Leave Your MomPants at the Door

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Sweet as a Sucker August 27, 2013


Birthdays, birthdays, and more birthdays. As a parent of a young child, it seems like there’s a never-ending slew of birthday parties to attend. My son is fortunate to be pretty well liked among the children at his school and among my friend’s kids. So it really is a blessing that we are so often invited to these events. Yes, I did say events. This is Beverly Hills after all. It tends to not be a simple cake and ice cream situation. Many are full-blown extravaganzas, his own birthday, albeit at our home and not outrageous, was included in a national website and full of those typical Pinterest “pin”-able items. I love a good theme party; I always wanted one as a kid but never had one so now I go all Toddlers and Tiaras crazy mom on themes for him, but never to the extent that I have witnessed. Good thing we are not showering in diamonds daily otherwise I fear that I too might rent out a giant venue for a sixth birthday.

By this point, an outsider might start to scratch the surface on how obnoxiously fun these kids parties can be. We and others often include adult beverages to keep the parents smiling and entertainment to keep sticky fingers off of said parents, at least for a little while. Gift bags are more like swag bags from kids choice awards parties and everything has a touch of class at least compared to what I remember.

The differences do not end there. It is always a dance one plays when choosing the correct gift for the birthday child. How well does your child know them? How well do you know the parents? Are they the kind to calculate what you paid on said gift? Do you care (in case they do calculate) if they will think it is “enough?” For a child who as everything, what can you get other than a limited edition real life zebra, bred specifically for this season…. and could this child already have pre-ordered that zebra?

When trying to crack this insurmountable code, I always contact the parent of the child to ask what they’re into. I am not up on what is hip, cool or useful for the age four to seven bunch. After that, I kid you not, I start researching online. I tend to want to get something within the realm of the interest of the child but more obscure than the typical items found in stores. That makes the possibility of a duplicate gift less likely. After that, I bring my son into the equation. (I am incredible at making an easy thing far too difficult by the way.) My sweet boy usually needs a bit of a push to help decide what to get for someone else since he is more interested in what he can get for himself.

This last attempt was to find the perfect gift for his best girl, his sometimes “girlfriend” (as much of a girlfriend as you can have in kindergarten anyway.) He adores her and the feeling is mutual but that being said he had absolutely no interest in choosing between Barbies or other pink and glittery items. After forcing him to look through a few Internet pages, he found the “perfect” gift. It was one of those Mega McMansions, plus add on jacuzzi and pool that Barbie seems to have a plethora of somehow. (Oh the first world problems that poor Barbie must suffer!)

My son calls me into the office, to announce I need to pay for the gift that he found. Proud and content with his decision his face immediately changed when he heard me blurt out, “No way!!” His pride and happiness melted as I crushed his research, so I explained, “Honey, that’s very sweet of you and it’s beautiful, but we don’t even buy you $250 presents.”

He looked at me with a small frown forming and slowly exhaled, and with sadness in each word stated, “but she will really like this. I know she would play with it all the time and her sisters could play too since it’s really big.” My heart sank then, feeling like I crushed his dream when I noticed a smirk appear across his face. He fled the office immediately like a gale force wind into his bedroom. When he came back I started to smile, knowing his intention. He brought back his piggy bank and said, “will this be enough Mama? I don’t need it and I really think she would like the Barbie house more. You want us to donate money and gifts to people right?”

Right then my heart and mind were playing tug of war. How do I teach him that sometimes you don’t give your all to a person? It made me think of the future and wanting to keep him so sweet and thoughtful but at the same time I do not want him to be a pushover especially when dealing with the opposite sex. I never want him to be the sucker that falls head over heels in love and does any and everything for a girl who may or may not appreciate it. While juggling those things, I have to add in the delicate glass ball to juggle about differentiating need versus want. I want him to be generous to less fortunate people. He should want to help the needy but not forget about himself at the same time.

After having about seventy-six thoughts fumble through my brain, I decided to just ask him for a back up choice. I suggested he find something that would be more connected to him, as it would be more special. Luckily they do not make a Star Wars Barbie planet, because I know that he would gravitate towards that. He saw a golf cart with a Barbie sister that actually looked like his friend. Since he had just tried golf for the first time recently, it was perfect… and we didn’t even have to open his piggy bank.

 

The day this non-smoker could have used a carton of cigarettes July 26, 2013


Today was the first day I ever WISHED I had a cigarette. Why I wished for one shall follow….

Laying in bed at 8:20 a.m. today as I was trying to convince myself to get in the shower, I hear a loud slam on breaks and boom, followed by crunching of metal and breaking of glass. This guy totaled his car into a street light outside of my house. The soon car ended up in flames but was put out by our fabulous Beverly Hills Fire Dept that arrived within seconds.

