Thursday, October 30, 2008

It was then that JCK saw that the ship was going down...

Things were not going too well for JCK. BOY & GIRL had decided that they wanted a variety of jack-o-lanterns: 1 sad, 1 happy and 1 scary. Yet, BOY was quite content to watch JCK flex her muscles and hack away at the pumpkin. GIRL was not content to watch. She MUST participate. And so she did. She helped JCK greatly by scraping large spoonfuls of interior pumpkin goo, and with artfully fine motor skills sent pumpkin seeds shooting hither and yon. JCK believes in her soul that they will be scraping dried pumpkin off walls and furniture for years to come. Not to be brought down by pumpkin innards, JCK, BOY & GIRL produced 1 Sad Jack-o-lantern with tears coming down his face, and a Happy Jack-o-lantern. By this time JCK's back muscles and arms were burning, and she was wondering what the fuck was so quality timeISH about pumpkin carving anyway. The 3rd pumpkin would have to wait until tomorrow. Candles were found and placed strategically inside, and the jack-o-lanterns were perched on chairs looking out the living room window.

It was then, that JCK, BOY & GIRL decided to get some fresh air. Within a few minutes, an older neighbor stopped by and things were looking rather Norman RockwellISH. JCK felt herself puff up a bit when the neighbor expressed her appreciation that they had real jack-o-lanterns. And... that JCK had done them herself. And... that they were not artificial ones with light bulbs. All were content to chat and play innocently in the front yard.

Suddenly GIRL's friend from across the street called out, "Miss J! Miss J! Can I come over!!?" JCK was delighted to walk across the street and accompany the Young Miss safely back to Martha Stewart's JCK's house. Whilst crossing the street, JCK noticed that BOY appeared to be perched on the roof of the minivan. Upon closer inspection, it proved to be true.


Apparently he was channeling Leonardo.


Apparently she was channeling Kate.

It was then that JCK saw that the ship was going down...

Once JCK succeeded in getting BOY down from the roof of the minivan, she walked with GIRL a few yards to the front door where they could show Young Miss the brilliance of Sad Jack and Happy Jack. Whilst there, BOY managed to mount the minivan and scramble up to the top yet again...

After getting BOY down to earth once more, JCK ordered BOY inside the house to wash his hands that were now blackened with minivan that never gets washed residue.

At this point, Young Miss's mom, JCK's friend, walked across the street with young Baby Sir snuggled in sling. Before the conversation betwixt two mothers desperate for adult conversation could begin, Young Miss walked up to show her mother & JCK her newest wound. It was evident that she would need a band aid or ... life would just not be the same.

JCK offered to go inside and obtain the band aid. As JCK approached the bathroom she heard the sound of what appeared to be... and was, RUNNING WATER. Apparently whilst BOY was inside washing his hands, he had decided to dam up the sink with the stopper, add soap, turn the faucets on full throttle and leave the premises. At the moment in which JCK walked into the bathroom, the sink was overflowing at such a rate as to envision Niagara Falls - a sight JCK had never witnessed before this day either in nature or nurture.

You may think at this point that JCK would now commence Jack'OClock, yet...she must be a good host and return to the front yard with what she had gone to get..a band aid. So, JCK quickly mopped the area with a large towel, said: FUCK IT! to herself, sucked it up and walked briskly outside.

Upon reaching the front door, it was apparent that GIRL had already obtained a band aid for Young Miss in another location, and they had moved on. Such is life.

Suddenly there were SHRIEKS of: NO, BOY, NOOOO! issuing forth from GIRL. As JCK rounded the house, GIRL was seen struggling with BOY as he tried to get his muscle trike out of the backyard gate and drive it into the front yard. Not to be deterred, BOY opened the gate and flew out. And just what GIRL had tried to prevent then happened...the dog, the still frisky one, bolted OUT. As still frisky one flew by in doggy track team style, the other dog, the frisky-less one, ambled out into the front yard and walked over to the cat, who shot back into the house looking as if Halloween had begun.

JCK did feel blessed that her friend, the mother of Young Miss, looked at her in recognition and uttered "This is the life of a stay-at-home mom, utter chaos." Yes, it was a version of Stay-at-home Mom HELL and JCK had a witness.

