Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The perfect gift.

Growing up with a mother like mine meant that the holidays (ALL of them) would be greeted with moans and groans by Dad and I while mom’s head almost popped off from shear excitement.  My mother doesn’t celebrate holidays, she DOES holidays.  She has holiday related decorations, foods, clothes, happies, and let’s not forget songs and skits.  My mother is her own band of traveling gypsies and man can she put on a show.  Anyone who has ever met my mother knows what I am talking about.  The woman can make a visit to the OB/GYN an party, she doesn’t bother making lemonade out of lemons…after making her own potpourri, dessert, jewelry, and cleaner there are none left.  After a weekend full of baking, house decorating, and craft making she and my dad took Cheetah on a shopping excursion.

She had the idea that he could pick out some presents that he could give to people…he was allowed to pick whatever he wanted.  When I went to pick him up, she was beaming; everyone was so excited about the choices that he made for presents and promised that no one would be disappointed.  Cheetah was so excited to help pass out the presents on Christmas Eve; he was all smiles and had an explanation for each gift.  They were a HUGE hit!

For the great aunts (most of them got the same gift) he opted for a shower puff; the reasoning, “my aunts all smell nice and ladies are always telling me to bathe so they’ll love it”. 

Tarzan got a puzzle, and a slinky, “so he’ll stop playing with mine”. 
  I got chapstick in HIS favorite flavor, some toenail polish (he does know me) and some reindeer socks.
For his Granny he bought her a new spatula “to help her make Mac and cheese”.  For the great uncle who plays in a band, he bought a Penguins of Madagascar calendar so, “he’ll remember all his gigs”.  For the great uncle who has everything, popcorn bowls since “popcorn is diabetic, right Momma?!”  For his uncle Ty he got a ’Lemonheads’ filled ornament because “it’s his favorite candy, duh.”  For his Nana a small spatula, which broke Cheetah said, “that’s ok she doesn’t really like to cook”.  For his Papaw he got him some coffee, “because he has to wake up early and fix breakfasts”.
 But my favorite was a pair of candy cane antlers with bows, “Uncle Jackie LOVES bows” (bow HUNTING that is).
We were amazed by the amount of attention Cheetah gives to adult conversations and how much he really knows about his family members far and near.  I am really looking forward to next Christmas, with Cheetah doing the shopping I may have time to do some crafting and baking of my own.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fact or Fiction

Our culture is currently inundated with themes fantasy in nature; we have books about wizards, magic, vampires and werewolves, television shows and movies about witches, magic wardrobes, hobbits, and the afore mentioned literary themes.  Our lives are bombarded by images in the ads and commercials for the movies, books, and television shows.  There are books dedicated to explaining background storylines, the development of these fictional worlds, and the impact they have on society as a whole.  We have dozens of websites dedicated to purchasing memorabilia for each individual series we are currently addicted to (my fave is etsy.com – you can type in anything there and find some pretty unique items); all of this exposure has led to some very difficult conversations in the Smith household.

 Tarzan and I made a deal well before Cheetah made his grand entrance into the world that we would tell him the truth, ALWAYS.  Obviously the truth will need to be age appropriate and does not apply to Santa, the Easter Bunny, or Healthcare Reform (I’m pretty sure he’s going to see through them quick enough on his own) but no babies from storks, no happy little farm where animals go to live, and no politicians that live up to their promises.  But lately he’s been asking some difficult questions: Are there aliens in the galaxy?  How is God real if I can’t see him?  Does Bigfoot exist??  If I go out at night are there  vampires and werewolves? 

I am at a loss, I don’t want to mislead him but I’m not real sure where I stand on most of the previously listed questions.  I want to believe that there are aliens out there, surely we can’t be alone here and there is NO WAY that we are the most civilized and intellectual beings in space.  For me the God part was cake, and he had no problems grasping the concept of a ‘father type figure’ to watch over the world but; Bigfoot, werewolves, vampires?  These are the things I have no idea about. There have been several studies and tons of research done for both sides of every story.  No one really knows for sure… no one person can provide proof, without a shadow of a doubt. 

For now I am buying myself time by saying they are fictional characters that come from the imaginations of other people.  After all, I don’t want him going to bed scared to close his eyes.  What will I tell him when he realizes that there are people who not only believe in these creatures but that they ARE these creatures…Fact/Fiction what do you tell a child???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Suprising 'Thank You'.

Cheetah has always been a bit of a ‘scardy cat’ when it comes to heights, climbing, noises, and playgrounds (just to name a few) and I always chalked it up to being an only child. He is scared to get inside the playground equipment or any tunnel slides; I tried bringing him to playground after playground; with friends and without. It really never seemed to make a difference who was there or where we were so I decided to sign him up for ‘Tumble Bus’ at his school. They work on physical skills needed for maneuvering on play ground equipment: tumbling and light gymnastics while being in a safe padded environment. He really seems to like it; it’s a place where he can blow off some steam once a week and it has lead to a love of break dancing. What’s not entertaining about watching a 4 year-old ATTEMPT to break-dance???

His confidence was improving but he was still nervous so I decided to use my least favorite 5 letter word in my favor, I say, “Brady isn’t brave enough to climb up that hill” and there he would go, straight up the hill. It even started working at playgrounds and zoo’s; he looks at me and smiles. He turns and says, “Don’t tell Brady he’s not as brave as me.” He has started using our tricks on us, when Tarzan and I say ‘no’ to something he will say, “Its ok if you are scared, you can do it”.

We were discussing our up-coming weekend when I brought up Santa’s Christmas parade on Saturday. He was so excited he smiled and said, “Will he be walking on chairs?? You know, he’s brave enough.” All the talk of bravery has really helped in spreading Cheetah’s wings. We went to the park with friends this weekend and he was getting on the swings, sliding on the slides, and going through tunnels. He was all smiles, so proud that he was brave enough to really enjoy the park. I was nervous about pushing him, who has to nag a little boy to climb or tumble, (it really could have gone the other way) but it seemed a little nudge was all he needed to give it a try. So if you’re keeping score, I think that means Jane 1 Cheetah 0…thanks, Brady.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's in a name?

My name holds special meaning for my mother, she named me after a couple in Germany that helped her through some tough times and Tarzan’s middle name is that of one of his Great Uncles. Since our names held such significance for our parents we wanted Cheetah’s name to be equally unique and important. Tarzan and I were coming up with names long before we were even ‘trying’; we had come up with a system. We would bounce off ideas with each other but the final decision if it was a boy would be up to Tarzan and if it was a girl, I would do the deciding. We actually have two more names if anyone is looking for something meaningful yet rare.

In the time of names like Apple, Denim, and Pilot Inspector people are investing a lot in the names of their children. A great deal of consideration goes into this process. People name their children after aunts, uncles, parents, and friends. You go back and forth with your favorites and whittle down your list because of names of exs, people who were mean to you, or those who were just vile and idiotic. You look to friends, families, and acquaintances for feedback and after a few last minute changes you sign the birth certificate. Over time even though you’ve decided on what the child will be called, a few pet names will emerge and he/she may even ask to be called something totally different (like Snake or Optimus Prime). The name may become outdated for the times (i.e.; Doris, Thelma) or even comedic (i.e. Dick) and though the name seems to fit, there are bound to be critics. Maybe even a generation or two down the line.

