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Monday, December 27, 2010

Poop

I imagine that for the next few years, my life will be filled with all kinds of shit. I am talking literal and figurative here, folks. But for right now, I want to concentrate on the fact that I feel that I deserve a fucking trophy for having moved my bowels this morning for the first time since the birth of our daughter, Charlie. I mean, granted, she is a great prize and all for what I went through, etc., etc., but really, that first poop that you take after childbirth is a doozy. I now can say that I have a pretty good idea of what it would feel like to shit razor blades.

Thank God they tied my tubes. That's all I gotta say.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Busy

It has been a while since I have written anything on here. I could use the excuses that quickly come to mind, like my soul and time-sucking job, topped off with my emotionally exhausting pregnancy, two girls who are very needy in very different ways, and trying to maintain the great groove that my marriage is in...but the reality is that I really have no excuse why I have been neglecting my blog. Really, if I were to go all therapist-y on myself, the answer is in the fact that I simply did not want a record of the past few months of my pregnancy just in case things did not go very well. I am still in shock about how I am, in just a few short weeks (and despite all of those pregnancy-induced hysterical "OMG, I AM GOING TO BE PREGNANT FOREVER HAHAHA AND I REALLY REALLY NEED A STIFF DRINK AND CURSE YOU PLACENTA FOR ALLOWING ALCOHOL TO PASS THROUGH" moments...) going to have three children.

I am not one who enjoys being pregnant anyways. I don't like the extra attention, people treating me differently (like the lawyer who tried to carry my work bag for me into a conference room...WTF? Would you have done that if I were not preggers?), and the questions, oh the endless questions...When are you due? Do you have any names picked out? Three girls! Oh what is your husband going to do? etc., etc. I hate gaining weight. I hate the fact that my pants can't stay up, the fact that my boobs are now bigger than Alexis's head, the fact that I have had to adjust every single thing that I do to accommodate this huge ass belly. Feeling this child move, while reassuring on one hand, is actually quite painful...literally. She must have an octagon set up in there because I swear to God she is cage fighting. Either that or she is going to be FREAKING HUGE. I prefer to imagine the cage fighting.

There are people out there who will tell me to shut the fuck up. That I should be grateful that we figured it out, that I carried the baby this long. That I should be mourning, not celebrating, the fact that this is the last time EVER that I will be pregnant. To those people, I say....come here and let me kick you in the crotch. Numerous times.

I think that I have earned the right to say, "I have been busy" and ignore the obvious fact that I am totally ignoring a large chunk of my emotions regarding my life at this point. If I did not, honestly....I think I would have cracked up a long time ago.

So yeah, let's say I have been busy. Let's say that life got in the way. Let's say that instead of saying that waiting for this miracle is the most stressful thing in the world and that I am terrified. I don't always have to be a therapist, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heartbreak

Today was Elizabeth's first day of middle school. I think I was more anxious than she was. I spent most of the night last night worrying about her day...would she get lost? Would she be able to open her locker? How will she know where to go? What if she gets bullied? What if she goofs off in class?

I imagined her having this wonderful send off from home...she would get up and get ready, nervous but excited. Giggling a little bit in the oh so grating ways that middle schoolers can. She has had her outfit picked out for a while now. God forbid that she show up to school looking anything but her best cause you know, the WORLD might END if that happened! (My first day of middle school...God, I probably threw on the first thing I came across and maybe slapped my hair into a pony tail. I get the feeling that Elizabeth's middle school experience will be markedly different from mine...) She elected to ride to school with a friend today...why I don't know because tomorrow she will have to get on the bus and figure that out! Way to spread out the stress there, kiddo...but maybe that is not stressful to her. It sure as hell is to me.

Anyways, I had this image in my head of how things would go for her...the way they were supposed to go. It was going to be so perfect, her send off, and she would go to school and have this wonderful day and life would be all pissing sunshine and farting rainbows. The reality is, not so much.

She got to bed late last night. She did not wake up when her alarm went off. At 5:30 AM. Which then woke me up. And I am not a morning person. I am an epic-not-morning-person, if you are into the over-usage of epic. Luckily a bit of sense prevailed over me and I just went up to her room and shook her awake. Luckily for her, it did not wake Alexis up :p The rest of the morning went ok...I got up, worked out, lifted some. Got Alexis breakfast, got her dressed, etc. Took a pic of my big girl middle schooler. Her ride arrived.

Now school starts at 7:30, and they needed to be there by 7:24 for when the doors opened. I get a call at 7:10. "Mom, my agenda! I forgot my agenda! You never gave it back to me!"

OMG, I saw red. I had in fact given it back to her, with the repeated admonishment to "Put this in your bookbag." I had given it to her at the same time I gave her her emergency medical form. And anyways...it is your fucking agenda kid. Not mine. YOU keep track of it.

I did not take it to her. It will make her first day harder...and makes me worry that by doing this I am giving her the message that she can't ever ask me for help. But I am big on natural consequences, and not having your agenda because you did not put it in your bookbag is a natural consequence. It will be interesting to see a couple of things...first, if this happens again. Second, what kind of attitude she comes home with tonight.

I will admit I did pick a little (OK, a lot) when she called. I did not yell, though. I did tell her I was disappointed in her. But that was only a part of it. I so wanted her to have a good start to middle school. I wanted her to be nervous, but to have things work out. I can't protect her from everything, and this just so very clearly illustrates that to me. It pains me to see her in pain, even if it is of her own doing. I no longer have that control over her life and it terrifies me. What if I have not done enough to overcome what she got from her father? What if she turns out to be one who blames everyone but the person at fault (i.e., herself!) like him? What if she makes mistakes that I can't fix? And furthermore, why do I still feel the need to fix her mistakes? Does that feeling ever go away?

Does the heartbreak?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Girl

So we had the big ultrasound last week. It looks like another one for Team Pink here in this household. I am kinda relieved, as I would have no idea how to raise a boy in this incredibly misogynistic area that we live in...my biggest fear is that he would become one of the little country boys that I see running around who like to pat women on the head and patronize them and who truly think Sarah Palin is a feminist. Then I would have to go all off on the poor boy and give him who knows how many Mommy issues...best to stick with what I know, I guess. At least I can understand a girl's issues because, well, I am a female myself. That and I already have the baby clothes for a girl...

I think that Charles is secretly relieved as well, though probably a bit disappointed. He truly thought that this baby was a boy. Elizabeth too...in fact, she is still insisting that it is a boy. Since I will be having numerous ultrasounds after this one, we will definitely know for sure. Wouldn't that be something if they were wrong? The tech was pretty good, though, and said that she could CLEARLY see what sex the baby was. At first that made me think boy too...

Now the next hurdle: Naming this child. This is going to be hard...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friday

This Friday is my "big" ultrasound.

At this point in a normal pregnancy, most women will have had one so far. This will be my fourth, and likely NOT my last. Nothing about this pregnancy has been normal so far, though...

It is very hard to stay positive. The last ultrasound that I went to at this hospital did not end well. That would have been Gabe's. This pregnancy is eerily like his in a lot of ways...most notably, the lack of movement.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is NOT abnormal for me, and that I HAVE felt the baby move somewhat. Not as much as I like, of course, but I have felt SOMETHING. I never felt Gabe move...he was simply too small to feel anything, even at 20 weeks.

It is very hard. This week is dragging on and on. Clients are cancelling, leaving me with big chunks of time. Normally I don't complain about this except for the lost productivity...but now, it leaves me with time to think. I am dragging along, barely functioning. Barely sleeping...the tension is completely unbearable at times and I feel like I am going to completely lose my mind.

There is a certain tension between doctor's visits now anyways...after they go OK, I hear the heartbeat, etc., I am fine for a few days. Then the waiting starts again...the four weeks drag on and on...until I am a mess right up to hearing that beautiful bwambwambwam again.

This, however, is worse. Not only is it another visit, another opportunity to hear something is wrong...I am returning to the scene of where my worst nightmare started. I have not really thought much about it...though I can remember every single thing about that place. It is all branded into my memory like you would not believe. And to be perfectly honest, I do not want to go there.

I want it to be Friday EVENING, with pictures of my healthy baby. Not Tuesday afternoon, with 2 1/2 more days of work and having to function left.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Umbrellas

Alexis has recently discovered umbrellas. They are wonderful! Fantastic! They keep the rain OFF OF YOUR BODY! How amazing is this!

