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I fell in love with a heartbeat. I wasn’t even sure I was ready to be a mother, but when I saw the kidney bean nestled in my stomach I was in awe, when I heard the rapid heartbeat , I was in love. FullSizeRender

I fell in love with a heartbeat on September 13, 2006. After losing my mind in labor, I looked down and this perfect little boy and felt his beating heart and the labor was forgotten, worth it, willing to do again a thousands times, because I knew my life would never be the same. unnamed (1)

I fell in love with a heartbeat when that boy turned one. Trying cake for the first time and wanting nothing to do with it. First steps , first words, first foods and new first experiences. Toothless grins changing to first and second teeth smiles, little hands always reaching for mine, usually sticky with some sort of food or drink. Feeling his warm squishy body against mine, feeling his heartbeat and thanking the universe for these moments.

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I fell in love with a heartbeat, that same sweet boy, now turning five. First days of school, first birthday parties , leaning to read and write and still needing mama to tie his shoes. There was never a moment that went by that my heart wasn’t filled love beyond measure. There was just five years of feeling so blessed that this amazing little boy called me mommy, reaching out for my hand, jumping into my arms, needing at least one more story at bedtime, and one more kiss goodnight. I enjoyed watching him explore the world and found joy and wonder through his eyes. My heartbeat was growing so fast.

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I fell in love with a heartbeat – now a preteen now eleven years old. Still such a little boy, yet turning into a little man. All legs and arms, he goes this way and that. Learning still about the world and himself. My heartbeat no longer reaches for my hand when crossing the street, he no longer waves enthusiastically from the bus, he no longer jumps into my arms. He does, however, still allows me to kiss him, still wants me at the bus stop, still needs me to tuck him in at night. My little heartbeat is getting taller, leaner, wiser, more serious, and often gets into moods that the five year old heartbeat never dreamed of getting into. Thankfully, he is also maintains the same sweet and silly personality that he has always had.

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Questions have consistently formed in my mind since I first heard that little heartbeat on the ultrasound. Was I worthy enough to be his mother? Would I do a good job by him? How did such a perfect little being come into my life? Am I going to do okay?

The questions stayed the same and were increased by new ones as he started to grow. Did formula effect him? Was daycare the right choice ? Should I have scheduled more play dates? Should I have hugged more or less? Am I doing okay?

When he started school I added more questions to my growing list. Did I enroll him in Pre-k too early ? Was he really PDD-NOS? Or ADHD? Did he really need help with speech, after all I understand him just fine. Am I doing okay?

Today while writing this, even harder questions get added to the ever growing list. Will he be influenced to try drugs? Will he be bullied ? Will he fail? Will he become depressed ? What can I do to prevent it? Am I doing okay?

But in the quiet of the night, by the light of the moon, I can go into his room, place my hand on his chest like I did when he was baby, and feel that little heartbeat beating away, and all is right in the world. All questions forgotten.  All is perfect, because my little heartbeat is safe and sound, happy and healthy, and for now, that is all that matters.

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I fall in love with heartbeat more and more each day.

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There’s an app for that.

There are thousands of apps. Literally. Thousands. There are game apps and news apps. Apps for travel, apps for dining. Apps to help you raise your kid or spy on your dog. Honestly, if you can think of something, there is probably an app for it.

I find that I am at a weird age. I remember life vividly before internet, computers, hell even video games. Cell phones were out of this world to me when they were introduced. CD players were new, DVD was unheard of. I remember the battle between Blu-Ray and laser disks. I had a rotary phone and I remember getting my own phone line in my bedroom. It was Mindy’s phone line! I remember AT&T and MCI fighting to get people to come over to their phone company. Introducing night and weekends starting at 7PM. (ohI guess phone companies are still fighting…least that hasn’t changed)

giphyRemember long distance phone calls? The point is, I grew up in that sweet spot where my formative years were spend outside playing on a rusty swing set that would come out of the ground if you swung too high, and my early 20 were spent learning about the internet and cell phone bills.d644ff95a3796a16f7188a73ca75ea9d

My first “smartphone” was a blackberry we got in 2011. That wasn’t that long ago. 2011. Now, I have a computer in my pocket. I have all my contacts, a calculator, camera, (that actually takes decent pictures – and oh wait and has more megapixels than my super expensive camera we had when Cody was baby way back in 2007), the internet, games, and more apps than anyone could ever have imagine 10 years ago.

