Pop Culture, Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring: A Weekly Roundup

I haven’t blogged much in the last couple of weeks. Besides the holidays (Thanksgiving & Hanukkah) I have had interviews with three different organizations and one job offer. While this is amazing–especially at this time of year–it is also very overwhelming. I have had so many changes and adjustments in the last two years that even a change that is positive is daunting. Taking a risk always is. So, to ease my anxiety, I have turned to you internet, to show me laughs, to make me think, to look at pretty things. Here are some of my favorite things this week (in no particular order):

1. This article from Vulture about last night’s live Sound of Music (I only could tolerate it for about 30 minutes.)

2. I am late to the party, but have thoroughly enjoyed the blog/social experiment of two friends who have decided to date for 40 days. I am on day 24 of reading 40 Days of Dating; between the typography, writing, and videos, I am hooked yet want to take my time reading because each day is a new surprise. It is the most creative, thoughtful, and heartbreaking beautiful thing I have ever seen. (Plus, it takes you on adventures and makes you wish you were a New Yorker. Sigh.)

3. Literally, a few minutes before I started typing this entry, someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to this blog post called “Sharing is in her soul” and I just read it for the third time.

4. Again, a little late the party, but for the last month or so, have checked Facebook more to see postings from Humans of New York (HONY) then what my “friends” are up to. Though I am a pop culture guru, I always loved stories about ordinary people doing ordinary things. (HONY is like an abbreviated This American Life but in photos.)

5. The Voice. Yep. I almost didn’t watch it this season, but got suckered in again by the sheer purity of watching average looking folk live out their dream on a national television singing competition show. For the first time this season, I downloaded three songs after Mondays show! I think in all its seasons I’ve downloaded maybe 3 songs! So here are my picks people (and yes, I’m shocked I liked a One Direction song too).

Will Champlin, Hey Brother

I wish Will would smile more, but he’s got an awesome voice.

Cole Vosbury, Better Man

Needs a shave, his voice reminds me too much of Ray LaMontagne, but I really dug this performance of this song.

Matthew Schuler, Story of My Life

In all of his voice-overs or confessionals or whatever you call him he kept saying he liked indie rock, the judges keep talking about his version of “Hallelujah” but I really dug his version of Florence and the Machine’s “Cosmic Beautiful.” Xtina should let him stick to what he liked/wanted to sing. Shame he went home.

6. Pottery Barn Play Menorah. I think I had more fun than my son turning the blocks to “light the menorah.”

That’s it folks. Happy weekend.

Standard
Uncategorized

Wanted: A Lifestyle Change

I know one thing for sure: I need a lifestyle change.

I need flexibility in the work place. I need to be in a less stressful and negative environment. I need to start going to the gym again; I want to feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I want to spend more time with my son and take him to story time at the library, or to a mid-week music or swimming class. I don’t want to be so exhausted at the end of the day that we only make dinner, watch a little TV, and go to bed.

I have been interviewing for new positions; one that I am really interested in offers great flexibility, but I would take a drastic pay cut. They would consider a four day work week, but I would need a second job or to pick up freelance work to make up the financial difference. I am very eager to get out of my current work environment; as each day goes by, I feel more and more depressed. My spirit continues to dissipate. My work feels worthless. I am only in it for the pay check. I need more stimulation, comradely, and purpose. I took this job three years ago–pre-child–because I had been unemployed for six months and felt desperate. Now, I am terrified of making another mistake.

I usually “go with my gut” on things, but lately I don’t trust myself. My gut feels all twisted inside. Either way, I feel I lose. Do I keep looking and making the pay check, or do I go with less money and a better lifestyle that offers more flexibility?

Standard
Uncategorized

Everybody’s workin for the weekend

I have a love/hate relationship with weekends; I love not having to go to work and having more time to spend with my son, but I hate that I often feel lonely and long for adult companionship.

Saturdays are usually filled with adventures: a musuem, the botanical garden, a long walk that includes the farmer’s market and breakfast out. In the spring and summer I used to come home and Friday night, change clothes, put on sneakers, put Hen in the stroller and walk to our city’s downtown for a dinner date. 

The families and groups at the tables next to me seemed to be alive with their Friday night glasses of wine or beer celebrating another midweek over. On the walk home I’d see couples just heading out hand in hand, families licking ice creams cones, a dad with a child riding on his shoulders. My lips form a smile as I pass but my eyes blink back tears.