I am not one who usually uses umbrellas, which makes absolutely no sense if you know me. I have a hatred, a loathing, of water that makes a cat look like Michael Phelps. I have to tramp down an irrational homicidal urge every time that my children splash me accidentally in the bathtub. I shower facing away from the water because I hate getting my face wet. The girls have made bargains with the devil to get me to take them swimming. Etc., etc...you get it.

Anyways, despite all of the above, I don't usually use umbrellas when it is raining. I also don't wear boots and gloves and hats in the winter, and don't usually zip my coats up. Hey, it is all part of what makes me me. And I guess a borderline unhealthy obsession with umbrellas is what is going to make my wonderfully unique child Alexis Alexis.

Now the umbrella that we currently own is an old one of Elizabeth's. Well, that is not counting the battered red one that resides in my Jeep that never gets used. Hell, I forget about the damn thing until I go to vacuum the vehicle out. But the kid umbrella that we have is Elizabeth's, and one of the spoke thingys on it is broken. Alexis still loves that thing, but recently asked me if she could get a new one.

My first instinct was to tell her, "Sure!" I mean, she is three, right? Why make her EARN it? Not like she will understand it. However, I forgot about the power that is anything that Elizabeth does....and Elizabeth has to EARN her extras (for the most part...I am not an entirely evil parent, despite what she tells her friends). So she agreed to do chores to earn an umbrella.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping day. I told her if she were to do the chores, she could get it tomorrow. Do you know that that child WILLINGLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY did every single thing that I asked her to? And ASKED ME TO CHECK THAT SHE DID IT OK? She was so excited to earn that umbrella...it was cute to watch, kinda like a little Pomeranian that is hopped up on Ritalin, that was how excited she was.

I wonder how many times I will do this to my kids...underestimate them and their capabilities. Not give them enough credit...not think that they are capable human beings. I wonder how much damage I will do to them because of this. I hope and pray that it is negligible.

Know what? I hope that is the best damn umbrella that anyone ever got. Ever. In the history of the whole wide world.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pregnancy

Time for my list of things to never ever say to a pregnant woman unless you want her to rip your eyebrows out and feed them to you hair by hair...

1.) "You're glowing"
No, fuckhead, that is called sweat. It is merely reflecting the light off of your shiny bald head.

2.) "Wow, you've really popped"
Wow, you've really gotten fat and ugly and wrinkly. Oh, wait, I can't comment on you but you can feel free to comment on a pregnant woman? So sorry...

3.) "You sure you're not having twins?"
You sure YOU'RE not having twins?

4.) "So, you decided to try for that boy, huh?"
(This one really gets to me, especially given my history.) No, we were actually hoping for a hermaphrodite with a puppy's head.

5.) "I only gained three pounds when I was pregnant!"
Bugger for you. My goal here is to have a LIVING child, so really, my weight gain is the last thing that I will obsess over because I kinda have bigger fish to fry, mkay?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Miscellaneous

Right before Elizabeth left, Charles asked her, "I know you feed your fish when you go to stay the night at someone's house, right? But I am assuming that you want us to feed them while you are gone in AZ?" Elizabeth, without missing a beat, turned to him and said, "Yeah. I don't want to get a phone call about them having run away or anything like that..."


I regularly watch the Secret Life of the American Teenager, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I freely acknowledge that it is really bad TV (though Stiffler's mom from American Pie as a reformed hooker is pretty funny) but it is a train wreck that I simply can't turn away from. However, the whole Adrian being pregnant thing is pissing me off. Of course, the "good" girl Amy keeps her baby and is doing a fine job of raising him, not on any kind of public assistance, of course....while "bad" girl Adrian, who (GASP!) has sex frequently and (GASP!) enjoys it with (GASP!) numerous partners is contemplating an abortion. I applaud Adrian's assertion that it is her body and the knowledge that she is not ready for a baby, but really? WTF?


Elizabeth has been given a trac phone by her dad to use during the day while she is in AZ because they don't have a home phone over there. Fine, and I applaud them for ensuring her safety...but I hope she does not think that she can get one when she gets home. She will not be getting a cell phone until she is playing sports and needs one to call me (this is only if I can verify that there are no pay phones at the school...and it will be a prepaid one at that). If there are pay phones there, then it will be when she can pay for one herself. I may be old-fashioned, but she DOES NOT need a phone during the day at school...she is there to LEARN, and the odds of me needing to get a hold of her in such a way that I could not go through the office is slim to none. Plus, if something catastrophic were to happen (again, very unlikely) I would be hauling ass to the school, not calling her! I am not worried about keeping up with the consumption-driven mania that seems to have possessed our society WRT stuff like this. Finally, I need to have some more conversations with her about proper usage of them...I saw on one of her friend's Facebook page some borderline inappropriate pictures of this friend and another girl in their robes, with bras clearly visible....posted from Facebook Mobile.


I am not too thrilled with where we are living either at this exact moment. I wanted to get Alexis into a dance class for the summer. No place around here offers anything appropriate. If we were to live out by where I grew up, this would not be a problem. I guess that is a price to pay for knowing that you are far enough away from your family that they can't unexpectedly drop in and butt their way into your life, but is the price worth it?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Leaving

It is that time of year again. Elizabeth leaves to go visit her father this Saturday. Every summer, a part of my heart is ripped out and flies across the country. It never gets easier to give her a hug and a kiss with a false smile planted on my face and to let her get on that plane all by herself. It never gets easier to deal with the every other day phone call that I am allowed (to not make things difficult for her there). It just fucking sucks.


I deal with the fear that something will happen to her down there and I won't be there or that her father won't call me. I somehow, some way, seem to feel that because she is here with me that somehow I am able to shield her from the evil that is so rampant in this world. I am able to keep her blossoming figure from becoming the object of men's lust and that I can protect her from what our society allows men to do with that lust. I am able to protect her from the heartbreak that comes with the struggle of finding out exactly who you are throughout your teen years. I for some reason believe that simply being in my vicinity I can prevent her from ever being hurt.


All of which is hogwash, I know. I can't protect her from any of those things any more with her here than I can with her there. She has to grow up and learn and get hurt and make her own choices. It is a struggle for me to allow this to happen because it goes against every single instinct that I have as a mother. I can no longer pick her up and cuddle her on my lap and kiss the boo-boos away. I can't keep her a baby forever...but how much do I allow her to grow up and how quickly?


I have no choice in letting her go. I had to let her go before I wanted to, before I thought that she was ready to fly by herself. I tried to comfort myself by saying, "She will have experiences there that I can't give her. She deserves to see her father and his family." It does not comfort me. I want my daughter here. I want her to spend the summer with me and her sister and her step-father.


I wish that for about a half and hour I could be a toddler again so I could throw the huge fit that I have brewing inside of me. That I could just kick and scream and cry and carry on and someone would come to comfort me. I suppose I could and blame it on pregnancy hormones...but really, what would that do for me other than temporarily make me feel better? I was trained to think systemically...to change the rules that govern the system, not just treat the symptoms. I have to treat their underlying causes.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time

I have been lax in writing on this blog lately. My original intention when starting this was to try to write every day. I want to record the daily minutiae of my life because time is just going by so very quickly. Elizabeth will be a teenager officially soon (she has been one in attitude for years now), Alexis will be entering her second year of preschool, and I am currently growing another small person in my uterus. So far things are going well with that, but with me, they can change at any moment.

I have this incredible torn feeling right now....I want things to slow down because life just feels like it is slipping away from me and I am missing it. On the other hand, I want thing to fast forward at least 16 more weeks. To viability. To the possibility that I might actually get to hold a living baby in my arms after the hell that is the first trimester for me. To an end that, for once, does not involve heartbreak and grief.

Then I have a moment like I did just now. Alexis is sitting next to me with an old notebook of mine (from my short-lived, panic-induced OMG I can't find a job with a BS in psychology foray into nursing school) and is drawing pictures of her family. Then she totally stops and says, "My last name is _______" and proceeds to write it. Then she asks how to spell her middle name and proceeds to write that as well. WTF? When did this little girl learn to do that? What happened to my baby who was 90% head who came out of the womb ready for a steak to gnaw on? To the little toddler who hated everyone? Even to the tiny little preschooler who was the smallest in her class? I see her emerging every day with a confidence that I just marvel at; growing and blossoming in ways that continually amaze me.

