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!

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

 

 

 

The kid needs to go back in the picture

Long time cool momers will no doubt have noticed that Rex and Vivien are in less videos than they use to be.  That darn going to school thing is taking my talent away!  I recently wrote an email to a gal about an enrichment class for Vivien.  I was asking about times and the lady wrote back asking “Are you home schooling here?”  Either because she is hoping to fill the slots for that 11:00am class or I seemed  like a brave, intelligent person who could do that.  Not the case.  I’d love to have them around more and have them in more funny videos, but if my kids were home schooled by me it’s doubtful they would be walking upright.

So, here is a little visit with the children. We just caught up over the weekend.

Not Funny Mom

Vivien was in a mood.  Cranky, sad, but we had to get to school.  I was sure it was because she had stayed up too late the night before because we had family over for Mark’s birthday.  

I drove the kids to school as I tried to respect Vivien’s feelings, but also gently remind her that this wasn’t the “worst day in the world.”

“Sweetie, you woke up in your pretty room in your nice house surrounded by your loving family, right?”

“yes”

“I told you there is a cupcake left over that you can have when you come home, right?”

“Yes”  But, I wasn’t getting much headway, she was still moping.

Then 3. 8 month old Rex said, “Mommy, maybe Vivien would feel better if we told her a joke.”

Great idea Rex.  Oh, my comic heart swelled with pride.  Then Rex told his knock, knock joke.

“Knock, Knock”
“whose there?” Vivien mumbled

“Chicken”

“Chicken cow” Rex smiled.  I guffawed on cue, because made up on the spot knock knock jokes rarely are funny, but I want to encourage them so I was slapping my knee.

“That wasn’t funny.” Vivien scowled.

He tried again.  “Knock, Knock”

“Whose there?”

“Turkey”

“Turkey who?”

I wasn’t thinking, I blurted out a punch line.

“Turkey Lurky, and we are going to eat you!.”  Totally lame, but it cracked Vivien up.

Rex started crying.  Vivien was now smiling, and I was the asshole comic who had to top the other comic in the room.

after a recent show, when my timing was better

“That was my joke, that was NOT funny mommy.” Rex said through tears. The rest of the drive to school was filled with him yelling and crying.  Vivien and I were trying to console him now.  NOT working. You know those all too numerous times you are driving around with a screaming child in your car and you are powerless to stop it?  That’s what I had on my hands.  It was my fault to boot.

I dropped her off and suggested what would make me feel better: food.

“Rex, want to go with me to buy bagels at the bagel store?” He nodded.  When we parked he unbuckled and stood in the car doorway pouting.

” I wanted my joke to make Vivien feel better, but it was your joke that did.  I’m sad.”

“Rex I am so sorry.  I should not have stepped on your line.  I’m so sorry.  But, it was your idea to tell her a joke and that DID help her feel better, so you did it.  You made her feel better.”

“But, you made the laugh.”

“Comics are terrible people. I’m sorry.”  Then we got bagels holding hands and he got a fruit cup from another store.  We were okay.

I’m proud of Rex that he wanted to make Vivien feel better and thought, like his mom, that humor is the way to healing.  I’m proud of him that he articulated his feelings to me. He is finding his way.  I just need to keep my mouth shut.

discouraging children from acting

The best kind of performing

Because of my TV and Vlogs my kids are comfortable in front of the camera.  When they shoot the cool mom vlogs with me it takes minutes and if they don’t want to, fine, go play in the mud.  Occasionally producers have asked for my kids to be in a branded shoot.  I always make sure they are compensated and all of it goes into their 529 or IRA.   According to the Coogan law parents of child performers only have to set 5% aside of the kids earnings, which I think is far too little.  I put 100% in.

My kids performed well.  Especially Vivien did what she needed to do on cue.  I was proud of her.  Look at her, cutie pie! 

Now, the most recent shoot we were on was longer and more involved than others.  It was also done during a heatwave. While I love being with my children and love having them get some money for their future I am glad that being involved in a production makes them never want to be actors.

