Category Archives: family

The World Turns

“Good night.” With those two words yesterday from Dr. Bob Hughes, “As The World Turns” ended its 54-year run.

Although I hadn’t watched the show in decades and didn’t know the recent story lines, hearing that “As The World Turns” was ending gently stirred my subterranean grief. That is, it made me miss my mom even more.

ATWT was my mom’s show. She shared it with the woman, all but a family member, who cleaned our house and sometimes babysat me. And they shared it with me. I knew all about Bob and Kim and Lisa back in the day.

While I don’t remember this particular day, my mother told me I was sitting on her lap, where she was feeding me, when Walter Cronkite broke into a broadcast to announce that President Kennedy had been shot.

I want to call my mom and L.P. and say, “Can you believe `As The World Turns’ is ending?” They are both gone, though, my ATWT buddies. It’s as if a friend of theirs has died and I can’t tell them about it.

I’m not alone in these feelings. A visit to an ATWT-is-ending message board on a soap opera forum brought the discovery that many people have memories of moms, grandmoms, great-grandmoms and aunts watching this show, and they all tie the show, and its loss, to those women.

One guy(?) wrote that his grandmother had been a big fan and died before he was born, and he felt like he should watch the last episode for her. Another writer said her grandmother, who suffered from dementia, had thought the characters real and talked about them at dinner as if they were.

ATWT, its characters, became part of the fabric of people’s families.

Alas, TV networks and advertisers don’t keep shows around just because they evoke powerful connections to grandmothers who have died. So Kim and Bob and Lisa and John have taken their last turn on that globe.

Good night, ATWT. Nice knowing you.

Sweet Dreams

The little girl, talking in her sleep, whispered with urgency: “When is dessert? When is dessert?”

Which brings us to the subject of the family bed. Once upon a time, I scoffed at the family-bed, attachment-parenting folks. Somehow, though, we inadvertently, or maybe purposely, became them, to some extent.  When the little girl’s at school all day and Mommy and Daddy are working, we have to find some time together, even if it’s snuggling in our sleep.

The other day, the little girl, who is four-and-a-half, was describing who would do what when she has her baby. Daddy will sing the lullabies, she’ll change the diapers, I’ll do the feeding. I asked her if the baby would sleep in her bed. To which she replied, “No, I think she’ll like it better in your bed, with us.”

Serious Enough?

The sheriff said misdemeanor charges he planned to file against the Balloon Boy Father seemed “hardly serious enough” given the circumstances. He was checking with the FAA to see if there might be fitting federal charges, as I’m sure there are (risking an air catastrophe)? If the state child protective services scrutinize that household, they might come closer than the sheriff or the Feds to a consequence that addresses the unseemly nature of what occurred here.

There apparently are no Earthly laws that address the matter of conning people on several continents into worrying and praying for the safety of a small boy who was safe all along, except, perhaps, from the shenanigans and wrath of a mercurial, hyperactive, attention-seeking, narcissistic father. People seem to feel cheated that the boy wasn’t in the balloon and instead was hiding, even though, really, that’s what we prayed was the case. They feel cheated because, apparently, although he denies it, the boy’s father pulled a fast one, using his young sons to concoct a phony dramatic emergency for a publicity stunt that he hoped would further his TV career.

Fret not, those who prayed. The father may not have garnered quite the kind of attention he wanted in the long run, yet it may be the kind his family needs. If this stunt gets a child protection agency to look at parents who put their children up to lying on international television, holding them up for humiliation, driving them into hurricanes, having them make a bratty, foul-mouthed video for YouTube, then perhaps it was worth it. Perhaps it’s working out as well as it could have, given the circumstances. No one was physically injured, parents who probably need to be scrutinized are being scrutinized, a guy who probably thinks he’s smarter than everyone and that his needs matter more than anyone’s is finding out he isn’t and they don’t.

The family does need your prayers. Maybe the ordeal the parents allegedly cooked up for themselves ultimately will set the family on a better path — if it doesn’t tear them apart.

She’s Ready

The little girl has had a two-month break from preschool. She’s four, and had been in childcare full-time or close to it for most of the past three-and-a-half years, so while her less structured summer has been fun, and she’s had lots of playdates, she misses school. I suppose she misses the regular interaction with friends and the routines. For weeks, she’s been asking when she will go to her new school. Her pre-kindergarten year starts in a little more than a week.

I told the little girl yesterday that there’d be a get-together at her new school this evening, for the children to play with each other. She immediately asked me what she should wear to this event. (This concern for fashion does not come from mamawhelming. Perhaps from mr. mamawhelming?) The little girl suggested she bring a second dress in case she needs to change.

She woke up early this morning and quickly announced she was going to pack her backpack for the school event. As I readied to put on makeup before work, she appeared in the bathroom door and said, enthusiastically, “I’m all packed!”

I reminded her that the get-together wasn’t until later in the day, after Mommy got off work.

“I know!” she chirped.

She and her daddy picked me up after work to go to the school. She had her backpack with her change of clothes that she had packed, “in case I  tinkle.” She stepped out of the car, smiled, and said, “This is my first day at my new school!”

I should have just savored that cute little moment, of course, and let her savor it, rather than obsessive-compulsively explaining to her that this wasn’t her real first day of school, it was just a playdate. She made herself at home, trying out the playground equipment, looking around her classroom and chatting with new friends. She didn’t want to leave when most of the other families had gone home.

