Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Auld Lang .. yeah I have no clue what that means either

Once my birthday passes in July, only child all about me, the year always seems to fly by. That wonderful season of summer is almost at an end by that point and then the frantic madness of school starting, fall activities like apple picking (full confession I do it only for the donuts that are hot and awesome, the rest meh I have no real desire to recreate a pampered version of Grapes of Wrath but I did mention the donuts right?!), kids after school activities, Thanksgiving,  present buying, wrapping, meal planning/ cooking/serving, returns post holiday -- no wonder the year flew by.  The shortening of daylight also makes me feel like the days are ready for sleep at around 5pm.  

Then there is New Year's.  At some point in my life it was all about sneaking booze (slightly nauseous just remembering it) in a shampoo bottle (combo of every type my parents had in their house taken in small quantities - lucky we didn't burp bubbles) to the basement of my parents' friends house, kids in basement listening to their music, adults upstairs listening to some of the same and much of it not from my father's stash of mixed tapes he made for the occasion every year (he really would have made a good DJ - knew the balance of dance, downtime and refresh songs).  They danced and told inappropriate jokes, in retrospect probably much more off color than ours, we did same.  They played poker we -- well we talked about boys I think and stuff that was SOOO important to us then that now honestly I can't even recall.  Probably about stars we liked and hair like Farah's we wanted. 

Then it was about just not being with my parents past a certain point, yeah I will cheer with you Dad/Mom and then go out, there were basements now with no parents upstairs, booze flowing freely, bad choices being made and lots of kissing (some good, some booze helped to dull the bad experience).  It was still somewhat innocent. 

Finally on to the clubs, overpriced and crappy drinks, loud music - oh it was awesome.  The times required big hair, lots of makeup, heels that would kill your feet until you took them off (purses and shoes thrown in middle of girl group dancing), maybe the occasional meeting of someone, rarely serious, determined to stay out until daybreak (NYC kid so places closed at 4, then go to after hours bars) ending in consuming of large amounts of greasy calories in a diner, cheeseburger deluxe with shakes and fries with gravy and melted cheese.  Slept pretty much until Jan 2nd for a good part of my 20s.

The clubs give in to dinner dates, to house dinner parties.  Until you come to my stage now - back to house party, only now we are the parents upstairs (telling much more off-color jokes than our kids who are by far more conservative than most of us were at their age - is that like their Michael P Keaton rebellion with parents like us ?), listening to music while they do whatever it is they do in the basement.  Believe it requires electronic and virtual texting and devices to speak with people who are sitting next to you.  There is usually a movie they make and weather permitting maybe a game of Manhunt outside.  The kids fight to stay up and we the parents often fight the urge to sleep and actually see the ball drop.   Still not sure any of the words as we sing the Should all acquaintance be forgot ... auld lang - what the hell does that song mean anyway?  I wake up early on Jan 1st .. now. 

The years boy they sure seem to fly - I couldn't wait to get older - I can't wait to not feel older now.  I make no resolutions, I am the girl who cannot understand the adult coloring book phenomena after all (coloring inside the lines stresses me -- tells you all you need to know).  I make a list of things I will like to do, some of it continued from previous years and much of it just learning to enjoy the moment.  It is about my kids more than about me, what will the next year mean for them, about them. This year has been a crazy ride, thank you to so many friends who read this and to the strangers all over the world too.  Let's meet here next year, remind each other of how much more alike our wish for a good world is and be kind to another.  Cheers - raise a glass, make the most of what is left of this year and let's get it on for 2016 ... see you then.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Tis the Week before Christmas

And all through my house
Every creature is stirring
Including our Guinea Pig in his edible house

Scrunched on the sofa, boys taking up more space, we taking up less
Scanning through our DVR to pick what to watch
From the classics like Rudolph, Frosty and Polar Express

 I am still wrapping and hiding presents from prying eyes
With bows, colorful paper and where did I put the tags?
Can't wait to see the boys open these with awe and surprise

Last minute shopping, hopes that what I bought
Will be well loved and enjoyed
And just what they sought

Enjoy Christmas, the season of good gifts, love and cheer
Raise a glass of eggnog
And make the most of what's left of this year

I love Christmas time as you can see - because it is the birth of a man who spread the word of love, compassion, acceptance.  It is the winter solstice.  I love the decorations and the decorum - the gift wrapping and the ripping open a present.  There is something kitschy yet endearing about all the Christmas music.  I am an atheist and I love Christmas for all the good feeling it can give you - if you cannot enjoy this then that says more about how little you want to see about what's good in this world and we all could use less negativity right about now.

Let me hear you exclaim as this window is closed out of sight
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

There is a tween in my house ..

So back in the previous century when I was growing up you were either a kid or a teenager.  There was no "tween" designation though we all were one at one point. 

Yet I think tween is the perfect word for what I am seeing with my child these days.  I have an 11 year old son and parenting him turns out to be quite the exercise for me.  

