play
I’m not sure why, but every time I visit the dentist for a cleaning I find myself with my mouth wide open, her hands working inside my mouth, when she asks me questions that require more than a nod or shake of my head for an answer.

On a recent visit, the first question she asked me – after starting to clean my teeth – was what my son was going to do this summer.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Is he going to play tball? Soccer? Swim team?” she responds.

“Oh,” I say. “No, he’ll be playing a vintage sport. One that was quite popular about 30 years ago. We’re trying our best to bring it back in to style”.

“Really??” … she’s very intrigued …

Call me crazy, but the kid is five. Does he really need a line-up of activities to keep him busy all summer long? And do I really need/want to spend my time in my car trotting him from one practice to another? One game to another?

The answer, my friends, is hell no.

We’ve decided to live by a few rules in our house that have served us just fine so far. One is regarding outside activities. When, and only when, he asks to participate in an organized sport, an individual sport or an activity will we sign him up. Last summer he asked to play t-ball and soccer. We told him he could choose one of the two, but not both. He chose t-ball. This summer he hasn’t asked to play any sports.

I figure when he gets a bit older he’ll be much more interested in these kinds of things – so until then, we focus on what my husband and I focused on when we were five. That old-time sport called play. You know … outside with friends. With neighbors. With us.

Along the lines of play, we find ourselves struggling with the television thing. How much is too much? Our son could watch that box all day and night if you let him. So we allow it in the morning while he’s eating breakfast, and then occasionally again in the evening right before we start the bedtime routine. One of our other rules is that if it’s nice outside, the TV must be turned off. That doesn’t mean that he needs to play outside. Sometimes he prefers to stay inside, which is fine. But staying inside means finding a craft project or some other activity to entertain himself … but no TV.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not here to judge those families who do sign their kids up for all kinds of activities and sports. I know plenty of families who do so and enjoy themselves immensely. Nor am I judging anyone who allows their kids to watch hours of television. All I’m saying is that it’s not for our family.

One of our other rules is concerning birthday parties … but I’m afraid that’s a whole other post in and of itself!

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One thing I always harp on The Husband about is trying to learn from his mistakes, admit when he’s wrong, see things from the viewpoint of others. All along, I guess I’ve had sort of an “do-as-I-do” air about me. As if I’m such a pro at learning from my mistakes or admitting when I’m wrong.

My relationships with others, I have noticed, seem to have gotten more difficult in the last few years. On the whole, I have a large group of friends and because of a community project I’m working on, the group of people with whom I “hang out” with has grown even more in the past few years.

Here I am, months away from 43 years old, and I’m just learning things about myself. Personality quirks of which I’m not a big fan. I don’t think they’ve been present my whole life … but maybe they have?

Today I saw a side of myself that I didn’t like at all. A controlling side of myself. I wanted control over something that, in the grand scheme of things, was no big deal. But I wouldn’t let it go. I grabbed on, held tight, and refused to let go.

Once I sat back, tried looking at the situation from another point of view, I was ashamed of my behavior. Two apologies later, all is fine with the people I “attacked” but I still feel like shit.

Not liking myself is not fun. But as I said, I’m still learning.

“D passed away in her sleep lastnight. I love you”

Spending the weekend in our favorite city, on our way to one of our favorite breakfast joints, we received the words you see above in form of a text message.

And the world stopped for just a moment.

Clearly, there must be a mistake. D is only 19 and her life is just starting. This is obviously some kind of misunderstanding.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a devout Catholic, I do attend church with somewhat regularlity and I do have one-on-ones with God daily. In the early 90’s I lost a cousin of mine. He was in his early 20’s. Devastated, confused, angry are all a few things I was feeling. But most of all, I think I was pissed off. This cousin of mine was a bright light, volunteering for the Peace Corps, changing lives. His life, as well, was just starting.

After losing my cousin I remember questioning God. Why take the good ones from us? Why are all these murderers, rapists, evil people allowed to remain on Earth while the great ones are snatched away far before their time? It’s an answer I never received.

And I find myself asking it again.

Clearly, there must be some kind of misunderstanding.

Hello blog? It’s me, Mama G. I’m not sure how it happened, but another nearly-six months has gone by since I’ve spent any time with you. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. Really, I do. It’s just that I’ve been knee deep.

Sister is now 16 months old and damn, that girl is developing a ‘tude the likes of which I’ve not seen since … since I was a teen and the one with the ‘tude. She’s funny and spunky and silly and sweet. Until you piss her off. Then she’s trouble. God help me when she’s eleven years old. Knee deep in trouble, I’ll be.

Dancing is one of sister’s favorite activities. She hears music and her body starts moving in the cutest way. Last night at dinner she heard the piped in music at the restaurant and started her groove thing. I joined along, having a grand ol’ time when suddenly she stopped, looked at me, shook her finger at me and said “no, no, no”! In a bit of shock, I stopped dancing in my seat. She started again. So I did too. Once more … finger up, shaking at me, “no, no, no”.

What the? Am I not a good enough dancer for the little lady?

