Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Mother Guilt

July 25, 2014

trophy

If you’re a mother, you get this.  It’s very real.  So real it’s tangible.  Guilt that only mothers can have, get or put on themselves.

Three years ago, I dutifully accompanied the Colombian princess to her first American dental appointment.  After the x-rays and examination, the dentist handed me a sizeable Mother Guilt trophy explaining that her Colombian fillings were of poor quality and ALL needed to be replaced.  She had multiple cavities that would need to be filled immediately and there was so much work necessary that we would have to take her to a pediatric specialist to put her under for the procedures.  He had the nerve to ask if she brushed her teeth.  He meant AT ALL!  If nothing else, my little girl is diligent with personal care tasks.  She is the most regular flosser in our house, I’ll have you know, Mr. 24-year-old not-shaving-yet white coat!!

After listening to his entire money-hungry spiel, I inquired the location of the cavities.  As I suspected, they were all on baby teeth AND they were all minor.  With the referral slip in hand, I slipped out of the office and took the princess home to her father.  Being fully versed in dental procedures and examinations, together her father and I ascertained that the Colombian fillings were just fine and we wiggled all the baby teeth with cavities.  We noticed they all got more wiggly as we took turns wiggling them. Nope, not fixing them.

This is a translation for those who aren’t mothers.

What dentists say: “Your child has cavities.”  What a mother hears: “You are not taking care of your child.”

What dentists say: “There are two types of fillings.” What a mother hears: “There are $250 fillings that good mothers choose, and $75 fillings that bad mothers choose.”

What Dentists say: “Is your child flossing?” What a mother hears: Are you concerned at all about the health of your child?”

What Dentists say: “Is your child brushing after each meal?” What a mother hears: “If you haven’t taught her to BRUSH HER TEETH, what the heck are you doing all day long?”

What Dentists say: “She hasn’t been in for a long time.” What a mother hears: “Why are you a mother at all?”

This entire dental event had me swear off my motherly duties of dental visits.  Period.  I somehow forgot the six month check ups… for two years.  It’s easy to block episodes that cause Mother Guilt.  Finally, after almost all of her baby teeth had fallen out, I made an appointment for her with her FATHER to go back to that horrible place.

Her appointment was this morning at 8:00.  By 9:40 I had not heard from them and was envisioning my little Colombiana strapped in the reclined chair, wearing a bloodied paper bib with tears running down her little cheeks into her ears.  Just then my husband called and relayed that they were at Denny’s having breakfast.  He casually mentioned that she had NO CAVITIES! WHAT?  And I wasn’t there to receive my Mother of the Year trophy!!!  When they got home, she reported that they put fluoride on her teeth and told her not to eat anything for 30 minutes, but that Daddy took her to Denny’s anyway.  Nice!  Father guilt doesn’t even exist!  If her fluoride wore off with a Jr. Grand Slam, it is SOOO not this mama’s fault!

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Laundry Line Up

February 20, 2014

In the Crosby household, the minute your little hands could reach the knobs on the washing machine and dryer you were taught to do your own laundry. In my humble mama opinion, this has been glorious, to say the rock-bottom least. We have, however, hit a few glitches over the years.

1. Children who leave their laundry in the washer, in the dryer, piled on the washer and dryer, piled on the floor in the laundry room, etc. for DAYS.

2. Children who can only remember to empty the lint screen if they were paid $127 each time. (And no, $125 is not enough!)

3. Hanger stealing children.  BYOH!

4. Children born in Colombia who had a birth mama who was 4’11”. (She may not be able to reach the knobs until she is 21!) Thus, the laundry stool was welcomed into our home. (So …. the cow…. does this mean there is life milking cows after the laundry is done???)