He is at that weird stage, as if teenager time will be any less so?!, where he is not quite hormonal all the time but just when you least expect it.   He is sort of starting to smell - especially around the feet area - but not quite ready to shower without prompting and by prompting I mean me telling him to do it or else.  He is pretty tall and hungry a lot - like a lot - but I worry when I see a belly.  He has a tear in his voice when I bring up said belly regardless of the amazingly well way I said it, I did so do not get all smug thinking I did not.  I mentioned it in the context of how we all could eat a little better - he was not amused.  He has a tear in his voice at times in ways that I as who really try and keep my drama to  a minimum do not - I am not that girl even though I am sensitive so his reaction to me saying he needs to turn off Netflix leaves me puzzled, he is ready to cry but doesn't and it's just freaking Netflix which will be there exactly where you left off ?  I mean really, what would he have done if he was growing up when I was and walk away from a tv show meant you lost that last part forever ?!!    Then there is the "push my limits" time - complete with eye roll and passive aggressive questioning or defiance.  This one is hard for me as I want to get up in his face Astoria parent style and I do not.  I want to though because his answer for "why would you do ...insert totally obvious bad choice here?" is "I don't know" said in the tone of "I don't know so wish you would fuck off".  I know that tone I used it -- but in my teens. 

He is also becoming this person who has all these "things" he does with friends that I do not know every iota of, just enough to keep me feeling like it is all still stuck at video game and drool from afar after girl talk.  They also seem to find it totally amusing to curse with one another ... but smart enough not to let us parents hear it lest we unleash our set of expletive why they cannot use expletives. 

Yet through it all he still wants to come for a Sunday snuggle, or put head on my shoulder while we watch tv.  He wants to get all the younger kid attention his 9 year old brother gets. He still acts often like the child he still is and is so much more innocent than the teenager he will be allows him to believe he is. 

This season we navigated video games he wanted for Christmas .. he went on line to find persuasive arguments that went like this:
"You trust me right?" 
Me "yes" 
Him "well in that case you know I know the difference between video game and reality and violence in Call of Duty is not real and you know I am not a psychopath so will not think killing people is actually ok."  
Pretty good argument -- Me "yes I do know that but since you are not a psychopath why would you even want to play a game that allows you kill people ... doesn't that worry you that you may actually be tapping into a darker psyche."  
Pause .. pause... shake of head and he says "this is not over but you have a point I think I have more research to do."
He thinks he is old enough but he is not and I have the tough job of knowing how to help him stretch the rubber band and not hold him back from knowing how to make decisions that are really bad.   

It is the differences I see between the 9 year old and the 11 year old that really help me know I have a tween.  The 9 year old is still so thrilled with the kiddie stuff .. while the 11 year old has to look to see who is hearing him say that something is cool if it is kiddie stuff.  I am getting glimpses of the older self the 11 year old will be and I have to say while it makes me a bit misty for how quickly time is going I am so thrilled to see the man he is exhibiting.   I love his independence and his willingness to let me know that he is getting bigger and I have to learn to help navigate that independence not curb it.  I like that he still wants to hang out with me and consults me on things because that builds on what I want most for both of my kids - that they know no matter what I am here and we can figure it out together.  

As the mother of a tween boy I want people to know that he is more fragile than he appears and will be mortified and angry when he reads this, that he is not quite the player that at times he may want you to think he is, that he is just learning to navigate the feelings he is having that are physical but still can hurt him, that he is going to tell you he is a man but he is just one in training, that he will learn to treat you and his body and sex with the awe it deserves because you are both way too young to have anything else to do with actual sex as tweens, that he may get his first real kiss right about now and that it will be magic even if it's sloppy and bit gross, that he still loves body function jokes and most of all that he really is a kid who is unsure what the world expects of him but knows that it seems to be expecting something. 

A tween .. maybe it's prep work for the teenage years for both of us .. maybe it's just extended angst .. maybe it's just time to get a little less stinky ... but most of all it is just another great chapter in my motherhood.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dear Santa - me again

Every year I ask my boys to write to Santa their wish gift list.   Every year I beam when I read it. 

They are boys who are truly fortunate and they are given a nice home, activities, vacations and plenty of toys (electronic and other) but they are also 11 and 9 and who are exposed to seeing things that are more than they need. 

It is hard, not going to say in today's world as I am sure parents have struggled with this for a long time, to balance your want as a parent to give them the world, to have an explosion under the tree of gifts that their eyes grow exponentially from when they come downstairs vs the balance to not go so over the top they are beyond playing with anything. 

I have done that - one year I ordered at the beginning of December, why you ask? because I got pushed into trying to be someone I am not.  The person who orders, wraps and is all done by week two of December.  That is not me.  I am spontaneous, excellent results oriented procrastinator.  So what happened I got all those lovely things, I hid them and about December 16 panicked that I had not bought things and went shopping.  The result, impressive as there were no duplicates, ridiculous once I started wrapping and bringing up from the basement where I was doing said wrapping on 12/24.   The kids were thrilled - they had gotten more than they could have ever expected - but they crashed after present 5 and it was time for a break.  I mean you know you over did it when you need a break from present opening.   

