Shame Old Song

Dear Future Stella,

We’ve had a rough week.  This was art camp week.  It was supposed to be easy.  You love art.  You were familiar with the facility.  You knew a handful of the kids in the group already.  You had done art camps before – albeit run by different a organization – and had a ball.  And it’s art camp, right?  Stress free, easy peasy.

It was not.  You were written up the first day – arguing with a boy, they said.  They said it “nearly came to blows.”  I was dumbfounded.  You don’t even get rough like that with Felix, and glob knows he asks for it sometimes.  “Is there anything else going on we should know about?”  I hated her tone.  It was the bitchy, pseudo-concerned tone.  Fuck that tone.  Well, she has ADHD, you know, and each week she’s having to adjust to a new camp, staff, location.  It’s a lot for someone like her.  Tomorrow will be better, I said.  The second day, was not better.  You were being sort of restrained when I pulled up.  You  kids were all outside.  You were “trying to jump on the concrete block.”  I didn’t see what the big deal was, but they didn’t want anyone to get hurt.  But you had been  yelling.  All day.  Yelling.  I was flabbergasted.  You hadn’t acted that way in over a year.  What the hell?  And we had talked about all of it going into that day.  You would make better choices.  You wouldn’t act like a jerk-face.

I was embarrassed.  Why couldn’t you just do what you were supposed to do?  Why were you making me look like an asshole mom who doesn’t raise her children properly?

“Do you think it’s that ADHD again?”

I wanted to slap her.  Maybe she had brain fog.  Maybe she really did think that ADHD just fades and disappears like a rash.  What a  moron.  Why yes.  It is the ADHD.  Something is clearly triggering her, and she’s responding emotionally.  She did complain about the noise and I advised her to tell an adult and see if it was possible to go somewhere quiet for a bit to reset.  Did she do that?

Well yes, but they were in the middle of a project and they simply didn’t have the staff to accommodate that.

That’s ok.  Tomorrow is a new day, right?  Better choices.

Day 3 things fell apart.  I was called shortly before 2:00 to pick you up.  You had been written up 5 times.  You were a distraction to all the other children.  You had climbed into the garbage can and knocked it over (WTF??).  I immediately called your father to get you now.  His office was just right around the corner – same building.  He could keep you quiet and safe until I could make my way there.  Your father was angry.  I was shocked and angry and sad and scared.  This was not supposed to be happening.  And holy shit you had another week scheduled at the same camp later in the summer.  What the hell would we do?

I drove home that day trying to understand.  That’s my thing. I can make peace with something if I can understand the nuts and bolts, the whys.  I sent you to your room with instructions not to come out until you could answer that question.  Why did you behave so badly at camp?  What went wrong?  You came out a while later and quietly told me you just couldn’t control your body.  Well there you go.  Dammit.

I read these posts from ADD/ADHD moms, who trumpet that in their opinion, their child’s condition is a gift.  It’s not a disorder.  It makes them special and wonderful.  I have very mixed emotions about these posts.  On one hand, these women must be saints.  They must have a capacity for compassion and acceptance that I’m lacking.  On the other hand, I think they’re fucking idiots.  I look at the looming spectre of summer camps for years to come, the planning, the expense, the desire to give you good summers with fun AND enrichment, always knowing that it could all implode at any moment, and holy shit I don’t have much of a backup. 504 plan meetings.  Visits to your pediatrician every 3 months so we can keep your meds going.   It’s exhausting.  It makes me sad.  It makes me very angry.  At those moments, ADHD is the ugliest damn thing I can think of.  It causes behavior in you that can cloud all of your wonderful qualities.  People won’t know – or believe – that you get straight A’s and read at such a high level.  They won’t see how funny and sweet you can be.

And I have these thoughts and I hate myself for them.  I hate having weeks like this one, where I feel like all I’ve done is berate you or comment on negative things.  I don’t want you to feel less.  I want you to know you are loved and supported.  I don’t want you to think back and remember me as the bitchy mom and you as a fuck-up.