While Cheetah was with Tarzan’s family this past week, names and who came up with them became a topic for conversation. Cheetah decided on his own to call one of his aunts, Sandy, Aunt Betty the whole time he was there. I asked why he was calling her Betty and he said, “She’s not a Sandy, she’s a Betty.” I argued that Granny had thought long and hard for the perfect name for her daughter. Matter of factly he responded, “Maybe naming people isn’t Granny’s best thing.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prepare the Novenas

It’s amazing to me that my four year-old has such a well developed personality, no matter his mood he can gather the attention of everyone in a crowded room. I am beginning to think that he will either be a thriving con-artist or a celebrated actor. One moment he is telling us how his friend’s dad shot someone in their front yard and in the next breath we find out that he has told his whole class that he learned karate from a sensei in Japan. The daily pick-up from school has become my newest comedy fix, I don’t know what else to do but laugh. Cheetah has become so good at ‘pretending’ that teachers and friends believe everything he says. He has told the teacher that his dad is on the television at night, I like to be called ‘Master’, I let my him get a real tattoo on his back (he had a tattoo that lasted more than 2 months), and that he gets to eat ‘packing peanuts’ if he’s good at school all week…I am sure that the school is building a file on us as I type away.

After one particularly entertaining evening of storytelling, pouting, and door slamming, I called my mother to rehash and vent. I began describing all the ‘I won’t be your best friends, ‘it’s not fairs’, and the ‘you are breaking my hearts’ when I began to hear laughter. I was calling for sage advice and she was laughing, “Mom really, I don’t know what to do, he has more attitude that most 15 year-olds and the pretending is out of control!” Taking a breath she replied, “I know Jane, I am YOUR mother.” Hmmm, never really thought of it like that…I was beginning to understand. Oh Lord am I in for it. Between my attitude and personality and those of my husband there better be a small country somewhere saying ‘round the clock’ novenas for us. We are going to need them.

I have tried to explain to him that pretending is when you act like someone you are not or do something you normally can’t do and that when you tell a story that’s not real it’s called lying. I was pretty impressed with that ‘rule of thumb’ I passed along until I was reading him his bedtime story and he asked if the monsters in the book were real. Of course I said ‘no’ and quickly he pointed at me and sang, “Ooohhh you are telling lies”. So I’m back at square one, apparently to a toddler there’s a thin line between lying and pretending. It’s like explaining why something is stinky; ‘It just is’. Maybe it’s good (this is me trying to convince myself not to worry) that he is having a hard time telling the difference. Maybe he’ll end up doing something incredibly creative, earth shattering even.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Check out my guest post to McCall's fantabulous blog!! SO much fun to visit her page, checkk out all the other "I m THAT Mom" posts too!!

Lee, Me, and the Girls: I AM THAT MOM: Jane

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Merci, beaucoup!

Things in the Smith household have been running smoothly for quite some time now and I couldn’t be happier. And in the interest of science I felt I needed to pass along my findings from the ‘household experiment’ I was conducting. I have found the best tool at getting the appreciation and recognition needed to prevent any feelings of neglect or resentment. It all stems from enjoying some ‘female bonding’…

I was talking with a friend who was griping that all she wanted was a ‘thank you’ from her husband for taking on the responsibility of being the breadwinner of the family, she felt that he didn’t really appreciate the amount of stress that added to her load. Hearing her talk about how unappreciated she felt made me really take stock of my situation and do some serious damage control. Yes all I really wanted was for Tarzan to really realize what all I did for him and our family on a daily basis, but how could I expect him to take that step when I was unwilling to do the same.

What is it that makes saying ‘thank you’ so hard? All this time I was getting some sort of sick pleasure in knowing that I could do all the chores around the house, cook all the meals, get Cheetah ready for the next day, take care of the animals, and have some down time for myself. Why? To prove I don’t ‘need him’, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Wasn’t that the whole reason why I married him?? Not because I needed someone to help me live my life but because I WANTED him there, in my life, so why wasn’t I letting him be present in our life we had built together? Was the way he folded clothes, spiced supper, walked the dog, or cleaned the house really that important? No. What was/is important is that he DOES fold the laundry, cook supper, clean the house, and love Cheetah and I wholeheartedly.

That night I sat down beside Tarzan on the couch and held his hand, I looked into his eyes and smiled. I went on to tell him how much I valued the stress and worry that went along with being the breadwinner and how I knew I would never be able to understand what it’s like being in his shoes every day but that I appreciated him getting up every morning and going to work…for us and for our life. I wanted him to know how much it really means to know that someone is that invested in Cheetah and I, and that he makes his choice every day to work so that we can buy food, clothes, books, cds, and go on trips. He then went on to say how easy it was when I was there to make sure food was on the table, clothes were clean, the house was clean, and that he could count on me to help with Cheetah.

I really went about this whole ‘experiment’ in the wrong way. I didn’t need to find ways to trick him into doing chores or make a point (at his expense) so that he learns to do things on his own…I need to say ‘thank you’. What a difference two little words can make.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arguing like a 4 year-old

In the past I have taken many speech classes and have contributed in a few debates, but it wasn’t until recently that I have found myself in the ‘ring’ with a very ardent lobbyist. We spend hours, if not days, arguing our sides and bargaining to get our desired results. I’m not proud of this fact and honestly I have no idea what brings it about, I have become an active participant in a daily arguing match with my 4-year old. All I know is that my usual eloquent points and witty quips have been replaced with a ton of because I said so’s, I’m the Momma’s, and Nuh-huh’s. I am a very well-read, bright, and decently educated woman so how am I letting my own child reduce me to the antics of my not so distant past? Haven’t I used these tools on my own mother? Don’t I know that my combativeness is only adding fuel to his 3 foot fire?

Maybe it’s brought on by the constant rapid-fire form of interrogation that my 4 year old captor uses on me: What’s fog? Do fog, dog, and hog come from the same thing? What’s a rearview mirror? Can you see rears with it? Why did a bird poop on your car? Is all bird poop black? Why not? What color is cricket poo? If you ate it, would it taste like grass? Are alligators like vampires? Then why do they eat blood? Are we driving on the grass? Why is water underground? Why can’t we eat rocks? What’s diarrhea? All of these questions in a span of 12 minutes and he gives me less than a second to begin my response, half the time my response is met with a resounding, “No it’s not!” Oh really…well if you know why are you asking me!!! Oh yeah it’s the questions, defintly the questions.

For now I am perfecting counting to 10 and TRYING to remember that I want Cheetah to be smart and I want him to feel comfortable coming to me with all of his questions, but if I don’t find a more productive means for arguing I may find myself using other gems from my arsenal. Not sure he’d know what to do after hearing, “I’m rubber, and you’re glue…”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Somehow you weathered the storm.

My head is too full tonight to allow sleep to claim me captive. I lay awake thinking of you, longing to run to you. I wish nothing more than to hold you and line the sandbags up around your heart. Just at the start of hurricane season and lives are already unrecognizable.

Unable to sleep I organize cabinets and drawers of junk that are always there to help me sift through my thoughts. How do I help you cope, how do I pull you through this, how do I pick up the pieces? You had these plans, hopes, and dreams of the future and now you are left demolished. I let you know I am here with one short message. I know you need your space, "I love you". I am upset for you, sick for you, distraught for you, emotionally eating for you.

As I talk to you days and weeks later I realize I have been rocked to the core by what had happened to you while you dealt with it in stride. I am awed by your calm and grace. Shaken by the lack of purpose I have for you, I make some excuse to let you go...citing something about, "needing your rest". I now realize where all my sadness and hurt came from, you had faced one of my greatest fears and handled it far better than I could have ever hoped to.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm the one left gasping for air.

