Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot again

And then it's working again.

Tonight, the children are angels, my mother-in-law is a delight, and life is but a dream. It's great, but...

a little consistency would be nice, you know?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I lied

It doesn't work. Things suck, actually. Life is bleak.

We have no money. I have $6.06 in my bank account until payday on the thirty-first. I have no gas in my car. I'm open to suggestions as to how to get to work tomorrow.

I am a terrible parent. I poked a hole in one of my children and made both of them cry at various points in the evening. I certainly didn't mean to do any of those things, but they happened, and it was all my fault.

I ate macaroni and cheese. And a cheeseburger. And Nilla Wafers. And a Dr. Pepper.

I teach a bunch of little shits who say things like:

Last time we were on Mauritius...

I can find not a single ray of anything salvageable about this day. I am going to go dream myself into a cabana somewhere far away.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's working

Recently, I upped the dosage on my Vitamin P. At first, I couldn't tell any difference, which is pretty normal. Then, last night, as I was sitting on the couch, ignoring the wails of my children as Husband tried to convince them that bed is the only place worth being at midnight, I realized - no crying, no screaming, no swearing (from me - I can't say the same of them). I felt numb. Again, that's pretty typical of antidepressants. I can't cry, and even when I want to get angry, I can't.

But then, today, which will go down in history as the Shittiest Day of 2008 (So Far), I kept waiting for the shit to hit the fan, and it just didn't. If I were me (plain, normal, unmedicated me), I would be hiding in my closet right now. But I'm not. I'm okay. Sure, I can recognize the shit as it goes down. But it's not taking me down with it. A sampling:

kids who can't/don't/won't sleep
four inches of snow
32 ounces of spilled Diet Coke
missed meetings (well, I kind of skipped it, really)
sassy preteen girls
being told by a well-meaning student that my hair "looks tired"
flaming recession and tanking economy (we're a bit hard up, so it's worrisome)
sassy preteen boys
more material than time to teach it
spilled soup in my good school bag
tutoring for free, instead of getting paid (which I totally don't mind, but I need the $$$)
keys locked in car
two hours spent trying to get into said car
a -5 degree windchill
a flat tire (not mine, Husband's, but still $$ we don't have)
obnoxious non-house-rule-following SIL

And yet, it just rolls off my back. Yes, the shit is getting deep. And yet, I have kids who are learning things. I stayed on top of my grading today. I stayed organized. I taught a few people a few things. I got big kisses from small babies. I had a Cheesy Bean And Rice Burrito.* I lost another pound. And you know what? Getting all freaked out isn't going to do a damn thing for me. So, either I'm numb, or the meds are working. I can't tell, and I don't particularly care. I think that's a pretty telling sign in and of itself. I was able to enjoy my drive home - a perfect full moon rising over the frozen Lake, the moonbeams reflecting off the rippled ice and snow on the surface. Nice and peaceful. Content and fulfilling.

*Sweet merciful crap, I love those things.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


So, sometimes I get the feeling that I'm just a warm body in the room. I'm there, a calm, reassuring adult presence, for the sake of propriety, but nobody is actually paying any attention to me.

At school, I sometimes feel like I might as well be preaching to the wind. At home, I'm not much more than a way to get things - I can open the fridge and reach things, but that's about it.

Whatever I have to say, whether it's how to pronounce something or to stop beating your sister, falls on deaf ears. Nobody gives the slightest sign that they've heard me - bad behavior continues unabated, mispronunciation doesn't change, rules go unheeded. I could probably make an announcement regarding the apocalypse and my kids and my students would just keep right on ignoring me.

I seriously wonder what would happen if I just took a day off. If I hired someone else to stand around and say "don't do that" at random intervals, would anyone even notice that I was miles away? I might just try that this weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Warm fuzzies

Sometimes, when you can't get naked, it's the little things in life that make you happy. Like listening to your husband talk politics on the phone with your father while his dinner gets cold on the table; a companionable evening in the kitchen with your mother-in-law; a snow walk with your girls; giant squid; a footrub from Husband.

I'm content.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Naked and the Nude

My kids like to get naked. A lot.

