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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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The Parenting Cha-Cha


Parenting, in many respects, is like dancing. Someone's constantly crowding your personal space, a lot of toes get stepped on, and everyone thinks they're the one who's supposed to be leading. Plus, after all the noise and movement and thrashing around, you're completely exhausted - but still essentially in the same place where you started.

We've all had those Dancing Parent days. The days when you feel like you're spinning out of control and can't quite keep up with the music. The days when three steps forward lead to two steps back - and then four steps to the side where you plant your foot on a stray LEGO.


Maybe you do the laundry, only to have your toddler pull things out of the basket and drag them around on the floor faster than you can fold.
rewash-2-3-4, and fold-2-3-4...
You unload the dishwasher, but the only way to get the necessary five minutes of arm freedom is to distract the baby with all the measuring cups... and eighty spoons... which then have to go directly back into the dishwasher.
sigh-2-3-4, spin your wheels-2-3-4...
You're so proud of yourself that you cleaned the kids' dry toothpaste dollops off the bathroom sink, then you turn to see the baby headed toward the toilet with your cell phone.
pivot-2-3-4, and lunge-2-3-4...
Your toddler outgrows her crib, and you're ecstatic when she falls asleep in her toddler bed... until you wake up at 3 AM with her head on your pillow and her foot in your spleen.
toss and turn-2-3-4, stare at the ceiling-2-3-4...
You finally convince your picky eater to try carrots... but she doesn't like them and decides to boycott all orange foods.
Start all over, cha-cha-cha!

Yes, parenting is a dance, an inelegant waltz of give and take, push and pull, successes and setbacks. Most of us have days when we'd like the music to just stop for a minute so we can rest our feet, and sometimes we can barely remember how we got to this endless party in the first place. I spend even the best days struggling to figure out the steps, hoping not to trip and fall and hurt anyone on the way down.

Last night, as I dried my hands on a dish towel and thought about the next task to be attempted, I stood watching my kids bump and shimmy and wave their spindly little arms around to a song they were listening to in the living room. I was tired and had a million things to do, most of which would probably never get finished or would soon be undone by the natural bustle of family life. But I couldn't look away - they were laughing with their heads thrown back, the very essence of carefree happiness.

So when they noticed me watching and stretched out their hands - some still dimpled with baby fat, some with chipped purple Hello Kitty nail polish, some surprisingly grown-up with hints of dirt under the nails - what could I do but join in?

I know there will be times that I'll stomp when I should have shuffled, hip bump when I should have body rolled. I'll be led astray trying to copy someone else's moves. I'll embarrass the children by not being able to keep up. My singing will sound a lot more like yelling. I'll get knocked down and I'll step on toes and sometimes I'll wish I could hide in the bathroom because the music of all those voices just gets too loud.

But in my heart I will always be holding their hands.

And I will always love the dance.


I know your dance card is full too, so take a breather and click the banner below.
Okay, everybody now... 2, 3, 4, **jazz hands**
Good job! Oh, one more thing - happy birthday to my sweet little dancer, who turns eight years old today with cupcakes and a ballerina-themed party and, hopefully, lots of laughing with her head thrown back.
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44 comments:

  1. Probably one of the most apt parenting descriptions I've seen. Well except for maybe the one where there is a tsunami of laundry threatening to drown me. Wait - maybe that's only in my nightmares - my bad.

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    1. I hear you on the laundry tsunami - wave upon wave of pants with one leg inside out and underwear stuffed in the other leg.

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    2. Anybody who leaves underwear stuffed in the leg of their pants deserves to have it held there by static until they are someplace public.

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    3. Too right! That'd probably teach her to stop doing it... Hmm...

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  2. My birthday too!! Loved your post.

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    1. Happy birthday! Thanks for being here - hope you had a great day!

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  3. Almost as good a post as "As the Dollhouse Turns"!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm really slacking on those, aren't I???

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  4. I love reading the softer side of HTV. It was beautiful!

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    1. You're the mostest - I thought of you when I finished this post. I love the sentimental turns your posts often take. :)

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    2. I agree, I thought of her too! I love both of y'all (and that crazy Paige Kellerman) so hard!! This had tears streaming down my face, so many familiar feelings! <3 Devan

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    3. Aww, so sweet! We were all lucky to find each other on this big ol' Internet, weren't we???

