Friday, September 28, 2007

Wakey, Wakey, Eggs and...wait that's no bacon!

Nothing says "Rise and Shine" like...poop.

The last three nights Max the infamous beagle has woke my husband and I up with the sound of his pee hitting our carpet (in our semi brand-new home). Three o'clock a.m. on the dot pretty much...the last three nights. The first night it was poop and pee. The second night two pee puddles. And last night, just pee. Before he had the chance to poop, we put him outside...followed by some woeful beagle howling. We let him back in so as to not wake Adrien or the neighbors. That was followed by incessant licking. We put the e-collar on.

I was never able to really ever get back to sleep successfully any of the three nights. I generally go to bed at 11pm or later, so that means like four hours of sleep. Not fun. Well this morning was particularly great. Around 4:30am or so, Adrien woke up. His diaper had leaked. His thighs have thinned quite considerably due to the recent stomach illness and general growth, that his size 4 diapers are a little gappy around the leg area...but size 3s just do not do the trick. They really need diaper half-sizes. Anyway, poor Pookie was wet and not happy. After a diaper change, I rocked him but to no avail. About 20 minutes into the rocking session I asked him if he wanted to go watch cartoons. He immediately crawled from the glider and went to his door as if to say "Come on, Mom. Cartoons!" I generally don't do such things in the middle of the night. But what the heck, he was awake, I was awake. I've become so accustomed now to waking up at 3am. It's pathetic.

So in we went to the living room and we watched something on Animal Planet for a little while and then switched it over to JoJo's Circus. He fell asleep laying with me on the couch. Although I hate that I was awake that early, I love that I got to cuddle with him. Such a sweet baby...and he's fast becoming less and less of a baby each day. I think that's why I'm lingering with the binky. It's really the only thing that keeps him from being a full blown toddler. And it's a tether I'm willing to deal with.

So he went back to bed around 6:15 or so and as did I. I got to sleep until almost 9am this morning. Despite the middle of the night waking session, that's the most I've gotten to sleep all week I think. Now if I could just get the 11pm-9am sleep sans dog and toddler pee break, I'd be golden. But let's be serious here, I'm not holding my breath.

9am: I hear Adrien in his crib making his usual "eh, eh, eh" noises. I dragged myself out of bed and popped cheerfully in his room. I was greeted by the harsh aroma of poop. Nothing out of the ordinary -- he generally poos in the morning. But it was unusually pungent. Just before I picked Adrien up I noticed little brown blotches all over his crib. They were on his poom (pillow), on the sheets, on his blanket, on the bumper. Everywhere. Oh. My. Gosh. His diaper had exploded into a cacophony of stench and stank. It looked like Mr. Hankey had come to visit.

I'm sure Adrien was wondering why he got his bath before breakfast today.

I can handle cleaning up the feces of my toddler. He's my offspring. Plus, Adrien generally tries not to go directly on my carpeting. But the dog? Suffice it to say, I'm not happy about his new found love of peeing in my bedroom at any time, let alone 3am. I called the SPCA yesterday morning and they asked if I would like to speak with the behavioral specialist. Sure, I say. I mean, I guess so. Do I have a choice? So I'm on the phone with the behavioral specialist -- who I've already been in contact with via email once about Max's disdain for food. Okay, I explain to her that he's refusing to go to the bathroom outside. And for the most part, he is. He doesn't potty in the house during the day..randomly just at night. That leads me to believe that he's fully aware that he's supposed to do it outside, yet just doesn't for whatever reason in the evening. We had been letting him run free in the back yard, but he's already gotten out of our fence. So Andi went and bought a tether type thing. He still has full range of the back yard, he just can't get out. So the hippy-dippy touchy feely behavioral lady suggests that he's not wanting to potty in the back yard now because it's a "negative experience". Okay, so I can see that. But, when I take him for walks on the leash, if he potties at all, it's just pee (and pee when I'm lucky) -- he refuses to poop on the leash. He's always pooped in the back yard, but since he's an escape artist, he must be on the tether -- negative experience or not. He's gotta get over it. It's not like it's being cruel. The line is quite long...he can roam the back yard completely. Oh, she says, they just outlawed the tethers a few days ago. It's not like I have him on a 3 foot rope. There's a shaded area he can lay in. He can roll in the grass. He can even run around. But, no...she says it's a negative experience. Yes, I'm sure it's not fun. But I don't see it being dangerous -- not in this case. I know that there are horrible people who leave their dogs tied up for days at a time, etc with little to no food or water or shade, but that's not our family. I see the dog chaining ban to be very effective at lowering the level of animal neglect and cruelty cases...but blah! In my opinion, it's vital that he's tethered, because if not he'll dig out of the back yard. I cannot keep using my garage as a kennel for him...and I think crate training (which she suggests as a great alternative) to be even more cruel than having him tied up in my back yard. He's already proven that I can't leave him alone in the house. I'd come home to animal poop and pee everywhere, not to mention what all would be chewed up. The animal can get on top of my kitchen table for goodness sake! And if he whines just being left outside at night, imagine what he'd do if he were left in a tiny crate all night! That sounds very exciting and positive indeed. Her other solution was an electric fence in the back yard. Once again, how is shocking a dog more human than just having him tethered outside while he pees and poops. I mean, isn't he technically tethered while he's on a leash?

In all actuality, I was calling to say that this was a behavioral problem that was most likely not able to be corrected. After all, he's 2 years old. If he's not potty trained by now (which, I've spoken to the previous owner he tried to potty train him as well to no avail), I doubt he ever will train. He's obviously a smart dog. He's just defiant. And in my experience, that's something that no crate or tether can ever change. I was calling to ask if we could bring him back and get our voucher for another dog (which you have the option of doing if there is a behavioral problem within the first 14 days of adoption). But apparently every behavioral problem has a solution. If I told her he'd snapped at Adrien (which he did for the first time last night) she'd probably say that Adrien was just being a negative experience.

