Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Borrow A Cup Of Formaldehyde?

Living on a cul de sac is a wonderful thing when you are a Gladys Kravitz type like me. I know everyone's name and what time they should be home everyday. All the neighborhood kids think I am cool because they use my driveway as the bicycle launching ramp and I don't care. I know the couple 3 doors down have affairs. I know the man across the way tried to add on to his house without getting a permit. I'll never turn him in because he got my dog off the roof once when I wasn't home.

The couple who live next to me (I call them Dork and Dindy) have not opened their blinds in 10+ years. No lie! Not even a crack. I bought this house from a friend who never saw them open a blind either in the five years he lived here. These neighbors are the type that don't smile or wave back at you when you see each other leaving or coming home. I liked them a little more when I convinced myself they were into kinky sex in their living room or had a sex slave and couldn't open the blinds. As it turns out, they are just assholes. Crazy assholes. I was pregnant for nine months, had a baby I walked in the stroller or played with in the front yard and never a word or a smile. Then I was out washing the car in the driveway one afternoon and Robby was in the stroller watching me. You can imagine my shock when Dork got his mail from his mailbox and started walking right towards me. I thought for sure he was finally going to say something about what an adorable child I had brought forth into this world. Instead he proceeded to not only not mention this or even say hello.

We were noticing that you leave your garage door open a lot. Aren't you afraid
of burglars? We even close our door when we are home and working in the


Well...when it is open, we are always home. The garage door opener is directly
under the crib and sometimes we don't want to close the door when Robby is
taking a nap. It's so loud it sometimes will wake him. We've never had a problem
with burglars before. Have you?


We've had mice. But we have cats.

I had no idea how to respond to that so I just said it was nice talking and went back to washing the car. Now I admit I sometimes still imagine they have a sex slave. Only now its head is in their freezer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Listening 101

From the beginning, I have always talked to Robby like he could understand what I was saying. I started this when he was still inside my body. I would tell him about what we were eating, watching on television or what horrible things George Bush was up to. Once he was outside of my body, it felt natural to just keep doing it. When he started talking, he would mostly parrot what I was saying with one word statements like TRUCK! or ELEPHANT! Next, the one word statements turned into mini-sentences that showed me he was starting to put all those words together. He would say things like, “Robby go outside” and “Eat Blueberries”. I was thrilled he could communicate his thoughts and desires to me. When I asked him what he dreamed about as we snuggled in the rocking chair in the mornings, he would tell me. (Usually it was elephants.) Last week at bath time, I realized that he has now taken it to the next level; independent thought.

Since his first bath, I’ve always held him up to watch the last bit of water leave the tub and disappear down the drain. As the last bit of suds leave, I always say, “Bye-Bye bath water. See you next time!” About a month ago, we were watching the tub drain and I told him that the water was going to the ocean. I didn’t even think he really heard me say it. He did though. He pointed to the water as it was draining and told me that it was going to the airport. “The airport?” I thought I misunderstood him but he then told me that the water had to go to the airport to go to the ocean. You have to go to the airport to get to far away places like Arizona where Grandma lives, so why wouldn’t the water have to go to the airport to get to the ocean? It makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Think about it, I have. How many times have I continued to have our conversations and not stopped to hear if he has a response? Admittedly, this is a new concept for him and me both so I can’t be too critical of my parenting skills on this matter. But then I asked myself how often I do the exact same thing with people in my life that can comprehend and respond? What about people who can comprehend and choose not to respond?

That’s a subject I’ll leave for another time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

RIP New Wahky

Last night was the first night I have ever spent away from Robby. I was so afraid it was going to be this horrible experience; filled with constant monitor checks and crying. Instead, I slept for about 11 hours. Ahhh. Sleep. I remember it well.

When I dropped Robby of at the Papa's apartment for the night, Robby was fine. In fact, he started saying, "Bye" to me as I was sitting on the couch talking to The Papa. I am so grateful that Robby is okay with all of this. I wouldn't want him to be any other way. I'd be lying though if I didn't confess a little twinge of pain as Robby closed the door behind me so rapidly after I walked through it. Maybe all the times I've told him "Mama's ALWAYS come BACK" has paid off.

