Thursday, April 30, 2009

The birth mom

Last night I was crammed with Genea in our recliner chair. As you might imagine, squishing in the chair with Genea is even less comfortable than with Teena as Genea has about 6 inches and 10 more pounds to squish in there. Yet, squish we did. (I really just need better furniture!)

She had picked out a book, it was Angel in the Waters. I bought it last year to try and get her brain to a place where she could consider the idea of a birth mother. I wrote a long post about it last fall which you can read if you want. Mainly, I realized she had no idea there was a woman in Ukraine who is her birth mom. She remembers her first adoptive family clearly and I think has some natural confusion as to where she came from.

So last night was the first time in a long time she has shown an interest and asked a few questions. She was looking in the book at a picture of the baby on the 'inside', and asked what was the long string, so I explained to her about the umbilical cord. She made the statement "I lived in your belly before I was born", so I told her, you have a birth mom who lives in Ukraine and we have never met her. You lived in her belly. She asked do we know her name? No, we don't. We don't know her? I said, well you met her. You were with her for one day. Then she said, I was too little to remember.

That was that and the end of the discussion for the day. OF course after the fact I thought up at least a hundred better ways to handle her questions. Ah well. Coincidentally I have been stepping up the attachment sorts of activities throughout our day and Genea has been considerably more responsive than in the past. Feels less like trying to hug a whining cactus. We have a new little bedtime routine where she tries to kiss my nose and I try to kiss hers while she covers it and wiggles around. She tries to get me and I move at the last second though I do let her get me often. When I am trying to get her I tickle her just a smidge. She is SO tactile defensive that she would normally lurch away and howl but for whatever reason I am able to tickle her as part of our little routine. I have to be really careful to just barely touch her. She so desperately craves touch but then it feels so uncomfortable to her she cant take it. Getting a kid all riled up at bedtime would not usually be my greatest parenting idea, but somehow this fun little game has turned into a perfect way to end the day. It gives us one absolute guaranteed happy exciting thing together. We needed it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I have been driving our newly unused Sunfire for a few weeks now. It has been fun actually because it is a car that feels like you are driving a car. No automatic anything. You want to turn the wheel, you got to turn the wheel. The engine is noisy and has some pep to it. It rides low to the ground and I basically sit on the floor to clear my head from knocking into the ceiling. There is no lofty sort of feeling when you plow into a pothole. You FEEL the pothole.

Anyway. A few days ago Teena and I got into it to go to Target. Suddenly, the car won't go over 20 mph without making some kind of terrible racket. It is an automatic and so it is my highly uneducated opinion that the transmission has gone out. Still, it is not that bad. It is annoying, but you know, when I want to check my lipstick or my hair, I have to reach over and pick up the rear view mirror from the passenger seat to look. That's annoying too!

So I told The Husband, who had some interesting ideas about going really slow and the tranny will 'catch' and do its shifting thing. Umm, no. But the part that has me peeved is that we just had the car in and paid for enough repairs to get it going again. Ok, I don't care that I have to stick my hand out the window with a dish towel when it rains to clear the windshield. I can handle that. But, I just CANNOT be the lady with all the car seats holding up traffic!!!!

I was out in the car today, had to go to social services with some paperwork that I faxed last week. Of course they didn't get it.

It is such a struggle to get the car to 25, let alone 35, and so freaking loud, it set my last available nerve to tap dancing. I grew up in the city where people try not to have stick shift as often what with all the traffic and lights and such. So I don't know much that kind of car, hence very little knowledge about transmissions, although I get the general idea. It would just be impossible for me to drive a stick, hold my coffee, and threaten to smack my children with any authority AND steer and change the radio and all the other things like signaling and what not. It was when I finally noticed the smell (and figured out it was not coming from anyone else) that I realized, um, just cuz I can make the car go to 40 well, that doesn't mean I should.

Burning smell, that's not good right? There's no chance that means the car is self-repairing? Anyone in the market for a slightly used kidney?

Dear Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,
Please invent a size bigger than venti. Perhaps call it bigamous grandiose. I only get to visit you once a week, and cannot afford food for myself on that one day.
I need more. A gallon or so should do it.
The Accidental Mommy

Monday, April 27, 2009

Now what is this?

This past week I have noticed something new from Genea. And not in a good way. Just when I think, at least I am used to meeting This Crazy in a dark hallway at night in a thunderstorm, here comes a brand new thing.

She has started hitting Teena. Now, believe it or not, I actually had the brief thought that at least this is normal. Normal siblings occasionally try to kill each other or die trying. Get back on the huge super long bus! We got us some normal here! Print up the 3 dollar bills! Nah.

