Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Everybody hurts sometimes

San Diego, 5/22/2015

Hello, my dear fellow parents! This is an indeed special situation for me not to only have an inspiration to say/write something meaningful two days in a row, but to also squeeze the day so hard that some time in which I can actually do it, fell out.

The thing is when I started this blog I promised to write about the humor I find in my parenting experience. I promised you mothering and laughter. So to stay true to my promise I cannot write about an emotional hurt I experienced last night, because I didn't experience it as a mother but as a person, a human being, and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - humorous about it. I can't find a single angle from which what happened to me would be funny.

I can't write about loss. I didn't lose anyone to death, thank God, but I feel the loss as keenly. And so I hurt. But it is not the departure of that person that hurts me nearly as much as the way the departure happened. People come into and go out of our lives all the time. For some of them we thank God and our lucky stars they came into our lives, and for some we dance a mighty jig when we finally see the last of them. But sometimes... Some moments feel like providence, like the earth shook just to put us in the right place at the right time, or to quote John Childermass (from "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke); " The sky spoke to me! Everything spoke to me!". We meet a person whose impact on our lives is priceless and detrimental one way or another. And sometimes we find ourselves unable to understand how we came to lose their attention any more than how we got to gain it in the first place. People are not often forthcoming with such explanations.

Human relationships are extremely fragile. We easily judge people by their covers, but even if we manage to be of the less judgemental and categorizing type, we are so afraid of being (accused of being) dubbed time wasters that we do not spend sufficient (quality) time with people we meet to get to know them and then make an informed decision whether they would be good company for us or not. But that is not the point here. The point here is how we communicate to a person that they are not a good fit and we want to end our connection, whichever kind of connection it is. Somehow, an alarmingly large number of people thinks that simply stopping communication in the middle of a sentence (and, of course, always without preamble or explanation) and walking away is totally acceptable. It is considered a social norm (hey - everybody does it, right?!), and we are expected to be skilled on both the giving and receiving end of that brutal stick. Its benefit would be to make our "skin thicker", as if the level of skin thickness positively correlates to the level of happiness.

What I can say in order to, at least partially, stay true to my promise to you, my dear readership, is that I am raising 4 children into future adults whom I would like to have more integrity and as much respect for other people's emotions as they do of their bodies and property. At the same time I would like them to be able to better handle the moments in which their emotions are hurt by people with no integrity and/or respect for other people's emotions, bodies and property. In other words, I would like them to be confident in the ways in which I am not, and to continue to have faith and hope and not withdraw their love in fear of getting hurt. But how do I teach them something I haven't learned myself?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

But I'm always on the run

I think that, in the absence of a time turner from reality, multitasking is the next best way to make a day last longer than mere 24 hours as it does on this planet. I am convinced there is not a single parent on this Earth who doesn't multitask, intentionally or unintentionally. I mean, just look at my plate and how much I have on it: on a daily basis - 4 kids, 2 jobs, a husband, a house, a car, and a body (complete with a mind, a heart and a soul); on weekly basis add - extended family, close friends and their families, Church, bills, grocery shopping, disagreements; and on a monthly basis add - well... everybody and everything else (including this blog and contemplating on "My God! How did I get here?!")! I think it's time for choosemyplate.gov to rethink their food pyramide.

Hey, I am not complaining here! My daily and most of the weekly servings of this food were placed on this proverbial plate by Yours (gluttonous) Truly, I admit it, but none of these can be sent back once they are taken. ...I suppose I can return the car, but the alternative modes of transportation either don't accommodate 6 passengers at once or are waaaaay too slow. And I'm always on the run!

But back to the original subject of this post. I think that the crown of my multitasking achievement happened yesterday. I simply cannot imagine any more creative multitasking solution to my persistent lack of time to accomplish all I should in one day than the one I came up with yesterday. I, my dear fellow parents, decided to take a nap during a dental procedure. As my dear (and poor) dentist insisted on talking about what he's doing with my teeth as he proceeded, and his assistant provided beautiful white noise with the suction thingy, I decided I should use such serene moment to doze off since I couldn't double with any other activity :) Eventually, as my head started tilting ominously and I started biting down on the equipment and his fingers, he woke me up, but told me I can continue my rest once he is done. He said that, in his office, many a mother was allowed to nap after the procedure if he finished the job sooner than expected. What a great guy! What an understanding soul (he has 3 young kids of his own)! Needless to say, I didn't take him on his offer since I can't waste time doing only one thing at the time, you know.

But I am hardly a master multitasker parent. My best friend, for example, is a marvel in his own right. When his wife left on a business trip, he managed to call his mother to give him instructions on how to make an omelet, made it, fed his child while taking her picture and all the while he kept his friends posted on his progress on Facebook in almost real time! I was also very impressed by an acquaintance of mine a few weeks ago. We had a business teleconference as he lives on the other coast, discussing investments, financial proposals, scientific merit of basic research, microbes and such light topics. All the while, he simultaneously supervised cookie baking activities of his nearly-3-year-old twin boys which involved answering their frequent questions, instructing them on what to do, preventing them from doing what they were not supposed to and making sure they don't eat the dough before it even reached the oven. Not once did he raise his voice or made a jerky movement to save the dough or something. He's multitasking skills that day floored me. He's brain should be preserved for future study!

I am too tired to make conclusion at the end of this post. If you read all of it, please let me know what you have learned from it. As soon as I get enough sleep, I promise to come back and learn from your opinions :)

P.S. Am I the only one that begins to see a pattern here? First the work toilet, now the dentist's office... "Gde god nadjes zgodna mesta..."* or, in English: "Wherever you find a convenient spot you should fall asleep".

