I know what you love to hear: Excuses from bloggers on how they’re too busy to blog. Or! Better yet! They are just busy enough to update their own blog sporadically but too busy to read your blog and actually make a contribution. Meanwhile, you’re reading their updates and contributing selflessly.
Excuses, Excuses. And, as a teacher, I know excuses.
I have my own excuses that I will not bore you with. Instead, I will tell you that I’ve thought of you, I’ve read your comments, I’ve wanted to respond, I’ve read your website and wanted to respond, I’ve drafted several posts in my head, including but not limited to:
“Which comes first, the Mullet or the Motorcycle?”
“A math question: If I ate my weight in popcorn, how much popcorn would I eat?”
“For a straight ‘A’ student, I flunked it twice.”
“Times I think I suck as a parent.”
“How I ruined potty training in a single afternoon simply by letting her wear panties.”
“Nothing says white trash like a toddler in a panties and a wife-beater on the balcony. Unless the toddler strips off her panties and poops, then you’re a Flinger.”
And, finally, a post I wanted to share for a few weeks and never got around to placing it on You-Tube:
Originally shared with family on Feb 16th, now making a debut here for the Entire Internet. Why? Because I encourage you to embrace your inner hick.
Tonight we have a bit of an issue here in Flingerville. I say issue lightly, since one of us is screaming our heads off and the other two are sitting in a huff on opposite sides of the house. Most days of the week, Mr. Flinger and my parenting strategy align nicely. And when it doesn’t, we always back the other up because that’s what a parental unit does; Back each other up. We’ll discuss our reasons for or against a decision in our own space, but never in front of the child. I call this parenting 101.
I decided to wash the beloved blanket and buddy combination because LB was around a few (dozen) sick kids today. I always wash all of the school items since we’ve had a rough winter hosting more viruses than a Microsoft Computer. (Geek humor, sorry.) Today was no exception. I threw the pink buddy, the beloved blanket, and the pillow in the wash.
Then I forgot about them.
This is, I believe, a cardinal sin punishable by death in the eyes of a two year old. The BELOVED is in the wash, dripping wet, when bed-time hits. The BELOVED is still tumble drying when the lights go out. The BELOVED is being asked for, called out for, screamed for.
Mr. Flinger feels the longer she carries on, the longer she will not get her Beloved. I, on the other hand, feel sympathetic because over the past two weeks or so, she’s developed a poor sleeping pattern on nights she goes to school, calling out for Mommy and crying with nightmares in her sleep. The mommy side of me crumbles not only with guilt but empathy as my first born daughter struggles with change, not unlike her mom did (does). And, if I’m being honest here, because her mom still owns, can locate, and covets her own Beloved.
That’s right, Internet. I know where my baby blanket is. The Beloved that went to school with me (only a handful of times in preschool before I was made fun of and kept it at home). The Beloved that got put away when I was in forth grade, brought out, got packed, and carted along when I moved to college, moved at least dozen times but always in a box or a drawer or a location that I knew. I still know where it is, to this day, thirty one years later. I remember my dad joking once that he gave up trying to get me to toss it. He told my Uncle he’d let my husband deal with it. He wasn’t too far off.
On the one hand, we want our kids to have a better life than our own, to be more secure, to be more confident, to not be weak when we were. But there is an understanding when your daughter is crying for her blanket, the one blanket you sewed that one time, the one blanket she’s had for her entire life. I can understand getting rid of the binki. I know she’ll need to grow out of her diapers. I get why she couldn’t stay in her crib forever.
But a blanket?
I remember getting together with Mrs. JB at the puddle park this summer where she waddled, 8 months pregnant, from her car and then exclaimed, “I swear this kid is going to just fall out.” I laughed because HAHA! A kid just falling out, that’s funny. I never felt like that with LB. In fact, even with months of Braxtin-Hicks contractions and the fear of pre-term labor, as my due date got closer, it became evident LB was not leaving on her own accord. In fact, it was never so apparent as the minute they yanked her out via c-section.
