Monday, December 31, 2007
1.) Get accepted into the teacher certification graduate program. This is by far the most important resolution of all. This is my shot at having the career I've always wanted. This is my shot at being truly happy at what I'm doing. I'm working hard to get in, and I'm praying they'll accept me. I will succeed at this.
2.)Find a new job. The job I have now makes me miserable. It forces me to work Saturdays. Right now, I have to cling to it to pay the bills while GH still remains unemployed. This past week, I've been sending out my resume to every decent job I can find. I'm working on it as hard as I can, and I know something will pan out soon.
3.) Loose at least 20 pounds. My waistline keeps expanding, and it's high time it start moving in the other direction. Though this is a resolution I've made before, this year I intend to make it stick.
4.) Improve my jewelry making skills, and other art skills. I've really been working on improving myself as an artist, and this year I'd like to improve even further.
5.) Do more craft shows. Last year I began bringing my jewelry to craft shows. It really helped improve my confidence, and I met a lot of other great artists. This year I want to do more shows, and bring a wider range of art. I hope to do a lot better this year.
6.) Get something published professionally. So far the highlight of my writing career has been a few freelance articles in the local paper. This year, I'd like to see some of my writing in a real publication that people read. And, I'd like it to be something more creative than the local high school's academic decathlon (no joke, that was one of the articles I wrote.
7.) Start saving money. All right, this is something I've always been terrible at. Setting money aside is tough, especially when things are tight. This year, I will put money aside if it kills me. This year is the car breaks down, or I need emergency dental work, I resolve to have money set aside so it will not bankrupt us.
8.) Keep in better touch with my family. Losing my grandmother really drove home how important it is to keep in touch with family, no matter how busy I get. This year, I will send out cards, send out emails, and make sure to attend more family get togethers.
9.) Be a better mother. Spend more time with the kids. Be more patient. Do more fun activities. Be more patient. Show more affection. Be less stressed out. Did I mention be more patient?
We'll see how well this list holds up throughout the year. At least it's here for me to check in on down the road when I start to loose sight of what's important.....
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Though my former English professor assured me I would pass it no problem, I figured it never hurts to study and stress out about it until I have a bleeding ulcer.
So far, my studying has proved:
1.) I am still good at all all things English.
2.) I still blow at all things mathmatic.
3.) Math has not gotten any easier as I've gotten older. Despite the promises of many a math teacher, I do not use algebraic equations in everyday life. Ergo, I have forgotten how to do most algebraic equations.
4.) Numbers still make my brain hurt.
In conclusion, math is 1/3 of my test score. Looks like I'll be cozying up to fractions, decimals, and right angle triangles. Wish me luck with my super fun brain hemorage.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I'm quite proud that I managed to get through the season, and even accomplish some of my list of wild ambitions. I actually sent out the Christmas cards. I made gingerbread houses with the kids. I finished almost all of the necklaces I wanted to give as gifts. Yeah me!
Now begins the time of empty bank accounts, deep thoughts as I ponder New Year's resolutions, and serious stress as I get everything together to apply to go back to school. On the plus side, I will have more time to blog, more time to create, and more time to focus on the ones I love, now that things are settliung back to normal. I even have fabulous photos to post..... eventually.
Monday, December 17, 2007
My list is The List of Holiday Good Intentions, aka The List of Things I Really Meant to Do This Year for Christmas, But Will Not Complete:
1. The adorable little hand puppets I intended to make for my nieces and nephews. The materials sit in a bag, the googly eyes staring up at me accusingly, the super soft fake fur begging to stroked and loved.
2. The Christmas cards. Every year I vow to send these out. This year, I bought the cards and filled them out. They are now sitting in the box, waiting for cute pictures of the kids, stamps, and addresses. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow.
3. A gingerbread house. I downloaded some spectacular gingerbread house plans from Bob Villa himself. Visions of adorable, edible villages dance in my head. Instead, I made some gingerbread men. Even those didn't manage to get icing.
4. Handmaking all my gifts. Please see previous post for all the lame details.
5. Listing new items on my Etsy site. I really wanted to take advantage of the holiday buying season to sell some lovely new items to potential buyers. But no, even the promise of extra Christmas money couldn't inspire me to find the extra 10 minutes to get this done.
So there you have it, the top 5 reasons why I suck at Christmas this year. I think my family should be pretty grateful we have a tree up at this point. So please, feel free to bask in the complete and utter failure of all my best holiday intentions.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Well, this year, in the spirit of avoiding toy recalls, and support all things handmade, the lovely crafters at Etsy started a campaign to get people to give only handmade gifts this year, either made by yourself or a fellow crafter.
Even though I didn't stick the icon on my blog (because I'm lazy and HTML, even copied and pasted, still freaks me out, I took the pledge to keep my Christmas handmade.
For the women in my life, the easy answer was jewelry. They would all receive a piece of jewelry. The men would receive scarves, the only thing I'm capable of knitting. For all of the kids, I decided to make fun, timeless, hand puppets. Oh, and for certain families, quilts. No biggie.
With the best of intentions, I went out and bought all of the supplies. Yards of fabric for the quilts. Fake fur, googly eyes, and felt for puppets. Glass, chain, and beads for jewelry. Piles of yarn for knitting.
Then my grandmother passed and I spent an unplanned for week in Vermont. And then I decided to go back to school and needed study time for the PRAXIS exam. And then my bum tooth got infected and incapacitated me with days worth of pain, followed by days worth of antibiotics and Vicodin. And so on. All of these things and more stealing away precious days of gift making time.
In short, here is the handmade gift total as of now, 10 days before Christmas:
1 scarf in a light lime green no man will wear
7 half completed necklaces
I blow. Does it still count if I hand make the cards?
I will keep an ongoing total of what I manage to complete from my overblown ambitions. Feel free to laugh and point, and taunt me freely.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
With all of that weighing down on me, I've taken careful inventory of the pantry of my life. There were a lot of dusty cans and boxes that I pushed to the back of the shelves like so much creamed corn. Some of them were labeled things like "Staying In Touch With Relatives" or "Sending Holiday Cards". I've dusted each one off and have promised myself not to let them be forgotten again.
One of the biggest, bulkiest boxes I've pulled out was "Career". This is one that that gets neglected the most often in the crush of needing to pay bills and take care of day to day duties. In the box are my dreams of being a teacher and a writer, resting next to my hard earned English Literature degree. It's this box that I have made the most demanding promise to tackle.
The one thing that is standing in the way of my dreams of teaching, is an official state issued teaching certification. While I was in college, I was all set up to earn this in conjunction with my English degree. Unfortunately, with the demands of being a single parent at that time, I just couldn't finish the educational portion of my degree. I told myself that would be fine, that I could just find a job teaching at a private high school that didn't require teaching certification.
Little did I know what a pipe dream that was. Out in the real world, even private schools want certifications, or experience equivalent to one. After an ambitious round of job applications, I put my teaching dreams in a box and shelved them. I pursued jobs in publishing, but in Maine, these are few and far between, and even with my degree and previous experience, I was denied time and again. With that, those ambitions were tossed into the same box, and shoved out of sight, out of mind, while I took the best job I could in order to pay the bills.
And here I am now, with I job that is frustrating, and out of my field. While it is rewarding, and does pay the bills, there is no future for me where I am now. It's not what I worked four long years to achieve. It's not my dream.
Now there is an opportunity staring me in the face. At a local college, they offer an intensive program for people who already have a four year degree to earn their teaching certification in just 9 months. It's a grueling dawn till dusk program, and I wouldn't be able to hold a job while I was in it. I contemplated applying last year, but chickened out and missed the deadline. I told myself that it was impossible.
But now, after staring at this box, dust covered, and brimming with faded, but powerful dreams, I tell myself it is possible. If GH can find a decent job, and I can pull off some serious student loans, it could happen. It would mean sacrifice for all of us, but in the end, it would pay off, I just know it.
The first application deadline is January 9th. There's little time to make it on that first list. I've emailed former professors who have promised me the required letters of recommendation. Today, I took the ultimate step and called to arrange to take the required Praxis exam on January 7th. It was a large chunk of money, and it's right at the deadline, so I have one shot to pass, to get it right.
So I'm doing it. No more giant dusty boxes. Life is to short to not be doing what I love, what I've always dreamed of. No more boxes, tins, or cans of regret.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The biggest event that kept me offline was the death of my grandmother. There were a lot of family issues involved there, and it's taken a while for me to pull my head together, and to make sure my mother was on stable ground.
