Thursday, February 25, 2010

You're small fry, stop baiting your mom

I think I'm a pretty good mom. I don't beat my children, and I give them dessert once in a while. I work hard to be painstakingly fair. I let my oldest daughter borrow my shoes. I take my son to the mall to buy a used video game he desperately wants. (even though he was grounded from the Nintendo at the time). I cuddle and read and go fun places. I strive for consistency. But these days, it feels like my children hate me. This is a sample of what I have heard this week from my little guppies:

  • You're so evil!
  • I wish you were dead!
  • Get off my back!
  • Leave me the hell alone!
  • I don't have to listen to you!
  • Go away go away go away!

I recognize it's not always going to be unicorns and rainbows and lollipops and cotton candy, but it is disheartening. I don't particularly like fishhooks and sea monsters in trade. Maybe just a little cotton candy once in a while would be nice.

My son is 11 now. And I can't stand him on more occasion than not. He is belligerent and snotty and just generally thinks he doesn't have to listen to me half the time. The other half the time he spends begging me for:

  • money
  • a ride somewhere to buy something
  • more video game/computer/toy time/snacks/insert whatever the hell he wants at any given moment

I have no idea if this is typical behavior, or if it is perseveration from the Asperger's on his part. He is like a mongrel dog with a piece of meat: once he gets hold of something in his head, I dare you to try to reach out and pull it away from him. It's just not going to happen. And if you try, be prepared to lose a digit or two. He doesn't back down, and he says what he is thinking. You know all those things we hold in our head that we never speak? He speaks them. At least to me. He just doesn't seem to get it. He doesn't quit. He generally says what he is thinking, no matter how hurtful it may be. Two days ago, he made me cry by calling me names. I tried something new: I grounded him from all electronics. He won't shut up about wanting to play video games. I have mentioned, "I said no, geez, stop badgering me!" Only to hear, "badger, badger, badger…." (oh Internet why must you taunt me so?) I have added more time, and he still won't stop asking, over and over again, whining about how mean I am, and just generally being a boil on my backside. I told him, "Son, you are completely in control of how this plays out. Your mouth is what got you in trouble. Once you stop, it stops." He doesn't have that limit line that most of us have, at least when it comes to me. It concerns me because if he has this attitude now, what will it be like when he is sixteen?

Speaking of sixteen, it sucks, thank you very much. I am not so old that I don't remember what it is to be a teenager. I know that it feels that your parents are on your case constantly, that you can't do anything right, that they think you are stupid. I know how much you yearn for independence and wish you could do things on your own without everyone watching to make sure you complete homework, make deadlines and do chores. I know that feeling. BUT. As a teenager, there is a lack of concern for the above. Priorities don't always match up with what you think is important. So, the internet may appear to have more appeal than say, getting an assignment done for school. And maybe, in my daughter's case, parents have to step in and make sure that the distraction disappears long enough to get said assignment done. And in doing so, that parent may end up feeling exactly the way they swore they never would based upon doing the exact thing they swore they never would. (By the way, this is probably where I say "SORRY MOM!" if you're reading this..I guess you were right and I was a shit as a teenager). Anyway.

I admit since I have been home from New Zealand, my tolerance for crap has been extremely low. I have stepped up my game and been more firm, because I am seeing that not setting clear boundaries for my children is starting to bite me in the butt. I am not a pushover, but I never saw the value in what I saw as authoritarian parenting. I always listened to my children, let them logically discuss issues. These days, that flat isn't working, and it is like living with lawyers. If there is a weak point or a loophole in my argument, they will find it. And you know what? I am just too damned tired to argue with them. Sometimes, you have to do things you really don't want to do. That's just life. And you don't get a choice, and you don't get explanations of why the dishwasher needs to be unloaded in the morning first thing (because if the dishes are clean, there is nowhere to put anything and the the dirty dishes just pile up in the sink, making more work for everyone for your simple convenience of doing the dishwasher later because you "don't want to, and if you want it done right now, why don't you just do it yourself" And? I'm the MOM).

Maybe the answer is just..because I said so. God, how I hate that I have turned into that kind of mother. But. I am tired. Really, really tired. And I cannot explain one more damned thing to ungrateful little yuppie larvae. It just so happens they were spawned by me. Doesn't change the fact that I just can't do it anymore. So.

Just. Do. It.

