Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"It's not you, it's me"

Yes, it's been a while and I just can't help it. Oh well.

I have two kids and I won't offer up any apologies for crazy language or outright honesty. " I used to care but now I take a pill for that"

Max's birth was my last effort at a natural birth and it was an epic fail - other than having a beautiful baby boy that holds my heart in his bright little eyes. There were drugs that I could not exercise my right to say no to, there were uncontrollable circumstances that were so stressful that all I could do was pray and lay there hoping for it pass quickly, and nurses that got smart mouthed with a pregnant woman at her birth time. Metaphorically, she pulled back a bloody lip. I haven't come to terms with his birth so I can't write it now, even 4 months out.

BUT, I AM continuing my minds eye picture of myself - post-apocalyptic Mom. Think Mad Max meets June Cleaver. Necessities hanging from carabiners on my purse filled with everything that a demanding kid/boss/husband could want. I walk clanging to the car with only a moments notice to whip out the coveted item before some sort of meltdown occurs. Avoidance is the name of the game here. Avoid the meltdown and it's just easier that way. BTW I have a cool twisty John Wayne in an A line skirt walk too.

Avoidance may be the name of the game but the mental energy that it takes to anticipate any and all demands of kids/boss/husband makes my neurons stretch to their limit. Imagine several overstretched rubber bands breaking and snapping back to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody. That's why I'm in therapy.

Therapy isn't really the right word for what I'm doing. Well, ok, yes it is. I prefer a more descriptive title like "Work/Life Balance Class". That sounds more like a frivolous night class at a community college rather than the "Jesus H. Christ, I can't take it anymore!" session that is actually happening. But, it is what it is and if I need to change then I need to find the tools to do so. Fast.

"It's not you, it's me". And sometimes it really IS just me. Leave it to me to feel like I have to fix everything to everyone's satisfaction. Productive? No. Unnecessary? Yup. And where the hell does this compulsion come from?? Not only does this impossible task wear me out just trying to find it's source is mind numbing - how did I become a fixer?!

In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy the moments that are passing me by at warp speed. Hank is growing up and I have little Max who is the embodiment of joy. I've said it numerous times but I really do see how parents tune out noise and I've expanded that to tuning out BS. The only way I can handle life is a jumbo sized filter for frivolous BS which is unnatural for me given my last paragraph. Again, hence the "Balance Class".

An unintended consequence of this it that I've had folks think that I have turned on them. Helping them understand the necessity of this is proving to be difficult when it's family - but it is temporary! Other than the presence of G Dub and my kids ( and can I just say now that having the words kid be plural is still so weird!) I can firmly say that NOTHING is constant anymore. I'll be back just give me some room for crying out loud!

My mind keeps reminding me that I am a person unto myself by thinking of how I want to improve or coming up with new things that I want to do. G Dub reminds me too that I overextend, over-analyze and overdo. But there is just so much cool stuff to do and be part of! This is how I can jump the chasm of lamenting about being overstressed to spearheading efforts to create a program for teen moms at a local ministry.
I waffle back and forth daily....shoot, sometimes hourly! I'm tiring to watch. Or to read :D

I'll get back to writing letters to my boys soon. Hank is still a challenge and having Max just added to the happiness we already had in abundance. He's a happy baby and I'm a happy Momma!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting bigger and it's hot out

Holy cow, something I never planned on was having children much less having them in the fall. That means a long hot summer. Hotter than the average hell in TN. In this version of hell your thighs rub together, your clothes are consistently sweaty under the dunlaps and you feel about 10 heavier than you are.

Oh so gone this time are the funny stories about gelatinous bellies while shopping and luxuriously lounging around wondering what's growing in there and names and advice books. I'm chasing a toddler and I don't mean that in a figurative way - it's so literal it hurts! I had friends over the other day and instead of a nice visit I ran from room to room saying stuff like "no hands in the toilet", "keep your clothes on please", "yes, those are Mommy's boots clomp clomp clomp" ," Sorry Caillou's gone night night" , " yes, that's toilet paper", " bye bye poop". I mean, really, it was non stop from room to room with an occasional exasperated inquiry if my guests wanted something to drink or if they were doing ok in there.

I wouldn't say their visit was a dismal failure on my part though; she is older than me ( omg, is that possible?!) and is pregnant with her first child. Just call it a peering into the future kind of visit. No sugar coating going on here. Why shouldn't I give an accurate representation of life at a toddler's house? That's just wrong.

