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Monthly Archives: June 2014

I Used To Be Such a Good Blogger…

…But a full-time job with kids home at all summer has put a serious damper on my style. I think I need a degree in project management to keep track of their schedules and my husband’s wacky work schedule. Not to mention my kids need sustenance. Seriously, mamas, kids need attention every day. EVERY DAY. Can you even believe it?

A big shout out to all my friends who have circled the wagon this past month to take my kids to such wonderful places as the beach, downtown Los Angeles for Mexican dresses, art openings, Swedish festivals, bowling, parties, sleepovers and more. I don’t even know if any of you read this blog, but if you do, you know who you are. I am so very grateful.

To answer the last blog’s question of ‘Would you tell a camp counselor if your kid had T.S.?’ I did indeed tell the camp director. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t even twitch – and not because she doesn’t have T.S.. She simply didn’t react because, apparently, I’m not the only mom in the world who has a child with special needs.

I was immediately put at ease, especially with her closing statement. “I am glad you said something,” she offered kindly, “Because if some kid acted poorly toward him, I’d want to know that he could advocate for himself or talk to his counselor.”

“My son not only advocates for his tics, he also advocates for seconds on popsicles, extra pool time and extra room on stage to take his final bow,” I said, giving her a small glimpse into his over-the-top personality.

She smiled, “He’ll have to join in line behind the other boys,” she said. “This is a public park n’ rec. That kind of behavior is par for the course.”

One week later, my son came home in tears.

“Oh, no,” I said, pulling him into my arms. “What’s got you so upset?”

“I don’t know,” he sniffled, sitting on my lap. I almost gasped at how heavy he was, but I decided breathing was overrated. How long would my almost sixth grader want to cuddle with me? I bent my head next to his mop of curl, enjoying the warmth of his bear paws on my knees.  I took a deep breath, was reminded he needed to wear Roll On with more frequency, and snuggled close. “You must know what’s wrong,” I nudged him.

“Well, I guess I do. But I just don’t want to say.”

“Oh, no,” I though. He’d been lightly hiccupping all week, likely due to chlorine overload. I was ready for his tale of woes about the kid at the snack bar who asked him to keep his noises to himself.

“Did some kid tease you?” I asked?

He immediately bristled and pulled away. “No! What would they do that?”

“Stupid me!” I wanted to respond. Instead I went with, “Then what’s the problem?”

“Well, you’re working so hard, and it costs money to go, so I feel bad saying this, but…” he burst into tears. “I’m not a fan of the great outdoors! Oh, Mama, I am a fan of the great indoors!”

I stifled my laughter, gave him a huge, promised him we’d turn on the air condition and watch TV the following week while his sister sweated her ass off with the other campers. “And lots of snacks,” he advised. “And lots of snacks.” Problem solved.

Here are a few images of what Stink considers to be ideal activity. Thank God he’s estimated to be SIX FOOT NINE. No joke. If not, he’d be bigger than a Whale at McDonalds.

dom 1 dom 3 dom 4 dom 5

 

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How Much Do You Tell?

Vintage-Postcard

It was a monumental day for me. For the first time ever, I signed up my kids for day camp. That kind of activity used to be relegated to my sister only who has a steady gig working for the public defender’s office.

That role used to be for those moms at school that I only saw in dashes and blurs as they dropped their kids off in power suits and designer jeans with blazers before rushing off to the office, studio or friends at school who were working girls. Not normal moms like my friends and me. Not us – the coupon cutting rebels who’d spend our summers packing four kids into dirty SUVs, careening around curvy mountain roads on half tanks of gas for a glorious day at the beach.

No Starbucks and drive through crappy meals for our kind. Dollar Mickey D coffees for the mamas and some gluten free packed sandwiches for the kids. If we forgot the lunches, no worries! Some other mama from our tribe, already at the beach with a blanket spread and story ready, would surely share some extra vittles with a fellow sojourner on the journey of Mama Summer Camp.

But this year, it was me who lurched into a parking lot, spent after a long day at the office. It was me, not some other mom, who breathlessly ran into a camp office and dropped almost $400 to give my kids a summer camp experience next week so I can get to and fro work without the hassle of play date coordination.

Do I miss the days of staying home with my kids over the summer? You betcha.

