Monday, June 30, 2008

"Wii" are having "fun"

The family obsession with having a Wii continues. Or should I say, it worsens. For the last few days, Pablo has been telling me all about how all his IMAGINARY friends have Wiis and how fun it is to go to their houses to play, with increasing detail etc. It must be so sad to not only have the stigma of being the only visible playmate, but also the least technologically up to date.

As of today, we apparently got a Wii at our house. An invisible one. A wobble board serves as the Wii Fit board, and various things have been used as the remote control. We just spent the last hour taking turns "playing" our favorite Wii games, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, and sometimes getting strikes while playing tennis. Don't ask me. Pablo expects me to remember what order the games are in on the various exercises you can do on the Wii, and which order new games become unlocked. My memory just doesn't serve.

One significant advantage of our "machine" over those lesser visible models is that games load really fast. We change back and forth from the game pack to the Wii Fit with no waiting for something to load, no pushing extra buttons. You want to bowl? Bam, you are there. In front of the (off) television, with some sort of remote (often a puzzle piece, since the 600 piece world map is back...) in hand. You are ready to go. Just don't forget to push the A button first. In Mauritania. Am I the only one who has a hard time finding the Wii buttons on a puzzle piece that is less than an inch in diameter? Don't worry, I have help.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

6 months?!

As of yesterday, Beebz is 6 whole months old. I can't believe it. She has reached many milestones like sitting up, high fiving, passing a toy from hand to hand, saying "hi" (no, really she does! Also, possibly "ball." Pablo counts it, I don't. Of course, according to Pablo, she said "beach ball" which I think is flat out fiction. She was holding a ball and said "ba" but I don't think it really counts. She was just repeating him. Maybe.). She is closer to crawling than I want to think about. She has two whole teeth and a fancy haircut, and is about the cutest thing ever in the history of time. I am not biased, of course. What mother is?

She seems to be favoring her left hand, which is cool with me since that would even up the handedness in our family (Pablo and my partner are righties, I am a lefty). Of course, it's ok if she is a righty too. It's not like I am taping her right hand to her side or anything.

Also, I think she can solve some of our money issues. I can rent her voice out for horror movie sound tracks. She can shriek loud enough to break glass, shatter your ear drums, and bend metal, all the while grinning with delight. There has to be a market for this. Can't you see me, a stage mom, coaching my infant to give this shriek just a "little more feeling, darling!" Maybe not.

Sadly, however, she apparently didn't get the memo regarding how most babies stop spitting up by 6 months of age. I reminded her about it, and she didn't seem to care. I even showed her the page in the book. No dice. That's my little rebel.

Happy half birthday, sweetness, I love you!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No, I am not stupid, I am just YOUNG.

This was a really busy week during which we encountered more people who don't know Pablo than usual. We had meetings with both the social worker and our lawyer concerning Beebz' second parent adoption (Oh the fun (and expense) of discrimination... married people don't have to prove that they are good parents to the children they planned for, conceived, and have cherished since egghood... but that's another post.). Both of these women are kind, intelligent people who deal with children on a pretty regular basis. And both treated Pablo like a moron.

First was the sing-song voice that some people adopt due to the fact that they can't distinguish between apes and children. That one alone gets on my nerves. Then came the "Oh, no, you couldn't mean THAT" kinds of statements. At the lawyer's office, Pablo said he was 34 because that day he was PRETENDING to be 34. The lawyer replied, "Oh no, you must mean three OR four. You will get better at knowing your age when you are older." To which we all jumped to explain and she was shocked that he knew numbers as high as 34. No kidding. He is FOUR years old and freakishly bright, but I have yet to meet ANY 4 year old who can't say two digit numbers. She was also shocked he knew his colors and could read the word RED.

This is when I am sorely tempted to trot out his tricks and make him perform like a trained seal by showing off his math, reading, geography etc skills. But I restrained myself. I don't like bending to their level to make him prove his intelligence. Still, it is so hard to watch that look he gets on his face where he is clearly thinking either a) this adult is a moron or b) he is doing something wrong by knowing the things he knows. He has learned to dumb down to the level of the adults he plays with, and it breaks my heart. On the other hand, it shows a considerable amount of empathy and consideration for one so young. He doesn't want others to feel bad that they don't know the capital of Zambia. Isn't that nice?

The social worker did more damage, in my opinion, because not only did she treat him like he was dumb, she CHEATED when they played a game together. It was almost comical because she was clearly cheating, and Pablo clearly knew she was cheating, but she thought she was getting away with it. Since we play all games in a cooperative, non competitive way in our home, he thought she was off her rocker. Why cheat when everyone wins? And, oh by the way, what is cheating and why do people do it, and why did she cheat, and why did she want the game to go faster and and and and....