I also want you to know that what happened at art camp was not your fault – not entirely.  Hell, not even 25% from what I can tell.  When your dad came to get you that afternoon, he had to sign all 5 of your behavior reports.  He emailed me copies.  The most common phrases I saw on nearly all of them involved “not sitting in her seat and completing her art,” or “not listening to directions.”  One even used the word “MULTIPLE,” all in caps, just like that.  Was this art camp or an SAT prep course?  And hello?  ADHD?  At that moment I felt that calm quiet that can accompany white hot rage.  Fuck. Those. Bitches.  This was a damn Stepford camp.  You were “suspended” from activities for Thursday, including missing the field trip.  But you would go back to that place over my dead rotting corpse.

I called your dad and unloaded.  I was furious.  I was Mama Bear.  My rage only grew the next day, when I got a message from my friend.  Her son was in camp with you.  He had told his mother some of the things going down.  The staff yelled at all the kids.  A lot.  They told the kids that they were the “worst camp group” they’d ever had, that they would lose their field trip if they didn’t shape up.  And they called the time out area “The Dump.”  They would put kids in The Dump.  They put you -my daughter- in The Dump.  That’s why you were climbing in the goddamn garbage can.  Those twisted despicable women are the ones that gave you the idea – made you feel like you belonged with trash – not knowing or caring how very  literal you are.  So no wonder.  No wonder you were losing your shit.

There will be some blood, once we sort out getting you shifted into another camp later this summer.  We also have to proceed a bit more carefully than I would like since your father works for the same organization.  If not, that whole damn place would be a smoking crater.  But we will handle it.  The director will hear about how inappropriate those women were, how they clearly had no training in handling a kid with ADHD – not an exotic diagnosis in this day and age- appropriately and compassionately.  Hell, they probably couldn’t spell it.

I also promise that I do and will continue to do my best.  I don’t always pull it off.  Some days you don’t make it easy.  But I promise I will try my hardest to understand, to find different ways to reach you when you seem unreachable.  I promise that for every time I have to fuss at you about something, that I will find something to praise you for as well.  Lastly, I promise that as your mother I will eviscerate any asshole I catch trying to make you feel like less.

You are very precious to me, ADHD and all.  Now pick up your dirty clothes and make your bed.

Love,

Mom

I daresay she had more fun at my office than at art camp. That’s sad.

 

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For Goodness Shakes

As a mom, I find myself cleaning up all kinds of bullshit messes.  I often find myself wondering aloud how neither of my children seem to have managed to learn how to successfully eat yet.  The amount of food and drink I find spilled on my floor on a daily basis is really pretty astonishing.  But while this is common, I don’t usually think much of it, or at least not until something incredibly horrible and messy happens – something that penetrates my mom/mess-cleaner veneer.

Don’t let the formal attire fool you…

Until Wednesday, if you had asked me what the worst nonbiological mess was that I had ever tackled, I would have readily said the red Kool-Aid mix I spilled all over the interior of my refrigerator.  That was pretty horrible.  I’m not going to lie.  But the release that occurred on Wednesday surpassed the red Kool-Aid mix.  It was a chocolate McDonald’s milkshake.

To set the stage, I had agreed to swing through the drive-through since Stella had had a wonderful day at camp.  And in the name of honesty, I didn’t feel like cooking.  Will and I are just over halfway done with our latest Whole 30, so it’s easy for us to eat “our food” while the kids eat tasty regular stuff.   Fast forward to an hour later, and my kids were mostly done eating.  Jackassery began to ensue.  I heard an impact.  Something had hit the floor.  There was a secondary timbre to the sound, that of rupturing plastic.  Sure enough, while engaging in jackassery, an elbow knocked a 2/3 full chocolate shake to the floor.  Y’all, it exploded like an F’ing bomb.  There was a lake of chocolate on the floor, plus associated spatter.   Sticky rivulets of semi-frozen chocolate shrapnel ran down the cabinets, walls, pantry, and refrigerator.  It was like Dexter visited a malt shop.  It was awful.

THIS is what I need at my house, I swear.

I went mad monkey Mom and bellowed at them both to leave the kitchen, banishing them to Stella’s room (where the jackassery continued, lest you think me a big old meanie fun sponge).  Of course, the whole thing wouldn’t have been so bad had I not spent the previous 15 minutes shrieking at them to “calm down use your inside voice get on your stools will you please finish eating before playing sit down stop rough-housing stop hitting each other sit down NOW keep your hands to yourselves I don’t care who kicked who first just sit down and eat for crying out loud.”

