Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude & Crap, Day 2

In my continuing effort to "embrace gratitude" in my life, I am doing a series of posts, conveniently during the week of Thanksgiving, to express things for which I am grateful.

I am grateful that I can almost walk normally today.

I am grateful that the story of my dumbassery and klutz has provided much amusement for friends and family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude & Crap

I was visiting over at Go, Pop, Go!'s blog today & he gave me an idea for blog posts this week.

ADD Moment: Ok, seriously. How am I supposed to punctuate the possessive here? Should it be "Go, Pop, Go!'s" or "Go, Pop, Go's!" Grammar fiends...help me here. I will lose sleep if this remains unanswered!

This week I'll be posting on what I'm thankful for.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hormones? I hate you.

Hormones suck. That is all.

Ok, no. That's not all. If that were all? This would be a Tweet. I'm not that hard up for blog posts that I'm resorting to five word posts.

Not yet, anyway.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Confessions of a boring average chick

Ok. Ok. I have so enjoyed reading everyone else's confessions, I thought I'd jump in here with my own. Which are probably pretty dull.

Also? My last two posts have no comments. Which makes me a sad panda. Perhaps I need to focus on something besides my maternal stress.

So, without further ado...confessions of a boring chick.

Mama's Losin' It

1. I'm a natural blonde.
2. I'm a bit of a control freak.
3. I am blind as a bat.
4. I secretly wish I could be on What Not to Wear so I could blow 5 grand on really nice clothes for myself.
5. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
6. I'm a pack rat that wishes she were a neat freak but doesn't know how.
7. I think being a pack rat has often paid off for me.
8. Also? Procrastinating has worked out well for me on many occasions.
9. I really like nice things but am too cheap to buy them.
10. I love to bellydance & fantasize about actually being good at it.
11. I only wash my hair every other day.
12. I am an anti-establishment tattooed metal mommy who secretly wishes she could be a stylish June Cleaver. With tattoos. Who listened to metal while baking cookies.
13. I have a Britney Spears song on my mp3 player. On purpose.
14. I could watch Wolverine & Victor Creed fight it out all day. Throw in Jack Sparrow? & My life would be complete.
15. I have an amazing amount of completely unrelated knowledge in my head.
16. I may or may not have been a raging "herb" user in my 20s.
17. I like herbs better than alcohol.
18. I can eyeball almost anything. Well.
19. I envy people who know how to be stylish.
20. Sometimes? I'm just a little too lazy to be really accomplished. I'm not a "go getter."
21. I could never be a good SAHM.
22. I'm a total perv in my head...but no one on the outside would ever know it. Um, except you people reading this...Ahem.
23. I like unusual things. Everything is more amusing with extra eyeballs & tentacles.
24. I believe that cooking a steak beyond medium? Is blasphemy.
25. I have never cheated on anyone. I could have. But never have.
26. I am addicted to Criminal Minds. It's my crack.
27. I wanted to be a profiler way before most people knew what profilers were. But I am too empathic. I couldn't stomach it.
28. I am still going to shop at Amazon because I desperately hate going out to Christmas shop.
29. I was a floutist through college.
30. Drumlines? Still make me hot.
31. Powerful things? Also make me hot.
32. I desperately wish I still had a close girl friend, but I don't have the time to maintain a proper friendship.
33. Push-on bathroom faucets? Make me stabby.
34. I am also addicted to chai lattes.
35. It took me an hour to come up with 35 "confessions."

If you have made it this far? I admire your attention span.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm won't eat my young...

I won't. I won't. I won't.

I hope.

Lately I've been having mommy issues. I posted recently about my stress from adding my stepdaughter to our household. But it's more than just that. Kinda.

While she is there, for however long that may be, I must find a way to deal with the situation. While I much preferred the full-time family consisting only of Hub, Boo, and me? That is not my reality now. Like it or not.

So, that being said, I'm having some real issues dealing with the situation. I feel like I'm Evil Fire-Spewing Demon Mommy more often than not.

I am fairly old-school in the sense that I have rules (and by I? I mean the royal "I" of Hub and I...) and I expect them to be obeyed.

At least make an effort to obey.

Could you pretend to obey?

Jesus, at least try to make it look like you're obeying.


I try not to sweat the small stuff. I try to be relatively laid-back as long as no one is doing anything illegal, immoral, destructive, or inherently dangerous.

