Butt really

We all gaze at our kids when they are little.  Their little noises, lips, legs. All so cute.  So when I saw Rex standing in the TV room with only his shirt on I did what any loving mom would do.  I kissed his butt.  “Oh, you are so cute, baby.”

happy times santa cruz boardwalk

happy times santa cruz boardwalk

“Mommy, I just went poo.”

“Oh”

“And you just kissed me butt!”

“Oh, well, do you need some help with that?” Realizing that he was standing just outside the open door of the bathroom.

“No.”  Oh, good I thought he has been listening to my lectures about how no one will wipe him in Kindgarten and he has to do it all himself.

“I’m not done yet.”

“Oh”. He kept getting less, and less cute and my actions seemed rash in retrospect.

The Graduate

preschool graduationMy last baby has graduated from pre school. It was a lovely affair held in our back yard.  He had been at the school for nearly 3 years.  The hat wasn’t part of the ceremony, but dang it, I wanted to see one on his head so I ordered it up.graduation party for kids

I was part of the planning, which was a piece of cake compared to what I was doing the next day, spearheading our neighborhood block party.  We had a great taco vendor I knew provide the food.  I didn’t want anyone to worry about bringing a dish.  We set up a little amphitheater in the deeper part of my yard.

home party for pre schoolersWe asked parents to bring blankets to sit on and collected pictures of the kids through the years they had been together and hung them on string with cloths pins.  I cannot take credit for this idea, but it is one to steal.

preschool graduation

school guinea pig is in the cage

The kids marched in from behind the little chairs singing with their teachers Dewi and Douglas the chorus to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate”.  We sang with them. Dewi has been with Rex since he was 2 and half. That’s a heartfelt hug. When it was Rex’s turn to get his diploma I delighted in not only his accomplishment, but at how happy his friends were to see him go up and get hugs from the teachers and get his honor. He also got the book they had been keeping on him while he was there.  When his teacher spoke about working with the kids she teared up and I cried enough to make a bit of sound.pre school record

The kids played, adults drank wine, we had an ice cream truck.  Couldn’t have been better.

Though it’s a sweet little school it’s an unattractive semi industrial area of Hollywood.  It always a challenge to park as big swaths of the street are designated commerical loading for the production companies.  It has been an ongoing battle and I thought we had made head way with hour Councilman that we need Green zone, that gives you 10 to 15 minutes to drop off.  We also had a parking officer who let up on us this last year.  One can’t drop off little kids casually.  There is also an abandoned yard next to it ( Thanks to the DWP who own it and have left it to rot)  Though in the the course of their schooling the kids and teachers took little walking field trips and found the cool bits in the neighborhood.  Then the kids photographed their favorite thing.  Quite rightly my son took a picture of a fireman. That’s my boy. So, it wasn’t in rolling hills, it was ok.

after one year of preschool

after one year of preschool

On Monday they had a last half day.  When I picked him up I gave out hugs and presents to his teachers.  This was it.  I wouldn’t ever be a pre school mom again.  Door shut.  It’s a sweet time of life and I’m glad I got to experience it again through my kids.  I appreciated more with them then I did in my own time.  Which is why I think Rex is so wise to see it’s value now.  As we drove to a play space that a smart mom had set up for us to meet and have a pizza party Rex shared this:

“Momma,  I’m sad.  I want to stay in preschool for the rest of my life and play with my friends.”

I understand, I said.  I didn’t say.  It doesn’t get better.  This is the most carefree you’ll ever be in your life.  You are right to be sad about this passing moment. In a few years, more of life’s detris will come crashing on you, play while you can my son!

Then I dabbed away my tears with the parking ticket I had just gotten for parking in a commercial loading zone near his school.  Maybe, after all, I was ready to move on.

pediatric dentistry

Rex just had general anesthesia for some cavities.  I had no idea they were doing this now.  My dentist just shamed me till I let her work on me.

if this was my dentist I would be like Marcia Brady in that episode when she dreams of being "Mrs. Marcia Dentist"

if this was my dentist I would be like Marcia Brady in that episode when she dreams of being “Mrs. Marcia Dentist”

“you crying?  You crying?  Why you crying?  Your sister isn’t crying.”  I look over and see my sister serenely in the other chair bravely handling the Novocaine shot.  Did I mention I grew up in LA and my mom took us to a black woman dentist so we had positive role models?  Might have been more positive if she hadn’t been so rough.Tough love ’70′s has given way to medicate 21st c.

