I’ve been MIA since hurricane Sandy hit our town hard. It’s a miracle I’ve found a small pocket of service. If this goes thru, tell my mom I love her.. No i’m kidding.. We’re fine, we just don’t have power for who knows how long! Anyway, enough about me. This week is Pay It Forward week on blogger idol. Our assignment was to pick 4 blogs we love and highlight them. If you want to see who I picked, go to www.writersarenewrockstars.blogspot.com
Hopefully, I’ll be up and running again soon. Power to the people! Really, people, someone get me power.
Monthly Archives: October 2012
*This was my Blogger Idol Essay #4, just in case you voted (of course you did!) but was too busy to read. The assignment was to write about my family as super heroes. Oh, and we had to use the words Ukulele, Horse and Frazzled. I’m going to post BI assignment #5 later, as soon as I get it together. 🙂
I’m still in the game! Thank you guys for supporting me. I’m already hard at work on my next assignment (#6). You can see it and vote on Wednesday…
The Adventures of Superrrr Helpfulll Mommmm…..
It is an ordinary day in the small town of Sport Sloshington as Super Helpful Mom quietly tip-toes down the stairs. She wants to get an early start packing lunches for school and making breakfast. Plus, there are dishes and laundry that need to be done. She heads into the dark, quiet kitchen and flips on the light. AAAAaaack!! Someone is sitting at the kitchen table! “Oh my God, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats! You scared me!”
She gets busy, packing Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats’ (BWNSABE) lunch first because all he takes is milk. Next, she flips the laundry and places breakfast on the table. She is about to cut apple slices when she feels a resisting hand on her arm. It is Safety Patrol Dad. “Knives are dangerous!” he warns. She carefully places the knife down, and instead, bites the apple skin off like a squirrel and cuts chunks with her helpful front teeth.
As she works, something small and strong wraps itself around her leg in a vise grip. It’s her 4 year-old son, Cling Boy! Super Helpful Mom walk/drags him over to the table and uses his secret weakness to successfully detach him – her iPhone. As Cling Boy grabs the phone to play, she places him in his seat.
She turns at a gust of air. BWNSABE is back at the table, licking the cover of the butter tub like a cat.
“Er, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats, can I get you some toast?”
He shakes his head no and continues licking.
Just then, her oldest son schleps into the kitchen, leaking socks, candy wrappers and crumpled papers. His shirt is backwards and inside out, he has one sneaker on and his hair simultaneously stands straight up and falls down over his eyes. “Good morning, Disaster Dude.” She kisses his head and her lips touch something hard. She pulls out a lego figure tangled in the mess. “Hey, I think you forgot something.”
Disaster smiles and sits down. She helpfully forks eggs into his mouth.
“Okay, gang.” Safety Patrol Dad announces as he unplugs the coffeepot and then the toaster. “I’ve got an early meeting at work.We leave in 12 minutes for the train.”
Super Helpful Mom forks the eggs in faster. “Mom! Too much!” Disaster gags.
Like lightening, Safety Patrol Dad is on him, throwing him over his shoulder and pounding on his back!
“Dad! You’re killing me! I’m not choking!”
“Glad to help, son!” Safety Patrol Dad booms. “Now let’s move! Daddy has a train to catch.”
Finally, they all settle in the car. “Seat belts!” Safety Patrol Dad orders.
“I forgot my backpack,” Disaster says. “… and I, uh, volunteered to bring in cupcakes today.”
“No problem!” says Super Helpful Mom. She jumps from the car and races back to the house.
“Be careful!” screams Safety Patrol Dad, as Super Helpful Mom hurdles over scooters and baseball bats scattered across the lawn. In the house, she quickly finds Disaster’s back pack and eyes the cake mixes in the cabinet. There’s just no time!!! They will just have to stop on the way to school. Super Helpful Mom notes the dishes still in the sink. “Oh, why can’t I be more helpful?” she sighs.
