Sunday, August 31, 2008

I don't have time for this... or do I?

Like most other little boys, my little boy has a plethora of goofing off type behaviors which he generally engages in when I am most in need of cooperation. It often sets me off and I get more and more stressed out.

Recently we made some changes which put Pablo in charge of some of his own time wasting. For example, at bedtime, he knows what he needs to do, and if he wastes his time, we don't get to read as much. Or at all. But bedtime stays the same. We no longer nag. We just wait while making intermittent comments like, "Gee, I sure will be disappointed if we miss Stuart Little tonight!" I mean, it is awesome. We have gone from stressed out nagging to snide comments. Truly a great parental opportunity.

Like a Pavlovian pooch, I saw today how I still react in a stressed out manner when he starts goofing off even when there is no reason to. We had nowhere to go, no one to see, but when he started seriously goofing around, I found myself getting more and more tense and reacting in a way I don't like.

Then I took a breath and asked myself, "Do I have time for this?" I did.

So I relaxed and worked toward unhooking my connection between his goofing off and my stress level. Then I did it again and again and again. Apparently this is going to take a while....

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Hack Job... I mean haircut

OK. For the record, Pablo's hair has been getting longer and longer and I have been honestly loving it. I wouldn't want to cut his hair unless he wanted it. However, lately he doesn't want his hair washed because it "takes a hundred million years." Well, I consider myself a speedy hair washer and if it is still taking me this long, then clearly some of his locks need to go. I asked if he wanted a hair cut so it would take less time to wash. He thought about it a few days. I DID NOT BADGER HIM. For the record. I did ask whenever he complained about getting his hair washed. Yesterday he said, "I WANT MY HAIR CUT!"

BEFORE PIC. Not a great shot, but there you go.

So we gathered our stuff and raced to the bathroom, ready for the deed. I started on his bangs. I should have known what was coming, because he started getting jumpy, and not in a good way. Really, I guess there is no good way to jump when scissors are less than an inch from your eyeball. So I did his bangs. He jumped. They became roughly an inch and a half shorter than I intended. Oops. Then I asked if he wanted me to be done.... He said no, he wanted it short all over. I should have known... I should have turned him around and started on the back. Oh, lordy, the things I should have done.

I cut the top layer to match his bang length. He was still for maybe 30 seconds. I got most of the front right quadrant of his head done. Pablo starts squirming. "I AM ALL DONE!" I calmly explained to him how we were too far in to stop now, and he had to wait a while longer. "BUT THIS IS TAKING A HUNDRED MILLION YEARS!!!" I even more calmly explained to him that the more he jumped around, the longer it would take. Then I kept cutting.

We got the front half done. It was lovely. A true mullet. Knock some teeth out of this kid's head and he would fit in at any rodeo. And he was D-O-N-E. I admit it. We could have stopped. With the mullet. But my ego got in the way. Also the fact that the bulk of his hair was still long and he would fight me about washing it. But mostly it was the mullet. Seriously. I don't know any 80's rocker who could have done better. eek.

I made him turn around so I could cut the tail off the mullet head. He was dancing and squirming and shrieking with pretend fear every time I picked up the scissors. It needed to get done. So I started hacking away. In a minute he was screaming for real (and not because it looked that bad... I was the one screaming from the fashion side of things) because he was SOOOOO DONE with being still. At this point his hair looked like some runway hairstyle gone terribly wrong (btw, do they do the hair on runway models so badly so the clothes look good in comparison? Just wondering.). I swear, the last 5 snips took twice as long as the whole rest of the cut. He was crying and screaming and generally losing it. He wanted to run out of the room and leave a trail of hair bits along behind him. I kept telling him we could take a break, he could have a bath, and we could come back to the haircut later. That was not good enough for my poor tortured boy. So we negotiated and negotiated.

Finally, his hair was "done." Ignore the 3 inch long strands around his ears. Ignore the uneven bangs and neck line. Ignore the uneven layering. Heck, just please ignore the WHOLE thing. And forgive me my ego. Because everyone is going to look at him for the next 3 months and then look at me and ask, "Did you cut his hair?" I will shamefacedly nod, unable to utter a word. They will try to look polite and say, "It's... cute." But I know they are thinking, "God, anyone who can hold scissors thinks they can cut hair. And that poor boy has to go around looking like a goon just so his mom can save a few bucks." Should I put a little sign on the back of all his shirts saying, "Really I CAN cut hair. Just not on a whirling dervish in motion. YOU try it."?

Here are the shots. Oh mama, you are a foolish, foolish girl. Maybe I can talk him into dreadlocks....

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We keep granola bars in our cars to give to homeless people. It is something my partner started, and it is a way of spreading loving kindness, bringing more connection, and showing our kids that you reach out to those in need. I love giving out the food, but I always feel a little uncomfortable with their gratitude. I am just another person on a journey. Not better than, worse than... just another person trying to walk my path.

