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I have found the best radio station in the area. It's fairly new, and I can't believe that I've missed it until now. This morning, I drove the big kids to school. With no little kids, in a Jeep that wasn't my big.white.van. Let me repeat that. I was in a Jeep, with great music, and after I dropped the big kids off, I was ALONE.
(This happens so rarely, that it can't be counted on one hand. One of the perks of The Hubster's job is that he is allowed a choice of demo to drive. He was driving a Chrysler 300 until last week, and he asked me what I wanted him to drive. I chose my favorite - just a Jeep Wrangler. I love driving it! It's so much fun - we can take the top off, and the radio kicks butt. I don't drive it all that often - mostly, I'm staid Mom-around-town in my 15 passenger, airport shuttle van. Every once in a while, though, when The Hubster is home, I go out in his demo, just to be alone.)
I am fairly, shall we say, eclectic in my musical tastes. I go through different phases. For a while there, it was country music. Then I switched to Classic Rock. I still love that station, but they play too much Rolling Stones for my taste. (I'm probably the only one in the world that can't stand the Stones. Or Elton John, for that matter.) Sometimes, I'll flip to the classical music. Or soft rock. NEVER ever ever rap, or hip hop, or heavy head banging stuff. Over and over, I come back to my SIRIUS radio on the satellite - songs of the 70's, and then 80's. Two different channels that I can switch between while at home.
In the car, though, I've been stymied. Until NOW. This morning, the line up was
Violent Femmes - a flashback from high school
The Clash - love love love them
Gloria Gaynor's I will survive
It was a plethora of great music.
What is your choice of music?
Back when I had my first child, I was an avid member of La Leche League. I went to every meeting that I could find. I attended enrichment meetings, toddler groups - sometimes I had three meetings a week. I had friends and we did lots together. I had a great feeling of comraderie. I've outgrown that group, though. I'm still nursing, but my life has gone beyond worrying about the number of wet diapers and what to do when your baby starts solid food.
When I had two kids, I found a local group of women, called Mothering Friends. They were an offshoot of the Mothering magazine - dedicated to Natural Family Living, through breastfeeding, homebirthing, cloth diapering, organic nutritious foods, gentle discipline, no circumcisions or vaccinations. I didn't fit all of the paramaters, but most of them, and so for quite a while I was at home there. I always knew that Mondays were League and Wednesdays were Mothering Friends. I loved that rhythm. I learned so much from both groups too. Those examples for responsible mothering really made an impression on me, and helped me to form the opinions that I have now. Slowly, though, more radical members joined, and topics such as Wiccan worship, child dedication ceremonies, and what to do with your placenta came along. When the discussion led to using the soak water from your cloth menstrual pads to water your vegetables, and I realized I was eating said veggies in my salad, I quietly left the group.
Then I joined a book club. It was held at my house, and it was a wonderful social time that I really looked forward to every month. When the books became too hard, too scholarly - as it was a Catholic book club, and we were reading the likes of Chesterton - and I took a sabbatical from reading, two of the members were offended. I dropped the book club. After six years in the group, it was one of the toughest things I ever had to do.
Being the extroverted type that I am, I need friends. I crave friendship. I need to feel that I have a group to be a part of - something that I can attend. I tried to start up a playgroup at my house, but it's too tough with my big kids schedules. One week it's my job to pick up preschool at 12:30, and one week I pick up big kid school at 3.
So, today, I attempted to infiltrate a new group. It was my first attempt at a "group" since my fourth child was born. I've been lurking, and occasionally posting, for a while on the local Meetup group for SAHM's. Today was a brunch. I didn't know anyone, but I thought, I'm pretty good at this "let's make friends" kind of stuff, so let's give it a whirl.
Everyone there had only one or two kids. Little kids, under 5. They all knew to the day how old their kids were. Almost all were military families, talking about living on base, or shopping at the PX. Everyone was still in the nap taking stage. Not all, but many of the moms were giving their babies junk foods - cheetos to a six month old to gnaw on, a mountain dew to a three year old. Not that I'm any great shakes in the nutrition department, but my kids choices are fruits and veggies. By their choice, sometimes. When I nursed the baby, the conversation went to how difficult nursing was, and how it was easier to just give em a bottle. Then, the conversation evolved into how one member slapped her two year old upside the head for his repeating a string of curse words.
