Sunday, January 30, 2005

And another Betty for my list

Here's what peeves me about the Buster Baxter fiasco:

"Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode."

WTF? Okay, I haven't seen the episode in question (and I'm not likely to have the chance, the way PBS is caving in), but--it's Buster Baxter. What kind of "exposure" does this small, small-minded little woman think is going to take place? The parents are just *there*. And god forbid children of lesbian or gay couples should feel, I don't know--included? Like their lives and their families mean something?

I'm sure this woman probably doesn't want young children exposed to my lifestyle, either--Divorced Woman! Don't you think she thinks people like me are harlots? Oh, I'll just bet she does. And if you don't--you're kidding yourself. [Note: Okay, my mouth got ahead of brain here--no big surprise--as the woman was a divorced mother herself. But you know, that really just makes me all that more pissed at her. See next paragraph for case in point.]

Guess what? I don't want my young children exposed to my lifestyle! I wish they had the good fortune to be "exposed" to parents who exhibited the type of mutually supportive marriage that my lesbian friend has. Unfortunately, what they got was the type of heterosexual marriage in which the father takes off with another mom he met while dropping the kids off at daycare. Oh, yes, much, much preferable to those heathen homosexual unions. God forbid my kids should be exposed to these nice women and their children, living happily in Vermont. Because they might realize just what short shift they got from their own screwed up, straight parents.

Does this woman not have something more important to tend to--like maybe fixing the educational system or something? BETTY. Ms. Spellings, bite me.

Back to the laundry.

Funky Town

The kids are off to their dad's and I am so glad for them, because Mommy is currently the Grouchiest Bitch Ever. I am in fact so miserably freakin' grouchy that I am going to spare the Internet any further commentary, short of this:

  • Why does Dick Cheney exist if not to spit in the face of my belief that Good triumphs over Evil?
  • Why do psychos keep fucking with perfectly nice people who do no harm?
  • Why do I feel as though I have no bloody purpose in life and my mental and creative capacity is slowly being sucked out into the ether?
  • Why can't I Get Over It and just agree to put The Boy on meds without feeling like Total Fucking Loser Mommy? Must I continue to torture him and myself with my stupid stubborn refusal to believe that ADHD is an actual chemical imbalance that can be helped with medication, as opposed to a phantom disease that is actual just the result of my shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty parenting?
  • Could I be a Bigger Cone of Depression than I am being right now? Am I not Whiney and Ungrateful?

Don't answer that. I am going to go accomplish something around the house and do some work and maybe even exercise, wow, what a concept. I am just in a funk, and I'm a drama queen. So there you have it. Personally, if I were you, I'd just leave it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Works for me

Via New Kid...

kiss my ass2
congratulations. you are the kiss my ass happy
bunny. You don't care about anyone or anything.
You must be so proud

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The world in a grain of sand

  • Laughing instead of screaming as your children careen around the examining room like miniature tornadoes, even though you are exhausted beyond words.
  • Singing to your toddler as she stares seriously into your eyes, pressing her hands against your cheeks.
  • Locking yourself in the bathroom so that your children can't hear you sobbing.
  • Being the Bad Bionicle for the 34th time and not really minding. Wanting to rip your eyes out, but other than that, not really minding.
  • Thinking that Kipper would be a good name for a dog.
  • Slapping your child. Once. And never forgiving yourself. Ever.
  • Lying in your kid's bed laughing your heads off together over Junie B. Jones stories.
  • Lying in your bed worrying that something is really wrong with your children.
  • Wanting nothing more than to kick the ass of the jerk who had the gall to imply that something might be really wrong with your children.
  • Terror.
  • Ecstasy.
  • Guilt.
  • Love, love, love, love, love.

Fact of Parenting #384

When you go to bed at night thinking to yourself as your head hits the pillow, "Wow! Maybe I don't totally suck as a mother!"--you are just asking for it. Trust me on this.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Blowin' in the Wind

I know what you've been wondering. The question that has tormented you day in and day out. The one that pushes aside all else in its all-consuming questiness.

If, you ponder, I accidentally mix up the words to "Rock-a-bye Baby," and I switch wind and bough, you agonize, will I lose the ability to finish putting my child to bed because I'll be sniggering like an idiot? Has it come to this? A deep appreciation for the comedic genius of "Dumb and Dumber" can't be far behind.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Little Nadia

It's a good thing the Girl is my second child. I'm so much less histrionic this time around.

I was over at the ex's cleaning out the kids' bedroom (don't ask); the Boy was watching SpongeBob in the other room (just doing my part to promote homosexuality, every little bit helps) and the Girl was running around all over the place. The ex had put several piles of laundry on the Boy's bunk bed, so the Girl couldn't actually reach the ladder to the top bunk, which is good because have I explained what a freaking MONKEY she is?

Anyway, she doesn't need the ladder. While I was across the room, she climbed up the side of the bed, grabbed the rail (the top bunk has a safety rail), started bouncing up and down, and did a complete forward flip over the rail and fwump landed on her heels and plopped on her butt on the floor. She sort of grazed a cardboard cylinder of blocks on the floor wear she landed, but for the most part avoided any large obstacles on the way down.

