Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To Do

Blow nose.

Attend parent-teacher conference.


Blow nose.

Fetch children.

Fetch mother.

Feed children.

Drive across city.

Sit in traffic.

Mutter obscenities at passersby.

Blow nose.

Be late.

Book mother on later flight.

Blow nose.

Drive across city.

Sit in traffic.

Text ex-husband.

Blow nose.

Meet ex-husband at apartment for child handoff.

Become flustered.

Forget to pack tiny underwear.

And tiny socks.

Get angry.


Blow nose.

Vent frustrations on cat.

Buy catfood.

And gum.

Do Work.

Watch TV.

Blow nose.

More Work.

More TV.

Blow nose. Cough.

Pack suitcase.

Check 5-day forecast for Denver.



Blow nose. Cough.

Clean house to impress cat-feeders.

Pay bills.

Eat hotdog.

Research rental car prices.


Blow nose. Cough.

Realize this post has no point except to prove to myself that I am incapable of accomplishing anything in a reasonable, organized fashion.

Also that I have a cold.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What do you say to the person who, with bumbling good intentions, tells you to "be happy! It's October! It's cold and windy! You're in the city!"

I've always loved fall in the city. It's my favorite time. It's cool, crisp, the leaves are gorgeous, it smells good...

We got together in the fall. Both times. September and October are sentimental times for me. In my mind, fall is inextricably linked with the first flush of romance. And with him. And all those crazy weird emotions that go along with falling in love. And with the city.

But we always talked about moving back here together. He always wanted to take the girls for walks in the leaves. We would fall asleep with the windows open and smell the fall smells and listen to the leaves rustling. That was how it was supposed to be in the fall.

It was not supposed to be us, standing outside on the corner under the streetlight, in the dark, in a gale force wind, in the bitter cold, handing over money and fighting about who is and is not over whom. And then, to be reminded by him, my fall guy, that I should be happy? In the fall? Without him?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adding insult to injury

As if it weren't enough that I have a 2.5-year-old, progress reports are due tomorrow and I haven't even started. I have 120 students, all of whom need personal narratives written about their learning, not to mention that I haven't finished grading all of their quizzes. I am drinking margaritas through a straw. Send help.

*ETA* 4 hours and 8,514 words later, I'm going to bed. I've said all there is to be said, and said it in such a way that you may never know that your child is a bully, or a flake, or socially inept, or, god forbid... average. All in a day's work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I would just like to put this out there into the Universe. I hate two and a half. Hate. It. Two and a half is pure evil. Well, not pure. There are tiny bits of joy mixed in there, like sprinkles on ice cream. But, in your average daily spoonful, you only get a few sprinkles, and a great big mouthful of ice cream. Shit-flavored ice cream. Poisonous, soul-crushing, shit-flavored ice cream.

If you know of a way to get a two and a half year old to A) sleep, or B) listen, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let me know. Throw me a frickin bone here. I'm dying. And I've done this before! I should be good at it! But no. The children, they are different. And not in good ways, either.


Thursday, October 16, 2008


No, it's not Halloween (don't get me started on Halloween!). It's this Color Personality thing. Holy crap, it's incredibly accurate. In a spooky way. How can they tell that much about you by the colors you prefer?

ColorQuiz.comJane took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Feels exhausted by conflict and quarreling and des..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

I mean, really. Amazingly accurate, with only a few minor exceptions. Wow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Or not...

So, tonight, just as I am dusting off my Mother of the Year chops, feeling pret-ty damn good about myself*, the Bear comes wandering out to the couch where I am sitting, pondering. She looks... upset.

Mommy, I wish God was real.
... Real like how?
Real like you.

How to explain that real in the physical sense and real in the truest sense are not the same thing? I knew I had to tread carefully here - I could sense that this was something she was really struggling with. We talked through it for quite a while.

Mom, I don't want to have to pray to God.
Well, then, don't. Nobody can ever make you do that. But why not?
I just want to be able to talk to him like a normal person, like I talk to you.
Well, you can do that. Just don't expect an answer you can hear with your ears.
Then how will I hear it?
With your soul.

