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Desperate Housewives? Not THAT Desperate!


I’ve been feeling very sluggish lately and I’m realizing more and more that my emotional state is the culprit.  I really don’t want to come off as a complainer, or negative person; but what I do want to do is explore what the heck is going on in my head.  Isn’t this blogging stuff supposed to be about that?  Our deep thoughts?  Anyway, don’t really think anyone who knows me actually reads my blog, so I’m safe.

Well, when our son was born I had to quit my job after trying to get them to let me either work from home or as a part-time employee.  Yes, I feel that I have to interject that part–the effort I made to keep my employment in some form or another.  That makes me feel better and that my intentions were not to become a deadbeat.  What a conflict of emotions.  It was ingrained in me while growing up that I was going to be a wife and SAHM (stay at home mom).  It was the 1970’s and that’s what most women did.  If they were working, when they had their babies, they quit work and stayed home to raise the kids.  My time was a time that was this was still socially the norm, yet little by little women were making headway in the workplace.  While attaining “careers” but still a rare breed.  High school career day did not feature any careers for women aside from secretary.  Ah, I’m blubbering and you get the idea.  The other side of this is that I needed a job to make me feel valuable and useful, financially.  Socially, if you do not have a job, you’re a worthless, lazy deadbeat.

So, I’ll start off by saying that I “know” that the work of the mom is THE most important work that anyone can do.  It’s your job and responsibility to raise and teach your children to grow into GOOD people.  Caring people, compassionate, smart, loving, giving, resourceful, and SUCCESSFUL, self-sufficient, independent people.  In our case, “independent” and “self-sufficient” are particularly important.  So.  I know this…..

I’d really like to focus on my current day-to-day living.  We are barely getting by and where it shows the most is with the food we buy.  I love to cook and I love to cook with fresh everything, meat, veggies, cheese, and fresh spices preferably grown in my own backyard.  Well, I can’t do any of those things now and it hurts me in every way.  I love fresh ground coffee. I loved going to farmer’s markets in the summertime.  I loved that occasional purchase of something totally different to what we’re used to buying.  I know that hubby loves doing this, too, but we’ve long since stopped the extras and stuck with the bare necessities.  What used to make me very happy was just going food shopping.  Now, my hubby does that shopping and while I know that he’s trying to save money, the stuff he buys is not very healthy.  I keep quiet because I know that he’s trying to do the best he can with the money (or credit) he has.  Without getting into specifics, we are buying cheap.  We practically purchase our food on a day-to-day basis, which means I cannot cook the way I want to cook.  Heating up freezer food is not my idea of cooking and, indeed, it is NOT cooking at all.  No leftovers to create another meal.  No divided servings in the freezer from cooking a lot at once.  No real ingredients on hand to put together something delicious at the last minute.  Oh, but I can say that I did just that only yesterday.  I made an awesome white bean dip with beans, mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes left over from March, a bit of left over sour cream and spices that have been in my cupboard, and a bit of honey.  I made a meal out of that for myself and dipped pretzels in there.  Believe it or not, it made me forget.  It gave me control over the food.

Last year I took a canning class and I was so set on canning blueberries or whatever presented itself when I had the extra money to buy the ingredients.  Well, it didn’t happen for the blueberries and not sure when, or with what I’ll be able to do this magic of canning.  It’s a bit depressing since I did make sure to get all implements of canning last year, especially for the jellies, jams and preserves.  What I did manage to can was about five jars of honey mustard.  It came out thick, pastier than expected but then again I did “tweak” the recipe and so I had to deal with the result.  Still, it tasted great and I was very happy with that batch~!

