Archive for June, 2006

Crisis of Belief at the Children’s Science Museum

June 12th, 2006 at 9:54 pm » Comments (45)

This morning I took the boys to the Science Museum. Also referred to as The Church With the T-Rex. I’ve said before I’m not social, and I detest ‘playgroups.’ I’d rather my kids’ social skills be mightily compromised than EVER go to a playgroup. The mommmies drive me nuts.

So, needless to say, the boys and I went alone to the Science Museum this morning. Once there, I tried to stay away from the other mommies. They knew one another. I tried to not gag at the thought of being in the midst of a … gasp! Playgroup. EW!

They looked too well accessorized to have young children that pull hair or jewelry. I don’t trust that. Their mommy hair probably should have been a little wet and thrown into a ponytail – as was mine – and yet, no. They looked like Mommy Fashion Perfection, and this was at 10 a.m.

I disliked them instantly.

Aren’t I kind?

But they were nice. Specifically, they were nice to me, and nice to my children, even though I tried to ward them off with my aloofness and ‘dear GOD don’t let them talk to me’ prayers. I was doing okay until a latecomer to their group came over. We recognized one another, having been acquainted through a mutual friend years before.

She was so nice. I didn’t want her to be nice. I didn’t want her friends to be nice, and I didn’t want to sit and talk to other mommies with Perfect Hair at 10 a.m., and then LIKE THEM. I did NOT want to do that. Not today, not any day, NO. THANK. YOU.

A group of them huddled too close for my comfort and discussed something. There was paperwork. And I got a little excited. A ha! They’re really Mary Kay ladies, and that’s what this is about. It’s not a Playgroup after all! And everyone knows that Mary Kay ladies are always super nice, and that would explain it. (As a former, awful-at-it, mary kay lady i will tell you this: partly they’re nice because they’re nice. partly it’s because they’re sizing you up to join the ranks. beware.)

But I was wrong. I tried to scare them off by letting Caden-2yr’s poo diaper linger in the air around us. They didn’t care. They were utterly unaffected, and it was a rather strong one, even for him, I must say.

So when the poo didn’t work, I told them I just took one of my kids to a residential treatment home in another state. HA! Now that’s one I KNOW will get me judged and rejected from the Perfect Mommy Club! Except it didn’t. One mom even had a similar experience, and poured support all over me while my mouth hung open. That was NOT supposed to happen. I was looking for some good old fashioned rejection, after all.

They work together in CHILDREN’S MINISTRY, and the paperwork had to do with that. Oh puh-lease. A playgroup of mommies with Perfect Hair at 10 a.m., AND THEY MINISTER TO KIDS. Could this group possibly be any more perfect? I said they were NICE, right? And not because they wanted me to join a multi level thing? And not scared by seriously strong whiffs of poo, or my impossible family issues? Gah.

My ‘I HATE PLAYGROUPS’ resolve was weakening, and I found myself with a genuine crisis of belief. For years I’ve upheld the playgroup ban. FOR YEARS. I’ve been committed. Steadfast. Dependable in my disdain.

And here comes a bunch of too-nice ladies chatting me up with no ulterior motive except…? 

Except to invite me to come next week. Same time. Same place. (Same Hair, I assume.)

I knew it was a critical moment. One mommy stood by the tank where the hermit crabs lived, and looked at me with hopeful eyes. (Yes, thank you very much, she DID stand near the HERMIT crabs, ha ha ha, that was not my subtle literary detail – that was all God’s. Ha Ha, God. Too funny.) Another mom held on her hip a little girl with big blue eyes and the mom said, "Well…?"

I wondered why they cared. I don’t have the Perfect Hair, and I don’t believe in accessories. And they have enough estrogen in their group already without adding anymore. What’s the point? I just don’t GET women.

But then I thought of y’all. How I collect new mommy blogs in my bloglines compulsively. I try to keep up with 282 mommy blogs. Maybe I’m the one who just doesn’t need to go looking to add any more to her ‘social group!’

Y’all are my community, like the Perfect Hair Playgroup Members are for each other. I understood them a little more, thanks to you guys. I agreed to be there next Monday. I might even look forward to it. A little.

I did not, however, agree to the unspoken hair requirements. I have to maintain some boundaries, yaknow.


Cars and Comments

June 12th, 2006 at 2:43 pm » Comments (2)

i had such a great time reading all the funny car stories y’all have! if you have one you haven’t left, or just want to share about your first car, go the comments of this post.  Or just go have fun laughing at the funny things y’all said. (HolySister even shared her memories of that car- and she hardly ever comments, so I was thrilled!) And don’t miss this great car post at Peach’s!

Something Unusual Happened Today…

June 11th, 2006 at 11:35 pm » Comments (4)

If you blog, you may be aware that blog traffic is way low on weekends. But not here, and not on Sunday. Why?  Simple. Blogging Chicks had a ‘carnival.’ I don’t really understand all of what that means, except that a whole lotta new people dropped by and said nice things. (And I like that.)

