Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Making Memories

I'm sure I have mentioned somewhere in the 500 posts of this blog that our family is part of Red Sox Nation.  By that I mean we are Red Sox fans.  Well, let me qualify that.  Andy has been a long suffering Red Sox fan since the day he was born, watching them lose throughout his childhood.  When they won the World Series back in 2004, for the first time in 86 years, I was pregnant with Sonya and only a month away from giving birth.  While I wasn't born a Red Sox fan as he was,  I became one in college.  I had never watched much baseball growing up, but if you are living in Boston without a baseball team you better start cheering for the Sox or you better get out of Boston.  So I did. Cheer for the Sox that is.  I loved Boston.  It helped that my best friend, Melissa, and I could see Fenway Park from the roof of our apartment Senior year.  So when they were in the playoffs back in '04 I was just as excited as any long life fan.  Okay, perhaps I didn't get all the suffering for so long, but still.  I was pretty sure I was going to put myself into labor cheering for those games.  Luckily I did not.  Since then we have gotten to watch them win two more World Series.  One when Lana was just a baby and one a couple years ago when all three girls were old enough to watch it  on TV.  Luckily they will not spend their baseball fan years pinning away for a team that seems cursed.  They get to watch and cheer for the Red Sox knowing they have won 3 World Series (so far) in their lifetime.  

Before we had the girls, Andy and I would go to see the Sox play the Angels every summer when they came to Anaheim.  We went a couple years after having the girls, and even took Sonya one year when she was about six.  However, we haven't been in at least four years.  We've taken the girls to a couple Dodgers games, just to see some baseball.  For a long time the tickets for the Red Sox/ Angles games were way to expensive for five of us.  Just Andy and I going meant our tickets plus babysitting so we just forgot about it for a while.  Then this summer, Melissa mentioned to me about going.  She still tries to go every year.  While the Angels have been doing well this season, the Red Sox, not so much, so I thought perhaps I could find some reasonable tickets.  Fortunately, there were plenty.  They were the seats pretty high in the stadium, but they were $18 a piece.  Perfect to take the girls to.  It would give them the baseball experience, while cheering for our favorite team.

For those of you who don't live in California, you have no doubt heard about the drought horrors here.  The stories are all true.  In the 19 years I've lived here, I've never seen it so dry.  We are constantly monitoring how long the water runs in the shower, flushing toilets with water we collect in the shower, not watering our lawn, whatever we can think of.  When we went back east a couple weeks ago, I cringed at all the water waste there and had to remind myself that Florida has plenty of rain.  I don't think we've seen real rain since February?  Maybe there was a storm in March?  I can't remember.  So, when the weather reports were all predicting rain for this past weekend, Andy and I pretty much ignored it.  First of all it is July and even in our wettest years, it did not rain in July.  Second of all- no rain since this past winter.  Tickets for the game were for Sunday evening at 5pm.  They were talking rain Saturday and MAYBE Sunday.  Even if we got it on Saturday that would be it.  It would definitely not rain on Sunday.  When it did end up pouring all day on Saturday, we figured that was it.  We go rain-Yay!  But we would not see it again until November.  

I'm assuming you all can see where this is going....


That is Angels stadium at start time on Sunday evening.  Good thing I got the high up seats.  We were actually under cover.  We sat there for a while thinking it would eventually stop.  So did everyone else.  People who couldn't sit in their rain filled seats were hanging out on the concourse, consuming hot dogs and beer.  The thing is about rain in SoCal, is that even if is does actually rain, it never lasts long.  Maybe an hour, hour and a half tops.  Well this is what the powers that be thought too, because they moved the start time of the game from 5:05 to 7:15 thinking that they could wait it out, clear off the field and start the game.  We too were hopeful.  

We hung out with the rest of the fans at our seats, ate hot dogs, had a couple beers, chatted with each other, and were entertained by the videos of Angels players trying to "name that tune", and watched it rain.  My favorite part of that was when Sonya named Michael Jackson's "Beat It" well before the player in the video.  You gotta play the classics for your kids!   

At one point I realized my friend BethAnnDoddKoehn was there with her family just a few sections over from us.  So we all took a walk to say hi and chat with them.  It was a party at the stadium in the rain!  And it did continue to rain.  Huh.

Then 7 o'clock came.  The sky started to look lighter and it appeared to be slowing down, but when you looked at the tarp covering the infield you could see it was still coming down.  Still, it was slow enough for them to decide to do this...

