My Latest Snag: Mini’s Little People Dollhouse.
Welp, Mr. Magpie and I were ecstatic over the birthday upgrade in mini’s toddler table and chair situation (I mean, I want a Kartell ghost chair) but mini has fallen fast and hard for her Little People dollhouse and I can’t recommend it enough to fellow parents-to-two-year-olds. It’s perfectly age-appropriate — it does make sounds and songs (FYI — you’ve been warned) but you can switch the power on/off when need be. She loves making the toilet flush and turning on the light downstairs and there’s this one song that she dances to ALL THE TIME. But mainly, she loves talking about “making dinner” and “going upstairs” and telling her Little People “come on! come! dinner!” I love listening in on her little rambling monologues as she moves her people around the house, a little mirroring of the activities and conversations that shape her own life.
You’re Sooooo Popular: Les Polka Dot Flats.
The most popular items on the blog this week:
+The Lee Radziwill tote. (DIE.) So appropriate given her recent passing — I’ve been thinking a lot about her and the legacy of some of the words she had for us while here.
+A seriously pretty dress for a spring/summer affair. One of you wrote to describe this as “modern Jane Austen vibes.” Spot on!
+A flattering everyday dress that comes in great colors.
+One of my favorite shirts to pair with white skinnies — oversized, in a great stripe, and nursing friendly! Also, on sale.
+A really fun read with a seriously problematic ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but UGH. Email me if you read this and felt similarly weirded out by the conclusion.
+People RAVE about these hair ties. Have yet to try them myself…
#Turbothot: Can Vs. Should.
On Ash Wednesday, the priest delivered an interesting sermon that has been on my mind ever since: “This Lent, don’t worry if you fall off track or make a mistake with your Lenten resolution. We need to pray the way we can, not the way we should.”
(For context for those outside the faith, Catholics commit to some form of self-sacrifice over the 40-day Lenten period, many of us “giving up” indulgences we love. I’ve had friends and loved ones forgo coffee, wine, snacks between meals, desserts, soda, TV, manicures, etc. for Lent.)
I was surprised and moved by the gentleness and latitude he was affording given the soberness of Ash Wednesday and the rigidity I normally associate — potentially unfairly — with the priests at Church. I left in a state of tranquility. I found myself pondering other areas of my life where I tend towards the shoulds, where I hold myself to impossible standards and set outrageously high expectations. And then, in an uncanny echoing, just two hours later, while at a “toileting independence” class at mini’s future pre-school (she starts her twos program there in the fall), the instructor had this to say:
“I’m not a huge fan of rewards during toilet training because it’s never going to be a quickly-learned skill, and it sets toddlers up for frustration and failure. Can you imagine if your boss said, ‘Look. I know you can’t do this thing right out of the gate, but I’m still going to offer you a $10K bonus if you figure out how to do it on the first try.'”
Whether or not you agree with her take on rewards, the friction between can vs. should stood out to me in high relief. The entire day seemed to be circling around a theme of expectation-setting and I found myself thinking, as I left the class: I need to be the mom I can be, not the mom I should be.
I hedge a bit when I read those words. It’s not a bad thing that I push myself to be better and do better by reflecting, often painstakingly, on what I could have done differently as a wife, a mother, a friend, a writer, a daughter, a sister. But there’s a threshold somewhere between can and should — between aptitude and aspiration — that I need to define a little more carefully, or, at a minimum, that I need to acknowledge and accept. This is the mom I am right now. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to [xyz], but this is where I am right now.
I feel this way in particular as I grapple with the onset of the twos. Everything is “no!” right now. Just getting mini into a stroller can require Dalai-Lama-like zen and strength of mind. There have been afternoons of nearly incessant whining, bottle-throwing, screaming fits, toy-hurling. I occasionally find myself rounding the corner from our living area into our bedroom just to gather myself for a minute, fighting back tears, wondering whether I’ve done something wrong, chastising myself for not setting a clearer boundary around something or intercepting a tantrum before it even got started, browbeating over the fact that I gave her my phone — yet again — so that she could look at pictures. (She loves to scroll through our shared family albums. This isn’t necessarily bad but then I begin to worry about how often I give in to her requests and whether scrolling through pictures is a slippery slope towards too much screen time and UGH.) I stand there in the cool of our quiet bedroom, take a deep breath, remember that she is two and that I am the mom, and — now — tell myself: “Be the mom you can be, not some mythical mom version of yourself you’ve conjured from God knows where. It’s enough.”
What do you think, Magpies? How do you walk the line between aptitude and aspiration — the cans vs. the shoulds?
#Shopaholic: The Discounted Patagonia Coat.
+How stylish are these personalizable dog bowls/dog treat canisters?!
+Love these tortoise hair clips!
+This tissue box cover is uber chic.
+More chic pearl hair clips at a great price.
+These slides have a chic high-end designer vibe to them — sort of a mix between pairs of scene from Hermes and The Row. I like them in the saddle brown leather…but that hot pink color is MAJOR for this season!