Friday, March 31, 2006

I Forgot How Hard This All Was...

So, The Kid has had a recent and marked change in his behavior at daycare. He has been having more frequent temper tantrums, has tried to throw toys and was informed yesterday that he knocked a chair over in an aborted attempt to throw the chair. We've also noticed that at family gatherings he's been a little more excitable, spastic and is doing "that thing" with my mom's ottoman where he runs, lays across it and tries to roll it about the living room.

In short, The Kid's mood is ramping up towards what we now, since the bipolar diagnosis, can call mania.

Because he is still generally a very kind and friendly and charming kid, this has only been something mentioned to me by the daycare center manager because she has noticed it and wanted me to be aware of it, and to have me talk to him about it. I don't want his welcome to wear out, so I am finally getting around to calling psychologists to start therapy that will help him learn how to control his impulses and temper.

I was quickly reminded of how freaking hard it is to seek psychological treatment for a child, and how my having of insurance makes it even freaking harder. I resurrected the list that I was given back in September of local psychologists that accept my insurance. I must admit, however, that phone calls back have been much quicker lately, because in my messages I have been able to state his diagnosis, and that this diagnosis was done by DU. But I've been unable to find a psychologist willing to take us on, either because their practice is full, or they don't treat kids under 10, or because they don't accept my insurance anymore. Is it bad that I'm in a place where I'd be willing to fork over $120 per session than to make wild goose chase phone calls all over Denver to find a therapist that would accept my insurance and thus cost only $40 per session? Because that's where I am, almost, because yo, that's a difference of $80. PER SESSION! Which ultimately is PER WEEK!!!

So, if anyone knows a good psychologist in Denver willing to take on my crappy-paying insurance case, please let me know, because I've been trying for three days straight and I can't find one. NOT A SINGLE ONE!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Another Single Mom's Story

I had to share this. I was listening to NPR on the way home from work the other day and heard this editorial. It is about the whining that single mothers endure from their married or otherwise partnered friends: whining about the help they get from their husbands. If only single moms could be so lucky to have someone to whine about cooking them dinner, even if the cleaning is left for the mom!!!

Like I've said before, it's all perspective. Also like I've said before, I often feel lucky being single, because I have no one to resent by myself!!!

Take a wisten!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Behold! My Super Human Strength!!!

Or, how my car occasionally smells money.

Tuesday after work, The Kid and I had to stop by the local Walgreens for some laundry soap and milk. As I moved to get out of the car, something incredible happened. I was apparently mystically tranformed into a superhero at some point during the day. Perhaps it was the leftovers I'd eaten for lunch, as if one of my insurance-worker-by-day-mad-scientist-by-night co-workers had sprinkled with some super titanium radioactive chemical X on my keilbasa and potatoes, and during the afternoon, I developed unknown strength. Because when I opened the car door, with the strength of 500 Jamie Summerses, I ripped the handle clean off of the door.

Stunned, I stood to get out of my car and did what every completely idiotic person would do, which was to try and fit the handle back into the space from whence it had been ripped. I turned to The Kid, who was already out of the car, and showed him the impotent door handle. The Kid just looked at me and said, "Whoa, mom! You just broke your car!"

So, for the past few days, I've had to either climb out of my passenger door, or make The Kid get out of the car first and open my door for me. The former made me feel like a complete idoit and one time I think I pulled something in my butt muscles. The latter, however, got impressed looks from passersby, who were thinking, "Now there's a young gentleman, opening a car door for his mother. Chivalry, good sir, is not dead."

The story doesn't end particularly well. My superhuman strength is now apparently gone. I also found that the door handle is not one of the more expensive parts of a car, as it cost only about .02% of the original cost of my car to replace. I did, however, find out that my brakes were within 2 millimeters of certain death, and so I had to replace them.

So, I dropped $400 on my car today, which is no small sum to me. I swear to you that my car knows when I get a tax return, it knows when I have a bonus coming. It can smell income like dogs and bees can smell fear. Last time I got a bonus, my front passenger tire blew, and so because it was well beyond time to replace the suckers, I dropped $200 of my $600 of bonus on new tires. The car freaks me out honestly. I just knows.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Oh, Mr. Lady, How I Do Love Thee

Oh, Mr. Lady. It's your BIRTHDAY. Happy 21st birthday, dude!

I went out for my birthday on Saturday night, where my friend and I specially went to Mr. Lady's bar so that she could serve me unhealthy amounts of whisky and mystery shots that I believe were called a shillelagh and definitely had bailey's in them. Naturally, being Irish, the whisky made me kind of weepy, and I rambled on and on about how much I love Mr. Lady (oh, and also mother Ireland, but that goes without saying). Because today is her birthday, I want to write an extremely touching little post about how this person has blessed my life and how absolutely lucky I am to know her. I already wrote a rough draft that I scribbled on a cocktail napkin on Saturday night and left for her at her bar. Unfortunately, however, I can't quite tell you what it said, as I wrote it one glass of whisky past the "I LOVE YOU, MAN" phase of the night.