Believe me, that is not a fun sight to be watching from across the bloody room when you know there is no way to get over there fast enough to do anything.

Anyway, I scooped her up and calmed her down, then took a look at her. I got out of her that she'd hurt her back but I didn't see any redness or bruising, I gently felt up and down it and she didn't flinch or cry, and then I had her walk around the room and she seemed fine. She said she wanted to lay down with her brother in the living room, and when I brought her out and told him what she'd done, he gave her his pillow and ran and got her a blanket, the sweetie. But I swear to you, not 3 minutes later she was back in that room and trying to CLIMB BACK onto the top bunk.

These children are going to be the death of me. The. Death. Of. Me.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Helloooooo, Haloscan!

Lookie lookie, all growed up.
Sorry this thing deletes existing comments. Suckage.

Sand and the Single Girl

Some Buddhist monks are creating a mandala near here, and I went to watch them this afternoon. (This isn't it, but it's a good example.) It was beautiful.

The monk who was working on the mandala was so young, much younger than I'd expected. When I walked in (they're creating it in the basement of a museum before dispersing it over a lake on Sunday), he was kneeling at the board with several children ranged around him. He'd given them small piles of sand to play with on the outer corners of the board. As I watched, he reached over to the girl beside him and gently shaped her little pile of sand into a perfect heart. He was dressed in burgundy and red, and I could hardly take my eyes off him. He had beautiful feet.

The mandala was incredible. I wished I could have brought the kids. I'd be much more comfortable bringing them to something like this than I would be bringing them to any type of traditional ceremony (not because I have any less respect for it, but because I think Buddhism is more about accepting and being and less about why-isn't-your-kid-standing-still), but in the end I decided it would stress me out too much, and they wouldn't get much out of it with me sitting on them.

Viewing its creation is supposed to confer certain blessings, namely the clearance of future obstacles and past mistakes. Do I believe that? No, but wouldn't it be lovely if I did? Wouldn't it be?

Funny and neurotic moms unite

If you enjoy finslippy, go give the woman a little pat on the back or arm or some other appropriate body part. She wrote a friggin' hilarious post about her son's newfound love of his, well, you know. And some sick bastards apparently started writing in harassing crap until she took it down. Go forth and encourage, pretty please.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I can admit defeat

Oh, I just can't do it anymore. I can no longer read the comment threads on Catherine Newman's column. They. Make. Me. Insane.

I don't even know why I started reading them, anyway. Oh, yes I do--because I started blogging. And in Blog World, reading what everyone else has to say is half the fun. Except that most people don't throw up snarky comments on the blogs I read, or if they do, the blogger can at least tell the troll to kiss off, or better yet, just delete the comment! Hang up the Haloscan! It's a beautiful thing! And it's spoiled me rotten.

What probably bothers me the most is that I like to think of myself as the kind of person who can appreciate a variety of opinions and viewpoints and can't we all agree to disagree and yada yada, and here's what I realize: That's all good and well and I'm all for it so long as I don't just think that you're an idiot. Problem is...sigh. I'm not so good at being open minded about that "you aren't an idiot" thing.

And again we have the conundrum. I think we can see which way this one's leaning.

In my defense, though, some of the blogs I enjoy are by people with political or spiritual ideals diametrically opposed to mine. But I would never dream of sticking my post in their blogness and making some statement about how much their ideals "concerned" me and then talking over their heads about them with other posters and "did you know this about her" and "I really worry about him because of xyz." Ugh. Am I strange to find that tacky?

You think? aren't an idiot, are you?

Ode to Dove Hearts (a haiku)

Disappeared so soon?
Forlorn, I search. Wait! Found you--
Gone straight to my ass.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Clearing the air

After that last post, I feel I need to rebuild my calm, mild-mannered demeanor. It's just that
I have such a hard time reconciling myself: Bitch or Buddha? I so admire people who radiate that centered calm and goodwill on a continuous basis. I'd love to be like that. My inner smartass just keeps getting in the way. There I sit all goodness and love and she just barges in and starts ordering drinks and watching bad cable. But I know, I know--it's all about the imperfection. I'm all over the imperfection, I tell ya.

At the acupuncturist, the best part of the visit is that after you get turned into a hedgehog, they cover you up with a blanket, put a heat lamp near your feet, and leave you alone for 1/2 hour. All alone. Lying down. For 1/2 hour. Did I mention you're alone? And lying down? My acupuncturist has this wonderful blanket--it's this buttery yellow and it's woven and thick and heavy and I LOVE this blanket.

Her: Would you like the blanket today?
Me: Oh yes! I LOVE this blanket. If this blanket goes missing one day, do not ask me about it and do not check in my car.
Her: Have I mentioned Guido?

Who knew holistic healer types could be entertaining too?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Channeling Heather B. Armstrong cover the children's eyes.

FUCK! Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck.

If you're assigned a laptop so that you can access the network from home, wouldn't you think the company would have some interest in you actually being able to use the damned shit-assed fucking laptop FROM YOUR HOME???? Perhaps they would set up your roaming profile correctly? Perhaps they would provide some instructions about how to get the bloody thing to operate correctly?


I'm stress eating my way through the fucking bag of Dove hearts I bought yesterday, on impulse, like a stupid ass. Oh, no, I can have just one. Right. Argh.

