Nice Try

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David recently appealed to me for more screen time. When his verbal pleading and protests didn’t work he submitted the following cartoon depicting what would happen if I gave him more screen time:

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I give him points for creativity, but the answer is still “No.”



We Got Nominated for a Liebster Award! (AGAIN!!!) WOO HOO!

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We were nominated by the author of Spin Cycle Diaries. Go check out her blog. We’ll wait. You can find her here.

She’s awesome, right?!

Anyway, Tal included 11 questions for us to answer. And here they are:

1.  Describe your blog in five words.

Irreverent musings of two moms.

2. What inspired you to start blogging?

When Marie and I met one another we quickly realized that we shared so many experiences of (and reactions to) parenthood. We felt incredible relief knowing that we were not alone in our feelings. We wanted to share that relief.

3. Do you ever want to throw your hands up in the air and stop blogging?

I initially read this as “Do you ever want to throw up in your hands?” No, no I don’t. I also don’t want to stop blogging, but I do take extended breaks sometimes.

4. Are you currently in love and with what or who?

Yes, my husband, children, sleep, and chocolate. And caffeine. Oh, and bacon.

5. How many times have you been in love?

Many times. I fall in love again everyday with my husband and kids.

6. Do you identify as carnivore, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or something I haven’t mentioned on here?

I don’t see meat-tarian on the list. Is that not a word?

7. Does internal health or external beauty influence your healthy food choices more? and if you don’t ever choose healthy, tell us why.

I don’t make healthy food choices because bacon tastes so freakin’ good. And I grew up down the street from a paper mill and playing in the cool spray from the mosquito-spraying trucks. So I am invincible.

8. When you get two spare hours, do you chill or play?

I wander around the house feeling a vague sense of unease wondering what I’m supposed to be doing.

9. What is your favorite activity? Go ahead, say what you want.

Sleeping.

10. Sexting, yay or nay?

It depends….is it Nathan Fillion sending the pics?

11. One wish is granted to you – what do you wish for?

The ability to fly. With my own wings and everything. But not hollow bones.

Thanks, again, Tal! You made our day.


Melissophobia* to The Rescue

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beesSo, we took the kids to Costa Rica for 10 days a couple of weeks ago. It was enthralling (at least to me). David declared the food to be “gross.” Scott wanted to know why everyone “talked weird.” And Kelly….well, Kelly was pretty happy actually. Anyway, on one day David and I decided to go on a zip-lining tour. Kelly uncharacteristically passed up an opportunity to risk her life. I was a bit surprised that David wanted to go because he is usually a pretty cautious guy, but even after I explained what zip-lining entailed he was up for it. And for the first several runs he was pretty excited. Until we got to the 14th one (out of 16) which was no higher or longer than any of the previous runs. I think he’d just had enough at that point. Anyway, on the platform David loudly announced that he WAS NOT going to zip-line anymore. Which would have been no problem if he could sprout wings and fly back to the base. Otherwise, zip-lining was the only way to get home. I quietly explained this to him to which he responded LOUDLY, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE ME DO THIS! (say, what?) I’M NOT MOVING….(bee buzzes by)…OK! I’M GOING, I’M GOING.” *jumps*

If I’d known how motivating bees were I’d have become a beekeeper years ago. On a related note, I damn near jumped out of a moving car once when a spider suddenly rappelled down in front of my face. I was driving the car, though, so….

 

*Melissophobia is fear of bees

 

 


Want to Know What’s Keeping Us Awake Now?

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To find out what’s causing this Imperfect Mommy’s sleepless nights, check out the latest post on our Things the Keep Us Up at Night page.  You’ll hear what’s keeping us awake. http://imperfectmommy.com/things-that-keep-us-up-at-night-coming-soon/


The Top of the Ferris Wheel

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Already feeling clammy in the humid August heat, I felt my body temperature rising even higher as I stood with the boys trying to decide what to do.  Either way, it would be something that scared me.  My time to make a decision was running out.

