Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dog Hair and Other Delicacies

Yesterday, while in the throes of a few parentally listless minutes, I posted a deep and soul-searching question on facebook: Exactly how many times can I let my baby dump, then eat, her Cheerios before I'm obligated to pick them up? 

My friends dusted off their child rearing manuals, cracked their knuckles, and dove in.
"I wait until the reloaded bowl has at least six dog hairs in it..." [mother of 2]

"I wait until my child's gagging on the dog hairs... unless of course said dogs eat the Cheerios before the bowl can even be reloaded once." [mother of 1 with 2 dogs]

"If you don't watch her so closely, you won't worry so much." [mother of 2]

"You are doing everything you can to build her immune system. If it makes you feel any better, I let my kids eat Cheerios they drop outside.  Look away..." [mother of twins]

These are precisely the qualities I appreciate most in my friends. A ready sense of humor, self deprecation, practicality, and above all: flawless parenting.

I am not a fan of pretending things are perfect.  Perfect is plastic, and fake, and totally not interesting.  Fortunately for me, by those parameters my life is kale-certified organic, uber real and ultra fascinating.

I don't mind editing my life for public consumption on this blog or social media, but I don't want it airbrushed beyond recognition.  And I'd rather relate to other people than try to be better than them.  That's why I often mention here that my house is underdecorated and overly messy.  My horse misbehaves, even though I know better. My baby is bald. (but she's perfect anyway. bad example.) 

I've only been a parent for a short while, but the struggles with striving for perfect, or even feeling "good enough" started early. Pregnant women are judged more, and more harshly, than any other demographic I've been part of. Infants invite endless advice and nonstop comparisons. Toddlerhood and its accompanying emergent personality suggests to the world in general that you are riddled with parental incompetence.   

It's in defiance of this seeping sense of inadequacy and our society's obsession with perfection crap that I posted the Cheerios question, and thereby try to keep perspective and balance in my life.  (Through a question about dirty Cheerios?  Weird, I know.)  Anyway, I find that laying bare these particularly minute inadequacies is one of my small joys in life. Based on the responses, my kid's not the only one occasionally eating unhygenic cereal. Cheers to that.

Rose colored glasses?  No thank you, I'll just keep working toward making my peace with imperfection and take ownership of my own real, gritty, dumped-cereal life.  La vie en rose.


  1. Your kid won't have allergies or dirt issues. That's a good thing. "Too clean" was something I saw everyday in my classroom as kids used bottle after bottle of hand sanitizer!

  2. Kale-certified organic? THAT is why I always knew I liked you.

    Comparison games are everywhere and hurtful for sure. Good for you for recognizing it and embracing realness.

    I always vote YES for strong immune systems and Velveteen rabbits!

  3. Love this! Perfect would be BORING!

    Oh, and I have three indoor/outdoor ranch dogs!
    and a cat. and horses and cows and a macaw and zedonk... but those last ones doesn't usually come inside.

  4. Love it Katie! Cheerios are the least of my worries. At least even if they have been there a while and are found, they are relatively the same shape as when they got dropped and lost. If I can't get Hailey's dinner made fast enough, she starts rooting around in her booster chair for small, rock hard, little treasures. Always fun when she finds a small, petrified piece of cheese from who knows when!

  5. Once when you kids were little and I uttered overwhelmed/ frustrated comments to your Aunt Karen, she responded with words I later used as my guide: "You can draw pictures on a dusty table, not on a clean one." Creative houses are so much more interesting. Love you, Mom

  6. awww Katie, Beeps may not have hair, but she sure is beautiful!


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