Category Archives: Parenting
We were at a birthday party the other day for some friends we made at Future Cult Leader’s school. School rocks like that. We met Monsieur Stoic there so the 4 of us could hang in the pool like a real live family before the group of cool people headed out to the park to enjoy pizza, cake, playground scuffles, and watching the birthday kids open their
peace offerings gifts.
Now that Evil Genius is older I feel comfortable letting her play at the park without being within 20 feet as long as there is no street she can dart out in. Which is ridiculous, because out of the two, Future Cult Leader is most likely to do that. As this was in a quiet parking lot, I hung out with Stoic and the all the other parents at the party. Suddenly, blood curdling screams. I recognized them as Evil Genius’s and as I walked to figure out why World War Three was about to start I saw her surrounded by a bunch of kids, Cult Leader included. As Cult Leader has this thing about not respecting other people’s bodily autonomy I assumed she was forgetting that when her sister is screaming at her it means HOLY HELL STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING OR SHE’S GOING TO BITE YOU.
“Cult Leader, when she’s screaming like that it means she–”
I stopped, as I was close enough to see a quarter sized bruise, red and blue mottled and raised about 1/8 to 1/4 inch next to Genius’s left eye. I grabbed her and speed walked back to the party so I could attempt to calm my hysterical daughter and maybe try to get her some pain relief. You know what 3 year olds hate? Ice packs. They also hate a bunch of not so familiar people crowding around them, which all the other moms were doing because BABY! HURT! MUST FIX IT!
No one but the kids around her at the time know what really happened. Last year at a birthday party Genius tripped on her skirt and fell backwards, head over heels, off a metal slide, smacking her head on the stairs on the way down. After 10 minutes she stopped crying and it was obvious she was fine. This time, the crying didn’t subside easily so Stoic and I decided he would take her to the walk in clinic in the next town over while I stayed with Cult Leader until after the party was over. Then I would take her to his parents’ house and join him.
Then I got a text that they were referring her out to the children’s hospital in Portland for a cat scan.
I decided it wasn’t important to stay so I went to grab my keys…and realized my keys were in the diaper bag. Super Friend, to the rescue! She drove Cult Leader and me to The In-Law’s then dropped me off 22 miles from our hometown so I could hang out with husband and kid in the ER.
Fortunately, they determined she didn’t need a cat scan. Just some ice and TLC. We came home and promptly went to bed, but not until we’d taken a picture of Genius’s face.
Evil Genius, being who she is, asks to be taken to a mirror or see pictures of her face. Anytime we comply she cackles hideously. I’m beginning to think this kid could scare Dick Cheney.
Folks, I give you exhibit B.
Things have been busy in the last 6 months. Hell, thing have been busy in the last year. In fact, the last year has been a difficult one, which is why I’ve been so scare on the posts. It’s hard to write humorously when you’re mired in shit. That doesn’t mean that I’m not finding humor in my life, or that I’m focusing only on the bad times…just that I’m finding it difficult to take some of our everyday situations and turn them into a funny commentary on parenting, relationships, mental illness, atypical neurology, and what raging assholes 3 year olds are. Actually, that last one might not so so hard to write…
In the last year, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, have had to readjust my expectations and my life based on my body and the medications I have to take to prevent irreversible joint damage, started weekly psychiatry appointments for Future Cult Leader to get a handle on her anxiety, ADHD, and daily meltdowns, I’ve struggled with my bipolar disorder, helped my mother after her surgeries (plural, with another one likely coming up) and the after effects of those surgeries (MRSA flare!), dealt with my aging grandmother’s progressing Alzheimer’s disease, hospitalization, moves to different homes and a rehab center for her severely broken shoulder and subsequent surgery, and other minor annoyances that are just part of life that have complicated some of the above events.
On the good side: Future Cult Leader is safely in a healthy weight range, has become a lot easier to handle, Evil Genius has made strides learning how to use the bathroom like a human being (no diapers, holla!), I’ve made some awesomesauce friends, gotten addicted to Words With Friends, had the privilege of officiating the marriage of 2 close friends, have managed a couple times to get my joint pain under control, have strengthened my relationship with Monsieur Stoic (today marks the 6th year anniversary of the day we became a couple), turned 30 (fuck yeah, 30!), have improved my photography skills (maybe eventually I can turn it into a career…who knows?), done a bit of traveling, and I’ve gotten to know my long lost brother who recently moved to Oregon from the Easy Coast to attend Oregon State University. So it hasn’t been all bad.
Tell me, readers…how has your last year been?
While I was at our favorite national big box store
picking up some new granny panties killing some time on the way to pick up Future Cult Leader from school, I found a mini spiral notebook in one of their dollar bins. As one of Cult Leader’s favorite past times is writing the Great American Novel, I bought one so I can live off her royalties encourage her love of the written word. After I presented it to her, this happened:
“Guess what I have for you?”
