Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mrs. Mommy – Can I see you for a minute?

Here is what I hate. Going to school to pick up my kids and the teacher says:

I’m so glad you are here.

Uh, you are? I’m just here picking up my kid.

I’m sure YOUR daughter has informed you of the SITUATION.

The Situation? What Situation? (I start feeling a little uncomfortable and oddly defensive or oddly uncomfortable and a little defensive.)

Does this have something to do with the project I’m supposed to be running for the class? Cuz I’ve been a little bit behind (ah, thank you Twitter) but I’ll totally get to it … This week? (Oh wait, tomorrow is Follow Friday.) Next week?

Are you unaware of the SITUATION in the room involving your child?

Uh…totally unaware, it appears.

Then the “surprise” conference takes place. The same drill: she hasn’t been turning in her homework; she has been disrupting class; she has no respect for authority. (The whole time I am SO happy that no one has yet mentioned inappropriate use of the “F” word. As though there MIGHT be an appropriate use for a 7 year old anywhere.)

I just know when I drive home after the “I’m glad you are here, we have a SITUATION” conference, I am filled with shame. As though I have done something wrong. Is it that Little Chair thing, the teacher standing and speaking while I sit in the little chair, my ass hanging over both sides? Cuz I find sitting in the little chair hearing about the SITUATION brings back some painful flashbacks.

After working through the flashback part, I move ahead to being pissed off at the person who is responsible for my sitting in the little chair. The person responsible for the SITUATION.

Then there are the threats Clean up this behavior cuz if I ever get blindsided by the teacher again you’ll be picking up dog poop for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. (As though someone else was actually going to pick up the dog poop.) You’ll never wear fake nails again, for as long as you live!

Followed quickly by the motivational speech. You can do it, you are smart, you are an awesome kid, you CAN control yourself. (This isn’t dysfunctional right? This isn’t the first sign of a bipolar diagnosis is it?)

Cuz I find sitting on those little tiny chairs hearing some unexpected bad news from a grade school teacher, must bring back some painful flashbacks. You know, when I was the one not turning in homework, disrupting the other kids, unable to keep my hands to myself etc.

Like mother, like daughter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Picture Parenting Part 2 or Mean Mommy #youbetcha

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I sit down at my desk, which is like Grand Central Fucking Station only, like, inside my home office. It is literally the communal Family Dumping Station.

Anything that comes through the door of our house, gets dumped on my desk. WTF. I yell at my husband: I’m putting all this shit in a bin. Then I’m taking it to your office and dumping it on your desk! Try and find a client’s important tax documents THEN, Mother Fucker. (Love you Honey.)

So as I'm huffing and puffing and about to blow my house down, my 10 year old calls me from school and says:

“Mommy, could you please sign my progress report and bring it to school? “

“Blondie, I never saw your progress report.”

“I put in on your desk.”

“On my desk! Where on my desk?”

“It is folded into a tiny little square and I put it on your desk.”

WTF? Folded into a tiny little square? Does she not realize I've got... a See’s Candy Order fundraiser form; the reminder note which tells me if I don’t bring the check for the Ballet costume, Little Sis WILL NOT be performing in the Annual Production of The Firebird; a note from the Playground Supervisor about someone NOT LISTENING THE FIRST FOUR TIMES they were asked to get off the Monkey Bars; a brown bag lunch leftover from a couple of days ago. And a martini glass - okay so that one's mine, but still!

Finally, while I listen to my daughter mouth breathing into the phone, I discover this little thing, sweaty hard lump, that looks like a giant spit wad. Ah, the Progress Report.

“OK, I see it...." What to do. Probably shoulda lied and said the dog ate it. But now I have to say something... Straighten my back as much as a old Mama can, "But, no, I will not sign your progress report and bring it to school.”

“But Mommy, my group will lose three points if all the kids don’t have their progress reports signed and turned in today!!!”

(Huffy Breath)

(Wavering. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What do I do? I want the other kids to like her. I want her to be a winning student in the classroom. Bracing myself. Good Mommies don't care about popularity they care about character - whatever the fuck that means)

I answer, “Well, then you should have thought of that last night and brought the progress report to me to be signed. No.”