Like the 8 limbs of yoga, a pregnant mother of a toddler has to have the capacity of 8 hands worth of multitasking. Hold the 30 pound toddler with all his blankies and cars, and a supply bag, and my bag with phone and essential electronics. Probably a stuffed animal strangling in a side belt loop. Yep, I have reached pack mule status and I envision me doing this up the Grand Canyon but really I'm just climbing the stairs to get into my house. Criminy, it's no wonder I'm thinner this time. Excerise? Who needs THAT crap?

No matter how much smaller I am there is no escaping the heat and the potential for it draining the life right out of a gal. Or stuffing it all in her feet. My God, I had to go get clunky Dansko clogs to accommodate these babies and I don't even care if I look like one of those books where you match the bottom half with the top half and get weird combos. Add dutch clogs to any outfit and it looks bad so who cares at this point. Now make them wooden and that would just complete the freak transformation.

It's time to sleep and tomorrow is another day. At least we'll be inside. Potty training has begun and saying the word potty 251 times an hour is on the agenda. And so are many sopping towels of pee pee. He likes wearing underwear and that may be my ticket to the nut house. Wish me luck but I bet I'll need more than that!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm sorry but this might sting a little

Not only is it necessary to our kids it's inevitable. But what I'm finding out is that it's more heartbreaking for me than for Hank.
Our war of choice has been biting. It started a year ago and has not let up. I'm not talking nibbles here, I'm talking full on retaliation chomps that hurt and are on purpose because he is being asked to change his course or give up something from his hands. He is a head strong boy on a mission.

Momma is also finding out that she is the main target of these bold chomps. And she has hit the top rung of patience allowed for such acts. Actually, I've been grasping for another rung for a few weeks thinking that surely if I keep reaching another will appear so I can get through this stage without mortally wounding someone. I have to dig deeeeep for patience to keep from lashing out at the one person that I love with all my heart. These wars are, I guess, what makes us a better parent but right now I feel pretty crappy.

I've literally tried everything to no avail. The advice I seem to always hear is to bite back. And most moms have done it. They say it with such calm, self righteous assurance that this was the best way to handle a problem. Like just do it and get it over with. I never wanted to take that route because my logic is that it shows Hank that adults deal with situations the same way a toddler does and it really condones the behavior. And too, it doesn't take much to hurt a child and I cannot forgive myself if anger is what pushes me to what I consider the end of my rope.
Until today.....

My shoulder became a teether for the last time. It was the second time today that I became a target so with the bite marks to prove it I bit. I can tell you here is no satisfaction. There is no feeling of doing something for his own good. There is no calm assurance that I did the right thing. I'm left feeling like surely I could have found a better way. So with us both sobbing I vowed to always try to find that better way even if it means...even if it means....hell, I don't know what that means.

No that I've poured this out i'm crying and laughing at myself for being such a sappy parent. Maybe it will make an impression on him that Momma don't play around. Or now he will start to realize that other people have limits to what they can handle. he may have gotten this because as I sobbed he got real quiet and watched my face. He knew I hurt and he knew it wasn't good. Kids this age are self centered and they are supposed to be but the harsh reality of learning otherwise is also inevitable.

Thankfully, I pray every night for wisdom on how to take care of this young man. I'll get it one day....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Life is hard. Wear a helmet.

It's not that I do not have much to inspire me these days it's just that I don't have the brain capacity to sit and think about it like I used to. I'll let it slide that I ended that sentence with a preposition because I really don't care as long as I get to say something that isn't in 3 word sentences or doesn't have anything to do with Caillou. I'll just be wrong.

I have quite a commute and I still listen to Bob Edwards as soon as i drop off Hank at daycare. It's like a link to the outside world. He interviews authors, teachers, political analyzers, comedians. These keep me up to date as opposed to the daily news of war, bad weather and crime. I can't hear about that shit anymore. It hurts my brain with it's slant and contradictory nature.
This is another reason that I still listen to Catholic radio. Not because I'm ever going to be Catholic but it's something to learn about something to care about and my brain smiles. The messages aren't even always positive but the whole message is and that's what fuels me during the day. That positive fuel that can keep a natural born cynic out of the icky depths.

Speaking of depths. Talking on the phone to someone who always has problems or is consistantly negative can keep you there. I've got one of those. I can empathize. I can be compassionate. But then I have to move on because I cannot fix what's wrong and the mental burden weighs heavy if I let it. I can be a listener but the internalization has to be blocked so I don't get bogged down too. My best friend gave her son, now 16, the best advice when he was young and she still uses it. "Life is hard. Wear a helmet." Short. Sweet. To the point. And harsh to some people but it's true. And the truth hurts sometimes. She may not have always made the best decisions but there is some wisdom for ya.