What is happening is not so much hitting as it is hurting. I have seen two incidents myself and The Husband saw the most recent. The girls were outside on the patio playing and running back and forth and I was watching and I saw Genea stick her hand out so Teena would run into it, thereby getting hurt. Teena did not make a fuss, so I did not either. About 10 minutes later though, Genea was on the 3- wheel bike and drove it directly and deliberately into Teenas leg. Which hurt her and broke the skin and caused much crying and hysteria. And Genea just stood there. She briefly tried to cover up what she had done but gave herself up quickly. There was no explanation.

So here is the strange part. There was no anger. There was no frustration, there was no fight, there was no taunting. There was nothing. Genea could have been eating a donut for all the drama that was going on. Nothing. Then at the store yesterday, they were waiting in line and Genea reached out and stomped on Teenas foot. No reason. The Wango Tango is nowhere to be found.

So...... why.... is she doing this? I feel like I must be perceiving all this wrong. I am concerned because they are NOT fighting in anger? You betcha The Crazy must have smooshed off onto me more than just a little. I worry because there is no tantrum going on? Argh. It just is not right. Does The Crazy multiply in the night like rabbits and wire coat hangers? Has The Crazy leaked out to us all?

It is the cold, expressionless unmitigated part I have issue with.

I vaguely remember trying to hurt my sister (she probably remembers it better lol). I mean, kids are just little bundles of freak out. I know for sure I had no hesitation in trying to hurt her in retaliation. My own little personal correction plan where I felt my parents might be slacking off. I have seen other kids doing goofy stuff like that thinking it is fun, especially boys. They will think it is fun to drive the big wheel into another kid cuz it will be fun to watch him fall. I mean, I know it is not great. Hitting, hurting, these are not great social tools for successful interactions. But is it a little normal?

In other Genea news, she has been wonderful all weekend. Actually, for about the past week she has been doing great. I have a theory here. The girls spent half of spring break at my moms. For Genea to survive, she has to invest all the considerable will power that she has just to get through the stress of it. Maintaining herself is a full time job and I think she has to forcefully push herself into a part of her brain that can keep her going. She then stays in that level of cognition for awhile. She has always decompensated and slowly but surely begins to rely on her past methods of coping and then falls apart. So that is my thought. Now, I just have to find a way to keep her in the state of calm, content and happy, and keep her there permanently. Like I never thought of doing that before (*sarcasm to myself*). but really, Lately I have been trying to use a home base. Myself being the base (I am definitely going to redecorate this ugly base lol). When I can see her winding up, instead of giving her suggestions, or redirecting, or ignoring, or the other bazillion techniques I have tried, I have had her come sit with me and just sit. Then we started doing strong sitting together at the time while holding hands and breathing as slowly as we can. I see this as my big opportunity to jump in and change some things up before she starts to fall back into what is her normal and familiar ways of dealing. Again.

Not to change the subject or anything, is it weird to be obsessed with a callous shaver? I have never had a pedicure being as I prefer to try to pretend to not have feet at all. Call it my coping mechanism. Feet are gross and ugly and smelly unless they are on a baby in which case they are totally adorable. Anyway, so I have been totally fascinated with this shaver thing. It looks like a dangerous farm implement in miniature. You drag the razor edge of it across your yucky rough spot and it actually slices and peels it off. So freaking gross. Disgusting! Vile! Cant get enough! Must shaver! Nastiness!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I wanted to say THANK YOU to the people who have used my Amazon link, clicked, searched with Google, shopped my store (wow!), and have referred others here. It is all building slowly and accumulating. I will not be able to go to the Beyond Consequences June training but there is another one in September in Virginia so I am aiming for that one.
Thanks again!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Genea came home from school and immediately hollered out "Why is the bathroom so clean?". Would it be mean to tell her it has always looked that way? Since its a flat out lie and all? Whatever. Yep.

Teena is on a Mommy- tear. She cannot, absolutely refuses, to be any more then 5 inches from my butt. Those 5 inches are the maximum. She prefers, she lives, to sit completely on top of me as if I were a lawn chair. Some kind of weird delayed separation anxiety. It is like she is addicted to crack I tell you. You ever hear the phrase "God makes them cute for a reason"?. Yep.

Teena and I were in the drive through at Starbucks when she started talking about boys. She doesn't like boys. There are a few exceptions, a few she is willing to tolerate such as her Daddy and Grampa. Her 2 cats are boys. Beyond that though, she has no need. So we are having this conversation and we get to the window, and my dear Teena began a tirade about how boys, well she just doesn't see the point. Look at him, Mommy, look at that man. He looks creepy Mommy, look at him. Just creepy. And I am all, Teena shut up I don't want creepy chunks of chest hair accidentally falling into my latte. And by the way, he really was a normal average 20 ish kid. Well, maybe she will take after her Auntie Cindy(s). (jk!).

