My son got in a fight at school today and was suspended for the day.  When I walked into the office I heard, several times, that on the playground "he was running around hitting kids".  They made it sound like he had gone wild.  Chance was hysterical.  When I finally got him to calm down I asked him why he was fighting. Because that was the question that popped in my mind because even though, granted, my son is too handsy, too touchy, and he plays too rough for a lot of kids - there still are other boys who play, or enjoy playing, just as rough - I've never known him to just start hitting kids randomly for no reason.   

It turns out three to four other boys were calling him names, ganging up on him.

Neither of these behaviors is acceptable.

I am so frustrated. And tired. And I'm starting to get angry. 


The skin is thin in California

Temperatures were absolutely frigid this weekend.  OK, probably not frigid compared to the rest of the country but it was cold.  Or rather it was our first winter storm blowing through after a couple of balmy days in the upper 70s - low 80s.  See, the weather around here really likes to fuck with you, staying warm well past when it should and then knocking you down with quick right hook.  It dropped down to the low 50s this weekend, with icy rain and that kind of wind that drives everything sideways. 

Low 50s, you say?  Shut the hell up!  That's hardly winter.

Oh except, EXCEPT! this weekend was also Chance's soccer tournament.  Four games these little tykes had to play in frigid weather.  I mean, really, who makes 4 & 5-year-olds play a tournament anyway, even if the weather is nice?  They're toast after one game as it is.  At one point before a game the rain came crashing down so cold I thought it was going to hail.  If that had kept up there's no way I would have let Chance play.  But it cleared up just enough that we carried on.  These little guys with their shivering lips gamely falling in the fields-turned-mud-swamps.  Because I suppose that's what good parents do.  Or maybe crappy parents who let their small children play in the freezing cold.  I'm not sure anymore.  Obviously sports are confusing me.  I think they're designed that way on purpose.  I can't prove anything but I suspect all of sports culture in Amercia has been orchestrated by the beer industry to sell product.  By joining a league I've probably contributed to teenagers getting drunkenly knocked-up beneath bleachers somewhere.  SPORTS bleachers!  Producing more offspring to continue the sports/beer culture!

It's really obvious now that I've thought about it.  Building character my ass.

How many more years of this will I have to go through?            - wg

The Grumble List

The title should be self-explanatory, no?

1. Spent an afternoon rushing from the party store to the $.99 store comparison shopping to save money on party plates (savings = $4.00!), only to then go to the pharmacy and blow a $100 bucks. All on necessary items like prescriptions and razors. Really?

2. Doctors whom you've just met making blanket statements about you.  Such as, "Oh, you're not pregnant" or "Your hormones are just fine."  You need to actually examine someone first, if not test them and you can't tell just by looking.  And why are these statement always "female problems" related?

3. Hormonal acne (emphasis on the hormones)

4. Erythromycin

5. I am an organized person but mornings have set out to prove me wrong. Bitch.

6. My studies at school included a BA in English Literature, partial completion of an MA in American Literature with an emphasis on mythological archetypes, and minors in creative writing and philosophy. I worked my way through school.  I then spent 11 years working in Marketing (mainly paying off school).  Nowadays I clean up cat puke at least once a week.  Not sure if that's karmic payback or the natural order of things.

Please feel free to add your own.

This is not a new criticism but...

I've been dithering over posting because I've got a couple of different* things on my mind.  The first is all about entertainment and how it's making me into a cranky grandma.  Since I've been writing over at Culture Brats I've been stepping up my media absorption (natch) and there are some related trends that just send me over the edge.  But you (meaning me) don't realize how much those trends send you over the edge until you're ranting and raving over another video of kids partying until you're (again me) throwing walnuts at the screen, you know?

In a nutshell (ha ha, I'm a funny old person), I really don't like all the shows about being famous that are aimed at kids.  Reality TV has changed the whole definition of being "famous" (i.e. you don't have to have talent or achievement to be a celebrity, you just need to be on TV or the Internet, preferably with temperament issues) and I think when those shows were aimed at adults it was OK, because adults have the perspective to understand what they're watching.  But there are more and more shows about kids being famous, or their parents being rich, or being both, and even if the messages of the show are wholesome (such as, famous people are regular kids, too!) the kids still get handed a lot, if not everything, rather than working.  All I can think when I see these shows pop up is, "Is this what we're teaching our kids to expect?  No wonder there's so many entitlement issues." 

Because, for me, the American dream is about working hard to achieve your dreams and building a good life.  NOT "I wish I was rich so I wouldn't have to do anything."  And yes, I DO think there are a lot of entitlement issues out there.

