- (Earlier this week)…
- This morning after I kissed my children as they ran for the bus, I called after them, “make good choices”!
- I ran upstairs to watch them cross the street. Safely climbing aboard the bus I still watched, perched from my window, as the blinking lights of the school bus stopped and it slowly drove away.
- Finally, exhausted from all the morning madness, I plopped back down on my bed to take a few deep breaths…when I heard something awful.
There was screaming coming from the park. Jumping out of bed to look out the window, I notice other children were waiting for the next bus for a different school, and I see none of them in a scuffle, all in a huddle with their other teen friends, and younger ones lined up waiting patiently. Where was that noise I had heard coming from? Then, out of the park came a young mother pushing a stroller, hair stuck to her face and her body tight with anger. She screamed again, very upset at her young child who was dragging his feet towards her. “C’mon, I’ve had it with you!”. He started crying. She stamped one foot and meanly with teeth gritted said, “and stop crying already!”. She started crossing the street and he chased after her whimpering, “waaait!”, and she whipped her head back at him and says way too loudly, “SHUT UP!”.
Oh man. I was so sad for that child. That poor crying child whose mother had lost all patience and control.
Who knows what happened before I came on to the scene perched there in my window?
Suddenly, my heart ached not for the child but for the mother. That poor, poor mother. Stressed and angry at her possibly willful child.
How many times have I raised my voice at a child for jelly-legs or whining for no apparent reason? Many. I wonder how many voyeurs tsk-tsked as I passed them in the market or out of the playground. Sure, there are lots of excuses, and this is probable the 300 millionth blogger-mom writing in to say, exhaustion is the main cause of irritability.
- we don’t eat proper meals
- we don’t sleep enough
- we worry ALL the time
- some of us “exercise”
It’s a problem, we acknowledge it and ignore it because there are life-hacks and we try to cut corners. How do we deal? Mostly by complaining in what used to be called a chat room, but has recently turned into a Facebook group entitled “Tired Angry Mamas” or “My Kids Are Killing Me” or something less obnoxious like “Under-appreciated Mom Thread”.
What are we doing? Why turn to social media and complain about our “rotten-behaving toddler”? Why scream out in the middle of a public area, in front of other children? No one cares about feelings or reputation anymore. It’s sad. We need positive role models for behaving like good parents so that our children will learn how to behave from us.
I’m not belittling any one and the issues that they are dealing with, you’re right. I don’t know you. I don’t what you’re going through. What I do know is that I have been that frustrated, exhausted mom. I have been so angry at the lack of money or time or sleep or patience that has led me to act like a moron. However, we need to change.
We can’t all pay for weekly therapy sessions and while misery loves company these groups on social media are a band-aid on the real issues. But we can take stock of what are the core issues we suffer from and finding out ways to really make a change. Honestly, your 6-year-old will still freak out if you take him/her though the candy aisle even if you preface, mommy NEEDS her 5 lb bag of M&M’s, and no, they may not choose just.one.thing. Because unless its absolutely necessary, never take your kids food shopping with you. Problem solved. Its money well-spent to get a sitter rather than fight the fight of a child who whines through every aisle but the fruit and veg section.
Think of every situation through their eyes. It’s okay to say no. It hurts to have to say I’m sorry. Let’s be better than that poor woman or sad child of yesterday. I want to leave for work every day feeling like my children were happy to go off to school. (Well, as happy as anyone is really, I mean, seriously – it’s school)!
I want my children to reflect on their childhood and NOT have hated me as a teenagers. I want them to already see that I was generous with my time, and paid attention to their needs and didn’t look like a dish-rag at the end of a day. I want them to see that even though they may upset me, I chose my words carefully. Without bitterness. With love.
It’s what we all fear. Making the wrong choices for our children.
Usually instinct kicks in, but what happens when you are on the fence about an issue? Finding the right voice to listen to is hard when there are lots of opinions being thrown your way.
This week I struggled. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Among all the other day-to-day decisions, and feeling quite ill, I was forced to address a situation head-on. No one ever makes good decisions when they are not performing at 100% so I was in a bit of a pickle, I was aware that I could not trust my own judgement, and yet – there I was swaying back and forth on a specific issue. I felt tormented all week. I needed sound advice – but that too seemed to be a struggle…whose voice to listen to?
I needed someone I could respect, someone who “got” me, someone who understood that the thing I needed to decide about was something I took very seriously. I had quiet panic attacks as I went on about my regular duties, I arranged play-dates and made shopping lists, while I suffered deliberating each side of that fence whenever a “free” moment arrived.
Usually if I see something I like or need, I purchase it, take it home and am fine, never second-guessing my choice. When faced with the challenge of making decisions for others? I take that to heart. I tried to look at every angle and there I was stuck between the pressure of my peers (which is insane considering my age – but there you have it), and separating from the pack and making a sound decision based on facts, and where my heart and mind were telling me was the right thing for us. For my child.
I knew not to ask too many people, too many people can cloud one’s judgement.
I chose specifically people who were good listeners, who understood this issue, like-minded people who could be objective without an ulterior agenda. It was hard to seek them out, for they are not my general go-to friends, or my spouse, but others whom I respect and were not emotionally connected like I was.
So here I am at the end of the week with my decision, not to be swayed by the masses, to forge my own path and judgement based on mutual respect and not peer pressure.
But I am frightened and I think this is natural. Since the day these children are born they look to us for protection and guidance and any parent knows this burden is the heaviest one ever to bare. In Judaism there is a concept that every woman is born with a natural sense of intuition. We all make mistakes and the smart ones learn from them, and don’t make the same mistake twice. But, now at this possibly life-altering moment, my nerves are frazzled, my mind jumps from one side of the spectrum to the other in an attempt for rational decision-making. My natural instincts are leading me in a different place than that of my peers and breaking from the pack is making me doubt myself.
And so today, I am feeling the brunt of possibly my worst parenting moment. Choosing the wrong path. Because this is not my life, this is the life of my child, and while they are healthy and strong and opinionated, they still need my guidance and look to me to help with their decisions.
I know what I want to do. I know what my heart and mind are screaming to do, and yet, I shudder when I think, what if I am wrong?
What if I am wrong?
This week I learned a few things about myself. I am not judgy, I accept things that I now see others may have difficulty with.
Am I naive? No.
Live in a religious bubble? Nope.
Have my head stuck in sand? I don’t even like the beach.
I guess I just see things differently than others. While I may not agree with another person’s decisions on how they choose to live religiously, or perhaps their sense of fashion, or what they eat or don’t (like Vegans), I don’t look down on them or think my way is the BEST way…unless we are talking about my kids.
I took this excerpt from one of my posts on my business blog (which I neglect to keep current – but the articles are really good) because the message is important:
“There was a time in college when all the ladies in the dorm decided to go on the cabbage soup diet.
A few points to keep in mind. We were young. We were stupid. We stank up the joint. Besides cooking lots of pots of soup, each apartment was making their own version, there was the after effects of eating all that cabbage. There was not enough air freshener in the world to mask what was going on.
What I learned from the cabbage soup phenomenon? Don’t always do what everyone else is doing.”
As an adult, of course I see the need for each person to self-express, and that’s whats makes us interesting. At my most recent book-club meeting a topic came up about bullying and I was shocked that the majority of women, all ages represented, NOT including myself were bullied as children at one time or another. I’m not tooting my own horn but I saw people and still do, as just people. Whether it was the boy who ate seaweed in 5th grade, the teenager with Downs Syndrome who came to the high school event, my college roommate of color, or the current neighbors with the nose piercings. All these people have parents, who love them. They all have mouths with which to communicate, they all have their own ideas about what looks nice, what tastes good and what art is.
