My Headache, My Comfort, My Six-Year-Old Boy

Today The Middle turned six. He has been both a joy and a pain in the ass since the day he decided to enter my world. And, of course, I say that with love.

He made his appearance three weeks ahead of schedule. It was a Monday. The Hubbin’ had gotten up at 3:00 in the morning and driven over four hours to work. He had just pulled onto the job site and parked his truck when I called him with the news that I was in labor. “Dude,” he told the guy who had ridden with him that week, “wake up, you gotta get out of the truck.” He then made a four-hour drive back home.

The labor was so much easier than it had been with The Oldest. I was sent away from the hospital once. Told to “go walk around”. I took the opportunity to exchange some of the baby shower gifts that I had gotten double of, bought a watch with a seconds hand so I could time my contractions and glided around on a shopping cart for about 40 seconds every two minutes while my miserable ass was seized with the agony of contractions.

Upon my return to the hospital I told the lady at admitting, “I’m back and I’m ready for my epidural.” She giggled. “No. Really.” Something in my eyes told her that I didn’t want to hear any shit about the checkmark on my birth plan next to the box that read “Natural Childbirth”.

Six hours after I went into labor, I held in my arms an amazing little baby who had been almost wiped clean by the nurses (and let me go off on a tangent here, I mean really, they hand you a little baby, still somewhat covered in that white, smudgy stuff, and then every gathers around, their eyes filled with expectation, silently encouraging you to kiss the baby, and therefore the slime—ick!).

The six years since then have been the sweetest, most amazing and utterly aggravating times I can remember. He is at once the biggest cuddler, the sweetest, most considerate, gentle and humorous little boy. That shell also encases the loudest, rudest, most obnoxious, abstinent person. He is a little boy who loves superheroes and still sleeps with the Winnie-the-Pooh that he’s had since he was a baby, and my heart melts. He is also a little boy who loves to use the word “penis” in as many variations as he can during a conversation and yells across the crowded playground at his brother, the “fucking jackass”, and my heart sinks. And, no matter what he’s done, at the end of the day, he snakes his arm around my neck, tells me that he loves me, and I melt.

And, yes, I gave him the damn gift.

In 4 years that Pooh Bear will still be snuggled up to that sweet, curse-word spewing mouth
In 4 years that Pooh Bear will still be snuggled up to that sweet, curse-word spewing mouth
Yes, son. You do have a lot of balls. Some things haven't changed in the past 3 years.
Yes, son. You do have a lot of balls. Some things haven't changed in the past 3 years.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Muffin!!

An Ultimatum, a Challenge and a Tough Decision

I have found myself in quite a quandary. Do I relent and take the “boys-will-be-boys” approach and fail to follow through on a threat that I made? Or, do I prove what a cold, callous bitch I can be? Tough call!

This whole dilemma came about because of a very big event that has been brewing in our family. It is something that has been talked about and planned for the past year. This monumental event will be taking place tomorrow. It will be the sixth annual celebration of The Middle’s birth. That’s right, it is a little boy’s birthday and there is drama in the air.

Now, I have to tell you that for the past several weeks said child has been pretty full of himself. You see, he’s going to be six now. That means that he is nearly a man. And, as a man it is his duty to assert himself, speak his mind, claim his territory—oh, and leave his fucking underwear on the floor. This man has failed to remember that he’s had a birthday approaching and that I am the one person who is solely responsible for how glorious– or miserable– that celebration is. (And, yes I have The Hubbin’ who I always confer with, but let’s be honest, I ask his opinion in a way that is more a statement of how things will be with a complimentary question mark at the end)

As the compassionate and loving mommy I am (yeah, I know, I could barely type that without laughing myself) I pay very close attention, throughout the year to the things that my children are excited about and have added to their “I Want It” list. After I discard all of the items, which I deem to be crap, I file the appropriate gift ideas away in my little mental mommy file, to be recalled at the next gift-giving holiday. Let me assure you, I have some great ideas in that file and sadly, many of them are nowhere near being earned by my heathen offspring. This year, I chose some items, which I knew, were both perfect for the interests of my darling son and congruent with his behavior over the past year. OK, that’s bullshit; I just bought him the shit I knew would rock his world!

