Saturday, September 5, 2015

Crazy Momma Syndrome

This year our one and only baby went off bravely into the world of public education, alone and dewy-eyed. This scared me. Me--as in MOM--me. In education this phenomenon is called "Crazy Momma Syndrome." It is the fears of parents controlling them to act irrationally and radically. 

Let me just state that I am not by definition a Crazy Momma. First of all, I am not a crier. I have not, to date, shed one tear about my baby leaving the nest and frankly think it is a bit silly. My girl is ready for the world and who am I to hold it back from her. School is great. I loved learning and I want my baby to know all the answers to her endless questions. Secondly, I don't sweat public education and the endless debates that some parents have about curriculum, violence in schools, drugs in schools, and on and on. In another life, before I honed my pb&j skills, I was a high school English teacher in rough-neck part of my county. I loved it. I love a hard-to-reach kid. A little diamond in the rough. I know all the worst-case scenarios that can happen in a school. I saw many of them. But I also know my rights as a parent operating within public education. I know who and what services to ask for, and which things to demand by law. 

But what scared me the most was my daughter riding the bus. I'm sure many people are furrowing their brows now in confusion. Yes. The bus. Remember the bus? That behemoth yellow smoker? That grey area between Big Brother School and the peace of home. Perhaps your memories are a little different than my own. Here's how my memories go: In kindergarten I rode the bus to a private school way out in the country. Our bus consisted of everyone in our town who went to that school. K-12 rode that bus. I was often harassed into letting the Seniors push my cheeks together and play "Chubby Bunny" with me. Needless to say, one day my sisters weren't able to ride the bus home with me and the thought of facing "Chubby Bunny" alone terrified me so much that I wet my pants five minutes before I had to board the bus. In high school I rode the "Late" bus that went out of district. For some reason every soon-to-be felon rode it with me and my brother. Our bus was an old one--we were never sure if it had brakes because they squealed so loudly when pressure was applied that the driver just coasted us around corners on two wheels mostly. Our bus driver was Native American; you didn't dare call her Black or she would hit the brakes and you would hit the dash that like one boy did. She was friendly and waved you on the bus with her acrylic nails. She was proud of them, especially of the figures on her nails that were doing it "doggy style." And you did not ask what was in her bag from the peek-a-boo shop. She was a laid back driver, so it didn't matter what you did on the bus as long as you got off in a quick manner somewhere. So people felt free to indulge. Our bus always smelled sweet. 

You see now how the bus might freak me out? During the week leading up to my baby riding the bus I told my husband for the first time the story of how I wet my pants. My daughter laughed. And then she got serious. She began thinking about it too hard. I had to tell her that I wet my pants because I couldn't get to the bathroom in time--true, sort of. All I could see was my baby in wet pants crying on a street corner somewhere in the county because she got off at the wrong stop. 

Eventually I had to face facts. My baby was going to get lost if I didn't teach her how to ride the bus, get to class, ride the bus home, and get off at the right stop. So we paced it. We walked to the bus stop and took note of the landmarks around so that she would get off at the right places. I took her to school and made her TALK TO STRANGERS (teachers) and ask for help getting to her class without me. I inquired about bus loading and unloading procedures. I let her ride and I drove to school to make sure she got there. Yes. I did that. And I don't care.

And here's what I learned: We're all Crazy Mommas about something. Parents have fears because they love their kids. They always want to see them fly instead of fall. Only really crazy parents--the ones who don't care--don't worry. Yes, on the second day of bus riding my daughter didn't go in the doorway that led to her class and ended up all the way across the school--somehow--in the cafeteria. My mommy heart jumped, but before I could say, "That's it! No more bus!" she told me that she just asked a teacher to take her to the right hall. A wise man once said, "Teach them well and they govern themselves." I was proud that my girl figured things out on her own. I'm glad that she's fearless. And that--that fearless confidence about the world--that comes from crazy preparation from parents. And for that, I am proud that this momma went a little crazy this year. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

