Monday, May 25, 2009

The One That May Or May Not Be True

"Wait for meeeee......."

It's a cry heard often on playgrounds, in backyards, on streets, and in homes across the country and around the world. In any language, in any place, the cry is universal. As a matter of fact, you don't even need to speak the language to understand the meaning, you know the sound and you've felt the feeling yourself. Everyone has at one time or another. Everyone at one time or the other, has been the one uttering the plaintive wail.

"Wait for meeeee......"

As parents, we dread the day when our child is the child uttering the wail. We know it will happen, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, our kid will be the kid left behind at least once in their lives. When it happens, we soothe the offended child. We tell them that they are worthwhile, we tell them that they are valuable, we tell them that we love them. We tell them that every person has value. We tell them that evey human being has something worthwhile within them. Once the wailing has subsided, we tell them to remember this feeling. We tell them to remember so that they won't make someone else feel as bad as they do right now.

"Wait for meeee......"

Inevitably, it will come to pass when our child will be the child who leaves someone behind. And our hearts hurts. Our hearts hurt not only for the child who has been left behind, but for our own child, the one who has done the leaving, because we never wanted them to be burdened with the guilt of hurting another, and we try to teach the lesson once again. We tell them to "bring enough for the whole class" and "how did you feel when that happened to you?". Perhaps we choose another route, perhaps we try and teach them about endurance. We say things like "just play one game with him/her, then you can be on your way." Maybe we go with bribery "if you stop that, I'll get you..." And we hope it doesn't happen again, but we know it will...

"Wait for meeeee...."

As our children age and travel through school and friends, we hear the wail from time to time. Whether it's our child doing the wailing or someone else's, it still hurts our hearts. We still hope that our child will be the child who "gets it". We hope our child is the child who will stand up.
"Wait for meeee...."

It's not so simple for our children, especially as they live their lives outside of our direct control, outside of our sphere of influence. Instead of our approval, they seek the approval of their friends. They seek the acceptance of the "crowd". They seek to be part of the pack. They fear the pack turning on them should they be the ones to stand up, should they be the one who hears the wail, who feels the wail.

"Wait for meeeee....."

We wonder when our children will feel their own power. We wonder when "pack" approval will no longer matter, we pray that that day comes sooner rather than later. Sadly, we know in our hearts that it will never come for some. We hope with all our might that the "some" is actually "some other kid". We hope that we are the example not the lesson. We continue to hope. As we listen the the explanations, the excuses, we continue to hope that our child won't be the child who is responsible for the wail.

"Wait for meeeee..."

For those who's child is the wailer we fervently hope that they discover their power as well. We hope that they learn how to stand up, we hope that they learn to shout....

"Don't wait for meeee..."

Monday, May 18, 2009

The One About Why I'll Never Be Asked To Join the Woman's Club

Today, while waiting for the Eggroll to finish her speech class, I found myself waiting with 2 other Moms. Let's just call them Shiny Suzy and Perfect Patty. They are apparently acquainted and I found myself listening to the following conversation:

Perfect Patty: Hey Suzy, I was thinking of you the other day. Do you have a recommendation for a DJ?

Shiny Suzy: Of course. I don't have it with me but just give me a call. He's great and he's pretty cheap too. Why do you need him?

Perfect Patty: Well, I'm putting the annual block party together and I have to be careful what I spend. You know how people are. Last year we had a pig roast, a DJ and all kind of things and we asked people to pay $25 per family, this year we're not asking for any money at all, we're going to get part of the cost from our HOA and then I guess I'll just have to go to local businesses for the rest.

Shiny Suzy: Well, that's going to be a lot of work. I was in charge of our block party for 6 years and I got tired of doing everything myself. You know people always say that they're willing to help, but they never do.

Perfect Patty: I know, I've decided just to do it myself, I haven't heard from any of the ladies who offered to help.

-------------here's where it starts to get a little dicey--------------

Nyt: (raising my hand) Ladies, I couldn't help but over hear. I'm one of those people who always offers to help and I do mean it. But if I never hear another word from the organizer, how am I supposed to know what to help with?

------------ and here's where it all starts to go wrong--------

Shiny Suzy: That doesn't matter, you should just show up for your assignment.

Nyt: I beg your pardon?

Perfect Patty: Yes, you should just show up and do whatever you're told.

Shiny Suzy: We don't have time to chase people down. We're busy.

