Similar to how dogs smell fear, my youngest child smells ambition. I had a plan, an actual true productive plan, for today. There are massive deadlines hanging over my head, there are bills and invoicing to do, and the regular life maintenance and goals I set daily to work out and eat well. I had it all worked out and it even included swimming in my heart-rate zone for 30 minutes and taking the oldest on time to go to her school field trip.
I had a plan.
As happens every single fucking time I have a plan, my son woke up at 3:30AM and literally yelled this half awake sleep scream for 45 minutes. He sat in my bed staring at me.
AHHHHH. WAAAHHHHHHHH. :: hiccup :: WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!
At 4:54 when I finally put him back in to bed I knew it was over. In another hour my alarm would go off and I knew I’d hit snooze. I knew my ambition was snuffed out.
Not unlike a dog, my son smells ambition. And he always wins.
I have, what is commonly referred to as, “children who are too smart for their own good.” AKA: Gin and Tonic. Or, rather, GIfted and Talented. (Anyone else automatically have visions of limey goodness with the accronym GnT?)
My children have both been very successful academically. That is to say, they have ROCKED the preschool scene over and over. Colors? They got’em! Letter? All 26! Numbers? Counting to 12! Conceptually adding and subtracting before age four!
Shitting themselves? STILL!
I’ve only recently realized the potential my two children hold. Both their teachers are amazed and flabbergasted by their intelligence. “Oh, that’s going to be an issue later” they say. And I know they’re right because my daughter is reading at age 4 and a half (remember the “and a half” people, it’s VERY important) and will go to a private kindergarten in the fall to skirt the date cutoff since she’s an October baby. But after this year, there is still a chance she will have to repeat Kindergarten, not based on her intelligence, academics, or readiness socially, but strictly because the schools are full.
There will be children in Kindergarten learning their letters while my daughter is adding and subtracting and counting by twos. Kids will be entering the system because they are “of age” while my daughter is being held back in a system that is failing her miserably.
I’ve frequently heard that “everyone catches up by fourth grade anyway” and it finally hit me: It’s not that all the other children grow and mature and learn, it’s that we hold the ones too far ahead back and the ones too far behind drop further back a grade. Perhaps, yes, it does even out by fourth grade, but I’m starting to believe this isn’t the best path for my children. I’m not ready to comitt to homeschooling as of yet, because I understand my childrens’ own needs for a space we don’t have and other children and teacher’s I am not. But the argument that “we did fine in a public school” isn’t going to slice it for me. We did go through The System. The Same System that is being “reformed” to “leave no child behind and let no child too far ahead.” I know teachers work hard and do an amazing job. I don’t envy them. I just don’t think The System has the support needed for anyone different. Anyone unique. Anyone not plastic.
Maybe I’m wrong. But it looks like I’ll be working with some pretty amazing kids for the rest of their lives. I’m grateful for this, blown away by their eagerness to learn, and humbled by my inability to keep up.
I sometimes fail as a mom, but in this one tiny area, I’m going to see if I can’t be what they need and find the resources to help them succeed. It’s the best I can do. I expect the best out of them.
Thank you. For wrestling. For Running. For working. For being there.
First Meeting LB
First Meeting Baby O
First Soccer Lessons
You’re my Man, You’re D’Bomb
You’re The Dad, and I’m the Mom
Together we make beautiful kids
You always close the toilet lids.
You play dressup with our girl
You’re happy to give her a whirl
Our son fouls when you play ball
You don’t seem to mind at all
You come home every night
They love it when you tuck them tight.
We sit and watch our favorite show
Or talk of god on our patio
You’re the Best Kisser I’ve had
I think it’s why you became a Dad
Together, we work so well
Like a multi-pie chart in Excel
You’re my favoritest, I think you know
I will be wherever you go
From camping together in the outdoors
To kayaking on local shores
From twitter to blip to last.fm
I’m your fan, your lover, your bestest friend
I’ve decided I’m the authority on what’s wrong with children today. Ready? Here’s my theory.
They are entitled little shits.
So, that’s the short version. The long version is a consequence of something like this:
My son is two. Two is THE MAGICAL AGE OF WONDERMENT. Aka: “NO NO MINE MINE MINE I DO IT” etc. And we all know that if you are not your child’s authority by the time they are two, they will have the authority and rule the family. No, it’s true. I saw it on Super Nanny.
These are the thoughts running through my head yesterday as my son threw his usual, Mommy-Stay-With-Me-And-I’ll-Be-Super-Cute-And-Make-You-Want-More-Kids-Just-Don’t-Make-Me-Nape-Alone-And-MY-Are-You-Working-Out?! He knows how to charm, people. I looked straight in his puppy-dog googly eyes that peaded with his entire soul that I GREW IN MAH BELLY and said, “You have to choose between a book or bed. Book now? Or Bed now?”
