious for him. While other babies and his little sister toddle around, picking things up that we don’t want them to have, we chase after them, removing things from their iron grips or redirecting them to tissue paper. But with an older child we say, “No Gabriel. Don’t play with that. Put that down please. That’s not a toy,” or “Gabriel, gentle! Be gentle!” or “Not over there, Gabe. Stay out of that room.” And it’s not cruel scolding or even really a raised voice, but there is a sternness there, that only he is subject to.

Babies and young toddlers are adorable inconveniences. Older kids can be, genuinely, exhausting. But Gabriel isn’t actually doing anything wrong. He’s playing, or he is excited, or he is exploring, or he is talking without any volume control, or he isn’t hungry but needs to sit at the table anyway, or he has no awareness of his own physical space.

Almost every day at daycare pickup I have to hear about something Gabriel did that wasn’t awesome. Whether he bumped his head (oh well) or he smacked another kid with a block because they were continually pushing over his tower (not great but probably deserved) or if he didn’t eat the food that day (not surprised) or if he was “overly excited” (wtf he is a little kid) or if he was sensitive (he has big feelings) or he was grabbing kids faces (wtf Gabriel) or WHATEVER it is…. I get that update. And it makes me really uncomfortable.

I have great respect for teachers and assessments and if my kids turn out to suffer from a learning disability or have a behavioral issue that needs to be addressed, I want to be 100% on board. But I also don’t want Gabe to be labeled a bad kid because he is an energetic, goofy, theatrical, goober face. He is super loving, who has big feelings, who is still learning to follow directions and listen with his ears. I don’t want him to feel like he is a bad kid, because he isn’t.

I don’t think that Gabe is forever being scolded at school. I think his preschool is teaching all of those little hoodlums how to be actual humans in the world. How to sit in a seat. How to respect personal space bubbles. How to pick up after themselves. But these little picky feedbacks I receive paired with parenting being a constant lesson in picking my battles, consistency, and kindness, plus my sensitivity to his interactions within our social group – it has me feeling sad for him. He is still so little and I want him to be treated with patience and kindness. I don’t want people to see him as this giant limbed energizer bunny bound to destroy all things breakable. (I mean, he is, but he is also so much more!)

As kids grow they get more complicated. Gabe doesn’t stay where you put him. He gets himself up after naps. He gets his own milk out of the fridge. He wants to know why. He can acknowledge when his feelings are hurt. He hears what you’re saying to him and chews on it. A few days after he’s done something wrong he will often say to me (while in the car or during quiet moments) “Mama, I’m sorry I broke daddy’s glasses,” or “Mama, I’m sorry I splashed all the water out of the bath.”

In a lot of ways babies are more fun. They are so cute. Even when Fae adamently says “Nnnnnno!” I just want to scoop her up and cuddle her. When Gabe says, “NO!” I repeat what I’ve asked him to do and say, “If you don’t pick up the thing you threw on the floor by the time I count to three you’re going to be in timeout.”

I don’t want the bulk of his interactions to be negative. I don’t want the world to view him as exhausting. I worry they do because he is, but he is also so many other fantastic things too. I hold my breath and watch him exist in the world. But I also tell him how amazing he is.

Gabe’s 4th Halloween, Fae’s 2nd

This fall has been loony tunes but we are slowly making it happen. Things are starting to fall into place and that is a huge relief.

Last week was HALLOWEEN! And it was the first time that Gabriel actually asked to wear a costume that he picked out himself and wasn’t terrified at the idea of putting it on.

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Gabe came home one day saying he wanted to be Spiderman for Halloween. We have never seen any of the Spiderman movies or cartoons or anything in my house. But he knew exactly what he wanted and recognized the logo and the outfit in stores. So… sure! Last year when we brought him into the costume aisle he was shrieking in terror. Everything is a phase everything is a phase everything is a phase.

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Fae was a bumblebee.

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Buzz buzz buzz.

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Bumble Bee Down!

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It was raining and dark and cold when we went trick or treating, but it was everything my childhood was. Parents in rain coats with flashlights, hustling kids to the front door.

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Fae did so good, trotting along to each house, holding (mostly) her little bucket, picking out candy. Gabe was really into pushing doorbells and only needed to be held for the first two houses because “NO IT’S SCARY.”

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We ended the evening a few blocks over at Laura and Byron’s where my children terrorized their cats and dog for 20 minutes and we all dried off.

Definitely a Halloween success! Things are getting so fun around here.

Wednesday

I did promote that this week we would be fully back with print and podcast! But – as my post headings infer, we’re getting through this big move and transition and schedule change and and and – one day at a time. So here we are. No podcast. I had plans, but they didn’t make it to fruition. Soon though, soon.

