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All posts for the month August, 2015

2 Jocks and an Emo

Published August 26, 2015 by sarcasmica

Parenting the oldest is like skydiving without a parachute sometimes. Tonight my son came downstairs because:

A. He didnt want to sleep

B. He physically could not sleep

C. He held out on a story too long and had to spill the beans

D. He actually went right to sleep
The answer… a&c. So it turns out when he went next door to play with his best friend- and the bf’s little brother- there was a kerfuffle. My kid picked up a land mine toy.

You know, a toy that lies untouched and dormant until someone has the audacity to put a finger on it, then…BOOM! Instant Shit Show.

My kid touched a treasure of the li’l bros and li’l bro decided to push my kid. My kid asks (clearly and calmly, no doubt) what he’s done to cause a ruckus, and BFF decides to push, too. Somewhere in all this the bedroom door gets shut and the two bros jump on my kid.

The mom shows up, everyone throws their bodies on the bomb as if nothing happened, and my kid comes home for dinner.

It had been hours since the alleged incident, and this is when my kid decides to tell me the story?! 

So my son is very sensitive. He likes to act crusty on the outside, but he’s a fluffy lamb on the inside….beneath the boiling lava. He’s also emotional. He likes things spelled out and black and white. He does not do vague or hinting well. 

He says (cliffs notes) he wasnt sure if pushing the boys off of him would have been ok. This was the moment. One of those parenting moments you feel you should be prepared for. You scan your brain for the chapter on insensitive jackass jock-minded best friends and the pleasers who befriend them…..but nada. The nurse at the hospital skipped this chapter. 

My impressionable son is now needing guidance. Mama bear had to be squelched for the duration. I was holding back a rabid Badger in my mind who was screaming, “Pummel the little shit for putting his hands on you!!!!” Instead, I had to find a calm middle ground. 

“You stand up. Look at the kid(s), and say ‘I dont like this, this is wrong and you walk out/away, find a grown up and then leave and when you get home, tell me.”

I got a weak “ok” and wasnt satisfied. Probing further, he wasnt sure how to defend himself, or if he should. That hurt. We had a chat about how standing up to friends is the hardest thing to do, but always believe you are worth fairness. Never ever let someone put their hands on you and not defend yourself. 

His best friend has a brother and their mom only knows semi-rambunctious boys. She lets her kids work out most arguments before she steps in. 

Not how I do it.

We decided: you can absolutely defend yourself

You’re bigger, you can physically move someone who is blocking a door

Call out or bang on a wall for someone to come check on you

Leave/walk away/get out 

Do not let the fear or intimidation of it being your friend stop you from doing what is right for yourself

(and silently i thought kick or punch a brat who thinks its ok to push you around) but we’ll save that one for karate
Seriously. This was a conversation I wasnt expecting to have. Stupidly, probably. Why do friends behave this way?! 

I left the conversation feeling manic. Bipolar. A tad torn. I had that feeling you get when you ace a quiz you didnt study for…but also like it was an open note test i wasnt prepared for and just got lucky.

Its not enough to wish and hope for happiness for your children. You have to show them how to fight for it. 

Unfortunately for my kids, being a passive aggressive role model translates to: “hold all those feelings inside, and then go home and blog about it!”

Thats not gonna get you out of a cornered physical situation. “Dont make me write you in an unflattering light….i’ll do it!”

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Barrels

Published August 24, 2015 by sarcasmica

I’m staring down the barrel of 4th grade for my son, and pre-K for my daughter…. I have found a weird limbo lately and i’m not sure I like it.

I am all too aware how fast my kids are growing. I cannot live *there*, though. Who can?! Who can live in the perpetual “This is the last time I …. ”  or “he’s never going to …. again” or “i’m done wiping other people’s butts!”. I catch glimpses of it here and there throughout the day. It tugs on my heart, of course. But there’s always a bickering moment, a tattling episode, a seemingly perpetual backtalk tirade to snap me back to the reality of, “Oh yea?! Well good!” in response to time passing quickly.