Perfectly timed, it was at this moment that JCK's husband E drove up the street. And the homey homecoming in which JCK envisioned her husband would partake in...just didn't happen. There was no calmness about the house, dinner cooking on the stove, jack-o-lanterns aglow and children waiting whilst JCK freshened up her lipstick. Noooooo... there was not to be the scene in which E walks in the door and thanks his lucky stars that he has such a domestic goddess for a wife and cherubic children.

No, he arrived to a scene of so much ....abundance that it would have been quite...unBELIEVABLE, if not witnessed first hand. E managed to navigate himself into the kitchen and prepare a snack, whilst JCK corralled the still frisky dog, bid adieu to her friend and Young Miss, and rounded up her own two children.

Having no choice other than insanity, JCK sent BOY and GIRL into the living room to watch something on Noggin. Then staggering into the kitchen, JCK decided it was damn well past time for JackO'Clock and poured herself a stiff one - treating herself to Gentleman Jack. Yes...JCK believes Gentleman Jack puts the "W" in whiissskkky. E had received this handsome bottle from a friend last month. JCK has been receiving it ever since. JCK likes her some gentleman like this. They have a relationship...this gentleman and she. An understanding. There is an acknowledgement between this gentleman and lady JCK.

And, it is this...

On some days...there is nothing better than stating the obvious....bottoms up!

It's JackO'Clock!!

***Gentleman Jack image courtesy of Google

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HOPE in the rain...

The rain did not stop him...And they came to hear him... It did not matter that it was wet...or cold...
They still came... Because he inspires hope... and something unimagined...Change is needed...
and we are starved for it...
Thank you, Barack Obama...
We ARE ready for you...

*** Photos courtesy of

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Monday, October 27, 2008

I cannot write to please other people

When I first envisioned my blog, I thought it would be a wonderful place to document the lively antics of my children, and where I could describe the parenting challenges that are around every bend in the road. For a while, that worked. And it still works, but it also morphed into something else. Sometimes I write poetry. I am known to curse and to occasionally express thoughts that are sexually provocative. I am passionate about many things. All of which I love to write about, including politics. There have been moments in time, where I questioned the fulfillment of being a stay-at-home mom, and wondered where my "self" had gone. Mothering is bloody hard work, and there are extreme highs and lows, as well as lots of days in-between in which you can feel as if you are flat lining. Much of the time I am blessed with positive feelings about my life. Yet, how boring and unnatural would our lives be if we only expressed ourselves in tidy, neat splashes of yellow and pink. I like to color outside the lines of propriety.

All of this is me, and I don't know how to be any different. Nor, do I want to. One of the lovely things about getting older is that you feel a certain freedom to be yourself. Even if people don't like you or what you write. Perhaps your audience thinks they know you, and you write something that appals them. It was not your intent. But, should you then change your writing to suit your audience? To avoid making people uncomfortable? I don't think so. Everyone has their own unique voice and that is what draws us in, isn't it?

If I spend too much time worrying about whether people will like what I write, or whether I will offend someone with a particular subject, I would never be able to write here at all. The page would remain blank, and I would be living in fear.

I made a deal with myself when I created this space. The deal is this... I don't want to self-censor. I have to be authentic. I cannot write to please other people. That is not why I am here. Nor do I take pleasure in disgusting anyone. What I do love is the sight of the naked page, the feel of the keyboard under my fingertips, and catching the words as they free fall into sentences.

Erica Jong says it best:

As a writer, we need permission to avoid being the good girl, to go against societal brainwashing and the inner censorship we impose on ourselves.

The inner self of a writer, the self destined to live beyond the flesh, is not always visible in the writer's daily life. But the writer's true voice, once discovered, is congruent with the writer's soul. This voice is what all writers seek, and a very few find - to raise a cry that is integral with one's soul.

Here is the paradox of writing. You can't hide behind words. What and who you are shines forth on every page - whether you pretend objectivity or not. You strip down to the essential self.

***Painting courtesy of Google images

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scarecrows and pumpkins and politics, OH MY!

There are some scary shenanigans going on at Casa de Motherscribe. Oh, yes...BOY HOWDY! Scarecrows and pumpkins and politics, OH MY!

BOY has decided he wants to be a robot for Halloween. So...I've been working on my paper bag and aluminum foil skills. With a few loose screws.
Oh, THOSE were hard to find...

GIRL wants to be a nice witch. She's a minimalist this year. A witch's hat, black leggings and top. Perhaps some black crepe paper wrapped around her broom handle will do. Thank GOD, as last year she was an owl. Yes. And as for my owl costuming skills? Well...let's just say that everyone called her "a cute kitty" and she glared at them. As all good owls should.

