Supafella…

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Last Friday, when the kids climbed in the car to go home, the doll swatted her brother and said, “You didn’t tell me you were nominated for Super Fellow”.  “Oh yeah, sorry,” He replied. Sitting in the front seat, I horned in on their conversation, “What? What happened?” I asked. “He was nominated to represent the Film Club,” the doll added. “Nominated for what?” I asked, wanting to pridefully enjoy her answer. “Super Fellow…I think it’s like Homecoming Queen, except for boys…” “Yeah, it’s something like that,” the boy began before explaining, “Mom, once they narrow down their choices, if I’m still in the running, I need to write an essay, then go to a dance I think”. “The winter dance?” I asked. “I think it’s the Sadie Hawkins dance again-which is casual, so that’s cool…” He replied. “Then you have to wait for a girl to ask you…don’t you?” I replied, adding, “Do you think A will ask you again, considering you’ve turned her down three years in a row?” “Eh, I think I’ll cross that bridge if I need to…” He replied.

Considering all the good things I’ve been hearing about his likability/popularity at school, here’s to hoping he needs to…

off limits…

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When the boy was in fourth grade, he got into trouble goofing around with a buddy at their lockers, instead of going into class when the bell rang. When asked by the attendance clerk why he was in trouble, he replied, “Because Mrs. Klear is a flaming shitball”.  Nice. Now imagine the phone call I received from the school principal shortly thereafter. Needless to say, while I was embarrassed that he would say such a thing-about a teacher-out loud; I had a great story to “tell” others (a reverse sort of bragging), later that week when the Parents Association hosted a Lady’s Night Out event. While I made my rounds at the event, talking about the boy’s poor opinion of his teacher, I ran into a woman who said, “Oh I just heard about this from the school principal. You’re boy is quite the card…” “What?” I replied confused. “Yes she was telling us stories about the kids, but she seemed to enjoy talking about your son’s name calling the most…” I think I responded with an “Oh” and a nod and walked away, not at all happy to hear this. Looking back, I think what bothered me the most is that as the boy’s mother, I have the right to talk about his foibles and successes at my discretion. As a school principal, while she saw my son five days a week, that didn’t give her the right to talk about my kids’ foibles to others. Plain and simple, my “Momma Bear”attitude came out in force.

*****

The reason I bring this old story up is because I’m disturbed by the accounts of people who seem fine making fun of President Trump’s (who did not receive my vote) ten year old son, Barron. Across social media I’ve read many examples of people speculating what life is like for Trump’s youngest child, even going so far as to poke fun/speculate about his appearance, his mannerisms, his home life. As a citizen, I’m appalled. As a mother, I’m pissed. Growing up is difficult enough, without the added burden of having celebrity-famous parents. I can’t imagine what life is like for this young man. I mean, how do you shield him from the criticisms or name calling, or constant drone of divisive rhetoric? How do you keep peers from bullying him, because their parents don’t like his policy or the way his administration is dealing with the press?

Moving forward, I hope some of our collective sensibilities returns soon. While I don’t care for Trump’s policies or his cabinet picks etc, that doesn’t give me the right to attack his young son, nor would I. Instead I’ll use my voice to be heard in other ways, for example, in two years when midterm elections arrive. In the meantime, my criticisms will be aimed squarely where they belong–at President Trump and his administration, not his young son.

 

 

 

preparing for the future…

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The scene was familiar and has been played out numerous of times before.  The boy and I were driving to school this morning and I was giving him a lecture-or as he might say, “a tongue lashing”.  I reached a point where I expected him to reply, but was met with “radio silence aka dead air”. “Bay?” I asked and nothing happened. When we came to a red light, I reached over, pulled the wireless headphone out of his ears and said, “You know better, no headphones in the car!” “That’s a new rule…” He argued. “Yes new since you’re using that to tone me out. Well I have news for you mister, you’ll have to learn to tone me out, just like I learned to tone out my parents, the old fashioned way–without headphones!” Pulling the other headphone out, he offered a pale apology, “Sorry” and then listened to the rest of my lecture.

