musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “independence”

saturday morning convo

Grandma, Honey and I volunteer for the Virginia Arts Festival. Last night in Williamsburg, we ushered for a concert of Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Absolutely outstanding show, I was mesmerized. So was Honey. These are giants of jazz, for those who don’t know. Honey and I had to educate a few of the other volunteers a little bit about who these musicians were. I forget sometimes that while there are some people who are absolutely fanatical about jazz – like one guy I saw keeping set lists, there are many more who have never dipped their toes in that syncopated water. Honey and I fall somewhere between those extremes, a little closer to the fanatics.

So while all three adults of the house were in Williamsburg, Mr. Cynic babysat. Babysitting largely comprised of viewings of Kung Fu Panda, expected, and apparently Captain Comic added Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.  

This morning, after our late night arrival home, Toots wanted to wake us – twice. The second time, she climbed into our bed with the Jimmy Neutron DVD case in hand.

Toots (points to the picture on the cover): Das Jimmy Neutron.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Carl.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Jimmy Neutron’s dog, Tonnor.
Mom: I don’t think Jimmy Neutron’s dog’s name is Connor. Daddy, isn’t it something like Einstein?
Honey (slowly rouses from sleep): …………………………………………Goddard.
Mom: Oh yea, the dog is named after a famous scientist, Goddard.
Toots: We sing dat in pweschool.
Mom:  What?
Toots: Goddard.
Mom: What?
Toots: We sing Goddard in pweschool, before we eat.
Mom (light slowly dawns): OH!
Toots (sings): Goddard fadder, Goddard fadder, we thank you, we thank you…..
Mom (chuckles): That’s God our Father, not Goddard, silly!
Toots: Oh.


My first born turns sixteen today.

Fall 1996, Gaga & Papa’s house in Ct.

Tears start now.

Not because I’m sad, not because so much of my life has passed in that time, not because I mourn the passing of his childhood.

But because I am very proud of the child becoming a man before my eyes, as only a mother can know. Love keeps cracking me open to my own vulnerabilities and strengths that I discovered through growing him inside sixteen years ago and watching him grow, as best as I can without interfering with his fully realizing himself.

16 on 16:

1. He’s a very old soul, and a very old soul is he.
2. He sneezes a lot.
3. He plays a mean electric bass.
4. He’s teaching himself guitar.
5. He smirks, always.
6. He sings, really really well, competitively well.
7. He writes songs.
8. He writes books, has since he was in kindergarten.
9. He’s fragile, in good ways.
10. He’s strong, of spirit, not so much in body.
11. He is very very protective of those he loves.
12. He oozes into furniture, merges, becomes one.
13. He’s kind of a space cadet.
14. He has a very dry wit. (Hence calling him Mr. Cynic here)
15. He has good hair.
16. The girls think he’s cute, kind of like a pocket rock star.

I love him very much, and I like him, too. He’s pretty darn cool. And speaking as his mother, I’m kind of glad he’s still a pipsqueak.

Valentine’s Day 2011, He let me do this.

I love you, K-Bear, Happy Birthday. 

look what she did

While I was sequestered away with Captain Comic on Sunday afternoon for hours, look what my little Toots did all by herself:

Looks like we have another writer in the house. She won’t be three for another couple of weeks.

Proud mom. 


This morning as we were all readying for the day, Toots walked up to me to request specific snacks to take with her to preschool.

I have a bunch of food allergies, etc, that her pediatrician advised we keep her away from until she’s three, then we can introduce them incrementally. First she walked up holding one of Grandma’s granola bars, I read the ingredients and had to tell her no. Then she went back to the pantry, where she can now reach to open the door, and returned with a pack of microwave popcorn.

Toots (with big inquiring grin): cannI haf pahtorn?
Mom (unwraps plastic but doesn’t move to make it just yet because I was in the middle of something else): Sure.

Next thing I heard from the kitchen is the sound of the stool scooting across the floor, then the door of the microwave opening, then closing, then beeping on and starting.

I darted into the the kitchen with a big pat on Grandma’s arm on the way, as both of us grinned at each other. There she was sitting in front of the microwave, proudly demonstrating her patiently waiting dance on the stool while watching the bag puff up and rotate. When it started popping, she patted out a little beat on the countertop along with the popcorn.