My rant about this is that I have a hard time assimilating to these apps. I love my physical calendar at work. I have to write my notes on a notebook. I need to write down my grocery list on piece of paper that will either be forgotten at home, or crumpled up at the bottom of my purse.

We have Amazon’s Alexia at home, and she is great…. really. We use her for loads of things. Cody likes to hear her say, “my butt”, and finds her super useful when he needs to know what time it is. (never mind the fact that all our phones and the countless clocks in the house all have the correct time…). She could be so much more though. I could use her to cook meals, I could use her to keep my calendar or shopping lists. I just can’t. And I quite honestly don’t know why. I find the same thing about using any new technology and I fear that I will one day be one of those people the young kids look at and say, “oh my gosh, can’t she just learn how to do it?”

I wonder if other people my age feel the same way. Do others have a hard time letting go of the “old ways” and embracing the new ones? Do others find that they have to force themselves to use the new technology and when they do it just doesn’t feel right? Does this happen in every new generation? Or am I a minority? I wonder.

 

Fearfully Familiar

In honor of my little baby sister’s 30th birthday – I present to you and essay I wrote in my composition class about her. The essay was a reflection essay, and what better reflection than growing up with someone you would one day call your best friend. I give you, Fearfully Familiar. Dedicated to my sister and my best friend.

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Fearfully Familiar

“I didn’t do anything!” Scissors tucked behind my hands while my little sister was crying and hiding in the closest. My mother saw right through me. “What did you do to your sister’s hair!?”

Well, she wanted a trim! And of course, her ten-year-old sister was the perfect choice. My skills were extensive and included cutting world famous Barbie’s hair so it looked like a blind person with Parkinson’s was her barber. I also did great work on cabbage patch dolls and shag rugs. I was a pro! It was artistic and an artist shouldn’t have to apologize for her craft. So what if half her hair was to her shoulder and the other half was up to her ear? Some day that would be the look…she was ahead of her time! Course none of this got me out of a firm spanking and the longest grounding I had ever had. I also wasn’t allowed to use scissors for…wait I still can’t use them…

You would think this would have set me on the good path; I would have seen an error in my ways and treated my dear sweet sister nicer. No. Unfortunately, this is the first of many things that would be told between bites of lumpy mashed potatoes around the holiday table for years to come.

Like many siblings, my sister and I spent a lot of time wondering who the favorite in the family was. It was clearly her by the way. If you don’t believe me I give you exhibit A, our names. My sister was named after the famed Greek profit Cassandra (Sammy for short).  I, on the other hand, was named after some actress on a soap opera my dad was in love with. I got stuck with: Melinda. (Mindy for short). She was also, shall we say, the good kid. Not that either of us were bad per se, but I gave my parents more gray hairs than she did. I barely graduated.  She graduated with honors. You get the picture. She was an easy baby, pretty easy going kid, and I guess maybe that drove me a little nuts. Maybe I was just doing what all big sisters do. I made it my mission to scare the living daylights out of her whenever I could, and that just happened to be all the time.

We lived in a quiet neighborhood on a dead-end street. The beauty of that is, there was never anyone around; the scary part of that, was there was never anyone around. This makes for a perfect setting to scare your little sister on more than one occasion. Any chance I got I would scare the kid. I must have gotten it from my mother who was, and is, a huge horror fan. As such, we grew up with horror classics like Freddie Kruger and Jason. While my friends were watching Carebears and Thundercats, we were watching the Twilight Zone and Tales from Darkside. Some kids got Disney fairy-tales; we got the original Grimm’s versions. I spun a great yarn about a lady who lived in the house before us. She was a sea captain’s wife and got word that his boat had sunk during a voyage. Overcome with grief she hanged herself over our staircase…she is still there…hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes, if you go downstairs late at night, you will feel her, a solid immovable force that will prevent you from going down the stairs. When it’s real quiet you can hear her rope rubbing against the beam. Sammy never went downstairs in the dark.

