Friday, April 28, 2006

Some Kind of Mother

We spent yet another long, harrowing day at the doctor's office yesterday. Although Julia got the clean bill of health day before last, she nearly blacked-out on her class field trip. So, it was back to the waiting room. Petrified that something might really be wrong, I was feeling rather heightened, on top of being totally frazzled from week we've had around here. I wasn't the only one beginning to crack under the pressure. Iris was still feverish herself (being 3 days behind her sister with the virus), over-over-tired, cranky, and hungry. You're recognizing the potential in this ugly combination,I know you are.

As I sat there waiting, Julia quiet and peaked next to me, Iris was running circles around us, shrieking and whining and climbing and jumping around the germ infested sick ward barefoot (because she was insistent that her shoes were "bawvering" her and wouldn't let it go until I surrendered and let her take them off). I was on the verge of tears, head in my hands, at a breaking point. Suddenly, I had this overwhelming awareness that I was THE MOM that everyone was staring at. I was the mom that I used to stare at. Seriously, who lets their child run around a medical building barefoot? WHO? Certainly not me. At least not until I had Iris. So, there I was, being judged by the moms who held their sick babies close, who had shoes on their kids feet, whose children weren't yelling and whining and climbing and jumping. But worst of all, I was being judged my myself. What the hell kind of Mother have I become?

As I think on it now, I know what kind of mother I am, even when I'm at my worst and I'm embarrassed about my parenting choices. I'm the same mom I've been since my first daughter was born eight years ago;

one that will rock her babies to sleep at 3 months or 3 years,
one that nursed them despite the pain and pumped despite the inconvenience,
one that's unphased by poop, pee, spit up or throw up (no matter where it is)
one that never tires of art projects, tea parties, blocks, books, trains sets, dress up (and even when she does, she still does her best to play),
one that teaches her children to value and respect life because everyday is a gift,
one that loves her children more than life, even when things seem at their worst,
one that's willing to go to any length when her children need her,
and one that will sit for hours on end in the waiting room to be sure her daughter is OK.
That's the kind of mother I am.

And hopefully, I'm also the mother that is just a little more accepting of the moms who take their kids out with crazy, matted bed-head, with mismatched socks, and dirt on their face. Or the moms that have to leave their full shopping cart at the store because a tantrum forced them to, or those who get their kids junk food at the Target snack bar to buy themselves a little time to shop. I strive to be that kind of mother now. And, I hope I remember to offer a reassuring smile and nod to the mothers out there like me, who try everyday to do their best a maybe do it a little better than the day before with more tolerance, more patience, more love and more forgiveness.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

If the Shoe Fits

Since I've begun to blog I have been tempted to share a million stories of Iris in all her "spirited" glory but have been a little afraid that if I begin to express my concern, frustration, up-in-armsness with her, I may not be able to stop. Or perhaps I may even perpetuate her behavior which is quite often, less than desirable by verbally labeling her as "difficult". Too late. Since she was a wee one we've come up with all sorts of nicknames that have, without a doubt put her in the "challenging child" category. Things like, "Cryris" or "Sybil" (she is a Gemini after all), "Pistol" or "Pill". Nice, huh? With each passing day she comes up with noteworthy, flat out negative ways of acting that are disconcerting sure, but also friggin' funny, when I can hang on to my sense of humor.

Yesterday, at the doctor's office we we're waiting for the results of Julia's chest X-ray (she's clear! no pneumonia!) during what ended up being over an hour visit. We were all ready to melt down so I pulled out my fine conversation skills and began to at least try to engage the girls in question/answer time. We we're pondering what we wanted to be when we grow up. For the sole reason that Iris seemed totally into Julia's check up ("Take myyyy temperature!", "Look in myyyy ears!", "Where's myyyy doctor?") she asked her,

"Iris, do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?"

Iris, "NO!"

Me, "Do you want to be a...photographer?"

Iris, "NO!

Me, "How about an artist?"

Iris, "NO!"

Me, "Well, what do you want to be?"

Iris, "A meanist!" (snarrrrrl)

OK then, it's settled, a Meanist it is. Can you get a degree in that?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The last few days have been strange and somber. Both girls have been sick (house-bound, no school, lethargic, high-fever sick) with what the doctors are still calling just a virus (we can only hope). And if that isn't tough enough, we had to put our lovely cat Pearl to sleep. Sad sad stuff. So, in honor of our three-legged, hyper-loud, sweet as anything, 16- year- old furry family member, I will post a pic. It's one of her enjoying the backyard of our old home when she was still well enough to spend her time doing just that.