Do I take for granted that there are plenty of other mamas not as lucky a me – moms that work for less pay than I do – who don’t have such luxuries as summer camp at the local park? Not for a second.

This is going to be a different kind of summer. And while my kids’ experience at the local park and rec is a far cry from fancy camp of alternate suburbs, it’s new for them. Firsts making the iconic Godhead crafts from popsicle sticks. Firsts making personalized dream weavers or frantically completing rainbow looms while waiting for Mom or Dad to pick them up in the mess hall. Firsts lining up for camp songs. Firsts for weekly talent shows. Firsts for long swims in overly chlorinated pools. Firsts for tight knit friendships that can only be made from first day jitters standing in line for Lemon Heads next to a kid in the same colored group shirt as them. Instant war buddies. Instant connection. For that, I’m so thrilled.

And just a wee bit nervous.

As I turned in the registration form today, I had to play that mental game with myself: “Do I tell the counselor my kid has T.S.? Do I let him advocate for himself? What if I say nothing, but he has bad eyerolls. Will they think he’s having a seizure at the water sly? If I do say something, am I being that defensive mom who is putting my kid on the radar unnecessarily?”

What would you have done?

Come back Thursday and I’ll fill you in on my decision.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this photo of our pit bull and the kids. After much deliberation, we did end up telling our dog that Stink has T.S.. As you can see, she was very concerned.

dog days

 

What is your passion, Mamas?

Hi –

As I write this post, my nose is dripping in goo. My son is upstairs reading the fourth book of the Harry Potter series. My daughter is selling “cootie catchers” (these paper crafts that tell the future) on the corner with her friend Miss L.

Regarding my nose, it is awful to be sick and working full-time. But hey, the bright side is that Pip made me a pot of coffee before bounding out the house and Stink brought me water. My husband brought me two biscottsi and this laptop. My living room is clean and the birds are chirping! Plus two days a week I work from home. I am pretty darn lucky.

Regarding my son and his books, I’m thrilled he likes them so much. Library day is still one of his favorite outings. I was going to write you that when he reads he doesn’t tic, but he just let out a loudish kind of exhale. I am not a fan of this particular one as it’s the loudest one he’s ever had – and I thought we had dodged a bullet on those intrusive ones –  but he’s happy, so I must be, too. (It’s not crazy relentless unless he’s playing videos. Will I stop the video game insanity once and for all? No. Two hours/day on weekends is fine.)

drop 2

 

Regarding my daughter selling cootie catchers on street corners, Miss L’s mom is with them. And seriously, that kid makes cash – about ten bucks each time drags the cart out and sets up shop. “Mommy, being a kid is great!” she says. “People give us stuff just because they think we are cute!”

NOTE: There’s a fine line between cute 9-year-old and curvy pre-tween, so let’s just say her cootie catcher street corner days will be over soon. But guess who else isn’t going to be young forever? Yup, none other than my Stink. He’ll be 12 in January. I might not miss the tics when they finally go into remission in his late teens, but I’ll sure miss his spirit. He is pure joy and outrageous fun.

I write this because my job right now is not easy. I’m doing all this tech stuff I’m not a fan of. I commute a LONG way. I’m tired. But the deal is, it’s where I need to be right now while my husband grows his business. It’s teaching me that no one has died from a difficult employment gig. And, well, I don’t want to miss out on my kids’ childhoods because I was so caught up in what wasn’t working: tics, job stress, life changes at home.

Summer is coming. What will I be doing? Beach Fridays with the kids when I get out of work at 2. Long days at the local public pool. A camping excursion with the hubby and babies where we’ll over eat, over hike, get filthy dirty and enjoy some laughs.

Oh, and I’m going to write. Yup, I’m getting my portfolio up online and going to get back freelance writing again. If my book sells, great. If it doesn’t, I can still do the writing. Why? Because when I don’t, I feel cranky and tired and suddenly the tics are SO MUCH BIGGER than they need to be. My husband is SO MUCH MORE ANNOYING and my daughter is WAAAAY TOO DEMANDING. Writing gives me hope, and hope trumps crap every single time.

What about you? What do you do for a living? Do you work raising babies or work in an office? What is your passion? And the bigger question, are you pursuing it? I want to know.

I miss interacting with you ladies. Leave a comment and let me know how I can encourage you.