Saturday, March 28, 2009

My First Baby

She farts. She burbs like a champ. She pulls her pants up past her chest and walks around with underwear on her head. She make us laugh uncontrollably. She can be her sister's best buddy and her worst enemy. She has her father wrapped around her little finger like a pipe cleaner. She can tag my warped sense of humor in nothing flat. She loves to read. She kicks ass in karate. You wouldn't know behind those braids and that cute smile that she can deliver a back-fist punch like a reflex.

She is 10 today. 10 years old. 10 years of smiles and laughter and tears. I can not believe I had a hand in creating this amazing, radiant little girl. I can see in her the baby I held not so long ago and the woman she will be at the same time. And even though I'm an evil, heartless mommy, my heart really does ache with the love I have for her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yin and Yang

Do you and your spouse parent the same? My guess is you don't, but if you do - yay you! Really.

This is how it goes in my house. I say time for bed. Dad says let's finish Beavis & Butthead. I say 1 cookie is enough. Dad says it's a party - have all you want. I say what do you think about letting the kids play in the freeway while we go to Target? Dad says something sensible like let's hire a babysitter. It's exhausting.

I hear told time and again how I'm the disciplinarian and he's the softy. Those 3 girls have him wrapped around their fingers! Boy, she runs a tight ship!

Nothing like being pigeonholed. Like I want to crack the whip?! Well maybe a little. But I would really enjoy it if I had a partner to crack that whip with. We could stand side by side dressed in leather like superheros cracking our whips while our kids follow our every order including making us perfect mixed drinks like a Mai Thai or Gin & Tonic.

Hmmmm...that little scene doesn't quite sound like I thought it would. Well, maybe we are supposed to have these distinctly different roles. Maybe as frustrating and hair pulling of an experience this team effort can be, we are supposed to sort of balance each other out. Sort of like yin and yang with a whip and a remote?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Heels

One day I was shopping for shoes with my friend. For some odd reason I decided to try on a pair of honest to goodness heels. I put them on and walked around a bit.

I told my friend I felt like a bona fide grown-up. I felt like I could really play the part in these puppies.

An older woman a couple of seats over chuckled and said, "Now you know - we are all faking it."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends and The Trusty Bathrobe

Friends can be a pain in the ass. I know this from first hand experience. They can complicate your life, give you crappy advice and judge you when you least need it.

Not my friends though. One of my more recent mornings from hell two of my friends caught wind of it and stopped by. One of which is currently in her own special kind of hell that won't seem to end. Another of which made a trip to my favorite bread shop to pick me up something hot and doughy meant to lift my mood out of the disgusting slime filled gutter. They both did this independently. How warm and fuzzy is that? Like an old trusty bathrobe I tell you.

More recently my friends awesomely supported me when my Grandma died and I was at a loss realizing that my family didn't want to do anything to acknowledge this woman who profoundly effected so many people in her life. My friend said, "Why not have a party and celebrate her with us? We haven't met her, but what the hell, you talk, we drink and eat - good times!" Wow.

Friends take you and your family to Brazil, bunk you up in their house, visit you on a crazy ranch in Arizona, go camping with you and your brats, supply duct tape, chocolate or eat your baking. Friends will bug you to no end about being stupid or ask your advice like you actually know something. Friends can come and go like seasons, but when they are there they want to be nowhere else. It takes work to find good friends and cultivate them, but in the end they are like oxygen, a person can really start to suffocate without a good friend or two to know and love.

I tell my daughter that her friends, the people she chooses to be with and share with, are a reflection of her. That learning to recognize and take a chance on a good friend is a skill that she'll take with her for the rest of her life. So when she finds herself being sucked into the quicksand of life she can reach up and have a hand or two waiting to help pull her out.

I hope my kids learn that friends are worth the effort. Learn how to make and keep good friends and you have a skill and foundation not unlike bedrock - not in a cold, hard, lumpy kind of way, but in that solid underneath all the loose stuff kind of way. Something you can always count on - friends.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Grandma

My Grandmother passed away today. This is the woman who probably shaped my life the most out of anyone who had a chance to get their 2 cents in. This is the woman who had the courage to save my life and rescue me from her own daughter. This is the woman who taught me how to be a card carrying member of the suck it up club. This is the woman who taught me what survival is.

She was born during the depression on a farm in Nebraska. Told me stories about riding her horse bareback to the one room school house she shared with her 2 sisters and a brother. Moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was a teenager. She survived being widowed twice. The first time as a young woman alone with a small child in the 1950's. The second time at the hands of a criminal who chose my unsuspecting Grandfather as his victim. She survived her daughter's torment through drug addiction, prison and eventual suicide. She raised an amazing son, my Uncle, who has every lick of this woman's tenacity, intelligence and logic. This woman was tough. She never felt sorry for herself. She took what life handed her and kept on going.

When I lived with her, I was a young child and could not fully appreciate the courage it took for a 50 something year old woman to take her 2 grandchildren and flee to the other end of the state for their safety. I didn't fully appreciate what it took to take us to the park alone, or to the beach, or on crazy vacation adventure. After I had children of my own I told her how much more I understood and that I appreciated what she had given me during my childhood.

