Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baby Blues

I haven't written anything in a while. I've been feeling way too sick and exhausted to do so. For those who haven't heard (where have you been if not on Facebook?)- we are expecting child #2! I assume it's a boy, maybe because I can't picture another girl because I can only picture Brooklyn. Also because this child has already made me hug the toilet seat more than Brooklyn did in the entire 9 months I carried her. Stupid boys. I blame them for most of my trouble in life.

There's a few things I need to get off my chest today. Feel free to comment, agree, disagree, give advice, or laugh at me, as it appropriate to each case.

First of all, I find myself not so excited about being pregnant again. Maybe I've just forgotten that I wasn't excited to be nauseous (which is a very hard word to spell, by the way) every day in front of my classroom full of students. My students knew when not to mess with me. I had my "gangster bracelets" on. Really, just motion sickness armbands that serve the same purpose to quell morning sickness, but my students liked to joke about how I was a gangster because I lived in Houston, in the Alief district no less. They would say, "We're coming to your apartment to party!" and I'd say, "Oh yeah? How are you going to find where I live?". Their response: "We'll show up and ask where the white people are". Classic. Not exactly right, but humorous enough anyway.

But seriously, I am worried that I'm not very excited about having a second child. What is that feeling? Guilt that time will be taken away from Brooklyn? Fear of the unknown about raising two? I hope it changes soon. Sure, one main motivator in having a second child was so Brooklyn could have a sibling, but I don't want to turn into Mary Tyler Moore from "Ordinary People" who loves loves loves the older child and could care less about the younger.

Next, I need moms to tell me that during the first trimester of pregnancy, Disney movies are a perfectly acceptable babysitter. Please tell me this is okay. I don't have much choice when the room spins if I do anything but lay down, but still... it does feel a little irresponsible to watch "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty" and "Finding Nemo" all in one day. Side note: Dory is funny even to a 20-month-old.

Lastly, this is something I said I wouldn't put on Facebook, because really, as proud as we are about our kids and their potty habits, the rest of the world doesn't need to hear about it. Well, you chose to click on this blog so I have free reign to say what I want- so there, HA HA. Brooklyn and I went to Brandon's baseball game last night (REGION FINALS!!). It was a crazy game full of home runs, errors, back and forth action, but ultimately ended in a 10-7 loss to Montgomery. I instantly hate them, not coincidentally because they have LSU colors. Who thought purple and gold look good together anyway? Barf.

Regardless, we got home late last night. Brooklyn finally fell asleep once we got close to the Skeeters park in Sugar Land, so she got a 15 minute rest in the car before getting home and me bringing her inside. She was so exhausted that I almost put her to bed in exactly what she was wearing. But she was so sweaty that I decided to change her out of her pants and just let her wear her giant (no kidding, Youth Medium) Lamar Mustangs shirt and a nighttime diaper and let her have a great night sleep.

The kid did sleep a good 11 hours after that. She woke up at 10 and I let her stay in bed for a little while, not knowing what a terrible idea that was. I walked into her room and noticed it stunk SO BAD. Oh, poor kid, woke up because of a poopy diaper, she may have slept longer if she hadn't had that. Wrong. SO much worse than that. As I write this, my precious daughter is laughing and playing in the bathtub in front of me, and I am preparing to wash sheets and stuffed animals covered in poop. Not to mention so was she. And her shirt. And her pillow. And her crib.

As if I wasn't nauseous enough already, right? I could use some strength today.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thank God for Music

So there's a lot going on to make me a total emotional wreck right now, but I just had to resist the urge to type up a list of "My Biggest Regrets in Life". What spurned this thought process on? Clint Donaldson mailed me a copy of our Sound Invention Spring Show form 2003. Yes, my jazz choir performance of my junior year in high school...the one I paid for and ordered but never received. I only had one year in Sound Invention, and I only had half the proof of it, so I had been desperately begging for a copy of this DVD for a while now. After watching it this morning, seeing myself 50 pounds lighter and much more naive, I found myself feeling like Red in Shawshank Redemption... I want to talk to her. I think I even went loopy enough while watching the show that I thought I saw myself wink at me, telling current me that everything I will go through between the Tracey of May 2003 and the Tracey of May 2012 is okay and has to happen.

It's true. I hate it, but it's true. There was no other way to become who I am, and I like who I am now a lot. Just after that show ended was when life became hell, and it stayed that way for two years. Partly due to my own decisions, partly do to factors I couldn't control, everything fell to pieces. Talk about your dark ages...

And I'm torn, because I know I'm a better person for it all now, but the me of 2003 was still so good. I was so happy. I had just had the best school year of my life, bar none. I mean, really- who in their right mind says that their junior year in high school is the best one? No one! You take all the hard classes junior year and worry about your future- you're the only class who cares about anything. Freshman are dumb, sophomores are cocky, seniors are lazy. Juniors work, and work hard.