To help mark the past 365 days without my wonderful grandmother, I wanted to re-post something I wrote to help ease the pain of her last few weeks with us. On most days the pain is dull but there are others where the hurt engulfs me and I sob, gasping for air. Of course I have felt this saddness before, it's different this time knowing how much her being gone really changes things for me.

As I sit here watching you "rest" I can not believe how fast time has flown. I am amazed how I still feel instantly comforted by merely being in your presence...I doubt that connection will ever really go away. You are my peace, my love, my strength...myself lies somewhere in your beating heart. Will I lose it when you are no longer there to make it beat?

For my nearly 31 years on this earth I have considered you and Pop as my home, my reference point. Will I feel utterly lost when you are no longer here?

The constant gurgling of the oxygen machine that breaths air into your tired lungs is almost haunting. I just can't believe that it is you lying in that bed. If I close my eyes I hear you laughing, reading to me, teaching me, loving me. I am blessed knowing that you truly know everything about me (the good, bad, and ugly) and you have never judged me or stopped loving me. You have shown me how to be a good mother and grandmother, giving love unconditionally. Your tired broken body stands as proof that you didn't merely live your life...you gave your life to show others how to live and love.

You are etched in my brain and will forever reside in my heart.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hand it Over Lady!

Bad words in my house are beginning to have a whole new meaning; I firmly believe I could go my whole life without ever hearing the name ‘Brady’ as long as I live. Every day when I pick Cheetah up from school I get to hear the synopsis of “A Day in the Life of Brady” and it’s a very boring read; Brady has this new toy, Brady has cooler tennis shoes than me, Brady says that frogs can’t be poisonous…etc. Last week I tried to explain that sometimes it may seem that his friends may have nicer things, cooler parents, or a better house but it’s not always the truth; sometimes it’s all a show. I even tried the whole ‘the grass is greener story’; all he got from that what sadness when he realized that his momma wasn’t aware that ALL grass is in fact green. Oh well. I decide I am being over anxious and convince myself that four is a bit early to begin a full scale war on my son’s lack of self-confidence; I‘ll let nature run its course.

Yesterday I picked Cheetah up from school and he was so stinky and sweaty, I said, “Dude was it a rough recess?” He sighed, “Yeah, Brady pushed me because I was yelling at him”. WHAT, do my ears deceive me?? Is he cracking the fa├žade that four year-old Brady is beginning to perfect? Curious I asked him what made him so angry at Brady. He proceeds to tell me that Brady said he had to leave him his silly bands to him when he dies, I was shocked. What the heck is going on at Brady’s house?!? “I told him ‘no’ that I wasn’t going to die. Then he said everyone HAS to die and you better leave me all your stuff!” Kind of baffled I asked what his thought about Brady’s demands. “I think Brady just wants all my green grass” he explained.

I was amazed; he was using Cognitive Reasoning at such an early age. We headed home to do the nightly bike ride and prepare supper; Cheetah proceeds to deliver an unyielding stream of questions while I banter back and forth over the tacos we are preparing. Ten minutes later as we are finishing up he looks at me and demands, “Hand over all your green grass lady and no one gets hurt.” Laughing, I kiss him and mutter, “We were so close.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Personal Cheerleader

This past weekend with Cheetah was so wonderful, it’s amazing to watch him growing into his sea legs and getting a handle on his self. Don’t get me wrong I’m still seeing a few meltdowns, tantrums, and boundary pushing; but he’s beginning to grasp how he has to act and is slowly building confidence. He’s trying things he’s been scared to do before and succeeding.

For the past 2 years he has been terrified of ‘fun jumps’ and although all sorts of kids are having the best time he won’t even go inside. That changed this weekend. He got in the fun jump and after about 10 minutes he realized what he was doing, he yelled, “Momma, I’m in the fun jump and it’s fun!” He stayed in for over 2 hours and didn’t want to leave. I was so proud, I wish I could take all the credit but I know some kudos must go to my mom.

A few weeks ago she taught him how to ride a bike and although I hear that this was traumatic for both of them, he’s been a different boy ever since. It’s so funny to follow behind him as he rides, the whole time he is talking. He is living this whole imaginary situation that involves him driving fast, fighting crime, and going on adventures. It’s all smooth sailing until he reaches the hill; he turns his head and smiles at me in relief. There I am, giving him a boost up the hill in front of him. Hopefully bike riding won’t just foster a feeling of confidence and accomplishment but also one of reliance. I want him to know that I am the wind at his back, the cheerleader in the stands, and the sage sound of wisdom he can call on at any hour.

After several times around the lake, I am beaming. I yell ahead to him, “Good job dude!” as he leaves me in the dust. I begin walking back home while he waits for me on his bike. I smile sweetly at him as he begins to yell, “Come on Momma you can do it, you’re almost there”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

She knows the way to Cheetah's heart.

As we grow up we all are on this journey called life and one of our greatest quests is to find that one person or love to come along for the ride. We read books on how to be the best friends, parents, wives, husbands, and boyfriend/girlfriends all to have our selves fully marketable. In one of my reads I found that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, I didn’t have to go very far to find the stats to support this theory. I could just look at my grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles, in my family the theory had been tested and proven true. I put this valuable piece of information in my arsenal of womanly tools and found it to work for my benefit as well. And so it would seem in the story of Tarzan and Cheetah that the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

According to Cheetah’s teacher’s there are several little girls vying for his attention but he’s hurting feelings because he only has eyes for one. They say that he plays well with everyone but at the end of the day (TV time) he only wants to sit with Celeste.

So on our way home (over several days) I gently pried info from Cheetah on the daily on goings of the Pre-K room. Anna Lisa is constantly ‘cooking’ him meals (none of which he likes) of oatmeal, fruit salad, and beanie weenies; Scout plays outside with him, catching bugs, digging for worms, and chasing each other; Ana plays office with him, as well as library; and Celeste plays house with him, she cooks , cleans clothes, and watches television with him. Obviously Celeste is the clear winner to him. I ask, “Why do you like Celeste over all the other girls?” He took a minute and replied, “I like inside girls like you Momma and Celeste cooks the good food. She makes me chicken, meat sandwiches, tea, and pies…she cooks great pies.”

Two days later I enter his classroom to find the two of them hand-in-hand. She looks at me and states, “Our love is forever. I am marrying him (she points to MY Cheetah)”. I was shocked, so I retorted, “We’ll see.” And that little tart reiterates, “Yes we will.” Apparently I’ve met MY match.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My ode to O.P.I.

As I sit typing away, trying to find time for my polish to dry I realize I have decided to take a stroll down memory lane…”Strawberry Margarita” by OPI is drying on my toes. Instantly I am back to the day I met my son.

We all have our ‘things’; the things we secertly spend money on and the things the memories are built around. For me it’s just one thing, toenail polish. I have always had problems with body image but my feet, well they are beautiful. Once I have them all trimmed, sanded, and polished I feel like the world is mine for the taking…feet flirting is on the menu. Due to my obsession I searched for a polish that lasted a long time and would give me a lot of bang for my buck. It wasn’t long after high school when I found O.P.I. Not only did I fall for the fantastically quirky names but the color would last two weeks before the 1st chip would appear. Each bottle may have cost more than 4 beers at the Sportspage but the smile it brought was worth it.

