Thursday, April 3, 2014

Me and my old man

My dad and I went out to lunch today.



I was drowning in potty training laundry and trying not to get too involved in Don Draper's love life, and he saved me (my dad, not Don Draper...though if I had a run-in with Don Draper I'd ask him 1. Why do you always go commando and 2. Why are you so douchey? Your 13 year old daughter can't you with another woman and you still tried to save face? Be gone, along with your alcoholic ways and bags under your angry eyes.)

I'd also ask him if Joan's boobs were fake,,but he wouldn't know, because SHE'S THe ONLY PERSON ON THAT SHOW WITH AN XX CHROMOSOME THAT HE HASNT TRIED TO BED

Yes, I watch television with closed captioning, but only because the TV Ears are still in the mail.


Speaking of Mad Men, the film"Rosemary's Baby came out in 1969 and it totally creeped me out. I GET the fact that it wasn't supposed to be a comedy, but why are old creepy movies creepier than new ones? 

So, my dad and I were talking about depression and dealing with it on a daily basis and he said something I'll never forget:

"Rachel, you've struggled with this for a really long time, and you've always had to deal with a higher threshold just to live life. It's like you've said, "I've done what I can to contain anxiety, depression, all of that. Now I'm going to open up my life to help other people. 

I honestly couldn't be more proud of that."

And then he cried.

And then we noticed Phoebe in the next booth over,

Aaaand

Moment over.

Doesn't matter how old you are. 35? 9? 

Everyone wants their dad's approval.

I am ending with a random picture of my Boy Scout riding his too-small bike.

I just can't help myself around a man in uniform. Don't you went to eat him up????

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Perps with donuts

want to blog every day in April because I just want to.

Foster lady (the little girl we have had for some time now) is having a hard day, so we are sitting here snuggling. I made the mistake of playing "1000 years" by that chick who sings really pretty, you know the one.

It sent her into a teary tailspin because it rekindled memories of her dead great grandmother.

Score one for me. 

Now that I'm 35 I really feel the need to make my mark on the world. I should be submitting writing pieces different places but I don't wanna. My excuse is that I do everything innernet-related on an iPad mini and the formatting of wordy documents can't be done very well on here.

I discovered this the other day, which made my world a happy place.

If you're one of those fools who gave up the earthly pleasure of sugar, you're missing out.

You might not have midnight shakes and carbohydrate cravings where you want to eat anything involving carbs, including the kitchen table,

BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW THE FLESHLY DELICIOUSNESS THAT IS A PERP MIXED WITH A DUNKIN DONUT...

I'm trying to imagine a perp with a donut. Some grammatical errors are just too good.



Do you ever entertain the scary and disturbing thought that you could die at any time, from quite a number of disturbing causes?

I can usually distract myself from the thought with the aforementioned donuts, but not today.

Also in the agenda this evening are the following:

Contemplation of the entire child welfare system
The thought that perhaps I should throw all of the socks out and start fresh with all of the same kind
Why I abhor exercise
Why my son cannot, for the life of him, pay attention in class
If a tree falls in the forest will a Dunkin' Donut employee hear it

Hey, I told you I'd write every day.

I didn't promise it'd be good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The witching hour

4:11 pm. What is it about this time of day in the balmy Midwest that turns children into tiny, unrelenting terrorists?

As opposed to the relenting ones.

They have April-Fooled me in the following ways:

"mom, your bedroom is on top of the house."
"Mom! Don't look now! There's a worm on the floor behind you!"
"Mom! Your butt crack is showing!"
(Two truths and a lie. You figure out which one is always true.)

My retort:
"Asher, I've decided to pull you out of soccer because I want you to wear bright pink soccer socks if you continue and I don't think you'd do that."

His face falls and he starts to cry.

Too much?

"Buddy! Buddy!," shouts his nine year old sister. "Mommy's joking! She would never do that to you!"
I think he wants to be a cop when he grows up so he can finally, FINALLY find some justice in this world...

I think I need to make my April Fool's "jokes" a bit more obvious.

I was perusing the internet for pull apart plastic jewelry for two year old girls and found none.

