Monday, August 30, 2010

talk about a positive outlook

On the way home from school very near home there's a new house being built. As we drive by every day, we discuss the progress. Today there was a backhoe in the front yard. I asked Aidan, "Look at that backhoe--I think maybe they need to do some digging."

"I think maybe it's a present for someone who needs it." Touche.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I saw a woman on TV this morning who's written a book about being formerly. It started out being formerly hot; she thought that her angst, for lack of a better word, was about not looking the same. Essentially, she was on the subway when a guy asked her what time it was and actually was interested in the time, not her. She's concluded that it's not at all about looks; it's about being what she calls an "adult tween." Not really young, but not old either, not knowing where to fit in.

Clearly, I struggle with where and who I am. I've kind of assumed it had to do with being a new mom, focus necessarily and happily away from myself, at the same time that my body and face have started to change pretty noticeably (to me, anyway). She strikes a chord; I'm wondering whether she's not entirely off kilter.

I've ordered her book but not read it yet, so I can't say whether I agree or not. I am pondering, though, what I was that I miss, and who I might be that I've not yet discovered. It definitely feels like a time of transition, but from where to where?

Formerly interesting? Maybe not, but likely Formerly Doing more Interesting Things
Formerly pretty? Kinda.
Formerly busy? Nope; got busy covered.
Formerly into the arts? Well, I was formerly more involved myself, but now more able to afford to patronize them and with a hubby who loves it too.
Formerly getting together with friends a lot? Definitely. Working on that one.
Formerly a window shopper? Yup. Seems unfair that at the time that I might be able to afford to shop at all I don't have the time, and my body looks good in approximately nothing that I like or would've liked.
Formerly jealous? Probably more accurately, formerly more insecure. Happy to let that one go.
Formerly using different evaluation criteria? Yup - on all sorts of things.
Formerly too critical of myself and others too? Working on that one too. It stings.

Currently what?
Currently feeling in transition.
Currently working out the best way not to lose precious time.
Currently involved in the never-ending process of finding balance.
Currently very interested in being grateful and giving back. In the beginning stages here.
Currently changing the way I eat to match this new post-40 nonexistent metabolism.
Currently struggling between motivation to get in shape and trying to let go of caring about my shape to focus on health.
Currently wishing my husband didn't have to work so much, but knowing that his success leads to good things for my family and my retirement. Connundrum.
Currently enjoying a hilarious three-year-old.
Currently able to cook a little more.
Currently better at letting people be who and where they are.
Currently grateful.
Currently still me.

Future still me. Keeping several of the currentlyies and building on them.
Future more involved in the community. The beginning of today will have sprouted.
Future soccer mom. Excited to see where Aidan's interests take us.
Future traveling more where we don't have to plan around an afternoon nap.
Future at peace with my face/body. Hey - a girl can dream.
Future interesting girl again. Doing things - maybe back in ballet class, taking a cooking class, etc.

Currently grateful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Give me a strong-willed child."

Went to orientation for Aidan's new room, and his lead teacher actually said those words. She came to me afterward and said she'd seen me react to them, and I told her, "I've got one for ya." Oh, heavens do I.

In the midst of some tough battles about whether or not Aidan needs to listen to what we say (and not hit us or shriek at us or refuse or simply pretend he can't see us) it's pretty refreshing for someone to wish for what I'm struggling with. She spoke of the wonderful qualities that a strong-willed child brings and what an asset it can be, well-guided. Interesting.

I realize that his future is not solely based upon what I say and do, but I also know that I'm responsible for so much. I want everything for him - he's beautiful, smart, creative, funny, self-assured, bright-eyed. He's so much; Steven and I keep saying that if he doesn't turn out well, it's not his fault. I want him to feel good about himself and what he can do. I want him to be the best him. I need a way for him to understand that he needs to listen for safety's, if no other, sake. I want him to be respectful both of people and of danger of all sorts. How to balance that with his still feeling good about himself and not being fearful, while also being creative, unafraid of throwing out ideas? Therein lies the challenge. I'm really excited to get to know her and get some good ideas from her.

In the meanwhile, his new teacher's got just what she's looking for.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who is this child?

It seems it normally works out that the weekend of the Irish Festival is during the State Fair. For two years running, we've made it into a family weekend-o-fun. Last year, we added Picnic With Pops; this year we added an out-of-town graduation and zoo. Both years very tiring, but also very fun, despite the fact that it appears we took a different child each time.
The Irish Festival has a Wee Ones area full of SuperGames - big, blow-up slides, climbing walls, mazes, bouncing houses, etc. Last year we bought him the wrist band, but he wouldn't go on anything. Not anything. At all. Not even just jumping in a bouncy house. Shrieked. Just really shrieked. It wasn't pretty. The Fair, of course, has fair rides. Last year we did the fair prior to the festival. Had to beg, borrow and plead to get him on the baby train ride, and even then had to ride with him. Finally got him on a little water ride too. He said he wanted to ride a pony, but when we put him up on the little guy, more shrieking. Lots and lots of shrieking. Outlook for this year, not so hot.

One year does a lot.

This year, our child, though at times skeptical, turns out to be a complete daredevil. Festival first this year, and he was so excited in the Wee area that he was jumping straight up and down and running into things on purpose - it was his own little mosh pit. Couldn't help himself; couldn't stand still. He even, and I still can't believe it, got on this contraption that was bungee cords and a trampoline, basically. He was too small to ride the thing, but so passionate about it that the guy let him on. He was amazing. At the fair, same story - rode kiddie rides, but still - a roller coaster, flying swings, flying other stuff, giant slide, bumper boats, etc. LOVED the pony ride; kept yelling, "YEEE-HAW!" which was amusing for everyone in earshot, a pretty far distance.
Really amazing weekend. Really amazing. Wow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Didn't miss 'em

When I was young I went through times of numerous nightmares. Depending on what I was going through and how old I was they would vary, but normally centered around someone trying to kill my dad or attack the house with my sibs inside. Between the time when my mother left and I was 18 and could fight for the kids in court, they were nearly daily. They tormented me.

