What I Hate Most About Parenting

This is it. The biggest, hardest part of parenthood. Worry. I always feel so alone with my worry.  And the worry can often be debilitating and sleep preventing. And I always feel so comforted reading about others’. Thank you for sharing, Brandy. xox

via What I Hate Most About Parenting.

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I’VE WATCHED MY SON GET HIT 5 TIMES

So, as a mom, the code around town is that you don’t discipline other people’s kids. I get that. If my son pushed someone I’d lose my sh*t if another adult yelled at him.

So, here are the 5 times I watched a child hit my son and couldn’t get mad at the other kid. What would you do in these situations?

1. We were at a potential preschool. S was playing blocks with two 4 year old boys who were already students there. I was seated about 5 feet away, watching. S was putting blocks somewhere and boy 1 said “Those don’t go there!” in a loud, bossy way.

S took a beat and in the same bossy tone said back, “Yes they do.”

(I was thinking “You go, boy!”)

“No they don’t” boy 1 said back, louder. Angrier.

“Yes they do,” S mirrored his tone again.

Boy 2 bonked S on the head with a block and said, “That’s for being mean to my friend!”

S was quiet. I was frozen with horror, couldn’t think. Couldn’t get a teacher. Just frozen trying not to scream at the two boys and trying to wait for S’s reaction. Would he cry? Would he run to me? And as I froze, I realized I was doing nothing. And actually, nothing is what they say to do. That’s what I did, as the boys all glared at each other. The tension was painful in my gut. S wasn’t crying though. What the hell could I do?

I had to do something. I couldn’t help it. “Spenser, do you want to see the puzzles they have over there?” I asked, flailing. I’m good at distraction.

Then boy 1 stood up. “Yeah, I’ll show you the puzzles,” he said.

“OK,” S said, following him to the puzzles.

Boy 2 followed them, merrily.

It blew over, without so much as a mention later. Though my heart hurt.

2. We were at gym class. I sit in the lobby as he takes class, but I saw Spenser not letting another boy onto the slide. Was he playing bad guy? Pirate? Superhero? Was he just exercising aggression and testosterone? Had the boy done or said something first?

I just saw my little guy blocking the entrance to the slide and shouting “No!”

Then, the other boy hit S on the forehead with the palm of his hand and S’s head went back. Again, my instinct to run in and scream at the boy was squelched by that dumb rule of staying out of things. Was that the right thing? My gut told me to run in there and scoop S in my arms and scream “We don’t hit,” and another woman’s son. But I waved to the teacher, who quickly came over and intervened… mostly just breaking the two up and guiding them into an activity.

I’m not saying that my son wasn’t being provoking, but S didn’t hit back. I was glad of that… right? I mean, I don’t want him to hit back, Right?

3. We were playing at the park Again, S wasn’t letting a boy on the slide, saying “No!” in a deep voice. Was it a character? Was he trying to be like the kids who tell him no? This time he got punched in the stomach. The puncher was his age, but bigger. This was the hardest hit yet.

I inhaled loudly as I sprang to my feet as was at the scene in one second. I tried not to f’ing lose it as I went to S. “Are you OK?” He was, though he was angry. “Tell the boy if you didn’t like that,” I coached.

“I don’t like that!” Spenser screamed.

“I don’t like that!” the boy repeated, in the same tone as S.

The boy’s father came over and I told him his son hit S. The boy’s dad said something lame like, don’t do that again.

The two kids continued to yell “I don’t like that!” back and forth, until the other kid punched S again, right in front of us. I inhaled sharply again waiting for the father to parent.

“No! don’t do that. Say sorry,” the dad said. And when the kid wouldn’t he laughed and shrugged and kind of walked away.

Now, I know there are all kinds of parenting styles out there, but I don’t think laughing and shrugging is one of them. I was hoping for a we’re leaving response, but you can’t always get what you want, so I took my boy away from the feral beast, and told him how I thought  the father should have handled the situation. I told him I was very sorry he got hurt and I was so proud of him for using his words.

