about Blogs book exercise mamalougues contact Image Map

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Perfect 10

There used to be a series called Best Week Ever on VH1. Does VH1 even exist anymore?  Well,  it's only Thursday, and I have already declared this to be my oldest son's Worst Week Ever.  Coincidentally, mine too. At least from the perspective of a mother.

Last week Parker came home with sharpie painted nails.  After determining that he didn't do it for the fume high,  but rather the appearance  I explained that it was not a good idea.  Living in a house with all boys, Parker hasn't been exposed to nail polish really. I usually wait until they are in bed to paint mine, or I get manicures, but truthfully my nails are very rarely painted.  I explained that if he really wants to color his nails he has to use polish and I would do it for him. I never could have envisioned saying that to my son...ever.
Here is the deal.  Nail polish on a man in 2013 is the equivalent to an earring on a guy in 1985. It was crazy back then and caused eyebrows to raise and rumors about his sexuality to fly depending on which ear it was in. Which, btw my brother got wrong.  Today if I see a guy with two earrings I don't even notice.  It's a trend that crossed gender boundaries and now is (somewhat) acceptable.
So I painted my son's nails black.  Of course I thought it was a little strange, but I'm strange too.

When I was a kid I liked to push boundaries. I'm pretty sure my parents thought I was a lesbian.  I had a mullet. I didn't like to wear a shirt. When I did wear clothes my outfits were never complete without a jersey and belt. I peed in the woods standing up. I preferred playing with muscle men toys than Barbie. I wished in a fountain that I was a boy and when it didn't come true I spit in it.  I signed up to play football for my school only to be told that I wasn't allowed to because I was a girl. So I understand his frustration when he sees girls allowed to do things that boys are typically not.

My mom came over and when she saw Parker's nails she didn't react. Now that is a true test.   Maybe I had broken her in. When I asked her what she thought, she said that her pharmacist has his nails painted.  My first thought was, wow and my second was, that is the kind of pharmacist I want
When Parker got to school, his attempt to be different was not accepted well and he was asked to remove his nail polish. I guess its a dress code violation.  He was devastated. In his mind I think he thought it would be perceived as cool and he would be a "rock star".  He said that someone called him gay.  Sounds like the 1985 perception of an earring if you ask me.
I asked him if he liked girls, he said no. I asked him if he liked boys, he said no. So I explained that he doesn't even know if he is gay and even if it turns out he is, being gay isn't a bad thing and it was wrong for someone to call him that with a negative connotation. He said that the boy who called him that apologized later.

So as I'm dealing with this when I hear a horrific scream from the shower upstairs from Fin. Apparently he had another tick.  Yes, he had one earlier this week that had been feasting on his head for three days.  This one was on his stomach.   When I saw it I screamed just like I did when I saw the last one. I followed the instructions I had watched on youtube (again) and removed the reluctant blood sucker.  By the time I got it out I had an audience of 3 of his brothers and the dog in a tiny bathroom with the shower still running and a naked 8 year old screaming.
Which jogs my memory to earlier in the week when I had to take my 3 year old to the doctor for a urine sample because my Mother-in-law convinced me he had a urinary track infection and the 5 of us stood in the tiny office bathroom while I tried to force Oscar to pee in a cup and he wouldn't despite his brother's cheering him on. I got so frustrated I even tried squeezing him thinking that would force him to pee.  It didn't.
Again. not a good week. Not surprisingly he did NOT have anything wrong with him.  45 minutes of my life I cant get back.

The next day I think the nail polish storm had blown over and after a long day at work I was standing in the kitchen wondering if I should make frozen pizza or order it. That is when Parker walked by me with a hickey.  A HICKEY.  A HICKEY! I immediately stopped him and asked him in so many words, WTF is on your neck?  "A hickey" he said nonchalantly and continued walking. Don was quick behind him and mouthing to me " I will take care of it" because he could sense my mama bear claws starting to come out.  They disappeared into the bedroom to avoid little ear hearing the conversation and about 10 minutes later came back into the kitchen where I was still trying to decided on frozen or phone pizza.   Parker explained that the hickey was from a boy in his class, not only that, he gave the boy a hickey too.  They were playing vampire zombie and obviously very committed to their character development.  He said he didn't know what a hickey was until someone else told him that he had one.