I am having a hugely difficult time. Genea has been coming home telling me at recess her 'friends' tell her to go away, and will not play with her. (Of course she is having a hard time with it too). There is one in particular, who seems to get several of the other kids going as well and they group off and won't let her play. Of course I know there are a million variables. Genea could have done something bizarre and scared them, could have said something that didn't make sense and insisted on it. Maybe the kids were playing something that was for only 4 kids. But I really want to just open a can up of whoop ass without stopping. I will not take names because I don't care. The Stomping of the Brats needs no such formality. I could genuinely rip every single one of these brats a new one while simultaneously screaming them into submission. Look here brats, there is a cool game out there in the traffic. Go see. And quit messing with my little girl!

And you know what? THAT is me restraining myself. Keeping myself under control. Staying calm. Not committing publicly to behavior unbecoming a parent.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Redecorated for Spring

Spring, which in Wisconsin pays no attention to a calendar, is sneaking in. Our grass has begun to green up. Our trees are still naked but should begin dressing any day now. And, I redecorated my blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Next Day

Thanks so much, everyone! I really appreciate all the input. I never knew either, that when you have a preemie you subtract the time the baby was early. I think, even with that in mind, that this baby still seems delayed. Of course I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv.

The point that stands out most strongly to me, is that it is always better to get on these things as soon as possible. The earlier therapies can start, the better chance the child has. Ultimately, I would rather be wrong and look like a ninney, than leave this little girl with no intervention for the next six or twelve months if she could use it.

However, with all that bravado, I am going to push this unpleasant task on to my mother. She is closest to the mom, and if she brings up a question, they will tell her. Likewise if she brings up a suggestion, they will rely on her judgement. I worry that if I try to call them and talk about it, they will be immediately offended and dismiss everything I might say.

My instinct is that the parents do not know anything is up. I think, to about 90% certainty, that my mom would know if the babies' doctor had said something. Probably within a half hour after the appointment. I am certain this child has a great pediatrician, but I worry they dont know what to bring up. It is also early to be commiting to a "Delayed" stamp on a child. I know some doctors won't even suggest it until the child is 2 or even older. The whole day I saw them, I heard the parents talking about how much faster she has caught on to things over their older son. The things they brought up were the things like crawling, sitting, etc. The gross motor things. I know he was babbling by one year, and I remember he had a strong gaze. There is such a huge range of what is considered normal development. Then factor in the prematurity, I just don't know.

So that is my plan. Like I said, I hope I am wrong. If it were me, I would want it brought to my attention. Just in case.

So speaking of children, I came across this website developed by a girl who is 17 and has a brother with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The idea of her site is to consolidate the good information and collect the things in one place that kids use regularly. I bring it up, because my daughter with her issues benefits hugely from some of the strategies used with ASD such as structure and visuals as well as "social stories" which are written stories dedicated to one small subject that a child might have problems with. It tells them exactly what to do, how, where and why. So, here it is.

Pretty cool huh!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Would You Do

What would you do if you noticed, because you looked, if you noticed that a family friends' baby seems to be significantly delayed?

But I could be wrong and that is why I am putting this out there. The baby is 11 months old and was premature by about 2 months. I know very little about infants and even less about preemies.

I saw this baby at Thanksgiving, and at the time I noticed something was not quite right. Nothing I could be specific about, but I kept in the back of my mind to try a few things the next time I saw her. So I did. Here are the things I noticed.

She has a weak gaze and does not make direct, engaging eye contact. She does not grip with her legs when held by an adult. Tracking an object with her eyes, she did but the movement was jerky, the item was a spoon she had been holding all day. (Genea thought I was being mean to her and kept saying, give her back the spoon!) She is unusually placid. She does not babble or make any other sound than the usual crying. I held her straight in front of me under her arms and tilted her slightly to the side, she did not show the righting reflex.

She is crawling and appears ready to walk soon. She appears to eat normally but is still eating pureed food. Dont know if there is a swallowing disorder that she needs the mushy food for. She did not seem to have trouble being around other kids, but I did not notice her playing except for the spoon. She turned her head towards the sound when I snapped my fingers.

I am not terribly close to these family friends. I think someone needs to be sure this is all looked into by a pediatrician, who may have already noted something, I don't know. My mom would have heard most likely, if something has been mentioned. I know it is really important to start working with the kids asap when they show delays like this.

This couple had a baby that died 3 months after Teena was born. Before the funeral, her mom, so the babies grandmother, told the mom that God took her baby as punishment because she had sinned by not being married. Their second baby was premature also, and had the same condition prenatally that the first baby died from. Third baby is this one, who as well had the same prenatal problems and did survive but was 2 months early. The Dad is estranged from his family because of this relationship, which they are now married. So there is some dark, unfortunate and horribly sad history there that makes them kind of prickly and defensive about the kids.

So here is what I am looking for opinions on. If anyone is familiar with preemies, is there a general sort of delay that catches up after a few years?
Would you bring it up to the parents that you noticed the baby is not showing typical development, or would you keep the information to yourself because you could darn well be totally wrong.
Would you coach another person who is close to the parents and have that person bring it all up? Or would that be rude/ offensive?

