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Friday, October 29, 2010

You Grew in a Nut Mommy.

I wish that I had a camera following me just for one morning.  I would then put it in a parallel frame with my boss and  in accurate time follow our morning events all the way up to the point when I walked into work and heard him say..."your late".

Of course this is all hypothetical because I have no clue what he does in the morning, but let me give you my idea of what might be happening.

5 a.m. While he is sleeping, my alarm is going off and Tony
Horton is waiting for me in the basement to workout so that I
can wear my professional work clothes and not "look like a slob"
5:30 a.m. my workout is derailed when Jack needs grape juice
and is naked because he went potty.
5:45 Boss is still sleeping...
5:45 a.m.  I have lost all motivation and have started to make coffee.
6:00 He is probably taking a beautifully hot shower with dual shower heads while his wife makes him Italian espresso.
6:00 a.m. I have decided that I will not be taking a shower this morning. We are already running behind and my husband will be in the shower for 20 min. which will not give me enough alone time.
6:15 a.m. I have already turned on the light in the boys room to tell them that if they were not up in 10 minutes that they will miss the hoe down. Yes, there is a hoe down at school, and missing it would mean that I would have to keep them home from school, but they didn't notice my empty threat.
6:30 a.m. I pour myself some granola and pour a table spoon of milk in it, to my dismay there is no more milk in the house. As I eat dry granola I try and figure out what I'm going  to feed the boys that does not involve milk.
6:30 a.m. Mr. Boss is probably having stimulating conversation over a feta cheese omelet and reading the New York Times.
6:45 Pop Tarts have been served.
6:50 a.m. Husband changes Oscar and puts him in a ridiculously ugly outfit with stripped pants, turtle socks and a Halloween shirt.
6:51 Our dog ate Jack's Pop Tart
6:52 Parker realizes he didn't do his math homework
6:53 Finegan has dropped his toothbrush on the bathroom floor and immediately put it in his mouth.
7:00 Phone call, the nanny may be sick and may need to go to the doctor....
7:03 The (older) boys are out the door, I pray the school boss arrives this time.
7:05 My boss is throwing his scarf around his neck and leisurely getting in his (clean) car to drive to work.
7:05 I realize that I'm not dressed.
7:10 Baby Einstein is our feature presentation and I have a chance to put clothes on.
7:15 A loud crash. Jack has dumped all of his dvd on the floor. All 400 of them.
7:17 I find that my jeans are not fitting and I hate myself for not working out.
7: something I poor myself a hot cup of coffee.
7:30 Oscar is hungry and I need to give him a bottle.
7:30 My boss is waving to the guard and parking in his designated spot and taking a brisk 2 minute walk into the door.
7:45 I finished feeding Oscar and put him in his car seat to get ready to leave.
7:50 I reprimand Jack for rocking Oscar too violently in his car seat.
7:55 I dump the coffee I poured because it is cold and I pour myself another one. I put a chair in front of the cupboard because our 11 year old lab has regressed into a 1 year old puppy and eats our food.  I grab the keys, throw a coat on Jack and pick up the car seat.
8:00 Oscar explodes. Earlier in the week, he was diagnosed with an ear infection and is on antibiotics, apparently his digestive system just realized this and he has pooped... and I mean POOPED.
8:05 I have removed every article of mismatched clothing from the baby and threw them in the tub to be cleaned later. I put him back in jammies, and hope nobody notices.
8:07 I'm out the door and Jack is carrying a microwave popcorn bag and I don't care.
8:15 Jack is dumbfounded that he can't have popcorn in the car because last time I checked we don't have a microwave in the front seat. He is so mad at me. He tells me I grew in a nut.
This is equivalent to an adult abomination of character. Just the other day his brothers told him that he didn't grow in my tummy and that he grew in a nut and it hurt his feelings, so his main intention with this nut comment were to hurt mine.
8:17 I reach for my coffee and realize its still on the counter.
8:17 My boss is wondering where I am.
8:22 I drop the 2 little ones off with the nanny, hoping she feels better, and peel Jack from my leg. Apparently he has changed his mind about his displeasure with me.
8:30 I'm at a stop light and take a glance at myself in the mirror...I only lined one eye.
8:35 I'm stuck behind a girl dropping her boyfriend off in front of a building and they are giving an extra long kiss good by. I want to scream "get a room" but decide my mini-van screams that all on its own.
8:40 I keep swiping my card to get into the lot at work and it won't beep. I then realize that the gate is already open...( remember I have not had any coffee yet) and what is really bad, I did the same thing yesterday.
8:45 I cough up a big phlegm ball and think that nobody can see me spit it in the grass, and a person I know is standing there witnessing me do this. I hope he doesn't recognize me but he waves.
8:55 I'm still walking to my office. Unlike my boss, I have to park 10-15 min. away.
8:57 I take a tiny detour to Starbucks.
9:05 While waiting for my coffee I start to feel guilty about my testiness with Jack when leaving, and wonder if there was anyway I could have popped the popcorn for him in the car.
9:07 I arrive and my boss says "your late"

I don't even attempt to explain myself. There really isn't a set time I'm even suppose to be in, but I just smile and turn on my working-girl charm.  Kids? What kids?  I had such a crazy night last night, I must  have just slept threw my alarm.  Under my breath I said to him........
"you grew in a nut"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween..a word please.

