Sunday, June 3, 2007


Last night, before I went to bed, I left a note for W on the dining room table. The note said:

W - please do not wake me up until 8:00.
We came home late. I need to sleep.
Love, Mommy

And guess what? He came to wake me up at 8:01. And proceeded to read me my note.

I think I started to cry. (I'm not sure, because I was still half asleep.)

Friday, June 1, 2007

Is it time for the nail clippers yet?

This morning in the car E said, "Hey Mom, guess what? I think I've been biting my nails less lately."

I have been trying to ignore this habit of his, but it's hard. Since he was three he has been gnawing on his nails constantly. I believe entire months went by in his sixth and seventh years when his fingers did not leave his lips except to eat.

It struck me, this morning, that E started biting his nails the very day he started on the gymnastics team.

Gymnastics = nail-biting. No gymnastics = less nail-biting.

Anyone else see a pattern here?

I just know it -- it's going to turn out that the five years of gymnastics team, which I thought were so good for him, caused enough stress to set him up for heart disease and an ulcer.

Navy blue

The kids are happy as clams.

However, two days ago I woke up in a dark, dark mood. I'm assuming it's hormonal and it will lift on its own, so I've been pushing through. Self-medicating with chocolate, knitting and reruns of "Law & Order."

It is not the first time this has happened. It usually lasts for a few days. But it is the very first time I have been so aware of how my mood is affecting my interactions with the kids.

I do not want my children to say, years down the line, that Mommy was always in a bad mood. That Mommy yelled a lot. That Mommy had no patience.

And most of the time I can control my reactions to them, at least in part. Not this time.

Yesterday I picked them up at their schools planning to take them to the park. They negotiated a pre-park stop at Starbucks. Fine. But as we drove down the freeway from E's school, the kids started bickering and yelling at each other. I warned them. And then something happened -- no memory of the specifics -- and W kicked the back of the driver's seat, so hard it actually hurt my back.

And I snapped. No Starbucks. No park. Straight home. They were furious, and so was I. They tried to blame each other. I told them they were both responsible.

Once we got home they whipped themselves into shape. Chastised, I guess. E apologized. They started playing nicely together. Normal moms, I think, would have softened, at least, if not melted.

I wanted to. But I was still furious, couldn't let go of my anger. I'm not even sure at what I was angry. At them for being kids, which seems completely unreasonable now, although it felt logical yesterday.

They wanted me to go outside to play baseball with them. And I couldn't. Couldn't move from the sink, where I was trimming yellow wax beans for dinner. I knew I should have been able to. And I couldn't.

For a long time.

Maybe 15 minutes -- well, it felt like forever. And then finally I forced myself to go outside to play with them. But my heart wasn't in it, and there were no smiles on my face, and anyway my too-much-tennis shoulder hurt when I threw the ball, so I told them I had to stop. And we all went inside.

The rest of the evening was unremarkable, and in fact M commented that the kids seemed very happy when he came home. I think maybe they were happy that Daddy was there to save them from Crabby Mommy. Neither kid wanted me to stay for the lights-out-before-sleep cuddling, which is a time from which I am rarely excused. Daddy got it all last night.

And it was my own damn fault, no?

Now, lest you think I am being too hard on myself, reread the second paragraph of this entry. Hormonal. Chemical. Beyond my control. I know that. It feels completely unavoidable and was sparked by nothing more than Wednesday morning's alarm clock.

But I can still flog myself for letting it trickle down.