Another peaceful afternoon spoiled by my son. If that sounds harsh to you, a mother bemoaning the presence of her very own flesh and blood, well then... come back tomorrow.
How am I supposed to spin it? Make it more P.C.? My tired, hungry son returns from an afternoon play date seeking solace in his mother's heart and a bowl of Special K. Is that better? Whatever! All that may be true but within moments of his entering the peaceful space my daughter and I shared, I was on the receiving end of shrill screams, name-calling, flying objects and fake-out karate kicks. The idea of trying to ease his pain never comes to mind as I attempt to avoid my own serious injury.
Of course, I love my son. He's not always a demon child. In fact, in the past when sharing this behavior with his teachers, they all give me the same look of disbelief. He is a kid who NEVER gets in trouble at school, does well in all his subjects, and is generally respectful, sweet, and VERY amusing. But with me, with dear old mom, after school, he transforms into something altogether different. It's as if he's worked so hard all day to hold it together that when he gets home he erupts. All his pent-up frustrations, embarrassments, and missed goal kicks, come spewing out like an invisible, noxious gas.
Almost immediately, the evening becomes a scream-fest between me, my son and our dog. (I believe if my big, black lab could talk instead of bark VERY loud, she'd speak the famous words of Rodney King - hence today's title.) I
slap together cook dinner while my son is upstairs screaming his head off calming down. The glass of red wine I've poured is spoiled but I continue to drink it, too spent to open another bottle.
I call my son down and he asks for a yogurt and some cereal. Within minutes he has shed his ogre costume and the figure of my adorable, approval-seeking boy has returned in it's place. He is fine. Fed. Satiated. I, on the other hand, am a basket-case. A heart palpitating, deep breathing, bundle of frazzled nerves.
He fills his glass of water and says in a casual, humorous tone, "It would be so cool if you were a robot mom. Then you'd have to do everything I told you."
I put down my almost empty glass of sour wine and wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"
P.S. The picture is not of my son.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Really? Is that what they say? Cause, at 30, I don't remember my mother complaining of crow's feet, hot flashes and incontinence. Truthfully, I don't remember my mother at 30 because I was only 3, but trust me, she didn't talk about these things until she was closer to 50. If our generation is so youthful, so spry, so fountain of youth, then why are all my friends complaining that their bodies have hit the skids? My sister moans that since turning 40 she's had one long, chronic sinus infection and an extra 15 pounds that act like a bad house guest and refuse to leave. A friend complains she has to change out of her cold, sweat-drenched pajamas 2 to 3 times a night. Another one gripes of gray hairs that no amount of artificial color can cover. And when I'm out with the girls we hilariously, like a graceful circle of synchronized swimmers, pull out our reading glasses to read the menus.
Don't get me wrong, my friends and I are no hags. On the contrary, many of us, on a good day, could be labeled as M.I.L.F's. (Okay, maybe only by each other, but HEY, what are friends for??) Most of us eat well, take vitamins, exercise, yada, yada. We do
everything most things right but we hit 40 and suddenly it's payback time. We took out high-interest loans on our nubile flesh to afford us a multitude of pleasures, excesses, and stupid mistakes. We deposited these sparkling, wild, and poignant memories into our mental banks to borrow against in our depleted old age. And so the reparations begin. But why should we pay for behaviors or actions that brought us no joy like bad posture, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or bad falls and injuries? That doesn't seem fair. Even having a baby, the most beautiful, natural, life-changing event, takes it's unjust toll when suddenly we can't take a crap without our hemorrhoids popping out or sneeze without streams of pee dribbling down our legs. (This actually happened to me when I cheered too loud after my son shot his first-ever basket and won the game for his team.)
If I only knew then what I know now, I would have appreciated my flat stomach, my strong bladder and my unblemished, silky, smooth hands. I would have learned to love my appearance, make the most of my flaws, rather than be my own worst judge. I would have listened to my OB-GYN and done more kegels!
So what's the point of this post besides sending you all into a depressed tailspin? The point is, whatever they say about 40 being the new 30, let's roll with it. Because when we hit 30, we mourned our 20's, at 40 we mourned our 30's. At 50, I presume we will mourn our 40's. Let's nip it in the bud and not waste any more of our precious time. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of, THE WISDOM OF MENOPAUSE, describes this phase as an awakening - a time to replay the events of our lives and learn from our mistakes. An opportunity to do the things we've always wanted to do because we are aware that our time is valuable and it is limited.