So anyway, walk him outside, she says. Give him treats when he pees, she says (which I was doing). Get him to potty on command, she says. The latter two are great ideas. I've tried the treats. Obviously not working. And as for taking him for walks? That's great...and I can do it every once in a while. But I simply cannot take him for walks every few hours. Can you just imagine Adrien and I in the stroller out and about every 2 hours for 30 minutes at a time, waiting for a dog to pee? If I had no child, it may not be a problem. But I do have a child. It's not forever, she says. Just until he learns, she says. Will he learn? Andi took him for a walk before bedtime last night. He was outside with him for a good 20 minutes. He refused to pee. Yet he'll pee in my bedroom at 3am.

She suggests that it's possible that he heard a loud noise or something that startled him while he was doing his business outside...and for that reason he is now negatively impacted by doing his business outside. Hippy dippy touchy feely gaga. He's a dog. Accuse me of being cruel -- whatever. He knows he should pee outside -- he just doesn't. Exhibit A: No pee or poo on the carpet all day long. I guess peeing at 3am is just better?

And as for the beast getting on top of my kitchen table? Her solution is to put either foil or double sided tape on my dining room chairs. She's obviously never had children. And what am I supposed to do with the tape while I'm using said chairs (multiple times a day)? She launched into some anecdote about her dogs, in which she refered them as "my first" and "my third". Obviously has no children. She's one of those my dogs are my kids people. That's great.

But I don't want piss all over my effin' carpet, lady. My carpet is not his personal toilet. Negative experience or not, he has to use the back yard. Since when did pets becomes mini humans? She probably wants me to give him lullabyes at night as well.

Can I just have one night's sleep where I'm not awakened by anyone's pee or poo?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sick and tired: literally and figuratively.

So...I've been severely slacking in updating lately. I know. And I'm sorry. I have blogger's guilt.

I spent the entire weekend and all of yesterday feeling total crap. No, that's wrong...feeling like death itself. Andi and I went to some friend's apartment to grill out on Friday night, and as such I ate a big fat steak. Ew. Yes, I know. But everyone else was doing it -- why couldn't I? So I did. Anyway, early Saturday morning sometime I woke up feeling really nauseous and achy. But it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I feel nauseous most of the time. Achy is my middle name. Later that morning I woke up and subsequently made the toilet my home for the weekend. To make matters worse, Andi was at a web design conference all day Saturday, so I had no help whatsoever wrangling the little guy (monster). I wasn't able to eat all day. Sunday I felt even more terrible, but I still had to get up and make deserts (banana pudding and peach cobbler) for the Presbyterian Women's Retreat Planning Committee Potato Luncheon Fundraiser. Any other time, I realize it may be a bad decision to cook for the masses while feeling ill. I mean, who wants to get everyone sick? I really don't think I had a virus though. I think it was just my good ol' gallbladder acting up on me. Sure, my doctor mentions once "We should really think about having it removed..." And that was the extent of the thinking. I obviously still have it. I knew I was long over-due for an episode. It'd been a good four months or so since my last bout of toilet hugging. Generally I get them every two months or so...If not more.

Alas, yesterday I was finally able to start eating some solids without them coming back up again.

Now Adrien's sick. I noticed he was wheezy on Sunday. It hasn't gotten any better. His nose is runny...nasty green goo. So he has an appointment first thing in the morning. Generally I'm not one to run straight to the doc for this sort of thing unless I suspect ear infection...but he can't breath well. His Xopenex (or whatever for his breathing treatment) is not working. On top of it, I know he must be feeling under the weather. He layed down for a nap today at 10am. That's unheard of. Yesterday he took a short nap at 11, and then another 2 1/2 hour nap around 4pmish. He hasn't taken two naps a day in I don't know how long. Poor baby.

All of this, and oh darn: I was supposed to leave to go to my mom's house today. Tomorrow is her birthday, and a mutual friend of ours gave her the grand notion of: well why doesn't Bryany come to see you on your birthday? I mean you go to see her on her birthday all the time! Thanks. A lot. Now I've gotta drive four hours to stay at my grandfather's house with his new wife (who I'm sure means well, but is all in all odd and homely). Not to mention the fact that I've gotta drive four hours with a toddler in the back seat, most likely screaming the entire way. But -- great sigh of relief -- we've been sick. So, for now, our embarkation is saved for later. Depending on what the doctor says about Adrien's condition in the morning, possibly saved for much later. I do kind of want to see my Mom on her birthday though. Oh well. That's life.

As I'm guzzling Gatorade and Ginger Ale, I'm thinking of all the things I need to get done today. My husband's contacts need to be picked up from the optometrist's office. I need to deposit some checks into our accounts. I need to get my Mom a birthday present. So many things, and I don't feel like doing any of them. I have to though. I've been out of commission since Saturday and have merely been living from couch to toilet and back for so long that everything is a jumble. The kitchen is in shambles. There are mountains of unfolded (yet clean) laundry on my bed. There are toys everywhere. Bits and pieces of life strewn about waiting to be tidied up. Yet, I still feel slightly like crap. I guess not eating for three days takes its toll on you. Woman was not meant to live on Gatorade and Ginger Ale alone. I really need to see the doctor about this problem (and others), but It's such a pain to go to the doctor with Adrien. He runs around and messes with all the magazines and periodicals and touches everything and gets God-knows-what on his little paws. Germs. Everywhere. Not to mention the fact that he really loves the trash cans they have at doctor's offices. You know, the ones where you step on the lever and the top pops up. Absolutely fascinating.