*Excerpt from the poem Sadi Drvo by Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj that goes as follows:

Gde god nađeš zgodna mesta,
tu drvo posadi!
A drvo je blagodarno
pa će da nagradi, -
nagradiće izobiljem
hlada, ploda svog,
nagradiće bilo tebe
bilo brata tvog.

Or in English (my translation)

Wherever you find a convenient spot
you should plant a tree,
For tree is grateful
and will reward you -
Reward you with abundance
of shade, of its fruit,
It will reward either you
or your brother.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

When I see the 5 o'clock news...

As I'm advancing in age - but am, ironically, spending most of my time with very young minors - I have come to realize a very important thing:

We all have to grow old. It's a biological process none of us has any choice in or control over. But none of us has to grow up. That is a choice. And I choose not to. I mean, I did try it for a bit, and growing up just made me boring, depressed and severely stressed out. So I would advise everyone, except politicians, not to grow up. It's simply not healthy at your old age!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Confession of a sucker

I don't get it. I really don't. I mean, how can people say that parenthood is a job?! If it were a job, there would be a college degree in it, proper on-the-job training with expert coaches, continuous education, and if you live in California - where you have to be licensed to simply move your arms - there would be a licensing board of experts who would test to see if you are ready and able to perform this job before they let you out on the market. There would be a salary and benefits provided by your employer - namely, your children - and there would be a price range for the services provided. You want me to take you to the park? That would be, say, $10 an hour. You want me to change your stinky, blowout soft stool diaper which contents leaked into your shirt? I'm sorry, miss, but that will cost you considerably more. And you want me to bail your ass from the principal's office after doing something probably normal for your age, but still so stupid that I wonder who are the parents that raised you? Well, pal, we better sit at the table and discuss my promotion. And, no, making me a grandma while you're still at school is NOT a step up in this career.
I mean, this "company" would never survive in a capitalist world. Ok, yes, it would in a communist one... And you think you'll ever be appropriately compensated for your hard work and invested time and skills? You think your daugther chose that particular career or your son married that sweet, loving girl from a good family as a way of expressing their deepest gratitude for all your sincere effort? Think again, buddy - they did it so their own lives would be good. Heck, they'll even make their own children to make sure you never really retire! Seriously, my dear fellow parents, parenting is a self-imposed slavery albeit necessary to ensure the continuation of the species. My only comfort, when I feel particularly miffed by my kids, comes from knowing that, when the time comes, they too will willingly join the ranks. And then I release the evil laughter from the depths of my chest.

And from the fact that there is nothing that makes me stop in my tracks, instantaneously drop what ever I am feeling, thinking, doing or saying at that moment -  no greater joy and inspiration from the ones I feel when they say "Mommy, I love you".

Friday, March 6, 2015

24 - our episode

Says my 10yo last night after returning from a play rehearsal where he works as an assistant director: "I'm an authorized personnel now, because I can go where it says 'authorized personnel only'!"
Says my 8yo yesterday afternoon after putting a waffle in the toaster: "I'm gonna heat it up to 50 degrees calcium!"
Says my 3yo this morning while pretending to serve me tea (in Serbian): "Napravila sam ti čaj od slaninice!" (umesto kamilice)
Says my 1yo this morning after peeing in my bed: "Ba!"
Says me after all of this: I need to put this in my blog!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A big shout-out

Hello, my sisters and brothers in parenting!

Today is a beautiful sunny, albeit chilly, San Diego day and I feel inspired to give a big-shout to two dads who took parenting by the horns and are blogging about their experiences. This are blogs I go to when I feel like I need an imaginary comrade in parenting, or two. Their approaches are different, but equally effective, because, in the end, "We are all screwed up by our parents", as House MD once wisely said.

(In the order in which they first appeared on my radar)

- DadAndBuried.com: this dad craftily mixes genuine fatherly love, sarcasm and (my favorite) woe-is-me! humor with a good spoonful of no-bs. Dear Dad And Buried, may the Laughs be with you!

- Blue Skies at whywakeup.wordpress.com: I haven't found laughter in this blog, but I have found joy, and many other emotions, masterfuly expressed through poetry. This is where I go to when the humor just won't come. Just read this:

For You

These lessons you have given 
My lord up above

Thankful for your light

And, at the end, a small whimper: 1100 visits to this blog! Yoohoo!!! Thank you thank you thank you! And keep visiting! There is more whimpering where all this came from :(

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Can you hear me now?

Hello, everyone! It's been awhile since my last post, but to say that life was very busy would be an understatement. Today, however, I have reached a new milestone in parenthood, the one I wish you, my dear fellow parents, never reach, for it's not one to make you feel confident about your parenting prowess. Here it goes: I have fallen asleep on the toilet seat in the toilet stall at work.

I wanted to give you a moment to let that image sink in. I only went for a quick action there, if you catch my meaning, and in those short moments my brain celebrated thinking "This must be it! The time to shut down! Because she is not diagnosing, talking, shouting, reprimanding, delegating, recalling the calendar, calculating the remaining number of diapers, driving, singing while driving, rocking to sleep, planning a life-saving night out with friends, eating, paying bills, contemplating a second job... The only thing she is doing right now doesn't require consciousness". And just like that - I have no sense of how much time passed - I was awakened by my head hitting the wall of the stall. My fellow urinators were apparently too engrossed in their own pursuit of bladder happiness to make any inquiries into the noise my bumping head made. What luck! Otherwise, I would have died of embarrassment.

But I have no scruples about confessing it to you ;)