Monday, June 22, 2015

Helicopter Mom Coming in for a Landing!

I am a helicopter mom. I can't help it.  Gman is my only child.  My baby (albeit a 9 year old and 60+ pound baby.) It is amazing that my son is as brave and bold as he is at times considering I am usually no more than two steps behind him.  When he is afraid of something - it's usually because I have had some underhand influence on him.  For instance, he is scared to jump out of trees he climbs.  I attribute this to whenever he was little and tried to jump off something;I was always there with the "be careful. you don't want to hurt yourself.  This would also be followed by me grabbing him to get him down off of whatever he was trying to jump from.  Flash forward six years; it was all I could do to hold myself back when I stayed at his first official boys chorus rehearsal.  I had to watch him navigate his way not knowing anybody. As he walked around looking lost, it tore me up inside; but I knew he wouldn't make friends if I was there holding his hand the whole time.  I am afraid to let him fail.

He is always the smallest one in his class and is an easy target for bullies because he doesn't believe in fighting back.  He always said that he didn't want the bully to feel the he or she was trying to make him feel.  Imagine my surprise when he stood up for a friend who was being bullied by telling the offender "If you mess with him, you mess with me".  Of course this was followed up with me having to march into the offending child's teacher's classroom when said child put my kid into an arm lock.  Yes, I am THAT mom. I let him try to figure out how to work through taunting and verbal spats.  He's nine and sadly, not all kids are as nice as he is.  He has to learn to defend himself, but I draw the line when hands are laid on him.

He has an insane amount of confidence despite having such a neurotic mother..  I have watched him tackle numerous performances with the stage presence of a pro - even if these are just elementary school musical productions.  The role of Aladdin as a first grader scared the crap out of me, but he wasn't even nervous, I have watched him lead his friends into song and dances he choreographs and produces. He is destined for big things.

Save for when I am at work or he has at school; I am usually around him all of the time.  Even if he is outside playing, I am in earshot of him.  His dad and I are divorced and maintain two separate households, but I usually find myself with them a lot more than I am by myself.  Why, because my son just seems to want me around.  So it came as a shock and yet not a shock when he told me he wanted to go the music camp his boys chorus was having.

Camp?  

What?

Like sleep away for six nights without me or his dad?  Is he crazy?  Is he for real?  

It is all he has been talking about since he joined the chorus in March.  It was a pretty penny, but his dad came through as always and financed it. Meanwhile I am bemoaning "SIX DAYS WITHOUT YOU, how will I survive??"  He has been so excited about this telling me that six days is nothing and we will see him on parent's day.  Sure he has been gone that long before, but he was with his dad.  This is TOTALLY different.  We've talked about what we will pack, what songs he will work on while he is there, who does he think he might get as a room-mate, etc.  This is big stuff. My big kid is going to camp!

Until last night when he broke down crying.

"I don't want to go to camp.  Six days IS too long.  I don't want to be away from you and daddy for that long!"  Again, my fears have managed to manifest themselves in him.  I can't sit there and tell him about my amazing experiences at Fort Scott - I HATED camp. My parents sent me because they thought it would be good for me and so I would make some friends.  It didn't work,  I was just as anti-social then as I am now.  Back then bullying was merely classified as teasing, but I was teased so hard they had to switch cabins for me.  TWICE! 

What is a mom to do?  I mean besides the fact that is not refundable and he leaves in 3 days - I don't have a choice but to make him go.  He was afraid because I made him that way!  I did my best to reassure him how awesome of an experience this will be.  This will bond him further with the other basses.  He will be with some of them for the next seven years.  This can help him achieve his future goal as Part Leader when he gets older.  This will help him get to the Performance division faster than if he didn't go because of how many songs he can check off. (He has to memorize 39 songs and sing the bass line harmony.  Did I mention five of these songs are hymns in Latin?) Plus it is only SIX days and FIVE nights.  I told him the first day he may be a bit scared, the second day he will be more used to it, the third day he will be too busy having fun to remember he was scared, the fourth day we will visit and the last two day will leave him begging for five more.