Nyt: Well, I would think that if you needed the help it wouldn't be a big deal to inquire if the person that offered is still willing and if she is, to just pass out the "assignment" then.

Shiny Suzy: I'm not interested in doing that, if you offer and don't show up it's just being ignorant.

----- the part where it comes crashing down-----

Nyt: Small wonder no one helps you.

------------- cue dead silence---------

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The One About Enforcer Bunny

This sweet looking critter is the "Enforcer Bunny" and he rules the Eggroll with an iron carrot....

During our trip to the Great Southwest, a friend of mine left the bunny on the doorstep. She called to tell me it was there and I brought it in and set it on the counter while Eggroll was napping.

It was one of those "throwdown" days, where every fifteen minutes Eggroll was having a fit over one thing or another. I forgot about the bunny on the counter, and later on that evening, she noticed it. She immediately declared it "Eggroll's Bunny". I was exhausted, and I'd had enough for the day. I told her she could have the bunny when she had a day with no "fits".

Bunny sat on the counter for two days. Each day she'd ask me about it and each day I told her she could have it when she went a day without a fit. On the third day, while I was putting her to bed, I asked her which one of her stuffed hippos she'd like to sleep with. She looked at me and began wagging her finger back and forth. And then, my child, who rarely speaks more than three words together, said "No fits today, I can have the bunny"..... She got the bunny and I laughed until the tears ran.

Since then, Bunny has become the enforcer. Fits can be quelled instantly with the threat of Bunny denial...

I love the bunny...

Friday, May 01, 2009

The One About F*&k Me Fridays

Fridays around here blow. While most of America looks forward to Fridays eagerly, I dread the day. Friday is my Monday.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Eggroll attends a local program in the morning. She loves it there, and for the most part I love having her there. And then there are FRIDAYS.

My child is an extraordinary child in so many ways. She is bright, engaging, intelligent and beautiful. But, like many post-institutionalized kids, she bears some scars. The first involves food. After 10 months with us the "hoarding" that some kids display has not improved with the Eggroll, if anything it's gotten worse. She will literally eat herself to the point of illness if allowed. The second is initiation. While most three year olds will tell you what they want, get a toy down, or make requests spontaneously, my child will only do those things if forced to. We have a rule in our house, don't ask, don't get and it has worked fabulously for her..... as long as she's here...

Three mornings a week while at "play" her every whim is catered to. She does not have to speak to get what she wants, she doesn't have to use her table manners, she merely points, looks at the caretakers, or cries. And it works...every damn time.

Then we have the food thing. Seriously, the way they feed children is horrifying. More horrifying is the fact that they are following STATE mandates and guidelines for nutrition. Wednesday the children dined on a lunch of breaded chicken nuggets, rice pilaf, bread and butter, canned fruit, and milk. Yesterday, they were treated to a delightful meal of salsbury steak, mac&cheese, bread and butter, canned fruit and milk. Can we say carbohydrate overload?? And the portions?? OMG!

Now lest you think that I'm not mother of the year, know that I have looked into other programs, and they're all about the same. Unless I want to pay 15k to 20k a year for private pre-school, I'm pretty much stuck with what I've got.

But on to the subject of this post which is F*&k Me Friday. We begin our day with a 5:30am call from the Eggroll, who not only has to go potty, but has generally wet whatever she has on. A quick trip to the potty, a fast change of clothes and sheets, and back to bed she goes. Usually crying for two reasons. First she has wet herself and second, she would really like to get up. F*&k me!

Upon the second awakening, it's time to get dressed. More tears as she is denied the super special Elmo undies (those are a treat for when everything is dry). F*&k me! Then it's down the stairs to begin the day. She puts herself in the chair, which she has pulled away from the table and then sits down. Moments later there is crying because her chair is too far from the table. I will ask her what she needs and there is more words... F*&% me! After several minutes of prompting and cajoling she spits out a "help, push chair in please". Yea! Moving on.. Next comes an unprompted request for water. We're doing well here... and then....nothing! And I mean nothing...for what seems like hours at a time. There's pointing...there's naming of objects....but there's nothing else. I make breakfast and she names everything on my plate. Then she requests a toy, I ask her if it's time for that toy, she says it is... F*&k me! I have to honor her request. It's supposed to be good for her comprehension. More requests, all for different toys, each time she's asked if it's time for that toy, if it's time to play. Each time she answers yes, each time her request is honored. F*&k me! Breakfast falls by the wayside... tears ensue....

