Saturday, June 30, 2012

No More Egg White Omelets


For some strange reason, I am really mourning the loss of Nora Ephron. I loved her work so much.  I saw her in Zingerman's Nextdoor's upstairs in 1998. She was in town for some writers' workshop or something.  I was delighted when she returned my stunned and reflexive smile and 'hello' with her own. I was beaming for weeks.

What struck me about her was that she would have been at least 57 at the time I saw her. I would have put her at 41 or 42.  She was sleek and trim and warm. Her table was laughing and chatting while she just smiled gently and listened.  I heard her say a few words but there was no mistaking the fact that she was the central figure.  She conveyed a sense of affability and seriousness all at the same time.  I think I was the only person in the room (other than her table-mates) who recognized her. 

I saw her on the cover of Town and Country magazine in November of 2010. She was pictured with another of my favorite east coasters Ina Garten. The two were discussing the holidays. I grabbed the last copy in the rack it like it was a newborn baby.  I rarely buy cooking magazines because it depresses me that I can't immediately be good at cooking without actually practicing.  I still had the magazine this past Christmas. I'm a chronic purger so the fact that I held on to this for future reference is amazing to me. I must have given it away during my spring clean-up this year.  I saw them on eBay for $7.  I'm going to get it as soon as I reset my eBay password.

In it, she discusses her love of the holidays, cooking and gathering with family and friends.  She apparently loved Christmas even though she was raised Jewish.  Go figure.  I think everybody loves Christmas.  It's a ballistic time of year that everybody bitches about but it's wonderful.  It certainly figured prominently in her movies.  And to think, she won't be around to enjoy another one.  How sad.

I have seen "When Harry Met Sally" close to 50 times since it first crashed onto the scene in the summer of 1989.  That movie defined a generation--more than most movies that make a similar claim.  It defined the generation ahead of me and in so doing, mine as well.  My favorite characters were not the leads but the ancillary figures played by Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher.   Their collective resemblance to the characters that would appear 2 years later on Seinfeld cannot be overstated.  The difference between Nora's cohort and Jerry's was not just in their dimension and relatability but also in their actual employment--they worked and they worked. 

What I mean is that Nora wrote for the big names, to be sure. She crafted interesting characters that drove stories and solved problems. They felt deep pain and sorrow and made gaffes and missteps.  They were pretty, cool, funny and each possessed the 'terminally awesome' gene.  But their friends were wack! In WHMS, Bruno Kirby's stunned confirmation was hilarious when Carrie Fisher quoted his article "Pesto is the Quiche of the 80s." Carrie Fisher's character was dating a married man waiting in vain for him to leave his wife.  The two characters fell madly in love that night and ditched Harry and Sally unceremoniously by hopping into a cab and speeding away.

If you look at Jean Stapleton's character in "You've Got Mail" you also see another bizarre offshoot from moral/normal. Apparently, she was dating Generalissimo Francisco Franco during the revolution.  Who knew?!

Some of this was probably Nora playing with scenes and characters.  But some of it seems to me to have been borne out of the fact that she saw herself as much as the lead in her own big and very well connected life as she did a character in others' lives so that's what she wrote.   I listened to several interviews from notables who worked with, knew and loved her.  They all said a variation on 'she made people better'.  The most interesting tidbit they shared was the fact that she thought that we should all put an end to egg white omelets.  After all, life is short.

She made people better.  No more egg white omelets.  Life is too short.

I guess if you have to have an epitaph, that's a pretty good one.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dirt Clods, Rebar and Heavy Equipment

When I say to my kids, "Please put that (insert dangerous noun) down and walk away right now" 3 times with increasing intensity, I expect that they understand what's coming next.

I'm an idiot.  

I become incontinent with frustration for just a flash of a second.  I wish I could write what it looks and sounds like (minus the pee, of course).  But I've mentioned this name before: Sam Kinison only turned inward.  That's what you should imagine. The only problem is that my kids laugh at me as much as I used to laugh at Sam.

Love and Logic can (sometimes) kiss my a** even though it works relatively well when employed correctly. But it presupposes that all parties are well-adjusted, well-fed and non-sleep-deprived. Also neither parents nor children can be going through anything major in their lives (such as a chronically absent father or construction projects or underlying special needs). It's simple really.  But we have to have books to get us here.  All I want is to say (and have heeded without any parental voodoo or rigamarole or back talk) is "kids, get off the rebar, let go of the heavy equipment, stand down from the hose I'm trying to move or else I'm going to pop this vein on my left temple all the way out.  As in, this place is about to look like the set of Dexter just from sheer force of blood pressure.  Y'all better commence to listenin' right this stinking second, or else!"