It made me pine for McDonalds’ good old days- those of the fried cherry pies, styrofoam containers, and the waxed paper cups they would put the shakes in instead of their designer wanna-be Starbucks Frappuccino cups; they may not have been as glamorously “McCafé” but they would have simply gone splat upon impact vs. exploding like an unpoked potato in a microwave.

 

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Law and Hoarder

You know how your stomach sinks when you’re at work and your kid’s school calls?  You see that number flash on the caller ID and your mind starts making manouvers: if you have to leave at that exact moment, what about the meetings, the report you’re supposed to review?  How and when will you pick up the other kid if it’s a bad virus? Those that have had to drive somewhere with a puking kid, one hand on the wheel and the other helping the puker hold a bowl under their chin, praying your upholstery doesn’t get hosed with smelliness know what I’m talking about.  

But maybe your kid just hit their head?  I mean, may glob strike you down for suggesting it, but you know by law (at least for the little ones) the school must contact you if a kid has suffered some sort of blow to the head or face.  I’ve gotten those calls.  It’s always been “so-and-so fell and hit the back of their head/got bitten on the cheek/was struck with a plastic doodad toy when kid A was playing space tornado.”  As a parent, I expressed the appropriate level of sorrow, concern, and most importantly, relief that my spawn is intact and well.  

You can move on with your day with those calls.  Puking/fever/rash calls mean you are screwed for at least 48 hours.  Your child is a big old bag of germs on those occasions -even more than usual- so they are expelled until fit for reintroduction to GenPop.  We parents all get why.  I’ve inwardly wished  vile things upon parents who didn’t isolate their own little darling carrier monkeys thereby exposing mine to whatever horrendous germ is going around.  But those calls – the “bad ones” – cause sphincter-tightening panic and a flurry of schedule and life reorganization unlike any other.

Anyway (Sorry.  Apparently I’m wordy today.) I got one of those school calls yesterday.  It was Felix’s teacher.  Oh shit.  “Is everything ok??”  What a stupid thing to ask.  These folks don’t call you to chat.  “Felix had a bit of an accident.”  Relief flooded my body.  Only a noggin bump.  “Is he ok?”  See?  Injecting that -for reals- parental concern.  “He fell off the top of the beehive (this wooden play structure the school has) and landed on a wheelbarrow wheel.  He landed on his face.”  Oh shit.  That sounds not good. “Well is he ok???”  Maybe a fever or puking would’ve been the better call this time ’round. “He’s fine.  I’m trying to hold ice on it, but he’s getting really upset because the other kids are trying to take the pile of stuff he’s collected while I’m seeing to his face.”  

Relief.

“So my son is more worried about his hoard than his face?” “Yes.  But he’ll have a pretty big bump on his cheek.”

We all have to have priorities.  Even you, Felix.

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Eat, Pink, and Be Merry

Summer continues.  Stella started a new week at camp Monday.  She did great the first 2 weeks of zoo camp.  This week she started something completely new and different.  I was pretty nervous her first day; we had never been to this venue, and chances were the kids would all be strangers to her with a 2 weeks’ head start establishing friendships.  She had some minor issues the first day – speaking in whinese, mostly – but I appreciate the way the staff handled it.  I’m hoping we’re in for smooth sailing the rest of the summer.

I recently started her off in martial arts -taekwondo – at a local park. It’s close enough to walk to if it ever stops raining, and I can even bring the Dude with me to hang out and play while Stella does her thing.  Extracurriculars with the whole ADHD thing are tricky.  It doesn’t help that these activities inevitably and by necessity fall at the end of a day, after a kid has already kept his/her shit together at school/camp and is ready to let it all hang out, not to mention it’s usually a different group of kids, equally spent and behaving less-than-optimally.

Stella has always been a rough-and-tumble physical kid.  I’m not sure she has much aptitude in any specific area, though.  We did one year of dance.  She loved the stage, the costume, the flowers, but candidly she kind of stunk at the actual dancing part.  But at 4 years old, she was little and cute enough to totally pull it off. Sports are out of the question.  If you ask her about sports, she’ll practically start making vomit noises.  She has less than no interest in signing up for a sport – she’s vehemently opposed to them.  As the world’s current expert on Stella, I can also say that I’m not sure she’s cut out to be a team player.  Hell, she comes by that honestly.

She was so happy with her flowers, I could’ve cried.

