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My Wise Four Year Old

1 Apr

I was enjoying a little Saturday Morning Dance Party in our living room with my four year old son.  When we were done grooving to LMFAO‘s “I’m Sexy and I Know it” and Rock Party Anthem – I told him I loved spending time with him and that he really is a blessing in my life.  Then I impulsively asked him – “are we best friends, goose – goose?” 

He replied in his sweet little voice (I wish I can record it forever) – “Mommyyyyy, we can’t be best friends – You’re my mommy and I’m your son!”

My wise four year old.  He reminded me of my place in his life  – I am his parent and I don’t want to be his friend – I need to be his parent so he can grow into a well adjusted gentleman.

A GIANT win!

9 Feb

I hosted a Superbowl party on Sunday to watch the NY Giants beat the New England Patriots for the 2012 Superbowl Championship.  It was an awesome day on many levels.  Firstly,   my son confirmed that he is a Giants fan more than a Jets fan (which has been a point of contention in our house because DB thinks it is very important that his son grows up to be a Jets fan and has been trying to brainwash my son against the Giants – very sick, I know) and secondly I was able to host a Superbowl party for the first time ever.  DB never allowed me to invite people over for the Superbowl for a variety of reasons (television too small; nobody likes me and would come, etc.)  But I digress.  I couldn’t wait to cook for the party!

 I love cooking for friends and family and watch them come together to enjoy a nice meal.  I’m not sure if this is a result of my Italian-American heritage or just because I love food.  Either way, it is important for me to have every meal prepared and eaten together – including our breakfast, lunch and dinner!  I prepare almost every single meal my son eats including his snacks — kale chips, cookies and cakes!

Many of my friends marvel over how do I make time to cook among all of my – duties including being a full-time attorney and a mom (and now girlfriend too!)   I think the key to being efficient when juggling all of these other responsibilities with cooking for a group lies in the following three things (1) Fresh Direct food delivery service; (2) organizing my grocery list early in the week; and (3) a slow cooker!

A slow cooker has been an excellent addition to our busy life and has encouraged me to make more meat recipes for my Mid-Western Boy – who absolutely loves meat dishes.  I never used a slow cooker before last month and now I make at least one awesome meal a week with it – including on Superbowl Sunday!

On Superbowl Sunday my guests arrived around 1 hour before the actual game started.  I prepared everything but the sliders before my guests arrived.  I began grilling the sliders about 30 minutes before the game started so that everyone had fresh burgers to much on during the first half of the game.  I had hoped to cook wings for the second half of the game during halftime (they were prepared already) but my guests confessed that they were too full for the wings.  So, I left them to eat later in the week. 

I love eating together and talking about the food.  My guests were impressed with all of my “homemade” dishes but especially my meat-less chili and my secret ingredient macaroni and cheese!

CityMama’s Easy Superbowl Party Menu

Drinks:

I kept it simple with two different beers; a pitcher of fresh, fresh lemon flavored water (and some soda for those that are still addicted to the high fructose corn syrup)

Appetizers:

  When the guests arrived I put out salsa, tortilla chips, baked potato chips, mixed olives and various  cheeses for them to much on.    I had also warmed up “pigs in a blanket” that I purchased at Trader Joes the week before.  I toyed with making my own pigs in the blanket (I have some mini organic chicken apple sausages that I give to my son for lunch) but I didn’t want to waste time on preparing something that will be gone with two bites and that was easy to buy already prepared!

Main Course:

City Mama Secret Ingredient Macaroni & Cheese: I prepare a healthy version of homemade macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and sliced tomatoes.   My secret ingredient (substituting some cheese with frozen winter squash).  Trust me – no one can tell the difference. 

Slow Cooker Meatless Chili: I love this recipe because it is so easy to make and it yields a lot of servings.  In a slow cooker I put the following ingredients: 1 large can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of northern beans, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of black beans, four or so cups of chicken broth, a diced fresh pepper (usually green), 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and some oregano.  I set the slow cooker for 8 hours.  When it finishes cooking I add 1 cup of cooked couscous, some shredded cilantro, salt and black pepper to taste.  Before I serve the meatless chili, I use a ribbon shredder and shred some extra-sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese and cut up pieces of avocado.  It is so simple and so filling!