The house has been really quiet without her ( she was VERY vocal) and we miss her terribly. Love to you, Pearly Girl.

Friday, April 21, 2006

That's what I'm talkin' about.

Time is escaping me as always, but before my "gig" comes and goes I want to at least make mention of it. I am speaking at a "Mom's Morning Out" at Once Upon A Story THIS Wednesday from like 9:30-11am or so. I'll be chatting about stuff like documenting life with your children (journaling, photographs, keepsakes, etc.) and will use my books as a reference, of course. Although they are written for expectant and new moms, much of what I'll cover can easily transfer over into life with older children as well.

I would adore it if any of you local readers could come. You are out there, aren't you? Anyway, it's a lovely children's bookstore, chock-full of cool stuff and I'm looking forward to spending the morning there. Kids are welcome but it's YOUR time so if you want to come solo or with a friend, go for it!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A plea to the Mothas-

Check out this site pronto. It's called MomsRising and it's all that! Usually when I come across stuff like this I immediately mumble something cruel to myself like, "Why don't you get off your butt and do something this important Tracey?". But once I snap out of my self-loathing routine, I know that what these sites and the women with the guts, the strength, and the moxie to drive them really do is inspire me. With resources like this at the click of a mouse, we can more readily get involved and make a difference in the issues that really count. Bravo MomsRising!

And while you're there be sure to read my piece called Potty Break featured in this month's Neighborhood stories.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

As if it's not enough that the most frequently used word in my vocabulary is "blog" these days, I've had to drag my family along. I really should get a life.

Last night we went to eat at a local Sushi Bar. Iris (a mere 2) pours a handful of etamames (sp?) into her mini-bowl, tears open her chopsticks, positions them in her hand like she knows what she's doing, and starts chowing down these wet, slippery little soy beans USING HER CHOPSTICKS! No kidding. No guidance, no instruction, she just instinctually uses two sticks as eating utensils. Just like that. I was freaking out, of course, and whipped out me camera, of course, and started shooting pictures of my baby genius demonstrating her latest talent.

I caused a spectacle, of course, and in the midst of all the excitement, Julia (8) blurted out, "Mom, you can blog about this!" in one of her many lightbulb moments.

I don't know about you, but I think I've found myself a muse.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm IT! I'm IT! I have been tagged and I am IT IT IT! I feel all warm and mushy and so very loved by the blogosphere right now. Kay, so what I understand is that someone out there (namely sweatpantsmom) wants to know 6 interesting and/or strange things about me. Can you believe it? I'm giddy, like I'm getting ready for a first date or something. I know, enough already. Anyway, this thing I've been tagged to do is called a "meme" and truth be told, I have NO IDEA what it means or where it comes from but everyone's doin' it so who cares!
Here goes-

1. I have traveled across country in a VW bus TWICE. Once when I was 5 with my hippy parents and once when I was 23 with my hippy girlfriends. I can't remember much of the first go round but the second...TIME OF MY LIFE!

2. I cannot imagine having to live a day without strong coffee and my slippers.

3. I can eat my weight in M&Ms, peanut or plain (I'm not picky). I eat Ice Cream every night. Yes, I'm eating some now, so? Oh, and while we're talking vices, I'll add semi-sweet chocolate chips by-the-bagful to my list.

4. My grandfather is famous. He's a legendary Hot Rodder and has a big, beautiful coffee table book written about him and the whole bit. And he's alive and well enough to be basking in his fame. It's awesome to see. Just google him man, he's all over the place. Yes, he did play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on his Fender Stratocaster at a recent gala they held in his honor. The guys like 80 something. One things for sure, I got good genes on my side.

5. I love the Grateful Dead and will forever be a proud and faithful Dead Head. Enough said.

6. I use Lansinoh on my lips. Not to mention any cut or scrape or abrasion on myself or any other member of my family. Yes, I said Lansinoh, as in the best thing that ever happened to a nursing mother's chapped, cracked nipples. Secrets out.

