Yesterday was my birthday. When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:
“Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself. You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”
“Happy Birthday MOM!”
“MOM you are a star.”
I love everything about this card, especially:
- The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion. He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
- The fact that he values loving yourself. If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
- At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
- The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him. I tell him this after I have to discipline him. It warms my heart that he heard me.
My son loves to write. He writes stories and illustrates them on his own. I love that he has a passion for writing.
I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him. Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.
What’s the best birthday present you have received?
This last weekend, after having sushi with friends, we decided to go the Saloon in town. I love saying this, because I am hoping it conjures up images of me living in Texas and wearing some sassy boots. I really do live in the suburbs, but we do have a saloon with a mechanical bull.
After running up a bill that was more Sapporo than sushi (and it was a lot of sushi), we headed over to the Saloon. As some of you may know, I am all for an adventure. Before we even left the parking lot of the sushi restaurant, my husband was making me swear I would not ride the mechanical bull. We were placing bets in the parking lot on who would ride and my husband kept reminding me that I am already a frequent visitor to the chiropractor and a bull ride would not help. I do not think it is appropriate to bring up my aging, frail body on my birthday.
Upon arriving, I felt like the bull was calling my name, my friends were trying to talk me into it and my husband was giving me the look of, ‘I will not give you sympathy or pay for the massages’. We decided two other friends would ride, but I would at least get on for a picture. Only I couldn’t even get on by myself. Maybe it was the Sapporo or the high-heeled boots, or the Sapporo, but it took the help of a friend to even get me on – it was clear riding would not go any better. Rather I was a passionate spectator.
The only thing that could steal my attention was the 80′s band setting up. One of the guys had a mullet and the female lead definitely rocked the 80′s – hard! I was instantly enamored! I was the first one on the dance floor – inappropriately early. I drug my tolerant friends and two perfect strangers out with me. Is there anything better than listening to an 80′s band in a Saloon, with fantastic, indulgent friends?
Well yes, let me suggest some improvements:
- They didn’t know any Bon Jovi songs. There should be a law that states that if you have a mullet, you know Bon Jovi songs.
- I am too old to dance with such enthusiasm (think hamming it up – combination swing dancing and jazzercise) in high-heeled boots. My shins, calves and ankles are still recovering. I should have taken the boots off earlier.
- If you can’t remember how many beers you had at dinner, don’t drink seven captain and diets at the saloon, even if you are making up for Lent.
- When everyone wants to leave, do not explain to your husband that the two nice women you met on the dance floor can bring you home later.
- We should have used a camera that didn’t create the devil eyes, but it’s almost fitting because I felt like the devil had strapped me to a mechanical bull and done his worst the next morning…
It is only Saturday morning, oh… wait… wow, it’s noon?! How long have I been on this computer?!
Anyways, it is only Saturday at noon and I have already proclaimed this a great weekend. Despite the rain (I am a sun girl) and the fact that I was awake from 4:00 am to 7:00 am, it is still a great weekend!
- Wine and cookies!: Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation which means a church sanctioned break from Lent! I didn’t know about this ahead of time, but at 6:00 last night I got a text from a Lenten authority who told me I could drink wine. Within a minute (no joke) I was sipping a glass of wine. I followed that up with cookies – both freshly baked and the Girl Scout variety! Bliss!
- A schedule free day!: The only reason I could lose track of time today is that today is a rare Saturday where we don’t have kids sports (thanks to the rain), birthday parties or pressing errands. I am in my jammies, reading, writing and enjoying some leisure time.
- My kids: With less rushing around, I have gotten extra hugs, and a very special, “I love you mommy soo much with my whole heart”. That is my daughter’s interpretation of I love you with all my heart.
- Creative Ideas A-Flowin’: I have been working on a pet project and I could not sleep in the wee hours of the morning because ideas were popping into my head. I got up and mapped everything out on paper. I feel much further along and ready to start making it a reality.
- Dinner with friends: I am going to sushi tonight with friends to celebrate my upcoming birthday. My husband and I have both been traveling
a lottoo much for work and are looking forward to an evening with friends. When I started Lent, I gave myself one free pass for my birthday so I will be enjoying beers with my sushi tonight. (Like all things in my life, Lent is a guideline and last night was simply an offical bonus!)
