Steep for no more than 5 minutes.

I’ve been a little down recently and trying to figure out why. It struck me this morning. As a mom no one is ever going out of their way for ME. Which isn’t fair. My husband does a LOT for our family and for the kids. And the kids are sweet, if occasionally monstrous. But I was putting together my husband’s tea for him to have something warm when he walked Levi to the bus stop at 7 (yes, see, my husband walks our kid to the bus stop, I really need to stop complaining), and I realized that from the moment I wake up I’m trying to help other people, I get out of bed and make my son lunch while my husband makes breakfast and sits down to eat with him. I make breakfast for Phalene and myself, mine gets cold and then it’s walking her to school, coming home and cleaning clothes or something, or going grocery shopping. I’m getting the things into backpacks or put away so they can be worn tomorrow.

I get plenty of time to myself (okay, I want more), but if the roles were reversed I would never sit down to eat. I wouldn’t be handed a tea when I stepped out the door. And it isn’t that he isn’t caring, it’s that he wouldn’t think of it. It’s compounded by the fact that I don’t get Christmas or birthday presents unless I buy them myself.

And I’m having a hard time because it isn’t fair to be upset over it. I don’t know how to explain the problem I’m having, because I KNOW I’m so overly blessed.

But at the same time, I really want someone to hand me tea. Or to put the hot water bottle in my bed on cold nights.

In which my son uses My Little Pony to teach my daughter than gender isn’t binary.

I love My Little Pony. I love that both my boy and my girl love it. Levi thought for a long time that two of the characters were boys and I didn’t disabuse him of that. Because, while my main reason for loving it is it’s non-binary view of femininity, even better is the idea that boys and girls can be friends on equal footing. Because, seriously, where does that happen in children’s television without adults being in charge, like on Sesame Street? I wish there were shows where the girl wasn’t a token, or between a boy and a girl the boy wasn’t in charge, like Umi Zumi and Super Why!

But tonight made me realize just how much I love this show. Phallene got very sad at dinner and started saying that she wanted to be Levi. That she didn’t like girls any more and wanted to be him. It was because a little friend had hurt her feelings, but that doesn’t make the feeling any less real.

When I went into the kitchen to grab some more milk, Levi started telling her that it was okay, that Rainbow Dash was like a boy, but was really a girl, and “you can like whatever you like no matter who who are. And no one can tell that Rainbow Dash is a girl.”

It was pretty amazing.

Is my son Duck Face?

There’s a boy at school who is “secret friends” with my son. My poor little Leverett. They can’t be friends on the way to school, or at school, but they can on the bus home. And it’s terrible and I don’t know how to handle it. I’ve started by explaining that friends are people who are never unkind to you, but … well it just doesn’t really work, does it.

How do you teach children that the world is a sucky place?

Or am I totally blowing this out of proportion? Is this a normal thing?


In which I relive my childhood, when no one liked me, through my kid, who doesn’t give a rip. Oh, and RANT. A lot.

So, Thursday I find out I have a precancerous condition. I have spent a great deal of time convincing myself that precancerous does not equal cancerous. Important to know, but on Thursday I was really just flipping out.

You also need to know that I have lost about 25 pounds since Christmas because it hurts to eat. And that sort of sucks. As much as I need to lose weight, it really sort of sucks to be losing weight not on purpose.

And scary.

And I have talked about this with the moms I see all the time, partly for support from those I love, and partly to get the ones I don’t love (okay, one) to stop mentioning how awesome I look, because y’know, I’d really just not be reminded every single day that something is going on and up until Thursday no one really knew what. In other words, please just shut up about my weight loss.

And Thursday was just hard for this reason. I’m imagining not living to see my kids grow up. Which, while possible, is really no more likely than any other person in my neighborhood. It did not feel like that on Thursday. On Thursday, it felt like I might have 5 years to live, if I were lucky.

Enter that One I spoke of up above, y’know, two paragraphs ago. Let’s call her Ruby. No offense to people named Ruby.

So, Ruby comes in and starts talking about how she was working on losing weight, because I’ve inspired her. My fucking precancerous illness has INSPIRED her to lose weight. My sitting on my ass and not eating has INSPIRED her. To what? Get her own illness? To go to the ER for stomach pain at 3 AM, dragging two kids along in tears and pyjamas?

So now I’m scared and more than a little miffed. I also, as most days recently, am hurting. Because I hurt almost constantly. It’s better than it had been, but it’s still there.

But not a good mood.

And it’s time to leave. And Leveret wants to bring this disgusting dog bowl home that he found. But our rule is that we don’t bring anything that isn’t ours home from the park (thank goodness, because it was so gross). But he’s not having any of it. And Ruby’s annoying son, Ian, grabs it from where Lev placed it and starts running around. He’s 4. So, yes, that’s not his fault. Except that I’ve been annoyed for some time at the lack of respect his mother is instilling in him. But I try REALLY hard not to judge other people in their parenting. REALLY hard. But it’s especially hard when the kid is hitting OTHER PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS and MY KIDS without being told not to by his mom. Especially when, if we call it to her attention, she tells us that that’s how they play at home or denies that it happens, or asks him and believes HIM over ADULTS. And, so, I think it’s my right to not want to play with your kid if you’re not going to tell him not to hit.

