Monday, March 31, 2008

I want SO MUCH to be a good mother

This downturn that my mind and heart have taken recently is a little different. At least I like to think so. It isn't about me, well not directly. It is relational to me in that it is about BOY and whether we're making the right choices for him and if we are not...well, you know where that leads. Nowhere good. It's that "wanting the best for your children" thing. And caring tremendously about the outcome. Not because it reflects back on you, sure there is always a little of that I suppose, but because you want your child to be happy.

I want SO MUCH to be a good mother. That is important to me. My heart aches with doubt as to whether we are making the right decision to keep BOY at his preschool. Yet in taking tours at other preschools and spending the time really tuning in to BOY, I think we are realizing that he does need a balance - perhaps we all do ...of play and structure. BOY's anxiety appears reduced since we changed to only 1/2 days, but his impulse control is worse and he is zinging and bouncing off the walls at times - and, challenging us at every turn. It is incredibly exhausting. He's 4, some of this behavior is probably just that. However, the humming that you can almost see under his skin is telling. It may not be anxiety now, yet it is a sign of stress. He is happy most of the time and talks about wanting to do full days again, but we are taking things slowly.

His Sunday school teacher said something interesting yesterday - and I'm paraphrasing, but the gist was this: BOY is not like the kid who has to be in constant motion, who can't sit still. He can sit still for a good amount of time - 20+ minutes at the small table for the lesson when he is engaged. He IS the kid who suddenly gets distracted by something else and the trick is to find a way of engaging him and getting him back to the table. We need to figure out how to do that. (The Sunday school teachers are awesome and BOY really enjoys the time there. It has felt good to get another viewpoint with insights and ideas of what might be good for him in a preschool/daycare setting.)

Because BOY has difficulty focusing on things that he is not interested in, he needs the practice of engaging in those things for short periods of time. The challenge is in finding that chemistry in the preschool setting so that he can practice for Kindergarten -without feeling pressure. Up until the last few months, BOY's school has been a place that I have felt good about. I am still holding out hope that there will be a positive shift on the part of the teachers and their grasp of his learning style, in BOY's growth and also in my maturing as a parent.

We met with the Director of the daycare and another one of BOY's teachers on Friday. The meeting was rather underwhelming in non information about how BOY is doing. "We've just been focusing on making him comfortable." And that's all they would give us... But, a positive outcome was that they are having someone from the outside come in and evaluate the classroom, evaluate how BOY is doing in the classroom, and help the teachers come up with a plan to incorporate ALL the children in their different learning styles. Hopefully, a different approach and recognition that every child has individual needs, and how to work with that in a group setting.

I continue to interview and tour other programs, but the way things seem to be unfolding it feels like we are meant to stick it out longer at the present school. With all of that said, none of this has prevented me from applying elsewhere, putting ourselves on the waiting list and hoping that someday soon it will all become clear. Just in case I need to send up an emergency flare or two...

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Go AWAY, Old Self!

This last week has been a wave of peaks and valleys. All I can do is tell myself to take it one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time. AA in their 12-step program knew what they were talking about when developing this principle. It can be applied to all walks of life, really. When you're on the stress train, best to take a deep breath, cool your jets and remember steps, baby steps.

I can be somewhat impulsive emotionally, which is not always a good thing. Actually frequently a bad thing when raising children. Drama Queens are better on stage than in the home. However, it is my modis operandi and I am working on it. It's my stuff. I used to be plagued with not infrequent depressions. They would descend on me as if a horsehair blanket had been laid across my shoulders. Rather itchy and heavy to carry. Yet, now those depressions almost seem frivolous. And I don't mean to make light of depression, because I am very conscious of the fact that people have legitimate, debilitating depressions. And it is a serious illness. But, right now I am mocking myself a bit, because what exactly were these depressions about?

  • I am still a waitress in a Honky Tonk and my life is going nowhere. {I should be on Broadway.}

  • I feel fat today. I don't want to dress up like Fifi Le French Maid. {I wish I would meet someone...}

  • My boyfriend of the moment is having moments with someone else. {My heart is broken... Fuck him!... NEXT!}

  • My husband doesn't understand me and does he leave the toilet seat up ON PURPOSE? {Does he really hate me?}

  • I HATE this office job. I should be doing something creative. When, oh when...will we have a baby? {If people here only knew I used to dress up in fishnets...}

  • I have 2 babies under 1, who are not twins, and this was what I wanted wasn't it? {Of course it is, it is...IT IS...not exactly...BUT, no regrets...except occasionally when I identify with Sylvia Plath and that oven looks tempting.}

  • Suddenly, I'm not the one being looked at anymore... {But that's OK, isn't it? Isn't it? It is who I am INSIDE that's important. I don't want my identity to be wrapped up in what I look like. I'm a feminist for GOD'S SAKE!}

  • There is something missing and I don't know what it is... ...unfortunately, I still get that one occasionally - although, blogging has really blasted its way into my heart and soul and the fact that I'm writing almost everyday is Even if it is blather on some days, I am taking the time and making the time to blather. It is the act of writing, dipping my quill in ink, that is powerful.
No, these days the fog of depression that descends is rare. But, when it arrives it always catches me off guard. As if there's an unexpected knocking on my door, I go to answer it, and it is my old self, yet AGAIN. Go AWAY, Old Self! You are NOT welcome here. The blackness always surprises me with its insidious talent for creeping and crawling into my psyche. I used to think that someday it would be gone for good - that it was a matter of maturity on my part. Now I am beginning to think that it will always be with me. Perhaps it is a way of checking in, taking stock, an opportunity for change...

NOTE: No, the picture above is not me. I use non-running mascara. However, isn't that hat just to DIE FOR!!?

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Evidently wrinkle cream should NOT be mixed with hemorrhoid cream

Here's a post that I've dug up from last summer. And YES, this is a true story....

What is it about vanity that makes you do stupid, stupid things? This morning I awakened to under eye puffs resembling twin Goodyear Blimps deflated. They looked big enough to re-inflate and my day was over before it began. That bad. Yes.

Not that it matters, but a dear friend has hired me to take photographs of her baby boy's baptism. Today. Yes, TODAY! In 3 HOURS! Well, I could use tea bags. No. Time to resort to drastic measures. What's here in the medicine cabinet? Oh, let's try that models trick you're always hearing about of using hemorrhoid cream.That is supposed to be a miracle cure for circles and puffs. Oh, I don't think it works. Besides, there seems to be a lingering odor. Uh, oh... I can hear the whispers already...that JCK taking pictures seems nice, but do you smell anything? There is an odor. Do you smell?... OH, HORRORS! This can't be happening!! Will they be sidling away? Wait the smell is being taken over by a burning sensation. Ouch! Is my skin sizzling? Wait a minute.... I hadn't considered that I was putting this hemorrhoid cream on top of my wrinkle cream. Oh, GOD. Could this be an acid peel? Not NOW! Quick! Put cold water on the flames!!! Jesus!! Dammit!!! Am I ALLOWED to SCREAM! EVIDENTLY WRINKLE CREAM SHOULD NOT BE MIXED WITH HEMORRHOID CREAM. IT IS A PROBLEM! I am a moron! Wash everything off. Starting to hurt a little less.

OK, let's take a look. Uh, oh... there seem to be red marks under my eyes. Are those burns?? Will I have to wear sunglasses indoors? Wait, I can't!! I'm the photographer. I need my eyes. DEEP BREATHS.... I now have 2 hours and 40 minutes until the baptism. Perhaps I could meditate. It will be fine. It WILL be fine. IT WILL BE FINE! Screw meditation! Should have stuck with those tea bags...