10 Things They Don't Tell You When You Become A Parent

It has now been 4+ years that Matt and I have been parents. It has changed us and our lives in ways that we never imagined. But I have learned there are secrets that other parents keep from those who don't have children. I don't know if it is because it's common knowledge to the rest of the parenting world, or if it is because they just don't want those without children to discover those secrets. And some are great. And some are terrible. Here's what I have learned so far:

10) Good thing you went to school and took all those needless classes to "round you out" because that knowledge comes in handy at about age 3 when the "Why?" questions come around. I give myself a pat on the back that I know about space, volcanoes, chlorophyll, all types of jobs for women, ethnic holidays, and an assortment of wild animals. Some say you get dumber the longer you are out of school. I say get a kid. You could totally get that perfect score on the SAT now.

9) Nothing belongs to you anymore. It all belongs to that child. My bra has been worn numerous times by my daughter. Say wha? My lipstick is in my daughter's bathroom. She even asks if she can borrow my iphone so that she can text her grandparents. I take baths in a tub that has "tub marker" graffiti on the walls. I look at my daughter's scribbles of our family, beady-eyed and spindle-legged with boat-feet, while I take my bubble baths and think...Can I sell this and send her to college?

8) You do not have to have a picky eater. I like diversity in my food. The high school and college days of living off mac n' cheese are gone! If you start your kids out eating and trying a diverse number of foods then you won't be stuck eating like a kid for the rest of your life.

7) You will have to carry everything and the kitchen sink when you go shopping with a child. And if you forget something, just buy it! Save yourself from the tidal wave of tears!

6) Nap time is more important for you than it is for the child. Remember: rest makes you a better parent.

5)Magical "Mommy Antibodies" are a myth. They are the mythical Unicorn. And so are "Daddy Antibodies."

4) You still have to take care of your bouncy toddler even if you are throwing up and sick--especially if that bouncy toddler was throwing up last night and you spent all night changing sheets and clothes and that's how you got sick. No one wants to babysit your sick baby for you so that you can get better. Now that's what you call an "Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore.

3) Snuggle time to you is like Star Power is to Mario. I do it as much as I can. And then I go out into the sad world and power through it.

2) Crying is your Kryptonite. You didn't know having a hurt, sad, or upset child could cut you to the bone. You will want to swallow all the pain your child will ever have.

1) You can unconditionally love someone. It is not a myth. But you really have to be a parent to get it. I tell my daughter every time I am angry with her, "But I still love you. I will always love you. Nothing you do will ever change that." It is the surest truth I  know.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally Finalization

Matt and I got the long awaited news this month that finally Zoe is legally ours. It has been a long and rocky 15 months, but the pay-off is finally here. We get to finally bless her in church, though I don't know how anyone blesses a squirmy toddler. We get to finally have her sealed to us, an event that Matt and I have long waited for and have often felt would never happen. And having this hurdle now behind us, the wisdom from the challenge now earned, it makes us wonder about doing it all again. Fifteen months is a long time to get over a lot of things, and the smile of a young child makes you feel that even walking through fire is a just another walk in the park. We are most sure that we will adopt again. There is that nervous uncertainty of what challenges that new child will bring, what heartache will have to be endured to finally know what it means to be family, but we only value that which we have earned through much difficulty. To my little Zoe: Baby you were worth it. And I'd do it all again. I know you were meant to be my child, and being your mother has given me a joy and a satisfaction unlike any I have ever known. Thanks Baby for choosing us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This year was an exciting Easter for us because it was Zoe's first Easter. Maybe she wasn't quite old enough, but we still took her to church for the Easter egg hunt. Zoe got five eggs and couldn't eat any of the candy yet. We were hoping for some chocolate that she might be able to enjoy, but no luck. We think she was kinda bummed about not eating the candy. But she greatly enjoyed shaking all the eggs that had jelly beans in them like little maracas. On Easter Sunday my dad came to church with us and helped us take some family pictures. I was able to make my baby's first Easter dress this year with the help of a great sister in our ward who taught me how to smock dresses. I enjoyed it so much that I am smocking a dress almost weekly. But overall, we had a great first Easter.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Big Makana

It's hard to believe that in just a few weeks Zoe will be 9 months old. Here's the things our happy girl has been up to lately:

Playing out on the back deck.