We didn't get much sleep the night before for many reasons. First, I signed the final divorce papers that day and I'm sure Robby could sense the cloud of sadness lurking over my head. Second, tragedy struck when we got home from daycare. New wahky (binky) was broken beyond use. Robby was heart broken and repeatedly asked for New Wahky all night. Old Wahky was fine until 1 am. I remember the day we bought New Wahky. It was the first time We went grocery shopping since The Papa moved out. I was much too tired to be grocery shopping with an almost 2 year old, but the cupboard was BARE. Robby bit through his wahky and proceeded to throw the biggest tantrum of his life. I've seen kids throw tantrums in stores for many years and could never understand why their mothers didn't handle the situation properly. All the times I had told myself I would always remove my child from the store if he ever threw such a fit were playing back in my head as I pushed the cart to the baby isle, grabbed a package of pacifiers and opened it right on the spot. New Wahky and a big dose of understanding for The Mama was born.

Lastly, Robby picked that night to crawl out of his crib for the first time. At 3:30 am, I finally put Robby in his crib with a book and told him he HAD to go to sleep. Nothing else I had tried had coaxed him to sleep. I listened as he screamed for 9 minutes and then fell asleep. At 6 am when I heard him going through his normal morning routine of babbling the plot of a book he was looking at, I got out of bed and went to his room. I opened the door and saw that he was not in his nice safe crib where I left him but sitting in the chair smiling at me. Once my heart started beating again, we went through our normal morning routine.

I'm sure I'll always remember that day. All in all, it wasn't too bad though. I'm amazed at how we got through it so well. The sun still comes up, the Cherrios are still stuck to the bowl in the kitchen sink and the laughter and hope for a brighter future are still here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August 1, 2007

Dear Robby,

This isn’t a birthday letter. It’s probably one the hardest I’ll ever have to write.
Tomorrow, your Papa and I are getting divorced.

I know you’re only two and don’t understand what is happening completely. I’m actually very grateful for that. I know one day you will want to know why. Maybe this letter will help, although I don’t think anyone really ever knows all the parts that created the “why”.

The craziest part of all of this is that your father and I still love each other very much. I will never stop loving your father. Half of what you are is him; so how could I ever stop loving him? When I look at you I can see parts of him in your looks and your personality. I always smile when I notice these traits in you. Your father and I have been hurting for a long while now. We’ve both tried everything possible to make this marriage work. We just couldn’t do it. I guess that sometimes love isn’t enough to make everything all right. If it was, this letter would never be written.

I want you to know that you were brought into this world with so much love, passion and excitement. You were created out of the love your Papa and I have for each other. I don’t think either one of us will ever regret our marriage. Not only because of you, but because it was a very special love. If I can say this now when I feel like I am going to choke on all the sadness in my heart, I know I will be able to say it forever.

People grow and change. Dreams change, expectations change and lives change. Looking back, I wish that I had seen some warning signs that we were drifting apart in what we wanted. It’s like one day I looked up and realized that we didn’t want the same things out of life. No amount of nagging or begging could ever change that. How can you change another person? You can’t. You can only love and respect them for who they are. I can do that with your father; I just can’t do it as his partner in life anymore. So, if you one day feel like you need to be angry at or blame one of us for divorcing, you’re just going to have to blame us both. There is no right and wrong involved. It isn’t black and white. We’ve both done right and we’ve both done wrong. Your father and I both want the best for you out of life. That will never stop or change. I want us to be able to want the best out of life for each other as well. It’s just hard to know that you aren’t the best choice for the one you love. No matter how much you want to be the best choice.

I am fighting the urge to apologize to you for all of this happening. I am sorry that you will not remember how it was when Mama and Papa lived together with you. You won’t remember the laughter we shared or the joy in our eyes when we looked at you. Please know that it once was there. I guess that’s the trade off for you not remembering the sadness in our eyes today.

I want it to be completely clear to you that in no way were you the cause of this happening. You have absolutely nothing to do with any problems your father and I have. I repeat: you are not the reason we are getting a divorce. Never think that, okay? You can always come to either one of us and ask or talk about anything; even this. Our first and foremost thought in all of this has not been who gets what book or dish. It has been making sure that you are taken care of in the best possible way. You are the most important thing to both of us. The love a person has for their child is a different love than any other. It’s more special than any other. That love can never falter. It can only grow and amaze you for your capacity to love. I don’t know everything, but this I know for sure. I wake up more amazed every single day.