I DiD, however, find this. I had a very strong urge to buy it, but nobody who is supposed to be potty training is even remotely interested (coughcough*phoebe*), and if Scott saw me sitting on it it just may be the final straw.
Speaking of final straws, Lucy told me that a funny way to trick her dad for April Fool's would be for me to say. "Oh! I forgot to cook dinner!" And then there wouldn't be any dinner and she thinks that would be just hilarious.

That's a three day a week occurrence in this house, kid.

Art imitating life?



Monday, March 31, 2014

35 is

Yesterday I turned 35.

I don't know what to say about it, other than that it feels very final.

If the past is an iron gate, then my youth is the lock that just clicked into place.

Me? Dramatic?

No one can stop time, that's for sure. Every fool who's tried it has died trying.

I think the thing that's most unsettling about turning 35 is that I am now in my mid thirties. Being anything younger than 35, you can still say "I'm in my early thirties" and get away with it. 

Thirty-five.

Your MOM is 35.

Ok, my mom is 69, which is a much more fun age than 35. Ask your husband.

35 is wrinkle cream, sagging post nursing boobs, older-looking hands, grays popping up in random places, a deep and profound love of coffee and getting vacuum cleaners for Christmas.

As a small child I remember swearing to myself that I would never be lame enough to think that a cleaning item or eating utensil could be a great gift. I remember my mom fawning over those types of things at Christmas, beaming over whatever box that held the toaster or electric fingernail polish remover or vibrating wand massager.

Hey, wait a hot minute!!!!!

Anyway, at the birthday party I threw for myself, complete with Asher-assembled banner and partial table full of food, I got super duper excited about receiving hand soap, kitchen cups, movie tickets, peeps, Christopher Elbow chocolates, homemade gourmet cupcakes, hand towels, hilarious beer cozies, wine, and coffee and gelato gift cards. (Yes, my friends are awesome.)

The 25 year old me wouldn't have been so excited. She'd have wanted some music and lip balm. Actually, the guests even got favors, speaking of lip balm. I figure I've spent exactly $212.47 buying party favors for my children's' birthday parties, so now it's Big Mama's turn:

35 is lame things, yes, but 35 is also "buying the hello Kitty tablecloth simply because I like it." It's finally realizing that I can tell my kids "no" when they want some party treats beforehand, something I may not have done at 25.

35 brings with it a sense of freedom, the kind of freedom that tells me it's only self-preservation to do something nice for myself once in awhile and laugh so hard with my friends that we pee on the couch (well, not me, because I'm only 35. Them? Yes. Closer to 40.)

35 is my being totally OK with the fact that I sent my husband and kids away on our anniversary so I could throw my party and not feel one bit guilty about it.

35 is realizing that not everyone's going to like me or approve of my decisions, and I'm definitely going to survive it.

35 is really learning, really KNOWING, that I am happy, deep down in my gut. That I'm a pretty tough cookie and I've been through some things and it's all made me stronger and more appreciative for the amazing life that I have.

35 is taking a lazy afternoon nap with my 2 year old snuggled in beside me, noses touching, laundry literally falling off the bed, because I know that these moments don't keep.

Yeah, it might be older, but you know what I think?

35 is gonna be beautiful.




Thursday, March 27, 2014

PMS without a uterus or any supporting actors

**alert: Dexter spoilers ahead**

So you ever feel like that guy from Office a Space who never got any cake?



Since I spent so long being pregnant or in various stages of miscarrying or nursing, I forgot how horrible PMS is for me. After Phoebe was born 2.8 years ago I had a hysterectomy, but they left one ovary.

This basically means that I still have PMS like everyone else but I just don't bleed. I am very thankful that that ovary appears to be functioning just as it should, which means I won't have to be on Hormone Replacement Therapy at the ripe old age of 35, or go into early menopause.

So, I funnel the money I would be spending on tampons and pads each month into a fund for Dunkin Donuts and Scooters' coffee house. 

Free coffee for the rest of my life. That's how I like to look at it, at least.

Anyway. For most of you who have your uteri, you know you're pmsing because shortly after you start bleeding.

The weird thing here is that I get all angry at the world like Tupac Shakur but can't understand why. 

(And yes, still alive.)

Last month and this month. Some examples:

1. I have been so tired. SO tired. I barely make it through the day and then go to bed before Scott can turn on the bad Netflix, which is usually 8:17.

