Sunday, September 4, 2011

Polygamy Averted

My boys told me this morning that they plan to live together when they're grown. In a house with a lab in the basement. With metal walls where they can invent Pokemon and experiments like Stitch. And they're going to have one wife. "Yeah, we're gonna share her!" Walker nodded emphatically. "Um, don't you think that could get a little too complicated?" I asked. West's face fell until I suggested that maybe they could marry sisters. "Yeah, that'll work!" they high-fived and went on their merry way, but I stood there stunned for several minutes, mind-whacked. They are SEVEN and FOUR, for crissakes, but they had clearly worked this out some time before between them? I'm glad that they're close, and I'd throw in an "LOL" here, but it's really more of an OMG!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Picture

*Big-time thanks to my dad for sending this to me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Songs My Mother Sang To Me

There is a picture that I have been trying to find. It is not in the box with the other black and white photos from my childhood. There is a blank spot in the album that it belongs in, even though every other photo from the series is in it's place. In the lost shot my mother is holding me in her lap, her dark head bent over mine as she feeds me from a spoon. I know that I have the damn thing, but I can't find it, which is typical, I guess.

Grief is not the same animal two years out. Hell, I am not the same animal two years out, and neither is she.

My days are filled with things that my mother taught me. This week, especially, I can't even do laundry without feeling her over my shoulder, her voice in my ear. I have moments when I think, "Mom" out of the blue and then have to fight for breath while my heart pounds and I try not to go into the light. I really wish I could find that picture.

I wish that I could write something perfect that would express how much I love her, how much I miss her. My sister said that she missed kissing Mom. If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard I can still feel Mom's cheek against mine, her hair under my hand. I can hear her voice, smell her perfume. I want to write something that could bring her back to me.

Wanting that picture is driving me crazy, and I really hate this idea, but it has occurred to me that it's just a stupid analogy. I know in my head that I have the damn thing somewhere, but I can't see it, and not seeing it isn't enough.

I sing for my mother when I'm alone in the car. She used to push me to sing for her, on tape, onstage, in public, and then she would complain about my song choices. "Would it kill you to sing something upbeat?!" she would say. The answer to that, of course, is still, "Yes. Yes it would." But I remember everything that you said, everything you taught me. I remember all of the songs that you sang for me. I am listening all the time, trying to follow both your examples and your horrible warnings, and I still love you very, very much.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Five Question Friday: March 4th, 2011

1. Have you ever forgotten your child in a store or at school?

No. But I have left my child with someone (my sister, husband, et cetera), forgotten that my child was no longer in the van with me, and had a mini-heart-attack when I've turned to say something to them and realized that they weren't there!

2. Where did you go on your very first date? (Like...first first, not first with your spouse or current significant other!)

I went to Lilliput (a miniature golf course) with a beautiful boy when we were in the 5th grade. Afterwards, we took a walk in my backyard holding hands and talking about our favorite songs (his was Paperback Writer by the Beatles) and then we went inside and watched Crocodile Dundee with my little sisters. I got really mad at my middle sister because she insisted on sitting in his lap (he really was cute, and my sister knew that she was just young enough to get away with it-she's no dummy!)

3. What's your "silly" fear? (We're not talking water and heights.)

White spiders. A spider of any other color can crawl on my face for all I care...tarantula? No problem. But if it's a white one my skin crawls and I scream like I'm, oh... maybe 5? (And) then someone has to come and save me!

4. Confrontation: do you cause it, deal with it as it comes, or run far far away?

Take it as it comes, baby. "Baby steps. Baby steps to the car..."

5. Wood floors or carpet?

I would looove hardwood floors, because that is what I grew up with (but unfortunately, for now, I have carpeting, and even worse, LOTS of ceramic tiling.)

Love Thursday: I Love When My Bella Figlia Sings

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Old MacDonald Had A Random...

Me: "Old MacDonald had a farm! E I E I O! Aaaand on that farm he had a..."

Walker: "Kids!"

Me: "Kids? E I E I O! With a..."

Walker: "Oh yeah!"

Me: "Here, and a.."

Walker: "Oh yeah!"

Me: "There! Here a.."

Walker: "Great!"

