Thursday, September 30, 2010

Explain yourself

This might be the greatest thing ever created on the subject. (Thanks Tracy!)

Nipper Knapp and I had our first parent teacher conference last week. I KNOW! He's 3! It was more of a "getting to know you" kind of meeting, not a "Jack is not meeting our academic standards" kind of meeting. His lead teacher is a very sweet woman who has a kid starting junior high this fall, so she's very understanding about kids in transition. But as we told her a little about our family, about our lifestyle, she started to glaze over and say "ohhhhhh", in a very "NOW, I understand everything", kind of way. 

We explained first that we are actors, and don't real have a regular schedule. She nodded. We went on to explain that we're never really rushing out the door to go anywhere, so it's possible that Jack might not really understand about "being late" or moving on to the next task. "uhm-hum" she said. Then we told her about our nanny situation. We told her that Jack was with us full time even going to auditions with us until he was 18 months, and then we have his nanny Brenda, who lives in the neighborhood come over a few hours a day. They go out and go to the park, or to the soda fountain for lunch. Sometimes they ride the train or go to the 99 cent store, where she let's him buy whatever he wants. "I see". We tell her, and as it's coming out of my mouth I see the error in my ways, that we basically have no schedule, Jack calls the shots on what his day is going to look like, we are together all the time, and he has experienced very little loss, estrangement, nor crying, in his little lifetime. "uh-huh, yes, ok, I see".

Then she drops the Socratic BOMB "Does Jack have many friends". "uhhhhhhhhhm". What do I say? "Well, I'm not really into, you know, talking to people", or "All that mommy talk with strange women sort of makes me want to tear my face off", or "I don't even like the people I like"? Or do I just tell her the truth? We are terrible misanthropic, semi busy parents who haven't made socializing with other families a priority. We socialize. It's just with the same three people. Playdates are not our thing. Mommy and me classes always felt like the 7th circle of hell to me. We did them when he was little, but neither of us were very interested in them, and so eventually we stopped going. 

I started nervously looking back and forth between the teacher and Nipper, trying to explain myself, and saying things in a voice that I was hoping was determined and not cowed "We need to have Nate and Bob over more often". It's true. I know it. 

I don't want to raise some freaky deaky Howard Hughes type. I know this is common with first born children. My friend Merideth said that her oldest son was the 1st grandchild on both sides. In other words he was the second coming of the Messiah. She said somedays she had to close the "kid museum" to visitors. She then informed me that her youngest and third son, is just happy to be alive, and showed me a video of him just swinging by himself on the porch, happy as a clam. 

My mom told her friend Carol about some of the problems Jack was having adjusting to preschool. She laughed and said "Oh they had the same problem with Harry and William. The other little princes. Sigh...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World's worst mommy

When he was 2

Feeling a little guilty that while Jack was at school today, I went to one audition, ate a leisurely take out lunch from the Greek Restaurant on Larchmont and took a 1.5 hour nap. But I did take the nap at the same time as he was taking his nap at school, which was sort of like fulfilling a campaign promise, so I don't feel too guilty about it.

This morning in the car on the way to school he told me he doesn't like naptime. I told him that naptime is just naptime, and he'd have to take one at that time even if he was home. He asked me if I take a nap at home when he's taking a nap at school. I said "yes". Then I went on to tell him that EVERYBODY who is anybody naps at 1pm.

At least mommy's not a liar.

NYC updates coming soon. I might need another few days of naps before I can manage all the typing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

me no do math good

Last night around 3am, the curtains that I sewed last week, fell off the wall, nocking Nipper's bedside lamp onto his head and smothered him in curtains. Oops. He and Jack, who now apparently just sleeps with us, because we have become those freaky "family bed" people without really meaning to, went right back to sleep. I mean the kid has his own room...with a bunk bed, and a goldfish and everything!