It’s different with my son than it is with my daughter. I’ve been picking and choosing the Scary Mommy posts or the sappy FB blog entries that get shared. It’s too hard.

My son is my first born. My first born happens to have been the most difficult child. Becoming a mother with this child is like being tossed in the ocean and then learning how to swim. I have written post after post about challenges that began with his colic at 2 or 3 months. The sleeplessness. The correctional helmet. The 2 year old back talk. The preschool biting, on and on and on with the challenges that put us now with ADHD diagnosis and Dyspraxia. Not only was I just trying to wrap my brain around becoming a mother, but there seemed to be a constant barrage of additional things to learn, practice, read up on, question, feel, think, present. And the kicker is, it doesn’t end! He’s always my first. My first in school, first dealings with teachers and peer issues. He’ll be (hopefully) the first to drive, date, etc. Its never going to get easier with him simply because he’s the first. But because of this, it’s like we’re figuring it out together. I’d like to say i’m hiding the fact I don’t know what i’m doing until i’m doing it from him, but i’m pretty sure he suspects something. This was apparent when he told me about a dream he had when he was 6 or 7; “Mom! I had a terrible dream that the house was on fire, and you didn’t know what to do. I had to show you where to get out and remind you to get my sister.”

Thanks, kid. Thanks for the confidence.

Is it going by quickly with him? Yes. It is. The difference is I feel I’ve been waiting for this time for him, though. He’s finally grown into the person his brain has been stretching to reach. We are settled in a house. His sister is an age where they can play together. He can handle some responsibility. It’s like he’s fitting into the britches he always seemed too big for. But I know all the challenges ahead still. We are still trying to find that magical medicinal prescription that will allow him to at least attempt success at school. Ironically, this is supposed to be decided while on summer break …. School is about to start and I worry about him making friends, getting a good teacher – or at least one that will give him the time of day – fitting in.

I have moments where I get to look in on him and appreciate how far we’ve come, and try and savor now because whatever is next will be saying goodbye to something else from him. He’s not always going to come to me with questions. I hope he does, but I know he wont. He wont always trust I know what the answer is. … especially if it’s math related. I cannot quite see how teen life will be with him, my only hope is that we don’t get shut out. That would kill me. He’s been everything so far. To lose him to himself would be devastating.

I look in on him at night and it’s easy to see the little boy I still have … and his long skinny arms and legs hint at what is to come. I just hope he can be happy. Isn’t that we all want?

My daughter. My little girl is in some ways the total opposite of her brother. He has paved such a winding bumpy path, that she seems like a cake walk. She is so ready to help and please and do for everyone. She has made being a mommy pretty easy. (shhhhh, don’t tell!) I do thank the powers that be for both of my kids, but in many ways she is a breath of fresh air.

She is growing and becoming such a little tomboy. She is surrounded by boys here, but godblessher, she hangs onto certain girlie things and it’s awesome. She loves pink, she wants to be a princess (usually hyphenated with something else like a princess-veterinarian) she loves anything sparkly and she loathes bugs. .. just don’t kill one in front of her. She is still struggling with the whole “i want to like it, but i can’t see it, touch it, or go near it” mentality.

My little girl is starting pre-K this year. It was a bit of a disappointment not to get her into kindergarten. Who wouldn’t want that $$ freed up? But I think if I look down just before ‘deep’, i’ll admit I’m glad she didn’t get into kinder. She seemed ready, but emotionally she’s still 4 which is right where she should be. She’s still 4! Where my son seemed always to operate in some ways far beyond his years, with her I relish being able to have her on my lap still, play with her hair, help her pick her clothes. (translation; reach what she is insisting on wearing) I am not waiting for some magic age where her mind will fit with her body because she is just right with herself in most ways.

With her, I know what’s coming down the pike and i’m trying not to let it terrify me… i can pretend ignorance with my son. I don’t know what it’s like to be an adolescent boy, but I remember all too clearly how my head worked at 11, 12 and 13 and it wasn’t pretty.