Now that things are settled, I have some catching up to do; blogs to read, stories to share, and holiday madness to kvetch about. Can't wait to jump back in and get caught up.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So, now that I've stopped having anxiety attacks every time I approach my laptop, I will try to enjoy my blogging once again. Perhaps next year I will try to commit creative suicide once again with either NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled insanity......
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
-Hand painted boxes
This is where I am, and I have to start pulling things together. I'm in desperate need of some ideas to make these gift ideas cohesive, maybe make the scarves match the quilts. Or, just make one quilt per family and call it good. I just don't know.
Is it wrong that I'm already wishing Christmas was over?
Monday, November 12, 2007
The kids are helping as well, painting ornaments and bird houses as gifts and decorations. At the grocery store this weekend, there was a food drive going on, and I had K help me pick out a few cans of soup to donate. I explained that while we didn't have much right now, there were other families that were much worse off, without even enough food to eat. She was very excited about helping out other people. I'm really hoping that the financial hardship of this year's Christmas season will at least help to teach the kids about what's really important in our lives.
On the plus side, it seems that this year Christmas is going to be held at our house. Nothing is definite yet, but it seems to be on the way to full out confirmation. I'm excited, and nervous. It will be fun to be the one who gets to take over Christmas, the cooking, the traditions, being able to let the kids have Christmas at home. But at the same time it's sad- It will be the first Christmas we won't spend in my parent's home. It's a huge change, and an admittance that my parents are growing older. I'm not sure that I'm ready for that. I'm not sure that I'm ready to be the grown-up house, to do the airport picking up, coordinating the gift opening, do the cookie decorating, etc.
So it seems that this year will be a year of many changes, of shifts in attitude and tradition. I just hope I'm a grown-up enough adult to bear it with grace, and not cry a little when my sister and I can't sneak into my parents room (as we've always done, right up till last year) and beg them to let us go downstairs and open presents at 3 in the morning.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I've never been much of a shoe person. As a total tom-boy, and then teenage hooligan, I never developed the proper girly love for shoes. I never properly conformed my feet to the rigors of high heels. Combat boots and other boot-like shoes were pretty much my standard. Even sneakers were a rarity.
Well, after finally growing up a bit and becoming a working professional and a mom, I've tried hard to change my attitude about shoes. I was successful in learning to love them- unfortunately I've still never gotten the hang of wearing most of them
These shoes are a prime example of shoes I love, but can't wear. I bought them during one of my many promises to myself to learn to wear heels. This photo is the first time they've been on my feet since buying them in the store two years ago. I own several pairs of shoes like these. They are beautiful, delicate, with slender, arching heels. They make my feet look elegant and sexy. Then I take three steps in them, and it feels like my feet are broken. So, they all live together in my closet.
The shoes that I actually wear daily are boring and flat and go with everything:
They are black, they are cotton, and they cost $8.
The other pair of shoes are my "weekend shoes"
They are still flat, cotton, and serviceable. But, they have super cute skulls. I can go to the craft store in them in still feel care free. I can go grocery shopping and feel like a rebel.
Friday, November 09, 2007
With that said, this is my post for today. I'm going to be up all night trying to create as many crafts as possible. Wish me luck!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I am very sorry that I didn't come to get your tooth the night before. I hope you weren't too upset. You see, my Tooth Fairy magic told me you would be loosing another tooth today as well, so I decided to get them both at once instead of making two trips.
Keep up the good work in school and be sure to listen to your parents. I'll visit again the next time you loose a tooth.
The Tooth Fairy
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Exhausted after a full day of training, I crawled into bed to rest, and promptly fell asleep. So did GH.
This morning when I went in to wake G up, he presented me with the little green plastic treasure chest, still holding his tooth. He wondered why the Tooth Fairy hadn't come. I felt so bad that tears swam in my eyes as I tried to make up plausible excuses for why the Tooth Fairy hadn't made it. Luckily G concluded that the Tooth Fairy had found the treasure chest to heavy. I vowed to myself that the Tooth Fairy would make it up to him tonight.
Today when I got home, G presented me with another tooth in another small plastic chest. Two teeth in two days. Tonight the Tooth Fairy will have to do triple duty just to make up for her utter lameness of last night.
I hate these moments, the moments of feeling like a complete failure as a mom. It's these magic moments that make childhood so special, and to fail at even one of them is crushing. And my excuse? That I fell asleep? That's the most shameful of all.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
While watching some mind-numbing weekend morning cartoons with the kids, I was treated to the new and improved Winnie the Pooh. Now called "My Friends Tigger and Pooh" there have been some interesting changes in the 100 Acre Wood. Gone is Christopher Robin; he's replaced with a spunky little red-head girl named Darby, complete with spunky little puppy. Also added to the cast is Lumpy, a cute little Heffalump. Remember back in the day when Heffalumps were the terrifying beasts that made everyone shake in their shoes? Yeah, not anymore.
Oh, and sometimes they solve crime. They don baseball caps, call themselves "Super Sleuths" and solve crimes. Little ones. That never turn out to be actual crimes. But that's besides the point.
Besides the general wholesomeness of the show, the best part, from a parental standpoint, is that the main characters are essentially the same. It was great for nostalgic value. It was also interesting to look at these beloved characters from an adult's more jaded and cynical view point.
While munching pancakes and sipping coffee, I realized all of the beloved characters from Winnie the Pooh could be broken down into very distinct personality stereotypes. Let me demonstrate (And remember, it was early. During coffee early):
Rabbit- Classic Type-A personality. Rabbit loves everything a certain way. Everything in his house is in neat rows, and every item has its proper place. Even gardening, usually a relaxing hobby, is a battle with bugs who threaten to ruin the perfect symmetry of Rabbit's garden.
Rabbit has a tendency to spaz out. When things don't go according to plan, or things or out of place, he totally loses his carrots. The grabbing of the ears, high pitched yells, and frantic dancing from foot to foot are clear displays of intense anxiety. Rabbit's neurotic tendencies are negated however, by his rare, but touching, displays of kindness.
Eeyore- A seriously depressed pessimist, Eeyore probably should have been given some Prozac ages ago. He chooses to let life beat him down, not bothering to look for his own lost tail, and refusing to seek shelter from the rain. He seems happiest when he has something to be miserable.
Piglet- Talk about neurosis; Piglet makes Rabbit look like a hippy having a field day. This little guy is scarred of everything. Perhaps it results from some deep childhood trauma, as he has even developed a persistent stutter. I fear Piglet may be something of Germ-a-phob and a borderline Agoraphobic as well- he is constantly cleaning and is loath to leave his house if even the slightest thing goes awry. I feel Piglet would benefit from some intensive therapy.
Gopher- A clear workaholic. Gopher is forever tunneling, often without any clear need. He is always willing to lend a hand- as long as it involves digging. He never takes time off, celebrates any major holidays, or speaks of any close family.
Owl- This is the guy you hate to run into at parties. He's the know-it-all who will talk your ear off for hours, constantly needing to demonstrate how much smarter he is than you. He will reference the most obscure tombs of literature in hopes you've never even heard of them, and then act shocked and dismayed when indeed, you've never heard of them. This behavior most likely stems from a whole host of insecurities.
Kanga- The epitome of motherhood, and, quite interestingly, the only female in all of the 100 Acre Wood. Kanga is your classic Donna Reed mom. She often wears an apron, and is almost always baking. Her voice is soft, warm and feminine, and she has never raised it to shout at the rambunctious Roo. In fact, her son is so much a part of her that only do their two names together make up one whole animal. On the other side of the coin however, is the fact that there is no Mr. Kanga. Is Kanga perhaps an early feminist? An advocate for single mothers? Hmmm....
Roo- A child, plain and simple. Mischievous, fun and innocent.
Tigger- A total extrovert who leaps before he looks- quite literally. Spontaneous, fun and fearless Tigger is willing to tackle, or at least bounce on, anything that gets in his way. He can be pushy, often shoving his friends into adventures in wish they don't wish to participate.
Pooh- And now, the star of our show. A starry eyes optimist, Pooh is always ready with a giggle and a far-fetched idea. Though he claims to be a "bear of little brains" he is actually quite clever when it comes to getting what he wants. After all, who but a clever bear could pull of dressing up like a bee, floating around on balloons, and singing to bees in order to get honey? It is possible that Pooh may be an obsessive eater however. There is little he thinks of beyond his next honey fix, and his tummy is constantly "grumbly".
