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The Adventures of the Benjamin Boys – The Past 24 Hours

It started last night – exactly 24 hours from the moment I started writing this…Sean, unknown to me, was coloring on himself, his sheets, and his pillows with not-Crayola markers…translation: doesn’t wash off easily…I discovered it at about 10pm…

At 6:15am, I heard Sean walking down the hall to my bedroom…normally he comes right on in…today he hesitated – he should have…he knew it wasn’t going to be good…the door creaked open…he peeked in…and I tried not to laugh…marker on his face, marker on his hands and arms, marker on his legs and feet…marker on his stomach!

I didn’t yell…I didn’t even frown…I just said, “Sean-Sean!”…the chin trembled, the lip pouted, and the tears started…instead of punishing, I was comforting…and cleaning…and then I realized something – I needed a picture…

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Aidan had a skating field trip today…I picked him up this afternoon and asked, “How was the skating rink?”

Aidan: “Great!”

Me: “Are you getting better at skating?”

Aidan: “Heck no! But I had fun!”

Good attitude, dude…

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Sitting at Subway in Wal-Mart, eating dinner, so not my plan tonight…they should be with their father…who couldn’t be bothered, I guess…Aidan wants attention – talking like a baby and refusing to sit, check…Sean is cranky – spilling his juice box, refusing to eat, taking food from my hand like he’s starving, check…

I refilled my Diet Coke before we leave and had only one thought…I wish Wal-Mart sold rum…

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While on his skating field trip today, Aidan bought a fake moustache for 25 cents…he took it out of his pocket before his bath to show me…it looks like a flattened caterpillar…

He left it on the bookcase by bed…I had to move it…I didn’t want to touch it…it creeps me out…

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Raising Boys #7

Someone called me a good mom today…and of course, I was flattered…I don’t know how good I am at it…but I do take it seriously.  Being the only caretaker, the only constant parent in their lives, isn’t easy and I know I get bogged down in bedtimes and routines sometimes.  Thankfully, they are sweet little boys who bring out my lighter side, too…

“Thomath! Thomath! I wan Thomath, Ma-ma!”  That would be Sean…who still adores Thomath Thomas. He has Thomas pajamas, Thomas books, a Thomas pillow, several Thomas trains…and being the sweet baby that he is, has managed to charm the daycare into playing a Thomas movie every single afternoon. I know what he’s getting for HIS birthday…

Aidan is my moody boy who forgets he’s 6 and thinks he’s grown some days.  The looks, the ‘tude, the whole thing…and I haven’t shipped him off anywhere yet, so we’re doing well.  And then there is today…

He was very upset when I made him wait in the car while I picked up Sean from daycare…it was raining like crazy, and I didn’t need all three of us to be soaked.  He was mad because he wanted to keep the umbrella (the Superman umbrella) over my head so I wouldn’t get wet…when I made it back to the car with Sean, he opened up his umbrella and held it over Sean’s head while I got him in the car.  While I was running around to get in, he opened up my door as I walked up…

I sometimes forget how happy they make me…until they act like silly little boys…when we’re dancing, singing, or making silly noises, I can’t help but laugh helplessly…this may seem a little strange, but sometimes I get the feeling that they’re trying to make me smile and laugh…if they are, it works.

I’m not sure how I managed to have two of the sweetest boys ever, but I’m not complaining…

Boys, Men, and Observations

So I’m new to the idea of being single (still not technically single, but you know what I mean)…and I’m a people-watcher, an observer…I’ve made some observations recently based on what I’ve seen for myself and the personal issues of some of my friends…and I’ve come to a conclusion that’s not meant to offend and certainly does not apply to every guy, but here’s what I’ve discovered – Some boys are dumb.