Then I look at Elizabeth and can remember when she was the same age as Alexis. They are alike in some ways, but mostly they are very different. Where Alexis is cantankerous and difficult, Elizabeth was very sociable and somehow exuded this air of refinement about her. Don't get me wrong....that child could throw a fit if she really wanted to. But mostly, Elizabeth reminds me of classics. She has avoided the slightly goth look that is so popular with all of her friends now for one that is more traditionally classical, but still within an acceptable range. She has always done her own thing, but life will most likely not be difficult for her the way it will be for Alexis (and has been for me) because Elizabeth tends to be able to toe the line of being different just enough that it does not cause major problems for her, while still allowing her to be true to herself. I could probably learn something from my daughter in that regards. She also continually amazes me with how very grown up she is and how much of a fundamentally decent human being she has turned into, despite all of the varied mistakes I have made in raising her and the hell that is my life sometimes.

So I am torn. I don't want time to fly by, yet I do. I guess it will go on no matter what I do.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cuteness

A: Why you looking at me?
Me: You are just so beautiful!
A: I am so beautiful I stink!

Me: You make me happy.
A: That is awesome! I mean, that is so cute!

E: Alexis, you are being really good tonight. Thank you!
A: Awww, that's so sweet! Your welcome!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blame

I was at a school, talking to a principal the other day. He mentioned that he was having some problems with some inappropriate sexual behaviors on the part of his students, and was struggling with how to deal with it. He said, "I keep telling these young ladies, they need to watch themselves. They are all flirtative (his word) and lead these boys on. Then there are hormones involved, and you get a bad situation. These girls need to learn how to draw some boundaries!"

I choked back my first response, which was to grab the nearest clue by four and whap him upside the head with it. SERIOUSLY??? These girls, because they flirt, deserve unwelcomed fondling and being told that they are "owned" by these boys? Holy victim blaming! If these girls are supposed to be held responsible for their behaviors, why the hell aren't the boys? Don't they have equal responsibility for their behaviors? Or are they to be excused because "they can't control their hormones?" (Not saying that the girls "deserved" this, because I sure as hell don't believe that...just pointing out the obvious misogyny.) I don't think that this particular man realized how insulting he was being to these boys!

I guess this will not be the only time in my professional dealings that I will have to deal with a man, however well intentioned, who is trying to control a female's sexuality. He probably did not even realize that he was expressing such internalized misogyny. I just hope that it will get easier to deal with as time goes on. I am still shaking mad about this. It has been said before, but it definitely bears repeating: The only way to not be sexually assaulted/raped/molested/harassed, etc., is to avoid being in the same place at the same time as a rapist/sexual assaulter/molester, etc. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT A WOMAN OR MAN DOES OR DOES NOT DO!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Toothbrushing

Today Alexis and I were brushing out teeth together in the bathroom before we left for the day. I noticed that she kept looking at me in the mirror. Then I noticed that she was imitating how I brush my teeth...if I went to go do the top ones, she did the same; moved the brush to the side, so did she, etc., etc.. She even leaned over the sink and spit the exact same way that I did.

This is a rare moment for us. Alexis has never been one to really show much interest in imitating what I do. There is just not too much fascination with the grown up things that I do that even I remember having with my mom as a child. Hell, even Elizabeth at the age of 12 will try to sneak using my perfume (though Very Sexy from Victoria's Secret is not my first choice for a child her age...) and my face cream and asks to borrow my shoes. Alexis just never really seemed that into "being just like Mommy".

She is fascinated with the things that her father does, though. Trucks and mowing the lawn and being outside...she is very much like him in those regards. Once she was through with breastfeeding (and I think that the constant fear that she had that her food source would go away...that child came out of the womb ready for a four course meal) she really seemed to have no use for me. She is very much so a Daddy's girl...Daddy is who she turns to when she is scared or upset. Daddy is who she wants to cuddle with nine times out of ten. Daddy is who she calls for to wipe her butt when I am standing right in the next room (OK, I am perfectly fine with that one...)

I guess it is only fair. Elizabeth and I were together alone for four years. We did everything together. I played Miss Clavelle from Madeline more times than I like to think about (me, a nun? Really? That is some imagination that kid used to have!).

It just hurts a bit. They are both pulling away from me, for very different reasons, but it is still there. While I will admit that it is nice to not have Alexis intensely hate, oh, EVERYONE, as she did when she was a baby, it still burns to know that I am not the one she wants to kiss her boo-boos. The same applies to Elizabeth, if I were to tell the truth. It is hard.

Moments like the one this morning, though, give me hope. Hope that I am not just a peripheral. Hope that I AM somehow, some way, affecting my children's lives. Molding them, shaping them. That I do matter somehow to them, in a tiny way. I guess I am doing my job, since it is their job to become separate from me. No one told me, though, how quickly it can happen, as in the case with Alexis, or how agonizing it can be when it finally does, as with Elizabeth.

Will she remember brushing her teeth with me this morning? Doubtful. But during those times when that child makes me want to rip my hair and hers out, I will think of that moment and remember that I do influence her a tiny bit. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me to think twice before I lose it on her. Maybe, it will help me to be a better parent to my very different and unique children. Especially the one that is especially difficult.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Daddies

Alexis has been totally a Daddy's girl lately. This means that any time that I have tried to do anything for her, such as getting her dressed or brushing her hair or yanking her out of the way of the oncoming traffic she was about to run into in a desperate attempt to get away from the evilness that is anyone NOT DADDY, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. She threw a big ol' fit too.

It really warms my heart to see how much she loves her father, especially since as a baby, she was antisocial to the point of being diagnosable. With something. Perhaps Schizotypal personality disorder. Or just being an asshole. Seriously. She only wanted Mommy, and I firmly believe that was just survival instincts kicking in and knowing that I had da boobs. Da boobs=eating, which she did. Voraciously, and often.

However, I got to thinking today...I wonder how much it hurts Elizabeth to see Charles and Alexis interacting. To look at her and to know that her own father has not been there for her that way. To know that while she and Charles are close, the bond that they have is slightly different from the one that he has with his own flesh and blood, despite the fact that he has essentially stepped into the father role for most of the year. Does it hurt her to see that relationship that, through no fault of her own, she does not have? Does it hurt her to have Alexis crave her father's attention, when before she used to be all about her "Sissabeth"? And to see him willingly dote upon Alexis, when being a teenager, Elizabeth does not dare to reach out like that?

I do what I can to facilitate the relationships with both Charles and her bio dad. Despite temptations in the past, I do my damnedest to not bad mouth EITHER in front of her. But is it enough? Have I done enough to ensure that BOTH my girls have the role model they need?

Or maybe I just worry too damn much...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Winning

Elizabeth's volleyball team last Thursday ended their winning streak and is no longer undefeated. Normally, I would not think this was that big of a deal. Heartbreaking for the girls on the team? Sure, but nobody's perfect. You can't airbrush your way into winning a match.

However, her team played like they had their heads up their asses. Really. Now I am not really one of "those parents" who lives vicariously through her children in a futile attempt to re-write history. I cheer when she does well (and when her team does well) but I don't yell at the refs or throw out negative comments. It is elementary school intramural volleyball, for God's sake...it is not like her entire college education is resting on how well her team performs because there are scouts in the stands, for Chrissakes...

(Though I will admit that I have briefly entertained the idea that she might get a scholarship...)

I digress. Playing like their heads are where the sun don't shine....they were very apathetic out there. Normally they are all running all over the place, actively trying to go for the ball, trying their very best with each and every serve. Last match...not so much. If I did not know better, I would have thought that they were all playing hung over. They did not even try.

After the game, I asked Elizabeth what the fuck was up with the team (well, maybe not in those exact words...) Her response? "Well, we scrimmage them all the time and they ALWAYS beat us. We knew we weren't going to win. Maybe the coaches should not have had us scrimmage them so much..."

My jaw hit the floor. That disturbed me on so many levels...

First of all, the whole blame shifting. It is the coaches' fault they lost...because they had them scrimmage a team a few times? (BTW, her coach is my husband's cousin wife...I asked her about that and she said, "Uh, we don't even keep score when we scrimmage...")

The second thing that disturbed me was the fact that they did not even try because they thought that there was no way that they could ever succeed in the first place. Keep in mind that this is an all girls team she plays on, made up of 4th through 6th graders. It got me thinking about how many other things this attitude has been applied towards, and how this comes about. Girls who are told that math is hard (by their Barbie dolls, no less!) so that they should go into an easier field. Girls who are told that "good girls don't sleep around" so they slut shame themselves because that is what others are telling them they should do. Girls who are given the message, implicitly or explicitly, that there are certain things that they just need to accept about society, such as the fact that they cannot be trusted to have autonomy over their bodies, that men will never be nurturing, so therefore if they have a man take care of the kids that they are horrible mothers...or even the fact that all they should ever aspire to be is a mother at all!

