July 28, 2010

Quote

It may be that the satisfaction I need
depends on my going away,
so that when I've gone and come back,
I'll find it at home.

-Rumi

Rut-o-Rama

I am in such a rut. I am coming to the realization that maybe I was born into a rut, and really only pop OUT of the rut every so often. At least that's what it's starting to feel like.

Not sure why. Again, I am thinking I will just blame my horrible commute. The job, the kids, the family, the husband, the socks, the boogers, the poop - taken alone -are not issues. Standing alone, each is perfect. Well, maybe not the poop and boogers. The true Rut-o-Rama comes from the collective giant, the massive hulk of living this life, trying to have it all, do it all, be all. A supersized extra value meal of life is difficult to digest.

Rut-o-Rama may be the actual residence of motherhood. You give birth and move into the small town of Rut. On your way out of maternity leave, you camp out in Rutville. By the time, you have multiple children and are pulled in every direction but down for a nap, Rut-o-Rama is your main place of residence. Legally speaking, Rut-o-Rama is where the sheriff will serve you when you are sued by the Fashion Gods for wearing the same pants to work for three straight days. Oh, and Pooville is your vacation spot.

Maybe not.

Maybe not all of you mothers find a home in Rut, Rutville or Rut-o-Rama. You do, however, have your vacay home in Poovile, or you are NOT really a mother. But I think what turns my stomach the most: the sickening and annoying women out there, declaring: "oh motherhood is just so much fun" and other blah blah blahs in a cutsey voice.

Well, of course motherhood is a joy, a blessing, full of laughter and silliness. Motherhood is a million things. But fun? Now, that is just an insensitive and misleading (and stupid) analogy for motherhood.

Hollywood is usually the champion of the Motherhood Cult of Fun. But....Bridget Moynahan is my new hero. Well maybe not, but she had a damn good quote in this month's issue of SELF magazine.

Moynahan played Natasha on HBO's series Sex and the City, and was also in that Will Smith movie, with the robots (I, Robot?). Anyway, she has a baby with football star, Tom Brady. He apparently left her eight-months pregnant so he could play super studly man to Victoria's Secret model, Gisele Bundchen. Bundchen THEN gets perfectly pregnant, gives birth and says it "didn't hurt in the slighest" and other things like, "I only gained six pounds". Bundchen also posed for a swimsuit advertisement only five months after giving birth.

Moynahan says: "Certain individuals...present motherhood as if it's easy or painless...and that's irresponsible."

Darn straight, lady. And way to go with poking a jab at Gisele. I'd like to run her perfect body over with a tractor trailer or force feed her Krispy Kremes, but a printed quote is pretty awesome too.

All you mothers out there who are visiting, residing or wallowing in Rut-o-Rama... I am with you. Maybe collectively, we can figure this all out, find the answers. Or at least a prescription drug for it.

For now, I'm going to find some chocolate.

Smashing Good Time

James had a fight with the wooden part of our couch, falling and hitting his front two teeth. The teeth were compressed into his gums.

While he is not in pain (although I have no idea how he's not), we are working on trying to save the teeth. Apparently, if we keep the gums healthy, then we have a shot. The teeth could drop down again and be just fine. Or they might need to be pulled.

I am hoping he won't have to be the kid missing his two front teeth....for the next FIVE years. Brush brush brush!

Before:


After:

July 26, 2010

July 21, 2010

Terminator

I had Lasik surgery on Monday. I have spent the last two days wearing sunglasses like the Terminator and praying that my children do not fork me in the eyeballs or derail my new vision. The crucial period following Lasik is one week. I have to make it through the next five days.

I have never known such fear. The scary anticipation that I could go blind from my very own children. I did not feel this fear in the doctor's office right before the surgey. But I feel it at home. I feel safest at work, sitting in front of my computer, moving my head slowly, nobody sneaking up on me, no sneaky fingers slipping in from the side of my face (at least I hope not. That would be an HR nightmare, let me tell you).