Hmm. I feel better now. I think that Dooce chick has something going there with the cathartic swearing and all that.

Oh, and it helps that while I was shouting "fuckity-fuck" at the damned thing I figured out how to fix it. GOD I love a good fuckity-fuck in the morning.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

All Quiet on the Western Front...

A day without alarms is a day without...well, without me running around like the proverbial chicken.

Okay, we did have a near miss when I forgot (duh) that I had set the durned thing when we left and would have to turn it off as soon as we returned. After we pulled into the garage, I told The Boy to go on inside, la-di-da, hmmm, what's that beeping noise...HOLY CRAP! Fortunately, I was able to lunge across the back seat (from whence I was extricating The Girl), grab the keys from the front seat, and push the Off button before the countdown finished and launched us into Armageddon.

To be honest, our "alarming" adventures have been more amusing than annoying. The charm of opening all the doors just to hear the notification chimes wore off for The Boy after about 5 minutes, and The Girl spent most of yesterday morning running up to me, looking wildly at me, and declaring, "Mama! NO. TOUCH. YO. KEETH!!!" Oh, and yes, within the 30 seconds that it took me to shut off the alarm and call up the alarm station, the police had already been notified. I have to say, although it was embarrassing, it was also a nice little test and reassured me that hey! The dang thing really works! Furthermore, the alarm has key combos that alert the company to send over an ambulance or the fire department. This is comforting, because there was a case not long ago in which a woman called 911 when her infant went into respiratory distress, and the phone company (I believe it was) had screwed up her address listing, so the 911 call was put through to the wrong station, emergency services were delayed, and her baby died. In case you're immune to the painfully obvious--sh** like that freaks me out. I used to be a borderline hypochondriac, but you know, now that I have kids, I've traded in my very specific psychosis for a much broader, wide-ranging paranoia. You know, two kids, so little time--I cover more neurotic ground that way. It's all about efficiency, baby!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

New Home Alarm, Part Deux

Fact: Toddlers can climb much higher than you think they can.
Fact: Toddlers will climb very, very high to reach keys.
Fact: The Panic button on the key fob works.
Fact: The alarm is very loud.
Fact: A toddler who has had the bejesus scared out of her by the very loud alarm can actually scream louder than the alarm.

-brought to you by The Girl

Friday, January 14, 2005

New Home Alarm

Back door open!
Garage door open!
Front door open!
Garage door open!
Back door open!
Garage door open!
Garage door open!

Back door open!

--brought to you by The Boy

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Come on in! The water's nuts!

So. When I was a kid--between the ages of, oh, 3 and 6--I had this little problem.

I thought that our furniture was alive.

Well, really, I thought some of the furniture was alive, along with all my stuffed animals and toys, and maybe some trees.

As you can imagine, this was a cause of some concern for Little Me. I recall, in particular, that the Bathroom Sink struck me as being rather surly. I always made sure to tell it goodnight very politely, to butter it up so that it wouldn't attack me. Which is what I, in some vague, Junior Psychotic way, thought would happen if I didn't make sure that all the Inanimate Objects really, really liked me. Oh, I went through the whole house every night, kissing and "goodnight"ing and tucking in assorted knick-knacks.

Thank God that Disney version of "Beauty and the Beast" didn't come out when I was a kid, is all I can say.

In retrospect, I think part of the problem was that I did indeed watch too many Disney movies. Also, I tended to space out and stare a lot. When you do that, your vision gets wavery, and things seem to pulsate a bit. Sort of like breathing. I remember sitting and thinking about something and then suddenly realizing that whatever I happened to be staring at looked as though it was moving slightly, which terrified me and made me stare even harder. Furthermore, I seem to have this odd habit of personifying things. Numbers, for instance. Ever since I can remember, I've assigned distinct personalities to the numbers 0 through 13, and the multiplication table is an exercise in human relations. Everybody wants to multiply by 2. That 4 has an attitude problem. And don't even get me started about the 9.*

I mentioned the furniture thing to my mom once, and she reacted with surprise. "You thought the furniture was alive?" "Mom," I said, "didn't you notice me telling all the appliances goodnight for 2 years straight?" "Well, yes," she returned, "but I thought you were just being polite."

The point of all this is that I'm a little concerned about The Girl because she's started looking askance at her stuffed animals. She'll be running around with, say, her bunny, and suddenly stop and stare at it. Then she'll sort of sidle up to me and say, "Mama. Bunny thcare me." And I say, "You're bunny scares you?" And she'll say, "Noooo, Bunny no thcare me. Bunny luff me." But I see her giving it the fish eye as they walk away.

Well, you know. Maybe she's just being polite.

* I've actually read that this is a variation of synesthesia. The fun never ends in my gene pool, I tell ya!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

So do I have to change my blog name now?

Via Profgrrrrl:

I may think I am an asshole or a bitch, but the truth is I am a good person at heart. Yeah sure, I can have a mean streak in me, but most of the people I meet like me.

That's a pretty disappointing percentage for the ol' SBFH. Oh well. I've got strep, I'm not at my full apex of bitchiness. I'm more a whiner at the moment.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Just like life...

