Monday, April 21, 2014

Let it be known, 4.25 Years later

When I was a University student, I was enjoying my single, bachelorette life but there was always a nagging desire to find "the one".  I never verbally let on to any of my single friends that there was something more that I truly longed for, but there was.  One day while on a lunch break, I sat in the cafeteria with my friend Sandra and her classmate Joe.  I don't know what I was on, but I blurted out that 'I just wanted to be in love and in a steady relationship'.

"HA!" Joe laughed in my face.  (He was apparently trying to play things cool in front of Sandra; we both knew he had a thing for her.)

I don't remember how I reacted to Joe.  It didn't even matter.  It was just the fact that I let it out.  I let it be known.

And a few weeks later I was introduced to my future Hubby.  That was the kicker!  Coincidence?

So now of course after my previous post where I let it all out, with my sad, tiny violin story about how all I wanted was to have a nice family day at the beach without incident:  you guessed it!  I got it!!!!!

What an abrupt change!  I was at my wit's end when I wrote that last post.  I didn't see things changing anytime soon.  I had given up.

So this weekend, we took Qori to the beach since he loves to swim.  I didn't even try to suggest that Diego take off his shoes or go into the water.  He stood there watching Qori and his brother wade in the water.

And early on he turned to me and said, "Mama, I want to try it out.  I'm not shy."

I said, "What -- you want to go in the water?!"

"Yes," he said calmly.

I was skeptical.  Even as I was removing his shoes, I kept saying, "If you don't like it, don't worry.  You don't have to go in the water.  I'll just put your shoes back on."

His bare feet touched the sand first, which worried me because he couldn't even touch sand with his hands when he was younger, let alone with his feet.  This critical moment and his reaction would set the mood for the rest of our evening.

......And after 4.25 years of me waiting for him to get over his sand and water phobia and not go into a tantrum distress at the beach, he walked over to the small lagoon and put one foot in.........

.................and I got my wish! 

For hours......


There were no tantrums.  It was just a tranquil day at the beach filled with smiles.  And on the way home, they fell asleep -- just like I described in my wish.  Everything was just, tranquil.  To any other person, this is just another day, but you don't understand, to me it's a miracle!  It's a culmination after 4.25 years of NEVER being able to just have a nice family day at the beach.  I was so happy for those hours.  I felt complete.  I've been re-invigorated on motherhood (still not having another baby though!!!!)

So now, I'd just like to let it be known that all I want in life is to win the lottery jackpot ;)
Hey, it's worth a shot!

-Shirley (Mama-Ruff)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Black Magic Eclipse

We visited my husband's carpenter for a project he was working on last night.  We needed to cross the bridge to get there and it was already 8pm.

"We're going to go see Martin" we told the boys.

"Martiiiiiiiiiin!" the kids gleefully cried.

Along the way I noticed the moon.  It was a large, low, and a faint orange.  I commented to Hubby that I heard there would be an eclipse tonight that would cause the moon to be orange. It would peak around midnight.  Neither of us could imagine staying up that late on a work night! 

Hubs and Martin finalized their business, and on the way out, Martin - joker that he is, played a prank on Diego.  He placed a gag prop on his finger to make it look like a nail had gone through his finger and he was bleeding.  Diego's reaction was that of pure concern.  So Martin turned around and removed the prop to show Diego that he was no longer bleeding.


It was magic, I told him.  He was happy and amazed. "Yeah, it was magic"


About 3:30 am. this morning I woke to hear Qori licking himself vigorously.  I had a feeling this was not good, so I jumped up and turned on the light.

Crime scene......

That's all I can say.

It still hurts my heart to think about last night.

I helped him clot the bleeding, I washed his fur so that he didn't look like a lion that had just made a kill,  I whispered that 'I was there for him' over and over and gave him lots of affection and caresses,

.......I cried.....

Out on the deck, I looked up at the sky in desperation.... I looked for the moon..... there was nothing.  The eclipse?  There was something so powerful about the moon, and so eerie that this crime scene happened on the same night.  A black magic.

I did a lousy job of cleaning up the crime scene.

After making sure that Qori was OK, I tried to fall back asleep around 5am.

Hours later when I woke, I felt a little better to see that no sequel crime scene had occurred.    But Diego woke up and immediately said, "Mommy, who made this mess?!"

