The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Illusions of Grandeur

Recently, I have been having big dreams. A bigger house. Overloaded with amenities. A faster car for Todd. Frequent vacations. A housekeeper.

Illusions of grandeur I believe it is called.

It was accidental at first when I unexpectedly fell in love with a new house (when I wasn't looking to move) and started picturing myself living there and was ready for the moving trucks to come take my things. One thing led to another and, well, fantasies start taking over.

Being that I don't earn one penny, NOT ONE, and financial life is tough enough with this economy, three kids, two houses, private pre-school, camp and so on, you could see how easily (wink, wink) I would started wanting, needing, assuming we could have more.
Who knows, maybe we can, despite my salary. One day. One day soon.

Then a six letter word came and slapped me across the face and made me ever so grateful and all that much more aware of how very fortunate I am.
I never forgot really. Everyday I count my lucky stars for my children, my husband, my living parents and in-laws. Everyday I feel lucky and hope, near beg, that my luck doesn't run out.

But, still, happy with what you have or not, fantasies can grip on and start controlling thoughts. Human nature? Maybe it's me? I am a dreamer. But, I am not the only one.

A few weeks ago I had my regular GYN appointment. It was the usual banter (that likely included my saying something which, under normal circumstances, would be a perfectly adequate sentence, but with his hands between my legs sounded completely inappropriate) as Dr. Kramer swabbed my cervix.
When the results came in abnormal I didn't sweat it but returned to the office for further testing.

The other night Dr. Kramer called to tell me the abnormal cells on my cervix are in fact PRE-CANCEROUS. He said a lot of other stuff including how this is NOT serious, how we would treat it (in the hospital- out procedure), and that I DON'T need to WORRY. I heard what he said but the only thing I processed was one word, six letters, CANCER, and it is impossible not to worry.

Instantly a million things went through my head. Instantly I felt the need to re-evaluate EVERYTHING. Overly dramatic? Damn straight.

A few days later I met with Dr. Kramer, where after several funny stories and, once again, my saying something that came out twisted, he told me, while looking me right in the eye,  all of the same information he had said once before. When I told him that I had heard him but all I processed was cancer he looked at me like a breast had just popped out of my shirt and said "I never even used that word!"
He hadn't, that was true, but our minds are selective in what they hear sometimes.

In the end, everything is totally fine. But, I do have to see Dr. Kramer regularly, still, and a little more often. Which means there will be a sufficient number of unintentionally awkward statements upcoming. But, all is well with my health. And, not before I had a chance to focus, re-focus, on what really is the most important in this world. For my health, I am ever so grateful. For my family, my kids, my love, I am ever so grateful. Really.

But, is it wrong to go back to dreaming?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


For the last ten years Todd has been getting partial season Flyers tickets.  Two seats.   It was always enough.  He would give some tickets to clients, take some friends, and take me to quite a few.  It was fun.
Then we went and had ourselves three sons and it became clear what was going to happen.   It happened slowly, but now that Chase and Ryder are old enough to enjoy a game, I have a feeling my live games are limited.
Because we only have two seats, Todd has to take each of the boys separately, which becomes a fantastic daddy/son date.   Ryder got first dibs this year.   Excited as can be (whether it was to watch hockey, spend time with daddy, or eat ice cream, hot dogs, and pretzels we are not sure) Ryder headed downtown with his daddy to watch the Flyguys spank the Montreal Canadians.
From what I was told, he enjoyed it much more than last year, asked 2000 questions, many thoughtful.  He cheered when we scored and asked why people were booing.  And, the next morning he knew that our team, the orange team, scored 5 points.
And, bettering himself from last year, he lasted through 2 whole periods before deciding he was tired and wanted to go home.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Add Water!!

When Todd and I married 7 years ago, young (kids) adults madly in love, we looked out into the future and agreed to conquer the world together. But, first, we spent two weeks in Costa Rica. A time of bliss and joy, and South American rain forests. At that moment we didn't think life could get better.