It's things like this and this that cause me to pull down kid photos and, more neurotically, finally spring for a "Home Protection System". Yes, folks, I'm joining the ranks of the electronically armed. I give it a week for the kids to set off the alarm 50 times before I yank it out by the wires.

Truth be told, the main selling point is the lovely little chime alarm that sounds when a door opens. The Girl, she thinks she is the Prisoner of Zenda. After restarting my heart for the fifth time because I left the room to do something and came back a minute later to find her gone and imagined all sorts of tragic outcomes before finally finding her hiding in the closet--I like the chimes. Our neighborhood is fairly safe at the moment, but when I really get it going, my ability to freak myself out knows no bounds. Yay, me.

In other blogging news, I was sad, and now I am happy. Don't ask me why, but I just like people to get along. Well, the people I like, at least. God, I'm lame. Group hug.

Even more unrelated and even more lame (if that is possible), Profgrrrrl's most recent post** has me feeling confessional. (No, wait, that isn't an adjective, it's a noun. Or is that a baptismal? What do I do for a living? Oy.) Geeky true fact about me: When I get stressed out, I find it very calming to doodle cursive letters. Remember back in grade school, when you had to practice the upper and lower case cursive letters over and over? Yeah, that. I just get the nicest pen I can find around me and practice my penmanship. Well, I'm sure you've heard weirder, right. Right? Um...right?? Oh, go away.

**And by the way, I meant not that Profgrrrrl's post was lame, but that I am lame.

Monday, January 10, 2005

And furthermore...

I've been catching up on my blogroll and it struck me that you're all getting more sex than I am. You bastards.

What I've been reduced to...

We don't watch TV (we don't have any reception; we just use the TV for videos and DVDs), so I haven't actually seen the Iclandic import "Lazy Town" on Nick Jr., but we have seen a few "videos" from the show on the Nick Jr Web site. And ... I think I've got a thing coming on for Sporticus. He's got himself some real nice ... uhhh ... equipment. And those high kicks? Bing bang, baby, I'm ready to go.


The Rude Pundit
Oh, my virgin ears. Well, the rest of me (along with the entire world) is getting screwed by this administration, so my ears might as well take it like men. At least the ears agree with the Pundit so they're better off than the brain and the civil liberties, I guess.

I would be in denial about this, but then we're about to have an Attorney General who thinks human rights are for weenies, so what did I expect? I guess I just thought the ride to hell would take a bit longer. Sigh.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Really needing to get a life

ABC News: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Split

Okay, this really bums me out. Why? Don't ask me. I guess I'm projecting.

On the other hand: Brad Pitt is 41? Okay, I'm feeling a little better about the dating options for my age group. (Yes, I realize Brad Pitt will not be among them. I also think Ben Stiller is sexy, so you know, I might actually end up getting a date sometime this century. I'm flexible, people!)

But we don't live in Arkansas...

First and foremost: Thank you for the kind encouragement. Which I honestly wasn't fishing for, but which I sure as heck will take with open arms and a whole lot of gratitude.

Just for the record, I don't think the teacher is an Evil Betty with a cap B. I do think she is overwhelmed having 24 kids and no full-time TA. I heard her say once that she gets overly emotional, and I think this is probably true. Speaking as an overly emotional person, the danger there is that you're going to blow things out of proportion and have a hard time dealing with "oppositional" kids without taking it personally. I sympathize--I lose my patience with The Boy more than I'd like to admit, and I am only dealing with him and his sister, not trying to deal with him and 23 other kids. So my desire to remove her from his environment is nothing personal. One of my neighbors had her son in this teacher's class last year and also had trouble with her. My neighbor is also in the teaching field. (I have a feeling maybe this teacher doesn't like dealing with parents who want her to follow their line of approach, as opposed to parents who are willing to play by her rules?) Anyway, my friend's son had a different problem: He's one of those kids who wants to get everything perfect and will take forever to complete a project because he wants it to be just so. He would get his card flipped to yellow (and if you don't know what I mean by this, I'm so happy for you) for not finishing the work quickly enough. Also, for some reason he needed to go to the bathroom often. She often wouldn't let him go (I imagine she thought he was goofing around in there or doing it just to waste time) and he developed a urinary tract infection as a result. And the one other mom in the class with whom I'm actually friends (we were friends before the kids started school)--her daughter manages wonderfully but she and her husband don't like teacher because they think she has "favorite" parents. My friend said that when she volunteers, teacher won't talk to her directly. She also often tells me, "I don't think he's weird, he's just a boy." I love her.

Wait. I was saying how I don't have anything against the teacher really. Um...yeah.

Anyway, I did try to get The Boy out of her class at semester break, even though it would have meant switching over from 1/2 day to full-day Kindergarten. But the school is at its limit and there was a waiting list (what does that tell me?). As it turns out, it's probably for the better. I've since heard that the two other options probably wouldn't turn out much better. One is actually our teacher's "mentor" and apparently as hard-line as this one is, and the other is a new teacher and I've heard she's having trouble. This all makes me want to go back to school and get a teaching degree, frankly. I actually might do it in a few years, when the kids are both in full-day school and it wouldn't mean putting them in longer daycare hours.