Today there was a couple sitting on the corner and I gave them some granola bars. The man thanked me, and I smiled and talked to him for a second. Then he went over to his wheelchair bound friend and showed her the loot. He broke open a granola bar and took a bite, clearly enjoying it, and handed it to his friend, who did the same.

I watched them enjoy this cheap granola bar, receiving it into their bodies like a sacrament. I felt such a rush of gratitude for these strangers showing me a beautiful act of mindfulness. They ate slowly, with great joy, as if that granola bar was the best thing they had ever eaten. It was as if they received not only the food, but the love of the universe with every bite they took. I cannot describe their joy. It was not effusive, but it filled them and radiated out.

I thought about how much I take for granted, how many joyous things (like food) I race through, barely tasting the experience. I thought about the ways my automatic, disengaged behavior creates a state of spiritual malnourishment. I thought about this snapshot in time and the opportunity it presents me. I later noticed how I wolf down my food, eating as if someone was going to steal it from me any second. I noticed the desire to check out rather than check in with myself. I noticed how little I want to live in my body, and how much it hurts when I do.

This is an opportunity. I am grateful for it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Tantrum Poll

It has been a harder phase around here lately, and I have generally handled the meltdowns well... for the first 45 minutes. Then I lose it. I yell, or cry, or both, and I say and do things that aren't in line with my parenting ideals. We have had a few good days now, but I still find myself wondering how other mamas do in the face of a wrathful child. So, scroll down, and on the left you will see a poll. I am really curious to see when other mamas go from calmly dealing with the tantrum to running away and locking themselves in a room while screaming, "I CAN'T BE YELLED AT ANYMORE!! I CAN'T HANDLE THIS!!" Not that this scenario has ever happened to me... ahem.

So please take the poll, thinking of tantrums that wouldn't seem to die no matter what you tried. I would love to hear comments about the BEST and WORST reactions to tantrums you have had. After all, we can learn from (or just laugh at) each other!

By the way, funny story. My nanny took Pablo for a walk yesterday. When they came home she told me that I need to talk to him and "get him to listen" to her because he ignored her when she wanted him to stop doing something he wanted to do. Ha. Right after I get him to listen to me (when he doesn't want to), I will get right on that. Also on the list are magically creating Broadway tickets, a bicycle for my partner, a house in town and not in the 'burbs, and instantly losing 50 pounds. But right after those things, I will "get him to listen." Ha.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Accidental structure vs mindful structure

I think a lot about structure and how I yearn/fear to structure our day. I had been feeling torn, because right now we don't have any structure and that is nice, but having structure has it's merits. And then I realized: we already HAVE a structure. We get up, eat breakfast, I check the computer (look for work, read emails, play a turn on scrabble on facebook...darn you for getting me hooked on scrabble!! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) play some, eat lunch, wander around feeling like we need more structure (or maybe less... can you tell that afternoons are the hardest for me?), wait for my partner to get home from work, eat dinner, play, read, go to bed (Pablo, not us), watch TV and try to complete the bazillion projects I have for xmas, collapse. See? Routine. aka STRUCTURE.

I had been thinking that we had no structure because it wasn't written down on paper, predetermined. But we have gotten into a habit (dare I say rut?) of doing pretty much all the same things at pretty much the same time every day. Some of it is very functional for us, but some is just a rut, and needs to be mindfully modified.

I generally resist structure because I don't want to live in timed boxes. But a mindfully chosen routine would make a big impact. I think the key is how fluid it is. How open to change it is. And, how (get ready for the judgement term) PRODUCTIVE it is. I know we could do certain things (like yoga, and dare I say, meditation?) if we thought about the best time to fit them into our day.

So for the next few days I will be looking into this whole structure business. Watching the day to see what works and what doesn't. Any time spent playing with the kids does. Playing so much Scrabble probably doesn't.... phooey.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Talk Less

Today I have been thinking a lot about how quickly children get over upsets. One minute they are sobbing, the next they are happily playing again. This doesn't count tantrums... I am talking about UPSETS. What strikes me about the difference between upsets and tantrums (besides the 45 minutes of wailing etc) is how much I talk. How much I try to fix. How much I try to empathize, reflecting back the upset. How much talking I do to help Pablo work through it. I started to wonder, what if I didn't talk? What if I was present and focused on his needs, but not speaking in paragraphs about his experience? What if I let him move through it all with my love and support, but without my direct guidance?

It seems to me that the more we talk, the less he listens. We have gotten into a new great habit (thanks to my rockin' partner) of telling him our expectations once when we know he is attentive, and then walking away. At bedtime, we ask what he needs to do before we get to read, and remind him that the reading stops at a certain time, and his time is his to use as he sees fit. He wants to read, so he is generally pretty cooperative with getting ready for bed. If he goofs off too much, one of us will say to the other (not to Pablo), "Boy, I hope we get to read tonight. What do you think Stuart Little is going to do today?" which generally sends Pablo into fits of getting ready. This is such a far cry from a few weeks ago with the nagging and begging and threatening we were doing (much to Pablo's delight).