During my immersion into the world of ADHD literature, I kept seeing that music and martial arts lessons were highly recommended for children in this population – to trigger certain parts of their brains and to increase self-control and regulation.  The park by our house was offering both piano and taekwondo.  I offered both to Stella.  At $22 a month, I was even prepared to let her try both.  It’s summer and we don’t have homework to fool with, so why not, yes?

I honestly figured she’d jump at piano.  She plays the one at Oui Oui’s house (albeit poorly) and has an app on her phone that she tinkers with.  She refused.  No piano.  No way.  Not doing it.  Why?  She might hit a wrong key.  Taekwondo it would be.

She’s had 2 lessons so far.  The first lesson she did so well.  This past lesson she was a bit of a spazz.  She doesn’t really get what she’s doing yet.  I’m going to print some things for Ms. Literal to read, and hopefully that will cement it.  I think if she can wrap her head around that, this may be a really good thing for her – maybe even better than Girl Scouts (not that we’re dropping that).

She’s the only girl in with about 7 boys.  You can tell they don’t necessarily dig having her around.  She’s unfazed.  She’s also about 6″ taller than all but 2.  They better watch out. She’ll be kicking their pipsqueak asses soon enough.  During one sparring session it became evident she has no clue what “low blow” means.  I guess I should explain that to her.  But not around Felix.  He is fixated enough on his penis.

But there’s a problem.  She’s positively incensed that there is no pink  belt.  There’s black, white, yellow, red, purple.  Why not pink, dammit?  She was all up in her sensei’s face about that.  If she continues to work hard, I may buy her the white uniform.  I may “accidentally” wash it with something red.

My little ass-kicker

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Funs and Roses

I posted a blog on Saturday – a silly post – about how my son was finding lots of delight in his body and was somewhat inappropriately exhibiting himself.  And it was funny.  It is funny.  A short while later, I was surfing Facebook.  I don’t know why.  I usually end up disgusted and sad and turning it off.  Someone had posted a year-old link about that asshat Brock Turner. That post got me thinking – and no, this isn’t a post about Brock Turner, inappropriate sentencing, sexual assault, alcohol issues, or anything of the like.  It’s about parenting in an era of Brock Turners, or, more specifically, an era of in-your-face social media and other all-access 24-hour no-holds-barred no-expectation-of-privacy-or-dignity “coverage” of absolutely f’ing everything.

I can remember last summer when the Brock Turner thing played out.  There was this massive call-to-arms to parents everywhere to talk to your children.  No male child should think he has a right to a woman’s body (duh).  No woman should think this is ok (duh).  That numerous studies had indicated that a huge percentage of women had somehow been harassed sexually and this was not ok.  And y’all, it’s not.  Obviously.  But dammit we had to talk to our kids – lots of talks – serious talks – NOW.

The same kind of thing plays out now every time someone does something awful, whether the core issue is deemed one of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, who you voted for, if you eat GMO foods, or whether you prefer Charmin to Scott toilet paper.  It’s all public.  It’s smeared absolutely everywhere.  And parents must have these important discussions or otherwise fail at parenting in every. Single. Case.  If you don’t have these discussions with your children, you are perpetuating the problem!!!!!

Disclaimer here: I am by no means saying abuse for the above-referenced offenses should be tolerated.  Just read on and see.

I am raising 2 kids – one female, one male.  As such,  I’ll get to experience both versions of puberty as a parent.  I’ll get to help them navigate all of the above in some capacity or another. If my daughter is ever the victim of any kid being an ass to her for her gender, I expect her to gutter-stomp the offender – first intellectually and then physically if that is necessary.  If I think my son is harassing a girl for being female he’ll be grounded until the door to his bedroom rots (What’s the half-life for oak?).

But y’all, when I was a kid (and no Paleozoic jokes, please), it was enough to be taught not to be an asshole – to be nice, polite, and respectful. And by damned, if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you sat on that shit until you got home and were by yourself.  You kept unkind words to yourself, much less any other body part.  I don’t remember my mom having to have discussions with me about every little thing.  I just knew how to behave.  I knew what was expected of me.  It was not necessary for my mother to parse out every little meaning and sub-meaning and beat me over my wee head with it.

