I Know That I’m A Handful…That’s Why You Have Two Hands…

As a small child, I remember waiting in anticipation as my mother tried to undo the child proof cap on my bottle of Flintstones vitamins. I can still picture myself spinning and hopping up and down on one foot as my mother struggled with the child proof lid. Eventually, she resorted to trying to pry a spoon underneath the cap.

I still remember being shocked as I watched my mother chuck the entire jar of Flintstone vitamins into the kitchen trash can and ask the universe, “Why am I even giving this kid vitamins anyway?”

Maybe it was at that moment that I realized that I was a handful, but let me tell you that it didn’t deter me from my active behavior.

My mouth and my honesty were just another thing that added to my hyper, extroverted personality. From the time that I could speak, I was speaking my mind.

When my sister, eight years my senior, had for some reason mentioned in front of me, that my future brother in law was an atheist, not only did I remember it… I announced it at a family dinner in front of both of my devout Catholic parents. My father almost choked to death on his food and my brother-in-law was as white as a ghost.

I’m sure you can image how smoothly that dinner went.

Fast forward to my current style of parenting and my relationship with John… I think you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions about the “lack of boredom” that exists in our lives.

But here’s the catch, you reap what you sow.

I am now the mother of three outgoing, opinionated boys that have propelled my entire existence into a tailspin.

Touche’.

Since my boys were small, strangers would approach me and say, “I see that you have your hands full.”

It was true.

It was even funny…until it became a theme that I just wanted to avoid.

I  have seriously often thought about making myself up a t-shirt that read;

“Yes, I know that I have my hands full. Please don’t bother to approach me and tell me. I’m completely aware.”

I guess that I never acted on it and had the shirt made because the sentiment was just too damned long, or maybe I was too afraid that it wouldn’t deter the large amount of the population that took pleasure in pointing this fact out to me on an almost daily basis.

Nevertheless, I am totally okay with who I am today. I also admire so many things about all of my son’s directness and sense of humor.

I’m the mother that has been called to school because my son Marc apparently is, “a chick magnet.”

I’m the mom that has been threatened with a lawsuit because my son Kevin made a video in detention that has taken on a force of it’s own and had the support of the entire school staff.

And yes, I’m the mom that had to go to Rocky’s defense when he wouldn’t remove his Penguin’s hockey hat at school because he was in dire need of a haircut and refused to take his hat off in class.

I’m a handful.

My kids are a handful.

I am well aware of where all of that stems from.

I guess that I’m just glad that God gave me two hands.

But for now, we’ll all forgo the vitamins, just to be on the safe side.

 

 

 

 

 

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For the Love of Sharks

My son Rocky grew up loving sharks. I mean, he was obsessed with them from the time he could talk.

And he talked about them constantly.

He watched every shark movie that he could get his hands on and Shark Week was a major event in our home. One day I came across a bundle of shark post cards at a gift shop that featured a photo of a different shark on the front of each one, with facts about the shark on the back.

Rocky carried these cards around with him like a bible.

He talked about sharks incessantly, until I thought that my head was going to explode but I have to say that he did become very knowledgeable about all of the different kind of sharks…

…the Hammerhead, the Sand Shark, the Tiger Shark, the Great White, the Angel Shark, the Shortfin Mako, the Bull Shark, the Whitetip Reef Shark…

He knew them by sight and he knew the facts about all of them.

It was actually quiet impressive, so I lightened up on worrying about the degree of his obsession.

Until one night, Rocky came to me with a large grin and said, “Mommy, I have shark teeth!”

“Shark teeth?” I asked, “What do you mean that you have shark teeth?”

With that Rocky opened his mouth.

Image result for images of double rows of shark teeth

Sure enough, there behind his two, lower, front teeth was a second row of teeth.

I was panicked.

Did I mention that at the time I worked for a dental practice?

Well, I did.

The next morning, (a bit embarrassed for not noticing my son’s “Shark Teeth” earlier) I brought Rocky right in to see one of the dentists that I worked for.

This dentist happened to be newly out of dental school. I think that she was afraid of my 7-year-old feeling any pain…so she loaded up on the anesthetic…not one, not two, but three carpules of Novocaine.

