Oatmeal cookies

I am staring into my fridge, waiting for something interesting to appear.  I always crave sweets, carbs, and being 5 and a half months pregnant, now is a time no different.  Today was a definite Mom feel day, driving for almost 4 hours with my 3 kids alone after having visited my sister in Indiana.  As we finally make it home, after what seems like 25 bathroom stops, I’m eager to snack; but nothing looks good.  Suddenly in my mind’s eye, I see my mom’s oatmeal cookies hiding behind a brown paper bag….as if they should be there.  They would fit perfectly at this time….freshly homemade oatmeal cookies, with cluster of oats gathered towards the center….I could taste them, just standing there.  And I close the fridge and erupt into tears.  The realization that I will never eat my mom’s oatmeal cookies ever again somewhat startled me.  Not because they were that good; I mean, yes, they were delicious, but I’ve rarely eaten an oatmeal cookie that wasn’t tasty.  Just because there are random times in my life, and when I say random, it’s partially true, partially not true, where her memories just pop up.  I’m sure there is generally a correlation where there are times I think of her when I’m feeling weak as a parent, weak as a person, where her presence might help me, but it’s not like it matters, because usually thinking of her during those nostalgic memories bring about pain and tears in rather precarious situations where I have to take care of my kids or otherwise perform normally as a human.  It’s been over 19 years since my mom passed away.  She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was 19 and died when I was 20.

 

The understanding I had of grief as I grew up was just that people died and you dealt with.  I never anticipated that it would afflict you for basically forever.  I had started reading about the 5 stages of grief as I had started to major in psychology at college, yet it wouldn’t be until I lose my mom during college and years later, that I’ve come to the realization that the stages are somewhat bologna and you can find yourself in various stages at various parts of your life, various parts of your day, depending on what you may be dealing with and or struggling with.  I’ve come to acceptance at many points in the past 19 years, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t constantly struggle emotionally at times with the other stages or even with emotional experiences I wouldn’t put into any stage.

 

 

December 14, 1986

So for whatever reason, last week I started thinking about this movie I had watched shortly after my grandfather had passed in 1986.  Occasionally over the years I’ve thought about this movie….never though to investigate what the movie was, figuring it was an odd movie that no one would know what I was talking about, given the minimal amount I remember from the movie.  Well, someone figured it out for me.  It was The Incredible Mr. Limpet.  I guess the plot of the movie is this man always wanted to be a fish so he jumped in the water and became a fish.  My 9 year old mind at the time thought the man had died and was reincarnated as a fish.  It seemed sort of depressing to me, but mainly because thoughts of death crept in.  Turns out I was watching this movie Sunday afternoon 3:30-5….I mean, I didn’t watch the whole thing, but it would’ve been around that time.

I just kept pondering death, thinking about how life goes on, things continue to circle the earth, even though someone is gone.  I found it puzzling that there was absolutely no way my grandfather could be watching this movie – he was, after all, dead.  Not that he would be watching that movie anyway – the thought just occurred to me, and it made me feel dead in a way….thus began my neverending existential crisis.

I remember my grandpa’s wake….my 6 year old sister and I played mostly, hung out in the snack room, eating nondairy creamer like it was a pastry….we actually had fun.  And we went up to the open casket, looked at my grandpa, not really being fazed by it.  It didn’t feel traumatic at the time….it didn’t feel sad at the time – I think I must’ve compartmentalized it.  I remember my mom coming into the family room I believe a Sunday morning when we were all watching cartoons and telling us they had some bad news.  Grandpa had passed, and it was okay to cry.  The words came out, but it didn’t feel safe to cry.  I sort of feel like we continue to watch cartoons shortly after.  At some point that day, I went to my room and let it all out….it was a sadness I had never known before and I felt alone in my grief.

So anyway, for whatever reason, perhaps I’m entering a realization of my own mortality, perhaps because my childbearing years are coming to and end, perhaps because I somewhat feel I’ve hit a deadend in my life, I was thinking of that movie again, my first emotional reactions to losing a loved one, and I sought to figure out what exact date that was that I viewed that movie, especially since I’m pretty obsessed with dates and they strongly affect my life.  I guess when I learned the date, I expected relief, brief excitement, some positive emotions, but it brought about the worse melancholy that I haven’t been able to shake since.

Perhaps it’s because December 14 seems to be a significant date to start with: December 14, 1991, the first day of my period, the end of childhood so to speak….December 14, the birthday of my sister in law’s dad, who passed away 8 years ago, December 14, my cousin’s bday (who thankfully is alive and well), December 14, 2012, the tragedy at Sandy Hook….and December 14, my sister’s college friend’s mom’s bday who she lost a few weeks before Sandy Hook.  I suppose I look for patterns, significance in dates, so perhaps that’s why the movie, finding the date struck me, but really, I think it was more selfish that that – I think it’s the impending doom I slightly feel every mother’s day since my mom is no longer here and it gets me thinking about her and what her life was like, significant events for her, etc.