So, I am on a new talking less policy. For those who know me, you know what a challenge this is. But it is working well so far (aka this afternoon). I think more, become more mindful of my needs in the moment, and give myself what I need internally rather than throwing my stuff into Pablo's upset by trying to solve his issue. I stay more focused and less in his energetic (frantic) space which lets me be more peaceful. Today he got upset and I tried this and he NEVER YELLED at me. He was clearly upset, and expressed it, but never actually yelled. It was kind of creepy, actually. But creepy in a way I could learn to love.

So here's to not talking. Mum's the word. That's all I am saying for now. Done. No more talking. I mean for now. Not like I WON'T talk. Just less. That's all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Party Day

Today friends came over to celebrate Beebz' second parent adoption. Much fun was had. I love parties because I get to see all my friends (some of whom I rarely get to see) and I hate parties because I never get to spend enough time with any of them. It reminds me of that scene in Beauty and the Beast where all the dishes are singing to Belle and she gets a taste here and there but nothing substantial. Parties leave me wanting more contact because just a taste of hanging out with these awesome people just isn't enough. And they don't stack on top of each other to form the Eiffel Tower.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mamma Mia!!!

Yay!!! I got to see Mamma Mia at the the theater!! I am SO happy! Overjoyed!! Pablo's AWESOME godparents came over. J stayed with the boyo while LD, Beebz and I went to the show. The baby alternately thought it was funny or sleep inducing. I think that had more to do with her babyiness and less to do with any boredom in the movie... cause did I mention MAMMA MIA?!

The location was incredible. If anyone has a spare Greek island they are wanting to give me, I am ready whenever you want to meet to sign the paperwork. I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful location. Also, the thought of perfect strangers bursting into song with me is just the best thing I can think of. But maybe that had more to do with the musicalness and less to do with the Greekness....

The acting was great, everyone looked (and sounded) amazing. Except Pierce Brosnan, who sounded close to terrible, but he looked so amazing that I (almost) didn't care. And what is with Colin Firth getting hotter as the years go by? I think they should redo Pride and Prejudice again just so we can see him being this hot AND Darcy at the same time.

It was so nice to get away and pretend to be human for a while. I am SO grateful to my friends for making sure I got to see this movie in the theater. Also, now I am sure Pablo can see it. No scary parts, no rude surprises. Hey! Maybe this means I can see it AGAIN in the theater... maybe?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It is supposed to tingle?

I heard about amber teething necklaces and since Beebz is having such a rough time with teething, I decided to give one a try. I found a place in Italy (for goodness sake... nothing like doing the opposite of shopping local...I feel the guilt. Trust me.) that has genuine Baltic amber, blah blah blah etc. The theory is that amber has analgesic properties and wearing it against your skin makes you feel all better.

Well. The baby necklace was only $11, and you get free shipping when you spend $25, so I did what anyone would do. I bought myself a necklace too. Come on, you know you would. A healing necklace. Semi-polished, etc.... I have lots of headaches, and I figured if it helped with teeth, then why not headaches too?

Then we waited and waited and waited almost 2 whole weeks. That is a really long time in this instant everything age. I guess it was made longer by having a sick AND teething baby. Today they came. I was hoping for a fancy box or something since it was all the way from Italy, but no, just a plain white shipping envelope. But it said ITALY written by a genuine Italian person, so I guess that will have to be enough for my dose of culture.

I put the necklace on the baby. And watched. She didn't seem to notice she was wearing it (which is good, cause baby strangling or breaking the necklace and eating the beads would be bad). Then she took a more than 2 hour nap. In bed. Alone. Methinks this necklace may rock (get it?). When she woke up she mostly quit making that "ouch my teeth hurt so I am going to do my best to look like a little old toothless lady" face.

I put my necklace on. It is pretty. I like it. Just one question... is it supposed to tingle?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Losing my best friend

My best mom friend is moving away. To the armpit of Texas. When she told me I kept it together long enough to sound pseudo-supportive and when I hung up the phone I sobbed. For hours. I couldn't get myself together. It was on a weekend and we had to go out and about. I would be driving the car and start crying again. I kept asking my partner, "What will I do without her?" She had no answer for me.

My friend swears we will still talk all the time and see each other nearly as much since we currently live on opposite sides of town. The negative side of me thinks that is what people say but they drift apart anyway. That part was in total control for a few days. The hopeful part of me (now generally in charge) thinks we will stay close, but daring to hope it is like touching a bubble... if you get too close, POP. So I try not to think about it too much at all.

The thing is, I have been having this existential crisis for a few years now. About 6 years ago something happened to me that really shook my faith in humanity, the universe, and everything in it. I have tried to have faith anyway, I have tried to move on, but now my vision is geared to focus on anything that happens that proves that I am meant to be in this world fundamentally alone, and counting on people only leads to disappointment.

I have to say, as much as I love being a stay at home mom, it hasn't helped me in any of this. There is NOTHING lonelier. I had the typical loss of friends without children, the loss of my career, and the loss of other people being able to understand what it is I do all day. My partner, as much as she tries, just cannot understand my experience. She sees through the lens of a working parent.

