Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Pussy Parenting

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

This is a great read from The New Yorker.

Too many experts instruct adults to act like a piano whose soft pedal is permanently pressed down. It’s possible to find something sinister in the effort to hide half your emotional spectrum from your children. Sometimes it might be a good thing for a kid to hear, instead of polite evasions, an honest, full-throated “Cut it out!”

Amen! I am so sick of Pussy Parenting.

Tiller’s Birthday Party

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

We had Tiller’s fourth birthday party on Sunday. The weather looked iffy, but it turned out just great. A little overcast but not hot and the mosquitoes weren’t too bad. Tiller wanted to do the costume party again this year, so that was fun, and makes for fun pictures, too. And of course, I love the Halloween stuff, so it is an excuse to buy more Halloween decorations.

Tiller wanted to be a Princess. Again. Rollie decided to be Spiderman. Again. Part of me wishes she would want to be something like a Doctor, or an Archaeologist, but when i see how into it she gets, with the crowns and the wand and the jewelry, and the ridiculous red Christmas socks with pink sneakers, I just give in to it. As a parent, I have to always remind myself that she needs to find her own interests and that anything that encourages her wild imagination is a good thing, even if it’s a damn Disney Princess. As long as she doesn’t start any Damsel-in-Distress crap, we’re all good.

All in all a good time.

WAHM Perks

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

So, I bitch a lot about staying at home with my kids. It is exhausting being a stay-at-home mom, and even more difficult when you work from home. I don’t work a ton of hours, but I do some freelance Technical Writing, editing, etc. Just a little something to keep me current, and to bring in a little extra dough.

Sometimes, though, I am reminded of how lucky I am, even though I don’t make a ton of money, and it usually takes me twice as long to do things as it would if I had no kids “helping me.”

Like this morning, for instance. I was editing a ColdFusion test, and decided to take a break. When I say, “decided” i mean that the kids came upstairs and starting trying to kill each other, and I thought I should distract them. I had just the thing.
PJs, Paper Planes
Prince, Princess, Kandinsky Ripoff
I need to remind myself every so often that the Work-at-Home-Mom (WAHM) job description includes such awesome perks as:

  • Working in PJs until lunchtime
  • Opportunity to expand knowledge of paper airplane design, engineering, and manufacture
  • Occasional payment in Art
  • Not too bad.

    Blood Will Out

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

    [Rollie swings silver plastic strand of beads around his head like he is going to lasso Tiller, or maybe whip her with the beads.]

    Rollie, stop that this minute! You’re gonna put an eye out!

    Not only is this one of those things that I promised myself I would never say, but when I said it, I sounded for all the world just like my Grandma Palmer from South Georgia.

    Blood will out, I suppose.

    I Still Want My Mommy

    Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

    In case you don’t know, or don’t read Dogwood Girl regularly, parenting is hard as fuck. The hardest part, by far, is the worry in the back of your mind that something might happen to one of your children. It is constant. It never goes away. One can imagine losing a parent, sibling, or spouse. Losing a child is unimaginable. There is a saying, and I’m not sure to whom it is attributed, that having a child is forever having your heart walk around outside your body. You are helpless in protecting it. I can imagine no more frightening exercise in letting go of one’s fear than seeing a child walk away from you for the first time, or seeing a child drive away alone in a car.

    The second hardest part is the sheer relentlessness of the physical requirements of caring for a child. You can schedule it to death, but the unscheduled will occur, and you will have to take care of it, right then and there. You can plan to write for an hour while the children watch Sesame Street, but they will make countless requests for snacks, diaper changes, channel changes, outfit changes, toy dispute reconciliations, and the occasional refereeing of to-the-death grudge matches. Having children means that things that usually take one minute will take ten. Things that take an hour will take at least two hours. It is a job that starts around 7a.m., but might start at 5:30 a.m. some mornings. (No advance notice is given if that is the case, but you can rest assured that if you stay out dancing with the girls until 5:30 a.m. the night before, that your son will wake up at 5:30 the next morning.) You do not get a breakfast, lunch or dinner break. You do not get an anything break. You are lucky if you get to take a shit by yourself, or if you do not have to cut that short to make sure that after you heard that shattering glass noise your child is not now eating glass. You are lucky if you get to wipe before getting up from the toilet. I have actually stood up from the toilet and not had the time to pull up my pants before rushing out of the bathroom to check on the latest catastrophe, my pants still around my ankles. The day usually ends at 7:30 or eight for us, but if someone is sick, or teething, or scared, or cold, or wets the bed, then you might have wakeup calls at any hour of the evening. And you still might have to get up at 5:30 a.m. the next day. So, you have anywhere from 12 to 14 hour days, with no breaks, and with being on call 24 hours a day. And weekends. In a good, healthy, sane week, you might work about 85 hours. Unpaid, but for the satisfaction of a snuggle here or a kiss or hug there. There is also the laughter. Kids say some damn funny stuff, and you have to appreciate that the laughter is part of the payoff, or you would be left with nothing.

