Thursday, September 28, 2006
Anyway, all of the messages were variations on "You call me back now! Life-altering news! Big changes! So exciting! You call now!" (Again, I should mention for those just joining that my MIL is completely freaking nuts. Also, Vietnamese. She likes to say things to me in Vietnamese that I couldn't possibly understand except that you know it's not good. Probably something about me going to hell. Or being sloppy seconds. All things I have heard many times).
So after the 7th one, I finally told Mr X to just call her back because I wasn't going to answer dammit and I was not going to listen to these messages and maybe it will be good news. Like she's finally moving to California (Take that California!).
He calls back and she answers so excited about her Big! Life! Altering! News! News which she refuses to share.
Yes folks, she called us 7 times in a row, one right after the other all to tell us: NOTHING!
She insists that he call back and let his dad tell him. Apparently her news was so damn exciting she couldn't walk the phone downstairs and hand it to her husband so that he could tell us the Big! Life! Altering! News! No, Mr x had to call back (seriously people? What the feck is that?).
But whatever, she's not my mom (Ha! Hahahahaha! Pardon me while I am reduced to hysterical laughter).
Mr X calls back and asks his dad what's up. What is this Big! Life! Altering! News!?
And what does his dad say?
Could it be "oh, we're moving?"
Maybe, "We won the lottery"
I know, "Don't ask me how but somehow your mom is pregnant again"
(Haha! Good one universe!)
No. His dad is quiet for a moment and then says..............
"What are you talking about?"
What. Are. You. Talking. About.
Mr X's head implodes as he hears his mom yell (hell even I could hear his mom and I was on the other side of the room which good frogs people! Do you realize how freakin' loud she has to be to yell downstairs at her house into a phone her husband is holding and I can hear her loud and clear when the phone is no where near my head?) "Tell them what happen to me today!"
"Oh that?" *sigh* (FIL's, not mine).
His mom is going to be in the audience for Deal or No Deal.
Take that in a moment.
She is going to be in the audience, not a contestant, for Deal or No Deal.
Mr X hung up and just looked at me because he knew I was thinking just what he was thinking.
Just how the feck is this going to change her life? Or more accurately, just what is she planning on doing at the show to insure that she will become a video that is passed around the web for all of eternity?
I don't think she'll go crazy and offer to start feeding everyone and then end up in jail for killing them all because, hey, I've had her cooking and I've seen her kitchen. It would be murder.
I don't think she'll strip naked and run across stage. OK, probably not but don't rule that out entirely.
She might try to take over one of the suitcase girl's job.
I do know that unless they do some serious editing, you will be able to see my MIL. She'll be the one wearing bright red flowers with the red plaid pants and the giant bird and flower barrettes in her hair. She'll have her make-up done by Tammy Faye and 6 inch red heels to make herself taller.
Just listen for someone yelling "Howie! You marry my daughter! Deal! Deal! Are you Catholic? I love you Howie!"
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Last week I caught this article on Slate. Did you read it? Go ahead and take a minute to catch up. Go on, I'll wait.
OK, so I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I mean really? No homework? Sure Girl would think that was awesome! Almost as awesome! as being held back a year because I can pretty much guarantee that's exactly what would happen.
Let me stop here for a moment before I go into the rest of what I wanted to say to just point out my personal experience on the whole homework vs no homework deal. Girl? She struggles in school. She is easily distracted and and if she can't see the teacher speaking, see the problem being dissected in front of her, she is lost. I think some of it relates back to her early childhood hearing loss. She still has trouble saying certain words. Now how many teachers do you know can sit in front of one student all day speaking directly to them and still maintain a classroom? Right. Girl does pretty well in school. She's smarter then she pretends to be. But she needs that one on one time she gets when she brings her homework home. She needs that practice. She needs the extra work to manage her study habits. So even if the teacher doesn't assign work, I give her work to do. Math, reading, sentence structures, whatever she does in class, we review at home. It has made a tremendous difference in her grades.
However, even if she didn't have the difficulty she does in her learning process, I would still expect her to do homework. I want to see that she understands what is being taught in class and that she is not just copying what she sees her classmates doing.