I have tried to make friends with other mom’s in my city that I have met through my son’s daycare or even at the farmer’s market. I thought more parents would want to have weekend play dates; a time where the kids would be preoccupied each other and us parents could converse. Then I realized, most people do have someone else to converse with. All the time. Weekends are sacred family time.

A few Friday nights ago I invited friends and their children out to dinner with us, but it ended up feeling awkward, especially when they paid for our dinner. “We outnumber you. No worries.”

Perhaps when my son gets older and we can actually have a two-sided conversation and I won’t feel so lonely sitting in a restaurant, just the two of us. Perhaps someday we will be three. In the meantime, I have to remind myself, that weekends for me too, are about family time. Just the two of us.

Standard
Figuring it Out, Self-expression

Over lunch with a friend last Sunday she said, “Don’t read too much into this because I’m happy with my husband, but the life of a middle age divorcee doesn’t seem to bad. You get a few days away from your kids and get to go to concerts and restaurants…”

We had been discussing her divorced brother’s relationship–a real life Brady Bunch scenario where he has three boys and she three girls. I was telling my friend that I had noticed on Facebook that they were always going to great concerts and events.

But when your single, never married, with a kid, and no child support, things are a lot different.

The Jewish religion breakdowns in into clarifying sects: Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative, Modern-Orthodox, Haradei–the list goes on. I feel the term “single mother” is like that too; a single mother can be divorced, widowed, separated, mother by choice, mother by accident, etc.

I have been wondering if a divorced women is really “single” beyond a dating status.

Realizing all relationships are different–and I fully admit I’m going to generalize here–a divorced woman knows what its like to have a partner also help care emotionally, physically, and financially for a child. A divorced women has nights and weekends where the kids are with her ex-partner. A divorced woman (hopefully) receives steady child support. She in fact, may only be a “single mom” in terms of a dating status.

I am beyond a single mom. I’m a solo mom. I am solely responsible for making every decision in my child’s life.  I, solitary, am financially responsible for the mortgage, food, clothes, childcare, etc. I am the emotional support wiping tears off a face, the cheerleader encouraging physical and developmental leaps, and the comforting chest to lay on when he has a fever. I have no one else to rely on.

In a way I choose this, so maybe you think I have no right to compare. I’m a product of divorce parents, I get it. I watched my mother go back to school in her 40s and work unglamorous jobs to help support us. Being a divorced mom is not easy either. But there was someone else there to take us away for a night each week and every other weekends. She got a break from us. When you’re alone, the breaks are fewer and the prices higher–and I’m not just talking babysitting fees.

Perhaps someday, I too will have the emotionally and physically energy to date and go to fabulous restaurants and concerts. But until then, I am busy doing it all solo.

Single Mom: Not Just a Dating Status

Aside
Figuring it Out, Uncategorized

I need you to be straight with me, does my son actually need therapy?

It was a Thursday. I was exactly 36 weeks pregnant. My OB/GYN had just informed me I had to get the hospital to be induced. My amniotic fluid was half the amount it was from the prior week, which was low to begin with. My baby had not grown. I would come to learn my uterus had stopped expanding.

Until the age of two, he will always have an adjusted age; 17 months chronologically, 16 months adjusted.

At four months we began to notice he didn’t move his neck. His head always to the left side. He was diagnosed with torticollis. We started seeing a physical therapist weekly. At six months he was diagnosed with Plagiocephaly. He wore a helmet for nearly three months. At nine months he had penis surgery to correct a deformity he was born with. At 16 months after an hour evaluation, I was told he needed developmental therapy and an evaluation for both speech therapy and occupational therapy. I broke down in tears in front of the woman. I was tired of hearing stuff was wrong with my child.

You know in the back of your mind when something is wrong but you’re not ready to admit to yourself? That’s what happened with Henry’s development. We had been working so hard on the physical, building muscle, learning movement, crawling, that I wasn’t paying as much attention to the fact that he was not yet pointing. He could not stack blocks. He did not wave. He didn’t pull small toys out of a box or put them back in.

In the month between the evaluation and our first appointment with the development therapist he started doing a number of new things: he waved, he pointed, he babbled incessantly, he still didn’t like stacking, but I am confident he grasps the concept. Bottom line: he needs to be shown how to play with toys.