    And here is what to me is the next hardest part of parenting: Being sick while you are a parent. It sucks the biggest cock EVER.

    It started Friday. Rollie was being a total shit, and even had to be taken out of the restaurant at dinner for his behavior. I should have known what was up, because he wouldn’t eat anything at dinner, including french fries, which is Mommy 101 for “You are going to be up all night with a puking kid.” Sure enough, we put the kids down Friday night at the Lakehouse, where we were staying because we were having the downstairs walls in our house painted. Now, the heat died this fall at the Lakehouse, so it is heated by only gas logs, but if you dress like lumberjacks and keep the logs on all the time, and sleep in two or three quilts at night, you are okay. It is not, however, conducive to being a sickhouse, where one has to get up out of bed multiple times in a night to clean up pukey kids, change puked-on sheets, and make up clean beds. Todd shivered the night away on the couch next to a drafty window, while I slept in his bed, and got up with Tiller who awoke crying multiple times. We made it through the night, thought maybe Rollie had just had too much chocolate milk at dinner, then he puked up his breakfast. Did I mention that the Lake has a washer, but no dryer? We dry the clothes on the line outside. It was about 30 degrees and cloudy. Time to go home. Todd packed up Rollie, while I cleaned up at the house with the help of my Dad, then followed with the still-healthy Tiller.

    We came back to the house, and unpacked everything, starting to do laundry, while William, our painter, finished up painting downstairs. Todd and I, in our great wisdom, do not have a television in our bedroom. We feel it promotes a healthy marriage, where we talk or read before going to bed, rather than flipping through channels, or one of us watching something downstairs, while the other watches t.v. in bed.

    We are idiots. It is pure hell to be stuck in a sickroom with two puking kids, and NO TELEVISION. Pure. Hell. Yep, Tiller went down for a nap at about 2 pm and woke up screaming bloody murder five minutes later. Covered in puke. I almost threw out her pitiful Hello Kitty doll, the one where kitty is wearing a Jackie-O pillbox hat, and carrying a cute pocketbook, and has a poodle on a leash. Very cute. Doesn’t machine wash. (Note to non-parents: Gifts that do not machine-wash end up in the trash.)

    Diarrhea began not long after that. That was Saturday. No more puke out of either of them, but diarrhea continued through Sunday at 5 pm, when I started puking.

    You know when you are really sick? I mean uncontrollable puking until the dry heaves hit, and you are still nauseated, when you start throwing up bile and possibly cracking ribs in the process? That’s when the diarrhea hits, and there is a lovely crossover period where you are sick from both ends, and you wish that your toilet was withing puking distance of your bathtub, so that you could do both at once. Then the vomiting subsides and you are left with an emptying diarrhea that lasts for hours and you shiver and are cold and you break out in a cold sweat and then the covers are too much, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t lie in bed for more than five minutes before having to rush back into the bathroom, and you are spent and so dehydrated and thirsty, but you are scared to drink anything, because every time something enters your mouth, it comes directly back out the other end.

    Most of all, you want your Mommy, and unfortunately, you are the mommy.

    Now imagine being that sick, and having two kids who are also sick. To give credit where credit is due, my dear husband took care of me and the kids while we were all sick this weekend, but just the guilt alone of being sick and not feeling like taking care of the little ones when they are sick is terrible. I was sick all night Sunday. I was weak and spent all day yesterday. The other bad part of being a sick family is when you are the non-sick one: All chores fell on Todd Sunday night and all day Monday. Not only are you responsible for puke and diarrhea cleanup, but you are responsible for planning and preparing meals (a land mine field of menu planning that dictates what kind of puke and diarrhea you will be cleaning up in the coming hours), laundry detail, and the gnawing fear that you have a toilet with your name on it in the future.

    I started feeling better yesterday afternoon, but I was still weak and tired and unable to eat much. The kids seemed to be feeling better, but everyone was kind of laying around. Todd fixed dinner and Tiller puked it up. Both kids had more diarrhea after dinner. They had baths and went to bed. I made it till about 9 and then hit the hay myself, hoping to get a decent night’s sleep and recoup some energy. Tiller puked at 10, awakening with a cry. It is hard to describe how pitiful kids are when they puke in their beds: They wake up scared and in the dark and covered in their own sick. It is also hard to describe the sinking feeling you get as a parent when your kids wake up sick. Let’s just say that when I heard Todd utter “crap” upon checking on Tiller, I knew what had happened. She woke up puking again at 11. Luckily, she slept through the rest of the night uneventfully, because we only had one clean sheet left for her crib. Rollie crawled into bed with us at 6:30 a.m. All in all, a fairly decent night’s sleep.

