Tomorrow, 5:30a.m.: This family hits the road for Sea World. We will pick up cousins along the way. We have bathing suits and changes of clothes. Sunblock. Snacks that will be smuggled into the park. I am hoping I will walk through the maneating sharks tunnel without thinking about EQ’s. I am hoping I will watch the Shamu spectacle without constantly worrying if he is going to murder his handlers. I am hoping I won’t cry at the injustice of all the pretty caged sea life and my stint as hypocrite by purchasing tickets and supporting zoos. I am pretty sure I will be totally obsessed with watching my son’s reactions to seeing dolphins up close, sea turtles, orcas, etc. and that my joy at seeing him joyful will override any guilt I am currently experiencing about caged sea life. I’m relieved the Dadda is: Going with us. Cash! Keys! Kids! Cash! Cash! Aaaannnnnd—Sea World!
Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category
This has been a rocky late Winter, early Spring when it comes to health. My Facebook wall is filled with many mommy tales of recurring colds, coughs that last a month and (arrrgh!) pneumonia. In my house, pink eye was the tip of the illness-berg eventually ploughing right into Good Ship Mommy. See? I only write sentences like that when I’m delirious. I think.
Out here in the burbs, I don’t have family close by or the types of neighbors I would allow to watch my child while I writhe in flu-agony. I do have “Curious George”. He dropped in as I took over the couch in my bathrobe, weakly fending off the kitten’s attacks and the dog’s wet nose in my face. My son sang and danced and commented on George’s discoveries and suddenly it was almost noon. That was when I called my husband and told him he had to come home.
I know from the past few weeks of battling pink eye and colds that there are deeply hidden energy reserves in me—but I couldn’t locate them today. On the one hand, this was devastating—not having energy. On the other, it made me let go, just let go, let him watch George, let him snack on pretzels and Goldfish multi-grain crackers, let him dance around in his pj’s at almost noon, just let him. It doesn’t happen every day. Let the dishes pile up and the dust balls laze through the house. Let both Facebook and my writing be.
I told myself: Do microwave lunch and dinner. Do phone it in from the couch. DON’T have a mommy-meltdown with husband. Do know he is doing his best to get home. Do utilize cold/flu medicine to knock self out once child is under Dadda’s supervision. Let go, let go, let go…
I have a feeling letting go will be this Mama’s monumental challenge through the next decades. Best to start practicing now. (O little Moofy Boofy Luffy Wuffy Love Cup! Wherever you move to after college, I want to move there, too!)
Last Mother’s Day I received a pet from my lovely husband. Last year, I was more sleepless than I am these days. That beautiful thing called preschool hadn’t started for us yet. 5:00a.m. wakings were still regular occurrences. Another pet to care for in addition to the two cats was hard for my weary, toddler-focused mind to process. Last Mother’s Day, as my lovely husband was pulling Julian’s cage from the car, I believe I yelled out the kitchen window, quite rudely: “WHAT DID YOU DO!!!”
Then, suddenly, last October we adopted Tucker. I’m still in shock. I honestly believe my lovely husband is on a not-so-secret mission to start a home petting zoo. In addition to two cats and a bird, we adopted a dog who needs to eat 3 times a day and have regular daily exercise. Just when the toddler started sleeping until 6:00a.m., we adopted a dog who requires 3:00a.m. potty breaks. And yet—I love him dearly. Who knew I had so much love to give? I am a magical (possibly futuristic) battery pack of love. An endless font (in ocean blue). A—zzzzzzzzzzz.
My lovely husband and I discussed adopting a kitten and, I thought, were in agreement that 2011 was not the year of the kitten, but remained steadfastly the year of the rabbit—several rabbits, in fact—once domesticated beauties repopulating and hopping through all the front yards on our street, but in no way in need of attention from me beyond the carrots I toss out for them. “Whew! Thank goodness we’re agreed on the kitten issue!” I told my lovely husband. Yup. That’s what I said.
So this Mother’s Day we welcomed Diggory into our
petting zoo home. Now, it’s like he’s always lived here. He is one of us. He is (other than my son, Al and Rudycat and the dog) my baby. See the picture below? Obviously he gets me.
My lovely husband’s reasoning: “I’ve always felt bad about you losing Charlotte right after we moved to our Ponderosa. I want you to have your own cat again. I mean, yeah we’ll all love him, but he can be—er, yours,” he said as the kitten ripped his hands to shreds with those kitten needle claws and teeth we’d forgotten kittens possess.
