Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday Post. One of my favorite posts.

This one is from July 2011.  I was writing a lot more often then and this is one that I particularly enjoyed writing.  Hope you like it.

I present to you F**k You Gravity:


Today I am going to talk to you about my boobs.  Not that I think you want to know, but because I need to vent and this is my place to do that and so I am doing it.



I remember a day not so long ago when I loved my boobs.  Really.  I did.  As a younger, less self-conscious girl, I often thought my boobs were my nicest feature and although small they were perfectly round, symmetrical and perky. 


I loved my boobs so much I would sometimes get drunk and feel the need to show them to the whole bar!  (Yup, I was THAT chick). 

I remember that I was always dressing them up in pretty bras and cute tops that showed them just right so that they would feel how incredibly special and appreciated they were, because I knew that age (and someday possibly motherhood) would take their toll.


When I got pregnant I cried because I knew that it would likely ruin my boobs forever.  The prospect of them getting bigger was truly exciting for me, but I was totally disgusted by the idea of anything coming out of them, because up to this point, they were not functional.  THEY WERE DECORATIVE.  And I liked them that way.  I was up for breastfeeding, but knew I wasn't going to be one of those mothers who stressed about it.  If the kid took to it (and they worked properly) I would do it and if not, I had no real problem with giving her a bottle.  But secretly, I think I hoped she wouldn't take to it because I dreaded the long stretched-out look that so many women ended up with after a year or so of having someone sucking at those things.




Finally the baby came, and although she seemed to have no problem tearing into my boobs and getting her fill from them, the scabbing and pain (which the breastfeeding lady couldn't seem to fix for me) was more than I was willing to deal with in the days after having my entire mid-section opened and a baby pulled out of there.  So I opted out.  And then the milk came in.  I was thrilled the day I looked in the mirror and saw this:

My boobs when the milk came in.
But they hurt like a bitch.  Good thing I wasn't breastfeeding and could take a ton of the pain killers I had left over from my c-section to dull that shit.  But that was temporary and within a year, everything was more or less back to normal except flatter and wider. 




This was not ideal, but I had a healthy (if not ill-tempered) baby girl to show for it and I had lost most of the weight without too much stressing. And honestly, stepping into the "Mommy" role made me totally uninterested in the state of my boobs, or the rest of my body for that matter.  I HAD GROWN A PERSON INSIDE ME FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!  What man could make THAT kind of claim?

For a couple of years I fell into that trap of not really bothering to shave my legs or trim the lawn or any of the other basic maintenance items that had been a total preoccupation for my younger, always-dating self.  I put on weight, which made my boobs fill out again and under the right tee shirt with the right bra, they totally looked bigger, better and more awesome than ever!


But the other day I was getting into the shower and for some odd reason (probably because it's bathing suit season again) I stopped in front of the full-length mirror naked and looked.  This is what I saw:

My boobs at the nude beach
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY BOOBIES??????

One was considerably bigger and the other was facing the wrong way!  My nipples have slipped downward and they hang more to the side than the front now!  I can only blame age and gravity (because I am NOT going to offend the several bowls of ice cream I enjoy each month) and can only imagine that this is normal and that most women have some kind of similar experience.

I felt betrayed.  I mean, my boobs were like my buddies.  I counted on them for a boost in self image when everything else failed me.  Bad hair day?  At least I have nice boobs!  Face breaking out?  My boobs sure look full today!  Period cramps?  At least my boobs look fantastic!  And now that's all gone.  What the hell am I going to do with them now?  I can't sell them.  No one would want them.  And I can't keep them covered up all the time (although I may try).  I suppose I could have implants and/or a nip/tuck kind of thing to yank them up to my chin but who the hell has the cash for that.

I suppose that in the end I will just have to accept that we had a good run and that the glory days of fantastic breasts are behind us. We went on many b-cup sized adventures together and I sure will miss the good old days of using you to seal the deal when I want to get backstage at a concert or just need some confidence for a date.   I just hope I can stop getting choked up whenever I see a KFC ad.


All photos were the result of google searches.

Monday, March 30, 2015

5 reasons I am not the mother I want to be

The other night after a very lengthy and overly dramatic tantrum about me not letting Lila spend the night at my mother's house, She looked at me and said the thing I have secretly thought but tried not to allow myself to worry about. 

"You're a terrible mother" she spit at me through hot tears.