It’s in favor to not traumatize kids with dentistry.  We tried it a few weeks ago with laughing gas, but he just got more fun.  One of the doctors said he is “spicy”. Full of beans I always say.  So this morning he got a shot.  Cried, then fell asleep in my arms.  They carried him in and his 3 cavities had morphed to 6.  Little ones against each other.  The dentist said to avoid gummy vitamins… they get in and hard to get out with brushing.  Hard enough to get him to brush his teeth, unlikely big flossing would happen shortly.  Here I thought it was good I was giving them vitamins.  Bad mom. Oh and by the way, insurance doesn’t pay for the anesthesia.

I peaked in.  He was passed out, mouth open wide, oxygen over his nose, IV in his hand, a blanket over his body and his little feet peeking out.  Oh, the vulnerability!  ( he hates wearing shoes)

When he came out of it, slowly emerging from the sleep, he was very dizzy.  We carried him to the car and I sat next to him.  They said, “don’t let him drive”  I did let him take the wheel this weekend at the Peterson museum.kid area in peterson auto museum  Carried him in, laid down on the coach and watched Brave.  By the last half hour of the film he was better.
“I want a grilled cheese sandwich.”

A good choice.

 

 

Time I want back

We’ve all been there.  In line at DMV, on  a bad date, sitting in a friend’s solo show.  Where you can feel life ebbing by and you are trapped.  You have to stay, you can’t go. You can feel your mortality dripping away  like a tipped over, open jar of honey.  But, you must stay.  For the license, to be polite, see your friend cry and take their shirt off.

A moment where you say “I want this time back.”  As a friend recently quipped to me, “Add it to the list.”  Is there a list?  Yes, I think there is.  Here is one for the list.

Standing in a public restroom while my son does his business.  I’ve tried to install a phobia of public bathrooms in my  kids, but so far only Vivien has caught the anxiety.  Rex will announce it’s time to go no matter what the digs are like.

Me: “Dude, wait till we get home. It’s going to be nasty.”

“No, I have to go NOW.”

This is partly why I recently hosted Vivien’s entire class for a party.  If I didn’t I know we would have ended up in Bronson Canyon Park.  I have a clause in my parenting contract, “No Bronson Canyon Park.”  I blew off Rex’s school social because that’s where it was.  The parking is bad, bees gather on the potluck food and worst of all it doesn’t have working toilets.  Only porta potties.  My kids know, run to the car.  We are out of here. How it has become the favorite  potluck park  for the 323 area code I have no idea.

Are you done yet?

So, Rex and I find the funky stores, funky bathroom. Honestly, I’ve been in a lot worse.  But, it was made worse because the toilet had one of those sensors so just when he would be mid business the thing would “Whoosh” like a jet engine. So it elongated the process.

“Mama, why is it doing that?  Stop it.”

Helpless “I can’t!”  Yes, I know the trick with the post it note, but I didn’t have one.”

It was here as I waited that I thought, look at my life at this minute. I want this time back. Wiping the little bottom, no prob.  I don’t mind that. But, could we do it at the Ritz?

 

how having a son can save you from dating pain

It’s too late for me.  I’m married and even if I wasn’t happily married, I’m too lazy to change it up now.  But, you single woman, it’s you I speak too.  Don’t get to sad about men.  Don’t take it so hard when they shower you with affection than never call or text or have your name tattooed on his arm–oh whatever you kids are doing these days.  Even as Cute, Cuddly little boys they are out to BREAK YOUR HEART. Like my earlier vid Italian Film Star, I explore this dynamic again.

yeah, we don't live in a bucolic land

 

Toast

As if being in back to school re entry wasn’t bad enough, now my little guy is sick.  Get the bucket sick.  For two days!

He feels bad, and I didn’t sleep much.  A couple of times I was the bucket.  Good thing I had my hair up.

We are both toast.

I feel a little guilty enjoying his sweet constant cuddles when he is sick.  But, I hope this ends soon.  He is miserable.

who knew?

Who Knew?

That if your husband decides to clean out the garage it would take him two weeks and still not be done?

Who Knew that when he leaves out old stereo equipment and the DVD’s and VHS of your career there would be a freak July rainstorm and he didn’t think to cover these things?

Who Knew?

That the 140 times you thought, “I have to get those VHS transferd” would have been time wasted because now they are probably ruined.

