Tag Archives: kids

Bends Over Backwards So You Don’t Have To

Like most people, I prefer it when everything runs smoothly.

 

That is why, if we were  expressing this moment in interpretive dance, you’d see a small ineffective waif clinging to what remains of the status quo while angry imps, representing chaos and bad choices, hit her with mean words and dust mops embroidered with the word “WRONG”.

 

Those of us still plagued by old school ideas about raising and educating our kids consider them a set of guidelines that while sometimes suffocating are still better than any sort of idea we might come up with ourselves. They’re a necessary evil, and we tell our kids to buck up and get with the program so that the life machine can swallow them up a little easier when the school system spits them out the other side. And for a while, that worked here in our house as well.

 

Enter, the dragon. Or more specifically my third child. No core curriculum could interest him. No seat was big enough to contain his energy and more tragically no teacher could tame him enough to make him fit the confines of a classroom. At age four a preschool teacher deemed him “unteachable” and “a danger” and recommended an army of specialists with long lists of credentials. He confounded them all.  People who shouted loudly and forcefully to discipline him harder had no real understanding of what they were dealing with, and made an already strained situation worse with their frustration. In the middle of all this frenetic grasping at straws and last chances up in smoke stood the kid who was the reason for it all, looking at all of us as if we were already dead but just too stupid to fall over.

Cut to six years later, all the educational buffoons and braying donkeys were wrong. The small boy, about whom someone once remarked “he’ll either burn down the world or rule it with an iron fist” is a thriving, intelligent, kindhearted person with limitless possibilities. I used to struggle with the upsettingly tremendous sense of burden I carried with me when making decisions about how to proceed academically, personally and parentally (not a word? FU spellcheck) with my third kid, but now the sigh of relief you hear is deafening. The endless disciplinary hearings and terrifying diagnoses that made up so much of my nightmare fuel back then are distant memories. They’ve been replaced by the pounding elegance and delicate savagery of a boy who made his own way, despite every odd being stacked against him, with sharpened wits and a broad field of vision that enables him to see where he’s going and how he’s going to get there.

I dare say, he’s my boldest creation.

So if you find yourself mired in a pit of parental despair, surrounded by angry “specialists” that just charged you ten thousand dollars for the pleasure of sitting down and discussing the somewhat questionable neuro/psych/edu. test results they got, and what it all means for your poor kids future, remember that from the ashes of this complete and utter bullshit can sometimes rise a little phoenix – and keep ahold of that while you take a deep breath.

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Filed under 2015 is the new 2013, am I doing anything right?, average is so much easier, back to regularly scheduled programming, I'm back bitches, kids with issues

They Flew South For The Winter

When I was five years old, the world was a simple and gentle place.

There were warm summer afternoons spent hanging from trees, running through garden hose sprinklers and digging in a custom-made sandbox while wearing a delightful red sun hat .

I also, chopped firewood, fetched kerosene and knew how to fire up a chainsaw – but that was another facet to my personality that doesn’t fit the tone of this story so we’ll drop it in the bin for future use in a grittier post where I’m sporting a flannel shirt and smelling of fossil fuels.

During this idyllic youth, there were also long arduous sessions where I relentlessly badgered my parents for a puppy or a kitten to love.

I’d grown up with our “community dog” Rheingold , a beast of a German Shepard who would be tamed by no man (or child) who spent his days wandering the property lines around my aunt’s house and mine. He refused to be trained, loved or cleaned ,as was evidenced by the toxic cloud of stench that followed him everywhere he went and the clumps of matted hair that hung off what was once his majestic coat.

Instead of seeing this as a horrific sign of neglect and poor judgement on the part of my parents and my aunt and uncle, my cousins and I took to running around after him with a garden hose and an industrial sized bottle of discount Prell shampoo in an effort to make him presentable to the public.

Formerly the prized show dog champion of my two younger uncles and my Grandmother, before they moved away, this beautiful but menacing  creature, who had been named after a cheap beer, was now reduced to chasing squirrels and causing the UPS man to defecate in his own pants every time he stepped on our lawn.

We’d also managed to live through the horror of “Flappy”, the Siberian Husky puppy who’d torn his own dog house to shreds with his teeth and the powerful combination tool of wanderlust and misbehavior. The stress of several all day and night search parties had found him the first few times he’d escaped, but finally his born free vibe got the better of him and on the seventh or eighth escape attempt he’d run for the hills.

Sigh

So much heartbreak, so few warm, furry, cuddly moments.

Finally, I decided I’d had enough of things that could run from you and reject your love. I wanted something captive and completely reliant on me for survival. Something that would have no chance in the outside world. An animal that was nice to look at and  held no hope for escape, unless a malicious idiot left the cage open.

I wanted a bird.