And although I feed her, clothe her and otherwise look out for her best interests 100% of the time, there are still many ways that I fail her as a mother. 

Here are 5 of them:

  1. I don't think my maternal instincts ever really kicked in.  I am not a very nurturing person by nature.  It takes a lot of awareness to remember that kids need lots of hugs and kisses and I try to provide those to her at least daily.  But when the waterworks start over something that I consider trivial, it is not my first reaction to comfort her.  I tend to get frustrated with her and tell her to knock it off.  I tell her things like, "crying isn't going to make me change my mind" and "your father would never put up with this little tantrum."  My mother has pointed out that I seem like I totally lack compassion for things that genuinely upset her but to me it is just her being overly dramatic.
  2. I don't know how to have fun with her. I will never be the fun parent.  I don't have any ideas for things to do that we haven't done a bunch of times already.  We go to the zoo, to the bookstore to pick out books (which she used to enjoy but suddenly now she hates reading as I have documented here) and to the park.  We go mini golfing in the summer and to the beach.  But I don't think she has much fun with me.  I don't enjoy these things.  I do it because she needs to get out of the house.  I honestly think I lack the ability to let loose and enjoy myself. 
  3. I allow way too much attitude from her.  I realize every time she mouths off to me that I am going to have a real problem on my hands when she becomes a teenager but she is a seriously  mouthy bitch sometimes.  But I have yet to find a suitable way to deal with this besides yelling at her and sending her to her room to cool her ass down.  This clearly doesn't work as she is still mouthy and often just cries and denies that she ever said anything mouthy to me in the first place.
  4. I let my mother influence my rules and never for the better.  Lila eats dinner in front of the TV, not with me.  She drinks soda more than I would ever allow.  She will refuse to eat anything that we are eating for dinner and instead insists on one of only a few meals that she is willing to eat.  As I live upstairs from my mother, we eat most meals with her.  I have expressed all of these things as problems for me but she has made it very clear that she isn't going to change.  So as long as I live there cheaply, I have no choice but to accept her way of doing things when it comes to my daughter.  My mother believes it is cruel to let a kid go to bed hungry so if Lila doesn't like what we are having for dinner my mother happily cooks her something else (which is basically every single night). My mother lets her watch whatever she wants on TV and so Lila hates coming upstairs for the night because I tell her that after dinner is grown up TV time.  The tantrum about spending the night at my mother's was about this very fact.  I don't let her watch whatever she wants.
  5. I am lazy.  We don't have a lot of traditions around the holidays.  I don't color Easter eggs or carve a pumpkin at Halloween.  I refuse to take her to the St. Patrick's Day Parade because it's cold and I hate the crowds.  I figure her father (who is the fun parent anyway) will do these things with her and he does.  We don't cook together or really do arts and crafts as I suck at these things.  Part of this one stems from my depression which although medicated is still a dark cloud over me and it often just all feels like so much work.  When I come home from work at night it's all I can do to not collapse into bed and I still have to make sure homework is done and give baths and do our bedtime routine. I do these things because I know I have to but since homework is often a battle I absolutely hate doing it.
So there you have it.  I struggle often with feeling like I am a shitty mother and I know I am not alone in this.  What are some ways you feel like you fail at motherhood?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

76 Questions

Today I am stealing from mummascribbles and doing the 76 questions meme.  I really love these things. 

Feel free to steal and share and if you do make sure you leave a link in the comments so that I can read your answers.

1. What’s your favourite movie?
I don't know that I have one.  I have a few favorites:  Better Off Dead, Boogie Nights (I love Marky Mark), The Jerk

2. Favourite movie in the past five years?
 American Hustle

3. Favourite Hitchcock film?
Vertigo

4. A book you plan on reading?
The Deep by Nick Cutter



5. A book that you read in school that positively shaped you?
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

6. Favourite TV show that’s currently on?
Modern Family

7. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now?
 Four-when it warms up outside we'll see if that improves.

8. iPhone or Android?
iPhone

9. Twitter or Instagram?
 Instagram

10. Who should EVERYONE be following right now?
Me, of course.

11. What’s your favourite food?
 Lasagna

12. Least favourite food?
 Thai food-too spicy

13. What do you love on your pizza?
 Fresh tomatoes and basil

14. Favourite drink?
 Coffee

15. Favourite dessert?
 Pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream

16. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate

17. Coffee or tea?
 I drink both regularly

18. What’s the hardest part about being a mum?
 Not knowing what kind of teenager she is going to be.  As sassy as she is now I really dread the teen years.