Wednesday is about Gabriel.

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The older kids get, the more your heart breaks for them, because being human is hard and cruel and they still don’t know it and you never want them to. But they sense it. They get whispers of it. And it is confusing.

Gabriel is goofy and loving. He is imaginative and earnest. He is careful and nervous. He loves his sister. He is annoyed by his sister. He watches over her and teaches her things and plays with her and wants to get away from her and wants her to stop playing with his toys. He shares with her, he comforts her, he shows her things. He includes her.

“Fae. Faaaaeeeeee. Look Fae! Look at this! See?”

Gabriel is also annoying. He whines. He demands. He throws tantrums. He is defiant. He is stubborn. He is crazy in the way toddlers are crazy. If something doesn’t happen the way he expects, he is difficult. He repeats an act 5 times until he is satisfied that you have seen him do it the way he wants you to see him do it.

He sings his own made up songs that are narrating his life. He dances. He shows me his dances 700 times a day. He sings along to songs in the car.

He requests snuggles. With blankets. Before he gets up in the morning he asks, “Can I snuggle with mama in mama’s bed?” But lately it’s changed. “Can I snuggle with mama in our bed?” Yes. Always. Every day.

He doesn’t like to be rushed in the mornings. This reality is hard for everyone to deal with. He gets upset if we have to do something RIGHT NOW. He will freeze and do nothing if you get mad at him. It is not an effective way to handle Gabriel. Flexibility, softness above sternness, listening, patience – these are the things that Gabriel needs, these are the things Gabriel has taught me.

The transition to a new home and a new school has been a lot for him and he is doing so well. He is also being extra difficult. Extra frustrating, extra annoying. But also, my heart breaks for him. He has no control. He just wants a little control, but he has none. Everything is new, the rules have all changed, his little brain is grasping at straws.

At Gabriel’s old school he was very much loved. People there had known him since he was 10 months old. So when annoying little boy things start to develop (As they do in every child. We can’t all stay sweet sweet 18 month olds forever), I know that they had already been charmed by him. This new school, that is not the case. They get a Gabriel that is trying to figure out what they are saying to him (Spanish immersion), while navigating new friends, a new classroom layout, and new expectations. He also has a cold and a cough that is keeping him from napping. I see all the things these new teachers could see: He refuses to eat most of his lunch, he doesn’t nap well, he is whiny and difficult, he doesn’t feel like doing the art projects and instead decides to sit quietly and cut up the paper, when you’re giving him a direction sometimes he interrupts you and does a silly dance and then asks you to watch him doing the silly dance 5 times.

I see all of the good and all of the bad and I hold my breath on his behalf that he is liked and loved and finds friends and is happy. But even if he was the most trouble and the most annoying, which he is not, but even if he was an absolute terror, I would still feel complete heartbreak if people didn’t like him.

When I feel the urge to apologize for his inconvenience (and don’t) the words that are swirling in my head are this: You have to know and understand how much I love him. Please be kind to him, because I love him. Please be gentle with him, because I love him.

It sounds so… simple and shallow. But it is so deep. His hurt is my hurt. His discomfort is mine. Except I feel it a million times more in my attempt to absorb the impact.

Returning Soon! But First a Status Update

The podcast and the blog have fallen silent because I am in a deep dark transition hole.

You guys. Moving has been so hard. And the move itself was probably the easiest move Kamel and I have ever had together. We are pros at this packing thing. The movers arrived and we had the entire apartment cleaned out and all of our belongings (except for the pans under the stove, whoops, and the wall mirror behind our bedroom door – extra whoops) in 12 hours. And everything was ok. I was ready to get out of there, all I wanted was to get into our house and start settling in and setting up. The kids were with my parents overnight and we were focused and pumped for unpacking, rebuilding furniture, finding our life again.

And it was all good, I felt progress, we were humming along. Until I didn’t feel that way anymore.

Once the kids got home I realized just how big this space is. And this sounds initially like “my tiara is just too shiny!” but, that’s not it. You have to understand that my family has been spending it’s entire existence in a space that is the same size as our current den. There were never any stairs, there was only 1 exit, if I shut all of the doors to the bedrooms and the bathroom I was never more than three wide strides away from my bolting kids or a fallen toddler. We cooked, we ate, we played, we snuggled all in the same space. And now we have a 2,000 square foot house. With an upstairs, two living rooms and three exit points. The kids got home and the family SCATTERED. How do you cook dinner and keep the 3.5 year old from running out the front door? When he can open locks and open doors and we don’t have enough baby proofing – you can’t. How do you manage their transitional feels while also needing to find pajamas and where are the paper towels? And do you remember where we packed the baby shoes?