Understand, I am not a perfect mother. Not by ANY stretch of the imagination. My kids eat more than their fair share of junk. I have spanked my kids, often in anger, when I know better. I've cursed in front of my kids, and sometimes it's been repeated, much to my chagrin. I don't know to the day how old any of my kids are. Most of the time, I have to count back to see how old I am.
I'm at a different place in my life than most of those ladies. There is NOTHING wrong with the place that they are. It's just not the place that I am. I'm more concerned with school books, teachers, teasing, puberty and acne than diapers and formula. My choices for the younger kids are choices that I've already made. Battles I've already fought - will I nurse? Will I use Pampers? Start with rice cereal, or oatmeal? When do I drop from two naps to one?
I probably still will attend the meetings of this group, because everyone was so danged nice. That's what was hard - they were nice! They were welcoming, and friendly - just not on my wavelength. I wanted that feeling of "I belong. I'm a part of this." And it wasn't there. Does that make sense?
I'd love a meetup with Lucy, Jenny, Alana, Chris, M'Lynn, and all the rest of you. People who GET me, and worry about the same things I do.
Am I just weird?
After a fair night's sleep, we were up at the butt crack of dawn, thanks to the time difference. Cancun is an hour behind East Coast time. We decided to get up and go for breakfast. There were three restaurants at the hotel, and two of them offered buffets. Almost every meal, that's what we had.
We went downstairs, got our food, and began the usual dance of a meal with Riley. She smeared her food, ate some bacon, spilled her drink, and screamed to get down. Just a standard meal with her. We took turns walking with her. Finally, when The Hubster had had enough, he decided it was time for him to go to his meeting. He left, (I'm sure he was happy to do so!) and she and I went exploring. We found the gift shop, and I amused myself by trying to convert the pesos into dollars. 11 pesos = 1 American dollar. So, the shaving cream that I had forgotten to pack, listed for 70 pesos, cost $7.70 American. Sheesh. But, hey, since I changed $40 American for $440 Mexican, I was rich! Right? Right!
The first hint of the difficulty of the day appeared in the gift shop. I tried to look at the different candies, chips, and cookies, because I wanted to buy some that A) were all different types for the kids to see and B) possibly could be safe for Gabriel. Not knowing much (any) Spanish, this was a bit difficult. Riley was not happy, however, with the thought of waiting patiently while I decided what to buy. She let me, and the whole store, know it, too. She threw herself out of my arms, onto the floor, and started screaming, banging her head all the while. Desperately, I picked a packet of cookies, opened them, and gave one to her. No dice. She screamed and screamed, and so I tried to remain calm and get my purchases together. The total was $340 pesos, so I paid. She gave me my change back in American dollars and peso coins. I have no idea if my change was correct or not - that's probably why she did it that way.
I strapped the baby into her stroller, among her many protests, and we walked. And walked. And walked. Quite by accident, we stumbled upon the play area. When I opened the door, the two girls who worked there told me, in a mixture of Spanish and English, that they didn't open for two hours. With a great deal of gesturing, single Spanish words (nino, for baby was one I knew), I convinced them to let me stay and play with her. There was no way I was leaving her there with them to be sat, anyway. Those poor girls would have never had children if I did that! No, I just wanted some toys to play with her.
We passed quite a while this way. I decided that we should try to find The Hubster, and we did so. (One thing I forgot to mention was that each of us were allowed two specials. Facials, massages, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, or a tour of Old Cancun. I really wanted to have a massage each day, but had to do it during the time that The Hubster wasn't in a meeting, and make sure that he could have his activity as well. Friday, he really wanted to go deep sea fishing, and so I gave up my massage time.) He was really excited that he was going fishing, and so he changed, sunblocked up, and was gone.
We walked and walked. We went swimming, and then it was time for lunch. After lunch, which was pretty much a repeat of breakfast, Riley was exhausted, as was I, and so went back to the room for a nap. Which she did NOT want to take. She started to scream, and it went quickly into a full blown, foot slamming, head banging, let's bite the mommy, temper tantrum. It went on for 45 minutes, with me restraining her arms and legs, saying the rosary in a whisper (this will sometimes calm her), and thanking God that no one was in the room next to us. She finally passed out, and we ended up sleeping for 2.5 hours. I knew she was tired!
