Seriously

Published May 11, 2017 by sarcasmica

This is one of my more serious posts… read at your own risk, but be courageous enough to consider reading it and please leave a comment with your thoughts.

I believe I have mentioned maybe once or twice (or 8,000 times) that we have recently moved. We went from private-ish acre properties in a huge sprawling community to a close-quarter development. Tons and tons of families. Kids run to and fro from one house to the next without invitation or knocking. It has struck me in the past week just how many parental units are freely interacting and just wandering about with their kids- like parental interaction is a normal activity and not an extra curricular. It’s fantastic, really.

But the other night I had a dream that has made one thing glaringly clear. The stranger-danger talk with my kids, specifically my daughter, is long overdue at the ripe old age of six.

Here’s the part that I am compelled to write about because no matter what I do, I cannot scrub this horrible dream from my brain. I’m hoping in writing about it it will stop the post-dream-feeling I woke up with and have not been able to shake. I purposely did not share this with my husband because there’s no need to transfer this awful feeling, but I’ll share it with the faceless followers and anyone who is brave enough to take on the challenge this has inspired.

Let me start by saying as a woman now, I grew up a girl. Shocking, right? Oddly enough most women start as girls. There are lots and lots of us. Tons, even! While this shouldn’t be a novelty, for predators it seems it is. Mothers and sisters begin as girls. Despite this, men seem to continuously victimize girls. I do not understand it, and there is no reason big enough to justify it … ever. But still, it happens. I had multiple attempts as a child. From a camp counselor, to family members, to family member’s friends, to neighborhood regulars. For the most part I was able to avoid physical contact, but not every time. That does not mean it isn’t still atrocious and scar-building. I will drop this disclaimer here and now and only this once, because i’m not writing this to be careful. Yes, sometimes women are the predators. Yes, it also happens to boys. Yes, some women actually start as boys. However, let this not distract from the overwhelmingly massive numbers that it’s usually men, and it very often happens to girls.

Now, having said all of that, you understand I have a foundation for some opinions and deep rooted reaction. Here’s the dream:

My family is at a restaurant. My six year old daughter needs to use the bathroom. I walk with her to the restrooms and let her go in. I’m waiting in the hallway outside the bathroom.

A few minutes later she exits completely naked and looking lost and confused. She’s smudged and her hair is a mess. She walks out with a haunted look and crumples to the floor.

Then a man leaves the women’s restroom well over six feet tall with a handlebar mustache looking completely sure of himself, buttoning his pants.

I stomped up to him and immediately put my hand through his nose and into his face, turned to gather my daughter and then woke up.

……

5am, shaking, sick to my stomach and fighting everything to go wake up my sleeping innocent daughter and hug her to me and never let her go. The dream and feelings and reason continued to play out in my foggy brain. I couldn’t help but replay it over and over with different outcomes of me exacting vengeance on the nightmare monster in my dream. Nothing alleviated the helpless, dark, hopeless feeling I was left with.

It stayed with me all day. I resisted sharing this with my husband because I couldn’t see causing this for both of us, but something had to be done. I told him I needed to talk to the kids about predators. We both agreed it was necessary. We have spoken before to both kids about all the standard things. Bathing suits cover your most private parts and that is never to be showed to or touched by anyone, etc etc.

This did not convey the real life worry, though. Not really. It’s just become one more thing for them to ‘learn’.

This morning on the way to school I changed that conversation. I shared with my kids that moving into the neighborhood is wonderful, but it’s made me realize that we haven’t really talked about what that may come with. I told them when I was a kid that I had a family member’s boyfriend say creepy things about my body over and over again, and I didn’t tell and I wish I had. I told them when I was my daughters age I had a trusted camp counselor try and take me outside into the dark one night and hide me from my mom while he tried to get me to kiss him on the mouth.

My daughter looked horrified.

I told her that I had the presence of mind to say “NO!” and run to find my mom. I told both of my kids that the predators are hidden. They only reveal themselves to the kids they try and prey on and convince those kids never to speak up which keeps them hidden.

