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.   

Disney

So, Disney. We took our first trip at the beginning of December and there is so much to tell you, I have been sitting on it for a month.  I have quite a few Disney junkie friends and don’t want to offend, but I also want to give an honest take from a self-diagnosed introvert with anxiety issues, a deep discomfort with large crowds and spending $7 on a Coke.

Before I get started, I will bookend our trip with some of my favorite pics.  First:

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This was pretty much the look on their faces for 7 days.  They were thrilled to be there.  They were troopers.

We didn’t get a stroller to avoid this…

Strollerggedon

Strollerggedon

…so they hoofed it around 4 parks for 5 days.   They didn’t become crazy gotta-have-it kids either.  They had some money and got what they wanted and sometimes had to be patient to get it.  But get it they did…

Hard to see, but let's just say they got every light up, noisy toy available.

Hard to see, but let’s just say they got every light up, noisy toy available.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to pack a Mickey Mouse Fantasia light saber to return home?  We carried that thing from Orlando to Detroit.  Totally normal in Orlando.  In Detroit, kinda weird.

As a side note, Disney is marketing genius.  From the time you step foot in Orlando, you are transported into this magical bubble where it’s all things Disney.  You begin to feel weird for not having a pair of mouse ears on your head.  You feel out of place if you are wearing a shirt without a character on it.  I can’t believe I packed normal clothes.  You totally look out of place when you do.  And when you come back to normal land, you are a little weirded out that no one is wearing mouse ears or carrying a Mickey tote bag/lunch box/purse/backpack/body bag.

The crowds were heavier than what we were anticipating, but not as bad as I think it could have been.  For me however, there were TOO MANY FREAKIN PEOPLE.  People watching was A-may-zing, but that’s exactly what I want to do, watch…not interact.

PEOPLE!

PEOPLE!

PEOPLE IN THE DARK!

PEOPLE IN THE DARK!

Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

We of course had lunch at the Royal Table in Cinderella’s Castle, where, for the only time during the trip, we became these parents:  “You will get pictures with these damn princesses and eat your $30 chicken nuggets and LIKE IT!!  We didn’t spend $250 for you to sit and stare at them!!!”  And photos we got.  Nevermind the fact we were caught off guard and didn’t have time to run a comb through our poor girl’s hair.

Come on mom, just snap the picture already…

Jasmine.  Poor thing, that wig must itch like crazy.

Jasmine. Where do you get those abs?  Does Iago chase you around?

Sleeping beauty.

Sleeping beauty.  That’s what they call me too.

Snow White

Snow White and a thrilled to pieces G.

Wishing on a star.

Wishing on a star.  My wish?  The food would get here sooner.

For the record, Bear would not be photographed with the Princesses.  He’s not so into the ladies.  Doesn’t G look thrilled?  Then we got a pic with Cindy herself.

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…but she was on a ciggy break, so we took a pic with her crotchless pantied knight instead.

Metal Mike.

Metal Mike.

OK – here she is.

She seemed a little stiff.

She seemed a little stiff.

PSYCH!  ha ha.  OK, we really did meet her and I do have a pic EXACTLY like the ones above of her and Cinderella, but it’s an actual PHOTO and ain’t nobody got time to scan that!

We introduced them to all forms of mass transit.  First up, the plane ride, for which they were seriously geeked.

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Yes, that’s a neck pillow. This is Bear BEFORE he went cold, clammy and sheet white.

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Image taken BEFORE the lady in front of G pleaded with me to get her to stop kicking the hell out of her seat. Sorry!

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My seasoned travelers.

Until we started our descent and Will got airsick and passed out.  Cold.  Don’t worry, on the way home, he just threw up and got almost all of it in the vomit bag.

Waiting for the bus. Not something you do here in Toledo.

Riding on the bus.

 Always in the back.  Always.  Not a good sign.  Back of the bus kids are trouble I tell ya.   Damn youths.

Monorail! This is G puckering up to lick the window.

Train.

Train.

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Boat

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And of course, Dad.