So, starting over, I must tell you that she had a red datsun called Betsy, inadvertently killed about 435 pet hamsters by the time she was 18, and really had a thing for Dr. Pepper and Hawaiian pizza while in high school. She also has the most infectious laugh of all time, and I remember at that time in my life (15 years old or so) really needing to learn how to laugh with her, because I hadn't known joy and laughter like that, at least with my school friends. I remember driving around our home town together spilling our guts to each other, telling each other things I'm fairly confident that neither of us have told anyone else, ever.

She also has this uncanny knack of getting pregnant every time I leave town or lose touch with her for a few months. So, I move back from Ireland the first time almost 9 years ago. I call her to see she'd been up to and she replies, "Having a baby." The second time I come home from Ireland, I call her to tell her that this time I am pregnant. Not to be outdone, girlfriend replies, "Um, me too." Dammit. With her most recent pregnancy, we'd just spaced each other out for about a year, but sure enough, I call her up and ask her how's she's been, and she replies, AGAIN, "I'm pregnant." I've made assurances to her and to her husband that I will never fall out of touch with her ever again.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lady. You know how much I love you. I'm mushed out, but just know that I admire everything about you, that I marvel in the triumph that is the script of your life. I celebrate today! Much yud!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A much cuter picture

I've been accused of causing both nightmares and extreme shame from my previous post's nippletastic photo of Mr. David Hasselhoff. I think it's hilarious. You know what they say, "you can tell a lot by the size of a man's leprechaun hat..."

So, to alleviate this problem, I thought I'd post for you The Kid's award winning artwork. Seriously now, is this not the most adorable Cat in the Hat you have ever seen?

He won an art prize for Dr. Seuss's birthday a couple of weeks ago. I have really enjoyed watching The Kid come into his own with his art and drawing. He LOVES to tell stories with his art, and I think he's grown leaps and bounds with the details he draws. He is also very instinctually drawing contours of what he sees and not what he thinks he sees, which is the single most important thing that goes into learning how to draw.

We've all got that oft-forwarded email, "Your kid's artwork sucks." I HATE this email. Vehemently. Don't ever email it to me, ever. Do you hear that internet? NEVER. About 90% of adults are in a state of arrested development when it comes to drawing and art. We stop "learning" how to draw somewhere around 10 to 12, and stay there, stick men and all. We look at people who can draw as "magical" or "born with talent." We are wrong. I truly believe that everyone can learn how to draw. We just don't teach ourselves the skill of learning to see with our eyes instead of with our brains. The end result of this is alienation from art, which is so sad. It also leaves art to all of the pretentious art-people, when it could belong to everyone. I would love to see a world where everyone really learns how to draw as kids. I just wonder what it would look like, you know? A world where we've developed both the right AND the left sides of our brains equally?

Anyway, The Kid won a $10 gift certificate to a book store for his first judged art show. I hope it will be the first of many artistic triumphs The Kid has. This is my worst example of mom putting her hopes on The Kid, this art thing. But I wouldn't push it if he didn't show enjoyment in it, and he definitely does. We've already talked about taking hikes this summer in the mountains where we'll go draw. The Kid was excited about that idea, and I was too. Bring on the summer!!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Erin Go Bragh, Mr. Hunkyhoff! Rowr!
* * * * *

I love St. Patrick's Day. I am of Irish descent. I lived in Ireland. I love Irish Whisky. My birthday is the day prior.

I was in Ireland for two St. Patrick's Days. The first was my 21st birthday. It was wild wonderful fun. I was friends with this crazy french guy, named Fred. Seriously. His name was really Fred. Not a pseudonym. Fred was tall and lanky, and when I think of that St. Patrick's day, I envision Fred the French Guy dancing in his long-legged way that was really more aerobics class than dance fever, singing happy birthday to me in front of the Bank of Ireland. I also remember meeting Matty-o for a pint at the very yummy Porter House and laying a big fat smooch on him that day.

My second St. Paddy's day in Ireland was spent at a heavy metal bar, listening to AC/DC cover bands all night, thanks to my crazy Bostonian friends. The details are fuzzy from this particular St. Patrick's day, but I do remember one of the bands was called Joan of Arse, which will go down in my book as the funniest band names in the whole history of the world.

So, par for the course, I awoke this morning to a very strong sense of nostalgia for Ireland, and for Dublin especially. I hope I can go back sometime. In the meantime, I plan to drink a few Guinness, then a few Smithwicks, and hopefully the sense memory can appease my nostalgia.



