Pretty Good Year

Last night, we said goodbye to 2012 & I made sure we had fun doing so!  As you know, our family loves any and all holidays & we also love to party, so last night was no exception.  Even though it was just the 3 of us, I made it a little extra special by adding a few touches.  A couple of months back had to buy a mini helium tank for The Boy’s birthday, and we had leftover balloons and helium, so balloons: check!  Hats: check!  Noisemakers & party blowers: check!  Glow necklaces: check!   A special dinner, (filet au poivre for me & The Husband w/ Pioneer Woman’s Burgundy Mushrooms, and Mac & Cheese for The Boy, followed by Lemon Cake for dessert.  Then a little dance party, movie, popcorn & a 9pm toast and countdown – yes, we had to celebrate the East Coast New Year because we’re old … and I didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night prior.)

NYE Party
NYE Party

It was a pretty good year for us: We bought a house, The Husband had a busy & successful work year, The Boy started his new school & is on a path to overcoming some behavioral issues, and I, the Fairly Good Mother, started this blog!  Of course, there were challenges as well: being told that The Boy has Aspergers, a minor surgery for me & little let downs that are just part of life.

I am a big believer in letting your imagination soar & take you anywhere you want, so therefore, I have some big plans for 2013.  I don’t really believe in “resolutions,” to me it’s just another way to be disappointed in yourself when you ultimately backslide, (because, let’s face it – going from being nestled in a winter cocoon for the past several weeks to becoming a marathon runner in a month is setting yourself up for failure.)  I’m not saying not to try & better yourself, or make improvements to your life, but the language of “I resolve not to do x, y & z” is inherently negative.  Rather, I think having “goals” and saying something like, “This year, I’d like to try and accomplish x, y & z” has more positive energy.

accomplishment

And I don’t know about you, but I feel like we can all use a LOT more positive energy around here!  2012 seemed so “doom and gloom,” to me, what with the end-of-the-world Mayan calendar predictions, the economy still in a downward spiral, and so many natural,(and manmade) disasters peppering our existence.  I’m ready for some good times, some smiles, some laughter, some hope & some more dancing.  I feel like 2013 has so much potential & truly, the best is yet to come.  So dream big & create your own reality … and always aim for growing into a better, more patient, kinder & accepting person.  Because that’s what the world needs.  Happy 2013!

The Importance Of Being Anonymous

As you can probably guess by reading just a few of my blog posts, I really cherish my anonymity. I refer to myself as “The Fairly Good Mother,” to my husband as “The Husband” and my son as “The Boy.”  One of my chief concerns, (and The Husband’s concern as well,) when starting my blog last month was protecting the privacy of myself & my family.

This the internet, where nothing can be erased, and your words might haunt you later on down the line.  All I can say is THANK GOODNESS that they didn’t have social media & blogs when I was in my 20’s!  Even though I do speak my mind, I’m fully aware of who I’m dragging into my opinions & their impact on my private life.  And I know that our opinions and beliefs change over time, but some things you can’t take back.

When I read stories like MaryAnn Sahoury’s, I realize that nothing is private on the interwebs, and that things can be stolen and manipulated by selfish, evil people who don’t care about anyone else’s reputation.  She did something kind to help other mothers who were experiencing difficulty breastfeeding their child, but it was turned into porn & now her reputation & her child’s reputation will be forever marred.  And that’s just one story … There are countless others.

Since The Boy has been diagnosed with Aspergers, and our hope is that we can correct a lot of, (if not all of,) the negative behaviors and he can become the poster boy for “the cure,” I never want this blog to come back and smack him in the face as something to be held against him.  The stories of potty training & silliness are harmless.  But in this day and age of Super Bullies, I don’t want to give them ammunition with which to eviscerate My Boy.  And by making him anonymous, I feel like I’m protecting him, even if only a little.

Though I do have many friends – some have children with special needs, and some with “typical” children – who write blogs and are comfortable posting their pictures & their names for all the public to see.  I’m not in any way judging them, or saying that they’re wrong, but that isn’t something I’m personally comfortable with. Like everything else in life, it’s a personal preference & I don’t begrudge anyone that.  I only caution parents to think twice about what you post and how much you post, and the impact that it might have on your child(ren.)

I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise that I never achieved true “fame & fortune” as an actress.  I really wouldn’t have been comfortable with the public scrutiny & the loss of my anonymity.  I never knew that until I “grew up.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love being the center of attention & I’m as social as they come, but I don’t like the crazies knowing my address.

