Category Archives: Parenting

Tina Fey Gets Me

Before you read anything by little old me, read what I borrowed from another blogger. A friend posted the link on Facebook. Fantastic!

A Mother’s Prayer for Its Child By Tina Fey

Tina Fey Hard At Work

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,”she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.”

-Tina Fey

I’m not sure exactly what this means about me, but I swear I had tears streaming down my face when I read this. (And I am not a crier.) I truly pray or have prayed for everyone of those things (or the sentiment behind them)  for my children. I think it was extra poignant for me because I have children at such varying ages. I’ve already lived out some of these scenarios and made it through, for better or for worse. And, with the knowledge that comes from experience, I again have one foot in that dreamy world where I still have a chance of effecting any or all of these things. It is a weird place to be. I have trouble looking at my older children without being reminded of what they were like as babies and toddlers. It makes me tender hearted toward them. My husband and father think  perhaps too tender hearted sometimes. Maybe they’re right. I also can’t look at my little girl without knowing first hand how quickly she will grow up and when all is said and done,  how little control I will have had over most of it. Even though I’m working hard to savour her early years , it sometimes seems like she’s growing up even faster than my first two babies. Almost like it was over before it started.

Enough about me. Go read A Mother’s Prayer for Its Child by Tina Fey again. And go check out  Melody Godfred ‘s blog. I know I’m going to.

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25 Years is a Long Time

Today is the 25th anniversary of my first marriage.  This, apparently, is a big deal to me.  It actually inspired me enough to write a blog. (And lately, that hasn’t been an easy task.)

To know me is to know that I am not nostalgic about my first marriage. It was a terrible marriage. I should NEVER have stayed in it as long as I did. I don’t regret the marriage. My sons, who mean the absolute world to me, would never have come into this world if my ex and I had not battled it out in the name of love for over ten years. But the marriage in itself was miserable more often than not and as was a terrible example for my sons. I am very lucky that my second marriage is to a man who has taught my sons so much about what it really means to be a man. They are both kind, loving people who treat women with respect, in no small part to my husband. But 25 years is a long time, right?

My ex and I never talk. We just don’t need to. We don’t have young children together anymore, so its not mandatory.  We’ve been divorced nearly 15 years, and I’ve been remarried for almost 13. He has married and divorced two more women since me. We’re long removed from our squabbles. But we don’t like to push it, so we keep communication to a minimum. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to receive a text from him this afternoon acknowledging our anniversary. We marveled briefly over how young we were and what great boys we made. He took a rare opportunity to praise me and thanked me for doing a good job in raising them.

Our wedding day truly seems like a lifetime ago. Seriously, it was 25 years ago, people. My god, I wasn’t even 25 years old yet. Hell, I wasn’t even quite yet 20. But I thought I knew EVERYTHING. And we were READY. Yeah, we weren’t ready. We were both a couple of kids, and he was an ANGRY kid. Then we had kids. It was a recipe for disaster. But we played house for a while. It had its fun moments. In honor of those two kids who got married 25 years ago today,  I will save the diatribes on the dark parts of our marriage for later. There – that was a little bit of nostalgia. And as I reread this paragraph, it suddenly doesn’t seem like that long ago. But 25 years is a LONG time, right?

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Filed under Divorce, Parenting, Uncategorized

Sleep Deprivation is the Bitch Who Has Been Sucking the Life Out of Me for the Last Twenty-Five Years or I Took So Many Elbows to the Face Last Night it is a Miracle That Both of My Eyes Aren’t Black

A friend over at another blog, Martha at Momsoap, wrote a post recently about how every mother is suffering from sleep deprivation. OMG – I couldn’t agree more. Before I had children,  I was certainly familiar with the idea that babies got up at night to eat for the first few months of life. Um, yeah, nobody told me  that was secret code for “your baby will get up at least every hour for at least the first year of life and then off and on throughout the night FOREVER.”

My first baby had colic. That is secret code for “your baby will cry so much and so loudly for so long that he won’t even seem like a baby.”  The poor thing NEVER slept for the first six months of his life. By the time he did start sleeping, I had done so much rocking, shushing, soothing, etc. that the parameters in which he could go to sleep and stay asleep were very constraining to us all. During those months (and for about two years afterward), I was a zombie. Half the time, I had no idea what was going on around me. My memory deteriorated to the point I might as well have had Alzheimer’s. I was completely preoccupied with when, where and for how long I would sleep next.

It was a huge leap of faith and a testament to how much I adored my son that I would have even considered having another baby. By the time he was four, I was just beginning to feel slightly rested. I wanted my son to have a sibling but I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it all over again, much less while taking care of two children.  Thankfully, my younger son was the best sleeper of my kids, so it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. However, there was always something disturbing my night’s sleep, even if only for a few minutes. There was bed wetting, nightmares, croup, hunger, thirst, monsters, sleep walking. Oh, the sleep walking. We had a spell that last for a month or so in which my older son got up and got ready for school at 3 am.  By the time I got him settled back into bed, it was just about time to get up and ready for school. Fabulous.