Now, personal feelings aside, I still feel that homework is an absolute necessary as long as it relates to what they are studying in class. Because really? What is the point in doing this at home if they aren't going over it in class? What are they learning then?
Last week I posed the question of homework: yes or no? to some teachers.
While the answers varied, the general consensus was "Yes" and "Are you kidding me?"
The few who had problems with homework? The main concern was the amount of time that it was taking their kids to get through the work, claiming that their kids were coming home with several hours of work and sad little faces.
I think (and teachers out there correct me if I'm wrong) there is a general guideline of 10 minutes times grade level. So a child in 4th grade could handle 40 minutes of homework and that would be reasonable.
At least it is until you consider that quite often, it's the parents who have to nudge the shoulder of their child into doing that homework and helping them correct their mistakes.
Here, I admit that I am fortunate. I'm home all day. Yeah, yeah. I'm busy and all that blah blah blah. Whatever, I'm still here everyday so when Girl steps off that bus, bag and attitude in tow, I can help her get done with whatever work she has to do and still have time to make dinner, throw in another load of laundry, pry Cat out of Hurricane's mouth and perform my clown routine.
But what about when both parents work or single parents who are already stretched to the limits so when they get home and are faced with 40 minutes of 6 x 9 and "how do you spell 'relief'?" (t-e-q-u-i-l-a), dinner, laundry, possibly other kids crying for attention and all those other little things that have to get done? What about when you just don't have time to sit down and help them with the work?
There is also the argument that teachers have our kdis for 6- 7 hours a day and that should be plenty of time to get across whatever lesson they were going over that day.
I think that's flat out lame. 6-7 hours? Take out lunch, recess, music, PE, library, art, computer and tell me how much time do they have left to cover math, science, spelling, grammar, social studies, reading, and so on. Homework isn't a teaching tool, it's a review of what has already been learned (or at least it should be).
I believe homework is a necessary evil but it's hard to see the balance between that, play, family, etc.
One idea is to create a homework club. An afterschool group that can meet, do the work, and have someone their to answer questions and go over the work with them.
This too has it's problems. The school has to be willing to give up space for it and a teacher or parents are required to volunteer their time. But what else is there?
What do you do? What does your school do? Where do you sit on the Great Homework Debate?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
It's rather similar to last time's number 3. Fairly pathetic. I feel the universe laughing at me, mocking me because surely I didn't actually believe it would be that easy? Well, maybe a little. For about 2 hours anyway.
Better luck next time.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Despite getting minimal sleep during the night (home remedy my ass), I was up and ready to for Girl's game at 6 am. Too bad the game didn't start until 9 am. The girls cheered while the team was massacred, their first loss. I found it hard to concentrate as Hurricane was with me and Mr X was at work and Hurricane decided to play How Loud Can I Scream? until I thought I would just snap. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. He preferred the company of two of the moms. Absolute strangers to him and completely unarmed of cookies. He cooed and smiled and sang with them while I pretended to be watching the game.
The game ended and we trudged back to the van. Hurricane waved and shouted 'bye-bye' to all of his new friends. As soon as we were out of eyesight, he returned to his earlier game. I think he's trying to see if he can break glass. Or me.
By 1:00, it was me.
I was shaking, Girl was cleaning up the living room and trying so hard to be helpful and Hurricane was pulling on my legs and screaming, which he had been doing since we got home.
He was simply inconsolable. Not hungry, not tired (already had a nap dammit), not wet, don't want to read, don't want to play, don't want to not read and play, want want want, no no no.
I had been tugged and pulled all over the house, fake cheerful smiles and gritted teeth. Perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad had this not been day 3 of said behavior and I had even one decent nights sleep out of those 3 nights.
I unhinged his little claws from my knee and locked myself in the bathroom. I splashed cold water on my face and admitted that I needed a break before I went ape shit bananas again and started eating my hair.
When I stepped back out, Girl had popped in Hurricane's favorite movie and set him on her bed. His favorite reward and not something she lets him do very often. She smiled at me and curled up next to him. He settled and laughed at Nemo flashing across the screen.