"Qori was bleeding," I said.  "He's not feeling well."

Diego had that same look of pure concern.  (I felt so bad for referring to him as a demon in a previous post.  The kid has a heart and soul).  He thought about it for a few seconds and said,

"Qori needs magic!"

I fought back the tears and said, "Yes Diego.........  but I don't have any magic."

I don't have any magic....

-Shirley (Mama-Ruff)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Leaving the Pack


At the beginning of this whole mess, the vet told me to look out for changes in your behavior.  You might get extra clingy, or you might distance yourself.  It's the pack mentality: if you no longer feel useful to the pack, you will start to prepare for your leave.

We had a scare on Friday that led us into the vet's office (here I was trying to skirt my responsibility by canceling Diego's weekly speech therapy, and my Friday still ended up stressful).  Although there was blood involved, the vet seemed optimistic citing your ability to eat, drink, poop, pee, breath clearly and clot blood.  I only felt a little better.

It's hard when the vet says it could be 3 days or 3 years.  And looking at the bump on your nose grow bigger each day, I feel that 3 years in just not realistic.  And what hurts more is that lately you've been asking to go out to the yard more often, and sometimes I catch you out on the deck just sitting there.... reflecting.

It hurts me to see that you'd rather be out there alone, than inside with me.  It makes me wonder if you're preparing to leave our little ruffian pack.  Is that it, Qori?  Or does the cool breeze just make you feel better?  I don't want to force you to come inside, so I let you take your time.  Take as much as you need.  But know that I feel so alone without you... and yet you're just on the other side of the sliding glass door.  I wish I could tell you that you're still useful to our pack.  That we (I) will need you until the bitter end.

And I know that you need me too.  I'm here for you Qori. 

The pack will stay together:  through good times and bad.....

Qori Qori Qori

-Shirley (Mama-Ruff)

Friday, April 11, 2014


After writing that last post, I've been trying to handle things differently both mentally and physically with Diego.  I'm yelling at him less and trying to make those piercing shrieks of anger slide off my back.  And when things are good, I make sure to show him more affection and tell him that I love him.

This past weekend, we had what I considered a breakthrough.  It was Sunday morning and the boys began fighting over the Wii as they always do (Pictured above is how they "hate" on each other when each is playing on the Wii).  After Diego played his round, I held my ground and announced that it was Mateo's turn to play on the Wii.  Diego started into a tantrum, which I ignored.  His tantrum was beginning to escalate.

Just then I heard a knock on the door.  This will have been the third! time that my brother inlaw has shown up to our house on our family Sunday unannounced within the last couple of months.  I was so annoyed with him, yet graciously welcomed him and now his 9 year old son, Andrew into our home.

The problem was that Diego was still in full-on tantrum mode....

He was mad at his brother for taking the Wii, he was mad at his cousin Andrew because Mateo then let Andrew play with the Wii, he was mad at the world.  He went into our master bedroom and slammed the door with the force of an adult.  He came out with pillows and started throwing them in his brother's and cousin's direction while they played.  I intervened, but minimally, keeping my assertive tone and yet calm voice.  Especially after my last experience with my brother inlaw as summarized in my recent FaceBook post:

I just kept washing dishes in the kitchen and telling Diego not to throw things at his brother and cousin.  I tried to let things slide off my back, I didn't get mad; only stern, and I went about my business.  Diego was no longer screaming but was walking around with a pissed-off face and a look that said, "I'm trying to think of something bad to do."

After about 30 minutes, Diego came to me in the kitchen and out of left field said,

"I'm sorry, Mama!"

At first I didn't even know why he was apologizing to me.  It's not like he threw pillows at me!  I honestly could not believe that those words had so sweetly and kindly come out of his mouth!  I wasn't even looking, expecting, or thought that I deserved an apology!  10 minutes later Diego and answer were swapping their Wiis and Nintendo DS's and playing different levels of Mario Bros.

Later that day, after his cousin left and we played in the backyard, Diego started reflecting on his day.

"Mama, I was a bad boy, but then I turned into a GOOD boy!" he said.

Yes, Diego.  You turned into a good boy.

And I turned into mush.

