Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday: He Actually Ate a Meal

I cannot be the only one…who has spent the last several years of their lives in a perpetual state of begging their child to eat.  Not just the typical, “Eat your vegetables,” but a pleading to eat something, anything, even the one part of the meal that you were sure your child would eat (like grapes or French fries).  This has been a running theme in our house since the day the Sonny Boy was born (literally, read Mom on Mom Judgment, the see the section on breastfeeding).

This unintentional hunger strike has caused many an argument and a generally disgruntled mood in our house at meal times, but it seems that the tides may be changing in the sea of all food aversion.  The Hubs made a fantastic dinner with chicken drumsticks seasoned with Herbs de Provence (sometimes we use the fancy herbs) and Sonny Boy ate every last bite of chicken and asked for MORE.  

After I picked the Hubs up off the floor, where he fell when he fainted from disbelief, I put together another plate of chicken and snuck in a few bites of broccoli to add a touch of color to his plate, which he didn’t eat…I shouldn’t have gotten cocky, but he did eat a little more of the chicken and complimented the chef on a meal well made.

This night of peaceful chicken eating has repeated itself a few times as of late, a pulled pork tenderloin quesadilla and Greek turkey meatballs have both received Sonny Boy’s seal of approval, shown in the form of a dinner plate cleaned of all it’s offerings.

Could it be that we have entered into a new era of happy family meals…or is this easy going eating just a trend destined to fall to the wayside as so many positive traits have in the past? Either way, this Thursday I am Thankful that he actually ate a meal.

Do I have to move to France to get Sonny Boy to eat?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Liar Liar or Dreamy Dreamer?

I cannot be the only one…who attempts to find the balance between my child becoming a world-class liar and not stifling his imagination when he is sharing his latest exaggerated tale.  Don’t misunderstand me, I have very little patience for the, “I didn’t do that,” type of fibs when I clearly saw Sonny Boy squeeze toothpaste all over the bathroom counter, I am speaking more of the, “John’s dad came to school juggling chainsaws, he dropped one on his foot and cut off his thumb toe, but luckily had an extra toe in his tool box,” variety of lies.

When Sonny Boy begins to weave a tale, I listen patiently to the polish he is purposefully adding to amp up the story, but when he finishes I ask him to verify a few of the details.

I’ll ask him, “Did the hockey player really do a break dance in the middle of the game or did you imagine that part?” What worries me is when Sonny Boy replies, with a great air of confidence, that the break dance did in fact did happen, but only when the coach, other players, and the entire rest of the fans watching just happened to look away all at the same time, leaving him as the solo viewer of the hockey game break dance.

It is curious how his little six-year-old mind works, I wonder if he really thinks I believe his tall tale or if he believes the two of us are in on the joke together, either way I am not sure he knows what he is doing is lying.  I remember my own daydreams as a child; singing into the hair brush while my fans screamed for an encore or sending my dolly to the principles' office when she failed to walk on her porcelain legs to practice her ABC’s on the blackboard, but I am not sure if I spread those daydreams around as facts to the other members of my family like Sonny Boy does.

I hate to stomp out Sonny Boy’s creativity, I will leave that for the workforce to take care of when he’s an adult, but at the same time I want him to know that exaggerating is just another way of lying. I guess until I get it figured out I will enjoy the fairy stories he creates to liven up the sometimes mundane life of a Sonny Boy, while extolling the virtues of honesty upon him (maybe, just maybe, some of what I say will sink into that precious little bean of his in between his tale of how he saw the family dog open the closet door, take both his shoes out, and then leave them on the stairs).

I am ordering seems fitting to my tale. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday: To School On Time

I cannot be the only one...who is amazed at their child's lack of ability to just simply get out the door in a timely fashion.  Our school mornings have been hectic whirlwinds of velcro shoes, backpacks, and impromptu bicycle riding in the garage, adding up to a rushed and stressed out Mama that wants to throw in the towel.  Just recently though, I've noticed that it seems like we might have finally ironed out the morning wrinkles, and have been arriving at school ON TIME.