But what I found surprising is what happened to those kids who were bullied, meaning how they turned out. Low self-esteem, adolescents who turned into adults with clear PTSD and are even shocked when they are liked for just being themselves.
I took this even one step farther, not just as a student, friend, or neighbor but as a parent of a child who was clearly bullied for being different. As a mother, it was difficult to watch my child grow up without friends because he was labeled “weird”. What the other children and worse the teachers failed to understand was that he suffered from SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder. When he couldn’t deal with the annoying noises a pencil made or the way a material felt when it accidentally rubbed against him, other people saw this as a behavioral issue and often got him sent to the principal or singled out or made fun of. He was isolated in a way that a mother like me couldn’t understand. In my mind, EVERYONE had some issues, be it a lisp or a stutter or a limp…I never understood why these kinds of people needed to be treated any differently, or if they did, in my mind it was to be extra sensitive to them and make MORE of an effort to be friends with them. As a mother I saw that he was bright and cute with a nice smile and had just as many Hot Wheels as the next kid. Sure I also saw the meltdowns and fits of rage when he couldn’t deal with regular things, like the smell of ketchup, but perhaps I overlooked what the rest of the world saw.
Life is unfair and unkind that way. We are often challenged to be unique and special but then are confronted with fitting the mold. Each society and culture has their own model, I just wish there was a way we could create a Utopian society where we all agree that being different is okay, within the expectations of our own community and family needs.
Maybe I like the ‘weirdos’ because I am so plain. I keep it simple. I like to wear mostly black. I eat copious amounts of unhealthy food balanced by a really great salad once in a while and exercise only when I feel guilty or jiggly. I’m the average height for a typical Jewish woman. I’m sometimes funny, mostly thoughtful, and basically care about friendships, family and the environment. Nothing about me stands out as far as I know. If I had to choose one thing about myself that would be ‘weird’, and only because of this most recent dialogue among bright, intelligent, successful women, is that I am overly sensitive to other people. Sadly this is a unique trait. That most people are NOT like me in this regard is what I find most disturbing. Let’s try to be better. I know I always say that. I truly mean it. Let’s be kinder, more patient, and understanding to ideas or people who seem different than us. Are you with me?
This is how we found out:
Paco (6 yrs old): Can I ask you something?
Paco: Can you wiggle my tooth?
Mommy: I’d rather not, can you? I’ll just look
Paco: See how it’s almost ready. Can you take it out after dinner?
Mommy: Why don’t we try right now?
Paco: Nope. I don’t wanna’ eat bloody food.
Mommy: Sounds like a plan.
After dinner, and a bath, and an episode of some robot-y program on Netflix – I finally convince him its time.
Mommy: Okay, here we go, ready?
Mommy: Open up! Wider, say “eee” …okay open while you say “eee”, enter tissue…gagging…begging. DONE!
Later that night in bed we discuss how the tooth-fairy will come by while he is sleeping and take his teeth and replace them with shiny coins. Unfortunately the tooth-fairy got completely distracted, side-tracked, and tired and never showed up.
The next morning…
Paco: Mommy! Mommy!
Mommy: jsdfbrfqerf still sleeping erjjrwnf, what?
Paco: We need to send the tooth-fairy an email
Paco: She is too sick to fly here and bring me the money, so we need to email her
Mommy: Why is she sick?
Paco: She has coughs and can’t fly. And she has Celiac.
Conversations with this guy never leave me without a smile.
Even though members of my book club have already heard this story, I feel like one day, when the ol’ noodle fails me for good, these stories will be able to be passed down from generation to generation and my great-great-grandchildren will be able to say – 0h she was sooo silly! Here is my amazing mother blunder of the day:
Finally, I was going to make it to work on time. I had just enough time to drop “Paco” off at school and get on the highway and be at the office by 9. Yes, that is rare, because as most moms can relate, there’s always that delay due to the search for matching socks, or a meltdown about the crust left on one’s sandwich. Sure enough, I walk this guy into his class and see that EVERY.OTHER.CHILD is wearing a white shirt. Then the teacher sees my angel wearing his brightest, fuzziest, RED shirt and sort of does that slight head tilt with a disapproving blink. I can hear her inaudible sigh of impatience and the look – oy, the look – that says – yikes, this one again. She never gets it right.
So I run home and search the laundry bin for the shirt he wore the day before because (naturally) all the other kids had to wear white shirts YESTERDAY!
I grab a pair of dark pants because heaven forbid, if he’s the ONLY one wearing khakis, I will never forgive myself. I run back and he makes me get into the eency bathroom stall to help him get changed. He’s so modest. While my elbows keep banging the walls as we tango trying to get his clothes off and on again, I sort of, maybe, let go of his coat and it landed on the toilet seat. So I gasp praying that it doesn’t reach the water, and he turns horrified, so upset he starts to cry that he’ll never ever wear it again until summer (it’s a wooly lumberjack zip-up – so I’m kinda’ like – yeah ok, no biggie). I show him that it didn’t get wet, but the screaming continues like I’m Gforbid hurting him…so I beg him to stop and make promises that I am forced to keep. I was so quick to say yes to anything as long as he didn’t get all booger-y and get those puffy red eyes for picture day! I begged him to be brave and not cry, that I wanted a beautiful happy picture-day-boy, since I have yet to get one of those. I usually get the grumpy-furrowed-brow-kid – youknowtheone…as if I were one of those moms, the skin-glowy, Vegan-flowy-skirt-wearing send him to school with whole wheat sandwiches stuffed with alfalfa sprouts for lunch, moms!
I’m not trying to be judgy, so I hope you aren’t either – but I’m the mom who grabs the smiley-face cookies with creme in the middle and sends him off with a chocolate pudding if it’ll stop the whining in the morning. (I do give him cream cheese sandwiches and cut apple slices too btw), also, my kids tend to be on the small side, so extra calories never hurts them. (justify, justify, justify).
Anyway – I can barely wait to see how the pictures come out. I was traumatized (and really late for work) but I can look back now and see the humor in the situation. But why do these things always seem to happen to me?!?
Not a fun morning, but definitely a worthy one. One with a mission.
This week alone, I went to pay 2 shiva visits (that means visiting someone who is mourning the loss of an immediate relative). A father and a wife have now moved on to the next world, leaving behind worlds that are shattering but with promise to heal. I heard about 2 car accidents of different friends that have left them injured and broken with a definite amount of financial loss heading their way.A conversation that alerted me to yet another neighbor diagnosed with the big “C” and a few emails about prayers needed for sick children along with a close friend with a worrisome lump… heavy, too heavy to wake up to.
After a few minutes of introspection about what lies ahead, my life, busy as it is, sure looks a lot better than some others right about now. But I feel their pain and it is no surprise that my inner voice is not my own. It’s Stella’s voice. Creepy? Not for me, it’s so comforting. I miss Stella just like every other friend, but for some subconscious reason, whenever I feel my community’s pain, it is her voice I hear telling me what the right thing to do is. It may sound weird…reading this over, I even think it’s a bit wild. But that’s the plain truth. So today, I have a plan. A mission to go out of my natural comfort zone…a thing I end up doing when my emotions take over, and I am happy this happens to me. My natural instinct is to say “yes” whenever someone asks me to do something. (Admittedly to my detriment sometimes). But I can’t help it. When someone asks, my heartstrings pull towards that sense of nurture that is part of who I am. Then there is the voice of reason and action. It calls to me when there is someone who needs something. Today, I have a plan on how to appease this voice. Sure, it may be slightly awkward, sure it may take up an entire lunch break – but to maybe have a the opportunity to put a smile on someone else’s face? Or to hold their hand and let them know that there are people whom they can count on for support? That would be worth it.