In seconds, Super Helpful Mom is back in the car. Four minutes till train time. Safety Patrol Dad takes off. And then he stops for a full three seconds at the stop sign. They’re off again – and then stops for another three full seconds. Off again. Stop. Off again! Stop!
“We’re never going to make it!!!!!” Super Helpful Mom cries, totally frazzled! “Please let me drive!”
But Safety Patrol Dad wags a finger. “You know you drive too fast.”
Amazingly, they pull up to the station just in time, but there’s trouble across the street – a group of blind, old ladies are walking straight towards a construction site! And there’s a school bus full of children headed right at them! The bus driver is talking on his iPhone and not paying attention!
“Holy Ukulele! We must save them!” Safety Patrol Dad shouts, and he and Disaster Dude leap from the car (after coming to a complete stop and activating the vehicle’s hazard lights). Disaster runs to the construction site, and in one swirling mass, litters piles of dirty clothes into the dangerous open road. Within seconds, the old ladies safely fall into the soft cushion of mess that Disaster has spun. But, wait! The school bus filled with children is still heading straight towards them! Safety Patrol Dad looks both ways, and then jumps in front of the ladies. “STOP!” he yells, using his super megaphone voice; but the bus driver is deep in his conversation and does not hear!
Disaster Dude hurls crumpled homework papers at the bus to get the driver’s attention, but it is no use! The bus keeps coming!
Using his Super Safety Powers, Safety Patrol Dad mind channels the number of the bus driver’s cell and quickly dials. The bus driver clicks over.
“LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING!” Safety Patrol Dad yells, and the stunned driver looks up just in time to screech to a halt!
Whew! That was close!
But wait, now the train is about to leave! Super Helpful Mom needs to help! She runs with little Cling Boy and sets him loose on the conductor. He quickly latches himself to the man’s body. The train conductor is polite but appalled, and tries unsuccessfully to pry the child from him.
“Thanks honey,” Safety Patrol Dad says, coming up next to Super Helpful Mom. “Cling Boy, look what Daddy has?” He flashes the iPhone he confiscated from the bus driver. Immediately Cling Boy detaches and reaches for the phone and his mom.
There is a whoosh of air. “Forgot your briefcase, Dad.”
“Thanks, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats! You’re a lifesaver.” With another whoosh, BWNSABE is gone. “We really have to get him a better name,” Safety Patrol Dad whispers to Super Helpful Mom.
The train gets off only minutes behind schedule.
They return to the car where BWNSABE already sits, quietly licking the leather of his seat. “Good job team!” Super Helpful Mom cheers. “Next stop cupcakes!”
From the departing train, Safety Patrol Dad’s megaphone voice echoes out to them. “Watch out. There’s a nut allergy in the class!”
“I don’t eat cupcakes.” BWNSABE says.
“You don’t eat anything!” Disaster Dude teases and they drive off laughing.
“Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha!”
Tune in next week and you’ll hear Safety Patrol Dad say, “Hey, don’t walk behind that horse! It’s dangerous!”
Hey there all – unbelievably I am still in the contest for the next Blogger Idol! This week’s assignment was to get on my soap box and rant!!
I wrote about our “everyone wins” culture and the values it teaches our children..
Check it out and if you like – (i’m kidding, like it no matter what – ha ha) VOTE – from as many IP Addresses as you can.
I’m not the judges favorite, so i definitely need your support. Pretty Pretty please… With ice cream on top???!!!!
Click here…. www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I so appreciate your support. You’re the sweetest!!!
“I didn’t do it,” my middle son looked at me with over-sized cartoon eyes swearing his innocence.
“He’s lying, mommy,” my oldest shouted in frustration. “He did do it!”
I rolled my eyes. As usual, I had no idea who was telling the truth and who was lying. They are such skilled manipulators, that I don’t even think they know what the truth is; they are just so intent on proving the other wrong and winning, which, of course, is the most important thing.
