Masters of Universe

    Mr. Ping: Once I had a dream that I ran away to make tofu. 
    Po: Then why didn’t you?
    Mr. Ping: Because it was a stupid dream.
    Kung Fu Panda (2008)

          Two months since my last update… I wish I could say that I was too busy with my not launched yet business or too involved in my kids gala fundraiser…But the truth is that I just don t know what to write lately because I seem to have become a mere observer of my own family life. 
          I am finding myself energy less and as if I was watching a freaking Street Fighter 6 straight to DVD movie. 
          It is ugly. Pure and Simple. L is hitting P with a wooden pan resulting in her sporting a terrifying black eye for s week, G is slamming the patio door on L’s hand, P is calling G ‘poop’ all day long and so on and so on.
          No rules and no winners; just 2 overtired and overworked referees who get to intervene every 5 seconds to ensure no one actually dies. 
          I am talking about children who manage to turn a picnic in Central Park into a fucking massacre. Let’s rewind to that infamous Saturday that has become our new benchmark for what hell must be like. 
          The scene: Central Park, first real day of spring, jolly mood everywhere.
          Birds are singing, young lovers are giggling, new parents are cuddling their precious baby (poor bastards, they have no idea), flowers are finally blooming everywhere…But me, I get to enjoy SHITE. G has decided that Upper East Side must be more interesting than the west side so took off. Just like that. No good byes,no ‘thanks mom for all your hard work these last 4 years but you guys suck with your middle class picnic basket, I am going to chance it out on my own for a while. Ciao’. Nope, no warning. Gone he was so DH went on his trail. For what seemed eternity. 
          Meanwhile, L climbed into a prohibited area of the park to take a mud bath and step onto precious flora before running in circles so I could not catch him. P had the bad idea of ‘helping out’ by getting inside only to catch the attention of a park ranger who was two words away from giving me a fine but decided that shaming me was probably punishment enough.
          ‘Madam they are your responsibility, you should have never let them get inside in the first place…’

          Thank you Sir. I shall put this piece of advice next to the comment from that ‘I am better than you’ woman who two weeks ago went out of her way to tell me after seeing me struggling with my two boys on the street:
          ‘You have no control, do you? And don’t say it is because you have two of them. It’s no excuse, I had 4.’ 

          Why don t you fucking help me then, bitch??? Instead of judging me. 
          Whatever. 
          Anyway. The first picnic of the season was an EPIC failure. And I am really freaking out about it because I thought nice weather would make my life easier. Throughout the whole winter I was convincing/brainwashing myself ‘be patient, when they can run outside, everything will be different, it will be awesome. You’ll see’. What a fucking disappointment… Worse than the day I lost my virginity. Really. 
          DH and I thus did the unthinkable : flee Central Park on a sunny day. We locked ourselves in our bedroom waiting for the 3 of them to calm the fuck down. They did. Something beautiful happened: they all napped. At the same time. Sigh. They slept 2 hours! 

          Probably co-developing the script for Street Fighter 7: the Apocalypse days….
            
           
           
           

          Mood of the day: Real or Faux ?

          When temperature hits -27c you know that your skill in layering clothes will be useless because the only thing you should do is layering 4 thick sweaters and thus look like a piñata. However, when you have 2 business meetings that morning you have to improvise your ass off. Here we go…

          First layer
          Bottom: thermal legging
          Top: thermal tank top and tee
          Head: faux fur hat

          Second layer
          Bottom: Zara navy skinny trousers
          Top: Vintage yellow gold blouse
          Head: hubby’s grey wool hat

          Third and fourth layer
          Top:
          Real vintage rabbit fur vest from BFF who since she no longer has any idea what winter is living Down Under has generously lent long term one of her most precious belongings to her slob ‘yours truly’ friend. That is real friendship for you.

          Faux fur vest from the slob friend/me.

          Fifth layer
          Grey coat not seen on pic because … I am sweating enough as it is.

          I have an unfinished debate (mostly with myself because DH simply rolls his eyes calling me an hypocrite) about real/faux fur. One side of me screams outrage and the other side tries to justify myself ‘it is really, really old so there’s no much I could have done about it back then, right?’. It just feels so warm and soft arggggh

          Anyways turns out that I could not have chosen a better outfit for the day because the freaking day sucked. Today I learned the hard way about ethics and work standards in business. It’s not because you care to the point of bankrupting your family and alienating everyone about a comma on a slide that others care too. Fakers and ‘all talk, no show’ are everywhere. And they are going to try to fuck you.