That's where I lost her. We've been talking for a while now about souls - what they are, where they are, what they do, etc. - but she's a little skeptical still.

Like in your heart?
Yeah, your soul is kind of like your heart.
I don't have a soul.
Everybody else does. You do, Tank does, but I don't.
Of course you do, dear. Everybody has a soul. You're born with it.
Well, mine is missing.

And then, in a final desperate bid to floor me completely:

Life just isn't true without God, Mom.
Well, we already decided that God is real, and this? This right here? This is true. This is as true as it gets.

And it really was. I have no idea if anything I said made any sense to her, or if she feels any better about it at all, but she's in there sleeping, and now I'm awake, wondering what to do about this, what to tell her, how to tell her. Sometimes, it's not about the winning. It's about just getting by without causing any trauma.

*Resisted the urge to spend nonexistent cash on pizza for dinner, just because the Bear wanted it? Check.
Made dinner with existing supplies instead? Check.
Washed dishes? Check.
Took out the trash? Check.
Unpacked suitcases? Check.
Did laundry**? Check.
Assisted with pumpkin-cutting homework project? Check.
Bathed both children? Check.
Successfully got the Tank to sleep in record time? Check.

**Although, technically, since it was the Bear's blanket and pillow for preschool, which I forgot today, I should get a check-minus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I WIN!!!!

Ah, the thrill of victory. Tonight, as I was providing a compulsory snuggle to the girls (a full hour after bedtime, mind you), the Bear comes out with this one:

Mommy, I like it here BEST. We don't have to move in and out all the time, and all of our, you know, stuff is here, and things. And you live here. Mommy, I Never Want To Move.

And there you have it, Internets: proof positive that the kids prefer my house to Daddy's. I win. Game over. Case closed. I am the undisputed victor here.

Somewhere, "We Are The Champions" plays softly in the background.

*Yes, it is a bittersweet victory, since this conversation led directly into the "if we moved, how would Daddy know where to find us? what if we never saw him again?" conversation, which sucked, and which I deftly steered us away from. But still. I am cooler than Dad. I was never cooler than Dad when we actually lived together. Hell, he bought them shiny purple shoes, which, admittedly, rock, and I am Still Cooler. I win, and he will just have to suck it. The End.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Will Cut You, Bitch

Yes, Emily, I am talking to you. And your little homie, Cynthia. Never again will I be able to hear these names without grinding my teeth. It's like that part in Anne of Green Gables when Diana says she used to think Josie and Gertie were nice names until she met the Pye sisters. Sorry if that totally lost you.

This morning, in the car, on the way to preschool, after dropping off the Tank, the Bear and I are talking. We use our car time for chatting. She says, randomly:

Emily is tired of my blue shoes.


Prodded further, she produced this:

Emily said, 'I'm so tired of seeing you in those blue shoes every day. Why do you wear the same shoes all the time?"


It is on, bitch.* You better not let me catch you on the playground. And if I meet your mother? Oh, the gloves are coming off. That woman should have taught you some manners. And possibly spanked you more.

There you have it. A classmate made fun of my kid for only owning one pair of shoes. A perfectly nice, serviceable pair of shoes, which she picked out herself, especially for preschool. I am of the less is more school of parenting, because a) they're just going to grow out of it in 3 months, and b) they're going to destroy it before it gets grown out of anyway. Seriously. But the reason the Bear only has that one pair of shoes to wear to school is that I can't afford to buy her more than that. I'm sure some kids have pairs and pairs of school shoes and play shoes and dressy shoes and whatnot. Not mine. They each spent the entire summer in a $5 pair of fake crocs, and are now comfortably ensconced in their school shoes. We'll probably add some boots for winter snow/rain/ickyness, etc. when grandma comes next weekend. Grandma is always good for shoe shopping. But still. There is no buying superfluous things like a second pair of shoes when you already have a pair that works just fine?

