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Hey Little Bug, hey Little Bug—

You are pulchritude.

And just because that means beauty,

Don’t you let some dude

Make you feel dumb for being smart, if that’s what you end up to be.

 

Hey Junior Bug, hey Little Mug

You can wear his clothes, or you can wear hers

You can wear old clothes

Or your hair up each day, if you prefer.

Winter in summer, dark in the dark, pink top with red shoes.

A smile.  Or not.  You get to choose.

 

Lucie Louis Louie, my kid

They’ll armchair your life, making calls from afar

Naming you names they would not give their moms,

Saying things when you dared show your face, more than they can say,

Saying things as AnonymousUser69

Saying the things to say the things.

If you take a big step, which I hope you do,

Out in the world, or out on the line,

Make sure it is for none other than you you you.

 

Little Bug Little Bug

You’ve got your mama’s heart

And your mama’s laugh

And your mama’s pout

And your mamas’ hearts

Yes, as in love.

You’ve got your mama’s push

And your mama’s touch

And possibly all that we’ve got to give.

You you you.  You you you.

 

 

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The Heartbreak

Sometimes it is small. Like when she falls and cries, or even the times she falls and gets right back up. The almighty instinct to absorb her pain kicks in, or in the other case, it’s awe and astonishment. Pride. Swelling heart.

Other times the feelings are internalized, mixed and difficult for even the other parent to fully understand. It happened when I realized she suddenly learned to count to ten correctly (when did that happen?), or watching her gently pet our sick and dying dog with such kind and curious intent.

Lately it has been shameful and helpless. The heartache. Why is she behind others when it comes to vocabulary, comprehension, enunciation? How did we backslide in swim class to the point that she can’t make it 30 minutes without bawling and breaking down? And these two words: potty training.

Then there is the shared sentiment that plagues a generation. What kind of world will she inherit? Environment, society, global community. Can I protect her from the monsters both metaphysical and real? Oh, and the cost of college. Ugh. HeartBURN.

Finally is the sorrow of want. Things out of my control, or that I should have harnessed but didn’t. I wish I made more money for her, had a shorter commute to work for her, could provide her with a sibling, or simply put down the damn phone when she was dancing to the opening theme of “Superstore” last night. Instead of savoring that moment, I was deleting junk mail or reading a “Top ten secrets about broccoli” list. And none of those secrets pertained to getting my kid to eat vegetables, so…

Parenting is a great joy. Like falling in love every day of the year. And sometimes… parenting is just a series of heartbreaks: big, small, meaningful and fleeting. Worth it? Every single one.

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*Photos by Kellie O’Donnell

C vs. K

(some of this interview may be liberally imagined)

Mama C: Hi Louie.

Lucie: Hi!

MC: We had a long morning together while Mama K was at work. How do you think it went?

L: I liked working out with you. You did exactly three push-ups in with me sitting on top of you.

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MC: Well, you are a hefty 32 pounds.

L: Me gusta burritos.

MC: What else did we do?

L: We watched a surprising amount of T.V. Funny… Mama K and I don’t watch that much T.V. together.

MC: Oh yeah?

L: Yep, we go on walks, go to the library, play with friends… and she doesn’t complain about my weight.

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MC: You don’t jump on her!

L: Which came first, the couch potato or the trampoline?

MC: What? Well, you don’t have to punch me in the arm when you say my name. When you say Mama K’s name, you gently pat her.

L: And why do you think that is?

MC: Point taken.

L: Another thing: why does Mama K put me in real clothes with actual layers, while you leave me in my pajamas all day? 

MC: I can dress you if you want.

L: (looks Mama C up and down) No thanks. I’m good.

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In the spirit of randomness

Little Bug was handed a piece of a donut this morning. Her (version of) words in this order were: “Oh no! What happened? Thank you.”

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At first, I thought it was this random string of sayings that she concocted. The mamas laughed. Then, I realized it was because she thought the donut was broken. Hey! Empathy is pretty great to see, even if it’s for an inanimate object, right? I think so.

And of course is the politeness that ensued, even though I was rude enough to eat the majority of the donut. I haven’t been conscious of politeness, but we’ve been told that she’s up there in terms of manners.

Our kid may not say much, but she’s got her p’s and q’s.  Or at least her “pwee”s and “din doo”s.

I Forgot to Remember

That kid shoes wear out… In the toes.

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That hair can be referred to as a “rat’s nest.”

 

 

That getting wet used to be fun.

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That just because you’re at a birthday party (with unicorn ponies, btw), it doesn’t mean you have to have fun.

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That you really do need to scrub behind the ears. A lot.

That there is no better time to figure out “who wore it best.”

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That anything is fair game for a napkin. No discrimination based on color, creed, price, veteran status or sexual orientation.

That building with buddies is better.

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That a smile always makes being naughty more adorable.

That matching is cute.

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That a bad haircut is not the end of the world.

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That if I could bottle up toddler laughter, I would.

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Here we come

…walkin’ down the street / we get the funniest looks from / everyone we meet / Hey, hey we’re the… gays?

Yep, it was that time again. Pride parade time. We normally hide out in the suburbs, especially after Lucie, but our friend had worked some magic to get a spot in the 140+ organization line up, so we went Downtown to watch the festivities. In case you’ve never been to a Pride parade, here’s a handy play-by-play, from the Roquardt vantage point.