I went off to college sporting “San Jaun Salsa” but worked summer camp in “Yucatan if U Want”. My 1st summer fling called for something ‘tongue-in-cheek’ so I went for “Virgin Island Velvet”, while my sophomore trips to Ole Miss were outrageous and only “Flagstaff Fries to Go” could stand up to those wild nights. I met my life mate wearing “Rodeo Rose” but I married him while wearing “Elle’s Pearls”. During our lean honeymoon years, two bottles of “Cajun Shrimp” helped me survive my long stint from my family and Cajun country. I bought “Windy City Pretty” as a reminder of our memorable trip to Chicago and soon after I gave birth to our son while donning, “Strawberry Margarita”. In preparation of a new job in a new city I purchased “LA Paz-itively Hot” and got rave reviews all around. The polish was not only there to help me with the confidence needed to go out and find my way in the world but it was there to help me through the rough spots in life, the dark places where you let very few people in. The last few months of my grandmother’s life I snuggled in bed with her as she lamented over my “Melon of Troy” flirtabulous toes, but I chose “Lincoln Park at Midnight” for the day she was laid to rest. Several months later I braved the mall with its crowds and noise to pick up “Nice Color, Eh?”, it was just the ‘kick in the pants’ red I needed. To help kick start a new era I searched for the right color for my 10 year college reunion and found “Jade is the new Black” to be perfect for a weekend of festivities and jaunts through memory land. In awe of being married to my best friend for 7 years I went after the perfect shade of ‘love’. I came home and painted on “Princesses Rule”, he always said I would forever be his Princess. After a lot of begging and eye-rolling by dad, I agreed to “Funky Dunky” as the perfect shade of ‘not girly’ to paint my sweet boy’s piggies.

I will forever be known in my circle of family and friends for my funtabulous fascination with my fancy feet. The giggle I get at repeating the name of my newest OPI addition has often been just what the doctor ordered as well as the compliments on my perfectly pedicured toes the boost that every woman needs. So before I head out to my son’s fist time to meet his Aunt Emu AND his first trip on a plane, I think I’ll let him pick the color of my newest memory.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How would you define 'friend'?

I have always loved being the only child, my Mom and I have this unbelievable relationship and I have always felt fulfilled by it. Being an only child has many perks; you don’t have to share your toys, you never try to measure up to someone else, and you have all of your parent’s attention and resources (just to name a few). There are also some drawbacks to being an only child; you have no one to share your toys with, there is no one to reminisce with about the good ole days, you are the only one to help aging parents, and (for me) you thirst for that closeness that siblings have. I believe it’s the ladder that has lead me to my current predicament. I have been disappointed in my some of my relationships lately and thanks to Tarzan, and many late night talks during our ‘kid-free’ time, I’ve realized that it may be due to my expectations.

Before now I never really noticed that I am an oddity. Out of all my close friends I am the only ‘only’. When I look at my friends with their families I know I don’t fit. I am their friend but I’ll never be in that inner circle with them. They HAVE a sister (or brother); they don’t need a sister/friend. I know I am no longer a minority lots of families (23 - 25% actually per Susan Newman, Ph.D.’s blog) are choosing to have only one child and many like my parents were given no choice. I have had this need for closeness in my life, to put it in Tarzan’s words, “People mean more to you than you do to them”. Though his words may have stung, knocked the wind out of me actually, they were true. It certainly helped to explain my dating life not to mention a lot of my friendships. I crave a sibling relationship. I want people in my life that don’t miss the milestones, not because it means something to me but because they are on this ‘journey’ with me. I do have people like this in my life but I also have some that I am trying to force along the way. Instead of unjustly harboring resentment toward these people I should assign them a ‘proper’ role in my life.

I have struggled with the decision Tarzan and I are making to have just one child, mostly I am sure we are doing the right thing but it’s moments like these where I desire more research. To help stop any future disappointments and to aid me in making an ‘informed decision’, I am on a quest to define ‘a friend’. What does it mean to people with siblings and those without? What are the differences in expectations for men and women? And how is that relationship different from a sibling (beyond the whole blood/relation thing)? Can a solid friendship fill the spot of a sibling?

Friday, August 6, 2010

What I have learned after 25 years of marriage:

Recently my parents celebrated 26 years of marrige. In honor of a love that stands the test of time I wanted to share the story I wrote for them....

The story begins on an ordinary day in April, the year was 1984 and the world was smiling. Below is the story of 25 years of marriage between two people, in my own words. I am not a member of the couple but merely a passenger on their journey through life.

Bob Porter and Anne Wilson met at work and their short courtship (I think 6 weeks actually) began with a “dare”. There lives had a similar start but God had sent them on two very different journeys in preparation for their lives together. Both had been epically wounded in the past and had made it through the clean up and were well on their way to a better place in life. Both had children: him 2 boys and her 1 daughter. This is where my details start to become fuzzy. I was merely 6 years old at the time, so I am not sure what “drew them” to each other but they decided that their lives (as well as their children’s) would benefit greatly with the addition of the other. He proposed with a diamond ring and she said yes. They set a date of June 12th of that same year and decided to have the nuptials at a local state park.

The weeks leading up to the wedding were crazy, he was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot and she broke her arm. Outfits were adjusted and sleeves were let out. His two son's were the two “Best Men”, and her one daughter was the “Maid of Honor” . It was such a gorgeous day, it wasn’t too hot and everyone was elated. Bob wore a white short sleeve button down (as did both Best Men) with Chocolate colored, Western dress pants along with cowboy boots and a shiny belt buckle. Anne wore an Ecru colored dress (as did the Maid of Honor) delicately made by her mother, along with her Ecru colored cast and off white sling back pumps. They were married at the top of a bridge with family and friends silently blessing their union.

The air was full of excitement and I could barely contain myself. God had given me a Daddy. No I couldn’t name him Mike and he couldn’t sing like Kenny Rogers but he loved me and my Mama, and that took the cake.

They followed each other around as their careers took them all over, by the time I graduated from high school I had been to 12 different schools (in 1st grade alone I went to 3 different schools). It always seemed like they were constantly struggling, almost as if it was all a test. The road was lined with roadblock after roadblock, they couldn’t catch a break…but you would have never known it. Sure they may have argued, fought even, but the love was always there. There were trials with family illnesses, family issues, family deaths, and poverty but they always pushed through, together. They both have been very ill in the past and have had several surgeries and have both been there to care of each other; a real test of “For Better or for Worse”. There were times that were spent waiting for the proverbial “other shoe” to drop, it felt like there was no other way out but separately, but it never happened. Lesser couples would have gone their separate ways, eons ago, willingly.

There lives may not have been what fairytales are made of, but it will be the story that I will tell my children and grandchildren. The story of a real marriage: a marriage that defines love, adoration, and companionship. For some it may seem that 25 years is just the beginning, Golden and Diamond Anniversaries are the ones that show longevity but I feel in this world a marriage that stands the test of time needs to be celebrated.

On the eve of my own wedding day my grandmother sat me down and talked with me about marriage and gave me these wise words of advice. “It’s not easy. A marriage needs work; it’s like a garden, you have to tend to it.” And when asked about marriage my Mama can be quoted as saying, ”You have to be willing to love each other for who you were, who you are, and who you will be.” It is obvious when I look back over the past 25 years that my parents lived these words, they are not who they were 25 years ago and aren’t who they will be 25 years from now and they simply couldn’t be happier.

So here’s to you, Bob and Anne Porter. Congratulations on 25 years of marriage. Thank you for showing me that a marriage isn’t just about the love that you have for another person but the commitment and respect that you have for one another and the lives that you have built together.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My most important relationship.

The kid-free time that our families have allowed us to have has been a real gift, Tarzan and I have had the chance to reconnect. All the ‘down time’ really has spoiled me; I’m a little worried that I’ll be a fish out of water when Cheetah comes home. Out of all the perks, I think I’ve have enjoyed all the opportunities for introspection the most. When I was younger I was adamant that I would not change for a man and once I had children I would fight tooth and nail to never lose myself in my daily roles, as I did an ‘self-inventory’ this week I was pleasantly surprised. There have been quite a few changes in the day to day life of Jane Smith but she’s still alive and kicking.