We can look at this time in our lives as a glass half-empty or a glass half-full. I'm choosing the latter. You?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I just got over my third cold since Xmas and last night (just one day later!) a brand new scratchy throat and runny nose kept me from falling asleep. I didn't finish posting my last blog until around midnight (though I had started drafting it much earlier in the day) and I'm thinking between the new home biz and this blog (oh, and the kids, too), I'm burning the candle at both ends and in between. I don't know how you other bloggers manage to put out posts, quality posts, day after day. I'm exhausted. (As you may have noticed given that Monday's post referred to "yesterday" as a school day. That day had really been last Friday. Oh well.)
So, today's post is going to happen right now. No coming back to it after the kids are asleep. I will (hopefully) be in la-la land shortly thereafter.
I have no idea yet how to put this info in my sidebar (help, if any bloggers are reading...), so I'm going to share with you some of my favorite current reads. They sit on my nightstand in various stages of being read and provide me with much needed enjoyment and escape. Hopefully, you'll agree.
- SLOUCHING TOWARD BETHLEHEM, Joan Didion. These essays are so sharp, so exquisitely drawn. She is a magnificent writer. Loved YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING as well.
- WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE, Raymond Carver. I have only begun to read his stories. His dialogue is incredible. Most, if not all, of his story and character are revealed through dialogue. I love his gruff, yet sensitive, male perspective.
- AFTER RAIN, William Trevor. Short stories by an author who was an important, inspiration to Jhumpa Lahiri. His story, "A Day," is sparsely written but nothing is left to the imagination. He also breaks the "rules" by shifting back and forth in time without warning, yet it is easy to follow. Brilliant. I can't wait to read more.
- HYPOCRITE IN A POUFFY WHITE DRESS, Susan Jane Gilman. I stumbled across this in my local bookstore and I'm loving her self-deprecating, comedic style. Anyone who grew up in the 70's will love her essays about growing up a chubby girl in New York City.
As you can see, I love short stories. I always have but especially now as a mom, I can at least finish a story and get to the next one, whenever. I have countless novels that have been read halfway through and still languish on my bookshelf. Short form is far less frustrating.
Please feel free to offer up any of your favorites. I'm always looking for a good read. No chick lit please. Most of it just ain't worth my valuable free time.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Yesterday, my adorable, little 7 year old boy, while relaying the particulars of his day at school, called a friend who had behaved badly, a SHITHEAD.
WTF! No, he didn't learn it from me. I can't shuck all of the blame but I do know that lately he and his friends at school have been working on "vocabulary - building". And if it wasn't bad enough hearing that word emanate from his heretofore chaste lips, today, while doing homework, he yelled at our barking dog,
"What's your fucking problem?"
I knew what he said. I knew what I heard. Nevertheless, I could not believe my Mommy-In-Denial ears.
"What did you say?" I asked giving him a chance to redeem himself.
Quickly he conjured up, "Freakin'... I said freakin'."
"Hmm, good one," I thought to myself.
To him I said, "Up to your room. That language is not acceptable!"
I don't know about you but hasn't "that is not acceptable" lost it's mo-jo? I've been using it since I enrolled in my first
rip-off baby class and where has it gotten me? It's like that great book, NO DAVID! After a while, the same phrase repeated over and over just falls upon deaf ears.
So what to do? Intellectually, I know curse words are empowering. That they have a cathartic release like no others. They're sexy and they're all around us. Back in July, our family stood on an airport security line next to a man who dropped his laptop on the floor. He yelled out, "Son of a Bitch!"At first, my son was shocked into silence. But within minutes he barraged me with questions.
"Mom, did he say Son of a "B" word?"
"Mom, what does that mean exactly?"
"Mom, why did he say that and not the "F" word?"
He still talks about that moment to this day.
So, I ask again, what to do? Lock the kid up? Send him to Catholic school? (My temple might not be too thrilled.) Home school him? No, please God, no! Not that! I've heard it takes a village...but what kind of village? Is there really a village? In Los Angeles, it certainly ain't my village.
I've read this article and that article seeking help but putting money in the swear box quickly grows old and eating soap just seems so Donna Reed.
Tonight, after reading a bedtime story, my boy, as he often does, asked me to crack an egg over his head to help him fall asleep. As I danced my fingers from his wavy hair down past his arms, his giggles and sweetness brought me back to a more innocent time: the scent of Johnson and Johnson, the softness of peach fuzz, the knowing embrace of tiny, curled fingers.
I think of this and I want to help the foul-mouthed, little booger. S.O.S.
Friday, January 25, 2008
I could have written this blog last night but all I could manage after putting my kids to bed was to crawl under my covers and let the day fade into null and void. It was a humiliating day. A degrading day that kept on giving.