It’s herding cats and narrowly avoiding 3 alarm fires and feeling like I’m drowning drowning drowning 95% of the time. All while working. All while supervising light construction and maintenance. All while trying to do laundry and find my bras and oh shit the kids have no clean pants for school. I am generally very orderly. I know where everything is and everything has a system. Except here. Not yet. There are no systems, only surviving. Only 50 million trips up and down the stairs. Only hour long bedtimes to get Gabe down. Only dinners frantically made with the 2 pans I can find and thank god for yogurt snacks. Thank god we’re 5 minutes from a target.

As Kamel and I manage the daily things, the working and the feeding and the dressing, we are also trying to manage our kids’ transition. We started them at a new daycare that is Spanish immersion and I know its hard for Gabe. He is exhausted. So many things he is figuring out and learning. And I worry about them so much. He says he misses his friends. He names them. I feel so guilty. Is this the right thing for them? It cut down their time in the car from 45 minutes to 7. It gives us an even better chance of creating bilingual kids – a major goal of ours. But I still worry. Is he sad? He was at the same daycare since he was 10 months. Is this what he needs? I trust that it is, but I worry anyway.

All the while Kamel and I are not giving any attention to our own transitioning. This is hard. We have new routines on top of a new house on top of the dysfunction of having everything you own scattered about in boxes. I am so tired. I am never not tired. I am painting on my lunch break. I am dropping the kids off and picking them up. Running out the door late because a work call ran long. Our bedroom is a mind-field of half unpacked boxes and piles of clothes.

It will get better. We’ll get things unpacked and find our way. But in the mean time I am scattered and sad and tired and I have no more output. This is the year of running on empty. Somehow I’m still doing all the things, though my enthusiasm wains and my attention span is minimal. I forget plans and schedules, to do lists and tasks I genuinely intended to complete. This can’t keep up. When and how does the recharging happen? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Episode 26: The Shower Debate

Sometimes I begin a podcast thinking we’ll have something poignant to say and then it devolves into arguments over having time to make eggs for breakfast and taking long showers. This is one of those times

As a follow up – this morning Kamel got up at 530 and got showered and dressed before the kids got up. I also got up at 530 and prepped a bottle for Fae in case she woke up before 6 and I wouldn’t have to scramble. The kids chilled in their room until a little after 6:00. It was a great morning where everyone got to eat breakfast. Success!

I Turned My Hair Blonde(r)

A few weeks ago I walked into my salon with a bunch of saved photos of ladies with rockin’ hair and I said “I want to look like this.”

I do not feel like a blonde person. My identity is not blonde. I have brown hair and pale skin, and I look great in red. These things I know. But since approaching my 31st birthday and for probably a handful of months before that, I have felt OLD and TIRED and BORING and OLD and throw in some more OLD in there. Like deep in my bones haggard.

I look at myself in photos of my friends and I don’t think, “hot damn, girl.” I think, “ugh.”

I look in the mirror and I see exhaustion. I see messy hair and tired, tired eyes, and a total lack of luminescence. Where is my sparkle? It got sucked out of me by two tiny humans and a lot of have-tos and stress and the juggling of adult life.

But I am only 31. I am not ready to become old and tired and haggard and sad. I don’t ever want to be, but certainly not NOW.

A few years ago, before I had Fae, I was sitting in my cubicle at work and I had this jolt of sads. I felt like I had missed my opportunity to reinvent myself and take grand fashion risks. I felt that the person inside me was not being reflected outward. That I was way edgier and way cooler, and way more willing to take big risks. Except now, I needed to be professional and I needed to uphold a certain amount of who-knows-what, and that risky time had passed. I had MISSED it.

It took the confidence of being in my 30s to realize: No. I have not missed it. I can do whatever the hell I want to my style or my hair or whatever. And it doesn’t mean anything. It only makes a statement if I want it to. If it doesn’t work, oh well, try try again. Going blonde doesn’t have to mean anything other than I wanted to try something new to see what would happen.

It’s not like it ever is that deep, but sometimes these decisions FEEL that way. What will other people think? What if it looks bad? What if I hate it? Those questions seems so loaded. And I do swirl them around in my brain. I do ask friends for opinions and sit on it all for a minute. I was going to go grey/lavendar, but after researching it the upkeep was just not something I was willing to do. I am nothing if not low maintenance. And I don’t like having roots. So chunky blonde it is!

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I also did something super vain. And, like, whatever. Sometimes we need to do things just because they make us feel pretty, add a skip in our step, or erase an insecurity.

