parenting

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The In Between

Published August 24, 2017 by sarcasmica

Here’s the thing. People sometimes suck. They might not mean to, but we all do it. Yes, dear reader, sometimes even I fail to follow my own life motto of “don’t judge” and invariably suck once in a great while.

Today was not that day, however. Today it was someone else.

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time there was a boy. (Oh lawdy, is she really going to speak about her son AGAIN?! We get it lady! ADHD, yea yea yea, sensory crap, blah blah blah. We know already!)

This boy was given a fancy diagnosis, but just a little one. There were much bigger diagnoses that lived in the realm, but this particular boy just got a little smidge of a few different labels. Nothing life-defining or life-threatening. He was lucky in that he was able to frolic about the kingdom talking day and night about his ideas and thoughts and questions and theories.

Day and night and night and day he talked. The Queen tried to find a device to safely remove her ears periodically, but alas none was found.

This boy grew into a handsome young man who knew his own limits and boundaries. Knew them so well, in fact, he often would question and challenge the grown ups around him.

Some grown ups turned into trolls when the boy was nearby. The Queen cannot vanquish them all, so instead she passively aggressively writes tapestries about it.

The End.

My kid had an eye appointment today. Big deal, right? Totally. Except he’s not a typical kid…. or maybe he is, I have no idea. He’s my oldest so (spoiler alert) we don’t know what we’re doing with the first kid yet. Kid 1 is essentially training for Kid 2 and opens that cool judgement door for other parents once you get a little vomit and spit under your belt.

My kid has been himself for a while now… 11 years to be exact. We know him well, he knows himself really well. So well that he has no trouble questioning the professionals that are supposed to help him. Some of these professionals take their jobs so seriously, in fact, that they fail to see that sometimes helping kids with patience and imagination is far more effective than checking off the task list and clocking out.

I’m being vague. I’m sorry. It’s late and I want to sleep, but the scenario that played out today will not stop rotating in my brain.

We get to the appointment. The tech does the measurement tests and the puff test and the whatever else that single machine does test. My kid is fine. The tech is awesome. No issues. We get into the exam room and meet the optometrist and I simply tell her “Hello, just so you know he has some sensory issues and it’s especially tough with bright lights.”

I’m met with a now very common expression of “Uh huh, uh huh, of course”. I go on to qualify, “So he may just need a minute to let his eyes water and he’ll need to rub them a bit, but he will be fine.”

At this point I feel like some people take this as a challenge. It’s as if they think they have the key to “help” my kid be better adjusted. Maybe I read into it too much, but it happens quite often and it’s the visual equivalent of enclosing your fist and cracking your knuckles to ‘get down to business’.

“Move aside lady! I’m gonna make this pansy ass boy into a proper MAN!”
“Just leave him with me for a week and you’ll see how it’s done”
“Sink or swim, lady, that’s what my parents did!”
“Back in my day we just called it like we saw it. Kids these days just need a firm hand”

I’ve heard it all. Guess what? It’s worth about as much as a Donald Trump bumper sticker. Bupkiss. Zilch.

She goes on with her very firm and pushy exam. She does the old, “better 1 or better 2” lens selection process.

I don’t know about you, but for me I usually have to ask the optometrists to slow down so I can actually make an informed choice. I’ve worn glasses my entire life and this is always an issue.

Now take a kid who has auditory processing difficulty. The cynic in me knows exactly what the response to that phrase I just said is. It’s a snort and a “PUH-LEASE! That’s just a fancy way of saying your kid doesn’t listen! This is every kid. Get real lady!”

And you’re totally right. You are. He doesn’t listen because the 27 channels of his own intelligent thoughts that are all coming through at once don’t really want to stop long enough to pay attention to the pushy, grumpy, caffeine-deficient “professional” who is barking strange directions at him.

Auditory Processing is something most regular folk don’t have to think about. You hear something, you either understand it or you don’t, and you move along. Guess what? That’s not a function that everyone has, believe it or not. Some people hear something and then actually need to take moments, minutes even, to literally allow it to sink in. Once it sinks in that does not guarantee action. Then you have to find the correct response within your overworked brain to speak out loud.