They were out there with push brooms, doing their best to get the water off the field, but it was a futile effort.  They worked on it for 20 minutes, but the rain kept coming down.  Then a few of them huddled together and five minutes later we heard what we were dreading.  

"Ladies and Gentleman, today's game is being canceled due to rain."

A huge groan mixed with boos went up from the crowd.  What is this "game being canceled due to rain you speak of??"  That was the thought of  everyone there.  We don't see this kind of thing.  We see sunshine and blue skies and sure, brown grass, but at least our outside activities never get ruined!  Unfortunately this one did.  It was hard to be mad about it though, because damn do we need any rain we can get.  We were informed that we could have come back the next afternoon for the makeup game, but unfortunately the girls were starting an afternoon Girl Scout camp.  I would have been the only one able to go and where was the fun in that?  

The girls were definitely disappointed. I was sad for Lana and Georgia who had been so excited to see their first Red Sox game.  On the other hand, we kinda had a really fun night hanging out in the stadium, having dinner and watching it rain.  It no doubt became a core memory for me as I'm sure it did for my girls.  (For those of you who don't know what I mean by "core memory", go see Inside Out.  The best Pixar movie ever.  Loved it!)  It will go down in our family history as, "remember that one time when we were supposed to see the Red Sox and Angles play...." 

When we got home that night, I said to Georgia, 

"I'm sorry that we didn't get to see the game."

And she answered, "That's okay!  I had fun anyway!"

It's all in how you look at things.  Plus! We a got to become part of baseball, and more specifically Angles history, by being at the first rain out game in over 20 years. And who doesn't love being a part of history?

The mixed "core memory" emotions of the evening. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fact or FIC-SHUN?

A couple weeks ago, Georgia celebrated her seventh birthday.  This time in our nation's capitol of Washington D.C.  That child has not had a birthday at home for the past 3 years.  The pitfalls of having a summer birthday.  She doesn't seem to care though. In fact I think she likes being on vacation for her birthday.  Really- who wouldn't?

Let me just reiterate the fact that she is SEVEN.  You guys-I have been pregnant free for over seven years now!  Yay!  Although in all honesty, I am sad about that fact as well.  However, having older kids does have it's benefits, like being able to travel much easier and having three slaves capable children to do my bidding.  You know like oil changes and plumbing repair.  Okay fine!  Just unloading the dishwasher and making their beds, but still, at least it's less for me to do.  

Georgia has grown up so much in this past year.  She looks more like a little girl now than a kindergarten baby of last year.  She reads like crazy and she can do so much for herself now.  Although she still won't walk to my bedroom in the middle of the day.  You know we have monsters in our hallway that like to eat little kids.  Did I not tell you that?  Yes, if a child under 10 walks down our hall alone, the monsters will get you.   At least this is what I'm fairly certain Georgia thinks.  She is also getting better with the lying.  Well, let me rephrase that.  She is getting better with telling us when she is lying or telling us a FIC-SHUN story.  No, no.  I didn't misspell that.  That is how she says it.  "This story is FIC-SHUN!!"  That is something I started making her say to us about a year ago when we realized she was making up stories that sounded very real but in fact were not.  One of these stories led me to talking to her teacher, when she claimed she was having problems with a boy at school and told a entire story about him that was not true.  So now when she starts to tell a story that sounds like it might be a tad outlandish I give her a look and she will say-"Oh!  This is a FIC-SHUN story!"  Her sisters will even call her on it when they feel like it's being made up asking her, "Georgia is this a FIC-SHUN story?"  The good news is she always cops to it and while she still makes things up, she at least lets us know she is doing so.  

Regardless of all that, she will still start off with a lie now and then.  Especially when she feels like it will make her sound or look better than another person, usually her sister.  The last week of school was more or less nothing but fun times for them, as it always is in elementary school.  Lana was telling me about all the fun things her teacher had planned for the week and Georgia was standing there listening.  Now I don't know why this is the favorite fun thing for them to do at school but it is,  wear their pajamas one day.  Georgia and Lana love doing this.  Lana's teacher had planned a PJ day, but Georgia's teacher had not, even though they had other fun things planned that week.  The fact that Georgia was not getting to wear her pajamas, made her a bit jealous of Lana.   I wasn't surprised at her response to Lana telling me,

"We get to have pajama day on Tuesday!! I'm so excited!"