“You have to begin preparing yourself for college now…” I began again. “You need to be responsible for getting up for school on your own, because the only person your roommate will be responsible for is himself. Not you or anyone else. The only one who is responsible for you is you. In addition, as scary as this sounds, you’ll be an adult responsible for your own needs,” I said. “I went to bed when you said to last night…” He countered. “Bay, you argued with me at 11:30 about going to bed–which only makes my point. You need to be responsible for getting a good night’s sleep.” “Well, I did manage to take a 3 minute shower…” He said adding, “I know because I counted, 1, 2, 3…” Trying not to laugh, I went back to my tongue lash, er, lecturing saying, “Bay, if you recall, you took a three minute shower because I woke you up late. From here on out, you cannot rely on anyone to wake you up for school, other than yourself…” “I did set my alarm last night…” He offered. “But did you wake up to it?” I asked, “Oh, hell no…” He replied. “Bayy!” I countered and he laughed. “Don’t worry Momma, I’ll be fine…” He said before exiting the car at school.

Yes, fine getting kicked out of school the first quarter for missing all your morning classes… I said to aloud to myself, knowing I have maybe six months left to prepare him for his independent (please)  future.

walking pneumonia….

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Yesterday, I mentioned how my doll has been sharing a cold virus with the rest of us for the past two-four weeks, and today, I decided to put a stop to the madness. Well, actually, the doll, began complaining last night about odd pains in her rib cage and upper back, which led me to wonder if her cold had mutated into something worse. “When I was a kid, I used to get pleurisy very easily, so, considering she’s my kid, I thought I ought to bring her in, ” I told the nurse this afternoon, as she took notes about our visit.

“Mom, what’s Pleurisy?” my doll asked once the nurse vacated the room. “Fluid on the lungs…” I replied, adding, “That’s why last night I kept asking you if it hurt to breathe in or if you had shortness of breath when you walked from room to room. I used to get it when I was a kid and Grandpa would build a tent over me and my bed, then stick a vaporizer inside the tent and leave me there to breathe in the medicine–which wasn’t much more than vapor rub today. What made this so hard was I wasn’t allowed to leave the tent and I would become claustrophobic. Thank goodness they have better ways of treating this today…”

A moment later, the on call doctor came in and gave her an examination… “Breath deep for me…” She asked the doll. After a few breaths, she changed tactics, “Do me a favor, give me a forceful inhale and forceful exhale, like this…” and then demonstrated. The doll acknowledged her request and began taking deeper breaths, which caused her to cough a deep, rattling cough. “Walking pneumonia…” The doctor diagnosed. “Here’s the good news, you’re off school for two days…” the doctor began, “The better news is we’re going to get you on a course of treatment that should clear this up within a week–but you need to come back for a follow up,” She said as both the doll and I nodded. “She needs an antibiotic right now, so she’ll need a couple of shots…” She paused then looked at the doll and asked, “Are you okay with getting shots today?” My tired and very pale doll tilted her head and said, “I don’t care,” “Good, so my nurse will be in with the shots, then you’re going get a fifteen minute breathing treatment, okay?” Again we both nodded and she exited the room.

****

Comic relief came in as we exited the doctors office. In my profession, I’m used to putting my right arm and elbow out to offer assistance to the car and I did so to the doll out of habit. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said with a laugh when she bumped into me. “I’m used to doing that to help Mr. L and Mrs. K,” I explained. “Mom, those two shots in my thighs are killing me, I can barely walk,” She claimed, “Is there anyway you can carry me?” She asked. “Um, no, but here, you can lean on me…” I said offering her my elbow. From the street level, I’m sure we looked odd, as the doll tried her best to put all of her weight on my right arm and had me literally dragging her toward the car. “Doll, seriously?” I said with a laugh while I stopped to regroup. “Mom, they hurt…” She said with her best “I’ve been wounded” voice. “I know baby, but if you keep leaning like this, we’ll both end up in the mud. I will help you…” I said, shifting my right arm around her back, “but you have to help too,” I said as we both readjusted and then together walked toward the car.