It’s like, well, it’s just like the Presidential Debate I watched last week.
Do they ever answer any questions?
Moderator – How exactly do you do plan on improving the economy, Mr. Romney?
Romney – Well I appreciate that question and I’d love to get everyone jobs and I’ll be getting everyone jobs because there is nothing I’d rather see. So you see, that’s what I’ll be doing. It’s my job to get you jobs. Heh, heh.
Obama – I am not just talking about getting jobs, I have been getting you all jobs as you can see by all these statistics that I’ll grossly exaggerate as I nod and smile real smart and presidentially.
Romney – You haven’t been getting any jobs, just ask that woman Mrs. Joann Redizzio of Wakaramazoo, Mississippi. She hasn’t had a job in over a year. And ask Mr. Stewart Gorrreno of Mercy, Ohio. I know these people. And Mr. Obama you are not getting them jobs.
Obama – Am too.
Romney – Are not!
Obama – You have NO plan how to get anyone jobs.
Romney – I have a five point plan!
Obama – I haven’t seen you make any points. You know what I’m saying America!
Romney – I’m just going to keep pointing this finger at you – Five Times until someone asks a new question.
Moderator – Can you be more specific on your plan, Mr. Romney?
Romney – I can be very specific about the specifics that I’ll be specifically speaking of. I just want to be clear about my specificity of the specifics.
Obama – You’re not saying anything.
Romney (Point! Point!) – You didn’t say anything about Benghazi!
Obama -I did!
Romney – You didn’t!!
I roll my eyes. They’re little kids in expensive suits playing a game of “My daddy’s stronger than your daddy!” What do we really learn in the debates anyhow? Certainly, nothing about the issues. It’s kind of like watching my addictive Housewives shows; just good TV, with the purpose of putting on the drama to keep all those people with short attention spans entertained. Will Romney put extra grease in his hair? Will Joe Biden smile inappropriately or throw out an F-bomb? Will Obama’s head fall off from all the bobbing? How will they answer all those questions without answering a single one? And that’s what it all comes down to. A lot of posturing and a lot of show with no tell. Because when the only goal in someone’s head is winning, the truth gets lost in the battle.
I hear my boys arguing in the other room. I go, as I am required to do by law, to break it up. It’s the same old game.
“What happened here, boys?” I ask and they both point a finger at each other and start screaming heatedly at once. I nod. Well, of course, now it all makes perfect sense.
*This was the essay I almost used for this week’s Blogger Idol assignment. Go to www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com now to see the one I did use and VOTE. 🙂
The best writing and stories are always at Yeah Write!! http://yeahwrite.me/80-open
I just did it moments ago. I do it every Friday morning. It’s generally before 7 am and I’m naked. I pee first, then close my eyes and mentally prepare. I tell myself, “It’s going to be good. It’s going to be okay.” Then, cringing with fear, I step on the scale.
No, I’m not going to tell you what it says. I may be confessional, but I have boundaries, people. But honestly, the number doesn’t really matter (except to me of course, where it HUGELY matters), what matters is how my entire mood changes by 7:01am. Depending on that flat glass surface with a digital screen, I’m either fabulous or frumpy. Happy or miserable.
Friday after Friday, I’d cringe, exhale as much breath out of my body and step. Often, the number is happy, smiling up at me. But lately, it’s been two to three pounds up – and when it’s up, I am most certainly down.
Three pounds may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me, or to anyone in my house who has to deal with my cranky, fat ass. Don’t judge me too harshly. I grew up surrounded by the body disorder disease – my mother has it, my aunt has it, my cousins have it. It seemed to affect every female member in my family. Only my tall, skinny cousin seemed immune, living on a diet of Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, until well after her third child was born. Then, she too, succumbed.
I remember once, as a young girl, noting my mother’s strange skin color. “Carrots.” She explained. “It’s all the carrots.” I don’t want to know how many carrots you have to eat before you start to turn into one, but my mom was well on her way. I think she tried living on broccoli as well, but she always looked better in orange.