But back at home this evening, I feel crazy fear. And I know the sunglasses are to block me from harm...but wearing shades inside....horrible. This means the munchkins can sneak around underfoot, and I'm having a difficult time really seeing them. I cannot anticipate the flying train or soaring book as easily as I could without the shades. But I dare not remove them.

I dare not!

July 13, 2010

Quote

You all know how much I hate to quote Oprah. But I was fastly forwarding through her show today, and this statement she made hit home. Especially in light of the wandering around I feel I have been doing:

"It all boils down to one thing... your relationship to THE source...God...is all that really matters. And so... when you surrender and stop resisting and stop trying to change that which you cannot change. But be in the moment...

Be fully open to the blessings that you have already received and those that are yet to come to you....Stand in that space of gratitude and honor, and CLAIM that for yourself, and look at where you are, and how far you have come....and what you have accomplished... and who you are....

When you can CLAIM that, and when you can SEE that...the literal vibration of your life will change."

The Married Single Working Mother

I am apparently a married... single, working mother. The phenomenon: I have this great husband. But I do not see him much. This is not a new story. The man who travels, who works all the time. And when he is here, he is really somewhere else because of his work brain. That's okay, I understand it. He has a ton of stuff going on right now.

I work a brainful job during the day as an attorney. Then I have a three-hour break (raucous laughter) with the kids at night, and then I start up again. I sleep sometimes. Not very often. I am on Martha Stewart's 4-5 hour sleep schedule, but a whole helluva less productive and home-makery. I don't cook or have a ribbon box. I should, if I am awake 20 hours day.

I commute into Atlanta like a nutcase for about two hours a day. There have been days when it took me a total of four hours to get to and from work. One day during the heavy rains, I was caught at the base of spaghetti junction in a flood. That was a six hour commute. I had to potty on the side of the road. Humiliating. And all this just to travel twenty-nine miles. That's like moving negative miles per hour. Moo ha.

I don't see my kids alot. I don't see myself alot. I kinda feel like I am wandering around, walking in circles, picking up crackers and crumbs and clothes. But every moment of my life is quite calculated, actually. There is a method, a reason and a practice for it all.

I'm not complaining, mind you. The whole thing is just a bizarre realization.

I used to lay on the couch or workout or read a book. Or sleep until noon (oh, the days). Or do whatever I wanted. All the time. These small feats of complete autonomy are strangely strangers now. This bizarre realization, to me, is that life changes. Simple. But I never realized. And when life changes, these transitions happen instantly, in a blink of the eye. I do not think that as a young twenty-something, I could even predict an ounce of the massive change.

I will never forget when James was about five days old. The way my neck and back felt. The Mommy muscles emerging. That small change, while quiet and unremarkable, was a preview into my future.

I love love love my husband, my job, my kids. [I do not love my commute.] So what gives in all of this? Can this married single working motherdom really be just stemming from the nasty drive that sandwiches my morning and evening? Is it the lack of sleep? But I've never really slept anyway. I think it has to be the traffic. I'm going to get a hovercraft. That would fix it.

Jason simply tells me that this is our life now. Stupidly, I never really thought about that. This is my life. And it is a beautiful and blessed and happy life. I was just grossly and inadequately unprepared for all the changes. The sly transition into the married single working mother. The adultness of it all. About eight years ago, I was just a kid pretending, when I started law school. Whoa Nelly, am I an adult now.

It's the delightful burden, revisited, I suppose.

July 10, 2010

My Waterpark Runneth Over


The Avon Lady Husband is finally en route home from Down Unda, and I took the opportunity to wear out the children in our outdoor waterpark this morning. While the little monkeys have tortured me dearly for a span of the last few days...this morning made up for all of it. Stella refused to take off her sandals, and James would not stop obsessing with the fence... oh, and would not wear his "swim soup," but what a fabulously calm and relaxing morning. My cup runneth over.

Plate


Dear Stella Rae,

Your plate is not a hat. I repeat, your PLATE IS NOT A HAT. Please, please please do not wear it. The turning over, the clearing off... No more! No more!

Love,
Mom

July 8, 2010

Grandparents. Oy Vey.

