Parenting Stories

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Annual Melancholy

Published December 7, 2017 by sarcasmica

Every year I fight to find some Christmas spirit. My holiday is Halloween. Love it, decorate way early for it, watch all the movies, play all the music and this past year even took my daughter on a combined birthday trip to Disneyland to experience the Halloween Haunted Mansion/park experience. It was so much fun!

When Christmas rolls around, however, I always find myself kind of glum and appreciating all the pretty neighborhood lights and decorations, but not really feeling any of it. Getting all the crap out, the tree up, the tree set up arguing with the husband, the fight to have everyone participate with the ornaments, the kids constant running “I want” list… it just doesn’t feel very festive and fun. I usually force myself to do something festive that will sort of shove holiday spirit in my face and down my throat for a distraction. Nothing has quite worked yet. Last year I did a craft fair where I worked like mad for weeks to prepare, and then sat at a table all day to sell one stinking wreath. It’s one of those crafts that apparently turns out far more interesting in your own head than in other people’s eyes.

This year I took on the job of holiday party coordinator for the volunteers at the parrot sanctuary. I have never planned a party like this before. Sure, I was in HR a million years ago B.K., (before kids) but that was a work requirement. I had all the budget and payment information and we had a Rolodex (look it up, millenials) of vendors to choose from.

Notsomuch now. Now it’s just me in this new city trying to figure out how to accommodate an ever changing number of attendees and diet requirements and budget parameters. I am not a phone call person. I am not organized. I don’t like getting quotes and asking questions to live people on the other end of a phone. (obviously HR was not my true calling) I didn’t so much mind the venue search, and I am enjoying the decoration planning and fun party stuff, but the catering stuff has given me a stress rash. I have asked for help, but it seems this is not a task anyone is particularly fond of. I am going to do my best and that will have to be that. If anyone complains, I will have a volunteer sign up sheet for next year…. and maybe a special finger ornament they can put on their tree. Humbug!

I was talking to my chiropractor yesterday after the post-robotics-tournament all day bleacher/camping chair sitting adjustment and he told me the body remembers trauma. A person can have a sudden injury, deal with it, eventually heal, but the body remembers that trauma.

As I was considering the time of year today and getting sick of myself and my mood, it occurred to me that maybe this feeling of mine goes all the way back to my dad’s death. It was traumatic. It was isolating. It was lonely and sad and all of the terrible things death brings. It was 16 years ago, but the impending day, the ghosts of all of that sadness and loss may be masquerading as Scrooge-itis. It’s hard to start December off with jolly happy feels when December 9th, 2001 began with a 5:30am phone call and a spiral of sorrow for days and days and days after. Just connecting the two thoughts brought me to tears today as I was driving on icy roads back home from errands.

At the time of my dad’s death, our family was not united in any way. I suppose some families come together to deal with it and help each other as a unit. Ours literally went to separate corners and wallowed and processed apart from each other. I didn’t get to do this completely, as I was the only one willing to help my stepmother get through the planning and logistics of losing someone. I was 25 and having to write an obituary for my father, planning casket logistics for someone who didn’t fit in a regular casket. I was helping my stepmother break the news to her family and his family. I also had strep throat at the time, which made consoling pretty complicated.

The good news is eventually the Christmas excitement kicks in. It’s usually not until Christmas eve when I’m wrapping gifts and fretting over how many gifts is too many and alternately hoping everyone has enough to feel special, but at least I get there.

For anyone who has dealt with a loss, I am so sorry. For anyone reading this who has lost a loved one around a holiday, I am greatly sorry. There is never a good season to lose someone you love, but holidays can certainly leave an impression. I suppose we should cut ourselves some slack and leave a little room to grieve and remember so we can move on. Maybe don’t stretch yourself too thin and nominate yourself for ridiculously complicated tasks! (note to self)

 

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Holding It Together

Published December 4, 2017 by sarcasmica

Most of a parents’ job is holding your shit together. No matter what, you are expected to hold. it. together. Use glue, use tape, use chewing gum, use spit, use whatever you need to to hold. it. TOGETHER, man!

I sometimes find that I get into these shitty moods. Craptacular moods that put “hangry” to shame. For me, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. What’s the opposite of “hangry”? Stangry? Feengry? I’ve stuffed all the emotional border snacks into my face and by the end of the internal fit, i am disgusted with myself and all the things i’ve eaten.