The ONE person I can call when I am losing it who will really understand is now going to be a few hundred miles away. I know that we typically only talk on the phone, but still, that distance makes me feel so very lonely. Like the universe has done it again, reminding me that at a fundamental level, I will always be alone.

I know it will be such a good thing for her and her family. I am genuinely happy and thrilled for her. She is going into a situation where she will be close to family, her husband will be home more, and she will have even more support than she had here. I can't help but contrast it with my situation. My family never visits. When they do, they certainly don't help out. While I know many people I would like to spend more time with and get to know better, the combination of schedules, all the kids involved, and I guess inertia makes it a hard thing to base my hopes on.

I was reading a beautiful blog about how everything that really matters comes from within and finding that strength to do what is right for you is a growth process. Let me find the strength to see this as an opportunity to branch out rather than more evidence that the universe wants me to be alone. Let something good come from this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuart Little... not so little anymore

We have started reading bigger big kid books lately. We started Stuart Little on a car trip a few weeks ago and Pablo really liked it. So much so that he wanted a REAL Stuart to live with us. In the chaos of the trip, his Stuart obsession drifted away. We forgot about it. Then a few nights ago we started reading the book at bedtime.

I have to say, this obsession puts all others to shame. Before, PRETENDING to was enough. Now, he wants the real thing. First he wanted Stuart to come out of the book and live with us. We talked all about real versus pretend. No dice. He BELIEVES in Stuart. We talked about Stuart living in our imaginations. Also no good. I was clearly not willing to cooperate. The tears started to flow.

We compromised by agreeing to INVITE Stuart out of the book to visit. This involved my actually yelling at the book(several times, and at the top of my lungs), "STUART, COME OUT!!! COME VISIT US!!!," confirming with Pablo that I had yelled loud enough, then flipping slowly through the pages so Stuart had every chance to jump out of the book. Whadd'ya know. Stuart didn't accept the invitation. Pablo was clearly flabbergasted. (I have to say, the original reason for Stuart to come live with us was because Stuart was in great peril and Pablo wanted to rescue him... my boy's heart is in the right place.)

This evening he upped the ante. Now he wants to BE Stuart. I failed him in this too, since pretending is no longer sufficient. He cried and wailed and sobbed, but I wouldn't agree to what Pablo wanted. In other words, I refused to ACTUALLY TURN MY SON INTO A 2 INCH TALKING MOUSE. Go ahead and report me, folks, I was cruel. I tried explaining that the best way to be Stuart was to read the book and "go into his world." Not good enough. He wanted a tail. That, I could do (thank the gods for his Cat in the Hat tail I made for last Halloween even if it is the wrong color). He wanted ears. I was going to try to whip some up but then he explained that I was supposed to "get rid of" his human ears and "replace them" with mouse ears. He couldn't wash his hands after going potty because the sink was "too high" and the ladder (stool) was "too big." The invisible ones I placed for him to "climb" were unacceptable because he couldn't see them. I informed him that if he wants to be Stuart Little, his eyesight needs to get keener.

Please, let this phase go quickly. I just can't take all the ACTUAL tears from my little... mouse.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What is the intention?

I got a letter from someone today that hurt and enraged me. I was seriously upset. I spent more than an hour (and several drafts) trying to respond. I went through the cussing draft (which I knew I wouldn't send), the trying to be nice draft (that ended up with much, shall we say, passive to active aggressive verbiage), and the trying even harder to be nice (but so bland that I just got more annoyed) draft. I called a friend to try to get a reality check and to get some understanding of the situation from another point of view. I wrote some more unsuccessful drafts.

Then I thought, "What is the true intention here?" and all my upset seemed to melt away. I saw that the other intention was loving, if ill placed. I clearly saw that all the negativity from the person who wrote the letter was based in fear. I saw that no response from me by email would help anything. I saw that all I could do was be loving in my response and take the upsetting things in small bits, possibly many conversations.

I still feel hurt, but actually catching myself in the moment and knowing that fear only begets more fear allowed me to release something in a way I never would have before. Normally I tune right in to the fear cycle and up the anger quotient. Normally I hold onto it for days. Normally I use my hurt to fuel not just the upset caused by the initial situation, but for all the things I don't like in my life.

This time I did it differently. There are things that need to get ironed out, but I am not angry. I am still sad, and fear that talking it through could still escalate into anger, but I know if I just keep my mantra, "What is the intention" things will go well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We feed off each other....

That's what my partner told me today about Pablo and me. When either one of us gets off balance, we throw the other one off and then we cycle and cycle and cycle. She is right. A week of travel and illness and no sleep has me pretty off balance. I am exhausted.

Last night (for the first time in over a week) I finally slept fairly well. Then I got up for an hour, ate, and went back to sleep for three, count them, three hours. I would have slept longer but the kids woke me up. I am not generally that good at napping, especially in the mornings. That should say just how exhausted I am.

My brain feels foggy and I just can't stay present. I want Pablo to just cooperate. Sometimes he is SO 4. I don't want to have to muster up empathy for his reality. I want to just get through the day. Preferably without anyone vomiting on me.

