Fifteen Things that Sum Up the Ridiculousness that is Parenting

Fifteen Things that Sum Up the Ridiculousness that is Parenting

I’ve learned quite a lot over the past six years as a parent. I’ve learned what to do and infinitely more what not to do.  Kids are often times the best teachers to have; from our kids, we learn how to live and how to love; how to be humble and how to be proud; how to keep it together when we ultimately just need to lose our shit.  You get the idea.  As a mom of two mad-crazy little guys, ages 2 and 6, I have begun to really lose my shit lately.  I’m not as cool and calm as I always thought I’d have been; my 12 year old self figured I’d be a hip, laid-back mom. BAHAHAHAHA.  These days, I’m so high-strung that a Stradivarius would be envious.  Thankfully, I have realized this and I am trying to find the humor in things that would normally set me off like a Roman Candle.  Because of my new-found work-in-progress, I have begun writing down little snippets of what parenting is to me.  Now, you may find yourself jumping on my bandwagon, and you may leave here today thinking I’m a total fruitcake (and… you’d be right).  Nevertheless, parenting is, like I said before, a life lesson for us all.  And so, for those of us who live in the real world of make-believe and near parenting-induced alcoholism, who also do not have the benefit of expensive live-in nannies, I present to you my list of “parenting is…”.  I hope it at the very least brings you a chuckle if not a Katniss-esque salute of sympathy.  I’ll be starting my list with one point that ventures towards the macabre — but I know y’all will feel me on this…

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  1. Parenting is: plotting out for weeks on end the murder of America’s favorite fictitious character, Mickey freaking Mouse.  Call it hateful, throw around the term “kill-joy”…. but that mouse is a parent’s nightmare on crack.  Now, did I personally always feel so violently towards the peppy, over-the-top excited little dude?  Nope.  There was a time I, too, was rather fond of Ears.  But Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has rendered me irritated, at best, with it’s unrealistic expectations of childhood behavior.  Not to mention, he’s Connor’s idol and a small mutiny occurs in our home every time that damn mouse is refused.  My mind is leaning towards a Saw like end to the Mouse.  I’m thinking a backwards mousetrap.  Too much?  Oh, well.
  2. Parenting is: wanting to get housework done, but the toddler is sleeping on the couch, and if parenting has taught you ANYTHING its, “Don’t wake the bear.”  Hello, Netflix marathon.
  3. Parenting is: stress eating cheap pizza because “For the love of God and my waistline, quit stalling and do your math facts!”  Move over, skinny jeans; the muumuu is strong with this one.
  4. Parenting is: hovering around the fridge, spoon in hand, avoiding hard stares and denying any knowledge about the banana pudding on the second shelf (behind the Country Crock, adjacent to the Dijon) and arguing that, “No! I’m not going to eat anything, promise! DON’T JUDGE ME, TODDLER!”
  5. Parenting is: a conundrum.  On the one hand, parents love to their kiddos sing pretty much anything.  On the other hand, hearing the chorus of any song over and over on continuous loop because that’s literally the only part of the song they know makes people want to pull their hair out and throw darts at the walls.  See also: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse freaking theme song.  Scooby Doo’s theme is equally annoyingly endearing.

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  6. Parenting is: telling the kids to shake it off after pretty much any injury, knowing full well that if it were YOU, you’d either A) swear at the air until the “ouchie” goes away, B) cry like your two year old who has been refused Micka Mouf, or C) stress eat anything that doesn’t move.
  7. Parenting is: repeating yourself calmly a thousand times over, in the most serene of voices, until something in you snaps and suddenly your neighbors all think you’re a metal-band groupie and, “Oh my gawsh, she ate a bat’s ear off, I swear!”
  8. Parenting is: hearing yourself say things — things that should never be said — and not knowing which direction the day will go afterward.  Case in point: I always say weird, off-the-wall things to my kids.  They do weird, off-the-wall things, after-all, and well… shit happens.  But the other day, I said within a five minute span, “QUIT LICKING THE DOG!”, “No, we cannot sell your brother.  No, I do not care that you need more Legos.”, “Santa does not bring presents to little boys who pull on their private area.”, “Please quit putting your butt on the window and put on some pants.”, “No, wiping your ass is not one of my favorite things to do.”  “No, I do not think I look like Velma.”, “We do not point guns at the mail lady.”, “No, I do not think she looks like Velma.”, “No, I will not smell your finger.”  Five minutes.  No lie.  I’ve thought about bringing my kids in for testing, but I’m afraid I’ll never get them back from testing.
  9. Parenting is: s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g… until your six year old breaks down that impenetrable code (damnit, ELA).  Then, parenting becomes speaking in movie references to anyone who will understand because said six year old is all, “I ain’t droppin’ no eaves.”
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  10. Parenting is: attempting to reason with a screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler, only to realize that it would be easier to do and sing the Hokey Pokey backwards and in Pig Latin.  It would also be more enjoyable.
  11. Parenting is: looking feverishly at that untouched bottle of wine in your fridge and managing, somehow, to save it for the weekend even when it’s been a Monday of a Wednesday.
  12. Parenting is: ending most days with someone in tears, someone else covered in Nesquick, and you on the verge of nervous breakdown… but, one way or another, finding the humor in it all, odds be damned.
  13. Parenting is: guidance, chauffeuring, chaperoning, disciplining, kissing booboo’s, and scaring away the monsters.
  14. Parenting is: being loved and getting to love.  It is special.  It’s a gift.  It’s humbling.  It’s pride-bearing.
  15. Parenting is: an experience.  Several experiences, really.  Ones that should be spent with your kids, not at your wit’s end.  It’s hard, it’s tiring, it can be a nightmare; but it’s worth it. They’re worth it.  And so are you, momma and/or poppa bear.

This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful for my kids.  I am proud of who they are — even if they drive me positively berserk.  They are my reasons to be thankful for anything; I am blessed beyond measure.  And tired.  I am so, so tired.  Time for the daily battle with Mickey Mouse.  I’ll give you a hint who wins: it’s not me.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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Ten Things I’ve Learned Living With Little Boys

Ten Things I’ve Learned Living With Little Boys

I have been “mothering” for a little over six years, now.  Actually, if you want to be real about it, I’ve been “momma bearin’ it” for a little over six years.  I’ve done a lot of things I had previously said I’d never do.  I’ve said a lot of things I never thought I’d say — or have to say (one of my favorites: “Please stop trying to lick your brother’s eyeball”).  I’ve slept more than I thought I would have, and I’ve also slept much less than is probably necessary to function.  I’ve figured out that I’ll cover pretty much anything in ketchup if it’ll get my kids to eat and that I may be an enabler to my two-year old’s fruit snack addiction.  That said, I have learned quite a lot living with little boys.  I’ve Google’d, Bing’d, Wikipedia’d, and WebMd’d pretty much everything there is to Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and WebMd regarding kids (and on how to maintain my sanity sans booze).

