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.