Archives for November 2013

Mother Knows Best

“Hey, Mom… you know who you remind of?” Gwen called from the kitchen.

My seven year old daughter has developed the habit of calling out her random thoughts, expecting whomever she is addressing to be instantly available. She’s a lot like me that way.

When I poked my head into the kitchen, she was sitting at the counter in front of my laptop with Kate. Together, they were watching YouTube videos of Disney Princess songs. Those catchy sing-alongs accompanied by a bouncing ball to emphasize the lyrics. Of course, I was instantly curious. I’ll admit, maybe even a tiny bit flattered to think that some princess evoked fond thoughts of me, their Mommy.

“Who?” I hopefully asked.

“That mean old witch in Rapunzel,” she said. “What’s her name again?”

“Mother Gothel,” Kate answered.

The song they were listening to reached my ears at the same time her declaration registered in my brain.

Mother knows best, take it from your Mumsy…

Have you seen Mother Gothel in Rapunzel? She’s a narcissistic bitch sporting a mane of dark curls. She feeds off Rapunzel’s magical golden hair, engaging in the intimate, maternal act of brushing those locks until the golden glow restores her youth and beauty. Without access to Rapunzel’s hair, she’s a withering mess of gray hair and wrinkles.

What the stuff? Really? This is how my middle child sees me? I most certainly don’t live vicariously through my daughter! Do I?

Panicked, I asked, “Kate, do you think I’m like Mother Gothel too?”

Don’t judge me; I was desperate for a second opinion. I needed someone to tell me that Gwen was wrong.

“Yup,” Kate declared. “You wook wike her.”

Mother gothel 3

Go ahead and leave me, I deserve it…

mother gothel 2

The most disturbing part is, Gwen made this very accusation three years ago. It’s true. We were in a jam-packed movie theater enjoying a girl’s day out and as Mother Gothel said, “Great, now I’m the bad guy,”  when Gwen, in her most inappropriately loud movie theater voice announced, “She’s just like you, Mommy!”

After the insane laughter of our fellow movies goers subsided, I sat in my stadium seat, face burning. Oh, I laughed too, in my lame attempt to appear cool. I mean, four year old kids say the darndest things, right?

On the bright side, they didn’t compare me to Ursula the Sea Witch or worse, Maleficent, because that would have been just plain more awful.

Skip the drama, stay with Mama…

mother gothel

Honesty

Despite my rabid insistence that Narragansett No. 7 is not a Mommy Blog – because it’s really more of an anti-Mommy Blog,  a catch-all for my neurotic ramblings, and failures as a writer/parent/woman/human being – I suddenly find myself engaged in some very Mommy Bloggish endeavors.

Case in point: I am teaching Kate preschool at home this year.

No, not because she was kicked out of her former school for bad behavior or anything. There are many reasons.  Mostly, the preschool wasn’t a good fit for us anymore. The mommies of her classmates were much younger and frankly, I wasn’t fabulous at making connections with them last year. What can I say? My thesis left very little room for play dates. Kate is our third child and most of the kids her class were the first-born in young families. I just wasn’t as… how shall I say? Gung ho? Nervous? I don’t know… I’ll let you fill in that blank. With two older kids and their schedules to shuffle, Kate’s preschool related extracurriculars took a back seat and if that appeared to be unfriendly, then so be it.

Then there was the issue of a little boy diagnosed with a spectrum disorder mid-year and some intolerance that came along with it. The situation brought me back to Joe’s first years of school and the shunning we experienced from the other moms. It pissed me off. It made me not want to bring my son anywhere near some of those folks. You know? I guess I threw a wall up.

Anyway, here I am preparing Kate for Kindergarten on my own. If I were a liar, I’d be sharing perfect photographs of each and every craft or messy sensory activity that Kate dives into. You would be inundated with toothy smiles and things like splat mats and smocks and wipes on the kitchen table, but that shit disappeared with kid number two.

Sure, I might post photographs, but rest assured, they won’t always be pretty. Not like those shiny happy pictures on some blogs and most definitely not like the photos snapped at preschool events of days gone by.

Why? Well, because teachers shower in the morning. That’s right. They generally don’t stink like dirty hobos in dire need of a breath mint.

Teachers don’t tell their daughter to “sit down and write those lower case e’s or I’ll steal all of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of your Halloween stash.”  (Note to self: potential sorting and/or math lesson.)

Teachers might consider my requirement that she walk the dog after lunch unfair.

On the other hand, if Kate were at preschool she never would have felt comfortable enough to say, “Get over here you little gween bastard,” to a miniscule Lego frog evading her grip. That’s how our fine motor skill sorting game went down last week. I’m pretty sure most the other mommies wouldn’t have approved, but life isn’t always perfect. And maybe that’s the difference between first time moms and third timers.

Copyright 2013 Narragansett No. 7

Procastination and Self-Loathing

Truth is, I’m mired in the worst writer’s block I’ve ever encountered.  First, I was just taking a month off.  Just a simple one month break. Thirty days post-graduation to catch-up with my family. I suppose it all began as some lame attempt to assuage the guilt that had built up over two years of placing grad school deadlines before my children. But somehow, that August break crept into September, bled into October, and has now begun to ooze into November. The Break grows increasingly vile by the day, slowly morphing into an insidious hole that now threatens to erase my very need to write.

In September, I wrote just one rough piece. Something I hastily cranked out in order to meet the deadline imposed by my writers group. A  group composed of my amazingly talented friends. These are the people who have, over the past two years, become some of the best friends I have ever made. They are people who are actually doing something with their talent, like Penny Guisinger whose amazing work appears here, and Kerri Dieffenwierth whose fabulous words have been published here.

Truth is, despite the insightful (and patient) comments of my highly respected peers, I haven’t revisited that rough piece I submitted since we met via Skype a month and half ago.

Excuses don’t excuse my lack of inspiration.

Truth is, I have a memoir that is 90% finished and I’ve been too chicken shit to finish my book proposal. I’m in full avoidance.

I’ve been home pre-schooling Kate this year. Mostly because the cooperative preschool we belonged to for nearly four years turned out to be rather uncooperative and less parent-run than I’d come to expect.

So I’ve been focusing on things like kindergarten readiness and dance classes to make up for Kate’s lack of social interaction. Because things like boogers and dancing are important to my youngest child’s development. Right?

boogie

Then there’s that yearly Halloween party… the one that helps me avoid what I’m supposed to be doing by assembling things like this:

kitchen

                        And by making these:

  candy apples

 The worst part? I feel like I’ve lost my funny.  Mostly because I’ve been mired in writing a memoir for two years and it covers some rather un-funny personal history. These days, I find myself over-thinking what used to be silly blog posts.

So instead, I’ve been doing important things, like sitting on a king-sized bed piled high with laundry and watching the Kardashians. Because someone has to commiserate with poor Khloe and her camel toe, right? Gravity sucks, man.

khloe-kardashian-camel-toe hermes bag

I’ve been avoiding things like submitting my work to journals or contacting Word Portland, a local event created by Emily Young, a fellow Stonecoaster, that would allow me to read my work at a really cool public venue.

So this blog post is my official return to silly parenting horrors, random thoughts, and my commitment to writing something. Anything. This is me forcing myself to get off my ass and write.

And it feels good.