Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three of A Kind

Oh, these boys of mine... And to think, for all these years, I have been taking the blame for their big mouths. I'm fairly certain that this photo is proof that their blonde hair and blue eyes aren't the only things they inherited from dear ol' Padre.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

5 Easy Ways to Raise Girl-Friendly Boys

So my boys have their flaws. Lord, Lord, do they ever. However, it might surprise you to learn they have some decent characteristics, too. One of which is their ability to interact with the opposite sex in a fairly healthy manner. Not to pat myself on the back, but I think I have played a large part in this. So let me share with you my suggestions for successfully raising girl-friendly boys.

1) Make sure your boys are comfortable around tampons. Preferably still-packaged ones, please! For the younger set, just having the box in plain sight is enough. Once they are driving, there is no reason they can't go buy them for you. If you do try this, be sure to have them purchase a few innocuous items, as well. After all, your goal is to desensitize them, not completely humiliate them. I tried this last weekend and my boys didn't blink an eye when they saw tampons on the list. That's more than I can say for most husbands.

2) Expose them to chick flicks and soaps. This can be tricky. Do not force them to actually watch. However, having General Hospital on the TV, as sort of background noise, will probably be enough to make them subliminally want Luke to finally settle down with Laura (once she is out of her catatonic state, of course).

3) Make sure your boys have at least one good female friend. This is one you have to start early, before they get to the cootie-fearing stage. I remember Moody's very first friend was a girl. In fact, they would have sleepovers, which as toddlers, was perfectly acceptable. Better than at 16, that's for sure!

4) Get them used to apologizing. This is key. They'll need to perfect their technique by the time they're in their first relationship.

5) Insist that your husband pamper you. This is the best way for your boys to see for themselves how a girl should be treated. You should have no problem recruiting your husband, because, after all, doesn't he want your boys to grow up to be respectful and loving men? Of course he does! For beginners, I'd recommend starting with the nightly foot rub.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Growing Pains

I know you are all dying to read yet another post about how my parenting skills are being tested like Job's faith in God (hyperbole aside, I am being driven out of my mind), but I thought I would try to distract myself into a good mood. Yes, I am dumb (and desperate) enough to fall for my own tricks.

I have been thinking that if I do manage to fail miserably at this whole parenting thing, and my kids end up on the streets (or behind bars), maybe I can salvage a few shreds of dignity and self-worth by being a successful person in my own right! As silly as that sounds, I do see many parents heavily invested in, and buoyed by, their kids' success, and alternatively, completely devastated if things don't work out exactly as they'd hoped. Believe me, good parenting definitely increases the probability that your kids will turn out okay, but it is, by no means, a guarantee (don't I sound wise? I think I must have read that in a book somewhere).

So instead of living vicariously through my kids, which at this point would be a big, smelly nightmare, I am going to invest some time and effort in me. I have already spent many years growing as a person, but honestly, it has been with my family in mind. Doing what I could to become a better mother or wife (although my husband is probably reading this, thinking, "?"... so let's just leave it at better mother).

Anyway, now it's time to focus on being a better me. Period. Yes, I am aware that by improving myself will most likely make my family's life better, but frankly, at this second, I don't care very much about that aspect of my self-improvement plan.

So let's talk about me! What do I want to be when I grow up? How can I help others (that aren't my own blood-relatives)? What makes me happy? What do I like?

Well, hopefully my little pet project will take off. I am going to take it slow and see where it leads. I have a good feeling about it, and I know that moms in my position could really use some support.

I am going to take a class. I've never been afraid to try something new, but I have yet to find anything that I can do with confidence and claim as my own. Maybe I never will, but I am going to keep searching. Photography? Basketweaving?

And, I should probably include something about exercising and eating better, but I don't like to make promises I can't keep. 

I realize this sounds like the standard midlife crisis of the suburban set, and I guess maybe it could be. But really, I am tired of being so involved in my kids' lives, and I know they are ready for me to start loosening up those apron strings (since I have never even been in the same room as an apron, I guess we should call them sweatpant strings).

So, that's it. I guess this is the resolution post I hadn't planned on writing. I know you are all on the edge of your seats, waiting to see where this goes.

You know, now that I think about it, I may need to hold off extracting myself from everyone until Moody actually passes Algebra II and Beans remembers to bathe on a semi-regular basis.  Ugh, I think I have officially become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Psst... Get Over Here Before It's Too Late! And Make Yourself Useful, While You're At It.

I probably can't keep this photo up too long, as the subject wasn't so pleased about it being taken in the first place. If he knew I was using it for my own self-promotion, he'd have kittens.

So why am I in love with this photo? Because watching my son eat makes me happy. Seriously, chills were running down my spine and I was feeling all giddy. Weird? Hell yes! Understandable? Yes, again.

