Thursday, September 29, 2011

People in Russia Will Love This

My blog comes up in a Google search.

Pretty impressive, right? I feel like I have made it in the blogosphere because now people can google things like "her undies were filled with poop" and find this little gem of internet gold.

What finally broke through the internet wall of search terms, you wonder? Well, it would be people in Russia, googling (of all things) horses. Pictures of horses, wild horses, horses running, horses running through water.

But, wait, Momma, I have read your posts and I have never read a post about horses running in or out of water. Ah, I wondered this myself until I stumbled on this little artifact.

It is the most popular post on the blog.

I don't understand the internet.

Or people in Russia, and why they want to to search for horses so much.

But I like the attention.

So horses.

Wild horses.

Horses running through water.

Horses with horns are called Unicorns (I totally stole that from Glee).

Welcome, new friends from Russia, welcome. Have a sip of Vodka, sit back relax and read for awhile. Invite your wife and kids to laugh at the silly American girl attempting to woo you.

In other news, this post ignited a fire storm of interest on Twitter the other night. I honestly had no idea that it would touch as many people as it did, or garner my little blog so much attention. Thank you for reading, thank you for wanting to know our family, thank you for being as offended as I am that this is still going on in our society. You are all awesome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It Was The Tint - Just Not The Window

It was a drizzly, gray, chilly February morning and I was driving to work. The Hubs was in the passenger side, the kid was munching her breakfast in the backseat.

The Hubs and I were talking about bills, about grocery shopping, a quick check of the rear view mirror shows me that I am being followed. Then the lights flash on.

My mind is racing as I pull over, Was I driving too fast? Is one of my lights out? Did I leave my drink on top of the car again? I roll down the window as instructed.

"I pulled you over because the tint on your windows is too dark."

"Really? They aren't tinted. This is stock from the factory."

"Looks pretty dark to me. License and registration, please." I sigh and hand over my information. "I need his ID, too."

This is weird. "Why? He's not driving." The Hubs touches my leg to make me shut up as he reaches into his pocket to get his driver's license.

Minutes pass before he approaches the window again. "Are there drugs in the car? Would you mind stepping out?"

This time the Hubs can't stop me, "Seriously? We have our 3 year old in the backseat, you are making me late for work and it is 8:20 in the morning. What kind of drugs would we have in the car?"

He backs down when he finally notices Z and asks me to come with him to the back of the car. "Are you in danger? Has he been hurting you? Are you in a safe situation?" 

I sigh. "He is my husband. We have been married for more than 5 years, we have been together since high school. I am fine. Our kid is great."

"Well, I am gonna let you go, then. Here is your license and registration."

"Don't you want to check the window?"

"What? Oh. Um. Yeah." He half-heartedly grabs a little gadget from his car and affixes it to the window. It beeps and a green light beams back at him. "Looks good. You have a nice day, ma'am. Here's my card in case you need to contact me."

I am a white girl that was raised in the South. My husband is black. We live in a smallish town just south of Georgia.

And even though no one calls it racism anymore, it is everywhere.

The look from the old couple when you walk into a restaurant, the delayed service at some restaurants because they would rather you leave than have to serve you, the look of disdain from the women in the waiting rooms of doctor's offices.

Our country should not be like this.

We have a bi-racial president for goodness sake, we are supposed to be a kinder, gentler, more understanding nation. We are supposed to be teaching our children about love not hate - instead, they are being taught that a gentler disrespect, a nicer hate is acceptable.

I wish I could say that I am not guilty of thinking the wrong thoughts or making bad assumptions from time to time. I wish I could say that in this area, I do not struggle.

But that would be a lie.

Instead, I tell my daughter that God made everyone special, that no matter the circumstances, God has a purpose for every person we meet. And I show her compassion and love by volunteering (with her in tow), by making the extra effort to talk to everyone that we encounter - in the line at the grocery store, sitting in the waiting room.

I want to think that I am showing her equality. I want to think that I am showing her how to treat people. I want to think that I am teaching her to be a better person than I am.