I can't say when it happened, but at some point I noticed that I wasn't really having nightmares anymore; pretty great revelation. When we got engaged, I would dream that I was awful to Steven and he had to leave me. Not cool, but not really frightening, especially when he was often so near that I could see it wasn't real. When I was pregnant, I had very vivid dreams, in many of which I was screwing up either with the yet-unknown Aidan or with Steven. I remember one in which I was bad to Steven and so he left me with a blonde, unattractive little girl. Woe is me. There was another in which I had the baby (a girl - always a girl) but would forget and leave her in her carseat in different places. I couldn't figure out what to feed her and tried french fries, and when someone asked me her name, I had no idea. Terrible mother. Not really frightening or scary, though. Kind of funny, even in the half-asleep moment.

In the couple of weeks I've been up two full nights with nightmares. We saw a story about a high school coach who was clearly a wonderful man and family man. The short version is that after teaching 35+ years, a former student who was schizophrenic walked up during practice, shot him in the head and killed him. That night, I had vivid nightmares of someone walking up and shooting Steven in the head, the same nightmare with the same images again and again as I woke and fell back to sleep. I won't go through the details, but I held him and watched him go.

I knew that my dear friend Joe's passing was hitting close to home, but didn't realize how close until I was up all night with nightmares last night that Steven was dying.

Both times, he was right next to me in bed, and I could see that he was fine. However, I couldn't shake them. I have no idea what's bringing these back, but I can't help that think it's because I have so much to lose now. My boys are the most beautiful thing in the world, and it turns out that losing them is, quite literally, my worst nightmare.

It's finally happened

My son has proven that he can be a demon child. I'd seen glimpses of it before, but now I've seen it full out. On the bright side, his shenanigans prove that he's a quick problem solver; not sure there isn't an easier way for him to show me that.

His latest is that he doesn't want to go to bed, and if he does, not in his own bed. Not at all. Not. At. All. He discovered at my mom's about a week and a half ago that, since his potty training, a great way to get out of bed is to have to go potty. Between this, asking for things, asking questions and such, he gets up every 2-5 minutes for one to two hours each night when we put him down. No amount to beg, borrow or steal will get him to stay in the bed; he just walks out and comes down the stairs as quietly as possible so as to get far before he's discovered.

It's not like it works. Consistently, every single time, we put him back in bed and talk to him about staying in bed. He's got his dad's persistence, though, certainly.

Steven was out of town at the end of last week, and it lasted 1 1/2 hours one evening and 2 hours the next. I'd wake up in the morning, and he'd be laying next to me. I asked him, "Aidan - how'd you get in my bed?" "I just crawled in." He learned that if he waits until I go to sleep and then doesn't ask, I can't say no. Daddy came home Friday night, and so the other side of the bed was taken.

After my two-hour battle to get him down, we kissed him goodnight as we went to bed. A couple of times in the night I woke up because a little man was standing next to the bed asking to get in. I'd tell him no and put him back in bed. Woke up again and thought I was losing my mind. I could swear I heard him breathing, but he was nowhere to be seen. I got up and looked, and he was curled up under a blanket on the rug at the foot of our bed. Sweet, but no go. Same routine - put him back in, kissed him and talked about staying in bed. Woke up in the morning, back on the floor in our room. Come. On.

Talked about it in the car on the way to school, and told him it was important he stayed in his own bed tonight. He said, "No, I won't." I told him that he needed to, and that I'd put him back in bed if he got out. "You won't know, Mommy - you'll be asleep." The little stinker knows exactly what he's doing.

It's been a battle (of course, not for my parents - he stayed at their house Saturday night and was "angelic"), but last night he slept in his own bed. However, we may have a new challenge: Steven was reading to him before bed tonight, and it was taking much longer than usual. I went upstairs to check on them, and the two of them are curled up together in Aidan's single bed, sleeping like angels. Wish I could take a picture, but I know it would wake them up. I love those boys.

"I'm very handsome in those pictures."

So, to be fair, the kid was right. Humble? Not so much.

We and the Brookes (I refer to my sibs' families that way - the Bretts & the Brookes) took Aidan and Audrey to the Jazz & Ribs Fest last weekend, which was lots of fun. Our fave Columbus Jazz Orchestra closed the show. He was so proud to be able to help her sit up and take care of her; you can see how much he loves her.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

justice, my ass

My sense of justice in the universe is out of whack. A good friend and good man passed away yesterday, a great husband and amazing dad to three kids under 5 years old, not all of which will even remember him. He heard about this in September (see "grateful" entry in Sept 09), and he fought bravely. I will miss Joe.

As much as he'll be missed, though, my heart is absolutely broken for his wife and kids, young enough to be scared and not old enough really to understand. Hell, it seems that I'm not old enough to understand. It's unthinkable.

He passed with his family sitting with him, singing to him. Bless them all. I hope they find peace in how much he knew he was loved by them and his friends, and I hope they feel held by the love that eminated from him. I'm trying to be grateful that he lived to see the birth of his son when they thought he wouldn't, and that his family did get some wonderful time together, including memories on the beach at Hilton Head. What a small consolation, but at least he got to say goodbye and hear all of his friends' goodbyes too. He knew we loved him.

It's still just unthinkable.