The boys and I were at a local festival where we had met Jenny and her kids.  Usually, I avoid anything that creates even the remote possibility that I will be on an amusement ride. Since we were meeting Jenny and her kids, though,  I thought I was in clear.  Our kids could ride together.  I would snap a few pictures and cross my fingers that the meltdowns that used to be a regular part of these outings wouldn’t happen today.  That plan was working well until ferris wheelwe all got separated.

We had been at festival for about an hour.  With the heat, and all the fairs sounds and smells, my boys were needed break.  Water and snack could not wait.  Jenny’s kids had already had a snack and wanted to stay on the rides.  Off the boys and I went in search of carnival treats and hydration.  After several explanations of why eating anything fried or guzzling down an extra-large soda were not good choices while riding on things that spin you around, the boys finally agreed to bottled water and ice creams.

When we returned to where the rides were, we couldn’t find Jenny or her kids anywhere. I figured she had probably needed to make a quick exit.  Standing with my own boys, I could totally understand if she had.

“Sorry, guys, I don’t see them anywhere.  They probably needed to go.  You both look hot and tired.  We should head out, too.”

Aaron looked relieved.  “It is wicked hot out here.  This was fun but now I need some air-conditioning and TV.”

“I don’t WANT to go!” Nic’s voice was low but forceful. “I want to go on some more rides.”

“Not me,” Aaron said.  “I’m done.  I say we go home.  NOW!”

Nic’s body was rigid, his face panicked.  I had no doubt that he was as tired and hot as Aaron, but Nic’s plan for the day had clearly not been completed.  He gritted his teeth, his hands curled into fists.  He was teetering on edge of a full-scale meltdown.

“Oh, here we go again!” exclaimed Aaron.  “Another fun thing ruined!”

“Nothing is ruined,” I said.  Nothing was ruined, yet, and I wanted to keep it that way.  Too many times, our last memory of an event was the tantrum Nic had when it all had grown too much for him.  It had been a few months since that had happened.  We had started to try more outings.  Aaron was not objecting to doing things with his brother.  I did not want it to end now, we still had so much summer to get through.

“How about this,” I said trying to let my voice sound light, “Nic, you can go on one last ride.  Aaron, I’ll get you the cotton candy you wanted.  Then, we will go home.”

Nic’s body relaxed.  Aaron rolled his eyes.

Nic chose the Ferris wheel.  On the way over, I bought Aaron some cotton candy.  All was, again, right with the world.

Then, carnival signwe saw the sign. No single riders meant Nic couldn’t ride alone.  He would have to ride with a stranger.  For some kids, this wouldn’t be a problem.  Nic, though, he wouldn’t ride with another kid, at least not a stranger.  I didn’t want to let him ride with an adult I didn’t know.

Nic started to release a slow growl.  “I have to go on the Ferris wheel!”

Aaron rolled his eyes.  I was not going to let this afternoon end in a tantrum, no matter what I had to do.  “How about another ride?” I suggested.

“You said I could pick one last ride!  I pick the Ferris wheel!”

I looked at Aaron.  “I’m not getting on that thing!” he said before I could even ask the question.

“Nic, I’m sorry.  I can’t leave Aaron down here all by himself.”  And, I am scared to death of getting on that thing anyway, I said only to myself.

“Mom, I’ll be fine,” offered Aaron.  “I’ll stand right here and eat my cotton candy.  No one is going to take me.”

There I stood at the foot of the Ferris wheel trying to decide what to do.  The idea of leaving Aaron alone, where I could see him but not reach him if he needed me, frightened me more than was probably healthy.  The idea of being on the Ferris wheel brought back childhood panic was being stuck at the top with my sister wildly rocking the seat and pretending to fall out.

Nic’s ears were turning red, a sign that he would not hold it together much longer.  I looked at each of the boys.  I looked around at all the other kids running around without any sign of  watchful parents. Aaron tugged on my sleeve and whispered, “It’s okay, Mom.”

With my legs feeling wobbly and my heart-racing, I took a seat on the Ferris wheel next to Nic.  As the ride began to move, I felt my stomach drop.  Beside me, Nic’s smile grew wide.  He closed his eyes, tipped his head back and let the wind sail through his hair.  Below, Aaron munched on his cotton candy and waved up at us.  I wanted to wave back but my hand was frozen to the bar meant to keep us in the seats.

