August 26, 2012 § 10 Comments
Snooki had her baby and Twitter is tweet full of jokes, insults, worry and questions about the kind of mother she will be.
I get it. Watch just one episode of Jersey Shore and you’ll get it, too.
On the show, Snooki demonstrates extremes in the area of the most worrisome behaviors; tacky fashion, irresponsible inebriation, sex with strangers and (depending on how you look at it) sad or silly mischief.
The show was touted as reality, though the grown ups watching know the truth that though some of it was real, most of it was staged in order to appear that way.
I was young once myself.
I did tacky things like wear skin-tight dresses that showed too much skin. I wore much too much makeup. My heels were too high. My hair was perm fried. Tackiness personified as I look back today.
Irresponsible inebriation? There was lots of that. One time at the age of twenty (the same night I realized that the love of my life was gone and my broken heart would remain that way forever) a bottle of Jagermeister acted as my solace and my California blonde non- guido self spent the entire night heaving and puking in some strangers bushes.
There was a time in the eighties when hooking up with a boy didn’t mean much more than the certainty that he would hook up with my best friend the next night so that he could compare the two of us later. Irresponsible activity? To say the least.
Mischief is a part of being young. It’s a part of growing up and testing limits.
College kids everywhere (anyone remember Animal House?) decide how much of the party they will engage in while away from home for the first time. Some of us start the party earlier. Other kids have their heads on straighter and don’t party to extremes. Some actually graduate with their class (sorry, mom) and go on to semester after semester of mild partying and consistently good grades.
Some kids take longer to figure it out. Some kids are busy battling their own familial demons; struggling with things that childhood has caused (both good and bad).
From the other side all these years later (and now as a mom myself) I can see the irresponsibility so clearly. But the misfortune of youth is that when you are a teenager you think you know everything!
It’s your choices that determine the kind of person you are for that moment and when you decide to grow up and out of the denial that your every decision is wise (i.e. I’ll tell my mom I’m sleeping at your house and vice versa, Tijuana here we come!) you decide what kind of person you are really going to be.
I’m not any more worried about Snooki’s baby than I am for the average mom who is embarking on the biggest challenge of her life. Mom’s struggle for all sorts of reasons (baby won’t eat, baby won’t sleep, baby never stops crying), but Snooki has a better chance than many.
She has made a career for herself that has monetarily been good.
She has parents who love and support her.
She carried a pregnancy that resulted in a healthy baby.
For those who do not know, she was adopted as a baby herself, and so this new child is the first biological person to whom she’s ever been connected. I have been there myself and it’s an unbelievable situation that results in tremendous care and love.
And good or bad, the world is watching and waiting for her to make mistakes. We will hear about it the first time she goes out without baby and we’ll know the day the media feels she’s lost enough “baby weight.”
I think we should give this woman (she is 24) a chance and wish her the very best.
And try to remember that past choices don’t cement in stone the ones for the future.
For all new mothers, those whose lives have been documented on reality t.v. and those whose faces never grace our television screens, we should be rooting for the best.
They (and their children) deserve it.
August 22, 2012 § 5 Comments
What a relief, I thought, to know I’m not the only one who wonders this very same thing.
My summer has been long. Much longer than any other summer in the history of my being.
Four year olds are not easy.
My constant admonition that “You are almost five!” said with the hope that five will be the magical age that they start acting like big girls, less like little shitballs, is like an elusive prayer.
It’s not as if they don’t have moments being lovely little people.
They can hug like champs, run to get band aids for a bleeding sister in need, bat their eyelashes so that you can see the sweet that they feel on the inside and make piles of toys to give to the children who might not have any.
Lovely little people!
But the yin to the yang is their much too often use of words like vagina, butt, butthole, stupid and I hate you (with emphasis on the hate). It’s gotten so bad that Sophie unconsciously sings butthole (with inflection on various notes) while concentrating on tasks like coloring pictures of her family or buttering a piece of toast.
They hit and they run.
Rather, they hit hard and run fast.
“Use your words!” I say.
“You butthole!” They say.
They make huge messes and then sprint in the opposite direction upon time to clean up.
The incessant and rampant whining and sobbing has gotten so, that in my exasperation I have gripped my own face to thwart my own screams.
It’s exhausting and worrisome and so like Megan at the818 I wonder if I am raising two little assholes; girls more like smoldering hot fire than sweetly spun sugar?