 

“This is boring mommy”.  That’s right production is a lot of sitting around and waiting.

“Why are we doing this again? We did this shot already?”  I know, we have to do it again for different angles, there was a lighting problem, etc.

It was  like a scared straight treatment for budding thespians.

Having been bitten by the performance bug as a tyke, I get it. Yet, seen through the lense of irregular employment, no pension and crows feet I feel acting is the low hanging fruit of ambition. As I helped her out to the set on the HOT day I said, “lawyers work in air conditioned offices all day.  Finance people get up early, but people go and get them lunch while they make obscene amounts of money.”   I learned last year that I wouldn’t be taking them on auditions. Since the people running them are assholes. But, was open for stuff like this that fell in our collective lap.

I don’t want my kids to be going on auditions for the next 50 years.

I don’t want them to have insecure employment.

I don’t want them to need to diet or alter their face in order to get a job.

I don’t want them to worry about eating cat food when they are 70.

I don’t want them to go “wow, I use to work with Ryan Seacrest and now he is 12,000 times more succesful than I.”

Basically, I want them to choose a different path than my own.

I have had some FANTASTIC times working in broadcasting and entertainment.  I’ve met some famous people.  I’ve also had gigs where I did very little and got paid well.

When I hosted “The X- show” on FX.  One of our favorite guests was Sammy Hagar. Circa 2000- 2001.  I forgot that Gary Coleman was also there that day. Sure, I could show the picture of me with Hillary Clinton or at the White House, but this seemed more fun.

But, having lived most of my life in LA I also see the desperate, agitated middle aged lady with puffy lips snapping at a clerk while she orders her wheatgrass shot ( no, it wasn’t Lisa Rinna, but in that vein).

So, this shoot done on the hottest day of the year was hopefully unpleasant enough that the bloom is off the rose.  Show biz is 2 parts perks and red carpet and 98 parts sitting around, multiple takes, long hours, insecure employment.

Maybe the next step is to give my kids some more “sampler” careers so they can focus early.  I’m going to call a Wall Street firm about a little kid internship.  Clearly understanding that stuff is not a requirement.

 

Amsterdam: the comings and goings

In short, what a great trip.  From being blessed with perfect weather to being surrounded by family, ones we knew and new ones to us.

The transitions of travel are always the worst.

Most difficult: leaving Rex.  My beloved sister Cecily showed up at 10am.  We were going to go to the airport at 11am.  I wanted him to feel he was leaving us, not the other way around. We had gotten him ready with lots of “how fun for you, you are going on a sleep over.”  Vivien was very good at helping with this.  As I put him in Cecily’s car he said, “I’m lucky.”  Little crack in my heart.  I started to choke up and Mark said to hold together till he left.  They pulled away and I sobbed a bit as I walked back into the house, but I stopped myself because I felt if I followed that path I would never stop.   Cecily had wisely planned to drive him straight to a fun play space.  Before we got on the plane she sent me this picture of him hamming it up in a ball pit.  Relief.

He was having more fun than we were.  So we sent them this picture.

Sitting around, sitting around.

Later when we were crammed in the plane to begin a ten-hour journey I had my first of many “better Rex is NOT here”. Anytime we were waiting around or in a crowd I thought the same as he would bolt.  I thought KLM would be a tad better than it was. It was fine and the attendants are much friendlier than US ones, but my big beef was their stupid entertainment system and the arm rests that don’t go up beyond a couple of inches.  We were three to a row, so Vivien should have been able to stretch out across her parents laps and get some shut-eye, but no. The arm rests don’t go up, they can’t there is no room for them to tuck into between the seats.  I am taking this to the Hague. Back to the gripes with the in flight entertainment.

1) the control looked like a an old game boy and if you accidentally hit it with your hip (which I did over and over again) you have to start the movie again and then fast forward to your place.  I was watching “The Vow”  a Channing Tatum romantic weeper.  Because of the bump breaks I became fixated on finishing the movie.  Mark would start to talk to me.  “I can’t talk, I have 22 minutes left of this damm film, and by God, I’m going to finish it.”  I also am now a tad obsessed with Channing Tatum.