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The product of a good mother

I was SUCH a good mother today. I was. I was. I was! Tonight I served BOY & GIRL frozen peas with PB&J sandwiches for dinner. Niiice. I also let BOY romp through the mud in the back yard. Oh? It didn't rain. No. BOY just had the water hose on for a while...aimed at some dirt. Water + Dirt = MUD. Got it? Knew you would. Perfect recipe for a skin tonic, apparently, because he smeared it on his limbs and hair. And nice mother that I am, I let him take 2, COUNT 'EM, 2 baths! BOY also had the ingenious idea of using Soul man's leash to tether his trike to the back door. It was brilliant, I tell you! I almost lost 1/2 of my teeth tripping over it, but HEY...the kid's creative. And GIRL? She got to ride around in the umbrella stroller a la the QUEEN, pushed in all of her royal glory by BOY. Since I allow her to select her own wardrobe most of the time, she does. Select. And select and select. She probably changes ....OH, about 4-5 times a day. What's a little laundry between family members? And she is a decorating genius! Genius, I say. She actually drops bits of her discarded clothing everywhere! Isn't that a delight? Yes, she'll leave bits of wardrobe in every room. Inspired. Absolutely inspired. Because she is so adorable, as a lunchtime bonus, upon her insistence, I gave her a nutritious serving of cottage cheese. Well, if you can call one bite nutritious. The rest ended up smeared on the hardwood floor. No worries! She didn't want me to be concerned that she might have to use her little hands to clean it up. Nope. She left it. ALL FOR ME! Oh, yeah! Oh, wait...I almost forgot. I encouraged them to do an art project. They did. Sure enough! BOY decided to see what it would be like to pour Elmer's glue all over their little wooden table and when he got bored with that he poured it on the comforter in the playroom. Such a plucky fellow. I am SO proud of these free spirited children. I mean, not to be snide, but some children are just so stationary ordinary. So well meaning. So having a conscience. Poor sots! My kids ... you just never know what is coming next. And I am never bored. Tired, but never bored. And. And. And!! I almost forgot the best part. The way they carry on with each other...words flying back and forth. Why, it is just razor sharp banter. GIRL's fishwife delicate voice woo's BOY completely, especially by supper time - when they are at their end-of-the-day best. He just sits in silent appreciation of her. Which increases her need to use her most lovely fishwife voice again and again and again. And he grows more silent in appreciation. Until they just BURST into shrieks and go in search of me. Such children! The product of a good mother.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pink trees are a catastrophe!

What they're saying lately...

I'm SO glad you're having tea with me today, mommy, because we don't get to have tea together very often. [Said by GIRL as we went across the street to our friends' house for a Spring Equinox tea party. It has become a tradition for us to have tea on the Summer & Winter Solstice and the Fall & Spring Equinox. Just 2 mommies & 2 little girls.]

We won't be pregnant for a loooong time. [Stated emphatically by BOY. That one definitely got MY attention.]

BOY, do you know what pregnant is?



It means you're old. [Oh, wise, wise BOY...if you only knew how old it really makes you...]

Mommy, I hope we don't see any cranky ladies. [Yes, hope springs eternal, my GIRL.]

Last time you went to TJ's a cranky lady beeped at you and a cranky lady bonked BOY with the cart. [I do seem to recall this, yes.]

I think cranky ladies wake up really late. Or maybe they're just cranky. [Perhaps GIRL has a point.]

Oh! Look at that gorgeous pink tree! I LOVE that pink tree. [Me, as we're humming along in the minivan, reveling in the spring colors.]

I HATE pink trees. Pink trees are a catastrophe! [BOY, appearing to take issue with the pink trees in the neighborhood.]

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just call me The Buzz Killer

We ate a lot of candy over Easter. In fact I'm considering taking out a 2nd mortgage on my ass. Sad, but true. We can just call it thigh thumpers - when your thighs bump, bump unto themselves. But, enough self-flagellation. This too shall pass.

BOY loves sugar. LOVES IT. We don't have a lot of it on a regular basis. We have dessert night 2-3 nights a week, occasionally go out for ice cream and on rare occasions have candy. On Saturday we went over to a friend's house for an Easter egg hunt and lunch. There were 2 big bowls of jelly beans on the dining room table. There WERE 2 big bowls. BOY managed to deplete the jelly bean count by possibly hundreds. Twice I arrived on the scene to find him scooping up a large fistful out of the bowl and...stuffing them in his mouth. He was OBSESSED. The bowls of jellybeans were moved out of reach, by a woman, who by now was giving me the YOU REALLY SUCK AS A MOM stare. Which always makes me feel like I have to say something. But...why do I do that!?

We don't have candy often, so this is a real treat for him, I say.

Well, that's your problem. My kids have it ALL THE TIME, so they don't even pay attention to it anymore, says she of Superior MomAtude.

Apparently, having candy only occasionally is a problem. The conversation ended, because I walked out of the room fairly ANNOYED. Did I ask for her advice? Do I want it? Is there something wrong with not letting my children's young bodies be fed candy ALL THE TIME? I mean, isn't that making a healthy choice?

Easter is a special occasion and so we let BOY & GIRL have a good amount of candy that day. But, then it is over. Or maybe not... I was talking to a friend about this today -have you noticed that people are offering your kids candy left and right? Everywhere you go. Doctor's offices, gymnastic classes, store keepers, strangers in the grocery store. And when you turn down their offer they react as if YOU are the odd one. You're being judged for not letting your child have candy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but last time I checked candy wasn't part of the food pyramid. Candy doesn't help build strong muscles and bones. Yet, I'm the one with the problem. Yep. Just call me The Buzz Killer.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

It's now JackO'Clock, and all's well!

Holly the hipster over at June Cleaver Nirvana has tagged me with the 6 word memoir meme. Holly has a very twisted sense of humor, because she thinks I can actually be brief... which is like her, insanely funny. But, we can all use friends who cut us off the mouth.

6 word memoir meme...of sorts.

When at a loss, buy lipstick.

Tired of dabbling, want to write.

Caffeine, chocolate, whiskey; sometimes it helps.

Becoming a mother, most monumental event.

Still exploring myself, within and without.

It's now JackO'Clock, and all's well!

Marriage still passionate, despite 2 additions.

Parenting a challenge, reward and mystery.

Eager to see, where life leads.

Once an actress, now a blogger.

Writing daily, helps keep me sane.

Blessings of children; delightful, precious, indescribable.

Thirteen years of marriage, still growing.

Learning balance, every hour, every day.

Family support, of that I'm blessed.

Snuggling on children, never get enough.

Husband kind heart, and scrumptious ass.

Children teach us, moment to moment.

Those fishnet days, not many regrets.

I'd like to pass this 6 word memoir meme on to the following linguistic lovelies:

Minnesota Matron
Slouching Mom
She's just another manic mommy
Don Mills Diva

And also to these women, who are new to me, wielding words upon the page:
A Golden Journal
The Philosopher Mom

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

An awakening to Easter...

Tonight's Easter Vigil service started with prayers and a bonfire lit outside as twilight turned to darkness. Then we all entered the church, each carrying a candle. The service was filled with candlelight, incense and glorious music, beautiful readings - one especially that E read. And quite suddenly the dramatic moment of the lights coming back on in the church and the shrouds taken off to reveal Easter lilies beneath. Bells ringing in melodious tones, faces uplifted in felt sacred, the rituals magical and joyous all at once. An awakening to Easter...