In a matter of two days I have had to deal with my son wearing nail polish and now having a hickey.  Not exactly what I pictured I would be dealing with when my son turned 10.  Because it is the end of May I didn't feel that a turtle neck was appropriate so my son is walking around with a big red arrow pointed at him reading call CPS

After deciding that turning on the oven was just too hard,  I ordered pizza and sat down at our kitchen table across from Don. We just stared at each other.  Words were not necessary because we were both thinking the same thing. WTF?

Parenting is hard.  There is no easy way around it.  It feels like just when you feel comfortable and like you have everything under control you find yourself removing ticks, questioning sexuality, forcing a urine sample and explaining hickeys.

 It sounds to me more like my college days not elementary. I know there is so much more I need to learn. I'm enrolled in a Parenting University and the way its looking, I am on the eternity plan.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A new perspective on Mothers Day.

Every year Mother's Day rolls around and I forget that this day includes me too. Crazy I know. The truth is, that although I am a mother, I still have those dream like feelings that it is too good to be true. The other issue I have with the day is that I don't want to rain on my own Mother's parade. A woman that I still rely heavily on. And I mean heavily.  If I have a bad day at work, if our nanny is sick,  I call my Mom.  If I need a coffee, doubt my life's purpose.  I call my mom.  She always has the right answer and if she doesn't she will at least make me feel better. 

One of my sons asked me what I wanted this year, and I couldn't think of anything.  Well, except sleep. I could always use more of that. I know a lot of moms joke that they want peace and quiet, but this year I celebrate chaos and commotion.  The fact that I have my boys to tuck in at night,  reassures me that I have everything. 

This Mother's Day things have changed. I'm not lucky or more special than any other mom, but I feel that I have been blessed beyond measure.   

We are bombarded with ads about the perfect gift for your mom, flowers, candy, wine.  But all a Mother really wants is a hug from her child, and too many Moms this year will be spending their Mother's day without being able to touch the child they lost.   My heart aches for them and I wish that they had the opportunity that I have on Sunday morning , to wake up to four warm hugs and cold french toast. 
I 'm especially thinking of the Moms in Newtown and Boston.  What an enormous void they must feel.  

Whether you have given birth or signed the last adoption paper, or  lost a child to disease,  miscarried silently,  or if you, God forbid, lost your baby to a senseless act of violence. You have the undeniable right to celebrate  the moment you became a mom,  it is a title that cannot be forfeited. 

On Sunday, I will celebrate being a mom and  give each of my boys a tighter squeeze.  But I will hold a very special place in my heart for the moms who don't have the opportunity to do the same. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

My 3 year old is acting like a jerk.

Let me just start by saying this, I love my son. Sometimes so much I want to devour him.

However, since turning 3 (less than a month ago) he is driving me nuts.  The mommy and Oscar time we previously enjoyed shopping, have turned into all-out battles.  I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but when my child is the one laying on the ground of the parking lot screaming because he doesn't want to ride in the regular cart, he wants to ride in the stupid plastic car cart (that I told him was broken) I start to get a little self-conscious.
Prior to this, we would go to the grocery store and count apples.  I would enjoy a coffee while he would have a chocolate milk.  Now I have to distract him when we pass the balloons, the doughnuts and the deli. I curse the woman who gave him a free cheese! It ends up in a ball in his pocket and I don't find it until it has been run through the washer a week later.

I eventually convinced him to ride in the regular cart because the car ones were taken (God working miracles), but he has got a serious attitude problem and I fear we have created a jerk.  There, I said it, my 3 year old is acting like a jerk.   There have been times when he was screaming so loud that I have actually rolled up the windows because I didn't want people to think I was hurting him.  When all he wanted was for me to stop singing the "finger song". I have actually broken down and cried out of frustration and I think I saw him smirking.
If you don't know what the finger song is, and you are curious, you can find it on youtube, but I warn you, it will get stuck in your head and never leave and you will find yourself alone with your husband on a date making up alternative dirty lyrics. 