While there we met another couple celebrating their marriage. They were our friends, instantly. Just add water!! If only all relationships were that easy!!  We spent several days together while away, including an amazing kayaking trip that ranks as one of our greatest moments. We knew, from then on, we would share more than just a wedding anniversary with them.
We kept in touch over the years. Had children on similar timelines. Visited one another at each other's homes.  Each time we reunited it was as if we had never parted ways. Even our kids had fun together.

They have since moved cross-country and we speak to them much less often, though we think of them a lot. We never ruled out a Colorado trip to go see them. Even ten years from now, we knew we would have been able to pick up right where we left off.  Or, so we thought.

Yesterday, we found out they are divorcing. Sad news for anyone who loves them, but of course for them.   No matter it being the right decision, it is never an easy one and the strength and courage that is required to come to it is certainly admirable.

I remember standing at the balcony of the Monkey Bar dreaming along with our new lifelong friends. Dreaming of, perhaps, owning that very bar one day.  Fantasies have a way of taking over when you're in paradise.  We had similar dreams of the life we were beginning and there was no reason to believe we'd follow separate paths.  You don't know when you take your vows that, though amazing, marriage can be very difficult.  Nor, when you imagine children, how trying, despite wonderful, raising kids can be.  Perhaps Todd and I are lucky to be on the other side of the statistics, lucky to still see what it was we fell in love with 14 years ago.   Perhaps we've been fortunate enough to change in stride of one another. Not everyone does. They loved each other once. Chose right, even if just at that time.

I spoke with Her today. I am amazed by her. By her strength. By her class. By her dignity. I don't know if I could make the same decisions, the wise ones that she is making, which go against her emotional state but are aligned with her values, if I were in her shoes. She is a true role model.

We all have best laid plans for what we think will be our life. Then a wrench is thrown. A lost job, infertility, illness, divorce....whatever.  It's what we do with the wrench that defines us.  Life gives you a tool, you use it.

Things change.  People change.  But not everything has to, not everything does.  She will be great.  The kids will be fine.   We will still be friends.  Life will go on.  Dreams will still be made!  And, perhaps, even come true!!!

Pat your Head, Rub your Stomach

Lately, Chase has been putting a lot of effort into trying to, successfully, pat his head and rub his tummy simultaneously. Most people have tried this, but it is no easy task, as it requires you to use both sides of your brain at once.   As with most things, with practice it can be mastered.
Chase is actually pretty good at doing this. I, on the other hand, am rather awkward. This is probably not surprising. The rubbing on the belly is every motion but circular and the head pat is usually a sloppy, if not deliberate, tap. I am not all that interested in putting in the necessary practice to master such a skill. My time is better spent on other, seemingly pointless, skills.
Like this morning. I was pitching wiffle balls to Chase, then ducking out of the way of his line drives, while singing London Bridge to Turner, who was "jamming" on the drums. The percussion in my ear certainly added a third interesting element to this.   I managed to do it all, and was thinking how this seemed as complicated as the "rub and pat trick."  Chase begged me to stop singing the whole time.  My tone deafness and inability to carry a tune was likely breaking his focus on becoming the next Babe Ruth. Turner begged me to keep singing while he continued to bang on those drums.  I was just trying to keep both boys happy at once.  Luckily, Ryder was having a catch with Todd or else I likely would have been doing all of this while wearing a Spidey costume.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Poet at Heart!

When Miss Liz, Chase and Ryder's Pre-K teacher, first met the boys and was getting to know them she was amazed at how different they are, though I had warned her.  As she was learning their personalities she described them this way: "Chase a future Politician, and Ryder is going to be a poet!"
I laughed when she said this.  Not because she was wrong, nor because I disagreed, but because I consider myself a bit of poet,  poet at heart, and I wasn't sure it was something I could pass on to my son.
Just for the record, a poet, to me, is not someone who has written some poems, but instead someone who can hear the poetry in things, like the wind.
I used to write poems all of the time, particularly in college.  The last one I wrote and posted was this one.

