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For Aidan

Happy Birthday, Aidan.  Today you are seven years old…and while a part of me views you as really young (because you are), another part can’t believe how quickly you’re growing up…

So much has happened in the past year, so many changes…and you amaze me everyday…from the way you read to your brother to the way you hold my hand crossing the parking lot…

You held my hand today…and it was different than it used to be…your hand is strong, you’re filled with the confidence of youth – that thing that makes you believe anything is possible…and it’s in those moments that I know I haven’t somehow damaged you with the divorce…

When you say, “Yes ma’am” and “Please and thank you,” I know you’re going to be ok…

And you’re a good big brother, too…talking to Sean, playing with him, reading to him, helping him put his shoes on (when I beg you)…in these moments, I know you’re growing up just fine…

You still have your moments…crying tonight for 20 minutes because you couldn’t have a soda right before bed reminded me just how young you really are…

I’m very proud of you and love you more than I know how to express – even when I want to sell you to the gypsies…if this is who you are at 7, I can only imagine what the future holds…

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I’m Going To Be More Positive, Damn It!

Sheesh, I really hate it when someone points out something I should have realized long ago…not only do I have to re-evaluate my world, but I have to admit that I’m wrong…

After a long back and forth with someone who matters, I realized that I’ve become waaaaaay too self-involved.  And in a negative way…

Life is hard, waaah…

I’m broke, boo hoo…

My children are (gasp) typical children!

Let me say, it is OK to acknowledge those things, feel the negative emotions, and emote a little…what’s not ok is to do what I’ve been doing – live in that space and never show the world that the positive exists.

You would never know it to read this blog, be my friend on Facebook, or talk to me ever, but Aidan and Sean make me smile and laugh every day…even when I’m in the middle of a mental meltdown about money, life, or whatever.

Sean will look up at me, lower his eyebrows, and glare at me in the most precious way.  He doesn’t get his way when he does it…but I get a chuckle…

I don’t post every single one of Aidan’s mispronounced words, but I laugh at all of them…

Whenever my babies hold my hand, I get goose bumps, because the amount of trust that they feel for me is overwhelming.  I am their Mommy, and that little hand claims me as theirs.

I’ve had a financial burden lifted in the past 24 hours, and it’s lifted my spirits.  It’s freed up space in my head for other things.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time.   I was actually told that based on the perception I inspired in someone, they could actually believe I don’t like my children.  I cried at that.

I haven’t liked my life much…I’ve wanted it to be different, better, easier…don’t we all wish for that?  But instead of looking at how far I’ve come (and we as a family have come), I’ve focused on how far we still need to go…God, I’m an idiot sometimes…

Throughout the diarrhea-filled day yesterday, Sean and I really did have a good time.  I finally got it right for the doctor’s office – we came prepared: water, crackers, Thomas trains – what else could you possibly need in life?  The luxury of spending time with just one child is something I miss…one on one, my children are fascinating…their personalities are vibrant and complex…they’re little people, y’all…Sean is hilarious…he’s a jokester…and if he thinks he’s making you laugh with his antics, he keeps going…he cracks himself up…

All Aidan wanted today was for me to come to his school for the Awards Assembly.  I would not have missed it for the world…I was prepared to tell my boss that life sucked, but I had to go (thank goodness I have a good boss!).  I was excited!  I knew he was still on the Honor Roll, and I had a suspicion he made all A’s for the final 9 weeks.  And I was right!  He did that with very little help from me…sure, I pushed him to complete his homework…but he understood the concepts, he remembered the spelling words, he reads everything he can get his hands on…you’d think we were related somehow, wouldn’t you?  It was an amazing feeling to be proud of my baby for something I had nothing to do with…he did that…

So, all of that is to say, I’m going to take time to focus on the good…does that mean I won’t emote every once in a while?  Of course not, this is my blog, my space, to figure things out…and a little emoting happens sometimes.  But I’m not going to forget the good…and I’m not just going to pay lip service to it…I’m going to mean it, express it, share it…

