Monthly Archives: October 2009

Big Hurt

Tonight I hurt. I hurt because my little girl is hurting and even if it is just little 4 year old hurt, I can see in her little eyes that it’s big hurt to her. Why does the hurt start so early? Why can’t we protect our little ones until they are big enough to handle the hurt? She was so sad. So sad and used such “real” words to explain her sadness. “I don’t think she likes me anymore mommy. I feel like she’s done with me and I feel like she thinks I’m her OLD friend and M is her NEW friend. I’m just the old news now mommy and I’m not ready to be the old news. I still love C.” I choked back tears as she said all of this. I told her that tomorrow will be a new day and she’ll be “in” again. I asked her if C said anything that made her feel like “old news” and she said, “she wouldn’t hold my hand while we were dancing. She would only hold M’s hand. She kept shaking my hand away. I told her she was making me sad and she said she just didn’t want to hold my hand.” And the tears were rolling down her cheeks as she relived it for me. And I held her. So close I held her. I wanted to tell her, I’M her friend, will always be her friend and all she needs is me. But I know that’s not what she needs to hear. And I know that’s not true.

All I want to do is run into school tomorrow and smoosh C’s face into the floor. Grab her hair and tell her if she isn’t nice to my daughter, she’ll be sorry. But Hannah needs to handle this. Be a big girl and figure out how to make it work with these little girls. I told her I’d help her. I’d help her figure it all out. She looked so little lying in her bed. So little but so big. How’d she get so big? She rolled over and looked at me and said, “By morning mommy? By morning will you come up with something to make this all better?” “Mmm Hmmm” I quietly said as I pushed her wet-from-tears hair away from her eyes and pulled her piggy blanket up to her neck. And she rolled back over, thumb in her mouth, pulling her stuffed Ellie closer to her chest. Still so little.
So I’m sitting here. Trying to think of the right words. The words to bring her a wonderful day tomorrow. I want to choose the right words for her little ears. I’ve been taught to speak the truth, be realistic, don’t expect too much. I was raised with those words in my head. But those are not the words I choose to speak. Those words are too big for little her. I won’t tell her that girls are often mean, that it’s a fact of life that feelings get hurt, that maybe these are not the right friends for her, that she needs to BE STRONG and walk away. I WILL tell her to keep smiling. Keep trying. Keep reminding C why she was her friend in the first place. I want her to know it’s ok if C sees her sad. Because she is. I refuse to tell Hannah to let C think she’s fine when she isn’t. “Playing hard to get” doesn’t make sense to a 4 year old.
I’m sitting here while my little girl sleeps, hopefully dreaming happy dreams and without an ounce of hurt. I’m sitting here still hurting. Still hurting because I know. I know that I don’t have all the right answers. I will pretend to but really, all I have is experience. Experience as a girl having gone through some sad, tough, confusing years. I remember what it was like, maybe a little too well. But I choose to be the face of optimism. I choose to let her believe she can tackle all of it, that other kids would be lucky to have her as a friend (which they would). I choose to let her know I am here for whatever she needs me for. She’s four. She is little. But this is a big deal to her. And it’s big for me too. So for her, and for me, we will make the hurt go away.
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Not so crafty

I am afraid of 4 year olds. There. I’ve said it. And I’m not just talking about the four year old in the shape of my daughter. I’m talking about all of them. It’s the only explanation that I have for the fear I’m feeling tonight as I prepare for the project I’m doing with Hannah’s class tomorrow. All the “good” moms do a project with the class and I’ve always rolled my eyes when Hannah skips through the door holding her new foam/string/sparkly butterfly (“I learned the entire life cycle of a butterfly mommy!” blahdiblahdiblah) or a piece of paper with little colorful shapes taped to it (whoopdidoo – a TANGRAM!), or a decorated plastic jar with pretend bugs in it (that I still find scattered about my house and scare the crap out of me). I have cringed when she told me “Henry’s mommy read us a book in class” or “Alexander’s daddy is a fireman and he came in and told us how he can walk through fire”. I just wasn’t up to the challenge.
But this year, she actually asked me to come to her class to do “something”. I asked her what she thinks I should do. Her response? “I don’t know mommy, I’m sure we can find SOMETHING you are good at”. Gee. Thanks. “Maybe you could sing a song to the class mommy, you’re good at singing”. She has low standards for singing apparently so I declined that offer. “Maybe you could teach a dance to the class?” I wondered if something along the lines of the Electric Slide was what she had in mind. Also a no go.

