So Proud of The Husband

The Squid loves her Dad-dad.

 

 I don’t think I’ve mentioned The Husband much in recent posts, and there is reason for that.  there has been huge amounts of frustration and contention in our marriage, which isn’t quite even a year and a half old.  I’m not really going to go into the issues themselves here, but suffice it to say, they were things that neither of us could bend on, and we could see no resolution.

my husband has been my best friend for years.  the first time we started talking we immediately connected to eachother.  the first time I saw him, I knew we were going to end up together.  …granted, I didn’t foresee marriage and babies and life-long cohabitation, much less school for him and housewifery for me, but in my gut I knew we would fit together perfectly.

and I was right.  a few weeks ago, The Husband and I talked, and decided that we are going to put an honest effort into resolving the issues in our marriage.  which means working through our own shit, and is going to be a struggle.  really what it comes down to is setting aside all of the bitterness and frustration, and focusing on the love and friendship that we have.

I have regurgitated the words “We are an autonomous collective, not a dictatorship” so many times, but’s it’s always in reference to my kids.  being autonomous means we make our own choices, but being a collective means we need to work together.  once our choices start stepping on other peoples toes, they no longer work, and things have to change.

however, the two most important facets in being an autonomous collective are: A. equality, and B. communication.

I’ve been very frustrated with The Husband for not “taking initiative” (IE: not knowing what I want him to do.  so much for communication.), and for not “putting effort into saving our marriage” (IE: not dropping everything to do whatever it is I think we should do to resolve things, so much for equality.).  for being an anarchist, I am a horrible control freak.  I want to know what’s going to happen at all times, and if I’m not comfortable with it, I want to be able to change it.  I also tend to try and put the responsibility for my own well-being on my husband.  it all just goes back to my own insecurities, and my childhood programming of trying desperately to find someone to take care of me, and my childhood scarring of thinking if someone does not take care of me, that they don’t care about me.

what a load of crap.  and see, the great thing about The Husband, is he’s totally never let me get away with that.

I was washing dishes the other day.  alot had piled up, because The Squid was going through a weird time, and didn’t want to play or do anything but get loads of attention and affection from guess who?  yours truly.  for the whole weekend that her precious Dad-dad was at a friends house (and lord, did I run him through the ringer for not psychically knowing that would be a bad weekend).  so, at last she was napping, I was getting caught up on the dishes, and The Husband, was in the other room watching TV.  I was seething.

then, instead of going in with my usual, “I’m on strike!  someone else better do those dishes, or I’m not cooking!” or “maybe everyone should just do their own damn dishes from now on!” I just poked my head in and said, “hey, babe?  You wanna dry while I wash?”

and holy shit, man, voila.  “Yeah, sure.”  he came in, we got through every one of those damn dishes, we listened to music and talked while we worked, and lo and behold, there was the happy, helpful partner I’ve been looking for!  and all I had to do was ask.  not demand, not throw a fit, ask.  how many times have I said to my son, “calm down, use your words.  when we can talk calmly and ask for what we need, it’s way easier for us to get help.”?  and then I go and quash and quash until I explode, because I never took the time to take a deep breath and just ask for what I need.  it’s amazing how much easier it is to parent our children than ourselves.

we’ve been our new house for a little over 7 months now.  when we moved in, I had this incredible image of what I wanted our lives to be like here.  I was ready to get right on top of my housewifery, focusing on my family, my parenting and marriage, and making sure to have a positive environment that we could all live in.

and when the husband started struggling, dealing with shit that didn’t fit into my image, I started to shut him out of it.  I got angry at him, for not fitting into the ideals I had for the family.  instead of trying to help him, encourage him or support him, I pretended he wasn’t there, wasn’t needed, and just focused on everything else.

okay, but the reason that I am so incredibly proud of my husband is this:  he is examining his demons, he is facing them head-on, and he is being here, fighting for our marriage, but not sacrificing himself to do so.  he stands up for himself, he stands up to me, and he does not cave when my emotional issues rise to the surface.  he is there for me, but I am responsible for myself, my issues, and my behavior.  and I believe that we are going to work through this shit, because we are two of the most stubborn people I know, which is hell when we’re head-to-head, but powerful when we are side-by-side.

Ethan, my husband, I love you, and I am so proud of you it blows my mind.

-Domestic Anarchist

"Yay! Dad-dad!"

morning ease? yes, please!

