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turtlehead flower

Don't Be Sad If You Lose Something

Last week in the blogosphere there was a minor uproar about blogging about your kids. Heather Armstrong ("The Dooce Lady", as she is known in our house) was on the Today show, and Kathie Lee Gifford implied that Heather's writing about her daughter Leta was perhaps dangerous and perhaps exploitative and perhaps an invasion of privacy. Heather did not get any chance at all to defend herself due to time constraints and Kathie's blathering, and so Mommy Bloggers Of The World got mad, and blogged about it.

I swore I wasn't going to write about it because I thought it was a whole lot of fuss about nothing. Who cares what Kathie Lee -- self-proclaimed computer hater -- thinks?

But this week I found myself thinking about the whole privacy thing a lot more, because Captain Jelly Belly wrote a book.

His very own book. The front cover says right on it, "Written by Captain Jelly Belly, Illustrated by Captain Jelly Belly."

The Captain is extremely proud of his book. He even gave up his traditional pre-bed round of Mario Party to work on it the other night. Once it was finished he read it to me, then to sirmonkeypants. Then he put it in his backpack so he could take it to school and read it to his teacher.

I really, really wanted to blog about this book. I was so crazy proud of him and happy for him, to see him feel so excited about a project and so accomplished (he thought maybe they would want his book for the library, but I told him I could never part with it). I love him so much and seeing his eyes shine with joy that his teacher gave him a sticker for his good work on his book made my heart just about burst.

But in there with the pride and the joy and the overwhelming love...there is also hilarity. Oh yes. And there's no way I could include page-by-page photos of the book -- entitled, "Don't Be Sad If You Lose Something" -- without getting a giggle or two out of you. Admit it, you'd just love to see a drawing of me, trapped in a tornado with a microwave, wouldn't you? And that's not even rock bottom for the protagonist, not by a long shot.

The more I thought about blogging the book, however -- the more I wrote a humorous page-by-page commentary in my head -- the more I worried about the possible effects on the Captain. It would really make for a great post, but I just could not stand the idea that he would ever, ever, EVER think that I was laughing at him. ESPECIALLY about something so incredibly important to him. ESPECIALLY about something that I love, too, that I really, honestly feel so proud of him for producing.

I want him to know that I'll always be a completely supportive and proud audience for his endeavors. That I'm always in his corner. And it killed me to think that someday, he'd read this blog and be so hurt that I made light of something so meaningful for him.

So I won't be writing about it in detail here, I don't think.

I always imagined that this blog would be a fun thing for my kids to read in the future. That one day, they'd be adults and they'd stumble upon it and they'd be curious to read my thoughts on being their mom. That they'd enjoy reading funny little stories about them as children. That they'd be happy that I had recorded our every day lives with such detail.

This book incident, combined with the Kathie Lee incident, was the first time I'd ever stopped to think that maybe one day they'll just feel bitter and angry that I told the world about that time that they had trouble learning to poop in the potty.

Imagine how mad they're going to be when I pull out the best of my blog posts to read at their weddings.

Anyway, I don't intend to stop blogging or anything like that. More than anything else, I want to preserve certain magical and amusing and endearing things about my kids for my own memory, so I can look back with fondness and love and sentimentality. Already, if I have to look back in the archives to link to an old post, I find myself engrossed in reading about them, unable to stop, chuckling and getting a little teary eyed and desperately wanting to find them and hug them tight wherever they are or whatever they are doing. So it's a good thing, this blog.

But I guess I've discovered that there is a limit, a boundary that I'll be keeping. Because I love my kids, but I also respect them, and I want them to know it.

Future Captain Jelly Belly, who can read? I hope you know how much Mommy loves you. And your book. I'd definitely be sad if I ever lost you.


From the point of view of someone seeing parenthood from the outside, it seems to me that most parents walk the fine line between being supportive of their kids and finding their antics absolutely hilarious. I know Brainslie feels that way about most of the children that she teaches.

From what I've read of your blog so far, I've never seen you belittle any of your children's concerns or achievements. Whether or not they are significant to other adults isn't the point, they are significant to them and you always acknowledge that. That being said, I'm extremely pleased that I can't go back and read my mother's critique of all the (probably terrible) plays I've ever been in.

The real test will be to see whether you can still keep a straight face when they become angsty drama queen teenagers. I have cousins at that stage and I find it almost impossible to take them seriously.