A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I am NOT The Only Person In America Who Was Confused

Watching the Lighting of the Tree at Lincoln Center tonight we were surprised to hear that Sasha Cohen was going to be on.
Seemed like a strange choice, despite the popularity of BORAT we weren't exactly sure what sort of "Family Appropriate" entertainment he would bring to the show.
You can imagine our surprise when the entire show came and went without him.
So we had to rewind. What the hell? We didn't see him. We had skipped through Christina Aguilera - despite the fact that she looks very nice now and not at all like a living BRATZ doll - we were bored. And that's how we missed it. You see, there is apparently a Sasha Cohen who is a skater. I'm not even sure I'm spelling her name right. But she was much more family appropriate than Borat....I'm fairly sure. Here is a photo of the nice lady who did a lovely figure skating routine - the lady who is NOT Borat.
Don't act like you weren't confused too!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Because I Could Touch the Top

My husband and oldest son went Christmas tree shopping a couple of weeks ago as the stand broke on our cheap-ass Walmart fake tree and we were going to need a new one.
When the boy came home he excitedly informed me that he had seen the BEST THING EVER! A WHITE CHRISTMAS TREE!
I recoiled somewhat, in horror.
White Christmas trees remind me of textured wallpaper and shag carpet. Of teased hair and bridge mix served at holiday parties where kids steal drinks out of misplaced cups of Tom Collins and egg nog. White Christmas trees, were in fact, 1952.
But the boy went on about the white tree. For days. "Mom, just think about it, it would be so cool. I've never seen a WHITE christmas tree before. Think about how neat it would be."
He kept working the angle about how awesome the white tree would be and how pretty he thought it was and it hit me a few days ago. And I gave in.

Because you see my favorite story about my Grandpa Drake actually involves a Christmas tree. I don't even remember this event, but I remember the story well. My Grandpa took me out to get a Christmas tree, a real one off a lot that in my imagination is right out of a movie. When we returned back to my grandma's house apparently everyone stood back somewhat surprised, and probably annoyed. We had arrived back at the family Patriarchal Home with the shortest Christmas tree anyone had ever seen. He had let me have that one solely because I could touch the top. It was important to me and he let me have it. Because I was important to him.

So let me tell you about my White Christmas Tree..........

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Since my day can't get any worse

Since the previous post I have now experienced the "mistaking two boxes of Eggos for having two boxes of EGGOS when in fact one was Waffles (containing ONE Eggo) and one was EGGO PANCAKES" problem which made me swear and do a dance in anger. I decided to just eat the ONE since I was having a shitload of creamer in my coffee (thank you honey for the Gingerbread creamer it is SUCH a yummy treat) but then I had to spend 20 DAMN MINUTES trying to get the freaking syrup open. You'd say "just turn on some hot water" except that we have ZERO water pressure most of the time and it took almost 5 minutes to get the water HOT And then it just made the bottle wet and teh short version is that by the time I got it open my ONE SAD EGGO was ice cold.


So I decided to do the MEME that Becky tagged me for a billion years ago to release my stress. I'll think about happy things, like books.

1) One book that changed my life.
Ummmmmm, CAT'S EYE by Margaret Atwood,and LIFE BEFORE MAN by Margaret Atwood. They say a lot about interpersonal relationships that I strongly identify with. I suppose in a way they helped me understand ME better.

2) One book I read more than once. The two books listed above I've read many many times. I can tell you that right now I'm re- reading THE BLACK COMPANY by Glen Cook and it's good, fun stuff.

3) One book I'd want on a deserted island. NEVERWHERE by Neal Gaiman

4) One book that made me laugh. GOOD OMENS - again Gaiman

5) One book that made me cry. Good grief, cry? Ummmm.....okay, GAIMAN again - I think......I can remember, actually I remember the SCENE in the book that made me cry, it was about a child raised in darkness without affection and then one day taken outside and the child was so happy and there were all these people who were so happy to see him etc etc etc and then they sacrifice him. It was either American Gods by Gaiman or one of the Anne Rice books.....I seroiusly cannot remember. I just know I read that book more than once and always have to skip that part.