We must work harder at being kinder and being better than we were yesterday.
Naturally we can’t be there for our friends all the time. We ALL have busy lives and must tend to our own before helping others, but I often think: what kind of example am I for my daughters? For my sons? I want them to see that even though I could be doing A, B, and C, I chose D, E, and F because it meant that I wasn’t the center of my life. It meant that I put others before me, and I know it’s not an easy task for some. I’ve been in that other place many times. When I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, and not have others influence me for bad or good, but it’s not the person I strive to be. I would like for my children and cherished loved ones to choose people in their lives who always want to be on the giving end, as well as be able to acknowledge and accept humbly when its our turn to receive.
Only one tear today, which for me is a big deal. Today, I’m listening to the voice of action and will be there for someone else, if only even for just a few minutes. Perhaps you can too.
When your Facebook feed is full of similar commentary it means one thing. It’s THAT big a deal. When people feel the need to share and pass on information it means that it was important enough to them to spread the word. They want the world to know whats on their mind. Today is all about Stella Frankl. Sure, its been a few weeks now of intermittent messages from Yarden keeping us all updated on the deteriorating situation, what the family needs and doesn’t need, but until today even though he begged us not to, there were some of us praying. Praying for Stella to be the holiday miracle of Chanukah 2013.
Yarden, her beloved, dedicated husband was begging us to pray for it to end, but I couldn’t do that, so I hope he can forgive me one day. I prayed that G-d have mercy on the family, that He deal with Stella in the most compassionate of ways, that her soul be taken when He is ready. But I never, not once, prayed for it to end quicker. I put all my faith in G-d thinking, knowing, believing that His decision is justified at all times though a simple servant like me can never begin to understand how the pain and suffering for those of us left behind is effectual.
So our beautiful, wholesome, cherished Star has breathed her very last breath. There are countless tears across the world today dropping down from red weary eyes, mine included. Now I understand why the word Shalom has three meanings. For those who don’t know, it means, hello, goodbye and peace.
The first time I met Yarden, he was looking lost (to me anyway, he probably knew where he was) and I introduced myself and invited the new family to a Shabbat meal. When they came to my teeny apartment, already jam-packed with toys and boxes and years of kids stuff/kitchen stuff/ it all faded away, as Stella’s smile and Yarden’s humor illuminated the space and so began a friendship that lasted 8 years and counting. Many gatherings at kindergarten shows, Sabbath and holiday meals, bar and bat mitzvahs, all the fun times! Then some of the more serious times. Almost 6 years ago, I was hospitalized. Stella made a visit to me with another close friend and I can not begin to even describe how amazing that visit was. I was in such a low place. Depressed and lonely and then there they were, no one else came to visit, other than my husband, and it was awful, truly awful…but that moment stayed with me always. Those 2 friends who made the effort to travel to an inconvenient location just to sit with me fills my heart with gratitude. The same shared friend visited Stella every week as she became bed-ridden. I tried to keep my distance and visited only twice. I felt that there were so many women wanting to be with her that I’d not overwhelm the family, I’d visit when she asked. And the last 2 times were priceless, filled with laughter and smiles.
This blow is so overwhelming. I posted many times to Facebook for people to pray for my friend. And they did. People spread out all over this world prayed and followed Yarden’s journey through reading his blog and now feel a part of what is missing in our lives as if they knew her. So many people have been affected and never once even met our dear friend Stella. I wish I could write more for there is still a lot to be said, just not with this many tears blurring my vision.
This did not just happen, by the way, this is my life, day-to-day. Small scenarios just like this one. Today, I felt like documenting it.
It is unfair, I tell you. One minute they were fine, the next bruised and stinking up the vegetable cabinet. The house, being closed up all day, incubated that stink so that when I came home and opened the door – booyah! I was hit with the most horrific smell that I could remember. I felt like retching. I felt like running. I felt ill. Why potatoes, why? Was it my fault entirely? I thought I left you enough air. I bought you with great intentions for mash, or to fry and even bake but you turned on me so quickly.
And such is my corny life. Moms, who work, need to – no make that, MUST blame other factors when things go wrong. On the one hand, everything is our fault but on the other, if I am to blame for one.more.THING I’ll go mad. Yes, I will. Legit mad, not like, oh, I broke my nail after a manicure, *sob*. Like red-faced, dragon-breathed, holy-cow-take-cover mad. And then just like that we’re back, smiling and having found inner peace/our happy place. As a newly married woman I recall a phone conversation with my sister-in-law (Please forgive me, I love you). She was pleasant – then crazy, screaming at one of her 10 (at the time) children, then back to pleasant. I thought her behavior was absurd – so Jekyll and Hyde. Then I had children and completely related. I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends deciding whose house we were going to commiserate at since our children were small and misery loves company, when I looked over and saw my 2 yr. old poking my baby’s eyes. So I started screaming something like, “that’s naughty – stop that right now!” (Yeah, like a 2-year-old cares – negative attention is just as good as positive at that age). 3 seconds later I came back to the conversation as if nothing happened – when it was her turn, “no, no, NO – do NOT spill the milk on my carpet!!!” And then she came back to the conversation with, “Anyway, so how fast can you get here?”
I often find myself wondering when something goes wrong, (oh, and by the way? that’s like every other five minutes). Was it me? Was it something I said? Or did? Or felt? Or thought? A look I gave? I look I tried to hide? Was it my breath? Did I even brush my teeth today? I often get distracted (not that I don’t think dental hygiene is extremely important). But, as you’ll probably connect here, moms NEVER get any private time. If I had more private time I could probably be more organized and avoid having things go wrong, Alas, it’s almost inevitable, the second that bathroom door shuts? Someone is wailing or whining or crying or banging or begging to see you. They NEED you. They have to have that conversation right at THAT moment.
Take 2. Children are such a blessing. They make some trouble for us entering the world and until they figure this life-outside-the-womb thing it’s a bit rocky, but then when all things have calmed down, they bring absolute joy to those lucky enough to be around them. Their cherubic angelic faces brighten the day with their toothless gummy grins and smelling like vanilla or lavender as we rub our lips over their precious fuzzy heads. They make us laugh when they try to stand and fall with a plop and slow-mo roll-over mid-air as their weight pulls them down. They lift our spirits when they make up words like “agaza” and you’re supposed to know that it means ceiling fan. Their make your chest swell with pride when they finally get down the hill on their bike without falling or getting the solo in the school concert or graduating or offering to help when no one asks.
And then, someone touched someone else. Heaven Forbid. Should THAT ever happen, here is the method I generally subscribe to and am convinced that until there is physical contact in a non-playful way – it’s a must use. It’s called conflict resolution. It’s something I learned in a particular college course, in one of the many business classes I took for Business Management that taught the topic of supervisor-subordinate mediation but works as well peer-to-peer. (I know that sounded super smart – sometimes I use the old noodle for more than remembering to make dentist appointments). I learned that wherever choices exist there is potential for disagreement. Throw kids in the mix, well – you’ll get sibling rivalry a lot! Knowing how to deal with a given situation when a disagreement occurs is a life lesson worth teaching. He did not HAVE to touch her – but of course he did. She did not have to have ketchup-breath, but of course she did. And this is how it begins, a he-said/she-said scenario with escalated voices and flushed cheeks leading up to an inevitable shove or push or kick or imaginary swipe of a fake light saber in the general vicinity causing tumult and wreaking havoc. (And breathe mommy, it’s almost bedtime). After giving these children an opportunity to sort out their differences in a safe and non-partisan area, using indoor voices, I promised French Fries to all who made amends. And it was quiet. Was it bribery or a reward? – Do I consult my last copy of Parenting circa 2010? All I knew is that it worked. And it was quiet…until I opened the cabinet and remembered there were no more potatoes. Dammit.
