Confirmation of MTA NYC
Transit Lost and Found Inquiry NYCT20095154033
We didn't all make it back home safely to Minnesota. With great sadness I pass on the news that Moo Cow AKA Smelly Cow was lost in the great city of New York.
Moo Cow was sent to Brooklyn, NY in 2004 to be the best friend of a little boy named Henry. Cow lived a very good life and was loved dearly. He went everywhere that Henry went. Moo Cow traveled to faraway places and has actually been lost before, but always made his way back home. This time poor Cow was left on the F train and I'm pretty sure he's gone forever. Forever riding the train like the smelly, broke ass bum that he is.
We'll miss you Moo Cow.
One Year Ago: Still not comfortable with the word PENIS.
Henry has never once said that he wants to be an artist, but this morning when I remembered that he was supposed to show up at preschool in costume for Occupation Day I mentally scanned the house for dress-up ideas and finally suggested that he should consider a career in the arts. The French Arts.
He was skeptical until I mentioned the mustache, which I told him would be applied with makeup. And if there is one thing that motivates my beautiful son, it's the opportunity to play with blush.
Happy New Year! Everywhere I go people seemed to be filled with a sense of newness. The feeling of having a clean slate is powerful, and resolving to be a better person, to use less plastic, to be more dedicated, to always wear lipstick feels almost as good as it actually happening.
Henry is unfamiliar with the custom to resolve, but it seemed appropriate when he lost his pacifier and I went ahead and made a resolution for him. No more pacifier.
Over the years we've probably lost hundreds of "bahs". I stopped buying a new supply long ago, but this last one seemed to have nine lives. The beat-up piece of plastic with the chewed up rubber no longer even resembled a pacifier. If you saw it you'd want to give it a proper burial. It violated the health and safety codes of most developed countries. It became a family joke. Henry would hold it up and I would examine it with squinted eyes. I'd make a face and say "ugh, that's disgusting" and Henry would laugh his big laugh. I asked him what was going to happen when it finally broke apart and he'd say "I'll throw it away and not need it anymore." That sounded reasonable to me.
Then it vanished into thin air yesterday. It may, in fact, have literally disintegrated. Henry fell asleep without a problem, but when he woke up in the middle of the night he was totally distraught. He screamed and demanded that I find it. I reminded him that it was lost and gone forever. He cried and yelled for about 15 minutes and then he stuffed Moo Cow's head into his mouth to ease his oral craving and fell asleep.
The scary thing is that it's in this house somewhere and I'm hoping and praying that I find it before he does. If I do, then it's over. Henry will be the kind of person who doesn't use a pacifier and his mom will be the kind of person who always wears lipstick.
At Henry's last pre-school conference his teachers told us that Henry has really emerged as a leader over the past six months. They told us how he organizes group play and enjoys assigning tasks to his friends.
I felt quite proud hearing this news, but realized a few days later, while observing him at the playground that although you could use the word leader, others might just say "really bossy".
Henry's ability to make up games for kids to play is impressive, but he's often left alone on top of the jungle gym shouting out his complex rules to kids who have decided to play with someone less controlling. My guess is that they would rather run around aimlessly then play according to Henry's strict plan. He's still too young to understand that he's been rejected, but I fear he'll soon realize.
These characteristics will certainly serve him well as an adult, but he'll need to learn some social finesse to weather grade school. I was a bossy kid too, but always savvy enough to choose friends who wanted and needed my guidance. Henry's growing up to be a stereotypical "only child". A mini-adult. Already I feel sorry for his future partner. The sorry soul who will fall in love with a boy who slept with his mommy until he was 10.
Henry knows more Spanish than I do, so it was me that was nervous about the first day of his Language Immersion Preschool. Despite many years of studying German and French, I can't speak another tongue without feeling and sounding like a complete idiot. It always comes out too loud and I can never get the accent quite right. Rolling my Rs is not even a remote possibility. Nick and I are supposed to support Henry by using Spanish words and simple phrases, which is fine in the safety of my own home, but I'm not excited about embarrassing myself in public.
"Hola", I shouted to Henry's teachers when we arrived. "Hola, Henry! Que pasa? How are you?". They have to say everything twice. Once in English and once in Spanish. We'll see how it works out for Henry. Maybe he'll be more useful on our next trip to Mexico.
"Doble tequila para mi mami, por favor".
He cried a little when I left, but by the time I picked him up he was all smiles. Me gusta!