The sad thing is we are at a point in our economic history where lots of people DID work hard to build a good life and they've lost it or are struggling. But is it a good solution to teach our children to rely on a fantasy of becoming famous?  What's happening to the idea of work ethic?  Or even simply the idea of being famous because you achieved something special?  Like curing a disease or going to the moon?  

I've always thought that our obsession with celebrities and the rich took an unhealthy turn a long time ago. But it really makes me angry when I see the same obsession purposely aimed at children, indoctrinating them, teaching them to expect that lifestyle is normal and/or expected.  I know it's always been out there but it just seems to be getting more out of control. Sure, there was the Monkees and the Partridge Family when I was a kid... but that was two shows!  Now there's iCarly, Hannah Montana (of course), I'm With the Band, Gigantic (launching soon!), Gossip Girl, etc. not even mentioning the plethora of teen reality shows. 

Basically, I'm just not sure any of these programs that show the lifestyle of the rich and famous (even if the themes within the episodes are positives) are sending the right message to our younger generations. 

(Now excuse me, I must shuffle off in my houseslippers to buy more ribbon candy.)

What do you think about these shows? Harmless or harmful?

             - the weirdgirl

*The second thing I've been doing is building a robot. You can see where the subjects don't mesh.

What is this thing you call freedom?

I really should get off my ass because now that Chance is in school and they've extended the school day I've got SIX HOURS to myself!  There are fancy stores to visit, and cities, and activities I could do where it would be inappropriate to bring a child along. And before your heads drop too far into the gutter I'm talking poetry readings where I could listen without feeding my child video game cartridges and unendingly nudging him to hush.  I'm talking artsy stores where every single item (including the salespeople) are made up of glass, and not just regular glass made from desert sand, I mean fancy glass from Italy made from tiny ground-up glass elves. I'm talking exotic locales (i.e. local places of interest) where I could be eating something fruit inspired that is not remotely as healthy as eating actual fruit without sharing.  That's what I'm talking about.

And you know what I've done for the last three days while Chance is off scampering on the playground? I've fricking slept.  I've slept through my precious freedom hours and it is all Lady Gaga's fault.  I went to her concert Tuesday night (review at Culture Brats!) and somewhere between the crotch gyrating, heart eating, and the giant angler monster I got a cold!  A fucking cold!  While it's still warm out!  I just know those flaming boobs were spewing germs into the audience.  And the whole concert here she was inciting us to "set ourselves free".

Really, Ms. Gaga?  Because I can't be pretend fabulous with a cold.

Or, as one fellow parent, said to me yesterday, "What, you expect a life?!"

Fuck yeah. Lady Gaga said so.

Bitch.                  - wg

And then

Every time I have a day where I think I'll get caught up on things, something happens.  And that goes the same for blogging.   Yesterday was one of those days.  Looking back at the week it seems to have been a whole series of those days.  (And then the last month(s) seems the same.)  Saturday Chance and I went to an early screening of Despicable Me and we both really enjoyed. It was a very good movie and I wrote a review at Culture Brats.  Then we went to the county fair and 20 minutes after we paid for the stupid tickets in the very hot sun I could feel a bladder infection starting. 

OK? Got to the doctor later that afternoon and got it taken care of. As much as you can "take care" of it.

Then Tuesday morning, Keen woke up sick.  We ended up in the ER.  He was passing a kidney stone.  (He's feeling much better now.)  I actually had a really funny post about our painful peeing all lined up in my head.

And then yesterday I found out my grandfather is in the hospital again.  It's bad.  At the same time, one of my best friends really needs some support for a bad turn in her life.

And then. And then. And then.

Sometimes I feel worn down because life Just. Keeps. Happening.  It's not all bad.  It just doesn't stop.  This week should have be classified as "hard" but instead it just feels " typical".  Hard doesn't get easier, you just get used to it.  And I know a lot of other families in the same boat right now.  Which is about where I start feeling really tired.  I think my family is lucky I'm not a drama queen (and by drama queen I mean those people who get something small like a window installed and call the experience "a fucking nightmare!"  No, it's a window.  Deal.) because I don't think I'd be able to cope. 

(At the same time, I wonder if those drama queens get to deal with less crap because they're so over the top?  hmmm)

I don't know where I'm going with this.  I think I needed to vent a little.  I frustrate myself with blogging because I enjoy writing the funny stuff but there's always so much going on, (and I know I'm not the only one) that I feel like I ping-pong between funny and blah.  Because I hesitate to write about the bad stuff. Like I shouldn't be a downer. Or worse, like it's a shopping list of what went wrong. So I end up writing throw away posts and I don't feel good about those either.

