Do Parents Worry Too Much?

March 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Tosha Woronov

By: Tosha Woronov

the power went out

I’m a worrier. A freak. A stress-case.

And I haven’t done a good job at hiding that from my little boy.

His innocence and joy mean everything to me and yet…I guess not enough to keep my worries to myself.

I mentioned this in my last blog, that my son had recently used the all too grown-up word, “burden”. I shudder.

This past Sunday found Pete, Leo, and me at Target, hiding out from the torrential rain that had been falling all morning.

I got a text from our neighbor: “Is ur power out too? Just got off phone w/ electric co. Said it might not be back on til 2morrow afternoon.”

Tomorrow? Afternoon??

I immediately started thinking of the problems that would arise from having no power for 24-plus hours.

Will the chicken in the fridge spoil?
Will all the food in the fridge spoil?
How will I get my edits done?
No “Californication” tonight?
Uh-oh – Pete won’t be able to watch Syracuse in Round Two of the NCAA tournament.

When we got home, we assessed. My worrying continued, out loud.

Our flashlights are lame. Why didn’t we buy batteries at Target? Why didn’t we get electric candles? We could use the stove, or the grill, to cook dinner. We could go out to dinner. Should we just go to a hotel? No, we can’t afford that, and what about the dog? Will I have to throw all this food out? God, I would be horrible in a real emergency, huh? When is it going to stop raining? Is our heat electric? Or gas? Yikes, it will be cold tonight. Will there be school tomorrow? The power is out there, too. Maybe the school has a generator. If he doesn’t have school, which one of us will cancel which prior commitments to stay home with him? Can the goldfish survive for a whole day without his air filter? What is that damn beeping? Oh it’s the security alarm; it detects a power failure. Just unplug the main line. That’s stupid. Unplugging it makes no sense. Should we go somewhere to watch the game? Will DirectTV still record “Californication”?

I want to be clear that I wasn’t hysterical. I was, in fact, weirdly into (if not totally moronic about) determining what would work and what wouldn’t, which aspects of our daily lives required electricity and which didn’t. And I was psyched that now (through no laziness on my part!) it would be impossible to clean the bathrooms, wash the dishes, pay the bills, do some writing. A free day. In fact my biggest panic was how to keep my iPhone (which was dangerously down to 48% power) charged. I wondered how long I’d have to sit in the car, the running car, to charge it.

So, I wasn’t really freaking out.

But I freaked out Leo.

And damnit, this is when I hate myself. This is when I hate that I am this kind of person. This kind of mom. When I wish wish wish that I had been born a different way, or under different circumstances – the ways and circumstances that create the kind of girl I have never been and will never be: calm. cool. collected. chill. The zen mamas who just ooze peace and relaxation and therefore raise kids who don’t stress the small stuff. This is when I wonder if I shouldn’t have become a mother. This is when it hurts.

More than anything, I want Leo to be NOT like me. And it breaks my heart that he is like me. I mean, like this part of me.

I felt so ashamed when he started to cry, when he started to worry that the power was out.

And since I’m being honest here I need to stress that he was not scared. It was not dark yet. He was worried. He said so.

I did my best then to remember that I am a frickin’ mommy! of a smart and observant little boy! and that I needed to shut up! and stop worrying him. I got down on my knees and apologized, and told him that the things mommy was thinking about are things he did not need to think about. I asked him to please let us worry about silly grown-up things like the refrigerator, and to please, please know that mommy and daddy would keep him safe.

And I promised him that it would be an adventure.

We left soon after, to find a restaurant with tvs that might be airing some college basketball. We had fun.

And when we got home, it was dark. Very dark. And still pouring rain. And Leo and I, armed with a flashlight, brushed our teeth in the cave-like bathroom, got in our jammies. We played UNO, the three of us, on our bed. The dog and cat were there, too. We were together. And aside from Leo asking (three times!), “should we watch TV?” and then laughing each time I reminded him “we can’t” –and aside from a moment of slight panic when Leo and I, weird sleepers that we are, realized we would have to fall asleep (so early! 8pm!) without the white noise from our sound machines — I never worried or thought about it again.