Then, there's Andi. I feel like he's so distant lately. I don't know what the deal is. After spending most of our vacation (I know, still yet to be blogged about) at his parent's house, I just feel like we're two separate people living in the same space. No cuddling. No kissing. No sweet nothings. No nothing. Nothing. I am so lonely. When I confronted him about it last night his excuse -- at first -- was that I'd been sick. It was something like this:

You've been sick.

I've been sick since Saturday.

Okay, well before that you were on your period.

It's been a lot longer than that. I'm lonely. You don't cuddle with me. You don't make out with me. I don't feel like I'm loved.


I mean, I know you love me. I just don't feel that way.

I don't know. I just haven't been in the mood for anything lately.

Okay, my husband not being in the mood for sex is like a polygamist not wanting another wife. It's unheard of. And it's not just sex I'm talking about. I mean, I could soooo do without that. It's not sex that I'm wanting. I'm wanting him to want to be in the same room with me longer than 10 minutes without finding the need to balance the checkbook or check his email...or work on one of his many websites. Even more frustrating: mow the lawn. I mean, is it really more fun to want to mow the lawn than it is to spend like fifteen minutes with me. And I'm not talking about spending time as in you sit zoned out in front of the The Simpsons after work while I cook in the kitchen or run around after Adrien. I'm not talking spending time as in, me being mommy and you in the office working on your websites. That is not spending time. Would it kill you, say, if you just sat on the same couch as me -- as opposed to the loveseat when I'm on the couch? Or the floor when I'm on the loveseat. What about giving me a real hug and kiss when you get home from work. I get so freakin' sick and tired of you coming home, going straight to the bathroom, then out to kinda say hi to Adrien, then to check the mail, and then to the to the kitchen. I'm so tired of it! Because after that, we play the wait for Adrien to go to bed game, and by the time that's over it's nearly time for us to go to sleep. Then we do go to sleep, we get up, and do the whole charade over again. I'm sick and tired of being lonely. I need all that crap. And I'm sooooo sorry if your job is stressful. Do you think mine isn't? Do you think giving yourself to other people all day long all week long isn't a stress? Well it is. I don't care! I know your job is stressful....It's corporate: It sucks, okay. But you didn't promise to love me until your job got stressful, did you? I didn't think so. You promised to love me forever. Where's the freakin' love at? Because if you don't give me some, I think I'm going to have a meltdown.

Sorry about that, guys. He does occasionally read it. Maybe he'll get the hint.

Friday, September 21, 2007

On friendships

Okay. Nap time. Blog time -- for me.

I met a friend at the park this morning for a little walk with the was nice. It wasn't too hot out yet, and although the sun was in our eyes on the way back, it was an enjoyable experience. Feel the burn -- the one in my calf anyway. Lots of chit-chat was to be had by all (all two of us) and I left feeling refreshed. We should do that again sometime. All of that is beside the point. I'm side-stepping the issue at hand.

I have an acquaintence from church coming by later with her two girls to see our new dog. She wants to see the dog -- her girls just want to play with Adrien (who they find irresistibly adorable -- and he is, of course). So anyway, with any other friend and/or acquaintence I would make sure the house is tidy enough, but not immaculate. But this friend...this friend? This friend makes a living cleaning and organizing other people's homes and lives. She's a professional organizer. And she is coming to my oh-so-not-organized home. What's a girl to do? Well I'll tell you -- a girl needs to get off her booty and go do some dishes, wipe up counter tops, spot clean the floors. This girl needs to get busy. But no, I'm blogging. Instead of actually getting busy, I'm blogging about how I should get busy. You see my need for that guilt list I wrote yesterday, right? ("not wanting to clean...blah blah blah" or some such thing) So there's that in a nut shell. She's nice enough to not say anything. But what will she really be thinking about my less than perfect home? Nothing, I'm sure. She's really nice and hopefully as genuine as I think she is. But really, I still need to clean the kitchen...and the guest bathroom. And in my head she'll be thinking something to the tune of "wow, what big spots your carpeting has!"

And then there's another friend. A friend from long ago. We've each went our separate ways in life, yet still seam to bump into each other every now and again -- even when it's just via internet. There was a time when this friend and I were very close...then came Jeremy. Jeremy is one of those scourge of the Earth types. My friend met him the summer after eighth grade, and ten years later, they're still together. Jeremy is still the scourge of the Earth. You see, I grew up in a small town. One of those towns where girls get trapped, unassumingly, and end up just like their mothers did: barely scraping by with a minimum wage job, married to said scourge of Earth and generally with at least one offspring. I tried. I tried to pull her from the grips of the trap set by that town. Andi and I offered to get a two bedroom apartment a few years back and allow her to stay with us. She would have been fully capable of leaving Jeremy, getting a better than minimum wage job, and pursuing an education that I know she deserves. But she just couldn't do it. Rather, she wouldn't do it. This was the center of many disagreements between my friend and I. She could not see that she was better than the life she was living. She knew she wanted and needed more, yet wouldn't do anything about it. Why? Because she was scared. It was far safer for her to stay in the position she was in, rather than bettering her situation. Cut to present: My friend has that final bit of the puzzle; she has an offspring -- and baby daddy is scourge of the Earth. Now she really is trapped, I assume. She's trapped and scourge of the Earth still refuses to marry her. Why should we get married, he asks. Why should I marry you is what he means. I feel horrible for my friend...but you can only do so much. I offered. I pushed. I threw her mother in her face millions of times...I asked repeatedly: Do you want to be like that? Do you want to turn out with your mother's life? Your mom is so unhappy -- she has five children she can not support and a drug addict ex-husband. She's a lunch lady, for goodness sake. Her response would always be the same: No, I don't want to be like my mother...but I don't deserve any better.