2) non glare screen.  What a lousy screen.  I love flying Virgin to NYC as I catch up on movie watching.  But, on that flight I can see the movie.  On the flight home I gave up as the  dude behind me would not put his shade down.  I think the international sign of pointing to his window and gesturing downward didn’t work. He smiled, but didn’t do anything.  Maybe he thought I was telling him I was saying goodbye to Holland.

3) Have there been no good movies out in the last few months or does KLM have a lousy list? Going to Europe for my second film I watched, “21 Jump Street”  further cementing my Channing Tatum fixation.  I held the control in front of me for over 90 minutes so I wouldn’t hit the button and end the film.  My right arm muscles got a work out.  Actually, “21 Jump Street” was much more amusing than I had anticipated, but I thought there might be one of the Oscar nominees on the flight.

However the food was fine.  We easily moved to a cab in the Amsterdam airport.  All five of us.  Mark’s oldest son Ben, my Mother in Law, who had been stretched out in Business Class, Mark, Viv and I. We got a large cab and every single cab we had it Holland  I could live in.  They were immaculate.  The drivers were gentleman, often in blazers who spoke perfect English.  NOTHING like cab drivers in NYC or LA that’s for sure.

When we got back to the States at the end of our trip we were wrung out.  Viv and I couldn’t sleep a wink on the plane.  The bags took forever and when we went through customs I was sweating like I was in “Midnight Express”  I had some Gouda buried in my bag and I thought I might end up in the hoosegow.    Maybe I could have shoved it between my butt cheeks like a drug smuggler, but it was a big hunk of cheese.  I have had enough butt problems.   Fortunately once we said we had no tulip bulbs ( we did not) we were fine.  Fine until Mark got us on the wrong shuttle to our long term parking and we were driven to a neighboring city– not kidding.  We got back on while three rather uneducated young people screamed profanities at each other over Vivien’s head.  “hey watch your mouth”  I said, risking being stabbed.

We finally got to the car. The only thing keeping me going was seeing Rex.  I had called the baby sitter when we landed.  She said this was the first day he was getting anxious.   “Where is my mommy?”  We pulled up and he was outside.  Viv and I ran to him.  I swear he had changed in a week.  His hair was blonder, his features more defined.

” I talked to you mommy on Dolly’s phone.”  We had the day before.  “Yes, baby.”  He was happy.  Twice he said, “mommy, I didn’t cry.”

I buried my head in his soft, sweet skin.  Later around 5pm I told the kids eat now or forget it because I’m about to pass out.  Mark had gone into work.

As Viv slept and I tried to Rex was jumping on me like Hulk Hogan.  I called Mark, “Please come home.”  Later when Mark brought a sleeping Rex into our bed.  I held Rex’s foot.

I held his foot all night.

More posts on our great trip to Amsterdam will be forthcoming.

pre travel jitters

I think I become OCD before I go on a big trip.

I have pulled our passports out 4 times already and will do so 10 more times before we leave.

I always have the soap opera look, “Did I leave the stove on?” expression as I check, recheck and check again. I’m not a nervous flyer.  But, I do worry about leaving things that are essential.  Passport, credit card, children.

Of course this trip I am purposefully leaving a child behind. This has it’s tension.  I was up late wrapping little presents for his aunt and baby sitter to give him while we are gone.  Then I started thinking will he be wondering “where is mommy?” more when he gets a present from her?  How am I harming my child this time.   Finally went to bed hugging him next to me. His skin never seemed silkier, his breath never sweeter, his little hand holding mine.  The magic of holding his hand.

I warned Vivien, “When he leaves with Aunt Cecily today don’t cry.  He will follow our lead. We have to be strong for him.”  I was really telling myself.  I’m having my sister come before we go to the airport as I want him to feel he is leaving us, not the other way around.

The leave takings are always the hardest, and once a trip has started you lose yourself to the trip.  But, this is new ground for me.  One I purposely set out on, filled with misgivings.  Like going to grad school.

