Remember Veruca Salt?

I’m not talking about the band, either. The all time classic movie from my childhood is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you are anywhere near my age, or if you have just seen the original movie (I won’t even comment on the creepiness of the Johnny Depp remake), you will remember Veruca Salt.

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Oh yeah. There she is as we best remember her – demanding something that she wants. Of all the children’s characters in that movie, Veruca Salt stands out. Why? Because she has personality. Yes, she’s a spoiled brat. Yes, she is pretty unlikable and we feel sorry for her father in the movie, being saddled with such a termagant for a kid. But maybe Veruca is misunderstood. She’s a little girl begging for attention from her parents, who are too busy for her and instead indulge her every whim so that they don’t have to deal with any confrontation.

Look at that sweet face. All she wanted was a golden egg! Geez!

 

You’re thinking, What’s the point of all this, Tamara? The point, my dears, is that we remember Veruca because of her distinct personality. Actually, she’s my favorite character in the movie because she completely cracks me up. That girl knows how to get what she wants.

I keep this thought in my head when I’m dealing with the little quirks of my own children’s personalities. This morning, I dropped my son off for his last day of nursery school. He was wearing his favorite Spiderman t-shirt and matching shorts. He was also wearing his Spiderman winter cap and red gloves. He refused to take them off before we left because he said that wearing them makes him Spiderman. So Spiderman/Chase went to school in a winter hat and gloves because I figure, hey, that’s just his personality. Who cares if it looks a little ridiculous; it’s pretty cute if you ask me.

And when my daughter wears her bathing suit to school under her clothes and removes said clothes on the bus in the morning? Okay, okay, I think. It’s just a Veruca Salt. She’s just being who she is, my quirky little firecracker who thinks she looks pretty in her bathing suit.

I grew up with a strong personality. I, too, know how to get what I want. So when my kids are testing my limits with all those personality quirks that make them who they are, I tell myself that they’ll turn out all right. Because I was quirky too and look how great I turned out.

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An Introvert’s Guide to Parenting

Hi, my name is Tamara and I’m an introvert. One of the many, many things that I didn’t know about parenting when I was newly wedded and dreaming of babies is that your entire social sphere is altered irreparably by the appearance of a mini-you.

When you become a parent:

Strangers Will Feel Urged to Talk to You. It’s like some invisible door has been opened and people feel comfortable stepping on through to chat. If you are outside of the house and are toting a kid (or two), people feel some sort of common bond with you. Which means they will strike up a conversation. Anywhere you go. You’re standing in the grocery store staring at the wall of spaghetti sauces and trying to decide which one you want while simultaneously remembering something stupid you said 15 years ago and (on the other side of your brain) trying to debunk Sartre’s Existentialist Philosophy. A stranger will roll on up into your peripheral vision and smile and make some benign comment about your kids. Or about children in general. Or (my favorite) ask you a stupid question. Like, “Oh my God, they are so cute! Are they twins?” when, really, your kids are different genders and 2 years apart in age.

This stranger-speaking phenomenon will begin the moment you are obviously pregnant. During your pregnancy, the stranger speaking to you may also touch you. You will, most assuredly, hear at least one terrifying birth/parenting story that will haunt you for the next three months.

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Kids will invite your kids to birthday parties. Hello personal nightmare. No matter the venue, it’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s overwhelmingly visually stimulating and you will need to try to keep track of where your child is at all moments while mingling with complete strangers. These parties can last for hours. And you can’t leave whenever you want because a) they haven’t sung Happy Birthday yet, b) you don’t want to offend the parents of your kid’s friend or c) you’re parked in and would have to ask 5+ strangers to move their cars. Did I mention that it’s loud? And crowded?

You have to go places you would never had visited before. There are baby clothes stores, baby furniture stores, photography studios, school functions, school field trips, your neighbors’ houses, ER visits, pediatricians, pediatric eye doctors, any number of specialists if your pediatrician thinks something is wrong with your child’s development. You will visit water parks, amusement parks, local parks and playgrounds packed with other parents who will want to chat because they haven’t spoken to another adult all day long. You will, at least once, set foot in a kid-centric restaurant/playland for birthday parties. See above.

