Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Filter me this

How is it that by my son's age, my sister and I had developed such refined filters. By nine we definitely thought before we spoke. Our main objective when speaking with relatives was not to offend anyone in the family and to preserve a sense of harmony. This was instilled us so strongly, yet my parents' childrearing style was so loose and liberal. We never got spanked or punished, but we were very polite and thought carefully about what we say and how we behave. My son, on the other hand, has a very feeble filter, if I can even call it a filter. He doesn't have much of a concept of how others may perceive what he says. Two examples from today:

I was driving all three of my kids in a highly unreliable car. He knows the car has issues and is a little sketchy to drive. The baby was starting to cry, and my almost-two-year-old was starting to whine and scream in irritation as well, which always makes me frantic behind the wheel. When I started singing "If You're Happy and You Know It," he corrected me, saying there is only one way to sing the song in correct order. I responded that pretty much anything can be inserted in the blank in the song, sort of like in the game Simon Says. And then my son joked about how he could insert a line that says to crash the car. Yikes! How would he not realize that's not a funny, but a stress-inducing thing to even put out there.

The other example from today would be that when he found a basketball on his bed which I had given to him as a surprise present, he immediately questioned whether it was new because of discoloration he had noticed on it. He argued that the ball must be used which irked me mainly because he kept arguing and not listening to what I knew to be true, and what he said seemed judgmental, like he wasn't appreciating the present.

How can it be that his politeness filter is so underdeveloped when I constantly model empathy and when we talk about impact of words and actions quite a bit. Is he just not very emotionally mature? Is it the larger societal context in which he is growing up? I just don't understand.

Assistance for me?

When the city bus driver lowered the ramp for me, and I was the only passenger getting on, I knew something was off. He must have had a reason. Did he think I needed assistance? Why? And then I looked at my reflection in a window. Ah, yes. I'm only four weeks post-partum and I still look about four months pregnant. That must have been it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Oh my goodness! I just tooted at my son. Sorry, my boy. Hope you'll forgive your crude, mean mama.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mommy got away

Mommy--yes, that would be me-- finally had her first moment away from the kids in about a month (since the birth of our youngest). Yay, Mommy got to leave the house by herself! This was a big deal since for the last four weeks I have been eating, sleeping, and even going to the bathroom with at least one, and sometimes all three of my children. Daddy who's been busy working at his newly opened business gave me a break for a couple of hours. And where did Mommy go, you may wonder? She went to the store to shop... guess for who? The kids. So in my brain, it was still all about the kids. Being home with little ones can get extra isolating, so I chose to go mingle with the populace. Since our cars are pretty much done for, I took the city bus to our "neighborhood" supermarket which reminds me that Americans like to live large, and America likes to spread that love of things large around the world. The size of this supermarket was unheard of in the Old Country back when I was a kid, but American-style supermarkets have made their way there. Still; just look at this place. Isn't it just crazy giant? And this is only a quarter of the space. No wonder it always takes forever just to get the basics there. I got the kids some clothes, got myself a frothy iced beverage, and made my way home. Really all I actually wanted to do was take an extra long nap. But the day when I sleep again will come. Hope my brain continues to make sane decisions on so little sleep.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The real deal

Being home on a mostly unpaid maternity leave really crystallizes how much wrong there is with this society. I knew it would, but reality has hit hard.

When I see happy, smiling portraits of parents with their multiple joyful children, I wish it could be like that all the time. I wish I never felt alone or isolated. I wish I could always feel complete as a mother AND a thinking person contributing to change-making in the world. But mothering alone, especially in isolation, does not satisfy this urge. I miss teaching. I miss being out and about in the community. So many amazing events I've had to miss because our cars are shot and because getting out with two under two is just too difficult. Also, there is the fact that a newborn needs to nurse and be changed frequently and makes a lot of noise, so I can't really take him to too many places where noise would interfere with an event.