So, it’s not only about the food.  It’s about the skyrocketing costs in gas and tolls, and the ability, or non-ability to bank.  I do not have a bank account or even a credit card of my own.  Don’t cry for me on that one because I am glad that I don’t have a credit card, but miserable that I don’t have a bank account.  TOLLS.  $28.00 in bridge tolls alone to visit my brother out on Long Island, NY, from Elizabeth, NJ.  Same goes for Brooklyn, NY, my hometown.  The Port Authority should be ASHAMED of themselves!  So, what do I tell my family and friends when I say we can’t visit?  It’s a bummer.  I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a mere few miles away, and I can’t even visit there.  I drive myself crazy trying to combine activities on trips, but that’s really not fair especially the last minute plans.  It’s also about worrying about conserving gas and I end up not going out at all to meet up with friends.  Our, or I should say MY lifestyle has changed so much and it’s not even like I’m used to luxury.  Never had that, but I always managed to do something stupid to make myself feel like I’m doing something special.  My old tricks are not effective any longer and so, I’m feeling a bit depressed.  When I think of “luxury,” I think of going out for dinner at a nice restaurant, maybe take in a movie. Oh, and that diamond ring, earrings and necklace!  (Ha, a leftover sentiment from my last post, Dream Home, Dream On.  DH and I have given up on date night, let alone spring for a vacation.  We probably don’t need a vacay since we’re not working, right?

DH is doing the best that he can.  He finally got his degree and even substituted five days the last week of school.  However, he is now finding out what I’ve known all along… that there are no jobs out there.  I have sacrificed the skills and experience that I have, professionally, and applying for supermarket jobs, preferably for overnight, or late night.  I realize that this is needed as DH really needs to work daytime and I can comfortably work nighttime.  DH has applied several places and has not received back a whisper of interest.  This is definitely depressing, especially since we really need health insurance.  Nobody is offering health insurance these days.  Yeah, and on that topic, I really want to know if the president and congress will give up their gold card health insurance plans and put themselves on Obamacare with the rest of this country.  Congress!  That’s a whole other disgrace~!

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I might paint a pretty awful picture, and I tried not to get “complaintive” with it.  When I think about it, I’ve got to be grateful for what I do have. What we do have, at least for this month, is a roof over our heads and an air conditioner that works. Maybe we should start really worrying when we can’t get provide the basics for our eight year old boy. Also, if I were working, I’d never have adequate time to advocate and prepare for his educational needs.  I’d never have the time to research and go for training on Autism.  So what the HECK. Something’s got to give.  Unfortunately, I can’t get paid to advocate for my child.  I’d love to feel free enough to devote my time for what I think is truly important–my son’s education.  If I were working, I’d never have found out, as soon as I did, about the school district re-drawing the school borders, effectively kicking my son out of his present school and into another one.  So, this week I had the time to research into that, make and keep an appointment with our principal, then write and hand deliver a letter requesting they make an exception for my son and keep him in his current school.  HO LY Crap!  Counting my blessings on THAT one.

I have a great husband, beautiful son, and I am so very proud of both of them.  I wish that I could get rid of this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, but I can’t.  It’s with me day and night.  I postpone waking up in the morning for as long as I can.  My doctor says that stress is not good for me right now and I look at him and wonder why I came to see him in the first place.  No way this stress is leaving any time soon, but you can be sure that when my son wants a cuddle, I will give him the best cuddle I can give.

Introductions, Please.

Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!

Milestone Time

I’ve been pretty lax in documenting Gabe’s milestones and they have been slowly but surely coming.  This morning, after about forever, he declared that he was going to keep his clothes right side OUT when taking them off.  After he took off his pajamas and underwear, I said, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if you could do that with your socks?”  (holding… breath…)  Then he just whipped off his socks from the toe, keeping it right. side. out.  (BIG exhale)  I was so proud of him this morning, so carefully taking off his clothes, getting ready for school.  

Wow, I’m wondering where this is coming from because just last week I tried to explain to him about keeping them ride side out and he seemed to disinterested to the point that he physically left the room.  You just never know when, where, or how something is going to sink in.