Of course I adore him, even though it looks as though I cut myself or shoot up because of all the pricks and scratches on my hands and feet. He’s fun to cuddle when he’s asleep. Although he wakes me up intermittently in the dead of night by sticking said needle claws in my back, you only live once and it’s nice for T to have a kitten, for Al and Rudy to have their sedentary cat lives shaken up a bit, for the dog to have one feline who doesn’t hiss at him, for the Mama to have another opportunity to spread her love around as she chugs her morning coffee and for my lovely husband to have his family w/pets—a unit, a joy, a blessing that was a long time coming—for both of us.
Rock on all you late bloomers. That’s right: Rock on! Now please excuse me while I nap before everyone wakes——-oh. Too late.
It all started with the Easter Egg Tree. We painted/colored it and little accompanying eggs and added a large decorative egg and foam bunnies. We also made foam bunnies to send to relatives and T completed several Easter cards before totally burning out and threatening to throw his Thomas train (tucked into the cargo hold of his mega yellow submarine) at me. I put the crafts and cards away.
Until it was time to color eggs, but he made short work of THAT silly craft—or, rather, he turned coloring eggs into something fun, since I wouldn’t let him bash the hard boiled eggs on windows or couch arms or feed them to the dog. That’s my boy! Using your creative noggin! I was tired of egg stuffs, anyway—the dye takes so long if you are aiming for luscious shades. And, anyway, it’s not about ME at Easter. It’s about T. And J, of course, exiting dire circumstances. And the dog—shedding. And Dadda working overtime. Mama single-parenting. From 6:00a.m. to 9:00p.m.-ish. Sometimes. Without a dishwasher.
Monocle, or magnifying glass? Only T knows. And J, of course—along with The Universe.
The dog took matters into his own hands and, while T and I were in his room playing trains and space shuttles, got his nose up on the dining room table and made a meal of the 5 eggs we had colored. T and I returned to the living room to find egg shells and smeared yolk on the floor and a very unhappy doggy.
Then T’s preschool’s Spring Break hit and along with it sneezing fits that turned into a cold for T the day before Easter and, on Easter Morn, misery—6:00a.m.—when he woke for the day after waking every hour all night (poor little guy).
His cold stopped us from driving to Santa Barbara and visiting the relatives and the beach, but luckily did not stop T from eating his chocolate bunny and jellybeans. This was hard for a mother concerned by her son being repulsed by green vegetables to watch, especially when she was helpless to add flaxseed or wheatgerm to the chocolate bunny and failed to find sugarless jellybeans—so she returned to bed and slept until after 9:00a.m. And, later, had a 2 hour nap with her son who had a 4 hour nap and when everyone woke up, the house smelled like honey wheat bread.
The day was gray, my son was sick, but the house smelled like honey wheat bread because not only had Mama’s first bread machine in her life arrived the day before, but she had survived the crowds at Walmart to procure all the right ingredients for making her first loaf, which her son loved, I mean which my son loved, and which I made, and—I have lost all perspective. There is much metaphor and simile and parallels to be had in this post, but I’m just too tired. As Ingrid told Bogey in that movie: You’ll have to think for both of us—and keep it to yourself.
After eating my bread, T felt so perky that he joined his dad outside in the yard and they made the beginnings of a vegetable garden and buried watermelon seeds in the earth. Thus, Easter reigned supreme in our house, or, rather, just enough for a little boy who doesn’t know what Easter is, except that chocolate bunnies are involved and Easter Egg Trees and a lot of bunny hoopla and consumer ads suggesting hams and garden sheds and festive outfits. Oh, little lovecup of mine—it’s all about love, love, love. That’s all you need to know. Much love, Your Chocolate Pimp And Ultimate Caregiver Of All Time.
1. Pay closer attention to patience and being in the moment with all things concerning my son.
2. Lift my eyes up from the dishwater and enjoy myself. Lifting my eyes up from the DISHWASHER would be nice, but perhaps the happiness I feel lifting my eyes up from the dishwater and its endless supply of dishes needing attention, glancing out the windows, perhaps catching sight of the once-tame-now-feral big white bunnies digging holes in the front yard or frolicking along the sidewalk, catching sight of the many, many neighbors’ Christmas lights and air-Santas still in place, catching sight of a piece of red sky or red-tailed hawk swooping or that amazing palomino clopping along our road, its rider decked out in sombrero and spangly chaps—-perhaps these sorts of visuals will thrust me into such a happy place—happy, content, appreciating the background sounds of my son playing tug-of-war with the dog and his toy—that I will totally bliss-out and attract a silver dishwasher into my life. Dishwasher or dishwater, I resolve to focus more on these three words: All is well.
