Thursday, July 31, 2008

Guitar Hero ON TOUR

OK, OK, so I got it. Before the ban on spending, and after I had saved up some money for it. You know I have been wanting if for months. I have been obsessing about it. And after all that build up, all I can say is: Guitar Hero: On Tour rocks. I am told the songs are way better than regular guitar hero, but I wouldn't know since I have never played it. What I know is, in those few moments of free time, it is SO FUN to rock out on some Guitar Hero. I will always be a small time video game geek and the DS is just my level of fun (so says the person who can't afford a Wii). I just love pretending play guitar and sounding good. A friend of mine calls it Simon for grown ups. And I say, heck yeah! Gotta love some Simon with MUSIC action. I feel the years peeling away. I almost feel.... 33 again.

My favorite part is that Pablo requests certain songs and then dances around singing at the top of his lungs. See? It's educational too!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Podcasts should have WARNINGS

I am relatively new to iPod, podcasts, and the whole rigmarole. So far I have only subscribed to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (my favorite NPR show) and one called Meditation for Sleep, Stress, and Anxiety Reduction. This title slays me. Are they actually trying to help people reduce their sleep? If so, I suggest intermittently blowing horns and blaring sirens amidst the ocean waves and droning music. That would do it.

Anyway, the other day an acquaintance suggested I subscribe to a podcast about mindful parenting. Right up my alley, right? I was really excited, thinking I would hear stimulating information about mindfulness, meditating with your kids, and other really cool exciting stuff. So as I drove to work (Is it really work if it is the last shred of your actual career that you hang onto by a thread because you LOVE it and you studied and worked so hard to do it but you pretty much ditched it as soon as you popped out a baby? 2 hours a week. With serious sliding scale pay. But I do love it, even if it is 2 hours a week.) I listened to my podcasts. And there should have been a WARNING.

These were not lively discussions, but SLEEP INDUCING hypnotic suggestions. A warm, kind, soft voice slowly told me to remember to be mindful with my children throughout the day and let myself become aware of the choice to be mindful every time I noticed myself blinking. Speaking of blinking, I was doing it rather slowly, head slumping to the side, as this gentle voice helped me drift into a relaxing meditation on mindfulness. IN TRAFFIC.

On the up side, they each only lasted 2 1/2 minutes, so I couldn't get THAT drowsy from them. But seriously, these things should have some kind of warning about not operating heavy machinery while listening. Mindfulness is not a sleepy thing, people!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saving Money

We have had the TALK. We need to cut expenses NOW. Well, actually, a while back. erm. We are officially going on deprivation spending. No more dental floss, kiddos, the easiest teeth to care for are the kind you can put in a glass.

Just kidding.

Really we talked about eating out less often. And it wouldn't be that big of deal except we usually only eat out when I have had a bad day. Read that as "about to go completely mental and go off on everyone. Again." But, nevertheless, this really is the best way we can cut expenses. For some reason my partner is not into the "hope the kids get good scholarships" plan or the "surely someone rich will die and leave all their money to us" plan. Go figure. She is into all that financial planning stuff, so I guess she has proof of some kind that those plans don't generally get the job done. Whatever.

I am peaceful about it on one level because I know it needs to be done. I am pissed about it because I was the one making the fun money. The little extra that let us go out to eat and go to the beach and buy stuff because we WANTED it. Now my contract has totally dried up and I search every freakin' day for something I can do from home. It is so hard to need a job and know I am doing all I can and that all I can do is just not enough. It is hard to fail.

I keep thinking that if I quit stressing and create the space for it, the right thing will come along. Some people would say that hunched shoulders and a clenched jaw are signs of limited space. So, watch me, here I am creating space.
Right... here.

Maybe that wasn't enough. More?

How's that? OK universe, I am ready. Lay it on me. A good job that pays well where I work from home, set my own hours, and don't die from boredom. Something where I am challenged. Not phone sex. No phones at all, if possible. Or hey, get my old job back up and running. I am not picky!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Zen of Being Zen

I did it I did it I did it!!! Well, some. I actually caught myself in situations where my attachment to an outcome would create great unhappiness for all and was able to release the attachment creating great happiness for all.

First was over the weekend when we forced a restaurant lunch when we should have stayed home. I had an inkling it would go badly, but I saw myself getting really attached to things going well and I let it all go. We went and had a horrible lunch. Pablo melted down BIG TIME, multiple times, the baby was fussy, and my partner ended up giving up eating in favor of taking the boyo outside for the benefit of all patrons. And it was FINE. Actually fine. Not that teeth gritted, "yes I know this was a learning experience" kind of fine, but the actual relaxed smile kind of fine. I was peaceful. It was a good lunch.

Today Pablo and I went for a neighborhood walk. This is something I generally avoid because going at 4 year old speed makes me NUTS. I go crazy from the alternate running like a wild beast and plodding along like a nag on the way to the glue factory. I totally get that I am not the best when it comes to patience. So I generally avoid times when I need to be patient. But today I really wanted some exercise and it was still pretty cool at 9 AM(call me crazy but anything under 100 is cool...ish) so I asked Pablo if he wanted to go for a walk. He was thrilled and jumped up to grab clothes and shoes (note, this is a measure of off the scale excitement since he NEVER cooperates about getting dressed quickly).

