Monday, February 28, 2011

Miracle at Preschool

In December of last year, I wrote about Will's serious case of stage fright. He was petrified of "performing" in his school's music programs. And today, was his last preschool program.

We thought that this program would be pretty similar to all the others. He would walk in. You would see the fear take hold. He would climb on stage. You would see him fight the tears. He would trample several smaller children in his attempt to seek freedom. You would pay several thousand dollars in medical bills. You know, the usual preschool music experience. But, today.... ahhhh today.... it was different.

Today Will stayed on stage. Today Will stood firm. He was brave. He was committed. He was pissed.

In case you don't know... he is the one in the front row, far left in the orange t shirt cursing my name and punching the air. Here's a close up.... the pixelwhatsos get weird, but the face is unmistakeable.

Will didn't sing a syllable and he didn't do a single gesture (of the choreographed variety), but he stood there. He may not be Elvis, Fred Astaire or that floppy haired Bieber guy, but oh my Lord Almighty, he stood there. Amen to that!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Great Expectations

Yesterday was Tabbi's birthday, and I am confronted yet again with the challenge of teaching an old dog a new trick.... and that new trick is the act of gratitude. I don't know how you instill something at 12 years old that should have been ingrained in her since birth, and I find myself with less patience about it than ever before.

In this case, it is the difference in her expectations between her mother and us. Her mother celebrated her birthday with her on Saturday, and the gifts given were considerably less than what occurred here. I am not condemning that fact, either. They do what they can afford, and that is enough. I am not an overboard birthday person, and I don't see going into the poor house just to keep up with the Joneses. I say screw the Joneses and the recipient ought to be grateful that people love them enough to do anything. But, in our case.... it is never enough. Our thought isn't what counts at all.

I cooked Tabbi a birthday dinner of whatever she requested. She asked for steak. Steak she received. Then, she made the comment of, "whatever, we're just eating steak or something at home." Uh... didn't I go out and buy nice steaks at your request? And I bought her a giant cookie for dessert. She isn't a cake person, so I thought the cookie was great. Still birthday-ish with candles and writing, but not cake. She proceeds to tell me that she asked her mom for a giant cookie and her mom said no. I didn't even know that, so I am thinking jackpot! I hit the ball outta the park with this one!!! Then, she said that I should have known that she would want ice cream instead, and why couldn't I just get her what she wants? Hmm... my homer just went into foul territory. Uh... because I was trying to do something special. The list could go on and on.

I know that part of the problem is her age, and I have to add that to a heaping serving of "her mom can do no wrong"... but the reality is, I don't want her to think her mother's birthday was wrong. But, I want ours to be right, too. So far the only thing she seems generally pleased about were her gifts, but it is the effort I want her to be grateful for. I want her to be grateful for the party tonight, not bickering because she wants me to take her and her friends to Outback Steakhouse instead of Applebees. I don't want the fact that I am cooking a french toast dish for breakfast instead of buying Dunkin Donuts to be something she gets to be irked about. I want her to be glad that we're doing anything at all. Because at her mom's, that is all it takes. Mention the event and Tabbi is pleased... but here.... our expectations are just unreachable, and I gotta tell ya, I am not going to kill myself trying.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Feelin' It

I just called Mark and asked if he could come home from work early. He said that he probably could, and I said, "Great... Like now?" The sad part is, I meant it. I don't know what it is about this stay home mom gig, but there are days where the task is just too daunting to face. Today is that day. I usually don't know why I hit a parenting wall, but today I have some guesses.

1. I went out with the girls last night. I was home by 10:45, so it wasn't a late night or anything. But, I strategically made my exit when Will dumped his glass of grape juice all over himself and his dinner. I find this morning that the spill is still waiting for me on the floor. This could be why I am not feeling it.

2. I thought I put my favorite jeans in the dryer last night. I didn't. In fact, my favorite, second favorite and even 4th favorite once removed jeans are in the washer. Wet. And so I am wearing my brown cords that show my butt crack and are too short. This could also be why I am not feeling it.