This was enough to convince him that it might not be so bad.  The unknown is scary, but I don't want him to be like me.  I'm so afraid of what will might happen that I miss out on a lot of opportunities,  I don't want him to miss out on a great experience because he is worried about me being alone.  I don't want the independent streak that started at the end of kindergarten "NO MOMMY, you are NOT walking me to the gate anymore.  You can watch me from the car like the other mom's. I'm a big boy") to wilt and die.  This is the kid that had me come up with a code for I love you, so I could say it when I dropped him off so he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of his friends. The kid who told me if I quit PTA then I would be setting a bad example for him because we don't quit just because we didn't get the part we wanted.  (This is the same speech I gave HIM when he wanted to quit show choir when he got Cogsworth instead of Lumiere.)  He is brave and fierce and he is going to take music camp by storm.

In the meantime, I need to let him go and try new things and NOT let him know how much it scares me.  I need to let him be a nine year old boy.  Yes I even need to let him fail.  He will soar like an eagle because he has been my copilot and nobody helicopters like I do!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This is My Life

So I met the man of my dreams.  Single dad who has custody of his kids, has a great job, handsome,  he likes UFC and I didn't meet him online and OF COURSE my son doesn't like his same age son,  but let's start from the beginning.

This journey started about a month ago.  You see my son is in a play and needed a Cogsworth costume and this isn't one I could just go to Ebay and buy. I couldn't make it becauseI don't have a lick of craft in me; I can barely color inside the lines. but my friend D does.  She possesses the 3 B's - Beauty, Brains and Badassness in all forms - so she said she would help me make this costume which is and was becoming the bane of my existence.

We needed to do a Joann Fabrics run, but my son was really sick.  I had to bring him with me to her house though because she needed to get his measurements,  Fortunately, my son and her son are best friends so leaving him to veg on her couch wasn't a problem.  Since it was just a craft store run and because I had been dealing with a sick kid; I was not glam squaded when we headed over.  This was a mistake because shortly after our arrival - Hot Single Dad showed up to pick his son up from the sleepover that D had hosted the night before. It was like he was walking in a ray of light and I was speechless. I immediately pulled my hair out of my pony tail and tried my best to not look like Single Haggard Mom.  I cursed myself for maybe the only time in my life I forgot lip gloss.  I am sure I was all sort of awkward, speechless and giggling at the same time.  He grabbed his son and was gone - along with my heart which followed him out the door.

Flash forward to Saturday.  Every time there is a UFC fight, D has a party at her house and all the kids get a sleepover.  Since HSD and her son have become thick as thieves - this means he would at the very least be dropping his son off and at best staying for the party.  I of course was pushing for the latter.  I texted D to ask if she had gotten a confirmation from HSD and she said she was just getting ready to let me know he was coming.

Holy buttered biscuits - I only had four hours to get ready and  I was stuck cooking butter steak at the ex's.  After my steak was done and the kitchen cleaned up; I made an excuse how I needed to shower. (Well I did - I smelled like butter steak which under some circumstances might be an aphrodisiac - but this was not one of them.)  I grabbed Gman and ran home to commence prep work.  My son who now considers himself a fashionisto/Lifestyle Guru raided my closet trying to find me something to wear. (Mental note - a nine year old boy will try to dress you like Cinderella which is not at all appropriate to watch men kick the snot out of each other.)  I decided on jeans, a low cut tank top and and sheer mullet t-shirt.  I took a quick shower. shaved the extremities and it was time to do the hair.  (Second mental note - a nine year old boy will try to put you in braids and barrettes. Boho/playground wasn't the look I was going for much to his dismay.)  I haven't touched up my roots in awhile; so the flat iron was out.  Nothing says Single Haggard Mom like an inch of grey hair.  I decided beach curls were the way to go.

