Posts for raising girls

My Family Celebrates Adoption Day Topless

Forever Family - Allison Kenny - October 17, 2016

We were told in foster parent training that the kids we are placed with may have been sexually abused. So, it’s important to have privacy when anyone in the family is changing clothes or using the bathroom. This protects everybody and strong boundaries should be in place until your child is legally adopted.

“What if we’re at a street fair and I have to use a port-a-potty? I won’t leave my child outside,” I protested.

“Bring them inside and have them turn around,” I was told.

And we did. All year, a closed-door has meant “knock please.” Morning routines have included “please wait” as we cover ourselves out of the shower and have Squirrel turn around when we pee. Cumbersome. Weird. Especially as someone who believes in raising a body positive girl. But I also believe in safety no matter what. And until trust was fully built and we learned more about her history, I did not want to risk triggering our new daughter or breaking the rules of being a foster parent.

I knew we’d reached a higher level of trust when Squirrel began begging to see us naked.

“Please, Mama! Just let me see your boobs!” she’d whine in the mornings. We didn’t get to breastfeed her or hold her on our chests in the moments after delivery. I took her boob obsession as a great sign. We explained the limitation and how once we were all officially a legal family, it would be fine to change clothes in front of one another if we all wanted to.

After a fairly intense 2 weeks leading up to Adoption Day, I knew we could all use a good laugh.
So when Squirrel stumbled into our bedroom groggy-eyed on the morning of October 16th, I pulled off my tank top and stood there topless in front of her.

“Happy Adoption Day, Lovebug!” I cheered, striking a triumphant pose. She screamed with joy. Danced in circle. And fell to the floor.

“Mommy, look at your CUTE BOOBS!” She was thrilled. She ran to find Mama Lynn.

“Now YOU!” she demanded. Lynn complied with a little grumbling. Squirrel was delighted to be in a room getting dressed with her Mommies. What a perfectly normal thing for a family to do. But for us, it was our first time and it was special. It turned our Adoption Day into Mardi Gras…a tradition I’m sure we’ll keep up each year.

Once dressed herself in the special dress we’d been saving, Squirrel spun in a circle on our bedroom floor.

“Look at my Adoption dress, Mommies!” Then she pulled the dress up over her head. “And look at my little Adoption BOOBS!”

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I have maybe never laughed so hard.

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101 Reasons to #CelebrateGirlhood

Go Girl! - Allison Kenny - September 6, 2016

Girls can shine
They can make messes
They can make trouble
Girls can get dirty
They can make money
They can make movies
They can make you laugh
Girls can rise strong
Be fierce
Be gentle
Code
Stand up for each other
Girls can care for animals
Be mindful
And see the beauty in everything
Girls can wear their crown
Say no

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Ride bikes in skirts
Girls make worms into friends
They choreograph Thanksgiving Day dances
And feed their lizards
Girls can smile, or not
Girls insist on justice
Remember the underdog
Perform a wedding ceremony for their yorkie and chihuahua
Girls make potions from sunflower petals and apples
Spell words out of sticks
Girls can be born with boy parts
Question being a girl
Question authority
Girls can be curious
Cut their own hair
Dye their bangs purple
Rip Barbie’s head off
Girls put lavender oil in their bath
Speak out of turn
Ask for what they want
Yell to get help
Girls win championships
They can be mean and stop being mean

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Girls ask for forgiveness
They can let it go
Girls can believe in fairies
Tell the truth
Spit a phat rhyme
They can walk away from gossip
Intuit the future
Start the conversation
Girls can love their brown skin
Love their curly hair
Love their freckles
Love their glasses
Love their round body
Love their skinny legs
Love their big feet
Love their bellies
Girls can rock short hair
Learn all the words to Hamilton
Recover from embarrassment
Girls win gold medals
They can act confident even when they don’t feel it
They can say “I’m smart, too” when strangers tells them “You’re pretty”

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They can love other girls
Girls start movements
They learn to use their words instead of their fists
They invent new technologies
They can start over in a new home
They can be scared and do it anyway
Girls jump off a diving board into the deep end
They can gut a fish
They can set boundaries
Girls can read books for hours
They can be part of a group
They give and receive love
They have big feelings
They write stories about unicorns and witches
Wear a suit and tie
Speak many languages
Girls can understand their privilege
Girls can insist on being seen
Girls can take up space
They can run barefoot in the dirt
They can pretend to be Beyonce
Girls can learn the dances of their ancestors
Wear bells on their ankles
Travel the world
Girls can learn differently
They can talk with their hands
Use wheels to walk
Girls can believe they are amazing
Take the power out of rude words
Grow up to be themselves
Girls can choose friends that are good to them
Teach people how to treat them
Believe their ideas matter
Girls grow gardens
Jump rope
Gaze at the stars
Girls can notice the moon
And take center stage

 

Want more chances to #celebrategirlhood? Bring your family to the Spotlight: Girls Telling Event. I can’t wait to get on stage with other amazing tellers and share real life moments from our girlhood.

