and off goes a David

I am NOT looking at baby pics of Dave ..

I am NOT reading articles that talk about wild college days ..

Dave leaves for college Thursday ..

I WILL BE FINE !! 

BUTTTT if I am going to go down nostalgic road I will turn it into a positive –

Here are 5 things I would do IF i could turn back time:

1. I would have taken 5-10 mins a day to talk about our days and I would shared more about mine..( I DID ask I swear but let it die if he didnt want to talk about it OR did not fully listen -especially toddler years -good lord the stories went on forever ..I should have listened -be warned Max you may never get a break ) AND I was not good at sharing I put on a “face ” so to speak and I think sometimes he would have benefited from hearing that moms life is not always sunshine ( ofcourse Dave got a crash course in that when I was prego with Max -I am A TERRIBLE prego person 🙂 ) 

2. I would make sure Dave knows the import ants of dressing to the occasion. I was so worried about his “Independence ” that I failed to teach him to dress himself for occasions ..( he still calls me or asks what should I wear and shoes are “optional ” to Dave ) 

3. I would hug him every day -teenager or not and I would have stopped WHATEVER I was doing to except a hug ..sticky fingers and all ( okay anyone that knows me know I did this so maybe I would not change that ..I did not hug daily during teenage years BUT sticky fingers never bothered me -still doesn’t – not to toot my own horn BUT I have made it a point with both my kids to never refuse a hug due to stickiness etc …clothes wash ..a hug can not be replaced yayayyya me ! Damn I am good ..now stop looking at my laundry pile and my FREAK out about toys everywhere ) 

4. I would have PLAYED with Dave more ..like screw the dishes..screw my work after hours ..( doesn’t  every mom say this ?? we have all read the poem ..”I would have finger painted more “) BUT god reflecting back I would have ..I am pretty good at doing with Max. I guess I know time ticks on and you cannot get it back so when a kid asks you to play cars ..monopoly ( heaven help me with a 4 year old ) you do it .  I was NOT this good with Dave. 

1. This “do over ” is a little hard to explain ..I always took for granted that Dave was “so much like me ” that I didn’t really consider that HE may have another way …or another thought ..he kinda just always went with what we told him or excepted of him-I should have had conversations like ” Hunny what do you think ” instead of ” well you should do this ” -even as I type this I have mommy guilt -and I probably still do this ..I would have listened more and instructed less ..I think A. Dave would be more independent and B. He would have had an opportunity to be himself and discover what that is . Max is so so different from me that’s it is often easy to play the role of observer ..and I have learned that is often fun ! Anyways that may be hard to understand or even get and maybe I’m not explaining that right ..its kinda like Dave I assumed I got to discover  with my heart and Max I assumed I get to discover with head ..I was wrong I should have mixed the two together and looked at Dave ( Max ) with both .

ANYWAYS so that is what I would ( will ) do different ( I have a do over with Max and tonight I’m totally on board ..now next Monday when max wont eat his spaghetti because it is touching his salad all bets are off ) 

BUT I have had an amazing ride with a sensitive, responsible, stubborn, respectful,  messy, 18 year old kid I have the honor and privilege of calling my son ! AND BY THE WAY HE IS MINE ALL MINE ..YOU cannot have him ..okay I’ll give him up when he is married and has his own children and then his KIDDOS ARE MINE ALL MINE ..

god help his therapist ..:) 

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Sharing a mommy blog …..

WORDY ..AND LONG ..BUT I SWEAR WORTH THE READ AND BTW I LOVE HER 🙂 

 

Community Question: What Do You Do When You Feel Inferior to Other Parents?

Posted on July 23, 2013

Every once in a while, I get a letter from a friend of this blog that touches a tender place in my heart. Usually a place that’s been well worn or is still a little sore or takes me back to the desolation that was there before the consolation. This is one.

Hi Beth,

I am an avid reader of your blog and really enjoy your writing.

I have a weird question. I feel a sense of community on your blog because you talk about the insanity of parenting and about crazy kids who do crazy things.