6) One book I wish I'd written. I'm not exactly sure. Hard to say.

7) One book I wish had never been written. Any of the shit Anne Rice has been churning out lately. Oh and HOUSE OF LEAVES by some asshole whose name escapes me. The only book I can say that not only did I not finish it (I got about 3/4 of the way through and just got SO pissed off I had to quit) I now often threaten to give it as a gift to people when they are making me angry. Worst book ever written. Cool concept. Shitty story telling and execution.

8) One book I'm reading now. Well I'm supposed to be reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but I'm actually reading BLACK COMPANY again because I can only read for about 10 minutes before I fall asleep and it's hard to absorb a new book that way.

9) One book I've been meaning to read. Hmmmm, been meaning to read? It's probably any book I haven't read.

So far today

I have poured the water for my coffee into the filtration basket instead of the water reservoir and poured my PURE HAWAIIAN KONA coffee into the garbage disposal rather than the grinder.

Not the most positive of mornings so far.......

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Name of the Rose is but a BLIP on an Otherwise Uninterrupted Downward Spiral

Recently I went to the doctor because my hips hurt me so much I can hardly stand it. I have trouble getting up and down from chairs. I have trouble walking. It hurts no matter how I sleep, after I've been in that position for long enough I have to change (regardless of the position). It hurts when I sit, stand, walk, run, etc. It's just become degrees of pain. Mostly, it sucks. So I finally went to the doctor.
It all seemed to start back when I was pregnant, I had a lot of hip pain, especially carrying the twins. The problem is, it never went away. I've lost weight, I bought a special pad for the bed that was supposed to help. I used it, I took it off, I've done whatever I could think of, and it never has gone away. It just keeps getting worse.
So I went to my doctor.
This was a new doctor, the partner of my regular doctor. He immediately set about poking me in exactly the places in my hips that about sent me into the screaming mee-mees. He then gave me an adjustment, the likes of which - had we been on a date - would've nearly been grounds for my daddy to demand marriage. But when he was done......oh my god, the pain was gone.
And then he says "I used to be a physical therapist, so I have a lot of experience doing this, just usually in geriatric patients." Then he asks me to walk.
I say "What?" and he asks me to walk up and down the hall.
Which I did while he sat on a chair at the end of the hall watching my less than fashionable stroll down the doctors office catwalk.
About the third round of walking he says "Yup, that's it." and had me get back up on the table to start messing around with my right knee.
"Does your knee pop when you walk?"
"Especially when you go up and down stairs?"

Turns out the verdict is not that there is anything particular wrong with my hips, it's my right knee. Which is somewhat disintegrating. At some point in time, I'll have to have knee replacement, but he says he's pretty sure I can count on that happening in "old age" (thanks Grandma Brandon once again for giving me these damn inferior legs). I'm apparently walking like a gimp, slightly, just enough to whack out the pressure on my hips and to even make them a little disjointed occasionally.
Hence the pain.

So, now in my life is the wonder supplement GLUCOSAMINE, per the doctor, to help maintain the cartledge in my right knee to help me from walking like a gimp and hurting my hips.

Got that?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thank you Buzz Lightyear

This year as I gaze around the living room, I am thankful for strange items taking their rest among our possessions. I am thankful for the Buzz Lightyear tent crowding many square feet of the living area. It's full of bears that were gifts and a ladybug, won at the Strawberry Festival. It is used for Hide and Seek, and to hide toys from your brothers.
I am thankful for the Little People Village that is hogging up a good portion of my dining room floor, as well as the play kitchen which can be used to make soup and eggs as well as tea, from what I've been served. I am especially thankful for the hobby horse and the playhouse door activity center that is also taking up floor space but we've spent more time climbing over than anything.
But most of all, I'm thankful for the shrieks of "It's SANTA! It's SANTA MOM it's the REAL SANTA COME SEE COME SEE!" coming out of the mouth of a 4 year old in the next room.

