So my daughter can be one tough cookie. Something that never ceases to amaze me about her is how she deals with sadness. You see, when she is mad or frustrated or just plain tired she can cry like a champion. She could probably compete if there was such a thing as championship crying. But when she's sad about something, she fights crying with everything in her. Like when she really doesn't want to say goodbye to me or if her feelings have sincerely been hurt. You can see her eyes well up and her mouth turns into a frown. But she'll fight the tears. She'll run away, get silent, or even cover her face with a blanket. But she'll refuse to cry in front of us.
Last night was one of the most gut wrenching moments I think I've ever seen as a mom. I was trying to clean up from dinner and get a couple of other things done. The kids were bickering (as they do) and were bored with anything I could come up with on TV. I came across Follow That Bird just as it was starting. Do you remember that Sesame Street movie from the 80s? Well my kids are not regular Sesame Street watchers anymore, but they still love it on occasion and they'd never seen this movie before. My son got bored after a few minutes and went to go play in his room. My four year old on the other hand sat through the entire movie.
It ended just as I finished the last of the dinner dishes. I came into the room to see Cheyanne standing there with her blanky. I saw that look in her eyes. They were filled to the brim with tears and her face was quickly turning into a frown. "What's wrong peanut?" I asked. "Didn't you like the movie?" She ran up to me and buried her face into my waist, fighting the urge to cry. "Ernie was so sad when Big bird was gone..." her voice trailed off and she buried her face back into me.
I whisked her onto my lap and sat on the couch as she continued to bury her face into my chest. I got her to look up at me and all she could say was "Ernie was so sad without his friend.." I said, "Yes, but what happened at the end?" She started to slowly smile and said, "Big Bird came home and Ernie was happy."
I reminded her it was OK to be sad and it was OK to cry. After a moment she hopped off my lap and went back about her business.
This morning I asked if she wanted to watch Follow That Bird again. She said no. I asked why not. She simply said, "I don't want to talk about it" and walked out of the room.
Though I guess I can still write in English, as evident by this blog post. Now, I'm not positive, but I suspect that I have lost the ability to speak in my native tongue. In reality it's only one possible theory as to why what has been occurring in my house today has been occurring. Actually scratch that, what has been happening in my house the whole latter half of the week.
My kids no longer understand me. Then again, over the last few days they have had a hard time even acknowledging that I'm speaking to them, let alone understanding what I'm telling them. So maybe it's not that I'm no longer speaking English. Maybe I have wandered into some odd classic Twilight Zone episode where, though I keep talking, no one can hear me. Yes, that seems much more likely.
Heaven knows that it can't be because my kids are six and four. It can't be that because even though they are great kids, most of the time, that there aren't times when they turn into absolute stinkers. Does it make me a bad mom to say this? No, I think it just makes me a mom.
What are your theories when it comes to selective hearing for your children? And also, please leave a comment. Cause the whole Twilight Zone theory kind of freaks me out a little. So it would be nice to know that even though Ive become invisible here at home somehow on the Internet I do in fact still exist.
OK, time to get the kids to clean up for dinner....
My friends over at MOMocrats have launched a series called, "Hear My Story" in an attempt to help get the stories of people who are struggling under the current health care system out in the open so others can see the importance and need for health care reform. This is my story.
I've had Kaiser for almost as long as I can remember. Except for the chunks of time when my dad was out of work or working under the table, we always had it. As an adult every job I ever worked here in the Bay Area offered Kaiser as an option and I always took it. My husband has been an independent contractor for close to 9 years now, so my insurance was always the only choice. Both my kids were born in Kaiser hospitals and have been seeing the same pediatrician since the day they were born.
After my daughter was born I made the decision to open up a daycare out of my home and work for myself. This would enable to be home with my kids instead of sending them back to daycare. The price of Cobra was OBSCENE so we made the decision to get our own private plan through Kaiser. This would be cheaper than cobra and cheaper then most of the other plans we had the chance to get.
In the years since making that choice our monthly premium has continued to go up and we eventually had to switch to a deductable plan. This means that until we reach $1,500 individually or $5,400 as a family we have to pay full price for everything. Office visits, tests, prescriptions. On top of paying $524 a month.
I went from paying $10 for birth control to almost $60. Last year my son got sick with a bronchial infection. We were prescribed an inhaler and antibiotics. The price? $300. Now my husband and I are both self-employed. We live week-to-week and just barley make it. When that sudden $300 bill popped up (not counting the $75 it cost for the office visit) in the middle of the rent week, we couldn't pay it. Though that didn't matter to the pharmacy, because they can’t bill you there. So if we couldn't come up with the cash on the spot, we weren't going to get the prescription.
I begged, though tears, for the pharmacist to bill me, but the system flat wouldn't let her. She called my pediatrician and then sent me back down the hall to her office. I dragged my sick son back through the doctor's office and explained the situation to the pediatrician. She rewrote the prescription for a different kind of inhaler and a lesser dose and was able to bring the bill down to $150. We still had to borrow against rent, but it wasn't as big of a chunk as the $300.
That's just one incident. We have a stack of bills for office visits that we can't pay and are always a month behind paying our premium.
Our last year taxes show we make more than what Medicare will allow, even though as of next week I am no longer doing daycare. Not that we'd really want to switch, we love Kaiser. We just can't afford it.
They have options under their plan. They have choices and they are a better community because of it. We, as a nation, need options. We need affordable ones. I need to be able to deal with my children when they get sick without having to worry about how I'm going to pay for the antibiotics or even just an office visit. I need help.