We had friends on this trip, two couples who live in a city near us and were on the trip last year. There was also another couple from the same dealership that The Hubster works at, and all of the couples wanted to eat together for dinner. They invited us, which was a really nice gesture, but one I was not certain was going to work. They wanted to eat at 8. We decided to go by ourselves at 7, since 8 would be too late for Riley.
So, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, an activity that Riley loved. She also loved the birds that were flying back and forth, and the rest of the afternoon passed fairly peacefully. I needed it, too. The Hubster was pumped after his fishing trip, as they caught two huge sailfish. They offered to let him keep them and have them mounted, for $1000. He let the fish go.
I took her upstairs, and we both got ready for dinner. We were ready before The Hubster, and she was getting irritable, and so we went down to the restaurant. I didn't have a good feeling about this, but he wanted to do it. The restaurant, Rosato, was an elegant one, and I realized it wouldn't work when I looked at the menu outside. Foie gras, duck, carmellized reductions, all of it fancy and none of it appetizing. I went to the house phones, called up to our room, and told The Hubster I didn't think it would work, but he really wanted to eat there. So, I went in.
"Oh, you've brought a baby with you. We don't have any high chairs - let's see if we can get one from the other restaurant." First bad thing.
"Here is your table." Complete with white linen cloths, lit candles, and fresh flowers. Served by waiters in tuxedos. Second bad thing.
She refused to sit in the high chair, and started to scream. That was it. I got up, and walked out, leaving the stroller behind, as they had taken it somewhere to store it.
Outside, I met up with The Hubster, who was still interested in eating there, until he looked at the menu. It wasn't our type of food. So, he went in, got the stroller, and made our aoplogies. We went over to the other restaurant, where they really liked Riley and they had a buffet. Again, she started to tantrum, and I just couldnt' deal with it any more. I started to cry, and The Hubster took her from me. I went over to the window, and looked outside for a few minutes, in order to try to get myself together. She's so hard to deal with, and I was so tired of doing it.
We sat for dinner, and started to talk about our day. Riley wasn't interested in eating, and so I let her walk around. (We were seated in an area by ourselves.) The chairs were open backed, and she had great fun sticking her hands through all the openings. After dinner, we went for a walk by the pool. THAT didn't work, as Riley was upset that she couldn't get in the pool, so we went down to walk on the beach, She didn't like the sand, and then The Hubster just lost it with me. We had a big argument about how difficult she was, and why I insited on bringing her with us, when she was so clearly miserable. I reiterated that leaving her with someone she didn't know wasn't an option, and my mother wouldn't keep her. I also reminded him that I volunteered not to come, and he insisted that it would all be fine. It was an ugly scene.
We got up at 4:45, in order to out of the house by 6:15, for a 7:00 check in and a 9:00 flight. We showered, dressed, packed, kissed the kids, and got to the airport in plenty of time. The Hubster, since we were early to the airport, decided that he wanted to eat breakfast. I'm not a breakfast eater, and I really wanted to get down to the gate and get this trip started. I said I'd just eat at the next airport. He wanted to eat, though, and so we went into a restaurant offering a buffet. I surprised myself by eating two plates of food.
We arrived at the gate, checked in, and got the tag for our gate checked stroller. We boarded the plane, and at 8:55, the pilot came over the PA system. "Uh, Ladies and Gentleman, this is your Captain. We are going to power down the plane for just a few minutes. It should stay relatively cool in here, and when we are finished, we'll be on our way." Um, ok. I've never been on a plane that had to be powered down, but, whatever.
Fifteen minutes later, it was hot and people were starting to talk. The PA crackled on again. "It appears that we have no navigation system, and our backup navigational is not functional as well. We have contacted the Charlotte airport, where our jets are serviced, and they will fly the part to us. It will be here by 10:30, it takes 15 minutes to install, and then we will be underway. In the meantime, please deplane, leaving your carryon luggage where it is. We will call you for reboarding when the plane is repaired." Huh. Good thing I ate breakfast, huh?
We got off, and I went to the desk to ask for my gate checked stroller. After all, two hours is a long time to hang out in an airport with Riley. The lovely, lovely attendant was fairly unhelpful. "I am too busy, trying to reroute various people and make connections. I can't get your stroller. Just make do, like everyone else." Well, hunkey dorey for everyone else, they don't have Riley to care for. So I made a pest of myself, and finally got my stroller. I walked the loop of the wing of the airport, from security to the end of the gates, for an hour and a half. Everytime The Hubster tried to walk her, she would cry. I tried to remain upbeat - after all, I WAS getting exercise, right?
