On vacation in the Catskills. Spectacular clear day, crystalline blue sky with one perfect cirrus cloud hovering above the treeline (mare’s tail — what a great name for a cloud. Interesting they decided not to call it a stallion’s tail.) My five-year old is passed out in the TV room recliner — am looking at him now, wedged into a chair that one year ago he could have curled into for a nap like a cat. Now he’s all arms and legs, overflowing that chair the same way he’s outgrown all his PJs. He announced very matter-of-factly yesterday that his tooth was loose. He’s a storyteller and has been announcing loose teeth ever since he first heard about the Tooth Fairy two years ago…but this time was the real deal. And there was the big boy tooth coming in right behind…too fast. Way too fast. Today, big boy teeth. Tomorrow, puberty and the keys to the car.
So fellow moms, what are teeth going for these days? My last transaction with the Tooth Fairy was about thirty years ago and back then, I believe it was a quarter. What we do now? A buck? Five? A Nintendo DS game cartridge? Suggestions welcome. Also, any advice for keeping my heart from exploding every time we hit a new developmental milestone?
Boy do I love me some Olympic swimming. And no, not because swimmers are hot. I just think elite swimming is a gorgeous sport. I’ll concede that the media were just SILLY with all the Phelps Mania — it’s not like the kid got Russia to pull out of Georgia or solved global warming or anything — but nevertheless, I got very caught up in his story. Not just his awesome physical feats, but his mom — how much do we love Deborah Phelps? I read somewhere that half the time she was in the nosebleed seats with his sisters, that there were several times after winning a race that he searched for but couldn’t pick out her face in the crowd. But whenever he could break free from the packs of sports-a-razzi and fans, he always managed to get to her — scrambling up rows of bleachers just to touch her hand.
I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be Deborah Phelps. Does her heart threaten to burst right out of her chest with pride and adoration for this spectacular boy she’s brought into the world? I am not the mother of an Olympian, but I am completely, hopelessly, painfully besotted with my five-year old son. I burst with pride on a daily basis at stuff he does — forget gold medals, I collapse in a puddle watching him build a Lego Imperial Starcruiser unassisted for the first time.
So I’m obsessed with and inspired by the Phelps mother-son bond. Even moreso after reading about Michael’s ADHD and how Deborah had the good sense to know early on that relief for her boy might come in the water. I read in a wonderful article by Karen Crouse in the NY Times this weekend that Deborah received a letter from one of Michael’s third grade teachers, someone who saw him struggle with concentration and focus before he found his way into a swimming pool — and the teacher’s words pierced my heart. She wondered in the letter if “perhaps, it had never been focus he lacked, but rather, a goal worthy of his focus.”
I will keep this article near me at all times to remind myself that if I was put on earth to do one thing (other than hopefully be good at PR), it’s to advocate for my child. To help him discover goals “worthy of his focus.” While navigating all the while minefields of harried educators and indifferent doctors who find it easier to slap on a label and prescribe a pill. Any other moms of pre-school boys out there have a teacher tell them to to have their kid evaluated because he wouldn’t sit still during Circle Time? Or have a developmental pediatrician who had spent all of 20 minutes with her son suggest he might have Aspergers because he didn’t maintain eye contact properly? And suggest — after the same 20 minutes — that perhaps medication would be an appropriate intervention?
Intervention for what, exactly? Being a pre-school boy?
I am forever inspired by Deborah Phelps and her son’s achievement. And ADHD or not, all the other parents out there who have the guts to trust their instincts and do what’s right for their children when the system labels them “problems.” I’d love to hear from anyone else out there who’s lived through something similar, and how they dealt with it.
Why I Come to Work: Thanks, Mark
I haven’t posted about Pantene Beautiful Lengths yet, don’t know why — client alert, we helped create the campaign for our Pantene client inspiring people everywhere to grow, cut and donate their ponytails so they can be made into real-hair wigs for women going through cancer treatment. We’re in Year III of the campaign and it continues to take on a life of its own, thanks to the incredible generosity and heart of people like Mark, the author of this clip, who grew out his hair for a year and a half and donated it in honor of his mom, a three-time cancer survivor.
If you build it, they will come. We created this campaign on a hope and a prayer that people would actually be willing to make this incredibly personal, intimate donation — we thought we might get 10,000 ponytails in the first year. We’re now well past the 70,000 mark. My involvement in this campaign remains one of the highlights of my professional career, and proudest accomplishments. Please check out the campaign site and share Mark’s story if you feel so moved.
Well, here we go. I can avoid this no longer. The September Cookie is here.
Did it HAVE to Milla Jovovich on the cover? Former model/it girl/edgy designer/beauty spokesmodel/skinny with a 10-month old Milla Jovovich? Who P.S. kicks ASS in the Resident Evil series…oh, and of course there’s a cover line about “marriage-saving sex.” God. What have I gotten myself into.
Was in a HIDEOUS mood today. Came precariously close to negatively gender stereotyping myself in my boss’ office today by having a mini-tantrum about — oh, who knows what — that almost but not quite ended in tears (tears of rage, which is my specialty, versus tears of sorrow) before I caught myself, apologized, and swiftly got my s**t together so I could have a rational conversation with the man who signs my paycheck.
And then…an email from my wildly cool sister Sofia who I miss so much it makes my brain hurt — she’s the one who lives in Hawaii which is WAY too far away. And this blog post and video which I am about to share with you completely…well, almost…reversed my evil reptilian misanthropic mood.
What do you get when you cross musical theater with a mall food court? Nirvana, my friends, nirvana. Check out the attached from improveverywhere and try not to laugh. And of course Professional Me — now that she’s over her psychotic break — is trying to figure out how to co-opt this idea for a client. I have no shame.
Thank you little sister. You saved my damned day.
Oh, and P.S. to everyone else…thoughts on expressing shall we say intense emotion at the office — ever appropriate? Would love to know especially from my working sisters if those pesky tear ducts have ever gotten you in trouble.
Via Clever Cookie
Am procrastinating right now, have two crushing client doc deadlines on top of me but it’s much more important that I a) eat the wild blackberry my son just picked for me from behind our house and b) blog. SO…a quick update for those awaiting the formal kick-off of the Cookie Project — and I know there are thousands of you out there — that we officially have a name. And no surprise it would come from Lisa P, the colleague and fellow working mom who inspired me in the first place with her introducing me to the “cooking through” trend.
So what we are about to embark upon, OF COURSE — is “Cookie-ing Through.”
Thanks, Lisa P. And quit lurking — this blog needs a regular dose of your Dorothy Parker-esque wit!
Once in while something happens that reminds me that I do in fact have faith in humanity, that people are inherently good not evil, and that misanthropy is only attractive on TV (paging Dr. House.) A rainbow triggered this thought. Not just any rainbow — an insane, turbo-charged, larger than life rainbow that for about 15 minutes last Sunday night transformed a bunch of motorists on the NYS Thruway into awestruck little kids. This picture doesn’t come close to doing it justice, but there it is:
Drivers were peeling off the highway one after another — some to snap pictures, others just to stare. My son was drowsy in the back seat and wasn’t particularly interested but it didn’t matter — the two 40-somethings in the front seat were on cloud nine.
Remember the old “People are Good” ebay ads? No rainbows in that campaign, but I think they were on to something. What do you think?