Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Parenting is hard. Joyful, wonderful, special, spiritual, etc...yes, all that too, but it is also a painful enigma in many ways. Certainly a challenging way to grow and learn things and stress yourself to the limits in ways you never thought possible. Thousands upon thousands of people have expressed (much more eloquently I might add) similar sentiments throughout time. I've heard these things most of my life. However, it's totally different when you are in the drivers seat (at least for me). Experiencing parenthood brings these ageless sentiments to such heart wrenching reality that I find myself bursting into tears (quite often these days). It's good and joy & peace and well...ermmm....imagine the total opposite. The majority of my days are spent loving being a mom, feeling like although I don't really know what I'm doing, I'm at least doing an ok job. I mean, Andrew hasn't died yet, right? I've kept him alive, he is happy, healthy, loved...yes, I may be flying by the seat of my pants but at least I'm still holding onto the magic carpet.

Then Andrew turned 2.

Suddenly I have moments (with increasing frequency)where the magic carpet kicks me off and leaves me stranded in the middle of a dessert as it hastily waves goodbye and shouts, "Good luck with that..."

WAIT! What the...oh no!!!!!

Andrew has really been having issues with tantrums and figuring out how best to handle them have been like trying to tame a Death Valley brush fire. At first I tried ignoring it. My thinking, "Heck, kid, you can scream all you want but I'm not going to let you think it will make a difference on me." Problem was I let it get personal, it did make a difference on me, got me all angered and upset and--man, after about 25 minutes of non-stop screaming, I hit my breaking point and then stopped the ignoring. At that point I would just be oober upset so I'd pick him and slop him on down in his crib, then storm out of the room and slam the door.(And yes, ashamedly even add in a few angry words that may perhaps rhyme with schmut lup...or worse.)It didn't take me long to learn this was NOT. EFFECTIVE. All that was gained by this was a mom who lost her temper and a little boy who was now more confused by what I was doing. It only sent him on a downward tailspin thus causing his screams to reach new pitches of shrill, putting fat opera lady to shame!

So I have been trying new approaches--all kinds of variations. (Doing everything in my power to refrain from spanking, not a believer in it. Plus, I admit that I have done it a few times out of anger it accomplished nothing...nothing accept make me feel like the scum of the earth.)However, it's only been in the last two days that I finally think I've found a good balance. And it started with an experience I had about a week ago.

Many of you know I am 6 months pregnant and thus my hormones are spinning around like the wheel of fire. I was having a particularly bad day...Andrew had just won a battle (by my standards) after about 45 minutes of a raging temper tantrum. I had lost my temper pretty bad and I was feeling very energy deprived, very down about my mothering abilities and terrified that another one is on the way. I can't do this?!?! I CAN'T DO THIS! I am rubbish...a failure.. Can any of you relate to feeling like that sometimes? Anyway, it was one of those days where little had got accomplished around the house and I just felt like I was a horrible mother and a lazy nobody.

Well soon after Andrew finally settled down, I looked at the clock and realized I needed to mail something at the post office and only had 15 minutes until it closed. I told Andrew we needed to go outside for a walk, something he normally LOVES, but this time he didn't want to. comes another tantrum, I could feel it blowing in. I thought of a quick way to diffuse the situation. BRIBES. I had been letting him snack on a few peanuts and so I told him we could take some with us if he came on a stroller ride with me. He liked that idea so I ran with the opportunity. Now, if any of you mothers out there are gasping in disbelief let me please say that I know peanuts aren't the safest things for little children to eat. Definitely chokable size but, it was a really rough day and I had to pick my battles. I just couldn't do another tantrum and I HAD to get to the post office. Therefore I didn't really care and Andrew happily held a small bag of choking-hazard peanuts while I briskly walked-wobbled to the post office.

