The New Place

August 12th, 2022

I was weeding the garden of our new house while the girls played on the tire swing with our neighbor, who is only a year older but perhaps a bit more mature than my daughters. The first thing I overheard was, “It starts with a stomach ache.”

I  was only half paying attention, so when I next heard: ”It’s like a waterfall, but of blood,” my ears perked up.

“You’ve seen a waterfall, right?” she continued. “But it’s like blood, and it’s coming out of there.”

“Out of your privates?” asked one of my daughters. 

She was trying to explain menstruation, I realized. I’m an advocate for real talk, so I let her go on, and later, I asked the girls what they had been talking about. They didn’t really want to get into it.

Apparently my kids are sharing their dubious knowledge with other kids as well. After a recent playdate, their friend’s mom told me they taught her poor daughter how to thread a needle under the skin of her finger. Now that’s gross.


I have to admit I have stopped keeping a keen eye on them since we moved into our new house, because they have their own apartment. It’s a 1,700-square-foot house, and roughly a third of it is their suite — what was probably intended to be the master bedroom at one point, but has since been painted lemon yellow, with the perfect built-ins for kids’ books and crafts.

We took this opportunity to put all the kid stuff in the kid room for the first time, rather than have our living room be a maze of forts and ad hoc engineering feats, but this means that the girls spend a lot more time in their room when friends come over, which means I am not always witness to their shenanigans.

Being a ‘70s kid, at their age, I was pretty much an emancipated adult, so giving them a little more freedom and privacy seems like a natural stage at this point. Still, being an uptight Virgo with control issues, their housekeeping skills are making me twitchy.

Their apartment is a clusterf*ck, if I’m being honest. There is random cardboard taped to the wall; stuffy paraphernalia liess everywhere; art projects abound. At bedtime last night, they took everything out of the costume trunk and organized it across the floor, then forbade me from picking it up. 

This morning, they came down to breakfast like this:


Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 12.58.20 PM

I applaud their style. I love their vision. I also really, really like neat spaces. It’s a conundrum. 

Meanwhile, they’re actually still spending most of their time outdoors on the “matter of time” tire swing and the new dome climbing structure we built to lure them away from the tire swing. In our sweet new house, there are neighbor kids, which is a nice change of pace. There are also neighbor cows who wander down to the end of the pasture closest to our house to graze in the evening. It’s quite bucolic. 

It took us years to buy a house in this market, but in the end, we found the just-right place. 

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