Saturday, April 20, 2013

Anger + sadness

I'm pissed. And I'm sad. But mostly, I'm pissed. Nope, changed my mind again, more sadness. I'm sad for the people, the children, the families that have been touched by the most recent tragedies in the news, the avoidable news. I mention the difference, because there was a lot of gd loss this week, every week. I'm talking about the Marathon Bombing. It's sad. And sad isn't even the word. And the fact that that line & feeling is familiar to me. Pisses me off. And that isn't even the word.

As a person or American or mother or woman or friend or sister - pick a word, any word - as news broke I became numb. Almost like I didn't know if it was actually happening. Some of my closest friends live in Boston. Many good friends were yards away from the blast. I had friends who were running the marathon or watching their loved ones run and then others who ended up quite literally running for their lives. My brother works in Boston and surrounding areas. I lived a few blocks away from the blasts what seems like the other day (reality: 7 or 8 years ago). As I watched the video and photos unfold I knew these areas well. Video looped on streets and store fronts I walked by often. In the wee beginnings of our relationship when he was in San Fransisco and I was Boston I would talk to him, for hours. Since I pace when I'm on the phone I decided to walk instead of wear out the carpet. I walked that street weekly, if not daily.

Later in the week, the locations of the shoot outs, explosions being thrown out of cars in a chase, manhunts and the such - all local. I drove those streets, I know those towns. When the chaos moved to Watertown, most of it took place a few blocks from a friend's home with two small children like me. It was their reality.

The families or people who were directly effected: killed, hospitalized, surgeries, psychologically shaken or broken. Unimaginable. I can't process it. More than it all happening in a neighborhood like yours or where you might have lived lifetimes ago. More than having friends that weren't physically hurt but you know someone who made slightly different choices that day that changed their life. More than all of the six degrees of fucked up Bacon circumstances - these people whose lives are changed, forever, unimaginable. There are truly no words. What can you say?

I was numb, in disbelief. Worried. I was sad. And then, then I got pissed.

This is my reality now. Horrifying news, in my 'backyard.' I see posts on twitter or Facebook like "imagine if this happened all the time" or "this is what it's like to live in X Y or Z." And all I want to do? Scream, FUCK THAT. I don't live in X Y or Z. I do not want to imagine what it would be like for this to be normal. I shouldn't have to, no one should. But more than that? My babies shouldn't have to. But they do. Scratch that, they don't have to imagine what it would be like where shit like this is normal - because in their small and short life times: the middle of September will always be a dark time, shootings at colleges, movie theaters, fucking elementary schools - it's possible. And now bombings - it's all in the realm of their reality. And so much more, and not in a good way "but wait - there's more!" - pedophiles, kidnapping, parents killing children, children killing children, bad people doing bad things. Oh "but wait - there's more" - all the things that cannot be controlled - sickness, disease, accidents, natural disasters. Fuck.

(It's around this time, I needed to take a break. I was feeling like all I wanted to do was say fuck and it was feeling like too much. So I backed away from this post and I saw this. And that's when I realized there was entirely not enough fucks articulated. Because this sums it up: Fuck this week written by Lindy West on Jezebel.)

Taken about a week ago.
When she was that much safer.
So where was I? Oh right. Horrified & numb with sadness.

I'm scared for all of us, literally and figuratively. I'm angry. I'm angry my baby (even if she is 5 years old) tells me in the wrap up of her day she hides in her cubby in her classroom when they have "lock down practice."  Then I have to be asked "Mommy, are you crying???" What the hell happened to fire drills? Am I grateful schools are getting prepared and smart about the threat that is out there? Absolutely. Am I pissed that the threat is there? More than absolutely.

Do I run my own drills with her? Yes. 100%. How to scream "this isn't my Mommy/Daddy help me!!!" if someone grabs her. To look for helpers - other mommies or daddies with lots of kids or the police or firefighters. The helpers, that there are good people in this world - but hell if I'm not going to give her some strategies for the sick bastards out there. To run and scream and don't be afraid. Because that's our God damn reality. That's hers. And I'm so fucking angry about. I'm so fucking sad.

I want to protect her from the unimaginable. The heavy in my heart, it is actually imaginable possibilities, she may witness or experience. Obviously. More than that? I want to protect her from the knowledge of the possibility of the horrific (un)imaginable events.  She's 5, but what about the baby baby (1 years old)? What in the hell will be her reality? 