After the fact, I mentioned all this to The Hub and he said he had noticed something too, the last time we had seen them. So, This Hub knows even less than me about infants, only ever having spent time with his own!

I am really hoping someone is going to chime in a say, Yep! This is normal for a preemie!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I don't know you!

Stop talking to me. Stop it! I don’t know you (“gimme back my purse” tv reference King of the Hill). You don’t know me. And you know what? I am fine with that!!! I don’t want that to change.

You know you go thru the mall and you realize you are coming up on the cell phone kiosks. You might have been thinking any number of things but out the corner of your eye you become suddenly aware that the cell phone sales dude has- clench your butt in stress- no customers. Quickly you scan the horizon between yourself and the pretty anchor store at the end. Really cute shoes may be on sale at a never before seen price but is the price to much to pay to have to pass the cell phone guy? It is his job to engage you though the process should probably be illegal. It is probably some management doofuses idea of the micromanagement tool of the week. You try to hug the wall to blend in and look at the floor. Despite your posture, gait and facial expression screaming ‘shut the ef up and don’t bother me you jackass’, out it comes. The unwanted greeting. The greeting that is coming for no good reason. He wants to sell me a phone, is required by employer to greet all innocent mall guests, or is bored and his greeting has just a hint of potential taunt.

It is not that they are just feeling sociable and want to say hi. It is not that hard to just say hi back. If it were just about saying "Hi", well, I would say "Hi" and move on. There is that hint of aggression in their words as they call out the unwanted greeting. You can try the quick- glance half- ass -smile and grunt, but they will usually not accept it. Usually they think of that as a challenge. Ah ha! Now you are trapped. Those great little shoes still calling to you? Can you run in them? Now comes the insincere inquiry as to your recent health and state of affairs. “How you doin’ today?“ Crap. Now you have to give a rating on your day, that no one cares about. And social etiquette requires you to question as to his health and state of affairs, no actual interest needed. I usually try to ignore that bit of etiquette and give the blank face. Then shift to the dead eye’d stare directly ahead of myself towards the anchor store, keep my eyes on the prize while picking up the pace.

Once in a great while, the cell phone sales person will gets a tad bit snotty, a tad bit of aggression in his voice, and speaks up again “Hey it’s an easy question, what, you too good to talk to me?”. You know, you are almost passed him and he is still asking you about the phone obviously hanging off of your handbag. You are passed him and he is still trying to get you, "Hey lady, I just asked you about your phone you don't gotta' get an attitude!".

Yeah, actually, NOW I do. Since you mentioned it.

You want to have a chatty coffee clutch, go to Starbucks. You need someone to talk to you, go to a church. You need validation, call you mother on one of those fancy phones. You want to talk to a girl, call a 900 number. Leave me out of it!

(Actually, I don't really care about shoes, I am a handbag girl but my favorite never goes on sale so I had to substitute for effect. Cell phone sales women may hassle innocent shoppers too, I just have not seen it.)

Friday, April 17, 2009




Excuse Me

So tonite we were all sitting downstairs after dinner. The Hub was across from me on the couch and I was on the recliner with Teena squished and quite frankly, forced, into the remaining 2 inches of side space. Genea was cleaning up her ahem, party, in the hallway. The Hub and I were talking about something. It went like this.

Hub: blah blah BLAh blah

Me: something riveting

Hub: blah blah blah BLAH

Teena: excuse me

Me: blah blah fascinating blah

Teena: excuse me

Me: whats up Teena, and by the way it was really nice for you to say "excuse me", that was very nice manners.

Teena: yesh, Gwamma said I should always say "excuse me"

Me: Um, Teena, I know I have told you no less than 300 times that you should say "excuse me"!

Teena: I didn't hear you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


To Lisa, the proud new mom, and it's a girl!

In the spirit of knowledge is power, I just have to say one thing. Because I know this will make no difference to Lisa or anyone else having another child, decisions will not be based on this information. However I think it is important to know. This is one of those things I wish someone had sent me a heads up about. It defies logic.

2 children are not twice as hard as 1. Right, like I said, that doesn't really make sense. Because 2 children somehow, are like four times as hard as one. At least four times. I failed math at least 4 times so I cannot be relied on to use exponentials properly. Just know this- there is a time or space warp that creates a funnel in the universe and the second child creates waaaaay more than twice the work.

When you have 2 girls, as I and the Obama's have, you will also discover that prisms cease to be relevant. Your world becomes made up of 3 colors. Pink, purple, and pinknpurple.

It will look as if Anna Nicole Smith blew up inside your house.

I wanted girls that do karate and play with worms. I got beautiful princesses instead. Which reminds me of one last thing. A little bit of sibling rivalry can be a great thing. Work with me here. If your kids tattle on each other to you, they will never quite be sure what they will get away with in front of each other. If they band together, well I don't want to scare you, but, they will win. The Husband and I have already decided that when it happens here, they can have the house. Just let us take one car to get away. Maybe we'll come stay with you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cross your fingers...