    This morning? Both kids have had breakfast and still no puke or cha-chas. (My sister and I call diarrhea “cha-chas”. We got it from Beavis and Butthead – they ridiculed their friend Daria by singing “Diarrhea Cha Cha Cha,” and it stuck with us. It makes something terrible sound so much cuter, no?)

    Anyway, wish us luck. Todd is still healthy. I think i am feeling better. Tiller is asleep on my lap, as I type this w1H.

    But I still want my Mommy.

    Still No Basement Post: My Day

    Thursday, December 14th, 2006

    12 a.m. – Wake up to Todd shaking me, Rollie crying. Go into Rollie’s room, give him some water and vaseline for his chapped lips. Go back to bed.
    3 a.m. – Rollie cries again. Complaining of his cheek hurting. Realize he probably still has the ear infection for which he has already been through two rounds of antibiotics; Give him Ibuprofen, go back to bed.
    7:30 a.m. – Wake up, pee, brush teeth, put on deodorant, put hair in ponytail, pull on jeans and tee-shirt, go into Tiller’s room, pick her up, grab one diaper, one pair of jeans, one tee, one pair socks, one pair shoes. Carry all downstairs. Todd already has Rollie eating breakfast at table in pjs.
    7:45 a.m. Change Tiller’s diaper, realize pants are too small, put on her teeshirt, put her in highchair, throw down Cheerios for her, open fruit cup and dump it on tray. Run upstairs to get Rollie’s school clothes and another pair of pants for Tiller.
    7:55 a.m. – Kiss Todd goodbye, start coffee, bolt down breakfast bar, change Rollie’s diaper and put on his clothes, including shoes.
    8 am – Pour cup of coffee, read email from Honey.
    8:05 a.m. Pack Rollie’s backpack for school, pack my diaper bag for Tiller, gather starlight mints for Rollie’s teacher to use for gingerbread houses.
    8:10 a.m. – Realize Quint hasn’t been let out. Let him out.
    8:13 a.m. – Sit down to finish cup of coffee.
    8:15 a.m. – Turn on Thomas the Tank Engine dvd so Rollie will shut the hell up about it.
    8:20 a.m. – Realize Rollie has dirty diaper, then pick him up and realize he feels slightly warm. Remember ear infection suspicions. Run upstairs to get thermometer and vaseline, along with Ibuprofen, just in case.
    8:22 a.m. – Take rectal temperature (always wait till after first cup of coffee), 100.9, dose with Ibuprofen and decide to send to school anyway.
    8:25 a.m. Put dog in crate, turn off lights, pour coffee into travel mug, turn off coffeemaker, look at house that looks like tornado hit it and pray that buyers do not come to look at house while I am gone.
    8:30 a.m. – Pick up Tiller off floor, along with shoes she has taken off, put diaper bag over shoulder, finger through keychain, put rollie’s jacket on, then his backpack, which he insists on wearing, even though we are only walking out the door and to the car, where we will have to take it off again before getting in carseat. Hit alarm, get Rollie to open door, because my hands are full with diaper bag, keys, coffee, Tiller, and Starlight mints.
    8:32 a.m. – Lock door, tell Rollie to stop trying to open automatic door on van while I am trying to unlock it, put Tiller into her carseat, then walk around to strap Rollie into his.
    8:33 a.m. – Put diaper back and starlight mints into passenger seat. Get in car. Start car. Get back out of car to walk around to tiller’s side of car where I left coffee sitting on roof of car. Get back in car.
    8:34 a.m. – Leave neighborhood. Drive to Rollie’s school in Decatur.
    9:01 a.m. – Arrive at school. Get out, get Rollie out, walk around to Tiller’s side, get her out.
    9:02 a.m. – Talk to parent of child in Rollie’s class about whether I am pissed about decision to split 3 and 5 day kids into two classes.
    9:03 a.m. – Drop Rollie into class. Remove backpack and jacket and help him wash hands, all while holding Tiller at the same time. Kiss Rollie goodbye.
    9:10 a.m. – Drive to new primary care physician’s on N. Decatur road. Park, get Tiller and stroller out of car, put her in stroller, find doctor’s suite.
    9:20 a.m. – Check in with receptionist for 9:30 a.m. appointment. Sit down and try to keep tiller occupied.
    9:30 a.m. – Receptionist asks for insurance card, driver’s license, and for me to fill out new patient paperwork. Pay $40 co-pay. Attempt to fill out paperwork, while keeping 13 month old occupied in boring waiting room. Get stared down by humorless, crotchety old people. Cough a lot.
    10 a.m. – Wonder if Tiller and I will grow old in waiting room of unseen doctor’s office. Watch every fucking old person in Decatur get called in before us.