This afternoon, in the car, The Middle tells The Oldest, “I’m gonna go home and find my birthday presents.” At that point I was both panicked and pissed. Panicked because I have this pattern: I buy the presents in advance and hide them really well; then I bring them in the house and hide them in my bedroom closet until I get around to wrapping them (always at the last minute!). I was pissed because I’ve outdone myself this year. These gifts are the shit and this cockey little asshole can’t even wait 15 hours until his birthday and he’s gonna ruin my glory? “If you do go looking for them,” I told him (and here’s where the Ultimatum comes into play…) “ I will take them back to the store and you won’t get them.” The conversation ended there and was forgotten by all. Or so I thought.

I arrived home exhausted, hungry and carrying a baby in a crap-loaded diaper into the house. While I was in pig wrestling The Baby to get him cleaned and re-diapered, The Middle apparently let himself into my bedroom, and the closet, dug through the “camouflage” pile of clothes, opened the bag and saw his present. He then made a very serious mistake. He ran straight into the dining room and told his brother, the town crier, what he was getting for his birthday.  Such a rookie move! Within 25 seconds I knew what happened. And, as I looked into the eyes of that devious spawn from my loins, he gave me a very confidant, and smug sneer (and, that would be the Challenge!). It was then that I knew I had to crush him.
“It’s an awesome present isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said nodding enthusiastically.
“It’s too bad I have to take it back to the store.”
And…cue the crying.

So, now I’m conflicted. Asshole or Princess? Which do I want to be remembered as? Which suits me best?

It’s a tough call.

A Tough Decision.

The Death of Rule #37

   As I mentioned before (see the death of rule #178) i used to have lofty thougths of what my life as a parent would be like. My YCS (younger, cooler self) was an idealistic girl who thought she would always be in control. She believed that all it would take to achieve excellence would be to set goals and be consistent in her expectations and behavior. The thing is, that silly little bitch poorly informed young idealist, never considered that the time would come along when she would grow tired. Very, very tired. And that those rules that she envisioned herself upholding, even in the face of monumental opposition, would someday be rationalized away as having been poorly planned in the first place. And so, I give to you…

The Death of Rule #37- I will never put a leash on my toddler

  I have to say, for those of you who’ve done it, I’ve always looked at you with contempt. I always thought that to see a toddler in a leash was the absolute in dehumaizing.  In my mind the choke chain and quick tug on the leash weren’t far behind (although I do advocate them for teenagers and husbands. Just saying).

  Recently we took a family trip to Denver. After being in the car for a few hours, and ending up in a hotel where I strategically rearranged the furniture to prevent his access to certain areas of the room, we strapped that 18-month old back into the car seat and drove to the Downtown Aquarium, took him out of the car seat and strapped him directly into the stroller. Two hours later, I strapped him into the car seat and we drove to a resteraunt, strapped him into a high chair, ate, back to the car, back to the hotel with limited free space to run. And run he did. He must have covered the few square feet he had available to him a hundred times before I placed him in his next area of confinement, the Pack and Play crib.

  The next morning went something like this: strapped into the car, the highchair at the restauraunt, the car, the stroller…and as we walked up to the zoo I realized this poor kid has had NO chance to run (but being that the number of carnivorous animals on the property exceeded the number of fleet-footed parents, it wasn’t really an option to just let the little heathen run wild). We set him free a few times (near the slow moving, vegetarian animals), and each time he tried to escape.

  I realized that the poor kid needs some independance and that he would have gotten more out of the outing if he had been allowed more exercise. I also realize (yes, it’s selfish, but I never claimed I was otherwise) that he would have been WAY more tired and slept MUCH better if he had had the opportunity to walk the entire way (and maybe I would have gotten lucky in that hotel room–it’s really been a while since a hotel has paid out for me!).

   So, I am now keeping an eye out for one of those toddler leashes, the one that looks like an animal backpack with a tail for the leash (that’s right, it’ll look like an animal is humping my toddler and I’m pulling it off by the tail!).

   Oh, and while I’ve re-evaluated my stance on keeping a toddler on a leash at zoos and amusement parks, etc. I do still think that if you can’t carry your toddler through a store or mall, your just being a lazy-ass!