I guess it’s my chosen positive perspective today – happiness and positivity. I could dwell on the rain and the lack of sleep, but they are both opportunities to find other sources of happiness!
I am heading back to my fabulous weekend – go make yours great too!
Things have been more off-balanced in my world as of late. I have wanted to write about the chaos, the tantrums and the tender moments, but I have needed to catch up on the sleep that has been eluding me for the last 5 nights!
So let me summarize my life with a novel…
No, not the whole book, just the titles, as Cliffs Notes are also too long for this tired mamma.
Rene over at Grown Up For Real got me to thinking… She asked what would be the title of your memoir.
So here are my thoughts on what my memoir would be called this week.
- From Boardroom to Padded Room: How Juggling Being A Working Mom Sent Me To The Funny Farm
- And Then I Had Kids: How The World Changed and Why I Am Still Spinning
- I Am Not Crazy… Today
- I Used To Leave the House Put Together, Now I Just Try To Wear My Undergarments on the Inside
- I Am The
LooniestLuckiest Girl In The World
- Stress Eating and Parenting – The Expose
- Proactiv: For Acne, Fake Sunburns and Threatening Your Children
- Why Lent May Be the End of My
- When My Husband Travels…
- Being Pulled Back From the Ledge by Oprah
What are your titles?
It has been a tough week in my house. The time change zapped my energy, I worked long hours, my husband was on a business trip and my daughter slammed me against the mommy wall. And in case, I haven’t said it enough, I am coping without alcohol or sweets! (This makes for a very dangerous combination!)
All week I have struggled with getting my diva to eat dinner. (You’ll note that I usually interchange diva and princess, but I have not seen the princess this week, just the diva!) She has been averaging 90 minutes to consume a meal and I used up my last bit of patience on Monday.
I was sharing my struggle with my friend Sonya and she recommended that I set a timer and tell my kids that they have until the timer goes off to finish dinner. Once the timer goes off, dinner is over and if they haven’t finished, there are no snacks and no treats.
Tonight, as we (meaning my husband) put dinner on the table, I set the timer for 20 minutes. My husband also set dessert in front of them – something we never do. We told the kids that we would throw the dessert away if they weren’t finished by the timer went off.
hopeful desperate that this would work. I feared that another 90 minutes dinner would result in blood shed. No, not my daughters! What kind of mother do you think I am? Don’t answer that. Please. The blood shed would be from me repeatedly hitting my head against the wall, chewing my fingers, pulling out my own hair and sticking a fork in my eye!
Hallelujah! It worked!
The kids ate their dinner and the timer went off as my princess (note the name change) was taking her last bite! I will be trying it again tomorrow night without the dessert. But tonight, I am still recovering from my collision with the wall and my leprechaun all-nighter so I sweetened the deal.
Thank you Sonya for saving my sanity and what’s left of my princess’ toy collection!
And for those of you who are curious about the outcome of my near leprechaun fail…
My kids made their traps, no thanks to me. I was swamped all day with work, so the nanny, who is far craftier, helped. When we left for t-ball practice as a family, our nanny RANSACKED our house and put little green footprints everywhere! My kids were OFF THE WALL EXCITED! They raced around the house for 20 minutes admiring the mess.
Then my son
cried hysterically bawled for an hour that he did not catch the leprechaun and we did not get it on video…
Can’t win ‘em all!
St. Patrick’s Day “eve” was crazy. I worked all day and then went to book club last night. As we are chatting about everything except the book, we start talking about Leprechaun traps and pranks…
Oh shit! We didn’t build my son’s Leprechaun Trap! He has been talking about it for weeks. My husband is out-of-town, the kids are with a babysitter – I am hosed!
You know that feeling that you would rather chew glass than disappoint your kids? The guilt of forgetting one of those special moments that only happens in childhood…
My son is 6, he could stop believing at anytime, especially if his mommy screws it up!
As I sat in book club I asked friends for advice. I even texted the babysitter to see if my son was still awake so I could give him a plan, an alternative, an excuse, something to keep him from being disappointed.