Within steps it became clear that "walk" meant something different to him than me. His version involved "flying" his new matchbox airplane while giving detailed descriptions of the trips to various countries with various Toy Story characters piloting and co-piloting. (His OLD jet fell into the bowels of the grand piano, and for some reason I keep resisting Pablo's suggestion that if I just turn the piano upside down and SHAKE it, the toy will fall out.) Anyway, I noticed feeling irritated by the slow pace. I let go of an expectation of getting exercise or going fast and instead focused on my feet touching the ground. We had a great time. We went to a park and played, explored the neighborhood, and generally had a morning that is the kind that I hope Pablo looks back on as an adult and thinks, "Yeah, my mom and I had such great times together when I was little. What a good thing it is that I cured cancer and still have time to be a rock star so I can buy her an island in the Caribbean." Or something.

So I am a Zen master with the kids. Ha. It's a start!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Trust Me.

Pablo has a new phrase. Tonight I asked him if he was done eating and he replied, "Yes, I am all full. Trust me." Trust me? Really? Trust me? I LOVE it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sugar: a new and more disgusting interpretation

Did someone ever REALLY REALLY ruin something for you, but for your own good, so you can't be mad because they were trying to help? Like telling you all about how animals are slaughtered as you eat a hamburger? I am still a vegetarian from reading Diet for a New America in 1992 and I was only EXPLORING MY OPTIONS.

Today it was much more tragic. I went to see my acupuncturist to get help for this 4 week long misery of illness/allergies that has probably gotten boring to hear me whine about by now. She kindly told me that my diet is making it all worse and that I need to make some changes. And to think of any sugar as (oh. Maybe you don't want sweets ruined FOREVER, so you may want to skip a line or two here. Or maybe the rest of the post.) phlegm. Then she got graphic. Describing cookies in detail (hot, gooey, fresh out of the oven) and then saying, "You might as well just eat a big wad of phlegm!" in a perky "helpful" voice. She even went so far as to sing, "Just a spoonful of phlegm makes you really really sick..." to a jaunty Mary Poppins-esque tune. She mimed bringing a spoonful of phlegm up to her mouth and made yummy noises. If any of this is not totally grossing you out, then I am just not explaining it well, cause EEEWWWWWW.

So I get to give up all sugars and all unhealthy carbs. Like bread and pasta. Even whole wheat bread and pasta. Anything that is not a vegetable. After some serious negotiation, she did relent on the carbs to say that since I am nursing I should still eat SOME carbs. But they will turn into yummy phlegm. Healthy sugars like agave? Phlegm. Bananas? Phlegm. Cheese? Of course phlegm. Anything yummy? Phlegm.

Did I mention I am on a sugar craving binge? I generally eat pretty healthy, but I do eat a lot of carbs. And I am currently OBSESSED with No Pudge Fat Free Brownie Mix. These brownies are way too healthy to taste as good as they do. And I have a batch sitting in my kitchen RIGHT NOW. Made before the acupuncture appointment, of course. It is SO WRONG to look at the best brownies in the world and think PHLEGM.

I really have no problem with eating healthier. However, I do NOT want to be TOLD to eat healthier. My acupuncturist is not the boss of me. And do you know what she said to me? Do you? She smiled sweetly at me as I was grumbling about these new fun restrictions and said, "Well, you have been eating a certain way. And you DO eat well. But, you have been feeling horrible for a month. So, (and she COCKED HER HEAD) how do you think that's been working for you? Do you LIKE how you have been feeling? Or do you want to make some changes and feel BETTER?"

Now that is just low down mean and nasty, isn't it? Throwing my own actions in my face like my health is somehow MY responsibility. Oh. Yeah, OK, I guess it is. Whatever.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have been working on some crafty things. I just can't decide whether to try to sell any of it. Ideas? Opinions?

The first is a little crocheted ball for Beebz, since she is obsessed with balls.
(That is her teething face, not a statement about the ball itself.)

Here are pics of the bunny I made for her a while back. She loves this toy. In this photo it looks like she is saying, "Hey, it's my bunny, I can do what I want with it. Over my shoulder? No problem. In my mouth? Up to me, lady."

Finally, this is a crocheted pillow. It didn't photograph as well as I had hoped. It is really pretty in person. The under part is navy blue.

Sometimes I think selling my crochet would be a good way to bring in extra cash. Other times I think that I would never get a good enough return to pay for my time. I will probably just stick to making stuff as gifts.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another hard look at me: surrender

I was reading Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children: Becoming a Mindful Parent (I am savoring the book and intentionally reading it slowly so the message can sink in. I have already sung the praises of Sarah Napthali's first book, Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children. I will give a full report once I am done with the book, no worries!) and it was talking about housework. How we tend to hate it etc. I realized that I don't hate housework at all. In fact, I look forward to it as an escape. It is always a chance to take a break from Pablo and his needs. Pablo is who I have all those yucky don't wanna do it feelings about. Not all the time, but sometimes. I am actually happy to clean the kitchen because I can tell him to go play by himself without feeling (as) guilty about it. I am doing something useful, you see. So I don't have to feel bad about blowing off my kid who wants my attention.

