Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Benjamin Boys Said What?

Aidan: “I got your nose, Sean-Sean!

Sean: “Noooooo!  Mommy, make Aidan give me back my nose!”

Me: “Aidan, give your brother back his nose so he’ll stop crying.”

Did I really just say that?

*****

Aidan: “How do you do sux, Mom?”

Me: “Ummm…why do you care about that anyway?”

And, for whatever reason, the conversation stopped there.  Hallelujah!

*****

Driving past a cemetery, Aidan: “Is that where they put the dead bodies, Mom?”

Me: “Yes, people who have died are buried there.”

A long pause, I can almost hear the wheels turning…

Aidan: “Are our country’s fathers buried there?”

Wait, what?  What followed was a confused conversation about forefathers, dead people, and our country…my head hurts.

*****

Sean: “I colored a picture, Mommy!”

Me: “You sure did!”

Sean: “My daddy is going to be so proud of me!”

Me: “Yes, he is baby.”

He better damn well be proud…

*****

Sean: “Take my picture, Mommy!”

Me: “Ok, baby!”

Getting The Hang Of This Mom Thing

I’ve been a mom for 6 years, 11 months and 7 days…give or take…and I really feel like I’m just now starting to get the hang of it…

Aidan has been my picky eater since the day The Ex fed him spicy salsa…I think he was about 2…Aidan’s just like me about some stuff…get me once, ok, but not twice, damn it…after the surprise of salsa, he never willingly took new foods from either of us again…for a while, I was convinced he was made completely of PopTart and chicken nuggets…

And then Monday, something clicked…for both of us.

“Aidan, would you like to decide the dinner menu this week?”

“Heck yeah!  We’re having tacos tonight, right?”  Thank God, I’d already started cooking them!

He drew a chart, labeled the days of the week, and picked the main entrees.  I had him make a list of side dishes…and learned that my oldest likes pineapple…who knew?!  Guess what I’m buying this weekend at the grocery store…

Ok, so we’re only on the third night of this new menu, but other than getting him to eat all (or almost all) of his food, I haven’t had a single issue out of him…he’s even helped me prepare dinner…last night, he made the ranch dip for the baby carrots…tonight, he counted out the grapes for everyone…and he now understands the rule about dessert – eat all your dinner, and you can have some…and he’s decided that since dark chocolate is healthy (I have no clue who convinced him of that one…ha!), that we must have it for dessert every night…I think I can live with that…

We also now have Netflix…and both boys are addicted…Aidan watches on the laptop; Sean on the iPad…eventually I’ll get a Wii so we can stream it through the TV…I got nervous that the only thing they were going to do each night was watch Netflix…until I figured out a system…

When we come home, I start dinner, we eat, they get their baths, and then it’s time for TV…they get about an hour or so a night, and I don’t feel guilty…we do look a little odd, though, at night…Aidan’s watching Johnny Test (whatever that is) on the laptop; Sean’s watching Thomas (surprise, surprise!) on the iPad; and there I am in front of the TV doing Zumba…anyone with sensitive ears needs to stay away from us!  Our poor neighbors…

I feel like we’re slowly starting to find what works for us…but I’m realistic enough to know that this won’t last forever, and we’ll need to adjust again…I won’t ever call this easy, but it’s nice to feel like I know what I’m doing – at least some of the time…

A New Chapter

I’ve been mulling over an idea for the past few days…and I’m still mulling…but I need to leap…I need to follow a dream…and be willing to work my ass off for it…

Every once in a while, I wonder in amazement at the changes I’ve gone through and the experiences I’ve had in the past 16 months, since February 13, 2011…I was becoming a different person in 2010 – the person I’d been before could never have left her husband…2011 was a year of turmoil, challenges, and changes…I’m halfway through 2012, and sometimes it doesn’t feel real…

I have only myself to depend on to get from day to day – and strangely, I’m ok with that…yes, I get lonely…yes, I get emotional…and yes, it can derail me from time to time…but overall, on the whole, I’m a strong woman…I’m raising two little boys – and they’re ok…I’m not warping them…they’re happy…they’re healthy…and that’s partly because of me…

I started this blog more than a year ago because I was overwhelmed by own feelings and emotions…I needed a way to sort through it all…I needed an outlet where I could let out my emotions…and believe me, there has been some word vomit – hell, I have an entire category titled “Word Vomit.”   This blog was my salvation…

Right now, I don’t need it for the same reasons I once did…I actually enjoy talking about the weird and funny crap the boys do more than I need to talk about how I’m feeling…not that I don’t sometimes need to work through something in my head – and this is still the best place for me to do that…

But what if my experiences could help someone else?  Make them realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel?  Let them know that whatever dark period they’re facing in life doesn’t last forever? I’m not the type to give advice to people I don’t know…I think that’s extremely presumptuous…advice to the people I know and love?  Well, that’s different – I know them, so clearly I know what’s best for them…ha!

