Snooki is a Mom

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.

XOM

Tijuana 1988, Junior year of high school. This photo has a history of its own. I displayed it proudly on my wall (thus the push-pin holes in the edges). When I decided to grow up a little I folded it in half (thus the crease mark) where it stayed hidden in a box for years. Now, almost 25 years later, I scanned it for posterity. Time heals all wounds…. even the ones you received having fun (notice the cigarette?).

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Raising Little Ships

August 22, 2012 § 5 Comments

I read a great post over at the818 entitled, How Do You Know If You’re Raising An Asshole?

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.”

Apple? Tree?

Oh God, it’s worse than I thought!

XOM

I admit that on occasion I have used the term, “You little shit.” To my delight Grace thinks I said, “You little ship.” What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Right?

Yin Yang A Yin Yin Yang

August 16, 2012 § 6 Comments

When I agreed to drive home from our seven weeks away it seemed like a good idea. I knew I’d have collected various suitcase filling objects and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to fit our stuff in the belly of a plane or comfortably underneath our seats.

As predicted, we left Groton Long Point yesterday morning with a car stuffed full, so much so that the only way to get to the cooler full of drinks was through the rolled down back window of the Four Runner (the door was blocked by a finicky bike rack). The roof rack above was filled to the brim with dismantled Hello Kitty bikes, dirty towels and random soft bags with items that normally do not go together (shampoo and shoes and Barbies, for example). I placed my precious laptop against the safest spot I could find (next to my feet on the passenger side floor) and surrounding us in every other empty space was an explosion of brought along foods, coloring books, items from the pencil boxes, empty Dunkin Donut bags and pillows and toys.

We rolled into Raleigh after eleven and promptly released the girls.

Said Grace later; “Mom. It’s like we were in jail and we didn’t even do anything bad to get there!”

All along the way I kept thinking that the trip could be described as Yin and Yang.

Yin: Passing around the nectarine and pear I’d brought and watching each family member take a bite.

Yang: Breakfast at McDonald’s (the girls and I didn’t actually eat it, so maybe that’s yin). But dinner at Wendy’s? So yang.

Yin: Outsmarting the GPS that was determined to take us over the George Washington Bridge. We found our way to the Tapanzee and were certain it would be smooth sailing all the way home.

Yang: Three hours of stop and go traffic through D.C.

Yin: Both girls falling asleep and staying that way through most of D.C.

Yang: The cries from the back seat when they woke with sore backs and crampy legs.

Yin: Listening to Sophie sing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) in her high-pitched lovely little voice.

Yang: Listening to Sophie singing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) after twelve or so hours on the road.

Yin: Listening to Adele full blast during my turn at the wheel.

Yang: Being so engrossed in that beautiful voice and missing the last big freeway change.

Yin: The Map Quest directions that said the trip would be eleven hours door to door.

Yang: Fourteen hours later peeling myself from the seat of the car and walking around my house, happy to be here but exhausted and with a headache.

Yin: Pechie’s bowl of freshly made spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge.

Yin: A fridge full of groceries that she bought for us so I wouldn’t have to take the girls in the car again today.

Yin: My house; relatively clean.

Yang: Out of toilet paper and coffee.

Yin: Kids off playing.

Yin: Me typing at my space.

Yin: Back to blogging and writing and running and yoga class and preschool and my juicer and my friends (both real and bloggy).

Yin: There’s no place like home.

XOM.

Grace seven hours in…

Mothering, Co-Sleeping and Band-aids

August 7, 2012 § 12 Comments

Tomorrow is one of the biggest and most important days in the history of my mothering.

I am leaving my children and heading off to New York City for two full nights sans kids.

It might sound strange to equate leaving my children with mothering them, but every mother crosses the separation threshold at one point or another, I just happened to be a late bloomer in this department.

The day my kids were born I expected to be like every other mom and do the things that other moms did.

I expected to bring my babies home from the hospital and put them in their cribs. I expected to let them “cry it out” while standing outside their door completely confident in their ability to soothe themselves. I did not expect that I’d be co-sleeping almost five years later.

It turned out that I was so fiercely protective of my infants that I couldn’t bear to put them in their cribs (cages?). The thought of them halfway down the hall was unbearable and a pain (yes, my pain) that I couldn’t (wouldn’t, shouldn’t) allow.

Crying it out? I read the literature and I tried it. It was a half-hearted attempt, but I did. A few moments of hearing the cries from my less than five pounders (who couldn’t tell me what they needed in any other way) was enough for me to make my own decision on the matter. I viewed it as wrong and still don’t like the philosophy.

As my children near their fifth birthday, the hope for a night of peaceful sleep that doesn’t include Grace’s pokey feet in the small of my back and a heat generating Sophie (gosh, she runs hot) seems like a dream somewhere far away in my future.