Toots (turns at the sound of my footsteps entering the room) Yook Mommy, I makin pahtorn!

the teen

I don’t mention as much about my oldest as I do the other two. So I will share a tale of him now.

Saturday, I took Mr. Cynic out for a driving lesson, not in the high school parking lot, but on actual roads.

I nearly died. The boy panicked as we approached a main road and started veering off to ‘pull over’ to avoid it by having me drive us back into a subdivision from the main road.

Because we live in a coastal plain, the roadsides here have culverts for flood control. He nearly drove us into one, a near barrel-roll, passenger side – me – first.

I can hit some pretty high notes as a soprano. Never this high, except maybe while I was giving birth to him.

My driving lessons with him do not generally involve screaming, but I had said “Don’t!” about seventeen times in quick succession before screaming “Stop!” in an operatic fashion.

Think the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute – without the surrounding tune. Just that flute-like high note near the end.

I suggest when you get to this stage of parenting to take a few more trips around the big parking lot in your area.

Eventually, I got a pretty good laugh from it. After I stopped shaking violently. He’s generally a cautious kid, hard to get him to drive over 20mph. I taught his father to drive with him and his brother strapped in toddler and infant seats in the backseat, way back when. So I know I can do this, and survive to tell more tales.



Duck, NC 1.14.2011
This time of year is so odd. ´╗┐For most of the Northern Hemisphere, and certainly for my own forty years lived in New England constitution, the world lies most fallow, yet there are hints of the promise of spring. The renewal of the land.
In Ireland, it is the celebration of the birthing of the lambs, the burgeoning of dairy abundance, the harrowing of the fields. St. Brigid’s Day celebrates the creative fire that burns within all of us of poetry, childbirth and craftsmanship, esp of iron.
Chinese New Year is now, the time of the seedlings underground, and the promise of abundance crops. The sun is returning, and so the fire within burns a little brighter.
Now, when winter can be so brutal, we find signs in a random clear bright day that assures the sun has not forsaken us after all.
Here, in this most wintery winter since I’ve lived in Virginia, last week I saw robins flocking in the trees. A raven cackled at me from high up in a tree whose branches were tipped in buds. Some of my gardening friends reported daffodil sightings. Mine have not made an appearance.
This weekend I went out to a handful of events, obviously overscheduled. I missed spending time with my family, I missed the rarity of hours spent with Honey. But I took time to pay attention to myself at two different meditations, and to have fun with friends. 
I wore myself out, also because once again Honey and I squeezed in a Home Depot date on Saturday afternoon, too. But I needed to take time to find my focus again and these meditations really worked.  I found my personal strength and was reminded that my personal strength isn’t only for giving away to everyone else.  I need to keep some reserves for myself in order to focus well on my writing and finish the manuscript.
I went through a period toward the end of 2010, in which I started taking better care of myself physically, but let it drop off again, various reasons, the main being that I am allergic to the first gym altogether. Then in joining the local Y, I found I was allergic to their workout room and their yoga classes were inconveniently scheduled during my precious writing time. And then it was too cold to consider waking up before dawn to go swim laps and freeze in the winter morning air with wet hair.
But now, it is beginning to warm up.  I ache all over again when I wake up in the morning, and all day long. This ache will never completely go away, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I am aging.  I have a significant lack of collagen to take care of my muscles, even less now that I age. I am more prone to muscle injuries and not so great in the healing department. But when I take the time to exercise, whether I do laps in the pool, or walking around the neighborhood, it makes a huge difference. Not just in my muscles and posture, but in my mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The meditations and the game night Saturday with friends I rarely see, took me out of my daily rut and into my interior to wake up my creativity and sense of purpose.
Honey and I have planned and he started some spring household projects – mended the porch rail himself while I was out and about yesterday. And he did the taxes, which will net us a much needed return. For this, I thank him. He’s my guy.
We’re going to build some storage solutions and a partition in Mr. Cynic’s room in order to move the boys in together, and move Toots into currently Captain Comic’s room. I’m going to milk paint some antique twin head and footboards for Toots, and sew new curtains for both rooms.
Honey and I agree it’s definitely time to move our little miss nearly three year old out of our room.  That decision has definitely begun a sense of renewal for our relationship.
So you can see, not just this weekend, but leading up to it, I’ve been doing some harrowing of the fields of all the acreage of my life.
1. In writing, I am rewriting for the third time, my little novel with the purpose in mind to send it out come spring.
2. Shifting around and taking care of the house –
3. will also take care of Honey and my relationship.
4. The changing of the season is renewing my health needs, mentally, physically and spiritually, not just so I can take care of others and contribute more for their wellbeing – mainly I mean the kids, but that in taking care of my personal strength, I will be giving myself the gift of self-respect and confidence to be who I really am and accomplish what I set out to do. All of it, with a clear head.
Is any one else finding themselves in this place of assessment and focus on change for a better life?