As the first pass around completed, I thought ” Okay, I can do this.”  That was until we started to go up again and stopped right at the top.  I felt as though my heart had stopped.  I imagined myself slipping under the safety bar.  Falling to the ground, my skirt lifting over my head.  My granny panties being seen by all embarrassing me only slightly more than my thighs that had not seen a razor for about as long as it had been since they had seen the sun or exercise.   Nic’s grabbing my had brought me back to realty where I was relieved to see I was wearing pants and still seated on the ride.

The look on Nic’s face had changed from joy to fear.  “Is the ride broken?  How long do we have to stay up here?” he asked, a small tremble in his voice.

“Hey, buddy!  We are fine.  They are just letting so other people on the ride.”

“Look!”  I said, trying to distract him.  “There’s the library.  Oh, and that’s where we got ice cream!”  Then with all the courage I could muster, I looked down and pointed. “There’s Aaron!  Let’s wave.  Do you think he can hear us from here?”

Nic smiled down at his brother.  “Hey, Aaron, up here!”  We all waved furiously to each other.

Through the rest of the ride, I pointed things out to Nic.  I asked him what his favorite rides were.  His smile was back.  He was having fun.  Aaron was safe and proud of being able to stay by himself.

It was my favorite day that summer.  It was the day that my boys made me face my fears.  The day that I learned to trust them, myself and the universe just a little bit more.  Now, whenever I hesitate to do something, I think of the Ferris wheel and ride anyway.

 

 

 



An Unfortunate Odor

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To those unfortunate folks sitting near me during the 2nd grade author’s day presentation in our children’s classroom I can explain:

So, Mark had been out of town for a convention for a week. He had just gotten home early that morning so I let him sleep and got the kids off to school. An hour after dropping off the kids I needed to get ready to go to Kelly’s school for her classroom presentation. I didn’t want to risk waking up Mark by going into our bedroom to grab my stuff so I took a shower in the other bathroom and got dressed in the laundry room. I couldn’t brush my teeth so I just vowed not to talk to close to anyone. But the bigger problem was that I couldn’t get to my own deodorant. And the classroom was going to be full of people on a warm day with no air conditioning. So I made the difficult decision to use my son’s recently acquired Axe deodorant. That stuff must infuse the nightmares of all middle school teachers. It is truly awful and as sparingly as I put it on it seemed like I had rolled in it. I am so very sorry. I can promise you it will never happen again. Next time I’ll just smell bad naturally.


I Never Lose Anything! But I Do Misplace a Lot of Stuff…

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My keys are usually right where I left them…right under something.

So, I spent most of my day yesterday searching for my missing house keys. By dinner time, I still hadn’t found them.

My husband always teases me about losings things and my lack of organization around the house. First of all, I never lose anything!   I have, however, been known to misplace things.  Okay, a lot of things.  Several times a week.  But that is totally different from losing things.  I never lose anything.  Second of all, I think organized chaos is as good a system as any, even if I can’t find things as quickly as my husband can.

Anyway, when my husband came home, I reluctantly asked him if he had seen my house keys.

Ron:  Yea.  They were on the counter this morning.  Under something. Like usual.

Me:  Those were my car keys.  I have them.  I’m looking for my house keys.

Ron:  You lost your house keys!

Me:  I didn’t say that.  I just wanted to know if you have seen them.

Ron:  Well, where did you leave them?

Me:  I am not even going to answer that.  Never mind, I’ll find them later.

But Ron was on the hunt.  He looked everywhere while I walked behind him saying, “I already looked there if I didn’t find them, what makes you think you will?”

After exhausting every possible location, he asked, “Did you look in your purse?”

“Of course, I looked in my purse!  That’s the first place I looked. If it will make you feel better, you can look.”

“Oh, no!” he said.  “I know better than to do that.  Women will tell you you can look in their purses but when you do it never turns out well.”

“But I told you could.”

Right about then Aaron walked into the room.  “I’ll look through your purse!” he said as he took it off the chair and started to rummage through the contents.