While E and I were awakening, BOY & GIRL were getting to hang out in childcare, making Easter baskets and watching a movie, enhanced with graham crackers and juice. Life was pretty good for all of us tonight.

On the way home, I pretended I had caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny.

What's that?! I gasped...

WHAT??? both BOY & GIRL at once.

I think I saw SOMETHING, I said.

I am loving this time with a 4 year old BOY and a 3 year old GIRL who believe in the possibility of anything. When we got home, we counted out 7 carrots (number designated by BOY) to leave for the Easter Bunny in a Thomas the Tank Engine dish. Then we put out their baskets to be filled overnight by the Easter Bunny. Getting them to bed was easy for a change, but it was late and they were also told that the Easter Bunny would not come unless they were asleep. And mommy & daddy, too!

No matter how you celebrate Easter, I wish you a day in which your heart and tummy are full. Most of all, I wish for you the magic of BELIEVING in something.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Just your ordinary day's shenanigans at Casa de Motherscribe

A Clever Recipe for Inducing Madness in the Mama, produced by expert tag team members BOY & GIRL ...

  1. Adding chocolate syrup to one's cereal while mommy is in the shower

  2. Taking out the screw and knob of the TV cabinet for the billionth time

  3. Maneuvering 40 ounces of Italian-style bread crumbs down from the counter, pouring it into a large bowl, adding two spoons, bringing it into the living room and placing it on the leather ottoman. Commencing a taste test in which it is quickly determined that said bread crumbs are not fit for human consumption and spitting said bread crumbs out all over the rug.

  4. A trail of "it was an emergency" pee dribbles on the playroom rug & floor, quantity quite large. (GIRL wants in on the "emergency" action.)

  5. Unhinging the cat litter box so that every time Mommy lifts and moves the cat litter box (which is often) only the top goes with her. No damage, but a pain in the ass. Did I say repeatedly?

Best lines that kept me laughing into my Irish Breakfast Tea hours later (because JackO'Clock would have only aggravated what by then was a migraine):

GIRL: "Dinosaurs are extinct, but they still have dinosaur puzzles!"

BOY using the baby doll highchair as a walker for the elderly, falling down and lying on the floor and saying to GIRL: "I can't get up. I'm so, so old... Girly Girl will you help me up?"

That was yesterday's accrual of gems. Said party denied all charges of misdoings. Despite them occuring all in one day. All. In. One. Day. Which caused Lady Motherscribe, JCK, to feel both old and extinct...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The unveiling....

Please pull up a chair and enjoy the new blog design. Feel free to help yourself to the chocolates on the desk. Or, perhaps you need something a bit stronger? The "Mommy's Medicine" bottle is always good in a pinch. The fishnets...SO sorry...those I do not share...ALL mine! Although if it's reading you're after, I highly recommend "Caffeine Saved my Life" by JCK, self-published of course. Oh, yes, that IS it on the floor... As you can see, it is a NUTTY day as usual at Motherscribe's abode. BOY is scaling the bookcase and GIRL, well ...she's always up for an art assignment of her own making.

I am absolutely thrilled with the new look! The header artwork is by the deliciously talented Charles Reid. He does everything from animation to illustration. You can find him here. He was FABULOUS to work with - a real collaborative process! And after dealing with me...he is still around to tell the tale.

The blog template designed around the Motherscribe header was all done by Lindsay at Splat Designs. Lindsay is incredibly creative. She was able to work with what I wanted - a template that would keep the header the focal point, but incorporate lovely little touches throughout. She is a gem to work with! Please go visit her site to see her portfolio.

Ooops...sorry, gotta go run out for more chocolate!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

...yet the Cross, it stayed still

My sister is never far from my thoughts. She is having a difficult time letting go of the accident. A trauma, alive and breathing, in every cell. What must it be like to replay the scene over and over again?

She is driving in the middle of the night, with her son by her side on a dark, Florida highway. The night still, barely a moon. Suddenly headlights from the other side approach in the distance. And what would barely be a recognition becomes lethal. The other car jumps the median and flies airborne, steel hurtling toward my sister's car. She has a second, if that, to glance over and see her son's face. And know that she isn't ready to go yet. She has more to do here. Yet the sight of his face is all she needs. Then the crash, louder than she could have ever imagined, a flash of light and darkness. Her son pulling her out of the car, disengaging her from the airbag that has saved her life. She is alive, because all she feels is pain.

Now almost two weeks later she is still in pain, but blessedly alive and without "significant" injury. The damage to her psyche is yet to be determined. How to once again get behind the wheel of a car and drive. Unimaginable. After all, how likely is it that a lone car on the road, across the median, would learn to fly and smash into her. It happened...

There is one thing that stays with her, all the time. Her Cross, which she kept lying loosely amongst some sea shells on her dashboard, appears to hold the light. While everything flew and ricocheted about the car, as if in a funnel cloud - the shells scattered ...yet the Cross, it stayed still. On the dash. Withstanding the impact of the other car at 60mph. A mystery? Perhaps not...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Of life once lived without blogging

Tonight I dream the dream
of innocence, of life
once lived without blogging.

The evenings in which
I spent, stretched out
with a book on my belly.

And now I sit in a chair
upright yet, somewhat slouched
immersed in words of my own making.

It is a new chapter
at best, challenging me
at worst an addiction.

Sometimes the growth burns
an intensity, that glows
deep in my primal lava.

This writing life so
all consuming, myriad moments
fueling a rapturous thirst I cannot quench...

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Kamikaze Psycho Lady who clipped my son

I know you think I live my life just for obtaining blog fodder, but it isn't entirely true. Bizarre things happen to normal people. And bizarre people can have seemingly normal lives. Not that I would know ANYTHING about that.

I had another encounter at Trader Joe's. Yes. I. Did. This time however, it wasn't that I was a beacon for weird, friendly men who find me ravishing. No, that would have been better. Let's just call this the Kamikaze Psycho Lady who Clipped my son with her grocery cart. I do not kid, unfortunately. It was like this...

BOY & I were innocently inspecting the cheeses. Well, I was inspecting the cheese. He was standing by the cart his eyes urgently scanning the shelves for chocolate keeping his eyes peeled for fresh broccoli. As I reached for one of my favorite stinky cheeses, some Blue Stilton, I saw a woman walk past me pushing a cart. Then...BOY starts CRYING, which quickly turned into WAILING. I immediately turn around, pick him up and ask him what is wrong and in-between sobbing breaths he tells me that the woman hit him with her cart. On the head. By this time she has continued down the aisle and is about 10 feet away. I inspect his head and sure enough, behind his ear is a red area and a significant scratch. He is still crying. I look over at her and I can tell by her body language that she is consciously not looking at us. This is quite obvious because....she is the ONLY person in the entire store not looking at us due to BOY's wails. Noticeably not looking.

Now, I am not one to leap all over confrontation. I do it if necessary, but let's just say I do not embrace the concept. However, when your child has been hurt and by another adult, I believe you have to show your child that it is NOT O.K. for an adult to hurt him - even accidentally. So, I picked BOY up and walked over to the lady.

Excuse me, you bumped my boy's head with your cart.

She looked at me and said: Shame. Shame. SHAAAMMMEE on YOU!