******

“How are you feeling now?” I asked my doll when I arrived home from work this evening. Using her hand to illustrate ‘Comme ci, comme ça’, I nodded and then began to hook-up the nebulizer breathing unit, I borrowed from my older brother, Tom.  “Okay, see how I do this?” I asked as she watched, “Tomorrow, you’ll have to do this for yourself while I’m at work, okay?” She nodded, then sat down and took in a treatment. “Mom, this tastes awful,” she said afterward. “The price one pays for health…” I said before adding, “Besides the stuff I had to take….” until she put her hand up to my mouth to stop me from going further. “Mom, this is about me, not you,” She said, as I smiled, nodded in agreement.

Yes, thankfully, she’s on the mend and feeling better.

roundabout stop…

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Over the past three months, we’ve been living in a shared community of germs. Whether my kids are passing the flu to one another or a nasty cold, no matter what we’ve tried, we’ve been unsuccessful at eradicating those shared nasty germs. Last week the boy stayed home from school, suffering from a cold and going through two full boxes of tissues in the process. “Bay, seriously, you couldn’t have gone through all these tissues in one sitting,” I complained. “Mom, I can’t stand to have a stuffy nose, so I am constantly blowing, trying to clear those nasal passages,” He explained. Meanwhile, I made a note to buy more tissues to cover the spread… literally.

We’re under the impression the boy caught his cold from his sister, who happily told him, “Ha, sucks to be you,” When he complained to her about it. However, not two days later, the doll’s cough had deepened and the once almost eradicated cold came back with a vengeance.  “Karma, doll…” The boy said as he handed her his box of tissue and was rewarded with his sister sticking her tongue out of her mouth.

“I firmly believe the carpeting is the culprit,”  I complained to my husband. When our first dog passed away, we were going to install new carpeting, but didn’t have the money to do so.  Now ten years later and another dog who has accidents, I think that carpet is full of toxins that are hurting all of us.” “Perhaps, or they could be bringing it home from school,” He argued and so we tabled our decision until last weekend, when the doll’s cold had ramped back up and now all of us were fighting off a cold. “It has to be the carpeting,” I began argued again, “We can’t seem to get all the germs out of the house, regardless how well we clean. I think if we get these allergens out of the house, we’ll have a better opportunity to get well and stay well…”

So yesterday, while we both coughed and blew noses from the colds our children shared with us, we finally pulled the trigger, driving across town and ordering the materials needed to put hardwood flooring throughout our first floor. The only painful moment came when the samples the salesman gave me to take home, decided a sliver in my right index finger would be a good introduction. As such, I hope that darn sliver (so tiny it remains lodged in my finger) isn’t a harbinger of things to come with our new flooring.

When we arrived home, we were met by the doll who wondered what he had been up to, asking “Where have you two been?” “We went out and purchased new flooring for the main floor…” I replied and was met with an enthusiastic answer, “Thank GOD!!” Yes, my sentiments exactly!

 

Empty heads….

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With thanks to Harvey yesterday, I was able to post a blog, but short of complaining how easily my kids eat our monthly supply of data, before the month ends…I really have nothing new to write. Have I mentioned before how boring my children have become?

Since they won’t give me anything good to write about, I’ve been forced to create some false drama, hoping to liven things up. For instance, the other day when I arrived to pick the kids up from school, I happened to notice the doll’s friend “J” waiting for his ride. A silly thought popped into my head, What if you were to jump out and introduce yourself to him? The doll would be mortified! “Yes she would,” I giggled aloud to myself.

By the time both kids reached the car, “J” was gone and I decided to have a little fun with my daughter. “How was your day?” I asked and she replied, “Ugh, okay,” though her exasperated tone told me more. “Well, so long as it was okay…” I said with a sarcastic undertone, before adding, “Oh, hey, your friend “J” was sitting out here waiting for his ride when I pulled up…” “Oh?” She said, turning around to look where he mighty have been standing. “Yeah and I thought, ‘You know what? I should introduce yourself to him…'” “Mooommm!” Came the doll’s lamented cry. “But I didn’t…” I said with a laugh. “Thank God! My high school friends have not been adequately prepared to meet my parents yet,” She exclaimed. “What? What does that mean?” I replied laughing. “Just what I said…” She replied and then tried changed the subject. “Hmm, me thinks I need to become more proactive in your high school life…” I said only half joking. “Please don’t,” She replied while I laughed and plotted my next move (yet appreciative that she did ask nicely saying “Please”).

