Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sidelong glances - guilty ones, even. No little ones fighting over food or crapping their pants, not tonight.
I ordered a margarita and two desserts. It was a luxury for me. I savored them and imagined them possessing the deed for my stomach and hips.
I didn't care.
You smiled as I talked politics with the waiter, depositing your general apathy on the subject in the trash can just for the evening.
Do you know how much I love that? That you do that for me?
You use up your energy to make my interests yours.
It makes me want to hold your hand,
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I feel frustration and angst when every time I turn around you are slamming brother's fingers in a door or pushing him over, sending his beloved Elmo phone skittering across the floor and eliciting screams from a 19 month old throat.
I set down the dish towel to survey the damage. There you sit, a gleeful smile on your face. I get the spoon, you sit and sob after. You knew the consequence but you did it anyway.
Still stifling sobs, you ask to "cuddle wif" me. I ask you why you were punished, you said it was because... oh, you couldn't even finish the thought because tears fell again. I was convinced you cried because you hurt.
Your slimy face pressing into my just washed church clothes, you speak. "I'm so sad 'cause I hurt Asher's heart, real bad."
More sobs, those big gulping-for-breath cries that pull at the veins in my heart.
You surprise me.
You ask to pray to Jesus and to ask Asher to forgive you. We do both, and you run off to happily play, your sins absolved.
I smile, imagining soft and fluid hands shaping your little heart into something beautiful.
I turn back toward the kitchen, ready to resume my chores.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
I suppose it's a necessary thing, but whoever had the idea of allowing a 3 year old 24/7 access to a bag of poop attached to her front was either drinking heavily or had never actually MET a 3 year old.
I was minding my own business yesterday afternoon, tending to my flylady.com chores and emptying the dishwasher. The kids were playing downstairs in the playroom, and all was well. We'd just shampooed the basement carpets and everything was in order down there. I heard the kids laughing together, and sent a prayer of thanks up to the heavens that they were getting along.
Then, I noticed the laughter was becoming louder and more uncontrolled. You know the type - you've just been told a joke that strikes you as the funniest thing you've ever heard, and your bladder is precariously full. Yeah, that kind of laughter. I didn't think it fair that I was doing chores and they were having so much fun, so I walked down the steps.
There sat Asher in the new chair I had just bought Scott, his left arm and right leg covered in poop. His previously clean hair now had a smearing of the stuff, and he was laughing and grinding his head into the cushion of the chair. A trail of something gross and brown could be seen going further into the room, and there sat Lucy, laughing as I have never seen her laughing, playing with her colostomy bag - ah, her newly found art supply.
"Lucy! What are you doing?"
Big, brown eyes peered up at me as she realized I probably wasn't enjoying what I was seeing, and the laughter stopped.
"Oh, Mama," she said, all seriousness and explanation now.
"I just wanted to know what Brother Bear looks like with poop on his head."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
In order for Lu and Ash to play outside, I have to have the garage door open, because the only way to get outside from the kitchen is to the back. Lu screams like a brand new Gitmo detainee being waterboarded if I shut the door to the outside, so I have to keep it cracked open.
I saw the chipmunk out of the corner of my eye, staring longingly at the birdseed just inside the door. The kids looked at me in surprise when I started to rant:
"NO. YOU WILL NOT COME IN HERE. GO BACK TO YOUR HOME. GO! GET OUT OF HERE!"
The thing looked at me, turned tail, and ran.
When Snow White directs the chipmunks, she's cool. But I'm not Snow White, so that's not cool.
I am getting to the point where if I do not organize my life and if I do not start saying "no" more often I will crack. I will, I will crack. I had a panic attack on the way to the doctor's office yesterday. We were running late and I was yelling at the kids. I was taking out my lack of organization and my frustration at the situation on my kids. That is NOT cool.
Lu and Ash are my first priority. Well, God and husband, all that jazz, you know the drill. But practically speaking, these two munchers are the ones I spend the majority of my day with. I owe them the full me, not the me wearing dirty jeans or the me with oily hair and rings under my eyes.
