Tired Mom Tells a Story

“Mom, tell me a story. ’bout the real Goldilocks, not just Goldie and Bear.”

“Ok, sure. The real Goldilocks. Right, so… here we go.”

Onesuponatime, there was a girl. A blonde girl. I mean gold… gold girl. Girl with gold hair. And her name was Goldie… locks. Goldilocks.

Goldilocks was… um… going into a house, the bears’ house. She went into a stranger’s house and just made herself at home, didn’t she? Rude.

In Goldie and Bear, she was delivering an invitation but I don’t know why the OG Goldie was in a bear’s house. Did she even have a reason or like… are fairy tales just… plotting for the sake of the moral and not even… Oh right, sorry so…

Goldilocks was in the house and she… went in the kitchen and she ate some porridge. Or she found some porridge and the Dad’s was too hot.

“The Papa. His name is Papa Bear.”

Right, Papa. The Papa’s was too hot and the baby’s was too cold? Or the Mama’s was too cold and the baby’s was good? I don’t remember. There were three bowls and she ate one. And then she… um… she did nothing. She… did… nothing.

….

“Mom? You ‘wake?”

What?! Yeah, yeah. Uhh… so then she broke the chair and um… slept in the bed? And the Papa’s side was too lumpy and the Mama’s side was too hard so she fell asleep in the Baby’s bed and… then what happens? How does this story end? Do the bears eat the girl or like, what’s the point of… of any of this? Bears and positioning everything on a spectrum on which the middle is the only viable option? Like… why is this even a story?

I… don’t know. Dude, I don’t remember this story at all. Can we do Star Wars instead?

“OK, Mom. Tell the New Hope story.”

Sweet. I can do that one in my sleep.

A long time ago…

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Listen to L

I’m gonna be one of those people right now. One of those people who says, “I don’t DOooOOoooOOoo New Year’s Resolutions, BUT!” and then totally blah blah blab about what I’m planning to do differently in the New Year.

Give me a little credit though. It is February. I’m not posting my Not-A-New-Years-Resolution resolution like, a month ago when it would be most appropriate. Also, this resolution started two years ago and has been building steam ever since.

Here it is. Are you ready? It’s profound and triumphant… for me:

I am going to stop caring about the thoughts and opinions of people who don’t matter.

It used to be so very important not only that I was able to freely express my thoughts and opinions on a subject that meant something to me but that others agreed with me and validated my feelings. As you can imagine, that did not happen. And that not happening made me question myself and the legitimacy of my thoughts and feelings. And spiral spiral crazy-making emotional mess sobbing on the floor of my closet because I’m always wrong about everything EVER!

When really, my thoughts and feelings were just fine. It was the people who were wrong. Or, not even wrong just… you know, not really involved so who cares what they thought.

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“Safe driving is for girls!”

Like bitchy women at Target. Why should I care what they think? Or randos in the mall who don’t like the cut of my jib/pant legs and can’t help but criticize in overly loud whispers within earshot. Or people driving like they just finished watching Fast & Furious who honk at me for not turning left on a red light doing 90mph and then pass me at a truly ill-advised time screaming, “LEARN HOW TO DRIVE!” because somehow I’m the bad guy in this situation?

Or my in-laws when I make the rules about health and safety for my children and they disagree. Or try to break those rules. I learned two years ago to let go my concerns for their thoughts and feelings about how I raise my children because they dooooo noooooot maaaaaatter. What matters is that my children are healthy and safe.

This year, I’m extending my Do Not Care policy to friends and relatives who offer NOT advice or concern but derision, judgments, and those awesome “jokes” that are really just offensive statements followed by a laughy emojis and “haha” on Facebook (GAWD I hate Facebook). Also on the list: salespeople, waitstaff, irrational customers and any vendor or healthcare professional–people I pay for services–who act unprofessionally.

Henceforth, I’mma LL Cool J that shiz:

 

fd4dca0b3d968d1727c9d967435c7658-245x198x24Listen, haters, you say what you’re gonna say but, I don’t receive that.