Thankfully we made it just in time. I could tell that the post lady was a littler perturbed that I came in 5 minutes before closing but she still helped me figure out the best way to send my package and was decently patient with my ignorance over the Scottish way of doing things. Anyway, while I was writing out the address label a realized a few other people had come in at the last minute and were waiting behind me. I got out of the way and just as I was finishing up my writing I hear Andrew make a gagging sound. Oh CRAP! I look down and see that he had put one too many peanuts in his mouth and so I immediately started to smack his back. Breath child, BREATH! Well it really wasn't that big of a risk, it took one swat to get it out but boy did I feel guilty. But I also got what I deserved because as soon as the offending peanut shot did the rest of his lunch. Serious, projectile peanut and cheese sandwich goo EVERYWHERE. I thought quickly and had placed both my hands out in an attempt to catch the mess. Problem was, once it stopped I was what do I do? I stood there for a few dumbfounded seconds looking from my package to my hands to the perturbed lady at the counter (who now wore a look of disdain) and then back to my hands. Thank goodness I had a blanket in the bottom of the stroller. I reached down and cleaned everything up the best I could but it was nasty, folks, real nasty.

When I had mercifully wiped things away the best I could, I finally noticed that there was small audience gathered around to witness the mess...I felt like a complete idiot. However, I managed to compose myself and I finished the package and got it sent, however I had delayed the closing time by 6 minutes and I could tell post lady wasn't liking it. I rushed to get out of there and was happy to see that all my audience, with the exception of one little grandma lady had left.

"Excuse me" she said

"Yes?" I replied, thinking maybe she was going to tell me that I dropped something in all the chaos. NOPE...

"I just think you should know that it is not recommended to give children his age peanuts. They can choke."

Friggin...stupid...woman...REALLY?!?! You think?!? However I responded by mumbling
"Yes, I do know...he normally does quite well with peanuts. Guess I was wrong today, ha, ha..."

Lady looks at me sternly, "You know it's especially bad letting children eat peanuts whilst in a buggy. With all that bumping it can really be dangerous."

I suddenly imagined myself pulling her snotty tweed hat right off her head and throwing it into the nearby street, after which I smartly flick her in the nose and walk away. But all I said was, "Um...thanks for the concern. But I do understand what you are saying." She retorted with,

"Well, it is a bad sign of mothering if you KNOW these things and still DO them."

At this point I was dumbfounded. Who was she?!?! She literally stayed around to chastise my mothering when she knew nothing, NOTHING, about who I am or where I was coming from. Did she really think she was being helpful?!?! What would possess a person to speak to a stranger this way? Well, let me tell you that some very unkind and very unchristian thoughts entered my mind. I just stared at her for a moment as I contemplated all the things I wanted to say. I wished I had a bucket of water...I would dowse her in it and laugh hysterically as she melted away. But even though I was shocked by her rude frankness and it made me angry...inside I shattered. I literally crumbled like a stale sleeve of saltine crackers because she...a complete stranger just validated what I already feared the most. I was a horrible mother and even a stranger could see that.

I didn't say anything to the lady. Tears were already beginning to overflow and I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of seeing it. I just brushed past her without mumbling a word and I didn't look back.

I cried the whole walk home. I didn't care that people were looking. Once we got inside I was weeping...literally taking in huge breaths followed by uncontrollable sobbing. I couldn't stop it. Everything just came flooding out and out and out...Andrew, who had been throwing another little fit because he wanted to stay outside, suddenly stopped his crying and looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face. And that's when my huge epiphany hit...

Andrew toddled over to me balled up on the floor and gave me a big, unsolicited hug. He then grabbed my face in his chubby little hands and said, "Wipes?" He walked over to where I put some baby wipes on the couch and grabbed one. He brought it over to me and wiped my tears, after which he gave me a big kiss on the cheek. My sobs suddenly turned into laughter. Now where did he learn that? It certainly wasn't from grumpy old post office grandmas! I realized then, I mean REALLY realized, that I am always going to make mistakes. I'm not perfect. I wish that my mistakes didn't effect the ones I love but they do...they have and they will. BUT It's okay (can you believe it?) It's ok because even amongst the dirty path of failing there is still some sun that shines through the trees. Even though I am not the perfect mother to Andrew I realized that I can still do some things right and he knows that he is loved, and I know I am.