Prime Angus Beef & Turkey Sliders : This is always a bit hit at a party but it does take some time to make them.  I purchased packages of already prepared sliders made of organic turkey and some made of prime angus beef.  I heated up a cast iron grill pan on my stove (removed the fire alarm from the kitchen) and grilled 6 sliders at a time!  I also toasted the buns on the side of the grill pan that wasn’t being used.  I grilled each burger for about 4-5 minutes per side and topped the buns with organic red leaf lettuce, organic beefsteak tomato, melted wisconsin cheddar and some ketchup.  Pickles served on the side.

Dessert:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches: I prepared my chocolate chip cookie recipe the week before and froze the batter in a log form.  I defrosted the log the morning of the Superbowl and baked the cookies earlier in the day. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream in between two cookies and passed around dessert!

The Request for Some Digits

4 Feb
PHONE

Image via Wikipedia

I have a secret stress weapon that lives in my building.  Her name is M.  She is 14 years old and charges $8 an hour to babysit.  She is the  best deal I found in Manhattan.  My son adores her.  She is almost always available when I ask her to babysit.  If it wasn’t for her, I probably would not have been able to develop my relationship with Mid-Western Boy.  She stayed with my son on almost all of our dates in the early part of our relationship and she even watched him last weekend so we can go out on a Friday night. 

I responded to her advertisement  in the laundry room of our building and we have been developing a nice relationship.  I learned recently that her parents are divorced and that her dad lives 4 blocks away.  She understands my need for help.  She is the oldest child and her mom has three girls. 

There is a very friendly neighbor in my building who always offers to help me (although I haven’t asked her to).  She has two sons and one of them is my son’s age.  She and her husband have been incredibly kind and even invited my son to their son’s birthday party.   We went “trick or treating” together on Halloween.  I’m looking forward to getting to know her when my son joins her son at the local elementary school.  I’m sure the boys will get along well.  It will be great as the boys get older and can spend time together.  It will be nice for me to have a friend in the building – if a relationship develops between us.

Earlier this week she asked me if I had babysitter. I said “yes”.  She asked me who? I said she is 14 and lives in the building.  She said I can’t believe “”you” already have a babysitter in the building!  You have to give me her number!”

I paused.  It was as if she asked for my boyfriend’s number.  I don’t want to share it.  I became really quiet.  My friendly neighbor is a psychiatric nurse practioner, she sensed my closing up.  She said “I’ll run my dates that I need her by you first if you give me her number.”

I didn’t respond.  I just don’t want to share this secret weapon with anyone.  She is the only outside help I have.

My friendly neighbor has a lovely full time Nanny that even comes on Saturdays.  Her parents and her husband’s parents live within walking distance of the building and fill in gaps when her Nanny isn’t available.  She has ALOT of help.   She makes her own hours for her business.  She works 4 days a week (my other fantasy),

She asked me how the heck I found a babysitter in the building – “I told her I do my own laundry.”  It was her turn to be quiet.  It proved my point, I need the help and I can’t share this little help that I engage.   I know my friendly neighbor’s Nanny better than I actually know her because we spend time together in the laundry room with the kids.

This is the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  I need to fend for myself.

A New Year

4 Jan

HappinessI survived the race to the end of the year.  It was a very busy month for me at the office and at home.  I didn’t have much time for creative writing or even getting my thoughts together clearly because I was consumed by work, parenting and my new relationship.  I forgot how consuming a relationship can be – and I don’t mind it at all. 

In addition, it was the first holiday season where I was happy in a long, long time.  I believe part of my happiness was that I had set my intention on becoming happy as my 2011 goal – my goal was to be fulfilled in mind, body, and soul.  I felt like I was achieving the goal by around September/October of 2011.  I was running again, I started to explore my spiritual side and I was finally feeling content with my life.  At some point in the fall almost at the exact time all of these things were coming together I met Mid-Western Boy.  As a result, I know I must attribute my happiness during this holiday season to him as well.  The final – most wondering reason I was happy this holiday season  was that I had my son for the holidays this year and I was able to enjoy spending time with him .  

I love that 2011 began with the setting of my intention to be fulfilled in mind, body and soul and that I actually achieved that by the conclusion of the year.  It was the first time in my life that I set an intention for the year and actually worked on it all year. 