The good news is that there’s another one coming up, so go join the Blogging Chicks and remember to hop on to the next carnival ride. (See my sidebar for how to join.) Also good news is that my sidebar blogging chick thing is quite attractive now. This is the work of Michele, who kindly offered to fix it for me. You may or may not remember that it was a gigantic black and white eyesore for awhile there, and now it is cute and petite and pink. Love that!

A Subaru, Bird Seed, and Gunshots

June 10th, 2006 at 11:36 pm » Comments (34)

My first car was absolutely fantastic. I have wonderful memories of that car. It wasn’t the best looking car, or the best running car, but it was mine, and I loved it. It was old even then, but this is the closest picture I could find:


The one notable exception (besides those bizarre rear view mirrors) was that mine read SUBARU in ginormous letters down each side. It screamed "I"M A SUBARU!" Just in case anyone might momentarily forget, or something.

It was my father’s Moving Out, Getting Divorced Car that i later inherited when I got old enough to drive. We kept thinking it would quit running, and I suppose eventually it did – but not until i bonded well with it.

The radio  – all AM – worked for a little while. Then I used a ‘jambox’ that i carried with me, and cassette tapes.(Early Alan Jackson, Forrester Sisters, and Marty Stewart. Am I sounding old yet?!)

The little gear stick thing didn’t always MEAN it was in ‘park’ if the "P" was showing. It might actually mean it was in neutral, and then you might accidentally get out, lock the doors – who knows why – and walk away only to realize your "I’M A SUBARU!" is rolling along behind you headed for the Burger King.  Fortunately, when this happened, a guy came running out of the BK, and tried to stop my "I’M A SUBARU!" from ramming into the building while i unlocked the door and threw it into park. Successfully, this time.

Most memorable about this car? Ahh, it shot you in the face with bird seed. Whoever owned it before it became the Moving Out, Getting a Divorce Car, had possibly put a bag of birdseed on the dashboard, and that birdseed might have spilled. Because when driving along with the air (ha! no a/c, just vents that didn’t blow cold air) on full blast, the "DID YOU FORGET? I’M A SUBARU!"  would hurl birdseed at your head. And those stupid seeds would STING your face, they’d hit so hard. They coulda put an eye out, but HolySister and I got good at dodging those flying seeds as if everyone’s car did that. You’d think that after a few years, the seeds would quit flying, but they never did. The a/c vents held an unending supply of missiles.

A friend and I were driving around the subdivision where we lived at the time, in the "I’M A SUBARU!" She didn’t drive yet, and neither one of us had really had much experience with cars of any kind. On top of that, our parents had always driven really nice cars, and mine wasn’t anywhere near what we were used to. So one summer day not far from her house, we pass a group of guys playing basketball in a driveway. She tells me to slow down to see if she recognizes any of them. We start to pick up speed again when we hear it. TWO LOUD SHOTS. We scream, and both of us duck down. I remember to step on the brake, but only after I’ve already ducked and can’t see where we’re going, and we both look at each other and scream, "They’re SHOOTING at us! They’re SHOOTING at us!!"   

Eventually we catch our breath, she looks up, and sees they’re still playing basketball. Oblivious to us, not targeting us with shotguns. Then my friend says, "You know… Maybe those noises were the car."

"The CAR?" I ask. Incredulous. My car might spit birdseed in your eyes,  but it doesn’t shoot at you.

"Yeah. When my dad Moved Out and Divorced, he got this really old car and it would do that sometimes too. He said it was ‘backfiring,’ or something."

I’d never heard of such a thing, but it made a whole lot more sense than what we thought had occurred. So, once we decided it was the car, and not the boys, we drove off, giggling at our stupidity. Because it was just the "I’M A FREAKING SUBARU!" yelling, "TAKE THAT!!"

You probably can’t tell, but i loved that car. That car was character building in a way that a new one, a socially acceptable, non-spitting kind of car would not have been.

I hope one day Mike and I buy our kids cars like that.

(But yaknow, stay married!)

What was your first car?

Y’all Are Nice

June 9th, 2006 at 2:33 pm » Comments (32)

How is it that not ONE of you said, "Your mothering STINKS, and buh-bye…?!"  How great are y’all?! Thank you. I didn’t know what sort of response that last post would generate, but I did not expect abundant kindness and support, and prayers, and emails of niceness. Wow. Thank you. I started to email you all individually, and I kind of got overwhelmed and stopped. But, wow. Y’all are the best.

And since y’all didn’t tell me my mothering stinks, I"m going to share with you what happened at the mall this morning. I did NOT go there to shop, I’ll have you know. (Yes, I longingly looked at Dillard’s from the play place where I sat with my kids, but I DID NOT go in. It’s just cruel to walk through there with three kids waiting to destroy any shopping bliss you might otherwise have, so we stayed away.)

We went to visit the play place – air conditioned and devoid of mosquitoes, which are two things my back yard is not – and to get me an amazing tuna sandwich from my favorite place. Incidentally, the same place where this conversation occurred.

