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Next Life, NO Kids: November 2012

November 27, 2012

Seriously though, WTF?

I'm starting to seriously wonder if my son's elevator goes to the top floor. Some of the stuff he does is beyond ridiculous, and while I know it is not his plan to drive me bat-shit crazy, he's wicked good at it.

How more women don't go completely insane with all sorts of children under five in their homes baffles me. I've almost called the men in white coats, several times this week, and begged them to take me away; and it's only Tuesday!

Some of the shit he does could be considered adorable; like when he uses the sharp edge of our square coffee table to scratch his butthole through his jeans? Priceless. The way he eats pancakes with cherry tomatoes for breakfast? Okay, that's just gross...but in a cute way.

Playing with his sticker book today, he managed to place seven stickers in a row, perfectly aligned and symmetrical... on my hard wood floor. You may be asking, why I wasn't watching him. I was in the bathroom, with the door open and the baby seat in the doorway. I was gone for maybe four minutes. 

He's crafty, that is for sure.

Have you ever had one of those days you're sure you're kids are special, but not in a good way? Me too.Seriously though, WTF?

So, the question is, do I frame this portion of the floor and send this picture to a gifted toddler academy, or do I punish him for ruining my hardwood? Here are a couple more examples of his possible "eccentricity."
     
  • He has decided he doesn't want to wear long sleeved shirts anymore, and is willing to fight to the death in order to not have to. Jackets are currently also completely out of the question.
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  • He's sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. I leave the room for fifteen seconds, and when I return, the popcorn is gone and he's pouring the un-popped kernels between the couch cushions.
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  • He finds one of my daughter's bobby pins, and proceeds to poke the baby's face with it. Not like a quick jab either, but rather a slow stabbing. This makes me wonder if he'll one day find pleasure in torturing baby kittens.
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  • I'm sitting behind the baby's swing, changing the batteries, and he pulls back the bucket part and slams it into my head. I told my husband this, and he asked me if I really thought he'd done it on purpose; he is "only three," after all. I replied that his attempt to repeat the process a second time, after bashing my face, pretty much solidified my belief that he did, in fact, know what he was doing.
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  • I'm up to my elbows in yellow, seedy baby shit and he is jamming the book Where The Wild Things Are into my face and repeating "Read this, read this, read this."
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  • The baby is in his bouncy seat. getting his drool on, and the three year old sprawls himself ON TOP of the baby and strikes a pose.
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  • We're watching a movie on the couch. He picks up the DVD remote, bonks the baby on the head, and then looks up at me with a blank stare.  

    Seriously though... WTF?

    I get the whole sibling rivalry/jealousy thing, I do. I was an only child for nine years, and remember pushing my brother down as soon as he learned to stand, but Jesus. It's non-stop ridiculous shit around here.

    His looks say, 'What? What are you going to do? I just assaulted the baby with this remote, and I'm not sorry. Oh, and you suck.'

    There are days I literally look around for a camera crew, or expect someone to hop out the bushes and say, "Ha! Just kidding."

    For the record, I do not enjoy these days and anyone who says I should is stupid. I love my kids and I'm grateful to be a mother, but let's be really clear. Cleaning fucking cream cheese off of my living room curtains will never be fun, no matter how I spin it.

    Right now the three year old is "cleaning" the bookshelf, a.k.a. taking his books off and throwing them all over the room. 

    It's unclear at this point if I should be celebrating my eccentric little genius or contacting a stellar child psychologist.

    There is no way I could have prepared for this kind of joy.





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    November 26, 2012

    Black Friday Restored My Faith In Humanity

    Like so many other crazy people, desperate for great deals, (and some "me time"), I ventured out to stand in line on Black Friday in hopes to get some.