Halloween has evolved. Especially since I was a kid.  I started planning my costume on November 1 and didn't give it a second thought until a week or two prior to Halloween, which sent my mom into a costume frenzy because she would make them for us.  She gave up this tradition when I insisted on being my dog, who was a mutt, one year and I ended up looking like an ewok. Now costumes are determined by the popular movie that year, or if you are a college girl.
Everyone knows that any girl between the age of 18-27 will use Halloween as an excuse to look as slutty as possible. Hey, I'm just as guilty. From, 1996-1998 I was a catholic school girl. What is ironic, is that I actually was a catholic school girl.  Prior to the age of 18 there is a Halloween dry spell. A too cool for school attitude. In 6th grade its still kind of cool to dress up. In 7th and 8th grade every girl in my class, including me, was a "punk". Or at least our definition of a punk. Pink spiked hair, mismatched neon clothes. Not the punks you would see walking the streets of London but more the kind you would see in a Midwest food court.
Then the high school age when you really want the candy, and want to dress up, but are afraid you will look stupid so you don't. But the boys usually will wear street clothes and a mask and go out anyway.
Once you have kids, all Halloween efforts are dedicated to them. Unless you are in our family where Halloween is a big deal for all of us, well ok, most of us, well except me. I'm just along for the ride.
 Just tonight I took my two older sons to something called Zoo boo. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Kids dress up, go to the zoo and different vendors hand out candy. I thought it would be fun to spook the boys a bit and told them we were going to someplace special to celebrate the Holiday.  I love to mess with them and as their mom I reserve all rights to do so. Of course I had to stop at Starbucks first. I knew I was going to need some liquid pick me up, if I was going to be wondering a round a zoo at dusk.  When we pulled up to the drive thru, I said "Surprise! Isn't this great?" By now they know when I'm kidding, and they still think its kind of funny, but not funny enough to laugh... not even a courtesy laugh. We didn't have any Halloween Cd's in the car and the only one I could find was Grateful Dead, the name is scary, and once I told them the name of the band they agreed it was suitable for Halloween. So as we listened to Sugar Magnolia and were in route to the Zoo Boo.
Once there, we made our way to the back of a line of at least 300 people. As we were walking I discovered an alarming trend. Parents costumes. Its scared me...really. Here is why.
The first one was a father and his son in Orange Jail jumpers ( that looked a little too authentic), the mom was in some kind of blue shirt, I can only imagine she was suppose to be a correction officer.  The next was a mom as Alice and her daughter was the card. That would have been cute, if she would have chosen a less slutty version of Alice. Which begs the question, when did Halloween become about sex? The last thing I want to think of referring to sex are zombies..or vice versa.
I found it interesting that some moms had gone out of their way to dress their daughters up.  I know, I don't have girls, but the way these girls were dressed were almost as if they were auditioning for the next kid beauty pageant show on TLC. Make up that only a salesgirl at the Mac counter should be wearing. I think it is a sad attempt to do just that. The same as if a man continually dresses as a woman for Halloween. He has the desire to dress in drag. Nothing wrong with that at all, but don't use Halloween as your cover.
If you are an adult and choose to dress up, I  think costume choice does say something about your inner-most desires.  This year I'm going as Rachel from Glee, complete with a slushy stained shirt. Don is a vampire from True Blood. I'm not sure I can validate my point with that, and I'm not going to try.
The zoo boo was not something I would do again. I found my self more irritated than anything. The biggest disappointment was that the majority of the zoo residents were not there. No tigers, lions or monkeys, but we did get to see a wild turkey, a buffalo and a llama. Although, the boys did have fun. They are my little actors in full character. Fin, as a skeleton ( a baggy one, but he insisted) would sneak up behind kids and tap them on the shoulder to scare them by just standing there, no boo, just a stare. Parker, (a star wars character, Jengo something,) and in a costume to small, ( but he insisted) lurked around as if he was on a mission. A mission for candy, all I had to do is go up to the vendors and listen long enough to get candy for them... I took one for the team, as a mom I have accepted that is one thing I must just do . But if anyone would like a free tanning package at the local tanning salon, let me know...now that IS scary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What is the truth anyway?

