Growing Up…Sort Of

Earlier today, I had this written in my head…a moving tale of how Aidan is finally growing up and doing things independently of Sean and myself…and how time was flying and I couldn’t believe my baby is at this point…

And yeah, so that came to a screeching halt while he yelled and cried because I wouldn’t let him sell all of his stuff in the front yard to raise $299 – and no, I don’t know what he wants that costs $299…

Of course, Aidan is growing up…quicker than I would like sometimes…last weekend he spent both Saturday and Sunday at a friend’s house…heaven help that mother who offered to keep him an extra night…I’ll do one night, but not two with Aidan AND his rowdy friends…today, he had a birthday party to go to, and since I had no desire to be there, watch him, AND keep up with Sean (who would need a nap anyway), I arranged to drop him off and pick him up…

I learned, later, that he finagled $20 out of his friend’s stepfather…I’m not sure whether to be mortified or impressed…I’m both, actually…mortified that he thinks it’s ok to go around asking people for money…and impressed as hell that he convinced someone to give him any amount, let alone $20!

He’s growing up in other ways, too…in one day, he got caught peeking into the girl’s restroom at the Boys and Girls Club and he cracked a joke at lunch, encouraging all his friends to shove their hot dogs in their mouth as fast as possible…of course, he didn’t say “hot dogs,” he said “wienie” which frankly, is better than “wiener” to me…either way, he got in trouble for “playing with his lunch” which apparently is a big no-no – enough to get you sent to the timeout lunch table…who knew there was such a thing?

Two notes for me to sign in one day…and his biggest fear was that I would take away his opportunity to go to the birthday party today…he got in trouble for the notes coming home, but since I found both situations so ridiculous and completely age-appropriate, I didn’t take the birthday party away…

I learned that it’s harder to punish a kid when what you want to do is laugh hysterically at their antics…and then of course, I wondered what that says about me…

Just when I start marveling at how much he’s changing, he reminds that he still has a long way to go…whining and crying the moment he thinks he’s not getting his way…pushing and yelling at his brother because he’s tired of looking at him…

I know I’m not supposed to wish his childhood away, but if this stage could pass a little more quickly, I’d be ok with that…

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Chatterbox

I know, I know, I suck…I’ve been silent for a couple of weeks (or longer)…I guess that’s what happens when life gets to a place that might be called “normal” – there’s nothing to bitch about…And while the boys are usually all I need for a little blogging fodder, they’ve been downright boring lately…well, until recently…

I don’t notice it until I’m alone with him, but Sean is a total chatterbox…yeah, ok, I hear the snickering from my family…it’s genetic…I know…his ramblings are cute and funny, but not so memorable that I can hold them in my brain long enough to blog about them later…

He chattered away today, but it made me sad…

“I miss my daddy…Mommy, did you know I miss my daddy?”

“I want to see my daddy…he’s in Georgia…can I stay with my daddy, Mommy?”

“My daddy tickled me and tickled me…and I laughed, Mommy…do you hear me laughing now, Mommy? Daddy tickled me, and I laughed.”

He hasn’t been around his father since August, so I can only imagine that was the last time The Ex tickled him…and my heart breaks, because Sean still has memories of his father, good ones…and they make him miss The Ex…

I received a text from The Ex today…”My phone is getting turned off tomorrow.”

I think that was his way of telling me that instead of talking to the boys once a week, they’ll get to hear from him once a NEVER…

In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west…

Le sigh (that’s all the French I remember from high school, in case you were wondering)…

Regardless of the topic, I’ll let Sean chatter away…he’s always thinking (a little like his Mommy) and I never know what’s going to come out of him next…

So This Happened…

So this happened this weekend:

Yeah, I’m one lucky girl.  2012 Toyota Corolla, only 20 miles on her when I drove off the lot VERY late Saturday night…thank God for The Step or it never would have happened…I have an amazing family, and while I’m always thankful for them, I will be even more thankful each time I get behind the wheel…

For the first time since 2003, I have a brand new, never been owned, pretty AND reliable AND fits my personality car…and I shall name her Ginnie…no, not Ginny or Jenny…or Virginia or Jennifer or any of that…Ginnie…think of it what you will…that’s who she is…and I love her…

I bought her first accessory today:

 

Her first piece of jewelry – and a nice-smelling air freshener.  It sparked a teaching moment for Aidan…

Aidan: “I, um, looooove the new air freshener, Mom.”