I told them there are grown ups and older kids who are not right in the head, and they try to touch children, specifically. I explicitly told them that there is never ever a reason for a grown up or other person to ever ever see, touch, or feel their body or have my kids see, touch, or feel another person’s body. Ever.

You can vaguely discuss the concept with a kid, but until you honestly speak with them about what you are actually protecting them from, how are they going to know? There are not child predators on cartoons that look like Uncle Bob or the neighbor’s father, or the football coach trying to pull down their pants.

It’s a difficult concept to allow into your brain. Believe me, I understand that. This conversation is markedly more difficult than fathoming how to speak to kids about puberty and sex. This conversation breaks that innocence bubble and begins the reality that the world can be ugly and cruel and unfair. It’s revealing scary concepts that grown ups – a trusted group of people – can actually be dangerous.

But it’s necessary. It’s absolutely necessary to protect them. Children, girls especially, need to know they have a voice. They need to know it’s possible they will one day be in a situation where they can and must stand up to a grown up – a VERY scary situation to a kid – and they absolutely CAN say “NO!” no matter who that person is that is trying to harm them, touch them, feel them, or see them.

I wrapped it up by saying it isn’t something that happens often and it isn’t every adult, but it does exist, unfortunately, and I’m sorry that I have to talk about it. I told them fires aren’t an everyday occurrence, but they still know to “stop, drop, and roll”, right? Burglaries don’t happen to everyone, but we still know to lock the doors and shut the windows.

Kids need to know this is a danger, and it’s real, and it’s the most sinister because the perpetrators are mostly unknown. Hidden. They lie and they threaten and it’s all based on the assumption the kid stays quiet and is able to be manipulated.

My kids know they are smart, they know they are strong, but now they know they have permission to fight for themselves. They were always told and warned, but now they have been given permission to fight and deny and resist and tell, tell, tell. Shout it, yell it, bite scratch kick, get away and talk and tell no matter what.. and to my daughter’s delight, yes even cuss and use “those words” if needed.

So the challenge is to talk to your kids, boys and girls both, about the reality that a grown up may lie or threaten them to allow access to their body, or give access of their own. Our kids must know that it is absolutely okay to deny, to say NO, to run, to fight that authority figure. Under no circumstances are they to believe or listen to that grown up, and it is always safe to talk to mom and/or dad about it.

This subject is horrifying and awful and unfathomable on so many levels, but at the most basic level, it’s real. It’s something children will be confronted with and will need to know what to do before they find themselves in that situation. Give them permission to use their voice, and know that there are safe places to tell and get help.

It’s so ugly that I have no witty closer. I want to say that I pray for those children who have experienced this, and it’s true, but it makes me sad that I have to. I want to say that I pray for those parents who have had to deal with the reality of this, but I know that there are parents who are creating this very situation and that is just too depressing to fathom.

It is sometimes a shitty world, and when you reveal that to your kids, you are empowering them despite the feeling you get that you just dropped a giant crap bomb on their heads.

Moving Mahem

Published May 10, 2017 by sarcasmica

I say this every time, but seriously. Never again. Or at least not for a long long time. For us that translates to more than 5 years.

This move was interesting. It was stressful on many levels, and it was and still is difficult, but we all seem pretty happy with it all. We exchanged a big yard and old house in need of updating for a newer house with very very little yard in a neighborhood filled with kids.

So we packed up and moved with some assistance with the furniture, as my husband is still “lame”. Literally. He is still in the recovery stages for his bone spur/achilles surgery. Unfortunately the whole box-lifting, truck stepping, garage stacking has set him back a bit with swelling and such. That was his challenge. My challenge became a massive break out of hives all over both upper legs. Big, swollen, patchy red rash that itched like nothing else I’ve ever felt. The more stress I had, the worse the itch and the more it spread.