Hell, I'm on my second year in this particular pair of school shoes. I wear them every day. They look fine. They smell like... feet. Oh, well. Odor Eaters are much cheaper than new shoes. Maybe next year, if the tax refund fairy is good to me, I'll get a new pair.

*Yes, I realize I am calling a four-year-old a bitch. She insulted my child. Get over it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yeah, you!

I hereby challenge you to a round of the Presidential Debate Drinking Game! Only, when it says "shot," I'm taking "sip." Otherwise, I'd die. And be drunk. I figure I can finish my glass easily, even so.

I made a ginormous pot of chicken soup, two loaves of pumpkin bread, and gave the girls a bath. It's 8:00 and all's quiet on my western front. I can play in good conscience. You up for it?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Hard Stuff

The first night back after a weekend with Dad* is really hard. The girls have a rough time of it, trying to readjust. The sadness is very close to the surface, and the minute the lights go out and the covers go up, the tears come. In the past, it's been mostly the Bear who has a hard time, but this time Tank decided to join forces with her. They are both crying, now, calling out for Daddy. The Bear is still the worst - pounding on the door to get out and "chase him." Coming out with classic lines like "Life just isn't worth it. It hurts too bad," and "I hope Daddy still loves me." Those are always fun.

I try very hard to be calm and reasonable with them when it gets like this. It's okay to cry and feel angry, I tell them. Life's not fair. It never will be. We need to accept that and live with it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt, or that we have to like it. I took the Bear out of the apartment so she could stomp her feet in anger without making the neighbors angry in turn. Her idea, but I thought it was a pretty good one. But it's just so hard to watch them be in pain, and to know that it's at least partially my doing, and I can't fix it. I think that's the worst part - knowing your child hurts and there's nothing you can do about it.

I'm trying very hard to appreciate every minute I have with the girls, not to be annoyed or frustrated because they're small and life is hard right now. But my first response to situations like this is to block out the pain, block out everything, and I don't want to do that here. This is part of life - part of the path I chose for us. I can't block out the pain - it's something we have to feel and work through to come out on the other side as better, stronger people. But if I could take the pain for those kids, if I could feel all the loss and confusion and abandonment for them, I would do it in a heartbeat. Life will not always be kind to them, I know, but at least now, while they're so young and delicate, I want to spare them this. And I can't, and that hurts me in ways that I never thought possible.

You always want better for your kids than you had for yourself, and yet here I am, exposing them to all kinds of heartache at an age when I didn't even know what divorce was. Sometimes I find it very hard to convince myself that living with a single mom will be better for them in the long run than living in a house with two dysfunctional parents. I know in my head that it will be better, have heard it confirmed by a thousand people, but looking at them, at the naked pain in their eyes, makes it hard to remember why we're doing this to them in the first place. I just have to trust that I am doing the right thing for them, right now.

*Mostly Grandma, but *technically* Dad.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jesus Mary and Good Saint Joseph

Am I ever tired of reading/hearing/seeing/thinking about Sarah Palin. Or John McCain. Or Joe Biden. Truly, I have gotten at least 75 forwarded emails in the past week or two containing diatribes against Republicans, links to articles proving what soulless immoral puppykillers they are, polls, votes, and surveys you can take and see how much the rest of America hates the Republicans, etc. etc. ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

I am going to crawl under a rock until the election is over. And, if the results aren't pleasing to my little socialist self, I will stay under that rock for the next four years.

None of these people are telling the full truth. They're all panderers of the worst sort, and I am sick to death of listening to them spout their bullshit all over the news media. I have become (become? have always been?) so disillusioned with American politics as usual that I could just spit.

These people do not represent me, or my concerns, or my needs. They don't care about me, and I don't have time in my life to spare for them. They are incompetent bunglers, all of them. Gah.

**And yet I'm watching the debate. And Sarah Palin just pronounced it nook-u-ler. I have sixth graders who speak more clearly than her.