I wanted the best for my friend. She just refused to get it for herself. So why is it that I still think so much about my friend's situation? I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's because I see pictures of her baby on MySpace. Maybe it's because I once held her so dear to my heart. Or maybe it's because I wanted her to have the life I wanted...and maybe that was the only life I saw as right. Maybe. I kept throwing the line out to her though, and she kept throwing it right back. I wonder if she's happy with her life. I wonder if her life is really what she wanted. Who am I to say that she is trapped? But I suppose that's why we went our separate ways.

My friend's home was always a mess. Her mother didn't have time to pick up after all her children...and her dad? Well he just didn't pick up. She lived in a tiny white house, with two bedrooms. Her sisters and her all slept in the same room most nights, and mostly in the same bed. No matter what though, I never thought twice about the condition of her home. And no matter what, now, I can't stop thinking of her and holding her close to my heart as a dear friend. We have little in common any more, but that hardly matters. When we do get to talk, it's like we never stopped talking at all. We pick right up and go on with our friendship.

So why is it now that I have a "friend" coming over and all I can think about is how she'll feel about the spots on my carpet or the crumbs on my kitchen floor. And why is it, now, that I can hardly even remember what my friend and I talked about while walking this morning. I wish I still lived in high-school land where you have those friends who don't care what your house looks like or how much money you had to buy lunch the day before.

Why is it that adult relationships are often reduced to outside appearances and such? I wish I had more friends like my trapped friend...not necessarily trapped, but genuine. I think adults should pay more attention to the honesty of childhood and adolescent friendships that our children have. Then maybe we can begin to learn something. Then maybe we'll have those long-lasting friendships once again...and maybe someday we'll have someone wondering about us constantly, even though the talking has long passed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guilt with a side of fries. And supersize that.

What is it with this momma guilt everyone talks about? I mean, did someone have to label it? In any case, at least I have a name for all that weight I carry on my shoulders. Good gracious, I could be accused of bitching again...then we'd have a repeat of anonymous [see here and here for references to anonymous] again. Everyone gasp! I'm about to bitch.

Turn away, turn away.

Things I'm currently feeling guilty about (although the list is ever growing):

  • Allowing Adrien to eat as many puffs, goldfish, raisins, and crackers as I do.
  • Eating meat.
  • Eating pizza for dinner tonight.
  • Drinking so much caffeine.
  • Not cleaning near as much as I should.
  • Not wanting to clean near as much as I should.
  • Spending money -- on anything.
  • Not giving my husband sex more often.
  • Not wanting sex more often.
  • Enjoying the internet entirely too much.
  • Really wanting one of those Hostess cupcakes my husband insisted on buying.
  • Not changing Adrien's diaper more often sometimes.
  • Not bathing Adrien more often (he's not filthy, come on!).
  • Feeling guilty.
  • Buying non-organic milk. Although I do buy milk sans rBGH.
  • Buying mostly non-organic fruits and veggies, because hey, let's face it: The grocery stores here have zero selection when it comes to organic produce.
  • Feeling like I don't play with my son nearly enough.
  • Allowing my son to watch television (omg, I'm rotting his brain).
  • The occasional trip to McDonald's I take..that I swore I never would.
  • For wanting a hair cut.

I know there are about a bazillion things I'm leaving off.

It's no small feat that any of us go through our days carrying this around and still manage to pack a few kids around on our hips with diaper bags, strollers, and the occasional dog to-boot. Not to mention the husband.

Hercules has nothing on us moms. We kick ass...

...and then feel guilty about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of those days, ya know?

I've got a bazillion things I could be doing right now. But I'm posting -- again -- and eating Cream of Wheat. Oh, Cream of Wheat; I adore thee. Perfect. Comfort. Food. I'm such a food whacko.

The kitchen's a mess, even though I did load the dishwasher. There are papers and bags of dog medicine and toddler tid-bits strew about. The floor needs swept at least, and is overdue for a good mopping. The floors throughout the house need vacuumed; mirrors need de-spotting. The entire edifice needs tidying. And I'm not tidying. Despite my recycling efforts and attempts to turn off the sink while brushing teeth (not to mention our low-flow toilets) I have the television on Animal Planet with the volume down low...I'm in the other room.

I just put another scoop of creamy goodness down the hatch.

Today is just one of those days, ya know? Adrien woke up at the crack of before dawn -- most likely 5am or before. I've stopped looking at the clock, because it only makes me depressed to still be getting up in the middle of the night for a 16 month old. My husband got up and started to do his own thing; sitting with us for a mere 20 minutes early in the A.M. before he got up from the couch and left Adrien dancing circles while standing on one of the dining room chairs (and flipping lights on and off). I was trying to doze on the couch, but was forced from my place when I realized my son was playing ring around the rosie while standing on something that is a good 2 1/2 feet from the solid ground. Nevermind the fact that Adrien was screaming his little toddler lungs out...joyously I'm sure.

A little while later I hear my husband proclaim something (from the office in front of the computer). When I ask "What?" he replies that he's trying to figure out how much we've spent on Max (aka Rocky our new beagle I've yet to blog about) so far.

I don't even want to know...

So that's what you're in there doing, I wonder. I'm in here with a crazy toddler and a dog who has to have an e-collar on; I've been up since who knows when; and that's what you're doing?!? He corrects me: "I'm balancing the checkbook..." That entire exchange stresses me out. For one: I'm tired. Second: I feel as if Andi has to resort to checkbook balancing to avoid me. Third: Adrien is running around with a poopy diaper that he's had for God-knows how long and will not let me change it. Fourth: Do I need a fourth? I mean, the list could go on. Family finances stress me out. Our new dog's bill stresses me out. Nearly $500 later, and I'm liking him much less than when we decided to adopt him. No refunds, eh?

