Monday, March 28, 2011

Beware: Zombie Tweens

Today brings with it yet another milestone of motherhood for me. Like the loss of that first tooth, the first day of school, or the day they stopped believing in the Easter bunny, today is bittersweet with the passing of time. My youngest, my baby, my still sweet natured cheerful eleven year old child morphed into one of THEM.  A tweeeeeen. Like something from a zombie movie, she looks similar, but she's not the same anymore. I'm afraid... very, very afraid.

After a cold death stare and hard door slam, C stomped off to the bus without a goodbye. As I sat there in the front seat in shock, I replayed the mornings events to see where things went wrong. Of course, I knew I yelled, it's what I do at some point when they don't listen after the 15th time and we are already late. My fault? Maybe. Who cares. C was mad because I made her wear a coat because it was 43 degrees outside and calling for sleet. Ok, so maybe I yelled in my exorcist voice "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST YOUR NEW COAT?!?"  But...a little extra dose of scary demonic yelling caused her to miraculously find it. So personally, I consider that to be "efficient" yelling.

Regardless, after explaining why I yelled, that I was sorry I yelled, how she needed a coat so I didn't get reported to child protective services ( oh, yes, and to be warm), she stared at me in cold icy silence, slammed the door and departed. Hours later I am still in shock but have come to realize that eventually these creatures we call our children really don't change all that much from newborns to teenagers when it comes to their wants and their emotions. It's simple. It's what they want, when they want it, how they want it. NOW.

They just grow more hair, get taller, talk more and demand more clothes. Sippy cups of milk turns into Starbucks lattes. That beloved stuffed animal they hugged so tight is now known as the cell phone. The rest are just details.
Remember these sweet things?...
Stage 1: Infants
Stage 2: The busy years. Too busy to capture an image...

Stage 3: Teens and Tweens



Well, at the end of this epic day, C transformed herself back to her original state of kid-ness. A sweet smiling child greeted me after school, no sign of the zombie tween in sight, for now anyway. I said "You're wearing your coat. Why? You never have it on when I pick you up. What's up?" She answered "Because you wanted me to. But I took it off to do cartwheels while I waited."

Good enough for me. 
My days are numbered, this I know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't poke your eye out and other words of wisdom from a reject mother

Loser Cruiser. Meals on Wheels. 
There are times that I think I really suck at being a mom. There are times I know I do. And in between there are the days that I can keep my head above water and say I'm doing okay. This week it seems like I'm struggling to juggle it all for no apparent reason. Important papers and money have not been turned in to school on time and somewhere a teacher sits, giving me the stink eye. I picked up my child at an after school activity and could not come into a parent meeting I forgot about because I left in a hurry wearing no bra and pajama pants. It was four o'clock.  Last night, my kid ate meatballs on a stick for dinner, while we were driving to gymnastics. My advice to her, "If I slam on the brakes, move it over so you don't poke your eye out." Yes, I really said that.



C has been complaining about not being able to see the board at school for some time. It's like one day this semi-blind child showed up. And yet, do I remember to make her an eye doctor appointment? No. Everyday, I forget. Yesterday she asked me for the zillionth time if I'd made her  appointment. I sighed, this time out of excuses and simply said "I'm sorry. I forgot again. You'll just have to get another mother..." 

Cami ponders between Kelly Ripa and Martha Stewart as my replacement...


Expecting her to agree and add some sarcastic comment on how that other mother might actually know how to sew or garden or manage papers, she surprised me and said "NO!! I'd rather have a mother like YOU who forgets to make appointments and stuff like that but makes crafts and videos with me and talks in funny voices and and and ...." and she went on to list a whole bunch of ridiculous, silly, impractical non-motherly skills that apparently ARE of value. (although to the rest of the world I sound like a I need a ride to the looney bin)


C's comment caused me to have one of those "awe"... glowy mama moments, like in a Hallmark commercial: The reject mother gets affirmation and love despite her obvious and numerous flaws.  I'll remember this next time I am beating myself up for being a slacker, mixing the darks with the whites, putting the wrong kind of jelly on the wrong kids sandwich, showing up late for the school bus, offering a lint covered mint as a snack because I forgot to pack something, missing sporting events and all the other things I seem to mess up on regularly.