One day, when my sister and I were about nine and three, my dad had had enough. My family took our annual trip to see my grandparents, who lived way up near the Canadian border in a tiny little town called Lubec, Maine. The drive would take us around six hours. This was pre-iPad, pre-portable DVD players…the only entertainment was playing the license plate game and seeing how many moose you could spot. (I won – both games). The closer we got to that little town of Lubec, the further we got from any towns or even rest stops. There is a whole stretch of road lovingly called Black’s Woods Road. If you couldn’t tell by the name, more than one haunting story has been told about this road. Light has a hard time getting through all the foliage, so the whole time we were on that road, we experienced an eerie twilight feeling. When things got a little boring, I would tell my sister about the wicked old witch who lived in a shack in the forest. She would come out and eat little children who cried or bugged their sisters. When we would stop to picnic at Fox Pond my poor sister would take so much convincing just to get out of the car. The whole time holding her bologna sandwich mushed in sweaty hands while her head darted around at the slightest sound in the woods nearby. By the time we got to our cabin my mom and dad were furious with me. My sister had to be walked to the bathroom and back because I convinced her that a band of crazy lunatics escaped nearby and were living in the woods near our cabins. Giggling about my newest scare and feeling oh so smart and oh so brave, I went to the bathroom, alone, like a big girl. When I got back my dad wasn’t in the room. ‘Went to get ice’, was all my mom would say. I sat down on one of the double beds and a hand grabbed my ankle! I screamed bloody murder and was inconsolable for a good twenty minutes. It was my worst nightmare, thanks Stephen King! Was it Gage? Was it Chucky? Was it some vampire demon? Nope, it was my dad, getting me back. Showing me how awful it was to have someone you love, someone your trust, someone you look up to, scare the life out of you. To this day, no joke, I can’t stand to have my feet dangle off my bed and I still leap a little when going to bed in the dark.

I would love to tell you that I became a better sister because of that. I would love to tell you that I no longer scared her, let her play with my friends, and I never said a mean word to her. I would be lying. The last time I gave her a good scare she was well into high school (same staircase). I would scare her more, but she is immune to my tricks. There were other scary moments as we grew up together; unfortunately, they were a lot less funny, even if we can laugh about them now.

My sister and I really enjoyed chasing each other around our tiny house. Up and down the stairs, round the living room, on and on…it is a wonder my parents didn’t go crazy. Actually, jury is still out that. We were playing one day, running down the stairs and my sister got really hurt. Picture a child size chair with the legs up at the bottom of the stairs. I jumped over but my little sister had the unfortunate luck to land on it. I wore a hole in the floor pacing while we waited for my mom and her to get back from the doctor. My dinner of runny mashed potatoes and pork chops churning in my stomach. The time she fell off her bike and walked in the door, face covered in blood, the time she was climbing on the dresser in our room and tipped it over and it fell on her, or when my parents and I were watching TV while she was in bed during a thunderstorm and a tree branch crashed through the window right on her bed. As we got older the scares continued, this time it was not hearing from her when she went to college, or the phone call her and my parents got informing them of the car accident I was in.

The scariest thought I have as we get older is not having her around. Who will laugh at my jokes, if I ever make any? Who will appreciate my sarcasm? Who will speak fluent movie quotes with me? Who will love me unconditionally? How would I get through even one day without seeing her name on my phone screen, informing me of a text message from her? What in the world would I do without her?

Of course, as we grew up, we grew to like each other, even want to be with each other. There would be long drives around town, walks on the beach, weekly trips shopping, and movies. Over the years tolerance for each other grew to liking each other and liking each other grew to genuinely becoming best friends.

With all the scaring and being the older bratty sister, I learned a lot. Sisters are a force to be reckoned with. The love that sisters have for each other is so fierce and so strong; it can fight off monsters and move mountains. We are still going to fight, not as often as when we were kids, thank goodness, but we will still have our disagreements. Our most recent one was which coffee shop is better, I swear to goodness and it isn’t Starbucks, okay? My sister is the only person in the world that truly gets me. My sister is the only person in the world who has been with me since the beginning; she is the only one who really understands my childhood, because she was right there too. Sometimes I look back on my childhood and think about how lucky I was to have her. Late night chats, sister dates to the mall, movies, laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe and tears fell from our eyes, video games, talks about everything from Algebra to zombies. Having a little sister prepared me for being a mother, so if I screw that up, it is all her fault.

