“Why are you fat, Mommy?”

I have said this before and I will say it again, my son is honest, candid, and doesn’t intentionally mean to be hurtful.  Keeping this in mind, it is still extremely hard when he asks such personal questions.

Two years ago, after my husband lost 50 pounds on his mail route, my son started asking me, “Why are you fat and the rest of us are thin?”  I would look at my small plate, with the smallest portions in the family, and say, “I don’t know.”

Last year, when I found two exercise classes that I loved, and committed to, he asked, “If you exercise, and eat healthy, then why are you still fat?”

Once again, my response would be, “I don’t know.”

“Why should I exercise if I can still be fat?”  He inquired.

“Because even if I don’t look the way I want, I want my body to be healthy.  When I get tests done at the doctor, my blood says that I live a healthy lifestyle.  I don’t know why I still look like this.” I said on my lips, but inside I cried.

Anyway, through my weight loss journey, my kids have watched me.  They have seen me come home from the gym sweaty.  They see what I eat, and they notice that they eat more than me.  They noticed right away when I quit eating gluten (wheat products), and they ask lots of questions along the way.  We are glad they ask questions, because we share genetics.  Who is to say they won’t have their own fitness journey someday.

This week, I learned the importance of working out in front of my kids.  I love my spinning and Body Pump classes, but I needed more exercises in my week that worked with my new work schedule.  Scott and I bought Insanity, so we could get toned together.  We have completed one month of this program, sweating, crying (at times), and getting through each intense workout.

The other morning, Scott wasn’t feeling well, and 5 minutes into one of the most intensive workouts I have ever done, he left me to do the hour-long workout ALONE.  I was sad and frustrated.  I tried to make my body do things that it has never done.

About 55 minutes into the workout, I was spent.  Done. Tired.  READY to be done.  It was too much.  Sweat was pouring off of my forehead.  I ran out of water ages ago.  Every single muscle in my body ached.

My over critical son, who is famous for pointing out the obvious walked into the room to watch me complete my workout.  I kept waiting for him to say something like, “You don’t do it as good as they do.”

INSTEAD he yelled, “YOU CAN DO IT, MOMMY!”

That’s all it took.  My muscles started working again, and I completed the last exercise before the cool down.  I finished the tape and have completed two more videos since that morning (with Scott).

My body might not be perfect.  I have MANY workouts before I am the size or the shape I want to be, but at least my kids KNOW how hard I am trying.  That is the lifelong lesson I want them to remember.

That Moment You Realize Your Life is a TV Show

I grew up loving The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life, and Growing Pains (Ok, I watched Full House too – don’t judge me!).  Then came the Wonder Years, Saved by the Bell, and eventually Friends.  In the early 2000s, when no one was watching sitcoms, I loved Scrubs.  (Scott and I still quote it on a daily basis.)  Now of course, I love The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Whitney, and The Office.  Those shows make me laugh out loud.

I love to laugh.  I love happiness.  I love sitcoms.  I do, I really, really, really do.  There’s enough junk in life to take seriously, but give me 30 minutes in someone else’s reality, and that is 30 minutes in Heaven to me.  Of course, I don’t watch as many sitcoms as I would like each week, but when I do get to see them, the laughing makes my heart sing.

Sometime, in the past 24 hours, I realized something.  It’s not a huge something or a profound something, and if I were a comedic blogger I would even know how to make this funny to anyone other than me.

I am not sure if I realized it when I caught my 7-year-old son, watching election coverage while reading his Presidential Encyclopedia for fun.

Maybe I realized this when my husband decided to actually do some housework at the idea that someone might come over and see the wreck we live in.

Could I have realized it this morning when my daughter chose this as her outfit?  Of course, this was compromise after a few wardrobe changes.  (She has her own style that is for sure!)

Or maybe, it had something to do with me, running around, trying to find everyone, feeling like I am in a constant state of wreck and disorganization.  Seriously, some days I think I am one small step away from a real nervous breakdown.  Why?  Who knows?  I think it’s because I am actually crazy, but everyone is too nice to tell me.

Anyway, when you put our family’s quirks together, but take away a “cool jock” you will see that we are the Hechts through and through.

Old Picture from this summer 🙂

While we dream of the perfect vacation or holiday, no trip is complete without a real misadventure or “lost in the Bronx” story.