Mom is thankful.

Thankful that she is a Mom.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Last AIDS Patient

I know someone who is dying of AIDS.

This is a dramatically different statement than the one I would've made 15 years ago, which would have been 'I know some people who are dying of AIDS.'
Those people are all dead now.
15 years ago the generational divide over the AIDS issue manifested itself to me during a conversation I had with my boss. While discussing "how girls handle dating and AIDS" with her we both discovered that at that point in time I'd never had sex without a condom and she'd never had sex WITH one. Safe sex was paramount. There were condom case earrings, key rings (both of which I had, more for fashion than for function - I swear I never actually fetched a condom from one of thse items to get jiggy with anyone). Bars had huge bowls of of condoms at strategic places around the bar, and what was safe and what wasn't was a topic of polite conversation.

Today the generational divide opened up to me again on this subject, this time with me sitting on the side of the elder - although not necessarily wiser, generation. Person with Aids walks through the break room and I greet him with enthusiasm. I hadn't seen him in a while, and I was genuinely happy to see him.
My companion at the table says to me "What's wrong with him anyway? Why does he look like that?"

To which I respond, "He's Sick." Inflection on SICK. In 1995, if someone was Sick, they were not long to be among us and everyone knew what you meant. It had happened to them. The unthinkable, the death sentence. Through carelessness, or bad luck or both they had run headlong into an incurable epidemic that led you along a path that was too horrible to spend much time contemplating. And it happened enough that even those who weren't directly involved knew the parlance. T-Cells. Red counts. Hystoplasmosis. Caposi's Sarcoma.

My companion stared at me blankly. "What do you mean, sick?"

And I realize I was sitting across a new divide.

What do they do, these girls, to protect themselves now? We don't seem to be OUT THERE beating the "USE CONDOMS" drum anymore. They don't seem to know that there was a time when a funeral was a social event just like a party. Because they were that common place. That the death is slow and painful and that it is final. I wonder if they can imagine what it's like to visit a nursing home full of AIDS patients and to know more than one person in it?

It hasn't gone away, yet it almost seems like our knowledge has gone. Is it because the drugs are better and now instead of a quick hideous death in 5 or less years you now get about 20 years before it takes you down that we don't care as much? 20 years, hell that's better than some cancers.

I think that the straight 20 something community isn't afraid like we were afraid.

And that makes me very afraid.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

These Were People's Children......

I spent the better part of today trying to decide if I was going to include the photo with this post. I obviously decided TO include it.......I suppose to make a point. Which in fact makes me no better than the person who originally posted this photo on the web with the story about the bus crash. Maybe I like to think that my point is better or on a higher moral ground than his point - I don't know. But I decided to post it to MAKE my point, and for that I'd like to start off with an apology to all of the parents who are grieving for their loss because of this bus crash - and the parents whose worlds have been blown apart and still have their children who are still in the hospital. I'm sorry for putting this picture out here again......and I hope that none of you actually hit this page (odds of this - very small in my estimate).
This photo was apparently taken by a Bryan Bacon of the Huntsville Times....and I'm sure he's not a bad guy but I DO have an issue with his picture even though I know he's just a guy doing his thing.....he's a photographer.
But now I'd like to get the point of my post.

First of all, do you see these police officers rushing toward the camera in rage - screaming at you? That means GET AWAY! You see, these police officers are here to PROTECT AND SERVE. And this includes when we're dead. They're here to protect the bodies of those who are dead from being disrespected, to protect their parents from seeing too much of the horror, and to make sure that only the appropriate emergency response personnel get through. If you aren't helping, then you are in the way. It doesn't look to me like you are helping. It looks to me like you are taking THREE PEOPLE off of the task of rescue so that they can chase you away.

Secondly, see those legs and crumbled bodies lying under the bus? They're people's CHILDREN. These were their parents hopes and dreams embodies in flesh and blood. They learned to walk when they were one. They learned A for Apple, B for Bird C for Cat. The sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and they cried when pets died, including goldfish. When they grew up they cried because other kids were mean to them and thought that they weren't pretty because boy X or Y didn't like them, but in fact they were probably all pretty. These aren't just statistics, they were people who smiled and loved and probably hated some things too.