    There's a crazy-ass sense of camaraderie in a line on Black Friday, similar to that of a 12-step program; where primary purpose trumps personal difference and the bonding process can begin. As long as your need in no way effects mine, we're sisters in the fight for thrift, soldiers on the same side of the war, protected and given refuge by the red shopping cart barrier between Us and Them. Those that will try to infiltrate security and sneak in between us will be met with women ready and loyal to our pack. We need that camera or television and are perfectly willing to bite the face of anyone standing between us and it and that is understood. Something happens between us the moment we start losing feeling in our faces and toes, and we become one. In the safety of that line, I would have agreed to give any one of them a kidney, as long as the surgery was scheduled after I got my camera.

    When I got to Target at around 10:15pm, I was greeted by a very cute 20-something who I will refer to as, "Cute Drunk Girl"and her boyfriend Anthony.  They promised to hold my spot in line after I realized I had left my cell phone in the car. Anyone who has ever partaken in the sacred act of Black Friday shopping, knows that this is a very big deal, especially from a complete stranger.

    We bonded immediately, and when I plopped a squat on the cold concrete after I returned, she joined me. She proceeded to tell me that her hot chocolate was 80% Baileys because that's how Thanksgiving rolls at her house. It's important to note that I instantly fell in love with Cute Drunk Girl, and that she reminded me of my dear friend Stacy. I imagine that Stacy was a lot like this girl before she got sober and it was awesome to get the chance to learn every detail about her life in the 2.5 hours we spent together. Anthony is clearly a saint.

    After a while a couple of women from the front of the line walked back and made it clear that they were coming back and to please not get crazy when they did. Obviously, these ladies were no strangers to the political aspects of Black Friday insanity.  Jokingly, I told one of them that I was memorizing her face so that I could have her back when they returned.

    We shared the free samples of Luna bars that were passed out and agreed that they tasted like shit. I was offered Pregnant Girl That Had To Pee's last piece of gum, and was considered when The Lady That Left Line got to McDonalds. She brought me back a coffee to thank me for memorizing her face! The Girl With The Pink Hat and her Lesbian Sister went out of their way to grab me the camera I wanted before I had the chance to get to the electronics department. Who knows if I would have gotten one without their kindness.

    The point is that I was a part of something amazing last Thursday. I bonded with women that I had never met, that I will probably never see again, and whose names I obviously never got. We were kind to each other for no other reason than just to be kind and I am SO happy I ventured out. I got everything on my list and then some and left with a huge smile on my face.

    So, thank you Cute Drunk Girl, Saint Anthony, Lady That Left The Line, and Girl With The Pink Hat for making my night. I appreciate the laughs Lesbian Sister. Thanks for the gum Pregnant Lady That Had To Pee, I hope you got to pee.

    Thank you ALL for restoring my faith in humanity.

    BFFF :)





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    November 22, 2012

    Stay tuned for Turkey Day ridiculousness.

    A whole, entire day with my immediate and extended family should make for a ridiculous amount of material for a hilarious blog post. Stay tuned. 

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!


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    November 20, 2012

    My Life Is Definitely A Comedy

    I would like to start off by thanking God for my terrific sense of humor, without which I would have probably slit my wrists years ago.

    One morning this week I came downstairs to make my coffee and heard the familiar song "Taking care of business" coming from underneath my kitchen table. Nicholas was playing with his toy car which for some stupid reason plays that song while it flashes and drives. Moments later, out pops my son.

    "Can you change my pants please?"

    I will forever associate that song with taking a dump now, thanks Nicholas.

    I have been assured that at some point he will, when he is ready, maybe go to the bathroom, in the bathroom, on his own. My hope is that day I will not be needing the Clorox Bleach to clean it off the walls or something. My life is a comedy, so I have learned to expect these sort of mishaps.

    There are so many reasons that the relationship I have with my sixteen year old daughter belongs in a sitcom, or at least on some SNL skit. Between her multiple personality disorder, and her periodic demonic possessions, my days are simply filled with opportunities to laugh myself silly. These come into play not so much when she's yelling, swearing, and slamming/kicking doors. No no, that is to be expected right? She is after all a teenaged girl. No, these come into play ten minutes after an episode when she returns to the room and calls me "Mumma"in a tone that would suggest that she's about to ask me to wipe her ass or help her insert a tampon or something. WTF?