But I told myself that I had to find SOMETHING. As Halloween started approaching I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a craft with the class. My original idea was to have the class paint a pumpkin, no instructions, no rules, just paint. Then I realized I’d have to buy 20 pumpkins for the class and even worse, CARRY 20 pumpkins into the class. Our little red wagon wouldn’t even do the trick there. I went on line and searched “Halloween kids crafts” and it was as if the clouds parted in the sky! Dozens upon dozens of crafts to choose from! People actually write blogs about these types of crafts! Who knew? (And the authors of those blogs probably similarly say, “people actually write blogs about their ridiculous lives as mommies!”). I chose the construction paper spider bracelet craft.


I even tested it out on Hannah to make sure she could do it without getting too frustrated. Success. But I’m still terrified. What if they’re bored? What if they think it’s lame? What if I notice some of them whispering to each other while I’m giving the instructions? I’ll surely feel they’re talking about me and my lame-ass spider project.
So, I’m bringing goodies too. If they’re bored with the spider bracelet sugar should do the trick! I read on someone’s blog (which I can’t give credit too because for the life of me I can’t remember whose blog it was) about these awesome halloween cupcakes. She did such an amazing job with them… and I thought, I. Can. Do. That! Mind you, I am NOT a crafty, Martha Stewart type. I always have this amazing vision in my head for what I want something to look like and when it’s done. I usually have to confess that it was my 4 year old who did it. That vision never gets translated into a finished project I’m happy with. I can’t draw (not even a stick figure looks right), I can’t paint, I just can’t go from brain to reality. (I can however put a damn good outfit together). So when I saw these cupcakes and thought, all I need to do is copy them, I thought I was in luck. I spent 2 hours on them today. Hunched over the counter, squeezing frosting out of tubes with my arthritic fingers in pain and now, I’m tempted to not post the pictures. But then I realized, people need to see that not EVERYONE posts the success stories. Not EVERYONE ends up with a perfect product. Some people suck at this type stuff and it’s OK. And those of you who DO end up with a perfect product? Hold your comments… it’s hard to admit I’m not perfect at EVERYTHING! So here they are.



There’s a spider, a ghost and a mummy. Yes, a mummy. Those are 2 little yellow eyes poking out. Not sure what went wrong there… nothing like the adorable, perfectly wrapped mummy I copied to make it. I’m wondering if I’ll have to tell the teachers that Hannah made them. Hannah at least knew what they were (except the mummy which she thought was “a mess of stars”).

When I showed Tim he said they look sad. That went over well. I told him his mom even liked them (she’s the “ubercreative” type) and he said, “you could fart and my mom would like it”. That also went over well (and Barbara if you’re reading this you can feel free to tell him he’s mistaken).
I’m taking deep breaths tonight. Hoping the 4 year olds go home proudly wearing their new spider bracelets and with chocolate on their mouths. Hoping that the other moms will roll their eyes this time at me.

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My Boy



My boy. It’s STILL crazy to say that. My boy. I have a boy. After 3.5 years of being swallowed and overwhelmed with GIRL, I have a boy. I cried quietly in the middle of the first night he was born because if I’m honest today, I don’t think I was happy I had a boy. I was ecstatic I had another BABY (after all I went through) but I didn’t think I’d know how to “do” boy. Would I “get” him? Would he “get” me? How would I talk Star Wars having never actually SEEN Star Wars? Would I have to memorize baseball, football and basketball stats so that he’d want to be with me? Would he let me hug him and smooch him? Would he cuddle? How soon would I be ditched for daddy?