2. I get annoyed when the kids ask if they can brush their teeth. TELL ME JUST WHY, AGAIN, YOU HAVE TO HAVE TEETH!!!!!

3. Every time the phone rings, I jump. Either I have been watching too much dexter and I'm convinced the Feds have finally caught up with me for that pirated copy of Frozen, or my hormones are surging.

P.s. Speaking of Dexter, I got a catalog in the mail with this in it. IN WHAT WORLD IS THIS A ROMANTIC GIFT. Also, Kaitlin. Are you really old enough to get married?



4. Everything anyone has ever posted on Facebook is offensive to me, and I want to create a law outlawing facebook status updates, containing within it several statutes that allow me not to obey the law, whenever I feel the whim.

"I ate Cheerios this morning!"

The response I want to type: "what? You're too good for eggs? You've always been too good for eggs. That's just like you to flaunt your love of Cheerios. Seriously. Stop taking pictures of your cereal."

I went out to eat tonight!

I hate you.

Here is my new coat.

What was wrong with your old one. Maybe in your neighborhood money grows on trees.

I love the sunshine!

I hate it. Why didn't John Cusack marry me. Seattle.

Last night Scott asked if I could maybe not have the kids eat in the car or carry craft supplies around in it, because someone drew a question mark on the back bench seat in red marker and there are Legos everywhere.

Me: "wHY DO YOU HATE ME? YOURE ALWAYS SO CRITICAL!"

Then I huffily grabbed a dollar bill from my stripping stash, loaded myself up in that van, screeched into the self-serve car wash vacuuming portal, put some quarters in the machine, and..

Nothing.



One dollar. Wasted.

This is the part where I screamed at the sky, tucked my tail between my legs, and went home.

Oh, also. Another reason I know I'm PMS'ing. I cried like a little girl when Dexter dumped Deb's body before the storm. SOBBED. It was SO sad.



For the record, if you are one of my three brothers and are reading this: if I ever end up on life support and am only able to breathe with the use of supporting machines, please unhook me. You don't have to dump the body, but just let me go.

I am crying again.

At least I know to expect all of this crap again in 30 days. My husband asked me to send him away before the next PMS scenario.

In all honesty, though, I've been through a heck of a lot and on Sunday I turn 35. I'm so happy to even be able to be alive to see 35. On that table on July 19, 2011, I was prepared to die.

I remember so vividly, the doctor telling Scott, "we might have to remove her uterus if we can't stop the uterus." 

"TAKE THE DAMN THING OUT!" I yelled.

Carpe Diem, even with the PMS.







Friday, March 21, 2014

Foster care: the case for engaging "The System".

Listen. I get it. We all have watched Lifetime movies where the foster dad wears a wife beater and sticks the six sniveling foster kids in the basement, where he makes them do manual labor like shining his shoes and clearing the muck out of the dog's bed.



Actually, I told my foster daughter's relative (I'm keeping this anonymous) that foster parents get a bad reputation. They're usually fat, hairy pervs in their 50s who can't get a date and spend Saturday afternoons watching "Sanford and sons" in that rundown house on park street, the one that's bright blue and has Christmas lights there all year round and trash day consists of 129 beer cans.

He was wearing a wife beater. It was a...um...foot in mouth moment.

Anyway, my two year old just asked my husband for an eight-ball as he was serving her ice cream, so you may want to disregard anything I'm saying.


Foster care is my passion. That's probably pretty obvious. 

So, when I hear people say that the system sucks and it should be done away with and churches should step in and basically "be" the parents to these children.

The problem with this is a few things:

1. The parent whose child would originally be taken away and put into the foster care system is not historically going to be a parent who comes out of the woodwork asking for help. The parent who is struggling with meth addiction, alcohol abuse, or who has allegations pending of abuse against the child is going to be very resistant to some church or community group coming up and saying, "let us take care of your child for you while you figure things out!"

2. Even if they weren't, how does this work, exactly? Who decides how long the child stays in the home of the people taking care of him? Who decides at what point (and in many cases, like it or not, this WILL happen) the parent is taking advantage of the free childcare situation and things need to progress in one way or another?

3. The person making the call about when the child is allowed back to the parent's home is, well, the parent who had an issue in the first place. Is that person going to be the best decision-maker on the level of readiness they have in being able to parent again?

