Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I just realized something today:  I have no personal space.

I'm a stay-at-home mom, so unless my kids are in school or a babysitter is watching them, at least one of them is always with me.  Sure, I can escape to the bathroom or take a shower by myself, but they're always around.

Don't get me wrong; I love my kids and I am grateful that I can stay home with them until I choose to go back to work.  But today I finally realized why a long, traffic-filled commute - the thing that every working man detests and every stay at home mom longs for - sounds so appealing:  it's time alone.  It's just you in the car, with no one else.  No listening to the kids' station on the radio.  You can flip the bird at the car that just cut you off.  You can shout obscenities just because.

I'm sure sitting in traffic for an hour would get old after, oh, about an hour, but right now it sounds kinda dreamy.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Okay, so one thing that's been taking up a lot of mental bandwidth has been J's behavior.  Without getting into all of the dramz, a recent event has reaffirmed my hunch (or is that my hope?) that he will outgrow it as he matures.

This past Saturday, I took J to a classmate's birthday party.  There was a bounce house, and he and five of his classmates were having a ball.  But, there's always one kid.  You know who I'm talking about.  That Kid who can't just jump around inside the bounce house and have fun.  Oh no.  He's the one who has to grab the others by their shirts (the girls, too) and throw them down.  He has to play fight, throwing karate chops and kicks that sometimes hit others.  And when someone gets hit, it's not his fault.  Oh no.  It was an accident, the other kid started it, he had to defend himself, and (*sniff!*) he got hurt and he needs some ice.  And did I mention that his mom didn't stay?  She dropped him off because the sump pump broke and they have to go get the parts to fix it.  Uh huh.  Riiiiiiiiight.

What did I do about this little charmer?  During the party, another mom and I repeatedly spoke to him to let him know that (a) we were on to him, and (b) what he was doing wasn't okay.  Knowing this, he would look to see if I was watching him before doing something he knew was wrong.  Oh, and after he hurt himself, he had the nerve to look me square in the eye and tell me, "Oh, and don't tell my mom about this."  I told him that I was not going to lie for him or anybody else.

I also made it a point to tell J that I was proud of him because he was making good choices; it was easy to get carried away, but he chose not to.

So, in comparison to This Kid, I am breathing a little easier about J.  He's a good kid, and I do think he'll outgrow this.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I feel like this blog has morphed into my place to practice writing about topics I want to eventually expand on.  Or, in the parallel universe where I am a paid writer and my work is published fairly regularly in magazines, it's my sketch pad. 

I don't have anything particularly deep that I want to talk about today.  We've been rather busy this weekend, and it's been a lot of fun.

(note to self:  future topic - boys and their behavior at school vs. outside wrt specific behavior at afternoon party on Saturday)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

File Under

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Murphy's Law, Only Me, and Of Course!

Remember that pedicure I was crowing about?  Yeah, well I am pretty sure I now have an infection in my left big toe.

It must have been during the winter; I stubbed my toe against the bathroom cabinet while getting ready one morning.  I must have hit the nail bed, because the nail was split as it grew in. 

Of course, the technician at the salon went to town with the nail file, trying to buff the nail flat.  I should have known when she started, because it was rather uncomfortable.  I said a little prayer and hoped that the bath would keep the nail clean.

Well, my toe still hurts (a dull throb), and I see a pink line from where the nail split that goes around my toe.  That's a pretty positive indicator of an infection, isn't it?

Ugh, I just pray that if I need an antibiotic, I don't have to spend another two weeks on an anti-Candida diet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yay me!

Today, I did something I haven't done for nearly three years.

I got a pedicure.

It felt so nice to sit in a salon full of women and sit and read a trashy magazine while getting pampered.

I need to do this more often.

I will do this more often.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A few weeks ago, I told J that he would be taking swim lessons again this summer.  I asked him what level he wanted to take - 2 or 3.  He said he wanted to take Level 3.  I explained that since he didn't pass the Level 2 test, he would have to repeat the level again, unless he takes private lessons.  I also told him that it was his decision.  Again, he said that he wants to take Level 3 and he also wants to take lessons to get there.

Fast forward to this afternoon, J's first private swim lesson.  He couldn't wait to get in the pool, so I figured we were off to a good start.  Then the (male) teacher had him and I (our neighbor's son, with whom we're sharing a semi-private lesson) crabwalk the wall - circle the pool holding on to the ledge.  I was fine, since he has taken lessons with this teacher before.  J got about as far as the four feet mark, panicked, and clung to the teacher like a barnacle.  The other (female) teacher then took over with J.  He sat on the steps while she had him work on blowing bubbles.  But when it came time to put his head under, he refused. 