****

Hmm, now, once I think of that next move, I’ll let you know…

boots and socks..

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Have you ever worn a pair of boots that systematically pulled your socks down to your toes, with each step? While in New York last month, I experienced this phenomenon and I can tell you what a frustrating and inconvenience this can be. In fact, at the time, after stopping to pull the sock up numerous times I finally stopped, removed my foot from my boot and removed that offending sock, before putting the boot back on and continuing our walk. Now you have an idea of the many frustrations I’ve felt these past few days, trying to pull a blog out the never reaches of my mind. Plenty of story ideas flowing out, but instead of holding firm, they’ve pooled down at the bottom, offering no relief, just a simple inconvenience.

Yesterday, while visiting with Mrs. K, we decided, in lieu of venturing out into the lousy weather outside, we would watch an entertaining movie after lunch. This is quite a feat, in that, Mrs. K owns not a television nor internet service for streaming. Thus, I cart my laptop, an external disc drive and a set of old Bose computer speakers over to her house any time we watch a movie. Yesterday, we decided to treat ourselves to a feast of amusement with the film Harvey, starring James Stewart and his 6’3/4″ buddy, er bunny, friend.

 

 

 

“This used to be my doll’s favorite movie,” I said, adding, “Every time we held a sleepover, she would ask me to rent the darn thing, so her friends could delight in the joy Harvey brought to the screen. That is until one of her friends said the movie caused her to have nightmares…” I recalled. “A nightmare? Whatever brought her to that conclusion?” She wondered. “Well, for some odd reason, her friend is terrified of bunnies–in any form. The mere thought that Harvey happened to be not only a bunny, but one that was 6′ 3/4″ tall,  terrified her…” I explained while she giggled. “So, in effect, her friend was terrified of the invisible whimsical, mischievous Pooka.”

We both smiled at the ridiculousness of the scenario and then harked back to some of the many nuggets of wisdom interspersed throughout that wonderful film and how they pertain to my neck of the woods.

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. 

How many of us struggle daily with being pleasant instead of smart in this day and age of Social media barbarism? I think being pleasant is the better road to hoe and I will endeavor to do so from now on… hopefully my doll remembers this nugget the rest of her life.

Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

In light of recent developments in our popular culture, I think winning over reality sounds like a wonderful idea…

I took a course in art last winter. I learnt the difference between a fine oil painting, and a mechanical thing, like a photograph. The photograph shows only the reality. The painting shows not only the reality, but the dream behind it. It’s our dreams, doctor, that carry us on. They separate us from the beasts. I wouldn’t want to go on living if I thought it was all just eating, and sleeping, and taking my clothes off, I mean putting them on…

What a beautiful acknowledgment that dreams are really what makes our lives worthwhile…

I am not artistic. On average (with the exception of my current writer’s block) I can write some small stories about my family, but I can’t draw a stick figure to save my soul. My doll on the other hand, has begun to explore her artistic side, drawing and painting using all types of paints, papers and canvases. “How does this look?” She’ll ask me mid creation and I always reply, “Fine, this looks fine or beautiful, etc.” I think the next time she asks, I’ll look deeper into the picture so I  can see the dream behind her vision and hope I’m on the right track.

Harvey and I sit in the bars… have a drink or two… play the juke box. And soon the faces of all the other people they turn toward mine and they smile. And they’re saying, “We don’t know your name, mister, but you’re a very nice fella.” Harvey and I warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We’ve entered as strangers – soon we have friends. And they come over… and they sit with us… and they drink with us… and they talk to us. They tell about the big terrible things they’ve done and the big wonderful things they’ll do. Their hopes, and their regrets, and their loves, and their hates. All very large, because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. And then I introduce them to Harvey… and he’s bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back; but that’s envy, my dear. There’s a little bit of envy in the best of us.

Yes, there is a little envy in all of us. Thankfully, Harvey and Elwood are pleasant sorts, who help us see, feel better and open our eyes a little wider with greater hope for our future.

I strongly recommend a (many) viewing(s) today.