    I should probably thank Tom, my father,  for teaching me how to roll through just about anything with a sarcastic remark and a jab. 

    Dear Dad, 

    I'm sorry I hated you when I was sixteen. Thanks for not punching me in the face...repeatedly...with a rock.

    Love, Julie


    My life is definitely a comedy.



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    November 11, 2012

    I Hate My Teenaged Daughter

    I do, I hate her.

    The thing I hate the most about her is the fact that I love her so much. She's wretched to me, and I've lost count of how many times she's told me to kill myself this year. I hate that she hates me and no matter what I ever say and do it's always wrong. I despise the fact that I don't know how to help her through the worst year of her life. Sixteen sucks no matter who you are and under even the best of circumstances.

    I hate how much I can identify with the pain of being a teenager. I hate the face that her pain presents and how often my reactions to that face mirrors it. I feel like a failure as a mother if I don't give her everything she wants and also when I do. Mostly because either way she acts like an ungrateful shithead.

    I hate that I can't seem to reach her, to let her know that she's never alone as long as I'm alive. Even after I'm gone, I'll be with her. Hoping that it's my voice that she hears when in doubt and wondering which direction to turn.


    Teenaged daughter giving you a run for your money? You'll relate to this. #teengirls #motherhood #hopeless
    I hate that this is always so hard, and that no one has yet come up with some sort of step-by-step instruction manual for raising girls. So much has changed over the years with the introduction to social media, but we can't come up with anything useful?

    I hate that I feel so alone in the fight for my daughter's future; that integrity seems to have been thrown out the window and been replaced with complacency and appeasement. Any sign of discomfort is met with a hug and lollipop when sometimes a good 'ol pep talk and a push to make improvements might better suit the situation.

    As much as I hated my father for always offering logical advice and for never joining me in a good cry, he's always been right. Never have I taken action to make something better and felt worse for it, even if it didn't turn out the way I had planned.

    I hate that this generation doesn't seem to get "it", whatever "it" is. Mostly, I dislike that it's entirely my fault for cushioning the falls so many times. How can we expect our kids to brush off their knees and get back on the horse if we're always walking beside it, making sure they don't go too fast, fear a fall, or hit the ground?

    I hate that I have more fear for my daughter's future than she seems to. I hate that we can't seem to talk without someone yelling, and I hate that nothing is solved with kiss from Mommy anymore. When she hurts, I feel it and when she's angry,  I'm almost always to blame.

    I hate that it's usually my fault that she's miserable, it's my job to make everything better, and that I will never live up that. She doesn't seem to understand how much I love her and that limits, boundaries, and consequences are set BECAUSE I do. I'm actually NOT trying my best to ruin her life, I'm just trying to make it better for her in the long-run. I hate that she can't see that far and that I can't seem to remember that she's unable to. She's not intentionally avoiding it, she's biologically incapable of thinking that far ahead. She's not adamantly opposed to logic, she just can't use a part of her brain that hasn't developed yet. I hate that I can't wrap mine around that fact when I'm frustrated with her lack of reason.

    The thing I hate the most is my complete inability to hate her.

    I REALLY hate that.






    photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc

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    November 09, 2012

    WATCH THIS

    "YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL"

    I love this guy. He's 100% right. I'm inspired and find myself saddened that some of those kids were probably not.  How many of their mommies called the school to complain I wonder?

    I am somewhat consoled by the fact that I am not the only one with a teen that thinks she's super special, but also floored by the FACT that it is totally my fault.


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    I FAIL at Motherhood


    If my only job as a parent is to teach my daughter that there are consequences to every action, I have failed. I have fallen short of this one duty because I was afraid that she would hurt.  I have acted like a buffer between her, discomfort and pain.

    Over the years her teachers have done the same. At the inevitable end of every term, when she is presented with the possibility of failure due to, DOING NOTHING ALL TERM EXCEPT LOOKING PRETTY, it is the teachers that run around to make sure that she makes up the work that she has missed. Faced with her heightened level of anxiety and the fear that she will fall into a pit of depression, WE fix it.