There you have it. So now I get to tag people. Boy, this is cool. Um, well, most of the people that I know are reading this don't even blog (CHICKENS!) and to top that, they don't even bother registering so they can comment on my blog, thank so much. Sheesh. You so know who you are! I'll start by tagging my oldest and dearest friend (who is the crazy kid who got me into this thing in the first place) Claddyjack, and the sweet Noelle, and Amy who is all up in her livejournal world and Tante Myriam who is poised and ready to begin blogging but hasn't yet, and lastly Kirsten who is talking about diving in but won't and this my dear is your chance to go for it!!!!! Oh, and Kerri-Lynne, if I thought you read this, I'd tag you too but I don't think you do. Humph.
And I almost forgot Elisa at the new Momready blog. Yes, it's the same place Kristen is trying to score her i pod shuffle from. TAG!!!! (oops, that's more than 6-shucks)

Well, OK, that was fun.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Taxes done? Check.
Refund coming? Check. Check.
Exhausted? Most certainly. But, I will go on record to say that although I may be tired I am rested, if that makes any sense. I've had some girl time....sans kids. Which in my book is the best kind when you're talkin' a massive house in Palm Springs with 11 girlfriends, food enough to feed most of the free world and enough alcohol to fill the jacuzzi (no, we didn't get that crazy). Did I mention sunshine? Yep. A day at the La Quinta Resort with a hot friggin' rock massage to die for? Oh yes. A dance-off with the regulars the Arnold Palmer Bar where the average age is 65 and the skin is bronzed and baggy? You betcha. That last bit was right out of a SNL skit. These ladies were LITERALLY elbowing us off the dance floor. I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't witnessed it first hand. I've got the bruises to prove it. Did I take pictures and are they incriminating? Of course. BUUUUT, I'm afraid I'd be breaching the whole "what happens in _____ stays in ______ " thing. Plus, I REEEEEALLY want to be invited back so I'd best not be sharing.

Here's a little something just to show the intensity of the relaxation that was going on over the weekend. This was the view from the back patio where we enjoyed our cocktails. I guess I don't even have to say that I could get used to that kind of living.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Welp, I'm knee deep in paperwork of the IRS kind (yes, I am one of those tax procrastinators, but to my credit, I've never filed an extension-so there!) . Today I offer a hilarious link to a fantabulous post by the lovely, the talented, sweatpantsmom. Since I know for a fact that many of you, my faithful supporters, aren't super-bloggers (YET) I thought this post about the joy of the link would not only be entertaining but educational as well. Hers is the kind of creative blog writing I aspire to. Have fun clicking around!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I just got home from a wonderful morning of mommy camaraderie. Today's gathering at bookstore Once Upon a Story was a well needed breath of fresh air. A lovely space to be among other mothers, chatting about mom stuff, sipping coffee (and good coffee at that), snacking on scones-to-die-for (they were glazed or something heavenly like that) and just being in each other's good company. A change of scenery and a topic to discuss was a perfect way to spend a Wednesday morning.
Photographer/mom of twins/Montessori teacher(pre-twins) Stephanie Pullman shared some thoughts on ways to nurture our children's independence by encouraging them to "help" in daily tasks, specifically at mealtime. The message was simple and her ideas felt very doable. I like doable. Doable is good. It's amazing how hearing constructive tips from other mothers can open our eyes to some new strategies for daily living. What's more amazing is how much a little dose of 'moms meeting moms' time can leave us with such renewed energy.
One of the things that I really took to heart today is the idea that we call have the choice to wake up each day, take a deep breath and say, "today, I'm going to be a better of a mother than I was yesterday." It was just something Stephanie touched on and it's ringing in my ears. With children, there will always be days that feel like a race to the bed-time finish we're sure we've been robbed of our last shred of we'll never get out of this motherhood purgatory alive. For me, the mere reminder that I can at least begin each day with hope, love, patience, and the possibility that I can be the best mom I can be is good enough. Still buzzing from my morning, I'm embracing that. Or maybe it's just a glazed scone sugar high. Hm.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I have found myself eager to post something, anything almost everyday now but, as one can easily see, I am not able to execute. SO, I have come up with a new blog that will be compiled of mostly images. I have years and years worth of photographs that I have taken and I would love to share them. This new photo-blog (if you will-and I will) should make it easier for me to offer a little something everyday. That's the plan anyway.

Without further adieu, here it is, the way I see it.