The baby teeth came out with ease and the dentist ensured me that Rocky’s adult teeth would move forward, right into place.

 

The dentist was nice enough to let me leave work to drive Rocky a few blocks to his elementary school. I knew that I would have to be quick so I could get back in time for my first patient.

 

As we entered the school, Rocky said, “Mommy, my lip feels weird.”

I glanced at Rocky’s swollen lower lip. It was so taut and red that it appeared as if he was wearing lipstick.

“Okay honey,”  I replied “We’ll stop at the nurses office and get you an ice pack.”

 

We were a bit late by the time we got into Rocky’s classroom.

Everyone turned and stared.

The teacher took one glance at Rocky and asked with concern, “Is everything okay?”

I replied, “Yes…he just had two of his baby teeth pulled.”

Rocky slowly removed the ice pack to expose his red, swollen, lower lip.

The teacher gasped, looked at me and asked, “Mrs. Reed, you do know that today is school picture day, don’t you?”

Image result for photos of shocked moms

(That’s a hockey joke for when my boy, Rocky reads this)

 

“Well…he can just take the make up photo.” I stated, “Can’t he?”

The teacher replied, “We have to take the photo today because the school needs one to go with Rocky’s permanent record for this school year.”

Rocky shot me a bewildered look.

The teacher waited for my reply.

“Okay…” I said sheepishly, as I gave Rocky a supportive hug and a kiss before leaving.

 

I thought about my poor son the entire day that day, and the school photos.

I felt terrible but there was nothing I could do about it.

 

As parents, we buy the school photo no matter what it cost or how bad it looks.

That’s just the way it is.

We love our children more than life itself…

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but we don’t have to love the photo, or the ridiculous circumstances that led up to it.

That is just part of being a parent.

 

 

*Photo credit Disney, Finding Nemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Kindergarten!

I remember it like it was yesterday…taking my first-born, Kevin, to his kindergarten entrance exam. I arrived on time with Kevin (5 years old) and my younger son, Eric (2 1/2 years old) in tow. Don’t be too impressed with my punctuality, the school was around the corner from our house. We filed out of the car and as I swung Eric into position on my right hip, I was struck with a wave of nervousness. I knew that Kevin was smart but I had no idea what they were going to ask him in the interview. I said a quick prayer that Kevin would pass the kindergarten entrance exam and headed towards the front doors of the elementary school.

Once inside, introductions were exchanged and Kevin was seated at a long table across from two teachers. Things started out well. The teachers handed Kevin a piece of paper, a pencil and some crayons.

A pleasant dark-haired teacher asked Kevin to write his name. Kevin followed her instruction and wrote his first and last name on the bottom of the paper. I beamed with pride.

Eric was already starting to get fidgety, as I pulled on his arm to try to get him to sit down. Before we left the house Eric had insisted on wearing a Superman t-shirt with an attached cape, a purchase we had made at Six Flags that summer. It hadn’t dawned on me when I dressed Eric that morning, but he had the full intention of getting his Superman cape to fly behind him and began circling the table in the small room.

The teacher moved the crayons towards Kevin and asked him to draw any picture he wanted. As Kevin went to work detailing a beautiful picture of a train, I chased Eric around the table trying to get him to be still. Glancing back at Kevin engrossed in his drawing, I tried to no avail to ward off his brother’s Superman distraction.

“Don’t worry.” the teacher stated, “The baby is fine. We’re almost done here.”

I tried to force a smile while I worried that all of the commotion had resulted in ending Kevin’s interview earlier than it should have. I quickly got back to Kevin’s side as the second teacher asked Kevin, “So, what is your brother’s name?”

Kevin sat quietly for a moment then took the crayon and wrote a large “E” in the upper right side of the paper. The “E” was backwards and I had to stop myself from saying “NO” out loud.

Kevin continued and wrote Eric’s named completely backwards and upside, right to left. I held my breath for a moment before I realized that Kevin had written Eric, mirror image and upside down, so it was facing the teachers and easy for them to read.

Both of the teacher’s mouths dropped open as Kevin slowly slid the paper across the desk toward the teachers and said, “That’s my brother’s name.”

I was still in shock as we walked out to our car.

I said to Kevin, “Buddy, that was really cool what you did with your brother’s name.”