    Somehow we have made parenting these kids about us. We have perhaps feared judgement as parents if our kids fail so we have done our best to enable success. We have made sure that when our kids felt sad, they left our company feeling special. I cannot count how many times I have consoled my daughter by telling her that she's amazing, and beautiful, and smart, and great. In fairness, she is, but my opinion of what is fact is NOT going to carry her through college and a career. She's barely making Cs and was quoted just yesterday as saying that "Cs are good Mom" to which I replied, "Yes, Cs are good...for people who are average." Woops. Foiled again.

    So, out of fear of my child's failure grounded primarily in worry that it would reflect on me, I have taken responsibility for her every flaw. Now, I'm sitting here wondering why she seems to have zero pride or ambition and can't wipe her own ass (figuratively of course, ...probably).

    This morning is a perfect example.  I made sure that she was up at 6:15 to ensure that she would be to school on time. I made sure to remind her that I would not be driving her the mile today because I have both small kids and it's frigid. So, she laid around in her bed for another 40 minutes while I watched the clock and my anxiety grew. She then came downstairs and sat on the couch, eating her second helping of toast, still in the clothes she fell asleep in last night. She seemed to be unaware of the fact that it was 7:24 and she was due AT school in six minutes. 

    I was "annoying" her and was told to "shut up" when I brought the time to her attention. She informed me that it was because she had to walk that she had decided to take her time. I was of course confused by this statement, and tempted to argue with this "logic" which only caused her to raise her voice, which prompted my three year old to do the same. Every cell in my body was screaming at this point that she needed to get up and get ready to go. She sensed this and sprawled out on the couch with her feet up. Why was I shocked by this? Oh yeah, I wasn't. 

    She had to walk so she decided to settle in until she was ready to trudge to school. Actually, let me use a different word because trudge means to "walk with purpose" and the only thing she was doing with purpose was irritating me. She knew that I was bothered by the fact that she was still in her sweatpants because I voiced it four times....okay, maybe ten. I begged her to keep in mind that colleges will also be paying attention to her attendance during consideration. She said that if I drove her, she'd go get ready right then. Even while typing this I can feel the anxiety and anger. She didn't seem to care at all that she was going to miss an entire class. Why did I care? Oh yes, because it will reflect poorly on my ability to parent. 

    Did I set up that dynamic? I don't know why I would have, and certainly don't remember trying to. Maybe it's because I was young when I had her. I started fearing the judgement of older women when I'd get that look walking around all seventeen and pregnant. Sadly there were no television shows glorifying or "normalizing" teen pregnancy back then. 

    8:40a: She asked if she looked okay. WTF?????? You're an HOUR late for school, which is clearly my fault, and you're priority is whether you look okay? I'm at a complete loss. 

    8:50a:  She finally went to school. 

    9:05a: A call from her cell phone asking if I can look around the house for the five dollar bill she might have dropped. I found it. She asked me to bring it to her because she was at Dunkin Donuts and needed it to pay for her coffee. I made it clear to her that I had no intention of bringing it to her and that she should get to school. She said she was coming back home to get it and I told her that the door was locked and she would not be let in. AGAIN, I suggested that she should just walk her butt to school. Her response? 

    "Fuck off Mom, just fuck off then," and then she hung up.

    A minute later she called back, but I have no idea why because I sent the call to voice mail. 

    I fucking suck at this.

    photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc

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    November 05, 2012

    Therapy is Depressing


    It has been my experience that most therapists are crazy. Obviously, I don't wish to invite more insanity into my life, so it’s been difficult to find someone I feel comfortable enough to speak openly with.

    Most often I have been motivated to escape life with three kids and have an entire 50 minutes to talk about myself while someone sits quietly and listens. 
     
    Unfortunately, once on the couch I am reminded that therapy is depressing. Recalling the years I have spent working diligently to avoid feelings by taking part in what the shrinky community calls “compulsive behavior,” I usually leave the office feeling worse than when I walked in.