He’s now 18 months old and I’m still in shock that I have a son. For some reason it doesn’t seem real to me. For one, I think he’s someone else’s son since there isn’t one ounce of him that resembles me. I used to look at little cute blonde boys and note to myself that THAT child could never be mine. MY son would be brunette. MY son would have dark eyes and olive skin. Not. So. Fast. That blonde boy IS my son and I’m still waiting for those light eyes to become dark. I stare at him and search that face for something that’s me. And I come up empty. And at first it was hard because it’s fun to look at your child and see something of “you” in them and in those first days (maybe weeks) where I was having a hard time bonding… it was just hard. It’s easier now, especially as I see more and more of Tim in him and even more importantly, I have bonded. I’m sold on him. I’m whipped.
I realize in the 75 posts that I’ve written here that very few words have been dedicated to this boy. So much of my world is consumed with the little brunette, dark eyed whirlwind of a child known as Hannah who makes me laugh and cry each and every day. What can I say, she gives me better material. BUT, this boy, he warms my heart. He chokes me up. He is my breath of fresh air in my days that seem to pull me under water. He is my son and he’s growing up, and so, I’m dedicating this post to him.


Those eyes. They make EVERY single person who meets him comment on them. Most comments are somewhere along the lines of, “Why is he so scared?” to “He looks so surprised!”, to “WOW, those are some huge eyes”. I’m often left not knowing how to respond and wondering if they are complimenting his eyes or telling me that I should DO something to calm down my fearful, worried son. I do agree they are big, they are so big in fact, that when he was an infant his eyelids literally were not big enough to cover them, making him sleep with his eyes partially open. I’d walk over to him thinking he was awake but he was out cold. I love those eyes. Those huge, beautiful, bright, curious, quizzical, personable, warm, maybe scared looking eyes. It’s his defining feature and I hope they always stand out the way they do today. As they say, “The Better to SEEEE You with, My Dear!”.
His little voice. I could listen to that sweet voice all day. No, he’s not TALKING per se but when he DOES, it will be like butter to the ears (no, that makes NO sense but it will do). “Mommy” has yet to escape his mouth and I am sure he’s decided that because I ask him each and every day, all day to say it, he never will. And I’m now fine with that (not really). For some reason, Luke sings his “words” instead of saying them and with most words he has a dance to go along with it. (Opera in his future?). He says “open” as “Baa BAAAAA” (hands out and in). He says, “Downstairs” as “Daaah DAAAAAH” (hands up then down). He calls the dog (Bella) as “Beh Baaaah!” Spoon is “BOOOoooon”. Water is “WaaaAAAAHH!”He is unable to say “Woof Woof” without doing little mini, dancing squats. But my most favorite word that comes out of his mouth is ball. “Baaaahoooowl”. Music to my ears. All of it.
The determination. That boy KNOWS what he wants and will find a way to get it. I believe if his ball of choice was in an unreachable corner of a room, he would rearrange the furniture in the room to get to it. I have seen him push bins full of toys through three rooms in order to be in our company, and he’s pushed a chair in front of a cabinet he wants to get in. And then he runs to get me to show off his work. He thrives on applause. If there is something in the fridge he wants he will repeat what he thinks that item is over and over without pause, until he gets it. Buh, buh buh, buh is not “yogurt” last I checked, but after showing him every item that begins with “B” in the fridge, I almost gave up until I exasperatedly showed him the yogurt, “This?” I asked and then I got an applause from the little guy.
Silly. So silly. On the one hand he’ll spin around and around and around until he completely loses balance and falls on his face (while laughing) and on the other he’ll sit in his high chair, complete dead pan face and drop his food, one by one, by one onto the floor without losing my eye contact. My finger in his face and strong NO, does not stop him and with each piece I pick up, the next is in my hair as I am bending down to pick the first up. All the while he’s shaking his head no, knowing perfectly well that mommy doesn’t approve. It isn’t until I remove the tray of food that he breaks into the most ridiculous smile. A simple, “I’m done” would do my little friend.
He loves shoes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Any shoe he finds he tries desperately to shove his foot into. Whether they are my shoes, Hannah’s shoe, his own shoes, or a tupperware container that he believes is a shoe, his foot desperately tries to find cover in them. After he’s in them, he LOVES clomping around in them. Up and down the hallways he goes, running into walls as he watches his feet move one in front of the other, giggling all the way.