Even still, having not stretched out the canal to all hell and not having a pelvis that spreads enough to let ye large noggin’ through, I still feel as though this child is going to simply fall out when I “hurry” across the street. (I say “hurry” with quotes because, seriously, I do not hurry.) Waddling around the outlet malls last weekend, I realized at one point that I had pressure Down There. Having never felt said pressure, I leaned to Mr. Flinger and whispered, “I swear to god, this child is about to slip out.” He laughed. I laughed. I peed a little.
I’ve decided it’s best that I take up the “I’m pregnant and large” attitude and kick up my feet more often now, even while gritting my teeth because I ate yet another root-beer float and the weight is rapidly rising not unlike those herding buffalo. My preconceived notion of working out until the birth, the mounds of vegetables and low-fat protein, the water I would consume, have all but gone down the drain. In its place, I waddle across the street or from location to location, I struggle to put on my socks, I no longer carry my child telling her, “I have a one kid limit.” It’s not exactly romantic.
Instead, I concentrate very hard on not letting a baby slip out of my hayhay. Because some days, I swear to you, he is aiming for a sneak-peak.
My lovely, darling, always sunshine of a daughter recently became opinionated. There are activities she likes and those she most certainly does not. She loves kicking the soccer ball, loves watching Dora, loves going shopping. She hates eating broccoli, she hates taking a nap, she hates brushing her teeth. We do all of these activities regardless of her passion for or against each one, however, she is more than welcome to voice her opinion. We listen. We nod. Then we make her do it anyway.
When she decided one day that she’d like to go swimming, I thought, “Well, yea! What do you know! *I* like to go swimming! *I* am walking around fighting gravity with my big ol’ belly and *I* would like to get in the water, too!” So we got our swimsuits, called around the local pools, gathered up friends, and headed out.
Anyone with a toddler knows what a pain in the ass swimming is. It’s not just the shaving of the legs (hello? Legs? Where’d you go?) the hayhay (I think I had one once and it got me to my current state, although I can’t find it anywhere to save my life…) or wearing the swim suit in public. It’s not just the fact that you search high and low for those coveted swim diapers that do not get put on the shelves until June in this godforsaken rainy state. It’s not just the towel you pack, the shampoo for you both, the change of clothes, the lock for the locker, the money to get in. It’s not just that you have to change your squirmy self-reliant “ME DO IT!” two foot person in a crowded locker room where old ladies frown and curse while rubbing lotion on their wrinkled fat. It’s not just those things, no, it’s the fact that the moment you step in to the pool, your toddler will have a major melt down and exclaim, “I WANNA GO HOME!!!”
Or is that just us?
We were in the pool probably ten minutes before LB decided she was finished, she wanted out, she was scared to death of the jets streaming water in to the pool. She was cold. She was hungry. She was tired. It was an hour and a half of getting ready for ten minutes of “fun” before she decided it was enough. She was finished. She wanted out.
I cursed, made her stay in the water just a little while longer, tried to play with her. Finally I gave up, got her out and did the forty-five minute routine to get us cleaned up and back home swearing the whole way to the child eating her crackers in the back seat, “We won’t go swimming ever again if you don’t appreciate it when we’re there. Do you hear me?” I looked in the mirror expecting to see my mother and was shocked to see it was my own mouth telling her, “I’m not going to do this if you don’t appreciate it. Understand?!”
Because I’m slow to learn, I listened to my child when she asked to play soccer. “You want to take soccer lessons? Ok! *I* like soccer! *I* would love to have you in soccer. Why not! It’s a family sport!” so off I went and signed her up for tiny two-year-old soccer. I was giddy.
She’s done nothing but talk about how she gets to start soccer. Soccer was the winning bribe during naptime. Soccer is the sole reason she went to bed last night. Soccer! oh! We start Soccer today!