Eventually, your kids will want to leave the house. This will bother you since you can’t think of anything more fun than hanging out at home. In elastic waistband pants. Your kids, on the other hand, will be able to think of numerous places outside of the house and yard that they would like you to take them. See above.

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You will dread drop-off/pick-up and/or the wait at the bus stop. The drive-by drop-off is always preferred by the introvert, but sometimes that’s not an option. You will be mingling with the other parents while you drop off and pick up. You will have to stand at the bus stop with a group of other parents from your neighborhood and make *shudder* small talk. (This introvert will say that once you get to know the parents, this won’t bother you anymore. You will look forward to chatting with the one or two parents that you know.)

You will have to do all these things without letting your kids know they bother you, because you don’t want to inadvertently teach them to be uncomfortable in the same circumstances.

Can my other introverted parents out there think of anything I missed?

A Day in my Imaginary Life

My friend Mary over at Contrary Mom is currently participating in “A Day in the Life of…” project. I’m finding it fascinating to see what other people are doing with their days. I thought about doing this, but my life is really boring and I’d fall asleep just blogging about the details. So instead, I’m going to blog about what I would like to be doing on a typical day. (We’ll assume, for this imaginary day, that funds are unlimited. Wouldn’t that be nice?)

9 a.m. I am gently brought to consciousness by the soft chime of a tibetan singing bowl.

9:15 a.m. I eat breakfast in bed. I’d like the raspberry coconut pancakes they serve at my favorite breakfast place in Monterey, CA. (First Awakenings; you need to eat there. You do.) I get to eat gluten without consequence in my imagination!

9:45 a.m. My personal yoga instructor guides me through a session that awakens and energizes me for the rest of the day.

11 a.m. I make notes on an idea for my next best-selling novel while I soak my feet and get a head, neck and scalp massage at Soakology. And I think I’ll try their Apple Pie Chai while I’m relaxing too.

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12:30 p.m. My girlfriends and I meet up for lunch, eat some amazing food that I don’t have to cook and laugh so obnoxiously loud in our joi de vivre that other people glare at us in jealousy. Because we are enjoying ourselves that much. Truly.

2 p.m. I sit down and work on my novel in a quiet house.

4 p.m. I pick the kids up from the nanny and consult with our personal chef about what we’d like for dinner tonight.

4:30 p.m. I spend quality time with my family.

6 p.m. We eat our gourmet dinner and share about our day. No one interrupts anyone else or tries to talk over them. There is no yelling and the kids eat all their vegetables without complaint.

7 p.m. The live-in nanny bathes the kids and makes sure they’re ready for bed.

7:30 p.m. I sing lullabies and tuck in my kiddos. They fall asleep immediately and NEVER wake me up in the middle of the night.

8 p.m. Mike and I go and have some “alone time.” For 2 hours.

10 p.m. I’m so exhausted from all that alone time, that all I can do is lay in bed and read.

11 p.m. I fall asleep to the cracking sound of the fireplace and the summer nights track on my sound machine.

The Pain in my Ass

I bet you think I’m talking about a person, don’t you? Nope. I am, literally, talking about a pain in my ass. To be precise: my piriformis muscle. Yeah, I never heard of it either, but it sounds a lot better to be talking about the pain in my piriformis than the pain in my ass.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this before, but I’ve been having back pain for a long time. I’d say, oh, 6 years or so. Right after my son was born, almost 4 years ago, I finally went to see my doctor about it. She sent me to an Osteopathic Physician. At the age of 34, I was told, after a series of x-rays, that one of my legs is longer than the other. And that walking and running (thank you, navy) without a lift to equalize the length of my legs had caused my spine to curve in order to compensate, and had pushed the top of my tailbone toward my spine which caused it to press on 3 discs in my lower back. Which are now arthritic. I have also worn out the outsides of my kneecaps because of the awkward gait I’ve had since taking my first steps.