Me: "There a..."

Walker: "Uh-huh!"

Me: "Everywhere a.."

Walker: "Oh yeah!"

Me: "Old MacDonald had a farm! E I E I OOOOOO!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Husband Mother

My husband has given me an assignment. It came about like this:

Currently in Illinois, my beloved called home just in time to hear me reach my uppermost threshold in exasperation, very close to having a nervous breakdown as I buckled under the relentless din that Thing One and Thing Two were dishing out. I kept sending them away, insisting on just a few quiet minutes in which to speak to their father, but they kept rubber-banding back to me, mouths and voices going incessantly. Jesse finally instructed, "Turn on them and yell, 'GO! NOW!', short and sharp." Fed up, I did, and they froze, mid-yap. Cowed and shrinking, they slunk down the stairs to their room. The baby said, "Mom, that made me scared of you," but I was so damn grateful for the silence that I didn't let it bother me.

For the first time in a long time, my OTRT love and I were able to have the semblance of an actual conversation. He said, "There's this book on the best-seller's list. I can't remember what it's called...something kinda like...the title's along the lines of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. Anyway, it's about this Chinese woman who married a Jewish man and they made an agreement-the children would be brought up in the Jewish faith, but raised using the "Chinese" method of parenting."

I laughed and told him that I knew what he meant, having read everything that Amy Tan ever published. A "Chinese" mother doesn't worry about their child's psyche: bring home an A- and she'll harangue and harass and call you 'worthless' until you get back in line and bring home that A+, thank-you-very-much!

We laughed some more, and then he said, "Maybe you should raise the kids a little more Chinese." I said, "That would mean insulting Winter when she struggled with math." He said, "That's right," and then I got dead serious and said, "I could never do that. I don't believe in that." I could hear him smile over the phone and his voice softened and he said, "I know that."

I swapped out the boys' toy boxes for them for a bit more reprieve, and then my husband asked, "When was the last time you worked on your book?"

I stammered, "No, no. I'm having some sort of...problem. I mean, I've looked at it, but you don't understand, I can't even bring myself to write a blog. I can't even write a letter, and I don't know..."

He interrupted me, "That's it! I'm raising you Chinese."

I burst out laughing, "What?"

"Seriously. You're worthless. Other people write books! (I'm cracking up) No excuses!"

"God, I love you!"

"Here's your assignment..."

"No, seriously, I can't! I have to do dishes, and..."

"No Excuses! (More gales of laughter) Your assignment is to look up that book on the New York Times bestseller list-just type in bestseller and Chinese-and then write a blog about it. 500 words."

"Jesse, I..."

"Shut it! I'm raising you Chinese! Do it or I'll call you worthless again!"

"Okay," I laughed, "but if I don't get a comment from Jesse Mohn on my blog telling me that I'm worthless, I'm not doing any more assignments."

"That won't work. You know that I don't have access to the internet out here. I can't..."

"You're worthless! No excuses!

"Other people can access the internet...! (more laughter)"

Can you see why I love him so much? So. I looked up "bestseller Chinese" and found this article. I'd told Jesse that I wouldn't mind reading it (the book), just to understand the thought process behind the "Chinese mother" way of parenting, and after reading this article I have to change "wouldn't mind reading it" to "really want to read it." A lot of Western readers are screaming, "Abuse!" after taking in a few of Chua's examples of "tough love", but two quotes from Amy Chua's article/excerpt ("Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility..." and "It's not that Chinese parents don't care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up anything for their children. It's just an entirely different parenting model.") have me leaning further into the "for her" camp than the "against her" one.

One of the mantra's that the Mohn babies have heard from (and will continue to hear from) Jesse and I ad nauseum is, "Sometimes in life you have to do things that you don't want to do. Sometimes (in life) you have to do things that are hard." I think that Amy Chua's brand of parenting is designed to prepare kids for that. Do I have the stomach for her method? Not so much. But I can't condemn it, either.

(And) hey, that's how my husband raised me, and look how great I turned out! Seriously, though, what do you think? (No, not about how I turned out! About "Chinese mothering"...) Check out the article (linked above) or the book and give your opinion in the comments. Or else just, you know, tell me I'm pretty.