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This week I have had the pleasure of watching all three of my children who are still living here do their own laundry. Son #2 dragged all his bedding downstairs to the laundry room a few days ago including his comforter.  It did my heart good.  Hubby and I were on the couch (watching Downton Abbey, but that is entirely another story!) when the dryer buzzer announced that son #2’s sheets were dry. A gangly 15 year old came flying down the stairs, ran to the laundry room, grabbed said dry sheets and dashed back up to his room. (Not emptying the lint screen. GAH!) A quizzical look came upon my husband’s handsome face. Being the bearer of all knowledge about my kids’ weird ways, I informed Daddy-o about the joys of climbing into a bed with warm sheets…. even in Phoenix, Arizona it is a pleasure.

Yesterday, the little Colombian princess was sorting her laundry on the couch in the family room, then moved it all to the laundry room and washed, dried and put away all her clothes. (Insert happy mama sigh.) Later that day, she was dusting the family room and happened upon a little pair of black panties with a hot pink waistband in the large blue decorative bowl that sits on the coffee table in front of the laundry-sorting-couch.  She was horrified that she left them where all the world could see… and she couldn’t stop giggling. Made me giggle too.

Today, I brought down my basket of dirty clothes but got distracted being a mom before I could get them sorted.  Son #1 whisked through the kitchen in the middle of my distractedness and loaded up the washing machine before me and my loads that were downstairs FIRST! However, I don’t care AT ALL!  He is 17 and washing his own stinky clothes without being asked or prodded.  It is a mommy victory moment and I will happily wait in line behind my kids for the washer ANY day!

Happy Basha’s Memories

October 24, 2013

bashas

Basha’s is a local grocery store chain here in Arizona that I used to frequent a LOT due to its proximity to our house at that time.  We moved near Basha’s when I was pregnant with our third child and lived in that wonderful house for six years.

As you can imagine, I visited the store OFTEN with all three children.  The three children that God blessed us with who don’t really look that much like their mother or father.  We have two blond-haired, blue-eyed kids and one with dark brown eyes and hair.  My husband has black hair and light brown eyes.  I have light brown hair and green eyes. Genetics are a weird deal.  I tell you all this frivolity to set up the first happy memory.

Happy (sort of) Memory #1:  I was casually strolling the aisles at Basha’s with my three offspring, when a lady in her mid-twenties came up and inquired, “Are these all your children?” “Yes, they are,” I replied proudly.  Then she had the audacity to ask, “Do they all have different dads?”  What in the blue blazes was she thinking???  I glanced down at my attire, wondering if I left home with only wearing my underwear … nope, fully clothed, not looking like a hoochie-mama.  I assured her that indeed, these three angels did have the same father, but I didn’t go into the fact that none of them look like him.  Good gravy, lady!

Happy Memory #2:  In our homeschool we studied a unit in science about the motion of falling objects.  One of the examples was Galileo dropping a cannonball and a musketball off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to determine that falling objects fall at the same rate.  Of course we climbed up in the play house and dropped all sorts of items into the dirt below to test this ourselves.  Back to Basha’s…. months later we were in the pasta aisle and my middle child was closely examining the spaghetti sauce jars.  (Not sure why???)  When all of a sudden he yelled (because he never spoke quietly until he was 12) “Mom! Here is the crooked building that the guy threw the rocks off of!”  (Insert song from the Sound of Music as I mentally skip through the hills of happiness!)

Happy Memory #3:  Yet another trip to Basha’s with my two little boys in the seats of the cart and my personal shopper (7 year old daughter) walking beside me.  A kind, elderly lady with fluffy white hair shuffled by and stopped to look at my children.  She smiled so sweetly.  (I braced myself to explain that I only had one husband.) Finally she remarked, “You have beautiful children!”  I whole-heartily agreed, but merely said, “Thank you!”  As she slowly made her way down the aisle, my loud, middle child yelled to the grandma, “My daddy drives a fancy Cadillac!”  It was true, albeit a hand-me-down from my parents, but his statement shocked me, nonetheless.  The sweet little lady threw her head back and belly laughed, as did I.