I appreciate free speech, I appreciate the right of the public to KNOW. But did I really need to know HOW it looked with the bodies crumbled up beneath it? Because, you see, I pretty much got the picture from the original shot I saw, with the bodies removed. I think everyone got the picture - it was a bad wreck. It was a terrible tragedy.

Does the right to free speech supersede the rights of dignity, of compassion?
Because I didn't feel enlightened or better informed by this picture. I just felt horror.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why Their Hair Is So Long

I hear a lot of comments on my boys hair.  It's true, the oldest one has only had one haircut and the twins have never had one. 
Many people tell me that their hair is beautiful, and that they understand why I don't cut it.  Other people don't like it and will tell me that I should cut their hair because "they are boys." 
Well, I suppose I should tell you a story, and then maybe you'll understand why I don't care about their hair being long.
About 9 years ago or so I moved in with my boyfriend now husband.  We rented a house from my cousin and we were in NEW love which is exuberant and joyful.   Shortly after we moved in together I had a gyno appointment with a new doctor.  I had been sent to him because I had a cyst rupture and had had an MRI and ultrasound done on the parts of me that were in agony that day.  This was my follow up visit.  At that appointment, Dr Feelgood casually told me about my "bicoronet uterus".   He mentioned that I probably couldn't have children, in fact most likely could never carry a child to term as I was a deformed freak who should be relegated to a circus act. 
Okay he didn't say that, but it's about how it felt.  I didn't know this doctor, have a relationship with him at all and here he was telling me that the reproductive future I had never even considered didn't exist.
I never wanted children, until they told me I couldn't have any.  And then my heart exploded in ache and loss......and devastation at what would never be.
I lay in bed for the next four years looking at the back of my husbands head many nights, looking at the dark curls wound tightly in his hair (if his hair gets any length on it, it's terribly curly), and I would have tears running down my cheeks over those curls.  All I wanted was a little boy with those curls.  I wanted to wrap them around my fingers, to bury my face in the scent of them.  I wanted to feel them against my cheek and brush them after a bath.  I wanted those curls to come to life and bring forward 23 chromosomes that were him and 23 chromosomes that are me and ensure that what we are continued in the world.  And I would pray, please, please please, could there be a miracle?  Could I please just have one baby?  Just one.  If I had just one, I knew he would be extraordinary. 
If you knew me then, you are probably surprised to hear me say that.  Because I would've told you, to your face, that no way did I want kids.  The husband I like to travel, we like to go on a moments notice and we don't have any great need to reproduce the world is overpopulated etc etc etc.  But in truth, in my heart, I was the girl lying in bed with tears running down her cheeks, unable to speak her deepest wish, because it wasn't ever going to come true.  Speaking it would just open the wound - so I kept silent and pretended not to have this hurt.
So now due to no technology or medicine, due to luck or God or whatever you want to attribute it to, I have three little boys.  And I love their curls.  Their hair lays in big, long ringlets that smell like love, and feel like an angels hair.   I will cut their hair.  Yes the oldest is in dire need of a cut, now that the first haircut has completely grown out.  But what you probably don't know is that when I look at those curls, those blonde and brunette ringlets framing three little faces with big blue eyes, what I am looking at is a prayer answered.  Pain absolved,  Emptiness filled.  Joy, brought to life.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The One Where I Talk About POOP