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13

 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b]but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Whenever I think about or refer to this passage, I simply must include the whole chapter. Every time we hear this reading in church, we only hear From 13:4-6, and maybe 13:13. Everything else is eliminated.  Very sad because there is so much more to hear here that is really important.  The one time I had control over this was when the DH and I got married.  We had the whole reading included and that made us very happy.

I often wonder why we do not get the benefit from this beautiful passage and the only reason I can guess at is that church officials really do think we are sheep and maybe don’t have the brains to grasp and appreciate the full meaning.  Even I, with my limited understanding, understand that if I don’t have love, I have nothing.  I am nothing.  And that does mean that if nobody loves me I have nothing.  It means that if I do not have love within myself to give to others, I have nothing.  Hmm, very interesting.  Love seems to have more weight than even faith, which I find shocking, but there it is:

and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3

Amazing.  I can have the strongest faith in the Lord, but if I do not have love inside myself, love for my neighbors, I am nothing in the eyes of God.  Truly amazing.  I’m going to “amaze” myself out of readers if I keep this up, but the capacity for learning never ceases to amaze me (couldn’t resist that last one).

Anyway, this passage popped up today while I was commenting on another blog.  I was expressing my hope that my son will, later on in life if not sooner, will recognize the love we, his parents, have for him and how much it has influenced every bit of our marriage and our efforts on his behalf to make him a better life.  It’s our hope that no matter what happens, no matter what we do, he will know that everything said, everything done was done out of love.  We hope that our love for him will shine through all the disagreements and arguments, all the times we need to say “no”.  All the times we make him do his homework, do his chores, practice his social skills using the tools he collects along the way.  Well, it’s our desire for him to truly understand what love is. Can he feel it?  Yes.  Are we sure that he knows what it is, or ever will?  The jury is still out on that because we do not fully understand the traits of Autism, in particular his lack of empathy; and we certainly do not know how severe of a lack that is in him.  He can learn, or I should ask:  Can he learn about love just has he learns social skills? How can we, or CAN we differentiate these kind of emotional, age appropriate, milestones?  We hardly know what is age appropriate, let alone what would be age appropriate for an autistic child.

I find myself verbalizing a lot.  My new thing is to constantly ask my little guy to repeat back his understanding of different things, whether it be word definitions or emotions, or anything I get the impression needs work.

8 Love never fails.

But maybe sometimes we fail love.  Thank goodness love is without condition or I’d be a really sad person right now.  I am putting a lot, no all of my eggs in the basket of love.  I’m so afraid of failing my child.  Is this too much of an expectation to place on my love for him?  I am wondering, but even as I do, I know that I have help.  My husband’s love for our son is amazing and in some ways out shines my own.  His perpetual love and consideration is amazing and so matter of fact, as if he’s been doing it all his life, so integrated into his nature… so natural, no questions (or answers) needed.  When I picked this man as my life partner and as the father of my children, I not only picked a keeper, I picked a winner… so unusual for me… lol.  Thank God that for one time in my life, I made a good assessment of the opposite sex.

So where do I go from here?  First and foremost, never give up on love.  Love really does conquer all and this family is living proof.  Second, always trust my judgement , but also DH’s judgement.  He is a very deep person and his motives are not always apparent, and almost never verbalized…. which leads me to the next.  Always ask questions.  I’m always amazed at what I learn.

A New Beginning….

I’ve been meaning to post for the longest time, so now here I am.  I am always trying to be witty and write about things that are interesting.  Well, that strategy bombed.  I guess my kind of blogging needs to be inspired and will aspire to be informative; and most important of all, be positive, though that doesn’t always prevail… hee hee.  SO.

Recent events have me overwhelmed, confused and muddled.  So I return to my keyboard in an effort to try to sort through it all.  I am inspired, but really need to get disciplined if I want to get to my goals… the goals that are starting to take shape in my mind.  So many things have been going on, but right now, for this post, I will blot all of them out except one.