Happy Memory #4:  This same store had a very generous produce manager who allowed our daughter to go behind the black swinging doors each week to get free “rotten” food for her bunny rabbit, Blackie Honey Bunny Crosby.

I miss Basha’s.

The Mother Sash

October 7, 2013

On facebook I read a post from a pious guy complaining about young mothers posting “ridiculously disgusting” news of children going potty for the first time,  doing their first doody in the potty and so on.  I almost commented that 30-something years ago, if facebook had been around, HIS mother would have been posting the SAME thing!  If you’ve never been a mother, you don’t get it.  At all.

There isn’t a sash with badges for mothers, but if there were, the MY KID WENT IN THE POTTY badge would be worn proudly and loudly in a prominent location on that sash.  It is a rite of passage.  And many other mothers would cheer loudly and proudly right along with the new badge toting mother, knowing what she went through to earn that iron-on emblem!

My eldest turns 20 in two weeks and I remember the day LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY when I would have earned my first of three “My kid went poopy in the potty” badges.  Not trying to embarrass my eldest, but children whose mothers have blogs are stronger for it!  My husband and I conversed on the appropriate bribe before we settled on the much sought after gummi bear.  We bought a jar with a sealing lid for the shelf above the toilet and filled it with gummy goodness.  We explained the rules, because all of life’s great advancements have rules.  1 poopy in the potty = 1 gummi bear.  Easy peasey.

gummy bears

My husband arrived home on the first gummi bear award winning day and the jar was already empty.  M-T!   Unbelievably, he accused me of eating the gummi bears.  I understood his accusation, as I had in the past eaten ALL the chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar… and all the rice krispie squares in the pan.  (No, wait.  That was HIM!)  Motherhood is stressful at times.  However, I denied the accusation and explained the newly discovered talents of our little bomb-dropping angel.  She could do one little teeny eensy weensy doo-doo and then hop off the potty, “ALL DONE!”  She deserved every gummi bear she ate.  What skill!  What control!  Time for a new rule!

This is facebook worthy news that should be celebrated by at least half of humanity despite Mr. That’s-Disgusting’s opinion.

The other imaginary badge on my imaginary sash that I remember earning with pride was the “All my kids can barf in the toilet” badge.  THAT is an accomplishment!  It saves time, money, hassle, midnight sheet changes, etc. etc. etc.  In the early years of mothering, these tasks are paramount to parenting!  Nothing could make a young mom happier.  NOTHING!  And to be recognized for our accomplishments in bringing about these world changing events would have been awesome.  But no.

The moral of the story is: next time a young mom posts on facebook about a child’s success in the bathroom, congratulate HER with much fanfare.  It is her life.  It is her mission.  It is her mission accomplished at that juncture in life!

(I apologize if you can’t ever eat another gummi bear without thinking about my angel.)

FREE Give-Away! It’s my Blog-a-versary!

February 1, 2011

Yes, My Sister’s Jar has been filling up the pages of the internet for three long years now.  Wow!  And for ONE of my faithful readers, including anyone new who happens to find MJS today, I’m giving away a copy of each of my books: Laughing in the Midst of Mothering and Laughing in the Midst of Marriage.  Both books are guaranteed to make you grin, if not/and/or loudly guffaw while holding your belly while tears stream from your eyes from the hilarity of the stories.  Really.  I’m not just saying it because I lived through them either.

Yes, you read that right… TWO FREE books!  Wow!  Generosity is seeping from my pores today. Here’s how it works.  Leave a comment with your name in the comment section below.  I painstakingly copy all the names onto paper, carefully cut them into strips, fold them so there’s no cheating, drop them into a light blue snowman bucket, and then….. drumroll please….. one of my darling children reaches in and picks out a name.  I broadcast the winning name on this blog in the comment section, as well as the next blog.  So you have to be okay with your name being broadcast. Well, you could use a fake name, and then simply notify me before I mail the books as to your truthful name.  I privately email you for your mailing address, which is NOT broadcast for all the world to see.  Free contest starts now and ends at Feb. 2, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (Members of my family are not eligible, nor people from Guam or Madagascar…. just kidding….. not kidding about my family!)

