30 Jul 2005 12:30 am
By Heather O.
So here’s the thing. I will conceded that a terrorist can look and act like almost everybody else. I’ve been to the spy museum, I know that a spy can change hair colors, put in different teeth to change their smiles, change their eye color with contacts. Heck, they even look like a totally different gender with the right clothes and make-up. But I’m here to tell you, security people of the world, that no terrorist, ever, will don the costume of being a mother. I mean, I guess they could hide a bomb in a stroller and pretend it was a newborn or something, but by and large, it is just too much darned work to even pretend to be a mother, and do what I imagine needs to be done in order to blow something up, or drop something off, or whatever it is that a terrorist really wants to do.
So please, security people, STOP SEARCHING ME AND MY 3 YEAR OLD!
Jacob and I embarked on our “Family Fun Marathon”, which began by spending the night in an Atlanta hotel room because we missed our connecting flight to Salt Lake. It was a miserable experience all around, but I did wake up the next morning hopeful that it would be a mildly uneventful day. Just get to the airport, get on the rebooked flight to Salt Lake, and everything would be fine.
It started out ok, but when we got to the subway, (yes, we had to take public transportation to said hotel, and it wasn’t the quick 15-20 minute trip the airport guy said it would be. Let’s just say we went to bed much later than expected, and I’m still not sure I’ve recovered. Stupid airport guy.) there were fully armed law enforcement officials standing around, and they looked pretty darned scary. And then they informed me that I had been selected for a “voluntary” bag search, and they would have to search my stroller, too. You don’t exactly say no to a man with a serious looking gun strapped to his chest, but c’mon, people, it’s a Spiderman backpack on the back of a cheap $8 umbrella stroller from Walmart–what exactly do you think it has in it? But I let them rifle through my Mother’s Bag ‘O Crap, and we went on our way.
We finally get to the airport, and I get into the ridiculously long security line, only to be told that I had, once again, been selected for another random security search. What do I have to do to convince these people that MOTHERS WITH SMALL CHILDREN ARE NOT TERRORISTS! The most toxic thing we have in our bags is sour chocolate milk that is congealing in our sippy cups because we’ve been in the airport way past the point of any normal human endurance. Please, just let us be! Jacob starts up a steady stream of pathetic whining, because he had, after all, only had 5 hours of sleep the night before, and I said to the man standing next to me, as we waited to be screened in a small, closed off, extrememly claustrophia inducing glass hallway, “I swear, I’m about this close to just completely flipping out!”
He said, “Well, don’t flip out here. They’ll just think you’re a loonbat and it will make everything worse. Just keep it together until you get through security, and then you can flip out all you want at the gate.”
Good advice. The man with the white gloves decided there was nothing inherently dangerous about runny string cheese, smushed peanutbutter sandwiches, and crumpled granola bars, and finally sent us on our way. We ran to the gate, only to be told that the plane was at a different gate in a different terminal. We ran over there, found the gate, got our seats assigned, and got on the plane, although it took some creative juggling and some generosity on the part of other passengers for me to actually sit next to my own child. And it wasn’t until we landed in Salt Lake, when the whole experience was basically over, that I finally lost it. Felt pretty good, actually.
So please, I understand the need for national security, and the real threats that face our nation. But don’t bother the mothers, just don’t. We are not terrorists.We are just women who are doing our best not to flip out.
Other people’s moms
26 Jul 2005 04:37 pm
By Heather O.
So, swim lessons at the neighborhood pool have begun, and it has been a very good thing. Jacob gets to swim with other kids, I get to chat with other moms, we all get some sun and some exercise and go home happy.
But there is this one family whose kids are, frankly, extremely bratty. The first day we pulled up to the pool, they came out and said to Jacob, loudly and in his face, “You can’t go in there, you don’t have any shoes on!” Jacob is sort of opposed to footwear of any kind, and I had already told him he didn’t have to wear shoes at the pool. (We have to pick our battles, ladies.) He looked at me for some sort of confirmation of this new rule, and I gently said, “It’s ok, Jacob. Guys, he’ll be fine.” Jacob looked back at these kids, and they kept saying, again, up and yelling in his face, “Nunh-uh, he can’t go swimming. You can’t go swimming! You have to go home!” Jacob was seriously close to tears, and he hid behind me and sadly said, “Mommy, they said I can’t take swimming lessons! Do we have to go home?”