Stella, not preparing to grafitti anything and not being an asshole

I encourage my kids to ask questions.  We already have some pretty interesting discussions (vs. discussions).  It all evolves relatively organically, in a way that’s driven by their curiosity.  They ask -and subsequently learn – about things when they are ready to investigate it.  We talk about why you can’t tie a 1/2″ piece of string into a bow, why the boy at camp last week only had one hand (and why hollering about it when I arrived for pick-up was not a kind thing to do), why some people don’t have enough to eat or a place to live, that some people go to church on Sundays and we don’t and that’s ok, and that babies grow in tummies, and all other manner of topics.  In the middle three, the underlying message is that you shall always be kind – that people are people, no matter the circumstances.  In short, thou shalt not be an asshole.  Every unfortunate event in the news does not require justice meted out by Facebook, Twitter, and every other armchair judge/jury/psychologist.  Never every unfortunate event needs to be a thing.

Kids, helping mom chop veg, not being assholes

I guess that’s where my beef comes in.  As a parent, I get so damn sick of the advice, no matter how well-intentioned.  You  know what?  If I want to give my kids ice cream, or Red Dye # 89b, or a Happy Meal from time to time, that’s my business.  It won’t make them assholes.  If I find my kids kicking each other, they will both go to time out because they are being temporary assholes.    I love that if one of my kids is hurting -physically or emotionally – that the other will forget whatever bullshit they were just kicking each other over and try to comfort their sibling.

Tea partying, not being assholes

I work full-time, raise 2 kids, run a household, and try to find a precious few moments to be a wife and an individual.  I don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to pick up on every hot topic that social media dictates requires discussion.  I want to enjoy my children as much as possible, dammit.  I don’t want to browbeat them more than is absolutely required.  I fuss at them about enough already.  I want them to remember their mom was kind, if not a little crazy/intense from time to time, and taught them not to be assholes.  That’s enough, as far as I’m concerned.  Discussion terminated.

 

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Streak and Ye Shall Find

“Put your penis away or you’re going to time out!”  The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them.  I was kinda loud, too.  Did the neighbors hear?  Have I unwittingly given my son some sort of penis shame?  I really am trying not to give either of my kids body issues but geez.  The kid can’t extract it from his pants in public, right?

It’s at least partly my fault.  The penis shit started pretty quickly.  We were in the backyard filling up the pool.  Pool singular turned into pool plural due to the bitching and squabbling and hair-pulling and attempts-at-drowning going on in the first one.  But that’s not an integral part of the story.  Anyway, as the pool (the first one) was filling, Felix discovered that the water jet tickled his penis.  Ok, son.  Let’s move on.

Then he had to pee.  And he was dripping wet.  So what’s Mom to do? “Why don’t you just tee tee here in the corner of the yard?”  He had never done that before (at least not to my knowledge).  Why not?  I save my floors.  He pees.  Winners all, no?  

Well, as far as Felix was concerned, weeing in the yard was the bees’ knees.  Nothing has been so amusing since Lightning McQueen.  You’d have thought he cured cancer, he was so proud of himself.  And the whole experience must have made him feel as one with his member.  Shall we say the horse didn’t want to go back in the barn.

Y’all, this may be one of those areas where I’m unfit.  Any time any of this shit happens, my inner Beavis and Butthead come out.  Just as I’m ill-equipped to pee standing up in the backyard, I’m obviously ill-equipped to  teach my boy child how to responsibly use his boy parts. And with that, I’m off to the store to buy teepee for my bunghole. (Are you threatening me?)

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Pricks of the Trade

It’s the official start of the summer doldrums around here, whereby if you can’t get out and about before 8:00 AM or you aren’t participating in some water-based activity you’re pretty much screwed.  I had a really fun Thursday and Friday, when our wee little 5 month old compressor on our bouncing baby central AC went out.  Yes, it was under warranty, but dammit.

Stella rocked her first week at zoo camp.  There were a few hiccups, but they were minor and few.  There was even a day when she didn’t get her meds and kept her shit together, which is gratifying.  She’s back at the zoo this week, so I’m thinking we’re in for smooth sailing.  She’s also starting martial arts this evening; I hear it’s good for ADHD brains, and that’s what she picked over piano.  My house may about to become violent.

The Dude is the Dude.  That kid is relatively unflappable.  He has developed the “I’m scared” crap at night, which is irritating and comes out of absolutely nowhere.  I also got him to sit through his first movie in the theater, Captain Underpants.  I don’t count the Secret Life of Pets last summer, when I spent all but the first 15 minutes chasing him around the lobby.  Best of all (to me) was that I bribed him with “science.”  I promised if he was a big boy and was still and quiet we’d get the microscope out when we got home.  Win!