And maybe that's what we all want - no matter what our race might be.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Funny Girl

The things that Z says are always pretty funny and several people have told me that I should write it down so that I can remember it as she gets older.

Z likes to play with a miniature measuring tape. When she sees boys that she thinks are interesting, she attempts to measure them. The boys typically will take an interest in her measuring tape and measure her.

Proudly they will announce, "You are 48."

Z will snap around, snatch the measuring tape and declare, "No, I am 3 and a half." Then she will stomp off.

Z likes to lick things. Everything. 

Saturday night as we were helping a friend unpack, I see her lift a picture out of a box, lick the front of it and place it back into the box.

I wait until my friend finishes her story and calmly walk over to the box. 

"Show me what you just licked", I demand as my child attempts to hide. She moves very slowly across the kitchen to me. 

"Show it to me."

My friend is slowly dying, clutching the counter in gasps of exhausted laughter and tears. 

Since my attention has been averted Z has run for cover. I find the picture. I hand it to my friend.

"It's been licked. I am sorry. I don't know if you want to keep this."

She sits down on the floor, alternately weeping and laughing. "How do you keep a straight face?"

"I wait until she goes to bed. I laugh myself to sleep."

Z has decided that she would like a baby sister and a baby brother. The other night a friend and her daughter met us at the mall for dinner and conversation (they have a fenced in children's play area, so we can actually talk while the kids run themselves to exhaustion). We handed both of the girls a penny to toss into the fountain with a wish.

"I wish, I wish, dear God, please put my baby brother and baby sister in my momma's belly. Amen." She tossed the penny as far into the fountain as she could. 

The next night, she explained to me what I am doing wrong. "Momma, you get married and then you have a baby."

"Yes, that's right."

"So, we need two more husbands. Because we want two more babies."

"What? I have a perfectly good husband."

"He already has a child."

"What kind of husbands should we get?"

"I think you should get a pink one to match you, and a Chinese one.

"A Chinese one? Why?"

"I have always wanted my baby sister to be Chinese."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Last night, the Scare Bear and I took some time escaping away from our families. We went to a cake decorating class.

The class was a bit more fundamental than what I had had in mind. It was a class on decorating with fondant and I really thought there would be mixing, food coloring, etc. Instead, they had ready made fondants in an array of colors ready for us to work with.

It felt very much like kindergarten for grown-ups as we rolled the brightly colored putty onto the counter, sprinkling out powdered sugar as we went. Cutting out shapes of stars and hearts, flowers and leaves, I was taken back to the girly-girl of my youth. If there had been some glitter and a friggin' unicorn cookie cutter - I would have been all over that shizz.

We talked about Justin Beiber (I don't know, really) and books and movies and the table of 30 and older than 30 somethings became a group of giggly girls.

It was a delicious time.

The huge bonus, beyond discovering the mysteries of fondant and now being able to decorate our own cakes, is that when we got home from a fun night out with the girls we had a cake to appease the Hubs and children.

Money well spent.

Thank you, Groupon Gods for making these things happen.

The Scare Bear's awesome argyle cake. What a great job!

My girly-girl swirl cake. Hearts, stars, flowers - yep, that's me. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morally Bankrupt?

Right after Z was born, almost 4 years ago, the Hubs lost his job. Suddenly, overnight we went from a family of 2 with an income of $80,000 a year to a family of 3 with an income of less than $30,000 a year.

And for the next year, he looked for work, he tried to find a job.

 Men in this recession are having a much harder time of things in the world. Black men are having an even harder time.

 The bills piled up, so did the coupons. I worked two jobs. We sold off our second vehicle.

We did everything we could, thinking that as soon as he got back to work, we could save it, we could rebuild, we could get back on track.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality. The painful reality that we finally had to accept was that we had debt of a family that made almost 3 times what we were currently making. That no matter how hard I worked, no matter how many jobs and coupons, we were financially bankrupt.

And so, almost 3 years ago, we officially filed for bankruptcy.