The other day, a friend asked me to help her write a poem for a friend of hers.  She gave me some information and I got thinking.  In the end, I wrote two poems.  Same notes, totally different style and feel.  One a tear jerker, the other a bit lighter.  She chose the lighter side.  I guess in my old age I have become a sap because I preferred the first one.   Either way, here they are....which do you like?

If a Teacher, Then a Friend!

If  at first you were my Teacher, and science is what I learned
            Then a grade was just the beginning of the Wonders that I earned

If second you were an officer monitoring those halls
            Then I was Lucky to have you next me during all of those
Hawk Football calls

If next you were my Mentor, teaching not textbook but life
            Then you had a hand in removing much of my high school strife

If you became like a Mom to me demanding that I never let my standards drop
            Then I hope I showed my Gratitude by keeping them atop

If at first you were my Teacher the lesson planning had to end
            Then the teaching really started when you became my Friend.



Some people called you Teacher and I suppose
that's what you were,
But to me you were Marksee,
or better yet, "Officer."

To some you taught science –
Biological, Physical, Earth
But, to me, you taught Life and helped me understand
The value of my self-worth

I could depend on you, no doubt, when needed
For life's important things, your advice was always heeded

Whether cheering on the Hawks,
or teaching me the difference between men and boys,
Or yelling at me for, instead of dancing, making too much noise.

Somehow, from Teacher, you became much more in the end
Mentor, Yenta, Mom- ultimately, my Friend

Monday, January 17, 2011


When I was young I was doodler.  My school notes, mail, once blank pieces of paper were all covered with my doodles.  Not being too imaginative, it was most often a combination of letters, swirls, zigzags, and twists.  They were hardly frameable.   I loved to draw, too.  I had a small skill of being able to draw decent, at best, if I was looking at the object.  From pictures, I could draw a copy of that picture.  My favorite ones, that I can still remember, was a drawing of Maggie Simpson, (which I put up on my wall in "The Simpsons" shrine.  Yes, that was concerning!) a drawing of Thing 1 and Thing 2, drawn on a bag from Nittany Notes, and copied upside down off of my t-shirt, and a shadowed pencil boxer, drawn for Todd, from a picture in an Encyclopedia.  A What?  An Encyclopedia!  An Encyclopedia, according to wiktionary, is a comprehensive reference work with a range of articles on many subjects.  Back then they were printed books.  Now, I wonder if you could even find an up to date printed encyclopedia.
Anyway, I enjoyed drawing even if I wasn't all that good and sometimes took myself a bit too seriously as I would buy portfolio books, and pencils, and oil crayons.
But that was then!  Now, there is no time for drawing and practicing any such things.  And, as with most things, anything that goes unpracticed becomes less sharp. So, when Ryder asked me to start drawing superheroes I felt both challenged and inspired.
I know I need work, and I am sure the "Learn to draw Superheroes" book we bought Ryder for Hanukkah may be necessary for me, but Ryder loved it and sure enjoyed coloring them.  Clearly, he is more talented than I!

Wonder Woman



Green Lantern

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Letter to my Son on his Two Year Birthday!

Dear Turner,

Last night, on your last night of being one, when I checked on you before went I to bed you seemed so large in the crib. Nearly stretching completely from end to end.
I know you looked no different sleeping than you had the previous night when I checked on you, but now you seemed bigger, older.....just like that.

This morning you woke up....two years old! You woke up earlier than usual and about 30 minutes before your actual birth time and seemed larger, still. Large in life.
Always smiling, giggling, dancing, hopping there's never a doubt that you are overflowing with happiness, a trait that is enviable and one I hope you hold on to as you age. Today, though, you woke up supercharged with happiness. You were smothered with hugs and kisses and tickles and spoke non-stop, you asked for your Mimick, and got the remote, and grinned, beautifully, as you do.

"Oh mama, I can't even look at that bedhead of yours!"