As mundane and ridiculous and “millennial” as some may think this is, please get over yourself and understand that it is in fact reality for a lot of people and children.

So instead of saying something very simple like, oh i don’t know, “I’m switching between 2 options and you can tell me which is better, 1 or 2?” [pause pause pause]

What happened was he sat at the lens selector and when she began he said, “Whoa! What the heck?”

her: “It’s just a ___ machine, now tell me which is better, 1 or 2?Better1or2?2or1?”

Like any of that sentence on it’s own, outside of an optometrist’s office, is logical phrased conversation.

He managed the whole thing and does a good job. She didn’t do anything inappropriate or out of line. There’s nothing I can technically complain about. I did not stop her and let him hear me make an excuse for his slower response time to her berating mannerisms. Every time we encounter another adult I do not need to qualify his presence with an explanation that “Just so you know, he has ADHD, so some things may not go according to your plan.” Do I get a heads up when someone is an asshole? “Just so you know, before you speak with this teller you should know that she’s kind of a bitch and she hates Mondays. Good luck!”? No, I don’t. People don’t come with warnings and neither should my kid. Just don’t suck!

Much like it was her lesson today to have some patience, it unfortunately was his lesson that sometimes grown ups who have a title aren’t always going to be compassionate and kind. Why? Because people sometimes suck. We don’t always get to report them, or write them up, or give them yelp stars. We don’t always have to leave comments when we aren’t happy with something. You have to deal with the sucky people wherever you go and whomever you become.

I do not speak about my son’s challenges because I need to justify anything. I speak about it because it’s our reality. There are so many parents who have to deal with tough, hard, incredibly difficult circumstances. We don’t have that, thank heavens. We instead have a nebulous quasi special needs, but more accurately, special considerations. My kid does not have hard fast rules about his limitations.  It’s more about the limitations others have on what they will accept or belittle by way of pushing, criticizing, judging an 11 year old’s reaction to the world.

If your work day includes interactions with a kid who you perceive as “difficult”, maybe change your perspective a little and see if you can’t learn something new. I’ve made it day in and day out with him 11 years, I think you can handle 40 minutes.

 

(Imagine the video of an impatient optometrist and an uncomfortable and squirrely kid is here since I refuse to pay wordpress more $ so upgrade my account just to support one simple video clip)

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Lunatic

Published March 12, 2015 by sarcasmica

This is why i’m a lunatic. This, dear husband, is a short list of all the reasons after bedtime I am too checked out to even consider the horizontal mambo or the bedtime tango.

The highs and lows of just one day:

Woke up, got the 3rd grader up. 4 year old is on the iPad in my bed while daddy, aka Sleeping Beauty, snores.

Had a marvelous one on one breakfast with son. We laugh, we joke, we even both get to eat!

Then hurried herding: brush/bands/jacket/backpack/now now now, hurry!

Manage to drop off just before the bell rings. Win!

Get home. Incomprehensible that waffles and/or Nutella are not on the morning menu for Her Highness the Preschooler. We find a nearly acceptable alternative, but this insubordination will not be forgotten.

Laundry is finally grudgingly hauled to the room of procrastination. Clothes are loaded and machine is on.

HH (Her Highness) refuses to use the bathroom alone because washer is making noise. She demands our fearless dog Barney accompany her because insubordinate mom refuses to entertain such foolishness.

10 minutes later Quick Pee McGee is still in the bathroom. She refuses to come out because she is afraid the soulless, barely audible, only working body in the house will devour her whole.

She eventually makes it back to the living room in one anxious paranoid piece.

Two spiders were seen this week having the gall to traipse across our ceiling in broad daylight. One a mega sized daddy long legs, the other a dead speck of legs smooshed near the shoes. Because of these anarchist arachnids, daughter refuses to play in/around/beside the play room. Shoes are smashed, flung, cried over, inspected, hit on the floor before being put (always) on the wrong foot first.

We make cookies. I am asked no less than 2000 times “Can I lick the spoon now?”

She notices a familiar drawing insufficiently covered or hidden in recycling bag. All hell breaks loose.