There truly are no words to describe the adoration he has for his sister. “Ha Ahhh, Ha Ahhh” he shouts when he sees her. He’s been dressed in hair-ties, necklaces, princess outfits, tiaras, and legwarmers. He’s endured countless “Doctors” appointments leaving with Bandaids across his forehead, feet, knees and back. He’s had EVERY (yes EVERY) toy taken from him and replaced with a smaller, older, less exciting toy. He’s been tackled, squeezed, rolled, carried and smooshed by this 36 pound girl and has endured it ALL with a smile. Coming back for more, ASKING for more. He kisses her during her tantrums, hugs her when she cries, brings her her stuffed animal when she’s sad and laughs harder than anyone else on earth when she does anything remotely silly. It melts me (and her too when she’s in the mood). I live for the day when she appreciates it and hope to god he’s still doing it when she does.
He’s my son. He may not say much. But he’s won my heart in a way that I never could have imagined. And I can say now, with no uncertainty, I’m so happy I have this boy.

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change of plans

I was planning on writing today all about the new phase that Hannah is in these days but as I logged on to work on it, I received an email from a friend of mine with a Halloween card which then turned into my evening activity. I believe Hannah will be in this new stage for quite some time, so you’ll be sure to see it later this week. So, instead of my planned post, may I present to you the following:

Enjoy. And Happy Halloween.
Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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Boo! I’m the most scary.

There are firsts for everything. Some more life changing than others. Some pretty life altering firsts are: first A on your report card, first hickey, first time driving alone with the music blaring, windows down and singing at the top of your lungs, first day living on your own, first day of marriage, first diaper change and first writing contest. Ok, maybe first writing contest isn’t such a big deal for some of you but for me, it’s big. Because I never was a writer and you’re not supposed to enter a contest if it’s not something you do Well. And honestly, I probably wouldn’t be doing this one if the topic for the contest wasn’t one that I thought I’d KICK ASS in. But it is. Jill over at her amazing blog Scary Mommy is running a contest to see who along with her, is seriously a scary mommy (although I haven’t quite figured out what makes her so scary, she’s just hysterical, but I’ll just go with it). I however, am scary. And I should win. And you’ll see why below. And after you read it and totally 100% agree with me, head on over to her blog and vote for me so that I can win the coolest video camera and some of the blankets that Luke drags around with him all day every day because they are the best blankets ever invented and I need more of them. Got it? Good. Oh and to help the slower of you out there, I’ve highlighted in orange any derivation of “scary” that I write to help you follow along as to why and how I’m in fact scary. You’re welcome.