On Friday, the kid wanted to wear her Red Sox cap. Boston pride. She wanted to wear it because it's her favorite hat. She loves Boston, she loves that hat. She was born there - visits fairly regularly. See: family & friends in the area. It's her first home. Frankly? She just loves the damn hat. She loves telling people about Boston. We've moved around a lot, it's her schtick. She saw me wearing mine. I don't know why she wanted to wear it. But on Friday, I talked her (gently) out of wearing the hat. Not because I don't love her pride in (one of) her hometowns, but I didn't want someone to think that she knew. She's in kindergarten, why would someone talk to her about the bombing, just because of her hat? I don't know, but I don't want to find out. I want her to be naive to her reality for as long as possible.

She'll experience loss in her life. Her great-grandmothers, her grandparents - God willing - eventually her parents. Possibly friends & other family members. In the order it is naturally intended. For just a little while longer, I need her to not know the (un)imaginable. For her not to be as angry and sad as I am - just for a little while longer.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A magical Easter

Holy delay, Batman... err Bunnyman, as it were. 

Here's what I know about Easter:
  • I know that it's not really about bunnies, eggs or scavenger hunts.
  • We usually go to church, and a better part of me feels like we need to go regularly verses holidays.
  • We most certainly didn't go this year. To keep the beast JJ still for 10 minutes, let alone an hour would take a miraculous event, indeed.
  • I believe this gets filed under: WTF.
  • All of that said, the kids? Big fan of the bunnies, the eggs and the hunts.
Time out: what is UP with the bunny thing. I get chocolate bunnies (indirectly/kinda). But what's up with packaging a real bunny up in a cage... to then eat?

Time in: onto the magic.

This year, we decorated eggs without the baby, for the most part. We left her one egg and it was pure joy for her. Pure. Magic. This year, we were reminded that you can have the simplest of activities and win. 100%.

Note to self:
  1. Keep it simple. While I appreciate all the wonderful, natural and/or complicated possibilities of decorating a damn egg - freaking Pinterest - they have egg decorating packages on the cheap for a reason. $2.50 a box? Don't mind if I do. I will say, I read somewhere (freaking, Pinterest) that if you add more tabs you get brighter colors. So I went for more than one box. And it worked. It didn't matter though, all the eggs turned a green or blue - because eventually every egg was dropped in a blue or a green. The kid couldn't leave well enough alone. No egg was ever truly "done." It was like a Pringle... once she started popping she just couldn't stop.
  2. A clean work area is a happy mom. Or whatever the saying is. Boxes. Boxes man. In the last few weeks I've used boxes for creative mornings, getting my car out of mud - and now a table top to decorate the eggs. There is going to be spilling. And if you consider the baby? There is going to be splashing. The box down on the table top? Just totally kept the stress level in check. And clean up? WAY easy.
  3. Hoarding helps. I have longed hinted at my label in this house as a hoarder. But I tell you, it has it's benefits (if you can remain semi-organized). I mean, the boxes alone have been invaluable. Beyond that I save the same grass where I can, Easter baskets, plastic eggs - all the makings of what we need for our festivities without waste or unnecessary cost.
  4. Free is good. Some years the Easter Bunny and Santa seem to be at odds, in some kind of competition. I He doesn't like to over do it with the candy, so a few little treats or prizes typically turns into an unwieldy amount of goodies from the Easter Bunny. This year, we I he didn't go too crazy. With an upcoming trip to Disney, it was reasonable & just things the kids needed with one extra or two little extras. Things I would get anyway and some real necessities. Yea, the Easter Bunny got straight necessity this year and gave socks & underwear. The kids made a bunny out of a toilet paper roll for cuteness-sake with craft supplies already in the house.

    The best parts of the day,  were totally free.
  • A tradition we have is a scavenger hunt, just like the ball & chain had as a child. Rather than written clues, as he remembers, we the Easter Bunny hides plastic eggs (see hoarding benefits). In each egg there is a clue to the next spot. At the end of the scavenger hunt the kids find their Easter basket. The clues are a picture of where the next egg is. This year, since the kid is starting to catch on faster we the Easter Bunny got a little more abstract with the photo hints.  For example, instead of including a picture of the small ottoman in the living room, there was a picture of the pattern of the ottoman. It's a great, simple, fun, and practically free bit of fun. Big hit. Each year, after she's done the kid usually wants to "do it again."
  • This year, I think a new tradition was born. In the move we cleared out a lot of stuffed animals. The thought was to donate a lot, but it's never actually gotten out of the house. Not a win, in intent. That said, it worked in our favor in the column of magic. Every bunny that was previously tagged for donation and each bunny that was in their room was unearthed. In the morning, as the kids (well really just L cause JJ didn't really get on board) ran through the house and upon walking in the play room the scene was intense. Well, to an adult - totally creepy. But magical to the babes and that's what mattered. JJ even participated in their tea party. I mean. Come.On.

