Thanksgiving

I sit, on the eve of my favorite holiday, wondering what to write.

Instead of capitulating and catapulting into a lengthy life story, I’ll retire slightly earlier. I’ll give you the same opportunity. After all, the focus of a holiday should be on what brings you true joy.

Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you well, whether you celebrate or not.

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

At least eat something delicious. You deserve it.

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Last week, I wrote:
Wednesday, November 16: “Expert Parent, in the making.” We can’t all know what diapers are for.

Friday, November 18: Friday Photo. Holy mackerel.

Saturday, November 19: “A Poem on Living.” It’s a bittersweet one.

Sunday, November 20: Quote by G. K. Chesterton.

Monday, November 21: Talked about the LDS temples, and temple recommends.

Tuesday, November 22: Answered Carrot Ranch’s prompt with “Speak to Me Only With Thine Dementia.” For the record, I’m not fond of the title.

Wednesday, November 23: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

Expert Parent, in the making

“Babe-eeeee, where are you going?” I say, in an effort to distract my contortionist one-year-old. All I want is to diaper the squirmy creature; so, in the words of my almost-three-year-old, he won’t have a “naked tush.” One hand grapples with legs, another with the body, another with setting a toy between Baby’s fists, and yet another reaches for the clean diaper.

We’re out. At least, we’re out of the handy pile I keep by the bed.

This means it’s time to tear open another oversized box from my home-away-from-home, Costco (seriously, I’m up to daily trips, now). I keep a running tab on how many of the 222 disposable landfill hazards are left, ready to up my trips to twice-daily if the stock’s too low.

I’ve 112, so we’re good -the large pile comforts me. My seeing it also reminds me of when I was expecting my very first baby:

Fifty years ago* and around 30 weeks, I’d had enough with pregnancy. Knowing the only way to extract the male parasite within, however, I crossed my legs and waited for nature to take its course.

And, I accepted the inevitable by accepting gifts from friends and relatives. I have many kind acquaintances who visited and gave us a lot of necessities.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

The weeks sped closer to a supposed due date for Owens Boy #1; I surveyed my blue and green clothing, white burp cloths, pristine car seat, bumpered crib, and -yes- piles of diapers with satisfaction. I was set; I could do this. I would …eventually… get all our moving boxes out of the intended nursery and have it arranged for our offspring’s arrival.

I clearly had everything we needed.

Except, I didn’t.

I’m not sure if I realized my error whilst watching a friend change her baby’s bottom. I’m not certain if I saw the problem whilst shopping and traveling down the baby aisle. I’m not even positive if I was hit by Captain Obvious whilst attending a free class at the hospital on How to Change Your Baby.

Remember kids, we didn’t have YouTube in The Time of the Pager.

See, pregnancy is a funny thing. When sampling it; women may experience stupidity, ignorance, idiocy, and a generalized inability to think. (No, seriously: if someone tells me s/he told me important information in the past that I can’t recall, I’ve learned to ask, “Was I pregnant?”)

At some point that may have been AFTER pushing out Kevin jr.**, I noticed a number written on the boxes of diapers. I’m not referring to that old ‘222’ of how many fit in a box; I’m referring to ‘Size 3.’ Furthermore, I’m referring to a group of numbers under ‘Size 3’ that describe a weight range. While some might consider that to be a diaper’s maximum limit on retaining moisture; it is, in fact, a range in which your baby must fall in order to fit that size.

Up till this revelatory moment, I’d ignored that little range and that little word, ‘Size.’ I’d surveyed my derriere-dressings with pride, smugly confident that I had enough for my means. Unfortunately, I had Size 1, Size 2, and Size 3.

“Unfortunately” because the baby popped out a bit small, necessitating an unknown ‘Newborn’ level of coverage.

Photo by kelvin octa on Pexels.com (Not my baby, but still cute)

So…. did you know they give you diapers in the hospital? They also teach you which end to put it on.

—–

Did you also know that diapers come in different sizes? What surprising yet simple idea have you learned in life, perhaps from an embarrassing lack of knowledge like my experience?

—–

Last week, I wrote:
Wednesday, November 9: “You Don’t Have to Read This.” You don’t -nor any other posts you aren’t interested in.

Friday, November 11: Friday Photo. I hope no one eats these things for breakfast.

Sunday, November 13: Announced the Terrible Poetry Contest for November: a clean limerick on lost-and-found.
Also, shared a quote by Seth Godin.

Monday, November 14: Talked about callings in the LDS Church.

Tuesday, November 15: “Geneva Steele,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Wednesday, November 16: Today. Sort-of.

©2022 Chel Owens

*I couldn’t have been pregnant fifty years ago. This is called an exaggeration, or hyperbole.

