Friday, February 27, 2009
Can women be astronauts?
Of course, women have been in space a while now.
Can women be doctors?
Isn't yours? And so is your dentist.
And so I explain that women can be just about anything today. Aunt Pink Power Ranger is a police officer. My friend Julie is a lawyer, as is Aunt Chris. Best Namma Ever! was in charge of lots of stuff at Boeing and helped open the Chicago HQ. Her godmother is a decorator. Riley's mom is a pilot for UPS. Lucy is a teacher with Urban Dad.
Etc, etc, etc.
When I grow up, I'm going to do something. I'm not going to be just a mom.
Just a mom?
Just a mom?
Wait a minute, kid! I used to do stuff! I used to direct the morning newscast for the NBC affiliate in Peoria. I used to get up at an unGodly hour to do it, too. Then I packed everything that would fit into a Toyota hatchback and drove to Chicago, knowing little more about the city than I had a job on Monday morning with Great Big Ad Agency. I spent eight years at Great Big Ad Agency. I went to meetings and monitored budgets and hired casting agents and edit houses and traded e-mails with our offices overseas. I decided to bail out of that career and try my hand at teaching high school English -- I decided that when my clients acted like children, it might be nice if they actually were. I did reasonably well at it. And I met this guy who had been all over the world and had traded at the Mercantile Exchange and for himself in Australia and who left it all in order to teach because he was nothing less than called to it and who was also patient enough to wait and wait for me to stop being so freakin' scared of marriage and parenthood being some sort of prison. (and yeah, it's a run-on sentence, but i'm having a moment, so leave me alone)
I did stuff.
Just a mom?
Did time just start the moment she was born? I did exist before she was born, right? I get to keep a few threads of who that person was as I move down this path in life, right?
Just a mom?
She's reading at nearly a fourth-grade level at 5 1/2 years old. Doing first grade math. Art, piano, Spanish, swimming, soccer. Who researches all of that? Plans all of that? Carts her rear-end to it all? As I ask her some days, "who makes all of the good stuff happen? and who can make all of the good stuff go away?"
Just a mom.
I remembered a college prof who said that when his wife was working that people at parties would engage her in interesting conversations. When she became a stay-at-home mom for a while, the conversations became much shorter and involved much smaller words.
All of this ran through my head in about two seconds before I returned to my rational self. And after the kids were in bed, Urban Dad was quite reassuring that our little microcosm is as good as it is because of little-ole-me. (yeah, he says all of that swoony stuff... i think it's a total load of **** sometimes, but would never argue with him. who would?)
And Pink Power Ranger enthusiastically assured me that on behalf of her 900,000 brethren, she was endlessly grateful that I was "just a mom." That if more people could be "just a mom" or "just a dad," that her job would be so much less demanding.
But, wow. For some reason, it caught me where I live. And it gave me pause. Not the kind of pause that makes me panic over a bad decision. It was more like the kind that makes me stop and take inventory of myself and the life I'm living, and all of the balance of this and that that goes along with it.
And I was happy with what I found. I'm not doing anything that I thought that I would be doing when I moved to Chicago 16 years ago. Not one single thing. But you know what? I had no idea who I was back then. And somewhere inside, on a subconscious level, I knew it. As a result, I could never quite get comfortable with myself.
Today, I know who I am.
I'm Just A Mom.
EVERY path may lead you to God, even the weird ones. Most of us on are on a journey. We're looking for something, though we're not sure what it is. The way is foggy much of the time. I suggest you slow down and follow some of the side roads that suddenly appear in the mist.
(from RealLivePreacher.com, found on quotationspage.com)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
1. Last Saturday, I spent the a.m. in the chair of Lee the Hair Whisperer, who set about making me the blonde that I was born to be (I swear! I was blonde until my late 20's!). I don't know who those dark roots belonged to, but it wasn't me.
2. I took Urban Kid 1 with me. And the portable DVD player. And headphones. Plus her:
She keeps asking for "Dah!" Specifically, "Blue Dah!"