I finally broke down after all the moving was complete and saw my general doctor who informed me it was a form of eczema. Great. I also had the thyroid talk. We discovered through lab results last fall that I had a low functioning thyroid. He wrote a prescription and digitally sent me the info. No face to face discussion, no question and answer portion, no door #2. I didn’t take them. Since I was sitting face to face itching, I figured i’d look into it a bit more since my exhaustion was reaching newborn parent level at all times regardless of the sleep I had the night before or the nap or the rest. There were some other symptoms I don’t need to go into since I don’t know you like that, but dry skin and further complications from that are very common. (hello, eczema)

 

Look at those lithe, sleek, toned hives! (yes, i know i have tree trunks disguised as legs. All the more to cover with itchy hives, m’dear!)


(This is after it began to heal, btw)

I’ve been on the meds for two days and I already feel an energy difference. It’s awesome! I don’t feel like a lazy slug in molasses anymore! I’ve had horrible sleep the last two nights and I’m still managing cooking and kid-wrangling and parrot photographing and all the household necessities of life. Yay for drug induced normalcy!

The neighborhood we moved into is girl-challenged just like the one we left, but there are actually a couple of girls here. (the last one had 1… my kid) My daughter was so excited she’s already deemed the girls nearby as her besties. All of this new neighborhood networking is testing my introvert limits. To their credit, everyone here seems genuinely kind and nice and normal. No one seems to be putting on a front or one-upping the next guy. I’ve seen moms in sweats and yoga gear, little make up and full glasses of wine. The fanciest thing i’ve discovered about them is they aren’t afraid to walk around with actual glass while the boys are whacking wiffle balls with bats and scooter derby going on all around. It’s great!

I’ve also been challenged with designing this house to make it appear as if mostly adults live here on purpose and not because it’s a frat house. Real life working grown ups. This means furniture that I get to worry about getting scratched or dented. I have researched and planned and perused more dining room furniture than I ever thought i’d have the brain cells to manage. I’ve been lucky enough to pick and choose a real grown up adult-like sofa with textures and colors and pillows that all match and flow with the wall colors.

It’s a regular science lab around here!

Once this damn rash is finally gone and my meds fully kick in, we are on track for having most of the boxes unpacked and really actually being moved in before the summer!

Stress Test

Published May 3, 2017 by sarcasmica

Moving. It’s a stress test. I have failed…or rather my body has failed while my mind wont stop listing all the things that need to be done.

We began loading trucks on Wednesday last week. Well, we hired movers, but it seems as though we selected from the clearance rack. The three rag tag men that showed up to pack our very abundant and very over sized furniture seemed to just dabble in moving and excelled at complaining, one-liners, and abusing every single bathroom across each house. We are talking full on deliberate fan-on-first usage. 

Somewhere around Wednesday morning a rash began to bloom on my legs, but I didnt have time to dea with it.

We were arranging painters, designers and walk-throughs. Shit needs to get done and there quickly became a realization that ‘tomorrow’ was no longer an option. 

By Friday my husband and I were finishing up the pain-in-the-ass that is debris wrangling and clean up. That last day where you look around with your bloodshot crusted over eyeballs and think, “How are we still not done?!?!!!!” 

We were animals at this point grunting and gesturing at each other. My legs were itching even more. 

By Sunday we were finally fully into our now box-filled disaster of a house and just trying to survive. Minimal groceries, no coffee, can’t find anything so you use what’s in front of you living. 

And my legs were covered in welts. Itchy, swollen, scratchy, irritated welts from the tops of my thighs to the bottom of my knees. 

Pop some zyrtek and move on! ..but it wears off around 3 and benadryl doesnt work at all.

Monday afternoon we have our first mailbox check. Low and behold there is a letter from my heretofore email-only orthodontist. The very same one that handled my son’s braces & now a year into my own 20(ish) month plan. It states he has retired & shut down his practice. Here are some suggestions for new services.

?!?! 

More welts. More itching.

Try soothing natural skin-irritation bath salts soak. Lather on cortizone cream, benadryl cream, all the cream and find another ortho.

