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Mama’s Boys are Growing Up

I have no one to blame but myself.

I mean, raising mama’s boys was almost a goal. I loved how much they needed me. I loved doing things for them.  It was my twisted pleasure to find myself at 2 am sleepwalking between nursing a baby to comforting a boy who woke with a nightmare to helping another boy to the bathroom.  I took pride in refusing help; taking all my boys with me to doctor appointments or errands, snubbing carpools to drive myself crazy instead. I catered three different meals at night, picked up their toys because it was easier, zipped my son’s jacket at five years-old and tied shoes at 10.

They asked and I answered. “Can you pack my back pack? Can you get me a snack? Can you can you can you…?”

‘Yes! Mommy can!’ was my war cry.

And mommy did. Again and Again.

See honey, no one else will cut off those crusts, make you a perfect scrambled egg or wash your Spiderman shirt so you could wear it every day like I can.

Was it dysfunctional and co-dependent? Yup. Would I do it again? Probably.

Because back then, we were all one happy needy bunch of love and it was good.

But now that my boys are 6, 9 and 12, I see things a little differently.

In fact, I see them at 30…

They would of course still be living at home because why would they leave free room, board, a stocked fridge and complimentary housekeeping?

There would be hair scruff in all my bathroom sinks, dirty underwear and socks on the floor and loud snoring from every bedroom.

I probably would suffocate from all the gas inhalation.

Or die from embarrassment when they run in on me in the bathroom to demand justice when one of them uses the others deodorant or finishes the last bag of chips.

I may as well just put a cot by the washing machine and sleep there.

And I could never just sit and enjoy a cup of wonderful, steaming coffee in the morning since I’d be dragging their asses out of bed for work – if they had jobs – and making them eggs, three different ways.

All of a sudden, raising mama boys didn’t look as appealing.

So lately I’ve been loosening those ties, and giving my boys more independence and responsibility. They now get themselves dressed in the morning, wash up and tie their own shoes. They do the recyclables and empty the dish washer. They put their clothes away and make their own snacks. They know what they have to do and do it.

Well, usually.

Okay, sometimes.

It’s a process.

But we’ll get there. Because now I see that you don’t mess with the natural order of things. Children grow, you lovingly guide them on the road to being responsible and then you gently shove them out to greener pastures.

Of course they must still call daily, visit at least once a week and marry girls you deem appropriate.

I may no longer want mama’s boys, but mama’s men just might work.

 

But not yet... sigh

But not yet… sigh

 

Yup, I’m annoying. It’s a talent.

My six year-old rolls around the carpet of my floor while I try to squeeze in my half hour on the elliptical and try to finish up an episode of Masters of Sex, which is now on pause because of the rolling child who is supposed to be out front with my husband and his brothers doing yard work.

“What’s the matter?” I ask, each word a small puff of exertion.

His head is somehow underneath his behind and he mutters something I can’t make out. “I don’t understand what you’re saying when you’re upside down and talking to your butt.”

That gets him all silly. “Hi butt!” He says, “How ya doing?”

I wait for the ridiculous to work itself out so I can find out the actual problem and get back to my show. Finally, he sits up and the frustration bursts out in a gush, “I wanted to rake, but daddy said I can’t and he let everyone else!”

Apparently it is serious.

“Did you ask daddy if you could rake too?” I ask.

“YES!” He exclaims completely exasperated.

There must be more to the story but I work with what I’ve got, “Well, maybe there aren’t enough rakes. Did you ask to take turns?”

“YES!”

There is no way he did this.

“He wants me to shovel,” He complains. “I don’t want to shovel!”

“Shoveling is fun!” I say, “Why don’t you try for a little and then switch with one of your brothers.”

“I don’t want to shovel. I want to rake!”

I’ve got about 12 minutes more on this machine and I have exhausted my diplomacy skills. I can see that without physically going outside, my child will continue whining and waiting for my help. That’s when I stop trying to solve his problem and focus on a few of my own.

“Well, I know you haven’t brushed your teeth yet. Please go do that.”

He looks at me horrified. That’s not why he came to see me. He wanted retribution not a chore.

But that’s what I do to my children. Sometimes it happens right at the beginning and sometimes it closes out the conversation, but ultimately I seem to turn every interaction into a nag.

For example…

Imagine you’re contently sitting on the chair watching your favorite episode of Austin and Alley?

I’ll interrupt, “Don’t you have homework to do?”

Maybe you just finished your lunch.

I’ll remind, “Don’t forget to put your dish in the sink.”

You innocently walk into the kitchen for a hug.

I’ll note afterwards, “Gee, looks like the recyclables haven’t been done for a while.”

