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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Just like in the movie

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Today on the bus I was chatting with Jenn about my day:  I was headed to meet my friend, also named Jenn. The Jenns had met a couple of times and I was keen to have my daughter Jenn remember my friend Jenn.

Me:  Remember last summer when that lady with the same name as you came to the apartment with her three daughters?

Jenn:  No.

Me:  (Trying again)  Remember when that family met us at our cottage and you and Daddy  took the three little girls tubing?

Jenn:  (No reply, but starting to exhibit some recollection. Or maybe she was imagining the chocolate croissant I had just told her we could buy.)

Me:  Remember the littlest girl who was almost your age and you and your brother wanted her to stay to play? Her name was Charlotte?

Jenn:  Charlotte.

Me:  (Relieved this exercise was almost over, and confident she is about to remember my dear friend. ) Yes!

Jenn:  Like in the movie.

At which point I was no longer dying for Jenn to remember my friend, I had moved on to horror that my daughter thought Charlotte’s Web was a movie and not a book.  I really just wanted to kick the Easter Bunny for bringing the DVD of Charlotte’s Web instead of the book. Stupid bunny. Even if it’s a good one, my kids can’t become literary geniuses watching the movies.

 

 

Note:  Incidentally — my kids LOVED watching Charlotte’s Web. I was all ready for a pair of sobbing disasters, but they were fine. In fact, when I asked them if it had been a little sad, they agreed but pointed out that Charlotte had died but she first laid 514 eggs. Pretty impressive big-picture view, I thought. I was the only sobbing disaster to be found.

 

Filed under Expectations, Parenting
May 17, 2011

Husband recovers: Mother’s Day do-over a success

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So my husband failed Mother’s Day this year.  He neither planned anything nor stepped up to make any impromptu grand gestures. The kids made cards under the direction of the babysitter and she helped them buy my gifts:  a rose with a teddy bear magnet on it saying “I love you” and a small white ceramic heart thingie that now sits near the sink in my bathroom.  Perfect. Only orchestrated not by my husband.

His fumble was puzzling, as I had been mentioning the “holiday” for weeks. And I had even offered it up as chance for him to have a return to glory  following his UTTER failure of my birthday, one week prior. (Lest you judge me as harsh:  it was like 16 Candles with no Jake at the end. He didn’t remember it was my birthday until noon, which meant I left him sleeping as I walked the dog at 6, got the kids ready for school, etc. I think he clued in when he noticed that the babysitter had brought me flowers, gifts from the kids, cards and a cake – perfect again, though again, orchestrated not by my husband.)

After the birthday debacle, I blamed myself. I simply needed to implement some remedial training, showing him how one should celebrate a birthday properly. Rather, showing how I believe one should celebrate a birthday properly.  So I offered a re-do, in the shape of Mother’s Day. Obviously I was not clear enough, as that holiday also did not go well. (I’ll point out that I’m pregnant, so a little nuttier than usual.)

Mother’s Day evening, I was spent from watching my husband nap on the couch (truly) while I scraped together bowls of cereal for the kids’ dinner, so we watched a DVR-ed episode of Modern Family — the Mother’s Day episode. After the show, I pointed out all the instances of proper celebration:  coffee and breakfast in bed, cards made by the kids, a special meal not created by the mother, etc.

Well, apparently that primer was just what he needed as this past Saturday morning, while I read in bed (!!), he and the kids wrapped up a bunch of gifts, –  an apple, last week’s rose w/ teddy bear stuck to it, white ceramic heart thingie and a beautiful new ipad (the actual item, not a piece of paper saying “Good for one ipad” — this husband stood in line at the Apple Store!)  – and they all helped me open them in bed. Then we went on a Mother’s Day, Take 2,  hike, got Mother’s Day, Take 2, ice cream and tackled the grocery store and dinner together.

Of course, all I really wanted to do is stay home and figure out and play with my new ipad, but the day was perfect, regardless. I imagine I should start planning Father’s Day.  Though the pressure is low, as I figure I have a few tries to get it right.

Filed under Expectations, Family
May 16, 2011

Jacksonfish is dead

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Well, it’s one step forward and three steps back for lamemom, as I just continue to exhibit how effing stupid I really am.  The other evening, I decided to mention to Jake that Jacksonfish, his blue beta fish (irresponsibly given to him for his 4th birthday by a friend who should have known better) had died. Between you and me, the dumb fish had died about a year ago but we all kind of pretended that Jacksonfish, (not to be confused with Jackson, the best dog in the world), was on a stay-cation in Queens with their babysitter (the mother they should have had) and her family.

The husband and I were going away for the weekend and the kids were off to Queens to stay with the babysitter so I had to tell Jake about the fish before he got there and expected to have a reunion. Predictably, his face squinched up within seconds and he started sobbing so hard that he got red dots all over his forehead. Of course, I think I have raised them to love their animals that much so I’m a little puzzled that I expected him to take it cavalierly. But I did. I was absolutely surprised that he was so upset, I think because I couldn’t imagine he had believed our story about why the fish hadn’t been at home in almost a year. He cried and cried and we cuddled and he pleaded for his fish back.