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed, minutes before 7, hauled my ass into the kitchen, started the coffee, started pre-heating a frying pan and grabbed my pre-mixed crepe batter out of the refrigerator.  in under 15 minutes, both The Husband and The Wizard were tucking in, the harsh edge of early-morning taken off by the tastiness of a simple breakfast.  and it took minutes!  minutes!

now, I am not a morning person.  to be perfectly honest, my usual modus operandi is to crawl my ass right back into bed once The Wizard and The Husband are off to school.  in my early gropings for coffee pots, I have ran into walls, and had all kinds of coffee making mishaps (IE: forgetting to put the filter in, forgetting to grind beans… I think the weirdest one was when I got confused after we’d been drinking instant coffee, and poured boiling water into the coffee pot), but getting a bowl of batter out of the fridge is just within the range of possibility for me.  and while I may have burned the butter (and smoked up my kitchen a bit) I did not burn a single crepe.  which is proof that this breakfast is idiot-proof.  therefor, I provide you with:

MY FOOL-PROOF GO-TO CREPE RECIPE!

(Makes about 8)

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1.  Wisk together your flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, then whisk in egg.  Next, whisk in milk, about 1/4th at a time (otherwise it ends up lumpy, but the problem usually resolves itself overnight anyhow.), lastly, whisk in vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Then simply cover, and pop it in the fridge overnight.  (if you don’t want to do it the night before, because you’re one of those dreaded “morning people” or it’s the weekend… or you’re one of those homeschoolers that I’m increasingly more jealous of, you only have to refrigerate it for 30 minutes, but it seems to work a bit better if it’s overnight.)

2. next step- good morning!  get your coffee (or tea, whichever is your caffeinated weapon of choice) started, and then get out your batter.  Whisk 1/4 to 1/2 cup water into batter until it is a bit thinner than pancake batter (you’ll learn to eyeball this pretty quick).  grease a nonstick skillet (I only have one non-stick pan, and it’s reserved specifically for crepes and eggs.  it’s my breakfast pan!), and heat over medium-high heat.

3. pour 1/4 cup batter into your skillet, and then tilt the pan, sort of swirling the batter around the bottom til it coats your pan nice and thin.  cook a couple minutes, til the center no longer looks wet and the edges get slightly brown.  flip, and cook about 30 seconds more.

4.  slather them with whatever filling you choose, fold into quarters, and call ’em fancy!  (we usually opt for peanut butter or almond butter, to make for early-morning protein to prevent the mid-morning stupids).

5.  if you’re one of those returning-to-bed k1inda kids, your leftover batter can be re-chilled, but you’re going to use considerably less water, or else your batter will just run all over the pan and… yeah, it doesn’t work.

I have an odd feeling I’ve blogged this recipe in the past… oh well, it’s one of my favorites, one of the only things I actually use a recipe for, and cut me a break, folks, it’s morning!

and this isn’t going to be one of those back-to-bed mornings, as The Squid woke up right before The Wizard headed out the door, which meant that we got to sit and scarf crepes together (mine slathered with peanut butter and jelly, hers plain), and had an enjoyable breakfast giggling at eachother in early-morning stupidity, me grinning at her over my coffee, her grinning back over her diluted apple juice.  and NOW that I am two cups of coffee in, NOW she decides to go back to sleep.

gasp!  free time?!  how novel!  how bizarre!  what to do with it?  shall I wash the breakfast dishes?  shall I mop the floor which cries out desperately for it?  or shall I google bento boxes?

BENTOS WIN!

Obentos are my new obsession.  I need to get a bento box that’ll fit in The Wizards lunchbox (I know it’s redundant, but it’s a Super Mario Bros. lunchbox from ’83, and there’s no way he’d replace it with anything!), so I can start turning some out.  I love anything where I can combine creativity and housewifery, and what’s more “mom” than packing cute lunches?

my favorite Bento Blogs:

www.bentoanarchy.com/ Bento Anarchy (okay, yes, I originally looked at it due to the anarchy reference) is fabulous, because she’s a bento-ing mom with a toddler, and she’s a vegetarian.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of her food choices, but damn, are her kidster boxes adorable.

http://bentozen.wordpress.com/ you haven’t seen a cool bento til you scroll down and check out “Robot Love Bento”.  Her robots are blue potatoes, ham and carrots.  also veggie.  badass.  The Wizard would shit himself with joy.

http://lunchbucketbento.blogspot.com/ these are grown-up bentos.  not as cute, but no less well put-together, brilliant use of leftovers.  makes me want to start making school lunches for The Husband as well.  (he has a lunchbox too.  it’s Tranformers.  ’84.)

well, I guess I should get the breakfast dishes washed.  good morning!

-Domestic Anarchist

Farewell, Spring Break! OR, Helping Kids Build Emotional Tool Boxes

So, spring break is over.  …The first two days, really, I thought I was going to be relieved when it was over.  I had never heard the words “I’m bored” repeated so much in my life.