Before I had kids, I did. not. like. kids. There really was nothing about them that I liked. Little babies were more like creatures in my book that I felt so awkward around. They couldn’t make eye contact with me (which in my book is just plain rude), their limbs were always moving around uncontrollably (making me want to shout, “would you SIT STILL already?”), they made weird noises, they made offensive smells and worst of all, they cried every time I held them (which was not good for my reputation on the streets). So instead of being put in the situation where I’d be confronted with any of this, I usually just avoided the situation. I’d smile politely when introduced to “Baby Xeus” (I needed to ensure here that no one anywhere near me in my life would think I was referring to THEIR child – thus this name I’ve chosen) and comment on the adorability (yes that’s a word) of the baby but slowly, carefully, back away before I was expected to “talk baby”, touch the baby or worst of all, hold the baby. Toddlers, although less delicate, weren’t much better in my book. I never understood what the hell they were trying to say and they talked far too much. I never had anything to say that I thought they’d find interesting and just felt insecure that everything I did or said around them they’d call my bluff on and they’d think, “this lady is so lame and has no idea how to talk to a 3 year old” (yes my insecurities ran deep). I was a scared “Pre-Mommy”.
I did know that I wanted kids though. I knew they came after marriage (my mom always sang that little song about first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby and the baby carriage and I took all of those nursery rhymes to heart. I am actually still feeling quite sad about Humpty Dumpty and Little Jack Horner for their troubled lives). But I didn’t know how I’d make it work with all of these fears, distastes and issues I had with infants and toddlers. I was scared. And January 2, 2005 was the LAST day that I felt this kind of fear. Because then January 3, 2005 happened. And Dr. D uttered the words, “It’s a Girl”. And that girl (who I tried on the delivery table to change her name to Olivia even though Tim and I had agreed for 9 months her name would be Hannah – see that’s even scary) was placed in my arms and I did not feel an ounce of fear. I felt Mesadorovion (I like to make up words like this – it’s a combination of mesmerized, adoration, love and passion). This was my girl. And I told myself that day that I would do everything in my power to make sure nothing would make her unhappy in her world (unrealistic much?). That she would only feel the good things. And not a day would go by that I wouldn’t love and adore her. And this actually worked for a good long time. She was an amazing baby. Patient, sweet, cuddly, rarely sick, calm, careful, verbal and oh so chubby with folds within her folds so that in the summer when you flattened out her folds she had tan lines where her folds were (I know, that has nothing to do with being an amazing baby but the imagery is important here too). I loved that girl. I was (and still am) obsessed with that girl. Not only did I WANT to hold her but I never wanted anyone else to hold her. I didn’t want anyone else to spend time with her without me around. I didn’t want anyone else to enjoy a “first” with her if I couldn’t enjoy it too. I would make the excuse that I had to nurse her to escape for 30 minutes alone with her. No one could get her dressed if I hadn’t picked out her outfit. No one could tell me anything about her without my saying, “I already knew that”. Watch out if I called whoever may have been caring for her while I was at work or out for a short time and they didn’t answer their phone. I needed constant contact, constant supervision. People had to watch very carefully what they said about her because this mom would jump right to her defense. Her poop smells bad? “Not my girl!” She’s pronouncing something wrong? “That’s the way 18 month olds Say It!” She shouldn’t be waking at 4:30 every morning at 20 months? ” Oh, well, it’s just the way she’s wired.” I shouldn’t give into her every whim?”Try to stop me.” No one could make any parenting suggestion because I. Knew. Best.
I was scary.