My children have been SO pumped full of candy this week that their poop is coming out wrapped. I know. I know. What's a mom to do? They've had more candy in the last week than in their entire lives. Oh well... Today I stuffed them with apple slices and cold milk. We hope to be balanced by morning.

On Thursday there will be much carving of pumpkins. By me. It is truly a blessing to be so involved in these special home projects with the kids, because they distract me from the riveting little snippets of political news that manage to unnerve me at every turn.

Could it really be true that many people in our country think that Barack Obama is a terrorist?

Or that Sarah Palin could be a Presidential contender for 2012?

It boggles the mind. These are scary times.

SCREAM! There's McCain!
He's SO pale. Must have been all that time he spent indoors while suspending his campaign... Wait! Wait! Is that Palin's head off to the side?

SHRIEK! No, no, there she is!! There's Palin!
Definitely $150,000 worth of Neiman's. Just look at those colors. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Note: The children who created the above ghost and spiders wish to reserve their right to be an independent. They cannot take responsibility for the gross mishandling of their art projects perpetuated by their left wing mother. They wonder why we all can't just get along. They remain...undecided. Although they can be bribed with candy corn...

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Friday, October 24, 2008

I was going to be Auntie Mame!

I tend to paint life with a big brush. You may have noticed. It is who I am. On the outside I look like your average mom. On the inside resides a combination of...

Mae West and ....

Julie Andrews.

Oh.... how I would have loved to have performed in musical theater, but wasn't my forte. I wasn't a song and dance gal. I was always the wide-eyed ingenue.

If you'd asked me if I wanted children when I was in my 20's, I would have been unsure. In all my fantasies, the role of mom just didn't come up. I was going to be Auntie Mame! An apartment in Manhattan and a cottage in Connecticut. A life of my own making. Not having children of my own, I would swoop into town to visit nieces and nephews, bearing gifts and regaling them with stories from the TheAhhter. Oh, yes...I would be a raconteur full of verve and effervescence. A life lived on champagne and Alkaseltzer.

THAT didn't happen.

But, something else did. I met my husband at an audition for an IBM Industrial training film...of all the romantic places. Just a mere 15 1/2 years ago, when we met... Yes, we both got that job, and on Wednesday we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We have two amazing children! How did that happen? It's a journey...

Happy Anniversary, E!

Is that a pistol in your pocket, big fella, or are ya just glad to see me?

The hills are ALIVE....with the SOUND of CHILDREN....

***Photos courtesy of Google Images

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Thursday, October 23, 2008


Yesterday, GIRL and I went into a local drugstore looking for a witch's hat. She has decided that she will be a witch for Halloween. But, a "friendly witch." After sorting through the piles of spooky paraphernalia, we found a great witch's hat with long scraggly grey hair. It was perfect and I can cut the wig out. As we were making our way to the cashier, GIRL spotted a display of dolls. She reached out and plucked one of the dolls down. She stared at it. Mesmerized. She looked up at me with a huge smile...

I want her!

You do?

Mmmm. Mmm. *SIGH* She's beautiful......

Why do you think she is beautiful, GIRL?

Her lipstick!

I am ashamed to say, my first impulse was to shriek: NO WAY ARE YOU BRINGING HOME THAT TRASHY LOOKING DOLL! I managed to restrain myself. I was overreacting. Or was I? It wasn't one of those dolls. The ones heavily made up and wearing minimal clothing, but it was a bit similar and it scared me. I don't want my daughter to think this is how young women should look.

Are you sure, GIRL?

Yes, mommy. I'm really, really sure.

GIRL, how about if we find one that doesn't have as much make-up on? I don't feel comfortable with you buying this particular one. about this one?


Okay, can pick the first one.

Thank you, Mommy. She is so pretty. I love her red lipstick.

GIRL, I am going to buy you this doll because you've really been working hard in your swimming lessons and following the rules at home. You've been doing a wonderful job. I'm very proud of you. But, I also want you to know that every time you see something you like, we are not going to buy it.

Okay, Mama.


BOY, look at the doll I got!!

WOW, GIRL...she's pretty!

Good GOD, this stuff panders to the impressionable, young male mind!!