And life isn't always hard. It's mundane. It's elating. And it's a blessing. I'm sitting on my back porch listening to these retarded cicadas breeding everywhere. Today is warm and sunny; just beautiful. I'm pregnant and by myself for 2 whole hours while my boyz get a haircut. I'm surrounded by toys, a sandbox, stranded kid shoes and the little feet imprint in the sand made my Hank this morning as he played. I may get annoyed sometimes but even those kid shoes make me happy when I think of whose feet were in them.

Back to the Bob Edwards show. I know I know (eye roll). I listened to a sweet interview yesterday with George Carlin's girlfriend and it made me think of how wonderfully complex people are inside. He has been on my mind lately because I found it mildly ironic that he does the reading for the Thomas the Tank Engine kids series. HUH? George Carlin? Really? Yeah and Alec Baldwin does too so go figure. He doesn't strike me as the kid loving type given his history. Surely, he doesn't need money...

She painted an honest and unapologetic picture of someone coined as a real indecent ass to some. They never married but were hopelessly in love and he was a sap. A real honest to God teenager love sap! He wrote to her everyday and they talked into the night for years about everything - they were so connected and he never stopped courting her. That's what people wish for and here is a man known for tirades giving it so whole heartedly to her. What made her interview amazing was how described his comedy act - he didn't necessarily believe in his heart all the he spouted off but he was a performer and a show off just laying it out there for people to think about. Those words were what came to him but they were not his inner core beliefs. I found that fascinating because this applies to all of us. We are many people inside rising to the occasion of what is going on around us at the time. We need that. It's who we are as a species and is that 1% genetic separation between us and apes.

Uh oh, I just heard a car door close. The hurricane is home so I need to run an batten down the hatches!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Letter to Hank # 14- It's always something!

And it's something new everyday! I've talked exhausively about how fast time with you goes and it's wonderful. Even on the most challenging days, like right now!, you make me smile with your cheeky little face and long eye lashes. I can't write everything down that just cracks me up but here are a few examples of how your personality shines bright on rainy days:

The cicadas are out and you love carrying them saying "bu bu" since you haven't quite gotten the letter G yet. When they make a noise you yell " bu bite!". Even our dog when it gets a little annoyed with you and growls you say " dog bite boy!" and come running to me like i will protect you from the old fart of a dog and wouldn't hurt anyone

Another example of your language is my mom tried to get you to call her Grammie. You called her Mammie and put a stop to any preference training.

You have a cheeky walk when you are all full of yourself- you move your elbows very emphatically like "Here I come so look out"

Anything that hurts is a boo boo and fixable with booboo tape (scotch tape)

You refer to yourself as Baby or boy. Babies are also blankies or bugs. You tell them Bye when you walk past.

Any water is a bath and Mommy has the laundry to prove it

You spot bird poop and point it out to me

When you are bright and refreshed you make me bright and refreshed

Hank, you have joy in your eyes

You have no idea that you will have some serious competiton in 4 months. You point to my belly but don't really know...

You gave your first kiss to a neighbor girl and dang if it didn't look like something off the Young and the Restless!

Collectively, your daddy and I have been on this earth for nearly 80 years. You've been here for 2 and wear us out! A really hard part of all this is not having a lot of family in town. I have to be honest and say that the ones that are here see you about as often as Grammie from Raleigh. While that's sad what do you do? I'm not going to beg, they can make their own decisions, so I buck up to the fact that nights off are rare and you goes everywhere with me/us. Oh well, what do you do? You have cool babysitters! MIss Amber will be going away to college and while we celebrate her graduation it's still hard to see her go.
She loves you and we love her!

You are having a rough night tonight. Night night is not coming easy for whatever reason. But you'll get there eventually and be at peace. And so will I. Eventually.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drag Racing Through TIme

It's pretty obvious that I have most of my life tied up in songs. Yeah, I know I say it a lot. But sound is powerful just like smells can bring on memories, a light touch can trigger them, and don't mention seeing someone that can just bring it all back. It's a surreal moment when suddenly you are 22 with nothing really to lose.

Now that I'm sitting here writing I can't remember what inspired this. I can write the best blogs and silly songs in my head while I'm driving. If I don't immediately scribble it down all this pseudo profundity is gone and is irrecoverable.