My good old dad used to say to me quite often when I was a child and wasting everyone's time with my distracted behavior, "Just keep living, one day you'll get it," to which I would huff and think, "Ok....but how is that helping?"  Now, I get it.

The fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy has an equally fantastic habit of doing everything and anything except for what he needs to be doing at that exact moment.  Like the broken record I have become, just like my dad was when I was a kid, I repeat the same instructions over and over, "Please put on your shoes and grab your sweatshirt. Please put on your shoes and grab your sweatshirt." Only broken up by the also too common statement of, "Leave the dog alone, put on your shoes and grab your sweatshirt," all of which was not penetrating those little apricot shaped ears of Sonny Boy's.

In the last month or so things have slowly been progressing, Sonny Boy gets dressed without having to be asked fifteen times, he eats his healthy breakfast of Cocoa Krispies without leaving his seat nineteen times, and has put his shoes on without being asked twenty-five times (I am wondering about alien abduction, but he hasn't complained about strange lights or large eyed beings in his room at night, so maybe he's just falling into it possible?)

This Thursday I am Thankful that we have been making it to the elementary school on time with smiles on our faces in the place of the furrowed brows and frowns of the past, and it feels good.  Hopefully, this trend in punctuality will last through the end of the school year (a girl can dream).

Maybe I need this guy to
keep Sonny Boy on track.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The First Report Card

I cannot be the only one…who finds them self disenchanted with their experience as a newbie Mama to public elementary school.  I have a variety of different reasons for my less than enthused feelings, one is the fact that the principle has already called me at work, got me really worried, and then dismissed the whole point of the call as "nothing really," and now I can add the first report card to my kindergarten dismay.

The impression I am making with that opening paragraph is that is that my delightful Sonny Boy didn’t get good marks, which would be incorrect, he didn’t get bad marks he received Satisfactory marks in almost every section.  With the exception of the “N” for Needs work in fine motor skills (his handwriting is a tell of his future as a prescription writing doctor), his teacher didn’t feel that he is exceeding any expectations or is outstanding in any of the weighed parameters on the report card. Come on…he isn’t a little above average in anything…joining in social interactions is one of the categories for crying out loud.

I know as a parent we are biased, our children are the BEST at everything (including driving us crazy), but there must be something the Sonny Boy is doing that is worthy of an Excellent or Outstanding…something! I don’t expect his teacher to lie or exaggerate anything that my Sonny Boy is capable of at his ripe old age of six, but I think offering a positive highlight of a facet of his abilities could encourage him to do better in the areas he is struggling.

I keep taking deep breaths and reminding myself that there are going to be teachers in Sonny Boy’s life that he won't make a great impression upon and there are going to be teachers that make him feel smart and confident, but most likely they won't be the same teacher at the same time.  Thus is life, I guess it’s good for Sonny Boy to learn this lesson now: it takes all kinds to make this world go round (and their not all going to be a fan of yours).

Could the Bob Books help?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's Time to Wrap it Up

I cannot be the only one...who knows that the old saying, "when it rains, it pours," is as true today as it was when the first person uttered those words (probably between sobs and woeful wails).  We spent this past week getting knocked around by strong winds, the Sonny Boy took a vacation, and the Hubs and I got to spend a little alone time together (sounds great, right? Well...keep reading for the plot twist).

Southern California is a beautiful place to live, we have towering mountains, gorgeous sandy beaches, and about an eighty percent chance of sunshine year round.  Although, people don't talk much about the Santa Ana's, the hot intense winds that blow around this sunshine state, and the havoc they wreak. One of the side effects of these blustery winds is their ability to knock out the power, which is what happened at the Sonny Boys school.

The Hubs new best friend.
In the midst of working my way through the hazardous elementary school parking lot, watching for wayward children and moms pulling away from the drop off zone without the use of a turn signal, the school principal was frantically approaching the incoming traffic to let us know that the power was out in the school.  She also informed us that if the power was not reinstated before 10 am we would be called to retrieve our young scholars to take them home (also, without power). 