Andre the Giant size tears are pouring out of her eyeballs and she wails, “Why you didn’t like my pictures?!?” “You HATE my pictures?!?”

My heart falls onto the unmopped floor and I lie. “They must have fallen in the RECYCLING bin, (annunciating as if the fact they were not in the trash is any less of a betrayal) I’m SOOOOO glad you found them! That was lucky!”

The cookies patch some of the damage (on both sides)

I now completely understand how hoarders begin their stacks. Kids’ drawings.

Pick up Super Son who has finally managed to remember to put in his bands after lunch, AND without using a mirror, and who also aced his spelling test.

Homework gets done with no yelling. Dinner is eaten with no drama.

Bedtime makes me want to claw my eyeballs out. Son has seemingly been entombed in cement and cannot quite lift a toothbrush. Daughter has imagined her room a den of infinite angry face-sucking, toe-munching tarantulas on a mission for her brain and any place BUT her bedroom is safe despite the million-stuffy army she has surrounded herself with.

Once all the precious angels have settled into their beds I turn my brain off, turn the TV on, and hit the recliner button. No brain necessary. And please, for the love of God, do not ask me any questions. Especially if they begin with “Honey, where is the…..” because i may just answer with my brain exploding all over this couch.

I know for some this may seem trivial and demeaning to have so little undo me so much. To you I say kudos. You obviously are far more intelligent & superior, and im ok with that. Me and my margarita are good over here on the inferior side of the sofa.

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Mom School

Published March 25, 2014 by sarcasmica

This entry is more for my own reference. Something I can go back and review in a concise place. There will (hopefully) be more in the next couple of weeks, but here’s the first.

I’m taking a positive parenting class right now. I roped a friend into going with me, which was especially great for showing up to the first day. I feel like we are both getting heaps and piles of good information.

So far, here’s what i’ve learned for myself ;

1. Validate, then move along. “Ouch! I’m so sorry you hit your head. That must really hurt 😦  Can I give you a hug? Is there something you’d like to play with now?” “That really stinks your brother took away your toy. That would make me angry, too. Is there something else you want to play with?”
This is a pretty commonly known parenting tool, but it just never clicked with me until this class put it in simple terms. I’ve done it, i’ve practiced it, and it’s worked great for my toddler.

This could be used for more than just the kids. “Goodness, husband, I can see you are quite randy tonight. If I was out at a job working at my own desk not preparing food for others and cleaning butts and dirty chonies all day long, perhaps I might feel the same. I am happy to give you a hug and a kiss as soon as I’m finished putting the dishes away. Care to go have a solo date in the bathroom? Don’t forget the candles.”

2. I am more mindful of when/how I “flip my lid” when something is triggered (like the kids fighting and having the noise level escalate immediately) – this is something that is explained in the book/class and i’m not going to elaborate here.

I learned at the last class that this also might result from a significant other. Oh yes it does… yes it does.

3. Parent your child in a manner that will allow them to grow into the adult you hope they will be.

4. Monkey see – monkey do. NOT Monkey command – monkey do

5. Most recently, there was an exercise that demonstrated how most parents speak to their kids, esp when you are on a timeline. It looks something like:
“Put your shoes on.”
“Get your backpack.”
“Get your shoes on.”
“Don’t forget your coat.”
(and in my house) “GET YOUR SHOES ON!”

what might allow for a more pliable, productive result would be:

“Before you get to school, what might you need on your stinky feet?”
“Are you choosing your rain boots or your tennis shoes today?”
“Oh man, looks like it might be cold outside. Make sure you have what you need for recess.”

This particular demonstration was very eye-opening to me. I began parenting my son with lots of choices to get things moving when we had to be somewhere or get something done when he was a toddler. As he got older and we were on more of a schedule, my idea of saving time was just to tell him what to do. Most kids resent this immediately and first response is “No.”  I know I feel this way when someone tells me what to do! In reality, the forming of the question/idea might take longer, but the hope is that the results are me repeating the same command/direction less than the usual 15 times in conjunction with lots of sighs and exasperated eye rolls.

