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I’m going to be surprised if I’m not hog tied to a chair by Friday

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.

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Rolling out the Welcome Home! mat

Future Cult Leader comes home today after a week at her bio dad’s house. Here’s a list of things I didn’t miss when she was gone:

Cooking full fat meals
Since on a good day, Cult Leader weighs as much as a top of the scale 3 year old, we can’t cook the low fat meals I want so I don’t wind up looking like one of the hot air balloons that fly over our bedroom at 6 AM. Sure, I could make my meal or her meal separately, but I’m already playing goalie in the game of kids. Making a separate meal would be like trying to play pitcher at the same time.

Yelling
I know, I know, I deserve to be publicly flogged for admitting that I yell. I remember mentioning to my sister in law that we sometimes yelled upstairs for Cult Leader to get in bed and go to sleep (though, that was more laziness than anything; we didn’t want to get off our asses and go upstairs) and she gave me this horrified look, like WHO LET YOU HAVE CHILDREN as she asked me, dismayed, “Wait, you yell at your kids?” Yes. I yell. And honestly, I haven’t yelled since Cult Leader has been gone. Well, that’s not true. I’ve yelled upstairs to Monsieur Stoic, and once when Evil Genius grabbed a knife out of the dishwasher. No one is perfect, so suck it. It’s one of those parental flaws I try to work on daily.

Shit losing
I don’t know if you know this, but tantrums are common in kids with ADHD. Between all the stimuli they experience (if you Google “Misunderstood Minds” and click the link that says “attention”, you can get a taste of what it’s like to be my daughter. I’d include the link but I tried that and WordPress won’t let me and I’m not smart enough to figure it out) and their impulsive nature, their emotional volatility tends to be higher than that of their peers. Cult Leader has a tantrum a day, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop them. Not dealing with them has been a relief.

Nit picking
Evil Genius and Cult Leader fight and bicker and HOLY CRAP MAN. You’d think that a 4 year age difference would make a difference, but they fight just as much as kids 2 years apart. One of these days, the fighting is going to escalate into World War III, and I shudder to think about the results. Cult Leader could easily start an uprising against the Evil Genius, but Evil Genius could plot some sneaky counter attacks. It’s entirely possible she wouldn’t even need help. She’s way more likely to get her hands dirty than Cult Leader, because Cult Leader would just get someone else to work for her.

MOTORMOUTH
The great thing about conversations in the car with Cult Leader is that you never have to say a word. The bad thing about conversations in the car with Cult Leader is you never have the chance to say a word.

Exhaustion
Honestly, Cult Leader was more work than Evil Genius when Evil Genius was a baby. Oh sure, the reflux made the baby almost unbearable, but at least I could strap her to my chest as a solution. Well, and the 20 minute snippets of sleep at night sucked ass. But that was mindless. Cult Leader takes a lot of mental, emotional, and physical energy. She sucks it out of you, and I think even uses it herself.

It might sound like we were happy to get rid of her, and we were. Believe me, the need for a break was mutual. She was not at all heartbroken at leaving us for a week, although part of that might be because her older sisters were there for the week, too, and they are way more fun than we are. But we’re also really happy to get her back, and she’s ready to come home. The house was empty–and too quiet–without her.

Since we’ll be on a road trip having hotel sex and playing on the Oregon Coast for the next few days, I probably won’t post much, if anything. Enjoy the break!

It’s a family trait.

Monsieur Stoic, as I may have noted, is a bit anal. He’s can be so literal and so precise at times that you (well, I, really) just want to kick him in the shin. (Note: I am not advocating violence. I’m merely expressing a fantasy.) I am not usually so exact. However, there are moments where the two of us trade roles. The difference is the situation as well as the reaction. When I’m being anal, I freak out. When he’s being anal, he gets really mocking. Let me give you a glimpse of what this is like.
 

Example A. We are out shopping for groceries. We walk by the milk case, where I open the glass door and reach in for a gallon of 1% milk.

“Don’t grab that one.”

“Why?”

“Check the date on the one behind it.”

“I’m not checking the date. That’s stupid. We’ll go through this gallon in 3 days.”

“Check the date so we have the freshest milk possible.”

“I’m not checking the date,” I say as I set the jug in the cart. He calmly removes it, opens the cooler doors, and swaps it out for a gallon with a use by date 3 days after the one I originally grabbed.

“That was” he chuckles “SO hard, wasn’t it?”
 

Example B. Since we’re in the process of getting our house ready for sale we need to make things more…presentable. We need new guest bed sheets, so while we’re out and about, I look at sheet sets. (WHY the hell do they make 8 piece sets that have a bunch of stupid pillows and not a single fucking sheet in the set? It makes no sense to me. WHO DRESSES THEIR BED WITHOUT SHEETS?!) I settle on a set that looks nice but has all the necessary pieces and goes with the scheme of the room. I bring it to the cart.

“How much is it?”

“$79.99.”

Stoic gives me a look. “I’m not paying $80 bucks for a set of sheets.”

I bristle. “Look buddy, I’ve been looking for sheet sets. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decently priced set of sheets that have everything in it? This is a good deal.”