So, which Pooh character personality do you relate best to? I consider myself a combination between Rabbit, and a tad bit of Kanga.
Monday, November 05, 2007
There once was a woman from Maine
She wrote this post so lame.
These blog filled weeks
May make me tweak,
And drain all the thoughts from my brain.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Life has been more than difficult lately. GH has been out of work for nearly two months now, and his completely lack of motivation is suffocating me. While I've tried to be supportive and patient, I've reached the end of my limits. I have been receiving no support, financially, emotionally or otherwise. While I won't go into anymore detail, because deep down I still do love the man, I'll just say, it's been incredibly hard.
With my mom being here, I'll finally have a bit of support. Someone to talk to and understand my frustration, and overwhelming stress and emotional exhaustion. The kids will have some undivided, loving adult attention, which they sorely need. While they do receive love from GH and I, we've been under incredible stress, and with my exhaustion on top of it, tempers have been short, and patience has run thin.
In short, I'm looking forward to a week of coming home to a clean house, hot dinner, happy kids, and maybe even a pie. All of the things I should have had these past two months with my "house husband". But I'm not bitter. Just crushingly depressed. And angry. Oh, and bitter.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Perhaps it burns even more because I'm participating in NaBloPoMo at the same time I'm participating in NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. This is where a bunch of ambitious idiots attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November. You're supposed to write 1,660 some odd words a day. It's supposed to be a great way to write without worrying about editing, to free your mind and let creativity flow. It's also a good way to inspire suicide as you watch the word counts of others mount with incredible speed on the NaBloPoMo website, while you struggle to make the daily minimum.
I may fail at one of these. I may fail at both. By the end of the month I may have completely killed my will to ever write again. Pray for me....
Friday, November 02, 2007
Fifteen pounds sitting at home
Chocolate calls me
A long-ass work week
A tired mom home for kids
I yearn for nap time
Kids high on candy
Wish they made sedative treats
Sugar buzz madness
Blogger posts each day
Wonder if I can
K's conference was first. We weren't surprised to hear that she's doing well, is a fast learner, and is progressing nicely on all of her skills. We spoke briefly about K's recent acting out, and Mrs. E suggested K see the school counselor again to talk over her frustrations.
After that, it was brief interlude for dinner before G's conference. Because of the time constraint, I chose to bring them to the evil empire of McDonald's. I feel guilty just writing it. But, in the name of time and convenience, it had to be done.
Unfortunately, it seemed everyone else in town had the same idea for dinner. For the first time ever, I ordered our food, and then had to stand and wait for a good 15 minutes for our food. The kids were thrilled by the extra time to cavort in the play room, but I grew steadily more anxious as G's conference time grew nearer. When the food finally arrived, I chanted for the kids to bolt down their food, another big parental no-no, I know.
With only seconds to spare, we made it to G's conference. His teacher gave us a glowing report, assuring us that G had been doing well at controlling his outbursts, and was very kind and courteous. She did note however, that more often than not, he chose to play alone, or "parallel play" with other children. He also had trouble recognizing his own spacial boundaries in regards to other children. Of course, this only goes further in reinforcing what we already knew.
Good reports well in hand, we headed home after another long evening. I can't wait until tonight, with an actual dinner at home, and maybe some real, honest-to-goodness time to relax.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Don't they look great? G was a fabulous vampire, and K, well, she was a princess/witch, basically a witch minus the ugly.
We headed out, full of Halloween excitement, to tackle our neighborhood. The kids had fun visiting their friends houses and collecting a bag of candy, that grew steadily more bulky by the house.
Soon, we had finished our normal Halloween route, but Neighbor Dad insisted on pressing on, warning us that he intended to hit every house possible on every side street within walking distance. Not to be outdone, we agreed to keep going.
Soon, all of the kids were weary, complaining of heavy bags, and they all began to sit down on the lawn of as many houses as possible. when neighbor son began to lag and actually lay down on lawns, Neighbor Dad insisted he keep going. Soon, K began to stumble on almost every other lawn she crossed. All kids complained about the weight of their bags. GH and I stuffed our pockets full of as much candy as we could to alleviate the weight. Neighbor Dad had brought an extra heavy-duty canvas bag which he emptied his son's candy into. At one house, Neighbor Dad asked the kind woman handing our candy (dressed as a giant blue M&M no less) if he could have a couple of plastic bags. He gave them to GH and I, and we unloaded G and K's excessive candy into them to keep their arms from falling off.
At about 7:30, we all took a break at Dairy Queen where they were handing out free ice cream to trick-or-treaters. Ever resourceful Neighbor Dad managed to get all of adults a cone as well.
Refreshed from this brief interlude of sitting and getting hydrated, the kids were once again ready to go. I was not. After a full day of work, no dinner, and carrying a huge sack of candy for a few miles, I was wiped. GH was in the same boat.
On the other side of the neighborhood, we searched for houses that still had lights on, which were now few and far between. The houses we did manage to stop at were eager to unload their extra candy, and the kid's bags grew heavy once again.
On the last stretch, everyone was miserable, except of course for Neighbor Dad. AS we approached home and Neighbor Dad insisted on a few more houses, his son declared loudly "I think I'm gonna die!" and collapsed on a lawn. Neighbor Dad prodded him up, insisting that he buck up and think of the months worth of candy he was collecting.
We finally got home at 8:30. I have never trick-or-treated so long, or so aggressively in my life. The kids were a tired, wining wreck, and had to be quickly hosed off and sent to bed. I collapsed myself soon after.
Today, I have my first official Halloween hangover. Looking at the two bags of Halloween candy each that G and K had sitting on the counter made my feet throb. My head has been pounding all day, and I'm exhausted. I can only imagine how the kids are faring at school.
At least they'll have tons of candy for a good long time, which is of course, just what they need (note the sarcasm). Happy Halloween.....
Friday, October 26, 2007
The first thing that was addressed, once again, was G's incredible intelligence. All of his cognitive testing confirmed that he is above normal intelligence, which gives him the need to be constantly stimulated and challenged. When this is lacking, it causes G a lot of boredom and frustration. Though they don't begin testing for Gifted and Talented classes until third grade at G's school, it was suggested that we all try to work together to make something happen for him sooner than that.
On the emotional and social side, it was determined that G was lacking some critical connections. Combined with his intelligence level, it made the gap that much wider. To make a long evaluation summery short, it was determined that G has a high probability of Asperger's.
Unfortunately the school psychologist can not give us an official diagnosis. However, with these tests already in place, and the the determination of Asperger's in place, it should make the official diagnosis piece that much easier.
Excited with the progress, I called the specialist who's waiting list we're on for G's further evaluations and diagnosis. Since I hadn't heard anything since I sent them the initial paperwork, I wanted to check that he was still on the list, and fax them the school evaluations to put in his file. The secretary confirmed that he was put on the list in April, and reminded me that it was up to a year out before someone would be available to see G. Six months down, perhaps another six to go before we receive the final, definitive answers.
Even though nothing is officially official quite yet, at least now we have some validation as parents for what we've been experiencing for so long. Now we can tell ourselves that we're not just ignorant parents who don't know how to respond to their own child, but parents who have faced a challenging situation the best we can while operating blind.
We will be meeting with G's school team again soon to start to work on what's best for G in his school life. Now that we have a little more light, I hope it will keep us from running into the walls, at least for a little while.....
Sunday, October 21, 2007
GH still hasn't found a job. The bills pile high, threatening to drown me. I fight, I swim, I struggle to keep my head above water.
G's evaluation results are almost ready. The school psychologist said she wants to call us and talk to us on Tuesday before she sends them out. Did she find something so bad she wants to break it to us personally? Or, did she find nothing, and wants to let us know we're the nutty ones here?
K has been acting out now too. We suspect it's because she's jealous of all the attention G has been getting lately. I found my deodorant crushed and smeared on her furniture and rug. She emptied a bottle of detangler, though I have yet to discover where. She snuck into the kitchen and shoved a cinnamon roll into her mouth, dashing to her room to hide it, like a greedy little chipmunk. The list goes on. We will deal with it the best we can, as always. If I start finding decapitated Barbie dolls though, I'm running away from home.....