*My sister called to ask me if all the cool kids were pulling their [Dora] backpacks these days. The answer is "no". The above photo is not an example of what cool kids do.
Henry is home slowly recovering from an adenoidectomy.
The surgeon told me that for most kids it's a pain-free procedure with no side effects.
It would figure that Henry is not most kids.
I hope this is the last time I add photos to this set.
"Are you going to blog about this??", my friends asked me. "No", was my answer.
"No way, Jose."
Like deep thoughts and digestive problems, this wasn't something on my list of acceptable topics for Blah Blah Babycakes.
Now that some time has passed I can almost look back and laugh. Or at least widen my eyes, shake my head and think, "good god, that was horrible."
The administrator at Henry's daycare left me a message on my voice mail last Wednesday. She wanted me to call her back to "talk with me about something". "Uh-oh", I thought, "Henry probably bit someone or exposed himself." I braced myself and called her back.
I didn't brace hard enough.
Apparently, during group time, the children were sitting around talking about mosquito bites, skinned knees and other summertime wounds, when Henry decided to tell his teacher and his entire class, that his daddy hits his mommy and gives her owies. The startled teacher asked Henry what a hit was and he demonstrated by smacking himself in the head.
He went on to say that his daddy gets mad and throws things and that when he hits mommy he gets put in a time-out. To make things worse, several of the children went home and told their parents that Henry's dad beats his mom.
I could barely breathe as the woman on the phone asked me if everything was alright at home and did I need someone to talk to. I was full of stammers and my voice took on a strange high-pitched quality, as I tried desperately not to sound like battered wife syndrome lady. "Oh my god, I have no idea why he would say something like that" was all I could come up with, as I looked out the window to see if Child Protection Services was pulling into the driveway.
After a few phone calls to Henry's grandmothers, my sister, and about a dozen friends, I finally called Henry's teacher. "I hear Henry's sharing family secrets", I tried to joke. It fell a little flat, obviously. Who jokes about these matters? I asked her to take Henry for a walk and try to get some more information from him. "Ask that little monster why he's telling lies!" Kidding. I didn't say that, but I wanted to.
I told her that if anyone is violent in our home, it was me and that one annoying quality about Nick was his inability to fight properly. I gave her too much information when I admitted that Nick and I don't fake wrestle and the last time he slapped me on the ass was when we were dating and I had made it quite clear then that I didn't find pleasure in that. We talked about different theories as to why a child might say such a thing and I hung up the phone feeling much better about the situation.
That feeling only lasted a short time though, because when I read the actual report and the words that Henry spoke, verbatim, it sounded so awful and even worse, believable. I got the same creepy feeling that I felt when Henry used to point at the funeral home and say "that's where mommy lives". The feeling that he wasn't talking about me, but also that he wasn't lying. Whether Henry is speaking of a past life, lying for attention or trying to make sense of marital tension, we may never know. I hate to think of him having these stressful thoughts, but he doesn't seem agitated or upset about anything.
Henry hasn't mentioned a word about it since then. I gave him a short talk about how important it was to tell the truth and most importantly that daddy doesn't hit mommy.
So that's what has taken me a week to process and a week to write about it. I know for many people domestic violence isn't a joke and it isn't a lie, so I felt a little awkward. In the end, it was a story I had to share and apart from some sorrowful looks from the parents of Henry's classmates, I think the incident is over.
And just in case anyone needs it:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Yesterday I officially became a soccer mom. It wasn't something I was necessarily aspiring to become, but just like how I'm now a person with a compost pile, some things just happen.
It may be short lived. I have a feeling that I'll end up being a debate team mom or band geek mom, because Henry hated his first day of team sports practice. On the way home I could tell he felt like a loser. "I wasn't good at soccer". "Ahh, yes you were", I consoled. "I saw you kick the ball once." "No, I didn't. I didn't do ANYTHING".
He was right.
Henry just kind of stood there and when the coach yelled some encouraging words at him, Henry took it the wrong way and ran off the field crying. I chased him all the way to the playground where he told me that soccer was boring. Then he peed his pants.
I don't know what to do though. Should I let him sit on the bench the whole time? Give up? I don't want to push him and turn him off of soccer forever. I'll probably do what I always do...bribe him with ice cream.
I've always had a secret desire to put Henry in a dress, you know, just to see how cute he'd look. When I found out I was pregnant I knew that I wanted a boy, but after a childhood of dressing baby dolls and Barbie dolls, I couldn't help but want to adorn him with floral patterns and lace. After I discovered his penchant for pink I squashed my fantasy, not because I thought it might lead to a future of cross-dressing, but it seemed best to let Henry make those kinds of choices without any influence from me.