My idea is two-fold…

I’m considering changing the direction of my blog…focusing less on myself and more on the boys and crazy crap they do…I know my life doesn’t revolve around motherhood and parenting…and eventually, I’ll be in some sort of relationship that will have it’s own brand of crazy that should probably be written about…but that would need the permission of the other person…and hell, if that ever happens, I could always change direction again, right?  But by and large, my life revolves around trying to be a single parent, provide for my children, and keep my sense of humor – all with little boys who are naturally funny…if I do change things up a little, it will be a while…I’ve got to figure out how to switch gears…so it may be a slow process…or hell, I may shock the crap out of myself and it won’t be hard to do at all…

And here’s the other part of my idea…I think I want to take parts of this blog and turn it into a book…in a perfect world, someone would walk up to me tomorrow and offer me a job where all I do is write for a living…but since that’s not going to happen, I guess I need to make my own opportunities in this life…and if some of what I’ve been through, experienced, discovered, and learned could help someone, why not?

I have no clue how long the process will take…I have no clue whether anyone than my mom and my YY will ever read the damn thing…but if I want to be a writer, the only way to start is to write…I don’t know how long it will take – 6 months, a year, longer?  I don’t know if I’ll ever make any money doing it…

But I do know one thing…when you start moving down the right path in life, doors seem to open up and opportunities appear to pop up out of no where…and nothing has seemed more right in a long time…and I need a new chapter in my life…

What’s Wrong With The Benjamin Boys?

I don’t think there’s a full moon…and they don’t seem like they’re completely demon-possessed, but WTF, dude?

Sean: “Mommy go faster!”

Me: “I can’t Sean. I can only go as fast as the cars in front of me.”

Sean: “Race the cars, Mommy.  You have to!”

Me: “Race them?  No, baby, I can’t do that.”

Sean: “Race the cars now, Mommy!!  I said, NOW!”

And who do you think you are, little man?

*****

Me: “Aidan, I can always tell when you lie because you smile.  So don’t even try it.”

Aidan: “OK, Mom, I promise I won’t lie anymore.”  Smirk, smirk.

Really, dude, really?!

*****

A.: “Um, Ms. Mitchell, Ms. R. needs to talk to you about Aidan.”

Me: “Now?  Right now?”

A.: “Uh, yeah.  She’s on the phone, but she’ll be done in just a minute.”

I park the car, get Sean out, and walk into Boys & Girls Club.  What has he done now?

Ms. R.: “Aidan and D. talked about boys kissing boys today, apparently.  Aidan told D. he should do it, and then smacked D. in the face.”

If fire could have shot out of my eyes, Aidan would have been a scorch mark on the floor.  Tears filled his eyes. Good…be scared, boy, be very scared.

Ms. R.: “I just love Aidan, but when he’s around D., they are too wild.  I’m going to need to separate them.”

Me: “I understand.  There’s a reason I won’t let them have a sleepover at our house.”

Ms. R.: “When I confronted Aidan about it, he denied everything D. said…until I threatened to get the tapes from the video camera.  And then he confessed.”

Me: “Yeah, he’s been lying a lot lately.  I’m not sure what to do about it.  But we will deal with this at home, I assure you.”

We left, and I felt like I was doing the walk of shame…why is it when your child gets in trouble, it’s the parent that has to go talk to someone?  No, I understand completely, though…it still isn’t a pleasant feeling.  Aidan knew exactly what his punishment was…or thought he did.   Normally, he gets to go on two or three field trips a week…not next week.  Finally, something surprised him.

I just don’t know what else to do to get through to him.

*****

Sean: “Mommy, don’t go to Burger King!”

Me: “Not a problem!”

Sean: “Don’t get me something to drink from Burger King!”

Me: “Easily done!”

Reverse psychology from a two year old…

*****

Sean, screaming, crying, flailing on the floor: “I want another one Thomath!”

Me: “It’s time for bed.  No more Thomas.”

Sean, still screaming, crying, flailing: “I want another one Thomath on your iPad, Mommy!!  NOW!”

I pick him up.  He immediately stiffens from head to toe.  I carry him upstairs, and he climbs up my head, over my shoulder, desperate to get away.  I almost lose my balance and fall down the stairs.  Damn it boy!