Me: “You do?”

Aidan: “Well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings so yeah, I love it.”

Me: “You don’t have to love it.  And as long as you speak nicely, you can share any opinion you have with me.”

Aidan: “Oh? Ok…I hate the air freshener, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Me: “Why don’t you like it?”

Aidan: “It’s too girly! It has flowers and stuff. Oh, but there’s a spider up top. I like that!”

For the record, it’s not a spider, it’s a flower, but I didn’t tell Aidan that.

Lesson learned (hopefully) – be nice and respectful and feel free to give your real opinion…I hope that sticks…I’d rather he be different from me in that area…I’m always nice and respectful…but I white lie to protect feelings with the best of them…

Oh yeah, and this happened:

 

Sean’s birthday! It was actually Monday, but we celebrated on Saturday when Mama and The Step could be here. We were supposed to do presents and cake in the middle of the afternoon, but the car-shopping experience took the entire afternoon and evening. Birthday festivities were at 8:00 p.m. while we waited for pizza to arrive. The adults, who hadn’t eaten since breakfast (myself, I’d had a whopping 250 calories 12 hours prior) scarfed down cupcakes and then stood in the kitchen and ate pizza hovering over the sink, as if we were in college and had no home-training…

 

You had to know it was going to be Thomas the Tank Engine, right?! And that little mark down at the bottom? Aidan’s finger just couldn’t help itself, apparently…

Oh, and if all of THAT wasn’t enough, this happened, to:

 

That’s Aidan, at a Cub Scouts Shooting Sports Day program, learning about BB gun safety before he was allowed to go near the BB guns. I wish I had a picture of him attempting to shoot, but Mama and I wrangled Sean…and bought a Cub Scout uniform…and drank water like we were in the Sahara…

Aidan attempted to shoot the BB gun…and never hit the target…but that’s ok…he tried archery…and hit the target twice – when the adult leading the archery pulled his arm back for him…but that’s ok…he’s not a natural athlete – he’s my literary, sensitive, loves art and music child…Sean, I think he’s going to be a linebacker or something…

He had a great time, scarfed down his hot dog lunch in record time, and declared Cub Scouts, “Awesome!”

And yes, every bit of the above occurred on Saturday…and I’m still freaking exhausted…but I have Ginnie…and I’m happy…and I have one less thing to worry about…and life is good.

 

Happy Birthday Sean

Sean’s entire three years on this planet have been documented via Facebook and WordPress.  Go ahead, crown me Mother of the Year.  Within moments of his birth, his picture (which included me looking like I’d been drug outside, beaten, run through the mud, and put up wet) was on Facebook.


I hope you didn’t think I was exaggerating.

The polar opposite of his brother, Sean keeps me on my toes.  He looks at the world and comprehends more than I think a toddler should.  A prankster at heart, he likes to make people (especially himself) laugh.  And there is no greater joy for him than antagonizing the hell out of his big brother.

I admit that I pay more attention to his development and growth than I did to Aidan’s.  Does it count that I took a few hundred more pictures of Aidan?  Probably not.

Sean knows his letters, his colors, and his shapes (including octagon, y’all!).  He knows his friends’ names and who he would prefer not to have to hang out with.  He is naturally shy with new people and dogeys (aka dogs), but once he loves you, he loves you with his whole heart.

Happy birthday, Sean.  I hope one day you appreciate that your brother is the one I practiced on first.

Uh Oh, It Happened…

I’m in like ya’ll.  It might be love…you tell me.

We were on the phone last night, and I suggested we watch a movie on Netflix together.  Sweet, right?  Long-distance relationship and we’re sharing a “normal” moment.

What movie did I agree to watch?  Rocky.  Yes, made in 1976, starring Sylvester Stallone, Rocky.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone but I kind of liked it.

What will I be doing tomorrow night?