So I swear to you, it was a total accident that I bought little girl tank dresses from American Apparel, instead of little boy tank tops. I realized my mistake as I slipped one over his head and it fell down to his knees. "It's a dress!" Henry yelled excitedly.
He danced around the living room and refused to take it off. I begged him to remove the garment, only because I didn't want him to smear chocolate biscuit all over it before I could return it to the store. "But it's my favorite dress!", he pleaded. "Don't take it". I ended up uttering words I'd hoped to avoid, "dresses are for girls only." And just like when the kids at the park asked Henry why he was naked, (that's another story...) it didn't illicit any shame.
I have a pretty lousy memory. My friend from high school can recount conversations we had in the 9th grade, but I can barely remember who I went to the prom with. Quite the opposite is Henry and his steel trap of memory and facts. At times it frightens me.
I thought I was safe for several more years, as I certainly have very few memories before I was six. I don't know a lot about children, so maybe crazy, good memory is just something kids have, but I'm continually shocked by the details Henry retains. Give him your grocery list and he'll recite it for you as you're going down the aisles.
After school yesterday, the lady in the parking garage handed Henry a smartie. Henry looked at it and said, "I ate one of these at the parade, last night". (Everything in his life happened "Last Night".) He had, in fact, eaten one, almost a year ago at a 4th of July parade. I'm like, "dude, you were two and a half?!" I asked him to tell me more about the parade and he listed the people that were there, what he ate and that he had to go to bed before the fireworks started.
He can point out every fast food restaurant he's ever been to and tell you the exact toy he received in the Happy Meal. And now that I think about it, he can tell you who gave him pretty much every toy and book that's in his playroom and the holiday on which it was given.
We went to a Doodlebops concert a few weeks ago and Henry reminded me that he went 'last night" with his grandpa and daddy. This was a year ago, he could barely speak then, but he sure was paying attention to stuff. Perhaps I should start locking the bathroom door. I'd feel terrible if he had to remember what I look like naked.
My father is a photographer and unfairly his skills were not passed on to me. Not only do I generally snap bad photos, the camera does not love me when I'm on the other side of the lens either. I get by with a few tricks meant to hide double chins and big noses and last week while posing for a photo at the Children's Museum Benefit Gala, the dynamic photographer from Mpls St. Paul Magazine whispered in my ear to "clench my derriere". Apparently this trick will correct ones posture if one is wearing a sleeveless gown. Despite all of this, I love photographs. The beautiful moments they capture are priceless and I admire greatly the talented photogs that can do it with such ease.
Henry has been picking my camera up lately and the results are always entertaining to me. After a week of raw emotions, disbelief and so much sadness it feels peaceful to view the world through the eyes of a child.
It was 8 degrees in Minneapolis the morning I left for Puerto Vallarta. Henry and Nick had left the day before, leaving me behind as I was curled up on the bathroom floor with a stomach bug so nasty you could catch it just by whispering Norovirus. (Just ask any of the 14 people I infected!) Say it three times while looking in a mirror. I dare you.
I still felt a bit dodgy on the airplane, but once I landed in beautiful Mexico it all melted away. It's amazing what a little sunshine will do for your body and soul.
Henry had a hard time on our trip. He screamed, whined and yelled more than he laughed and smiled. He was petrified of the ocean and didn't want anything to do with anyone, but me. He would only eat frozen pancakes and tortilla chips. He yelled that he wanted to go home, except for the last day when he yelled that he wanted to stay. I even overheard our chef on the phone talking to someone about the "problemo niño" that was staying in the house.
We had an occupational therapy appointment this morning and through tears I confessed what an awful child Henry was on our vacation and how I was afraid to ever go anywhere with him again. Henry's therapist in her patient, calm manner, told me that she wasn't at all surprised. Henry has been out of his element and routine for several weeks and it's no wonder that he regressed into being an impossible toddler. Change is especially hard for Henry and he couldn't possibly anticipate all that he experienced and so he freaked out. Even if it was all a bunch of lies, she made me feel so much better and I left feeling less like a total failure then when I walked in.
And also, the ocean is big and scary.
Now we are home and things are getting back to normal. Henry is no longer acting like a problemo niño and I am ready to take on 2008. Happy New Year!!