Again, perhaps this can translate into other relationships…
Instead of “Fill my wine glass!” maybe “I would love to get you a refill, my friend, would you mind if I got more for myself as well?”
Perhaps “The house might smell better if the trash were outside.” would work better than “Take the goddamned trash out!!”

There have been many tools i’ve taken away from the last two classes, and I hope to learn a lot more. As of right now, things are looking more hopeful for me parenting with a little more planning and deliberateness, and less reaction and regrouping.

..and monkeys might fly out of my butt

Adjustments

Published January 23, 2014 by sarcasmica

My nerves should be shot. The way the day has gone, I’m not sure why I’m not face down in a margarita by now, but i’m good.

Yay me.

This is either a sign that i’ve grown up a little as a parent, or i’ve completely given over to the chaos and it just doesn’t phase me anymore.

Perhaps a smidge of both?

This morning started pretty well. We were doing the get-the-boy-ready-for-school shuffle. No biggie. Head downstairs, throw the waffles in the toaster, ask my daughter to grab her shoes from the hall closet. Everyone is humming a happy tune when I hear the closet door shut – the bi-fold closet door – and then screams.

Sobbing, hurting, loud screams.

I drop everything and run for my daughter.

Gigantic tears fall out of her big blue eyes as she’s holding her pinched hand. She had closed the door from the middle, causing them to fold and shut on her hand. There was a bright red line telling me all I needed to know and to her it was maddening. She was so pissed off she had to look at a reminder of what happened that she was more upset over the mark than the actual injury.

Spongebob gel pack to the rescue. The stress eased up by the time we were only ten minutes late for leaving the house.

In the end, my son managed to get delivered to school on time. Whew!

We had a great playdate today, then off to Target for a little shop-o-rama. My daughter and I pick up my son and head back home.

It’s looking like a good day still.

We get home, let the dog out, start lunch, get homework out, bring the dog back in, sit down to eat lunch. A few minutes go by when I see this shaggy grungy brown shape trot across my back yard.

“Coyote!”

We’ve only lived here a little over a month. We’ve been in the state a year and a half and this is the second one i’ve seen.

I was completely surprised. I ran for my phone and managed to snap a pic of it for evidence. The picture didn’t do it any justice. In reality it looked massive and dangerous and riddled with mange and rabies.

In the picture it’s little more than an overgrown puppy at the far end of the yard.

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I banged on the window to scare it off, and it ran for the neighbor’s yard. It disappeared from view, and then had to deal with the next ten minutes of nonstop questions ranging from whether or not it would eat our faces off if we had been out there, to talk of packs of wolves and babies being hunted.

Then my son says, “There’s another one!!”

The bastard had the cojones to come back to the yard and exit the area the same way he entered it, I suppose.

If the kids weren’t inside with me, i’m not sure I wouldn’t have gone outside after it with  … i dunno what… cat turds, a bat, my big ass shoe. I was so angry it dared enter my yard. My anger was tempered by the direction of the conversation with my son. “Because houses are being built further and further in their territory, we are kind of in his home.”

Then I wanted to bite my tongue.

I was more angry at the fear this would establish for everyone. The kids, me, our dog.

How dare a wild animal traipse through open available land! *scoff*

We all simmered down from our wild animal encounter, and moved on with our day.

Cut to this evening after dinner. The kids are playing and i’m finally burning some CDs. Some old ass CDs that had to be excavated from dust and debris because this is an activity reserved for single people, teenagers, and DJs. My son is playing UNDER an easel I had JUST set up today…

BAM!!!

– silence –

eye contact ….

howling.

My son manages to somehow whack his nose on part of it as it’s toppling over.

“am I BLEEEEDING?! I’m BLEEEEEEDING! amibleedingamibleeding?!!?!?!!?!?”

This child averages 2 bloody noses/month and has for the past year or so. … my sensory – challenged kid was cursed with bloody noses as his mother was, and his grandfather did.

“yes. you are. but it’s ok because you know what to do.”

stay calm stay calm, don’t let him see your exasperation.

Is it bad all i could think about was the project I had just minutes before started that will certainly now once again fall to the wayside? … it is? ah well, add it to the list of shortcomings.