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I posted a status the other day on my page about needing to learn to check the inside of my shoes before putting them on thanks to having Things 1 & 2 running around.  That got me to thinking, “What all have I learned since I’ve been a boy mom?”, which inspired this post.  This is the kind place my brain goes to around 10 o’clock every night instead of closing up shop for the day.  But it’s to your benefit this morning that my poor old brain is overactive, because here are my top ten things I’ve learned while living with my little monsters boys:

  1. It is absolutely vital that one check one’s shoes before putting them on.  It is in my house, anyway.  I’ve killed many a toe thanks to Lego blocks and even small action figures finding their way to the deep, dark recesses of my footwear.  I check those bad boys with a flash light and, some days, even something pointy so I don’t have to sacrifice my fingers.  My kids think they have jokes these days and I’m just waiting to “find” a frog or something in there.
  2. No matter how long and hard you preach, socks and underwear will likely never make it to the washer.  Shirts, pants, and even a stray tennis shoe will at least get to the floor in front of the washer.  I’ve washed plenty of change and even a wallet or two (oops…).  But I have to check under beds and other pieces of furniture for undergarments.  Connor, the two-year old, has taken to throwing his socks away these days, so I also raid the trash.  It’s pretty fantastic.
  3. Your kids will never need you for anything of dire importance once your buttocks are firmly planted on the toilet.  They will, however, need you to open a jar of pickles (why are you even in the kitchen?!), to ask about the theory of relativity (relatively speaking), and “why is brother wearing a blue shirt, because wasn’t he in green earlier?” (<— that happened).9b7ac1fff5f9305ce0181d24821e1202
  4. Sleep is a distant memory that I’ve grown to resent.  A night without the kids?  Sleep!  Not. even. close.  Housework?  Yep.  Binge Netflixing?  Naturally.  Simply sitting in the quiet?  Sure.  But sleep?  Not I.  I don’t sleep when my kids are home, and I physically cannot sleep if they’re gone for the night.  I’ve learned that I’m an utter weirdo, in that respect.
  5. “Batman and Mario are most certainly real and how dare you question their existence?!”  That conversation not only took place, but I felt sure that Gabe was looking at resumes for other mothers on the slick afterward.  I’ve learned that Mario, Batman, and even the Ninja Freaking Turtles are very real to little boys and damnit, do not question it until they’re at least in high school.  And even then… sore subject.
  6. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will buy you a good five minutes worth of a shower.  That’s probably it, though, unless your kids zombie out to TV.  My oldest is guilty of that, but the little one will notice five minutes in that he’s not glued to my ass.6e9e5ca87735e1e5d80de6503442e8cc
  7. Little boys are rough and sturdy, but only if you let them be that way.  When Gabe was very little (about Con’s age), I watched his every move like a hawk.  Someone called me out on it and I backed off slightly.  Now that we have Connor?  Psh.  Unless there is a tremendous amount of blood or bones jutting out, our motto is, “Shake it off.”  Insurance premiums are expensive enough without tacking on minor cut and bobo costs.
  8. Little guys will always need cuddles even if they’re embarrassed to admit it.  Gabe has turned a page in his cuddle bear life; he no longer appreciates it when I give him a kiss (or a hug!) goodbye at daycare.  I’m lucky to get a fist bump.  But, if I play my cards right and no one is looking, he hugs me tight just as I’m walking out the door.  Only for a second, though — “the guys are looking, mom.”  Connor is only cuddly on his terms… he’s catlike, in that sense.  A grouchy little turd who wants cuddles one minute and will claw your eyes out the next if he thinks you’re enjoying getting loves.  I’ve learned to be as nonchalant as possible with that kid in regards to “love time”.
  9. There is nothing little dudes won’t take apart and try to put back together.  As is the case, my house looks like a replica set of “Sanford and Sons” on the regular.  We’re working on it, but some days it doesn’t even pay to act like I care.
  10. And finally, I’ve learned that little boys are tough and rowdy and put up a great “he-man” face, but they are pretty insecure little creatures, too.  Most days I tire quickly of being constantly called upon and tugged at… but I know one day it’ll all be long gone and I’ll miss it.  Funny thing, missing what you had once it’s gone.  So this evening I think we’ll curl up on the couch once homework, bath time, and supper is done.  We’ll have popcorn and watch Hocus Pocus and I’ll live in the moment while it’s here.  And I’ll probably wonder, most likely around 10 o’clock, what else they’ll teach me.  And I’ll wish I knew where the time goes and why, when it does, does it go so quickly.

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Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Every year, I try my best to write about my personal struggle with postpartum depression.  It was such a huge part in the turning of chapters in my life, and I feel obligated to share with other mommas who may be experiencing, or could experience, the same hell I lived in for several months of my life.  PPD is left largely undiscussed.  No one really talks about the post-natal depression because it still widely viewed as “taboo” or a “non-issue”.  Hell, the “baby blues” are barely mentioned.  That fact has left me gobsmacked ever since Gabe’s arrival six years ago.  In fact, the longer I think about, the more ludicrous it’s absence in every-day talk seems to me.

Even knowing my family’s history of varied mental illnesses and depression, my OB/GYN at the time didn’t even warn me of the possibility that I might develop the problem.  I was very young — twenty at the time — and might have heard of PPD in passing, but never at length, and never from the one person who could have filled me in.  I don’t blame him in particular — I blame society, mostly.  A society that is in no way, shape, or form idyllic has these contorted views of what the “ideal” mother should be.  I’m telling you right now — the society that runs the world today should have no say in what an “ideal” mother is.  Plain and simple.

But backing off blame, I’m here to urge anyone who might have this problem or knows someone who might have this problem to seek help — NOW.  Asking for help is not embarrassing.  It does not make you a bad mother.  It does not take away from your parenting abilities.  IGNORING the problem, however, will absolutely emphasize the problem not only for the mother, but also for the people that surround her — including her child(ren).

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I have found that opening up a bit about my own conflict with PPD has helped a few women seek help and counsel regarding their own struggles.  It is still somewhat difficult for me to come forward with my own story, but it is something I am more than willing to do to spare anyone of the terror that went on inside of my own head.  So, here goes:

My Gabe was born on August 20th, 2009.  As luck would have it, my heart truly began beating on that day.  I, however, wouldn’t have that feeling of pride and warmth for several months after the fact.  All my life I’ve been told of these miraculous stories of “adoration at first sight” upon a mother holding her baby for the very first time.  That this feeling of pure bliss just soaks down into very fiber of their being without question and without exception.  A love that, as I’ve said before, is nearly nauseating.  I didn’t have those feelings.  In fact, I was very nearly numb to everything — except terror and the unknown.  The unknown of what I was experiencing; the surprising terror of being petrified — of an infant.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it and I was certain no one else would be able to, either.  So I kept quiet.  I kept quiet for nearly a year.