But then I was wide awake. Thinking about how I need to fix the curtain rods, and check to see if the button company received the artwork for the "I love you Taco", and "Me llamo Gringo", and " Hola Whitey", buttons we'll be passing out at the NYTVF, and how I need to figure out how to get two more tickets for our Tuesday night screening because it's already sold out, and a dear friend from Boston is coming, and why is everything electrical breaking in our house, including: Nipper's macbook, our flat screen, the kitchen wiring... and why is the downstairs bathroom smelly again after a whole summer of no bad smells, and should we get a tankless water heater, or build a deck, and can I live for one more year with no closet, and I need to pay the credit card, and clean my desk, and how I need to wash Jack's puppies because they went to school with him, and are probably covered in cooties, and how I wish Jacks pokey fingernail wasn't digging into my arm, and how depressing and totally lacking in his usual irony Jonathan Franzen's new book is... So basically I was up.

I wouldn't have been in this predicament if I'd just paid attention in Ms. Nesper's geometry class. Our curtains are floor length and the mattress being on the floor and up against the wall, they get tugged on a lot. I've been trying to finish the headboard project, which would safely tuck them in behind the headboard, never to be pulled on again. But I didn't measure correctly, and now I don't have enough fabric, and the girl who I bought the original fabric from on etsy is sold out and... THESE ARE MY PROBLEMS???!?!?!

Did I mention Jack didn't cry when I dropped him off at school on Friday?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Forgive me

For I have no time to blog. I'm preparing to go (or not go) to NY for the NYTVF in a week and a half. Which by the way, if you are going to be in NYC Spet 21st or 22nd, you MUST come see our pilot. Tickets are free, but you should reserve now, by clicking right HERE. Jack is having a tough time getting used to preschool. He cried most of the morning before school this morning. Not big tears, but you know, lots of little "I'm sads", and "I'm going to cry". I can't tell how much of this is normal transition sad, and how much of it is, my sensitive child being just like his mama, and that's never going to change. 

My mother reminded me this morning that when I changed schools in the 3rd grade, and the lunchtime was 10 minutes shorter, I came home SOBBING, because I was too rushed and couldn't finish my lunch. I SOBBED every time she put me on the plane to boarding school. I called her three times a day SOBBING from San Francisco, when I went away to college. I did that for days, until my new roommate showed up and then I didn't call her again for weeks. Change is hard. I like to feather my nest and then stay in it. Apparently the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Last night around 1am, Jack came into our room (this after a 9:30 wake-up shouting "mommy I NEED you!" from his own bed) and said very matter of factly "Mommy I was missing you, can you snuggle me?". SOB. Once again, he slept in our bed, and Nipper Knapp who hadn't come to bed yet, slept in Jack's bed. This can't be good. Am I mother who loves to much? Is there a support group for people like me?

Nipper Knapp and I are thinking if he is still having a rough time next week, maybe the week after, isn't the best time for both of us to go jetting off to NYC for the week. I'm kind of crushed over both options. I don't want to be away from him for that long. But it's work, and I don't want to miss the festival. Oh and also, I'd like to have a few days alone with my husband. Does that make me a bad mommy? Nipper says that he'll stay and I should go because he hates NY, and doesn't even want to go. But of course that doesn't make any sense. I should stay, he should go. Why must everything be so difficult. Working mother woe. Working parent woes. Working mommy and daddy who make tv shows together and love their kid more than their career even though it's what pays for legos, ice cream, and tree house woes.

In other news, I finished embroidering Sadie's 10th wedding anniversary pillowcase. I didn't make one for her husband because I ran out of time, which is pretty awesome. Maybe I can get it to him by next year. I've finished 4 out of 8 curtain panels for our bedroom and I go the fabric for the headboard in the mail yesterday. Oh and I bought a pair of MiH skinny jeans, so I don't look like a total square while I'm sobbing in line at Starbucks. So you know, the school thing's not a TOTAL loss.  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

flop house

heather ross frog prince fabric 

Our house is made for comfort. I'm all about flopping down on stuff, and I always want it to be soft and cozy. There are lots of ideal napping spots in our house, and out in our garden. Not that I ever really get to nap, but a girl can dream. As soon as Jack started toddling around, we got rid of our bed frame, and box spring, and put the mattress on the floor. We wanted him to be able to climb right in, and not worry about him falling off when he was jumping around.