Finding the changes was a bit difficult; I really had to take a closer look at the big picture to unearth the ‘improved’ Jane Smith. Adding Cheetah to the mix means my daily routine has to be kick started pretty early in the morning now, so the night owl in me only comes out on the weekends; bed time is 10:30pm now. There are very few ‘fend for yourselves’ nights at the Smith abode nowadays, we’ve replaced it with balanced home-cooked meals followed by a fresh fruit dessert. Instead of saving all the chores for the weekend we do a load of laundry and a chore a day. I still relish in the joy of introspection, but now it’s focused on me being the example of a well-rounded person for Cheetah to emulate. And lastly, my obsession with shoes and purses has been quelled and replaced with the need for saving and spending responsibly; I am actually enjoying my 1st new purse in over a year.

How I know the ‘good ole’ Jane is still present is a lot easier to identify; maybe because I am far more familiar with her. Even though I am a few decades older, I still enjoy my top 3 things in the world: jaunts to the grocery store (going down every isle), adding cheese to all my meals and snacks, listening to music that sooths the soul and wakes the conscious. I am a Taurus through and through so creature comforts and the finer things in life are all included in my daily existence: A good meal accompanied by great conversation makes even the worse days more manageable; no foot is complete without a weekly pedicure and filing; and quality time with my bed snuggled in my cool buttery sheets, devouring a library book, praying for a thunderstorm are just a few examples. On the days where even Prozac won’t help, there is nothing like spending the evening distressing in the kitchen, even though occasionally I fail at that too. I still long to go on adventures all around the world, I am thrilled to be taking Cheetah on his 1st plane ride this September; I hope to pass on my travel-bug to him.

My grandmother always told me,” if you didn’t like spending time with yourself how can you expect anyone else to?” and she was right. The most important relationship any of us will ever have is the one with ourselves. After 32 years it’s nice to know that I still enjoy my own company. And while I may be very funny, I am making peace with the fact that Cheetah may be funnier. I guess every super-hero has to have a sidekick, I wonder if he’d take my application.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Trying not to be trite.

For the past week and a half Tarzan and I have been living kid-free, and I must admit it has been nice. I have had the chance to be reminded of why we ended up together in the first place. With two such strong personalities at times we are at each other’s throats but thankfully we are both too bull-headed to just walk away from a struggle. I remember when we met 11 years ago, we were both so young and had our eyes focused on 2 very different futures.

My entire life had been spent trying to find, make, or mold each man I dated into ‘the one’. I had been heart-broken and I was ready to turn over a new leaf. I was young for heaven sake so now it was time to be both young AND dumb. I had decided that I was done with long-term relationships and it was time to be foot loose and fancy free. Tarzan has always been a hit with the ladies, and I don’t mean a ‘ladies man’, he always knows just what to say to a woman to get in her good graces. He was (and for the record still is) suave, funny, handsome, smart and had an infectious laugh. I dreamed of being married and he had decided that marriage was not for him. We were both in college and we had friends in common but we had never spent a great deal of time together. I had done poorly in school and had to enroll in summer school to try and catch up and improve my GPA. I was pissed, I didn’t want to go to summer school, and no one I knew was going and I would have no vehicle (thanks to that .75 GPA). My mom drove me to school, got me settled in and I headed to the cafeteria for supper. As I scanned my card and turned to walk inside, there he was. I couldn’t believe it; maybe this summer wasn’t going to be all bad. My life quickly turned into a John Hughes movie and I could hear the lovesick soundtrack playing over my rapid heartbeat. That was it, in one summer I found my best friend and my partner for life.

To use the phrase ‘love of my life’ would be trite. He’s the sunshine in my day, the skip in my step, the song in my heart, and the daydream in my head. I always imagined love to be this overwhelming emotion that would block out so much of the world, essentially making me blind to things. Not ours. When things are bad; dry sobbing, gut wrenching, life changing hard…he’s the relief. When I’ve made and ass out of myself, hurt people’s feelings, or not been the person I want to be he’s there. When life is sunshine, roses, and laughs he’s there too. We may no longer be in the stage where you struggle with chapped lips, friends are forming search parties, and coming up for air can be painful, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. At some point real life has to be happen, you have to get jobs and be grown-ups. Things are no longer about always being together, now it’s about always being there FOR each other. As I’ve watched my grandparents and parents growing older together, I’ve have realized that while things will never be easy and each ‘season’ of our relationship will have its struggle, it’s nothing we can’t handle.

So every morning when I wake up I will touch his arm and silently whisper, “I choose you” and I will use my second breath to thank God for allowing Tarzan to swing into my life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who's this "Brady" anyway?

Tarzan and I have known for a while now that we were getting a rare treat, couple time. We knew we would get a weekend but now it has turned into 17 days of kid-free adult time. We’ve been so excited; we’ve been making arrangements and lining up activities that we don’t normally get the chance to enjoy. Now I’m getting nervous, scared really. As the days go by I am actually having problems sleeping, it’s so ridiculous. I lie awake in bed imagine all the worse case scenarios that can happen and I am beginning to drive myself even crazier. I have always been proud that my child can enjoy time with other people and doesn’t always require his parents there to love, comfort, and entertain but now I’m not so sure. What if there’s an accident? What if he gets hurt? What if he wants/misses me and I’m not there? As I type the words I am realizing that it’s very egocentric of me to think that he wants me around that much. For all I know he could need the break away as much as Tarzan and I do. He may be making plans and counting down the days too. I spent the greater part of all my summers away from home, I always had a great time, and NEVER got homesick granted I was older than Cheetah is now but it has to start sometime. I was so lucky to have had such a great relationship with my grandparents and aunts and I am glad that Cheetah is getting that chance as well. It really does take a village to raise a child and the more roots he can lay down the better ‘tree’ he’ll be in the long run.

I want to make sure that Tarzan and I keep Cheetah as grounded as possible. For me there was one phrase that my mom always said that has really ‘stuck’ with me, “if your family can’t tell you like it is, who will”. Of course she was right, as usual, and I want Cheetah to see his family as his greatest resource. Being an only child can be difficult, you are left with adults as your only resource for advice and at times going to an adult can seem very intimidating…I want him to have many people that he can access. It seems like we are always surrounded by people and things that want to take away a child’s innocence and zest for life and I want to fight like the dickens to keep his intact. The one area it seems he may have problems with is peer pressure.

With Tarzan and I both being leaders (as well as strong willed) people weren’t really able to make us do things we weren’t ok with…how do you make someone be a leader? For example, Cheetah has this one friend at school that he always wants to show stuff to, tell him things, or give him a snack…this ‘friend’ is a JERK. He never likes Cheetahs’ stories, show and tells, new clothes, or games and it gets Cheetah a little down. Last night he said, “Brady didn’t like my movie I brought.” I said, “This Brady kid seems like a jerk. Just because he doesn’t like something it doesn’t mean it’s not cool. You know that right?” He thought about it for a moment and replied, “No, I really want him to like my stuff.” It made me sad, I just wanted him to be a baby again, it was easier then. I want my child to be self-sufficient, to not rely on others to fulfill him or make him happy. I remember the feeling of wanting to be cool and liked by everyone but as a parent I worry about him loosing himself one day. So maybe calling his friend a 'jerk' wasn’t the right path to take. I decide to ask questions about what his favorite movies, colors, and clothes are and he gets a kick out of all the interviewing. Later that night he picks out a shirt and says, "I really think Brady is going to like this shirt”. Baffled I mumbled, “Who cares about what Brady thinks”. He retorted loudly, “Who cares what you think?” Well played.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are you gonna eat that???

