Category Archives: Shhhhhhh.

Don’t Underestimate Yourself

There have been too many occasions for which my mother has had to fly in to rescue me.  In my defense, if I were to outline each of these insurmountable situations, you would absolutely agree that rescue was needed, hands down.  So, it’s not that I am a weak or incapable being, but if I were one of my sisters, or one of the three hundred other people who count on my mom for four million things, I might be slightly annoyed at daughter number four for her uncanny knack for attracting the impossible.

That said, one of these times specifically involved pre-term labor, a rambunctious 15 month old with a broken leg, a 16 ton cast, and doctor’s orders to “take it easy”  (Because that phrase means so much to a mother of a 15 month old.)  But, off she flew from East to West to help me do just that.  She was there about a week before Isabelle decided that 40 week pregnancies are for suckers and 36 was quite enough, thank you very much.

During the weeks that followed, she helped my husband and I as we ran ragged trying to juggle two babies, and I dreaded the day that she would go.  I kept on saying “how on earth am I going to do this by myself?  There isn’t any way! How does anyone do this?!”

But, the day came.  My mother had responsibilities at home that had been neglected for too long.  Her own 95 (then 93) year old mother lives in her care, as well as my younger brother who has Down Syndrome. I had her for a whole month – Only-child style.  It was then that I learned that we can surprise ourselves by our strength, resilience and resourcefulness once we are forced to go it alone.

The days and months ahead were not easy by any means, but I did actually learn that I could put two kids in the car without forgetting one of them in the driveway or the on roof of the car.  Coming to the realization that you are not a complete moron feels really good.  Thank you Mom, for cutting the cord.

Speaking of cutting cords….my mother swooped in the day before  my vocal surgery and stayed for five days, three days longer than planned.  After umpteen phone calls from my brother and grandmother, the guilt overtook me and I sent her home.  I had only two more days before I would hopefully be able speak, and although my husband was working late for both of them I felt confident I would surprise myself with my brilliant and silent coping skills.

The first solo bedtime was a complete disaster and it was made abundantly clear that there is absolutely no way in hell you can take care of preschool aged children without speaking to them with no other adult present.

And yet, I was again reminded of my resourcefulness.

I picked up the phone and sent a text to the babysitter.

See?  Trust yourself.  You are capable.  You are strong.  You have everything you need.

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Shhhhhh. Highlights

The day after my surgery, deadlines still loomed. I mean, really doesn’t the Board of Education know that my vocal cords take precedence over the mission of closing the achievement gap for inner-city children? 

So off I went to the New Jersey Department of Education to take a health exam (necessary due to the fact that my bachelor’s degree is in tap dancing and lacks the credits necessary to teach children.) Or something like that. 

I couldn’t find the correct building and ended up in a police parking lot. I got out of the car and handed a cop my phone on which I had typed a message,  similar to all other messages I have written anytime I have needed to communicate with strangers since Wednesday. 

 I just had vocal surgery and can’t speak. I need —–

What I find most amusing about this practice is observing the unanimous expressions in the faces of all those being handed my phone. It’s the same every time. It goes from a scrunched nose, pinchy-eyed sneer – a “who is this yahoo handing me her phone?” sort of look.  Then about 4.5 seconds through the message the wrinkles melt to an “Oh. I’m an asshole. Let me be nice to make up for being an asshole” look. 

Every time. Makes me giggle. Of course not out loud because laughing is forbidden on vocal rest.  Terrible for your cords. Right up there with whispering which is on the same level as screaming. No joke. Who knew?

Ok, so that was fun. And so was the test which could have been passed by the world’s largest imbecile. One of the questions:

True or False: 

Drinking beer is a good substitute for whisky because it is less likely to affect liver function and create addiction. 

Really. 

I Handed in the test and exited the building wearing an expression of “look at me crossing things off the list exactly one day after surgery.   Who is more incredible than I?”

The next stop was a family trip to Target for diapers.  But on the way in, I spotted a sundress which I felt I simply must try on. It’s hotter than bejesus here and you just can’t have too many Target sundresses, wouldn’t you agree?