 

Pity Party Over & Lessons Learned

The pity party and the lessons are actually two completely separate things, but if I hadn’t called it quits to the pity party, I never would have had space in my head to learn the lessons…

I had an absolute pity party for about a week…most of it was in my head…some of it was not

Was I completely justified in my feelings?  Hell yeah…should I have given into them?  Probably not…the reality is that there are times when I will…I have to accept that…and not be ashamed of it…this is hard…it was hard under normal circumstances…it’s even harder now…but if my choices are the life I have now or the life I had over a year ago, I’ll take this any day…

I really did have a moment when I wondered why I even bothered trying to make my life different…I considered, for a fleeting moment, simply accepting my life as it is…wow, that was freaking depressing…

So, after a ridiculous amount of tears last night when I went to bed, I did what I usually do…I decided to put it to the side…tamp down the feelings…and move on…

I woke up this morning in a different frame of mind…not better – but different…

Sean was still sick…he graduated to vomiting…so off to the doctor we went…and I learned a series of lessons today:

  • When a toddler has diarrhea, there are never enough diapers or wipes.
  • When a toddler has diarrhea, you will run out of both – while you’re out in public.
  • People in a waiting room will wonder why you brought the bright, sweet toddler to the doctor because he’s so damn active – until he pukes all over himself, and then they will wonder no more.
  • When said toddler pukes all over himself, you will forget everything in life except the need to find something to clean it up with – including the credit card, phone, and wallet that were in your hand.
  • While desperately seeking paper towels, a sponge, anything, you will frantically try the handle of the ladies room.  And glare at the woman who had the audacity to be using it first.
  • Later, that sweet, pathetic little toddler, who has managed to make a complete recovery will be excited to take a drive in the car.
  • A few moments later, he will also be a screaming mess because you’re making him wait in the car line to pick up his big brother.
  • He will still be pissed moments later, even though you’ve promised him a drink from Sonic.  He doesn’t give a shit.  You made him wait – everyone must suffer the consequences.
  • The sickly toddler will perk up when he realizes you’re going to the library.  He will find a DVD.  He will wait patiently while Brother finds a book.  He will promptly have a bout of diarrhea that smells horrific enough to clear an entire room.
  • He will happily wander the library with the mess in his diaper, moving it ALL around – and I mean, ALL around in the diaper.  His brother will follow him around, holding his nose, and loudly saying, “Ewww, Sean, you have di-uh-RE-UH!”  There will be NO use of the library voice at this moment.
  • You will quickly check out, run to the car, and discover all you have is a pair of Pull-Ups and Boogie Wipes (designed for noses, not asses).
  • You will make do.  You will also get poo on his shirt.  You will drive home with a half naked toddler who feels muuuuuuuuch better.

I swear, there are some life lessons I could do without.

I Must Have Left My Handbook At The Hospital

I’m sure my children came with instructions…I just lost them at the hospital…there have to be rules for how some of this is supposed to work, right? Yeah, probably not…

Sean fell asleep sitting on the potty around noon today – before he’d eaten lunch…I put him down for a nap, thinking it was strange, but assuming he would wake up starving and all would be well…not quite…

I woke him up three hours later, and he was on fire…he didn’t want to eat…he didn’t feel good…and all I have is children’s ibuprofen – which he likes to take, so at least that part was easy…

I brought him downstairs, and we dozed in the recliner…I felt his fever break, and for about two minutes he had energy…but he still didn’t want to eat…I gave him apple juice…because this Mother of the Year never has pedialyte, gatorade, or ginger ale in the fridge…nor do I have the money to buy any right now…this becomes a problem later…

Sean fell back asleep in the recliner just before six…I took pity on him and just put him to bed again…he still hadn’t eaten since breakfast…

Fast forward five hours later…I’m getting ready to go to bed, and my house smells horrible…I took out the trash…I wiped down the counters…I re-rinsed the dishes…I sprayed Febreze…nothing worked…I started to go upstairs and the smell of shit hit me like a ton of bricks…

Uh oh…I looked in on the boys and saw the stain…and I knew…oh holy hell…how had he slept through that?!