And always, ALWAYS, there is a voice in my head going, "wah wah, whiner."  I call her Perspective the Bitch. 

I'd really like someone else's perspective, besides hers.              - wg           

Hey look, it's fascist mom!

I'm sure I'm not the only one but I'm ready for school to be over and summer to begin.  I need a change in routine.  More importantly, I think Chance needs a change, too. 

A lot of kids with sensory issues struggle with transitions.  They really like their routines unchanged, and there are a lot of strategies around how to deal with this.  However with Chance, I've noticed that if I don't shake things up every once in a while, if he's not challenged then he slips back into bad behavior habits.  Rather like, "Wow, now that I'm completely comfortable in all my environments, even a little bored maybe, I think it's time to defy authority."

For example, just yesterday I made Chance dinner and put a slice of bread on the plate.  Then when I went to make my own plate I noticed the bread was moldy.  Whoops.  So I called out...

Me: "Hey Chance, give me your bread. I think it's bad."

Chance: "Why?"

Me, walking into the room: "I think the bread's bad, hon; I need to check. Give it to me, please."

And Chance, instead of handing it to me, TOOK A BIG BITE!  

Then my head spun around a few times and I vomited freak out words, plus yelling.  Then he got sent to his room and there was some more yelling.  And there were some tears and a general impression that there would be dire, dire consequences, plus drama, to any continued disobedience.

A few of you might be thinking, "Wow, overreact much?" but seriously?  He didn't even look at the bread, he just assumed he knew better (because five-year-olds know everything) and he completely disregarded me.  This has been happening a lot recently but that was the first time where it could have made him physically ill.  (I know, it was only mold, but what if it wasn't?!)  You know, I can deal with the typical kid challenges to authority.  In theory, I even like a good, independent spirit and self-thinker.  But when those challenges turn into potentially unsafe behavior... I kind of lose it.  I mean, what's next?  I yell, "Stop, look out?" and he runs in front of a truck anyway?  

Keen always says, "Don't even go there; you're just worrying yourself. Why do that?" 

Because I'm a mom, that's why.

So anywho, all this boils down to I think we need a big change in routine.  We've got Chance's graduation on Friday and then we're ending the school year early and going on vacation.  When we get back I'm changing up his OT ( we need to work on some new specific skills) and starting some new challenging activities.  I honestly think he's just so comfortable in his current routines he isn't feeling the pressure of consequences when he's acts out.  You know what I mean?  He knows all his teacher's buttons, and grandparents in general are pushovers.  Yeah, I might (maybe, possibly) have my own buttons/control issues but I still recognize and manage the differences between his SPD and his behavioral issues better than anyone else.  I need Chance with me some more so I can keep him on his toes.  Unfortunately, a sad fact of kid life is that obedience is necessary.  

If only for his parents' sanity.

             - the weirdgirl


So I'm filling out (kill me) enrollment forms for Chance's kindergarten (gah! kill me) and I've hit a stumper.

On every single school form I have ever filled out for myself, and now for my child, under Ethnicity (which is different than Race, mind you) there is always a listing for...

White/Not Hispanic

Emphasis on the Not there, did you see that?  Sometimes there is even more than one listing of Hispanic/Latino or NOT Hispanic/Latino, just to make sure that we all know that you cannot be partly Hispanic.  Of course, the issue is that I'm 1/2 Hispanic and 1/2 White... but you can only mark ONE!  For me, in the past I often took the easy route and put Hispanic since I'm fully half that and I'm about eight different European nationalities on the other side.  Or on a perverse day I would mark White, cross out the "not", and then also mark Hispanic because really, who do they think they are?!

Of course, Ethnicity is supposed to mean the ethnic culture of which the child most "closely identifies".  Dude, we're talking about 5-year-olds.  And guess what?  I identify with Hispanic culture AND White culture.  Not that I'm altogether sure what "White" culture is supposed to be... for me it seemed to involve hearing a lot of Irish folk music growing up and not being allowed to drink soda.  Does that count?

And then under Race, they list American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, White, and 15 different Asian designations.  No Hispanic.  No Other.  No Indian or Middle Eastern for that matter.  But at least you can choose up to five categories of what they've given you!  Ooooh.

