Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zombie Single Mommy

So....I became a single mom on Oct. 1, 2012. Gosh, why is that so hard for me to say... Is it because I hate the label "single mom"? It implies that I am alone. Which I am not. I have tons and tons of love from my three year old little boy. I call him my little angel baby because he prefers to be called a baby rather than a little boy. So he is going to be my angel baby for the next 70 years until I die at age 106. And when you do not have a supportive husband, you learn to build a community of support. Or at least I did. And those friends become your family. You love them. And you need them. Maybe that is kind of the scary part. You really friggin' NEED those people. Just knowing they are there takes away from the whole alone persona. For example, Max and I got sick this past weekend. We were home all alone and my downstairs neighbor brought us a few supplies that we started to run low on in the night. She brought us disposable diapers and pedialite popsicles. I mean there's no way in hell I could have had enough diapers on hand to prepare for my son to literally "pee" out his ass all night long. And those popsicles saved the day when he would not and could not eat or drink anything else. So that was awesome. Or beyond awesome to have her drop off some necessary supplies. And I never felt alone for a split second. I was cleaning shit and vomit all night long and quite frankly Max and I really enjoyed our time together. We caught up on all the hip and latest cartoons and I got my bathroom sparkling clean while we discussed Mickey Mouse's train tracks in between projectile episodes. And then the next night when Max went to go spend the night with his daddy, I did not feel alone. I reserved that time to become tragically ill, fight off a fever, and sleep in a coma until my little angel arrived home. It was great. I felt so supported. I had the help from daddy that I had been begging for, for three years. I was resting and taking care of yours I'm singing some Thrift Shop, "I'm gonna' rock right now.....This is...AWESOME!" Because I'm simply thinking about how much better single motherhood is than living in an abusive house hold. Wee! I'm so happy! I began having flashbacks of when Max and I got food poisoning back when he was one year old. It may have been one of the top worst days and nights of our lives. I pulled his vomit covered body out of his crib and was cleaning him off in the kitchen sink. By the time he was mostly clean, I couldn't even get a towel wrapped around him because I had to run to the toilet for my own "dyre" situation. I had already taken off my shirt at that point because it was covered in old chunky regurgitated food so of course my sick baby was nursing while I'm stuck on the toilet. I finally scraped up the shit...I mean the courage to call from the bathroom, "Please help. I'm sooo sorry to wake and bother you. I know you have to work tomorrow. But I'm really desperate." I'm disgusted to think back on that defeated, broken down, trembling voice. I only asked for help if I thought I was dying. It was a typical abusive relationship based on fear. Today I would yell, "You lazy, selfish mother fucker, Get your fat ass out of bed and help me with YOUR sick son." And I'm sure I would add some other really unbecoming language into the conversation and make it really nasty. Like, "Hey fuck face. I fucking hate you and you are a dead beat dad but I don't have anyone else to call on right now so HHHEEEELLLLPPP!!!" Ok, so I would never really yell all those F bombs out loud. I'm a yoga teacher for goodness sake. I would only think those awful thoughts, push them to the side, label them thoughts, and then use my southern sweetness to welcome daddy to nighttime parenting. And who knows, maybe I would trip over one or two F bombs because I just can not imagine repressing emotion the way I did in my son's father's house. It was so unhealthy for all of us. Gross with a capital G. Today is such a much better day. I can really feel the support around me. I love waking up in a beautiful home without someone making fun of me for still being in bed in the mornings after a long night of nursing. Or if I fall asleep without cleaning the dishes, it's no big deal because I will get to it in the morning. Or if I forget to sweep the balcony, water the plants, or make the bed, no one besides me will freak out. If Max is happy, I am happy. And he is happy! But here is the misperception. When a woman with a child moves out of an abusive situation, she is not ending the abusive relationship. Because the nature of abuse is very manipulative and seductive and the cycle continues. From day to day you never know if you are going to receive grenades or chocolates from the abuser. In my case, my son goes back and forth from mommy to daddy on a very regular basis. So I am still in an abusive relationship and I want to make that clear. But it is still soooo much better than living under the same roof as my abuser. Let's name my son's father "Mr. A" for blogging purposes. It really is quite a fitting label. He is A. Everyone around him is treated as B or C or less. He has a type A personality. If he loves you, he will treat you like you are a disposable employee. So he remains A while you teter between F and Z. I know that there is always a chance I will receive something extra sweet upon my abuser's arrival. But here's what I do. I brace myself as if I am walking into a war, so I am prepared for anything. I barely speak to him because that never goes well. I pass important information to him via email. Because Mr. A communicates in a much kinder manner through the internet than voice. Good old fashioned talking does not work for us. So if I do receive chocolates, or as in yesterday's case, some pastrami (it was a gift for Max), I am careful to realize that this is simply one kind moment. This is not eternal relief. My secret wish is that he has finally come around and is ready to share his life with us. When ever I think that way, let my guard down, and am not prepared, he will rear his ugly face and sucker punch me in the gut. Not literally but metaphorically. And the verbal assaults can take forever to heal. I am prepared to hold on to my own strength for the rest of my life. So we continue our abusive relationship on a more equal playing field. Suddenly I, the victim, have (drum roll....) rights! And I am no longer a victim, but an amazing single mom with a less traditional house hold! And now make room for my husband. Wherever he is. I am looking for him. Please let him know that if he exists I don't even need the flowers. I'll take a hug and some emotional support and call it a day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Baby Max and his Pumpkin Patch Adventures