I awoke sick with my third cold since Christmas (damn those kids!). Hubby is out of town on his
boondoggle business trip, so I dragged my congested self out of bed, pulled my dirty hair into an unattractive ponytail, skipped the make-up and drove the kids to school. I left the house feeling shitty and looking worse but since I was already out I figured I'd get some errands done so I could go home and rest. As some of you know, I started a business from home. It requires frequent trips to the local post office. I'd been there a few times before but until now I didn't realize the postal ladies have worked there forever. Customers know their names and they know the customers. Now that I have this business, I'd begun to establish a nice rapport with these ladies. I ventured in to send an international package. I didn't have the right box to ship out of the country so a friend who has a similar business suggested I turn the Priority box inside out and tape it up. Perfect, I say. So I do that and wander in with my package. Anita was taking care of me when her supervisor, Trini, took notice of my box.
"Is that a Priority box?" Trini asked.
"Yes," I told her not thinking anything of it. "I was told I could turn it inside out."
"Oh no. You cannot do that. Very bad. Very bad," Trini scolded.
Anita looked apologetic and handed the box back to me.
Now this box, this package, for reasons too boring to delve into here, had kept me busy ALL morning. I wanted this package out of my hands and pronto. I won't go into the embarrassing details but suffice it to say, I did something stupid. M-O-R-O-N-I-C. A big "L" for loser should have been stamped on my forehead. I did something, that as I looked back on it all day and into the evening, I shivered from the memory.
I blame it on the illness. My usual intelligence must have been suffocating, struggling to get out from under vast gobs of gross green gook.
Like a swarm of rabid school girls the postal ladies called me to the mat.
Yvonne stood, her hand on her hip, glaring at me, "Do you think we're stupid? Is that what you think of us?"
"No," I mustered.
"You are insulting us," she accused me.
I looked down at my purse in crimson-faced shame and murmured, "I'm not trying to insult you."
My excuse fell flat. She was right, I did insult them. I just wanted to get my business done so I could rest before the after school chaos. Insulting them was not my intent, just an unfortunate by-product. They did not let me send my package. Sheepish, I exited .
Hoping to wash that moment away, I ran some additional errands around town. At the UPS mail store, I stood on line next to a man who asked, "Aren't you the woman from the post office?"
"What?" I asked, as my bacteria-laden brain slowly registered his face.
"The woman who just got yelled at at the post office...wasn't that you?"
"Yes, yes," I admitted, "That was me."
I walked down the block to where I'd parked my car. A women looking for a space pulled up and asked if I was leaving.
"Yes, I'm right there," I pointed to my car.
I was doing a nice thing, I told myself. Being proactive. Changing the vibe of my day. Right, Oprah? Wrong. The passenger of that car got out and walked next to me.
"Oh," she said as she saw my face, "Weren't you just at the post office?"
"The UPS store?" I asked. Hoping, continuing to shell out those positive vibes.
"No, the post office. Weren't you the one they were yelling at."
"Yes, yes," I admitted. " That was me."
Was I wearing a scarlet USPS logo on my jacket? Did the whole community witness my humiliation. Were people talking about me over their mocha lattes?
I skulked around the rest of day, useless. I couldn't shake the cloud of disgrace that enveloped me. I wasn't myself with the guys at my favorite hamburger stand. I could see their concern when I didn't smile or try to make them laugh. No matter how many years had passed, no matter how much therapy and experience I'd had, no matter how much I'd changed, this one incident resurrected deeply buried feelings of isolation and shame. Oprah and her The Secret experts had a point. I put the "I am worthless" vibe out there and that's what came back to me. I felt alone, glum, as I had so many times in the past.
Later that afternoon, after pulling out of the carpool lane at my daughter's school, I waited at a red light on a busy boulevard. A man on the sidewalk pointed to my front tire.
"Oh, no. Please God no, don't let it be a flat, " I said to myself. "I just don't have it in me today." I opened my window.
"What's up?" I asked using a cheerful voice to mask my dread.
"You've got an orange construction cone stuck to your tire. You're driving around with it," he said
At this point, the light turned green and traffic started to move. He told me to back up and he'd pull the cone off my tire. Trying to back up during rush hour on a busy boulevard in Los Angeles is no easy task. Not only was I holding up the cars behind me, I was asking them to move back! Loud honks and angry screams later, the man peeled the flattened cone off my tire and tossed it onto the sidewalk. I thanked him in the quickest way possible and blew it on out of there.
This morning I pulled out of the same school parking lot after drop off to find the dirty orange cone standing upright next to a bus stop advertisement of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConnaughey for "Fools Gold". Despite it's slovenly appearance, the cone stood erect and proud next to the pair of glistening Hollywood gods - like it belonged there.