My kids are a very lively bunch. One has special needs but all of them are loud, crazy, messy and don’t really know the meaning of the word quiet or neat. They throw, scream, tussle, hit and seem to run on endless energy.

Sometimes we hang out with our siblings and their kids are just so darn calm and quiet. They actually sit at the table and eat, they don’t randomly whack other kids or jump on couches or spill out a million toys.

It often makes me feel badly, like I am doing something wrong, or I am the only one who has crazy kids, while they all have perfect angels.

I may be exaggerating a bit but any idea about what to do with these feelings of inferiority or jealousy? My husband says lively and energetic kids are more interesting and will go further in life, but that doesn’t really do it for me….

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

Not Rebecca

Of course, our friend didn’t sign the letter Not Rebecca. That’s just what I’ve named her. Not Rebecca. Like we named Not Evan back in the day. It’s practically a tradition around here.

So here’s what I thought we’d do. I’ll answer Not Rebecca’s letter with my thoughts, which will be a piece of the answer but only a piece because it seems that’s all any of us ever has — just one, tiny piece — and then you’ll share your pieces and together we’ll see more of the puzzle than we can on our own.

Here we go.

Dear Not Rebecca,

My mom-in-law tells a story for which she has my undying gratitude. It’s similar to my own mom’s story, which goes like this: “I always wanted to have 4 kids. Then we had you, and I thought maybe I could handle 3. Then we had your brother and we decided 2 was the perfect number.” In other words, my brother and I were punks. So much so that our parents’ friends used to threaten their children with us. “You’re acting like Beth and Jeff,” they’d say, and their children would settle right down, thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It was like our public service to the neighborhood kids. We were givers, even then.

My mom-in-law tells this story: “When we had Greg, we were very confused about why people found parenting so difficult. ‘If only they were as good at parenting as us,’ we thought as we told Greggy it was time for bed and he jumped up to put on his pajamas, arrange his stuffed animals, brush his teeth and settle in for another quiet night.” Here she pauses and smiles conspiratorially. “And then we had Jeff,” she says and laughs and laughs. Because, of course, Jeff wasn’t wired like Greg, for calm or quiet or obedience. And suddenly my mom-in-law understood that kids are who they are. We may channel them and champion them and provide bumpers and boundaries and rules and reassurance, but kids are who they are who they are.

Greg and Jeff are both brilliant. Both accomplished. Both flawed and perfect, like all of us. But they were different than each other and required different parenting and different encouragement and differently crafted explanations to teachers.

Having the kids they did gave my mom and my mom-in-law two gifts: a) kids they love to infinity, and b) compassion for moms like me.

I know you love your kids to infinity, Not Rebecca. I don’t doubt that for one second. Just like I love my 2 kids who are easy peasy like Greg and my 3 kids who are, um, not so easy like Beth and Jeff and Jeff. 

Here’s what I think: When our kids are calm rule-followers, we want to take credit for our exceptional parenting. Of course we do! This is normal. We all desperately seek confirmation that we’re doing right by our kids, so kids who follow social conventions are easy validation. And when our kids are wild or loud or rule-challengers, we on some level want to take the blame because then there’s a problem that can be identified and fixed, and, at our core, we still want to fit in, just like we did when we were kids ourselves.

Somewhere along the way, we get the message that it’s better to be people who don’t rock the boat. And to be people who are always polite. And to be people who are calm and quiet and the same and blend in with the herd. This is a good message for those of us who are boat stabilizers. Great message. Very reassuring! For the rest of us, though? This message bites.

At the beginning of July, I sat on a hard wooden bench under a canopy of evergreens watching a campfire while my friend Heidi delivered this message to 100 elementary school girls:

If I could plant one message in your hearts and heads this week, it would be that you are not too much of anything.

Not too tall, not too big, not too loud, not too quiet, not too fat, not too skinny, not too emotional, not too reserved, not too stuck up, not too grouchy, not too young, not too old, not too poor, not too immature, not too ugly, not too pretty, not too shy, not too dumb, not too embarrassing, not too new, not too anything.

You are not too much of anything to be wonderful and lovable and LOVED.

