What about Mommy?

Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 -- In Memory of Christopher N. Ingrassia


2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11. On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim. We will honor them by remembering their lives,and not by remembering their murderers.

I will honor Christopher N. Ingrassia.

I grew up with Chris, our families were/are friends. As I try to write about him, I'm not sure where to begin. Let's just start with the fact that everyone had a crush on Chris. It was hard not to. He was one good looking guy with one of the best smiles around. It was contagious. But, it wasn't only his looks that made him so special, but more his personality. He was the popular kid at school who was nice to everyone, not just his friends. He knew how to make people feel special. This quality seemed to only improve with age. His mother told me a story about when Chris was out to a business dinner with the partners in his company and some clients at a swanky restaurant in Chicago. During the meal, Chris noticed a couple having a fight and the guy leaving without the girl. Chris excused himself from his dinner, borrowed the matre'd's top hat and asked the girl to dance. This is only one of many stories.

I remember that my mother knew how much I had a crush on Chris and made sure to invite him to my sweet sixteen birthday party. I was so excited to see him there. And, I remember walking across an empty dance floor on my way to say hello to some of my friends when Chris grabbed me and started to dance (it was a slow song). I couldn't believe my luck. I don't think you could wipe that smile from my face for weeks. Like I said, he really knew how to make people feel special. He even agreed to go to my junior prom with me.

Chris worked for Cantor Fitzgerald after graduating from Princeton University. He worked in England for a few of years before returning to work at their office in the WTC. Chris had earned a partnership by the age of 28. He was an up and coming star!

Chris came from a big family. He has two brothers and a sister who survive him as well as his parents. He was also an uncle. Chris loved his family and stayed very close even when he moved to England. He couldn't wait to return to the US to be with his family.

Chris' family donated a shrine in their church in memory of Chris and the other victims of 9/11. In addition, they started a fund in Chris' name to help students attending summer programs at Princeton University.

I wish I could do more in honoring Chris. I just don't have the words to express how much Chris is missed by his family and friends (and even acquaintances). While I feel deep regret in such a tragic loss, I feel blessed to have had Chris in my life, even if it was for too short a time.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Addiction

I have turned into a hermit. I am constantly in this office on the computer. I'm not doing anything even remotely productive. I'm playing spider solitaire. That's right, I barely blog. I check my blog to see if anyone comments, go to ebay to check on my auctions, check email, and then I play spider solitaire while my kids watch hours and hours of TV. I can't even sit out there with them for five minutes. I feel like I'm crawling out of my skin. If I do manage to stay on the couch, I dose off ASAP. To continue this model of fantastic parenting, I get annoyed when the kids ask me for something while I'm playing solitaire. I tell them they have to wait until my game is over. Then, my daughter says, "that takes too long." I am very, very sick and I need help. Do they have a 12-step program for this?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

V-A-C-A-TION!


We're back from our week in Virginia Beach. What to say, what to say. We had good times, we had bad times. I'm definitely glad to be home.

The ride down was awful. While I believed the mapquest directions that said it would take 6 hours and 46 minutes, it took us 9 hours and 30 minutes. Not a good start. The kids actually we're okay until the last hour or so. And, at that point, I felt just as whiney as they did. So, we all whined together.

The first two days of vacation were wonderful! I thought I had brought the wrong kids with me. We went to the beach, played in the sand, jumped in the waves. Then, off the Pirate miniature golf. Our first outing into mini-golf was fun. My son, not quite grasping the concept, would run after our balls after we hit them and pick them up for us. He'd say, "Here, Mommy. Here Daddy. Here, Bebe (his name for his sister)." Very cute, if not proper. My daughter was very serious and gave me lots of tips. "Steady, Mommy. You have to be steady when you hit the ball." Thanks for the tip! We rented a family bike and rode along the boardwalk taking pictures. Lots of fun! The aquarium was good and very educational. The kids ate it up.

Then, day three hit. Not good. The kids complained, complained and complained. I almost cracked (actually, I did). I left. That's right, I left them. Of course, I returned. Day four and five were average, some complaining, some fun. We went on a Pirate Adventure Boat Ride and a petting farm. Of course there was more beach and swimming in the pool. My daughter is really getting comfortable in the water. It's a lot of fun to watch her be so proud of herself.

Then, day six hit. Worst day ever!!! More complaining and doing nothing. Again, I cracked. I left again. They found me at the beach. More complaining. I left them at the beach. They found me back at the hotel. Then, we went home the next day. Easier ride, kids were behaved.

In summary, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But, we sure have some memories!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Control.... Or Lack Thereof

My son, who turned two in June, has really hit the terrible twos with a vengence. I thought it had started already, but he was just warming up. The past two weeks have been almost unbearable (I say almost because somehow I've survived!)

Now, these tantrums have occured at home, at the lake, at the movies, at my mother's, just about everywhere. They happen in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. So, I'm not sure they have to do with sleepiness. I'm rather sure they have to do with not getting his way. If he is disturbed in any fashion, he FREAKS out. I thought my daughter could throw a whopper of a tantrum, but I had seen nothing like these.

As my son is my second child, I don't embarass as easily when he starts to tantrum in public. I try to calmly (and I stress the word TRY) carry on with my business and ignore the tantrum as much as possible. But, sometimes I snap at a movie refreshment stand worker. Sorry!