You’re happily brandishing a large bag of gummies from the candy store

I’ll scold, “You haven’t eaten dinner yet.”

You’re so excited that Daddy said you can watch a movie.

I’ll look at the clock, shake my head and tsk, “Sorry guys, it’s late and there’s school tomorrow.”

I’m the bearer of bad news; the annoying voice that always interrupts their games, their fun, their relaxation. I’m Debbie downer. I’m the waa waa waa. I’m… I’m the annoying mom!!

So be it.

At least I’ve managed a few extra minutes on my elliptical and my kid has clean teeth. Now get outta here. Don’t you have some work you should be doing? And comb your hair.

I’ve still got seven minutes.

photo (1)

 

Lost Pride and Parking Spots

The parking lot where Michael’s, King Kullen supermarket and Marshall’s converge is a frenzy of discount shopping, food and insufficient parking. You easily need to factor in 15 minutes circling time before you might be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time when those reverse headlights flare. And you’d better hope you’re not near a revving Lexus who’s in the mood for chicken.

Today I considered myself lucky when it only took four laps of musical cars before I scored a spot at the far end of the lot. Then, having completed my extremely necessary mission to Michael’s for candy eyes for cupcakes, I head back toward my car, placing bets on which lucky lapper will win my coveted spot when I realize there’s a BMW parked illegally behind my car, making it virtually impossible for me to get out.

I’m mentally configuring the odds of a 456 point turn when a blonde woman with giant sunglasses steps from the vehicle. “Um, you know that’s not a spot,” I say but her head is too far up her ass to hear me so she just slings her Gucci bag over her shoulder and slams the door shut.

“Excuse me!” I say louder, “You can’t park there.”

She hears me now but I gather by the way she completely ignores me that she doesn’t want to acknowledge my existence and is about to stomp off in shoes that I would only fall off.

“How bout I back up into your car? I suggest with just a hint of confrontation.

That gets her attention but like the passive aggressive bitch she is, she just smiles and says, “Oh, you’re leaving. Great, I’ll take your spot.”

I don’t want to give her my spot. I want to back my beat up minivan right into her sleek silver driving machine. I want to crush the life out if. I wouldn’t even mind spending the rest of my life driving a car with a crumpled behind. It’s not like I don’t walk around with one of my own.

But that’s not nice manners or legal, so I get into my car, back up and leave. So unceremonious. So unsatisfying. So wimpy. I felt efeminated. I had been schooled by a bitch with a BMW and a good blow out.

I fume the whole way back to town up until I pull into the school to pick up my boys. As I am about to swing into a spot, I see a car opposite me angling to do the same. Ah, redemption! I will own that spot; a little turbo boost to my wounded ego.

But still I hesitate before I hit the gas, and in that second, the car across from me pulls in.

Argh! Foiled again!

Frustrated I drive on and find a spot, really only about 10 feet away, but that’s not the point.

Walking to the school, I see the person emerge from the vehicle who just stole my spot with my pathetic show weakness. Turns out to be my friend. We both brighten. She knows nothing of our parking duel to the death and how she bested me.

“Hey, I got you something,” She says, and knowing my affinity for all things sweet, pulls a pack of jellybeans from her bag.

I take them and smile. The Universe has soothed me. Apparently sometimes patience is rewarded.

But I still hope that chic from Michael’s gets her just desserts.

 

Oh this makes my blood boil!!

Smashing this car would definitely be justifiable.

 

 

Among dancing queens, I am the jester

I snuck in the back, hoping no one would notice me. Not that they would. They reeked of confidence in their best Lululemons, while I probably reeked of something far less appealing in my sweaty maternity clothes circa 2007.

But I was here none the less; finally finding the courage to try the class I spent months peering at longingly through the glass partition, somehow always managing to catch the eye of this one girl who definitely thinks I’m a stalker.

Zumba.

It was even more intimidating on the inside. I watched crowds of ladies trying to muscle for prime position in front of the mirror.  They were lionesses, and standing center stage, prowling back and forth in purple stretch pants was the pride of the pack.

The music began and the class automatically started moving. I searched frantically for Purple pants for guidance, but she just paced the front line of her domain, relying on her pack who knew every move. Except of course me, a girl in front of me, and one girl two rows up who seemed always to be going left when everyone else was going right. I loved that girl.

There were no prompts or instruction. It was survival of the fittest and it soon became clear that I wouldn’t survive. Still, I huffed along, semi-following, jerking my body this way and that.

Arm up. Hip swivel. Step step. Swivel. Arm down. I mean, Arm down. Hip swivel. Step step step. Arm up.