I'll take symbolism anywhere I can get it, especially if it means shedding my cloak of self-contempt. I had planned on taking my package (now in a non-Priority box) to a different post office to avoid further ridicule. Instead, I walked into my local post office and faced the enemy. I greeted the postal ladies warmly and contritely. They shipped off my package. I closed the circle on a bad day. I smiled.
I think I'll bring them some home-baked cookies next time, just in case...
(Moral of the story: Never turn a USPS Priority box inside out. They give it to customers free and don't want you using it for other cheap-y services. Or... just make sure it's sealed and they can't tell!)
Posted by merlotmom at 11:41 AM
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I'm going to bed tonight with two men and neither of them are my husband.
Before you get all holier-than-thou on me, or wriggle with envy, let me introduce you. The two men I'm sleeping with tonight are: Raymond Carver and Jon Stewart. Odd choices... an unlikely duo...you say? Well, it works for me. and me is what tonight's all about.
My husband's away on yet another
boondoggle business trip and I'm here with the kids, the dog, the dishes, the laundry. Same ol', Same ol'. So why not stir up the pot a little? I love my husband and I enjoy sex (at least some of the time) but tonight I don't need to linger in the bathroom flossing-every-tooth-and-plucking-every-hair. Tonight, I can get right into bed and the pleasure will be all MINE.
Now you may think you know where I'm going with this. Raymond +Jon+the energizer
rabbit bunny=1 satisfied merlotmommy. But no. This is not at all a physical endeavor. With a little time on my hands, I'm scratching the itch for a little intellectual stim. A few beautifully constructed sentences. A couple of crafty jokes. I'm getting under the covers with these two creative fellows hoping they will rub some of their genius off on me. I'm using them and loving every minute of it. Now, I'm outta here, I've got two men waiting for me.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Thank you to She's Just Another Manic Mommy for tagging me with this meme and making me feel a part of the group! It's just like junior high school without the mean girls (at least I think without the mean girls...this has yet to be seen...)
The rules are as follows: (1)Link to the person that tagged you. (2)Post the rules on your blog. (3)Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (I apologize in advance!!!)(4)Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5)Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
1. I kiss my dog more than I kiss my husband.
2. I wish I could date my son.
3. If you leave anything out for more than a few minutes I will throw it away.
4. I love to read books but I'll be a grandmother before I finish any of them.
5. I'm an NPR Junkie who listens to podcasts on my earphones in the bathtub.
6. I never look as good in the real world as I do in my bathroom mirror.
I'm going to tag Slouching Mom because she has been supportive of me and my newbie blog status. (BTW - how do you use strikethrough on blogger!!) And I'm sharing the love with Tracy Gallagher, travel correspondent extraordinaire because she's a great person and the only personal friend I have who also has a blog. I'm reaching out to Dawn at Belle of the Blog because she too has been a member of my (hopefully growing) support system. Robert Flutie because I forgot he's the ONLY OTHER friend I have who has a blog. Jenn who is a new friend in the blogosphere who doesn't share the blog-love as much as I'd like her too. And, last but not least, Rose because she was the very first to respond to my blog and she did it while breastfeeding. The reason (or so she claims) for her eye-catching freudian slip.
And, of course, thank you to my agents, my manager, my lawyer, my business manager, mom, dad, dog, etc...
I read this article in GNMParents this morning and it struck me how much it related to yesterday's post. I thought you might like to read it. "How to Stop Being a Victim," by Whitney Hoffman.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I've been thinking a lot about change lately and given this holiday it seems appropriate to put a voice to my mental ramblings. On a larger scale, with the looming presidential election, we are all talking about change. After years of watching our prosperous country swirl down the economic crapper, it's not hard to weigh the benefits. But on a smaller, more personal scale, I think it is difficult to come to this point of certainty. By we, I mostly speak of, women.
This week, the beloved principal of our elementary school, informed us that, after four years, she'd accepted another job. Immediately, a frenzy of anger and betrayal swirled around campus. Sadness, worry and hard-feelings swelled the phone lines.
I thought about the difference between men and women in dealing with change. With women, there's most often a resistance, an emotional tug of war between events unknown and the sure thing - no matter how imperfect. It's the "devil you know" syndrome. We wrangle with breaking up bad marriages, quitting a job, even letting go of opinions of ourselves that we've held since childhood. We attach a sense of identity and familiarity to what we know and wonder who we would be without them. The unknown is scarier than anything we've already survived.
I think our greatest and most powerful female trait is our acute ability to connect with our hearts and the hearts of others. We get to the root of the matter with our kids, spouses, and friends to a place many men don't consider and aren't brave enough to venture to without us. But our greatest asset can also be our greatest handicap. We scorn with the same ferocious dedication that we love. We give our all to those who are special to us, to our jobs, our responsibilities, but that devotion is tagged with a heavy price.