The mom does too much for her family, is too involved with her kids, and is so annoying that I want to punch her in the face.

The dad, owns flannel and while he cares, he is work a lot of the time to get too personal with the family.  All he wants to do on a Sunday afternoon is watch football, and can sleep through the annoying noises of the kids.  In fact, he can sleep like a baby through almost anything.

The 8-year-old is a tad quirky, and loves to read.  He is interested in things like Presidents, politics, and grown up issues.  Has a tendency to get obsessed with silly ideas, but he has no idea that he’s obsessed.

The daughter ignores what others think about her.  She does her thing, has her own style, and is so happy in her own little world, she refuses to notice that she is a bit on the weird side.

Now, as you are reading this, you must be wondering, “Is she talking about the TV family or her family?”

See, there’s the thing, I don’t know….Was I describing the show or the real characters in my life?  Gosh, the two are so alike…

You take our quirks, put us in some obscure small town in the Midwest that no one actually cares about, you will see that we live in The Middle!

Ups and Downs

I am tired.  I am really tired.  Not just the “I said yes too many times tired”, or “the list is too long tired”, or “the when will I ever get caught up tired”; but the my daughter kept waking me up every 15 minutes since 2:30am tired.  Combine all of those states of tiredness, and you have my mindset today.  I am trying to stay calm and happy, and just get through it, but grumpiness took over this morning.

After saying good-bye to my dad (I miss him so much!), getting Scott to work, and running to the store for the necessities for today, I started cleaning.  I admit, when I clean, I get grumpy.  I curse the family and their dirty ways.  I curse the pee all over the bathroom floor AGAIN (Am I the ONLY one who sees it?).  I silent curse everything.  Then I curse myself for being ungrateful for a house of joy and happiness.  I curse myself for being grumpy because I am busy because God is blessing me with work, passion, and opportunities.  I should have turned on music, because when I clean with music, no one gets cursed.

Anyway, as I was scrubbing, the dumbest thing happened.  My cell phone fell out of my pocket and landed on my toes.  For some reason it HURT, I mean HURT, and now, hours later, it STILL HURTS.  Seriously, a CELL PHONE.  How?  Anyway, I cried out in pain because it hurt so bad.  However, my kids didn’t come to see if I was OK.  From another room, I hear, “Mom, what happened?”  However, finding out if I was OK, was not as important as the book he was reading.

Really?  I haven’t taught my kids to drop everything when they hear a scream???  Is that something that is taught?  Are my kids becoming good people???  Feeling like a terrible mom, and so alone, I finish the housework and move on to the next item on my list.

My son, comes to me with his money.  He wants to earn more today.  “I will clean the bathroom, fold the towels, and wipe down the toilet for you,”  he offered.

“Well, I already cleaned the bathroom and toilet today, so you can’t do those things.  However, I am sure we will find some chores for you to do this weekend,” I offered.

“Oh, OK.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later, he returns with a dollar.  “Here, this is for you,” he said.

“Why?  Keep your money.”

“Well, you cleaned the bathroom, so someone should give you money.  Thank you.”

That one tiny gesture was bigger to me than pee on the floor, ignored cries, and all of the other failings I feel each day as a mom.  I am not perfect, and I am not doing this mothering thing well most of the time, however, every once in a great while I get a sign that maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.

Tough Parenting Moments

Monday, after school, in a fit of frustration, my son declared, “I am sick of Fremont and Clarmar.  Why can’t I be anyone’s best friend?”

I paused, knowing he can be sensitive, knowing that he had a bad day/week/month, knowing that maybe it will be better tomorrow.  “What happened?”

“Well, sometimes it feels like the kids are mean.  They don’t really want to play with me.  They don’t want me on their team.”

“Why don’t they want you on your team?  Do you think you can relax about rules on the playground?  Can’t you let some rules slide, and it be OK?”  I asked him.  I know he can be hard to get along with.  I understand that playground rules are different from real life rules.  I know the kids have forgotten that he struggles with this, and it makes sense since they are 7.

“I try.  I try to be nice.  I try to change and act like them.  I try to treat them the way they want to be treated, but no one really likes me.”

