My children are amazing and make me laugh daily. If you want more status updates, you can click HERE or HERE.
April 9th: Overheard while the girls were watching Sid The Science Kid earlier tonight: “Um, he has like 5 kids in his class–that’s not how it works.” –Olivia making astute observations, per usual.
April 12th: I have been trying to get Sophia to apologize to Olivia for *accidentally* hitting her with a book. After going through all the reasons I could think of, I came up with “if you don’t learn to apologize, you won’t have any friends” She calmly says “well, we don’t have to be friends, we’re sisters.” Touche, Sophia…Touche.
April 16th: As I was changing the sheets on Sophia’s bed, she asked me why she still had to have her waterproof mattress pad under her sheets since she was a big girl and hadn’t had an accident in a long time. I explained that it was just a precaution, in case she did have an accident. “You know, how we wear seat belts? We do that to make sure we are safe if we have an accident.” She thought about this for a moment. “So…a bus doesn’t have seat belts. Does that mean it isn’t safe?” Ahh…you win this round, Sophia…
April 17th: Olivia, my little inventor, was discussing that we needed to grow a huge Venus flytrap, and then find a way to affix it to the roof, so it could catch all the flies and we wouldn’t have them inside. I explained that wouldn’t be good, b/c flies were important too, and Sophia interrupts: “for the envi-wo-mant, bugs are good for the envi-wo-mant!” I laugh and tell her she is right. TWO HOURS LATER she comes into my room “I see a bug, but bugs are good for the envi-wo-mant, according to my calculations, how about your calculations?” I’m gonna get a nice nursing home, suckas.
April 18th: (Discussing dialogue from the Disney cartoon, Gravity Falls) Olivia: “I don’t see what is so scary about a naked man” (red flag#1) Sophia, calmly, very dry and with impeccable delivery: A naked OLD man” Oh dear…
April 23rd: “You know what mama? Having a brother or sister is like having a built in friend…because they are always there.” –Sophia, future greeting card writer.
April 24th: Sophia, in a very small voice as she is snuggling with me: “I want to be the adult and you be the kid.”
Me: “Why would you want that?”
S: “So I could take care of you, and you wouldn’t have to do all the work.”
I’m gonna remember she said that next time I ask her to help clean up.
April 25th: This morning, before school, there was a LEGO hurling incident and Sophia refused to apologize to Olivia. I sent her to her room and Olivia, very calmly says: “Ya know, sometimes I wish I was an only child.” And proceeds to tell me all the reasons why. I told her of why having a sister is awesome, and she looks at me and says “yeah, except when she is being a big butt.” Touche, Olivia, Touche.
April 27th: ”Mama, that kid is not so smart…he ran across the street. And his dad isn’t so smart either–he walked across the street looking at his phone.” Olivia people watching. Later, at lunch the waiter messed up our drink order. Sophia looks at me: “Maybe he’s new.” Just some of the gems the girls have spouted today, before noon.
April 30th: “Ryan A was my boyfriend…well…I broke up with him, because I decided that I’m not going to be his girlfriend anymore, but he is still my best friend.” –Sophia, scaring the crap out of me with this talk.
“Mama, why do you always call me baby?”
“Because, you are my baby!”
“I’m not a baby!”
“You’ll always be MY baby”
“No, I am a 4 year old kid!”
“Okay, what should I call you instead?”
“Well, how about pretty face? No, Sweetie Pie, no Pumpkin Pie!”
“I’m not making any promises, but I’ll try…”
I can’t make this stuff up.
May 2nd: Olivia got extremely upset with me today when I told her she couldn’t make her own lunch tomorrow. I explained that she could tell me what she wanted to include, but I was the mom and it was my job. I couldn’t understand why she was so upset, and then: “Well, mama, I’m supposed to be at school really early for the field trip or they will leave without me!” Guess she’s noticed I’m not quick on the uptake in the morning.
May 10th: After seeing “in loving memory” at the end of a movie: Sophia looks at me, shrugs he shoulders and says, “what’s that mean? He’s dead?”Ahh, my kid has so much class it hurts.
May 12th: After a rocky start that included a thump & Sophia now sporting a fat lip, I had a wonderful day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, fathers who are like mothers, caregivers who take on the mom role, and everyone in-between. Xoxo
May 14th: Tonight during their bath, Olivia says “It’s sometimes hard to get water out of my ear because I got a sticker earring stuck in there.” I thought she was joking. She wasn’t LUCKILY it was close enough to where I could get it out, but it still scared the crap out of her, so she learned a valuable lesson. I then told her about her aunt getting a Barbie shoe stuck up her nose when she was a kid. HA! (edit: it was a Barbie WEIGHT, not a shoe…haha)
S: “Mama, can you lie to yourself?”M: “Yes, people lie to themselves all the time, usually to make themselves feel better.”