Having no family nearby is difficult. My mother was here to help for the first three weeks after Solomon was born, which was a godsend. But now my man and I are alone. He has a new business to tend to and no employees beside himself, so he is not able to help very much or to take care of essential things that need to be handled on the daily. Life is stressful right now. We are both sleep-deprived, one of our kids is sick, the two under two need constant attention, we are struggling with transportation issues, we don't have much of a support system... This is hard!

Birth story

My youngest was born in March, nine days before his due date. The process closely mirrored that of his sister who is twenty-one-months older than he. My water broke, not dramatically, but in a "trickly" fashion. At first they sent me home from the hospital where they did tests which did not turn up a sign of amniotic fluid, perhaps because the baby's head was blocking the opening at the time. But my water continued to trickle out throughout the night. The next day my doctor confirmed this and sent me back to the hospital where they induced me with pitocin, starting at 5 pm. Like all three of my previous births, I requested for this one to be unmedicated. By 8:30 pm I was in full labor, and by 10:35 pm baby Solomon was born with just a couple of pushes. The birth itself was so quick that my recovery period was significantly shorter this time which is a good thing considering I have a toddler running about who requires a lot of my attention and reassurance. We are still adjusting to this new reality. It's a lot to juggle. When we get into a groove, I will let you know. Welcome to the family, Solomon.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More kid quotes

(My oldest son's quotes from his first years can be found here)


I asked Jonah if he had a choice if he'd go to school five days a week, two or three days a week or learn outside of school. He said he would like to learn outside of school. I asked him what he would do with his time, he said he would have gym every day because P.E. is his favorite subject. He said he would skateboard, play basketball and ride his bike. 

A: When I grow up, I want to be a lion.

me: Do you want to see what you were doing when you were your sister's age?
J: No. 
me: Why not?
J: It's just embarrassing. It's embarrassing when you do things like that, Mom.

A, coming home from daycare: I played with some babies and I made a few dollars.

Jonah: "I´m great at limbo. I´m the best limboer in 5th grade."

Anisa, singing: "This is how you rub yourself, rub yourself, rub yourself early in the morning."

Jonah: My poop comes whenever it wants."


A: I'm super super.

Anisa to me, playing with her wallet: You can watch me get money!

Daughter takes out her play pliers and says: "Mama I'm gonna cut you off your head."

me: You're a genius. Do you know what genius means?
A: Yeah. It means who's my daddy.

A, playing with a potato while in the bathtub: The potato's in my 'gina.

Daughter asks, "What does sorry mean?" She apologizes at the right times, usually after screaming or not listening, so I'm surprised she doesn't know the meaning of sorry. I explain that it's said when someone feels bad to make the person feel better. She wonders, "Is it like happy birthday?"

A, waking up with a stuffy nose: "My nose is not going to work today."

Daughter: "I don't want dinner every day. I don't like dinner."
me: "That's crazy."
Daughter, shouting: "That's not crazy!"
Pause. "Sorry I screamed, Mama."

When I gave her the choice of cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, she said: "I don't know how to think," meaning she couldn't decide. 

A: "Oxygen! My favorite!"


• me: Do you want the sound (track) of rain as you fall asleep?
A: No, I not want rain. I want rainbow.

• Anisa, seeing her dad and me hugging: Dada, you hug mama really well. 

• Jonah: I'm going to find out if the Tooth Fairy is real. I have a motion detector in my doorway.

• J: I farted three times.

• J: I don't have arachnophobia. I just don't like spiders in my personal space.

J: I like Mr.H (his teacher). He tells jokes. They're not funny, but it's funny that they're not funny.

• A, climbing on the doctor´s stool while at the doctor´s office: Iḿ trying to be the doctor.

• While putting on a fireman´s hat, Anisa says, ¨I´m fire dada.¨
Me: I love you, fire dada.
A: You not love fire dada.
Me: Who do I love? Coffee shop dada? (Her dad runs a coffee shop).
A: Yes, you love coffee shop dada.