We get him all fixed up and I realize after a few deep breaths, i’m ok. I’m good. I’m not shaky. I’m not angry, i’m not upset…. i’m good. He calmed down, as well.

Truth be told I had just today made a  Calm Down Jar and have put it to use three times already. ( I think it did me some good to boot )

So I was able to take a step back, pat myself on the back a little, and then ignore the kids to sit down and write this all down before it leaked out of my ears.

I’m told my state has legalized marijuana. Who needs to smoke out when you can play with a glass jar full of glitter in front of bleeding and pinched children?!

answer:  MEE MEE MEMEMEME MEEEE!!!

Hiking..a Journey

Published July 7, 2013 by sarcasmica

I woke up bright and early today My toddler woke me up bright and early today. She was ready.. i have no idea what for, but she was Ready. Having survived a difficult bickering fight for my sanity the day before, i needed an excursion for my little darlings. Something that would last most of the day. Child labor was not entirely ruled out.

I settled on the bright idea of a hike. We have lived here over a year and it was a beautiful day, and if there was an opportunity to find a momma bear looking to adopt, i had two ideas for her.

I found a trail that matched up with a hiking book my mom purchased (last summer) and zeroed in on an ‘easy’ level trail. I packed my bags, purchased an annual park pass – i wanted to commit early on – and loaded my daughter’s mini pack with wipes, a diaper, and her water bottle.

We hit the road eagerly anticipating adventure. In honor of the adventure, i decide to go the 30 minute drive without giving the kids a device. Let them look out the window at the beautiful scenery…. well, the one that’s not color blind can appreciate it, at least. Let them marvel and the rolling majestic hills. The other drivers picking their noses and scratching their crotches. We were about fifteen minutes in (a record, i will have you know) when i hear the first, “Mommy, can i have your phone peas?”  “No, honey, oh look! How pretty!”

Distraction worked for about five minutes. Then the two kids realized neither was going to get their way, so they started spitting at each other and playing “let’s see how long before mommy crashes or explodes”.  A family favorite.  After 25 minutes I was considering lobotomizing myself with a left over drive through straw. Thankfully, we arrived in time to save my frontal lobe.

We pull onto a beautiful tree-lined winding road. We arrive at the smallest parking lot I have ever seen. There was one spot left and I nabbed it. It happened to be next to the restroom, but I’m not proud. Might come in handy. We unload out of the van, we grab our pack…… singular. Somebody forgot the toddler pack.

*facepalm*

I tell my daughter, “Ok. Don’t poop! Ya got one diaper, and it’s the one you’re wearin’.”  “what, mommy?” and off we go.

The trail is beautiful. There’s moss everywhere. Green all over. Easily walkable trail. We are parallel to a river, but it’s hard to see through all the foliage. After ten minutes of walking and oohing and aaahhhing, my son says to me, “Mom, thanks for bringing us here, this is GREAT!”

My chest puffs with pride and happiness. You. Are. Welcome.

Feeling like the mom of the year, we approach the access to the river. It’s majestic and everything I expected Washington to look like. There’s even a guy fly fishing! My son was especially impressed with this sight. The kids skip rocks, we get good pics, and we are on our way.

We see a couple birds, and a slug the size of my palm. It was quite gross, but the kids loved it. We get to our first little lump of a hill and scale it pretty easily. At the top we stop for water and some crackers. We forge on feeling pretty confident… but starting to wheeze a bit. We check the guide book to see we are heading the right direction and march on.

Some of the tranquility fades as I remind my kids to stay to the side so they don’t slip down the side of the hill. After the 8th time reminding my son, it becomes more of a bark.

We trek on.

We reach a ‘switchback’ (a new term for me, and i’m now using it wherever i can)

My eyes bulge a little. My mom takes a deep breath before ungently urging my son ahead of her onward and upward.

I adjust my backpack. My game console -themed one shoulder sling backpack – and try not to look up.

Small children begin to pass us.

My 7 year old, my mom, my 2 year old daughter, and myself are nearly single-file to allow the senior citizens and teenage sight seeing groups to pass us.

I begin to take notice of the growing traffic, and the amount of people carrying packs with thirty pound weights in the form of children in them.