And when she said ”not too loud,” right at the beginning of her list, I became very still and, ironically, very quiet. My stomach clenched and so did my heart, and I drew a quick, stuttering breath that found its way to my soul while my eyes filled. I was stunned by my instant reaction to you’re not too loud, Beth. Stunned by how deeply at age 39½ I needed Heidi’s words. Stunned by how riveted I was, alongside all these beautiful young women, to a message that was the opposite of the times I’ve felt explicitly or implicitly shushed or silenced or like my words and my personality and my thoughts and my doubts and my convictions and myselfwere too loud, too big, too much, to be wonderful or lovable or loved.

photo 4 (28)Later the same week, the girls at camp made baked clay pendants for necklaces. Aden’s looked like a glob of squished, overripe banana with some hearts pressed into the goo. She gave it to me as a gift. I adore it.

I thought it was so cool, in fact, I went to craft class and made my own pendant.

photo 3 (47)It’s red with a butterfly and says LOVE. But then I saw one girl whose pendant said WEIRD, and I was jealous. I wished I’d thought of a cool word like WEIRD to wear around my neck. So I did what any mature, grown-up woman would do in that situation and I asked the 9-year-old to trade necklaces. She said no and indicated with her look of disgust that she was not at all willing to trade her rad WEIRD pendant for my gaggy LOVE one.

That’s when my friend Christy, who was in charge of Crafts and Protecting Kids’ Pendants, suggested I make another one. I grumbled a little about how there’s no word as cool as WEIRD so all the good pendants were already taken, but Christy, remembering my reaction to Heidi’s message, said, “Really? What about loud?”

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Loud.

Oh, yes. 

This is my word. The one I long to claim with pride instead of shame. 

Because I am a very quiet, introverted person, shy in new situations until I’m comfortable, and then… WATCH OUT; it’s going to get very loud, very fast, and also probably very honest and inevitably inappropriate.

I write from my loud place. Obviously.

Now, I know you were asking about parenting and somehow this letter became all about me, but I’ve found that a lot of my discomfort with my kids’ behaviour is, instead, discomfort with what others will think. With how they might judge me. With how I’ll be found wanting. By them… and also by myself. It’s when I secretly wonder if I’m somehow failing my kids that I feel inferior or jealous. It’s when I secretly wonder if I’m somehow too flawed or not enough — not disciplined enough, not a good enough teacher, not a good enough rule follower — that I become unsure that I’m fit for this job. 

It’s an active process to let that kind of thinking go. To champion our rule-challengers. To cheer for our loud kids. To believe they have something incredibly valuable to teach us about living a free and full life when they run around the dinner table in their underpants. Or without them.

What if this is true: what if our kids — calm or wild, quiet or loud, compliant or nonconforming — are exactly who they’re meant to be? What if they’re already exactly right? What if they’re already enough? What if we are, too?

Does that mean we stop teaching our loud kids to quiet down and listen sometimes? Of course not. We encourage them to stretch themselves and learn new skills, and we likewise teach our quiet ones how to get out of their heads and be silly and spontaneous and stick up for themselves.

But what if we — all of us — are becoming? As in, “Oh my goodness! She’s so becoming!” and also, “Look what a wonderful person she’s becoming.” Bothdefinitions: already lovely and still in process. What if we believed that down to the depths of our bones? 

As the years have passed, it’s become easier for me to release my feelings of inferiority and jealousy. Do they resurface from time to time when a friend mentions what great table manners her 3-year-old has? Sure. Do I think uncharitable thoughts about what great table manners my kids would have if they enjoyed a 2:1 parent:child ratio like her baby does? Alright, fine. Am I deluding myself about my kids having good table manners under any circumstances? Almost definitely. But these thoughts are more and more rare as time goes on, which I attribute to 2 main things:

1. I’m very tired, and, unfortunately, feeling inferior and jealous takes energy I can no longer muster. 

2. I have actually come to believe that our loud, crazy kids have as much to offer us, themselves and the world as our quiet, calm ones do. After all, we can’t all be unconventional like Galileo or Mother Theresa or  Martin Luther King, Jr. or Einstein or John Lennon or Ghandi — but thank God someone was. 