**None of our children is named after Kevin. The real name was changed to protect the infant.

I Cannot See My Feet No More

I cannot see my feet no more;
I think they’re down there, on that floor
-Which also rests beyond my view
And holds those ‘lusive things called ‘shoes’-
…And more than bumbling me can know;
I oomph and eeek on stumbling toe.

It ’tisn’t fair, I amble, sigh;
Lamenting loss of pedi-sight.
That, as my motivation stops,
As belly button pokes and pops,
That I can’t see feet, floor or toe —
‘Cause I just dropped some cookie dough.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

Heeeere’s Chel, out loud!

*I’ll post the results of the A Mused Poetry Contest tomorrow. Go ahead and enter if you haven’t yet; the judge clearly hasn’t had time to look at all the entries!*

The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

Image

My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

Early Morning Poetry

I woke, at three, as baby stirred;
The birds were no help, either.
My brain, a-swirl, my hunger roused,
I grabbed a jacket, cer’al doused

And here, I sit –
Or, rather, lay
And contemplate if that’s the way
To say that here I am, reclined,
When, still, my brain’s a racing mind.

For now, at five, as baby wakes,
And time’s flown by
While here, I lie,
I realize I’ll need to rise
Before the garbage truck arrives.

After all,
it’s near sunrise. 🌞

© Chel Owens

Late for Work

There isn’t time for smiling eyes and toddling legs; fat fingers grasping loose Cheerios.

There isn’t time for “Uh-oh” cups of milk -thrown, giggling, to the just-mopped floor.

There isn’t time for biting kisses, hair-ripping hugs, or I-got-your-nose-Mommy.

There isn’t time for all the ‘helping,’ all the sighing; all the crying.

There isn’t time for childhood.

So go to work. There isn’t time.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

What Pregnancy is Really Like

I remember my first pregnancy like it was over a decade ago. Mostly, I remember anxiety, confusion, surprise, and trepidation -besides feeling sick all the time, of course. I wrote a journal to my baby. Nearly all of the entries included, “I’m so nervous,” or “I’m not sure what to expect.”

So I picked up a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. From it, I learned that any odd ailment may occur in pregnancy and that my growing fetus was always a type of fruit. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.

Really, though, for one as curious as I, that book and my laid-back OB/GYN utterly failed to help me know what to expect.

For there is no book that can give you the sensation of pregnancy.

It’s weird.

When you are pregnant, you always know there is something off about yourself. Videos of babies and children and young animals make you cry. Commercials make you cry. Dropping a cup of milk makes you cry. Not being able to think about sex because you are so sick and feel fat and your favorite chocolate bar tastes awful makes you cry.

Then you get some sleep and are sunshine and rainbows.

But… that’s for about two hours. Then you’re exhausted and dropping milk again.

If you make it to a little over halfway, the real fun begins. I referenced the movie Aliens in a previous post; because, at this point, you can feel the growing child inside of you. I explained the sensation to a coworker once: “It’s like you ate something that’s alive and it’s moving around.” If you’re that imaginative, the analogy works.

Now that I’m at hippopotamus size, I can literally watch my stomach surface undulate and jerk. Inside, meanwhile, my organs, lungs, and bladder get kicked, pushed, and butted against.

Pregnancy can bless you with all sorts of side effects like hemorrhoids, diabetes, high blood pressure, changes in saliva pH, swelling, nausea, dizziness, sudden paralysis of legs, hair color or curliness, tender women parts, nail and hair growth changes, spots, skin lines, breast enlargement and tenderness, loss of short-term memory, exhaustion…

It begins to sound like one of those new drug commercials, the kinds where you listen and think, Why in the heck would ANYONE take this medication??

I can’t speak for others out there, but I often wonder that about pregnancy.

Yes, I know this is my fifth impregnation.

Yes, I should have a good reason besides shrugging and saying, “Well, I suppose it was because I wasn’t doing anything else at the time…”

Because -yes, pregnancy sucks. Raising the children produced from pregnancy is difficult. Given my druthers, I’d prefer to selfishly play video games all day while eating a pan of brownies.

However, most employers won’t fund that lifestyle.

And, making kids is actually pretty cool. I remember Bill Cosby dubbing it “erotic arts and crafts.” Really, though, it is. Every time we’ve gotten pregnant, my husband and I have speculated on how the kid will turn out. Will he have my dark hair or my husband’s lighter blond? My brown eyes or his hazel? Will he understand our jokes? Will he be creative? What sorts of dreams will he have? How tall? Cheerful or serious?

Will he like Firefly? What about Starcraft??

Even at almost five, we still have fun guessing.

So, that’s what you can take away from today’s lesson: pregnancy is weird. It’s full of many things you cannot expect. In the end, you get a tiny human that will be like you and your husband.

Yes, that means he or she will be a nerd like you.