And when I awoke a couple hours later to the sounds of the house coming back to life, I was a little sad that it was over.

Now all I can do is remember the day the lights went out and try to do better.

.

[Photo Credit: Flickr Image: Davidjwbailey]

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Oscar Night With the Kids

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Tanya Ward Goodman

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

Oscar award for the kids

Instead of hobnobbing with the celebs while wearing a floor length gown, I spent Oscar night curled on the couch with my kids.  Thanks to the wonders of DVR technology, we fast-forwarded through the red carpet chatter for a quick review of the dresses.  Cate Blanchett’s fashion-forward lavender number was deemed by my son “too bumpy,” while Matthew McConaghey and his date were scorned by the under ten set for looking “haunted.”

“His clothes are too black,” my daughter said.  “And his face is too red.”

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were “too black and too white” and Robert Downey Jr. was chided for having “shiny shoes.”  Gwyneth was a hit in her Malibu Barbie get-up, as was Reese (same doll, different era).

When the actual ceremony started, we settled in with ballots in hand.  Of all the nominees, my kids have only seen “Toy Story 3” but, because my son likes any sort of competition, he’d very seriously filled out his ballot, taking into account every newspaper ad, bus stop poster, and glimpsed commercial in his memory before making careful choices.  My daughter’s choices were based on her own set of guidelines.  For instance, she chose “Salt” to win for achievement in Sound Mixing because she likes salt.  “Dogtooth,” because she likes dogs and the short “God of Love” because she likes love (though not “kissy-kissy” love).  For best Original Screenplay, she wrote in “Fluffy Bunnies”.

Though this year’s show was designed to appeal to a younger audience, at the end of thirty minutes, my extremely young audience still wondered “is it the middle of the night yet?”

The acceptance speeches were generally a bore for the kids.

“Don’t they have scripts?” my son asked.  “Or do they just talk and talk and talk?”

My daughter was more to the point.  “This is just boring, horrible, terrifying, and mean.”

Despite their complaints, both children were (as I always was) determined to last through the whole thing.  For them, as for me when I was their age, watching the Oscars is a kind of sign that you are growing up.

In the clip montage, when Colin Firth was shown weeping, my daughter asked, “Who is that? Because the fake crying he’s doing is horrible.”

“That’s what they call special effects,” my son replied.

They were, however, delighted when the Englishman took home his (well deserved) statuette because they had both checked his box on their ballots.

My husband and I used to watch the awards show in bed while drinking champagne.  It was a good tradition that is nice to remember and currently impossible to recreate.  New traditions are beginning.  Watching the Oscars with the kids was fun and funny.

As the show ended, the youthful hosts popped out for one last hurrah with an even more youthful chorus.  My daughter watched with a smile as her peers sang on stage and then leveled a more critical eye at Ms. Hathaway.

“I like her dress,” she said, “but the boobs are too big.”

Then, wearing zip-up, fuzzy-footed pajamas, she climbed the stairs to bed.

.

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[Photo credit: freakgirl]

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Shit Everywhere (or How to Get Your Child to Help Around the House)