Who'm I kiddin'!? I do say it but that's about the extent of it...

Henry likes to take things apart.  He dismantled the nice nickel stopper in the main level guest bath.  Looks right down the drain now.  Super classy.  Nobody but he knows where the damn thing went.  And now it's been so long he doesn't even remember.

Both kids wondered about doorstops for a while, too. Then they just decided to remove them all 2 years ago and start slamming the doors directly into the walls.  Nice.  Also a very classy look.

There was a time before they got really big (a time that seems like milliseconds ago for me but is probably more like 3 or 4 years already) that I thought it would get easier to keep the house neat and tidy.

Again, how many times do I have to admit this: I am an idiot.

Their clothes are bigger now. The dirt clods on their shoes are bigger. The feet that trample those dirt clods into every carpet, rug,  crevasse, corner, piece of clothing and head of hair are bigger.  Why I thought the messes would get smaller, I have no idea.

It's about to get a lot dirtier. We're on our way to another TBall game tonight when it's supposed to be over 87*, bone dry and windy. Can you say dirt between my teeth? Does anybody out there appreciate how difficult this all is for somebody 'mired' in dirt control issues? I'm light years ahead of where I used to be but I've still got galaxies to travel before being truly filth-integrated.  I'm not saying my house and life are clean. I'm just saying I have major issues with that.  It appears my major life issues are sprouting issue-lettes now.

Despite and amidst the grit and grime, I just hope I can keep it light and fun for the kids tonight.  They're all so wonderful.  Even my kids. Especially when they're dirty. The funny thing about my OCD is that it doesn't seem to be related at all to kids themselves.  In fact,  I love dirty-faced little kids with baseball gloves on. They are the cutest of all. They just get cuter and cuter in the midst of new sports situations--but most especially in baseball. The single dirtiest, dustiest and grassed stained-est of all the major sports. 

If I could just take that appreciation to my kitchen floor and (frankly at this point) every other room in my house, I'd be the most peaceful dirt monger on earth.

One clod at a time--and I'm talking about the dirt, not the idiot.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Can anybody say Bad News Bears?

I was blindsided yesterday by the TBall game.  We arrived and the other team had pants and stirrups. No kidding.  Not all the kids.  And they were still 5.  But they could turn 2 and one kid, thank God he had a silver helmet so we could discern when to run for cover, could hit the ball into deep center field.

The league is way more competitive than I was lead to believe. They do in fact keep score and they do play to three outs.  We played the St. Francis Mustangs.  Did I say they're coached by Skyline High School's varsity softball coach?  I went up to her to ask for a copy of the rules because it was impossible to find them in the reams of other material that Rec & Ed passed out. The rules were buried deep in a packet that Jeff picked up with tshirts while I was out of town last Tuesday.  I never even saw them despite scouring the internet and Rec & Ed's website for a couple hours at midnight the other night.

When I arrived at practice last week, many of the parents thanked me for taking on the role of coach.  They said that it was really easy and that they usually just played through the batting order and then switched sides. There was to be no score-keeping and no winners or losers.  I thought, shoot, I can handle that.  It sounds like a blast.  But the other parents were a little too grateful and it made me uncomfortable.  I thought, 'why are they being so nithe to me?'  Well, now I know.  You walk on the field with a gaggle of 5 yr olds on the verge of tears because nobody is hitting the ball to them or because somebody just hit the ball to them and it's a club-fest and then you tell me what you would have done?  Well, I winged it.

We were up against the New York Yankees and the kids don't even know how to run to second base yet.  It's just a classically bad anxiety dream, isn't it? Only in my case it was not a dream at all. 

It was so much easier than the bad dream because all the parents were as surprised as I was.  Even the opposing assistant coach had a hard time believing it.

Anyway, the kids didn't notice how many runs were scored.  We had at least 8 at last count.  A few made it home.  A few had RBIs.  Only had about 6 tears shed.  All in all, it was a successful outing.  I'm Walter Matthau in this scenario, by the way.

I'm finally playing a character that I actually resemble.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Play Ball!

I have not had a cigarette in 47 days.  I relapsed with the weighing thing last week.  I didn't write down when so I have to start again.  So I'll say today is day 5.