We did shows.  Some were great, some were like meh. Like the Tiki Lounge, which I am told is nostalgic, but really more of an air conditioned place to sit down for a few minutes while some animatronic birds do schtick above you.

Fun with 3-D.  G only broke 1 set of glasses the whole time we were there!

Fun with 3-D. G only broke 1 set of glasses the whole time we were there!

Muppets!

Yes, we NEED 3 pairs of glasses.

Beauty and the Beast.  Someone wouldn't let me sing, for which the entire auditorium thanks her.  BTW - Gaston had crazy guns (if you know what I'm sayin)!  And we had tickets!!

Beauty and the Beast. Someone wouldn’t let me sing, for which the entire auditorium thanked her. BTW – Gaston had crazy guns (if you know what I’m sayin)! And we had tickets!!

We were in a show, only because they had the $25 light up ears they were hawking, and a certain Disney junkie traveling companion for the day DID NOT tell us if you sit in the front rows during Fantasmic, you get REALLY REALLY wet and spend the whole show wiping mist out of your eyes.

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Someone in this pic knows we're going to get wet...and it wasn't me.  I just thought we had really awesome seats.

Someone in this pic knows we’re going to get wet…and it wasn’t me. I just thought we had really awesome seats.

We rode rides…

Watch Mom turn green!

Teacups!  Watch Mom turn green while Dad spins us like a lunatic!

This is a much better spinning ride.  Even though some 2 year old kicked me off my horse!

This is a much better spinning ride. Even though some 2 year old kicked me off my horse!

Guess who was in charge of pushing the button?  Too high Bear TOO HIGH!!  We're all going to die!!

Guess who was in charge of pushing the button? Too high Bear TOO HIGH!! We’re all going to die!!

I just noticed, look at the lady behind us.  How can you be so blasé on the Dumbo ride?!  She looks like, “I am SO OVER this.”

I wish I had pics of us on the bigger roller coasters, but I was too busy holding onto my kid for dear life, you know, cause they could totally fall out.

But, by far, the most exciting ride…the FastPass machines!!

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These are apparently a thing of the past.  We almost never got to experience the magic of booking it to these machines only to find out they were done for the day or not available until 9 p.m. that night.  If you did get one, which we did a few of them (you tend to get less if you are one of the few crazy people who SLEEP IN while on vacation at Disney), they were awesome.  Remember that scene in Wayne’s World where they had the backstage passes and kept flashing them at everyone?  Well, if not, go see it.  Good movie.  Classic for a 90s teenager.  Anywho, that’s how I felt when we got to bypass all the schmucks in the hour long line.  SUCKAS!  I guess now they all have wristbands that you can go online at the hotel and essentially schedule your time to ride the rides (AHEM Cedar Point!!).  We didn’t have one of these because we were GASP!  offsite hotel vacationers and didn’t get one, so I don’t know much about them other then that sometimes it felt like we were traveling in steerage and not allowed in the fancy parts of Disney.

Another sad moment.  We lost a dear friend.  His name was Balloony.  He was a $10 balloon that wasn’t tied tightly enough to his string.  It was a sad moment in the Magic Kingdom.  And no, we didn’t replace him.  It was $10 freakin dollars.  Every time we saw a balloon vendor walk by, we quickly diverted her attention.  Ah, strategery.

Goodbye friend

Goodbye friend

We stayed one night for the parade.  It was cool.  We had some fun waiting for it.

Fun with Lights

Fun with Lights

Then I said forget this, I have full lives in Candy Crush!

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Then it came on and was pretty dang cool.

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We paid a gazillion dollars for character lunches.

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Um, Daisy, could you come back? I just started this mac n cheese.

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Donald was outside sweating his balls off for a very special photo op.  That guy always gets the short end of the stick.

We had good food.

Mark's happy place.

Mark’s happy place.

Do I have something on my face?

Do I have something on my face?

Get off me!  It's time for ZERTS!

Get off me! It’s time for ZERTS!

The best restaurant had a baby with a leaf on his junk, which is apparently HILarious.