I got a look at myself in the shiny surface of a toaster in aisle 3 last night at Target. When I went to pick up some pills, my friend the pharmacist said, "Girl, you're not looking so good."
UNDERSTATEMENT of the year.
Thank you for being kind, dear Angela. Because if I were the one in the red shirt and the tan pants I would have said, "Are you sure you're not here for 53 bottles of cold medicine? Because you're looking like that kind of gal, yo."
I can no longer pretend that I can do everything and do it well. I can't bake cookies at 6:30 in the morning and try to paint my house and sell things on Craigslist and vacuum the carpets and get annoyed when my kids want my attention. I can't, and I won't. I can't ignore the fact that Asher needs a nap at the SAME time every day, and that he needs it in his home, in his sweet little bed. I can't tell people "yes" because I feel guilty when I tell them "no".
That gets me yelling at chipmunks and wondering if strawberry jelly on rice is an acceptable dinner.
I can't tell you the guilt I felt when I told the woman who directs MOPS that I can't be on the skit team. Seriously, why the guilt? She did nothing to make me feel guilty, yet I felt I owed her the service. Now, don't get me wrong, churches in general do plenty to make moms feel like they need to volunteer more and more time and their families get less and less of it. Churches do this. So how can I expect the rest of the population that doesn't even value family to respect my boundaries? (There's the buzz word.)
Saying "no" to others means saying "yes" to my sanity, and "yes" to my family and to my true purpose - being the best I can be for those I love the most.
Shrink Lady told me that my assignment for this next week is to sit for 30 minutes a day and do nothing but read a book. It cannot be a task that actually accomplishes something. I must just sit.
Ever the pleaser I am (did you know I even feel guilty for unloading my burdens on the shrink? And I pay her $125 an hour!):
"No, wait! I will do an hour a day!"
"No, Rachel, you won't be able to do that. Start with half, and we'll go from there."
It has been incredibly hard to do this. It's only been two days, and I get anxious and my palms sweat. I don't know how to just "be". I have to have 423 irons in the fire and I have to rush here and there and here again or else I have somehow not accomplished what I think I need to accomplish.
Snow White sang and picked apples and enjoyed the forest, and the prince found it attractive. I do wonder, why did he find that attractive? Did he think he would marry her and she'd make him feel that way, too? That contented kind of way? That tingly-in-the-arse-because-you've-been-sitting-all-damn-day kind of way? Surely he must have been getting tired of slaying dragons for no particular reason but to slay them.
In my world, anxiety and a need to be who others want me to be mate with each other and give birth to several ornery and self-deprecating children. How long do I let the cycle continue? I used to be that woman (was it Mary or Martha? My Bible's dusty, if you want the whole unflattering truth) who sat at the feet of Jesus and just listened. She didn't have a plan; didn't need to be anywhere. Now I'm the other one, the annoying one who prides herself on her business and forgets the point of the living.
It's in the relationship, right?
I opened a bar of soap last night (Scott was thanking Jesus that he didn't have to sleep with the stink another night), and on the wrapper was written this:
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
This is the problem I have, though, too. I try to be everything for everybody and not miss any little bit of any relationship in my life, because I want to be the person investing in the relationships.
But there, again, I forget to rest.
So today, right now, I will go and play dolls with Lucy. I will not answer the phone, I will not check my e-mail, I will not do a single dish.
Are you capable of this just "being"?
Can you be Snow White?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I keep house like I think. Schizophrenically. Now, a big disclaimer here. THere are NO cockroach families taking up residence here and my kids' diapers get changed. Now, the actual storage of the diapers?
I get some props for the living room, right? Can you ignore the tv wires protruding willy-nilly from the back of the contraption? Please?
My mother and my husband will speak in hushed tones,
"Well, you know, Scott, there were a couple of years there when she was in high school and her room was clean as could be."
Uh, mom? That's pushing 13 years ago.
Ever hopeful, my mother, with faith that the Messie that sprung from her womb could someday, with Scottie's help, be reformed. And every time she comes over I see the glimmer of hope die a little, barely perceptibly. But it's noticeable, the shine from her eyes glassing over. And when I have made somewhat of an effort she will say, "Oh, look! The dishes are not in the sink! And your children are wearing matching clothes, and there is not pizza sauce stuck to the floor! It looks GREAT in here!"