19. What’s your favourite band?
Radiohead

20. Favourite solo artist?
 I don't know that I have a favorite

21. Favourite song?
 I have a few but probably Baby I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney and Wings

22. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
 Robert Plant

23. If you could master one instrument, what would it be?
The Piano.  I have always wanted to learn piano

24. If you had a tattoo, where would it be?
Maybe on my wrist.

25. To be or not to be?
To be

26. Dogs or cats?
 Cats-I am really not a dog person.  I think they're kind of dirty.

27. Bird-watching or whale-watching?
Whale-watching-I actually went whale watching in my junior year of high school.  I took Dramamine for sea sickness before we went on the boat and I slept through the whole thing.

28. Best gift you’ve ever received?
 A few years ago Ben found me a WWJJD (What Would Joan Jett Do) tee shirt. It was when everyone was wearing those what would Jesus do bracelets so it was pretty funny at the time.

29. Best gift you’ve ever given?
 Probably the year I gave an ex a hand-carved chess set (not by me) that he really wanted.  It was expensive.  We broke up like 2 weeks later.  I think he used me for the chess set.

30. Last gift you gave a friend?
 About 12 bottles of liquor.

31. What’s your favourite board game?
 Trivial Pursuit

32. What’s your favourite country to visit?
 I've only been to Canada outside of the US.  But I want to visit Italy.

33. What’s the last country you visited?
See above

34. What country do you wish to visit?
 See # 32.

35. What’s your favourite colour?
 Blood red

36. Least favourite colour?
 Bright orange

37. Diamonds or pearls?
 Black diamonds



38. Heels or flats?
 flats-I can't walk in heels anymore.

39. Pilates or yoga?
Yoga-I was actually taking classes to become a yoga instructor when I found out I was pregnant.  I was so sick with "Morning" sickness that lasted all day that I had to quit the classes.  I regret that.

40. Jogging or swimming?
 Jogging.  I can't swim.

41. Best way to de-stress?
 Sex.  But since I have basically been celibate for the last 2 years I will say a nice massage.

42. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
 I would like to be able to become invisible.

43. What’s the weirdest word in the English language?
 Linoleum.  But its so fun to say.

44. What’s your favourite flower?
 Iris

45. When was the last time you cried?
 It's been a surprisingly long time.  Probably during the transition to living alone 2 years ago.

46. Do you like your handwriting?
 No. I do this hybrid between cursive and printing and it is messy.

47. Do you bake?
 You don't want to taste my baking.  It isn't pretty.

48. What is your least favourite thing about yourself?
My hair- I don't have thick or pretty hair.  It's naturally kind of wavy, thin and has a ton of flyaways that nothing will tame.

49. What is your most favourite thing about yourself?
 It used to be my boobs but I'm in my 30s so they aren't as pretty as they used to be.

50. Who do you miss most?
Justin

51. What are you listening to right now?
 The radio.  Right now it's an awful song by Mike and the Mechanics.  This radio station sucks sometimes.

52. Favourite smell?
 Anything pumpkin spice.

53. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
 A customer.  I am at work right now.

54. Who was the last person you sent a text to?
 Ben about Lila's rash that she came down with.

55. A sport you wish you could play?
I have always hated sports.  I hated gym class in school.  How about synchronized swimming.



56. Hair colour?
 Brown.

57. Eye colour?
 Brown

58. Scary film or happy endings?
 I don't like scary movies.  Life gives me enough to be worried about.  I don't need to be worried about things creeping up on me when I am alone at night.

59. Favourite season?
 Fall

60. Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
 Jesus, Elvis, and Justin from # 50 above.

61. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs

62. Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
 I like them both but if I had to choose I would pick the Rolling Stones

63. Where were you born?
Syracuse, NY

64. What is the farthest you have been from home?
 I lived in Arizona for 4 years.

65. Sweet or savoury?
 Sweet-the antidepressant I am on makes me crave sweets.

66. Lipstick or lip gloss?
Gloss

67. What book have you read again and again?
 I don't like to repeat a book that I've already read.  Not even my favorites.

