Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Those days

Last week, my five and a half year old Bug, being the honest child he is, told me I'm fat.
I didn't say he was the brightest bulb in the pack, just honest.
After I picked myself up off the floor and dusted off my hurt feelings, I realized I don't look like I did as a newlywed more than a century ago.
Okay, only fifteen years, but it feels like more than a century. In dog years. So like, 700 years.
Most days, I know I'm a little fluffier than I used to be. I wish I was that skinny chick I was before four pregnancies and life jumped smack on my ass.
But I'm okay with myself.
Sort of.
I walk miles at lunch, try to eat healthy (Oreo Double Stuff Cakesters are healthy, right?) and do some of the right things.
The Man still pants after me. Or maybe that's his bad heart that making him pant . . .hmmm.
I can still run, sort of, if you don't count my thighs slapping together and the ground screaming for mercy with each footfall.
I still have perky boobs. . . with the right push up bra. (Hey, you try having three sharks attached to your nipple for a year and see how perky your knockers are!)
I have a nice road map for my life to study . . .on my stomach.
But I'm not fat. I am well cushioned, have a good center of gravity, and am nice to snuggle up with on a cold winters night.
There's a skinny chick in me dying to get out.
She's suffocating.

Friday, April 16, 2010


As a mama, I know how to lay on the guilt.
I am an expert at guilting my kids into submission. And I won't even tell you how easy The Man is guilted.
And, sadly enough, I am also very familiar with another form of mama guilt.
Let me clarify.
You start out your career as a mother staring at a peed on stick and waiting for two lines or a plus or a sign from the gods that your man did his job right and got you knocked up.
From the moment you know, you eat healthy, pop vitamins the size of horse suppositories, and kick on the classical music. You read all the books, take all the classes, and make plans for the perfect birth, the perfect child, the perfect life.
And then your baby is handed to you, and it all goes sideways.
You love your child. You adore your child. You don't understand your child, but you slog through the trenches of poopy diapers, spit up, tantrums, and coos.
And then you face the day when your pediatrician tells you that your darling angel, your mini Einstein, is developmentally delayed.
This isn't the firts time you feel like a failure as a parent, but it is the one that nearly crushes you.
You stare at you child and wonder what went wrong. Not that anything is wrong with your child, but where in the baking process did your little honey bun turn into a blueberry muffin? You love the muffin just the same, but its not quite as easy to digest.
So you go through the testing and the help, and then after a few months, your child begins to catch up and you can return to your normal, white picket fence, Daddy on the lawn mower life.
Until your child starts school. And he's spitting on teachers, hitting other children, screaming, throwing fits, and is labelled "that" kid.
And, with tears in your eyes, you begin to meet with professionals, begin planning, working, adjusting your life and the schools to fit your child's needs.
And the testing shows he is developmentally delayed. Your world slows down a crawl as you curl around your child to protect them from the barbed sting of those words.
The words don't matter to you. They hurt, but that doesn't matter. You will fight tooth and nail (even with a new manicure) for your child to succeed.
The label doesn't matter. This is still the baby you fought to bring into this world healthy and whole.
All you hear is the mama guilt.
"What did I do wrong?"
"How did I make him this way?"
"How could I have screwed up this badly in only 5 years?" (I mean, I know I'm good, but damn! That isn't very long to really mess up a child, is it? I must have set a record there.)
"What if he turns to me one day and realized its all my fault?"
Its hard as a parent not to compare your children. I try, but looking at Heathen 2 and Heathen 3 and knowing they have such an easy time obeying rules, making friends, and socializing. Why is it so much easier for them than it is for their big brother?
You start second guessing yourself. Every decision you made since conception comes into question. Because maybe those Taco Bueno bean burritos warped his little developing mind in utero, or maybe all the meds you had to take to stop from puking up your insides affected him. Or maybe . . . It doesn't matter.
You are smack in the center of a big bowl of mama guilt.
And you are treading water, just trying to stay afloat, knowing that you still have to face your child, knowing apologies won't make any sense because there is nothing wrong with your child.
It's all your fault.
That's where I am. Awash in a sea of guilt, I am mired down by the "what if's". And I love my child with a passion that defies all convention, so, for him, I continue to put one foot in front of the other when all I want to do is cry.
The label doesn't matter.
The work involved doesn't matter.
He is all that matters.
And so I will shove my guilt into a compartment in the back of my mind and, as needed, upgrade from a carry on bag of guilt to a suitcase to a steamer trunk, all the while becoming more and mroe bowed under the weight of the guilt.
And just continue to put one foot in front of the other until I finally succumb to the weight of my failure.
And it still won't matter.
Because that's what mama's do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


There are many ways to discipline a child, raging from time outs to swats to losing privileges.
My new fave?
This last week, two of my sons put three items down the toilet, resulting in much stress and labor on the parts of The Man and I.
As a result, they did chores for two nights straight.
They picked up dog poop, pulled weeds, scrubbed bathrooms (bathtubs and toilets and i didn't even let them use a toilet brush!), and then thy finished it by hauling limbs.
My children were tired and sore.
And they could tell you exactly why they were in a work camp at that moment.
They worked until I was over my mad.
Believe me. It took a while.
So now our new punishment will result in a clean house and a well groomed lawn.
Even if my boys don't learn, our place will look fab-u-lous!

