Venus and Mars

As I was getting my 3 year old son ready for a bath, he looked into the mirror and marvelled, “Wow, mom, look at my penis!”

My 5 year old daughter overheard this as she spied her little brother admiring himself in the bathroom mirror and said, “Ew, it looks like a yukky brown crayon!”

I said it’s a matter of perspective…and left it at that.

Mommy dearest

Yesterday my 5 year old received some vaccinations to get her up to date for school. Last night, she experience fever as a result. As I cared for her, tenderly mopping her brow with a cool damp cloth she said “Mommy you are being SO good. Can you be this good all the time?”

I thought “WHAT THE F____?”

Living in technicolor

My 5 year old daughter was off school today so we spent the day bonding–just being girls. I took her along with me to the hair salon, afterwards we headed over to Home Depot to get much needed bedroom lighting.

Right away she spotted two different floor lamps both with multi-colored shades–one more suitable for children, the other more grown up. I eagerly put the floor lamp for her bedroom in the cart, and despite really liking her selection for my room, went instead with a safer choice–a brushed nickel floor lamp.

When we arrived at the checkout the saleswoman applauded my daughter’s choice for her room and stated enthusiastically, that it was a choice she’d make for her own bedroom, even as a grown up.

I reflected on how much more I’d preferred my daughter’s selection for my room. Yet I’d gone with a safer, more conservative choice, to avoid risk. I mean, really…it’s just lighting!

I also thought about easily we allow the color in our lives to seep away when we become adults, by consistently sticking to ‘safe’ decisions, including those with few consequences.

So, I told the saleswoman to wait…that I had to make a switch real quick.

When my daughter and I returned home, I was thrilled to see how perfectly the new floor lamp picked up the colors from my primal quilt.

This small detail brought my bedroom to life!

Law of attraction

I ended up NOT moving to the flat I’d earlier researched, submitted an application, and reservation fee for, not to mention visited the local school and daycare. In the end I trusted my instincts–the leasing agent hadn’t been the easiest person to work with and I couldn’t shrug off the ‘transient’ reference made by the school administrator. It meant right from the start my perfect daughter would be viewed as ‘other’ by the school–something I wanted to avoid. More details in earlier blogs.

We went with Plan B, an inspired choice and now live in an awesome neighborhood–a community of residents all interested in sending their children to great schools and viewing each other as neighbors. Our second day there, the neighborhood children took my daugther trick or treating. My son and I went separately and introduced ourselves to the neighbors. We all had a blast.

The school bus takes roughly 65 children to the elementary school (no stops) and the children are motivated and excited to hop on daily–some with violin cases in tow. My daughter, an extrovert is thrilled and my son (who used to be reluctant to attend daycare) looks forward to seeing his new buddies each day and I have an opportunity to pack him a lunch so he’s eating meals I approve of and prepare at home!

Yes, this utopia is more expensive than I’d budgeted for–and I still took the leap because I now believe in the law of attraction.

And a strange thing happened, the day after we moved in, I received a direct deposit in the mail for child support–something we’d not recieved in close to 3 years. And yesterday a distraught call from the leasing agent from the other flat–wanting to know when we were gonna move in. How about like never? Afterall, the beauty of living in America is your right to excercise options! Okay so I was nice about it. After hearing me out, there was an embarassed silence. Then more silence.

Finally, an olive branch–she unexpectedly offered to return my reservation fee.

Clemency, your honor

I feel enormous guilt for burdening my perfect children with a father who doesn’t want them, a grandmother too abused to fully show the love she has for them, three dead grandparents, and an undeserving substitute.

How do I move forward and create a new story for them?

A lovely day

Yesterday was a trying day–the leasing manager at the new place has been requesting seemingly myriad documents prior to move in. This was after having met every requirement on the new application check list (in my opinion,) including possession of a good credit score, and last year’s W2 demonstrating proof of income.

Her most recent request (sent to my company email address) was for a letter from my manager verifying my place of work and income, or four recent pay stubs. This was after she’d declined, to use my company’s employment and income verification process. It was the last straw, and I found myself mighty tiffed off, with steam coming out of my ears. Somehow my sunny day turned blue, and my first, (second, and third) inclination was to shoot back a sarcastic email in response to her request. But this was one of only two flats in the area feeding into a good elementary school system–something very important to me.

I decided to uncover the real reason why I was upset. I decided it’s because for fifteen years, I’d been a responsible home owner until, the recent recession, when I was laid off, while expecting my second child in the middle of an ugly divorce. Unable to sell my house in a poor housing market, my house went into foreclosure three years ago.

Then I thought about how far I’ve come in the past three years–new job, healthy, happy, perfect children, and a simpler, adventure filled life full of possibilities. Finally, I thought about the outcome I’m seeking to achieve–putting my children in a good school so that they have a good educational foundation.

The clouds broke and a ray of sunlight shone through. I took a deep breath, and sent the leasing manager an email devoid of commentary, with four recent paystubs attached.

I received a single response in return: Thanks.

Small cravings

I was in the throes of not so genteel thoughts about the celebrant’s dad at my daughter’s classmate’s birthday party, when I was I was roused from my reverie by  a turn in the discussion at hand. I’d previously lost interest after the debate on the merits of Greek yogurt versus plain, morphed into various dietary meal plans whose primary objective appeared to be the avoidance of mastication. As a person of African ancestors, who’d subsisted voraciously on meat on bone, the use of my teeth, although not usually for that purpose, ranks highly.

But I digress…these thinnish mothers were in hot discourse about key issues; one son’s weak pencil grip, another’s intermittent mumblings, and a daughter’s inverted letters. As their worrying reached fever pitch my eyebrows resided in my hairline. I had no clue, that I should be worrying about these things, as each of my perfect children display a mix of these deviations, though not all at once.  All of our children, themselves unaware of the criticisms being visited on their small heads, played innocently nearby.   

I attributed my lack of awareness on cultural relevance and recalled how MY so called deficiencies were approached while living in Africa. My mother no longer able to afford the exorbitant school fees at the Lebanese Community School where I’d spent a year, transferred me to a local Catholic elementary school. The administration at the new school, decided I’d merited a double promotion from 4th to 6th grade, of which I was extremely proud. When I arrived at the 6th grade I immediately began experiencing problems with math (never a strong subject for me,) compound interest calculations, in particular. 

One Friday, the teacher in deep frustration, marched me to the principal’s office to lodge a formal complaint. The principal, a woman, looked me up and down and thundered; By next Monday, if she continues to REFUSE to learn compound interest, bring her back to my office and I will cane her!

I exited the office, head reeling.

That weekend, despite my mother and father’s separation, and him not being allowed into the house, due to a stalking habit, I learned compound interest with gusto. My father, stood outside the house and tutored me through the window, in full view of the next door neighbors.