          So here I was in a cab wondering ‘why the fuck am doing this to myself?’, ‘why am I so arrogant to think that I can win it all?, ‘how can you avoid sweat marks on blouses? ‘, ‘do I need a big slap on the head as a reality check?’, ‘am I doing this just to piss off my mom?’

          69 blocks and at least 3 imaginary assassination plots later, I decided that I, me, myself was real. What I want to say and do is real. Fuck the fakers. Mark these words: YOU WILL NOT BRING DOWN (think of the #wickedmusical I.e. High pitch, looking all green, angry and fucking mental).

          Special thanks to Natasha who when asked ‘why should I keep on, girl? ‘ simply answered ‘because you’re too fabulous’ #reallove

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          P for President

          I write a blog so I don’t forget things; like how much I hurt, how much I worked, how much I laughed, how much I loved…Bla Bla Bla

          Today, I do not want to ever forget some precious moments with my daughter. A day will probably come when her smart ass attitude will frustrate me to no end, when I will ‘expect’ her comments and when I will no longer stop in my tracks because the words coming out of her mouth just silence me and blow my mind. Sorry if this sounds pretentious but I am too proud of her not to share. OK, I will now pass over the vomit bucket 🙂

          Anyway, here are some keepsakes from P, age 4.

          On death

          ‘Mom, we are all getting old and we are all going to die, right?’

          Yes…’ I replied, choking lightly and thinking ‘Shit I AM going to DIE!!!!’

          ‘Why?’

          “Eh…to make place for you and your family. If we all stay and hang out, there will be too many of us and you won’t have space to grow and do stuff’.

          ‘I don’t like that you have to die’.

          ‘It’s OK; I will always be somewhere watching you.’

          ‘Do promise you will watch me, OK? Because if you stop watching (as in looking at me), I will be lost.’

          My heart really tightened at that moment because it was so innocent, simple, and genuine. Of course, children grow up obsessed with parental approval. So, what do I need to do not to screw it up?  Me and so many of my friends grew up always feeling that we were not and will never be enough. Adult happiness becomes so evasive. Of course we cannot put all the blame on our old folks but I wonder when parents stop watching and start judging. When do parents turn from being ‘compasses’ into unsatisfied coaches ?

          On her favorite books

          I always thought that kids had this one book they cherished for ever and would carry everywhere; books about pigs, princesses, dogs and so on. A kind of literary comforter.

          P changes ‘I cannot live without them’ books every 2 months. Among her recent obsessions: the illustrated Bible, the French – Lao pocket dictionary and the signed memoir by Condoleezza Rice ‘No Higher Honor’…Difficult to imagine these books as comforters.

          She turns pages after pages, ‘reads’ intensely, nods, closes the books, re-opens the books and nods again. This stuff has officially freaked me out. That and when yesterday she told me ‘Mom when you decide to learn the guitar, I will tune it for you. I know how to do it, I saw Dad do it, it has to make a special sound when you pull the string.’ She has to be the world’s biggest bullshit express or what???

          On being nice

          ‘I don’t understand why you ask me to be nice. It is not easy; it is very difficult to be nice all the time! How can you do this? What you ask is not fair.’

          I am still pondering what to respond to this.

          On logic

          G & P’s new passive aggressive jousting is calling each other ‘Poop’. It absolutely drives them nuts and really upsets them. I mean it. They kick each other’s heads and they’ll be fine. They strangle each other and they’ll be fine. They steal each other’s food and they’ll be fine. But if the word ‘poop’ comes out, all hell breaks loose. Yesterday morning, P was bawling her eyes out: ‘G told me that I was poop’.

          Me:’Well, he is your TWIN brother so if you are poop, he is poop too.’

          DH was assuredly playing along: ‘Yes it is true. If you are poop, you get it from us so Mama is poop and I am poop and thus HE is poop too’.

          We were feeling very smug about our stellar common sense but P started crying even louder. I tried her to calm her repeating: ‘Stop crying and just tell him he is poop too like everyone else.’

          To which she screamed: ‘But stop it!!! I don’t want to be part of a family of poop!!!!’

          DH and I turned crimson from embarrassment. She did make an awfully good point. As for the two us, a bunch of idiots…really hahahaha.