Who Knew?

That you would want to force your kids to watch those tapes because this morning your 4 year old said that unlike Handy Manny “mommy, you and I don’t have a job”.

Who Knew?

I would tell my son that I do work, but “that my main job is taking care of you and Vivien.” Who Knew that would come as a surprise to me as I said it.

Who Knew that my house would end of up looking like the Clampetts.

Etiquette time with Lizzie Post

What do you do if you lost the list of gifts and givers for your son’s bday?

now, where did I put that list with the gifts Rex got??

Yes, it happened to me.  So I asked Lizzie Post, etiquette lady.  What should I do?  She said I should tell them I lost the list and to remind me of the gift.   Then I can write a proper note.  She also said if I lose a scrap of paper maybe I should write the list down digitally. I guess so.

Then I asked, what her thoughts are on thank you notes where the parent acts like they are the kid, “I loved my truck”  when we know the kid can’t read or write.  I use to do this, but lately I’m thinking, who are we kidding.  So my notes have been “Rex loved the truck”.

Though this year I have been really bad about sending notes out.  I seem to go in manner waves.

Ms. Post wanted to talk about summer manners which lead into weddings.  She disspelled something for me.  The gift doesn’t have to be the value of the dinner they are serving.  My mom told me that it did.  I said, If I don’t go I can send a cheaper gift, right?  No, Said Ms. Post.  The gift should be based on your budget.

My last question.. is it in the water or what?  But, lately I have had the experience of offering my hand when I’m meeting someone , I say, “Hi I’m Daphne.”  The new person says hi and doesn’t tell me their names.  “I’m sorry are you George Cloony or something and I should KNOW you?”  I think.

“Yes,” said Lizzie “This happens to me too.”

shaking the hand, saying her name

She does what I have done, “I’m sorry, what was your name? OR Can I ask you your name?”  But, it is so odd not to profer your name upon meeting someone.  I can’t figure out why people don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Harvey Karp, the man who got me to bed

I was cruising through the mini meetings at Mom 2.0.  They were in a big banquet hall and every 15 minutes one was to run from one table to the next depending upon the topic.  The most popular subjects were something like this, “how to make some money, or how to get eyeballs doing something every body with an ovary is doing these days.” It was standing room only at those tables. Not on the table, but next to them.

“What did she just say?”

“um, something about optimization.”

When I spied  Dr. Harvey Karp sitting at a table with only two woman.  The rest of the room suddenly went into soft focus.   The guy who wrote the book that got me through the first terrifying months of mom daughter’s life was there. 

Mr Swaddle and “shoo- shoo” shimmy himself!   To heck with it, I can’t hyper link my way  to fortune right now, I need to talk to this guy.

pediatrician with the mostest

The way I remembered it I knocked these ladies aside and then it was just US.  Me fawing, “It all worked!  My kids loved being swaddled.  My husband was so good at swaddling.”

He smiled kindly and said, “Do you have Happiest Toddler on the block?” ( sub title How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old)  I said I did, but hadn’t cracked it open in a while.  Would it be helpful with my now 4 year old son?  He said it can help with tantrums up to 5, sometimes even a little older.  So we discussed it.  He said this book was more important than the baby book “Because this will help you make them into the people you want them to be.” Yes, I nodded, especially boys who can express their feelings.   He explained you use 1/3 intensity of their voice.  Too much in your voice means it’s now about crazy mom, not tantrum kid.  Describe what you see, “you are pounding your fists on the floor, you are banging your head.  You really want me to that was important to you.”   Toddlers are not mini big kids, they think differently, he explained.

the world dissapeared...

He said, “get the DVD if you and your husband don’t want to read the book.”  Yeah, guys are more visual, right?  I sensed my 15 minutes was almost up as 3 other woman had plunked down on my turf.  I turned my back on them and leaned into the doctor for one last nugget o’ wisdom.  “My 4 year old sleeps with me most nights.  I like the cuddling”

“Sure, it’s nice.”  he agreed.

” I haven’t made a big deal about it, because I have older step children.  I know soon enough he won’t want anything to do with me, however, sometimes I’d like a little space.”

Dr. Karp reached underneath his table and pulled out. He gave it to me!  Now he was smiling to those other bitches  moms.  It was time for me to move on to upping my social media presence, taking a picture in natural light or twittering for jam and wipes.