“We can find it cheaper online. Go put it back.”

I chuckle in that way that suggests I am not amused. “You have to be kidding me.”

“I’m not paying full price for a sheet set.”

“But it’s not full price, that’s the sale price.”

“Not cheap enough. We’ll buy it online.”

I growl, but I walk off with the sheet set to put it back. Should have made him do it.
 

Example C. We are getting ready to can home made vegetable stock, because it’s cheaper and tastier than that crap you buy in a can at the store. We’ve never used a pressure canner before, but he’s helped his dad make pickles, and we’re pretty good at reading. How hard can it be?

“How much is in there?”

“I don’t know, I’m filling up the measuring cup.”

“Why not use a ladle?”

“Because this is easier.”

“But you’re not filling it up to the 2 cup mark.”

“Then I’ll get some more in there,” he says, moving to dip the cup back in the heated broth.

“Just use a fucking ladle,” I say exasperatedly, shoving one in his hands.

Then…

“Wait, you didn’t pour all that in.”

“It doesn’t all fit.”

“But how much did you put in there?”

“I dunno. A cup and a half?”

“Honey, I need to know.”

“I didn’t measure. I can’t tell you,” he replies without sympathy as he loads up the next cup without really looking at the amount.

“HEY.” My frustration is palpable, but he dumps it into the waiting jar anyway. “You need to measure that!”

“It’s not that big a deal.”

I’m more or less panicking, so my voice is getting shrill. “YES, it is. I cook with this stuff, I need to know how much is in there so I don’t have to measure.”

He shrugs. Inside, I’m screaming. I take over filling the jars and learn that a pint jar? Doesn’t actually hold a pint.

“But I need these to hold 2 cups! If it doesn’t hold 2 cups then it messes up my plan!” And I’ll lose my homemaker badge and life will suck and BLARGH. So, in light of this lesson, it makes sense to me to start filling some of the jars in 1 cup increments, so I fill one of the jars half full.

“You can put more than that in there.”

I snap at him, “NO. This is how much is going in this jar because this is a logical amount.”

No conflict until we’re outside with the camp stove and pressure canner. This happens:

“How much pressure is needed?”

“Ten pounds.” Not that I knew, but I had looked it up on the internet BECAUSE THE INTERNET KNOWS EVERYTHING.

Fifteen minutes later….

“Wait, the pressure gauge is reading 11.”

“It’s like cooking with the pressure cooker. You get it up to pressure and have to relieve pressure when there’s too much.”

“How do we relieve pressure on the canner?”

“You don’t. You turn the heat down.”

“But what if it keeps going up? It’s supposed to be at 10!”

“It’s not going to hurt anything if it goes up a little. I wouldn’t let it get to 15 or anything.”

“BUT THE INSTRUCTIONS SAID 10. IT’S AT 11. IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD.”

Of course, after I relent and let the pressure vacillate between 10 and 12 without having a cow, the pressure drops to 8. I start to worry. IF IT’S DOWN TO 8 THEN WE’VE RUINED ALL THE JARS AND WE’VE DONE ALL THIS WORK FOR NOTHING AND OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW POORLY THIS IS GOING.

Stoic comes out to check on my progress. I’m not visibly upset, but as soon as I open my mouth…

“Thepressureissohardtomaintainanditgotupto13andthendroppedto8andwashardtogetbackupandifitdroppedto8doesthatmeanwehavetostartoverandIcan’ttakethepressurenopunintended.”

My head explodes.
 

On second thought, I’m not anal. I’m just neurotic. My bad.

Wherein my mad parenting skills fail me

We had a play date yesterday with some new friends of ours. They hosted, so we got to play with someone else’s toys, trash someone else’s backyard, eat someone else’s food. I’ll never understand why this is so awesome to kids, but it’s like Christmas, birthdays, and a trip to Chuck E. Cheese wrapped up in chocolate and rolled in Pixie Stick dust. The girls were excited to see their friends, and very curious about this new place we were going. What toys will they have? What will their house look like? Will there be cookies? Can I go potty? CAN I PLAY WITH THEIR SNAKE?!

As it turns out, a snake wasn’t the only pet they have. They had 2 dogs: a chihuahua and the other one was big and gentle. I’d like to point out, both the girls were entranced by the snake, and I’m pretty sure I will be Cult Leader’s first target if I don’t get her one. Anyway, Evil Genius, who happens to love pointing out animals, heard the dogs before she saw them. “A woof-woof!” She was really excited about these faceless woof-woofs until…

…they rushed into the house.

You guys, my kid Lost Her Shit. And had about 5 cows. And then Lost More Shit. This was the most hysterical I’ve ever seen this child. She was shaking from head to toe, screaming, burying her face in my shoulder. It was so sad! I had no idea how to deal with it. When Cult Leader Loses Her Shit, it’s usually just a matter of getting her out of the situation and giving her space until she’s done. But Evil Genius is my more even child. She doesn’t have a lot of tantrums, she doesn’t get hysterical, she doesn’t sob for hours. It’s the most helpless I’ve felt since, well, that one incident that I will write about later, because what kind of kid falls backward off a metal slide, hits the stairs on the way down, and is fine 5 minutes later? And what kind of mom is traumatized by such an event? This kid and this mom right here. It deserves a blog post.