MOM!  Look at this baby!  He's naked!!!

MOM! Look at this baby! He’s naked!!!

I attempted to take a Christmas card photo.

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which clearly failed.

We almost got an eye poked out on Phineas’s nose.

PHINEAS!

PHINEAS!

Basically, we had a good time.  It was exhausting.  Really, you should train for 5 days at Disney.  We were not physically prepared for the strenuousness of it.  Overall though, we had a pretty freakin good time.

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Family pic by our new house.

Family pic by our new house.

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Cabin Fever

Day 3 of Snowmaggedon in Snoledo. We haven’t been out of the house in three days. The youngins are secretly planning mutiny. Their father and I are hiding from them at the moment.

Crazy I tell ya!  CRAZY!

Crazy I tell ya! CRAZY!

Games have been played. Play Doh has been ground into the carpet. Video games are becoming boring. Movies have been watched. All Christmas toys have been opened. All projects have been assembled. Legos are together. Barbies are all fully dressed. I am not sure how much longer I can keep them occupied. They are beginning to get the crazy eyes. The eyes that make you wonder what they are planning. if they are secretly planning something scary. Like nail polish wars or indoor paintball.

Hubby has been here for five days. That’s a long time. I have shaved my legs every single day. It’s -10 right now. Thank God somebody got the snip a few years back. No sense in joining the October baby boom. I don’t think I am the only tired one this time around.

The house is clean, the garage sale pile is getting bigger, and the house is getting organized after 7 years here.

We are running out of things to do. Family time is slowly going to kill us. If you are reading this, I am not sure how much longer we can hold on. We are on our last two hot chocolates for the Keurig and the marshmallows are long gone. There is no ice cream in the house. I fear for our well being. Wish us luck, we may not survive this togetherness.

Snowpocalypse!

Snowpocalypse!

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

“MOOOOM!!!”

Silence. Maybe they won’t see me. Maybe they’ll just go back outside.

“Mom! You have to come see this! There’s a bunny leg that looks dead outside in the yard!”

Uh, no thanks, I’m good here. Just don’t touch anything that looks dead ok?

“No! You have to see this!”

FINE. Reluctantly I step into the yard to see what has my children, as well as the gaggle of neighborhood kids all huddled around my empty flower bed.  Some already have sticks in hand to do what kids do best – poke dead things.

NO ONE TOUCH THAT THING!!

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Yes folks, I had in my mulch just under my bedroom window a completely disemboweled, decapitated squirrel. OK, it turned out to be a bunny, but hey, without a head, it’s difficult to identify. Either way – disgusting.

The thing had died a horrible death. I can’t see a head, maybe it’s tucked up underneath the body. The stomach had been ripped open, with a circular brown organ sitting neatly beside it, as if it’s carnivorous attacker couldn’t stomach it. Seriously, I was waiting for Hannibal Lector to walk around the corner with a nice Chianti and a side of fava beans.

I shooed the kids away, but they were like moths to a flame. One ran to get his mom, as if I had decimated the thing personally and she was the only one who could resuscitate it. G wanted to know why the bunny had to die like that. It’s nature sweetie, some things eat other things. Give me a second to figure out how to explain the food chain to you AFTER I deal with its latest casualty. One kid took sentry up next to it in an effort to dissuade the other kids away with a fully loaded Nerf gun. There was no moving this kid, he was the lookout and that was that. I let him be as I stared at the disgustingness trying to figure out how to handle this.

Ah what the hell, daylight was fading, I was tired. Let’s go find something of Mark’s in the garage to cover it with. Ah Ha! 1 nice empty orange paint bucket will work nicely as I procrastinate one more thing I don’t want to do. So, much to the entire neighborhood’s disappointment, I gently covered the carcass with the bucket and placed a stone overtop so wind, animals or human animals did not knock it over “accidentally.” I kicked everyone out for the evening, went inside and locked the door, fully intending on leaving it for Mark to deal with Saturday morning. Three days later.

