Saturday, August 27, 2005

Why, Oh Why Did We Teach Him to Speak?

So last night the kiddo and I were at the outdoor mall nearby, buying sympathy cards for practically everyone in my son's dad's family. As we passed a group of teenagers lounging/congregating nearby, one kid in a tank undershirt, saggy pants and backward baseball hat dropped his cell phone and it skittered across the sidewalk right in front of us.

"F**k! C**k! S**k!" said the teen angrily.

"F**k! C**k! S**k!" said my son merrily.

A girl in the group heard my son and her jaw hit the floor before she burst out laughing.

"F**k! C**k! S**k!" said my son again, thrilled to have an audience. "F**k! C**k! S**k!"

Lemme tell you, there's nothing like hearing a sweet, young voice utter profanity. He's lucky his arm is still in its socket, the way I dragged him outta there. I told him those are "naughty words" and he had to stop saying them...but I also had a little bit of a hard time keeping a straight face. My laughter would've encouraged him more, so we ducked into Barnes & Noble (which the kiddo used to call "Trains and Marbles") for a distraction.

I'm sorta wondering if the kiddo even remembers the incident. He hasn't mentioned it, and I don't plan to ask if he remembers.

The funny thing, though, is that it's not the first time he's heard questionable language, but it's the first time he's repeated it. Well, the first time in a loooooong time. ;^)

Ah, out of the mouths of babes...

Monday, August 22, 2005

My Son's Dad's Dad

Last night my son's dad called to say his dad had been hospitalized with chest pains, but the doctor had said he would probably be fine and live another year. R. was pretty upset about it, but said he was okay. Today he called to say that his dad's heart stopped this morning and the hospital staff weren't able to revive him. He said his dad was alone, not surrounded by loved ones, as R. had sort of predicted would happen. He'd thought his dad would, in a way, choose a moment when no one was around. I said, "Not one for a big production," and R. laughed through his tears. He says the sadness comes in waves. Anyway, he's going to fly back to Miami. He hasn't talked to his mom yet. We briefly discussed how to tell the kiddo, and I said it was fine if he wanted to tell him on the phone today (I left it up to R.) and that I was comfortable answering any questions the kiddo might have.

R. told the kiddo on the phone that Grandpa had died, and the kiddo relayed that to me (he'd been aware that Grandpa had been hospitalized with "chest pains," although he didn't know what that meant), and then he told R., "He won't be able to play any more," and sort of giggled. I think he was a little bit uneasy and I don't think he totally gets it. He wasn't all that close to R.'s dad because of the distance and seeing him only once or twice a year, but after he hung up with R., I asked him if he had any feelings he wanted to talk about, and he told me he hates me. So something's going on in that little head and heart. He's been a little clingy since the phone call, and has been easily frustrated to tears with his GameBoy, which is unusual, although he says he doesn't have feelings about Grandpa. Obviously that's not true, so I'm navigating this in the dark and giving him lots of hugs.

I told R. he could come over to pick up the kiddo if he wants to spend some extra time with him today, and R. said he would think about it; I know he has lots of phone calls to make and flights to arrange, in addition to seeing his regular clients and pulling himself together to be present for them. He's never had anyone close to him die before and, knowing him as I do, I imagine this sort of initiation must be especially hard for him. I was thinking that maybe R. needs a hug and since he and I aren't on hugging terms (so complicated), maybe he could have a little contact with the kiddo and that would be a good thing for them both. I don't know. The kiddo heard me talking and is hoping Daddy will come over, so maybe he has feelings about that, too. I might pick up a couple of flowers and bring them over to R.'s house and just leave them on the step later. I don't want everything to get too weird for anyone, but I do want to do something.

I didn't know R.'s dad all that well, but I was fond of him and R. tended to think of us together because we're both Virgos; that was meaningful (positively and negatively) to R. A few years ago, on D.'s birthday (his name really was D. -- he went by his first initial because he didn't like his first name), I wrote him a card, saying that my birthday wish for him was that he really know how much he is loved. I think the extra time he got (from his lung cancer diagnosis in 2000, to the present) helped him with that.

