Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gallows Humor

(I'm writing this in response to a minor windstorm over at Navigating the Maze. Partially in defense of Abba, and partially in my own defense because I know I have thought and uttered many of the same things.)

As a parent, I find that I laugh at strange things. As an adoptive parent, I laugh at even stranger things. As an adoptive parent with special needs kids, I laugh at some seriously weird shit.

As the kind of parent that I am, I find that my coping mechanisms may not always be socially acceptable. In fact, some of my coping mechanisms would completely horrify people who have not had the day-to-day stress and frustration of dealing with my family.

Don't get me wrong: I chose this path. I chose my children. Granted, I was lied to A LOT about my kids before they were mine, but even after the lies were uncovered, we kept them.

Our choice. Since starting to blog, I have found some other bloggers out there who have similar lives, with similar kids, and similar coping styles. I found other bloggers who have similar lives and kids, but very different ways of coping.

We are all humans. We are going to face out situations with the sum total of our past experiences. And the sum total of who we are and how we think is often on opposite ends of the spectrum from those around us.

But does that make us wrong? I read somewhere today that there are a million ways to raise kids correctly, and a few tried and true ways to royally screw them up.

That being said, how I do and don't cope is all about me. I don't expect everyone to get the fact that when my teenage daughter starts to be completely obnoxious in the Great Big Store That Sells Everything at All Hours that I burst into a loud, purposely horrifically off-key rendition of the Oscar Meyer Weiner song. Complete with dance moves. I'm a size 22, so me dancing and singing like I'm on Broadway gets attention. And it's not usually applause.

We joke about bodily functions way more than most people think is normal. We tease our children about things that other people may see as completely inappropriate-- Leigh's ridiculously smelly feet and bedroom. Danae's naive nature and newly announced taste in women. Dawn's ditziness and promiscuity. Other people wouldn't even discuss such things, let alone be okay with all of it. The fact that our babies clearly did not come from our loins is a constant source of entertainment and probably inappropriate jokes.

And I don't often talk about the crazy things I do in my head. But I will say this... the difference between people who abuse their kids and people who don't is CHOICE. I might choose to imagine punching my daughter's teeth down her throat, and yes, I have. But I don't. And honestly, it doesn't mean that I love her any less. I love her enough to NOT punch her.

I might choose to imagine driving to Social Services and dropping her off on the curb and driving away with the windows down drinking (read that as power-chugging) a margarita. But I don't.

I imagine testifying against her in court. I imagine her going completely boxcutter crazy and having to physically defend myself against her, but this time I turn the tables and beat her into a bloody pulp. (Notice that I said "this time." It's happened before.)

There are moments when I fantasize about packing a few changes of clothes and just driving away. There are moments when I wonder what would happen if I approached some of the kids I teach who I KNOW get baked during lunch and ask if I could join them to see what feels like. I have even had completely inappropriate thoughts about the young actor who plays Jacob in the Twilght series.

Fantasy, yes. Action, no. Everything is choice. I don't choose these paths for a variety of reasons. Mostly, I think they remain fantasy because I believe them to be fundamentally wrong, or I don't like some of the possible consequences.

Now, having brought this up, I guess it would be appropriate to look at the motivations behind blogging. Why do so many of us get on here anonymously and vent and spill our guts, but not use our real names and addresses?

We blog because there is something in us that compells us to write, that moves us to share. And the cool thing about this is that anyone who doesn't want to be apart of my little corner of the world doesn't have to stick around.

I hope you'll stay. I really do. I like thinking that what I say and think matters to someone, even if you don't know my real name. But if what I say and believe and the parenting path I'm hiking doesn't suit your tasts, there are plenty of bloggers on the menu.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Shows

So at about 4:15 this afternoon, as I'm getting ready to have the hair color rinsed from my head, the day care calls to tell me that the caseworker never showed up to pick up the babies for BioMaMa visit today. I am upset by this. First, why is it that no one bothered to tell me until NOW that the babies--who were supposed to be picked up at 2 PM--were still there.

Second, what the heck is happening?

I never delete a phone number from my phone. If you call or text me, consider it saved. Forever.

That being said, I have saved several numbers of random caseworkers over the years. There are a very few caseworkers who answer their phones. Knowing who they are is helpful, especially because social services didn't spring for caller ID.

I called the first such one to find out who our caseworker du jour is. (The babies have had NINE since January. And her last day is next Friday.)

All foster homes are supposed to be assigned to a caseworker to monitor their "home." "Home" meaning certifications, placements, stipends, etc. I don't know the last time we had one of those.

Anyway, I called my go-to phone-answerer to find out who to talk to about the complete lack of communication today.

Her very honest answer is, "I don't know. We have so few people working here right now that no one really knows who's doing what." (Thanks to furlough days, crazy caseloads, low pay and a hiring freeze.)

So I called the assistant director.

She actually knew what was going on. BioMaMa has not checked in and no one could confirm that she'd be there, so they didn't pick up the babies. And then she didn't show up for the visit, so it was just as well. For them.

I had my wonderful former student/professional hair stylist, rinse me off and send me out the door with wet hair, so I could go get the babies, and still make the rest of the day. Hair Stylist was horrified that I had to leave unstyled, which is proof that teenagers do grow up, because I can't remember her ever finishing an assignment when she was my student. Everything takes longer with babies, so the rest of my day has bitten something smelly, and left me wondering.

I wonder what would have happened had I been across town at 6 PM as planned, when the day care called to find out why I hadn't picked them up?

Luckily, I was running late, and was still nearby. Since social services decided that we shouldn't drive them to and from visitation, I try to cram as much into that three hour block as possible.

Luckily, the day care director realized that the girls were still there and called me.

Luckily for all of them I was too tired to really get my grouch on.

(Side note--we offered to drive the babies to and from visits, but this didn't help justify someone's job so they told us they'd handle it. I know. I *know.* Don't get me started on another sidebar.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scintillating Conversation

Dinner conversation with me and the toddler MoMo.

Whiny MoMo: Unnnnnnnh!

Me: What's wrong, MoMo? Do you want down?

Whiny MoMo: Es.

Me: Are you done eating?

Whiny MoMo: No.

Me: Then why are you whining?

Whiny MoMo: Unnnnnnnnh!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ten Seconds of Peace

With grateful thanks to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and my new technogadget Flip Camera, I bring you the first installment of Ten Seconds of Peace. video Now, take a deep breath and get on with your day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up, May 23

It's a dark and stormy night, yours truly's favorite kind.  I'm listening to thunder rumbling in the distance, and watching the dancing of the lightening through the trees.  It's lovely, lovely, lovely. 

So here it is... my week, summed up. 

Best Waste of Time: Next time you’re stressed out, go take a drive. I spent an hour driving through our area’s four mile nature preserve, and it was lovely. I’ll be posting some short videos over the next week or so in a series I’m calling “Ten Seconds of Peace.” I introduced MoMo to turtles and alligators, and had fun driving two miles an hour with her on my lap through the last mile of the park.

Worst Decision of the Year: See car auction post. The Voyager is a money pit—everything that could go wrong in an engine is wrong, and we found out that the Nissan has a rod loose. Yay.

Silliest Mom Moment: I painted MoMo’s finger and toe nails hot pink. They are so cute. But she's so cute it's ridiculous, with or without hot pink fingers and toes. 

You know you’re in the same boat as your students when… you start canceling assignments because A. you don’t want to grade them, and B. they were busy work anyway to fill the three weeks after the end of course tests until the end of the school year.

Anticlimactic finale of the week: Leigh finally cleaned her room. And did her laundry. And took a shower every day this weekend. And washed her shoes. I guess the threat of spending Memorial Day Weekend in juvie motivated her grumpy self.

Not much to say about her because… Dawn has been ignoring me all week because I wouldn’t drop everything last Sunday to help her and Dumbass find a fishing pole in my shed. Maybe that’s why it’s been a relatively calm week.

