Category Archives: jealousy

Books, Goals, Guilt, and Gratitude

Shopping at amazon.com is too easy.  They don’t even put me through the hassle of entering the last four digits of the credit card I have on file (believe it or not, I don’t have it memorized).  I just click a few times, the order is placed, and as long as I spend twenty-five dollars (e-a-s-y), the shipping is free.

What did I buy this time?  Books. I bought “Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood” by Anne Enright and “Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad and the Scary” by Jill Smokler.  I purchased both books for opposition research (ha!).  I’d like to write a book about motherhood, too, so it makes sense to see what others in the field are doing.

I read an interview online with Anne Enright and then read an excerpt from her book, which made me want to weep (happy weeping) because her writing is so brilliant and honest.  Jill Smokler is a mom who started a blog, built a brand and then wrote a book.  Now she’s buying cute book tour outfits, doing the morning talk show circuit, and probably shopping around Hollywood for a movie deal.  I’m sure she’s really nice and a great mom, but I kinda hate her.    (Jealous Mama alert!)  I just hope if there’s room in the world for a Scary Mommy, then there’s room for a Runaway Mama, too.

Just so you know, I bought both of these books in hardcover.  This Shopaholic Mama wasn’t going to wait around for paperback, and the Kindle versions weren’t much cheaper.  Lately, I’ve been reading books the old-fashioned way.  I still love the way a book feels in my hands, and besides that, my Kindle is getting old and I want a new one.  (Mike, if you’re reading, Mother’s Day is just around the corner.)

Here are the other books piled on my desk and bedside table just waiting for a lazy, rainy, kid-free, dish-free, laundry-free, blog-free day (i.e. never):

“How To Get Your Kid To Eat…But Not Too Much” by Ellyn Satter.  This book had promise until page four.  In talking about a young child’s early food experiences, Satter wrote:

“Very few adults would be willing to deliberately do something that would hurt a child’s feelings or lower her self esteem.  But that happens all the time in feeding.  It happens because adults have their own hangups about eating and play them out in the way they feed their children.” 

That was as far as I got with that book.  Go ahead, tell me I didn’t give it a chance, but I think I’m smart enough to know that I’ve reached the maximum limit of guilt that one Mama can handle.  Reading that passage brought me straight back to the baby food aisle where I would buy 20-30 jars of Earth’s Best baby food per week and subject Dylan to pureed spaghetti with cheese or vegetable beef pilaf.  He hated all of it, but I was a New and Isolated Mama, and I didn’t know what or how else to feed him.

“The Magician’s Assistant” and “The Patron Saint of Liars,” both by Ann Patchett.  My friend Colby, who works in publishing, sent me these books after a conversation we had about Patchett’s “Bel Canto,” which is one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I started “The Magician’s Assistant” a few months ago and it’s wonderful, but I got sidetracked by, well, motherhood.

“The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown.  I don’t know much about this book, but I kept hearing about in the blogosphere, and I succumbed during a fierce shopaholic moment in Barnes and Noble.  I love buying books as much as I love buying $58 t-shirts at Anthropologie.  I’m not sure when I’ll read it.  Maybe after Riley goes to college.  That will be around 2027.

“Raising A Sensory Smart Child” by Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske and “No Longer A Secret: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory Motor Challenges” by Doreit S. Bailer and Lucy Jane Miller.  Every time Dylan’s OT recommends a book, I buy it immediately.  Doing so gives me a sense of control over a situation of which I have none.  This is what happens when I try reading these books: (1) I get confused because sensory processing disorder is so freakin’ complicated and intangible to me, and (2) I cry.  I have a lot of guilt – still – about not diagnosing Dylan sooner. My sanity and emotional well-being depends on these books’ indexes occasionally being browsed but their pages rarely being read.

“The Space Between Us” by Thrity Umrigar.  I started reading this gem of a book because it was chosen for my next book club meeting.  I’m enjoying it every time I have a few minutes to read a few pages, but I have no babysitter the night of book club, so this one, unfortunately, might join the Ann Patchett books and “The Weird Sisters” and be read in about 15 years.