I think she’s ready.

Impatient Mommy

The cute weather-girl story notwithstanding, my mommy performance tonight was less than stellar.

I started out OK this morning. We had a fine, fine cuddle, I snuggled and kissed her like a baby, her head on my chest, and rocked her side to side like a mommy rocks her wee one. The little girl seemed to soak it in happily. I had to rush off to work, which meant showering and dressing and cooking eggs, and telling her I didn’t have time for the fashion show she wanted us to have.

I worked a little late and met her and her daddy at the park around the time we should have been leaving the park. I felt tired and impatient. We played a little while, I carried her half the way home before my back told me to let her walk — she wanted me to carry her the whole way — and we had a semi-chaotic dinner, with a little of this and that, in the living room, with the end of an episode of “Noddy” (gah), then “Caillou” and “Frances.”

She needed to go to bed then, as it was close to 8, she’d been awake more than 12 hours with no nap, and well, she just needed to get to bed! She went from dinner to nightgown to tooth-brushing to bed in a matter of minutes, not the best pacing. She was being a sweet girl — and restless, very restless, and maybe stalling a bit, and the less patient Mommy was, the less patient Mommy was with the sweet little girl’s antics. She requested a reading of “Miss Spider’s Wedding,” not my favorite — sorry, Davd Kirk — as it’s a long book with fancy, flowery verbiage for a kid’s book and a shrewish beetle and a very scary mean he-man spider and a saccharine spider love story. Every sentence or two, the little girl asked a question: Does he want to marry Holley? How are they stuck there? Does he think he’s the boss of everyone? Who’s that?

These are, of course, adorable, probing questions from a sweet, adorable girl. And it drove me slightly mad. I mean, the book is long, with lots of paragraphs on each page. It can take a while to read through these pages of thick verse. With five questions per page, it could take hours to get through “Miss Spider’s Wedding.” I put the kibosh on the questions — not something a mommy should be doing. “No more questions!” Nope, not good mommying.

When she tired of my impatience and my refusal to let her leave the room a second time to kiss her daddy goodnight, she asked to have her daddy come in instead of me. We did this, and it was not a great scene, as she really wanted me there. So as I sat on the sofa in the living room and tried to relax, the little girl would emerge every few minutes with her soft, cozy velvety pink blanket over her head. And again, impatient mommy would carry her back to her room, barking occasionally. When I was too barky, she’d tell me to leave, even though she wanted me there. I told her if she left her room again, there’d be a consequence — no tutus tomorrow! That should be a big consequence, because she loves her tutus, and it’s big for us too, because she’s happy and very cute in them, and now we have to round up and hide her tutus to show we’re following through on the stupid consequences. Anyway, when we threatened this consequence, the little girl said, “Good. I like that consequence.” Oooh, she’s quick.

Finally, after carrying her back in there for at least the third time, maybe the fifth, I asked the little girl if she wanted me in the room. She nodded. So I told her daddy to skeedaddle and soft-barked at the girl to get her whole self on the bed and there’d be no more foolishness and it was after 9 and so forth. There was some tossing and turning, some conversation, some guilt.

“Mommy, do you know why I kept coming into the living room?”

“No, why?”

“Because I wanted to kiss you.”

She at last snuggled into the place she calls her “home.” I sang goodnight songs to her. She asked for another sip of water! I barked and gave her her cup. I said goodnight to her toes and fingers and such the way the monkey does to herself in “Goodnight Me.” She exhaled at the appropriate time, when the talk turns to breathing, which seemed to relax her. She drifted to sleep as I sang prayers to her. Then I kissed her and told her I love her and apologized for being grumpy. And that, my friend, is what’s known as falling short.

The Weather Girl

The little girl, with a concerned little frown, occasionally lets us know she can’t decide what to be when she grows up. We try to assure her that at her age, now 4, she needn’t know yet. Recently she told us she’d be a princess on Tuesday and a firefighter on Friday, then quickly amended the plan, saying she’d be a princess every day.

Tonight, she informed me with certainty that she will be a weather girl when she grows up. I didn’t even know she had heard of a weather girl.

“You can be a meteorologist,” I told her at bed time.

“No, weather girl.” (Pause) “What’s a meteorologist?”

I explained that a meteorologist is a scientist who really knows about the weather, whereas a weather girl or weather guy on TV might not be a meteorologist and might not really know much about the weather.

“I’m going to be a weather girl,” she stated. And then she gave a little forecast.

“And tonight the weather is going to be cold.”

Questions

In car:

“Does Diego have a different tinkler?”

“Yes.”

“And Dora has a girl tinkler?”

“Yes.”

Hours later, at home:

“Does Caillou have a different tinkler?”

“Yes, Caillou has a different tinkler.”

“And Caillou’s daddy? Does he have a boy tinkler?”

“Yes.”

“And Caillou’s mommy has a girl tinkler?”

“Yes, Caillou’s mommy and Rosie have girl tinklers.”

Also in car:

“Mommy, I still don’t know what to be when I grow up.”

“That’s OK, honey. You don’t have to know now.”

“I know! I”ll be a firefighter on Tuesday and a princess on Friday!”

(Mommy laughs.)

“No, I’ll just be a princess all the time!”