The next day, I hemmed and hawed about whether to “man” up and take care of it or leave it to my husband, because you know, I’m just a girl, I’m dainty and frail, and frankly, it’s icky.

Crap. I have to take care of it. What if the neighbor kids touch it, get rabies and die? Hello lawsuit.  Also, what if its young came a hoppin along only to discover its mother brutally murdered and covered with little to no care? Nope, this family has lived through enough as it is. OR what if its sadistic murderer comes back to rip off some legs too? Then I would have even more mess scattered throughout the yard, which would lead to more rabid kids and distraught bunny offspring and grieving bunny husbands. So, I put the kids in front of the TV, suited up and decided to tackle this thing on my own.

With light fading fast, I grabbed the spade shovel out of the shed and walked around to stare at the bucket.

I can’t do this.

Yes I can. People in the country do this all the time.

F you. I live in the CITY for a reason. Plus it’s super dark in the country and you know that’s where murderers lie in wait for their next victims.

OK, calm down….What if I knock the bucket over and something springs up at me? What if it stinks? Do I bury it or throw it out?

After some more staring and Facebook mea culpas, I decided on throwing it in a trash bin (with a bag in it), since burying it was a lot of work, and let’s face it, I didn’t know this bunny. I knocked the bucket over with the shovel and jumped out of the way like it was Frankenstein’s bunny come back to life to eat/kill me for locking it in a bucket for 24 hours. No such luck. Still deader than a doornail.

I took a deep breath, looked pleadingly across the street at the neighbor who is ALWAYS out manicuring her lawn, as if willing her to help me, and dug in. I got a good load of dirt from under it so I couldn’t feel it’s body and dumped it into the waiting trash can. I then proceeded to get the heeby jeebies for the next minute or so (Still no neighborly love coming my way. She’s probably mad at me because every fall I stare out my front window at them tractor vacuuming their leaves up until their yard is spotless, trying to use The Force to will her husband over to my pitiful yard, but alas, never have they come over.).

Once the shakes stopped, I realized this bunny had no head. Wait, isn’t there a rhyme that goes with this?

Fuzzy bunny loves some honey.

Fuzzy bunny lost its head.

Fuzzy bunny wasn’t so fuzzy was he?

No? Not ringing a bell? K. Nevermind.

Then I freak out. WHERE IS THE FREAKIN HEAD? Is there a falcon or hawk somewhere with a trophy nest of bunny/squirrel heads? Does some ‘roided out cat have its head as a necklace to warn all other neighborhood wildlife that it’s not fuckin around? Crap! What if it’s still in the yard somewhere? What kind of creature rips heads off animals?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As you can see, I am a city girl at heart. For some of you, this probably happens with some regularity, but for me, this was a extraordinary experience. I am forever scarred. I will always be on the hunt for your killer, Fuzzy Bunny. I WILL NOT FORGET.

Party Planner

Who wouldn't want to make this kid smile?

Who wouldn’t want to make this kid smile?

I am FREAKING out. I have NO time to be putting together a birthday party for my 7 year old! I want this to be EPIC. But not so epic that we set the bar too high for next year and not enough to put us in debt. But, I want my little boy to be thrilled about his big day.

I just spent around $50 on favor gift bags that if the parents of the kids invited are like me, they will slowly but surely throw each and every crap toy away when said joys of life are looking the other way.

We got a bouncy house to compliment the pool, which will hopefully be warm. The pool, not the bouncy house, because that would be gross. I will hope and pray no one breaks an arm or cracks their head doing something only 7 year old boys can think up.

I am filling up water balloons, because frankly, I’m an idiot and will enjoy picking up balloon fragments for the next three weeks. (I initially used the words “rubber pieces,” but I thought that was a poor word choice.)

I will have to listen to Harlem Shake and Gangham Style no less than 35 times in a two hour period.

I will have roughly 24 kids underfoot, 80% of them boys. Who are all approximately 7 years old. I think I will install a urinal in the garage so as to avoid the puddles of pee I will inevitably find behind my toilet in our one and only bathroom. I’ll have to stock up on toilet paper and soap that’s for sure. HA! Not likely. I am not sure boys know what either of those things are.