Glossary
Border snacks = anything and everything bordering your space as you move through the house/office/mental ward.
Stangry = stuffed angry
Feengry = Feed [your emotional disgusting face] angry

Anyway, today I’m in one of those moods. I realized it may have something to do with keeping it together through two nights and days of my daughter’s short-lived terror of her dark bedroom and bathroom last week. Also, my son had a robotics tournament yesterday and a parent was required to attend the entire day with the child. 8-5:30 alternating between camp chair seats, cement floor walking, and bleacher sitting. My husband managed to tag me out for an hour out of the day. He was there for the last, most painful bleacher-seating hour, so I guess that counts for double the points….. but not really. (Hello Dear, no I don’t want to talk about it)

Anyway, so back to my point. A parents job is to hold it together no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve joined into a fit and tantrum a few times in my child’s lives just so they get the full impact of their ridiculousness. It’s quite fun, actually. You can’t get sucked in, though. And boy do they try! The older they get, the more refined their tactics become. It is their mission to suck you into the argument and drag you down with them… to the floor… where they are flailing around in a desperate attempt to find their actual point.

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter conned us. She is a spectacular con artist! See, she began life as an angel. She was a wonderful toddler, and she was a caring and loving preschooler. Then shit started to get real. She has never lived up to the terror and horror her older brother has thrown at us, but she has her own special recipe for crazy-making.

She is terrified by all things imaginary. Ghosts, zombies, monsters, her stuffed giraffe, and now boxes. Yes, boxes. She had a bad dream involving a box being opened beside her and something terrifying jumping out. Therefor in her 7 year old mind, all boxes are now expected to threaten her life. The dreamed box was a threat, so now the boxes existing in real life are naturally the same. Duh. Dumbass mom.

So last week she was asked to go brush teeth and get ready for bed. She had to go upstairs, where her grandma was in her own room, all the lights in the landing were on. The bathroom light was off. Clearly, one cannot simply walk up to the switch panel and turn the light on. NOoOOOOOOOoo. No way. One must stand farthest from the dark room and scream, squeal, cry and rant about it being dark. We are talking utter panic.

 

To be continued…

At first I wanted to scream and rant right back at her. Instead, I walked away. Once I cleared her insanity radius, I was able to collect my brain cells and chuckle at the absurdity. Then I would go back and try to talk sense into her. Yelling at her right back does not help. Getting loud back at the offender simply feeds the hysteria.

This fit lasted around 20 minutes. Once she saw I was filming she continued without a single care. I even opened the front door at one point hoping the shame of her friends who are neighbors hearing her would snap her out of it. Nope. She was on a mission to have someone, anyone, come turn on a light for her. I will not raise a princess. You will turn on the muthatrucking light switch. No one is going to rescue you except yourself. 2 years old? Ok i’ll help. 3 years old? Ok, i’ll help. 7 years old? I will help you help yo’self.

This portion of the evening entertainment includes coughing brought on by crying that sometimes precedes vomiting:

 

So I think my new theory of parenting is for each tantrum you manage to contain your own shit through, the crapier you will feel later. All that incredulousness and disgust at your offspring’s behavior manifests itself one way or another. You would think by now I’d become a runner or a power lifter or something. Nope. I have become a power snacker-then-regretter. But i do it really well.

Overspending Is In The Air

Published December 1, 2017 by sarcasmica

It’s that time of year again! Rejoice! For unto the earth a credit limit is reached. Mom guilt, peer expectations, and childhood emotional baggage all crammed into one joyous day month.

It seems it’s been 17 days since my last post. It’s taken nearly this long to recover from the loose tooth drama. We have a magnificent, fantastic angel of a dentist for my daughter. They managed to squeeze us in first thing in the morning on Thanksgiving eve eve. My daughter was LIVID that I had made the appointment. Nobody really cared how mad she was, though. We all just wanted to get to Thanksgiving intact, ears/hearing at 100%, and all actually liking each other.

The dentist numbed my kid’s face, cleaned the 1/4 of her mouth she had been neglecting to touch with her toothbrush, and barely breathed onto her mouth when POP! The offending dangler popped right out. Next she told my daughter, “Let me have your hand so you can feel how clean your tooth – WHOA! You pulled it right out! Look at that!” and hysteria-type giggles came from my child’s nitris masked face.

We all breathed a sigh of relief. The grand finale was the doc telling me she wont go through any more loose teeth until around 9 years old. WOOO HOO!!!!! SURELY she will be beyond the paranoid hysterics by then, right?!! We wont even fathom understanding the hormones that will be trickling into her body by that time.

Thanksgiving conquered, now we move toward Christmas. Oh holy night. My kids have been circling toy catalogs and amazon dreaming since November 24th. When my sis in-law asked what the kids put on their Christmas list, it occurred to me to actually dig the catalogs out of the trash and take a look. What a concept! The short answer of what they circled is just “everything”.