When Hannah hit 2 I decided I wanted to have another baby. I was pretty secure in the fact that babies were my thing now. And I was “broken”. At least that’s how I described it. I wasn’t ovulating. Not getting my period. Couldn’t get pregnant. I started all the fertility treatments. I took all the drugs that made me a moody, emotional, miserable and scary wife. I had a new obsession… getting pregnant. And I did 3 times and lost them. And I cried and cried for months on end. I did a round of IVF and I had to cancel it because the drugs didn’t work. And I held onto Hannah every night feeling so happy and lucky to have her but so devastated that she wouldn’t be able to share her world with a sibling and I wouldn’t be able to share mine with another child. I made her feel like the end all be all in my world but at the same time wanted more and I’m pretty sure she could feel that. I told my fertility doctor he HAD to make it work. So we tried one last time. And a miracle happened. The doc told me not to get my hopes up but I did, and it worked. It worked so well actually that I had triplets inside of me for a time (“what the fuck am I going to do now” was what was going through my head for those 6 weeks) and then sadly 2 of them didn’t make it. It was a conflict of emotions that I could never describe. Three more babies didn’t seem feasible to me but losing them after all I went through, also devastating. But one did make it. And it truly was a miracle. But I was petrified. Every night I had to give myself a shot in my tush to increase the chances that the baby would survive (part of the joys of IVF) and with every stick of that (enormous) needle in my ass, I told myself it was worth it because I’d have my new baby. And I was scary obsessed with taking care of it inside me. This time around I read EVERYTHING (where with Hannah ignorance was bliss). I ate all the right things and none of the wrong ones. I did everything I “was supposed to do”. And Luke was born on 4/23/08.
I read all of the sibling books, how to transition the new baby into a family of already 3. How to make the big sibling comfortable and loved while the new baby required so much. I spoiled Hannah silly when Luke arrived especially after she said to me the day Luke came home, “Who is going to love ME now?” which was like a dagger through my heart. I took Hannah to pedicures with me, took her out to ice cream, bought her new baby dolls to love along with me as I loved Luke next to her, I carried her on my right hip while Luke was on my left. I was her friend. Her best friend. But I wasn’t doing such a good job as her MOM. I didn’t set boundaries. I didn’t set limits. I let her get away with way too much. And now, on many days, guess who is in charge? She is. And it’s scary.
Only in the past 4 months or so have I really buckled down with her and have had to remind myself over and over and over that I am her mom first, her friend second. But it doesn’t come naturally to me. She throws these tantrums. Indescribable tantrums. And I have always swept her from the floor, held her in my arms and rocked her until the tears dissolve on her cheeks and she can move on. My mom has shook her head with concern (and some disapproval I’m sure while I do this) but again, no one can tell ME how to parent. I then would cook her her favorite meal, buy her a new toy, paint her toenails and make it all better. Such an easy Bandaid. It’s what she expects. She figured out my weaknesses at 4 years old. SHE’S scary (this would have been much easier actually if it was the “Scary Daughter” contest). But I’m calling her on it. Because little Luke looks on at these shenanigans and is soaking it up, letting it sink in and is going to Have At It when he gets the chance I’m sure. And I can’t have two of these tantrumming children getting everything from their “Friend”.
So mommy is Stepping Up. There’s a new sheriff in town. And she’s a new kind of scary. She speaks sternly. She puts kids on the naughty step. She takes away toys. She doesn’t tell night night stories on a bad day. She says, “I’m not liking you right now” to her kids. She Loses It. She doesn’t give choices for dinner (well sometimes she does). She might seem like the “norm” to many of you. but she is in fact scary to me and my kids. And I have a pit in my stomach most days as I set her loose on my kids.
Holy crap have I rambled. And now that I’ve reread this, I’m pretty sure I won’t “win” because most of the other posts in this contest have gotten straight to the point of their scariness. But it’s very much like me to take the long way… but I do have a point that (again for the slower folks) I’ll explain. Being a mom is scary from even before day one that you’re a mom. And scary lives through every day of being a mom. And I’m sure it will get even more scary (my mom can certainly attest to the fact that I may be at my scariest now!). But it’s ok to be scared and scary because we would all have FAR too many kids if it was always not scary. And who needs all of those stinky, shaky, babbling, breakable little things running around?