Wait, I *AM* Married . . .  Hubby and I actually got to spend some quiet, alone time together.  I really do love that man of mine. 

Bad Mommy Moment: Is it bad that I want to buy little Rebel Flag t-shirts for my babies to wear? We went to the flea market today (six pairs of knock-off designer sunglasses, a yellow orchid, three belts and some killer lemonade), and we passed a booth that sold made-to-order iron-on tshirts.  I almost bought two miniature rebel flag tshirts for my much-darker-than-me babies.  I love irony.

Happiest Moment of the Week: The realization that my mini-vacation this upcoming weekend is completely paid for. Up front and in cash...  baseball game, aquarium, museum exhibit, and money saved for food.  ROCKIN!!!!!

Biggest Worry About the Future: It's a short term one.  We are going to see Selena graduate over Memorial Day Weekend. GGA is threatening not to go if we do. Good grief. We’re not there to see her. We’re there to see Selena graduate. It’s awkward for everyone, but look up the phrase “personal responsibility” and apply it to your life already!

It’s Clear I’m Very White: MoMo has what the black community calls “bad hair.” Every time we try to do her hair, in little ponytails or braids, she cries, pulls at it and picks it out. So we’ve decided that she’s going to go natural. My husband’s mostly-much-tanner-than-us coworkers at the Big Store Where You Can Buy Anything No Matter What Time It Is have been very supportive of the babies and our efforts with them… to the point that one of them pulled me aside tonight and said, “That baby looks like a natural African princess. You keep it up. No need for all that fancy crap.” Yay us!

Most Frustrating Moment of the Week: We still might have to rent a van to make the trip because the two we bought are still at the shop.

Conundrum: Let’s pretend that you have a 17 year old daughter who has just graduated from HS who wants to spend time with her biosisters. You don’t like the biosisters’ family. Actually, you hate them and blame them for everything wrong in your life. How are you going to feel if the biosisters’ family invites your daughter to spend some time with them this summer?

Upcoming this Week… Danae is trying out for cheerleading. We’re wondering if Leigh will continue her non-stinky ways. I am following some advice I got from Business to Blogger and will be working on scheduling more time to write, and actually sticking to the schedule.  How and where in my life that will happen will be worked out over the next few days.

There you have it.  Us all boiled down, redacted, edited, revised and expedited. 

Good Night!

Sunday Confessional, May 23

I'm not a Catholic, nor do I intend to become one.  However, I do think confession is good for the soul, or a least a chuckle. Or the thought that I'm not the only crazy person out there.  So here is my new weekly feature:  Sunday Confessional.

Bless me GodAllahBuddha for I have had weird, weird thoughts. 

Today at the doctor's office I was crammed into a corner while Danae got her sports physical. And when the doctor leaned over to check her ears, I was overcome with the outrageous desire to pinch his butt. 

It wasn't even a cute one.  But I wanted to pinch it just the same. Just to see what would happen.

There. I feel better. 

What do you have to confess?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Good Deal, Bad Deal

So, last night Hubby and I tired of Craigslisting for a mini-van and went to the auto auction to take care of our transportation problem.

We had a $4000 budget, and were looking for a car to seat all six of us comfortably, and amongst the vehicles being sold, we found several we were interested in.  The first one we bought was a 2000 Plymouth Voyager.  Yes, I said first one.  We paid $1200 for it.

Then we decided to stick around to see how much other cars went for.  Then one of the vans we REALLY wanted came up.  Yeah, we bought it.  It's a 2000 Nissan Quest. Luggage rack. Sun roof. Captains chairs. Not a bad deal.  We paid $2300. 

After the auction we took both vans to our mechanic to see what all they needed to make them road worthy.  After driving them to the shop, we figured we'd enjoy a great big lemonaid from the Voyager. I'm a car 'tard, and I could tell the engine was on its last leg. 

However, the mechanic tells me today, that some belt in a compressor somewhere had been removed so that the engine wouldn't lock up, so it could be sold.  Now, I'm pissed.  I could handle getting screwed because I didn't know enough about cars to know I was buying a POS, but to have been purposely duped pisses me off.

Lucky for us, the Nissan's engine is in great shape--  just needs some fluids and a battery. 

So, on Monday, I am doing battle with an auction company.  While driving the other van, which, while needing work, wasn't fiddled around with to hide the problems. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birth Family Drama

Once upon a time, there was an exuberant young couple who were in the throes of their very first adoption, when they heard their soon-to-be-daughter had three sisters who were also somewhere in the foster care system.

At that knowledge, they set off on a quest to find them, and if at all possible, add them to their family.

It was not to be, at least not then.

The youngest, Bethany, had already been adopted.  This is confusing, but bear with me.  Bethany was adopted by her biological father's grandparents.  Her biological father, and his teenage son by another woman, were two of the men who molested and abused the other three girls. Awkward? 

The two oldest, Selena and Danae, were living with a biological great, great-aunt (hereafter referred to as GGA).  We were able to make contact with both families, but not until after we'd written impassioned letters asking a variety of social service agencies to help us bring the sisters back together. 

We were told by one of the caseworkers, prior to meeting GGA, that GGA only wanted to adopt Danae, that she didn't think she could handle Selena.  Then we met GGA, and she told us she was waffling back and forth about the situation.  She didn't want their bio mom to know she had them, and didn't want to hurt them any more than they already had been, but at her age, then 55, she didn't know if she could parent a set of 8 and 9 year-old sisters.

We told GGA that we'd asked Social Services if we could adopt all of them before we'd met her, but that we'd stopped asking when we found out that they'd all been placed for adoption.  Which was true.  At that point, we wanted the girls to be able to stay in touch--letters, phone calls, and "meet us halfway" trips across the state every month or so. 

I should have heard the warning bells go off when she said, "I don't even see my own children that often."

But I didn't.  Then they had a court appearance, at which time GGA had to sign paperwork declaring her intent to adopt both girls.  She said she wanted Danae, but couldn't keep Selena. 

Social worker and judge said, "Adopt them both, or they both go to Cappuccino's family."

That would be reason number 1 that she hates us. 

The second reason came about four years later, when she called out of the blue and wanted to come visit.  She stayed in a hotel, and let the girls stay with us. 

The girls told us about their new caseworkers...  New abuse issues: physical and sexual.  GGA had been crazy beating the girls, while GGU, her hubby, apparantly really liked the fact that they were sprouting girl parts.  They shared some details with us.

I was horrified.  And backed into my own little corner. 

As a teacher, I have no choice. I am a mandated reporter.  So I called Social Services in their county and asked to speak to their caseworker.  And guess what, they'd told me way more than they'd told the caseworker. 

And when they pulled into their driveway after they left their visit with us, a deputy sheriff, case worker and custody order was waiting for them.

And back into foster care they went. GGA called me and proceeded to call me everything but a white girl.

Reason number 2 she hates us.

After monthly calls to social services to try to get sister visitation for Leigh over the next six months, social services threatened us with a restraining order (I still don't see how a once per month phone call to request visitation, or at least a return call from a caseworker, constitutes stalking, but they have the courts and guys with guns on their side.  So I stopped calling.

Three years later, Danae found me on MySpace.  I found out that Selena had gone back to GGA, but that she had refused and was in a group home because there were no foster homes available where she was that would take teens. 

So I called Social Services again to see about visitation. They asked if we wanted her.  This was July of 2008.  Danae moved in with us in January of 2009, and we finalized her adoption in November of 2009. 

Reason number 3.

Now, all that to get to the point at hand:  Selena graduates from high school Memorial Day weekend, in a small town outside of Atlanta.  And (please, please, please GodAllahBuddha, don't let it rain on Saturday!) we'll all be there, because it is an open ceremony. If it rains, we'll have to have tickets, which is a whole other mess, but I have to believe that the Powers That Be would not do that to Danae and Selena, who have only had sporadic contact since their separation in 2008.