3. Cat. Vomit. On. The. Carpet. This could also be why.

4. Cat. Vomit. On. The. Carpet. That. Jack. Just. Walked. Through. This could also be why.

5. In the few minutes that I spent playing Zuma Blitz (oh, how I love that game) in an attempt to un-funk myself, Jack managed to completely dump the following: tool bag, big bin of match box cars, Mr. Potato Head bin and a load in his pants. Our speech therapist comes in T minus 25 minutes. The fact that I have to clean the playroom before I have even had a Diet Coke could be why I am not feeling it today.

6. The cleaning people came last week, and you can't tell. That could be why.

7. In the time it took me to write this blog (which has been 7 minutes), Jack has repeated "I want a cheese slice" 62 times, getting exponentially louder with each time. That could also be why.

8. My last pair of clean socks are too big and keep slipping down my heel and the toes are twisting so that the seam is under my feet. That could be why, too.

9. I would go barefoot, but I have no pedicure to speak of, and trying to clip toenails with a broken hand makes for one jagged little mess of feet. That could also be why.

Usually I have these moods and I don't have such tangible reasons as to why. Today, I know exactly what I need to right in order to turn my frown upside down. But, just because I know what I need to do doesn't make doing it seem any better. And seriously... what part of "come home now" did Mark not understand???

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The ABCs of Me

I think I have done myself and those who know me a disservice. For some reason, I am currently viewed as a totally different person than the one I really am. So, I am going to take a moment to let some people get to know me.

You see, I received a ridiculously passive aggressive email the other day, and was sort of shocked by it. In my past life, (when I worked and I dunno... wore shoes on a daily basis) very few people tried to pick a fight with me. Not that I am some tough guy, because Jersey Shore drunken pugilist I am not, but I stand up for myself. I don't back down. And, I am quick with the words. I don't just cower in a corner if someone comes out swinging (verbally... physically swing and I would put a Jamaican sprinter to shame). If someone comes out passive aggressive, I tend to skip the passive and go straight to aggressive. I am not touting these as admirable attributes, because they're not. But, this is me. Nice to meet you.

This is the last of a string of passive aggressive communications that I have received from this person. I blame myself, really, because I try so hard to just be nice(ish). I am polite. I have great manners (when I choose to) and I guess this person isn't close enough to me to know the temper underneath the pleases, thank yous and polite waves. Maybe I should show my annoyance with people sooner, so they aren't fooled into this false perception of me. Maybe when I received the first edition of snark, I should have just "Lynned" her back. But, I didn't. I stayed polite. I stayed professional (if you will) and in some regard, just faked my way through all future correspondence. Until this one.

I am not going to get into the topic of this email exchange or who it was with, but let's just say I was no longer the wimp that this person mistook me for. I responded, and responded with vigor, and a hint of vitriol. I am not proud of the email that I wrote (actually, it was pretty good), but I am not proud of the impression that I must leave people with either. While I wasn't thrilled that my nickname at my former place of business was "Luci" for "Lucifer" since I was so mean, I like to think that my dark side is used in proportional responses only. And I think I would rather be seen as someone strong and self reliant than a weakling that can be goaded, guilted or harassed into subservience. I may not be Satan incarnate anymore, now that I find my time spent dealing with my kids as opposed to challenging bad employees.... but that didn't morph me into a door mat either. I am something in between. I am a cupcake baker, no-shit taker. That is me. It's nice to meet you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

In the December 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine (yes, I bring new meaning to the words "day late and dollar short"), there is a compilation of quotes from famous people on things they are grateful for. Some of them are funny, like microwaves so kids can be fed in 3 minutes or less and root touch-up home hair dye kits... but one was pretty profound.