Cool part is if we survive this one, we get to do it all again in 3 weeks for my daughter who will be turning 5, who will want no less than the most awesome party ever. If I don’t figure out how to get unicorns to show up, I am so dead to her. It’s our own fault really. Christmastime makes us really randy, so two September birthdays it is. Up until this point we’ve had them together and for family only, but they are now two very different animals, ahem kids, and we had to give them their own parties and not punish them for our Christmas/New Year’s fertility successes.

Do you think she'll buy it?

Do you think she’ll buy it?

Positive points: Cookie cake. Crazy presents and a little boy who will be super excited to see a RC helicopter in the pile. A kiddo who will have the best time and entertain some hopefully long-term friends. Worth it right? I think so.

Wish me luck. If you see me on Saturday, just know I will be at least one Xanax deep. That reminds me, I need to get that prescription filled again. I wonder if they prescribe it in bulk?

THE LIST

THE LIST

Say Goodnight Gracie

When my son turned 1, he was given a gift by my Aunt and Uncle. I always remember this gift because it is a light activated animal puzzle. When you take the piece out it moos, woofs, meows, oinks, and cock-a-doodle-doos per its corresponding animals. My Aunt laughed when I opened it and made the comment she was pretty sure I might not appreciate this as much as Bear would. Well 6 years later, the puzzle is still alive and well, even though various attempts have been made on its life. All but one piece have survived and it can not be found. See if you can guess which one it is. (This by the way is how G is greeted and goodnighted every night/morning whenever we turn the lights on or off. Enjoy.

Stick a Fork in Me

Let me recap my day.

12:01 a.m.  “Mommee, can I sleep with you?”   Waaa?  Um OK, sure. 

1:00 a.m.  G!  STOP KICKING ME!!  “BUT I WANT TO!!!!”

1:05 a.m.  “Mommy?  Do you know I kick you because I love you?”  Thanks G, but maybe you could show it in another way mkay?  Now go to sleep. 

2:00 a.m.  My lower half commences punishment for the lovely soft serve ice cream I treated myself to that evening.  If anyone sees me ordering and/or eating soft serve, milkshakes, etc.  please smack it out of my hand.  Because 2 a.m. is a BITCH.

5:15 a.m.  Commence G screaming and holding her ears in pain and running a low fever.  Run to get Motrin in her and some cold water.  Did I mention yesterday was a week after a tonsillectomy/adenoid removal surgery?  Most kids are raring to go in 2 days, back to doing the usual shenanigans, but no, my G will take the full 2 week recovery time and be miserable the entire time.  I hope and pray it’s worth it.  This has been a hell of a year sickness-wise.

7:00 a.m.  Wake up.  Fortunately got to sleep in a bit because today is the first day of 1st grade!!!  Woo hoo!  I get to pretend I don’t work for a few minutes and get the pleasure of driving my kiddo to school.  Wait, damn.  Started my period.  Commence day of cramps.

8:35 a.m.  Realize I have been farting around for an hour and a half and start screaming for everyone to get in the car, while I haven’t gotten dressed yet and the kids are only halfway there.  Apparently 1.5 hours is not as long as I think it is.

8:55 a.m.  Drop Bear off at school.  Hover nervously until I realize I am making things worse, then leave.  Tear up for God knows why.  I am excited about this day, why am I crying?

 

First day!  Can you see BOTH of them?  hee hee

First day! Can you see BOTH of them? hee hee

 

9:00 a.m.  Drop G off at Grandma and Papa’s cause there’s no way she’s going to back to preschool this week.  Too bad I paid for half a week optimistically.

9:30 a.m.  Get to work.  Receive icy glare from co-worker whom has been dumped with all my work from my yesterday call off due to no sitters and a still sad, pathetic recovering daughter and a late start today due to school starting.  Commence work, attempt to prove I am a team player.  Turn brain off.

