Archive for November, 2008

ABCD OUCH

November 25, 2008

Casey has never been much of a performer.  He’s been able to sing the alphabet song for months now.  He loves Twinkle Twinkle and he knows every EVERY verse of The Wheels on the Bus.  But until last night we had no proof that he even knows what a song is.  Every time we get the camera out, Casey loses all interest. 

But last night he was in the mood to perform.  I think it was because Riley was upstairs resting due to a headache.  (Why would a 6 year old suddenly start getting headaches?  If your 6 year old asks you the same thing, I’d recommend NOT mentioning the possibility of a brain tumor.  I learned that lesson last night.  Sinus infection.  That’s what Kim bailed me out with.  Much better answer.)  Without Riley nearby trying to steal the show, we got some great footage of Casey singing. 

Kim especially likes the part where Casey sees an object on the floor and can’t stand to let it stay there.  So right there in the middle of the song he starts obsessively cleaning. I especially like how he is oblivious to the microphone cord being completely knotted, wrapped up in itself and impossible to straighten out.  Casey doesn’t seem to mind or even notice the cord, but the lego on the floor – now that’s a crisis. 

There is also a lesson in this performance footage.  Do not EAT the microphone. 

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Filter Fail

November 24, 2008

Did I really compare careers to marriage partners in a job interview today?

Did I really say that we get wrapped up in finding our “soul mate” (one career) when there are thousands of marriages (jobs) we could be happy in?   Did I talk about a variety of factors including luck, hard work, compromise, and commitment determine the outcome of a marriage, I mean, career?

Did I really say those things?

Yes I did.

And I do not deserve a job or a wife.

He likes to move it

November 21, 2008

I chaperoned Riley’s class fieldtrip yesterday to the University of Utah.  At the university, the group split up into 4 groups and then spent about 30 minutes at each “station” meeting an international student at the university and learning about them and their country. 

At Riley’s first station the facilitator was a graduate student from India.  He introduced himself.  He had an accent but was easy to understand.  He roused the students with his introduction, telling them that he is studying robotics and if anyone had seen Transformers, he could make them.  The first graders oohed and aahed on cue.  This man was COOL.  Riley flung his hand in the air.  I was certain he had something irrelevant to say.  Something about Transformers.  I leaned into him and tried to hush him but he insisted he had an actual question to ask.

The student called on Riley and Riley asked his question.  “Sir.  Were you a voice on the film Madagascar?”

The teacher and adult chaperones laughed.  The students nodded.  To them he sounded similar.

The good natured young man laughed.  “No, but that would be cool if I was.  Which guy do you think I was?”

Riley replied, “Oh, the squirrel thingy.  You know, the one who moves it?”

Just when I think I’ve done such a good job preparing Ry for a multicultural society and the differences that exist in the world, Riley asks the first guy he meets with an Indian accent if he is a voice in Madagascar.

Enjoy!

I will never Spank again

November 19, 2008

The Bromley Butt confined in “spanks” ä 

 

 

 

Have you ever turned around only to whip someone or something with your ass?  I do this everyday.  You’d think I’d get used to having it there, but I constantly forget how far my rear juts out.  “Oops.  Sorry.  I forgot that was there.”  Or, “Wow has THAT GROWN recently.  Sorry.”  I knock things off tables.  I smack small children down to the floor.  It’s not a bad trait for swimming.  I carry my own buoy.  But then again, swimming requires a swimming suit.  Not my best friend.

 

 I was “blessed” with the Bromley butt.  I call it a butt-thigh. This particular trait was handed down from my mom’s side of the family and has been with me since childhood.  To be truthful, the size of my butt may be partly genetics but it is also partly my meat and potatoes upbringing along with my love of refined sugars, flours and grease.  Since I was small, I envied the butt-smile.  Kim has one.  Her ass has a definite ending point and her leg has a definite beginning point thus you see a butt-smile.  I don’t have that.  My butt blends into my thigh.  There is no beginning.  No end.  Just a continuation of ass.  The Bromley butt manifests differently on each of us.  The trait is more about proportion than it is about size.  We aren’t all large women, but no matter what size we are, we got BACK and plenty of it to share.  This has made losing weight particularly disturbing to me because no matter what my size, my butt is two sizes bigger than the rest of me.