On December 20, 2010, my son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  That’s quite a mouthful for my mouth and my brain.  So much has changed from one moment to another.  I am suddenly confronted with life changing news (for a lack of a better word).  Now, I feel, I must truly live up to my moniker, “the DragonMommie”… mother bear, demon advocate.  I think that the most scariest thing is that now I need to be a proactive, very assertive, if not pushy advocate for my son who has special needs.

My whole life has been spent in the background, going along with others’ decisions.  Now, I need to step to the forefront and be the one making those decisions.  I’m seriously not sure I can do this.  BIG sigh.  I. am. so. scared….. for now.  When I read that over, I realize that I’ve always been right there to look out for Gabe and make sure that he’s cared for and safe, so where is the big difference between then and now?  The difference is that now I need to get an education and get it quick.  I need to become an expert in a whole new area with its own language, rules and laws.  I need to become an expert in researching all this new material and organize it in my head and on my laptop (no small task).  I need to learn the unspoken cues.  I need to learn the right words to use to be politically correct.  I want to be active, informed and I want to use my talents to benefit these kids.

What do I know right now?  I know that my son is not any different today than he was a month ago, two weeks ago, two days ago… yesterday.  He is still the same amazing, loving, affectionate, smart, funny little boy.  What we have now is additional information.  We can now give a name to the reason why he acts a little quirky sometimes.  He is growing and my husband and I are growing also.  We are growing as people and as parents every single day.  This was true before, but we are now getting a higher education in love and understanding.  We’re far from perfect parents, but I feel that with this added understanding will come not just tolerance, but acceptance for what we cannot change.  A determination to provide the highest quality of life that we can for our son.  I can say already that miraculously I have a lot more patience with undesirable behavior I previously perceived as being defiance.  As a mother, I am determined to learn as much as I can about what is really behind this behavior and how I can teach my son what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

What I know right now is that this condition, disorder, disease… whatever you want to call it, I realize can be such a blessing.  First and foremost, our son is a miraculous gift from God and there is meaning in everything He does.  We are now officially out of the realm of being a “typical” family.  So much can be missed when living a life, day after day, in the mainstream.  We are now blessed with a life where we are forced by these circumstances to a heightened sensitivity to what is going on with our child.  We are looking at every aspect of his life, with new eyes, eyes with a purpose.  We are enjoying the little things.  In an effort to gain understanding, we talk to him trying to see what makes for good social conversation.  We make sure we include him, age appropriately, in some decisions.  We give him choices.  Well, I know that a lot of parents out there are doing the same thing and I am not trying to be critical, but it’s so easy to just take over completely and dictate every single aspect of a child’s life.  My parents definitely did that and it was no fun and I came out of it with little to no self esteem or confidence.  It’s so important for a child to feel at least some control over his life, his body, etc. and it’s up to us, the parents, to allow that to happen… even if it’s just a choice between broccoli and string beans… an age appropriate choice.

I feel good.  I think I’ve been somewhat successful with this post.  I did not want to make it fancy with links and pictures.  I wanted to focus solely on my thoughts.   I’m sure future posts will have pictures and links because, well, that is my thing.  Next post will include some links and info.

God Works

Well I’ve had an interesting two days this week.  I had made the excruciating decision to redeem a CD that my father had given me years ago.  His intention was for me to keep it as a nest egg, hopefully for my retirement.

Let’s give a little background.  When our son came into our lives, I had tried to stay at my then employer, who shall remain nameless.  You know who you are.  The Drake had taken FMLA and I had spoken to my employer to see if I could work part time.  The lab location was open until late and they had seemed receptive to the idea and my supervisor was going to see what she could do.  It was a very busy place, always bustling with work.  I was a typist and there were always tons of reports to type up.  Well, they kept me working for the three months that hubby was home, and the very last day before he went back to his own job, they told me it couldn’t be done.  To be honest, I felt they took advantage of me…  Water under the bridge now.  I stayed home with Little Drake full time and I loved it.  I never made any bones about the fact that I love to be home and not beholden to any employer, most of which do not value their employees beyond their own profitable interests.  When I worked, I was an honest and steadfastly loyal employee who was industrious and cared a LOT about the quality of my work.  Seriously, I could be left alone in the place and be relied upon to do my work and not drift off into personal stuff.  I was trusted and I felt very comfortable being a company person, looking out for their interests when considering my own.  I liked it that way…..  Times have changed.