Now, this is not the only time they have done something like this. They are, like I said, pushy, bossy, thug-like little monsters.
Their mother, bless her, does nothing about their behavior. She calmly sits by and lets it happen. She never says a word. And it’s driving me bananas.
Do I say something to her? Do I clue her in that her children should be nicknamed “BratSpawn?” (If I did say something, I probably would come up with something more polite than “BratSpawn”, but it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) Or do I just correct the kids myself whenever they send my 3 year old to me in tears because they refuse to let him on the steps of the pool for whatever evil reason they have come up with at the time?
We still go to the pool, and we sort of just ignore those kids or avoid them when we can. But when Jacob gets up into one of their faces and shoots him in the eye with his watergun, you won’t hear me complaining.
25 Jul 2005 10:06 pm
By Heather O.
Amy Lynn over at Unlimited Tater Tots has a great post on swimsuit shopping. Perfect for the summer season! Happy reading.
By Heather O.
(I know these posts don’t actually generate a huge amount of comments, something every good psychotic blogger hopes for, but I do find facts about women in history interesting, and these things I’m learning were not in any Civics class I took. So I hope that even though we are not talking about poop, you will still read and enjoy. At the very least you can think, “Gee whiz, I’m glad that wasn’t me!” Ok, disclaimer is over.)
Jacob and I went out to the Manassas Battlefield today. He was whining and rubbing his eyes, tripping all over himself, and finding trivial things like stale Saltine crackers seriously offensive, so I loaded him up in the car to get him to fall asleep. He hates just to “go on a drive”, as he knows that means, “Take a nap”, so he always demands a destination. I vaguely told him, “Manassas. It’s a battlefield,” mainly just to shut him up. We have to travel mostly by freeway towards Manassas, so I figured 10 minutes on the freeway, he’d be out, and I could turn around and go home and blog.
Well, the little booger stayed awake the ENTIRE 40 minute drive, so once we got there I thought, “Hmm. We’re here. Might as well get out and wear this crazy child out.” We did, and we actually had a great time. Jacob was completely enthralled with the cannons on the battlefield, as well as the miniature replicas in the museum shop. We ran around in the heat for an hour or so, he got a miniature Abraham Lincoln from the gift shop, (which, for some inexplicable reason, he thinks is totally cool) and he fell asleep on the way home and is blissfully dreaming about soldiers as we speak (or blog, I guess is a better word!).
But I learned about this woman, one Judith Henry, today. Her farm was on the land where the first Battle of Bull Run was fought, and her family was in the farmhouse when the fighting began. They fled from the house, and tried to take her with them, but she, being 92 years old, or something like that, refused to leave her home.
As one might expect, she did not survive the battle. Her home was occupied by sharp shooters (I can’t remember if they were Confederate or Union), and she was killed by a bullet shot into the house, one intended for the soldiers.
But what interested me most is that she is buried on the battlefield itself, in a small cemetary surrounded by a small gate. I don’t know how many men died at both the First and the Second Battles of Bull Run, but no graves mark the battlefield for any man. A makeshift monument built from brick and Parrot Rifle shells, yes. A huge, austentatious statue of Stonewall Jackson, yes (we are in Virginia, after all!). But no graves, except for that of Judith Henry and her family. A woman remembered when the men who died on her farm are not.
By The Wiz
My thoughts on sleepovers - in haiku form:
Sleepovers scare mom
Is Michael Jackson guilty
So not worth the risk
Sleepovers make brats
Why must I feed you breakfast
You are not my child
Sleeping, and yet not
Playing tricks with warm water
This is not so fun
Partying with sleep
It looks more fun than it is
Why am I so spent
A Normal Mother
20 Jul 2005 08:19 am
By Heather O.