By the way, we had to postpone the party due to illness.

I can hardly keep it together when he starts being... let's just call it 4. I have lost my sense of humor, and that is the one thing that a mom needs the most. Once I regain my balance, I will be able to look back fondly on his shenanigans and laugh. I mean, it's funny that my son told off the lawyer and the judge in the courtroom for calling him (and the rest of the family) by our real names instead of our Toy Story names, right? He YELLED at them, "DON'T CALL ME THAT! DON'T SAY ANY OF OUR NAMES!" and listed them. The lawyer quickly stepped in to say that he has a "very active imagination" and that we change names and ages often. I guess it turned out better than it could have, considering that he didn't want to go because "all judges are mean." Hours of exploring why he should have ANY opinion about judges finally unearthed that the judge in Sweeney Todd is mean. I knew that one would bite me in the ass. I just didn't know how.

It didn't even occur to me that this humiliation could be in the same realm as funny until I was wailing the story to my best friend and she stifled her laughter long enough to say, "So how long till we can laugh about this? A week?" She showed great friendship in not screaming with laughter when I was so upset. I hope she didn't strain something trying to hold it in.

I know I will regain my balance, and knowing it will come around again has to be enough for now. I have nothing else.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Adoption Day

Today we completed Beebz's second parent adoption. I know I should be happy and grateful but I don't really feel that way. You see, I spend most of my time in my little insulated world where the least accepting people I encounter are my family members. (No, the response, "Oh no" when announcing our pregnancy is not really what I was looking for....). I stay in denial in my little insulated world and pretend I am not especially discriminated against for loving another woman.

Until it slaps me in the face.

Until we have to spend hundreds of dollars on all kinds of paperwork that gives my partner and I A FEW of the approximately 2000 rights automatically granted by the state and federal governments when a couple gets married, even when they are drunk and Elvis officiates.

Until we drop a several thousand more dollars on a second parent adoption that gives my partner equal rights to the child that she helped plan. She bought the sperm and impregnated me at home using basically her intuition (who knew it would work on our "practice run?"). She supports our family by working while I stay home with the kids so that we can rear our children in the way that we agree is best for our family. She does housework and supports us emotionally and gets up with the kids when they are sick and does a thousand times more than any dad I have heard of (although reading some mommy blogs out there might create some bias...). Seriously, I don't know a single dad who is in the same league as her for any aspect of partnering or parenting.

So I am supposed to feel grateful that as of today, a (very nice) judge signed the papers to make my partner Beebz's "real" parent. I am supposed to be thankful and gracious to the (also very nice) lawyer who navigated us though this process. I am supposed to be appreciative that my child's OTHER parent FINALLY has the right to rear her if I die.

While I do appreciate everyone's help in the whole process, I do not appreciate the discrimination we face. I do not appreciate that I can't marry the woman I love so that we can be equal partners in all ways. I do not appreciate the spin on US religion that makes people think they can ignore central tenets of their faith like "love thy neighbor" and "do unto others" and "do not judge lest ye be judged" in favor of their own fictionalized propaganda (Seriously, there is NO mention of homosexuality in the bible. NOT ONE. Every instance you read is an almost always purposeful mistranslation. Go back to the original language or find someone who can.). I do not appreciate the fact that our country was founded on the premise that there should be a separation between church and state but somehow that has completely slipped everyone's mind.

It's such a mixed bag. I am truly grateful that our family is now legally as complete as our discriminatory system can make it. I really am sincerely grateful to all the people involved in making that happen. We are even throwing a party. (With Pablo's adoption we planned nothing because making a big deal felt like giving the process too much power to define our family. When the day came, it suddenly felt wrong to ignore it completely, so we had an impromptu dinner with as many friends as could make it on 5 hours notice.) But somehow, I just can't get completely behind celebrating. It feels like celebrating the "victory" of women being allowed to wear pants but still having no right to vote and being legally considered chattel. (The phrase "rule of thumb" actually refers to the law that stated a man could beat his wife with any stick smaller than the circumference of his thumb. You will feel different next time you use that phrase, won't you?)

So, yea, the adoption is complete. We jumped all our hoops. We filled out our paperwork and were checked out by the FBI and had our home-study (where a very nice social worker got to come in and see if we were good enough to be parents to the child we created... actually, I think children would be in a better place in this nation if ALL parents had to jump that hoop!), we paid our money, and our very nice judge consented to let us BOTH be parents to our children.

I should be excited. But all I can see is the discrimination. The invalidation of my partner's right to our children. The trying to explain to my 4 year old why some people don't think his sister has 2 parents even though he does. The multitude of rights we have no way to approximate because we cannot get married. (The fact is that due to discrimination, I will probably be very poor when I get old because I cannot legally save for retirement. I have chosen to put the needs of my children ahead of my future needs in this and any number of ways. Yeah, gay people sure do make crappy parents....) Today I can't stick my head in the sand. Today I mourn being a second class citizen. Today I cannot be happy. I am too sad.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An ode to illness

The boy is getting better
illness gone,
energy back.
I thought I would get to
sleep again.
But then I woke
in the middle of the night
to find the baby sick.
Same symptoms...
No sleep for me
I am incapable of
coherent thought
so I pretend this is a poem
cause no one needs to hear me
whine more about

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dragging myself back to mindfulness...

