Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thinking about Keith Morrison.

The intellectual bank of BoyMommy is overdrawn.

Like many of you, I look at other women and think, “I don’t know how she gets it all done.”  I have friends and neighbors who always seem to have their sh*t together, and I feel like I’m one microwave meal away from a room with padded walls. 

I’m busy.  I’m the president of the elementary school PTA, I’m on the board of the local Little League, I’m working on my Master’s Degree, and then I have this little gig called parenting.  I love all of these things and don’t want to give any of them up.  I love being in the school, I love being involved in an activity that my entire family holds dear, and I love that I’m finally doing something for myself by thinking of my own future.  Of course, all this is secondary to my day job, which primarily consists of keeping three boys alive while feeding them nothing but grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.  It’s not like I’m spending my days going all Martha here at home.

I get in bed every night, exhausted, but my brain is all swirly.  I lay there and think of inane topics until I finally shut down about an hour later.  It’s like there’s no twilight for me; it’s all fluorescent lights and then darkness, and somewhere in there I’m supposed to relax enough to sleep. 

So last night I wrote some stuff down.  Obviously these are extremely important items that my brain thinks I MUST consider before shutting down:

1.  I wonder what Bill Murray’s favorite movie is.

2.  Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back, or on her side?  I’m gonna go with side.  Otherwise . . . gravity.

3.  What’s Puerto Rico like?

4.  Welcome to my house, play that music too loud, show me what you do now, we don’t like to go out . . .

5.  I need to make a decision about kitchen paint color.

6.  Does Keith Morrison sound like that in real life?  I wanted coffee . . . with sugar . . . but what about the creamer?  

7.  Is it Nels Faptha, or Fels Naptha?

8.  My neighbor looks a little like Newt Gingrich.

9.  Was Ione Skye in any other movies besides Say Anything?  I’m gonna have to google.

10.  I wonder if birds know how stupid they are.

I know you feel me, moms.  What stupid stuff is taking up residence in your brain where knowledge used to be?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Snowzilla & the Self-Righteous Mom

We had a little weather event here in Virginia this past week.  It snowed.  A lot. 

I dutifully made three trips to Target last week and stocked up on bread and milk.  I considered buying new $50 Lego sets for each of my boys, but then I realized that that would only buy me a few hours of quiet time and then I’d have even MORE Legos in my house.

Lots of people are posting their cute sledding photos on Facebook.  It’s fun to see all the kids who look like Ralphie's little brother Randy from A Christmas Story . . . “I can’t put my arms down!”  Everyone was so excited last weekend, enjoying each others’ company and tiring themselves out in the snow.  But it’s been 7 days now.  We’re done.

Except for that one mom.  You know the one.  Moms are posting all over Facebook about how ready they are for the kids to go back to school on Monday, but not THAT mom.  That Mom is NOT ready.  She’s enjoying every moment with her precious offspring, and she is treasuring this time with them.  What a blessing to have had these wondrous snow-filled days with them.

Well I call bullsh*t. 

I love my boys, and I have thoroughly enjoyed little snippets of our time together.  The first few days were fun.  We slept late, stayed in our pajamas, played in the snow, watched movies, did a puzzle, drank hot chocolate, made chili, and read books.  And then the next day happened, with the laundry and the neighbor kids and the stepping-on-melted-snow-with-socked-feet and the “wrestling” and staying up way too late. 

We’ve been bowling.  We’ve been to the jumpy place.   We’ve gone to the Rec Center.  We’ve gone out for lunch . . . and dinner . . . and breakfast.  I’ve let them play Nerf guns in the house.  I’ve let them slide down the basement stairs on their sleds, I pretended not to know that they jumped off the neighbor’s deck into the snow, and I guarantee there’s been a lot of unsupervised sugar consumption. 

I’m tired now.  By the time they go back, they will have been home for 10 straight days.  Hubby went back to work on Monday, so I’ve been in the trenches alone.  When they’re home over the summer, they can ride bikes, play ball, and go to the pool – there are lots of ways for them to get their boy energy out.  I’m living in a pressure cooker of dirty hair, sweaty socks, and a marathon of Impractical Jokers. 