Me: “Sean, if you don’t stop this right now, no Thomas at all tomorrow!”

Silence and compliance…the tears dry up immediately…wonder how long this tactic will work…

Rougher Than Most

Father’s Day hasn’t been my favorite day for 10 years…10 years without my dad.  The first one was the hardest…the first one after my mom met The Step wasn’t easy for me…but after I had the boys, it became less painful because I focused on The Ex instead.  Last year, I thought more about my own dad than I did anything else – probably because The Ex was still around for Aidan and Sean (sort of)…

This year has been rougher than most…

Aidan made a Father’s Day card for The Ex that said: “You’re the best dad ever.”  And I wanted to cry – for multiple reasons.  First because this beautiful little boy still thinks his dad is the best one ever…and second because he doesn’t know it’s supposed to be better than this…he doesn’t know that dads are supposed to see their children more than once every couple of weeks…he doesn’t know that dads are supposed to make an effort to be a part of their children’s lives…he doesn’t know what he’s missing…

I’m not such a cold-hearted bitch that I would ever tell Aidan he’s wrong about his dad.  I purposefully don’t say a single negative thing about The Ex to either of the boys…and they adore their absentee father.  Good for them…I suppose.  He’s a lucky man, and he has no fucking clue.  He has the love of the two most beautiful boys on the planet…they don’t care that he’s broke…they don’t care that his living conditions are unusual – Aidan is dying to see where his dad lives…all they care about is him and being able to spend time with him.

Today, because it was the right thing to do (and only for that reason), I took the boys to see their dad…it was only an hour and a half – and yes, I would give him more time if he wanted it…but they were ecstatic…time with their dad is a precious thing…

I’m not a fool – I took that moment to do something without the boys…I went to the grocery store…it was the best $50 I’ve spent in a long time because I was able to focus on the task at hand…it was wonderfully luxurious…and I was fine…until I got to the car and realized it was time to go get the boys…and I started thinking…

I thought about my own dad and how much I miss him…especially when life is hard…I know if he were alive, he’d give me rough, no-nonsense advice that would sound (to the untrained ear) more like yelling…but I would pay attention and consider what he said…I don’t begrudge my mother one moment of happiness with The Step – but it doesn’t make me stop wishing Daddy was still alive…knowing what I know now, I’d rather be the child of a divorce and have both my parents than this

I thought about The Ex and how much of an idiot he is…I know that he loves the boys…and I think he shies away to keep from hurting…it must hurt to be away and be under the strain he’s experiencing…I get that…but to me, his are the actions of a coward…everybody hurts…everybody gets scared and stressed…we all know I’ve gone through those emotions a million times…but I haven’t walked away from my responsibilities…I haven’t walked away from the people I love because it’s somehow “easier!”

I thought about the boys and how I want so much better for them…I now understand what it is to look at a man and assess him – not on his looks, his clothes, his car…but on his ability as a partner, as a parent, as a provider…it’s a strange thing…it makes the whole process a lot more clinical that’s for sure…thankfully, I still have a little mojo in me, so it’s not completely sterile and clinical…ha!  It also makes me very picky…so far, in my limited experience, I’ve only come across one man who fits the bill…and we’re in a holding pattern…and I’m learning patience…

Overall, the only thing that matters is that the boys had a good time today…all they know is that they saw their dad and they had fun…and in the end, that’s probably all that really matters on a day like today…

To all the real men in this world who love, nurture, and provide for your children in whatever way you can, I say, Happy Father’s Day.

There Are No Sick Days

As a parent, especially a single parent, there are no sick days.  Even if you have the luxury to take a day off of work (and this time, I did not), you don’t get a day off from parenting…ever

But, as I have finally admitted to myself, you can be “good enough” for a few days…

I’m a perfectionist by nature…when I have a way that I do things, and I know it works, and it’s the “right” way (for me), that’s how I like to do it…I don’t like to deviate…I’m OCD like that…however, motherhood (especially single motherhood) turned me into a realist very quickly.