There are at least a dozen more books stacked on the lower shelf of my bedside table, but those are so far down on the queue that I’m not going to write about them (or think about them or look at them).  In fact, my 2012 gratitude journal is strategically resting on top of them.  That’s been gathering some dust lately, too.  Shit. Or, as I try to say around the kids, sugar snaps.

April 5, 2012 – I’m grateful for the abundance of books in my life…whether I read them or not.  I’m also grateful I had the chance to give two large bags of children’s books to my cleaning lady who is going to give them to her church. (ß Paying it forward!)

What books have you bought, read, not read, hid and or given away recently?

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Filed under books, food issues, gratitude, guilt, Jealous Mama, jealousy, sensory processing disorder, Shopaholic Mama, shopping

Dear Universe

Riley has been an extraordinary potty trainee.  In six days of training, he’s only had a handful of accidents, and most of them happened on the first day.  He pooped in the potty on Day One – with a smile on his face – and did it again every day after that.   By Day Four, he was going to the bathroom, undressing and getting on the toilet by himself, and peeing (and pooping!) without being asked.  In a restaurant that evening, he used the bathroom twice.  No problem.  On Day Five, I took him to Publix and the park where he had zero accidents, and in the afternoon, he actually asked me to give him privacy while he was on the potty.  He earned so many poop surprises and stickers that I had to go to Toys R Us over the weekend to restock, and his sticker chart is busting at the seams.

I was so amazed with his progress that I updated my Facebook status a few times over the weekend with phrases like “It’s noon and we’re still on the first pair of underwear!” or “Accident free so far!”  Yesterday, I joked on Facebook that since Riley asked for privacy in the bathroom, our training was done.  Funny, though, within a few minutes of publishing each of these proud declarations, he had an accident. 

The universe was telling me something.

I’m not an arrogant person.  I just didn’t expect potty training Riley to be so easy.  I felt like a war hero by the time I finished training Dylan to the point where I could take him back and forth to school. Getting him to poop in the toilet was – and still is – my proudest parenting achievement.  My bragging about Riley was more astonishment than conceit.  Still, the universe was communicating with me.

A few months ago, my sister told me my nephew, who is almost six months younger than Riley, was potty training.  My response was, “That’s great!”  My thought was, I hate you.  A few weeks ago, a friend told me her son, who is a few months younger than Riley, wanted to wear underwear.  I said, “That’s great!” My thought was, I hate you.  (Actually, I said “I hate you” out loud.  She understood.) Other friends and acquaintances have recently announced their potty training news.  I bet you can guess what I said and thought.

Jealousy sucks.  I really am happy for everyone, and I really don’t hate anyone, but I’m human (and a Mama).  We all know that it’s not a good idea to compare our children to others, but we do it anyway.  Think of the Mama whose 16-month-old baby is sitting (i.e. not walking) while eleven-month-olds run circles around her, or the Mama whose two-year-old still doesn’t sleep through the night, or the Mama whose four year-old still holds a pencil like an ice pick.  When I knew my family and friends where getting through the messiest bits of potty training while Riley was whispering in my ear how much he loved his diapers, I smelled the stink of envy (pun intended).

Potty training is hard.  Even when it’s easy it’s hard because there’s bound to be pee and poop in all the wrong places at some point.  This morning, on Day Six, Riley woke up with a dry Pullup and peed in the toilet right away.  A few minutes later, my little prodigy pooped in his underwear and said, “Mommy, change my diaper.”  

No, there’s no room for overconfidence here, especially when it comes to the delicate (and messy and exhausting and unpredictable) process of potty training.  When I told my friend, whose son decided on his own to wear underwear, that Riley was pooping in the toilet, she said “That’s great!  I hate you.”  (She said it out loud, too.)  Her son isn’t having much success yet in that, um, area.

Dear Universe, I’m listening.

To all the Mamas who put up withmy showing off this weekend, I apologize.  I dropped Riley off at school this morning with a bag full of spare clothing and the promise of a surprise if he was accident-free when I picked him up.  I’m not going to say anything about how he did at school today, because tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities (and the possibility of accidents).  If I brag today (and believe me, I could!), karma might bite me in the butt tomorrow.

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Filed under jealousy, potty training