Monday, April 12, 2010


My oldest son learned today that there are consequences for his actions.
He stole something from school yesterday.
And today, he had to tell his teachers and apologize.
He didn't steal much. That wasn't the point. He stole five plastic games pieces.
It was the lesson he learned form it that mattered most to us.
The Man and I remember quite clearly when we've had to swallow our pride and embarrass ourselves to fix a wrong.
I don't think Bug will forget this lesson any time soon.
At least, I hope not.
I hope teh shame The Man saw on our child's face when he confessed will stick with him for life.
I hope the next time he gets the urge to five finger discount, he thinks twice and remembers.
I hope this lesson sticks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Out of the mouths of heathens

Two days ago, our toilet starts acting up. Being the suspicious mother I am, I immediately start eyeballing the two year old.
Today, The Man finally showed his true plumbers crack and snaked the hell out of it, only to discover . . .
A child's toothbrush.
The Man: Who put this in there?
Boo: Not me, but his name starts with 'B'.
The Man: Bug, did you do this? (after the whimpered affirmative) Why?
Bug: Because the trash can was getting too full, Daddy. (At this point, my husband shut up because he was having flashbacks to him telling his parents the same reason when he flushed a tube of toothpaste down the toilet.)
A few minutes later, The Man overhears the following:
Bug (whispering to Boo): How do you think any army man would go down the potty. Would he spin round and round really fast?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The word is full of labels.
Christian. Jew. Witch.
Man. Woman.
Mom. Dad.
We all wear dozens of different labels each day.
My oldest son just gained a new label I never wished him to have.
Developmentally delayed.
The school just called to tell us last week, that per testing, bug is behaviorally delayed.
Okay, so the kid has a few attitude and control issues. So do I. but I'm not sporting s nifty new label.
Surprisingly, I'm not mad about the new label. I'm a bit jazzed. Because it puts a word to what we've been battling for 5 1/2 years.
And that word is going to get Bug the help he needs in school.
That word gives me a phrase to advocate for, a battle to fight, and everyone knows how I love a good fight.
That word gives me a goal to work towards. The day when he will retest and that label will be replaced by . . . nothing.
I normally loathe labels. Aside from mom, and maybe wife (on good days) I don't adhere to any labels about myself.
But this label I will embrace as firmly as I would a lover.
And when it is time, I, and my son, will kick it to the curb.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Holiday goodness

Holidays are the time I just want to eat my kids up with spoons.
This is after I stop gritching about the cost, the effort, the time, and the secrecy involved in pulling off a great holiday for my kids.
Those moments, those infinitesimal instants in time when I see the true joy and wonder on my babies face are worth all the headache it causes me.
It's worth all the conversations about what holidays The Man and I will celebrate since we don't have the same beliefs.
It's worth the cost ties three to make sure my children have that early morning surprise.
I promise myself every holiday that it will be worth it.
This morning, it was.
Bug was first, crawling into our bed and weeping because we forgot to leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny and the Bunny was sure to be hungry.
Fast forward to his discovery of his basket and the yelled declaration, "He did come!" followed by excitement over four new books, two new movies, chocolate, and Curious George socks. (The socks were the biggest hit. My sock has a patterned sock fetish, courtesy of his Aunt Chell)
Next was Boo, woken with permission by Bug, who came running as fast as his little sick feet would carry him to immediately fixate on stickers in his basket to the exclusion of all else. The sound of those feet will be with me until the day I die, a auditory reminder of sweet babies who grow up far too fast, a reminder when my children walk when excited, not run, to me.
Then on to Punk, woken by me (because The Man was late for work and had to see his girl open her stuff) who dove straight for the chocolate and wouldn't let go for anything.
Since then, Bug has read all thirteen new books and my children have Siskell and Ebbert'd the movies they received. They are dressed and patiently waiting the ride over to grandma's house, here this afternoon they will eat as much as illness recovering bellies can hold, hunt eggs until they are worn out, and fall down to watch a movie.
And, while I bemoan it all, because hey, that's what I do, I will secretly tucking away moments to treasure when they are too old for plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies and mornings with their mothers snuggles in bed.