You could say Max has been to his fair share of pumpkin patches. He's practically a pumpkin patch pro. It's the thing to do ya' know....

Apparently on halloween, babies spend a lot of time at the pumpkin patch. Why not? It's fun. It's free. And it's halloweenie time to pull the wagon through the orange maze....

But don't let the scarecrow scare you, because he's not really scary.

And the petting zoo is always a big hit with my little man. He can chase a goat in circles for 15 minutes straight and has an infinite amount of kissies for the bunnies.

Can you imagine how dirty we are when we get home? I find hay in every crease and crevice and my son smells like a farm animal. The pretty pumpkin patch is a perfect spot for a boy to be a boy!

Happy Halloween to my little 20 month old pumpkin!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tribute to Dhyana & Kai

Max has a best friend that he has played with religiously this year. Sweet Kai is only two weeks younger than Max and they are perfect playmates. It was destiny when we met at Douglas Park at the beginning of the year and became fast friends.

We instantly connected with charismatic Kai and his goddess mama, Dhyana. She is an amazing mommy and someone I have the utmost respect for. She's eternally kind, generous, and full of love for life's little blessings. I truly think the way moms become friends in the beginning is by matched up parenting styles. I'm admittedly more likely to become friends with a mom that is breast feeding her baby at the park than with the mom yelling at her kid to "stop it" from afar. And I think timing was everything for us because we had set out with the intention to find more support in the neighborhood.

Dhyana and I have enjoyed each other's company, and have continued to discover that we have more and more in common. We both love traveling and have been to many countries around the world. We have both taught yoga. We have both worked as reporters. And we are both from the state where we do things bigger and supposedly better...Texas!

In case you haven't hung out with a super active toddler lately, I will inform you that the rate by which you get to know people is rather slow in mommy land. It's on rare occasions we get the opportunity to squeeze in some good conversation between explanations, kissies, nursing sessions, and diaper changes. But the icing on the cake for us is when we discovered we lived only two blocks away from one another. Score! We had new best friends to play with on a regular basis. Woohoo!!

That explains why it is extra sad for Max and me to announce that Dhyana and Kai have moved back to Texas for a few months. They are staying with family and enjoying San Antonio for a while. This move may only be temporary, but we will still miss them very, very much. Since their departure, I have taken a little walk down memory lane.

Max and Kai have had so many awesome adventures together this year. They have had a ridiculous amount of fun tearing up the parks around Los Angeles. They have been to the Noah's Ark exhibit at the skirball. They've enjoyed the low tide together on Santa Monica beach. They've been to potluck parties together. And when we were two tired mamas, we have been back and forth between each others' houses to give us a little "break" while the boys played together.

Kai and Max have been two peas in a pod during their second year of life. They adore being together and we are so grateful to call them friends. We love and miss you Dhyana and Kai!

Beautiful October Summer

Dear October,

Can you please stay with us until spring? Your weather is filled with lots of sunshine and just a little bit of rain, and we think it is perfect. October....Thank you for being a beautiful summer month.


Elizabeth & Max

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A new kind of love

At 19 months old, there is a new kind of love in our lives. It is a love for every single little thing once deemed mundane, boring, or old hat. It is the simplistic love for life that we learn from our children.

Have you ever stopped to think about how delicious mint flavored dental floss tastes in your mouth. It is not only refreshing, but quite entertaining to run the flavored string through your lips. Over and over and over. My son is my teacher and I am his all star student.

Cleaning is the best thing in the world. Max cries to be a part of the janitorial crew. I expected it to be a disaster when I let him hold the broom, but he sweeps with control and pride. He aches to assist me and I happily oblige even though it takes me about three times longer to do chores at home and at the yoga studio.

This month Max has figured out how to put on his shoes all by himself. I never even 'sort of' taught him. One day I told him we were going to the park and it was time to put on his shoes. A little while later I was looking for his baby crocs and couldn't find them because he had put them on his feet all by himself. I was more than a little surprised and tickled to see that they were not only on, but they were on the correct feet.