I didn't have a senior year in choir. I quit after that show. I didn't want to stay in choir if the jazz ensemble would be all girls. Thought there'd be too much drama and watered down talent. Snooty, right? I wanted to go somewhere that I could make a difference with people, and ended up losing something incredibly important to my soul.


 Thank God for music. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Coldplay, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, John Denver, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Beethoven, Mozart, Madonna, Beyonce- whoever. Thank God for music.

Without music, there's no dancing. There's no harmony, no unison, no melody, no tempo, no rhythm, no expression, love or truth. Music encompasses all of that and so much more.

Sometimes I say I wish I could go back to high school. I don't mean that. I mean go back to choir. Appreciate what I had, what I could do. Enjoy it more. Hold on to every moment.

That's why I love my job so much. My "job", if you can even call it that, didn't even earn me $2,000 this year. I don't care. This has been my senior year in choir. I got another opportunity to sing and dance and enjoy every minute by being a part of the Needville choirs this year. Doing choreography, subbing, assisting in every which way and odd shape possibly conceived, I've had more fun than I've had in a long time.

They had their spring concert last night: JV, Treble, Varsity, and Soundsation- the show choir, which is half my baby. I couldn't have been more proud. I could have stayed and listened to them forever. Music is like medicine, healing wounds you didn't even realize were there. The kids hugged me, thanked me for all I did for them this year, not even realizing what all they have done for me.

I'll always have regrets. I'll make mistakes today that I'll wish I could take back- that's life. I wish I hadn't quit choir. I think my life would have turned out very differently if I hadn't. Senior year would have been a lot easier. But I wouldn't be here now. And I'll take a rough patch of high school into college and keep my husband and child, friends and family, church and job.

I can't go back to choir, but I can always hold onto music.

Good friends are forever.
They never fade even when they are weathered
By the years.

I'm lonely whenever
I think I'm the only one who cries,
You feel my tears.

Oh, I need to share
All of my joys
All of my cares with you
Because you are my friend.

Oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Oh, together,
Good friends stay together
Whether we're far or near
You always seem to hear
When I call

What I'm trying to say
Is though we're apart
You're in my heart to stay
You are my friend,
My friend.

-Sound Invention Alumni Song, sung by each group since 1981

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pool is Closed on Mondays

I just made the worst parenting move of all time. Walking to the pool with sunscreen, towel, beach ball and Brooklyn geared up in her swimsuit and new floatie...and one of the apartment workers reminds me that the pool is closed for cleaning on Mondays.

Well then why is it that I always want to go swimming on Mondays? Same reason I always want Chick-Fil-A on Sundays or why I watch movies with Clive Owen in them: they're unavailable to me.

I had hyped this up SO big today too. We went to Academy to get her an age appropriate floatation device...which turns out may be too small, but I guess I won't get to test it today, will I?? Sorry, frustration seeping through. I've got a really busy week at Needville so there won't be much time for Brooklyn to play, ergo I wanted to do something special with her today. Too bad you suck at being a mom, oh forgetful one.

She cried and cried and pointed to the pool as we walked back, me sobbing alongside her telling her how sorry I am. She's fine now. Sitting in the living room playing music on her tambourine. And I'm still crying. Stupid hormones. Why must women be so... feminine? Because honestly, what I feel like doing is calling Brandon and crying to him and asking him to skip baseball practice so he can console me for forgetting that Monday is pool cleaning day. Is that ridiculous or what? Does my child love me any less? No, but does that stop my tears from flowing either? NO!

Absurd. Life must be so much easier as a guy. Guys don't cry over dumb stuff like this. Guys weren't self-conscious already and didn't have to work themselves into a frenzy just to get a swimsuit on to be in public in the first place. Not that my swimsuit is ladylike by any stretch of the imagination. It's a pair of mens swim trunks and a spandex top/sports bra combo. At least it's hot pink. The shirt I usually wear to swim is a blue Ronaldinho soccer jersey.

I'm so thankful that children forgive easily. Because I feel like me telling her that the pool is closed and we have to go home when we're 20 feet away is the equivalent of telling me that you're going to give me a million dollars if you ask me to copy down a sentence and then not giving me the money because you don't like the way I dot my i's or something. No, that was a really dumb analogy... Maybe like telling me we get to move into our dream house and then hearing our realtor say at the last moment that we can't because we both have blue eyes... forget it, I can't do analogies today. But it's not a good feeling. Like pulling the rug right out from under me. There, there's an analogy.

But enough blubbering. I'm off to make the most exciting bathtime of sweet Brooklyn's life. I can go from being worst mom to coolest mom simply by letting her keep her swimsuit on while she bathes.

Winning. Epic Winning.

^Watching that makes me feel a lot better. Love the Charlie Sheen pep talks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Being Poor

I've regretted a lot of things I've said in this life. Anyone who knew me in high school knows this well. I've gotten better about holding my tongue but nobody's perfect. Lately I've found a way to muck things up again. I've been talking about "being poor".