Maya Angelou (of course, leave it to her to be all meaningful and crap) said that there was a time in her life when she was just plain ol' depressed (although she may have stated it more eloquently than I just did). A vocal coach of hers noticed her lack of oomph and said to write down things she is grateful for. She couldn't think of anything. His advice, "write down that you can hear me say 'write down' and think of the millions who cannot hear the cries of their babies.... Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of the millions on this planet who cannot see the smiles of their growing children...." Angelou finishes the blurb by saying to this day, she remains in "an attitude of gratitude." And I've decided that I want that.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I tend to be a little sarcastic. I am cynical. I am snarky. I dare say sometimes I am downright mean. (Insert comment about how I pick on Sarah Palin here.) While I am comfortable with my abrasive personality (sometimes), I wonder what it would be like to just be content. Instead of fretting (yes, I said fret) about going through Jack's poo to find the nickel he ate on Saturday night, I can consider myself blessed that he didn't choke on it. Instead of lamenting the pile of laundry that seems to be growing in the wrong direction (much like my waistline), I will be glad for the fact that we can afford the clothes we wear to keep us warm (and stop from scarring small children if we walked around naked) and that we can afford a washer and dryer in our home to clean it, and that my lack of success in the laundry department comes directly from the full lives that keep me and the kids busy all day (even if it is just playing trains in the playroom). I am going to make an effort once a week to use this blog for good, instead of evil, and share in Maya Angelous's attitude of gratitude. I can be a good person, too. (Even if it's only once a week).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pee Pee In The Potty: A Diary (The Sequel)

Back when it was Will's turn to abandon the world's most portable potties, I wrote a blog post about how the first day went. I had no idea what I was doing and logged in my wins and losses throughout the day. Today, I find myself having deja vu as I am about to start the wee wee war again... and this time, with a kid 100 times more stubborn than the one before. I am armed with candy and sticker charts, and I go into battle steadfast in my desire to rid my home of diapers after 4 and a half years of wiping squished poo off of tiny butt cheeks. Insert profound war or sports movie speech here, and wish me luck.

9:03: It begins. Taking Jack to the potty for the first time... and his response, "No.... no no no no no no no no no......" Off to a great start. We go in, after much threatening he sits, we read a book, he sits.... no pee pee appears. But, he sat. He's wearing underwear. He seemed pleased with his sticker on the chart and knows he gets candy from his prize box if he goes potty... so we're heading in the right direction. I hope.

10:02: We enter the bathroom with a pair of Thomas the Tank Engines full of a load he never wanted to carry! Apparently setting the timer for 40 minutes didn't matter, because he number 1ed and 2ed before we went in. Still... he sat on the potty. Baby steps, right?

10:47: Jack runs into the room "Mommy, potty" and points to the wet spot on his grunders. So, good news is that he is telling me now that he's wet. Bad news, he had emptied his entire bladder on the chair prior to telling me.

10:55: As I type the last entry, Jack wets his new grunders. WE WERE JUST IN THE POTTY!!! Contemplating admitting defeat and it isn't even noon.

11:08: PEE IN THE GRUNDERS. POTTY EMPTY. Losing mind...

11: 09 - Now: Jack is managing to coat every inch of this house in pee. Oh wait... not in every inch... the potty is empty!!!

11:48: Jack stayed dry for 30 seconds. Yay for him.

12:12: Jack is still dry. Hasn't peed anywhere, including the potty. Putting him in a Pull Up so I can go and shower. Hoping he'll still be dry. Certain he'll be wet as wet can be.

You may notice that nothing changed after 12:12. That is because after I was finally able to shower AT NOON, we proceeded to the doctor's office (with Jack in a Pull Up so I didn't have to explain to other parents why he was hosing down the joint) and find out that his severe ear infection came back with a vengeance. So, after careful consideration (including my mom's permission), Jack's potty training is on hold until next week. He spent the better part of the afternoon crying about his sore ear, so I decided to cave a wee bit (pun intended). So, stay tuned... potty training will commence when Jack and I have both fully recovered.