Sitting here at the end of another summer I’m befuddled. I’m frustrated at the week of long lazy days that are still ahead which translate to lots of bickering and bothering and arguing. I’m also nostalgic for a time when I could choose our days and take them where I want to, and have their little sticky chubby fingers grab for my hands as we run errands in the days before school was even on the radar. I’m also giddy with excitement at the realization one of them will be at school five days a week, while the other is still a 3/per. I’m pissed I have a cold right now and can’t jam all the activities in we didn’t get to do before they trot off to school. We were going to have adventures and stories and memories!

I’m looking forward to having some time where my brain is just my own. My thoughts get to actually play out until completion. I might even vacuum or wash something once in a while. I sure as hell haven’t done that over the summer!

I wonder sometimes if it’s time for me to try and join the workforce once again. This sanctuary volunteer gig has made me a bit antsy on the days i’m home. It makes me feel a bit idle being home when there are things to be done ‘out there’.

So i’m staring down lots of barrels right now. Immediately, however, the cold medicine is forcing me to focus solely on my pillow and some rest. This will have to do.

If your kids are not back to school yet, enjoy. Enjoy this time before they tangibly grow up a little and relish it all. You know, in all your spare time… when you aren’t picking up after them or cleaning something, or washing something, or planning something, refereeing something, time outing or consequencing something. Relish that 2.26 minutes left in the day when you see them as your babies still. Take that minute before you go to bed to check on them and remember how big that crib used to look around them. You have gotten them this far. You’ve managed it all until here. Surely great things are still to come?!

IMG_5036

Wah Wah Wah

Published August 23, 2015 by sarcasmica

I havent had a cold in a long time. Now I do and this sucks donkey balls!!!

I held out hope yesterday it was just a sinus reaction to the fires here that have caused thousands and thousands of acres to burn unchecked. 

The air here is thick and brown and stinky. Sadly, there is no rain in the forecast until next weekend. 

So here I lay, surrounded by snot rags, hoping somehow to contain my germs to my own snotty, coughing, nose-blowing bubble. I’d say more -or at least try to be funny about it- but my head is so congested and pressurized with stuffing  there is no room for actual thought.

Apparently I was too frightening to sleep next to, because 10 mins after my husband came to bed, he was gone.

Im going to be positive about it and wait for some water and medicine and breakfast be brought to me in bed.
(and here is likely where i meet my maker from starvation and malnurishment) 

Boom Chi – KABOOM!

Published August 20, 2015 by sarcasmica

This chica went a’ Boom.

You know you are old when you fall down and can’t immediately bounce back up and laugh it off. In my case, there was no bounce, just “Thud”. .. possibly a crunch.

Here’s the deal; My husband and I spent a stupid amount of time Sunday clearing out one of the garage spaces so I can park my new Jeep and have the option to just leave the top off. (“topless” heheeheh)

We decided the least labor-intensive spot was right next to the wall where the stairs to the house are. Seems reasonable. We managed to get the behemoth with just a slight overlap of the stairs. As driveway parkers our entire relationship, we felt quite superior, let me tell you.

Yesterday morning due to a series of circumstances i’ll refrain from boring you with, I had to leave early to drop the new car off for the after purchase nonsense like window sealants, paint treatments, etc. I needed to do this early because it’s in the opposite direction than the parrot sanctuary where I need to be by 9am.

So i’m up early. I’m prepared. I have the supplies I wanted to take with me. I hold off on food or coffee because I need to beat the traffic.

I grab the paper grocery bag overflowing with empty boxes (for the birds), I have my keys in the other hand. I enter the garage and descend the stairs. …. except for the last step which I hadn’t planned on. The f-ker came out of nowhere, caught the toe of my sneaker, my second foot copied the first, both toes stuck like ballet shoes on the last step bending forward and launching me immediately down to my knees onto the concrete.

At some point between the toe-stick, the flying paper bag of boxes, and the purse launching off my shoulder, I scream. I scream an unnatural shriek i’m sure cleared the trees outside the garage of all creatures.

I knelt there on my hands and knees sobbing, feeling breathless and completely dazed. Then I turn to my left and see the bumper of my Jeep less than 6 inches from my face.

holy shit.