S: “Oh, well, I lied to myself before.”
M: “Really? What did you lie about?”
S: “I said I didn’t like Ryan A, but that was a lie, I really DO like him.”
M: “Well baby, you can like whomever you want!”
S: “I’m not going to not like you, ever.”
While watching Stephen Fry’s 100 greatest gadgets with Olivia, the electric blanket is on the list…
M: “oh, I had one of those as a kid!”
O: “but, I thought electricity wasn’t around when you were a kid?”
Damn kid is getting a history book tomorrow. :p
June 11th: ”R+S? Seriously Sophia, you need to stop living the boyfriend life…it’s just a small part of it, and when you are older it would be crazy to keep the same boyfriend. I’m not gonna have a boyfriend until I am 28!” Olivia’s got her shit together, apparently.
Yesterday morning, after kissing Olivia and watching her run to her class line and say hi to her friends, I saw her best friend’s mom (who is also a good friend of mine) and we exchanged pleasantries and spoke a couple of minutes. She then told me something that made my jaw drop and my face flush with embarrassment.
Apparently, after being badgered “do it, do it, do it” by another girl (who used to be very close to our family), Olivia threw rocks at her daughter and two other friends.
Basically, the little girl said that she knew Olivia didn’t want to throw the rocks, because she was very hesitant and it took a lot of badgering for her to start considering it. Even then, she said Olivia only gently threw them, and didn’t want to hurt them. The little girl didn’t want to get Olivia in trouble, so she didn’t tell any teachers or yard supervisors. She said that Olivia was not laughing, but the other girl was laughing her head off.
I thanked her for telling me, told her I would address the situation, and that if it should ever happen again, she SHOULD tell on Olivia, because it was unacceptable, and Olivia needed to be held accountable for her actions.
I thought a lot about what I wanted to say to Olivia, and how I wanted to approach the situation. See, Olivia is a good kid. I didn’t want to come at it the wrong way and make her feel like I was attacking her (it is possible I over-thought the situation, but what else is new?).
That afternoon, I sat Olivia down on my bed, and gently asked her what happened. She hemmed and hawed, so I reiterated the story to her as it was told to me. She cried and tried to tell me the little girl didn’t tell her to throw rocks, and that she was just throwing them on the ground, but one accidentally hit one of the girls.
I considered that. I mean, I want to believe my kid, but by the same token, my friend wants to believe hers. So, I just told her I wanted her to think very hard about it and no matter what happened she should be truthful and I wouldn’t be angry at her.
After many tears she admitted it, and said she didn’t mean to hit anyone. I asked her why she listened to someone else, and for the next 20 minutes we talked about doing what was right, and how friends didn’t ask you to hit other people or do something you knew was wrong. I then told her that she would need to write all three girls apology notes. I didn’t want to punish her, per say, but she needed to know that what she did was wrong, and that when you wrong another person, you should apologize.
The whole situation just left me feeling awful. For everyone involved. My kid for being pressured, the three girls for being victims, and the instigator of the whole situation–for also being a victim. I mean, isn’t that what the majority of all bullies are? Victims of neglect or in need of attention?
I just hope I can teach Olivia to stand up for herself and to believe in herself enough to know that she is doing the right thing when she refuses to do something a “friend” wants her to do. Because, let’s face it, it’s not going to get any easier being a schoolgirl.
I struggled with being completely honest, because of course, the internet never forgets and I don’t want my kids to read awful things about their family online.
But then I realized that I can be honest without being vindictive, evil, catty or mean. Because, I am classy.
The first few months after he left me, I listened to Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger” almost daily. It helped. A lot. And then, I wasn’t in need of it as often, and if it came on my shuffle, I skipped it, because, hey, I didn’t need to be sad.
But I still need it.
My heart was broken.
Stomped on, smashed, and every other metaphor in the book.
I know, for a fact, I will never love anyone the way I loved my husband. It was the most unadulterated, pure, true, love (come on, look in my archives to see how in love I was with him). I may love someone more one day, or deeper, but it will never been the same.