I ran into a girl who went to my grade school when I was in Starbucks today. I was alone and decided to forgo the drive-thru and actually make personal contact with the baristas whose voices I know so well.
As I walked up to the counter I realized I had cut a girl who was on her blackberry.  As I turned to apologize, I realized that I knew her. The last time we had seen each other was at a party. Both of us knew we were pregnant, but neither one of us had told anyone yet, I should have known when she passed on the wine being poured around also.  She ended up having a girl and I had a boy. I asked how her daughter was doing. She said that she is doing great and sleeping through the night, in their bed.. I mentioned that Oscar still gets up at night at least once, hence the need for espresso, and that is when the mommy truth gets a little awkward. I said, well, we don't allow our boys to sleep with us.  I know there are some firm co-sleeping believing people out there, but I'm not one of them. First of all, I cannot sleep when there is a baby next to me... I wish I could, but I can't, I'm afraid that I will roll over on them, that somehow they will scoot to the end of the bed with out me knowing and fall off and land on their head. Or they will wrap themselves in a sheet noose and strangle hang themselves and if that doesn't happen, maybe they will be elbowed in the temple by my husband which would cause instant death. I'm sure there are at least a dozen arguments supporting each side.  I didn't explain all of that (obviously) but she then asked if I get up and nurse him when he wakes up... Now I wasn't on the debate club in high school, but I'm guessing that was her way of throwing a little opposition attack my way.  I'm not nursing anymore. I stopped when he was 4 months old.  Call me selfish, but I wanted my body back.  It was then that there was the mommy- superior look in her eye. Getting into her car, I can only imagine that she had sympathy for my baby who was being deprived of my boob.  I know she was thinking this because I had sympathy for her baby who might get rolled over in the middle of the night in her parents bed.
So who is right?  I consider myself a relatively smart woman if not smart I'm certainly... healthy, and I wasn't breast-fed. In fact I was just the opposite. Formula 33 years ago didn't have DHA, I bet it was just dried milk with a formula label. And after that, my mom gave me Tang. Yes, Tang. the orange-juice like beverage that astronauts drank in space.  And I turned out fine. I know for a fact that my mom didn't "wear me", and last time I checked I don't have separation issues...except when Don leaves me, just kidding.
So who or what resource can I believe? I have come to have a love/hate relationship with marketing companies.
I'm the first to want to try a new product that comes out, if it promises to give me

a. perfect skin
b. a perfect body
c. a perfect life.

So that kind of narrows it down to about every single thing that my target demographic sees. It was recently pointed out to me that October, being breast cancer awareness month, was created by a marketing genius! Now everything that has a pink ribbon on it, can be viewed as helping to find a cure, but how is a can of soda or candy or chips with a pink ribbon helping anyone? Sure a portion of the proceeds goes to research, but what portion? And the rest of the item you just bought could go to the cause of obesity, or other health complications.
Maybe I'm a little bitter about the cancer thing. I have been in meetings when cancer survivors stand up and boast that they are cancer free. That is boast-worthy don't get me wrong...early detection is to thank for that, not necessarily will to live.   My grandmother had a will to live stronger than most, and she is NOT here to talk about how she "beat" cancer, because cancer beat her.
So who can we trust when it comes to doing the right thing.  I nursed all four of my boys for the first 3 months of their lives...my boys are not sick often, they are bright and they are developing normally.  But even 6 months ago when I had Oscar I felt the pressure to nurse him exclusively or he was going to be dumb and sick.  Perhaps its just a white lie on the industries part.  We all lie right? I bet nobody knows my real height. Yesterday I was 5'9 and today I'm 5'5 1/2. A week ago I was blond, today I'm brunette.

Even the smartest people can be subject to marketing fraud.  Just look at the billion dollar diet industry.  It still baffles me that people still believe that  they can lose weight permanently by drinking a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and a sensible dinner, you would think after the 3rd time trying they would get it. But can you blame them? You don't need to, they already blame themselves because that is what the diet industry wants, repeat customers.
Enough of my ranting... I think I need another Starbucks, afterall, it is the best coffee out there, and that is why I need it, even if it is $4 a cup and the March 2007 Consumer report found that McDonald's coffee has the best and even cheaper coffee.....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tailgating, the Irish way.