What’s a mom to do (besides endless time outs and positive motivators and tickle torture and bribery and go to your rooms and screaming her head off)?
In exactly thirteen days I’ll be dropping the girls at pre-school with Miss Shelley the Saint, at which time I will flee outside through the double doors like a four-year old who’s just walloped her sister. I might even whisper a cuss word (or two) in the car before calling my mother to whine (and maybe cry in relief) about the entire series of events called, “Me, My Girls and the Summer of 2012.”
Oh God, it’s worse than I thought!
June 4, 2012 § 5 Comments
My Grace awoke before four a.m.
She was quiet for a while and we both lay there thinking.
There’s a lot to think about that early in the morning waiting for a little person to go back to bed. I’m unsure of her thoughts, but here are some of mine…
How I am headed to my quarterly dermatologist appointment at 8:00 a.m. and how I hope there is no lidocaine involved with today’s visit.
How my babies are no longer babies, but when they’re asleep I take advantage of their slumber by holding hands and fingers that are still baby soft. It’s a quiet opportunity to relive that baby time, long since passed.
Or a few weeks ago when Grace was sick and fell asleep on the sofa and my mind said that she was still a baby and that I could carry her to her bed to sleep. But how I had neglected to recognize that she’s not a baby, rather a forty-four pounder. It’s not as easy to move that kind of sleeping lump without tussling it awake.
How she and I were up until eleven that night prompting yet another blog post.
My fantastic weekend begun with a five-mile run that turned into a nine mile run, reminding me how seriously strong I am despite less running as of late.
The outdoor yoga class I went to yesterday in the bright sunshine that made for a burning hot yoga mat cooled off with water poured from Starbucks cups.
How I really enjoy Elizabeth’s yoga style (straight forward, directionally clear, and always with a smile). Yesterday was my second class with her.
How I also like that she looks like a real woman; not stick thin, but healthy and beautiful.
The peace on the marriage front that proceeded the crazy making of Friday.
How Brian let me sleep until 9:15 on Sunday and then gave me time to wake up by letting me sip my coffee and driving the girls to Peachie’s himself.
And the absolutely beautiful weather; sunny, low humidity, warm with a cool breeze.
But too much cake. White frosted cupcakes and a coconut pie. Oh, they were good.
And how today is the sixth day of the green smoothie challenge, which makes me not feel as guilty about the cake gluttony that occurred.
At five Grace whined that she couldn’t sleep. I tried to coax her back down to no avail, so we grabbed her woobies and my phone and snuck downstairs in the dark.
I made coffee and looked at it as an opportunity to write, which wouldn’t have happened had I waited for the 6:20 bell tolling and the mad rush that would have transpired as I tried to gather the kids and myself for a speedy exit at 7:45.
Opportunities must be taken when they appear.
June 2, 2012 § 5 Comments
I had trouble sleeping last night. I woke at midnight and then again at two and when I heard the bells tolling on my phone at 5:20 this morning I decided to be kind to myself and hit the snooze.
It was also my effort to be kind to the hubs who was tired himself from the past few weeks of Saturday morning early wake up calls so that I could leave to meet my running group.
When I woke again to the bright overhead light and little girls playing fairy (wings and all) it was 6:55 a.m.
The WannaBeasts were surely all lined up and ready to go. I had a pang of envy, but overall I knew that I needed the rest, especially after yesterday and what turned out to be the Princess Party from h-e-double hockey sticks.
My girls were so excited to wear their Cinderella dresses that Santa Claus had brought for them at Christmas. We had just read Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book and were up to date on the proper etiquette that big girls demonstrate when being invited to such occasions.
The moment we walked in the door past the balloons and into an unfamiliar room full of other little Princesses, my girls turned into cling-ons and I had to drag them through the house like barnacles attached to my white Hudsons.
They wouldn’t speak or play or eat or participate. They declined the tiaras and the magic wands and looked at me like they were about to get shots or be left with a witch or forced to wear pants with buttons.
To no avail, I tried to get them to join the others at the tea-table set with circular peanut butter sandwiches and Goldfish and bright pink frosted cupcakes. I ended up sitting between them and had nice conversations with the other little girls brave enough to stay at the party without their moms.
The moms that had stayed looked at me with pity. I could imagine what they were thinking, but they were kind. I was embarrassed.