    10:30 a.m. – Get called back. Nurse takes temperature, pulse, bp. Tiller seems okay. Nurse leaves and shuts door.
    10:45 a.m. Tiller starts crying.
    10:46 a.m. Crying becomes total freakout. I take her out of stroller and walk her for 15 very long minutes, back and forth, three little steps to a length of the room. Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Starkle Starkle Little Twink (a post unto itself), Jingle Bell Rock, and Winter Wonderland. Big yellow snot comes out of her nose and runs all over my shirt, which was dirty when I put it on this morning anyway.
    11 a.m. – Realize I have to pee, that Tiller will not be falling asleep, and that I am tired of holding her. Open door in frustration to see pitying look on nurse’s face. I say i have to pee. Nurse takes Tiller while I go to bathroom, then when I come out, they are gone, so i start looking down hall. Find Tiller with nurse in a doctor’s office and they give her a bear. Nice gesture, big points for nurses, big fucking lot of good it does me, though, as I still had to wait another 25 minutes for doctor to show and by that time she had lost interest in bear and was crying again.
    11:25 a.m. – Doctor comes in. Immediately likable, as he looks like real-life Santa Claus, but it becomes quickly evident that reason he made me wait one hour and 55 minutes is that he likes to talk. A lot. Doctor talks to me about symptoms, his grandchildren, get up on the table, look at ears, nose, throat, What is the little princess getting for Christmas this year?, you obviously have bronchitis, a lot of malflora (sp?), and a grungy tonsil, and back in my day, we made our own Christmas gifts. We made boomerangs, and we would cut them out of plywood, and boy, if you throw one of those up and it comes back, you don’t want to be in the way, and here is your prescription.
    11:45 a.m. – Finally get out of black hole doctor’s office, get back to car, go through drive through pharmacy at kroger to drop off prescription, then drive to Rollie’s school.
    12:00 a.m. – Get Tiller out of carseat. Pick up Rollie at school. Bring both back outside, strap Tiller in, then Rollie. Drive back to Kroger on N. Decatur to pick up Pharmacy. (Only bright side to day – Kroger on n. Decatur has parking spaces especially for Walkup Pharmacy, so you can walk to the window and not have to take kids out of car.) Go up. Pay for prescription. Walk back to car. Open bag and realize only one prescription was filled. Go back up to window (Praise Jesus for walkup pharmacy window and walkup pharmacy window parking!!!!). Explain to Pharmacist about two prescriptions rather than one, then wait while he searches for script. Wait while he fills script. Pay for another prescription. Go back to car.
    12:15 Drive back to East Atlanta.
    12:45 p.m. – Get back to house. Rollie has fallen asleep. Carry Rollie into house and put on couch. Rollie wakes up and requests pillow, blanket, Thomas dvd. Obviously doesn’t feel good. Go get screaming Tiller out of car. Bring her in and plop her on floor.
    12:50 p.m. – Make pbj for Rollie, cheese toast for tiller, soup for both. Serve all of this, plus two waters (because I didn’t get to go to grocery because fucking Dr. Santa wanted to discuss handmade toys for an hour), which Rollie then proceeded to lecture me about: “Water is for snacks. Milk is for lunch and dinner.” Heat up pasta from last night for me. Bolt down. Start getting requests for blanket fixing and more dvd.
    1:30 p.m. – Go to fluff Rollie’s pillow, realize he is burning up. Change both kids’ diapers, and take Rollie’s temperature – 103.9: Fucking awesome.
    2:00 p.m. – Call Pediatrician for sick visit appointment. Make appointment for 3 p.m. Put poor dog in crate. Go through same rigamarole about packing shit up, minus backpack and starlight mints and coffee. Put kids in car. Drive to Sandy Springs.
    2:45 pm. – Arrive for appointment. Get both kids out of car and put Tiller in stroller, then Rollie says he needs to be carried, so I carry 36 lb son while pushing 26 lb daughter in stroller. Fucking awesome.
    2:50 p.m. – Check in. Go through more insurance shit, even though i have already been there twice this week for flu shots, and the week before that for ear infections, the week before that for the first of the ear infection, and the week before that for the first goddamn flu shot. Take kids to sit down. Rollie’s tylenol kicks in and he starts jumping around like his not sick at all. Tiller starts screaming because she has either been in a carseat, a highchair, or the fucking stroller all day and who the fuck can blame her?