Since moving close to Notre Dame it has been an annual Fall event to walk to campus and tailgate. It is quite a big deal around here, people get their coolers and tents set up at least 8 hours before the game even starts and continue to tailgate well into the evening even after the football team has played and is gone and probably at home in their pj's.
We moved here in 2001, that makes one year of tailgating baby- free...and I get pretty nostalgic about it.  If I remember correctly it was a smorgasbord of alcohol, bad food that you LOVE and friendship. The following year I was pregnant and while the food really hit the spot,  my husbands drinking did not settle well, at least not with me. The following year we had our first son, I carried him in a bjorn and dodged drunk peoples attempts to touch him. It almost sent me into a new mommy panic attack, but I made it. The very next football season we had doubled. Now we had a bjorn and a stroller.
I noticed the fun of wondering around the festival of beer, burgers, cookies and hummus became a bit less enjoyable and I found myself saying things (referring to college students) like " these kids need to be careful, there are children here" or " I wonder what her mother would think if she saw her doing that keg stand"  The following year we did not have an additional child and we even got a babysitter so we could relive the good ol' tailgating days.  This resulted in my husband enjoying himself a little too much and me pouring a cup of ice cold water on his head...long story which you can imagine, did not have a happy ending.
The next year I was pregnant (again) and I was so overwhelmed with the debauchery of people having fun,  that I cried and waddled home. So when I told my husband I would like to go tailgating again this year, he looked at me with a bit of (understandable) concern.  To our credit, we are a bit more realistic and know we cannot spend 2 hours in a parking lot no matter how much we (he) would like to.   We had a specific place to go with people I trust and are friends with or as I like to think, a child support staff.
I had Oscar in the bjorn and the mile walk felt a bit like a 10k with a 21 lb. baby attached to me.  The middle 2 were in the wagon and the oldest was happily trotting along side. What I noticed is that people seemed to stare at us.  Maybe it was the fact that we had so many boys, or maybe it was that they all look like slightly modified variations of each other and Don.
*A note about tailgating, or football in general. Something primal inside me happens and I crave anything with salt and fat. Nachos, cheese, potato chips, etc.
Also, with children you can't have a long conversation with anyone because your eyes and mind are watching to see which one of your kids might try and escape your eye shot.
We finally arrive and the boys were impressed with the spread. They each got a plate and filled it with thier choice of food, Jacks plate had less of a variety as it was just filled with candy corn. Finegan decided to diversify, but sticking to one color palet of brown, brownies, cookies and coke. Parker went out on a limb and added a carrot to his plate, but I believe it was just for show because he never ate it.
It felt like we had finally gotten a handle on it. The boys were playing football with their daddy, the weather was perfect and for a moment it felt like the Gipper himself was guiding us from the heavens to have a perfect family tailgate. That lasted , in its entirety about 10 min. It was then that Fin started dodging bees, Jack started sneaking around like the pink panther and Parker threw a football that hit me right in the head.
I gave Don the nod and we both knew that our time in the perfect zone had come to an end.  As we were packing up to leave, ( the boys needed food to go in case they got hungry on the 10 min. walk home) a college girl approached me.  I will assume she was slightly intoxicated, but she asked me if all these boys were mine..Yes I said, wondering which one asked her for something, they have a habit of asking strangers for candy, they figured if they beat a stranger to the candy question, than they can accept the candy if provided.  She then said, Wow, how? Did she want the technical answer or the non- technical,. What? I said, " well you are so young, how did you have them so fast? It was now indeed crystal clear she was intoxicated, but I told her I was, in fact, 33 years old.  I think I even said it with that much cheese. 
She then told me that she though I was only 25. I would have kissed her right there, but given the fact that
1. she was drunk and
2. I had a hat and sunglasses on that made 3/4 of my face un- visable
I can understand why she thought that.  Because my husband was actually attending the football game, I drew the lucky straw to take all of them home.  There is not a workout in the world that could prepare one for pulling 70 pounds in a wagon while 20 + pounds are attached to the front of you.  Parker assumed the patriarchal role and made sure to clear out any beer cans/bottles that got in our way on our sidewalk lined way home, except when we were encountered by any dog, but especially one in clothing, in which all things stop and he has to pet them.
Overall it gave us the boost we needed to attempt this again next year...but for now we will bask in our parental glory

Monday, October 11, 2010

A list of waiting room Mommies

Today I had the pleasure of taking 3 hours off of work and taking Oscar and his sidekick Jack to his six month checkup.  In the 7 years that I have been a mother I can estimate, based on the first year having at least 6 appointments plus yearly check ups and various illnesses, or things being shoved up noses, that I have been to this office at least 40 times and that does not include nurses visits.  That is more than I have been to my doctor in my life! I will never understand mothers with Munchhausen syndrome, I can think of quite a few other places I would rather be and with different company.
Because of this I have become quite familiar with the staff and the clientele. 
So I came prepared with a stash of candy and some books at home to avoid any tantrums and tiny ugly waiting room book germs.
Inevitably Jack walks to the side of the room that has, who I will call, the horse mommy sitting on it.
I call her this because her 3 yr old daughter is riding a wooden horse and this mom is speaking loudly   (to her daughter) but we all know she is speaking to be heard. She is sharing her vast knowledge of horses.  "Well your small now, but someday you can ride OUR horse, she is 8 feet tall) her daughter is not listening, but I can't help but have to. " You can ride bareback just like mommy someday"...of course you can ride bareback...
Anyway I tried to avoid all eye contact until her daughter came over and started playing with Oscar's toy. It was  hanging from his car carrier and she was swinging it to where it was going to hit his face.  That is when I find it awkward. I looked at her and said, "please don't do that, he's a baby and this is a baby toy, your not a baby right?"  This is when horse mommy galloped up.  Her hair was actually in a pony tail with several ponytail holders on it. I don't know what the proper term for this is other than, horse-like and a blast from 1984.
She didn't correct her daughter but decided to tell me about some vizio toy things.  It was then that I saw with my peripheral vision that Jack was asking a toddler girl a question and because she couldn't speak, his voice was getting louder and louder.  I needed to happily intervene to get away from horse-lady, but she KEPT talking.
Thankfully by the time I rescued the toddler girl from Jack's interrogation, " IS that your MOMMY? Is that your MOMMY?"
she and her daughter had been escorted to the back.
I then had a moment to observe the types of mommies there.
To my left, I had the  
border-line abusive mommy- She was telling her son that she was going to "smack his butt" if he didn't "git" over here.
I had the paranoid mommy- who had brought a gallon of hand sanitizer with her. She also happened to be the same mommy who Jack was speaking to her daughter, which I'm sure made her very uncomfortable.  She had a blanket and a bag of toys and pre-packaged snacks, which (Jack asked to have) just for her kid.
The image-mommy, who has her daughter decked out in the latest and greatest even a tutu, and she is also wearing a very expensive looking pair of jeans with stilettos and I want to ask her if her nanny is in that huge purse of hers. Because there is no way she had time to look like that, let alone walk in those with a 2 year old.
The image-mommy NOT this woman has a t-shirt on and her child is wearing half pajamas and half clothes, no shoes and sporting serious bed head, along with her mom.
Techno- mommy- I guess I could kind of fall into this category because I do text, check facebook and my work email while in the waiting room, but NOT to the point where my kids runs off into the street and I have no idea he even left.
The NON-MOMMY mommy- this is the women who is in denial of being a mom and is clearly dressed like she doesn't have kids ( tight sweatpants that read PINK on the butt) and her kids are glued to ninteno dsi's and she is on her phone.
The Grand Standing mommy- this is what category I would consider horse mom, because she is openly and loudly talking to her daughter like she is deaf only so others can hear her.
The Lone wolf- this is the poor dad who doesn't know how or why he got there, but just wants to leave.