  1. First, lots of people. Young, old, gay couples, straight couples. Lots of #WeAreOrlando signs.
  2. Here come the Dy__s on Bikes.  It’s funny because it rhymes and their Harleys are a great way to start off a parade. Vrrrrrrrooooom!
  3. Every time a church group comes by (Lutherans, Methodists, UCCers, Episcopalians, Catholics, Jews and general Christian groups), they are met not with boos or hisses, but genuine, welcome cheers. Yay for love.
  4. Mama K’s old workplace and Mama C’s old workplace both march on by. Not so much with the new jobs, but we can change that!
  5. The kiddo is a necklace/bracelet/sticker/candy magnet. Take that, 50-year olds pushing to the front of the line for a handout. Oh, well. At least it’s a gay-friendly tchotchke that might be visible elsewhere later on.
  6. A girl walks by in a “Make America Gay Again” hat a’la D. Trump. It makes very little sense, but, again, is funny.
  7. Huge cheers for the military floats. Mad respect. I love our veterans!
  8. An actual rainbow came out to see the parade. Ha!

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9. Some well-timed groups handed out stickers and flyers wanting a dialogue about guns– not necessarily outright bans, but a better discussion than what we’ve been having thus far.

10. Is it campaign season? Me thinks so, judging on the number of mayors/senators/judges/council people who go walking by. It’s cool to see them, though, like local celebrities.

11. The faces of the 49 casualties of the Orlando massacre pass by and I’m reminded, through teary eyes, of everything good in the world and everything I’m thankful for.

12. Here comes our friend, the reason why we made it out today. Big surprise, she’s wearing a unicorn hat.

13. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

14. Glad my dad isn’t here; this is the fourth float with pants-less men. It’s not that my dad is offended by gay buns… he’s just an equal opportunity pants-ist. #MidwestSensibilities

15. There’s a cowardly man in sunglasses and a hat who is yelling Bible verses and vitriol using a megaphone. People are standing in his way, holding giant rainbow balloons in his face, which is a pretty gay way to protest. I was told that even the many law enforcement agencies joined in the fun, blooping him out with their sirens. E.g. “Got hates *bloop, bloop*” “You’re all going to go to *bloop*.” Well played, sheriff’s department.

16. There’s a few (okay, a lot of) guys in dresses and makeup. I stop and wonder if they’re transgender, then I wonder if they’re gay, then I wonder if they’re just straight guys who look really great in heels. Then I say, “who cares.” We’re all human, and we can pretty much wear whatever we want: “Make America Great Again” hats, feather boas, rainbow socks, clown makeup… whatever. Just so long as we can’t see your buns, right Dad?

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The ‘Big’ Deal

Tom Hanks’ now classic movie came out when I was in the second grade and instantly became one of my favorite films, even though I wasn’t going to see it for three more years, thanks to my parent’s cautious censorship. (That’s another blog day.)

Back when I saw it, I was mesmerized by the creepy Zoltar machine, covetous of the giant, light-up piano, and yes, even a little (a lot?) embarrassed when Elizabeth Perkins unbuttoned her shirt.

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from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

But there was one thing I didn’t notice or wasn’t really phased by as a fifth grader: Josh Baskin/Tom Hanks’ mom, whose son was suddenly whisked away with no explanation and no date of certain return.  25 years later, I saw this story through her eyes and it changed everything.

When she pulled a knife on the man who she thought took her son (who was really her son all grown up)?  That went from “geez, Lady, calm down” to “hmmm, that totally makes sense.”

When he sang a Barbra Streisand song as proof that her son was still alive and well?  I cried with her lamentations.

And the moment he decided to give up a really great adult life with a fancy executive job, girlfriend and Manhattan apartment with a dang trampoline in it?  I finally sided with him, who decided to revert to his kid-shape.  Why?  Because his mother’s heartbreak would be quelled at last.  Because he would get to do life the way it was meant to be done.  Because if I missed Lucie’s growing years, I would be devastated.

This suit looked much better when I was a 30-year old guy.
This suit looked much better when I was a 30-year old dude.

Brie Larson just won an Oscar for playing an abductee.  I know that fans of the film are as much, if not more interested in talking about the effects of PTSD than the issue of kidnapping, but I can assure you as a parent that my greatest fears for Lucie are in order from greatest to least: kidnapping, getting hit by a car, getting addicted to drugs, and general death in her sleep.  I just asked Mama K and her list includes not having anything in common with Lucie, that she won’t be interested in sports, that she will be shy, and that Lucie will be reckless.  I’ll give you one guess as to who is Doomsday prepping for the big Pacific NW Quake and who is enrolling LB in baby gymnastics.

No, Big did not morph into a horror film for me, but I was very surprised how much one little, 30-pound aspiring Mary Lou Retton could change the way I see that world.  Even a world I thought I had already memorized verbatim from a very young age.  Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, anyone?

Maniac, Maniac

Remember that scene from Jennifer Beals’ Flashdance when she’s dancing to “Maniac”?  Yeah, me neither, which is why I had to look it up on “YouTube.”

Lo and behold, I saw that dance move replicated tonight, when Mama K put a plate of chocolate chip cookies above Little Bug’s reach.  The “Maniac” stomp!  Followed by 90 seconds of crying and burying her face in the couch pillows.  Remind me to stain treat the fabric later.

I was going to post the 80’s movie clip, but since we are trying to teach LB not to run around without pants on, I’m going to share this instead.  It’s way pun-ier and he is fully clothed.

Click HERE to laugh a little and then imagine LB doing this with her short little legs and a pout on her face.

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