The Mommy Files: Names

When X-Chromo was very first learning to talk, we discovered something interesting. We played the standard game with her: point at something and ask her, “What’s that?” or at a person and ask, “Who’s that?” The latter was quite common at the dinner table every night.

I would point at my husband. “Who’s that?”

“Dada.”

He would point at me. “Who’s that?”

“Mama.”

One of us would point at her older brother. “Who’s that?”

“Hmph.”

Y-Chromo’s given name is nowhere near “Hmph” in sound. Neither were his many nicknames. But night after night, she would respond: “Dada, Mama, Hmph.”

If you look up the definition of “hmph” you’ll see that the sound indicates annoyance or indignation. Traits that set the tone of their relationship for next several years.

The Mommy Files: Green Grandma

Green is TV Stevie’s least favorite color. I’ve always been partial to it, but after we married, I limited green to foodstuffs. TV is partial to vegetables, so he was content.

Along came the children, who, being green deprived in the house and in their closets, both declared green to be their favorite color.

X-Chromo, I think, rebelled against all the pink and purple in which I swathed her.  Her love of green morphed into a preference for what I call turquoise.  Which TV Stevie insists is green. Men, however, have fewer color rods in their eyes, so he clearly knows not of what he speaks.

Y-Chromo took it one step further.  He invented his “Green Grandma.”

One evening at dinner, Y informed us he wanted to visit his Green Grandma. So I asked him about this person. “Oh, she lives in a green house. Her kitchen is green. Her curtains are green. The stove and refrigerator a green. There are green walls and green floors. All her furniture is green. I love it there.”

The kids wasn’t talking about environmentally correct stuff. He meant the color.

 

 

The Mommy Files: Yum Yums

Friday nights at our house have always been pizza night. After a long work week, it is nice not to have to think about what I’m going to cook for supper.  When the Chromos were young, I did cook. Every night. Except Friday.

We go through phases with our pizza toppings. TV likes green peppers and mushrooms, two things I cannot abide. I like Italian sausage, something he considers extremely unhealthy. Two things we’ve always agreed on are black olives and onions. So for a while, our weekly pizza was topped with onions.

Y-Chromo was old enough to eat a slice on his own, but I had to cut up X-Chromos pizza into tiny pieces for her to handle.  “Yum yum,” she would say. And thus began what would be come a weekly game.

X-Chromo would reach over to my plate and pluck the onions off my slice. “Hey!” I would chide her. “What do you think you’re doing? Those are my onions.”

She would smile and reply, “Yum yums!”

It became a weekly game.

Mommy Moment: The Bread

When Y-Chromo came home for the summer after his first year at college, there were many adjustments that needed to be made. We had to learn that he’d been on his own for 9-10 months and needed more leeway than he’d been given in high school. He needed to adjust to being in a family situation again.

While he was away at school, I didn’t have to buy as much bread for sandwiches as  I did in previous years. His first weekend home, we were nearly out. He informed me he would eat only Supermarket brand bread, if I couldn’t get Supermarket brand peanut butter, he would eat only a certain national brand. He missed Supermarket brand bread while at college.

I was very busy that weekend and did not have time to go to the Supermarket he specified. There is another grocery chain with a store closer to home. In the interest of time, that’s where I went to pick up a few crucial items. Including bread. When I got home, I transferred the loaf of bread into the Supermarket brand bag and stuck it in the freezer. Y never knew the difference.

I think X-Chromo recently told him the story. (She thought it was hysterical when I confessed it to her years later.) He laughs about it now.

Sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

 

 

Movie: Frozen River

I never would have seen Frozen River had it not been nominated for an Academy Award in 2008. I’ve seen it only once (TV Stevie sees every nominated film he can, and I happened to catch this one with him), but the images and messages have stayed with me. The film was nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. It won several other awards, mostly for Best Actress.

I never realized the underlying story until I overheard a TV program my husband was watching about female directors. Frozen River  was mentioned as being a film about motherhood. When I heard that, all the images came crystal clear.

Mexico isn’t the only point of entry for undocumented immigrants. When the St. Lawrence River freezes, it becomes a smuggler’s route between New York State and Ontario/Quebec–especially since the Akwesasne nation (St. Regis Mohawk tribal land) straddles the river between the two other countries.

Two single mothers–one white, one Native American–both desperately poor, want better lives for their children.  They live on the New York side of the Frozen River. This unlikely pair team up  with disastrous consequences. There is a happy ending, just not in the traditional sense.  The film ends on a note of hope. Yes, their partnership brought dire consequences, but in the end, the same partnership will help them create the better lives they want for their children.

The movie is dark. Grim. Yet as a mother, I identify with their anguish.  We will do anything for our children.