And, of course, I have a few thoughts. God forbid I leave any of them unexpressed.
On the other hand, you have managed to be involved with two guys at the same time. No, not just two "guys." Two total Alpha Males. And The Deed never becomes part of the picture with either hormone-soaked dude? That are straight? And they know about each other, and even actually know each other? And they each wait ever so gallantly for you to make a decision? Yikes. You must have something going on.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Here's where I started:
I knew while sitting entranced with this movie that I wanted this music. I defy you to listen to Jai Ho and not feel like you can do a four-minute-mile.
Feel free to leave any workout-worthy tune suggestions!
Monday, February 16, 2009
I may have taken slightly too much advantage of having Best Namma Ever! for childcare. Just slightly. But ooooooh, it was needed. And I'm lucky that she's sympathetic. She agrees that the hardest, most maddening years can be when the kids are little (apparently she's done a complete mind-block of PPR's and my adolescent years). Factor in that we're not doing preschool, plus a ridiculously cold winter and one gets a bad, bad case of I'm Gonna Lose It If I Don't Get Out Of Here.
So this trip included lunch and an afternoon ride-along with the Pink Power Ranger (I could not do her job), an evening of having PPR over for dinner then chocolate martinis and The Soup, a four-hour catch-up with an long-time friend, getting together with PPR to nab a friend's 14yo daughter (remember my DF and the DF-ettes from my Bad Mojo post?) and take her to the mall for lunch and "He's Just Not That Into You," etc.
Yeah, lots of time out. With adults. And alone in the car sometimes, even (one has to drive to everything when at the Mothership)! Listening to whatever I wanted on the radio! But then PPR finally said, "Seriously, Val, how much has Mom had them?" And BNE! is far too important to our operation here to tick off in any way.
So while it wasn't a weekend away with Urban Dad, it definitely was a mini-vacation of sorts. And I'm not ashamed to admit enjoying it. U-Dad was off today for President's Day, so I'm back at it full-time tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Actually, it's not a bad idea. I'd planned on taking the U-Kids to the Mothership in St. Louis for the long weekend. But tomorrow it'll pour rain and Thursday may not be much better. So today.
The last time we did this drive, it was for Christmas. And it snowed and iced for just over half of the drive. So really, driving on a 60-degree day isn't all bad.
Best Namma Ever! has plans this evening, so we'll be leisurely about getting out of here. I've yet to pack anyone, even. So a leisurely morning, then hitting the road for a long afternoon drive.
As you may recall, Best Namma Ever! doesn't know of my humble blog, so it may be a bit before I get to post again.
Details of our adventures soon, I hope!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
And even this guy pops into our living room now and then, although the episode about "The Hounds of Baskerville" creeped out U-Kid 1, thus stalling her desire for more: (personally, I love the retro hair and clothes)
You see, while I can't stand Winter and carefully watch for signs of Spring, U-Dad is great about the cold weather. He's the dad that bundles up the kids and throws them outside, taking them out to help shovel the sidewalk, build a snowman, walk to the coffee shop for a chocolate chip cookie and milk.....
Never let someone tell you that TV doesn't affect children..........
Thursday, February 5, 2009
You've seen this movie, right? Right? I'm not one to join Hollywood bandwagon hype -- especially when people start throwing piles of awards at something. But wow. This one actually and truly and completely deserves it. I loved everything about this movie. There are some difficult scenes involving children -- I closed my eyes & ears a few times -- but it's integral to the story and not gratuitous. And the end.... oh the end!!!! Trust me... you have to see this movie. I even want the soundtrack to listen to while running.Luckily, the fantastic movie lightened the walk home and saved the date.
The next day, PPR, BNE!, the U-Kids & I went out for breakfast.
We're at the stage now where dining with a 2yo is a bit, erm, not relaxing. But all in all, it was fun and easy and easier than me making breakfast for all of us.
Then we went to Pump It Up!, where PPR had more fun than any us, I think. We ran the girls around until they were ready to drop, then loaded them up and headed home.