I was talking to a friend the other day who has a marriage that is, to put it mildly, difficult. There are a lot of issues going on in the relationship, not the least of which is that his wife has been physically ill for some time. It’s not the kind of illness that puts you in the hospital for long periods of time (although she has been hospitalized recently), but just a combination of problems that make her feel basically crappy all the time. The result, he said, is that he feels strongly that his daughter, now 5, has never had a “normal” mother.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about that conversation, and what it means to be a “normal” mother, and provide a “normal” childhood for my son. Are there certain aspects of a relationship with a mother that one should be able to point to and say, “There. That’s normal. Every kid should get at least that”? Does the same thing apply to childhood? My childhood was filled with memories of playing games with my siblings, riding my bike, taking long, long drives in the car from California to Utah every year, and reading the Chronicles of Narnia with my mother, perched on her enormous king-sized bed with my 2 sisters. Are these things normal? I’d like to think they are.
But since talking to this friend, I find myself doublechecking the things that I do as a mother, and the experiences I’m providing for my son. Yesterday I let him run barefoot to the pool. I found myself asking, “Would a normal mother do this?” I let him run around naked at home after swimming to help dry him off before I put dry clothes on him. I got a little short with him when he started whining at me. I let him eat popcorn on the carpet while watching a video. Do other mothers do this?
I guess that’s really the question I should be asking: How many other mothers are doing what I’m doing? If there is a large enough number of mothers screwing up the way I’m screwing up, well, then, it must be normal!
Pennies From Heaven
19 Jul 2005 10:50 am
By The Wiz
Since we’ve been talking about anti-commercialism, it reminded me of a subject that I’ve been meaning to blog about for some time.
As I was picking my daughter up from a playdate a while ago, my daughter’s friend was dancing around in a Bratz outfit. Her mom commented that she hated that she had it, and I too, admitted to not being a fan of the whole ‘Bratz’ enterprise, myself. While I was inwardly wondering why her daughter had such an outfit, if her mom hated them, she answered my unspoken question - “What can I do? She saves up her allowance to buy the stuff.”
Allowance? At age 5? Turns out her 3 year old got one, too, contingent upon cleaning her room. Hence, her room was (almost) always clean. Am I missing something here?
I do not give my children an allowance. Neither DH or I ever had one growing up, and we both have a solid head on our shoulders concerning money. We have no credit card debt, and I have never received an overdraft notice in my life. Doesn’t that mean I’m headed straight to the celestial kingdom? (I wish!)
But I know an allowance can be a good thing. It’s a great way to make the concept of tithing more concrete than abstract, and it can teach impulse control. My children already know they can’t have everything (do you have enough money to buy that, Mom?) and that money is a part of that. Hopefully, they don’t think that if we were multi-billionaires that I would give them everything, though.
Do you give your kids an allowance? My in-laws know a girl who gets $500 a week! Wow. That’s more than my first few jobs ever paid me. Has it been a good thing? Do you give a lot? I am at a loss here as to what is developmentally appropriate and when to start. Or if it is developmentally appropriate and I should start. Or is it just bribery, and not in a good way? Or is it bribery, but yes in a good way? So you see my confusion? Are you feeling my pain? Are there any good books on the subject? HELLLP MEEE!!
There, the whining is out of my system. (And if you believe that……)
14 Jul 2005 05:36 pm
By Heather O.
I am doing my best to raise a responsible, healthy, independent, overall productive member of society. In doing this, there seem to be some clear rules one has to follow in order to ensure the small child’s overall mental and physical safety: Hold hands when you cross the street. Eat your vegetables. Don’t smoke. (I haven’t actually instated that rule yet, I’m just getting ready for it.)
There also seem to be clear limitations that need to be set: Don’t go past the bend in the road where Mommy can’t see you when you are playing outside. Bedtime is before 9pm. We don’t drink soda for breakfast, but you can have some after lunch.
I try to protect him from scary movies, evil kidnappers, and mean neighborhood kids who swear a lot. These things appear to be quite basic, and easy to manage.
But then there are rules that I get into my head that I enforce, and then wonder if I am really protecting him, or if even there is anything to protect him from.