This will go on for hours, currently, I'm on my third hour at the kitchen table. My ass is numb, my work isn't done and my kid is staring vacantly out the window. She'll point, I'll ask "what is it?" she'll refuse to answer, I'll point out that she needs to answer, she'll cry... it will continue this way until naptime. F*&k me!

She knows how to do all of this. She knows the names of so many things, she knows how to request, she knows how to initiate...until Friday...on Friday she is clueless. On Friday she waits for someone to read her mind. This afternoon will be slightly easier and tomorrow will be easier still. By Sunday we'll be back to routine, Monday we'll enjoy it and Tuesday...well Tuesday is the first step on the path to F*&k Me Friday.

I can't help but wonder if it's worth it. I know that she needs the socialization that those 3 morning provide, but I can't help but wonder. I lose a whole morning with my child just waiting for her to do what she's capable of. I spend the rest of my time as disciplinarian, correcting that which was allowed during those three days. (Seriously, hands IN the food???) And I spend a lot of time dealing with the fabulous mood swings that a good kiddie carb crash brings on. And I wonder if it's worth it...

I'm disheartened by what I see in our kids educational system. Rather than lifting children up, the system seeks to bring them all down to the same level. For example...normally, my kid has impeccable table manners. She actually came to us that way. But she's not praised for that, other children are not encouraged to be like her, it's perfectly fine if her and their skills suffer. Same thing with speech. I'm sure there are other children who speak much better than she does, but it's just fine if she never improves. The herd mentality wins every time. Sad but true...

I'm disheartened by what I see our kids eating. I'm not against some good mac and cheese, but could we balance that with something that's green perhaps? Instead of having kids name all the food groups, might we actually feed them something from all of those groups?? I have to laugh when I hear parents complain about potty training, bed-wetting, behavior problems and the rest...especially when they're handing their kids a juice box to wash down their nuggets and fries with?? Anyone see the connection? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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The One About Motherhood, Missing Parts and Me

Greetings from the Great Southwest! Now for a list of the things that are rattling around in my brain recently. There's something about this place that makes my brain work differently. Not better, mind you, just different. There are plenty of folks who believe that the desert has a different "energy" , and maybe, just maybe, that's true....
  • The menfolk have spent the week traversing the links in the annual golf outing. Much fun and frolicking was had by all. All the men that is. As for the Eggroll and I, well, most of the festivities were for the grown-ups... and I had no To be honest, I missed the freedom of choice, not necessarily the activities themselves.
  • Speaking of freedom of choice, motherhood leaves you with none. That sounds very dark doesn't it? I don't mean it that's just become glaringly apparent that motherhood and I are often at odds. There is a lack of time and choice that happens with kids, and for me, that often poses a few difficulties. It doesn't erase the "wonderful" that happens with kids, it just underlines the fact that women are often shortchanged in the whole grand scheme of life. Still sounding dark?? Bear with me....
  • As an adult, we first care for ourselves. And by care I mean it in the holistic sense of the word. We nurture our bodies, our minds, our spirits, and our souls. Then, we marry, and we put our spouses care ahead of our own. We love and adore them, so it's only natural to put their well-being ahead of our own. As we age (and in my case) perhaps our aging parents require our energy. We move their well-being to the top of the "energy" list, and our own well-being is now regaled to third-place. Next comes the child or children and we find ourselves in fourth or fifth place. Then one day we notice that there is not a hell of a lot of leftover time or energy to give to ourselves. We wither, we atrophy... and we discover that we're low on places and time to re-fuel... it becomes a rather bleak existence..
  • Eventually, we will have nothing to offer our spouses, children or parents. Eventually we will have nothing left to offer anyone, not even ourselves... and for those of us who were or are's painful...
  • We've all seen those women... you know the ones. They were beautiful once, they were intelligent, independent and brave.. and then you see them again, maybe a few years or a few kids later. They schlep around in yoga pants and a sweatshirt, babbling on about diapers, schools, and juice boxes. They've not read anything beyond US weekly and whatever the school sends home with their kid. Devoid of any kind of self-esteem, they move through life like robots, spending their days gratifying everyone but themselves. They use phrases like "when I have the time..." "I've been meaning to..." "As soon as..."
  • The quest continues to keep that from happening to your lovely host. If anything, my time in the desert, my time here, may have just given me that little bit of perspective that I so desperately needed....