I feel awful saying that, but sometimes he exhausts me. His need for attention isn't constant. In fact, he can spend a couple of hours doing his own thing quite happily. Sometimes. Other times I feel like he is leaching my very life force from my body with the need for constant attention. I feel like I always resist his need for attention. I know that's not true, that most of the time we play and I am totally involved and having fun and present. But other times, I know that all I can think about is how I ALWAYS have to pay attention and I NEVER get time to myself for ONE COHERENT THOUGHT and so on and so on.

I know that this dread comes from not living in the present moment. I instead focus on past needy times and project them into the future. I also know I need more (constructive) time for me, but that is CLEARLY not coming for a few years so I just need to get over it and treasure the stolen moments I have. OR I NEED TO CHANGE MY THINKING ABOUT NEEDING STOLEN MOMENTS. Argh. When I resist him I feel like such an awful mom, but I also feel an equally strong resistance to giving in, as if I will drown in his needs. As if it is him vs me. As if giving to him will cause a part of me to die.

I try to give myself some compassion. I know I am overstretched and VERY tired from weeks of feeling terrible, but I have a hard time loving myself through this feeling. I mean, this is what I gave everything for, right? The opportunity to stay home and be with my kids and get to help them evolve and see every freakin moment of it. That's what I want, right? Right? Then how come I can get more excited over hanging the laundry on the line than playing hide and go seek AGAIN? How can I bring the same mental space that I feel when doing housework to my time playing with Pablo? How can I groove on his unstructured play when I want so much to feel a sense of accomplishment? This marathon of childhood just doesn't have the mile markers that a real marathon would. The very freedom of it is hard for me to tolerate.

Remember being a kid and learning to float in the pool? How hard it was to lay back and trust that the adult and the water would actually hold you up? How you WANTED to trust but you NEEDED to sit up, turn around, and check ONE MORE TIME that their hand was there for you? And you promise yourself that this time you will lay back and TRUST? And then you find yourself laying back only to sit up ONE MORE TIME?

I know I just need to surrender to it all. My feelings, Pablo's needs, my needs, all of it. And just float through my days letting all unfold organically. Whatever. It's funny that surrender can be so hard. Shouldn't letting go be easy? Hanging on is what SHOULD be hard. Isn't it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He calls me HONEY and other news

Yes, Pablo regularly calls me and all other grown ups HONEY. As in, "Can you get me some milk, honey?" or "I want to play computer, honey." It is about as adorable as it can be. Even better is when he does it to a complete stranger, as in, "Are you putting our groceries in the bags, honey?" We aren't sure where he got it, but every time he does it I want to snatch him up and hug him to pieces. Unfortunately, that is a good way to make him squeal, so I generally resist the urge for the sake of my ears.

The big news around here is that Beebz is now letting me lay her down for naps for longer than 10 minutes at a time. The other day she slept for over an hour. She is also back to being more accepting of my partner holding her and taking care of her. In other words, she no longer screams her head off any time I am not holding her. I cannot express how much of a relief it is to get a break here and there.

And speaking of a break here and there, the last two days my partner (now to be referred to as the GODDESS of KINDNESS) stayed home from work so I could catch up on sleep. The baby and I took 3 hour naps. Both days. Considering how much we have been up at night, this was a HUGE deal. I therefore publicly and with great fervor THANK the GODDESS of KINDNESS for staying home. It is possible I may be human again soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I found my favorite definition of forgiveness today while cleaning out my bag. I had written it on a scrap of paper. I don't even remember who said it.

Forgiveness is giving up on being able to change the past.

It was a really nice reminder. There are many areas where I have such a hard time accepting the past. There are things that happened to me that I grieve so sincerely. I grieve the loss of friends, I grieve the lack of family support that I never dreamed I would have to live without, I grieve the loss of feeling like my passion and creativity are being nurtured. There are things I would do differently if I could go back. I would stand up for myself more. I would be braver. There are things I would never change, like staying home with my kids even though it has pretty much ended my career (or maybe just feels like it).

Letting go of changing the past... the best way I can do it is to focus on the present, to make sure I don't replicate those things that caused harm. I can't change the past, but I can change the present. It takes a certain level of mindfulness. It takes some proactivity (or maybe just spontaneity) that I don't have right now. Especially not after 3 weeks of being sick/having allergies/having sick kids who don't sleep/etc.

For tonight, I just want to sleep. I will let forgiveness drift through my dreams.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Pink Marshmallow.

I finally got pictures of Beebz being tortured in the life vest. I told ya, pink marshmallow with legs.

Now if everyone in the house will get healthy ALL AT THE SAME TIME, we can go kayaking. Pablo came down with a fever last night. I am STILL sick (count 'em, 3 weeks) but the baby seems to be better. Send some healthy vibes our way!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

All Set to Kayak!

Today we got the baby her very own life preserver. I am sorry to say that when wearing it she looks a lot like an electric pink marshmallow with legs. The good news is that the top comes to her chin rather than her cheeks (which was the look with the other child preserver we have hanging around). The bad news is she is almost impossible to hold comfortably. Why can't they make little waterproof hamster wheels that you just put your baby in so they can float next to the boat? There could be a weighted seat that stays upright no matter what the ball does. Ha! Now I have an idea for a product! I can make a million! Money problems solved!

