children, health, self-image/self-acceptance

No Surprise

Little T.Puzzle can’t shake his sick. It keeps lingering and lingering. It interferes with his eating, his sleep and his overall mood (lucky me). He woke up today with the nastiest cough. It was time to visit the doctor (again!). The timing wasn’t great as today is the day T.Puzzle’s long awaited big boy bed is to arrive and be assembled. Somehow, with Mad Dog’s calm input, I managed to get Full Speed off to school, T.Puzzle to the doctor, drop off AND pick up T.Puzzle’s prescription, deal with an extremely moody three year old, clean-up the aftermath of an explosive poop and be home for when the new bed arrived.

During the course of all this misadventure, I also had to throw T.Puzzle’s new Thomas the Train sheets in the wash. How is it possible that I have owned these sheets for over four months and I did not have one chance (not one!) to launder them before his bed arrived today? This bed has been back-ordered for 10 weeks so it wasn’t like it was a surprise.

The real surprise (or maybe not so surprisingly) is that I’m a Mom who isn’t perfect. In my defense I write excellent limericks. I would prefer no one actually comments on that. My self-esteem is depending on you.

children, mommyhood, rock and a hard place, self-image/self-acceptance

Hair Trouble

I saw ‘The Color Purple’ at the theater last night. It was a girls’ night by all means. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law had purchased a series of musical theater tickets for my birthday and this was the first show. We managed to arrive in enough time to enjoy an excellent dinner at the Omni Hotel and still get to our seats. It was glorious to sit back, enjoy a glass of wine, good conversation with adults and a child-free evening.

We weren’t sure what to expect with the show. We knew the book and movie were pretty intense and weren’t sure how that would play out on a musical stage. It was a pleasant and entertaining surprise. The level of talent was very good and there was much more humor in it than we anticipated.

Once I had returned home and tucked myself in for the night, Full Speed came into our bedroom sometime in the early morning hours. Mad Dog and I sent him hastily back to his room. He was hyper-emotional about this which is completely out of character. In the morning, he looked peaked, had a temp and had no appetite to speak of. Looks like I was going to have company for the day.

Mad Dog escorted a very unwilling T.Puzzle to school (apparently he screamed and cried the whole ride over there) and I was faced with the task of keeping Full Speed hydrated and happy.

Soon we are alone and he looks up at me with the saddest, puppy dog eyes and says, “Why aren’t you coming to my Thanksgiving Feast on Friday?”

I know, I know, I seem like a highly inconsiderate parent. There is more to the story. Way back in mid-October I called my salon and set up hair appointments for the remainder of the year as it gets booked solid with the approaching holidays. Of course when I made the appointment for November, I was unaware of the impending feast at Full Speed’s school. I figured it was no big deal to miss. I had attended his Halloween luncheon with Mad Dog and only three other parents had shown up. Therefore, I signed up to bring in a fruit tray (ordered from the grocery of course) and thought nothing of it.

Yesterday at school as I had cleaned out Full Speed’s ‘mailbox’, I came across a Thanksgiving Feast reminder paper. It said ‘please note that we have 36 people attending Friday’s feast’. I did the math. Full Speed has nineteen kids in his class. That means almost every, single kid will have a parent present.

Guess who is skipping the salon and will have bad hair for the holidays? This year I will be thankful that my kids love me for who I am and not what I look like. Otherwise, I would be in serious trouble.

children, gratitude, loss of parent, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

Zits Happen

I have a bone to pick with my beloved ‘People’ magazine. This week’s issue has an article highlighting Demi Moore and her uncanny ability to seemingly be aging in reverse. Don’t misunderstand me. I think she is an example of as you uncover the truth of yourself, you shine internally and externally. I love that her husband is several years younger and I aspire to be a smidgeon of that gorgeous when I am forty-seven (hey, miracles happen, right?). The article claims she’s never had plastic surgery (okay I can buy that) and splashes her upcoming December ‘W’ magazine cover as part of their pictorial. She looks incredible and about twenty-two years old.