We almost lost our marriage. We almost lost ourselves. It was an extremely hard decision, but it was the decision that was ultimately right for our family.

Since then we have increased our credit rating almost 200 points over where it was pre-bankruptcy. The calls that kept me awake at night are gone. And when I ultimately was laid off from my job, there wasn't as much stress to find a new job immediately.

Last Friday, I was offered a job.

They offered almost twice the amount of money I was making in the Before.

I was excited.

Until they mentioned the background check and credit check.

All weekend, I debated whether I should speak with the Human Resources Director. At least, to put me at ease that it wouldn't be an issue.

It is an issue. A major issue. And the offer has now been rescinded.

Her words? "According to our attorney, you are too much of a liability. If you came in here and started stealing identities or embezzling funds, we would be at fault for hiring you."


How is filing for bankruptcy a criminal act? How am I now guilty of something that I would never have done even if I had never had to file for bankruptcy? If I was able to do those things without being caught, I never would have had to file for bankruptcy in the first place.

Since when did being financially bankrupt equate to morally bankrupt?

In this crazy new normal that this recession has introduced, you have people, good people, that can't pay their bills anymore. You have people that don't have homes and can't take care of their children - but employers are still expecting to see good credit scores?

It seems like employers are really only looking to employ the still employed which leaves those of us without a job in a very scary place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bad News Bear

Z has a panda bear puppet. She will be dancing around, singing songs, having a fun and joyful time. And then from the corner of her eye she will see the bear.

She grabs him tightly, shoving him onto her hand. Her face will turn somber, her voice will go low.

"And, now the news." She looks at me intently and I know that it is time to listen, to pay rapt attention to the news story from the bear. Her face is determined, serious. "Somewhere in the world a giraffe just died."

Two things could happen at this juncture. I can collapse on the floor in an explosion of laughter or I can nod and wait for her to continue. Often, it's the laughing.

The bear gets a little miffed at being laughed at and will say, "Listen, you old fossil. This is the news. It is important. Next is the weather. You have to listen."


Did that bear just call me an old fossil? WTH? This is not a good bear.

She continues. "Once, there were many old elephants in the desert. Elephants don't like being hot. So they all died. There are not anymore elephants in the desert."

I smile.

I am not sure how we came to watching the news as told by a puppet voiced by a 3 year old. I don't even get a chance to watch the real news at all anymore.

I hide the Bad News Bear sometimes, especially on days that I know that I just cannot take the seriousness of it all.

He always finds his way back out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Under Pressure

I have talked about my intense desire to have complete control over my child. To have her act and behave the way that I know that she can. To showcase the brilliance of her mind, the talent and personality of her being.

But she is 3.

And it's not fair to her that I need for her to be a perfect representation of my not-so perfect parenting. It's not fair to her that I need her to be better, smarter, cuter than everyone else's kid.

Those are my faults, my needs, my desires and it is not healthy.

I am the one that needs to feel like everything is perfect, that needs to feel like my hard work is not in vain, that needs to know that my facade is intact and that the cracks do not show all of the imperfectness that lies so close to the surface.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I am not perfect. My child and my marriage are not perfect. Our life is messy and loud.

And I need to start living my life - and raising my child - in a manner that truly reflects these things. I will never be perfect. Neither will my child.

But saying these things, meaning these things, putting them into practice is easier said than done for a perfectionist Type-A personality like me.

I am going to try. I am going to change the way that I speak to her, the way I get angry over the small things, the way that I deal with her.

Because she is 3.

And she deserves to be a kid. You spend the majority of your life in adulthood, there are precious few years that you are allowed to be a kid. Every child should get to behave as one for as long as they possibly can.

The cycle of trying to attain a perfection that is not real, and an ideal that can never be reached ends here.

I'm not perfect.
No I'm not.
I'm not perfect, but I've got what I've got
I do my very best
I do my very best
I do my very best each day
But I'm not perfect
And I hope that you like me that way. 
 ~From "I'm Not Perfect" Laurie Berkner (she's kind of my hero)

Friday, September 16, 2011

In Third Person

Z has taken to talking about herself in the third person.