I feel so sad that people ever treat children in a condescending way. Even when kids don't know things, they should still be spoken to as if they were HUMAN. After all, we are teaching them how to treat those with less power. And life lesson, talking to those with less power (ie ability, strength, position, etc) as if they were stupid just pisses them off. Badly.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Did you know you can twitter Barack Obama? I mean, who gets to have the job for posting messages on the site, and how much does that person get paid?! I mean seriously, what was that job interview like? (OK, OK, I know its really just some flunky, but it’s so fun to imagine the possible specificities of this “career.”)

“Tell me, young person, can you speak in Senator Obama’s voice for 140 characters or less, updating our hip constituents on his every move? You will get paid .0001 cent per character per 1000 hits on our site. Oh, and you are in charge of coffee too. If you want, we can call you our tech-barista. Sound good? Great. Now help me figure out how to do this Twitter thing. Everyone over 40 is stumped by it.”

What really gets me is that Obama follows you too. He has a kabillion friends that he “follows” daily. Do you think our mythical tech-barista READS all these 20 kabillion twitters a day, tracking micro-trends in the Obama population? Given politics today, probably I am not too far off.

I love the guy, and I gotta say, he is a genius for making people feel in touch. You can also Digg him, Facebook him, Flickr him, and various and assorted other things that are beyond my coolness level. For the first time, we will (aka we had freakin' better) have a president hipper than me. That doesn't make me old, right? Just twitter me your answer. ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tips for Grounding Step 1: Remember to do it.

We have this list of grounding tips that sits on our refrigerator. It always cracks me up because it seems at first glance like a list of how to ground your kids, but it’s really a list of ways for the parent to get more grounded (ie back in touch). It has stuff like deep breathing, counting backwards, taking a break, etc. The typical stuff. It sits there so I will remember to implement grounding skills. Sometimes. Now and then. Ever.

The fact is that when I am on I am on, and when I am off, it is nearly impossible for me to get myself back to a grounded place. I was thinking a lot about this yesterday when I was so grumpy. Writing about it helped get me over the hump of being actively insane, but the whole rest of the day I just felt spacey and not connected. I didn’t even know how to feel compassion for that, since at the time I was struggling just to stay in a sane place. Teething, tantrums, and trauma. Such fun.

Cultivating that awareness to ask the question: “Does this (thought/feeling/behavior) fit with my higher purpose?” sounds really easy. Like a theoretical diet. You know, you think about eating better and exercising and you create a whole big plan, and then when you start you feel hungry and tired and getting out of bed seems too hard and you forgot to go to the grocery and and and and and…. The diet is over before it started. Yes, theoretical implementation is easy. I have created a thousand plans and reminders for myself. I have yet to find one that really works on a consistent basis. Probably because I have a hard time using them consistently. Or sometimes starting them. Or remembering them in the moment.

Part of the problem is I still yearn for structure. Four years into this full time parenting gig, I still crave just a teensy bit of structure to my day. I still want that fictional quiet time in the afternoon and morning time to do yoga and meditate. Instead, there are diaper changes and spit up and upsets over toys being lost. And so my little routine gets all discombobulated and then I end up just going through the day, never feeling quite checked in with myself. I still can’t surf the wave of our days and let it all flow if I want to include any aspect of the day for my own recharge. If I ignore me, things go pretty well. Until I am exhausted after a few weeks of no me-time.

But, when I am on, I am on. So maybe the trick is to not fall off. Often.

And maybe to ground myself more often: “You are grounded as of this moment, young lady. March yourself into your room and don’t come out until you have taken 10 deep breaths. Good ones. NOW GO.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Grumps.

I am grumpy. Nothing is going to make it better. So there.

The last couple of days have been really hard. I have been grumpy and not really able to get into a better space. I know that the boyo has been a big ignorer, which is always hard to tolerate. I know that I am worried about finding another work from home job thats not a scam since my old contract has pretty much dried up. I know that my head and body hurt from muscle tension.

What I don't know is how to get out of this space. For a while I fought it. I tried talking to myself about needing to feel better. No dice. I tried chilling out and doing something fun. Not even a spark of improvement. In fact, now I feel grumpier. If there were grumpy Olympics I would win the gold. In fact, I bet I can out-grump anyone in cyberspace. So there.

I could try being compassionate to myself. No. Don't wanna. I could meditate. NO. Really don't wanna. I could do yoga. No way. Geez. If I did any of that I might get in a better mood and then where would I be?

Dang it, it's hard to stay grumpy now cause the baby woke up and is smiling at me and singing a little wake up song. Maintaining a good grump takes just the right balance and if I start noticing good things instead of dwelling on the bad I will totally lose it.