I am damaged. I know (as the song says), I will be okay, and most of the time, I am totally okay, and have a clarity about the situation, an understanding that what happened had to happen. However, there are still days I sob, or feel this crushing feeling of sadness because I see something he would like, watch a show we watched together, see a photo, or answer the most simplest of questions from my children (I cry later in that situation–I keep my “in front of the girls” tears to a minimum). I haven’t eaten Ben&Jerry’s in over 18 months because that is what we would do–share a half pint while we caught up on TV.
I feel like I failed. And I know, it wasn’t on my shoulders alone, but, for my part in whatever happened to cause the trainwreck, I feel failure. I feel pain. I feel betrayal, I feel all of those adjectives you can imagine associated with it. I feel like I was damaged, wrong, or not good enough. “I should have worked harder to lose the baby weight, I shouldn’t have nagged him about stuff, I should have carved more time out for him and I to be a couple, etc.” I have had enough therapy to know this isn’t true, and in fact, I probably should have argued more, or stood my ground a LOT more. (sorry next serious relationship dude)
Because, the thing is: I was a good wife. I am a good friend, a good partner, a good mother–I’m a fucking fantastic person. And yes, thankyouverymuch, I realize that bad things happen to good people, and ultimately I am lucky in my situation, so spare me all of the platitudes. Please. And logically, I know…I KNOW, but my heart doesn’t seem to get it.
And it fucking sucks.
Sure, nothing is carved in stone, and things change, but when you get married (if you do it for the right reasons), you see your future with the other person, and you don’t really envision your life without them. So when you have to pick up all the pieces, it’s like you are reading a book in another language, trying to catch small parts of words to understand the whole. I feel like he has moved on with his life, and has forgotten that he ever loved me (or if he ever loved me), he left, but I am stuck in our life together–alone. I’m in the same house, sleep in the bed we shared, etc. (of course I am in the process of changing the furniture situation, but I’m not able to do everything at once).
He gets to stay at the same job, making the same salary, but I have to figure out my next move and try to juggle being a working single parent instead of a single stay-at-home parent. I tip my hat to all the single parents who aren’t as fortunate as I am, but I am still allowed to be sad and gripe and complain. I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom, and I REGRET NOTHING. But my thought was that I was going to get a part time job after the kids were old enough to be in school full time, so I could still be there for them in the afternoons when they got out of school. Now–that may not be a viable option.
I guess I feel like I keep getting shit on, and every single time I shovel all the shit off of me, here comes another dump.
And it fucking sucks (I think that bears repeating).
But here is the time, my annoyingly optimistic side comes into play and I end it with a positive.
I’m the fucking luckiest mama ever, and I wouldn’t trade any of this pain in if it meant changing anything about those two amazing girls of mine.
And, I know I’ll be okay…even on my weakest days.
Much like my previous post this one is full of all the facebook status updates that I posted to document the funny things my kids do or say. And, like said previous post, anything that wasn’t in the status update but is needed to explain something is in italics.
December 16th: Sophia: “I can swish my hair like one of those swishy hair ladies” (swings hair from side to side) and then I can pretend like some boy met me or something.” Thanks shampoo commercials.”
December 19th: Yesterday, “Walking on Sunshine” came on the radio. Olivia got excited & proclaimed “Oh, this is the song I danced to at my recital one year.” I nodded to the affirmative. “Yeah, that was my first year, when I was a Tater Tot” I looked confused for a minute, then realized She meant TINY TOT (her dance class name that year). Lots of laughter ensued.
December 20th: “Mama, I’m not gonna drink toilet water.” Good to know Sophia, good to know.”
December 26th: Sign your kids have been watching too much Phineas & Ferb: Sophia, using a pair of oversized tweezers she received with a magnifying glass: “I’m gonna use my pick-up-stuff-inator!”
December 28th: Playing Sorry with my children is scary. There are plans, plotting and evil laughter involved.
January 3rd: Tonight I was brushing Sophia’s hair, which has become increasingly knotty. After I relayed this to her, you could hear her making word connections, and she started laughing: “Hair, did you get any Christmas presents? Because you’ve been knotty!”
January 16th: Happy Half-Birthday to my spunky, sweet, “SophieMad”. She is smart, funny, makes me laugh daily and gives some of the best hugs and kisses around. I hope she changes her mind about “Never getting rid of mama until I’m 18″ ”
(Later that day): Today, after school, Olivia’s teacher came to me: “It’s not exactly against the rules, and she didn’t get in trouble for it, but I thought you might want to know that Olivia gave Thomas $5 of her tooth fairy money because he said he wanted to buy a playstation3.” On one hand: AWWW On the other: Don’t be giving your money to boys, Olivia! I had a talk with her about not bringing money to school unless it was sanctioned by mama.”