But I digress.

I was totally helpless, and did the best I could to calm her fears. Apparently I sucked at it, because she wouldn’t let me put her down. I don’t know if you know this, but a 30 pound toddler isn’t easy to hold for long periods of time. I tried over and over to detach her from my neck, but apparently she was pretty fond of becoming my new necklace. There were moments where I could set her on the ground and she would be fine. She’d play with her friend, she’d chase the older girls, she’d be occupied by some toys, but then she’d hear the woof-woofs, or she’d see them, and she’d practically jump into my arms.

I think she’s scarred for life. This presents a problem, because my in-laws have a new dog at their house, and we are thinking about getting Cult Leader one. I have it on good authority that certain breeds of dogs are good for kids with ADHD, and I have this thing where I like helping my daughter cope with her brain. I’m not really sure how to help Evil Genius. Could I take her to an animal shelter and toss her in a cage full of dogs, much like our grandparents taught our parents how to swim my throwing them in the pool? No? Bad idea?

Hmmm.

I guess we’ll play the wait and see game. If anyone has any tips, I’d be happy to take them. My girls are going to need enough therapy when they’re older; being traumatized by dogs isn’t something I want for them.

A conversation

This morning, I opened the front door to a package of clothes I had ordered via internet a week and a half ago. I’ve given up shopping in the store. Something about the atmosphere causes me to Lose My Shit over the clothes I try on, because I have an oddly shaped body and a low self esteem. They don’t make clothes for girls with big boobs, wide hips, and a flat ass. It makes for a lot of self loathing and vaguely suicidal thoughts when trying on clothes. I also won’t pay a lot, which explains my bad fashion sense.

“What’s that? Your camera?” I had ordered a 1907 Kodak Brownie 2A, and was anticipating its arrival without any dignity whatsoever.

“No, these are the clothes I ordered that UPS never bothered to update the tracking on.”

“Ah.”

“Their tracking sucks. They told me when it left, and they tell me when it arrives. Who the hell knows where it goes in between.”

“Their billing sucks too, which is why I switched carriers.”

“Interesting. Well, I suppose I should go try these on.”

“Should I call 911 and get them over here so you don’t kill yourself?”

My husband, he knows me so well. “No, but you might want to keep them on standby, just in case.”

Addiction?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’ve heard of the bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. If you have been living under a rock, you can listen to Samuel L. Jackson make love to the words until it’s taken down for copyright violation:

Story of my damn life.

Everyone knows that you don’t sleep with a newborn in the house. Honestly, they should have a warning that pops up after that second pink line on the pee stick comes up.

(Why is it pink?!)

WARNING: YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. YEAH, THE INFANT PHASE SUCKS AND YOU WILL PROBABLY BE A WALKING ZOMBIE FOR THE FIRST 3 TO 6 MONTHS. BUT THE TRUTH IS, THE NEXT TIME YOU WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT YOUR BODY WILL BE TOO OLD TO ENJOY IT BECAUSE YOU WILL BE WAKING UP EVERY 2 HOURS WITH ACHY JOINTS, A FULL BLADDER, AND SCIATICA FROM HELL.

If you’re like the other uptight pricks out there, you’re thinking gee, if you hate your kids so much, why did you have them? Who said anything about hating my kids? I freaking love my kids! I just want them to sleep, for the love of brown rice, sleep! Here’s the thing. If I don’t get enough sleep, I Lose My Shit. My kids? They don’t like to sleep. The Future Cult Leader was a great sleeper as an infant, but as she’s grown into her disorder she’s come up with insomnia. The other night? Fourteen visits upstairs. And before you go saying I must be letting my child walk all over me, let me say this: military style torture would not have broken this kid. Evil Genius didn’t sleep for her first 6 months (thanks, reflux!), and even after that we were lucky to catch a 4 hour stretch. Even now, after almost 2 years of life, there are nights she wakes up 10 times. And early. Oh god. Those two are a terror tag team of pre-dawn waking. Both of them need 11-12 hours, and when they don’t get that, they tend to Lose Their Shit. If I haven’t slept and they haven’t slept, then all three of us are Losing Our Shit.

The last few days, Monsieur Stoic’s family has been Without Their Shit. Cult Leader defiantly refuses to sleep, Evil Genius has a hacking cough that wakes her up every 2 hours, and I’m in the middle of a psychiatric med switch so YAY! my sleep aid is no match for the adjustment period. Lucky for us, Monsieur Stoic can clean the house, do his work, play with the kids, run the errands, cook a meal, seduce me, and mow the yard on 5 hours of sleep, all without smudging his lipstick. It sucks, though, because then his family is hanging out and they’re all shitless.

Honestly, the man deserves an award for not Losing His Own Shit.

I like coffee. I drink it a lot. I drink about a pot a day, which some people, like my therapist, say is too much. But you know what? It’s entirely possible that coffee is what’s holding my marriage together during these shitless days. You can take my coffee…but you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead, shitless hands.