I hang up the phone. So victorious. I stood up in the face or irresponsibility. I have to be strong, I have to be consistent....

But I could just drop it by. I have to drive by there in an hour anyway, what could it hurt?

Besides my authority, you mean?

All day I waiver between being victorious, strong and noble and feeling like such a Mean Mommy.

BTW; Big Picture Parenting Sucks. (But I’m still trade marking it!)

Finally, the Blondie comes home. I'm ready for anything. Recrimination. Pouting. Even tears.

"Well?" I ask.

"Well, what?"

"The progress report."

The Blondie shrugs, "Oh, no biggie."

No FUCKING biggie? As she skipped off to her room, I stood there shell-shocked. You mean standing my ground worked, it F'ing worked?

Oh ya, make a path, Trademark Office here I come!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Big Girl, And by Big I Mean ...

My baby is turning 7 today. Happy Birthday Baby.

We call her Glowie, cuz the light coming off this kid will blind you. Fortunately we don’t call her TalksAllTheTimeWithoutStopping cuz that wouldn’t be as charming.

When Glowie was born, we loved her and cooed over her. I nursed her (adotptive breast feeding – that is a separate blog that hasn’t been written yet, but we’ll all need COCKTAILS) and her older sister, Blondie began to love her.

Secretly however, her Dad and I made a lot of jokes about our little Cone Headed Baby. When she was three weeks old it turned out that wasn’t so funny.

Terrifying in fact.

Glowie had a double craniosynostosis. You know, the kids with the big flat brow, or the kids with the flat head on the back or one side? Our kid had a pointy head, sorta out of the top and the back. And if we didn’t “correct” it, her brain would not be able to grow.

By correct it I mean they cut her skull into puzzle pieces, put plates in her head, put the puzzle pieces back on, and sewed it up. Oy, yoy, yoy.

Recovery is horrific (Her little face swelled her eyes closed), I had to quit nursing her (there was NO moving this kid), I slept on the floor of the hospital, loaded on vicodan cuz I had a herniated disc and needed my own surgery.

Then two years in those little helmets you see on kids – with the tinkerbell shit painted on them. Three years of early intervention therapy: speech therapy, physical therapy, cognitive therapy. She was so tiny and fragile we had to have her panties altered to fit her.)

And then magic. We got a magic wand in our family. Cuz all this fucking therapy, and her big sister falling apart somewhere along the way, and 100% will and devotion, and God’s grace, this little teeny tough, misshappened headed baby sprung alive.

She is pure joy. She knows the name of at almost all of the 700 children at her elementary school. We can’t get out of the playground when the bell rings there is so much hugging and kissing going on. (Really, for God’s sake, save something for your teen years.)

She is 7 years old and weighs 30 pounds. She wears high heels everywhere. When she thinks I’m not looking she puts tissue in her leotard and admires her girlie figure in the mirror.

She dances ballet and jazz. She is the tiniest kid on the stage. And not the best dancer. (I am afraid to type the truth in case she ever reads this. Okay, not a great dancer. But dammit, she waves better than any of those other full-size children.)

She thinks she is going to be on America’s Next Top Model. Possibly next year when Tyra does the 2nd Grade Version. (That is coming right?)

She is beautiful with big brown eyes and wears giant glasses. The day she showed up to Kindergarten in glasses every kid in the class wished they had glasses too.

She may not be able to knock you down, but she will wear you down. She can hike a couple of miles (and never stop talking), she can run at full speed for 16 hours and never waiver. Unlike Mom – I need frequent rest stops. (Did I mention the part about how she never Shuts Up?)

She is smart and a pain in the ass. She loves the sound of her own voice. She would like someone to be interacting with her every second of the day and night. And sometimes I feel guilty for praying to God or SOMEONE to just SHUT HER UP FOR A FUCKING NANOSECOND BEFORE I LOSE MY MIND. Cuz we paid a lot of money for all that speech therapy. Who knew?