So... not only did a woman hit my boy with her cart, but she is denying it. I stood there open-mouthed for a minute and then just shook my head, said, "shame on YOU" and walked away. Because...what else could I do other than create a scene in front of BOY and that, although tempting, would not be "a good parental choice." She, obviously, thought I was going to sue her or something, when all I was trying to achieve was a simple, "oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't realize..." Anything. I wasn't really prepared for SHAME, SHAME, SHAAAME on YOU!

As I walked away with BOY I told him that I was so sorry that the lady had hit him with her cart and that unfortunately, some people are just not nice people. As we finished our shopping I found myself shaking with anger. And fear that if I did spot her again in an aisle I would throttle her. So, we checked out with what groceries we had and left.

As I'm backing up and turning our car around to exit the parking space, a woman waiting in another vehicle yells out:

Come on HONEY, get a move on! [Jesus! Am I NOT even safe in my minivan?!]

YOU, GET A MOVE ON!!! ...[ Freaking FREAK ASS cranky woman... is what I WANTED to say. I had literally, just pulled out of my spot and was making the turnaround at a normal speed.]

BOY says: Mommy, that woman is a POOP POOP HEAD.

Boy, I don't normally like it when you say that, but YES, BOY, that lady IS a POOP POOP HEAD! [...and a FREAKING FREAK ASS CRANKY WOMAN!!]

BOY will be fine. I am obviously holding a grudge.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

I don't need to follow "the directions"

Yesterday BOY was insisting that we had to attach a reflector light to his SUPAH trike. I kept telling him that we needed to wait for Daddy to get home. [Basically my excuse when I'm not in the mood for building or putting together something other than a sandwich.] BOY continued to hammer at me until finally I gave up. So, I opened up the casing and pulled out the reflector light. It had a wraparound attachment to be used on the handlebars or behind the seat. BOY, of course, wanted it on the handlebars - fully visible to all. The assembly required the use of a screwdriver, and batteries, among other things. All territory best reserved for projects with Daddy. However, BOY not yet having any gender biases insisted that "we" could do it. I made one last futile attempt to give him the project brush-off.

BOY, look there are directions. We need to follow "the directions".

I don't need to follow "the directions".

And so it goes. It starts young. A BOY barely weaned and before advancing to a 2 wheeler knows....boys and men just don't need to follow or ask for "the directions."

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Feeling One's Mortality: A Preschooler's Nightmare

Yesterday ...
We had picked up the ingredients for pizza making and BOY, GIRL and I set up shop in the kitchen - amidst buckets of flour, a much coveted and wildly wielded rolling pin and BIG fistfuls of cheese, we created a masterpiece shaped a bit strangely, but a masterpiece none-the-less. My fellow chefs wore aprons yet still managed to have flour covering small faces and torsos. I kept getting thanked for the experience by BOY, which felt pretty novel and strange:

Thank-you for letting us play restaurant, Restaurant Lady.

Are you talking to me?

Yes, Restaurant Lady, I am.

Apparently making pizza elevated me to Chefdom.

Last night....
At the end of her bath, GIRL was helping me gather the 8 THOUSAND bath toys to put into the perilously hanging/dangling toy net. One small, rather heavy, tugboat fell out and BONKED her in the forehead. She cried. I felt horrible. Guilty. Just bad. I hugged her. She cried some more... I scooped her up. She threw her arms around my neck and said:

I don't want to DIE, Mommy! I LOVE YOU!


[She was serious.]

I carried her into her room and we sat on the bed, with her in my lap.

Oh, sweetie, you're not going to die. What made you think of dying- the toy?

A quick nod, her huge, trusting eyes looking up at me.

Sweetie, that was just a BONK on your head. That's all it was. You're not going to die for a long, long, long, long, long, long....time. You'll be much, much older than Ma'Mai & Pops, than Granny & Doe Doe. Really, really old.

But, Mommy, I WILL DIE when I'm OLD.

Yes, sweetie. But, that is a long, looooong time from now.

I don't want to die. I want to be WITH YOU forever.

GIRL, you are going to be with me for a long time. Until you are ready to have your own place, someday. And that won't be for a while.

Not next year. Or Kindergarten? GIRL asked.

No GIRL, not for many years.


Can it be possible to question one's mortality at 3 1/2 years old? Apparently so... Somehow I must have skipped that day of Mommy School. The day when the syllabus on "Feeling One's Mortality: A Preschooler's Nightmare" was distributed to FREAKED OUT mothers everywhere. GIRL did me in last night. She just...did me in.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aaah...well, my life as a romance novelist was not to be

It was one of those long, lazy afternoons. The sun beat down on us and little beads of sweat trickled across his bare chest. I sat on the blanket, with my toes digging in the warm sand, a bunch of grapes dangling from my fingertips -taunting him as they brushed across his lips...teasing, teasing. Suddenly he pulled me down, rolling me under him and kissing me, searing me with his hot mouth. Then, he stopped. He reached out, lightly brushing the hair out of my face and said...

You know, years ago, I used to dream of being a romance novelist. I imagined myself conjuring up episodes of bold, breathless, love between Brianna and ...can't remember now...was it Mustang? No, that can't be right. I have pages of scribbled notes somewhere. Aaah...well, my life as a romance novelist was not to be. And you can see why....

However, I will always be a sucker for romance, whether it be by novel, film or in my life. You just have to find it, make it or act as if you've got it and when you do usually .....oh MY GOD, it is time for LOST!!! Sawyer, I'm coming, baby.... the time slot is all YOURS!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And a word of advice, next time...tell the mom to keep the kids at home

Dear Preschool Director,

I wanted to write and tell you how much I abhorred the supposed "tour" you subjected me to at your "oh SO special" school yesterday. Abhorred, in case it's too large a word for you, means...detested. If I had known that part of the tour included torturing my two children, believe me, I would have prepared them for the BIG challenge you presented.

You see, it may be a new concept to you sitting on your ass in your Big Director's chair, but when you bring a 3 year old and a 4 year old into a play space filled with various delights and then tell them they can't stay and play and must keep moving on...well, that is a BIG PROBLEM. Let me just give you an example. Remember when my son eagerly ran over to the wet sand and immediately started playing with the dump trucks and diggers, and at the same time my daughter wanted to explore the playhouse? Well, I could see by the soured expression on your face that your little tour was not going as planned. But, really what did you expect? That they would just be content to hold my hand and walk from one area to the next like grown-ups? I was actually proud of my children for being able to move on at all. Well, if you call practically wrenching their arms out of their sockets and dragging their little bodies across the sand...moving on. And moving on and moving on. I understand that we "don't want to disturb the class that is going on and the teachers," but do you honestly think that a happy little boy and girl, quietly and appropriately playing, would have thrown off the equilibrium?

Thank GOD you let them test out the pulley rope. Perhaps the joy on their faces as they flew across the rope swayed you? Naaa. I don't think so. Because then you walked us past the open tub with water and floating boats in it, as if it wasn't even there. Of course they stopped. What did you expect? It was a beautiful, warm, sunny California day. A perfect day for dipping little hands in cool water. A perfect day to play. But, no, we had to move on. And so we did.

We went inside. By this time, my daughter had picked up on "the tour vibe" and was practically clinging to my leg, while my son made a beeline for the train table covered with little engines and tracks. He had just reached out his hand to touch one and then, well...we had to ...move on. Then you just had to show us the Pre-K/Kindergarten room. The room with the science area covered with feathers, rocks, marbles, and assorted parts. The science area that beckoned. Your science area that screamed "touch me, but OH..not there."