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Taking Space

Self-care - Allison Kenny - August 26, 2016

It’s the first day in 14 without my

daughter

and my nervous system is

screaming

I find

Refuge

in a kelly green vintage shrug

My coat of armor as I

Enjoy the quiet absence

of Her questions

and the Luxury

of being my own

Lunch Date

 

10 of these 14 days felt so wonderfully

Yummy

with my little girl

but then I started

Drowning

without the

Alone Time

that is my

Oxygen

 

Parenting can be so

Suffocating

If we choke on our

Children’s Needs

and forget our own

 

Here’s to me

Remembering

my right to

Silence and Space

 

And won’t it feel good

to miss her

I cannot wait

to miss her

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When Your Adopted Daughter Wants Your Haircut

Adoption Poems, Forever Family - Allison Kenny - July 25, 2016

When your adopted daughter wants your haircut
You might worry that saying yes means
Your own identity is too wrapped up in
Hers

You might wonder if
You’re being narcissistic
Or creepy
Or controlling

You might not think
Anything of it
Just a coincidence
That doesn’t matter at all

But when your adopted daughter says,
“Mommy, I want my hair to look just like yours”
You might hear
The thread of attachment
Growing taut

You might recognize the longing
To look like
The one who didn’t birth you
But who clearly
Loves you
Deeply

You might understand the impulse to merge
As sweetness coming from
Love that’s built one goodnight kiss
One skinned knee
One shared belly laugh
At a time

A simple haircut
Might be the way
To make the invisible
Visible

To dress up the concept of
Family
Into something tangible
The way people who get to share
Genetics
Do

When your Mothers
Look
Different
Than you

You claim them
Anyway
And when your
Daughter
Wants your haircut

You say yes

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Welcome to (Dog) Wedding Season!

Forever Family, Love Wins, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Allison Kenny - June 16, 2016

A Flower Girl Prepares

A Flower Girl Prepares

I like to think that I’m really playful with my daughter. After working with other people’s children for a decade facilitating play and drama classes, I pictured myself being the kind of mom who gets on the floor and plays, you know?

The kind of mom who chases her little one on the playground pretending to be the monster that all the kids run from. The kind of mom who is happy to become a fairy princess with hot lava power anytime her child asks. Continue Reading

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More Books for Girls This Summer

Girl Power, Go Girl!, Learning, Media - Allison Kenny - June 13, 2016

Our little girl loves to read. This is big because last summer, her confidence around reading was non-existent but now she can sit with books for a long time on her own. She loves that I write books and will ask me now and then, “How’s your next book coming along?” which makes my heart melt completely. Continue Reading

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If Your Daughter Fears Being Fat

Girl Power, Go Girl!, Self-care - Allison Kenny - March 10, 2016

How do you respond when your daughter says, “a boy at school called our teacher fat. I NEVER want to be too fat!”

Sigh.

There are so many problems with that sentence. Of course we don’t know the factual details of what  went down- we are only getting a glimpse. But let’s say that’s exactly what happened. 3 reasons that sentence at the dinner table made my skin crawl and my heart ache.

  1. that a young boy would body shame an adult female teacher
  2. that the word “fat” is being hurled as an insult at all
  3. that my chronically underweight first grade daughter is afraid of being “fat” (or more accurately, afraid of being teased by boys for being “fat”)

There is one big reason my daughter’s story made me feel hopeful, though. Empowered even. And that’s that after 8 years of struggling with my own disordered eating, body shame and fat fears, I get to respond from a place of fierce compassion and share what I know to be true. Continue Reading

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6 Ways to Heal Your Daughter’s Broken Heart this Valentine’s Day

Forever Family, Self-care - Allison Kenny - February 11, 2016

Maybe she’s lost her pet or grandparent. Maybe you two have been at each other’s throats lately. Maybe she’s feeling alone or rejected by her friends. Or maybe, like our little Squirrel, she’s already learned to protect her heart by shutting down and refusing to let love in. Whatever the reason, broken hearts can mend…but it takes a lot more than candy hearts and chocolate to do it.

Here are 6 ways to practice feeling the love in your home and help your daughter mend what hurts: Continue Reading

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If I took care of myself like I take care of my daughter…

Foster/Adoption, Gay Parenting, Girl Power, Parenting, Self-care - Allison Kenny - January 26, 2016

…I would…

Rub lavender oil on my feet at bedtime

Cheer myself on when I’m learning a new skill

Add extra hot water to a bath so I could stay in as long as I wanted

 

If I took care of myself like I take care of my daughter, I would…

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Have Squirrel, Will Travel

Forever Family - Allison Kenny - November 23, 2015

wreathHere we go! Holiday travel time.

We cannot wait to see our family in Texas. Squirrel is dying to play with her cousins and we’re all looking forward to time off and a change of scenery. The only trouble is, travel can be really hard on little Squirrels and the Mamas who love them.

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