 I will remember that because I chose to make a video with a sculpy clay worm named Herman instead of making dinner, I am loved and appreciated even more. Even if we had to eat meatballs on a stick. While driving.



video
 Here is Herman, created and loved by C. Don't ask me why. There are some things even mothers do but not understand, we just go with it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stop and smell the flowers but don't sniff the glue...

Damn flowers will be the end of me. Recently I got this brilliant idea to make some flowers and sell them to an art gallery/store. Keep in mind that I am not using the term "brilliant" with a crisp British accent, implying actual cleverness, but quite the opposite, more like out right, eye rolling stupidity. This is not in my realm of normal behaviour. I talk about things like this, I don't actually ever DO them. I go into these stores and want to be these people, always. But now,  I have crossed THE LINE... gulp.


F-bombed kitchen. Diner beware...
 In the past few days, I have morphed my kitchen from a normal place of food preparation into an art studio and a mad scientist lab construction zone.  My oven has been doing double duty this week baking polymer clay and frozen pizzas, so you might not want to eat here for awhile.  You can find the salad tongs somewhere near the wire cutters and glass nippers, over by a coil of copper and washers and clay wads. Watch out for dangerous shards of glass, and whatever you do, do not take a deep breath. Did I mention epoxy fumes can be considered entertainment on a rainy day? (Don't try this at home, kids... that was a joke!) Tinfoil remains permanently glued to my countertop, and at one point, me. I think it's a new decorative trend. Let's hope so.

So, I am freaking out, trying to meet a deadline, trying to make these flowers work. I get them all perfect and pretty and funky and beautiful, just the way Mother Nature never intended. And then, they break. They melt. They do everything but cooperate upon assembly. It seems that what I possess in the creativity department, I lack in the productivity and  R&D department. My inadequate old hands are incapable of cutting through the heavy copper wire by myself which really p**ses me off. I hurl F bombs (as pictured above), wish desperately for a torch or a margarita, and try to hold it together as I call in the troops for back up.

M. shows up with real flowers, knowing I am at my breaking point, makes dinner AND cuts wire!  L. from next door arrives to help with assembly challenges. We try again. And again. At this rate, my hourly rate is -$2.00 an hour and I am having thoughts of mailing them to Indonesia for some factory to deal with. But really... as my profit margin plummets, along with any remaining patience and enthusiasm, I am about to admit defeat. But I'm not in this for the money, because, well, that would make me an idiot. So we carry on and finally, voila! We have stable FLOWERS! Ok, so maybe not twelve as planned, but four. Four funky beautiful crazy flowers. With interchangeable cool unique magnetic centers!! (cue your line: oooh! ahhhh... how cool!) 
random sample of flower centers



So the next day, it's almost time to go and I am still in my pajamas as usual, with only minutes to spare. My index finger and thumb are partially glued together with epoxy like some mutant monkey woman. I think I am slightly high on glue as I send out texts even auto correct cannot decipher and head off  to present my creations for inspection. For me, it's equivalent to facing Simon Cowell at an American Idol audition.  I begin to wonder in a panic... what if they don't even LIKE them? What if she rolls her eyes at me?  Or worse, she laughs??   I continue my tirade of self doubt all the way there and sit in the parking lot for a few minutes, unsure whether to go in or not. But I've come this far, so it's now or never. I must face the truth. I must face M. and L. who will want to know. And if the truth is that they suck, that I suck, then I will give it up and at least know I tried. I will never again shop in one of these cool funky art gallery stores and say "what if" ( I also have a back up plan...Mothers Day. Teacher's Gifts. Everyone I know will be getting a FLOWER for a present! Act surprised everyone!)

But the good news? As Sally Field once said in her Oscar speech "She liked me. She really really liked me!" Well, she liked my flowers anyway, as well as a few other artsy fartsy creations I dragged along for good measure. So, it's back to the kitchen/lab/art studio to make some more art and flowers. I guess this makes it official! I have a "space" in the Art Garden in Cornelius starting next week.  Again, gulp. scary. Does this make me an official artist? haha, unlikely. But I am lucky to get to do something that I love to do, so who can complain about that? Not me, that's for sure.