Even better, now we can all go kayaking as a family. I can't wait to get back to nature! The trees, the water, the wind in our faces! The four of us will pile into a two man kayak and paddle down the river. Well, mostly my partner will probably paddle, while I play the ever fun games of "keep the kids in the boat," "keep the ducks from attacking," and "nurse the baby while she is dressed like an electric pink marshmallow," see above.

This is starting to sound less rapturous. I will think of it as training the kids for when we can each get a 1 man kayak and have 1 kid each and we both have a great time paddling down the river, enjoying the trees, the river, the wind in our faces. The kids jumping around, the kids "trying to help" paddle, the kids grumping about wanting their own kayak. Hmmm. Should I return the pink marshmallow suit?


Friday, July 18, 2008

A Dream of Sleep

I dream of sleep
Like a bedouin dreams of water
Never enough and
Always a mirage.

I dream of sleep
Like rivers dream of oceans
Impossibly vast and
Too far to imagine.

I dream of sleep
Like a tiger dreams of prey
Stalking, ever closer and
Almost in my grasp.

I dream of sleep
Like a baby dreams of womb life
Not able to conceive disconnection and
Life apart.

I dream of sleep
And I pray that I may find it
Tonight between the wakings
When the baby sleeps.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nipple Shields: Multiple Meanings. Who Knew?

It all started so innocently. I was looking on Amazon to confirm that they sell Lilypadz Reusable Nursing Pads. I was going to post all about how wonderful they are and how my friend who leaks like crazy can wear these without a bra and not have milk spurting all over the place. She really loves them and thinks they are the bomb. I had been planning to get a pair for myself, but I don't leak that much anymore. Or leave the house, so who cares when I do leak, you know? And Lily Padz won't really help me with that little issue of when Beebz gets a good let down response going and then stops to look around. At a party.


I knew what they were called, but I couldn't remember the fancy pants spelling so I typed in "nipple shields" and started to scroll down the page. And I found this:Nipple Shields (Celtic Knots). I was intrigued, and I clicked. And then I saw the photo of this very sexy nipple shield on an actual nipple. I am no prude, but this is AMAZON we are talking about! I had no idea Amazon could be so... adult, if you get my meaning. Our little Amazon has come so far. It's kind of sweet, really. This is not just an online conglomerate trying to take over the world and still make you like them kind of company. It's a GROWN UP online conglomerate trying to take over the world and still make you like them kind of company.

I just hope they are responsible in their warehousing. I mean, they sell BABY products. Maybe I have been watching too much Toy Story, but should baby toys really know that adult toys exist? Do they have separate warehouses so the baby toys don't get traumatized from seeing things they cannot possibly comprehend? I feel the need to go search the eyes of Pablo's teddy bear to see if he knows more than he lets on. Really.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative...

After days of rough times, I have started thinking how all the good stuff that slips by when I am mired in the bad stuff. Focusing exclusively on what I want to be different keeps me from looking at all the things I want to remain the same.

I really love so many things about my life but I can see how I spend way too little time appreciating them. It is so easy to focus on the hard stuff or to focus on what will make things even better. It requires a certain internal stillness for me to see what I have, in the moment, and be content with that. Being the mom of one tended to allow for that stillness, but I haven't found the groove while having two. In the spirit of appreciation for what IS, I am refraining from WANTING the groove. Instead, I am just focusing on knowing there is a groove at all.

So today, even though now the baby is sick, the house is a mess, I STILL can't find a job (come on, universe, work with me on this one!!), and I am on my 5th straight night of no where near enough sleep, I can see that there is so much to enjoy, so much to laugh at, so much to love.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scrambled States!

My son, as you may have noticed, is obsessed with geography. We recently discovered The Scrambled States of America, and he LOVES it. He loves this book so much he takes it to bed and sleeps with it every night. Literally. I mean, a book where the states are animorphized? (yeah, yeah, it's not a word, but you know what I mean...) When we have spent months pretending to BE states (and countries)? We spend an amazing amount of time reading this book by looking for each state on each page. In alphabetical order, of course.

Then, we were at the toy store the other day and I saw something to make my little boy's heart go all a quiver. There are games!! Scrambled States and Scrambled States of America Game Card Game. Boy is my kiddo gonna be out of his head with excitement! I am trying to pace myself and not buy everything at once, but I am sorely tempted. He loves games, he loves geography. Sure, they are a bit easy for him and he will stomp his poor mamas into the dust with his superior knowledge, but, hey, I don't mind!

As I was grabbing the hyperlinks for this post, I was smugly thinking that nothing could top the games. Really really nothing. Unless it was, oh, I don't know, maybe a sequel?! The Scrambled States of America Talent Show comes out next month. Pablo is going to jump out of his skin with geographical excitement. I can't wait!

Now if only Laurie Keller would write a book about all 193 countries, THAT would top it all. Well, and a game. And I guess a sequel.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Fear Response

When we feel threatened, thousands of year of evolution tell us to fight or to run, to be afraid, to preserve ourselves at any cost. Even when the threat is imaginary. It takes about 20 minutes for an adrenaline surge to leave your system. This means that even when you perceive a threat that you can dismiss in one second, it takes about 1200 times that long for your body to be back to normal.