    Yes, I used to drink like a wino, smoke like a chimney, sleep with unavailable morons, and drive too fast. After getting sober and doing some extensive work on myself, I outgrew or simply overused many of my old behaviors, and gained some valuable tools which have enabled me to better cope with life. Still, even though I have these tools, I remain human, fallible, and terminally flawed.
     
    I don’t drink, smoke, or sleep with morons anymore, but I still struggle very much with eating disorders.
     
    Even before becoming a raging alcoholic, I struggled with anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-eating.  These are not the most glamorous vices, but what the fuck do I have left? I don't have a lot of options for immediate relief, and sometimes it even works for a minute. I play with food like a cat with yarn. I have beaten myself up about being too fat while drowning in cake and I have punish myself with starvation. Self awareness, although not the cure for anything, has allowed me to participate in all sorts of nonsense in the name of the healing process. I have learned how to take it easy on myself, and the true definition of the word "process," by swinging on a pendulum in search of emotional and physical contentment.
     
    While my preschooler and teenager struggle to find their place in the world (ie throw things and scream), I struggle with the stress of spinning too many plates. I try my best to take care of everyone, while maintaining some semblance of sanity and self. It’s stressful, and it hurts, and I constantly lose the battle for control and head to the fridge. I weigh the options of prayer, meditation, exercise, or something else healthy, and then I binge. I trade one bad feeling for another, and I know it's a choice. It’s not about the food, it’s about control. I eat to trade emotional pain for physical and avoid whatever underlying (fill in the blank) situation I'm facing.

    I know better. 
     
    So, after hitting yet another low and stone wall, I made the decision to subject my thoughts and feelings to the professional evaluation of a head shrinker.  
    I made an appointment, filled out the pile of paperwork, and made my way into the comfy chair in her office. Hands crossed on her lap, she leaned her head to one side and asked what brought me in. I told her the short version of my story - the alcoholism and recovery - the long history with the eating disorder, and my seeming inability to stop stuffing my feelings with food.
    After listening intently to my issues, struggles, and feelings of hopelessness, she asked if I was open to suggestion. 

    "Obviously."

    Here's what she came up with...
    “I think that the next time you are in this situation, you should try to be gentle with yourself.” This sounded great, and I was immediately satisfied... but then she continued.
     
    “When you find yourself about to over-eat, I want you to say to yourself, inside and out, 'Hey food,..." I think my jaw might have dropped at this point, but I was too intrigued to stop her.

    "...I appreciate that you have been here for me during some really stressful times. You have helped me over the years to get through some pretty tough stuff when I needed you to and I am grateful. However, this situation that I’m facing right now is not one that I can’t handle. I don't need your help. I can do this. I got this one.” 

    I could tell that she was proud of her incredibly deep insight into my soul, and as she calmly opened her hands, raised her eyebrows, and awaited my response.
    I couldn’t speak. I was too afraid to fall into a fit of uncontrollable laughter or walk out so I simply stared at her and tried not to blink. 

    After about a minute, she broke the silence with an observation that I was looking at her like she was crazy. 

    Accurate.  
     
    Dude, you just suggested that I talk to fucking food! That when I'm stressed and overwhelmed and can't function - when I feel so out of control and crazy I can't breathe - when all I want is 20 fucking seconds of relief, I should have a heart-to-heart chat with a bag of chips. Yes, I think you're fucking crazy. Be thankful it's only a look, because what I really want to do was demand my twenty bucks back and give you a roundhouse kick to the throat. 
     
    Thank God (for both of us) our time was up.
     
    I left the appointment, drove straight home and had a long, meaningful chat with what was left of my son’s Sponge Bob Square Pants birthday cake...and then I ate it.

    Don’t judge me... 
     therapy is depressing.
     

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    If you want to be miserable, think about yourself; about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you, what people think of you; and then to you nothing will be pure. You will spoil everything you touch; you will make sin and misery for yourself out of everything God sends you; you will be as wretched as you choose.
    Charles Kingsley

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