Part of my trouble is that I waffle between thinking, "Oh, he's just an active boy!" and really, really worrying about him. I grew up in a family of women, so I have absolutely no reference as to what a "normal" boy this age is like. I know I had a horrible temper and that later on, I did have some emotional problems, but I feel like I've dealt with all that fairly well (with the help of some therapy and no need for medication). However, his father is currently on about 6 meds and his therapists are trying to decide whether he's bipolar or has a combo of ADHD/depression. And to complicate things further, we both had traumatic childhood experiences, so were we messed up because of genetics or because of the trauma? Damned nature vs nurture. So...I don't know. Up to now I have been seriously against using any of the ADHD meds, not because I'm anti-med but because he's so young and can't really give us his own opinion. But I've talked with a bipolar friend whose take on that was, "You know, I was messed up at that age, and now I resent my parents for not getting me help sooner." I think if you compared him to most other kids, he's more impulsive, has a lower comprehension of consequences and of his body and how it operates in space, and has quite a bit of anger. So for now, it's OT and talk therapy. I'm going to set up more playdates for him to try and help him develop personal relationships; he does better one-on-one and I think strengthening friendships will help. Looks like there's also a social skills class at school that we hopefully can get him into either immediately or next year, and when the OT thinks that she's gotten him as far as she can, we're going to see if he can handle Tae Kwan Do to continue his physical development and focus. And I'm working on my parenting skills (thanks Krup, for the book recommendation. I picked it up and have started reading it.) But I have to admit, he turns 6 in August, and...I'm thinking about meds. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd really really like to hear about it. I'm so freaked out by the meth combos, but does anyone have experience with Strattera? God, they're all so scary. But I look at him, and I see what a bright, curious, enthusiastic kid he is, and I don't know. I just don't know.

Okay, so again, me rambling. Bah.

Art museum! He loves art. His dad's actually quite good with art, and though The Boy's no prodigy, he enjoys it. So the local art museum has started a once/month family day, where someone gives you a little tour and talks about the displays, then you have about an hour in their studio to do your own art. We went, and though we did have to have one "leave the room" talk and I got indigestion worrying about him touching the exhibits, he was so excited. He kept asking questions and wanted to see everything, and the tour guide said she didn't think he was too hyper so we can probably go back. And after the tour--wow. He was SO pumped to do an art project, and he's been rifling through our art supplies ever since. It really lit a fire under him. I signed him up for the museum's upcoming drawing classes; he tried one last quarter and really enjoyed it (the painting and sculpture not so much). He came out of that class with a beautiful (to me, at least) charcoal drawing of winter trees, which we gave to his dad for Xmas because, hey, he didn't get any artistic ability from me.

Last exciting child-rearing moment for now: At breakfast, he says to me all casual, "Hey, Mama, when I grow up, will it not be okay anymore to tongue-kiss my sister?"

Yeah. That's the question you want to hear your kid ask over waffles.

Me: isn't okay to tongue-kiss your sister now. And where did you hear about "tongue-kissing" anyway? [!?!!!!!!!???*!@!?]
B: Well, you and Papa used to kiss that way.
Me: [Ahhhhh.] Well, buddy, that way of kissing is just for grownups. When you're a grownup, you can use your tongue to kiss anybody you want, as long as it's okay with them.
Me: But not your sister.
Me: 'Cause moms and dads kiss each other that way, but no matter how old you are, you don't kiss your sisters or brothers or moms or dads or kids that way.
B: Oh. Cause I was just thinking, when I was grown up, I'd kiss you that way.
Me: [Thanking God that I'm actually aware of the Oedipal complex and so am only freaking out on a measure of 5 out of 10 instead of 148540 out of 10] Well. No. That won't be happening.
Me: [Because I can't leave well enough alone, in case you haven't caught on to that yet] Kissing with tongues and touching private parts is only for grownups who aren't already in each others families, other than being married to each other or having a special grownup relationship. Your private parts belong to you [blah blah blah, etc, etc, until his eyes roll up in the back of his head. But I think he gets that he won't be frenching either his sister or me any time soon.]

Well, happy bloggers, thanks again for letting me vent. Now I must go and attempt to clean the children's bedrooms while they're out with their father. I will accomplish this task...and then the apocalypse will come.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Call me Sybil (or Ishmael)

The key to happiness, I've heard, is to find your true purpose, listen to your inner voice. Unfortunately for me, I've got about 12 of them and none of them will shut up.

All right, I'm not being literal. But I swear things would be easier if I could just form a friggin' opinion and stick to it. Somebody does something to piss me off and I feel like a total bitch, but then I spend the next day feeling like crap about my little moment of righteous indignation. I change my mind about three times a day regarding the best way to deal with The Boy. I never want to leave here; I think a change would be good. I love my job; it has no meaning. Argh. And underlying it all: guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt. Have I made the wrong decision? Have I hurt someone? Am I screwing up my kids worse by doing x instead of y? If I start doing y right now, will it make things better or just make things worse?