Today, for example, we went shopping for new bedding for Jacob’s new big boy bed. I looked around for the kid’s bedding section, because c’mon, he’s 3, he should have some cute sheets. But then when we got to that aisle, we were bombarded by commercialism. Jacob suddenly decided he couldn’t possibly go on living if he didn’t have a Spiderman sheet set, complete with Spiderman throw pillow. I battled it out, and refused to buy the sheets for him, instead settling on some cute Safari animal print ones. He was furious.
We left the store with him in tears and me triumphant. I had held my ground against a 3 year old, something good mothers can do. But then I started thinking about what I had battled about–superhero bedding. For some reason, the animal sheets I bought that were only 3 dollars less than the Spiderman ones seemed more virtuous, although I couldn’t tell you why. I probably would have been better off just buying the cheap white ones that were only $10 and could be bleached in the event of the inevitable bodily goo that will get on this child’s sheets. What on earth was I protecting him from? Bad, evil commercialism? He has Batman and Spiderman toys, why do superhero sheets seem like something intolerable? I couldn’t figure it out, so now I’m blogging about it.
I think this is something else about motherhood that I struggle with, where I wonder if the particular battles I fight are worth fighting, and if the negative long term consequences I imagine are really just that-imagined consequences. But then I think about all the things I’m not foreseeing, how I’m screwing my son up without even knowing it, and I get all stressed and confused. I just wish that I could have a little chart that says: Batman and drugs=bad. Safari animals and Buffy the Vampire Slayer= good. Ok, all right, probably Buffy belongs in the other category, but you can’t blame me for trying, right?
13 Jul 2005 11:12 am
By Heather O.
I was out of town for July 4th, and attended a relative’s ward the Sunday immediately prior to the holiday. It’s always interesting to be in a different ward, both to see how things are the same, and how they are different. This particular Sunday was, of course, Fast and Testimony meeting, and there were, of course, lots of references to the sacrifices that had been made by those who went before us. Lots of tearful women talked about how grateful they were for those people who had fought for our freedom, and how wonderful it was that the gospel could come forth in a land where religious freedom flourished. And more than one said something like, “I’m sure I couldn’t have gone through what my ancestors did. I know I was saved for these days because I wasn’t strong enough to go through the trials they had to face.”
Ok. I’m all for being grateful for brave men who sacrificed their lives for what they believed in, and for honoring the incredible women who supported these men. But must we always insist that these women were stronger than we are? What is it about women that makes us devalue ourselves, and underestimate our own strength? I just don’t like it when women talk like that. It makes me feel like they either really think they themselves are weak, or think they are being humble by deliberately undermining their own potential power. Both options just bug me.
I recently started reading the book “My Antonia”, by Willa Cather. I’m not very far into it, but a few words have already struck me. One description I love is when the main character is describing his grandmother, and he calls her “a woman of unusual endurance.” What a powerful description. I would love to be described like that, and when I think of the really cool women I know, I would definitely use that term to describe them. And no, none of them have walked across the plains, or had to send their husbands off on 3 year missions, or anything that we think of about the trials of the early Saints. But they face their own trials and life with strength and optimism, and I am sure that they could accomplish anything that the Lord would ask of them, no matter what it involved.
And hey, I just traveled across the country with a 3 year old, and our flight back here to DC left at 5:30am. Yes people, that meant that I had to wake my sleeping child at 3am and make him travel for over 12 hours. Seriously, if dealing with that without completely flipping out isn’t unusual endurance, I don’t know what is. (Ok, I did lose it just a little bit after I had been awake for about 24 hours, but I didn’t have a single Diet Coke the WHOLE plane ride, so cut me some slack people!)
12 Jul 2005 07:59 pm
By Heather O.
We would just like to extend a welcome to our newest Permablogger, Gootchie. She’s a new mom, a good friend of mine, as well as a good friend of The Wiz, and we love her to death. We are thrilled to have her join our team, and we hope to be hearing lots of her amazing thoughts on motherhood. I will let her do her own introductionary post, or whatever she wants to do. Hooray for new moms, and new bloggers!
By Heather O.
This is an anonymous guest post from a mom who is worried and would like some advice on a serious issue that is facing her family. Thanks in advance for your comments and help.