One day, they won't believe. And when that day comes, I'll be sad. Bright side? I'll be excited that there will not be hours of set up for 20 minutes of action. The math doesn't add up.  Scavenger hunts take time. Staging takes time. Hiding eggs? The ones that go bad, complicated in the morning. Doing it all quietly as to not stir suspicion? Even more time. I hope though, when it's all over, they remember these little snapshots of magic. Creepy bunnies & all.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

week 14

I mean, her onesie is on the outside of her pants. Work out girl.

The suns out...
and she has a side poney. Life is good.
Prepping for the BIG SURPRISE!

2 cameras set up - for said BIG SURPRISE!

When I should have known, do not surprise today.

1 hour later, some semblance of happiness. However Goofy.

Video of said surprise. Click here.
Sisters. Like love. Forever.
Princess dining.
Or not.

Hair piece. Do it girrrrl.
Suns out. Again. Life is GOOD.
Foot in a box.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My wish for my girls: find a partner.

As I type this, here is what my surrounds are like: 
  • I'm in the living room watching TV that is inappropriate for children. CSI something or another. Blood, violence: not your Saturday morning cartoons. 
  • The kids are screaming, crying and whining in the kitchen. 
  • Their dad is taking care of it. Making breakfast, dealing with the aforementioned screaming, crying and whining. 
  • I'm drinking coffee. Tuning it out, typing this. 
It's the weekend, and so starts our routine. We take turns waking up with the kids. I got up with the kids, this morning. We watched a movie & snuggled on the couch. As goes with our sleep patterns, since the ball & chain fell asleep a little after 9 - when he slept in to 9:30, he got more than an allotted and suggested 8 hours. Refreshed, he came down stairs and started making breakfast for the kids.
  • He just came in and asked if I wanted a homemade pancake. 
We take turns in most areas. Though we have our roles and what we are good at - and we take the lead in those areas. He loves to cook, so dinner? He owns. I help clean up, but to be honest he is crazy about keeping the kitchen clean so he takes the lead. We typically take turns dealing with bath time. In the ways of balance, I make out in the dinner & bath routine. We use our powers (and obsessions) for good.

When it times to do a massive house clean, we take our areas. I'm the living room & dining room girl. He's the kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. He's obsessed. I don't fight it. Plus if I'm being honest, he doesn't clean the living room like his OCD kitchen cleaning self.
  • He just came in, and delivered my pancake. Time out. 
  • Time in. That was delicious. 
We are in the process of planning a vacation. He booked the main details (where, when, flights, hotels). I take care of the day to day plans. I worry about any organization to the lead up: packing, planning. I go over board: there are spreadsheets, outfit planning for the kids, supplies to acquire. I'm on it. Holidays? With the exception of a gift or two - I take the lead. I have lists, I shop sales, I work out shipping (when I don't forget), I get the deals - keep us under budget - which we don't actually have. But I keep us reasonable.

When the kids wake up at night, whoever wakes up first usually takes them in. It's typically him, mostly because he's a light sleeper. When we have babies, if I'm on maternity leave - I get them. With the exception of the weekend. Then, we take turns. Most times he insists on going for it. And never, not once, does he keep score.

Never, not once, will he bring up that he's washing dishes right now. He's likely going to take one or both of the kids to the gym with him at some point, this morning. To leave me in silence. I might clean up. I might not, I might continue to watch TV. It's hard to say.

I will end up brushing L's hair 9 times out of 10 over him. Because while no matter who does it - it's painful- it doesn't get me as frustrated as it does him.  Never, not once, will I care the snarl mayhem falls on me.

I deal with doctors appointments, school stuff, activities - in terms of sign up. The games or practices? He's in.  Something breaks, falls, needs to be hung - all me.