Regardless of temper tantrums (his and mine).

There is more to this little story but it's personal and I don't really want to bore you. This is already a lengthy post, indeed. But I will just say that I got some real understanding out of that experience. A new perspective and a completely different attitude.

Today Andrew had a two hour tantrum because he didn't want me to put his clothes on. Two hours!!! But I didn't loose my temper once, I stayed completely, genuinely calm and actually relished the opportunity to teach him. I was happy the entire day. No anger, no frustration, no pity-parties or self-doubts. I did the best I could and it wasn't perfect but you know what, that is fine. I'll do better. He'll do better. We are a team...we'll figure it out.

And you know what? The next time I hear those words of self-doubt echo in my mind, I'll just tell them that they remind of a miserable old hag I met once...and I have no place for that anymore.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thank you LOST, now I am really lost... (WARNING: spolers if you haven't seen LOST finale)

Any of you guys fans of LOST? Well, if you aren't then you might not want to read this post because I am just going to vent about it for a minute. For those that are...well, read on...

OK, so Mike and I just finished watching the series finale. I, like the other thousands upon thousands of Lostees, was expecting a grand ending filled with explanations that beautifully tied every little piece of the puzzle together. Now, ok...I didn't expect every little piece to be explained, there was clearly way too much to tackle, but I did think that some major mystery questions would be answered. After all, this was the series more, nada, LOST all-gonna, after this. So, anyway I really thought I would get sort of major satisfaction with the end. You know, akin to the satisfaction I got when I watched the Sixth Sense. That AH-HA moment which smacks you in the head and then it's like "Ohhhhhh, now I get it." Well, that sure did not happen with me tonight, at least not in the way I expected.

Did I like the ending? Well, actually yes, I did. Was I completely satisfied, I wasn't.

I thought the character stories were remarkably resolved. I felt nostalgic and yes, even a wee bit emotional when everyone "woke up" to their life and relationships with one another. (Shut up, okay, I am 6 months pregnant so I also get misty eyed when I see beautiful green hills or a delicious banoffee waffle.)

There were definitley some things I really didn't expect and that I really liked and thought were poetic in a way. For example, I really liked how the sideways reality actually turned out to be some sort of spirit limbo where people continue to work through issues or "live" until they are finally ready to "move on." (What, is that not what you took it as? Well, that's what I interpreted it to be.)I really liked some of the symbolism, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, that was mainly left to our own interpretation. (i.e. "Christian Shepherd", going to the light, Ben not ready to go until he "worked through" some more of his issues, the mixture of science and religion.) There was a lot of that stuff, not definitively explained, but done so enough to have given me a sense of peace on the matter. I'm not going to delve into what I took a lot of that stuff to mean, because that would just bore you but suffice it to say that I do feel the character issues were well done, really well resolved and, in that regard, I was left with some sense of satisfaction. HOWEVER, sigh, the detail minded person in me with the obsessive need to understand EVERYTHING was left wanting more...much, much more.

Okay, so if you have watched LOST then you understand how the story is so riddled and interwoven with strange mythology and that the central, probably most intriguing character was the ISLAND itself. Yes, we learned a lot about what transpired on it, who lived on it, why they were there but I still don't feel satisfied with it's purpose. Yes, it, it houses some glorious, luminescent glow which is somehow so imperatively crucial to the souls of all mankind that it requires a protector who is capable of eternal life and has magical powers. I can buy that on some level but what really bothers me is the whole mythology behind it that wasn't explained. For example, the voices...right, so they are dead spirits trapped there. Why are they trapped? Why can't they have their own little limbo existence like the main characters and resolve their issues? Was that just Jacobs rule? Did that go away when Jack took over? I tend not to think so because MIB was able to see his dead birth mother, how come she could appear? And since I am on the topic of MIB and are my frustrations with that whole thing.