Now, I can’t believe it’s over, and I’m… honestly sad about it.  In comparison to having him home for the past week (which has flown by!) sending him back to school is depressing.

My favorite part of this week has been the mornings.  On the days The Husband had school, The Wizard climbed into bed with me and The Squid, and we watched movies, (though The Squid woke up part way through the movie each time, and I don’t think we saw the end of any of those movies, because each time we ended up we end up giggling and playing and distracted by super-cute baby attacks.

It made me dream of maybe a future where we could homeschool.  With our current custody situation, it’d be impossible, but still, it’s a fantasy.  In six years, The Squid will be six, the age when we’re going to have to start making the public school/homeschool/unschool decisions, and arguments.  (As The Husband apparently is of the opinion that homeschooling makes kids poorly socialized weirdos with no self control… which is awesome, since I was homeschooled.)   And The Wizard will be 12, the age when he gets to make his own decisions as far as custody goes.  so, we’ll see.

Our last day of spring break was awesome.  We packed a picnic lunch, and hiked down to the railroad tracks in the back woods.  While The Wizard ate his sandwich and The Squid attempted to eat rocks, I read from Prince Caspian (one of my best friends gave us the boxed set for The Chronicles of Narnia, and we’ve been working our way through them.  we’re now on to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.), and we watched for faeries.  When we got home The Husband joined us and we took The Wizards recently de-training wheeled bike out and he practiced until he started getting frustrated.  Then he went and played with The Princess for a while, and then, towards the evening, and the rapidly encroaching return to school, he began emotionally disolving.

We wrote up a list of “How To Feel Better”.

“1. Breathe Deeply.

2. Squeeze – Relax.

3. Think Happy.

4. Blow Bad Away.

5. Stretch.”

We stickered it and hung it on his wall, and he’s apparently been referring to it, because we haven’t had any major emotional crises this past week.  …which is amazing.  Maybe I should make one for myself.

Being there for our kids and supporting them emotionally is one of our most important jobs as parents.  However, if we are the EXTENT of their emotional support, we’re taking away their ability to learn how to handle their own emotions.  Not to mention, being another persons Emotional Coach becomes exhausting after a while.  Our real responsibility as parents is to teach our children how to function individually on their own.  By teaching our children what to do when they’re upset, we give them tools they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.

I’m looking for a toy tool box so The Wizard and I can work on building him a literal Emotional Tool Box.  the Emotional Tool Box is a technique that I learned when I partook in a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group when my anxiety was getting seriously out of control a few years ago.  It’s a method of getting us in touch with what is called ‘One Mindfulness’ in DBT.  Getting us in touch with our senses, and back into our bodies, and focusing on something else, helps us get away from our emotional distress, and helps us accept the distressing event.  It uses the senses to reconnect us with the physical, and tool boxes often contain things that stimulate our senses in a calming way.  (For a kid: calming music, a picture book, lavender spray, play dough, and maybe something somewhat sweet to eat or drink, though that part you might want to keep in the kitchen as opposed to your kids room.  Sugar ants are the devil.)

Like the old addage, “Give a kid a fish or teach a kid to fish”, giving our kids the tools to deal with their own emotions is something that no one can ever take away from them.

-Domestic Anarchist

BLOG PARTY POST!

About the Party

You can learn all there is to know about the party to join the fun and over at 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party 2010 post . They’ll give all the details, buttons and banners. It’s a great way to meet new friends and check out new blogs. I hope you’ll participate!

Don’t forget to follow @5minutesformom and watch hashtag #ubp10 on Twitter

Hello Blog Party!  I’m The Domestic Anarchist and I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now.  I’m a stay-at-home mom and I have two children, The Wizard, who’ll be seven in June, and The Squid who just turned 7 months old.  We enjoy free thought, self-expression, family fun, healthy eating, good music, video games, art and crafts!  I like to think of parenting of a socio-political experiment, where we learn more every day about culture, humanity, our children and ourselves.

Today has been an amazing day, regardless of The Squid working on cutting her lateral incisors (apparently she’s trying to turn into a humbolt squid!).   The Wizard has spent most of the day outside with The Princess next door.  I helped them plant a secret garden, and we had an awesomely easy lunch of chips and guacamole, while we listened to Kimya Dawson.  All day I’ve been singing “A is for Apple, B is for Butt, C is for Cat-butt…” and while The Squid has napped and played, I’ve started knitting her a toy squid, and almost finished a scarf for The Wizards godmother, and somehow even fit in enough time to make a big pot of shitake mushroom soup for my mother, who is fighting breast cancer.  It’s amazing how some days are a such a struggle to get through, and others everything just falls right into place.  …Of course, it does come at a sacrifice.  I haven’t finished the dishes, and there’s a mountain of laundry on the couch.  And life goes on!  I think these easy days are partially luck, and partially me actually taking the time to breathe, relax, and accept that I can’t do everything every day, and as long as my kids are happy and healthy, living with logic and love, that’s what matters.   Whether or not I manage to fold their laundry isn’t going to make a difference in their day, so that’s one of the things I can just… let… go.