I'm only sorry I didn't get to know him better. He was pretty weak during much of the time I saw him, and not given to a lot of casual conversation. Still, I knew him through R.'s stories about him, about how he taught R. to play baseball ("Rock and fire!") and hunt, and about the parenting mistakes he made along the way, too. He had a tendency to be a softie about emotional things, and I remember once at R.'s folks' 60th anniversary party, D. got all misty during a lovely videotaped photo montage and had to leave the room to collect himself. This is why it didn't surprise R. that D. died during a time when the rest of the family was away from the hospital.

I think he knew he was loved, and I thank him for being part of my son's life and heritage, and through that, part of my life and my story, too.

I will miss him.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Make your own here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

In Moments of Despair, Trying to Remember

The last few days have been especially tough. Bills are mounting and I find myself having to decide which ones to pay. Add to that the constant difficulty from my son's dad (use condoms, everyone, so you don't have to deal with an ex FOREVER) and my general anxiety over my own loneliness and the sound of the wolves at the door. I miss my family so much and the court order states that our son must reside in San Diego County (where my son's dad moved for work and where I moved when he promised me things he has yet to deliver), and the only way to change that is for my son's dad to agree to move, and he refuses to even consider moving back home (not as far away as you might think, but far enough that I feel isolated) for at least two years, and he won't budge, despite my begging, and he won't say why.

Yes, things will look up eventually. They have to, and they will. For now I'm reminded of a poem I wrote when my son was about one year old. I have to try to find the hope and beauty in the small things. I'm sure it's there. I'm just having trouble seeing it at the moment.


Not a whole lot in life
turns out the way
you imagined it would.

You envision tucking in
your two adopted children
(Song and Kim),
with your curly-haired, strapping,
helluvaguy husband, and
returning to the cozy glow
of your feng shui dream of a living room
in your tree-sheltered Craftsman home
somewhere up north
to make slow, passionate love
on the rug in front of the fireplace,
feeling content with the dining room table,
already decorated with multiple place settings
for the many laughing relatives
expected the next day for Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the dream that soothed you to sleep
when all things were still possible.

Instead you lie awake at night in bed,
watching “Friends” reruns with the sound off—
you've practically memorized all the episodes anyway—
listening to the whine of the new vaporizer
(the first one broke inexplicably
after only a few uses)
because your son has that weird, phlegmy-rattly cold
in your parents' house,
in your childhood bedroom, no less,
idly fingering your year-old stretch marks
and flabby belly
that you haven't bothered to do anything about
YET (you tell yourself)
because somehow that project took a back seat
to going to therapy and
trying to “make things work”
with your son's dad
(don't even get me started—
it wouldn't be the whole story anyway—
it never is, it never is)
and showering
and shopping
and changing diapers
and crying
and longing
and breathing,
don't forget to breathe.

(You hope this is all fictional;
you couldn't bear it if it were true, of course.)

And in the midst of all this,
your sleeping, slightly wheezing
utters a single baby-syllable
and you turn away from the TV
and you curl around him some more
and he awakens
(that heart-shaped face!),
sits up,
rubs his eyes and sways

and chooses you as his soft place to fall...

and you think:
this is what I imagined;
this is my idea of beautiful.

— 2002

Monday, August 15, 2005

No, They Did Not Get Married on Halloween

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this weekend. We kids threw them a party on the 13th, although the proper date is the 14th. More on this later, but let me just say that one of the highlights for me, besides seeing my parents so happy to see all the guests and all of us kids at the same time, was hearing my son singing "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups -- except he was singing, "Goin' to the jack-o-lantern! Gonna get ma-a-arried!"

Gee. Do you think he'd been reading this? ;^)

Friday, August 12, 2005

I Don't Like to Think About SpongeBob Naked

Sponge Child

So yesterday my son was playing the SpongeBob game, "Battle for Bikini Bottom," on his GameBoy. I hate to admit it, but the game is sorta fun -- at least the first three levels, which is about as high as I seem to be able to go. My son, on the other hand, is a 4.5-year-old whiz at this and is constantly handing me the GameBoy on some super-duper advanced level and looking at me like he expects me to get it. This wasn't in my job description, so I don't feel too bad about my lack of GameBoy proficiency.