…blink my eyes/click my heels 3 times and be home.
…wear pajamas all day.
…”buy” whatever I wanted because in my fantasy life money has no value and we all contribute to society evenly.
…always have patience for those who question with obvious answers.
…avoid fattening foods all the time.
…forget that society DOES have an effect on my body image.
…run away sometimes.
…own a really cool car.
…travel with no lingering responsibilities.
…take the time to learn how to gracefully move my body, whilst “swimming”.
…pamper myself with manis and pedis weekly.
…get the nerve to shave off all my hair…just once…to see the shape of my head.
… eat Duncan Hines icing as a main meal.
But I can’t so I won’t…today. And probably not tomorrow. But perhaps one day when I’m rich (with money) and bored and feel like indulging myself. But let’s be honest – whose life am I thinking of? Certainly not mine or any other working mom I know who dedicates all her free time running from one school to another bringing forgotten lunches and gym shorts – that by the way – he didn’t.even.NEED!
Last night this mama spent 2 hours at a parent teacher conference listening with her absolute-serious-face on so that everything being told to her in a foreign language would be caught. Yeah sure I’ve been reading this language for all my life and speaking it for the last 10 years – on and off but listening to someone speak it at full-speed and understand it? That’s something else! This is dedication people…spending the 2 hours, where my brain generally shuts down, focusing all attention on something other than Project Runway, a major I’m-there-for-you-moment.
So – here is the bottom line.
I love my kids. I love them to bits and pieces. I will do whatever I can to help them be as successful as they can be. If I could just wear pajamas and pig out on Duncan Hines icing while driving around in a really cool car listening to Yanni – I would.
Well, I’ll be…
To quote the group Men At Work: “Last night I had the strangest dream” – only it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. As a guest at a wedding, I was overwhelmed by the sense that it was the makeup for the perfect prank and I was getting Punk’d. But the wedding was as real as the unique guest list that had people from my past and present converging all at the same place at the same time.
How often is it that in the same social environment you’ll have your:
Architect who designed your home
Student Adviser from the year abroad post-high school program
High school crush
Computer tech guy
ex-boss turned friend
lady that you were GOING to buy your wig from but didn’t in the end who the last time you saw was not married and watching our kids play on the same softball team together NOW married. – that one made me happy 🙂
It was really weird for me. But weddings are great like that, I guess.
But more than it being like an episode of the TV show, This Is Your Life, it was a— this is your ‘life moment’. To me there are a few ‘life moments’ that really get me all worked up, and while I was proud of myself for not crying, my chest swelled with emotion as I watched the bride and groom smiling at each other under the stars, then looking out to the sea of people invited to wish them well with the sun setting behind them. Watching the father of the bride glow with pride *and maybe trying to capture his own life moment* smiling from ear to ear, getting the crowd to clap along when the music got festive, and encouraging all those around him to dance. He even did cartwheels!
These are the things we forget when we go about our day-to-day lives. That glowing charge of lovey-dovey-ness because the kids got sick or we missed the bus, kind of gets lost until someone’s birthday or anniversary arises as a reminder – hey buddy – it’s time to buy roses and chocolates…or diamond bracelets or a fancy island weekend getaway. (I dream big). All I really wanted this year was a light that stayed on for the duration of the Sabbath that I could cover without causing a fire – and I got it, though there is nothing really romantic or lovey-dovey about it. Perhaps next year I’ll ask for that weekend getaway ;).
So, while I continue working days until 5PM, making dinners and bathing kids, switching loads of laundry, ignoring the sink of dirty dishes, helping kids with their homework and making doctor appointments, I realize that these labors of love are my life moments. Sure, they’re not all glamorama, but they are mine. Watching my kindergarten cutie on his third day of school made my chest swell with pride as he skipped up the ramp and waved goodbye. Watching him sleep, as I did with all my babies, gives me those goosebumps and kissing their warm necks as I wake them from slumber gives me that same gushy feeling. I just need to remember these moments when I see the wrinkles form around my eyes and the grey creep out at my temples for before I know it, there will be my own child-bride that I watch move to the next stage of her life.
I just spent the last hour cuddling with, kissing and hugging my children before bedtime. Now go and do the same. Make a mental note to create a life moment for yourself and a warm and fuzzy memory for them.
Uh-Oh…she’s using big words again!
What on earth am I talking about? Buckle up kids, here we go.
(Content) Optimization for localization means creating the very best most concise content you can by editing your work so that the client (or reader) gets what you’re saying. By creating better, easier, more readable content the person reading your blog will have a better experience and will more often than not return to read what you have to say.
- While I did not read all 167 pages of Sameera S. Ponda’s paper for MIT on Trajectory Optimization for Target Localization Using Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, she makes a great point which I’d like to connect to this article. Using on board sensors to these UAV’s used mostly for reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance missions – data is collected and the information is used to estimate a target’s location.
That is what I am talking about! I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we could place these sensors on people or in their brains so that we could gather up the intel and pinpoint the best way to sell them on our ideas? I can see how it would get sketchy and all big brother is watching though, so we are left to research other ways.
Knowing what will click with your readers or your clients is a key factor in writing a successful blog or having a successful business. If you are interested in achieving the best possible outcome, you need to understand what makes your target market (group of readers) tick, by researching all the factors that encourage or discourage your readers/clients. And while success is measured differently by each person, I can bet you one thing. If you want a definite, very specific outcome, you must know what it is you want to say and how to say it.
Gathering your thoughts and researching the habits of your clients (or readers) will give you the very best opportunity to edit and re-edit yourself so that you can catch their attention in the shortest amount of time possible. I want to apply this to parenting and how we talk or get our point across to our children.
Because I’ve been blogging for over a year…I am an expert…obviously (cough-wink-wink) so this advice is tried and true. I’ve created a few graphs and documented one dinner experiment, read fiasco and one Friday clean-up experiment, which resulted in a sore throat. Kids-1, Mom-0. Here are the results.
This is what I learned: Kids will listen when they receive something more than a command. Recognition, Appreciation, Encouragement. Candy. TV Time. Praise. By turning the clean-up-your-room tirade into a game of “Who can do it faster?”, the job got done. By offering a dessert and 30 minutes of movie time before bed-time, I was granted with quiet polite diners. By promising to read ONE (and only ONE – very.short.story) at bedtime, I was able to convince most little people to change quickly into pajamas, by themselves, and their clothing was placed in the laundry bins. Blogging is like that, it’s a give and take relationship. Give a reader what they want and they’ll praise you (isn’t that really what we all want?!)
So I asked myself…what do I really want? The answer was to be in a quiet house by 8PM. I had to find (by researching) a way they heard me best. I found out how to say what I wanted to say so that my target audience would respond and so I stopped, regrouped, and re-edited myself. I wanted them to listen. Bribery worked just fine for me (sorry, folks). Now, if only we can manage to create those sensors so we’d know when the tantrums would begin…
Aah, yes, reading the same paragraph over and over. I really hate that and yet – it happens way too often, but such is the plight of mothers the world over.
As much as I am truly enjoying the book I am currently attempting to read – it never fails that someone or something needs my attention and I am forever going back over the same paragraph and sometimes even the same sentence. Generally I am a fan of repetition. I think it provides a better understanding of whatever needs repeating. The only way to get better at anything is to go over it again and again.
