Archive for Me and Little Man

Something just Broke

I was originally planning on writing a completely different post.

But, I’ve been completely changed by today.
I was practicing a song this morning and turned on my laptop to check Facebook and sift through email.
I saw the updates.
I went to check news feeds.
Then I cried.
I grieved.
I stifled a scream.
Several screams.
I wept, for an hour.
Then I remembered I have to go pick up my son from school.
Dazed and out of sorts, I didn’t know what to do.
I wiped my eyes, a lot.
I walked from my house to his school, because I felt so lost.
And when I got there and found my little boy so happy to see mommy, I knew that the teachers had said nothing to the kids. I also knew I couldn’t be the one to break the spell.

So I just held him.
I hugged him so tight. And covered him with kisses.
And I thanked God and every circumstance under the sun that my boy was in my arms.
On the way home, he asked for some ice cream.
Ice cream before his homework or dinner or anything.
And I said, “Yes.”

Without hesitation.

I suppose I went a little overboard, and I’m sure I was not the only parent who did.
But I didn’t care.
My baby was in my arms and coming home to me, wonderfully oblivious to what happened in the world today.
And then he made me laugh.

Kids!!

Wow.

I suppose technically, I’m still kind of recovering from Saturday.

See, Little Man had his birthday party this weekend.

And among the things I have learned in this little(ha ha) excursion:

1) Never at our house again.

Back in the day, it was easier. When he and his co-horts were four, they could run through the house with a minimum of crowding. There was frolicking and free play with just about every toy he owned and that, pretty much, would be that.

It is now a FAR bigger production. They’re 6. They’re taller. They run faster and wreck the place at a much more aggressive level. Then again, having 9 kids in the place really was asking for it.

2) Don’t overestimate the power of pizza.

I knew they would devour it and leave some as part of a mess, but I did not expect the whole, “I’ve had three bites, I don’t want anymore until 20 minutes after you’ve taken it away” thing. Which, I admit, is silly. I mean, I have one of my own. How did I NOT see that coming?

3) Just get it.

Things that were essential to his theme I’d found online ages ago. I refrained from purchasing them right away, for fear of overspending. A rational fear, mind you, but one that hampered my party planning. A lot.

Next time, I’ll just buy as I go. Provided I don’t just throw in the towel and Chuck E. Cheese it next time.

Oh, who am I kidding? Even if I did do that, I’d try to re-arrange things to give it a “personal touch.”

4) Presentation isn’t always everything.

When I started out with this plan, I had a very different image of the cake I was making in my head. I plotted and schemed and thought of the confectionery options that were at my fingertips and how pretty the cake would eventually look and how I would be admired for the hood rat Martha Stewart that I am.

In reality, I barely had time to finish frosting the dang thing before people walked in the door. It was not one of my prettier creations, surely. But when the kids (and adults) dug into it like there was money waiting for them at the bottom, I realized I didn’t have to worry.

BTW, mint chip buttercream filling… covers a multitude of sins.

5) Thank God, mommy’s an actor.

Anyone who says theater and parenting have nothing in common, has never hosted a themed kids’ party in their house.

Man, I spent two hours, improvising my butt off! SOOO many things did not go as planned and I needed to keep things moving or suffer the consequences (i.e. Bored kids. *gasp!*) But nothing has prepared me for this nugget of terrifying truth.

6) I. AM. NOT. READY FOR THIS!

Boys. 

Just… so many boys!

And they were all doing Boy things. Namely, pretending to be kung fu masters… on each other! I was shocked to discover at least twice the boys (including mine!) were throwing wild punches and kicks, using toy swords and foam fingers in a non-Mommy approved manner. Even wrestling on the floor!!

Is this what happens?

You wake up your baby one morning and all of a sudden the “boy gene” kicks into high gear and they’re not happy unless their friends are doubled over in pain?! I had no way of turning it off. I could just imagine the futile conversation I could have had with my husband, regarding this…

Me: “What possesses them to suddenly lose their minds like this?!”

Husband: “Umm… Testosterone?”

Me: “Well, tell them we don’t want any! I don’t like it!

I am not prepared for Boy World. By any stretch of the imagination.

But all in all, me, the husband, the boy and the house survived the afternoon.

And all of the kids left exactly the way I like: Fed, happy and injury-free.

We even survived our landlord taking THIS moment to sing an aria.

For the entire block. For at least fifteen minutes.

Yes.

Really.