There will be a time when I'll have to have that talk with GIRL about all of this. But, she's 4. And she thinks the doll is beautiful because she has red lipstick. That is all. It is very simple in her mind. For me, a bit more complicated. But, the baggage is mine and I'll have to sort through it before we have that talk...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Wanting the best for your child is all consuming and never ending

Sometimes I try so very hard. As if I am grasping for that last stronghold on the cliff, only to fall... And as I fall it is almost a relief, because I am incredibly tired. Wanting the best for your child is all consuming and never ending. Being told again, by people with fresh eyes, that your child could have sensory integration issues is not easy, yet like falling off that cliff...a relief. Because it shouldn't be this hard. And now there is possibly an answer. Perhaps someone has thrown me a life line.

I adore that little boy. With every fiber of my being. The moment he was placed in my arms, I knew love. Unlike anything ever before. He changed me forever. And whatever he needs, I will make sure that he gets it.

Last night, as we were leaving the preschool family dinner, BOY lost his grip on his balloons. They flew quickly toward the darkening blue sky, soon a speck only he could see in the air. He was inconsolable. Until ...we talked about how those balloons would land somewhere, and bring happiness to someone else who needed it. And he smiled and took a breath.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Poem by Ina J. Hughs

We pray for the children who put chocolate fingers on everything, who love to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin new pants, who eat candy before supper and who can never find their shoes in the morning.

And we also pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who have never bound down the street in a new pair of shoes, who never played "one potato, two potato," and who are born in places that we would not be caught dead in and they will be.

We pray for the children who give us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with their dog and who bury their goldfish, who hug us so tightly and who forget their lunch money, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who watch their fathers shave, and who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those who will never get dessert, who have no favorite blanket to drag around behind them, who watch their fathers suffer, who cannot find any bread to steal, who do not have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures are on milk cartons instead of on dressers, and whose monsters are real.

We pray for the children who spend all their allowance by Tuesday, who pick at their food, who love ghost stories, who shove their dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse the bathtub, who love visits from the Tooth Fairy, even after they find out who it really is, who do not like to be kissed in front of the school bus, and who squirm during services.

And we also pray for those children whose nightmares occur in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who are not spoiled by anyone, who go to bed hungry and wake up hungry, who live and move and have no address.

We pray for those children who like to be carried and for those children who have to be carried, for those who give up and for those who never give up, for those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it and for those who find no hand to grab.

For all these children, we pray today, for they are all so precious.

Children's Prayers by Ina J. Hughs


Note: This poem was in our liturgy at church today. I just loved it. There are, apparently, several versions. The only information I can find on Ina J. Hughs is that she was/is an American Schoolteacher.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

If we want the best education for our children, we have to be involved

I've been on three public school tours this week. It's been an eye-opening experience. Thanks to the organization PEN, which promotes family participation in public education, there were 30-40 people at each tour. This is exciting. This means that parents are making leaps to actually step inside a school before making a judgement.

When I stepped inside, this is what I found...

I saw vibrant teachers engaged with wide-eyed, adorable little people. These little people were having fun. Some were wiggly. Some were sitting quietly with hands folded in laps. And, the children were a beautiful rainbow of brown, black and white.

I saw Principals excited about their school and what they were accomplishing. How far they had come. How much further they wanted to reach.

I saw music programs, yoga classes, computer labs, art programs incorporating nature hikes led by an on site artist, and libraries. One school had individual learning plans for each student, as well as a behavior assistant to help back-up teachers when they need help with specific issues.

And the parents... Oh, those enthusiastic parents... Parents of children now attending the school, they were there to help answer any of our questions. Parent volunteers who come and teach the children about astronomy or antiquities. Parents who light up when they talk about their schools.

Seeing these schools, (and I still have 5-6 more to go), infused me with hope. There is nothing so good as the feeling of lightness when I let go of my own prejudgements...

Ever since I moved to this area, I've heard how horrible the PUSD school system is. How rife with problems. How no one would ever send their kids to the schools in this district. Well, I'm here to say that is bullshit. And I feel angry. Very angry. Not only do I feel misled, but I am angry at myself for believing other people who may have never even set foot in a public school in this area.

That's not to say there aren't problems. There are always problems. Everywhere. But, let's be part of the movement to implement positive changes and to make our public schools better. If we want the best education for our children, we have to be involved. It starts with us.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bunk beds part deux...reflections a year later

I made the not so very brilliant choice, a little over a year ago, to purchase bunk beds. Yes... I know. What the hell was I thinking?! BOY and GIRL have a small room that they both share, and it seemed like such a great idea at the time. A space saver, and fun for the kids! I dismissed the recommended warnings for "6 years and up."