I cannot blame them. They are kids! Every Christmas we tend to go all out. I wont apologize for it, but it is a spectacle. It’s also setting everyone up for eventual disappointment. See, I grew up without much money. Christmas was humble in our house, to say the least. It was happy, it was fun, it was normal for me. This crap i’ve grown into is a bit alien. It’s fun because we know it wont last. Each Christmas for the past 2 or 3 i’ve reminded my husband it might be the last our son still believes in Santa.

Sure enough, we had the talk this summer after his on and off asking about the truth. (pretty sure there’s a blog post about it somewhere) So now this year it’s just my daughter drinking the kool aid eggnog. My son has managed not to spill the beans holly about Santa yet. I’m proud of him for that. The amount of winking he’s done lately is enough to drive me batty, though. “Mom, tell SAAAANTAAAAA *wink wink* I want this one.” Now that I think about it, if my daughter doesn’t pick up on this I might worry about her IQ.

Anyway, so we are in a new neighborhood this year. Halloween rocked, and it looks like twice as many people have decorated for Christmas. Who knows, I might start chugging the kool aid and bake something to give away!

Hahahahaaaaa. Yea right. I’ll hand out little travel bottles of liquor. I bet people would actually consume those.

I Think I’m Turning I-Insane, I Really Think So

Published November 14, 2017 by sarcasmica

That is supposed to be said to the tune of “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors.

If you handed me my purple, loud, cherubic daughter at the hospital and said, “She is gonna sleep like a champ for you starting at 11 weeks!! But when she starts losing baby teeth she will turn into a nightmare.” I would have gladly accepted her. Let’s face it, she was my second and the first never slept… ever. And also, when you are handed a newborn, the day this child begins losing teeth she does not yet possess is so far in the distance, it does not register. It’s like when strangers ask when you’re going to have another baby while you are still sporting the hospital diapers on your own body.

Let me just say, however, this is by far the worst stage this offspring has limped into. The drama. The screaming. The avoidance of all oral hygiene rules. The face map of all items ingested that day- all soft tearable, malleable foods. The screaming refusal of any food unable to be consumed with only 1/4 of her mouth. THE INSANITY!

She has lost six teeth already. 6. The anxiety and paranoia she is capable of is Kardashian levels, people. The child is just as bad with the 7th loose tooth as she was with the first. This is my payback for enjoying an infant who began sleeping 8 hours at 11 weeks old. Take heart, new parents, we all get it one way or another.

I actually wrestled with my daughter tonight over her miniature tooth brush. I went through the parental embarrassment of being seen in public with a child whose teeth look like they were coated in a Twix bar …. three days ago. I will not do it again. Did I mention she’s already lost six teeth?

So as it turns out, touching toothpaste to your tooth does not get it clean.

I am a monster!

Once I had a firm grip on the brush, I gently brushed her two permanent front teeth. I did not brush the loose one, but by the sound of it I was tearing the loose one out of her head one gum strand at a time.

Because of my careless and reckless light gentle scrubbing, her gum bled about as much as could fit on the head of a pin.

Hellfire rained down through the skylight. BLOOD?!?!?! What kind of Momster are you?!!? (again, she has been through this six times. Six times she has lived. Six times she was actually rewarded by that goddamned tooth fairy who just flits in when the battle is over and takes credit)

Three rinses which were 1/4 snot, 1/2 water, and 1/4 tears with a light essence of dirty blood mouth, and her mouth was nearly acceptable. I did not even tempt my last brain cell to make it through the fight of cleaning her face. She wiped half of it and that’s half more than was clean before we started.

I threw her pajamas over her head and tried not staring fiery daggers at the over-reactive hell spawn she was behaving like while she seethed smoke and snot out of her scrunched up nose at me while alternately sobbing.

So adolescence is gonna be a party.

Motherhood trains you for many things. Asylum Life stands out tonight as number one. Both running the joint and/or living comfortably in it. Right now I think i’ll take a cell and lock myself in for about eight more teeth.

Vanity Is A Bitch

Published November 10, 2017 by sarcasmica

I grew up always the tallest girl in my class. Added to that my linebacker shoulders and Andre the Giant sized feet, childhood was …. interesting. I say that because, despite having two older brothers who loved picking on me alongside their older, cooler, pothead friends who also contributed, I had fairly healthy self-esteem.

School was inconsequential – I can now say – simply because I learned early on that if I made the first joke about my weight or tomboy tendencies, it took the heat off the burn. People always teased me for being fat, but in my mind that was a no-brainer. That’s like calling someone blonde and expecting it to hurt. “Duh, dude. Duh.”