Looking back, this was a terrible experiment in pet compatibility, but at the time it seemed like the answer to all my prayers.

I mean seriously, birds are all delicate bones, sharp edges, and pointy anger.

After a long and serious period of contemplation I decided to lobby both parents for a yellow parakeet.

I named him Georgie.

Georgie weathered many storms but eventually went the way of all birds and bit the dust in the most untimely of fashions. When I stepped off the school bus I spotted the tell-tale  clue.

A poorly camouflaged empty cage in our garbage bins.

Had I known then what I know now from all that Law and Order, I would have understood it as clearly as a dead body rolled in a carpet,  duct taped and stuffed in industrial black garbage bags.

I became a tiny detective scouring my home for clues and questioning all suspects.

My mother, who had become a person of real interest due to her avoidance techniques, high sing songy voice and inability to meet my eyes -was my number one suspect.

Finally when my endless inquires and refusal to stop my investigation wore her down, I got my answer.

He’d Flown south for the winter”.

She’d fucking stymied me with an endless riddle that my five-year old mind had no hope of unraveling. How far down WAS south? Could we go there and get him back? By presenting me with an answer that couldn’t be proven or disproven, I was forever doomed to run the cyclical track of “did he or didn’t he?” There was no way of knowing.

Deep in my heart of hearts I knew she’d killed him.

The mystery of Georgie’s murder was left in the cold case files of my heart but then an alarming pattern began to emerge in our lives.

Every time someone of moderate importance in my life would suddenly cease to come around any more they were “on a trip” or “gone someplace I couldn’t see them”.

Effectively, everyone who was old , infirm and mysteriously vanishing in a puff of smoke, had “gone south”– the mysterious part of the country you ended up in when you flew your coop, ate your doghouse out of despair or died of a terrible disease your Granddaughter needed to be shielded from.

Finally, in a fit of terminal curiosity, I demanded to know what the hell was going on because I damn site remember having two grandfathers who conveniently disappeared a few years apart.

One let me drink beer. I especially missed that one.

“Come sit down sweetie”, was the start of my lesson about goin’ south in life and I got an eye-opening lecture about just how many people and animals had died off while I was skipping down the lane and building a tree house.

Right afterward, we took a trip to the Samsondale pet store where I picked out my very own angry, squealing BLUE parakeet who defied the odds and stayed alive well into my middle school years, biting friends and family members who tried desperately to form some kind of bond with him.  I christened him Georgie II and  despite my festering dislike of this hateful creature, I kept up my end of the bargain while risking the tender skin on my fingers and forearm every time I reached into his hellacious cage of pent-up bird rage.

My husband has these heartwarming tales of how he owned a bird who he taught to sing and do tricks, while they went on fulfilling adventures together -like an avian themed Huck Finn. For the record, I think he’s lying because I’ve never met a bird that was wasn’t secretly wishing it’s owner dead in a fiery car wreck.

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Filed under birds, biting animals, catching a murderer, flying south for the winter, my mother is a pet killer, parakeets, puppies and birds, why you don't name your dog after beer

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

It is only by the grace of god and some sort of divine intervention that I write this today without a metal rod protruding from my forehead.

Fourteen kids, two homes without parental supervision and a set of metal lawn darts was all it took for us to dream up a game so terrifying and properly menacing that it would haunt all the participants until the moment they died.

To this DAY, if I hear something coming at me from above my first instinct is to serpentine wildly to avoid being impaled.

People sometimes wonder why colorfully adorned heavy metal projectiles – that were thrown into the air and came down with alarming regularity right into the soft flesh of small children – were ever invented.

Kids will LOVE these! Next let’s release a frisbee covered in razor blades.

I figure it’s the same group who put real chemistry sets and exploding cans of snakes on the market, but that’s a whole other story right there.

Apparently, one day when we were sitting around in our youthful ignorance, the devil decided to come down and make use of idle hands by whispering the location of lawn darts into our ears,  and pointing out to us a place where there was no parental supervision and a six-foot high fence.

“There” coaxed Satan, ” you delightful little rogues must stand on one side of the fence while a ‘chosen one’ (read-the smart one) tosses a lawn dart high into the sky and over the wall, while the others scatter wildly trying to avoid being speared to the ground and sent to the hospital or dying on the spot!’ Now GO!”

With that parting shot, Satan scurried away on his hoofed feet dragging the unfortunate souls who had a contract expire that week, but not before turning to remind us that we should, “make sure to call out when the dart is coming to give them chance, it’s only fair”.

You act like it was UNREASONABLY dangerous. That just wasn’t the case. Lawn darts are VERY popular and those kids were BORED!

At that point he disappeared in a fiery blast of sulphuric acid and yellow smoke, back to his raging inferno in the third circle.