Great. Now Pablo is cooperating with me and being sweet while we play a super cool division mah jong game. Sheppard's may be the coolest site EVER for kids. The baby is giving me zerberts. Phooey. I give up. I won't be the biggest grump. Aw, man....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Halloween: It's a FROG!

Yes, Pablo wants to be a frog. But not just any frog. He wants his costume modeled after a toy of his sister's, that has chewing rings held by the feet. That are sewn together. Anyone see a problem with this? Yes, I thought you might. Serious negotiations later, he is willing to wear bracelets that are like the rings. Great. Except one is star shaped, one is square, and one is a circle. The circle will be no problem, but I am concerned about finding kid sized bracelets that are square or star shaped. He also wants the head to rattle, just like the toy. This makes me fight hard to suppress any number of jokes about making heads rattle, rocks between the ears, etc. I figure I will make a head with big puffy eyes and put bells in them. This froggy also has a crown, which Pablo emphatically DOES NOT want. Don't ask me, I just report the facts. This will be a project and a half, won't it? The big question is, sew or crochet?

Monday, June 23, 2008


We have a world globe beach ball in the car. Not sure how it got there. But it saves my life on a regular basis. Here is how it goes. The baby starts fussing. I hand her the ball. She kicks it, tries to grab it, generally goofs around with it until it falls between the car seats.

Pablo then grabs it, throws it back to her (all the while he is saying, "OK, Beebz, are you ready? Tell me when you are ready. Now? How about now?" Boy has that "say ready before beaning someone in the head with a ball" rule sunk in. If he's playing with her. Adults still get beaned in the head.)

He then asks her to find a country, and gives running commentary on her current locale and its proximity to Bangladesh or wherever. By now he is giggling. He just can't imagine a person not knowing where Bangladesh is. Man, this 6 month old sure is slow with her geography.

His giggles are contagious and make her start laughing (Is there any better sound than your 2 kids cracking each other up? I think not.). She then kicks the ball around etc while he coaches her to find another country or just to let him have another turn so he can teach her the location of Bangladesh. By now she totally gets that the sooner he has the ball, the more he laughs, so she generally dumps it back to him pretty quickly.

As if this cuteness isn't enough, tonight Pablo was a veritable Zen master. He tossed the SLEEPING baby the ball, and quietly asked her to throw it back. I offered to give it to him (since sleeping babies rarely play ball) and he replied, "No, Mama, she decides when it's my turn. I can wait until she is ready for me to have it back." He then sat there sans toy while she slept. Does it get any better than that?!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Beebz got her first tooth and her first haircut this weekend. I can't believe we cut her hair! She is only (almost) 6 months old! I am one of those insane traditionalists that thinks the first haircut should be sometime later. Like when the child is 5. I don't know where I got this, but little locks were just not meant to be...fashionable. Whenever I see a child with a haircut more expensive than my own, it geeks me out. It's like seeing a $500 purse or a Hummer. It makes me question people's priorities. Pablo's first cut came around age 3, when a dear friend performed an intervention and informed me that my son was sporting a mullet. That got under my skin. Apparently I have priorities too.... So, we cut it, I cried, and life moved on.

Beebz, on the other hand, was born with a ton of hair, and it has quickly grown to get in her eyes. She pulls at it and it bugs her. This was a needed cut, and yet I feel like she has passed a big milestone way too early. My baby is growing up, and you know how I feel about that! I am not a happy mama about this whole baby growing at warp speed nonsense.

To top it off, her first tooth is in, and adorable, and she keeps making this face where you can tell she is trying to check out the new sharp object in her mouth and feeling pretty confused by it. I think I would be, too.

I am feeling that sadness of my baby getting big too fast. I miss the little lump she was. On the other hand, watching the magic of her development is very exciting and fun, and I look forward to every little new thing that comes. But her hair cuts still won't cost more than mine.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Compassion? What’s that again? Oh, you mean that thing I give to OTHER people…

I am a loving, generous person who generally believes the best of people, who generally believes that people are doing the best they can at that moment, and who commits utterly to the concept that we are here on the planet to grow, learn, experience, and evolve.

Unless it’s me.

Then I am just… failing to meet the minimum standard, which apparently for me, means perfect. Hmmm. There is something not right about that. Seriously, though, even when I am consciously trying to increase my level of self kindness, I get busted for the self-deprecating or down right mean ways I talk (and think) about myself.

I was just talking to a friend about being more compassionate and called myself a DORK in the same sentence. And I didn’t notice. She pointed it out, kindly and gently. This time I laughed. Other times, I would then use that “error” to beat myself up even more. Good times.

Sometimes I almost get it. The golden ring is at my fingertips. I notice myself being really kind to me, and notice it extending to being even more compassionate to others. Especially my son. Especially when he is pushing my buttons. By being 4.

