Saturday, December 28, 2013


~"I think she is growing up, and so begins to dream dreams, and have hopes and fears and fidgets, without knowing why or being able to explain them"~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"Mama?" I can read minds you know"..Oscar announced the other day "I know what you're thinking." "Oh really" I said."Yes-you are thinking that you want me to be in the world more." He looked so sad. "No, I'm actually thinking that I bought you new snow pants today..but yeah, I guess that I do want you in the world more..I need to know that you can take care of yourself when you are an adult." Being the master conversation changer that he is, he announced "I'm a misfit!" To which I replied."Nobody wants a Charlie in the box!" -.figuring that  this was just Oscar playing the game we usually play-quoting movie lines.(this time Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.) "No", he said, placing his hand on my arm.."I really am a misfit." I just looked at him...I mean, what do you say to that? "It's o.k. because misfit just means that I am different." He was so earnest. "It is o.k. to be different." he added-as if to reassure me. "Yes, it is o.k. to be different-wonderful even...but it's hard too." "I know." The clarity of that moment screamed to me as to just how aware of the world that he is. This is his truth.

  It has not been an easy year for my boy. Puberty and all it's funky hormonal changes has reared it's ugly ugly head-and I think that for the first time ever-Oscar has begun to realize that he is indeed, like it or not, growing up.  That he will one day be an adult... Part of him hates the thought of any kind of change-but another part sees all the changes going on around him.  His brother Sam, two years older is chomping at the bit-longing to leave home..he wants to do so much-he talks of all of his plans and the adventures waiting to be had. And Lily-just two years younger..clings to her childhood..while tentatively taking baby steps into young woman hood. He is caught in the middle-and he does not know what to do with himself. Part of him accepts the change-but a bigger part wants things to remain the same. He is restless and melancholy..not fitting in his skin- a storm waiting to happen. 

  I was talking to a good friend about him over Thanksgiving-and she said "I worry that he will be lonely." Oh how that pierced my heart. My boy-who is so much more than anyone knows-or can know-or takes the time to know..a person who just wants to make people laugh..whose self proclaimed talent is "watching YouTube videos" This great being-so filled with compassion and empathy for others...that he might one day be lonely-breaks me. It tears me into a million pieces. But then I wonder-is my definition of lonely- Oscars definition? Is what he needs-and what I think that he needs- two entirely different things?

   I look at this almost young man of mine-who is so very capable,( but many times simply chooses not to be-and gets away with it because of the nature of his disability) and I wonder.  Yes, he can read, he can do math...but finds reliving videos in his head much more entertaining. And really, can you blame him?  Multiplication or YouTube Poops? What would you find more interesting? I don't know what to do-or how to help him. Do I trust that he will get to where he needs to go in his own time?  Or do I fret and worry that if we continue along this path-he is destined to a lonely life? Sometimes I hate being a parent. I have raised him (all of my kids actually) to be who he is-and yet, sometimes I spend too much time internally worrying about who he is not. It's maddening! I have to let go and trust in him-even as he tenaciously holds on to the world in his head.(because it is less frightening than the world out of it). How do I make the world outside of his head more palatable? How do I make him understand that there are things he needs to be able to do in order to live independently (as possible) while at the same time preserving the beauty that is him?

  Sometimes I really do wish that Oscar could read my mind. If only so that it would reassure him that I think he's wonderful.That he is enough  Deep down, I think that I know that he will be o.k....sigh...  We just need to get him over..through..around this puberty hurdle...let him settle, in his own way and time into becoming who he is...and in the meantime- do some detailed research into careers in YouTube viewing.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I'll be (wanting Mike) Holmes for Christmas..

~"The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."~ Dave Barry

Oscar was so proud to show me his(already eaten) "gingerbread house"..'s four days before Christmas and all through the kids are actually kind of calm.( all the sugar from class parties has knocked them out)  It's ME who is stressing out!.  So much to do and so few days to do it in. Which I don't mind..I really do enjoy Christmas.  It's fun. It's all the stuff leading up to Christmas that makes things a little tense. The concerts, the parties.. 