68. Favourite bedtime story?
The Little Prince

69. What would be the title of your autobiography?
 How Did I Get Here?

70. Favourite sound?
 Lila telling me she's tired and ready for bed.  I hardly ever get to hear it.

71. Favourite animal?
 Sloth

72. Who is your girl crush?
 Madonna circa 1983


73. Last photograph you took?
 A picture of Lila with half of her teeth missing.  She is at that age.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Because it's complicated.

She asks me again after a quick stop at Ben's house to pick up a couple of things for the week. "Why aren't you guys friends?"

This has come up about a hundred times.  Every time that she wants to tell me about hanging out with her or whenever Ben is with her when Lila calls him she asks me.  She wants to know why I'm not friends with Ben's new girlfriend.

"It's complicated," I tell her.  And it is.  I don't think I would know how to explain it to her 7 year old brain so I don't.  Hell I am not sure I entirely know why we're not friends.

Part of it is how I found out they were an item.  Ben and I had been split up for about a month and I saw a picture of them together on Facebook.  You see, she is someone I went to high school with so I was Facebook friends with her.  I contacted her asking her what the hell was going on because I was still holding out hope that Ben and I just needed space and were just taking some time apart.  Granted, we didn't ever say that.  I mean, moved out.  But in my own little delusional head I thought that he loved me so he was as confused by the split as I was.  I was wrong on that one. 

She replied that they had been seeing each other for MONTHS.  Her tone was bitchy.  I was blindsided.  Turns out that in the time that we were still living together, they were spending time together and now that I had moved out she was ready to come out as a couple.  Several rounds of confused questions and completely bitchy responses ensued and it ended with us blocking each other on Facebook. 

That was the last conversation I had with her.

That was almost 2 years ago. 

Since then she has come to birthday parties and school concerts, she and Ben always sitting separately from me and basically we just ignore each other.  We don't even acknowledge the other's existence.  Ben and I will chat after the school concert as if nothing was out of the ordinary and we go home.

But every time Lila asks me why we aren't friends I kind of wonder the same thing myself.  I don't harbor any feelings for Ben.  I am glad that he has found someone that he is happy with.  In fact I assume that they are in love (as much as I cringe to think about it).  Lila said that he talked to her about the girlfriend someday possibly becoming her step mother.  Although a little freaked out by that (as Ben never wanted to marry me) I would be happy for him if he chose that path. 

So why aren't we friends?

I just don't see myself doing what would be necessary to be friends with this girl.  I would never pull her aside and be like "listen, I have no plans on getting back with Ben so it is stupid for us to act like we hate each other.  Let's just call it a day and be pleasant to each other." 

As I am typing that it seems like it would be so easy to say but I don't think I am ready to do it yet.  I don't know that I ever could do that. 

I suppose I could tell Ben to deliver the message that I am not bitter and that she is welcome to any of Lila's events that she wants to come to. 

Maybe I will just send him a link to this blog post and let him figure it out himself. 

I don't think we will ever be BFF's.  I don't see myself calling her up to hang out or anything.  But there's no reason that we can't be in the same room together and be polite and make small talk.  If this is someone that Ben intends to have in my kid's life the least I can do is put in the effort to tolerate her.  And maybe I will find out I actually like her. 

And it's entirely possible that this girl thinks I am a total psychotic asshole based on the Facebook conversation and I'm sure what Ben has told her.  I mean, I wasn't at my best for a lot of my time with him.  So maybe she would still give me the cold shoulder even if I did extend an olive branch. 

There's only one way to find out though.




Friday, March 13, 2015

Not sure when this happened.

I don't know what I did wrong.  I thought I did everything right.  I started reading to her when she was about 6 weeks old-long before she could possibly understand what I was saying to her.  I read to her every night.  I took her to storytimes.  First in Arizona when she wasn't even big enough to crawl around and later to the toddler and then preschooler story times at the local library.  I have purchased over a hundred books for her.  First those sturdy little board books, later those expensive picture books and most recently chapter books.  I thought I did everything right.

How is it then, that my kid is not a reader? 

Lila does not like to read.  Up until a few months ago we did story time every night at bed time and I thought she would carry on that habit when she became old enough to read on her own.  But she hasn't.  She has traded in those last 20 or so minutes before it's lights out time for an extra 20 minutes of TV time.  Most nights it's not even something she wants to watch.  I will have Seinfeld on and that's perfectly ok with her. 