(We made plans for them to see each other over Christmas of 2009, we drove the four hours, and GGA canceled.  She was tired and didn't want to leave the house for the ten minute drive to the public venue we'd negotiated.  So we showed up at her house so Danae could give Selena her gifts and at least hug her. GGA was not pleased.)

Needless to say, GGA is VERY not pleased that we'll be at graduation.  I've thought about calling her, but I know it would do no good. 

My heart is hurting in advance, because Danae and Leigh want Selena to hang out with us all weekend, and I know damn good and well that GGA will not let that happen, not even a little bit.

Selena is 17, and does not turn 18 until August 1.  She has not been allowed to get a driver's license or learner's permit.  She has a cell phone that GGA occasionally lets her use, but freaks out if she sees that she's talked to Danae.  Selena has been told that she will only get to go to college if GGA drives her there every day. (Granted, all that is filtered through Danae, but I suspect that there is more truth than fiction there.)

At any rate, Memorial Day Weekend will be VERY memorable...  the question is, for what?

And it's all paid for!

Heck yeah!

I'm bragging tonight.

Memorial Day weekend, the hubby and I are taking our first official family vacation that does not involve visiting distant family.  (Well, there's a tad bit of that, but that's the next post I'll do tonight.)

We're going to Atlanta--  we are going to visit the Aquarium, a Braves Game and the Bodies exhibit.  We're staying in a hotel, with two rooms--one for the teens, and one for us and the babies. 

And, drum roll please, I have paid cash IN ADVANCE for AALLLL of it!!!  And I have money set aside for food and gas for the trip, and all the bills are paid this month. AND I'm going to be paying off some bills. 

This from the people who, four years ago, had to make up some serious whoppers of lies to our children for why our car disappeared overnight.  And all those pesky 800 numbers trying to sell us stuff.  (For those of you fortunate not to have been born and raised money stupid, those would be bill collectors.)

Now, we have a written budget, where we plan out every dollar we have coming in each month.  We take cash with us to the store, to force us not to overspend, and everyone is on an allowance. 

To what do we owe this beautiful budgetary situation?  Dave Ramsey.  If you aren't religious, ignore that part of his message, but his basic message is common sense, straightforward and easy--even for a math retard like me!

I am so proud of us...  and given how lovely some of our children are turning out, it's nice to have something positive to be proud of!!

--stands with shoulder slightly popped up, awaiting all the congratulatory pats--

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up, May 16

Not as much story telling tonight, folks, as I'm very tired after an emotionally exhausting week. I'm also facing teenager and baby duty by myself for two days this week, as I have sent hubby to hang with his family on his two days off. 

So here you have it, in all it's abbreviated glory:  My life.

Silly Goal of the Week:  Get sunburned by the end of the weekend.  I succeeded.  I even have a weird video of my neck, but that was too personal.  Suffice it to say that where the sun hit, I am the color of a lovely red thing.  And on the pale side, it's just pale ol' me.

Best day:  Today.  Spent the wee hours with the wee babe, NaNa, whilst she slurped away on the formula.  (FYI:  That crap STINKS!!) Then went to the beach, to work on my only goal of the weekend, which was to get a sunburn.  (Yes, I know it will make me look like someone's old SUV seat, complete with cancer and chemo, but dammit, fat looks better tan!!)

Today at the beach, I convinced MoMo (thats her cuteness in the pic), who HATES the water, to get wet...  if we redefine "convinced" as "picked her sandy body up, toted her out into the water told her to take a deep breath, pinched her nose closed and dunked her."  She put up a little fight, but after that, she became Barnacle MoMo, and was pretty quiet.  Terror, maybe?  But my friend LC says it's the only way she'll get over her fear of the water.


We watched an entertaining show of Danae and Annette trying to put up a sun tent.  That's Danae wrapped in the tent, as she tries to figure out how it hooks to the ground while the wind was blowing, and the rest of us were laughing. 

Then we snarked under our breath as a school of dolphins scared the crap out of a bunch of tourists who were certain that there were sharks getting ready to attack. 

On a positive note, the jelly fish that scared the crap outta me was dead.  Positive for me.  I'm guessing not so much for him.

Worst Day:  Any day, Monday through Friday, last week. I teach a lot of seniors, and this is the time of year when their heads fell off. And me being the softy that I am, cried with at least one student per day last week. 

Some of it is "OMGWhatAmIGoingToDoWithMyLife?!" terror, some of it is family drama (one girl found her bio-dad; another, at the tender age of 18, just had hers sent to a nursing home because she couldn't care for him any more.) 

Some of it is gang-related (two groups of boys ready to fight and go nutso because "someone said he heard that this other dude had saw Tookie talk trash about Lil Mike.) 

Some of it is just nerves. Some is poor planning (Why haven't I heard from XYZ College yet? I sent them my application a week ago!)  Some of it is a complete lack of a plan, so they start to tank graduation, in order to have more time to think about it and not have to leave the relative comfort of high school.  I had a NICE "Come to Jesus" meeting with that boy on Friday. 

"Can't Wait til All the Kids Are Gone" Moment: When we threw away all the mismatched plates and glasses and bought styrofoam and plastic.  What's the point of having nice dishes when the kids break them, and the adults have to wash them.  So buh-bye glass!  Hello environmental degradation! Plus we're hoping it will create a little more time for Mom and Dad.

Proof that Gorillas do Indeed Still Eat Bananas:  When one of  our kids acts like themselves, and we get irritated, we go back to a phrase I heard somewhere.  Don't buy a gorilla and expect it not to eat bananas.  So my pet goril.. I mean daughter Dawn, showed up today wanting to borrow fishing poles. This as I was hopping out of the shower and into clothes at 3:35 for a tutoring session at 4:00 with some of my kids who are taking End of Course Tests tomorrow.  I told her that I was running, late, didn't have time to look, and that she and DA couldn't because Hubby had started his project already. 

She took this as "Mom hates me, doesn't want me around, so she's being mean." And she and DA left.  then she told Danae that she didn't understand why I was "trippin." I asked Dawn what that meant. She said I was acting funny and was rude to her.  I told her that she showed up unannounced when I was running an hour late-- I wasn't rude, I was trying to get un-sandy and semi-clean to go to a meeting.

I got a "whatever mom" message back. And so, all is right in the primate world.  When it doesn't center around my little gorilla, she gets grumpy. 

Can't Find the Words Moment:  Tonight, as I was burping NaNa, I realized that she is the perfect fragrance.  The top of her head tonight smells happiness.  It is a combination of so many things-- kid playing outside, sunshine, sand, baby wash, a hint of sweat, some powder.   I wish I could do it justice, find a way to make it come alive for you, but I am not talented enough for the task. Or maybe it's not talent; maybe its one of those things you have to experience a few times so that later in life you can overcome the urge to kill them.  But it is amazing. I just want to hold her against me, and breathe through her hair. Not creepy at all, right?

Question for my readers: Do you tweet? Would you read tweets if I became a twit? And why is facebook such a pain??

This is weird:  Is it possible to become "addicted" to the drama and arguing of your children?  This weekend, Leigh was exiled to her room until it, and she,  magically becomes clean.  And as a result, there was so little arguing around the house that one could almost say there was none.  And I missed it.  Or maybe I missed her. Or the idea of her. Or the daily hope that THIS on will be different. 

Guilty Moment: I got another pedicure.  But I didn't have my Adult Refreshing Beverage, so maybe that balances out somehow.