Literally four minutes in to practice where fifteen two year olds run chasing fifteen very tiny balls, my daughter decides she does not want to do soccer. She, in fact, is cold and wants to go home. NooooOOOOOo. HOoomMMMEEEE. She is tired. She is crying. She’s the only child not kicking the multi-colored soccer ball and I’m the only parent not recording it on camera. Hello Seattle! I’m certain there are pictures of my child’s tantrum on the Internet somewhere in the background of “Jonny’s first day of soccer!” My kid will be the one in the blue coat covered with grass as she rolls around yelling to go home.
Finally it is time to leave and we pack her in the car and start driving home. She’s happily eating her snack and begins to talk all about soccer. “Kick the ball! It’s fun! Play with your friends!” Mr. Flinger and I look at each other and roll our eyes. “Yes, LB,” I say, “we’ll go back next week and try again. Maybe we’ll go early so you can kick the ball before your friends show up, ok?” “Ok!” “But listen, no more crying at soccer, ok? We want to go kick the ball with our friends and play soccer with mommy and daddy, right?” LB thinks for a minute, “Ok!” I think I’m making major strides until she asks,
“Can we go swimming?”
One day, way too soon for my taste, my daughter is going to say ugly things to me that I know she doesn’t mean. She’s going to be on the other side and I’ll wonder how long it will last. She’s going to want anyone and everyone except her mother. I know it won’t last forever. And I want to tell my future self that now.
Because tonight, March 22nd, 2007, I became “The Mommy.” I’ve been the mommy for a few years. I’ve been there to feed her and rock her and change her. I’m there to teach her and help her get her shoes on, even now when she yells, “ME DO IT!!!” I’m there every morning she wakes up to hear her little voice say, “I awake! I slept good!” But tonight, I became The Mommy.
Tonight she woke up from a bad dream and called out for us. She cried, wanting to be kissed and her back rubbed. She screamed and when Daddy came racing up the stairs and in to her room, there was no consoling that would make it ok. He was daddy. She wanted The Mommy. She wanted me.
I went upstairs in my waddling way, and climbed in to her bed next to her. I asked her what’s wrong and what she needs. She giggled through her tears and said, “Mommy!” I patted her back, rubbed her for a minute. I kissed her forehead and said good-night, I love you, sleep tight.
Then I went out in the hall and cried a few happy tears. I looked at Mr. Flinger. “When did I get to be The Mommy?” I asked. He smiled. It doesn’t matter.
I’m The Mommy.
I have this disease Mr. Flinger calls “Herding Buffalo.” It usually occurs when life is in complete chaos and there is little time for anything. It usually happens when an idea enters my busy brain and suddenly it can’t get out. The single idea turns in to fifty things that need to be done RIGHT! NOW! and suddenly there is the sound of herding buffalo in my head.
Right now, I have Herding Buffalo.
I last got Herding Buffalo when we were moving to Seattle. It came up often during the moving process, since moving is a bit stressful, especially moving states and jobs. Instead of writing a list of simple things such as “Sell House. Get rid of Crap. Buy House. Get moving truck. Move.” I started getting dizzy with details. Once the “sell house” entered my head, I was crazy with lists of things we had been meaning to do for two years. “Fix stairs in backyard to playhouse” “get rid of dog pot-holes” “plant flowers” “re-landscape!” “Add on second story!” “Have roof replaced!!”
Each item gets louder and bigger. Each item grows from necessity to complete obscenity. Each time there is another buffalo and suddenly I’m crying under the kitchen sink because OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH WE HAVE TO DO. Mr. Flinger would look at me and say, “I have “sell house” on my list. That’s. It.”
Sometimes I wish I was a simple man.
I make todo lists. This is not a huge shocker since I’m anal and bit compulsive. I like a clean house. I like bills paid on time. I like things neat and done and marked off the list. The first item on my list? “MAKE TO DO LIST”. It’s instant gratification. As soon as I’ve done my list, I have something to mark off.