3:40 p.m.  Receive frantic call from school secretary.  What number bus is Bear supposed to be on?  What 5, not 6?  He’s NOT supposed to go home, but to daycare?  Just like he’s telling us?  Just like last year?  OHHH.  Well he missed that bus because we told him not to get on the right one, can you come get him?

3:42 p.m.  Calm upset son down.  Call Grandma and Papa frantically.  G/P to the rescue.  All’s fixed.  Make several phone calls to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

3:43 p.m.  Get report from G/P that G is not doing so hot today.  Call ENT AGAIN to be reassured this is very normal and as long as she’s eating and drinking and no fever over 102, she’s on her way to recovery, BUT it could be another week away from being over.  Sigh.

3:45 p.m.  Stare at margarita mix in the fridge (Yes, we have that at work and yes, it’s mine.  It’s not such a bad place to work really.).  Try to figure out if I can have a drink and still drive across town in an hour and then stay awake the rest of the evening.   Decide against.  I am such a friggin trooper.

5:00 p.m.  Due to being late, not in my usual parking place in the Parking Garage of Horrors (aka our underground, multi-level, low ceiling, heavily pillared, tiny parking spaced, hairpin turn building parking garage), I attempt to back out of a space completely opposite what I’m used to and BAM!  Despite, a back up camera, various beeping safety features and blind spot detectors, I have hit a pillar HARD with my just over a year old super pretty mom-mobile.  Now, it looks like this.

Seriously.  Worst.  Driver. EVER.

Seriously. Worst. Driver. EVER.

5:10 p.m.  Call hubby and swear and cry A LOT.  Assurance given that I won’t be killed for car and kids will be OK.

5:30 p.m.  Get to G/P house to be greeted with a homemade dinner and a kind ear.  Guess it all isn’t bad is it?

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.   Return home, bath wrangle (see this post for that experience), be told THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER, simply because I tried to wash her hair.  Get yelled at for making a 6  year old go poop even though he’s farting so bad he’s making it hard to breathe in here. Watch Tinkerbell Secret of the Wings AGAIN.  Read books – Barbie Charm School AGAIN.  (It was G’s night to pick.)

9:00 a.m.  Tell my sad story to you fine folks and listen to my cat yowl from the bedroom.   The one waiting for her turn and her nightly wet nose, pile of hair rubdown.

Stick a fork in me folks.  I’m done.

BUT.  If I was in politics, I would spin it like this.

Snuggle with daughter all night!

Midnight cleanse!

Sleep in later!

I’m not pregnant!

Take kids to school!  See new class and teacher, get to be excited and present as a parent!

I have a job!

I have people to come to my rescue!

I can drink at work!

I have a new car to scrape up!

Supportive husband!

Supportive family!

Free, prepared, delicious dinner!

Quality kid time!

Get love from a devoted kitty!

I guess it’s all in how we look at it right?

Good night y’all.  Here’s to a less eventful tomorrow.

 

 

Birds vs. Monkeys!!

So last night we had a knockdown, drag out fight at the house.  Over what?  Tinkerbell sheets.

My son had a rare accident the night before so I had stripped his bed that morning, and when I went in at 7:30 to change his sheets I realized the only sheets I had available were his sister’s very awesome purple Tinkerbell sheets, since his sister had no problem using his second set of sheets on her bed (complete with race cars).

It pretty much melted down into this conversation.

Why are you putting THOSE sheets on my bed? 

 Because Bear, they’re all I have left that’s clean that will fit on your bed.

Begin face melting, pouting bottom life, and real tears forming.

BUT NOOO!!  I hate those sheets! 

 Why? What’s wrong with these?  I know technically they are your sister’s, but can’t you live with them for a few days?  What’s the harm?

I HATE THEM!  (tears streaming, feet stomping)

 They are the SAME EXACT SHEETS as the ones I usually put on except they’re purple and have fairies on them.  You love the Tinkerbell movies, what’s the big deal?

They’re girl sheets!!!! 

 Pfft.  There’s no such thing you know that.

YES THEY ARE!  

 Why, do you start to feel like a girl when you sleep on them?