I have been in a funk. I am tired, Pablo is sick, I don't have a job, we have a huge party this weekend AT OUR FILTHY HOUSE and and and.... While all those things are true, I think I need to snap out of focusing on the hard stuff and get back to some mindfulness. I don't give myself enough compassion so I am trying really hard not to just yell "SNAP OUT OF IT" at myself in the mirror. That would not only be unkind to myself, it would very likely scare the bejesus out of the baby.

SO... here I go... being kind...ready?... I am aware of the myriad of stressful things in my life and I can understand why I feel so run down. I can accept this feeling and be loving to myself while still feeling terrible. I can EXPERIENCE the terribleness rather than trying to escape it. I can breathe through it. I can walk, one step at a time, in loving-kindness, aware that each moment is a new space that has never existed before.

I almost believe all that. It is so tempting to go eat a snack and watch the Olympics instead. Or turn on a movie for Pablo and sneak off to take a nap while the baby is still asleep.

NO NO NO. Mindfulness. Loving kindness. No escape....

I think I just ACTUALLY FELL ASLEEP AT THE COMPUTER WHILE WRITING THIS. Oh gods... That can't be good. OK, standing up now. I will go work on MINDFULLY cleaning my house for the party this weekend.

And try not to lean on any walls for a snooze.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One more reason I am not an Olympic athlete

As I have been watching the Olympics, I am amazed not only at the physical ability of the athletes, but at their mental ability. They believe in themselves with such passion, such drive, such tenacity... I am humbled. I didn't get a job that was probably a scam anyway and I have spent the day trying not to cry, feeling completely defeated by the "impossible" struggle to find a job. And then I look at some of these Olympians. I am a total wimp. Slap me down and I stay down for a while. Slap those (young, fit, amazing) people down, and they bounce up, ready for more slapping.

I try so hard to let go of the control, my expectations of how my life "should" go, and let the universe take me where I will evolve to my fullest potential. But I don't trust it. When things aren't going my way I fight it. In my head I know that evolution is not easy -- that sometimes it is the hardest experiences that teach us the most.

But I want life to be easy. I want my baby weight to fall off while I eat whatever I want and exercise only for fun. I want my kids to be easy going and cooperative. I want someone to knock on my door with a check for a million bucks as a thank you for being me.

The hard part is sometimes so HARD. Today I am tired, sad, and feel beaten down. And I feel like I am not trying hard enough. I turn on the Olympics where each athlete has given up everything else for a chance to be right where they are. Then I think of all the athletes who tried just as hard but didn't make it. Is it that I am not trying hard enough at this whole life thing, or am I just not good enough?

Monday, August 11, 2008

the weekend review

Houston was... Houston. I forgot to complain about the mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds that swoop down to steal pints of blood in a single slurping suck in my previous rant. Oh well. Consider them noted. We had fun going to the zoo despite the fact that it is actually one of the worst zoos I have ever seen. Poor layout, small enclosures, sad animals... the works. They did have lots of babies (giraffes and elephants), which was really fun, and it was great to spend time with my partner's family. However, the drive sucked big ones since the baby is SO unhappy in the car. The weekend involved a TON of driving around once were in Houston, so she was pretty miserable. (Let me just say, I DO NOT recommend teething 6 teeth at once. It does get the job done faster, but it seems to be exponentially more painful.) We got home to find that one of our favorite restaurants was closed due to fire damage, which created the world's greatest meltdown on almost everyone's part.

And then there was last night. Pablo woke us up to the lovely sound of vomiting 3 separate times. Poor baby. He seems to be fine this morning, but we are exhausted. My partner is actually staying home from work today so we can sleep. I am glad that he is feeling better, but I was really depending on -- I mean, predicting a day of him lying on the couch watching the Olympics and dozing with intermittent toast eating. Nope. He is currently pulling imaginary trapped states out of the piano by playing original melodies. I was wondering how we were going to get them out of there.

Everyone else currently seems fine, but I am anticipating everyone else getting the same stomach virus any second now. No, strike that... my partner's stomach is hurting.... At least we get to watch the Olympics!! Go PHELPS!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's a busy weekend....

This weekend we are going to Houston to visit my partner's sister. I am sure we will have lots of fun. It is, however, in Houston. For those who have managed to avoid that city, good on ya. It is the armpit of Texas. And we are talking TEXAS, people, a place where there are sweaty, dirty, dusty cowboys. The city was basically built on swampland (where only stubborn idiots would build a city -- oh yeah... Texas...) and the air is filled with the fetid, damp odors of swampiness. The only possible good reason for Houston air to be so thick and moist and fetid is, well, so I get to use the word 'fetid.' It is actually physically hard to breathe there. And we are going (note the date, people) in AUGUST. The hottest month of the year. We are fools.

