Tag Archives: Mother

To Chanlca or not To Chancla … That is the Question

10 Feb

Have you met The Chancla?

It was the deadly slipper that seemed to get passed on from generation to generation. It didn’t look like much by itself. Sometimes it was pink and fuzzy, other times it was flip flop with what appeared to be a flimsy rubber sole to the naked eye.  But looks were deceiving.

A pair of well-used flip-flops.

Image via Wikipedia

If your parents were born in Mexico, Central America or South America you are probably aware of this little Latino phenomenon. Not everyone I guess, but I would say 99.9 percent of the Latino population knows The Chancla.

I myself am very familiar with it. However, I wasn’t a bad kid growing up. I just grew up in a rough inner-city neighborhood and my mom wanted to make sure I didn’t cross the line, didn’t think of crossing the line, didn’t breathe on the line, didn’t even look at the line.

Most of the time I received visits from The Chancla for missing curfew. I tried sneaking in after curfew many times but was hardly successful. Our one-bedroom apartment made it difficult for me to ever sneak in without getting caught.

There was no escaping it. I’d take off my shoes, wrap anything that jingled in my coat, opened the door quietly, took a few steps, and there it was — the floorboard. That killed it every time. It’s creaking was like a prison alarm summoning all the guards.

Sure enough, after the rickety wood gave us away, the warden would emerge from the dark corner, wearing her uniform: a long aqua-blue terry cloth bathrobe with bleach stains on the bottom. She would shake her head, rub her blood-shot eyes, and then give me the look. I knew operation “sneaking-in” had failed.

I would take a deep breath and do one of two things: lie or tell the truth. If neither of them passed my mom’s test of satisfaction it was over. The Chancla would surface. Put into the wrong hands, my parents’, it became a deadly weapon. The sole transformed into a hard object. Very hard and painful. But I survived, I was a good kid. I was a good kid to begin with didn’t need any help from The Chancla, but parents wanted to make sure.

So now as my son is growing up, my mom and aunts begin giving me their “old school” opinions.

My son…he cracks me up. He’s got personality and sweetness, but he’s three. He tests your boundaries, sometimes to the limit.

Not everyone has patience. I am quite aware of that. However I’ve had the advantage (at the time it was a serious disadvantage) of being a substitute middle school teacher for a couple of years. Middle school … have you met this beast? I got all the patience I needed from that gig. So my range is a little more tolerable than most members of my family including my husband.

But the question arose…to Chancla or not to Chancla?

My son is awesome. But let’s not get crazy sometimes he acts up. He gets attitude. He doesn’t always cooperate at the supermarket. He needs to watch Wonder Pets when I’m trying to watch The Closer. He doesn’t necessarily go to sleep when he’s supposed. He yells when the baby is sleeping. It happens. He’s three. But there’s mom and some family members “…hey hey hey, looks like he may need the chancla soon.”

Calm down. He’s three, just take away his trains or fire engines and he thinks the world is ending. But if he starts drinking Drano, cutting the baby’s hair or lighting ants on fire well … I’ll revisit the topic.

Up A Notch

24 Jan

Ever feel like you’re failing every day? Trying to catch up with what ever it is that you do in life only to realize that you’ve gone only from an F to an F+?

For me that’s parenthood. Well at least, right now. It’s normal, I deal with it. I mean I’m not one of those baby mafia moms that go to the sandbox in their Gucci sunglasses, $1000-diaper bags, and fashion ensembles that make it look like they’re going clubbing. They sit there in their little pack chit-chatting about how their child was potty trained at 12 months, painted a masterpiece, is already reading at first-grade level, and never misbehaves when they know damn well that he’s the kid eating the sand and having tantrums in the car.

Needless to say that isn’t me. I’m up in the sandbox playing with bulldozers and catching my son as he whooshes down the slide. He wasn’t potty trained at 12 months, he paints blobs, he reads at his regular Cat-in-the-Hat level and has attitude. Plenty. I’ve got no shame. When something is wrong, something is wrong. Things suck sometimes when you’re a parent. But I realized that they suck only because you’re trying to do the best. Anyone can be a parent, but it takes sleepless nights, extra patience, wisdom, common sense, and a whole lot of heart and effort to be a good parent. Well … that alcohol and the “bad-assness” of Jack Bauer. Same philosophy applies in my writing career.

But just when you think you’ve fallen through the grading curve. Something awesome happens and it pushes you up a notch. You get the “+”.

I used to be the crazy mom…well not crazy like reality TV crazy, but crazy in the sense that I used to call my son’s preschool teacher every day until he was fully transitioned. It’s heartbreaking to leave your kid for the first time, so as a mom there I was delaying my departure and arriving earlier than usual for pickup and calling the teacher everyday just to see how long it was before he stopped crying. Enfadosa, my  mom would say.

Aren’t you worried that they’ll think you’re crazy? But there’s the thing. I don’t hide it. I’m not ashamed. I am enfadosa when it came to my kid. And I’ve accepted it. It’s like rehab … you’re only successful if you realize that you can’t change yourself. You change your habits, but you just have to accept who you are.  I know … pretty deep, but I can’t take credit for that. I saw that on a Breaking Bad episode. AMC…pretty awesome.

So, anyhow in my crazy acceptance as an enfadosa mom when my kid started school, I picked up some of his artwork, blobs and all, and asked him: What is this?

 His response…

“That’s me. That’s you mom. That’s the phone.  Teacher say you call me everyday. Friends call each other and say hello. You my best friend. You say hello all the time.”

 Ohhhhhhhhhh. I’m up a notch.