Everyone has different rituals regarding unloading a deuce.  I knew it was love when I had a boyfriend that I could actually CONVERSE with about these rituals.  We discovered that we were both READERS, and when circumstances required it, we were readers of shampoo, conditioner and other body cleansing bottles found in the bathrooms of our friends.    I found that I only needed methylisopropylzolinone to get my work finished, but he required more words, sometimes all of the ingredients to accomplish his tasks.  And despite the fact that we haven't been together in years, if I do happen to say hello online I never fail to inquire if he's still a bathroom soap bottle reader.
He is.
My husband is, luckily enough, also a reader.  I don't know what I would've done if I married someone with some different sort of ritual.  I would probably have been embarrassed about my own ritual, maybe he would've been embarrassed about his and we couldn't have shared this intimate if not weird part of our lives.  He reads magazine articles or newspaper articles.  Lately, since I'm usually in my own home, I like to read HOLLIS GILLESPIE as her stuff is short - but still longer than I need.  If I'm not at home I admit I've become a "toilet cell-phone video game" player.   I can knock out the entire trial version of BEJEWELED in the time needed to complete my, ahem, task. 
I've wondered recently where do the toilet rituals come from?  My mom certainly never sat me down with a book to entertain me. 
Is it nature or nurture? 
My question was answered last night.
The 4 year old requested a catalog to look at while on the toilet "to help the poop come out."
Yeah, it's nature.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

WWC - Conform and Rebel

I rarely if EVER participate in the WWC but man I love to go check it out. I'm alway interested in how everyone says the words.
I knew exactly what photos I would post when I saw the words.
This weeks first word is CONFORM.......
This is a shot of the twins on their first morning waking up in their toddler beds. I had expected them to be on the floor when I went to get them, honestly.

The other word for this week is REBEL........
MY children refuse to sit still for the group picture at the Halloween party. The party I was the hostess for......nice!

Part Two - I am a BAD PARENT

I've quit paying attention to milestones. When they're in their first year we all keep track like crazy. Can they hold up their head? Can they smile? Do their eyes track moving objects? Can they hold a spoon?
Sometime after 18 months I swear I just stop paying attention. Maybe that isn't it. Maybe I just take all of the next stuff for granted - as in "Well they got all the early stuff I'm sure they'll get the rest." And then they blow me away.
Baby Birth of Cool sings songs I never taught him (seriously where is he learning them?). Baby Birdman colors with great intent choosing colors while coloring, not just using the one crayon he is first offered. And Little Satchmo brings me his piggy bank and offers me the money in it after I tell him he can't have something because mommy doesn't any money. "I should give this back if we don't have any money," he said.
So I'm celebrating a milestone today. A milestone that tore at my heart but was the right thing to do. We've moved the twins in with their big brother creating a "kids" room. Previously they still slept in baby beds in our room. I wouldn't go so far as to say that we're "attachment" parents but I will admit to having a thing about being able to hear my kids breathe. Consequently, I haven't had a decent nights sleep in 4 1/2 years.

Little Satchmo already had a rockin firetruck bed purchased by Grandma, so we picked up two toddler beds at Toys R Us. After having read about a BILLION threads on my twins mom forum regarding moving twins from baby beds to toddler beds I knew that it was going to be one HELL of an adjustment. So I tried to learn from everyone elses mistakes. We cleared out everything (ALL TOYS PEOPLE) except the beds and the dresser and put a gate up at the door. We were completely prepared for them to run like mad and act crazy all night, ending up sleeping on the floor.
I have to say, we were delightfully surprised. Everyone slept all night in their own beds without incident.

And that, my friends, is a milestone.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You Are a Bad Parent