For me, it started in junior high school. The mercurial ins and outs of cliques. The loathsome stares and whispers. Social fluctuations I couldn't measure propelled me into social exile. If I knew then what I know now I'd have taken those girls less seriously, told them to f#@ck off . But I was sensitive and dependent on them for my identity. I needed them as much as I detested them. In summer camp, I awoke one morning to hear my friends whispering and snickering. Even with my eyes closed I felt the shift, the betrayal. A few solitary days later, these girls summoned me into our bathroom, positioned me on a toilet seat, and in front of a judge and jury of my "peers", ordered me to plead guilty/not guilty to a list of social offenses. I spent the rest of the summer in emotional and physical solitary confinement. My trust in girls was obliterated.
I know girl-bullying experiences are common and cutting which is why I suggest this as a possible cause for women's struggle with change. Maybe if we stop taking things personally, stop giving over our power, we wouldn't be so frightened of change. We could look at natural evolutions of life, like an intimate friendship morphing into something more casual, a boss losing a good employee to a competitor, or a beloved elementary school principal leaving for greener pastures, as transitions that are personal only to those initiating the changes. Men tend to step back and view these developments from a strategic standpoint, as opportunities for renovation and renewal. We, too, should have the faith in ourselves and others to see it this way.
As MLK said, "No man is an island. We are a piece of the continent, a piece of the main." We could learn to give other people the benefit of the doubt. To understand that change is natural, change is good. And to have faith in our strength to handle whatever the future brings.
Okay, so I'm a bit melodramatic. It's Martin Luther King Day. If not today, when?
Friday, January 18, 2008
I've spent two weeks or so out here in the blogosphere and I'm slowly settling in. But there are questions I cannot solve and finding live customer service out here is impossible. I'm hoping some of you blogmoms will find it in your hearts to help out this newbie:
1. My feedburner reads are inaccurate. The feed is active and viable but the stats are clearly wrong. How do I remedy this?
2. Which social websites are best to increase traffic for this category of blog? Del.icio.us? StumbleUpon? Magnolia? Do they really work? Are there any caveats to joining these communities?
3. Advertising. I'm using Adsense and will inquire to BlogHer when I'm up for a month. Are there other money-making opportunities I should explore?
Thanks a lot.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The FDA says, "Milk and meat from cloned cows is safe to eat."
Merlotmom says, "Hello?! Scientific geniuses? You've missed your real cash cows. Over here with the dark undereye circles and the sagging tits..."
Putting all ethical, moral and scientific debate aside... Close your eyes for a moment and imagine having a clone of your very own. A partner of the very best kind. Someone to breastfeed your baby in the dark of night. To be at two extracurricular activities at once. To have sex with your husband while you go off to the movies. The possibilities are endless! Your genetically manufactured twin can even keep you company when you're bored without the burden of having to entertain because she already knows what you're thinking! It's a mother's wet dream. I'm close to an orgasm just thinking about it.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I used to keep a clean house. I used to go to bed before midnight. I used to listen as my kids' shared the dramatic details of their day. Not anymore. Not since I made my New Year's resolutions to write a blog and start a business from home. It sounded great on Dec. 29. Inspiring. Energizing. In addition to being a mom, I had new reasons to get up in the morning. It felt good to imagine working and making money again. As if I had awoken from some long slumber.
Only problem is, now I can't sleep. My mind races with ideas. Fears of bad ideas, fears of no ideas, fears of failure, fears of success. And as my world becomes more chaotic, my son becomes more volatile. We are going on one straight week where - from the minute I pick him up on the school steps to the minute he goes to bed - he screams. Shrill rants about losing his favorite football, breaking his lego, doing homework, or taking a shower. He screams at his sister, the dog, me. Tonight, I reached my limit. One of his shrieks bulleted through my eardrum into my head. I heard the synapses in my brain fizzle. Felt them short-circuit. I ran up to where he stood, his body tense, anticipating my next move.
"SHUT UP!" I yelled (maybe that's what it took to quiet the little bugger).
"YOU SHUT UP!" he retaliated.
There we stood, a stand-off. Scrunched up face to scrunched up face. At this point, I did what any intelligent, capable mother would do. I took a step back. Counted to ten. Drew in some cleansing breaths...and called Daddy. Yup. I called Daddy and told him to get his A-S-S home A-S-A-P. I retreated to my beloved computer with a glass of wine and some new blogs. My son and I made peace later as he went off to bed. Me? It's nearly midnight. I'm still here. At my computer. Writing to you.
I promise not to scream at you if you don't scream at me.
A restful goodnight.