What I am proudest of is that I have finally found some sort of spirituality.  I’ve become a person who trusts in the universe, a person who believes in synchronicity.  A person who looks at the choices life presents and does not judge them but follows what she thinks must be some divine plan for her.  A person who tries to look at life and life’s events in a more positive way.  This positive outlook and trust in a divine plan has made life a bit easier.

Now as I look towards 2012, I am focusing on setting my intention on how I plan to further grow as a person.   My intention is  to  improve upon the growth in my spirituality and to continue to increase my faith in a divine plan.  It is also my intention to focus on continuing to develop my relationship with Mid-Western Boy and to ensure that it remains a healthy relationship where I continue to have my emotional needs met (and of course, hopefully provide him the same). 

I’m excited for this new year and of course the focus on these new beginnings, I will trust in my faith in the universe that wherever life takes me over the course of the next 12 months it is ensure that I evolve into the best me possible.

Running Away From Home

22 Dec
 

My four

 

year old son told me he was running away from home yesterday because I was always yelling at him.  He told me he was going to go live with his daddy. I decided to call my precocious four year old’s bluff but he didn’t even blink an eye.  I told him if he wanted to go live with his daddy he can leave right now!  I opened up the door to our apartment.  He looked at me like he thought this opportunity was too good to be true.  So he ran to his room, grabbed a car and gave it to me.  He told me that this car was something to remember him by and  ran right out of the apartment, called the elevator and jumped in.  He actually left the floor and went down to the lobby.

I, of course, ran after him using the stairs.  When I got to the lobby I heard him telling the Doorman On Duty that he was running away to live with his Daddy in Brooklyn.  The doorman told him that he couldn’t leave the building without shoes on so he told him he was going to wait in the lobby for his dad.  I asked him to come home and he told me “it was so much fun running away from home!” 

It hurt my feelings that he wanted to go live with his Daddy but in all honesty, all I do is keep disciplining him.  He doesn’t seem to listen anymore.  He told me that he doesn’t want to be naughty but he can’t help it. “His ears are frozen” and when the summer comes they will melt and he will be able to use his listening ears better! 

My son and I have reached an impasse. I am tired of repeating myself to clean up toys, get dressed, take a bath, put on pajamas and go to bed and he is tired of hearing it. 

I think we both need a break from each other.  It’s impossible for me to get a break.  DB doesn’t work but only elects to visit with my son for two saturday overnight visits in a month.  While is it better in the long run for my son to spend more time with me, it does mean that he is ALMOST ALWAYS with me.  I am so feeling like I need a break.  I, too, want to run away from home.

I’ve never regretted my divorce and my life experience.  However, lately, I’ve been stuck somewhere in my feelings thinking I wish I can do it all over again.  I would have such a better life now.  I could still be living in my really cheap apartment and I could have time for myself, time to do things like, blow dry my hair, shop in a store instead of online, get a manicure and pedicure, walk around my apartment naked, read books at the end of the day without being interrupted, go to a real gym instead of doing workouts on DVD, run more and maybe even train for a long distance race again, not be responsible all of the time.  I’ve been fantasizing and fantasizing a lot about these things and I feel guilty about it. 

Is there anything a single mom can do to snap out of this negative place, this fantasy world? How can I  stop the regrets ?  I’m usually so positive but between working hard toward end of the year deadlines, christmas shopping and being a full time, present mom, attemtping to raise a perfectly well adjusted child.

 

Tonight, at least, I too wanted to run away from home too.  I wanted to be bymyself at least one night when I get home from work so I don’t have to be the person to do everything.   Maybe I should just take an adult vacation – maybe that would help ease this tensition in our home.

Negotiating with an Emotional Terrorist

15 Dec
The Terrorist (film)

Image via Wikipedia

My office has been quite busy for the last few weeks and I have been totally exhausted in the evenings – unable to think a single creative thought.  In addition, to the end of the year hustle and bustle in and outside of the office I have been dealing with DB and his emotional terrorism.  He, as you know, was quite abusive to me in everyway – physically, mentally and emotionally. 

My family and I called him a terrorist during my divorce proceedings because we felt like I was being held hostage to his unreasonable demands for alimony and other financial rewards as a result of our marriage.  We agreed with Israel’s position that we can’t negotiate with terrorists (well until the very recent exchange for 1000 palestinians – but’s that another dicussion for another day).