1st day

Preschool starts have been wondrous things for each of my children.  When Mr. Cynic was infant to toddler, etc, we underwent many changes in childcare from his going briefly to a box one to a couple of wonderful in home providers to my providing it for others, etc. until I had his brother when he was just shy of 3.5 years old.

I sent him to preschool when he was 4 years old with a lipstick kiss to keep under his shirt, so he would know I was still with him.  He was never a big fan of changes, and I think going to preschool in a high school was very intimidating for him.  Once he adjusted, he made plenty of friends and we had loads of playdates afterschool with a couple of families who had younger baby siblings, too.  It was an Integrated Preschool that provided services to children with special needs while exposing ‘typical’ students to all kinds of people.

I was never able to send Captain Comic to daycare of any kind for long before they said they couldn’t handle him. He went to variations of Integrated Preschools from the time he was 2.9 years old until he entered Kindergarten, with an extra year of preschool.  For the longest time, they had to pry him off of me kicking and screaming, and he clutched two Godzilla toys for comfort, one in each hand throughout the day.  I heard his wails all the way down the halls of each school he attended.  First was the Early Intervention Program in Concord, MA. Second was the Integrated Preschool in the town we shared a public school system with, which was also the preschool Mr. Cynic attended. And the third was a new Integrated Preschool that opened in our little town’s only public school – the elementary where his brother was.  Eventually he found an activity, usually puzzles or trains that interested him slightly more than clinging and screaming to me.

Toots has been so full of excited anticipation to start preschool since the boys went back to school in September.  She finally aged into a 2.5 year old two day a week program at a local church.  Yesterday was her first day.

I barely even got a kiss from her as the teachers unloaded the students from their carseats. She was gung-ho and full of smiles. 
Grandma  arrived early for pick up and was able to watch the class on the playground for a while before Toots noticed her.  She was so busy with all the toys, equipment and her new friends that she was the last to be corralled into line to leave.

My girl’s got some serious spunk and independence.  I’ve got no worries about how she’ll adjust to new circumstances, likely for the rest of her life.  However, once again I will say, I’m in trouble once she’s a teen, aren’t I?