Calories, fat, salt and protein are this kid's lifeline. He can eat all he wants, and while the rest of us blow up like artery-clogged balloons, he grows stronger, his lungs stay clearer and all is right with the world.

And now, the self-promotion that I promised... Due to a serious of recent events, I have had a bit of an epiphany. I have come to realize that I don't have to use my corner of the internet solely for my own whining, self-pity and craziness (although believe me, that will continue)! I can try to flush out others that are in the same proverbial boat, and perhaps do a little good while I am at it.

I have started something called The Common Thread Project. Don't ask me to define it, because at this point, I don't have a very good answer. Here's who it is for: moms of kids with chronic illness. They're a unique group, with a unique set of responsibilities, feelings and needs, and frankly, they are ignored. And I don't say that to sound bitter. They are ignored because they want it that way. They put their kids first. They put fighting for their kids' lives first. They don't want you to pay attention to them, they want you to get off your ass and help them find a cure for the disease that has taken a most unwanted chair at their table.

But, I feel that there needs to be a place where these moms can go to let their hair down. Maybe even be treated to a little TLC. And that place is HERE. What the site will ultimately become, and how many moms it will help, is yet to be determined. But I have big dreams for it and am committed to helping as many women as I can.

So, if you have any desire to spread the word to those that the site might help, that would be awesome.

And by the way, although it may appear that Moody is eating sour cream straight out of the container, there really is part of a baked potato somewhere on that spoon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Panic at the Disco

Okay maybe not at an actual disco, but there certainly is plenty of mayhem, confusion and havoc-wreaking here at home to fill multiple discos. And yesterday, I attempted to face all of it head on, almost like a real grown up, and identify, and tackle, some of the indigestion-inducing issues.

As I see it, there really are only two main sources of stress in my home... Child Numero Uno and Child Numero Dos (although little Sassy with her kitty cold and infected eye is gaining as a strong third). And I treated you all to a little of my bilingualism just then because I was up past midnight typing Senor Moody Teen's Spanish essays he had previously hand-written, but realized at bedtime, needed to be typed. Since teen sleep is in short supply around here, I thought it best that he get to bed and I would type. What else did I have to do (Yes, sleep is the correct answer)? But Spanish isn't what we're talking about here... my children are. Oh, and my incredible parenting skills and insight.

So yesterday evening, I sat the older one down (I figure I have more time to save young Bean from himself, so he got shelved). I explained to Moody how important it was that he start to take on some responsibility for himself. Unfortunately, he was one step ahead of me, and politely agreed with everything I had to say (as it all went gliding smoothly out his other ear). There was no arguing. No negotiating. No threats of military school. But obviously none of it sunk in. He was just beating me at my own game.

I was highly suspicious, but what could I do? Just smile and wait until it all comes crashing back down again? I would think 24 hours would be sufficient time for that to occur, wouldn't you agree? Well that, my friends, is in T minus 2 hours.  Do you think that is enough time to find, purchase and read a Parenting Self-Help book, or should I do what any self-respecting parent of teens would do, and have a stiff drink and a bubble bath?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I know it's not all men, but it is certainly all of my men. They are just slovenly. And unorganized. And smelly. And clueless. Which I know is not the end of the world, and I don't hate them or anything because of their awful, disturbing habits, but surely on my own blog, which is frequented by people who interact with me and not them, I get the luxury of a little complaining every now and again, right?

Oh, and did I mention forgetful and obnoxious?

It's all just so constant. Constant chaos, constant laundry, constant "Oh, I need black felt, a non-fiction book, and a potato by tomorrow"**, constant "You owe me $40 for January's allowance and I need it now," constant noise, constant underwear lying on the floor with the leg holes still intact, as if they just stepped out of them, when in reality they've been there since Sunday, constant everything.

Which, for an above average wife and mom, might not be a huge deal, but for me, it is overwhelming. I need time to think. I need time to assess. I need time to plot revenge. But with all these men of mine up in my grillz 24/7, I find myself having to just react.

And I am not so good at reacting. I snap. I yell. I become catatonic. Oh, and now that my kids are old enough to get it (but young enough still, I suppose, to feel the cruelty), I am sarcastic. And sometimes, I just capitulate. Capitulating when beaten down may actually be the worst reaction of all. Because that means they have sensed my vulnerability and moved in for the quick, decisive kill, prompting my cowardly surrender.

Did I mention I am glad everyone is back at school/work?

And can someone please explain to me how I have managed to go to Target on three separate occasions, looking for some sort of miracle cream to put on my haggard old mug, only to come home, ALL THREE TIMES, with the same stupid stuff that does nothing but make my skin itch?

**no, I'm not making this up.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

You Know What They Say...

The family that performs emergency surgery on Moody's hand at the kitchen table together, stays together!

And a Happy New Year to you all!