Pretty in Pink-Eye

   I came down with an outrageous cold the other day. My sinuses full, my throat scratchy,  my head pounding and my eye watering. That’s right. Just the one eye. That should have been a clue.

   By the end of that miserable day my sinuses felt like they were clearing but the fluid in my eye was steadily increasing and thickening (you didn’t just eat did you?).  I woke up in the morning with this…

Don't look at the wrinkles...just the color of the eye!
Don't look at the wrinkles...just the color of the eye!

   What the hell? Am I nine? I get pink eye?

   So now I’m on isolation precautions (Let’s face it, I look hideous and I just shouldn’t be seen in public).

   Even more troubling…where the hell did those wrinkles come from around my eyes? The crappy skin tone I’ll blame on the early hour, bathroom lighting and poor quality of the cell phone picture. But those wrinkles? When the hell did that happen?

A Thirty-Second Rant From a Computer Neuter

  That’s right. 30 seconds. Because that is about all the time I have before my damn computer shuts down. It has been doing that randomly. I tried to be optimistic. “It’s just the power cord. It doesn’t seem to be connecting properly. If I just prop it up with a Snickers bar ,a remote control and some tape it’ll stay in place. See, it’s working just..what the f*@! kind of a piece of crap is this. I just hit the damn “Save” button right as this absolute piece of f*@!ing sh*@ shut down again. Oh, son. I didn’t see you standing there. Yes, Mommy was using her naughty words. Yes, I know I just grounded you for that.”

So, yes. I am a computer neuter. (Makes me regret what I did to that dog a month ago!)

I thought I would be fine. I could just use the Hubbin’s computer. Here’s the problem with that philosophy: His computer bites ass is a bit on the obsolete side. It literally takes 17 minutes from the time I hit the Power button until it’s fully operational. Every time I click on a link, it takes a minimum of 53 seconds for the page to load. That thing has been debugged and defrag’ed so many times it barely remembers that it’s a computer and capable of being a highly advanced method of information sharing and retrieval. At this point, I could send the dog after the proper encyclopedic volume and have the information within a comparable time frame. And, while the computer itself doesn’t randomly shut down (it takes 4 minutes and 49 seconds for it to take that leap!) I have found that the word processing program does and so, before I lose my rant, and am forced to polish off that bottle of Vanilla Absolut (well, I say forced, but we all know I’m looking for an excuse, and it is the first Thursday of the only month that ends with the letter “l”, which is a perfectly good reason to have a cocktail!), I will bid you all, adieu!

 

Sick Day Hell

The Oldest is home sick. I got that dreaded call from the school yesterday afternoon; “The Oldest has a fever and you need to come pick him up”.

Now, the really selfish, crappy (and dominant) part of my mothering personality kicked in initially. The thought that almost jumped out of my mouth to take its rightful place in the world of That-Which-Must-Not-Be-Verbalized-But-Suddenly-Has was, “what the hell do you mean come and get him? He’s been ok to be there for the past 6 hours, but now with one hour left, he’s too sick to be at school?” Luckily I just shut my mouth and went to pick him up.

The recessive mothering impulse came out and I did make an appointment. He is now on antibiotics but the physician’s assistant said he has to stay home from school for one or two days.

You should know that this is the child that this is the child who caused the untimely death of Rule #178. The child who talks…and talks….and talks…you get my point. He talks ALOT! And now I am at home with him. My blessed hours of quiet relief from the incessent babbling all the delightful conversation are gone.  By 7:40 am I was contemplating my first drink. At this rate I’ll be drunk by noon.  The Middle has half-day kindergarten, I don’t think it’ll go over well if show up for afternoon pick-up with a cocktail in my hand. Those first kid in school, over-achieving, PTA converts in the pick-up line wouldn’t be impressed. But, my YCS is still alive and thriving in this well-nourished, slightly wrinkling body and she doesn’t give a shit what those bitches think, so…maybe just a single shot of malt whiskey?

Actually, I’ll be ok without the drink. Today, anyway. I’m still flying high from the power of having neutered a male yesterday. It was the dog, but still…there is one fewer set of testicles in my house today because of the actions I took yesterday. Ahhh, I feel centered again.