Watching the Giants game online while he watches it on ESPN or wherever.  I’m not even sure what ESPN stands for…Everyone Supports Primitive Natures?  No, that can’t be right.

If he still wants to speak to me after patiently explaining for the 17th time what a field goal is, we might be ok…and that was a joke, people.  I know what a field goal is – it has something to do with the ball they use for hockey , right? (Kidding!  Jeeez, give me a little credit.)

I haven’t made up a cute nickname for him yet, because I’m not ready to write about it.  Mostly because I want to keep this little bit of wonderful amazingness (is that a word?) to myself.

But just know – he’s gotta be some kind of wonderful for me to watch Rocky and a football game in my lifetime, let alone in the same week.

 

$&!# My Kids Say

I’ve discovered a purpose for Twitter…or at least my Twitter account…shit my kids say…I’m sure I’m not the first to use #shitmykidssay, but I’m definitely using the heck out of it now!

In the past few days, here’s what I’ve heard:

Aidan to Sean: “Be a man!”

Sean: “Don’t race, Mommy.  The wheels spawn and spawn.”

Sean: “The rain makes me sick.”

Sean: “You heard me? I was farting.”

Aidan: “When will I get my tonsils out?”

Sean: “When we get home, I’m going to poop in the potty, Mommy…and then show it to you.”

Aidan: “My teacher said if its your mess, you clean it up, even in the bathroom.  And I’ve never had a drip until today.”

Yeah, that’s Twitter GOLD right there, people…so if you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow me and find out what one of them says next.

Oh Isaac

Let me get the serious stuff out of the way first.  I’m lucky that Isaac (hurricane or tropical storm depending on when you’re reading this) is basically missing my area.  I recognize how fortunate I am.  I worry for my family who will get a much more direct impact from the storm than I will.  I worry for those who survived Hurricane Katrina and now get another storm on the anniversary of her arrival.  I hate it, it sucks, and it’s the one downside to living where I do.

But can I continue to be completely honest?

I am SO freaking tired of talking about Isaac!  In my neck of the woods, we’ve been talking about Isaac since last week – Thursday, I think.  It wasn’t even on top of Cuba yet and there was conjecture, there was supposition, and of course, there was panic!

I’m so tired of talking about Isaac, I wouldn’t even want to talk about Isaac Hayes, if I had a reason to! And yes, I recognize the irony that my entire post is dedicated to Isaac –  I get it.

My world was dead center of the “cone of uncertainty.”  Damn cone of F-ing uncertainty.  My mother began requesting constant weather updates to the point that when she called, I stopped saying hello.  Instead I said, “We’re still in the center of the cone, it may be a Cat 1 by landfall, who knows. Yes, I will be prepared. No I’m not evacuating. Yes we’ll be fine.”

But as I explained to countless newbies who had not gone through a hurricane before, until it gets in the Gulf of Mexico, the cone, the trackers, and conjectures are basically bullshit.  Nobody knows – they’re just guessing based on the weather at that basic moment and what they think the weather’s going to do next.  Have you watched the local weather lately?  When was the last time they got it 100% right?  You really think I’m going to start panicking a week out??

If you’re not aware, the Gulf of Mexico, during the summer, is like soup.  Warm-ass soup.  And we had a really mild winter, which means the Gulf never really got that cold.  NO ONE wants a storm to reach the Gulf.  No. One.  Sure, give a storm that loves a warm bubble bath time to churn for a while.  What could go wrong?  Everything.

Just to give you an idea of how I feel about hurricanes – I don’t evacuate.  I don’t throw a party and I don’t go to them, either (because it’s really illegal to put your children on a shelf during a hurricane party…the authorities frown on that.).  I get my crap inside, I hunker down, I wait it out.  That’s what I do.  I’ve said that I would evacuate for a Category 3 storm, but I’m not even sure I’d do that.  Everyone who’s lived through more than one hairy hurricane season has their threshold for when they’ll leave – some never do.  I never have.  No place to go, no money to get there, and my worst fear is being stuck on the interstate as the storm hits.  And of course, sometimes if you leave, you can’t get back in – I want to be able to get back to my stuff, even if it’s strewn across the damn highway.