I am not complaining, because I actually do enjoy the closeness and the bonding that co-sleeping has given us. I have realized, though, that it is time to change the direction of things and give the girls the freedom to be okay without me in their bed. Whether or not it’s selfish to be giving myself the same freedom is another blog post entirely.

At every point in mothering there comes a time for really big decisions. It’s the reason mothering is such an important job as those decisions are the things that shape and mold children into the people they’ll become.

My girls are not thrilled about the prospect of a night without me (Oh God, two nights!).

It makes me rethink all of those decisions I made so early on.

But part of being a mother is admitting that we have done the best that we could. In fact, I think part of becoming a woman is admitting that our mothers did the best they could, too.

And I have, I think. I’ve done my absolute best.

Tomorrow we are ripping off the band-aid and by Friday when I return new skin will have formed from underneath the cut.

Healing and growth will have happened in spite of itself.

When I see my girls again it will be the beginning of a new chapter.

We’ll be big girls, we three, with a new formed strength to remind us that we can (and will) do whatever needs to be done.

Wish us luck!

XOM.

Big girls taking a big leap.

Girls (and Sharks?) on the Sound

August 3, 2012 § 9 Comments

Lying in my sick-bed feeling all sorts of phlegmy, I looked out my window to the sprawling Long Island Sound and noticed the faintest splashing blip looking all sorts of familiar.

The blip was daughter A, first-born Sophie, easily recognizable in her red and blue life-preserver, but way far out in the sea. She was kicking her feet behind Macy (age seven) who was kneeling on a paddle board and expertly stroking her way perpendicular to the shore.

To the far right was daughter B, second born Grace (not as fearless as her sister), being pulled in an inner tube by her dad whilst sitting close to Macy’s sister Ruby (age nine).

I resisted the urge to run out to the beach and yell something like this:

“That water is over six feet deep! You are over six feet deep! The weatherman says to stay closer to shore! There are sharks on the Cape! I don’t want you to be eaten! Get out! Get out! Get out!”

It is true that there are Great White Sharks on the Cape this summer and people have been bitten!

Not eaten, no, but still…

There were baby seals all up and down the rocky Maine beaches that were most certainly fleeing from those enormous and mysterious creatures.

But I, as energetic as a baby seal who’d just finished swimming for her life, am too sick to run anywhere. If there really was a shark out there I could only hope that Brian would fight it off, protecting all the little ladies with all his might so that the girls could safely swim to shore.

I could only hope.

Sophie kicked and kicked as Macy expertly guided their board. I was astonished by the ease in which she switched her paddle’s grip from left hand to right.

I watched as Sophie reached and stretched her body throwing one leg up onto the board, then two, before kneeling to ride behind Ms. Macy; the two of them out there like kick ass little women on the ocean, in the sun, free like birds and cool like cucumbers.

Brian pulled a long red cord that maneuvered Grace and Ruby around and around and around in swishy circles and now that they were all in my direct view, it seemed that they were agreeing on a plan to head toward land.

I sat back relieved that they would be home soon and within moments the slap of the front screen door alerted me to their arrival.

In our kitchen stood four brown berried bodies dripping heaps of water onto the floor while digging ferociously into a bag of honey pretzels.

I didn’t mind.

They were happy.

And wet.

And hungry.

So I fed them as many carbohydrates as their bodies could consume and they are again back out there on the Sound giving me a moment to rest and watch and feel thankful.

Thankful for kick ass little girls and for my cold (it really is a horrendous cold) that gave them this experience today.

The view from my bed. That blip in front of the boat would be Sophie and Macy…

This Old House

July 15, 2012 § 9 Comments

The Maine house is old.

It’s a good house.

A pretty shingled house.

It was designed by the famous architect William Barry in 1888 for his aunt, Mary Cleaves Lord Coleman. Her husband Walter Coleman had bought the two lots it would sit upon as a wedding gift to his bride, and though she died before it was completed, he spent many of his summers in the beach cottage until the end of his life.

Over time there were small changes made to the structure of the house, but to this day, the place looks much as it always did.

Once, a long time ago, my mother said she saw a vision of a woman in the doorway from my bedroom (back when it was her bedroom) heading upstairs to the third floor.

I’m a believer in such things; not sure what really happens when we die, but all things being possible, why wouldn’t old souls walk the floors of this historic old house.

One night last week I put the girls to sleep while the sun was still shining, tip-toeing downstairs for some time to myself; a great feat that I didn’t pass out in the sweet space between my daughters.

I wanted to watch my shows, my Showtime shows, whose exquisite writing allow me to escape in half hour increments.