Sometimes despite, or maybe because of, our distance, her maturing, her asserting her independence, I get to see just how cool she is.
It's things like this, taking care of her brother, sticking up for me, offering to help her dad, these things make it possible to overlook the sweatpants she stuffed in my treadmill rather than putting away. Or the fact that I found an ungodly amount of candy wrappers in her nightstand drawer. Or that she keeps insisting that I'm lame.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Let's continue that, yes?
Welcome mat (I am trying not to read too much into this but she's eaten 2 of them now)
One screen door
The mat that her doggy bowls sit on
Girl's pink feather boa (but not the white one. Maybe because it's after labor day?)
Two flip flops. One from two different sets. (bitch)
Plastic golf club
5 socks (none from the same pair. Double bitch)
A corner of the wall in the kitchen
The cord to Hurricane's favorite little fishy light up thingy
One set of Mickey Mouse ears
My damn kitchen floor (Arrrgghhh! Bitch!)
One Polly pocket
A stuffed animal of indeterminate origin
I hate the waiting part of trying to conceive. I've never been that good at waiting for anything. When I was little, I used to peek at my presents, fold the tape back down and go back to bed. This was maybe 30 minutes before we were all going to wake up and open them anyway. So waiting now, over something that makes me anxious and a little scared anyway?
At cheer practice the other night, one of the girls was really grumpy. At one point, when I dared to make them repeat a cheer they had already done, she leaned over and told my daughter that I was mean.
I waited, thinking girl would agree.
She stepped out of lineup, squared off with her hands on her hips and threw her head back.
"My mom is NOT mean!"
It may have been a simple case of 'no one picks on my mom but me', but whatever. I'll take what I can get.
Our poor Dog is dying. Auggie will be 13 in November. He's a German Shepherd/ Doberman mix. Beautiful, gentle, so terribly sweet.
He has a tumor that is pressing into his stomach. It could be a year from now. It could be 6 weeks. But it will be.
My husband is in denial. I mean, we knew this was coming. He's 13 for pete's sakes. But it's Auggie. Mr X has had him since he was just a puppy with paws too big to walk on.
He sings. Did I ever tell you that? Classical music, Enigma, No Doubt's 'Don't speak', certain commercials.
When I had my miscarriages, he would lay in the bed with me and let me cry into his fur. He laid at my feet at night and all day, just so I wouldn't be alone. When I was pregnant with Hurricane, he used to lay his head on my lap, jumping when he'd get kicked.
When Girl and I first moved in with Mr X, she would sit on his back to reach the cookies, sharing them with him. He accepted us without question.
I can't imagine this house without him.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
But put me behind the wheel and I become my father.
When my older sister was 3, my father was bringing her home from the park. He tried to make a light but it turned red just before he reached it and there was a cop there so, he stopped. Hard. From the back seat came my sister "Stupid-ass woman" as that was my father's favored response to what he felt was other's bad driving. Now, my father found this hysterical and made the colossal mistake of telling my mother.
Despite the verbal lashing, his driving like a lunatic remained. As did the insults. I learned that 'prick' was a bad word when I was 4 and I repeated it after my dad cut off some guy who in turn gave him the finger.
He tailgates all. the. time. And speeds. Following him is a nightmare. Because if you don't keep up with him doing 90 down the highway? He will call you, while he's doing 90 down the highway, and ask what's the matter.
When we mention his driving in terms of "oh hell no I am not getting in that car with him" or "No, Girl doesn't want to ride with you" he gets defensive and claims to have never had an accident. Which may be true. If you don't count scratching other's vehicles when trying to pass them or that time he took off someone's mirror trying to take a turn over a median.
Knowing this, knowing that the man who taught me to drive (and clung to the seat belt while I did 10 mph down the road because he wouldn't let me do the posted 25 I might add), the man I regularly rode along with has this intense road rage issue, I should know better.
But I don't. I find myself getting antsy behind the wheel. Impatient. Frustrated when the guy in front of me is doing 25 in a 25 when he could be getting away with doing 30. Pissy when someone is doing 60 in the passing lane of the freeway even though the lane beside them is totally open and they could get over. Irate when the guy behind me starts riding my bumper (even though I do it too) that I start tapping my brakes, almost begging him to hit me. Angry when the guy in front of me stops at the yield sign because there is a car 2 minutes away.