3. Not be all crabby about my February birthday (for once).
4. Continue to give to a charity each month, even if only $10, even if only $100.
5. Continue to write every day so that I can end the day knowing that I have written and stepped: Forward.
6. Remind my husband to remind me that we must remind ourselves to have our movie-night w/popcorn popped in olive oil, even if such a movie-night seems impossible that particular week.
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
8. Plant more beauty in the backyard because it’s important for writers and tired parents and young minds to look out the living room windows and see blooms that weren’t there the night before. Heck, turn the backyard into a forest with a non-brackish stream for splashing maniacally in and redwoods and blowzy ferns and foliage you can crawl under for a nap or pizza party—now there’s a resolution.
9. Keep thinking positively.
10. Keep optimism always close.
And it goes without saying, but here it is in writing: Read, read, read (to my book-loving 3 year old, for myself, forever).
It’s a new year. What a concept! How marvelous to start afresh with resolutions carefully typed into Word, resolutions sought with open mind and heart in (extremely) rare moments of domicile privacy, or—fished for from the sweetly-art-deco-bottom of an emptied Mikasa champagne flute on NYE. Hurrah, PB! Hurrah for resolutions!
Please stay tuned. PB cannot write more this evening, as it is now 10:18p.m., ALREADY and one of PB’s huge resolutions, already broken, is to be settling down for sleep by 10p.m., every night, to abate the—difficulty—of her son’s 5.a.m. wakings and the dog’s I WILL BE WALKED IF ANYONE MOVES IN THAT BED AFTER THE HOUR OF 4:00 IN THE MORNING, and the cats’ SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE, WE’RE SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE AND MOVING ON TO THE HALL CARPET, WE’RE RUNNING ACROSS YOUR SLEEPING BODIES, WE’RE KNOCKING DOWN PICTURES ON THE DRESSER, WE WANT FOOD, WE WANT, WE WANT—listen, it’s just time to go to bed. Happy New Year. I heart resolutions. Mine have already come in handy this 4th day into year-bliss. Seriously! Peace. Um—resolution-on, man.
I don’t know about your house, but THESE are the kind of Christmas shenanigans going on around here:
Not to mention early Christmas presents from Semi-Secret Santa Mommies:
Or Christmas caroling to the dog:
But this, THIS is really what’s going on around here—every—single—second:
O perfect, metaphor-catching picture! Yes, I vacuum up dog hair twice daily, rise at 4:00 a.m. to allow the child into our bed, awake every 5 minutes until 6:00a.m., when it’s time to get up for the day because T wakes with his headlights on BRIGHT and is ready to rock and roll and eat pancakes I’ve secretly stuffed with carrot puree and applesauce, yes I’m still a sleepless mother despite preschool, but I can honestly say: I am enjoying the season. He is enjoying the season. My currently snoozing husband, too.
Who knew the end of the year could be jam-packed with so many changes? New dog, preschool (!!!), Thanksgiving at our house—well, that happened last year, too. I guess I mean: HOLIDAY SEASON (MADNESS)!!! In addition to us all waking up at 4a.m. (at which point little boy comes and gets in bed with us and plays tag with my kidneys with his heels), 5a.m. (at which point Dadda takes the dog for a rollerblade/walk), 6a.m. (at which point the youngster among us is up until naptime). I am also editing/revising my novel. And mopping floors and finishing Christmas shopping THIS WEEK and organizing a booked calendar and hoping I’m not forgetting anything, anyone—like this blog. And—well, see picture below. ‘Tis the season! Let us Hallelujah. Until the next post.
This post is important for me to write as it involves almost not listening to my intuition, almost letting exhaustion run my mind instead of logic (not that logic isn’t a fair weather friend of mine), thereby almost resulting in sending my son to the wrong preschool instead of: the fantastic, nurturing, sun shines out of its a**, Waldorf-got-nothin’-on-us, creativity promoting, we-help-potty-train preschool he is currently attending.
A month before his 3rd birthday, my son switched from sleeping through the night until 6am OR LATER, to waking up several times during the night and for good by 5a.m. I should say, he reverted to this brutal waking hour, one I have yet to (3 years later) get used to. With the addition to our family of a 2nd toddler, Tucker, my sleep once again constantly disrupted, my husband and I considered preschool for our early waking, determined to test his parents, adorable son. “I’d rather have a sane wife than—well, than not,” my husband told me as I stared dismally into my 5am coffee mug, having forgotten to put coffee into the maker’s filter, thereby brewing myself a pot of hot water. “Just need more, um, what’s that called. Sleep,” I whispered, my head crashing to the table, snores louder than the dog’s erupting.