Still on all fours, I took inventory of my pains. Nothing seemed broken. However, the muscle that was completely screaming in both legs was (what I think is) this one:

from sportsinjuryclinic.net

When I was in marching band and we rehearsed our field show or for a parade, this was the “marching muscle” that always ached. When it’s sore, you feel like you’re walking with swimming flippers on…. or like a very uncoordinated duck.

I used the bumper to get up to my feet. My knees were screaming and my foot/ankle muscle was burning. .. but I was fine. Just completely shaken up. I got into the car, and got on my way. No one knew what happened but me, and the concrete floor I was sure I had left two knee-shaped craters in.

Today i’m sore. My foot feels twice the size it looks. .. no bruising, no unusual swelling. I’m kind of disappointed I have nothing to show for such a dramatic start to yesterday. Nothing except an ace bandage on my duck foot.

Apparently a squishy body does indeed have insulation and padding to protect against early morning accident stupidity.

Trippy Birds

Published August 12, 2015 by sarcasmica

I have learned so much in the short time i’ve been volunteering at the parrot sanctuary. Mostly that I have a healthy appreciation for those beaks. I have learned i’m slow to take on directions when there are 100 screaming squaking beaks around me. I have learned the value of bribery. I thought it was good for kids, but it’s multiplied tenfold with the birds. Hand a macaw a cracker and you instantly have a friend..for at least 45 seconds!

I have learned it’s much harder to keep track of all my appendages now that im bigger. 

And fear is not an option. 

That’s #1. My first bite was from the smallest feather brain in the whole joint. This same little turkey flew onto my shoulder today.

Talk about instant adrenaline! What do you do when the only bite received is from the very little Hahn’s Macaw that is now on your shoulder, inches from you ears, nose and eyes?!

You panic, thats what. Then you open the door and call for help. Unfortunately the lady helping me is liked very little by the bird, so i wandered around the room bent over until a perch more desireable than my shoulder is decided upon. 

And then I laugh like a manic clown at the beak/bullet that I dodged. Laugh it off, try not to flinch, and never ever offer a bird your hand unless you are sure of the reception.

I was dive-bombed three times today by a naked blue & gold macaw. This little beastie likes the seed bin. (Duh) but sees it as a right, and not a priviledge. As I was filling/cleaning/changing bins she stalked me from perches and trees. Finally, my back was turned, she took flight, landed on my clipped up ‘bun’, grabbed with her talons/claws. I bent down, she pushed off and flew across the aviary only later to fly at me head on, face to face. I had to stand my ground and say, “Molly, no”. It kept her away, but only slightly.

This place is such a trip. I make bird friends but have to have zero expectation of loyalty. I cant assume it will be the same the next time i walk in. I have made one friend who seems to remain interested. He is a majestic Hyacinth Macaw. His name is Moseley and its hard not to love this big bird dinasaur:

  This is him asking to ‘step up’. I learned last week not to commit without a backup to help convince him back to his perch. 
  
That is the result of him trying to settle in and refusing to step off. I was flattered, but also a bit panicked. 

I made this friend today. He’s a military macaw named Mr Higgins.

 

He let me scratch his back. This is the equivalent of a dog offering his tummy. It was amazing! I feel like i need to start finding new words to describe this whole experience.  

No Canoe For You!

Published August 11, 2015 by sarcasmica

We did it. Second camping trip of the summer.

WOOOOT!

The first trip was a site four hours away beside the Pacific Ocean. It was amazing. It was beautiful, buggy, hot, dirty and rainy. (one of the mornings)

Trip #2 was beside a lake, Deep Lake to be exact. It was very cool. We had a giant site that backed to a small back trail to the lake. No one used it except our site and the one next to us. It was like having a campsite and a backyard. It was awesome for the kids. So overall it was a beautiful, buggy, hot, dusty and rainy (one morning) trip. .. but totally different than the first.