She bought my brother and I bikes and told us to come home when the street lights came on. I came home with the pad of my toe almost completely severed. Not one word about me not wearing proper shoes. She put me in the tub, rinsed it and taped it up. I wouldn't have dreamed of complaining that I couldn't walk because of it. One time when I came home crying that some boy had pushed me into the water we had been playing around she stood out front listening to me then turned around, grabbed a big stick off the wood pile and handed it to me. That was it. No talking. I knew what to do. I chased that boy 3 blocks before he hid behind his pregnant mother's legs.

She would tell us to grab our shoes and head out to the car. We were going exploring. Sometimes that would constitute a meandering drive around the city. Sometimes we would find ourselves checking into a hotel hundreds of miles away. She wasn't an outdoorsy woman, but took us to all the local beaches and parks often. She inspired in me a lifelong love and respect of nature without ever saying a word.

Her conversations were always lively. She loved to play the devil's advocate. To this day I don't know which party she voted for because she would argue with anyone no matter who they were supporting. She was very generous but liked to help people her own way. When I was in college she would tell me to take her to the grocery store because she hated the damn new scanners and didn't want to unload her own cart like a damn fool. When I went with her she would make me push my own cart which she would fill and pay for without a word. Half the time I thought both carts were for her. I can't tell you how many times I was with her when she would put a homeless person in our car, drive them to the local all-you-can-eat buffet and pay for their meal.

When I feel the tenacity flowing through my blood. When I get something handed to me that resembles a pile of shit and I push it aside and keep on going, I think of her. When I try my best to be witty and it rolls off as pure sarcasm I remember all the conversations we would have while I was growing up where I was taught the fine art of sarcasm and it's many implementations.

What I value in myself I see came from her. My stubbornness, my problem solving skills, my whacked sense of adventure, my lack of domestic skills, my twisted sense of humor and my Spock-like logical take on life all come from this woman who I was lucky enough to call my Grandma.

I'll miss you Grandma. Thanks for making me who I am.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fits R Us

We all do it. The kids, the parents, all of us. The difference is the abandon with which we throw our fits.

My 5 year old throws fits with total abandon that look like the Tasmanian devil has suddenly appeared. At 2 I had to remove all the cute kid furniture like the little table and chairs and the kid sized hall tree she hung her dress-up on because she would pick them up and CHUCK THEM across the room in her fits of rage. At 3 she kicked a hole in her wall. NOT ok. BUT her fits are short lived. 10 mins max and she doesn't hold grudges.

Almost 10 year old throws restrained fits that look like a volcano erupting. Seriously. She will rumble and rumble and finally spew as hurtful of words as she can think of (these have gotten more sophisticated over the years) like we are yucky or her sister is stupid or the favorite, she hates this family. Gasp! Of course there are tears involved because these girls can turn on tears like sprinklers on a switch. She will get sent to her room where you won't really hear anything, but you WILL get the ICE COLD shoulder for a day or two. Oh and the LOOKS she can throw should be patented. They will someday have the power to kill.

So far the baby looks like her fits are short, loud bursts and easily stopped. No long crying sessions like we saw with 5 year old at this age but certainly not the silence we saw at this age with almost 10 year old. Looks like we got 3 completely different versions. Yipee.

I most likely resemble a bomb. A very predictable bomb. They all KNOW how to set me off. Then, just as the neighbor is dialing 911, everyone scrambles and then I'm O.K. Mostly I just want to see them MOVE. Hey, I give them logical warnings like, "Cut the crap RIGHT NOW. " Or the eerily calm, through clenched teeth, "You will listen to what I am saying." I LOVE when I can pull off the scarier-than-Jason-the-psychopathic-killer calmness. So effective, but hard to count on all the time.

But having a fit doesn't necessarily suck. Fits can get a point across or let off steam when needed. We all get in our grooves and sometimes someone has to holler or thrash around a little to wake us up. "Hey YOU! Listen. To. Me." Or, "Look down here! Here, here, here!!" Or a little bit of, "What the FUCK?!" Can be useful here and there. Don't you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Little About Nothing and Sheets and Vodka

I am trying to write and answer my email and catch up in Twitterville. Consequently, I have 42 abandoned entries and nothing to post. Meanwhile, the baby is bringing me random things from around the house. What was an empty counter at which I sat with only my computer and a cup of tea is now covered with: a phone, 2 movies - 50 First Dates & Josie and the Pussycats, 3 different pieces of tupperware with 5 different lids, the remote control, "Beginning iPhone Development", "Flat Belly Diet", a karate shoe, "Hello, Cupcake!", a lunch box, a rubber frog, an assortment of what were clean dish towels and cloth napkins, a brush, a stuffed cat, a platic seahorse and a sock.

What the fuck?

Is she trying to help with inspirational offerings? Is she commenting on the inconsistencies in my book collection? Maybe she is cleaning up for me? THAT is what I need. A fully trained 1 year old maid. Yes!

On a whole other note. How often do you guys change your sheets? Really. This topic was brought up with the last post and the whole mopping thing. Which THANK GOD I will never, ever have to do again because I'm well known for sticking to my word. But really, when do you change your sheets? Like regularly? On a schedule? When they smell funny? When they LOOK dirty? When they disintegrate into dust and threads? I'm just wondering if my practice of changing them when the 5 year old begs me to is so off base.

Also, I found a cool way to save money and survive parenting...http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Vodka