 

It marks a moratorium of joy for me.  I never felt I was a happy, joyous child, but that movie marks a significant time for me of learning that death happens even though it doesn’t make sense….I’ve always been a mathematical analytical mind, always dissecting information to make sense of the world…..this is something that is undissectible and that emotional frustration weaves its way through my life through each significant stage of it.

 

And I’m done for now.

 

New way or organizing toys

So this is the current state of our small play area in the basement….

(please ignore all of hubby’s bins and projects in the background)

I love organizing things, but so many other things in my life are more of a priority right now – organizing and purging toys has definitely taken a back seat to everything else – you know, wiping runny noses, making dinners, playing with kids, working two jobs, exercising, doing dishes, and most importantly, sleep! I think I’ve finally developed the best way for me to organize and categorize all these toys. I think my biggest issue has been that all these professional organizers and pinterest ideas (while great ideas) aren’t typically relatable to the person that has absolutely no idea what he/she is doing nor the time/energy to even get started. Don’t get me wrong – I love professional organizers, but unless I can have a live in one who is there to constantly motivate me (especially 5 seconds after I clean and organize everything and my kids have already managed to mess it all up again and I’m too tired to get on them to enforce clean up and I don’t really feel like singing the clean up song), things would soon return to a state of chaos. Because it’s overwhelming and constant and I just have surrendered to the fact that I have to give up….something has to give and it’s become this. Sure, I could set up a bin for puzzle pieces, a bin for legos, a bin for small toys, etc. etc. But, when I find one puzzle piece on the middle of the floor, it seems excessive to have an entire bin for that little guy.  It’s obviously not going to make a puzzle, so when I find that lone puzzle piece at 11 at night, it finds its way to the kitchen counter, along with a couple of dice from a lost game, a my little pony figurine, and several pennies (as useless as I find the penny, I often use them for mall trips so my kids can make a wish and toss it into the fountain….they love it!). And when I find an oddly shaped triangular piece of hard plastic, no professional organizer has ever reserved a category for small oddly shaped hard plastic items that you forgot what toy it belongs with.  I know what my mother in law would say – if you can’t figure it out, throw it out…..but, I have an environmental and hoarder conscience and I feel like it’s just wrong for the planet and landfills to suffer just because I have not gotten my kids shit together.

So, I’ve developed a new system:

Bin #1 Parts of toys that I know where they should go to but am too lazy to find the other bin stored probably in the garage that has the toy

Bin #2 Why did I buy this for my kid?  Or was this a gift – why did they buy this for my kid?  Or, did my kid find it at the playground and sneak it home in his fist?

(I know….just a ball, but honestly, how many 3 inch balls do kids need??)

Bin #3 Pieces of a toy that will be gladly used by an artist in her next masterpiece, thereby eliminating unnecessary environmental impact

Bin #4 What the fuck is this?

(assuming this is part of a car ramp, but I honestly have never seen this before in my life and don’t even know where to start when looking for its brothers)

Bin #5

Decapitated toys that resulted from an overtired violent tantrum that, when time came to discard, tantrumee was so emotionally attached to this leg that Mommy decided to have a heart and keep it.  Now, it’s buried in the basement. Son: But Mommy, I love Buzz even with a broken leg – don’t throw it out! Me: Y’ah…okay J

Bin #6

Paddington Bear boots

Bin #7 puzzles

I’m a shitty mother and person

Okay, so I’m not the worst mother or person on the planet, but some days I just don’t add up.  Today was one of them.  The following are what made me a pretty shitty mother today:

1. I wasn’t feeling very well

2. I felt like I had absolutely no control over my children

3. I screamed numerous times out of frustration, sometimes at no one in particular, just uttering phrases like, “Why will no one listen to me?” or “I cannot take this noise!”

4. My house is a mess and a half finished paint job that I left materials out for makes certain areas of my house a complete disaster for toddlers running around destined to trip and tangle themselves up in the drop cloth

5. I did not manage the amount of noise very well and the only way my kids behaved this morning was by watching a curious george movie

6. After a birthday party where one of the items was a kazoo, my 6 year old son blew into it obnoxiously making noise with it for more than 20 minutes while at the same time running around like a crazy person jumping on my bed and other furnishings.  My rational talk with him had minimal effect.

7. I lost my patience numerous times after wiping butts about 17 times….I wish my kids could control their bowels.

8. I envy people who are so neat, tidy, and organized….I couldn’t even focus for more than 2 seconds let alone clean a table top.  It seemed like every 20 seconds, someone had another request.  Mommy, wipe me! or Mommy, I’m hungry what can I have or Can I have a drink or she took my kazoo!

9. I couldn’t even figure out how to manage my own emotions to figure out how to attack the presenting chaos…..today felt emotionally like a pile of laundry that never diminishes.

10. Some nights I promise to try and do better the next day, but often times I fail…..just not very good at this.  It’s unfortunate that these 3 beautiful souls depend on me, someone who often cannot manage her own issues.