So, it was for three years.  I had gotten a part time cashier job at a major food store, but hubby’s work schedule was totally erratic.  His boss would make him work overtime without any notice and meantime, I was on a work schedule, too.  His salary was way greater than mine, so his job was our priority.  I really didn’t mind that, but the old loyalty card was rearing it’s head.  I became uncomfortable calling out of my shift, AND I thought it was wrong, so eventually, I gave notice.  When Little Drake started preschool, I looked for a job, mainly at the poking and prodding of hubby.  It’s his belief that I need a job to be happy with myself.  I love him dearly, but he has no clue.  I did have more free time and I started looking, but it was half-heartedly.  Ironically enough though, after two years of looking, with no prospects and a failing financial system, I recognize that I really need to get back to work.  (queue parting of the clouds and angels singing ‘Hallelujah’)  Circumstances dictate it.  My beloved drake has been out of work for over a year and became a full time student in order to complete his degree and start teaching math to high schoolers.  Ambitious, yes?  We had been doing fine, but now resources are dwindling.  The unemployment is not reliable either, with weeks when he’s told by the automatic machine clerk that he will not get a check, BUT will receive a credit.  Oh yeah… um the rent is due every month, in cash, not credits… sigh.   So, in order to keep his pension in tact, I decided to redeem this one and only nest egg that I have to do my part and help out the family.  My intention is to pay off my credit card, not a real big problem but hubby cannot make these payments for me any longer.  I will also rectify an ongoing situation of my cell phone being on hold… but still receiving bills.  Yeah, I’m reALLY looking forward to that call.  I digress.  My intention was also that we will have a very nice cushion that will secure our rent should all else fail.  I should mention that hubby has exhausted avenues available to him.

Did I mention that this was a really difficult decision for me to make?  Yeah.  Well, I made it with the condition that I would not tell my father what I did.  Yeah.  I’m a terrible liar, but I’m great at just not mentioning things like bank visits before visiting him at his house.  The bank is close by his house in PA, so I thought it would be a good time for a visit, too, mostly because he was alone this week, too.  Everything was working perfectly.  We left early, got to the bank, redeemed CD.  My bank was conveniently right up the street, went there and deposited money.  Now on to my dad’s house.  eeeek!  Am I going the right way on 209?  Should it be 209 North or 209 South???  Oh, cripes, had to call my dad for directions:

Me: “Hi Dad, if I take 209 to your house, which way do I have to go, north or south?”

Dad:  “Where are you?”

Me:  “Um… in Strausburg.”

Dad:  “Strausburg?”

Me:  “Yeah.”

(a little silence)

Dad:  “If you’re in Strausburg, you need to go north.”

Me:  “Thanks, Dad… see you in a little while.”……. click.

I thought I handled that pretty well.  We get to my dad’s house and he didn’t ask anything.  r-e-l-a-x.  Okay, so we settle down and I go to take out my knitting project, the Clapotis in Madil Yarn’s Eden Print 100% bamboo, and it was nowhere to be found.  p-a-n-i-c.  Instantly, I knew I left it at the bank.  I had only one bag with me….have to get back there…. sigh.  So, I asked my dad if he wanted to come for a ride.  I figure this would be a good time to tell him.  We drove all the way there and I still had not opened the subject.  I meant to.  So, we get there, I get my project, and we head back to home, but make a stop at Food Town.  Dad did some shopping, now heading back to the house, another 40 minute drive or so.  He’s talking, I’m balking.  Finally HE brings it up and asks if the reason I was at the bank was to redeem the CD.  I said, “yeeeeeaaaaah”, with lingering resignation.  He was understanding.  Immediately launched into reciting my very planned out plans on how I was handling the money, ending with the promise that when I find a job, whatever was still in my bank account was going to be put into “something” and  I was going to be responsible about it.  I detailed everything that hubby had already done on his end to secure funds….and seriously, I feel as if I contributed nothing on my end… Well, that’s not true.  I did cash in my gold and silver jewelry for money.  I did not regret that, but I do miss one gold chain that I used for almost every pendant I had.  Now I use my silver box chain for everything, gold, silver, whatever.