During this lovely little "tour," you made a BIG point of telling me what the parental obligations entail with your Co-op nursery school. And yet you didn't tell me one thing about the philosophy of the school or what makes your school different and/or better than any other preschool. The tour lasted a total of what? 30 minutes max. And I walked out not knowing much more than when I had walked in. Except that I did learn one thing. I will not be applying to your school. Not this week. Not next. Not ever. Perhaps you need to work on your tour technique a little harder. Perhaps you need to imagine what a child would feel like entering your wonderful space and then be told, "don't touch, you'll have to stay with me, you'll have to hold your mother's hand, No don't do that!..." No, I won't be putting ourselves on the waiting list. I'll be taking my children elsewhere. And a word of advice, next time...tell the mom to keep the kids at home.


An Incredulous Mom

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Awards & Bling to share and share alike

I got some BADA BING BLING from some incredible bloggeristas back in February, and it is time to spread the love.

First the irresistible Tootsie Farklepants gave me a Blog Buddies Award. Now I know probably ALL of you read La Toots daily, but if you happen to be in the minority who hasn't read her...ARE YOU INSANE?? No, you are just ill informed. Get your hiney over to her headquarters at Vintage Thirty and be prepared to laugh your ass off. Thank you MamaCITA Tootsie!

I would like to share this award with the lovely Manic Mommy who shares my love for toasting across bloggerspace - her WineO'clock to my JackO'Clock. She's up on the latest gossip over CondeLEZZA & Le BUSHSTER. Oh, you haven't seen the pictures? Just go here. Very serious business this. I really think he should be impeached. I also owe Manic Mommy an apology. She tagged me for a HEME a while ago, and due to E being wanted across the country, I can't possibly post anything about him. Seriously...I try to keep his life private. Unless I flaunt him in pictures.

I'd also like to pass this Blog Buddies award on to Purple Teacup, who adores tea like me. Just be prepared to start dancing when you visit her site. Her music choices are addictive. I feel like I'm back in the 80's again!

And I share this with a woman who almost makes me fall on the floor with her posts...Jen at Rants and Raves. Whenever I am running out of patience I think of AND nanny AND wife. Triple order. Triple trouble. She is especially good at fairytales. Get a load of this one from today.

I received this You Make my Day Award from Countess Janet at Adventures in the 32-Aker Wood. I just love that blog title! Oh, you didn't know she was a Countess? Well, she is retired now, but she honored us by dropping by when she was a Countess. She uses the pseudonym, Janet, but we REALLY know who she is, pleeeease....don't let her fool you. Thank you, Countess. I am your humble servant.

I would like to share this with the exquisite writer, Jennifer, at Thursday Drive. She is an amazing writer who provokes introspection and emotion from her readers. Her talent just blows me away and she is deservedly wracking in awards left and right. Whenever she drops by my blog, she leaves me a comment that feels personal and she touches so many other people with her comments on their blogs. Best of all, she has a weakness for cowboys. Anyone who can mention swooning and cowboys in the same sentence is alright by me. Jennifer, did I happen to mention that on my recent trip I reached into the airplane seat pocket and pulled out Men's Vogue, with my VIGGO on the cover?! Obviously, he and I have a THANG. Kismet!

I'd also like to share this award with Rima from Rimarama who is just TOO COOL for words. She is hysterically funny and bright and a must read. Unfortunately she doesn't always post every we're left hanging...panting for more, MORE, MORE!! This post titled: Don't tell the Babysitter Mom is a priceless!

Holly, otherwise known as La Saint Holly for juggling 3 boys, over at June Cleaver Nirvana, gave me an Excellent Award. She is a treat to behold. Not only does Holly drive a suburban mommy vehicle, but she has actually had personal encounters with it. Like Close Encounters...except...NOT. And...she invited all of her readers along for a ride when she had a makeover done. Personally, I'd be happy to look like Holly when I got up in the morning. Make-over! Pleeeaaase.... Holly is also incredibly generous to her fellow bloggers and if you go to her site and look at the sidebar you will see that she has a list of current favorite funny posts by other bloggers that she has read recently. Thank you Holly for your generosity of spirit and for making me laugh. And for all of your insights on boys.

I would like to share this award with Flutter, who I have admired for her insightful comments on so many other blogs, and who writes fearlessly from her core. She is bold, raw and wide open and I admire that. Be prepared to be touched profoundly.

I would also like to give this award to Liv. She has put up with GOD KNOWS how many memes, cursed by me for the longest one of ALL time... the 8 TRILLION things meme. Her blog is addictive and she actually comments back individually to all of her readers. Our daughters have the same name. GIRL, of course. She inspires me with her personal journey, sharing both past and present. And she was one of the first blogs I ever read. I was a bit intimidated. I am hoping to spend some time with her in April and most definitely at the BlogHer '08 conference in San Francisco this summer. Just thought I would share that... I'm SURE La Liv is JUST THRILLED now. She'll probably avoid me.

Thank you ladies again for all the BLING! Oh...SHITOLLA....GIRL has just managed to cover her face with purple ink...from an ink goes SO well with red butterfly barrettes, dont'cha know?

Update on GIRL's PURPLE HUE: Thank GOD for wipes! Well...the purple ink is mostly gone. There's a certain violet hue that remains on nose, forehead and cheeks... Luckily GIRL decided to pick out a Violet winter knit cap to wear in the 78 degree sunshine. She JUST loves to match her accessories to skin tone. I'm sure all that purple will impress the preschool that we're touring in about...1 hour!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Are you Episcopalians or Catholics?

We are back! It has been a very up and down last few days and feels very off kilter to have not been blogging. As we were about to board our plane at LAX early Thursday morning, my mom called me to let me know that my sister was in the hospital and had been in a near fatal car accident. At that point, she appeared O.K., but they would continue to run tests. My sister was coming home from picking up my nephew late at night, and a car heading in the opposite direction jumped the median and flew, airborne like a missile, at 60mph and hit my sister's car head-on. The airbags saved both her and my nephew's lives. The car was totaled and the other driver, a young woman in her 20's lost both of her legs in the accident. My sister was released on Saturday and will have a follow-up check-up. She is emotionally traumatized, and I cannot even imagine having to relive seeing that car airborne in front of you over and over again in your head. My nephew was fine other than a cut lip and some bruising. It is a miracle that they are alive. I was shaky and distracted all weekend. Still am.

The weekend was full of many varied moments:

The kids did very well on both flights. On the 2nd flight to our destination, BOY & GIRL got to go into the cockpit and talk to the pilot and co-pilot. The co-pilot showed them the steering wheel and all the various buttons. They were given their wings, which they wore proudly.

We were picked up at the Birmingham airport by E's brother-n-law who got just a little....lost and what was supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour trip to Columbus, GA took 4 1/2 hours as we toured lower Alabama in the dark. Never, ever believe that men are immune to getting lost while trying to drive and chat at the same time. I am here to tell you. It is now a proven fact. Not an ideal way to travel with two tired 3 and 4 year old children who have been cooped up all day. Especially for a GIRL who decides she wants to use your hair for yanking practice. My brother-n-law will have a hard time living that down.

After finally arriving at our hotel in Columbus, we realized that we had left the garment bag with all of our dress clothes for the rehearsal dinner & the Birmingham airport - 2 1/2 hours away.

E's brother saved the day by making the drive all the way to the airport and picking up our bag the next day. He was a GOD.