Kevin shook his head yes and just replied a simple “Ya.”

Kevin. My film maker, my writer, my radio talent, actor, voice over guy…my rapper. There has always been something special and unique about my first-born son. I knew it when he was young and I know it now.

I love you Kevin and I can’t wait to see what you do with all of the amazing gifts that you have been blessed with. You make me proud everyday.

 

Not My Kid…

Let’s face it, all kids get into mischief no matter how hard we as parents try to prevent it. It seems commonplace today that the majority of parents proclaim their child’s innocence and defend them, no matter what the extent of their child’s transgression.

Just for the record, I am not that parent.

When the middle school called and began to explain in great detail, how my son, Marc took the opportunity to climb the stage, grab a microphone (that was inadvertently left plugged in) and address the entire fifth grade student body during his lunch wave, I wasn’t at all surprised. I didn’t argue. I didn’t defend. I know my son, I live with him.  Apparently Marc felt the need to publicly confront an issue regarding the teachers inability to really listen to the students. I took a deep breath and rolled my eyes. Of course the school did comment that Marc was very articulate in expressing his views and he did get a standing ovation.

“Marc!!!” I yelled, as I hung up the phone…that kid I’m going to kill him!

I have certainly been there before…When we lived in a community with a home owners association that maintained the grounds, the community pools and the rules, my children certainly found a way to butt heads with them. The association complained about my boys playing roller hockey in the street. They also complained about Kevin playing the drums in our garage during the day, on a Saturday. Neither sat well with Kevin or any of my boys for that matter.

Returning from work late one night, I drove by the pool at the entrance of our complex. As my headlights hit the welcome sign (Encased in plastic with snap in letters), it no longer read “The Annual Meeting of the Home Owners Association will be held May 4th at 7:00 PM.” as it had when I left for work.

I stopped and sat in my car as I reread the sign again.

“The Anal Meeting of the Home Owners Association will be held May 4th at 7:00 PM”

I had to laugh out loud before my anger started to rise.

Kevin. That kid, I’m going to kill him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking It To The Top

It’s too nice of a day to play inside, I thought, as Marc and his friend Angel returned from school and ran up the stairs to Marc’s bedroom. They were both quiet so I figured that I would give them a little time inside before I suggested they make the best of the nice weather and find an outdoor activity.

I was busy cleaning up the kitchen when Marc entered the room with Angel in tow.

“Mom,” Marc called as he extended his right arm and motioned to hand me what appeared to be Angel’s cell phone. “Can you talk to this lady?”

I was a bit caught off guard, not knowing who was on the phone or what I needed to speak to them about.

“Hurry up mom, she’s waiting.” Marc said urgently while moving the phone closer to my ear.

Perplexed, I managed a brief “Hello.”

“Ma’am, was that your son I was just speaking with?” the woman on the phone inquired.

“Yes.” I replied, as I glanced around noticing that both Marc and his friend had left the room. Just great, I thought. I still had no idea about the nature of the phone call.

The woman continued, “Your son, I have to say, is very intelligent and very well spoken…and I do realize that assigned seating on the bus is a very big deal to a fifth grader…but here at the State of Connecticut Legal Department, well, we don’t handle those issues.”

Shocked, I managed a brief, “I understand.” in response.

“Now, you can certainly take the bus seating issue to the principal or to the superintendent, or the board of education if you are unable to get any satisfaction otherwise…” I heard her say, while I contemplated how I even ended up taking part in this conversation.

“Yes, I understand. ” I mumbled.

Before hanging up, the woman added with a laugh, “You have quite a little boy.”

“I know, thank you.” I said before saying goodbye.

I walked to the foot of that stairs and yelled Marc’s name. Before Marc even reached the bottom he had a flurry of questions…

“So, what did she say? Do we still have to have assigned seats on the bus? Can I sit next to Angel now?”

While Marc was excitedly awaiting my reply I said, ” Marc,  I have one question…why in the world would you call the Connecticut State Legal Department, on Capitol Hill in Hartford, to complain about seating on your school bus?”

“Well mom, it’s not fair for them to tell us where we have to sit on the bus,” Marc began, “And I just want to sit next to Angel…so I figured I’d start at the TOP.”