How could this have happened?  I worked at the freakin' library for 4 years of her life for Christ's sake! She always sees me with a book in my hand and I often read while she does her homework or plays after dinner. And yet those fill in lists the teacher sends home to chronicle the books she reads remain empty and sitting there piling up on her night stand. 

Last night I told her we were going to start a new nightly tradition.  I thought that if I made it sound special that she might be on board.  I told her that 15 minutes before bed time we were going to turn the TV off and we were each going to get a book and read together on the couch instead of watching TV.  She reacted as if I told her that I was going to strip her naked and pelt her with a bb gun.  She actually cried about it. 

How could this daughter of mine hate reading so much that it causes her to cry about spending just 15 minutes a day reading?  And remember, I only have her half of the week so it's not like it's even 15 minutes EVERY day! 

I worry that this is a first of many.  Up until now, she has happily and naively wanted to be just like me.  She wants to carry a purse because I carry a purse.  She wants to put on makeup with me because I am doing it.  She wants her hair to grow longer because I have let my hair grow out.  But here begins that divergence from her happy little parallel road.  Now she doesn't love reading just because I have made it clear that books are one of my favorite things.  I am still a little in shock.

I mean, I did everything right! We make monthly trips to the bookstore and she always pick something out but those books never seem to be read.  They are piling up on her bookshelf and collecting dust.

I dread the painful season of summer reading when she has to read like 6 books over a few months.  How am I going to force her to sit quietly and push through titles she doesn't like when she won't even spend 15 minutes a day reading a book she picked out? 

Anyone else have a kid who hates to read?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Feeling lazy today.

Because I don't have an idea for a fresh blog today, I am going to share Sunday Stealing with you today. 

Today is the Threes Meme.

1. Three things that scare me: 

Depression, Unsolved Mysteries (the TV show-thanks Mom) and my student loan debt.

 2. Three people who make me laugh: 

My kid, Jim Gaffigan, and Chris Rock.

3. Three things I love: 

My kid, naps, lasagna

4. Three things I hate: 

loneliness, my shitty inner critic, getting stuck at train crossings.

5. Three things I don't understand: 

Japanese, the stock market, my kid's dramatic antics

6. Three things on my desk: 

Coffee, calendar, computer

7. Three things I'm doing right now: 

Thinking, typing, answering phones.

8. Three things I want to do before I die: 

Visit Italy, get published, become super-mom

9. Three things I can do: 

whistle, tree pose, write

10. Three things I can't do: 

sing, dance, walk in really high heels

11. Three things you should listen to: 

Your mother, me, that voice in your head that tells you to go for it.

12. Three things you should never listen to: 

That other voice in your head, a kids whining, politicians

13. Three things I'd like to learn: 

Mandarin Chinese, how to paint, how to knit

14. Three favorite foods: 

Lasagna, Chicken Parm, my mom's spaghetti sauce

15. Three beverages I drink regularly: 

Coffee, water, chocolate milkshakes

16. Three shows I watched as a kid:

Scooby Doo, Justice League, Josie and the Pussycats

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Free Range Parenting or Child Neglect?

You no doubt have heard about the couple in Maryland who let their children, 10 and 6 years old, walk a mile home alone and had CPS and the police called on them.  Well on Monday the state weighed in on their case.  They are charged with "unsubstantiated child neglect".  They don't appear to be receiving any kind of sentence for this charge but it is something that stays on file with them at CPS. 

Am I the only one who thinks that this is bullshit?  I'm not what you would consider a "free-range parent by any means, but in my opinion a 10 year old is perfectly capable of walking home alone.  He is even more capable of walking home in the company of another kid. When I was a kid, I walked home from school with other kids my age starting at around 8. In fact up until I was 8, I walked home with my slightly older school mates who were about 10 or 11.  And the thing is that kids aren't in any more danger now than they were when I was a kid.  In fact there are studies that show that things like random kidnapping are down since the early 80's when I made the 8 block trek home unsupervised. 

What the hell is wrong with us nowadays where we think that the world is such a dangerous place that it is considered child neglect to let a 10 year old walk home with his little sibling?  If 10 is too young, then what is the proper age?  12?  15?  18?  By the time I was 10, I was free to ride my bike with my little friends all over the neighborhood unsupervised and wasn't allowed to come home until dinner time.  My parents had no idea where I was for most of the day and they never worried that they were being neglectful because at 10 I was mature enough to know to look both ways when crossing the streets and not to get into a van with a guy offering me candy.