The most joyous thing about not having weighed myself for such a long time was nothing monumental, really.  It was those moments when I would realize I hadn't thought about myself in those terms for a few hours.  Maybe it was that I had been reading to the kids or putzing in the garden.  Hours would have gone by and I hadn't once thought about the way my body looked or how much it weighed. I was just involved in something other than thinking about myself.  

I'm convinced that the scale is just another way for me to stay disconnected from my fellow humans.  Smoking, too.  The benefits of not doing that are so numerous that it would take me 12 pages.  Suffice it to say that I can run the bases with the kids and not feel like passing out.

We've had 2 practices with the Aces T-Ball team.  The highlight so far was the other night when a new player, Kate, arrived.  She was carrying a pink bat and glove and she had lateral lisp.   Her level of self awareness was unbelievable for a 5 year old.  She told me she'd 'never really done this TBall thingy before' yet she was already clearly down on herself.

I heard myself say to her, 'honey, we don't get good at anything until we do it a lot. The problem is that it's not very fun until you get good. So we have to make it fun."  At that point, I recruited my wingman Hank The Tank Mason.  He's a great natural teacher and a wonderful assistant.  We got in the French doubles formation -- the two little people opposite me but next to each other -- and we started playing catch.   I told Henry to show her "The Alligator."  This is a maneuver I learned about on  Where you toss the ball to the kids and they make their hands and arms into an alligator's mouth to catch the ball.

The cutest thing happened.  I tossed her the ball the first few times and she missed.  She got down on herself a little and I said, "now try it like Henry does with the gator's mouth."  Well she caught the next few with ease.  Each time her face lit up like a Christmas tree and frankly, so did Henry's.  He was so complimentary of her, too.  She said to me, "wow, when I did this at home, it never worked. Thanks Coach Molly. You're nithe.  You have a nithe name."  I started getting really choked up and then Henry finished me off by saying to her, "you know that's my Mom." Kate replied, "Really? She's so nithe."

So as not to get me too relaxed and happy with myself,  there was yesterday.  I almost couldn't stop yelling at the kids.  Our new babysitter started and they basically ran her out the door.  They called me on the phone while I was at Kroger to tell me that they were hitting her on the butt.  She's a very soft and sweet woman from Brazil.  She's about my age and she's used to a 4 yr old granddaughter and the triplet 1 yr old boys that she normally sits for.

When it was time for all of us to depart together, I did the Love and Logic thing where you tell the kids you're leaving, give them a few 'we leave in x minutes' and then walk out the door, get in the truck and start it up and start driving out the driveway.  I don't fuss about it, I just go.

This new babysitter hadn't read that book. She kept going back in the house for them. She was talking to them and saying 'come on let's go', 'you don't want to make Mommy wait.' etc.  I was like, seriously? You obviously haven't spent time with older kids, especially boys.  Anyway, it doesn't matter because I doubt she's ever coming back. 

Still, she's sweet.  And my kids are, well, my kids.  I'm still not very good at this parenting thing.  I just keep practicing in hopes that I get good enough to make it fun at least 15% of the time.

Today is our first actual T Ball game.  The team members can hit and run the bases but I haven't taught them about fielding yet.  One tiny alligator bite at a time.   Because after all, this is the Kindergarten T Ball league. We don't even keep score.  About the only thing I could actually do would be to ruin their love for the game by being overzealous. I figure the only way they're going to learn the rules of the game is to play it. 

I'll let you know how it goes.

Play Ball!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tap Dancing over Rental Car Spikes

I'm in the midst of what the shame researcher BrenĂ© Brown calls a "vulnerability hangover."  Apparently that happens when one goes forth, as I have done with this blog and in other ways lately, with their most authentic self, warts and all.  After the glow of the honeymoon fades, reality sets in.  The real reality. Not the sanitized hallow-ringed version.

I'm seated at the computer with the scars of my past behavior right beside me.  I no longer pretend that they don't exist in hopes that they will, in fact, go away.   I have invited them along in the hopes that I can somehow integrate them into the total package.  And by integrate I mean, make go away.  Just kidding. That didn't work either.  By integrate I mean make them part of the fabric of my being so that they then fade into the background--and then disappear.

You get where I'm going, right? Things don't go away that are inside us.  Memories, wounds, unexpressed creativity.  If they sit long enough without attention, they take over like my kids.  They get jacked up on some polluting substance like Mountain Dew or Merlot and then just start ransacking our lives.   Then we are in fact doomed to be lead by our weaknesses rather than informed by them. 