Navigating Teen Sexuality:  Shopping tonight. Picking up a few things I couldn't live without this week (mascara, sippy cups and panty-liners)

Danae:  Mom, what is dow-shay? (Rhymes with Ow! As in, that hurt.  And hay.)
Me:  Huh?
Danae: That stuff, the dow-shay. 
Me:  Oh, that's douche. 
Danae: No it's not. That's not how you spell it!
Me: I'm pretty sure that's what it is. 
D.: So it's French then?  (Points for public schools!) What's it do anyway?
Me: You shoot it up into your hoo-ha and it's supposed to clean you out, make you feel fresher.
Danae:  I thought you told me they didn't sell sex toys at The Big Store That Sells Everything!

And on that giggly moment, I'll to bed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bitch Mom, Update 1

Leigh called me today while I was at the mall with the babies and Danae, her girlfriend, and a bunch of their friends.  She was very upset to wake up and find that my hubby had gone to work, all of us were gone, and she wanted to know why I didn't wake her up to bring her along. 

I asked her if she had read the paper her dad had given her earlier.

She said yes. 

I said, "There you have it."

She hung up.

I brought home dinner, we all ate, and while I sat down to type, Danae was cackling to Jeff Dunham.  Leigh started to lie back on the sofa, and I asked her what she was doing. "I'm watching TV with ya'll."

I asked her if she remembered reading the paper Dad gave her. " Man, what is with you?"

"Leigh, your room is still a mess, and you're wearing the clothing you wore Wednesday to mow the grass, and have been wearing everyday since then."

"Whatever Mom." Stomping off to her room. 

Here's the notice she got from us this morning:


Boot Camp GSC Style
Basic rules:
1. You live in the house we pay for, eat our food, use our electric, water and trash pick-up, and wear the clothes we buy. Therefore, you will follow our rules until you no longer reside with us.
2. You will strive to be responsible, respectful and fun to be around.
3. You will put forth effort.

Boot Camp Goal 1: CLEANLINESS
1. You will clean your room Grandma Style.** You must have it inspected AFTER everything has been piled on your bed.
2. You will wash and dry all your clothes. Anything that is pajamas or undergarments will go in your dresser. Everything else will be hung in your closet.
3. Your shoes will not smell.
4. Your room will not smell.
5. Your body will not smell.

REWARD:
1. A job well-done.
2. Your phone and MP3 player.
3. Possible out of the house privileges based on attitude.
    ***Pile everything from your floor and the surfaces of your furniture onto your bed. Sweep/mop/dust/wipe down. Begin putting everything away. 



Hubby said that when he gave it to her, she tried to slam her door. Which she can't do because she has slammed it so often and so hard that the board where the doorknob latches into the wall is long gone.  Teehee. I refuse to pay to fix it.  If she makes it through this boot camp of ours, she'll eventually have to earn some money to pay for the repairs.

So we have finished day one of Boot Camp GSC. Nothing has been done in her room.  But she's slept a lot.

And when she wakes up tomorrow and realizes we've left her at home while the rest of us go to the beach, she will be beyond irate. I'm not even sure there's a word to describe what she'll be when this happens.

But I'll be at the beach, and therefore will not hear her. (And my bedroom will be locked.)

Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did I Lie?

So when Danae told me she was gay, I told her I didn't care and that I would be just fine walking through the mall with her and her girlfriend hold hands. 

That happened today.  And if I am honest with myself, I was uncomfortable. And I don't know why.

I really don't care if she's gay. And I really don't care if the whole world knows.  But when I saw that they were holding hands, I did a double take. Now why did I do that?

And when we ran into one of my coworkers, I turned to introduce Danae and Annette, and they had disappeared. I asked her about it later, and she said she didn't want it to be an issue for me at work.  I told her that I didn't care. No one I work with is perfect or has perfect lives.  If they think less of me or my family because one (or more) of my kids are gay, they can get right the hell over it and kiss my large pale butt in the process. 

But why was I uncomfortable?  I am really bothered by this. 

Guh.  What the heck?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bitch Mom

Tonight, I unveiled the new Mommy Me... Bitch Mom. At least in Leigh’s eyes. She didn’t want to play nicely with others (i.e. make her room stop smelling badly and looking like a homeless man’s dumpster), so I told her to stay in her room while I was gone. And left. With the three other daughters.

She is fifteen, and I am tired of my life—of all our lives—playing second fiddle to her mental illnesses. Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Mutilation, General Pain in the Ass Refuses to Do Anything She’s Asked or Be Nice to Anyone Syndrome.

She is so angry, with every breath it just oozes off of her, and I wonder when she’ll snap. She lies, with every word she speaks. And I'm tired of all of it.

So now, the answer is NO. To everything.

No. No. No.

No.

No, you may not _____, until you have _____. No ifs, no ands, no buts, no negations, NOTHING. Until you can be nice, feel free to stay in your smelly room. Feel free to sleep 24-7. Feel free to wear the same clothes day in and day out, and not bathe. But until you no longer smell like unwashed hooker clothes and look homeless, you will not get in my car to go anywhere with me.

I will not fight you about the cigarettes, alcohol and weed you sneak every chance you get. But if you indulge these on my property, by GodAllahBuddha, your probation officer will be called, as will the local PD and they will haul your ungrateful, ever-expanding ass to juvie.

I don’t care that I can’t have you committed anywhere. I don’t care that you aren’t suicidal or homicidal enough to get the damned insurance company to pay attention—eventually, mental illness or not, you have to make a decision.

YOU have to decide if you want a life, if you want to do more than just live. Or not. And nothing I do or don’t do will fix that. I will continue to lay out your meds in the morning. I will continue to buy food. I will continue to make sure you wake up to get on a bus. I will continue to love you no matter what. But I have learned that I don’t have to like you. And I don’t remember the last time I really liked you.

But from now on, if you want something, the answer is no, unless you meet my terms. I don’t care how crazy you are, it will be my way.

Because I AM the mom, and I’m in charge, damn it, whether you like it or not. And if you don’t?  Oh well. You’ve survived worse.

And I can lock my bedroom door.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hey! 14 Followers of Mine!! I have a question...

Since I'm very new at this, I have lots of questions. But right now, the biggest one is this:

How and when do you find time to write?  I have some great ideas for topics I'd like to broach, but don't have the time.... 

Suggestions?

I'm off to play with the Pervy Penguin!  

How am I supposed to concentrate when...

... I haven't told my mom I'm pregnant?

... my brother's murder trial started today?

... my boyfriend dumped me after I finally told him I'd been raped at a party two weeks ago?

... I found out that my mom was serious about not paying for anything for me after I turned 18?

... my biological father just emailed me pictures of my sister and two brothers. I didn't know I had two brothers?

... my dad kicked me out because I'm gay?

... my ex-boyfriend got into a gang fight today with the guy I'm talking to now?

... I have no idea how I'm going to pay for college?

... I found out this morning that the army is moving my family clear across the country. In two weeks?  And I'm supposed to graduate in three weeks?

... I have to work 3-11 Monday through Friday to help pay rent?

These brief glimpses into modern day, urban school teenage angst brought to you courtesy of my juniors and seniors.

Until we fix all of society's ills, we'll never be able to educate everyone. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up, May 8

First, NaNa is out and home YAY!!!  But, with three days of round-the-clock breathing treatments prescribed. Not so yay, but better than sleeping on hospital chairs.  

Here is is folks, what you all love to end (or start, depending on how you look at it) your week with... a glimpse into the craziness that is us.

WTF Question of the Week: Upon NaNa's admission to the hospital, we received an ugly yellow tub filled with goodies… pre-mixed formula bottles, disposable nipples, toothbrushes and toothpaste, free bath stuff for NaNa, and baby socks. Baby socks with non-slip rubber tread on them.

Why does a newborn need non-slip tread?