I soon realized the recommendations are there for a good reason, but not for the obvious physical danger. Our bunk beds adventure was short lived. Luckily there were no trips to the ER, but just as the bunk beds went up...the fears kicked in. The bottom bunk was "too dark and scary." The top bunk was fine, until BOY woke up with nightmares and I had to quickly ascend a small ladder, manipulate myself around the narrow opening, and get to him. And then there was our fear that he would attempt to climb down too quickly during one of his bad nights. Which all told, was just about every night. The bunk beds were up for a total of...mmm, maybe 1 week?

So, the bunk beds became twin beds and have remained so ever since. The room is now extra small, and although both BOY and GIRL are speaking of wanting to reinstate the bunk bed arrangement, I'm just not sure I'm up for it.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is changing the sheets. Whether perched in the air or on the floor...a nightmare. If your beds are against the wall, there is no way to do it other than climbing on top and heading for the back to tuck those bottom sheets under. Ever tried lifting a mattress while you're on top of it? It doesn't work too well.

The great news is that for the last several weeks, BOY has been sleeping through the night! It took almost a year to get through this phase, but it appears that we've made it to the other side. So, now that we're actually getting a decent night's sleep, I'm hesitant to erect the bunk beds once again for fear of launching another sleepless phase. So, for now we'll maintain the status quo...two twin beds, that should be bunks, taking up entirely too much space on the floor in a small room. As for changing the sheets? We haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking...sleeping bags!

This blog post was inspired by Donna at Fortyfide who cross posted her bunk bed adventure on BlogHer.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to the Public School Tour Junket!

My life this month is all about school tours. I have 6 scheduled over the next 3 weeks. Welcome to the Public School Tour Junket! I'm just missing the hat. The time has look ahead at Kindergarten for next fall. So, on my best days you will see me all bright eyed and bushy tailed, eagerly jotting down notes and exchanging smiles with other moms and dads. On the worst...looking a bit bleary eyed and snappish, as Mom Nonfat Latte with very little foam elbows me in the breast while edging her way into the classroom first. Perhaps I exaggerate. Indeed, everyone whom I've been meeting, with a Kindergartner starting next fall, has the same "deer caught in the headlights" glaze as I do. Which creates...instant bonding. At least for the duration of the tour.

Like anything involving children, it is such a personal decision...this mission of finding "the best school". One parent's accolades versus another parent's criticisms. It really all boils down to what you are looking for specifically in a school.

The whole process can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, yet I am an information gatherer and the more I research and cull information, the calmer I feel. Sort of. There is an open enrollment lottery system here. And it looks like we will be in 3 lotteries. Since I am highly superstitious, I find this reassuring. Yes... I'm a bit of an odd one. My logic is nonsensical, but it actually feels as if being in 3 lotteries will enable us a greater chance of one of them working out. The three lotteries are: One for the Pasadena Unified School District (P.U.S.D.)and one each for two charter schools.

It's a toss up whether we will get in to one of our choices. Just as in Vegas, some gamblers are lucky, some not. I do know that I am a fighter and passionate about finding the best fit for my children. I also have faith that our path is perhaps...already decided. I have been humbled too many times, most notably in adopting a newborn and finding myself pregnant several weeks later..., to think that I have much say at all in deciding which destination our current path will lead us. Time will tell...and I'm going to make use of it. Now, I just need some good luck and Minnie Pearl's hat.

***Photo of the delightful Minnie Pearl courtesy of Google Images.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Will this bring us closer together as a society, a country, even as neighbors?

During this challenging economic period for our country, I find myself listening to NPR even more than I did before. I listen to it as I prepare dinner in the evening and when making lunches in the morning. I even turn the radio on mid-day as I clean up the kitchen, or throw another load of laundry in the washer. I am spending more time than I usually do sitting with my husband and watching CNN. Until I can't take the shouting heads anymore and move on. I always notice the headlines on the cover of our morning paper. I am...tuned in.

The funny thing is that I don't feel unduly stressed by catching all of this news, most of it grim and bearing the weight of much ahead that perhaps we are ill equipped for. No, I just feel this urgent need to know what is happening in our country. I find myself slowing down a bit. Taking it in. Measuring it.

Today I started wondering if the mess that we are all in, for several, perhaps many years to come, will in fact have a silver lining. Will this bring us closer together as a society, a country, even as neighbors? Will more people make use of the many things we have available to us that are free?