Cross your fingers and hold your breath and send all your positive good and happy wishes to Lisa who lives in my computer right here. If you pray, bring it on. If you dance around your yard naked, get your fancy self going and bust a move. If you need to be in a house of worship best be on the other side of that door quick. Lisa is in the process of trying to adopt a young girl out of the foster care system and the Powers That Be will be holding their Making a Decision Meeting tomorrow. Lisa already has adopted one little girl from the system and, God Bless her, wants to do it again. This child, if you can imagine, is only 6 but has already been placed in residential treatment, unable to live in a foster home.
Okay, as soon as I hit "publish post" I am going to cross my fingers!
(this was originally published on Tuesday for a Wednesday meeting but the days were wrong. The meeting is tomorrow, so the days is correct now but a few extra prayers and such will not hurt anyway!!!).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Try it, you might like it!

If anyone ever asks me what is the one most important thing I would want them to know about having kids this is what it would be.

NEVER make the mistake of thinking you know what you are doing.

Now, that sounds defeatist to say the least. And actually for some reason in 4 years no one has ever asked me so I have never had the chance to tell anyone. But let me explain anyway.

When I had Teena, I read the books. All the same books everyone else has read. And I decided after having Teena in the house for a bit that every single one of those books was worthy of being read closely and thoroughly and then thrown under the crib. It is important to be educated and know what the pervading theories are, then, as I have said before, you wing it and do the best you can. Cuz when the time comes, you are too tired or too freaked out to look for the damn book.

Time after time, poor Teena would be crying and I would be insisting that she did not need anything. (I should probably explain another theory of mine, called "3B's", basically when you have a crying infant you check out these 3 things. Bed - may need a nap, Bottle- hungry, Butt- wet or poopy). So there she would be howling her little head off, and I would be all, she CANT be hungry because I just fed her the amount of food she always eats. She just took a nap and her diaper is dry. So THere! Teena, there is nothing wrong with you! So finally I would give her a bottle or a cracker or whatever, and she would be all her happy self again. And I would think to myself, Self, you gotta stop thinking you know what you are doing.

Which leads me to the point of this post. When Genea came along she was off the charts. I mean this literally. Everything from her failure to thrive, to her rages and tantrums, her medical problems, things she would eat/ not eat, to how she spent her play time, all of it. The Wango Tango visited all day every day. Before she met us, in the original adopting family, she used to sit quietly in her room and look at books and do puzzles. In that home she was in an almost constant state of dissociation. When she started her little visits with us, she had to be prodded to play. She was calm and polite and 3 years old. The day she moved in, she was 4 by then, seriously, that day, she went nuts. Nuts is not a technical term but it is a great descriptive term. Wow. It was both stunning and shocking how different this kid turned out to be. And its all good, we just had to turn everything we thought we knew upside down, inside out, throw it in the river, run it over with the car and drag it back in. A year and a half later, we battle maybe 30% or 40% of the Wango Tango and its related issues, above and beyond what a regular 5 year old does.

My resources have been the books I have tagged over on the side of my blog here. Those books I actually refer to often. But primarily, my lifeline, the thing that shoves me back into the light every day has been listserves and blogs by moms who are here too. We are the people that took the kids NO ONE else would. It is ugly, and damned unfortunate, and absolutely true.

Geez, I am really rattling on here. I also need to purge, and to line up my thoughts into a coherent concept. Instead of screaming my voice into oblivion. Or smashing my head into a wall. So I write on my little blog here.

So 16 paragraphs ago, I meant to write that you really should try everything. If your kid is having a problem and you read about or hear about some stupid sounding ridiculous idea, try it. I thought "prescribing the problem" sounded silly. Really silly, and since my child's issues were so complex there was no way something so silly was going to work. Sure, that is a cute idea for a tantrum when a kid has been told no more candy bars. But for the rage and fury of my brain damaged daughter? Please.

The idea of "prescribing the problem" is that you tell your kid to do what you do not want them to do. So, when Genea is having a blow out meltdown I send her to her room like usual only I calmly follow her in there and encourage her to let it all out. Scream honey, come on, louder! This is your chance! Get it all out! Baby, why are you just sitting there staring at me? Cry! Lets go! I can't hear you!

She sits, she stares. Actually, she sort of glares only I "heckle" that too. Crunch your eyebrows down a little more honey, you don't look mad enough. (Well, it feels like heckling. It really isn't at the time, it is a way to calm a raging brain and change up the dynamic, I added this part later.)

It works. This mom HERE is collecting ideas for handling rages in your kid other than holding and physical containment. Coincidentally her blog is chock full of great ideas for moms of kids with attachment disorders.

So, that was the point of all this in the first place!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sloth Pays

About 2 months ago, The Husband crashed and trashed his car. It was old and had a lot of miles, and we did not have insurance on it. It was towed and we let them keep it. It will not ride again. In the meantime, I had a newer car that The Husband got, being as he works and travels daily for his job and I don't.

