Friday, May 1, 2009

I finished the sentences ...

1. My ex's…are a part of my history.

2. Maybe I should ...... get to work.

3. I love ...... sleeping in.

4. People would say that I'm ...... crazy about my children.

5. I don't understand why ...... people have hate in their hearts.

6. When I wake up in the morning .... I go over my to do list.

7. I lost my ... mind, but luckily I found it again.

8. Life is full of ....... difficult but important lessons.

9. My past is ....... in the past, and I'm moving forward.

10. I get annoyed by ...... people who are not sincere.

11. Parties are not as fun as ....... I think they're going to be.

12. I wish life was not ....... such a rat race.

13. Dogs are ....... the best!

14. Cats are ....... temperamental.

15. Tomorrow is ...... going to be better than today.

16. I have a low tolerance for ...... liars, cheaters, sneaks, religious zealots, people who judge others, elitism, drama, dairy products.

17. If I had a million dollars ....... I might make a dent in my debt!

18. I'm totally terrified ........ by all things Bush.

19. My significant other ....... hasn't introduced himself to me yet.

What My Children Think of Me

I stole this off of my Facebook page. I just thought it was so cute.

I asked my children a series of questions and wrote down their answers. Sweetie is 6 years old and Stinker just turned 4. I asked the questions separately so they were not influenced by their brother's answer.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Stinker: "I love you." Sweetie: "I love you."
[Hmmmm ... can't get much better than that!!]

2. What makes mom happy?
Stinker: "When I play nicely." Sweetie: "When I laugh."
[Both true.]

3. What makes mom sad?
Stinker: "When I hurt your feelings." Sweetie: "When I feel like you don't like me."
[Again, both true.]

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Stinker: "Tickle." Sweetie: "By doing funny things." [Like what?] "For example, telling me funny jokes that I never heard."
[Sweetie's answer is a little surprising ... I don't tell that many jokes, just the same ones over and over.]

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Stinker: "I don't know." Sweetie: "I don't know."
[Apparently, we need to have more conversations about my childhood. And they need to speak to my mother!]

6. How old is your mom?
Stinker: "40." Sweetie: "I can't remember."
[hee hee - Stinker is close]

7. How tall is your mom?
Stinker: "I don't know." Sweetie: "I think you are ten feet."
[hee hee]

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do?
Stinker: "Play with me." Sweetie: "Hear us laugh."
[Both true.]

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Stinker: "Clean up." Sweetie: "Usually work."
[Again, both true.]

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Stinker: "I don't know." Sweetie: "Money." [How would money make me famous?] "Because you want to be rich."
[hee hee. Actually, HE wants to be rich. I would just like to be comfortable!]

11. What is your mom really good at?
Stinker: "Exercising at the gym." Sweetie: "Loving us."
[Sweetie's answer made me verklempt.]

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Stinker: "Listening to me when I tell you to come and look at stuff." Sweetie: "Fixing stuff."
[Both true. In my defense, Stinker whines all the time, and his "come and look" voice is the same as his whining voice!]

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Stinker: "I don't know." Sweetie: "Your job is to work with people." [What do I do with people?] "Go on the computer and work, writing notes and sending messages."
[Both good answers as I am currently unemployed and spend a lot of time on the computer searching, emailing, applying, etc.]

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Stinker: "Blueberries." Sweetie: "Candy."
[Both good answers!]

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Stinker: "Doing something pretty." Sweetie: "When you're nice."
[hee hee. Stinker picked up on my feeble Martha Stewart tendencies, and Sweetie picked up on my "service" activities going on since I've been unemployed.]

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Stinker: "Squidward [from Spongebob Squarepants] because you have lines on your head just like he does." Sweetie: "Scooby Dooby Doo because he's the best."
[Stinker's answer - OUCH! Apparently I need some Botox]

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Stinker: "Work." [what kind of work?] "Wash the car." Sweetie: "We play together."
[hee hee - Stinker had helped me wash the car precisely one time. Though he "cleans" everything right now.]

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Stinker: "We have the same eyebrows." Sweetie: "We're both humans."
[Both answers make me laugh.]

19. How are you and your mom different?
Stinker: "Hair color." Sweetie: "You have long hair and I have short hair."

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Stinker: "You say it." Sweetie: "I just do."

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Stinker: "We used to be a family." Sweetie: "He's cute."
[Stinker's answer is a little heartbreaking.]

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Stinker: "Disneyland." Sweetie: "Home."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Out of the Mouth of My Babe

Okay, I'm not even sure I should share this. I'm hoping some other parents out there have experienced a similar horror and can relate.

I was sitting at the table with Sweetie, keeping him company while he did his homework. He was busy cutting and gluing when out of his mouth, out of the blue, fly the following words: "Mom, did you know white people are better than black people?" WHAT?? I just sat there for a second, with my mouth literally hanging open. I knew I had to say something, but I needed a bit of time to get a grasp of what he just said.