Love, 
Beth

Baseball, thanks you’s and sh*t I forgot !!

Baseball game last night was FABULOUS and way fun to watch Max LOVE it !

HOWEVER I ate : a foot long polish dog with sauerkraut , a pretzel ( well half actually ) with that gooey yummy cheese shit ( it prob actually is ) had a Guinness beer -i think that’s 5000 calories alone -and came home and drank wine, ate leftover Shepards Pie with my hands out of the dish and about three chicken pieces – Folks -I dont always have cheat days BUT when I do I do it like a drunk college frat boy on even given Saturday.

BUMMER I feel like shit today -might be the alcohol -will get back on track today-had hummus and veggies so far BUT I really want a BIG MAC yep I said it no shame ..I want a Big Mac although what I am really doing is trying to convince Chris to take me to Chilis tonight -Yes its better -dont judge -They have 360 calorie steak -me want .

OHH And since this sounds slightly negative ( my negative cleanse remember ) I have decided to do some thank you’s.

Thank you -god -buddha- mother tearesa -Channing Tatum-for ..

The breeze today its mother f*in hot here and the breeze was so nice.

Max -yep just for him -I dig on that -shoes on the wrong feet -hat backwards-kid.

Corn nuts -no details-let’s move on.

For Chili’s and the good karma that is gonna get me there tonight. 🙂

now -SHIT I FORGOT :

Let me list so we all know what an asshole I am ..

1. To mail fathers day gifts -yep its JULY.

2. To mail a foodie basket -LONG story BUT I joined this foodie exchange and you mail a treat box to your person -forgot -its been two weeks ( I imagine she is heart broken sitting on her porch sighing each time the mail man comes with no package. )

3. Max’s water bottle today -its triple digits here -my poor kiddo.

4. To ask Chris if he got the promotion.

Hey and its only Tuesday ..

A cool saying:

“The real danger lies not in aiming too high and falling short, but in aiming too low and hitting the mark.” -Michelangelo

Cool picture :

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Cool Song for today :

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Happy Happy

Details suck and its Monday so who has the patience ( doesn’t it sound like I’m  happy ?? ) 

So here is the ten reasons I am happy :

1.Dave left his two weeks at work ( he was SOOOOOOO nervous about it for weeks ) and it was “no big deal mom ” YAYYYA Dave -growing up ! 

2. Kinda connected to number one BUT Dave checks into boarding house in two weeks -hence the two week notice -so excited ( and terrified ) for him to start this chapter. Truth be told I am more excited than terrified cuz I know this is about to become some amazing days for him and isn’t that what we want for our kiddos ?? Amazing and education ? 

3. I see a diff in my weight -well actually in my legs -and my face. Not enough but getting there …

4.I found a great place to buy produce -this is hard in CO and I have been eating -like a starving rabbit -all the veggies I can get my hands on. 🙂 

5. Max is very into pretend right now ..his newest is mommy lets pretend I am 5 and mommy lets pretend Im not yours and I have a new mommy ( why does this make me happy? Cuz … A.It cracks me up and B. I so remember pretending that with my parents -as a teenager mind you not at 4 but mere details. 🙂 ) 

6. Max loved the play the Hobbit we went to -and we survived our first experience with the ghetto in Denver ( honestly the most ghetto that I have ever been in ) We “avoided all eye contact ” -advice from a Denver local and made it successfully into the theater …

7. I get to see a friend next weekend who moved out here from Cali AND we are going on a long hike-10 miles i think  …kid-less…did I say minus a Max?? ..did i mention without child ?? NOT that I don’t love to hike with Max BUT the speed is different without him -no peeing on the trail-no stopping to open juice boxes -not answering endless questions or picking up dropped phones -fast and steady PLUS cafe after wards with Bloody Marys 🙂

8. Going to see a baseball game tonight-IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO SEE MAX AT GAMES -I swear that child is the BIGGEST fan 🙂 I see mascot in Max’s future …

9. Chris finds out if he gets the promotion he wanted today or tomorrow -YAYYYA !! Either way it looks like he will get a new position -if not more $$ more clout !