Right now my list is longer than Santa’s. “Grade things, Do dishes, Respond to email…” it’s dull and long and makes my brain spiral in to, “Paint kitchen” “Re-sand diaper changing table” “Add shelves to hallway!” “GET NEW CAR!” It spirals out of control until I have “MOVE FROM TINY TOWNHOUSE” in big bold letters underlined at the bottom.
Like that’s going to happen.
I’m working on priorities. I’m working on those items that actually have a deadline versus those items that pop up simply because I’m flustered. I’m working on breathing while accomplishing a task or two and knowing that my todo list might not get finished each day but it’s an ongoing project.
And most of all, I’m trying to not be angry at myself when I hear the Herding Buffalo. Instead, I’m trying to let them run, roam a bit, and realize that I really can wrangle them back in. I just stay out of their way for now. I know they don’t last forever.
A long long time ago, I got knocked up. We saw our first little pebble of a person, a Lima Bean, if you will, in March of ‘04. She was tiny, had no hands and a tail. She was known as LB and remained “Lima Bean” in my head for weeks, even beyond the time her tail developed in to legs and her movements caused actual feeling and she could bounce off the wall with force. She remained a Lima Bean because I couldn’t picture a baby growing in me. She was LB. She was tiny. It never changed.
This baby was dubbed “Coffee Bean” well before his conception. I made a decision we could name the next one “C.B.” and thought coffee bean was a cute transition in to keeping his initials. I actually put thought in to this months before he was here. I was proud of my geeky self. My bad-ass-naming-my-fetus-cutesy-names self.
Now I’m wondering if I was drunk when I thought this up. (As a side note: Oohhh, Drunk…. remember drunk? Me either.)
I’ve mentioned how this baby is more of a person to me this time. He is more real. He is a baby. I talk to him and we call him “Pooper” just like we do LB. We call him by name and talk to LB about her baby brother. She lifts my shirt to say “HI! I love you!” and we let her know he’s part of the family. I don’t have the same pregnant anxiety ridden dreams I did last time. I do not see the baby coming out of my stomach in a clear glass bubble. I do not have a see-through uterus where she tries to tell me things. It’s strange and wonderful at the same time.
With LB we didn’t have her name picked out until week 37. For some reason this gave me a ton of anxiety. This time, however, we have a name. He is a little baseball hat wearing boy. He’s a little spunk. He’s a little us. This time, he’s someone we want to know and already feel like we do. I’m not sure if this is common for second children, but it seems to be working that way for us. I’m curious if you named your fetus. Did you call him/her by that name until birth? Did you tell people the name once you knew? It seems inevitable for us to share his name. He is already him.
I may not be playing baby Einstein for my belly at night like I did with LB. Mr. Flinger may not be reading to my belly every evening like he did with LB. I may not be rubbing my belly every three hours, jiggling it to make sure he moves like I did with LB. But we feel like we know him. We call him by name.
Picture going to see the Pope. You love The Pope. You love his little bubble car, his hat, his influence over an entire sect of religion. You listen to The Pope because he is, well, The Pope. Or maybe it’s the Dali Lama. You read his books, you listen to him speak. He’s one of the most influential people on earth.
Then the Dali Lama tells you he thinks you’re cool. You. Are. Cool. He probably uses some sort of deep and meaningful word and not “cool” but in your own head you think, “he said I was COOL!”
It’s kind of like that if it was possible to actually make plans to see the Dali Lama the next trip home to Texas because he happens to live twenty minutes from your parents and enjoys a good margarita just like you do. it’s kind of like that.
It’s not hard to find five blogs that make me think. Instead, it’s hard to find ONLY five blogs that make me think. So here are five you should be reading if you’re not.
The Bean Blog. Christine writes with a witty style but always brings it back to the Big Picture. She’s hilarious and honest and somehow manages to turn the normal every day stuff in to a story I’d like to read the next chapter to.
Mothergoosemouse. She’s got a way of bringing in today’s hot topics and making excellent points while being funny and non-offensive. She could probably blog about abortion and the great breast debate and have it be well intended, well written, and well read. Oh, wait, she did.