No…

Do you think your penis will fall off if you sleep on them?

No…

Then what’s the big deal?  They are actually a bit softer than the ones you usually have.

NO!!!! 

He then proceeds to grab them from me while I am pulling the fitted sheet on the bed and tries to run with it.

FINE!  SLEEP WITH NO SHEETS, I DON’T CARE!  I WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE.

I’ll sleep on the couch!!! 

No, you won’t because your dad’s getting up early and I don’t want him to wake you up at the butt crack of dawn too.

This debate went on for several minutes.  Bear is getting more and more hysterical by the minute.

Seriously kid, I don’t know what the big deal is.  There is no such thing as boy and girl stuff.

So, we compromised.  I took our queen size red sheet and put it over his mattress, tucked it in, and gave him a down comforter that we use as a living room blanket to sleep with (which is purple by the way).  I topped it off with the manliness pillowcases I could find, which (thanks to Grandma Mary) were handmade brown flannels with power tools on them.

Good Lord.

What the heck did I do wrong?  I have been a fairly strict gender neutral mother since before I had kids and I took Women’s Studies 101 my senior year of college.  There I read Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and a slew of other awesome women who informed me of the way we separate our children from birth to act like “girls” or “boys” is horrible.

You will never hear me say, “That’s a girl toy,” or to G “You’re so pretty.”  OK, OK, maybe I do say this a lot, but come on…she is and, in fairness, I say this to Bear too all the time.  I just try hard not to define her by her looks and my son by how strong he is.  I try to balance it out, which usually just turns into awkward run on sentences, much like this one.  So, I end up saying to G, “You’re so pretty! Ah….errr….and smart and funny…”

I am so careful not to tell my boy to “toughen up” or that “boys don’t cry” which leads my husband to accuse me of coddling.  Well so be it.  To tell a boy he’s not allowed to have feelings is ridiculous in my eyes.  Now, I try not to encourage crying as a standard reaction (both tend towards the melodramatic when trying to get their way), however, I do allow either of them to cry if they are sad, scared or hurt in some physical way.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

I want my son to experience whatever he finds interesting, whether it be machines, trucks or ballet.  If the boy wants to put on toe shoes and kick it in tights, I would be overcome with joy.   If G takes up an interest in football, I’d be happy too.  OK, not football, that’s super dangerous.  How about karate where she could learn to kick ass and take names with ample amounts of headgear and mouthguards?  That’s better.

But no, I get two kids who are pretty standard boys and girls.  My daughter is the toughest princess you’ll ever find.  She thinks nothing of donning a pair of fairy wings and a Nerf gun and going after the boys.  My son loves Tinkerbell and has a soft spot for Benji movies, but would rather figure out a Star Wars lego set than color pretty pictures.

Nobody mess with the FAIRY!

Nobody mess with the FAIRY!

Only real men can handle a hose.

Only real men can handle a hose.

So, I guess to sum up, I am doing an OK job of it right?  I want to achieve the right balance of making them tough enough kids for this sadistic real world they will one day be entering and making them comfortable with their feelings and interests and to never be limited by their gender.  My girl plays with cars, Nerf guns and trains. My boy plays with Barbies, dress up clothes and My Little Pony.  If you don’t want yours to do that, then I wouldn’t come to my house, because here they get to play with anything they want.  Except football, because that’s just dangerous.

PS – Happy birthday to my husband, who is on Attempt #2 to get back to work tonight.  So far only an hour delay… Wish him luck, and non-trainee pilots pretty please.  I’d like to keep him for a bit longer….

This One Goes Out to the One I Love

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Dear Diary or whole Internet…whatever,

I have a confession to make.  I might have been a wee bit selfish and assholey about Father’s Day.  It may not have occurred to me to put any effort into it until the actual day.  And then I blew it.  Big time.

