Posts Tagged ‘parenting’
Friday, November 2nd, 2012
The diary entry – was it seventh grade? ninth? – included a dictionary definition.
Because I wanted to know what, exactly, “ugly scum” meant. That’s what my peers thought of me, a boy told me. And I needed to drive home that point to myself. In case I had any thoughts to the contrary.
I grew up knowing this truth about myself. No one ever told me I was beautiful. Or even pretty. Not my parents. Though I probably wouldn’t have believed them, anyway. Obviously not my friends. Frenemies. Bueller. Anyone. My sister and I now laugh about our awkward years, from age 7 to 27.
Seven. The age my daughter is now.
My sister-in-law once told me that Ellen was the smart one and I was the pretty one. I laughed pretty hard at that. My sister was so very beautiful to me. I was the one with the big thighs, the big nose. The one who didn’t have her first boyfriend until after college graduation.
So maybe you can understand that when a boy she didn’t know called Sage “ugly” on the playground, when he pointed and laughed at her, it rocked me to my core.
“How do you feel about being called that?” I’d asked her.
“I’m not ugly,” Sage said. “I’m cute!”
I swallowed hard. Her confidence amazed me. She thought something was wrong with him, to say something so ridiculous. She was correct.
One of our nicknames for Sage is Beauty Girl. Strangers have commented on how gorgeous her eyes are, and she learned to take a compliment at an early age. This is not to say we don’t praise her for her internal qualities; her intelligence, her determination, her sense of humor, her unexpected kindnesses toward her brothers, her athleticism. We do. Her confidence – her beauty – is not simply skin-deep.
But the harassment continued from this boy and his friend. Calling Sage names. Pulling her hair. The bullying got to her and, after I had spoken to the mother of one of the boys and to Sage’s teachers and nothing helped, I went to the assistant principal.
I know how some little boys are. When they like a girl, and the girl doesn’t respond, then they have to find a different way to get her attention. When I shared this theory with Sage, I also made it clear that this behavior was not remotely okay. That boys should not be mean to girls they like. Because what if she’s 16 and thinks that? What would she put up with then? When you think that being treated badly means something good, when your self-confidence erodes grain by grain, then you lessen yourself.
I don’t want that for Sage.
How dare they? Who are they to try to shame my girl with their thoughtless words?
The boys don’t bother anymore. Much.
They bothered me, though.
They bothered me.
Monday, December 5th, 2011
There are times I look at my daughter and my brain fast-forwards 10 years.
She will be leaving for a dance, only her date won’t be her father. It’ll be some good-looking, hormonal 16 year-old, and David will wait at home, a rifle on his lap, for her to return.
That’s why I try to appreciate Six.
When sparkly pink shoes don’t come with a stiletto…
When the only one she’ll put her arms around is Daddy…
When she is beautiful but boys are still way too young to notice…
When I tell her she looks like a teenager and she says, “No, Mommy. Teenagers have all their teeth”…
She is six. For as long as I can keep her there.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
I don’t remember the weight of him.
I see the picture of me holding him, but it doesn’t take me back there. Back to when he was just two months older than his baby brother is now.
Did he like to clutch the back of my arm like Xander does? Did he sit perfectly on my hip? Did I take the time to inhale his toddler scent?
It steals my breath, this crucial hole in my memory. Those days are gone. Really, really gone.
He is 7 1/2. He calls us “Mom” and “Dad.” I still pick him up occasionally, but his legs can wrap completely around me and he quickly slithers to the ground.
How do we forget?
I’d like to think it’s because we’re too busy living in the now. But I worry it also means I wasn’t present enough back then, back when I also had a 10-month old high-maintenance baby already taking her first steps.
I look at that picture and I am at the beach. I sit on our green scratchy blanket – that we still use – trying to capture the perfect shot of Sage in her floppy beach hat. I walk to the water’s edge to splash and chase waves with Sawyer. I help him dig up tiny crabs to put in the back of his red toy truck (we still have the truck, too). We eat turkey sandwiches on sweet rolls for lunch.
I am taken back to that day, but I am not taken back to the moment. I try to capture it but it is like spray coming off the surf, dissipating in the heat as I reach.
I listen to my friends with teenagers lament about missing these years, and I think to myself that I’m in these years and yet maybe I am not.
Maybe I am an observer. Maybe I am not doing this right at all.
I don’t remember the weight of him.
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
A lot of you commented on my post about my frustration trying to parent my adorable but incredibly feisty daughter.
You told me to let you know when I figured something out.
Well, I have. (more…)
Friday, June 25th, 2010
I troll. Yes, I’m a troller. Which is different than BEING a troll. Really! It is!
Anyway, I troll. I read a lot of blogs. And so I often come across things that make me think. Which is important. Because otherwise? That brain thing in my head? It would melt out of my ears. And that would be, like, really gross.
One of the things I’ve seen quite often lately, aside from bloggers complaining about negative comments, is bloggers falling over themselves (or just briefly mentioning) that they are NOT a Mom Blog. Why? Because their blog is so much MORE!
I don’t mean to be snarky here. I don’t. It’s just that I feel it’s an example of women thinking that being a mother is somehow diminishing. That Mom Bloggers clearly just write about their kids shitting unicorns and rainbows, their excitement over finding just the right laundry detergent to clean said shit, their overall domestic bliss, and, in case they haven’t mentioned, how cute their children are.
This perception is certainly perpetuated by our society, which likes to label and lump us all in the same basket. And when we’re called Mommy Bloggers it does sound a bit juvenile (but who am I to talk, I’m Mommypants, for chrissakes, but Mompants just didn’t have the same ring to it, you know?). Are we also at fault for distancing ourselves from it?
I have no problem being called a Mom Blogger. Because I am a mom. Look through my posts. I write about all kinds of things. Some funny. Some sad. Some about my kids, some not. Yes, I’m a mom, but I’m also a woman.
I have interests that don’t have to do with my kids. I KNOW! But it’s true. I bet all of you do, too.
I had a career, traveled the country and went to Europe twice before I had them. I read voraciously. Books, news stories, the sports pages – whatever.
We are not one-dimensional beings. Having a child did not shrink us, it helped us grow in ways we never imagined. We can write about scraping vomit off the wall one day, training for our first marathon the next, and then the next? Post our evaluation on the current health care system.
Thing is, I’m proud to be a mom. I don’t think there’s any more important job on the planet than bringing a life into the world and loving it and nurturing it. It’s also the toughest job, and connecting, through blogging, with other women going through all the same joy and heartache and hilarity has been invaluable. It’d be disingenuous of me to say motherhood hasn’t changed me. Of course it has. It has made me softer in some areas and harder in others. And I’m not just talking about my belly.
When I posted about my complete opposition to Proposition 8, it was with my children and their future in mind. I definitely see the world through a different prism now.
My kids are at the forefront. But they are not completely obstructing the view.
When we distance ourselves from the title of “mom,” we pay a great disservice to ourselves. What we do is important. What we write is important.
We are moms.