A conversation with my 7 year old son, Bryce.
Bryce: Why do you smell like you’re going on a date?
Me: Because I have a date with Daddy tonight.
Brcye: Oh…well….I guess that’s ok then.
It’s been so long since I’ve done this that I feel as if we’re on a first date, again. Honestly, I’m a little nervous. It’s been a while since we’ve spent any time together. Will you still like me? Will I say something funny or interesting, and will you laugh? Will we be able to regain that sense of mutual interest and connection? Will you text me later and say you had a nice time?
I promise that if you do, I won’t wait another eight months to respond. 😉
The past eight months has flown by in a whirlwind of activity. Work, kids, husband, friends, travel, work, kids, husband, work, family, work, PTA, kids and work. It’s all been good, mostly.
My job, which I started nine months ago, has been going pretty well. After six years as a stay home mom, I took a part-time position working for a music publishing company as a music coordinator and personal assistant. It’s been fun. We create and license orchestral music/sound design for movie trailers. I love music and movies, so it seemed like a good fit, although I have no previous experience in either industry. As it turns out, my penchant (read OCD) for detail and organization lends itself nicely to the trailer music industry. A lot of people ask me for examples of what we do. Did any of you happen to see the debut trailer for The Last Jedi? The epically moving, raise the hair on your arms music in that trailer just happens to be ours! Yes, it was a BFD. We celebrated the next morning after the release of the trailer with mimosas and French omelets. Just in case you haven’t seen it…
Later, my daughter asked me, “Mom, what did YOU actually do to contribute to that movie trailer?” I couldn’t tell if she was mocking me because she thinks I’m lame, or if she was looking for proof that I’m really as cool as I tell her I am. So I was honest with her and said, “Not a damn thing. My job is to do all the other stuff, so the people I work for can focus their time and talents on creating music for projects like this.” I’m pretty sure she took that as validation of her initial assessment, which is that I’m lame.
Despite how well my job is going, I will admit that I’m still waiting for my lightening bolt. For a long time I’ve had this sense that there’s something I’m supposed to be doing, yet I have no idea what it is. It’s like there’s a thin veil hanging over my life, and I can’t quite see through it, but I know the answers I need are on the other side. I’ve always envied people who understood their talents. People who have a clear vision of their path in life. Some people know without hesitation what they are meant to do. Their talent and drive toward that goal manifests itself clearly for them. For me that has never been the case. Despite doing well in the career/jobs I’ve chosen, I’ve always struggled to fully grasp my sense of purpose, and after celebrating another birthday this past September, I feel a sense of urgency toward whatever self-discovery needs to take place in order to put myself on the right path. I’m not afraid of hard work, I just want to realize what I’m supposed to be working toward so I can get on with it. Is it too much to ask to wake up one morning with a hand written note beside my bed that reads,
You are destined to become a dolphin trainer. Please make arrangements for whatever training is necessary to complete this task and file your application for employment at Sea World, as soon as possible.
I think I would take a clue like that seriously. I tried asking my kids what they think I’m good at. Their answers are ridiculous but I love their honesty. My son says stuff like, “You’re good at snuggles, Mommy. And you make the best meatloaf.” He also told me I was good at being a mommy, and he suggested I open up the baby factory and have another one so he could be a big brother.
So that’s where I’m at. Attempting to support one company on it’s path to greatness while I strive to discover my own. If any of you can relate, it would be awesome to hear about it. And by the way, to those of you who reached out to check on me during my little blogging hiatus, I want you to know how much I genuinely appreciated that, so thank you! 🙂
This is the conversation I just had with my son, Bryce (age 6).
Bryce: Mom, I love this rock! (It’s a plain river rock.) Can I carry it with me everywhere? Even on vacation?
Me: Sure. You really seem to love rocks. Maybe you’ll be a geologist when you grow up. (Case in point, I fished three rocks out of my washing machine this morning, because he picks them up everywhere he goes and leaves them in his pockets. One of them wasn’t even a rock, it was a broken bit of concrete.)
Bryce: What’s a geologist?
Me: A scientist who studies rocks.