January 17th: Today, for the first time in a very very long time, I sat on the living room floor, camera in hand and snapped natural light candids of the girls pouring over cookbooks. My heart is happy.
January 28th: Sophia has a 102 fever. Poor baby is legitimately pathetic and not being dramatic. I prefer the drama queen routine.
January 31st: “Mama, I think my legs are tired after that jog.”
“Sophia…you were sitting in the jogging stroller watching the ipod, you did no jogging, I’m the one that did all the jogging!”
“But still, they are tired.”
February 3rd: “Those SF guys shouldn’t be so sad…at least they tried!” –Olivia on the SuperBowl
February 4th: Registered Sophia for Kindergarten today. MY BEHBEH!
February 7th: Sophia: “Mama, is your tummy mad at you when it growls?”
Me: “No baby, it just means you are hungry.”
Sophia: “Well, maybe it is mad because you haven’t fed it any food.”
Me: “Well, I guess that’s a possibility.”
Sophia: “My tummy is a girl.”
Sophia: “Yeah, maybe we should put some lipstick on it to make sure everyone knows it’s a girl.”
Never a dull moment…
February 18th: Overheard: “If you don’t have a heart, you don’t have a soul, and if you don’t have a soul, you don’t have a you. If you don’t have a you, then you aren’t alive.” Olivia to Sophia while taking a bath together.
February 20th: While I don’t MIND waking up with my children in my bed (honestly!) I wish Sophia would learn that laying sideways pushes me off the bed. But this is the first time in a long time I’ve gotten up before them, so #upside?
February 23rd: Olivia (to Sophia and I): “I feel like I am home when I am with you guys”
If you need me, I’ll be in a puddle on the floor.”
March 5th: As a parent (or caregiver to children in any capacity), you will find yourself yelling things you never thought were possible. I’m hoping no one other than the children (and Traci) heard today’s slip-up. The horrible thing is that I KEPT saying it over and over again, not realizing what I was saying…
“WHY are there croquet mallets in my bush? Who threw croquet mallets into my bush?” But what’s worse? Even after Traci pointed it out (and we died laughing at the inappropriateness of it all), I later found myself saying (as I was extracting said mallets from THE bush) “You put the balls in my bush too?? Why in the world did you throw balls into my bush???”
I need a nap.
Also? You are welcome.”
March 8th: Someone please tell me where Sophia learned to say “I’ll be here all week” after she says something she finds hilarious…
M: “So, you want a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, right?”
S: “Yes, that’s how French people say it.”
I guess linguistics aren’t for everyone.
March 15th: Sophia has been holding out on me–the little booger can read & has been pretending she can’t. Oy…
M (to Sophia): “You know, you are my sunshine.”
S: “And you are my moonlight.”
Sophia (who is sitting in the rear of the van): “Oh Marci, please help me!”
Me (turning the radio volume down): “Marci?? Who is Marci??”
S: “NO…MERCY–and Mercy is…God’s son…no wait…that’s not right. Mercy is God’s husband.”
Me: “Okay…so is God a boy or a girl?”
S: “She’s a girl.”
March 29th: Tonight’s family movie night pick: Spooky Buddies…Olivia chose the movie & went on to explain that it uses personification. Don’t mind me, I am in the corner, picking my jaw up off the floor. (Btw: possibly one of the worst movies we’ve watched to date).
Sophia to Olivia (While shopping): “1958! That’s an old purse!”
Olivia (kind of exasperated): “No, Sophia, that just means that is how long that company has been making purses and earrings and stuff.”
Me: “Wow, I’m impressed you knew that, good job!”
Olivia: “Yeah, it all came from my brain–I know about stuff.”
April 4th: Happy Half-Birthday to my first-born, Olivia Dawn. My brilliant, introspective, beautiful brown-eyed girl. She makes me laugh, amazes me daily and makes my heart burst with pride just by breathing. Having her made me a mama, but raising her has made me a better person. She keeps me on my toes and makes me think–always asking questions and wanting to know why (“Mama’s not sure, but I know how to find out!”). One day she will “create a potion” or “discover something” but for now, she’s happiest reading her books or building something out of Legos…I hope she always marches to the beat of her own drum.