Expect Delays Ahead

This was a sign we thankfully only saw blinking on rare occasions as we made our way North to visit my Beloved Boston, friends and family around Massachusetts and Connecticut as well as retrieve Captain Comic and Mr. Cynic from a month with their father. 
However, my head is about as useful as a puddle of cotton candy melting in the rain, so please bear with me as I try to sort out vacation yays and respites along the way.
One beautiful respite happened at Miranda Hersey-Helin’s lovely home in MA.  In the late afternoon, kids running around everywhere as a few of the Studio Mother cohorts got together, Toots decided to make a run for it up the grassy slope back toward the house.  Sunlight hit her and the grass just right so Honey snapped a bunch of pictures.  This shot reminds me of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World – in a good way.  The painting is more heavily wrought with meaning than Toots’ climb up the hill is, but I like the contemplative, view from the back resemblance, the long golden grasses, the breeze and sun in her hair.
I know, I said I’d give a full report, but the way I feel after air mattress surfing with Toots between Honey and me for 5 nights running, driving hither and yon, over hill and dale, and walking Boston, etc, then rash watch, I can’t do it in one shot.  Not that we didn’t appreciate the hosting, we are just still feeling the aftereffects, because we are no longer in our twenties and able to crash on people we love’s floors with the same bounceback these days.
So welcome to vacation replay week of highlights. 
Consider it like stop and go traffic on I-95: eventually, progress will be made.
I will also spare you the slide show.
Since we have been back, I have taken Captain Comic to the pediatrician for 2 days running, with two calls in between, for a mystery rash around his mouth.  He is now on a course of prednizone taper with bactroban ointment because between the pediatrician and me, we determined he’s having a pretty strong reaction to poison sumac and poison oak from the yard at my big brother’s new house.  And Impetigo seems to have joined the party.  They see a lot less cases of sumac and p. oak down here than up north, so first pediatric inspection was a bit un, un, oh I can’t think of the word. see?  melting cotton candy brain.
It’s actually an old house Big Bro and his significant other are restoring.  There was a lot of brush clearing involved.  And there’s still more to go. As we were at a big family picnic for both families, Captain Comic found some solace hovering around the edges of the yard at times, and if he did what he did to my little potted juniper in our driveway last school year while waiting for the bus to come in the morning, then he probably plucked some sumac and poison oak leaves, then touched around his mouth.  Bingo – rash.  Then picked at it, opening a door for an opportunistic bacteria to move in.
Lovely, isn’t it?  Glad I spared you the actual visual now, aren’t you?
So, please enjoy the shot of Toots. I’ll be replaying it in my mind as I find a way to get through the rest of today which includes more laundry and an aspie on prednizone.  That medicine made me insane when I took it for an allergic reaction years ago.  I can only wonder what it’ll do to Captain Comic. 

Gone writing

I have this week to myself by day, except for Toots, of course. 

Grandma has left town.

The boys have been out of town long enough to get over the ‘what am I to do with myself besides miss them’ feeling.

Between Sesame Street in the morning and the prayed for naptime in the afternoon, I may actually be able to work more on edits on the manuscript, and with some consistency, so that’s my plan.

Sorry, it’s not very entertaining, but it is a good plan.

 Wish me luck!  Especially considering Toots is now actively potty training.

happy crabby

I had a busy and ultimately great weekend, capped by spending some really meaningful time with a group of women, most of whom, I really didn’t know.  As soon as we sat together, it became obvious, that these are people I am meant to know.

It’s been a long time since I intentionally sought out and planned a deeper level of communication.  It was truly an enriching experience, and a lot of fun getting to know these women. 

I think it is particularly important for woman to set aside time with each other in the midst of our lives, take time out for self and sharing our stories. It’s too easy to forget about this kind of taking care of ourselves in our daily this, that and everything else.

I think I’m at a particularly happy time in my life:  I am back working on the manuscript, I have plenty of evidence that I am doing a good job raising my kids, I am still healing from my big surgery in February, but there is a long term feeling of getting better overall.  I keep meeting others who have had the same surgery, and they assure me that it takes a good long time to heal and I should just keep that in mind. 

I don’t feel like I have to be in control of everything and force my way through life.  That is a big leap for me.  It brings a level of contentment where I previously had a general sense of agitation.

The crabby part is small.  I ovescheduled myself last week and weekend, and I contracted the cold the rest of my family had last week.  It’s just annoying really, but I was on such an upswing, that I feel somewhat thwarted.  I know it’s just my body telling me I need to rest. 

And as much as I love a good storm, or cloudy rainy days, the last few nights have been rather sleepless due to huge thunderstorms, and today, when I feel like the best thing for me would be to lie in the sun and read a good book, and the weather is not cooperating. It’s wet and grey.  Normally I do love this sort of day, but I really wanted a good dose of vitamin D and sunshine for my irritated throat and ears and stuffy sinuses.

And as much as I enjoyed my busy weekend, I missed my kids.  Mr. Cynic was away on retreat. I was out and about quite a bit, and only saw Captain Comic and Toots in small doses.  I kept thinking I’d rather be at the beach with all of them than what I was doing, even as I enjoyed, getting my hair cut, and meeting new friends Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

So I’m already looking forward to next weekend and the hope for fun in the sun with my family.

HHHmmm…what is scheduled? 

For starters, Friday afternoon, I have an IEP Transition meeting for Captain Comic to move into middle school in September. This is the first meeting that we are including him in the process, too.  He is already anxious about the changes to come with middle school. 

Ah, no wonder I feel crabby….but mostly it’s the cold.   ‘Sok, It shouldn’t last too long.

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