Georgia looked at Lana and said, "Yeah well my teacher said we get to wear our pajamas watch a movie, have popcorn AND pizza!"  

Now I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty kick ass day in first grade.  I also know that about 75% of what she said was completely untrue.  Even though she said this to Lana, I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen and heard every word.  She looked over at me, caught me starting at her and before I even had a chance to open my mouth she said, 

"I just made all that up."  

All I could do was laugh.  So far I think I have curbed the lying without squelching her imagination.  Point in the mommy column!  I only hope that when she's 16 she continues to tell me when it's a FIC-SHUN story or that she made something up.  You know -like this...

"I'm spending the night at Luna's.  Okay no.  That's FIC-SHUN, I'm really going to a party over at the abandoned where house where there will be lots of drinking."

That's totally plausible right?  

In the meantime, I will enjoy this win and wish my beautiful last baby a Happy (belated) 7th Birthday.  You are the sunshine in our mornings and the laughter throughout our days, and I promise that is not FIC-SHUN!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Milestone #56-The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Two weeks ago Sonya, my oldest, graduated from 5th grade.  Ok, I know- graduated -is a strong word at this age.  I guess she promoted out of the 5th grade and elementary school.  I suppose we have gotten a bit carried away with all of the pomp and circumstance, of celebrating every age of kids achieving something.  Sure graduating from high school is a big deal, but now we celebrate preschool, end of elementary and end of middle school.  I don't remember that ever happening when I was a kid.  That being said, they did have a nice little ceremony for the "graduating" 5th graders, and yes I cried.  Would you expect anything else?

It wasn't that long ago that I remember walking her into Kindergarten on the first day of school, just six years ago.  In fact it was so not long ago that I wrote it about it here.  Yet, here we are just a few short school years later celebrating the fact that she is done with elementary school and will soon be taking on a new much scarier challenge, middle school.  (Dun dun DUN!!!)

The ceremony at her school for her 5th grade promotion was full  the kids singing songs and reminiscing about their days at their elementary school aloud to the auditorium full of weepy parents.  It was all scripted, well choreographed and quite entertaining.  In all honesty, I was prepared to be bored in our hot un-airconditioned auditorium for two hours, with my only reward at the end a chocolate chip cookie from Portos.  Which if you know anything about Portos is a pretty damn good reward, but still, TWO HOURS.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it moved along and how fun it was to reminisce along with the kids and listen to their songs.  Of course they called each child up to receive their "diploma", which may have been the most boring part except when Sonya got hers naturally.  There was one song they sang in particular that made me tear up and the slide show they presented choked me up as well.  However, it was the last thing they did that had me close to sobs. 

Every year a certain number of 5th grade students receive the Presidential Academic Award.  This is an Award that out of Sonya's class of 130 students only 23 achieved.  Sonya was the second name called to the stage.  I tried to take a picture or two, but it's hard to keep a camera steady when you are muffling sobs.  I was so proud of her.  This little girl who Andy and I struggled with whether to send  to school at 4 years old, not only did well throughout her six years in elementary, but did extremely well. So well she got a signed (stamped) letter from The President. This little girl who was almost a year younger than some of her best friends, kept up with them and in most cases surpassed them academically.  This little girl, who I realized as she stood on that stage accepting her award, was not such a little girl anymore.  

How did this happen??  I feel sometimes like I missed it, but then I know I didn't because I can still recall every project I helped her with, and every friend she told me about.  I was there for the struggles of homework, the joys of doing well on a test,  and the problems with other kids from time to time.  Then there were the panic attacks she had last year, when she struggled with learning about the human body and worrying about her own mortality.  She has always come to me or Andy and talked to us about school or friends or whatever problem she was having.  In some ways I feel like emotionally she hasn't been ready for every grade, but she's always managed to come through with flying colors.  Now as she heads to middle school this fall, (or later this summer I should say), I worry that the little girl who is not so little anymore, will start to become distant from us.  We might not get to help with every project or hear about every friend.  She might shut us out if there is a girl being mean or she can't handle a certain subject.  I know this, because I know this is what every tween-teenage girl does, including myself at that age.  And this my friends, this is what makes me cry the most.  