Whether we were chopping each other’s hair off, screaming about who broke something, scaring each other or trying to get on each other’s nerves, one thing that always remained under it all was love. I have loved my sister Sammy since the moment my mom placed her in my arms. And, even though I spent most of her early years scaring her, or leaving her in trees, as we got older we started to rely on each other more and more. Our parents divorced and it was my sister who got me through it, our parents started dating and it was my sister who saw the humor in it with me. Our lives went in a thousand different directions and it was my sister who grounded me. When sitting around the dinner table rehashing our childhood, it is my sister who will look at me with a smile and say, “These mashed potatoes are so creamy”. And I will know, creamy or not, everything is going to be okay.

All in a days work

During my social media blackout a friend at work was saying how she had also noticed that there were too many updates on her feed and how it seemed to her, that people really spent most of their time document their entire days. I told her (jokingly) that when I got back on social media I was going to document my entire day, just for her. Instead of having a thousand posts on Instagram or Facebook, I decided to blog it instead – with pictures!

5:45-6:00AM Wake up – Bunny Yoga 

Okay so this is suppose to be just regular yoga and if I am being honest, this mostly just stretching, however, my rabbit finds it hilarious to do yoga with me so…

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6:00-6:10AMMake sure Cody is awake/feed rabbit/make lunches

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6:10 – 6:35 – Time for a brisk walk

So lucky that I have a nice quiet street to walk on and this view for part of it.

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Beautiful 

6:40 – Bye Cody

Okay – I don’t leave him in the tree for the day – he just likes to climb before school! He was so excited that he could leave with out a jacket or sweatshirt!

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In the 70’s!

6:40-7:15 – Coffee/Paper 

Honestly – can we be honest? I only read the arts and business sections (Science on Tuesday) I mostly skim the front page. I know…I suck…moving on.

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Everything is better in a pooh mug

7:20-7:50 – Get ready for work, tidy up house

Never. Ending. Laundry.

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Clean bunny liter, vacuum, sweep, laundry, breakfast dishes, tidy up

7:50-8:00 – Driving to work

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Time for some Bob Marley…or gangster Rap…or Gangster Rap AND Bob Marley!

8:00 – Start kicking butt as the Deputy Director Assistant

So much butt kicking I can’t even describe it all.

 

11:00 – Gotta go for a walk…

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…to clear my head, stretch my legs…you know they say sitting is the new smoking – so it is important to get up and move! Doesn’t hurt to stop and smell the flowers while you are out there.

12:16 – derailment in the day – phone call from school! 

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Everything is fine – apparently he was having a hard time adjusting after vacation.

12:30-1:00 Nom Nom

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Don’t judge my lunch…okay judge if you must

1:00-4:00 – Wrap up the day! 

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Does this paper work ever end? More coffee is needed.

2:00 another quick walk around the building please

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Not a bad view

4:00 -FREEDOM – kidding I like my job, but I am going home now. 

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4:15-5:30 home hang out with Cody, put away laundry, catch up on personal emails

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I really missed this silly little guy

5:00 – 5:30 – start dinner and make tomorrows lunches

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6:00-6:30 eat dinner/clean up

I somehow didn’t get a picture of this…hmm…

6:40 – Start school work

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8:00 – Finish school work/Put Cody to bed

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8:00PM already!

8:15-9:30 – Read a book

9:30 – Bed time!

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Repeat

and the best part about all of this??

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In all honesty though, I have to say that we are each fighting our own battles, we are all doing what we can with each day we are given. I can’t imagine how a mother of five gets through her day, or a single mom working two jobs who has time to go to a soccer game for her kids, a dad working 16 hours that finds time on the weekend to play catch, a person with depression finding the energy and will to wake up every day and keep fighting. We are all amazing, we are all doing what we can, and no one should ever feel like they aren’t doing their best.

*Disclaimer  – Not every night is Chinese pork tenderloin – some days its take out. Just need to put that out there. 

Getting to the root of it

People don’t say ” I would rather get a root canal” because they are fun. Usually it is a comparison to something unpleasant.  “Did you hear Trumps speech on the budget?” “No, I would rather have a root canal” That sort of thing. I am here to tell you that a root canal is actually a lot less painful that listening to Trump say anything. In fact, at the end I will list more awful things that are way worse than your average root canal.