 

Today I must apologize to my rear.  Today I had an interview, and in an effort to dismiss my maternal side of the family I decided to manipulate myself into a girdle-like spandex contraption that looked like it would have to be surgically removed.  “Spanks” they are called.  A friend recommended them and she must feel the need to punish herself severely for something she’s done in a past life because she wears them EVERYDAY.  Spanks are actually a pretty good name for them because whoever invented them should be spanked and not just once.  Spanked over and over again for causing such physical pain in the name of beauty. 

 

I actually checked out my fanny in the mirror prior to my interview, the spanks really do their job.  I looked smooth and smaller.  I couldn’t take a full breath.  But I had an illusion of a butt-smile.  I headed off to the interview.  Driving was particularly difficult.  Apparently a person isn’t meant to sit in spanks.  Walking was particularly difficult.  Apparently a person isn’t meant to stand in spanks. I got to the interview ten minutes early.  I headed to the restroom, not because I needed to go, but because I needed to breathe.  I had to take a flight of stairs.  Stairs were particularly difficult.  Apparently a person isn’t meant to take stairs in spanks.  I found the restroom.  I sat on the pot, breathing in, breathing out, and attempting to store up on the oxygen that wouldn’t be available for the next hour.  I finagled myself back into the torture and headed to the interview, trying to smile, but it is so difficult to smile when an external force is re-arranging your inner organs at its pleasure. 

 

Not sure how the interview went.  I was umm a little bit distracted.  As soon as it ended, I again paid the ladies room a visit only this time to rip the spanks off, deposit them in the bathroom trash and vow to never ever EVER pour myself into such hatred ever again.

Because Grandma doesn’t live here…

November 17, 2008

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Riley has been working hard with his dance troupe since September.  He really loves it.  In some activities (like soccer for example) Riley BEGGED to be able to play.  We signed him up with the agreement that he had to complete the season which was only 6 weeks long.  By the 4th week we had remind him he made a commitment to finish out the season.  And finish the season he did.  He picked dandylions on the field.  He played “who can kick who harder in the shin guard” game on the field.  He even practiced cartwheels on the field.  But he didn’t do much soccer playing.  But this is different.  He can’t wait for practice.  He prepares the night before, to make sure that he has a bottle of water in case he gets thirsty, and he had Mamma Kim glue beer caps to the bottom of his boots so they really ping on the floor.  His mommies are excited that his excitement hasn’t faded yet. 

Saturday was his first performance.  At first he was a little bit nervous, but then the music started and he just had fun.  He’s the cutest little red-headed white-kid performin’ in the whole troupe.  He truly is.

The nerves calmed a little and he just shined.  Casey was at the sidelines cheering brother on the whole time.  It was amazing.   I particularly like his second bow followed by his shit-eating grin there at the end.  It was so much fun, he almost forgot to walk off the stage. 

Everything he needs to know he learned in preschool?

November 14, 2008

I picked Casey up from preschool yesterday only to find all the children in his room hiding under the table.  At first it was pretty cute. 

Toddler, “Hurry, we have to hide.”

Casey, “It won’t find us now.”

Toddler, “shhh.  shhh.  It will hear us.”

I look over at the teacher who is sitting on her ass watching the children play.  She looks up at me, smiles, and says, “They think the room is on fire so they are hiding under the table.”

“EXCUSE ME!”  I must have looked as bewildered, frustrated, angry, and judgemental as I felt.  I nearly had a come-apart right then and there.

“What?”

“They are just playing.”

I immediately went over to the table, got down on my hands and knees, looked the toddlers in the eye and stated, “You cannot hide from fire.  If there is a fire, you must go outside.”

Toddler, “We are hiding from the fire.”

