I did a little Q & A on the Circle of Moms. I usually don’t do this type of things but it was actually a fun exercise. The question was:
If you were giving a commencement speech, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to young women who want to include motherhood in their futures?
Growing up, I was drowned under the imagery of saint like mothers, caring and soft spoken. Soon after I became a mom, I realized that moms are more like war commandants: developing military tactics to manage tantrums, feeding and sleeping routines, leveraging all resources they have (nanny, family, savings, wine etc.) to win all the battles (career, motherhood, love), yelling marching orders, being stuck in their trenches previously known as their apartment with sleep deprivation, wearing combat clothing namely sweatpants and nursing tops and they also get battle scars from being scratched and punched by their tots.
Don’t cry. This is good. Yes, you won’t be a saint like person but you are better. Because whenever you think you royally screwed it up and that you are losing the fight, someone in the motherland thinks you are a hero.
And like a commandant, wear proudly your physical and emotional scars and let an army carry you. There is no war worth fighting for on your own.
So far I have 0 votes…Hilarious.
Saturday was an odd combination of ‘oh yeah’, ‘oh no’ and ‘what the hell???’ The snow everyone has been waiting for since December has finally arrived. I expected to be underwhelmed here in Harlem because we have been pretty spared by Irene and Frankestorm. It is like living in a little island. However, the wait was truly worth it. The snow was soft; it was abundant and yes, it was beautifully calming. When New York is snowed in, it is one of those rare occasions when the City seems quiet, sober, and almost sane. It probably means that all the crazies fear the cold.
At 7am, J’s dad called us (J is the twins’ BFF) for a Jazzy brunch and a sledge play date. I like the fact that we do know some other poor bastards who are awake at the wee hours of a Saturday morning. J’s dad was so ready to start the day, and so were we because after the 12th time of trying to put your kids back to bed or in front of the TV, more sleeping for us was obviously not happening.
The whiteness of everything gave me a perfect occasion to wear my loose knit by Mes Demoiselles. It looks and feels like being in a huge yarn of wool. I accessorized with a felt hat , the ‘stewardess hat’, that I blocked and designed two years ago while I was looking like a whale. It was not fun pulling all those blocking ropes and trying to hold tight the slippery hat block between the narrow crevasse between my then gigantic breasts and GIGANTIC belly. I felt like someone trying to catch a petulant living salmon with their hands full of Vaseline.
Morningside Park was quite a sight with people sledging everywhere and banging their heads against the park rails. Cheerful atmosphere. Sledges were a hot commodity. I could have probably been able to sell my infant plastic one for a cool $40. Welcome to Manhattan, bitch. The weather actually turned the whole neighborhood into a genuine entrepreneurial fair. Kids with bigger than them shovels were charging their services to dumbfounded neighbors who found their pricey SUVs trapped into walls of snow. An old lady passed by and said ‘aww that brings about some memories, I used to make pocket money like this: 5 bucks per car. ‘ You gotta love long standing traditions!
The minus side of the snow is that it drives the kids bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. The three of them found their way into our bed around midnight and after that…I am still not sure about all the details but it was bad. First, it was so bad that DH at about 3am threw his hands up in the air and wimped: ‘I am fed up. I am going onto the sofa bed’. This has never happened before. DH is a resilient husband (he has been with a high maintenance lunatic for almost two decades) and a resilient father (he almost never took time for himself since the kids were born). But his most treasured possession, even above his wife and his kids, is his Tempur pedic mattress. He loves it so much he was able to endure many disrupted nights since the kids decided to violate our bedroom aka our now defunct child free sanctuary (R.I.P. safe haven, miss you so much). But that night, he surrendered. I was thus left on my own with the three monsters. Absolutely traumatic. Here is a sample of what happened:
– I got stepped and jumped upon, nothing new here, but at some point P sat on my face for a while until I realized my plight. Breathing through a diaper full of pee is…I actually cannot find any words for this. I eventually rolled out of under her but found myself in the middle of a large wet spot. It could have been anything: cow’s milk, formula’s milk, drool from L’s teething or urine from a good old diaper leak. And yes I stayed on the wet spot because I had no place to go. The critters were everywhere: their six legs, six arms, 3 heads, 60 fingers and toes. Everywhere!!!
– around 4am I realized G was missing and started to look around the apartment freaking out that he might have run out and taken the building elevator. It is his favorite hobby. Instead I saw a silent boy with his belly sticking out his pajamas trousers standing by the sledge. I almost passed out; he was like a scary human size Russian doll in a deranged Japanese horror movie. Then he creepily whispered: S…L…E…D…G…E
– sometime between 4.30 and 5am I heard some suspicious giggling and went onto a full panic mode. P was pushing a heavy pillow onto G’s face while this idiot was lying there obediently submitting himself to this dangerous game. At this point I was ready to google: toddler psychological assessment for dummies.