"But they're the parent!" You say. "They SHOULD have that right!" Again, if they believed they needed the help of having their child placed into another's home, then there are obviously some issues that need to be worked out. I understand that some of these issues have to do with housing and needing child care for short term, and for those situations, I could definitely see this sort of scenario working.

That said, many would say that any parent who recognizes the need for outside help and actually asks for it SHOULD be in control of when they get their child back. I could see that, too.

However, what happens when a parent is NOT ready to parent again but thinks he or she is? When that parent calls the police and states, "these people took my child when I was under duress and I want my child back, like TODAY!"?

With foster care the judge decides these things. There is a case plan, and the social worker is assigned with following the parents' progress.

I'm not saying this plan is fool proof. bwahahahahahahaha. It'd about as fool proof as my current diet plan, which involves six skinny cow candy bars a night. 

An argument I see often against foster care is that some certain percentage of kids in foster care end up in prison, in gangs, doing drugs, etc., and the unspoken is that this is because of their stint in foster care.



My contention would be that these kiddos weren't exactly born into a situation that facilitated healthy growth and development. You can't "unring" the bell of abuse. I'd be very interested in these statistics on the same kids (their identical twins, perhaps? ;) ) who were left in their homes of origin. Otherwise, those stats mean nothing.

What are your thoughts? 

Should we end foster care as it is now?

Should it be replaced by the church acting as the foster care authority, or should the church PEOPLE be the hands and feet of Jesus! entering into the fray! engaging the culture! and become foster parents themselves?

Being part of an imperfect system...risking getting their hearts broken...loving on kids who need their love, desperately.

Just, well, jumping in.

I've got an opinion, obviously.

Now, you tell me yours.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What mothering out of guilt gets you

My two year old is standing precariously close to the tv, sliming all over my new lip balm and enjoying her morning watching Elmo DVDs. 


I really struggle with finding the balance between, "enjoy these days with young children! They will be gone before you know it!" And finding healthy boundaries for my kids. For me.

Surely, every phase of life will be gone before we know it. Isn't that a five for fighting song! 100 years to live?

When I get into the total "everything they do is so precious and they are time-sensitive gifts from God that could be taken away at any time," they play the heck out of that. "I MUST give in to their fruit snack plea. They could die I a car accident, and what if I'd said NO to that small request? I'D REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF MY LIIIIIIIFE." 

I read about people whose babies have died in their sleep. When Phoebe's channeling the Bushwhackers and screaming for Henry Bolly (I have no idea what the heck she's saying), I quietly shut the door while she screams and I feel this intense, crazy guilt over the fact that I allowed my two and a half year old to cry before bed and she could die in her sleep.

The fear overwhelms my parenting boundaries and I freak out and think about how these days with them being so little are so short (every older woman tells me this, repeadly), and surely I won't regret cuddling her just this one night. 

The problem is this, exactly:

That one night turns into the next night, annd then the next night she's in our bed, trying to nurse on my withered boob and then yelling for use of the iPad which I had sort of wanted to leave charging so I could have, you know, a working alarm for the morning. Before we know it she's flushing Daniel Tiger's feces down a virtual toilet at 11:03 pm and my husband is sighing,

HEAVILY.


The "ok, honey, I'll tie your shoes and serve you every piece of food you'd ever need" results in older children who can't tie their own shoes or draw their own bath water. (Yes, it is 1956.)

So. That's my struggle. Trying to figure out when to say, "this is not the hill I want to die on! They can all stay up late and cuddle with us!" And, "no, the rule is that everyone is in bed by 8." Who am I kidding. 6:59.

We skip the clock homework. I'll homeschool them to tell time by he time they're 14.

Promise!


I guess I put enough pressure on myself thinking that I'm doing this mothering thing all wrong that the extra comments don't help. If I let them do their own thing, someone says I'm too lax. If I am strict, someone else says I'll regret not cuddling with them more. If I say, "mommy needs 'me' time," and go into another room and paint my face with glue (see last post), then someone little will climb up on a piece of unsecured furniture and topple to their death.

That's a lot of responsibility, see?

When I was little my mom was present, but she didn't do arts and crafts or Pinterest activities with us. I feel like the "mom bar" wasn't quite so artificially high.

My mom was, and is, an awesome mother.

Now I'm just rambling, which clearly means that I need to do a Pinterest hand print project, STAT.

Their hands won't be this little tomorrow, and then I'll regret my parenting choices.