Thanks LL.

 

Absence Makes the Joke Grow Fonder

Working with pre-teens is such a trip because they repeat what they hear in an effort to look cool but without any of the necessary context to understand what they’re saying or how stupid (or inappropriate) it sounds. I used to just shake my head and laugh but now that I’m like, a legit grownup*, and a role model of sorts, I reaaaaallly feel like I should probably say something.

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*Like a parent with kids I can’t give back after class ends.

Case in point: My Body is Ready

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Let me share first, a fun resource I’ve just discovered that I’m sure I’m the last grandpa shouting at clouds to find: KnowYourMeme.com Owing to my lateness in arriving to grownup town**, I am not totally unaware of memes and their prevalence in youth culture (like a certain fake 26 year old on a show I can’t wait to see the next season of), but I’m also… like… busy, man. I got two jobs and two kids and right now, two WIPs going on so I don’t have time to engage in every bit of internet ridiculousness. So Know Your Meme is like the Cliffsnotes of middleagedom.

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**I got to be an idiot for a long time before becoming a grownup, unlike Liza who spent her youth being a mombot and has to catch up to culture now to stay relevant in her profession.

And today, instead of engaging with the original material like a responsible scholar, I used the condensed version and learned the following:

“My Body is Ready” is a catchphrase mainly associated with image macros wherein the subject is posing in a seductive manner or smiling creepily, similar to the usage of “Draw Me Like One of Your French Girls.” In discussion forums, the phrase is often used to humorously convey one’s excitement or anticipation towards the impending arrival of a desirable object or an event.

The phrase was originally uttered by Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime[1] during the company’s demonstration of Wii Fit at the E3 press conference held on July 11th, 2007. As Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and translator Bill Trinen unveiled the Wii Balance Board, Fils-Aime walked up onto the stage and stated “My body…My body is ready” before stepping onto the accessory to start the demonstration.

Ok, so… imagine, if you will, hearing a group of 11 to 13-year-old boys repeating the phrase over and over again while playing a physically active game. They don’t know what it means, they don’t know the implications, and they haven’t yet discovered that the repetition of joke phrases actually makes it LESS funny.

I was forced by my conscious to act.

What I wanted to say was, “Children… I do not think that means what you think it means.”

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But what I actually said was, “Please stop using that phrase. It’s inappropriate.”

That one actual teenage boy present, the one who probably does engage with the material and knows exactly what the phrase means, did his best not to laugh.

“Also,” I said, because I just want to teach them the way, “repeating a joke actually makes it LESS funny. Obey the rules of comedy, kids.”

Yoda’s Little Basket

My son found the leftover stack of Yoda napkins from his birthday party, unfolded them, and lined them up across the kitchen floor.

“This is the path to baby sister,” he tells me. He walks across it with his arms out for balance.

“When you’re finished walking your path, can you put it away please?” I ask, thinking of the unholy mess of little green shreds I’ll find if the cat gets to it before I do.

“No, Mom. The path doesn’t just end,” he says. “The path never just ends.”

The path… never just ends. Hmm.

“Profoundly true, baby,” I say, thinking of endings and beginnings, doors closing and windows opening. “Wait… what?” I ask, because I’m not sure I heard that last thing he said. “Did you… just call me a poop basket?”

“Yeah,” he says, tossing a transformer behind the couch.

“Yup, that tracks.”

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“You a poop basket, Mom.”

 

My Toddler, the Philosopher

“Mom, you a floating bird feather?” my son asks me as he’s falling asleep last night.

“Am I a what, now?”

“A floating bird feather.”

“I… don’t know. Are you?”

“No, Mom,” he says, like that’s a ridiculous question to ask him. “Me a boy!”

“What am I?”

“A mom.”

“Glad we cleared that up, then.”

But am I a floating bird feather? Are we all just floating bird feathers, dropped from our divine host into the ether to float through life, alternately flying and falling, caught in the current and wholly out of control of our mortal trajectory?