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Towel Girl

A day of the stomach virus has knocked me to the ground and I’m having a hard time getting back up, but before you all think I never returned from my spa get-away, I thought I’d post a quick ditty about one small “adventure” I had at the spa.

First of all, let me just say that EVERY mom out there needs to make a weekend like that happen. Beg, Plead, Steal, Do Something to make it happen. For those who read my last post, you know I’ve been going through some tough days and these 2 days away have brought me a new perspective (along with your commiserating, empathetic comments that made me feel less like a sinking mom). When I left for the weekend, I never thought 2 days would be enough. I thought I’d leave the spa kicking and screaming and cry the whole way home. But I didn’t. I did a lot of thinking. And I was ready to come home to the squeezing hugs, drippy noses, and hacking coughs that I received when I walked back in the door. I didn’t expect the night of stomach upset upon my return (many may think it was just my way of extending my time in bed with ’round the clock help) but that’s another story.
Back to my adventure. Ok, everyone think back to your wedding night. Think specifically about the moments RIGHT before you walked down the aisle. Many of you may have been in a “holding” room with your bridesmaids and family. Butterflies in your stomach. Stressed that your veil wasn’t on straight, your train wasn’t laid perfectly out behind you, wanting everyone to just be quiet so you could breathe and enjoy the moment. Some of you may have had tears in your eyes anticipating the moments, hours, years ahead of you. For most of us, I’m pretty sure it was a VERY special, sentimental, emotional time. Now imagine some person, wandering unknowingly into your “space” naked except for a spa robe. Yes, that would have been me. I got a little lost my first afternoon at the spa, not quite understanding the woman at the front desk’s directions of how to get from my room to the spa (I recommended better room labeling as I left), so I took it upon myself to wander and around and find it. I never have been so great with directions but usually I have Tim with me who directs me from point A to point B. I did feel slightly underdressed wandering the hallways with all these dressed up, coursage/boutonniere wearing people whispering amongst themselves but I didn’t think much of it. And dammit, I was running late for my facial so I got impatient and just started opening all of the doorways in front of me. Even the one labeled “conservatory” which happened to be the special place the bride waits before walking down the aisle. And there I was. Face to face with her. And what did I say? “Oh, uh, I’m sorry. Is this not the spa?”. And I lingered for moments too long (while I was there I needed to check out the bridesmaids outfits and the bride’s gown of course). I hated myself at that moment. I knew how much she hated me too. This was NOT what she had envisioned in her year of planning for her perfect moment. But this is what she’d remember of that special moment. I’m wondering if I now am labeled, “Towel Girl” or “Spa Girl” in her recollection of the night. Balloon Boy became famous the same day but she remembers me instead. Based on the look on her face when she saw me, I definitely hold some place in her heart. I remember the rabbi not remembering Tim was Jewish at my wedding and screwing up the entire sermon (another story not for today), Norwich Spa Bride remembers Towel Girl.
At least I enjoyed my facial.

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Thanks for listening

When I used to keep a diary growing up, and even in recent years, I always stopped writing during “bad” times. I guess I never wanted to admit, even if just to myself, that there was anything wrong. It was much easier to write about the happy, proud, excited times like when I had a crush on a boy who I thought liked me back, when I scored goals or placed well in a sport I was competing in or when I was achieving what I had set my mind to achieve. The times when I knew I was in a relationship going south, when I was worried about my grades, hating my job, or was having a hard time finding my “place” in life, my pen sat on my desk and months or even years would go by before I’d find the need or courage to write again. Maybe I thought if I didn’t write about it, it wasn’t a problem. My diary for many years was a confidant. Something I knew that wouldn’t judge me. But for some reason, it seems I actually did view it as something I felt judged by. Maybe I didn’t want to look back on those years and realized I had failed at anything.