I’m sure in person she is quite beautiful but they clearly forgot to mention the air brushing and photo shopping that went into this magnificent photo. I suppose they aren’t totally responsible for feeding into a hard-pressed quest for perfection. I mean it is the nature of the celebrity, youth-obsessed, cultural beast. If I ever have the chance to get on the cover of a magazine (so likely, I know), I say photo-shop away. I’m only saying this because on my recent family portrait sitting, our photographer photo-corrected one picture of me so I could see if I liked it (yes, sir, may I have another!). I looked at least five (maybe ten) years younger (he calls it digital Botox) and it appeared as if my face hadn’t seen the likes of a zit in twenty years (which is not the case because I grew a new one yesterday, last week and the week before that). All I’m saying is I want to look the best I possibly can for whatever age I am and apparently, air brushing can make that all possible. I just wish magazines would attempt to bring some realism into their photos. Aging can be beautiful. It brings wisdom, inner strength and experience. Let’s try our best to embrace it, one tired Mommy at a time.

Okay, I just stepped down (you know, off my soapbox and all). Now, back to my family portrait. Mad Dog and I made it into the studio to pick out our favorites pa183403(with two adorable boys that pretty much encompasses every, single photo)pa183383. The photographer pulled the best of the best and set it to music. He had it projected on to a huge wall and it was everything I could do to not break down and start weeping uncontrollably. Why? Because I love my three boys more than anything else on earth and when you feel a love like that, you gasp as it takes your breath away.

I also was overwhelmed with the knowledge in my heart that my Mom wouldn’t be sharing in these photos at all. I didn’t have to order her a single one (normally, I ordered her just as much as I ordered myself). This made me infinitely sad.

I was an emotional wreck by the time our photo choosing was complete. I felt I had run through a rainbow of feelings and it was quite stressful. So much in fact, I think I feel another zit coming on.

good grief, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

Whack Tooth

Two perfect smiles
Two perfect smiles

My tooth hurts. Yeah, it’s been hurting for about a month and a half. You know how we Moms are, last on the priority list not daring to add another appointment to our already jam-packed lives.

On our weekend getaway when T.Puzzle vomited his body weight, Mad Dog noticed I was using a tooth-paste for sensitive teeth. He said enough is enough; you are going to the dentist. Oh, joy.

Mad Dog took the initiative to track down a dentist and get all our insurance ducks in a row. He is a task-master this one is. One of the many reasons I love him. It can also be slightly annoying when you are desperately refusing to believe you are in need of immediate dental attention. I don’t like the dentist. The only one who enjoys it in our family is Full Speed. He likes that you get a new toothbrush when you are finished.

How, you may ask yourself, in the middle of all this dental hi-jinks, could I possibly be sad and miss my Mom? It is bizarre the way that your grief keeps itself quietly in your pocket and then jumps out and yells, “Surprise, you are no where near feeling normal and whole again, my dear!” Then it slips into dormancy waiting for the next moment you smugly believe you are doing okay.

My wisdom teeth are whack. So much so, that I had three employees of the dental facility make a stop in my room to say, “We have never seen the likes of wisdom teeth like yours before.” For real.

See if you can find the crazy tooth
See if you can find the crazy tooth

Not only are my wisdom teeth embedded deep in my gums (likely to never surface), they are perpendicular to my molars. They also tilt down a bit appearing as if they are aiming to crash into my jaw bone. They don’t cause me pain but have forced my gums to configure in an odd way forming pockets that are prone to infection. This is most likely what is causing the sensitivity in my molar region. Hopefully, a thorough cleaning and pricey mouthwash that is so magical, you can only purchase it at your dentist’s office (of course) will do the trick. So three hours (thank God for Mad Dog’s Mom who watched Full Speed who was still home from school with a low-grade fever) and nearly two-hundred dollars later (I would have much rather spent that at a spa!), I was ready for clearance.

Do you know who else had freakish wisdom teeth? My Mom. She had the exact same oddity where they never surfaced and jutted perpendicularly up against her molars. They never caused her too much of a problem either.