Some people look up procedures before they go get them. It helps take the mystery out of it when they know exactly what is going on. Others don’t want to know anything about it, and just want it to be over. I fall somewhere in the middle. I close my eyes the entire time the dentists is working on me.  I have no desire to see what she is putting in my mouth. Nor, do I want to see her eyes all bugged out in the magnifier. I’ll skip that, thanks. However, if you want to the know the exact process, I suggest you read this great article by the American Dentist Academy. It explains the procedure really well.

What I am about to share is how the root canal feels… the process from checking in to checking out. I hope that this post will make it less scary.

You slowly trudge up the path way to the dentist office, dread filling up your body like poison. The door creeks open and the medicinal smell fills your nose… Sorry, couldn’t resist a little fiction.

After checking it usually there is a little wait, even if you get there on time. Use this time to lather on some chap stick and take two Motrin. Trust me. You’ll be thankful for both once the procedure is over. When you get in the chair there is a lot of activity by the hygienist, filling up water cups, getting the tools ready, placing a bib on you. If they are good, they are also making conversation, “hey did you see that sky today? Talk about blue.” Then the dentist comes in and checks the tooth. Just makes sure it is still there. What she is checking it with is little tool that allows her to see all around the tooth. It is a little circular mirror. Now, this doesn’t hurt, so don’t worry. She might ask for an x-ray to get a better look at the root.  960full-the-whole-nine-yards-screenshotThey will place this hard plastic thing in your mouth, near the tooth and it can be uncomfortable but not painful. The whole thing takes less than a minute or two. A picture of your super unhappy tooth will pop up on the screen. Now for the fun part. They move the chair down till you are practically laying down and put a numbing cream in your mouth. Then comes the Novocaine. This is literally my least favorite part. The injection of Novocain has to go around the entire tooth, and into the nerves, otherwise the pain would be unbearable. Keep that in mind. The dentist will inject as much as needed and it will feel exactly like needle going into your gums. Then its over. Any pain you had from the tooth is gone, and the slight pain for the needle is gone. The whole side if your mouth is now blissfully numb. The dentist will give the Novocain a few minutes to set in before stating . Honestly, the worst is over. You now just need to relax.

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Again, I am not entirely sure what goes on when. I know sometimes the root canals can take more than one visit,  and I can only tell you what I feel while lying there wishing I was anywhere else. Sitting in traffic in the Hamptons, taking a test, listening to Trump try talk about anything other than himself, pushing out a baby, the underworld, you get the picture. The hygienist will put a thing in your mouth to suck out saliva, gross I know and also not so fun, this is why you will be thankful for chap stick. You feel a slight vibration, hear some mechanical noises. There is honestly a lot going on. Vibrations – that don’t hurt, the dentist poking around your mouth, that just feels weird, more vibrations and mechanical sounds. Then they might do another x-ray to make sure they got everything. Next they need to seal it with a temporary seal. They need to make sure the root canal is happy before putting a crown.

As I said, you might have to go in more than once, depending on the severity of your tooth. Most visits will go exactly as I have explained. With the worst pain being paying your bill!

You are done. You get up, with a numb mouth and leave. The sun is shining, the birds are signing, and your free. Until your next appointment.

After care – I would strongly suggest take more Motrin as soon as you can drink with out spilling all over yourself. Stick to soft foods if you can. At least for a few days. The tooth and surrounding area will be tender.

Things that are worse than root canals:

Honestly  – traffic. When you  are running late or just want to get to where you are going, traffic is the devil.

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Periods – they are rotten, the pain is rotten, the emotional upheaval is rotten, the whole thing is bull shit. Needs to be rethought. 14767739

Paper cuts – kidding root canal is worse, but paper cuts are so painful am right?

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Migraine – way worse that a root canal – trust me.

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The stomach virus. You know the one. WAY worse than a root canal. I would take ten root canals over one of these any day.

Getting hit in the face with a nerf dart. At close range. Okay maybe isn’t more painful but still. It hurts.

Stepping on  Lego with bare feet! Nuff said.

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Just remember that dentistry has come a long way. It is not long the torture chair that it used to be. If you really have fears about going and have put off going for too long, talk to friends who go, family, co-workers, get recommendations for dentists in your area. Go there and speak with the dentist before committing to them. My dentist is partially in network, which means she takes my insurance but instead of being 80% its 60% or something, but because I love her and trust her, I am willing to pay the extra. Finding a dentist you trust is worth it.