I think that this is just ridiculous.  I refuse to be one of those parents who is paranoid every time that my kid walks out the front door that she is going to be in danger of being kidnapped or run down by a crazy driver.  My kid is allowed to go outside to play alone.  She has a little friend down the street and when she walks down to her house I don't feel the need to watch her.  She will get there just fine.  And when they ride their bikes on the street I don't worry that a car is going to come and snatch her up because that would be crazy.  She would never get fresh air if I worried like that.  But with this attitude prevalent among parents and apparently officials, it's no wonder kids don't play outside anymore. Our kids need more sunshine and exercise, not leashes and helicopter parenting. 

If you want to read the article that got me going, it is here at slate.com.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh the Drama!

I'm apparently a very bad mommy.

That's the general consensus at my house after a big fit was thrown last night about what we were having for dinner.

It all started when we decided on pizza for dinner with my mother.  My mother, who watches Lila after school while I am at work, called me (at work) and told me that Lila doesn't want pizza for dinner.  Instead she wanted me to take her to Moe's for tacos.  I told my mother that I wasn't planning on going out for dinner and that pizza is one of the 10 foods Lila will eat so she would be having pizza for dinner.  Dinner is always an issue when we eat with my mother because my mother generally makes whatever Lila wants for her.  This is often because I live upstairs from my mother.  We eat with her most nights and so Lila is used to getting whatever she wants for dinner.  Before you start in on me, Yes.  I have attempted to tell my mother that this isn't working but then I come home from work and Lila is already eating something other than what is being had by the rest of us.  "She was hungry," my mother tells me.  It is pointless to try to argue with this.

I hung up the phone.  Yes.  We would be having pizza for dinner.

But when I walked in the door after work Lila started in.  "Could we go to Moe's?  Pretty please?"  "No," I told her.  "I don't feel like going back out in the cold and besides Grandma ordered pizza. 

Then the tears started.  Lila told me about 14 times that I was mean and I always tell her no when she wants to go out to dinner (not true at all.  We probably go out to dinner at least once a week).  She cried hard and for a long time.  After about 15 minutes of listening to her tell me how she was starving and didn't want to have pizza I gave her a choice.  She could eat the pizza or she could have a sandwich.  I was not going to take her to Moe's.  Well of course she didn't want a sandwich either.  I told her that if she was really hungry she would eat and if she chose not to eat it would be her choice.  I told her that going to bed hungry wouldn't kill her and she would just wake up extra hungry in the morning.

This is when it turned into something else.  "You never listen to me" she started.  "I wanted to grow my bangs out and you made me get them cut!"  I had no idea where the hell this was coming from.  We last got her hair cut while we were in Florida. My brother paid for her to go to a nice salon for a haircut as a treat (we usually go to Supercuts).  She never said she wanted to grow her bangs out.  I told her this and she swore that she told me all the time.



You see, Lila doesn't seem to remember things the way they really happen.  Very often when she is having one of her fits and she gets mouthy with me, I will tell her to stop being mouthy or to stop yelling at me and she will swear (crying the whole time) that she never did get mouthy or yell when she had just done it seconds before.  How could I expect her to remember something that happened a few weeks ago? 

Anyway, I told her that if she wants to grow her bangs out, she can but she will have to wear a headband to hold her too-long bangs back until they grow out.  Still crying she explained that she would NOT wear a headband.  She would simply push her bangs off her face and she demonstrated by pulling her bangs apart in the middle and smoothing them down to her head. 

"That will look terrible," I told her.  Then the dam really opened.  "You ALWAYS tell me I look terrible!" she screamed.  Again, I have no idea where this is coming from.

"When did I tell you that you looked terrible?"  She didn't answer.  She just sobbed uncontrollably. 

So now I have a kid who believes I never listen to her and that I always tell her she looks terrible.  This is a problem.  It doesn't really matter if it's true.  It is the way she sees things.  It apparently doesn't matter that I tell her almost every day how cute she looks, especially when she picks out her own outfits or brushes her own hair.

She started crying and begging to go to her father's house.  "I want my Daddy!!!" she exclaimed.  "I wish I wasn't your daughter!" she threw at me.  "Well your father would never put up with you throwing such a huge fit over what he was having for dinner," I told her. 