So first, a little side-note: in the past few weeks, I’ve made a decision about how I will handle this blog when it comes to my (currently non-existent and unimportant) love life – without express permission from whoever that person ends up being (a long, long, long time from now), I won’t blog about the specifics of that part of my life.  So just know, that what I’m about to say comes from what I’ve seen in general- some personally, some as an objective third-party…and remember, I’m a thinker…I can’t help but dissect some of what I see…

Don’t make us chase you.  My personal rule is that I’m not chasing anyone – and I don’t expect anyone to chase me.  A lot of what I see is in text – Facebook, text message, whatever.  If a chick initiates a few conversations with you, AND you’re interested in her – return the favor.  If she makes it obvious that she’s into you, just tell her or find a way to let her know.  Have you ever seen the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You?”  Trying to figure out the signs makes chicks nuts.  Forget signs.  Just be straightforward…me personally, I love straightforward – even when it’s not what I want to hear.

Don’t word vomit all over us.  No, that’s not an out for not talking about how you feel.  But think about what you say before you say it.  Some things can’t be unsaid…some words can’t be forgotten, even if they’re forgiven.  I have too many friends who can remember every detail of the moment when their boy said something hurtful or stupid that he didn’t really mean. 

Don’t disappear on us or just stay away all together.  Again this goes back to text – text messages, Facebook, whatever.  If you talk to us one day, and then we don’t hear from you for three weeks, that’s confusing – especially if it becomes a pattern.   Here’s the pattern I keep seeing – random text message from boy, enthusiastic response from chick, silence…two weeks later, urgent message from boy, no answer from chick (who’s fed up), three phone calls and an angry text from boy, argument with chick…If you only make me an option, don’t expect me to make you a priority.

I haven’t paid attention to the world of guys and girls since I was 18 – back when I thought I knew everything, but actually knew NOTHING.  It’s amazing how a few years and a lot of life can give you perspective…I don’t think all men are really boys, but I do think the one’s who act like boys are dumb…I feel bad for my friends who go through crap with boys…I get annoyed when I feel myself getting sucked into crap with boys…

I can’t speak for other women, but here’s what I want – honesty and straightforwardness…the more real, weird, and uncomfortable the conversation, the better (to me).  If you think someone is a cool chick, tell her.  If you’re into her, tell her.  If she’s not responding to it, move on – or stop trying to be subtle.  Some of us (me, especially) are sort of dense when it comes to stuff like that, subtlety is lost on me.

Ok, so, for the  men out there (if any guys even read this – and I have no clue if they do), I have a few questions for you.  I genuinely want to know and I’m asking because, well, it’s my blog and I can…and because I like understanding stuff…note: I’m going to ask these questions, and I don’t really think I’ll get a response but if Ido, I’ll definitely be impressed:

1. Do guys really want girls to make the first move or is that just a bill of goods we’ve been sold by rom-coms and self-help books?

2. If a girl does make a move and you’re not interested, does that make it weird to be around her later – or is that something else that’s all in our head?

3. If a chick (inadvertently) shows her dorky side, does make us seem a little more normal or do you just walk away thinking, “What a dork!”? (Ok, that question is more for me because I have a LOT of dork moments.)

The Story of Aidan

Today is Aidan’s 6th birthday…I’ve always said that this isn’t just a celebration of his birth…but a celebration that Almost Ex and I managed to keep him alive to reach his birthday…I don’t like being bad at stuff, and I don’t like admitting I’m bad at stuff, but as a new mom, I was clueless…as a pregnant woman, I was really clueless…

My co-workers told me I was pregnant for weeks before I ever took a pregnancy test…my response was always, “I don’t wanna be pregnant, so I’m not!”  I was 25, made $9 an hour, was the sole source of income in our family, and had just interviewed for a promotion (to move to Florida) so that I could make a living wage…I couldn’t be pregnant…it was the worst possible time…

I couldn’t even afford a pregnancy test…ok, so that was the reason I used not to buy one…until a friend of mine showed up at my door with a two-pack.  I made plans to take it the next morning…see, the tests come with these handy little instructions guides and if you’ve never taken one (which at that point, I hadn’t) and you’re a little OCD (which I am), you read the instructions…morning was the best time to take the test and I had a few more hours to live in denial…

So, the instructions tell you that once you’ve peed on the stick, it may take a few minutes to see the plus or minus sign…in my case, it was instantaneous…there was no waiting…it was a plus…and my response was, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”  I woke up Almost Ex and made him go look…he said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”  I called my mother, and she said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” I think the announcement that you’re pregnant is supposed to be a joyous occasion…in Aidan’s case, not so much…

Fast forward a little…I got the promotion, made the move to Florida, found an ob/gyn, made a couple of friends, stayed “small” during my pregnancy (as small as an overweight woman can stay), was told my due date was August 20, and had a baby shower on July 17.