What are we teaching our children? How did girls so young already internalize the message of, "I can't, so why bother?" This was just more proof to me that things are NOT equal and feminism is still needed. We have come a long way...but there is still a long way to go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Parenting

Helpful dads can hurt mom's self-esteem

Oh, this rang so true for me.

I make more money than Charles does, even with his overtime pay. My benefits are way better, too. Yet I still feel the sting of guilt when he has to take the kids to their doctor's appointments. I feel as though I have somehow failed when I am not there for them constantly, even though my husband is more than capable of attending to whatever they need while at the doctor's.

We have a more egalitarian marriage than most. My husband realizes that he truly does benefit by being involved with the girls and vice versa. It was not always like this...after Alexis was born, things were really bad for us. I almost left him. He was never home, I was responsible for EVERYTHING, on top of going to school. I still can't put my finger on exactly what happened to change...I got pregnant unexpectedly, then miscarried, then got pregnant again and had Gabe. Somehow, ironically, those things brought us closer.

Now my husband is more than willing to leave early to take the girls where they need to go. He gets outside and plays with them. His life in inundated with more estrogen than he knows what to do with. He will make dinner some nights, and is willing to help me clean if I ask. He has even gotten to the point of actually cleaning something without me asking him to do so first. I never dreamed that I would see the day when my big, burly husband would play tea party with our daughter. He truly has come a long way and I have the pictures to prove it (even if he won't admit that it would be OK for a man to wear make-up to Alexis...we have not overcome all cultural conditioning).

Where does this leave me in the scheme of things? Does my family not need me any more now? They are capable of functioning on their own without me. Why does this have to be a bad thing? It is certainly not, and is certainly freeing for me. However, I can sometimes almost feel the judgment from other people (mainly women) when I am not there for certain things. I can almost feel the contempt from people who think that I am putting a career in front of my kids. It is from other, external sources that my discomfort comes from. I am damn lucky to have a husband who acknowledges that there is always room for improvement on BOTH of our parts; who acknowledges that there IS more that he can do and that I DO do the bulk of chores and arranging of our lives. That is not imagined....even with him doing what he does I still do a lot. We are very happy in our lives, despite Elizabeth becoming a teenager and Alexis being a preschooler :p

When will society stop judging people on some pre-conceived notion of what SHOULD be and start judging people on what WORKS and what produces good outcomes?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter

On Friday, Elizabeth and I were headed into town to go grocery shopping. We passed the local Catholic church, where out in front of it they were re-creating the Passion. Elizabeth asked, "What the hell are they doing?" (Well, ok, not really, but that was totally the tone of voice she had...) so I explained it to her. At first, she was all horrified thinking that they were actually going to crucify someone (she was reassured that it was, in fact, just a re-enactment. I hope...) then she got to thinking about the whole Resurrection thing. She said, "Jesus died on Friday and rose three days later, right?"

"Yeppers. Why?"

"Well, I was just thinking...if one of my friend's did that, I don't know if I would want to be their friend again...that is kinda weird."

"Oh, Jesus. Don't say that to your Grandma..."

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Barbies

I knew it was inevitable.

My children, when they decide to rebel, will most likely be well served should they decide to rebel by becoming Republicans...or playing with Barbies. Alexis, at the ripe old age of three and a half, has apparently figured this out and is requesting them.

We have, in our attic, a shitload of those things. They are a combination of leftovers from my sister and myself and the leftovers from Elizabeth. The ones from Elizabeth come from both her house and her father's. Suffice to say, there are a lot. A lot of plastic, perky boobs, impossibly small waists and long legs...figurines that do not in any way, shape, or form represent a real woman's body. Figurines that represent that women are nothing more than playthings, to be controlled by some outside force, even if that force is just a little girl innocently playing.

Some will tell me, "It is just that...innocent. I played with Barbies, and I am just fine!" IDK about that...there is still a lot of misogyny in this world that is very cleverly disguised. As feminists have moved above ground, the resulting push from those who would like to maintain the status quo has moved below ground. It is more insidious, more patronizing, and more harmful...an attitude of "Well, you asked for it all, and this is what you got. Happy? Serves you right for going against nature!" All the while, ignoring the fact that while women may have changed, men still have not and are still buying into the whole "It's my biology!" argument.

Some will tell me, "Barbie is a doll! No one translates what her body looks like into real life!" Really? Cause I distinctly remember thinking that Barbie's body WAS the ideal as a child. As I became a teen, I remember thinking, even at my skinniest, that I was fat. Now as an adult, I still have to struggle with a sometimes very warped and distorted, yet media-fed, image of what is beauty. I don't believe him when my husband tells me I am beautiful because I can't get past the numbers on the scale. When I see a "beautiful" woman with an "ugly" man, I wonder why but yet when the opposite occurs, I don't blink an eye. Granted, all of that probably did not come from Barbie, but there sure as hell was a starting point somewhere.

What about the measurements of Ken? He is pretty unrealistic as well. Do I want my daughter to look at men and think that that is the ideal? That to be a perfect couple, you must have plastic good looks and a shit ton of trendy stuff?

Elizabeth played with Barbies and turned out just fine. However, this was before I started to become more and more invested in learning about feminism and the insidious ways that sexism manifests itself today. I also know that Elizabeth inherited her father's build...tall and skinny, with a pretty high metabolism. My oldest daughter is going to be H-O-T, in all the traditional senses of the word.

Alexis, however, is most likely destined to be short and squat like her father and I. I can already see that she inherited her dad's short, thick legs. She is not overweight...I would like to point this out. She is actually a pretty skinny little thing, probably because she subsists on a diet solely composed of whatever minerals are in the air and three bites of whatever I served for dinner. I am actively teaching my children to make better choices about their food and making a concerted effort to have healthy foods available, as well as to make our lifestyle more active. But I also know what it is like to have an older sister who is rail thin, and to forever feel that you are compared to her. I also know that my in-laws have a really nasty habit of commenting on weight, and I will go BALLISTIC if they say anything to either of my girls. Overcoming what society presents to you (as well as your own family!) is HARD. Do I really want to exacerbate that struggle that she is going to have because of what still is yet to change?

I struggled with the princess thing...and finally reached the compromise of emphasizing the good in each and discussing the bad (I could go on and on about that, but that would be a post in and of itself...) However, short of constantly reminding Alexis that Barbie is not representative of a real woman's body and that she should not strive for it, as well as the fact that the lifestyle that she represents is a myth, I really don't know what else to do. I hate the feeling of fighting a losing battle. Someone already bought her a Barbie for her birthday last year. I know if I make a big deal of it in front of my mother-in-law she will deliberately buy her as many as she can because she is passive aggressive like that. I have all of those Barbies in the attic, just taunting me...little plastic symbols of repression and misogyny. Sigh.

I still don't know what I am going to do...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bravery

Yesterday Alexis was telling me all about her bad day she had. While at daycare, she did not have a bar-bar (Nutrigrain bar) for breakfast, then she had an accident in her panties and Mommy forgot to bring underwear for her (oops!) so they put her in a Pull-up and I DON'T LIKE DIAPERS! (good job brainwashing there, huh? :p), then she was playing with Abby and she told her that Angel is a stupid name for a cat, then when she was leaving she did not get to say goodbye because she was being a three year old and did not want to until Daddy had just had enough of it so he picked her up and carried her out.

Holy run on sentence, but you get the drift of just how horrid her day was. Pretty heavy stuff for a three year old.

So as she was telling me this in typical Alexis fashion, all drama and histrionics, I offered her a sympathetic ear, and then a hug. And here is where she just tugged on my heartstrings. She straightened up, wiped her tears, and said, "Nah. I'll be OK, Mom." Then she ran off to play with her princesses.

When did she get so big and mature and KID LIKE? When did she learn to chin up in the face of adversity and to just keep going? I wanted to gather her in my arms at that moment and tell her that Mommy would always protect her from those days. I wanted to go beat up that little kid that hurt her feelings, burn that Pull-up and stuff her bad full to overflowing of underwear so that that would never happen again...you get the drift.

That is a promise that I can't keep though. I can't protect her from those days. I can't make life a breeze for her, nor should I. But when I became a parent (at the ripe old age of 16) the one thing that no one ever told me was that you will be forever torn in two directions. You will forever be torn between wanting to shield your child from all of the world's shit and from knowing that you are doing your child a disservice by doing so. It is hard to watch your kid have a bad day, even at the age of three. The other thing that no one told me is that it is even harder to watch your child cope with it well, as odd as that sounds. It is hard to realize that they have learned how to cope with crap, because that means that they have gone through crap. And you can't stop it from happening to them, and this goes against every instinct you have as a parent.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Consciousness

Did I spell that right? You can't spell check in the title :p

At any rate, mine has been raised. I always have identified vaguely as a feminist. Never really sure what that mean, but I thought at one time it meant not taking any of men's shit. Being one who comes from a very systemic perspective (hello, MFT program at U of A!) I am a bit surprised at how narrow my perspective was. Perhaps I have only learned what I was capable of absorbing...