 

 

Odontophobia

Or fear of the dentist if you prefer. I have had a long, long, long road of dental work and the road just keeps going. Eventually, I know an end will be in sight, but that is a far distant future. The reason I have so much to do is a great perfect blend of things. For one, I grew up in poverty so my parents couldn’t afford dental care, as I got older I never got dental insurance offered in any of the menial jobs I was working. When I finally was offered it, I had this crushing, soul shattering fear of going. This was based on the only memory I have of going to the dentist as a kid, and lets just say it isn’t pleasant, also gives me quite the fear of being put under but that is another nightmare. It also stemmed from the few emergency visits I have had in the past, when the tooth pain was worse than child birth. Each emergency visit was met with ridicule, one dentist even said: “I can’t work on this. It is beyond my help.” With as much scorn as you can imagine. I left still in pain from an abbess tooth,crying, embarrassed and out over 200 for the visit.  I found other ways of dealing with the pain, (Clove oil! It is amazing), and would only go to one if it was unbearable. At that point, usually the tooth was beyond saving, so I have lost a lot of teeth as a direct result of my fear of going.

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Finally a few years ago I said, enough is enough. I called a dentist recommended to me by a co-worker. The courage that I had to muster to even make that phone call was crazy. It took me all day and a lot of played out conversations. I finally made it though, and went to my first real dentist appointment. I left crying. Not from embarrassment, but because this lady didn’t laugh at me! This lady said, lets get to work. This lady had no meanness, no disdain, no laughter in her eyes. The entire staff was so pleasant, so friendly and nice that I just about kissed them all through my numbed mouth to thank them.

The other day I was lying back in the chair, thinking of how far I have come in two years, and I thought of other people who might be afraid of the dentist. Other people who might need to take anxiety medication just to think of making that first phone call. If I can set one persons mind at easy about any of the medical procedures I have had done to me, than it will be worth sharing my embarrassing stories.

So look for my next few posts to contain a what to expect when you go to: the dentist, the dermatologist, to get an MRI, routine physical, routine Children’s physicals. And anything else I can think of that might be frightening to people, but maybe once you know someone else has done it, and lived to joke bout it, it won’t be so bad. The worst thing is not taking care of yourself…problems tend to escalate if they are left on their own. So it is best to just take care of the early. Trust me, master procrastinator here.

 

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You can be a squish or you can be a squash

Cody has been called many things. Squishy, squash, baby doos, pumpkaroo, munchkin….you get the idea. Lots of parents have nicknames for the kids. (I was once  – and still am to my dad – Rugrat) I got that moniker because apparently I never crawled, I would just push myself along the carpet with one leg. My sister had the misfortune (and again still is to this day by our father) to earn the name Buggabut – this was because…well…anyway.

I was explaining how Cody went from Squishy to Squash to a co-worker one day, but I realized I had to go back and explain Squishy. I stayed home with Cody for the first 6 months or so and we watch a lot of Rachel Ray enhanceand a lot of Finding Nemo. Okay, I watched. My theory was the it was innocent enough TV, however I am now wondering if watching cooking shows at young age ruined him for food…I must do a study about that. Anyway, so while watching Finding Nemo, Dory sees a baby Jellyfish and decides to keep it. She will call it her Squishy and it will be her Squishy. i-shall-call-him-squishy

Since Cody was a super adorable and a chunky monkey (see there is another name), I adopted Squishy for him. I loved it because it fit him so well. When he started daycare one of the teachers mentioned that there was another Squishy in the same room. So I wasn’t the only nut job. download (7)

Another background on this is how I take just about any song and throw Cody’s name in to it. I mean any song. ” I like big babies and I can not lie, you other mothers can deny, but when a little bitty squish crawls into your life you fee love.” (My talents extend to pets too…so replace baby with bunny…) You know the twist? Yea…So, when he started standing with help from me, I would do the Squish. “Lets do the Squish. Ba ba ba de baba” You get the idea…

When Cody was around four a Kia commercial came out with dancing or rapping Hamsters, you can see the video here.  The basic premise of the song from what I can remember is that it was: “You can go with this, or you can go with that.” Basically comparing the Kia to a toaster and other objects. At first it was ridiculous, then it was amusing, then it was downright hilarious. So one day I was singing the song and switched it around so:
“You can be a Squish or you can be a Squash” was born. Eventually the older he got and less squish like he became Squash …so squash stuck.