Even though my kitchen table looks like this in its natural state:
and here are the stereo shelves (you never know when you may need a yogurt container or a reverberating microphone, do not mock me):
Friends come over and exclaim at the cleanliness of my house. I laugh to myself, because were they to open the closets their opinions would change. I thought my secret was safe with Lulu, but that has changed as well.
Yesterday I told her: "Honey, we need to clean."
"Oh! Ok! 'cause someone's coming over, right?"
And Lucy's idea of cleaning is throwing things away.
So when your 3 year old recognizes that you only clean for company, and your husband says the bug on his butt in your marriage is that he can never find the nail clippers, or that the colostomy bags are always stuck to each other and are never where they are supposed to be, I suppose it's time to come clean.
I am messy.
My purse is a cess pool of things I MAY some day need. When I get into the car my husband says, "Where will you sit?", calmly gesturing to my camel bag of a purse. However, when he needs nose hair clippers or floss, he knows who to call. Betcha I don't hear him complaining then, do you?
You know, it's funny, I don't actually HAVE that much stuff. It's just that it's not really organized. Like an earthquake hit and the defenseless lotion bottles were not informed by FEMA to take cover in the quadrant of the top two shelves, so they're all interspersed with the washcloths and towels. And they're not having a good time of it.
But do you see where I labeled everything? I did that a month ago and the items are not behaving. The maxi pads somehow slipped into the basket CLEARLY marked "q-tips and cotton balls". They are testing the limits, much like children, wondering where the boundaries lie. And I am too busy to make them mind:
The kitchen counter looks aight, although my kid's hair needs some help:
So there. There you have it. I have come clean. I have a problem. A friend told me once again about flylady. I am going, I'm going.
Give me tips, all you fellow mommy bloggers out there, you with your Cloroxed keyboard and barefeet gliding across vacuumed carpets, you who sit there so smugly, sipping your Crystal Light out of your smudge-free, still-set-of-8 glassware.
Do you know that I hate you?
I am willing to put that aside, because if ever I needed your help, it is now. This very instant.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
me: Shawn Johnson looks like a young gopher - a cute one. Are these terribly creepy, or is it just me?
Krista: YES!! It's a bank robbery waiting to happen.
me: oh, friend! I knew you would see Shawn Johnson and the gopher resemblance.
Krista: She is cute. I hate her.
me: HAHAHA! We were 13 when she was born. where is the gopher hunter when we need him? I have a feeling nastia is a bit of a snob off the mat - she seems like it doesn't she? Wow, look at us little pathetics judging her.
Krista: I know - We're just brilliant
me: scott and i imagine bob costas all hung over with bedhead saying, "Please, PLEASE for the love of God, stop making me broadcast the olympics! CAN'T you find some other unassuming douche bag to do it?" as he wrestles the camera man to the ground
did you see the kite flying segment? with the kite-fighting action? oy, this whole thing just reeks of a saturday night live skit.
the dirty judge is whispering sweet nothings to shawn johnson as he hands her her gold and she is thinking, "get away from me, you dirty scumbag
why don't they bite the gold medals? probably because they are full of chinese toxins
Krista: I'm laughing too hard to type
me: YESSSSS just what i was going for.
"ok, bob, now that we've all seen usama bolt wipe his eyebrows and pretend to shoot them at the camera 4,5767 times, back to you!"
"say, how many times can we slow down the runners jumping over the hurdles MTV editing style, and still have it look cool?"
Here are the sites I shop for, since several of you asked:
I met with SL today and talked about expectations for myself and expectations I feel others have of me. I am SO afraid of saying "No" because I want people to think of me as Santa Claus, giving into their every whim and happiness.
Did you know that today, in CVS, I wondered why no one else talks about their kids throwing tantrums in the aisles, or the mean looks from the cash register attendant? And then I recalled a conversation I had yesterday with a friend about how we are afraid to post thoughts like, "Please, kid, get your own damn drink of water" because then it makes us look like we don't love our kids and we are ungrateful to be parents. And 5 minutes later we are over the frustration of parenting toddlers and preschoolers and thinking, "Gosh, this staying at home and mothering thing is such a joy!"