Believe it or not, V is now five. He’s mostly amazing. Actually he’s all amazing – but certainly tests me whenever he gets the chance. This week he’s been defiant to a degree I’ve not yet seen. No matter what I ask him to do he either ignores me completely or tells me no. Too knee deep to stop and ponder his behavior, I found myself letting it go and picking my battles. However four days of that proved too much for me as I hit the wall last night.

Rather than get his jammies on for bed, V decided he wanted to watch TV. I was in the middle of putting sister down and made it clear that he had to have his clothes changed by the time I came back in to the room. If not, we would only read two stories before bed rather than the typical three. His response? Tears.

Care to guess whether or not he had changed his clothes?

He didn’t.

Instead of reading three bedtime stories last night, I read two. And in place of the third one, when I had him all settled down in bed with zero distractions, I told him that I needed to talk to him. Citing a handfull of examples, I explained that his behavior over the past several days has made me feel sad and frustrated. I brought up a time when I knew he was frustrated with me and reminded him of how he felt at that time, letting him know that I was now feeling the same way. I also made it very clear to him that I couldn’t let the behavior continue and that if it did, there would be consequences, which I outlined very specifically. We ended the talk with lots of hugs and kisses and my little man not apologizing to me and telling me he loves me. Knee deep in love, I am.

This morning was a mad rush around the house because, once again, we overslept. I explained to V that we’d have to move a bit faster than usual so as not to be late. Although moving a bit faster is actually usual for us. But that’s beside the point.

Each and every request I made was met with absolute cooperation. In return, I thanked him each and every time. Score one for the parent.

Grabbing the kids, the keys, and the ‘crap’ I carry with me as I was rushing out the door to start our day it dawned on me that I’m knee deep in life. And lovin’ all of it.

Wow … seven months since my last post. I’ve been a bad, bad blogger of late.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. Or haven’t missed it. I have and I have. It’s just that I can barely seem to find the time these days to brush my teeth (kidding), let alone use a keyboard for more than a 3 minute span.

I think I may be too old for this motherhood thing. I certainly feel old.

My little lady is now 10 months old. She’s a really, really easy baby so I have nothing to complain about. I guess the bottom line is that I am missing me time. A friend was telling me about her weekend this morning and – with the non-stop rain we had on Saturday, she just hung out on her sofa in her pj’s and watched tv all day. A nice, lazy day of lounge. I miss those days.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and I love being a mom. It’s just that I miss the ability to do whatever I want, when I want, how I want, with whom I want, with no one depending on me for their well-being.

Lately I’ve been dreading the weekends. The pressure to have “plans” so that V doesn’t get bored hanging around the house is enough to send me in to a tail spin. And even if we hang around the house, we still have to have “stuff” to do so the tv doesn’t become the babysitter. But why is it me that has to make the “plans” and select the “stuff”? Where’s The Husband in all of this?

The Husband and I try to each get out with our friends one night a week – but more often than not, I stay home all week with the kids because I feel guilty going out (and frankly, am too tired) after working all day. Last week was a bit unusual in that The Husband had plans Wednesday night, Friday night and Saturday. Come Sunday, I really wanted to get out of the house. By. Myself. And do some grocery shopping, errands. etc. But for some reason, The Husband really wanted to join me. With the kids, which meant zero alone time for me.

While we were shopping, I received a phone call from the mom of one of V’s former pre-schoolmates inviting us to former pre-schoolmates’ birthday party. In two hours. This was one of V’s bestest friends, so we cut our errands short, went home, grabbed our socks and headed to the bounce house place. But not before dropping off The Husband. You see, he had “stuff” to do at the house. And when his response to my suggestion that he take care of the little lady while I took V to the party was a huge SIGH, I took that as a sign and took her with us to the party.

Big mistake.

Somewhere along the line V has developed a shyness. He didn’t know any of the other kids at the party, and hadn’t seen his friend in more than a month, so he was stuck at my hip. And he was too frightened to go on the bounce house thingies without me. But with a ten-month old stuck on my hip – and knowing no other parents there that could help me – I was unable to join V to help him feel more comfortable.

Enter: meltdown.

After 15 minutes of trying to calm him down, I finally just packed up and left. Both V and I were in tears the entire drive home. His tears were because I made him leave the party. Mine were because I was done. Finished. Over. Finito. I needed an immediate break from parental responsibility.

I walked in the house, handed over the kids, ran to my bedroom, shut the door and stayed there for nearly two and a half hours. Me time. And thankfully, no one bothered me.

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you more than you know. I so wish my children had the opportunity, the pleasure of knowing you. Of talking, laughing, and learning from you.

And I wish you had the opportunity to touch, to hold, to hug and to kiss the kids. They are both amazing. But you already know that, don’t you?

Thank you for being our own special guardian angel. Please continue to watch over all of us and help guide us. Especially your grandchildren.

We love, love, love you.

Two nights ago, V awoke in the middle of the night crying a terrifying cry. The Husband ran to the rescue and the following conversation took place:

(crying hysterically) “Mama! Dadda!!!!!”

“Are you okay, sweetie?”

(through his tears) “I had a bad dream!!!!!”

“What was it about?”

(with terror in his voice) “A leopard with a purple jacket!! I’m having a bad night, Dadda”

I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation … I was laughing too hard in the other room.