Bryce: Oh, cool. But can I also still be a secret agent?
Me: Sure, buddy. You can do both.
Kids are awesome. 🙂
The summer has flown by, as I knew it would, and as I predicted, I only got about three posts up all summer. Figures.
But life continues to be busy. Since I got home from my grandparent’s house at the end of July, I hosted my college roommate and her family for a few days, was sick for two weeks with a nasty virus that closely resembled strep throat, threw a birthday party for my son and twenty of his closest six-year old friends, and got both of my kids back to school. So yeah, life and children continue to dominate my time and attention. Blogging has been on the back burner for a long time, and I’m hoping now that I have both of my kids in school full-time that I’ll have more time and attention for both myself and all of you.
Being sick for two weeks wasn’t fun. I went to the doctor about five days into it and she ran all the typical tests to rule out bacterial infections. It felt like my head was going to explode, and every time I swallowed it felt like my eardrums were bursting and I was trying to swallow crushed glass. Fever, fatigue, and all the glamorous parts of feeling like total shit. My husband had to be out-of-town for work for several days, so taking care of the house, kids, and all the pets when all you want to do is lay down and die was no picnic. Unfortunately, the doc couldn’t give me any drugs because it was a viral infection, and it took a solid two weeks before I felt human again. To add insult to injury, going to the doctor in the first place is always such a mind-fuck. I already felt like shit, and have you ever noticed that going to the doctor makes you fat? Seriously. I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve gained ten pounds. Then the nurse puts you on the scale and you realize that in the two hours since you got dressed and hauled your sick-ass to the clinic, you really must have gained ten pounds because their ancient scale, that must be counter-balanced with massive invisible boulders, says so. Why don’t doctors use modern digital scales that will weigh me the same as when I’m at home? And now that I feel like a sick, ginormous, fat cow, I have to sit, forever, in the little room and wait. And there’s a mirror in there that is now confirming what the scale said. Somehow my face looks heavier. My ass seems to be climbing up my back and my muffin top is more muffin-y. And now I want to cry because my throat hurts, my ears hurt, I can’t get any meds, and just walking in the door made me feel like Martha Dump Truck.
Damn, I’m glad that’s over.
My son’s birthday party was fun, and humiliating. But I found my self-respect at the top of a bounce house, so that was an unexpected bonus. We had the party at Pump It Up. If you’re unfamiliar with the Pump It Up franchise, it’s basically a party venue with giant inflatables. Each room is a massive, two-story room with multiple indoor inflatables, like bounce houses, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and things like that. We had the Glow Party, which is like a super cool rave for kids with music and glow in the dark everything. I had promised my daughter that I would do some of the inflatables with her because as the big sister, she was the oldest kid at the party and didn’t really want to hang with the six-year olds. Thank God it was dark in there. I was a little dressed up for the party and my nice jeans were somewhat confining. Also, you have to wear socks in these things, and I quickly realized that with
socks on it’s hard to get any grip on the structure with your feet. So, I was attempting to climb this two-story monstrosity that was part rock climbing wall and part slide in tight jeans and slippery socks. You see where I’m going with this? You had to put your feet on these small squares and then use alternating tether straps for your hands to climb up. Well, the tiny-made-for-five-year-old-feet squares would collapse under you if you didn’t move fast enough. Half-way up there was this ledge you had to get over, and then another ledge all the way at the top. I fell trying to get over the first ledge. Kids were flying past me and laughing as I flailed and dangled by the tether straps. Did I mention it was also pretty steep? And also that I’m not a ten-year old? Anyway, I dug deep and hauled myself to the top, and as I was struggling to get over the second ledge, and considering saying fuck it and just letting go, my son’s friend from his class was sitting at the top of the ledge, and she was watching me as I hung on the tethers. She’s an adorable little girl and she says, “Keep going Mrs. B! You can do it!” Sweet Jesus. How do I fail in front of her now? I couldn’t, and it was ugly, and I’m glad it was dark in that room, but I managed to get my fat ass over that ledge and to the top. I was sweating and tired, and when I went down the slide it was so steep and fast it actually launched me out of the shoot and I landed in a heap in front of several parents watching from below. There was no way to play it cool, so I laid there like a lump, catching my breath. Thankfully, several parents said how impressed they were that I even attempted to get to the top, so at least I got some street cred out of it. Or they were just trying to make me feel better. Either way, only one other parent attempted the same structure and made it to the top, so that makes me one of the cool moms.