And, oh God, here it comes…Because I said so.

Or I will take you to Laguna Beach, and so help me, I will feed you to a really big fish.*

*I wrote this before the Sea World catastrophe, and while it may not be in the best taste, I am not changing it. It's humor. Deal with it.

T, who is at a loss

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another sign of the coming Apocalypse

Anthony Bourdain, cynical, sour and absolutely rough-around-the-edges sexy host of No Reservations, his anything-but-tourist foodie travel show that is my guilty pleasure (with no less than TWELVE episodes currently backed up on the DVR, thankuverymuch)And..he's on drugs ...Yo Gabba Gabba?? wait...isn't that the same thing??

Look at it. LOOK. AT. IT. No, really, you cannot look away. You want to, but it is too strong, the Tony Force is pulling you in.

T, who is dumbfounded

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Please don't tell my husband

I am having a torrid affair. I see him almost every day, God, but he is sexy as hell. And I love the way he sees things. Today, we went for a walk in Fullerton. I held him, and cradling him tightly to my chest, brought him close. We clicked. Ah, joy!

Have you figured it out? I am madly in love with my camera. (Please don't tell my computer).

These two had to be a bit bigger, because they are so rich in detail. I have to admit, I really love this next shot. She caught me.

People have emailed to ask me what camera I have. I use a Canon T1i. This batch was taken with a EFS 18-55mm IS lens.

Edited with Picnik, which I adore and use multiple times a day.

T, who hopes you aren't sick of the photos

Monday, February 22, 2010

How NOT to make an impression at the Ritz

Sometimes I think I'm just not a very good grown up. In fact, maybe I am not a grown up at all. You've heard "You can dress me up, you just can't take me out?" That was for me. Oh, no, you have it together, so sophisticated, cultured. Yeah. Uh huh. Let me tell you.

Tonight, I went to an amazing blogging event put on by SVMoms/LA Moms at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point. I pull up to the valet in my 2001 minivan with the dent on the side from the hit-and-run driver a few months ago,wasn't I just a sight? Because you know places like that just don't have self-park! So I stop the car, and I must have been nervous, because I had the damn thing still in Drive and it started rolling. Sweet. Not fast, just enough to fluster me. (what am I doing here?)

The event itself was wonderful. Everyone was so nice. We all mingled really well, and no one put on airs. It was wonderful to see familiar faces, and meet new people, too. I gained some great insight into how P.R. people think and gained some great tips for video blogging. (stay tuned, hint, hint.. Not that you want to see my goofy face every day, but oh well). Afterwards, we were invited into the actual event room, and wow. An entire room of people who just want to meet me! (and other moms, of course). So many wonderful brands were represented: Stonyfield Farm with new greek yogurt (to die for!) and Whole Foods and new Cinnabon cupcakes and Skechers Shape Ups shoes and the cutest little bag from Ju Ju Be that I put my camera in while it rides in my purse and Stride Rite and iGo and Bosch Tassimo and Taga and and... And? Chocolate!

Still with me? I can feel your eyes glazing over as I write this, but bear with me, this is where it gets good. I am standing at the Bosch Tassimo table, and they are drawing me a nice cappuccino (sooo cultured am I) when my overladen butt (not because it's big, mind you...I just had a bunch of things I was carrying) sideswiped the coffee cup table and...well, let's just say, I got noticed. Here I am, in the Ritz Carlton, trying to be cool and show brands why they want to work WITH ME! ..when the cups started crashing down around me. And it was loud. Conversation slowed, and the cups just kept falling. It was one of those moments that goes on forever. I just closed my eyes, willing it to stop. I viewed the wreckage, then turned to the nearest Ritz Carlton employee and said, "You can just take that out of my paycheck." Someone near me said something about "Hope they don't make you pay for that, heh." Grinning sheepishly, I replied, "If I have to pay for cups at the Ritz, maybe the economy is worse than I thought!" Baby, take a bow.

A train wreck? Honestly, what else can you expect from me? I was visiting a friend in San Diego, picture this. We are in this really swanky, tony hotel bar, happy hour, having cocktails. Now, I don't have cocktails out very often. Yeah, ok, popping down to the local pub for a pint is more my speed, but I was living like a grown up this day. I sit down at the bar, order the nice foofy drink and set my water bottle on the stool next to me, with my purse. (we had been walking and the bottle was too large to fit in my purse. It manages to fall to the floor and roll all the way across the bar (did it come with batteries, what the heck?!) The live musicians STOPPED playing and waited. And me? I of course, just cringed. Because what else do you do in that situation? Take a bow? Oh, yeah, I did that, too.

