Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow and Snow Days and Working from Home and Working Nights...and Punishment!

It was a perfect storm.

Between the MLK Day holiday, the foot of snow that fell, my son's school closing, me working from home, my husband working was a full house for three days last week. In our tiny cape cod style home. 

Actually, now that I think about it, it was downright inevitable.
Last Week: Emotions and Tempers in My Household.
(Image from
My son and his antics got on my nerves.

Then they got on my husband's nerves.

So badly that my husband finally exploded.

"That's it! You have lost TV, Xbox, the computer, your iPad, everything. Now go to your room and  bring a piece of paper and write  down EVERYTHING  that aggravates me and aggravates mommy -- and what you're going to do about it!"

My son made two lists.
Things that aggravate mommy  
Talking back, not doing things when she tells me to, beating up Bruno, having a crap attack, being sneaky, yelling at her, cursing, and talking back to her. And I won't do any of the things I just said. I'm verry sorry when I did these things, and I promise I will never do them Never AGAIN!

Then, after a review and conversation with dad, an amendment on the back of the paper: 
And I promise I will work hard to not do these things or I Will Be Punnished.
A second piece of paper came out.
Things that make my dad furious!!! 
Not doing things when he tells me to. Having a crap atatack, joking around at the rong time, lieing, being sneaky all that, cursing at him, or talking back, throwing balls at him when he's not ready, being ungrateful. And I promise I work hard to controle my selfe over doing those things, and I am sorry when I did do those things.
And that is how my household spent the first part of last week.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

For Father's Day

One of my most favorite Peter Gabriel songs is "Father, Son." I first heard this song when I saw him perform it live at a concert -- and I bawled. It still makes me cry every time I see him sing it.

Here's a beautiful video of him performing the song, which includes black and white footage of him with his dad as well as his own son. The video was directed by his daughter Anna.

It makes me think of my husband's relationship with my son. And all the time my husband devotes to my son: helping coach his baseball teams, driving him to his activities, going to the field with him, bringing him and his friends to the pool, having a  father-son dinner together every week with a game of basketball with him beforehand.

I feel an outpouring of love for the two of them. But especially for my husband and his devotion. And I hope that, although right now my son has little appreciation for all my husband does for him, one day, perhaps when he has his own son, he will look back and come to appreciate this time he had with his dad.

Father, Son

By Peter Gabriel

Father, son
Locked as one
In this empty room
Spine against spine
Yours against mine
Till the warmth comes through

Remember the breakwaters down by the waves
I first found my courage
Knowing daddy could save
I could hold back the tide
With my dad by my side

Dogs, plows and bows
We move through each pose
Struggling in our separate ways
Mantras and hymns
Unfolding limbs
Looking for release through the pain

And the yogi's eyes are open
Looking up above
He too is dreaming of his daddy's love
With his dad by his side
Got his dad by his side

Can you recall
How you took me to school
We couldn't talk much at all
It's been so many years
And now these tears
Guess I'm still your child

Out on the moors
We take a pause
See how far we have come
You're moving quite slow
How far can we go
Father and son

With my dad by my side
With my dad by my side
Got my dad by my side
With me

Lyrics from

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Son's Latest Bit of Wisdom

My son's latest school assignment instructions:

Now that we've discussed what an Active Listener is, write three sentences about how to be an Active Listener.

What my son wrote:

You listen with you're ears.
You listen with you're eyes.
You listen with you're heart.

I love that. To listen with love. I think I need to do more of this.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Road Trip! With My Son!

Last week, my son and I took a road trip to my parents for an overnight visit. It took us six hours to get there. Here's a taste of what traveling with my son is like:

[6:30 am, in a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot]
My son: That man walked in with swagger!

[9 am, somewhere on 95 South, listening to Sirius Radio Hits 1]
My son: They're playing the same songs all over again.
Me: Yeah, they only play about 10 songs.
My son: What's if they come in at 1 am, record [the show], then leave, and just let it play over and over?

[9:30 am, in a Chik-fil-A parking lot]
My son: Who eats chicken for breakfast?
Me: Um, you're eating it.

[10:30 am, somewhere on 95 South as my son plays a song, on repeat, on his iPad]
Me: That's the fifth time that song has played.
My son: Yeah, I wonder how many times it'll play.