I unwrapped cupcakes for W and the little one next to me whose name I didn’t know. She felt safe enough next to me to ask for help once her cupcake had split in two. I told her to pick a side and eat it first and that eventually the other side would meet up in her belly. I wiped W’s pink face with a wet paper towel and spoke to L about her darling haircut (her first).
When Rapunzel showed up at the door and all the children went to dance in the living room, my two were busy pitching a major fit in the dining room.
I grabbed my keys, said, “Happy Birthday,” to K and left after allowing the hostess to give the girls a party favor, which was promptly removed from their possession once in the car.
I strapped them into their booster seats and in my most stern mommy voice told them of my disappointment and unhappiness with their behavior. We went home and I cooked dinner. They were sent to their room for a major time out.
I spent the next while thinking about my goal to be kind and wondered how I’d been so in this situation.
Small acts of kindness are easy; smiling at a stranger, holding the door for a mom with baby carrier, saying, “Happy Birthday and Thank You,” to the hostess of a party.
Kindness with your kids (or husband or parents or friends) in the midst of temper tantrums is more difficult to do.
As hard as it was to hear them sobbing in their room and trying to manipulate their way out, the kind thing (the right thing) was to set the limits to give them structure for their behavior.
Hopefully the next time we’ll do better.
It’s the best we can do.
February 3, 2012 § 11 Comments
With kids, parenting choices are made every second of every day.
Each night I wonder if I fed my mini me’s healthily enough or if I allowed too much sugar. Every second that they sit in front of the t.v. I question what they are watching and for how long it’s been. Is it okay that I let Grace go to school today wearing her favorite owl sweater that is much too small?
How about the way I reacted when they were crawling on the ground like babies, on the dirty floor of the pre-school hallway? Instead of yelling or attempting to get their forty pound bodies up off the floor (which would have led to writhing and laughing at me), I told them there would be no more driving though Starbucks for birthday cake pops. Bribery with those made for little girl birthday pops; pink frosting over cake with sprinkles on a stick! Should I ever have taken them to Starbucks for birthday cake pops to begin with? Wasn’t I just instilling that backward behavior where food is a prize, a treat for having such a good day?
I wonder how (much) the decisions I make for them now will determine the kinds of people they will be.
Am I fooling myself into thinking that I have that much control? Once the world gets a hold of us, isn’t that what determines our future and regardless of our upbringing, don’t we turn out to be who we are supposed to be anyway?
I am reminded of a great book I read called The Glass Castle. It’s author, a woman named Jeanette Walls (who’s also a pretty famous celebrity journalist) was raised by parents who did practically zero in the parenting department. The book documents her experiences, like how the children stayed dry when trying to sleep under a leaky roof and how they didn’t die of starvation when the folks spent all the food money on alcohol. The kids had to figure out a system for living a life with parents, sans parenting. And they did, though in the end Ms. Walls turned out to have a productive life while her sister did not. So whose fault was that? Why does one child succeed despite poor parenting, while another falters and either repeats the same mistakes or make brand spanking new ones?
Once I had come through the other side of the haze called my teens and early twenties, I could see that my own mom had done the absolute best job she could have (especially considering she was a young widow with three children to raise on her own). I made lots of bad decisions along the way, tried stuff that I hope my girls never do, but it wasn’t because of my parents. It was me and my need for pushing the envelope, for finding my own way, because I was/am stubborn and house a bit of a rebel inside my heart. It’s a beautiful day when we realize that our parents are real human people and that’s when our relationships change and we are allowed to become friends. But it only happens after the world has had its chance to tempt us, to shake us up and see how we land. Those of us who land on our feet (and choose to want to be friends) benefit from the new relationships with our parents. Others never have the opportunity or just never learn.
All I can do is continue to build a foundation for my kids that will hopefully be their armour against the world when I’m not around to protect them. I must continue to trust my gut and hope that les girlies turn out to be productive and good people, who are kind and fair. I fully expect the day will come, though, when the world grabs hold of them and I’m sure I’ll have some explaining to do. I hope they come to me to work it out.
And as the questions get harder, my approach will be to tell the truth, since I believe in it wholeheartedly. Because the truth is that I am exactly who I am despite or in spite of what my parents ever did, and my kids will be who they are supposed to be despite or in spite of what their father and I choose for them.
Parenting is darned hard and getting harder everyday.