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  5. I'm so glad I happened upon your blog. You made me laugh and pause to remember the crazy dance when my five kiddos were little!

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    1. I'm so glad you did, too! It does my heart good that you're here, and that you're proof that five kiddos can be survived. ;)

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  6. You have quite a way with words, my little Shakespearette. Another masterpiece of understated emotion. Enough to get the mind going in the direction you want it to, but just subtle enough and tinged with humor that the reader's mind takes over and... voila - a connection is made.

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    1. NOW who has a way with words? Thank you, my dear. ::courtseys:: And thank you for agreeing to be my dance partner :)

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    2. GAH! Can I be y'all's kid? Devan

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    3. We're completely gross, aren't we??? Just smooshy enough to activate the gag reflex. ;)

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  7. I agree with Bad Parenting Moments. I love these more serious and vulnerable posts. And I needed to read this today. Thank you.:)

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    1. When I started writing this, in my head it was supposed to be a funny post. It's pretty hard for me to publish stuff that isn't all humor, so thanks a lot for the support. :)

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  8. Love this. And snorted at "stare at the ceiling-2-3-4."

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    1. Don't you though? Don't you just stare, wishing either that it was 8pm so you had plenty of time to sleep, or that it was just time to get up already so you didn't have to keep lying there??? Gah, the hours I've spent...

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  9. Replies
    1. Me too - the more thrashing on the floor, the better.

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  10. Love this post. But in the back of my mind, all I could think of was the fairy tale "The Red Shoes" and wishing that some days, like today, someone would hand me an ax. :(

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    1. I don't know that fairy tale (I live under a rock) but I can definitely relate to needing somebody to hand me an ax sometimes! Unrelated: autocorrect wanted me to tell you that I live under a Rick, which, for the record, is not true.

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  11. Well I'm all jealous and stuff. Not only are you a great Mom and able to let go once in a while (I bet you do it more than you realize/let on), but you have this swell fella who writes all sorts of sweet supportive and praisey things. I bet he's good with the kids, too. Sigh...J E A L O U S...

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    1. He is super supportive, and great with the kids, and he cooks dinner every night, and right this very second he's downstairs folding laundry. He also scrubbed the bathroom floor earlier today. I KNOW. I'd normally be snarky right about now, but I am pretty lucky. ;)

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    2. Weeeellllll...My fella DOES do windows (though I think he would prefer it if *I* did them), and will, on occasion, empty the dishwasher; my all-time LEAST fav task! So I'll only hate you a little. Just a teensy tiny bit.

      And happy happy to your little ballerina. Or princess. Or whatever glitter encrusted sweet thing she is. My kids like glitter, but they are usually only encrusted with mud and/or bodily excretions.

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    3. Your man damn well better treat you like the princess that you are, glitter-encrusted or not! :)

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  12. Somehow this was just what I needed, just when I needed it, without me knowing I needed it. It was really beautiful (and funny).
    Happy birthday to Zoe!

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    1. That makes me so happy to hear - thanks, Marian! And thanks for the bd wishes; I think she had a pretty great one. :)

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  13. A beautiful post, Robyn. Loved the ending! Great dance images!

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    1. Yay, I hoped you might like that, dancin' mama!

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  14. hm, previously I likened living with children akin to living with tiny drunk people. loud, out of control and bouncing off the wall, break ing things, and inevitably someone pees themselves, or pukes. Some days, both.
    This is much more beautiful. And there is nothing better on a long, hard day than an impromptu dance party :)

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    1. The last time I went out dancing, it was pretty much exactly like you described - loud drunk people, bouncing around, breaking stuff, peeing themselves and puking. My life hasn't changed much. ;)

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  15. Sigh! That was lovely...I always enjoy a good reminder to slow down and refocus. Thanks for showcasing your versatility with a thoughtful post! (Oh, wait, does that sound like I'm saying your versatile because most of your posts AREN'T thoughtful? That's not what I meant.) Loved it!

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    1. Ha! Thanks for the compliment (which is exactly how I was going to take it, whether you meant it that way or not)!

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  16. This is so sweet! I LOVE how you described it. <3

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  17. I am so glad you posted this- I think about some of my daily tasks with a 1,2,3,4 now :)

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    1. That really makes me smile - thanks so much! :)

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