It’s an awful lot like Douglas Adam’s description of learning to fly. You start by falling and then you distract yourself and just forget to hit the ground. And then you keep… forgetting to hit the ground. I can go on like that for a while, but inevitably, I look down. And fall. And blame myself for falling.

I genuinely want to fly, but I just keep looking down. Douglas Adams said you need something really distracting to make it work. I wonder what really distracting thing I could use to help me remember that I, too, am a member of this evolving race of beings just trying to learn? A tattoo across my forehead, perhaps? No, that would just remind others. I don’t spend that much time looking in mirrors except when I am making funny faces at the baby. A piece of crazy jewelry? What would remind me to remind me to notice the jewelry? Hmmm. This is getting complicated.

OK, I will try just being kinder to myself again. No reminders, no gimmicks. The trick is being kind when I fall.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I just played Wii for the first time, and what a blast! Gotta gotta gotta getta Wii! We are visiting my folks for the weekend. You know you are woefully out of date when your parents have better technology than you.... More later!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Seat Up? Seat Down.

Pablo is a one way kind of a guy. Forever now he has been going potty standing up but with the seat DOWN. Very nice for the person coming after him. No matter what we did, he just couldn't seem to remember that one, even if we were standing there chanting LIFT THE SEAT! LIFT THE SEAT! like we were at some sort of strange spectator sport.

As of yesterday, for no apparent reason, all of those "lift the seat's" have apparently caught up to his ears. He has started spontaneously lifting the seat! Oh glory of glories! Happiness everlasting! The joy!

Now I just have to get him to put the seat BACK DOWN. When do I get to start complaining about that? I mean, this is progress, but still, this is almost worse than the seat being down, you know? Now I get to join the mass of women complaining about the toilet seat being left up, for the first time in my life. Oh glory of glories. Happiness everlasting. The joy....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Better than Ice Cream

Pablo is now obsessed with Sarah MacClaughlin. He goes around the house singing, “Your love… is better than ice cream….” Its about as cute as it gets. In addition, he has started improvising to sing things like, “Your love… is better than dancing,” and “Your love… is better than puzzles.” I thought it couldn’t get any cuter until this morning when I was awakened before 6 AM by a sweet voice singing, “Your love… is better than sleeping… Better than anything else I have tried….” It was worth losing sleep to hear that!!

PS Congratulations to all you newlyweds in California!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mama's so? REALLY?

Oh no. I didn't even think about this. When I named my blog, I swear this one didn't occur to me. I was just trying to find a name that was about being a mom and being mindful that wasn't already taken. I had no idea I would end up topping the list when you google MAMA'S SO jokes! You know, your mama's so ugly, your mama's so fat, etc. But seriously, who are these people who are googling these jokes? I thought they were generally made up off the cuff. In grade school. By the not so smart kids. In detention. But apparently, there is a MARKET for these? Seriously? Well, there I am, a loving mom just trying to find mindfulness in my life with my children, looking for the balance between their needs and mine, and I get to be part of bad joke Americana. oh goody.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

20 Questions

We have a new game going at our house. 20 questions. Give or take a few. Hundred. Pablo is mad about this game. He is finally old enough that he doesn't change his answer all the time, which is a blessing. However, he does come up with some doozies for questions.

1. Is it something we see on a regular basis? An adept and skillful question.

2. Is it invisible? Hmmm. You would think that we were being really tricky. Trust me. The only times we are tricky is when we accidentally choose something hard. It is ALWAYS an accident. Because 20 questions should not generally take 20 minutes, you know?

3. Is it a chiropractor? Now this one mystifies us. While I do see a chiropractor, Pablo has never gone. Apparently it makes a rather large impression. This question is especially funny when the previous questions have established that the mystery thing is mechanical, smaller than a breadbox, and ours is red (iPod). What exactly does he think goes on at the chiropractor? At one point he told me a chiropractor is a kind of fancy butterfly, but I don't buy it. I think he was messing with me.

4. Do you see it at the Waco zoo? Now this one really cracks me up since one time his chosen word was giraffe. It was a great question for us, so maybe it will work for him EVERY TIME. Backstory: The last time we drove through Waco we stopped at the zoo and got to see giraffes running. Trust me, that is a sight that will stay with you, since they run in slow motion. I have never seen something so large RUN so slowly. I actually looked for a gigantic hidden treadmill track just under the dirt. Those things are SLOW. I could catch one. Seriously.

When frustrated he goes back to what worked in the past, asking words that we have used before. This can get pretty out there since his guesses have nothing to do with previous clues at this point in the game. But still, it is fun, and thats whats important.

And its not the OTHER kind of 20 questions. The one that parents dread: Why am I a boy? Why are you a girl? On what episode of Backyardigans did they have grilled cheese for a snack (I am not making this up. He asks us this kind of stuff ALL the time. And the freaky thing is, he knows.)? What's the capital of Azerbaijan (yes, he LOVES geography.)