"Z does not want to eat cereal. Z would like a popsicle instead."

It feels a lot like banging my head against a wall. I use words like "you" and "your", so that she understands that she possesses these feelings.

It also feels a bit regressive that a child with such an extensive vocabulary feels the need to dumb down her wants and needs into an almost baby-speak.

The same child that tells me that her drama class (I know, I know) was fascinating or that her visit to the park was exhilarating.

I hear her explaining the new normal to her dolls and stuffed animals. "Z can't go to school anymore. Momma doesn't have a job. Z has to stay with you."

I try to keep her engaged. She has classes 3 times a week with other kids who stay at home. She has friends that she sees at church and at softball games. We work on reading and math worksheets.

And still I feel like she is regressing.

I cannot tell you how much I wish that she could go to school. To be around peers her own age, to have the discipline of being somewhere at the same time, everyday. It's a very strange normal that we are in, and I am not sure that I can get used to it, either.

I thought about making us a schedule so that we could keep track of the things that we have to do in a day or the things that we have done, but that would kind of setting ourselves up for defeat. To look at a chart and know that we didn't wake up when we were supposed to, or that the beds didn't get made (again).

And the bad days when none of it happens? Well, that would seem even worse if it were written down, wouldn't it?

We are gonna keep trying to navigate this normal for awhile, until a new one proposes itself to us. The good news is that soon, we will have holidays and projects and the smells of yummy things to keep us company.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Cycle

I have talked about my illness before. And pain.

I have talked about how I have to get my pain medications, but that I can make a one month prescription last for 3 months.

And then I lost my job.

And my insurance.

Apparently, you cannot be seen by pain management doctors if you are a self-paying customer without insurance. It makes for a state paperwork headache, it looks like you are drug seeking, you look guilty.

I was told to go to the ER. Does anybody have any idea how much it costs taxpayers for uninsured individuals to be seen at the ER? Even the ones that can somehow pay the thousands of dollars that they will be billed, taxpayers still end up getting charged with some part of that cost.

And then, should I go to the ER? When I tell them my prescription, explain that I am just there for a refill so that I don't have to drop by every time I have an attack - what do you think they will do? I am pretty sure they are not going to give me my refill.

I was good at my job. I did everything that I could to not lose it.

I wish I could have afforded the COBRA insurance, unfortunately, it was going to cost more per month than unemployment pays me. I wish I could have qualified for any kind of state aid, but according to the letter they sent me, I make too much.

On unemployment.


All of these laws and rules, all of these policies and procedures that create this Catch-22 that really only catches the people that are trying to follow the rules. The ones that are really trying to do the right thing.

I can name off people right now that would sell you whatever pain reliever you wanted, without a prescription, without a co-pay, without even needing to know why you need it.

But, I am trying to play nice, I am trying to be the good girl, I am trying to do the right thing.

And in the end, I guess I will be the only one left hurting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Self Indulgence

If you have been reading the blog for any time now, you know a lot about my home and the woods surrounding my home, and the critters that live in the woods that surround my home. What you may not know is that there is one thing that was a selling point for us to move out to the country.

And it had nothing to do with bears. Nothing to do with chickens either.

It had to do with with our wonderfully large garden tub in our master bathroom. And the walk-in shower (because nothing is grosser than standing in a slick tub calf deep in your own undraining filth.) I know because the reason that we decided to move from our last place is because everything stopped draining, all at the same time. Right when I got the stomach flu and the handy man happened to be out of town on vacation.

So we moved.

It takes about 9 hours for the tub to be completely full (part of the problem with such a large tub) and so it has never really been used, but in light of all of the hideous patches of itchy blisters that cover my body, I have taken to nightly oatmeal baths. I put the child to sleep, turn on the faucets and then gather my towels, my book, my candles, etc. It's become a ritual now, my way to unwind after a hard day of poo wrangling and child screaming.