My kids went back to school on August 31st, so I had three days last week of blissful alone time. I’ve never had that, and I savored it. I read several of your blogs, did some housework, ran errands without children, and met friends for lunch. It was heaven. I’m really looking forward to this school year. And for the first time since my oldest daughter started school eight years ago, I didn’t cry at drop off on the first day. I fucking celebrated and went out for sushi!
Life is good, people. Life is Good!!!!!!
My five-year old son, Bryce, just finished his first regular season of Little League Baseball. It was a fun season and all the boys seemed to learn a lot and have a good time. They slowly progressed from chaotic dog piling on every ball to learning to work as a team, and for the most part, learn the boundaries of each position to support each other on the field.
During our last game of the season Bryce was placed in the position of pitcher. He didn’t really have to pitch to the kid at bat, but he maintained that position for his team. There was a coach positioned several feet in front of him and the coach pitched to the kids since the five-year old division is a combination of live pitch and t-ball.
So imagine this adorable five-year old kid in ‘baseball ready’ position, on the pitcher’s mound, in plain sight of everyone. (I was watching the game from the dugout, helping another mom to manage the boys and organize them during each inning transition.) I’m watching Bryce, shouting encouragement to him and the rest of the team, and then I see him use his ungloved hand to go in for a deep and prolonged wedgie grab. His hand was on the outside of his pants but he was working the angles, maneuvering his hips to get a good handful of whatever he was looking for.
The other mom starts cracking up, and I shout to Bryce and give him the what-the-heck-are-you-doing-face. He looks up at me, smiles and gives me a thumbs up. And then he goes right back into the ass-grabby position, but this time he takes his glove off and is digging at his butt from both the front and the back. He’s bent forward, looking between his legs as he attacks himself, and he’s digging for gold like a marathon miner. He’s in the middle of the field just going to town, completely oblivious to the game continuing around him. Balls are flying past him and he’s more concerned about whatever is going on in his pants than the rest of the inning. He ignores my shouts to pay attention to the game.
At the end of the inning the kids all run back to the dugout and I start checking his pants, thinking (hoping) that surely all that ass-grabbing had to do with his sliding shorts either riding up or being bunched wrong under his pants. So I ask, “Why were you digging at your bottom out there? Are your sliding shorts riding up?” And in front of everyone he says, “Nope, I was itching my butt. I think I sharted and I need to wipe it.”
My kid used the word sharted in front of his team and other parents. The other mom next to me is thoroughly losing her shit with laughter. As my face turned red with shame, I looked at her and said, “Please inform the Delegation of Perfect Parents that I will have to forfeit my membership and my Parent of the Year award…again.”
Me: What do you want for your birthday?
Bryce: A Dj set! (He then starts to imitate scratching records with motion and sound.)
Me: So you can drop a fresh beat?
Me: Where did you learn about DJ turntables and scratching records?
Bryce: America’s Cutest Cats!
Happy Friday everyone!
Recently, my family and I were over at a friend’s house for their son’s birthday party. It was a party for a four year old, so there was a lot of fun stuff going on. There was a clown doing balloon sculptures and face painting. There were awesome little arts and craft activities and a bounce house. Of course, all the kids LOVED the bounce house. So, imagine lot’s of young children running around a picturesque yard with no shoes, squealing in delight over the endless fun of the afternoon.
And where there’s fun, there’s bound to be drama.
I was sitting on some patio furniture talking with friends when I see the hostess of the party run into the back door of the house with another mother and her child clutched in her arms. They were frantic. I could tell something bad had happened by the way the women were reacting and rushing the child into the house. A busted lip? A cut to the forehead? Did the child need immediate medical attention? Stitches? Who knows….it’s not my circus, or my monkeys. My kids were not involved, so I thought the best thing to do was to not over-react and let the adults in charge handle the situation.