Left to our own devices, our ‘chosen one’ tossed the first projectile of death from the anonymity of his perch behind the fence and high into  the air, announcing in a shrill scream “READY OR NOT, HERE IT COMES!”

Tiny bodies flew everywhere trying furiously to avoid the shiny metal point, our adrenaline pumping so high that we were like scattershot marbles dropped on a smooth surface –  going everywhere fast.

Dart after dart –  red, blue, yellow, red, blue,yellow.

They hit the ground with a loud sickening thud as the business end sunk easily into the cold ground.

I kept imagining both my arms nailed to the ground by two lucky shots and me being unable to get up and run from the kill throw that would be aimed straight for my small skull.

I’m not sure why it took me two rounds of terror roulette before I stepped away to see what the other kids were having for lunch, or maybe it was the sound of the ice cream man coming around the bend. Whatever it was that tore me away, I now consider it an act of divine intervention.

Somewhere, deep in the recesses of the scorched earth netherworld, I’m sure there were a few guys with pitchforks and horns  having a real laugh at my expense.

I think I smell sulphur.

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Filed under and NO ONE got killed, blast from the past, danger, divine intervention, games we play, idle hands devils playground, kids, lawn darts, safety, satan

The List

Today was utterly magnificent. The sun shone, the air smelled like blooming flowers and at least four neighbors fired up their grills for the season.
I came dangerously close to beginning what could be considered “spring cleaning” when I ran across this list tucked into the side pocket of a scrapbook on my shelf.
My middle son made it three or four years ago and stapled it together, forgetting about its exsistence entirely.
So since today was a day that was spent primarily chasing other pursuits I’d like to post it to spread the impish glee that clearly went into making it.
I’ll interpret for you as his handwriting looked as if a crooked chicken with arthritic claws helped him get it on paper.

There is no way you can skydive while mommy is still alive

 Things I want to do before I die. 

1. hug Obama

2. kiss a dolphin

3. Go to top of Empire State building (take stairs)

4. punch Chuck Norris

5. Find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop

6. Lean on the leaning tower of Pisa

7. See all USA state licence plates

8. collect all USA quarters

9. Sit in the back of a Nascar racecar during a race

10. drive a Zamboni

11. jump on a tempurpedic mattress and make a wine glass spill

12. fly on the zero gravity plane

13. SKYDIVE!!!!

14. sleep on the ground (outside)

15. sit on the roof of a moving car

16. make a wig of body hair

17. have 25 mice pets in one cage

18. get my name on a video game, billboard, book etc.

19. ride on an angry bull

20. pet a lion

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Filed under kids, middle son, to do lists

And It Goes Like This

Dear Reader,
First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of new content and my nonchalant attitude toward the whole thing. I have remained completely inert both physically and mentally for nearly a month now minus one whirlwind trip into New York City that got the grease in my wheels turning fast enough so that I could become the victim of one well placed roofie in my Hot Tranny Mess cocktail.
Don’t try to convince me otherwise. I was drugged.

I’m really hoping you will understand and take consolation in the fact that this entry is only a few paragraphs long and won’t waste your valuable summer moments that you’d rather be spending by the pool in the company of flesh and blood humans.

So in a nutshell, here’s how it happens.

I stare blankly into the glowing warmth of my large monitor and then decide I’m better off going upstairs with the Soft Scrub (with bleach!) to gently buff away the grout stains in my shower.

While the more industrious of my friends are able to toss off post after whimsical post about life,love and the pursuit of happiness, I appear to be in no hurry at all!

As the summer chugs onward I’m hoping to come in a little more often from the outdoors and sit in the cool, air-conditioned embrace of the area surrounding my laptop even though I was just becoming comfortable with my reputation as a slacker with no follow through.

Oh well.
Since losing my urge to do anything related to the use of a keyboard, I’ve become well acquainted with these kids that live here and have mastered the deceptively terrifying skill set for using the “Dyson”. My cleaning woman is still the champion on that front but I find myself slowly catching up.

And so these are a quiet few moments before I break the case of the missing grandfather clock wide open Nancy Drew style or confront the Japanese government with the proof that they have been purposely ignoring my requests to be the first in line for that cloned Mammoth project they’ve got under wraps, so let’s just enjoy the silence.

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Filed under lazy, long time no see, no one even cares anyway, slack, where the hell are you, wow im rusty

This Is The Speech I Want To Hear Someday

 

Like I’ve said before, there are times when doing the emperors bidding wears you down and makes you long for a two week vacation to Tahiti.

Il Duce was especially demanding today when his needs were not getting met within milliseconds of the request going out so it should  come as  no surprise that I’m wrapped up tightly  in a blanket on the second floor of my house typing quietly so he cannot find me using the powers of his super human ears.

Nobody told me there would be days like these. Strange days indeed.