I’ll go to grave believing that a plethora of factors contributed to my depression; family mental illness, being overweight and in an unhappy relationship, working three jobs from sun-up to sun-down… I believe all these things contributed to my issues.  Add to that a rash of unstable post-natal hormones?  I was just waiting for someone to put me in a padded cell.  My attitude towards everyone, not just myself, was deplorable.  I couldn’t not cry — any and everything made me bawl.  I was living with my parents at the time and refused to be left alone with my own child — I was out of control on a downward spiral.  I needed help and I knew it.  But, due to my fear and hardheadedness, I decided to wait.  I waited almost too long.

For months, I would climb into my grandpa’s old leather chair when my parents would settle down for the night.  So every night from 10:30 to 4:30 the next morning, I would sit there, in my “safe place” — forcing myself to stay awake.  I feared that if I slept, I would hurt Gabe.  He slept soundly every night in my arms — never suspecting; trusting me fully.  He didn’t know that the person he trusted the most had no faith whatsoever in herself.  One day after a long night, I couldn’t tell if I was awake or dreaming.  Awful thoughts and fears poured into my mind as though someone had removed the top portion of my head only to fill it with fright.  Horrified and feeling monstrous, I finally sought help.  Adding to the fear of losing my mind, was the new thought that I could feasibly lose my child.  That the possibility of having my son taken from me could lie in whomever I sought counsel.  Sitting in the counselor’s office didn’t help any — waiting alone, wondering what would be said… what would be thought.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, my name was called.  I was led to another smaller office where I waited once more.  I considered running — I considered calling the appointment off under the guise of a “reschedule”.  What little common sense I felt I had at the time finally took course and I stayed, anxious and alone.  And then someone with the kindest eyes came in.  She held my hand.  She listened.  She let me express every fear I had, no matter how silly or unreal.  I talked until I was out of words and cried until my face was sore.  And after all was said and done, she hugged me the tightest hug I’d ever been given.  She assured me that I was not crazy and that everything would be fine; no one was going to take Gabe and no one wanted to.  To this day, I have not experienced the kind of relief that I did in that room.

We continued to meet for quite some time.  I was prescribed a strong antidepressant that gradually became less and less.  The last day of that prescription, I enrolled in a local college — I had been given two new reasons to live my life fully.  I finally had my little boy, even though I was never physically absent… and I’d been given my life back ten-fold.  It became my wish from that point to today to educate and spread the word regarding postpartum depression in its every form.  I hope you will do the same if you took anything away from this post.

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Postpartum depression is real and horrifying.  But there is help and hope.  For more information on PPD, follow this link.  If you or anyone you know is suffering from or could suffer from this problem, please seek help and encouragement.

Back to School Bank Robbery

Back to School Bank Robbery

I was reading over the remaining school supply items for Gabe in my memos yesterday.  On that list?  Copy paper and three large glue sticks.  I keep forgetting about the paper — ironic, since I work for a copier distributor.  But the glue sticks?  I always remember those.  Two things stand out in my mind about glue sticks, y’all: sticky mess that my children will inevitably try to lick off their hands and WHO THE HELL PAYS FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS FOR GLUE STICKS?

How my wallet feels about back to school shopping.
How my wallet feels about back to school shopping.

Have I ever told you guys that I’m notoriously cheap?  No?  Well, I’m cheap.  About things like glue sticks, anyway.  So excuse the hell out of me for thinking that $4.75 (practically $5) is a bit steep for glue.  Glue that, knowing my five year old son, won’t make it even two weeks in to the school year.  Also, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Elmer has monopolized the glue market on the back-to-school frontier since there are literally no generic (but equally good!) brands to be had around August 1st.  It’s a phenomenon, really.  Every year on August 1st, hundreds of generic (but equally good!) glue brands go amiss until school resumes and then BAM!.  Those crafty little suckers are back on the shelf like they took a month long staycation.  Anyway, I eventually bought the blasted things after a heated discussion with myself at Target.  After a few side-eyes and uncomfortable throat clearings from fellow shoppers, I finally got over myself and tossed them (and a pair of scissors, for good measure) into my cart.  The only other thing I find completely overpriced and ridiculous are backpacks.

backpack, (bak-pak) n.: a forty-five dollar zippered piece of fabric that will inevitably tear mid-year; a forty-five dollar zippered piece of fabric that children carry everything else in except what they are meant to carry; a “sound investment” that will get left at home “on accident” on the most inconvenient of days.

...that happened.
…that happened.

And have y’all seen some of the designs on said backpacks?  They’re nuts!  I was walking through Target the other day (another, other day.. I’m there too much), and saw a bag covered in donuts.  DONUTS.  I pity the girl walking around with a donut bag this year.  I saw one that was shaped like Sponge Bob (..I can’t even) and another was a modified fanny-pack type thing that a newborn wouldn’t fit in.  Yeah, that’s real efficient.  Here, why don’t you make that thing useful and carry this torn-in-half tissue in there?  Careful, now… don’t strain yourself.

Gabe’s only in first grade, so I still understand the whole school supply thing.  And the list we had this year was, by comparison, not so bad.  His pre-k list was outrageous.  “Ms. Rose, I see here we need to fill out a form and send a check for one hundred dollars for NASA training?  Th-that’s correct?  Alllrighty then.”  I had to buy glitter glue that year, y’all.  GLITTER FREAKING GLUE.  Ask me how many times Gabe came home looking like he’d tried to catch Tinkerbell.  Go ahead.  Ask me.  I’m over it.. really, I am.  But don’t ask me how long it took me to buy the glitter glue and please, for the love of Jesus and pronged folders, don’t ask me how hard I cried over the price tag.

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Twenty-Seven

I turned twenty-seven on Saturday morning.

At 8:10 A.M. Saturday morning if you want to be über specific like my mom.  But it’s cool if you’re more into generalities.  I feel ya.

Anyway.  I’m twenty-seven now.  I feel no different than I did the year before or the year before that.  In fact, I feel better than I did after my twentieth birthday (hello, hangover!).  Now that I’m a responsible absent-minded mother of two, I have no time to properly cultivate a good (?) hangover.  And for that, I am thankful.  I was never good at that scene, anyway.  And for that, I am also thankful.

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I’ve learned a lot in my twenty-seven years on the planet.  I’m a little embarrassed sometimes at what I don’t know.  But, in a quote paraphrased from the humble-yet-wise Socrates, “The wise man knows that he knows nothing,”  I must be freaking brilliant because there are days I don’t even know where my own head is.  Sometimes, I feel like I know too much.  Y’all know what I mean.  Those little moments that spring up and you wish to God that he’d not forgotten to install the memory erase button?  Yeah.  We’ve all been there.  All too often.

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So here’s a list of things I’ve learned during my time on the planet.  Some are pretty obvious.  Some may be familiar to your own learning experience.  Some, admittedly, are kind of dumb.  You’ve been warned.

  1. No amount of fibbing, wishing, or praying can take back or erase a text message.  ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU’RE TEXTING/IM’ing?/EMAILING THE RIGHT PERSON.  Take it from me and foot-in-mouth disease.
  2. Baby pictures always seem to come up in doubles and triples.  You burned the album of baby bath pictures?  Congratulations.  Keep looking, though.  ‘Cause your mom’s probably got two other identical albums stashed away for such purposes.
  3. You will get used to being puked, pee’d, and pooped on by your children.  No matter how old they are.  Other people’s kids… and other people?  You will still probably get queasy at the least and/or prepare for a body fluid domino effect at the worst.  Luckily, I seem to have inherited an iron gut.  Thank you, sweet baby Jesus.
  4. Anytime I hear, “MOM!” I turn around.  It’s a reflex.  I don’t care whose kid he or she is… I will turn around.  And I’ll probably answer.  Crying babies = ditto.  It’s a curse, I tell you.  I even hear it in my sleep.
  5. Road rage gets worse with age.  Add children to the mix, and it’s a homicidal breakdown waiting to happen.  Unless you’re super into finding “inner peace”.  In which case, you suck.  And you’re probably the reason my road rage is the way it is.
  6. I always thought that (road rage aside) I would be pretty reasonable growing up.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a woman and my mood has a hormone switch that goes from 0-60 in .00001 seconds.  Regardless, I always assumed I could keep my emotions and mouth mostly in check.  Again, enter children.  And if life has taught me anything, it’s that I can bark at my children any time of the day.  And that it’s out of love. . . mostly. But if anyone else barks at my kids?  LAWD HAVE MERCY, JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL… ’cause I’m about to come unhinged on you.  Back it on up, honey.  Back it on up.
  7. Groceries are mad expensive.  If groceries keep going on up, we ain’t movin’ on up to the east side.  I never thought that being an adult would be so costly.  I don’t know how I ever thought that, honestly, having grown up with two working parents.  But I got a good taste of it at twenty-one when I had Gabe.  And I’ve been a bit of a money hoarder ever since.  Don’t get any ideas and think you’re going to rob me blind, though.  The government’s doing a good enough job at that by…
  8. …”giving” me shit insurance.  The mythical definition of insurance is: the act, business, or system of insuring life, property, etc against loss or harm.  I’ve learned, though, that the literal definition of insurance is: to rob middle-class Americans blind before retirement so that retirement is only legends heard of as children.  True story.
  9. On topic with groceries: ALWAYS make a list and NEVER go hungry.  And if you have kids and can help it, go after nap time or “butt-crack of dawn” early.  Trust me.
  10. It took me some time, but I figured out that it isn’t the number of friends a person has at any given point.  It’s the quality of the relationships.  In my life, I’ve been blessed with great friendships.  Some have come and gone for a spell, others have stuck it out.  The relationships I have these days are precious to me.  I don’t see these people often and we can’t talk every day due to… well, life.  But I know if ever I need a hand, someone will come running.  And I’m proud to be able to do the same for them.
  11. I’m in the process of learning that sometimes all I need is the support from the hubs and that sometimes all he needs is my support.  Whether it be physical, mental, emotional… even silent… we’re a team.  It’s harder a road than I thought it would be some days, and other days it’s pretty easy to fall in line with.
  12. Marriage is hard in general.  But for us, divorce isn’t an option.  Because what good is holding guilt over someone’s head for 50+ years if everything ends seven years in?  I’m kidding, y’all.  Seriously, though. . . we’ve already experienced some hard-hitting stuff.  And it’s been tough.  And some days it might have been easier to throw in the towel.  But ultimately, he’s my weirdo.  So I guess we’re staying put.
  13. No matter what they tell you, childbirth is the easy part.  Third degree tear?  C-Sections?  Please.  Wait until you’re hiding in the pantry with a pint of Haagen Dazs and a shot of whatever beverage (adult or not) is within arms reach, praying that your kids won’t get up from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and discover your hiding place.  Parenting has it’s good days.  But it definitely has it’s “hide out in the pantry and pray bedtime carries it’s ass” days, as well.  But chillax — that should mean you’re doing it right.
  14. When you’re young, crying and flirting will probably get you out of a ticket.  When you’re a mother, you pray the police have a heart and let you go because, “the baby only sleeps when the car is in motion… and he’s about to blow a gasket.”
  15. The same does not apply to grocery store clerks who could care less that $0.78 a pound is ridiculous for bananas and that you missed the sale for teething biscuits.
  16. High school seems like an eternity.  College finals can be daunting.  Hold on, man.  The end is near.
  17. Family is pretty much an extraordinary thing.  And I’m not just talking biological (see #9).  My kids call my best friends aunt & uncle.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because having learned about Gabe’s three girlfriends (two at school and one at daycare), I’m ready to call in the troops with our rocking chairs and guns in hand.  Paintball guns, y’all… don’t get your panties in a twist.
  18. A night out with the girls is amazing and just what the doctor ordered.  Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married/divorced with kids… whatever.  A night out with your pals is the ultimate in refreshing.  Guys, same goes for you.  Just keep it clean, ladies and gents.  Social media, you know.
  19. An evening out with the hubs/little lady is even better.  If you have kids, try not to talk about the weird stuff that comes out of their noses or how cute or hilarious it was because it kind of looked like Abraham Lincoln.  Talk about yourselves… or anything else, for that matter.  You only have a few hours to pretend that you’re childless.  Revel in it,
  20. I figured I’d be a “progressive” woman when I was younger.  That I could hang out with guy friends solo and still be in a relationship.  You can’t and, really, you shouldn’t want to risk it.  Not that anything would happen.  And I’m not trading in my independence for an apron and a 1950’s edition of Southern Living Recipes.  But unless Ev can be around, it can’t happen.  Ditto for him.  I’ve learned that things can happen, it’s my job as a spouse to try and keep things from happening.  Accidental or not.
  21. It took me several years, but it hit me a while back that my little brother is one of my best friends.  And why not?  We’ve seen a lot together.  My kids adore him.  He’s pretty cool.  It was one of the best realizations I’ve ever had.
  22. I have learned and relearned that you can’t make people love and respect you.  Those are two things that come naturally and cannot be forced.  It can be learned, absolutely.  And I’d say that a learned love and respect can be the best kind.  But you can’t make it happen.  And when you come to terms with that fact, you can live a more content life than you could imagine.
  23. I said it once recently, but it’s worth a repeat.  When I was younger, I was scared of everything.  I was content to sit idly in the background.  Having little ones changed that in me slowly but surely.  If you ever have the opportunity to have little ones and give up some pretty sacred pieces of yourself, do it.  It’s amazing.  Even on the Haagen Dazs days.
  24. Unless you’re born into money or have the power to summon wild wealth on a whim, new business ventures are scary.  But once you see things taking form and going forward, it’s a pretty cool experience.  Definitely equal parts cool and risky.
  25. Buying a house is a pain in the ass.  But to get out from under a rent note is a relief.  Moving is also a pain in the ass.  Find reliable friends to help.  Cook for them.  Laugh with them.  Mark boxes FRAGILE.  Drink after all is said and done if necessary.
  26. If you take note of nothing else I’ve mentioned, do yourself a favor and write this down: Remember to laugh.  It’s easy to get down and discouraged sometimes.  Remember to laugh… even if you have to find something to laugh at.
  27. Lastly, the past twenty-seven years has been a roller coaster of up’s, down’s, and twirly loops.  In twenty-seven years, Gabe will be nearing thirty three and Connor twenty-nine.  I’ll be fifty freaking four.  There may be grandchildren… possible retirement.  Who the hell knows.  I’m still learning how to navigate the ride, but I’m ready for the next go around.
You Get a Trophy, You Get a Trophy…

You Get a Trophy, You Get a Trophy…

EVERYONE GETS A FREAKING TROPHY.

Kid sitting on the sidelines with his finger up his nose?  Gets a trophy.  Kid makes a goal for the wrong team?  Gets a trophy.  Kid doesn’t even show up but his or her parent remembers to bring snacks?  GETS A TROPHY.

It’s ridiculous.  You know what our participation trophy was when I was a kid?  Actually participating.  Win or lose.  Because it was embarrassing to be the kid who whined, pissed, and moaned because, “It’s ho-ot. Can I have a juice?  When is the game over?  Can I go pick that flower two fields over?”  If we didn’t win, we got a pep talk and a Gatorade.  We didn’t get a trophy because we, probably literally, ate dirt.  I was even the kid who scored a goal for the other team once.  Okay, twice.  And do you know what I earned for that?  Suicides and a week of bitter looks from my teammates who were also doing suicides.  And did we whine about not getting trophies or ribbons?  Were our psyches damaged beyond repair?  Did we become rooftop killers?  NO.  We dealt with it and we did better the next game.  Want to know why?  Because there is no encouragement quite like double time drills in the hot Louisiana summer.

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Coming from the perspective of a once upon a time kid and a current parent, I don’t want my own kids having a sense of false entitlement.  You didn’t do squat (or squats) and you expect a trophy?  What, are you high?  No.  You get out there, participate, and win.  That’s how you get a trophy.  If you win, you act like a good sport.  If you lose, you will not be shamed for losing but you won’t be a sore loser.  You can’t manage that?  You’re benched.  Plain and simple.  But the problem with kids these days, like I’ve said before, are the parents.  “My baby feels left out.”  That’s because you’ve coddled the child.  You’ve not allowed him or her to feel defeat.  Hell, you probably haven’t let the kid feel triumph.  Not in the right way, that is.  If a person feels no defeat, there is no growth.  There can be no room for improvement because he or she feels a false sense of productivity.  All great winners were at one time losers.  There is no shame in losing if you do it the right way.

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Tired of losing?  Try a little harder.  Practice more.  Whine less.  Figure out a strategy.

And this isn’t just about sports.  This is about the art of competition in general.  Music, academics, sports… you name it.  If a person fares poorly, there should be no physical reward.  There can be a mental reward, though.  To be a good sport and to work on tactics and principles… that is the reward in losing.  When I screw something up I get frustrated.  But after some time (and it may take a long time, admittedly) I’m able to pick up where I left off and work on my form.  For me, as a mom, it’s cooking.  Or sewing.  Or trying to making a scarecrow costume for the umpteenth time only for it to look like the fabric section at Hobby Lobby vomited a half-assed design.

Gabe has genuinely sucked at some things.  I mean, it’s been devastating.  And he doesn’t like losing.  But I let him anyway.  Why?  Because that’s the only way he’ll ever learn.  There are no quitters in my house…. there are no whiners in my house (we’re working on it, anyway).  Do I let him win every board game?  No.  In fact, if we were keeping score, it would be Mom – 10, Gabe – 4… give or take a few dozen games.  Some games are simply chance, like Hi-Ho Cherry-O.  Other games are strategic or memory based.  Bottom line: he is already learning that he won’t always win and that win or lose, he should always be a good sport.  Because the shoe could be on the other foot at any given point.

Gabe is also crazy good at some things.  Even better than me.  And that’s great!  I encourage those things.  He’s not so great at climbing the rock wall, but he masters all things that can be built.  He doesn’t color very well, but he can draw some really neat things for a kid his age.  He’s the best big brother and gives amazing hugs.  He makes me laugh.  He can make Connor cackle like no one else can.  He’s my boy.  And win or lose, he’s one of my biggest heroes.  When he’s not being a turd, that is.

So, let your kids lose.  It won’t damage their psyches and it won’t land them on America’s Most Wanted.  Kids need to learn how to be tough and able now more than ever before.  So let them fall on their faces.  Let them eat dirt and score for the wrong team.  Let them completely butcher the tuba solo at the spring concert.  They may whine and complain now.. but when they’re out in the real world kicking butt and taking names they’ll thank you.  And so will the rest of the parents who are so wishing you would just cut the cord.

Everything I’ve Learned. . .

Everything I’ve Learned. . .

. . . I’ve learned from my kids.  Everything.

I’ve learned how to live.  I’ve re-learned how to love.  I’ve learned how to hold my tongue and I’ve learned that sometimes I let my crazy out a little too long.  I’ve learned how to laugh and how to suppress one when they’ve done something “naughty but good Lord that’s hilarious”.  I learned how to hold my face in just the right way so as not to cry when Gabe broke his arm… because momma needed to be tough but gah.  I just wanted to bawl.  I’ve learned that expensive toys are fun.. but blanket fort Fridays are the best.  I’ve learned that they haven’t had all the learning time that I’ve had and that I need to be a little more patient.  How to read a book with at least five different silly voices.  How to sing songs over and over just so they’ll have sweet dreams.  How to be tough.  How to let up.  How to be a mom and how to let my kids be kids… although, that is admittedly a work in process.  That said, I’ve learned more in 5.5 years than I had in 21.  And to say it’s been informative, hectic, and humbling?  That’s putting it lightly.

My kids, man.  They’re nuts.  And they make me nuts.  Like, with the-fire-of-a-thousand-suns crazy.  Or cray.  Or whatever the kids are calling chaos these days.

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I am most definitely not a typical mom.  In fact, I’m the least maternal kind of mom I’ve ever known.  I can be crazy impatient and shockingly distant seeming.  I detest shrill noises (hurts my ears like you wouldn’t believe) and, to be honest, before I had kids I had only met a handful of ankle biters that I genuinely liked.  I love babies in all their sweet little ways and cuddles and coos.  But babies grow into tiny heathens and have more energy than I could ever have.  And it’s not that I don’t like them.  It’s that I don’t know what to do with them.  You know… being the “old soul” that I am, and such.

At any rate… I have these two mad-chaotic little guys who make me nuts and tired.  And just when I think I’m about to lose every ounce of sanity I have left, one of them does something crazy-sweet that makes me fall in love with them all over again.  And harder than I had before.  Love, love, love, love… crazy love.  And I think that’s the beauty of this parenting thing.  I do.  I think parents, even the not-so-great-at-it kind like me, have this innate gift inside of them.  That no matter how disappointed or angry we are at the moment… there’s always the moment after.  Always the reminder.  And it’s not always a fuzzy feeling kind of reminder, either.  No.  Sometimes, it’s a cold, hard fact reminder.  Sometimes, it’s an eye-opener.  Sometimes… sometimes, it’s a blast to the past that reminds us of our own former, and even present, ways.  It is for me, anyway.  I see the kids making the same mistake I very vividly remember making myself occasionally and I scream to myself, “Oh my God… there’s the gene pool.”  And it is.  But in those moments, I eventually find peace and wisdom.  And a little lot of humility.  And I can calm down.. and calm them down.. and reassure them that, “Hey.  I’m a little disappointed.  And that’s okay.  Because you’re mine.  And I’m with you.  And you’re with me.  Always.”

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I ask myself to ask God on a regular basis why.  Why was I given these kids with these particular problem sets?  Why do I never seem to be going in the right direction or doing the right thing?  Why do I stammer over my words and flip-flop around like I’ve no brain at all?  Why???  And before I can even ask him all the why’s… it flies at me.  Because no matter how frustrating or humbling or fearsome parenting can be… it really is a gift.  Every time one of the boys hug me for absolutely nothing at all.  Every hand-print picture (I’ve kept them all.  Every one of them).  Every kiss, every “I need you”, every blessing at dinnertime when Gabe says, “God is grace, God is grace, let us thank him for our food”…. everything.  No matter how horrible I feel.  No matter how enraged I’ve been.  No matter the broken dish or the spilled milk or the fight over the toy.  It all sucks.  But, then again, it’s all good.

I’m hard on my boys.  And I’m hard on them for good reason.  Sometimes, I am too hard.  And I hate it.  I do, truly.  But I want them to grow up capable.  I want them to grow up smart and independent and motivated and determined.  Not scared, like me.  Not timid and bashful and silent like me.  I want them to use their voices; I want them to use their minds and vision.  I expect them to grow up to work for their life — not to make their life, but so they might have one worth living.  To see the world.. to experience and learn, always.  To have a “can do” attitude.  So that one day, they won’t be like their momma.. terrified to walk into a freshman course on their own.  Terrified to speak to a cashier.  Scared to death to move.

That’s how I was until I held my boys.  Scared of the world.  Scared to live.  Until I held their little bodies in my arms.  And all that fear hit me and then began to fade away.  When the boys took their first breath, they gave me a life I never knew.  Each gave me a key to my whole new life.  And so every morning I wake up.  I roll out of bed and begin the monotony that is adult life.  Not out of obligation.  But out of desire.  So they can hold their dreams… not just wish for them.  And I’ll be the first to tell you, 5 A.M. sucks.  It blows.  And so does rush hour.  And people who melt chocolate into their copiers (yep. that happened).  And temper tantrums.  And blow-out diapers.  And eating dinner at 8 o’clock.  And the list goes on, and on, and on.  But my life would suck all the more if I did not have my crazies.  If I didn’t have someone to come home to every night.  If I didn’t have someone who needed me so hard.  I waited a long time for someone to need me… not knowing that was what needed.

So, all you tired and exasperated mommas out there thinking you cannot possibly handle one more tantrum in Target or one more blow-out at the self check out?  Or, “Why on earth are the fish sticks sticking to the non-stick pan and could you please, please, please stop whining?!”  I’m with you.  A hundred and ten percent.  But you’re doing fine.  And, hey — therapy might not even be a thing in eighteen years.  So just hang in there.  Do your best.  Say you’re sorry when you should and hold firm when they need it.  And when the clock strikes bedtime, pour yourself a drink and know that I’m downing one, too.  Only one, though… because my kids have all the grace of a peg-legged goat on ice.  But that’s alright…. because they’re worth it.  Every last bit.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Whistle While You Work

Whistle While You Work

So on the last post I was talking about monthly menus.  I actually just made up our May menu.  Have a look-see:

We’ll stick to that unless something unexpected happens.  This month, we have Mother’s Day, mine & Evan’s birthdays, and in a few Tuesdays I’m taking the kiddos to see my parents.  Those nights (and days!) we’ll wing it.  Other than that, this is what we’ve got.  You probably noticed that Thursdays are kind of lazy days.  You’d be right.  Gabe has speech and occupational therapy on Thursdays and I’ve started walking with a friend.  So on those days, quick and easy trumps most anything else.  The kids love breakfast for dinner, so Wednesday is our designated day for “dinfasts” (I’m working on a better name, I swear).  Some of the meals you see are family favorites and I’ll be sure to put the links at the bottom of the post if you’re so inclined to take a gander.

Anyway.  A few Fridays back I searched for a chore chart that I really liked for our little family.  For now, anyway.  We’re relatively fluid people, so this may change.  But for now this, from the Vintage Mother‘s blog, works great.  Gabe’s been doing this ever since and has been doing a fantastic job with it — hopefully it won’t backfire.  He’s five, after all — almost six! — and it’s time for him to hunker down and help out around the house.  He’s always been helpful, but because of time and other factors I’ve never taken the time to set up a chore schedule.  Now when he gets home, he knows he has homework, then playtime while I start dinner, chores, and dinner.  He can have 30 minutes of TV while I’m giving Connor his bath, and then it’s bath time for the Gabester, story-time, and finally (finally, finally) bed.  His chores are not super extensive or time-consuming, but what little he does saves me between 35 minutes to an hour depending on the kind of day we’ve all had.

Apologies for the shoddy picture.  It’ll do for the time being, I suppose:

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On Saturdays he has what I call “Wildcard Saturday”.  In addition to the chores he already has (excluding bathroom trash), he has to pick three more easy to moderate chores from our chore jar.  The chores can be anything ranging to helping me put up clothes, pulling weeds outside, wiping down counters, helping clean the yard, etc.  If he completes all of his chores at the end of each day, he gets a token for being a good helper.  Those tokens can be used for one-less a chore (to be used only on Saturdays), earn something special from the prize box, or pick a meal for the monthly menu.  At the end of the week, he gets a few quarters if he’s done all of his chores well without complaint.  And at the end of every month, he gets a special pizza night (hooray for a no cook night!).  Since it’s a new system, I’m sure I’ll do some tweaking at some point.  But for now it’s working and it’s been nice not to have to run around the house making sure everything is done by midnight every evening.

...Gabe DID ask for a pet the other day...
…Gabe DID ask for a pet the other day…

Connor is not excluded from this new system, although he’s still too little to have his own chart.  He helps me sweep (holding dustpan.. I always have to redo it, but it’s cool); he helps me put clothes in the dryer; and he picks up his own messes.  He even cleans off his own high chair tray after dinner (again, I have to redo it.  but whatever).  Maybe my house won’t look like such a man-cave sooner than I’d hoped!

Look below for recipes from our monthly menu!  Hope you find something you like.  Bon Appetit!
1) Honey BBQ meatloaf, Six Sisters Blog
2) Honey Baked Chicken + Potatoes, Cravings of a Lunatic
3) Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken, Favorite Family Recipes
4) Sausage Pasta Skillet, Dinners & Desserts
5) Chicken Milanese, Kraft Recipes
6) Cheesy Garlic + Brown Sugar Pork Chops, SkinnyMom
7) Chicken Broccoli Pockets, Chef in Training
8) Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche, Cupcakes & Kale Chips
9) French Dips, Yellow Bliss Road, + Homemade Fries, I Heart Naptime
10) Easy Jack Chicken w|Bacon, Oh Sweet Basil
11) Ham & Cheese Pinwheels, Chef This Up
12) Mexican Casserole, Noshing with the Nolands
13) Mississippi Roast + Gravy over Rice, Table for Two  (also great without the rice and on a hoagie)
14) Pork Carnitas, Aldi US
15) Ranch + Cheddar Chicken, Buns in My Oven, + Rolls, Instructables
16) Pepperoni Pizza Pasta, Kevin + Amanda (can be made vegetarian or with any other meat, I’m sure)
17) Rodeo Burgers, Julie’s Eats + Treats
18) Ranch Pork Chops, Hidden Valley

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I See, You See, We… ADHD

I See, You See, We… ADHD

Most of you know by now that for a little over a year we’ve been trying to help Gabe get “straightened out” academically.  I say straightened out like it’s a bad thing — it hasn’t been, entirely.  It has been frustrating and at times I’ve felt a complete parental fail.  But it has been a learning process and has gifted our house with a different insight.  So, in short, not entirely bad.

At any rate, Gabe had officially-unofficially been diagnosed with SPD.  After seeing a few, in my momma bear-like opinion, quacks, we finally decided to hear out the “unbelievable” and give God’s hand in this a chance.

Gabe has “officially” been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD.  I have been so admittedly against an ADD/ADHD diagnosis because I believe that it is a “trendy diagnosis”.  Now, don’t get to hating on me, y’all.  I’m not saying ADD/ADHD isn’t a real thing, and I’m not saying some people don’t actually suffer from it.  But I have personally met some parents who have diagnosed his or her kid with that particular source of inattention, when, in fact, it is not always the case.  So, not trying to offend or disregard.  Just another opinion I happen to have.  Moving on.

Like I said, I have been staunchly against that particular diagnosis in Gabe, because even though he has shown a handful of symptoms as shown in ADHD kiddos, he definitely doesn’t display even half of them.  And ODD?  Absolutely not.  He may be a lot of things, but he most certainly is not the poster child for conduct disorders of any sort.  I have spent most of his life trying to figure him out — what makes him tick.  Granted, I don’t have a PhD in medicine or child psychiatrics.  But I know my boy like the back of my hand.  And I know that what makes that little brain tick is breathtaking — albeit, exhausting.  But things were not going well for my Gabe.  His inattention grew worse and his frustration with himself was pitiful.  To even look me in the eye, he had to hold both of his little hands up to his face.  Broke my heart every time.  So, I set aside my pride and “parenting skill”.  And it took every ounce of me to sit down, look that quack child psych in the eye, and tell him, “We’ll try a low dosage.  The lowest dosage you have.”

adhdHe’s an older guy, and right off the bat suggested Ritalin.  I’ve heard horror stories of that particular drug, and have even had the opportunity to witness what it’s capable of — regardless of the “1%”.  I swung back and said, “Absolutely no Ritalin.  If that’s all you’ve got, then this is completely off the table.”  There was another stimulant that could take it’s place, and, because I’d conversed with Gabe’s pediatrician previously about the second choice, I agreed.  As his relief shown through as what I’m sure he dubbed “an easy case,” a lump in my throat grew that I hope to never feel again.

Those of you who know me know that I don’t even give my kids Tylenol unless they’re on death’s doorstep.  So, pretty much never.  My kids have been blessed with excellent health, and I’m pretty much anti medicine unless it’s absolutely necessary.  No sense in botching up a perfectly good immune system.  So this medicine really sent me over the edge.  I felt I’d failed Gabe and that I pretty much needed to turn in my momma-card.  We left, and I cried all the way home.  No one could console me, and I wanted no consoling.  Not because I wanted to be pitiful and pathetic.  After all, this wasn’t, AND ISN’T, about me.  But I didn’t want my guilt swept under the rug, either.  I’d let down my boy — and he had no idea.

You’re probably shaking your head thinking I’m a complete idiot.  And you’d be right.  “She’s taking this too seriously.”  Maybe I am.  But maybe not.  Before criticisms begin to take flight, I need you PARENTS to sit down and think about anything you’ve ever done, no matter how petty or seemingly insignificant, to or for your child that afterward left you feeling worthless.  It could be not making it to a tee ball game, or telling your daughter for the fiftieth time, “No!  You cannot wear that to…wherever.”  Or canceling plans because work gets in the way.  Or sickness.  Or whatever.  And no matter how stupid it is to the rest of the world, it’s SOMETHING to you.  It’s not stupid.  It’s not silly.  And it hurts you to your very core.

That’s how I felt about this situation with Gabe.  I’ve sworn never to medicate for the sake of medicating.  I swore never to medicate if there were other options available.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We absolutely vaccinate our kids.  I feel that is important for my own reasons — reasons that I’m not nearly in the mood to get into right now.  But medicating for the sake of it… giving Tylenol every five seconds for a sneeze?  Nope.  Not my style.

Also not my style?  Not being able to figure things out for my kids on my own.  I’m the momma.  It’s my job to figure things out.  It’s my job to handle up on things.  Because they can’t right now.  And I should be able to.  So telling myself that going gluten-free wasn’t working, and OT heavy work wasn’t working, and running off energy at home wasn’t working, or prize boxes, behavior charts, begging, pleading, crying, removing red-dye… none of it worked.  I’d failed.  I’d crashed, burned, and drowned in failure.  All of my great ideas… they bombed.  As a result, Gabe is exceedingly far behind in kindergarten.  We’re holding him back a year so he can catch up before actual testing begins.  I’ve made some bad choices with good intentions.  And, ultimately, because of my stubborness and fear, I’ve let him down all over again.  Trial after trial.  Error upon error.  I’ve failed him.  And, per usual, it hurts me to my core.  I love that kid.  And I swear, I never meant for this to go on so long.

Oddly enough, Gabe’s speech therapist coaxed me into giving meds a shot.  I trust her implicitly… and Gabe loves Ms. “Anee”.  Other people have suggested the same, and I’ve shot them down for various reasons.  But this kind lady has had many one-on-one meetings with this kiddo.  Some good, some not so great.  And I believe that she, as much as an acquaintance can, loves my boy.  So I took a daunting leap of faith.  And I’m not going to lie — it’s been hard.  Gabe is still adjusting to it all.  His emotions are all over the place for a bit after it leaves his system.  He sleeps a little more restlessly.  But, overall, he is okay.  And, as far as one can tell, he is doing fine.  His grades and attention have improved.  His attitude has taken a turn for better.  And it doesn’t hurt that I’m keeping serious tabs on him by way of his teachers (sorry, ladies!).  And I’m slightly pained to say I was wrong.  I was wrong.  So far.  I’m still watching for things like a hawk — but only because I’ve researched the meds.  And I’m learning new things about my little guy that I’ve never known.. and better yet, relearning things about him, and myself, that I’ve let slip to the bottom.

No, I’m not 100% sold on the diagnosis.  I’m still convinced that it’s an over-used thing because it’s easiest to pinpoint.  But I’m dealing.  And I’m trying to let go of my stubbornness — which is challenging in-and-of-itself. And I’m not nearly happy with my decision.  But I’m coming around.  And I’m enjoying Gabe coming home ecstatic that he received five A+’s in a row.  And, as luck would have it, he still loves his momma.

And Lord Almighty… I love that little boy of mine.

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T-Pain, Exit Stage Left

Even when my self-esteem was at its lowest, I’ve always respected myself.  I’ve always demanded respect for myself.  Not as a bitchy girl or woman, but just as someone who had a firm enough handle on reality and a lack of self-loathing.  Because I demanded respect, I always had a handful of great guy friends.  I guess they were drawn to my lack of bullshit drama, and they always protected me like they would their kid sister.  I can’t think of a time when I ever felt threatened in any situation — shifty or otherwise.  I have always dressed modestly and playing “hook up” was never my thing.  I was never good at that whole scene.  Oddly enough, I’ve listened to rap and could-be definitely is raunchy pop since I was a teenager.  I’ve always liked the beat and, until lately, the lyrics made me laugh.

I marvel at girls today just like I did when I was a kid; how they demand to be respected but can shake their ass with the best of ’em to the musical styling’s of T-Pain and Chris Brown, openly offended when guys aren’t lined up playing grab ass.  Too, I’ve made several arguments against these so-called hipster feminists who claim that, “men are pigs,” and “chivalry is dead,” yadda yadda.  Maybe some men are pigs because we’ve allowed it.  Maybe some men are pigs because we’re yelling at them for not opening a door (or for opening a door) all while pulling a Miley and twerking all over God’s creation.  Yeah.  The point trying to be made is pretty much null-and-void.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too, you double standard user, you.

But I’ve veered slightly off track and that is another topic for another day.

respect

I’ve made a personal choice just recently to not only limit but to completely cut off raunchy tunes from my playlists.  Not because I’m personally offended by the lyrics, because I’m not.  I’ve never allowed any guy to call me his bitch or his hoe, and I’ve certainly never twerked (you can all thank me later).  I’ve altered my music choices because I have two small boys in my charge.  Two little guys that I love with every fiber of my being and I’d hate to whip some butts because they disrespect people — women or otherwise.  Of course, I couldn’t very well be angry with them if they’re picking up their wit and charm because of Pitbull blaring from Pandora or Spotify.  I guess that would be what you’d call my issue.  I’m not condemning anyone for listening to secular music.  Swear it.  I still listen to secular artists.  I just don’t listen to the horny ones, is all.  I said earlier in the post that this is a recent development.  By that, I mean yesterday I was blaring Ludacris and Savage in my car.  I finally really listened to some of the lyrics and realized I’d become embarrassed.  The kids weren’t even with me at the time and all I could think was, “Gah.  I don’t want my kids talking to young women this way.”  And so that’s when I made my decision.

When they’re older I won’t be able to control what they watch and hear to a point.  When they’re in my house, there will be mine and Evan’s rules.  I’m not naïve enough to believe that whenever they’re outside of our home that temptation and peer pressure won’t be a problem, though.  Absolutely it will be.  I was a good kid, but I did some boneheaded things outside my parent’s view because I knew I could.  Nothing I’d take to the grave, now.  But then I felt rebellious.  I felt “alive”.  I was dumb, but it happened.  And I’d be ten-fold more stupid if I believed now, as a parent, that my kids will be the picture of perfection outside of the house.  They may not be complete heathens, but they’ll do some dumb shit.  Stuff they better hope to God I never find out and, to be honest, I won’t want to know about.  All I can do is teach ’em the best I can.  And part of our lesson, just like not burping at the table and always remembering our please and thank you’s, is to be respectful of every living thing.  Women, that includes you.

I want my boys to grow up and find respectable, RESPECTFUL, young women; ladies who beam class, modesty, & a quick wit.  Those girls will not be “them bitches and hoes” that are so characterized in popular music.  I don’t want Gabe or Connor finding their spouse because of how low she can drop it.  Both my little guys will learn at a young age how to treat a young lady; lessons they can only be taught from Evan and me.  This is only a personal conviction.  I have plenty of friends who love those tunes and their kids are fantastic.  Their girls respect themselves.  I will say that’s a rarity.  I’ll also say that I’m glad those individuals have taught their kids — both boys and girls — how to respect and be respected.  But it’s rare.  Because I also know too many little ones who shake their collective asses with the skill of a thousand strippers.  And it’s pretty sad.

So call it what you may; silly, what have you.  But there are far too few respectful guys left in the world.  I got a good one after I’d long given up hope.  I’m just trying to do my part the only ways I know how; I just want my little ones to be gentlemen.  I brought them in this world and I’d hate to have to take ’em out for pulling a Chris Brown.