Parenting is improv

Happy March, lovelies. The strangest winter in northern Michigan continues its stretch of dreary, Slurpee-like conditions. Boo! But I have been determined to make an ice garland for our porch since last winter when I saw Two Chicks and a Hen’s ice garland and wanted to do something similar. I finally seized the day earlier this week when it was warm enough to be outside for a while with my two little birdies and make it AND cold enough overnight for the pieces to freeze. Yessss! But. Quickly the needle rose from 22 to 40 and the ice began to melt again before we could hang it up. Enter my parental improv skills! Because really, without improvisation, my parenting would be pretty lacking. It mostly consists of sugar bribes, empty threats, lots of creative messes and snuggles. With some Montessori-based living skills thrown in. Side note: my kid can cut with scissors and sharpen her own pencils, but I’m still negotiating getting those  %$%^@!#  poopy diapers off with a bucket of Halloween (!) candy. Sigh.

Oh yeah, the ice garland.

So we filled a bunch of muffin tins with water and practiced color mixing with drops of food coloring, took a bunch of fishing line and some (lead-free) weights to keep the line in the muffin holes and left them to freeze.

But when I lifted the lines to hang up, the ice chunks slid down, and they came crashing off. Wren looked at me and my inner voice said “shit!” but my outer voice said, “Let’s put the colored ice in jars and see how beautiful the colors are that you made!” Score.

And she sprinkled them with glitter too because, well, she’s REALLY into glitter right now. But there was quite a bit of colored liquid left in the tins… so we painted the snow!

And then Wren wanted to make a cho-cho train with the pieces… you go, girl!

And in the end, we had a few still stuck on a string we could hang up “for the cardinals” who like to find shelter in this bush.

In the end there was no real blog-worthy ice garland, but there were lessons learned in the power of attitude, enjoying the moment and the importance of improvisation. And beauty in the unknown, as you pour out the hopeful remains. It’s all gone today, washed away with more schlippity schlop out there, but we got to talk again about melting and freezing and there were lots of whys and wheres and whats and sparkles in her eyes with a new understanding of permanence as she tried to reassure me, “well, they’ll probably be back tomorrow, Mama. It’s OK!”



I’m excited to share that I’m a guest blogger again today for Soleil Moon Frye’s site, Moonfrye. Still pinching myself because Punky was one of my childhood heroes and here I am, sharing my thoughts about being a new parent on her site. Really?! Check it out here. I wrote a piece about never saying never… ever had a similar experience? Yeah, I thought so.

potty training…

I know, I know. You’ve been waiting your entire lifetime for this post. And here it is: potty training part one (or “toilet learning” for y’all Montessorians out there). I know people who have successfully completed the 3-day intense potty training method, but instead, we’ve been using the eight month+ fits-and-starts method. Without great success, duh. Enter: stickers and a sticker chart! Fun! Exciting! Interactive! Visual!

If you count using stickers to decorate the potty, this has been a wildly successful method for us and I highly recommend it… In terms of motivating the little birdie to use the potty on a regular basis? FAIL.

We have also just entered the wanting-to-use-all-the-public-restrooms phase of learning and this is, err, interesting. But since I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have to use the toilet all the time myself, this is somewhat convenient. But it’s just really not all that charming to be married to the toilet right now, lovelies. Sigh. I was reminded the other day, however, to embrace the season of life I’m in right NOW so embrace the toilet I am trying…

What season of life are you embracing right now? Happy Monday!