Case in point: I was at a friend's house the other night. I'm socially anxious.  At first, It was just me and her. Then other people that I either barely know or don't know at all start pouring in one after the other.  I was drinking a glass of wine. I was hungry and stressed.  I started showing my ass because in my anxiety, I drank more than I should have on an empty stomach. I started talking smack in front of these people.   My weakness lead the way.  My social anxiety tripped me up.  

I saw that the book Quiet is on the New York Times Bestsellers list.  It's a book about the power of introverts.  I am an introvert.  Funny as it may seem, I am most comfortable in that quiet alone space.  Had I been more familiar with the topics in that book at the time of this encounter, I would have been more comfortable being who I am: an introvert who really likes to listen rather than blather.  Just sit and listen.  I don't need to be seen in order to be.  It's just me doing what I like to call the "Worthiness Shuffle."  That's when I keep dancing until somebody says I'm good enough. The most embarrassing dance on Earth since Elaine quit Seinfeld. 

Sitting with the reality of my actions yesterday felt the same as the time I ran over the spikes at Hertz.  My Aunt Mary D and I were going through the San Francisco airport rental car exit.  I was following my parents out and at the last second, I got scared that my Dad would get out of my sight and I'd be lost.  I love Aunt Mary D, but I didn't think she felt that comfortable navigating--without the benefit of a map.  So I gunned it like a dumbass to make it under the arm before it came down. The memory of the sound of that whole scenario produces a recurrence of PTSD.  Yepper. I'm one of those people.  Try sitting with that reality for 11 years.  It makes me squirm with vulnerability.

But yesterday, I did something different with the uncomfortable memories and feelings from the night before: nothing.  I just observed them. I didn't numb at all. I just watched them pass across the screen of my consciousness without really crumbling or judging or disappearing into a sweet roll or another glass of wine.  Just sat.  Excruciating, really. 

Something remarkable happened.  After a 3 hour drive, a peace descended upon me that I have not enjoyed in quite a while.  This peace is sort of mathematical in nature.  Being Okay=not perfect (not supposed to be/perfect) or OK=NSB(P)/P this cancels out perfect entirely from the equation.

I can put my tap dancing shoes away today.  Maybe even get my riding boots out...

...if I can find a babysitter brave enough.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vroom Vroom

Jeff recently bought a new car. It's beautiful. I'm pissed about it but I have to admit it's beautiful- deep midnight blue, shiny, sweet, perfect.  Well, at least it was until yesterday evening.  It has a manual transmission, a 6-speed, in fact.  It's very vroom vroom. Though it seats 4 people, I would not call it a family car.  Originally he told me he was getting the all-wheel drive model.   But then he found out from the dealership that he couldn't get the all wheel drive model and the manual transmission.  He just neglected to inform me of this change until the car arrived.  Thus my anger with the situation.  It is mitigated somewhat on the rare occasions when I actually get to drive it.

So we had a full day of nothing much at all  (for all you Replacement Fans) yesterday.  Excavators in the front yard, 3 or 4 dump trucks, rebar, hammer drills, masonry saws, you know, just a typical Friday.  Just those words get me all excited. I'm such a hillbilly. Anyway, the kids had their first morning off of school.  Henry spent his time in our bed reading, playing with the iPad and watching cartoons.  Elliot was in the back yard chasing butterflies.  It was precious.  I mean just so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes.  He would skip and hop and jump to grasp at them as they were darting to and fro.  Every one of these attempts were fruitless--I'm glad of it, too. Because had he actually leaped and slapped his hands together and caught one, it would have been more butter than fly, if you know what I mean.

They had to go to a picnic for their old school at 3pm. Then we had to be at their new school at 6pm.  Thank God it was a picture perfect early summer evening.  There were friends, a lake, a water park, hot dogs, squirt guns and a few playgrounds at the first party.  The second, a very well run Ice Cream Social at a Public school, had a dunk tank and a bunch of bounce houses. Need I say more?  I felt like I'd been transported back to the 1970s (without the dope and people with the munchies every where, of course).  Everybody was involved.  Everybody was laughing and eating ice cream and the kids just ran and ran.  Days like yesterday restore my faith in faith, public education, summer, love, family and all the simple pleasures of life that Jeff and I enjoyed during our very innocent upbringings.

In between these activities, we decided to come home and do a quick change.  Jeff pulled his nice shiny new car into the garage.  I wandered into the backyard picking up toy debris while Jeff was inside.  I had only a vague idea of the locations of the kids.