Finding confidence despite my size is something I’ve always taken pride in. Do you know how uncomfortable it is for someone who hates being in the spotlight to have it thrust upon you simply with the height of your body? In my twenties, I always felt the heat in my cheeks walking into a club with my normal-sized petite friends. If I was smart, I would have found another tall chub to walk in with. NooOOOOoo, I had to walk in with the blond/brunette 5’4 – 5’6 height slim friends so people could mistake me for their bouncer, body guard, or dikey friend. If I was smarter, I would not overcompensate for confidence with 3 inch heels. I was usually uncomfortable-looking and never was asked to dance or bought a drink for. Literally. This is not said for sympathy, just context.

Vanity has never been big on my list of worries despite what I have pointed out. I wear make up when I want to and my hair is usually in a clip. Hair and make up are a constant class I just kind of peek in and see if it’s worth a sit down.

Now i’m 41 with braces. I’m 41 with braces covering a couple of gaps in my mouth where teeth once resided. I had baby teeth that lasted far beyond their expectancy. The only bonus of the braces is that they helped distract from the gaps… though never fully covered them up. I have had to hide my smile for the last year and a half. Every picture with kids, with friends, with the husband, every laughing moment, every fun candid feeling always vigilant to shut my lips tight so evidence of my current status does not show. All the work and appreciation for myself being comfortable in my own skin has gone out the window with a few pulled teeth and orthodontia.

Now I get to move onto the next step: implants. Huzzah! First I have to have the braces removed, which I honestly cannot WAIT to have happen. No more wires poking, cutting, rubbing. Caramel can very slightly come back into my life. The next part is where my 12 year old insecure inner child rears her embarrassed head. Prep for a dental implant is not immediate. I have to wait some time before an actual post is put into my mouth.

Today my wonderful husband stumbled into a land mine on the phone with me. The sheer act of having to have a conversation with someone else about buying teeth, affording teeth, implanting teeth sent me over the edge. It’s humiliating. It’s not normal! He is, of course, my best friend and knows all of my deep dark secrets and loves me no matter what blah, blah blah. Having to discuss the plan for replacing my teeth with him reduced me to a rocking, crying blubbering moron feeling like a giant piece of white trash.

What is the first image that comes to mind when thinking about an ignorant, trashy person in terms of physicality? Teeth. What is your first impression you make on someone? A smile. I have a perfect trifecta of humiliation; unusual height, overweight, and visibly missing teeth.

I would love to say that I am an elevated human being who does not discriminate or judge based on looks. I would be a big fat liar. I do. Despite my best intentions, I do. I see the instant reaction people have when I laugh uninhibited at a joke and they get the full force of my mouth. I see the change in the face of the cashier who is open and friendly until I answer a question or smile.

I will try my hardest to find some sort of positive spin on being a 5’11 over 250lb adult who will be waiting not-so-patiently for teeth to be implanted into my mouth.

August Mom Again

Published November 2, 2017 by sarcasmica

Hello again, it’s me. Your friendly conscious neighborhood August mom. I was staring at my computer screen wanting to get so much off my chest, but then I realized I just want a second cup of coffee instead.

November kicks my ass every year. Every. F-ing. Year.

I love Halloween. Love it. It’s my fave for those millennial readers 🙂 After it’s all over, I always get a little blue. I procrastinate taking down the decorations. I make a mental note of the neighbors that are cleared out and cleaned up by November 1st.

There is so much prep that happens leading up to Halloween, y’all, my brain is just scrambled eggs by the time it’s over. I’m always left thinking, “Really?! That’s it?! It’s done for another year ?!!”

Think about it.. back to school, parent/teacher conferences, all the fucking communication – or lack thereof – between teachers and myself, my daughter’s birthday, then my birthday, then BAM! Halloween.

And then it’s November and i’m looking at Christmas decorations at the pharmacy. November is my husband’s birthday and Thanksgiving, and before I know it it’s anniversary time and then Christmas. Getting older just means less prep and organization between shit. It’s all, ‘Really? Already?’ while everyone around you is holding a calendar wondering what your malfunction is.

This year my son decided to mature. He decided to do this not with a job or paying rent, but by going trick or treating with new friends in our new neighborhood. They warn you this will happen. They warn you when you least expect it, your kids grow up. They don’t warn you it will happen in the form of ditching mom on her favorite holiday to go ring doorbells and take candy!

Ok, i’m calm. Sorry. I am so proud of my anxious, worried, safety-minded, cautious boy for going out and conquering the neighborhood dressed as a psychotic murderous animatronic  bunny. But why couldn’t he warn me last year that it would be the last family trick or treating year?