No! It’s arm up then down. Hip pivot left. Pivot right. Step step. Arm. Kick? How’d I miss the kick? Okay, again. I think I almost got it. Wait. No! Not a new move! I was 10 seconds away from getting the last one!

Just keep moving. Puff. Huff. Man! I can’t even huff and puff in the right order! Pretend to follow along. Turn left. Turn right… into the flowing hair dancing queen next to me. Oops. She doesn’t miss a beat or acknowledge. Wow. Ain’t nothin gonna breaka her stride. Oh no.

The whole class is a bunch of gyrating hips, swinging like wild. Even Purple pants. I can’t stop staring at one girl near me whose butt just naturally rotates on spin cycle while I feel like I am trying out for a bad porn movie that I definitely won’t get cast in. Her butt swivel is beautiful and hypnotic. All of a sudden I’m craving a milkshake.

The move suddenly changes and she and everyone else flip around. I’m now face to face with the girl who thinks I stalk her. Greaaaaat. Brief awkward smile and the dance flips again. I watch her conspicuously drift right and a lot further up front. Really?

I continue pretending to follow along feeling bursts of affection every time the uncoordinated girl obviously does the wrong move. Poor girl, I think happily, watching her do her moves without out the slightest inhibition.

By the time the class is over, I had redefined the word spastic, bumped into the woman next to me twice, peed my pants just a little, and realized that while I thought I could dance, I actually could not.

So now, while I still have a shred of dignity and anonymity, I’m going to sneak back out the way I snuck in, unnoticed – except of course the girl who’s probably calling the police right now .

A monkey has no business hanging with a pack of lions.

Yeah, right.

Yeah, right.

 

Your breast way to age

“Um, what’s this you ordered?”

I heard my husband’s voice lifted in curiosity from the other room and immediately knew what he was asking about.

“Why do your breasts need a pillow?” He asked with brows raised, walking in holding a package looking both baffled and intrigued.

“Wait.” He stopped himself and me before I could answer. “It’s for your mother, right?”

I was about to nod yes, but he didn’t need me to and continued his conversation with himself. “I knew it.” He studied the golden package, turning it over in his hands. The picture showed a woman with a device that looked like a small baby carrier; straps over the shoulders and a small hour glass shaped pillow running down thru the breast area.

“What is it for?”  His eyes held the confusion of men everywhere trying desperately to understand women things.

Again, I opened my mouth to explain, but he put an end to the one sided conversation by tossing the package back on the table and rolling his eyes. “Forget it. I don’t want to know.”

He was right. He didn’t want to know. Only my mother could find a pillow intended to support the breasts during sleep to keep them from pushing up and creating wrinkles in the sensitive décolleté area. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the area of skin under the neck and above the breast, generally exposed to sun and prone to wrinkles and discoloration as we age. Apparently, just having breasts and sleeping promotes these wrinkles as well.

Luckily my mother has the great and powerful Dr. Oz to inform her of all these miracles to help reduce her lines and leave her forever young. Remember when the end all be all of TV host promotion revolved around Oprah sharing her favorite things? Ah, simpler times.

Now Oz promotes everything from HCG injection diets to Oil of Oregano, Green coffee bean extract, Garcinia Cambogia, the Breast Pillow and a million other supplements, ingredients, foods and lifestyle choices. He’s got a hand on your heart, on your waist and even up your pants. He is all over you and all your health and vanity needs.

What beauty wisdom my mom doesn’t receive from Oz is made up from 3am infomercials promising to erase wrinkles in seconds. I try to tell her if maybe she stopped worrying and slept more it would do the same job.

But what do I know. Until recently, I thought decollate was a kind of vintage looking art work, but I then I found out that was decoupage. My bad.

So what was this pillow doing at my house anyway? Turns out, my mother is as notoriously bad at internet shopping as she is good at finding miracle anti-aging products. So, from time to time, she tells me what she wants and I order it for her on-line.

Oz reveals the secrets. I find them on Amazon. My mother basks in her youthful glow.

But if you ask my husband, it should all remain a mystery.

Oh, it exists.

Oh, it exists.

 

 

 

 

Getting Bent Over Bending Over

I think the sales rep winced when he saw us out of the corner of his eye. I can’t be sure because by the time we made our way over, he was all smiles and handshakes. I don’t blame him. I mean, how many times can you show the same people the same stuff? I’ll get back to you on that one.

In our defense, we have never redone our kitchen before and the options are endless. We spend nights surfing the websites, comparing prices and reading reviews for brands like GE, Thermador and Viking.

We waffled over a microwave in the island. We flipped back and forth between a range top with a double wall oven verse a nice full range. We looked at 36 inch fridge, but then our eyes widened at the 42inch and completely bugged out of our heads at the 48inch.