Everyone knows that practice makes perfect. That’s why I don’t get upset when I am on a ‘diet’ and I eat a cookie or some french fries when there is a perfectly good peach or almond nearby. No matter how many times I begin my ‘diet’ I know myself better – but I also know I am willing to make a change, I am willing to try again and again and NOT beat myself up over it.
When Chubby was a young girl she was forced to take piano lessons. She hated practicing her scales and even though she knew it sounded lovely when all the right notes were hit, it pained her to practice. Until one day, her fingers flew over the notes so quickly that she was very pleased with the sounds she could make. The notes would reach the second floor of the house, smooth and melodious. Today Chubby knows that the reason she can type ‘fast’ is because her fingers glide over the keyboard as they once did over the ivories.
We need to take lessons from our past and be able to apply them to our future.
There are a few times in my life (so far) that I can point to and have that a-ha moment. I used to get upset at my mother if she gave me the finger – no not that one – the other one. The one that says, I know you are so impatient but you must wait until I am ready. Knowing that what I had to tell her was infinitesimally more important than whatever she was reading it would be excruciatingly painful to wait as I watched her eyes go from left to right over the pages of her book with the sad lady on the cover. You know the one, the lady with luxurious long fire-y red hair, her dress semi-exposing her ample bosom and a muscular looking male staring intently in her direction. What I failed to realize was that it was HER time, she was lost in another world and she KNEW, just always knew, that whatever I had to absolutely tell her immediately before my head exploded, could actually wait.
It was true most of the time.
I needed a pack of tissues. I couldn’t find my watch. I wanted to go to my friend’s house. I was hungry. I was itchy. I was tired. I needed her to test me on my spelling words…and so on and so on.
Now, as a mother – though I crave those few seconds I get to read – I always put the book down and never give my kids the finger. I may ask them to wait a minute – but in their world, I know how hard that is to do. Did I learn a lesson in patience ? Not then, no way no how. I learned adults can be mean (as seen from a 10-year-old’s perspective). What I really walked away with? I learned that not everything I say is as important to everyone that can hear me, I learned restraint.
Some of my Facebook friends may disagree with me, but then if you were not interested in reading what I had to say – why are we friends to begin with? At least half of those times, I walked away saying, “never mind, it doesn’t matter”. It did matter to me but clearly I got over it, *cough.
So even though it pains me to read the same paragraph over and over it would pain me more to think that my children thought I didn’t put them above everything else.
Finally, an official diagnosis. It’s not terrible, it’s manageable. But it’s a disease for life – which means she’ll have to maintain a serious diet…forever. That’s depressing – but people with serious food allergies deal with this all the time. I am thankful it’s not worse.
Basically my 8-year-old has been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. She is at stage 3 (there are only 4) and there is damage to her stomach lining. As it happens, I have at least 3 neighbor’s who have children also with Celiac’s disease so I’ll be going to them for recipes and support I imagine. The silver lining is the doctor said after a few months of adhering to the strict diet the damage to her stomach lining is reversible. She’ll start to grow and not be teased that she is a baby anymore because of her size (I hear growth is almost immediate after a proper diet is established). We all need to be tested as well, I fear another daughter will also be diagnosed as she is quite smaller than her peers – but at least they’ll do it together.
That was yesterday.
Today, after meeting with the psychologist from school, we have a final assessment that our 8-year-old is quite intelligent and has tons of motivation but she lacks in language skills, in both languages so she suffers tremendously in school. We are trying to get her into a new class, a smaller class so that she won’t get as lost or feel frustrated that she can’t keep up. The problem may be that even if she qualifies to be in the class, it may not be held at her current school, where she has her sisters to rely on when things are too much for her to handle. We’ll have to wait and see, if there are enough students in her current school to warrant a special class, then she wins. If the majority of students are from another neighborhood then she’ll need to switch schools to where the majority go. That makes me nervous. She’ll need speech therapy. She’ll need to read more books and play more language based games, we’ll try to make it as fun as possible, which means lots of extra TLC – lucky girl.
Lastly, she has a hearing problem. Well, well, well. No wonder she is not thriving in school! She has a belly ache half the time, she can’t hear what’s going on and when she can hear she doesn’t always understand. My poor girl.
We will be vigilant. We will see the speech therapist, the ENT, the dietician. I will enter the health food store, regardless of its funky barn-like stench, I will learn biology and what this really means so that I can offer her the best information and choices for her to flourish and blossom.
Another day, another hurdle. To add to this emotional roller coaster I started eating better myself. Tired of the roly-poly me, even though she is so jolly, Chubby is watching her weight and even exercising, alert the media! Just kidding, please don’t = even though I love watching The Biggest Lose (Australia) – I wouldn’t want to be a contestant. So even though I still have not surpassed that major desire to wolf down a sugar packet, I am making smarter choices and taking smaller portions, but I am still kind of cranky. I want to love healthy food…but I don’t. Not yet anyways. I know it will come, I know I need to keep the pantry stocked with better choices and the fruit and veg bin full at all times – this will help me from grabbing something I shouldn’t eat. Now that I’ll be consciously watching my daughter’s diet, I think this will help me overall as well. Fingers crossed people. The longest I ever stuck with any diet was a week.
This is gonna’ be one of those weird ones. I came across a great product – but I get that it’s not going to make everyone laugh. For us wig-wearers, this is a new-ish item. I absolutely adore it, but would never buy it for myself. A blinged out head for my wig. Glitz and glamour for my golden locks as they rest for the night…silly little trinket, even looking at it makes me happy. I like the shimmer and shininess of it. There is a whole line of colors and styles, just by clicking on the photo, you’ll feast your eyes on more.
I can just see it now, quick someone buy me the Bedazzler for when I am ready to retire to Miami and make my own rose designed sweatsuits. But in all seriousness, even as little girls we females like to bling things out. I can recall Chubby stuffing her ampleness into her Sergio Valente jeans with the bedazzled back pocket. Here, let’s go back in time.
There she was in her new Sergio Valente bedazzled jeans, round and round gaining speed on the corners at the local roller rink. She could do the hokey pokey with the best of them and even attempted to win the limbo contest. Her favorite was the corner game…remember the DJ would call out a number and you had to skate to the corner as quickly as you could? She was fast even though she was chubby. No one missed her, whizzing by with matching ribbons in her pigtails, she had a glitzed out back pocket but popped her trouser button when she bent too low one day…those were the days. Her mama should have started her on sweatpants then.
Anyhoo, there is just something about shiny items that women love. We’ve jazzed up our cell phones and their cases. Our clothing. Our accessories. Our jewelry. Our shoe-wear – (go Keds!) Our jean vests, or jean anything, hello! We’ve even gone as far as bedazzling our upholstered items like couch pillows. ( I think that may be overdoing it though).
I think this is a great gift, the mini Bedazzler. Not too expensive and the ad even says small enough to fit in your purse…you know, for those times, when you are in a need to bedazzle crisis, DUH!
We’ve bejewelled our fingernails. Our faces. Even Our Teeth!!! Not Joking – check it out. Seriously, I think we’ve all gone a bit mad. It’s one thing to like a little glitz and glam but it’s another thing to go over the top, spend lots of money on things that are above and beyond what is ‘normal’.
I remember once, wearing a gown that was so heavily beaded that it weighed me down and I found it hard to move and dance and truly enjoy myself (even though I l thought I looked A-Mayzin’…looking back, not so much).
Aargh – the list goes on and on. What have we done? Just btw – I REALLY like the car bling…
I am all over this look. I don’t know this fellow. I don’t understand why he is wearing this head-piece * at least I hope it’s a head-piece and not little gems hot-glued to his royal baldness. I feel like lots of women can get away with wearing a basic black dress and donning one of these coiffures with perhaps a little 20’s vibe – ya’know the curl at the ear. That’s all you’d need to dress up the look!