So after weeks of seeing a number that used to be reserved for “I had better be pregnant,” I did what anyone would do – I stopped going on the scale. I know you thought I was going to say I went on a diet. Screw that. I eat basically vegetables and ice cream, and exercise a solid five days a week. But something had to go, and it was the scale.
I had always been amazed by people who just ate without fear of the scale. Now I was one of them, and for the first few weeks, not having to see the number eased my mind somewhat. I felt a little more carefree, my clothes fit and for the first time in my memory, I wasn’t my scale’s bitch. It was revelatory. It was enough to make you want to celebrate! With cake!
As you might guess, my celebratory liberation ended as soon I began to feel that subtle tightening around my waist, my favorite jeans no longer my favorite. I knew, but I didn’t want to believe. So I gathered my courage, got naked, exhaled and stepped. It was a big step, and even though I was no longer happy, at least I knew where I stood. 2lbs fatter than the fat that made me shun the scale. Damn.
As I contemplated my next steps – no more peanut butter, two cups of ice cream a day instead of three – a funny thing happened, I got used to the new number. My old fat became my new average. I hated it, but accepted it in the way I accepted another load of laundry, annoyed but resigned. I didn’t know what to make of this development. For a long while I became depressed, not at the number any longer, but that I had given up and accepted a newer version of myself – an older, fatter one.
Twenty odd years at the same weight (give or take those same up and down five pounds), and I will forever teeter on the edge of weight anxiety. I am always afraid Friday morning when I step on that scale, but I’ve learned my lesson. I will not cover my eyes like a two-year old. I will step. Knowing is better than living in denial. My coping skills, if not my body image, have strengthened over the years. I am more okay with who I am than I ever was. Even though my body is a little softer, I’ve got a tougher skin.
Besides, there’s always next Friday.
The room swelled with people, some talking and hugging, others laughing and shoving deli meat sandwiches in their mouths. It was a party, except the guest of honor was dead.
We were at our friends’ Aiden and Alyssa’s house to pay a Shiva call for Aiden’s mother who had just passed. A year and half ago, she had been diagnosed with a blood melanoma. Until recently, she had not shown any real symptoms or signs of being sick. The doctors said that it was treatable and until the other day, it had been. She was there in the morning when they drove to the hospital, but 12 hours later driving back, she was gone. Just like that.
At the house, we chatted amiably with many people, about many things, but only very briefly touched upon the reason we were there. Aiden held it together admirably and everyone was relieved to follow suit and pretend. There’s nothing about death and final goodbyes that doesn’t create instant discomfort and clueless awkwardness for those bearing witness. So we ate little cookies and ignored the elephant in the room, or in this case, the small, sweet blonde mother and grandmother who wasn’t.
Now that I’m over 40, I keep running into this problem in life; it’s called death, and no matter how I try, there’s no getting away from it. It seems, and I never actually realized this until my late 30’s, but people die. Yes! I know. I was shocked as well. Of course, I know people die. I’m not an idiot. Lucille Ball is obviously no longer with us, or Dick Clark or Patrick Swayze or Farrah Fawcett, but somehow, when people I knew actually died, it totally threw me for a loop. Not just grandparents, but friends. Young people who were supposed to have their whole lives ahead of them, apparently, did not. They died of unnatural causes at unnatural ages. And now I seem to be at the age where parents start dying. I am not happy with this!
When I got home that evening, I gave my mom who was babysitting, an extra hug and ran up to do the same to my boys. They were almost ready for bed, and by almost I mean, jumping around in their underwear giggling like hyenas. I corralled them all into bed and Michael, my middle child, pushed a book in my hand. “Read this, Mommy.”
“Of course.” I said automatically, but when I looked down I wished I hadn’t.