I was so busy choosing 1/2 off Permanent Markers plus $1 off coupon that I noticed a child was missing. "Lulu! Where are you?" Then I looked down, only to see Lucy directly beneath me, helping me push the cart. Asher was in the next aisle over, perusing the maxi pads. And he had lost a shoe. And I um, really had to go to the bathroom, like FIVE MINUTES AGO, and Lucy insisted on pushing the cart, except she kept running into people and Preparation H displays, and Asher wanted to be in the cart, except then he didn't, and THEN HE DID, and then he was screaming like a stuck pig, and by the time we got to the bathroom I thought I might need to buy some new underwear.
And then Lu took off her shoes IN THE BATHROOM STALL and was crawling around on her hands and knees. And I was trying to go to the bathroom and hold Asher. And he woke up and started screaming in my ear. And I really needed Vodka.
Who allowed my ovaries to function?
Monday, August 18, 2008
So, are you totally on board with this preschool thing? They go in 15 minute increments of math, science, letter recognition, gym time, and art.
So, what do you think?
Well, when you were gone at the chiropractor just now, I sort of wanted to lock her in the closet, so I understand that you would like 5 hours a week of just Asher time.
Isn't this the reason I cut coupons and that we save alot? So we can do stuff like this when we want to?
It will be SO nice just having some chill time with Asher while I know she's having a great time herself. What's the point of having money if you never spend it? Thank you for being so supportive. (nothing like a little pre-emptive positive reinforcement.)**pauses**
Well, I was hoping to just hoard all of our money. You know, the sort of thing where you have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands before they lower me into the ground.
1. I have no idea who is reading this. I talk about all sorts of things. You see my children's pictures, know their names. You could figure out where I live, if you really wanted to. Is that safe?
2. My husband is only marginally comfortable (if that) with my blogging. We met up with an old high school friend, Tommy E., on Saturday night, and I realized that Scott likes my blogging alot less than I realized. And, he doesn't think reading as many blogs as I do is good for me. Sometimes I think my feelings of inadequacy come from comparing myself to other moms whose blogs I read, and feeling like I don't measure up. For example, Scott has NEVER NOT ONCE implied or otherwise stated to me that I need to "earn my keep". He knows I do, and he always tells me I am doing a great job mothering our kids. But when I read about Bonnie who has 4 kids and home schools them all, while pregnant with another and working part time, well, I get started feeling a little down. And, after all, why am I reading about Bonnie's life when I should be busy living mine?
Anyway, you know on Army Wives, episode 11, where Pamela is talking on the radio and she talks about how Chase gives her a 21 gun salute when he comes home from doing his military things, and he gets all embarassed about her sharing about their se*x life on the radio? Yeah, that was a little convicting. I know, I don't share those things on here. But still. I identify the most with Pamela. Except I don't have knockers that big.
3. I can't read a sad story on someone else's blog, feel sad, and then turn my emotions off and be happy with my kids for the rest of the day. That, my friends, is not fair to them. Or me.
4. I'm not sure I have a #4.
5. Blogging is validating, in that I can write something and I can hear validation for what I write. You don't get a WHOLE lot of that when you are parenting. This can be good, but it's also bad. Why do I look to men for my validation? (Men there is used in the human sense, not in the male gender sense.)
6. I have friends who read my blog who know all about my life, but I hardly know anything about theirs! I hate that!
7. I sometimes expend more energy checking my email from my blackberry to see if I've gotten new comments, or taking pictures for the specific purpose of posting them on the blog, instead of giving ALL my attention to S, L and A. Speaking of, do you know if we had another baby and it was a boy and he was named Lars, that would be all of our initials in one name? Hello, random.
Pros to blogging:
1. Blogging is validating.
2. I can share my fabulous coupon finds with you.
3. I have a place to post pictures.
4. I love to write, and here is a place where you can read it.
Why do you blog? Have you ever considered stopping?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Do I look like a really bad muscle builder in that first shot or what? Asher was asleep. I know, he always gets the shaft. No wonder he has taken to wearing Princess shoes and carrying purses on his arm for attention.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Well, which kid is more likely to bring riff-raff down into that room for makeout sessions?