The pile of dog poop I found in the play room yesterday is stressing me out -- along with the subsequent puddle of K9 urine found in our closet. The dog's reluctance to eat alone is enough to drive anyone bonkers. And my incessant need to try and track down the previous owner only further drove my paranoia that this dog would turn out to be a hindrance on my sanity. You see, Max was double-microchipped. Apparently the SPCA did not find the first one before they inserted their own because the initial one put in by the previous owner had migrated up by his ear, and they don't scan that region when looking for a chip. At the vet the other day, we found the chip and found out his name was actually Max (we'd dubbed him Rocky). I decided to search the net for missing dogs matching his description in the area, and low and behold -- I found one listing for a beagle named Max. I called the number to be sure the family wasn't still looking for him. They weren't. It was the correct family though. After many escapes, they'd relinquished him to a shelter. The lady also cited that he was too hard to take care of because he would not potty train and refused to eat unless hand-fed. Stressful. I assured the woman that I had another dog. But I don't. I have that dog. I just had to call, didn't I?

What started as an optimistic start to a great relationship with a dog who all in all is pretty great, turned me into a pessimistic Polly and now I am convinced things are going awry. What did Max do today? He nearly got out.

Not to mention that the incision from the neuter the SPCA did on him is not healing and I've had to invest in anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories (hence the e-collar, so he won't lick himself nonstop and keep it from healing). He hasn't gone outside today to do his business. He hasn't eaten at all today. Stress. Almost $500 worth of stress. For what? So that Adrien could have a dogga to love.

Back to the scene with my husband in the office. I couldn't believe he was balancing his checkbook. He could be doing anything else but that. I mean, why not offer to watch Adrien for like 15 minutes so I could successfully doze off? While trying to change Adrien's soiled nasty-pants I had made several loud cries for help from the husband -- all to no avail. I had to literally ask him to help me. I always feel a bit inadequate asking. But come one, he's your spawn too. Help with the pooper scooper duties.

And on top of it, I knew 10:30am was coming: That meant I would be heading to the vet with a dog and a toddler who likes to play with all the cat toys for sale in the lobby.

It has been one of those days. Then I called to ask Andi if he'd like to do lunch -- "Can't we do it tomorrow, there's that thing today." Sure. I really was sad. I wanted to get out of the house. And sometimes I just want my husband to have the ability to stay in the same room with me for a little while. We get off the phone; he calls me back in about two minutes.

You sound sad, he says.

Well I am a little sad.

We can do lunch tomorrow.

I'm not sad about lunch.

Well good, I'm glad you're not sad about lunch.

I'm just sad in general today. I guess tomorrow's alright. I don't think I have anything going on.

Well get out of the house and do something. Go for a walk.

I don't want to go for a walk. those...days. Sigh.

A Me-Shaped Box

So it's not that I write to incite any sort of deep thought or's just that I write for me. I write as me. And so far, it seems to be working. A post over at not that i don't love my kids... raises a great point: Why do moms (and people in general) always try to make themselves fit into a certain box. It's as if we're dying to fit into anything -- so just give us a niche and we'll mold ourselves to resemble it as closely as possible. If that doesn't work, we can try the next one...or the next one. But we go and we go until we fit somewhere -- even if it is only loosely. I suppose it's the human condition. By nature we're social creatures, and without a box to dive into we're all alone. We would float along in life miserably if it weren't for that dang box that we've tried so hard to get ourself into. Wait -- aren't we miserable anyway?

What holds true socially holds true in other aspects of our lives as well. How many times have you went on a diet to try to fit back into those "pre-baby" jeans? Just a little longer with the walking each day and maybe -- just maybe -- we'll be able to revel in the once taken-for-granted size 6 low-rise jeans that used to make our husbands swoon. Not to mention the fact that we actually had a nice ass in them -- and not just a big one. And what if the walking doesn't quite do it? Well there's always carb-abstinence or one of those "Hollywood" juice diets that will pull of that extra 10 pounds that's in between the inseam and your momma thighs. In the end, if we walk and starve long enough we'll be able to fit back into those hot pants. But wait; there's more! (And I do mean more) While you were working so hard to get back into those long sought after pre-baby jeans, you didn't take into account how you'd changed in other ways. You forgot that even though your thighs may fit into the leg portion, you've got that wonderful post-baby jelly belly that hangs over. And who needs low-rise when the midriff you used to bare is now covered from here to Kingdom-come in stretch marks? The point is that even though you fit into pre-baby jeans, it doesn't mean you're pre-baby.

And so why are we doing that to ourselves? Why do we work our asses off to fit into anything? Had we just skipped the work outs and fad dieting, we'd be left with jeans that actually fit and flattered.

I only poke fun at the mommy stereotypes because I can't get around the fact that there even are mommy stereotypes to begin with. I wish I could just stick with being genuine and fitting into a me-shaped box...but this is the real world and I can't seem to shake my urge to fit. Jokingly I say I'm in with the hippies and half-way with the slackers. But honestly, am I really? I'm more than sure I've been striving my entire life to fit somewhere, and I just think those two boxes are the easiest at this point in my life.

Are there any people in the world who really are just themselves? If so, I'd love to meet them...and damn it, they need to blog about it....possibly write a how-to manual.

Where's the miracle-grow? I need to develop the balls to live in that me-shaped box I crave so badly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just your run of the mill over-involved, micromanager, brownnoser type.

I'm so long overdue for a post. I know. And I also know some may be anxiously awaiting a synopsis of my wilderness escape. However, I have more pressing matters to post about...such as mommies who are over-involved and inexplicably destined to be micro-managers of their child's every single move -- developmentally and socially.

We all agree that a child's development is first and foremost. I would assume that no mom in their right mind would look down on any other mother for fostering a budding intellect, even from birth. In this age of educational toys, it's only normal to want yours to be a Baby Einstein. But what happens when we start to nurture our children's inner Paris Hilton? I'm not talking about her fashion sense, either. Don't see where I'm going with this? Let me explain.