I feel myself getting angry, my feet tapping, my hands gripping the wheel until they hurt.
Then I notice the little sticker in their back window.
*Road Rage Killed Our Angel ____________*
And I feel shamed. I remember when it happened. I remember seeing her picture and thinking how beautiful she was and how I cried for her mom. She was going to a prom after party with her date. Two cars around them had been racing each other in traffic, cutting each other off, swerving. One car passed them on the left, heading into on-coming traffic. He swerved back into the lane and hit her car. He came out without a scratch. She died. 17 and gone.
What am I doing? I feel my eyes well up. I breathe deep and sit back.
I hate how I feel when I drive. I hate being angry. I hate being that driver.
It's something I've been working on. It takes a conscious effort, being aware of my temper. Reminding myself that being home 2 minutes later doesn't matter so long as I get home. Reminding myself that my kids trust me. Deep breathing.
It doesn't always work. The kids start fighting and I just want to get home and the guy in front of me is taking his sweet time and I want to explode, just get out of the car and push his foot down on the gas pedal because I can'timaginehavingtosithereonemoredamnminuteAAAAHHHH!!!
My knuckles are white on the wheel.
My heart is racing.
My face feels hot.
My jaw is clenched and my teeth hurt.
It's making me tired.
I open the window and take a deep breath.
"Kids. Zip it."
My tone brooks no argument and they settle.
I tell myself to calm down and relax my jaw.
Sometimes I fail miserably.
This guy has been sitting in the passing lane for 5 minutes and there is no reason too. getovergetovergetovergetovergetovergetover.....
But he won't. I sigh and whip around him, speeding up and pulling in front of him hoping he catches the not so subtle hint.
But really, who's the real asshole?
I have to say, this must be the hardest thing I've ever tried to change. I quit smoking 3 1/2 years ago. I've limited my swearing to not in front of the kids (except, sadly, when I'm driving). I've become a morning person (or at least enough of one to be able to put together a few semi-coherent thoughts). But this?
This is something I desperately want to change and am finding it very difficult.
Do you feel that? When you slide in behind that wheel, do you get tense? Aggressive? Frustrated and impatient?
What are your tactics for overcoming bad habits? How do you change the things that you don't like about yourself?
Monday, September 18, 2006
How about a "I can't believe she just said that!" story instead?
I had a really bad abscess last week. Painful, wretched, much thrashing and twisting of sheets. I believe I requested an epidural for my face at one point though Mr X says it doesn't count since I regularly state that it would be a good day for an epidural. I say it does because this time it was for my face and it would have greatly reduced my crabbiness.
He now wishes he had become an anesthesiologist.
I was a horrid little bitch all week, then came Friday. Friday my head spun around and I spit pea soup and sounded like Mushmouth. Friday I woke up with troutmouth.
It dawned on me, as I tried to push some Motrin past my swollen upper lip, that maybe I should like, I don't know, see a Doctor? Except that it was Friday. You know, when every other damn person in the world decides they better go see the Doctor and get their percocet refilled.
Which is how I ended up at the walk-in clinic sitting next to The Queen of Bitchy.
I set Hurricane down to play as we waited the requisite 2 hours.
QB looked me up and down and clearly found me lacking.
I'd like to know just what is wrong with having Kix in your hair and smushed in banana in your pants? This can't be worse than wearing pajama bottoms to the mall. Right? Anyone?
Anyway, she looked me over and then did a double take.
"Where did you get your lips done? They look amazing!"
"Umbidi uh doo?"
"Ib said, is an infeckthun."
"Right. Sure. Why don't you just tell me?"
Now a normal person would have simply ignored her, not rubbing their finger around the abscess, grimacing and offering to pass on the thrashing, retching, horridness in order to be graced with troutmouth.
Yes a normal person.
But I think I've made it quite clear that I will never be a normal person.
She left which meant I only had to wait an hour and a half. Yay me!