What is the stupid smoke monster? I mean really, I understand that it's supposed to be some sort of evil incarnate and that when Jacob allowed MIB to go into the light,it was dimmed because there was now this great evil on the loose but it's not explained enough! (At least not for me) I wanted to understand what would happen if MIB did get off the island, what would happen to our souls? I wanted to know why, if when MIB went down there he turned into that smoke thing, but when Jack was down there he just died. Shouldn't the same thing have happened? (I understand why it couldn't happen to Desmond, he is somehow magically immune, but don't get me started on that)I also don't get that since the light did go out when Desmond removed the plug (which "mother" had said should NEVER happen, otherwise we are all doomed)then well, why weren't we all doomed? What happened to the whole of mankind while it was gone? All that seemed to happen was that the island got cranky, but I saw no real threat to mankind. So, really, is it that important? If Jack hadn't put the plug back in, wouldn't the island have just sank to the bottom and the whole of humanity would be none the wiser? I guess what I'm trying to say is that they really built up that whole idea and then it was just sort of brushed aside with no real explanation. To me that was a huge bummer, because basically it seemed to me that the whole struggle on the island in the first place was to resolve this centuries old quarrel with these two opposing siblings...and that somehow this "disagreement" between the two was going to have a huge impact on humanity. Well, in the end it seemed like it was all just fluff to keep us intrigued enough to keep watching, but was really just an empty idea presented in a pretty box. Does that all make sense?

Anyway, some other things I wish would have been explained better (not necessarily all within the finale, but throughout the whole series--I mean, why introduce a concept you aren't going to finish, right?):
-Why do pregnant women die on the island?
-What was the deal with the Tawaret statue?
-The whole time travel was just confusing and ambiguous and created a lot more questions. Was it really that important to the story? Couldn't they have just left it out and still gotten to the same conclusion? (SIDE NOTE: They really made efforts to merge science and religion in this show, some ideasI really liked, others I didn't. Was this just a way of trying to merge the two?)
-The whole donkey wheel issue. (i.e. if you go to the light then you'll get off the island, but wait...I thought if you into the light then you turn into a smoke monster, etc, etc)
-What about Walt?
-What was the spring inside the temple? And what was that "darkness" that overcame Sayid and Claire? And for that matter, what was that "illness" that Reussoeu claimed everyone from her people had (i.e. why she killed all of them)? Same thing as Sayid and Claire I imagine, but WHAT IS IT?
-What is the deal with Eloise Hawking?
-How did the DHARMA initiative get to the island, I mean really?!?! If this was Jacobs game and he was in control, how did they do it unless he wanted them to find it? And if he wanted them to find it then why did all his people end up killing them?

Anyway, so you can see that my list of questions could go on and on. But I will say this, even as I sit here writing this I feel like it doesn't matter. It was an intriguing TV show, I should be glad it was entertaining and gave me something to look forward to during all those mundane hours of breastfeeding or cleaning or changing daipers or whatever. And so, I am. I really liked LOST and, again, I really like parts of the end. But I do wish there was a little more meat with all those potatoes.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poor Andrew

Andrew woke up sick today. He has a fever, a runny nose, a major case of the ornery's and nothing really seems to help. He watched cartoons this morning,we played a little with his blocks and then I took him outside for a bit. He actually enjoyed being outside, the fresh air felt nice but it didn't last long. We came back and I made him lunch which he did not eat (he did not eat breakfast either). So I gave him a Popsicle and we read some stories. He took a nap which only lasted an hour and then the cycle started all over again. He is currently watching Blue's Clues. Medicine seems to help a little but he WILL NOT let me snuggle with him and screams NOOOO whenever I try (sigh...he was only snuggly for the first three weeks of his life). I think I will try and take him out again in a bit...TOOO much TV is making me crazy!!! Afterward I'll see if I can force some soup down him then on to a bath and bed.

