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Did you plan your life?

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When I was young, I never thought I would be a parent and I never thought I would be a wife. It just didn’t occur to me. I did plan once, with a childhood friend named Sherry, that we would share an apartment somewhere (particularly funny because I’m pretty sure neither of us had ever been in an apartment) and drink Tab and drive a shared Volkswagen bug. But I never planned a wedding in my head or named my kids like some people do. I eventually figured I would move to a city, but that was it.

Because of my lack of planning,  I was particularly interested last night when Jenn announced some planning of her own.  After I had yelled at her brother for a marginal offense, she announced:

” When I’m a mommy, it’s going to be really fun and I’m going to be nice all the time.”

We talked about what that might entail, and she had some further ideas for me.  (I’ll point out that she’s four.)

“For example, you could have just said, ‘Jake, stop doing that.'”

That was all she said, and then she moved on to finding an item for show and tell.

But I didn’t move on because she was right. Maybe I don’t need to start with cranky and angry. Maybe I can build to it. But with kids/dog/house I don’t really want in Ohio, by the time the kids get home from school, I have been building all day. If only mine went to eleven. (Have you seen This is Spinal Tap?)

Perhaps I should look up Sherry and see what she’s doing these days  — that apartment, car and can of Tab might be a perfect respite.

Jan 5, 2012

Want to take a parenting class with me?

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In 20 -ish years of post-college life, I have been busy hiring others to help me improve at my various pursuits. I have taken writing classes (to improve my writing), Spanish classes (to improve my Spanish), running classes (to improve my running) and swimming classes (to improve my swimming). I have hired a triathlon coach and a swimming coach. I have hired someone to clean my apartment, mow my lawn, train my dog (to no avail) and help watch my kids.

Clearly I have no problem seeking outside help. Yet I dragged my feet (and was faced with some eye rolls from friends) when given the opportunity to take a parenting class. Why are we supposed to have some innate parenting knack? Because lame or not, I do not have that knack.

“You’re a great parent,” one said. Then why did I almost bite off my lip this morning to keep from screaming, I wondered. And why does my 5-year old son count to three to get my 4-year old daughter to do something? (Which would be funny if it weren’t so awful.)

A swim coach helped quicken my race times. Perhaps this parenting class will help me quicken my kids’ response times, or lower the time it takes me to erupt. And since I don’t really have any friends  here yet, maybe I’ll find one who isn’t a total whackadoodle at class. I’m almost assured, however, of another blog post.

First class is tonight at 7. I’m cautiously optimistic.

 

Oct 4, 2011

Cleveland: 1; Lamemom: 0

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So Cleveland beat me today, on my first day as an Ohioan. We arrived yesterday afternoon so today was the maiden voyage.

In brief:  I made all three children cry, multiple times, and I joined them in tears by 3:3o. I most certainly convinced all the neighbors that I am a fishwife, if they heard me screaming. (And believe me, with one elderly exception, it would be difficult to not hear me screaming.) I ate half a plate of cookies (brought over by a neighbor with her three adorable kids whom she probably didn’t make cry today) and I ate a whole box of buckeyes that I found in the fridge (sounds like a joke but it’s not – they’re chocolate covered peanut butter balls) that another neighbor brought over. (Yes, the women of Rocky River want to keep me post-partum fat, which is why they all bring me treats my kids don’t like.) Oh, and since I’m full of self-pitying misery:  my new, beautiful kitchen stools don’t really match my kitchen; my son’s hands are always in his pants; I can’t find a Spanish speaking babysitter, and my too-young-for-a-midlife-crisis husband just bought a muscle car.

Now as I sit in my kitchen with the whole house asleep,  I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day, if only because the buckeyes are gone. But also because last week I got another dose of get-your-head-out-of-your-ass perspective as I spent four days in the hospital with 5-week old Rainbow, who is now just fine. You see, some times it’s just so easy to only see the trees (in my case:  boxes to be unpacked or friends that I don’t have here) instead of the forest (in my case: I lead a pretty charmed life). Where was this clarity all day?

So tomorrow I will rise above. I might not floss but I will eat a carrot before finishing off the welcome cookies. I’ll try to pause before screaming at my kids. I’ll keep plugging away at unpacking. And maybe tomorrow I can beat Cleveland. I’d even be okay with a tie.

 

Aug 15, 2011

Lamer than ever

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I reached another new low last week. I ignored my poor son in spite of the fact that he doesn’t really say things that aren’t true. (Why do I expect that he will?)

Wednesday morning Jake complained of a sore throat. As I am accustomed to do, I disregarded this complaint. He had no fever, he seemed fine and he was going to school. (I swear, this had nothing to do with the fact that I had reserved a bike in a 9:30am spin class. Really.) Actually, I thought he was simply hankering for attention because his little sister had gotten stitches the day before and we had poured the patient sympathy on pretty thick. I also wondered if possibly he was “ill” because his favorite friend had been absent the day before. (Foreshadowing:  I didn’t know that said favorite friend had missed school because of a nasty case of strep throat.)