Our bedroom is almost completely white, with a few SUPER pale peachy pink accents, like the curtainss, which look off-white unless the sun is shining through them. I was fixing up our habotai pillows from pottery barn last week, taking off the ripped up quilted side, and replacing it with old sarong fabric, and some Heather Ross Far Far Away Frog Prince fabric. They looks so yummy piled on the bed, and I like how they're all mismatched. 

But now I've become smitten with the idea of making a headboard for our bed out of the Frog Prince fabric. It's called a "double gauze", which looks exactly like what it's called. It's got a slightly visible gauzy weave, but it's not too thin. I'm a little worried it'll sag some as a headboard, because it's not a super tight weave, but I think I'm willing to risk it. It would look so cozy, and dreamy, and make out mattress on the floor look a little bit more like a grown up bed, instead of a place to crash in a halfway house. 

p.s. I'm going to use this video from Design*Sponge as a tutorial. Except mine will be straight, not curvy. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Kissing Hand

I have to share the sweetest tradition passed on to us from my friend Audrey. Audrey has two gorgeous children, the very handsome Cormac, and the very precocious Margo. Margo is going to be a big big star. I can tell. She's 5. 

In all the hullaballoo leading up to Jack starting school, I got lots of sweet notes, and advice, and stories about tearful drop-offs that lead into very happy pick ups. But Audrey mentioned a book that helped Margo transition. It's called The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (not my friend Audrey). I haven't read it, but it's already helped us immensely. I was lying in bed last night tossing and turning, and I remembered the story, and  resolved to try it, if Jack was struggling when I dropped him off in the morning. 

Here's the story (from the publisher): 
Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go to school--he wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he'll love school--with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that's been in the family for years--the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home. She takes her son's hand, spreads his tiny fingers into a fan and kisses his palm--smack dab in the middle: "Chester felt his mother's kiss rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss. Chester is so pleased with his Kissing Hand that he gives his mom a Kissing Hand, too, to comfort her when he is away.

I won't spoil the end, but I defy you to remain dry eyed if you have spawn of your own

As we were getting ready for school, I showed Jack the blankie I sewed for him. I told him, I had filled it with hugs and kisses, so when he naps, he'll be covered in hugs and kisses from mommy and daddy. He made me wrap him up in it, and said that it felt "really soft". Ok mom, good job. You can do this. 

On the way to school, he seemed a little apprehensive. He told me about how his teacher had read them stories on the green carpet and that he'd liked it, but also he had cried too. I told him all about my plan to fill his hands with kisses, so that when he was feeling sad, or lonesome, or scared, he could touch his hand to his cheek and get a kiss from mommy. He said "that was a good idea". 

Cut to 7 minutes later in the parking lot of the school, where I'm kissing his hands, and he's holding back tears, and clinging to my neck so hard, I'm convinced he's part monkey. We go inside, and I say ok, let's fill those hands back up with kisses before I have to go, but he's too busy touching them all over his face, while I'm still right there, and he's crying, but trying really hard not to, and his little face is all screwed up into this terrible mask of doom. Gulp, kiss pat, "Mommy?" sob, kiss pat, "MOMMY?", kiss pat, kiss pat, kiss pat. SOMEBODY PLEASE PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!!! 

At last one of his teachers realizes that I am far to weak to break this never ending cycle of despair, comes over, peels him off of me, sets him on her lap, says "Say bye bye to mama Jack, you'll see her in a little bit". THANK YOU! He waves this sad little wave, but he's not crying anymore, and I turn, and put on my biggest smile, and say "I love you bubs, I'll see you in a few hours!" I walk outside, and let out a tiny little sob once the door is closed. Cleo's mom is walking out with me, and I sort of hope she didn't hear it, or notice that I'm crying a little under my Ray-Bans. She pats me on the back. She knows. I tell her I can't tell Nipper how rough that was, and she laughs, and says "He said the exact same thing last week when he dropped Jack off". 

We are soft. 

Oh, and by the way, when we picked him up, he was gluing popsicle sticks onto some construction paper. It took him 5 minutes to notice we were even there and STARING AT HIM. He turned and said cheerfully "Oh hey guys, I didn't know you were here!". 

We are dumb.