A few minutes later, the hostess of the party (and I should mention she is a good friend and a great mother) poked her head out the back door and asked me to come inside. I gave my husband the ‘uh-oh’ look and walked into the house, where I was met with complete chaos.
Both my friend and the other mother were frantically rushing around and talking loudly in panicked voices. The child that I saw being rushed into the house, a beautiful little girl about five years old, was sitting on the bathroom counter with her feet in the sink soaking in cold water. She was crying uncontrollably. I didn’t see any blood or immediate signs of injury.
My friend says, “She stepped on a bee and we’re not sure what we need to do! We took out the stinger but she’s still crying and it’s swelling! I knew YOU would know what to do!” There was a first aid kit on the counter with all kinds of gauze, medical tape and bandages spread out everywhere.
What? They think I’m the most capable adult to handle this situation? When did I become the most adulty adult? When did I become the person you grab when you don’t know what to do?
I looked at the girl’s foot and there was no swelling. There was a tiny red mark where she had been stung. That’s it. She was simply terrified and carrying on because the adults in the room were upset. I guess I’m still surprised how many parents don’t realize that if you don’t lose your shit in front of your kids, more often than not, your kids won’t lose their shit either. I realize that sometimes it’s hard not to freak out when your child is upset or in pain. And it’s even harder to be objective when it’s your child whose experiencing something traumatic. But kids need to have faith that their parents can handle anything. They need to know that you are in charge and you are capable of seeing them through the tough shit in life. And when you’re five, your first bee sting is some tough shit. I guess my ability to keep calm in these situations is what makes me the most adulty adult. Sigh. That thought is so depressing.
I didn’t do anything heroic to save the day. I asked the sweet little girl what her favorite song was and asked her if she could sing it to me so I could hear what I was certain would be a beautiful voice. She immediately stopped crying, beamed her pleasure at me with a toothless grin, and began belting out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. While she sang, I put a Band-Aid over the red spot on her foot. All better.
Her mother threw her arms around me and hugged me so tight, thanking me for my help. I left the room and went back outside to sit by my husband. He asked what happened and after relaying the events to him I said, “That I’m the most adulty-adult at this party really scares the shit out of me.” 🙂
That moment, in the early hours of the morning, when it’s still dark outside, and your kid, who managed to wiggle their way into your bed in the middle of the night, suddenly sits up and declares with panic in his voice, “My tummy hurts.”
You bolt awake, adrenaline filling your system as you grab your child, and run as fast as you can to the bathroom before Mount Vesuvius erupts in the middle of your bed. You just changed the sheets and a bed full of vomit is not something you want to deal with at 5am.
An hour later, after cuddling him through the stomach cramps, wiping his tears of fear, rubbing his back, administering Sprite, Tums, and a few Saltine crackers to get something in his stomach to absorb the acid, he looks at you and says, “I guess I just had to fart a couple of times, mommy. I’m ok.”
So, yeah. Good morning.
Lately I seem to have difficulty finding time to attend this blog with any regularity. I’m envious of all the amazing bloggers I follow who seem to have the time, energy, and creativity to post weekly, if not multiple times each week. How do you do it? If I can post once every two weeks, I feel accomplished. And in order to do that I have to hide from my family and make them pretend I’m not home. I am so very behind on my blog reading, it’s pitiful. I’m trying to catch up, so if you see me comment or like five of your posts in one day, I’m not really stalking you. Much. As far as you know.
I guess this post is really just a mish-mash of catching up. You know, sort of a ‘What’s up with Wanda?” kind of thing. Not very exciting, but here goes…
Bryn got home from camp! She was tired, happy, and her dirty laundry smelled like Hell farted in her face. I’m not kidding. I gagged as I was loading the washing machine. It was a weird combination of body odor, some outdoorsy kind of smell, and dirt. Aside from that, I was so happy to have her home! You could say I was giddy. I couldn’t stop hugging her and I could tell she wanted to be hugged. She said she had a great time, and they kept the kids so busy she didn’t have time to miss us. They did nature hikes every day, learned some cool outdoor skills, and got to do fun science experiments that included dissecting a squid and building a model structure that was designed to withstand an earthquake. They studied marine biology, engineering and geology. She loved it and we all survived the week. Well, everyone but the squid.