So I embraced my result oriented goal attaining procrastination style and shop last 2 weeks before Christmas.  I do have to pick up small stuff in homage to the Jewish heritage from their dad's side as we do faux Hanukkah, dreidel song/latke/gifts/menorah out but we have yet to ever try and say anything about it.  As an atheist for me it is all about joy of giving and enjoying the time with the family.  For them it is one more part of who they are - a mashup (to use a term the kids use these days) of so may things that make them lots of things and none of one thing except themselves. 

My kids lists - I cannot imagine, though I smile and nod, when people tell me the lists are long.  I struggle with my sons' because they contain about  4-5 things, 2 usually are books of some kind, and the rest are usually like video games or a characters for the video games.  How am I supposed to fill the granparental need to buy stuff from a list so short?  I usually smile, deep breath, and get a little misty every year.  They are awesome in their understanding, which they have told me, that they are already fortunate and that any gift they get is just a bonus.  I guess those times at Target when I said no to impulse buys and told them I only had enough money for the stuff in the cart made an impression.  This year they wrote extensive letters to Santa asking (no prodding on my end and they both did it) him how he was, saying they thought it was nice that he delivered gifts but who buys him gifts and asking him if he wants to leave a note about what he wants so that their mom could ship it to him.  PROUD mom moment.  

It is all good to indulge our kids as we can as long as we know we are raising kids who appreciate the lollipop as much as that iphone they got considered by many much too young.  It is ok to teach them joy and enjoyment and enough extra to make a gift seem special.  I do not want to tell them about starving children, wars, materialism and all that other stuff that some people just love to throw out to suck the joy out of every holiday.  What's the point ?  They hear about that enough, sadly.  Who wants to live with just enough to get them by - that's a grey world and I am fuschia girl, well ok fuschia but dressed in black as am NYC woman. It is all good to have a foot long list and not get everything on it just as much as it is to get more than you thought you would. I am not parenting to make socially conscious kids who eschew the awesome feeling of having and doing things just for the pure pleasure it gives you.  

Dear Santa

This year I wish that every gift makes someone smile.  I hope that everyone gets at least one thing they do not need.  Can you also drop off a little sprinkle of common sense as you fly over the world? Mostly do not stop being the magic of Christmas - however, you celebrate this season do that - celebrate the wonder of giving, getting and get a little frisky under the mistletoe -- life is better when we focus on enjoying it and good kissing. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Does this brie make me look fat?

I would love to tell you that I have some holiday pounds to get rid of -- but that would be a lie.  I just looked at the Amy Schumer naked pic and here are first thoughts that I admit to popping in my head

1) Why would she do this ?  Look at the rolls on her belly
2) If she would have sat up, turned uncomfortably, airbrushed, held breath then she would have looked so much better
3) Oh man - I barely look in the mirror never mind pose like this
4) Getting over myself and knowing it is all self-loathing issue
5) Her shoes are pretty awesome
6) The girl has great hair
7) Wonder if I borrowed from my 401K to pay Annie Liebovitz to take my pic would be considered a good idea
8) Fuck them - she is sexy and she likes to eat and not obsess over her weight - which I am trying to do -- those are nice shoes
9) black and white pictures are slimming

All within the space of a minute.  That is how my brain works.  I am surrounded by beautiful, fit women - I like to eat, and I like them.   I want to lose weight, I am pretty healthy and hell I can keep up with the tennis lessons but did I mention I would like to keep eating super tasty food even in smaller quantities rather than large ones of the "cleansing kind", do not want to drink any part of my meals - except as wine or Bailey's and most of all I am not seeking Victoria or her secret just not the struggle that it has been especially since I turned 40.  Speaking of which does that mean at 50 it all reverts back to say my 30s???

It is not holiday pounds and it is a struggle but the biggest fight is me, myself and I vs the mirror and the things it does to mess with my head.  It weirdly gives me confidence - I don't have to worry about the extra pound since it has friends that already are present.   I don't have to be the sexy one in the room because hell I am super funny.  It has improved my conversational skills - along with being an only child - you learn that unless they are ogling you (in a respectful or not way) you want to be noticed you better be well rounded, pun intended, along with being well...round.   It has made me a terrific shopper and accesory queen - you are not looking at my love handles if my rings distract.  I get to eat when others just look on.  These pounds, maybe some will go, are not a holiday trimming they are part of my reality 365 days a year.

So I looked at brave Amy - and no I have not borrowed from said 401K to have Ms Leibovitz take my picture will instead explore more black and white iPhone shots - and thought she is sexy.  She is not just the funny one.  She is all that with a bag of chips to share.  We do not all have to look the same - we are different - and beautiful - and not so beautiful and we need to learn to accept and love our pounds, kilos, stone (ok British friends this is by far my favorite method of telling people my stone as it is always a small number and let's face it no one else has a clue what the conversion is).

Someone finds each and every one of us to be a hottie - how about we start by feeling that way about ourselves?!!