Then came Ms. O. She’s always loved to sleep, but only in the ways that the docs warn against. In my arms. On her tummy. In our bed. You name it. If the doctors warn against it, we’ve had to do it to get her to sleep. For the first month, I slept with her in my arms in a recliner chair. When I say I slept, I lie. I held her in my arms on her back, so I would only be breaking one rule at a time. I occasionally dozed. If I laid her down while on her back, her startle reflex went CRAZY and she woke herself up immediately. After about a month, we moved into our bed, where I propped her on her side to help with the startle reflex. She slept for short stretches, maybe two hours, like this for months. When she went to bed, I went to bed. I could not get up, not even to pee, without waking her up.

At about four months, we discovered she could sleep without me for about an hour at a time, if she slept on her tummy. Keep in mind that when her brothers were born, putting babies down on their tummies was SOP. This was how we kept them from spitting up and aspirating it, thus leading to SIDS. The rules had changed and I wasn’t about to take a chance with my baby. So we invested like $200 on an Angelcare Monitor to alert us if she stopped breathing while sleeping on her tummy. This meant a move out of our bed and into a crib for a short period of time.  She slept for about two hours at a time. When she woke, I had to rock her back to sleep and sneak her back into the crib. Not much of an improvement, but at least I could get up to pee if I needed to. Plus, I was sure all this hard work was going to pay off and she was going to sleep longer soon. (Did I mention that if I lifted her out of the crib without turning off the monitor, I had 20 seconds until it let out the most ear-piercing sound ever. Only happened about 100 times.) This up and down every two hours continued until she was a year old. I kid you not, we both spent more time in the rocking chair than we did in our beds. So back in our bed she came.

For us, co-sleeping seems to be the best fit. It has certainly increased the number of consecutive sleep hours O and I get each night.  Plus, I feel good about having an “open door” policy when it comes to nighttime parenting. When I was a kid, it was a cardinal sin to bother my mother in the middle of the night. It was simply not allowed.  Our sleeping arrangement has given me the opportunity to rest up as well as make sure my daughter doesn’t feel isolated at night. However, there are drawbacks to the Family Bed.  Like anything, there are pros and cons. On the upside, I get to snuggle the cutest little girl in the world,and I am waked up every morning with soft kisses and giggles. However, I am often waked in the middle of the night by an elbow or foot (or both) to the face. What can ya’ do? I’ve tried it all. At this point, I’m resigned to the fact that sleep deprivation, in one form or another, is a lifelong plight of parenting. Now time for a nap.

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Filed under cosleeping, Parenting, Sleep deprivation, Uncategorized

Who’s the Greatest Mom in the Whole World? Me! Me! Me!

Who’s the greatest mom in the whole world? Me! Me! Me! Who has the sweetest, most well-adjusted preschooler in the whole world? Me! Me! Me!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, my daughter had a great time at her second ballet/tap class. Last week, after much anticipation and despite being dressed to the nines (dance class style), it was a bust. She cried (screamed) and sat on my lap for the entire class. This unexpected (somewhat) outcome was not only disappointing for her but sent me into a panic over whether I am adequately “socializing” her. By the time this week’s class rolled around, I was sure I’d been a terrible mom by not enrolling her in preschool at least a year ago.  I should mention that she will be three in two weeks.

You’d think, after being a mom for nearly a quarter of a century, that such a small thing would not bother me.  You’d think.  Neither of my boys went to preschool.  My oldest son, clingy from the get-go, went off to Kindergarten without a hitch.  His younger brother, the child who spent a significant portion of each day shouting “I’m a big boy!”, cried for the first six weeks. Go figure. That alone should be enough for me to realize that I am not the puppet master and, more importantly, that I don’t need to be. Every child is different and will adjust to social interactions at their own pace. Preschool is not the only way for a child to learn social skills.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against preschool.  I’ve just never been excited about tying the family down to a school calendar before its completely necessary. Once that happens, say goodbye to sleeping in and to spontaneous travel. I also feel confident (usually) that parents are capable of teaching a preschooler everything they need to know. Lets not forget that way back when I was a kid, Kindergarten was preschool. It wasn’t even mandatory, and it certainly wasn’t all day.

I believe the doubt in our Bohemian lifestyle crept in based on the fact that nowadays nearly every kid goes to preschool.  Almost every play group we attend, there is a conversation about preschool. Which preschool is best? Which has the longest waiting list? Which one does “so and so” send her kids to? I recently had an especially unusual conversation in which an acquaintance of mine shared that she and her daughter pray every night that she gets into a particular preschool. Hey, no pressure there.

Anyway, crisis averted. My little girl is not doomed to be a social outcast forever. If bribed heavily enough, she can tolerate standing near other children and accepting direction from an adult other than me.
That should buy us at least a few more months of late bedtimes and unstructured mornings spent snuggling on the couch. Whew!

I LOVE dance class!!!

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Filed under Parenting, Preschool