Okay, so I’m being melodramatic but every once in a while I imagine that all the backbreaking work yields spectacular results and he goes supernova during adulthood.

Supernova enough to get mommy a beach house and a jet.

So it is with this in mind that I let myself pretend that I’m sitting in the back of a lavishly furnished hall filled to capacity while my son gives his retirement speech at 25 years of age after selling his gazillion dollar company to some shmuck who REALLY  wanted it.

*Tap* *Tap*

“Is this thing on?”

(muffled laughter)

 

Wow thank you Bill , for those kind words.

It was indeed four years ago that I came into this building through the creaky industrial metal front door. If I had known then what a roller coaster ride we were in for I might have turned tail and run my motherfucking ass RIGHT back out into the street but thankfully for all of us, I did NOT.

 Ignorance was bliss in those days and we forged ahead with this radical new plan, completely chuffed that we were getting a chance to spread this new groundbreaking technology throughout the world.

I’ll keep it brief but I do want to tell you how much I have appreciated some of the things that make this company so special – not just the business end of things but the people as well.

Comrades, I am leaving but I will be watching your mind-blowing progress with interest from afar. And by “afar” I mean the beach of an uncharted tropical island I’ve purchased.  I am certain you will all go on to achieve far better things than I did. If my legacy to you was time spent building this place up, your legacy to me is one of friendship, loyalty and promise.

I have just one final point to make – that is to thank the only person who is 100% responsible for everything I have achieved in my life, my beloved mother.

There were times that I drove her completely insane, screamed, yelled demanded of her and she never gave up on me. It is by some kind of divine intervention that she did not leave me on a highway overpass after four mind melding hours in traffic that I spent loudly mimicking  the noise  made by the creepy dead child from The Grudge.

I consider myself lucky to never have tasted the punishing tang of soap for the string of jaw dropping profanities that came so fast and furious out of my small mouth from the moment I could speak and the fact that I was never tied up outside on a dog leash to work off excess energy is a testament to her superior parenting.

Those threats I made to throw my siblings into a lava pit that I would purchase when I grew up and got rich were clearly never acted upon and I send my love to my sister and brother who couldn’t be here today.

So here’s to you mom and that sparkling new glass and steel structure I built you overlooking the clear crystal blue sea.

I now raise my glass to you and say farewell.

Get in! I'll drive you to my lava pit!

 

 

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Filed under am I doing anything right?, bad parenting, beach house, boys with serious attitude, can I have a normal day, difficult child, disasters, failure, il duce is five, inability to think on my feet

We’re Making Plans For Nigel

 

At some point I’m going to get a phone call from various defunct 80’s bands demanding some sort of restitution for all the titles I’ve stolen after a morning listening to Sirius XM’s First Wave.

I like to use the drive back from drop off to think about what needs to be done during the day and to formulate a plan of attack for whatever bizarre circumstances or unforseen disasters will fall in my lap thanks to my smallest child.

You see, despite the best laid plans and extensive help from all the most expensive professionals he still has some issues that prevent him from being ready for prime time.

Like the Saturday Night Live players but with less parody and more physical pratfalls.

So here I am, the grown up, struggling to hack my way through the thick brush surrounding the path back to normality for this kid.

Never have I been so confounded by another human being.

I lie in wait for the ramifications of each decision I’ve made on his behalf  dreading the large casualty laden explosion that is clearly imminent. Nothing is clear-cut and never have the stakes been so high.

Imagine if laid before you are a deck of a thousand cards and you must pick five or six to determine the path that someone takes at various important crossroads in their life.

Now take a look at the possible outcomes.

Steven Hawking or the Unibomber.

Churchill or Mussolini.

Yes, perhaps I’m exaggerating his potential but his propensity for extremes is legendary and being in his service for these long five years has taken its toll on the staff here.

It would be accurate to say we live in fear.

Fear of the next step.

Fear that the wrong choice will cause everything to go up in flames (don’t laugh, it’s happened)

Usually I have these things set up far in advance of the actual decision-making event but I happen to be in the middle of a long period of wait and see fence-sitting that’s really starting to hurt my ass.

And so, as I perch here and think about making plans for Nigel I’m still frozen with doubt and remorse over things I’ve not even done yet.

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Filed under adhd, am I doing anything right?, average is so much easier, bad parenting, behavior problems in kids, better skills, boys with serious attitude, can I have a normal day, crazy ramblings, delinquints, difficult child, difficult kids, discipline, failure, fight or flight response, foul language in preschool, four year old love, getting it together, here we go, I have 3, I have HOW many kids?, I'm not as effective in a bad situation as I thought I would be, I'm all over the map, il duce is five, It's embarassing when you suck at something, keep the expectations low okay?, kids, kids and parenting, kids that don't fit the mold, kids that like cursewords, kids with warped minds, kindergarten options