I stand in waiting rooms. It may sound strange but I have to guard the exit or my son my try an escape.  I let him play with the toys. He doesn't put them in his mouth or anything.  Most of the kids that are there are not sick, they are there for shots or check ups.  Or because of the recent Similac scare they are getting their child x-rayed for insect parts. The truth is, my sons probably get their fare share of insect parts ingestion when they are outside, one bug leg never killed anyone.  I don't agree that formula should be tainted with bug parts, but the people that are freaking out are the same ones that will drive their kids through Chick-fil-A or any other fast food place with teenagers doing who-knows-what to their kids french fries.

After an hour and a half, 4 shots, 1 nasal mist and one oral dose of vaccines we are out the door, I'm back to work.  I work in the small tiny percentage of the population that does not, will not or care to have kids. They can't imagine the horror I just witnessed, and besides the band-aids and safety-pop souvenirs it is selectively forgotten it as well.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Having a ball

Today started off like any other day. I woke up successfully and worked out. Everyone got out of the house on time, the boys shirts were unstained.  Work was going pretty well and as I was working away I had the realization that my husband was going to be gone this weekend. I have known this for at least 2 months. He went to a Scottish Highland Game event. I cannot even think about mentioning that I don't want him to go because I'm going to be going to a different continent for the first half of December.
So this morning he made me coffee, told me I was so beautiful and he couldn't imagine being away from me and the boys for even 24 hours....
Not so much.
He clearly did not catch my drift. If he did, he choose not to set sail on it.
After 3 of my 4 son's were born I had diagnosed postpartum anxiety/depression,  after the first one I didn't even tell my doctor how I was feeling, so it went undiagnosed.....Mind you, I'm only 6 months out of having a baby. I was on medication for this for about 3 months but I felt like I could handle it on my own, so far so good, I think..  But when I realized that I was  going to be alone...with four children my inadequacies start knocking at the door and I had no choice but to let them in.
Because of this my entire day was thrown off. My daily interactions with everyone are just.. off.
One thought, correction, one FEAR has set me on a fear roller coaster.

Usually I'm excited when the work day is over and for me to be greeted by my mini-fan club at home,but today was different.  When I finally did get home. I had already suited up in my issue armor as I walked in the door.
My husband left before dinner and as hard as I tried not to, I gave him a look that could kill and once again and being married for 9 years, I know he noticed it, but just made a choice to pretend he didn't.
The last thing I felt like doing was making dinner, besides, we didn't have anything to make.
My 3 year old sensed my discomfort, as only a kid can do. I was sitting on the floor having a stimulating conversation with the baby and he brought me a rubber ball. Jack sat on the other side of our living room floor and we started rolling it back and forth to each other. Back and forth, back and forth, after about 3 minutes of this I was about to suggest that he check to see if his toys were "ok"  in his room, when I felt an overwhelming sense of calmness.  I just started focusing on the methodical simplicity of interacting with my son with a...ball of all things.  My nerves began to dissipate.
Even when I write the word nerves, I find myself slightly embarrassed.
How can I be nervous being around my own kids?
I fed the baby. As I sat there spooning carrots in his mouth, on the verge of tears I thought, I need to get out of here. I called down to the 2 older ones and said, lets go to dinner!
If it involves food, or going somewhere, they are on it. They emerged from their play cave in less than a minute.
As contradictory as the statistics prove, I actually feel safer in the car than not. All my boys are accounted for, strapped in, and quiet.  I pull into Taco Bell. This causes a minor happiness riot.
This is a bi-annual event.  Taco bell is just not something that happens everyday. As I gathered the food, which, on a side note, is NOT as cheap as I remember, I pulled into a parking space and we had a car picnic.  My oldest asked me to turn the music off so we could talk.  As we sat, eating our burritos, watching cars pass, Jack explained where every one of them was going, "he's going to work" "he's going home" he's going to work" he's going home" repeat. repeat. repeat.
My oldest son asked, Mommy, can I work at your work after college? Sure I said.
Fin then interrupted,
"what time is lunch break for college kids? Do they get snack?  Parker got angry, " Fin, stop interrupting!"
If we work together can we have lunch together everyday? We could walk to Chipotle!
I told him that I would really like that as I fought back tears and here is why.
1.that he noticed that I wasn't feeling so happy.