This time at the grocery store Oscar wanted Cheez-its. How or why he knew of these, I don't know, but he can read now. Impressive? Yes, and annoying.  No longer can I tell him that those are spicy mushroom crackers (he hates spicy mushrooms), he is too smart.  I mean, he literally can read, really well.  Every time one of his brothers got into trouble, a viable punishment was to read to Oscar. This has meant hours and hours and hours… and hours of reading time. Which resulted with him by reading at age 3. We can't take any credit, other than our son's misbehavior.

So I gave in to avoid a screaming fest. He decided he would open it and eat them out of the box.  He also has a horrible runny nose and despite being a problem child, he is diligent about blowing his nose. We have told him to blow and he does so willingly because he hates the feeling of a runny nose. Well luck would have it,  my tissues were in my coat, which I wasn't wearing.  So we have a cheesy orange snot mess on his upper lip. After I inconspicuously dump the fruit snacks in the bread aisle (because the last thing we need is more sugar) we are ready to check out. I approach the checkout with a large 3 year old with his hand in a box of Cheez-its yelling "Blow Me" louder and louder.   If having him lay on the cement was embarrassing, this was mortifying.  What people don't know is that all he wants is for me to put a tissue up to his nose to "blow" but its looking more like a spoiled brat who has been repeating his Daddy.

The checkout guy and the bag boy are trying hard not to laugh, but thankfully I ask if they have a tissue and they hand me a paper towel, it worked, at least to stop the escalating volume of Blow Me.  The only thing that would have made this even more iconic was to offer him a cigarette. Just when I think I'm free to escape and hide, he discovers that the fruit snacks are missing.   At this point I just want to leave, and I have lied so many lies at this point to just get him out of the store I decided to add one more. I told him we have some at home.  I know, we must have a crusty package laying around somewhere so its not a total lie, but I just want to get the hell out of this damn store and situation.

I may be a little tired which is causing my fuse to be short. But its hard to sleep when this adorable 3 year old sneaks in at 12:30 every night and buries himself like a tick in the sheets and pillows right smack in the middle of the bed unable to pry free without tweezers or fire.... Sure, Don and I feel him but after saying "not it" to each other regarding taking him back to his bed, we both hope the other will give in and it never happens.

Oscar is the most strong willed little guy I have ever known and maybe in history. He reminds me so much of his older brother it scares me.  Really, it scares me because it was a rough ride 5 years ago when Finegan was 3. And I was younger then, and followed a proper parental code. We even sought professional help on how to deal with his tantrums.  Now we are a watered down cocktail of misheard parenting advice and weariness.

The bottom line is I love my little jerk.  At least I know that when he screams "blow me", he means it with the purist intentions. Its only a matter of a decade before those words change to bite me, but by that time,  I will be reminded that I have been wanting to devour him since the very first time I laid eyes on him.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why I Cross Fit

Amongst my friends, I am the only one who does Crossfit. Of course I have made quite a few friends along the way but my inner circle of friends (including my husband) don't do it.    I go very early in the morning.  My alarm goes off at 4:55 a.m. I literally leap out of bed because I don't want to wake up anyone else in the house. Not because I am respecting their sleep (God knows they do not respect mine), but more because I am respecting my time.  From 4:55 a.m.- 6:30 a.m. it is all me.  Lately I have had to gingerly get out of bed because I have one or two kids surrounding me like a cocoon. I get asked a lot how I can get up that early. Its easy when it is my singular solace in the day and you better believe it is worth waking up for.

