Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who You Calling Chinese?

I don’t want to write about The Chinese Mother. Not tonight. I’m too tired. And I doubt I could contribute anything meaningful to the virtual conversation anyway. Some people are meant to be on the sidelines. Me for instance.
Plus, in a few minutes, (after I’m done not responding to this Parenting tome on how to rear perfect prodigies), I’m heading to the livingroom to watch Parenthood, The Good Mother and/or Modern Family with my husband and two sons. Tortilla chips will be involved. We will all stay up far too late and there is an excellent chance there will be swearing (me) and regrettably—farting (them).
I am not certain either son has completed his homework despite several earlier discussions. Allow me to include a little snippet that illustrates my parenting style. I think it might be useful here. You know, to clarify my philosophical approach to rearing the legacies I bestow on our future generation. (You’re welcome, by the way.)
Me: Did you do your homework?
Boy: Yes
Me: raises eyebrow
Boy: Most of it, anyway
Me: Jesus Christ (I find prayer an excellent parenting technique with gifted children) I’ve been reminding you all friggin day. (Curse you snowday) I swear, if I have to tell you one more time I’m taking that computer away.
Boy: But I need it for school
Me: Don’t be smart.
Boy: (mumbling) Well, I do.
Me: Then I’ll take that game you like to play
Boy: You can’t. It’s an internet based game
Me: (I momentarily lose ability to formulate a sentence because I’m not sure how to say, oh yeah? Wanna watch me Mr. Smarty Pants! I’ll hack into your account . So help me god, I will.
Boy: Besides, I only have a little bit left
Me: Oh. Well … go do it.
Boy: Ok. I will. In a sec.
I’m not sure how this exchange ended. Maybe I got a phonecall. Tough to say. But the point is, it’s essential I take a stand when it comes to my child’s education. I mean, if not me … who?
That’s why I’m going to make certain I discuss this during the commercials.
Shit. DVR. Well, I’m going to make sure we discuss it while we debate the pros and cons to watching Modern Family BEFORE The Good Wife. There is an art to this sort of decision and my husband and I like to give our children the opportunity to express themselves. (Though it is unspoken that my husband will trust my parenting prowess, should there be a tie.) Still it’s a worthwhile exercise, I think.
Okay, like I said, I’m exhausted. Short blog post for me. Probably won’t even proof-read it.
I guess you could say, NOT proofing this post is a perfect incapsulation (pretty sure that’s not a word, but stay with me here) of my parenting philosophy. You see, (and I feel very strongly about this) I think it is essential one MUST do very important things in a half-assed sort of way. I mean, and I hope I’ve taught my children this … the imperativeness (not really the right word, but fuck it) of imperfection cannot be underestimated.
Said another way, almost good enough is better than nothing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Hate-Youville

I’ve had an epiphany: Motherhood is traumatic. I don’t mean the act of giving birth, I mean MOTHERHOOD. Before I explain—a caveat for those who might take me words out of context. Real trauma=BAD. Motherhood=GOOD.
Now then.
First, let us look at the criteria of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Apparently, it’s necessary to have difficulty in three categories. The recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma, avoidance to the point of phobia and Chronic Physical signs of hyper-arousal. For the purpose of my epiphany, let us focus on the last category: hyper-arousal.
Prior to motherhood, hyper-arousal probably conjured up a whole other set of symptoms—moist, gooey, can’t wait to get back to his apartment symptoms. But not so with PTSD (Post TrauMAMA Stress Disorder). In fact, let us go to DSM description of hyper-arousal.
Chronic physical signs of hyper-arousal include sleep problems, trouble concentrating, irritability, anger, poor concentration, blackouts or difficulty remembering things, increased tendency and reaction to being startled, and hyper-vigilance (excessive watchfulness) to threat.
Hmmmm. Let’s see, sleep problems? Check. Trouble concentrating? Check. Irritability? What the hell are you looking at? Can’t I get some goddamned peace around here!?
Where was I? Ah yes, the symptoms of debilitating PTSD. For shorthand, let’s just call it another day in I-Hate-Youville.
I guess I must have remembered the physical manifestation of PTSD from my prior life as a psychotherapist, because the other night, as I lay peacefully in bed awaiting sister sleep to greet me, I pondered why I’d accomplished so few items on my to do list during the lovely ten days known as Winter Break. I mean, my children aren’t babies anymore. Why did I find it so difficult to read a novel (let alone write one) or return emails or say, think with my kids in the next room. After all, I’d been looking forward to working on that photo album from my son’s Bar Mitzvah two October’s ago, and I’d every intention of perusing the three different school calendars in order to research a jaunt this spring. (Let alone the whole summer camp situation.) Why was I having such a hard time concentrating on very basic tasks?
And then two thoughts came to me at precisely the same moment! One, I’ve been hyper-aware all week because at any moment there is an excellent chance one of my monkeys will enter my psychic space and need something: gloves, dinner, assistance drying off the remote that a certain someone just licked … and Two, it’s 1:15 AM and I’m fairly confident that I hear I’m On A Boat coming from across the hall even though I specifically said YOU MAY CHARGE YOUR COMPUTER BUT DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TURN IT BACK ON SO HELP ME GOD. This is when I gracefully got out of bed and sauntered into the boys’ room and yanked the computer away from the magnetic charger (which is actually a very cool feature; yay Apple) and said through gritted teeth, if we don’t have trust we don’t have much-Mr. Or maybe it was, you fucking ingrate go to bed. Details. Anyhoo, after hiding the computer under my dirty laundry newspaper, I got back into bed and returned to my next comforting thought: Monday will be here soon.
And then I remembered … professional development day, AKA for two of my kids school wouldn’t resume until Tuesday. Fabulous.