I just returned from the Pediatrician and am feeling a bit weighed down. I have an almost 7-yr. old daughter who is bright and loving and wonderful. She has certain traits which can be traced back to right after she was born that are getting more pronounced as she gets older. Mostly she gets more delightful, but we have for about a year or so had a growing concern. Here are the behaviors that have worried us:
Every night before bedtime she walks around the house and shuts all closet, bedroom, and bathroom doors. She will not get in bed without doing this.
On school mornings when I would let her sleep in because she’d been up late the night before, I’d wake her and tell her to skip her chores and quickly get dressed and eat breakfast and we’d go. 10 minutes later I would find her in her room making her bed and tidying up and would get very upset if I forced her to leave it undone.
After she goes to the bathroom she will often complain about still feeling wet and go back to the bathroom until she is satisfied that she is completely dry.
She is ultra-sensitive to clothing. She hates pants or shorts with a button at the waist because they dig into her when she sits (she is not at all chubby – she’s quite small for her age). She hates denim or other stiff or itchy fabrics. I made her a satin nightgown (her preferred pajama fabric) but it had a seam in the front across her chest and she couldn’t stand it until I sewed a piece of satin fabric over the seam so it wasn’t “itchy” anymore.
None of these things are really all that bad especially since they’ve come on gradually. The most frustrating one for me is the clothes issue, because she wears 2% of her wardrobe and is very difficult to shop for. Even so, it’s just inconvenient and frustrating at times, but what child isn’t at times? We could certainly deal with it all as it stands, but our concern is that if left unchecked, these issues will only get worse and new ones will arise the older she gets.
We decided to seek the advice of our trusted Pediatrician. Our appointment was this afternoon, so in we went and I explained the above issues to him. He listened and asked questions and then began talking about the chemicals in her brain and the two medications available to someone her age: Prozac and Zoloft. What? Was I hearing correctly? I have a little Princess and Pea daughter who likes the doors shut, why are we talking anti-depressants? I don’t know why I was so shocked, I knew that it’s fairly common to prescribe those drugs for children with OCD, but is she really at that point and are those drugs really necessary?
He went on to say that if she were his child, he would put her on Prozac for 5 or 6 months to help balance the chemicals in her brain and then slowly take her off and see if she could maintain that balance without the drugs. He said that often that is the case, but there may be times we would need them again, but that he didn’t think she would need them forever.
I love and trust my Pediatrician and therefore felt free to express my concerns. #1 - Isn’t there anything that we can do through therapy to help free her of her obsessive/compulsive tendencies? He said in his opinion, there really wasn’t – that it comes down to the way her brain is wired which creates the perceptions that create these issues. #2 - I’ve heard that Prozac often sort of dulls the emotions and senses? He said that it’s a matter of finding the right dose. He would never be comfortable with that outcome and would be very diligent in communicating with us regarding her reactions and adjusting her dosage very carefully. He also reassured me that her particular condition would require a very low dose as opposed to depression/anxiety. He didn’t write the prescription, but told me to go home and talk to my husband (who was unable to be there) and call him with our decision.
So there it is – the weight I’m feeling. She is not even 7 years old and the thought of giving her an anti-depressant is … well.. depressing to me. I don’t want a her to be dependant on a drug her whole life, but I certainly don’t want her to be trapped by her obsessive/compulsive behavior for the rest of her life either. We have the utmost trust in and respect for our Pediatrician, but ultimately this decision is my husband’s and my responsibility. Neither one of us has struggled with depression or anxiety or used anti-depressants. We have family members who have and who have been greatly helped by medications, but we still feel very ignorant and sort of nervous about the whole psychological realm. We will consider this decision carefully and prayerfully and will ultimately do what we feel good about, but I am wondering if any of you have had experience in these matters and what you’ve learned and what you would do in our situation?
Worst Post Ever
09 Jul 2005 07:58 pm
By The Wiz
If Heather can admit she’s addicted to Buffy, then I can admit something too: I am addicted to countdown shows. I love the AFI countdown shows, best movie songs, best movie villains, best movie lines, etc.(By the way, the fact that ‘My name is Inigo Montoya”…was not on that list REALLY hurts my feelings. It’s just inconceivable!).