When I explain rules, I try to explain the general principle

(no playing on the stairs!)

and then try to close the loopholes

(that means no jumping on the stairs, no sliding down the stairs, no bouncing down the stairs, no throwing anything down the stairs, no rolling anything, no dropping anything - by "accident" or on purpose, no tossing anything. Do not play on the stairs in any way!)

CYA is important with kids. They're like little lawyers. They will find the loophole and exploit it.

I've learned to be consistent with discipline (about 98% of the time...I'm not God after all) and I have also learned (and am fervently trying to teach Hub) not to threaten things if I can't follow through.

I don't bluff.

Unfortunately? I kinda suck at discipline, in the sense that I'm just not very creative.

I was a very obedient kid. I didn't like disappointing (or angering) my parents. I got spanked a few times as a kid, got grounded a few times when I got older, and eventually (because I am an introvert and had virtually no friends and grounding was therefore kinda pointless) my parents took things away from me. Not a whole lot of creativity in my punishment background. And really? I wasn't punished that often because I didn't do much to deserve it. I saved most of my idiot behavior until I was an adult.

Hub? Was beaten. If he was being disciplined? He got "spanked" with various inanimate objects (switches, belts, etc.). He spent a fair amount of time being beaten by drunk father-figures as well. That didn't work out so well for him over the years. And it didn't keep him (or his brother) out of trouble. At all.

So our backgrounds are not offering a whole lot of useful information from which to draw.

I do make a strong effort to reinforce the positive. I have a psych degree. I know all about behaviorism. Reinforce the positive, punish the negative (well kinda, but I'm not going to argue the various forms of positive and negative reinforcement vs. punishment, how & when each are to be applied, etc. If you want that level of anal specificity? By a book on behaviorism.)

But dammit, they just don't seem to learn. We go thru the same stupid things over & over. Getting punished for it every time. And. They. Still. Keep. Doing. It.


And my God, do they push my buttons.

I don't want to be the parent with those kids when we go out. I refuse to shop with both of them anymore because it's just too horrendous. Princess has her own special behavioral problems I discussed before. On his own? Boo is very well-behaved. With both of them? Everything goes to hell.

Perhaps it's just because I have 2 kids that are only 10 months apart. Perhaps it's because Princess has some serious behavioral issues as a result of her early childhood. I don't really know why. I can't quantify every variable.

But I do know that it is wearing on me.

I resent having to always be angry and disciplining. I resent that I no longer look forward to seeing them after work because they are so damn frustrating. Consistently.

I want my sweet Boo back. The one that is polite and isn't constantly trying to push buttons (he does this on purpose for his own amusement because Princess always whines to the occasion. Always.) The one that asks me science questions and wants to learn. The one that will talk to his mommy instead of squealing and grunting at her. The Boo that I knew for 4 years and still know every other weekend.

I want to find they joy I used to have in being a parent. I want less frustration when I go home at night. I don't want every night to be a tortuous countdown to bed time.

This situation is kicking my ass. The bad mood resulting from the constant frustration brings guilt. Guilt that I am so angry with the kids. Guilt that I sometimes scream at them when I've already asked a dozen times & they haven't listened. Guilt that Hub bears the brunt of the bad moods & the moods aren't even his fault.

I'm tired of feeling guilty. And I'm tired of being angry. But I can't just let them run wild. They have to learn and understand the whole concept of consequences and accountability. I refuse to raise spoiled, entitled little brats.

Does this require so much constant frustration & guilt?




Monday, November 8, 2010

Coming out of my cave

I'm the kind of person who likes to hovel up in her own little quiet cave, away from people. I'm not terribly social. I can be, if I must. I'm generally quite personable & most people like me.

But I am not very social. This is my preference. I find extensive social interaction to be draining. Then I want to retreat back into my cave with my pointy stick and poke at anyone who disturbs me.

That being said, I enjoy the connections I make through blogging & Twitter. Perhaps because these interactions are more on my terms. I log in when I have time/the inclination to do so. My phone does not alert me when I have new emails or new @s...despite the fact that it is set to do so. Ahem. I have not "fixed the glitch" because I find that it works for me.

After nearly 5 years of motherhood, however, I am discovering that the connections I am making with other parents? Is way helpful.

I don't often go looking for help. I really prefer to do things myself. Ask Hub about this.

But I've discovered that raising kids? Is not as straightforward as it might appear to an outsider. Sometimes, I become very stressed about a situation, thinking I'm failing miserably as a parent, only to discover that most kids are like mine & most parents are also unsuccessful with such situations. Or discovering that other parents also have to let things slide sometimes (*cough*cleaning*cough*putting away laundry*cough*).