We also had an old Sunfire that had been parked in my driveway for about 3 years. On and off he used it while the other was being repaired. The old Sunfire was on its last, final legs. We bought it used in the first place and just held on to it after getting my new car. It was worth very little, but it pissed me off. It infuriated me that The Husband let it sit there for those years. Here we are buying generic cereal and unpleasant toilet paper and there was that car rotting in the driveway when we should have sold it. Every few months I reminded him- get that car sold. He always said something brilliant like, "I can't find the title". And there the car would sit getting even less valuable every day. If anyone out there in the air thinks that I should have dealt with it myself, piss off. There are certain things in my family that are strictly assigned and that was one. I was getting more and more peeved. Now the car is being ruined by not starting it. Still we are crunching pennies and there sits several hundred dollars flapping in the wind.

So of course, everyone knows where this is going right? The Husband trashed his SUV and took my family sedan. I was without a car and now there is really no way we can just jump out the door and buy another car. So here comes the Sunfire again, a 2 door, 10 year old car. We had it towed out and fixed up and it rides again. This car is the type where nothing works but the engine. You will never know what time it is, but you can always be treated to a pretty flashing light show where the clock is. Sometimes you will get air, usually not. The volume on the radio is preset so we hope you don't mind it is a little hard to hear over the engine. I am a little concerned that the gas gauge shows the tank filling up as I drive. I am wondering about the likelihood of that being accurate. Oh- and you have to really heave the door to make sure it is closed all the way. You really want to be sure it is closed all the way.

So there you go. Leaving that car sit in the driveway for 3 years turned out to be a good decision. Well actually I guess it was a lack of decision which is an issue we have serious issues with here. And by we I do not mean me.

Anyhow, we are off tomorrow to the Bring Your Own Xanax party. Actually it is a nice little Eastery gathering with immediate family but there will be six children from ages 1 to 5. Xanax and a tequila sunrise chaser. I will be off the grid for a few days because we are at my parents and they have- get this- dial up internet and unreliable cellular service. If I try to get at any of my regular sites from their computer they take so long to load that I forget what is supposed to be happening. If the cell towers can pick up I will try to tweet a few notes over there on the right side of this here blog where it says something about twitter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ope's on a Roll

I am a Judge Judy person. Nothing makes me happier than watching her nail some dipshit for their dumb assed decisions. Really I am smiling just thinking about it. But in my part of the country, you have to pick. Judy or Oprah. I used to be big on Ope, but over 20 years I have run hot and cold. The past few years have been so spiritually focused I have been mostly uninterested. My spirit is more entertained watching Judge Judy wipe the floor with dumb people. I sit and cheer like I am watching football. I even put my children in to "quiet time rest" in their room, which they mostly cooperate with.

So anyway, I watched Oprah earlier this week and again today. The subject was talking to your kids about sex, especially your daughters and especially that you better get started way before you think you need to. Blugg hooo.

I watched this woman being told she needs to talk to her 10 year old about all of it. I watched the poor woman's eyes bug when she realized she should be talking about the mechanics of sex and masturbation. Then there is this adorable 10 year old girl with short hair and glasses asking her mom questions. And the mom is tearing up saying, she was just a baby a few years ago, how can I need to be talking to her about this already! UGHah.

I have to confess, my eyes watered up too. My girls are 4 and almost 6 and I haven't even hinted to them about any.... stuff. I should probably be talking to them about good touch and bad touch and all that, but except for Genea going to school they aren't around even anyone but our family. They don't stay anywhere but here or my parents house. But I need to start this.

This leads me to the saying, the days are long but the years are short. Seriously, Teena was a baby just a few months ago. How did she get to be 4 already? That is FOUR YEARS. All of high school! And how did that happen when every single day seems to take 72 hours to get through? Hmmmm? Maybe I have been watching too much Lost (and too much Oprah) but I just don't see how that is possible. Not to mention Genea, an almost 6 year old. Come on! There has got to be time travel involved. Or something.

Again, I hate sometimes that I know so much. Way too much about how it is these days with pre-teen girls and into puberty and adolescence. I know 11 and 12 and 13 year old girls having sex. Intercourse. Oral. UGH. It is out there. Goo blauh!

I know I have to start this. Start laying the ground work. Having the conversations, starting to put out the information. So when questions come up, they know that I may know something to ask me about, because I have already mentioned it. Hoah gabooo.

I do remember though, being a teenager. I was certain my mom had no idea, being among the generation of moms who lived and advocated waiting until marriage before having sex. Which is a great idea and all, but that goes from 0 to 60. I needed to know about 1-59 and it didn't seem like she could tell me with any authority what to do in between. I think my most significant conversations came from an older cousin (Cousin Uni-Bitch) and my older sister. But the down and dirty came from an older male cousin. Cousin Payola coincidentally. He got me on the phone one day, when I was about 15 or 16, asked a few questions, and proceeded to tell me exactly what boys think. Exactly what they want. How, why and what they will do to get it. Exactly. That was the conversation that gave me what I needed to know to make my decisions.