“Nope. I have this notebook for you.”
“Is this for me?”
“Yup. All yours!”
“So now I have my very own diarrhea?”
Yeah, baby. Your very own diarrhea.
Monsieur Stoic and I were in the kitchen, discussing how to end world hunger while fixing macaroni and cheese for lunch, when Evil Genius tip toes in. In her arms she is cradling her almost-as-big-as-she-is automatic Nerf dart gun, fully loaded. She is wearing a mischievious grin. Before we can register what is going on, she aims the gun at Stoic (as best as she can, considering she has to cradle it like a baby) and pulls the trigger. Synthetic material flies everywhere as she cackles maniacally, turning her body around so she is spraying the entire kitchen with suppressive styrofoam fire. Stoic jumps for cover so I spring into action, guiding Evil Genius into another position so he is assaulted by velcro tipped missiles. When the dust settles, our 2 1/2 year old daughter is giggling wildly, crowing in triumph. “I got you! I got you, Dad!” I cannot stop laughing. Stoic is shell shocked and appalled. “You little punk, I loaded that for you earlier and you had no interest in shooting!”
Folks, I give you Exhibit A.
If you’re a mother, then chances are you know about Caillou. If you’re a mother and have half a brain, then Caillou annoys the ever loving shit out you.
For me, it’s not so much the cartoon itself. That bratty little 4 year old buys me an hour of peace every morning, an hour that I can use to
screw around on the internet get a bunch of chores done around the house. No, what gets me is its effect on Evil Genius.
First thing in the morning: “Dai-yoo? Dai-yoo?”
“Sorry, baby. Caillou is still night-night.”
Right after breakfast: “Dai-yoo? Dai-yoo?”
“Sorry, baby. Not for another hour.”
As soon as 9 AM hits…
And after Caillou hour is over and we turn the TV off…
Snack time: “Dai-yoo?”
Lunch time: “Dai-yoo?”
Before nap: “Dai-yoo?”
After nap: “Dai-yoo?”
Every ten minutes for the rest of the day unless she is occupied: “DAI-YOO, MAMA, PEAS? DAI-YOO?”
WHAT is it about that show? Why does it enthrall her so much? Why is she so obsessed with it? After much study and contemplation, I have my theory.
Caillou is sending out subliminal messages to my daughter. See, she is a clever, clever girl and already has a well-developed mischievous side. Suffocating her mother? She’s tried it! Strangling her sister? Check! Escaping the house when Daddy is in the bathroom? Hell yeah! The kid ain’t not no dummy, and she’s deceptively cute enough to use her powers for the dark side and get away with it. But she knows that in order to conquer all, she’s going to need some assistance.
That’s where Caillou comes in.
Caillou is obviously nothing more than a carefully coded message from the enemy, except instead of being tied to a pigeon’s leg it’s delivered via children’s cartoon. Are you over the age of 5? Nothing to see here! But for the wee ones there are cues in the animation, secret messages in the dialogue. The songs are cute but full of we’re-not-in-this-alone morale boosting. The credits pull it all together into a anarchist’s cook book for toddlers. That’s why Evil Genius is obsessed with it. Each episode covers a different topic and if she misses a day, that’s one more day she’ll have to put off her diabolical plan.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. THIS CHICK IS OFF HER ROCKER. I don’t claim sanity, but hear me out. There’s a reason this child’s pseudonym is Evil Genius. I invite you to come spend some time in my house. Watch what happens when we deny this child of her Caillou. Then you tell me: is this cartoon really as innocent as its creators want you to think?
The kids are kicking my ass.
Monsieur Stoic is out of town. He’s in Miami
doing hookers and blow with his brother watching the Atlanta Braves play the Florida Marlins and trying not to get struck by lightening. So while he’s off partying like it’s 1999 hanging with his Wombmate in a sub tropical locale, I’m getting destroyed by the Terror Tag Team. But fair’s fair, because I took off with my best friend in June to bake and play tourist on the Oregon Coast.
(I should probably come up with a pseudonym for her soon. Hmmm.)