Me, “You CANNOT hide from the fire.  The fire will find you.  If there is a fire, you MUST go outside.” 

I picked up Casey and started gathering up his things and it was the first time I noticed that Riley was also addressing the children in a very Rainman-like soliloquy.

Riley, “…If you catch on fire you stop drop and roll.  If you are in a building with a fire you have you get down low to avoid the smoke.  If you cannot get to the door you go out the window.  If the window won’t open, its okay to break the window.  Your mom won’t be mad at you if you break it.  If you don’t know how, you get a very hard object like my baseball trophy and you break the window with the trophy.  If there is a lot of broken glass you can get a blanket to put between yourself and the window.  I keep a stepping stool in my bedroom so I can reach the window.  If you can get to a fire extinguisher you can use it but only to get out not to fight the fire.  If you try to win the fire you will die.  If you are in a fire you should worry about smoke too.  Smoke kills more people than fire does.  If you are stuck in your room and you are trying to break your window you can put clothes or a blanket under the door to keep the smoke from coming in.  And you should feel a door and if it is hot you shouldn’t go out of it.  You should have a safe place to meet your family.  In my family we go to the neighbors across the street. And you need to know how to call 911.  Oh and everybody needs a smoke detector.  So if you want to hide from something dangerous, you should play earthquake.  You can hide under the table then. ”

As I dragged the two of them out of the room I asked Riley, “Where did you learn all that?”

He responded, “Preschool.”

NASCAR and me

November 13, 2008

I picked Casey up from daycare about an hour earlier than usual so we could eat an early dinner and go to a NASCAR film in 3-d showing at the local planetarium.  Suffice it to say that I never thought anything dealing with NASCAR would be an event that I would attend.  I spent 3 hours of my life that I will never get back learning about the history of NASCAR, viewing an actual car, even being able to change the tires in a “pit stop” if I so desired.  I didn’t.  After the demonstrations, a bunch of (white) guys got up for a “short presentation” on each of their roles at the local raceway.  The 3-d film was supposed to start at 7:30.  But each guy had to show the guy who went previously how much longer he could talk and how much more knowledgeable he was than the guy before.   This went on until after 8 PM.  Before the movie even started Casey had consumed his juice, eaten a sucker, and played with his coveted beads.  He had devoured or bored of everything we brought to contain him – before the show began.  At 8:05 I asked Kim if we should leave right then because it was a school night, but Riley was taking it in.  Actually listening and paying attention.  He even wanted to ask a few questions, but didn’t because, “that guy doesn’t just answer your questions, he talks A LOT.”  Even Riley figured that out.  The film started at 8:15. 

It was IMAX.  NASCAR.  3-D.  Riley was having a blast.  And even Casey settled in to watch it.  Oohhing and Aahhing at the speed and the crashes.  I have to be honest, I even enjoyed it.  Especially talking to the fans who had camped out in their RVs for several nights before race day.  They have something I lack and it was fun to speculate what it is.  Devotion?  Crazy?  Bad hair cut?  Team Spirit?  Passion?  Crazy?  I just don’t know.

After the film as we were walking out of the theater, I asked Riley, “So do you want to be a racecar driver when you grow up?”  And he replied, “Absolutely NOT!.  But you know what Mama, I might consider building the cars for the racecar drivers.”

I had never been so proud.

An optimist? Or an ostrich?

November 10, 2008

Kim and I picked up Riley from afterschool program today. 

Riley was sitting on a bench at a cafeteria table with about 8 other children playing legos.  Our calls to gather up his things and get outta Dodge were met with his “just a minute”s.  Our insistence was met with his slow compliance.  He gathered his jacket (check), his backpack (check), his notebook (check) and the new handheld very cheap video game he received for turning in his good-behavior tickets (no check.)

“Where’s my video game?” My child asked to the other children around him.

They shrugged their shoulders, said they didn’t know, went back to their things.

“But it was right here a second ago.”  He insisted.

“Teacher.  Did you move my video game?” She said that she didn’t.