Posted by merlotmom at 10:09 PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
by my husband who saw what I was writing and shook his head -an emphatic NO. I was writing my thoughts on today's reports and Gawker video about TC and Scientology. I thought it was amusing but the hubby thought it was mean and entering dangerous territory (cue scary music). I'm sitting here in the dark and it's late at night, so I actually believed him and deleted everything. I will always wonder about the blog that never was...but I guess I can sleep at night knowing Tom won't be coming after me.
I would write a new one but I'm too damn wiped. Until tomorrow...
Posted by merlotmom at 10:47 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I hear myself doing it, I hate myself doing it... but I still do it. I won't bore you with the various ways in which I'm a nudgy pain in the ass - that's my husband's matrimonial right. I just want to talk about this one: I'm nagging my pre-teen daughter about her acne. I'm a bitch, I know! I see her once perfect porcelain skin peppered with ugly, red bumps and whiteheads and all the best parenting advice flies out the window. I've tried being subtle - buying her the facial washes and medications. But you can bring a horse to water and it doesn't mean she'll drink, ya know? If I'm silent about it, her skin gets worse because her hygiene habits are, shall we say, less than consistent. If I push her to wash, her skin improves markedly within days. It's so frustrating. It takes so little. I try teaching her lessons from my own experience with acne - which I STILL HAVE AT 46!!! But here's the rub: she doesn't seem to care.
My dream of being the perfect mother has gone "poof". I imagined handling adolescent sensitivities with aplomb. I never fathomed she wouldn't readily accept my advice. (Now that I'm here - DUH!). Despite this new information, I keep shining a spotlight on her imperfections as she heads into this volatile phase of development. Am I paving the way for low self-esteem? Slipping grades? Eating disorders??? Will she complain about me to her future therapist, blame me for... EVERYTHING? Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm not really this hysterical - maybe a little. I'm aware my irrational fears are undoubtedly about looming issues much larger than acne. So, tell me, how do I stop this train? How do I protect my precious girl from the corruption of adolescent hormones? How do I help without becoming THAT mother. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
While I wait for your feedback...
I often share with friends the interesting things I read while cruising the internet. Now my blog makes it simple. I love Nora Ephron. Here is the link to an opinion she wrote in Sunday's New York Times. It's hysterical. The Chicken Soup Chronicles.
Posted by merlotmom at 12:42 PM
Friday, January 11, 2008
This first week ON after three weeks OFF has been a blessing and a curse. It was nice to have a respite from the homework, carpools, and other general drudgery. Nevertheless, I looked forward to getting back to my routine: kids off to school, writing, walks with my dog. My family entered the week calm, still groggy with pleasure. But mid-week arrived and, like cold water to the face, we all awoke to the realization that vacation was over. Hectic, burdened schedules were back. The week that came in like a lamb, went out like a lion.
I know I'm not alone in thinking TGIF! So, though I consider myself more spiritual than religious, I forward to you something sent to me today by a friend. I thought it might ease everyone's re-entry. Look at the picture and make a wish before reading the prayer (if you're game).
Saint Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
This is meant to be shared with 17 people, myself included in your list. If you choose to share, just email this post to others. If not, take from it this...
Be present. Enjoy. Monday is just around the corner.
Go forth and have a great weekend.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Remember when you could go out at night, party with friends, and show up to work the next day ready to roll?? For me those days are gone - that honeymoon is O-V-E-R. Last night was a cruel reminder. Since returning from winter vacation, our days had been free of temper tantrums, physical brawls, and serious injuries, so I thought I'd hang onto the illusion and have dinner with some girlfriends. Sushi and cocktails are a natural combo - like strawberries and champagne, peanut butter and chocolate, blow jobs and kleenex. One cocktail was so tasty it led to another. Later, I popped an Advil while dreams of a docile morning danced in my head. I awoke the next day, immediately hit with the realization that I was the morning classroom volunteer. Shit! I got everyone off to school, dragged my disheveled self to the classroom, breakfast bar and steaming green tea in hand. As I corrected homework, it became clear that I was in sorry shape. My brain was on brown out - straining to figure out the combined total of 1 quarter, 4 dimes and 4 pennies. (I can see you calculating...) I stared at this basic math as if attempting to solve Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Normally, I enjoy volunteering in the class for a few reasons: 1. Because children truly do say the darndest things. 2. Because I love seeing my son's shyly contented face as I enter the room and 3. Because it becomes clear to me that my kid's listening skills suck just as much as those of his peers. (Alright, a few girls are better, but they're the exception.) At an intimate ratio of 6:1, it was as if I wasn't even there. I wondered what distracting thoughts whizzed and zoomed around in their unkempt little heads. I envied them. As I failed to get their attention, I was reminded of the weary economics teacher from FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, "Anyone?...Anyone?"