Yes, the really nice thing about 20 questions is that it does have a finite end. As opposed to the other one, which ends never. And the questions just get harder.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Little Pablo has christened his sister with her own Pablo created nickname. Beebz. You know, short for baby. A preppy baby. One with little saddle shoes and lots of plaid. And bows, don'cha think? I am guessing so. He calls her this all the time. What freaks me out is that my partner started calling her Beebz too. eek.

I guess I don't have much room to talk, since I called her Punky-Punk (or Punk for short-short) since birth. She came out with a TON of hair and for months it stood up like a faux hawk. Hence Punky like a Punk rocker. My partner was aghast, especially when I shortened it to Punk.

Beebz is better only because a 4 year old created it, but if it becomes an ongoing nickname, I worry about how she will be unduly influenced to be... well, Beebz-like. On the other hand, I called my brother Bubba and you can't imagine a more not Bubba like guy, unless a balding computer geek comes to mind when you hear "Bubba." I guess there is hope.

And I am still calling her Punk. Maybe the two will offset each other.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The No Fight Four

Boy do I have a handy new relationship tip for you! Cut fighting by 75% guaranteed! (certain restrictions apply…)

No doubt you have heard of the Johari window ( . Or maybe that’s just me. My partner and I co-created a new one which will go down in history as the No Fight Four. Maybe not as catchy, but you would not believe how hard it is to name these things!

Like the Johari window, there are two axis. The first is the question: how important is this? Is it about something inane or is it life or death? The second is: can it be proven in some way? Can you look it up? There is no point in fighting over things you can prove. Just look it up and be gracious when you are right.

Not Important and Provable

If you have time, go for solving it. Otherwise drop it. Example, who won the Tony for best actress in a musical in 2004? Only important to the one who won it, really. Not to say that BROADWAY isn't important, though. I'm just saying.

Important and Provable

Go ahead and find out the answer. Its important, after all. An example would be: is the kid over for a play date allergic to peanut butter? If you don’t know, serve something else instead!!

Not Important and Not Provable

Geez, get a life and quit quibbling! These are the ones you fight about just because you are bored. An example is which person forgot to turn off the sprinklers. Unless you want to install cameras EVERYWHERE in your life, let it go.

Important and Not Provable

These are the ones where you set an appointment to talk and hash it all out. Agreement doesn’t need to happen, but respect for the other person’s view does. For example, is there a god?

OK, so this won't solve ALL fights, but it will cut down on them! Let me know how it works for you!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ECO: you gotta see this.

Severn Suzuki is a little girl committed to change. She makes it clear in this speech to the UN that grown-ups aren't doing their jobs. I couldn't agree more. She makes me want to go join Peace Corps or sneak up behind Bush with a net and keep that tyrant out of trouble for a few more months. Unless, of course, he can do some damage to McCain. Hmmm... maybe its to our advantage to have Bush on the loose right now? Who'da thought. Anyway, she really has me thinking (even more) about ways I can make a difference in the world. I hope she does the same for you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sweeney Todd for 4 year olds

I don’t know what I was thinking. Well, I was thinking that I just got the Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street Deluxe - Complete Edition on iTunes and I really wanted to listen to it. I was thinking that sometimes Pablo doesn’t pay attention to lyrics. I was thinking... well, I guess I wasn’t thinking.

First I should probably give an adult summary for those who don’t know the story. Sorry to state the obvious, but SPOILER ALERT.

Sweeney Todd is a horror musical by Sondheim. It is dark. Really dark. And bloody. Very bloody. Sweeney Todd is a revenge crazed barber who slices and dices his way through the necks of London while his deranged girlfriend efficiently makes use of the bodies in her meat pie shop. In the end he does get revenge, but accidentally kills his (now insane) wife whom he had presumed dead, so he roasts the deranged girlfriend in a huge oven and then kills himself. As an aside, his daughter is saved from the villain who perpetrated all the evil and goes off with her true love. But only after she escapes from an insane asylum the villain put her in after she refused to marry him. But I digress. The main plot is the killing and the cooking.

I know. What was I thinking? I have to say, the score is much more innocuous than the actual musical. I knew that in advance. There is no screaming of people being killed. Ok, once. But I forgot about that one. No blood drips from the iPod as it plays (although I bet if they could pull that off, they totally would). But still. Yes, I know. What was I thinking?

I am now going to delude myself into believing that I am not the only one this has happened to. Don’t burst my bubble. So for those of you in the same predicament, here is the 4 year old version of Sweeney Todd. Just have your child read this synopsis rather than the one above.