Years ago, when I started this blog, I could have paid for college if I had a dollar for the number of moms who came up to me telling me, "enjoy them  now because it goes so fast!" Some of them much older and by themselves, some of them with a bored teenager standing close by rolling her eyes at her mom talking to a stranger.   I remember at the time, when I was housebound 90% of my life thinking-"it's not going fast enough lady!"  Now I find myself in Target or the grocery store alone and seeing younger moms with babies and toddlers struggling to get just one errand done, and I have to resist that same  urge to run to them and tell them the same things so many woman said to me just six years ago.  

It does go fast.  Way too fast and I know that now.  I still have some time to go with all of my girls before they leave us physically, but I am well aware of how I'm going to blink and Sonya will be graduating for real.  From High School.  So even though the summer sometimes drives me crazy what with having to drag them to Target and the grocery store, while refereeing multiple fights throughout the day, I will do everything I can to hold on to these days and have as much fun with them as I can, while they will still let me.  I know soon enough they will be trading time with me for time with friends, and (gulp) boys.  Then I will be left to sit in a dark room listening to "Cats in the Cradle" on repeat.  Hmmm...Is 41 to old to have my husband reverse his Vasectomy and have another baby??

In all seriousness, I am so proud of the daughter we have raised thus far.  I know she will continue to grow into a strong, smart, fun, sweet young woman.  Whether she talks to me or not.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Play Ball!

The two little girls decided to play softball again this year.  We are still in that, "it's just fun to play" stage.  It hasn't gotten hardcore yet.  I was suspecting that when it does they would be out, but after watching how good they have gotten this season, now I'm not so sure.

I love watching the kids play at this age, because they are just so innocent about the whole thing.  If you tell them always throw to first, dammit that's where that ball is going.  Even if the runner made it to first two minutes ago.  They try to figure out what's going on, but baseball can be confusing if you're not paying attention at all times and you know, sometimes when you are standing in the outfield a pretty butterfly goes by and you just have to see where it will land.  Then they realize it's landed on the ball that rolled past that everyone is screaming for them to get.  "Oh yeah!  You're at the baseball game!"

Okay, that scenario hasn't exactly happened to one of my girls, but there was a game a few weeks ago when Georgia did something that had us all giggling in the stands.  Well, laughing after we yelled at her to run.  The Peaches (the team the girls are on-yes after A League of Their Own) had the bases loaded and Georgia was on second.  The next girl got a hit and they started running.  The ball was far enough out that the third base coach waved Georgia home, but the other team was getting it together and the ball was starting to make it's way back home.  Luckily, Georgia was way ahead of it.  That is until she stopped running TEN FEET FROM HOME PLATE!  For whatever reason, she stopped dead.  Everyone in the stands cheering for The Peaches started yelling at Georgia to run home, along with all of her coaches on the field.  She looked up at all of us yelling and waving her to home plate, shrugged her shoulders, turned and ran the rest of the way a few seconds before the girl from the other team got there with the ball.  So yes she was safe, but damn was it close.  And why the hell did she stop running??

Well, I asked her after the game.

"Um, Georgia, why did stop running?"

"Oh yeah!" She said remembering.  "Then everyone started yelling at me to run."

"Yeah because you were supposed to keep going?!" I said.

"Oh, well I thought it was a foul ball and I had to go back." She told me.

Now why she thought this I have no idea.  She had already run past third and nobody was telling her to stop but something made her think this way.  Perhaps it was the butterfly.

Here we are just a few weeks later and that child had a kick ass game last week.  So did Lana.  Georgia, was definitely the star though.  She started out playing catcher, which in coach pitch means she just has to corral the balls that gets past the hitter, which is most of them at this age.  She wasn't just corralling them though, she was catching just about every ball that came behind plate.  They almost fell right into her glove every time.  Then I realized she was making the effort to get them into her glove every time.  She and Lana both got a hit off the coach pitching.  This is something they have been doing more of lately.  It's hard for the kids to get the timing right of when to hit the ball, even if the coach is pitching it directly over the plate for them.  

The best part about the kids when they get a hit off the coach is that they pause for a minute with a, "wait-did I just hit the ball?" thought.  Then they hear the screams for them to run to first base.  Unfortunately, Lana waited a little to long to realize what happened and was out at first, but hey at least she hit the ball!  Georgia hit it and managed to get safely to first.  