The part came, the plane was repaired, we boarded, and flew out. When we got to the next airport for our connection, we discovered that we had received an upgrade to First Class. Whoot!!! We've never flown first class, and it was a much nicer experience than I imagined. Before we left, though, there was a delay AGAIN, due to the fact that the bathroom lights in the plane were not functioning. I couldn't believe we had a problem in both planes.
We were in the first row, and Riley was able to sit on the floor and play, for the entire flight. That was great. The only bad thing was that neither of us enjoyed the perk of First Class - we didn't get any booze. The flight attendant passed out our customs forms, written in Spanish, and we had a great time trying to figure out what to answer. We finally got the English versions.
We were in Mexico!! Three hours late, but at least we were there. We exited the airport, found our transfer, and took a scenic tour to the hotel. We checked in, meeting the incredibly irritable secretary who plans these trips. I'll call her X. She made her first little snarky comment about bringing the baby along, a comment that I managed to brush off. We went up to the room, and opened the door to find that our requested King size bed....
had become two double beds.
I can do this, right? I went down, and found the president of the company. "Hye, Joe? I know you guys want us to stop having kids, but this double bed thing on a vacation just isn't going to fly." I thought he would wet himself, he laughed so hard. He directed me over to X, with the comment , "You've GOT to tell her what you told me! That was classic!" I repeated the comment, and she replied, "Yeah, we don't want you having any more." Excuse me? I looked her right in the eye, and said, in a voice loud enough for anyone to hear, "Well, X, we DO want more children, and it's not your business. I'd like to be able to sleep with my husband this trip. Can you help me do that?"
She shut up. However, all the ocean front rooms were booked, and so we stayed in our room. We pushed the beds together and made one big one. I took Crabby for a walk, and The Hubster unpacked for us. We went down for dinner, and while he stayed for cocktails, I took a walk with Riley. A quick stop off at the party for a few drinks of my own, a walk back to the room, a bath, and I put her to bed. She had been relatively calm during what I anticipated was going to be a very tough day, so maybe the rest of the time would be great.
All in all, a decent first day. Day two, tomorrow.
Who wants to guess what happened while The Hubster was in his meeting???
|Your Type is |
Take the Jung Typology Test. Now, If I can just figure out what it means......
Yesterday, I took some dinner to The Hubster at work. I popped all the kids in the car, and we drove through the rain. Nikolas and Allegra were both in good moods, the little kids were quiet, and we chatted on the way there. It was actually pleasant. :)
Nikolas ran the food in, since it was raining buckets. When he came out, he stood under the awning for a minute. Allegra said, "Mom, Nikolas looks so grown up and mature!" He did, too. He recently got a haircut, and was wearing a new Henley top with jeans, and he just looked very grown.
As we were watching, he flipped open the magazine he was holding, popped it on his head, and ran towards the car, yelling "Ai yai yai!!!!!"
Yeah, he's mature, all right.
My friend Lucy has asked for some help.
For parents of children who participate in youth/team sports:
As a spectator of youth sports, and as a parent of a participant in a team sport, do you have any concerns youth sports? Have you experienced problems with other spectators/parents? Do you have any concerns at all? Please be specific.
Email her at
Answers to questions in comments:
Camera: We have a Sony, hold on, let me check...... ok, it's a Cybershot 4.1 megapixels. It has a Carl Zeiss lens. Whatever THAT means. All I know is, it takes great pics. It's got an option to take B&W and sepia, as well as short - 10 second - movie shots. I really like it.
Chicken Picatta recipe - let me see if I can remember what I did. I pounded the chicken, and then breaded it in flour, mixed with some bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. (I heart heart heart Mrs. Dash garlic and herb. The one with the blue top.) I browned it in olive oil and butter. When the chicken was finished, I took it out of the pan. I kept the pan on the heat, and added a bit of butter. I added in 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, and one cup of chicken stock. I scraped up the browned bits in the pan, and then added 1/3 cup rinsed capers. Put the chicken back in the pan, cook for a few minutes, flip the chicken, turn off the heat and cover it. Let it sit for a few minutes, and serve with pasta. Yumm-o.
Oh, yes, I did make the kids pick up their
toxic waste dumps their rooms. What do you think, I'd post pics of dirt on my blog? Didn't I say I was Type A? That is my junk drawer, though.