I see no problem with that. They're kids. They're little. Like, really little. They're all skinny with big fat baby bellies sticking out. They're ridiculously pink.

I say, whatever. Let them wait a few years before they figure out that being naked = bad in our society. That naked = wrong. They don't get that. They know that when you go somewhere you have to wear clothes. But they don't know that it's because we're ashamed of what's underneath. And I'm glad they don't know.

They have no shame. At all. They will strip down and run screaming around the house at the drop of a hat. Also around the yard. And/or the neighborhood. They seem to kind of enjoy it. I will admit - I think it's pretty cute. They're like little brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits.

My ILs don't seem to share my fondness for this little idiosyncrasy. Every time one of them sees a Naked Girl, the first thing I hear is always "Where are your pants?! Your diaper?! Your choneys?! Get Some Clothes On, Girl!" I don't quite get why this freaks them out so much. Are you offended by their teeny tiny tushies? Is it the flagrant display of vulva? Could there be a *less* sexual display of nudity?

They do some funny stuff, though, which I'm filing away for when they grow up and bring home boys I don't like. For example, as soon as she pulls her clothes off, Tank demands that we inspect her belly and exclaim about how big it is, and then she pinches her nipples. The Bear does the same thing, which is where I think she got it from. I don't know where the Bear learned that, though. She likes to look at her belly after she eats to see how big it is. She's so happy when it gets all round! I took a picture of Tank pinching her nipples, and if the Internet wasn't a gathering place for every pedophile between here and Saskatchewan, I would post it for you here. Also perhaps the one of a young Jane, about three, sitting buck naked on my rocking horse, riding hell bent for leather with my underwear on my head. My dad has a framed print of that one on his desk at work.

The other day I was on a field trip at an art museum with a bunch of twelve-year-old girls. We happened to browse through an exhibit which featured one or two very tasteful nude pictures. They weren't the focus of the pictures - they just happened to be *in* the pictures. Anyway, some of the girls were all freaking out. Ew, gross, how can you look at that, why would you put something like that in public, how can you call that art, it's so gross, etc. And I was so sad. I bet their parents never let them run around naked as children! I finally had to give them the "everyone's naked under their clothes" speech. A few of the girls were very cool about it - if you don't like it, that's okay. You don't have to look at it. Nobody's forcing you. But it's just a body - everyone has one. I was really proud of them.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep my kids from becoming ashamed of their bodies. And it's not easy around here, that's for sure. Am I being silly? Do your children run around naked? Does it bother anyone?

Friday, January 11, 2008

So much shit my head is exploding

In snippets, because that's the only way my brain can function right now.

It took me 87 emails among four people to secure a personal day to take my kids to the doctor next Friday. Why? Because it's the "work day" before a holiday, and we can't take those off - we have to take leave without pay. I called bullshit, and will be taking a paid regular personal day. But still. I'm not off on vacation for a long four-day weekend. I'm taking two kids for back-to-back doctors appointments. Hardly a vacation.

One of the little shits at the Bear's preschool taught her a fabulous new word this week. Pothead. As in, "Look, Mom, I'm a silly pothead!" Same kid who taught her to point her fingers like a gun. I am going to figure out which one is his mother and take her out back when I find her.

Tank is potty-training herself. I am doing nothing. She will take off her diaper herself when it's wet, and has been voluntarily going to sit on the potty at least once or twice a night. All I do is sit back and watch.

I need to do more planning for work. This week was a bit slipshod.

Boys are obnoxious. Gah. Girls equally so.

I am currently licking salt from the bottom of the popcorn bowl.

I've decided to sell a few things from around the house to raise some quick cash. I have one left kidney (sorry, no matching set - righty was a dud), two gently used children, a set of 1973 World Book Encyclopedias, 762 stuffed animals, and an orange cat. You want?

Someone told me yesterday that I looked "elegant." I've been called many things, but that was a first. Kind of nice.

The Bear clapped for me the other night when I finished her lullaby. Little baby golf clap.