I carefully lifted Sean out of the bed and carried him to the bathroom…

Do I clean off the bed? How is Aidan sleeping through this? Do I wipe Sean down before I put him in the tub? Hell, should I just hose him down? I know I’m cleaning the tub and washing laundry tonight…

I gave Sean a bath, but wouldn’t let him sit down…poor baby was shaking and had to hold my hand to stand up…I went through two wash clothes before I felt he was clean…I dried him off and got him dressed in fresh pajamas – I think that alone made him feel a little better…

I put him on the floor so I could tackle his bed…Aidan continued to sleep…

I thanked God for the plastic mattress cover on Sean’s bed…I wiped it down with a bleach cleaner, remade the bed, let Sean use my pillow, and gave him a quilt…

More ibuprofen, a sip of juice (why do I not have ginger ale?!), and back to bed…

I told him that if he pooped again to call for me, and I’d come running…the fear of future diarrhea is what kept me from putting him in Aidan’s bed…or mine for that matter…

No, dude, you’re gonna keep sleeping on the bed with the mattress cover until this is over…

The Benjamin Boys Are At It Again

Aidan: Where do babies come from?

Me (gripping the steering wheeler tighter): Um…from a mom’s stomach…

Aidan: How does a baby get in there?

Me: Ummmm….

Aidan: Like an egg?

Me: Yes! If an egg is fertilized, it grows in the mom’s stomach.

Aidan: Like a chicken egg?! Isn’t it hard?

Me: Not quite. Humans are different from chickens.

Aidan: Oh.

Why he didn’t follow up with more obvious questions, I’ll never know. But I am damn grateful the conversation ended there.

*****

Aidan had his first dentist appointment today. He was great! No fear, no hesitation. It was wonderful…which tells me Sean will be the exact opposite…

He does have two cavities…the dental hygenist asked if I wanted to see…this was the moment I realized I hadn’t actually been paying attention to her…

Me: What is that?

A: A cavity…

Me: Oh! I’ve never had one…I didn’t know that’s what they looked like…

Yes, I am 32, and I’ve never had a single cavity…Aidan is 6 and has two…I have a feeling that his dental future is going to be long and rocky…

*****

Sean is at that stage of two that sucks most…he’s closer to turning three and the tantrums are more frequent and definitely louder…his new favorite word is, “NO!”

I walked in to pick him up from daycare and he was sitting in timeout…because he told Hot Daycare Chick, “NO!”

He didn’t even look sorry…

*****

Aidan is now officially a Cub Scout. I had to think long and hard about it, though…

It wasn’t just the cost…Aidan’s on the Grandma Scholarship program…but it was only $10, which ain’t easy, but I made it work…

It wasn’t just the time commitment…eventually I have to let him do something, and everything takes time…

I don’t like to associate with any organization that discriminates against any group of people…and the Boy Scout’s stance on LGBT bothers me…intolerance, bigotry, discrimination – it pisses me off…it’s wrong…

But…

How do you ever effect change if you aren’t in a place to do so? How do I teach him about intolerance if he’s never exposed to it? And why discount all the good an organization does? Maybe he can be the generation that goes through the Scouts and teaches tolerance…maybe it will be his group that demands change…

Oh, and the deciding factor? They brought Boy Scouts in to help with the meeting…they held doors open for people…they said sir and ma’am…they were helpful…and I thought, “Yes, I want that…”

*****

I wish the Cub Scouts would take toddlers…Sean was exasperating tonight…

At one point, I was literally chasing him around the room…I had told him to do something…he used his favorite word: NO!