“Love You Forever” by Robery Munsch. My book nemesis. Someone had given me this book when my oldest was born and I cried like a baby from beginning to end. Back then, I blamed my hormones and new-mom status, but returning to the book two years later, the same thing happened. A few years after that, I tried again, and still could not make it through without breaking down. I have successfully avoided reading the book for over three years, and tonight, fresh from a Shiva call, it was in my hands again. “Baby, let’s read something different.” I tried.
“This is the book that makes you cry, right?” Michael taunted, his elfin face smiling mischievously.
How did the little rat know that? “Maybe.” I said defensively. “But I just think you should pick something else. It’s a baby book.”
“I want to see if you cry.”
Oh, a challenge. Bring it on. “Fine.” I agreed, secretly steeling myself. I knew exactly what this book was and I was prepared. I could make it through I told myself and started reading.
I barely began, and I knew it was over. Tears rolled down my face and my voice quivered as I read the poem that threaded through the story of a mother’s never-ending love, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.” My extremely sensitive children cracked up laughing as I struggled to finish. By the end, I was a complete mess. My boys loved it. “Again!” they all squealed as I tried to control my heaving.
Exhausted from my emotional evening, I tucked the boys in; snuggling a little longer and hugging a little tighter. The book’s poem played over and over in my mind; its theme penetrating every sappy bone in my body. Even thinking about it now with the book safely tucked away in between a hundred others, hopefully never to be pulled out again, I can feel the tears in me rise. From the moment they are born, our babies are everything. Even when they grow and go, a mother’s heart goes with them, but there’s only so far it can go. Poor Aiden. Poor Aiden’s mommy. Poor everyone.
Damn. I hate that book.
I crouch down to speak more directly into the teary face of my sweet-cheeked four year-old. “Okay, so first you’ll go in the playground, then you’ll collect some sticks, bake a cake and then mommy comes to get you! You’re going to have so much fun.”
He screws up his face unconvinced, then picks up my shirt and sticks his head underneath.
“Julius, honey. I’ll be back so soon.”
“How soon?” His muffled voice asks my belly.
He pokes his head out. “Five minutes?”
“Well not five minutes, but close.” He can’t tell time. Five minutes. Three hours. Same thing.
He sniffles and looks skeptically around the familiar class. I feel him coming round.
“Remember, you’ll play in the playground, search for sticks, bake a cake, then mommy. Hey, like Dora!” He noticeably perks.
“Playground. Sticks. Cake. Mommy.” He gets it and nods, but still remains fixed to my side. I walk, with him attached like we’re in a potato sack race, to where some of his friends are building with blocks. Immediately, he drops to the floor and starts playing. Deep inward mommy sigh of relief. I kiss the top of his head goodbye, and he immediately stops his play to hug me vigorously.
“Kiss.” He orders and I bend down so his little lips can kiss me. “One more hug!” He squeezes the pee out of me, and returns to his blocks. I’m at the door, when I feel him behind me again. “One more hug!” And again we squeeze together, before we are ripped apart by the necessities of normal everyday life. He is four. It is only just beginning.
As I walk out the door and leave him playing contently with his friends, I am the one sniffling.
Which I realize is ridiculous. He is my third child. I’ve done this before, many times, yet each time, I still have the same pang of regret leaving. I even still feel that way watching the bus pull away with my older ones. “Have fun!” I wave them off with some relief, yet my brain is a jumble of mixed emotions. The most glaring is the vision of the horror movie bus driving off with the children waving innocently from the window. I can’t stand to think of that one, but somehow it’s always there. More reasonably (I think) is that I mourn the fact that they are big kids now and can go off on the big bus to lives outside of my little bubble. While I joyously take my few hours of freedom, it definitely makes me sad. I know, I’m crazy. No, it’s not crazy. Okay, now I sound crazy.