The girls have finally figured out how to go to bed inn the same room at the same time. Last night we just put them down in the room together and left them, and lo and behold, they went to sleep. All night. In their own beds. Well, sure, there was a coughing fit, a drink of water, and a trip to the bathroom, but it was a success, overall.

I don't know. There's just a lot going on, and my brain seems to be working in two-second blips.

Oops. There's another one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Maybe this year will be better than the last

Happy New Year, people. It's crunch time.

I've spent a long December thinking about the way I want this year to be - the way I want to live, the way I want to feel, the way I want to act, the way I want to look. Like I said, this is the Year of Me. I know that sounds all kinds of selfish and whatnot, but it is what it is.

Let me be perfectly honest. I feel like if I put this out there, it will galvanize my New Year's efforts.

I weigh 168 pounds.

There. I said it. One hundred sixty-eight pounds. Holy crap. That is ridiculous. There are some people on whom that would look absolutely delightful - voluptuous, fit, sexy. I am not one of those people. Those people are about six inches taller than me. I look dumpy. Chubby. Pudgy. Squishy. It's uncool.

To that end, I have joined the ranks of the People who Watch their Weight. You know who I'm talking about. The Watchers. I'm one of them now. I have thirty-three pounds to lose to hit my goal - 135 - which is what I weighed pre-babies. That's my goal. Today was Day One on the Core Plan. It's going okay, for now. It's a little tough at times, though. Bread is Not a Core Food. That's all I'm saying. No bread.

I've also been taking advantage of the holiday season to think about the things I truly believe. It's been hard - I'm one of those people who hates to disappoint, and I can't hardly stomach the thought of disappointing my parents by repudiating their value system, but the older I get, the less I can buy into it.

I was raised as a Lutheran. I never particularly had a problem with it. I was properly indoctrinated as a child - Baptists are holy rollers, Catholics are Papists, wine really does turn into blood, and Jesus was both the son of god and a human man. I was always a little peeved that they relegated women to the second chair, but I was willing to overlook that. It's the family religion, and I'm part of the family. That's fine.

But as I get older, I have a harder time swallowing mainstream Christianity. Every culture on the planet has its own creation myth, their own explanation for the things they can't understand, their own deity, no matter what it's called. Who's to say that ours is the "right" one? What if it's not? Who are we to say everyone else is wrong? I just can't buy into that.

What I do believe is that we all live on the Earth, that we have all come from the Earth, and that we will all return to the Earth. I celebrate the turning of the seasons, the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth and constitutes the year. I celebrate the elements that surround us all - earth, which provides for us and sustains us, our beginning and end. Water, which cleanses and purifies, always changing, never still. Fire, which can both destroy and renew. The air we breathe, which fills us and surrounds us. I think that "god" exists in each and every one of us. We all have the capacity for good and for evil. This duality exists everywhere in nature - dark/light, sun/moon, hot/cold, death/life - and in all of us.

I don't know what I call that. Humanist? Naturist? Dualist? I just want to *be*. I don't want to be ascribed a label - Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan. I just want to be free to follow my heart, to explore these beliefs, to celebrate them in my own way. I want to share the beauty of the world with my daughters, without worrying that they'll tell Grandma that Mommy's a pagan or a witch or a satanist.

I can't disappoint my parents. I just can't do it. I don't want to have to pretend to believe something I don't, and I don't want to raise my children to follow blindly, and I don't want to be cast out. I can't figure out how to reconcile those things in any harmonious way. I am stumped.

I also want to work on being a better wife. I don't want to turn into a Dr. Laura disciple, perfecting the care and feeding of my husband, but at the same time, I know that I'm not always giving 100% to our relationship. Neither is he, obviously, and I think I'm going to have to get him on board with this one as well. But if we want to salvage our marriage and have any kind of love left, we need to focus on each other and how to relate. Just one more thing to work on, I suppose. It goes along with working to be a better mom. Maybe next year? (That was a joke. Kind of.)

Mostly, I just want to work on being happy. I'm not quite sure what it is that makes me happy, exactly, but I want to figure it out, and I would like to do it, whatever it is. That might be the most important thing of all.

So. One day down. A lifetime to go. Happy New Year.