          On race

          We live in a culturally very diverse neighborhood and from time to time some racial tensions just ignite on the bus or the subway. This morning an African American woman called some hispanic folks ‘cockroaches’ and ‘immigrants’ preaching a revisionist take on American History in which Africans were the indigenous population of America. Profanities ensued. L was confused like hell and I was just relieved that it was not older P or G who was riding the bus with me. So yeah, I wonder every day about what is my kids’ understanding of cultural and ethnic differences. I tried to start a conversation by asking P:

          ‘Do you think Mama looks more like your friend I’s mom (who is Asian Korean) or your friend K’s mom (who is French Caucasian)?’

          She paused, smiled and said: ‘Mom, you are beautiful. That’s it’. DH looked at me beaming and we both concluded that she just understood it all. She has just cracked international conflicts and world peace.

          Just like that.

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          Picture below by Helene McGuire

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          To Heart or not to Heart

          I hate valentines day. I don’t think about valentines day because I don’t do valentines day. Every year I only get reminded about it when I suddenly realize that I am walking on streets that are pink and red like…hmmm…like the opening of a bad erotic movie from the late 70s or something like that. Or when suddenly my local grocery store looks like a rose greenhouse.

          That’s when I really get annoyed because my Friday routine of buying myself some flowers generates a ‘aww she is the one giving the flowers’ look. It really pisses me off. You see, DH very rarely buys me flowers not because he does not think about it but because I am so anal about floral arrangements that he learnt a long, long time ago that he very rarely can get it right! Buying myself flowers gives me a strange sense of empowerment and valentines day just ruins it for me this year! Argggg.

          This year I was also reminded early because the kids teachers kept telling me about valentines cards and after 2-3 friendly reminders I understood that it was not optional but actual homework. Of course I refuse to buy stuff for something we hate celebrating so I decide that the kids/I will do homemade cards …whining all along. And that’s when having twins just takes it to another level.

          Especially when each twin says ‘NO mom!!!! I really, really, have to do a card for all (19) my classmates and my teachers because they will be sad if they don’t get one!’

          To which I reply :’ Aww that is so sweet and generous of you! I am really proud of you!’

          But what I really think is: ‘Little fucker. Really? You cannot seriously like ALL of them and our cards suck anyway so believe me it is not a TREAT!!!’

          On a high note, DH told me: ‘my (male) colleagues are so jealous of me.’

          Why?’

          ‘Because we don’t do valentines and my wife does not give a fuck about it’.

          And that makes me very, very happy. Having wealthy bankers who have everything be jealous of us for one night is priceless 🙂

          Happy #valentinesday for all who celebrate it; for others tonight wear some earplugs for the loud sex next door and we’ll be fine!

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          Mood of the day: lady LEGO

          It is weird that I never did a MOTD post on color combos because I have been obsessed with color blocking since I was 6 year-old. Of course back then, my classmates thought it was color blindness not color blocking…. Idiots.

          This morning, I was in a rather happy mood and decided to go for a daring combo of petrol green and red which may well lead to a ‘hello, Mrs Christmas troll’ reaction but hey who cares? It is #NYFW after all and everybody has moved to Lincoln Center and whereabouts to watch some eye candy and fashionistas strutting around with much swag (yeah!) and self-awareness (yikes!).  I read somewhere that (stylish) peeps get paid for just walking in the street (and no, they are not hookers) in the hope to catch street fashion photographers. So I am basically safe and sound here up in Harlem.

          Anyways, here’s the result:

          – Petrol green faux leather leggings from Caribbean Queen which I thought I would never ever buy from because 1- I cannot help feeling like an idiot/fraud wearing anything called Caribbean Queen (I mean, seriously only Rihanna should be called that), 2- I am way too old to wear their stuff, 3- their aesthetic is so not mine (floral prints, nope, nope, nope)…but as I always say, one should never hold a prejudice (especially when the stuff is on sale) ….Well, after 2 weeks of trial the verdict is ‘I LOVE these fucking leggings!!!!’: my legs almost look like pre-kids legs! I still should not bend but I will take any small victory 🙂

          – a navy turtle neck wool dress by Theory, which is one of my ‘grown up’ go to outfits

          – a red GANT corduroy jacket

          – a hand beaded sans cuffs leather bracelet that has a very place in my heart. I always feel so humbled when I wear it because it was designed and made by my cousin 30 years ago. The bracelet was her final project for her embroidery and fashion techniques qualification. A year before she had dropped her accounting studies much to her parents’ dismay because she sat down in the Parisian metro near a woman who was hand weaving and told her to check out her Fashion institute. Followed her heart and passion. After her graduation, she went on working for Maison Lesage …and Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquieres etc. #mostinspiringjourneyEVER

          – and because it is ‘brain freeze’ cold season in New York, a white wool hat purchased during summer on a Philipp island off the coast of  Australia. My shopping habits are so random.

