Monday, October 31, 2011

I had some time to think without the televsion to distract me

Inspired by the recent snowfall and power outage, coupled with my impending birthday, I have become a bit reflective.   I now realize a few crucial points about the person I am – in the cold weather…

I may love watching Little House on the Prairie - but I do not in any way want to live like Laura Ingalls in the 21st Century.  I like my heat cranked up, television, Pandora music and light switches. 

Most of my parenting life is ruled by having to change at a moment’s notice.  There are many daily situations that I am very go with the flow – except when it comes to losing power.   I lose all sense of…sense.  I hate waiting on the unknown of, “When the frick am I going to be able to take a hot shower??!!”   I hate losing power in my home.  It makes my home cold, and uncertain and lonely and a place I don’t want to be.  This then makes me sad because I love my home, so I feel betrayed.  And cold and edgy.  And then I am at the mercy of some repair person and I have to wait God knows how long for my gosh-darn heat to come back.    And then I yell at the girls, making me feel guilty and like a bad mother.  A cold, shivering, edgy, guilty, bad mother.

I don’t really care for the smell of a fireplace in my house.  To me, a fireplace is a dirty, smoky, pain in the ass.  There, I said it.   I’d give you my fireplace if I could.    I know this goes against the hallmarks of living in New England, and all of the seasonal, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but inside it’s so delightful.”  And when the weather gets blustery, people up here just love putting another log on the fire and getting cozy.  Not me.  I’ll just turn up the heat, thank you very much.   I enjoy a fire enough if I am at someone else’s house or in some ye olde rustic setting, but not in the living room of my ranch house.   When I was growing up in New York the local television station, WPIX,  would show a loop of the Yule Log burning away on Christmas Eve.    That’s my idea of a fireplace in my home.

I am not a hardy New Englander.  So in the colder months I will continue to remember the advice that a friend who is Swedish said to me, and I hold it dear in my New York heart – “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Excuse me while I go buy some more silk long underwear and furry outerwear that I will keep on until May.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It ended up

Cliff sends me a text this afternoon.  It says this, “Free flu vaccine today at the high school.  Can you take the girls.”  I did my normal, which is think for about a second and I answered quickly with my first reaction.  “I’m gonna see if there is another free one coming up.  I don’t want to deal with a crying kid today.” 

            Cliff gets his flu shot every year, as do the girls.  I skipped my shot last year and I came down with the bona-fide flu. The girls still talk about how sick I was, “Remember mommy, how you couldn’t get out of bed for two days?  Remember throwing up?”  Oh yes, I do remember and with these girls around, I will never forget every sweaty detail. 

 I know that the shot is no guarantee that I will remain unscathed by the flu and copious amounts of hand washing does a lot of the heavy lifting of the staying healthy process throughout the snotty winter.  I have no moral objections to the flu shots, so I line up every year to get them for the girls.  I just didn’t want to get the shots today.

It’s raw and rainy outside and the girls had no after school activities.  I had sweet and simple plans to make chocolate chip cookies, do homework, give them a bath and go shopping downstairs.  (When we are doing the seasonal clothing switch to see what they have grown out of I try to make this tedious process fun, by calling it - going shopping downstairs.)   It takes a chunk of time and stamina because the girls have to try on bins of clothes that we have stored in the basement.   For some reason, Sophie and Katie have embraced this ‘going shopping downstairs’ song and dance, by pretending to go in a dressing room and shaking their butts around to prove that something fits or not.  At some point there are piles of clothes on the floor that Katie dives into, rolling around pretending to be a cat and Sophie gets all mushy and nostalgic seeing clothes that no longer fit her long, muscular body.

I wanted to be a fun, easy mommy today, making cookies, cuddling and watching Dancing with the Stars.  I didn’t want to be the mommy who picks them up from school with the declaration, “Guess what we’re going to do today?  Flu shots!  Yeah!” 

So when I picked up the girls, I had it in my mind that I was going ahead with my easy mommy plan.   We come home for the traditional afterschool snack/feeding frenzy and I decide to drop a casual, “Hey girls, we could get flu shots today at the high school.  But I think we should go another day.” 

Do you know what Sophie chirps?  “I wanna go!  Mommy!  Ooooooh – let’s go today!  I love the high school!”  Then Katie, who I thought the word “shot” would reduce her to quivering mush, chimes in, “Let's go – and get it over and done with!  Come on.  Will you hold my hand?” 