But I also like Vh1’s countdown of “Awesomely Bad” stuff. (Yes, I watch Vh1, want to fight?) So, in the spirit of the mood I happen to be in, having just watched “Blame it on the Rain” dubbed the most awesomely bad break up song ever, I thought I’d make up a short list of “worst movie lines ever.” (If you’re offended that this isn’t about motherhood, well…I don’t know what to tell you. Sorry?)
WORST MOVIE LINES EVER: (disclaimer —->) FROM MOVIES I’VE ACTUALLY SEEN:
10. From “Legally Blonde”: “It’s called the ‘Bend and Snap.’… Come on ladies, bennndd, and snap!” Manages to be degrading, and unfunny, and painful, all at the same time. Watching Reese Witherspoon teach women how to ’snap’ *shudder*
9.From “Only You” : “I know he would fight tigers for you.” What? Who’s fighting tigers? And why? This is a silly/fun romantic comedy. Tigers? Where? What?
8. From “Somewhere in Time”: “Is it you?” Now, I actually like this movie - again, want to fight? -, but just the cheesy way Jane Seymour delivers that line when she first sees Christopher Reeve…but I don’t know that any actress could have delivered it better. What a strange thing to say to a total stranger - he could have just mugged her right then and there. ‘Is it you?’ ‘Yep, it’s me. Just hand over your purse and nobody gets hurt.’
7. From “The World is Not Enough (James Bond)” : “I’ve always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey.” (Christmas is the woman’s name, for those of you that are intellectual and don’t go to Bond films. Also, awesomely bad casting, making Denise Richards a rocket scientist) Actually, I’d like to say here that we could make a list of horrible lines from James Bond movies alone. Somehow the fact that horrible one liners and pornographic women’s names are in a Bond film makes them acceptable. Inconceivable!
6.From “Jerry Maguire” : “You had me at Hello.” Now, this one made AFI’s list of best lines, but eeeewwwww!!! Who talks like that? Your marriage is on the brink of disaster, your husband is clearly not the perfect man you’ve dreamed him up to be, and everything is solved with “you had me at hello?” What’s that about? It’s about bad writing. Can’t you just see the screen-writers? ‘Somebody write something to make this sappy speech stop!’ ‘I know, I’ll write a line that solves everything and will make Renee Zellweger famous.’ ‘Perfect! Just as long as it doesn’t sound real.’
5.From Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s The King and I: My name is Tuptim. I already speak English. Yes, with some accent you made up, thank you very much. Also, she delivers some very cheesy lines throughout the movie. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, (get the boxing gloves out) but the whole Tuptim thing is just….wrong.
4. From “Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith” : Anakin Skywalker: You are so… beautiful.
Senator Amidala: It’s only because I’m so in love.
Anakin Skywalker: No, it’s because I’m so in love with you.
I don’t care who you are, what Oscars you’ve won - NOBODY can make writing like that palatable. Don’t writers ever listen to the way people talk? This is definitely the strongest of the prequels, but come on, people! You’re so beautiful? Because I’m in love? No, it’s because she’s Natalie Portman! Of COURSE Natalie Portman’s beautiful! It’s a given.
3. Pretty much the entire script of “Star Wars: Episode 2 -Attack of the Clones” But the worst line was when Obi-Wan said: “Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” This isn’t a Bond movie! Cheesy one liners are not acceptable! I don’t even like them in Bond movies! I HATE this movie! I can’t quote you anything else directly because I just remember writhing in pain the entire time I was in the theater. I wanted to pull my ears off and watch them bleed. I wanted to pull an Ewok out of my butt and see it dance on the seat in front of me. Anything that would MAKE.IT.STOP. And I paid money to see it! AAAAAAAAAAA!