So, like I said at the start, these damn flowers will be the end of me.... or, who knows, maybe the beginning :)


Check this place out. AND they have an awesome gourmet cupcake/coffee shop too!
http://www.carolinaartgarden.com/Carolina_Art_Garden/Carolina_Art_Garden_Home.html

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daffodil Revenge

The past few days have been springy here in NC, and the sunny yellow daffodils bloomed to make it official, in my book at least. Of course I had to go and tempt fate, and announce the arrival of spring by posting a cheerful photo of hope on Facebook and ruin everything. Somehow it even ended up as my screensaver on my iphone. Since I do not have the skills to be able to do this, I can only assume that Mother Nature herself did it, or C., my 11 year old daughter. (Seeing as Miley Cyrus has been mysteriously been playing on my phone at inappropriate moments lately, I'm putting my money on C....)

Anyway, after what seems like eternal months of cold weather and wishing for sunshine, this warmth was such a welcome gift. I could finally go outside not bundled up with my shoulders up to my ears and a scarf wrapped around my face and  dampness settled into my bones. Now I know, you northerners, are saying "Wah wah wah".  And I agree. I should not be complaining about our winter here. But the truth is, you get used to whatever winter you have, and over time, you learn to hate it too. Plain and simple. (Unless you are one of those weird "winter likers" -You know who you are, and I will never understand you.) The rest of us? Unless we live in some quaint ski village with a lot of bars, we burrow in, and wait for sunshine and spring just the same as everywhere else. We drink more hot beverages, we watch more movies, read more books, and some of us even wear snuggies so we can eat freely while  doing all of the above with ease. We just do it on a smaller scale. And for the record, by we, I mean "they"-  in my defense, I am a die hard lover of the duvet or any other warm blanket and have not yet given in to the dreaded Snuggie.

 I realized this week is that the arrival of spring is a double edged sword for some. Ok, me. While wishing  desperately for warmer temperatures on the coldest of days, while snowed in and sick with whatever winter ailments plagued us this year, now we have sudden warmth and sunshine. There was no transition weather this year. BAM. 70. Out came the shorts. The tshirts. The sandles. The SUMMER clothes.

That's fine and dandy- if you are HER.

But for some of us, (ok, again, me), we are left in a panic. Yes, we threw out the cookies and Cool Ranch Doritos and made resolutions on New Years day that we sort of intended to keep, but as usual didn't. But how did it get here so fast?!? What are we to do now! We can no longer hide under bulky sweaters and jeans. Feet are screaming "I need a pedicure!" and beg for the freedom of the flip flop, yet deserve to be banished to the fuzzy sock and boot where they came from. If Steve Irwin were still alive, he would take me down in a headlock in an instant.

The momentary bliss of a springy day is quickly crushed as Winter Couch Potato Syndrome  (WCPS) presents itself. Months of sloth like behavior in the cocoon of the snuggie has resulted in some very unpleasant side effects. Digging through the closet for spring clothes, smiling, we gather them up and prance out, with a light heart and and a sunshiney attitude. Until we put them on and see the following side effects of WCPS staring at us in the mirror: (those winter,tanning, workout readers need not read on... go do your sit ups and eat some carrots)

-neon, glow in the dark white flesh, glaring in the sunlight. Makes Edward Cullen look Hispanic.
-more jiggles than a a tray full of jello shapes at a preschool party and way less cute.
-muffin tops aren't just in the bakery anymore, and what's to love about a love handle anyway?
-flash backs to high school as you contemplate using a coat hanger to zip up your shorts just to say you could, but then you have to chose between sitting and breathing.
-and last but not least, the dreaded swimsuit. more frightening than the latest serial killer or being forced to watch Andrew Zimmerman eat animal parts he shouldn't in countries we've never heard of.

 Panic stricken, we fling our Snuggies and our springy outfits aside, and grab our athletic clothing and join the other victims of WCPS.   Suddenly the streets and gyms are filled with huffy puffy former sloths with gruesome beach images in their heads, a powerful motivating force. Driven by fear, they run, they walk, they schlep, they starve.

But as is typical of our weather here, just when we get going, and finally figure out what the heck we are going to wear, finally locate that lost flip flop and the hand weights, buy the tanning package and the pedicure, renew the gym membership, buy new shorts a size larger and stock up on Lean Cuisines and salads, it gets cold again.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we wrap our tired worn out traumatized bodies back into the blankets and snuggies and go hug our good friends Ben and Jerry and Orville and Mike and Ike.  We grab the remote, flip the bird to the damn daffodil and have a 6 more days of winter party.


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blog with art and photography by Joelle Broughton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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