I had the dilemma of going after him because that was unacceptable behavior (knowing I’d have to chase him) or letting it go, and knowing the other parent’s would think my lack of discipline was the real problem…I chose the chase…

Five minutes later I caught him…I was mortified…I was sweaty…I was pissed…and I just wanted to get the hell out of there…and I was reminded just why I avoid going places with both boys when I have to concentrate on something other than them…

I felt all eyes on me…I wanted to hide in a corner…but I acted like I didn’t see them…I dealt with Sean (in a voice loud enough to show that I do discipline my children)…I paid the registration fee…and got the hell out of Dodge!

Last Week’s Hell Was Worth It…

I started smiling at 5:15am on Saturday and didn’t stop until about 9:45pm on Sunday…I only hit the snooze button once on Saturday and the morning routine was the smoothest it’s been in months…the boys didn’t fuss…I wasn’t stressed or worried…I was anxious to get there, though…

Saturday morning was with my mom…Saturday afternoon and night was all BFF and margaritas…oh hell, the margaritas!

Sunday was This Man…and it was perfect…I was the most relaxed and content I’ve ever been…there were no worries, no stresses…just blissful time spent together away from our real lives…and no, I’m not giving details – I don’t kiss and tell…

I stopped smiling at 9:45pm because that’s when I needed to leave…he had things to do, and I needed to be back home for a meeting this morning…and I felt like I was being punched in the gut…I felt like a part of me was being ripped in half…

I listen to my instinct, my gut, to get me through life…and every fiber of my being said not to leave…not because something bad was going to happen, but because it was wrong…I do what I’m supposed to do whether I want to or not all the time…this was no different…

I cried…I hugged him…I drove away, sniffling…and then I do what I do best – I put my emotions to the side, buried them where they couldn’t hurt me, and moved on…life has to go on regardless of what I might want to happen…

But I miss my mom…I miss BFF…and I miss This Man…and my world no longer feels quite as right as it did this weekend…

Every temper tantrum, every aggravation, every moment of The Ex’s idiocy last week was worth it for 2 days of life being right.

Is This Where I Pay To Play?

I will soon be in a Dodge Journey (a freaking awesome rental), speeding down the road, headed to Mississippi…I have promised not to throw the boys from the car…I’ll visit with my mom, we’ll go to lunch, and then I will speed away, tires squealing, rubber burning, to get to BBF and This Man…

I have looked forward to this weekend and the following week for three weeks…actually, I’ve looked forward to the fantasy of this coming week for months…

Being the person I am, I mentally mapped out all that I needed to do today to get ready for tomorrow…what’s that expression about the best laid plans? Sometimes I’m not sure why I bother planning anything…

Here’s how this day was supposed to go: Get out of work at 4:30, pick up the rental no later than 5:30, get home before 6, cook dinner, get the boys bathed and in bed, workout, shower, pack, and sleep (maybe…I am a little excited…).

Here’s how it actually went: Got out of work at 5:15 (because the last event of the day was wildly popular!); got to Enterprise at 5:30 (and waited for a car until 6:30); went back to the office where I left my car because I forgot my phone charger (sooooo not an option); on the road home around 7; got a text from The Ex who apparently was tired of watching the boys and couldn’t manage to feed them dinner (WTF, dude?!); got home, fixed dinner, bathed the boys, bed by 8; began packing; searched for 30 minutes for one of Sean’s shoes (never found it); realized at 9:15 that I hadn’t eaten dinner and my knee hurts (screw the workout)…

I am so excited about my girls’ night out tomorrow and my evening with This Man on Sunday…I am equally excited about my week off from the mom thing…everyone says I’ll miss them…and not to sound like the worst Mom ever, but I don’t think so…this week has been rough on a lot of levels…temper tantrums everyday – Thursday morning I was reduced to tears (not that I’ll ever let Aidan know he got to me like that)…it’s been ages since I had time away from my children that wasn’t work-related and </em knew the boys were with someone I trust completely (sorry, my faith in The Ex is somewhat reduced)…

This is pretty typical of my life…work hard every moment to get to a few seconds of good…the good things in my life have never been easy…I envy the people who have that kind of good fortune…but at least I'll appreciate every single second of my time…after everything I've been through in the past few hours, days, weeks, and months, I am appreciative of the much-needed break I'm about to receive…but don't get in my way, I may knock your ass down on my way out the door!