By 7.00am I have given up. As I was pulling myself out of bed, I saw P pushing a huge box, climb on top of it and mess around with my stuff on the book shelves. I was not amused and told her to stop. She looked at me with pity, shook her head and with a sweet but sarcastic voice said: ‘Mommy, go to sleep, go to sleep…’ I looked daggers at her. What the fuck?
P.S: I enrolled in a blogger competition, the circle of moms. If you like what you read, please vote here. The competition closes on Wednesday 13th February, cast your vote now. Thanks!!
Children at an early age often talk crap. To start with, they repeat every single thing you say just to piss you off, they say NO when they actually would like to say yes, they repeat the same thing over and over again etc. You just wish that the latest idiom they are obsessed about is not ‘fuck, fuck, fuck ‘because whatever the situation (riding the subway, doing grocery shopping, being on a play date etc.), it is mortifying. Never happened to me by the way. Ever…
However, sometimes unexpected things can happen. My son, G, since he can talk, has been saying ‘Hi’ to everyone he sees, absolutely everyone. It sounds cute and endearing but in reality, it was kind of annoying because I had to smile and say ‘Hi’ too while I was half sleeping or on the verge of a nervous breakdown because the twins were a real pain in the ass to get into their stroller. And then the holy season came and with it some more cheerful dispositions on my part. That is when I started to pay attention. After two months, I came to this conclusion: G is Gandhi and I am an unapologetic snob. Son 1- Mom 0.
Indeed, the last two months he said ‘Hi’ to:
– an old obese man who was catching up his breath by the stairs of a brownstone house, panting and panting and looking…obese. The man looked at us and gave us a huge smile. His face brightened up and he told us: ‘Hi. God bless you.’ I said ‘Thanks’ and started to giggle with him and talk about how yes, they were twins and how yes, I needed God’s blessing. The ‘without kids me’ would never have had such conversation because I would have felt uncomfortable (and, dare I say, felt sorry) next to an old panting obese man. An uncomfortable feeling would have been enough for me to switch sidewalks. But the ‘with G me’ made me have a playful conversation with a heavy person with a pretty quick spirit.
– a trio of tough looking, ‘I am wearing my jeans showing 50% percent of my underwear’, rough speaking guys. G said ‘Hi’ once, twice an three times. The boy does not give up until you answer back. Meanwhile, I was awkwardly looking at the pavement and, I am ashamed to admit, was thinking ‘G, just shut up’. I even started to hold tight on my iPhone. Upon G’s insistence, the guys eventually lost their stern masks and became three rather goofy teenagers. One of them told me he was a twin too and insisted that I told him who was born first. I finally said that it was the boy but it did not really matter because it was only by one minute (miracle of C-section). He laughed out loud and said pulling his pants up with a proud smug: ‘Mama, it does matter. It really does. I am 5 minutes older than my brother and I am telling you, he hears about it all the time.’
– two teenagers in a subway with their headphones on. G smiled at them and waved. One was a Black Latino wearing dreads and a sports cap sideways, the other was also mixed race with those weird gang style eyebrow cuts on each side. As they waved back, I really looked at them and noticed something unexpected. They were holding hands. Two minutes later, one kissed the other on the forehead. It was a ‘what the fuck’/’absolutely awesome’ experience for me. Thanks to G, I saw two young men who publicly loved each other in the middle of the day in the fucking subway. I am not talking about two skinny jeans wearing, show tunes loving, cleanly shaved guys here. I am talking about two young men showing all the superficial signs of the Alpha male street culture proudly showing PDA (Public Display of Affection). It is a big thing people, real big.
That is just a sample of what situations I get drawn into thanks to my big-mouthed son. I realize that kids can bring good stuff into your life and I am not talking about my retirement fund. I am increasingly getting sceptical about any of them paying for my nursing home or taking care of me when I am demented or become incontinent. However, I should start now to embrace my children’s perhaps most amazing gift: ‘the reset button’, as I call it. A button that resets my fears, resets my ‘whatever’ attitude and mostly resets my prejudice. Indeed, my kids’ babbling is often deafening but if I let myself go, it can probably sometimes open my eyes. For the best.
P.S. I enrolled in a blogger competition, the circle of moms. If you like what you read, please vote here. Thanks!!