Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Dude Abides...

This weekend was full of small moments where my son managed to give me insight into the inner workings of his mind.

First there was the moment during an opportunity to play with our neighbors in their backyard, in which one neighbor child was playing in the sandbox and the other neighbor child, who even at the tender age of almost 6 is quite the natural athlete, was shooting hoops, my son was laying on the ground with a small soccer net on top of him, pretending he was trapped in Spider Man's web. This gives me pause and makes me wonder seriously how organized sports will play out beginning next month.

Another moment came when we had a friend over for a play date, and the friend was bouncing around our living room investigating things while Cooper, in an attempt to get his attention to show him a DVD, kept saying "Dude. Dude. DUDE." Dude? Really? I will admit this is probably my "fault" as I call him dude, or Little Dude, all the time. But it made me stop and realize I really DO need to watch what I say because he WILL repeat everything.

We have also instituted the marble jar at home. They do this at school, where the students get to put a marble in a jar if they have been behaving particularly well, or are very helpful with something, and the goal is to get some prize at the end when the jar is full. At school they will go to lunch at the college cafeteria with the big students. Not sure that is really a PRIZE, I have eaten in that cafeteria afterall, but the kids will think it is cool. At home we have not been making much headway with putting marbles in, mostly because we forget about it. This weekend I decided since the weather was finally turning a bit, we needed to institute the Family Walk. This is basically a walk around the block after dinner at the moment, but has the potential to be expanded once we get into the routine.

My child wanted nothing to do with this. You would think I was asking him to wrap a skunk around his head while making him eat. Eat meat, which he refuses to eat. So I told him he would get 5 marbles for taking a walk, and did he know what he would get when he filled his marble jar???? A new bike. A two wheeled, big boy bike. "With small wheels too???" meaning training wheels. He was ready to take that walk now. We decided to take one dog with us, and as we got out front, Coop tried to talk me into "just walking back and forth, up and down" not around the block. Oh silly boy, that is not the deal. Then as we TRUDGED around the block, and Cooper was drooping from exerting himself, he kept muttering "This is taking forEVEEEERRRRR."

I deny everything and demand proof. I have no idea where the drama gene came from. But I can hear my mother laughing all the way from Oregon, and thinking "Karma is a bitch."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Social Butterfly

So my kid is a bit of a social butterfly. He has recently taken to wanting to have people over, or arrange play dates REGULARLY. Saturday morning, 8am, he says "Mommy, I want to have a play date with Aidan. Let's go to his house. Now." Of course I had not arranged anything with Aidan's mother, for that day or any other, and didn't know if it was going to be possible, but certainly wasn't going to go to their house at 8am on any day. So I emailed her. Then I texted another friends' mother, to see what they were up to. Neither of them was available Saturday, but we did manage to have play dates with both of them on Sunday.

First up was another super hero summit with Aidan.

Then we met our friends William and Kathy at a park near their house, which had a HUGE slide and fabulous views of the Boston skyline.

I am having fun with the Instagram app on my iPhone, can you tell? This is Cooper chugging up the giant hill he had just run down. There is nothing like running all over hill and dale on a blustery March afternoon to work up an appetite and wear a boy out.

But about this social butterfly thing. It kind of stresses me out. First of all, it is just not in my nature to plan my day away with activities. On the weekends I like things to be a bit more spontaneous, with few actual scheduled activities. But that is BOOOORIIING if you are four, apparently. It is also hard if people just are not available. Cooper must have asked 12 times in one hour to make a play date. I know in a few years he can be more in charge of his own arrangements, possibly just running next door to see if the kids are home and want to play. The problem with that plan is at least one family often is not home. They are on the go. We did manage to get in half an hour playing with Cooper's favorite neighbor, his brother on Sunday too, which was great.

Next month we begin two sports, T-ball and soccer. Both are just once a week, for like an hour, but it will be a social opportunity, a chance to meet more people in the neighborhood, kids he will go to kindergarten with in another year (GAAAAH! My kid will go to kindergarten in a year! ON A BUS.) And they will offer the chance to run around and burn off energy. Because Cooper loves to run. It might be that The Bob finally got a runner in one of his kids. That is his thing, and so far neither of the older boys showed much interest. But Coop runs whenever he gets the chance. He acts out being The Flash, moving his arms really fast. And he is fast. If he can eventually figure out the coordination needed for kicking a ball while running, he might make a great soccer player. Or if he can catch a football, hang on and run, he might make a decent football player. Who knows. For now I just need social activities for him that burn energy.

But I also don't want him to be over scheduled. He needs to understand the value of quiet time, of being by himself, playing alone. That will come. It is all about balance I guess. He will force me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, for the zillionth time, by becoming his social coordinator, which is not such a bad thing. But I fully intend to put The Bob in charge of some of this activity too! Share the wealth and all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The heckity heck of being middle aged

I am 46 years old, due to turn 47 in July. Any time I have taken those inventories that tell you to what age you will survive, I come out around 82-84 years old. I am in the middle of my life, just slightly past it in fact, by that measurement. As a woman that means things are, well, CHANGING.

My skin. What the heck, skin? So far I am not breaking out like I am 14 again, but recently I found out I have Rosacea. For which there is apparently no cure, but you can treat it with an antibiotic cream. While it comes with the fun side effect of having super rosy cheeks without any help, it also means my face feels like it is ON FIRE from the inside. If I exercise, it is a quadrillion times worse. I feel I could melt all the snow in my yard just by walking outside. And the skin can get a bumpiness to it along with the redness. YAY. I lay there at 5:30am thinking I should get my butt on the treadmill, but really don't want to have Hot Face as I am calling it, for the next 5 hours. Can we find MORE ways to dissuade me from exercising, PLEASE?