4. At another park. A girl was trying to play with S and his friend. She spoke mostly Russian, it seemed and couldn’t communicate with the kids well and walked off sulking, feelings hurt, because they didn’t understand what she was saying – which I assume was can I play with you.  S’s friend went over to say sorry to her. Then S, in an effort to cheer her up and make her laugh, gave her a hilarious raspberry! Little did he know, that although everyone laughed when Caillu did it, most people take a raspberry as a taunting gesture.

The girl punched S in the stomach. Really hard.

I ran over and so did the dad. I don’t really know what he said because it was in Russian, but I do know her punch hurt more than the other boy’s. She apologized and the father took her home.

I explained to S that although he thought she would laugh at the raspberry, it actually made her angry. He agreed not to do raspberries anymore.

5. Forth of July Block Party. Bounce House.  Playing with a bunch of kids he didn’t know. One boy says, “You can’t come up here (to the slide.)”

S comes and tells me the boy won’t let him slide. I remind him that it doesn’t feel good to be told he can’t slide. He agrees. S tries to slide again. Again the boy says “Only Zombies can slide.”

I’m hot, tired, the kids are unsupervised, I say, “Actually, he CAN slide, so please let him.”

“No!” the boy argues, “He’s not a zombie.”

“Then make him a Zombie!” I say, finally intervening, as I have been wanting to do.

“No, I won’t,” the boy, who is probably 5 says.

“Well, he can slide,” I say, sternly, locking eyes with the boy. He let’s S slide.

S is playing happily until…. he comes down the slide and says, “Um. Mom. A boy hit me in the stomach up there.”

I assume it was that one.  I can’t be sure. There’s a covered tunnel part. “Are you OK?” I ask.

“Yeah, yeah.” He says. Again, my son didn’t hit back. And believe me, I know he wants to.

So… I took him to a Jui Jujitsu class

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VERGE OF TEARS

Been ready to burst out crying at any minute all week.

Commercials, Pixar movies, songs… all make me want to sob.

Disappointing news, bills, running late – yep. Tears.

Might it have something to do with pre school summer school starting this week. That’s my guess.

It started with the Friday before when I realized my doctor form paper work had been sitting in an envelope – unsigned. I called the doctor’s office and begged to get the forms signed by Monday morning and they said they would and then email them back, but by Monday morning, there was nothing and they weren’t answering the phone or responding to my email.  Another hour til the office was open. We aren’t going to be allowed into school today I thought. I blew his FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

I had to fight the tears back, hard, til S was preoccupied and I ran into my closet and called my sister to cry and vent.

“Just go there on your way to school,” my sister suggested. (a good reason to pick a doctor close to you.)

And that’s what I did. Only 10 minutes late to first day of school! OK, so maybe I’m not a complete screw up.

I cried at school, but more joyfully, this time as S ran to play with the other kids. He loves it. I love it there. Once I get through the emotions, I know I will not want to leave!!

It’s the beginning of real separation. It’s the beginning of growth and independence. It’s a great thing and he’s really ready for it. He is ready to have friends he sees regularly. He’s ready to learn from someone other than me and be challenged mentally and physically.

He is ready to expand his world, as I have been narrowing mine. My world has just been him and his, me.

Though I feel weepy this week, I am also feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that my life has lead me here. I’m so happy I get to be the mom who is crying that her son is starting pre school. I remember when all my friends were there and I was onlooking, wondering if I’d ever know what that felt like.

So, I’m moving into a new phase. Some of the moms here in preschool summer school are weeping because their kids are starting kindergarten in September. Oy.

Life has never been so filled with deep milestones, as it is now.

 

 

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THE SIDLER

Have you seen the Seinfeld episode about the Sidler? The actual episode is called The Merv Griffin Show, and it’s definitely one of my all time favorites.

Seinfeld_The Sidler

In the episode, Elaine is faced with a new guy at work (actually played by my friend Brent Hinkley) who sidles up to her, unheard. She’s constantly on edge and going crazy….

I have a sidler too.

When you’ve lived alone for as long as I have, you come to trust the silence. If there’s no sound, there’s nothing happening – you are safe and protected. You can let your guard down.