The weekend:
The entire time I was there, I was struck with how nice and helpful everyone was. Everyone. From the people at the hotel, to the woman on the phone at the airlines desk that helped us find our lost luggage, to the friends of E's sister. I miss the south.

During the weekend BOY & GIRL did not eat one vegetable. They lived off of fried chicken, pizza, fried chicken, muffins, fried chicken, cake, donuts and did I say fried chicken?

Lollipops were in a bucket in the lobby, easily accessed by children. Lollipop chunks were stuck to clothes, hair and were attracted to JCK's bare feet.

GIRL was SO proud of her wings that at various moments throughout the weekend, would flash her wings and recite the details of how she earned them. The vision of her in her little red velvet pantsuit telling her grandfather about earning her wings....

A few Whiskey & Cokes thrown in for good measure.

BOY and GIRL saw snow falling from the sky for the first time on the morning of the wedding. It was bitterly cold, but magical... for them.

There was an indoor pool at the hotel. E had the foresight to bring his bathing suit. I did not. BOY could wear shorts. GIRL wore her underwear as a monokini. BOY wanted to move in. E played for hours in the pool with BOY & GIRL. This tired them out...which was good - as we were staying in a hotel.

BOY took 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps each day. We lucked out and BOY slept quietly throughout the entire wedding ceremony. No quick exits needed. Although toward the end, judging from GIRL's body language, she looked like she was going to erupt into shenanigans.

BOY & GIRL got to see all of E's family and they got to see them. Worth every moment. E's sister and husband, and all of their girls welcomed us and showed us a good time.

GIRL got to dress up and go with me to the bridesmaids luncheon. She LOVED it! She felt very grown-up.

The wedding reception was in an old restored mill. It was a fantastic, open space for a happening. And E's family knows how to party. GIRL was a dancing, whirling dervish during the reception. She danced for over 2 hours with two other little girls. BOY did wind sprints around the space and then would slide across the floor on his knees. His version of break dancing. He tried for a while to dance with GIRL, but after getting spurned multiple times gave up and continued to do his own moves.

E's niece, the bride, was stunning. And SO very happy.

Wedding cake lying around on plates. Nirvana for BOY who served himself a few times.

Best lines delivered at the reception:

I'm going to the bathroom and tossing this girdle in the garbage.

What are those fat things? - delivered by BOY to a young woman, commenting on said young woman's lovely cleavage. We'll have to work on his way with women.

After hearing E's reading during the wedding ceremony:

A woman asked me at the reception, Are you Episcopalians or Catholics?


I just KNEW y'all had to be Episcopalian or Catholic by the way he did that reading!

Well he is an actor, he's had training...---

---Well, I just KNEW he was Episcopalian or Catholic! [What a waste that acting training was...all along, it was just O.K. that he was Episcopalian. Who knew?!]

Another woman told E that he sounded, "Evangelical." That threw E ...just a little.

We'll just say that it was an outstanding reading and leave it at that.

BOY managed to fall in a creek fully clothed the morning we were leaving to drive to the airport. Then at the airport: he got trapped within a compartment of a revolving door, purposefully went down the wrong escalator and tried to walk back up it, then leaped on a moving sidewalk going in the opposite direction of our gate, all before we boarded our first flight heading home.

On the way home, the first flight was uneventful. The flight from Memphis to LAX was not. BOY & GIRL were very well behaved. E and I had some challenges with both a flight attendant and a passenger.

Encounter #1: BOY was sitting next to E in a window seat. (3 seats to a row.) E went to the bathroom, BOY stated he did not have to go. Of course... about ....30 seconds later BOY decided he did need to go. He crawled under the aisle passenger's legs to get to the aisle, and was headed toward first class looking for daddy. By the time I got out of my seat across the aisle and got to him, he was greeting passengers in 1st class. I then steered him toward the back of the plane. A flight attendant approached me:

What seems to be the problem here? It was the tone. Not nice.

He has to go to the bathroom.

Well, the pilot has the seat belt sign on and you need to get back in your seats. Tone. Increasingly not nice.

He will pee in his pants. Me, equally not nice at this point.

Well, if you want to take responsibility... Very condescending tone.

Fine! We will TAKE responsibility. Me setting my own tone at this futile conversation in ridiculousness, seeing E heading back our way and spotting BOY doing the pee pee dance, while clutching his crotch. E accompanies BOY to restroom. I sit down fuming. [Note: I am not one to ignore airline safety rules, and know that they are important, but at this point there was no turbulence, nothing going on and we had an emergency. I guess I could have asked if she'd prefer that he take a whizz in the aisle.]

Encounter # 2: Basically the kids were really great on the flight. No crying. No whining. No getting up or crawling under passengers- other than the bathroom incident. This 2nd flight was 3 1/2 hours. The entire time BOY played with his Thomas the Tank Engine & Percy trains, making up stories and games with and without daddy. He used his socks for tunnels and a straw as a rescue link. E occasionally told him to lower his voice when he got too excited with his Thomas & Percy conversations, but really he was AMAZING for a 4 year old boy on an airplane. So....

The lady in front of them turned around and said, Well I should have told you earlier, but could you PLEASE be quiet for 30 minutes! We're at the end of a long day of travel! [I guess she thought she was the only one who was tired.]

E, basically incredulous: Well, it's obvious you've never had kids.

Cranky Lady: Yes, and there's a good reason for that.

E: Obviously!

Cranky Lady had no response. Probably a good thing. You don't want to aggravate a tired father of a 4 year old boy, who has been behaving really well.

Last encounter at LAX airport:

Security opening up the doors of our van and peeking inside. Ooops!! Caught red-handed. Nefarious deeds entailed trying to install 2 car seats back in the van and half-naked preschoolers being put into PJ's and pull-ups. Pretty terrifying stuff.

It's good to be home.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Letter to my journey with an eating disorder

This is my contribution for the Letters to my Body initiative at BlogHer.

Dear Body, you know this story well...

I have such warm memories of you from my childhood. From my first tentative steps as a toddler to hours spent climbing in trees. You flew with me over the high bar during Field Day, where I earned my first ribbon--an accomplishment for a girl who wasn't tall. You sailed me over the vault in gymnastics, back then called "the horse." I went skiing with you at 13, where I broke my leg and learned how to rise above the pain on the 2 1/2 hour drive to the nearest hospital. You swam gracefully with me through the days of water ballet. And I remember the feel of my body sinking into a serve on the tennis court or dipping low for a backhand, seeing the ball rocket over the net. Life was pretty good with you. And then I became an adolescent...

At first it was exciting. The budding of breasts, sweet curve to my hips. Finally you came through! All those months of wishing and hoping that you would develop ...while watching so many other girls, seeming so advanced, ahead of me. I remember that first day of school, the beginning of 9th grade, walking across the courtyard in my red polka-dot dress. A couple of boys from my class were sitting on a bench. One of them, whom I had had a crush on said, "Wow, JCK has really changed over the summer!" And suddenly the idea of you being desired became important to me.

Then came high school with all the insecurities that can follow. An abrupt move from Beirut, Lebanon and a small American school that I adored to a huge public school in New Jersey to live for a time with my cousins. I handled change pretty well, but this was ...challenging. Mom had packed my trunk with a wardrobe for school of knee length pleated skirts and knee socks. My first day at public school was painful. I didn’t look like anyone else and blending in wasn’t working. I was up against blue jeans and polyester shirts, mood rings and pooka shell chokers. It was 1975. Knee socks were NOT in vogue.