2.From Titanic : “I’m King of the World!!!” This one actually only half
counts, because fortunately, I did not pay to see this movie (it’s my thing about drowning) and turned it off halfway through, before all the people turned blue and died. But I did get to see Leonardo make a fool of himself. And this also counts because James Cameron made an even bigger fool of himself by shouting this line at the Oscars when he won for best director, and then he had nothing to say when it won best picture. And yet, these people make far more money than I do. *sigh*
1.From Star Wars:Episode III - Revenge of the Sith : “Not if anything to say about it I have!” The greatest Jedi Master ever! And he can’t form a sentence, or even think of a reasonable thing to say, even with his strange grammar? When the bad guy’s yelling at you about the end of the Jedi, just strike him down with the force! Don’t use your wit! You have bad writers - didn’t you hear Padme spouting nonsense earlier?
OK, well, thanks for reading this entire post. I might have to make it about motherhood, so Heather won’t kill me. I guess the point is - teach your children discriminating taste.
By Heather O.
I was talking to an old friend last night, a woman I desperately needed to catch up with. She’s got 3 great kids, and we were laughing about all of the crazy stuff that goes on when you are a mom. She started to get serious, though, about how she hoped that her mistakes wouldn’t screw up her kids too much. I assured her that everybody makes mistakes, and that we all yell at our kids, spank them more than we should, lose it over insignificant things, etc. Then she said something that made me think. She said, “Just because we are all doing it doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s so much easier to whine and complain with each other about what bad mothers we are than try to actually be the mothers that we want to be.”
I thought about what she said all night, and thought about this blog. It’s true that I’m a lot better at complaining about being a mother and the hardships that come with it, than focusing on the positive and trying to realize what kind of mother I want to be. The problem, of course, is that once I start trying to figure out what kind of mother I want to be, Mormon Woman Stress Syndrom kicks in, and the stress of realizing exactly how big a failure I am becomes overwhelming, and something that started out as a positive exercise ends in tears about how I suck as a mother because I can’t scrapbook.
So I think I’m going to start out easy. I’m just going to focus on small things, one thing at a time, to become a better mother. I’m going to try to cut my kid some more slack when he’s tired and hungry. I’m going to try and keep things in better persepective, and know that Pringles ground up into a fine powder onto my newly clean floor is not the end of the world, and just hope that the child had a great time seeing exactly how small he could pound those potato chips. I will try to think of the positive things I remember about my own mother, the things I liked, the things I wished she had done, and try to duplicate those things for my own family. And I’ll be sure to take some time every day to appreciate the perfection that is my son, and to aim to just get to know him better while he still has patience for his mother.
I think we can do it. I really think we can be the kind of mothers we want to be without getting overwhelmed at our own mistakes. The Savior can help with that, too. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a beach date with my son.
Maggie the Menace
05 Jul 2005 12:11 pm
By The Wiz
Well, I’ve calmed down enough to be able to talk about it, now. The sad fact is, my dog, my sweet, loving dog, who loves everybody, is, in fact, a menace to society.
A little background - Maggie is an indoor dog. She is very much an indoor dog. She is inside 23 and 1/2 hours a day - minimum. She won’t go outside unless we go with her, and then she just goes outside, does her thing, and runs back inside, for fear that she might have to be outside for longer than a nanosecond. Unless there’s a cat around, in which case she turns into psycho-dog-from-hell, but to me, hey, that’s just the sign of a good dog.
So, the other day, I’m in the shower. Let me just say that it was 9:00 a.m., which, while not particularly early, is not particularly LATE, either. There are many days where I have not showered by 9 a.m.,(and many when I have, but this is not a post about my hygienic habits) especially in the summer. My little 4yo daughter comes into the bathroom, and tells me there’s a man here, and he’s allergic to grass, and has to get shots, and he wants to talk to me. It took me a second to process.
“And you opened the door for him?”
I quickly turn off the shower, grab a towel for my hair, wrap myself in a bathrobe, and run downstairs to see what on earth is going on. It is not an evil kidnapper, pedophile, or burglar, it is something far more surprising - animal control.
Animal Control Guy: You sure have friendly children. We’ve had a complaint about your dog.
Me: My dog? What, did she get someone’s cat or something? (And those “friendly children are in some serious trouble right now)
ACG: Well, I don’t know about that, we just got a call that she’s out all the time.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Maggie? Out all the time? This has got to be a mistake. But fine, do whatever, just let me go get dressed.