When you live alone and you have a baby, nothing really changes as far as your silent alone time goes – you have a baby in a crib who can’t get out unless they cry or call for you.

Then, one day, last summer, when I had an almost two and a half year old, I was writing at my table (writing a blog here, in fact) listening to the sounds of my own words in my head, the keys clicking on the key board and the ambient exhale of the air conditioning, alone, when something moved in my periphery, right under my elbow. In a split second I saw a smiling little tiny person and I screamed my head off. This only made him smile more, so proud that he had climbed out of his crib by himself, during precious nap time.

My heart pounded. He’d scared the CRAP out of me!

I HATE that kind of startle. I can’t imagine who likes it, though people do – that’s why they have Knott’s Scary Farm, which I went to one time in college on a double date and spent the whole night screaming in misery. I finally just closed my eyes and made my boyfriend guide me around so I wouldn’t see the ghouls jumping out at me.

I hadn’t heard my son coming that day. I had a sidler.

After lots and lots of tactics (you get a treat if you don’t climb out of the crib being the one that worked best,) Spenser stayed in his crib and I was able to trust my alone time again.

Then came the BIG BOY BED!

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I know the first reaction is: put up a baby gate! S’s room is a converted dining room, so it has a door and then a huge opening into the living room. I priced large, custom baby gates and they are expensive. Also, I know that I won’t need them for long…. but most importantly, the thought of him feeling like he’s trapped in his room makes me a little sad. I guess I’d rather lose sleep. And the truth is, he will probably sidle up to my bed until he goes to college. I know I woke my parents all the time for things – feeling sick, nightmares, I heard a noise etc.

And speaking of losing sleep – Every night now, I go to bed, exhausted from the long day, ready for a great 8 hours of slumber and I lie there – awake, anticipating my sidler at my bedside any second. I’ve often jolted up, thinking I heard him, when he was actually sound asleep.

The first night of sleeping in the big boy bed, he did indeed scare the crap out of me when he sidled up to my bed and woke me.

So now, no matter how tired I am or how early I go to sleep, I toss and turn until the sidler sidles up to my bed. Usually between 1am and 2am.

I know like all phases of motherhood/childhood, this one will pass. Either I will get comfortable with being awaken in my sleep or S will just sleep through the night again. Hopefully both.

Or I can always put a pack of tic tacs in his jammies.

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Just another super cool single mom.

momsolo:

Love their costumes!!!

Originally posted on becklist:

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Photo of single mom, Sandra Bullock, and her son via FameFlynet

 

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THE CIRCUS AND THE BEST ACT

S wanted to go to the circus. Thanks to children’s programming (mostly an old Mr. Rodger’s episode I rented from the library) and a few circus books, the circus was in order. So I found a non animal circus was in town and bought tickets. I got a good deal on living social - I didn’t get the cheap bench seats or the nice reserved seats, but I got the middle open seating seats.

I drove very far and got there early. We parked in a dirt lot next to the big top. We were so excited for our adventure – the clowns and acrobats (no elephants or tigers… I couldn’t do it. There was an animal circus option in town too, that promised humane treatment and yet – I still couldn’t do it.)  I’ve become fascinated by the circus life – the travel in trailers, the career circus families, the way they all do many jobs -and the crew travels with them and life on the road. I romanticized about Night Circus.

I was determined to have the full experience, so when we arrived, I let Spenser buy a $5 cotton candy. After a few excited bites, he declared, “Me not like this,” to which I was thrilled. Then, I bought him the light up sword he wanted, for $10 (which I’m sure cost them thirty cents from Oriental Trading Company – now falling apart so rapidly, it’s a joke. I have 3 huge piece of tape on this 1 day old sword.)

There was a cute pre show where the kids got up and juggled scarves and balanced feathers on their palms. Then, when the show began, I bought a $7 popcorn – stale and from a bag.