On the good side, there are great museums and nice people and we haven't had a good visit with this branch of the family tree in quite a while. If we can keep from collapsing in the humidity (it's the heat AND the humidity, but the humidity is worse, trust me), I am sure we will all have a wonderful time. Thank the gods for air conditioning. Wish me luck, folks!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The "no yelling" policy

So I have instituted a no yelling policy. For me. Everyone else can yell as much as they want. Well, no, that's not it exactly, but you know what I mean. This is for MY OWN GOOD, darn it. We are on day 4 I think. My brain feels all fuzzy from the no yelling. I didn't post about it originally for the same reason I don't mention my diet changes. Why tell about something I will be self-recriminating about later? I mean, even when I talked about my acupuncturist telling me to go off all sugar and most other foods, I didn't actually DO it.

However, with this no yelling policy, I have done AMAZINGLY well. I don't yell in anger, not in excitement, not across the house. None of those. The one exception is when someone BITES me. Then I scream at the top of my lungs. But that's forgivable, right?

There is one little side effect... I cry instead. I get upset, I almost yell, I stop myself, and burst into tears. Pablo makes me crazy, I cry. I get overwhelmed with too many people wanting my attention at once, I get snappy (no one said ANYTHING about not being snappy with this no yelling nonsense!!) and then, you guessed it, I cry. Not buckets (usually) but I cry enough to feel all geeked out. Fun stuff, right?

It IS better than yelling. Anger is just a cover for fear or sadness (also fear) or whatever you are feeling that's not love. So getting below the anger level is a good thing. Having the time and space to actually get to FEEL my whatever is not really in the picture, but darn it, I am NOT taking it out on others (by yelling) anymore.

... um, I wasn't yelling when I said that. I was just being emphatic....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Gift....

We are always trying to assess Pablo's level of giftedness. Sometimes we even pretend it doesn't exist. I mean, most 4 year olds know all the countries, states and capitals, right? Right, I know. Our friends quickly set us straight. One big curiosity I have is his grade level. Much time has been spend debating it with friends who are just as stumped as me.

Pablo's older cousin just gave us a new fun computer game called ClueFinders 3rd Grade. Pablo loves it. I thought it would give me a chance to gauge his overall grade level, since it involves math, reading, science, logic, geography, etc. Ha. Parts of the game he FLIES through... other parts I CAN'T FIGURE OUT.

Now, I am a reasonably intelligent person. A 3rd grade level game should not stump me. But I got stumped. Literally. We ended up with Pablo running around pretending to be Buzz Lightyear while I sat there trying me best to understand the instructions on the *&^%%^$#* game. For real. I finally gave up. I plan to try again after he is asleep. I mean, chances are I was just really distracted by Pablo. A "Buzz kill, " if you will (get it?).

This did NOT help me figure out his grade school level (or, apparently, mine). I get that he is at 5-8th grade on some things and much lower on others, but I am stumped with assessing his low side on the areas he is currently not into exploring (science, for one). He knew things that surprised me, and he didn't know things that surprised me. But one thing is for sure... I am not smarter than a 3rd grader.

This is a test of the technorati broadcast system....

Technorati Profile

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Scheduled Outrage

I was going to blog about something else, but when I opened the page, there was a caption at the top of my Blogger screen: "Scheduled outrage at 4:00 PM PDT." Well, how very useful! Scheduling your outrage is a great way to make sure you are at peak efficiency. I mean, being outraged in general really drains the energy, you know? I wonder what we are supposed to be outraged about. Is this outrage to be focused on politics? The environment? The treatment of children? Cruelty to animals? I find myself kind of concerned in advance about my time of outrage. Also, how long is my outrage supposed to last? Is this like a moment of silence thing, or more ongoing? I don't think it is healthy to STAY outraged for a very long time. You just can't sustain it. I think I will go for a 5 minute outrage. That sounds like enough time to show I care, but not really enough to ruin the rest of my day. Yep, 5 minutes. That will do me. I think I also need a topic... hmmm... maybe gas prices! Yes! No... everyone will be doing that one. I need something kind of unique, but still clearly something to be outraged about. Bush won't do.... I am kind of stumped. Ooh! How about disposable things? Like the fact that the production of water bottles takes about 3 times the amount of water that they contain? And the fact that people generally don't understand that throwing away free things is still THROWING THEM AWAY. Like getting a huge amount of napkins at a fast food restaurant! Man, that really gets on my nerves.

No, wait, it's not time yet. I was starting to get outraged early. Sorry about that.


It says "Scheduled OUTAGE at 4:00 PM PDT."


Monday, August 4, 2008

Fun Monday: Favorite Words!

The Mothers of Brothers have asked, "What is your favorite word?" And I just have to answer. I mean, its WORDS, people! I couldn't stop at one, so here are some of my favorites, based mostly on how they sound and the experience of saying them.

