Bully Pulpit 2

I just a heart to heart talk with my son. Sometimes parenting sucks, but this is life folks.  It is spring break this week and his daycare has a week full of field trips planned.  He’s happy about all but one.  Friday is swim day at the local Y and he’s terrified he won’t have anyone to swim with.  I have promised that I will find somewhere fun for him to go that day, but he’d really like me to take this week off work so he can stay and play with the kids in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, it’s April and I only get 18 days total to play around with.  Not a lot when I have to use them as sick as well as vacation days.  And when we have at least two mini trips planned and a wedding in CA and a wedding I’m a part of back to back in October.  Let’s just say my days add up fast. 

I’d love to take a week off and just do fun things as a family.  Unfortunately in this family, at this time and place, it’s just not an option.  I guess all kids have to have something to complain about as adults right?  How their childhood was shitty and they would do this unlike their parents?  Well, this will be my kids.  2 working parents.  1 parent only home on the weekends…the fun one at that. 

While I’d love to not work and shield him from this week that will most likely suck, I can’t.  And I shouldn’t right?  I can’t put him (and G eventually I’m sure, we just aren’t there yet with her) in a bubble and roll them around like hamsters all while screaming at everyone or anything potentially harmful to get away.  I would love to, but I try to think back on what has made me the kick ass adult I am today (Quiet, I am!).  Struggle.  People and kids being mean.  People challenging me.  People putting me down.  People hurting my friends, my family.  All that has molded me into the strong adult woman I am today.  For the most part.  Until crap like this happens. 

I by no stretch of the imagination had a hard childhood.  But I was picked on…when I was noticed.  I tended to mostly hide in the corners and blend in to avoid being noticed, which has led to its own difficulties as an adult.  Now my son tells me he does the exact same thing to avoid being singled-out and picked on.  He hides behind stuff and if they notice them, he hopes like hell they’ll decide to be nice to him.   Well crap.   Way to create a clone of you Jen.  Same insecurities.  Same coping mechanisms.   I need to nip this in the butt before he becomes the hermit I fight being every day.  I need to help him overcome this quicker than I did, which was around age 30, which is a lot of wasted years and hot, not saggy body time.  

From what I can tell, there is a pack of roving boys that seems to dominate the before and after care scene.  They are older, not by much from what I can gather, but they are bigger.  There is one ringleader that the adults seem to not know how to handle.  I can’t quite grasp if there’s really only one set of boys to hang out with his age, but he seems to think this is his only option right now.  To hang on the fringe of the meanies and hope he doesn’t get singled out or even, occasionally, on the really good days, he might just be included and be part of the group. 

Now here’s the thing.  What do I say?  I told him tonight to never ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell me about his fears or struggles in school or with other kids, because, believe or not, his dad and I both have some fairly decent experience in this area.  His dad was picked on for being the pale kid from the wrong side of the tracks.  You know, the one adults always accused of stealing stuff, because he was the poor one, and the non-athletic goofy kid all the kids targeted.  I, on the other hand, was just not noticeable enough to get picked on, but on the same side of the coin, not noticeable enough to get ignored most of my school going years.  I had my small handful of very loyal friends, but most people left me alone and didn’t know I existed.  Which was its own type of childhood hell. 

What advice can I give to the kid?  What can I as a mother do without being too overbearing and intrusive?   I’ve asked if there are other groups of boys he could pal around with, or even maybe just one or two who are quieter and like the things he does.  He doesn’t seem to think so, but mother hen me will be making sure of that with his teachers come Monday morning.  He had a great girlfriend with whom he’s paled around with since preschool, but she has decided he can’t hang with her because her new “girl” friends don’t want a boy in their group.  Ewwww.  (Even though said boy will most likely be a rich genius one day, so you might be missing your chance here ladies.  But this is just one biased opinion.)

I know I can’t shield my kids from harmful, painful things in life.  Because bullies become adults too.  They just take different forms.  And they get sneakier and meaner.  And they craft passive aggression like an artform.  They manipulate the system so people are afraid to stand up to them because their wraths are terrifying.  They make it so everyone walks on eggshells so as not to upset them.  People around them make excuses and make you feel like the bad guy for cutting off contact or standing up for yourself.  My kids will need to learn to successfully identify and stay away from these people.  They will need to handle them with confidence and defuse them before the situation gets out of hand.  They will need to learn when to stand up for themselves and when to let it go.  They will need to learn to choose their battles wisely. 

And Bear’s a boy.  Girls are a whole new level that terrifies me.  So far, G has only had minor spats with girls she loves and calls her best friends.  C won’t share her toy.  B wanted to be the teacher today and I had to be the student.  Stuff like that.  Lord help if she realizes her dream of growing up to be a cheerleader.  What will someone like me do with that?  Pray for me.  I am not strong enough for those mothers, let alone help her with her peers. 