To my delight, Weeds had begun again after a great big cliff hanger last season that had left me praying for Nancy all winter.

The episode (two of season eight) did not disappoint; my heroine didn’t die from the presumed gunshot to the head, but had come full circle from housewife to weed connoisseur to criminal mastermind and back to sweet Nancy.

The episode followed Nanc through the hospital during her recovery.

Upon the final scene, my heroine pulled and heaved to climb a set of stairs which was the litmus test for her discharge to freedom. Wearing knee socks and silver clogs (part of the reason I love her so much is her eclectic and always interesting shoe choices) she wobbled and grasped, careful in her footing and determined to make it to the top.

The camera held still at her back.

I held my breath and sat perched on the edge of the striped upholstered sofa.

Out of my mouth came the exalted prayer for Nancy’s survival. I heard my voice exclaim with hope and certainty, “Nancy! Don’t fall!”

And in the instant that the words escaped my mouth, before she turned to face the screen, came the smack of a picture frame (an embroidered sign carefully enclosed) that chose to leap from its settled place against the wall.

The splat of the frame as it hit face down on the built-in book shelves, which hold the television, the frame, and a hundred other dodads collected by my mother over the years, left an eerie absolution that I was heard. But heard by whom?

My mouth hung open as Nancy’s smile declared she’d won the battle. She’d made it to the top with determination, ferociousness and strength.

Mom, who happened to be seated to my left looked at me wide-eyed and stunned; the moment becoming powerful in the assemblance of the parts.

In every day there are signs that alert us to our paths.

Maybe if the frame had fallen minutes after the show had ended we would have chalked it up to the wind.

Maybe if it had fallen moments before we would have been irritated by the intrusion to our heightened excitement over our program.

But it didn’t. It fell at such a moment that no doubt could be explicated. It was a sign, literal and metaphysical, just for me.

My faith has been wavering as of late (as my divorce is imminent), but that moment let it be restored.

I am not alone, despite the nights that I feel utterly so.

And in that reminder came a new peace, albeit a temporary peace; an assurance and awakening to the fact that there is something greater than I that will be with me as I travel this path I have chosen.

The sign that fell. It’s message strangely appropriate, too.

The built-in bookshelves, the t.v., the frame and the rest of the inhabitants.

We brought home two enormous balloons from cousin James’ birthday party yesterday. At dinnertime we went looking for the red one that had seemed to disappear. We found it hiding up in the eaves of The Elms. Another sign? Ever since I saw The Red Balloon in college, I always wonder what a red balloon is trying to tell me.

I took this picture of a photo in the bathroom at the Edgecomb tennis club down the road. It wasn’t dated, but I’m guessing it is late 1800’s. I wonder if any of the players ever lived in our house, or visited it at least?

Pink screen door.

This old house. It looks bigger than it is. The inside is quite like many old cottages with small rooms and narrow staircases. A lot of the newer owners renovated cottages in the neighborhood making them bigger and more grand. I loathe the choice. Bigger and fancier is not always better.

Hiatus Shmiatus

June 17, 2012 § 9 Comments

A hiatus from old style blogging must be maintained, but new and future blog posts must be shorter, easier, to the point.

My social media realm feels incomplete without the pink bordered Mommyland page, so I’ll take the lead from other successful bloggers and focus less in the way of words.

Words must be saved for the novel. Dare I say novels?

My book has progressed and stories have been put down, though much too unorganized as characters keep forming and situations twist into each other.

My voice is clear; a comforting sign.

But the task to organize is harder than it seems. It feels a lot like your mother telling you to clean your room.

I whine, “But why? I’ll do it later!”

I’ve started to think about a sweet and easy love story. A story that blooms like new love and flows by the seat of my flowered board shorts.

We leave for Maine in about a week. Summer sun and wind that pulls the sound of laughing children to our front door does not call for serious writing. It calls for a story of a boy and a girl and lazy days and hearts aflutter.

Maybe the anthropologically tough stuff should wait for Fall?

My girls pilfered the book shelf while I was out running yesterday and left my reading assignments all over the house. They do this sometimes. I view their choices as research guided to me by my messy makers and the pull of our Universe; published works that have put their authors on best seller lists.

And so it continues; writing, reading, blogging, pinning, tweeting, cooking, laundry, husband managing, children tending, packing, kissing, yelling, tidying, yoga, running, running, running.

Toes tipping in all areas remembering that balance is key.

Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. The stories of dating and looking for love in 1990’s Manhattan. Funny considering I was there in the 90’s, but all I was looking for was myself.

Corelli’s Mandolin found next to the purple pillow pet. Louis de Bernieres book is described as a classic novel full of love, loss, war, truth. Deep. Much too deep for now.

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