          Happy Fashion Week! A little gift too, the new Rag & Bone menswear F/W 2015 with Baryshnikov and Lil Buck (L-O-V-E)

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          Out of spectrum

          ‘Anyways, Hank says I have to start taking pictures of people now. Cause they may be a pain in the ass, but they pay to get their pictures taken. If I keep taking pictures of bugs and lizards, I’ll end up poor and homeless.’ Max Braverman, Parenthood

          If G hadn’t been sick with a stomach bug forcing me to hold his hand for hours while he was passed out on the sofa and thus forcing me to think about stuff, I would probably have never written this post.  The last two months felt like running on an ice bank, wearing 20 lb. of winter gear, sweating like a pig, while trying to escape a pack of famished snow wolves. Oh wait, replace snow wolves by kids and yeah that’s about right. I am NOT kidding. I woke up this morning and it was -19c outside; is that even possible ? Not only it was -19c but when I complained about it to my building doorman, he laughed as if walking with a brain freeze was the coolest thing in the world. Fucking New Yorkers, what is wrong with you  🙂 ?

          Anyway, I was thinking about the last 2 months. What happened?

          – Meltdown free Christmas with my in-laws (looks like I am growing up)

          – Me screaming Total Eclipse of the Heart standing on a chair at Thor & Archibald’s NYE party (looks like I still have some growth to do)

          – Talking to some investors about Another Garde half expecting to be told Fuck Off but instead got told ‘Keep talking, I am listening’

          – Deciding that L will definitely be our last child even if none of the three makes it to an Ivy league college or becomes a chef or plays in the NBA which means talks of sterilization are raging at home and made us realize that, after all is done and said, we are all bare mammals. Yikes.

          – Organizing a batman and cinderella birthday party for G & P for a dozen old and new friends, feeling very proud of not dropping anyone while dancing with  swinging the kids on Chandelier by Sia

          – Keep talking some more to investors who are still not saying ‘Fuck Off’ (yeah)

          – Overcompensating for the fact that my parents never volunteered for any class field trips or fundraisers by saying yes to everything the teachers ask: mystery reading, French culture workshop, chairing the Marketing & Fundraising committee for the school’s gala (in hindsight, Papilao & Mamilao = genius and RLM = fucking loser needing a life)… Note to self: for future reference, ALWAYS read properly papers that are given to you else you WILL end up going to the Gala committee chairs’ selection night with 5 other morons thinking that you were going to a general parents/teachers assembly meeting.  And boy did you get fucked.

          Despite all this, what occupied my mind the most while nursing G was this phrase:‘You should read the ‘Out-of-Sync child book’.

          3 early intervention evaluations did not do it.

          Conversations with his day care staff team did not do it.

          Months of frustration and wondering ‘Why this? Why that?’ did not do it.

          Weeks of speech and occupational therapy did not do it.

          Out-of-Sync. 3 words did it. They opened my eyes: yes L, my baby boy was wonderfully quirky but yes, there are things we should be doing about it and that’s OK. Everything will be OK. I think. I know. But let’s backtrack for a moment.

          First, it all started as a running joke: L the ‘indestructible’, the ‘kingpin of Harlem’, ‘the clumsy giant’. Gradually questions started to pop up ‘he is still not really talking, is he?’, ‘why the fuck is he always head butting us to show love? It really hurts, doesn’t it?’, ‘he really never listens, does he?’

          And then, there was a little bit of sadness: ‘how come he does not have any friends besides his siblings?”, ‘how come he does not know his brother’s name?’ 

          Finally it was more questions, more often… And with these questions, my prejudice against American childhood professionals being way too eager to diagnose Hyper Activity Attention Deficit disorders, multiple forms of autism and so on started to falter. So we accepted evaluations.

          After hours of being under the microscope, dozens and dozens of ‘can he do this/that?’, ‘what does he do when this and that?’, my heart started to tighten from worry but also from guilt. Guilt from stuff I thought and said like ‘he is fine, he is just a little asshole!’, ‘he can do more stuff I am sure but he just wants to piss us off’, ‘he is not violent, he just has siblings’, ‘he’s too smart, that’s why he does not talk and slave people’s asses instead’‘I am too busy, he can miss another baby gym class, right? I mean, he does not do much there anyway…’

          Fucking Mom of the Year. It’s OK, I’ll get over it but still it stings.