This, of course, was the same day I had an oil change scheduled. Every other day, I am ready and able to pick the Sonny Boy up from school if need be, but not this ONE DAY because the family wagon would be on a lift getting it's bi-annual oil transfusion. I sat in the dealership waiting room, checking my phone way more than normal, and imagining an abandoned school, empty juice boxes and gummy snack wrappers blowing across the deserted playground, and the Sonny Boy standing alone with a single tear falling from his eye, making it the worst oil change in history (which is hard to do, oil changes are the worst.  Oh yeah, the school got the power back on and the day went back to normal, bullet dodged).

Next, my in-laws picked up Sonny Boy on Friday afternoon to take him for a weekend filled with Pop-Tarts and grandparent spoiling, leaving me and Hubs to enjoy a little peace and quiet.  This peace and quiet lasted until Saturday morning, when the Hubs started sneezing and blowing his nose at a decibel level that shook the windows, which turned into a full fledged bedridden cold by early afternoon. So, I have been spending my weekend as the Mom-Wife combo on overdrive since the first sneeze flew the coup, serving peanut butter and banana sandwiches (yes, this is really what he asked for), Gaterades on ice, and Tylenol at a pace way to rapid for a woman who lives in a two story house.  Oh well, I guess we'll enjoy some time alone together the next time the Grandparents are in the mood to transform their lovely home into a Sonny Boy driven mad house.

Until next time....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: A Successful Sleeping Routine

A peek at the few
night lights.

I cannot be the only one…who was shocked when my child moved past infancy and was still not sleeping through the night.  This is something that no one warns you about when you're pregnant, most likely because they don’t want you to jump off a bridge by overwhelming you with the REAL truths about motherhood, but when the Sonny Boy continued to wake us way past three years of age, I figured I would have a lifetime of exhaustion to look forward to.

I did all the things sleep deprived parents do in an attempt to make their child’s trip to dreamland as smooth as possible; soft blankets, a white noise machine, even gently rubbing his forehead until he dosed off, but without fail he'd pop up at of that bed and refuse to go to sleep on a nightly basis.

Once we conquered the hurdle of just getting the Sonny Boy into the bed and actually staying there, we moved into the nighttime interruptions phase.  The waking mid-sleep was for all the same reasons as I am sure you've heard in your own household: a midnight bathroom break, a mono-eyed monster in the closet, and the thirsty thespian acting out an academy award worthy dry throat.

Although, lately we have fallen into a successful sleeping routine. Yes it involves a lengthy story, a three-song minimum, and a host of nightlights, but it seems to be working for us.

So, this Thursday I am Thankful for one of the pleasures of life that people without children take for granted, the blissful ability to sleep ALL the way through the night. Now, I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, I know this successful sleeping could fall through my fingers like sand at any moment, but for today I am grateful for a couple less yawns during the day.
These two could be joining the sleeping
routine at any time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mom on Mom Judgment

I cannot be the only one…who has noticed that some Mamas thrive on schooling you on what is good parenting. There are those Moms who I think are just waiting for a good moment to drop some superior mothering wisdom on you and the others who are all about passing parenting judgment, either way this schooling happens to me quite often.

I narrowed down the times that I have been schooled by other mommies to three biggies. By no means are these the only times I have felt this way, generally I am schooled by another mom at least twice a week, but I offer you only the following three to save the little bit of pride I have left:

1.     Breast-feeding:
When the Sonny Boy was born I tried like a swollen-breasted crazy woman to get that boy to latch on.  After a day of unsuccessful nursing (yes, he didn’t eat for the first day of his precious little life), the nurse in the hospital suggested giving the Sonny Boy a bottle of formula, and Viola, the boy ate something.  My milk supply refused to cooperate with the demands of my new hungry baby, so formula became his source of food.  When my girlfriends heard of this travesty they almost bought the farm, “You have to keep trying, you have to rent a hospital grade breast pump for your house, NEVER give up on the miracle of breast milk…” but I was scared the Sonny Boy would never be satisfied by my dodgy food source, so bottle feeding is what we did.  Sigh…this was my Schooled moment.