I ended up somewhere between beach waves and Shirley Temple, but either way my hair looked AH-MAZING.  My son was still grumbling over the fact that I wasn't in a lace gown with braids and barrettes and even more mad that I wouldn't let him do my make-up. (Third Mental Note - even though I let him give me a makeover for Mother's Day - Carrie post prom was also not the look I was going for.)  I compromised and let him put on my lip gloss (Fourth mental note - if you let your nine year old apply your lip gloss- you will look like you just finished a makeout sesh even if you haven't locked lips with anyone.)  Then off we went to the grocery store to pick up something to bring.  As we are checking out, the manager asked me what trip this was today.  Apparently I am known for making multiple trips a day to this store.  I told him it was only my second trip and before I could stop my mouth - the next thing I know I am totally trying to pick up the manager. I was watching it unfold like an out of body experience. Something about how I can't go to a UFC fight empty handed and oh really -  you are going to Star Wars party for your nephew's 21st birthday - great what time do you get off - I'll drop my son off and be back - what it's in Corona - so what - are you driving?.  People behind me were laughing and my son was just shaking his head at me asking to be excused to go look at Redbox.  It was the hairdo I tell you.

We get the party (and no I never went back to the grocery store) and waiting for my mom tribe to show up and HSD to arrive.  Mom tribe arrives, margaritas commence and HSD walks in, Again I swear he had a heavenly light shining around him.  My heart which he took the last time he left, leapt back into my throat and I tried to play it cool.  I felt bad for the guy because he was totally surrounded by the mom tribe like fresh blood in a pool of sharks.  I never really got a chance to talk to him though because he was discussing little league with another mom and well my son acts and sings - he doesn't play sports.  I learned all sorts of useful tidbits about him though.  The mom tribe ended up outside somehow and HSD ended up on the couch with the rest of the men.  No way to infiltrate that either.  Then before I know it - the party is over and he is thanking D for the invite stating his daughter was home alone and didn't want to leave her by herself much longer.  I let him know we do this once a month and he should come next month.  For a brief moment - we connected.  He told me he loved to cook and he would bring something next time.  We locked eyes and he said it was good seeing me again and he'd see me soon.  Then we was gone.  Cue swooning, blushing etc. He must have fallen for the mass of curls on my head that I couldn't stop tossing.  Since he was gone though - it immediately went back into my signature pony tail

I was quickly brought back to reality when Gman started tugging at my shirt telling me  "Mom, I want to go home."

Wha wha what?  No, I was just about to embark of 12 hours of peace and quiet where I could replay out exchange in my head for hours.  What do you mean you don't want to spend the night?

Apparently he doesn't like HSD's son very much and felt like his son and D's son were being mean and he was done.  Not only was he done, he doesn't want any playdates nor does he to invite HSD's son to his birthday party.

Child you are killing me.

He just closed down EVERY open door I could've had to sidle my way in.

This is my life.

Oh well, maybe the grocery store manager is single...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Am Not My Mom

There is a running joke in my household.  Somewhere in Newport Beach there is an affluent couple with a brown haired, brown eyed boy.  He's almost nine, usually sickly, withdrawn and not doesn't have many friends.  He avoids the spotlight and doesn't excel in school.  The parents wonder if their child wasn't switched at birth because this can't possibly be their child.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Orange County; there is an amazing blonde haired, blue eyed monkey who is everything that child is not.  This is my child and I too wonder if he was switched at birth.  Never mind the fact that he was with me in the hospital the entire time and he is my mini-me.  Seriously - the kid is my mirror image in boy form.

I was nothing like him at his age.  This kid has drive.  He has a passion for music and acting. He has a core set of friends.  His teachers love him and he is an over all good kid.  He is your typically over-scheduled child with his acting, his singing and his martial arts - yet his grades don't falter.  He is nothing like me.