So off he went to school, and the babysitter fetched him after so he could get ready for his swim lesson. Only he burst into tears when I said it was time to go to the pool. And he had fever-y eyes and had those cute red cheeks he gets when he has a fever. Though I didn’t exactly pay attention to all of this evidence that he was sick as I was too focused on making it to swim lessons on time and not paying for a lesson we didn’t actually go to. (Yes, I flush money down the toilet on fancy coffees but the thought of paying for a no-show swim lesson makes me anxious, more anxious than dragging a whiny, sick kid to the pool. My priorities certainly seem askew.)

The continued sobbing eventually clued me in that we would never make it three blocks to the pool, and the cuddling made me realize he was actually sick. So we cuddled and acetaminophen-ed and pretty soon called it a night. The next morning he still had a little fever so no school, but I wasn’t too troubled. Midday I heard from another parent that the school was full of strep and the babysitter called to tell me he seemed really not well. Damn! I got him the only doctor’s appointment left that day, at 7pm, and I left the lunch I was at to go home because somehow I would feel better if he were crying with me there. By the time he finally got to the doctor, the poor bugger’s throat looked like it had been rubbed across a cheese grater. Of course, bad case of strep and hooray for antibiotics.

In about two days he was feeling better but I still felt awful. What moron doubts her little boy? Especially about him not feeling well? He’s not old enough yet (I don’t think) to fake illness, or really, to lie about anything for more than a couple minutes. Yet, I doubted him and he was miserable for probably a day longer than necessary. Next time maybe I’ll listen harder. Though by then, he will probably have turned into the deviant I apparently expect him to be. I hear that happens around six.

 

Filed under Bad Parenting
Apr 1, 2011

Superfood two-ways

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Remember how great we were at parenting before we had kids? I would watch other kids eat nothing but pizza or macaroni or bread with jelly and I always figured that somehow I would be better at it – that my young kids would eat everything – tofu and leafy greens and sushi. Some of my friends’ kids do eat like that, but so far, mine do not. Jake and Jenn don’t even eat burgers, much less tofu.

The most recent meal-gone-bad started out reasonably. My son’s plate included a cheese roll-up:  melted cheese and a tortilla. There was a bowl of blueberries and some cut-up apples and some little carrots on the table – our meals all include cheese (are my midwestern roots showing?) – but there’s usually a couple other colors included. I had learned that day how to make a sweet potato in the microwave oven  (Super easy – stab it so it doesn’t explode, put it on a folded up paper towel and cook for five minutes. Superfood at your fingertips.)  so I decided we were going to be better eaters and not eat cheese roll-ups every day and the children were going to enjoy some sweet potato with me. I was (foolishly) optimistic. I gave them each a cube of sweet potato – smaller than a sugar cube. All they had to do was eat it. To sweeten the deal, I also bribed them: cookies after dinner if the cubes disappeared. (Don’t start on me about bribing my kids with food — I know, I know.)

Can you see where this is headed?  Jake said, “I tried it and I didn’t like it.” I saw an entire sugar cube left so I said he had to eat it and give it a fair chance so we could all move on. I also gave him the help-me-out-with-your-sister look, which is a twitch/wink combination, because we knew he was the key to her superfood satisfaction. He finally realized the small bit of food was standing between him and a reindeer cookie. He popped the cube in, started to swallow and suddenly morphed into a cat with that hairball-cough thing they do and yes, the little stinker barfed that sweet potato right back up.

He willed himself to do it and up came half a cheese roll-up, several other colors and a tiny cube of sweet potato. I was furious yet impressed at his skill. And because I’m his mother, he leaned in to me as the food appeared and I automatically cupped my hands in front of him so I was suddenly holding his dinner, including the superfood. He looked at me innocently, said, “I told you,” and accepted a napkin and a clean plate from his father, seated across the table.

Helpful as ever, his father pointed out that now Jake had not only not eaten the sweet potato, he had also not eaten the rest of his meal. Fortunately, he managed to keep the reindeer cookies down without any problem.

Filed under Bad Parenting
Jan 6, 2011

So I kind of lied.

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Apparently, I wasn’t completely accurate in my post yesterday about another not-proud parenting moment.  In fact, I wasn’t just inaccurate, my husband made it very very clear to me that I, in fact, lied. Most troubling, perhaps, is that it was utterly unintentional. (Ok, maybe it would be more troubling if I were intentionally lying. I’m not sure.)

I  recounted a story involving me pitted against 3-year old daughter in a fight about being cold. My husband read the post last night and emailed me this:

Did you rewrite the story to make it more readable? In reality, you put her in crib prison;  she screamed bloody murder;  I went in and talked her into her tinkerbell sweatshirt.  Problem solved.

While I’m not sure that’s exactly how it went – bits of it are true and were totally forgotten by lamemom. I did put her in crib prison and she did scream and he did eventually spring her from crib prison, though I think he sprung her sans sweatshirt. But that’s not my point.  It’s amazing how we can reconstruct our own reality, especially about something relatively low on the importance scale. I had totally forgotten the episode, only remembering the screaming, which was probably mostly mine.

I would bet that Jenn still remembers the episode. Which is what I should keep in mind. I guess, “forgetting” that I put the daughter in her crib until she did what I wanted is a good reminder that the behavior — mine, that is — was bad. Someone should have sent me to my bed. Unfortunately, that would have probably have made my whole day.

Dec 14, 2010

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