Biggest Liberal-Conservative Moment of Angst: At my core, I am a fiscal conservative, with a very liberal heart. It was the liberal (or maybe just cheap) heart that was rejoicing all the free stuff we left the hospital with today, when I realized that we actually had paid for all that crap out of the exorbitant taxes we pay. Here’s the loot we left with: 40 diapers, three packs of wipes, full-sized baby wash, two days worth of premixed formula, with disposable nipples for each 2 oz bottle, a humidifier, a pervy penguin nebulizer (see below), four baby shirts, three blankets, a pillow, two thermos mugs and a towel. And another blue bulb-booger-sucker-outer thingy. I wonder how much Medicaid paid for all that? On second thought, I don’t think I wanna know.

TMI Moment of the Week: After the BIG TALK with Danae, I texted a happily-not-hetero friend of mine to ask her what “going all the way” translated into amongst lesbians.

Her answer: When fingers are “in”volved.

I nearly wrecked my car.

Clutter Sucks: I haven’t seen my dining room table in about three weeks. I pushed a bunch of crap outta the way to put my lap top on it. (I can type on the sofa, but I like how it sounds when I’m sitting at a table. I know. Weird. But you knew that.)

Here’s the manifest, counter-clockwise, from the right: House phone, copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (Note: Do not, under any circumstances put down or otherwise demean Jane Austen in front of me, or you might be punched in the face. I love her. Everyone needs a Mr. Darcy, or should strive to be like him. Maybe I’ll blog on that soon. And the Zombies parody is freakin’ hilarious.) My camera. Half-eaten bag of chips, old Sonic cup, three Big Store Where You Can Buy Anything at Anytime bags (full, but I don’t know what are in them), today’s newspaper. An empty baby food caddy, a stack of mail, my summer-mandatory beige visor, three packed, taped and ready to ship boxes o’ stuff for our friend who is in Afghanistan. He comes home in August. They’ve been packed since November. More mail. Can of cat food. (Anyone want a kitten? We have four. And I’m allergic to all five of them.) The igloo carrier for the slightly obscene penguin nebulizer we brought home from the hospital. My digital camera case. Two empty bottles. The dog leash. All of the attachments for Mr. Penguin that we aren’t using right now. Hubby’s laptop. My new 1 TB external hard drive (My computer only has about 10% memory left on it, and I got the external drive for $80 on http://www.ecost.com/) A big ass box of newborn to three months baby clothes I got for free from http://www.freecycle.org/. You should check that out if you’re into reusing and too lazy to have a yard sale. I probably need to STOP checking them out. Come to think of it, that’s where I got the baby food caddy and one of the full store bags—more baby clothes.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Nominee: Hubby and I were sitting in the hospital room with NaNa, and the on-call pediatrician came in. She looked at me, looked at hubby, looked at the baby, looked at us again and said, “How’d that happen?”

Hubby shot back, “I’ve been asking Wife that for about three months now, but she swears NaNa's mine.” The doctor thought that was hilarious.

(This is only funny if you know, or remember,  that Hubby and I are very pale, and that NaNa is a deliciously deep Hershey color.)

Yes, People Really Still Live Like That: Danae spent the night Saturday with a friend. She called me at about 6 PM, reminding me to come get Leigh and telling me that she needed more money. Ordinarily, I’d’ve laughed at her, told her to get a job and moved on, but there was something in her voice that paused my smartass button. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me she’d text me, while I headed her way. She told me that her friend’s family didn’t have electricity or running water in their house, so that when she dragged them into a fast food restaurant for lunch, she and Leigh ended up buying them all lunch. Suddenly, a few odd things made sense. Like one time, went to pick up her friend, but she was across the street using the bathroom. I just figured they only had one bathroom and she was having a girl problem. It made me stop and realize how lucky Hubby and I are to have what we have, and that we’ve been able to keep it.

Another Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Nominee: (Before you judge me here, read the next section about my guilt over this.) I took myself out for a mani-pedi last night. As Danae often points out, I have Flintstone feet which need way more attention than I have time to give them. Anyway, I left Hubby at the hospital with NaNa, went to pick up Leigh, dropped her off at a friend’s house, and realized I had an hour. To myself. 

And then realized the salon was still open. So I went. Leigh’s friend is about as special as she is, and her mama didn’t know Leigh was coming, so they dropped her off at the salon. Leigh promptly asked if she could get her toes done too.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that Leigh has nasty, makes-you-wish-you’d-never-learned-to-breathe feet. I think the last time they were washed was the last time she had her toes done, in about 2005 or so. Mine are just dry and crusty, but I have an excuse (thanks Sjogren's.)  Hers are nasty grubby because she refuses to wash.  So I said yes. At least I’d be able to breathe on the way home.

I tried, via telepathy, sign language, and pointing, to get my pedicurist to tell Leigh’s pedicurist that she was in for it. I failed, and the looks all around when Leigh took off her shoes were pretty funny. The one tech that didn’t have a customer immediately lit candles and went to find some spray. Which she used. Lots.

Thirty minutes later, Leigh’s feet were clean. I can’t remember the last time they looked skin-toned, without crud between the toes and under the nails. I complimented her, saying, “Leigh, your feet look so much better.”

Her tech looked up and me with a really mean look on her face and said, “That’s because they clean now.” I don’t blame her for being mean. If I had to clean Leigh’s feet, I’d have probably said worse. Which, come to think of it, was probably what all that rapid-fire Vietnamese was that was going on while she scraped and scrubbed Leigh’s feet.

To Guilt or not to Guilt, that is the Question: As I was sitting in the massage-y chair, enjoying my favorite part of the pedi-process (the vigorous, minty, exfoliating scrub from the heels to the knees), it hit me that I should not be sitting there enjoying what amounted to Ultimate Laziness while my three month-old daughter was in the hospital getting steroids and breathing treatments.

However, I justified my pampering because while waiting on Leigh to be done hanging at her friend’s house, I couldn’t get anything of real note done at home. And, Hubby was there with her, and between the two babies, NaNa is totally his, and MoMo is mine. (You know you had a parent you liked better than the other.  Be honest.  Even babies know what they like.)

Plus, the last time I disappeared (yesterday morning), I had been running errands so hubby could sleep in, and ended up navigating the public-service hospital with a temperamental toddler and sick infant. So I totally deserved the pampering, right? And it does NOT make me a horrible mom, either, right? RIGHT?

Flashback to the Future Connection:  When I was younger, and pretty much up until we adopted Leigh, I wanted to have six kids. I don’t know why six—it just seemed like the right number. It hit me on the way home from the hospital today, that right now, I have six kids. I’m trying to decide if GodAllahBuddha was trying to send me a message or not. When I pray, I always ask It to be very clear about that message, as sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I'm not so good with subtle.  And I have been known to misread the signs, so, here’s my prayer this week:

Hey!

Me again. Did that epiphany on the interstate mean that Hubby and I should stop debating about what we’ll do if given the chance to adopt the babies? Was that a sign that I’d hit my six? Or was it a random moment brought to me by an equally random brain?

Love, Me

PS—Thanks for all those times this week when I could have killed someone and didn’t, and for all those times I miraculously found the right words.

Amen.

Moment I Never Saw Coming: Dawn apologized. There must have been an ice cream social in at least part of Hell on Wednesday. Loyal followers will remember that she was a complete and total, how you say?, BEEEE-YOTCH at our “family” dinner Monday. But then, on Wednesday, we had the following brief conversation.

HER: Mama, I just want to tell you I love you and im sorry.

ME: Who are you and why do you have my daughter’s phone?

HER: You would think that since this don’t seem like something that would be coming from me but the last to days I have been really thinkin

ME: Well, this is the first time you’ve apologized for anything unprompted.

HER: I was rude the other day and I have not thanked you for your help and I greatly apprieate it all I do

The spelling and grammar is all hers—as an English teacher, I sometimes feel like a complete and utter failure—however, I think it’s pretty decent for someone with an IQ that barely passes the MR status who dropped out at the beginning of tenth grade.

But it was an APOLOGY. And it was not bullied out of her by her older sister (I asked.) It wasn’t brought on by anything she wanted or needed (She hasn’t asked.) It just happened. And it never has before.