Most of these kids don't know me well enough to disrespect me. At least now I know not to take my son's rejection personally. I accept these comforts no matter how oblique.
P.S. Since earlier today when I drafted this entry , we've had multiple meltdowns, flying shards of glass, but thankfully, no injuries. Like I said, O-V-E-R.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
This is the inspiration for my latest parenting experiment. I don't know about you, but my kids physically and verbally abuse each other EVERY DAY. So I've instituted a new rule: Any time someone commits domestic misconduct of this nature, the offender must repent with a kiss. The number of kisses is in direct proportion to the number of offenses, so if the sibling resists the ante is upped accordingly.
It's working, kind of, I'm still giving it time to develop. But it has definitely made life more pleasant. I've made no headway imposing the traditional punishment of separations and time-outs. Listening to them recount how the other said something mean, pinched them in the arm, or stole a spot on the couch, often resulted in nothing more than me screaming my head off and reaching for a glass of wine. Lately, though, the tenor of these incidents has completely transformed. They know what's coming as soon as they commit the crime and before you know it we're all piled on one another in one jiggly, giggly blob. It morphs an unpleasant parenting moment into a revitalizing one.
I'm no expert, not even close, so please accept my experience with the little merit it deserves. But my kids are old enough, 11 and 7, to know what's right and wrong and to keep repeating the mantras, "Keep your hands to yourself," and "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all," just seems ineffective, not to mention, mind-numbingly frustrating.
So if they're like most siblings and won't show the love until they're grown, far away from mommy's scrutinizing stares, then I say, "fake it, 'til you make it" is good enough for me!
Monday, January 7, 2008
I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I managed to stay off the sauce, I mean blogs, and actually saw friends. Yes! Saw them in person. "Yay, me!" (Those of you with kids ages 6-10 may recognize that exclamation from London Tipton on the popular kid's show, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. What can I say, after watching ump-teen episodes, over and over, her voice speaks to me. Some hear God...I hear the Disney Channel.
It's the kids' first day back at school and I'm doing my happy dance. Yeah, yeah, I could tell you I miss the little angels and it was great spending three weeks with them. Truth is...I don't want to see their faces again until 3pm. Mommy needs her space! So how am I spending my free time? Eating bon bons? Getting a mani-pedi? Shopping at Barneys?? Alas, no, but isn't that what your husbands think? Don't you love when they ask, "So what did you do all day?" Like going to the market, dropping off dry-cleaning, and scrubbing your toilet, is going to compare to making deals, increasing sales, and whatever else they do to contribute to the GNP? It's a lose/lose but we grin and bear it because when our kids say something adorably sweet, or acutely funny, WE're the ones there to hear it. Nyah! Nyah! So here I sit wearing my Smart Gloves, attempting to sit in the proper ergonomic position, while making my contribution to society. Thank you for your nice thoughts and comments. I write today with a smile because "You like me, you really like me!"
(I provided the last link should you be interested in famous, past Oscar speeches since award season will be non-existent or terribly lacking this year.)
Before I forget, I shared a cartoon with you last blog courtesy of Digital Digressions but in my newbie naivete, I didn't realize readers would be unable to enlarge it. Never say I'm not here for you, my readers.
A family sits down at the dinner table. The father says to the young boy, "Well, yes, we could read your blog...Or you could just tell us about your school day."
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I tried! I really tried to stay away from the computer today. To NOT research more about blogs. But I failed. That doesn't mean I'm any more intelligent today than I was yesterday, just that I've wasted yet another 4+ hours at my computer. I'm officially addicted to blogging. I'm taking tomorrow off so I can spend time with the hubby and kiddies before normal life starts on Monday. Maybe I'll take my dog for a nice long walk. I can certainly use to get away from this computer. Have a relaxing Sunday.
Here's a cartoon I thought was pretty funny so I'm sharing.
Posted by merlotmom at 5:19 PM
Friday, January 4, 2008
While driving home from our ski vacation, I came up with what I thought was a great way to solve my maternal ennui – start a blog! It would ease me into writing other projects I’d been contemplating for, oh about, a decade. Maybe I could make some pocket change, as well. (Writer’s strike is still going and momma needs a new pair of shoes!) Little did I know, thank G-d I didn’t know, that I was stepping into a Brand New World riddled with unfamiliar computer jargon like HTML’s, RSS feeds, analytics, Adsense, tags, badges, etc. There are even blog award competitions! If this wasn’t intimidating enough there’s an intimate community of bloggers out there who lovingly support each other’s work and refer readers to their friend’s blogs. I’m outside knocking. I'm the new kid in Junior High.
