Friday, February 18, 2011


If you had asked my Mama about patterns, she would have thought of sewing one of many dresses that she made for herself or perhaps the many quilts that she owned and made.  Had you asked my Grandmas about patterns she may have thought about the needlepoint she did for so many years before the arthritis betrayed her.

If you ask me about patterns I would tell you that Mama had IBS, my dad has IBS, and so do I.  I would tell you that there is a link between IBS and anxiety, and anxiety and depression and I know this first hand.  I would tell you that Gia Gia has a stubborn streak a mile long that she has passed on to her son, that he has in turn pasted down to his children.

If you asked my second grader about patterns he would most likely give you examples of the ABAB pattern that they talk about, practise, and look for in mathematics.  My four-year-old would say something, I guarantee you that he would vehemently back-up, but which most likely has no more of a connection to patterns then rice pudding.

Patterns.  What an amazing word, what a difficult concept.  Everyone has their own definition.  Patterns in math, science, life, art, behavior.  This is the one that trips me up every time.  Why is it so difficult to break a pattern in behavior?  Is it even possible?  If an alcoholic is always "recovering", will I ever be the mom who isn't yelling?  Or will I always be the mom is is a recovered yeller?

I can hear it now, said in a low raspy voice in some obscure but obvious church basement that smells of strong coffee and crayons...
"Hi, my name is Bad Mom, and I'm a fit thrower."
"Hi, Bad Mom."

What do we really know about changing behavior?  I've confessed to not being the type of parent to run to a book to find the answers.  In part because all the books say the same thing, this is your fault!  I already know that in my heart.  My kids didn't learn to throw a fit from the neighbor, nor the word idiot which the seven-year-old used on me this morning.  They learned from their mom, bad mom.

For all that we do right, or try to, it still seems to all come down to those few moments when the bus is coming and I'm screaming again and he says, "This is all your fault you idiot!"  And the words slap my face harder than even he could - you are right.

Anyone know which church basement???

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

What a wonderful holiday, maybe because my husband and I have never put any pressure on each other to outdo, overso, or even some years do-anything.  That was more his doing than mine, what girl doesn't like a holiday centered around chocolate!

I will be headed off to the Elementary school after lunch to help with the seven-year-olds Valentine's party, last Friday it was the pre-school for the four-year-olds Valentine's party.  At the pre-school it was all about the sugar - literally and figuratively.  They scarfed down cupcakes, cookies, and juice boxes and wanted to hug.  Me, the teacher, each other.  Good thing I brought 5 games - they ended up all trying to sit in my lap as I read a story then rolled around on the floor together.  It will be interesting to see what happens at the Elementary school.

My seven-year-old brought his Valentine's box in on Friday (so that his mother would not forget on Monday!) and right away noticed the differences.  He didn't tell me until Saturday at bedtime after a long night of fighting over our Famous American report - Yes, I said OUR and you other mothers know why!  That his box was different than all the others.  The girls (surprise, surprise) were quick to point this out.  When they got the assignment to make a Valentine's box my very crafty and creative son ran up stairs found a shoe box that was brown and green and decorated it with puffy animal stickers and googly eyes.  He said everyone elses is red or pink and covered in hearts, flowers, and ribbon and one is even shaped like a mailbox.  We talked about how his reflects his personality, he did it by himself, that he wouldn't want a pink one covered in flowers anyway, Done.

My husband whose only hope for Valentine's day is a little love, romance - ok he just wants a little something something.  (Good Luck with that)  Spent Sunday driving around looking for a Florist that was open - he found one! And brought home a gorgeous bouquet.  (Alright, I'll throw him a bone)  Now I'm wondering if what I found is appropriate? He asked for something to make him feel like a I bought him IronMan underoos.  What's more manly that that??

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stop to smell the babies

Isn't it funny the things we tell young people, things that they are sure not to understand until years later.  Like: Make sure to stop and smell the roses, You can't see the forest for the trees, This too shall pass.  It takes years to figure out what they mean, then more years to understand why adults said it over and over again.

My sister emailed me recently, saying how scrubbing the bathtub got her very sad, and it wasn't all the bleach.  It was the fact that her kids are all older now and at an age where they take showers.  Gone are the days of "tubbies" and toys and sometimes three giggling naked bodies in the tub.

Funny, I was feeling the same way.  The school sent home a note saying, If you have another child at home that is getting ready for Kindergarten, We need to know!  I shouted at the paper - NOOOOO! You can't have my baby! The paper really didn't seem to care.