Who are these people, excited to get flu shots?   Their father’s daughters apparently.

 We went to the high school and I got a flu shot too.  We all held hands.  The day ended watching  Dancing with the Stars – and somehow, I came out as easy mommy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I think I need to buy some dark chocolate

Some days are just, meh. The past few have been like that.  Why have I been a little low you ask?  Well, there are always the ongoing energy draggers, like child-herding and meltdowns in the Payless shoe store and the ever-present, constant have-to-do’s of daily adult existence.  (Did I just call myself an adult – that really is enough for a girl to feel down.)

But what is currently weighing on my mind is the hugeness of the task in front of me -of trying to get this blog and writing life some wings.  

I have moments like right now, when I am reading other writer’s fantastic blogs.    I am amazed at the discipline of posting multiple times a week.   I see that they have hundreds (thousands!) of people liking them on facebook, advertising all over many of their blogs, twitter feeds, plus the regular jobs and daily loads of laundry that they must do and I wonder, how do they accomplish all of this?  I know the answer can be simple, hard work, decent writing and a cleaning person once a week.  And I have two out of the three.  But this is when I do a dangerous loop-de-loop and I spiral down with self-doubt and I wonder, does the world really need another blogger?  Where do I begin?  How late do these people stay up every night if they post four times a week?  Am I PMS-ing?

I am not trying to have a public pity party on the woe is me express, nor am I fishing for empty compliments like the annoying skinny girl asking her friends at the sleepover party, “Is my butt fat?”.  Just having a moment.   You know how that is.   

I write to connect - I have stories to share.   I write to be heard and to be myself - I have never wanted to write anonymously.   I admit, my creative life inspires visions of grandeur and dreams of travelling the country on a book tour.   I imagine Tina Fey and me going over last minute changes to a script at Silvercup Studios in Queens where she will be as inspired by me as I am by her.   For the moment though, I am grateful for each person that reads my words.  I do jumpy claps when ever another person likes me.   If I keep on writing it, more will come – with a dedicated effort every day, some more social media savvy and a big dose of self-confidence thrown in there for good measure. 

And someday soon, a cleaning person once a week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Maybe she has been listening to me all these years...

In the mayhem of school morning get ready time., Sophie looks at me and declares, “Mommy, I am bringing my diary to school to share with Abby.”  My instant reaction, accompanied by a finger wagging, neck pop and lock is, “Oh no you are not.  That is your private diary.  That should not leave the house.”  Sophie tosses back, “Relax Mooooom.  I am just sharing with Abby and she is my friend.  She’s bringing hers too – she will be disappointed if I don’t bring it.”  We were at a standstill.  Sophie wanted to bring her diary and I was adamant in my position that diaries do not belong in school, mainly because,  “It could get into the wrong hands.  People can be mean.  They will read it and make fun of you and use it against you.”

   If we were being filmed for observation by a wildlife documentary show, this is the point where David Attenborough would whisper, “In her zeal for protection, notice how the mother bear defends her position and tries to maintain her dominance.  Unfortunately she is oblivious to her young cub’s attempt to assert her new burgeoning independence.  Let’s watch and see what happens.”

 All I wanted to do for Sophie was use this as a ‘teachable moment”.  I wanted her to understand how special a private diary is to a person.  How happy I was for her that she wrote down her thoughts , and BFF’s and BFFFL and lingo third grade girls use to express themselves.  I also wanted to prevent any of this private information from getting out into the general school public.  I wanted to protect her from something that could happen.

This is where my position that morning went awry.  I was the one that needed a teachable moment, the one that says I cannot prevent bad things from happening to my girls, and the embarrassments that happened to me as a kid won’t necessarily happen to Sophie and Katie.  I needed to remember that in certain situations,  I cannot tell Sophie what to do.  I have to learn how to trust her to make up her mind.   She could get burned sometimes.  That’s life.  I can’t prevent bad things from happening to her.

                As she stood in front of me -defiantly respectful - Sophie  lays this final push on me, “It’s my body and my diary.  I can make decisions about my body and nobody knows my body better than me.   That’s what you tell me.” 

                The standstill was broken and she brought her diary to school.   Nothing happened.  No one stole it and announced her eight year old crushes on the loudspeaker at school.  Her friend didn’t whisper about her behind her back.    But now she knows that bringing her diary to school is not allowed.