You spent you morning at school, "Barbara's House," where I am told you had a good day. Your class sang to you and shared a snack. We had dinner, as tradition has become, around a hibachi table where we enjoyed a dinner show. It was good day. Saturday we will have your birthday party....a storytime with Mr. George (a favorite from our trips to Barnes and Noble!)

Two years old. It is rather incredible. We hardly remember your infancy, it feels like you were always a big kid. The grin on your face and the life in your eyes has always filled a room, even when you were small.
You have an infectious laugh, a bellying giggle that is easily triggered.  It is impossible not to have fun when you are around.

Your talking has improved drastically in the last few weeks.  You can now say almost anything we tell you and you talk often.  Non-stop, really.  All of the time.  In small sentences and with command.  Forcing me to look you in the eye when you speak, you will grab my chin and turn my head and look at me directly, pupil to pupil.  Your words, though attention grabbing and sometimes commanding, are still sweet and polite.  And, always offered with a smile.  Most of your words are pretty clear to me, though there are still some that leave me guessing.
Some of my favorite things you say include:  "follow me" then you grab my hand and take me where you want to go.  "hat on!"  A hat is what you call a lid, and every lid must be on.  Unscrew the milk cap, pour milk, and instantly, "hat on mommy, hat on!"    I laugh as I replace the lid that quickly.   A new favorite book of yours is Chicken Little, which you say, by rolling your tongue over and over as, llilllillill!  It makes us all laugh out loud.  You always refer to your brothers as "RyRy and Chase" and school is always "Barbara's house."  And, though I am not sure why, you always refer to me as Mama. You will now let me know when you have a dirty diaper by saying "pyuck" and holding your nose.  And, the favorite part of your day may be the moment you get your vitamins, or "minamins!"  You love them.  I am not even sure you are supposed to be taking them, but you do love them.  No matter how many times a day we say it to you, one thing we can't get you to repeat is "I love you!"  Words we want to hear so very bad.

You started school this week and so far it has been great.  You seem to really enjoy being at Barbara's House.
Although bed time and nap time issues have been resolved you do ask almost daily for a bed.  "Sleep in Chase's bed?"  When I say no, you say "me sleep bed, too!"  This is something we will work on going forward in the next few months.  I have told you that you need to use the potty first, we will see if that actually happens.  Although you have sat on the "pahpah" it is usually just to show your brothers where you are sitting.  You have never peed, nor have you even tried.  Not yet, anyway!!
Mickey is still MiMick, and your favorite, but "Yo Gabba Gabba Gabba Gabba" is coming in a close second.  And, it seems, Barney may be a thing of the past.  I am not sorry about this.  Still, the only movie you will sit through is Pinocchio, "pokenoke" and your favorite part is in the beginning when Jiminy Cricket puts his hand on the wooden lady's butt.  You laugh, say "butt" and ask me to rewind.    You also love doing the Hokey Pokey, but the only body part you are interested in putting in is...your butt.  No doubt there that you are a Tovsky.
You can count along to three with me, and to be quite honest, we have never gone higher.  We haven't worked on letters other than T, and you usually answer blue or red for colors.  Perhaps I should start working on all of this stuff.  You do, however, know your body parts, and your animals.  You know how to strum a guitar like a pro, and have a natural ability to bang on the drums.  You love to clean up messes, and insist on all doors being closed.  You love to brush your teeth and have recently started undressing yourself, including once taking your diaper off.  I hope that once was enough for you.
You are curious and beginning to get into everything.  Every drawer must be rummaged through, every cabinet must be opened.  You are rambunctious and have energy and though you are coordinated (I think) you have not become, yet, much of a climber.
You walk around singing and humming and ask me to sing songs to you as well.  London Bridge, Hokey Pokey, Twinkle Twinkle, Hello Song and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, are the current top 5.  You always ask us to put music on at bedtime, and insist on picking the CD yourself.  You insist on picking most things.  A straw for your yogurt smoothies (which you drink several a day) has to be chosen by your little hands, socks, shoes, you must pick.  "I pick" and "do self" are commonly said phrases from your little mouth.