It could be a thing. I’m no trendsetter so you won’t see me sporting this look – but there is one thing I know. No matter what age we ladies are, from the beginning we are dazzled and amazed by shiny objects. They make us feel happy and so no matter what your business is people, if you cover it in glitter or hot-glue it with rhinestones (even though that was an epic fail for one dress-maker I had commissioned) you’ll have a product that will sell.
The last thing I saw was edible bling. Gross. People spraying gold or silver on doughnuts, pretzels, strawberries and chocolate. I wish I were joking. Way to ruin a good hot pretzel, huh?
All in all if there is one thing I learned from all my ‘research’ its that trends may come and go but one thing remains the same. Men, pay attention: WOMEN LIKE SPARKLY STUFF!!! ‘Nuff said.
She woke up early to get her children prepared for school, when she realized the older ones had off, her regular morning routine slightly altered she decided to cover up under the blanket, for just two more minutes. Thats all she wanted was two more minutes.
Time flew by, the children left with sandwich baggies of pretzels and apple slices as they shouted their goodbyes. She started to prepare her kitchen for the feast she was about to prepare. 2 bags of flour, check. 1 bag of sugar, check. Vanilla, salt, eggs, yeast, baking powder, potatoes, sifter, cutting board, knife, peeler, carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, check. She remembered she wanted to start a load of laundry while she let her yeast bubble. 10 minutes later, she returned to the bottom floor to find her husband sorting through years of a files that needed to be purged and reorganized. She watched him for a few minutes before calling out his name. He looked up and she wished him a happy anniversary. He smiled brightly and said the same. Fifteen years had gone by and they were still the best of friends, as if the wedding bells just tolled. Without the need for lengthy conversation she walked her way back to the kitchen to continue what she had started. She slowly sifted the flour thinking of her loved ones, the sick ones, the ones riding bikes, the old ones, the little ones, the ones lining up her streets to welcome back the rider cheering and whistling, and as she kneaded her dough and placed it to rest so it could rise she took a deep breath.
The day was filled with noise, mostly children’s chatter and looking at school projects and chasing runny noses with tissues. With the smells of the food emanating from the kitchen she remembered her rising dough. She removed the damp towel to see the air-bubbled-dough disappear when she punched it down. Then turning it onto a floured surface, she closed her eyes again, pulled off a piece to burn as is customary and said a small but powerful prayer as midday approached.
Again, she thought of her friends cheering the rider on, she thought of her sick friends and family, she thought of the sons that were called in as soldiers to act as agents sent to protect us from our enemies. Naturally she cried.
“The ingredients have skillfully been mixed together, and pliable dough has been formed. Amid the delicious aroma that has begun to envelop the kitchen, the woman of the home pauses for an introspective moment. She separates a portion of the dough and says the blessing. She then lifts it up and says, “This is challah.” This conscious act signifies her recognition that the dough, and by extension, all of our material success, is not simply a result of human effort, but is a gift from G-d.”
Later that day amid the mound of laundry she was folding, she thought of her daughter. Making all the preparations for her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah party she tried to remind herself the need to spend time with her on helping her write the speech. She reflected how the last 15 years went by. Trying to recall coming home with all those new babies, seeing them for the first time, having to care for them when the grandparents finally left. She thought about their first steps, the first time they tasted real food, the first time they said her name. Then she wiped away her tears with a laugh remembering how they bellow her name now from different parts of the house begging for her attention. The voices are clearer and deeper but they need her just the same.
After her shower when the house was settled and the men had left for their evening prayer service and her children were playing nicely downstairs she stood by her bedroom window just as she does every week after lighting her Sabbath candles. Looking up and down the block at all her neighbor’s dressed in their finest, walking to synagogue, she inhaled deeply. Then she looked out at the horizon as the colors of the sky started to blend into a beautiful rainbow.
“It’s been a long time”, she thought as she stood by her window listening to the sound of the siren warning all its inhabitants that they were under attack. The siren was loud enough, clear enough, but not sounding off in her neighborhood. She wasn’t nervous but she was alert, and was searching the sky for a sign perhaps a missile overhead or the sound of a loudspeaker with instructions, but there was nothing but the wailing siren. She stood ever so silently and then she heard the impact. Something nearby was hit.
She closed her window and ran down the stairs to see if anyone needed anything. No one even stirred because they were too intent on their game. She was only 18 years old the last time she heard that siren. Only then she went running up the stairs, sealed off in a room with her gas mask on.
This was not something new to her, it was almost as if she were ready. She knew that she was in the most protected place and that G-d was on her side. There were things in life that she could and could not control and this was one of those things she had no control over. She had learned the hard way that when there was something she had no control over to let it happen and hope for the best.
The rest of the weekend was quiet for her and her family, but not so in the rest of the land. She went on a date with her husband and the people about were doing what they would normally do on any given Saturday night in Jerusalem. That was surreal. The message was that they were not afraid. They put their faith in the Holy One. While her mind was still on those running for safety she was able to enjoy her freedom.
She looks forward to the day when all will be quiet and the land will be peaceful once again.
Mondays are generally rough, being the first workday of the week after a long nice restful or amazing party-filled weekend.
Here in Israel, we work on Sundays so you get why I’m bummed out. My day is going obnoxiously but it’s a good day in general for other people, today, my nephew is getting married. Hubby is abroad to enjoy the festivities…I was ready to leave the house with my little man, all geared for kindergarten when…drum-roll please…the booper doesn’t boop the car door open.
And here is a quick (haha) version of how today went:
Hmm, I thought to myself, that’s strange. So I opened the car door old-school – yeah, imagine that…by slipping the key in the lock. Popped the lock, put the key in the ignition, and nothing. No sound. Some lights on the dash, the oil can picture shows up…I try again. I boop, I enter the alarm code, turn the key and…nothing. I try to take the key out and…it’s stuck. So I jiggle the steering wheel figuring it’s probably just jammed but it wasn’t.
And so began the downward spiral that became my Sunday. Called some great friends who called the people with the battery and cables sticking out of it, he jumped me, well I guess I should rephrase that, jumped the car, got the battery going. We brought cranky-pants to school – he was upset we didn’t fly. Eh? Yes, my amazing and very cool tenant thought to discuss with little man about capes and whose is better, Batman’s or Superman’s while we waited for my friends to show, we’ve been talking about capes all day now, thank you very much. Followed my friends to the garage, got a ride with them to work…by 11ish. They were so cool about it. Realized I must have left my cell at home. Grrr.
Staff meeting called..at the mall, a lunch/power meeting. Yes! Jumped in the car with pals, got a great meal, could hear NOTHING going on at the meeting, was completely ADD, people watched, tried to follow the boss’s lips to see what topic we were on. I was exhausted from the morning’s events, totally could not follow what was going on plus the old overly tanned lady showing too much cleavage at noon sitting across from us had lots of jewels on that bedazzled in the bright light…totally getting myself checked out for ADD ><
Had an ice cafe at lunch, grabbed another on the way out. Tummy Ache, obviously. Car won’t be ready until tomorrow. I want to play hooky tomorrow but I won’t. I need to fold laundry now, but I won’t. Cranky-pants became pishy-pants on my bed. ON MY BED, thanks to Tom and Jerry, or maybe it was Little Einstein – we are loving them both equally right now thanks to YouTube almost as much as Bob The Builder (“because he wears da’ tools, mommy, da’ tools!” grabs my face, “see? da’ tools!”) Yes, yes, she nods yes, while smiling through gritted teeth while pulling off the stinky sheets. He asks ‘why Bob doesn’t has his cape’? I respond because he’s not a superhero, he fixes things. “Superman fixes things, he has his cape”…can’t argue with that…plan B- answer with a made-up outrageous response, but satisfies him…”Bob’s cape must be in the laundry”.