I have consciously done more research about this very issue, driven both by a bit of boredom and by the fact that I have two daughters. I have learned so very much, about things like male privilege, how women today seem to think that they have it good, but really it is more just a pat on the head than any real progress, etc. I am now completely and utterly unable to watch TV without dissecting in my head all the ways that what I see objectifies women and serves to keep them in their roles, i.e., submissive to men. This has altered a lot of what I watch.

It has also been a big struggle for me. I watched Shrek 2 with Alexis for the first time today (hers, not mine). It is the first time that I saw it since I started to do my research. While there are a lot of good things in that movie, it still serves to perpetuate the stereotype that women are not whole somehow unless they have a man in their lives.

We still have a long way to go. I am proud to be a part of this movement, and to pass my knowledge on to my kids. I just worry that I am not doing my part, by allowing my daughters to play with princesses and to watch Disney and to listen to pop music. I could shelter them, not allow them to listen to it, as many fundamental Christians do. However, how will that work once they grow up? I have chosen to talk to my kids about this instead.

My consciousness has been raised. While it has shown me the errors of a lot of what I used to do, it has opened up new avenues for me. And for that, I will be grateful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Growing

My kids are getting so grown-up.

This may seem self-evident to a lot of people. Duh, that is what children do. Dumbass. (Shakes head and walks away). But let me tell you, it totally sneaks up on you. I swear to God, just last week I was still breastfeeding both girls (quite a feat, let me tell you, since one is currently 3 and the other 12, and the 12 year old I only breastfed for a few weeks...)

Alexis actually cuddled with me today. Willingly, without being sick. She has never been a cuddler. As a baby, she would not let me out of her sight, but when I did attempt to love on her, I could almost hear in her baby babbles the "It burns! It burns!" that her father tries to get her to tell me when I kiss her now. (Noticing a theme around here with the warped-ness of our minds? Poor things never had a chance with us running the show...) As I sat in the recliner and held her, her head resting on my breast, holding her little hand in mine, I realized that there was going to come a very definite day when this would end, and that I needed to savor it. So I stopped for a minute and soaked it all up.

For me, that was huge. I am of the variety that I seriously think that the world will end if I am not doing something, or at least pretending to do something or actively doing something. I am extremely high strung and tense and living with me is not pleasant, as I have said before. I have no delusions that my children will not one day tell their therapists that I am solely responsible for their issues because, well, I probably will be. But as I sat there with Alexis tonight, I realized that I cannot remember the last time that I cuddled like that with Elizabeth. I started to wonder about that date. Did I in fact push her away before she was ready, because I felt the need to be doing something, anything? WTF is wrong with me that I would think that there could be anything more important than taking those five or ten minutes that my child needed to make her feel loved? Did I allow myself to fully relax, or was I sitting there tense, ruminating in my mind of all the things that I COULD be doing? Things that really, were meaningless in comparison to what I was doing at that exact moment.

Elizabeth in many ways has gotten a bit of the short shrift from me. I was very young when I had her...16 (almost 17, but like that makes it any better.) I was not married to her father, still in high school...so cliche a situation it makes me wince...honor student getting knocked up. There are things that I am able to do for Alexis now that I cringe to think about how I handled with Elizabeth. It is a simple matter of resources and maturity. But I was also able to spend a lot more time with Elizabeth. Granted, I was in college and worked a shit ton. However, I did not have a husband and house to worry about. I had significantly more energy. I did not have clients who sometimes sucked the soul out of me. I also lived in a more suburban area, where there were things that we could go DO.

Trade offs, I suppose. Elizabeth is simply an awesome human being. She may make me want to tear my hair out, but she truly is just a cool gal. Who knows, maybe once she moves full force into teen-dom, her issues will surface and she will do a 180. All I know is, someday I will have to thank her for being my kid and letting me screw up so much with her, because it did benefit her sister. I just hope that is enough consolation for her.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Commitment

What is America coming to when we compare buying a La-Z-Boy sofa to a long term commitment? Just sayin'....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Realization

Yesterday, Charles and I had to remove the earrings that Alexis had in due to the fact that one of her piercings were starting to get infected. She Fah-REAKED the hell out, but really it was mostly histrionics. I base this statement solely on the fact that she got even more hysterical when Charles would dip the Q-tip into the peroxide than when he would actually, I don't know, TOUCH THE EAR!

After all was said and done, when we put her into bed, she asked Charles about his piercings. Thankfully, she has not noticed the stud through his tongue yet, just the ones in his nipples and his left ear. She was wondering why he only had one ear pierced...and came to the conclusion that he had not let his Mommy put an earring back in his ear and it closed up.

Charles and I were talking about this tonight, and kinda chuckling about it because it was classic Alexis. She is this wonderful combination of stubborn, caring, and mind-numbing insanity shaken, not stirred, with a tad bit of OMG, WHY WON'T YOU JUST BE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING???? I told Charles, "She is such a wonderful combination of sweet and aggravating at the same time and Oh My God...that must be how you feel living with me!" My husband just nodded his head.

I have a whole new appreciation for that man. Because to put it bluntly, my child is difficult. She came out difficult, was a difficult baby and toddler, and remains a difficult preschooler. Her life will not be easy due simply to her difficult-ness, just as mine has not been easy. This simultaneously breaks my heart and brings me great joy. She will never be one to follow the crowd...she will have a mind of her own. But as a parent, we want our children to have an easier life than we did. I fear that she will not...not only does she have my temperament, but she has a mother who will support her in making the very choices that will make her life hard because she knows that the discomfort that will come from not being true to yourself is way greater than the discomfort that comes from other's opinions.

Basically, my thought for the day: Shit. Alexis is fucked. But it will be so worth it for her...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alone

My husband, in his infinite wisdom, has realized one thing about me that has probably saved our marriage many times over....I NEED alone time like Michael Lohan NEEDS Lindsay to sprinkle cocaine on her cereal in the mornings so he can continue to indirectly stay in the spotlight. Charles is a Republican, after all, and they believe in trickle down economics. While I know that in the real world, this is a complete fallacy and they are totally lying to themselves in order to justify corporate welfare and tax breaks for people who don't need them, my husband knows that in the small kingdom of our household which I rule completely and (mostly) benevolently, if Mama ain't happy, NO ONE'S happy. Thus, his willingness to take off with the girls for an evening and part of the next day so I can be alone. Imagine the possibilities here...I can pee in peace! I can sleep for longer than an hour without either being awakened by the furnaceImeanhusband emitting enough heat to explain global warming or Alexis crying out in her sleep at imaginary slights committed in her dreams by the dogs. I can become totally absorbed in what I am reading online without being interrupted to watch something on TV, check homework/chores, or to find something that was not put where it was supposed to be put to avoid having to look for it in the first place....you get the drift.

What is significant for me here is not that my family goes away...it is that I deliberately do not make plans to go hang out with other people. I deliberately remain alone for those few hours. Sure, I may go get a haircut or go shopping...but I do all of this by myself. It is MY time, to do for ME, to think what I want to think and not have to worry about another person. It is something that everybody should do every now and then. It is my chance to reconnect with what is important, to listen to myself and to see what I need for a change.

I am just as guilty as every other mother on this planet of not putting myself first. I am guilty of ignoring my needs until they forcefully spew forth and HAVE to be addressed. However, I feel that the fact that I now am able to ASK for this time when I need it (even though it was supposed to be my present for my birthday back in December...) shows how much I have grown. I highly recommend it for all women. Give it a try!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Conversations

After talking to Elizabeth about a choice that her friend made that was most likely designed to attract male attention:

E: Why are you telling me this Mom?
Me: Ya like how I slid that life lesson in there?
E: Yeah, and I just died a little listening to you.


Me: ....and teenagers are really more like toddlers.
E: So really, that is why Alexis and I fight so much!
Me: Yeah...what are you going to do if we ever have another one?
E: Well, if you have one that is just like Alexis, you will have to pay me $30.
Me: Uh...where the hell did you get that idea from?
E: Well, if you are so sure that it won't happen, you really have nothing to lose by agreeing, don't you?


Alexis, talking to Charles this morning:

A: Daddy, will you dance with me?
C: No, Baby Girl, I have to go.
A: But Daddy, I need you to be my prince!