Random Blog Stuff:  Since I now have 14 followers (YAY ME!!!) I have to have a party.  How do I do that on-line? Should we have a theme?  Strippers?  A pony ride?  Both?  Who's bringing the ice??

And now, for the Pervy Penguin: 
You know you wanted to seem him. 

Is it just me, or is it just flat WRONG to attach a pacifier to the end of the hose?

Or do I just have a dirty mind?


************************************************
So that's it for the week. 

For the upcoming one, I'm hoping for some calmness, full of nights of  uninterrupted sleep, the occasional home-cooked meal, the teenagers getting along at least two nights, and more days of perfect weather.
Here's hoping you get some of the same--with or without the pervy penguin!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

NaNa Hospitalized...

Quick note...  NaNa has been admitted to the hospital with labored breathing, wheezing, coughing and general respiratory crud.  If you are the thoughts and prayers and happy thoughts kind of people, please send them our way!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Congratulations, It's a Lesbian!

I guess the title pretty much says it all. 

I just got home from a two-and-a-half-hour-heart-to-heart-drive-and-talk with Danae, in which we have arrived at these facts and ideas:
  1. Yes, she is gay, even though she hates that label.
  2. The word "butch" is no longer socially acceptable....  it's either stud, fem or stem. I asked where she fell in that, and she smiled and said, "Oh, I'm definitely a fem." (Does anyone else see the irony in that?)
  3. She was scared to tell us--trust issues, acceptance, going-to-hell speeches, dating issues, etc. Basically-- "Oh my GodAllahBuddha, what will happen now?" fears.
  4. For hubby and me, her sexuality is a non-issue.  It's all about appropriateness, no matter whose team she bats for. 
  5. It is not appropriate to share a locked bedroom with your sweetie. 
  6. This will require a new level of honesty for her, with us as her parents.  Is this new person a friend, or a "friend?" She agreed that it would be difficult, but she understood, and agreed to try. 
  7. Sex for people who have been sexually abused is a much bigger deal than it is for people who haven't. 
  8. Given that she is navigating both issues, our biggest concern isn't that she's gay, or possibly becoming sexually active, it's that she navigates those issues with a clear head and someone she can depend on to talk to about her fears and feelings. 
  9. The idea of flashbacks scares her. A lot.  It scares me too.  I don't want her to be in the middle of one of the many intense firsts that comes with burgeoning sexuality and have a flashback. 
So, the mayhem of my Sunday slip 'o the tongue has been resolved, at least as much as it can be--  navigating teen sxuality is like hiring a tap dancer to check a minefield.  Completely dangerous, probably a little stupid, but someone has to do it.  We just have to do it a little differently now-- which is fine by us. 

I think other people must be totally and completely bored with their lives. Trust me, we're not! 

.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's a long walk home.

Tonight, I've done something I've only jokingly threatened to do to my daughters when they became annoying, obnoxious or "challenging" in public. I drove off and left one of them.


I have been known to say, "It's a long walk back to home." Tonight, it was about two miles.

We were attempting to meet my husband for dinner during his break (with four kids at home, second shift BITES!!) The babies were okay-- NaNa was in the ER last night for wheezing and phlegm and coughing-- at three months old, she has asthma, and a galloping case of bronchiolitis. MoMo is being her silly self.

Leigh started out rough on the way to dinner, but straightened herself up after I told her that I'd turn the car around and leave her at home.

By the time we got to the restaurant, Leigh was fine. When Danae got out of the car, Leigh said, "Get MoMo out!" She said it in a not quite a speaking voice, not quite a yell, so she could be heard out of the closed car. Danae snapped at her, and I told her that it wasn't necessary, Leigh was just trying to make sure she was heard.

Danae got mad and stomped off to the restaurant door. When Leigh got there, Danae said to Leigh, "Don't talk to me at all during dinner." I said, "That wasn't necessary. She was just trying to make sure MoMo got out, so she could too." (My Camry's backseat is a little crowded-- two carseats and a plus sized teenager.)

Inside, Danae takes MoMo to change her diaper. Points for her. I make a list of what to order so the food will get there when Hubby does, being that he only has an hour. I sent Leigh to find out what Danae wanted.

Leigh reported that Danae said, "Hold on, I'm coming." Now, Danae has been known to take up to four hours to get ready to go somewhere. Even her friends know to tell her to be ready an hour before they actually want her to go somewhere.

My response: Well, if she makes it, great. She eats. If not, we have food at home."

Leigh goes to the RR to report that. I'm ordering, when Danae stomps up the the cash register. When the cashier asked what Danae wanted, she was really, really rude to her. And then stomped off again.

Hubby has arrived just in time to see this. He asks what's going . I tell him. I apologize to the worker for my daughter's pissy behavior and head for the table.

When we get to the table, Danae asks me why I only ever tell Hubby what bad kids they are. Her frustration is loud enough that people halfway across the dining room have now turned to watch. Then she moves to the last seat in the row we're in, turns her back to us, starts eating and says NOT ONE WORD during dinner. Leigh was actually mostly socially appropriate, except that she smelled. Ghastly.

After dinner, Danae tried to argue more, and Hubby told her that he'd asked what was going on that she was in such a bad mood. She starts to argue that my attitude is what always puts her in a bad mood. I pointed out that all I had done was point out a misperception and correct her attitude.

She stomped off. Hubby and I decompress together for a moment. We've seen each other in passing for the last three days--last night was the worst. He left to take NaNa to the ER at 1145, and got home when I was getting up (late) for work at 6:30.

We head for the car. Leigh is in the front seat, headphones jamming. No Danae. I loaded the babies up as I casually scanned the parking lot for her. She was across the street in a bank parking lot, on the route we'd take if we were going to the local Buy Everything Under One Roof Store Where Hubby Works. During the attitude problems, I'd told them we weren't going, that I'd give Hubby a list and he'd just pick it up after he got off work.

I would be driving right by her if I were going to the store. Since I wasn't going to the store, and the restaurant was only about 2 miles from home. I drove home.

Leigh, for a change, came to her sister's defense. "If you call the cops on her, I'm going to tell them you knew where she was and just left her."

"You can do that," I told her. "I'll only do that if she's not home in about an hour."

Ooooohwheeee she was MAD!!! Mad like this really, angry cat. I couldn't call her until we got home thanks to a user error on my cell phone--forgot to charge it. How dumb is that?? But I digress.

It actually took her two hours to get home--after calling me and telling me I had to come get her, and that this was why she wanted to leave and never wanted to be hereblahblahblahblah. And calling Marie to ask for a ride. (I'd already texted her and asked her not to pick Danae up if she called.) I told myself that if she wasn't home in fifteen more minutes, I would have called the cops. I think they have a folder for us, with pre-completed forms ready to go.

She didn't say anything when she got home, but went straight to the shower. Poor baby. It was more than 80 degrees, very muggy, and the ground is still so very wet from recent rains. And her with her white shoes.

Lessons learned today: Across town is not really too long a walk, and it is very liberating to put your money (or your car) where your mouth is.

More about today in tomorrow's post. This is just sprinkles on the cupcake!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Okay, Maybe I Am Stupid

Have you ever said something you knew you REALLY shouldn’t have said, but you reallyreallyreallyreally wanted to? I did that Sunday. And it has caused some interesting complications.

This weekend, Danae’s “friend” Annette spent the night Saturday. I knew they were more than friends. However, I stuck my giant emu ass up in the air and buried my head in the very nice sand because I didn’t want the fight and the lies and the drama. More emotional honesty, right?

All that was working out just fine—until I got up at 3:45 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I heard giggles and talking from Danae’s room, and went to tell them they probably needed to get some sleep, (I know, I know, but at least she can’t get knocked up. Remember the emu image? Thought so.) I did my usual knock three times and turn the knob.