We then discussed many reasons why he can’t fly. He was not happy with me. But let’s be honest, what’s fair is fair – I wasn’t too happy with him and his incredible aim.
Chicken nuggets for all! YAY! With rice and peas as a side-dish! BOO! (but their secret is out, there were less peas left over than there was rice) YAY!
Bedtime – my eyes were so heavy, yet my tummy grumbled on. There were frantic phone calls from abroad, there were detailed phone calls locally, a few missed calls which may end in a good friend being drafted into the army. If you are reading this I AM SORRY IN ADVANCE!
There is one hour left to this day. For me at least. I want to treat myself and sadly and most pathetically, I think it’s just gonna’ be me shaving my legs – it’s the small things folks!
I am not sure I accomplished anything today – it sure doesn’t feel like it. No one went to bed crying, that’s a plus. My nephew is getting married probably around now so alls well that ends well I guess. (I think I used that phrase right).
If you’re still reading this you may be thinking there might be some funny line or great message…and of course, it would be rude of me to disappoint.
To all my tree-huggin’-nature-lovin’-crunchy-granola-bran-eating-friends…or just those of you who recycle…this product should interest you. Personally, I think it’s weird and even a bit gross and would NEVER buy it, but who am I to judge?
Happy Heineys is a brilliant company.
I mean that with my whole heart. Reusable diapers, that come in a variety of really cool and appealing styles and colors and even Glow-In-The-Dark options…anything that can glow in the dark is just cool. Using custom milled fleece (not sure what that means) and hemp (that definitely sounds sketchy) fleece.
What I love most on this site is this line: “Combined with proper night-time stuffing & proper lanolizing of our wool cover this can be a bullet proof system for most heavy wetters.”
SO MANY FUNNY LINES HERE:
1) “proper-night-time stuffing” – this aint no turkey, it’s a baby folks – how much effort should go into your poop collector?
2) “proper lanolizing” – are we waxing the floor here? Is that from the word lanolin=moisturizer -as in creme? Then why would they also sell Heiny Spray and a special Rash Remedy?
3) “wool cover” – poor babies, that’s a hot bottom!
4) “bullet-proof system” – nah nah nah, as a mom, the last word I want connected with my babies bum is the word bullet. Besides, how much is your baby drinking that you’d need a special lanolized and bullet-proof pee catcher?
Listen, I am all for saving the environment AND putting something cozy on my baby but sometimes, maybe sometimes, the 2 should not be connected. I’m not trying to rag on this company, this is not the only reusable diaper company there are A LOT of others! That is what’s weird.
While we’re on weird stuff for kids and the bathroom here is a product that I’ve seen a few times, and totally am against, but again, I get it. While I’ve had to use mall bathrooms and gas station bathrooms on occasion I know first-hand how icky they can be. I also agree that protecting oneself from germs is good, but my bother-in-law, a doctor, once mentioned that it was good for my baby to eat dirt…build up their immune system – and stuff. While I was appalled and grabbed my baby away from the muddy puddle, and because it was my first baby, I was upset by this idea, however, I understood the concept.
These Potty Mitts are taking it to another place – while keeping sanitary you’ll also possibly be creating that kid in kindergarten with OCD. How about the old fashion way and papering the toilet seat? USE THE RESOURCES YOU ALREADY HAVE, save some money and bring up a well-balanced child. Why stop at disposable mitts? Why not dress your child in disposable clothing? Hey consumers that this product appeals to…I have a secret for you…just like you wash clothing, you can wash your hands. Yeah, I know, it’s a crazy thought. Bring along a mini-sanitizer if you think you might touch something sticky or gooey throughout your day and you may be in a situation where there won’t be any soap.
You can always keep one of these in your purse/diaper bag/backpack/stroller. They’re weird, kind of creepy but is a constant visual to keep your baby’s hands germ-free.
Yes, those are soaps. Right? Kind of cute, but definitely kind of creepy. I think what’s most disturbing about these products is that here is more than one mold. The fact that there are at least 10 different options is what’s weird. But that’s just my opinion. Like it or lump it.
Last but not least – and as long as we’re on the subject…little kids love stuffed toys. Thinking of that perfect baby gift, wanting to be original? I would venture a guess and say it makes no difference when it comes to gender but I feel this may be taking it too far. Stuffed pee and poo toys. While I can respect the entrepreneurial success of the designer, who not only created this design but has since created a line of Pee&Poo items such as clothing and tattoos, I’d say it was in poor taste, though fairly marketable!
So kudos Emma – you go girl!
Tune in next week, I promise, it won’t have anything to do with poop.
I’m thinking weird holiday sale items since Rosh Hashana is around the corner!
That’s what the big-blue-eyed warm and fuzzy 4-year-old woke me up with today. Oh, sorry, you don’t speak 4-year-old?
This sentence still confusing you? All right then. My squishy-cheeked baby, not-baby, was beside himself this morning because some mosquito decided to feast on his thigh and …elbow, yes, elbow, last night. My poor child was so upset by this that he came to tell on it. Besides that this not-baby doesn’t enjoy being touched on his nakey (anywhere that is not covered by either hair or clothing), he despises bugs. He crushes ants when he sees them. He calls for us when there is a spider about . He even goes as far as screaming at the fly if he happens to catch him buzzing about.
I am no longer allowed to kiss those yummy cheeks even though I am a repeat offender. There are rules. I am not allowed to kiss his nakey, *sigh*. After the fact I get a stern reminder as he bows and points to the top of his head…visual aid mom, for the hearing impaired…helllooo, I said no skin, man!
Life with him is delicious, so I get it mosquito…I know first hand how tempting it is to want to take a bit. I am in love. It’s no secret. So the war is on. If one of us gets to bite his nakey – it’s gonna’ be me. I am gonna’ squash you like the bug you are if I catch you too, so there.
I see this is becoming a habit with me. Talking to dogs, talking to mosquitos…I’ll need an animal section for sure.
Anyway – this is just a quickie – wanted to share the delightful but sad conversation we had this morning. Reminding ourselves whats truly important. Children will come to you as the parent for love and compassion when they need it. It is our job to offer that love as often as they let us. Keep your eyes and ears open folks, it’s the little things like kissing away the boo boos even if they don’t like being touched on their nakey.
And this is how my day started. It is only 9:30 AM and already what you see above you is the visual of ugly moods thanks to a chain of events that led me down a mean and nasty road.
Generally I don’t post a daily – what happened to me today- type blog. However, since I am certain that no work will be accomplished until I let out some unhealthy angry feelings, by writing out, I figure I better get started.
Here is how it went down:
6:00 AM My husband woke me up to tell me he was really sorry about forgetting to give me an important phone message, which was to check my work email about a sensitive topic that my boss was waiting for my response. That was yesterday around 6PM. Oops. So I opened the laptop, checked the email and realized it was sent out to the masses anyway. Nothing I could do.
6:30 AM Started waking up the children for school, 2 wet their beds, changed sheets, cleaned them off while grumbling about the level of laundry due to soiled linens, made my way downstairs to prepare lunches.
6:45 AM Climbed back upstairs to check on everyone, 1 still asleep, 1 sitting, staring into space, half-dressed, 1 whining about not finding the “right” underwear. Another claiming simply she could not go to school because she had nothing that matched. Sidenote: She often chooses to wear polka dots with stripes of all colors and layers. Lately though her “thing” is all about being monochromatic. Top and bottom need to both be solid and the same color.