They say that it’s good for the children to separate and socialize and I’m sure they’re right, especially at the ages of my older boys who are seven and ten, but as I watch my four year-old son bravely hold it together and others in his class falling to pieces, I just have to wonder. Is it really good for them? They always say that once the parents leave, the kids generally settle into their routine and play happily. I believe that to be true. Either they’re happy and enjoying playing with their friends or they’ve submitted to the inevitable. They have no control, their parents are gone and there is simply nothing they can do but play with their play dough and wait.
I leave the pre-school and head straight to the gym, where I sweat my ass off in spin class. The whole time my brain is working harder than my body. I go through my to-do list. I edit an essay in my head and actually come up with an amazing opening paragraph which I spend at least three songs trying to memorize. And I think about my kids getting bigger and more independent. I’m so proud of them, and protective of them and in love with them, that I admit I’m a bit over sensitive to their growing up and me not being the most important person to them. Oh no – it’s one of my spin revelations. It happens sometimes when I’m sweating in this dark room with loud music with nothing but my own thoughts. It’s me. Damn. It’s me. My boys are doing fine. It’s me. I’m the one who has to grow up and learn how to let go.
Later, when I pick up Julius from Pre-K, his eyes twinkle as he jumps into my arms, but the hug is quick. One of his friends behind me is playing with two lego men, and he leaves me to investigate. My open arms are empty. My youngest boy is off and running. It’s going to take every ounce of effort not to chase after him.
His eyes never left mine. Rimmed with tears that had already been shed a thousand times, they yearned to share his story, for me to listen, to hear, to feel. “Pay close attention” they pleaded as deeply as his accented words. “You will not be sorry you did.” I could feel the current of emotion in him, rising like a tide. “It started in Poland. I was born in 1937. My brother in 1933. I was two years old when they took my father away.”
We had just been introduced, barely having said hello. I was a first time guest at his son’s home with my family for a holiday dinner for Sukkot. Seven children and eight adults warmed the house like a nice glass of Merlot . The children were jumping and screaming. One was playing the drums. A massive pillow fight was in the works as the adults chatted merrily without care. Over the noise, our friend Tim introduced us. “This is my father Ben. He has an amazing story to share.” “Dad, this is my friend. She is a writer.”
His focus changed from light to locked. “You are writer?”
I demurred. “Not really. I have always written stories, essays and such, but no, not really.”
But both Tim and my husband would not allow my honest assessment of inexperience and pumped up my resume and his confidence in my story telling abilities.
“Come.” His intensity guided me from the others as if his hand were on my shoulder leading the way. I could only follow. He was a small man but he carried a heavy story. It walked with us like a third person.
He motioned toward the dining room table and we sat down. I was happy for my glass of wine. It gave me a moment or two of distraction away from his intense need. There was no small talk or preamble.
“Do you know much of Poland in the late 1930’s?”
I really did not. My knowledge of my own history is embarrassingly inadequate. He explained how Poland was divided by Hitler and Stalin and split between Russia and Germany. His family lived on the Russian side. They had some means, he explained, his father was an educated man, an ecologist of some sort. As communist Russia overtook Poland, they “nationalized” the middle and upper class families living there, taking their homes, lands and wealth and sending them off to Siberia.
“They sent your family to Siberia?” I asked stunned and amazed. Siberia was, well, Siberia.
“Yes, my father first and then they came for my mother, my brother and me.”
“So at least you were together.” I felt some small comfort that at least there was that.
“No. My mother, brother and I were sent away to another part where we lived in spaces dug in the ground with around 2,000 others. My mother was put to work as a lumberjack while my brother and I were left there alone with nothing.”
“But you were only seven and two?”
I took a big gulp of wine. How do you even look at someone who has been through so much pain? By asking a safe, clinical question. “They did this to all the Jewish people of Poland?”
“No, they did it to every one of means.”
I nodded. I had a hundred questions. I could never imagine living in my bubbled suburban world that my family could be ripped from their home and then ripped from their loved ones. I felt a tear in my heart. I wanted him to go on. I needed to know about how they survived each day, but I also wanted to know about the home they left. What it looked like, and tasted like. The smells and sights, what their lives were really like in Poland in 1939 before the world turned on its head and then closed its eyes.