Before I leave I have a ritual, I feed the dogs, set the coffee, and set the breakfast table. I dress in the bathroom with the clothes I've laid out the previous night.  I can't remember the drive to the gym because I'm not fully awake until right before I walk in the door. This is a good thing, because if I were, I could convince myself to turn the car around and go back home.  But by the time I enter the gym any mental hesitation isn't a thought worth entertaining. And yes, everyday there is a slight hesitation because I know, that no matter what, I will not be able to go through this workout half committed.  CF requires your full attention. First, you may get hurt if you are not paying attention. Secondly, there is a lot of counting reps and I will be damned if I am going to do ONE more rep then necessary.
I will admit, when I first started almost a year ago, I did it for vanity reasons. I wanted to see more definition and I was frustrated that despite my daily workouts, I wasn't seeing results from my efforts.
When I walk in to the gym,  I am free from pretense and unlike any other time of the day working in publicity, I don't have to be "ON". Its me, without makeup, just ready to push myself physically and psychologically.   If you are not familiar with this type of workout (this is for you mom) here is a link  crossfit. I can't possibly explain it.

All of this time previously spent at the gym and diligently watching what I ate was because I was trying to be skinny, and when I would look in the mirror at night I didn't like what I saw because it wasn't what I wanted to see. When I had the realization that "skinny" wasn't in my DNA I began to appreciate what I have and have even found that there is beauty in strength.

I'm your average 36 year old married working mother of 4. So Why do I CrossFit? I do it to build confidence in my ability. At work whether it is said or unsaid, I feel that I am inadequate.  I'm not a Ph.D, and I'm certainly not an expert in anything that any one of my colleagues would find interesting.  This belief weighs heavily on my shoulders and I carry it to every meeting I attend. BUT when I'm working out, and nobody there has a clue about what happened at work the previous day, the thought that I'm inadequate never occurs to them. In fact, quite the opposite.  Today I was working to achieve a personal record.  PERSONAL record. That is what is great about CF. You compete only with yourself.  So my PR to beat was 195 lbs.  Today I dead lifted 205 lbs.  If I can't be 100% proud of what my body looks like, at least I can be 100% proud of what it can do.
That is more than my husband weighs and more than what all four of my sons weigh (combined)  And don't think I don't think about that. You have heard the stories of Moms lifting cars to free trapped children, well God forbid if you are ever in that situation, I'm the girl to call.

When I walked into work this morning and my boss criticized a choice I made a week ago, I didn't believe him. Why? Because in the back of my mind I knew that I could dead lift him, and that this morning I felt like I was capable of anything.
I mentioned earlier that I push myself psychologically. For some it is yoga, other's is running but my mediation is this. I push myself to places that I didn't think were possible.  I sweat out any doubt and although there are times when I want to quit, my workout partners and coach are quick to scream encouraging words.  If they have that much confidence that "I can do it" then I better believe I can.  I find myself repeating "you can do this, you can do this, you can do this" but that mantra doesn't stop when I leave the gym.  It continues all day and that is a pretty cool mantra to be telling yourself.

Over the past year I have dealt with the pain of losing a loved one, thankfully I found that surrendering my mental pain for brief but beneficial physical pain eased what I was feeling on the inside.   I have found that sweat not only purges my body of impurities, but also my head of anything I don't need occupying my thoughts.

My intention to begin Crossfit was to look better, I had no idea that  the changes in my body would be an added bonus to something that would give me the strength in more ways than one.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

If the shoe fits..