Sweeney Todd is a sad man who lost someone he loved. He feels angry, just like when someone takes something you want. He wants to get back at the person who hurt him, just like how you sometimes want to hit people when they take your stuff. He feels sad and angry. He needs to let it all go and breathe, just like what we do when you are angry, right? Yes, it’s a really happy ending because Johanna (the daughter) is safe, just like Sweeney wanted her to be, and she is with her true love. Yes, it’s a very happy story. He only feels angry for a while, and then he feels better (Dead is better, right? What the hell was I supposed to say?).

Of course, with Pablo the geography nut, once I let it slip that Todd was shipped to Australia during the HOUR LONG litany of questions, we had to go into the history of England its use of Australia as a penal colony. I know, I know, what was I thinking?!

Standing by: meditation for mama

Pablo is on a kick, and its a fun one. He ignores me to the point of tears. Mine. Even when he asks me to do something like build a "contraction" together with our Marbulous (its the coolest toy EVER!) he will issue orders and then ignore me when I ask for help or clarification. Never mind when I START the "conversation," as it were. If you can call a conversation something that looks suspiciously like me repeating myself louder and louder till I lose it entirely. Yeah, its fun, fun, fun.

Yesterday I totally lost it and started telling him earnestly (and loudly) how frustrating it is when he ignores me, how I feel so angry and I don't like feeling angry, etc. and HE KISSED ME. He walked up, took my face in his hands, and kissed me right on the lips. He then smiled in that charming way only a kid knowing he is really pushing it can, and skipped off. Make love, not war, mama.

Today I took a different angle. When he started ignoring me, I went on stand by. Instead of sitting there fuming while he goofed off a few minutes after corralling me into playing mystery word (isn't that nicer than hangman? same game though.), I sat. I just sat and meditated. I didn't have an agenda or thoughts about getting frustrated. I just sat, noticed my breath, and redirected my attention when I found my mind wandering. It was awesome.

I remember reading in my favorite book, Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children about meditating by taking 10 breaths mindfully when you couldn't fit a sitting meditation into your day, and it seemed like just not enough. But today I really did it. I took the time and it actually worked. I feel calmer and happier and more playful.

Honestly, nothing changed but my attitude. I have always gotten so irritated by Pablo's expectation for me to stand by while he ignored me. I never saw it as a chance for me to take a break for myself. I have a new willingness to go with, rather than against, the flow that Pablo creates with his energetic tides. Looks like I really have a lot of time to meditate. I can just replace all the time spent repeating myself. And repeating myself. And repeating myself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Father's Day is coming...

I went to Target with a friend. While there, we looked for Father's Day cards for her (putz of a) dad, and I stumbled on an idea for a whole unexplored genre of cards! Where are the cards for lousy dads? The ones that say things like:

Thanks for getting mom knocked up!
Too bad you didn't stick around to see what I was like out of the womb.
Happy "Father's" Day!


Dad, you taught me the most important lessons of all.
Don't cheat, steal, or lie.
Too bad you didn't practice what you preach!
Happy "Father's" Day!

You get my drift. Don't you think there's a whole cadre of passive aggressive angry adult children of crappy dads who would pay big money to lay a guilt trip on their old pop on his big day? I have hit on a million dollar industry, I am sure.

And for the good dads, the ones we really want to appreciate, can there be some cards that don't require dad to be obsessed with golfing, fixing things badly, or drinking? Some that are funny (ie not about farting or fishing) but kind and loving. And funny. Did I mention funny? "Pull my finger" is not funny, people. Except to my son.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Safety of Others

I am so excited!!! My friend Jenni the movie maker now has her short film on IMDB. This is big stuff and I am so happy for her!! I was lucky enough to see The Safety of Others on the big screen, but for everyone else, here it is. Feel free to watch it, rate it, enjoy it. YEA JENNI!! You rock!!

BTW, if that link doesn't work, just go here and type in The Safety of Others. I am kind of new at this crazy hyperlink thing.

who cries over spilled milk?

ME. That's who. Our awesome little mini freezer went out. We saved most of the food by cramming it into our other freezer, but I am sad to report (please cue funereal music on your iPod at this time) we couldn't save the milk. I just poured almost 40 ounces of hard won breast milk down the drain. There is nothing to compare to this feeling, especially if you are not a great pumper. That was weeks of work, a lovingly built up supply in case I get hit by a bus/falling piano/cartoon character careening after another, smaller cartoon character.

Please share a moment of silence with me, and send milky thoughts my way as I try to restock. After the freezer gets fixed. Cause you never know about those wily cartoon characters.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

oh goody..."maturity."