Emotions make it all even harder. Our brains tell us things based on what is familiar, giving meaning to scenarios that are new by remembering the old, filling in impossible to know information with phony details created on assumption. This often perpetuates the physiological response, making mountains out of molehills. Fun times.

Last night I was in a pretty dark place. When I wrote my post, my heart was beating fast, I was hot, I was keenly aware of how volatile I felt. I felt out of control. But I had some control. I knew my body was overreacting. I couldn't control my body's response to way too many stressful things at once, but I could control knowing that I was overreacting. In that moment I got away from my family and let my partner deal with crazy Pablo. I had the baby, but I hugged her and thought sweet thoughts about her to remind myself that usually things are fine and she is not always so fussy and high need. I didn't handle everything ideally, but I tried my best to overcome my adrenaline reaction. As a child of an angry parent, this is a pretty big deal. I am so much better than I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago. But it is not enough.

There is no way to turn off the fear reaction once it has started. The only way to deal with the fear response is to not have it in the first place. Save the fear reaction for things you truly cannot control. Like tornadoes. Earthquakes. Creepy footsteps coming after you down an alley on a dark night.

I get really attached to my night time down time. When it is infringed upon, I feel threatened as if my life were at stake. Obviously this means I don't get enough down time. However, what really caused my suffering was not my time being threatened, but my attachment to all the meanings I had imbued that time with. One night of Pablo and Beebz having a hard bedtime simultaneously is hard, but not life or death by any measure. But since I had equated my time being cut into with me getting NOTHING, I saw it as much more of a threat than it actually was. And my fear response was triggered. And I suffered for it. We all did.

I need to take better care of myself, but there is just nothing for me to give to me. My allergies have me exhausted. The baby is quite possibly teething in addition to her stranger anxiety, so she is super grumpy and high need. Pablo is high need right now, possibly due to his sister getting more mobile and more interactive (ie more of a threat to his domain). My partner does what she can, but there is just not enough time. It is all so hard.

It is times like these that I really need to be meditating. It is times like these that I have no time for meditating. These days even ten seconds is too much.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Me time

I just want a little part of my day for me. I just want to get some down time. In fantasy land, after bed time is my time. Pablo is in bed, Beebz goes to sleep, and I get some time to play on the computer, watch TV, craft, be with my partner, etc. Usually the baby is asleep on me, so I don't generally get my body to myself, but I can at least rest my brain.


Beebz is going through separation anxiety early and hard. If I walk more than 5 feet away she cries 80% of the time. If someone she doesn't know on a daily basis talks to her while I hold her, she cries 50% of the time. She is a human sucker-fish. And I am tired.


The last few nights Pablo is back to pushing bedtime. He doesn't seem to be having nightmares, but darned if I can figure out what is going on. He has also been more clingy and pretending to cry and whine like a baby. During the day I give him what he needs as best I can. I have some reserves and I have compassion and understanding. Nighttime is a different story. At night when he is needing more, I am tapped out and all I want to do is push him away. I get so mad at him for "stealing" my down time. I hate feeling so angry with him but I feel like I am drowning, thrashing around and unable to catch a single breath. I hate losing my patience when he clearly needs something from me. And I hate losing my time for me.

Tonight the baby wouldn't sleep, the boy wouldn't sleep, and I am jumping out of my skin with such a longing to just get to have some rest. I almost never get time for me. It is always about everyone else's needs first. I don't dream that big. A nap, maybe, or a haircut. I ask pretty much every weekend but the weekend gets filled up. Or the baby doesn't nap when I could nap with her. Or something goes wrong. And now it's Sunday, so it's a whole week before I even have a chance at me-time. I feel overwhelmed with the coming week, overwhelmed with the lack of support our family gets, overwhelmed with needing to find a job, overwhelmed by these stupid allergies, overwhelmed by my body's responses to feeling overwhelmed.

I am so tired. I wish I could even remember what well rested feels like. What it's like to have energy. What it's like to get to focus on one thing at a time. What it's like to talk to a friend without monitoring a child. What it's like to feel balanced.

I hope I remember in the morning.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lessons Learned from Grey's Anatomy

OK, yes, we are total suckers. We heard that there would be a lesbian relationship on Grey's Anatomy so we decided start watching it. Of course, this meant we had to catch up on all the previous seasons. (Honestly, we mostly did it because we are both crafting like crazy and it's fun to watch TV while madly crocheting and it's summer so no new shows are on and we don't have a Wii or anything fun so why the heck not.)

I love to play the game of placing myself in universes of shows I watch and seeing how they synch up to my life. (This was most fun with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I digress.) Usually I can CHOOSE to play this game, but after a couple of weeks of 2-3 episodes a night I am feeling so submerged in this show's universe that I am actually starting to feel like my life is the weird one. So here is a list of ways my life doesn't synch up with Grey's Anatomy.

* While I often wear pajamas for most of the day, it is because I never get dressed. Not that I got up before the crack of dawn, put on clothes, then drive myself elsewhere to put on my jammies. And trust me, I am not wearing hot sexy undies underneath.