She can pee by the side of the car, without flinching (we call it a wild wee) and yank up her big girl panties and move on to the next adventure. She is pure joy, with a bizarre sneaky laugh, who is just a normal 7 year old who worships her big sister and nutella. But there is nothing really normal about our little Glowie. Cuz every effing day this kid reminds me to LOVE LIFE and LIVE MAMA LIVE!

What’s our next Adventure Mama? Huh? Huh? Huh? (God Help Me.)

Happy Birthday Baby.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Girl Power!

With all the heat surrounding this NYT article (Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy, I’m Too Busy Building My Brand about #BloggyBootcamp and Mommy Bloggers, I feel an important aspect has been missed.

Would anyone have dared write an article such as “Honey” if #BloggyBootcamp had been a male-oriented blog seminar? Would they have dared tag Tony Robbins as ‘self-serving’ or implied he was ‘neglectful of his children’ for trying to make a living off of his passion?

I see poor Jennifer defending herself for talking about SEO at #BloggyBootcamp. Darlin’ I don’t think you have to defend a single word you said about marketing.

Had Steve Jobs given a seminar about blogging that talked about how to break your market into segments, optimize demographics, and quantify time-zone specific commercial slots, do you think he would be apologizing today for not talking about content more?

Uhhh, no, I seriously doubt it.

The source of this attitude can be found in another article (which I found far more disturbing) in Forbes Magazine – 20 Inspiring Women To Follow on Twitter. February 8, 2010 by Halle Tecco.

The premise is that men on Twitter get more followers by virtue of SIMPLY BEING MEN! Stats show that men are more likely to follow men and even women are more likely to follow men.

So they listed the 20 “absolutely inspirational women who are tweeting up a female storm”. I thought great! Finally someone taking women seriously.

But the 20 women were basically academics and activists. Only one woman was profiled as being a “colorful look into the life of a woman balancing motherhood and running a tech company”. (And btw, she has the highest number of followers 50,000 and it appears she follows almost everyone back! Girl Power!)

What outraged me about this article, was I thought it left out the entire segment of the Twitterverse which are Moms, empowering themselves through social media to build community, whether through parenting tips, sharing the experience of a family whose beautiful little girl is dying, selling sponsored products or products one has made themselves, etc.

And when I looked at the numbers of the women in the Forbes Top 20 list, the Twitter following numbers were not nearly as powerful as many of the women that I follow. Fifteen of these Forbes women had less than 5,000 followers. (Six had fewer than 2,000 - less than I have!).

These are their powerhouses? Where was Dooce? Mommywantsvodka? ThePioneerWoman? ScaryMommy? HerBadMother?

These are the women that when I started (and was scared to put myself out there and develop my voice) I looked up to. I saw they cultivated a following and it gave me hope that I could as well.

In my eyes #BloggyBootcamp shows the finest in entrepreneurial spirit. I don’t think we should be afraid to talk about marketing ourselves, our blogs, and our passions…openly. You know, like men do.

A girlfriend of mine (@craftycmc) got onto Twitter and within 6 weeks had monetized it. Now she’s got a business going (and she has guys as clients too!).

When I asked her about the NYT article she just shrugged. “I don't see why everyone is so worried about content. The marketplace will decide if your content is worthy, right? Put it out there and take it for a spin, if it sucks, you’ll know soon enough.” (And let's be clear, I love her shit! She makes me laugh!)

So Sisters, we really have to have each other’s backs, clearly Forbes and the NYT won’t!

Luckily I had already booked #BloggyBootCamp in Phoenix before the article came out, otherwise I would have had to rush to the computer and sign up.

Girl Power at its best, Ladies, Girl Power!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Golden Moment, No Really. No I'm Serious.

This may be the Golden Moment of my Day. I write a lot of bitter shit in this blog, cuz, well . . . I’m bitter.

But truthfully, having a kid with health problems and a lifelong struggle with illness and surgeries of my own, I do make note every day of the Golden Moments. And actually, right now, our whole lives are functioning in a Golden Period: everyone’s health is stable, we are weathering the economic downturn (though we work way too hard to make a mortgage payment on a house that is worth almost ½ what we paid), our business is thriving, my kids are doing well in school. Okay we had two dogs drop dead last month, but in the scope of what we’ve been through with our youngest daughter, a couple of beloved doggie deaths are really nothing.