Think about it. What if a large percentage of families can no longer afford to send their children to private schools. What if suddenly there was an influx of children coming back to the public schools. And those parents got involved and excited about those public schools? Imagine what we could do. How we could change the crisis that is our schools today.

What if more people started switching their radio station preference over to NPR, so that they could get the latest news on the economy. And then those people, I get so much from this public radio station, I need to make a small donation to help support good programing.

What if...we all started planting our own gardens or sharing community gardens. We would not only be going back to the earth, but in creating composts and sharing growing methods with our neighbors we would be getting back to that feeling of belonging and connecting with others.

What if we started to look at life a little more simply. And we taught our children to do the same. What if we all come out of these tough times as better, stronger people? What if? Let your mind go...take your time.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh GOD, here we go AGAIN.

We're having a hard time with BOY again. It's been a rough year, this year of being 4. He transitioned really well to the new preschool. He loves new places and new things. And then...well, he's been having some difficulty. Always with transitions. At pick-up time: Leaving an activity that he's engaged in when it is time to go home. Ignoring my request for him to come with me. Ignoring the teacher's request to leave with his mom. The honeymoon is over.

Yet, did the honeymoon ever exist? We have had challenges with BOY from the moment he was born. Some not of his own making - like being born with a cleft lip. But, it was a parenting challenge. The fear. All the unknowns. And it all turned out beautifully. We survived. The 2 surgeries are long behind us, though the memories of our anxiety linger.

BOY started scooting himself across the floor on his tummy at 4 months old. By 6 months he was doing the army crawl. When GIRL was born, BOY, a mere 10 months old, started walking. And he has been moving ever since.

Perhaps it is ironic that this past Monday during his first movement class at school, BOY couldn't stop moving. In fact, he was racing all over the room, apparently overwhelmed by the multi-stations of activity. He disrupted the class and would not stay still to listen to the rules. His teacher was stunned because she had never seen him like this before. Her words. And my thoughts? Oh GOD, here we go AGAIN.

Yet, I did like it that she said she'd never seen HIM like this before. Certainly better than being told in all of her years of teaching she had never seen a child like this before. THAT being told to us at his previous school.

I talked to his teacher this morning about something that might help at the next movement class on Monday. Rather than immediately trying to just control him - obviously he shouldn't be racing around the room and disrupting the class, but trying to take him aside and connect with him emotionally. It looks like this is hard for you right now. Can you tell me what you are feeling? These are some of the phrases that we learned from the woman who helped us last year with BOY. She was receptive to the ideas and said they would be having an additional teacher to help with the class on Monday.

I also talked to her about his difficulty with transitions. That when he is engaged in something that captures his attention, it is very difficult to disengage him. She said they had noticed that. I mentioned that when his energy and focus is chaneled into something positive, it is wonderful, but it is challenging when we are wanting him to do something else and he doesn't want to do it. She agreed. Again she said that Monday threw her, because she was just so surprised by his behavior as she thought he had transtioned so beautifully to his new environment.

As we were switching to the new preschool, I said this many times to friends: It will be good to have fresh eyes on BOY. Good for him. Good for us. And if those words are coming out of my mouth, I need to believe them. Even if the feedback is difficult. Our first parent/teacher conference is in two weeks. I am trying to remember to breathe until then.

He really appears to love his new school. Several of the boys and one of the little girls have gravitated to him right away. BOY has that magical quality, his imagination and his sweetness. An attractive combination. His playfulness is contagious.

He has almost produced as much artwork in the last few weeks as he produced all year last year. I'm not sure if he has just matured or if he is finding the art program more fun, but he is producing something just about every day. And last week he wrote his name with his teacher's assistance. He wrote his name! This is a first! Of course, he wrote it vertically. Of course he did. I wouldn't expect anything else. He sees life from different angles. And I have to continue, though exhausting as it is, to try to balance a firm hand with him yet not squelch his spirit. It is daunting. But, I don't think I have a choice...

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I was living my life in... Twitter snippets.

A few days ago, you wouldn't have wanted to see the inside of my head. And what was swirling around in there. I was living my life in... Twitter snippets. And... I'm not even a member. I felt so overwhelmed and frustrated, that I actually wished for insomnia so that I could get more done. Yes. I. Did. I was...a bitch of my own making. Everywhere I looked, I saw work left unfinished. According to me. The glass looked half-empty, and I was...Drained. Done. I was miserable. And in a funk. You know things are bad when the thought of... It's JackO'Clock! doesn't even bring a smile to your face.