My solution for the moment is to survive spring break and wish this week away as quickly as possible.  Talk to his teachers about it.  And ultimately move him to his school sponsored summer daycare where he’ll hopefully be with a few of his classmates for the summer.  Fortunately, this has been limited to his after care and he is so far a hit with his school friends (none of which go to his current after care). 

Here’s where being an introverted parent is challenging.  Time to break out of my comfortable armor and go fight for my kid.  Ask questions.  Make decisions to stand up for him and put him where he’ll be loved and accepted for who he is.  Wish me luck.   

Food for Thought

Here’s what I hate.  I finally get a moment and the motivation to sit down and write, and…..complete blank.  Now, in the shower, driving to and from work, at work, in the bathroom, and so on, I am ripe with ideas.  Now? With time? Complete and total blank.  So annoying.

So, I guess I’ll talk about what I’ve been thinking about fairly constantly for the past three weeks or so.  Ah hell, who am I kidding, my whole freakin life.  Food.

As of this moment, I am half on and half off the wagon.  I kind of picture myself with a rope being dragged behind the wagon hanging on for dear life.  All while the people on the wagon securely are all like, “I just lost 5 lbs in a week on Weight Watchers!  And I have trouble even eating all my points every day!”  To you people I say:

eye roll

Cause that doesn’t happen for me.   I spent $165 at the grocery store a few weeks ago to attempt a SkinnyMs.com diet and lost 3 lbs in the first week.  I was ecstatic.  They even allowed for one “cheat” a week.  So on that Friday I had 2 pieces of pizza….and maybe a cheesy bread stick, and maybe a few pieces of cinnamon bread dessert….but who’s counting.  Anyways, BAM!  next morning, 2 lbs back on!  (To be fair to SkinnyMs – their recipes are actually really, really good.  Their green smoothies, while they look like snot, are actually very good.  It’s just a really really expensive way of eating, and very time consuming.  Plus, I’m the only one eating this stuff.  I made their chili one day and ate it for the next four days. I haven’t totally abandoned it, but I am having to add affordable/quick food slightly back in.)

Anyways, this is not the root of my problem, and I’m asking for advice here.  The root of my evil is basically food is like heroin to me.  I can’t stop.  Basically I want to be eating 100% of the day.  Like, I need something in my mouth.  Paging Dr. Freud!   Gum helps, but I have jaw problems and can’t chew it very long.  Food is basically my nervous habit.  Procrastinating?  Let’s eat.  Don’t know what to do with myself?  How about a snack?  Too much going on and don’t know where to start?  Let’s see what’s in the fridge!   I sit at a computer all day and if I am not reaching for something to put in my mouth, I feel weird and unfulfilled.   I count minutes until my next “snack time.”

Also, I feel like I am keeping a tight lease on my eating. Like I am always trying to squash the voice inside my head that screaming at me, “EAT THE FOOD!  EAT EVERYTHING YOU SEE!!!”    Life if I just go balls to the wall and let myself go, I’d eat an entire cake and wash it down with a  Coke Zero.  Like Louie CK says, “I don’t eat until I’m full, I eat until I hate myself.”

Sing it Louie.

Sing it Louie.

And I can’t stop.  If it’s around, I feel a compulsion to eat it.  Like the food’s feelings will be hurt if I don’t try a piece.  That’s why I kind of wish it was a heroin addiction.  At least then people wouldn’t surprise me with it at 3 p.m. saying, “Oh just one bite of heroin won’t kill ya!  Just try it.”

My Achilles’ heel is being delivered this week.  Girl Scout cookies.  I think I’ve ordered 18 boxes from various girls.  I’m supporting my community right?  Not when I get my first two boxes delivered and I have eaten an entire sleeve of Thin Mints before I get out of the car on the return trip.  That’s all for me.

Then the shame spiral happens.  I get nauseous.  I hate myself.  I make resolutions that will last approximately 6 hours.  Then I do it all over again the next day.

I guess what this rambling post means is, I don’t know where to turn.  I feel like I need to be hypnotized or acupunctured.  Maybe I should wire my jaw shut like that crazy girl in Real World 20 years ago.  But, I’d still eat milkshakes and Coke, so that wouldn’t help.

I feel like I need a person to shame me into not eating, but that doesn’t work either.  If I get one of those people, and I’ve tried, I end up eating in secret.  Hiding from them.  It becomes a game to sneak the food.

God I am such a head case.  Honestly, it’s embarrassing to post this, but at the moment it’s kind of ruling my every thought.  Sure I can joke about being chubby and eating a lot, but when it comes down to it, I really do want to get healthy.  Not just skinny.  Healthy.  I want to have energy.  I am tired of my back hurting.  I am terrified my cholesterol is going to kill me.

I’d do great with a nutritionist and a personal trainer, but that ain’t happening.  Maybe some tips on how to start.  Baby steps.  Quick, easy, healthy recipes I can slowly incorporate into my life?

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