Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Park is Not a Choice Today

I don’t want to take you to the park today.
Am I even allowed to say that out loud?

I don’t want to chase after you, and watch you watch the other kids having fun.
I don’t want to glare at the other parents, trying to catch them staring at you and imagining them making judgments about you
While their healthy, chubby, “normal” children squeal and play stupid games
Like hide and seek, or tag, or kickball

I don’t want to try and convince you to climb up the stairs and slide down the slide and swing on the swing when all you really want is to jump up and down and flap your arms and escape from my heavy clutch so you can RUN

Free and Fearless

Possibly into the busy street just yards away
Possibly into the arms of a stranger
Possibly towards a group of children
That may reject you

I don’t want to ask you questions that you won’t answer
Like “are you having fun?” or “do you think this place is better than the park we went to yesterday?”

I don’t want to feel this way
But today I do
With impatience and frustration
Greeting me along with the rise of an indifferent sun
That insists on shining despite
The darkness in my heart

I don’t want to take you to the park today
And maybe that makes me weak
Or lazy
Or irresponsible
But if you should decide to crawl up here beside me
I will hold you
In my arms
And smell your hair
And whisper in your ear
Watch you effortlessly fall asleep
Because you feel safe
And I would be happy with that
Because I just don’t have
The energy
To chase you
At the park

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Mother and Her Child

"Where are your socks?"

"Put on a sweater!"

"Don't eat that!"

"Dry your hair before you go outside!"

"Don't you talk back to me!"

"Wait till I call your father!"

"Pick up this mess!"

"You're not going out dressed like that are you?"

Just another morning encounter with my well-meaning Mama.
I so enjoy these moments together. 

In fact, some people like breakfast with their coffee.  I prefer to start my day with some good old fashioned criticism and Polish folklore.

If I've been told once, I've been told a quadrillion times to suck in my stomach and microwave that cold cereal before it causes my body to implode on itself. 


Good thing I have her to remind me that at 32 years of age, I'm nowhere near being able to make my own decisions, and that being a self-sufficient adult will always be but an illusion. 

Otherwise, who knows?  I might end up doing something crazy, like tempting fate and walking out the front door with my hair soaking wet.

I Love you Mama.

Thanks for the fear-based parenting style that I am now so proudly and naturally passing down to my own two terrified, manipulated, co-dependent children.

Being a Mom with emotional baggage rocks.

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Lady Behind Me In Line Would Probably Trade Places With Me If I Let Her But Just For the Record, I Wouldn't.

I am grumpy
for 12345678910 different reasons
dragging my offspring
from store to crowded, overpriced, store
as Superman insists
on pushing the cart
bumping into
placed in the middle of the aisle (WHO THOUGHT OF THIS?!!)
I bribe
with donuts
try one nostril breathing
(some yoga crap I saw once)
but it doesn't work
and the blood pressure climbs
as I continue to
deplete my bank account
at record speeds

We are
standing in line
and I
tell Superman to
"Knock It Offffffffffffffffff"
as he throws his
beanie baby up and down
up and down
up and down
and I growl when he
touches the gummy worm display
giving him a dirty look as I bend down
to scrape Monchichi off of
the Swine Flu-Infested Floor
I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder
and turn to meet the smiling gaze of a stranger
standing in line
dressed in red
smelling of "I can shower for thirty minutes if I want to because no one pounds on the door trying to barge in"
and she says
with a twinkle in her eyes no less
that she WISHES
her son were still that age
since now he's all grown up
and it wentsofast
I imagine her twenty years ago,
standing in line somewhere
growling at her little one
she tells me how she misses those frustrating, exhausting, exasperating jaunts
with the child
who is taller than her now
and has better things to do
then stand in line with his mother
throwing beanie babies
the personal space
of a stranger

She watches as
Superman begins
tossing that stupid toy again
up and down
up and down
tells him what a good job he is doing
giggles at his pride
and I am reminded again
what is most important
in this very short
very fragile
very unpredictable life
so I THANK her
for saying
what this
so grateful
so badly
to hear

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Everyone Should Have a Calm Chart

I am observing Monchichi in therapy with Wonder Woman, our wonderful, irreplaceable, brilliant autism therapist who we lovingly refer to as "BOSS."  He is learning a new technique to keep his anger and frustration in check.  He can't tell us to "piss off" so he yells and grunts and flaps instead.  It's okay now, at seven years of age.  But if he's still doing it at 16 then I predict high hospital bills.  For everyone.

The beauty of behavioral intervention though, is that we can give him other ways of coping with those high-octane emotions.  Hence, the calm chart.