          Anyway, for the last month he has been receiving free speech therapy, occupational therapy, special instructions therapy (thank you New York Early Intervention program; you rock!). But still I could not understand any of it. What is it about L? Is it because we are a bilingual home? Is it autism? Is it just a phase? Will I be able to communicate with him ‘normally’? Will he stop biting my belly like a fucking vampire? Am I crazy to actually find him extremely intelligent while I cannot understand a fucking word he says and that specialists tell me he is atypical? I wanted to play it cool to no avail. I wanted to understand what the fuck was going on without giving in to paranoia.  I was at a loss… until I heard these 3 words ‘Out-Of-Sync’.

          They brought me peace because I am fine with ‘out-of-sync’, actually. I can do ‘out-of-sync’, I can deal with ‘out-of-sync’, I can live with ‘out-of-sync’, I can support ‘out-of-sync’, I can be proud of ‘out-of-sync’, I can find bliss in ‘out-of-sync’, and in hindsight I probably fell in love with and married ‘out-of-sync’. And to be honest, aren’t we all wonderfully a little ‘out-of-sync’? I shall hope so.

          PS: Sensory Processing Disorder is the exact diagnosis L was given.

          PS2: I need to stop binge watching Parenthood. Worst tear jerker EVER. And I am not a cryer. And also L. is not Max. So I really need to stop crying every time Max is on the fucking screen. Idiot mama.

          PS3: L has increased his vocabulary in the last week including words like ‘caca’ (‘poop’) which makes me run around even more as I am attempting to potty train him. The devil is using it OFTEN and then laughs saying ‘No (c) -omin’ 🙂 I am telling you, he is a mastermind.

           

          Heavenly creatures

          After my downer of a post 3 weeks ago, I have been slowly putting my shit together, regaining some stamina for my project, talking more openly to DH, and most importantly appreciating better my accomplishments as a mom.

          A friend without children recently told me: ‘you are losing your head about achieving stuff, making something out of your life but you do realize you have achieved a lot right? You have a big family and a functional one too. You will always time for the rest.’

          I don’t know if it is her comment or street Christmas lights or the fact that I am still digesting my thanksgiving dinner but I woke up in a disgustingly sappy mood, my heart full of love for my 3 ‘creatures’, as my friend Levon calls them. So this ‘awesomely crazy and cute stuff they say’ post is for you monkeys. Even if I often complain about you, I am thankful for you. I am. Enjoy this post because tomorrow I will be back to my bitchy self.

          G: ‘So there is this house and there is a lion in there and a wolf knocks on the door and the lion is so scared he locks the door …brrrr’

          Me thinking: I see that family membership to the Bronx zoo has been a good investment.

          ————

          G:‘L is a silly baby but he is too cute …sigh.’

          Me thinking: Awww.

          ————

          P: ‘I want to be a big person when I grow up but a big person like Daddy not a big little person like Mommy.’

          Me thinking: Fair enough.

          ————

          G:
          (When peeing first in the morning) ‘I have to hold strong because I have a big zizi (‘willy’), so so big.’

          Me thinking: boys will be boys 🙂

          ————

          L: (when prompted to say ‘Thanks’) ‘Ti tyou’

          Me thinking: Awww.

          ————

          P: ‘I hate all boys at my school…except for one.’

          Me: ‘Who is THAT boy?’

          P: ‘It’s G (her twin brother) because he is really so sweet and so, so cute’.

          Me saying: ‘Awww’ and thinking:’Remember this next time you try to strangle him’.

          ————-

          P: ‘Why are you sad Mama? There are no reasons for you to be sad because you have me, papa, G and L. You cannot be sad. We are all here.’

          Me thinking: Nobel Prize.

          ————-

          To finish here’s a snippet from my conversation with P yesterday. I was talking with DH about old times and P asked:

          Was I in your belly then?

          ‘No’.

          ‘Where was I then”

          ‘Well …you did not exist then’.

          ‘What?????’ shell-shocked I could have a life without her in it 🙂

          ‘Let’s just say you were a wish’.

          Her eyes lit up and she screamed: ‘Yes I was a pink wish!!! But then you prefer grey…would have it been better if you had a grey wish instead of a pink wish?’

          I was not sure what to say. I finally answered: ‘No, because you, my pink wish, are here. I have millions of wishes including the grey one but they are not here and it is ok. I am very happy about it.’

          And then P flashed a kick ass and proud smile. Melt.

          Have a great week end!!!

          Photos by Helene McGuire, LN Photographie

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