All of a sudden, I hear a giant crash into the trees that line our property.  It sounded sort of like a hurricane force wind gust hitting somewhere in the front yard.  It was an unnatural sound so I ran out there to see what was going on.  There, on the down slope at the edge of our property, sat Jeff's car facing uphill, ass end in the trees.  I panicked. I started screaming the kids' names.  First it was Elliot because he was the kid that I had last seen in the area at the time.  He wandered around the corner and appeared. But there was no Henry and Jeff was not responding in the least to my screams.  Finally I just screamed that panic-stricken blood curdling effing murderous scream "JEEEEEEEEEFFFFFF!!!! Where is Henry?!!!" Finally the two of them appeared in the open door from the garage to the house.  I cannot do justice in words the sensation that overtook me upon seeing all of them together.

Here's where I'm going with that.  I really thought that somebody took the e-brake off.  I know my kids would have tried to get behind the car and stop it if it started rolling down the hill and it was somehow their fault. They're 5 and 6 and believe in Santa Claus. Okay?  They would totally do that.  So there I stood, blood pouring back into the extremities that felt like they were detached from my torso.  Hell, I don't even HAVE a chest and the damn thing was heaving.

Jeff forgot to put the emergency brake on.  The reason he did this is that he is overwhelmed. It was as simple as that. He's running in 12 different directions and doing a pretty bang-up job of all of it about 99% of the time. The driveway goes downhill. He's not used to the car.  Thank God nobody was playing on their bikes behind the car.

I  wanted to scream at somebody but I was just so glad all was well....except for a few dings on the trunk and back bumper the car was fine, too. 

I know I cannot protect them from everything.  I cannot teach them everything.  Hell, I can't even make my spouse buy a practical car.  The world is fraught with danger.   Somebody at an Alanon meeting said that when she feels overwhelmed by her vulnerability, she mentally wraps herself and the other objects of her fear up in a blanket and gently hands them over to God. 

God got 4 swaddling bundles last night.

The bump shop gets the other.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Neanderthals don't go to Montessori School

I woke up at 8:12am today with disturbing images dancing around my brain.  That's a record late wake-up time for me. In all honesty, I was up from 3:10am until 5:30 watching the last half of a cutesy Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks movie called Larry Crowne followed by some bad---I mean really BAD---TV.   I won't tell you the end of Larry Crowne if you don't tell me the beginning. But I must tell you about one of the other things I stumbled upon.  It was a show on NatGeo about the Neanderthal people---or so I thought.  I hadn't really noticed that the show was called "Taboo" until they showed a disturbing reenactment scene--at least I think it was a reenactment.  It was billed on the information page as "Neanderthal People" something or other.

The stated premise of the show was basically a challenge to the previously held anthropological theory that Neanderthal people of Europe were supplanted by early homo sapiens coming out of Africa.  Instead, the producers of this show were positing that they interbred with them.  Sounds like an interesting theory perfect for benign late night viewing, right? The really bad part was that they actually showed the coital interaction between the incredibly filthy Neanderthals with huge brows and noses and the incredibly filthy early homo sapiens.  This was romantically depicted by firelight while grotesque looking dread lock possessing Neanderthal children looked on.  My skin is still kind of crawling and I still feel vaguely dirty. I mean I was watching a show which included discussions about mitochondrial DNA as well as forensic anthropology and two seconds after they're discussing early hominid long bone differences with a scientist in a lab coat,  they flash to this image of two literal dirt bags doing it doggy style.   I kid you not.  Why this was necessary, I have no idea.  I'm sure when they say 'interbred' we can all skip over imagining what that actually meant.  I'm not a super prudish person but that was just plain old nasty.

I was fishing for the remote in the dark when I just burst into embarrassed laughter.  I wanted to close my eyes and put my hands over my ears and start saying "I do not see you, I do not hear you, I do not see you," but it was too late. The damage was done, the images were seared into my eyes and ears.  Ech.

Anyway, I did manage to fall back to sleep after that kind of gruesome visual encounter.  It was the deep slumber fueled by the knowledge that there was no place I needed to be before 3pm today.  But it was also rife with the faces of the Neanderthal children, funny enough. They were touring a Montessori school in upstate New York but they refused to wear shoes. 