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The most amusing part is that others pick these songs up. Or maybe other people do this to songs too. In fact they must. People must sing (to the tune Carry on my wayward son) “carry on my wayward suds, getting rid of all the crud, pans and pots are sparkling, now you’re set to dry”  Okay I am not lyrical genius, I won’t quit my day job.

I wonder how other people come up with their names for their kids. Some, like munchkin are easily explainable. Others, like my Squash take a lot of explaining around a lunch table and make your co-workers look at you a little differently.

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We PRE-tend to know what we are doing…

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His hands are so big, they clutch the X-box controller without any trouble. His hands are so small, they still fit inside of mine. His legs are so long and lanky, it seems to be all he is made of, his legs are so short, he still barely comes up to my chest. His feet are so large that he keeps tripping over them, his feet are so small, he still lets me tie his shoes. His voice, still so high and child like, is maturing with the thoughts and feelings that come out of it. His eyes, still big with wonder and excitement, tired with the days endless lessons.

My son is still a boy in so many many ways, still dancing and signing in the shower, still playing pretend games when no one is watching, still holding on oh so tight when he needs me. He is becoming a teenager though. He has moods that go beyond happy or sad. He has thoughts that go beyond the Cat In the Hat. He has questions much deeper than why is the sky blue. I often find that I don’t have the answers.

People talk of the baby years, the toddler years, the big kid years, they moan about teenagers and weep over collage kids. They get nostalgic and hopeful about in-laws and grandchildren. Not much is said about pre-teen. That odd age that happens somewhere between 10 and 13. They are still so little, so innocent in so many ways, but they are also so big and experiencing bigger and bigger things all the time. They go to middle school, they learn of heartbreak, friendships ending and beginning. They learn algebra and bullying, they get introduced to biology and drugs. Yes. Drugs. They learn words you don’t speak at home, they hear things you didn’t know existed, they are part of a world that we no longer have access to.

And what are parents of pre-teens to do? Lock them inside? Limit screen time? Forbid them to have friends? Of course not. That is not logical. What can we do? Why love them, with all of hearts. Be honest with them from the depths of our souls, believe in them, inspire them, encourage them, be ever so grateful for them. A lot of parenting articles talk about knowing what they are doing, listening to, playing or hanging out with; and I agree. Especially at this age. But there is a lot more heart and soul into parenting than rules and regulations. The every day tears and smiles.

We pretend to know what we are doing, we pretend to have all the answers, we even pretend that we never acted the way we do. Of course, we don’t and we did. We certainly did act the way they do.

I don’t have the reasons or the whys. I don’t have any wisdom. All I have to give him is love.

*Course – we could take a page out of Mother Gothel’s book….just saying…its an option:

Mother Knows Best song

So long cat videos…

I am certainly not religious, spiritual maybe, but not religious. So, it is odd when people hear me say, ” I am giving up ____ for Lent.” Well why? What do you care about Lent? Do you even know what it is? (the answer by the way is yes, I know what Lent is). It is the 40 days leading up to Easter, and the idea of “giving something up or fasting”, is to bring the person doing it closer to God. Well…since I don’t believe it God, it would seem like a waste of 40 days to give something up, right? However, that is what I am going to do this year. Not for God but for family, not for God but for myself.

This year I am giving up all form of social media, so Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…all gone, for 40 days. I feel like this will be a huge time saver for me, and I wonder how much I will actually be missing.

Most of my time on either of those sites is just mindless scrolling. I hardly take anything in: oh, look a baby, boton_me_gusta-svg, oh look a puppy doing back flips,face-with-tears-of-joy , oh look something about Trumperdink,very_angry_emoji …and then scroll, scroll, scroll …next thing you know your kid is 20 and you haven’t showered. But hey, you did see a cat playing the piano so that is something.76siqhg

I know I am going to miss seeing my friend’s adventures, their kids, and their accomplishments. I am hoping that it will force me to be more directly in contact with them though. I can still text and email! One of my biggest short comings is keeping in touch with people. Which is why, Facebook has been such a huge part of my life. I love seeing updates from friends, trips they go on, babies they are having, accomplishments and yes even the hard things they go through, it makes me feel connected to them. However, it also is a very lazy way of keeping in touch. I need to be better about making real connections with people who I don’t see every day.