Since I'm majorly Type-A, I should've known that this little idea would have me at my computer all day, everyday. I can’t tell you what my kids have eaten, I can’t even tell you where they are! Seriously. I don’t know if my dog has been fed or walked. My house is an unfettered heap of laundry, toys, and cracker boxes. I can tell my husband, who wholeheartedly supported this idea, is re-evaluating. I'm certain blood clots are developing in my legs but I can't move. I promise myself I'll read just one more blog, research one more website, and hours later, I'm still alone at my computer. So I hope you’ll accept this for my post of the day because it’s all I got. I’m going to pour a glass of wine, hide under the covers and hope that I awake with a clear head and some comments from old friends and new. Yes, that's a shameless plea for feedback. Please don't make me go through peer rejection all over again!
Posted by merlotmom at 4:52 PM
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I love L.D. as much as the next person but I’m not proud of the self-imposed comparison. It happened the other day when I ran into some friends and their two sons. We greeted each other warmly and shared how we spent our holidays. The mom turned to her boys and asked, “Who wants to share the family news?” I know, I should have seen it coming but I was clueless. Looking back on it, the thought of them having another baby never even crossed my mind. How could I be so stupid? What does this have to do with Larry David? Well, I could have faked my way out of it, smiled, offered my congratulations and left it at that. Nope, not me. I could picture the look on my face. It was reflected in their quizzical expressions. Because as I was smiling and congratulating all of them, I was actually thinking, “What?! Why?!” And even worse, the next words out of my mouth were, “Was it planned?” Maybe being in my mid-40’s had something to do with my jaded perspective. Maybe growing up the inconsequential middle child was the explanation. Maybe it was my bout with post-partum depression.
I just know I've woken up nights in a cold sweat after dreaming I was pregnant again. I’ve thrown ice cubes on numerous heated romantic opportunities because birth control was not available. I have nothing against people who want or have three plus children; I'm just not one of them. Regrettably, I think this was obvious to my friends. I felt bad. I did. But if I tried to explain myself, I would have made it worse.
I knew from the terrifying moment I brought my first born home that I wasn’t like other moms. People asked, “Don’t you adore her?” I’ve always been one to speak my mind (Hello? Did you read the above paragraph?) And as much as I wanted to say, “Oh yes, she’s an angel. I love her to death,” the best I could muster was, “I’m sure I’ll love her in time.” The mother/infant bond is described as blissful, purposeful, and life changing. One out of three ain’t bad. I went from heaven on earth hanging with my new husband and decorating our first home, to Dante’s Inferno with burning bosoms and a flaming crotch. Not only did this baby steal my sleep, my humor, and my intelligence, it repeatedly sucked the last ounces of sanity from my blistering boobs. As bad as this was, it was a Tahitian vacation compared to the birth of my son. Six long weeks, 42 continuous days, 1008 solid hours of screaming – his and mine. He developed colic as soon as he woke from his labor stupor. I developed insomnia and an absentee husband. After weeks of sleepwalking through life and driving through stop signs, my pediatrician diagnosed me with post-partum depression. I weaned cold turkey to start the medication. The 24 hours of startling pain I endured from the ace-bandage straitjacket choking my mammaries was worth my return to Oz. My son stopped screaming as soon as he started formula. I reacquainted with R.E.M.
I tell you this to convince you that I am no Larry David. I hope my friend knows I am genuinely happy for her and her family.
Just don’t ask me to baby sit.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
There I was, feeling full of myself after debuting Merlot Mom. Patting myself on the back for being a "published writer". (So what if anyone with a computer and some time to kill can do it, let’s not burst my bubble, okay?) I strutted around, puff-chested, contemplating how to celebrate when I realized I had to pee because I’d been sitting ALL DAY at the damn computer. I reached the bathroom, ready for a pleasurable squat when a thick, stale odor hit me. Shit! That’s what I said and that’s what it was. SHIT. Left for me by my 7 year old son like the previous smelly gift of a decayed salami sandwich which lived under my bed for - let’s just say - way too long. Normally, I would let my husband handle toilet territory (he’s still making up for using rubber gloves to change the babies’ diapers) but he was out with the kids leaving me to my ambition. So I came down from my self-satisfied horse and plunged deep into a pile of crap.
At 5’1” and 105 pounds, I pushed, pulled, heaved, and pressed the plunger into my chest for added muscle. Waves of streptococci-laden water splashed onto my bare hands, legs and feet. I pranced and screamed but only my Labrador could hear me.
So rather than toast my day’s achievement with a glass of New Year’s bubbly or an apropos Merlot, I disinfected the bathroom and myself with Lysol wipes and called it a day.
Chalk up another one for motherhood…