I had private insurance paid for by an employer for years. Then one day I didn't. I chose to start my own business. I chose to work at home so I could be with my kids. Why should I be penalized for those choices by not having an affordable option for health care?
Raise my taxes to pay for it I don’t care. It will still be cheaper than what I have to pay every month or each time someone in my family gets sick.
This weekend we went out and completed all our school shopping, I can't believe my little man is going to be in the 1st grade. Where does the time go? Well it got me thinking about how I'm just as emotional facing 1st grade as I was facing Kindergarten. So as a tribute to my own son AND daughter who starts Pre-K this year as well, I am posting this piece I wrote last year at this time. For all of you moms out there who are watching there child move from one stage of life into another...
Top 10 Songs to Send Your Child off to School By
I have recently found myself facing one of the biggest milestones a parent can reach while raising children, my young son will be entering Kindergarten. As any of you who have been through this, or will soon be facing it know, it is something that fills you with a myriad of emotions.
On one hand, I find myself brimming with excitement. PTA meetings, school plays, homework, watching my son grow from a boy into a young man. What’s not to look forward to? Other times I look at him, and all I see is that sweet blue-eyed boy that we brought home from the hospital five short years ago. How can I send my baby out into the world? Will one of those little girls running around be the first to break his heart? Will he stand up to his first bully, or have his spirit broke by him? Will he enjoy school, or will he rebel against it?
It’s so difficult to not know these answers, but know that I have to let him go anyway. There are parents out there reading this who are feeling this too. Maybe its not Kindergarten, maybe you’re sending yours off to college, or for some of you, you’re baby is getting married. Whichever one you’re facing, it’s still the same.
It just like when they were toddlers learning to walk. You wanted them to walk, but you feared for them, because you knew that they were going to have to fall before they could walk. As with any other big moment in life, I have a running soundtrack playing in my head right now. These are the songs that I hear playing in my head as I fill my son’s first backpack with school supplies. As I fill out his emergency cards, and shop for his new shoes. As I watch him begin his life.
So for every parent whose little one is starting Kindergarten, college, or simply starting their own life, here is a list of tunes to sneak onto their Ipod before they go.
1. Everything But The Girl-Apron Strings
Being a mom, the term “Apron String:” has a number of meanings, but the strings that are sung about in this EBTG tune are the ones that every mom wishes they could forever keep their baby safely wrapped in for the rest of their lives.
2. Kate Bush-This Woman’s Work
When its time for your child to begin making journeys on their own, without you, it leaves you plagued with fear. Have you done a good job? Have you given them all the tools they need to be strong and to succeed? Those are some of the questions that flood my mind when I hear this Kate Bush classic.
3. Cyndi Lauper-Time After Time
OK, so maybe this is slightly on the melodramatic side, but it truly captures the essence of what every parent desperately hopes for when letting go of their little one. That wherever your child goes they know that we will always be there. That when they need us to go slow, we will always fall behind, when they are lost we will always be there to help them find their way, and when they fall we will always catch them. Time after time after time.
(Honorable mention goes to True Colors)
4. Rod Stewart- Forever Young
One of the classic songs about what a parent feels for a child. So much so, that I’ve heard this song played at weddings, funerals, graduation parties, and baby showers. Its universal message of parental love comes through no matter what path of life you are on. I even used this song in a video I made for my parents 25thwedding anniversary. Now, as I look at my son who is so quickly turning from a boy to a young man, all I see is that young baby we brought home from the hospital about to go to school.
5. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young- Teach Your Children
This tune is pretty much a given. I, like most parents I’m sure, hope that all of my crazy insecurities and quirks haven’t damaged my son too much. And I know in the years to follow he will have so much more to teach us than we could ever begin to teach him.
6. The Cast of Rent-Seasons of Love
It’s so surreal to look back on the years spent watching your child grow. This song always makes me flash on the idea of how many diapers have I changed? How many tears have I wiped away, scraped knees have I kissed? How many tickle fits, time outs, bowels of Mac & Cheese, swings, campfires, nightmares, sing alongs, legos, stories have I read, and kisses goodnight have there been? I couldn’t begin to count, but I could tell you that there have been miles and miles of love, and so many more miles to cover.
7. Kenny Loggins-Return to House at Pooh Corner
I was already past my due date with my son when I became obsessed with hearing this song. I hadn’t heard it in ages and with my son soon to be making his debut, I couldn’t get this song out of my head. So I dragged my very pregnant self to Target and bought Kenny Loggins greatest hits CD and sat in the parking lot and listened to it. I went home and sat in the nursery, decked out in all Winnie The Pooh décor, and listened to it again. Now as I listen to it almost six years later, with that same little guy about to embark on his own adventures, I’m still as excited as I was the day he was born.
8. Cat Stevens –Wild World
When most people hear this tune they automatically think “break up” song, but when I heard it on the radio recently, it kind of struck me how it’s about all the scary things that are out there. Bullies, mean teachers, broken hearts, friends who turn out to not be friends; all the things that a parent can’t ever protect a child from. It truly is a wild world out there.
9. Beautiful Boy- John Lennon
Though I feel so much that my son is growing up, this song makes me realize the reality is, he’s still my boy. And we do have such a long way to go. And each day life with him gets better and better, and I can’t wait to what the next part of his life will bring.
10. Three Little Birds-Bob Marley
If there was one message I could forever embed into my child’s mind to take with him everywhere he goes for the rest of his life, it would be this. Everything little thing is going to be all right.
For everybody who is entering into a new phase of parenthood, whether it is becoming a parent, sending a child off to Kindergarten or college, or sending them into marriage, I wish you the best, and if music captures you like it does me, listen to these with a hanky nearby.
I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
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