My soon to be five-year-old sat next to me yesterday on the couch and put his head against my shoulder, I just stayed quiet and continued to write my list and the first thing I know he was asleep.  And I thought, this is not going to happen much anymore.  Where did the time go?  All those days I thought would never end (and sometimes still do ;-) are gone in the blink of an eye.
The other day he told me that he doesn't want to turn five, he doesn't want a birthday party if he has to turn five.  My almost eight-year-old had such a hard time turning five.  I think it is because I suddenly realize that they are suppose to be big guys and go to school and do it all on their own so I start pushing them to do it by themself.  Which they can, and I know it, but perhaps it is their way of holding on to these days for one more minute.
The holidays, for once this year, came and went with out my usual fall into the deep dark hole that seems to suck me in and hold me there.  But it didn't take long for that hole to open up.  I am almost forty, there are more lines on my face and hair in places that it shouldn't be, it's time to register my baby for Kindergarten, we're working on the first "big" school report, I can't get away with no bra even though I have no boobs (due to odd slippage), I have the pre-school class, and the PTA, and Right to Read Week committee, I can't get away with no make-up either (due to the added creases and more new found hair), there are lunches to make every morning, and basketball, and baseball sign-ups, and soccer that needs a coach.......
And everyday it reminds me of how fast this time goes.  Once my only job was to hold those little boys, check their diapers, and feed them again, look into those beautiful eyes while they ate and tell them how loved they are, how safe, how beautiful.  To hold that little bottom breathing in the smell and feeling the pulse of life so pure and simple.
Everyone tells you  "The days are long but the years go fast. Enjoy these moments." But it's as hard to stop time,as it is to stop a baby from growing, or a season from changing, or a mother from worrying, or a parent from parenting.  That's why sisters, friends, grandparents, and Auntie's are so important - their the ones who help you stop and smell the babies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Drunk Dialed

Before you make any assumptions, I know I talk quite openly about how alcohol consumption and parenting go hand in hand, but I was the recipient of the call not the maker.

You heard me! I got drunk dialed last night - Swear! By my mother.  I always thought it would be one of my single friends from a bar or a date as they gushed about meeting "the one". Nope, it was mom.

My parents have been down in Florida now for two months and I think it is really getting to my mother.  My dad, the life long drinker has taken to tea toting.  My mother on the other hand has taken to Manhattan's like a fish to water.  And last night I swear she was sloshed when she called the phone call went something like this...

Me: Hello
Mom: (talking and dishes clatter) did you get your order whose is that...
Mom: Hello?
Me: Hello?
Mom: Hi dear, are you there? Hello? Can you hear me?
Me: Yes, Hello.
Mom: Hello! How are you? Did you get all the ice they are talking about?
Me: No, we really dodged a bullet.
Mom: Oh that's nice.  Julie just called Connie and said it's really bad up there so we were wondering if you got it too?
Me: Nope. Thank goodness
Mom: Well we were worried about the house, and you all and ....
Me: If you are worried about your house why don't you call Bruce? (he's watching their house)
Mom: Well, that's a long story I can't talk now, I'll tell you later, and we tried to call but they have something going on...(voice trails off and dishes clatter and she seems to be mumbling to someone else)
Me: So how are you?
Mom: Oh, good, yeah, we had a pretty nice day, finally! We took a boat ride, and then your dad saw a Verizon store and wanted a new phone, you know your dad! Do you have Verizon? She said all the calls would be free if you have Verizon?
Me: Yes, I do.
Mom: OH! I thought you didn't I wonder who doesn't,
(then she says to someone else- She says she has Verizon so all the calls to her will be free I wonder who doesn't have Verizon, maybe it's Beth or Cindy!)
Maybe I'll call Cindy, I talked with Beth the other day, that's another story I will have to tell you later.  But Connie talked to Julie and said their getting snow, are you getting snow?
Me: Nope. (SIGH) Nothing, we really dodged a bullet there Ma.
Mom: Oh, well we came to get a bite to eat and we're with Connie and Jim and we heard about the ice and now we have to go back to the Verizon store because your dad saw one and had to get a new phone and that's another story, I'll have to tell you later.
Me: That dad got a new phone?
Mom: 256 pictures! He had 256 pictures on his phone, mostly pictures of fish, UGH!, that we had to keep so they are working on that at the store and then we'll go back, but that's another story, I'll have to tell you later.
Me: OK, Mom.  Sounds great enjoy your "dinner".
Mom: You too, kiss the boys, and stay warm, remind me to tell you a funny story later - I'll call you!

Oh please dear lord, Don't -  just go to bed!!