Okay, it is desperate times when there are two posts in approximately two hours.

My folks (a/k/a the Grandparents: Mia and Papa) watched James for five days, and I doubt not that they all had a fabulous time.

But holy cows... if that child did not come back ten times the mini-demon he was before he left. I know, I know... he received undivided attention for all that time. There were no "sharing" issues. He was the Prince among princes. I get it.

And Stella. She was here with me. She loved having the whole house to herself. She was quiet and happy.

I meshed these two kids back together today, and you'd think we were on a re-run of Super Nanny, the Terror Children Edition.

Only where was the help? It was hilarious, really. The mayhem, the screams, the throwing of toys, the intentional spilling of plates (twice!) and the tantrums (infinity). I will apologize in advance to our nanny who will be stuck with playroom cleanup tomorrow - I cannot bear it. I have to work tonight...and I cannot bear it.



Grandparents are really moles. They infiltrate the family with their warm fuzzy ideas, new toys and feelings, and spoiling the kids stinking rotten... then they cause the kids to unknowingly form a secret underground society against the parents. God love the grandparent. But all you parents out there... we don't have a shot as long as grandparents are around! We will always be in the doghouse!

Today on the drive home, as James was writhing in his carseat (while holding a brand new undeserving milkshake, mind you), he was muttering "Mia, Mia, Mia." And I'm thinking, Well, there you have it. I'm just Mom. And I stink.

Ugh! How spoiled do I sound?

Well, you see.. it's because I am spoiled.

See....I had these two awesome grandparents growing up and....

He's Baaaaack!

James is back from a five day visit with the G-parents in Savannah. He smells so bad from all the rotten he is. And now, James and Stella (Batman and Robin) are back together again.

They are, at this very moment, eating raisins and standing in chairs at the table. Whatever. I have lost control. I admit this. I say sit down. They stare at me like I have spoken Chinese. Stella mocks me with, "sit sit sit," which sounds like a trio of expletives.

I threaten James with Mr. Spoon. James says, "Mr. Spoon is brown. And mad." Although, I think he's still scared of the spoon, the comments about the spoon's color are disturbing, and I think Mr. S is losing his powers. I've lost mine, so why shouldn't the wooden utensil.

I racked my brain on the drive back about what to cook them for dinner. Once the chaos landed, I figured it out. Tonight is going to be a five course meal, starting now, with the raisins.
Raisins, Crackers, Cheese Sticks, Applesauce, Banana.

And if they are still hungry, we'll start over with raisins. I just cannot bring myself to fight the dinnertime battle tonight. I think I'm actually in real shock from having two kids in the house again.

July 7, 2010

Fictional Characters

I received a cute email today from one of my good friends sharing a book excerpt from DailyLit.com. I ate my sandwich and read, had a good giggle. And then saw this at the top of the post:

"Question of the Week: Who are your top 10 fictional characters of all time? Click here to share your list."

I was floored.

There was a time where I could have rattled off some names like Benjy Compson (Sound and the Fury), Jake (The Sun Also Rises) and Matilda (I think, from Angels & Insects). Oh, I forgot Bartleby and Gatsby, but I remember them only because their names appears in their respective titles. And in truth, the only name I really remembered on this little list, on my very own, was Gatsby. I had to Google Bartleby and pull down a search for Benjy, Jake and Matilda (I thought she was Miranda).

Dear Lord, who actually has to Google Bartleby?

So as of now, I've only got five. And five completely unoriginal ones.

Now, I could add two more if you want to count the downward spiral into soppy chick lit characters like Canny Shapiro (Good in Bed) and Rachel from Something Borrowed. Ok, we'll count them, for the sake of argument.

So at best, I have seven names. Seven out of the ten. And I only came up with one on my own, and two are chick lit.

What does this mean? Well, it's just a reminder of my Leaky Mommy Brain ("LMB"). And it does not appear to be seeping back into my head.