We made every decision half a dozen times and then changed our minds at least half a dozen more. Finally we strode into PC Richards feeling confident that we knew exactly what we wanted, and would up buying something entirely different.

Two days later, we returned everything and was back at square crazy.

We hosted pow-wows at our house. Brother-in-laws debated the merits of one brand over another. Uncles drew layouts for cleaner designs. A friend said everyone doing their kitchens now got double ovens built in the wall. Everyone had an opinion and no one was afraid to share.

The wall oven was one of our biggest points of indecision. Aesthetically I favored the straight range. My husband favored an extra oven for the same money. We were at an appliance impasse. We needed some professional help.

“You should probably consider the double wall oven,” said the designer who was working up a layout for us. “You know, because in a few years it’ll be easier for your back.”

What? Oh no she didn’t.

“Uh, did you just try to sell the double oven on the deterioration of my body?

Sounds of shuffling and backtracking. “Um, ha ha. No, I mean. Uh…”

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

“Really? You really went there? Wow.”

Add some awkward stammering. “No. Ha ha. I just meant, in the next decade.”

Okay, 30 year-old designer was pissing me off. “Yeah, I’m sure I won’t be able to bend over in my 50’s. You’re probably right.”

“No. I mean, ha ha…”

We both did the fake laugh thing while she pulled her very big foot out of her mouth. She should really wait till she gets the job before insulting me.

“Okay, let’s move on, unless you want to suggest any wheelchair ramps I should be installing?”

More awkward giggles on her part. “Oh of course not, you’re in very good shape.”

Oh yeah, who’s bending over now, sweetheart.

I hung up and had my decision.

I would get the range. It provided extra counter space, a more open layout and subtly commented on my obvious youthful agility.

I planned to be shaking and baking for a long time.

Now, can we talk tiles?

Oh, I'm hot for you, baby.

I’m hot for you babe.

Let The iBeatings Begin!

I want to beat my children. Wait, did I say that out loud? Please don’t call child services. I don’t really want to beat them in the literal way, just figuratively. Figuratively, I want to beat them silly.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they’re spoiled and deserve a good figurative beating. Because maybe, I’m tired of the word, “Wait” when I’m asking something like, “Do you want vanilla or chocolate?” and their video game can’t be interrupted; or maybe because they remember they need special molding clay at 9pm for a diorama due the next day. Or because I make three different dinners for them to say, “I’m not hungry” but five minutes after everything has been cleared away, find them attached to my waist, devastated by hunger. Because I sit and help patiently with homework only to be told that “It’s fine” with an eye roll of disdain, even when it’s not, and they haven’t figured out yet that they should say bless you when I sneeze, or offer to help when I’m schlepping in 12 grocery bags instead of throwing their knapsack on top of the bags. That’s why. I could go on, if you need more.

But it’s no longer the 70’s when beatings were just as acceptable as lack of supervision and random light drug use. When I tell my children I’m going to beat them – an entertaining threat that I somehow picked up watching the hysterical skit from Bill Cosby Himself – they roll their eyes. “Oh funny, mom.”   Yeah, I have them quaking in their furry crocs.

Ooops.

Ooops.

I need something to show them that I mean business. I probably would get more of a response if I threatened to beat their devices.

That’s it! They would cower in fear. I would have them at my mercy. I can hear them now…

“NO! My iPhone hasn’t done anything wrong. Please, beat me! Just leave it alone.”

“But, it’s taken me so long to get to that level!”

“Not my contacts!”

“Take the DS! Or the Wii. Just leave the X-Boxxxxxxx!”

phone death 3

Gee, what’s that doing there? Mwahahaha

Or, maybe we could create a new app – iMomfia where I control all the apps on my kids’ devices. If one of the children doesn’t behave, I could make one of their apps just disappear. They’ll never know which one.

I would hold their complete submission in my hands. I would have them doing their homework, putting their dishes in the sink, taking showers without hassle. It’s genius. Or blackmail. Same, same.

Somehow technology has become the only effective method of bribery in my house. For the past few years I’ve used it as a carrot, dangling before them. “Do well in school this year and I’ll get you an iTouch… Show me how helpful you can be around the house and maybe you’ll earn yourself an iTunes card…”  So, I guess it’s partly my fault that it’s become the most important thing to them, but I prefer to blame society.

Yes! It’s society’s fault that I own them in the first place, and now just to get my children’s attention, I may have to beat a device worth hundreds of dollars.

Ouch.

This is gonna hurt.

phone death

*No children or devices were harmed in the making of this totally humorous post.