Boys, Boys, Boys

My boys are doing their best to make sure that I don’t miss them this weekend…it’s only Tuesday, and I’ve lost count of all the temper tantrums…there’s been early bedtimes, no bedtime stories, smacks to the butt…

Is it Saturday around 1pm yet?

It’s no worse than any other time…but I can see light at the end of the tunnel, so my patience is wearing thin…

In other news, Sean is graduating to Pull-Ups because his daycare said so…he spends more time with them than he does with me, and I have no problem letting them take the lead on this one…my job was to buy the Pull-Ups and the Skittles…everytime he sits on the potty, he gets a Skittle…hell, for that, I’ll sit on the damn potty!

*****

The Ex keeps wanting to talk to me about his new girlfriend…in what universe is that supposed to be ok?!

The worse part is that if I tried that, he would freak out on me…/sigh…

*****

This Man and I will finally get to spend some time together this weekend…not much time, not enough time…but something is better than nothing…

I’m trying to go against my nature and not start dreading when I have to leave…yes, I do that…I admit it…I can’t be happy with what I have because I want more, or I’m unhappy that it will end or that it’s not enough…just another thing I need to change…I’m workin’ on it!

My Boys Are Freaking Precious…Sometimes

Sean: “Anan, Thomath, tot-tart!”

Aidan: “Mom, this is why I need a dog or a hamster, so it will distract Sean and keep him from talking to me!”

Yeah, neither is an option right now…but keep tryin’ kid…

*****

Aidan: “Mom, don’t you dare run over me!”

Me: “I promise, I won’t!”

He warns me about running over him every day when I drop him off at the Boys and Girls Club…Every. Single. Day.

*****

Aidan: “Mom, you should stop wasting all your money.”

Me: “Excuse me?” (Thinking: WTF?!)

Aidan: “Well, you never have any money to buy me toys.”

Me: “Yes, I am constantly wasting money on feeding, clothing, and sheltering you and Sean.”
And yes, at 6 he understands sarcasm…he’s my child after all. (Thinking: You ungrateful little shit…)

*****

Sean: “Anan, bite my butt!”

Aidan: “OK!”

Me: “Get your face out of his butt!”

*****

Sean: “Look at my pee-pee!”

Me: “Yep.” (Thinking: Do not look.)

Sean: “Here’s my butt.”

Me: “Uh huh.” (Thinking: What is it with this child and his butt?)

This is a nightly ritual as I get him ready for his bath.

*****

There is no better feeling than when they climb all over me, just wanting hugs and kisses and to feel close. I’m not the most sentimental person in the world, but I adore the feeling of little arms around my neck…when they’re not attempting to strangle me, of course…

Those Darn Benjamin Boys

It’s been a while, but those darn Benjamin boys are at it again…

Sean: “Anan, we go get Anan?”

Me: “Yes, Sean, we’re going to get Aidan.”

Sean: “And then we go house?”

Me: “Yes, baby, then we’ll go home.”

Sean: “Yay!”

*****

Me: “So what did you do today at school?”

Aidan: “Nothing.”

Me: “So you just sat there all day and stared at one another?”

Aidan: “Yep.”

And he says it with a straight face!

*****

Sean: “Mommy, I need kisses!”

Aidan: “Mommy, I need kisses, too?”

Sean: “Me, me, me!”

Aidan: “No fair! Me, me, me!”

This would be at bedtime.  They fight over who gets hugs and kisses before I leave the room.  Wow…I’m pretty frickin’ lucky…

*****

Aidan and I have been working on his behavior.  We have a behavior chart that earns him money (not much, I’m BROKE), but it seems to be working (knock on wood, God I hope I haven’t jinxed myself!)…Sean is becoming ornery…everything is “his” which is typical at his age…but since everything is also Aidan’s, it can get complicated…and loud…very loud…

I sure do love those darn Benjamin boys…