* I generally don't trust doctors. But I thought that was an Eastern/Western bias about treating the body/mind/spirit. No doctor I have ever seen was too busy getting into another doctor's pants to pay attention to medicine. That I know of. This could explain all the long waits at doctor's visits....

* Another thing about doctors. Why have all of the doctors I have ever been to see been so low on the hotness scale? I mean, they aren't hideous or anything, but not ONE could get on this show.

* I apparently am way too committed to my relationship and patient in trying to resolve issues. Apparently I should just switch for a new partner whenever there is a wrinkle. Hmmm.

* And on that note, boy am I not getting enough sex. Especially at work. I mean, I have NEVER had sex at work. What kind of weirdo am I?

* I live by a strong ethical code. I stick to it, and I don't consider it a choice. I didn't know that you could just skip out on your ethics when the mood strikes you. In life or death situations. Good thing I am not generally in life or death situations. All that sticking to my ethics would probably mess up all my responses.

The only lesson I can actually apply to my life is that even geniuses can act like morons. It is nice to have a hard day and at the end of it shake it off my saying, "At least I didn't kill/cheat on/lie to anyone today. It is a comfort.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: meditation for mama II

In the grand tradition of blaming everything on the mother, I started thinking about Pablo ignoring me and how I contribute to that trend. I can be a veritable tour de force in self blame when it comes to my kids, so it's really no surprise that I would go there.

In noticing Pablo's tendency to ignore me when I talk, I have started thinking a lot about how much I ignore him. Not in a horribly negligent way, but in that obnoxious adult way that I remember from childhood. The infamous “uh-huh” answer to whatever you say. The repeating and repeating your words so that the grown-up will pay attention and then having the adult get irritated by the repetition. Do you remember that? Well, I find myself in the adult role of that scenario far too often with my little penguin boy.

Generally it comes at a time when I need to concentrate on something for a few minutes, or in the afternoon, when the day has dragged on a bit. I want a few minutes to myself. The vast amount of input is more than I can take and I just want a little quiet time. It has been especially bad this week since I am having horrible allergies and keep feeling like getting really sick is just around the corner.

Finding the space for quiet time can be next to impossible. I have intermittently tried to institute book reading time in the afternoons while the baby is napping, and that sometimes works. More often, Pablo inexplicably forgets how to read AT ALL and needs me to read him every other word. Or book reading becomes an activity inexorably tied to jumping up and down, shouting as loud as humanly possible. Doesn't that sound relaxing?

I know I need my down time, but I don't like that I am training him how to respond to being ignored by repeating himself. Instead, I need to be tuning in rather than tuning out. I need to be listening to him first rather than expecting him to just listen to me. I need to be going to him, getting on his level, looking him in the eye. Most of all, I need to remember that down time can come in moments, not just hour long increments. Each deep breath is an opportunity to relax. All that stuff you read about in parenting books. Hmmph. That seems too hard, dang it. Can’t he just listen? Can’t he just smilingly do what I want the first time I ask?!

I am sure that’s exactly what Pablo is thinking when he starts repeating himself to me.

I guess one of us has to be the grown up and be the change we want to see in the world. Think he will flip me for it?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Passing for Frumpy. Or Nuts

The next time you see some woman walking around muttering to herself, you might take a second look. She may not be crazy. She might just be a mom. For 4 plus years I have been providing a stream of consciousness monologue for my kids about everything I am doing. At the grocery store, at the toy store, out for a walk, everywhere. I mean, how will the baby grow up to know how to pick out the good oranges unless I tell her? In detail?

The problem is that now I find that I can't turn it off even when I want to. It's even about some pretty inappropriate things, like talking to the baby about someone's shoes just after they have just walked by (usually that they are cute thankfully). I think I will save the fact that I find myself doing this on the rare occasions I DON'T have the baby with me for another post....

Today Beebz and I were at the grocery store and I found myself saying OUT LOUD to the baby, "Look at that cute gay boy couple. They are so cute! (I'm sorry, but 20 something little gay boys in their casual but still more expensive than my whole wardrobe put together clothes and hair etc ARE cute. They work hard at it, so why not acknowledge it? Now back to me still talking out loud....) I bet they think I am just some frumpy mom with her kid at the grocery. They have no idea I am family too! Yes, we are, we are family too, aren't we? We need some rainbow stickers on our sling, don't we?" THANK THE GODS the guys had kept walking and not stopped to pick out something near me.

I mean, it's hard being secretly trendy (I hear lesbian moms are all the rage) but passing for dowdy. I guess I just don't have the fashion support to make my clothes show how trendy I really am. I mean, how many trendy cool lesbian nursing shirts have you seen? Of course, any shirt I wear gets covered by the sling, so what's the point? I think the current fad of trendiness (seriously? fad of trendiness? seriously? yeah, I'm keeping it.) is to make your statement without TRYING to make a statement. But I am thinking it takes a huge percentage off the (secret) cool factor when I am talking OUT LOUD to the baby about it. So I guess my statement is hippie-frumpy-secretly-not-so-trendy mama who talks to her baby in public about pretty much anything crossing her mind. Hmmm. It's a look.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Focusing on Impermanence

I keep going through these really hard times where I am convinced I will end my days by myself, all alone, in the dark. I think I am reacting to the intensity of my isolation as a stay at home mom of a pretty darned introverted kid (and a baby) by thinking this will be what my life is FOREVER. Like the current (and typical) disconnection my partner and I feel these days is how our relationship will continue FOREVER. Like I will end up feeling as lonely as I feel now FOREVER.