In that moment, I pause, I want to cry.  I am sad and I am feeling like a terrible mom.  We are constantly helping our son change.  We are teaching him social skills and trying to help him understand how others think.  He works on it daily.  He tries.  Even when he doesn’t ‘get it’ he still tries.  I know kids get frustrated with him at times, and he knows it too.  He is trying and trying.

The thing I feel bad about: When do others have to change?  Why should he go through life wanting and trying to be different to act like someone else?  If we want him to feel good about being a person with Asperger’s, then we have to accept him, quirks and all.  Kids have to accept him, and others do too.  It shouldn’t be a one way road for this 7-year-old.

After my flood of thoughts and pause, I said, “Well if you are treating others the way you want to be treated, then that is all you can do.  You can’t control others and how they treat you, but you can control yourself and how you treat others.  If kids at your school can’t see that, and accept you for WHO YOU ARE, then they are not worth it.  You are a nice boy, who is trying very hard.”

“I wish that was easy,” he sighed.

“Me too, I wish it would get easier, but that is life, Buddy.  It’s just a stinky part of life.”

Upon hearing the word stinky, he smiled and laughed.  Toilet humor took over and our conversation was paused.  However, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I pray that I can successfully guide these two kids through life.  I pray they know they are loved and accepted just the way God made them, without letting their little quirks be excuses.  No one ever said that raising kids was easy, and unfortunately, I don’t think the lessons will get any easier.

Kids Give me Hope

I am so tired of campaigns, negativity on TV, news, and in social media.  It’s enough to make one crazy enough woman scream.  So, lately, the tv is off, Facebook is ignored, and life continues on.  I could sit back and think about the issues.  I could go on and on about how people’s view of education is wrong.  I could stand on a soapbox about many topics, but I won’t, at least not today. 🙂

Instead, I choose to focus on the little notes I have found lying around the house.  Ok, I finally picked them up off the middle of the floor after they had been there for too many days.  (Oh, the working mom’s house is back, and probably not going anywhere.)  I don’t know when they made them, but they did it all on their own.  These notes, give me hope, and make me smile.

Our country and world will be fine.  Education will be fine.  Our futures are bright.  Those are the lessons that working with children teach me everyday.

“I wish that there will always be freedom.” – McCartney

I can’t find the note that says, “I hope McCartney will always be my brother.” -Ana

“We all live in a yellow submarine.” -Ana 😉

“For Mrs. Beck, I like the Beatles. Paul, George and Ringo” -Ana

 

 

 

 

 

Moment of Triumph

The other day, after work and a photo session, the kids and I had to wait for Scott at the park.  It has been extremely busy lately, and I am afraid that I have missed fall.  As we waited, I pushed aside my long to do list that was burning in the back of brain, and was present with my kids.   I am going to miss the next few years of their lives, if I am not careful.

The day was perfect.  The air was thin, but not too cool.  The leaves were bright, with some trickling off the trees, one by one.  I could have stayed at that park, with my kids for hours.  Being lazy, I sat down on a swing and started to move.  The next thing I knew, my son joined me, and he soared through the air.  Swinging has been one of his favorite activities since he birth.

Ana also hopped into the fun.  She has never had the desire to actually learn how to pump and keep herself going.  I have tried “tough love.”  You know, I say, “I will give you one push, and then you have to keep going.”  Well, being the charmer she is, she manages to compensate for my meanness, and always finds another kid, including her brother, to push her.  If she can’t con someone into helping her, she usually jumps off the swing and skips to another activity.  On this day, for some reason, I really wanted to swing.  I mean, I really wanted to put my desire to swing over her desire to join us.  However, I did give her the one push that my mean momma self gives her at the park.

At one point, I looked over at Ana and noticed that she was attempting to pump.  Her body swayed back and forth, her legs went forward and back, forward and back, forward and back…

“Mommy, I am moving by myself!  I am swinging all by myself!  I can do it!!!”  she exclaimed in her high-pitched-over-the-top excited voice.  She was moving ever so slightly, but moving all the same.  She didn’t give up and kept gaining speed, little by little.  Baby steps, but successful.

“Look at you go, Ana! I love how you are working so hard on moving your legs and your body!  Yay!”  I let out a huge sigh of relief, my little big girl was going to learn to swing by herself sooner than later.  YAY!

Magic happens in these little moments and I cherish them all.

The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!