And I sit at my computer, looking out the window of my Palm Springs dream house. I see sunlight coming up, I see the pool and the yummy yard and the house is quiet. My Blondie Baby (10 yo) is sitting quietly reading her book, the dog is gently licking his private parts, my little Glowie is still asleep and so is The Tax Man.

It is a Golden Moment of quiet in this house. The ‘hood is not awake, dogs are not barking, trash trucks are not pulling up the streets. No one is yelling – get your lunch, don’t forget your book, did you remember to put on sunscreen, (hey, this is Palm Springs People), get the dog’s leash, let’s go, LET’S GO, LET’S GO!!!

And as soon as the little one gets up (which means her mouth wakes up, in high gear) and the household get’s moving (NEVER fast enough for me!) and it gets noisy and the girls start fighting and then tattling on one another, and the Tax Man does everything wrong, this Golden Moment will be lost. And then I can resume the mantle of the bitter mother.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Big Picture Parenting

My 6 year old is strapped in her car seat, sitting in the car, which is sitting in the garage. She is screaming her little head off.

Why? Because I won’t take her to school this morning. Why? Because she didn’t get ready on time. Why? Because she was busy torturing her big sister (who DID get ready on time) and goofing off.

Am I a mean Mommy? You bet your sweet ass. Does it rip my heart out to hear her sobbing and begging to go to school? Yes indeedy (as my mother would have said).

Is this a lot of bloody work for me? Hell yeah. Is it worth is? I have no fucking idea.

But I am trying to do Big Picture Parenting. (I came up with that term. Should I trademark it?)

I am trying to think about not focusing on the moment, and looking instead to what kind of middle school kid will she be? Or high school student, if she can’t move her ass and get out the door. And if she’s going to be the one of our first female presidents, how will she run the White House effectively if she’s still strapped in her car seat?

She’s 6, you might gently remind me. Yeah, and she thinks she’s in love with the Jonas Brothers. If she can figure out the viewing schedule for the Disney Channel every day, hour by hour, then she can get ready for school on time.

I have a schedule, you know, shit I have to do. I have appointments and responsibilities, all which require prior bathing, teeth brushing, and foundation wear, dammit. If she ain’t ready on time, Mommy may start to be known as the woman with the special funk about her. I prefer to be hip and funkaay, not bag-lady ripe.

Does she get to do that? Well, obviously, YES. Will she do it again next week? I’m thinking, not so much. (Not holding my breath though.)

Cuz you know what she did for the hour she had to stay home, while I got my work done before my 9:15 appointment (and could CONVENIENTLY drop her at school on the way)?

I had her write sentences:

I will be ready on time. I will use my checklist. I will not fuck up Mommy’s morning schedule anymore. (Okay, I only thought that one!)

She had to give up her playground time and the fun morning part of school for this? Sucked for her. Sucked for me.

Big Picture Parenting. I’d rather be watching Big Love.

#I will stick to my guns. #I will stick to my guns. #I will stick to my guns.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sick Kid, But What About My Needs?

My kid woke up sick today. Poor baby. I hate this. Cuz it totally ruins my plans for the day. You know, my plans to Tweet, blog, read other people’s tweets, maybe look at the paper, talk to my office staff – via email, in my nightie, eat lunch in private, talk to people on the phone while swearing relentlessly, and use the F word while working up my To Do List (for tomorrow, cuz if my kid is home sick today, I can’t get anything done.)

So we said: No school today, you have a runny nose and a cough. It’s a lay in bed day, read a book, chicken noodle soup for lunch. She went in her room. 30 minutes later she was hysterically pleading to be allowed to go where she could be “socially loved”. She missed her friends. The bell hadn’t even rung, and this child who, three years ago, was so shy she couldn’t speak, missed her friends.

So I sent my kid to school today. Hey, it is a cold. It’s not like she was puking. (If she was puking I would have sent her with extra lunch bags.) I sent her with lots of cough drops, Kleenex and instructions to call me if she couldn’t make it through the day. Then I did a happy dance. Hello Twitter.