Apparently there's a new trend emerging; Early Childhood PTAs. [Insert screeching tire sound here] I'm not sure if it's a growing trend around the country, but in and around the metroplex I reside, there seems to be one cropping up for nearly every suburb, and all other areas in between. An overzealous grandmother who has her granddaughter involved in our playgroup sent out an email about a month or so back. It was a new ECPTA (yes, they even have an acronym) that was forming and seeking members. This group claims it is for parents of children age birth through five years. That's all fine and dandy, right. But hold on -- doesn't PTA stand for Parent-Teacher Association? In all of this, where are the teachers? And why isn't anyone else asking that question? To answer that question for myself, I Googled the phenomenon and found many websites that proudly tout associations with the local PTAs (though not the actual school district itself) and state sternly that they are not related to, nor involved with any religious organizations...yet oddly enough, most of them meet at churches. That's beside the point, though -- or at least the one that I'm making.

Each little association seems to be involved in community service projects. And although most all of them seem to front that these community service projects and other political jaunts are what they are mostly about, they sure do make a point to hint at the underlying issue of socialization: for children and parents alike. They proudly market their night's out for moms and couples and free parties (free to members, of course). Heck, they even offer a nursery program to watch the munchkins for a "nominal" fee of $5/child (max of $10/family). One of the organizations has a list of benefits for joining. On the list of benefits for children, social interaction and development of social skills are listed twice, along with only one other benefit: support of early learning. It seems that socialization seems to be the most important factor.

One site even states that their mission is this:

To support and speak on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children;

To assist parents in developing the skills they need to raise and protect their children;

To encourage parent and public involvement in the public schools of this nation

To Encourage parent and public involvement in the public schools of this nation.

Well that's a very valiant mission...but why is there an incessant need to be involved with the public school system if your child isn't attending said school? Furthermore, why be involved if you're not even technically associated with the school system itself? Am I being a bit critical here, or am I on the right track? I'm sure that I'm rambling a bit, and I apologize whole-heartedly for that, but I'm just utterly perplexed by this whole thing. Why on earth do you want to be in a Parent-Teacher Association if you and your child are not associated with aforementioned teachers? I don't get it. Do-not-get-it.

It just seems to me that some mothers are chomping at the bit to get involved with all the fanfare and revelry that comes with being the home-room mom. Is there really glory involved in all the school aged politics that come with the PTA. Anyone who has ever heard the song Harper Valley PTA ought to know the dangers that go along with belonging to such an organization. Everyone's got their grubby little noses rubbed in everyone else's business (whether the business is grubby or not)...and all in all I just find this sort of social spectacle detestable. And on top of that, who's got the time to invest in such a thing if it's not necessary? Well I'll tell you: The over-involved micromanaging mother. The mother who wants nothing more than their kid to be Mr. or Mrs. Popularity and to go along with it, they want to be adored by all the other parents and teachers. They're basically your run of the mill brown-nosing type with a bit of that inherent competition of the socialized mother thing I blogged about before.

Does anyone else smell a repeat of Death of a Cheerleader brewing?

Anyone else find this absolutely absurd?

Maybe these organizations should change their acronym to MWNBTD: Mom's with nothing better to do.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm back!

I'm back (been back for a little while)...however I'm still catching my perpetual breath. It's been a long, fun week. But I need a breather before returning to blogging.

Don't worry, I've got tales to tell. Since when do I not?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The sweet smell of campfire

Okay, so this is probably my last post until I get back from vacation. We've got quite a bit of stuff to take care of before we drop Adrien off at the grandparents so that we can go play camper in Arkansas.

And, yes, you see ads at the right of the screen. That's right folks, I was accepted into the blogher Ad network. Isn't it great? Well I think it is. You should apply to join too -- then you can earn money for your blog as well! So feel free to click away if you'd like...or not. That's alright too! I've also listed my blog on Blogher blogging network. So maybe I'll be getting some more traffic.

So anyway, I'm off to see the wizard...the wonderful wizard of Oz.

I hope my allergies clear up though. Nothing like being int he middle of the wilderness and allergic to everything. I keep telling myself that Arkansas will be cooler than Texas, too. I'm not holding my breath on that one, but it is north.

Other than that, I'm just hoping that Adrien's little sinus infection clears up over the next few days. I feel bad enough leaving him with the grandparents as it is, let alone leaving him sick. Sigh...Well there's no use in fretting. Taking him along just isn't an option.

But anyway, I'll be back soon enough!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

One Million Chickens

So this is what has been on my mind as of late (other than raving lunatics who, as suggested by Sane Elaine, need to come with warning labels)...

At the library the other day -- as I was picking through the cooking books to find some campfire cuisine info -- I came across a book entitled Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. It's been a great read so far, and I've gotten to the part of the book where the author starts to give recipes. They all look so amazing! I can't wait to try a few (or all) out. The author is great and isn't confrontational at all about trying to sway the reader about a Vegan diet. However, I assume if you're strongly opposed to vegans, you wouldn't be reading the book in the first place. But there was something that swayed me -- a tiny fact embedded in the book's first chapter: Americans eat one million chickens per day. That's a lot of chickens! Can you imagine? I'm sure that the nation's many fried chicken chains are what consumes most of it. But in a nation that goes through that many chickens in just one day, imagine how many cows, sheep, pigs, or fish for that matter we must go through. There's no way that our nation can process that many animals in a humane or clean manner. No way. The math simply does not add up. One look at Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is enough to send me running to the toilet. And while I'm all for the ethics in following a diet devoid of animal products, I'm even more turned towards it because I'm a squeamish person.