The first night, it was a little strange. I kept thinking that if I had some brown sugar body scrub, someone might think it a good idea to start eating my bathwater. Maybe me. It's hard not to think of food when you are soaking in a tub that smells remarkably like breakfast.

And then it is hard to go to bed because you smell like food and you want food, but you don't know what you want really, so you decided to sit down and watch Hoarders because nothing will dampen an appetite like watching Hoarders.  But then you got sucked in and it is almost 2 in the morning and you are still a little hungry.

I was talking about the tub, not my willingness to gain any amount of weight at this point, although I don't feel good, am more than a little depressed about this whole unemployment situation and am really starting to feel a bit like a societal outcast, might as well eat. Food loves me - right?

At any rate, the tub and I have a thing going and I am not sure that it will stop once the blisters finally scab and the itching finally abates. It's good to have a refuge. It's awesome to have found my very own time out corner. And as long as I have good books to read, good smelling candles to burn and itchy ankles - I might as well make the most of it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Your 3 Year Old Should Not Learn How to Read

The following conversation took place in the grocery store tonight.

"Z, what are we going to have for dinner?"

"I think you should have Whole Grain."

"Huh? Whole Grain?"

"It's good for you, will help your tummy not be so squishy and makes your poop happy. You should eat more whole grain, momma."

No more Hooked on Phonics around this house, the last thing I need is a 3 year old with poop issues extolling the virtues of fiber on my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day Not Soon Forgotten

On September 10, 2001, my father called, upset. The trucking company that he was working for had decided against letting him dead head (drive without a trailer) home for his birthday and had instead assigned him to drive into New York City to pick up a trailer there.

He hated driving in New York. The streets were too narrow, too many cars, pedestrians and bicyclists to get caught in his blind spots. Hard to make turns, hard to navigate an 80,000 pound vehicle. He was, in a word, pissed. And when he got like that, he would get really fired up, and he usually quit. I expected the call that he would be arriving on a bus, or worse yet, that I would have to pick him up in another state somewhere.

The next morning, September 11th, I woke up to the feeling that someone very, very heavy was sitting on my chest. I could not breathe through my nose, and my lungs felt like fire at every breath. I called in sick to work (as Customer Service Manager for a food distribution warehouse) and phoned my doctor's office. They were able to see me at once, so without evening changing out of my pajamas, I got in my car and drove to the only place that I thought I would find relief.

My appointment was scheduled for 8:15 AM. I was put in a room, and I waited. The nurse had informed me that since she was working me in it would be a bit of a wait. I laid on the examining table and started to fall asleep. Outside, I heard a commotion, feet running through the halls, patient doors being opened. I got off of the table and poked my head out of the door.

"A plane has hit the World Trade Center", a nurse informed me.

"In New York?", I asked dumbstruck and a little selfish. What does that have to do with patients in a doctor's office in Tallahassee?

My doctor came around the corner the, obviously shaken. "Everyone, I have a TV in my office, we can go in there to see what is going on."

We piled into his office, suddenly feeling as though our symptoms no longer mattered, that any complaints that we had were merely trivial now. We watched as the second plane struck building 2. Icy chills shot up and down my spine. I wandered out of his office and slunk down the wall, it was all so much, all so awful. What did Americans ever do to deserve this?

I thought of my father, would he even be able to get into New York? If he did, how would he ever get out? My mind was reeling but also covered in snot. I walked back to the patient room. I laid back down on the examining table and closed my eyes.

The doctor came in diagnosed me with a double-lung infection and a sinus infection and sent me on my way with a prescription for antibiotics, pain relievers and lots of rest.

There was no rest at home as I sat on the couch with my younger brother, reeling from the next news story. I would fall asleep for 10-15 minutes and then wake up with a start thinking that another plane had struck. Tallahassee was on high alert. The Governor of Florida at the time was Jeb Bush, brother of George, son of another George - surely we were the next place to be attacked.