I had (and still have) the stomach bug from hell – thanks to my darling children…it started Wednesday night, and I really thought it was what I ate for dinner…I don’t remember the last time I was that miserable…not even labor and childbirth felt that bad…I went to bed early, figuring I would sleep it off…Thursday morning, I woke up (sort of), drenched in sweat (oh yeah, the AC was out again) and feeling like I was going to die…I nearly passed out in the shower – and I’ve never passed out in my life (well, not while sober…)…I have a vague memory of throwing soap at myself and waving the razor under my arms…but if you think I did more than brush my hair and put on clothes that vaguely matched, you’re wrong…

The boys were sympathetic…I told Sean I didn’t feel good, so I couldn’t pick him up…he gave me his sweet stare and offered up his hand so I could walk him everywhere – to the bathroom to brush his teeth, down the stairs after I got him ready, to the car when we left, and into the daycare (which never happens)…I never realized just how much I carry him throughout the day…Aidan was relatively well-behaved…

I always make Sean’s lunch – it’s cheaper…not Thursday and Friday…I didn’t have the energy, but I had cash…you make do, right?  I tried to cook dinner Thursday night – well, as much as throwing a frozen pizza into the oven can be considered cooking – and still don’t know how I did it…Friday night, I gave up the dream and bought Happy Meals…in this whole time, I’ve barely eaten, which wasn’t helping the situation…but if you’ve ever had the stomach bug from hell, you know the last thing you want to do is eat…and if I thought of something, and it didn’t sound appetizing, I wasn’t going to force it…

I had a fever (or just a hot house from the AC being down, not sure)…I had chills (that was Thursday afternoon)…then I was clammy (that was most of Friday)…today, I’m just low energy but I’m gradually getting better…right now it’s just a constant nausea that is only alleviated by sweet tea (no lie!) and a cold room…every once in a while, I can eat something solid, but only if I think about it real hard first and the thought of it doesn’t make me nauseous…I pick Sean up occasionally – to put him on the changing table or in the bathtub – and it leaves me breathless for a moment…

We tried the errand thing this morning…and I used Sean’s nap as the reason we had to stop for the day…I’ll try again tomorrow…my house is a wreck, and I don’t really care – except the landlord’s been over twice this week because of the AC, and I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of slob…tomorrow, I’ll be happy if I get the laundry done, which isn’t really optional since I won’t have work clothes if I don’t…

I had a few moments where I felt sorry for myself because I really was miserable…but I pushed through – at work and at home…in my mind, there’s no other option…the job at work or home doesn’t stop for illness…someone has to do it, and that someone is me…it doesn’t really bother me to push through…you would have to have known my dad to know where I get it from…he lived every day of my life (22 years when he died) in constant pain, and he pushed through every day…I think about that sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself…if he can do it for that amount of time, surely, I can handle a few hours or days of it…

I refuse to stress the small stuff…I’m doing only what is necessary to get through the day…and frankly, most of that is making sure that the boys’ basic needs are met…if mine are met in the meantime, great, but it’s not a requirement…once I’m whole and healthy again, I’ll go back to my normal Type A, OCD self…I promise.

Oh, and while I don’t recommend it as a weight loss program, it’s been a great way to lose about 5 pounds or so… 🙂

The Benjamin Boys Aren’t Expecting This

I’m my father’s daughter…sometimes I forget how much alike we are…but sometimes it pops up at the most random times…

Aidan got in trouble today at Boys & Girls Club…regardless of how he misbehaves for me, he’s thought to be an angel by a lot of people…today he screwed up…and he knew it…

He was walked out my someone who works at the Club…and I had to sign a note stating that I understood what Aidan had done wrong…I immediately got very quiet…and very angry…

Aidan got into the car and immediately started quietly crying – this wasn’t sadness…this was nerves, pure and simple…even he knew this wasn’t going to be good for him…I told him we would talk about it when we got home…I have a feeling that was the longest five minutes of his life – good…

I knew what I was going to do for punishment…but I didn’t know how I was going to approach it with him…and I immediately wondered if all the stony silences my dad put me through were simply stall tactics – because that’s what I was using it for…but knowing that it was bothering Aidan actually helped…let him suffer a little and be worried about what I would do…he needed to worry…the Club doesn’t play – they will kick you out if you’re bad enough…and I’m tired of him not taking me seriously…

We got home…he was still crying…I was still silent…I got Sean settled, and then I had it out with Aidan…I never raised my voice…I never got in his face…I was serious, stony, and very non-Mom like with him…he understood that I was serious…

Did I get through to him?  I think so…Will he get in trouble again?  Not anytime soon…

Was I reminded that my dad’s blood courses through my veins?  Oh hell yeah…and even though he doesn’t understand it, now Aidan knows, too…

Bittersweet Weekend

It was great – because it happened…it sucked – because it ended…

I saw everyone I wanted to see this weekend…and I was completely content…until I wasn’t because I was impatient to get to see the next person…have I ever mentioned that I’m not a patient person?