So what's one to do when interested in Veganism, but married to someone who adores a big fat steak? I'm not sure -- but I am one of those people. Andi could care less about what happens to his meat before he eats his. He's obviously not as squeamish as I, and in effect he's all about the bottom line: food in his tum. Thinking about "mechanically separated chicken" touching my lips just isn't Kosher with me, ya know? It used to be that I would eat meat, but only fish and shellfish, eggs, milk products (cheese), and the occasional chicken or turkey. I didn't eat red meat or pork. I tried to drink soy milk as much as possible, but could rarely use it for anything more than my cereal. Then I met Andi. A lot of things changed (most for the better) when I met him. He swayed me to fall into normal eating habits...not all bad since in most cases I wasn't eating enough. But after a period of time, the section of my fridge generally dedicated to mostly vegetarian fare, slowly became a mesh of convenience and meat-laden foods. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The reason I had abstained from red meat in the first place was because I'd heard in biology class in high school that it took your body something like three days to fully digest red meats...not to mention all the cholesterol and fats that came with it.

But then the other day, at the library, I saw a book that piqued my interest. I picked it up and brought it home to read a few pages. Really; who knew vegan food could be so enticing. Now if I could only get Andi truly interested in leaving most of his meat behind.

He says he would be interested in eating the food with me -- but what choice does he have? I do the cooking, and therefore I have the control. My fear is that he'll become dissatisfied with my cooking and in the end, It will have the opposite effect on him. I would love for him to endeavor into a vegan diet with me, but I know that's not realistic. I know it would be so much more healthful for him -- I'm utterly scared of him having a heart attack early in life (or at all, for that matter). So far, most of the men in his family have suffered heart attacks before the age of 50. I don't want that to be him. I don't want Adrien to have to endure that. On top of it, My grandmother died of a massive heart attack a few years back and my Mom has horrible cholesterol and eating habits. I want Adrien to have a healthy mom and dad.

Interested in veganism or not, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a few new (cheap) recipes to try out for the family!

But above all, it's really just a matter of that mechanically separated chicken that seems to come in everything from chicken nuggets to baby food -- yes, baby food.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jane's observations: The inherent competition of the Socialized mother

India has the caste system. Mommy's, on the other hand, have a caste system all their own.

In my observation of mothers over the past year or so, I've come to find that not only is it important to identify yourself as a certain type of mommy, it's also important to associate yourself with that same type. Associating with any other type would be devastating ones social status.

Just as it would be unthinkable for a Brahmin to associate with an untouchable in India, crossing the Mommy social status line is nearly unthinking -- not necessarily to others, but to one's self. It is important to know that you are correct in all your practices as a mother. As such, associating with another type of mommy could challenge your own beliefs and practices, therefore challenging your ability to mother at all.

Take, for instance, the uber-mom. She is predestined to be a soccer mom, just as soon as her little one is old enough to kick that ball and be allowed onto a team. She relishes her role as the all-doer of the household, wearing the fact that she can multi task like no other as a badge of honor. This class of mom is generally steeped in the traditions of mother/father roles and loves the fact that it is her duty and honor to bring up her children. This mom is generally also the first to insert her opinions on parenthood into any situation, is generally a conformist, and is most always the picture perfect conservative. And although this sort of mom will secretly shun any mom out of the "norm", she'll always great everyone with a great big smile (and possibly homemade cookies).

Then there's the polar opposite of the uber-mom...the slacker mom. This mom is generally disaffected, and Wikipedia defines slacker as "characterized by a static, unenthusiastic air manifesting in an apparent lack of effort". It's not to say that she lacks as a mother -- rather she slacks off from the stereotypical mothering role. This specific mom can generally either be spotted by her alternative dress style, general opposition to anything relative to the "norm", or just a flat out disinterest in anything typical. This is mom that will in all likelihood become one to oppose matters the PTA finds necessary. I should add that being a slacker mom does not qualify one as a bad mother; it's more that it qualifies one as a rogue. A very liberal outlook is generally shared among slacker moms. I would like to note that a slacker mom's liberality will differ from our next subject, the hippie mom.

The hippie mom is generally characterized by her global viewpoints, eco-consciousness, and an all out organic obsessiveness. This mom is full heartedly the first one to argue that it's nearly child abuse if you choose not to breastfeed, or that you're going to somehow harm your child if you feed them non-organic squash. These moms can generally be spotted a mile away, as their spawn are nearly always attached to them via sling. Upon closer inspection, these moms may be vegans, vegetarians, or may also be cross-classified (see cross-classification below) as slacker moms.

And last, but not least, we have the martyr moms. These are the moms who are always first and foremost on the home front of every feminist battle. They are always the first to throw themselves into the flames, if that means they can get a little sympathy. These moms do everything for the greater good of their children, and generally think it's a sin to steal any time away for them self. This mom generally has a disheveled appearance, as it would take time away from her family to dress in anything more than sweats and a ratty old PTA t-shirt. It is well noted that these moms are always the first to let everyone know how devoted they are to their children. These moms will also be the first ones to have a late-life meltdown when they experience empty-nest syndrome. This mom has essentially sacrificed her own identity and replaced with the title "mom".

Those are only basic sub-groups of moms, and of course there are always ones who are cross-classified, i.e. the slacker hippie mom or the uber-martyr mom. Although mom's may not strongly posses the characteristics of one category, they generally lean more heavily toward one than the other.

So what happens when these social classifications of mothers are thrown together and forced to socialize? Join a mommy group and find out. Mothering is a competitive sport these days, and opinions tend to clash. But who would have thought that something as simple as ear piercing could become a moral debate? Only in mommy-land.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that there was a rather heated discussion taking place on our mommy group message board. So far it's a 3 page thread; all about ear piercing. Of course there are differing view points, but since when did the topic of piercing your little girls' ears define what type of parent you are? There were those who say to wait until the girl can take care of the wounds themself...that makes sense. There were those who say earlier is better: get them done before the child can remember the paint. But then there were those who argued that having a little who girl who's ears are pierced makes her look like a miniature essence arguing that ear piercing is a sure ticket to street walking, essentially. Others merely argued about how unsanitary piercing guns are...and yet others that referred to ear piercing as "procedure to change one's body." Wow. I never knew having some holes in the ears could be so life changing...or lifestyle defining. This topic of discussion clearly showed the clear cut castes within our mommy group.