It was locked.

And it was a loooooooong time before Danae got to the door. I was not pleased. But I had two hours to sleep before the baby alarms woke up, so took my tail feathers back to bed.

So, fast forward to us dropping off Annette. I hugged her, wished her a happy birthday. And then, against all my better judgment, I whispered, “I’m not stupid.”

Now, I’d been contemplating two strategies. The first, a simple rainbow beach towel left on Danae’s bed with a note that said, “I know and I still love you.”

The second, talking with Annette. Annette has been honest with me about her sexuality, so in my head (in my defense all I can say is that I have been very sleep deprived… midnight bowling and solo baby duty) I thought if I talked to her it would open up doors for Danae.

So I whispered, “I’m not stupid.”

She jumped about thirteen feet away and bug-eyed stared at me for five full seconds. Then there was a crazy little “oh my god are you serious what do you mean oh my god” dance. When she stopped freaking right the hell out, she asked, very calmly if she could text me and talk later. I told her she could text me any time about anything she wanted to talk about.

Danae has a very good BS meter. Eighteen placements and 60+ caseworkers will do that to a kid. She was not pleased that something was clearly up. (And there have been several instances when she had the chance to open up to us about her sexuality, and hasn’t. I hate that I’ve been lied to, but I totally understand the reasons and the logic.)

So, long story short (damn, I’m a rambler!), Annette and I had a long text conversation that ended with me saying this, “Since a lot of what you’ve said to me tonight are things Danae has already said to me, I’m assuming you’re sharing what I’m saying to you. I’m good with that. Please tell her to notice the fact that I’m still sitting in the living room, and I have not ordered her to pack. In the grand scheme, this is not a big issue for us. However, we do need to talk about it.” No more texts from Annette.

This morning, Danae texted me to ask if we could go for a drive tonight to have a heart to heart, I accepted the date, and told her I loved her and to have a good day.

And then Dawn showed her ass, and FUBAR-ed the evening. So I’m writing this summary instead of navigating the “How To Manage Sleepovers and Dating with Your Lesbian Daughter” conversation.

To top things off, Annette’s 17th birthday is tomorrow, and it is the one month anniversary of her mom’s death, and we’d already given Danae permission to spend the evening with Annette and her family before I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut.

==insert huge sigh here==

What the #$%^&; was I thinking??

So if any of you have any words of advice, please… start typing. Now! Do it!!

Peez?

I Hate Myself for Loving You

Have you heard the old Joan Jett song, “I Hate Myself for Loving You?”

Here are the lyrics. (I’m not sure how copyright works here, but Joan rocked the hell out of this song in the 80s, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it!)

Midnight, gettin' uptight. Where are you?
You said you'd meet me, now it's quarter to two
I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' you.

Hey, Jack, It's a fact they're talkin' in town.
I turn my back and you're messin' around.
I'm not really jealous, don't like lookin' like a clown.
I think of you ev'ry night and day.
You took my heart, then you took my pride away.

I hate myself for loving you .
Can't break free from the things that you do.
I wanna walk but I run back to you, that's why
I hate myself for loving you.

Daylight, spent the night without you.
But I've been dreamin' 'bout the lovin' you do.
I won't be as angry 'bout the hell you put me through.
Hey, man, bet you can treat me right.
You just don't know what you was missin' last night.
I wanna see your face and say forget it just from spite.

I hate myself for loving you .
Can't break free from the things that you do.
I wanna walk but I run back to you, that's why
I hate myself for loving you.
I hate myself for loving you.
Can't break free from the things that you do.
I wanna walk but I run back to you, that's why.

I hate myself for loving you ....

Anyway, I learned something about myself tonight—I don’t live up to my own expectations. It both pissed me off and made me cry. Well, I cry angry or sad, so I guess the tears were irrelevant.

The narrative: Dawn was supposed to be staying with us until June 1 when she moves into the apartment that Hubby and I paid the deposit on. She’s been home two nights since moving her belongings onto my carport and into my living room. She was supposed to be home Sunday from babysitting, and go job hunting with Hubby on Monday. I texted her five times Sunday, as plans for the week sort of hinged on her being around. (Why I have yet to learn this lesson, I don’t know.)

Today, we were supposed to be having a family dinner-- all six daughters, grilled food, fresh veggies, fun times, right? Wrong-O! She has decided to stay with the man she’s babysitting for because he’ll let Dumbass Boyfriend live there too. And DB does not want to spend time with us because it makes him uncomfortable because he knows we don’t like him. (And with his resume, who wouldn’t adore him, right?)

The pork chops are coming off the grill when Dawn texts me that they’ll be at my house in five minutes to get more of her clothes and her phone charger. I ask if she’s staying for dinner, and she says no, she already ate. Now I’m mad.

They arrive as we’re sitting down to eat, and DB stays in the car, Dawn comes in to get her charger. She hugs everyone, and makes some fast small talk, and then Marie dares to ask her what the plan is. Dawn bites Marie’s head off when Marie asked her about how long she’s planning to stay where she is, and how she’s going to job hunt while stuck babysitting for $100 a week. She stomped out and slammed the door.

Now I’m pissed. You don’t want to be my kid? Fine. You don’t want to eat my food? Thanks. More for me. You want to come in MY house, during MY dinner, yell at someone who WANTS to be my kid, and slam the door we’ve repaired ad infinitum thanks to your slamming, and expect me to be okay with it? Um, no.

So I drop my plate and go outside all prepared to let her have it, and


nothing. All I can manage is a half-hearted “Really?”

She responded, “Yeah mom. Really. I’m tired of everybody pissing me off.”

She got in the borrowed car and off they went.

Why is it that I can unleash my unholy Mediterranean temper on measly crap like chores being half-assed, or someone leaving icky stuff on the bathroom floor, or students who are rude in the hall, but when someone’s behavior REALLY desperately deserves to have my inner Sicilian come out, I don’t?

Dawn deserved to hear what I was thinking and feeling and it would have felt A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. to let it out at the top of my very capable leftover-cheerleader lungs. But I didn’t. I watched her drive away.

I expect and demand emotional honesty from my children. From my students. From my husband. I don’t let them hide behind excuses and past life experiences. So why is it that when I find myself in the heat of a moment, that I am incapable of the very thing I value and push so hard?

Is it wimpiness? Fear? Performance anxiety? Base hypocrisy?

Whatever it is, it’s driving me batshit tonight. Or maybe it’s this other issue distracting me, with another daughter.

If stress shortens your lifespan, I think I might be scheduled for next week.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up, May 1

Funniest Thing I didn’t Say:  Our anniversary ended up being a family bowling night, and trust me, we all suck.  We had fun though, and me especially, thanks to the internal gigglefest I had over a statement made by one of my daughters:

     Danae, actually said: I can’t even bowl straight!

     Me, said in my mind: That’s because you aren’t! (I snooped in her phone and found out that her “best friend” is actually her girlfriend. I don’t care, except for the fact that she’s been spending the night a lot, behind closed doors in the same bed. Straight or gay, I don’t think sharing a bed with your HS sweetie is appropriate.)

She doesn’t know we know. That’ll be a fun conversation. I've actually thought about buying her a rainbow beach towel and leaving it on her bed with a note that says, "I know, and I still love you" and putting the ball in her court.

Funniest Thing I Wish My Husband Would Have Said: (After I told him of my internal funny moment above...)“I know she doesn’t have much experience playing with balls, but you’d think she’d at least be able to put her finger in a hole.”

Best MoMo Moment:
     Me: Say please!
     Her: Peez!
      FINALLY!! I thought we’d never get her to say please!!

Cutest Child Moment: We got home from work, and I put MoMo down. She immediately trotted across the living room, grabbed a bottle of lotion, held it out to me and said, “Peez!” (She loves lotion. After bath time, she loves to clap her hands in it and help me lotion her.)