2.     Preschool:
I was one of those lucky mamas, whose boss was truly uninterested in child rearing, and allowed me to move my office into my home prior to the birth of the Sonny Boy, thus giving me the chance to be at home with my baby for the first four years.  When the time came for Sonny Boy to attend Pre-K, I was that mom with eyes full of tears muttering things to my Hubby like, “What if he has to go to the bathroom and doesn’t know where it is,” while the other, more seasoned preschool moms, offered us those smiles that you aren’t really sure are in kindness or in jest.  At pick-up, on the third day, one of the other mothers decided it was time to get to the bottom of why I was such a nervous ninny about my son and preschool.  When I explained that the Sonny Boy had been at home with me since birth, the mother couldn’t hide her astonishment, “Didn’t you think he needed to socialize with his peers during the first four years of his life?” I took a deep breath, refrained from explaining what should have been obvious: that we didn’t hide in a closet and never go outside in those four years, but rather I told that busy-body mom that we had many reasons (none of which I was going to give her the pleasure of knowing) for not enrolling in preschool until then.  Whatever our reasons, the fact was…. BOOM she Schooled me on that delicate third day of preschool.

3.     Parental Advice:
Lastly, this most recent Schooled moment pertains to offering parenting advice or even simply sharing what works in our house, and the face slapping judgment that other mamas are willing to slay you with. I made the honest mistake of sharing how we handle Sonny Boy’s extreme finickiness when it comes to food, that I make something I know he’ll eat early in the week, such as Mac and Cheese for example, and reheat it as a side dish to accompany whatever deliciousness I have created that he won’t touch (really, it’s just an insurance policy that he actually eats something).  You would have thought that I said I use Hershey’s syrup in place of milk in the Mac and Cheese by the responses I received, I was told it is a “horrible idea” and that basically I am creating a monster by “making him something special.”  I am not sure when Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (you know that inexpensive blue box usually found on the bottom shelf at the market) became an exceptional treat, but the response to my parenting (or obviously lack thereof) added another Schooled notch to my already notched up belt.

I hope that I didn’t send any of you in a tizzy because you agree with those issuing the Schooling, the truth is I am trying at this motherhood thing, but like anything in this life…practice makes perfect (I had to laugh out loud at myself on that last comment, I am positive I will never be a perfect mom).

Maybe this is what I need...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reviewing the Week

I cannot be the only one…whose weeks are so full of things to do that they fly by fast and whose weekends fly by even faster.  Time has a horrible habit of getting away from me (notice how I don't take the blame for simply having bad time management skills) and before I know it it's Friday afternoon and I have so much yet to accomplish.  This past week was no different then the rest and we had quite a few things going on per usual.

Bouncing is hard work.
It was a gray and chilly day when the children returned to the elementary school in our neighborhood this past week, but there was nothing gray about the happy parents waving goodbye to their little bundles of joy, relieved to be sending them back to arms of the schools' educators (yah, back to school).

I “auditioned” for a freelance writing position at a local lifestyle magazine, I submitted a heart felt review of one of our go-to Mexican restaurants, and was accepted for a non-paying spot on the writing team.  Go Me!  I mean, kind of “Go Me,” I would like to make a dime every now and then, that’s not selfish right?  Although, getting my sea legs out there in the world of wordsmiths can be a valuable experience (I keep telling myself this to feel better about the fact that I am not getting paid, it's working so far...).

Saturday we spent the morning at a despicable birthday party, Despicable Me themed party that is, and had a chance to catch up with a group of friends that we don’t see very often, while dodging minions hyped up on twinkies.  The Sonny Boy had a jolly old time jumping on the bouncers, not eating anything but birthday cake, and screaming until his voice was hoarse.  I had a chuckle at how all moms become the same broken record while standing next to the bouncy castle as they remind their little angels to be careful around the smaller children, to share, and to take turns (and how all the dads haven't changed a bit, still drinking beers out of solo cups off to the side).

After today’s multitude of chores we will prepare to do it all over again.  After lunches are made and packed, laundry washed and folded neatly into drawers, and the last sweet glass of wine is drank this evening, its back to the same old same old.