A few days ago I decided that since I really can't know how any aspect of my life will evolve, I would choose one thing: I am moving to the beach when I "retire" (define that as loosely as you wish since I am currently a stay at home mom). I thought about how the ocean will always be there and I started to sob. I couldn't stop crying. The thought that something peaceful WOULD be in my life in the future was so overpowering.

The strange thing is, when I am in touch with myself in the present, I am not generally that lonely or sad. I genuinely enjoy being home with my kids. I can't say how much I love being with them, seeing the new things they do, knowing that they know they can count on me. When I disconnect from the moment, I get sad, I get depressed, I start feeling lonely. And then I apply that to the future. And then I get more sad, more depressed, more lonely. Repeat.

I get so locked into my current feeling (if bad) representing how I will ALWAYS feel. Good feelings seem fleeting because I stay present to enjoy them instead of stepping back to dissect every nuance, every possible reason for the feeling. It's ironic that I spend so much of my internal time on this considering how much I believe in change being the one core truth to life.

So today I am choosing to focus on the transience of life, the amazing way today is always slipping through our fingers, completely immune to our attachment to it. Today I am feeling peaceful.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Son, the Nascent Smart Ass and My Daughter, the Nascent Eater!

Beebz ate real food tonight for the first time!! Rice cereal made with breast milk. Yum. She loved it. I'm not ready for my baby to be growing up so fast! But since I have sung this song before, I will instead dwell on funnier things.

Pablo's sense of humor is getting increasingly wry. The best one today was when I made some silly comment as we were putting together a puzzle. When he didn't answer I said something like, "Dude! Didn't you think that was funny?" There was a pause and then he replied, "Well, I guess to you... and me. But probably not to other people." I fell over laughing and said, "You are such a riot!" to which he replied (totally deadpan), "Yes, I know." He never took his eyes off the puzzle.

I love how much he makes me laugh. It is the best gift of this whole being a mother gig. OK, OK, I can see where this is heading so I am stopping now before I get too maudlin. Say goodnight, Gracie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nipping a TV Addiction in the Bud

It started because I felt sick last week. I was tired and run down. I turned on the TV while nursing the baby down for a nap. Not for the boy, but for me. And now, not yet a week later, I can't seem to turn the darn thing off. I crave Ellen. And the Dog Whisperer. And if nothing else is on, a little DIY won't hurt me now will it? Pablo totally ignores it. Actually, after a pretty busy weekend, today he was busy ignoring everything but his puzzles.

I thought it would be OK. Or at least not too bad. But sadly, I notice that the more the TV is on, the less patient I am. The less connected I am. The more I think about everything in terms of how it affects ME rather than how it affects us all. Already I am losing my loving kindness mantra in favor of judging others. I am snapping at Pablo for not being more considerate of my needs. Cause he is 4, after all, and should totally be doing that by now...right.

So I guess it's cold turkey for me. No more TV. Check back in. It will be good for me. Dammit.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Glasses

My glasses are falling apart. And my back up glasses are falling apart. And, by the by, I am having a hard time judging how fast oncoming traffic is going. Guess it's time to see the eye doctor. I have been trying to wait since I know pregnancy and breast feeding wreak havoc on your prescription, but I think the time has come.

Some friends recommended this awesome site where you can get glasses uber cheap. I have fallen in LOVE with these. I think in brown, but its a rough call with those clear red ones sitting right there being all eye-poppy. They would be my back-up frames, since I my addiction to rimless cannot be bought out by any level of funk factor. But these would rock like crazy. And did I mention 8 bucks?

My regular frames will probably be these, but as you can see, they aren't that exciting. I really love these, but apparently no one else does. But, hey, they are my glasses, so maybe I will be a rebel and get them anyway. But with a better lens shape (#346 to be exact). In burgundy. Thoughts? Opinions?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Heights of Embarrassment

We were at a party. Beebz was in the sling, nursing. I was trying to get some food. The seated acquaintance in front of the food table offered to help and I accepted. As she was dishing up some chocolate cheesecake, Beebz popped off the breast to see what was going on. The poor woman said something like, "Oh! Something wet! On me!" and I looked down to find my nipple streaming. I quickly covered up and shoved Beebz back on the breast. I think I said sorry. Maybe. I said SOMETHING, but I was too shocked to pay much attention to the words coming out of my mouth. The funny thing is my breast was pretty well covered. I just had some serious arc going on. It's a whole new world of embarrassment when you accidentally shoot breast milk in the face of an almost complete stranger at a party.

Now I can cross THAT off my list. Goody.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fears: A New Toy for the Monkey in my Brain

I have been thinking a lot about suffering being caused from attachment (Buddhism not parenting). In my case, it is almost completely future oriented. I don't worry so much about what is happening in the now or what is past. With the exception of literally one experience of my life, there is nothing that I ruminate on that has already happened. Everything for me is about worries and fears about the future.