 Not a creature was stirring... Just me..desperately trying to FIND the one (impossible to find) present Lily has asked forIn our case "Zoomer" the robotic dog-which , is NO WHERE to be found.  Believe me-I have had people looking. The thing is-she'll be fine if she doesn't get it.  More than fine. It's just that she has worked really hard this year-and I wanted her to have something extra special..We don't buy them many gifts other than at Christmas and their birthdays.(even though it feels as though they have an abundance of stuff). Part of the reason is because...well, there are four of them! I also like to believe that we are teaching them the difference between "want" and "need"..That it isn't "stuff" that makes you happy..blah blah know, all those parenting things you are supposed to teach. Are they getting it?  I don't know-but in the rich fantasy section of my mind (all parents have this section-you know, that place where you imagine them growing up to be decent, kind, good and giving world policy makers) they are.

The stockings were hung by the chimney...actually they aren't. We don't have a fireplace.   When I was a kid, I used to ask my parents what they wanted for Christmas.  They always said "good kids".  As I got older, I replied "Since there is no chance of that happening-what else would you like?".."Nothing-we have everything we need."..I never fully understood that until I became a parent myself. There is really nothing that I need. The kids are happy and healthy, Omar has a good job, we have a roof over our heads...Sure, there are things that I would like to change in the world. Peace, understanding-and good will towards everyone would be great.I am doing my best to help make those things happen (i.e. raising good kids) ..Today, Oscar  asked me what it was that I wanted for Christmas..and I gave may parents answer "Good kids".."But you already have them!".."I know! So, I guess I don't want anything."

In hopes that St. Nicholas Mike Holmes soon would be there...But..*sigh* that isn't really true.  I want Mike Holmes for Christmas.( For anyone who doesn't know who he is-click on the link) No!  I don't WANT him..although he does cut a dashing figure in his overalls...I want him to come and finish fix finish my house!  Oh how I love watching his show!
He meets with a distraught homeowner whose contractor has walked out on them mid job..Sound familiar?(Although, I bet THEIR contractors never came back 18 months later(with no contact in between) asking for their tools back) And within an hour-poof! The home is fixed. The owners are teary eyed and thankful. It's like he's a white knight-but with a tool belt instead of a horse. He and his trusty crew fix everything-and then some. Pointing out all the sloppy work that had been done by their previous contractor. Now, I will admit-I don't think our contractors were sloppy per say...they were just kind of.....neglectful.(forgot that we existed)  That doesn't mean Mr. Holmes wouldn't have things to point out! No indeed! He could just look at the jobs that Omar and I have started *sigh* but just never seem to be able to finish( between doing all the various kid stuff, going to work and laundry)..and he would have a field day.  I could even manage (or at least try to manage) to look ashamed of our work...although I would probably laugh. Especially as bits of insulation fell out of the walls, and especially when he stumbled upon Omar's tool of choice( steak knife)or my elderly dogs, two chickens and three cats which are scattered(mostly the steak knives) around the house and yard. It would make for good entertainment.  I would even try to cry a little at the end as we thanked him profusely. Most likely though I would just be shocked...gobsmacked even! Imagine-painted walls instead of bits of sheetrock, finished floors-electrical outlets with real covers on them! It's like porn for the housing challenged! Oh..I really really want Mike Holmes for Christmas...

Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Mike Holmes and Blitzen!..alright, maybe I'm getting a little carried away here. But it's Christmas-and I will allow myself to dream a little. In the mean time-I've got presents to wrap, a robot dog to (maybe) find...and some insulation that needs to be shoved back in place. I hope that you all have the merriest of Christmas's and a wonderful new year. Oh...and if you happen to see Mike Holmes..tell him I said hi.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sr. Godzilla and the reason I loathe children's concerts...

~"The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live"~
 George Carlin

Once again it is that time of year..a time where I gather my strength..gird my loins..and put on my game face.  Yes, it is time for the annual school Christmas concert. I know, I know...I've written about school concerts before..about the(very) beginning orchestra members..and the "catchy" holiday tunes...So clearly this is an issue for me. Honestly, I feel kind of bad about I am somehow defective..or missing some sort of special parental gene for the tolerance appreciation of singing children. 