Dealing With My Children’s Expanding Vocabulary Base

The second grade is a time in which—I am finding out—children really expand their vocabulary base. They learn new s-words like “satiate” and “sentiment”. New p-words like “perceive” and “pachyderm”. And, now, with the guidance of my dear 7-year-old, The Oldest, the entire second grade has apparently learned a new f-word.  That’s right, my son dropped the f-bomb, right there in the morning recess line.
He flat-out told a classmate to keep his f*@%ing hands to himself. I swear I don’t know where he gets the language. True, my first thought when I heard what he said was, “what the fuck was he thinking?” But, in all honesty, I rarely say the word out loud.  I actually gave up the f-word for a while (a little nod to Lent one year, and my first effort—albeit a weak one—to prove that I could make the necessary changes to be a good mother). It was several years before I used the word again. Of course, it was inevitable that someone would eventually piss me off enough that the word would come spewing from my mouth like the green vomit from Regan’s in The Exorcist.
Right now, I’m definitely blaming The Hubbin’. If it wasn’t for the fact that his head would explode, leaving me widowed to single-handedly raise three male children, I would love to sing, “I told you so, I told you so, I told you that you wouldn’t be so happy when those words came out of your children’s mouths” (cue the exploding cranium).
Now I find myself thinking back to all the times I heard one of “those” words uttered by my children. There was the time The Oldest called my husband a f***ing jackass (he was 2; I laughed). The time my very religious mother-in-law asked The Middle why he thought a wasp had stung him and he responded, “Because he was pissed off!” (again, I laughed). I’m also recalling my indecision about how to react when The Middle started using the word “damn” at two years of age. True, it was an inappropriate word for a two-year-old to be using, but he was using it appropriately within the context of the sentence.
So, now we are dealing with the results of our shortcomings as parents.  Well, a few of our shortcomings. Who could deal with the results of all of them at one time, right?

Well…

Now That I’ve Put My New Years Resolutions Behind Me…

That’s right.  It’s January…wait…what the hell is the date?

Eh-hem…It’s January 28 of the year 2009.  It has taken me 28 days to fully embrace, and then abandon, my new years resolutions.  The bad news is that I will still be a chunky, grumpy drunk by the end of the year.  The good news is that I now have more time to share my misery with all of you!

So as a late update on my holidays, because even though I know nobody gives a damn, they are my kids and they sat still for 3 photos so I am going to share them with the world!  (In all fairness, the Baby was strapped into a stroller and confronted with a large animal so there was no way he was going to move).

I have to preface this little slideshow by saying that, in general I am opposed to putting animals on display in environments that aren’t natural to them and exposing them to imposing crowds of unsympathetic gawking crowds.  But, for some reason, I still felt compelled to drag my kids to the straw littered linoleum floor of a local store to watch as the holiday creatures attempted to shield their eyes from the harsh flourescent lighting while enduring the excited screams of the human spawn.

Why doesn't he just fly away?
Why doesn't he just fly away?
Don't stare into his eyes!  He may think your challenging him.
Don't stare into his eyes! He may think your challenging him.
I think it was only a matter of time before this peaceful creature got pissed and spit at someone
I think it was only a matter of time before this peaceful creature got pissed and spit at someone

Now this picture was taken at one of the most exciting moments of the entire reindeer display.  While you’ll see my kids crouched down at the fence getting a good look, right up close and personal, you can’t see all the other kids that crowded around the periphery with their camera’s getting a REALLY good picture of the action!  I may have to add this to the potty pics!

That's right...the reindeer took a crap and the crowd gathered 'round to behold the magic of the holiday season
That's right...the reindeer took a crap and the crowd gathered 'round to behold the magic of the holiday season

How My Personal Philospohy and Behavior Have Ruined Any Hope For The Future of My Kids. Reason #43

Yes, I have a negative attitude.  Yes, I reject anything that I am “expected” to do.  Yes, I avoid traditional mother/wife activities.  I take great pride in being a little different, a little edgier.  My kids may not know how to bake (and if it’s based on what they learn from me, they may never even understand the concept) but they are learning how to Ollie a skateboard and they have a healthy appreciation for the music of AC/DC.

That said, there are moments when I realize how my mothering style affects my children in subtle, imperceptible ways, but in ways that might inhibit their ability to exist in harmony with the rest of the world.  I realize that they are missing some fundamental knowledge about the world, and everday skills that their peers are privy to.