So, That Mom . . . please don’t shame the rest of us with your self-righteous snow-posts.  I’m truly glad you enjoy your children.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy mine as well.  They’ll be right over.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Teaching Integrity

The quality I most admire about my father is his integrity.  He’s just a good guy, and he always seems to do the right thing.  I try to live a life of integrity, but sometimes it’s hard.  I lose my patience.  I clench my teeth.  I think hateful thoughts about inadequate drivers.  How do I teach my boys to be young men of integrity when the very definition is doing the right thing even when no one is watching?

Years ago, before the advent of self-checkout lanes—a lane where I don't have to make small talk about why I’m buying Diet Coke and package of 12 Entenmann’s donuts?  Sign me up!—I was in the express lane at Giant.  A few customers in front of me was a woman who had several items to purchase when suddenly she looked at the next customer’s items on the belt and  realized she’d forgotten to pick up bread.  She made a panicked comment under her breath about how she’d need to go back and get bread when the customer behind her said, “here, take mine.  I’m not in a hurry.  I’ll go back and get bread.”  He grabbed his items off the belt, got out of line, and headed toward the bread aisle.  As luck would have it, he got back to the line before she left the store, and in order to repay the kindness, she paid for all of his items. 

            Every once in a while you witness one of those rare moments that restore your faith in humanity in some small way.  It wasn’t a grand gesture.  It was a simple act of kindness that manifested into something else, because not only did the woman not have to get back in line or the gentleman have to pay for his items, but the rest of us in line witnessed something that made me, at least, pause and think about how little effort it takes to be kind.  There’s a difference between being nice and being kind, and I try to teach my children that they should be kind to everyone, even those who don’t seem to deserve it. 

            My father tells a story (and there are a lot of stories.  A lot.) about a man on a train whose children were wreaking havoc.  Trapped in a steel tube with unruly children is unpleasant, no doubt, and other patrons began snickering and whispering about the children’s behavior and apparent lack of discipline.  Finally someone spoke up and asked the man to control his children.  He seemed to be zoning out as he apologized and explained that he had just received some devastating news and he didn’t know what he was going to tell the children. 

            You never know what someone else’s story is, and as we approach the time of year when we get bombarded with the notion of Christmas cheer and the Spirit of the Holidays, perhaps we need to remember that everyone has a story.  I get stressed out over the holidays--the shopping, the baking, the crowds, the wrapping, the parties, the excitement, the travel—it’s so  . . . . much.  I find myself getting snippy and annoyed when I, apparently, should be feeling cheerful and jolly.  This year I’m going to make more of an effort to act with integrity and to be kind even when I’m feeling cranky and overwhelmed.  (Otherwise known as every day in December.)  I want to be able to show my children that I can take a deep breath and act with kindness even when those around me seem undeserving.  I can’t control how others act, but I can set a good example for my own family; because even when I feel like no one is watching, my kids are. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm Winning Tuesday

It’s 7:45 am and I’ve already had a better day than you.

I woke up at 6:30 (even though I am NOT a morning person) so that I could get everyone ready for school.  Apparently my children think I enjoy this process . . . that I like waking up before the sun to try to convince other little versions of myself that they should also get up before the sun.  Before I could do that, however, I had to clean the dog pee off my bedroom floor. 

Our geriatric dog, whom we adore, by the way, is 15 years old.  That’s pretty old for a dog, and I understand that perhaps all his “functions” are not what they used to be.  It seems we have regressed to the point of puppyhood.  He pees whenever and wherever he feels like it.  And he’s deaf.  So even though he knows he’s not supposed to pee in the house, he’ll go to the middle of the bedroom floor and pee.  He doesn’t even lift his leg anymore, and he starts walking away before he’s even done, so he leaves a little yellow pee trail in his wake.  He’s like, f*ck it, I’m too old for this sh*t.  Since he’s deaf, I can be running towards him, yelling his name, and clapping to try to get his attention, but he just continues peeing.  We also think he’s pretty blind, so he may think he’s outside for all we know.

OR he knows exactly where he is, he knows it’s not pee-pee time, and he hears us yelling at him, but he’s paying us back for 15 years of making him wait until daylight to go outside and pee in the rain.