I have friends who can afford brand new cars, houses in Greatwood or Telfair, and to take trips or cruises out of the country at a moment's notice. I live in a 2-bedroom apartment in Rosenberg.

I've got friends whose husbands are engineers, lawyers, doctors, and accountants. My husband is a teacher/coach and I do part-time choreography work at a high school.

Our lifestyles differ from a lot of our friends JUST a tad.

Lots of our friends have new furniture that all match. Most of our pieces of furniture we own was handed down from a sibling, parent or grandparent, and the pieces that weren't were bought using money we got from them for birthdays, anniversaries, or wedding gifts.

For some of my friends, a nice dinner is at a place like Churrascos, while our fanciest dining out experience is maybe Chili's.

Some people I know have flat screen TV's in every bedroom, complete with either Satellite or cable. We've got Netflix for $8 a month, and a lot of movies that we've collected over the years.

Thing is, some people I know live with 4 siblings and foster parents in a two bedroom house with dirt floors. Some people don't get to have free education. Some people I know are 16 and have the handwriting of an 8-year-old with the vocabulary or someone the age of 10. Some people I know don't live with their families because their parents couldn't afford to raise them. Some people I know don't eat three meals a day, let alone one. Some don't know how to read because books were too expensive. Some didn't have a real childhood because they were put to work from the day they could walk.

This is Katerin from El Salvador. We sponsor her through a program called Compassion International. It is she who has recently reminded me how well off I really am.

I'm sick of this "1%" crap in our nation. There may be 1% of the United States that has most of the money, but we as a whole are in the 1% of the wealthiest people in the WORLD. Even me. Even with hand-me-down furniture and homemade birthday cards and everything else we do to save money. Even living in an apartment with one job, I am wealthier than almost everyone else outside of these United States. It makes me sick to live in America sometimes, because we're all so spoiled, so self-centered, focused on what we don't have, what others have, what we deserve, and what we should have. We complain about taxes when they're a necessity to help keep our society going. And more than that, they help those around us who can't help themselves. I only wish we could do more to the rest of the world...and that doesn't mean sending troops over to tell them what to do. It means loving and caring for them, it means sacrificing some of yourself and your possessions to serve others. Jesus did it. Jesus was pretty much a socialist when it comes down to it.

I've gotten so used to the American mindset of entitlement that I forget to be thankful for what I have. So no more talking about being poor. Not only am I not poor compared to the rest of the world, but I'm so rich in spirit that nothing else matters. I have a wonderful family, and we may be living in close quarters, but we're that much closer emotionally. Anyone who ever spends five minutes with me, Brandon and Brooklyn knows that we're happy and that's all that matters. God has given us so much, and I'm not going to squander it and look down on my blessings anymore. I'm not poor, I'm rich. And in the words of Lou Gehrig, today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. Except, I'm a woman.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Robert De Niño

I've been watching a lot of Saturday Night Live recently. It's become a favorite afternoon activity to watch reruns from the 1970's on Netflix while Brooklyn naps. Too bad I'm on Season 5 already, which means Aykroyd and Belushi are already gone and Eddie Murphy is about to join the cast. Uggh (see previous posts about why Eddie Murphy is not funny for full understanding about my distress).

Perhaps it's the overload of sketch comedy that has given me such imagination lately. Or maybe it's the signs in Rosenberg for the law services of Robert Niño. Most likely it's a combination of the two.

I think it would be hilarious for there to be a short film or series of sketches for a comedy show like SNL about Robert De Niño, who, as you can guess, is just a 6-year-old Hispanic version of the rough and tough New York actor Robert De Niro, known from such classic films as Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Heat, Goodfellas and Meet the Parents.

Who wouldn't want to see a 1st grader ask Ben Stiller, "I have nipples Greg. Can you milk me?" or confront his stuffed animals with a "You talkin' to me?" or even the following scene:

Mom: Robert, honey, eat your vegetables.
Robert De Niño: Ma, I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse. I'm practically a man. I'm 6 years old already. I'mma give my vegetables to my kid brother so he can keep growing strong. I'm willing to make that sacrifice. All I need in return is the dessert that he's gonna be too full to eat. Take it or leave it.

Shrewd negotiator, that Robert De Niño.

Sure, lots of people might get offended at seeing an elementary schooler bashing in people's heads with baseball bats. Maybe it might be a tad inappropriate to allow him to mastermind a heist. And it wouldn't make a ton of sense to have him being younger than the prostitute he'd be helping out (If you're not following me, please borrow some De Niro films ASAP).

All that aside, I think it'd be fairly clever. Especially if he could have a sidekick... maybe Al Pacifino? No? Too much of a stretch? It's tough being a writer...

Robert De Niro
Robert De Niño