Every day is proof that children are sponges for learning. When we are walking into our house he knows which key gets us in the front door and insists on holding out the black key. He jams the key in the door for me--even if it means I have to wait an extra hour to get in the house. How chivalrous....He is quite a lady's man!

My son loves helping me make breakfast in the mornings. He knows which ingredients go into our fruit smoothies and takes an enormous amount of joy in dropping the strawberries, bananas, almonds, kale and ice into the blender. Sometimes if I get tired of holding him up to the counter I will bring the blender to the floor so he can really be in charge of which ingredients accidentally end up in his mouth.

First of all, how many babies get fresh kale in their breakfast! But really, how many babies get to make their own breakfast....hahaha!!! I include him on the majority of the production other than stirring the hot oatmeal. Running around the house with a wooden spoon is the next best option. And he generally seems pretty happy with that.

Max interestingly decided he was "done" with his pacifier this month. After he got his last tooth, he didn't seem to need it anymore. I always thought he was chewing on it a lot for teething, and maybe I was right after all. You hear about moms figuring out the most creative ways to wean their children off the paci, and luckily it looks like I don't have to worry about that!

Since Max never has a pacifier in his mouth anymore, he is becoming a lot more verbal. He is constantly pointing at things to learn the name of it. He will poke at me just to hear me say, "elbow, cheek, knee, foot, toe....Yes, you have an owie on your toe. Yes, mommy will kiss your toe. (Then he kisses his own toe.) hair, eye, hair, yes, that is my hair. gentle with my hair please. Ow! Stop pulling my hair. Thank you. (He points to my nose.) Nose. Ok Max, don't stick your finger so far up your nose. I don't want you to hurt yourself. Yes, I have two ears. One, two. So do you. Ear. Ear."

And then he mimics me the best he can. He pokes at my eye and says, "ah. ah. (He pronounces the I sound like a west texan...he knows his roots!) nose. chee. chee." And his default for every body part he does not know is nose. He will call it nose if he doesn't know the name of it or has a hard time saying it. And we could go on like that for hours and hours....

Last week Max got to visit with a turtle for the first time. He was fascinated with Stanley and pointed at him for a very long time before he decided to softly pet him the way we touch the kitty. This lady had brought her turtle to the park for the kids to enjoy and I thanked her tremendously because it was such a hit amongst the little ones, including Max.

There are so many activities that we enjoy on a regular basis. Max loves music so we frequently go to children's concerts live at the grove on thursdays and he will dance and dance with his crew. He loves swimming and I take him to splash and squeal in the water whenever I can. He goes on hikes with me and insists on hiking the first mile before he will let me carry him. He opens my car door for me. When I spill something he grabs a rag and helps me clean. When he sees me getting in the shower, he rips off his diaper and runs in to pee. And he eventually gets cleaned.... Life with an active toddler and his sweet friends is awesome!

This morning, he pointed to the door and said "Da-Da". I explained to him that daddy was working and we would see him later. Then he pointed to a picture of all of us on the wall and said, "Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Ki-Ki, and Mahsch (Max)". And while we were driving to the concert today he saw the back of a man with dark hair and said "Dah-Dah!" Of course I explained to him that the man he saw looked like daddy, but we would see daddy later. Somehow he seemed to understand. They are growing so close!

Just when you think your love for a person couldn't grow any stronger, it does. Sometimes I feel like we hug and kiss all day, and that is quite all right with me. My son is constantly introducing me to a new kind of love.... For him. Myself. And life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Looking at Life from a more important point of view.....

Ummm, I just sort of freaked out over the realization that I have a one and a half year old. Really? I guess it makes sense considering how far we've come in the past 18 months, but it is truly unbelievable that time is flying as fast as it is.

I'm especially astonished by how much I've learned since becoming a mother. My son teaches me the most important lessons life has to offer on a daily basis. As I help him grow and learn, he is helping me grow and learn. It's completely enlightening that when we have a baby, it teaches us about ourselves as a baby. It's amazing how tight we hold on to specific memories and how deeply they affect us. It's also fascinating the way parenthood helps us redefine the word compassion.

I find this to be a good and bad thing. It's obviously good because it makes you more aware and more emotionally supportive towards others, but it can also be difficult. I think back on the sad times I used to spend with my cat, and I want to reach out and give the little girl version of myself a big squeeze.

This month we went to three weddings and a baptism. We have discovered that Max loves attending parties and spiritual ceremonies with delicious food and rockin' beats. The highlights of the weddings we went to this month were the photo booth at temescal canyon, the ocean views at the 'ol hansen beach club, and the turtles at the greystone mansion. If you're ever thinking of hiring a babysitter while you attend a wedding, think again. Weddings are perfect family events and a great time to dance and party together.