Wannabe Hippie. Elaine is a powerful writer that touches on every kind of topic from the tragic death of a friend’s child to short hilarious clips of her daily life. She has a way about her that makes you feel like part of her life. I’ve literally both cried and laughed out loud on her website. And I love her for it.
A girl and a boy. Who isn’t reading Leah? If you’re not, you’re the single person out there who doesn’t realize all the other eighth graders are pegging their pants and curling their bangs and the year is 1989. Who didn’t know you had to have GUESS jeans? She’s one of the fastest growing most popular blogs out there and for good reason. Her writing is superb, her desires are well expresses. She can work through almost any issue by writing and it’s an honor to read her thought process. I wish I thought in such an orderly, witty, sincere way.
If I can ever get out of my Pajamas. ^starshine writes about life with three children. This alone makes me think daily, “THREE KIDS, OH MY GOD..” but then she’ll write about the circle of life and I come away pondering my own children and parents and future. And that’s just one example. Her entire blog is full of wonderful posts like this. You really should stop in. And read the archives.
Go, spread the love, read good blogs, and someone hand me a tissue. We’re on round 10 of “THE COLDS THAT WILL NOT STOP FARKING WITH THE FLINGERS” and I’ll be up to my elbows in snot. Again.
Against my better judgment, I’m writing about work. However, it will not contain the horrifically boring details that will spiral you in to mashing your head against the wall or shoveling mass chocolate chip cookies in to your face like I do nightly. No, I will spare you the details. Instead, I’m going to talk about working from home and how I thought that was the bestest. thing. evah.
When I had LB, I struggled with going back to work. I finished graduate school three months before having her and had to delay my doctoral studies because I couldn’t attend class, what with struggling to deliver life in to this world and all that jazz. However, I had been passionate about my dissertation proposal and felt strongly that it was something I wanted to pursue. One day.
One day turned in to two years and two years turned in to more gestating. It’s not something I regret for a minute. Rather, it is something I think about from time to time with that, “I wonder if…” I struggled because I had this degree that I wanted to use and one I wanted to pursue but couldn’t justify yet another degree if I would not be actively using it in my career. If my career would switch to changing diapers and feeding small children bits of cheerios off the floor while preventing them from eating rocks, I hardly feel a PhD is required. Instead, if you have a PhD and then switch professions to said diaper-changing cheerio-eating administrator, why, that’s your call. Convincing Mr. Flinger to let me pursue a post-graduate degree with two small chillin’s is something altogether different.
I loved my job at the University. It was a good job, I worked with good people. I considered it the type of “one day I’ll be a real tenured Prof!” kind of Pinocchio-ish possibility. But there was a tiny person who I missed when I was gone. The tiny person I worried about when I left. The tiny person I hated hearing “I miss mommy” coming from her mouth.
Last fall I switched to working from home when we made The Move. I’ve been teaching online and (mostly) loving it. But there is frustrations because there is never enough time, work does not stay at the office or even in a nicely contained office hour or scheduled time. Work bleeds in to life and life bleeds in to work. I give to my students first thing in the morning, my daughter all day long, my students again at night and grade papers until midnight, when I crawl in to bed exhausted. There is very little “wife” roll. There is virtually no “Leslie” roll. There is only occasional “friend” or “blogger” or “pregnant lady”. There is teacher and mother and teacher. Everything else falls behind with the dishes and the laundry and the phone calls and the bills.
In the big scheme, I have the perfect balance. I have work and I have home. I have a job doing what I love using a degree I worked hard (or, rather, worked) for and a future. I contribute to our monthly income and don’t feel guilty about that extra coffee/itunes song/shirt because I know I’m helping to pay for them.
But there is guilt, non-the-less. There is begging and pleading for a nap so I can log in and grade. There is no TV, no IM, very little blogstalking. These are hobbies I enjoy. There is no time for that now.