I went and got an airbrush spray tan! (After the above photo… for clarity) And it was kind of awesome. It was a little bit of an adventure because there are things that need to be done (like not showering or working out or getting wet for 12 hours after application), and I did stand in a room in just a disposable thong with a lady where a gas mask as she painted me with a sprayer thing. Overall it was awesome! I saw many people after I got it done and no one even commented on the fact that I looked tan, but it did take the winter grey out of my complexion. They had a range of tan options from 1-4 (like a spicy scale at a thai place) and I went with a 2.

I’m reporting on this because I was a little embarrassed by it initially. Like, seriously? What am I on the Jersey Shore or something? But it wasn’t like that. I avoid sun burns like crazy, and am adamant about sun screen and I still can burn. I don’t want premature wrinkles, sun spots, or cancer. But having some color is just NICE. And! And! What I do with my body, or what anyone does to their body shouldn’t be shameful. Even if it’s as silly as a spray tan. Even if it’s botox or lip injections or whatever. Ok, maybe the people who turn themselves into cats deserve some side eyes. But, those choices don’t have any bearing on my life! So, you do you, kitty.

At the end of my two week blonde/tan transformation, I definitely felt less crappy. Definitely more like I have my shit together and less like the frumpy ugly duckling in old gap maternity t-shirts. I’m still in my gap maternity tshirts, I just feel better about what’s underneath.

Getting Lauren back. One transformation at a time.

Episode 18: Frankenstein

This is the second episode of the season, but the first with a reader driven question. For some reason this struck a defensive nerve with Kamel and I even though we actually do an excellent job.

The question from the reader:

My biggest fear about having kids is that it will drastically and negatively alter my relationship with my partner. My question is: Does it? How do you deal with that? How do you maintain a strong, meaningful relationship with your partner after kids (especially little kids)?

And because I feel like this episode is a total mess and we may absolutely fail at actually answering the question, here are some bullet points – real world things we actually do to accommodate each other despite our children.

  • Guilt free time alone. Whether that is a movie or shopping or needing to hide in the bedroom to write (me). It is so important to gift your partner 100% resent-free space to still be a human. I think whether you have kids or not this is pretty major.
  • Being willing to take the kids places by yourself in order to give your partner space at home by themselves. This is different than the going out and about first bullet point. Because we all need to sit around in our sweats and not have to justify it. We all need to take long showers and paint our nails or finish a book or whatever, without being pestered.
  • Date nights and babysitters. Have many. Use them. It’s hard to use them, I know from experience. It is hard to ask for that. But it is SO AWESOME when you do and you leave the house together, without children, and then it’s like all you see are rainbows shooting out of each other’s eyes.
  • Ultimately be a team. Have inside jokes away from the kids. Steal their treats in the kitchen together behind your toddler’s back. Share knowing looks. Make out during nap time. Share a glass of wine after a successful bedtime. Celebrate each other. Be kind.

If anyone else has their own married-with-kids tips and tricks please comment. I will steal them all.

When The Kids Wake Up Early

When the kids wake up early but they have both slept through the night it is the opposite of this. It reminds you of why you love the mornings the most and why you love living in the city. Death to suburbs. The city will always be where things are most authentic.

There is something about walking down a street filled with bars and restaurants and your shadow and the few shadows around you are long, but not because it is so late, but because it is so early. Just a few hours before this moment, the street was filled with people, buzzing people, looking for their ubers and lyfts, pressing each other against grimy buildings, limping in shoes that are too high and too tight and too fabulous. The flick of cigarettes and the under arm sweat from a stuffy bar or a busy dance floor being blown away by the night breeze. The honking horns and the yelling after friends or enemies, the vibration of strangers bouncing off of each other. There is something about walking along those streets in the early morning with just a few people within ear shot, just a few cars on the streets where there used to be many. The energy from all of that buzzing lingers in the quiet with the long shadows. If you stand still and put your hands out and close your eyes, you can feel it there, pulsing.

I love the city so much.

And I know it all happened because it was a beautiful night in Seattle, with a warm breeze after a hot, clear-skied day. And those nights here are more than electric. They make you forget every other annoying thing about this place. The long summer days that turn into summer nights while the sun is still up are worth anything and everything, you think. Even if that can’t possibly be true.

When the kids wake up early, but they are happy, and there is sunshine through the windows making everything yellow, and there is Brandi Carlile coming through the speakers it makes you want time to stop forever. We’ll just live here, in this morning, in this day forever and ever and be happy.