All I Wanted To Do Was Leave By 8:00

15 Jan

Tun-tun, tun-tun-tun-tun, tun-tun-tun-tun, tun-tun-tun-tun, tun-tun tun turooo-rooo, turooo-rooo, turoo-rooo, turoooooooooooo …

Cover of "Mission Impossible (Special Col...

I felt like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. But instead of being a successful secret agent I was a mom that ended up with a bruise on her hip and a bad tequila sunrise.

All I wanted to do was leave my parent’s house by 8:00 o’clock to make it to my friend’s BIG 4-0 celebration. Listen to music, laugh with some friends and not have to worry about being a mom for one night. I don’t get out much in the evening, let alone an entire night for partying, so needless to say I was pretty excited.

It’s hard to find someone to watch my kids for even an hour, let alone an entire evening. I know what you’re thinking, You live at your parents…hello they would to help you out, right?…Well there are all types of grandparents. You got the Huxtable loving grandmother who cares, does anything for you, drop your kids off any time you need a break. I’m-a help you. Then you have the Everybody Loves Raymond Marie Barone grandmother who sometimes helps a little bit TOO much. Or you have the crazy Tyler Perry grandmama like Madea who’ll watch your kids, but knock the sass out them with a frying pan in a second. And then you have my mom who believes in “the chancla”. She’s old school and won’t hesitate to reincarnate into the Latin version of Madea…I try not ask for many favors as I feel my presence in her house is a big enough favor alone as I am in her “space.” Asking for her to watch them is usually a great challenge…like climbing Everest in the snow with one leg. So I keep the babysitting to a minimum. I have to build enough courage to withstand “the exhale” and “the look” and then the … “well I guess so.”

But once that force field is up I have to insure that everything is hassle free. So I needed to put my kids to sleep before we could leave. That way all my mom had to do was watch them as they slept…easy right? I thought so.

I figured if I planned it out with enough time I would be able to tire both my kids out for an early nap in the afternoon and then plan out for an early bed time. As it got closer to dinner time I began with the crazy anxiety and feeling like it wasn’t going happen. There was too much to do and I should have started earlier, like a 7 a.m. or something. But I pushed on …

At 6 p.m. I cleaned the house, did some laundry, played with my son, fed the baby, cooked dinner, washed the dishes, opened the computer for blogging, prepared the bottles for the evening, left detailed instructions for my mom, played with my son some more, closed the computer for no blogging, folded the laundry, then his dad finally shows up.

At 7 p.m. they take showers, while I try my best to keep the baby awake and reiterate the baby sitting instructions for mom, which she ignores of course because as she often tells me “…how do you think you were raised?” I often wonder that myself. She shrugs off my instructions and tells me not to worry about it. She knows what she’s doing. My husband and son get out of the shower, and help me fold the remaining laundry. Our son decides to help too, so we have to re-fold half the pile. Husband gets our son ready for bed. Our son needs his teddy.

At 7:30 p.m. I run downstairs to get it and run back up. The baby needs the bottle I run downstairs to get it and run back up. Our son needs water I run downstairs to get it, and as I am going back up the stairs I realize I also need to take the bottle warmer and baby cooler with milk bottles. I turn back to get them and as I walk over the dog and her bed in my Hanes cotton socks I don’t quite make it up the stairs as a normal person would.

Walking is not complicated. It’s really not.

One foot in front of the other…it should be the same process when I go up the stairs, however the laws of physics did not agree with my Hanes white-cotton socks. I slipped at the base of the wooden staircase and my hips landed smack down on the corner of the second step…bottles went flying everywhere. And I needed to take a minute … several actually as the pain radiated throughout my body and the ouwwwwwww came out.

Pine is not a soft wood at all. If I was a senior citizen the ambulance would have needed to make a trip to the house. This pain was beyond profanity. It was just ouuuwwwwwwwwwwwwww and clenched fists. People fall down stairs all the time. Constantly. However, my body decided to fall going up the stairs. UP! Not down. Up. It must be the Guatemalan blood.

At 7:45 I peeled myself off the stairs, collected the bottles and sippy cup and crawled up the wooden staircase and plopped on the bed massaging my hip.

“You shouldn’t have fallen down.”  my husband says.

“Yeah. I guess that wasn’t a good idea.”

At 7:50 I took a shower and rubbed my hip

At 7:55 I came out of the shower, continued rubbing my hip, and took some ibuprofen.

At 8:00 I got dressed and kissed my son good night and his dad put him to bed. The baby was wrapped up and sleeping already. I carefully made my way downstairs to use the blow dryer.

At 8:15 My son was still awake.

At 8:20 My mother returns from filling a prescription down the street that apparently needed to be done at that moment in time.

At 8:30 My husband comes down and assures me that our son is on his way to dreamland.

At 8:31 My husband tells me he’s left the keys to the car next to my son.

At 8:32 My son is still awake.

At 8:45 My husband assures me again that our son is off to dreamland.

At 8:50 We’re in the car ready to go, pulling out of the driveway.

At 8:55 We’re on the freeway. Only 55 minutes later. If I was saving the world like Tom Cruise, we’d all be dead by now. I thought, at least my kids are asleep and I don’t have to worry…

At 8:56 my aunt, who incidentally caused the mini tsunami that washed over my computer a couple of days ago, decides to slam the bathroom door.

At 8:57 My son is awake asking where we are.

Midnight…My son finally falls asleep.

At 1:00 a.m. We walk back in the door. I’m still massaging my hip. No time for blogging Saturday night. So for the second time this year I miss a day. First one due to a mini-tsunami that sidelined my computer. Second one bad hip and failing mission eight o’clock. Better luck next time.