My son and I visited several schools. One in particular struck my fancy as it is close to us, thoroughly gated and full of teachers. This school’s Mission Statement extols enriching the lives of 3-year-olds and helping to potty train them, if necessary. Miss A was soft-spoken and when she sang songs, her students listened. However, on the 2nd day of visiting, misgivings plagued me. Miss A had 10 little ones and no helper, despite all of the teachers-teachers-everywhere. On our 2nd day of visiting, Miss A’s class arrived and wouldn’t behave or follow rules and this took a huge toll on Miss A—she was stressed out after the first hour. Understandably so! How could she watch 10 rampaging toddlers AND help some with the potty, change diapers, have them make their Mayflower boat painting, read to them, sing to them all by herself? Bless her. She did her best and I admire her. She should be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and receive free spa visits for what she does.
But the fact that she had no assistant worried me. Furthermore, when the kids were outside in the fabulous playground, teachers seemed to manage kids vs. play with them, or make games with them. This “managing” crept deep into my subconscious and troubled me.
That evening, I once again fervently Googled preschools in the San Fernando Valley, my heart sinking when the schools I hadn’t yet visited and was most attracted to were Montessori or Waldorf based and $10,000/year. Not do-able at this time. So I started resigning myself to sending my son to Miss A’s class, because how different could preschool programs really be, anyway? Perhaps managing children was what happened to children his age, no matter WHAT a Mission Satement insisted (and the Mission Statements school to school, whether pricy or modest tuitions, were all similar). Instead of teachers dressing up like fairies or historical figures or wizards or animals and introducing students to acorn art and really wild stories and fun songs, perhaps the reality was a class like Miss A’s. And besides, Miss A was a nicer teacher than at any of the other schools I’d visited, she was closer to home and———I slept on it.
The next morning I decided to visit one last preschool near us that I hadn’t checked yet. I was 99% resigned—yes, resigned!!!—to Miss A’s school, despite my guts twisting every time I thought about it, despite alarm bells and sirens wailing through my brain, trying to shake me up, trying to order me not to settle for anything less than the best for my son, trying to tell me I was going to have to start from scratch and check out schools farther away if I had to—advice hard for a Mama with bags under her eyes to take. Alarms did penetrate my fatigue, though, because we did visit. Here’s what happened.
The second we were shown into the secure preschool area, I was greeted by the Director, a friendly woman wearing a tye dye summer-ish dress. She gestured to the play area and encouraged my son to explore it, which wasn’t necessary, as he was already RUNNING over to join in the activities. As my son engaged with children, the Director showed me around and second by second I was swallowed by the happy vibe of the place, it’s cheerful student artwork proudly displayed on walls, it’s library, its toys and homey feel and outside, its sand and bubbles and teachers moving here and there with the packs of kids, instructing, suggesting, stimulating minds. Correcting, yes, there was correcting going on by the teachers, but it was obvious they were there for the children in a way that the previous school’s teachers were not. My son held Miss M’s hand within the first hour of our being there and accompanied her to the potty, went potty and returned wearing a pull-up beneath his jeans instead of a diaper. I almost threw myself into the Director’s arms and sobbed relief into her tye dye. I had almost made a huge mistake. No—preschools are NOT all the same and the right preschool IS out there. We had definitely found ours.
So I’d like to thank my own personal nagging and alarms for not giving up on trying to alert me. I’m glad I listened. The return for listening is priceless. I must never forget to listen, never excuse not listening, never settle. Now pardon me as I try not to weep in my car, having left him at preschool for the first time. My little big boy! Mama is going home to nap while you paint, make giant bubbles, sing songs, make art with acorns, sit for storytime, enjoy snacktime, make messes and help to clean them up. I promise you, my son, I will be a better mother for extra sleep and some time alone—and you have some new things to discover and tell me all about when I pick you up in 3 hours. Sniff, bawl. I love you, baby! (cue that Carly Simon song that plays at the end of “Heartburn” with Meryl Streep).
There are reasons for all the blog breaks I have posted of late, instead of writing meaningful material. Ha ha! Place your mouse over each photo to receive an explanation. Or—not…
(One sister is not featured in photo as she lives in Iowa—however, we missed her greatly, although the Pater HAD TO ACT as if overwhelmed by female offspring invading his household. Could not cooperate and just smile normally for camera…
Which means I’m writing/editing.
And my son—
turns 3 in 5 days. November is a busy month! And it’s Christmas at Target. Ouch.