After arguing with Small about which tshirt to wear underneath his sweatshirt . . . you know the one that nobody will see because it’s under your flippin’ sweatshirt so it really doesn't matter! . . . I go wake up Medium.  Medium and I are cut from the same cloth.  He is snuggled up under his comforter with his stuffed animal and he’s in a deep sleep even though his alarm is going off and has been doing so for approximately 15 minutes.  I try all the sweet wake-you-up techniques: whispering, rubbing his back a little, tickling his feet, but then I’ve gotta go because I’ve got sh*t to do so I grab both his feet and pull while he tries to grab on to the sideboard.  He’s out of bed now, so that’s one step closer to the bus. 

By the time I get downstairs, Large is telling me that the dog has puked on the carpet.  Large, who is 12 years old and is fully capable of cleaning up dog vomit, is stuffing his craw with cereal while watching the dog lick his own regurgitated stomach contents.  Mind you, it’s only about 7 am at this point, and I’m already cleaning up round two of bodily fluids that are leaving my dog from both ends.  At this point, Hubby and I are waiting until the dog goes so that we can re-carpet the entire house.  He’s left his mark, literally, everywhere, and the previous owners had twin girls . . . and white carpet.  So really it is just a matter of time.

I assume that Small has gotten something to eat for breakfast, but I can’t worry about it now because it’s 7:04 – time to head to the bus stop.  We head out the front door and I notice it’s sprinkling, so I do what any selfless mother would do:  I send them ahead while I go back inside to get myself an umbrella.  By the time I get to the bus stop, the bus is pulling up, so I didn’t even get to give them a snuggle goodbye.  No worries though – Small gets back off the bus (which the other school bus and the two car drivers behind our bus totally appreciated, I’m sure) while yelling, “can’t have food on the bus” and handing me something.  He’s a rule-follower, that one.  I grab his food and wave goodbye.  Was is a banana peel, you ask?  Perhaps some wheat toast or a small bowl of whole-grain cereal?

Milk dud.  And that’s why I’m winning Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet Our Cow . . .

I am so excited I can barely contain myself!

We were dining at our local Chick-Fil-A the other night when the concierge asked if we would like to take a cow on vacation.

Some thoughts going through my mind:
A.  Um, yes!
B.  I can’t believe you haven’t asked me sooner.
C.  Having a cow would make my neighbors love me even MORE than they do now!

Introducing . . . Moo Gehrig!

Alas, it’s a little stuffed cow.  We will take photos of him partaking in various Boy Mommy Family activities and post them to the Chick-Fil-A facebook page.  I already have visions of him strapped in to the swagger wagon as we go on vacation or blinking away baseball dust as we sit and watch a game.  I’m going to love him and pet him and I will carry him around in my purse. 

Think Flat Stanley on speed.  Years ago when we live in Manhattan, my niece in West Virginia sent her Flat Stanley to visit us.  (For those who don't know, Flat Stanley is a story book character who gets flattened and is able to go places he wouldn’t have been able to go if he were still a boy.)

This is what we did then:
First I looked through the tour book to see
what I'd like to see during my visit to NYC.

We looked at the transit map so we could plan our day.

We began our adventure at the end of our block,
on 94th St. and 5th Avenue.

Police officers help us when we're lost or hurt,
and they protect us from harm.
New York City cops are a special breed.

Here I am outside the Guggenheim Museum.
Aunt Boy Mommy wouldn't let us go in though
because admission is $18!
That's a lot to pay for a little culture.

Here we are outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This is a HUGE art museum that holds a lot of famous art.
Large likes to visit the Arms and Armour exhibit.

Uncle bought me a pretzel from a street vendor.

This is me outside of Grand Central Station.

Here I am outside Lord and Taylor. 
We didn't buy anything though.
Aunt Boy Mommy says we're "Target people."

This is the New York Public Library -
the entrance is flanked by two lions,
Patience and Fortitude.

Large and Medium were good at dinner,
so we each got to pick out one sugary treat from Dylan's Candy Bar.

I sat with Medium when we rode the bus.

This is me and Large outside the subway station.
We took the Uptown 6.

Here's me with my very own Metro card.

Night-night Flat Stanley. Sleep tight!

Imagine what our family cow, whom we have named Moo Gehrig, will experience.  Stay tuned!