After the car was gone and the fire hazard was cleared, I did as I normally do. I went out to talk to the driver and see if he needed anything: banana, water, cereal bar, ice pack… Etc. He was trembling, I didn’t blame him. He probably saw his life flash before his eyes as his car smashed into that pole. He said, “Thank you, but no. I need a cigarette or something.”

I responded, “I don’t have any, I don’t smoke. Are you sure I can’t offer you food or a drink?” Shook his head and smiled and mouthed “no thanks.” Right then I realized it could have come off as crass. I definitely do not like smokers or even to be in their vicinity. I am fortunate to live in a state with such high taxes and restrictions for smoking, but this guy needed something to shake that experience. I hoped he didn’t hear a tone of “holier than thou” emanating from my statement of “I don’t smoke,” because I normally do have that tone when I talk about smoking. I was immediately hoping I said it in a blasé fashion, but I could not be sure.

My son asked as we walked away, “what did he mean he wanted a cigarette? What’s that?” I smiled feeling fortunate that at five my child had no clue what a cigarette was, but it made me feel worse for the guy for some reason. It started sprinkling at that precise moment. I responded, “Some people smoke but we don’t. It’s not healthy, but some people choose to. No matter what, that young man had a bad morning as we have to offer whatever we can, when we can, to people who need help even if they don’t end up taking our help.”

My son understood but stated, “his car was just on fire, there was smoke on it, didn’t he get enough from that? He should have taken the banana and water.” I agreed and told him, I wish he would have. We crossed back across the street and walked inside. My son saw an umbrella and suggested maybe he could have that since it was sprinkling. I said that it was a brilliant idea. We walked out to give it to him and he was already gone.

Even if I was not able to help that young man with his need for a cigarette, I hope that he knows that there are actually people who care, even in “snooty” Beverly Hills. I also hope that my son continues on a path I am trying to instill on the importance of caring for strangers: no matter if we have exactly what they need (no matter what race, religion or other demographic that might be seen as different.) He definitely picked up my mood after feeling bad about not being able to help the young man.

With a Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles

 

May the Force Be With You Party July 2, 2013


May the Force Be With You Party

Here’s a glimpse into the birthday party I had for my lil one.  Quite an undertaking, but being the planner that I am I had it all squared away by a week prior to the party.

 

No, I am not your Ally… I’m just a normal human. June 16, 2013


My friend recently posted in her blog about her daughter’s questioning of sexuality and what it means to be “gay.”  We have an amazing couple, who happen to be lesbians, at our children’s school and she had to explain three years ago about how one child can have two mommies.  My child asked me the same thing at the beginning of the year seeing how the younger sibling is in my child’s class.  I found it easy.  (I grew up in Long Beach, CA where being LGBQT is pretty normal.)

I told my son, “Well __X & X____  very are lucky!  They have two mommies and even a daddy that love them very much.  You know how your mommy is part Mexican and part Irish?  Well it is the same as that; just a little bit of a different mix that makes things even more special for you.  We are so very fortunate to have so much diversity in the world.”  My son was ecstatic at that and was very happy for his friend that who got to have the extra special bonus of two mommies.  I did not have to explain much further, but even if I had to it would be a great opportunity for me to enrich my son’s view on the world.  I want him to embrace people no matter what their backgrounds are, be it LGBQT, different religions, ethnicities, socio-economic, special needs or whatever life brings to him.

That being said, I do not prefer to use the term “Ally” when referring to myself and LGBQT.  I think that is such a sheltering instead of embracing term.  I donate time to a wonderful foundation called The Point Foundation.  It is an organization that “promises LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.”  I was there donating time a few months ago, organizing their applications and helping get the folders together for their upcoming meeting to decide the finalists.  The man I was working with wanted to know more about why I got involved since I was straight woman.  I had been asked the same question a few times at the last event that I helped with and had to explain the same thing.  “I really don’t know how my info was passed to the foundation, but I do not see any reason why I shouldn’t help this cause.  I love the community and see no difference from this foundation versus one that helps anyone else.”  I had been called an “ally” before and was again within this foundation.  I refrained from saying, “no I am not your ally” out of fear of immediately worrying anyone even if I did follow-up the statement with the rest of my thought.

My thought process is simple but long, “No I am not your ally, I am a human.  I don’t see an African-American man or woman and tell them that I am their ally.  I don’t announce that I am an ally of a Muslim.  I don’t have to state that I am an ally of a person in a wheel-chair.  No, I just am human and love you all.”   It is surprising to me that we have to note that we accept or approve of a certain lifestyle.  In fact I don’t see it as a lifestyle, I see it as life in general.  I will not understand people who hate people for random reasons.  In fact, to hate someone is to put even more effort in than ignoring that issue they have with… whatever.  Sometimes society amazes me, both in good and bad ways.  Someday I really hope that love can be more abundant and embracing.  In the meantime, if you cannot be a “normal human,” try working on at least being an ally.

bert ernie equality

marriage equality mario

 

 

Food for Thought April 24, 2013


Margaret Mead once said, “children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” I am still learning this… but today proved to me that without even trying I am doing a bit of that. It was a proud day to be my child’s mother.