Personally, I've got plans to get my son a basement bedroom that is totally pimped out...yanno with a waterbed, stereo, separate entrance, and heck maybe we'll even store some old bottles of champagne-for-a-rainy-day down there, too. I figure with the whole no-butt thing (and possibly peeing through his belly button) the least I can do is give him a fighting chance at being the school playboy.
Becca, you ROCK!
Monday, August 11, 2008
So. We have an extra bedroom downstairs, but I'm paranoid about putting Asher in there because:
A. In case of a fire, how will he get out? (There are big enough windows to get him out.)
B. CO2. My mom pointed out that we have a monitor downstairs and our furnace isn't even on, so that's a moot point.
C. I am an OCD psychopath, and the OCD is manifesting itself in my obsessions about my son sleeping downstairs.
D. Just do it.
E. Leave them together in the upstairs room.
Those are your choices, dear internets. Choose wisely, or not at all.
So, son of a millworker, AKA John Edwards has been playing hide the tubesteak with someone other than his CANCER-RIDDEN WIFE. OK, people have been cheating on their spouses since the dawn of time. Fine. But in this case, we're still supposed to believe he's a supportive husband; a real stand-up guy. Sorry, I'm not biting.
And has ANYONE but me noticed how glowing the reports are from the reporters in China? "Oh, Beijing has really come a long way economically and industrially in the last 10 years. Sure, they have some other problems they need to iron out, but what a counry!"
Hmmmm...what problems, Bob Costas? You mean no free speech, forced abortions, re-education camps if you don't agree with the government and thousands of innocent people in prison? right.
Lucy is attempting to watch Starship Troopers (idle 3 year olds make bad tv-viewing choices) and a Costco trip is in order.
A story about our virgin secret shopping trip is soon coming to a blog near you.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The last 4 years have been anything BUT normal. Terrible ultrasounds, a dead baby, birth defects, funky pregnancy hormones, nursing, pediatric surgeries.
I went to see Shrink Lady the other day and she posed to me that my recent anxiety has to do with the fact that there is nothing IMMEDIATELY on my horizon for which I have to prepare. Every day of the last 4 years there has been something, whether it be the birth of a baby with special needs, the birth of a normal baby, trying to decide whether or not we are going to try for another baby, Lucy's surgeries. Now, now that my cycle is back and we have decided we AREN'T trying for another child right now, there is no drama.
I am a self-professed drama queen. I do well when there is drama, because I know exactly where to focus my energies. These days? No drama. It is taking some getting used to. Lucy has a 15 hour surgery in May, but that is May. This is August. Little Orphan Annie can bet her bottom dollar that I will be hyperventilating in, oh... say, March. But this is August, and there is nothing on the horizon.
I've painted the front of my house so far, re-organized every room in my house, just finished the last swipes of shampooing all of the carpet downstairs and every rug. I've created a little room downstairs for Scott to enjoy (I must take pictures of this.) I have made mix cds for my friends and organized and re-organized the bathroom closet. I am restless.
I go for a walk every morning (most mornings, at least), prompted mostly by the fact that Scott is starting to notice my - ahem - posterior looking more muscular and toned. I have NEVER have a toned boot*ie. NEVER. So it is quite exciting. Now, I still look white and jiggly in a bathing suit, but this is an improvement. That was an aside. So today I was thinking how much I HATE the hills, and how I just want to be going DOWN the hill instead of up it. Then, I started comparing the hill to my life. Two things came to mind: When I am going up the hill, I get so frustrated and de-energized when I look at how far I have to go. These MF'ers are STEEP. I hate the hills. It's only when I look at the ground and tell myself, "You can do it! You can do it!" do I make it to the top at a remarkable pace. And I found that when I am going DOWN the hills, I am thinking of the next UP hill and how hard it might be. But I forget to enjoy the beauty of the down hill.
Do you see the parallel?
