Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hoarders: Six Year Old Edition

My child is a hoarder.

Every scrap of paper, every cheap plastic fast food kid's meal toy, every leaf and rock that she thinks looks cool, winds up in our apartment.  Now, keep in mind that I said apartment.  It's not exactly the biggest place in the world, and storage space is pretty limited - not to mention that she and I share a bedroom.  Two girls in one room is bad enough without adding fourteen tons of schoolwork, piles of rocks, and broken pieces of plastic spoons that apparently remind her of someone.

But, I've decided that sometime this summer, we are going through everything - and I mean everything - and tossing anything we don't use or need.  Clutter is the enemy of a happy, relaxed home, and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with finding stacks of paper with one little squiggle drawn on each page laying all over the place, and wads of Moon Dough sticking out from under the coffee table.

I'm determined to get us clean and organized by the time that school starts in August, so that mornings can go off without a hitch, and no (more) library books are lost in the pit of toys we just haaaaaave to keep, but that haven't been played with in two years.

Who knows...maybe I'll find my lost sanity in there someplace...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soak It Up

I took a night for myself Saturday night.

It's not something that I do very often.  Even nights when kiddo is with her grandparents, I spend most of my time cleaning up the disaster she's made during the week, or working on something for PTA, or for work.  But last night, I decided it was time to de-stress.

So, I swung by the grocery store on the way home, picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry's, some bath salts, and a mud pac facial mask. 

Now, I'm not really a bath person.  Something about sitting and stewing in your own filth is just not all that appealing to me, regardless of how relaxing.  But, I sucked it up, set my Pandora station to Enya, lit a candle, and settled myself into the hottest bathwater I could stand.

Keep in mind, now, that I have ADD.  Sitting in the bath doing nothing is something akin to torture for me, so as I laid there, face covered in green mud, soaking, I began to get bored.  I tried...I really did!  But, after about 10 minutes I was ready to take a shower and get out.

Believe it or not, even after that short time soaking, and then the shower following, I actually felt a bit rejuvenated!  It's amazing what a little R&R can do (even when its very little.)

I guess when I got out of the tub, I was just so relaxed that I passed out.  I slept a few hours before waking up, a bit confused and discombobulated, and then rolled right back over and slept again.

It's been a long time since I've been able just to rest...really rest, without my mind running ten thousand miles per minute.  It felt AMAZING.

So, to any moms...or really, anyone out there at all who just needs a BREAK, I definitely recommend soaking in your own filth for a while - even if it is just for 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

It's Father's Day, today.  And I can't help but feel a little bitter towards it.  It's not that I don't appreciate Mother's Day as a holiday to honor mothers, or that I don't appreciate kiddo's dad still being halfway around.  It just makes me a little bit irritated, knowing that there are tons of deadbeat dads out there getting a pat on the back and an "atta boy" today, just because they have efficient sperm.

It takes more than a Y chromosome to make a father.  It takes love, dedication, responsibility, stability, and maturity.  It takes selflessness.  And I feel like a lot of men just don't get that.

I've been very lucky.  You see, I was adopted when I was three years old, by my great aunt and uncle, when CPS took me away from my birth mother.  They took me into their home and treated me like I was one of their own - even though their youngest biological child, is fourteen years my senior. 

Now, they weren't young when they adopted me.  And often times, especially as a teenager, I resented them for being old-fashioned, and not as cool as my friends' parents.  But, in retrospect, I really appreciate them for that.  I learned manners and respect, how to take care of business first, before doing things I wanted to do.  They made me a better person, and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

I remember being five and six years old, and my dad, the stoic retired Marine and Viet Nam vet, holding me above my bed and then dropping me onto it until I squealed and giggled, tears running down my face from laughing so hard.  And even though, at twenty five, his seriousness is still somewhat intimidating, I'll never forget that.  Kids can make even tough guys soften up a bit.

And that, my friends, is what it means to be a father.

Happy Fathers Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Rollercoaster

The year my daughter turned four was one of the most trying years we've had.  It was the first year I'd really seen a true tantrum, and the first time my daughter ever said she hated me.

Of course, at that age, they've really got no idea what hate is.  They just say it to be hurtful and to get under your skin; to assert their independence.  Even still, the first time those words came out of her mouth, I stepped into the restroom and cried my eyes out.  Hearing those words from someone who you've devoted so much of your time and love to hurts...even if you know they don't fully grasp the meaning.