I have been holding myself to an unrealistic standard. And sometimes I have been holding my kids to an equally unrealistic standard. This whole parenting thing? Is confusing. Having other people around to let you know that you're not completely tanking as a parent? ...Or support you when you do occasionally tank as a parent? Most helpful.

So, to all of you who are with me on this foggy, pot-hole laden, sniper infested marathon through the jungle of parenthood? A hearty thank you!

Oh, and could we get those little paper drink cups filled with vodka occasionally? Water isn't cutting it for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

WTH did I do to my hair...?

I'm hopping into Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week since I have a good story for prompt #4 A hair disaster.

Mama's Losin' It

I was probably 18 at the time. I had decided that I would dye my medium blonde hair black for Halloween. I got the temporary black dye - the kind that says "Washes out in 6-8 shampoos!" right on the box. My hair was long enough that it actually took 2 to get it all, but I got it all. And it was pretty cool.

But then, about a week or so later (yeah, about a 6-8 shampoo period), the black was not washing out the way the box claimed it would. My hair was now a sickly blackish-green color. Dammit.

Kept waiting for it to wash out. Just became less black, more green. DAMmit.

So, using color wheel technology, I bought a nice red/brown color to counteract the green. Added this to my hair. Was WAY redder than the box claimed it would be, but ok. At least red is a naturally occurring hair color. I bought semi-permanent this time. I wanted slower-acting color change until the green had plenty of time to realize its defeat!

But as time went on, the brown began washing out of the red/brown color. And my hair was becoming quite orange. Rather carrot-like, in fact. Dammit.

Again, I apply my color wheel technology and I buy a nice ash blonde to counter the orangey red...but not go so far as green. This color did the job. But promptly washed out in 6-8 shampoos. Son of a...

I got another box of ash blonde, hoping that by the time this one washed out, most of the orange would've come with it.


Now, I threw in the towel. I went to a salon. $100 later, I had my "root color" which is essentially a light brown. I was told to return later to get the blonde highlights put back.

When I returned, they put a plastic cap on my head (reminiscent of my great grandmother's plastic kerchief thing she used when it rained...) and proceeded to use something resembling a crochet hook to pull out pieces of hair from beneath the plastic cap.

Mind you, my hair was probably mid-back in length. Pulling little strands up through a plastic cap? Is not going to end well.

While I did get my blonde back, it cost me like $200 and resulted in like 2 days of conditioner-laden combing.

Beyond a couple of minor kool-aide bang-dyeing excursions, I have never again messed with my hair color.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A difficult situation

I write this post with the fear that I will be causing strife in my home. More often than not, my husband does not read my blog. But sometimes he does. And while I believe I have said everything that is in this blog to him (I firmly believe in honesty in a relationship), pouring it all out at once may not have positive results.

But I write because I have to. If I keep my feelings bottled? Bad things happen. I have been struggling for a while now and I am hoping that you, my 7 loyal readers as you all have in the past, can offer me some insight or advice that might help me make some progress with this situation. I am trying to do the right thing...but what is "right" has become a little bit fuzzy....

The past few months in our household have been difficult ones.

Last April (the week of our Honeymoon, actually), we got custody of Hub's 5-year-old daughter (aka Princess).

She has always been a bit more...um...high maintenance than my son (aka Boo). To be fair, Boo (who is 10 months younger than Princess) is a very well-behaved little kid. Very low maintenance on the whole. So understand that I have been, perhaps, a bit spoiled on the child-rearing front.

Getting custody of her was not my life's ultimate dream. She had generally not made a good impression on me with her histrionics, and I found our weekends with her (pre-custody) to be very stressful and tiring.

Again, to be fair, I think just adding another child to the mix is an instant chaos inducer. And chaos makes me twitchy. Me no likey the chaos. I do not wish to lay blame at her feet for all of my stress related to the situation. Some of it just had to do with managing another kid. I think any parent of 2 or more kids will attest to the fact that going from 1 to 2? Is a big deal.

My hope had been that if we had Princess full time, some of our structure, routine, and discipline (all of which she had previously been seriously lacking) would kind of smooth things out a little.

Yeah. It hasn't. At all, really. Some things have gotten worse.