My mommy guilt started to kick in.  How the hell could I convince her that I did listen to her and that I don't tell her she looks terrible?  What was I going to do in a few years when she didn't want to come to my house anymore because I am mean and don't listen to her and always tell her she looks terrible?  At some point she is going to make her decision clear.  That time will probably be around the age of 13.  I am dreading this age because if she is such a bitch now then she is going to be impossible to handle at that age.  Would I be relegated to seeing her every other weekend?  Would her father listen to her wishes and try to get full custody?  Would I have to listen to her wishes?

I know I did the right thing in not giving in to her demand to have Moe's for dinner.  In fact, after her little fit was over, she had a sandwich without complaining.  She was back to loving me and cuddled on the couch to watch some TV before bed. 

"Do you still wish you weren't my daughter?" I asked her.  "No.  I was just mad at you," she said.

But I still kind of feel like the worst mother in the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What it's like to split custody

I am missing out on half of Lila's life.  Yup.  Exactly half.  All because her father and I split up. 

For half of every week she is with me.  On those days we talk about her day, eat some dinner, cuddle and watch TV.  And on my Saturdays we try to get out to do something fun. 

But the other half of the week, she is with him. And there is no bedtime, no cuddle time, no bath to be given. 

On those days I miss out.

I missed her losing 2 of the 3 teeth that she has lost.  The Tooth Fairy going to another house, not mine.

I missed her learning to ride her bike.  She did it while playing outside on another street, not mine.

I miss out on a lot of little jokes and funny stories and small victories.

I miss her so much when she isn't here.

Every night when she is with him she calls me to say goodnight.  And on my nights she calls him.  The days of crying because she misses one or the other of us is over, thank God, but I know that she always has that emptiness.  She would rather have us both there in the middle of the night when she is scared or sick or just can't sleep. 

I do not regret the splitting anymore.  Although for a while I didn't know if I would survive it.  When she would cry for him or when she would call me crying I would want to fix it all.  To glue our broken family back together, to make her heart stop hurting.

And although I miss her like crazy when she isn't there, part of me is starting to adjust.  I mean, it's only been 2 years. 

I am a single parent when she is with me.  I am a bachelorette the rest of the week.  I still have a hard time with this transformation. I am starting to adjust and am finally beginning to find something to do during all this extra "me time" that I have.  But I don't feel lucky to have it.  Not yet.  Not when there is a hole in my heart during that time.

Being without her so much makes the time that I do have with her more valuable.  I try not to yell as much.  I try to do fun things when I can.  We go out to eat  a lot.  We have had to put quality over quantity.  This is something I think a lot of full time moms take for granted.

And even though I am only with her part of the time, she is still on my mind all of the time.  I still put her needs first.  I am still the one who makes the doctors appointments and signs all the school paperwork.  I am still always mom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Catholic Guilt

As many of you know, Lila goes to a Catholic school.  We made that decision basically because I went to Catholic school and the public school option for where we lived was not a very good one academically.  Well this year (2nd grade) Lila is making her first communion.  Along with that, she has to make her first penance (or confession for those of you not hip to the Catholic lingo).  So for 14 weeks, every Sunday, she has to go to classes to learn about making her first penance and communion.  One of the requirements is that she go to mass every Sunday during this time.  This means that every Sunday, I have to go to mass during this time.



I am not what you would call a practicing Catholic.  Honestly, I don't think I believe in God at all.  So taking her to mass every Sunday is kind of a stretch for me.  Part of me loves the pageantry of it.  I love the big open church, the stained glass windows, the priest supposedly turning a cracker into the body of Christ.  It reminds me of childhood days spent going to church with my class during the school day.  But I spend a lot of my time in church sitting there wondering how anyone really believes this stuff.  And then the Catholic guilt kicks in and I find that I feel somewhat lost in that I don't have a set of beliefs to get me through those tougher times.

Lila, as far as I can tell, believes in God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary and all of that.  But honestly it isn't something we ever talk about.  It just never comes up.  Even with her making her first communion and having to go to classes on Sundays, she has never once come to me to discuss anything that she is learning about religiously.  So I have no idea if she knows what the 10 commandments are or if she feels that she is a sinner. 