DB is now trying to unsuccessfly manipulate the holiday schedule in our Separation Agreement with respect to my son.  He is sending me emails, calling me, texting me and incessantly insisting that he has my son on days that he clearly does not have my son.  Our Agreement is clear that holidays supersede regular parenting visits.

Last year, at this time, I probably would have given up.  However, I’m ready for the fight with him.  I am by nature a person who likes to negotiate and compromise.  I’m typically a people pleaser who wants everyone to be happy.  At times, I sense a compromise coming on me but I have decided not to take that route this time. 

There will be no compromises, especially since he is again trying to insert his will to control me, my son and my schedule.  I will not negotiate with this emotional terrorist regarding the parenting schedule.   I will not allow him to keep taking advantage of my good nature.    I keep telling him there is nothing further to discuss with him.

I know him and I know him well.  He will not be able to walk away from this fight until he scars me again – emotionally or in some other way.  However, I am no longer afraid of him.  I have come along way since the days of doubting myself.  No, I know I’m right and I know that I’m acting in the best interests of my child – which is the most important details that is suometimes left out in a heated discussion with an emotional terrorist who has no remorse for his actions.

I’m wondering how other single moms deal with the complext issues that are a result of this no so untraditional life.

Would you like Some Cheese with that Whine?

7 Dec

I don’t usually rant about being a single mother.  I know I have a great situation with a great kid.  I like being able to make decisions for the both of us with little involvement by his father.  However, lately, I’m feeling like my son is exhausting me and I wish I had someone else to help, to intervene.   I don’t know if it is him being a normal developing four year old or if I’m just literally exhausted from doing this on my own for his entire life.

ISSUE #1.  He has begun whining – a lot.  It is driving me crazy.  I don’t know how to deal with the whine.  He whines about anything of whiche he doesn’t get his way- his result.  He wants water when we are walking home from school, he wants to watch television while we are eating dinner, he wants to play with puzzles when it is time to go to bed.  He has never whined before and now it is incessant.  I give in. I think every parenting book probably says don’t give into this behavior but at the end of a long work day, I just don’t want to hear it!  I am not a saint.  I am exhausted too!  I sometimes feel like I had somebody to whine to after a long day.

 At the end of the day, I need quiet time to decompress.  This time of year, I need that quiet time even more than ever because of how busy I am at the office with end of the year projects.  In addition to the end of the year projects, we have Christmas and holiday stuff to prepare for – so when I’m not thinking about work, I’m thinking about Christmas presents and how I’m going to fit it all in (although most of my shopping is completed online).

ISSUE $2. He doesn’t listen.  I need to repeat myself several times for him to do something. Pick up your toys from the floor, put your coat on, we are leaving for school.  He deliberately ignores me and has already developed selective hearing.  I have bcome a nag to my four year old son and I can’t take hearing myself.  I just wonder if other parents have this same issue with their children?  I feel so alone in it and I don’t share much about it to anyone. 

ISSUE #3. Beating himself up or Manipulation? The other thing that is driving me nuts is that when I do lose my temper or raise my voice to discipline him, he throws a total crying fit.  His words are hurtful.  He says to me – “you don’ t love me mommy”, “you are not proude of me”, “I think I’m a bad guy” and “Someone should kill me I’m so destructive.”  Upon hearing this language, I immediately run to him and start holding him and kissing him telling him that Mommy loves him very much and thinks he is a good boy but just would like for him to listen to me better and control himself.  I kiss him and hold him and wait for him to stop crying.  I even start to tear up when he articulates these thoughts outloud.  I just wonder if he is trying to manipulate me and distract me from his behavior that I am trying to correct?

Last night I just wished I had someone else to tell him to listen to me.  I wish I had someone in the house to defend me – to help me – to be the bad guy for once.  I feel like I’m always the bad guy because I am the only one that disciplines him on a regular basis. He even told me I’m a bad guy because I yell at him!

What other choice do we have as a single mom?  I guess we just have to hope and pray that our kids turn out alright and they look back on their life and think about how lucky they were to have a mom  that sacrificed so much to give him the best possible life she could.

I think that’s a long time to wait for a return on this investment.  So, instead, last night I did what any frazzled mom would do, I turned on the television, went into the bathroom, lit a candle and took a warm bath by myself while he was occupied with Go, Diego, Go.  I did feel a bit better before our bedtime story.

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