Then came the last inning, there are only three innings at this age.  Georgia was playing third.  Most of the time they go through eight batters on the team and switch whether they get an out or not.  However, if they make three out before the eight batters get to go, then they switch.  That last inning was short, because Georgia made not one, but two outs in a row at third.  That ball got hit in her direction and she as there to catch it and tag the base both times.  For those of you who haven't seen 6 and 7 years old kids play baseball, you are probably thinking "yeah, so? Whatever."  Those of you who have seen those games are just as impressed as everyone else was that day.  She had parents from our team and the opposing team come up to her after the game to tell her what a great job she had done.  I was so very impressed and proud.  Unfortunately Andy was out of town that weekend as was Sonya, so I was the only one in the family to see it, but I talked it up to both of them.  

We are coming to the end of the season in a couple weeks.  I'm not sure if they will want to play next year, I guess we will cross that bridge next  January.  At least  they know more what they are doing and with a little practice, they might actually be real softball players someday.  Who knew?  I honestly thought that butterfly would keep them from ever figuring this game out.  I will file this lesson under-Never underestimate what you're kids can do.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Following in Her Sister's Footsteps

A few years ago, three to be exact, Sonya was in a play at school called the Jungle Book.  It is something that the 2nd grade class does every year.  You might recall that she was not so happy with doing the play at first, as I told about here.  This was well before she pulled on the red wig and blew everyone away as Annie a few months ago.  That was when she was still terrified of having anything to do with performing.  Well, Lana is 2nd grade this year, and don't ask me where the hell the time has gone because I have no answers for you.  Lana had a much different approach to the Jungle Book performance.  Hers has been nothing but excitement since school started back in September.

The bad news for Lana, was that the teachers weren't sure they were going to be able to do it this year.  There were some recent changes made and they were thinking they might not have time for it.  I kept checking in with the 2nd grade teachers to see who I needed to complain to and be THAT parent, in order to make sure it DID happen this year, but not to worry they were on top of it.  When January rolled around we were told it was indeed happening.  It was at that point that Lana dug out Sonya's CD to listen to and learn the songs.  Starting in January we could hear the Jungle Book songs coming from her room.  EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.  I was pretty certain that by the time the play rolled around our entire family could get up on stage and sing every song start to finish.  

They had "auditions" for the kids to see which parts they would be playing.  This basically meant every kid told their teacher which part they would like.  From there the teachers choose the kids who are the best behaved and do well in school to give the main parts to.  They kinda have to do it that way, because even if little Johnny is a kick ass actor he might be a total asshole to teach.   The goal of this play is not to make it a Broadway production, but rather to give the kids an opportunity to get on a stage and learn how to work together.  I think it's one of the best things they do during their elementary school years, because everyone eventually gets to participate, not just the kids that can afford after school lessons. So they give the parts to the kids who do well.  However, as long as you can keep it together during rehearsals and follow directions, everyone gets a part of some kind.  Even if it's not a main role.   

Lana had decided early on that she wanted to try out for Big Bear Baloo.  I knew she would have a shot at getting something, since she is one of the better kids.  I am very fortunate in that fact.  As crazy as my girls may drive me at home, they are amazing students both academically and behaviorally.  Their teachers can never say enough about how great they all are and I feel very fortunate in that fact.  Of course now that I've thrown that out there into the Universe, no doubt I will get a call from the school about someone doing something they weren't supposed to.  OK I will stop with the bragging about how amazing my kids are.   Even though they are.  Well, at school anyway.  Like I said, at home they turn into demon children half the time.  

So Lana had it set in her mind who she wanted to play.  Unfortunately, she did not get her first choice.  She was a little disappointed, but not crushed.  Especially when she was chosen to play the same part Sonya did just three years ago, Colonel Hathi, the main elephant.  

She continued to practice and knew the songs backward and forward.  I helped her memorize her lines and tried to give some suggestions on how to make her character sound better.  Then I contemplated for a minute maybe teaching kids acting.  That is until Lana took none of the advice I gave her.  Ah well.  

Yesterday was the big day.  When she was going to sleep on Monday night she told me she was nervous.  I told her it was totally normal and she would do great.  

Andy and I went in to help the kids with their makeup and costumes in the morning.  This was something I didn't get to do the first time, since the other two were little.   In fact, if I remember correctly, Georgia had a migraine and I had to have my neighbor come stay with her so I could see the show.  I digress.  We manage to get a good seat up front since we had been there volunteering and were able to make it in before anyone else.  