• Anisa: It´s too way hot.

• A: Dada, I wanna play with your peter (peter = computer)

• A. seeing me come out of the shower: Mama, you're so big. 

• A, holding a small ball up
to her chin (as if it were a goatee): "I'm a man."

• Anisa: I love ice cream ever much. 

• A: Mama, I'm going to turn round and round and get busy. 

•  Hugging me, as A falls asleep: You're so big, Mom.

•  A: I wanna go to HR. (We often spell out "the park" when we talk about going there so Anisa doesn't understand until we've resolved to go to the park. She figured out what the spelled letters mean. P. A. R. became H.R.)


•  As Anisa pretends to eat a piece of her dad, he asks: Do I taste good at least?
A: Yeah. 
Dad: What do I taste like?
A: Cheese. 
•  A to a doll on her lap sitting at her kids' table: "That's my phone. Don't touch it. Don't touch the peter. Did you touch the peter?" (peter = computer)

• I burp, my daughter says, "Excuse you."

• Anisa to me: "Do you adore me?"

• Anisa at a playground, running after boys playing basketball: "Boys! Boys!" Turns back at me: "Boys are not talking to me."

• Jonah says he wishes that he didn't have to go to school; that he only goes to spend time with his friends.

• Anisa: (Pointing at a kid she plays with sometimes) That's my friend. 
Me: What's your friend's name?
Anisa: I don't know. His name is Friend. 

• A: I love mama, I love dada... (She continues to list family & friends she loves), I love candy. 


•  A, singing a made-up song: "My doggy fell down on the ground." Another time: "Don't touch my food. It's my special one."

•  Me: Do you like hugging mommy?
A: I like noodles.

•   me: If you cry this much, you need to go lay down for a nap.
A: I just want to cry.

• A: Jonah kick(ed) the ball. What the heck?

•  A, watching Puss in Boots: What the heck?

• me, to J: Are you looking forward to school starting?
J: No.

• A: I give the baby a peter (aka computer).

• A: I get my person (aka purse).

• Me: Do you want me to take a bath with you?
A: No, I don't.
Me: You don't want mommy to bathe with you? That's amazing.
A: It's not amazing, mama.

• A, brush in her hand: I make you pretty, mama.

• A: I wanna play domi-hoes.

• Dad, to A: Do you want to go to the store?
A: Not tonight.

• A: I'm a lady, dada!

• J, to me: You have leg hair on top of your bulging vein. Now ot looks like a furry vein. 

• "Don't kiss my doctor,"Anisa said after playing doctor with a doll and me kissing her nose.

• A to our repair man: Hi, guy. Hello, guy.

•  A, bringing her toy computer to me: "I got a peter. I got my peter. . . I don't like this peter."

• A, pretending to talk on the phone: "Hi mama, hi dada, hi milk."

•  Lately Anisa has been walking around with her unmistakable pretend face saying, "My back really hurts," or "My feet really hurt."

• Jonah's list of comebacks for when he's playing sports and someone says, "What was that?"
1. Wiki that.
2. Google that.
3. Who knows.
4. I don't know.

•  Me: Do you ever wash your belly button? Because I think I see something in it.
My son Jonah: I don't wash it until there's a dirt hill coming out.

• A: I'm a princess.
Me: What's your name, princess?
A: Pink.

• A: I'm scared.
Me: Of what?
A: of Jonah. Jonah's scary. (Pause). I scary, too.

•  J, in a sweet voice to his sister while playing with playdough: Nisa, did you destroy all the bears?

• J rated all the household members on the cuteness index. Baby brother came up on the top, I was last: "You're not cute."
Me: I'm not?
J: Not anymore...
And when my puddle of tears turned into a lake and he finally noticed: You're not a baby anymore. . . But you're awesome.

• J: Mom, do you know much about vanity and fashion?
Me; No, I don't.
J: Oh no. I wanted you to give me advice on what would make my guy look cool.