When the kids wake up early they go down easily for an early nap. And you get to linger in the shower, which didn’t happen until 12:30, and truthfully that isn’t even that bad. You make sure to get a new razor before shaving your legs and you even try out a new moisturizer. You stand in your closet naked and damp and think about what to wear. Do you even own summer clothes? They have to be in here somewhere. And you have time to flick through the closet, finding that maxi dress you completely forgot you even had, because the kids are sleeping soundly. You have all the time in the world.

This is so much better than leggings and a t-shirt, you think. I should do this more often, you think.

Sometimes you get a babysitter just because you should really do that more often, and you make plans with your partner to go spend the day outside, doing outside things in this beautiful summer weekend. (Can you even believe how fantastic this weather is?) But instead you go to a bar and sit on their patio with sunglasses pushing your hair back and you both eat tacos and drink micheladas at 3 in the afternoon like you’re so unburdened. You’re so free you don’t even know what to do with yourselves. It’s sickening and it’s fantastic.

When the kids wake up early and you don’t even mind because you’ve slept, your partner sometimes muses, “I think that consistent sleep might be even better than sleeping in.” And you think, “oh my god, duh,” but you say, “For sure.” And nod in agreement.

Okayest Traveler

I’m still trying to figure out how to properly send you to my World’s Okayest Moms podcast without hyperlinking you to all of the places. But there are only so many hours in the day. I would love to be able to host TWO podcasts here, so you could listen in a post (as so many of you do), but I haven’t (meaning Kamel hasn’t) figured it out yet. Sigh. So for now, I will link you.

The specific podcast I am referencing is this one about traveling with tiny humans. And I think I’ve linked it here before. (There is a more recent one about co-parenting too! And how much I hate it, but it is also working out totally fine, but I hate it, but omg single mamas, you guys are killing it out there.)

I want to bring this traveling one back up again because I brain farted when we were podcasting and I didn’t tell the most horrible parenting story of my parenting life when I had the chance, even though I had planned to and saved my story for this one moment and EVERYTHING. And then poof. I dropped the podcast story-telling ball. Thank god there are three of us on there.

So now, I will tell you. The most embarrassed I have ever been as a mother happened in the San Francisco airport coming back from Miami. For full backstory, we had just gotten off a 5-6 hour flight, we had had to wake up the kids at there 3-4am. Gabriel had been very sad and very confused as to why we were making him get out of bed. He did not sleep on the plane. We were all sunsoaked and smelly and Fae eventually put on a pair of Gabe’s boxer briefs as pants while on our layover in SFO because her pants got too dirty and we had no extras for her to wear. Gabriel was living on a diet of yogurt bites and M&Ms. As a family, we were hanging on by a thread.

When Gabe gets over tired he becomes a maniac and acts out in ways that I do not understand. He becomes an anarchist. He will look at me like I’m not even there and act out for no reason at all. It is impossible to reign him in and it is totally the worst.

We had let him run free in the airport when we got there because he is 3 and had just endured 6 hours in a chair. And also because we had 2 hours to kill. BE FREE! We bought him a legit smoothie hoping he would drink it and eat some fruit. He had like 2 sips. We were sitting in these giant red chairs, per his request, and he was sitting and spinning and just kind of generally wandering around within my sphere of influence. The next table over from us was an older couple. The man was reading a non-english paper, and the woman was sitting across from him quietly. A few minutes later she got up and went somewhere else, leaving her section of the paper on the little coffee table thing in front of both her and her husband. In very literally a split second Gabriel reached over, grabbed the woman’s paper and flung it into the air as he walked past the table.

Let me let that soak in. He is walking past, grabs the section of the paper with his left hand, and flings it into the air without even looking at it as he walks by.

The sections separate and float down in different directions. What I believe are prayer cards that have been clearly removed from a very old book and that were folded into her section of the paper scatter.

And then I died.

I hiss in a loud voice, while marching over to grab my child, some form of parental scolding. The older man is just looking at me, saying nothing, with a face of total contempt and disbelief. Kamel is handling Fae and didn’t see what happened. I have to then explain to Kamel, breifly, what happened while I’m also explaining why he needs to keep Gabriel OVER THERE while I go back and run around picking up the paper and the prayer cards and trying to put them all back together again while I apologize profusely.

The man, my only audience, remains disgusted at my actions. Doesn’t utter a word, but watches me run around picking up all of the papers like a bad mother who can’t control her fucking kids.

I am still dying. It is a slow, terrible death.

When the woman comes back I hear him explaining to her what happened in a different language, while boldly gesturing in our direction. That’s when I shoo Kamel and the kids away. We need to go somewhere else, ANYWHERE ELSE.

Yes, yes children are an extension of our hearts living outside of our bodies. But they are also representatives of our arms and legs, and they move independently of us, so often to our extreme horror.