Movie tomfoolery

Science = bribe. I heart this so much.

Something did happen that bothers me.  We went to a local shop to let the kids pick out a project to do.  We ran into one of Stella’s classmates and her mom.  The mom is great.  She’s one of those folks you see that you wish you could hang out with, just to get to know them better.  And you would, except for time and work and kids and…

Anyway.  Stella saw her classmate and ran up and gave this girl a huge hug.  I thought it was sweet.  The other girl did not.  She had a look on her face as if Stella had the world’s worst BO ever.  Stella didn’t notice, thankfully.   My heart hurt.

The mom gushed that we should all get together and the girls could play and all will be right with the world.  I wanted to ask her if she was aware that her kid would probably rather have a needle jammed into her eye than hang out with my daughter.  I didn’t.  I just awkwardly tried to take my girl and get the hell away.  I probably seemed either completely crazy or she thought I needed a restroom really badly.

Dammit, y’all.  On one hand, I’m glad Stella doesn’t notice that some – many? – kids don’t want to hang out with her.  She’s honestly happy to do her own thing for the most part.  But I know one day that will change.  And she’ll be hurt – badly.  On the other hand, she needs to know that her behavior causes kids to be uncomfortable around her, to avoid her.

That shit still bugs me 48 hours later.  And I think this will be something here to stay for a while.  I remember being bullied.  I can remember a kid named Joey Egersits leading a chant of “loser” on the playground for my benefit and enjoyment in 3rd grade.  I can remember a girl named Samantha threatening to beat me up in 7th grade.  I also know bullying has gotten so much worse since then. I had it easy.

I know the train is coming and it’s unavoidable.

Sorry.  Mondays are bad enough without people being maudlin.  So for your amusement, I shall show you what my children picked out at the same shop where the hugging went badly:

What could be cuddlier than a cactus?

Yep.  They each picked out a cactus pillow.  WTF?

 

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I Now Pronounce You Man and Knife

I have to give props to Will.  Lately, he’s been stepping up his game around the house.  He’s been chipping in more with general daily chores – without me having to nag ask, which is the best possible way.  He’s been making an effort to be more present.  He’s been interacting more with the kids, which they love.  It’s been wonderful.

But (and y’all knew there would be a but), sometimes he does shit that just makes my head spin.

After returning from the beach, he smartly took a couple of extra days off to recover.  On one of those days, I asked if he would be willing to take care of dinner since I’d be at the office all day, then picking Felix up, blah blah blah.  He said sure, once I helped him figure out what to make.  Tacos.  Easy and everyone eats them.  Plus we’re about to start another round of the Whole 30 eating plan, so we need to enjoy our favorites before going on the ultra culinary straight and narrow.

He doesn’t cook as much as I do, so he’s not as…. organized? as I am.  In other words, he always makes a huge F’ing mess in my kitchen.  That’s ok.  I’m always grateful to get a night off from cooking, and I’m pretty quick with a mess.  And on taco night, since he cooked, I was more than happy to clean up the kitchen.

Tacos.  They don’t require fancy knife skills.  You shred some lettuce.  You can do that with your fingers.  Oh, and the kids love black olives, so he had to slice some of those.  Olives.  Soft.  You can cut those with a butter knife.

He found the biggest. Damn. Knife. In. The. Kitchen.  To cut lettuce (and olives).  He’s done this before.  I don’t get it.

Lettuce, people. This is what he chose to chop lettuce with.

Can anyone explain this to me?  It’s the equivalent of picking a daisy with a chainsaw.  It must be a man thing…

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From Fear to Eternity

The past couple of nights have been wild at my house, y’all.  Last night, Will was working late.  The children were “playing.”  I say it that way because “play” consisted of Stella smearing herself with makeup again, reenacting Wrestlemania with Felix between applications.  There was even hair-pulling, wedgies, and sucker-punches with foreign objects.  Luckily, we don’t own any folding chairs.  My living room was coated with bronze sparkly powder.  I was afraid to take a shower.  That’s kind of dumb.  My kids are 4 and 6.  I should be able to take a 5 minute shower without fearing that someone will be impaled with something.