The acts began – dancing, magic, juggling, acrobats…. a modern clown without clown make up, which I had to keep explaining was really a clown, because S kept asking, “where are the clowns?” Then they came around and showed me the photo they’d taken of us and I bought it for $10.082

Then, I finally gave into the please may I have a snow cone in a flashing light up glass?request. For $8. He loved it for about 10 minutes… then he was done and that red stuff became my nightmare. The red liquid got all over my white pants! Why did I wear white pants to a circus? Because I’d never been to a circus before and didn’t realize how dirty they are! Coming from a theater background, the circus is not the theater… it’s dirty like a carnival with seats. I’m pretty sure my nice white pants are ruined. They are soaking in stain remover now and meanwhile, this morning, S’s hands, lips and legs are stained with red snow cone juice. His body is STAINED like he’s been slapped!

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Here is a waste of $20:

094 For most of the show, S sat on my lap. I hugged him as my mind wandered: how old are these costumes? do they stink? what are the auditions like to be in the show? are any of these performers born into the job? who hates each other in the cast? are they just so sick and tired of this show and traveling? are they all backstage like “oh good, the drum act is up, I have time for a smoke”? why is the ring master constantly fiddling with his head set microphone? should I have gone to the circus with animals? would it have been more circus-like? is Spenser enjoying this? how much money have I spent/wasted? this is a very racially diverse cast. wow, that woman is so masculine and that man is so feminine. the arena is maybe 60% full I wonder if they are in financial danger. well, they must make a fortune on the light ups swords and stale popcorn – so I’m glad I wasted all my money on this crap because it’s like a circus donation. the performers seem tired. ooops that trapeze performer fell into the net and didn’t even try the trick again.  can I bleach my white pants?

And then Spenser said to me, “Mom, can I watch PBS kids?” (which is an app on my phone!!!!)!!!! He hardly ever asks that – just when I bring him to a boring meeting or something. In this case, a man was flipping in the air to very loud music.

OMG!

“Are you ready to go? Let’s just go,” I said.

“No, no! I want to stay!”

So we stayed to the end when he proclaimed, “I want more! But where are the clowns?”

The clown is here in white.  The other guy is the lead magician.

The clown is here in white. The other guy is the lead magician.

But let me tell you about the BEST ACT of the whole night:

Before the show, I noticed a mother sitting with her children on a picnic bench. She’d brought them dinner in styrofoam cups and was calmly chatting with an old man who’d stopped by to talk of his days of a performer. I stared at the woman and her children as I counted – 6. This woman had 6 well behaved, seemingly pleasant children from ages about 13 to 2. There were no twins. It seemed like they were all about 2 years apart. The woman was attractive, calm and smiley. The old man she was being so nice to had approached me earlier and though I was pleasant to him, I didn’t let him engage me in his stories. I smiled at him and nodded but moved on. This mother of 6 was being SO SWEET to him! As she talked to him I listened and heard that she also grew up in LA and lived not far from me. She was the smoothest juggler I’d ever seen, with 6 kids and an old man high in the air, catching each one without effort.

Here I am a single mom with 1 child and everyone worries about how hard it must be for me. All parents with 1 or 2 kids freak out and stress out and complain and need help and here’s this woman, by herself with 6 kids.   And yes, I’m sure the older ones are helping out now, but still there was a time when she had a bunch of little ones. And yes, maybe they have a lot of money and have help during the days… but they were in the cheap bench seats in the back. 7 tickets at $20 is still a lot. I didn’t see those kids with red stained faces or light up swords, but she did take photos of all of them with the performers. And do kids really NEED all the crap I bought S? Nope. I wish I hadn’t bought any of those things.

I like to imagine that the mom of 6 is a great mom, a loving mom, with boundaries and rules and positive reinforcement. I imagine that it just works for her. I imagine that she doesn’t have a nanny and has done most of the parenting by herself (she was wearing a ring, but there was no husband at the circus – works long hours?)

Who knows what her life is like, but her demeanor that night was relaxed and happy. She was the fire eater who didn’t break a sweat.

When people ask me if it’s hard being a single mom I always want to say actually, it’s easy, but that tends to enrage people, so I just say “no, we are doing great.”  I mean, all parents have challenges, but I don’t feel that mine are harder than anyone else’s. So if you just accept that all parenting is fully engaging and at times difficult, then me saying it’s easy is relative, of course.