I've thought alot about the control of my children since these tantrums have escalated. I know we can't control others' (adults') actions (as I've spent a great deal of time discussing in therapy), but shouldn't we have some control over our children's behavior? Isn't that our job? I often wonder why I don't seem to have more control.

As a trained school psychologist, I spent years learning that consistency by the parents and educators were the way to get children to comply/behave. This led me to believe (before I had kids) that parents should be able to control their children's behavior. I would sit in my office in the middle school where I worked often joking that many of the special education students should be classified "parentally impaired" as their parents seemed to be their biggest problem. I couldn't understand when a parent said she can't make her son do this or that. I would think, aren't you the parent?

Now, I still do believe that parents need to be consistent. They do have some responsibility for their children's behavior, but not to the extent that I once thought. These little beings, even when they are toddlers, are people with personalities and with learning to do. I'm doing my best to mold their behavior so when they do reach middle school they still won't be tantruming or refusing to behave in a socially appropriate manner, but I can't totally control them.

That's right, I can't totally control them. I can only control how I react to them. Their tantrum, in public, doesn't say to everyone that I'm a bad parent. It's just says that I have a toddler who is still learning how to behave. I have to learn to let go of being a control-freak when it comes to their tantrums, it just makes my reaction to them inappropriate. Hopefully, if I let go of that control and focus on the control of my behavior I will be able to teach my children how to control themselves.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Surprises!!

My daughter is the first one to ask if we bought her a "surprise." She has told her grandmother to bring her a "surprise" next time she comes for a visit (her grandmother brings a surprise about 80% of the time). She already has a birthday list (her birthday is in November) and I'm sure she's working on her Christmas list.

However, my daughter does reciprocate. She loves to make surprises for others. Before going to her grandma's for the day, she often wants to make her a "surprise." She couldn't wait until Mother's Day to give her gift she made. She often thinks of things to give her little cousin.

But, my favoite of all is every day that I pick my little one up from school, she has a collection of leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. that she finds for me. She is always so excited to present her "surprises" to me. Her teachers have said they've tried to get her not to collect the stuff, but she insists it's for her mommy. This is huge because the teachers have told me she usually doesn't speak up. But, she speaks up when it comes to getting her mommy surprises. Today, when she left for school, she told me there would be no surprises. But, SURPRISE! there were more than ever. She thought she was so clever!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

??????????

It's been a little frustrating here. As my last couple of posts have indicated, my husband has really been helping out more, making me feel appreciated, and been really supportive lately. Plus, just two weeks ago, we had our weekend away. However, I find myself wondering, why isn't that enough? I'm still annoyed a great deal of the time. Not specifically at him, but at life in general.

I keep asking myself why? Why aren't I happy when I've got a great husband, wonderful kids, a (relatively) nice house, and (relatively) few problems? I mean, people like me aggravate me to know end. I'm constantly annoyed when I hear people complain and say how stressed they are when their life appears pretty good (this in NOT a good trait in a psychologist, by the way). I'm always thinking, "Gimme a break, you've got it good. Just shut up." Now, so you know, I think that about myself as well.

I am so sick of myself and wonder why my husband isn't sick of me either. I'm tired of hearing myself complain. I'm tired of being annoyed. I definitely don't like being around myself lately, so why does my husband? I guess I'm very lucky and I try to remember that when I'm in these "moods."

So, thanks for listening to my sob story. I just so admire Sunshine Scribe for her journey and wish I had it in me to take one for myself.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wonderful, Wonderful Husband

After writing my last post, my husband has really stepped it up a notch (as I admitted at the end of the last post). But, things are only getting better (at least with my husband).

First of all, my husband got sick. Now, this is aggravating to me on so many levels. In the past, my husband has moaned and groaned and carried on when he's been sick. It's a trait from his family, they all do this. As a young engaged and later married woman, I didn't put up with this. I would evaluate on my own how sick I thought he really was. If I determined with all my non-medical experience that he really was that sick, no empathy ensued. In fact, I would tell him off. (You're probably wondering why my husband still married me after I showed all these terrible traits so early on. I'm not sure of that answer myself.) Anyway, however, if I did determine he was sick, I would take care of him. He often complained that I didn't show enough sympathy for him when he was sick, but I explained I carried on when ill so he must also. We eventually found a middle ground.

This middle ground was eliminated when the children were born. Now, I wouldn't even try to determine if I thought my husband was sick, I would just tell him he wasn't and to stop it already. Very nuruturing, I know. My poor husband carried on suffering in (mostly) silence.

Like I said, he got sick yesterday. He has a pretty bad cold, by my determination which means he probably feels AWFUL. Nevertheless, when he returned from work, he insisted that I go out (Thursday is usually my day out alone). I tried to stay home (well, not that hard), but again, he insisted I leave. When I got home, the kids were fed, bathed and in bed. He was wiped out on the couch. Right there, he deserves a medal. But the story doesn't end there.....

I went to check my email and blog (as I do whenever I can) and I noticed an email from my husband. Strange -- that never happens. I open it thinking it's some forwarded message he got at work. Nope. It's a beautiful love letter. Okay, a beautiful love letter to the mother of his children. It thanked me for all I do, acknowledged how hard it is, and told me how lucky he was to have a great wife. I would post the letter, but he asked me not to.

Anyway, can you believe I've ever complained about this man? Do any of you want to fight me for him? It doesn't matter, he loves me, me, me. I am so lucky.