Pablo here has hit a new phase of "maturity." He now thinks scatological humor is hysterical. The only actual fun part of this phase of childhood is that when you are complaining about it to your friends, you get to use the word "scatological." This is not as satisfying as you would think when you are strapped 24-7 to a child constantly saying he is going to pee on stuff and then falling over laughing. Which, parenthetically, makes the baby laugh, which makes the boy laugh and so on and so on. The laughing part is fun, but I am afraid it is a) egging him on to more potty humor and b) warping my daughter's fragile sense of humor until she will someday think Something about Mary is a high comedy. I only hope I can offset it with enough Monty Python when she is older! In the meantime, give me strength to endure this strange phase of parenthood where I subject myself to a mini Will Farrell/Ben Stiller/Jack Black and still, for no good reason that I can see, come back for more.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Where am I?

It was hot and humid, the kind where it is an effort to inhale the muggy soup of water and air. I felt tired from breathing, and I was confused. I was somewhere I go everyday, why was today miserable? Why couldn't I breathe?

Was I in Georgia in the late summer? No. The grocery store parking lot after a big rain? No. Inside my dryer just after wet clothes were put in? No. I WAS IN THE SHOWER. With the door closed. And not rushing as fast as I could. What a difference. Every day I shower with the stall door open so I can see the baby, play peek-a-boo while I shampoo, make sure Pablo isn't on the love attack, and all that jazz. I had FORGOTTEN what it feels like to be in a shower without a draft. And taking my own sweet time (7 minutes?)

Ah, motherhood. It challenges you to learn all kinds of new things. Like how to shower in less than 3 minutes with the door open AND LIKE IT.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Halloween II... the update

Thanks for the suggestions! I would totally vote armadillo (BTW, if you think I could make a NON cartoony armadillo costume, you are WAY overestimating my skills, but thanks, honey) but my partner would strike me down. In a kind hearted loving sense, of course. I like the other opinions too, and trust me, Anaconda's opinion does matter to me, but I have news. My boy wants to be a flower again. But get this. Pablo wants to be a BLUE flower. I (thankfully) double checked to confirm that my son, not the penguin, wants to be blue. NO. My son wants to be a RED flower, but PABLO wants blue. He actually wants me to MAKE TWO COSTUMES for when he wants to be himself vs when he wants to be Pablo. oy. We are now in deep negotiations for being half red and half blue, etc.

Of course, since I had an elaborate plan to crochet fairy wings and now it looks like I will just be cutting and gluing felt, I am feeling a bit less stressed about it. Now I just have to find a good pattern for a Solstice dress for the baby to wear. Oh, the fun of dressing a girl!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


It is June, aka time to start your kid's Halloween costume if you want to hand make it by October since you have a new baby. My son, aka Pablo, wants to be a fairy. He has been telling me this for months, and I have nodded and said how fun it would be to have wings, etc. All the while I am secretly thinking about how this pushes my gender buttons, and how we went through a lengthy phase when he had long hair and was CONSTANTLY mistaken for a girl. I have been pretty hard on myself for my discomfort with the gender bend. I should be more open, for goodness sake! Its not like I am oh so conventional in my "choices" or anything!

So this morning I asked him why he wants to be a fairy. I was expecting something about the wings, or they are pretty or something. But no, not my kid. He wants to be a fairy BECAUSE IT STARTS WITH F. You see, he has been a "baby" cat, a cat in the hat, a dragon, and an elephant (not in that order). Notice the trend. Oh, and did I mention Pablo is OBSESSED with patterns? We used to think it was letters and numbers. But now we understand ANY pattern is fascinating to him. Hence being an "F" thing. He says a flower would be good too. Thats what he wanted to be last year for a while. Now I know why. I kind of talked him into the Cat in the Hat costume because I was pregnant and exhausted and not really wanting to make a costume. Bad mama. No brownie points.

I then (what was I thinking?!) pointed out that he hasn't been an "A" thing. He stopped and looked very thoughtful. Then he started jumping around screaming, "Can I be an apple? Can I? Can I?" Sigh.

I am sure there will be more to come. Any good "A" costume suggestions?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I am rereading Walking Home: A Woman's Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail. It is a beautiful, poignant memoir of a woman hiking most of the Appalachian Trail, almost 2000 miles, to find herself. I was reminded of it during a conversation with friends, and I got all crazy wistful thinking about how much I would love to do this hike. Then I started reading the book. Don't get me wrong, I would still like to do it, but it is not the escape my imagination created. In the first 100 pages she gets hypothermia, loses 5 toenails, and has to hang out with military guys constantly having sex/homophobia/let's compare our junk conversations. I mean really. Crazy butch military guys? That's no vacation.

I admit that I was thinking more along the lines of the walking serenely through the woods, listening to birds, feeling the wind on my face as I fell asleep in my comfy sleeping bag (that weighed nothing but felt like a real bed....), stopping at picturesque places to rest and journal about my heavenly growth experience. Not so much of trying to outrun a tornado or being exhausted but having to keep going since you have no shelter and no food or having the flu or trying to outrun a tornado. Did I mention outrunning a tornado? eep.