Until next time…

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Back to School!

Sonny Boy looking happy & ready!
I cannot be the only one…who is thankful their child has gone back to school after a long, long winter holiday.

I could almost hear the sighs of relief as weary mothers and overwhelmed fathers dropped their children off at the schoolyard.  I could see the corners of the parents mouths turned up, readily offering a smile, caused by the knowledge that for at least the next five hours their children were using their energy for good instead of evil (learning and playing instead of leaving their toys on the stairs and pulling their little sister's pig tails).  I witnessed relieved parents on the verge of high fiving each other as they made their ways to their cars in the parking lot, never so excited to head to the office, to manage the wash machine, or simply sip a cup of coffee uninterrupted.
"Peace Mama, I've got amigos to play with!"

On this Thursday, I am thankful that Sonny Boy has returned to school to be embraced by his friends and teacher. I am also thankful this Thursday to return to my life of chores sans a five year old dragging his heels, working without a fifteen minute drive in the opposite direction to drop a five year old off at Grandma’s to be sat on, and the chance to sit down at my computer without a five year old saying, "Mom," "Hey Mom," or "Moooom," every two seconds.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Tale of a Scatterbrained Mom

I cannot be the only one…who used to be able to handle the workings of an entire company, chat on the phone with her best girlfriend about the insane sale they got on their latest pair of killer pumps, and paint their nails all at the same time, and not miss a beat.  Only to jump ahead five years and not only not own any pumps that have been purchased in the last two years, but can’t even remember why they are standing in front of the open silverware drawer staring at it’s contents.  This, my friends, is the sign of a scatterbrained mom…and I am one of them.

For the most part I am able to keep this family running, with little to no incidents of fire or trips to the emergency room, but if one extra layer is added to this family cake, all hope is lost. A close family member was hospitalized last weekend, after days of the old “he’s going home tomorrow” routine, I decided I needed to pay the poor sick-o a visit in the hospital. But as a mom I can’t just decide to visit and simply go for a visit, there are schedules to be rearranged, sitting-on Sonny Boy favors to be called in, and timing to consider in order to eat a meal sometime as well.   

After getting all of my ducks in a row, I started out to the hospital, on the way I spotted a market and thought to myself, “I can’t visit without an offering of chocolate, chocolate makes everyone feel better,” so I pulled into the parking lot to make a quick chocolate run.  I grabbed the essential Ghiradelli salted caramel goodness and walked briskly to cashier where I handed over my treats only to realize…I forgot my wallet.  After apologizing for wasting the cashier’s time, I decided the visit would be sub-par without the chocolate but it was going to have to due, and drove straight to the hospital. 

When I arrived at the hospital I saw the building only offers paid parking, which meant I had to drive and park four blocks away, because no wallet means no paid parking lot.  I finally made into the main entrance of the hospital and became aware that I had no idea where o’where my family member could be. I dipped my hand into my purse to grab my cell phone to call, when…yes, you guessed it, I had forgotten it as well.  I imagined my cell phone and wallet together on the kitchen counter enjoying a good laugh at my scatterbrained expense while drinking cups of coffee, but this imagining got me no closer to finding my hospital bed ridden family member.  Luckily, a rather nice security guard saw my increasingly grumpy knitted eyebrows and offered to guide me to where I needed to be, and I finally paid a visit to my sickly family member.

What is this inability to keep track of more than one thing at a time that happens when you become a mom?  Is it that we have three balls in the air juggling constantly, so that when that fourth ball gets tossed in we loose a beat and let all the balls drop? Either way, this scatterbrained mama needs to rest her frontal lobe before I leave the house without putting on pants (the poor Sonny Boy would be scarred for life).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Winding this Week Up (01/05/13)

I cannot be the only one…who is very excited to put this past week behind them.  It has felt like nothing but holidays, holidays, holidays the past couple of weeks, and as lovely as it has been I am ready for the good old hum-drum of the work week.