I decided to try and find a dermatologist in the event a space opened up on my dance card. Ha! The three I called had nothing sooner than 3 weeks out.

*Itch itch*

I’d write more but my daughter has caught a bug from school and is now throwing up.

*Itch scratch*

(I would post a pic of my beautiful new skin treatment but I like you all too much. Picture about 50 really pissed off bees with a suicide wish all connecting with the wall of my lithe and model-esque tree trunk legs, making sure to wrap around all the curves inside and around to the back. This way when I walk or wear pants, my skin is sure to rub and irritate itself on it’s own)

Muddled

Published April 18, 2017 by sarcasmica

Being a stay at home mom has turned my brain into Jello. This is not to say i’m not smart, that’s the frustrating part. I am…or I was once. I am lightening quick with vomit, diahrrea (pets or small human) laundry, finding appropriate snacks. I am more often than not Superhero levels of psychic when planning for an outing and having what may be required in any given situation. I have figured out how to make a meal for 4-5 people out of toothpicks, peanut butter  and soy sauce. I have wrangled Santa lore, Easter Bunny theory and Tooth Fairy visits all while navigating a freeway and dropped goldfish crackers.

Sometimes I’m kind of a badass. Then I get kicked in the nuts with how insufficiently i am prepared to deal solely with professional adults. Communicating with grown ups is not more complicated, but it has bigger consequences when you do it wrong.

Currently I am supposed to be coordinating with a designer to whip our new house into shape…preferrably the shape of a home people compliment you on when you walk in. A home where you feel shame for leaving dirty socks outside of a hamper…a home where there is something called a hamper. 

Y’all, I dont know what the hangup is, but scheduling and coordinating other adults is like wrangling sloths with ADD. With kids you can blame the kids. Maybe they forgot English. Maybe their ears were switched into the ‘off’ position. Maybe the TV reprogrammed their prefrontal cortex. With another grown up, there seems to be a disconnect in my own brain. I dont know if its because I overthink it all out of habit, or i’m clinically just stupid now. It’s amost depressing, but I can’t be bothered to care that much..it just means people’s expectations of me are now below what they would expect from my 6 year old.

If I follow through with an appointment or promise without having to apologize for some portion of the process I am impressed with myself.

The upside: the PTA has not requested me for any jobs. 
Disclaimer: I now must apologize for any misspelled or incomprehensible thoughts as my iPhone word press app no longer babysits my spelling/spellchecks.  Frankly nowadays we are no longer expected to identify this shit for ourselves anymore. 😱

Spring Chicken

Published April 11, 2017 by sarcasmica

NOT!
My kids are on spring break and it’s gonna break my brain. We have a deal in our house where the kids can have crappy sugary cereal only if they are on a school break. .. and it’s supposed to be within reason.

This morning has me wanting to burn down every box of Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch in all the land.

I grabbed a box the other day because they were only $1.99. I mean, it’s cheaper than a vat of ice cream and even more delicious. Seemed fool-proof.

This morning I wake up first at 3 to handle someone’s bad dream, then my back screamed me awake at 6am and somewhere around 7 my husband’s alarm went off. Needless to say I was just shy of Disney Princess when I finally gave in and woke up.

My oldest, my dearly beloved eldest offspring, came tearing up the stairs virtually asking to not make it to 11. I nearly obliged… nearly. Instead I tried to convince him sitting in my master closet would be a great “reset” for the morning.

He didn’t quite fall for it.

Throughout the struggle I discovered both children had no less than THREE BOWLS of cereal this morning.

mmmm kay. let’s not do that again. Cap’n Crunch is now Cap’n Flushed.

So games were lost for the day, crying ensued, I didn’t care, and I moved right along…. into my daughter’s bedroom whereupon I find that her male hamster is either pregnant or bloated. The male parts convinced me bloated was more realistic. The little guy trotted all over in the ball on the floor, though. The clincher was the smooshy poo he left on the hamster ball wall.