As background, The Ex and I are about as WASPy as you can get these days. He is a blue-eyed blonde from a judeo-christian family; his mother is first generation American citizen by birth (her parents were born in Italy) but his father's family has been here for a long time. I am a fair skinned brunette with ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower. We are pretty much lovers of everybody (except each other [wink]). We live in a diverse neighborhood and Sweetie has always been in multi-cultural schools and classrooms. In fact, he was the only "whitey" in his kindergarten class; it was a beautiful blend of children with all different skin colors, and he is one of only two "whiteys" in first grade. To my knowledge, neither The Ex nor I have ever talked about anyone in terms of skin color in front of our kids; it just doesn't come up in conversations, with each other or with others.

After I got over the initial shock, I cross-examined Sweetie about where he would get such an idea. Turns out, in his study of Abraham Lincoln as we approached Lincoln's birthday, he learned a little bit about slavery. To my horror, he learned that all the rich and powerful white guys had black slaves, and that was because whites are better than blacks. He did NOT learn, however, that slavery was so wrong that our country fought a war over it!! He did NOT learn, however, that those rich and powerful white guys were wrong!! Oh. My. God. So, I took a deep breath and explained, in as age-appropriate terms as I could, what was so wrong with slavery. I was encouraged when he said "I feel really bad that I said that, Mom. Slavery was mean."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dreams and The Dream Box

Dreams, the word "dream," the idea of dreams, the truth about dreams ... all of it has been prominent in my life for the past two weeks (or so).

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." - Buddha

As part of my spiritual journey, I'm opening my heart to new and different things, ideas, and people. For the first time in a long time, I am attempting to identify very specific things I want for myself and for my family. I'm setting dreams in motion.

I have a very dear friend named Tee - we've known each other since 7th grade - who is years ahead of me on her spiritual path and is a great grounding source for me. Though we do not have identical beliefs, they are similar enough that she can help give me perspective and direction when I need it the most. One of Tee's fundamental truths is that "beliefs create reality." It goes along with the Laws of Attraction and The Secret: what you put out into the universe is what you get back. I've seen it work in her life. As an example, right about when she turned 40, she adjusted - not abandoned - her existing and lifelong dream of marriage and family. She decided that living where she lived would not lead her to the father of her children, so she moved. She focused not on finding someone to "marry" (necessarily) but on someone who wanted the same kind of "family" she was now picturing. She drew a picture of her dream "family" and taped it above her computer. She believed that such a man, and such a family, existed and that she would find them. About a year later, she did and they now have a new family of their own.

For the past year or so, with Tee's help, I have been working on my attitude. I have tried to quiet that voice in my head that is full of doubt and skepticism. I have tried to see the positive in every "bad" thing that has happened in my life. I have tried to stop looking back at things I cannot change and have started moving forward toward change I want. It is not easy; I slip back into my old ways when I'm not paying attention. It's exhausting because it is contrary to habits I have developed for 40 years of my life, but I can see subtle little changes occurring all around me.

After I had a mini-breakdown/pity party for myself a couple of weeks ago, Tee gave me this wonderful card. In addition to the things your dear friends always tell you - I love you, you're fabulous, etc. - she reminded me that things that are worth having are often difficult to get, but they are worth the effort and heartache at the end. She told me that the "bad" things in life are merely the universe's way of shifting our focus off of that which is not important to that which is important. She suggested I create a vision board, and include pictures/ideas/symbols of my dreams, and post it in a prominent place in my home so that I see it every day. A couple of days later, she presented me with The Dream Box.

The Legend of the Dream Box (often attributed to Lemuria) suggests writing down your fondest dream, greatest desire, strongest wish on a small piece of paper, putting that paper in a Dreambox and placing it beside your bed. Every evening as you retire and every morning as you rise, hold your Dreambox and think on your dream, believing with all your heart that is is so. Legend has it, if done faithfully, your dream will come true.

I wrote down my most prominent dream right now and put it in the box. I have also started my vision board, which right now represents 3 very specific dreams that I have for myself.

In January the minister of my church has been going over "the basics" of the Unity/New Thought movement. One of the things I learned is that some of my favorite 19th century authors and poets were part of what is now known as the New Thought movement more than 100 years ago. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the son of a Unitarian minister, held "meetings" with his literary friends - including Henry David Thoreau - to discuss spirituality, including the idea that if you truly set your mind - and your heart - on something, it will come true.

"Be careful what you set your heart on, for it will surely be yours." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

So two Sundays ago I showed up at church for the third lesson on "the basics" and guess what it's about? Dreams! The third basic premise of New Thought is (to paraphrase) the idea that if you take that which is in your consciuos mind, and tell it to your subconscious mind with deliberation and conviction in its truth, your subconscious mind will make it true. Hey, look at the quotes above ... that's what Buddha said, that's what Emerson said!!

The next day was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. "I have a dream" was all over the place.

The day after that was President Obama's Inauguration. Talk about dreams! The dream theme was everywhere: dreams of Lincoln, dreams of MLK, dreams of our forefathers, dreams of a nation, dreams of a people, dreams of a little boy, dreams, dreams, dreams.