7:00-7:30 AM I am angry already. Not screaming angry, frustrated angry. Begging children left and right to hurry so they don’t miss the bus. Desperate search for separated shoes, fights over who gets which hair accessories, baggies with pretzels, cheese toasts wrapped in foil, corn-flake crumbs flying, a mound of apples slices waiting to be packed up are part of the last minutes before I hear, “BUUUUUUUS” – screaming I say “hurryhurryhurry”.
7:32 AM She refuses to leave the house. She has not stopped crying and complaining about EVERYTHING. From underwear to food, from hair style to water bottle. I panic. Am really angry this time, saying the bus is coming down the hill, toss a container of cottage cheese with a spoon in her bag and start rushing her to the door.
7:35 AM She turns crying and screaming at me that she needs a tissue. She walks ever so slowly to the bathroom. I am livid, begging, pleading, screaming about the unfairness, the lateness, the struggle that this morning has become. She walks out as I hear the roar of the bus. I grab her hand and say “this is rushing, the bus is at the stop you need to move extra fast now”. Her reaction was volitile. KABOOM. Did she let me have it. Screeching about my meanness, how awful I am and that she HATES COTTAGE CHEESE!!! Crying and screeching all the way down the stairs, to the bus stop.
The bus is already headed up the hill. I can hear her crying from across the street. She sits there making me feel guilty.
7:42 AM 2 children return, I beg them not to talk to me. I walk up the stairs, slow defeated steps.
8:00-8:30 AM Change the loads of laundry, fold some clothes try to remain calm. Get dressed and head downstairs to prepare the last 2 lunches. Putting away all extra baggies, wiping down the counter from peanut butter marks, sweeping the floor of corn-flake crumbs, I mumble the majority of the time cursing the mess. (Knowing it’s a blessing in disguise).
8:35 AM Drop off The Baby
8:45 AM Writing late notes in front of the school, waiting for them to exit. All is good, smiles and kisses, inner rage on the back burner until this idiot-woman decides she can turn around in the drop-off lane blocking both flows of traffic.
9:00 AM Not sure why, but even the red light makes me angry – fists up to the sky. Take the scenic route to calm my nerves. 120 km feels good.
9:15 AM At work. Need to just sit with a cup of coffee and breathe. Clearly too much to ask for. Returned the milk pitcher to the fridge, shut the door, hear dripping, opened the fridge door, milk everywhere. Every crevice, every shelf, under the fridge. nonabsorbent paper towels just move the milk in circles, clean up is a slow torture. Smelly milk hands. Turn water on to wash them, too much pressure, water all over my shirt. Soap plug is stuck, I pull harder, concentrated green gloop splashes all up and in my sleeve. Wash and rinse off my sleeve.
And that brings me here, typing with a soggy, stretched out sleeve cuff, a damp bodice and a cup of coffee that no matter how many cookies there may in the world to dunk in it, may not be enough to make me feel better. Who said you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk? I think if you want to, you should cry if you think it will make you feel better.
A steady flow of students enter and need attention, a great distraction until I get a phone call around 10:30 AM. A phone call that will hopefully change the pattern of the day, a phone call with an amazing opportunity. I left the office at 11:30 AM to meet with Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, distinguished rabbi, philosopher, teacher and author, to sit and work together with the Rosh HaYeshiva a brilliant Talmid Chacham. Just epic. BOOM! Silver Lining. In.My.Face. We sat and talked and worked side by side, truly a surreal experience and I finally returned to the office around 1:30 PM. Just as I was getting close to the office, I saw an opportunity to help a friend, carrying a cumbersome but not heavy load and offered them space in my car and a short ride to their final destination. Small kindnesses, offering help to others, will give you a sense of positivity and enhance your personal growth. What an incredible afternoon! I was busy for the next 4 and a half hours straight before I shut down my computer…realizing that I did not save the last edited version of this post. Ugh, the roller-coaster of emotions, as I got stuck in serious traffic, walking into the house at 7:00 PM crunching on what I imagine were more corn-flake crumbs on the floor.
9:20 PM Last slam of the door. Last warning to children still making too much noise. Last load of laundry until tomorrow. Knock on my bedroom door. In walks a child in tears. There are good days and there are better days. There are sad days and there are happy days. Today, we are not happy.
10:00 PM We hash out what the problems are, wipe away their tears, all the while thinking: small kindnesses…helping others. I have the opportunity here to grow as an individual. Sure, I JUST want to relax. But it’s not about me. I am a mom. Which reminds me, I never put away the pizza. UUURGGRGGGGhhh, down the stairs….crunch crunch, has anyone seen the broom?!?
Heh? Yes, you read that right. PSHEWING. It’s a sound word like shhh, or bzzz. “pshew-pshew”! He sat behind me in 5th grade and that is the sound I heard all the time. There was a constant inter-galactic battle behind me and he had perfected the noise I imagine these types of ships make. Yeah, of course I had seen Star Wars like every normal kid in the 80’s but I never re-enacted the scenes.
This yellow and white fighter plane/ship (star-fighter?) is actually one that I bought for my 4 yr old. It is a transformer like toy – which I LOOOOVE. I really like a 2 for 1 deal. Even though I never figure these toys out I am constantly trying. I feel like saying to my boys, “wait 2 more minutes, I’m not done playing”, it’s like a never-ending puzzle! Too bad I’m not vlogging. I’d love to be able to hear what I used to hear. “phew-pshew!”
As a 5th grade girl, sometimes these fake fighter-planes read his erasers and pencils would accidentally knock into my pigtails or head and make me turn around, after asking him to stop repeatedly with no response. Naturally, poor Harold would be surprised, he was slightly deaf and didn’t hear me getting upset or requesting him to stop. He’d spoken with a slight quirky facial expression and always apologized. He was so sweet and innocent, in his own little battle-world ’til Chubby swung around disrupting him. Now, of course, he is well respected in his field and has children of his own so he turned out AoK.
Today. I have 2 boys. One is 12 and the other is 4. The Boy and the Baby. The Boy has been pshew-pshewing as long as I can remember and it has driven me absolutely bonkers! The Baby now has (partially thanks to me) the amazing BTL-B Y-wing star-fighter (featured above)-found out it’s name here, no joke. I am constantly surprised at what I can find on the internet.
He has since been pshew-pshewing. The battles never end. There are Fisher Price Little People that get wounded, Lego Hans Solo can usually defeat Hasbro Darth Vader but never when there is a fleet of green plastic army men covering the ground. Tunnels and trains, and cars, trucks and planes – all demolished before the battle comes to an end. But never the flight of the star-fighter, it pshew-pshews all throughout the battle. I have even managed to turn it into a verb, like how the world says “Google it”, I’m constantly saying, “ENOUGH PSHEW-PSHEWING!” or “There will be no pshew-pshewing at the dinner table”.
All that having been said. I am all for children using their creative energy and imagination, even if it destroys my living room. I saw this statement in an article entitled, “The Power of Magical Thinking” which discussed how research showed the importance of imagination in children’s cognitive development: ” Imagination is necessary for learning about people and events we don’t directly experience, such as history or events on the other side of the world.” (Right this paragraph makes me sound smart? I happen to be wearing my smarty-pants today). While I have met people that resemble Yoda, short and wrinkly with funny speech patterns, not green- I get it. I get why it seems appealing to little boys. For girls it’s like playing the dancer or the princess. It is important to unplug your children today from their iPads, iPhones, Wiis and what-nots and encourage their inner hero to overcome the Sith and save the Galactic Republic.
Yes, I can hear my inner nerd – sorry.