So I'm watching as Wonder Woman directs him towards the wall, where his brand spanking new Calm Chart is hanging.  It's just a laminated board, with velcro on it, and corresponding cards illustrating things that he likes like stretching, squeezing a pillow, getting a head rub and taking a deep breath.  He picks three cards and I watch as he begins to squeeze the living daylights out of his little monkey pillow. 

This.  Is.  Brilliant.

I need a Calm Chart, I think. 
The endless possibilities!
I imagine the choices on my GIANT laminated board
Chocolate.  Cheese.  Full Body Massage.  Pedicure.  Double Nonfat Vanilla Latte.  Seven Day, Six Night Trip to Bora Bora.

Squeezing a pillow?
Clearly my son is an amateur.

I think about the people in my life who would benefit from a Calm Chart:

My mom.
My husband.
My sister.


I think about the fact that if everyone had a Calm Chart, we might not be so inclined to hiss at each other when in a crowded mall (yes, I'm talking about you weird mullet guy who was clearly offended that I didn't cower away as you stomped up the sidewalk towards the mall entrance and then proceeded to HISSSSS at me.   Ew.)

He could have definately used a Calm Chart.

a Behavioral Interventionist.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Can Reindeer Be Jewish?

I am
paying the price
for keeping my children

counting to 400 during catch

wiping drool and cheese crackers off of the leather couches

breaking up a Mack Truck Mid-day Standoff

fielding questions
such as

"Can We Play Catch Again?"

"Can I Have More Chocolate?"

"When Will Daddy Get Home?"

"Can Reindeer Be Jewish?"

To which I replied:


"Absolutely Not"

"Not Fast Enough"


"Well, I'm sure reindeer are free to excersise the religion of their choice, just like all of the other little animals intheforestandpleasedon'taskmewherebabiescomefromrightnowbecauseiamtiredandyoujustmightgetthewholeuglytruthoutofme.

Tomorrow.  The.  Park.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Be Nice to Your Kids. They May Be Changing Your Diapers One Day.

If there's one thing I've learned from caring for my elderly grandmother, it's that old folks are deceptively heavy.  Especially naked.  When trying to give them a shower.

If there's another thing I've learned, it's to start sucking up to your kids. 

Because it's never to early to begin planning for that stage in your life when the house plant in the corner is definately the same thing as a flushing toilet and the oatmeal makes it directly into your mouth 1 out of 5 times.

Someone has to keep you from putting the hemmorhoid cream in the wrong place. 

Someone has to keep you smelling pretty and not like, well, an old person. 

Someone has to tuck those droopy boobies back into that heavy duty bra before they come loose and maim a loved one.

So take heed dear friends, and maybe buy an extra christmas present or ten for your future caretakers this holiday season.

Or you could raise them Catholic, like we do, and guilt them into service.

Because I don't know about you, but I would much rather give family members the pleasure of scrubbing all of those hard to reach places than waste such a joyous opportunity on a big-boned nurse with a moustache wearing pastel scrubs named Griselda.

Just sayin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sort of Like Going to Hawaii But Actually Totally Not the Same

6:00 a.m.
the internal alarm clock forces me out of bed
though i have made sure the curtains are all but glued shut. 

Cold pizza packed for husband's lunch
Half Caff sloppily tossed into leaking coffeemaker
meowing cats fed, strong aroma illicits mental note to change litterbox
loving hug from firstborn leaves wet mark, prompting bathtime to be moved up by 8 hours

Breakfast Dishes.

Swiffer the hell out of the sticky floor, which is inexplicably sticky again in 2.5 seconds.
Check bank statement.

Scrub the stairs.
Vaccum gigantic pine needles which are shedding from gigantic Christmas tree at an alarming rate.
Wonder if Christmas tree will be bald by Christmas.

Stare at sinkful of dishes.
What. The. Hell.

Dress for errands
which include
post office
video store

Watch as Monchichi spills boxful of ornaments.
Opens the refrigerator for the thousandth time.

God.  What are we feeding these cats?

It is 8:30 a.m.

Make no mistake.
This working mother of two

is on Vacation.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Find Something To Celebrate

My best friend (the one I keep around because she knows way too much) said something pivotal to me in the wake of what experts in the field would coin as a Crappy Week.

"Find something to celebrate, " she said, as she handed me a home cooked meal complete with a chilled bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider.

I sighed as I realized  I would have to listen.

She was using her bossy voice.

And if you know my best friend, you know it's best not to get on her bad side.

So I went home.
And ate. 
Because I cannot celebrate anything on an empty stomach.

But I was unnerved.  I had been prepared to wallow in a sludge of well-deserved self-pity and then the little snot had to sprinkle her love and rainbows and puppy dogs all over my gloom. 
So.  Annoying.

