Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Doing the Man-Up

We have been talking to Liam about "manning up" or getting up and brushing himself off and moving on. There's no reason to dwell on a little knock down or slip and fall, just get up and man up. That's our belief. It seems to be working and some previously upsetting falls are now opportunities to practice manning up.

The other day, the kids were having a pick-up soccer game in our back yard in the early morning before work. They were happily playing out there for an hour or so. When I came out to get everyone strapped in and loaded into their car seats, Liam looked at me earnestly and said, "Mom! We had a great soccer game! I fell down three times (and held up three spindly little fingers) and I did the man-up!"

Then, this weekend at Sandra's soccer game, Liam was intently watching Sandra in goal. It was a rainy, slippery day in goal and she went down. Liam looked disturbed and said, "Oh no! Sandra fell down! (and then watched her get up) Oh phew, Mommy, she manned up!"

Hee hee...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Another Reprise: Life Theories

The Gnawing Hole Theory
It's time to pontificate. I have this ridiculous set of theories. Anyone who knows me, knows these theories as I came up with them years ago and I often use old material. But alas, to my secret blog fans, I now write them down. Crafted in an oral tradition...Kristen is a social butterfly. Born in a veritable soup of analogies and attempts to communicate abstract concepts...that Kristen is weird.

The Gnawing Hole Theory of Needs is really about growing up and wanting things and knowing that you need something, but not being able to figure out what that is. Everyone has one at some point in their life. Most of us struggle with them for years. This black hole of insecurity and emptiness is in each of us. For some of us, we fill it with drink or drugs or people or places.

Teens fill it with friends, boyfriends, clothes, and trendy things. Twenty-somethings look for it in love relationships, college grades, sex, career, friends, and material items. Thirty-somethings have a gnawing hole which is growing smaller as they age(thank goodness). We tend to stop stuffing things in there and acknowledge that there is a hole...et VOILA, it gets smaller. It's a beautiful thing to be 35.

Now, I am left thinking...does Elena have a gnawing hole yet? Is it created at birth? At weaning? Later? So many questions and things to observe in this child!

The Buckets Theory of Life Balance
Here's another kooky theory from that nutcase, Kristen. I have to admit to being a bit of a pompous ass. Imagine me thinking I can tell anyone anything about anything. After all, I know nothing myself. Most of my "theories" were just grasps at trying to explain to my therapist what the hell I was thinking. I think in analogies, so there you have it.

This is my Buckets Theory of Life Balance. I came up with it when I started dating my husband and wondered why my work life all of a sudden seemed empty. Why does it seem that when attention is paid to one area of our life, another area suffers a reign of disenchantment?

My answer to myself was this: life is a bunch of buckets. Your buckets can be anything you would like...But mine, mine are large crocks (not crocks of shit mind you, if that's where you think I am going). Teracotta crocks into which you cannot see. In these crocks is enough water to fill one crock fully. Or to fill each crock a bit.

Each crock stands for a different area of life: love, family, children, work, creativity, self, etc. It seems if one crock demands attention, and this can be for good or bad reasons, ALL the water, which symbolizes energy and thought and focus, gets poured into that ONE bucket. The other buckets are left desiccated...empty...abandoned. Oh, but like the arid ground embracing the return of the rainy season, their time will come again. They too have their day of being filled to the brim.

The Hedge Maze Theory of Parenting
Imagine if you will, our lives like a maze - a very complex hedge maze (you know the kind where you might wander around for hours hitting dead end after dead end). Then imagine if you already have mapped a good part of the maze yourself. You know where there are dead ends and false starts. There are certain ways you just know won't work.

Now, imagine seeing someone we love, struggling with a part of the maze that we have often struggled with ourselves. Don't we want to shout at them, "Hey, that's a dead end down there!" or "Turn around, you're heading nowhere?" Of course we do, it is natural. We want them to know what we know and offer them shortcuts through their life. If we could, we might just take a big mower and mow a path right through the center of the maze for them so it will be easy for them to find the other side.