April 5th: “I’m kind of a nerd…but don’t get me wrong, I’m going to make a lot of money one day.” –Olivia That’s my girl.
April 7th: After going in to tuck Sophia in bed, she looks at me and says, “I will always love you…until it isn’t fair…” Confused, I ask “What do you mean?” She dreamily says “I have no idea what I mean.” She then proceeds to burst into a giggling fit. At least she’s honest.
Today is Olivia’s half-birthday.
She’s six and a half.
My baby is SIX AND A HALF!
Some people may find celebrating half-birthdays silly, but I am not some people. She doesn’t get gifts, we don’t sing a song–I simply make today a little more…Olivia-centric. I’m making one of her favorite things for dinner (rotisserie chicken) and will have a cupcake for her to enjoy afterwards.
I think having little traditions like that are important. They aren’t much, but they are things that they will remember. Or at least, have (many, many) photos of.
I didn’t have very memorable family traditions growing up. There were some, of course, but typically they involved the major holidays. I knew there would be Christmas breakfast at my house, lunch with my mom’s family, and dinner with my dad’s family. My sister and I had it down to a science, exactly how much food to eat to make sure we didn’t explode by the end of the night, and which grandma made which dish the best.
But, I yearn for more than that for my little family. My best friend and her family have a tradition of going to opening day at Dodger Stadium–she’s been doing it since she was a small girl and she still does it! I think that is amazingly awesome. I want that. Or something like that. And lest you think I’m overcompensating, I’ve always been kind of a nerd about traditions. (I’ve written about some of them before), and it has nothing to do with my newly-found single parent status (okay…maybe a little).
I’vve been toying with a few: Disneyland to kick off summer vacation, which, we did do last year, so I want to keep it up. Daily photos of Olivia’s (and now Sophia’s) choices for school outfit–I’m not sure if they will allow me to continue this, but it’s been fun. Family movie night every Friday has been something both girls really REALLY love and they talk about it all week, so I hope when they are older and have little mini-lives of their own they still want to have them every now and again. The girls went to their first Dodger game last year, so I want them to do that at least once a season as well.
But what about you? What traditions do you have? Are there any you plan to begin?
I sit here tonight…frustrated.
I don’t have anyone to vent to–I honestly feel like I am drowning.
I want to be a great mom, that mom who never complains, who never says it’s hard, but…
IT’S FUCKING HARD.
And I feel like I am failing. I really do. Why can’t I fix it? Why can’t I make them feel confident and secure in the fact that I am not leaving them? What am I doing wrong?
Without fail, every morning, I wake up with Sophia in my bed. 6 nights out of 7, Olivia is there too. And that’s okay. The girls’ therapist (yes, my children are seeing a therapist–I dare you to judge me) says that they are still young enough, and it is a feeling of comfort for them. I don’t really mind it most of the time, and honestly, it is comforting for me.
My problem lies with the incessant bedtime battles. While they end up in my bed sometime after I have fallen asleep, I REALLY REALLY need the time between 8-midnight-ish (whatever I can get, really) to decompress. I need to watch TV shows that are inappropriate for children, have a friend over for dinner or to hang out, read a book, goof around online, sometimes I need to do actual work for the various committees I am on–just be NATALIE for a few hours after being everything to everyone else for 20+ hours every day. And they are slowly fighting me for those precious few hours I have to myself. I have tried to explain to them that I need time to do grown-up things, etc. etc, but the tears, requests to sleep in my bed and the constant jack-in-the-boxing out of bed are driving me to drink.
I’m losing the line between “being sensitive to their feelings of abandonment” and “they are just using your guilt and being normal kids” and I don’t know what to do. I try to be firm. I try to use all of the positive parenting skills I have in my arsenal, I am in communication with their therapist who gives me many positive tips and ‘tricks’ (if you will), and most of the time, I am okay. Most of the time, I don’t lose my shit. But then sometimes (like tonight) I am overstressed, exhausted and at the end of my rope and/or the girls are tag-teaming me and it’s two against one. It’s on these nights that I burst into tears, fall on the floor, and beg the universe to please help me make it better, please help me find the words that will comfort them, please help me reassure these amazing little creatures that I am blessed with, that I will never, ever leave them of my own free will. I will never ever choose another person over them…I will never ever quit or give up.
I am tired. So tired. And angry. Which makes me feel guilty. And the cycle continues.
I’ve been a single mom for 18 months. I thought it was supposed to get easier?
After I wrote that, the voices in my head laughed their asses off.