Anyway, when one reaches a certain skill level one can "unlock" certain photos in the "photo album." So I'm sitting at the computer, the kiddo is playing his game and giving me the usual play-by-play commentary, and I'm making all the usual "Oh? I see...that's cool...hmm..." noises, and then the kiddo says, "Mom! I unlocked the picture of SpongeBob with his pee-pee up in the air!"

(Pause.) "Um, I'm sorry. What is in the air?"

"His pee-pee, Mom! His PEE-PEE! Mom, don't you know what I'm TALKING ABOUT??" (I vex him so with my ignorance.)

"Um, show me."

"LOOK," he says exasperatedly to the Dumbest Mommy Ever (can't even defeat RoboPatrick -- sheesh), and shows me a photo of SpongeBob with his pinky (little) finger in the air.

And then I could breathe again, the sun came out, the birds began to sing and all was right with the world.

Well, not exactly, but at least I got to stop thinking about SpongeBob's penis.

Okay, you got me. I'm still thinking about it. ;^)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Regular Cutup

So this morning I was sitting at my computer whilst still in my nightgown, and my son was making collages behind me out of cut paper and Scotch tape. He came over to hug me, and a minute later I heard him say, "Oh, no...I'm sorry...I'm reallyreally sorry, Mommy..." I asked him what had happened, and he said he'd accidentally cut my nightgown. Heh. The little booger apparently had been trying out grabbing a fold of fabric with his scissors, and somehow hadn't thought they'd actually cut through my nightgown. He had that "I am SO busted" look on his face, so I hugged him and said I knew it was a mistake, but for heaven's sake, don't bring the scissors near people's clothes. He looked relieved. I told him if the hole isn't fixable, we can always cut the thing up and use it as part of a quilt. But...geez! ;^)

Van Gogh for kc

Van Gogh Mural in Venice
Wall mural in Venice, California.
Originally posted by B.E.C.K.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Like, Sooo L.A.

Two nifty things happened this weekend:

1. I saw Jason Lee clutching a bag of chicken and striding out of Koo Koo Roo on Wilshire Blvd. adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits, in the parking lot outside the Screen Actors Guild offices.

2. An adamant Jimi Hendrix lookalike offered me over $20 for my tie-dyed silk shirt in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. (He was wearing a red, ruffled tuxedo-type shirt, and I didn't sell him my shirt because I wasn't appropriately undergarmented. Ahem.)

Oh, and I spent two days with a visiting Internet friend, so make that three nifty things that happened. At least. :-)

More anon (i.e., after I get eight hours' sleep). *yawn*

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Conversations With My Son, #572

Today I bought a bra at WalMart and my son was fascinated. (I will now pause so some of you can boo WalMart while I stick my fingers in my ears and hum the music from my son's SpongeBob Movie Game.) I suppose it would've been weird if he hadn't been interested, seeing as I spent about an hour in the ladies' underwear section looking for the best bra at the lowest price. (It exists!) I mean, what else should he have been looking at?

Anyway, the kiddo started asking questions. "Those things are for your breasts, right? Are they called underwear? Like underpants? I know they're not underpants! I said they're for your BREASTS. Boys don't have breasts. They just have moles. See?" As he spoke, he pulled the collar of his shirt way down and pointed at his little boy nipples. "Mommy! I'm showing you my moles! Boys have MOLES, and ladies have BREASTS! Mommy! Why are you laughing? I'm showing you my MOLES!! Mommy, look!" (poking nipples)

I'm telling you, that made the trip worthwhile right there, but I still couldn't get out of the store fast enough. Now I have to explain to him about the difference between moles and breasts, and why boys don't have big breasts. I think I'll leave the subject of man-breasts for a later date.

And I wonder why the kid has strange dreams about body parts...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Mmm...garbage. Since we live so close to the Dumpster, when the garbage truck comes and disturbs the trash (it comes on Tuesdays and Fridays), especially on a HOT day like today, we get a lovely, garbage-y smell wafting through the uppermost story for 10-15 minutes. Today I finally had the foresight to leap out of my chair and close all the windows as soon as I heard the truck pulling up, and although I still smell a faint aroma of garbage, it's nowhere near as intense as it would have been if I hadn't taken the proper precautions. Man, I don't know how those guys do that work, although I've read that many of them don't notice the smell anymore unless their loved ones point it out upon their return home at the end of the day.

Anyway, small victories. You want my life. Admit it. :-)