Now we’re used to this.  As I indicated in my previous post, Riley doesn’t exactly keep his things orderly.  So while he was feverishly lifting up random items on the table, I sorted through his backpack.  I found artwork that was so special he wanted to keep it.  It was bent up and crumbled and shoved under his boots.  I found his pens loose at the bottom of the bag.  I found his daily note.  His spelling test score.  Paper scraps from some project where he obviously had fun using scissors.  But I didn’t find his video game.

“Teacher.  But I just had it!” He exclaimed.

I asked Riley if he had gone to the bathroom.  If he had checked his pockets of his coat.  His best friend – we will call him Ed – was acting strangely.  He made sure to lift up his shirt and pull his pockets inside out to show that he didn’t have it.  I didn’t think he did.

Finally, after about 10 minutes of searching for his game, I told Riley we had to leave.  I told him that I was sorry he felt bad, that I would feel bad too, and that in the future if he was really excited about a toy, he should wait until we got home to open it. 

His friend Ed put his hand on Riley’s shoulders and told him that he’d make sure that if it was found he would take it home and call Riley during the weekend so Riley could go get it.

Riley burst into tears in front of all his friends.

His after school teacher got up and announced to the group that she knew he just had it because she just helped him open it and if it didn’t turn up she was going to start checking backpacks and pockets.

That seemed a little extreme to me.  “No.  Please don’t do that.  It isn’t a big deal.  Just hang on to it if you find it.  You can give it to him tomorrow.”

“IT IS A BIG DEAL.” Riley insisted.  “It was so special.  And I worked hard for the whole month for enough tickets to buy it.  It was MY FAVORITE TOY I EVER HAD!”  He was hysterically bawling, sobbing.  Kim picked him up and wrapped his body around hers, offering him sympathy and hugs.  “Remember,” she said, “if it turns up Ms. W. knows who it belongs to.”

Suddenly Ed was hollering even louder than Riley.  “I bet I know what happened.” He exclaimed. “I bet I put it in my backpack when I cleaned up my video game.  I probably got confused.”  He ran to his backpack and zipped it right open and there, at the very top was Riley’s video game.

Riley ran up to Ed and hugged him.  “You just got confused.  Its okay.  Thank you.  Thank you!  THANK YOU for finding it!”

As we left, I glanced over at Ed and I said, “Thank you for giving it back.”

The three of us held hands as we walked outside of his school.  “What did you mean when you said thank you for giving it back?”

Kim replied, “Ed took your video game on purpose.  And he wasn’t going to give it back except that he saw how sad it made you.  I think he started to feel bad so he gave it back.”

Riley was adamant, “You’re wrong Mamma.  He’s my best friend.  He would never do that.  He got confused.  He just got confused.”

Riley will not accept that Ed took his video game on purpose.

I don’t know whether I should value the optimist in him, his ability to see good in people, or whether I should have pushed the point that Ed had stolen his video game.  I mean, I don’t want him accusing people everytime he misplaces something.  But I also don’t want him walking around with his head in the sand.

“Then Change Your Expectations”

November 9, 2008

Big Sigh.

I don’t know where to start.  The last few months we’ve been struggling with parenting Riley.  I guess I should start by being honest.  For the last few YEARS we’ve been struggling with parenting Riley.  Only when he was 4 or 5 I could physically pick him up, put him on my lap, and make him comply.  Now he’s bigger, his presence is bigger, the space he takes up is bigger, his voice is bigger (exponentially) and physically I can hardly pick him up any longer.  He’s creative and smart and funny and full of energy and amazing.  All of this is true.  But he also pushes every boundary you think you have, bounces off the walls with energy that never ends, forgets everything from the minor instruction to the most important detail.  I could tell him as he gets out of the car at school that the first thing he should do is put his jacket in his backpack when he gets into his classroom and when I pick him up, the jacket has somehow spontaneously combusted.  He exists in chaos in any facet of his life (from his backpack to his desk to his bedroom to his thought processes) , pushes buttons (namely mine) and acts before he ever even thinks about the consequence.  Still.  At almost 7 he acts first.  thinks later.