We need to move, and this happens often. I'm the details girl: coordinating, planning, tracking, planning (yea I meant to put that twice), new schools / classes / camps, new doctors, new everything? Me. Unpacking? Both of us.  Making the house a home? We both bring that... but I take credit for the design of said home. 

I'll never understand how single parents do it. Bottom line, but (almost) more than that? When it comes to parents who are together and one isn't involved? It's a major unsolved mystery. I quite honestly don't know how it's done. To have another able body in the house who doesn't participate?  I know I'm one of the lucky(iest) ones. I know that men like my ball&chain aren't the norm. I know that most every day, at least once a day, I am grateful to be the exception to the rule.

I want for my children to be happy & healthy. Forever. Beyond that? I want them to find a partner. I want them to be the exception to the rule. Whoever their partner may be, I wish for them to find a true partner.  One who they balance out with, because any other life would be unimaginable to me.  I may be one of the lucky(iest) ones, but I need them to have this. I need them to know it's possible.

I hope what "they" say is true, by growing up - seeing this reality - that they will know it's out there for them. I just hope they find it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We're going to Disney. A true unveil: leave your tissues at home

The mistakes I made:
  • Over thought the surprise element.
  • Got a balloon too big for the box - part of said over-thought unveil. 
  • Expected too much. 
  • Rushed the announcement, it wasn't a good time. 
  • Set up too many cameras. There may have been at least 2 in sight.
  • Announced the big "WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY!" after a unique 2-3 hour nap. 
  • Built up "we have a surprise for you" before she even came down to unwrap said over-thought unveil. The nerves kicked in with the case of sleep coma she was in and add to that complete stage fright.... 

When life hands you an underwhelming response, you make an iMovie.

An hour or so later she was vibrating with excitement. It will be wonderful.

Taken after the "surprise" element wore off. I asked her to
hold the sign... she came up with this face all on her own.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PSA: Finding Nemo gives mothers a moment.

The picture with L & Marlin was better,
what can I say. Trust me, she loved Nemo, most.
When the kid was a baby, as our baby is now, the first movie  she loved was Finding Nemo. I don't remember her calling it anything special, but we knew she loved it. Or at least we thought she did. When she was three, she got to stand by Nemo and was enamored.

We thought what they had was love, but what JJ has with Nemo is special. It is quite literally the only movie, thing, activity, noise, anything that will stop her in her tracks. It is the only thing she will sit and watch. Therefore, I watch it daily. In the mornings, before work, while I shower. Nemo. After work, while I'm making dinner. Nemo. Even if I'm not the one making dinner and mommy just needs a minute. Nemo.

I love the movie for those reasons, and more. No, of course I like Nemo. It's because I like Nemo, I don't want to be with him every day. It's a complicated... emotion.

If that sounded familiar, it was reworked from the movie. I watch the thing so much I look for someone in my life to chant Shark-bait, HOO-HA-HA! with. Or grab shell, dude! Righteous!!! RIGHTEOUS!!! When I'm thinking "Find a happy place! Find a happy place! Find a happy place!" it's straight to Nemo I go. Or Chico, Fabio, Bingo, little Harpo or Elmo. As JJ calls him, Neeemie. 99% of this paragraph? Quotes from the movie... don't mind me. Isn't there another way? He's JUST a boy!

OK. Now I'm done. It's on a continuous loop on our TV and my mind.

It's totally normal to squeal like a tween (in the 90s and/or a woman in her 30s) at a New Kids on the Block concert when you find out there will be a sequel to an animated movie, right? Cause I did. Truth. Is it the story? Is it the funny weaved within the smart dialogue? Is it that there isn't a ton of violence? (Minus the usual Disney kills the mother scenario... seriously, Disney/Pixar what's up?) Is it the characters? The voices? The whole package? OR is it just the simple hypnotic silence bliss that I can find when it's on? It's a movie that the baby can watch and the kid can enjoy. Ahhh... something for everyone.

A friend said something that rang true. Probably the most valuable piece of advice another mother has ever given me - so I pass it along to you.

Nemo is the gateway movie.

Gateways have never been so good. Are you a mother? Know someone who is about to be? Get them Finding Nemo, for those moments where Mommy just needs a minute.


Because when it's over? Good feeling's gone.

Monday, April 1, 2013

week 13


  • Boxes are great for crafts and more. 
  • Kids are cute, but they are mischievous. 
  • They can make a mess fast, just like I can... trying to cook.
  • Easter, turns out is a fan favorite in this house.
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