Social media addiction is actually a real thing. It is estimated that the average person spends up to three hours a day on social media. THREE HOURS A DAY! I am not sure if I am quite there, but I would say at least an hour to an hour and half of my day is. Between my scrolling in the morning while I consume my coffee, to at night while watching TV. Definitely close to that 3 -hour mark. Can you imagine what we could accomplish with all that time?

Don’t anyone worry, I have already thought of more useful ways to use my time.

More time doing yoga in the morning

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Catching up the news ….not sure if that will help my anxiety though…might skip that one

Study or doing school work

Winston studies for his upcoming police academy exam.

Cleaning the house …because…I am sure there was a floor when we moved in…1432046185-delish-things-throw-out-schmidt-towel-giphy

Chasing my rabbit around the house …he loves picking upping …really…

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The point of the matter is, I don’t think I will be giving anything up…I think I will be gaining something. Time with my son, time reading, time studying, time relaxing and enjoying just being in the moment instead of trying to think about capturing the moment and posting it all over the internet.

I am really hoping that at the end of my 40 days I will have a healthier relationship with my social media and will have found better ways to spending my time offline.

So, what are you giving up?

 

Music Hath Charms

So an interesting conversation that I had with my son. One that I am sure parents have been having with their kids since the dawn of music. Why music matters so much. For my son, like most kids – or hell I am sure like a lot of people – music is just something you listen to. It’s got a beat and you can dance to it. My sons taste of music, much like mine, varies wildly. He loves Watch Me by  Silentó  and equally loves We Built this City by Starship. He can’t, however, get into any kind of folk, jazz or blues music. When it comes on he loses his mind completely. Even with out lyrics! I played Whammer Jammer by J. Geils Band and you would think I was preforming water torture on him. Forget listening to any kind of folk music like Old Crow Medicine Show.  I tried (in vain) to explain to him the meaning behind the music, the appreciation of the lyrics, the artist, the musicians. I tried explaining that the same song can be sung in a variety of genres, that basically music was just poetry being put to instruments. I then tried explaining that someday he would hear a song and he would get it. It would hit him just how powerful music can be. (at this point I think I lost him…) new-girl-gif1

Still I continued to explain to him the magic of music. I started thinking to myself that it can take you back to a sweet summer night with your first love, it can bring to tears over a lost friend, it can make you smile because of some silly adventure you had when you were all young and free. It got me thinking of my musical choices and what songs have stood out to me over the years.

The first song I really ‘got’ was probably something by Nirvana Heart Shaped Box or All Apologies …”I wish I was like you Easily amused”  After that it was a lot of depressing alternative rock. A lot. Were talking Jeremy by Pearl Jam “Lemon yellow sun Arms raised in a V And the dead lay in pools of maroon below” Told you – depressing.  Adams’s Song by Blink 182 or Smashing Pumpkins,  – “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage” those were my jams I laugh now thinking of all that pent up, misplaced teen-aged rage. giphy

As I went through high school other music came to me, some new like Sublime – “It all comes back to you, you’ll finally get what you deserve”  Some older like Grateful Dead-” Every silver lining’s got a Touch of grey”  (thank you Lucas) Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction, Buffalo Springfield’s  For what it’s worth. I didn’t start getting into folk music until recently. Though, I always found it pleasant to listen to. The Blues came from an ex who took me to a blues bar and I just fell in love with the cords. Jazz came from my days as a waitress. And each song can probably bring me back to when I first heard it, or a memory I associate with it. That is the power of music, of great song writing.tumblr_lq9iztnsdr1qd8cvlo1_500

I know some day my son will get this, and I am happy that for now he does appreciate a variety of music. I leave you with a few of my favorite lines (well that ones that come to me while writing this) and ask…what songs shaped you?

“Why am I soft in the middle The rest of my life is so hard” – Paul Simon  – You can Call Me Al

“Tear down the house that I grew up in, I’ll never be the same again” The Avett Brothers  – Tear down the house 

“It’s what you do and not what you say” John Mellencamp  – Peaceful World

“Every little thing, is going to be alright” – Bob Marley  – Three Little Birds

“If I could tell the world just one thing, It would be that we’re all ok” – Jewel  – Hands

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast” Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man 

“There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone” – Grateful Dead – Ripple