February 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Tosha Woronov

By: Tosha Woronov

My dog has diarrhea. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but I do know I can’t handle it anymore. He’s behind me in the office right now, farting away as I type. He’s throwing up too, and I’m having trouble finding my compassionate side. I know he can’t help it, but coming home after a long morning of helping out at my son’s school (Kindergartners! What kind of prescription medication must his teacher take in order to put up with 20 psychos all day?) –to a house already dirty with dishes and piles of laundry and scattered crayons and whatever the cat’s gotten into –to find piles of vomit and poop on various rugs throughout the house (on the rugs -always the rugs -never the hardwood floors), I could only think what the FUCK have you been eating?! It’s not the cat food anymore. His incessant eating of that caused a bout of diarrhea several weeks ago –an episode that went on for five days and got so bad that by Day Five I sobbed and sobbed while cleaning it. Now I stand like a sentinel as the cat mows down his meal, guarding before Charlie can sneak just one more taste. So it’s not cat food. Look closer. Oh it’s grass! Of course it’s grass, fucking stoner dog. Stop eating the grass! Oh look at this pile –is that…rabbit poop?! Are you seriously eating rabbit poop from the backyard?? So I lost it again yesterday when Leo and I returned home. Not right away, but once I saw that the cat had walked in it, had walked all over the couch –tiny kitten vomit/crap footprints on our couch –I lost it. I didn’t sob. I yelled. Oh my GOD!!!! I cannot DEAL with this! I’m gonna LOSE it! I can’t TAKE this anymore! What is WRONG with this dog?? When is your DAD…GOING…TO…GET…HOME!!?!? And then I noticed Leo. Poor Leo. Beautiful child of a crazy woman. He was crying, silently crying.

I found my compassionate side.

Baby, it’s ok. Mommy is just really really overwhelmed right now. I’m not mad at Charlie and I’m DEFINITELY not mad at you. I shouldn’t let you see me so upset. It’s ok baby. Shh, shh, it’s ok. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

And I found my compassion for Charlie, too. How dare I judge him for eating shit that makes him sick? I once had the stomach flu all day on a Saturday but came downstairs 10 hours later –my stomach still trembling — saw the pizza that Pete had ordered for himself (while his sick wife lolled around on her deathbed), and ate a slice. Of pepperoni pizza. I’ll never forget the look of disgust on Pete’s face. So I can’t judge Charlie. Maybe rabbit poop is delicious. But still.

I stayed up last night petting his head, checking his nose for signs of coolness (maybe an old wives’ tale, but I always feel better when his nose is cold), wondering if we should go to the vet. I know the only real issue right now is dehydration (we’ve been through this before) so I tried like hell to get him to drink water, or lick an ice cube, which worked when he was a puppy. Please Charlie, just drink something. Nope. But at the crack of dawn today I let him out to pee or throw up or whatever he had to do and he went directly to the moss-covered, half-filled, slime-infested, unplugged water fountain…and drank from that. Good choice Charlie.

I will say this: I am not at all proud of freaking out so badly that I made my son cry. I’m ashamed actually. (You know you’re really ashamed when you decide to confess it in a blog.) But Leo has been incredibly helpful ever since. Jumping out of bed the second I woke him for school today, finding clothes to wear without protest, brushing his teeth with no prompting, and even asking last night before bed…(ok this is the shameful part)…”Mommy is there anything I can do to help your burden?” Burden. He said burden. (Oh god I am the worst.) He’s afraid of upsetting his crazy biatch of a mother so he’s now Mr. Cooperative. But is that so bad…? It’s a positive outcome, right? Just the other day he removed his socks while watching TV, tossed them up, and cared not at all that one landed on the flat screen. But today he’s thoughtful. Today he wants his mother unburdened, and how many 6-year-olds feel that way? The dog loses his shit, I lose mine, and the kid behaves. Nice!

I know; scaring your child to the point of total compliancy is probably not recommended in modern alterna-parenting books, huh?

Ok, I have to be finished with this now. The smell’s unbearable…

.

[Photo Credit: Flickr Member Leah Lockhart Rogers]

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Whim

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Tosha Woronov

By: Tosha Woronov
IMG_4168

I took my baby to the park the other day to fly a kite.
A kite!
Watch his smile just BLOOM.
His hair blowing, head tilted back as far as it can possibly go.
Neither one of us can believe it.
I feel the wind’s strength in the kite string, tugging as much on my heart.
Look how beautiful it is!
That random / Winnie-and-Tigger / purchased-at-Rite-Aid / sitting-in-the-trunk-of-my-car-for-2-years-KITE!

It’s almost – almost -the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.

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