The weekend didn’t really go like I planned at all…torrential downpours and stressful lives will do that…but when I put my silly disappointment to the side, it was exactly what it needed to be – a chance to spend time with people I love beyond belief…

And while I was filled with frantic energy on Friday – gotta get there, let’s get there, are we there yet?, Saturday and Sunday were peaceful because I still had time…it was Monday that hurt…I’m never ready to leave…a part of me goes missing when I leave…a part of my internal puzzle…I’m not complete anymore – functional, yes, but incomplete…

The reality is that only one thing stands in the way of my own happiness…a J-O-B…if I had one of those, I’d be back there in a heartbeat…the one I have right now isn’t one you walk away from without a damn good reason…and in this economy, you don’t ever walk away from a job without another one waiting (hell, you don’t do that in any economy)…

I cried for the first hour that I drove back…for multiple reasons – and they all know who they are…and then I did what I always do…I set it to the side because I have to be able to function…and wallowing in my own self pity and misery aren’t conducive to that, thankyouverymuch!

So I’m back at it…tomorrow is another day…I’m learning to find peace with myself, by myself…I’m reminding myself that those darling children don’t really need to be sold to the gypsies, although, I am often tempted…and I’ll look forward to the next opportunity to complete my puzzle – even if it’s just for a few minutes…

It’s Not About Me…Until It Is

I’m sitting here, in this very moment, fidgeting with nervous energy…because I know that in less than 24 hours I will be speeding down the highway to Mississippi…I still find it strange that it’s a place I want to go…I spent so many years trying to get the hell out of there, and now I can’t wait to go back…strange…

Technically, this weekend getaway has very little to do with me…family is coming in from Germany, and I want to make sure the boys get to see them since visits are so rare…and even though it’s only been a month, my mother desperately misses the boys…and of course the boys adore going to Mississippi…so really, I’m performing a public service, of sorts…

Apparently, I’m a bit of an opportunist…Friday – mom, Saturday – BFF, Sunday – This Man…the weekend isn’t supposed to have anything to do with me…but I’m making damn sure to take care of myself, too…so it’s not really about me – until it is…

The Ex has been his usual self, which means nonexistent…and of course it still annoys me…until I realized that his idiocy isn’t actually directed at me…it’s directed at the boys…I was angry with him the other day, and felt like a truck hit me when I realized I was angry for the wrong reasons…I was angry because he’s an idiot…when in fact, I should be angry on the boys’ behalf…except they seem to be mentally moving away from him…they last about 30 seconds on the phone with him…and they’re done, moved on…in a way it’s very sad…but I’d rather them feel nothing instead of hurting all the time…

Realizing that I don’t need to be angry with him on my own behalf actually made the anger disappear…the boys aren’t upset (because they appear not to care), so why should I be?  Being upset with him isn’t going to change anything…and it makes me crazy…I’m glad I made this about the boys – instead of me.

Life is so much easier when it’s not all about me…

Simple Pleasures

It really is all about the simple pleasures in life.  I can name a long list of things I would consider simple pleasures that aren’t happening yet…but I’d rather focus on the simple pleasures that I do have…

  • My air conditioning is fixed! It’s been out since Saturday and last night it crept up to 85 degrees.  I slept on top of the covers last night!  For those of you in more temperate climates or in parts of the globe where it’s winter, Florida is HOT right now and will only get hotter. Feeling the cold air as I walked in the door this afternoon was sheer bliss!
  • I’ll see my mom Friday night!  We’ve already planned a picnic dinner on the beach with the boys and a couple of small outings on Saturday.  I don’t really give a crap what we do…I just want to be there.
  • I’ll see BFF Saturday night!  Other than helping my technologically-impaired friend with a small project, we won’t do much except drink wine and talk…and that sounds pretty damn perfect to me!  (Psst, BFF, I need Moscato, please…)
  • And Sunday night, I’ll see This Man! We have no firm plans, and I don’t really care.  I’ll sound weird when I say this, but I really am happy just sitting in his living room, hanging out.
  • Oh yeah, and both boys are healthy again!  Sean had those diarrhea issues from last week, and this week, the heat in the house made Aidan sick for two days…this afternoon, everyone seems back to normal.  (I promise, I made no pact with the devil for an illness-free weekend…well…)

I’ve always been the person to encourage others to think positively, but I never really applied it to myself.  I’m great at dishing out the advice and pretty crappy at taking it – there, I admitted it!  But, purposefully focusing on the good in my life really has made a difference.  That’s not to say it’s all PollyAnna crap over here…there are still moments I contemplate selling my children to the gypsies…and I’m still sarcastic as hell, and get cranky and whiny every so often…but I don’t let it bring me so far down that I can’t function…

I’ll take my simple pleasures in life and be damn happy with them, thankyouverymuch!

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