Also, skin, what is with the super shine? On top of being hot and rosy, and getting a bit wrinkly and puffy and saggy where there never used to be wrinkles, puff or sag, I am always shiny. I have switched foundations recently to see if that helps. So I am trying to moisturize appropriately, to deal with the wrinkles and sag, but also don't want to walk around reflecting all light in the room with my shininess, while glowing from the heat in my cheeks. I might rent myself out as a light house.

This is on top of the fact that about every 4-5 weeks I have to change my deodorant. Because the one I was using stops being effective. AKA, I smell funny. I have three different deodorants in my cupboard now, that I rotate. On really desperate days, I even resort to using The Bob's. Hi Bob!

So let's review: Red, hot, glowing, shiny, wrinkly, sagging face, randomly smelly pits. I have not even begun to discuss the hairs growing where hairs have no business growing. It isn't bad enough that I have extra pounds on me that my no longer functioning metabolism refuses to deal with, and my skin is on strike and I cannot rely on my deodorant to keep me from offending, I have to take a plucking inventory every morning to make sure that overnight I didn't become a Baba Yaga look alike.

This getting older stuff is not for the faint of heart. At least I don't have much of a chance to wallow in self pity, as I have a child who right now doesn't know his mother is falling apart at the seams. As far as he is concerned, there is no better sparring partner to perfect his super hero moves with than his mom. Speaking of which, I need to go take some ibuprofen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

On American Idol and crazy mad musical talent

I wasn't going to watch American Idol this season. I thought there was no way it would be good with batshit crazy Steven Tyler and how much does Marc Antony owe on his taxes to make Jennifer Lopez need to do this gig anyway?

I stand here, humbled. First of all, yes, Steven is a nut job, and he leers a leeeetle too much at the cute women in my mommy/female opinion. But he is, as I think many have known for years, a musical genius, and has stayed viable in an industry that throws away talent like used kleenex. And he actually has GREAT COMMENTS and critiques for the contestants. Who knew?

And Jennifer brings heart. She has talent, so brings credibility to the table, and she wants them to succeed.

Now that we are down to 13 finalists, and on the big stage, they are in theory the kids with the STUFF. The men are much stronger than the women on the whole this season. But there are some standouts. And my favorite, because a) I always like someone who swims against the tide a little, but also has the chops to back up their audacity, is Casey Abrams. Randy Jackson said it is always like watching three people perform when he is on stage. He is a red headed and bearded teddy bear, with the most ridiculous sense of musical timing and jazz sensibilities. He plays the upright bass and makes it seem like the hippest instrument around. Someone recently equated him to Taylor Hicks, a winner from a prior season, who was certainly the underdog and not at all the likely candidate for winning all season. But Casey has so much more going on than Taylor ever had. He has sizzle. I don't know that he will win, but I think he will manage to stay in it for a while.

So yes, while I am sure I could find any number of more useful things to do with my time, I watch American Idol. I don't like to call it "reality TV" because frankly, while I know one person who tried out for it back when they came to Boston (she never made it past the producers), I don't know anyone for whom this is reality. And I have enough reality in my life, I need a little dreaming, shooting for the stars with a dash of crazy Steven Tyler and his flouncy pink ruffled shirt throw in.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tap tap tap, is this thing on?

So heeeeeeey, anyone still out there? It is been a whole month since I logged an entry here. I feel like I have been riding an airplane by hanging onto the wing for the last couple of weeks. It is that time of year at work where we are heavily into the recruitment cycle for new students, so I am banging out awards for them, meanwhile those pesky currently enrolled students want their financial aid processed and disbursed for this current term too. The nerve. So the day starts in a whirl and ends when the kid finally goes to bed.

Which I might add, no matter what time I begin the process of exiting the living room and getting him into the tub, always ends up being somewhere around 8:45pm. His skill at deploying the delaying tactics is untouchable. And time passes much more quickly these days so by the time I realize it is taking him way too long to eat that last piece of penne, it is 8:30.

My kitchen floor is probably growing a cure for some obscure disease, but BY THE GODDESS I will kill it Saturday morning when I apply a judicious amount of toxic cleanser to it and scrub it all away. Advancements in modern medicine will have to happen without my assistance.

In other Cooper news, he is kind of a sassy kid. Recently we were coming home from work/school, trying to get in the front door, but in typical 4 year old fashion he was being distracted by all manner of interesting things, like his sled on the front porch, the boot scraper shaped like a frog on the porch, the container of snow melt on the porch, pretty much ANYTHING ON THE PORCH. So I kept saying things like "OK, get up here" or "Please move over so I can open the door" or "GET INSIDE NOW", you know, fairly typical mom things, when he said "Shut up mommy."

Hmmmm. NO. I responded by saying OH NO, we do not say that to me, or anyone for that matter. We do not say shut up. "But Dexter says it" he responded. Dexter is a character in a cartoon that he has recently discovered. So I explain "Dexter is a cartoon character. He is not real. If you cannot tell the difference between what Dexter can do and what you can do, you will not be able to watch it." "I want to watch it" he responded. "Then you need to learn the difference and understand you cannot say shut up." This is, by the way, all happening while we ARE STILL ON THE FRONT PORCH. He looks at me, squints his beautiful blue eyes at me, and says very softly, almost a whisper "Then be quiet mommmy."

Doomed. I am so doomed.