The other day Lucy came up to me and asked me to watch her color. I sat and watched her, but pulled out my Blackberry and started looking at blogs. She put that grimy little hand on my face and said, "NO, Mama. Put your phone away please. I WANT YOU."
It was in that moment that I realized something:
This new place is so odd for me, and strange. I am in a land of waiting, of just enjoying, of living. And I'm learning how to do it. It is hard!
I've got two restless little ones literally sitting and waiting for me on the stairs, and a stash of coupons just begging to be used. The word 'CVS' brings huge grins to the faces of little ones in this house. We roam the aisles and they usually end up sneaking something in the cart that erases my savings. I will tell one of them, "I can't afford that." But they know better and the cashier rings it up.
I get so caught up in bills to be paid and chores to be done and I tell the kids, "Just a minute, I will get you a drink of milk or your stuffed pig in one minute." And the minutes calculate to hours and the hours turn to days and the days to years.
Help me know to rest, Lord. Help me to quit looking toward tomorrow because I just don't want to miss today.
I can't afford it.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I got a call to try out a restaurant in a certain zip code in my city. Now, this zip code contains nice houses, and it also contains a certain strip of highway known as the "corridor of death". I am not even making this up. If you talk to cops around these parts, that is what they call it. It's where all of the gang activity happens and if you are murdered, there's about a 90% chance your body will be found in the COD.
Anyway, the secret shopper guy had me all set up in this particular zip code. I was so excited. Go to Kentucky Fried Chicken? Get a free meal, AND $10? I mean, come on! Is this heaven, or is this free meals and getting paid to eat?
I google the address the guy gave me, and guess where it is? THE CORRIDOR OF DEATH. I email Scott and ask him, "A penny for your thoughts. There's a 'shop' at 815 Random street, and I"m supposed to do x,y, and z at the drivethrough with the kids in the car."
"Um, you are really going to gang central for a free meal and $10, with our kids in the back seat? Are you really that desperate?"
I called the guy back and told him it was a no go.
I told you I was frugal and thrifty, but not if it gets me shot in the head.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Someone very close to me found out that she was carrying twins and one of them died. She found it all today, at the same visit. I'm not going to get into how crazy that must feel. I'm thinking about you and that sweet little baby I can't wait to cuddle and hug!
Scott's birthday present is a little "den" down in the basement. I got a chair and a super cute rug and the tv is all there for him to snuggle into when he gets home. Happy Birthday Scotland! Now you can never again say "there is nowhere to go to get away from the noise!" again!
I must take a picture, and also tell you about my mystery shopping snaffoo. Later.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
We had just learned the extent of her defects. I was desperate to give her a name. The doctor told us they had no idea if she would even survive to birth, and knowing this, I needed a name for her. She deserved a name.
It's funny, but after I threw out "Lucy" after brave, sweet, precocious Lucy in Chronicles of Narnia, we knew that was her name. We knew it. And the first person I told who DIDN'T recommend an abortion after we found out was my sister in law, Allison. Allison is amazing. Lucy was baby A of the twins, so an "A" name was good.
Lucy Allison it was.
I have been reading the blog of a woman who doesn't know her child's future. (Well no one does, really, but you know what I mean.) He has a heart defect and she is 25 weeks along. They are taking it one day at a time. I so remember those days, not wanting to remember the ultrasound where it all went wrong. I remember feeling her kick and wondering if it would be the last time she would do so.
I remember whispering her name through my tears, that night I sat outside on the steps that January and stared at the stars. I wrestled with God. I did, I wrestled with Him - both of us fully engaged, He giving me an answer I did not like - WAIT.
I so relate to this fellow mama, stuck in this day of desire and fear, anxiety and hope. There aren't really words to describe what that place feels like, a place where nothing you do will change the outcome, where for all of your striving you are rewarded with a wall.
The only thing you can really do for your baby is to give him a name and shout it from the rooftops up to the heavens, hoping the word will land in God's ears and cause Him to move the heavens on your child's behalf.
You get tired of waking up each day, wondering what news the day will bring, if you even WANT to know what the prognosis will be come evening.
And the only thing you know to do is pray, and say that sweet child's name again and again and again, until the sound of it lulls you into a peaceful kind of sleep.