There was no way to contact my father. Cell phone towers and satellites were tied up for days with people trying to find their loved ones, make sure that everything was okay. I tried the trucking company that he worked for but they were unable to track down his truck. For 4 days, I did not know if my father was dead or alive somewhere on the streets of New York City and it was probably the most scared that I have ever been.

For 4 days, I wandered around our home waiting for a phone call, numb to the images that had taken over our TV screen, unable to listen to another news story, more speculation on who was responsible or where the next target would be. I could not sleep, I could not eat.

Finally, on his birthday, September 15, the phone rang. Somewhere between 8 PM on 9/10 and 8 AM on 9/11, his assignment had changed. He was deadheaded to Buffalo instead, wasn't scheduled to pick up there until 9/18, he was celebrating his birthday in our old hometown with his old friends. He was fine. This was the first time he was able to make an outgoing phone call. Nothing was wrong.

And so, unlike all of the families that suffered such a terrible tragedy, somehow, for some reason, God intervened to make sure that my daddy would be okay, that he would make it back home safely once again.

And He drove it all in so that I would never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Itchy, Itchy, Scratchy, Scratch

A few days ago, I was out working in the yard when I tripped on a thin vine. This is nothing new, I trip over my own feet quite often and in our yard there are vines and roots everywhere. The vine was thin but strong and cut a scratch along my ankle. I thought nothing of it, cleaned it with alcohol when I went inside and continued on with my plan to tame the forest.

On Wednesday night, I noticed that there was a thin line shaped rash wrapping it's way around my ankle where the vine had gotten me. My first though was that it must be chiggers, but after googling (nightmare inducing) pictures of chiggers rashes, I deduced that this is not my problem.

I talk to JoDene and she suggested that it could be Poison Sumac. Knowing that I am not allergic to Poison Ivy or Poison Oak, I was doubtful, but upon further research it appears that she is right.

Having grown up in the state of Florida (the mosquito is our state bird, don't ya know?), I don't scratch bug bites because I don't want to scar, I want them to go away fast and I don't want them to hurt. The Hubs has remarked with amazement of my incredible will power to not itch and scratch my legs and arms after being bled out viciously attacked (Mountain Dew makes my blood sweet).

So here I am being a martyr for the folks that have been ruthlessly attacked by an evil plant in the middle of the day (or so I thought). And then it started spreading. Why is it spreading? I don't scratch it, I don't itch it, why is it spreading? The Hubs knows.

"You scratch all night long. You never stop. I had to get out of bed because of all of the scratching."


Never mind waking up your partner or putting Benadryl on her ankle or warning her when she awoke in the morning to not A) rub her eyes or B) wipe her ass. No never mind that at all.

I am covered in puss filled blisters. When I say covered, I mean all over my legs, my arms, my face, and my, um, dark swirly parts. It's f***ing painful a tad uncomfortable.

Seeing as how I cannot be put into a mental hospital, drugged and chained to a bed for a few days drugged up on Benadryl and still function as a momma, I am thinking that I am at the very least going to schedule a bath time for myself every few hours and knit myself some giant mittens.

That way when my willpower disappears in the middle of the night, my mittens will keep me from clawing myself bloody raw.

*No, there are no pictures. I will at some point take some Benadryl and have the husband get one of my ankle or something. But right now, there will be no pictures. I do hope you understand. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Slow Love: A Book Review

For my first BlogHer book review, I received Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness. The title excited me as I have recently lost my job, I love pajamas and I want to be happy. 

When the book finally arrived at my house, I loved the unevenly cut pages, the textured paper, the embossed cover. I settled in for a good read. 

Unfortunately, the author, Dominique Browning, takes a long time to muddle through her past mistakes and relationships to find contentment. There are times when she is talking about selling her house or planting mint that she circles around into so many flashbacks that you are uncertain of what subject she was talking about when she first started. 

As a typical workaholic, Browning has a difficult time defining herself without a job. She no longer feels validated as a member of society and takes to only venturing out of her house on Saturdays when she knows that no one else is at work. In this addict without an addiction state, she attempts to fill herself with baked goods, placing the focus off of her own crazy onto her on again, off again lover so that we are never really able to delve deeply into her funk. 