Anyway. Oprah says she has a bunch of links on her website with helpful information. And this Dr. Laura lady has a free pamphlet on how to start the talk and stuff. It is a great point that I want my girls to have the info they need waaaaaay before they need it, and that age is way younger than it used to be. Ughuu. Maybe I'll start taking a nap at 4:00.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Dump

Something that has happened on a regular basis in my life is what I have as of this weekend decided to refer to as "The Dump". It is not what you might expect. The Dump is when a person, an acquaintance, without warning or cause, spews their life story to me. Now, if the stories were of easy subjects or simple light topics I might simply move on without comment. If the stories were the normal sort that people tell every day to each other, it would not be a blog post it would be well, nothing. Irrelevant. That is not what happens. For some reason, and I really don't know what it is, people I have just met or people I barely know, have a tendency to blurt out the ugliness in their lives, the true horrors of their personal histories, the abuses they have survived, and sail them straight to me. Once the person has started it is unrelenting. They purge and purge until they are done or a fire alarm goes off.

This is not at work that I am talking about. This is out in public on any ordinary day. Regular folks in their natural habitats.

I do not know why this happens. Some people have, after dumping, commented that I was the "only person who didn't ____". As in, the only person who didn't say, that is gross. Or say, well you deserved that. Or you didn't judge me. or didn't condemn me. Or you are the only person who didn't look at me differently after I told you. So I don't know. I don't know what inspires a person to just, splat, tell the horrors of their lives to me in the line at the grocery store. Or in between their turns shooting pool. Or waiting for our kids at the bus stop. It just happens and it has happened a lot. And mostly I stand there and listen. This is outside of any job I might have at the time.

You used to work in the family restaurant when you were 7 until your hands bled and the pain was devastating but they still made you do the work.

Your "friends" in high school had a sex club and forced you in and you had to be hospitalized for over a month.

You set a house on fire when you were a teenager and now you are a felon and can't vote.

You had an abortion 8 years ago but don't tell your husband of 10 years because he would be really mad if he ever found out.

So this weekend it happened again. I got a phone call from a neighbor who's kids go to my kids school. Just a little chatty call out of nowhere that within a few minutes disintegrated into a story of her recent suicide attempts, psych hospitals and in-patient stays, violence and physical abuse. Of anorexia, of mental tormentors, of divorce and vicious ex husbands. Of alienation from her mother. Of her mothers partner, who sexually abused her children, my child's schoolmates, and who she screamed at in court when testifying. Really screamed at him! Then she says, I can't tell what you're thinking, you have to be thinking I'm crazy right, well I am not I swear.


So I have all this rattling around my head. And I know my kid wants to go over there to play with her kids. And so I am thinking, well at least I know the score. I guess they might not be as shocked as I thought if Genea has a meltdown and crawls under their furniture barking like a dog. Or if she pee's on their carpet. Or whatever. Sounds like the mom is reasonably stable now. Sort of. Just now I know to pay attention.

Then I thought, oh hell. Kids who have survived sexual abuse have been known to turn around and perp on other kids. And oh my unholy hell, my kid is ripe and ready for that particular violation. I know that Genea is the kid that fits the profile. So that worries me. A lot.

Okay, but I know. Most of the time, I wouldn't know. I would have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors of anyone elses family. Whether they say goodnight like the Waltons, or whether they.... don't.

I had several close friends growing up, one in particular who my mom adored, while in middle school. She used to stay at our house, and I would stay at hers. Her mom had died when she was little so her Dad was her only parent. Yeah, and it turned out after he murdered his girlfriend that he had also killed his wife all those years ago. Not much you can do to predict and protect from that sort of thing.

See normally when The Dump comes out, usually up until the past few years I would not really care. That is to say, it didn't bother me whatever I had learned. It just became a part of the person, who I may or may not ever see again. None of it really affected me. But now, the stakes are totally changed. Totally higher. Now I have to seriously consider every word. Every. Single. Word.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In the Oprah- Hood

I'll give her this- Oprah loves moms. She puts moms on a pedestal and often refers to being a mom as the hardest job there is. And the most important job there is. And moms are the jelly on the peanut butter sandwich, without moms there would be no sliced bread. And then where would people in this country be, without anything to be the greatest thing since sliced bread? Hmmm?


So today Ope did her whole show on moms. It was all about how moms who are having a hard time tend to believe they are alone in it. That no one tells you how hard it is going to be. How we all go a few days without a shower or brushing our hair and think we are the only one who can't get it together. How moms are the first to think we are bad at mom-ing and all the other moms have it figured out. That other moms are perfect and have perfect lives as Super Mom with clean houses and background checks completed on all their kids friends and families.