I take that back, they did cause me a problem today. They reminded me of the loss of my Mom. Luckily, when a tear of sadness formed in the corner of my eye, I was able to put it off as a tear of physical pain. You know how hygenists can be. Even though mine was a perfectly lovely woman, she wielded her metal hooks and probes like a ninja warrior.

I’m not upset that I imperfectly inherited my Mom’s wisdom teeth or that they reminded me of my loss; I’m actually kind of grateful. It’s another physical token that I am my Mom’s girl. I am always going to be her girl. That makes me smile, whack teeth and all.

good grief, marital blissishness, self-discovery, self-image/self-acceptance

My Penance


I went to get my hair cut (a teeny trim since everyone knows I’m growing it out) and colored. I started getting gray hair when I was thirty years old (I’m approaching thirty-five now). This is something I inherited from my Mom (early gray, that is). Yes, I did get her sense of humor (which is good if you think I’m funny) and her slightly imperfect yet glorious, beaming smile, but …..I also got this. I was able to deny it for a couple years by getting tedious and time-consuming highlights. My denial process had me believing that these highlights “blended away” my gray hair. They did not. A couple years ago I made the decision/commitment to single-process hair color. It is faster, less expensive and I love that I have hair color now that is similar to that which I had when I was four years old (golden and delightful).

If I lived in Hollywood and anyone actually gave a damn about what I looked like, I would have to get my hair colored every three weeks. Since I am a Mom who lives in the real world, I go more on an every six-to-eight week basis. My stylist, Cris (misspelled for her enjoyment), is a talented and lovely young (emphasis on the young for her enjoyment as well, which she really is since she’s still in her twenties) woman who I have found to be a kindred spirit. So, not only does she make my hair fabulous, I get to have a real, enjoyable conversation while I’m there. That’s priceless.

As usual, we spent our time catching each other up on each other’s lives (hers could be a whole other blog, I’m telling you) and it feels great. I tell her about the boys and some of their adorable antics and then dive into the not-so-great dynamic I’m currently experiencing with my own Dad. I thought I handled it all fairly well until later.

I was scheduled to take the boys over to Grandma and Grandpa’s since their Great Uncle and Great Aunt were in town for a short visit. I picked them up from school having relished my break from them during the day and took them home to get them ready for our visit.

You would think that having them with me for only an hour-and-a-half before Grandma and Grandpa’s would be a cake walk. It was for the most part until it was time to leave. Some sort of fracas started over who was going to open the front door and before I knew it, fists were flying and teeth were bared (T.Puzzle is famous for his biting shenanigans). I sent both to time-out and they begin screaming and crying in unison begging me wildly not to leave them (I’ve never done that to be clear), that they really wanted to go to Grandma’s and that they were super sorry. As I loaded up the truck with the diaper bag and I could hear them carrying on inside, I had a fantasy of getting in my truck and simply driving away. However, I fought that instinct and I went back and retrieved them.

We arrived and overall, they did well. There was only one biting incident involving T.Puzzle and his cousin (so sorry to their cousin, Lil’ Superman) which never ceases to mortify me, T.Puzzle’s glasses almost were broken (twice!) and general mayhem ensued (mostly in good fun). The boys spent time with their Great Aunt and Great Uncle, enjoyment was had by all and we were on our way.

Upon returning home, an ugly mood that I didn’t realize had been brewing in the pit of my stomach started to show itself. Today, as I write this, I can see it with more objectivity that it has to do with feeling sad about losing my Mom and being confused about my new, shifted family dynamics. Since I had shared it all with Cris the stylist, it sort of brought it unwillingly to the forefront of my consciousness. Last night, I did not see that.

How did I handle it? Not well. I took it out on Mad Dog and said some things I didn’t mean. It was along the lines of how I wanted him to be more hands-on with the boys (he is very hands on – I think maybe I wish he could be home more is all). I didn’t say it so nicely though. I was more accusatory and I was not open to hearing anything he had to say. I wound up shooting myself in the foot. Normally, on the weekends, Mad Dog will get up with the boys in the morning so I can have a break from the breakfast routine. I got up with the boys instead today. It was my penance.