Unfortunately, he was asleep.
But the luck of the Irish was with me. And by luck, I mean my son has growing pains. (Yes, it’s a loose definition of luck – go with it) My son woke up with growing pains and my brilliant babysitter explained that leprechauns don’t always come first thing in the morning. My son was delighted, he asked her to tell me that he would like to go to the store tomorrow to buy materials for a trap.
When I got home at 10:45, I did not go to bed, tired from a long week of having no husband, a stressful work day and a rebellious three-year old daughter. Instead, I was up searching websites for ideas, concocting a story on why the leprechaun came late and formulating a plan for executing his trickery. And hell yes, I am taking him to the store for supplies!
Because that’s what we do as moms (and dads): We perform small miracles and amazing feats of sleep deprivation to make special moments happen. We stay up late on Christmas Eve to ensure the details of Santa’s visit and then wake up too early to unwrap presents we finished wrapping a few hours before. We risk certain heart attack and broken hands when trying to exchange lost teeth for money. We scour the internet to find discontinued Lego toys. We face our crafting demons to create potato leprechauns. As parents, we push to ensure that our children can believe in Leprechauns, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, fairies and all of the wonderful parts of being young.
Because in the blink of an eye, the magic stops; our kids grow up, the joy of fantasies fade. I, for one, am fighting to preserve my children’s magical fantasies, their joy and my joy as a witness.
So last night, I gladly accepted losing sleep to a leprechaun, because the joy it brings to my kids is pure gold.
After my kids pushed me into the mommy wall this week, I could really use a glass of wine! But, I am sticking with this Lent thing and actually doing pretty good. As long you don’t count sniffing people’s wine glasses and trying to lick my daughter’s cookie crusted face.
This is a bottle that I selflessly drank on Fat Tuesday in order to have a wine review for today. Yes, I am a giver.
Insatiable Red Wine California
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Price: Purchased for $5.99
Insatiable Red Wine (non-vintage)
Description per label: We have been insatiable in searching all of California’s premier growing regions to bring you this mesmerizing and exotic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Zinfandel and Syrah. We invite you to be insatiable in your quest for incredible wine at a great price.
Insatiable means always wanting more; always needing more and impossible to satisfy (thank you to the label for the handy definition).
I want to squeeze life for every drop of enjoyment, excitement and experience. I will always want more vacations, more career success and more… [edited to keep the blog clean]. Needless to say, I am insatiable. I found this bottle on the night I was grocery shopping to host a Passion Party – coincidence, I think not.
This wine is a fraternity boy’s dream. It has a catchy label and is cheap enough to buy enough to get enough out of his date. In college my husband’s fraternity used to host wine and cheese parties- they would refill the bottles with boxes of wine in a back room. College girls rarely have a well-developed palate (I didn’t back then) so the guys usually got away with their “refills”. Insatiable is a great second bottle, once your palate is muddled, your sense of taste dulled and your sense of adventure heightened. Just drinking a wine called Insatiable throws a particular mood in the room. And there’s no need to take the bottle in the back room to refill it.
It has a fruity nose with hints of blackberry and currant. It is surprisingly smooth and balanced for the price point. It presents as jammy and slightly spicy. It has a reasonably smooth finish that blends tannins with a tartness.
On a scale of 1-10, I rate the Insatiable Red Wines a 5 for being a cheap way to set the mood.
Suggested pairings: Tacos, skirt steak, chocolate and candlelight.
My son had a school assignment to take a regular russet potato and dress it up as a character for a story he would write in class. There was also going to be a prize for the best potato. There’s a few things you should know up front:
- I am not crafty.
- My husband is not crafty.
- We’re both competitive.
- We started Sunday and it was due Monday.
We had the flier for the assignment in plain view all week, but just had not gotten around to it. Sunday morning the pressure was on to deliver a potato character by Monday. We agreed that my husband would take the kids to Target to buy supplies while I went to the gym.
After my workout, I texted my husband to let him know I was on my way home and he called right back asking if I had my wallet. I always have my wallet and my husband always forgets his… True to form, he had forgotten his wallet and had no way to pay for the $36 in potato character supplies the Target cashier had just rung up. Target is next to the gym, so I swung by and rescued the supplies.