I don't mean YOU specifically.
Or do I?
Possibly not, especially if I love you and care about you and know you more intimately than the passing BAD PARENTS I run into.  I know, just like you know, that the spurts of insane child behavior are not reflective or my or your parenting.  I know that this isn't how things go normally.
But sometimes, just sometimes, when I'm watching on other peoples parenting........I'm just stunned.  Occasionally horrified.
I am never, EVER stunned in the "wow they're too hard on their kids" way.
I am consistently shocked at the "Wow....they've completely lost the whip hand with that one" way.   And I think the phrase "the whip hand" should come BACK into heavy usage.  I think I'm going to bring it back.
Let's reflect on some recent parenting I've seen.
Here is a child with their parent in a setting where the parent is trying to speak to other adults.  Now, my 4 year old goes out of his way to be a booger when I'm on the phone - so I get the whole "I WANT ATTENTION" behavior.  I do.  This child is hitting and kicking their parent.  HARD.   Hitting and hitting and hitting.
Let's forget that this is some seriously violent behavior for the under 5 set......let's focus on the parental reaction.
The parent pulls out my least favorite parenting phrase of the new millennia.
"I want you to think about your choices.  You need to make good choices."
I think that I am going to slap the next parent I hear say those words.  
Or perhaps I'll say this.
"Excuse me, I'd like you to think about YOUR parenting choices.  You see, you've chosen to allow aggressive/violent/disrespectful/unkind/generally bratty behavior to go unchecked.  You're ignoring a tantrum, which I understand, but you're also not addressing your child as a human.  You're not addressing what is driving this behavior and either curbing it with discipline or redirection, and you're not teaching positive social skills to your child.   You're not parenting because you are embarrassed by your child's unbelievable bad behavior.  Please understand,  those of us with children realize that they do crazy, unpredictable things, and that sometimes you have to step in and BE THEIR PARENT.  STOP THE MADNESS.   I'm tired of hearing your child scream like a lunatic, without you at least trying to stop the behavior.  It isn't normal and it isn't cute.    I take all three of my kids out to eat and out in public all the time.  Sometimes they are bad.  Mostly they are good.  WHY?  Because there are repercussions.  As a parent, you have to set the boundaries of expectation for social interaction.  And there have to be repercussions for violations of those expected behaviors.  Out in the world, as adults, the repercussion for bad behavior can be losing a job, getting beat up, arrested, losing friends etc.  We set our expectations for how we may behave toward others in childhood.
Think about your choices.  You need to make good choices. 
Even when they are hard. 

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dan Zane said WHAT?

Ummm I was just watching "DAN ZANE'S HOUSE PARTY" and I like the little show.
It's cute.
And then I paid attention.......and the guy comes in and says "I'm sorry I'm late, it took me a while to get all these pants."
Dan Zanes says "What pants?"
and the guys says "The pants, you said you were having a pants party."

Ummm, did Dan Zanes invite this guy to a party in his pants?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An Open Letter to the Vandals In My Neighborhood

I realize that Sarah is doing an open letter but this one is unrelated to what she is participating in. I apologize if this seems like a rip off, but I've been composing this bit of a rant since 5 am.

Since my husband heard "Hey let's smash some pumpkins." outside our window and went dashing outside, but was too late. So here goes.

Dear Vandals,
I realize that smashing pumpkins is a fine activity honored by the toothless inbred soceity you descend from. But I would like to take a moment to speak on the subject, regardless. (Note to vandals, the word is regardless, not irregardless which is not a word).
I have this little boy who is four. I find him to be extremely sweet. He would share his drink (even if it is a special drink like chocolate milk or coke), his treats, his food with you so that you could taste something good. He would like to share things with you that he thinks are funny, so that you could laugh too. He picked out this pumpkin after much running up and down the rows of pumpkins and conferencing with his dad about which one is the best one for him.
He painted it with joy. He painted giant blue eyes and silly pink ears and declared "It's me!" and laughed. He looked at my pumpkin and said "Oh good job Mommy your pumpkin looks great!" Like I said - he's sweet.
He nearly jumped up and down when we set the pumpkins outside to decorate the front of our house. He was full of one word - joy.
He doesn't know bad people exist. He doesn't know stupid people exist who don't care about a little boys joy or his tears.
And he isn't going to find out today.
Luckily the maintenance team here does a clean sweep every Nov 1 and takes away all the pumpkins, so he won't find out.
And I'm not going to wish you ill. Because you're the sort of jerk off that an ill wind will find all on it's own. You'll say something stupid in a bar and get your ass kicked by someone much bigger and legitimately meaner than you. You're a small weak person who took pleasure in wrecking someone elses happiness. There were three pumpkins on our porch. But you took my little boy's.
You picked up JOY, and you smashed it on the ground as though it was nothing.

Shame on you.