Lana stood up there and sang her little heart out to every song she had memorized over the last few months.  When her part came up she marched down to the front of the stage and leading all of her "elephants".  Then it came time for her lines.  She was doing well, but then stopped suddenly.  It got quiet for about two seconds.  I'm sure they were the longest two seconds for Lana.  Fortunately for her, her friend Lauren, who was playing Mowgli knew EVERYBODYS' lines.  She was the kid who was  mouthing along with everyone for most of the play.  I know everyone knows what I'm talking about.  Good thing for Lana!  When Lana stopped Lauren half whispered half said Lana's line and then Lana picked it up from there.  It was so damn cute and so second grade.  Everyone in the audience kind of giggled.  I was worried Lana would be distraught about it, but if she was she hid it for the rest of the play.  

Afterward when I congratulated her she told me,

"I forgot one of my lines!"

"It was fine," I reassured her.  "Lauren helped you out and you remembered the rest.  I doubt most people noticed and if they did they thought it was cute."

She seemed satisfied with that answer.  

Just like Sonya, I know she will remember doing this for the rest of her life.  She had such a great time and is sad that it is over.  I only hope that the teachers don't run into problems next year so that they can do it again.  I still have one more Colonel Hathi to go!  
With some of her elephant friends and Baloo

She kept that makeup on all day. 

Mowgli, Baloo, Colonel Hathi


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Beginning of the Emotional Puberty Roller Coaster

Lately I have been dealing with something that is both familiar and foreign to me.  Yes, I know that is an oxymoron, but I will explain.  Sonya is ten.  I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but ten is an age where things start to happen.  You know, puberty wise.  The truth is, she has been kind of on and off moody for about a year now, but in the past few months it has started to increase and intensify.  I knew we were in trouble the other day when she came home from school, completely irritated, in a bad mood, and crying in bursts.  When she finally admitted she was upset, after arguing that she wasn't, all she could tell me was, "I don't know!  I don't know why I am acting like this!"  I do, and I remember it well, but damn I'm not ready to mother it yet.

I honestly don't remember what age it started for me, but boy do I remember feeling like she did the other day.  Truth be told I still feel that way sometimes usually around once a month, but it's not as intense and I know better how to handle myself since I'm adult.  Well most of the time anyway.  But I remember being that age and just feeling so distraught and not having a reason to feel that way really.  I did feel like my world was about to end, just because my sister did something to annoy me, or I couldn't find the right shoes to go with my dress, or because in that moment the sky was the wrong color -dammit!  Yeah, completely irrational.  The other day Sonya came home and started stomping around the house for no reason other than to let everyone else know she was upset.  Here was my biggest problem with her.

"Sonya?" I asked very nicely.  "What's going on, hon?"

"Nothing," she said angrily.   Certainly sounds like nothing!  I pressed on.

"Okay, well you seem to be upset about something and are acting like it." I told her.

"No I'm not," she argued.  "I'm acting fine, mom!"

Oh yes, because you yelling at me telling me you are acting fine means you are perfectly fine! See here is where I have the problem.  This drives me insane.  If you are in a bad mood, even if it's for no apparent  reason, just ADMIT it!  Say-"Listen everyone, I'm in a bad mood, I don't know why and I just want to be left alone."  Done!  We leave you alone.  This is what I do during those once a month times.  I just warn them all.

"I'm bitchy today because I feel bitchy and you would be smart to steer clear of me." Love, Mommy.

Then nobody can say I didn't warn them.  Lana gets this.  When she is in a bad mood she will tell us and then put herself in her room to be left alone.  Not Sonya.  She doesn't ever want anyone to think any less of her, so she is not in a bad mood, and if she is she certainly is not admitting it. So unfortunately, because her not admitting it irritates me, things escalated and she eventually ended up crying in her room, while I sat out in the kitchen fuming.

At one point Andy called and he talked to her for a bit.  She was reluctant to talk to him at first, but after she did she seemed calmer.  But no.   I called her for dinner and  we were right back at it.  Me asking her what was going on, her saying there was nothing.  WTF?!  That was when I realized.  It WAS nothing.  I remember feeling that way so many times as a tween to teen to adult.  I was just sad and mad at the world and my mom getting mad and grilling me did nothing but make me more upset and angry.  This was it.  The beginning of the puberty emotional coater.  Yay.