We have been seeing the development therapist for about 6 weeks now; in my gut, I don’t think he needs it. The therapist spends 45 minutes one day a week showing him to play to with the toys: how to put things in and out of a box, how to push and pull things on and off; after a few tries he always gets it. He’s a quick learner. But still, I run to TJ Maxx on my lunch hour and buy him a similar toy and we keep practicing at home.

 

He’s doing so well. He catches on. I need you to be straight with me, does my son actually need therapy?

The therapist admitted, “I would feel okay if we stopped. I wouldn’t tell all my families that.” Doubting my gut, we agreed to see her every other week and see what happens. But then she brought up speech therapy, apparently he’s suppose to say 50 words by 18 months. I have a list of about 20. But those are only words I can decipher.

I was talking to my best friend last night; she doesn’t have kids but has been a teacher for over 10 years. “The benchmarks kids have to make these days are ridiculous.” I consulted my pediatrician. She warned me about the therapy trap. You start one and they recommend another one and so on and so forth. The doc and I agree that the physical therapy has been beneficial, but the rest, we’re not so sure on.

In many situations with our children its hard to know what to do because we don’t have the knowledge and trust others to provide it for us. With each diagnosis I’ve conducted my own research to educate myself a little more–the medical stuff has been more evident thus making decisions easier. The developmental stuff is difficult because every child develops at their own rate.

In taking the proper steps and continuing to see the development specialist, I feel I’m doubting my self and my child and that just doesn’t sit right with me.

The Therapy Trap

Aside
Figuring it Out

Technology: Everybody’s Trying to Figure it Out

Until my son started grabbing my phone from my hands to watch a video or see photos of himself, it never occurred to me what technology could be doing to my baby.

I admit I have the TV on too much for background noise; a shadow from my single girl living alone days. I may not be watching it, but I hear voices and feel oddly comforted.

In theory, I would like to raise my child to only watch a television show or two a few times a week, but for me its not realistic. I will need the television as a distraction, as a diversion, and yes, at times, as a babysitter.

In theory, I want my child to be an “outdoor kid” and not sit inside and spend the afternoon playing video games. Thus far, at 17 months, he is that outdoor kid throwing a fit if we go inside and not the walk around the block as have done almost every evening for the past month. However, he still reaches for the iPhone to play Peek-a-Boo-Barn–an app his developmental therapist turned us on to in an effort to learn animal sounds.

The iPhone is a blessing and a curse. I grew up thinking a Texas Instrument toy was the coolest thing ever. My son has apps on a phone, a stuffed dog that calls him by name, and a therapist pushing technology as a way of developing skills.

I often ponder on how confusing an iPhone must be for the child. Not to mention my Kindle–nightly we listen to lullabies on Pandora, he has woke up and caught me watching a movie on HBO Go, he sees words to the books I’m reading. What must babies and toddlers be thinking? I’m often confused and conflicted about the message I’m sending to him and so I try to keep the phone and Kindle use to a minimum while he’s around and awake. But still, I can’t shield him from technology. It is the way of the world.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Post inspired by NPR story: What You Need to Know About Babies, Toddles, and Screen Time

Update: Found this interview with Hanna Rosin from March on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday: “Free yourself from this neurosis of guilt. Technology is with us, accept it!” I just listened to this twice. I feel better. Printing the “The Touch Screen Generation” to read over my lunch hour.

Standard
Authentic, Goals, Self-expression

Goals: Week 1

Instinctually, I want to focus this post on the things I have not done. However, I’ll try not to focus on the fact or beat myself up that I did not exercise once. Instead, I’ll focus on what I have done.

  • I have laughed with my son every day. Usually numerous times a day.
  • I am a few pages away of finishing my first book of year 35: The Fault in Our Stars.
  • I blogged twice last week.
  • Working on my accommodating issues: On Thursday, a friend emailed to ask if I was free for brunch on Saturday. Henry and I have been working on animal sounds and  I had already made up my mind to take him to a small farm to see the animals on Saturday morning. I really love this friend and has had a hard time lately because she recently broke up with someone. While I really do want to be there for her, I also really wanted to take Henry to the farm. The old me would have found a way to make it work–and probably drove about 30 minutes away to meet between our two neighborhoods compromising my son’s and my nap. Instead, I said, “I’ve got something on, how about next weekend?”

Cheers to small victories.

 

 

 

Standard