My interrupted sleep and twisted dreams came because I had a glass of white wine yesterday evening.  When I drink alcohol, I fall asleep early and then I am up in the wee hours wandering around polluting my visual memory with bad TV.  The reason I drank a glass of wine was because I was so tense and angry at my horse for refusing to load in the trailer. 

It wasn't anything personal on his part. For Goodness sake he's a HORSE.  But I've only seen him maybe 3 or 4 times in as many months.  Just busy.  Anyway, I thought I could do what I've done the last 2 times I've ridden him: just go fetch him out of the pasture and load him in the trailer.  Sounds easy enough, right? Not last night, apparently.

So it becomes this whole Buck-fueled failure complex all over again.  So I had a drink to ease my shame.  I knew this was a dumb idea--theoretically.  I knew that I would feel better for an hour or two and then be up half the night.  Not really worth it because unlike today, I usually don't fall back to sleep.

But I did it anyway. This set in motion a chain of events that would culminate in waking up at 8:12am to the images of my children as Neanderthals NOT getting into an Ivy League Montessori school all because they refuse to wear shoes.  Hey, that's pretty tame compared to what I could have dreamed.

If I could turn back the clock 24 hours, I'd probably skip the attempt at going to the fun show until I had some time to join up with the horse on the ground (Lesson #1).  Then I'd definitely skip the wine (Lesson # 2) and thus obviate the need for late night television "Taboo" (Lesson #3) and thus eliminate the need for electroshock therapy to erase that beyond-disturbing memory.  Since I am unable to cut and paste the fabric of destiny at will, I'll just have to make a mental note for the future:

No more "Taboos."  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crap-Ass result case study #1-- Elliot's 5th Birthday Cake   (it's awesomely funny, just not very pretty)

I've been stricken, yet again, with a kind of melancholia that is not only caused by but can only be cured by time.  It happens. And then it sort of un-happens.  It makes me anxious in between.

The boys are leaving the school they've known and (largely) loved for the past 2 and a half years. I've loved meeting the folks there as well.  As with any scholastic experience, there have been challenges, not the least of which was the damn driveway getting in the place.  The ones involving the kids we took all too seriously, I think.  We feared our kids were going to be scarred for life by things that, when asked about now, they barely--if at all--remember, at least consciously.

It's just more the passage of time.  My 30 year high school reunion is this summer.  We just celebrated 20 a few minutes ago, it seems.

Anyway, I find when my mind is not busy creating something new and beautiful, like a baby or a garden or a collage or a new room or something constructive, it wanders off into the minefield of the past.

The past is probably pretty benign when taken objectively.  It's all the meaning that I've assigned things that gets me into trouble.

I was thinking while cleaning up the crap in the garage just now, that I'd like to have no enemies and I would like to regard the past as just a really long school year with a lot of great lessons.  I made that decision, in fact.  So today, I have no enemies and I have made no "mistakes." I'm not saying that I haven't produced some pretty crap-ass results on things I've attempted.  I've also produced NO results on things I NEVER attempted, which, let's face it, is far less forgivable.

I weighed myself this morning. I was so sad and so lost I just went and did it.  I didn't smoke and I contemplated not saying anything about it. But the name of this blog sort of compels me to the truth. If I can't be truthful to 2000 of my closest friends, then to whom can I be? Yep. Equal parts humiliation, frustration, sadness. melancholia.  Sounds like a recipe for salad dressing, doesn't it?

Shame. Guilt, too.  Probably more of the latter for letting you all down.

I have neither gained nor lost any weight as I knew I wouldn't (gain)and wouldn't (lose)----ever. I am the same weight I have been within about not 3 or 4 pounds but like 3 or 4 ounces since 5 years before I got pregnant. This is why my insanity with the scale is beyond understanding.

I don't really know where I am going with it.  Am I trying NOT to lose? Am I trying to maintain? A lot of what happens between the ears has to do with a sense of control.  Not weighing myself for five whole weeks forced me to rely on my higher power for sustenance, support, condolences, feedback, encouragement.  It forced me to not necessarily go-it-alone but go-it-unseen.  I guess that means that I couldn't see how I felt in a metric.  I had to feel how I felt in my skin.  And that was not very comfortable yesterday. It was certainly less comfortable this morning.

Relying on a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity, as the second step puts it,  is difficult.  I don't always have access to that power.  I get weak and then forget the source of my true power. I confuse myself for that which ultimately strengthens me.  So now where do I begin?  I guess I begin again.  A bit dejected and bottomed-out but I am beginning again.  I can't give up.  Did I really think it would be easy to give my life over to an unseen presence?  A therapist friend of mine once said that anger cuts off our connection to God immediately.  I don't feel mad.  I just feel sad.  But it's certainly something to explore.  Anger disaffects and disconnects us.  Huh. Have to meditate on that one.