So, we get back home today to a message from the college that the Drake’s classes will be forfeited if he doesn’t pay in full by (today).  Remember that unemployment check?  Well, after not coming, then being promised, we waited and received it only a day or so ago and it still has not cleared.   Guess what my first spenditure was.  Yep, for school the Drake’s butt got saved.  I am not even going to say how much it was, but my sense of security was immediately broken not even five minutes after our arrival back home.  I definitely am one of those people who literally repel money.  We went to the school and I gave them a large chunk of my nest egg.  The Drake is definitely worth it, but it scared me.  I’m very glad to say, however, that I’d do it again…. and it would still scare me.

There’s more to the story as evidenced by the “God’s Eye” and the title of this post.  God is constantly working in and through our lives.  There, behind my own eye, is the constant, pesky at times, thought that God will provide and make everything alright.  Maybe not as “alright” as I would personally have it, but I just know that we will get through this and that we are not alone in this.  We will emerge with scars etched into our skins and forever into our souls.  We will use this experience.  We will make it a positive.  We will gain more compassion when dealing with our fellow human beings, and yes, even when dealing with credit card company employees trying to do their job by calling past due accounts at all hours of the day… (they DO have jobs, though, you know).  I’ve got to say that when I finally spoke with them (yes, I was screening my calls for about a month), I had a good experience.  The Indian gentleman I spoke to was compassionate and I do very much appreciate that.  Of course he wanted a commitment and a check no. and when I’d be able to make a payment, but understood (well, he really had to) when I laughed and reminded him that I had no money.

More importantly, I will remember.  I will remember this experience when confronted with the anger, resentment and frustration of people who can’t seem to get a break.  I have a neighbor who, it seems, walks around with a lot of anger and prejudice.  I don’t like interacting with that woman and avoid it at all costs.  Well honestly, I viewed myself (albeit briefly) as someone who had worked for her whole life, was a good girl, paid her taxes, and now in need of assistance.  Friends, believe me when I say, I am looking for all sorts of assistance.  It’s survival for us.  At times, I too, wake up feeling angry, resentment and frustration.  What makes the difference for me is that my feelings of insecurity, my anger, my frustration all subside when I am reminded that God is looking out for us; and believe me, he takes the opportunity to let me know.  He is here and available for me, no matter what time of day.  We are blessed.

Lord, I pray that those who are jobless take heart, and find the courage to persevere during these hard economic times, by strengthening their relationshiop with God through prayer and service to others.  Amen.

The One Million Dollar Question

I know. I’m not blogging as much as I should, but I’ve been honing my fiber skills! Still, something happened yesterday that I simply MUST document.

Ever since Gabriel was born, I envisioned myself as being one of those moms who will find a way to discuss anything with her child, regardless of gender. I even wrote a song and book about the WHY questions of the very young. After almost four whole years, Gabriel finally asked his mommie a direct, engaging question. It was so totally unexpected and so totally outrageous.  You be the judge:

Last night I gave him a bath; and because our apartment is on the cool side, afterwards we usually spend time on his bed to  snuggle to keep him warm while he’s still wet. He gets wrapped up in a huge towel and I’ll dry his hair with the end of it. Last night I unwrapped him for the ritual of slathering shea butter all over him, and I caught him playing with his penis. Well.  This was not the first I saw him doing this, AND it’s very normal behavior for this age… I guess for any age. The thing is that this mommie has never handled this situation as a mommie.  I’ve heard stories from his teachers about how the boys are going at it during nap time! I’ve been told about how those little beds actually slide across the room! Some teachers were freaking out, so the school had to create a workshop for them to help them understand and handle it better.  Again, very normal and they treat it as such.