Then she put it down, clapped her hands and said, “Yay!!!!!” I love it when she applauds herself.  She does it at least once a day, and it never gets old.

Since then, she’s been saying it very regularly, having FINALLY learned that she generally gets what she wants, if we can figure out what it is, when she says “Peez!”

Most Heartbreaking “What if?” Moment That Popped Into My Head And Made Me Cry A Little:   What if the babies’ mama gets them back, and they one day walk into my classroom and don’t remember me?

Best new gadget: When we got our first tax check, my husband bought himself an IPod Touch. So when we got The Big One, I decided I was going to buy myself a video camera. Partially for the babies and teenagers, partially for my classroom, and partially because I want to participate in MeanGirlGarage’s odd video contests. So I bought a Flip Ultra HD digital video camera. I love it!! Amazing!! When I figure out how to post a video, I’ll put a cutie up of my two foster babies. (Can you tell that this week I learned how to link stuff in my blog?)

Best Saturday in a Long Time: I took all but one of the girls shopping yesterday. Having recently gotten a hellacious tax check, I wanted to buy them some clothes, and generally just spend some no-pressure time with them. We spent way too much money, but had a really good time. I don’t think all those people in line behind us for a dressing room at Bell’s will ever forgive us, but they’ll get over it.

Conundrums of the Week: First, should I start graduate school next week? It’s a year-long program for an EDS degree (halfway between a Master’s and Doctorate). My financial aid is done. All I have to do is register for classes. I can take two classes at a time, and they are all online. And if I do it, I can put off starting to pay for the loans for my Master’s again. If not, I have to start repaying them in July.

Second conundrum: Should I make or buy a Mother’s Day card for my foster babies’ mom? They are scheduled to visit their biomom on Thursday, and I thought it might be nice to give her a card, or make her one, with pics of her daughters in it. She is trying to work her case plan, and having seen her with the babies, she loves them… no doubt.

Third conundrum: To teach, or not to teach (summer school) that is the question. It’s damned hard to justify not doing it at a rate of about $45 an hour. But I do so love sleeping late, and working on my tan and reading list.

Funniest Thing That Happened to Someone Else:  My high-school-acquaintance-turned-online-friend/mentor/therapist is also navigating an interesting adoptive life.  Her experiences are chronicled on her hilarious blog, but the best (and by best I mean I wish I could have been there to record it to win money, or at least have it to go back and howl at again) that  I've heard in a long time, is this one: jesus is gross.  I laughed outloud 'til I teared up, read it to my daughters and one of their friends, and plan to share it with my husband if I get to hang out with him today. 

Stupidest Student Comment of the Week: "Man! We graduate in less than two months. I need to stop gettin high after school and finish my credit recovery class."

Moment I Could Lose my Job Over:  I have a student in my AP English Lit class who qualified for the state track meet in three events. The problem is that if she goes to the state meet, she'll miss the AP test. The AP test determinse if she is eligible to be granted college credit for the class.  AP exams are only offered once a year and are not rescheduled.  I thought a lot about my initial reaction: "WHAT? My class isn't the center of your world?  Are you KIDDING ME??"  Then I met reality. We shook hands.  Then he shook me. 

So, I told her mom that if my opinion counted for anything, she should go to the track meet--she's worked for that far harder and much longer than she ever thought about working for the AP Test, and (I didn't say this to the mom), has a better chance for success at the meet.  Here's hoping the mom likes honesty. My boss has a history of hating it.

Biggest Duh Moment: Dawn acted like herself. Why do I continually expect that she’s going to suddenly not be selfish, immature and wrapped up in Dumbass Boyfriend? To quote someone I heard a long time ago, why on earth would you buy a gorilla and expect it not to want bananas? She’s spent the last few days with a friend babysitting, and was supposed to come back this afternoon. I still hadn’t heard from her at 5:15 after texting her five times during the day. I only know she’s not planning to be here tonight because Marie called to tell me.

Something New to Worry About: Marie told me that Dumbass Boyfriend wouldn’t ALLOW Dawn to change clothes, put on make-up or brush out her hair to go run errands with Marie Friday. She wasn’t ALLOWED? What the hell kind of crazy, gonna-turn-out-to-be-a-psycho shit is that? Marie asked Dawn about that later, and Dawn says he’s just worried she’s going to cheat on him or find someone better. Duh. Just almost anyone would be better than him.

Random Thing That Pissed me Off: I saw a commercial today for multivitamins—one for teen girls and one for teen guys. The commercial pointed out that guys and girls have different needs—girls want clear skin and boys want good muscle development. Really.

So when I was a cheerleader and was trying to get my jumps better, I was really only worried about having clear skin, and not my aching shoulder and calf muscles? And the guy I dated who had such bad skin that he wore more make up than my cheerleading squad combined was actually more interested in trying to get buff.

Yeah. That makes total sense.

I Was Totally Shocked When Leigh came out of her room in clean (albeit brand new clothes) with makeup on, and her hair done. She looked great! And didn’t smell!

Happiest Blog Moment:  I have seven followers!  Yay!!  Someone out there might *actually* be reading this silliness! We should totally have a party when I hit double digits!

Coming up this week: Well, the issues presented in the first two parts of this weekly wrap up have been keeping Hubby and me hopping and my text inbox full this evening. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about that this week, after some of the debris has settled and the National Whatever Board comes to finish the investigation into whether or not parents should back their kids into corners to discuss their sexuality.

I’m sure there will be more horrible poo and people being themselves, but the weather looks promising, and I don’t have to do progress reports until next week. Which means I still have a little bit of time to catch up on grading.

Yay. 

Epic Poo Failure. Or, Why I Will Never Win Mother of the Year.

Hubby was holding NaNa, and was chuckling over the great amount of cute little grunting that was going on.  Until he moved her onto the sofa cushion so he could go get something to drink.

It was then that he noticed the bright green stain on his arm. And the sofa. 

We go into Manage the Crisis mode.  He gets a towel, lays it on the ottoman. Then picks the baby up by her feet and swings her onto the towel.  While he goes for more wipes, I undo the formerly cute little Winnie onesie, and realize that the lovely multigreen Noxema poo has returned. 

I pull her feet together, lift her little old-man bum up into the air, and as my husband walks into the room, NaNa farts.  It was a Serious Gas Emination.  Like the Gulf of Mexico, but airborne.  Like, "I'm a smelly old fat man who eats too much fish and beans and doesn't bath enough and really loves collard greens and spinach and cheap beer" old man.  And, because no good fart story is truly good without it,  it was loud!  Almost tuba-ish.  How something that big came out of her I will never know.

Now, I am laughing and retching at the same time, while my husband is trying to fan the stench away.  The ceiling fan isn't helping.  But my husband says my retching and laughing is the funniest sound he's ever heard, which makes me laugh and retch harder. 

We are attempting to coordinate efforts.  Because damp, slimyish baby wipes are having no effect on the sludge, I get some paper towels and attempt a wipe.  I'm still laughing and trying not to revisit the hamburger I finished ten minutes ago. 

And then I lose the battle.  In a scene I wish I'd filmed, as Hubby chucks the diaper into the trashcan, I chuck my recently masticated burger.  All the while laughing and trying not to cry. 

I attempt to call Danae in from her bedroom to help Hubby, as I am trying not to add to the mess, but I can't talk. Still laughing and crying and retching.

Now, my voice slightly hoarse, Nana is lying here beside me (lying, because only whores and birds lay), cooing and being 378 kinds of cute. 

Which is a good thing, because Diet Coke and Wendy's do not taste as good the second time around, and I was tempted to add her to the interesting concoction in the trash can. 

And then the realization hits:  Winnie really IS the Poo now.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rainbow Poo

MoMo:  Consistency of not quite ground up refried beans. Brick red.

NaNa: Consistency of Noxema. Forest and green streaks. 

I thought you might need to know.