My work is suffering. My mind slips from lack of sleep, anxiety makes me jumpy and irritable. I have a quiz tomorrow as part of my medication certification. I worry I won't pass.
I feel unfulfilled in my career. I want to be a writer. I want to be a teacher. But being a teacher requires more school, and we can't afford for me to be out of work. Being a writer requires time and talent I'm afraid I no longer have. Putting myself through college as a single mother, all the work, all the dreams, seem for not.
I'm failing. I'm falling. I'm suffocating. Sleep will continue to slip away...
Friday, October 19, 2007
Bills I have to pay
Can I live without cable?
Food is essential
Siblings fighting loud
Their voices pierce the morning
Coffee won't fix it
Children do strange things
Makes me want to scratch my head
Small funny weirdos
Yeah for Haiku fun
Gives me good things for my blog
Less work for my brain
Thursday, October 18, 2007
4 Jobs I have had:
Victoria's Secret- Yeah for employee discount!
Advertising Sales- Painful, oh so painful...
Trade Magazine Editor- My favorite job by far
Working with adults with disabilities- Rewarding, but oh so stressful
4 Movies I love to watch over and over:
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Princess Bride
4 Places I have lived:
4 TV shows I enjoy watching:
Law and Order: SVU
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (yes, it's off the air, but I have all seven seasons on DVD)
4 Places I have been:
Mexico City, Mexico
St. Petersburg, Russia
4 Websites I visit daily:
Everyone on my blog roll
4 Favorite Foods:
4 Places I would rather be:
At home working on crafts
Playing with the kids
On a tropical island, laying on the beach
Back in college
Thanks again to Watch Me, No Watch Me!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Me: So K, how do you like Mrs. E so far? Is she nice? Are you learning a lot?
K: Mmmmmmmm...... *looking skyward, thoughtfully* she's, um...... tender.
Me: Tender? *Immediately breathless at such a deep, and very complex descriptive word. Congratulating myself on raising such an intuitive and brilliant little girl.* What do you mean by tender?
K: Well.... *fluffing her hands a bit* just tender.
Me: *At this point wondering if "tender" means "soft and squishy" which she is fond of calling me. I saw my Mother Of The Year award slipping away* You think Mrs. E is soft?
K: No, she pulls the sting *making strange pulling motions with her hands*
Me: Pulls the string?
K: Yeah, she pulls the bad string.
Me: What the heck is the bad string?
K: *exasperated at me now* The bad string. The one that that makes her mean. She's made me work on something for three days because I didn't finish it.
Me: Well K, that's what teachers do. You have to finish your school work you know. Don't you like Mrs. E most of the time?
K: Yeah, well, she's been under the weather. I'm sure she'll be nicer when she's not under the weather *trotting off to brush her teeth*
Me: Um, I see.
K: My friend Mary taught me those words you know. Tender, and under the weather.
Me: Good to know you're learning something.
Mary is also the friend that has taught K to cheer lead obsessively. And swing her hair around while she does it. And do the sassy little hip tosses that freak me out.
Thanks so much Mary.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Thanks to this impending meeting, I slept poorly last night, and this morning was an anxiety ridden, Type A freak fest. I rousted GH out of bed who grumbled and asked what I was flipping out for. K needed a lunch packed for her fist school field trip, I was in such a frantic state that I didn't realize I packed a peanut butter sandwich until about 15 minutes ago. The kids school is strictly peanut-free, and I'm usually super diligent about follow the no peanut code. Now I'm just hoping the teacher doesn't think I'm an ass, and wondering if K will be able to eat her sandwich.
When we sat down to begin the meeting the psychologist, a very sweet and attentive lady, shared with us what she had found so far. In tests regarding G's cognitive abilities, G shone. His intelligence level is incredibly high, and the psychologist was stunned with how bright he was and how fast he picked up new tasks. We basked in that moment. Of course we always knew G was brilliant, but it's a hard thing to say out loud without sounding like, well, a loving parent. But now, there before us in graphs and numbers, was proof of my troubled child's brilliance. It took all I had not to ask for a photocopy to stick on the fridge.
Next, the psychologist assured us that she saw no need to worry about depression, something GH and I have indeed been worrying about. She told us after speaking with him, and asking a variety of questions, she didn't find any red flags for depression problems. A huge knot loosened in my chest. Now, when G screams, in one of his rages, that he hates himself, I will still be hurting for him, but know that deep down, everything's all right.
And then came the questions. The first round was a lot of questions about socialization and emotion. Does G recognize emotions in other? Does he show a knowledge of what other people are interested in? Does G have trouble interacting with groups of other children? Some of them, the answers were easy. Others, GH and i talked back and forth about, letting the psychologist pull out the answers she wanted.
After a second round of similar questions, the psychologist let us know that the first series of questions was geared specifically for determining signs of Asperger's Syndrome. She said when she was done analyzing the information, in conjunction with the information she's gathered from G's teachers, she would be able to tell us how probable it was if G indeed has Asperger's. Finally the answers we've been looking for. They're within reach, after so much time.
Amidst an impromptu fire drill, the psychologist told us she would be sending us a full report of her findings, so we could share them with our doctor, and with anyone we chose to consult with for further evaluations.
As the answers draw closer, it brings with it a whole new set of fears. What if G doesn't have Asperger's? What if it's something I'm totally unprepared for, something I haven't read up on? What if I don't know what to do? And, perhaps the strangest fear of all- what if they find nothing? What if it turns out that I just don't know how to deal with my overly intelligent child? What if it's just my parenting that's causing his fits, his frustrations and his eccentricities? What if all of this is my fault?
So, I will continue to worry, as I do everyday. I will keep telling myself that some answers will be coming soon. And I will try not to think about the fresh worries that the answers will bring.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Now that G and K are older, I still receive the occasional email from Parent Center, notifying me of new articles, trends, and parenting advice. These days I usually glance at the title and the delete the emails without much thought. Then, a few weeks ago they sent me a link to an article which actually peeked my interest, "Trend watch: Mommy Tattoos"
Being a mom, and being tattooed is something I've struggled with for a while now. Ink became an addiction for with my first home done tattoo at 17, progressing to an artful passion as my taste and maturity developed. For me,tattoos have always been a way for me to capture an aspect of physical beauty that genetics left me lacking in. The pieces of art etched into my skin could always inspire the admiration and appreciation that my naked flesh never could.
I was always very proud of my ink, despite the admonishments of my parents, and the looks and comments from strangers. My tattoos were a part of who I was, they let the world see what I thought was beautiful, and the things I held close to my heart. With those who were kind enough to ask about my ink, I'd tell them all about the artist who did it, what the image meant to me, and why I wanted it on my body for life. To those people who never took the time to care, who could only shoot nasty looks and mutter offhand comments, well, to hell with them. I didn't let it bother me.
When I became a mother, my relationship with my tattoos changed. Because I was so young when I had G, I worked very hard to be viewed as a mature and responsible parent. This was made even harder by the fact that I was single, on top of being young. As I put myself through college after having G, I was careful to hide my ink, to make the good grades, and be a serious student. I joined a group of other single parents who attended the same college, and received support to be the best parent I could be. I don't think any of them ever realized I had any tattoos.
When K arrived, halfway through my college career, I had become more in touch with myself, no longer afraid to be outspoken, opinionated, and different. I matured as a parent, and as a person. However, my tattoos were still covered when picking up the kids at daycare, when shopping at the local grocery store in my teeny home town, or doing anything else that connected me to the world as a mother.
It wasn't until quite some time later that I broke broke with my mental stigma of tattoos= bad parent to the rest of the world. I had put myself through college, gotten a good job, and was raising two wonderful, bright, happy children. I was a good parent damn it, and I had done it all with tattoos. After I embraced that, I was ready to own my love for tattoos and show them to the world once more. A dragon took shape on my foot, winding gracefully around my ankle. A raven adorned each of my upper arms in a half-sleeve, celebrating my Nordic heritage and my pride in my guiding animal. While I could still hide my ink easily, I chose not to more often than not.
According to the Parent Center article, tattooed moms are becoming more and more commonplace. Celebrity parents proudly sport ink, and parents make up approximately 25% of the clients at the famous Hart & Huntington tattoo studio, featured on the show Inked. If you ever watch any of the other popular tattoo reality shows such as Miami Ink or L.A. Ink, you will inevitably see at least one or two parents get tattooed with an image commemorative of their children. Tattoos are becoming an more widely accepted form of expressing your love and devotion to your children. After all, they are a much more attractive body modification to show off than stretch marks. lol.