Today is a milestone for my family. My lil guy turned five today. I woke up and immediately thought, “Holy crap, I have a five year old! Where has the time gone?!” I felt happy, sad, excited and old all at the same time. He was so proud of being a five year old, yet reminded me he will “always be my baby,” and it turned off any sad feelings I had felt.

My husband and I showed up after lunch to pass out treats and a small favour to all of the preschool classes at his school, about 50 children in total. Please note, this is Beverly Hills, people do way too much for their children especially on their birthdays. This celebration was hardly anything compared to what I have seen. We do have small birthday party planned as well, but it’s typical at my son’s school to have a school party and a huge outside of school party.

We arrived at his school and he was ecstatic. I don’t know if I have ever seen him so excited at school. The combination of his dad being there (a very rare treat), being the star of the day (which he normally does not want), treats and having kids like him for the day. He is well liked as it is, but I can tell he always hopes to sway any children on the fence about himself. The screams of giddy joy he made as we entered made me forget how tired I was. They sang, ate treats and played on the playground after. It was just one of those moments that made me so happy to see him happy that I would have paid much more if that’s what it would have taken.

To top the day off, he finally got to have his favourite dude over to our house for the first time. He has had play dates with him previously but never at our house. As they played with his new X-Wing Fighter Legos, lightsabers (which I’m just NOW learning the price of, and my sneaky husband bought TWO!), and miscellaneous “boy” toys, I was listening on the intercom just smiling.

After a couple hours I asked if they were hungry. His friend acted famished and my son is always ready to eat. I asked if they wanted fruit, broccoli or pretzels. The friend was not into those options and asked if he could look for something in our cabinet. He decided on plain penne pasta, so I decided to make it. I asked my son if he wanted pasta, he said no. He ate some pretzels and asked his friend if he wanted some salad. The friend replied, “yuck, no way.” My son returned with, “oh well, I do! Mama can I have salad?” I smiled and responded, “of course my love.”

As I cooked pasta and shredded spinach, I heard them discussing food. My son talked about how he used to really love El Pollo Loco, but does not want to eat junk food anymore. They discussed problems with too much sugar; his friend stated it causes cavities and my son mentioned diabetes. It was like listening to tiny adults and I loved being able to eavesdrop. I could not believe this was from the mouths of babes: five year olds!

Immediately I thought of how much of what we talk to our children about is absorbed. It was a very proud moment for me as a parent. Watching my son choose a spinach salad, even though his favourite dude thought it was gross. He was not worried at that moment if his friend would like him or not with that decision. Listening to them speak about good food choices and preferring to stay healthy made me proud of what both my family and his friend’s family are doing for our kids. Maybe this was a turning point.

These past few years have been rough, brutal at times. This past year has been one of the hardest. My child is on the Autism Spectrum, although high functioning. It seemed that we have been traveling backward to the terrible twos. His personality was getting less and less like the child I knew and I have been worried.

Today, his fifth birthday, was a glimpse into the fact that even though he can act like he is a lot younger than he is, he has quite an adult thought process going on. It’s like when he started to speak again, (he lost all speech at fourteen months) and immediate was able to count to twenty. Little did I know he was in fact taking in all of the information I had no idea he was picking up.

This in turn reminds me that I need to choose my words, thoughts and actions wisely. I knew this, but it is one of those things I have tended to forget from time to time. Our children listen, hear and learn from us even when we don’t realise it. Luckily these instances were positive models, but there are countless moments each day when I have lost my cool and he could be picking that up as well. He might have been more difficult this year and more childish because I might have been modelling that behaviour. Who knows…. But this year I hope to try and get through this road a little smoother by teaching him the correct way to act by example, rather than simply correcting him.

 

The Anti-bully Bully April 23, 2013


Television, especially reality television, tends to make one think deeply about issues of the day, right? Well, maybe not… but on occasion there are some gems that are tossed out to the audience which just could actually be thought provoking. Take the nugget that is handed to us by the lovely and not typical reality star, Heather DuBrow on bullying.

Heather makes a guest appearance on KFI, a news/talk radio station. She speaks on the over-use of the term bullying and her personal experiences as a teen actually being bullied. She also does an aside, an interview for Real Housewives of Orange County, stating how Alexis is calling her a bully when she’s simply pointing out a fact (or opinion.)