The afternoon of July 19 I was sitting in the living room reading the latest Harry Potter book.  I stood up and something ran down my leg.  I’m a grown woman, I know I didn’t pee on myself.  My water broke and it was pink.  Is that normal?! Hell, I don’t know…

I called Almost Ex and told him to get. home. NOW!  I called the hospital (which was 45 minutes away), crying…it was a month too soon, my water wasn’t supposed to break, my husband wasn’t home, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…that poor nurse…I was a wreck…

After a 45 minute drive, we arrived at the hospital…I was freaking out, but feeling fine…they strapped me to the monitor and started checking…for those of you who don’t know, having someone check to see if you’re dilated when you’re NOT dilated hurts like hell…I was told that I wasn’t in labor, that I had a UTI, and when I explained I was starting to feel a pain deep in my side (near my back), I was told that labor didn’t start there…so I was sent home…we stopped Wal-Greens for the UTI medicine…

By the time my prescription was filled, I wasn’t even walking upright anymore…why no one in the Wal-Greens didn’t stop to help the pregnant woman bent over double, I’ll never know…but the doctors and nurses had said the pain I felt wasn’t labor, so it never occurred to me to question it…we went home (another 45 minute drive)…

I tried to lay down, I tried to sleep, I read (and finished) the Harry Potter book…and Almost Ex called the hospital 4 times…they told him to give me Benadryl…by the 4th call, he didn’t call to ask what he needed to do, he told them we were coming…by now, I was actually screaming…I’m a pretty composed person when I’m in pain…not that day…it was now about 5am on July 20…another 45 minute drive to the hospital and there I was again, strapped to the monitor, and getting checked to see if I was dilated…

Aidan’s head was RIGHT THERE…Wait, WHAT?!  If it hadn’t hurt so damn much, I might have laughed at the expression on the nurse’s face… 

I really wanted to push…I mean, I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted to push…and the nurse told me not to…well, that’s like telling someone who has to pee not to think about water…really?  Finally, a doctor arrived and two pushes later, so did Aidan…6 lbs 7oz and too small for preemie clothes…a healthy weight, but unable to suck so he barely ate the two days we were in the hospital…

The cluelessness didn’t stop at pregnancy…Aidan peed on me everyday for 6 months because it took me a while to get the diaper thing…Aidan was the first newborn I ever held…his was the first diaper I ever changed…he was the first baby I ever fed – bottle or otherwise…he is my grand experiment…I had never discplined anyone, I had never taught anyone, I had never raised anyone before Aidan…he may be my oldest, but he is, and will always be, my baby…

Happy Birthday, Aidan…your brother will probably never know how grateful he should be that I practiced on you first…

Tired of Being Strong

I know I haven’t always been a strong person…but I didn’t just wake up one day feeling and acting strong, either…

I remember when I was a kid, crying at the drop of a hat – mean looks, mean words, whatever…I didn’t do things that were hard (more than once)…I didn’t do things that I was bad at (more than once)…I didn’t take chances…I didn’t step up.  I tried to fade into the background – in good times and bad…

Right about the time I met Almost Ex, I discovered that I had some amount of strength…and I’ve learned just how strong I am in the past 12 years…I can pin-point some moments very easily – when my dad was diagnosed with ALS, when he died 2 very short years later, when Almost Ex went into the hospital with a mystery ailment and ended up in a wheelchair for 6 months…when I moved back to Florida – pregnant and no other family but Almost Ex…when I got laid off for the first (and hopefully ONLY) time (as the sole source of income in our family, that was terrifying…)…when I told Almost Ex I wanted a divorce…when I dealt with the aftermath of that announcement…

Under different circumstances, I probably wouldn’t even admit that I have any sort of inner-strength…but hell, even I can see it in myself…and I’m tired of being the strong one…