My son had decided that he wanted to make a leprechaun. My son LOVES St. Patrick’s Day. He is in the design phase of this year’s leprechaun trap…
Once bringing home the
hostages supplies, my son announced we would paint the potatoes green. Remember – my husband and I are neat freaks… So we proceed to cover the whole kids table with paper bags and newspapers. We rolled up the kids sleeves and carefully doled out the green paint and brushes.
My wild child daughter had green paint on her, her clothes, the chair and the “covered” table in less than a minute. I braced for my husband’s frustration with the mess, but he uncharacteristically laughed. He had the foresight to buy washable paint! (I mean pick out, since he did not have the foresight to bring his wallet.) This mess quickly spread to my granite counters and me. But again washable, so we decided to live on the edge.
Next the potato needed limbs. My husband suggested straws and I thought about toothpicks as anchors. I whipped out my hot glue gun.
I must pause here – I only own a hot glue gun because I have pipe cleaner dreams of being crafty. I think my neighbor has used it more than me, but HA, I now had a project for my glue gun.
Um, plastic straws melt when they meet hot glue.
My son thought melting Mr. Potatoes arms was hilarious, but my husband rescued the idea by suggesting I apply the glue to the toothpick and waiting a second before placing the straws on the toothpicks. I said I had a glue gun, I didn’t say I knew how to use it.
Next came wardrobe – my department. We had bought a hat and fake mustache that truly must have been marketed with potatoes in mind… weird?? My son and I then fashioned a coat (more like poncho) out of a half of bandana and glue-gunned it in place – I was feeling very crafty at that point.
During this time, my daughter has helped herself to a bottle of purple paint and a container of googly-eyes - with my husband and I one foot away. Apparently this craftiness took all of our energy. So my husband helped the diva, while my son drew and cut our construction paper boots and hands, that I glue-gunned on. (Yes, I am going to continue to yap about the glue gun).
The piece-de-resistance was the pot of gold. We took mini caldrons from our Halloween decorations and filled them with glass beads that you would use in floral arrangements (another thing I have a few materials, but no skill for). We borrowed gold spray paint from a neighbor and voila: The potato leprechaun had his pot o’ gold.
I am pleased to introduce you to Lucky:
A close up on the gold:
And what about my daughter’s potato? Well… she’s three and had many “design-changes” mid-project. I tried my best not to take over and make her a cute potato lass. True to her artistic direction, we ended up with “Potato Ghost Goldilocks Leprechaun”:
This turned out to be a fun-filled, kitchen-wrecking, heart-warming, glue-gun wielding, family bonding experience. This was more fun than carving pumpkins and everybody contributed to the finished product. As long as there is washable paint, our family may continue to do Sunday craft projects until I accidentally glue the kids together!
I must warn you that I am going to do what my serious writer friends call a stream of consciousness. So if you’re not in the mood to hear the anger, frustration and sadness of a mother, wait for my next post.
My husband is on business travel. When I am single-momming it, I run a tight schedule to avoid melt downs as much as possible. By 6:30 my kids were bathed and my son was finished with his dinner. My three-year old daughter was still fighting me on eating. Now I know what you might say, don’t have battles over food, they will eat when they’re hungry. Unfortunately, for my daughter that is bedtime. If she doesn’t finish her dinner, she waits until after I put her to bed and starts the “I want a snack”. If I say no, reminding her that she didn’t eat her dinner, I feel guilty that I am “starving” her and she throws a horrific temper tantrum, thus waking up her brother who has to get up for school.
So tonight, I insisted she eat most of her dinner. It took an hour. I was exhausted, frustrated and irritated. I finally gave up when she had finished what would normally be enough, but I reminded her that if she didn’t finish her dinner there would be no snacks.
Fast forward to bed time. My son went down fairly easy, as he is always does. My daughter wanted to read me a book instead of me reading to her. Yes, I know I should think it is adorable and creative of her, but I am tired. I am still adjusting to the time change and have hours of work to do. We finally get through books and I turn the lights out. I go in the kitchen to get everything laid out for morning lunches, ensure we have the right library books to send back and change the laundry. I then hear the not-so-delightful pitter patter of my adorable hellions feet. She is hungry and wants a snack. Of course. I remind her of the rule and that she didn’t finish her dinner and tell her to go back to bed.