As I said, time is the only cure for the melancholia but perhaps it'll unhappen  a bit faster this time if I can turn it over to my higher power.

Hell, at least I didn't smoke.

Maybe I should rename the blog: Smoke Not Now.

Doesn't really have the same ring, does it?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So the summer scheduling process rages on. There is so much pressure to give kids all of the life tools that we took so for granted when we were little.  If you were to read the news regularly as a parent of preschoolers, this is what it ALL sounds like: Bullies force kids into suicide.  Bullied kids go on shooting rampages.  Cyber bullies broadcast-text nude photos taken of 7 yr old in a bathroom, etc. etc.

What the hell happened to us? I know I sound like an old fogey when I start saying things of this nature.  But I have a different memory of how these things were handled 40 years ago.  But then again, I have 3 older brothers and an older sister who would've pummeled into mincemeat anybody who stepped over the teasing line with me. They were free to tease me as much as they wanted, of course. But nobody else could get within 20 fee--or else.  

So not only do we parents of preschoolers have to protect ourselves from the helicopter tiger moms, but we now have to protect our kids from their progeny.  Some of these kids are sweet as pie. Some roam free to harangue the mere mortals among them.  Good times.

So what do we do?  Well I've decided to schedule the kids some karate in with the rest of the insanity. Apparently karate is like kryptonite to the super bully.  Just the look of a kid that does karate says something akin to "I will mow you down with my awesome super powers if you come near me" according to all of the literature hawked by these studios.

I wonder, is there any hard science behind these assertions? And if so, who the hell is going to sit and research it on the off chance that you will miss those 15 minutes to teach your kid how to shoot lasers out of his eye sockets at some dysfunctional punk whose only mission it is to end them?  Well, I'm just going to sign up, start paying, start driving, start over-scheduling and maybe even take a few karate lessons myself.

Ah grasshopper...

5 weeks today.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

So the big question is do we red shirt the boys or do we let them make an attempt at first grade? My vote is for red shirting for a bunch of reasons.   The first reason is that I had a late November birthday and from the moment I stepped into Kindergarten at age 4 until the day I did NOT walk through the most anti-climactic college graduation ever (and instead went fishing on the hottest day in June's history),  school was a struggle.

There have been several indicators that our kids are ready for first grade and several that they are not. They've been in a mixed-aged Montessori classroom for two and half years at this point. They were in the kindergarten group this past year but neither of them completed the kindergarten curriculum. The reason for this is simple. In the pre-primary Montessori classroom, the kids are in charge of what they do. They are not made to do anything that they don't want to do. Nothing like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.  This led Henry to hand-grind so much Costco bulk coffee that I had to start buying heavy whipping cream to make the stuff palatable.  Elliot must have sawed up 14 cords of wood.  They call these the "practical life works." What is this, Little McMansion on the Prairie?

I think this is fine for some kids. Not my kids. But some kids.  My kids lack confidence in their educational prowess and therefore are not able to sit through the uncomfortable process of not knowing something or not being good at something they're just learning.  I think they are budding OCD perfectionists.  Wonder where they get that?

Also, there's the whole lazy, path of least resistance thing.  Let's face it, that crazy b**ch Tiger Mom lady had one overwhelmingly good point: Kids don't like doing things they're not good at.  And... They don't get good at things until they do them a lot. That's the part of the conundrum where parents come in.    

Now there are the cutesy tootsie parents who know how to make every learning exercise into something joyous, fun-filled and wonderful. I don't know any of those people and if I did, I would run them down.  I am the single worst teacher there is.  So that group would not only exclude me, they would vaporize me with their thoughts right through their brainiac bifocals. 

I think I spontaneously read at about 3 years of age. The problem with me was just like the one with my kids. The only book I would read was Alice in Wonderland. I was uninterested in anything else.  Now that probably says as much about my need for the absolutely tripped-out, bizarre-ass, crazy narrative and for deeply disturbed characters as it does for repetition of the familiar.  Hell, I have watched Pride and Prejudice no fewer than 600 times over the past 6 years.  Half the time that's how I fall asleep.  When Jeff deleted it from our DVR,  I thought I would end him with a pillow.