[11:30 am, somewhere on 95 South]
My son: When are we there?
Me: In about an hour.
My son (crying): You said that an hour ago!

[12:30 pm, 30 to 45 minutes away]
My son: We're getting close! Those look like Virginia trees!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Son, on Our Dog Bruno. And Peace.

My son wrote a piece at school on peace. And Bruno. I love it. My husband thinks we should frame it. I agree. Here it is.

Bruno with his stuffed animals. (And blankets!)
Peace is...

In my bed with my dog
relaxing watching my dog Going
to bed
His stomach Moving
up and down h
is eyes starting
to close
My dog is in his
He is snugleing [sic] against
his stuffed animals a
nd I

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Terrors of Buying Baby Toys

I love gifts. They bring to mind the giver. A beautiful vase my husband and I received for our wedding makes me think of my husband's wonderful, funny, loving aunt. Our Irish made candlesticks make me think of my sister-in-law. 

Therefore, I try to put thought into the gifts we give. I, too, would love the recipients to think of us.

But with great gifts come great responsibility (thank you, Spider-Man). Even beyond the sentiment behind the gift.

Ever since it came to light that China has used lead paint, carcinogenic metals, and who knows what else in its manufactured goods, I make a point of checking the manufacturing country for products I buy. This includes travel mugs, dog food/treats, and, now, baby toys.

What I don't want our gift to be!
(Image by Kreld on
I have a new nephew who lives across the country. Yes, the same sister-in-law who gave us those thoughtful candlesticks is his mom.

In the past, I simply would have logged on to amazon, searched on bestselling baby toys, picked one that I thought was cool or fun or got great reviews, and had it shipped directly to my sister-in-law.

Today, however, there is research to be done.

First, I type in "baby toys made in the USA." This yields some toys with "Made in the USA" listed in Product Details. It also, to my distress, nets toys with no country listed.

I then dig deeper - look at the customer reviews - and find alarming comments such as, "cheaply made in China. Shame on you!" or "contacted manufacturer to find out if product was made with plastics containing BPA but received no response" or "parts came off in baby's mouth."


So I decide to skip the toys and search on "baby cloth books." My son has two that I have kept because I loved them so much. To my horror, comments include headlines with "Safety Concern" and a description: "my a chewer and the color from the beetle wings have faded making me wonder if he is ingesting the paint??? This concerns me greatly since another book by this company has been recalled due to possible problems with lead content."

Seriously? Isn't the thing supposed to be made of cloth?

I haven't even met my nephew yet. There's no way I want to cause his demise. Or worse, brain damage or loss of IQ. I could just imagine his parents' ire. All directed at me and our poisonous gift.

At this point, since he is already out of the womb, it's too late to learn a craft like knitting so I can whip out a handmade gift.

So now I punt. A gift card. Safe. Generic. Forgettable. But this doesn't mean I love my nephew any less, or have put any less thought into this gift. Rather, I think it demonstrates how much I already care for him.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Much Ado About To-Do Lists

I'm a list person.

I have lists for things I'd like to accomplish at home, at work, to my home, in my life, with my writing, for my shopping. Lists help me think, dream, brainstorm, order my thinking, set goals. Remember.

My journals are full of these lists. Sometimes I think of the journals kept by women in history -- and how much scholars learn from their journals about everyday life during the times they lived.

But I digress with my grandiose thoughts.

Anyway, I carry my journal everywhere with me. I'll often go back to entries from previous days or even weeks to check off items I complete.

At times, these lists get me down, as in, I'm not getting anything done. Other times these lists give me a feeling of satisfaction, of moving forward.

So it was with a jolt of surprise and, yes, pleasure, that I found a to-do list in my son's backpack. His first! 

My son's first ever to-do list. Isn't it beautiful?

It turns out that his teacher had my son and his classmates make to-do lists that day at school. Their assignment: to do all of the items on their lists and check them off as they did them.

I love his list. I love the items on his list. Such simple things. It makes me want to be a kid again. 

But, since I can't do that, maybe I can simplify my list-making. Or simply stop making them. But if I did that, would I remember what I need at the store? Would I remember all the things I want to do to our house? Would I remember the things I want to write about? Would I remember the things I want to do with my life? Would I remember that I want to discover my purpose in life? And, more important, would I continue to move toward that purpose if I didn't have my lists?

I don't know. And I don't think I'm ready to find out.