Normally, it wouldn’t be *that* big a deal to be outnumbered. I mean, yeah, these kids are a handful. Future Cult Leader by herself is relentless, especially after the Ritalin wears off. And Evil Genius is 2, okay? Two. Do you know what they say about the twos? They say that they’re terrible. And while Evil Genius’s 2s aren’t nearly as bad as some other 2s I’ve seen, she’s still 2. What do you get when you put a 2 year old and a post-Ritalin 6 year old together? Let me put it this way: if the child-adult ratio is 2:1 for longer than 12 hours, my house will start to resemble Vancouver after the Canucks lose the Stanley Cup. But while my kids have a difficulty level somewhere between hard and expert, I’m used to the chaos and don’t usually mind the mess. I could do without the violence, though. I’m also smug enough to say that parents with kids that are mellow would probably be full blown alcoholics when confronted with my kids; I only need a daily pot of coffee, weekly therapy appointments, and a handful of psychotropic drugs to get through the day. (Oh, wait…)
Now, let’s add a few ingredients to the mix. First off, Evil Genius has a yeast infection in her mouth. She can’t eat, isn’t sleeping well because she no longer has her pacifier to fall back on, is super clingy, and just randomly bursts into tears because “Mama, mouth owwwwwwww”. Second off, I can’t bliss out on my Ambien with Stoic gone. The night he left, my insomnia showed up at my front door with a couple of kegs, a bunch of E, some glow sticks, and 200 of its closest friends. Third, Stoic’s absence is a disruption in Cult Leader’s life. She doesn’t like disruptions. And that was what we call an understatement.
So. To review: 6 year old who comes home from day camp just as her stimulant drug wears off. Super pissed all the time because we moved an object to the left a little and won’t let her change it back. Terrible twos with a mouth plague that’s taken her drug away from her without the help of methadone; becomes incapacitated when not clinging to her mother’s neck. I’m “it” but my own severe sleep deprivation tends to mean I Lose My Shit, but I can’t Lose My Shit because I’m being held captive and tortured by the Terror Tag Team and the moment I blink the terrorists win.
If I don’t make it out alive and intact: I’ve had a hell of a run. And can someone do me a favor and burn all those old journals from high school for me? Those don’t really need to be floating around once I’m gone.
Within several days, I have found glitter where glitter doesn’t belong. On my couch. On my boobs. (?!) In my kitchen sink. And on Evil Genius’s face.
SERIOUSLY. I post one (okay, 2) rants about glitter and suddenly IT IS EVERYWHERE. It went from Tinkerbell taking a shit on my porch to Tinkerbell getting straight up murdered ALL OVER MY HOUSE.
Then one of my friends showed me this little gem: Barbie Loves Glitter Glam Vacuum and Doll – Mattel – Toys “R” Us.
Come again what? WHY? Why is a doll like this necessary? I suppose I could launch into a diatribe about gender roles and how it is acceptable and even encouraged to keep kids penned within the parameters set for them by our corporate run society (why can’t Barbie ever come with a clam digging kit or mud pies or a monster truck? Why can’t Superman be crafty?) but that’s not what this blog is about.
(Honestly, I don’t even know what this blog is about. Do I have a focus? I don’t think I have a focus. Story of my life!)
One could say that hey, look! It comes with its own vacuum! There are a couple of problems with this. One, kids are destructive. My own kids are miniature Godzillas. Give them a plastic toy and they will attempt to break the world record for toy devastation. Considering how easy it is to break plastic unless it’s a freaking car seat, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of the vacuum? Two, what about the fact that GLITTER IS EVIL AND CANNOT BE EASILY EXORCISED? And three, uhhhh, how do you dispose of the glitter once the vacuum is full? Glitter is light, and if you dump it out it’s just going to get all over everything ALL OVER AGAIN.
I’m telling you, we need to band together as parents and have glitter banned. It is a persistent nuisance, a blight on homes and daycares everywhere. Screw the commercialization of childhood and the early sexualization of our girls thanks to the media, clothing manufacturers, and merchandise companies. GLITTER IS THE REAL PROBLEM HERE.
WHO’S WITH ME?
I cut Evil Genius’s bangs the other day.
Since she was born without hair and was, in fact, bald as a cue ball until right around her first birthday, she has what is known as the Baby Mullet. It’s less “business in the front, party in the back” as it is “I’m letting this shit grow out because that’s the social norm and she isn’t old enough to thumb her nose at the social norm yet”.
The problem with cutting a 2 year old’s bangs? Um, everything. I was not about to take her to Perfect Look for a freaking trim because a.) I’m cheap and b.) I hate salons. I hate everything about them. The smells give me a headache, at least one person is snotty for no reason or maybe I just don’t understand how salons and shit work and c.) I’m cheap. So instead, I put the hair I wanted her to grow out in a ponytail, took her and Monsieur Stoic outside, and sat her on his lap. Then I pulled out the scissors.
I should not be allowed to play with scissors.
She moved. I slipped. Then I made that mistake where you try to cut too much hair at once so it cuts crooked. And then she moved while I made that move.
Needless to say, I probably should have spent the twelve fucking dollars.
You know how, on the internet, you get that one person who is a deliberate asshole? They post stupid responses to posts, they post the dumbest things to incite anger and frustration, or to annoy the other people in the community/message board. They usually get dog piled by the naive and unsuspecting until…
“You guys, it’s a troll. Stop feeding the troll.”