Yet…

Not being strong (even for a little while) would mean having to rely on someone else…it would mean having to allow a certain amount of vulnerability…I don’t like to be vulnerable…I don’t know how to lean…maybe if I had leaned a little more over the last 12 years, I’d still be married…maybe if I had chosen someone I felt I could lean on, I’d have a different life…Note: yes, I understand the irony in the fact that I can be completely vulnerable in my own blog that others read but I can’t manage to be vulnerable IRL (in real life)…and I’m not really dwelling on the “maybe’s” because the best parts of the past 12 years are Aidan and Sean (no regrets)…

I’ve been stuck in my head over the past few days (more so than normal)…and I have to admit that it’s mental fatigue…I’m tired of always needing to be strong…I’m tired of feeling isolated…I’m tired of feeling lonely…I’m just tired…

But tomorrow, I’ll get right back up and keep going, full force, because that’s what I do…it’s who I am…and I don’t really know how to be any different…

Raising Boys #5

I am amazed by my children every single day…sometimes in a good way…and sometimes not so much…

Sean has his first favorite thing ever – Tom-ees de Tain (translation: Thomas the Train). He has found every one of Aidan’s old Thomas books and carries them around with him everywhere – including daycare.  He likes to brush his teeth because his toothbrush and toothpaste both have Thomas on them. What I hear most often is, “Tain, tain…tom-ees, tom-ees!”

Fights (such as they are) will break out if Aidan is playing with the Thomas train that’s been his since he was Sean’s age…Sean has pretty much claimed any and all train items in the house as his own…At least I know what his birthday theme will be this year. 

Aidan has started calling me “Mom,” and I don’t love it.  But since he also refers to Almost Ex as “Dad” at least I know I’m not the only one.  He’s in another name phase…the name-calling phase. “Idiot!” Excuse me?  That one is directed mainly at Sean when he gets in Aidan’s way.  He’s so used to casually calling names when he plays pretend and (apparently) at the Boys and Girls Club, that it slips out when he’s upset with me. 

And then his eyes get very wide, because he knows that I don’t tolerate it.  When he slipped and referred to me as “Buttface” tonight, he realized his problem immediately.  Sad to say, he was not a happy boy at bedtime – which ended up being about 30 seconds after the buttface comment.

He’s also into the “total honesty” phase.  “Hey Mom, that guy is sooooooooooooo fat!” You know, in the loudest voice ever!  And when he adds his little smartass twist to it, it’s even worse.  In Subway today, he pointed out people and called them skinny…even the extremely large people sitting about 2 feet away from us.  Oh Lord!  I had to shut that one down, too…

And then, he does the most amazing things that make me very proud.  So I could finish my dinner tonight, he stood at Sean’s highchair and helped Sean with his yogurt.  (Sean’s getting the spoon thing but slowly.)  He picked up toys that Sean had thrown all over the living room (for a sticker, of course). 

I have great boys.  I’m a proud Mama (oops, I mean Mom).

The Idea Was Good…If Not the Execution….

I had an idea on the way home today…a small little glimmering idea…I almost talked myself out of it, actually…No, this won’t work, I thought…I should have listened to that little voice…

I really really wanted to feel normal for a night…whatever normal is…I really really wanted to eat at a restaurant where the kids meal doesn’t come with plastic crap…I really wanted to eat some good barbecue…I really wanted Ms. B’s BBQ and Bakery  (OMG, freaking delicious!)…but I really really really fooled myself into thinking two little boys who were tired from a long day would patiently wait for food if cake was promised at the end…

Normally, Ms. B’s is fast…not tonight…the waitress was slow…the food was slow…you would think that two whiny little boys would make them WANT to get me out of there a little faster…by the time the second table that arrived after us got their food, I was ready to sell Aidan to the gypsies…but I don’t blame him.  He was expressing exactly what I was thinking, “When is the foooooooooooooooooood gonna get heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere, Mooooooooooooooooooom.”

Imagine little gremlins at the table wreaking havoc – banging silverware, blowing raspberries on me, them, whatever, slurping drinks, whining…and then…food.  The heavens opened up and a chorus of “Hallelujah” could be heard across the land…finally, silence except for the sound of chewing.  I didn’t even care that I had to wait another five minutes for my food…

There was peace at booth #5.