We were interrupted by Tamara, my friend, Tim’s wife, who walked in I’m sure to save me. We had, after-all, just arrived for a holiday dinner. She gently put her arm around her father-law. “Come. You can’t tell her the whole story tonight.” She kindly teased him. You could see the love and high regard she held him in. Ben smiled and politely acquiesced to social graces. “Of course.”
We both stood to join the party, but Ben still looked to hold my eye and my attention. “I hope for us to meet again so I can tell you more. That is barely a beginning.”
“Me too.” I meant it. I was sucked in to his story – to him, to his history and his almost desperate, palpable need to divulge and honor that history. But I knew, ultimately, that he wanted someone to put his past on paper, to make it live and breathe again. Just because I was intrigued by him – by his eyes and his hands, by his words and intensity, that didn’t mean I could write it for him. That didn’t mean that I could make the bored and desensitized world of today stop for a moment and remember.
* This was my week 2 blogger idol assignment which was to write about my day as a man.*
When I glance at the clock this morning, I can feel right away something is different. My back is sore and my crotch area itches a bit. Instead of jumping out of bed to run downstairs and make lunches for the kids, I decide, eh, whatever, and just roll over and sleep a little longer. Weird. I NEVER sleep longer.
One of my kids finally wakes me out of a drooling stupor. “Mommy!! It’s almost bus time!” I lift one brow and try to focus. The clock reads 7:50 am. The bus comes at 8:15 am. “F*CK!” I blurt out, which startles me more than the clock. I never say that, at least not in front of the kids. My seven year-old stares at me wide-eyed and is grinning like he’s just learned the best secret.
I make my way slooowwwlly out of bed to the bathroom, my kid following the entire time. Why do I feel like I have a hangover? “Go get ready.” I order and scratch my ass.
“But you always pick out our stuff.” He whines.
“Do it yourself.” I grumble and then fart loudly. His eyes perk again and he runs out giggling.
Ah. I sit myself down on the can for a nice, long time and flip through the paper. Heaven. By the time I get downstairs, it’s 8:10am. The boys have miraculously made themselves breakfast and are at the door ready to run to the bus stop. I give them the once over. My oldest has his shirt on inside-out, his shoe laces are untied and he’s wearing two different socks – one short and one long. My middle son looks perfect for a soccer match, and my youngest is wearing thick brown sweats, a brown tee shirt and brown rain boots. I scratch my head, amazingly unconcerned. “Did you guys brush your teeth?” They all look at each other and shrug. “Homework?” I ask, and my oldest pulls out a crumpled ball of paper from his bag. “Okay then, have a good day!”
As they bound to the bus, I notice that my oldest son’s backpack hangs open. There’s something I’m forgetting. What is it? Lunches! Oops. I have an epiphany, maybe I can get Dominoes to deliver to the school. That’s genius. Why haven’t I ever thought of that before?
The phone rings. It’s my mother. I’m way too busy to answer.
“Let’s get to school, buddy.” I say. “But how ‘bout a catch first?” We leisurely throw the ball on the lawn for a while before I finally get him to school 15 minutes late. A bunch of nursery moms are still hanging around and chatting as I bounce by with him on my shoulders. Wow, one of them has a really nice rack. I can’t seem to stop staring. I feel unusually drawn to her, but realize I’m wearing my pajama tee-shirt with the holes and somehow I forgot to put on a bra this morning. I don’t really feel like socializing anyway, especially after one of the flat-chested moms gave me a strange look when I whipped her daughter up and threw her into the air. I totally thought she was laughing, but turns out the kid cries like a laugh. How would I know that?! I have a strong urge to return to my bathroom and the sports section.