I could see from across the room that he was negotiating with the teacher, and she was letting him.  I was starting to get annoyed; he refused even to try.  He left the pool, and the teacher swam over to me explaining that he refused to do anything.  I managed to talk him into getting back in the water to play a few games.  That lasted about three minutes.  The teacher asked him to crabwalk about six feet to pick up a toy and again he refused.  I was reaching my limit.  It didn't help that, at a couple of times during the lesson, the male teacher (who wasn't even working with J) told me that at J's age, it's difficult to teach children to swim because they keep finding reasons to leave the pool.

J and I stayed a few minutes after the lesson to watch another boy.  Of course the male teacher commented that his student (a boy) was the same age as J; he was swimming freestyle and backstroke in the five foot deep water with no fear.  I mentioned to J that he could do that.  He said he couldn't.  I reminded him that he's never tried, so how does he know?

So here's what I want to know:  Will there be ANY activity in which J will participate without a problem?  I am grateful that he is incredibly intelligent, but I could do without the behavior issues.  I am amazed by his musical abilities, but I dread the last ten minutes of music lessons for fear that the teacher will have more comments about his impulse control issues.  I love J more than anything (save his brothers and father), but the constant conflict is wearing on me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I had a really interesting conversation with a good friend this morning.  As usual, we discussed marriage and motherhood, and vented about how frustrated we've been lately.

But today we started to develop some theories about why we feel the way we do, and how we got here. 

The structure of the American family today seems to be similar to that of the upper class families in Newport (or other similar shoreline vacation spots) at the turn of the last century, except with one major - and, in my opinion, problematic - difference. 

What do I mean? 

Well, back in the early 1900s, women would pack up their children and the house and summer in Newport.  The men worked in Manhattan, and would only visit their families on the weekends.  The women were left to run the household, and were trusted to make decisions unilaterally.  The men were responsible for earning the money, the women managed it, and each party trusted the other completely.

Today, in the early 21st century, we moms pack up the children and shuttle them to school, sports, music, and any one of the myriad activities scheduled on any given day.  Our husbands work in Manhattan, or Greenwich, Stamford, or wherever, and typically return home just as the kids are being tucked into bed.  We are left to run the household, but aren't always trusted to make decisions unilaterally.  The men are responsible for earning the money, we women pay the bills, but the men reserve the right to reject any decision, maybe because they had a crappy day at the office and feel the need to exert some power somewhere

Many of us consciously sacrificed our careers and our earning power to stay home and raise our children and manage our households, yet we aren't trusted to make major financial decisions for our families.  We are not uneducated women; we have advanced degrees and earned as much as, if not more than, our spouses when we left the workforce to become full time mothers and homemakers.

Why are we being punished and subjugated when our foremothers were left to their own devices?

Has the women's movement - equal work for equal pay - finally come back to bite us in the ass?  Are we being punished for contributing to our families in a way that isn't financially compensated, and therefore not as valued by our society?  Are men so frustrated by a frail economy, where employers take the attitude that employees should just be happy that they have a job and therefore twelve hour workdays should just be accepted as the norm, that if they're miserable, their wives should be frustrated too?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This afternoon, J's music teacher mentioned that, once again, his behavior is of concern.  I wanted to cry.

I feel overwhelmed.  I have three beautiful, funny, smart, active little boys.  My house is filled with energy and noise.  All the time.  Well, except when they're asleep.  And then it's my head that's filled with energy and noise.  Usually about the boys:  Do I need to worry about J and his impulsivity?  Is it really something to be looked into, or will he outgrow it?  Is three days of preschool a week too much for T?  Will S be bored at home for another year, or worse, will he be lonely and miss T while he's at school?

I'm not quite sure if I've been living in denial about J.  I do know that I have been trying not to put too much negative focus on his behavior, but today was like opening the floodgates.  And it feels like just one more piece being laid on my shaky Jenga tower.  What do I do first?  If I don't want to initiate a full evaluation, what other avenues are available that (a) don't cost a fortune, and (b) aren't a waste of time?  When do I schedule such appointments?  Oh, and what if something is found?  Then what?