What does this have to do with a pain in my piriformis, you ask? For the last year, I’ve been telling my Osteopath, while she was adjusting my back, that my left hip hurt. The pain has continued and now is so bad that I can’t even sleep on my left side. She believes that a trigger point in my butt is to blame. She thinks I should get a cortisone shot right in the old keister to get the muscles to release. I’m guessing this means I have a tight ass. And not in the complimentary way, either. Too bad. I always wanted a JLo booty.

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The Piriformis Revealed, or Everything you didn’t want to know about my ass. (Note: this is not an actual image of said ass.)

For some reason, the idea of a needle being injected in such a vulnerable place is unsettling. I’m not afraid of needles. I don’t like shots, per se, but I don’t have an irrational fear of them either. This spot, however, is making me have some Navy bootcamp flashbacks and I’m thinking maybe I was slightly traumatized by one little incident there.

In the first few weeks of basic, my division had to go down to the medical facility and we all had to get a massive round of shots. It was pretty standard military medical care. We rushed on over there, waited for a really long time, and then had to line up and walk through what felt like the bottle conveyor belt from the opening theme of Laverne and Shirley. We walked down a line, stopped when told, and a nurse on either side of us would give us a shot in the arms. Then we’d take a few more steps, stop, and two more nurses would give us two more shots in our arms again. I don’t remember how many I got; I wasn’t all that concerned. Then came time for the penicillin shot. They separated the girls from the guys and marched about 20 girls into a room at a time. They must have been coming out a different door because we wouldn’t see them again until we too had bandaids on our butts. When my turn came around, I marched into this big sterile room that had a long table in the center with no chairs. Ten of us lined up facing the table on one side and the other ten on the other side. We stood there looking across at the other girls while we were told to drop our drawers, bend over, place our forearms on the table top and wait for our shot. Once the shot had been administered, we were allowed to pull up our pants and wait until we were all ready to march out of the room. I wasn’t all that nervous, although it’s kind of weird leaning over a table bare-assed with strangers (both male and female nurses) hanging around behind you. But then the girls across the table from us started getting their shots. And we could see each pained expression, every tear escaping every eye and each poignant gasp as the giant (I kid you not, it was gianormous) needle was plunged into their backsides. To make matters even more horrific (yes, it’s possible, wait for it…) one of the girls in my line jumped or twitched or something and the needle snapped off in her ass cheek. Blood and penicillin were spurting, nurses (they were actually nursing students, I later discovered) were scrambling around, shouting commenced and there I was, leaned over a table, cold air on my cheeks, in a horrified eye-lock with the girl across the table. Our telepathic conversation sounded like this:

Are you fucking kidding me? We’re dreaming this right now, right?

No, it’s really happening. This is a goddamn nightmare. Can you believe we actually signed up for this voluntarily?

My ass is so cold right now that I’m shivering.

Don’t do it! I’ll bet that’s what happened with the girl currently sporting a giant needle in her ass. You shiver and that shit’s gonna spurt!

Oh. My. God. I can’t bend over this table another second or I’m going to scream, scream I tell you!

You take out the Petty Officer on the left and I’ll take out the one guarding the exit. Ready, set…

I’m next! Holy sh- Ow! Ouch, ohmygodthat’sagiantneedleinmyass!

Thank God that’s over. Let’s never speak of this again. In fact, I’ve already forgotten your name for all time.

Can you blame me for not wanting a cortisone shot in the keister? I’m scarred for life when it comes to shots in that region. Instead, I went for a trigger point therapeutic massage this morning. It was both relaxing and painful. Now all I have to do is convince my husband that its beneficial to my health to become a member at Massage Envy and get a massage once a month so I can avoid the dreaded butt shot. I’m not so sure my penicillin shot story will move him to part with the money. Maybe if I act it out for him….

Kountdown to Kindergarten

I’ve spent the last 2 days looking at everyone’s back to school pictures. And I just have to say… I’m still waiting for Kindergarten to start in my town! My 3 year old started nursery school yesterday, but I have to wait until Monday for my Kindergartener to head off to school. Five days and counting….