Yeah, Dude. Sometimes I just wanna run away, too.

I’m constantly assessing the hows and whys in my world.  The only explanation I can come up with is that school is out.  Our routine has kind of been exsanguinated.  This terrifies me.  The whole camp situation terrifies me.  I’ve gone to being excited about the cool stuff she’ll be doing/learning this summer (swamp camp, art camp, zoo camp) to sphincter-tightening fear.

I took Stella by the library before we picked Felix up from playschool yesterday.  She was acting completely bonkers.  I wanted to sign her up for the library’s annual summer reading program.  Another mom and daughter were in front of us, and sure, they were being ridiculously high-maintenance, but that was no excuse for Stella’s whining, twirling around (nearly kneecapping high-maintenance mom), and what appeared to be some variation of twerking.  It was embarrassing.  I almost had to drag her out.  It didn’t get better.  As we checked out our books, she acted like a spazz.  They librarian looked at us kind of funny, to which I made some smart-ass comment about the ADHD being strong today.  He said he understood, and that he used to be a special ed teacher.  I didn’t know whether to hug him or hit him in the throat.  I wanted to scream that she had just make principal’s list for the 3rd time in a row.  Special ed my ass.  So there.

I joke about a lot of stuff, and maybe I joke at inappropriate times/things. That’s my coping mechanism (since I can’t obviously drink wine at 7:30 AM or at 3:30 PM at the library).  I got that humor from my dad; you learn to laugh or you lose your shit.

Most days I’m able to say to myself “it’s only ADHD.”  Then there are days – weeks- like I’m getting now.  The reality is, as much as I hate to admit it, shit is different for us, particularly during intervals such as summer.  Other parents don’t have to worry so much about camp staff understanding this diagnosis, and being prepared to intervene if a kid just feels too damn much and loses it, or to make sure that a kid on meds is drinking enough liquids in the 90 degree heat, even if they don’t want to or realize they need to.

It also occurs to me that Stella and I have not had the talk yet, about how she’s different than other kids.  She knows her meds help her stay calm during the day and not yell so much.  Will doesn’t think we should rock the boat.  I think she needs to start understanding a bit more- that she’s old and certainly smart enough to get it.  I tend to defer to Will’s judgement on this stuff, as he’s been on that side of the librarian’s desk.

Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?  When did you tell your kid?  And what in the hell did you do with your kids during the summer, that time where most households can relax into the world of the unstructured – the very thing that can tear yours apart?

The horizon – equal parts fear and beauty

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The Check Is In the Male

“Hi, I’m Felix the Male!”  That was the cheerful greeting my son gave pretty much every single person he ran across while we were on vacation, whether it was the 2 older ladies in lounge chairs (whom he talked into giving him a very nice gastropod shell they had found), the cleaning lady on the elevator, our waitress at dinner.  All received news of his budding masculine prowess.  I suppose I should be grateful he didn’t offer to show them all his “tail.”  A couple of months ago, that may have been a distinct possibility.


In any case, we are back from vacation.  We met my father and stepmother at the beach for 5 days.  I’m trying to sell it to them such that they might move closer to me, Stella, and my MaleChild.  The weather was solid, the surf was up, and no one killed each other.  That’s always an important box to be able to check after 5 solid days of Togetherness.  I think we were all ready to go our separate ways at the end, however.


Yesterday was bittersweet, and not just because it was my first day back in the office after the break.  It was also Stella’s last day of first grade.  I cannot believe it.  It’s simply surreal.  The girl mopped the floor with it this year.  She made all A’s except one B at the  very beginning of the year – and it barely missed the A mark.  She now has the lust for A’s and awards.  She came home yesterday with a medal around her neck for doing so well all year, and her school gives these cool dogtag medallions for various benchmarks.  She has a whole row of them now – Student of the Month, 3 Principal Awards, A-B Honor Roll.  I’m so proud.  So very very proud.


I’m hoping things ease off for a while.  She transitions straight into summer camps next week.  I have anxiety about that, of course, her having to go to different camps every week with different kids and different staff.  But we’ll make it through somehow.  I’m just relieved to get a few months off from homework and other school-related activities.  I need a summer break. In my mania, however, I’m strongly considering signing her up for piano lessons and Tae kwon do.  We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m hoping to be back more regularly, at least for a while.  Y’all have a good one!

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