And we used to just talk about vampires at bedtime.

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How to Deal with the Indecisive

I have this simple rule with my toddler when I have to ask him the same question more than 3 times: If you won’t decide, then I’ll do it for you.

It always works. Either he makes the decision quickly–which is what usually happens–or I do and the thing gets done.

Meanwhile, I asked my husband 5 or 6 times to help me decide who and in what order to put the emergency contacts on my son’s preschool enrollment application and he has blown it off repeatedly. I don’t have time for this nonsense. I decided, it’s done, and now he has no say in the matter.

So… henceforth… my toddler rule applies to EVERYONE.

Listen up, all the indecisive people in my life:

IF YOU WON’T DECIDE, THEN I WILL DO IT FOR YOU

and guess what else:

YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND I DO NOT CARE IF YOU ARE UPSET.

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Livin’ That Mom Life

“Morning time! It’s morning time,” my toddler announces repeatedly from crackly baby monitor feed, through hallway, and directly into my face as I sleep on the very edge of the mattress. My husband is still snoring from the center of the bed because years of marriage and cohabitation haven’t broken him of the habit. The baby is stirring, by which I mean flailing, in her bassinet.

“Les go downstayahs?” the boy asks.

“You wanna go play in your room for a few minutes?” I suggest instead.

“Yeah! Me wanna play in my room wit you!”

“OR, do you want to play in your room by yourself and then we’ll go downstairs in a few minutes?” I try again.

He laughs. Loudly. Maniacally. And he runs back into the hallway to rattle the baby gate at the top of the stairs. “Les go, Mom! It’s morning time! Les go downstayahs.”

My husband chuckles, “so that failed.”

“He’s too smart, man. I hope it serves him well some day because it kinda sucks for me right now.”

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Oprah’s Big Ole Heart

There are few things more enjoyable on a cold morning than a warm beverage in a quiet place with a nice view. That place for me is work on a Sunday when less than an eighth of the people who usually work on my floor are here and most of them are just trying to get their stuff done so they can leave. Meanwhile, I’m here for the duration so I’m taking my coffee break in the lobby by the big windows, enjoying the sunshine and silence.

There is so little silence in my life anymore.

Friends, blog readers, countrypeople… I have reason to believe that I have recovered from my “baby blues” and have rejoined the world as a normal person who already had issues with mild depression and occasional existential dread. And it feels wonderful!

It feels like time to start the editing process of my NaNo project, which was written at the height of my baby crazies and is therefore probably a giant pile of poo. I’m sure it has all the narrative flow of my wildly unpredictable mood swings and stays on topic like a dog at the window on a windy day.

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And all those concerns that no one would be interested in reading it? Pashaw! Mental illness is all the rage these days! Oprah will be singing my praises for being so “raw” and “honest”. Especially with such emotional tenderness as this:

“See…” I’m clenching my fists now. Emphatic gestures to follow. “That’s not a normal thing to say! ‘She’s not as mean now,’ is not a reasonable justification for continuing to take our child to a terrible doctor. ‘Not as mean now’ isn’t a glowing review on Yelp. It’s not a person you would willingly chose to take care of your sick child!”

“I just don’t want to change doctors now. I don’t like it.”

“What YOU like has nothing to do with the quality of medical care our son gets! How is this about you at all? Because she’s your doctor too? I’ve got news for you, cupcake, she’s not very nice to you either.”

“It doesn’t bother me is all.”

“Then keep going to her. But let’s switch to the other pediatrician.”

“I just don’t… think it’s… good.”

“I just don’t think YOU are good, you selfish prick!”

“Hey!” he says, pointing to the boy.

Because that’s exactly what we need now, I think, to have our kid calling people pricks. The mea culpa stops my tirade for the moment, but I’m not done. I’m starting to think about all the times I thought I was doing the right thing only to question myself after one of her shitty comments. I’m thinking about those first few weeks with my son when I was still suffering silently with the trauma of his birth, the pain of breastfeeding, the discomfort of my changing body, and the overwhelming emotions of it all and instead of having a doctor I could trust and speak to candidly, I had this bitch making me feel worse.