With another long weekend under our belt we all started the week well rested and feeling very accomplished. We are now on week 3 of keeping the house in a ‘company ready’ state and I must admit that it is really not taking that much effort. Tarzan and I had a ‘melt down’ free weekend and actually enjoyed A LOT of quality family time at home. By Sunday at 5pm all the hampers in the house were empty, clothes were put away, 2 meals were cooked, and we had enjoyed 2 movie nights.

This past month we also instituted meals all together at the big table, I think this is my favorite thing that we have changed. I think it helps him to see the both of as an example of what we expect from him, and I love watching Cheetah develop his own eating habits. He will eat any sandwich as long as it has no ‘salad’ on it and plenty of honey mustard, he likes to dip his apples in honey mustard and ketchup, and no tortilla chip is complete without a dip into the sour cream; just to point out a few. There is just one little habit that worries me. While we are eating he likes to discuss what we are eating, exactly. For instance if we are eating chicken and sausage over rice we have to discuss what a chicken looks like, what exact piece of it we are eating, and what makes up sausage. I love this, I think it is very important to be aware of what you are putting in your body but when we are at restaurants we are being scoffed at. As I have mentioned before my child is very ‘exuberant’ and he speaks very loudly; I am beginning to think that some people are being made uncomfortable listening to my child’s questions while they bite into ole Bessie the cow. I don’t think it help’s much that he likes to name the meat and go over what noises they make. Every place we leave I am pretty sure we leave a few new vegetarians in our wake.

Animal eating habits have also become a serious topic of discussion, and now zoos are a place we may be kicked out of in the not so distant future. I think him being an only child leaves him loads of extra time to think of things. He wants to know what everything eats; bugs, cats, dogs, wolves, bears, sharks, lions…you get the picture. At each animal we come to he runs his finger over the brail name while I read the marker followed by him asking, “and what does Mufasa (he names the animals too) eat for suppers?” I inform him of some of the animals that they dine on and he retorts with some wildly imaginative story of how he catches and eats the animal. It’s like listening to Elmo on a Discovery Channel show. Mostly parents laugh but some are appalled by his knowledge of the circle of life and that sometimes animals eat people. Am I giving him too much information at his age? I will say that the look on the faces of the staff as my child says, “I bet that pig would make a yummy hot dog” is worth every question he has ever asked me about food and where it comes from.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contents Under Pressure

Ok so this weekend was pretty great, on a scale of 10 I would have to give it a solid 8. It would have been a 9 or 9.5 but there was one moment of insanity that just couldn’t be ignored. I had one of my RARE spells of craziness. I started a fight on my own, completely. I am glad to say that afterwards Tarzan and I were able to laugh about it, thankfully. For the sake of science I will check my pride out the door and show you how not perfect I am. Just be warned that it makes NO sense.

So we are on week 2 of keeping the house in the order I would prefer it and we are doing well. There has had to be some slight ‘nudging” when Tarzan and I just want to be lazy but in the long run it has paid off. Until Sunday afternoon, that is. The family returned from a very fruitful visit to the library and we were all still buzzing from the sights, smells, and sounds of one of our most treasured places. I was emptying the contents of the dryer onto the recliner with a smile on my face and a song in my head. That is where something in me snapped. It may have spurred from being sassed by Cheetah for the the 20th time in the past hour or it could have been my lack of ‘happy momma’ pills (I am starting to think I may need to be on something full time from now on, lol), who knows really. Sigh, here it goes.

I tell Tarzan that in this load are his work clothes so he may want to get hangers. He replies, “Are they hot” and I say, “Yes”. He begins folding the rest of the clothes as I return to the laundry room. Tarzan is getting on to Cheetah for sassing me when I notice that he has draped his freshly laundered work pants on top of the recliner (a haven for the cats so it’s COVERED in fur) and I interrupt him discipling Cheetah and ask, “What’s the deal with your pants? I am not rewashing them because they are covered in fur.” He replies, “They don’t need to be rewashed, just ‘warmed up’ in the dryer.” Furious I say, “Why didn’t you say something before I took them out of the dryer?” He responds, “I did. I asked you if they were hot and you said they were…but they weren’t.” Fuming I turn and say, “From now on I will be washing Cheetah’s and my clothes only. If you are going to be so particular then you can wash your own crap. I don’t care if you live out of the dryer. I am done.” Seeing my crazy eyes, Tarzan STILL doesn’t waver. He retorts, “Fine, are we going to alternate cooking and dishwashing too? Pissed I bellow, “No I will cook for the boy and I and you can fend for your damn self.” We continue cleaning up the house and putting away clothes in TOTAL silence. I decide to start cooking the family’s favorite meal, fuming. Midway through I decide that I am done with my tirade and I want to make this a peace offering. Tarzan isn’t buying it. Cheetah says, “Daddy why are you so quiet?” Tarzan responds, “I am just trying to enjoy the last meal that your mother will ever cook for me.” We both burst out laughing.

For the rest of the night and the next day (and I am sure for a lot longer than that) Tarzan has been making little jokes poking fun at my insanity. A whole 48 hours later, I am still trying to figure out what the hell that was all about. It’s amazing how things get out of control so quickly. I think the next tattoo I get should read, “Contents under Pressure”.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It was all in the name of 'science'.

Tarzan and I have always been very forthcoming with each other and it always seemed to work for us until recently. The change in the dynamic of our relationship is what urged me to start a blog, I felt like I couldn’t take anymore. I had tried the direct approach of asking for help and was tired of either hearing countless number of sighs or got tired of being told to write him a list, so I needed some sort of outlet for my frustrations. You can imagine my surprise when a mere two weeks after starting the blog the scales in my house were tipped. I’m not sure if he found out about the blog or if the release was just what the doctor ordered but I am welcoming the change. It’s nice not to want to smother you spouse as he sleeps noisily next to you (I kid, I kid).

The sudden change made me look back in some of my journals I used to keep, before the good old days of airing your dirty laundry and I realized a trend. The Smith household has a pattern of moods, if you will. For several weeks or months the house will run like a well oiled machine and then a gear gets stuck and production hits a snag. This is where I usually pick up the slack, without realizing it and everything continues as normal. We can go for several more weeks like this until the gas runs low and I begin to run on fumes. Then comes the blowup. For about 2 weeks the house is like a mind filed, just a misspoken word could warrant a full frontal attack by either party. It’s not pretty. Then one of us gives in, usually Tarzan, (I don’t always give him the credit he deserves) and the cleaning crew is called in and we are ‘business as usual’ yet again. So I have decided that obviously this needs to be addressed. If this is the SAME fight we have over and over again, it’s time to lay it to rest.

After a DEEP cleaning the house is where I (the stress should be on the ‘I’) like it to be and I plan on keeping it that way. I have decided to suck up my pride and deal with the heavy sighs and eye rolling that I get from Tarzan and ask (nicely and with NO nagging) to please help with daily tasks so things will never reach my land mind state. Mind you I have tried this before but I am up for giving it the 'good ole college try' and seeing if we can really push past this mess (pun intended).

So far so good, now mind you we are on week one but I am hopeful. I will make sure that I ASK for help and don’t attempt to do it all myself and I will allow for his need for a night off from chores every once and a while and his weekly boy’s night. Now who’s up for starting a weekly girl’s night? How DO you get one of those??