The only response I gave up for discussion was this: good gracious, folks. it's just ear piercing... And to me , it is. Does that make me a slacker mom? (Actually, I fall more in the hippie-slacker cross category).

But to my tiny uninvolved reply came this: I have to think if it were "only" ear piercing, the topic wouldn't elicit such a response. Ha! Is this the SAHM version of the ol' religion and politics? :)

Oh, dear -- save the smiley face emoticon, lady. I really do dislike the uber-martyrs.

Where else but the microcosm of mommy groups and mother to mother rivalry would you find the topic of ear piercing to be such a heated debate?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

You smell like...


Why is it that my husband wants to do the deed at the worst times for me...and when I'm ready? Well, he's generally at work, or by the time we get to the bedroom it has long passed. But there is one thing that will kill the mood, regardless of how long I've worked to get my libido going...

Do not think about prayer while fornicating.

Stories and Sermons

Went to church today. Got up at 8am to cook breakfast for my Sunday School class. I think everyone enjoyed it. I cooked (what I'm calling) Cowboy Quiche and then I made some home fries. It was pretty tasty, although I think I may have overcooked the quiche -- slightly. Either that, or I should have just sprinkled the cheddar on top of the egg instead of mixing it in...I think the protein from the cheese made the outside a bit chewy all around instead of just bubbly on top. Who knows, but it was still good...the home fries especially. I mean, who doesn't love a big fat dose of potatoes that are chopped up and fried in bacon grease with some garlic and onion. It screams health.

Both Sunday School and the Sermon offered excellent teachings for today. I think even if you'd been a non-Christian attending you would have seen the sure relevance in the lessons. We're reading New Testament Stories from the Back Side in Sunday School. It references a story of an invalid man in Jerusalem who had been lying by a healing pool for 38 years. He had never once been able to make it into the pool while it was said to be healing (it was said to be "stirred by angels" and when this happened, the Jews rushed in and were healed supposedly). So anyway, this man was just lying there. Jesus asked him why he wasn't being healed, and he replied with sort of a whiny answer. He did what most people would do if they'd been in a crappy situation for 38 years -- he blamed it on someone else. He said he couldn't walk and hadn't been able to make it into the pool because no one would help him; and when it was time to get in, others would always step in front of him. Jesus told him to take up the mat he'd be lying on and walk. The man did so, and thus was miraculously healed. Jesus told them an to take up his mat and walk and go out into the world and sin no more. I should say that this was a Sabbath, and it was against the law to do any work. The figure heads saw the man carrying his mat and immediately scolded him for working on the Sabbath. The man then blamed his situation (once again) on someone else. He told the figure heads that it was not his fault he was carrying his was that man's fault; for Jesus had told him to "take up your mat." Jesus disappeared into the crowd. How is it that you would turn someone in to the authorities who had just healed you. Could it be because you're so involved in your own self loathing, that you forget what it's like think of others or be grateful? The author of the book raises a good question -- why wasn't there anyone to help the man to the pool for 38 years? Had this invalid been so wrapped up in his own plight, that he'd driven all of his friends away? We all have that friend. That one who sulks in their own pity long enough to drive even their closest kin from them. So what's the moral of the story? Don't be that friend. I know for sure that I've nearly lost friends before because I was that friend. It's easy to let your own troubles become so encompassing that you forget that you can begin to be a drain on others too. So I dunno, I think I will try harder to not get so wrapped up in my own sorrows every now and then. But anyway, it's a good story I think. Not to mention the fact that Jesus healed him, told him to not sin any more, and what's the first thing he does? He betrays the person who healed him! Goodness gracious! I mean, he'd become so involved in making excuses for himself and blaming his situation on others that it had become a part of him. I dunno...I just don't want my suffering to become me. Do you?

And then there was the sermon. Tom (the pastor) talked about the Titanic and referenced "Look out for Ice bergs!" as the title of the sermon. It was pretty much just about how God sends you signals and it's your business whether or not you heed to them or not...example: A ship in the area the Titanic was heading toward was calling out to any others in the area about ice bergs. Well, we all know what happened; warning not heeded...1200 something people dead. Only 800 something rescued. Would it have been that hard for the captain to pay attention to the signals others were sending him? So then I wonder what signals I'm getting sent, and what I'm not paying attention to. Even worse, what signals am I misinterpreting? Big signal number one: I was fired from my job shortly after Adrien was born. Obviously I was supposed to be at home with him. Then I decided to sell Mary Kay (something I'm not particularly good at) and it's not really working. I don't feel as though it fits me. I want it to, of course. But am I trying to hard to make myself fit into a mold I wasn't made for? Is God telling me that I should stop wasting my time and use the talents he actually gave me? Sure I'm not a talented cosmetic salesgirl...but I can rock the paintbrush. Not to mention that I'm a whiz in the kitchen and can whip up an outfit from a piece of cloth and some thread. So should I sell my make up inventory and buy art supplies? Could I actually make money from that? I wish I could -- but one thing is for sure: I'd at least break even since I can't make money from Mary Kay in the first place! I dunno. Maybe I'm just reading everything God is telling me wrong. I think this might keep me up at night now haha...but that's alright. I need the spiritual growth anyhow.

Sorry if this post was a bit preachy. I don't mean it to be. I just wanted to share some stories that really meant a lot to me today. And whether you're Christian or not, surely you can see the relevance and lessons of both stories. I think they both make excellent points...whatever deity you choose to follow (if any).