I expected the book to be a coming of age/self-help journey, what I got instead was an autobiography of any one of the people that have been laid off since 2007. I already know that story.

This was a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club. If you would like to join the discussion, see additional reviews or read an excerpt of the book, you can join us at the Slow Love page

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Collection

My child loves to collect things. At any point in time you can wander into her playroom or bedroom and find bags filled to the brim, zippers pulled taut over her haul - inside you will find little bits of everything, stuffed animals wrapped around fistfuls of parade beads, broken crayons, a doll shoe, random bits of paper.

If she knows that we are going out for the day, she will pack and repack in preparation for our outing. She will pull the overstuffed bag through the house, and, clenching it in an unforgiving fist refuse to leave it at home. The contents will be spread throughout the backseat of the car by the end of our travels. Forgotten, unuseful to her now that the day is done.

Her favorite thing to collect is rocks. She finds them at the park, in gravel driveways, in parking lots, at the edge of sidewalks and buildings. Each time she finds her next rock, she lets out a gasp of discovery followed quickly by a squeal of delight. "Momma, Momma, Momma, look at my wonderful new rock!" I nod, and try to refocus her on wherever it is we are trying to go.

She proudly shows off her rock to secretaries, to cashiers, strangers. "Look at my rock, it is for my rock collection, someday I will be a ge-. a ge-ah, a rock scientist." They nod at the strange collector, exclaim over her fanciful stories of where her rock has been, what it might have been used for in a past life.

When I do the laundry, if I am not careful, I will hear the distinctive thud of stones rumbling through the dryer. We have rocks in our pockets, rocks on top of the dressers (in her room and ours), rocks in baskets, rocks in bags. Each one is important, each one has a story.

I cannot wait to see what her next collection will be, if only to finally be able to clear out all of the rocks.

Monday, September 5, 2011


We got a cat yesterday. A pure white cat with a giant plume of a furry tail. He's almost a year old and very sweet.

Z was certain that his name should be Duchess after the white cat in the Aristocats. The momma cat.

I explained to her that he is a boy and that she should pick another name. "O'Malley", she replied, "Thomas O'Malley."

Um, that's a mouthful and knowing that I would be the primary caregiver/feed provider and cuddler, I suggested that we come up with another name.

"Edmond", she said.

Could I call him Eddie? No.

Let's choose something else.

"Fine, momma. His name is Oliver, just like you always wanted."


I am not sure that I have ever wanted a cat named Oliver, but it seems pretty fitting and I was tired of battling over a name.

I made the mistake today of calling him Ollie. Apparently, that is against the house rules and will get you a serious talking to from a 3 year old.

I learned my lesson.

Oliver it is.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Best Day Ever

I hope that this is the last poop-related post that I ever have to write. I hope that we have moved past this disgusting topic and on to a newer, more interesting subject. A girl can only hope, right?

On Thursday, my family and I went to the last softball practice before games begin. It was fun getting to see everyone outside of church and we were having a good time. they have a small playground at the center of the softball fields and there were lots of kids Z's age for her to hang out with.

When they gathered back at the bleachers for a snack, I noticed that Z had a smallish wet spot on her bottom. I asked her what had happened and she stated that she had peed in her shorts. The spot was small and on her butt, so I didn't really question it except for asking why she did not go to the bathroom that I had already taken her to twice. I really though she must have sat on something wet because, like I said, it was in the wrong area and small.

A while later I picked her up and she did smell like pee. I was angry but when we got to the car decided to strip her naked for the ride home so she wouldn't get her car seat all wet. I took off her shorts and when I did, her panties dropped down just enough for me to see that she had actually pooped in them. I was furious. I put her in her car seat with just her panties on, and proceeded to pace the parking lot as the Hubs loaded the rest of our things into the car.

When we got home, I made her strip off everything on the porch and then threw them into our trashcan. I am not washing that. It's wasteful, but at this point I don't care. The shorts were too small anyway.