I gazed at him one more time.  “I would love to talk to you about how I’m an Intactivist
I called out as I was forced to give up my seat and he was passing out books and smiles.

He should put all his books together and call it the Happiest Mom on the Block collection.

 

 

Teen week

Hey gang, It’s Spring Break for us. I’m taking the kids to see some family so in my stead my dear blogger friend Alexandra Schultze is going to hold down the fort.  She is funny and dear.  Take it away!

———————–

 

I met Daphne online four years ago. With her posts that blog about the warts and all of life, along with videos that made me laugh out loud every time, she pulled me through a very difficult patch in my life. I am forever grateful for that.

 

In this spirit of gratitude, I feel it my sacred duty to return the favor, and give Daphne a peek as to what’s ahead; when those you once carried on your hip now tell you “you ain’t no longer hip.”

 

Right now, my friend Daphne is loving her days as the mommy of beautiful Vivien, and an adorable pre-schooler, Rex.

Ah, the sweet days when you could contain your children within the confines of your home and were in charge of every thought and deed that came out of them.

 

Welcome to what’s not that far up ahead, Daphne. Welcome to Teen Angst Land.

Clues That Your We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Seasons In The Sun Have Now Passed

 

I went to college in the 80′s, and I, back then, had this as my daily uniform:

Proudly, too, right down to the tights around the head

The $10 a tube matte red lipstick, the mismatched earrings, the Ray-Bans. You can’t see the Walkman I’ve got in my hand, but it was there, along with the Pat Benatar cassette playing: “You’re a heartbreaker, dreammaker, lovetaker, don’t you mess around with me… no nonono no!”

Time stands still. It will always, I am convinced of this in 1984.  I have been walking tall and sniffing pies in heaven, as my grandmother used to tell me in Spanish, ever since.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip

Flash forward to a morning when getting ready to take teen DDG* son clothes shopping, I pull on my 15-year-old cowboy boots, stand up ready to go, and I say, “All right. Let’s go.”

And, he– being 15 years old, says the words that freeze any woman in her tracks: “You’re going like that?! Mom!?”

The following knee jerk responses run through my head:

  • never let them see you sweat
  • they sense fear
  • don’t lose your dominance
  • speak with confidence
  • maintain the status quo
  • do NOT buckle
  • keep your pole position

But I’m a woman, my appearance is my weak spot. I eek out,”Whaaaat, whaaa — umm, what is it that you mean, honey?”

“Mom. The way you look. You need a trip to the mall, not me.”

A woman and her appearance. Put the two together, and the images of how you still see yourself despite reality fight to be heard first:

I was hot!
Here, see? A picture in case you don’t believe me.
Wait, go ask your dad. No. Don’t.
I’ve got love letters in a box upstairs, behind my boots, that would sear your young eyes!
I once had to double book two dates for the same night, little boy.
You can’t imagine …

But, no… no well adjusted, normal, grounded mom would ever go there with her child. He already had enough terror in his voice, I couldn’t dump my stuff on that poor thing. No. I would work this s**t out.

It’s time for the truth to be the truth that needs to be faced. No more hot mama days.  There it is.

The parts are starting to fall off, and plastic replacement is not a possibility in our household. Time for age appropriate hairdos, professional hair coloring– no boot black done at home die jobs, time for shirts that cover the belly, and belts that prevent droopy diaper butt.

Time to remember that when you let your hair down after it’s been up in a rubber band all day, that you look more like Crazy Mary that roams the streets downtown mopping the bridge, then you look like a flower child.

I have often told my husband that you can tell what the year was when a person was plucked out of the dating game, by the bust-a-move they pull on the dance floor. Frozen movements in time, they will forever be doing the very last bump and grind they were popping and locking it to, before they were picked up, and plunked down into their new life as a parent.

Me? I’m still doing Madonna’s “Holiday” skip~skip~shoulder lift~shoulder lift.

I let my son suggest what to wear, and replaced the cowboy boots with the Danskos he likes better (in my mind, I’ll always be Thelma and Louise).

We get to the mall, and head toward the stores he likes best: H&M, American Eagle, Aeropostale. We pull the double doors open, enter, and begin to walk the long corridor.

 

All heads turn.

They are on him.

Yes, DDG*, your turn, baby. Your turn.
—————————————–

*Lady Di would call Prince William DDG, short for Drop Dead Gorgeous. I have always loved that.