Comfortably seated back on my toilet I think about what I have to do for the day. Gym, supermarket, dry cleaners, I need two birthday party gifts, a school meeting and I must do laundry. Hmmm. None of that sounds like much fun. I’ll definitely do the gym. Maybe I’ll just blow off the rest of it and go hit some golf balls. That’s an awesome idea. I am so Awesome! I think and then realize there’s no toilet paper. “Hey can you bring me some toilet paper?” I yell out, but there’s no one there to get it. I shrug and go back to the newspaper. I’ll worry about it later.
*Putting finishing touches on my week 3 entry now. I’m partnered up with Meredith from www.pilesofbabies.com. She is hysterical and awesome!!! Get ready to vote Wednesday/Thursday at www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com. Thank you all for keeping me in the game. 🙂 *
It’s the word most often used by children, an easy, mono-syllable that’s fun and expressive. We’re brainwashed to it at a young age from parents and teachers. There’s a whole campaign telling us to just say it. Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain; my kids certainly know how to say, “No.”
“Michael, it’s time to get up.”
“Julius, did you brush your teeth?”
“Tyler, do you know where your homework is?”
This morning, I’m finally leaving the nursery school after some harrowing negotiations with Julius.
“I don’t want to go to school today!” Floppy-curled, chubby-cheeked four year-old stands tough.
“I’m picking you up in just a few hours.”
“You have to go.”
I had a 9:15 spin class and didn’t want a battle this morning. He was going. I was late. There was only one thing left for me to do… bribery. Yup. Plain and simple. I got low and whispered in his ear. “Go now and I’ll take you to the candy store at pick-up.” I threw some sugar on the sugar, “You can pick out TWO things!”
Julius easily took the bait. We were both solid candy addicts. With a big hug, I was out. Genius parenting, right there.
I maneuvered my way through children and moms like an all-star obstacle course racer, waving here and there, trying to quickly get to my car without stopping. I was outside, almost there, when the Rabbi spotted me and beckoned me to him. I had a momentary fight or flight reaction; I wanted to run to the car. First, because I was going to miss my gym class and second, because nothing good can come from our conversing. I have a long history of inappropriate commentary, but when the Rabbi beckons, one can only submit. So I take one last longing look at my escape vehicle just feet away and walk over. So close.
As it turns out, it was worse than me embarrassing myself.
Rabbi – “I was wondering if I could count on you to get a little more involved in the Hebrew School.”
Me (Smiling painfully, nodding in the negative and backing slowly away) – “I have a lot on my plate right now.”
Rabbi – “Yes, yes, I know you do a lot for the nursery school but it’s time you transitioned your efforts.”
Oh no, he was using Rabbi mind games on me, it was like the Force, only stronger! I felt myself nodding up and down in agreement.
By the time I got into my car, I had no idea what I had agreed to.
On the elliptical machine at the gym (yes, I missed my class) a friend from the elementary school approached and asked if I would help out on a volunteer project for the kids.
“I don’t know.” I demurred. “I’m already over-extended.”
She assured me it was nothing. Cake. Just need a name to put down.
Again I found myself nodding. I was going to have to consider wiring my head to my neck.
Finished with exercise, I stopped at the supermarket and the dry cleaners for Howard, then home for a shower before nursery pick-up. My phone rings. It’s my father. He needs me to call a doctor for him and maybe figure out this problem he’s been having with his home health aide. He’s in a decent mood, which is a plus, but I sigh and add the chore to my list.
I go to pick-up Julius, checking my emails while I wait. There’s already one from the head of the volunteer committee, the “name only” gig. Uh oh. I’m distracted when Julius runs out with a hug intended to knock me over and almost succeeds.
“Hey! Did you have a good day?” I ask.
Of course not.
“So, do you want to go to the candy store?”
“YES!!” came his exuberant reply, accompanied by another knock down hug.
Finally, a yes from my boy! Now here’s a kid who knows his mind. I think about it. He’s a genius. He simply says “yes” to what he wants, and “no” to what he doesn’t. What a concept!
Hmmm… I wonder if I’m going to learn anything from this?