I am feeling slightly more than inadequate trying to make this hike.

We reach the top of the first elevation and come to a rest point. There’s a man and his slightly chubby pre-adolesent. We are laughing at ourselves and how much huffing and puffing we are doing when the man tells us the bridge and waterfall are still ahead.

My mom and i give him the hairy eyeball and ask, “Is it worth it?!” with bright flushed tomato cheeks and sweat pouring down our fake-hiking gear.

“Oh, it’s so worth it. You HAVE to do it! It’s really not that bad”

famous last words.

Never trust a person who has obviously hiked before. Has no sweat stains accessorizing his shirt. And looks perfectly calm standing atop a hill.

I don’t know if he just wanted us down wind, or thought he was doing his level best at a public service for pushing us to exercise more, but I think he was aiming for manslaughter, personally.

We eye the treacherous downhill climb ahead of us knowing full well what goes down must come back up … after already exhausting oneself from completing a hike. We tredge on. Begrudgingly. The wind has completely left our sails from the front of the hike and now we are moving on out of sheer determination and pride.

Fat chicks can do anything skinny chicks can!

… except eat better… and exercise more… and complete an “easy” rated hike, it would seem.

We did reach nearly the end..i’m sure of it. I can’t say for certain because staring up at a steeper switchback and knowing there were still 103 steps up to the falls, we decided to cut bait and hoof it back.

Eventually, after being passed by family after family and grandparents aplenty, and dog hikers and chubby gamers, we made it back to the clearing with the river access.

The kids were renewed. They chucked rocks into that water like nobody’s business. I scrambled my sweaty ass up the nearest boulder that could hold me and just sat. Reveling in the amazement that I was still somehow alive.

The kids could have stayed at the water and played the entire time. However, I had things to do and a drive to make, so we reluctantly headed back to the trail. I got off the boulder and left a gigantic sweaty ass crater for the next person to refresh themselves on.

you’re welcome.

By now the toddler was crying, the boy was antagonizing, gramma was just done, and I was simply trying to keep my pulse going. I kept having visions of collapsing somewhere remote on the trail, EMTs finding me and refusing to lift me out via stretcher. Instead, i heard calls for helicopters and “RHINO DOWN!!” being shouted to anyone in the way.

I’m seeing the fresh-faced parents newly stepping onto the trail sighing relief it’s not their children making the racket. Relief on the faces of the childless hikers that renew their faith in birth control. One man commented “Happy Times!” to try and make me feel better.

I was actually laughing and chuckling the whole way out under the cries and shouts from my toddler who was pissed at a myriad of things.

We are nearly at the end (which is the beginning) when there is a tree splitting the path. One large branch is low hung to one side, and clear where we are walking. A man with an empty kid pack is trying to duck under the branch and gets stuck. He backs up and tries again. On the second try he clears it and here’s what happens next.

My son: “Ha! That guy’s backpack got stuck. HA!” as he turns to look at the man. I open my mouth to admonish him but am interrupted by him turning back to the trail, tripping over a rock, and landing on all fours in the dirt.

I might be going to mommy hell, but it was the funniest thing i have ever seen, and i couldn’t hold back my laughter (after confirming with my own eyes he was not bleeding, OF COURSE)

I told him, “This is your first lesson in karma, my friend.”

So now he’s crying and rubbing his hands together.

My daughter is shrieking that we are leaving.

My mom is out of patience and breath.

I am laughing.

We pass a line 10 people deep for the restroom and get to the blessed van. Our ticket out of here. Our light at the end of the trail, if you will.

My mom opens the door of the car to which my daughter protests. I hear a mental snap and my mom barks at my daughter to “GET IN”

I see the bathroom line turn nearly in unison to gape at us.

In the end, we made it. We all managed to keep it duct taped and gummed together to get back to civilization to which my mother tells me, “Next time, let’s just go see a movie instead.”

My thighs and my ass agree and disagree all at the same time.