The Ex insists that he's moving to another state. A faraway state. Far, far away. This is by no means a new revelation--he brings it up in this total melodramatic fashion at least every other month for the past year now, which isn't stressful for me at, oh no--but I think he means it this time. Needless to say, this is going to complicate my life. A lot. Not because I will no longer have backup for the kids or have any free time to myself (although it does mean those things) but because the kids are going to freak. And I'm not too hot about spending extended periods of time away from them. One option is to move wherever he decides to move, but I'm not so swift on that idea either, partially because--hello, who the hell follows their ex across country. And partially because the place it seems likely he'll move sucks ass, IMHO. I might feel worse about being so judgmental, except that I was born near there, and my mom was born there. So I think I'd know.

The Chica gave me some excellent advice about dealing with the Ex. She said, "He isn't your friend. You think he is, but he isn't. You offered him friendship and he threw it back in your face. You need to quit trying to be his friend."

You'd think that would be easy. He didn't treat me particularly well while we were married, and the situation that led up to our divorce certainly was one ugly-assed mess. But I have this little problem, you see, with turning people away. Especially people I care about, even if they've totally fucked me over. And especially people who matter to my kids. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Oh, hell. In any event, this post is starting to bore even me. So on to more exciting and things. Aren't you glad you stopped by?

The next few weeks should be interesting and telling where The Boy's concerned, God love him. School started back last week, and we got 2nd quarter report cards. Now, I've gone on ad nauseum about the Teacher and my reservations with the appropriateness of her interactions with him. We met with her 1st quarter and she did say that his behavior was improving. I also talked with her just before break and she said things had improved but that she suggested we start documenting some of the problems he was having so we could get him on some special tracks if necessary. What sort of problems are we talking about, I asked. Aside from the oppositional behavior (of which I previously posted), she told me the main problem was that she had to "keep on him" to remember to follow class rules. Also that he tended to do things like run into the other kids or trip over them at circle time because he seemed not to be paying attention. He has trouble staying on task. A few other things Okay, this stuff is pretty much what I'd expect from an ADHD/SID kid. But the last day of class before break, I went in to volunteer with the Holiday Party, and here's what I noticed:

1) When he came in, he hung up his backpack but left his coat on. He started to go to circle and she called out to him in a fairly annoyed voice, "[Boy], what are you forgetting? You co-at?" He immediately came back to hang it up and said,"Oops, I forgot." She says, in this totally snotty voice, "Like every day." Bless him, he just laughed and said, "Yep! Every day!" I decide I hate her. (Then feel guilty. HELP ME SOMEONE.)

2) At circle time, he very carefully stepped over and around his friends to find a place on the mat. She made no comment.

3) She spent the next 20 minutes opening her presents from the kids, and don't even get me started on everything I see wrong with that in and of itself. But the whole time, the Boy sat quietly, without fidgeting or jostling or speaking out. Suddenly, she says, in a rather brusque voice, "[Boy], what's in your pocket? Go put it in your backpack NOW." So he must have been fingering something in his pocket. However, I was standing in the back of the class watching him like a hawk. None of the other kids were looking at him when this happened, so whatever it was could not have been distracting them. She knows he's in OT to learn alternative methods of focusing, one of which is keeping something in your hand to "fidget" with. We've tried a few of the OT strategies in school, and each time she has flipped out because "this stuff isn't working and it's just distracting him and making things more difficult." OT gave us her email and phone and told us to have the teacher call and discuss. No call from teacher. Also, I'm sorry--my kid has real problems, and you're riding him for forgetting to take off his coat and for playing with something in his pocket (while sitting quietly and not bothering the other kids)? I'm a 37-year old with no focus problems and I was bored silly watching her open her stupid candles. Honey, I have bigger fish to fry.

So then we get his report card. All his academic scores are up, except music (I've no idea why). She'd told us that PE was his hardest station, and he showed improvement there, which makes me want to kiss the OT, I think. His literacy, math, writing, ss, science, specials--all the same or improved over 1st quarter. Personal development, though, ah, there's the rub. Several areas show a decrease in performance. But wait--didn't we just talk 3 weeks ago? And didn't you tell me he was improving??

Long story longer, I've made an appointment with the principal. I don't trust The Boy's teacher to pick his 1st grade teacher, and I don't trust her to advise us on the best path for him through the school's offerings. I'm going to let her know what his situation is and what I believe his needs are--which includes a teacher who is willing to work with us to integrate the freaking therapy we're paying for outside of school.

Also, I'm biting the bullet and inviting some of the other boys over to our house to play. Hold me.

This is the Moby Dick of blog postings. I wanted to talk about Family Day at the local art museum, but it will have to wait. If you actually made it all the way through this crappy post, you are a better person than I, Ahab. Sleep well.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A pox upon me...

As God is my witness, I will not sit in front of this computer doing nothing all night again! I mean it. I do! Oh, fine.
Walmart is kinda like the spam of discount stores, don't you think?
When I lived it London there was a photo-development place called "Supa-Snaps" (as in snapshots). Every time I passed one, I got hysterical giggles because I couldn't help but hear the name being said in this 70s pimp voice: "Sooopaah Shnaaaps!"
There was a period in my life, in college, just after resolving my eating disorder, when I was stalked by food items. Giant food items. Actual, giant, food items. I'd go to the grocery store, turn a corner, and find myself face-to-face with a giant Oreo with legs. Sure, it was just some hapless git in a suit, trying to earn a buck, but I'm sorry: That was just an experience I didn't need. The worst, though--the worst was the Pancake.