Monday, September 11, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I am attempting to ignore the occasional outburst of cheeky comments. I pretend I don't see her rolling her eyes when I tell her she has to clean her room.
In return she took my hand after practice one night and thanked me for coaching her squad this year.
I'll admit, reluctantly, that despite my earlier hesitancy I am enjoying it. I vetoed only one cheer they wanted to do because there is something about children ranging in age from 5-9 yelling 'Shake your booty' and wagging their butts while bent over at adults and players that makes me want to die.
So that got a 'Oh hell no'. They shrugged and moved on to the next one. One which didn't seem bad, merely fatuous. It makes me wince a little because these girls are smart and the cheer is.... um.... not.
But they love it and I'll take it any day over them shaking their asses at grown men.
Unfortunately it ranks right up there with Elmo's Rap in that once it's in your head It Never Goes Away. I'm sure it doesn't help that Girl has been repeating it several times a day for the past month.
And now I give it to you.
Like totally, For sure (and yes, they get all valley girl here)
I just had a manicure
the sun, I swear
it's bleaching out my hair (are you annoyed yet? I am)
33 to 44
I don't know that silly score (mostly because we're in midget football and
no one tells us a damn thing)
Gee I hope I look all right?
Don't answer! (and with this they throw their hand up ala
'talk to the hand' and turn away. Shoot.
Me. Now. Please.)
I'm still in awe of her. She makes friends easily, something I've never been good at. She has boundless energy (provided I don't ask her to use some of that energy to say, clean her room, then suddenly she's so tired she couldn't possibly lift her arm. Look, see? Totally hanging down, can't even touch the bed much less actually make it). She adores her brother and when he's not beating her with Weebles, he follows her around like she's Elmo. I once nailed my brother in the balls with an ice ball because he dared to look at me when we were walking to school thereby announcing to everyone that we knew each other and that was unacceptable.
I worry that I won't be able to keep up. I don't want to be one of those moms that everyone rolls their eyes at because good grief woman! Let the girl do her own damn hair she's 25 for cripes sake! I don't want to be her best friend, or any friend really.
I would be ok with getting through her teen years as we are right now. Still her mom, her independence established, and still allowed to peek in on occasion.
I could live with that.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Step One: Gather supplies in one central location. If at all possible, be in an area that will make escape difficult if not impossible. Like a prison cell. Or a cage.
Step Two: Pull Hurricane out from under his bed.
Step Three: Chase Hurricane down the hall begging him to please stop.
Step Four: Unclench Hurricane's fist from Cat's tail.
Step Five: Carry Hurricane kicking and screeching to the changing cage, er... room.
Step Six: Begin to remove pajamas, dodge kicking feet (and can someone please explain how a child weighing less than 30 pounds can kick like he's a horse? My arms are so bruised I look like I had an accident with Easter dye.) and try to throw clothing into the waiting laundry basket.
Step Seven: Miss the laundry basket by 4 feet, get bruised for your efforts. Don't worry, no one will notice the bruise thanks to the 50 others currently covering your arms.
Step Eight: Say a silent prayer and remove diaper.
Step Nine: Try to sing over Hurricane's screaming in a lame attempt to distract him from the fact that you are changing his diaper.
Step Ten: Poke the hell out of your fingers trying to pin the cloth diaper closed without jabbing those adorably chunky thighs currently kicking the crap out of you.
Step Eleven: Bandage bloody fingers.
Step Twelve: Place diaper cover over right foot.
Step Thirteen: Place diaper cover over right foot.
Step Fourteen: Hold diaper cover out of Hurricane's eye sight and grit teeth.
Step Fifteen: Quickly rush cover over both feet at once while singing Elmo's Number 5 rap and pray that no one is outside listening through the open window.
Step Sixteen: Curse the diaper cover you are still holding in your hand as Hurricane smiles angelically at you.
Step Seventeen: Turn your back to Hurricane and lay over his waist. Slowly slip cover over his feet and then quickly pull it up.
Step Eighteen: Stick out tongue at Hurricane and do little victory dance.
Step Nineteen: Get smacked in head with diaper cover that Hurricane removed while you were doing the victory dance.