Promised Land

Published June 19, 2013 by sarcasmica

I’d had this conversation repeatedly with fellow mothers along the road of parenthood. “What is the best age?”
It’s usually asked by someone with deep dark caverns under their eyes, zero make-up, stained slept-in clothes, and a pacifier or bottle nipple hanging out the side of their mouth. I’ve been there. I remember it well.

the answer is “Pre-conception”

Babyville is a heavenly place. Sure, it’s sleep deprived and filled with sometimes constant crying, but you know you can mostly fix it or do something to put a stop to it. Give them a bottle, change their diaper, hand them to a spouse and b-line for the grocery store. Once they start walking and talking, it’s all downhill.

“Terrible Twos” are a myth. Let’s just get that straight right now. The trouble is you don’t realize it’s a myth until you can smell 3 coming down the line. Once into 2-dom they begin to grasp language and really start talking. This translates to a lot of “NO!”s and short bursts of fits. They peeter out of those fits pretty quickly because they are still easily coaxed to distraction. Dangle a snack, or a sippy cup or an iPhone in front of them and they zip it pretty quickly. … or you just throw them into their rooms and let ’em sleep it off. Either way, there’s an escape route from the unpleasantness.

Three, however, begins the long laborious road of the search for the promised land of ‘the perfect age’. When i used to meet moms of older kids when my son was 2 and 3, the first thing i asked was always, “Does it get better?!”  To which i was given a piteous cock-headed head shake and sigh. Three is when they get their defiant legs under them and rrrrreally start testing the waters. They begin to appreciate the different colors mommys face can turn. They like the high pitch mommy’s voice can suddenly take on. And when it’s in a public place?! forgetaboutit! It’s like an amusement park of entertainment to which the little monster gift from heaven is always the center of attention.

My daughter, as you may have guessed by now, is approaching the edge of 2 and readying herself to launch off the cliff that is THREE. She has run out into 2 parking lots already and has begun to understand when i issue a request or order, nothing happens immediately after ignoring me. She’s started the ignore giggle and the emphatic “NO!”s. One of her new favorite phrases is “Don’t worry about it.”  It was cute when it started, but it’s begun to grate on my nerves after she is finally wrestled into her car seat after pretending she’s an ironing board and i’m telling her how disappointed i am in her choice to not behave.

“Don’t worry about it, mommy.”

Four will only get worse from there as it is commonly dubbed “fuckin fours”. As i remember, this is for very good reason.

While there are always parts of every age that are magical and amazing, there are also parts that give you a glimpse into the deepest darkest pits of your own tolerance and sanity. When she is finally potty trained and more independent, it will be a relief to see how independent she will be. The more she understands and connects with her surroundings, the more amazing it is to see things through her eyes.

The more practice her vocabulary gets, the higher my blood pressure will go. The more she voluntarily turns off her hearing, the more my eyes spin to the back of my head.

I think maybe this is a coping mechanism. The more crazy the toddlers make us, the happier we are to send them off to pre-school and kindergarten!

Civics Lesson

Published June 12, 2013 by sarcasmica

My son has one week left of school. Needless to say, things have been a bit hectic in our house as of late. His birthday (and party) were last weekend. My husband left the following day for a week long business trip. This is after only being home for one week from a three week trip. Also, today was ‘field day’ for the school. I had to, sadly, actually plan the morning around making his lunch since i’ve been LazyMom lately and letting him buy every day.

So he comes home today after an extra long day, we sit down to start on homework and as i’m going through his backpack, it’s clear the teacher is beginning the big end of year purge. There’s all kinds of random papers in his backpack.

I’d like to sign a paper in the beginning of the school year that says i do not wish to keep every scrap of paper he scribbled, drooled on, or added something on. I would like the tests back, and any pertinent, fun, interesting pictures or work, but as for the monotonous math work, i’m really not interested.

I come across 2 pictures that were printed from his field trip 2 weeks ago. I show them to him and he says right off the bat, “See her, mom? She’s a black. See my skin? You and me are whites.”

I had to put my eyes back in my head. Pick up my jaw from the floor. Take a deep breath and alter/assess my initial reaction all in the space of 1.5 seconds. I’d like to say i did it in 1, but no such luck.

So i -as calmly as i could – ask, “Where did this conversation originate? Who has been talking to you like this?”