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for being faithful readers to this overworked homeschool mom/author.  It does my heart good each night as I check the blog stats and drift off to sleep with happy thoughts that I just might have made someone smile today with these words I type.  You guys ROCK!

Happy Three-Year Blog-a-versary!

And my sweet husband adds, “You can buy the books at www.cbd.com.”   I’m not a saleswoman… I’m a mom!

Current Household Update

January 13, 2011

We have been home from Colombia with our new daughter for three weeks!  I believe we’re all adjusting as well as expected…. considering that her whole life changed, I’ve been sick since we got home, my husband was out-of-town for four days and we started homeschooling this week.  It’s been a draining time for me.  I need a nap every day… thankfully I have the freedom to take them!  This morning Nora dragged out of her room with her hair all wild and asked where Papi was!  I told her he was at work.  She slumped over, dragged back up the stairs, got back into bed and pulled the covers over her head.  Well, he was home for her every day for the first 5 weeks!!!  How could he leave her now almost every day!?!

Many monumental occurences have transpired as well.  We got a new dishwasher!  This may not seem that important to others, but we have been hand washing for 14 months….. when we weighed the importance of adoption funds and a new dishwasher….. adoption won… hands down.  But for Christmas, a little bit of everyone’s gift was the new kitchen appliance.  The kids were genuinely thrilled!  When the first cycle was completed, I cracked open the door and breathed in the hot steam that smelled of new appliance!  Sweet mercy, it did my heart good.  When the truck pulled up to deliver it, I did a happy dance in the cul-de-sac that mortified my kids who have known me for more than two months.  Nora, however, thought it was fantastic and joined me!

My husband, the one who owns part of a pest control business finally took the first of his two insecticide exams… and he got 90%!  When he told us, our daughter said, “That’s better than you EVER did in school!”  And it’s almost true.  He is currently studying for bug test #2.  He just read to me tonight the dangers of sitting on a portable potty and disturbing the web of a black widow spider hiding under the seat.   Gross me out.  That adds uneasiness to my already uneasy porta-potty stops.

Nora is totally addicted to riding her bike!  Every single day she asks if someone can go outside with her and watch her ride!  It starts when she is still in her pajamas at the kitchen table…. and continues until dark.  She is a persistent little thing! 

Nora was in complete shock when we first arrived home and she discovered that we don’t watch tv.  We don’t even get any channels.  At first she didn’t understand… so we handed her the remote and she clicked through about 20 totally blurry channels.  Her shoulders slumped a bit!  Then we turned on the movie Winn Dixie in Spanish for her!  She’s been fine with no tv ever since.  Every time she sees a dog, if it’s white she calls it Trixie (our dog) and if it’s brown she calls it Winn Dixie!  So cute!

Nora’s first English sentences are emerging…. slowly.  Yesterday she said, “This is so cute!”  Probably because I say it all the time to her!  She also asks everyone, “Are you ok?”  We respond and ask her the same.  She replies, “I’m ok.”  I wondered if she was just repeating or if she understood it.  Then she wiped out on her bike and scraped up her hands.  Austin asked her, “Are you ok?”  and she said NO!  Daily she is correcting my pronunciation of Spanish words.  My Spanish is so lame, it’s not even funny.  But we get by.  We’re also discovering many words that must be different in Colombian Spanish than Mexican Spanish. 

Nora went to McDonald’s playland for the first time yesterday.  She wasn’t fond of the food…. go figure!… but she loved the climbing tubes.  She was in there yelling, GWOW! the whole time!  (We don’t know why WOW starts with a G, but it does.)