I would just like to point out to Ope that I could have been a great guest on today's show and I can get to Chicago in 3 hours if need be. So if the spirit ever moves you Oprah, just call me, just call out my name and I'll be there. In 3 hours. I have to be the one driving though. You'll pay the speeding tickets right? I mean, you know. You have, like, some cash laying around right?

Anyway, it was not the case with me that no one told me it would be hard. I don't know why I inspired this in people, but people were tripping, literally falling all over themselves to tell me how hard being a parent is and how much hard stuff I was in for. Knocking on my office door, knocking other people over, to get to tell me the next gross- awful- scary- shitty parenting thing I would be in for. If I complained that I dripped chicken nugget sauce on my shirt, you can be sure 9 people jumped up to squeal- "if you think that's bad just wait until it is puke", or "you'll never make it as a mom if you can't handle bbq sauce on your shirt"! ( yeah come to think of it, some people were kind of mean).

See, here's the deal. I always thought I would be a terrible mom. Seriously bad. I used to tell the story about how when I was a kid I put books in my baby doll stroller to walk around the block. People would come up to me and peer in to the carriage all ready to say 'oooh what a pretty baby' and there was my collection of Anne of Green Gables books going for a walk instead. I spent years telling anyone who asked that no, I did not plan to have any children. I planned to have nieces and nephews who would cooperate, think I was way cool, and Go. Home.

So where could I go from there? Only up right? Keep your expectations low and you can be a much more successful mom! (Really, you can apply the theory to your whole life). Since I assumed I would be terrible at motherhood, every day that I kept Teena alive was a success. Every time she latched on, or crapped her diaper and I cleaned it in a reasonable time, or got more food in her mouth than next to her mouth, HEY! Time to celebrate! I did it! She didn't break! (Remember although she is younger, Teena was my first child).

Maybe that's the trouble. Women think that mom-ing should come natural. That they should know what to do and how to do it, without ever having done any of it before. Unfortunately, this business is on -the -job -training only. Sink or swim. Shit or get off the pot. Women today are accustomed to being educated, or seeking education when it is needed. But you can't learn kids without one. And there are only a few ways to get one, and then you are basically stuck and too tired to look for the damn book anymore anyway. So you wing it and hope for the best, leaving you to feel you always could have done it better. Maybe, maybe not. But overblown expectations will knock you out and chew you alive. So get over yourself. If everyone is breathing and fed at the end of the day, you did good.

Just call it The Accidental Mommy- Hood.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brief signs of life

I have not been that sick in years, decades even. It has been horrible. It is a sick that teases you with quick periods of lucidity only to knock you out again with a bat to the back of the knees. A sick so pervasive I could not read a book or even a magazine article. I could stare blankly at the tv and take in information intermittently, leaving it to gel with snips from earlier. Unfortunately since Teena was sick with me, we gelled with Thomas and Sid the Science Kid and ... and.... I will deny this later... Barney. After so many hours of watching PBS on the same channel, our receiver actually thought we died or moved away and turned itself off!

So we are slowly coming back to life. It is more like crawling back to life. It feels like a horrible hangover without any of the fun drinking part. I left the house for the first time in 6 or 7 days today to go to Target. Now I have to rest again.

With Easter coming up, the girls are making some pictures and a list. I don't know what the list is for, since I cannot read wiggles and squiggles but I suspect they are confused. They think somehow they need to contact Santa Claus. When I try to explain the Easter Bunny, they look at me and listen and nod their heads to verify they understand, then tell me I have to send their letter to Santa Claus. They must think he is in charge. Like he is the Manager of his Department and they have to fill out the proper forms to get their Easter Baskets approved. He probably is the Tooth Fairy's supervisor too.

We have Easter Saturday coming up with Cousin Payola and his family at my mom's house. So that is always good for some crazy stuff. Okay, got to go and rest again. Blah.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Trick Day

Here comes Genea home from school yesterday where she is learning all sorts of great things to enable her to be a future leader of America. The education being provided her must be exceptional. She is being prepared for a fabulous life if knowledge is an indicator, if knowledge is power.

She informed me, Genea did, that tomorrow is "trick day". April Fools Day I assume, is what she meant. The day when you can play tricks on people. And it is okay, you won't get in trouble. This is what she says.

Then she asks, do you want to have a trick? (Genea's authentic use of language included).

Well of course I do!

Ok, she says. "My husband is in jail! "

BWAHHH ha ha HA HA!!!! Oh man. Good thing there are blogs so I can remind her of this when she is older and it actually happens! What are they doing in that school, watching the Jerry Springer show? I went to the audience of that show a hundred years ago, it is crazy! BAAH ha ha ha!

We are still sick here. It is awful. I have not been this sick in forever. Even Scarlet Fever was better than this. Now Teena is coming in to the really hard sick part. Genea is the only one doing okay at this point. Good thing cuz she is the brain in our family in the first place, we really need her to keep track of us.


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