I left my mother with Isabelle, my husband with Zachary and sauntered (how do you walk through Target?) to the dressing room. I put the dress on and went searching for my mom to see what she thought of it. A minute and a half later, I returned to an empty dressing room. I found three red-shirted employees to whom I mouthed with frantic and slightly psychotic hand gestures “where are my clothes?!”   I had left my phone with my mom and was therefore without my electronic crutch.   They looked at me with a mixture of pity, confusion and I swear, a glimmer of fear.  I searched myself while they watched, quite amused, and found my dress in the trash under the counter. 

Now, herein lies the greatest lesson vocal rest might have to offer for one who is incapable of letting things lie. I so badly wanted to ask why on earth my dress was thrown away. Put on a hanger? On the desk? Left in the room?  Sure. But why would it be thrown in the trash during my minute and a half absence? 

Here is where we learn “economy of language” folks.  Ask yourself this:

If you had to type out everything you wanted to say on a blasted auto-correcting iPhone, just how many things would be slashed off of the “need to know” list? 

Exactly.

Still on the day’s to do list was a trip to the bank. Now this, I suggest everyone try, just once. Hold up your phone to the teller’s window and don’t say a word. Watch her expression as she reads your message.

 Jolly Good Fun. 

Communication with the kids is a whole different entry as I am reeling from today’s nightmare of having to leave my son on the side of the road with my mother because his behavior was so atrocious he could no longer be allowed in the car. 

I do believe that no matter how much my mother and others have stepped in to make this doable, children do actually need their mothers to speak to them. With actual words. (Or sign language if both parties know more than the handful of baby signs we learned before our kids learned to speak). I know. Shocking revelation.

But, God bless my mother who has royally saved my ass this week, stepping in to tend to every squabble, whine and need. (Hubby is directing and choreographing a show and has been gone all day, everyday). I do believe there has only been one “My children never acted like this” comment. Ironically, this came no less than five minutes after I snapped my fingers at her to ask her something. 

 Another entry….

 About my children. Not hers. That’s her blog to write and deny. 

Vow of Silence

No.  Not the one I apparently took 3 months ago when I stopped writing this blog.

A Vow to embark on a profound, life-altering spiritual journey.  My soul knows no bounds when it comes to stretching beyond its comfort zone into the far off places of ethereal and seldom explored energy.  I’m just that way.  Always have been.

Ever since I delved into the masterpiece, Eat, Pray, Love  (back when I had the time to delve into anything other than “Once Upon a Potty”), I too have wanted to leave my family and all those I hold dear, move to India and go within.  Flee to a world of Silence.  (Of course I would also like to eat my way through Italy first and gain an additional 15 pounds, because quite frankly, this year I am on a roll, but I digress.)

Silence

Silence – Meaning no speaking.

Not. A. Word.

I decided that this simply must be done to clear out the cobwebs that have clouded the nooks and crannies of my ever-so-chatty brain.  And what better time to do it than when one is the caretaker of a two and three-year-old who are not in any camp or school and therefore spend all of their time at home trying to kill one another  playing Candyland, painting, crafting and enjoying many other family activities to enrich the rapidly expanding mind. They don’t need a mother who speaks to them.  They listen to about 5% of what I have to say anyway. It is because of these wholesome practices that they have learned to be quite capable of going off and entertaining themselves in healthy, fruitful and non-violent ways.

So, it begins. Six days of absolute silence…My courageous act of Martyrdom.

Yes. Martyrdom.

Because I believe all shall benefit from the lessons I am about to learn from my walk into the far off depths of Solitude.  While the children spin, yell, fist fight and roll around me, I shall remain untouched.  Quiet.  Stoic.

And I tell you this.  Hear me and hear me well…

This choice has absolutely nothing to do with the two cysts that were sliced off of my vocal cords at New York Presbyterian Hospital while I floated in the abyss of general anesthesia and narcotics this morning.

Nothing.

It has very little to do with the strict Doctor’s orders to refrain from uttering as much as a word, whispered or non.  Nor does it have to do with the threat that I will never sing again should I decide to disregard these orders.

I do this for me.  For my soul.  For my Family.  And really, for the good of

All Human Life Everywhere.

Day one of the journey complete.

Don’t call to thank me.  I can’t answer the phone.

Motherfog Fact-Check – All statements are true and correct.  Except for the hogwosh about a spiritual journey.  Gotta shut-up, peeps.  And this stuff HAS to be documented for my children.