This time we had our Jeep. We traded our spacious, comfortable, big, roomy, versatile minivan for a utilitarian, fun to drive, high profile Wrangler. We had to first get an extended tray-type trailer to hitch so we could also bring a cooler and our tent. The cooler is huge and takes up the entire back of the Jeep, otherwise. It actually all fit pretty snugly. My husband is good at real life Tetris. 🙂  The other thing we traded off from the van to the Jeep is space between our little rainbows of joy and ourselves. Yes. We actually suffered an aneurism at some point because this new setup actually puts them directly behind us, and immediately next to each other. In a van, they get their own captain chairs to hit each other from. The temptation to physically annoy the other person is far more overwhelming in the Jeep. It’s considered a sport in the van. You have enough room in a van to throw something and possibly miss the intended target.

But the van would not have cleared the bumps and bounces like the Wrangler. I was not white-knuckling the handles while my husband drove the vehicle and bottomed it out on a ditch. No bumpers were ripped off when backing out from a parking spot because they overlapped a curb.

Back to camping. So this new locale was only a 2hr drive away = fabulous pro.

We arrived only mildly harrowed from the afore mentioned close-quartered drive. We set up and let the kids run wild. We camped next to a family that conveniently had a 5 yr old girl and a 7 yr old boy, so our kids were playing and running and exploring. Once night fell, my daughter put on her head lamp and ran around. I was trying to get the news stories of missing/abducted children at campsites out of my head. We were constantly checking in with the kids as they ran around… until after a little while I realized we didn’t hear the girls anymore. The boys were nearby. “Where’s your sister?” “Over there somewhere..”  we called out, no answer.

The stories began to swim to the front of my mind. My husband was messing with something by the picnic table. I was in the tent. The neighbors didn’t seem worried. I was worried. We called again. We all started to take it seriously. It was getting dark. The boys went out looking, my husband took off, I began to follow just as someone shouted they had found the girls. It wasn’t far at all. They were still within range of our campsite, but behind the two campsites was a woody trail parallel to a bike trail that all led to the access road. The girls were really only maybe 100 yards from our site, but it was scary. That brief 30 second stick with you kind of scary because it involves your kid. It all turned out totally fine, but the girls were talked to about it in a way they could understand… i hope.

We ate dinner, we were eaten (by bugs bugs and more bugs) and hit the air mattresses by 9:30. By 2am my husband was awake and on his kindle. Thankfully that actually worked because at 2:30am I heard the pitter patter of rain drops. Hubby went out into the buggy wild and attached the rain guard.

sidenote: why is it that when you actually attach the rain guard in the 85 degree heat and cut off any air circulation, there is no rain. Leave the thing off (or partially attached in our case) you ensure an hour of rain drops somewhere between 2 and 5am ?!

Somewhere around 4:30am we finally got back to sleep just to be awoken by our little cherubs at 7; (whispered desperate “MOM! I gotta peeee!”)

We went about our morning and by the afternoon we were ready for the lake. The sand-bottomed, algae floating lake covered in quasi-supervised children who never left the water for any reason at all … like to use a bathroom.

eeeeeewwwweeee

My daughter, who cannot swim, was decked out in a life jacket AND her turtle floatee was having a blast. The neighboring campers’ 5 yr old was also swimming. She kept trying to pull my kid into the deeper water. Not only was I on ‘drowning lookout’ in the rather shallow water, I was also on Child of the Corn lookout to ensure my kid wasn’t lured to her death by a well-meaning unsupervised kid. I had to tell the neighbor three times, “Don’t pull her, honey. She’ll go when she’s ready.”

and i’d get the blank stare as if I just spoke Russian.

Three minutes later I see her pulling on my kid’s floatee.

“Nope! Do not pull her in. She will go if she wants to.”

The warnings became shorter and less friendly until she finally gave up and guess what? My kid found her own way to the deeper water – i.e. waste deep instead of knee-deep.

After repeatedly saving my kid from being drowned, we decide to rent a canoe. That’ll be fun, right? Who wouldn’t want to rent a cheap canoe on a lake named Deep Lake with 2 smallish kids that can’t swim?