“Gum!  Can I have a piece?”

Ron looked over Aaron’s shoulder into my purse.

“Look all you want,” I said, smugly.  “I know they are not in there.”  I had looked through my purse twice already.  I couldn’t wait to hand out an “I told you so!”

“So, then whose keys are these?” asked Ron, pulling the keys out of the cell phone pocket inside my purse.

Aviary Photo_130475131292623416I felt my face go red.  “See.  I told you I didn’t lose them.  They were right where they belonged!”

Ron looked at me and smiled.  He didn’t say another word.  I think this means I have to keep him. And, be more careful about where I put my stuff.

 


A Storage Facility Named Mom

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Some days, I feel like a dumping ground.  Well, maybe more like a storage facility.  As a mom, I expected that part of my role would be to hold things for my kids.  I was expecting it would be things like coats, backpacks, and shoes.  I did not know I would be carrying around their emotions.  I have become the place for my kids to store all their feelings until they are ready to deal with them.  Well, all their bad feelings, anyway.

Initially, I was a repository for my kids physical being.

Initially, I was a repository for my kids physical being.

When my kids are upset, it seems, the only way for them to calm down is for me to become upset.  It is as if they can only feel better if they transfer their bad feelings to me.  I become the repository for all their sadness, anger, and frustration.  When you think about how their lives started, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.

Let’s face it.  For nine months (okay, it’s really ten but let’s keep saying nine months to make moms-to-be feel better), they felt everything I did. They felt everything I felt.  I guess it is time for payback.

It started when Nic was little.  He wasn’t developing the ability to identify emotions in others.  He wasn’t able to identify his own emotions.  He looked to me for everything.  Was something funny?  Was it sad?  He also tended to see us as one being.  To his mind, everything he thought I thought.  Everything he felt, I felt.

When Nic started having tantrums, he would insist I must be mad at him.  “Are you mad me, Mommy?” he would yell.  As he screamed in my face, I would calmly say, “No, honey.  Mommy is not mad at you.  I want to help you calm down.”

“Why are you mad at me, Mommy?!” would come his rage filled reply.

The more I tried to reassure him that I was not angry with him, the angrier he would get.  In bewilderment and exhaustion, I would finally yell at him.  “I am NOT angry at YOU!  Stop saying I am mad at you!”

The moment I did that, he would release a sigh, fall into my arms and tell me, “Love you, Mommy.” As I sat with Nic in my arms, covering him with kisses and tears, he would look at me with a relieved smile.  In moments, he would be wriggling away and asking me to play Letter Hunt with him.  I would stand there bewildered, emotionally annihilated but with a smile on my face singing “Going on a letter hunt…”

This scenario has repeated itself many times over the years.  I have struggled with the idea that my becoming angry or frustrated would alleviate his angst.  How could I yell at my child who was clearly in distress?  But I did.  Because as terrible as it made me feel, it seemed to bring him relief. Sometimes, I would pretend to be angry to bring the tantrum to an end.  Other times, I would be tired or stressed or Nic would be unconvinced by my feeble acting abilities and I would yell with alimagesl the rage and confusion bottled up inside me.  It mattered little to him.  The only thing that mattered was that Mommy was angry now which meant he didn’t have to be.  He could relax.

Thankfully, the tantrums have greatly diminished in the past few years.  The need to “transfer” his emotions to me has not.  When he is sad, he will wail until he sees tears in my eyes.  When he is frustrated, he will escalate to anger unless my exasperation is clear to him as well.

Like his brother, Nic, Aaron does not seem to be able to move past his bad feelings, unless he has moved them on to Mommy.  His method of transfer, though, is more traditional.  When Aaron is angry or upset, he will yell at me and insult me until I can no longer hide my agitation. Then, he will go “be alone” for a while.  When he reappears, it as if nothing ever happened (except that I am seething inside).  The same happens when he is sad, except that he will say terrible things about himself until my heart is broken.

I’m hoping that as the boys grow older, they will, more and more, be able to handle and hold onto their own emotions.  Until then, please don’t ask me how I feel.  I am too full of their emotions to know.