  I don't know what it is..or even WHY it is this way...but just the thought of a group of singing children makes me nauseous. Add dancing and I've got a full blown panic attack in the making.  It isn't that I don't appreciate that these kids have worked hard-I do! It's just watching the results of their work that sets my teeth on edge-churns the acid in my stomach.  The thing of it is-I look at all the other parents watching-and they seem enraptured..over joyed..thrilled and full of wonder..and I think "What the hell is wrong with me? Why don't I get excited when the kids start dancing?  Why don't I think it's cute?  Why am I just so annoyed by it? "

  A parent at the concert asked me if I remembered being in any "musical" productions as a kid...maybe there was some underlying reason as to why I loathe these events.  At the time I couldn't remember anything (which should have been a clue)...but later...some memories started to surface..Memories of singing in a school pageant...memories of throwing up...

  I believe it was in fourth grade that  my class participated in some sort of school concert.  We sang "Raindrops keep falling on my head". Now, I don't have any memory of being scared or upset by that...No, it was what occurred after the performance that forever damaged my perception of school concerts ! Yes! I do have an excuse, a traumatic event! A REASON why singing children make me ill. Oprah would call it an "AHA" moment! An "Aha" moment involving...nuns. ...Oh, I can see it clearly now...being led off of the stage and into our classroom by the ever so scary Sr. Catherine (You're cruising for a bruising!) Marita. She was razor tongued and quick as a whip-Heaven help you if you were not exactly "student" material. She could haul a kid(by their ear) from the back of the room to the front of the room in under two seconds flat-which is probably some kind of Guinness nun hauling record.(which I believe are stored somewhere under Vatican city-along with clickers, rulers and mummified children's ears.) Needless to say, I spent a large part of that year trying (and failing) to be invisible.  I lived in absolute terror of her.. 

  So, there we were being led back into the classroom by Sr. Godzilla Marita....where she had a "surprise" for us! We were each going to get a bottle of soda for performing so well.  Back in the 70's-soda was a was any kind of junk food. It just wasn't part of our diet-except for on special occasions. So, we were all pretty excited by this. Each of us were given our own bottle (and it was big-maybe a liter) of off brand(of course) cola. The problem was-we were given exactly five minutes to drink it..AND being that it was a rare treat for any of us...we weren't going to not finish it. Now imagine if you will...a group of nine year olds-each chugging down a liter of soda as quickly as they could...the imagery enough is creepy-but the results..oh the results were horrifying..especially for a boy named Sean.  (I can't believe that I remember that!) We downed those soda's as if our lives depended on it.. almost finishing as a group..all of us out of breath, a little bit sweaty,  letting out a collective belch...except for poor Sean...who simultaneously burped and projectile vomited this seemingly VAST ARC (think Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea) a veritable GEYSER like FOUNTAIN of soda..right on to Sr. Godzilla's Marita's desk. There was a small burp...and then...with the exception of soda slowly dripping off of the desk...drip...drip....drip...silence. 

  I honestly do not remember what happened after that-or more importantly, what happened to Sean.  (Surely we would have noticed if he didn't come back to school. Right?) I wonder this the underlying reason for my "children's concert" anxiety?  Is my worry over what happened to Sean somehow to blame?  Am I really not missing the special "I love children singing in groups" parent gene? Can I blame my anxiety, nausea and downright contrariness over all things "kids concert" on Sr. Godzilla Marita?hmmm..
 Works for me!

  I suppose someone(else) could hunt her down.....and find out the truth of what happened that fateful night. If you do-please-just DON'T tell her where I live!...and for the love of all things holy-protect your ears!.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Just so Thankful...

~"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out my nose."~ Woody Allen

    I was in the grocery store a few days before Thanksgiving...getting some last minute necessities (pizza), when I bumped into an old acquaintance.  She happened to glance down at my cart- and she said "I guess YOU aren't doing any cooking for Thanksgiving.".."Ummm..  "No..Omar does most of the cooking.".."Well , you know...YOU had BETTER appreciate him!" Huh? I wasn't really too sure how to respond to that..I mean really-what do you say?  "Great Idea! I'll start doing that right now!...Let me just pay for this pizza first..." ?  Honestly, why would anyone assume from frozen pizza,  that I don't appreciate my husband?  Why do people do that?  It isn't just about can be anything. Just take a look at Facebook.