Charles is getting ready to go outside to fill holes where mice might be getting into the house:

A: Daddy, are you going to stop the squeakers? (mice)
C: Yep.
A: Daddy, are you going to shoot fire at them? (Don't ask, cause I have no idea...)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Age

Why did I think that just because there are 9 1/2 years between my children that they would not fight? I am sitting here listening to them squabble just as badly as kids who are only 1 year apart, doing things to deliberately annoy each other, get each other into trouble (or attempt it at least) etc.

Age is meaningless when you are fighting for the love and attention of your parents, I guess. Though right now, I would not mind selling the two of them to the nearest gypsies...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shopping

I walk into Walmart and get a cart from the smiling, happy Door Greeter. I automatically turn to the left...I always go to the pharmacy/beauty supplies section first, and I need to get Charles some knee braces. I then meander over to the food, starting with the produce. I see that apples and pears are on sale...Sweet! You have to be careful about the produce at Walmart, but today they actually look good (ah, the joys of living in a rural area where the only option to grocery shop is Walmart!) I take my time, strolling through the produce where usually I am gung-ho to get the fuck out of the store and back home. I notice some dried fruit...pineapple and mangoes. They sound delicious and possibly something I might get for Alexis...until I look at the nutritional information and see sugar listed as the second ingredient, and that they contain 26 grams of sugar. Uh, I don't think so!

I continue on through the frozen foods, grabbing these mozzarella bite thingies that I have been wanting to try. I select our chicken, grab some thin sliced turkey that is on sale, and compare brands of yogurt to see which has the best nutritional value (I am getting concerned about Elizabeth's diet...just because she has a high metabolism does not mean that she can just eat shit like she seems to think!) All of this is ordinary, nothing too terribly special.

Yet tonight, it is. Today, I just found out that the baby that I thought might be is not. Today, for the 6th time, I had to deal with a medical professional telling me the worst possible news that a person can get, in a very professional and sympathetic voice. I am at the point where I can totally tell when they call what is good news, what is bad, and what is indifferent. Today, when I heard that voice say, "Is this Laura Lambkins?" in their uber-professional voice, today, I knew, with a complete and sinking feeling of dread, exactly what they were going to be telling me:

I am very sorry to tell you that you are not pregnant anymore. Your Hcg level is at an 8. Dr. H wants you to stop the Prometrium, stop everything, and come back in a week to get your levels checked. I am very sorry.

Then I walked home and saw it on my porch. The package from the mail-order pharmacy, the package that has my heparin in it. The heparin that I never took, for a baby that never was. Now don't get me wrong, I am completely 100% pro-choice here. But I CHOSE to get pregnant, I chose to go through this, I made these choices knowing full well that this was a very possibly outcome. And for some reason, it is hitting me very hard this time.

Maybe it is because I still felt pregnant. My other m/c's since my son, I ALWAYS lost the pregnancy symptoms before I lost the pregnancy. This time, I did not. Up until I got that call (and even now, to tell the truth) I FELT pregnant. I had the symptoms. All in my head or no, they were very real.

Maybe because I had some fantasy of beating the odds, that THIS ONE would FINALLY be it. I wrote a post about denial before...maybe I was so there.

Or maybe it is because I am tired of the universe shitting on me, of my body failing me, of it being the wrong combination of my genes and my husband's genes...IDK. Recurrent pregnancy loss sucks in so many ways...

So as I leave the store, with all of my groceries in the cart that I had no desire to purchase, the food that actually made me kinda sick to look at, I look up at the stars and silently curse. I curse that I had to walk through that store and pretend that I was OK when I was not. People, when they looked at me, may have thought that I was just another worn down, tired mother. Maybe a little sad...but they had no idea of what was playing out in my uterus at that very moment. I get to my Jeep and see my hanging file cabinet of papers I use for work. I don't even want to think about work at this moment (my job that I love but that I might be forced out of soon...) so I quickly cover it with bags of groceries. I briefly think that I should one day opt to buy some reusable grocery bags, but the thought flits out of my mind as quickly as it came. I slam the door shut, thinking that it is not fair that I have yet again been put in the position of having to pretend; of having to be the strong one. The few people that I have told are incredulous. Some question if I was even pregnant in the first place; if there is not something wrong with the test, or something that the docs missed. They can't accept that RPL can be unexplained. I sure as hell don't want to.

I push the grocery cart into the corral, perhaps with a bit more force than is warranted, and get in the Jeep to drive home. I fight back the tears that are welling in my eyes, as well as the despair that is in my heart. I have a lot of good things in my life, true. I KNEW that my life would be hard when I chose the path that I did. But just for once, it would be fabulous if it would be a bit easier.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friends

Charles and I were talking tonight about how difficult Alexis's life is likely to be. We say this based solely on the fact that she is a lot like me, and that she will definitely not pick the easy path. Great in theory, but painful to watch I am sure. Elizabeth, while I have definitely educated her about liberal and feminist things, will be more likely to follow a typical path. Nothing is wrong with either of these; it is just indicative of their very different personalities.

I mentioned that the one thing that I want both of my girls to do differently is to cultivate female friendships. I do not have any friends in real life. Granted, I have a group of women that I met on a Mommy's Board who I consider to be some of the closest people to me, but that is very different than having people who live nearby, who you talk to on the phone daily, who you go out with, and with whom you have some (ahem) wild stories to share. The memories, the shared history, the ability to pick up the phone and to just talk, to sit and have coffee while you chat...those kinds of things. It is important, and I want to make sure that they know this. Unfortunately, I cannot lead this by example.

I used to have a best friend. We would do all of the things that I mentioned above. However, she was also a "Toxic Friend", one who was not happy unless there was drama. She would become very upset when good things happened to me...to the point of sabotaging them and/or acting like she did not believe me or care. I eventually woke up and realized this, and "broke up" with her. Best move I ever made...but it left me bereft, because like a situation with an abusive partner, I had no other friends.

I would occasionally start to hang with other people, but nothing ever materialized into lasting friendship. So here I am, age 29 years, in the position of having to go through what most girls go through at the age of 4 or so. My husband, the awesome man that he is, is always willing to shoo me out the door to go hang with females (not that I would need permission, but I know some women for whom it is a fight for their hubbies to be OK with this...). Really, it has been my overarching fear of any kind of intimacy that prevents me from moving forward. I hate being vulnerable in any way. This is why I force myself to be Supermom, why I have such high standards for myself, and why I am riddled with anxiety and tension. Being vulnerable, in my distorted mind, is akin to setting myself up to be hurt again. My issues, kinda perpetuated by society, I know...but ones that I do not want my kids to inherit. God knows that there are plenty others to choose from...let's hope that they at least avoid them one that will cut them off of any kind of support.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Conversations

A: Mommy, Daddy a boy.
Me: How do you know?
A: He has no hair on his head, Mommy! (Laughs Hysterically) He has hair on his face!
Me: Who else is a boy?
A: Josh a boy, cause he has no hair and has hair on his face. Dirk a boy...he has hair on his face. Uhhhhhh...Uncle Nicky a boy.
Me: Uncle Nicky does not have hair on his face. How do you know he is a boy?
A: Cause he's not a girl.

(Duh. How obvious was that?)

Charles, whipping out his penis to show me because you know, that will totally make me want to jump his bones:
Me: What the hell are you doing?
C: Just figured I would show it to you so you remembered that I have one. It has been a while since you have seen it, you know...

(Think he was hinting? His idea of a while, just to clarify, is anything over 24 hours...)

Later on, pulling my neckline out to look down my shirt:

Me: (again) What the hell are you doing?
C: Just wanted to make sure they were still there...
Me: Let me guess...it has been a while since you have seen them?
C: Yep.

(I want to live in his fantasy world some day...)

Me: (glancing at the thermostat) Oh shit, I forgot I turned this up. (To Charles) You must be burning up...
C: Uh, yeah... (Mind you, it was set at 70*. Not high by a lot of people's standards...)
Me: Elizabeth and I were cold, so we turned it up. (Turn it down and start to walk out of the room.)
E: (To Charles) It was totally her idea. I had nothing to do with this. Just remember that.

(Thanks a lot, kid! And for the record...it was so not totally my idea.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Old

I now know that I am getting older.

How do I know this? It is not because I find today's music insufferable, it is not because I now require Depends (though when I don't keep up with my Kegel's I do leak a tiny bit when laughing, sneezing, or just, I don't know, BREATHING, thanks to my children), it is not due to being completely baffled by all of the new technology or thinking that today's clothes are horrendous. Though skinny jeans still look as retarded now as when they were out in the 80's...