The following are what made me a shitty person today:

1. Jealousy and envy for everyone who appears to have it easier and better than I do.

2. Not appreciating all the wonderful things I have in my life and not recognizing all that I have to be grateful for.

The Land where children perfectly potty train themselves

Why did I leave home to go to the park 5 blocks away with my two daughters without a diaper?  Without wipes?  In between my 6 year old’s occasional encopresis, my 3 year old’s daily withholding and subsequent leakage, and of course, my 1 year old’s daily requirements, why I thought I could go over 35 minutes without my life revolving around poop is beyond me.  I suppose I was just mildly hoping my toddler wouldn’t be going anytime soon.   On the way to the park, my 3 year old winces as she slowly walks like a penguin, pinching her buns together.  She urges me to go on and to not watch.  Since she’s wearing a pullup, I’m not too worried….of course I don’t want her to be in pain, but she reassures me she’s fine and we can go to the park.  We have lots of fun at the park.  We were only there about 20 minutes, but slides were slid on, swings were swung on….having a gay old time.  Then, I grab my 1 year old….she has a dress on, and probably would’ve be a good idea for her to not just be in a diaper, but we did kind of just rush out of the house and I wasn’t thinking ahead, clearly.  As I grab her from underneath, a smear of poop smacks itself on my hand, rubs its way onto my shirt, but before I noticed, I had put her down and she was off running to a new activity.  When I noticed, I panicked for about 3 seconds before picking her up, declaring we had to go home (minitantrum in my arms), and off we went.  Feeling guilty that we had to cut our visit short, I decided we’d take a fun alternate way home (I realized half way through the alternate way home that it was actually an extended way home….adding about 25 minutes to our route.  So, having poop on my hand, I promised not to touch the stroller with that part of my hand to avoid contamination, but after wiping my hand off with leaves and about 10 minutes, I forgot whether it was the outside or inside of my hand that was shitted up (Note to self: disinfect stroller handle).  So I get home, change baby girl, wash both our hands, and toss my shirt next to the toilet on top of the poopie underwear pile (yes, we have a poopie underwear pile….too many accidents a day not to).  In doing this, I glance in the bath and am reminded of the poop in the tub I need to clean up from my son.  Everyone had a bath before we went out (husband took son minigolfing), and when I went to check on my son in the bath, he asked “Mommy, is it okay if I stay in the bath with that poop?”  “What poop?  A….how did that get there?  Whose is it?”  “Ummm, mine.”  So, yeah, more poop to clean up.

Of course, I’m grateful for all our poop.  As stinky as my life is, it really does make me appreciate the moments when we all really do smell good…..like about 2 hours ago, when everyone was fresh out of their bath (although not exactly sure one could call the 6 year old super clean after the second half of his bath had some fecal company).

And now, after writing this, I’m feeling dirty all over again, so feeling the need to wash my hands again.  But first, ahhh, it appears that I, too, need to use the lavatory.

Who’s the better person

All these blogs, all these articles, about what makes a good mommy.  Last night, in thinking about it, I felt utterly disgusted.  Why must we be so concerned with which is the better parenting style, who is the better mommy?  I think it’s more important to address who is the better person or at least who is striving to be the best person he/she can be.  I know I’m definitely not the best parent in the world (nor worst for that matter), but does it really matter?  I’m here to better myself, to learn, and I’m doing the best I can and always striving for improvement.  These pinterest wars are just a pet peeve of mine.  Someone can be the most dedicated, sweetest mommy to their children ever, be there for them when needed, but if they are an asshole to everyone else, I feel it sort of is wasted love.  We should love and be kind to everyone, and not just concern ourselves with the future of our children, but with everyone’s.

Too many fairies

So I’m all in support of promoting children’s imaginations and making childhood fun with certain make believe stuff, but I feel like it’s gotten out of hand.  I tell my kids that there are 3 “pretend” things: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy.  I think that should cover it.

My 6 year old asks me last week, “Mommy, is the Leprechaun real,” to which I replied without thinking much about it, “umm, no.”  It’s just pretend.  He started telling me that his teacher said it was real and that she could never find it.  So there I was, in my kitchen, and my credibility was being questioned by my inquisitive 6 year old.  This resulted in some instant generalizations: “Mommy, is the Easter Bunny really real?”  I said yes of course just like Santa.  He said, “but it isn’t just someone in a costume?”  I felt like I had unintentionally started peeling off the layers of deception for him and risked ruining my son’s childhood “pretend idols” just because I didn’t know we were supposed to say the Leprechaun is real.  Then I started thinking, I think there is so much obsession today with making every moment of childhood magical that we are inventing too many pretend guys…..so now there’s the leprechaun, then there’s “Elf on the Shelf,” and I’m sure some others I’m missing.  I seriously think we as a society need to strongly consider eliminating some of these magical guys before the kids start to catch on with the mania of it all.