Happy crafting.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Parenting: The Fine Line

I’m no expert at parenting. My life plan was not to be a mother; I use this as an excuse whenever raising offspring is difficult.

Still, I care about my kids. I care that they aren’t psychopaths or sociopaths. I care that they know how to cook, clean, and respect authority. They’ll definitely put the seat down.

Training my spawn involves a lot of strain, some of which comes from doubt:

Am I doing the right thing by making his friend send him home to finish a job?

Should I have yelled when my sweet, little pre-teen gave me attitude?

Was that too harsh to make him walk to school because he slept in and refused to get ready on time?

(In case you wonder at the masculine pronouns, I have all boys.)

I thought about the fine line of parenting today. I believe I thought about it the third time I prepared for vocal conflict with my most difficult son.

Me in the driver’s seat, patiently, “So, you threw the carseat into the back, yet say it’s #4’s fault because it hit his head before hitting #3?”

Him, mimicking my patient manner, “Yes. #4 made a dumb decision to climb over the seat. If he hadn’t done that, #3 wouldn’t have been hit.”

Believe it or not, this exchange went on for a good ten minutes. He refused responsibility for the thrown-carseat injuries; I refused to let him dodge said responsibility.

The Line here is Respect vs. “pick your battles.” Almost all of my lines are Something vs. “pick your battles.” My choice to engage (or not) goes back to that no-sociopath thing.

*Sigh*

I know not all of you have children -at least, not currently. Whether you have or not, have you felt the strain of walking a line? What did you choose? Was it worth it?

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Wednesday, October 16: Wrote “Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

Thursday, October 17: Throwback to my first post, “Hello, My Name Is.”

Friday, October 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to MagicQuill17!

Saturday, October 19: Announced the 48th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is the Old West. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 20: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s 3rd rodeo. Another one’s coming tomorrow!

Also wrote “The Wife Stands Alone” for Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

Monday, October 21: An inspirational quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, October 22: “Since the Bombs Fell: One,” the first in a dystopian series.

Wednesday, October 23: Today.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why Vacation if You’re a Stick in the Mud?

I don’t get out much. Maybe you’ve noticed.

When I do escape the dishes and children and laundry, my vacation destination is …Wal-mart. Ooh! Or Costco! Frankly, I spend enough at those, and the local Smith’s Marketplace, to cover a cruise.

Bu-u-u-ut the hubs and I made a goal to family vacay every summer. Sometimes it’s been camping. Sometimes it’s a cross-country trip. Sometimes we jaunt down to California for our every-five-years-Disneyland extravaganza.

Since I began this summer on bed rest, I had to put any travel plans on hold. Since we learned I was pregnant and needed to pay for removing our sweet, little parasite; we had to put our finances on hold.

I therefore booked a quick weekend away, using some reward points from the credit card.

I therefore picked somewhere not too far away but far enough to count as ‘vacation.’

I therefore booked a really fun hotel with a water slide and planned to eat tuna sandwiches.

I therefore demanded an oath of my husband that he would not point out any practical failings, metaphorically raining on our happy parade.

Problem is, I am an analytical person. I married an analytical person. We are both fairly practical as well. And critical. And, although I’ve been riding the Jaded Coaster since about age 3, my sweet husband got on and has been uncomfortably riding for over a decade now.

We made it to the second day before fighting about how the whole thing made no financial sense and we could be doing everything we were doing if we’d simply stayed home.

Fun times.

Which has since led me to ruminating about people and their vacations. For, of course one could save money, comfort, time, and hassle by staying put. There’s no risk. No bedbugs. No missing toothbrush. No change of climate or circumstance.

I’ve wondered a few specific things:

  1. Are vacations fun?
  2. Are they worth the cost?
  3. Are they worth the work?
  4. Is a vacation a vacation?

What do you think? What has your experience been?

 

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I wrote a few things this past week:
Wednesday, August 14: Shared some of my favorite funny pregnancy t-shirts in “The Funniest Pregnancy Tees.”

Thursday, August 15: Announced I’d be going off the grid for a family vacay. I haven’t really come back yet.

Friday, August 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Thank you so so so so so so so so so so much to Bruce for adjudicating. Congratulations to Mathew for winning!

Saturday, August 17: Announced the 39th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is vacations. PLEASE ENTER!

Also shared “Except for the Exceptions,” from a depressed mood during vacation.

Sunday, August 18: Nothing.

Monday, August 19: Enthused about receiving Stephen’s published book, The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square (soon to be reviewed!).

Tuesday, August 20: “A Tick A Kick.”

Wednesday, August 21: Nothing. Tra-la-la.

Thursday, August 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Hotel For …Fun?,” “The Best Thing You Can Give Your Child,” and “There’s Nothing to Eat.”

Photo Credits:
Image by tim striker from Pixabay
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay
Image by KRISTEN FOSTER from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens