Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This is my munchkin.  The one that I love more than I ever imagined I could. The one that I am fiercely protective of. The one that sneaks into my bed at night because he wants to snuggle.  The one that tells me he loves me about 100 times a day.

This is my munchkin.  The one that will look me straight in the eye and tell me that he cleaned his room when he didn't. The one that tells me I'm not his friend when I don't let him play Mario Kart.  This is the munchkin that barfed in my ear while I was sleeping.  

Please don't ever let your munchkin barf in your ear while you're sleeping.  I can guarantee you won't like it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Life can be a bully.

Life punched me in the face this week. Dazed and confused, I looked around wondering what happened, when life sucker punched me in the gut. I fell to the ground in agony where finally ended the beating with a swift and painful kick to the teeth.

I got a phone call this week from my son’s school. They told me something that no parent should ever have to hear. Determined to remain calm, I sat down with my little guy and asked him what happened. The story he told me made me want to vomit, it made me want to scream, gnash my teeth and punch a wall. It made me want to hug my son tightly while I sobbed and never let him go. I did none of these things. Well I did hug him, I told him that I loved him, I let him play Mario Kart on the Wii and I went to my room and cried where he wouldn’t see me.

The rest of the week was spent getting emergency visits to therapists, talking to different individuals at his school including his teacher, the director and several aides.

My son will be fine – the therapist seems to think that this will not come back to haunt him later in life. I however am pretty sure that I am permanently scarred from my beating. I will not have the blind sense of safety and trust that I had before. Last night my husband, son and I went out to dinner. I had a large glass of wine (maybe it was two glasses). When I put my son to bed he asked if I would snuggle with him. We fell asleep snuggled up on his twin bed. When I woke up at 11, I knew that I needed to get to my own bed or suffer the consequences of a terrible night’s sleep and a sore back in the morning but I stayed there a few minutes more because I didn’t want to let him go.

Oh – did I mention that two family members are in the hospital (one here and one in Australia)? And that another family member is deciding whether or not to get radiation for his tongue cancer now that they’ve cut his tongue out completely? And that my husband just got notice that his company is cutting every employee’s salary by 10%? And that I found out on Friday that I will spend most of April away from home on business?

It’s a beautiful sunny day this morning so my husband, son and I will get outside, take a hike in the foothills and take lots of deep breaths. We are a team of three and no one is going to fuck with us.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Have you ever seen the movie Thumbsucker? If not, I highly recommend it… It’s about a teenage kid who has a thumbsucking habit. After going through all sorts of different attempts to stop including; hypnosis, Ritalin, and smoking pot he goes to see his dentist. The dentist talks to him and lets him know that thumb sucking is not a medically debilitating problem, that everyone has their own flaws, and nobody has all the answers; in fact, learning to live without having the answers might actually BE the answer. He finally relaxes, accepts himself, flaws and all, and can live a normal life without trying to be someone he isn’t.

I loved this movie. I loved the theme of accepting yourself and your flaws. Yet, I’m determined to make my son stop sucking his thumb. My sweet little guy has been sucking his thumb since before he was born. I actually have an ultrasound picture of him with his thumb in his mouth. At the age of 3 weeks, he figured out how to get that thumb up to his mouth and suck on it when he was sleeping and he instantly slept through the night. What new parent wouldn’t LOVE to have a baby sleep through the night at 3 weeks old? I’ve never had a problem with his thumbsucking and have always lived by the theory that “it’s not like he’s going to go away to college sucking his thumb”. He sucks his thumb when he’s tired, when he’s feeling insecure, and for some reason when we’re in the car. Random people have stopped me in Target (because I always seem to be at Target) and would tell me that I needed to stop his thumbsucking right away! They say thist with such urgency, like national security depends on it… I generally get annoyed with people who decide they should approach me and tell me how to parent my child so those conversations didn’t tend to go very well. Unfortunately, now I DO think that it’s time for him to stop. He is almost 6. He’ll be starting 1st grade next year and shows absolutely NO sign of slowing down on that thumb.

We have started putting bandaids on his thumb as a reminder not to suck it during the day. The second he gets home from school he tears that thing off and sucks his thumb like it’s the most delicious lollipop he has ever had. He said that he doesn’t want to stop sucking his thumb and doesn’t care if the other kids give him a hard time. I care – it kills me to think of him being ostracized for this habit that is really his main source of comfort. I know I should leave it alone and let him stop on his own, but his dentist said that unless he stops by the age of 6 or so, he’s going to start having dental issues. So I’m torn – should I let him figure this out on his own, or help him change the habit now before it becomes even more ingrained? Even if he did go to college sucking his thumb, as long as he is ok with it, shouldn’t I be?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Should we stay or should we go?

This blog might change – from a blog about being a working mom to a blog about being a working mom living in another country.  Nothing will happen quickly but it IS a possibility… Let me back up a bit.

When I was 23, my girlfriend and I had just graduated college (yes – I was on the 5 year plan) and decided to stuff some backpacks full of clothing and head to Europe. We spent a little over two months being vagabonds – we traveled to Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and Spain.  I was in love – not with a man but with the amazing, eye-opening experience of being in different countries, learning about different cultures, languages and people.  I had been bitten by the travel bug.

A year or so after I got back, I met my husband.  On the first night we spoke, he told me about a 6 month trip he had taken from California to Guatemala and back and how amazing it was.  I was smitten – and jealous!  Less than year after we started dating, the NEED to travel was hitting us hard. We realized that neither of us had seen much of the US so we decided to quit our jobs and spend a few months camping across the US (oh to be young with no responsibilities… but I digress!). 

Since then, we have continued to travel together and with our son who is now 5. However, two of my goals in life are to learn another language (fluently) and to live in another country. The more that I thought about it, the more that I realized I should do both at the same time. 

My husband and I have toyed with the idea of selling everything and moving to another country for a while.  We went to Costa Rica on a fact-finding trip thinking that we might move there. However, it just didn’t seem like the right time.  Then the housing market blew up in our face and selling everything didn’t seem like much of an option.  We went to Panama last year and really felt at home.  We told ourselves that when the housing market got better, we would pack up and go.  I even approached my boss about it and asked if I could work from home from there.  She said that she was fine with it as long as I had easy access to an airport.  All the stars were starting to align. 

Now, the housing market hasn’t really jumped back up but it doesn’t seem to be in the gutter either. So what is our motivation?  My husband just got hit with a 10% pay cut.  Add that to the cut in bonuses that happened last year and it’s a pretty hefty dent in our monthly income. We’ve started thinking seriously again about making the move and have come up with a plan… 

We are going to bust our butts in the month of March to finish all the house projects that we have started. We don’t have much – we can pull it all off in the 30 day timeline we’ve given ourselves.  We will then have a few real estate agents come in and tell us what we could sell our house for and, barring that, what we could rent it for.   If we can do either without taking a hit then we’re out of here.  Of course everything takes time. I don’t see an actual move until July or so – but it IS a possibility.

I’ve looked into schools for my son. I’ve looked into flights to NY (my office). I’ve looked into rental houses/apartments for our initial living situation until we decide if/where we want to buy.  At this point it’s all a matter of pulling the trigger.  Will we chicken out? Will our house be worth nothing?  Will we be able to make it work?  I would love to hear from someone who has done the same thing – or who knows someone who has done the same thing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My cat has pets

Yesterday morning, my husband, the kid and I were all sitting at the kitchen counter enjoying a peaceful breakfast when I heard the cat crunching on his food. This was particularly surprising since I had put the cat outside about two minutes earlier. I looked up and, oh holy hell, it was a mouse! Now, our cat doesn’t actually kill mice or rats. What he prefers to do instead is catch them, and bring them home as pets. We had one mouse that lived under our dishwasher for a month before we knew he was there – he never got into our food but was so fat from cat food he morphed from a tiny field mouse to a small Chihuahua.

Of course, being a girl, I shrieked and the mouse ran into a tiny crawl space under our cupboards with no way for us to catch him. However, since there was only one way in, we assumed that there was only one way out… We moved the cat food back a little bit, put some sticky traps under the hole in the crawl space and waited. After a few minutes my husband said he had to go – he was driving the carpool that day. I wasn’t really interested in being part of the mouse homicide, especially when my husband told me that once he was caught I was going to have to brain him with a shovel so he wouldn’t suffer. Um – what?! I knew I had to be brave.