Back to the Gulf, soup, and the unpredictability of stupid cones.  Let me share with you how the cone and Gulf don’t always communicate very well…

I lived in south Mississippi when Hurricane Ivan hit.  I don’t even remember what category it was now (guess I should Google that, huh?).  But I remember distinctly that it was coming straight for Biloxi, MS.  I settled in to my mom’s house with The Ex (before he was an ex), my roommate at the time, and my mom’s dog (Mama was already remarried, I think, or close to it so she was with The Step).  That was the SCARIEST thing I’ve ever sat through.  Wind howled, things got picked up and flung at the house, and of course, the power went out.

We weren’t watching TV at that point, so while we thought it was coming straight for us, Ivan actually did what a lot of storms do in the Gulf, it veered at the last minute, and pounded Pensacola, FL.  Ironically, six months later, I would move the panhandle area and witness a sea of blue roofs (from all the tarps).  We were sure it was headed for us, because that’s what the damn projections said.  The storm and the gulf had other plans.  That’s how these storms go.  ALL of them.

So, now, can you understand why maybe I’m a little annoyed that on THURSDAY the world began to panic slightly about my area being in the center of the cone.  I was one of a few voices saying, “Can we wait until it’s in the Gulf of Mexico?  Please?”

Now, that being said, I did get my preparations done Friday and Saturday.   Mostly to avoid the rush of the Monday afternoon people who were waiting for the magic 24-36 hour time frame to ransack every store in the tri-county area of bread, water, and peanut butter.

The joke, for those of us who live in these areas, is that the moment you buy your supplies, get your windows boarded up, and prepare for the worst, the storm won’t come to you.  So all weekend, I did my part to insure that Isaac went elsewhere.  On Friday, I bought 2 gigantic cases of water from Sam’s (the last two they had in the store, thankyouverymuch).  On Saturday, I bought way too much bread and peanut butter.  And then I refused to buy a full gallon of milk (opting for the half gallon) in case I lost power for more than a few hours.  All of these things mean that I won’t need all the damn water or the bread.  I comfort myself with knowing that they won’t go to waste, so it’s not a total loss.

For all my annoyance and flippancy, I do worry for the people who will take the brunt of the storm.  When you live here, you always want it to go somewhere else.  In my area, we just pray for west, WAY west.  I like the idea of Mexico…don’t they need rain?

I am ready for the storm, though.  The car has plenty of gas, we can go a few days without electricity if we have to, and I’ve pulled in all the big chunks of crap to lessen the amount of debris that could get picked up.  I do all this simply because I don’t want to be the crappiest mother alive for real, NOT because I think there’s much to worry about.  Panic is contagious.  And since we’ve been talking about this since THURSDAY, I’m pretty much trying to keep my perspective here, and not let everyone else’s worry get to me.  Especially the people who’ve never been through a storm.

One last piece of advice for those of you who have never been through a hurricane – if the people who have lived in the area ALL THEIR LIVES aren’t panicking, please calm down.  You don’t know more than they do about a hurricane, I promise.  When they start to freak out and pack up their crap, THEN it’s time to panic.

The Benjamin Boys’ Mean Mommy

Bet you didn’t know I’m a mean Mommy, did you?  Yep, that’s me…Mean Mommy.  I wear that title pretty well, and I’m pretty damned proud of it.

Sean ratted me out at daycare this morning.

Sean: “My mommy made me mad this morning.  She made me cry.”

Daycare: “How Sean-Sean?” (Gotta love that everyone calls him Sean-Sean now…)

Sean: “She made me cry because she wouldn’t listen to me.”

This is the same child who ended up at the office in a time out because he was so bad for his teacher today.  Sweet Sean-Sean?  Yes, I know, I was shocked too.

He woke up crying, because Mean Mommy made him get out of the bed and try to use the potty.  Mean Mommy also made him put on clothes, socks, and sneakers.  Mean Mommy gave him a banana for breakfast and couldn’t pull the coveted Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Poptart out of her butt (that’s what happens when little boys get a hold of the Poptarts while Mean Mommy is sleeping on a Saturday morning)…

And that “she won’t listen to me” line?  Straight from Aidan…

*****

Aidan (sobbing): “You aren’t listening to me, Mom!”