Today I actually caught myself ruining my day because I was worried about something that won't happen for a long time. Or maybe not ever. I caught myself, recognized what I was doing, and started reporting my present. For example, "I am walking, I am opening the refrigerator, I am getting out juice for Pablo...." etc. It grounded me in the present as long as I did it, but I found my monkey brain going back to my fears. Then I thought, "oh, my monkey has a new toy!" and that's what it is when we create a worry. Our brains are wired to find solutions to possible problems, so as soon as it occurs to us that something MIGHT happen, our brains naturally start trying to cope with it ACTUALLY happening. Even if it won't happen for 20 years.

This way of thinking about it really helped me feel less judgmental about my obsession with my fears, which is great progress. Usually when I find myself doing something I don't like, I use it as a weapon to make myself feel even worse. Using the monkey metaphor helped me be kinder.

I also have started using a basic loving kindness meditation as a kind of mantra. When I see that I need a break from whatever I am thinking, I breathe with:

May I be happy
May I be well
May I be safe
May I be peaceful
May I be free from suffering.

I use it as a reset. It really helps.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ah, yes, NOW I see!

My mother-in-law used to take the worst pictures. She and her partner went to France and came back with oodles of pictures for us to see. You had to look at them one a time with her, because other wise you would have no idea what you were looking at. For example, "Oh, this one is the wall outside the hotel where we stayed." No identifying characteristics. It was a BRICK WALL. Or, "Oh, there were the most beautiful flowers just to the left of this picture at Monet's Garden." I am sure there were, but since there were no actual PICTURES of them, I will never know. It was a running joke that they actually forgot their cameras and ran around in their own city taking quick pictures to show the family. Seriously, there were ZERO out of a kabillion identifiable pictures of France.

I was reminded of her "photographic ability" today when Pablo got a hand-me-down super cool view master projector (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!). He LOVES it. We spent hours in the dark, looking at pictures of space, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, etc. It was awesome. But I have to think that these view master people took a page out of my mother-in-law's book because each description went like this: "You can't see it, but Uniqua (of Backyardigan's fame) is just to the left of Mars." And, "Oh, Bruce (the shark from Finding Nemo) is chasing Tyrone (a Backyardigan) too, but you can't see him in the picture." And, "Why didn't this picture show Tasha (another Backyardigan, are you catching a theme here?) riding on the space shuttle? She is inside there."

Seriously, how could the integrity of all these view master reels be trusted when they fail to display characters that didn't exist when the reels were produced? Some people just can't focus on what is truly important.

Wait a minute! I have it. Maybe my (very intelligent and generally technologically savvy) mother-in-law and these view master photographers were the victims here. Maybe there was a prank played by some very bored employee on the camera making line. Just maybe this very bored individual goofed with some cameras so that they, for example, shot a few feet to the right of where you pointed it. Or failed to display invisible objects that were clearly in the shot. Someone should look into this.

Meanwhile, I am off to go view master some more pictures the Backyardigans are very close to being in.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to (Inadvertantly) Fool Hummingbirds

Step 1: Get a clothesline. A cool retractable one is nice.

Step 2: Don't retract it. Ever.

Step 3: Leave your bright red clothespins on the line. For days.

Step 4: Look out the window to see a hummingbird hovering at each "flower," thirstier by the second. oops.

Step 5: Feel a strange mix of guilt and amusement at this unintentional fraud.

Step 6: Plan to buy a hummingbird feeder. Soon. ish. (This doesn't help with fooling the hummingbirds, but it helps assuage the guilt mentioned in step 5.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The baby is talking. She says "Hi" which I generally think makes sense, since we say hi to her all the time and it's an easy thing to repeat. I thought it was cute, but didn't really count as conversation. I mean, it's not like she said hi first.

But then. She says ball. In pretty appropriate ways. The first time I thought it was a fluke. She and Pablo were playing with the beach ball in the back seat, he kept saying ball (like "BEEBZ, PLEASE THROW THE BAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!") and she said "ba" while holding it. Another example of repeating someone but not necessarily knowing what she is really saying. Easy to dismiss.

The second occurrence of saying ball was when she was playing on the floor. We have these tennis ball sized balls with fun stuff inside that rattles etc. She really loves scooting/ rolling to chase the ball around. She had been at it for a while and the ball got away from her. She lay there for a few minutes just staring into space, but content. Then she looked at the ball, looked back up at the ceiling, and said "ball." The "ll" was with her tongue sticking WAY out of her mouth in a uber cute way. I jumped up, saying, "Oh, did you want the ball?" and handed it to her. She grabbed it, delighted, and chewed on it for a second. Then she took it away from her mouth and said "BALL." This one is harder to call a fluke....

And then tonight, with me in full swing on this whole "my 6 month old is NOT talking" denial process, she said her brother's name. He was ignoring her, and she was staring straight at him. I was holding her, and said something to the effect of, "Yes, there is Pablo. He is really busy now isn't he?" I jabbered on a second about "brother" and "Pablo." And she said, "..." well, she said his real name, not Pablo, just for the record. Clearly. Ummm. Another fluke? Could be. Please?