The girls weren't the only ones ready to drop. I left U-Kid 2, BNE! & PPR at home all hoping for naps while U-Kid 1 & I went to her piano lesson. Wow! I got around really fast doing errands while U-Kid 1 was in class. And I could think complete thoughts in my head. One after another.
That night, BNE!, PPR & U-Kid 1 went out to dinner. There was just no way that I was going to take a 2yo to a restaurant in Lincoln Park on a Friday night. PPR craves a soup that this place serves, so off they all went. They told me later that U-Kid 1 was the only child in a dining room full of happening adults. And that she was absolutely perfect.
After U-Dad was safely stashed in front of the TV, we opened a bottle of wine, got out the cards and played Death Uno. U-Kid 1 joined us for a while, but proved too shockingly deadly at such a tender age. So we sent her to bed.
Once we were good n tipsy, it was time for The Soup, my favorite half hour of the week (ooops, sorry U-Dad -- my second favorite half hour of the week). And Joel McHale cracked a joke involving Uno that had us laughing to the point of pain. It was definitely one of those "you had to be there" moments, which of course only made it that much better.
Sadly, BNE! & PPR had to leave on Saturday morning. They both had plans on Sunday -- BNE! with church and PPR wanted to go see her (ok, our) sick father (if you're new, details on that situation here). So off they went. Making incredible time, of course.
Happily, the U-Kids & I are heading down there next weekend. And PPR is off, too!
Monday, February 2, 2009
One of the greatest joys that I've had in the last year is that my Happy Gym Company finally opened a long-delayed and much-anticipated gym just two short blocks from the Urban Family's front door.
Ok. My point. Finally.
All of these gyms feature a climbing wall; ours is an indoor wall. I've watched people climbing it and wondered about how people get started learning about this, but shied away from inquiring.
Urban Kid 1, however, is not shy about pursuing her interests. Our gym opened when she was four, and she has been consistently and repeatedly been asking about getting on the wall -- thus forcing her mom out of her shell. But they don't allow the kiddies to take a class until they are five.
For her fifth birthday, Best Namma Ever! popped for the class. But I held off on signing up for it because our schedule was already hammered with activities, none of which U-Kid 1 was keen to let go of.
So I made an executive decision -- one of the perks of being the Director of Curriculum & Implementation at the "Urban Family" Country Day Academy: we would skip swimming during the Deep Freeze and try climbing instead. This got me out of having to completely blow-dry a squirmy little one, plus avoid the New Year's Resolution Crowd in the locker room.
Here are a few shots of my little Monkey Girl from tonight's class. (those of you who might be new around here...one of the rules is no pictures of the Urbans, due to U-Dad's security concerns, thus the reason you can't see U-Kid 1's face)
My first try, I didn't get too far. I sort of attacked the wall and clutched onto it clumsily with too much emphasis on the upper body.
Now in order to keep up with U-Kid 1, in January, I took advantage of a class that the gym has been offering every 4-6 weeks called Climb Like A Girl. About 30 of us chicks all got a relaxed and casual introduction to climbing, plus wine. (and a cool t-shirt!) And a glass of wine certainly helps get one brave enough to try the wall in front of anyone and everyone who might pass by outside.
My second try, I took an easier route, relaxed (I mentioned the wine, right?) and managed to shimmy my way up to the top. An enthusiastic shout of, "hey Val, you climb LIKE A MUTHA!" from my friend Julie at the bottom had me laughing so hard I almost lost my groove completely, but no harm done. What a feeling! Especially for someone who is afraid of heights!
Now I try to stop by the wall during Supervised Climb, when they have someone who knows how to belay just waiting to cheerfully help you out. Despite the psychological struggle to convince myself that I will not plummet to my death if I let go, it's a nice strength exercise without having to lift weights. Just my own butt. And I tell myself that I'm keeping up with and staying involved with my five-year-old.
God help me if she takes up cage fighting.