Let me state for the record that I am not trying to create anything with respect to my kids and a particular educational bent.  What I am trying to do is to set them up for the best possible trajectory.  In my head the trajectory would be in the direction of a contented, well-rounded, resilient, connected, compassionate, love-infused life full of deep experiences with lots of meaning.  They would also be able to pay their own rent when they graduate from college.  And if all the former things fail, then the latter would be good.  Oh yeah, I'd like them to still be speaking to me.  Or at least be willing to speak to me say by the age of 30.  That seems reasonable, right?

So there you go. I don't give a rat's ass about the stuff my friends care about. Ivy League? Dude, seriously? Our kids were in preschool and people were talking this way.  I'll be happy if they're not incarcerated. If they only hit one stint in rehab before 21.  Am I aiming too low? Am I being realistic? When I get too far out into the future with this stuff I do 2 things.  1) I look at photos from the past couple of years and 2) I go to either St. Jude's or SmileTrain's websites and look at real problems. Then I go into my kids' rooms and kiss them and whisper to them how much I love them.  I make a list of what I forgot to do with them today--like play tennis with Henry--and promise myself I will make it up to him tomorrow.  And remind myself that tomorrow is promised to no one.  It would be better if I could remember that during the daytime when I am freaking out at them for pissing in the wastebasket instead of the toilet (on purpose) or dumping their sand-filled shoes on my clean car floor instead of out the open door to their immediate right. But I always forget until they are quietly sleeping in their sweet little beds.

Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Kindergarten twice? Who gives a crap?! It probably can't hurt.  If it does, it'll just be fodder for the shrink in 25 years.   After the cake life these two monkeys will have led, they're going to need something to talk about.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Who could yell at this kid, right?!

It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.

That was on a wooden plaque above our dining table at our house on Park Street.  Obviously this one didn't stick with me.

I agreed to coach our sons' T Ball team. Jeff promises that this will be fodder for the blog.  I'm worried the whole Sam Kinison School of Parenting will start leaking out. He promised me that I'll be more patient with other peoples' kids.

I did step on the scale yesterday. I had to grab Lime-away from the shelf above the toilet in Jeff's bathroom. So  I unconsciously stepped on the thing and reached to grab the bottle.  When I heard the familiar sound that it made and realized what I had done, I froze in my tracks.  Do I look down?  It was an accident, after all.

Just prior to this, I was seated at the computer for the third day in a row trying to cobble together the plan for the kids, me and Jeff for the summer.  It's not really as easy as it sounds.  Anyway, it was so cold out that I decided to make an entire pot of tea. Henry was in the bathroom naked and came running out and grabbed the teapot by its top and started yanking on it. It was on the desk next to the computer.  So there's my naked kid grabbing the top of a hot pot of tea.  All I could envision were the skin grafts and the fried hard drive.  So I grabbed it and screamed out at him! "Aghhhh!!! Dude, what are you...why are you naked...go put some clothes on."  Well, I know why he was naked.  he went number 2 and just like his TV alter ego, George Costanzo, he has to get naked in order to do that.  Then I realized he's walking around touching everything and has most assuredly NOT washed his hands.  The OCD in me goes crazy at these times.  But then my higher functioning brain, or what's left of it, kicked in and began saying things like 'oh honey, your body is so beautiful but you want to keep your privates private." Another favorite is, "it's not okay to sit on furniture with a bare bottom." They look at me in a sort of glazed-over catatonic stupor when I say things like these. Often they will also laugh and flop away mockingly.  Which he also did yesterday.

When I realized I needed something from the basement, I ran downstairs. By the time I arrived, I had forgotten what it was.  So I walked around looking for a prompting spark to remind me.  I wandered into the bathroom, flicked the light on and noticed the toilet was "messy" from the little naked visitor.  So that's when I grabbed some paper towel and reached for the Lime-Away.

There I stood frozen.  I had one foot perched on the scale, a bottle of lime-away in my right hand, paper towels in my left and my left foot was stretched out behind me like a ballet dancing maid.  Of course I looked down and just as I did the number flashed away.  Thank God, I thought. I almost relapsed.

I've been speaking to a bunch of folks about the scale.  I am not alone in my insanity about it. Most of the folks that I spoke with are in two camps: 1) weigh everydayers and the 2) threw the effing thing away years ago-ers.   So, I feel NOT alone in my lunacy.  MY lunacy stems more from the fact that I can't seem to remain silent and just be THOUGHT a fool.

I must remove all doubt.