Parker returned home from what he declared, the second BEST day of his life yesterday in a flurry of excitement to tell me about his trip to the Field Museum in Chicago.  The BEST day of his life is when we picked him up from camp. Apparently, he is not the camping type of kid, and I still feel a tinge of guilt for leaving him in 100 degree record temperatures with the promise of fun, and him returning with heat rash and bites all over his body.
Anyway, he was so excited and talking as fast as the micro-machine guy. Later he shared that he had a Frappacino from the vending machine but didn't know it had caffeine.  He plopped down on the couch to show me the pictures he had taken. After we scrolled through a dozen consecutive shots of an aboriginal woman (you know, the kind that don't wear tops) he got to his favorite one.  It was a picture of a tiny shoe.   He showed it to me with Huge eyes.  "Do you know what that is?" I explained that it looked like a shoe. To my credit, the scale of his photos can be misleading at times. He will take a picture of a penny which looks huge and a picture of his dog from so far away he looks like a squirrel.
He explained that is was a tiny shoe of a Chinese courtesan whose feet were bound to fit into what looked like a Barbie size. 
He looked at my feet, then to his, then to his 3 year old brother's.  'That would be like you wearing Oscar's shoes!"  When he put it that way, it made me cringe. "Why in the world would ANYONE do that?"  I have a very vague memory about this ancient custom but what I told him was that it was considered a thing of beauty to have small feet.  He explained that in order to achieve this, the  young girls would have their toes broken and then wrapped tightly so they wouldn't grow.
Again he asked me, why would a woman hurt themselves to be pretty? 
What was I suppose to say? Because she wanted to attract a man?  I just said I didn't know. But here is the thing, I do know.  Not to why small feet were considered attractive, I do have a theory on that which I will get to later.  But to why a woman would hurt themselves for beauty, because I do it myself as do many woman around the world. 
At some point, some where, somebody declared that pubic hair is ugly.  And because of this, I spend money, time and a lot of pain tolerance getting it ripped from my most sensitive areas in an effort to not offend anyone at the pool.  It hurts like a mofo.  In additional to having hair ripped from every sensitive part of my body with hot wax, I have partaken in other beauty treatments that   would make Ancient Chinese women scratch their heads.  Acid treatments on my face, laser treatments on my scars.  One I have not and will not do is anus bleaching.  If this is the first time you have heard about this I apologize to be the one to burst your ignorance to this trend. But yes, woman (and maybe some men) spend money to have their anus bleached to look like a babies. 
I have seen many a baby's anus, and never did I covet their new anus appearance.  Their skin (YES) their butt, (No).  
These treatments are all superficial, what about the ones that aren't? Removing ribs to look slimmer, having fat sucked out of your thighs with a instrument the size of a flute.   Just because we have the means of anesthesia doesn't make it any better to the women breaking their feet, less painful however, yes. 
I found myself asking the same question as Parker. Why?  God doesn't make mistakes.   I have told the boys this so many times. Especially lately.   But if this was the case, why do I spend so much time trying to correct his work?
Now back to my theory on why ancient Chinese men found crippled feet so appealing.  Obviously, a women with bound feet can't move very fast, there for can't run away.  If all anyone wants is to be seen and heard, why are women trying so hard to create less of themselves to be seen?  
I'm sad for young girls of our time.  They are growing up bombarded of images of beauty that focuses on being everything that you are not naturally born with, famous for sex tapes, and a slew of examples of why God made a mistake on them. 
I recently viewed a website that focuses on celebrity plastic surgery. The "good" jobs and the " bad" jobs.  But if celebrities are famous, and recognition is what everyone strives for, then why are they filling themselves up with collagen and fillers? Is it in an effort to restore their youth, that they spent the majority of hating themselves? True beauty doesn't  fade, it just changes and if you have spent time trying to beautify your brain, you will be radiant for years to come.
I may not have girls, but I do have boys who will eventually love a girl.  I am their one continual example of a woman.  They have seen me at my worst, sick, hairy, sweaty , sad, chubby and worst of all, looking in the mirror and hating what I see. My physical appearance means them because  it does not effect the love I have to offer them. In their eyes I exemplify beauty by staying up with them when they are sick,  laughing at their jokes or hugging them when they are scared.  I wish I could look in the mirror and see the beauty they see.  Jack loves to draw pictures of me and the one thing that is constant is my arms, they are always disproportionately huge and extended ready for a hug. 

The World really is our classroom. Its funny that a tiny shoe is what caught a ten year old boy's  attention most.  Well, that and large floppy boobs of an aboriginal woman.  And also shows that it doesn't matter what age you are,  if you pay attention to the tiny things you may learn something.