I've always known that my next tattoo would be one to represent my children. It's taken me a long time to come up with the right image, the right placement- something that would still be me, but represent my children at the same time. Finally, I formalized an image in my mind. For G, I decided on the image of an archangel, strong, just and loving. For K, a pink pixie, with a suitably naughty expression.
This past weekend, our good friend, and phenomenal tattoo artist, Jake Noury, came up to stay with us and do some tattoo work for people we knew in the area. After watching others get tattooed for several days, I was ready to take the plunge once again. Jake spent hours consulting with me on what I wanted, finally sketching a completely original design, encompassing all of the elements of G and K that it was most important for me to represent.
When I sat down in the chair, I had no idea what I was in for. The piece covered nearly half my back, my largest piece so far, and a lot of it went over my spine. I sat, I whimpered, and tried not to twitch. I nearly passed out for the first time ever while getting a tattoo. During one particularly painful part, I asked if Jake was working on G. When he said yes, I chuckled and said it figured.
The pain of the work healing has been intense. Sitting in a chair has been a torturous experience. I couldn't wear a bra for three days (true torture). Now it's itching so bad I want to rub up against a tree like a cranky bear. But it's all been worth it. The work is stunning, and I couldn't be prouder to carry my children on my back. The pain and suffering it's taken to bring to work to completion is just another cycle of birth, to bring something forth that will will be with me, and that I will love, for the rest of my life. I'll post photo's of my work as soon at soon as it's done healing.
So, the next time you see a mom with a tattoo, be kind, be considerate. Ask about it, appreciate it's story. Or, if you truly hate tattoos, please have the courtesy to keep it to yourself- that's someone else's art, someone else's body. And please remember, that mom may be a mom like me. A Strong Mom. A Smart Mom. A Professional Mom. A Tattooed Mom.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
2.You never know your capacity to love until you're a parent. This may sound cliche, but it's true, and I think that as a parent you realize that everyday. I mean, who could ever know that someone who demands all your time, abuses you regularly, and is generally unappreciative of all you do, could make you love them more than anyone else ever has?
3. You never know true insanity until you're a parent. Sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and constant harassment equal a level of crazy that you can't appreciate until you're a parent or a P.O.W. Sometimes you hear voices, sometimes you see things, and often times you have paranoid fantasies.
4. You never truly appreciate that children are actually tiny mental patients until you're a parent. They don't sleep, yet keep going. They puke at the worst possible times. They ask questions over and over again, forever expecting a different answer. They can live on peanut butter sandwiches. They are manipulative, skilled liars. They NEVER get tired! They are crazy, and take their parents with them.
5. You never know just how golden silence is until you're a parent.
The quiet, oh the peace and quite. When you're a parent, you pray for those moments, those rare times when everything goes still. When the kids are asleep, when the pets have given up begging for affection, when the spouse is quietly absorbed in a computer game. It's mythical, magical fleeting great white whale. Every parent hunts it, few ever harpoon it.
6. You never know true empathy until you're a parent. When your child hurts, you hurt, plain and simple. No one else's pain can bring you to tears the way your child's can.
7. You never know how to manage money until you're a parent. I love to listen to my childless co-workers talk about how they have no money. They "have no money" but can still go dinner. They "have no money" but can still buy a new pair of boots at Macy's. When you're a parent, you actually know what it means to NO money, and how to creatively stretch a dollar, sideways if need be.
8. You never know how much you love your own parents until you're a parent. Remember when you told your parents you hated them? Those torturous teenage years that you thought they were evil, unfair beasts? Well, becoming a parent gives you a deep respect, a reverence, for your own parents. Now that I have two of my own children, I can't imagine how my parents ever raised four of us. I can't fathom how they juggled work, bills, and all of us kids and our various problems. They were super human. I love you mom and dad. Thank you for loving me, even though I was rotten.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Life has been a bit craptastic lately, leaving me at a loss for non-depressing blog posts. GH lost his job, and then had his debit card information hijacked within the same week. K got sick and was spewing everywhere, followed up by a fun and exciting bout of wetting the bed. G's fits have reached a new level, and the other day he told me he didn't want me to be his mother anymore, which brought on a hysterical bout of weeping, and forced my friend to bring me out for emergency afternoon cocktails.
Finding a good thing going right now is hard, but perhaps this is the perfect time to dig for it. I need to find the good things that are going on beneath all of the rubble that is our lives at the moment.
Good Things Going On:
1. Having a House Husband
Having GH loose his job has been a HUGE financial blow to us, and caused GH several small nervous breakdowns. However, there is a bright side. I've gained a House Husband. This means no child care expenses. This also means a cleaner house, children who have more time at home with a parent, and even dinner when I get home. It's actually been kind of nice, and I'm going to enjoy it while I can.
2. Knowing People Who's Lives Suck More Thank Mine
It's easy to feel like life is as bad as it can possibly get sometimes. It's very sobering to look around and see how much worse it can be. One of my co-workers' husbands is being shipped out to Afghanistan next month. Another is tangled in a nasty custody battle on top of other huge issues. And then of course, there are the clients that I work with, who have been abused and exploited their entire lives. It can always be worse, much worse. The fact that it isn't is a very good thing.
3. The Craft Business Is Finally Building Steam
My side business is finally beginning to pick up! Though it's my dream to make my jewelry and crafts my full time job, I know it will probably never happen. However, I'm finally starting to get some recognition, and loyal customers, which feels really good. I'm doing my third craft show this weekend, and hope it will pull in a bit of extra money, and some more interested customers.
4. The Kids Are Healthy And Whole
While they have both been having their issues lately, K and G are both healthy and (relatively) happy. They are bright, loving children, and I'm very lucky to have them (but please feel free to remind me of that if K wakes me in the middle of the night again tonight, or the next time G has a fit).
5. I Have a Good Marriage
Though GH and I have our moments, and we generally drive each other crazy, I'm very lucky to have him. I don't think anyone else in this world could put up with my Type A neurosis, my obsessive crafting, or my wacky business ideas. He lets me nag him (to a point) and tells me everything is going to be all right when I'm feeling like nothing will ever be all right again. He sticks by me when I my try my hardest to push him away. I don't know what I'd ever do without him, and I hope I never have to find out.
Well look at that, I guess I do have "Good Things Going" after all. :)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My whole life, I've worked hard at being tough. Never reaching over 5'2", I still aimed to be 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I resolved never to be vulnerable, never to be a sucker.
I grew up in a small town where being different made you a social pariah. You were one of the good 'ol boys or you were Not. I was a Not. In high school, I was the girl with the shaved head and the leather dog collar. I once got detention for walking my boyfriend on a leash through the halls of school. My high school principal called me a "scrapper" for the numerous confrontations and fist fights I engaged in. I made sure that people left me alone, and those who didn't, only bothered me once.
Despite all this, beneath the leather and studs, beat a soft heart. I often used my power for good, taking down bullies, threatening those who hurt my friends, etc. As an underdog myself, I watched out for those who were even more helpless than myself.
After high school, I remained street tough, but cleaned up a bit to get a real job. I moved to NJ and worked in the mall. I got my hair cut at an expensive salon, and even got my nails done. I wore nylons to work, and a blazer. I felt like a real wiener for the first time in my life. It was during this wiener period however, that I committed my one true heroic deed.
While walking to the grocery store behind my house one afternoon, I watched an elderly lady have her purse snatched out of her grocery cart while she put groceries in her trunk. Flabbergasted, I began to scream at the purse snatcher from my place across the parking lot. The man said nothing, but began to run straight towards me, cradling the stolen purse in his arms in a football hold. I stood there, screaming, swearing, telling him to drop the purse. He continued to charge. When he got to me, I grabbed hold of him, trying my damnedest to take him down. At well over 6 feet, and outweighing me by at least 80 pounds, he threw me hard on the ground and made a break for the woods surrounding the parking lot. Ignoring my broken acrylic nails, and various cuts and bruises, I stood up and froze, torn between trying to chase the thief through the woods, or going to help the elderly woman who was still standing at her car, confused and upset. I chose to help the woman.
Long story short, I assisted the woman, who spoke only broken English, into the grocery store, where we contacted the police. The woman eventually communicated that all of her medications and rent money was is her purse. I went down to the police station, and by the time I was done giving my statement, and getting my injuries photographed, they had caught the thief, and recovered the woman's purse, though it's contents were largely scattered throughout the woods. Several days later, I received a card from the woman I had helped, thanking me for my help. I still have it, and it's one of my most cherished possessions.