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Today is Mother's Day, and I've been in and out of a mood.  I thought I knew why, but reading a Newsweek article by Julia Baird online has made me take another hard look at my life and my priorities:
In France, women farmed out their offspring to nursemaids so they could "continue to have social lives and sex with their husbands," says French philosopher Elizabeth Badinter. "We've always been mediocre mothers here." Badinter's bestselling book Le Conflit, la Femme et la Mère (The Conflict, the Woman and the Mother) has excited Europeans with her insistence that women should not let mothering make them miserable. She believes we are no longer oppressed by men; we are oppressed by our children. Badinter argues the insecurity of the modern workforce, and the prevalence of earth mothers who condemn disposable diapers, premade food, and cans of formula, have turned babies into tyrants: "We have passed from the troublesome child to the child-king." I don't agree with everything she says—and certainly the children are not to blame—but I love her boldness. Her insistence that women should be women first and mothers second is refreshing: unapologetic and confident. It's true that the impossible idea of a perfect mother has become a tyranny, and that we refuse shortcuts our grandmothers yearned for. Now that we are allowed to be more than mothers, we wonder if we have the time to be anything but mothers if we are to be truly good.
I think I have fallen into the trap that Badinter describes.  I agree with Baird that the children are not to blame, but we mothers certainly are at fault for letting ourselves be oppressed by our children.  And I know that John Rosemond would agree.

I need to take a step back and figure out how I can disentangle myself from all of this.  Figure out how to take back my own power from not only my husband, but also from my sons.  I love them all dearly, but I need to take back me.  Only then can I be my husband's equal.

Possibly.  Oh, I hope so.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Since I found out that I'm allergic to wheat (and that I get really foggy and nauseous when I eat it), I've been doing my darndest to avoid it.  The hardest thing about no wheat is no cookies. 

I really, really like cookies. 

But I've replaced them with dark chocolate covered anything - almonds (yum), malted milk balls (also yum), macadamias (evilly yum), cashews (disappointingly not quite yum).  I cannot stop.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Yeah, this morning was not one of my brighter moments as a mother.  Let's just say that I overreacted and flipped my shit on J.

I feed drained. 

I need a break. 

I need a vacation. 

I need a pedicure. 

I need some pampering. 

I need to feel like I am important. 

I need my kids to listen to me. 

I need my husband to take me seriously, and to get it through his fat head that I don't talk out my ass. 

I need more space in our house.  I need a new kitchen, with enough space to put food in its own cabinets and not on top of the dishes and where I can store my pots and pans so the wood shavings from the drawers above won't fall on them.  I need a bathroom where I can insert a tampon without little boys barging in wondering what I'm doing.

I need to be swept away somewhere, without my kids, to be treated like a queen for a day or two.

I need some sleep.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The wife of Hub's high school best friend (who I also consider a friend, although truth be told it's mostly a cyber-friendship) was five months pregnant with their third child, a girl.  She found out last night that the baby died.  And while my initial reaction was sadness, my second reaction horrified me.

Let me preface this by saying that when she first announced that she was pregnant with a girl, I felt like I was punched in the gut.  I know that people, family and friends included, will still be having daughters.  But when someone who already has two sons learns she is expecting a daughter, sometimes I feel betrayed - not that I would change anything about my boys, but why didn't I have a girl, too?

What does this have to do with my reaction to the sad news?  A small part of me felt a twinge of relief, of camaraderie with her.  I cannot imagine the pain that this woman is going through right now, and this is her (I believe) fifth loss.  And I hate that part of me was happy? about it.  How incredibly selfish of me.  And how guilty I feel for (a) feeling this way, and (b) feeling this way when she announced that she was having a girl.  I know I am not personally or directly responsible for her loss, but I feel that, on some level, my initial negative reaction to her news is a factor.  God forgive me for that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Change One Thing

So yesterday I finally finished my fifteen day anti-Candida diet.  Yay! 

Now that I'm back to a "normal" diet, I am slowly learning how my body reacts to the foods that I am allergic to. Yesterday discovered that eating wheat upsets my stomach and makes my ears hurt (I recently had food allergy testing done and whole wheat, wheat, and wheat gluten came up as foods to which I am highly allergic.  I know, right?)  So I've decided that I pretty much have to go gluten-free. 

Little things that I need to change:
  • I can't have a sandwich.  Not tragic; I can just roll up the cold cuts like I do for the kids.
  • Bread crumbs.  GF bread crumbs are ridiculously expensive and often contain corn, so I bought a box of corn chex to grind into crumbs.
  • Baked goods.  I bought some GF flour for baking.  However, the tiny print on the bag states that xanthan gum must be added to the flour when baking.  Um, what does it look like and where do I get it?
I think the baked goods will be the biggest challenge.  So that's Phase I of my new diet.  I'm hopeful that this will help me feel better and stay healthier.