So after dinner, I pulled her aside and told her I got it.  Although she didn't really get it herself.  I explained that she was going to be going through a lot of changes over the next few years (God help us all!) and that these changes were going to make her feel this way from time to time.  She was going to feel upset and angry for what seemed to be no reason.  It was called hormones and we woman have to deal with them our WHOLE lives.  From puberty, to pregnancy, to menopause.  We really don't get a break do we?  Then I reminded her how I sometimes get cranky around my period and she agreed.  She was a little quick to agree I will say, but whatever.

"Do you remember what I say around that time?" I asked.


"Sometimes I say to you guys 'mommy's in a bad mood today guys.  It's nothing anybody did, I'm just having a rough day so please try not to make it worse'.  Do you remember me saying that sometimes?" I said.

"Yes," she agreed.

"Then you guys know what's going on and that you should try to behave a bit better, right?  There is nothing wrong with me telling you guys that and there is nothing wrong with you saying the same thing to us." I told her.  "This way I know how you are feeling and can help you, and also keep your sisters from making you more crazy because I know how that is too, ok?"

"Okay," she said.

"This is going to be happening to you a lot more and we have to find a way to work together through it, right?"

"Yes!" She said.  "Thank you, mommy.  I love you lots," then she gave me a hug and went back to her sunshine self.  The puberty cloud seemed to have lifted for the moment.  

I know this is only the tip of a very gigantic iceburg for me.  Not only do I have her to navigate through puberty, but two more very close behind.  Hopefully we can all make it out on the other side in one piece.  My sisters and I somehow managed to, and I believe my whole family was closer after all the growing up was said and done.  Sorry mom and dad for how shitty we were sometimes.  I know this is gonna suck, but hopefully it will make my family stronger in the end too.  I may just need to start scheduling mom weekends away every other month.  Or at least start buying wine in box form.  Perhaps both.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's In a Name? -An 8th Birthday Story

Tomorrow is Miss Lana Lu's 8th birthday.  Lana Lu.  Some of you might think Lu is her middle name since I call her that a lot.  However, it is not.  Her middle name is Drew, after her father, Andrew, and not Drew Barrymore like some people have also asked me.  Although eight years ago when she was born all she had was a middle name for a while.  For Andy and I middle names for the girls were the easier part.  Coming up with the first names led us to divorce proceedings.  Then we thought getting divorced over choosing a baby name was kinda stupid so you know, we worked it out, and settled on a name, or so we thought.  We are good like that.  However, little Lana didn't have a name on the day she was born.

Eight years ago today I went to the hospital to give birth to my second girl.  Andy and I had settled on giving her Drew for her middle name, because Sonya had Lynne for hers, which is also my middle name.  At the time we thought we were going to name Lana, Holly.  Holly was a name I had always liked, partially because of the British character on General Hospital I had watched growing up, but also because I think it's a pretty name.  Plus there was the fact that we really couldn't agree on anything else.  We had lists of names, but Holly was the only one we both were ok with, so we thought we would go with it.  The only bit of a problem with the name was that it also belonged to a girl Andy dated in college.

I know all of you women out there just gasped and now think I'm crazy for even entertaining this idea. To be honest, I didn't care.  I mean she was a girl he dated for a few months in college. It's not like she was ever someone he was planning on marrying.  Far from it in fact. She may have been a bit of a um...how do I put this nicely...promiscuous girl.  Yeah that's a nice word than what I was thinking of in my head (slut). What? She was!  I'm not being mean, it really is just a fact.  However,  I've never been the type to care about who dated who in their past.  I mean it's their past.  I have past boyfriends too and we were married now and pregnant with our 2nd baby.  It's not like I had a reason to be insecure.  I can't help it if the girl he dated had a name we both liked.  And dammit it was the ONLY name we both liked.  So I said- who cares.  Andy had more reservations about it than I did.  She isn't someone he keeps in contact with at all, but he worried that if he ever did run into her one day what would she think about us having a daughter with her name.  Would she think Andy harbored some burning desire for her still?  He didn't want that, because he certainly didn't.  I offered other names like Lila, or Georgia (yes that name was in the running since I had Sonya), but he wasn't keen on any of those at the moment, so we stuck with Holly.