It was spring, and I had a light class load and nothing to do between lunch and my afternoon theatre class. (The life of a theatre major. I highly recommend it. Unless you want to, you know, get a job someday.) So I decided to kill time by going to Music Appreciation with my friend Jeannie. The music building sat on an oval drive at the edge of campus, a peaceful drive with grass and a path of trees down the center and sloping greensward all around. Students were spread out on the center lawn as well as on the surrounding slopes, basking in the sun. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

And then we saw it.

For a moment, we just stared, standing stock still. "What the hell is it?", Jeannie murmered beside me. "Is it a ... a ... cookie?"

"No," I said. "I think it's a pancake."

And indeed it was a pancake, my friends. A giant, looming, grinning, maniacal flapjack. A hapless bicyclist was speeding around the oval, glancing back in what (from where we stood) looked like abject terror. And loping after him was this ... thing. It looked much taller than a man, though it was difficult to get any real perspective, what with the slope and the distance. We could hear it shouting something as it ran after the poor cyclist, but if it was trying to communicate in words, they were unintelligible. I was reminded of the mythical windego, for it looked preternaturally skinny from the side--just a line with two flashing sticks for legs. But then...then it turned its hideous countenance toward us, and it was a huge, round, flat circle with an evil grin, glaring eyes, and ... a skirt and pink bow on top of its monstrous head?

"Oh, God," breathed Jeannie. "I think it's coming for us."

For a second neither of us moved as the thing began stomping by reclining students, moving toward us. Then it began not to stomp, but to run. We did what any rational 19-year old girls would do when faced with a giant homicidal food item. We hauled ass for the music building.

There was a line of bushes in front of the building, and we dove behind them. We were laughing hysterically and honest-to-god a little petrified at the same time. "Is it...gone?" panted Jeannie after a moment.

"I think so," I choked out. "I'll check." Crouching down, I snuck toward the bushes and slowly began to stand up so I could peer out from behind them--when suddenly, the monster's giant head reared up from the other side like a bad moon rising. It was waving its skinny little arms and screeching out, "Blah! Blaaah blaaahhh blaaah bla blaaaaaaahhhh!"

"AARCKKK!" I screeched, and we both lunged into the building against a tide of exiting students.

We fought our way up the stairs to the second floor balcony and quickly scanned the front of the building...but the thing had disappeared. After class (from which we learned absolutely nothing that day, I can tell you), we walked through the campus square in a daze. Had it really happened? Had we been chased by a breakfast item?? We ran into a fellow theatre major--though she was of the "techie" persuasion and so of course we didn't really run in the same circles (you'll know what I mean if you've ever been involved in college "the-atre", lucky you). But today we rushed toward the familiar face.

"Gerri!" Jeannie hollered, "You won't believe what just happened. It was totally surreal. We were chased by a giant pancake!" Gerri stared at us for a moment, then tilted her head.

"Was it wearing a green skirt?"

I thought Jeannie was going to have a seizure. "No, Gerri," she huffed, "This one was wearing purple pants. How the hell many giant pancakes do you think there ARE around campus!?" Gerri shrugged. "Oh, yeah," she said, "I saw it. It was chasing somebody through the engineering building."

Monday, January 03, 2005

Lucky SB

One of those things happened today, you know, one of those things that makes you want to find the nearest closet to get in so you can drop to your knees and fervently whisper "Thank you, thank you, thank you" for everything good and safe in your life and then feel guilty because you are so friggin' lucky and still you whine about your children and you are the most unappreciative SB in the whole freakin' county.

The Boy has his OT appointments on Mondays, and today I dropped him off then took The Girl to the library to return some books. When we walked back into the waiting room after running our errands, there was a woman standing near the front door, and we had to walk past her to get to the play area. It's a small waiting room, so we passed quite close to her, and I realized that she was crying. For a split second, a flash of panic set in--that panic you get when you see a stranger in public distress for no obvious reason, the one that mutters to you to keep walking, mind your own business, let her have her privacy--and then I stopped and turned around and asked her if she was all right. And she wasn't all right. She said she'd just found out that her 14-year old son had a huge tumor in his leg, that he'd been in pain for 3 years and they kept taking him to the doctor, who kept saying that it was "just growing pains", and they finally brought him to the OT, and the OT said, "Uh, I think we'd better get an xray", and there it was, this tumor, and it was huge, and she was terrified, and angry, and all she kept saying was that her baby had been in pain for 3 years.

I told her that I was so sorry and I would be furious, too, and scared shitless, but that it might be okay. I said, you know, I'm totally not making light of this, but it really might be okay. I said, of course anything would probably push on nerves and cause pain, but it could be benign and still do that. The way she looked at me, I just think she needed to hear that. I wish I would have told her that it wasn't her fault, that she took him to the doctor, she did what anyone would have done, and it wasn't her fault, this thing. Thinking about it now, I think she needed to hear that, too. It was all kind of surreal and then The Boy came bounding out and I had to chase after him out to the parking lot, but I can't stop thinking about her.

Her boy's name is Nicholas. If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate it if you'd send prayers or vibes or thoughts or whatever good juju you hang with her way.