So the boys are through playing, I have my amazing tuna sandwich in a bag to take home, and we’re on our way out. A very young looking, way polished metrosexual sort of guy stops me and then I notice the camera. As in, television camera. No, it’s not pointed at me, but I can tell that’s where he’s going. Unless he wants to talk to me about how I should really get manicures, but no, i’m right, and he starts in on me about Sesame Street. And not too smoothly either, I might add. He looks at my double stroller, and Ethan-6yr walking alongside, and starts the conversation by saying, "Um, excuse me ma’am. You sure have a lot of kids."

I just look blankly at him, and decide not to tell him that I have a fourth who could shred him to tiny pieces using only her adolescent angst and willpower, but I don’t.

He goes on about how the government is cutting spending for PBS and how it might affect Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. He then asks if I’d talk to him about my opinions on that on camera. I can tell he’s sympathetic to the PBS cause, and going for that angle. I’m not actually, sympathetic to the cause. (Sorry Holysister – please direct your tirade to me via email, rather than a phone call. Please.)

At one point was there a huge need for government funded children’s educational programming? Sure. Is there now? Don’t think so. Spend the money somewhere else, and be glad that so many others followed PBS’ lead and came up with equally great shows that don’t cost taxpayers.

But am I willing to say THAT on the local news? Sure! Just give me a little notice, Mr. Mall Metrosexual, and I’ll fix my hair next time, ‘kay? Cause no way am I appearing on tv next to your polished look, with baby spit up on my left shoulder and no lipstick. Call me shallow, but that’s just not happening. And really, you need to work on that "you sure have a lot of kids line." Duh. 

PS. They all watch Noggin.

Long Explanation of Sorts, and Short Joke

June 7th, 2006 at 3:25 pm » Comments (70)

This isn’t funny, well thought out, and probably won’t be well written. Let’s just forgive me now for that okay?

We’re one of those families where we look really good on the outside. No. I am not saying I’m hot. (Although Mike is.) I’m saying that we look okay, usually smell okay, go to church sometimes, do the private school thing, successful business stuff, etc. Everywhere we go people stop us and tell us how well behaved or nice our children are. (Yes, ‘everywhere we go.’ We live in West Texas, and yes, people really do say those things to strangers ALL THE TIME here.)  And yet, this ‘perfect’ family on the outside is SO not. It’s not a secret I keep, by any means, I just don’t air our dirty laundry to every stranger who stops to comment on our sparkly facade.

We’ve been out of town. Not a vacation. Not a business trip. We took Kim-12yr to a residential treatment facility for kids with attachment issues. I’ve mentioned it before I think, but Mike is her bio dad, I’m her adoptive mom, and the first year of her life was traumatic in such a way that she’s not been capable of trust, handling emotions, etc. It’s something that has worsened as she’s grown older, not improved.

I could tell you all about what’s gone on. But it doesn’t really matter. I could tell you the horrific things she’s done and said and planned to do – and maybe one day I will.

But I’ve found that people don’t understand anyway, and I wouldn’t want to try to justify this decision to the internet. It just doesn’t matter. (Today, anyway.)  There’s a huge group of people that will never accept that a mom  (a Christian mom..?!) could ever be ‘doing the right thing’ by placing her kid in a facility.  There must be alternatives, other solutions, more prayer, the ‘right’ kind of prayer, more patience and understanding on my part, less stress, fewer activities, more quality family time, a different therapist, no therapist, group therapy…

I’ve kind of heard it all. And you know why a lot of people say all this? I have a theory. I think they have to convince themselves that if it were them – if they were in my shoes – they’d have the answer, and it wouldn’t come to this. Not on their watch. Not their kid. Never. I can’t blame them. It’s scary to think that all your parenting and love and God and friends and family might not be enough to keep your kid in your home if something goes terribly wrong.

I could tell you what it was like to drive away, leave her there, and fall apart. I could tell you it’s the single best place I could imagine, and so are the workers there. I could describe how I’m torn up about her not being here. But then there’s the part of me that is relieved. And the part that is guilty for feeling relieved. I might just learn to  relax a little. To sleep the whole night through without waking up and wondering if everyone is safe from her. Wondering about that missing knife in the kitchen. I won’t be wondering if she’s safe from herself. Wondering if being constantly on guard against her is really what life will always be like.

She’s where she’s supposed to be, even if no one ever readily accepts or supports that decision. It’s just true. This is the way God has planned to restore her to a healthy kid, and I’m grateful beyond belief for that. It’s not forever, but it is for a long time. 

Thank you for those who emailed, wondering where I’d gone. It meant a great deal to me that you took the time to do that.

I just re-read this. Interestingly, I was unaware that when I wrote it, it had a distinctly ‘ha! I DARE you to defy and judge me’ kind of tone. But I think it does. Hmm. Whatever. Do or don’t. I just left my kid in another state, and if you want to be critical of me, that’s hardly the roughest thing I’ve dealt with and just feel free.

Random Ethanism, placed here for much needed comic relief:

Ethan-6yr played some Ice Age game on a gameboy in the car on the way home. I don’t understand the game at all, but it does involve acorns and a mammoth. The following was meant in an entirely literal way: "HA! I just scared the nuts right off that mammoth!!"

Acorns, y’all, acorns.