  A few years back I posted something like "The kids are finally in bed-hooray!..can't wait till they are old enough to put themselves there.." Instead of the "likes" and camaraderie I expected-I got "Oh...they are only this little once".."I hope you appreciate it because they grow so fast"..."you are going to look back on these times and miss them (smiley face)"  What is it with this shaming?! What-I'm not allowed to want my kids to grow up?  Are you serious? I'm giddy with the thought of it! And you know what?  They do all put themselves to bed now-and I don't miss those times one bit-not even a little. I love my kids..I have loved every stage of their lives..Sometimes I think that I even overly love them.."Mama..I'm going outside."  "O.K. Buddy, give me a hug..I love you! " "Umm I'm only going out to the garage."  "Well a lot can happen between the door and the garage.." "Mama!"

  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't appreciate all that I have. I am a lucky woman-I have a great family, a roof over our heads..we're healthy, we're happy. I am thankful for it all...but come on-just how consciously thankful does one have to be all the time? I mean doesn't anyone have to pee?(although I'm sure that there is someone somewhere who would LOVE to tell me that I should be thankful for being able to do so!) Or sleep? Can I not be thankful for being blissfully ALONE without someone telling me how much I'm going to miss my kids one day? Is there a "Bureau of Thankfulness" that I don't know about that weighs and measures each persons thankfulness and places them on some sort of top secret list of thankful behavior?

  I happened to notice that people in the month of November (Thanksgiving month for all my non U.S. friends) started doing this Facebook trend kind of meme.  For every day of the month-they would mention something they were thankful for. Now, that in itself is a lovely thing.  There is nothing wrong with sharing all that you are thankful for (with your 50 billion friends). Every day, I would see some wonderful posts from people being thankful for their families, friends...even coffee. But, by about the eighth of the month or so...people were running out of steam.  They had already listed everything...and yet, they still had twelve days left. Things got a little creative after that.( "I am thankful for sidewalks.") Mostly they just started rephrasing everything they had already listed. I found it amusing. But, that's just me..(.I've probably been blacklisted by the Bureau of Thankfulness for this...)

  So, This Facebook thing got me thinking...Aside from family, friends, pets, nature, a roof over my head, health-and all that those things encompass...what else should I be thankful for?Am I thankful enough? So, just in case... I made my own little list.
 "Ten other things I am thankful for but may have failed to mention-but  proves that I am appreciative of all things all the time every moment of every day-the end." 

1.  I am thankful that cats don't have thumbs. If you are or have ever been a cat owner-you will understand.
2. I am thankful that (so far) there have never been any monsters under my kids beds or in their closets when they have asked me to check (and Omar was out of town)
3.  I am glad that said monsters have also not appeared in my closet or under my bed.
4. I am glad that my children no longer watch PBS kids..and I look forward to the day that I forget ALL the dialogue from Thomas the Tank Engine (including songs) so far-the latter has not happened but I am hopeful.
5. I am thankful that my house is in a perpetual state of remodeling-because when anyone comes over, I can explain the mess by saying "we are remodeling" even though the mess has nothing to do with remodeling and everything to do with my being a crappy housekeeper.
6. I am thankful that one of my daughters has a field trip tomorrow-so both my girls won't be home(fighting) and the house will be quiet-even though I'm DEFINITELY sure that I will look back on and miss these times with great sorrow because they have grown up so fast..(not)
7. I am thankful that I can now use the bathroom by myself..although I promise to look back with great sorrow that my kids have all grown up so fast and no longer need to accompany me to the bathroom..
8. I am thankful for my bathrooms. (if you have been reading me for a while-you will understand this) And if anyone asks-I am thankful that I have bodily functions..I hope that I never look back in sorrow because they have gone away.
9.I am thankful that my daughters no longer listen to Katy Perry's "California Gurls" over and over again. Although the lyrics(like all the Thomas Train stuff) have been burned into my brain-which is a good thing...because when I look back all sorrowful that my kids have grown up-I will always have Thomas...and Katy to remember them by.
10. I am thankful for my zombie display...even though the recent spate of bad weather has destroyed it and I might have to take it down..Although I might leave it up anyway and say it's a mess because we are remodeling...

  So, Thanksgiving  has come to an end..or at least the holiday has.  We had a lovely day surrounded by family..We ate the wonderful meal the husband I appreciate prepared, we drank..we made merry..It was everything it was supposed to be..And yes-I was thankful..