Case in point:  I was helping the Oldest with his homework sheet.  The lesson was in reading comprehension.  Each problem presented a riddle about an object that is held in your hand and can be helpful.  Each problem was paired with a partial picture as a hint.  The Oldest easily answered most of the problems: a toothbrush, a hairbrush, a fork, etc.  He called for help because he had one problem that he just couldn’t figure out.  The riddle was “when your shirt has a rip or a tear/my friend thread and I/can do the repair”.  Now, if you know anything about me, it’s that I. Don’t. Sew.  I actually blogged about some issues I had with my slacker mentality while making Halloween costumes this year.  I have long admired the beauty of the iron-on bonding agent for seams and hems but that is where my clothing repair expertise ends.  But, I am aware of the concept of sewing.  So, the answer was pretty evident (needle!) and I sat down to try and guide the Oldest to that answer.  I posed to him several different ways of thinking about it.  This was, essentially, how that conversation went:

Me: Do you know when you get a hole or a rip in your clothes?

The Oldest: Yes

Me: Sometimes it can be fixed, right?

The Oldest: (with a skeptical look on his face) Yes

Me: So, to fix the rip you need something to help close up the hole, right.

The Oldest: Oh, yeah

Me: (head nodding in excitement as I see the wheels of comprehension turning) So, to fix the hole, you get out an….?

The Oldest: An iron!!!

Me: (Stunned silent with the awful, horrible truth of the moment and the realization that I caused this blistering lack of awareness as to how things actually work in the world).  Or, (gulp!) you, know how Grandma uses thread and a needle?

Crap!  So, there you go.  My kids don’t even know that if you wind a needle and thread around and around, you can actually mend clothing.  Aren’t I so proud of my nontraditional viewpoints now?

Sometimes, When You Pose a Hypothetical Question, The Answer Will Drop From the Skies

I admit it.  I asked the question.

This summer I was on a kick about a certain reality show that follows a group of rich women and refers to them as “Real Housewives”.  I pulled up my soapbox, perched on top of it with my laptop and created a long, rambling post about “The Real Housewives of Middle America”.  Before I got too far into my post (3rd paragraph, last sentance) I, rather bitchely, stated that if the lives those women were living were those of “real” housewives, then where the hell was “Wife Swap” when I needed them.  Well, today I got my answer.

Right there, in my little ole “in box” is an e-mail from someone at Wife Swap announcing that they are now casting.  WTF?  How come I’ve suddenly been invited?  I can think of only two reasons: 1) Someone at Wife Swap read my post or 2) Someone who knows me thinks my family is fucked up enough to make for good prime-time television.  Either way, I can find a positive slant: 1) Yay!  Someone is reading my blog (and they have a tv show!) or 2) we’re good enough for prime-time, baby!!

Just for fun, and let’s admit it, I enjoy being a little bitchy, I will share part of the e-mail with you.

The premise of Wife Swap is that one parent from each household swaps places for a week to experience how another family lives.  It is an incredible family experience and opportunity to both learn and teach different family values.

Wife Swap is a fascinating story of what happens when two couples see themselves and their partners in a whole new light. The New York Post says, “It should be called ‘Life Swap’ because it’s not just the wives who learn something here. It’s the families.

Doesn’t that sound like a fascinating experience and interesting study in interpersonal and family dynamics?  Yeah–if you haven’t seen the show.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I’d end up scrubbing pig testicles in a barn while a toothless charmer named Joe Bob lectured me on “women’s work” from the top of a cheap tractor.  The unfortunate thing is that my kids would live the rest of their lives with the image of me handing some chauvinistic douche bag his ass on national television.  We could discuss it on visiting days at the penitentiary.

Actually, I think I could handle two weeks with just about anyone.  Only the first week would be a nightmare, the second week, we play by my rules, bitches!  But, in all honestly, there is no way that I would ever allow Wife Swap into my home.  It is the same reason that keeps me from calling Super Nanny: I suck at cleaning my house and I can own that behavior but that doesn’t mean I want it broadcast for the world to see.  So, no thank you, Wife Swap, I will not be applying.

Wait, they pay money?