I repeated, “You have until the count of five to make a decision. Book? Or Bed. Because so help me I WILL put you in bed without a book. Don’t MAKE ME TAKE AWAY DR. SEUSS.”
He screamed. I counted to five. 1, 2, 3, 4 ... .... ........ (I like to give him a chance here) ..... .... .......
I quietly laid my screaming child down, stroked his teary cheek, told him I loved him, and walked out the door.
And took a shower so I couldn’t hear the screams. Because. OH MY GOD. The screams, people. I’ve never heard anything so intense. I was like choking / screaming / Hyper-Ventilating / Poltergysting freak out.
The neighbors heard it.
Their neighbors heard it.
Dogs started howling.
Someone banged on the wall to our condo. AS IF. Like I didn’t know he was screaming. I was nekid, in the shower, washing my hair humming loudly picturing some amazingly hot ass fireman coming in to the bathroom saying, “Oh, uh, sorry Ma’am, we got a distress call, someone heard screaming, and, well, are you alright?” And then I’d breathe, “I am nowww” and step out about twenty pounds lighter and with the muscle tone of a 20 year old and the boobs of a 16 year old and this entire sequence just went somewhere I didn’t intend.
Anywho. (Fanning self)
Where was I?
Right. Kid screaming. So I finally went in and told him ever-so-calmly “Are you ok now? You ready to read a book? Or do I need to leave you some more” and he said “Done Done DONE” and I sat and snuggled my son and we read the book and when I laid him back down he said “Lufv Yu” and I kissed him and said goodnight.
I was proud. But more than that, I understand why kids turn in to entitled little shits. It’s hard to not give in. It’s hard to stand the ground, to always be the parent. JUST SOMETIMES I want to not be the parent. Can’t I just be the drunk lady in the corner rocking back and forth? No? Responsibility and such? Right.
My children will not be the entitled little shits of tomorrow. Or today. Or any day.
I may, however, have to buy ear plugs in the mean time but the world will be a better place for it.
(He’s all, WHO ME?! Comon, LOOK AT ME. Don’t believe a word you hear. I’m adorable.)
After losing a friend recently to Breast Cancer, there is a flame under my ass to get healthy like it has never burned before. Those of us left behind are staring in to her pictures shaking our heads unsure how this could happen. We look at our lives and our children and it’s not too far to put yourself there, in her place, just hours after a diagnosis of breast cancer, kissing her family good-bye.
I still get a little choked up (read: bawl) when I think about that image. I don’t want anyone else to have that story. I don’t want another child to lose their mother or another friend to leave too soon. Ladies? I’m here to share with you five tips for preventing breast cancer, some you have heard and others you have not and while I’m talking let’s pretend I’m sitting on a show with The Juice touching the lives of millions. (I like to pretend, ok?)
1. Reduce your alcoholic consumption. Look, I know, I love a glass of wine or a vodka tonic or both on a bad day. But research is finding that women who drink more than one glass of alcohol are at a higher risk as your kidney works over time to process the alcohol and is less able to rid your body of excess estrogen.
2. Step away from the microwave. There is increasing research in the EMF (Electro Magnetic Fields) given off by electrical objects and the Microwave is the top offender. If you step just a few feet away from your food as it cooks, you drop the amount of radiation your body receives significantly. Breast tissue is especially vulnerable because of its location, so walk away from the microwave and prepare something else while waiting.
3. Exercise. Now, before you go, “NO DUH”, listen, moderate exercise is key here. If you go balls out for more than 7 hours a week, your body increases it’s oxidation level and isn’t as effective at clearing out toxins. So don’t feel bad if you’re only getting in a power walk. Your bewbs will thank you.
4. Don’t wear your bra as often. There’s not a definitive link yet, but doctors believe bras that block the lymph nodes of the breast prevent the natural cleansing of breast tissue.
5. Don’t cut fat completely out of your diet. Women with more OR less than around 20% of good fat in their diet are more at risk for breast cancer. Moderation and types of fats are key. See this list of how to properly add fat to your diet.
I’m hoping to continue on as I learn more in my quest to educate myself on breast cancer. As a granddaughter and as a friend who lost women to breast cancer, I refuse to live in denial any longer. I’ll be taking better care of my breasts and my body. I hope you join me.
—I’m currently reading the following—
We have a.. how do we say this? ... “tight” community. Or “compact” if you’re a car salesman. Or “bumfucking close” if you’re us.
Whatever, people are everywhere always up in other people’s grills here.