Pets are not for the faint of heart. His fur was unkempt, his tummy bloated – more on one side than the other – and he had a wet tail…. hence “wet tail” was assumed.

Then I get a text from the playdate mom “are we still on for this morning?”

Shit.

Because i’ve been in a furniture vortex for the last three days, I completely misunderstood a very simple email exchange that was indeed in English stating a drop off and pick up time. My muddled brain just couldn’t comprehend it though and so I dropped them off 25 minutes late cutting the play time short by nearly half an hour.

What the f*ck ever.

Mixed into all of this was a deadline to order a sofa we finally agreed on over the weekend. We discovered a satanic game the furniture stores seem to all be in on. It goes something like this:

“We love this, how long is the sale on?”
“Tomorrow is the last day.”

This one store in particular added a fun new bonus round.

“Pick your own pillow fabric! Customize! Circumsize! Dramatize!”
“Great! What are our options?”
And a wall opens up with a thousand fabrics to choose from.. but wait! There’s more! There are online options, too!

Choosing a pattern and fabric for the cushions on this couch took more intervention, iteration, and discussion than naming either child. .. and it all had to be done in less than 24hours.

So I dropped the kids off, peeled out of the drive way, got home in time to circulate through the patterns online, chose my third combination and finalized it, scanned, emailed, coordinated with all parties involved in color-choosing our new house and studied up on all manner of wet tail antidotes.

Then I picked up the kids because, BOOOOOP! Times up! Ran to the pet store, phoned a second furniture order, and proceeded to wait around for 10 minutes until the one soul in all of Petsmart could coach me on the right combo of things to fix the rodent pet. The veterinarian housed right inside the store could not help me. *face palm*

I got home in time to organize a little quiet time for the kids where I got to doze on the couch and fantasize about a nap and then it was off to fencing practice.

This is where I say how thankful and happy and lucky and blessed and wonderful life is because we have our wonderful cherubs of perfection. … but in reality this is the day where from the minute your eyes open, you just can’t wait to punch it in the throat, bury it, and call it a day.

I am looking very much forward to tomorrow when my biggest worry is whether or not I will leave my volunteer gig with all the parrots with all of my fingers.

No time outs, no video game management, no cereal police, no refereeing, just beaks and poop!

 

 

Playdate Pain

Published April 6, 2017 by sarcasmica

I’m gonna get real with y’all. I’m terrible at adulting. Nothing highlights that more than being a parent. All the mingling at school, pick up, drop off, playdates.

It’s hell for this introvert! I am not at all comfortable with small talk and chit chat. I see it as a huge waste of time. It’s not like that crap lets you get to know a person. Your feelings about the weather do not concern me. Your chatter about your husband’s job will not be remembered.

Seriously.

My son has allowed me to live in a hermit bubble because his friend lives next door. The interaction I have with the parents is minimal and it’s familiar because Hello! We live next door. It’s comfortable without being forced….. usually.

My daughter, however, is little miss parade float. She high fives and waves and “hello!”s every kid in her class and all the kids in the other kinder class and a few of the 1st graders and a couple 2nd graders.

Nightmare.

I’ve had 2 playdates requested and completed as it is and now I have #3 today. I’m TERRIBLE with follow up. Awful. I did not invite those two other playdate requesters to our house for a reciprocated play date.

Sue me.

My house is a mess, I’m disorganized, we have a smelly hamster cage and a dog that barks when the scent of a new human is wafted through a window. I have a kid that goes to practice twice a week resulting in a 30 mile round trip event in the heart of rush hour traffic. I volunteer twice a week with ear drum-rupturing decibel level creatures that want to remove my fingers, I hopefully get to sneak in breakfast or lunch or coffee with a friend at least once a week between all of that.

I like the rare quiet down time that I do occasionally get. I don’t want to have to worry about entertaining a person I don’t know and likely wont know after this year because we are moving.

This all makes me a terrible bitchy anti-social human being, right?