When I started this blog I told myself that I’d write good and bad. Happy and sad. I’d write frivolous posts, deep meaningful posts, silly posts but always write SOMETHING. For those who have followed me here for a while you know that I confess to my bad mommy days, am self deprecating at times, laugh at myself and my kids and maybe complain a little too much. Because if I can’t do it here, where can I do it? I have dubbed this a “mommy blog” because I find comfort in knowing that somewhere out there, there MUST be another mommy who can relate to some of the stuff in my pages. I wish I heard from more of those mommies because you really have NO idea how much it helps to hear that there is another 4.5 year old who throws tsunami type tantrums like Hannah does. Or who has a 17 month old who doesn’t speak more than a few syllables that may or may not be words. I never get commenters that say, “Oh really? Your child does THAT? Mine has never.” Or after I post about being really proud of Hannah for something she’s done, I’ve never received a comment that one-ups me with their child being even better. I HAVE had real life friends like that but not here. Only commiserating, I-Can-Feel-Your-Pain friends or friends who congratulate me on the pride I may feel some days as a mom.
This mom job is HARD. Really hard. And some days I think I really suck at it. Some days I really wonder why on earth I left my job, a job that I loved (although one that I was so stressed doing that I KNEW I’d never be able to get pregnant again if I kept it which is really why I left… sorry, I digress) to do this all day, every day. And this job is the ONE job I really don’t want to screw up at. Screwing up at my past jobs meant an ad might be late to press or there might be a typo on 3 million bottles of body wash or Walmart might run out of lipstick… small things people, small things. Screwing up at this job means my child feeling the need to wear hoochie mama short skirts and nipple rings in junior high school to impress a boy or funneling beer at a party while people cheer her on (oh, wait, that was me), or deciding finishing high school isn’t really important. Today was the first day that I really wondered if I might be screwing up. Ever since the day Hannah was born almost 5 years ago I knew there were a few things I would be obsessively careful not to do or to do.
– Be careful how I talked about food/weight with her
– Make her feel good about herself every day
– Tell her and show her I love her every day
– Not put pressure on her to feel the need to be perfect
– Allow mistakes and actually encourage them
I had really thought I’d need to step up with most of these things when she was older. Like 10. Not 4. But I’m wondering now if I’m screwing them up already. Yes, I tell Hannah I love her every day – hundreds of times a day. I tell her she’s beautiful, smart, funny, fast, and that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I don’t make her finish her food, I allow her cookies and other treats, I don’t tell her she shouldn’t eat a lot. I don’t yell at her when she spills something, or when she comes home covered in paint. We haven’t gotten to a point where I’d put pressure on her to do well in school, be a high achiever, have a strong resume. But what I realized today is that I DO put pressure on her every second of every day. 4 year old pressure. “Get dressed faster, move along quicker, set a good example for Luke, don’t run so fast, wipe yourself better, chew with your mouth shut, say thank you more sincerely, say you’re sorry more often, brush your teeth better, pull your pants up, wear clothes that match, include everyone….” and my list goes on and on. Am I already making her feel like she’s not doing things well? And when she Doesn’t. Listen. over and over and over and I finally break and SCREAM at her… how does THAT effect her? How about when I scream, “You. Are. Driving. Me. Crazy.” or “I. Don’t. Want. To. Look. At. You. Right. Now.”. what is that doing to little 4 year old her? Are each of these things destroying a piece of her? Making her lose some of her strength which down the road will hurt her (and me)? I’m worried about this (can you tell?).
I apologized to her tonight for yelling at her this morning and asked if she understood why I was so angry (for talking back to me with extreme sass and not listening to a word I said for an hour) and she seemed like she did but I couldn’t help but notice some hurt in her eyes. And then I wonder if I shouldn’t be apologizing because I’m the MOM and I have the RIGHT to get angry. And this is when I just start to cry. I’ve only been doing this for 5 years and I feel lost. I had one of those “how do people do this?” days. (Can you tell?)
So, there it is. I wrote it all down for all to read. Because I trust you. Because I’m hoping that someone can relate. I have a husband who (sometimes) reads this and I know doesn’t want to know I have days like this and thinks I’m silly to get down on myself and thinks I overthink (which I think I might). I have a mother-in-law who reads this and I know also will think I’m overthinking and that Hannah is so wonderful and it’s a phase (and she is and it might be). I have a mother who for the most part doesn’t read this because I tell her what I write instead and she so badly wants to help me find an “answer” to my woes. And she hurts for me and with me which may or may not be what I need. Yes, I can talk to these people about my every day crap but it makes people uncomfortable to hear someone going through something tough. And talking to my real life friends about this is helpful but timing is always hard, they’re all going through their own crap right along with me. But you guys, you will read this when you have time and find the right thing to say and even if you don’t comment, I can “feel” your good vibes. I won’t let a bad day like this let me stop writing. Because this way, tomorrow, when I have a better day, I’ll feel more justified and honest in writing about it.
And tomorrow I’ll be at a spa getting pampered (thank god) and you’ll KNOW now that I deserve it!

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