So I leave you with this:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." - Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Long live the tooth fairy

We hit a milestone in our household last weekend. Sweetie lost his first tooth.

About two weeks ago, I was looking at him while he was speaking to me and I noticed a new "space" in his bottom teeth. I asked "did you lose a tooth?" No. "Do you have a loose tooth?" No. After examination, I discovered the culprit: an adult tooth had broken through and was shoving the baby tooth out of the way.

A few days later, I made corn on the cob for dinner. He took one bite and flipped. "Mom, Mom, I have a loose tooth. You have to only give me soft food!" Then the panic started: is it going to hurt? is it going to bleed? are you going to have to pull it? Drama, drama, drama.

As the week wore on, I would catch him playing with it with his tongue as kids do, but he never said anything about it again.

We were driving home from a little nature hike - on a deserted country road - and all of a sudden he yelled from the backseat, "Mom, my tooth just fell out and it landed in my lap." That was it.

We called Daddy and Mama G to share the exciting news. When we arrived at Mama G's, she handed him a dollar bill "in case the tooth fairy forgets you." Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom.

We then went to the store to find the perfect container in which he would put his tooth for presentation to the tooth fairy. Whatever happened to the envelope - tooth in, tooth out money in, money out - of my childhood? No, my son wants a treasure chest or something. We couldn't find anything small enough, so he settled for an organza bag used for party favors at baby showers.

The tooth fairy left $5. I think I got a quarter when I was a kid. I hear the tooth fairy gives a lot more for the first tooth these days, and the gift is smaller for subsequent teeth. My son didn't even notice; he was delighted to find that the tooth fairy had in fact come. He checked under his pillow, took the money and stuffed it into his piggy bank, and then came to tell me the tooth fairy did not forget him and she left him a dollar.

It was surprisingly emotional for me. My baby clearly is not a baby anymore. Before I know it I will be dealing with body odor and pubic hair. Eek!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Whatever happened to common courtesy?

Is it just me? It seems that people have stopped using the basic common courtesies we all learned as children. I'm talking the basics, like saying thank you to someone who does something for you that they didn't have to do. I'm talking about saying excuse me if you step in front of someone. I'm talking about speaking to people - no matter their age - in a respectful manner. What happened? Where did it all go?

In the past month or so, I have written letters of recommendation for two of my son's former teachers as they search for new teaching positions, and neither one even said thank you. I don't expect a parade, but is it too much to expect a simple "thanks"? One of the teachers in particular irked me because I have not seen nor heard from her for more than 6 months, my son doesn't even go to her school anymore, and she tracked me down to ask me for a glowing recommendation, and she didn't even have the courtesy to acknowledge receiving it, much less thank me for writing it. Am I being ridiculous?

I was walking through an automatic doorway yesterday and this woman decided to try to go through at the same time as me. She practically body slammed me on her way past me, and when I turned to say "excuse me" she didn't even pause or look back and instead kept barreling through to the store. Isn't it common courtesy to say excuse me when you bump into someone? I say even when I don't think it's my fault, because maybe it is my fault and I don't want to be rude.

And don't even get me started on customer service!! The phrase "customer service" has morphed into an oxymoron.

Kids today - mine included when they think I'm not paying attention - no longer "ask" for things. They issue orders. "I want more milk." "Buy that for me." When mine do it, I stare at them, and they just keep barking orders at me, and I carry on with my business. Sweetie will bark and bark and bark until he finally gets the hint and asks me nicely, but it takes him a long time to figure it out. And the tones of voice that kids use!! Sometimes Sweetie speaks to me in a tone that I never would have dreamed of using with my mother, even when I was a pukey teenager. It astounds me how often I have to say to him, "If I were you, I would think about the voice I am using with my mother and maybe start over." Just tonight, after I told Stinker to "put your shoes on, please, it's time to go" my THREE YEAR OLD said "whatever" and walked away from me. Are you kidding me??

And kids are so bossy and disrespectful with each other. I'm not talking about siblings necessarily, because I recognize that you sometimes reveal your ugliest self with the people who are closest to you. I'm talking about kids who are supposed to be "friends" yet they speak to each other in a voice that suggests they can't stand each other. When did it become "cool" to be a jackass in elementary school?? I always believed the jackass factor didn't kick in until middle school, after kids have at least had a chance to navigate through school for a couple of years. As an example, a boy in Sweetie's FIRST GRADE class told Sweetie very matter of factly that he is a baby. Why? Because he was cold, so he put his arms around me and said "hug me to help me get warm." We're talking 6 years old, not 14!! WTF?? And when I said to the boy, "you know, it's not very nice to call people names" he said - swear to God - "so?"

I don't profess to be the best mother in the world, but by God my kids will learn their manners and they will learn to be respectful, especially of adults. It's a work in progress for sure, and we have a long way to go with our table manners, but at least they usually say please and thank you - especially to people other than me - and disrespect is simply not tolerated in my house.

It's sad enough that kids aren't learning common courtesies, but it's really sad when they don't learn them because their parents don't even utilize them. What has happened to the world?