I could go on and on about the things that annoy me about this woman. She has no respect for herself, she ends every suggestion to her kid with “okay?” As in, “don’t hit the little girl with your stick, okay?” … okay, I already am going on and on… boring!

Anyway. Thursday. Bad day. And Lev is now flipping out. Because this stupid bowl was GOLD. It was AWESOME! It was made of fucking TIN! And had been at the PARK! And… well you could put WATER IN IT! Who knows why this thing was so awesome. But it was. And I wasn’t letting him take it home, and then someone else came and basically “Na na na naanaa!ed” all over it. So I picked him up and was hugging him while we walked out of the gate and Ruby comes running out the gate and yells “Wait, wait, I have a penny! Do you want the penny?” And it’s like, no. He doesn’t want the penny, or maybe he does, but you know what? He’s flipping out and we don’t reward that behavior. I don’t stop you from giving your kid a cookie after he beats the shit out of mine, so don’t come interrupting me when I’m trying to take care of mine.

And I lost it. I fully accept that fact that I was out of line, but, well, it was a bad day. And I should have better control, but it’s taking a long time to get that. And I don’t have it yet. “Stop! I do not want this behavior, I am trying to get him to stop it, please stop rewarding him for it!” I yelled. And I shouldn’t have, but I’ve had enough of this crap. And she told it was the first time she’d done it…which is true. For that day.

And I have felt TERRIBLE since then. I am not a religious woman, but I have basically been praying since Thursday to be forgiven for this and to not have cancer. Equally. Because this isn’t me. I don’t like to yell at people.

But I’m also ashamed and couldn’t bring myself to say anything about it. And I kept trying. But I’m  a child of an alcoholic. We ignore the problem. We feel ashamed and keep the secret. And I’d say hi. And I’d wave, but I wouldn’t talk.

And today we went to this crappy little sand park (and brought half of it back home with us), and no one ever goes there and we never go there and yet somehow, out of the 12 families normally at the big park and out of the 3 that showed up at the damn little park, we both happen to be there. And her kid uses a giant shovel to throw sand at mine. And then says, “I’m gonna throw sand at YOU!!!!” And gears up to do it. I wait. And then he says it again and steps much closer. And so I say “Ian, please don’t throw sand at my boy.” Because honestly, it’s better to prevent than take care of fucking sand-in-the-eyes-itis. God I hate that.

And here she comes over. And I try to apologize, to tell her it had been a bad day and she interrupts me and doesn’t let me talk. And she tells me not to talk to her or her kid anymore. Not to tell him what to do. To tell her first. Because she has been nothing but nice to me. She has talked to people that don’t want to invite my boy to their parties and convinced them to do it.

And suddenly I don’t care anymore. I think she’s a moron. But who is lying to me about liking my kid? Who was forced to invite my kid? I think that’s terrible! No one should need to have my kid over if they don’t want him. Especially for a party. I remember so many bad experiences that could have been prevented if people weren’t forced to invite me over for their party.

And here I come to rant. And see if anyone else has any ideas. I don’t care about saving this relationship, I think I can keep it together whenever I see her. But seriously I’m in tears thinking about how someone doesn’t like my kid or me and I might be forcing myself upon them. And I feel like crap. It isn’t that I think everyone should like us, we’re hard to like. But you shouldn’t lie about it.

Of course, everyone else thinks she was lying, but why would you just make up that shit?

Boring through the rings of the universe

ImageI am watching my five-year old snap legos together. I have been allowed to help, to find the needed pieces. He has told me I need to stop kissing him; “It makes me all sweaty.” These hands so adeptly maneuver between spires: I never expected to call these chubby fingers “nimble.” He does a double take and sees one piece is just slightly out of position. This boy. Where did he come from?

I still remember teeny fingers grabbing at mine, missing. Waving a rattle around to hit the broad side of the laundry basket. Missing.

That smile is still slow to come. Those eyes still stare for a million years before he answers with a grin, or a word. There’s still the occasional drool, reminding us that he’s got some something with a weird name. Motor planning, deficiency. Nothing you’d notice.

Memories flood back with every smell, every movement, every time he looks at me. Is this what it is to be a mother, to continually hold four or five, or ten, memories for every second? I relate this day to a day he was a baby, to a day he was a toddler, to when I was a child, to the moment he was born. Blink of an eye and I have traversed decades, back and forth across the last few years most of all.

I rub his back. I keep from kissing him, though it’s a struggle. I want to convince myself that this day is now; separate it from the others I can see with the same clarity. Give it prominence, allow it to be the focus, knowing it will come again, the connection to this day, years from now, when he shows me his next marvelous, miraculous creation and I barely remember the miracle in front of me.