2. that I know he doesn't like Chipotle and that he knows  I do.
After that, I realized that maybe I have done a decent job raising my boys.  I had the crazy idea to take them to Target.  I wish I could say that they all behaved perfectly
but then I would be lying.
But it was in that small moment, which I'm confident they won't remember, that gave me the little boost I needed to know that I can do this, even if it is for only 36 hours.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Australian Interview

I received a phone call from a very nice bloke in Australia named Bruno who is a producer for this radio station. He asked me if I would talk to the morning show...live. So at 4:20 pm he called me yesterday and we had a nice chat. Just ignore the population question... I was caught off guard :)
My first impression of Australia is great, such nice people!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Well, your Uncle Arthur was gay...

My parents have lived in the same house for 37 years and decided to clean out the closets, I guess their hopes of me moving back home have ceased.  This means bins and BINS of 1970 and 80's baby paraphernalia delivered to my siblings and my front door. Items, which I don't remember at all, which lead me to the conclusion that I will NOT be saving the boys first onsie/tooth/pajamas for them.  As my 74 year old Dad lugged this heavy box in, under the strict direction from my mom, I thought "Sure, my house is half your size, and has 3x as many people living in it, but I would be happy to take this bin from you."
But because my siblings children are older than mine, I received Nathan's baby stuff too, Jack may be sporting a polyester leisure suit in the very near future.
As I sifted through the stuff I found a red sequenced vest that my brother had worn in his portrayal of Bobby Riggs..who was/is a famous tennis player?. My mom had enrolled him in dance lessons as a kid with my sister.  He had worn this in his recital debut.  It was Jack's size, so I found myself recreating Nathan's glory and dressing Jack in the vest, with a tennis racket and sending it to my brother.. I quickly received a text. It read, "well, your Uncle Arthur was gay."
LOL. Really, I don't use that acronym, but I really did laugh out loud.
An explanation is necessary.  A few posts back I said that Nathan gets paid to take his shirt off, in all honesty that is only a fraction of what he does.  Nathan is a talented world known baritone singer, who has not only worked hard for the beautiful voice he has, but also for the body it comes from. Enough work to earn himself a Grammy, but whenever he is in an Opera, chances are the director will have him sing without his shirt...and sometimes without his pants (eek)
Nathan started singing, in public, at the age of 13 and I was 6.  I can't recall a time when he was NOT singing.
It was when he decided to pursue voice in college that my mom decided to tell her father.  So on a foggy morning at a Big Boy over waffles, my mom told her father that his grandson was going to major in voice in college. It was then that he uttered his infamous reply,
"Well, your uncle Arthur was gay....(beat) and I loved him....( beat) so I guess I can love him too."
I applaud my grandfathers openness, because "accepting" isn't a word I would have used to describe him. Perhaps it was the fact that my mom was a dancer and the majority of men she worked with were gay. Who knows, but to my grandpa anything artsy = gay.
Let me avoid any misconception here. Nathan Gunn is not gay. I'm his sister and I couldn't care less about his sexuality, but because I love my nieces and nephews and sister-in-law I'm compelled to say it, but I'm also compelled to say that if he was I wouldn't love him any less.
This statement however adds another layer of depth to the onion which was my grandpa. He loved his brother, who was gay. 
This is the same man who........
Didn't wear a seat belt.
Ran over my dog. ( she lived)
Put me in the middle front seat of his Cadillac and would drive fast over railroad tracks so I would hit my head on the ceiling.
Threw a baseball at Nathan when he was 3 which hit his square in the eye and sent him to the ER and his response was "He should have caught it"
Would drive to Las Vegas with my Grandma, only stopping for gas.. and I mean this, they had a porta-potty in their car.
Threw a Family size bible at my dad on Thanksgiving.
Put money in his shoe.
While cleaning out a shotgun in the bathroom, accidentally fired it, a bullet went through the wall, into the kitchen, through the microwave and missed my grandmother by a hair.
Ate pie by the, well, pie.
In his older years, claimed to be Jewish.
Worked off his bootlegging father's debt.
 Didn't drink (see above)
 He Loved scratch off tickets
His Mother burned to death by accidentally catching her dress on fire in a gas stove.
Stopped his watch when my grandmother died, and never re-set it.
Had a heart to heart with Nathan and told him to practice safe sex and wear "condo's".
He mowed his huge lawn with two push lawn mowers...at the same time.
Loved his family more than life.
When he was buried, we put two things in his pocket, a lottery ticket, and the picture of Nathan that he  carried around and showed anyone who would look at it.
He died in 2000, my husband didn't even get to meet him.   As he got older he was starting to be a little less, for lack of better words, less of a racist, sexist and maybe a bit more open minded,  or maybe it was his dementia.  I'm glad he didn't have to witness 9/11 and I shutter to think of how he would have reacted to a black president.
So maybe the bin of things wasn't just old junk after all.  Maybe its the conversation ( or at least a LOL) that goes along with the stuff all that more important.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Confessions of a former bully.

