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Of Two Minds

The sad state of affairs is that many (not all, thank God) single parents have to be both Mom and Dad to their children. I’m no exception, and I think I need more practice.

At times, I want to be the softer, indulgent Mom who says, “Oh, they’re so sweet, it will be ok. Come give me a hug.” But then I remember that I’m trying to raise them to be good men, so I have to become a hardass with them again.

I watched my mom and my YY with them over Thanksgiving and was simultaneously jealous and a little frustrated at how indulgent they could both be. I forget though that for me the antics and craziness of the boys is common and therefore annoying…but for family who don’t get to see them, it’s cute and playful, and “Aren’t they adorable?” No, actually, they aren’t. I’ve told them 10 times NOT to say “butt” at every opportunity. It ceased being cute about six weeks ago.

I’m not out trying to get re-married anytime soon…and the way my personal life has gone in the past few days, the odds of it happening are even slimmer than a week ago…but, there are some things that I hope I don’t have to do and that by the time we get to these milestones, I’ll have found them a father…and in some cases, any ole father will do – even their own…

Puberty – please don’t make me explain why there’s hair down there…please. And God help us all if I have to explain what happened to a boy in the middle of the night and why the sheets have to be changed.

Sex – my idea of dealing with this is to make sure they have a supply of condoms, because I refuse to raise grandchildren while my own children are still in high school. But at some point, a conversation is going to have to occur with regards to Tab A and Slot B. I really don’t want to be in the room for that one.

Driving – I didn’t get my license until I was 19…because I was just that bad. And I’m a cautious driver who, when nervous, drives like an old woman.

The proper way to treat girls/women – Ideally, they would see this done the right way, but my life doesn’t seem to want to cooperate right now, so someone’s going to have to explain it to them. I could do this, but don’t these lessons sink in more from a guy who can tell you what happens when you don’t?

While I’m not on the prowl or anything, I hope that a miracle occurs, and I’m not doing the single mom thing until they’re in their 20s – at which time, I shouldn’t be doing anymore raising of anyone.

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A Year Later…

A year ago today (my birthday, by the way), I started a new phase of my divorced, single mom life…we moved – new town, new home, new school…I can’t help but look back on the past year and marvel at how I’ve changed…

I’m better at the mom thing…by no means perfect, but better…

I can’t imagine living with another adult anymore…I’m used to my own space…not that I want to be single for the rest of my life, but I’m so used to being alone and doing (for the most part) what I want to do that it will be a big adjustment if that ever changes…

I’m more comfortable in my own skin…and growing more comfortable every day…

I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me…I still stress (a little)…and I’m a natural worrier but I’ve become less anxious…I don’t fret about the what-ifs…if something bad or crazy is going to happen, I have little say over it (assuming I’ve made good choices all along)…but I know that I can ride the wave of craziness and come out fine on the other side – maybe a little bruised and sore, but I know what I’m capable of…I know I can handle shit…and I know it’s ok to cry my eyes out while I’m taking care of things…

A year later, I got this!

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…

$&!# 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.

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…

Conversations With Sean

I heard a little sound behind me.

Me: “You pooted, Sean-Sean!”

Sean: “No, I farted, Mommy…”

And then I heard it again…

*****

Sean: “Where’s Aidan?”

Me: “He’s in the bathroom, Sean.”

Sean: “You mean he’s in the potty, Mommy.”

Oh, I thought we were using the proper words for things today.

*****

Sean: “Are we going to the washing car today, Mommy?”

Me: “No, we’re not going to the car wash today, baby.”

Sean: “It’s the washing car, Mommy.  It’s called the washing car.  Say washing car!”

For the record, I did not say “washing car.”

*****

Sean: “Where are we going, Mommy?”

Me: “We’re going to pick up Aidan.”

Sean: “And then what?”

Me: “And then we’re going home, Sean-Sean.”

Sean: “Yaaaaay! Yay!”

Me: “Yay!”

Sean: “Don’t say ‘yay,’ Mommy.  Don’t say it!”

*****

His vocabulary exploded about two months ago…but its his thought processes that are the most fascinating.  I don’t remember Aidan being like this at Sean’s age…so I have to assume it’s relatively unique to Sean.  It’s kind of fun talking to him…

One of Those Moms

It’s a stereotype, and all stereotypes have some basis in truth, but I don’t want to be one of those moms…that mom who has no life outside of her children…who doesn’t know how to function without them…who’s whole world centers around her children and nothing else…

I want to have meaningful relationships separate from my boys…I want to have interests outside of my children…and I am unapologetic about wanting that…I’m no good to the boys if I make them the center of my universe…

That being said, I can feel it starting to happen…or I can feel the worry that it will happen starting to creep in…me worry about something? Crazy talk! Whatever…if you’ve read more than one other post, you already know I worry about worrying, that’s how much I worry…

From 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, I have a full work-life filled with interactions, conversations, understandings, misunderstandings, growth, knowledge, learning…I talk to probably 100 people in a day sometimes, all with different issues, questions, gripes, complaints…and I wear 10 different hats…I enjoy that part of my life…

From 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and of course the weekends, my life consists of Aidan and Sean…which is a wonderful thing…except that my life consists only of Aidan and Sean…no money for a babysitter, no group of friends that I hang out  with (yes, I have friends…), and sometimes no interaction with another adult outside of work (or at the very least minimal interaction)…I’ve gone entire days where I’ve spoken to not one other person beside my children before…it’s a lonely life…I admit that…and it’s not a complaint…it’s just reality…

And what I can feel happening is that my life is narrowing down to two little boys and every move they make…that’s not a horrible thing…I enjoyed the hour Sean spent kissing my cheeks and laying all over me today…I laughed when both boys attacked me and each one kissed my cheeks…when I told Sean my stomach didn’t feel good, he demanded to see my tummy, and placed a little hand on it and said he needed to make it better – and then leaned down to kiss it…yeah, that’s a heart-melting moment…those are precious moments…I savor them…I hope I always remember them…

But eventually these boys will get older, and I will no longer be “Mommy.”  What then?  How do I cope when the center of my universe no longer wants to be the center of my universe?  And believing (as I do) that it’s a little unhealthy to make them the center of my universe, how the hell do I combat it when I don’t have any other options?  Thank God for blogging (late at night when everyone else has gone to bed) or I’d have nothing…but should I be concerned that I’ve turned my main blog into a blog about my children?

Because, damn it, I really don’t want to be one of those moms…

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!”

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… 🙂

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…

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