I think I was pondering the younger generation after a rare afternoon out shopping sans Hank. Well, when I say shopping I mean going to Kroger and zoning out in the magazine aisle or in the seasonal dept. Just looking at all the stuff puts me in neural overdrive. But this time I was thinking about youngin's and it dawned on me that a kid born in 1980 was 30 YEARS OLD!
Then the images start of being in the early 80's and what my life revolved around then.

The first image is me diligently sitting in front of my one speaker tape recorder playing Casey Kasem's American Top 40 taping songs since I couldn't afford to feed my addiction - every Sunday I did this. And every Sunday it was a new tape because invariably I either could not stop the tape in time and got way too much of a song someone old like my mom liked by Joe Jackson or I missed the intro to Rock of Ages. God Forbid! Every song had the familiar squeal of the stop and start of the previous and following song. But I dealt with it to get the meat of the madness no matter where it fell on the countdown. It was actually exciting to hear the number 1 song in America! I waited for it and waited passionately. We talked about it at school even - that's big news when you're 10.

I'll never ever forget, as long as I live, visiting my Great Grandma in Missouri. I only came in to town once a year so she gave me a gift or something while I was there. She gave me $10. $10 in 1983. That was a lot to her too. OMG she had no idea that she gave me the mother lode!! The front door went whooshing open as I sped out dying to get to the car waving my new bill. I thought I would be sick if my Grandma, her daughter, didn't drive me to the nearest Record Bar (yeah, remember that?!) so I could buy Duran Duran's Rio. Her response was " Don't you want to save that for another time" and I swear I was going to throw up if I did not have that album in my hands in 15 minutes. I begged, I admit it. Little did she know that I would still have that album at 37 and always know that G Grandma Hastings helped me buy it. It was an investment of sorts.

When I got see Prince's Purple Rain Tour as my first concert I was just a tiny bit cooler than the lower than average cool kids that I hung out with. I laugh at myself now because I sang over and over and over "masturbating with a magazine" and had no idea on this planet what the hell I was saying! Parental Control ANYWHERE?? I wouldn't have mattered, I'd have gotten it anyway and sang my naive little heart out.

I miss the record stores. Record Bar, Camelot Music, Cats Records, Tower. Out with the old and in the new. No wonder the RIAA is trying to find a way to charge royalties for bands playing covers in bars. Good luck with that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

RIP Gerry

Music is poetry, after all. I like to think that singers are troubadours - not that the literal meaning is necessarily true but it sounds more thoughtful than just calling someone a singer. That sounds so generic. Especially when lyrics are deep, meaningful or down right anguish producing.

The music world lost a troubadour this week. Gerry Rafferty. I was 4 when his mega hit album came out but his songs are actually etched in my mind. How could they not be - Baker Street has been on the radio ever since I can remember and everyone knows it, just by the sax riff. But could anyone name who sings it? Probably not. Does anyone mention the rest of the album? No. That's what's sad. The rest of the songs are amazing and I never play Baker Street. There's no need to.

And cover art. Wow, how I miss real cover art. City to City is quintessential for the time period. I seriously think I'll devote a room in my house to framed album cover art. Yes, Pink Floyd, Queen, Grateful Dead, The Doors - I've got them and as beat up as some of them are the deep appreciation and memories tied up in just seeing them makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.Gerry Rafferty City To City

Going back to the poetry aspect of music. It's hard to take the timing out if you've heard it sung but reading it gives a new perspective. Here are the lyrics to my favorite Gerry Rafferty song. I put it on repeat often.

Wakin’ up here on a rainy day
I swore last time that I would stay away
I came down here to talk to you
I said this time I might get through.

I heard us speak but all the words were dead
We talked all night and left it all unsaid
So we agree to disagree
At least we got our memory.

Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
You’ll find a way to say it all someday (yeah)
Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
Yeah, night and day, night and day.

You’ve got your secrets yeah and I’ve got mine
We’ve played this game now for a long long time
You don’t lean on anyone
You never had no place to run.

You never wanted me to get too close
We love and hate the ones we need the most
I tried to find a way to you
One thing I could say to you.

Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
You’ll find a way to say it all someday (yeah)
Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
Yeah, night and day, night and day.

Maybe I’ve always set my sights too high
You take the easy way and still get by
I know there ain’t no special way
We all get there anyway.

I heard us speak but all the words were dead
Talked all night and left it all unsaid
So we agree to disagree
At least we got our memory.

Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
You’ll find a way to say it all someday (yeah)
Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
Yeah, night and day, night and day.

While he lived in obscurity I hope he knew in his heart that there are people that listened to more than what is on the radio. He had so much more to say and I hope he didn't leave anything unsaid.