But, after that first time, she said it quite a few more times.  Along with, "I want to go live with my dad!" which was equally, if not more hurtful.  But, we made it through that year, and as if by magic, her fifth birthday brought back the delightful, sweet child I'd known before.

And now, she's six, and all bets are off.  The past month has been filled with crying and tantrums a-plenty.  She's locked herself in the room for an entire day, without even eating.  She's thrown herself onto the floor and tried stuffing herself behind the couch.  She's cried and screamed, and though the h-word hasn't come out just yet, I'm halfway anticipating it.

The trouble is, I've got no idea why.  Is she just asserting her independence once more?  Is she sad or upset about something?  The only information she gives me when I ask her why, is that she misses her grandma...which makes no sense at all, in any of the situations.  I feel like it's just a cop out for something else that's bothering her that she doesn't want to mention for some reason.

She's also been obsessed with death lately.  She is always so concerned that her grandparents are old and going to die soon (they are only in their 60's and in decent  health, so it's not something anyone else is really concerned about)  She's also broken down crying, saying that she never wants to have a baby.  I haven't the slightest idea why she worries about these things, or why she cries all the time. 

We haven't had any major tragedies or life changes lately.  It's been nearly a year since her father moved to California (and she is aware that he is moving back VERY soon), and no one has had any real health issues.  The only death in the family we have had was a great aunt of mine who she barely knew.  I know that things can affect children in different ways than adults, and they often have a hard time expressing how they feel...but I wish I had some sort of key to unlock the WHY of her behavior.

I feel lost and helpless, which is a horrible thing to feel at all, let alone as a mother.  I feel like we're on this spiralling roller coaster, and the brakes have gone out, and even the emergency brakes aren't working.  It's hard to see when it will finally stop, or how.  It's a dreadful feeling.
But, I know this will blow over in time.  I've just got to stay strong, and pray for guidance and strength.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Miss President, Dentist Visits, and Other Miscellany

The end of the school year is drawing near, and life is unbelievably hectic.  Between awards ceremonies, PTA dinners, and dentists appointments, I feel as though I'm being pulled in ten thousand directions all at once.  But I've learned that this kind of busy is the kind of busy that I definitely like to be.  Running between work and school and social events keeps me upbeat and energetic (though I am the first to admit that after a few days of the run-run-run schedule, I am ready for some rest and relaxation - that I don't always get.) 

It's one of the things I actually enjoy about single motherhood.  The fact that I'm everywhere all the time.  Of course, it sometimes makes me feel like I'll never catch a break, but I also get to enjoy all the fun things that are going on!  Of course, it sometimes means taking time off of work, or not committing myself and kiddo to too many things at once - but in the long run, I think it's worth it.

Kiddo had her first dentist appointment last week.  I was able to get her in at the office of my childhood dentist, which thrilled me beyond all reason.  He was a fantastic dentist and orthodontist, and specializes in pediatric dentistry, so I know she is in good hands.  The funny thing was, though, that a couple of the dental hygenists still recognized me - as did the doc himself.  And, it felt a little bit strange sitting in the waiting room, rather than in the exam chair.  The appointment went well...pretty much as I had expected it.  I already knew, going in, that kiddo has a pretty nasty cavity on the lower left side, and I noted that on her patient information sheet.  We go on the first to have the tooth capped, and that is something that I feel extremely relieved about.

We also had our final "big" PTA meeting of the year last week, in which I was voted in as next year's PTA president.  Am I crazy for taking the position?  Probably.  Is it going to be one of the most challenging things I've taken on, especially considering the lack of parental involvement and current state of the PTA?  Yep, I'm sure it will be.  But I think it'll be worth it...even if I can just make some tiny little impact - some improvement in the state of the family involvement in the school, I will count it as a victory.

Aside from that, not a lot has been going on.  Just the typical grind of work-school-collapse at home.  B is boaring a cruise ship today for a getaway with his brother and sister-in-law.  They are headed up to Alaska.  B is also making a deposit as well, on next year's cruise...the one we'll be taking together!  I think every day I fall for him a little more, and while it scares me to death, there is something that just seems to click so well with us.  Of course, being the way I am, I am constantly preparing myself for what will happen "when it all comes crashing down" (I don't consider myself a pessimist, but in the past, my life has had a way of going good-good-good and then SUPER HORRIBLE all of the sudden.  So, I tend to be very precautionary about things.)