Our 14-year-old son went to school for the first time in his life today!  We signed him up for a writing course that is 90 minutes on Thursday mornings.  He was pretty excited to be leaving with his sister this morning!  We asked how it was at nerd school (It’s a collection of homeschool kids) and he said there was a kid in his class with Crocs and socks.  Ultimate nerd alert!  Oh well.  Get used to it!

Ciao for now!

It Ain’t What it Used to Be

September 15, 2010

Yesterday was not only my eldest son’s golden birthday (14 on the 14th) but it was my youngest son’s introduction to headgear.  Eeeegads.  My brother wore headgear in the late 1970s, but times have changed and so has headgear.  I’ve made a solemn promise never to post pictures on facebook…. or my blogs.  A mother’s got to protect the dignity of her children, after all.  I also promised son #1 that if he made fun of son #2 I would make some headgear for him to wear and pictures would be broadcast for all to see.  (I’m the nice mom, remember?)

So, the purpose of the contraption is to pull the entire upper bridge, including attached cheek bones, forward… while holding the forehead and chin where they are.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  At least it’s a pretty blue color.  :o)  Dr. Ortho said that our son didn’t need to wear it to school.  I said, “Oh yes he does!”  Yet another advantage to homeschooling…. cutting headgear time down by two-thirds.  He even wears it to sleep.  Not my idea of a good time, but he’s coping well.

Every time I see Mr. Headgear, I am surprised by the metal bar dissecting his face.  Hopefully I’ll get used to it… it just looks so much like a transformer, or a cling-on, or a muzzle.  I’m the mom, though, so I still think he’s cute.  I told him at bedtime that we actually do need to take a picture of him wearing the headgear so his children will know how we tortured him.  That’s what parents do.

A Windfall of Thoughts

August 2, 2010

The email last week announcing our forthcoming adoption referral has sent me into a tizzy of excitement. It is a rare night when I’m not asleep within nano-seconds of my head resting on the pillow…. but now I lie there in the dark with questions running amuck in my mind. I got out of bed last night at midnight and sent an email full of questions to our case worker. It’s nice, because they are two hours ahead of us, so I awake to answers!

In two weeks, one of my college roommates (and bridesmaid) is coming for a five-day visit with her hubby and three kids all the way from Manitoba. We have not seen them since their wedding day…. it must be about 21 years ago now. We are bosom friends and a fabulous time will be had by all. But I looked around my very lived-in and loved house and thought to myself, “These walls were white just five years ago!” So, with that bit of inspiration, and company coming, decorating and redecorating has commenced.

Our family room is not large and we have had a very large oak computer desk in there for the same five years when my white walls changed colors. A friend came up with the brilliant idea to cut the back off. Duh! Why didn’t we think of that five years ago? So, with skill saw in hand, my husband cut 15 inches off the back of the desk and added over a foot to our living space. YAY! (Really, I know it sounds ghetto, but even Larisa thought it turned out great!)

Then I noticed these dated lamps and too many end tables, and too many chairs…. and a garage sale was born, organized, conducted and finished in two days. $280 raised for paint and valance fabric! Yes! I’ve decided to break out of the white all mode and ….. brace yourself…. pale lime green will go up on these walls on Wednesday. I hope I don’t regret the bold move.  Of course, pictures will follow.

And Keeve, …. Keeve, Keeve, Keeve.  My 11-year-old son has been living in Zaza’s yellow room with a purple bed and lime green accents for over two years.  There are bunk beds in the boy’s room, but he gravitates to solitude.  So, today is the day!  He is moving out for good!  I have little wooden butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, bird houses and the smiling sunshine to hang up around the border of the room.  There are shelves to hang and the hand painted tea-table and chairs to move in there.  The antique gold trim on the dresser needs to be painted purple.  The legos and foam swords need to BE GONE!  I have two weeks until company comes, and then school starts the next week.  Then our referral comes… then we travel to Colombia.  So today is the day!  Wish me luck!