Zoe loves bath time.

Zoe with her trusty jumpy swing and her bib flipped backwards like a superhero cape.

Zoe with her pants on her head.

Our pretty girl with her ultra cute new hat.

Daddy swinging Zoe at the park.

Mommy and Zoe at the park.

Zoe enjoying a "Zoe-sized" pear. Yum.

Monday, January 3, 2011


In our new ward dressing up for Halloween is a cut-throat competition. We were able to keep our costumes a secret up until a week before Halloween. A couple who tends to think themselves experts at Halloween costumes was so sure that they were going to win this year that the husband sneakily asked Matt what we were dressing up as. Of course Matt told him we were going as Toy Story. When Matt asked him what his family was going as he quickly said it was a secret. Yeah. That's how cut-throat it is. People are actually sizing-up the competition a week before. Dirty.

But we smoked them. Smoked the whole family. Check out my hand-made yarn wig for Jessie's hair. We come to win. Here we are winning Bishop's choice for best costume.

Matt as Woody, Marilyn as Jessie, and Zoe as Bullseye (Woody's Horse)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Cruise

Matt and I went on our very first cruise the week before Halloween. This is the first vacation we have taken since our honeymoon, so it was long overdue. It was a good cruise, but it got off to a bumpy start. First, we had to wait three hours in line at the port because the boat was having "propulsion problems" and they wouldn't let anyone aboard until it was fixed. Well, they didn't get it fixed until about midnight that night, so we spent our first night aboard the ship just partying in the Miami harbor. Originally we were supposed to go to Jamaica and Grand Cayman Islands. But because of the delay getting started, we ended up going to Key West and Jamaica. There were a lot of people from Florida who were really upset about going to Key West because most of them had already been there.

This is us in Key West:

There was this funny little toy shop in Key West that we ran across while shopping. As you can tell from the following, even we are kids at heart:

After that we got chocolate dipped Key Lime pie...Mmm.

Then we went to Jamaica, which we were both so excited about. In preparation our landing, I practiced my Jamaican accent all morning. For example, "Stop de boat mon, we goin to Jamaica, Mon." Suprisingly enough, all of the cliches about Jamaicans are true. They all say "Mon," "No worries, Mon," and "Yeah, Mon." In their local tongue, Pattwa, Jamaicans abbrviate all words and sound like they are speaking gibberish. But they all worked really hard to speak slowly and annunciate for us Americans. Immediately, as soon as we walked off of the boat and onto the dock, we spotted the Cool Runnings boat. "Cool Runnings," the movie, is said to have put Jamaica on the map for tourists, so the locals embraced the stardom and made the Jamaican bobsled ride for any tourists who feel daring enough to take a 3,000 ft. ride in a bobsled through the Jamaican rainforest.

After that we took a death-defying ride on a shuttle bus through the local traffic and toured a 17th century plantation. The plantation is still in operation today and is owned by an English family who periodically visits. In Jamaica there is no free public education, and because most families live in poverty, most children struggle to finish high school but hardly any ever go to college. Because of this the plantation's owner opened the only free public school on the island, which is still in use today.

The plantation exports many things: molasses, coffee, various fruits, and spices. While there I got to try to climb a coconut tree. As you can tell I was minimally successful.

Then a little leather-faced Jamaican shimmied up the tree like a monkey. Just put me to shame.

This is the great house, where you can get the only breeze on the island. This is the view of the island from the back porch of the house.

This is me carrying the mahoghany bowl that native women used to fill with fish and then carry five miles up the mountain to give the lady of the house first pick of the day's catch. If you are wondering if it us heavy, notice I am not smiling.

Overall it was a great cruise. More than anything, we just wanted to spend a little time relaxing. We may have been the only ones on the boat who didn't come off with a sunburn, but we were not the only ones who had fun.