Wearing the Latest in Monster Fashion

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt #5 Halloween is coming! Show us what your kids will be wearing.

When I saw this week’s prompts I knew immediately this was the one for me.  Any excuse to have his costume on and Tyler is there!  He even helped me with the poses!

After three years in a row of being Spider-Man (Red Spider-Man, Black Spider-Man, and then Red Spider-Man again) we have now branched out in a big way to…

The Werewolf!

This year Tyler has gotten into “scary” and “spooky”.  After mulling over a Skeleton, and thinking for a couple of months that he wanted to be a Mummy (glad I didn’t buy the costume early!), Tyler finally decided on the Werewolf.

Wearing ripped up jeans and showing off his hairy arms, Tyler really works the Werewolf look.

When I told Tyler that his Werewolf blog will be up today he said, “I’ll bet they will be scared!”

We’ve already been to one community Halloween party, have another one on Saturday and then there is the Halloween parade at school and Halloween itself.

That’s a whole lotta Werewolf.

It’s always fun to think back to Tyler’s costumes throughout the years and to wonder what he will want to be next year.

I’m pretty sure he will want to be some sort of monster.


When Do I Tell My Child We’re Poor?

As many know, chronic illness often brings about chronic poverty.  My husband and I have been dealing with this since 2008, when I got laid off from work and found myself too sick to look for another position.

We qualified for WIC right away, when Tyler was two-and-a-half years old.  As he became older he would ask, “Mommy, why are we here?” “For coupons, baby.”

Yes, my darling, you get weighed and blood taken from you for coupons.

Now that we are in Massachusetts, we see a Social Worker every couple of weeks.  “Mommy, who is that lady?”  “She helps us, honey”, I tell him, as Tyler is given a free Angry Birds backpack.

Occasionally I need to take Tyler with me to the Food Bank. “Mommy, what is this place?”  “It’s like a supermarket, honey, we get food here.”  “Why are we waiting in line to get food here?”  “That’s just the way it is”, I say, as we sit with some who suffer from disabilities ranging from near Catatonia to angry people who often randomly yell out things.  I feel badly that Tyler must sit in this environment, knowing that he could get scared.  Usually I bring books for him and read to him, or he looks at them on his own when I am meeting with someone.

There are other children at the Food Bank, most older than Tyler and I look around and wonder, “Do they know why they are here?  They must know by now.  How do they feel about it?  Are they saddened by it or do they accept it as a way of life?”

My mother grew up poor and she was repeatedly told by my grandmother, “You can’t have this because we are poor.”  She said she was traumatized by it and it still hurts to this day.

Tyler has known about the concept of being poor for a while now from the Spider-Man franchise.  Peter Parker and his Aunt May have trouble paying the bills.  In one of the movies, Peter lives in a slum-like apartment because he can’t afford anything better, and Aunt May loses her house.  The other day Tyler said,”Do you know why Peter always wears the same clothes?”  “I don’t know, why do you think he does?”  “Because he is poor.”  Then I explain to him that most people in cartoons wear only one outfit.

He has picked up the word “expensive” from me.  “Is this too expensive to buy, Mommy?”  Today we were at a garage sale and he said, “Mommy I found something beautiful for you, but I think it might be too expensive.”  Turned out to be cheesy party decorations but his heart was in the right place.

Usually I just say things like, “Mommy didn’t know we were going to be here so she didn’t bring enough money” or “We’ll buy this later, more towards Halloween”, and hope he’ll just forget about it, and lately, “I don’t know if Santa can get this for you because he has a budget.”

Maybe you think some of these things build good character.  Yes, Tyler doesn’t have to get everything he wants every time we are out or everything he wants for Christmas.

It’s just that…it hurts not being able to delight my child when I buy him a toy for no reason or just because he’s been a good boy, or just because I want too. It’s just that…I used to live a different lifestyle and knowing that the reason I don’t now is because of my chronic illnesses and is out of my control, is very hard to bear.

If you are in my situation, what did you tell your child or children about being poor and when did you tell them?  Or do they just figure it out on their own?

One of the things I learned from what has happened to me this year is that it doesn’t really matter to Tyler what he has, just as long as we can all be a family again.

One day he said to me, “Mommy, did you know that I love you and Daddy more than I love all of my toys?”

Thanks for reminding me honey, because I had indeed lost sight of that.



For My Son On His 6th Birthday

Dear Tyler,

I am already tearing up as I write this because of how drastically our lives have changed.  You have been through so much this year.  My hospitalization for two weeks when you told daddy you forgot what I looked like, our move from New Jersey to Massachusetts, and now being apart from daddy for a very long time, with no set date for when we will be together again.

I am so sorry that this has happened, but it had to be, at the time we just didn’t see any other way.  You tell me that it is okay, you still call me the best Mommy in the world, but what you will think of me five years or ten years from now?

After six months you are still so unhappy here.  Any good thing I have tried to give you; a vacation to Cape Cod, camp, the pool and the lake, and soccer, still can’t make up for the fact that you miss your daddy and your old home.  I know that, Tyler, I feel it too, but I am trying to make life as good as I can for you with what life has dealt us.

Still, you are excited about your birthday.  The celebration at school, your party at night and your party on the weekend.  Making friends is hard when you’re new, but you have three boys coming and you will have a lot of fun!  As we get into the school year, I know you will make more friends, and hopefully the routine will make it easier for you to adjust.