Ten minutes later while I’m sitting at my desk, I hear a giant commotion coming from the kitchen so with absolute dread, I ran in to check the situation. Not good. The mouse had gotten its back feet on the sticky trap but not its front and it was frantically running around the kitchen dragging the trap with it. I ran into the garage to get a bucket - with the plan to just cover it with that, call my husband and make him come home to deal with it. When I got back to the kitchen, the mouse was gone – all that was left was a fur covered sticky trap.

So now we have another mouse that seems to enjoy his daily meals of cat food. We’ve got more traps out and for once, I am happy to be headed out of town.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I may be blonde but I'm not an airhead - really!

After a 7 day trip that included 6 flights, 5 trains, three hotels and one rental car I was exhausted and came home able to only use half my brain.  I picked my son up from school early on my way home from the airport thinking that we would have some good bonding time together (hopefully snuggled up in bed with a movie!). 

As the “low fuel” light was glaring at me, I took a quick detour to the gas station on the way home.  I rolled down the back windows to talk to the kid while I was pumping gas so he could tell me all about his day at school.  When I was done, the gas pump offered me a car wash – the kid LOVES to drive through the car wash so I said yes and off we went.  I put my super-secret code into the machine, rolled up my window and waited for the mechanical wheel to push us through.  As we started going, I was marveling at the pretty green, pink and blue foam when I heard “Roll them up! Roll them up!” from the backseat.  I looked back and realized that the kid was being coated from the neck down in aforementioned pretty green, pink and blue foam – as was the rest of the backseat. It seems I had forgotten to roll up the back windows after pumping gas. 

I frantically pushed the back seat window button – it was maddeningly slow.  Luckily I got the windows up right at the end of the foam cycle but before the rinse.  The kid was completely covered, my seats were completely covered, my floor was completely covered and we laughed like crazy for the rest of the wash.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture but I will never forget (and the kid would never let me forget) the sight of him after going through the car wash.  On the bright side, I had no problem getting my son to take a shower, and the leather in my backseat has never been cleaner!

This isn’t the first time I’ve made a stupid mistake due to exhaustion.  The week of the car wash I also got into the shower while still wearing my underwear, and searched everywhere for my cell phone only to realize after tearing the house apart that I was holding it in my hand. 

Of course, I’m writing this while on another trip – 5 flights in 5 days.  I’m tired just thinking about it. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

I don't embarras easily...

I have to face facts.  The Kid has his own agenda and a lot of it includes embarrassing/humiliating his mother and father.

The other night, we didn’t feel like cooking so we went to our local sushi restaurant for dinner. The Kid said that he had to go to the bathroom. This sushi restaurant is particularly small – just a few tables and a sushi bar. Because of its size, we have a view of the bathroom and who goes in and out so we let him go alone - with the requisite reminders to flush and wash his hands.  He came out proudly a few minutes later and as he walked to our table he found it important to announce (in his outside voice)  “I went poo!”  The funny thing is, we are so used to being embarrassed that this hardly fazed us at all.  However, the childless young couple seated next to us seemed less than amused.

I’m going to lay a few more on the table for you – so next time your little one decides to humiliate you; you’ll know you aren’t alone…

We are on vacation and trying to catch a boat to an island which will be our home for the next 5 days.  We park our car about a half mile away and begin the walk to the boat dock with our bags and The Kid in tow.  Did I mention it was hot?  Before we get to the docks, The Kid is complaining that he can’t walk because it’s too hot.  My husband picks The Kid up, puts him on his shoulders and we keep going. By the time we get to the docks we’re sweaty – and late.  We were told to go to “Dock H”.  If we miss this boat we’re screwed so we begin to run – past docks A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I – wait – what?  My husband who is voicing exactly what I was thinking says “Where the fuck is H?”  We run up and down the docks a few more times and finally see our boat – on dock C.  Once we’re on the boat, we realize that we’re headed to a seriously swanky place. We are the ONLY ones on this lovely yacht and they greet us with champagne and orange juice.  We are taken up to meet the captain and he greets us one by one.  The Kid then tugs on the captain’s sleeve and says in the sweetest little voice “excuse me”.  My husband and I smile at each other because we’re so proud that we have a child with such great manners.  When the captain looks down The Kid asks “where the fuck is H?” 