I thought I would be getting the best of both worlds. I thought I’d be there for my career and my children. I thought I’d be everything to everybody. But turn in the cape because I am not superMom. Instead, I’m a cow watching the grass on both sides of the fence and wondering “what the hell”. I’m still trying to find balance. I’m still trying to find boundaries. I’m still trying to figure it all out. But I see the scales tipping this June and I’m wondering if I’ll have enough strength to keep the balance. Or if I’ll have found it by then.
I’ve recently come down with a wicked case of pregnancy brain. I had my glucose test this morning and after staying up late reminding myself not to forget my medical records from my previous doctor, I rushed out the door and realized an hour later (still sitting in Seattle traffic) that I left them on the counter. Again.
It’s affecting every aspect of my life. I have to write lists. I’m easily distracted. You will email me and I’ll go, “oooh!! EMAIL!” and then I’ll start writing you back, look over my shoulder and go, “Ooohhh, dishes!” and off I go to do the dishes. While doing the dishes I’ll see the garbage needs to go out and I’ll go, “ooohhh, garbage…” and off I go. (Please see a pattern here so I don’t have to spell it out for you. Or maybe I’ll spell it out anyway….)
I am easily distracted by all things S-H-I-N-Y. Or not so shiny. Or, apparently, smelly.
What was I saying? Right. Today’s glucose test…
So I go to the doctor, get the blood drawn, yaddayadda (this is not the fun yaddayadda from Seinfeld but rather an insanely boring string of events revolving around needles that do not include a large usage of the word “DUDE”) and as I’m leaving, I ask about scheduling my C-section. I’m a scheduled C-section since LB’s horridly long birth story involved a major traffic jam in the hayhay region and 24 hours of “why won’t she just COME OUT. GET HER OUT.” :: hurl hurl :: It was a bucket full o’ fun that I do not plan on reliving ever again. The entire first week of her life was the hardest week of mine, which makes me sad to say, but reflecting on the labor, emergency c-section, failed breastfeeding, uterine infection and re-admission to the hospital after two nights in the ER lasting 12-14 hours each, I think a planned c-section is the way to go this time. No wonder I got wigged out with PPD afterward. That week alone could cause some sort of post traumatic stress disorder.
And yet? After all of that? I have my reservations about the C-section. It’s so strange to me to walk in to a hospital completely fine and healthy and ask them to hack you up. “HI! I’m FINE! Can you please give me some drugs, cut me open and then make me feel like crap for six weeks? Oh! And give me a pretty scar and ask me if I’ve started farting yet and then, when I hurl, tell me that’s normal and ok and I’m going to be just fine. Please?” See? Do you see? It’s weird, isn’t it?
I guess it’s not as weird as walking around for two weeks waiting to wet your pants/bed/car/floor. So, there’s that.
I’ve been reading more and more about women who went in for scheduled C-sections (or who are going to shortly before me). They tell me the same thing my mother tells me, “It’s so much easier the second time. You’re not exhausted from the long labor, your body is better able to recover, you can plan the birth, you mentally heal faster. It’s just that much easier.” And I believe them. I read about it. I hear about it. I know they aren’t lying.
Or are they? Like those moms that say, ‘My child slept through the night at three weeks and put himself to bed for naps starting at 18 months. Oh! And taught himself to potty in the toilet. And got in to Harvard at 14 but we decided to keep him in public schools because of the experience.”
Do you have any thoughts on repeat C-sections? And not in the “You should try a VBAC” because I’ve had seven doctors tell me I will NOT try a VBAC given my experience and the reasons she got stuck. Apparently it’s not a healthy option for me to even try and the risks of death outweigh the anxiety I might feel about the surgery. And honestly, the kid has to come out one way or another. Last time I checked, the vajaja was a one way street. It’s just a bit weird that I already know the date and time of this kid’s birth. I practically have the birth announcement filled out. Fudge the weight and height a bit and slap in a photo. Nobody would ever know I made it three months early. If I could only remember to get the paper….
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