I pray Rex has a great, fun week playing with his cousins and friends, knowing his aunts and uncles  are there for him.

My mantra as I board the plane “it’s only a week.  It’s only a week.”  7 sleeps is what I said to Rex. 7 sleeps away from the soft skin, the sweet breath, the little hand.

what a mom blogger looks like bloggin

I was trying to edit a quick vid and Rex had rightly had enough of “Mike the Knight”.

“I’m almost done Rex”

My mom told me I could be creative as a mom as long as I could handle interuptions.  She didn’t mention the jungle gym part.

But, even when he is pulling my his little hand covering my face I sigh.  I love his little hands.

Best “momhandling”.  

Working from home.  Hard.

How a son gets lost

…it’s when I try to have any social life.  When I venture beyond the grocery store, pharmacy, park shuffle of regular routine.  This is when it happens. My husband works a lot and most nights, so my dates are usually a 6 and 3 year old for fun stuff.

Now, I believe in letting my kids feel independent and explore their surroundings without me hovering.  But, that is for our yard. Which is large, so they can feel like they are on a hike in the backyard without a helicopter parent on them.  I allow them to play without KNOWN direct supervision.  They frolic in their imaginary world, I keep the front door open and my computer faces out so I can monitor.  

Much like my dad would “give in” when we wanted to go trick or treating with just our friends.
“Ok have fun”.

We trundled off in the kind of costumes that would now probably go up in flames on the dark residential street.  When we turned around my dad and his friend George ( another dad) would duck behind the car.  We liked the balance of faux independence.

This parenting theory of mine has been GREATLY challenged by my 3 year old boy.  Last week we ran into a friend of Vivien’s from school and her mom at an outdoor mall.  While the mom and I talked  the three kids ran around and around…as in a circle. Suddenly, the circle broke off and in a flash they vanished.  I mean not a trace.  The other mom went in one direction, I in the other.  Time moves very slowly when you can’t find your children in a public place, but I think it was 5 minutes before I saw them again.  She had found them in the The Gap.  The girls listened to us to stay in on the lawn while Rex went charging off again.  I picked him up and got down to his level.

“Rex, you cannot run away so far that  mommy can’t see you.”  He started to laugh.

“It’s not funny” I started to cry, which made Vivien start to cry. ” You can run around me, but not away from me.”  Now I’m consoling Vivien and I’m thinking the other mom thinks I’m a basket case.  Whatever.

Cut, to last weekend.  I have become so incredibly unhip.  So, once in a while if I can be exposed to something cool and current that doesn’t involve a porta potty I’m all over it.

Transmission LA was that occasion.  Our friends who operate the famous Kogi bbqtrucks (delish) were parking their trucks at this art event at the Geffen at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys.  Because we were “on a list”  The kids and I were able to bypass the long line, have tacos in our hand and then sit at the outdoor rainbow dining tables in short order.

not in the mood for a picture

I gorged myself on the food.  Viv ate hers and Rex would not sit down or eat.  But, again I could see him rant around in a space that was free of cars.

Then we went into the exhibit.  It was a big white space with large rooms where one could interact with the art. Ah, perfect for kids!  The colored wheels were my favorite.  I still had to remind them to not touch, but that’s cool.  When we looked at another site with neon posts. I asked Vivien, what do you think the artist is trying to say here? Neither of  us had an answer, but we both dug it.Later, she got it and came up with a theory about the artist’s intent on another exhibit (there were butterflies), but we were all a bit stymied by the cartoon of Popeye by Takeshi Murata being so downtrodden by losing his job, the death of Olive Oyl and Pee Wee that he hung himself and then drown off in a gold car to Rush’s ” Tom Sawyer”. Rex asked, “what is happening to Popeye?” I said, the artist has a comedic ironic take on an icon.  I thought, is Popeye in the public domain? No copyright issues?