Princess has some issues that I'm worried about, for her sake, for ours, and for her influence on Boo. She steals rather frequently, she lies a lot (even when she has clearly been busted), she manipulates, she believes she is entitled to whatever she wants, she destroys toys (hers most often, but too often the toys/possessions of others), she throws obnoxious fits when she does not get her way (and has been known to purposely break things during said fits), she gets angry and hits Boo (often without remorse), she destroys most things she touches, nothing seems to make her happy, and she complains c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t.l.y. about everything.

Pretty much anything Boo does, in her eyes he's doing it wrong. If he moves wrong, says the wrong thing, looks at her, points in her general direction, hums, plays his own way, laughs at something she has not deemed funny (seriously), etc. I mean nearly anything he does. And she will yell at him for it. Pretty much anything we do or buy for her? Isn't good enough. More complaining/whining/etc.

This is not the example we set in our house. I'm aware of the influence we as the role models have & we monitor our behavior closely. This? Is not a monkey-see, monkey-do thing. At least not from our household.

I realize that to some extent this kind of behavior is "normal" in a kid, altho I can't imagine even a fraction of her behavior being tolerated by my parents. The idea of me trying to pull this with my parents? Gives me the shivers. ::shudder:: But this kind of behavior isn't rare, or unusual, or even "not the norm." If she is not doing one or more of these things? We are pleasantly surprised.

It is that constant people. Seriously. And trying to manage/discipline that? Is frustrating and exhausting. Constantly.

Now, Boo is not blameless. I do not put him on some pillar of perfection, because he is not. He can be really frustrating at times. He is also a boy, so when he finds something that gets a rise out of Princess, he will exploit it. Which, since she complains about everything, is not a difficult endeavor.

Most nights when I get home from work, I spend the entirety of their remaining waking hours mediating arguments and sending them to their rooms because I can't stand the constant agitation. I've tried explaining, I've tried ignoring (i.e. depriving them of the attention for their behavior), I've tried requesting nicely that they stop, I've tried yelling when repeated requests go unheeded, and finally? I have just started punishing with time-outs to their bedrooms. Get along, or go sit by yourselves. I'm tired of it.

She complains. Boo provokes. She complains more. He keeps up with the provocation. She starts yelling at him and occasionally this has escalated to her kicking or hitting him. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get the dogs out, cook dinner, make lunches for tomorrow, and (insert whatever other miscellaneous tasks that need doing before tomorrow here).

Hub's relationship with her has suffered as well. The atmosphere in our household when she is gone? Is monumentally different.

This leaves me with some internal struggles.

1. If we continue to have custody (which is a real possibility), how will this affect our relationship, our family, and Boo? It has not been a positive experience thus far. At all. What if I have to cope with this for another 13-15 years? I love my husband. Tremendously. I do not marry easily. She is part of the package. That is something I have to accept. And I painfully want for it to be easier to accept.

2. I feel tremendously guilty and selfish for feeling the way I do and for wanting her to go back to her mother. Hub has accepted and treated Boo like his own. The love he has for Boo? Is obvious. It breaks my heart that I am unable to do that in return. I am very principled, so rules and expectations apply to all...but I cannot create an emotional attachment where none exists.

3. I really want to have a baby with my husband, but the idea of adding a baby to the current situation? Kinda makes my skin crawl.

4. Are all girls like this? If Hub & I do have a baby, there is a very real possibility it will be a girl. Is she just a bad representative for females? I don't remember being like that...and if I'd tried? My parents would've beat. my. ass. Seriously.

I am not the only one with these kinds of feelings. Others have expressed things to me as well. And Hub's relationship with her continues to suffer.

I know that being a parent requires sacrifice. I know that it's not all butterflies and rainbows. One could argue that sometimes people don't like their own biological children. And then what? Would I want to send her away then?

I understand the point there, but I am also a firm believer in nature+nurture. There are things that are fundamentally hard-wired at birth. The dozen healthy infants thing? Is crap. Genetics matter. And they make a difference. Environment? Shapes how what is naturally there manifests itself.

That being said? If she were my biological child, her environment would've been much different from birth, and she would be comprised of altogether different maternal genes. Not necessarily better, but different. She would not be the same child, so it is not a fair comparison.

But it does play into internal struggle #4. Sometimes parents don't like their biological children. What then?

I'm scared, confused, stressed, frustrated, concerned, guilt-ridden, and anxious. I cannot force myself to like someone I don't like. I can be civil, but that's about it.

So now? I wait. And I hope.