The two teenagers running the rental shack looked quite amused as we lumbered up to them. We requested our canoe and until now, I noticed only one dude was helping people get in and out of their aquatic vehicles. Now suddenly there were two. (??) Getting up the mud-submerged steps to the itty bitty dock was our first challenge. The mud swallowed one of my shoes, and quickly sucked my daughters croc as dessert. Once we fished them out, we were ready.

I carefully enter the canoe while trying to take seriously the clammy unsteady teenage hand that was trying to guide me. The whole time i’m imagining him actually trying to catch me if I fell over and into the 3ft water. I was the first in because apparently the chicks sit in the front. The kids boarded next, and then my husband.

Now, i’m not saying Rhinos can’t canoe, but I can tell you two obese parents and their two swim-less children cannot.

From the moment they shoved us off, that boat bobbed and weaved within an inch of the water line on each side of the death boat. No laughing was permitted for fear of capsizing. Rowing the oar was terrifying. I’ve never sat so ramrod straight for so long in my entire life. The children were silent at first, until I started screaming at my husband to be still….. which was confusing for him, because he was not moving – he claims-except to row.

So all in all our canoe experience can be summed up in 50 yards of me sitting straight up, with nothing moving but my arms to row, my daughter behind me silent as a stone, my son freaking out and parroting everything I was yelling and threatening to my bewildered and bemused husband who had a front row seat from the back row claiming to not be moving at all while our canoe weebled and wobbled left to right dipping us just to the edge of the top of the boat.

After 50 yards I called it. “We’re going back!!!”

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I00001n62qoVrdwY/s/700/sg-p005.jpg

(What it looked like in my head)

We managed to turn the ‘vessel’ around and paddle back to the dock. I nearly caused a scene by doing the splits getting out and shouting a four letter word my kids thought was a highlight of our trip.

“Wanna try a peddle boat?”

“NO!!!” the three sane ones shouted at my husband.

“Really?”

“Fine. But if we don’t like it, we come right back.”

We liked it. It was beautiful. It was not wobbly. There was a canopy and no imminent threat of death for any of us. Thankfully i’ve been working out for the last three weeks with an amazing trainer, so the peddling was not overwhelming. We were out for about 40 – 45 minutes. We saw baby trout, lots of dragon flies, a family on a giant raft with their chihuahua.

After getting back I decide to try out the token showers. My husband informed me that we each had two to use. Wow. 6 whole minutes of hot water!

Newsflash: I cannot manage to work a public shower, wash my hair, rinse, condition, rinse, and get all the nooks and crannies in 6 minutes.

I finished out the shower with ICE water to rinse the rest of my conditioner. After toweling off, I realize there’s still conditioner in my hair. I attempt to rinse my hair in the sink… .where all sorts of public things happen like post bathroom hand washing, toothpaste spitting, loogie hocking, and god knows what else. I decide a conditioning treatment wouldn’t hurt afterall and just put it all in a clip.

After dinner and games and shadow puppets and giggling, we spent the last night there and packed up and left the next morning.

It was a great trip. I’d like to think the kids will remember it, but who knows? Lucky for them I keep a very public account of all of our vacations 🙂

JeepTacular!

Published August 4, 2015 by sarcasmica

Sooooo… We did it!

  
My husband toiled and troubled at a dealership for an entire day to make this happen. He began at 10 am and we all left together in our 4×4 at 9:30pm.

Craaazay. It was a strange manic day driving down to meet him with the kids and look at our options. Dealerships and kids dont mix, but this one at least had free hot chocolate and a play area. 

So now im having some post trade shock. Our daughter took saying farewell to the van the hardest. She had a name for it. 

My brain this morning: 

“Did that happen?!”

“What are we going to do without that extra space?”

“How are we fitting our camping gear?”

“What the hell did we do?!”

and then i see it out the front window and i say, “Thats ours, and that is totally awesome.”

Not to mention the kids totally loving it. Driving home last night at dusk with the top off was so fun. I cant wait to figure out how to take it off road. Off roof, off doors, off road.

Yeee haw!

  

R.I.P. ‘Blackberry’ the Quest. You did good for a minivan. Time to move on to some fun, aka ‘Sharky’

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