-Domestic Anarchist

The Husband and The Squid

Wizards and Heroes – an Analogy for Anarchy.

today has been an awesome day.  last night The Wizard had a friend (henceforth referred to as “The Hero”), over to spend the night.  it was a good evening, with video games, board games, building, battles and playing outside.  however, The Heroes parents have drastically different parenting methods from ours.  while we try to lean towards the “autonomous collective” household, theirs definitely follows the dictatorship model.

it’s easy to forget that the techniques I use with The Wizard (suggestions when possible, and discussion as to how his behavior is impacting the other members of the household, and letting his make his own decisions), will not work with The Hero.  with The Hero I have to get down at his level and state household rules and consequences very clearly.  if I suggest or discuss, he acknowledges, but then will repeat the exact same behavior, unless I draw that boundary.  he will hide things from me, and lie to me, and though he and The Wizard are good friends, they need a lot of mediation and interference when playing together.

now, this may sound like a deviation, but it’ll tie together.  his mom and I were good friends in highschool (has that really been a decade now?  good lord.), and we would frequently talk about anarchy.  I held anarchy as an ideal, and she thought of it as more of a negative, but inevitable occurence.  many debates ensued.

many people claim that anarchy is impossible due to “human nature”.  IE: without laws to control our behavior, we’d all destroy the world, steal each other blind, kill each other, overdose, and eventually the human race would cease to exist.

okay, so, our culture is a group of people used to being oppressed and suppressed, with laws to tell us what to do, and threats of the bad stuff that’ll happen to us if we break them.  most children are raised this way.  children who are raised this way don’t follow rules out of morality, understanding, or a decision to create a positive environment for all involved.  they do it out of fear, and break the rules when they know they can get away with it.   …which sounds a lot like many adults in the world.  most of the kids raised this way eventually get rebellious, and the attitude becomes, “I don’t care what you’ll do to me, I’ll do what I want.”  which sounds like many of the adults presently in prison.  it is not human nature that makes people this way, it’s their environment. 

see the parallel?  children live up to our expectations of them, and so do adults.  when we are told by Mother Culture we need laws and enforcement to “keep us in line.” , there is one of three reactions:

A. obey out of fear.

B. hide behavior and try to get away with it.

C. get angry and cease to care.

Now The Wizard is out playing with The Princess, a neighbor and good friend.  I don’t think her parents are anarchists, but she obviously has a lot more freedom in her life and choices than The Hero.  therefor, I can trust her, and at only 6 years old, she demonstrates an ability to be up front, self-controlled and a problem solver.  know how many times I’ve had to mediate their interactions?  only one.  …and that was not that either of them was upset, just I had to shut down the hose fight.  LOL.  which may have been more for my comfort than theirs…

-domestic anarchist

Proof! That all my encouragement of Freethinking is paying off!

Okay, so The Wizard had some homework the other day.  His first grade class had been studying sea life, and he came home with a sheet about crabs that he was supposed to read, write a brief synopsis at the bottom, and then circle the answer-words to some questions.

So while he was reading it, he stopped and said “this is wrong.  This says crabs have 10 legs.  Crabs have 8 legs and 2 claws.”  When I asked him why the claws did not count as legs, he said that they used them for grabbing, not walking, therefor they were arms.  Checking his hypothesis, he went on line and googled “Do Crabs have 10 legs or 8?”  The answer?  Crabs are decapods.  They have 8 walking legs, and 2 claws.  so that is what he wrote on his paper.  he underlined the part that said “crabs have 10 legs” and drew an arrow down to where he wrote “8 walking legs and 2 claws”, and in the answer-circling section he crossed out the “ten” answer and wrote “8” by hand, and circled it.

…Did I break to him the information that Deca means “10”, and pod means “foot”?  No way!  It’s not his fault that the technical terminology is wrong!  Really, if they use their claws for grabbing, they’re more of arms, right?  …ahem.

So, anyway, I was worried that he would get discouraged for filling out his paper “incorrectly” when he brought it to school.  But instead, he was given a piece of candy for bringing up a valid point.  …candy.

At least he’s receiving his pavlovian rewards for standing up to authority figures.  I don’t think I’ll ever understand the public school system.

-Domestic Anarchist