    3:30 – Finally get taken back, 30 minutes after appointment time. See nurse practitioner; ear infection still remains, and she prescribes another (3rd) antibiotic. We check out at front desk (40$ co-pay!) and head for the car.
    3:45 pm. – Sit in traffic all the way back to East Atlanta, where we go to Edgewood Kroger.
    4:45 p.m. – Hit Kroger right at the same time as everyone else. Drop off prescription at Pharmacy. Go do grocery shopping. Amazingly have few fights between kids sitting in the car shopping cart together. Usually, someone would have an eye gouged out or something. Go back to pick up prescription. Deer in headlights look on pharmacists’ faces. “This medicine, after insurance, is going to cost you $90 dollars.” I am speechless, and then let loose with a “holy shit.” Say excuse me to old black lady wearing “Southern Belle Chattanooga” hat. She says, “Honey, I woulda said a whole lot more than Holy shit.” I feel ya, sister. DAMN.
    5:00 pm. – Pay for prescription, which of course I have to pay for at pharmacy, then still sit through checkout line to pay for groceries.
    5:10 pm. – Rollie has meltdown over cheap dumptruck toys set up right by checkout counters (those fuckers!). Check out and take groceries to car. Put groceries in car, then kids.
    5:15 pm. – Sit in traffic on Moreland.
    5:45 pm. – get Home. Unload kids. Set Rollie up on couch with Thomas dvd and blankets. Tiller follows me around, trying to hold on to my legs while I put away groceries I unloaded from car, and while I try to put dinner on (fish sticks and frozen french fries). Cut up pear for health purposes, and nuke broccoli. Balanced meal.
    6:00 p.m. Attempt to right disaster that is house, especially kitchen. Unload dishwasher, and do dishes from both lunch and breakfast. Lunch dirty dishes are still at the kitchen table where I left them when I realized Rollie had high fever. Everything looks disgusting. Cannot believe people are not trying to look at house right now, because that is just the way it usually is.
    6:20 Throw kids up at table with culinary masterpiece. Sit down with glass of water and then plug in Christmas tree, so as not to want to blow brains out.
    6:40 – Kids finish meal. Get them down from table, then tell Rollie to clean up. Proceed to clean up kitchen from dinner, then help Rollie clean up his toys. Take kids upstairs.
    7:00 pm. Contemplate not bathing kids tonight, but then realize that really need a HazMat crew to come in and hose us down after all the doctor’s offices we have been in today. Throw kids in bathtub. Scrub them too hard and make them cry. Get Tiller out, then put her diaper and pjs on. Go back in. Get Rollie out, help him brush his teeth. Fold towels, clean up tub. Help Rollie rinse. Brush his hair. Give him Tylenol. Realize I forgot to give him golden antibiotics. Go back downstairs, measure 1 teaspoon of meds, come back upstairs to have him insist on doing it himself. He spills the whole fucking thing on the bathroom floor. Go back down to get another dose. Take dose back upstairs. Force him to take it from me, amidst vocal protest.
    7:20 pm. – Get his diaper, temperature stuff, and pjs and take into Tiller’s room, where the two of them have pulled all of the socks out of her lowest drawer and are now pulling her toys out of her closet. Take his temp (101) while fending her off as she tries to get into vaseline jar, then put on his diaper and pjs.
    7:30 pm. – Read duck book and Goodnight Moon to Tiller while Rollie complains that HE wants to read the duck book. Ignore him. Put her down. Thank god.
    7:35 pm. Go to his room. Read four fucking longass Thomas the Tank Engine stories, while he interrupts me the whole time. Try to shortchange him out of his usual three stories. He insists on the duck book too, which he has taken from Tiller’s room and brought into his room. I start to read it, and he argues with me about the fucking number of ducks that swam over the pond and far away. he also adds fifth quack to Mother Duck’s refrain, which everyone knows is only four quacks. I humor him, because sometimes it will be over faster that way.
    7:50 pm – Kiss him goodnight, turn off light, tell him to sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.
    8:15 pm. – Finally sit down to eat dinner. Eat quickly. Take decongestant. P0ur glass of wine. Watch two old episodes of Supernatural.
    10:30 Pour another glass of wine. Post about this stupid day, because somehow complaining about it makes me feel better.

    Or maybe it’s the third glass of wine.