And I suppose, that is that...I realize this update hasn't been much more than idle rambling, but sometimes it just feels good to get it all out!  More substance coming soon to a blog near you...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Because Daddy Lives Far Away

Kiddo has cried every day for the past two weeks.  There's been a number of reasons that she's given.  She didn't want to be the line leader, she didn't get to hug her grandma, she was upset she had to wear short socks...But last night, I think I finally got to the bottom of the real reason she's been crying.

First of all, let me preface this by saying - anyone who is part of a parenting TEAM, is so incredibly lucky.  To have a mother and a father in the same household, or even nearby is such a blessing.  True, you may get irritated with your husband sometimes.  Maybe he leaves the seat up, or leaves his stubble in the sink.  But in the grand scheme of things, it's important to realize how lucky you are (so long as it is a healthy relationship without abuse, etc. etc.  If you are in an abusive relationship, please get out!)

That being daughter has been crying, every single day for the past two weeks, because she misses her daddy.  Yep, the daddy that decided that moving across the country to northern California was a great idea.  The daddy that promised to take her to the beach and let her collect seashells.  The daddy who has since been laid off from that job in northern California and stopped sending me any kind of support (not that it was a lot to begin with, but the little he did send helped).  The daddy who has said he would come to visit around Valentine's Day and didn't.  The daddy who first said he'd be moving back in May, and has since changed his story to, "well...our lease isn't up until August..."

When he left, she cried.  For weeks.  Every day after school she would just cry and cry and cry. She wouldn't eat.  Finally, I thought we were all okay about the situation...until recently.  Now, it is happening again, only now, she doesn't wait until after school.  She cries in the morning getting ready instead, and then during lunch. She cries enough that I've had a teacher's aide from another class mention it to me.

And it's not fair.  Why do I get to be the one trying to fix this?  Why doesn't dear old dad have to step up to the plate and tell his daughter she needs to get it together so she can go to class?

I let her tears get to me this morning.  I'd walked her into school and we were getting ready to walk back into the kindergarten area and the waterworks started again.  I held her and told her it was going to be alright, daddy will be moving back soon, and that she needed to take a deep breath.  But the tears kept on coming.  Her pre-k teacher from last year walked by and saw her crying and stopped to talk to me.  She mentioned having seen her upset yesterday morning and asked her what was wrong...of course, she started crying even harder, and I had to translate her words through her tears.  When I told the teacher she was crying because her daddy lives far away, I had to lift my head and stare into the fluorescents to try and hold back the tears. I think she knew it, too, because she took kiddo's hand and walked her back, patted me on the shoulder and told me she would get her settled down.

My own tears began falling on the walk to the car.  I took the curb on the way out of the parking lot as I tried to clear my eyes.  I don't know why.  Frustration?  Exhaustion?  Helplessness?

I need a vacation.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Sad Fact About Growing Up

I've decided that I don't want to get any older.  Not because I'm afraid of wrinkles, or sagging...but because it means that everyone around me is getting older too.  All of the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and family friends that I grew up with are growing old, too.  And as much as death is a fact of life, it still doesn't make it any easier.

My Aunt Sarah passed away this morning.  I remember being a child and playing at her house - running around on the land behind the house, catching snapping turtles with my cousins, feeding the goats, and giving our city cousins bags to go up into the woods hunting snipes.  I remember the hay rides around Halloween time, when my Uncle Charles drove all us kids around on a trailer attached to the back of the truck, up to the cabin at the top of the hill - the one that the hunters stayed in when they came to my aunt and uncle's fox farm - where we built a fire outside and roasted marshmallows, sneaking the occasional one to a brave fox that didn't mind getting a little closer to our rambunctious group.

I remember watching my Aunt Sarah as she sat in front of her sewing machine, making the most beautiful quilts I've seen in my life.  I won't ever in my life understand how she was able to churn out beautiful piece after beautiful piece, the stitches in little hearts or flowers, or the most delicate little swirl patterns.  I remember, after we moved to Texas, waiting eagerly around holidays for the package that would come from her.  My favorite as a child was the quilt she made just for me - purple, with unicorns.  My favorite now, is one she made for my mother, embellished with doves and praying hands, in the most beautiful periwinkle and white.

I know she was getting older.  I know she was sick.  I know that now, she is in a better place, and that all of her suffering has been lifted from her.  But that doesn't make it any easier.

I want to stop time.  Rewind, even.  Go back to my childhood, when I didn't quite understand mortality, or know that, as I got older, I would lose those nearest and dearest to me.

I don't know what emotion I'm feeling right now.  I'm angry, but sad.  I feel vulnerable and scared.  I feel numb and empty.

I don't want to grow up anymore.