Last week we had a baby gang potluck dinner at our house. Max has so many comrades with cool parents and we love getting together with them. We are so fortunate to have found this amazing group of supportive friends. Of course I still love all my single friends without kids, but there is something refreshing about being able to discuss teething and the ever so calming chamomilla, breast feeding and baby led weaning, and of course poop and which kind of diapers we use. At naseum. Yep, that's interesting stuff!

For instance, last month we had our west coast Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Alumni Luncheon where of course I brought Max along to dine with the gals. Upon leaving, one of the single blondes goes, "Oh my gaaawd, Elizabeth there is avocado aaaallll over you!" I glanced down at my dress and saw a tiny green handprint on my butt and chuckled as I gave it a little swipe. She had no idea, but I had given quite a bit of thought to which simple dress I could wear that would allow for demolition while dining.

My best friend in Dallas always talks about how she feels soooo bad about her "pre-kid behavior". Sherrie used to offer her twin sister shout wipes by the box because of her stain-filled wardrobe. Michelle had three kids and could care less about the mess on her shirt as long as the bunchkins were happy. And now we all compleeeetely understand that a little vomit on your sleeve won't hurt a thing. Who needs those portable stain treater towlettes anyway?....hahaha!!!

Last week I walked into the yoga studio and someone pointed out to me that I had a piece of bright yellow something stuck to my lululemon wonder under pants. I swear I didn't even flinch as I grabbed the piece of dried mango off my thigh and dropped it in the trashcan. Or maybe I put it in my mouth. Was saving it for later? Hmmmm....I can't remember what happened exactly.

Another figment of my imagination is talking on the telephone. I absolutely don't do this anymore. Except for when I have to. Yes, it may sound like a contradiction, but it's really not. Once people hear that the baby will not stop screaming into the phone, they really do not try to have a conversation with me on the telephone anymore. People have become very understanding since I am willing to reply with an elaborate email at midnight thirty or whatever time the baby is sleeping.

It is lovely to have a home centered around a baby. Wait, let me re-phrase that. Is is lovely to have a LIFE centered around a baby. My heart is so full and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Love

Do you know what my son did tonight? He helped me unload the dishwasher. For real! Bowl breaking and glass thrashing wasn't even a little part of the task. He actually picked every piece of tupperware and the lids off the cleaning rack and slammed them in the correct drawer. When he was finished, I clapped and cheered for him the way I do when I'm surprise there. I'm his biggest fan!

Normally, I praise him to encourage him, but this time I was really blown away. He surely knew how genuine my applause was, because he emptied out the drawer of tupperware and refilled it several times to get my wild reaction over and over again. And each time he completed the task, he was equally as happy as the first time. That's my boy!

I've been to the yoga studio a LOT these past couple weeks either to teach a class or take a class. When my parents were in town last week, I think I was there every single day for one reason or another. They even came with Max and me to family yoga! Now that they're gone, we're back to the ho-hum regular, after a busy week with the grandparents.

I literally squeezed in every single thing I needed to do while my parents were here. Their visit began with an abrupt visit to the dentist for me. I don't think we even went home after I picked them up from LAX and I got some chipped teeth repaired. Yes, that was the kind of week it was. They did a lot of babysitting and I did a lot of everything else under the sun that needed and wanted to be done. Thanks mom and dad!

More random news on the home front:

Max has a big toe nail that is about to fall off. It is grossing me out and making me cringe. I don't think I've ever lost a toe nail before and I feel so bad for him. He constantly picks and pulls at it if his shoes aren't on, so he's basically living in his pedipeds these days. Yowzers!

Today a mom said to me, "Isn't it nice to go to work and get a break from him!" And I just didn't relate to that comment very well. Yes, I loooove teaching yoga. It is a perfect job for me in many ways, but I always miss Max when I leave him. It's funny because even though I have two part time jobs, I still sort of consider myself a stay at home mom. Maybe if I made enough money to pay my bills I would consider myself employed....hahaha! Well, I'm actually getting closer and closer to that every month!

Max is still obsessed with his lovey. Today someone said, "Is that his boom boom?" And I smiled and said "Yes!" Because whether you call it his puppy, blankie, or as we call it, his lovey, it has been his favorite comfort item since he was born. We always put it with him in the bassinet when he was sleeping without me and now he drags it around everywhere he goes like Linus on Charlie Brown. I've tried to replace it with a bunny, a teddy bear, and even a ridiculously soft hippo, but no other object compares.

This peaceful sight is what you see when you look up lovey in the dictionary. Goodnight with love....xoxo