I made her get in the shower and scrubbed her clean as she cried. I didn't yell, I didn't even speak - couldn't speak, because the poisonous anger that was building up in my body has no place being directed at a 3 year old.

I got her out and put pajamas on her. I tucked her in and I sat on the couch to crochet.

About 30 minutes later, I smelled poop. I looked at the Hubs, "I smell poop." "I do too," he replied. I walked into Z's room and she was curled into a tight ball, crying her eyes out.

"I just want to hold onto it, momma, I want to keep it."

I lifted the blanket to see that her panties were full of poop. Her body was covered in goosebumps and she was shaking hard trying to keep the poop from coming out. I took her into the bathroom and placed her on the toilet, she screamed and hit.

"No, It's mine. I have to keep it."

"Let it go - NOW!" I sat on the floor of the bathroom for 45 minutes while she emptied herself, crying, shaking and screaming that it hurt. At times, I felt like a doula. "Relax and breathe," I coached. "Hold my hand if you need to." Finally, it was over and she was able to go back to bed easily. Her mood had shifted and she was much happier getting back into bed this time around.

She slept through the night, something she hasn't done for a couple of weeks now and did not pee the bed, also, something she hasn't done in a little while.

She woke up yesterday, relaxed, calm and happy. We had a great day. We went to Home Depot, ran errands, dug a flower garden and went to a street fair downtown. The whole day she was compliant, happy and well-behaved.

If I had known that the cause behind all of her recent hostility and animosity was a good poop, she would have gotten an enema weeks ago.

I think it all started with talk of me returning to work and her starting a new school. She tried to control the only things that she thought she could - her bathroom habits. I have talked to her about this. I have explained that she could get very sick if she tries to hold it in. I think she understands this now.

I hope that this is the end of poop for awhile.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Where I Am

I am not going to talk about the chickens. Or how they have laid more eggs in their nest. Or how I feed them brussel sprouts (YUM!). Or how they can get 14 feet up into my tree, amazing me each night.

I am not going to talk about what Z did last night, although it had to do with this and this - in public. I am not going to talk about how angry I am that it happened or how disappointed I am that she is doing it 2 years after completing potty training. I didn't think that you could regress if there were no new babies around.

I was going to talk about how watching the live birth on Harvest of Daily Life's Blog made me insta-ovulate and realize that my body yearns - YEARNS - for another baby. That as my child gets older and more independent the more that I want another tiny human to occupy our home. That she was always meant to be an older sister, not an only child.

That I am no spring chicken and we need to get things popping before my nether regions dry up and grow cobwebs. I was going to talk about how alive and healthy I felt during pregnancy, how I missed the late nights of snuggling and nursing.

But that is just silly, foolish talk in these days. It all feels so long ago that it could have been a dream. How irresponsible could I be? Thinking that a new life in this household would somehow negate the fact that I am still unemployed, lacking funds to be able to support the 3 of us, let alone a new little person. Thinking that I somehow could afford, without insurance, to go through 9 months of prenatal care and labor. Silly. Maybe for another day, but now.

What I am going to talk about is how empty I am right now.

It has been 3 months since I lost my job. 3 months of applying, getting auto reject letters, going to appointments, making contacts and networking. 3 months of wiping ass day in and day out, cleaning everything in sight over and over.

The last two weeks were a nice reprieve from it all. In the last two weeks I have had 4 interviews with two companies. I was witty, i was charming, I was funny, I was knowledgeable. I felt like a rock star. Leaving the interviews, so certain that that position was The Right One that I would drive by day cares in the area and take tours, pick up applications, make sure that they had availability in their classrooms.

The adrenalin of feeling needed in society again was like a drug.

And now it has been a week of silence. No calls, good or bad. And I am starting to doubt myself, my talents, my knowledge.

This rickety bridge of self-doubt is where I am right now. A rickety bridge over a cavern of depression and angst, and I am not sure how to proceed. It is fall now, no longer a summer vacation and I need to get back to work.
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