I have a bit of a secret... I tried to make a go as a bully.  Preschool- Second grade I was an angel and then something happened.  In 2nd grade my good friend Kristen turned on me.  She was hot, then cold. Without warning she would decide not to eat her lunch with me one day, and be my best friend the next.  On the bad days I would go into the bathroom and cry. My mom let me wear a tiger eye ring she had buried in her jewelry box, she said, when I was sad, to look at it and know that she was with me, and surprisingly it worked.  By the time I was in 3rd grade I was callused by the harsh reality of elementary school. I decided to be a mean girl. There was a little boy named Adam. Unfortunately for him, his lunch had a tuna fish sandwich in it,  and because of that  I would declare that he smelled. I rallied and got everyone else to say that Adam stunk. For a moment on the playground I was queen bee.  Adam stood alone.  It wasn't until my mom packed me (gasp) tuna fish sandwich one day that the tables quickly turned.  My bullying days were over..for now.
For 4th -8th grades I wasn't the bully but there was a girl in our class that held that title very well.  All the little girls followed her around, except me. I got labeled as "weird" except on the soccer field when everyone wanted to be on my team. I was ok with that until one particular bad 12 year old day when I was getting into my locker. I overheard the group of girls openly talking about me and making fun of my dad, because he was not a doctor. Not only did it hurt, but it was nothing that I could change.  I went home and locked myself in my room.  I was low. I thought that my entire life was over.  I could NOT see past that moment. I wanted to die. Yes it sounds asinine. If my 33 year old self could go back to myself and say the next 21 years are going to be amazing,  don't define yourself by this one moment that in retrospect will mean nothing.  But I couldn't. In walked my dad. I told him I was in a very dark place. He knelt down next to my bed.  He was probably the last person I wanted to see, it was his career choice, after all, that the girls were making fun of me for.   He told me that I was smart and funny, and the world would be a much sadder place if I wasn't in it.  My dad didn't care what those girls said, he was very successful business man who not only provided for the family, but enjoyed what he did.
I like to think of a bully as a fire in a fireplace.  It might burn for awhile, but it needs to be fed paper, oxygen or logs to keep it going, with out an audience a bully can't burn anyone, at least that is the way it was.  Lets jump to the present day, specifically the recent suicides of teenage boys who were bullied so bad that they could not see past it.  The present day bully fire, doesn't need to be fed by people in person. It can be fed by cowards who also feel horrible about themselves and the only way they can make themselves feel better is by witnessing others misfortune...anonymously.

The truth is, I liked tuna fish, but I didn't want anyone to think I smelled.  Perhapes the bullies in this case also were uncomfortable with feelings they had, and needed to expose someone else, before they came out themselves.
Last year, my oldest son was the victim of a bully.  Parker was at a book fair and mentioned that he liked Goosebumps books.  Another little boy, told him that not only was that Goosbump book stupid, but that Parker was too and ANYTHING he liked was stupid. His sidekick laughed at my son.
I immediately went into mama-bear-mode. I wanted to punish that little sh*t,
1. for insulting my son and
2. for discouraging Parker from reading because we worked all summer telling him that books were cool.
I had to simmer down.  I realized that my feelings were more hurt than my sons. I tried not to expose my pain, hurt or fear that he would not be liked by his peers.  I explained to Parker that sometimes people say things as a way to express the pain that they feel inside.
A couple weeks passed and the first grade was studying Martin Luther King Jr. and the importance of equality, they also used this opportunity to speak about bullying.  Parker raised his hand. His teacher called on him, even though she didn't ask a question, and he he stood up and explained that (blank) had been picking on him, but he forgives him, because it just means that ( blank)  is sad in his heart.  Nothing like a little humble pie to stuff (blank)'s mouth shut.
Guess what? It worked. He stopped. My son had confidence that his ideas are not worthless and he moved on.
That is the best case scenario, but I'm talking about 6 year olds, but in 12 years could this little boy have been the one cowardly putting a web cam up in his dorm room and violating his privacy?

I wish that one of those young guys would have felt comfortable to just look at someone, anyone and say, I'm in a really dark place right now, maybe it would have given just enough time to shed some light on their darkness.