What a breakthrough!
-Shirley (Mama-Ruff)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Only Human....Carbon-Based

It seems that everywhere I turn, I see a calm baby and a happy mommy.  Take Friday for example. I decided to cut out of work early to do some retail therapy at my neighborhood Target.  As I walked down an aisle, I heard someone say, "Oh hi Shirley!"

I turned to see Tina, a colleague from work with her 10-month old son strapped onto her........ Her 10 month old, CALM son.  As we talked I was once again struck with light jealousy that she had such a calm son.  I could NEVER go to Target with my first son at that age.  NEVER.  And just why do you think I was still at Target alone today?

And it's the same story everywhere I go, everywhere I see, even with my own sister and her baby.  It's hard for me sometimes.  The knife pushes in deeper when I see "normal" babies and children.  I wonder, why me?  Why must every day be filled with extreme cries and tantrums?  Why can't we just get through one family activity without starting a shit-storm that lasts for hours?

I know I'm not alone, there are other mothers like me (and they're also going to Target alone).  But most days, I do feel alone.  None of my friends or family open themselves up to be in this situation.  And most people on FaceBook are all "sunshine and lollipops" about their children.  They are so happy, yet here I am struggling and second-guessing this whole motherhood thing.  So I hold back, reserve myself, and find my only solace in reading mommy blogs like Scary Mommy - and that is the only time I feel like I'm not alone.  I see there are other mothers out there who are going through it and think like me.  You may ask yourself, well - what does she think?

I think I just want to laugh and have fun as a mom.  But shit gets way too serious in my family.  It's heart-breaking when all you intend is to have a fun day with your children and time after time, it just doesn't end up that way.  I really want to have a picnic in the park or a day at the beach where we all just smile and laugh and then go home and take a nap.... and everything is just tranquil.  But at this point, it's so far from me that I just want to cry when I think about it.

And in my case, I've been harboring a little resentment at my first son.  He's the one with the tough personality.  I feel like 70% of mine and his personality, just isn't compatible.  And before it tears at the other 30% of our relationship apart, I'm trying to find ways of working it out. Even if it means just accepting that I will NEVER be able to just have fun as a mom.  It saddens me to think that a picnic in the park or just laying out on the beach or a lake, will NEVER be as fun and peaceful as I'd hoped.  For the longest time (2 years) I thought that it had to be me.  I was either 1) a new mom who was doing it all wrong, or 2) my first son truly was out of control - a special case.  And then along came my second son, Mateo, and his different, more calm personality confirmed it was the latter.  No one can tell me, "you're just doing it wrong" now.  Mateo is proof that it's NOT me or my parenting!

This may sound horrible to you, but it's real for me.  I don't write on this blog to be all "sunshine and lollipops".  I write on this blog to offer a true and comical look at my life with my Ruffians.   But unfortunately, my first son is more serious than comical.  It's ironic, but he may just be a true "Ruffian".  To give it to you straight, let me describe my last few weekends and how they went from bad to ugly:

Museum Weekend:  We strolled through a toy store strategically placed in the children's museum before entering the museum.  He wanted a toy.  We said "no".  He proceeded to to scream and shriek for the next hour. He cried and demanded a toy as we walked from exhibit to exhibit, never backing down.  While other families and children played at the exhibit,  my son would have NONE of that!  He could give a rat's ass how fast a machine would clock him while karate-chopping the air.  I looked around.  He was the ONLY child who wasn't having fun, and he was making a spectacle of himself.  Mateo on the other hand was being a good sport until he puked from the stomach flu.  So we went home early.  Wasted day, wasted energy, wasted opportunity.  :(

Lake Tahoe Weekend:  You name it.  He cried for it.  He had a tantrum just about every hour.  THE ENTIRE WEEKEND.  We rented a big house and invited a lot of people to come stay with us, so they witnessed the shit-storm that is Diego.  Mateo?  I can't remember because we were all so busy hearing Diego's cries.  Was Mateo even there?  Oh yes, there he is... in the picture above.

I felt a little redemption during this trip as one of my husband's friends commented that my older son had a "strong personality" in Spanish.  Yes!  It's not just me who thinks that!  And my mom commented after that weekend that "Diego looked like the Dad and my hubs looked like the child".  Why?  I asked.  "Because Diego constantly screamed and demanded at his Dad."