Even though it’s normal, however, I still need to teach Gabe that he should not do this in public… OOOH, going back a few months, he went through a phase of pulling down his pants to play with his little willy.  It unfolded so suddenly that I could not think about how to handle it as I didn’t want to traumatize the kid with my ineptness as a toddler interpreter.  To make things worse, he started this behavior exactly on the morning of a cookie decorating party that had about 12 other kids attending.   My first reaction as to be mortified when, after all the talking I did before we got there NOT to do that, he did.   I have since figured out that he was doing this when he was bored.  At the party, there came a point when all the other kids went downstairs and he was left upstairs with just the mommies.  Even though I had my eyes on him 99% of the time, it was during that 1% he decided to put his hands in his pants.  How I found out was that I had noticed someone looking in his direction with a funny face.  I looked over and there he was.  Thank goodness he was basically alone, but standing in the middle of the room being pretty obvious about the whole thing.  I am so grateful for those mommies who have more than just a few years of mommie seniority on me.  They really helped me get my head back and gave advice on how I should be handling it.  However, you know that things like this do not go away overnight, so that Monday afternoon, I was advised by the school that he had exposed himself in front of all the kids… which is not normally a bad thing, but they are more concerned about the other kids’ parents finding out, especially new parents and those of the girls, because sometimes they don’t understand that it’s pretty innocent.  The teachers also gave advice on how to handle this.

I’d say that the most important thing is to keep calm and to not project negativity about the actual penis or that playing with it is taboo.  Again, let me say right here that this is my own opinion and the point of this is not to criticize any one else’s parenting.  For myself, I want my child to be comfortable with his body and that means I will not teach him that touching his penis, or any other part of his body, is wrong.  Now, getting back to the landmark question I was asked just yesterday.  Oh, I should say that Gabe had stopped pulling down his pants in front of me and I had not gotten any reports, of him doing the same, from school,.

Getting back to last night.  I grabbed this opportunity to talk more about the need to keep private and decided to tell Gabe not to play with his penis.  I went on to say that he should not let other people see his penis because it was a “private part”, HIS private part.  For a little while he was silent, then he looked right at me and asked, “Mommie, what’s wrong with my penis?”  Wow, that came on so suddenly that all I could do was to just sit there, taking it in for a bit.  I said, “Gabe, there is nothing wrong with your penis.  Your penis is perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with it.  It’s just that your penis should be private and it’s bad manners to let other people see it.”  Oh God, I am hoping that was okay to say.  There is so much more that needs to be said on this subject, for his protection, about perverts, so heavy; but I still have no idea how to convey all this additional stuff, so kept silent, for now.  I don’t remember using the word “wrong” when I first told him not to touch it, but I honestly don’t remember word for word, but do remember word for word, my response… how weird that is.  From the whole experience?  I’m walking on eggs wondering if I handled that okay… though I think I did.  I had no idea he had this on his mind, if he did prior to this interaction.

SIGH… so that is the story of the million dollar question… not a “Why” question, but it’s plenty for now.  REALLY.  I am still so looking forward to Gabe asking more questions.  I will go into a bit of history here.  When I was growing up, my parents were not open, and definitely did not project approachability. There was affection, NO communication other than various dictates, rulings and being disciplined.  As we got older, I think my mother missed being close with us, but really, she did nothing earlier in our lives to welcome us into “her” world.  I’ve vowed that will not be the case with my son.  Yes, I’m an older mommie, but I think it’s just the right time for me to become a mother.  I never could have done this if I was younger.  I am more mature and more developed, myself, which makes me better mom material.

Somehow I caught this look.... gives me the shivers

Somehow I caught this look.... gives me the shivers

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