Teach tolerance. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Manufactured Emotions

I discovered something new about myself the other day. If you were to ask my friends, even family members how many times they have seen me cry in the my adult life, they may tell you one of two possible answers,
a.) never
b.) once.
Its not that I'm trying to be strong and keep my emotions ( especially tears) bottled up inside of me. Its not that at all. But I will tell you that if someone were to come me and say "watch this movie, it will make you cry" or "watch this clip on youtube, but grab some Kleenex because it will make you cry"  I can guarantee that I won't. Why? Because whatever you are referring to, was probably designed to get me to cry, and that canned tear induction drives me crazy. 
I can't tell you a movie that makes me cry.  The first time I watched The Notebook (a notorious tear jerker) was in 2005 with my husband and it was shortly after my second son was born.  I thought it was a nice story, but towards the end I heard sniffling.. as I turned to my husband who was trying his best to hide the fact that tears were flowing faster than a woman on Oprah, I began to wonder if I was a cold hearted snake? I chalked that up to the antidepressants I was taking for my post partum anxiety/depression my emotional range was as flavorful as vanilla pudding. But I have since seen the movie and not shed a single tear. But just last night I went to a piano concert. Its my job to publicize these events, and once in awhile, I like to go to them to see if I did my job well.
I was sitting in my usual box seat looking at my toes and thinking I needed a new pedicure but my attention was quickly directed to the stage.  The virtuoso pianist, John Blacklow was playing Chaconne von J.S Bach and arranged by Brahms.   This is an arrangement for the left hand only. His right hand was placed on his lap.   I don't know what Brahms was thinking about when he composed this, but whatever it was spoke to me on such a deep emotional level. The expressivety he was able to portray through the music was iconic. I found myself sitting in my seat crying.  I don't know if they were happy tears, sad, who knows and who cares it was just happening and I allowed it.
 I'm an emotional enigma.   This proved to be a bit of an "issue" when I was obtaining my theater degree in college.  Other acting students would get to a death scene or a break up scene in the modern script and in quotations it would give a direction (crying) Well that wasn't me.. usually.
I was however doing a dress rehearsal for a black box performance of Romeo and Juliet.  Everything was going well and we were in the last suicide scene. Juliet (me) wakes up to discover her Romeo was actually dead.   When I noticed this I burst out laughing...hysterically.  I was completely in the moment and something struck me as funny. I was certain that the director was going to cut and start over, but it was a dress rehearsal and he didn't. I'm sure my Romeo was about to raise himself from the dead and kill his Juliet but he didn't thank goodness. So the laughing continued for what felt like two minutes and as I inhaled to catch my breath, what happened then surprised everyone... I began to sob.
Too bad it wasn't the actual performance, because it was the most raw display of emotions I had every experienced on stage and not easily duplicated.
Perhaps the emotion to the arts is from my childhood. I was taken (dragged) to many MANY choir practices, and Opera rehearsals.  My mom would give me paper and crayons and would let me sit on the floor somewhere in the auditorium and quietly color.  What I believe is that it taught me to express my emotions on paper based to what my ear was hearing.  I attached music to emotions with colors and feelings. My dad is an artist and are home was filled with all different types of art. Some of which scares me to this day, Its one of Jesus' shroud and its freaky and dead looking, my sister can inherit that one... it fits her personality much better. ;)
I didn't cry initially at my grandmothers funeral, when I did first cry was when I spoke to my grandfather who arrived alone (I had never seen him without his sidekick) and when he looked at me with a blank stare and told me he didn't know how he took his coffee because she would make it for him every morning.
I didn't cry at 3 out of the four births of my sons (possibly due to the obscene amount of drugs I was on) but hey, I'm not complaining. When I recently did cry is when I watched Oscar slowly drift to sleep one evening.
I cried when I watched the youtube of the two guys in bell bottoms reunited with the lion they trained and the lion ran up and hugged them..
I cry when I'm angry, hurt or really frustrated.  I guess sad isn't in my tear repertoire.
Some people thrive on tears and it is those people that cry for any reason at the drop of a hat.
Given the choice between being happy or sad, I will always choose happy.  Between chaos or peace, I choose peace and between drama (Jersey Shore) and non-drama (Bob Ross) I would gladly choose the Joy of Painting.

It may be genetic too. Although my sons shed more tears than Niagara falls on any given week, they also cry at odd moments.  At Oscar's baptism last week a woman at church played some sonata on the piano and my 3 yr old's bottom lip started to quiver. He said it scared him. Good I thought... and I let him feel that way. I didn't start singing Elmo in his ear or take him out of the church.  The music was speaking to him, and he choose to listen.
Once in awhile I think its good to just be. Allow whatever comes up to come up and just cry or not.
With that said, maybe I'll dust off the old DVD player and try to watch  The Notebook one more time just to see if I cry.. or maybe just to save my husbands pride. Because he acknowledges that Hollywood, a few hundred takes and some good actors can get him every time.