As parents, we have to remember that it is our children's job to learn that maze themselves. We have to keep them safe and clothed, fed and loved, but we cannot make them go or stop at will. In fact, part of that hedge maze for them is learning to escape their parents' grasp. When they are little, they might duck out of sight for just a moment and they might come running back to the beginning to kiss us or tell us about their day. However, as they grow up, they may hide for days in that maze. We have to let them go and trust that, when they come out the other side, they will be smarter and more adept at "life" for it!

A Reprise...To Show You How Odd I Am


The Dwarf-Baby with Flippers vs. Christmas Ornaments Classification System
OK...All you imaginary Kiki and the Lou readers, hold onto your seats. I am about to go kooky-crazy on you! This is an idea I developed quite a few years ago. It's a doozy. See if you can follow.

Once, about three years ago, we met some people. All in the space of one week, we met two groups of new friends. One couple had been friends of my husband's for years, since childhood. They were a very offbeat and funny couple. They had me rolling on the floor with their skewed perceptions of the world. The wife was pregnant at the time and kept telling me she was convinced she was carrying a dwarf baby with flippers. She was neurotic and animated. Passionate and witty. Downright fun!

A few days later, my husband started playing guitar with a band. We went up to, what would henceforth be called Band Camp, on a Tuesday night. The wives of the band members would congregate on the front porch. We had wine and smokes and chatted the chit chat of new friends. We talked about our lives as wives and covered such mundane topics as what we all did for living, what was our favorite food, when were our birthdays...you get the picture.

At one point, the conversation took a turn for the worse. I was stuck listening to a description of every Christmas ornament one of the wives had bought for the other over the years. "Remember, that was the year I bought you the lighthouse one...wait, no, was it the barn that year?" "Oh, that sailboat was so cute. It had a tiny white sail!" A full half an hour of description of ornaments.

A few days later, I was struck by a funny thought. If there were to be a continuum of personalities from the mundane to the offbeat, we had just experienced both ends of that spectrum in one week. We went from one end of the range, Dwarf Baby with Flippers, to the other, Christmas Ornaments. Each was pushed further to its end of the scale by its proximity to the other.

So now, it is part of our family lexicon. If you say someone is Dwarf Baby or Christmas Ornaments, we all nod in agreement. We have had hours of fun sorting all the people we know using this system. We have come to one other conclusion. Dwarf Babies completely understand this system. Sadly, Christmas Ornaments do not. So, if you explain this to someone and they get it, they are a Dwarf Baby. If not, they are an Ornament. So, do you get it?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Momzilla Strikes Again...

Wanna know what is kind of the most awkward phone call to have to make? It's this. About six months ago, my sister's friend had a baby. She had a baby very close in age to her first baby, so her first baby was still using their first crib. Luckily, (or unluckily as the case may be) Liam had recently vaulted the crib sides and escaped babyhood, leaving us up one crib. We lent the crib, so happy to be able to give away the crib and the new Sealy mattress we had bought to someone who was happy to receive it. It even matched the new baby's room!!!

So, today I get a call from my ex saying that Momzilla has been going on and on about where that crib is that she lent me when I had Liam. Darnit! I told him I gave it away...he told me he would talk to her and smooth it out.

Five minutes later, phone rings. It's P again. "You have to get it back. The crib. As soon as possible."

Oh Momzilla, Momzilla...next time I come over, you better be sleeping in that darn Jenny Lind crib!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Attacked by a Bird...

My sister was going into the water to save an errant soccer ball...she accidentally put her hand about 6 inches from a swallow's nest. This bird was NOT happy...NOT happy at all. Of course, I had to get in on the action and go see if there were any eggs in the nest...this only added insult to injury for the poor swallow, who put on her most imposing wing span and attacked...I haven't laughed this hard in awhile. This was one honked off bird. Really. Pissed. Off.