I now have this image of this mom of 6, making it look simple and doable and FUN! Yep. Being a mom is fun. She was flying through the evening with the greatest of ease – the mother of six on the flying trapeze. And this mom didn’t fall, but if she had, I’m sure she would have climbed up and tried again. I want to believe she doesn’t have nannies or a lot of money and she just does it well because she loves it and she doesn’t stress out about little things.

On the way home from the circus, S fell asleep in the car and I ran over an orange construction cone on the freeway. I pulled over to a gas station and tried to crawl under my car and pull it out. Luckily, there were 2 construction workers who saw me and came over to help. It took both of them to dislodge the cone as they said, “we run over them all the time too.”

I said single motherhood was easy, but I never said that I didn’t need a little help sometimes.

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MY ADULT LIFE

MY ADULT LIFE

Inspiration

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BIG STEPS

I sat down to write and got distracted on Facebook, I watched this video  by OK GO and it made me motion sick. It’s a very cool video, but I’m still dizzy (I’m SO sensitive!!)

I guess I wanted to write a bit about some other things making my head spin. There are a lot of changes all of a sudden:

*My son turned 3

*My son is potty trained

*My son dropped naps

*My son has graduated from crib to big boy bed

*My son has developed a very strong will, passionate temper and ability to fight

*My son is about to start preschool

He’s handling all of his accomplishments very well. All these changes are exciting and wonderful and as S grows, he’s getting more independent, which is great. And yet hard and painful for me. I feel a little knot in my stomach, as preschool draws near. Just as the naps dropped and a full day of fun is on the table, now school will take that place. I made a huge list of things I want to do with him before he goes to school – museums, attractions, amusement parks, farms etc. I think I’m not the only one who’s feeling it – S has been a little uncharacteristically clingy and adorably loving.

Without that 2 hour break from the naps, I’m feeling overwhelmed and lost, desperate for time to pay bills or make food or clean or wash my hair. Talk on the phone… ha!

So… school is starting and I should be relieved because I will have about 2 hours (after travel time) to get some stuff done – but its not the same- because while I’m having ME time, my little baby will be becoming a big boy. He will be having experiences without me and making friends and doing things that I can’t tell him to stop doing and he will be… growing up. He will say things that I won’t hear. He will do things I will never see. He will learn things that I don’t teach him…. I know, it’s healthy and normal.

He’s ready. I’m not…. or maybe I am. I don’t know yet. I just know that this has been the best 3 years of my life. And being solo here, Spenser and I spend pretty much all of our time together and have for all of his life. I need a little time to myself to get stuff done, yet, I don’t really want time away from him.

Life. Just more reminders that nothing stays the same. The baby days were precious and these next years will be too. Just the next step up – a big one.

(btw I’m still dizzy from that video… or from life whizzing by)

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I HAVE AN HOUR….

S is sleeping.

Do I write a blog post or FINALLY watch the first episode of season 2 of Orange is the New Black?

…… G’night.

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KALE SALAD WITH SERRANO, MINT, AND BREADCRUMBS

momsolo:

I always think of kale as the garnish they put on trays on the cold food items at buffets.
I had 4 helpings of Barrett’s Kale salad, this weekend. I can’t wait to make it for myself so I can be one of those women who says “I love kale,” because if its in this salad…. I do.

Originally posted on VALLEYBRINK ROAD:

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I was so inspired by my meals at abc kitchen in New York that I wanted to recreate some of the delicious dishes I had for a dinner party. So, last night, Andre and I invited some of our nearest and dearest over for a little taste of ABC. The meal was a success and the recipes a breeze. I will be making the kale salad and kabocha squash toast over and over again for many dinner parties to come. Below you will find the recipe for the kale salad. It is out of this world.

menu

kabocha squash and homemade ricotta toast with mint and maldon salt

kale salad with serrano, mint, and breadcrumbs

spaghetti al’limone

blood orange and satsuma mandarin sherbets

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KALE SALAD WITH SERRANO, MINT, AND BREADCRUMBS

Serves 4 (Makes enough dressing for 8)

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest from 2 to 3…

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