At your 2 year well-check you weighed in at exactly 27 pounds, 34 inches, and your head is 19 inches.  This lands you comfortably in the 50th percentile.  Though "Average" to the world, this is much heavier and longer than your brothers were at the same age.  And, though I expected otherwise, you did not get any shots at your appointment.  This was the case even though Ryder and Chase insisted on coming with us (and leaving school early) to hold your hand!!

You are a true joy.  You emit rays of happiness and joy and your presence brightens up a room.  You are  discovering your sense of humor, love to be silly, and laugh a laugh I just want to bottle.  Never a day, let alone a moment, passes where we do not look at you in awe.  In awe of your beauty, in awe of your personality, in awe of the boy you are becoming more of everyday.

Turner, Happy 2nd Birthday.  I love you so.....


Thinking about (with a smile) the trouble I can cause as a two year old!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Barbara's House

Today, two days shy of two, Turner started school.  This is a milestone that is oh so bittersweet.  My baby, off to school.   At times I feel as though I am pushing him out the door.  Overcompensating for the fact that we tend to baby our last born too much, for too long.  Other times, most of the time, the times that led to this decision, I know he is a boy who is ready for school.  I want to believe he is my baby (he is!) but he believes he is a big boy.  Ready to do and to be as his brothers are.  Ready, as he says, for "Barbara's house!"

I remember when Chase and Ryder began school.  At 26 months old we were amidst twin toddlerhood, and I was 4 months pregnant...I was ready for them to go.  They were ready to go.  We needed to spend some time apart.   They cried, momentarily, as they did every day that year.  I cried, momentarily, just that once.  All was well.

With Turner, it's different.  He's my baby.  He's just one toddler, who by comparison, is less of a handful than two were.  He's the fun in my errands.

We initially decided to put Turner in school for two reasons.  One, so I could work a little for Todd.  Although I am excited to do some real mind work for him I should make it clear that Turner is in school for exactly 6 hours a week.  Hardly enough time for me to remember what errand I am supposed to run let alone work, but still.  We will figure it out.  Two, the teachers Turner has, Miss Barbara and Miss Jodi, have a reputation that can not be denied.  I was told "If you have an opportunity to have them, you must do it!"   They teach the toddler program (18 months as of Sept. 1!)  Neither I, nor Turner, were ready in September. So here we are, January, two days before his 2nd birthday and Turner is officially a papareem (butterfly!)Now, though, there is a third reason.   Turner himself.  He talks well.  He shares well.  He is independent. He is extremely social and has a developing charm and a blossoming mischief.  He needs school to allow all of these traits to continue to grow.   He will do great with his peers.  He will do great, I hate to say, without me.  Perhaps, that is a job well done so far?  As it turns out, this is the best reason of all to send our baby to school.

He has been there a million times.  Always screeching with excitement when we pull into RyRy and Chase's school.  Always wanting to carry their bags, and walk the steps himself, and hand in their folders.  He loves school, or just wants to be like them.  When his brothers go to school, it is "RyRy and Chase's Kool."  When he goes, it is "Barbara's house," a term he coined after one of several visits to, what was then, his future classroom.

We've been talking about it for some time.  We showed him his bag, which he carried around with pride.  We told him his buddy Jagger would be there.  I showed him his cubbie often, and his name on the door.  All preparing him for today.  Or, preparing me.

He did great.  He played.  He painted.  He used play dough.  He danced.  He ate.  He only cried for a minute when I left him.  And, when I picked him up, he was always smiles.  I never doubted it for a minute.

Me?  I did OK.  That dreaded feeling of rushing my baby out the door?  I pushed it down beneath my breakfast sandwich and drank lots of coffee with Nikki.  We wanted bloody mary's but had a hard time finding a place that served breakfast and liquor at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning.

I know my boy is growing up.  I know he will love school.  I know I will miss him a lot more than he will miss me.  That's the way it is supposed to be.  As long as he is happy!!

Now, to fill my 6 hours a week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Good food, good drink, good friends.....goodbye 2010!