The hubs and I started the My Fit Foods 21 Day Challenge, and we are currently on day 14. No coffee, no alcohol, and no sugar for 21 days. The diet involves eating three meals and two snacks per day, and My Fit Foods provides all the meals and snacks, fully balanced and portion controlled. The diet is completely clean with no processed food, gluten or added preservatives. The food is pretty good. Honestly. The hardest part is denying yourself all the things you would normally eat or drink that become routine and habit forming. Like coffee. And wine. I really miss coffee and wine. I also miss eating out. I love good restaurants, and eating out is a huge part of our social activity as a family and while spending time with friends. That’s been one of the hardest habits to break in the past two weeks. Oh, and you also have to drink what they call the My Fit Cocktail. You mix it up first thing in the morning and down it before breakfast. It’s a combination of unsweetened cranberry juice, apple-cider vinegar, and lemon juice. It’s like a super cleanse, detoxifying punch to the face. I won’t miss that when the 21 days are over. We started this challenge as a way to break some of the bad habits we’d fallen into with ordering out and just over-indulging in our favorite restaurants and meals, far too often. Also, despite my working out with a trainer, my ass seems determined to hang on to its double-bubble, and I needed to shake that up. So far, it’s paid off. Dan has lost eight pounds in 14 days, and I’ve lost five. The plan is expensive, so not something a person or family can sustain over more than a few weeks time. It’s also time consuming in a way. Although the program prepares all the food for you, you still have to deconstruct the meals so that you can eventually re-create the type of meals you need to eat on your own once you finish the challenge. That’s what I hate about dieting in general. It’s the constant awareness of everything you eat, why you eat it, how often you eat, and the combination of foods to maximize the effect on your body. It’s exhausting, and did I mention that I really miss wine?
My son had his pre-K promotion ceremony last week! The two classes put on a Hawaiian themed performance, singing Beach Boys songs and muddling through some nicely choreographed but poorly executed dance moves. At the end they were all called up by the pre-school director and given little scrolls of paper tied to look like diplomas, but in actuality the papers were blank. (The kids were given real certificates later.) It was adorable, and as usual, most of the parents devolved into the most self-centered, inconsiderate versions of themselves. It’s sad really. It seems every parent is willing to piss off ten others by hogging the good camera angles instead of just getting their picture of their kid and then moving aside so another family can get some decent pictures. We have no useable pictures of Bryce because of the mob of parents who kept standing up to take pictures, or kept raising their cell phones above their heads to video the performance. All we have are pictures of the top of Bryce’s head and the arms and asses of several other parents who refused to sit down, despite the director halting the show to ask parents to be considerate of others in the room. Dan was about to lose his shit because the dad sitting in front of us kept standing up every time Dan tried to get a picture. He started to get mouthy with the guy, so I leaned over and quietly informed him that the asshole in question was the father of the boy whose birthday party Bryce was invited to the next day. He’s actually a really nice guy. So, the bottom line is, don’t be that parent. Don’t be the douche-bag dad or mom who only cares about their own kid at a performance and denies other families the opportunity to enjoy the experience as well. And remember, all the other parents whose experience you ruined, will talk about your douche-baggery for years to come.
My older brother, who is also one of my best friends, had major back surgery yesterday morning. He has a degenerative disc disease that destroyed the cushion between a few of his lower vertebrae, and he was at the end of his options for any type of less invasive medical intervention. He’s only 42 years old and has been living with chronic, debilitating back pain for years. Yesterday morning he had an ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion) for L5-S1. Let me tell you, it’s some serious shit. The surgeon entered through his abdomen to reach and fuse the lower part of his spine. Think about that for a moment, and let the gravity of what that entails sink in. He made it through surgery like a boss, and I’ll be traveling to Texas next week to help my sister-in-law take care of him while he’s recovering. I’m anxious to be there with him, and the past week building up to the procedure has been stressful.