Step Twenty: Take a coffee break.
Step 21: Bite inner cheek as Hurricane slips diaper cover on by himself.
Step 22: Pick up shirt and eye Hurricane warily. He smiles.
Step 23: Pull shirt down as Hurricane tries to rip shirt off.
Step 24: Speak rapidly about getting dressed so that you can go to the park and have cookies and chocolate milk and play with Elmo.
Step 25: Lean over Hurricane as you try to bend his arm into the sleeve.
Step 26: Repeat step 25 for the other side.
Step 27: Stare miserably at shorts.
Step 28: Wish shorts could magically put themselves on.
Step 29: Contemplate painting on Hurricane's shorts.
Step 30: Pry Hurricane off the dresser he has just scaled.
Step 31: Repeat steps 12 through 20 twice.
Step 32: Hand shorts to Hurricane hoping he will repeat step 21.
Step 33: Remove shorts from head where Hurricane proudly threw them.
Step 34: Tackle Hurricane and lay on his legs as you yank shorts on.
Step 35: Hold Hurricane upside down while pulling shorts on the rest of the way.
Step 36: Curse shoes.
Step 37: Eat a snickers mini bite.
Step 38: Bribe Hurricane with a cookie and break the world record for putting on shoes.
Step 39: Take a nap.
Monday, September 04, 2006
We celebrated Sunday by going to the All-American traditional cookout. With dogs. Ours, theirs, others. Mishka was reunited with 2 of her litter mates and they spent the entire afternoon and evening rolling, nipping, sniffing and flipping each other.
We watched and ate and interacted with other adults which? Seriously? Was it always that good? Because I'm almost certain that I didn't say anything to horribly stupid (minus the idiotic conversation I initiated about Hurricane's rash and the subsequent switch to cloth diapers which no one cared about so I shut up and we moved on). We laughed and talked and I didn't feel entirely out of place for once.
Hurricane loved the piano but was less certain of Her. But she loved him. She hugged him and kissed him and anytime they came within 5 feet of each other she felt compelled to put her arms around him.
Her father insisted that she immediately go to her room and remain there until she is 30. She is a beautiful little girl with liquid chocolate eyes. Her parents are doomed.
Mishka is one of these dogs but I'm not all that sure which one. I know she's not the dark one in the back.
Face is tasty!!
Meet the Ball. Let this be a warning of the Ball, should you ever happen to find yourself in the backyard of the Ball. Do NOT throw the Ball. Trust me.
Because I did when we first got there. I threw the Ball just as her owner was warning me not to. I then spent the rest of the evening being followed by the Ball Catcher who was slobberly hoping I would throw the Ball again. And again. And again.
When I escaped to the deck, Ball Catcher wandered the yard looking for some other sucker to throw the Ball. The moment my feet again touched grass, there she was, drool pooling around the Ball in her mouth. She would drop it by my feet and if I dared to refuse to pick up the Ball, she would follow me and at first opportunity, insert her body before my feet and again drop the Ball looking at me with expectancy. Throw the Ball throw the Ball throw the Ball!
Desperately panting, Come on! Throw the Ball!
Internet? Do NOT throw the Ball.
I spent 5 hours throwing the Ball and my arm fucking hurts.
Here is where Hurricane became enraged. Because puppies? Totally cute. Puppies in his pool? No freakin' way! He stomped into the water yelling and waving his arms calling them all 'Eeka!' (his name for our puppy) and surprising them enough to chase them off.
Satisfied, he stepped out and stood guard at the side.
This morning I gave him a bowl of cereal. He took two Apple Jacks and refused the rest.
At lunch I handed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He sniffed and walked away.
We went out to eat dinner. Girl happily munched her chicken fingers (I don't think she's ever ordered anything else) and looked doubtfully at Hurricane's chicken quesadilla.
He poked it.
He stuck his crayon in it.
He laughed and merrily refused to eat.
How can a child subsist on 2 Apple Jacks?
At the risk of regretting saying anything at all, at the risk of being a fool given our past difficulties, we finally reached a definite decision about having more children.
It's a yes.
Here's to trying, ignoring the failing, hoping for the best.