We rang in the New Year and hit the sheets about fifteen minutes after the ball dropped in Times Square on the eve of 2014, but the Hubs and I still felt exhausted (and just a tad hung over) on Wednesday.  A mid-week hangover combined with the lack of adequate sleep does not make for an enjoyable day, especially when you are the proud Mama of a five year old Sonny Boy who could run with the bulls and still have energy abound.

Sonny Boy is NOT loving this fish @BassProShops
After nailing down a sit-on Sonny Boy schedule with his Grandma, I had to rearrange the dates and times to accompany an unexpected meeting, a meeting that wound up being fruitless (well fruitless for me, but Grandma enjoyed a lunch on me to make up for being so accommodating).  Thanks again Grandma!

Finally, our little family of three made the pilgrimage to The Bass Pro Shops, which is only about eighty miles from our house, so the Hubs could spend it up thanks to a gift card he received as a Christmas gift (he got a fanny pack, he calls it a “waist pack” for holding his fishing gear, but I know the truth). It was a day of stuffed dead animals, captive fish in a fake stream, and bearded men grunting about waist gaiters and shotguns (I can't lie, it was pretty entertaining).

Only one day left until winter vacation is over for Sonny Boy (his school so kindly gave us this coming Monday off, you know, one more day so we can get on each others nerves just a little more) and then my life will get back to normal.  I am letting this winter vacation be a learning experience for me, the next time I complain about the go, go, go of the work and school week, I will remember how we drove each other almost to the brink of madness when all we had was time to spend together (also, how the four hundredth time you hear your child sing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is no where as cute as the first couple of times).

Until next time…

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday: A Warm Weather Walk

Sonny Boy and Barko: The Wonder Pair
I cannot be the only one...who is ready for their little one to head back into the halls of knowledge (or at least of crayons and construction paper).  Today, though I am thankful that the Southern California weather permitted us to take to the streets and walk our little hearts out. I only had to ask Sonny Boy fourteen times to slow down, the dog only sniffed every single blade of grass possible, and my shoes only came untied twice.

All in all, on this Thursday I am Thankful.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Contagious Grump

I cannot be the only one…who wonders about the amount of influence the people who spend time with my child will have on the type of person he will become as he grows. Are our children simply mimicking the uncle who tells inappropriate jokes at the dinner table and groaning like daddy when asked to take out the trash, or are our little angels picking up all of our good and (mostly) bad behaviors along their way?

There is a person in our family that is GRUMPY, grumpy about work, grumpy about traffic, and grumpy about stubbing their toe. I mean this person’s ability to grump would put Walter Matthau’s character in Grumpy Old Men to shame.  Their grumpiness is easy to trigger, simple inconveniences such as a short wait at the gas station or the self-check-out at the market asking them to “wait for assistance,” can turn our crabby family member’s smile upside down for the remainder of the day.

When this cantankerous person is spending time with Sonny Boy and starts in on a prickly outburst, “Of course this would happen to me,” in response to dropping a spoon more than once, I wince and hope that Sonny Boy realizes it isn’t normal to get so riled up over such a simple hassle.  I hope Sonny Boy will learn to laugh at how ridiculous it is to literally cry (or mumble expletives under your breath) over spilled milk, as opposed to tacking on this perpetually perturbed state of mind to his freshly minted personality. It is because of these testy displays by our family member that every now and again when I glimpse an act of frustration by Sonny Boy that I wonder, “is this typical five-year-old irritating behavior or thirty-five-year-old curmudgeonly behavior?”

I wish the solution to my crotchety family member was as simple as limiting the time Sonny Boy spends with them, but that is not an option, I want them to be a part of our lives (no matter how many times I see that vein in the side of their neck almost burst because they forgot the ketchup after they sat down at the dinner table).  Besides, I had an ornery grandpa growing up and I don’t flip the bird every time the person driving in front of me doesn’t use a turn signal, so I know there is hope that Sonny Boy will escape the clutches of a grumpy disposition. Although, I can’t help but wish that sometimes we could alter those around us…even if it is just enough to allow us to eat at the pizza parlor without a rant about how many times the waitress passed our table without refilling the water glasses.