So, there you have it. That pretty much sums up the past two weeks. Throw in some housework, ten thousand loads of laundry, constant ass-kicking’s from my trainer, some butt-wiping, end of year school activities and there’s my full plate. 🙂 And just to leave you with something funny that made me laugh…..
Her entire fifth grade class left this morning for science camp. They get to spend five days in the San Bernardino Mountains, doing science experiments, learning about nature and doing a ton of other cool stuff, like archery and zip-lining.
And no contact with parents is allowed.
No contact. For five, whole days.
I’m a fucking mess.
She was pretty nervous about going, and the last few days have been hard for both of us. Hard for her because she was suffering from anxiety and nerves. She’s never been away from us for that long. Hell, she only started feeling comfortable doing sleep-overs this year, and she’s ten years old. Outwardly, I’ve been supportive and encouraging. I know this is important. I know she needs to spread her wings and begin to learn to be more independent. She needs to see how capable she really is, and that can only be achieved by working through tough stuff. In this case, it’s working through her separation anxiety and realizing that she will be ok and can have fun, even when she’s missing her family. In this sense I’ve done nothing but tell her how much fun she’ll have and what amazing memories she’ll make.
Inwardly, I want to shout and scream and demand that the school bring my baby home now! I can’t believe I paid for this shit! I can’t believe I agreed to let my daughter go two hours away into the mountains and be supervised by people I’ve never met. Doomsday images keep floating through my head. What if there’s an earthquake? THE earthquake? The big one that will supposedly redefine the west coast? How would I get to her? What if there’s a bus crash? What if she meets up with a bear? What if some asshole ten year old from her class shoots her with a goddamn archery arrow? What if one hair on her beautiful head is damaged in any way? I will go ape shit and rip that camp apart looking for retribution, that’s what!
(I’m taking some deep breaths right now.)
This was probably the wrong week for me to give up wine and coffee, but that’s a post for another day.
The truth is that my heart feels like it has a giant hole in it. The house feels empty. The hallways sound hollow. She’s only been gone for twelve hours and her absence has left its mark on all of us. This morning her little brother cried. He loves her so much, and he couldn’t understand why his Bryn was leaving for so many days. I held it together until the bus pulled away from the school. Then I couldn’t stop the tears. Other parents saw me quietly crying, despite my giant sunglasses covering my face. They offered me sympathetic looks and as a few of them tried to talk to me all I could do was put up my hand to ward them off and march home, crying the entire way. My husband held me and offered to take the day off work so we could spend the day together and take my mind off of Bryn’s absence. While I adore his gesture and love him more than words can say, I decided to just keep busy and get on with my day.
A few of the other parents have been thoughtful and kind enough to text and email me today, checking in to see how I was doing. While I truly appreciate their consideration and thoughtfulness, it makes me feel like a giant candy-ass. For fuck’s sake, it’s just camp! My head knows this, so why does my heart feel like it will be ten thousand years before I see her again?
We’re a close family, and we don’t like to be separated. I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful that our family unit is so connected that when one of us is missing, we are all affected. I grew up in a household where that wasn’t the case, so I am doubly appreciative of the bond my husband and I share with our children and with each other. It’s priceless.
So, I am now trying to banish the ugly, apocalyptic thoughts racing through my head and find the silver lining. I’m trying to focus on the good things that will come from her week at camp. She will learn how to manage a bit without me. She will learn to be more independent and self-assured. She will learn how to keep track of her own stuff. She will learn how to pack her own damn suitcase when it’s time to come home. And, for the love of God, if one of her friends actually manages to teach her how to do her own hair, then it will be worth every tear shed and every expensive dollar that it cost to send her there.
So, if you feel like contributing, I would love to hear your best camp story. 🙂
Same Shit, different Dave
Listen to your inner self..it has all the answers..
Chef, Blogger and Food Photographer
Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering
storytelling the world
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
Lover of art who hopes to create wonders out of voids
Film, Music, and Television Critic
poet and author of The Light in the Cave