No, I know this because I inwardly cringe when I get a text with poor grammar. I have no problems with posting on my Mommy's board or fertility board and using abbreviations such as DH, KWIM, CM, and FRER. I have even been told that I use a lot that people don't know. I am the Queen of Abbreviations. But to get a text that says, C U l8r! is akin to my grandparent's being horrified by Elvis's gyrating pelvis.

I understand the rationale behind these texts...quicker and easier, etc. But honest to God...fucking call me and speak to me. Don't subject me to the horrors of no capitalization and punctuation and a code that even the Queen of Abbreviations can't decipher. This is my rock and roll, my Elvis, if you will. I can't be the only one!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Top ten reasons I love my husband

Since this is roughly halfway between the anniversary of the day we met and Valentine's Day, I figured I would get all mushy here for a second...

1.) He somehow has overcome his parent's influence and is a very involved, very loving father to both of our girls.
2.) He does things like come out of the house when I get home at dark to remind me that the hitch on his truck sticks out and to not trip over it.
3.) He kisses all of us and tells us that he loves us every single time he leaves the house.
4.) He has the same warped sense of humor that I do.
5.) He absolutely, completely refuses to engage me when I am in a pissy mood because he knows that all that will lead to is trouble....no matter how much I bait him.
6.) Despite the fact that I am about 50 pounds heavier than when we first met, he still can't keep his hands off me and gropes my boobs daily. Again, because he is technologically retarded and will likely never read this, I can say here that that is actually a bit reassuring, as annoying as it is.
7.) He is able to see beyond my moods and my quick temper to the vulnerabilities.
8.) He is not ashamed to admit that I do in fact wear the pants in this family because he also knows that I am only as strong as he is and I would be lost without him.
9.) The sex. That is all I am going to say about that, pervs.
10.) He completely, 100% has got my back in whatever I do or want and loves me unconditionally.

And a #11, just because I can:
He ain't bad lookin' at all, either.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bad

I have been a bad blogger.

When I started this blog, it was with the idea that I would write almost daily. I have not been lately. The reasons for this vary...I am concerned that I may lose my job, I was supposed to be studying for my MFT license test (BTW, I probably failed it), I got a wicked cold. I have ideas for blog posts stored in my cell phone. Some are so old that the few words that I put in there are now meaningless to me.

That very reason is why I started to write. Time slips by unnoticed until you look in the mirror one day and realize, "Holy fuck, I somehow gained 60 lbs!" (Yes, that happened to me.) Or you look at your daughter and realize that she is soon to get her period...or that that baby you held just last week, I swear it was just last week, is now completely capable of getting herself dressed in the mornings without one drop of help from you.

When I was younger, my teachers always told me I was a good writer. I never saw it because I was hopelessly bogged down in a vat of my own insecurities. I never developed the talent. Would I have been good? Who knows. I do know that there is always a story going on in my head. I have had to, at times, remind myself of reality and that things don't always fall into place the way they would in my stories. Maybe it was my way of grabbing control of my life, when I feel/felt so completely out of control. Alas, people don't do what you want and aren't puppets to dance to whatever tune you want to create. I also can't make my life go the way I want it to simply by making up the corresponding story in my head.

But my life is a story. So is yours. And a part of me wonders if my story is interesting enough to sell books. I doubt it, but it is important enough to me that I feel the need to capture nuggets of it on the Internet. I highly doubt that very many people will ever read this (and this is not one of those self-degrading moments that females do when they really want people to come running to them with arms wide open...I have a link posted to this on my Facebook page, but thus far IDK that anyone has even noticed...I have also spoken of my blog, but don't know that people have actively gone looking for it. So really, I don't advertise it and I kinda like it that way.) Maybe it is that I like to look back at all the crazy shit that has been happening in my life. Or that I like to be able to see the random ramblings of my mind at various points in my life. Or...I don't know. The point is, I made a commitment to myself that I would try to document my life, for whatever reason, and I have not really done so. I must improve!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Politics

At the risk of sounding conspiracy-theory-ish....

Please tell me that I am not the only one who has noticed that businesses have enough money to stay afloat and will NOT stimulate the economy until a Republican (AKA, one who will be more friendly to business practices) is in office?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Three

How you know you live with a three year old:

1.) Work is a place that you long for, not because of the paycheck or because you enjoy your job, but because it is someplace that you can go to where you are able to go to the bathroom by yourself.
2.) Being told "I don't like that" when you inform your child what is for dinner no longer offends you because they say that to every.single.thing.you.make. Even if they like it.
3.) Ellen and Opie from the alphabet song haunt your dreams.
4.) You find your self longingly dreaming of the terrible twos.
5.) Serious consideration has been given to enrolling your child in a case study for bipolar children, or possibly one for children with multiple personalities.
6.) You say things like, "We wear our shoes, not lick them" and "We pet the dog, not carry him around by his neck."
7.) You know the words to every Disney Princess movie, and they haunt you in your dreams too.
8.) Indecision and random changing of minds is part of your morning routine on a daily basis. In fact, it is a part of your daily routine on an hourly basis.
9.) Sometimes meals consist of enough food to feed a family of four, sometimes they consist of air and a scraped off corner of bread.
10.) Your child coming up to you and wrapping her arms around your neck, whispering in your ear "I love you eva and eva so much, Mama" makes you willing to put up with 10X worse shit than what is listed above.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Opposites

My husband and I sleep on opposite sides of the bed. This is for a variety of reasons, namely that sleeping right up close to him is akin to sleeping next to a sauna. Not only does the man generate enough heat to possibly fry an egg on his bald head, he sweats profusely. My sheets and pillows and mattress are all permanently stained from him no matter if I were to wash them daily or hourly. He also claims that I steal the covers and leave him freezing with just the corner of the sheet, soaking wet in his own sweat and uncontrollably shivering, but since he is technologically retarded and will most likely never read this blog, I can say with 100% authority that this is a complete falsehood.

We are opposite in a lot of other ways as well. I was raised a Catholic, he was raised Baptist. He is from a very rural area, I hail from the 'burbs of Cleveland. He is a conservative, I am a flaming liberal. He graduated high school, I have a Master's degree and seriously contemplating getting my Ph.D. one day. He would be an R on Holland's hexagon, I am an S (they are on opposite sides, for those of you who have no clue what I am speaking of here). I could go on and on in the myriad ways that we are completely different, but I think you get the picture.

Yet somehow, we make it work. We balance each other. He calms my tendencies towards obsessing and perfection, I bring out his assertive side. He reminds me of the value in accepting other people's imperfections and accepting that they would be overshadowed by the good in them, I remind him that just because you love someone does not mean that you have to put up with their shit when it is, well, shit. He reigns in my temper, I help him express his feelings.

We do not have a "traditional" marriage. We both work, and he does help out more than the average man with the household chores. Is the load 50/50? No, but that is partially my inability to ask for help. My husband does not expect me to be superwoman, yet my insecurities and the pressures of society make me feel that if I am not, I am failing. I think, though, that he particularly loves me when I am a human being because then he gets to see a side that I never share with others...my soft, vulnerable side that I have learned over the years to bury deeper than an inmate wants to shove his shank into his rival's side. Of course, one could make the argument that if things were truly equal, he would be helping more regardless...but baby steps, right? We as a couple are a work in progress...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Metrodog

Spartacus, the other evening, accidentally stepped on Alexis's leave in conditioner that was sitting on the couch. It ended up surprisingly not being a huge mess (did resemble jizz, but with a very fruity scent and probably is also something I don't necessarily want in the back of my throat), but he did get some on his tail.

Charles started to poke fun at him, because he knows that the surest way to get me pissed off is to arbitrarily assign gender roles to each sex. He asked me, "Why is it that I am the only male in this house that is human, I get a male dog, and he is all fruity and uses leave-in conditioner?"

After the red cloud of rage dissipated from my line of vision, I joined him in picking fun at our dog because feminist or no, I am still in possession of a very warped sense of humor. (Roast me for it later...) I told him, "Don't make fun of him for testing the boundaries. He is a metrosexual doggie! Gives a whole new meaning to doggie style!"

He picked the bottle up and said, "Well, they can't say that this is not tested on animals anymore!"

Our poor children never stood a chance with us as parents...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Notes

I just found an application on my computer that lets me put what looks like Sticky notes on my desktop.

OMG, my high strung, I have to be organized or the Apocalypse will begin, anxiety-fueled personality just had a religious experience.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Conversation

Driving to the grocery store with Alexis tonight:

Alexis: Mama, I have my hooch with me.