Poor kid...what do you do to help a sick toddler?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

I know this is a couple days late but I wanted to give a shout out to all the mothers out there. It's important to remember that when it comes to mothers, there ain't no other, so what better way to commemorate this than with a touching video? So, with no further ado here is a video that my brother sent to my mom as a thank you for all she does. I thought it was very fitting and really made me appreciate my mother so much more. Enjoy and remember, everyone, treat your mother right!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Andrew's Birthday

Finally, here are some pictures of Andrew's birthday. Honestly in all the hustle we really didn't get that many great picutres but at least it gives you an idea. We decided to throw a little low-key party with our friends. My dear friend Camille was nice enough to let us use her house (couldn't plan on a park, the weather is too fickle) and we decided to have cupcakes and eat hot dogs.

I wanted to do some kind of kids activity but we ended up just letting them all run around and play with toys and balloons...I mean, you try organizing games for a bunch of 2-3 year olds! A lot of friends came which was fantastic and even though we said NO PRESENTS, Andrew still got some fun toys that he really, really enjoys. Andrew had a ton of fun so thanks everyone for the great time!

Here is Andrew opening one of his gifts...can you guess what it is? (That is Camille in the background, she is the best!)

Here is a picutre of people gathered around while we ate hot dogs and I passed out cupcakes. *NOTE: So...I sent MIke to the store to get hot dogs thinking, surely it won't be a problem! Well...Mike asked the lady at the store where American style hot dogs would be and she lead him to this big tin with a picture of what appeared to be hot dogs. Well, the tin can should have been the first clue that these were certainly not what we would consider "normal". But Mike bought them anyway and we thought it really couldn't be that bad. Well, turns out these puppies were a soggy messs of processed meat covered in a gelatinous goo! Honestly, the guys grilled them and they stuck to the grill and basically disintegrated and yes, we still tried to serve them. I owe everyone a huge apology for that! They were honestly one of the sickest things I have every allowed to touch my tounge. I later learned that if you want a decent hot dog in Scotland you need to look for packaged frankfurters...dont ask for hot dogs!!! YUCK!

This is Jimmy, Camille's son and Andrew LOVES to play with him...Jimmy is so good about teaching him fun new games using swords and sticks.

After the party we took Andrew home and let him eat some more cupcakes (after dinner of course). Here are some pictures.

He is a happy boy!

Here is Anderw showing off his birthday spoils. MIke and I got him a trike and his friends gave him: building blocks, balls, a cool cars flashlight, a great book and a bubble maker. He loved them all!

Andrew trying out his new bubble blower, notice the spilling liquid.

Here is the big present from me and Mike. We decided to get him a trike because we took him to toys 'r' us once and let him run around to see what he was most interested in. Well, it turns out the trikes were his number 1 favorite thing, we couldn't get him to of coruse, that's what we decided to get him. Well...a few days before his birthday he actually found the box and got really excited saying "bike, bike!". Well we dodged that bullet, distracted him and hid the box in a better place but by this point Mike and I were certain he would be extatic when he woke on his birthday morning to find his new toy in the living room.

On his birthday, before he woke up, I blowed up some balloons and put them on and around the bike for decoration. When Andrew woke up Mike lead him in and the first thing Andrew's says is..."BALLOON!" He loved the balloons, he ran over picked them up started laughing and throwing them around. He could have cared less for the bike. WHAT!?!?!

I guess we learned that the next time we celebrate a two year old birthday we will go cheaper and buy them loads of balloons!

P.S. He now loves his bike and can't wait to ride it every day (phew!)

The last thing we got to have fun with happened a few days after his birthday. My mom sent a great birthday package full of fun goodies for Andrew. He had so much fun opening all the gifts and has been playing with all the toys non-stop. His favorite things are the big punch balloons (of course) and some toy dinosaurs. Thank you mom and dad, it made his birthday all the more fun! (Sorry I have no pictures of that, I tried posting them and for some reason it won't let me. After trying literally 10 times I gave up and just decided to post this anyway. Mom, I will try emailing you the video and pictures we took! )