It’s hard, but it’s joyous, and my fingers are tightly crossed that we all survive!
December 19, 2011 § 5 Comments
I was so anxious to get out there and play by the rules for Saturday’s big run that I didn’t check the weather before I left. It was cold (40) and windy! I was not prepared. I would have been fine had I dressed properly, but my short sleeve Run Swiftly under my long sleeve race shirt wasn’t enough.
My weather checking habit had thus far ensured that I’d been properly dressed for 99.9% of my running excursions, so I chalked up the experience (of a freezing cold run) as another lesson learned. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things we already know.
My attempt to slow down was another needed reminder. I was on the road for 3 hours and 12 minutes for a 13.1 mile run. It was much too long for the mileage, but I did notice that I felt much better and stronger for miles 9-13. I think it’s probably true that slowing down has benefits, but the first 10 miles of my run were so boring! I spent a lot of that time cursing the cold, smiling with eyes closed to feel the sun when it decided to poke through, and contemplating the possibility that books on tape might help this whole process. I haven’t had time to read an actual book since the Twilight series in the Summer of 2008. Have you ever heard anything so sad?
One tidbit regarding the slow long run that no one offered up is that despite the turtley pace, your body will still hurt. This makes sense, because anything you do for 3 hours straight is going to cause pain. I still felt my right hip flexor flare and my outer big toes were swollen and tender once my sneakers came off. No matter the speed, distance running is hard work.
At the library this week I checked out one of Hal Higdon’s running books, Running after 40. I was able to read a bit of the chapter on training and it hit home the lesson that consistency is key. I do believe that I’m being consistent with my training, so I’m going to continue to hold out hope that the end result will be accomplishing the 26.2 monster.
Consistency in other areas is proving more difficult and much of my normal schedule has been thrown off.
Both of my kids have been sick since Thursday. Most moms give Benadryl and Ibuprofen to their sickies, and maybe a lesson on proper nose blowing (close your mouth and pretend to blow out a birthday candle with your nose).
For me, since my sweet Sophie has asthma, it also entails a lot of nebulizer treatments and wincing at the sound of wretched coughing fits.
In the Fall, we had our girl tested for allergies in the hope that we could get the asthma to take a hiatus. Besides multiple daily injection for the next few years (yes, years), we decided that the way we are managing is the best for her. I can’t imagine the trauma of multiple daily shots for a child. It was hard enough for me when going through IVF and that was only temporary and I was an adult who would have done anything for my babies.
The fact that I haven’t slept a full night since Thursday is fine. Last night at bedtime, when the coughing was so bad, I curled up next to my daughter and held the ducky mask to her face while she slept. Her hands were holding tight to her woobies that had just been given a bath to remove the throw up smell from last nights overpowering coughing attack. I snuggled in close and waited 45 minutes for the medicine to be all used up and for her breathing to look less labored. I occasionally rolled over to peek at Grace who is used to sleeping through the deafening sound of the nebulizers’ motor.
Most of this week I’ve felt like a human fly strip, except instead of catching flies, I am catching germs (visualizing which ones are sticking). Coughs and sneezes have been hurled at me from close range. Dripping noses (and fingers that have been in those noses) have been wiped on me. Motherhood is a dirty, dirty job.
When Sophie woke up coughing at 4:30 this morning, my nurse mom reflexes went through the motions. I disassembled the ducky mask to fill the plastic port with the albuterol and pulmocort. It was completely dark, but I’ve gotten really good and really fast (even without light). Sophie’s neck rested on my left bicep and I wrapped my forearm around her face so my hand could hold the mask, flush against her nose. She was awake, but peaceful and calm once situated and the medicine was misting. Grace’s little feet were squeezed in the small of my back for warmth and she snuggled up to my right side, still asleep. I lay there with my body contorted, tilted on my side from those small feet, with my left arm starting to go numb.
By the time the medicine was finished and the cough had ceased, sickie and I stayed in bed for a minute more with the noise of the nebulizer turned off.
Sophie turned her head to look me in the eyes and said, “I have to give you something.”
She leaned in to kiss my cheek with a tiny but determined smack; then the other cheek, my nose and finally my forehead.
I asked her if she “did that” because I was taking care of her or because she loves me.
She said it was because she loves me.
I might not bring home a big paycheck for the work I do, but I am paid in a different kind of currency that yields big dividends.
Don’t tell Brian, but I may never go back to work.