So, besides getting irritated, I started freaking out a little (just a little) because if these stupid, inaccurate forms have been the bane of my school career what the heck would I put for Chance?!  But then I started thinking... Keen is 1/2 Italian, and 1/4 each German and Irish.  That makes Chance 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Italian, 1/8 German and Irish, and 1/16 of the about eight different things floating around in my DNA... that pretty much makes Chance a wash of European heritage.  I.e. White.

Regardless of what I may have identified with, regardless of his extended family.  Regardless that I had to, at times, kind of fight for my cultural identity because I'm paler than pale and who ever heard of a red-headed Hispanic?  (Everyone discounts Charro.)  

The important thing here is that you check off the box from the options they've given you, right?

Thank you, forms, for chipping away at my cultural heritage.

 School form_ethnicity_race

Kids are real (annoying) people, too

I know this is breaking the mommy blogging rules but I need to take a moment to bitch about my child.  Yes, I know!  We're only supposed to talk about how much we love our kids, and the cute and great things they do, or, barring that, how misunderstood they are because they are actually secretly wonderful even when they are misbehaving.

But come on, my son is a person, just like anyone else and that means he has strengths and weaknesses.  Potentially annoying ones.

I LOVE my son.  To pieces.  And I will get all mama bear up in someone's ass if they try to mess with him. Chance is smart and super creative and I love that.  The creativity is one of my favorite things about him.  I love that he can whip out a story at a moments notice, that he is always thinking, that he looks at things in different ways, and says the unexpected thing.  But sometimes?  Those smarts and creativity?

Kill me. KILL ME!

Chance doesn't understand what "fast" is.  Or at least he doesn't understand the difference between fast and slow.  He doesn't understand the word "focus".  And god forbid he actually does one thing at a time.

This morning we're trying to get ready to leave and we were ON TIME! and he insisted he wanted to do another homework sheet before school.  So I, like a big dummy, said, "OK, if you go fast as we get ready we'll have time. So go fast."  But the fast never happens. 

When Chance finishes his homework sheet (which was punctuated by numerous unrelated questions), and I say "OK, write your name," he launches into a story.  "What if Abraham Lincoln and the Mario Bros..."

When he actually writes his name he decides he must do each letter in a different color.  Which is fine.  As long as you do it quickly!  Nope, he tries to start a discussion about the coolness of different colors. (Which I nip in the bud, to speed things up. I do a lot of bud nipping.)  

If I say "come here, it's time to put on your shoes", Chance lays flat on the ground, points out that he's lying down, sits up, grabs a toy, and then spins around on his butt three times.  By that time, I've snagged an ankle to haul him over. 

This happens for EV-ERY-THING!

I try to give him useful definitions for what I'm talking about.  Such as, "going fast" means only doing the things that need to be done, no extras.  And then I point out what the extras are: telling a story, playing with toys, jumping up and down when I say "come here", trying to do two things at once.  "Listening" means stop, looking at a person's face, not talking/interrupting, etc.  But ARGH!  This is not meant to be a "secretly wonderful even when he's misbehaving" post because seriously?  Seriously?  He's driving me nuts!!  Some of it is the SPD, some of it is just his nature, and some of the time he really is just misbehaving because he thinks it's funny.  (So NOT funny.)

I can usually repress the frustration.  I'm very good at repression.  But this morning I lost it and slammed my hands on the floor and now my wrist hurts.

Because I'm not perfect either!

             - the weirdgirl

It's not you, it's me (no really, it's you... I hope)

Remember back in the day when my dryer smelled like poo?  (Which is a completely different incident from when I turned the dryer purple.)  Well, thanks to you lovely internets I managed to get the dryer not to smell like shit.  However, we had lugged around that washer/dryer set through a few years and households and it was pretty much on its last legs.  We managed to make do with it a while longer, the nugget scent came back once or twice to visit (what a dear), and the actual drying became less and less... dry... until we gave up and bought a new set.

A shiny, sexy new set!  In RED!  Be still my fricking heart.

So we've had our new set for just about a year (which I figure puts the dryer at the mentality of a seven-year-old (you know, dryer and dog years being somewhat equivalent)) and guess fucking what?!

There is... oh how do I describe it?  The wafting essence of hot-brewed piss, fruity and full-bodied, vigorously imbuing the air (and my clothes) with its not-so-delicate aroma.

For the record, every single one of us in this household wash.  We are all completely potty-trained.  There are no secret fetishes.

I can't figure out if the appliances just have it in for us (like maybe I kicked one while it was young and word has gotten around?) or...

...we're actually a completely putrescent family AND NO ONE HAS TOLD US!!

(Maybe that's the real reason that damn playgroup would never come to my house.)


           - the weirdgirl