Sometimes, it's nice to sit back and observe what everyone else is saying. Which is what I've been doing a lot of lately.
Here are just a handful of comments - those that I'm allowed to write, that is - to catch you up on our what's happening in our lives:
Oh yeah, and it's 4am. Anybody else anxious about anything???
Last month we had a get together at my dad's house. I can't divulge everything from that day but I could write an essay about the politics that flew back and forth during dinner (Meg vs Jerry), (my dad vs. NPR), etc. But the best comment was from my mother when I jokingly tucked my hair into a Raquel Welch-style wig:
"Wow, that hairstyle really brings out your nose!" My nose? Perfect. That's exactly the part of my face that I want people to notice as I march on up to 40. At least she didn't mention my wrinkles.
Because my dad did. "That wig takes 10 years off your face. Have you thought about Botox? It's supposed to help with migraines."
Ouch. Isn't 40 supposed to be the new 30?
Well, maybe so. Because just last month at the O.A.R. concert, I met a fun guy who danced and sang with me for most of the concert. Then the lights came on. And he was young. Like, dangerously young. *After* I gave him my card, (he was cute and a huge fan, after all), I asked his age. "I'm (insert absurdly young age here)." I was horrified. And flattered.
Back to the concert for a sec. I saw O.A.R. twice on this tour and I'd give almost anything to see them a third time. During both sets, they sang about God during the refrain of the chorus of the best concert song of all time -"Crazy Game of Poker:"
"May God be with me. May He watch over me." Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Which enforces my belief that if music is indeed spiritual, God should be mentioned once in a while. In a reverent way. In a compelling way. Thank you for nailing it, O.A.R. I'll marry any of you. Tomorrow.
We had a parent-teacher-child conference last month. The teacher pulled up a chair for Ben. Academically, Ben is doing great, however there were a couple of behavioral issues that she wanted to discuss. She engaged Ben in the discussion and had him sign the progress report. She then looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm only doing this because I love you, Ben." Straight and to the point. It's our second year with her and I'm eternally grateful for the compassion that shines through her no-nonsense ways. We are damn lucky. A teacher who brings the hammer down and shows some heart all at the same time? We'll take her through high school.
On a lighter note, my dog might win the prize for most lethargic Lab of all time. A client said it best: "My fish has more energy than Molly." Her fish probably sheds a whole lot less too.
While at a client's home on Halloween night, her hyper and heavy black Lab - Hank - jumped into my lap. "You have a calming effect on him," she said. I refrained from saying, "I'm truly not a dog person and I only keep Molly for Ben and Hank must sense that I am really mellow from that bottle of wine that we just consumed."
"Oh, were you waiting for this (insert exercise equipment name here)?" My ever constant experience at the gym, waiting on the 88-year-olds to finish their leg presses, their hammer curls and their hamstring extensions, while they read their magazines, their novels and their newspapers. I need that 24 Hour Club membership. Soon.
"That's depressing." My comment to no one after finally yanking out every last false eyelash and seeing the final result. So much for va-va-voom eyes.
"That's really depressing." Same comment, much more emphatic, earlier in the day at my doctor's office, during the weigh in. Wasn't I just wearing Victoria Sercret bikinis a couple of months ago?
"Welcome to 40," the nurse replied.
"eharmony died." My update to my mother as to the status of my online dating. The service may as well have died; I haven't had a good match in weeks.
And even more shocking: "I don't really care."
With apologies to all our little friends and the moms, Ben's favorite line from his Halloween book is, "My mom's gonna whup your butt." Yep, that's "whup" and not "whip." He can't stop saying it.
But in all fairness, any child who frequents the McDonalds on Watt Avenue is bound to say something equivalent or even worse so I'm taking myself off the hook here. Besides, it's the cutest book. Really.
Now the You Tube video that we accidentally stumbled on, while looking for dancing skeletons, I take full responsibility for. Achmed the Skeleton Terrorist is definitely not appropriate for the first grade crowd. I promise that Ben didn't watch much.
As we waited last Saturday for the soccer game status (it was raining), Ben tells me, "I don't like soccer. I don't like baseball either. Don't tell Daddy. When can I do golf?" Greeeaaatttttt. Then, a 45 minute drive across town so that we could trek through the mud. Ben ran half-heartedly towards the ball with his stellar team that's been moved up in their division. He repeatedly kicked the ball the wrong way and only showed any excitement when the half-time snacks came out. With apologies to my friends who love team sport participation at this age, I'm so over it.
Since I didn't have Ben for Halloween this year, I took him to an art gallery for Dio De Los Muertes. We went after school - to a gallery downtown - then had yogurt and stopped at the play structure at McKinley Park. When we returned home, I started to put away the decorations from Halloween. Bad idea. "DON'T TAKE THE SKELETONS AWAY! I LOVE THE SKELETONS! I WANT THEM TO STAY OUT ALL YEAR LONG!"
The skeleton obsession has continued with refusal to wear anything to bed or to play that does not have a bone on it. We are talking t-shirts, pajamas, hats, gloves, you name it. While clad in the skeleton gear, one of Ben's favorite expressions has become, "My bones are clattering!" He does a little shimmy and shake and it's really, really funny.
At our play group this week, Ben interacted more with an electronic dancing skeleton than any of the children. The skeleton had bright red eyes, grinding hips and sang one Ricky Martin song. "Do you think anyone would notice if we snuck him into our car?" Ben asked.
God help me. And I thought that the Dio De Los Muertes exhibit was a good idea. Is it just me or is seven a really weird age?
I've saved some of the best for last.
My own personal favorite quote from the ex: "I fell into the greatest, sweetest deal. I couldn't pass it up. I'm taking Ben to one, no wait, I mean two Giants championship games. He only has to miss three days of school. It's such an amazing deal, I just can't pass it up."
Followed by Ben's summary of the experience, upon returning home: "Don't tell Daddy but I think that baseball is boring. When can we go to Fairy Tale town again?"
The ex struck again, a few days later: "I just bought a new SUV. No, I didn't sell the new Mini Cooper. Or the dead Corvette. But I got the greatest deal on the SUV..."
I just came off a 9 day stint with Ben because the ex was away. Ben's behavior tends to get a bit, shall we say, challenging, during these times. I don't think I've ever heard as many loud sighs or watched the eyes roll back in exasperation as I did in the last week. But the best - or worst - was Ben's response to my third request to "get your shoes on and get in the car before we're late for school." He looked me square in the eye (how often does that happen with a 7-year-old boy?) and said:
"BLAH BLAH BLAH, MOMMY!"
I can't tell you what happened next because CPS is probably lurking nearby. Rest assured, Ben's punishment was swift and severe and he will not be "blah blah blah-ing" me, or anyone else, for that matter anytime soon. He was also late for school because recovery from said punishment was not quick. Or easy. For either of us.
But I do think that at seven, it's still sweet that he calls me "Mommy."
And I'm also becoming concerned with the frequency of the "Don't tell Daddy but..." statements. I guess that means Ben trusts me. But I need him to trust his dad too.
Finally, I am pulling a little rank around here as the tides seem to be turning, with regards to Ben's affection. "I love you more than I love Molly," he announced last week. After two years of practically giving his heart to that damn dog, Ben has seen the light when in fact, I am the one who buys the Cheetos, organizes the play dates, gives in to the Lego purchases and allows for "just one more" book before bed. He quickly clarified by saying, "But I only love her a little bit more and I only love her more on some days."
And there you have it.