Some things you just can’t prep for, no matter what you do.

I left the few, scraggly dishes in the sink to wait for morning & rewarded myself with some wine.

Well, wouldn’t you?

At least, now that over. Now, I just have to get through the rest of Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s.

Where’s that wine?

Excited AND Scared… And Bummed.

So, I’ve been off the radar for some time.

Not because the rampant stupid of people hasn’t fazed me. It has and it hasn’t.

Heck, there was a month there, where the stupid came too fast and furious to comment on it. Just when I thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous…

Regardless, that’s not what this post is about.

I’ve been pretty excited about my new show coming up. Smokey Joe’s Cafe is kind of a big deal for me. We start rehearsals soon and I’m trying to prepare before we start. Reading up about Lieber & Stoller, going over my score, note by note, listening to the cast album over and over and over (BJ Crosby, I am terrified of you now). And in between all this, I’m still rehearsing with the guys for more gigs around the city. We’re doing Kenny’s in a few weeks.

But that’s not what this post is about, either.

I just realized that my rehearsal schedule will conflict with quite a few things. Now, any actress will tell you that’s typical. Comes with the territory, of course.

My Little Man is having his first public performance on a day where I’ll be rehearsing ALL. DAY. I will miss it. There’s no getting around it. His very first show and I won’t be there.

Hence, the Bummed.

I got to watch the dress rehearsal today with the other parents and I tried to drink it all in. I was more nervous more than he, I’m quite sure. I fussed about his costume, his steps, his lunch. He just went through his routine with not even the slightest sign of anxiety. I was very proud. And then, there was a cloud hanging over it, knowing I wouldn’t be there for the actual big night.

Now, I’ve missed things before.

I can’t think of how many times I have had to cancel on people, using the words, “I can’t. I have rehearsal.” I’ve missed family functions, hanging out with friends, special nights, etc. It’s old hat by now.

But this time, it hurts more.

I have to tell my son that I can’t be there, because of my own pursuits.

It sounds so selfish.

And I have to get over it.

So, how do I do that?

Seriously, how?

Life upon the wicked stage.

So, I am at the three week checkpoint for rehearsals.
With a fantastic support system, my family is managing to handle two performers working at the same time. oy.
A lot of it involves offering favors and “tagging out.” My husband and I arrange for a time, I bring the child, an exchange is made. A lot of running back and forth before rehearsal even gets started.
But, rehearsals are going great. My cast is beleaguered, but fantastic. By week’s end, we’re exhausted but ready for the next level. It’s going to be big.
Not to mention there’s still a band to worry about. We’ve got a show coming up and we need to get people there. Next week at the Village Lantern. Check the Icky House Club facebook for details. Songs will be sung, costumes will be worn and mayhem will reign. And then, I’ll learn my lines, I swear. : )

Mama Rose doesn’t live here

Since I’ve updated my “About me” page and described myself as a “Stage mommy,” I wanted to clarify that.
There are women out there who have a tendency to push their children into acting, dancing, whatever because:
a) the kid has an aptitude for it, but more importantly…
b) Mom gets to live vicariously through the child’s accomplishments.

That is a “Stage Mom.”
A mother who is relentless in the pursuit of her child’s fame for the sake of their own validation. Yeah, I’m looking dead at you, Mrs. Spears.
Of course, the ultimate archetype of this is Mama Rose from Gypsy.
I LOVE that show.
The music is fantastic, the book is dramatic and what attention hog doesn’t have “Rose’s Turn” in her back pocket?
Mama Rose is the ultimate role and only actresses in the upper echelon of Diva can truly pull it off.

But, my friends have specific instructions to put me away if I ever become like that woman. Keep me away from my child(ren) should I ever start pushing them beyond the boundaries of sanity and common sense, driving them to do something because I never did.

No, as ridiculous as it sounds, I will continue to audition and sing and practice and show off my jazz hands for as long as I love it. When I stop loving it, I will stop doing it. I will not force my Little Man into the business. Should he become a doctor instead, I would not object (what good Jewish mother would object?).
That could be why I haven’t given up yet. I denied myself the joy of these things for a very long time in an effort to be sensible and practical. I’m now in the part of my life where some things I just have to do for my own sake. And this is the biggest of them all.

So, Little Man’s mommy may never be a star, but she will be a much happier person for trying.
And when the Queen is happy, the land is happy.