Future Cult Leader is a real life troll.
“Hey, it’s time to empty the dishwasher.”
She works for a little bit and then…
“Mooooooooom” she stretches this out into a 5 syllable word “I don’t know where this gooooooooooeeeeeees.” Another 5 syllable word.
“Cult Leader, what is it?” Maybe she thinks it’s something else.
“A glass bowl.”
“Okay, where do the glass bowls go?” Trying to help her solve her own problem.
“I don’t knooooooooooooooooooow.”
“But you’ve put them away lots of times before.” Logic to jog her memory.
“I don’t remeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeember.”
I give her The Mom Look. No nonsense attitude, GO.
“I really don’t knoooooooooooooooooooow.”
“Look, knock it off. Put it away.” My frustration is increasing. I’m thinking, good grief, kid. This isn’t your first rodeo.
She walks over to the part of the kitchen where the glass bowls go. “Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I don’t know where it goes and if I don’t know where it goes and I can’t put it away and then I can’t empty the dishwasher and then I guess I’ll have to go outside to play without doing my choooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruh.”
Holy hell. “Stop. Now. Go put it away. You’re not leaving this kitchen until you put it away.” I can feel my blood pressure rising.
“BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT GOES.”
My chest gets all tight as my fuse ignites. I had been feeling productive and was excited about getting stuff done, and my 6 year old is cock blocking me.
“PUT IT AWAY NOW, OR I WILL PAY THE GYPSIES TO TAKE YOU.” Not a creative threat, as far as threats go, but it’s my go to and it usually gets the job done. I think she’s afraid I can actually do something like that.
“I *CAN’T* PUT IT AWAY BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT GOES!”
That’s when I notice the look on her face. Oh, she knows what she’s doing. I’m on to her.
“If you don’t put it away, I will ruin your day.”
She harrumps and puts the bowl away. Fucking troll.
“Hey. Lock the cabinet so Evil Genius can’t get in there.”
“I don’t feel like it.”
“DO. IT.” I’m trying so hard to be firm without sounding like I’m ready to HULK SMASH.
“She can open the lock anyway.”
“No, she can’t.”
“Yes, she can.”
“Stop arguing with me and lock the cabinet.”
“GET IT DONE.”
“BUT IT’S POINTLESS.”
Cue my head exploding.
I am in the bathroom, enjoying my morning poo. See, I like pooing. For the longest time I didn’t do it regularly. Then I got regular and there’s nothing quite like a great bowel movement. Plus, it affords me 5 child free minutes.
Future Cult Leader bursts in, because stupidly, I have not locked the door. I’d had a 2 month period where I locked the door to prevent getting interrupted and figured my days of getting walked in on were over. Inevitably, the first time I don’t lock the door is when a child decides their needs come before my morning poo. I caught the door and shut it before she could step in.
“NO. I’m using the bathroom.”
“But I have to go potty real bad!”
“Then go upstairs. I’m busy.”
“I don’t wanna go upstairs!”
“Child, there are 5 other toilets in this house. Go use one of them.”
“Cult Leader, you are not coming in here. Go somewhere else.”
No. She waited. I could almost see the internet troll face on her when I opened the door.
It’s time to get Cult Leader out of the shower. I knock on the shower door while speaking pleasantly to her.
“Time to get out!”
“Baby, time to get out, or I’m opening the door” which is something she hates, because all of a sudden she likes her privacy. Fine, I support that. But not when she’s not listening.
I pull open the door, and she stands there, staring at me. I’m having a stare down with a 41 pound child. I reach over to turn off the water, while continuing this futile staring contest, when she throws her hand out and pounds the knob. Lightening quick, this kid is.
“Great! Wring out your hair please.”
The stare continues.
“WRING out your HAIR.”
She slowly brings her hands to her hair and runs them over her head. About a gallon of water falls out of her thick, dirty blonde locks.
“Awesome! Step out so we can dry you off!” I am remaining cheerful because, dammit, showers shouldn’t be this hard.
She slowly picks her foot up, as though she’s in a vat of Jello, and gingerly steps on the carpet. She stands with one foot in, one foot out.
She steps out, I get her dried off, and she gets into her underwear. I help her into her dress and then prepare her tights for application.
“Hokeeeeee, love. Sit down, please.”
She starts pushing on the walls. Sitting does not happen.
“HEY. What did I ask you to do?”
“What are you doing?”
“Standing and trying to shove the walls down.”
“Why are you standing and trying to shove the walls down?”
“Because it’s the opposite of sit.”
“Opposite?” I’m baffled. She picked out her outfit; I stupidly assumed she would be excited about getting it on.
“Why would you do the opposite of what I tell you?”
“Because it’s fun to make you mad!”
SEE, YOU GUYS? SHE’S A TROLL.