Fortunately my stupid had stopped, for I knew not to tell him that Jacksonfish had gone the way of many pet fish — an accidental bowl-cleaning-swim down the drain. I said that fish don’t generally live for very long as pets and that Jacksonfish had enjoyed a happy life full of love and family, and so on. Then Jake asked for a new fish and I kind of ignored him because there is no way we are getting another fish, even when my son is crying so hard he has dots all over his face.  (Curious that I prefer picking up dog poop two or three times a day to a weekly fish bowl cleaning.)

But I will definitely keep this episode with me: he is five and a half years old and he totally believes me. I know at some point, this will change, but now, I am his authority. Whether it is about his fish on a holiday to learn Spanish in Queens or the sugar bugs that will eat his teeth if they’re not brushed well or that being kind to our animals and little sisters is the most important thing we do each day, my son believes me. As always, I am astounded and terrified by the responsibility.

 

 

May 9, 2011

When is a white lie okay?

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“Remember,” I often say to my daughter, “saying something you know isn’t true is lying.” And she nods and looks solemnly at me and eventually repeats the same lie she said to spur my little lesson.  Sometimes, she says, “ I’m not lying. I’m tricking you. “  How to explain the difference between a lie and a trick to a three-year old?  I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that kids of a certain age (which I can’t remember) don’t actually know “truth” (or lying) per se, as they actually believe that whatever they say might have actually happened.  They are in the bathroom with the toothbrush and toothpaste and then get distracted and head out to the kitchen and they actually believe they did brush their teeth because they were this close to getting the task done.  (Of course, I wish I remembered the age at which they should recognize the difference between actually did and intended to do, as my husband sometimes seems to exhibit the same dilemma:  “Yes, I did put the milk back in the fridge/put the seat down/read the 3-page email you sent me about your parents’ visit…”)

Slipperier slopes, however, present themselves with my 5-year old.  He’s pretty good on the difference between lying and tricking, but I would like to broach the subject with him on the beautiful possibilities that a white lie offers. Of course, I’m sure such a subtle concept will never work with him but sometimes his capabilities surprise me. (If you’re one who thinks white lies are just as bad as “real” lies, we’ll have to agree to disagree. OR you can just click away!)

Sometimes, I believe a white lie simply moves the conversation along in a much nicer way.  For example, if you said, “I look so haggard. I should get Botox but I can’t afford it.” And I said, “I think the lines between your eyes are actually very dignified,”  I don’t think you are harmed because you can’t get the little plump-up shot anyway, and maybe you feel a little better about your haggard-ness.

Another perfect example presented itself last night, when the kids and I were lucky enough (really) to get to go to a party hosted by Hershey’s Kisses. (Kind of dreamy for this pregnant lady: the room was teaming with Hershey’s Kisses, even a new one that isn’t available yet. I’m still chocolate drunk.)  My kids never get to go anywhere and were particularly excited about going to a “candy party.” They played games (the event’s focus was “Family Game Night,” which seems like a fun way to hang out a little more together), ate pizza and hot dogs and popcorn and we probably ate a hundred pieces of candy.  We were playing the board game Sorry and my son started chatting with a very kind woman from the Hershey’s Corporation. She was not just a brand lady, she was a product lady and I bet she eats, sleeps and breathes Hershey’s Kisses.  I knew where we were headed the second the conversation started…

Kiss lady:  How old are you?

Jake:  Five.

Kiss lady:  Are you having fun?

Jake: Yes.

(here it comes)

Kiss lady:  Have you been eating a lot of candy?

Jake:  No.

Kiss lady: (nodding)

Jake:  No, I haven’t had any because I don’t like them. I hate chocolate.

I’m pretty sure I heard a collective gasp move across the room. Jake had the same conversation four more times with other’s Hershey’s people before we went home. Of course, everybody was lovely and as incredulous as I that someone doesn’t really like chocolate. And I don’t want Jake to lie, but I’m not sure how bad it would have been if he had said, “I haven’t had any candy because I’m not hungry.” Or “I haven’t had any candy because I’m saving it for later.” Just nicer, no? He also suggested to someone that perhaps a chocolate-less Hershey’s Kiss might be a good idea. I’m certain that was sent right to the development folks in Pennsylvania.

We can’t wait for the Twizzler’s party.

May 4, 2011

More self-image building

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The last couple days have delivered a significant hit to my self image. Yes, the truth hurts, whether you’re lame or not.

The first blow came from the daughter, still young enough for this to be a little cute.  I was lying on my side and from behind me Jenn informs me that she thinks the baby is in my butt.  Ha ha ha.  She’s cute and funny and we all laughed.

The second blow?  Jake was playing 20 questions with someone and as a way of ascertaining how big the item was, he asked, “Is it bigger than my mom?” Not bigger than a bread box; not bigger than a school bus.  No. He wondered if it was bigger than I am. Ach. Fortunately the item in question was an airplane, so there was an obvious answer.

The final and most stinging blow? Husband was walking me from lunch to a cab. I was limping a little because I had gone to physical therapy that morning for an ankle issue and felt VERY out of sorts. I mentioned this.

Me:  (limping) Maybe I should wear a sign so people don’t think I’m walking like this just because I’m pregnant.

Supportive husband:  Yeah. It could say “Fat and gimpy.”

Silence.

He always knows just what to say.

 

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May 3, 2011

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