I remember being very upset to learn that we are all born with original sin on our souls.  That we are marked as sinners before we even learn to speak.  This is one of the beliefs of the church that I have a real problem with.  My daughter doesn't know enough to sin.  I really have no idea what she is going to tell the priest when she goes into that little box for the first time.  I imagine that she will tell him that she got sassy with me once or twice or that she told a little lie.  I think she may do what I did and make some stuff up just to have something to talk about while she is in there. 

I often feel that I am supposed to be bringing up God and Jesus to her.  Like there are times when I could use them to my advantage.  Just like the Elf on the Shelf, I could threaten her with "God is watching you" when she misbehaves and perhaps that would make her stop whatever annoying behavior she is doing at that time.  But I don't believe in God enough to threaten her with him. 

I just read an article over at Bluntmoms.com (you can read it here) where the writer confesses to being a closet atheist and that was what got me thinking about my beliefs.  I just don't know what I believe.  I don't know that I ever really did believe everything that they taught me in Catholic school.  I think I always doubted.  I always asked questions about the validity of the Bible and the possibilities of redemption.  I was no doubt influenced by my parents' lax attitude toward the church and their lack of faith. 

I just hope that Lila believes something.  Because I envy people who have that faith that can carry them through tough times.  I wish I had something like that.  Some belief in a higher power that makes sense of the awfulness that happens in life.  I honestly hope that she feels some sense of connection to God so that she has the benefit of faith in her heart and for her soul.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

School troubles

I'm not going to pretend like I haven't been absent for nearly a year.  I am going to address that by explaining that I have had computer problems and been busy with a full time job. 

But what I want to talk to you about today is school troubles.  Particularly little girl problems.  More specifically mean girl behavior aimed straight at my kid.



Lila is in 2nd grade now (I know, right?).  She likes school.  She does well and her teacher has told me that she is a pleasure to have in class.  Her teacher also told me that she is always willing to lend a helping hand or offer a hug to her classmates  She said that Lila doesn't seem to have time for all the little girl drama that goes on in the class and because of this Lila tends to be a little bit of a loner.

But lately Lila has been saying things that break my heart.  She told me that one of the little girls, who we will simply call A, has been being mean to her.  She says that A always tells her the she can't sit with her at lunch and tells the other kids not to sit with Lila.  She has gotten in Lila's face and told her to stop talking to other kids. Apparently A is one of the popular girls and everyone wants to sit with A.  Lila is really upset by this and I just don't know how to handle it.

I told Lila that she shouldn't want to be friends with someone who is mean and bordering on bullying.  I told her that she should sit with people who want to be her friend.  She told me that she doesn't think anyone does want to be her friend except one boy who she plays with at recess and whenever they have free time.  What makes this more upsetting for Lila is that in Kindergarten she considered A her best friend.  They used to play together and always sat together.  Now A is a little asshole to my kid and my kid has to walk around feeling betrayed by someone who used to be her friend. 

I spoke to Lila's teacher and told her that A was being mean to Lila and the teacher said she talked to A and that A admitted what she was doing.  The teacher told her to knock it off.  And for the last couple of days things have been better.  When I asked Lila how school went yesterday she told me that A let her sit next to her at lunch. 

This kind of pissed me off.  I don't know how to express to my kid that she is a perfectly nice kid and that she shouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior from someone.  How do I make her see that she doesn't need to be accepted by the cool kids to have worth?  Why is the pull to be with the "in crowd" so strong and at this young of an age? 

But this is only part of the problem for me.  My kid doesn't have any girl friends at school.  She doesn't have that one best friend who she hangs out with.  I have encouraged her to get her friends' phone numbers and we can call them up to come over but she doesn't seem to want to do that.  I worry that it is unhealthy that she doesn't have a best friend.  I did at her age.  I had 2 actually.  My friends would come over, we'd drag them along on family outings, we'd have sleepovers.  I want that for my daughter.  I don't know how to encourage her to make friends with someone at school. 

I wonder if this isn't because she is an only child. That leads to mommy guilt and I don't like that at all.  I have never had a lot of friends.  Maybe I am not a good model of how to be friends with someone.  I certainly don't know how to make friends.  The few friends I have are people I have known forever.  I too would like to make new girl friends but I have no idea how to go about it.  How am I supposed to teach her how to do it?

Maybe A will have a change of heart.  Maybe she will feel bad about her behavior and start including Lila in her play.  I doubt it.  I just need to find a way to build my kid up and teach her that she is enough regardless of who wants to sit with her at lunch.