May 29, 2009 What's Going On
I’ve had a terrible morning. My morning really started last night: I was already exhausted, I had gotten some bad financial news, and then had a fight with The Ass over the bad financial news. And of course, as always happens, the fight moved off of the real subject and into “No, it was the WAY YOU SAID IT!” territory. Never a productive thing.
I thought that going to bed early would fix it. I left the dishes, I left the laundry, I left everything and went to bed early. Because if I’ve learned one thing since having kids, it’s that being tired turns me into a real bitch. But I plan and God laughs: I woke up at 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep.
So, completely tired and still cranky, I tried to make the best of the morning. But little things were chipping away at my tenuous hold on sanity. My daughter had done her nails last night, and left two bottles of nail polish open. All night. They were ruined, she got yelled at.
Then I asked my son if he had pants to wear. He said no. I believed him, and that was stupid. I should have at least asked if he had actually looked. But did I mention I was tired? So I grabbed a pair of his favorite sweatpants (casual Friday at school) and threw them in the washer for the 25-minute “quick wash” cycle. And then, 25 minutes later, forgot to put them in the dryer.
Then, I got online, checked email, and discovered that I had double-booked myself for two important events. Crap crap crap.
When I finally realized that the pants were still wet (my first clue was my son eating breakfast in his underwear), it was ten minutes before we were supposed to leave. Shit. I threw them in the dryer with some dry towels and put it on high. But 20-minutes later, they were still wet. I wandered upstairs, insanely pissed at myself for not checking for clean clothes last night. And then I decided to check my dear son’s pants drawer myself. There were three pairs of pants in it.
The next few minutes were a blur of yelling and listing punishments and hurrying the kids out the door, fifteen minutes late for school.
A slow walk home from school later, I knew that I had to get a grip. I don’t like yelling. Not only does it make me feel like a really shitty mother, but it doesn’t work. I can see the kids just shut off, just stare at me blankly until it’s over. But the look they get when I cooly and calmly hand out punishments? They get it.
I think the problem is that my brain works on the school-year calendar. At the beginning of the year, we start off with morning checklists and alarms and routines and calm, organized mornings. But as the year goes on, things slip. And that’s my fatal mistake, not keeping up with things that work. When things are going well I tend to think it’s “magic” and I don’t always recognize that I need to be at the helm and lead the way.
So, I came home and got out the checklists. I got some laundry going. I cleared the breakfast dishes and sent a few emails I had been putting off. And that’s what finally made me feel good: moving towards making sure that tomorrow morning will be better. Doing, not wallowing. Solving, not giving up and getting back in bed.
May 27, 2009 What's Going On
I haven’t had a chance to post today since my sweaty video this morning, but a new post of mine is up on the NYC Moms Blog (and yes, I did wrap my daughter in bubble wrap for the accompanying picuture – she’s a good sport). It’s about how the media – and online media in particular – is making me think twice before letting my kids do things that 30 years ago were just part of growing up, not only because I’m scared of the media backlash, but because I’m scared that the police will overreact due to their fear of a media backlash.
While I’m on the subject of the NYC Moms Blog, we’ve been nominated for best local blog on GoCityKids. So far we’re getting our asses kicked in the voting, but I know you can all help me change that! Please head over there and vote, and if you really love us, please Tweet this:
May 26, 2009 What's Going On
…then you have a heart of stone, plain and simple. It puts last night’s State Farm commercial to shame. After watching this video, I could watch the State Farm video while eating popcorn and laughing.
Don’t watch this at work, unless you want your co-workers to see you bawl. Don’t watch it in front of your kids unless you want them to think that you’re going crazy.
Rumor has it it’s from a life insurance company in Thailand.
I warned you.
May 26, 2009 Kids
Mike Tyson’s four-year-old daughter got her neck wrapped up in a treadmill cord and is in extremely critical condition. It’s the kind of news story that sends shivers down my spine and makes me think of all of the close calls I’ve had with my kids. With all of the sensational stories of childhood danger that get lots of media attention – the snatchings, the rare diseases, the freaky amusement park accidents – it’s the every day stuff that’s way more dangerous and yet mostly ignored.
A friend of mine wrote to our local listserv recently with a story about her son’s night light burning a fist-sized hole in his blanket one night. She admitted that it had made her nervous that the light was so close to his covers, but she chalked it up to being paranoid and just tried to remember to turn it off after he fell asleep. One night she forgot, and she’s sure that if her son hadn’t been sleeping under a flame-retardant duvet cover, his bed would have gone up in flames.
We have night lights. They’re small. The bulbs are tiny. They look so…harmless. So did the short but very heavy table my daughter managed to pull over on herself when she was two. So do the blind cords that frequently entangle kids. So do the fun pools that hundreds of kids drown in every year.
My son is very interested in fire, so we try to teach him that it’s a tool and not a toy. We let him light the grill and turn on the stove when we need it, hoping that if we let him get in some supervised fire use, he won’t burn the house down while we sleep. So far so good.
The other day, my daughter was sitting at the dining room table, not ten feet from me and my husband. She was eating slices of pepperoni. She’s five, so I don’t tend to worry anymore about big grapes or carrots killing her. But there she was, flailing her arms and choking on a piece of meat that she hadn’t chewed very well. I grabbed her and got ready to do the Heimlich maneuver, but in a move reminiscent of my mom’s cat she brought it back up herself, all over the kitchen floor.
Odds are that my kids will not get stolen out of a playground by a stranger or fondled in a public bathroom by a pervert. Sure, I think about that stuff sometimes. When I can’t find one of my kids for a few minutes, I imagine all sorts of terrible things, and wonder when we’ll be able to implant tiny locator chips in our kids. But what I’m really scared of is one of them falling down the stairs, or falling in the bathtub, or sleeping through a smoke alarm, or drowning in grandma and grandpa’s pool. And while that stuff gets some attention if it happens to someone famous or their child, it’s mostly not talked about. It’s not sexy. Being prudent doesn’t get ratings.
I hope Mike Tyson’s little girl is OK.
UPDATE: Exodus Tyson died. Too sad for words.
May 26, 2009 Amy in the Morning