So, I did something radical. I really shook things up. I took a break from the computer, and I started reading again. I am in LOVE with Sandra Tsing Loh. And her book, "Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting!" Reading, what a concept! Put the kids to bed, get in my bed, and curl up with a good book. Is there anything more delicious? No, I think not. I watched a movie. A movie! One that has been sitting around here unviewed for six months. I feel absolutely decadent. Yet, just that little break has helped tremendously. That, and the polls showing that Barack Obama is ahead. So, right now I'm off to read about another Mother on Fire. It's good to know I'm not the only one.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Guest post from E on Motherscribe

Are those robots, Daddy?, my sweet Boy whose love makes my heart full asks.

Tanks rumbling through the streets of Soviet Georgia, the picture splashed across the front page of my morning paper, has prompted this inquiry.

Well... they're kind of like robots, I say. They're called tanks.

What do they do, Daddy?

My heart sinks, it chills alongside my coffee.

They are like big guns, I say hesitantly, knowing his cross examination and curiosity will not let me go.

Every parent knows this inquiry of whys? and whats?, but for me this is a moment of sadness. A loss of innocence in which I am complicit. The "Where does honey come from?" or "Why is the moon following us?" seem so pure and proper to ask. No less easy to answer, mind you, but part of the natural order of things.

But, how do you explain to a four year old boy that we humans have invented these colossal machines to kill each other. Some say to "protect us from each other." Either way, a sad excuse.

I am not a pacifist - wish I was - wish I had my front tooth back. My boy humbles me, softens me. My boy is a mirror.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

He only answers to his name, I Love Trains

There is a new boy in town. His name is "I Love Trains." This new boy hails from Trainville, where he attends Kindergarten. He only answers to his name, I Love Trains, and if called BOY will immediately make it clear that BOY has left the building. Or napping. Napping. Yeah, right.

Not to be undone, GIRL has joined in the amusement. She is no longer GIRL, but "Older GIRL". She hails from San Francisco, and has traveled by Trolley car to arrive here.

At first JCK thought this was a short, cute, one night phase. Apparently not. No, apparently, this phase is going to be around for a while. Especially since her children, formerly known as BOY & GIRL, have been observed using this new, creative name tool in the vegetable wars. As in...I love Trains and Older GIRL have a great disdain for and refuse to eat all vegetables. Yes, pretty much all.

However, Ol' JCK has been around the block a few times. Oh, yes, she has! And so it was with extreme cleverness and self-congratulation, that she has convinced BOY & GIRL that frozen spinach added to a smoothie makes for incredibly strong and fast running children. And they bought it... Hook, line and sucker! with little green teeth smiles. JCK herself, is also quick on the draw. She has been seen taking a big sip of the green smoothie and then, sight unseen, spitting the verdant swill into the kitchen sink. Or was that after hearing Sarah Palin's voice on NPR this morning? She just can't remember...

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Guest Posting at the deliciously naughty Meg's place

Today I'm guest posting at the deliciously naughty Meg's place: A Mom Two Boys. Meghan has been galivanting with her husband sans kiddos in NYC and beyond for the past week. She is having a life of excitement. Other than having the natural covering of my Mound of Venus ripped off, my excitement consists of rolling into Beverly Hills for dental appointments. It is such a thrilling experience, that I had to put it on Meghan's blog. So please ...follow me over there.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

The Motherscribe office unveiling

Waaay back in early July WE took on a major project here at Casa de Motherscribe. It was scary. It was intimidating in its vastness. The feather boa and fishnets were ABSOLUTELY required to get the job done. You may recall that the challenge of taking on this project caused my nostrils to FLARE and my pinkish lips to PURSE. Indeed. There was no succinct way to describe this job. It was called...PROJECT: Annilation & Creative Reconfiguration.

However, there was excitement in the air because...a task that had long been avoided was being tackled. ...

It is only fitting that I show before and after photos so that you may get the ultimate sense of satisfaction and yes, JOY, that I now feel when I sit in here. Although the chairs could be improved...Not all of us have le bottom OH lushness like E. A fanny able to perch, shall we say...for long periods without apparent continual is the case for Madam Motherscribe. Alas, it is not to be in this lifetime. Perhaps in my next life my fanny will be not only roundISH, but colorful - as in a BABOON. But, I digress...