Me: ?

Alexis: (starts singing giddily).

Alexis: Mama, the hooch makes me sing.

I swear, you can't make this shit up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Denial

I frequently deal with denial at work. Parents who are in denial about just exactly how bad their child's legal problems are, their drug use is, or how long they have been acting out. There are also the parents who deny that MST will work or that we can create change in their child against his or her will (we can, BTW...)

It is hard, though, when denial comes and smacks the therapist right in his or her face. I can vividly remember right before my father died, at my brother's wedding, talking to my other brother about a quilt I was making for my dad for Christmas. He told me, "Make it quick". I was a bit puzzled as to why he would say that. I mean, sure, my dad's episodes of pneumonia were coming closer and closer, and sure, he did walk my sister down the aisle at her wedding the previous year while at mine that year he had to be pushed in his wheelchair....but surely he was going to make it to Christmas!

He did not. In fact, he did not make it to Thanksgiving.

When my mother told me that hospice was being called in, I honestly and truly thought that she was being dramatic and overreacting. (If you knew my mother, you would know that that is not a far stretch. In my defense ;p) I truly thought that my father was going to be just fine. His death, I can say with complete frankness, was actually a bit of a shock to me. Or at least it was, on first glance. Looking back, I knew. I don't know that I could handle the truth at that time. Is anyone ever really prepared for a parent to die?

The same applies to when we found out about Gabe. Looking back, I knew. I even remember posting on a board with other mommies who were as far along as I was, who were all talking about how they felt their babies move. I never felt my son move. Again, in my defense, I was 28 weeks with Elizabeth and 22 with Alexis. But my stomach stopped getting bigger, because he was not growing. I popped at 16 weeks then stopped popping.

The day of the ultrasound, the nurses and Charles all knew as soon as they put the wand to my belly. There was no flickering of the heartbeat. I knew SOMETHING was not right when he started to measure small...but I was in complete denial.

I can completely understand why people use denial. I can completely understand the heartbreak that comes when that denial is shattered. It has helped me become a better therapist and human being.

It still sucks, though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Conversation

Attempting to remember a funny conversation my husband and I had in the kitchen earlier:

Me: Honey, what were we talking about in the kitchen right before you grabbed my boobs?

Charles: How much you wanted me to grab your boobs....

It must be nice to live in his fantasy world. But what can I say, he is a conservative...they have the capability to totally spin reality to suit their purposes anyways...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sharing

You know those moments in parenting when you know, just absolutely know, that you must be doing something right? Despite the fact that I do not have my children enrolled in Mandarin classes, or that I on occasion let them have pop, or that I don't serve them organic foods and have been known to let them use fluoridated toothpaste and listen to Copperhead Road, I am doing something right that will help them turn into fundamentally decent human beings.

My mom gave me two cookies to give to Alexis as she was unable to go to the New Year's Eve party she regularly has at her house due to the local hospital's inability to ever get a diagnosis correct. I gave them to Alexis to eat after dinner one night (add allowing children to eat refined sugars to my list of parenting sins...) and she immediately turned to her sister and said, "Elizabeth? Are you all done? When you are all done with your dinner, you can have my other cookie, 'K, Sissy? I will share them with you".

My children may not have all of the advantages that more wealthy parents can afford to give them. Hell, they don't even have the advantages that come with living near, oh, a city of more than 1,000 people. But I can honestly say that it is very likely that my children will grow up to have hearts, to be open to other people, and by God, to love each other very much. Even if they do fight like MMA fighters in the octagon on occasion.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Breasts

On New Year's Eve, I actually had one person (who shall remain nameless) tell me that he had never seen another woman's breasts but his wife's. (This was after I told him that no one in the room would mind if she nursed without a blanket.) After we all got done rolling our eyes, I reminded him of all the strip clubs he had gone to while single. He turned to me, and with a perfectly straight face, replied, "Yes, but those were professional boobs. Hers are the only natural, preservative free boobs that I have seen."

While there is probably room for argument about that (but alas, that is another topic for a not so public place such as this blog...) it got me to thinking about the role that breasts play in our society. I dug around, did some research, and found that bra burning feminists are actually a myth. I saw pictures of all kinds of breasts, and the nipples, and found a really interesting article on how nipples are not necessarily an erogenous zone. This then naturally led me to the objectification of women, specifically as sex objects.

I don't know that all of the men in my life realize how insulting that is, not only to the women they are objectifying, but to themselves. As if they are only a mass of hormones, completely unable to suppress their sexual desires. As if they can't possibly be expected to have feelings, as if they aren't men unless all they want to see are boobies, boobies, and MORE BOOBIES!!! I once had a college professor, in the course of discussing this very thing (men's "obsession" with breasts) state, "Anything more than a mouthful is a waste." Why do men have to see breasts to be turned on? And why is it considered automatic that any and all glimpse of a breast will automatically turn a man on? Cause quite frankly, if a man is turned on by a woman's breast while she is breastfeeding, that is more disturbing to me than the actual sight of her breast doing what it was designed to do. Along those lines, if men (and women, for that matter) have issues with breasts being out while feeding because they are "sexual" or because breast feeding is "disgusting", what the hell does that say for the future of the human gene pool that we are letting these people reproduce? That we are unable to control our sexual urges to the point of feeling a Puritanical need to automatically cover up a breast DOING WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO DO??? Good God, it is not as if a grown man was nursing with the intent of arousal! It is a baby satisfying the first biological need we all have...to get nourishment! Not the other one that apparently men are unable to control... Furthermore, why is it OK for some men to have their shirts off when they probably have larger breasts than some women, but if a woman is to feed a child in public without covering, she is judged to be some kind of hippie rebel, hell-bent on destroying the American family, and probably (*GASP!*) a lesbian feminist who worships Satan and is actively recruiting innocent, impressionable American youth into her army of destroyers.

What really is behind the whole breast thing? Is it that we as a society are truly that uncomfortable with our sexuality that anything that is remotely sexual we cover? I don't necessarily buy that...look at how sexual messages are used in advertising, for instance. Is it that breasts have been sexualized since the advent of formula? Well, maybe....it used to be the sight of a woman's ankle that drove men nuts until skirts got shorter. Is it a way to keep women in their place...by not allowing them to nurse in public, we are therefore surreptitiously confining them to the home, which therefore perpetuates male privilege? And for those women who say breastfeeding is disgusting, could it be that they are unknowingly participating in the continuation of that male privilege because it benefits them? That by being judgmental of another woman's child-rearing practices she is making herself feel superior and thus clamoring up the ladder of society as far as she can go (until, of course, she hits the glass ceiling...)

I am sure that there are some people out there who would read this and automatically dismiss it out of hand as nothing more than an angry feminist rant. They will tell me that I am actually sexist towards men, that I just need to get laid, that women already have it better than men. Really? Women are superior, huh? So why the fuss over showing breasts while breastfeeding? If we have such an elevated status, that would not matter because we would just crush you men. Think carefully about all of the things that default to the "male" as the status quo...men being the breadwinners, women taking men's last name when they marry, men being studs when they have sex, but women being sluts, the value we place on being strong (both physically and emotionally) and independent. First of all, I take exception that these are "male" because then if you are male and don't possess these characteristics, you are somehow less than. Secondly, who got to decide that these were desirable characteristics for you to have versus their opposites? And finally, why is it NOT OK for a female to have these characteristics? When women are allowed to possess these characteristics, when women are allowed to breastfeed in public without backlash, when a woman's breasts are not objectified as either "natural" or "professional"...hell, maybe once the woman herself is not put upon a shelf as a pretty thing to be played with when a man wants to or when it is time to reproduce...when women are valued for the contributions that we make and who we are as people versus some kind of feminine/masculine standard...and once men realize that these kinds of behaviors hurt them too...maybe then, we can finally say that women are equal. Not superior, as some men say now because they hate to see the privilege they got through nothing more than the right sperm meeting an egg disappear...but equal. Then maybe, we can move past breasts and using sex as an excuse to keep women in their place.

Just a rambling bit of my thoughts...where else can I admit that I have been thinking about breasts all weekend without people looking at me strangely? Of course, if things were truly equal, I could admit that and no one would...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

MIA

I have been MIA for a while. First Alexis got sick (actually ended up in the ER with her, and they tried to tell us it is viral...which only reinforced why I hate our local hospital because it was NOT just viral...try bronchitis, sinusitis, and an ear infection in each ear...), then I got sick as well. Elizabeth is currently avoiding both of us in an attempt to stay healthy.