Aside from that, my life has been far from heroic. I've never saved a life, never delivered a baby in a broken elevator, or even bungled another robbery.
The way I matter most these days is as a parent. While I may not always be super mom, I do my best at trying to raise wonderful future adults. I work hard, and try to set a good example. Though I my falter now and again, I try to provide my children with a good moral compass and a compassion for others. While I may never save a life, perhaps one of my children will someday because I've instilled that into their hearts.
Oh, and I try to be a good wife on occasion too. On occasion. Special ones.
I like to think the job I have now matters as well. After completing my BA in English Literature, a long strange road has lead me away from publishing and into Human Services. I now work for an agency that provides assisted living for adults with developmental disabilities. While I never could have predicted this career path for myself, I wouldn't change it for anything. Editing articles about lawn care never brought me fulfilment I get from having a simple conversation with one of our clients, who are all amazing people.
So, while I may never cure cancer, I still like to think I matter, even if it is just a little.....
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The meeting consisted of me, GH, G's teacher from last year, his current teacher, the school's Special Education Director, and the district's school psychologist. It was a good group who listened attentively to me and GH as we expressed our frustrations and our fears. Last year's teacher helped validate our concerns and fears with input of her own.
Perhaps the most gratifying part of the entire meeting was hearing all of those people in the room who have had contact with G talk about how incredibly smart he is. There was even talk of having him evaluated for gifted programs, to help alleviate his frustration and boredom.
Even talking about G's issues was comforting, as now there's a plan in place for having him evaluated. Terms like OCD, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and Aspergers are still terrifying, but nothing can equal the fear of not knowing. We just want to know what's going on in our little G's head so we can help him. As a mom, there's always that drive to kiss and bandage every boo-boo, to make it all better. When the hurt is invisible and it's tearing your child apart every day, it makes you feel so helpless, so useless. I just want my baby to stop hurting.
So for now, the evaluations start. One for gross motor skills, one for anxiety, one for socialization, one for sensory monitoring, etc. It's quite a list. Oh, and don't forget the paperwork we got to bring home, with lists of behaviors to rate G on, and the evaluation form wanting to know everything from how nauseous you were while pregnant, to the first time your child farted (no kidding, that may just be on there).
We meet again on October 10th to touch base, talk about where the team is with evaluations, G's progress, and more diagnosis specific evaluations. Until then, we just keep holding on. G included.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Now, if you're not sure what a PET is don't be concerned- I've actually forgotten what exactly the acronym stands for myself. Something Evaluation Team? Anyways, what it boils down to is that, after a long period of struggling on our own, we may finally get some real help for G.
To understand the situation, you must first understand my G. He is a very complex little boy. He is so smart, it causes him frustration and boredom. He'd rather do math problems than art. He obsesses over things constantly, from any shift in our daily routine, to what's for dinner the following day, to the amount of time he gets to spend on the computer. He's the pickiest eater I've ever known, so picky in fact, that's it's almost as if any food with flavor causes him pain. He hates to sleep, and, even after he manages to drift off for a few hours, he'll wake up in the middle of the night, turn his light up, and do tanagrams in bed.
G has always been "quirky", and initially we chalked it up to a funky personality. So what if he loved looking at the phone book for hours, staring at the neat rows of names and numbers? And his difficulties with transitions? Just a phase, we were sure.
Our outlook changed as G entered school. The teachers began to notice things we never had. G's fine motor skills were lacking- his hands became tired quickly when he wrote and drew. His gross motor skills were behind as well- he avoided to much physical activity. His vestibular system (the 5 senses) became easily overwhelmed. And then the fits started.
G's fits are terrifying. When his schedule is interrupted, or he has to deviate from his current obsession, etc. he falls into horrifying fits. It's like he's possessed. He screams horrible things, cried, throws himself on the floor, and can't be touched or reasoned with.
Of course there are a lot of other little pieces, to numerous to go into. Eventually, we couldn't deny it any longer- G was different, and we needed help doing what's best for him. After extensive personal research, my husband and I found that G fit all of the criteria for Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. Armed with our experience, our frustrations, and all our love, we consulted our pediatrician. The pediatrician then referred us the only behavioral specialist in our area.
The behavioral specialist sent us a scary amount of paperwork to fill out on G, from the time he was in the womb. I filled it out, sent it back, and then was told it would be up to a year before G could be seen. We were dumbfounded, frustrated, and at a loss for what to do next.
After expressing my frustrations to a new co-worker, I was told that we could get all of G's evaluations done through his school, at no cost, and much faster. Once again, I was dumbfounded. How could that be? I mean, if that was true, why hadn't the school told us this after so many meetings with teachers and staff, talking to them about G's behavioral issues and our concerns? Why don't they let ALL parents know that these services are available if needed?
Well, now we've finally made progress. The meeting is on September 18th, and we're all so relieved that help may finally be within reach. Until then, we will continue to be patient and understanding, dealing with the situation the best we know, and hoping that answers will be coming soon.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
After the other kids were gone, and the other parents cleared out, it was just K and I, waiting alone in the chill morning. I held her on my lap, burying my nose in her hair, hanging on tightly to that moment where I could still hold her, where I knew she was safe in the circle of my arms. I held on to that moment, where I knew she still needed me.
Eventually, she slid away to perch in the grass at my feet. She looked at me, so knowing, so grown up all of the sudden.
And I held on to that moment too. To knowing she was big enough, and strong enough to take that next step, with her tiny feet that now looked so adult in her new golden slippers
And then, in a moment of pure K, she danced.
And I held on to that tightest of all.
And then, it was time. GH joined up outside as the bus rounded the corner. The anxiety knotted my stomach, and I fought the urge to drag K back inside. She bounced and glowed. Her excitement flowed through her, splashed on the sidewalk, and managed to hit me with a few drops. I smiled,and tried to hold on to her, but she was too wiggly.
And then she walked away. And I let her.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Me: Well honey, you don't have to cut your hair if you don't want to
K: Yes I do. You have to cut your hair when you grow up.
Me: No you don't K, you never have to cut your hair if you don't want to.
K: Yes you do! If you don't cut it, it will touch the toilet!
Me: (trying no to laugh) Well, you can always just move it out of the way so it doesn't touch the toilet.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Food has always been a major part of my life. Me and my brothers and sister were raised in a house centered around food. My parents have been involved in the food industry our entire lives, from serving it, to cooking it, to selling it. For a while they even owned their own catering business. I can still remember the whoopie pie assembly lines and the night my dad spent on the kitchen floor, his hands encased in ice, after slicing fresh jalapenos without gloves. It's these food centered vignettes that pepper my childhood.
I was a good cook from the time I could stir. I made my first, lattice topped pie at age 10 (my parents still exclaim over the photos proudly). Every new recipe was a chance to explore, experiment and best of all, eat. Food was a playground, and I was the queen of the monkey bars.
After I had kids, food took on a different roll in my life. No longer could meals be skipped, eaten irregularly, or consumed purely for pleasure. Food was now Important. It was now the building blocks of tiny minds and bodies, something to be balanced and carefully considered, something to be planned and scheduled. In short, it became work.
When GH came into our lives, one of the greatest gifts he gave to me, was giving me back my love for cooking. Now, food wasn't just something to fret over, just another chore. Weekends became a time of elaborate, ethnic meals, of baking, and laughing, and stuffing ourselves silly as we cooked. Food was recognized once again as something that binds people together. Feeding friends and family is something with so with true gusto and flair.
K embraces this passion for food with open arms. She's one of the only 5 year-olds I know who will scarf down calamari, heap her plate with steamers, and polish off a bowl of spicy seafood gumbo. We encourage her pure delight at trying new things, her pride at tackling a new food experience.
The one cog in our foodie family wheel is G. To him, food is "plain" or "not-plain". Guess which one he prefers? To G, the perfect meal is cheeseburgers or tacos- anything else is up for debate on a daily basis. Most days he rejects breakfast no matter how much we plead. When dinner's placed in front of him, it's usually greeted by grumbling, complaints, and sometimes tears. This frustrates GH and I to no end. Though we parade a bright rainbow of food in front of him, he can't be threatened, bribed or cajoled into trying a bite. How we ended up with such an extreme picky eater, we'll never know.