The problem with having such a social child is that is make ME have to be social.  I'm not social.  I don't like dealing with people.  Texting is a godsend to me because I don't actually have to talk to the person on the other end.  Those moms at the park that I avoided like the plague when he was a baby now know me and worse - know my name.  They make small talk with me because now our kids go to the same school and my son always has a major role in the school plays. They know us.  

I have had to accept that I need to be friends with his friends parent's because it takes a tribe to raise a child and sleepovers are a big thing at this age.  That mom is going to be the one to pick up your kid when you can't make it to the school on time just like I will take their kids when they need that kid free night out.  It has been an interesting dynamic and well - I actually love these moms.  I have a dope tribe.  I don't really remember my mom interacting with my friend's parents until I was much older,  It was a different time.  They didn't helicopter parent and the hour long pedicure with your kid's best friend's mom to get away wasn't a thing in 1979.  I mean my mom knew my friend's parents, but they never hung out.  

I am not sure if my mom went and ran the fruit and veggie stand at lunch time that a huge number of kids would have yelled "HI KATHIE" HI Kathy's mom!".  I got exactly that when I ran my son's veggie bar only I got "Hi Kathy" or HI Gman's Mom.  Calling "Kathy's mom" would have been awkward.  Back then it seemed like it was only the eccentric moms that volunteered in the classroom and at the schools.  I know my mom didn't and I can't recall any of my friend's ever doing it either. If only I had a picture of me rocking that hairnet cap and gloves doling out watermelon.  I might not have looked hot, but my kid was proud.

Lastly - I am sure there was PTA back then,  Heck there was the movie and song Harper Valley PTA, but my mom was never part of that.  Again - it falls back on the times.  Our parents for the most part didn't volunteer.  PTA was where I drew the line.  Sure I made mom friends - but I am not one of THOSE moms.  I mean that is way above and beyond the grounds of social.  I am not alone in this thought because I have plenty of mom friends that say they will volunteer at different activities, but no thank you to being on the board.  That was the hard line I took,

Yeah, we all know where hard lines and I stand.

"Mom. you HAVE to join the PTA.  If they don't get enough board members then there won't be a PTA" "Not my problem kiddo."  "Mom, that means no Halloween Hoot.  You can't let that happen."  No son, you are right - the hoot is important.  It really is the social event for the kids  So the next thing I know - I'm on the board.  I wasn't going to be the reason there was not Halloween Hoot - I have enough mom guild thank you very much,

So insread, I tried to get myself kicked off the board. I have attended only a handful of meetings and I don't think I have produced a single news letter.   I only went to the last meeting to get myself unelected off the board.  I even announced that I wasn't going to be back.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

That's all fine and dandy except the President has done her two terms and has to take a different position.  The Vice President is coming back at all and the Treasurer doesn't want to do it anymore either,  Nobody who was already happy in their position wanted to step up and there was no fresh blood in the water.  The only option was a mom who might be willing to take my spot.  So what did Kathy the Wonder Mom do?

You guessed it.

I put my name in for President and after a couple of drinks - convinced two of my tribe moms to take Treasurer and Vice President.  Booyah.  Now my dope tribe will be running the PTA with me.

Can I handle it?  I have no idea.  Will I ruin the school?  Quite possibly.  I am I going to be the most awesome PTA President?  You know it!  I guess my days of nobody knowing my name. 

PTA President is something that my mom never would have done.  That's OK though, because I am not my mom because my son is not me!

UPDATE - I am not going to be President after all.  This is why I don't like stepping up,  We suddenly went from OMG WE ARE GOING TO LOSE OUR CHARTER!!!! to oh, well the Treasurer who was quitting decided she wants to be President and our President who was going to head up Membership now is going after VP.  So my dope tribe is no longer needed.  As much as I want to quit - I have to stay on to prove to my son (who gave me a very healthy lecture about quitting) that you can't quit because you don't get what you want.  It was a fun dream,