In comparison, my daughter’s doctor asked me how I was doing. He made me feel normal. He listened. He asked questions and he answered mine. And then, when I admitted I wasn’t so great, he offered me resources. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

“The deal was that we’d check out the new place and see if we liked it. We did, we do, I don’t see why we can’t switch,” I say with less bite. Instead, I feel the tears welling up, the warmth in my throat that tells me a mini-breakdown is on its way. “I just want someone I can talk to, like actually talk to and be honest with instead of always pretending everything’s ok just so I won’t be judged.”

“OK,” he says but it’s distracted and dismissive and he’s looking at his phone again.

“Can you just… with the phone? Can you listen?”

“I’m listening,” he says but he’s not. Even when he is, he’s not comprehending, so what’s the point?

“You know–” I start and the anger is rising again. Peaks and valleys, dips and swerves, my emotions are a five star coaster in a two-bit park and it’s about to break down.

But my son can’t find his red transformer and he’s starting to panic. Normally, my husband wouldn’t even notice, wouldn’t hear the repeated phrase, “My red transformer, my red transformer, my red transformer.” Normally, he would ignore even direct requests for help if it interrupted whatever nonsense he was partaking in but right now, of course, when there is something more important happening on the couch, his focus is on the floor.

He gets down on his elbows and knees to search under the bookshelf and I’m left looking at his ass and wondering what to do with all this righteous indignation. The conversation is far from over but I don’t want to interrupt him playing with his son. Instead, I swallow my bitterness, chase it with a handful of my son’s cheese crackers, and check Facebook for the third time in half an hour.

Oprah’s crying right now as she reads this. I’ve obviously touched her heart.

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Against All Two Little Adorable Odds

Happy last day of NaNoWriMo 2017! If you haven’t finished, may all the words unburden themselves from your finger tips and your editing brain take a little break until you’re done.

I’m proud to announce that despite a buttload of obstacles (and by buttload, I mean the actual unit of measure equaling a barrel of wine which I cannot drink because I am nursing) I got my 50,000+ words thereby making me a…

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I mean, I’m a winner no matter what because I look my mirror reflection in the eye every morning and tell her so, but it is gratifying to accomplish a goal and get a t-shirt so I can brag about it.

What I cannot brag about, however, is having a finished manuscript. Far from it. I can imagine the chapter I’m currently writing as being the last one but I have the kind of ending that’s like… “the only change was in my mind and I still haven’t decided what to do about it. The End”

True to life, man. Because I think I’ve finally emerged from the dark cave of baby blues–or at least found the exit, if I haven’t quite made it through the gift shop yet–and I don’t know what the hell to do with myself now. This WIP, this challenge was the thing that was keeping me going. After today, I don’t know. I’ll just have to use “getting through the holidays” as my motivation to keep moving forward until I find something else to cling to.

Maybe I’ll put an effort into finishing my NaNo project. Maybe I’ll start something new. Either way, I’ll definitely be doing it from a better mental state than I started this month.

Going Dark for Art

I’m having trouble with this chapter in my NaNo WIP because it’s a mental/emotional breakdown scene and I’m just. not. there right now.

Having just resurfaced after a particularly difficult time, I don’t reeeeeally want to put myself back there just to write about it. And the stuff I wrote while I was there isn’t enough to make the chapter work. So what do I do?

I tried locking myself in my room, turning the sad music up to eleven and getting to a bad enough place to start the chapter but both children were crying downstairs, my husband was getting frustrated, and I couldn’t NOT go check on my lovebugs. I ended spending the next 20 minutes nursing, 30 minutes after that playing LEGO house, and then it was just about time for our bedtime routine.

Today, I’ve got to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping, the projects at work that I’ve been putting off because of that whole maternity leave/postpartum pseudo depression stuff, and cleaning my house since we finally fired our officious cleaning lady.

How DOES one find the time to recreate a depressive episode?

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