I still want to do this hike. Part of it. Maybe. When my kids are old enough to go with me and enjoy it and think its fun. Or maybe when they have gone to college and I am trying to find myself again now that my nest is empty. Uh oh. I am getting all romantic about it again. Tornadoes. Think tornadoes. Think about having to train for it. eek.

I asked my partner if she would want to walk the trail too. She looked at me blankly and said, "Have fun. I'll be here." I guess not. Maybe she remembers the book better than I did.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Suicide? Murder? Its all child's play, apparently!

My son's one age appropriate obsession is the Backyardigan's. We watch an episode a day as a calming down thing before bedtime. The Backyardigan's characters have leaped off the TV screen and have invaded our lives completely. They are his favorite imaginary friends. Each family member is usually one of the characters (I am usually Tyrone the moose. Don't know why.). He has been Pablo the penguin for quite a while now. There are days when he won't respond to his actual name. sigh.

Today he informed me that Austin had died. "Oh, no," said I, thinking I was about to hear some awesome concocted story. But I had no idea what was coming.

"He took too much sleeping medicine and died," said Pablo. FYI, we sometimes give Pablo some homeopathic chamomile when he can't sleep, so I was following the sleeping medicine part. But DIED from it? Really? My mind is racing, was it suicide? Accidental overdose? Why are imaginary characters dying in my house, anyway? That one was a little shocking. It got better.

"I gave him too much," admitted Pablo, "That's why he died."

So now it has gone from accidental overdose/ suicide to murder? Yikes. I didn't know my son had it in him. All the while he is looking at me with these big blue eyes, a ginormous grin taking over his whole face.

"Oh, my goodness," said I, trying to think of a good reaction to have.

While I was still thinking, he adds, "I almost missed his mouth, but I managed to get it in." So there was a struggle? My head is spinning.

"Really," I squeaked.

"He was six when it happened. I was eight." Oh good, this is in the future! Its preventable, like in that horrible Tom Cruise movie with the cool computers. "Now I am 32," he states. So not in the future after all. Phooey.

"That's so sad," I say. "Austin is such a sweet kangaroo. He has always been so friendly and kind. He never pushes the baby or anything rascally like that."

"Oh, I can make him be alive again. I just have to give him more sleeping medicine," Pablo the re-animator declares. "Want me to go to the store and get some?"

"Please do!" I am thrilled there is a way out of this one. What a relief. My child won't be wanted for any crimes against fictional beings. A narrow miss.

Where does he get this stuff?!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Mirror

Carl Jung said if there is anything you would want to change in a child, examine it and see if it is not something that would be better changed in yourself. I say this is true for all people, not just children. When I take the time to notice, I see how some of the most irritating behaviors in others are ones that I share with them. Or ones that I am even worse about doing! It is not easy to step back and reflect. It hurts. Seeing things you don’t like about yourself is not fun. But it makes me a better person every time I walk through the process.

So here are some ugly things I see in myself. Hold the mirror steady, here I go.

I often feel angry about how others aren’t supportive of me and my family because they are too self-involved. Put that one on paper and it gets pretty obvious who is self-involved, eh?

My son’s controlling behavior sometimes gets on my nerves. I mean, when he doesn’t play MY WAY that’s controlling, right? Hmmm.

I often feel unloved. The more I obsess about it, the more I look for evidence that people love me and the more they fail at showing me. In the meantime, what am I doing but withholding my own love based on my judgments? Ouch. That one stings.

I want others to be more patient, more kind, more relaxed in the pressured times. I can’t be, so why would I even think of expecting that of someone else? Especially my 4 year old! Impulse control? What’s that?

Ok, that’s enough self-improvement for one day. Any more and I might just become an actual better person! By the way, its Blogging for LGBT Families day, so please support families of all kinds by sharing some bloggy love!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I am grateful...

I am grateful for my family. The way we all fit together, especially when we are at our best.

I am grateful for my kids. The joy they bring me, the lessons the teach me. Even the frustrations they bring since thats where the best growth is. Even though it sometimes sucks.

I am grateful for my partner, who rides this crazy journey with me, who puts up with me even on my worst days and somehow comes back for more. Here's to hopin' she keeps that up.

I am grateful for my home, my security, my safety.

I am grateful for my health, my intelligence, my humor.

Most of all, right at this moment, I am grateful that I have some brainless TV to go watch, because if I have to think anymore today my head is going to explode, leaving a bloody gooey mess all over everything that I would just have to clean up tomorrow.

I think I will also be grateful for whatever snack I come up with when I walk into the kitchen in a few minutes. If you are betting, I would take cereal. It almost always wins. Especially since I have Bunny Love by Annie's. Gotta love that stuff.

Say g'night, Gracie...