Don’t Stop Me Now

I introduced my little man to the music of Queen today. It seemed appropriate.
He has declared that now HE is Freddy Mercury. #Proud mommy moment

It’s on Random!

Bill Cosby was right…

Actual conversation I just had with my Little Man:

Me: What would possess you to eat your cereal out of your Lego plane?!
LM: I… don’t… know!!
Me: I don’t know, either!

Well, at least I don’t have to clean milk out of the darn thing.
He keeps them separate, a la Sally Albright.
Don’t want the Honey bunches of Oats gettin’ soggy.
Yup.

Breakin’ up the Ol’ Gang

When I first became a mommy, I was completely unaware of the loneliness.

In no time at all, in between changes, feedings, tummy time, etc., you realize that you want to talk to someone. You really want to talk to anyone over 21.

That is why the Good Lord invented play groups.

Your babies can get together and “play” with each other, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The real reason they were created was so that mommies could congregate and commiserate for an hour or so before going back into your binky-ridden house, alone.

One of the mommies I knew from post-natal yoga, in her infinite wisdom, organized a play group in her church. It got pretty popular pretty quickly. The babies got to play and interact (i.e. play adjacent to each other, with the occasional toy snatching thrown in) with each other, while the mommies (or daddies) had a little adult interaction of their own.

But now, it seems a pattern is developing.

A year and a half ago, the mommy who organized it had to leave the church for missionary work. But she left the group in the capable hands of a good friend.

I just got news that the good friend is packing up her family and heading down to Louisiana.

I hate this idea. Mind you, it’s for completely selfish reasons. I have nothing against Louisiana itself and logically, it makes sense. The grandparents live in the area and can help her when she needs it. I can’t blame her for that. It’s just that, if she’s down there, she can’t be up here and that… eh sucks.

And another mommy friend (who happens to specialize in baked goods) is thinking about following suit and heading South, too.

And there’s a possibility that we’ll lose the play group in the process, which REALLY sucks.

Now, I’m not delusional. I know that New York changes all of the time and I never expected all of our kids to grow up together. Heck, my Little Man’s four now and soon, they’ll probably have to shoo him out of the group for being too old. It’s the Menudo principle.

Like I said, it’s totally selfish. I’ve grown to know these women and share with them. And a lot of us have already moved away. To lose those last few ties would be really rough for me. Of course, I can always find a new group, but it takes a while to form those bonds.

To see if your kids can play together without it turning into a Gymboree free-for-all.

To know that this person will watch your child just as cautiously as they watch their own.

To have the other mommy take one look at you and know if you need them to just take the baby to give your arms a break, a cup of coffee and a seat or a chardonnay and an ear to bend.

I’ve watched their kids hug my kid, for no other reason than they’ve been around each other since they were babies and they have that trust with each other. I’ve watched our boys and girls giggle together and make those first attempts at contact. I’ve watched them cry and try to comfort whomever is mourning the recent loss of their cookie. I’ve watched them chase after each other, endlessly, without knowing why and having the time of their lives.

But see, while that was happening, we got to be friends, too. We’ve had birthday parties together and cleaned up spills and watched each other’s kids while the other mommy made a quick dash to the bathroom for an uninterrupted pee. (Trust me, as a mom, you cherish those things.)

And now, there’s an expiration date on those things. On the memories, on the support, all of it. And I will miss it. I do miss it. The moms that I hear from in Florida, Alabama, New Jersey, Virginia, Romania… I miss them all.

And when I miss people and babies and moments in time, as ridiculous as it sounds, my pangs of regret are best echoed by Avenue Q, of all things.

I wish I had taken more pictures.

So, my little guy and I have spent the past three days stuck inside the house.
The rain makes few things conducive.
He started getting a little restless yesterday, but I think he’ll pull through, especially with a visit from Grandma today.

So, today I have an audition (thus, the Grandma visit).
It’s for a movie. An independent movie and I have never been on an audition for that. I’m doing all of the usual audition stuff: packing up my headshot, fussing over my clothes, my hair, etc. But I’m one of those lame people who have never taken a course in camera acting, so this could end up a pleasant surprise for me or a HOT mess for the director. (make sure you hit the D# when you say “HOT”)

I’m also in the process of scheduling times for our band (you remember, the Icky House Club?) to perform. The boys are itchin’ to get back on a stage, so it’s my job to find it.
This’ll be fun.

All right kids, I’m off to find an outfit, feed my preschooler and make some semblance of order of my life. Toodles!