Last night our neighbors had a tiny party. (Nice people, really, smoking Christians with a cute little white fully dog that always wave high and say “how are you” before jumping in their car and doing what people without kids do: LEAVE HOME.) It so happens that this particular two weeks has been warm enough to open our windows which is helpful for hearing every conversation from a three mile stretch. You’d be amazed at what you hear. (As a side, there is always this ONE LADY yelling at her kids to GO TO FUCKING BED ALREADY, IT IS SIX O’CLOCK. What kind of mother does that? Gawd.)
Anyway, the party had moved outside and took to smoking their cigs while I leaned in to the netting on the window and enhailed, deeply, listening to their converstaion. It went something like this:
One: So, you like it here?
Two: Meh, it’s ‘aight.
One: Yea, you have a pool, that’s nice.
Two: Meh, it’s always families and fat people. LIke WHERE ARE THE CHICKS.
One: Oh, that’s too bad. ...
I fly by the window to go get my phone
One: You can really see in to everyone’s homes, hu.
Two: Yea and it’s not pretty when it’s hot out. Those people (I assume gesturing toward our house), the chick always goes by in her underwear.
One:Dude, gross. Really? Is she hot?
One: Dude, Brutal.
I fly by in my PJ’s which, whatever, MAYBE shot my “bags” of hooters flopping around a bit.
(Another side: My son, my two year old BRILLIANT child who knows all letters, sounds, etc? Called my boobs eggs. “EGGS! EGGS!” I corrected him: TITTIES!)
When I return to listen and snap a photo, for posterity, they had stepped inside.
But give it time, buddy. Give it time. In three years when your wife has birthed two children from a 6 inch slit in her abdomen cutting every hope of ab muscles for the rest of her life, you’ll be thankful she wears anything at all.
P.S. YES, that’s a dead fly on the window. Classy, hu?
I’ve been sitting here ignoring most everything a grown up should focus on: Kids, Bills, Work, Laundry, Dishes, Life. I’ve been sitting here scouring the Internet looking for something.
I’ve been retracing the last thirty-three years of my life and watching images of memories. I’ve been seeking people I know and love online and the community I’ve grown so fond of. I’ve been re-reading comments and emails from my college friends looking for any signs of endings.
I can’t find them.
I can’t seem to focus on anything today.
It seems wrong I should have to.
A friend of mine passed away yesterday. She has two children, a five year old daughter and a two year old son. Typing these words are impossible. *I* have an almost five year old daughter and a two year old son. *I* have put my son in her son’s hand-me-downs. *I* have a degree from the same school she does. *I* live 1.2 miles from her parents.
I know her.
I could be her.
It could be you.
From what I know, which is through a mutual friend of ours who lives in her home town, she started feeling poorly, went to the ER, went in to Kidney failure and died. They believe it was bone cancer, or breast cancer that got in to her bones, causing high calcium levels that her kidneys couldn’t handle.
She was young, active and healthy.
There is no “WHY”.
There just is this: WHAT THE FUCKING HELL.
Within twenty four hours she is gone. Her facebook said she was glad to have a day off work on Thursday and Sunday afternoon she will never update her facebook again.
I don’t get it.
There are her friends from college scattered all over the country, and the world, processing this. There is a family she left behind. There is a group of people touched by her smile and friendship, which she was always willing to share.
There is a hole, a shocking large hole, where our friend Amy should be sitting.
I don’t understand.
I don’t understand.
There is no “everything happens for a reason” and believe me, I will have a word with “God” when I get there. Actually, fuck that, I’m going to have a major WWE style smackdown and fucking take that asshole out is what I’m going to do.
I was teetering on “if.” IF there is a god. IF there is a creator that actually cares. IF IF IF.
Now I hope there is. Because God and I have some SERIOUSLY fucking discussions to have. After I kick his ass. For taking Maddie. For taking Amy. And for making underwire bras. Because I don’t handle anything without humor and FUCK I can’t find a damn thing funny about any of this.
Not one fucking thing.
Clearly I have some issues. And clearly I’m pissed, frustrated, hurt, sad and whatever. Clearly I look at my daughter and son and husband and thank everything I can for them. Clearly. But let me have this one place to yell. Because I know you would yell to. I know you did. I know you will. And I know you get it.
I’m sorry to post again today. I plan on doing the “journey” as a series on Mondays. Today, though, after my post, I just wanted to confess why I haven’t emailed you back and why I can’t think and, just in case the mortgage people, you know, READ MY BLOG, they’ll let me off the hook for sucking at being an actual adult. And also because I process through writing and goddamn why do I have to have so many fucking disclaimers. You get it. You get me. Thank you for that.
I don’t want to be all drama and whatever. Just. Honest. I hope that’s what I sound like. I’m nothing if not honest.
Please find part one here.