Monday, June 21, 2010

He'll be here all week, stay away from the veal...

How do parents remain people at all? I am at my wits end, maybe I just need a vacation…you know time to step back and appreciate all the craziness that is my life. I remember when Cheetah was a baby and I wished, prayed really, for him to be able to talk to me and let me know what was ailing him or what would apiece him. Oh am I sorry I did that.

I know that there are people in my family that are going to read this and think, “Bout time that girl gets a taste of what it was like having her around” but I swear I can NOT handle the constant talking. I am beginning to think that he just likes the cadence of his voice and wants to hear it over and over again. Maybe it’s soothing to him. All I know is that after like 2 hours my ears are bleeding and my sanity is hanging by a thread (I MAY be over exaggerating, but only a little). Heaven forbid if I tune out for a bit and try to regain some control or if he asks me a question that takes some thought. If he asks a question and I don’t answer fast enough he will ask it over and over again until I instinctually holler the answer. Bad Momma.

He has now decided that he wants to sing ‘like me’ in the car. Yeah, he doesn’t know the words, so it’s this loud (hilarious) humming form the backseat. When you turn around and look at him, he is SO proud of himself. He says, “Did you hear that Momma? I sing like you, a rock star.” Right, LMAO! At night he asks me to sing to him and the whole time I am trying my hardest to regain my composure. It’s very difficult to sing when you have someone repeating you in song the whole time. It sounds like a bad stereo rendition of really old camp songs.

His showmanship doesn’t stop there he has now begun his career as a Chippendale dancer. If the child is EVER asked to take off a piece of clothing he takes this as an open invitation. The clothes are off, and he IS shaking it! The entire time he’s alerting Tarzan and me to his shenanigans, “Hey, you see my new moves?!?” He’s four! I swear I have NO idea where he gets this from. The talking I get, the singing I get (I do both but with no real talent), but the naked dancing??? I’m drawing a blank. When I ask him where he learned this he gives me his blanket answer: “When I was in high school I learned this.” Really, high school?

I have heard of people that believe souls just leave one body and move to another. Maybe this is only REAL explanation to the abundance of personality that my son has been ‘blessed’ with. He does have some RARE moments of calm and sweetness that momentarily ice over the moments of shock and awe I experience. For example: He informed me why he loves God, “he makes everything just the way I like it” and one day he said,” I want to marry you Momma because you're perfect”.

Maybe it’s all a rouse to draw more people into his show. The other day I said, “Dude can you just chill for a minute, take a deep breath and calm down?” He shook his head and said, “How ‘bout you just stop fussing and watch.” Oh good God!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is Adderall really the right answer???

I am what I would consider to be a morning person, as long as I get those 15-20 minutes alone in the bathroom when I first get up. I didn’t get that today. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. It makes me wonder how that lady with 19 kids still has a voice; I would HAVE to be heavily medicated. How is she not screaming at the top of her lungs for just 15 minutes of quiet in a day?

I am beginning to think that getting out of the door every morning is now my daily ‘test’ from God. I just don’t get it. How hard is it to get your shoes on and get out the door? I feel like a broken record in the morning, “eat Cheetah, eat Cheetah, Cheetah eat your breakfast, shoes son, son your shoes, shoes boy, put on your shoes.” I do believe he must be part blue jay, if there is something shiny or bright I might as well give up on getting to work early. So we’ve made it out the door now we have to walk the 50 yards to the car, I so wish there was a way to blindfold him (I bet child services would ‘frown’ upon that). I love his enthusiasm and wonder he holds for the world but not on our way to school.

Having a child has driven me insane, I actually FEEL crazy. When I get in the car I have to have the a/c on because I am sweating, the last 15 minutes before heading to work is like 1 hour of cardio at the gym. My blood pressure must be through the roof! By the time I finally make it to work I have already answered about a bazillion questions and have been told to ‘watch this’ so many times I’m afraid my head might pop off.

How do you continually respond to the same question without losing your cool? How do you explain to a pre-schooler why (for the 500th time) you cannot turn around and watch him as he makes some strange face or dance move in my backseat? It must be me, I see other mother’s passing me on the road and they are smiling and saying something sweet to their young dears in the backseat (they’ve got to be taking their kid’s Adderall). I just have one and can’t keep my cool every day. Of course as I am dropping him off I feel like a big ole pile of poo for making just ONE more question a big deal or for fussing at him because he can’t hold on to his baggie of cereal. Of course even though I have been an ass for the last 30 minutes he still would rather spend the whole day with me at work than without me at all. ‘Mommy guilt’ it should have its own text book for psych majors, heck maybe its own degree.

I love that my child is exuberant (that’s one of his best qualities actually) it just boggles my mind when I consider I am supposed to train him in keeping on task. How will he ever make it at school? No wonder so many kids are being labeled as ADD, I believe we are expecting too much from our children. I mean they ARE children, the world is all new and exciting to them; of course they are going to be distracted by a bird or a plane flying over head.

I must keep repeating to myself, “He’s just 4. He’s just 4.” Followed quickly by, “Give yourself a break, you’re only human.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

He's the one Mom warned us about.

Cheetah is constantly ‘schooling me’ in the matters of day to day life and last night was no exception. In the past few weeks he has amazed me with all the new things that he has learned how to do. For example; I have asked him how he learned to snap and why we can’t cuddle like we used to do and he responded, “Now that I am 4 Momma, things are going to be different.” I guess I should have heeded his warning.

We’ve been concentrating on likes and dislikes as well as relationships lately so I asked why it is that he likes certain girls. He explained how he doesn’t like all girls the same and that there are girls he doesn’t like at all. We got back to discussing the girls that “he loves” (his words), Sara and Alexis. I asked, “Why do you love just these girls?” He sighed and said, “Momma I love girls who laugh when I fart, smell like perfume, look like make-up, and wear dresses.” Surprised I asked, “Why dresses Son?” Matter of factly he stated, “Because when they wear dresses I can see where their legs go.” I was left speechless and scared.

Here I was trying my hardest to raise the man all us women hope for and I end up getting one just like all the others. I am hoping that when the awkward teen years come about they will help to mellow his personality a bit, cause if not he is going to be the boy all the girls are warned about.

I guess this puts a couple of frequently asked questions to rest though, “Are they all like that?” “When do they turn into to such animals?” Yes, they really are ALL like that (to some extent) and apparently when they turn 4.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

whoever smelt it, dealt it

Manners have become a real issue at the Smith abode; it is very difficult to teach a pre-schooler how to behave when they see you act differently inside and outside the home. For example, I NEVER burp in public, at home now that’s another story. When Cheetah burped in church and I scolded him he responded, “You do it at home all the time.” Red faced I responded, “Yes but this is not our house.” Noticeably confused, he apologized. This made me wonder what other issues were going to be biting me in the butt in the not so distant future. My occasional butt scratch, wedgie rescue, or my rare nose pick when I have a ‘whistler’???

The answer is The FART.

Cheetah has discovered flatulence, and like all boys he finds it hilarious, amazing, and did I mention hilarious? The 4 year old has even discovered how to “pin it on” someone else. So far we have been able to keep this under wraps because it has happened at home or other non-public venues, until this weekend that is. I swear to you we did not feed him beans, broccoli, or other gas inducing agents, so I was shocked as to how much napalm one rear-end could dispense. He was letting his smoke bombs off in restaurants, stores, gas stations, and church; all the while laughing and pointing at who he felt, ‘dealt it’! Those I didn’t mind so much because he was laughing and pointing so all victims knew it was him, more than likely. It was the silent ones that were getting me. He would be sitting by me at church and I would get this huge whiff of the foulest air in the world, look down at him, and he would just grin. As soon as I would look up I would see that people around us were giggling and looking our way. ..He SO knew what he was doing by not breathing a word. He had me at his will. Damn kids.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Picking your battles

I was so excited for a long weekend, I was looking forward to cuddle time with Cheetah, and I a lot of couple time with Tarzan at night watching movies. It was also the weekend that the Smith family would celebrate Cheetah's birthday, so a fun time would be had by all.