Previously...upon entering the Motherscribe office, once your buttocks had stopped clenching rhythmically in horror, THIS is what greeted you...

And let's not forget this... Now you look into the office and see this... And this...
E made the desk above with his own HANDS. Good GOLLY MISS MOLLY...I LOVE those HANDS.

This corner of former bedlam... Has become... a reading nook.This used to be JCK's work area.
Her husband E thought it was his as well. And it was...

Now JCK has her own work space. And E has his...This corner was a mish mash of things.

We now have books organized in sections. This is the theater & film section.

We also have various other sections in our library. We will never be bored...

And so...there you have the...Motherscribe Office REDO...

Please note that no fishnets were harmed in the making of this project. However the use of "WE" was used irresponsibly. The HE did all the work as the SHE fanned herself continually with her feather boa, barricaded BOY & GIRL from entering, and kept herself upright only with the help of paint fumes.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The small, pink ballet slippers are so precious...

The small, pink ballet slippers are so precious...cradling my GIRL's excited little feet. Today marks the day of her first ballet class. GIRL has been patient. She's been talking about wanting to take ballet classes since the winter. 8 months or more. A long time in a small girl's life. She is persistent, my girl. Yesterday she picked out her leotard - a deep rose color with a tiny bow on the right shoulder. She has light pink tights and a white pair, too. Then we went to a ballet shop to fit her for the ballet slippers. It took several tries before we found the right fit. She is like her mama. Small feet that are wide. Difficult to fit. But, we were victorious! The saleswoman was lovely. "Everyone's feet are different," she said gently.

When she asked GIRL to step out onto the dance floor, (a tiny space with a walled mirror and ballet bar), I felt a catch in my heart. GIRL, so newly 4 years old, seems different. I've noticed she is handling transitions better. Less likely to explode or implode. A maturity budding. My little girl. Her cheeks still rounded apples, yet her limbs are showing the hint of muscles to come.

As we went to the cash register, GIRL clutched "the list" of needed items that she had made. "CHECK! I don't need my list anymore," she said. GIRL is a list maker like me. Although she doesn't write yet, she draws squiggles for words and she knows what is on her list. She and I are drawn to list making. Perhaps it is the pleasure of being in control of something. Of checking off accomplishments. From remembering to pick up that gallon of milk to buying ballet shoes for your first ballet class.

Today I will walk her into the ballet class, holding her hand. She may turn her body inwards, leaning into me, hesitant to begin. Or...she may squeeze my hand and walk over to the teacher. Whatever happens, today is a big day in our lives. And I am so blessed to be with her when she takes that step.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

People seem to carry an attitude of ENTITLEMENT

What in the world has happened to good manners? I am assaulted everywhere by rudeness. Is it that people are in too much of a hurry? Well, yes…but aren’t we trying to go faster than humanly possible? And losing something of ourselves along the way? Living life in the fast lane is a part of it, but I think it is more than that. It is a societal change. People seem to carry an attitude of ENTITLEMENT. My life is more important than yours. I don’t have time to hold this door open for you, trying to maneuver two small children through a narrow entrance, because I’m on the cell phone dealing with VERY IMPORTANT stuff.

Last week a friend of mine invited a new neighbor and her family over for dinner. The family had moved in a couple of weeks before, and my friend had been helping out the mom – watching her three children in addition to my friend’s own two children. The plans were made several days in advance, a time was set and all was well. Until the neighbor called up my friend an hour before they were due to arrive, and said that since her mom was visiting she and her husband had to take advantage of the free babysitting and have a date night. An hour before. I will not minimize the importance of date nights, but COME ON! Not only had my friend shopped and had dinner on hand and ready to start, but her husband had arranged to leave work early so that he could be home and be a part of welcoming the family to the neighborhood. So, the couple went out for the evening and still sent the grandmother and three children over to partake of the free dinner. I was appalled when my friend told me this story. Appalled.

And yet, I’m wondering how unusual this story really is in our world today. I’m sure we could take a survey and find many similar stories out there. So, what is one to do? For myself, having two small children and conscious of wanting to raise them to be polite and responsible citizens, I’m determined to beat the odds. I have to hold on to the idea that I can teach them to have lovely manners and be good people. People who raise the bar. Because, the way our world is going, someone needs to do it. And what better way than to start it at home…today.


This is part of the Official Bitch Day at Fabulously 40 and Beyond. Please go over there and check out the great Bitchin' posts.

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