Your favorite shows are Adventure Time, The Regular Show, Scooby-Doo and Ninjago.  You love the Captain Underpants series and the Frances the Badger books. You are collecting the Lego Monster Fighter series and the Trash Pack.  You love monsters and gross things in general. You have an Angry Birds backpack and a Spider-Man lunch box.  You have really branched out this year from all things Spider-Man although he is still your favorite superhero.  This year you discovered that my phone and computer have some really cool games on them.

You still love your Eeyore and you carry him in your backpack to school.  You don’t take him out, it’s just nice to know he’s there.

You have gotten so tall this year.  My little boy is turning into a young man.

You are so loving, compassionate and understanding.  Our situation has made us closer, and we are partners in crime in our new adventures; getting used to walking after living in suburbia, getting lost almost every time we drive somewhere, and checking out the new parks.

But most of all, you are the bravest boy I know.

On your sixth birthday, know how much daddy and I love you, and know that we are doing everything we can to bring us all back together as soon as we are able.






Tuesdays With Tyler: Halloween!

For the first time ever, I’d be willing to bet, school was closed on Halloween.  Due to the storm, some schools still didn’t have power and roads were still closed.  I’d also bet that it was the first time the school’s Halloween parade was cancelled on account of the snow!

Because of the sidewalk conditions, Grant and I decided to take Tyler trick or treating at a really nice mall about 35 minutes from us.  It was the best decision I have ever made about what to do about the problem of Halloween.  I can’t walk from house to house, so I used to drive alongside Grant and Tyler while they trick or treated.  Going to the mall, we got a wheelchair, and I was able to take part in everything!  I highly recommend this option if you are unable to walk any kind of distance.

If you’ve been keeping up with us, your memory is correct.  This is the THIRD year in a row that Tyler has gone as Spider-Man for Halloween!

Working out for Tyler to get into his Spider-Man costume has obviously paid off. Check out those muscles!


Weary of trick or treating, Tyler blew off some steam at a cute little indoor play park, free of charge that he is almost too big for.

I had to bribe Tyler that if he went to the play park he would have to take a picture with Mommy. Whatever it takes!


Even Superheroes Have to Eat


Luckily Tyler is a reasonable Trick or Treater and he didn’t want to stay at the mall more than a couple of hours. He got plenty of candy anyway!

Grant and Tyler examining the "loot"!


You can’t miss what you’ve never experienced, so Tyler really didn’t care that he missed the big Halloween parade at school.  He was happy with all the candy he got.  Now if I can only stay away from eating it…

Tuesdays With Tyler: The Trip to the Big City

On Friday we took Tyler in to New York City for the first time.  If you want my take on it, you can go here.  This post is about how the trip went for Tyler.  We decided to go to the Museum of Natural History where they were having some special exhibits, including the biggest dinosaurs ever discovered (way bigger than your average T-Rex) and a frog exhibit.

It was fun seeing Tyler experience everything from going on a train to looking at the huge buildings to seeing where Spider-Man fights crime to taking a mad dash taxi to the museum.

Tyler was not so excited to see the exhibit on Early Man, although he did enjoy seeing the brains of different types of animals, including humans.  I was amazed by how he picked up on me telling him about the exhibit and that he was able to explain it to Grant perfectly.  So were the people around us!  Yes, my child learned something!

There was a lot of whining going on during the exhibit on Minerals and Gems.  After lunch we went to see the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.

This sucker is so big I can't even take a picture of his whole body, that's just his neck and head!


This was geared for children so Tyler really enjoyed this.  Just as his father is in museums, he became obsessed with certain parts of the exhibit.  They showed a movie on the dinosaur about how it breathed, where it’s organs were and how it reproduced that Tyler made us sit through three times.

Tyler watches the huge dino's head and neck as it eats leaves on low trees and moves to high trees. Note the lungs and heart above.


After that exhibit came the hundreds of dinosaur bones and other animals that we thought would wow Tyler.  But these are just a bunch of bones!  You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.  Tyler told us he was tired and didn’t want to see any of this stuff!  So while Grant walked around we parked my wheelchair and Tyler sat on my lap and played games on my iPhone. Here we are, in the greatest Natural History museum in the world and Tyler is playing with Talking Ben!  The mind boggles!  I guess he is a true child of this techno world we are living in.

Then we went to the gift shop.  The shop is three floors long but we just stayed on the first floor. There was any kind of dinosaur toy or book you could ask for, tons of cool puzzles and games, but Tyler wanted…Lego.  Yes, the kind you could buy in Target or Toys ‘R Us.  I looked at the price, it was double what we pay where I live and refused him.  That’s all he wanted, except for a lollipop, which was a really cool lollipop.  So we rested while Grant explored the entire gift shop.

I think this was Tyler's favorite part of the museum.


After this respite we went to see the Frog exhibit.  Grant and I had no idea what this exhibit would be like but it turned out to be frogs from all over the world in their natural habitat.  We all thought it was pretty cool, especially the most beautiful frogs you have ever seen in your life…that can kill you! How awesome is that?

Separated only by glass, Grant and Tyler look at the beautiful yet most deadliest frogs in the world!


After that we were all ready to call it a day.  We had probably visited only about 25% of the museum, we had not even touched the planetarium area.  Tyler having the attention span of a five-year-old matched Grant and I s’ exhaustion level perfectly.