ACG: We have to discuss the licensing issue.
Maggie’s license is expired. It had expired the week before. I hadn’t gotten around to taking her to the vet to get her rabies shot. Three kids and a vet trip is an adventure I rarely choose to take on. But it was on my list!
Me (in my head): We have to discuss the fact that I’m naked and dripping wet and you are clearly not polite enough to notice that this is not a good time for me to discuss licensing issues or any other issue. It’s not like she attacked anyone. GO AWAY!!!
Me: (actually speaking) Yeah, I know her license is expired. But it’s not like it’s even 30 days overdue or anything.
He goes on to tell me about the fine involved, and to explain random stuff about good dog ownership, and to tell me again what friendly children I have. Those same friendly children are also now getting to be seriously late to gymnastics, since this time was to be used for breakfast and getting ready, not talking to $%?*!!Animal Control!! Plus, Maggie seems to be in love with him, she’s just licking his shoes and wagging her tail all over the place.
ACG: (filling out form) How old is Maggie?
ACG: Wow. She doesn’t look that old.
Me: Thanks. (Is it polite to mention that your dog is aging gracefully? Yeah, we smear Oil of Olay Anti-Aging cream on her every night, plus she’s had several Botox injections.)
6YO: She’s old enough to get baptized!
We both just turned and looked at her. ACG burst out laughing.
ACG: That’s one I’ve never heard before.
Me (in my head): Yes, just add that to the story of the crazy lady in the bathrobe and wet hair that I know you will be telling to all your fellow animal control cronies later today. And why are you still talking? Can’t you tell THIS IS NOT A GOOD TIME? Can you not hear the baby crying in his crib upstairs? Are you just trying to see if you can see something through the bathrobe?
Me (actually speaking): Ha Ha
ACG: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Me: Mm-hmm…..(WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?)
Finally he leaves, and I turn to face my children. They have been happily playing the whole time, blissfully ignorant of Mommy’s Mortification. I am shaking, I am so angry and embarrassed.
“NEVER, and I mean, NEVER open the door for someone while Mommy’s in the shower.”
They are astute enough to notice that I am livid.
It resulted in a talk about stranger danger, and safety rules regarding the house. But that’s another post. Right now I have a menace to society to deal with who is currently licking my toddler’s foot.
Boys and Girls
01 Jul 2005 01:12 pm
By Heather O.
Yesterday I babysat a friend’s little girl. She’s 4, and she and Jacob are friends at church. She came to Jacob’s Superhero Party dressed as Violet (her mother MADE her a great costume, complete with boots), and Jacob has referred to her as “The Girl Who Came To My Party Dressed Up Like Violet” ever since. Since she was so enthusiastic about the party, he automatically assumes she likes the same things he does.
During lunchtime, he kept getting in her face and saying things like, “Let’s play lightsabers!”
Friend: “No, I don’t want to.”
Jacob: “Let’s play ‘Fight’!”
Friend: “No, Jacob, I don’t want to fight.”
Jacob: “Want to see my city of trains and blocks? Let’s go!”
Friend: “No, I just want to sit here and eat my watermelon.”
Jacob was frustrated at her lack of enthusiasm for his violent intentions, and showed it by pretending to shoot at her with his “lightsaber” (a stick that he found in the woods that he insists is a lightsaber). She was not amused, and informed him more emphatically that she didn’t want to play, that she just wanted to eat her watermelon!
They finally settled on a rousing came of hide-n-seek. Later, we went to the pool, and I sat them down at a table, told them to sit still while I went and checked on something. When I got back, minutes later, the girl was sitting dutifully on the bench. Jacob was literally (I am not making this up) climbing the flagpole next to the bench. When he saw me, he let go and jumped down about 5 feet. He came up grinning.
Those are just 2 examples of how the rest of our day went. The contrast between these two kids was just startling, and they’re not that far apart in age. Is it a gender gap? Are all boys more violent and aggressive than girls, or is my kid just crazy?
We’ll be watching this little girl again, I’m sure. Maybe I’ll tell her to being her lightsaber next time, just so she can defend herself against the beast!