• A: I pooped a snake.

JULY 2015

•  A: Dada is my mommy.

• Looking out the window: That's my friends.
Me: Who are your friends, Anisa?
A: Mommy.

• A, first thing in the morning: "I wanna watch the news."

• A, while crossing the street in a stroller: "Better hurry."

• Anisa: I want strawberries. (Showing me to the fridge.) Come on, let's go to strawberries.

• me (thoughtlessly, about the baby): He's working on a poop. He's a workoholic.

• me: Do you want popcorn?
J: Oh, poop corn? Yeah. There is also mouse turd. Get it, mustard? Ham boogers and Toot-sie Rolls.

• A: My butt hurts.
me: Come here. Let me check it. It looks fine.
A: Ouch.
me: Do you want a band aid for your butt?
A: No.
Jonah: Do you want a but transplant?
A: (smiles) Yeah. 

• Anisa, yelling at her brother: "No, don't clean me!"

• Looking inside her dad's mouth at his teeth at bedtime: "I see 'dilla in there." Yep, quesadilla between his teeth. Time to floss.

• Anisa looking out the window at the neighbor across the street: "I wanna look neivor. I see neivor. Hello, neivor!"

• Anisa while playing outside in the sandbox: "I smell mommy poop."

• A, randomly while falling asleep: "Hi, doctor."

• Anisa: "I wanna do something right, mama."

• Pointing inside her nose: "Is burger."

•  Anisa puts on her pink tutu wearing nothing else, smiling and pronouncing herself "Princess Lolly."

• Me: Where are you, Anisa?
A: I don't know. (Pause) I over here.

• Me: What do you want to do at the library? Use the computer?
A: Go see Peter.

• After I got Anisa ready, she stood at the door, all dressed, obviously feeling like a million bucks, saying: "I princess," and adding, "Mommy princess."

• Anisa, randomly: "Oh, man!"

• As I finish dressing Anisa in a swimsuit to go in a pool, she looks at me and says: "I'm ready, dude."    

JUNE 2015

• Anisa, asking dada: "What time is it?... Is it six o'clock?"

• After seeing and me naming her brother's private parts when changing his diaper: "I have a penis too."

• On her birthday, while eating a cupcake deep in thought: "Happy birthday to me."

• Me (referring to baby): He's really fussy.
Anisa: I'm fussy too.

• Me: What is your favorite age so far?
My 9-yr-old son: Eight
Me: What happened when you were 8?
Son: I learned to cook eggs.
Me: Is that why it's your favorite?
Son: Yes.

• Anisa: What's smell?
Me: Does it smell stinky?
Anisa: Yeah.
Me: It's the neighbor cutting grass.
Anisa: Cutting grass? (I nod.) Cutting grass? (I nod.) Cutting poop?

• My 9-year-old son Jonah asking if I'd like to read a book with him: "I'm warning you; it's a graphic novel, and it's full of sound effects which you are really good at."

• Me to my son Jonah: "You are special to me." My 2-year-old daughter Anisa: "I'm special too."

• Jonah: One time I threw a ball so hard my ribcage almost fell out. It almost burst out. Do you know where the ball ended up? In a wheelchair."

MAY 2015

• Anisa, as we approach our house in the car: "Doma!" (which means "home" in Czech), immediately followed by: "Smells like poop."

APRIL 2015

• It's been almost three weeks since I gave birth to our youngest. Today my 9-year-old son taps me on the stomach and says, "Your belly is still fat." Thanks, son.

• My daughter dreams in two languages. The other night she said, "Uh-oh. Prd" in her sleep. Prd means fart in Czech.

• My daughter looks at me and says in a singy-songy voice used to talk to babies: "Mama, you're cute."

• My oldest son tells me I'm "the best mom in the world."

• My daughter pretends to talk on the phone: "Hello, I wash my belly, I wash my hair."