First, Mother’s Day was a freakin national holiday for me and I took it VERY seriously.  No one was taking this day away from me.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted and I did not wipe one butthole that was not solely behind me for one whole day.  It was a big deal.  I prepped Mark for weeks that I was taking this day.  No presents.  No cards.  No breakfast in bed (besides the bed was already full of crumbs from my nacho binge the night before anyways).  No need.  JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.  So he did, they did.  Like a boss.  He took the day and enjoyed the kids without me.  It was awesome.

So – he set the bar pretty high right?  I should have followed suit and let him have a day all to himself,  bought him a cool gift, or at the very least become an animal in the sack right?  Nope.  Not at all.  First, I was tired.  We’d been in the sun all day.  I just wanted to sleep for cryin out loud, and since 50 Shades and my new smut addiction have come about, he hasn’t had much to complain about. (Gross, I know, I’ll stop.  I can hear my sister ewwing from 2 miles away.)

AND, I also may have gone a bit over budget this month, so spending any money, even on him, would have just made him mad, so the present was a nonstarter.

My big hang-up, and the thing that made me kind of an asshole, was my whole attitude about the whole thing.  I might have had the teeny tiny thought that he didn’t deserve a day off.   I do the work Monday through Friday.  I wipe the butts (can you tell I’m getting a wee bit tired of doing this?), I use all my vacation on mystery fevers, I worry what the mystery fevers are, I pack lunches, I fix dinner (kind of, they get fed anyways, PB&J counts people), I chauffeur to med checks, doctors, soccer, karate, daycare and so on.  I work full time, do the pick ups, rush home to fix dinner (kind of, see above), unpack, OK, I’m getting tired of typing this, let’s just say I do a lot.  By myself.

So, I kind of got my panties in a bunch and ignored any sort of planning or putting any thought into the day.  I may not have given him the day because this was his first time home in two weeks and I NEEDED him to be with the kids.

Problem is, he didn’t deserve my attitude.  His job isn’t his choice, a sucky local job market makes it so he has to travel to find work.  It’s a good job, good pay with a good company and an awesome opportunity for him that at the same time allows our family to stay put near our support systems and surroundings with which we are familiar.   He gets to come home every weekend mostly and when he does, he hits the ground running.

He gets home, maintains the outside (with the exception of my May only gardening helpfulness), does trash duty, pool duty, fixes all that’s been broken (because I’m just a girl, math is hard!), helps out his family, and cooks all the weekend meals.  This is all in addition to organizing fun nights like outdoor movie night, trips to the Zoo, swim parties and cookouts.  All with two kids hanging off him.  Then he catches a 7 a.m. flight back to his hotel “home.”

So, it’s not like he’s livin the dream either.  And he hates it.  I mean, the job is great, but it’s the crazy number of miles away with no end in sight that bites.  Plus, he’s a way better dad than I’ll ever be a mom, even just two days a week.  Sure, he might miss a few details and match G in horrendous clothes, but really, there’s not much to complain about regarding his parenting skills.  He has more energy, more creativity, and basically the mentality of a 12 year old.  No wonder kids love him.  He’s wicked fun, indefatigable (word of the day toilet paper), and the most creative dad on the planet.  Oh yeah, and none of it’s forced.  Even before we had kids, I could find him playing with his nieces and nephews when the rest of the adults were being all grown uppity together.

So, this is my public apology.  I am sorry honey for being such an asshat.  You know I’m not perfect and you love me anyways.  You’ve put up with me for close to 18 years and this is no where near my first fuck up.  I’ll make it up to you.  Maybe with some steak, Killian’s and a rowdy romp in the hay once the kids go to bed.  What can I say, he’s easy to please.  No ties for this guy…well maybe we’ll throw some ties in there, you know, just for fun.  🙂

Outdoor movie night...Come on!!!  Suck at something will ya?!

Outdoor movie night…Come on!!! Suck at something will ya?!

Real men wear pink and watch the babies

Real men wear pink and watch the babies

You may see a smartass, I see a man unloading the dishwasher.

You may see a smartass, I see a man unloading the dishwasher.

He was a LAMP for christsakes!  I love lamp.

He was a LAMP for christsakes! I love lamp.

And this.  Just. This.

And this. Just. This.