She throws herself down and starts the temper tantrum. My daughter is the
queen emperess of tantrums. She has been known to go 90 minutes straight. Ironically, I am often the one who can calm her down, without giving in. I am usually the one who remains calm and acts like an adult. Usually… I pick her up (with an incredibly sore back) and take her to her room. I tell her if she keeps up the screaming, I will take a toy out of her room. My son (whose bedroom is only a bathroom away from his sisters) comes out crying because she woke him up. I tell him to go back to bed (with not enough sympathy).
This goes on until my son has been up five times and my family room is a fully stocked store of confiscated toys. At this point my daughter has continued to come out of her room (we don’t have locks on our doors) and have her temper tantrum in the hallway. I don’t want to give into her, because it sends the wrong message, but I also want my poor son to get some sleep. I feel trapped and torn between being the consistent mom and being fair to my son.
I hit the mommy wall where I am exasperated and don’t know what to do next. I threaten to spank her, even though I don’t think it is a useful tool with my kids. It may be right for some kids, but it’s not right for me or my kids. That being said, I have done it less than a handful of times when I have hit the mommy wall. In my mind this makes it worse. I am using spanking when I can’t think of a more constructive option.
My daughter is now kicking the floor and screaming, my son is up again. I want to scream, cry and run away. I consider calling my neighbor for moral support, but remind myself these are my kids and my job. I think about calling my husband, but he’s in a different time zone and needs his rest. I am so angry, I am standing there with clenched teeth. I tell her, “this is your last warning, go in your room or I will spank you!” (Yes, I am yelling 5 feet from my son’s door). She kicks the wall so I spank her.
Now, my daughter has on a diaper. But she still says ow. I have mentioned before she is an actress. I am quite sure she is more stunned than anything, but I still feel lousy and now she’s screaming even louder. Clearly that is my punishment for resorting to spanking. I walk into my room and ignore her. I am so angry, so sad and so frustrated that I feel like separating us will be the only way to defuse the situation. She follows me in screaming and I tell her, “Mommy is so mad right now. You need to go in your room. I do not want to see you right now.” She doesn’t budge and moves closer, now kicking the chair I am sitting in. I turn towards her, “What do you want?! Go in your room!” Through her screams she tells me she wants me to snuggle her. This sentence diffuses the rage, but I don’t think its appropriate to just switch to lovey dovey mommy. I explain that she has to stop crying, get in bed and no more screaming if she wants me to come in.
She does what I ask and I lay down in her bed. She instantly cuddles up to me. I feel like a monster. I am the adult, I handled a tough situation poorly and she just wants the assurance that her mommy loves her. Rage is gone. Sadness and disappointment in myself enter. I am a smart, level-headed woman. I read parenting books, I have the nickname of hostage negotiator because I use my words to diffuse situations, but tonight I failed as a mommy. I allowed myself to hit the wall. Or, as I prefer to think of it, the wall came up and smacked me.
As I calmed down, I tried to think about what I could have done differently. I still didn’t know what would have been a better solution to my daughter asking for the snack and her subsequent temper tantrum. The only idea I had was to re-heat the left-overs and tell her she could eat her dinner or nothing, but I really don’t think she was hungry, she had a healthy well-balanced meal. Yes, I feel the need to share that to compensate for being a lousy mom tonight, so pat me on the back – I fed my kids baked chicken, brocoli and brown rice pasta before I turned into psycho-mommy.
The worst part is, I feel like I only hit the wall when my husband is traveling. Does that mean I am not capable of being a parent on my own? I hope it means that when we’re both home, we can call for reinforcements when one of us is at our boiling point. I have friends who are single moms and friends whose husbands travel every week. They have a better resistance to the mommy wall.
The best I can do is start over tomorrow, but tonight, I will go to sleep wishing I had done it differently. But before I try to sleep, I will go kiss both of kids one more time, because I love them and that’s why being the best parent I can be matters.