1. Tyro -- a rank beginner. It is weird to me how many people don't know what this word means.

2. Precipitous -- overly hasty, or literally, a steep cliff. I love saying all the p's and c's.

3. Veritable -- very much. I probably use this word too much.

4. Exsanguinate -- to bleed to death. Such a haunting word. It sounds like something out of a horror movie, and it is!

5. Octogenarian -- someone who is in their 80's. How cool is that?

6. Filibuster -- to impede the progress of legislation through long speeches and other tactics. I love love love that such a silly word has such an important place in deciding how our country is run. Both the sound of the word and the actual practice are ridiculous, but there is no doubt that filibustering has changed the course of American policy many times. It also seems to get used a lot at my house by my son when he really really wants something, making it especially near and dear to me heart.

Thanks for the fun Monday idea, all! Go to the Mothers of Brothers site to see other people's favorite words!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fiber Snob

Yes, I am now, officially, a fiber snob. You can tell because I am now calling it "fiber" instead of "yarn." See? Totally snobby. After years (say...20?) of just going to whatever craft store was nearby, I ordered fancy yarn online. Highland wool. A lovely pima cotton/ modal (that's WOOD for you non-snobs) mix. More wool, with some nylon (striped, for SOCKS!!).

Yes, I am a complete convert. Before having the experience of working with natural fiber I never got it. Like a blind person imagining a sunrise, I never VISCERALLY understood the difference it would make to use natural fibers. The feel of it while flowing through your hands. The texture against the hook. The whole beingness of it.

You would think I would have been all crunchy granola style using ONLY natural fibers all along. Trust me, from now on, my crafting will match my politics. Ahh, joy. Thank the fiber gods I could find it cheap! Now back to looking at Bamboo and wool/silk blends and the like....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It was all going to go so well...

We were going to have our first big "date" since the baby came (ie without Pablo). We were going to go to the outdoor summer musical of Beauty and the Beast. Total candy as far as musical theater goes, but I will take anything I can get. We were going to eat brie and grapes and french bread while sitting on a blanket. We were going to have fun.

Instead Pablo woke up at 3:30 last night with a nightmare and never went back to sleep. Which meant that we didn't either. This on the heels of 4 nights of the baby not sleeping well. I knew that Pablo would be seriously grumpy and that I would be exhausted and it would be futile to try to go knowing everything could likely disintegrate.

So we didn't go.

I was a sleep deprived brat for most of the day. And that's putting it nicely. It's just that this was a big deal to me. I was going to go on a date with my honey. We had CHILDCARE which is rare (The kids' godparents freakin' rock, but they are literally our only source of childcare, so we try to use them sparingly.).

The evening turned out fine. We hung out with the godparents and another friend and had fun. We didn't leave the house. Beebz was an uber grump so the musical probably would have been ruined for me anyway. But I still feel like a bratty kid whining about not getting what I want. Ironic, since I don't think of actual kids as being brats. But then I am kinder to kids than to myself.

Is it so wrong for me to want time away? I feel horrible for wanting grown up time (in my book only having the baby with me counts as grown up time....) but I NEED it sometimes. I cannot say how much I need to just get to have some fun without looking over my shoulder to check on the boy. The more tired I am the more I need it. And right now I am exhausted.

So no musical fun for me. Wanting a break makes me feel like I am running from my life. Maybe the concept that I need a break is an illusion that serves to keep me separate from the present moment. Maybe I would be energized by just being in the now at every point. I should try it, because wanting a break that will NEVER come is just depressing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Kids Crafts vs the Environment

When I was a kid, we used reams of paper. Reams. My best friend's mom sold Amway but gave it up so we had order forms, receipt books (with "new" NCR paper!), and various and sundry other cool paper products for our use. They were already printed with specific information so they couldn't be reused, not that anyone was thinking about that then. But I think about it a lot.

One the one hand, there are all kinds of developmental things that come this wasting of huge amounts of paper. The creative aspect: the coloring and gluing and cutting and more gluing and all that jazz. The pretend play aspect: the order forms for pretend items, the menu for the pretend restaurant, the game pieces... I could go on forever (...if I was a kid. My adult brain functions at a lower level. A much lower level.). The tactile stimulation, the permanence of it, the sheer fun of making a HUGE mess. It is all so lovely.


On the other hand, the Earth is dying because we don' t care for it. The friends I have with kids in day care complain bitterly about the veritable hailstorm of paper they get on a daily basis. The friends I have with kids in school mostly say the same thing. Should a toddler really use more than his weight in paper every month?

I can't really figure out how to balance these things. I tend to err on the side of the environment. We do a lot of dry erase stuff, and play a lot of Magna Doodle, and play Playdoh. Down sides: pen only, no gluing, cutting, ripping. Upsides: it takes less prep and creativity on my part, it teaches impermanence (Look, a spiritual level! Didn't think I could get there with this post, did you?), no reams of paper to deal with. Yeah, yeah, I know, I am seriously lucky my kid is not that crafty.

My partner brings home printed paper so we can use the other side for scrap, but plain white computer paper only goes so far. How do others deal with this dilemma? What is a green mama to do?