In 1999, I was living in Bellingham, having finished college at Western Washington University earning a degree in pretty much nothing helpful, working at coffee shops and day care centers. I was living with my best friend and ex-boyfriend from High School. It was an odd situation from an outsider’s perspective, as I’d call him honey when I walked in the door and he’d kiss my forehead and tuck me in to bed, in my own room where I would sleep alone.
I was furiously seeking God and Truth during this time as well as consuming a great number of scones. GOD THESE SCONES. Oh, they were so buttery delicious and completely free since I was allotted one free meal per day at the shop. They are famous scones, baked in the original shop who also created (and became famous for) THE BREAKFAST COOKIE.
I would run 5 - 6- miles a day praying or singing all while gaining a decent 10 pounds or more. I would pray each morning as the sun rose while I read my bible and I would spend the evenings with my best friend, a man, forbidden to me because of his lack of faith, laughing and playing card games and watching silly old films. It was very much an imbalance of all proportions. Physically I was working my ass off while providing nothing but crap and spiritually I was seeking a God who disapproved of my desire to hump my roommate all the while seeking to find ways to get my roommate to hump me.
I was going nowhere in my career, nowhere in my spiritual journey, and no where with my roommate.
So I boarded a train, one day in February, bound to Portland where I caught a flight and moved to Texas to another small apartment where my dad was staying in the transition of my parents’ house purchase in Houston.
I was talking about this to my husband, the one who shared that little old apartment in Bellingham with me, and he confessed not wanting to put me on that train. He admitted to that pit in his stomach, that grip of longing as I pulled away waving on Amtrak.
I can still picture him standing there and remember myself willing me not to cry.
I did not cry.
In fact, I landed in Houston, got settled in the apartment in Galveston, dug my feet in the sand at the beach and wrote in my journal:
“I did not cry. I did not cry as we pulled in to my new home, I did not cry when I called Bob to tell him I arrived, I did not cry as I unpacked nor when I read before falling asleep exhausted. I did not cry until the next day, waking up, seeing the hazy full sun rise over the swamps here when it hit me like the humidity pulsing in the window: I am here. For good. For now. And I cried. No, I bawled.”
My journal that year and a half I spent in Texas is peppered with the most obvious transition of my life thus far. I regained a love and a relationship with my father, sitting together in the one bedroom apartment we shared, him sleeping on the couch and me getting the only room to my self. We’d stay up late watching X-files eating popcorn. Boys started calling our house and he would give me the message without judging or asking more than I was ready to share. I grew to understand and respect my Aggie Father in ways I hadn’t known since I was 12 and we visited the Aggie Band (which he was a part of) and watched the bonfire and ate cold pizza the morning after sleeping in our family’s minivan.
I remember those times with my dad, just he and I, sitting on the beach in Galveston on the rocks or the sand letting the sun (OH THE SUN!) kiss our skin with the much needed Vitamin D we missed the 10 years spent in Washington previously. We talked religion and politics and I found I enjoyed his company and perspective and his outlook in general.
I found out I was his daughter more than I ever realized before.
It was only a few months after I first arrived that Bob came to visit. We walked along the boardwalk and ate seafood. We laughed at how completely incompatible we were. How I was so churchy and he never could be. How I was a hippie and he was an engineer. How I only lived for love and joy and he needed and wanted a job and a house and a settled life. I was a gypsy. He wanted a home.
I put him on a plane and cried. We talked every night after that the entire year and a half I lived apart from him. He later confessed this was the moment he knew he needed me in his life, how we couldn’t be without each other but we wouldn’t actually know this until after this time was over.
We still had to grow up and grow compatible and grow with our spiritual selves and our professional selves and our physical selves.
We had to grow up.
And while I lived on the small island south of Houston and eventually in a small suburb in South Houston, I found it: Me. I grew up.
But there is still so much to the story…
Our goal is to be diaper free by thirty-five. Well, that’s Diaper Free in our house. By June 18th, 2009 we want to be diaper free so Mr. Flinger can celebrate his thirty-fifth birthday in undies.
Or, rather, we’ll all be in undies.
It’s been a long road to this point. Four and a half years of changing diapers almost without stop. There have been pull-ups, accidents, turds on the floor, stains. There are places we no longer talk about in the old house because of “that one time” when LB took off her diaper. Thank god it was a rental.
So this year, we’re hoping to be diaper free. And two days ago, there was a fart on the toilet. A single fart of hope. A simple “PPFffft” that acknowledges the dream and hope of this month.
BY GOD, BUDDY, Keep bringing the potty talk. And next time? Feel free to let loose, buddy. Your bottom will thank you for it.
(here’s a picture of us shortly after the said fart. We’re both so ecstatic we can’t stand ourselves. See that? It’s hope, people. Hope for a diaper free existence. HALLELJUIAH!)
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