In the meantime, I guess I should be reading the 6 page handout that the school gave me in March to help me prepare my child for Kindergarten. Considering that it took them 6 pages to tell me what I’m supposed to do to get her ready for Kindergarten (where all I did was play and sing and learn my letters) I’m guessing I won’t really have time now for all this preparation. In fact, I think they should have given me these instructions to read while I was pushing my child into this world. Good way to spend an hour and a half of my time.

Let’s see. In the last 6 months, I was supposed to do these things to prepare my daughter for Kindergarten:

Build a Love of Learning. Okay, I think I can do that. Kids ask enough questions that I should never run out of topics. Because kids always listen to their parents when they’re talking. Yeah.

Teach Your Child Independence. Works for me! There’s nothing better than a kid who can dress herself, feed herself and wipe her own butt! Once she can use the stove, I think my job in the house will be over.

Build Motor Skills. Um. Okay. I’ve got some canned goods we can do some strength training with. I mean, I can’t possibly rely on my child’s own brain to help her develop these basic skills.

Develop Language Skills. Been there, done that. I think the guy that almost side swiped me when I pulled over for an ambulance the other day was very helpful in building my kids’ language skills. I think I used every swear word in my very vast college English major vocabulary while I honked my horn and shook my fist out the window. They may have learned some sign language too.

Explore Other Cultures. Already done! We just took a trip to Walmart yesterday! My kids are going to be so advanced.

Nurture Your Child’s Physical Well-being. I think I’ve done this since the cops haven’t come to take my kids away. Oh, and we’re gluten free. I mean, that should bring me halfway up the Mother of the Year Award scale all on its own.

Teach Your Child Self-discipline. Baahahahahahaha!!! Do you know that one of the tips was to “avoid tantrums?” I mean, if I knew how to do that I wouldn’t have been mired down in depression for the last month. Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher, this one’s all on you.

Teach Your Child To Get Along With Others. This one is tricky. I haven’t figured out how to do this one yet. Guess that one goes to the teacher to work on. Maybe I should sit in so she can teach me too.

Re-blogged:10 Ways Having a Toddler is Like Being in Prison

I came across this blog post yesterday from dadandburied.com. After reading it to my husband, who fervently agreed with everything the author wrote, I found myself nodding my head and laughing. And then wishing we had our very own hotbox in which to place ourselves in solitary confinement.

In the Name of the Toddler: 10 Ways Having a Toddler is Like Being in Prison.

As the author, Mike Julianelle, professes, “Having kids is not all it’s cracked up to be.” No Mike, it really isn’t. So read this awesome blog post and laugh your ass off. And if you’re not a parent, laugh anyway. Because it’s all true!

I’m off to go read everything else this guy has blogged about. Later alligator!

The Force is With Me

Oh Book Blogger Challenge, I forgot to tell you that I get bored very easily. You haven’t read my 100+3 Things About Me blog post yet, have you? No matter. I will try to complete you, Blogger Challenge.

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Oh.

Of course, Master Yoda. I do. I will complete my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day 8: Write 15 bullet points of things that appeal to you on blogs.

Humor, honesty, real life, parenting rants, personal opinion, raw emotion, creativity, anything about writing, book recommendations, parenting advice, music reviews, movie reviews, stuff about marriage, and wuv, tru wuv…

Day 9: Why Do You Blog About Books?

I don’t. Not usually, anyway. But I do love to read.

Day 10: How do you choose what book to read next?

Goodreads.com is pretty good at recommending books I will like based on the things I have already read. I get most of my ideas about what to read next from Goodreads. I am also one of those people who will read anything an author I like has written. I will literally grab the entire block of paperbacks by one author from the library shelf and read them one by one. When I’ve exhausted that author’s book list, I move on to another. And I take recommendations from friends too.

Hasta la vista, baby. Hit me with some of your favorite lines from a movie! I got a FEVER! And the only prescription…is MORE COWBELL. (You can include TV quotes too.)