Another move, this time to Atlanta, and I began again at yet another school. The year was 1976.“Charlie’s Angels” was all the rage. And what about "Ms. Magazine?" It was a confusing time. Peer pressure and ignorance won out. Feathered hair. Curling irons and layers of makeup. You endowed me with buck teeth and straight hair. So, soon I was blessed with new braces and hair that wouldn’t feather back without a heavy dose of Aqua Net. 15 years old. Tenth grade. This time the knee length pleated skirts and knee socks were uniforms for a private school. I think of my love affair with you and sugar beginning then, yet it had started earlier...

From the moment my grandfather “accidentally” dipped my bare foot into my birthday cake on my 1st birthday it seems that sugar would play a part in my life with you. I spent many a happy time at my grandparents’ apartment outside New York City. My taste buds were heightened there. Cocktail hour for the grownups meant ginger ale for the kids - something we weren’t allowed to have at our house. Then there was the candy drawer. It had two hinge pulls and they rattled. No matter how slowly you opened the drawer, the rattling always gave you away. After supper, my grandfather would ask us what candy we would like to choose out of the drawer. It was hard to decide. There were all sorts of licorice wheels, hard candies, gum drops and small chocolate bars. When I was about four or five, I was showing off my new somersaulting talent and two candy bars rolled out of my pockets onto the carpet. “What have you got there, JCK?,” my grandfather asked. “I don’t know, Grandfather,” I said - eyes open wide, astonishment (I hoped) reflected there. The lying about you had begun.

I knew early on that I wanted to be an actress. I was in my first play at 8 years old. Wherever we moved, there was always a drama club, and I was welcomed. I loved being characters that were different than me, and making people laugh. It filled the emptiness that seemed to only grow with each passing year. Then there was that thing called stage fright. Incredible. All consuming. I would be in such a state of anxiety, before going onstage, that I thought I would vomit. But, I kept going back for more. And I didn't vomit, then...

It was while I was doing Cecily, in The Importance of Being Earnest, that I remember you and I diving headlong into the late night binges. Stuffing myself with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cookies at 2am, the sugar high helped me fall into a delicious, dreamless slumber. This continued through high school and into my early 20's. Binging became our friend. I lived for it. And it was very specific. If I wanted it, I made sure I had to have it. Immediately. One day, without a car, I took the public bus five miles in order to get a dozen doughnuts, finishing them all on the bus ride back to my apartment.

My mother and stepfather were social workers at a private psychiatric hospital. I got a job there as a psychiatric assistant. I was 20 and was working primarily on the adolescent unit with kids from 14-18 years old. I loved to spend time with the bulimics and anorectics. They fascinated me. I too, had been obsessed for some time now with my weight and food, but had not succeeded in controlling my huge appetite for either one. You, body, had become my enemy.

To support myself as an aspiring actress, I began waiting tables. The emptiness was now an abyss. During this time, I found tremendous power in dressing you seductively. The wild party girl was a role I could play. I was doing more acting off the stage than on. I couldn’t get hurt anymore if I was a tough girl... I convinced myself. I wanted to be numb. To not feel anything. Going out to bars with girlfriends, flirting with men, I swelled with "the power" that I could smile at a man across the bar and five minutes later he would be buying me a drink. Beer followed by shots of tequila. Nothing was better than shooting the tequila and not letting anyone see me shudder. I was tough under all that lace. (It was the 80's!) My best friend Tracy and I joked that she taught me how to shoot tequila and I taught her how to wear lace.

I loved using you to shock people. I looked innocent, but I was really a bad, bad girl and I would show everyone how bad I was. After closing down the bar there was always The Saint, the club that stayed open all night. There amongst the transvestites and drag queens I felt very safe. I went alone when I couldn’t talk any of my friends into going with me. The guy I was dating at the time thought the place was too freaky. I knew the bouncer, the bar tender from my acting class who looked like Tom Cruise from the dark side, and I hung out with some of the drag queens before they went onstage to perform in the back room. Walking out the door at 6am to the sound of birds chirping and light outside was always surreal. One night the discovery of a cut on the outside of my wrist, deep, unnoticed until I put my hands on the steering wheel. No idea how I got it. Many nights arriving home and not remembering the drive. But, at least I hadn’t binged! Someone above was looking out for me.

Sometimes I was exhausted from carrying on the pretense of the party girl and would leave the bars to stop and load up on my binge foods. 24 hour grocery stores were amazing! I would have to concentrate really hard on not wobbling in my high heels under all those bright lights. Now was when I wanted you, body, to be invisible. A bit difficult when you are wearing “HELLO!! I’M HERE!!” kind of clothes. The grocery store was usually empty, except for a few other lonely souls shopping at 3am. I wouldn’t be able to wait and would raid the barrels of caramels and yogurt covered raisin clusters. I knew it was stealing, but figured if someone caught me I would just offer to pay for it or make up some elaborate story about my blood sugar. I was good at that. Making up stories. Filling up my basket with a chocolate layer cake, bags of candy to eat on the way home, and a pint of vanilla ice cream, I’d make my way over to the lone cashier. The trick-- to engage the check-out person very quickly with conversation about how you’ve got the girlfriends over and they all have the munchies. That way, you don’t get the raised eyebrows or even someone confronting you directly about your interesting grocery selection. I wanted to feel numb, sedated and sugar always calmed. Sliding down my throat and releasing into my body, the feeling immediate....I could breathe again.

When I wasn't dieting, I was devouring books on eating disorders and binging: Sugar Blues, The Obsession: Reflections on the tyranny of slenderness...

After work, I grew adept at darting unseen into the restaurant cooler at the end of the night and stealing whole cheesecakes and tarts, slipping them into my large purse. I could barely get out of the parking lot without stuffing large handfuls in my mouth on the long drive back home. Always filled with self loathing after a binge, I would throw away what I couldn’t finish... determined to start a crash diet the next day. I rarely made it to the next afternoon without fishing out my leftovers out of the day’s garbage. The whole cycle would begin again.

I started going to O.A. meetings, lost weight and tried to look within you. But, as my emotions began surfacing, I felt out of control and I added purging to my repertoire. I was terrified of gaining the weight back and purging, although not perfect, was a solution. I learned to buy binge foods that would come up easily. No one knew except you, body...

Then I read a book that changed my life. Feeding the Hungry Heart by Geneen Roth. I stopped dieting. I started eating whatever I craved, rather than keeping foods on the forbidden list. This helped as the deprivation cycle that I put myself through always led to binging. It took a lot of inner work and readjusting my thinking about you, but my binging and purging days have been over now for 15 years. I wish I could say how I stopped - what it was that changed me. Surely more than just reading a book. I think, perhaps, I finally saw what I was doing to you, body, and had just had enough. Now, food has become something to enjoy. I never diet. Dieting was a way of punishing you.

It is difficult to look back on these memories - to have them resurface and to feel them go through me again. I continually work on forgiving myself for my past. I feel that I have made peace with myself and with you, my body. I have no regrets, even for the most painful or humiliating times. After all without my past, I would not be the woman who I am today, and I like her. As I look at my precious daughter, I know that I will teach my daughter to honor her body and her mind. Hopefully she will not make the same mistakes I did. Part of me is terrified she will. The world today is even crazier with the assault of the media on young women and their body image.