Raising Boys #4

My boys amaze me every day…sometimes in a good way…sometimes not so much…

“Chu chu”  “Aaan”  “Tain”  “Buk”  I think that’s “choo choo,” “Aidan,” “train,” and “book.”  But I could be wrong.  Sean is talkative but it’s his own language at this point.  My favorite? “Con-neeeeeeeeeeee” – that would be Ms. Connie at daycare.

“These are BUTT cheeks, Mommy” – Aidan pointing to his butt.  “You have butt cheeks too!” – pointing to my butt.  Thanks honey.

“If you marry a boy, does that mean you’re gay?”  Wait, what?

This is not the conversation I want to have with a five year old during bath time…it just isn’t.  Once I realized the “you” in that statement wasn’t ME, but referred to him, then the statement made a little more sense.  Apparently, he hugged a little boy today and someone (presumably older) said that was “gay.”

So, first, we established that yes, if a grown man marries another man, we can assume he’s gay.  Then I went into the, “there’s nothing wrong with being gay” speech.  Yes, I know some people disagree.  But that’s how we roll at my house.  Then I let him know that it’s not okay to refer to someone as gay in a mean way (I didn’t feel like explaining what “insult” means).  Then, I finally got up the courage to ask him what he thought about marrying a boy.  And the response was, “DISGUSTING!” So you like girls?  “Yup!”  Oh, thank God! 

Can we go back to asking how Sean got in my stomach?  I think I can handle that question now.

Almost Had A Hot Date…

I was supposed to start my love affair with the treadmill tonight…it didn’t happen, so we have an early morning date scheduled for tomorrow…

I had it in my mind that no matter how late I got in tonight, I was getting on the treadmill…but that’s what you think before an entire day travelling with and chasing two small children.  I had help from Eebee and BFF during the day, which helps more than most people can imagine.  Just knowing that an extra set of eyes (or two) is on them allows me to relax a little…

I had a good day, they had a good day, and both were SO ready for bed.  That’s the mark of a great day…two little boys who ask to go to bed.

I had a revelation tonight.  I am capable of things that I used to reserve for Almost Ex.  Whenever I came across something that I considered his domain, I would joke that this was why I was married…well, that’s not true anymore, is it?

First I had to get the treadmill loaded into the back of Bubba when we got back to Florida today…normally, I would just say I’m not good with stuff like that and let someone else handle it.  Not today…I saw exactly how it could fit…Eebee and I man-handled it in.  When I saw that it was too wobbly, I pulled out my bungee cords and figured out how to stabilize the thing so it didn’t fall on Sean…I figured driving down the interstate doing 30 mph wasn’t a real option…

Then I had to get the treadmill into the house…I backed Bubba into the driveway (which I never do because I think I suck at that)…then I got it out of Bubba (BY MYSELF, thank you very much!), and into the house…

I know that all sounds like small stuff, but tonight I was pumped…I walked around the house, all puffed up, practically strutting with satisfaction.  I killed a bug that flew into the house and was like, “Yeah, take THAT sucka!”  (Of course, I still won’t touch the damn thing…that’s what my Shop Vac is for…doesn’t everyone use their Shop Vac to pick up bugs?)

So, no hot date for me tonight…but it’s all good. I’ve got enough endorphins running through me to last a while.

Raising Boys #3 – with video!

I hate to admit this but I am not naturally a maternal person…When both boys were born, I tried to find the least “gooky” spot on them to touch right after they were delivered…I was relieved when they were cleaned up, diapered, swaddled, and THEN handed back to me…Maternity leave seemed like an eternity.  Sad but true…

That being said, I adore my boys.  When Almost Ex first left, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle the boys by myself…thankfully, I’ve actually grown closer to them both.  And I have discovered that I am a Mama Bear when it comes to my boys…do NOT mess with my children…you will regret it.

Sean: “Mom-MEEEEEEEEEEEE” (from the backseat of the car, over and over and over and over again)….

Aidan: “I love you, Mommy! Don’t go, stay with me!!” (at bedtime…every single night)….

They are silly, sweet little boys…and hopefully, I’m not screwing them up too much.

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