My Bucket List

May 30, 2010

Tonight I pulled out a journaling book that I started in 2007… it has in it, among other gatherings of words… my Bucket List.  One hundred things I want to do in my lifetime.  It’s been at least a year since I went through the list… that only goes up to 72 at the moment.  When I accomplish a listed item I highlight it.  There were eight lines highlighted already.  Surprisingly, tonight I highlighted three items from 2009 that were accomplished. 

I read somewhere long ago that if you write down your goals your brain grasps onto them subconsciously and even if you’re not remembering them… you are drawn to accomplish them.  I’m not sure if I believed that until I was married about 14 years and came across my scrapbook from my senior year of high school.  There was a page for 1 year, 5 year and 10 year goals.  What 18-year-old has any clue what they will be doing when they are 28???  Please.  Unbelievably, all the goals that I wrote down had been successfully completed… without me remembering that I jotted them in my scrapbook in 1984

Back to tonight and my Bucket List.  In case you live in a cave, a movie came out a few years back called the Bucket List and the premise was about two old guys determined to live out life’s wishes before they kicked the bucket.  I never saw it.  Anywho…. I highlighted three lines on my list tonight.

#10.  Take the kids on a missions trip.  Larisa, Austin and I went to La Mision, Mexico last summer… and it was Austin’s first time seeing an impoverished city.  It changed him, as I knew it would.  My 11-year-old son still is on the list to go, but I highlighted it anyway.  I firmly believe every American kid needs to see poverty, desperate need, and the happiness that is still available in spite of living conditions.  We are so spoiled blessed.

#51. Live close to the church.  For more than 10 years we have driven 30 minutes to church.  When your kids want to get more involved… an hour round-trip is a long way.  When gas is over $3 a gallon, every little trip counts.  Little did I know that we would be changing churches in 2009 and the new one is 8 minutes away.  Glory!

#61.  Publish a book for married women.  Last September my book Learning to Laugh in the Midst of Marriage came out.  Sweet! The book was not even started when I made the list!  See…. subconsciously!

Some of my other entries include traveling to far away spots on God’s green earth that I have studied and long to see.  Others involve helping others, teaching the kids new tricks, taking an emergency truck ramp…. quit laughing… they are so tempting,  learning a few tricks myself and reaching many for God’s kingdom.  I believe 2010 will bring at least three more highlighted lines… maybe more!

Do you have a Bucket List?

Oh My, I’m Old!

May 19, 2010

After last night’s fiasco at the grocery store, my 16-year-old daughter was flabbergasted at the thought of not having a cell phone… like in the “olden days” when I was a teen. 

She asked incredulously, “What would you have done in this situation when you were 16???” 

Wise Old Mom (me) replied, “I would have used the store’s phone at customer service.”  (no big deal!)

16yo:  “What would you have done if you ran out of gas??????”  (wide eyes at the thought of the stranded situation)

WOM:  “Walked to a gas station and used the pay phone.”

16yo:  “What if there wasn’t a pay phone?”

WOM: “When I was a teen EVERY gas station had a pay phone, as well as all shopping malls and even some street corners.”

16yo:  “What if you didn’t have any money to use the pay phone?”

WOM: “I would call home collect.”

16yo:  “What is collect?”  (Oh, the generation gap was widening in my mind….)

WOM: “It’s when you call the operator and ask for a collect call to be placed.  They ask for your name and then call the number you gave.  When someone answered they would say, “Do you accept a collect call from Linda?”  And when they said yes, we would talk.”

16yo: “Are there still operators?”

WOM: “I think there are.”

Following that unimaginable conversation, I told her about my college dorm that had one pay phone for 36 girls to share.  She couldn’t believe it!  She asked who would answer it, what we did when we had to use it and it was busy, how our parents left messages, how much it cost to call from Canada to California, and was basically in a state of shock that I lived such an archaic life.

I didn’t feel like she was quite ready to handle stories of her dad’s teen years with party lines…. I’m saving that for another day.