Listening to her speak on the issue, and the obvious over-use of the term made me think about the whole Anti-Bullying Campaign. As much as I agree that bullying is an awful thing that can create very hard circumstances for people, especially youth, I do think that the whole term bullying is getting tossed around like the new buzz word to use. That in turn makes the act of bullying anything from constant berating or even physical violence to things like not sharing a toy or calling a name on the playground.

How many of us have called another person a name? I know I have. Am I a bully for calling my husband “messy,” my son “cranky,” or another person “annoying”? At the rate things are going I am definitely on my way to being deemed a bully. Is my son a bully for rough-housing with friends and pushing a kid down, even if he just got back handed by the same kid? Nope, neither one is guilty in my opinion. Is my husband a bully for telling our son that big boys do not throw tantrums like a two-year old? Not in my house, he’s not.

These are all things that I grew up knowing happened and are dealt with as seen fit. If someone deemed those (or other similar situations) bullying we are headed towards an epidemic of over-use of the word. In turn, those truly bullied will just be set on a growing list of kids of all sorts of things; how will we be able to help our kids (or selves) differentiate simple childhood teasing versus true verbal and / or physical abuse?

Also, how do we expect to raise strong and independent children? I have a feeling that it will thwart us to a society that is a bunch of tattle-tales who cannot take criticism or even sarcasm. I cannot know what each parent or individual feels that actual bullying is but it seems like the volume of the people being “bullied” is becoming a very long queue.

This is not to diminish the actual people that are truly bullied. In fact, I have personally cried hearing accounts of people’s experiences. I just want those types of stories to be the ones that we are working hard to correct. I do not want those voices to be silenced because there are too many other voices that are louder. It is just starting to feel as those those over-using the term “bully” are becoming bullies in their own right. Again, these are just my thoughts… Please feel free to let me know what you think.

Please also see the government’s Anti-Bullying link below if you or someone you know is suffering from bullying.

Stop Bullying

 

Husbad April 18, 2013


Sometimes I just don’t understand, scratch that….most of the time I don’t understand my husband.  He is very into how he looks, making sure he’s always speaking effectively and making sure that deals business or personal, get done as they should.  Then again, none of those have to do with him being a husband.  Don’t get me wrong, he is a great guy; he always tries to make his family a priority, but what I do not ever understand is what makes the day THAT difficult to put a pair of shoes ten feet away into a shoe area?  Why can’t he simply go upstairs (or when we did not have an upstairs, to the next room) to take off the belt and shirt from the day rather than drape them over the couch and chair?

I remember watching an episode of “I Love Lucy” as a child and not believing that a man could make the mess that Ricky made.  Lucy went ahead and put a divider with masking tape down the room and he was able to do whatever he pleased on his side, but could not impose those habits on her side.  I remember thinking, “my dad doesn’t do that, this must just be a make-believe situation.”  My mom was back working by that point, after I was in kindergarten she decided to join the workforce again.  So now I think, as an adult (and stay at home wife/mom) that maybe this is just a life I have signed up for.  A constant battle to keep the items in the right place, and it’s not even like I have a Martha Stewart sort of nook for everything.  I am just talking about dirty clothes go in the hamper.  Dirty dishes… I don’t expect him to wash them!  I just ask that he puts them in the dishwasher.  Somehow he is capable to put the big dish in the dishwasher about 82.9% of the time, but always leaves a fork or knife just sitting by its lonesome in the sink!

I know I am not alone in this.  I have many girlfriends who go through the same thing with their husbands who do not have the same personality as my husband.  So what is it that makes men so messy and women the ones that are left behind to pick up the debris after Hurricane Steve/John/Wilbur passes through our homes?  Do we really need to have separate areas where they can be slobs?  If that is the answer then I think we might need a separate home for that situation.  I know I can get a little crazed about having things “just so” but if there is a stench coming from “the man cave” I am sure to find some sort of old food or filthy shirt that could walk out on its own if I dared to open the door.

Funny thing is:  I am the one who gets less sleep over it, I am the cranky one, I am the one who cleans it up angrily.  Meanwhile, he’s more content with life, he doesn’t get worked up about the small things.  He also generally is more cheerful.  Maybe a little disorder is good for the soul.  Maybe if I loosened up and just let things go, I just might be as easy-going as he is… but I know that when I have tried that (and secretly hoped he would get disgusted by how filthy the house got) the house looked like Mr.Messy moved in.  I think I would rather be Mr. Persnickety and have a stick up my butt but live in a nice clean comfortable and non-contaminated home.  So if you happen upon my family and see a young woman with a sour puss and a few more grey hairs than there should be, next to a jovial guy missing his belt (which consequently is still on the top of a chair); say “Hello, I see it must be cleaning day for you!”  It will be me and that way I will know you read this page.

happywave

 

 
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