Restaurant weekend: We went to a restaurant by the water to celebrate a few milestones.  Diego lasted maybe an hour, which surprised me.  But then, he started screaming "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!! I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE!"  While Mateo tried oysters for the first time, Diego's tantrum got to the point where it was almost disrupting other diners.  So, I sacrificed myself and left with the boys to go play on a grassy knoll away from the restaurant, after only eating my appetizer.


Wii weekend:  We bought a Wii so that Diego could play a dinosaur game that he's been watching other kids play for the past 4 months on Youtube.  The game was old, so we had to drive an hour away to pick one up.  An hour away!  But he loved the game so much, we thought it was worth it just to see him smile.  We were so excited to see his reaction.  On the way there he was so excited,

until he saw a Toys R Us store on the road....... 

that moment was the inception of the idea that he wanted to go to Toys R Us and buy toys.  We were one block away from the game - one block! when he decided that he didn't care about the game AT ALL.  He was on one-track mind at this point:  Toys R Us! 

He kicked, he screamed, he threw the Wii box in the car, he ORDERED us not to enter the Gamestop to buy the game.  He cried in the In 'N' Out drive thru, he cried on the bridge, he cried all the way home, screaming "Toys R US!!!!!!".  We didn't dare even show him the Wii game.  We stood our ground and didn't let him get his way that day, but man it was a disappointment when all we wanted to do was make him happy with his game :(

A little later we introduced and played the game.  He was so happy and excited..............
for five minutes...........

Then apparently Hubs clicked the "wrong" option on the Wii game according to my son, and the shit storm began all over again.  Hubs and I just looked at each other with the same tired faces of disappointment.

When Diego has his tantrums, I'd be lying if I said I didn't imagine how this moment or day would be without him.  In all the cases above, Mateo was pretty chill.  I've never experienced scenarios with just Mateo my calm son, because Diego has always been in the picture- being the first.  So I can't help but be curious to play the day over in my head and wonder how it would have been if only Mateo was in the scene.  

Pretty damn different.  And almost close to a day in the life of Target Tina or my sister.  

And I know that it's wrong to even think this way.  And trust me, I feel bad.  I don't want to harbor resentment and have these impure & unhealthy thoughts against my oldest son.  I definitely don't want my son out of the picture.  I just wish he was different sometimes. Frankly, I'm tired of walking on eggshells around him wondering what the next thing is that I'll do wrong to set him off.

Sometimes I wonder if the stress of Qori's cancer is making me less "easy-going" than I used to be.  I don't know where this negativity is coming from.  But I know I can't blame anyone other than myself for my deep-seeded thoughts and reactions to my children.  And like I mentioned, I know it's unhealthy to be so negative about my first son.  It can't be good for our relationship.  So I'm trying to change that starting with me.  I'm clearing my mind - or at least trying to.  I'm forgiving myself for being a carbon-based human who sometimes makes mistakes and has "impure" thoughts.  And I'm forgiving Diego for being a miniature demon carbon-based human who doesn't yet understand how impactful his actions in this world can be, especially to me.

It's up to me to change this situation and to teach my son to divert all that negative emotional energy into something positive in our lives and in the world.  I'm the grownup for Pete's sake!  But most times I feel like I'm only human.

Only carbon-based.

-Shirley (Mama-ruff)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March 2014 - Month in Pics

I'm exhausted from March.  It started with a horrible time change!  (Daylight savings kills me as a working mom!  And it kills my sleeping logs in the morning too).

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS. I prepped and primmed two sleeping logs this morning and was sweating by the end. Tomorrow I have a mtg at 7:30. I DIE.

And the activities in between the rain:  parks, the zoo, hiking, searching for 4-leaf clovers on St. Paddy's Day, and restaurants where Tater tried oyster!

And of course, the Ruffians lived up to their names this month.  As in every past month.....


And Qori's health is doing well and he's with us all the time (rain or shine).

I couldn't hold my hubby at bay anymore, and we bought a Wii console for the kids.

And in between the madness, Hubs and I managed to spend some quality time together!

And I found out that I'm not the only Mama at my house after all!  Meet "Melinda" and her ruffians eggs!  How much you wanna bet those 2 eggs will be two hyper-active boys?

Welcome to the club...... Melinda.

I'll pray for you......

How was your March?

-Shirley (mama-ruff)
Instagram: Justshirley08