Buffet.

Daily blogging? Mine is not to question…

I’m having the “change everything” urge. Clean my room. Move the living room furniture around. Re-sort all the Legos. Bake something I’ve never baked before. Abandon Facebook forever. Take photographs. Change the wallpaper on my phone. Throw out half my wardrobe. Clean my car. Paint my chipped nails.

I get this urge every so often and it’s usually associated with something hormonal — like a simulated monthly nesting urge before my body realizes there’s nothing to nest for. But this is oddly timed. Maybe it’s a new year’s thing. Maybe it’s a way to cope with the endless days ahead of me.

I spent the morning searching for activities and finally settled on The Franklin Institute, only to find out that it’s closed today, which seems like a cruel decision on their part. Kind, I suppose, for the employees, but… And now nothing else seems appealing. The Who lobbied for a trip to Crayola. I would like a service where you can rent a sibling for a day. A kid who automatically gets along with your kid and who is available for companionship on outings whenever needed. If you ignore the creepiness factor of a warehouse full of children just waiting to be “hired” to play, then it’s a genius idea. Seriously. Parents of only children: think about it. You know I’m onto something.

If I were very wealthy, I’d get on an airplane today and spend a week in Florida, splashing around in the pool with my parents and all the other Jewish seniors.

It’s raining here today and I don’t even mind. Because it’s nearly 2015 and there’s been no snow of note. I probably just jinxed us.

This post is like a brunch buffet. It can’t decide what meal it wants to be. Bacon and eggs right alongside Chicken Cacciatore in the bain-marie. Nothing makes much sense with anything else.

I’m drinking iced coffee. It’s December. Wild Kratts is chain-playing on Netflix in the background and both The Who and I are on our respective laptops, writing. Things could be worse. Things could always be worse.

Photo Dec 24, 10 02 21 AM

 

woe.

Here’s my tale of woe for this Friday Tuesday.

First, I think it’s necessary to preface this with a reminder of how insufferable The Who has been for the past two weeks or more. Yes, the whining and door-slamming and doomsday scenarios as usual (for the past six months), but also he was first getting sick, then sick, then getting better. And his appetite has been nil and he’s been hangry for what seems like weeks. There have been intermittent bursts of his old charming self. There have been cuddly mornings and deep conversations and time spent together on art projects. But, still. It’s been what I would categorize as generally unpleasant and trying for a long time now.

So, there’s that.

Then, there was the Winter Party at school. This is not my first rodeo, friends. I have planned and volunteered at two classroom events already and they all follow the same formula. And not only is it not my first rodeo, but it’s also not rocket science. It’s not any of those cliches that I can throw at it. It’s in my wheelhouse, this Homeroom Mom business. I’m good at it. Except this time. Epic failure. I recruited people to bring things in that were contraband, I emailed the wrong volunteers, I forgot to tell everyone about the party time-change. I planned a craft that took too long. It took me at lest five emails with the teacher to understand a classroom policy. None of it was good. I mean, don’t get me wrong; the party was a total success. All the volunteers showed, all the donations arrived on time, the craft went off without a hitch, and the teacher even had time to open our class gift before we had to leave. But I didn’t feel good about it. I sure did stumble on the road to get there.

And, speaking of stumbling. When I got home and after I cleaned up the huge mess I had left from craft-prep on the table (seriously, it was like Edward Scissorhands up in here) I went back to put my slippers on. Coming back up the one step into the kitchen — and with both my phone and a full beverage in my hand) I tripped and fell into the kitchen — shoulder into the pots and pans, shin on the corner of the step. The Who immediately called down to see if I was ok and although I said I was (and, for all practical purposes, I was) I still stayed prone on the floor, crying. I knew I wasn’t crying because I was hurt. I was just…crying.

m* came down from resting (she’s sick this week) and showed me a lot of compassion as she cleaned up the sticky spill and then when I curled up into a ball on the couch, she laid an ice pack on my [now thrice] injured knee.

Now I’m achy. And tired. And I could really use a shower. And I am in the middle of making quesadillas (which I paused so I could eat one) but the kitchen looks like a jar of salsa exploded into a bag of shredded cheese. And I’m cold. And I seem to only be interested in drinking soda lately, which means I am constantly thirsty. And it’s too early for The Who to go to bed, but I don’t want to hear his voice for one more second (even though it is incredibly sweet) and I have no plans tomorrow. Or Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or…you get the picture.

I don’t think my new full spectrum lamp is doing its job yet.

Wait. What?