Vivien enjoyed the music coordinated with flashes of light over a Mercedes Benz ( yes, they sponsored )  Then we went through a tunnel of light and came in to a room that looked like a cartoon. It was overwhelming to the senses and made us feel like we were in a cartoon. Sidebar, if you ever considered doing psychedelic drugs, skip it and pop into this room. I could see Viv..
He was just here…Now, he was gone.

“Vivien, where is Rex?”  We ran out the door he had gone before.  Not there.  I looked up and down.  I ran to the security guard.  “I’ve lost my son.  He is 3 years old. Grey shirt, dark blonde hair.”  The lady immediately started talking to her counterparts on the radio which made me feel better.  They will find him.  This place is lousy with security.  But, then would if one of these hipsters in a Fu Manchu stache is a bad person.  No one would hear screams in this noisy place.  I ran out thinking, “he would want to go through the tunnel again.  I ran into the neon post room. That security guard didn’t have a radio.

“My son is missing.” I gave a description again and ran with with Vivien trailing.  Down one tunnel, then another.  Pushing people out of the way, “I’m sorry, please let me by my son is missing.” I pleaded.

Then we went into another tunnel of light.

A guy in a blazer, “are you looking for your son?

“yes.”

“He went that way” Pointing into the cartoon room.  I really hoped it was my kid as their were other kids.  We walked out of the tunnel and there was Rex in the middle of the cartoon room starting to cry.  The female security guard who had gotten on the radio was with him.

Vivien and I dropped to the floor and embraced him.  “were you scared Rex?”

“Mommy, where were you?”

“Sweetie, I’m here, please stay by mommy.  Please.  Let’s go home.”

“I don’t want to go home.”

“then you have to hold my hand”

I wish I had riches.  I would have a manny who always trailed him in public places.

The security guard lady had found him running back into the room and had grabbed his hand. “Some man told me ‘don’t treat that child like that.’  I said, His mommy is looking for him.”  She told me this twice so I think she felt a little insecure about her move.

“Thank you for doing that.  You did the right thing. I’m glad you grabbed his hand.”  Nice a stranger is in to kids rights, but you know anarchy stops being cool when people are looting? Sometimes you want the fuzz.

We wondered outside after a little running around more modern art that we didn’t understand.  The DJ Diplo was playing ( briefly thought they meant Duplo the lego like toy, yes, that’s why I need to get out) . Strange things the kids today are doing.  They stand up right by the DJ, like a band.  I thought that odd.  We found my friends and I told them “Rex was missing for 6 minutes.”  Was it?  Was it three, four? I don’t know, too long.   I  thanked them for hipping me up and then exited.

There were porta potties, but I waited till I got home. I had been traumatized enough.

Not that I’m getting one, but I now understand the people with leashes. My daughter was not a bolter.  Rex is.  I still want to take them out and do cool things, but I have to be far more vigilant with this guy.

Hop on mom

Do I stay up at night watching my own videos?  Yes, yes sometimes I do.  Usually to see my kids and marvel at how little they once where.  Look at Rex with his little blonde curls!  In this video I showed how some days I was hi pony mom.

 

While tough on the knees, it wasn’t so bad.  He was pretty tiny so his weight was easy.  Then he would scamper off of me, give me a carrot and go watch Calliou But, lately his fiscal demands have gotten more intense . No matter where I am, I may be pounced upon any time.  The word “No” doesn’t carry much weight.  My daughter never head butted my pubic bone, but T- Rex ( the T is for Tiger) is different.

Should I carry mace?

Current Events I Missed

Since my site has been “off” for a while I have missed commenting on the news. Posts I could have done,
” If a mom talked like Rick Santorum” had a sweater vest all ready
“If a mom looked like Newt Gingrich…she’d be featured in an ad for a lap band”
“I wish that lady who put her kid on a diet would come and live with me, I could lose a few.”
See, so much! But, let me briefly comment on the Trayvon Martin situation. Or more specifically the Hoodie.
I love my hoodies. My son loves his hoodie.
I hope my son is safe.

As I was on my morning walk today I felt that by putting up my black hoodie I was now making a political statement. Personally the only person in a hoodie whoever scared me was this guy:

hoodie