Yet another.  I’m sitting on the steps of my sister-in-law’s front porch.  The kid is next to me and has decided that it would be fun to look through my purse.  When it is time to go, I ask him for my purse back to which he responds “no!”  I ask him again with the same response.  As I am not a particularly patient person, I lean down and pull the purse from his sweaty little hands.  As he loses his grip, he also loses his balance and rolls - in slow motion down the two steps.  There is much crying, lots of hugs and the drama is over.  Fast forward two hours and we’re at the grocery store – kid in cart in the cereal aisle with 5 other people. In this moment, he takes the opportunity to ask “Mommy – why did you push me down the stairs?”

Of course there are more – and more to come I am sure… Feel free to share yours! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


No – not in THAT way…

On Sunday morning we were partaking in one of my favorite activities – family snuggle.  My son, my husband and I cuddle up in bed and just talk.  I love this time of day because everyone is relaxed and kind of silly, there are no distractions, no TV, no chores, no rushing around to “get things done”. We bond (I know that word is so cheesy). 

This particular Sunday, my son made up a new game that I’m not sure I like – I call it the flying headbutt.  Now to be fair, he didn’t do it on purpose. He was evading his tickling daddy with some cool ninja-like moves and slammed his head into mine.  How he came out of this whole thing without a scratch is beyond me.  When he hit me, I actually saw stars and almost vomited right then and there from the pain. I ended up with a giant blue lump above my right eye.  It looks like the nub of a horn, like you would see on a baby deer but less cute.

Today is Tuesday and my horn is no less prominent, in fact my boss called me a unicorn.  I have no idea how long this thing will be around. What I do know is that there will be no more ninja moves during family snuggle.  Unless I’m wearing a helmet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The year of the search

It happened again, right before the holidays I was at a doctor’s appointment and had to fill out one of those “new patient” forms. You know the one – the seventeen page document asking questions about you, your health history and your family’s health history.  This time it was at the dermatologist and the questions were based around my family history of skin cancer. As usual, with a vague sense of uneasiness, I wrote “I don’t know” on the forms. 

I was adopted.  In general, this isn’t something that preys on my mind. I have always known I was adopted – I don’t even remember being told – I just knew.  My older sister was also adopted while my younger brother and sister were not.  I have never felt like an outside in my family, or that the other kids were more loved, we were just a family.  However, I have always wondered… what do my biological relatives look like?  At almost 5’11, I’m the tallest person in my family and the only physical characteristic I have in common with them is eye color – all the females in my family have blue eyes. Then again, so does a LARGE chunk of the population!

Now that I have a son of my own, I would also love to have family health history.  My biological mother was 16 when she had me and I was told that she was “healthy”.  Well no fricking kidding!!! She was 16!  After my teens, it was determined that I have a faulty heart valve, and an underactive thyroid.  I certainly didn’t have that information when I was 16.  Two of my girlfriends were diagnosed with breast cancer before they were 40.  Then again, they have a family history of breast cancer so they knew to be vigilant. 

I’ve decided that 2010 is going to be the year of “the search”.  I have gotten a lot of conflicting information on my biological mother. She lied a lot.  She and her boyfriend were living in IL when she got pregnant. They packed up and ran away to CA – they were young and in love, and thought that they would get jobs and raise me.  That pipe dream lasted all of about 2 weeks before they ran out of money, she moved into a maternity home and he moved into his car.  When they got to CA they lied about their ages, where they were from, and even their names.  Imagine the elation I felt when I found out her name and then the unbelievable frustration I felt when I found out that I had spent 3 years searching for someone who doesn’t exist.  I do have some new leads and will follow them up, knowing that I’ll most likely hit a lot of dead ends in the process.

I’m very nervous about this search. I don’t know what I’ll find and honestly, I don’t know what I want to find.  I could spend a lot of time searching and not find anything, or this could turn into a Pandora’s box of drama.  With the possibility of disappointment, rejection, or worse – finding someone who overwhelms me – I am not sure why I’m doing this.  I would be MORE than happy with a stack of photos and and up-to-date health history but I’m not sure that is possible.  Either way, I’m going to try.

The funny thing is, I do have one biological relative – The Kid – and he looks NOTHING like me!  He is a clone of his father.  I wonder – if he looked like me, would I still want to proceed with this search or would I let bygones be bygones?