How do I feel about you now that I'm 46? On the best days, I feel pretty good. This body has taken me on quite a journey and I know we have more travels ahead. I still eat too much chocolate, but that is O.K. I accept it and I enjoy it. I don't own a scale. When my clothes feel tight, I eat a little less. My weight has remained stable for quite a few years. I am always on a quest to be healthier, and I don't move you as often as I'd like. I want to do yoga and be more toned, and I will get to it...I hope. Most of all, I'd like to honor your lushness, the parts of you that aren't perfect -whatever "perfect" is, and your ability to keep finding more energy when I've worn you out. Thank you, Body! You have put up with much self-abuse, and yet you are still here to tell the tale...


Note: Motherscribe is on hiatus for a few days. Out of town for a family wedding. No internet access. Good for the body!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favorite stump speeches this week

Mommy, do you choke on artichokes? - question posed by GIRL. It makes sense. Why would it be called artiCHOKE if you didn't choke on it.

Mommy, Mommy! Look! It's a papillon! - This from a BOY, originally diagnosed with speech delay...who obviously now has an extensive vocabulary... referring to a little dog going by and referencing Papillon to Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy book.

Mommy, I'm making a sign and putting it outside. "No toys with batteries in the sandbox or in water." - GIRL takes a piece of blue colored paper, makes several marks on it for words and tapes it to the outside of our house.

Mommy, I can't DO IT right now. I'm changing baby's diaper. - GIRL on being asked to come sit down to breakfast. Who can eat when a baby doll's diaper is at stake.

Mommy, can I have chocolate milk? Mommy, can I have soy milk? Mommy, can I have a special treat? -A rapid fire assault by BOY, said without pause, between NO's from his mommy. And then....Oh, MAN!

Mommy, you know why I am excited about our trip? I get to wear a grown-up seat belt on the airplane. - GIRL anticipating our upcoming trip.

Mommy, you have blonde hair like me. No, it is WHITE. - BOY getting his facts straight.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

I am feeling hesitant

School appears to be going well overall. At least on the surface. BOY definitely is enjoying the 1/2 day only experiment. Today when I picked him up, he was looking out of the classroom door's window, waiting for me. But, when I came in and it was clearly time to go ...he wavered, wanting to stay a bit longer with his friends. A good sign, I think. He is, sometimes, the only one leaving. (Most kids are there full-time 5 days a week or do a full day a few days a week.)

The time spent one-on-one with BOY has been really special. We get to run an errand or just be at home and play for a while together. Because of GIRL only being 10 months younger than BOY, the only time I had just with him was when I was pregnant with GIRL. And he was tiny. It is also an adjustment to have him home 3 afternoons a week without GIRL (she is still doing the M,W, F full days.) He asks about her each time, and it is odd for him to be without her. If we get a treat, he always wants to bring home one to GIRL. Last week he saved part of his doughnut for her. He is the most amazing child when it comes to sharing, and especially with his sister. I'm used to getting a lot done while they entertain and play with each other. And it feels odd to leave her there and not have her come home with us. I am very careful, of course, to not let her see me. She is in another classroom and is on her cot for nap time when I pick him up. She knows that I pick up BOY after lunch, but as long as she doesn't see me...she is fine.

When we thought we were leaving the school, we had a talk with BOY & GIRL and kept it pretty basic. We just said that we wanted to have more family time and so we were going to stop going to school for a while. Initially they didn't seem to have much reaction, but as a few days went by they started to talk about feeling sad that they were leaving their school. Then after we had the talk with the Director, we told the children that we were going to try something new. We said we would try BOY going 5 mornings only (he used to go 5 mornings and stay for 3 afternoons) and GIRL going the 3 days. They were both happy with the news that we were going to stay.

I find myself feeling ...not ambivalent, exactly...yet, hesitant. I am feeling hesitant. Part of me, of course, is embracing the idea that the school wants to show us that they can give BOY what he needs. But, I am also doubtful, from the experiences we've had recently that that will happen. So, to cover the bases I am still touring other preschool programs in the area. I'm keeping my options open.

A couple of things are weighing on me today. When I picked up BOY, the first thing he said to me was that he was playing with a puppy and had puppy treats behind his back. BOY has a vivid imagination and I ADORE that about him. It is a gift. I guess he was playing "puppy" with one of his friends, who was still sitting at the lunch table and the teacher was speaking with his friend saying, "I don't see any puppies here. Do you see any puppies here? The only puppy I see is a stuffed animal on so-and-so's cot." Well...the puppy is imaginary. Is that so bad? It felt like she was SQUELCHING him. And my radar went up.

GIRL was whirling around the tire swing with another little girl when I picked her up today. She is starting to form friendships and it is beautiful to see. When we got in the car and I grilled her about her day, she said she hadn't taken a nap. I asked her if she had looked at books during the nap/quiet time. (She LOVES to look at/memorize/be read to..books.) She told me that she hadn't because they are only allowed to have one book on their cot. Only GIRL would choose NO book rather than being subjected to ONE book ONLY. However, I can see her frustration. It seems a pretty stupid rule. At home she is used to taking a stack of books to the bed with her during quiet time. School is different. Different rules. Different people. And that is fine. But, then there appear to be rules that are ASININE.

So, I take it all one day at a time, trying to remain open to all the possibilities. And knowing that someday I will look back on all this hand wringing and brow wiping I've been doing and laugh at myself. At least I hope so...

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

GIRL's "500 yard stare"

When she was but a few months old, GIRL perfected what became known in family circles as the "500 yard stare." Kind of like Winston Churchill during World War II. It was truly a scowl on the face of a beautiful red cheeked babe. Incongruous, yet it fit her. It brought amusement to my siblings, most specifically my brothers. I was always a smiling child, so for me, GIRL's fierce glare reflected a warrior spirit that I never had. It was different, and many people were thrown by it-- expecting to see more of a coy, cooey, ga-ga smile on a little baby girl.

One summer when GIRL was 10 months old, we were vacationing with family on Edisto Island, South Carolina. E and I decided to chance going out to a restaurant to eat lunch. BOY was 20 months old at the time, so "chancing" an outing often meant chasing a very active toddler who always seemed to be interested in what was going on at someone else's table. Our waitress seemed pleasant enough as she took our order. And then she started trying to get GIRL to smile. SCOWL. And the waitress kept trying...SCOWL. And she kept trying...BIG SCOWL.

Well, I'ave nevah had a baby look at me like that before!
Clearly she was put off by this.

We said something about not taking it personally, that GIRL scowls at everyone and thought that that would be the end of it. However, this became akin to GIRL throwing down a gauntlet. The waitress was NOT to be dissuaded. So, every time she came to the table, which was more than we would have liked, the waitress made nice. And she made nice. Finally, when it became painfully obvious that GIRL could not and would not be persuaded to smile at her, the waitress gave up and left us alone.

While I was finishing up lunch and doing the requisite wipe-down of the kids, E decided to pop over to a little boutique across the boardwalk to buy a couple of beach toys. He found a little ball and a pail and shovel set. As he was walking back to the cafe, he ran into the waitress who asked in a voice dripping with sweet tea gone bad:

Is that for the child who smiles or the one who doesn't?
And she was serious. Yes, some people took it personally.

GIRL will be 3 1/2 this month. She still doesn't smile readily at strangers or even family, but when she does it is irresistible in its vastness. And her is full and wild. She is addicted to laughter and is the first to instigate it, when she is comfortable. GIRL is an observer. And someday she might be a film critic or a spelling teacher or a wife. She loves rules. But... she also loves to break them. And when she does...there's a BIG 'OL smile on her face. If only Missy Waitress from South Carolina could see her now.

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