Me: “Well, tell me again.  Help me understand.”

Aidan (wailing): “You don’t understand me, Mom!!!”

Me (confused): “Help me understand.  Say it again.”

Aidan (sobbing and wailing): “You just don’t get it!!!  You never listen to me!”

Me (annoyed): “WHAT don’t I get, Aidan?!”

Aidan (sniffling): “I didn’t want pizza, Mom.”

Oh holy hell, really?

*****

Mean Mommy makes Aidan do homework, eat dinner, and shower before watching Netflix (no more cable) or play on his Nintendo DS. Mean Mommy requires that both boys pick up (most of) the toys each evening.  Mean Mommy doesn’t tolerate whining, complaining, backtalk, attitude, lying, and not listening.

I think I like Mean Mommy…

A Letter To Their Father

I’ve done this before…it’s cathartic…and I know I could never get him to listen to this, so why bother trying?  But my head has been in a fog and if I don’t get it out, I may explode…

To Their Father:

I use that term loosely, I hope you realize that.  You haven’t been a real father to the boys in more than a year and a half…and looking back on your idea of what it meant to be a stay-at-home father, I’m not sure you were so hot at it before we split…

You only come around when I give you a reason…you don’t support them…you don’t even know what their day-to-day lives are like…because you don’t ask…because you don’t engage…because you have faded to a distant background…

And now you’ve moved away…six hours away…and you didn’t tell your children…you didn’t say good-bye to them…what kind of father does that?!  The moving part is understandable…I get that…but to not explain to the boys that it would be a while before they saw you again…to not ease it for them?  Why?  Because it was too hard for you?  Well, fuck, a lot of this is hard…you’ve got it easy…you get to hide behind your pain and check out…and now you took the easy way out of the hardest thing you’ve done yet…didn’t you?

I was reminded recently that maybe it’s better that you aren’t around the boys…I don’t want them to end up like you…I want them to understand the value of hard work…the value of keeping their commitments…I want better for them than we have provided so far…

I held out hope in our marriage for a better life…and I continued holding on to hope through the past year and a half…hope that you would step up…hope that you would contribute…hope that you wouldn’t let your relationship with the boys suffer…it took me 12 years to give up hope on you and me…and it took me a year and half to give up hope when it comes to you as a father – the only thing I ever wanted from you in the divorce: be a good father…and you couldn’t do it, could you?

Well, your absence from their lives is your loss…remember that…

They are going to be fine…because I will make sure they’re fine…I will do what I’ve always done – I’ll continue to make sure you don’t look like an ass to your children…I will continue to make sure they never believe you just left them…you will always be “at work,” “at home,” or whatever else I can conjure up…

But don’t be surprised if there comes a day when someone else has taken your place…a place you walked away from…a place you gave up…

And by the way, stop asking me why I sound tired all the damn time…it’s because I am tired…playing the part of two parents takes it out of a person…maybe if you’d step up as a father, I’d be a little less “tired.”

Sincerely,
One Pissed Off Mama

Coming Home To The Benjamin Boys

I’ve been gone for six days – working…and enjoying the “break” from my babies…It’s not a real break because I work long hours, but it’s my time in the adult world, and I do enjoy it…

I am often asked if I miss the boys…and I’m a little ashamed to admit that my answer is usually, “Not yet!”  It’s true, though…I am with my children 24/7/365 – the only break is work and sleep…and any parent will tell you that sleep isn’t a break because I wake up if they even breathe wrong…

But when I walk through the door and see their little faces, I realize in that moment just how much I missed them while I was gone…did I miss packing lunches, potty training, nap times, bedtimes, bath times?  Not really…but I missed those faces…I missed seeing their eyes light up when they see me…I missed hugging and kissing them…I missed tucking them in at night and having them fight over who gets the most kisses (I keep it as even as possible, in case you’re wondering)…

I’m tired from a long week…I’m emotionally drained because switching gears is always hard…but I enjoy coming home to the Benjamin Boys…

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