This weekend, my parents are visiting. I'm always thrilled to cook for my parents, to garner the praise of two such wonderful chefs. Tonight we will cook a dish GH and I invented last weekend- a Gorgonzola and white wine cheese sauce with cherry tomatoes over penne pasta, topped by broiled scallops that have been marinating in olive iol, fresh garlic and minced basil overnight. I drool just thinking about it. Tomorrow night, a roast chicken with GH's Ultimate Mashed Potatoes, and all the fixins. Everyone will eat drink, talk, and generally make merry.
G is sure to request a bologna sandwich both nights.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Here is the tale:
Nicole and Stephan are very much in love. They want to be married and stay together for all of their lives. Unfortunately, they are separated by a deep, swift flowing river, in which there are alligators, and neither is a good swimmer.
Nicole sees Robert standing next to his boat on her side of the river. She goes to Robert and asks him to take her across the river so that she can be with Stephan. Robert replies that he will do so only if she sleeps with him. Desiring to remain faithful to Stephan, Nicole refuses.
Looking around, she sees Stephan's friend Earnest nearby, and goes to ask him for help to get to Stephan. She tells Earnest the situation, but he turns and walks away saying that he is too busy to become involved.
Still wanting to get across the river to be with Stephan, Nicole returns to Robert and pleads with him to take her across the river, but he stands firm. Finally Nicole relents and sleeps with Robert, who then takes her safely across the river to Stephan.
Nicole then relates the story to Stephan. When Stephan learns what has happened, he tells Nicole that she has prostituted herself, and he wants nothing more to do with her; and he walks away.
Nicole is brokenhearted. As she is walking home reflecting on her experience, she meets her friend Donald. He asks her what is wrong, and she tells him the whole story. Donald is incensed. He finds Stephan and beats him up.
*The Sad Saga of Nicole and Stephan was originally written by Anina Klein, MSW, with editorial support from Alan M. Lerner.*
My ratings and rational:
5= Stephen. All right, I'm thinking this has to be the popular choice for the big baddie of the tale. Stephen is a complete jack-ass. I mean, Nicole exhausts all of her options before sucumbing to her only choice to be with the man she loves, and he's going to punish her for it? After all, what was he doing on his side of the river? A whole lot of nothing. I mean, the guy can't build a raft? Frankly, I would have knocked him out cold, thrown him in the canoe, and sent him to the gators. Lunch time you ungrateful toad.......
4= Robert. #2 slime ball for sure. I mean, asking someone to violate themselves for a boat ride is low. Like something out of Deliverance low.
3= Earnest. He's Stephen's friend and he can't help get his girl across the river? Especially knowing her only other option is to sleep with slime ball #2? I mean, what exactly is Earnest so busy with anyways? Seems to me he's just hanging out by the river anyways. Lame.
2= Nicole. All right, even though she had a justifiable reason, she still compromised her own moral code for a boat ride. While personally I feel the ends do justify the means, she did still sell herself out without waiting to see if Stephen could get his act together on his side of the river to cross over himself. Besides, Robert and Earnest can't be the only two guys in the world with a boat right?
1= Donald. What can I say. Frankly I've always felt a true friend is someone who's willing to kick a little butt for you. Don't tell my kids I said that.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Top Ways NOT to Bring Your Husband Closer To You:
1.) Do NOT nag, nag, and nag some more about what is bothering him. Going about it this way will only cause your distant husband to push you further away.
2.) Do NOT ask him if he's been avoiding you becasue you've gotten so fat. Do NOT continue by pointing out in pounds and inches how much weight you've gained over the past year.
3.) Absolutly, positivly, do NOT ask him if he's seeing someone else. This will cause said husband to question your sanity, and not only not touch you, but not speak to you for a while either.
4.) Do NOT threaten to throw his computer out the window if he stays on it one more minute to game online.
5.) Do NOT obssess over every unspoken word, every phone call, every missed kiss godd-bye.
Effective Methods To Actually Bringing Your Husband Back To Your World:
1.) DO be understanding when he's had a tough day at work. Allow him some peace and quiet.
2.) DO understand that online gaming, or other activities, are a way for him to de-stress, not avoid you.
3.) DO try to discuss what's bothering him, but don't push when it's clear he doesn't want to talk about it.
4.) DO let him know how you're feeling, but not in an accusitory way.
5.) DO make an effort to find ways to spend time together without the kids, to be grown-ups together. Don't bring up stressful topics at this time, but focus on appriciating each other.
6.) Do understand that he stresses out about things just as much as you do, but that he processes things in different ways. Don't take it personally.
Monday, August 27, 2007
*Z skulks up from the basement, hoping not to be seen. I greet him in the kitchen, ignoring his deer-caught-in-the-headlights look*
Me: So Z, looked at any apartments?
Z: As in actually been inside them? No.
Me: So, did you at least check CraigsList, the paper, anything? Any good apartments?
Z: Ahh yeah, some good apartments out there. Looking good.
Me: Uh-huh *rolling eyes*
So, today, I ambushed him once again as I was doing laundry. Z let me know that he had quit the job he just started two days ago. Apparently someone reprimanded him for reading a book on the job. He thought that was a jerk thing to do, and walked out. I clenched my fists, and resisted the urge to alternately claw his face off, rip his head off, and spit down his neck.
After a few moments of Lamaze breathing, I approached the apartment question. Here, I was pleasantly surprised. He informed me that they planned on moving out by brother E's next paycheck. I let out a squeal of glee. Of course I apologized, but in a very half-assed way. He assured me they were eager to leave as well. I told him I was glad the feeling was mutual.
So, maybe if I'm a very good girl, the Gods will see fit to smile upon me and grant me this elusive promise of people moving out of my home. Please Gods please. I will sacrifice, pay homage, dance naked, whatever it takes! Be merciful! Today I bought a 12 pack of toilet paper. Deliver me from evil!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Most parents of school-age children approach this time with a mixture of apprehension...and sheer joy. Apprehension over the new teacher, the new materials, the new kids in their class, etc. Sheer joy over the banishment of summer camp fees, and early mornings trying to throw together an impressive bag lunch for the latest summer field trip.
For our family, this school year represents two, very profound milestones. The first, is that K, my baby will be going to kindergarten. This officially makes both of my children school-aged, in school, full-time, big school, school attendees. It makes me feel both old and sad. How on earth did I get to be old enough to have two kinds IN SCHOOL? Oh yeah gods, I'm a mom, a truly, true to life mom.
It's always a little disorientating when these "mega-mom" moments hit. I mean, of course I realize I'm a mom every day. I'm a mom when I carefully apply After Bite to each and every one of my children's bug bites. I'm definitely a mom when I find myself patiently instructing my son on the proper to technique to wipe his backside (something he still hasn't quite mastered at 7 *sigh*). I'm a mom when I do laundry and make dinner after a full day of work. I'm a mom when I softly kiss smooth foreheads at bedtime and feel my heart swell each and every time. However, there are always events and occurrences that hit you harder, make you pause and take a moment to fully feel the magnitude of your mom-ness.
I admit, having K enter kindergarten this year has caused me a surprising amount of anxiety. This will be G's third school year in this particular school, and has escaped each year whole and happy. K even has the same kindergarten teacher G did, and we loved her. Why is then that I find myself hyperventilating when I think of K getting onto the bus herself (kindergarten has it's own bus, so she won't be able to ride with G)? Why is it that I worry that K, my little warrior princess, my stupendous social butterfly, will have a hard time going to a new school and making new friends? I try to tell myself I'm being completely irrational, but these nagging doubts remain, lurking just under the surface as I shop for a new pink backpack, glue sticks and pencils.
The second milestone may not seem as momentous in comparison, but it will represent some huge changes around out house all the same- We've officially left our daycare, and will have a neighbor girl watching K and G after school. This girl is the daughter of a close neighbor of ours, and since she will already be watching her younger brother, a close friend and classmate of G, our families agreed that it would be a perfect arrangement for her to watch G and K after school until I get home from work. Since I have Mondays off, and Generous Husband has Tuesdays off, and possibly Thursdays soon, neighbor girl A will only have to watch the kids two or three days a week. This arrangement equals a few important changes:
1. The kids will be able to be home after school and relax, rather than transitioning to the hectic scene of after-school care after a long day of school.
