Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve, Rain, Thankfulness

It's been raining here in the DC metro area for a few days. And I am thankful for the rain. Because of it, I pulled out the rain coat from the back of the closet this morning as we were leaving to take Arlo to preschool. In so doing, I felt something heavy in my left pocket. My digital camera! Lost for two weeks! The very item for whose disappearance I had absolutely torn apart our house! It's like Christmas on Thanksgiving Eve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Step-parenting is...

If you are a stepparent, I dare you to finish that sentence. And to post the sentence online, for all to see.

I have not yet written openly about being a stepmother of a teenager, or how that relationship effects my marriage, my sanity, or my patience in parenting my own two small children. My feelings are too raw. The emotions are too big. The ramifications too high. So what follows is my restrained first attempt at the matter.

Before I became a stepmother, I read a self-help book on the topic. One line sticks in my head: "Being a stepmother can actually be a joyful experience." I believe the possibility is there, and that many factors play into whether you reach "joyful" or not. The biological mother and father play major roles. They have the ability to undermine and sabotage or help create a positive situation. The attitudes and personalities of the stepmom and the stepchild are, of course, also important.

I am pessimistic about getting to "joyful" if the child wishes their mother and father would get back together. Ditto when the stepmother is the primary parent to make rules, assign chores, and call attention to and enforce violations.

So what do you do? What comes next?

I guess you just keep on keeping on. You try to stay present with the other joy in your life and be the best mom you can be to your own children and you work on yourself as a person. You work on your own mindfulness. And I guess you never give up hope on getting to joyful. And you take respite in the reality of joint custody as a time to regroup and try for better the next time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autumn in Bethesda

I recently took the kids to one of our favorite parks, Norwood Park in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The trees could not have been more gorgeous, with their leaves bursting in shades of red, orange and yellow. The weather was crisp enough for a jacket, but combined with the late-morning sun, not cold enough to demand hats and gloves. We played and picnicked on sandwiches and fruit. I remember sitting on the park bench and having one of those moments of pure bliss - where you want to close your eyes and hold on to the feeling as long as you can.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

House Full of Sickees

It started with my sore throat last Saturday. That evening I sat through a miserable play at Round House Theater ("26 Miles," miserable for me because of its stepmother-bashing, I swear I'm going to write a play or book about the amazing, wonderful, misunderstood stepmother - but I digress) and came home and climbed into bed with a full-on cold and sinus infection. Four miserable days later I found relief through a nice Southern ENT doctor who gave me a prescription for an antibiotic but cautioned we'd have to do something about my deviated septum, which causes all these sinus infection.

Meanwhile, Arlo (he'll be 3 in January) and Elsa (1 next week) caught the cold bug, as did my husband. We have no family here, so no safety net (ie no people to hand the kids to as we climb into bed and rest). Just babysitters that charge $15-20 an hour...painful!

Oh well, what can you do? We're passing our sick time by snuggling and watching Diego and Dora, and playing in the basement playroom and drinking lots of OJ and water. I'd love to go for a walk in the rain, but figure someone might call CPS if I take a sick infant and toddler out in the rain for a walk. So maybe we'll just continue to bask in the sweet smell of Vicks and Lysol while enjoying lazy, horizontal hours.

How do you spend your days when you have a house full of sick ones?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I love Halloween. It's tied with New Years Eve as my favorite holiday. My husband is puzzled but amused by my excitement over Halloween. I can't really explain it, except that my Halloween crush probably began as a kid going trick-or-treating and then was solidified in my early 20's in college, going to Halloween parties in a hippie mountain town where people got REALLY into the spirit.

So over the weekend we hosted an adult/child Halloween party and it was fabulous (at least for me). Food, juice, booze, candy, moon bounce, somebody's grandpa dressed as Winnie the Pooh - what's not to love?