And so, in-between shoving biscuits into my mouth at lightning speeds, I began a mental quest to find something, anything, that would replace the gray haze lingering over me with a downpour of joyful bliss.

It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.
I was struck with not one, but many things to Celebrate.  They weren't life-changing events.  They didn't include winning the lottery, or curing autism, or miraculously fitting into my little sister's jeans (God I hate that bitch).  They were more like tiny little bursts of "yay" that get trampled on when life gives overbearing doses of "Crap." 

But there is strength in numbers, and as the list grew, the dread and fear began to fade into the background, a faint whisper among the growing group of "yay's."

The goofy string of lights the husband put up on the headboard of our pine sleigh bed.

The quiet and unsolicited hug from a student whose trust was finally earned. 

The inappropriate pride at hearing monchichi trying to echo "shut up" after hearing it on tv. 

The generosity of a co-worker who has no underlying agenda.

The explosive laughter of friends as an impromptu game of Pictionary quickly went from G to X rated. 

The site of loads of laundry that someone else neatly folded and tucked into dresser drawers. 

The idea that maybe more christmas cards will have to be ordered, because the list of friends and family in our lives continues to swell at an alarming and wonderful rate.

The comment of a reader that is actually moved by something this writer has to say.

Sometimes microscopic.
Easily forgotten seconds from a larger, more noisy chunk of time.

Certainly nothing worth hiring a marching band over.
Baking a cake for.
Throwing multi-colored confetti because of.

Certainly nothing worth actually Celebrating.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love Is An Action Word

Sneaking quietly
across the dark hallway
desperate for that first cup of what saves me
i hear your trademark thump
announcing your arrival
your finger pointing at your mouth
I wish I had already gone to the bathroom
but I open the fridge
and get to work
Love Is
An Action Word

You wait until
I am melted into the couch
watching bad television
giving in and giving up for the night
to ask me for
"just two more buns please"
and with a sigh
i sit up and hand over the Hawaiin Sweet Bread
Love Is
An Action Word

You talk nonsense
and believe no one
hiding sweaters in cupboards
stubbornly packing your closet
the details of the war vivid and true in your stories
the memories of your home and beloved garden slipping in and out of consiousness
I listen
as I support your frail body in the shower
change your clothes
and comb your hair
Love Is
An Action Word

Bad news
written in the slouch of your shoulders
the fog in your eyes
the heaviness of your gait
and I run towards you
arms open
heart broken
your pain is my pain
Love Is
An Action Word

I will
say NO to you
and make you cry
I will sneak vegetables into your food
I will lie
tell you that I'm not scared
protect your heart
own my mistakes
forgive yours
I will let the doctor
make it hurt for a tiny while
share dumb jokes
cook nooRdles
I will smother you with kisses
and teach you how to hope
give in to silly demands
prepare you for the unexpected
listen to your fears and whines and triumphs
disapprove of your first love
keep your secrets
i will celebrate
and grieve
with you
steady breaths in the darkness
carry you up
a thousand stairs
defend you
with my
bare hands

Love Is
Action Word

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Days Go By

You know those days..............................

When you wake up in the morning and the house smells like coffee?

When you step on the scale and the number is lower than it's been in weeks and you step on it again just to be sure and its still shows the lower number?

When you only need a little makeup because your skin is glowing and you look radiant and refreshed?

When lunchtime comes and you don't feverishly fiend high-glycemic-index-only-foods?

When your grandmother isn't putting on five layers of sweaters and all of her jewelry because she is convinced she is in the wrong house and you need to take her to the right one RIGHT NOW and she points her cane at you like if she could she would chase you down and beat you all the way back to Poland with it?

When your bank account has more money in it than you know what to do with and you can stop into Target and drop a couple of c-notes on crap you don't need just because you feel like it?

When your children are perfectly coiffed and take the kind of Christmas Card photo that would make God himself weep in wonder at how he was able to create such two handsome well-behaved boys?

When your bra is too tight in the cup area and not the circumference area?

When you crave Kale instead of Chocolate?

When the dishwasher is secretly a Transformer who cleans the kitchen while you are away at work?

When you don't forget to call the school bus dispatch office to cancel bus service for your child because he is sick, so that the bus driver doesn't have to drive all the way up the mountain you live on and then resent you for the rest of the year and never show up on time again and refuse to give your child the window seat for the duration of the school year?

When you aren't buying McDonalds Happy Meals on the way home just to keep those minature people who run your life from setting your hair on fire while you sleep?


There are those days.

there are the days
you're just happy
you didn't forget
to wipe.