I just realized, when someone posted on Facebook about it being Monday, that I have lost all track of time. I’m pretty much just floating around in the vortex of “Holiday” and Monday or Sunday or Friday — none of it matters. All that matters is that tomorrow is The First Day of The Rest of Vacation.

I don’t know why I’m dreading (fearing?) this vacation so much. Maybe it’s because he’s never been off from school this many days in a row. His Pre-K was also a daycare, so they were just closed for Christmas and then right back in the saddle. Maybe it’s because he really hasn’t been the most pleasant child to be around lately, which, while not entirely unexpected, really sucks. (Reference this very informative article, which has been spot-on since The Who was a toddler.) Maybe it’s because I just have a lot on my plate this week between Homeroom Mom duties and nightly Hanukkah celebrations. Maybe it’s because I stay up too late watching 90-Day Fiance. It could be any or all of that.

Whatever the reason, people keep saying it’s Monday and I guess I have to believe them. Even though it’s totally Thursday. Thursday that’s a day after a particularly harrowing Sunday. Good morning. It’s bedtime. Obvs.

 

Token.

Yesterday, The Who came home from school and told me that he was the “Hanukkah Expert” in the other kindergarten class. A few pointed questions later, I figured out that he was invited from his classroom to the one next door to “answer some questions about Hanukkah that Mrs. K already knew the answer to, but she wanted the rest of the kids to hear the answers to.” He also told me that he had been the Hanukkah expert in his own class the day before. He seemed to really enjoy this position of honor — or at the very least, cheerfully go along with it. And, frankly, it didn’t surprise me that he was the kid chosen for this. He’s outspoken, outgoing, and pretty damn knowledgeable about a lot of things. But, it occurred to me that, while all of these things might make him an excellent “expert,” he was probably chosen because he’s the only Jew in his class — and maybe the whole PM kindergarten. Is that possible?

It had honestly never occurred to me that he might be the only one. I mean, sure. Until I became friends with some of the parents at his preschool, I was among the only Jew in my circle of friends. Our town is not known for being particularly Jewish. In fact, for the first several years that I lived here, I was hard-pressed to find a single challah for the holidays. (I now know all the Jew hotspots; never fear.) But, for the first 4.5 years of his life, he went to a Jewish daycare/preschool and while not all the kids were Jewish (and almost none of the teachers) he wasn’t alone. Everyone there was a Hanukkah expert; it was part of the curriculum.

The Who has a bit of difference in his life. He is an only child in a community where most families have more than one. A Jew in a largely non-Jewish town. A Queerspawn in a class where most, if not all of his classmates have straight parents. And who knows what else. He has a gender-nonconforming parent. He has a very fat parent. He has no grandparents living close by. And on and on. Now, please don’t misunderstand; this is not a pity party. I am neither suggesting that The Who’s circumstances are less-than, nor am I suggesting that he has it worse than anyone else. But I do recognize that in many ways, the deck is stacked against him. (While also recognizing that the deck is also stacked incredibly for him in many ways: he is a white, middle-class male, for example.)

As an adult, I don’t mind being different. I am often the only one of my sort in various gatherings (Jewish, lesbian, fat, etc.) But as a kid, I definitely spent a lot of time wishing I were more like others. I wished I had a younger sibling, wished we had a Christmas tree, wished I could wear Guess jeans, etc. And I bet this comes as a surprise even to those who know me pretty well. I was outgoing, well-spoken, self-possessed, funny, and charismatic. I probably seemed pretty well-adjusted. Just as he does.

I don’t even know what the ultimate point of this particular navel-gaze is. I guess I just wonder what it is like for him, understanding that my experiences are not his. Just because I keep having a tiny twinge of discomfort at the notion of him being “the token Jew” in his kindergarten doesn’t mean it bothered him in the slightest. And just because I don’t mind being different now, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t mind it as a 6-year-old.

I guess I could ask him.

Change.

Following the lead of a blogger I used to read a lot, Rebecca Woolf of Girl’s Gone Child, I had always said that I’d stop blogging much about The Who once he entered kindergarten. I remember her saying something about kindergarten seeming like the time where her child’s life story really became his instead of hers and it rang true to me. (Scroll to the bottom of the linked post to see the bit about this.) At the time, The Who was just a couple of years old and kindergarten seemed a long way off. And she, at the time, had two kids. So, when she phased one out of the blog, she still had another coming down the pike. Now that her middle child is in kindergarten, she has two younger twins to write about and although I think her hourglass is running out, she had so many years and so much fodder that not really being able to write about her kids when the time comes might feel ok to her. (Or, maybe she’s decided not to stop writing about them; I’m not sure. I haven’t read her regularly in a little while.)