You've heard it before. I have said it before. But I am going to work with my smarty-pants scientist husband and see if we can prove these LMB numbers. I hypothesize that when a woman gets pregnant, she unknowingly donates a portion of her brain (I believe it is approximately 8%) to her unborn fetus. More than one child equals more brain donation. During birth and early newborndom, about 32% of a woman's brain just plain goes to sleep and then dies a slow death in the first twelve weeks of the baby's life. As you can see, if you have one child, you are suddenly operating on 60% brain capacity. As for me, I have two kids, so I'm already down to 52%, and that is just after the birth and through the first quarter of the kid's life. Then there is the general sleep deprivation and exhaustion and overall just crap associated with motherhood in general: poof, another 12% just plain disappeared.

Ah-ha. As of now, I can approximate that I have 30-40% of my original brain. Hence, no room for Hemingway.

Therefore, I'll just embrace it. Here we go.

My Top Ten Fictional Characters of All Time
1) Thomas the Train
2) Elmo
3) Big Bird
4) Whyatt
5) Mickey Mouse
6) Minnie Mouse
7) Cookie
8) Handy Manny
9) Curious George
10)Oscar the Grouch (my personal favorite).

Yes.

July 5, 2010

The Mother Strain

James and I have been warring through the Terrible Twos (the "TTs") for a while now. Allegedly, our nanny has "no problems" with him. His teachers at school say he's the most well-behaved kid ever. At church, the folks say, what a doll. My parents... oh, that's another story. He's a grandkid. Enough said.

At home though (begin playing scary music)... this kid is a little devil. I walk in the door, and I hear his little horns thrust through his skull. His eyes turn a shade of red, and I brace myself for the next three hours of living in crazy land. I sorta understand it, though. He has two working parents, a sister who's always up in his grill and yanking on him. Plus, he IS two.

Apparently, he has a strain of the TTs that only affects his parents:
the Mother Strain.


James has had the Mother Strain since... well, since he was born. Actually, it started in the pregnancy, when he somehow fashioned a little baby hammer and chisel in my womb and tried to crack off a piece of my tailbone around month four. He beat me up for days in childbirth, refusing to arrive peacefully and in my warm tub of hippie water, even though I had a doula, a midwife and a whole lotta peaceful birthing music. The kid came with a vengeance, but only after my labor started on a Saturday...my water broke on Wednesday....and he was born on Thursday. Oh, and he pooped in utero. There was my second sign (after the tailbone injury).

Then, he was a newborn who nursed every two hours IF I was lucky. Mostly it was every hour and a half. He did not sleep through the night until he was fifteen months old. I will repeat.... fifteen months, people. And so it went. I would have a shorter list if I wrote about the things that are easy about my dear boy.

The Traveling Avon Husband is overseas again, so my mom had planned to stay with me for a week over the holiday. Last minute change of plans, though, due to my Terrible Two induced mental health reasons: James got shipped down to Savannah for five days instead to stay with my parents. And the kid was lucky I stopped the car to toss him into their Volkswagen. Well, not really. I could not figure out the car seat predicament; otherwise, he would have been tossed.


So, it's been two days without James. The house is quiet. Stella and I went to a pool party at a friend's house and spent the night. We shopped. We ate out. We danced to Lady Gaga (her favorite...and mine). We zipped all over town, and there was no screaming, whining, throwing of books at my head in the car, foaming at the mouth. Just two lucky tantrum-free ladies out on the town.

It has been so relaxing and peaceful without him.

And I cannot stand it. I miss that little booger of a monkey so, so, so much. The Mother Strain right now... is actually the ouchy feeling I've got in my insides from being without my son.

He (and I) will surely survive the Terrible Twos, just in time for his sister to come along for the ride.

Now, if I can only survive the next few days without him. Love you, buddy.

July 3, 2010

More Children? Even Fathomable?

Perhaps... after reading this article.

THE BREEDER'S CUP by Bryan Kaplan
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704289504575313201221533826.html

"...Many conclude that if you value your happiness and spending money, the only way to win the modern parenting game is not to play.....While the popular and the academic cases against kids have a kernel of truth, both lack perspective..... "