My husband met the dad of the first one-playdate-stand we had at a daddy/daughter dance I made him go to. I had to justify why he’s never heard of the kid or the dad before.

It’s not that they weren’t nice. The mom was SUPER nice. Really polite. Quite cordial and friendly.

Unfortunately for her and my daughter, I don’t know what to do with that. I can’t relate. I’m not ‘nicey-nice’ and that’s what’s expected of you when you trot your daughter around to princess playdates.

We are more of a super hero family that dabbles in princesses. And these days you are a neglectful parent if you don’t run down a laundry list of awkward questions before crossing the threshold. I can’t just drop my kid off. Stranger danger! Do they have guns? Do they have a teenage boy? Do they have a face-ripping monster pet? Do they have a creek in the back yard? Do they have a bomb shelter? Donate organs? Feed the homeless? Leave their car unlocked? Doors unlocked? Stairs? Peanut allergy? Oxygen allergy? Sunlight intolerant?

It’s not as easy as “MOM! I’m riding my bike over to Mikey’s house, k? BYE!!!!”

And no, those weren’t “the days”. I had many an unwise unchaperoned visit with friends growing up and frankly, I probably shouldn’t be alive. This is not a knock on anyone, it’s just how things were in the 80’s. (actually it was how it was done up until the 90’s!)

I will do my best to keep my kids reasonably upright and functioning. I’m a stay at home mom, so it’s sort of expected … I think. The employment contract I signed is sort of vague.

So today’s playdate at least has a kid for each kid. Little kinder sister, big 5th grade brother. It’s a double play date. I was given the option to just drop them off and go …. something i’d probably appreciate if I were a nice enough human being to invite other small humans to my house accompanied by their parents, but I feel irresponsible dropping and leaving BOTH kids in a house I have never been in with people I do not know. I guess I can at least stay for coffee before peeling out of the driveway

Plans and Paint

Published April 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Current project: Figure out a design for the new house.

Current status: Clueless

I have done the unimaginable and hired a designer. I need help. I, apparently, am easily overwhelmed. Funny how this happens more and more the older you get. I guess my cup o’ shit is running close to full a lot because the minute someone hovers above it with a handful of more, I start twitching.

Not that this process is anywhere near “shit” status. It’s not. I am just out of my depth. I blame HGTV, Chip and Joanna, Pinterest, and life. I am no longer satisfied with garage sale furniture forced to function and ADD walls with one color over there, another color in the bathroom, and a totally separate color in the hall. It’s time to live like the grown up I’m pretending to be, and the government insists that I am.

BLEND, bitches, BLEND!

The beautiful house we bought has some color scheme issues. The entry is green, the living area is sand, and the kitchen and TV room is burnt orange.

Really…

And the home office is green and the guest room is burn-your-eyes-out blue, one bedroom is regurgitated yellow, another is pleasant boy blue, and the master ceiling – just the ceiling – is ocean sky blue.

 

….

I mean, seriously. The painter we met at the house was just like, “Huh?”

So we are de-patching and wholly unifying. We are gonna bring that space together, but in order to do that, I need a professional. A low-cost, fairly noob-ish designer. You know, one that is still driving around the Escape and not yet into the Mercedes.

I met her at the house and she helped me narrow down a color. It’s beautiful, I love it, but now I’m wondering how big the project is going to get. Not because she’s pushing, but because I just want to do this once.

We are trying to upscale the furniture a bit so we have to not only pick wall colors that match mantles and carpet and hardwoods, but also that lend to some creative furniture ideas and colors.

DELFT by sherwin-williams

This gets overwhelming quickly.

Is it happy hour yet?

 

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

The Minivan Princess

for mommies who like to read and share funny sh*t

bmaryglaser

i forgot the rules

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

nappies + milk

moms spilling the beans

The Adventures of Fanny P.

...because life is just one big adventure...

The Cheergerm & the Silly Yak

The life and times of a cheergerm

The Nicki Daniels Interview

mostly awesome, most of the time

%d bloggers like this: