Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's almost the end of December...that means everyone fight about which holiday "owns" the month, right?!?

   It's that time of year again. The time of year it's hard to be a decent person without offending someone by simply imparting a genuine well-meaning wish of merriment to them.
    That's right boys and girls, it's the end of December, otherwise known as "Wish-me-Merry-Christmas-or-else-you-just-told-me-to-go-fuck-a-two-headed-goat" season.

   It's complicated for me. I'm not Christian, Mac's not Christian and Nixon doesn't even know what a church is. I'm trying to impart some basic pagan ideals on Nixon, but not so much that it's influencing who he is. I'm also trying to include other religions when we talk about the holidays of the season.

    It started with our tree. I can't ever have a "real" tree in my house. Why? Because it's a tarted up corpse of a tree. The minute it's cut, it's already dying. I can't, in good conscience, pay for a tree corpse to put up in my living room and water to keep the illusion of a live tree going.
   Nixon went with me to get all our winter decorations from our storage unit, including our black christmas tree! I bought it last year and I love it! It's fake as can be, it's pre-lit and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I mean I know my tree is fake, I'm not pretending it's not, so why not embrace it and go really fake?!?!
   Nixon asked why our tree is in a box.
   me: Nixon, when you cut down a tree is it alive or dead?
   Nixon: It's dead!
   me: Would you want a dead tree in the living room, with ornaments and lights on it?
   Nixon: No, trees should be in the ground.
   me: That's why our tree is in a box. Because it's fake and I don't feel bad about decorating it. If we had a real tree in the house, it wouldn't be alive and it'd be thrown out after the New Year. Once a tree is cut, it can't be replanted. It's very sad to me.
   Nixon: I like our box tree!


   I've also started telling him a little bit about the Pagan beliefs of Yule. Yule is the celebration of the return of the sun after the longest night of the year (Winter Solstice). The tree is symbolic of life, and lights help brighten the dark winter nights. There's more, but I'm keeping it simple since this is the first year I've really started explaining it to Nixon.
   I told him most importantly, this time of year is to be grateful for our friends and family. We should appreciate what we have in our lives and be generous and kind to others less fortunate than ourselves. He took that last part to heart when he and Mac went shopping for my christmas gift. We have talked about Toys for Tots more than once with Nixon, so he understands the toys are for kids who might otherwise not have gifts under their trees. As he and Mac were checking out, the cashier asked if they'd like to donate to Toys for Tots. Nixon quickly said "YES!" and even chose the toy that would be donated and put it in the box! When they came to meet me, Nixon was bursting with the news of helping a little boy/girl get a gift for christmas! My heart swelled with pride that he was so happy with his donation!
   I worry sometimes, that he doesn't appreciate what he has. He always wants another toy, even if he just got something 10 minutes ago. It seems like he's always taking and not giving, but his generosity at the store and for Toys for Tots proved to me that he does understand on some level at least that it's not always about him, and he does think of others.

  We do most of our talks in the car these days. It's when I have his undivided attention, unless it's snowing outside, and it's when we talk about almost everything in a serious manner.
   He asked why some houses were lit-up and some weren't. I told him not everyone put lights outside and then I added, not everyone celebrates the same way. Some people celebrate other holidays and that's okay.

   It's hard keeping it on a 5-year-old level without missing the meaning entirely. Nixon's been really great this year and has been asking a lot of questions. He also helped me decorate the tree! And picked where we'd hang our stockings this year.

.....And he sat with Santa, of course!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coming to a classroom near you?? No, but I am going to be a room parent in Nixon's class tomorrow.....

   Good thing I just refilled my Prozac, because I have a feeling that spending the morning with almost 30 four and five-year-old kids will be amping my anxiety to the nth degree.
   Tomorrow is Halloween but it's Thursday which isn't a normal school day for Nixon, his class is doing a Halloween parade and he is allowed to go, we were given 2 choices: a) he could go Thursday and have it take the place of Friday (his usual school day) or b) I could stay and be a room parent for the day.
   I chose the later option. I get to stay and enjoy Nixon's first school Halloween event?!? Hell yeah I'll be there!

   But there's another reason I want to be there. Nixon's still saying he's having issues with a boy in his class but his teachers aren't witnessing anything. Monday Nixon had a small bruise on his face but neither of his teachers mentioned what happened and Nixon was in the middle of a meltdown when we picked him up.

   So what should I expect as a room parent? I have no idea! His class is always loud, full of energized kids and tomorrow they'll be in costumes enjoying the Halloween festivities! I think the hardest part I'll be facing is letting the teachers handle Nixon and not deal with him myself. I'm on their turf and need to let them do their job.

   Most of all, I'm grateful I have the ability to go to school with Nixon for a day. It hasn't been easy, my being home for the last almost-5 years, but there are perks. This is one of those perks. Soon enough I'll be going back to work but for now, I'm enjoying these moments as they happen.

   In other news, today was Nixon's first school picture day. I took a couple practice photos of him at home, so he knew what would be expected of him at school as we've never really done posed photos before with him.
before school cutie pic. he picked out the tie himself!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy (early) Halloween!


Happy Halloween, from my little brony family!
(I'm Princess Twilight Sparkle, Nixon is Pinkie Pie and Mac is Big Macintosh)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hmmm....how to explain an eviction to a 4-year-old because of a scene he witnessed in our neighborhood?

   There are some things I'd like to not have to discuss with Nixon. Things that he shouldn't even have to worry about at his young age, not things that I find uncomfortable to talk about because the reality is there's very little I won't talk about with Nixon when asked.

    Today, Nixon and I had a breakfast date planned. We got up, dressed and were ready to go...I mean, in the car leaving, when I saw something that didn't look right happening in our subdivision. I normally go out of my way to avoid getting involved in matters that don't concern my, unless someone or an animal is being harmed. Today that was not the case, but I got involved none-the-less.
   I saw 3 vehicles, including a truck with a large trailer filled with what looked like trash, taking items from the vehicles and placing on a large and growing pile just about 5 yards from my backyard and less than 3 feet from an immediate neighbors yard. I know our home owners association is a stickler for a neat and tidy appearance of the neighborhood and this was an eye sore to me, I can't imagine what they'd say if any of the board members saw it.
   Even though I had Nixon in the car with me, I stopped. I told Nixon I was only going to be a couple minutes and I went to find out what the frack was going on, because to me it looked like a bunch of random people dumping shit in the subdivision.

    I'll skip the boring part: It turns out it was an eviction, served by the sheriff's department. According to Maryland law, personal property of an eviction notice served may be left on the curb for up to 48 hours. Or something like that. I actually called the county police because while there was a sheriff's car, I saw no sheriff in the area of the trash being piled/dumped. I took Nixon with me for that, because I wasn't comfortable leaving him and walking more than the 5 feet I'd walked to inquire about the dumping. Nixon says, quite loudly, "Hey you guys are making a big mess! You need to clean it up, right now!", as we were walking to find the sheriff.

    The end result of all this? The following conversation with Nixon:
Nixon: Mommy, why were those people making a mess and leaving all that stuff on the ground?
me: Well....it seems the person who owned the house had to get the people living in the house to move out because they were not being good somehow.
Nixon: Like they were talking back?
me: *laughs* No, not like that. They were adult naughty. Something happened and the courts decided that they can't live there anymore.
Nixon: So they can't take their things?
me: No, it looks like they're being petty by making that mess. They seem to act like they're already naughty so their going to be even more naughty.
Nixon: Oh....I don't get it.
me: Okay, let's try this: If you were to hit me, and I sent you to your room for hitting me, would coloring your walls with crayon be a good idea or bad idea?
Nixon: Oh, I don't hit you Mommy. It makes you sad. And it's naughty.
me: I know, and I'm glad you know that. But would coloring on your walls be good?
Nixon: No. That'd be really naughty!
me: Okay, I'm glad you understand that baby. Those people are basically doing a grown up coloring on the walls by leaving that mess.
Nixon: That's not nice. It looks ugly!

    At breakfast, I made sure Nixon understood that we're not going to get forced out of the house. It seemed like something was bothering him and I was pretty sure he thought we might get evicted because he didn't fully understand. I told him that we are good people and we make sure we're paying out bills on-time so we don't have reason to lose our house.
    Once we talked about that, he was much better and we had a wonderful morning together.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sometimes you have to stop and really listen to kids....and then hide your tears while you wipe away theirs.


    For the past week or so, Nixon has been saying he doesn't want to go to school, that he wants to stay home. He'll fight with me about getting dressed for school, going to bed the night before school and even one day he refused to get up for school (he eventually did get up, but it was a slow morning for him from the get-go). It's so strange because as soon as he gets into his classroom, he's happy and ready for school, saying "hi" to everyone. Even when I pick him up, his teachers tell me he had a good day no tantrums and was participating.

   This morning, Mac was home and helping getting Nixon ready. I was upstairs, attempting to do my hair and failing epically, while listening to the "battle" ensuing downstairs. Finally, I'd had enough. Nixon was crying, Mac was frustrated and I needed to know what was really going on.
   What's really going on is Nixon doesn't feel safe at school. He told me there's a boy in a red sweatshirt that is mean to him. He picks on him, says mean things and throws things at him. Nixon tells me he didn't want to have the "mean boy" be not nice to him and he'd stay home with me instead.

   How do you deal when your 4-year old feels unsafe?
   What's the right reaction?
   And how do you assure him while trying to calm the rage building deep in your own soul at the thought that your child is not safe at school?

   I held Nixon. I gave him hugs, and kisses, and I reminded him that he can always always, tell Mac and I when something like this happens. I told him that we are his voice when he's scared and our job is to make sure he's safe even when he's not with us. I made sure he knew we'd talk to his teachers and he can talk to them too, because they want him to be safe in class as well.

   We took him to school, and the 3 of us held hands walking to his classroom today. Nixon's teachers weren't busy, we were there a little early, so I was able to mention the concerns and issues we were having at home. While I was doing that, Nixon showed Mac the boy he says is being mean to him, and Mac in turned showed him to the teachers. I'll be honest, I've seen this child mock Nixon before and I'm not sure if it was a mean-spirited mocking or just kids being kids mocking.  
   The teachers are aware of it now, and have promised to keep an eye on both kids. Now I realize, Nixon hasn't been in a classroom setting before and there is an adjustment period, so he may not be used to kids playing and goofing around, but if he's genuinely being bullied in preschool there's something wrong with that and I'll stand up for my child as long as I feel he feels he's unsafe. If it means I have to ask to be in the office and monitor the class video feed for a day, I will do that. I will not let my child feel like he's on his own when he's just starting school!

   We'll see how it goes. I hope as Nixon gets more comfortable and used to the kids, he'll handle the situations better and be able to handle some conflicts on his own. BUT, I'm also trying to help him realize any kind of bullying is wrong and he should stand up to it. Even if it's not happening to him, he should stand up or stand by other children being picked on as well and not join in the picking on to fit in.

   It's hell that I'm having to help him navigate this at 4-years-old. He's not even in school full-time yet! I'm scared for today's youth....it starts so early.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Somehow this wonderful, kind, friendly, caring, funny and loving kid came from my body and has my genes in him. I don't know what happened to me, well I do but that's not important...Thank gods I have Nixon to redeem my faith in humanity.

   Ever have a moment when you just look at your kid and wonder where he came from? Yeah, me too...all the time.
    Today Mac had an appointment at Walter Reed Medical Center today. Since he's been working so much lately and we've missed him, Nixon and I went with him. Walter Reed is also where a lot of our wounded soldiers are treated.

   Nixon and I were sitting off in a quiet area while Mac signed in. (I should add before people start getting crazy: Mac is not wounded. He was there to get seen for his wickedly flat feet, and get custom insoles for them. He's been in for 19 years, these things happen. He is in most other ways, totally fine. His mental stability is suspect, but that's mostly because we've been together for 7 years and I rub off on the sanest of people in less time and smaller doses.) Nixon was people watching, something he enjoys but always has questions about. He first saw a guy with crutches and said "Why does that guy have sticks with him?". I explained crutches and the use of his indoor voice. Next he saw a double amputee with prosthetics on a Segway. Nixon says "Mommy, look that's so cool! That guy is standing and on wheels! Look how fast he's going." Did I drop the ball because I didn't overly explain the situation? Maybe, but at the same time, Nixon wasn't afraid of anyone and he wasn't seeing these heroes as "different". He was looking at them in awe.
    A little later we were getting ready to walk around for a bit. There's only so long that he'll sit still before he needs to get up and move. As I was gathering my bag, Nixon smiled and waved at a young boy in a wheelchair that went by and said "hi". He kept moving, but his dad said "hi" back to Nixon and smiled. When we were coming back from our walk, Nixon saw the boy again and again smiled and said "hi". This time the little boy said "hi" back. His dad said they had to hurry to go pick up his legs. It was only then that I noticed he was missing both legs. Nixon? Never noticed. To Nixon he saw a kid and said "hi", like he always does.
 
   The only cringe worthy moment was when he and I were walking behind a guy with a cane and an ankle brace. Nixon says "Mommy, what's wrong with him?". I try to be very tactful and say "Well baby, it looks like he has a cane to help him keep his balance and a brace on his ankle, probably for an owie of some kind." Nixon says "Well, what happened?" Oy, really kid?!?! I say "Well, I don't think he did it on purpose, it was probably an accident of some kind. But he seems to be recovering, which is always good when owies heal." and Nixon says, as we pass the guy who stopped at a coffee shop, "I hope you feel better soon!"

   I am in awe of the kind and friendly child I'm somehow responsible for raising. I just want to keep him this pure and wonderful for as long as possible. Because right now he is perfect, just the way he is.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The evil cycle of the reality of a being a Stay-at-Home-mom for the last 4 years....losing my identity.

  It seems these days I'm losing my identity and instead becoming known by someone else's identity.
  It started when Nixon started preschool earlier this month. I stopped by to pay his tuition and the director of the school didn't know me until I identified myself as "Nixon's mom". I get it, I really do, she deals with so many parents and children that keeping it simple and learning only the children's names is the best way to go, since those are the ones she'll be seeing on a daily basis for extended periods of time. The parents are there for drop-offs and pick-ups and the director isn't always present in the classroom at those times.
   So I've resigned myself to accept my newest role as "Nixon's mom".

   But then I had to write a letter for Mac, to his command, regarding a request to stay on the current shift he's on. I wrote it as Mac's wife and Nixon's mother....I was no one as an individual. I had no single stake other than to represent what was best for Nixon, Mac and our family.
   That's when it hit me.

   I'm really losing myself lately. I've stopped working on things for my etsy shop. I've got costumes to work on for Halloween, I've got almost everything I need to complete said costumes but I haven't started them yet.

   I don't really have a point to this. I'm behind on blogging because I'm in a funk. I'm in a funk because I'm not inspired by anything these days. I'm uninspired because I'm not feeling like an individual, I'm just a part to someone else's whole.
   Please tell me other moms have gone through this and it goes away?

   By the way, before anyone tells me to get a job, at this point in time it's not possible. Nixon's only going to school 2.5 hours 3 days a week and Mac is still on the overnight shift, daycare is an impossibility.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hi, my name is Rea: I'm not always my son's best friend but I still have anxiety about sending off to school and not hearing him call me that every day. I'm a basket case and he loves me, so stop judging me! The voices in my head do that well enough without your help!

  I don't recall the exact reason for Nixon saying what he said to Mac and I, but I do know that it hurt to hear him say the words but I wasn't going to show him that.

   It started with him being told he couldn't get/have/eat something. He got angry and started telling us "You're not my best friend anymore". Mac's response was to tell Nixon to be quiet. My response was to let Nixon say what he wanted to say (and tell Mac to "shhh") and then explain to Nixon that as his parents we're not going to be his best friends forever. He's not always going to like what we decide and that's okay. My job is to be his mom first and if he loves me as his best friend that's awesome, but my goal is to not be his best friend my goal is to be the best damned mom I can be to him and sometimes that means he won't like me. I'm okay with that even if he's not.
   He was not really listening, but later when he calmed down he came over to me and gave me a kiss and said "I'm sorry I was mean, I still love you" totally unprovoked by me. I felt as if I had just won the mommy lottery!


   I have no idea when it happened, but Nixon will be starting pre-K in September. He's only going part-time 3 days a week, but my baby is leaving my nest! I'm so super excited for Nixon because he will be getting the social skills he needs and learning how to take directions from a teacher, and the school we chose is super creative focused, so it feels like a good fit for him.
   I've met his teacher and did a  preemptive apology for his dry sarcastic wit (she assured me students like that are her favorites, they keep her on her toes) and also apologized in advance for being the mom with the super snotty, wet faced drop-off on the first day. She laughed, probably because she thought I was joking. I was not. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to drop him off and let go. For over 4-and-a-half years it's been Nixon and I. The only person I've really had to share him with, is his dad.
   Now, our time together is coming to an end and I'm really very sad because I realize it truly is the end. This is only the beginning of my sharing him with the world. First it's part-time pre-kindergarten, then it's elementary school to middle school then high school and before I know it I'm waking up on the day he's going off to college. I can't undo this, it was going to happen but gods it happened so damned fast!

   Mac is worried about Nixon taking directions and listening to his teacher. He's worried about Nixon interacting with kids his own age. I'm worried about not being the center of his universe anymore. I've got anxiety over not hearing him call me his best friend (yes, I realize it completely contradicts the first part of this post) and him pushing me away when I try to kiss him, instead of him wanting to kiss me every day "just because".
   Yes, I have silly mommy anxieties. Let me have them!

 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

...the day your child says he doesn't want to make friends because his heart hurts, is the day you dig deep and fight like hell to show him how much he has to offer friends he hasn't met yet.

    It's been a long time since a conversation with Nixon has had me in tears, but tonight that's exactly what happened.

    Nixon has been struggling. He's been having random mood swings since his cousin left after a visit last month. Anytime Mac or I would ask what's wrong, Nixon would say "I miss J" and start to cry, even if his outburst had nothing to do with J it was always his go-to response.

   Tonight I finally stopped and listened to him. I heard what he was saying and let him say it. And it was heartbreaking.
   In the past two days, Nixon's also mentioned his other cousin who moved to California earlier this year. He had spent a large amount of time with her as we had been living with her while her mom was out-of-town for military training over a span of two and a-half months.

   After an epic meltdown over cleaning up his toys downstairs, Nixon and I went up to his room and we talked. Well, he cried and I held him. Then we talked. He told me he never wanted to make friends. I asked him why and he said "J left and he broke my heart. I miss him.", and my heart broke hearing his 4-year old logic. How do you argue with that?
    I didn't argue. It's true. Friends leaving hurts. I know that firsthand.
   I told him the truth: Missing someone is part of a greater thing. It means you've got love in your heart for the person you miss and that is amazing! I want you to make as many friends as you want, lots of friends or just a few very special friends like mommy has, but you have to have friends in your life. I want people to see the kind, loving, silly, amazing and wonderful boy I see every day and I want them to want to be in your life. But you have to let them in your heart. It's a risk, but it's worth the risk. Sometimes, your heart will hurt, it's part of life but the best part of life is the strength you get by bouncing back from pains in your heart. Right now, you have good memories of your time with J, hold onto those every time you miss him and you'll feel the love and smile in your heart and the pain of missing him won't be so bad. Making friends here, when you start school, will be better because they'll live here and not far away like J so they won't have to leave and you'll see them at school.
   I closed it with: Please, please take the chance and make friends. You're so little and have so much life in front of you to say you won't make friends. Don't let fear stop you from being the brave and wonderful little boy I know you are.

   We sat on the floor of his bedroom, he on my lap head lying on my chest, looking at the photo of him and J together. Nixon crying and myself on the verge of tears. Nixon got up and said he needed a tissue, he grabbed the toilet paper roll from the bathroom and brought it to me in his bedroom. I helped him blow his nose and he got into bed.

   I came downstairs and told Mac about the conversation. He says "Is he 4 going on 16? He's growing up way too fast!"
   Tell me about it, babe, tell me about it.

   Tonight was by far the worst night about being so far from family.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm so lucky Nixon is mine....he's so sweet, loving, silly and mine! This is a short blog of mommy drivel, feel free to ignore it if you want.

    I'm about to be an aunt for the 4th time (by my sister anyhow, many more if you count the in-laws and the better-than-blood nieces and nephews) tomorrow morning. My sister is having a little boy some time tomorrow. She was due last week, but like all her other babies, this one too needs to be evicted.
     She's being by medical terminology induced. I prefer she's giving eviction notice to her uterus' latest tenant, aka Uterus Eviction Day! It just sounds like more fun than induction or induced.

    I was telling Nixon he was getting a new cousin tomorrow and he got excited. He asked me if this "was the baby in Aunt Snotface's tummy?", which I said yes. Then I told him we were going to see him next month. This little sweetheart of a boy, that I evicted from my uterus, said to me "I can't wait! I want to put him down for a nap, before the moon is in the sky, because that's when all babies are safe." His newest cousin is not even here and Nixon wants to keep him safe. I might be raising the lovingest boy ever!
=====================================================================
On an unrelated note:
Last week Nixon and I watched a bunny in our backyard for over 15 minutes. I took photos of it, and Nixon sat quietly in a chair watching it:



 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Please stop saying BOMB in public"....why the hell do I have to repeatedly tell this to my 4-year old?!?!

   For some reason Nixon has suddenly become obsessed with "throwing bombs" and running. Not real bombs, mind you. But he wants to tell me "Mom, I just threw a bomb at you, you blew up." I know pretend play is just that, pretend, but there are so many uptight assholes in the world today that might overhear that and actually think my child has a bomb and do something drastic.

   It's for that reason alone, I've started to tell Nixon, when he says anything about bombs, grenades or guns, in public "Nixon, it's okay to play pretend at home, but when we're out of the house you can't talk about those things. Some people won't know it's just pretend and they'll get very nervous and upset."

   I'm trying to curb this new verbal habit of his before he starts preschool in the fall (fingers crossed that he gets a spot). I want him to thrive at school and I'm not totally sure what the school's policy is regarding things like gun-play, to be honest, I'd prefer it to be a non-issue. As in something I never have to worry about because Nixon does not have issues with it outside of the home. Mac has stopped playing video games while Nixon is awake, we're more vigilant about the shows watches because of his behaviors. He wasn't becoming violent, more he was acting desensitized to real-life violence finding it funny....that was a big red flag for me and I was straight up "HELL NO" when that happened.
  I was watching the news, and there was a segment about a violent break-in caught on a nanny cam. The robber brutally beat the home owner and it was caught by the newly installed nanny cam. Nixon happened to come into the living room (he was in the kitchen, eating dinner) and saw the video, he started laughing. I was crying because I was so upset that I couldn't get him to understand it was a real crime, a real person being hurt and not a made-up funny TV thing. He kept telling me "And he kicked her in the face HAHA"
    He eventually noticed I was sitting on the sofa, quietly crying. He asked me what was wrong and I told him that the lady on TV was badly hurt by a bad man. The police were trying to find the man that hurt her, which is why the video was being shown on TV. I told him, honestly, it hurt my heart that he was laughing and I was scared that he thought hurting people was funny. I then told him that lady was a mommy, like me, and her baby was in the room watching her get hurt.
    He said "Mommy, that's sad. Did the man hurt the baby too?" Thankfully, I could tell him the truth, no the baby was not hurt.
    Nixon said "Mommy, don't cry. The naughties (police in Nixonese) will find him and he'll go away." I hope it sunk in, I don't want him thinking hurting people is funny.

   Ugg....who knew this was the age I'd have to worry about this shit with him?!?!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Some things are better left unsaid....other things should just never be thought of. Then there's conversations like this that make you wonder how I manage to raise a kid as wonderful and awesome as Nixon in the first place!

   All my moms out there, you can relate to this, I'm sure. It's easier to just pee with the door open then try to close the door and go. It really does save time, because you can actually go undisturbed most of the time. But as soon as that door closes it's like a giant neon sign lights up with an alarm that only small children and pets can hear that says "Quick, she's in the bathroom, you must go and bother her RIGHT NOW!" over and over and over again, until you open the door at which point the sign and said alarm magically disappear.
    I'm sure my lack of needing privacy to pee also comes from spending months sharing a bathroom with over 20 girls in Army, and having friends like F who would be naked all the time if she could be. It's peeing, we all do it.

    Which brings me to this morning's fresh-out-of-bed conversation with Nixon.
Nixon: *looking at me from the waist down, very intently* Where's your peenie, Mommy?
me: *chuckling* Honey, I don't have a peenie because I'm a girl. I have a vagina. Only boys have peenies
Nixon: I have a peenie. Daddy has a peenie too.
me: Yep, because you both are boys. I'm a girl, so no peenie for me. Trust me, I'm a little disappointed by that too.
Nixon: Where did your peenie go?
me: I never had one.
Nixon: Never?!?
me: Nope, I've always had a vagina. I've always had to pee sitting down.
Nixon: I did too. But then I learneded to pee standing up like big boys. Like Daddy does. Because I'm growing up and I'm a boy!
me: Yep, you sure are.
Nixon: Can you buy a peenie?
me: Well, kind of...but I still don't think I could pee from it.
Nixon: I like peeing standing up. Being a boy is awesome!
me: Just rub that in. And don't thank me, thank Daddy. I only have girls in me.
Nixon: Huh?


   We ended the talk there, because I hadn't had my coffee yet and I tend to get cranky and say massively inappropriate things without coffee. Like almost explaining to a 4-year old strap-ons.
    In other, unrelated news: I'm thinking of giving Nixon a My Little Pony temporary tattoo sleeve. I think it'd be awesome, and he's totally digging the idea!

Monday, July 8, 2013

7 year itch?? Nah, not in this house!

    Ever have those future "what-if" conversations with your husband/wife or significant other? Occasionally, mac and I have them and they are really random. The most recent one was last week as we were celebrating the 7 year anniversary of our first date.

   Someone had asked if I was getting "itchy" now that it was 7 years. (You know that old adage of the 7 year itch?) Mac and I were talking about it and how we felt like we really were too perfectly matched to find anyone else who would put up with us, like each other does.
   I said "Well, if this ever falls apart I'm not dating. Do you know how impossible it'd be to find a guy who is childless NOW at my age?!" I was totally serious too. While I adore Nixon, I'm not looking for, nor do I ever picture myself with a blended family. I'm too selfish to share myself, my partner and my son with someone else's family which is what a blended family is all about. I admire women who step-up and do the step-mom/step-family thing. It's never easy from what I've witnessed.
 
   As for me? Itch or not. I'm willing to fight and work for what I've got right now. Mac and I haven't hit bumps we can't smooth out over time and I'm not tired of his face yet. I'll keep him. Besides, look at the adorable child we made together. Who wouldn't want to stay with the man who helped create that/him with me?!?

   Our family is odd an unconventional for sure. We have bad days and good days. But when I have my bad days and it feels like my world is crumbling around me, Mac is my rock. He's the person I turn too when I need support or a laugh. I can't imagine ever wanting to let go of the security I feel when he holds me.

   So, 7 year itch be damned! We're 7 years since our first date and still going strong!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Total fracking randomness from today!

   I'm going to put this here, because while it's not parenting related it's mom-life related. Since the first of the year I've steadily lost over 15 pounds. Even better, I've managed to maintain the steady weight loss without exercise, not that I'm bragging of my lack of fitness but rather I'm proud of the weight loss that I'm keeping up with.
   I'm now lighter than I was when I got married, I weigh almost as much as I did when I met Mac for the first time but I'm way less toned. Part of the plus side to this is I'm feeling more confident in my own skin. I'm wearing carpi's, skirts (that are knee length, not maxi skirts) and jeans that are loose and I'm down 2 sizes!
   None of that is as impressive as what I did today. Today I wore shorts, in public for the first time in over a decade! And my thighs don't rub when I walk anymore! If you don't get why I'm bragging about this, sorry I'm boring you.


   Nixon still is demanding help wiping his ass. I know he can do it, he just knows its easier if mom or dad does it for him. Tonight, after the especially hellicious morning we had together, he knocks on the wall and demands one of us helps wipe his butt. Mac tells him to wipe it himself. Nixon stays in the bathroom for a couple more minutes, then comes out sans undies and says "MOMMY I said I need HELP!"
   I get up and follow him back into the bathroom. I look at him, as he's got his butt in the air at me saying "I touch my toes mommy." and all I can think of is I'm so over this phase.
me: Nixon, I'll wipe your butt but you have to wipe mine next time I go potty. It's only fair.
Nixon: what?! No! You wipe my butt.
me: Yeah, no. If I'm going to wipe your butt, you need to wipe mine. That's fair, right?
Nixon: NO! I don't wipe you! You grown up, you wipe yoursself.
me: Well, if you're not going to do that, then you need to wipe your own butt.
Nixon: I need help.
me: Well, okay then. *I fold the wipe for him and show him how to wipe*
Nixon: Oh, I know how to do this!
me: So you'll wipe your butt and no one will wipe mine?
Nixon: Yep.

I leave the bathroom and fall onto the floor in the living room, where Mac sits on the sofa, and collapse into laughter. Mac "Well played", and all I can say is "I really never think before I speak to him." I might also need to start saving for therapy.

Ugg...why doesn't anyone tell you how horrible 4 is?!?

   Well, my Saturday is off to a fine start. How is everyone else's? I hope for your sakes, not anything like mine is going. Unless you are a mortal enemy of mine and then I hope you are having the same day times 5. Which would only be possible if you have 5 kids or quintuplets.

   Nixon is currently in his room, and is there until he decides to leave his room clothed. He's in his jammies, but is refusing to change for the day. Fine, I'm tired of this constant battle of the wills. Not going to change your clothes, stay in your room. Done!

   While I'm dealing with this at home before I've had my coffee even Mac is off waiting for a comic book signing at Third Eye Comics, where he's been since 7am. It's an ongoing theme lately. I deal with Nixon's tantrums and Mac is....well, anywhere but home. True, a lot of the time he's working or doing something work related, but this week it's also been him doing things he likes doing...alone. Which translates to he gets free time and I get? Another wonderful tantrum, strong-willed filled day of Nixon fun. *sigh*

   After 20 minutes in his room, Nixon came down and got dressed then asked to go see Daddy. Before we left (I made a cup of coffee) I warned Nixon that if he acted up and didn't listen to Mac or myself, I would bring him back home.

   We left the house and got to Third Eye Comics without issue. Nixon was a gem, sitting in his chair while I actually got to have a conversation with another adult about something I enjoyed! He started watching his PSP, but was soon enamored with a friend's pet rat. The rat was replaced by solitaire on our friend's phone, which Nixon was quite good at surprisingly enough.

    Everything was good, until Nixon decided to run around and stop listening. Enter me. I picked him up, carried him (screeching at the top of his lungs) to the car, and we left. He was warned and now I was following through. He was upset, wanted to go back to Daddy, but that wasn't happening.

   And Mac? He's still at the comic book store, waiting in line for the signing. To be fair, he did offer to come home, before Nixon and I got there, to help get Nixon ready. I declined because forcing Nixon to get ready wasn't going to fix anything. Nixon needed to make the choice himself.

   It's frustrating that my days are filled with tantrums and plans getting shelved because Nixon won't behave, but Mac's life and plans go on. It's a cycle we go through every 6-9 months. We'll be on really good and equal ground for a while than BAM! I'm losing all my sanity and he's getting a lot of breaks. It balances out in the end, it's just been a little harder since I suck at making friends. Wait, does a bottle of wine count as a friend? Cause if it does then I've had a couple new friends in the past two months, but it ended abruptly when I realized they were empty and I was tipsy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A little catch-up, because it's been a while

   Nixon and I have been having a rough couple of days. Really, it's not my fault or his fault, I blame it on the fact that I'm sick and he is having a hard time grasping that concept. I'm not sick-in-bed sick. No, I'm sick-have-no-voice sick, which to my chatty child who loves playing "Secret Agent Mom/Secret Agent Nixon" with me, is worse than just me lying in bed watching TV with him. Why? Because I can't talk to him.
 
  I've been battling a sore throat and dry cough for almost a week now. Over the weekend I lost my voice, for a day. Normally, that's the end of the my cold: lose my voice for a day and it all goes away. I wake up the next morning feeling right as rain. For some reason, this time, that's not happening, because a couple days later I've still got the cough, sore throat and I lost my voice AGAIN, today is the second day in a row I've been voiceless.
   That's not entirely true. I have a raspy whisper of a voice, but it does nothing but annoys Nixon because when I do talk it's weak and I end up coughing from the effort afterwards. And why wouldn't I lose my voice on the only 2 days Mac has to work this week?!? Because my body hates me and might be filing for divorce with this illness, who knows?

  Yesterday, Nixon decided to start mocking my voice. For some reason this seemed like a good idea to him. Despite Time-Outs and even spankings, he still persisted in mocking me.
 
   I ended up going to the doctor because on day 3, I still had no voice and the weekend was coming. I got lucky and was seen Friday at 10am. I'm thankful for the nurse and doctor who patiently listened to my raspy whisper voice while I explained why I was there.
   The end result? I was battling laryngitis from forceful coughs caused by my allergies but I was on the verge of strep throat so I was loaded up with antibiotics to kill everything, told to keep taking Claritin for my allergies.
   My voice returned weak and raw on Saturday and by Sunday it was back in full effect. Just in time for my birthday on Monday!

   Mac and Nixon woke me up Monday morning by bringing me coffee, donuts and gifts in bed! Nixon (and Mac) said "Happy birthday, Mommy" and Nixon was most excited about the donuts. Mac was most excited about the gift he had commissioned for me several months ago, that had finally arrived on my birthday: 
It's a watercolor painting of Nixon as Iron Man! It's incredible and I was beyond words when I saw it! 

   Nixon decided to tell me, the day after my birthday, "Good morning Mommy! You're old!" and he's been saying that every day since then. At least he was kind enough not to say it on my birthday.     

   Finally, the biggest most amazing accomplishment with Nixon happened this morning: He and I can now play real games of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock! Even better, Nixon managed to beat me twice! He beat me fair too, threw the winner fair-and-square. But he does try to cheat!
   He also likes to "cut" me with his lightsaber and tell me "Mommy, I just cut off you arms and legs! hahahaha" That's what we get for letting him watch Star Wars Episodes 1-3. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quick thank you for this milestone!

   I logged on to start my Quiet Nights post, when I saw my pageviews count.....
10,000
Thank you, everyone who has ever read my blog even once, for making that number possible! You all ROCK!

That is one, big-ass number...too bad I don't have a dollar...hell, I'd be happy with a quarter, for every page view.

That's all. Thanks everyone! Please keep reading!


My little self-dictator

   As a parent, a mother especially I believe, it's hard to face reality and accept that your child may have "issues" and seek to get them help. It's common to get feedback from well-meaning strangers, friends and family members like "Oh, it's a phase" or "Well, what do you expect, you spend too much time with him" and other shit along those lines.
   Recently, while facing the reality that Nixon will be going into some kind of Pre-Kindergarten this fall, I've also been faced with his less than perfect behaviors and took the first step to see if these were real "issues" on a larger scale or if they were, in fact, just a phase.
   The county we live in offers evaluations for learning and behavioral disabilities through a program called Child Find. While this info is not easy to find, on your own without guidance from the school system, it is there if you are like me and willing to spend hours scouring the Internet searching for public resources. I finally made an appointment, after explaining my concerns for Wednesday May 15th.
  What were my concerns? Nixon is easily frustrated by new tasks to the point of tantrums, he has some speech issues, he's very sensitive to sounds,he's very focused on things being done "right" if he thinks it's wrong everything is ruined. To someone else, these would seem small and like I'm overreacting  but put them all together and on any given day Nixon is a ticking time-bomb in a new environment.

   We met with the evaluator and were taken to a small classroom setup. Nixon was given a few small tasks to complete, puzzles and things of that nature, while Mac and I spoke to the evaluator about our (mostly mine) concerns. After talking to us for roughly 20 minutes, during which time Nixon completed an advanced puzzle meant to occupy him for several minutes in less than one minute, she went to spend time with Nixon one-on-one. This was when I had to focus on filling out paperwork and tune them out because I needed to resist the urge to correct Nixon's behavior. He wasn't being horrible, he was just forgetting his "please" and "thank you"s while he was constantly saying "I can't do it" a favorite phrase of his before he does a new and unfamiliar task and more than once being bossy. But this was why he was being evaluated and he was told to be himself, much like he would be in a classroom.
   He didn't like when the tasks had to change, for example switching from cutting paper to drawing suddenly. He wanted more time building blocks. He displayed his "this is ruined" behavior when he found a broken peg, but didn't flip out because it was quickly removed from his sight. He was able to hear a classroom of students through the wall and asked why they were "being so loud", the evaluator said they were learning like he was and he said "they should do it quieter, they are being too loud"...she looked over his shoulder at me and gave kind of a knowing "Oh I see" glance. He was able to copy building block patterns she made, even a more advanced setup that she didn't expect he would be able to complete...he did!
   She made notes of his language the whole time. With the exception of his "th" sounding like "f" at the end of words mostly, which is age appropriate, he is fine with language and can carry on exceptionally well for his age. He is above age-level for grammar, with his sentence structure of "Excuse me, may I please play with this box now?" according to the evaluator. I just thought I was teaching my child to be polite, I never gave a second-thought to sentence structure. 
   One of the funniest moments came during the verbal analogy part. She'd give Nixon an analogy and ask him to complete it. The first one was "Food is for eating, Milk is for_____", expecting drinking. Nope, Nixon says "cow". So she repeats it and he says "cow" again, she tries a third time and Nixon says "I said milk is for COW", she moved on and he did fine on the next 3 analogies, even correcting himself with a more appropriate word at one point: "My hand is big, your hand is____" Nixon first said "little" but then said "No, wait...my hand is small." She was impressed that he would correct himself like that.

    After all was said and done, she sat down with Mac and I again and went over her findings. She does not see anything that leads her to believe Nixon has a learning disability, first and foremost. He has no signs of being on the autism spectrum either. He does have sensory perception disorder with sounds, but we've got a firm understanding on that and are handling it appropriately at the moment.* Nixon is showing signs of being very bright, above age-level intellectually wise but (there's always a but right?) he has behavioral issues which can pose problems in a classroom environment.
   Nixon is self-dictated. He's happiest when he's setting the pace on what he's learning and doing. Which is no surprise to me, I saw him learn how to walk independently in a matter hours when he decided he was ready and potty training was the same way. When he was ready, he went from pull-ups to undies in a couple weeks...full-time, no accidents overnight even! Self-dictated? Yeah, I can see that!
   But he's not good with taking directions. Which will undoubtedly be an issue in a classroom. He's so damned bright, I want him to love school but he won't if he's getting in trouble for not listening to his teacher. Which is why the evaluator referred us to another program BEST (Behavioral/Emotional Support and Training) to help us learn how to help him control that now before he's in school.

   Overall, it was a good evaluation. Until the end. We'd mentioned Nixon's epic tantrums that happen when he's told to do something he just does not want to do. Well, he did not want to leave when our appointment was over. And he let it be known...by screeching at the top of his lungs! I was my usual calm, I've-shut-down-because-I-need-to-check-out-and-just-deal-with-him-non-emotionally-right-now self, and the evaluator and her boss both asked if this behavior was normal, and of course we replied, "When he doesn't get what he wants and a distraction doesn't work, yep, this is normal" I'm glad they got to see it. It's important they see all the behavioral issues we'd mentioned, and they're going to pass their notes onto their Occupational Therapist as well.

* I've been worried, especially since I only have one child, that I might be over-indulging Nixon and making his issues worst unintentionally. When going shopping or to a restaurant, we have his PSP with shows on it so he can watch that and focus on the familiarise of his shows rather than the noises around him. I had been worried that I was helping him "check out" of reality, but the Child Find head behaviorist actual said, given how she had been witnessing Nixon in the classroom setting, giving him something else to focus on is great. He's still out in public, getting to do things like eating out and helping with the grocery shopping, when he's comfortable enough, but he's not overwhelmed by the surroundings all-at-once. By having something for him to focus on, that we know works to keep him focused, we're providing him safety from the chaos he would otherwise be going through. The fact that I will also take him outside and let him decompress away from the site and sounds of a busy diner, is another good thing I'm doing for him. I'm not punishing him, for getting overwhelmed, I'm giving him a chance to regather himself.

   It's been hard to see Nixon struggle and not know if it's me causing the issues or if he's had genuine issues. To get actual professional opinions about him has helped. We know where to go from here, how to help him and what steps to take to help make him successful when he enters school. It's hard to admit your child isn't perfect and might need help, but the very best thing for your child is to get them that help early so they can be successful later in life.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quick mini-brag

  Monday Nixon and I met a friend and her son who were visiting from my hometown, and we spent the day in Baltimore. A big portion of our time was spent at the Baltimore Aquarium. On a Monday. Which was rainy. And had a bunch of field trip school groups. Hello, people overload!
  Most of these kids were pushy and just rude. Some of the adults were too.

  Nixon was on point with his manners. Lots of "excuse me" when he tried to get to a tank and there were people in the way.
  At one point, I was beaming with pride. Nixon had just said "Excuse me please" to a couple as he moved towards a tank. I was a few feet behind him, and the couple turned to walk away. The guy said "That was the most polite kid we've run across all day." I said, without missing a beat, "Thank you, he's mine", and the guy continues "Well done mom. You weren't prompting him or anything, he's very polite. You should be very proud!" I am.

  Sure, Nixon did have his freakout moments and he did fly through the exhibits that he found uninteresting and he may or may not have tried telling a group of people to "be quiet" because they were too loud and hurting his ears (he did do that), but he was awesome overall. Well, minus asking me to carry him up and down stairs because he was afraid of them. But hey, he was just making sure I got the most of out of day out together, kind of like my very own little heavy bag!

Nixon "instructing" the dolphin show...no one knew he was doing it but me

In love with jellfish

Holy upside-down jellyfish! Gross but cool. 

Reach out and touch...the really thick glass tank. haha

A catfish with a head bigger than Nixon's torso! This thing was the chillest part of the visit, he  just came over and sat at the glass looking at us. Even I had to admit, he was kind of cute. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stop me if you've heard this before

   In one week from today my mother-in-law will be arriving to spend a week with us. We haven't seen her since Nixon's birthday and I was not at my best, mentally wise. She'll be here one week before Mother's Day, which is cool since we haven't seen her for Mother's Day since....well, before Nixon was here.

   That story goes like this:
Mac and I got married in March 2008. I found out I was pregnant in late-March/early-April, but we decided to wait to tell everyone because I'm superstitious and it seemed awesome that the end of the first trimester was very close to Mother's Day.
Not telling family for 11 weeks....hardest thing ever!
Mac and I had already made plans to fly to Miami and spend the weekend with his mom. We saw my family in March, so this was our first trip to visit his family since getting married. We had planned on not telling his mom until Mother's Day, but had to change that a little. I had horrible all day nausea and I'd lost over 15 lbs by the time we went to Miami. His mom knew something was up. I looked awful! I was super tired (tried passing it off as being tired from the early flight without success) and I couldn't keep anything down.
We went out to dinner with Mac mom, step-dad, brothers, sister-in-law and her family. I was trying to eat and not get super sick. Mac and I decided, since everyone was there and it was obviously going to be a long weekend, we were going to tell everyone after dinner.
As everyone may or may not know, Mac's mom is Vietnamese. Mac is half-Vietnamese but never showed much interest in that side of his heritage. (trust me this is important)
As everyone was getting coffee and dessert, Mac puts his arm around me and says to his mom, "Mom, how do you say "grandma" in Vietnamese?". She starts to explain, it depends on if it's the maternal or paternal side of the family. Then pauses and says "Why do you ask?". Mac says, calm and deadpan as can be, "Well, because you're going to be one."
Cue my mother-in-law asking "Are you serious?" a few times, other family members giving us hugs and congrats and my mother-in-law telling me "I knew you looked more than just tired!"

   (Fast forward to our next visit to Miami before we left to move to Okinawa, when I fell in love with my mother-in-law's Pho...it's a soup that is A-maz-ING! But when I was pregnant, I could barely stomach the smell, let alone the taste. Thank gods, Nixon left my body and I could like my mother-in-law's awesome food once he did)

   It seems crazy that it was five years ago that we told everyone Nixon (at the time Squishy) was incubating in me. I can not imagine my life without him, without Mac and without my awesome mother-in-law.

  Here's to an awesome visit, a wonderful night-out with my husband and Nixon getting some quality time with his Nana while I remain in much better spirits than our last visit.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Mommy's brain is broken, kind of"...explaining things to a 4-year old so he understands them without being scared


  Last night Nixon had an extra late night. He stayed up until almost midnight! He was in bed with me watching a movie on TV being good and quiet. Since Mac was working I was okay with a slumber party/movie night in our bed.
   I had to go downstairs and take my medications for the night. I told Nixon I as running downstairs to get my meds and Nixon says "Mommy, I need meds too. I am sick." *sigh* This is when I have to explain to my 4-year old that my medications aren't for an illness but for my "broken brain".
me: Nixon, I take medication because my brain doesn't work right not because I'm sick.
Nixon: You brain is broken?
me: Yeah, kind of. It doesn't work like it's supposed to. The medicine helps it work like a regular person's brain. Like yours does.
Nixon: Because my brain isn't broken?
me: No, baby, your brain isn't broken.
Nixon: How did your brain break?
me: Oh, well, I didn't have a good childhood and my brain worked differently to help me deal with it. Now my brain thinks that's a proper way to function.
Nixon: But you brain is broken!
me: Yep, it doesn't know it is, but I realize it doesn't work like it should.
Nixon: Can I see you brain?
*I get on the bed so he can look at my head*
Nixon: I see it mommy! I see your broken brain. It's cracked right here *points*
me: Wow! You can really see it?!
Nixon: I'm going to kiss it, so you feel better. Then you can go take your medicine and be a good mommy for me, okay?
me: *almost tearing up* Okay, baby.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This is a selfish post about me and my own issues....good and bad, with a little parenting tip at the end.

  Since the first of January, I've steadily been losing weight. I'm not doing anything significant. No working out, no real diet plan (though for the first month I did eat a lot of fruits, veggies and salads to really kickstart the weight loss). The biggest thing I've done is make a commitment to use myfitnesspal.com daily and track my caloric intake.

  Around Christmas time I realized my weight was creeping up over and past my comfortable heavy point. I decided after the holidays and starting January 1st, I was going to stick to something. Calorie counting was it, as a starting point. I also cut back on sugary snacks, soda and fast foods.

   In January I lost almost 7 pounds.
   In February, I lost 4 pounds.
   March it all kind of tapered off, with a total loss of 2.5 pounds lost.
   As off Monday this week, I've lost 15 total pounds. The most amazing reality of all this weight loss struck me yesterday after I got dressed. I've always been pear-shaped. It's my reality. Even when I was in my late-teens and early-20's, weighing not even 100 pounds (and struggling with poor self-image issues) I was always thicker on the bottom.
**I never really noticed, until one day while out with my then-boyfriend and his friends, one of his friends asked me, who at the time was probably only about 90-95 pounds, while wearing shorts at an amusement park "Why do your thighs rub together when you walk?". I remember, at that very moment I became very, very aware of my thighs touching and my perception of myself was suddenly very ruined. I never felt thin enough, pretty enough or tall enough. I couldn't fix my height, but I could fix my weight. Being only 5 feet, 1 inch tall I am a naturally petite person. I'm also naturally pear-shaped. At 18-22 years old, I couldn't appreciate my naturally curvy body because the people I surrounded myself with broke each other down instead of building each other up, like I later found out real friends do. 
  I spent several years hiding my lower body, while showing off my chest. It made no sense, but I didn't know any better, I didn't have any positive role models in my life at the time. As a result, I'm kind of permanently damaged when it comes to my self-esteem and how I see myself. The smallest, negative comment about my looks can send me into a downward spiral of self-doubt. Seriously, the smallest negative comment. It could be made in jest, but I'll hear it in a serious tone and take it as such. Luckily, I now have a supportive husband and some really great friends I can turn too and get some great, loving advice from when these comments happen.**

  I put on my jeans yesterday, knowing they were looser, and feeling comfortable in them as a result. It was gorgeous outside, so I was even rocking a cute tank top, first of the season! I noticed, walking over to Mac's Geek Corner, my thighs don't rub! Not even in the jeans!
  I don't know about most moms, but for me, this was total proof that the weight loss wasn't just numbers on a scale going down! That was concrete proof that I'm making real progress!
  I've had bumps in the road, I've had weeks when my weight went up a bit and I've had trips to Taco Bell (mmmmm....those ranch doritos tacos!!) and even McDonald's. But the thing I've learned is moderation. I don't NEED to go large, a small is just fine. If I'm craving ice cream, I'll stick to the serving size. Or I'll make a smoothie instead.

   It's hard, but well worth the effort.
   Sorry, this blog wasn't about parenting exactly, but as a mom I struggled with my identity and image. Being able to look and feel good, I think helps me be a better mom. Also, I know how to help Nixon be a good friend, not the negative ones I had in my life for so long. I want him to build his friends up, not tear them down. Especially young girls, the smallest comment can have a lifelong impact on them. Sadly, I'm proof of that.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My inner demons won't stop me from parenting my son how I see fit....and fuck you if you don't agree!

  I've struggled with writing this blog, for fear of the backlash, for a week now. I first went to a closed group on facebook looking for support and found judgement and condemnation. Last night, as fate saw fit to send me a kind and loving shoulder to lean on in the form of a BFF, I found the strength to be true to myself and confidant in my parenting choices.

   It started last weekend. After weeks of Nixon's behavior getting worse and worse, I'd finally had enough. We had tried everything: time outs, taking toys away, no tv time, taking everything away, talking to him about his behavior, rewards for good behavior. Nothing worked effectively. His behavior in public was becoming horrific, despite our repeated removing him from the store to the car as soon as he acted up.
  I finally had to make a decision I didn't want to and I fought desperately to avoid: I had to use spanking. But, I wasn't going straight into it, I was going to give warnings, chances to avoid the spanking and then only one spanking. I never spank out of anger. NEVER! If I can't rationally sit with Nixon and talk about why I spanked him, I won't do it. Spanking is not a means to control him, its a means to help him learn that his actions have consequences.
   Over that weekend, Nixon got a handful of spankings. Every single one of them, he got his warnings, continued to go about doing what he was doing, and got the resulting spanking. He gets a swat on the bottom, enough to make him realize we mean business, but I'm not aiming to leave marks on him.
   The one that really bothered me, and I felt made me "that" mom, happened Sunday night at the grocery store. Nixon was asked to help us do the shopping and stay out of the cart, without his PSP. A first, but I want him more connected to us and paying attention to us. He was doing really great for half the trip, he loved picking out the cats canned food! But, the empty frozen food aisle seemed to be a sirens call he couldn't resist. He slowly started to stray down the aisle, warning 1...started running down the aisle, warning 2....full-on bolted down the aisle, no more warning. He came over to me as soon as he saw me holding up 3 fingers, he knew what was coming. I realized there was no one around, I popped his ass right there in the ice cream section! His tears started, Mac and I took a couple minutes and calmed him down, talking to him (still in the frozen food section) about why he got the spanking and how he could avoid getting another one. He calmed down, and stayed right next to the cart with me the remaining time in the store.
 
 Am I proud I'm spanking my child? No. That's not the point of this. The point is, I'm parenting my child in a way that works for him and in doing so I'm putting my own personal conflicts behind me. It'd be easy for me to use my abusive childhood as a reason to not spank, and I admit I never intended to spank at all. But the more head strong and imaginative Nixon gets, the more difficult it is to punish him effectively. Time out became a time for him to play with his imagination. How do you tell a child to not play with his invisible friends, if he's staying in his time out area? He's not breaking the rules, he's being quiet, and doing his time, he's just having conversations with his "friends". You can't break a child's imagination. He was looking at the wall, like he was supposed to. He knew why he was in time out, he'd tell me why he was there. It just wasn't effective.

  The point is, since I made the decision to actively parent Nixon and use spankings, he's listening and paying attention. Last night we went to the airport to pick up Franny. Her flight came in around 1030pm, which is about an hour to an hour and a half past Nixon's normal bedtime. I was dreading it thinking he'd be a tired monster.
  I was wrong. He was a delight. Held my hand, listened to me, sat next to me while Franny grabbed her bags. The only time he got a little upset was when he had to stop playing with Aunt Franny because we reached the parking garage.
  A complete and total turn-around from a couple weeks ago.
  He's not a changed kid, he's still the same, but he knows to listen and do as he's told when asked because there are consequences. The warnings are enough now.

 I don't expect everyone to agree with my parenting choices. But I'm damned sick and fucking tired of being made to feel like a bad parent because I am being a fucking parent! I'm doing everything I can to help shape Nixon into a productive member of society and I'm not aiming to ruin him like I was ruined by abuse. It's a fine line, but I'm walking it with my head straight and my shoulders back. I want Nixon to know that his actions have consequences. It took only a few spankings for him to grasp that. I haven't had to spank him in 4 days now. I'm not saying spanking is the answer, but I'm also not going to let my child act up in public or set the rules at home because I'm too afraid to spank if that's the effective method.

   I can't expect Nixon to be a strong individual in himself, if I can't be a strong role model as a mother. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

He's my very own rage therapist.


   Holy shit, I love Nixon sometimes! I mean, don't get me wrong, I always love him but there are sometimes that I just positively adore him a little bit more. Today, in the car, was one of those times.
  Not too long ago, we had a talk about Nixon's perfect use of "fuck". A few weeks later we had a total  miscommunication and utter misunderstanding over "bridge" versus "bitch", resulting in profuse apologies by Mac and I to Nixon, but evidently resulting in a lasting impression on Nixon over the importance of not using swear words.

  Here's how it all happened:
*I'm driving on the highway, at about 65mph. The car in front of me hits the brakes as he sees cars in the on ramp that will be merging...eventually*
me: What the fuck are you doing, asshole? (I checked the left lane, signal and switch to get away from the old man driving)
Nixon: AHHH! Mommy, don't say that word!
me: I'm sorry Nixon, you are very right. I should not have said that word.
Nixon: Mommy, that is a naughty word. You should never say that word!
me: I know, you're right and I apologized.
*I drive a few more miles and then have another asshole drive stop in the middle of 2 turn lanes blocking both*
me: You are a goddamned moron!
Nixon: Mommy! That's another bad word!
me: Sorry, but he is a moron!
Nixon: Mommy, you need to just say "crap on a stick" instead.
me: I will next time.
Nixon: No! You say it now. Say "crap on a stick" mommy.
me: "Crap on a stick" Nixon. Happy?
Nixon: Yes. Now be nice and happy.

Apparently my days of unchecked road rage, with Nixon in the car, are over. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nixon and I are on a break....for now.

   As I'm writing this, coffee cup next to me half empty, Nixon is upstairs in the spare bedroom watching  a Dinosaur Train DVD. Turns out parenting is just like any other relationship I've ever been in and sometimes, you just need a little space from each other.

   We've been having a battle of the wills all weekend, over everything and nothing at all. I say the sky is blue Nixon will scream that the sky is purple. I'm exaggerating here, but you catch my drift. He's hellbent on being independent but at the same time will demand I help him do something like clean up his toys or wipe his butt. It's total madness!

  This morning was the final straw. I know he's tired, he was up until almost 11pm last night because we did a movie night in my bed together. Then he woke up around his usual time of 7:30am, losing at least 2 hours of sleep from the get-go. He started demands for candy as soon as my feet hit carpet, not going to happen. Let the scream of displeasure begin. Breakfast distracted him for a little while.

  Then he started throwing toys into the front door and at the wall! ARE YOU INSANE?!?! That's never been okay! He stomps upstairs because I take those toys away! He comes back downstairs calm, sweet and all apologies....and asks for candy. Promptly gets denied, since this was less than 30 minutes from the last time I had told him "no". An offering of water distracts him this time.

   The final straw, the one that led to the realization that we need some alone time...or at least a little space from each other, was his screaming in my face because his lunchable didn't include a piece of candy. Oh the horror! He had crackers, turkey and 4 slices of cheese, plus a pouch of applesauce, which he knows he likes. If he'd eaten all of that without a fight, he'd have gotten a piece of candy, since I still have some leftover Valentine's Day candy hidden. But no, he has to throw a fit and try to wake up his sleeping father. Not okay.

   It ends with him in tears, me very close to losing my temper and us in the spare room barely holding it all together. And then...he sees it. The Dinosaur Train DVD. And he asks to watch it, upstairs, in the spare room, by himself. And I say....sure. Did he deserve it? No. But the TV is small and we both need some time apart, to regroup and decompress from the events of the entire weekend. It's only 1:15pm and I feel like it should be the end of the day I've been butting heads with him so much my head hurts.

   Sometimes, to be a good parent, I've learned its best to take a break. I can't leave right now because Mac is sleeping (he's not lazy, he's working midnights this weekend and still has to work tonight). So setting Nixon up in the spare room with a DVD while I get to read a book on my kindle while drinking a cup of coffee...well, that's the closest thing to a break as I'll get. It's not perfect, but we're not screaming at each other and my tension headache is going away. It's good when you know your limits and accept them. I'm not the world's most perfect mother. But I'm trying to be a good one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Maternal Deafness....it saved my son's life today


 Dear Nixon,
         I promise, I am not ignoring you because I can not hear you. Believe me my love, I can hear you whine just fine. I'm ignoring you because of the whining. I am currently refusing to acknowledge your whining ways.
        I'm calling it "maternal deafness" and it is currently saving your life. When you stop speaking in a whining tone, I start lavishing you with attention once again.

Sincerely,
your maternally deaf mother

*In all seriousness, if my son does not stop whining I'm going on vacation without him. Ignoring him right now is the only thing keeping me from yelling at him. I've sent him to his room, he whines louder. I've taken things away, he whines about what I've taken away. Finally, I've decided to fight noise with silence. My silence is the strongest and scariest weapon in my mommy arsenal. When Nixon knows he's done something wrong and I'm not saying a word to him, he is deathly afraid of me at that moment. Not because I've ever done anything horrible to him without saying a word to him, but because it's such an uncharacteristic behavior for me. I'm always talking or singing or making some kind of noise, so pure silence is odd.
I hope this is just a phase, because I'm going nuts with all the voices in my head plotting against my son while I ignore him!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

the day my son turned into teenage girl

   Today, Nixon was a monster. Maybe it was because I'm coming down with a cold and have zero tolerance for his BS when I'm getting sick. Maybe it's because I didn't have my morning coffee. Or maybe it's because we were spending Sunday morning grocery shopping.
   Nope, it's definitely all on Nixon and his totally epic tantrum and sudden diva behavior.

   It started with Nixon whining and pouting about putting on his shirt. How on earth does child hit the exact wrong tone with mom when she's not feeling well? Seriously, whining and screeching that he "can't find the right hole!" He had his head in the right hole, but had the shirt twisted so the armholes were in the front and back of the shirt, instead of st his sides. Honest-to-gods, this was end of the world type shit!

   At the store he was pretty good, munching on his little bag of snacks most of the time, until he decided he wanted to get out. I normally don't have an issue with him helping me, but when he won't stay with me and it's stupid crowded, he's better sitting in that fucking beeping car-cart he begged for as we walked into the store than getting out and driving everyone (including dad and I) nuts. He did get back in and was content for the final few minutes of the shopping trip, with the assistance of the PSP. Yeah, judge me, I'd judge me too if I weren't trying to get out of the store with my sanity and dignity intact.

   All was good...until we were placing items on the belt at the register. Nixon decided he had enough and wanted to run around the store. Look, I get it. Shopping is really boring. I can only do so much to keep him entertained while I'm trying to compare prices and find items on my list and coupons. Plus Mac isn't great with crowds but he did let me sleep in and I hadn't finished the lists last night because I needed him to go over them with me.
   My final straw was Nixon telling me no he wasn't going to listen to me. I left the club card and coupons with Mac, grabbed my mouthy little boy and headed out of the store...right into a Matchbox cars display. Seriously, who at Safeway hates me?! Nixon stopped in his tracks, said "Mommy, I want a new car. It's so lovely" and then yelled "NO!" when I told him we were going to the car without a new car. On the way out, he did a lovely move. He dropped to his ass, and spun on the floor just lying there looking up at me like "I won, now what?!" Now what, turned out to be: me stopping, grabbing the PSP from his hand and putting it into my jacket pocket, picking Nixon up off the floor and carrying him out of the store. All in less than 10 seconds after he dropped to the floor. *a special thank you to the asshole that decided to park right on the line next to my car. I had to put Nixon in on the passengers side which is the side Mac sits on so there is not much room. with a child in mid-tantrum I don't exactly have time to move the seat up and get more room to maneuver.* Nixon was finally in his seat and he says "Mommy, you need to tell my you are sorry, because you made me cry." I asked him "Are you going to tell me you are sorry for acting out and lying down in the store?" He says "NO because you should have bought me the car" and that was when I said "NO, my little love, you are wrong. You need to listen to "no" and just accept it. Not throw a tantrum and think that you will get your way" He decided to stop talking to me after that.

   Later in the afternoon he started his dramatic ways again. More tears, more demands, more foot stomping and mood swings. I swear to gods, somehow my son changed from a 4-year-old boy to a teenage girl and I'm not happy about it. There's only room for one moody bitch in this house and I claim that honor! I have the vagina I get to be the moody bitch!

   I love him, but today was a rough one.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Family is forever...gods I hope I'm not lying to him about this.

....ah, Amber. I love to hate this damned cat! Here we are, a month later and we are still dealing with her nasty fits. We've done everything from get a pheromone plug-in for Nixon's room to keeping his door closed at all times to adding extra food and water dishes and most recently, adding a new litter box. Nothing seems to help!
   We'll get a break, where it'll seem like she's moved past it all, and then like tonight I'll walk into Nixon's bedroom and find a pile of cat shit on his bed waiting for us. The thing of it is, today, his bedroom door was closed! I had to open the door to get in! So now she's closing doors behind herself?!?! That doesn't make sense, right?
   Of course, I lose my damn cool! I'm so tired of washing Nixon's sheets, blankets, comforters.

*sigh* Not my best or brightest moment as a mom.

   Nixon was already upset that he didn't get a shower tonight. He was told it was shower time, he decided to tell me he wanted to wait. SO I let him wait...until it was bedtime. Then I told him it was bedtime and he flipped his shit because he suddenly wanted a shower. I'm picking my battles with him and he's not liking that I'm not on his ass 15,000 times to get in the shower. I told him once, twice and then when he still said "No, mommy, later" I decided that was cool. He can not take one tonight. He's going to learn.

   So, when I lost my shit over Amber's pile of shit on the bed Nixon lost his mind because he thought I was so mad I really meant all the mean and angry things I was saying about Amber.
 *deep breath*
  It took about fifteen minutes to get him calmed down and in bed. Our bed. Once he was calm, I talked to him. I told him that, even though I say mean things about Amber and even though she's still pooping on his bed, she's family and family is forever. We're not getting rid of Amber. The relief in his eyes, paired with his whimpering "Really?" said it all. I went too far and he really thought he'd wake up and Amber would be gone.
   I explained to him that just like him and Mac, Arwen and Amber are very important to me and part of our family. I told him my top loves went like this: Nixon & Mac, then Arwen, than Amber...no Bebe's after Arwen, then Amber. Nixon chuckled and asked me "Mommy, you love me and Daddy more than Arwen?" I told him "I do now." And I meant it.

   Family, this family I've made for myself, really is forever. I'm not always going to be madly in love with Mac or Nixon every minute of every day, but I don't see myself ever not loving either of them. Nixon is a no-brainer. He's my son, a piece of me, I'll always love him. Mac is more complicated. Our cats have been to Japan and back with us, they are our family. As much as Nixon and Mac can drive me nuts, Amber and Arwen can do the same thing just different ways, but they're in this family until they're no longer on this earth.
 Apparently Amber has decided to really test this motto.

  I don't know what else I can do to "fix" Amber's issues. I do know flipping out when Nixon is around isn't going to help any of us.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Like-minded parents DO exist!

  First, did you know that Baltimore has this completely huge and totally free, used bookstore? No? Well, neither did I but today we went and checked it out...it's totally legit!
   The Book Thing of Baltimore was worth the drive, unless you have Mac's OCD for neat and orderly bookshelves and my desire to look at every book minus a little boy cute though he is with his constant "Mommy, I love you", makes it very hard to focus on all the happy books that need love. We brought Mac's big backpack to fill with books. We didn't stuff it, but it was put to good use.

   The point of the blog isn't to give a total love fest to the Book Thing, well maybe a little, but more to share the awesomeness of the interaction I had with another mother while looking through the bins of children's books. This mother was there with her husband and 9month- year old daughter. She was picking out books for her daughter while I was searching for books for Nixon.
   She had come across a Star Wars book with sound!! and opened it, Nixon ran over and was "Star Wars Mommy, may I have the Star Wars book?" I, very jokingly, said "Well, thanks for that" and before she could decide if I was seriously a bitch or not I went on to say "NO, really, thanks for that (she had handed the book to Nixon, who gleefully ran off with it to show Mac), just yesterday he was working on his Darth Vader voice while building a tie-fighter with his Lego's. His dad and I are so proud of him!" She laughed and her husband said "That's so awesome, he's a pretty cool kid." I, of course, did not dispute that claim and thanked them.
   We continued looking for books and (unbeknownst to each other) were becoming equally disappointed by the overwhelming amount of child-friendly religious books. The other mom finally mentions it "Well, here's another religion-based book. But that's not for you" she said to her adorable little one. I kind of smirked, because an older lady behind her looked like the mom just spit on her child, and said "Oh thank gods I'm not the only one trying in vain to wade through all of those!" This time her husband chuckled and said "Nope, you are not alone today."
   I got ready to explore the rest of the store and the husband said to his wife "She was a really cool parent. Those are hard to find."

   Why yes, yes I am. Thank you for noticing. It was pretty nice to have such a chill conversation, over FREE books. So here's to you, Book Thing, for letting me have that moment today!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Being an aunt is pretty awesome too

Going through some old blogs I found this:
"...and all that has me wishing for simpler times. Times when snow meant getting bundled up and going outside with friends for hours. When sledding down a hill was all I wanted to do for an entire day. Snowball wars and snow angels made everything better. When a sled full of friends meant I was loved. A rosy pink nose made me giggle when I went inside to warm up... yeah NOW i know it was probably frostbite, but then I knew it meant I'd had a good day. Now I hate the cold, hate dumbasses driving in the snow, hate getting bundled up and can't remember the last time I went sledding.
I visited home in November '05 for a family emergency. I met my sister and my nephew for lunch. It was snowing just enough to stick on surfaces but not the road. That day I taught my nephew the joy of snowballs. Actually I taught him how to take a pile of snow in your hand and throw it yelling "Snowball!". That was the last time (before Mac's intro to snow a couple of weeks ago), that I clearly remember what snow really meant. Seeing the joy in A's face as he pelted my sister and I with "snowball"s was all it took to remember. When I finally have a kid I will definitely want to see that same joy in his or her face. But that's a long way down the road....."
(written feb '07)


   A little over 8 years later and I was doing exactly that: watching my son enjoy the snow for the very first time. And I was right there with him! I may not be a full-time, always there-for-you aunt but I adore all my nieces and nephews, by blood or by choice. 
   

Saturday, January 26, 2013

...he's listening and paying attention to the important things I say too!

   Yesterday Nixon had his 4-year check-up with his new pediatrician, who we had been hearing was an awesome doctor in the area. Nixon weighed in at 38.3 pounds (admittedly he was wearing a few layers due to the cold weather) and is now 42.5 inches tall! Look at him grow!

   The nurse was great, very good with Nixon while attempting to administer the hearing test (which did not go very well. There's no issue with his hearing, he just didn't grasp the concept of the test) and his eye exam. He rocked the eye exam, even said "Arrr...I'm a pirate like this" as he covered his one eye for the exam! Yeah, he is too damned cute, right??
   She told Nixon to get down to his undies and wait for the doctor. When the doctor came in and started the exam, he first introduced himself to Nixon and shook Nixon's hand. Nixon shook the doctor's hand properly, told the doctor "I'm Nixon" and answered "I'm 4" and showed a hand with 4 fingers up to the doctor.
   If you don't have a boy, you may not know that doctor's check boy's testicles at check ups. Mac and I have been frequently telling Nixon, no one is allowed to look at him without his undies on or touch his peenie. I forgot about his check-up, so when the doctor asked him to pull his undies down for a moment Nixon said very loudly "But mommy says I can't let anyone look at my peenie without my undies on!" I assured him it was okay, because I was in the room with him. Our new doctor was impressed, telling Nixon he's a good boy for speaking up and telling him that. He also said Nixon's dad and I are doing a good job because most kids Nixon's age don't know that, let alone actually say it in the right circumstances.
  Super proud mommy, table of one, your table is now ready!

  The only other news I got at the check-up was a referral for an ENT about Nixon's speech. His new doctor does see that he is still tongue tied and feels that the ENT specialist will do a good job helping us decide if we should clip the area for the sake of Nixon's speech or not. I'll be calling Monday to make an appointment with the ENT and move forward with this.
  Nixon's visit ended with 4 shots and he took them like a champ. A few tears, a couple gummy lifesavers and a kiss from me was all it took for him to survive those shots.

I close this post with a snowy photo of Nixon and I together. Our first snow day together since...well, ever! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The saddest day as a mom so far

   Every mom knows there comes a day their child will say something just to hurt them. I never expected to hear it come out of my precious 4-year old's mouth, but I knew I wouldn't be the only mom on earth to not hear it.

   Tonight, after Nixon's shower and after he was told it was bedtime, Nixon turned to me and said "I don't like you, Mommy." Simple as that, not hate-fueled, just very matter-of-factually in the same sweet tone he uses to say "i love you". I was shocked, I was hurt, I was heart-broken. What I was not, was angry. Anger wasn't going to get me anywhere in this situation.
   We stayed in my bed for a minute longer, while Nixon continued to profess his "bossy" ways. I told him, very quietly and calmly, that his words hurt my heart a lot and they made me very sad. I didn't force an apology out of him, I didn't yell or do anything really. I was just very hurt, and shocked, that he said that to me over something he knew was coming! I make sure I give him advance warning on bedtime.

  He brushes his teeth, gets onto his bed and sits there.
He says to me, very quietly while he's fidgeting with his BeBe, "Mommy, I sorry I was bossy."
I say to him "Nixon, I'm used to you being bossy. That's part of you being 4, being a little boy. What made me sad, made my heart sad was when you said you don't like me."
Nixon said "I was only being bossy."
I replied, "Nixon, that wasn't bossy baby. That was very mean."
I gave him a kiss on the forehead and started tucking him into bed. Nixon puts his hand on my cheek and says "Mommy, I'm sorry I hurt your heart. I love you. Your my best friend."
I tell him "Thank you for apologizing baby. I love you too! You are my favorite baby boy!"

  I know he's going to say things to hurt me as he gets older. I said far worst things to my parents, but to be fair my parents were far worst parents than Mac and I are to Nixon, while I was growing up. I hope this is as bad as it gets.

broke my heart and made it better, just by using that little mouth of his. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The more serious side of parenthood

    I'm spending the weekend with my best friend F. She's moving to California at the end of the month and we scheduled a special girls weekend for this weekend. The thing is, like most things in life, it didn't exactly go as planned.

   Without going into details, I ended up being in the right place to help F through something really rough. Then I had to try to explain it to her daughter without scaring it.


It ended up sounding like this:

   "Your mom is a little emotional right now. You know how, after you have a bad fall and scrape your knee, the first couple days it's really tender and sensitive? Well, your mom's heart is like that right now. Her heart is really raw and tender. She just wants to not talk about it because talking about it makes her think about it and that's like poking a new scab on a fresh scrape. It doesn't feel good right? She'll be okay, just today is like the first day her heart is hurt."

  It helped both of them, her daughter got an explanation for her mom's mood and her mom didn't have to face this meltdown alone. F and I had some good girl time earlier in the day. We went to breakfast, got facials (Ah-mazing!), came home, I had a nice nap and then the meltdown episode happened.

   In the end, my humor helped cheer F up...or at least make her laugh long enough to feel better for a little bit. That's what best friends are for, right?