I’ve just got the one Who. And on September 2nd, his first day of kindergarten, that last grain of sand fell and I’ve found myself at somewhat of a loss here. I do still believe in the decision that I made years ago to limit his public blog exposure. And in keeping with that philosophy, if I am going to post a photo of something he’s drawn or of something profound he’s said on Facebook, I generally ask permission. (He always grants it and although I’m sure he’s not 100% aware of what he’s agreeing to, I know he understands that it will be on the internet, on the computer, visible to my friends. He usually seems delighted by that idea and often asks me to post things on his own.)

But the blog is not Facebook. Anyone can read the blog and I’d never know it. I’ve culled my regular-posting list on Facebook down to about 40 people and so the circle within which I am sharing is pretty tight. (I’ve got my fingers in my ears and I’m singing ‘la la la’ to all of you who are thinking the same thing I’m thinking: that Facebook, no matter how tight I think my circle is, is probably just as public as the blog.)

Now, here I am. The mother to an only-child kindergartner, who writes a blog about being a mother and who has committed to pretty much cease writing about her kid. So, what now? I’d like to go back to the days of semi-private blogging, a la LiveJournal, but we all know that ship has sailed. I could password protect every post here and allow myself to get a little more real about myself. I could close up shop entirely and just put all my writing energy into the Great American Novel Memoir. Or maybe some combination of the three. The only thing I know for sure is that The Who is six years old now. He’s got both feet firmly planted in elementary school now and is starting to build a reputation of his own. He’ll always be my baby, but more and more now, he is his own person and I’ve got to loosen my grip on the ownership of that person and let him become himself without my constant public scrutiny.

Stay tuned.

Teeth.

He has decided to believe in the Tooth Fairy and I have decided to let him. Years ago, I was staunchly against the make-believes. Not because I didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa when I was a kid, but because I didn’t like the idea of lying to my kid. I couldn’t – and still kind of can’t – wrap my mind around the notion that our kids are supposed to trust us above all others and yet we willingly make up these fantastical tales of magical people and swear to god that they are real, knowing that someday, the jig will be up and where does that leave us then?

I told The Who, when he was only just newly two years old, that Santa Claus was a character in a story. He was actually scared of the idea of Santa at the time. Scared of the mall guy, scared of illustrations, scared of the thought that he might slip into our house in the night, unnoticed. It all creeped him out. So, I told him. And I also told him that lots of kids believe he is real and think it’s fun to believe that and we don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, so let’s just keep what we know to ourselves. I know. He was two. But he seemed to be on board.

A few years later, he decided that he wanted to believe in Santa. And so, being the good Jews that we are, we got ourselves a shiny little tree and set it up with lights in our living room and dammit if that old Santa didn’t come sneaking into our house on Christmas eve with bundles of Legos for our little believer.

Then, last spring, he lost his first tooth. Already a skeptic at the age of five, he asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real. Point blank. He said, “Did you ever actually see her?” I told him that I never did and I said it with an air of confidence because let’s face it – I hadn’t. I had woken up once to the distinctive sound of my mother’s thighs rubbing together in the middle of the night as she not-so-stealthily approached my pillow with a quarter. I opened one eye and squinted it at her. She squinted back. I closed it again and we never spoke of it. That tooth was a molar, I’m pretty sure, so I was probably on the cusp of non-believing anyway, but still. And I never saw the actual fairy, so it was fair game when he asked.

That first night, when he lost his first tooth, the Fairy left him a long letter in a swirly pink font with two golden dollars taped to the bottom of it. He awoke to the bounty and was fully on board. The second tooth was just as believable. And just now, round three, he woke up from a sound sleep, afraid that midnight was too late for her to come. “Mama! It’th too late! The’s not going to come!” he lisped through the gaping space where his front tooth had been. And so with tonight’s swirly-fonted letter sitting in the printer tray in the next room, I invited him onto my lap and assured him that she wouldn’t come until I was asleep.

“Why?” he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eye.

“Because,” I told him, confidently, “she prefers a quiet, dark house.” And as I said it, I was aware that what had begun as a shady little evasion of the truth was turning into a full-fledged lie. “Besides,” I continued. “I think I heard little tinkling bells outside not that long ago, so she must be in the neighborhood, just waiting.” Bells. Now she had bells.

He sat up on my lap a little. “Were they like jingle bells?”

“No,” I said. “More…tinkly.”

“Like this?” he asked, demonstrating light little squeaks tripping over his tongue.

“Yeah, just like that.” And then I kissed his forehead and sent him back up to bed, only half ashamed of the web of deceit I had spun.