“No one, mom, she’s just a black and i’m a white.”

I visibly had to shake my head to stop myself from reacting.

“First of all, she is not A black. She is black, or african american. Saying someone is ‘a something’ is just rude.”

I wanted to know which friend was putting this language in his head.

“You are not in trouble, what you’re saying is not anything i’ve heard you say before. This leads me to believe someone has been talking to you like this. I’d just like to know who. I’m curious.”

“No one, mom.”

“Think about it, and when you’re ready, please tell me.”

“Ok. It’s just that (___) told me that.”

oh, the Asian kid pointed out someone else who is different. Irony much?

So we had a nice chat about how lots of people look different. No one looks the same, but we are all people, etc etc etc. It just so happened his reading homework was about Martin Luther King. So we had a big home lesson about the civil rights movement, slavery, and segregation.

Just a typical light 1st grade homework session.

Sometimes I am proud of myself and equally astonished at the amount of information i can recall without any effort, and speak about it with calm cool reasoning. How long has it been since i’ve had to talk about slavery and segregation and Abraham Lincoln, for crissakes?! But from my own ears, i sounded like a rock star!

I can’t wait until Kim Kardashian faces these kinds of parenting curve balls. I’d love to be a fly on the wall … oh wait… she’ll televise it all, what am i saying?

Anyway, so it was an interesting moment as a parent. I’m glad it didn’t happen at a store or at pick up.

“Look , Mom, it’s another White!”

oh my god

Then i think to myself, “Shit, i need to diversify my friend base if this is a topic!” , but really, i guess it’s one of those conversations you’re going to have regardless of your own race or religion. Everyone realizes at some point they are different. I remember my stepmom taking me with her on her interpreting jobs. She was a sign language interpreter and she worked anywhere/everywhere they sent her. For a period of time she did legal interpreting. I have a vivid memory of going to the Van Nuys courthouse with her for a job. I had to sit in the ‘audience’, and the deaf person’s family member or friend was sitting next to me.

I think i was 12 or 13.

I knew no useful sign language other than ‘popcorn’, ‘soda pop’ and ‘no and yes’. I was terrified this person would start signing to me. As if they didn’t realize i didn’t sign. I was sweating and trying to look anywhere except where i might make eye contact with said deaf person.

I’m sure they were thinking, “Lord please don’t let this kid try talking to me. Why is she sweating so much? I should bug my eyes out and start flailing my hands around to see what she’ll do.”

That’s what i’d do, anyway.

I remember looking back as an adult and being appreciative she put me in uncomfortable situations with people i didn’t normally see on a daily basis. It made me understand how yes, they are different, but it doesn’t mean they are less. I have always understood differences and tried to see the uniqueness and interest there. I think when we preach “no one is different”, that just makes the differences stand out more. Especially to a kid. I can barely get my son to agree that we live in a green house, let alone try and convince him someone with darker skin looks the same.

Instead, i told him to put himself in that person’s shoes. He knows his own feelings. He knows a body is a body. When he thinks about being told not to drink out of a drinking fountain at the park just because he’s a certain color, how would that feel. There’s a girl at his school who is missing part of her arm. He has said repeatedly “that just freaks me out because it’s gross”. I asked him “If your best friend was in an accident or had to have an operation and they were missing part of an arm or leg, would he be different? Would you stop being his friend?”

he looked at me like i had a third eye, “No.”

“What if something, God forbid, happened to you and you had to go to school without an arm or leg? Would you want to sit somewhere else because people didn’t want to look at you? You’re still you, right?”

“Yea, mom”

The differences about everyone make life interesting. They make it fun and adventurous and cool. Different cultures are fascinating, as are religions that are not my own. I do not shield myself into thinking everything is blanket equal and not appreciate what makes something unique. I hope to teach that to my children.

I would just prefer to do it in my own home and not as a reaction to them pointing out and loudly declaring what is different about a total stranger in public.

Let’s see what tomorrow has in store! I can’t wait! Maybe a discussion about where babies come from – which i narrowly avoided while we watched the DVD from when my son was born on his birthday last weekend – or how HPV happens. Or why mommy drinks so much.

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