2. My commute home will shorter minus the stop at the daycare, which equals more quality time with the kids.
3. We will be saving TONS of money. This means less stress and more opportunities to do all of the fun stuff we've been putting off for so long.
All of these things combined equals a healthier, happier home life for all of us.
All of these new changes all at once may be a bit hard to digest. They may require a cocktail to chase away the anxiety, and the purchase of a trashy tabloid (which I may now be able to afford :) ) to distract from panic attacks, as K's first day of kindergarten approaches. It may require a tight leash on the credit card and Amazon account when I'm caught up in the fever of extra spending money, and my long wish list of new books.
All that aside, things will work themselves out, as they always seem to have a way of doing in the most unexpected ways. I'll just keep my seat belt on, and try to remember to enjoy the ride.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
How, may you ask, did I end up in this predicament? My super generous husband.
Several months ago, Generous Husband casually asked one night, if it would be all right if his good friend Z could stay with us for a wee bit if he needed to. When I asked why he would need to, Generous Husband told me Z was having difficulties with his apartment, and may need to leave abruptly, before he could find another apartment. Generous Husband said this was an unlikely possibility, but he wanted to ask anyways. I told him I thought this would be fine, as I knew Z, and thought he would be a fine house guest.
Weeks went by, and no mention of Z was made again, and it all but faded from my mind. The, out of the blue, GH announced that Z and his brother, E, would be coming over to discuss staying with us. It was so sudden, my brain barely had time to register- brother? Oh yes, said GH, don't you remember I said Z's brother would be staying here too? Flabbergasted, I insisted that was a detail I would have been sure to remember.
So, put on the spot, I opened the door to find Z, Z's brother E - and E's girlfriend! E's girlfriend??? Yes, even my darling GH was taken aback by that addition. E's girlfriend, V, assured us that she wouldn't be staying with us, only visiting once in a while. I had my doubts about "once in a while", but bit my tongue, oh so generously.
The next day, despite my hysterical misgivings the night before, Z and E moved into our basement. It was at this time that I discovered Z and V didn't have jobs, only E. It was at this time that my hysterical misgivings became a full blown aneurysm.
This was nearly two months ago. In this time, GH and I have fought more than in our entire marriage combined. I beg GH to tell the basement dwellers to get the hell out; GH tells me I'm overreacting, that they haven't been here that long, We argue over each other's definitions of "not that long". While we argue, somehow V has migrated into our basement as well, holing up with the other two.
In this time, they haven't given us a dime, bought a roll of toilet paper, or even cleaned up after themselves without a good amount of snarking on my end. GH is still baffled as to why I'm upset. I tell him it's simple math: 5 adults + 2 kids + 1 bathroom +no money = a neurotic, stressed out, Sarcasta-Mom!
Z assures me that by September 7th they'll have enough money to start really looking for a place. Looking????!!!!! In the meantime, my parents refuse to visit, as their guest room is occupied. I spend my days choking on bile of pure rage, desperately avoiding fights with GH the best I can. I still slip. I still tell GH that he's making my life miserable by refusing to help me oust the freeloaders in the basement.
I think it's time to take up drinking. Unfortunately, I only have enough money to cover toilet paper.
Friday, April 20, 2007
There are so many words I need to say to you. So often you don't listen or just don't understand the things that I need to communicate to you. So often my own frustrations get in the way and distort the things that come out of my mouth. So often we just miss each other completely.
I wish there was some way to tell you just how much I love you. You were my first child, and my first true love. I never knew that your heart could ache so much, could strain so hard to beat out of your chest, until the moment I held you. Once you were in my arms, I never wanted to let you go.
In the nearly seven years that have passed now, you've pushed away from me, becoming an independent, and often moody, little man. In the past few months you've screamed at me and told me how much you hate hate me. You've called me "Mr. Meany" (I still don't understand the "Mr.") when I make dinner you don't like, and kick the walls when I have to take away your computer time. Your words, your tears, your hurt has cut me deeper than I knew was possible.
I've cried for you too my darling boy. Every time you're in the grip of one of your fits, when I know you just can't help yourself, I cry because I know there's nothing I can do but wait it out and come to hold you when you're finally calm again. I know there are things happening within you that you just don't understand, and I cry tears of frustration for you. When the pediatrics department tells me there's a year long wait before you can see someone who can help you, I cry a little more.
I know that deep-down you always know that I love you. I tell you over and over that no matter how angry we are at each other I will always love you. When you speak to me like a little grown-up I tell you that I love you. When you smile I tell you I love you. I tell you I love you a hundred times a day. I'll never let you forget that.
My heart will always ache as it tried to contain how much I love you. I'll always want to hold you forever. Some how, some way, I'll help you to slay all of these dragons that are standing in your way right now.
Your mom, forever and always
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Like LawyerMamma, I feel strongly that the "Mommy Wars" are a big waste of time. Why on earth should we spend what little time and energy we have left as parents tearing down the parenting choices of others? What works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another. Just because a person is passionate about their career, doesn't mean their not equally, or most likely more, passionate about their children. After all, why shouldn't a woman be allowed to have personal and professional achievements as well? And, on the other side of the coin, being a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean you're lazy or worthless, or given up on life. Often these women have chosen a more difficult role, as staying home can be isolating, thankless and incredibly exhausting.
Frankly, as long as your children are healthy, happy and well-loved, you're doing a a great job as a parent, whether you choose to have a career, or stay at home. We face so many challenges as parents, that it only seems natural that we stand together to support each other when we can. However, because we spend so much time wrestling with our parenting decisions inside ourselves, perhaps it's just as natural to lash out at each other in defence of decisions that are sometimes painful and hard fought in our own hearts.
Here in Mommy Purgatory, there are different battles. When a career isn't a conscious choice, but rather necessity, things become murkier, a little more complex.
In one of my recent articles for Associated Content, I tried to highlight the challenges of mothers who had to work in order to keep their families afloat financially. While I received a lot of positive feedback, there was one comment that really surprised me:
"Great article. I disagree however that most moms go back to work out of a financial "need". I think that what people think is a "need" is often actually a "want". People often dont understand how to make sacrifice. There are plenty of ways dual income homes can cut corners so that one parent doesnt have to go back to work. I just think many people arent creative enough to think of ways to do that. That's why I love all these SAHMs on ebay who found ways to stay at home and bring in an income. I know not everyone woman has that option (my mom was a single mom) but I do think that when SAHMs get upset about working moms, it isnt the ones who truly need to work but the ones who say they "need" to work. Regardless, at the end of the day, its nobody's business. However, women need to be honest about the REAL reason they go back to work. Some just cant stand to be with their children all day. "
These comments really bothered me. I felt personally attacked, as I consider myself to be a mother who "has" to work, not "wants" to work. My household budget already has so many corners cut that it's round. Not to mention the fact that I am technically the "bread winner" of the family- without my income we wouldn't even be able to pay my most basic expenses. Perhaps, as this helpful commenter indicated, I am selfish to think of food as a "need" or frivolous not to cut luxuries like heat out of my life.
However, there is a lurking, vicious 1950's housewife that dwells deep down inside my darker regions, those firmly suppressed regions that sometimes whisper to me that skirts might be fun, and that maybe a little pink would really brighten up my life. This housewife agrees with the commenter. She tells me that with a little sacrifice, I too could spend my days at home, providing a stable and loving environment for my children. While they were at school, I could work on new and exciting recipes, further my craft obsession and actually keep up with the laundry. Even she, however, doubts that we could support our household selling things on eBay. Sorry oh helpful commenter, even 50's Mom doesn't think we're that resourceful.
I gag 50's mom firmly with my well forged core of feminism, education and self-reliance. I tell her that I did not work my ass off (she frowns as I use the word ass) for four years just to stay home and sacrifice my identity on the alter of motherhood.
Deny it as I may, 50's Mom is part of my identity. I genuinely enjoy making home cooked meals, having fresh laundry, and creating new craft projects for my bright and imaginative munchkins. There are many days when, at my desk, I yearn to be home to greet my children as they get off the bus.
Perhaps it would be easier to reconcile these internal battles if I was working at a job I enjoyed. Due to financial need (yes need helful commenter, not want) I'm currently working outside of my desired career field. Because of this, I have a job, not a career. Maybe, on that eventual day (yes, it will happen) when I finally have a true career, and not just a job to pay the bills, 50's Mom will be easier to quiet. I will still let her out on weekends however, for good behavior. What can I say, she bakes a hell of a pie.