“Marc, the lady said we have to call the school,”  I stated,  “And don’t ever hand me a phone again without telling me who I’m speaking to.”

“Okay, Mom.” Marc said, “I’m sorry.”

The door slammed as they went outside to play and I had to laugh out loud.

That’s my boy.

 

 

 

 

 

Flying By the Seat of My Pants

As a mom, I’d like to say that I have it all together, but I know that most days, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants. I consider myself a seasoned multitask-er, in fact, I pride myself on it. Yet try as I may, It’s hard to pinpoint when I went from handling all of the challenges of home, work and kids to just winging it.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’d have to say I lost a little ground with each beautiful life that I brought into this world. Sleep deprivation is a tactic used on prisoners of war and also a staple of motherhood. After my first son was born, I thought I was doing great. The house was clean, laundry was folded and vacuuming the rug was next on my list. I spent 40 minutes looking for the powdered, shake on carpet freshener that I loved to apply to the carpets before I vacuumed. I eventually gave up looking for it, chalked it up as a lost cause, and (cringe) vacuumed the rugs without it. It wasn’t until the baby woke up for his next feeding that I found the carpet freshener perfectly chilled next to the baby bottles in the refrigerator. Could I really be that tired?

Fast-forward to raising teens,  and I’m pretty sure that I had slept more during the infant stages of my sons’ lives. Now, I pace the floor, lie in bed staring at both the ceiling and the clock, all the while repeatedly calling their cell phones, unanswered, until well past 1 a.m. Am I ever going to get any sleep?

On one morning in particular, (which is just one example of a day in my life) I woke up to Eric’s groaning announcement, “Mom, I puked in the tub!” What better way to start your day at 6 a.m.?

But wait there’s more…

There is always more.

The usual morning argument with Marc has begun as I am trying to call the high school to report Eric’s absence.

“Mom, I missed the bus! Can you drive me?” Marc yells.

“Okay, you have to wait a minute. I’m on the phone with Eric’s school,” I reply. I then finish cleaning the puke, wash up, throw my hair in what I call a “mommy clip” and grab a fresh pair of jeans from the clean laundry basket that I’ve yet to fold.

On the heels of my third consecutive night of work, I am up at sunrise and once again making the twenty-minute trek to the middle school. I drop the grouchy “morning Marc” off saying, “I love you honey. Have a good day!” and drive the twenty minutes back home.

Just in the door, my phone rings. It’s the school. Are you kidding me?

“Mom. I forgot my gym clothes,” I hear Marc say. “Can you bring them?”

“Yes, Marc.” I say while thinking just the opposite.

Driving back to the school all can think about is lying down. I have to work again tonight. I just want a little rest.

The only parking space available at the middle school is a block from the front door. I shiver in the cold the entire way until they buzz me in. I make a stop at the security desk, sign in and am greeted by a security guard who, of course, knows my name.

“How are you today?” He chirps.

“Living the dream,” I reply.

I enter the main office and I am warmly greeted by the secretaries and the school principal who instruct me to bring Marc’s gym clothes to the nurse’s office.

Back in my car, I glance at the clock. No sense in lying back down now. Maybe I’ll stop and get a cup of coffee at the corner gas station near my house. I am counting down the hours until I have to be in work while I’m factoring in all of the things that I need to get done today.

While I’m at the coffee station preparing my fresh, hot cup of morning java (my first of the day), a man walks in. I notice that he’s looking at me. The morning bustle at the store begins to peak at the coffee station and I have the unsettling feeling that all eyes are upon me. “Should I feel uncomfortable or flattered?” I think, as yet another man gives me the once over, looking me up and down.

Maybe I’m just rocking this no make-up and mommy clip thing, I start thinking…

Until…I glance down at my leg and notice that I have a hot pink pair of satin and lace panties stuck in the cuff of my pant leg, and static cling against the front of my shin.

All eyes are still on me (and I’m pretty sure that my face matched the shade of my lace panties) as I attempt a discreet peeling of the panties from my leg and stuff them into my purse.

Maybe they were all thinking that I had a  night of unbridled passion or an amazing one night stand.

I’ll just let them keep guessing. I know that I’m just flying by the seat of my pants…

…and those pants just happen to be satin, lace, and hot pink.