10. So what ?? You didn’t hear ?? It -HAS-BEEN-30-DAYS -I CAN -HAVE-MERLOT-CAB-VODKA-ALL-MY -FAVS-AGAIN ..MAYBE ALL AT ONCE ?? hmmmmmm ..Here’s hoping the liquor store dudes still remember me …:) 

Funnies :

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Meanwhile in Budget Land

So my grocery budget has been great !

Here is some stuff I have been doing THAT ACTUALLY WORKS to keep on budget AND save time AND save boredom ..and so on and so on ..

Pick and choose organics -refer to the “dirty dozen ” list ..and I bought veggies and fruits on sale only -we ate and cooked with only those. ( i substituted alot ) Plus all veggies were used ..I had cucumbers for lunch one day and chopped them up and put in my water cuz I had extras ….

I make my own broth ..since we didn’t have  chicken on the bone this week ..I made veggie broth -I saved all my veggie scrapes ( I add extra garlic ) -boil in water to cover – about an hour or so -strain then freeze in ice cubes -once frozen transfer to ziploc bag-I use when recipe calls for chicken broth too. On that note I also freeze herbs in olive oil in ice trays -transferring to ziploc once frozen. We have very busy icetrays in my house! 🙂

I made my own mayo ( yes you read that right ) If you want the recipe email me steph10700@yahoo.com -its not all that $ saving BUT much much healthier and yummier!

I made Shepard’s Pie and Quiche -totally cheap and froz leftovers in portion sizes. Again email me for recipe. ( When I take Max to school he eats breakfast in the car so quiche is perrfeecctt !! )

I bought meats at Costco and Ziplocs at 99 cent store.

I bought rice,pasta and couscous at Big Lots. SUPER CHEAP and I found my healthy brands ( just watch exp date.)

I made double batch of pancakes and froz individually for breakfasts -just toast in the toaster or nuke.

I made smoothies as desserts -money saver AND much healthier for Max ..oh and we also made homemade popsicles.

I checked online BEFORE we went anywhere to see deals and discounts ( this isn’t really a grocery budget BUT whatever ) ended up saving all over the city ! Everyday they have kids eat free at different restaurants ..I’m sure in every city !

Oh and a not so fun BUT you get used to it trick that helped is that if we run out or don’t have I substitute or go without -this is hard BUT saved tons of nickel and dime money.

Oh so I can drink wine again on Sunday ..yayya BUT I have to say I have saved A TON of money on the wagon ( of course I have cheated -not gonna lie -but non the less saved a ton )

Anyways that’s my sharing for today ..did I tell you it is share day ? Go ahead ..share your $ money saving tips ..or any tips ..:) I am especially curious as to how to find time to shave daily with a 4 year old and a full time job -and by shave daily I really mean how do I find time to shave weekly and brush my hair daily ?? 🙂 xoxo all !

Rainbows are out there

I have lost inches !! yayayya ..not pounds -well actually I have no idea I don’t own a devil ..I mean scale ..

So on that note I have decided to challenge myself to a 10 day negativity cleanse…

I have been REALLY Debbie Downer lately ( I have to say too I notice a change in Max he has been Dr. Depresso lately also )

SO everyday I will find a way to stay positive ( no not drugs ) ( no not alcohol ) ….maybe exercise more ?? Maybe daily mantra ?? Maybe a gun and an unsuspecting liquor store ?

This may be more challenging then I thought ..

One fun “share ” is Max is a tad ( and by a tad I mean he is one egg roll away from being renamed Ching Wang ) obsessed with China -they are learning all about at school -so this weekend we will be making homemade eggrolls -YUMMO -so on the way to school:

Me :Hunny are you excited about making egg rolls for your class ?

Max: Yes but we cannot right now you would be late for work and I would be late for my china learning.

Me :Right. So maybe this weekend ?

Max: Why not the Chinese ( yes he said Chinese ) are very patient especially when it comes to rice .

Me: Because it takes so long to cook ?

Max : NO because have you seen those fields? I wouldn’t  wait that long for rice ..

HMMMM

oh here’s two pics I love for today :

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