And then we went to the kids' dentist appointments, and while they were in with the dentists I sat down and picked up today's Newsweek, lord only knows why, and was incredibly annoyed by this article. Maybe I was just feeling emotional and sensitive, but I'm sorry--how bloody flippant can we be? I quote:

And the Green Zone Cafe, best burger in the four square miles containing
thousands of Americans, was blown to bits, along with the clientele, by a
suicide bomber. The kitchen was spared, so it reopened as a takeout place,
but U.S. Force Protection officers now raid it periodically, looking for
U.S. government employees who aren't permitted to be there. For a good meal
now, trade a beer for an MRE. We recommend the curry.

What the hell? Oh, haha, good one. The curry. People are dying and this guy is turning a witty phrase? This guy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist? Okey-dokey then. Am I over-reacting? It just rubbed me the wrong way.

He's ready for Dahl

So all this talk about taxidermy must've given The Boy a hankerin' for the natural history museum, which is where he talked his dad into taking The Girl and him yesterday. When I called to tell him goodnight, I asked how the museum was.
"Okay," he said.
"And how were the animals?" I asked
"What animals?"
"You know, the stuffed ones. Grrr."
[Laughing] "Mama, they don't go 'grrr'. They're dead! They can't grrr at you."

Why do we make death into such a big thing? Have you ever noticed that it's the grownups who try to make things all nice and la-di-da for the kids? They're perfectly happy with marauding rhinocerotes and killer wizards and ogres and boiled wolves and seafoam and so forth. Who are we trying to fool?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Don't ask, just do it

If you're a woman at or over the age of, oh, 34, go here now.
I dare you to download that song (about the middle of the page), turn that bad boy up, dance around your living room--and then tell me that didn't feel fan-friggin-tastic.

Assuming, that is, that no one catches you doing it.

Laughing at yourself required; satin tights optional.

Therapy Now?

Your call: Save for college or for the therapist. The following is the actual conversation that took place in the car on the way to church today. I'm. Not. Kidding.

Me: Oh, look, there's the vet's. I need to take kitty in for his shots.
The Boy: Cause if he got rabies, he'd die, right?
Me: Uh, right. That's why he gets shots. Plus that's why we keep him in the house, so he'll be safe.
The Girl: Safe!
B: But if he did get rabies, the vet would make him better, right?
Me: Uhhh...
B: Cause vets don't kill animals, right, they help animals.
Me: Uhhh...
G: Hep animohs!!
Me: Well, honey, vets do help animals, but if an animal is very, very sick and the vet can't make the animal better and the animal is suffering, then the vet would ... um ... help it ... to ... uh ... die without hurting ... it. Much. At all. [See, this is where I shoulda just lied.]
B: [sounding slightly panicked now] What??
Me: I mean, only if the animal was really in pain, because it wouldn't be kind to keep it alive if it was really in a lot of pain. [What kind of idiot is this woman, you're asking yourself. Right?]
B: But ... but ... I don't want the vet to kill kitty!!
Me: Honey, the vet won't kill kitty. The vet will give kitty his shots so that he won't get sick. Kitty's probably going to be around for a long time.
B: [Sniffling] But, when he dies, will we bury him??
Me: Well, ummm ...
B: In our yard?
Me: Umm ... you know, we could have him cremated and then put him in our yard, if that's what you want, but ...
B: [Decisively] I want to keep him.
Me: You ...
B: I want to keep him in my room, after he dies.
Me: Ewww, honey, no, you can't do that.
B: Why not?
Me: Well, honey, dead animals get ... yucky.
B: Well, then, can we get him stuffed?
Me: Stuffed? You want to have him stuffed?
B: Yah, when he dies I want to get him stuffed so I can keep him on my bed and take him in the car. Or we can just get his fur made into a pillow.
Me: ...
Me: Wow.
Me: ...
Me: Um, we ... um ... wow. Well, honey, people do stuff animals sometimes, but they aren't like your stuffed friends -- they're like, [making scary taxidermy face] you know, like the animals at the museum, all ... grr.
B: That's fine. I want to stuff him like that. He can be like a statue and I'll keep him in my room. He'll be fluffy.
Me: Riiight.
G: Fuffy.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year from the Land o' Nod

[Damned cute photo of the Girl, deleted]

Funny, you say, she doesn't look like the kind of girl who would lock her mommy out on the front porch on New Year's Eve, then mock her through the storm door until bribed (with a popsicle) by the neighbor to go get her brother to unlock the door.

And funny, you say, that she doesn't look like the kind of girl who would refuse to go to bed because she wanted to stay up with the "big kids", finally howl herself to sleep--and be up and perky and poking her fingers in her mommy's eyes (in a totally adorable fashion, of course) at 6:00 a.m. New Year's Day.

Funny, she doesn't look like the kind of angel who would pick up her brother's most aggravating habit and mutter "Pewpy-had mama" at her mommy when her mommy made her go back to bed at 6:00 a.m. New Year's Day after realizing that she was not going to stop with the eye-poking.

Yaaaah...reeeeeaaaaal funny.

Yawn. Happy New Year, sweetie darlings! (And yes, I'll get paranoid enough to pull this photo by Monday, so enjoy it now! [Surely you knew I meant it! You've gotta be quick to catch the photos around here.])