The 1st two nights went well. Tarzan was extremely helpful in getting the house ready for all of the Smith family and relatively well mannered as the family partied it up on Saturday. That is where my fantasy long weekend came to a screeching halt. Tarzan had borrowed a video game from a friend and I could only steal him away from it long enough to fold 4 loads of laundry and 1 load of dishes.

I had to wash dishes just so I could make a pitcher of tea...ridiculous. I drank as much of the tea that I could in the next day and a 1/2 and when I poured the last sip of tea, I put the empty pitcher in the fridge. To prove a point, of course. Two hours later he walked down the hall to our bedroom (where I was painting my toenails) and said, "Jane did you seriously put an empty pitcher BACK in the fridge?" "Come on, really?!?" I looked at him, shocked. He turned and walked away. I swear I was so pissed that I dreamed about that damn pitcher all night. I awoke with a plan. I wondered, would he react the same to other ‘tastes of his own medicine’.

He is always getting on to me for leaving condiments out after I fix my plate, I intend to be thoughtful and leave them out for his use, and I really don’t see it as a big deal. So on Sunday we made hamburgers and hotdogs, I was in the kitchen first to fix my plate. As soon as I was done with everything I put it back in the fridge. He walks in as I am sliding the ketchup in the door and he says, “Now come on, you know I was gonna need that.” I said, “Sorry you are always reminding me that I leave things out and I wanted to try to think ahead.” He responds, “Be reasonable.” Suprisingly I left this alone. I must say I am getting pretty good at this ‘biting my tongue’ thing, if I learn nothing else from this…I must say it’s probably worth it. Pick your battles.

Speaking of picking battles…Tarzan has this habit of hanging his clothes (freshly laundered) on the jam of the laundry room door (as well as on the shower curtain in Cheetah’s bathroom). At one point Monday night they were knocked down (I SWEAR that it was not me) and he found the dog laying on them in the hallway. He came to me (laughing) and said, "You owe me, the dog was laying on my pants (that were on the floor), I cleaned them off and hung them back up." I wanted to scream. Since when am I his maid? I responded, “Yeah you’re right, I owe YOU for cleaning your pants.” As he turned and walked away I gave serious thought to hurting him. LOL. How does it go from sweet, happy, loving, newlyweds to maid, cook, washer woman, and concierge?

All in all it was a good weekend, Cheetah and I cuddled as often and as long as he would allow it. His explanation for the shorter cuddle time was, “I’m older Momma, things are going to be different.” Oy vay. Tarzan and I did get lots of stuff done, we marked lots of stuff for our upcoming garage sale. It was a little hard to get it done though, between all the “killing” he did on the video game (insert sigh). Oh well, I guess we really all do have our own idea of a fantastic LONG weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Candy covered paradise??

Why does the life of wife and mother have to mean that my stuff is in worse condition, my clothes have stains, and my car is dirty inside and out and I have to be willing to share EVERYTHING that I have. And of course nothing looks as fun, intresting, or as yummy as it does when Momma has it.

Everything that belongs to me is sticky, if it’s not sticky it’s covered in some sort of ‘fuzz’ because at one point it WAS sticky. I go to get Cheetah out of the car seat and the seatbelt is sticky, the carseat is sticky, Cheetah is sticky! My hands are now sticky, oh crap gotta grab my purse…now the purse is sticky! (Repeating to myself, “Do NOT run your fingers through your hair until you wash them!”) I am pretty sure when I signed up for this whole ‘motherhood thing’ there was no clause or fine print that mentioned anything about my new found candy covered paradise. I see other mother's walking around and they aren't breaking a sweat, don't have crazy eyes, or stringy hair; they actually look pretty cute in their capris with matching tops, perfectly pedicured toes, and 'just so' hair do's.

As I walked dowtown feeling a little worse for wear and out of breath I wondered, did I miss the training? Was their some sort of 'super mom 101' at the hospital and I missed the announcement? Most days I feel accomplished when I make it to work on time, dropped Cheetah off (with all his belongings) and I remembered to pick up my lunch from the kitchen counter. I need better goals!

I really kinda feel sorry for all those celebrities that have to deal with the sticky hands, belongings, and purses...they have to be beautiful, AND smile for the cameras.

Got Fairies?

So the elusive pull-up (plus the other two from the rest of the week) finally made it’s way into the garbage yesterday, yes that means it was on my living room floor for an additional 5 days. I had to mention, “Hey Tarzan, what’s the story with those pull-ups” he reposnded with the usual, “I keep meaning to throw them away.” Really? I don’t get it. I am gone all weekend and come home late Sunday afternoon and he has been home since lunch. Nothing had been done, he wasn’t even washing HIS clothes for the week. So how exactly do I get to where he is now?? How do I become comfortable with sitting around when there is stuff to be done. He says men are made differently and he just doesn’t SEE what I see.

I take it personal, I feel somehow disrespected because he doesn’t WANT to help me with what needs to be done. Look, I know what needs to be done sucks, hell I don’t want to do it either! I wonder do all women take things this seriously? Why is it a real offense to have to ASK for help with the things he sees me do EVERY day? Why does it feel like he cares for me less because he has to be TOLD what to do around the house and doesn’t just SEE it? Does he not notice what gets done or does he think that I have some magic ‘woman spell’ I cast and the little fairies come out of the woodwork and tidy our world up?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The elusive Pull-Up

Well things are off to a good start. The dishwasher is going and the kitchen is clean. We had a night full of PB&Js and popcorn, Cheetah schooled me in the joys of eating popcorn. Apparently you HAVE to eat in the dark while watching t.v. Who knew?

So let's cut to the chase. There's this pull-up (used, gross) lying in the floor of my living room. I didn't leave it there, I just want to clarify. Tarzan can remember that every Wednesday is 'boy's night' but the urine soaked pull-up eludes him?? Even though the thought of said pull-up makes me want to vomit, there it sits. It has ran me out of the living room, I am trying to get wrapped up in a book and forget the dirty pull-up and pajamas in my living room. Did I forget to mention the pajamas?? :)

What will happen if I don't do it?

Since the dawn of man, I am pretty sure that all women have had a similar thought run through their heads, “What WILL happen if I don’t do it?” Out of frustration, need, or the desperate thought that it all HAS to get done we stay up late, skip out on relaxing, and skimp on together time with our families to try to make everything run more smoothly. So, out of desperation I have decided to turn my life into an experiment. I am going to attempt to ignore the call of the chores with an immediate chore session and give Tarzan and Cheetah the chance to help out.

I will see exactly what will happen if I don’t take out the garbage, don’t wash clothes, don’t cook supper, and don’t clean house. Will all the chores get done by that magic 'chore fairy' that has boycotted my house in the past? Maybe I’ll learn to let things slide, maybe I can learn why I feel the need to ‘do’ so much, maybe I'll learn not to feel guilty when things get left alone, or maybe I’ll just learn how to ignore that terrible sigh that Tarzan lets out when I ask him to help out.

Will the same chores get done, will there be a redistribution of labor around the house or will we end up being inspected by family services??