My father used to tell me I couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. I think he may have been right. But wouldn't you think, at my age, I would grow out of it? So. Not. Fair.

the wonderful pictures of me were taken by my friend Julie. She was sweet enough to use my camera so I have proof I was there. The others are all my own work.

T, who might be dangerous

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Car Bingo, Marriage and Penguins

With Valentine's Day behind us, I've had time to reflect a little on my relationship with my husband. What keeps two people still so much in love after twenty years? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I know what is working for us. Of course, we are a work in progress, but so far, so good! A key component to our relationship? Humor. NEVER never never take yourself too seriously.

I have a prime example of our relationship. When we were in New Zealand, we invented a brand new travel game to pass the time. Though the South Island is beyond beautiful, there isn't a lot to see to keep your brain busy, so some creativity is in order.

JNerd and I invented New Zealand Car Bingo. The rules are simple. There are five items in this game, short and sweet. Simply call out the item, and see who's first. Because you'll see one of the five at least every few miles, it passes the time. See who can spot it first. Then laugh. A lot. A variation is to call out the items in a dead-pan voice, a la Monty Python. Laughter is still required, however.




Old Church

Statue/War Memorial

Honorable mention goes to the obligatory statue of Queen Victoria in every major city that we visited. Either in the botanic gardens, or in the middle of a park...there she was, towering over everyone. Victorian era, indeed.

No matter where we went, these items were ever-present. It livened up the drive (which was beyond gorgeous anyway) and allowed JNerd and I to loosen up and enjoy playing together. It's amazing to me how much we had forgotten how to play. But it is like riding a comes back. Over the two weeks we were together, we rediscovered how much we like each other, and how much fun we have together. I wish we had more opportunities, but I know that we will both make more of an effort to just loosen up and have fun. Because it made us young, and silly.

One of my very favorite animals is the penguin. They are awkward little guys. Slow and clumsy-looking on land, but lithe and amazing in the water. As if that's not enough, most species mate for life. I just love the romanticism season after season of the same female pairing up with the same male to make more babies. (I don't want any more babies, but I can appreciate that they might). There is something endearing about finding one another over and over again. Sounds like marriage. I wonder if penguins laugh, too?

I remembered (and I hope he did, too) "Hey, I like you, you're a blast to hang out with!" And isn't that why we married in the first place?

T, who shares my cookies and my recess (and even my chocolate) with him

all pictures taken by me except Cow (have you ever tried to take a picture of a cow, from a moving vehicle?) Cow picture by FelixLaCat used under a cc license Share-Alike 2.0

Friday, February 12, 2010

Intent is 9/10ths of the battle

I admit it, I wear my heart on my sleeve. So it isn't that difficult to hurt my feelings. It has been my Achille's heel for most of my life. In grade school I was a perfect target for bullies: I could be reduced to tears very easily.

They say "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me, " and even as a child, I knew that was a crock of crap. And I suppose you could argue that if you let people get to you, they will, but I cannot successfully harden my heart to the point that criticism does not get in. I tried for a while. I didn't like who I became. I was brittle, with sharp edges. Not a fun person to be around. Not a fun person to be.

These days, I am stronger. I am open emotionally, the better to love. And sometimes, it hurts. So when my son said to me, "Did you ride a dinosaur to school named Fluffy?" as funny as it sounds now, I had to swallow the lump in my throat. Because it was his intent to hurt my feelings. Autism, or no autism. He was angry that I wouldn't take him to the video game store so he could trade in his old video games for a new one. And he wanted to make me pay. He took cheap shots about my age, something he knows I can be sensitive about.

So even though it was a silly thing to say, and laughable as far as insults go, I responded to his intent, not his words. Now, after all these years, it finally dawned on me why my feelings are hurt so easily. It isn't what you say, it's how you say it. Lesson learned, and ready to be taught.

Funny how even now I am learning things about myself.

T, who just wants people to be nice to one another

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Why I am not mentally home yet from New Zealand

taken with Canon T1i

T, who is gradually coming back, at least the routine is normal again

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