I love the energy.  Sometimes.  I love the creativity.  Sometimes.  I love the joy.  Always.  But I also get tired of constantly cutting out boxes into spaceships.  Constantly creating projects and activitites to keep him busy because the second he’s not busy he’s up to mischief.  Mediating between him and Casey.  Casey who likes things orderly, lined up, arranged.  Impeccable.  Riley is tough to parent.  It makes me look bad.  Anyone with access to our home will see that its true that I am not always consistent.  But my sisters are not always consistent either.  And their children don’t take the inconsistency and run with it.  Remember it.  Pull it out at the moment it is most convenient.

We started the process to evaluate him for ADHD about 2 months ago.  First with his pediatrician.  Then with a behavior specialist at the UU.  Now we have a diagnosis.  Riley has moderate to severe ADHD with hyperactivity and inattentiveness.  Now I have parenting classes to take for parents of ADHD children.  Riley has language to explain why his body and brain go into overdrive.  And we have a decision to make about medication.  Right now he’s doing okay with school.  He’s reading at grade level.  His teacher is so great with him and she keeps him accountable with a daily note she sends home and with behaviorial card turns.  He’s well liked.  And he certainly doesn’t have self-esteem issues.  So since his diagnosis isn’t impacting him socially, isn’t impacting his self-esteem, and isn’t hurting him school-wise, we have decided to wait on medication but to be open to the idea of this in the future. 

At the same time, I wonder, he’s so smart and he’s reading AT grade level.  Not ABOVE grade level.  Would medication help him achieve some higher potential?  And then I have to put my expectations aside and breathe.  breathe.  breathe. 

This week the psychiatrist looked me in the eye as I asked, “is it so much to ask that he keep his room and his backpack orderly?”

And she responded to me, “Asking him to be organized is like asking him to change the color of his eyes.”

And I went on.  “I expect him to be responsible.  I expect him to be able to find his homework.  I expect him to turn it in.  I expect him to be on time for school.   I expect him to make a mistake once and learn from it and be able to apply that mistake to other situations. I expect him to value his things, take care of them, not lose them, and feel thankful for the things he has.  I expect him to listen to me the first time I tell him to do something.  I expect him to do it right away.  I expect him to do it right – and by right – I mean the way I would do it.  These are the things I expect.”

She replied, “then change your expectations.”

I realized something big.  Something huge.  It has been more important to me that he be on time for school.  It has been more important to me that he turn his homework in.  It has been way more important to me than it has been for him.   I wanted a child who’d mirror me.  Love school.  Excel.  I guess I wanted to surround his success.  But then again, my parents wanted a heterosexual. 

Maybe parenting is simply putting that all aside.  And just loving what is.

Freedom From Religion

November 7, 2008

I’ve gotten 6 text messages, 2 Facebook invites, and 9 e-mails about a protest in SLC tonight.  The protest will be at (or near – depending on what text, e-mail or invite is correct) the world headquarters of the LDS church and is aimed at protesting their involvement in the Proposition 8 initiative in California.  Kim and I have been talking about it all day, and we decided just now that we will attend.

The decision was a hard one.  The Mormon Church has asserted that homosexuality is not morally consistent with their beliefs.  But I cannot accept a church forcing their beliefs on other churches, on the State, and on me.  And Riley is feeling so high and low since Tuesday.  So wrapped up in the election in his 6 year old way.  And he is so psyched for Obama and yet so confused about why people would amend the constitution to take away rights.  (Me too kid.  Me too.)

So we’re going.  And we’re taking the kiddos.  But I need this to be respectful and peaceful.  I need this to be about a church using their definition of morality to restrict the rights of a class of people.  I need this to be about a tax-exempt institution taking advantage of their 501(c)3 status.  I need this to be about equality.  equal rights.  I need this to be about me being able to live my life free FROM religion just as I allow others to live their lives with their freedom of religion.   And I guess if this protest doesn’t do that, we’ll just leave.  And we’ll talk to the boys about that.