He is my oldest and he’s (finally) growing up. He actually commented while doing homework last night – which, by the way, has been meltdown free all year!!! – that he cares about his work and he wants to get good grades.

Huh?! Where is my child?! What the fuck is happening right now?!

All of this is happening while we are having minor construction done on the house. We are adding a deck to our nonexistent back yard. I’m supposed to be keeping track of shit like schedules and ordering crap I know nothing about when I can’t even manage a home cooked meal for my family every night. Every day is a magic trick of turning my seemingly empty pantry and fridge into not one, not two, but three meals for my kids! Somehow there is food in their lunchboxes that does not get a note home from CPS for me every day. And it’s not because I don’t go to the grocery store. I’m there all the time! But still we never seem to have one important ingredient each day.

I am not an organized person. I am an August Mom. I am getting by. I am dealing and managing, but just barely. I’m one missed cup of coffee away from a mental break down at all times, it seems. My husband, who has been working very hard lately coincidentally, and I had a fight last night about fucking deck lights. Deck lights! Why can’t we fight about who loves who more, or who wants to have more sex? Or why do you spend money on all of these gifts for me? Why waste that brain energy on fucking deck lighting?!

 

Emergency Response

Published October 25, 2017 by sarcasmica

I always find it entertaining and a bit tragic when people say they think having a baby will save their relationship. It is the quickest way to a break up, in my humble and cynical opinion.

Nothing makes a person more certifiably insane than becoming a parent. You start doing shit you vowed never to do. You are cooing and giggling and clapping like a moron at the DMV. In line at the grocery store. Waiting for a pap smear. And you almost always have a baby with you when you’re doing it! Thanks to modern technology, you are photographing first boogers, first smiling sleeps and first poops and of course,  sharing all of it. You want the world to witness your obsessive parenting ways.

However there is no stress like that of a sick/injured/hurting child. Nothing. I can only speak from here on out as a mom. A mom who doesn’t have a fully intact maternal gene. My domestic tendencies never fully integrated. What did fully load is my mama bear DNA strand. That sucker is lodged, reinforced, and armored. BRING IT!!!

From the time my cubs were meatloaves in diapers I have always responded usually with calm first. Their wild chaotic baby screams short circuit my brain into calm. I don’t know why, I am still cold sweating under my stained and unlaundered clothes, but my brain insists on my own calm and breathing until the initial frantic screeching is done.

Logically nothing can be figured out while the flailing and eye-rolling hysteria is in full swing, so the calmer I am, the quicker the humanoid calms down. My husband, on the other hand, has always had the opposite reaction. To him, the sooner he finds out the reason, the quicker he can fix it. And you better f-ing tell him immediately or the insistence just grows and grows. He’s a fixer. I’m a wait and see-er. Sometimes this works well, but only after twelve years of wedded bliss, two marriage counselors and two children later – not in that order, obvi.

As our kids have gotten older, the emergencies have slowed down. Most of the heightened panic is over a stolen toy or remote control. This past weekend, however, we had a crash course in emergency response.

I was downstairs, and my husband was up. Both the kids were upstairs together getting ready to go swim at the Y. Suddenly there is a bone-chilling scream from my daughters innards that threatens to shatter all the glass in all the land. At first I thought, “Spider in her room .. ?” and the scream just continued. At this point I ran up the stairs and met with my husband between both kids who are staring at each other and screaming into each others’ faces. My daughter is cradling her hand, and my son has saucer-eyes and is beginning to panic.

My son has sensory issues and sudden loud noises are a trigger. This most definitely qualified. At this point my husband just wanted them separated so we could figure out what happened. I took the girl, he took the boy. I just hugged and shooshed my girl until she could breath again. Bit by bit we pieced together the scene.

They had raced into his room together, but my son was trying to kick his cootie-ridden sister out of his bedroom. She refused to go, so he started pushing. She wanted to leave on her own, so she grabbed onto the doorway, as a 7 year old does when she is trying to be an independent woman. My 11 year old was not having this crap, so he thought she was out and slammed the door to reinforce his discontent. Unfortunately my daughter’s hand was still gripping the door way. SLAM. SCREAM. Hysteria.

My son was horrified at what he had done. My daughter was obviously in pain and it was just a cacophony of sound. Once ice packs and kisses and deep breaths were had, the kids reunited to “I love you and i’m SO sorry!”s. My son even let his sister hug and kiss him. He returned the hugs without any threats.

He was to stay in his room home with Gramma while we took sis to the Urgent Care. Long story short, she has a hairline fracture in the tip of her pinky.

Parenting is not for the fainthearted. You need balls, heart, and ears of steel to get through a lot of it. This little saga has definitely made me feel like I have earned another stripe.

 

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