I think about the whole back and forth battle that ensued between two mommy bloggers recently over something one of them posted about Adam Lanza & how she could have been his mother, because she has her own troubled adolescent son, whom she claims has Aspergers.  (I’m not naming names because I don’t want to give them that kind of publicity.) Then the other mom dug around on her blog & discovered that she might be lying – that seemingly her son didn’t have any mental issues or neurological disorders (that were written about,) and rather than writing about her children affectionately, she skewered them in her blog, often writing about how she wanted to throttle them & how terrible their behavior was & what anguish it had caused her.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be honest or humorous in our desire to connect with other mothers, but I offer a caution to other mommy bloggers … just remember, as much as you’d like to treat the internet as your diary & write down everything, just remember, it’s not paper & cannot be torn from the book & burned.  (Yes, I’ve done that with my real life diaries.)  If you don’t want it coming back to haunt you, or your family, take it to the grave, or tell it to a friend in a closed chat room / facebook group / over wine / in a phone call.

My Little Towheaded Parrot

I just love this Boy.  He’s my little parrot.  He started about a year ago, shortly after he turned two.  It was cute until …

“Goddamnit.”  He would chirp out of nowhere.  Parenting Fail.  Just awesome.

Where did he pick that up, you ask?  Oh, I blame the NFL … and The Husband.  Every Sunday since The Boy was born, we religiously watch football all day long.  Monday nights as well, and lots of Thursday nights, too.  I’m sure he heard his Dad saying that hundreds of times during a Steelers game.

It was kind of funny the first couple of times he did it & we laughed – I mean, come on a baby cussing is funny –  and The Boy enjoyed the reaction, which only encouraged him to repeat it again.  Everyone else laughed too, his Grandparents, his Aunts & Uncles, and then it stopped being funny when he wouldn’t stop.  It stopped being funny when he’d screech it at the top of his lungs in the grocery store or in his religious day school.

I admonished the grown-ups.  “Stop encouraging him by reacting!”

We tried to correct it.  The discipline began … I tried to get him to stop by explaining it was a “naughty” word.  Didn’t work.  I told him, “We don’t say ‘Goddamnit, we say ‘Gosh Darnit.”

“No say Goddamnit, mama, I say Gosh Darnit.”  He’d parrot back to me, proud that he understood the difference.  Face Palm.

Then I tried giving him time-outs when he said it.  Also didn’t work.

I flicked his cheek with my finger a couple of times.  Didn’t work.

I ignored it when he said it.  Didn’t work.  But I kept on ignoring and reminding him that it was a naughty word that isn’t nice to say.  Eventually he stopped saying it because it no longer got a reaction from people.

However, looking back, it was really kind of hysterical when he would bust it out appropriately, as a perfect response in certain situations, with the under-the-breath mutterings of a disgruntled toddler:   ME: “No, Boy, you may not have another cookie, you’ve already had four!”   HIM: “Goddamnit.”  I literally had to turn my back and stifle my laughter.  And that gleam in his eye let ME know that HE knew that I thought it was cute.

After the whole “GD” incident, we were extra careful of the things we’d say.  And the parroting got really cute … His responses to stuff are a parroting of my responses, or from movies, tv shows, or other people in his life.

ME: “Boy, can I have a bite of your cheese?”
The BOY: “Oh, of course you can!”

ME: “Boy, would you like some more milk?”
The BOY:  “No, thank you, I’m good for now.”

ME: “Boy, you are supposed to be napping in there, quiet down!”
The BOY: “Uh, no, sorry, I can’t do that right now!”

The BOY: “Mama, did you just go potty?”
ME: “Yes, I sure did.”
The BOY:  “Oh, you did?!?!  Umi-riffic, you’re a good girl, mama.”  (note: umi-riffic comes from the show Team Umizoomi, a favorite of The Boy’s.)

The BOY: “Mama, I don’t like that behavior, I’m gonna give you a time out!”

I particularly adore when he busts out movie quotes – either out of the blue, or in response to something.  The reason I adore this is because both my husband and I are in the entertainment industry & regularly quote movies as part of our daily conversation, so to hear our son do it brings us immense joy.  He’s one of us.  And sometimes I have to ask him, “Who said that?”  Because he’s really good at obscure quotes.

Just today, we’re walking down the hall to go to his room and he rambles on with this little gem: “You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle! I didn’t get a chance to go out for tricks or treats. And it was all your fault! What a fool I was!! What a fool I was!! Trick or treats come only once a year, and I missed it sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead.”

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

So, in my mind, this totally makes up for the GD incident.   My three-year old son loves The Peanuts just as much as I loved them when I was a little girl, (only I couldn’t quote their lines verbatim.)  And when they use the word “stupid” (which I never knew until I became a mom is actually quite frequently,) He pipes up with “Mama, stupid is a naughty word!”  See, vindication.  Yep, I’m one proud mama.