Then I went through 23 hours of labor with the soon to be little Holly.  I was doing everything I could to not have a c-section again and I succeeded.  After I gave birth to my second daughter I was on a high I don't think I could even describe.  Okay some of that might have been the pain medication. The rest of it was the feeling of accomplishment that I hadn't been wheeled to the operating room again to have my stomach cut open.  No this baby got pushed out and I had done it.  I was elated. I was ready to run marathon!  Okay maybe not a marathon.  And perhaps not run, but I could sit up and gingerly walk to the bathroom on my own.  A million times better then right after a c-section.  

"Let me see her!" I said as they weighed and checked her APGAR.

Andy was standing with her talking to her as they looked her over.

"So?" I asked, "Is she still Holly?"

He looked up and me and definitively shook his head no.   Then when they brought her to me I saw why.  She really in no way looked like a Holly.  I don't know how else to say it.  This is why when people name their babies in the womb, then start calling them that name, I personally think it's a big mistake.  That baby can come out not looking like your name choice at all.  My second daughter was NOT a Holly.

"Then what are we going to name her?" I asked Andy, hoping he had an answer.  He did not.  Back to the proverbial drawing board.

After we had moved to our room and we had a number of people ask her name, to which we had no answer, I pulled out my notebook.  I had brought it with me with all the names we had gone over throughout the nine months.  I was calling out names I had written down for each letter to Andy and he said no or I did.  Then we got to "L".

"Lonnie?" I asked.

Andy paused for a minute.  "That's not bad," he said.

"Or how about Lana?" I said looking at the other "L" name on my list.

"That's a good one too," he admitted.

I looked down at my sleeping baby and tried out both names.  She had been born with a set of full lips anyone who's had collagen injections would have killed for.  The names both seemed to suit her, but we were still unsure.  It was late and Andy had to get home to relieve our friend Melinda who had been staying with Sonya for over a day at that point.  He left and we decided to sleep on it.  Throughout the night when I was awake with my newborn I kept trying out both names, but Lana was that one that sat  best with me.  Something about it was cute and fiery.  

Andy had gone home that night and told Melinda the names we were thinking about and she had sent me a message saying that she loved the name Lana.  So the next day when Andy came in with Sonya we both agreed.  On March 22, 2007 we introduced Sonya to her little sister, Lana Drew Dadekian.  A cute and fiery name indeed.  One that she has lived up to in her short eight years on this earth.  The name Lana means light and then I found this on a website called sheknows.com: 

"People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient."

Perhaps I should have researched more before we just decided that she "looked like a Lana", and went with it.  Although most of those qualities are great and definitely Lana, it's the "aggressive, stubborn, proud and impatient" ones that have given me grief over the last eight years.  On the other hand it makes her who she is.  The kid who will decide she is going to do something and then you better stay out of her way because she is doing it. And she is doing it the way she wants to.  She is definitely determined with certain things. I've always said that Lana is the one of my three I will worry about the least in getting ahead in life.  She will make things happen if she wants them to.   Then there is the stubborn and proud part, like the morning she argued with me for ten minutes on what day my birthday was on.  She insisted it was April 28th.  Even though I've been celebrating it on April 18th for 40 years, she made me wonder for a second if I'd been on the wrong day all along.  I mean her way would make me 10 days younger.  It is well documented  on here over the years about her aggression and her temper, however, what the paragraph doesn't include is her ability to make up for her aggression.  It might take her a minute or 60 to cool off, but when she does she always apologizes to whoever she wronged.  Then everything  just goes back to normal with her.  There is no grudge holding with Lana.  What's done is done, let's move on.  Sorry if you are now sporting a 2 inch scratch across your cheek.  I will ask mom to cut my nails later.  (That really happened about 2 weeks ago.)  Don't get me wrong though, she is a friendly and kind little girl as well.  Although, those are traits I believe she works on more they are still something she aspires to be.  

Yup, tomorrow is Lana's 8th birthday.  She has developed such a great little personality in these 8 years, good and bad.  It was a personality you could see from day one, which is why the name Holly would have never suited her.  So I don't know if we chose the name Lana for her or if she chose it for herself, but I couldn't imagine her as anyone else.  She is our light. Our unique, determined, courageous, impatient, stubborn, cute fiery and yes, even sweet, light of our family.  I can't imagine my life for these past 8 years without her in it.  I love you Lana La, Lana Drew for infinity times infinity. I can't wait to see where your fantastic personality with your matching name takes you in this life.