Happy birthday to my brother-in-law, Scott. Your last name may be german, but at least you had the good sense to be born on an Irish holiday! Love you!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I can't even begin to pretend that I'm freaked out about turning 30

Or, holy crap, I'm so totally old, omigod! (faker)

I remember 10 years ago today, or at least this week, laying in my bed in my dorm room. I was on the phone with my boyfriend, who was so totally going to be the love of my life, talking about how much had changed in the last ten years. We'd known each other for the last eight of those years, and had dated for the last three. I distinctly remember our conversation, about how we were crossing the first decade of our lives that we were likely to remember everything.

Boyfriend said, "We changed so much from 10 to 20, but it was mostly outside. I think the next ten years will serve to change us inside infinitely more."

I was incredulous. I got his point, like, we grew hair in places we didn't want hair to grow, and we became fully reproductive human beings and all that, but how could he discount the emotional maturity from 10 to 20? My dad died in those last ten years, my uncles, my grampa, my world was rocked, again and again and again. I was always an introspective person, but from ten to twenty, I'd gone lightyears in intelligence, in existential angst, in general maturity, and like, who doesn't?

Boyfriend said, "Yeah, you have been through a lot. I still think there is more to come. We'll talk about this in 10 years, and I think you'll agree with me."

As it turns out, Boyfriend and I broke up a mere 9 months later. He was my first love, and the tumult that followed our break-up was what truly set in motion his premonition of change for the third decade of my life. We broke up because we moved to Ireland together and we learned how different we were. I wanted to go to pubs (gasp! go to pubs in Ireland?), get sloppy drunk with my new friends, and climb trees with them where we passed bottles of whisky back and forth all night. Boyfriend, apparently, wanted friends who only exhibited the utmost in self-control, and did not climb trees. We were a bad match.

I've always had a very strong sense of self. When I was dating Boyfriend, I truly thought I was THE SHIT. After I broke up with him, I figured out that I was not as superior as I thought I was, but that I was still completely in charge of my own happiness, my life, my direction.

I realized that pretentiousness was my enemy. I redefined what a fool is: a fool is not the person who is having fun, living a joyful life and is occasionally "acting the fool," but is instead the 21 year old kid who sits in the corner of a party, thinking he/she is better than everyone else. That is not living a joyful life, it is unnecessarily burdening oneself with the job of judgement upon others. I learned how not to hold life away from me, but instead to embrace it. I started climbing trees a lot more. And drinking a lot more whisky, but that's kind of beside the point.

I broke up with Boyfriend with extreme bitterness that he had held me back, and had made me repress parts of me that were extroverted, loud and funny. I'd lost almost all of my friends from high school, or didn't make them in the first place. As an aside, I was told a couple years ago at my 10-year high school reunion, "I had no idea you were such a fun person!"

Needless to say, I went crazy. I partied. I feel no guilt about this. To borrow from a quote from South Park, "There's a time and place for everything, and that's college." I cut loose and had FUN. I met outstanding people from all over the world, many of whom I still keep in touch with and love enormously. The next year, my senior year in college, turns out to be one of the happiest of my life.

But I also developed a bad habit, which formed how the decade developed: I didn't want to force any commitments. Especially with boys. Since Boyfriend, I have dated, and while my love life was steady (at least until The Kid), I refused to make ultimatums, I refused to date anyone seriously ever since.

Fast forward a couple of years. I moved back to Ireland. I settled down a lot, studied toward a masters degree. But I still wouldn't "date" anyone. I broke up with the nicest, cutest, sweetest Irish boy ever because he wanted to date seriously. I prefered the non-commital types. I wanted to give the milk out for free, because the cow wasn't for sale in the first place.

And then I got knocked up.

Things begin to change enormously from this point on. I learned responsibility for one's choices, as I made the single most important choice of my life, to have The Kid. I quit my master's program. I moved home to Denver, a place that I cried about returning to a mere year prior.

I can't stress this enough: I learned that we choose our own directions, and that we own those choices. Even if you regret it, you own it. Even if you feel like you are a spinning out of control, you still own the spinning.

And now, on to Motherhood. I've learned things I never knew about myself. I learned what unconditional love means. I learned that my body is a very accomodating hotel and restaurant (tm, Mr. Lady). I learned about the instinctual love and protection-urge that comes with having a baby.

On the other end of the spectrum, I learned that a crying infant gives you rage, rage that is so completely and totally unadmittable, but is also so totally there, and must be dealt with. I learned what sleep deprivation is. I had to deal with the shame of having a kid who has bipolar fits and rages in public, and how to not just want to dig a hole and hide from the judgemental stares of strangers.

I've learned that I'm capable. And how to ignore those strangers, because who are they but the parenting version of the pretentious party-goer? Fools.

So, Boyfriend of Ten Years Ago, you were totally right. When I look with my mind's eye at the girl in the dorm room ten years ago, I think again to the lightyears I've grown in these ten years. I'm still growing hair in places I don't want to hair to grow (I had to pluck a nasty hag-hair off of my chin recently, you are welcome for the TMI), I have truly become a fully reproductive human being, having reproduced and all. But emotional maturity? Most definitely yes. I no longer have that 20's-ish existential angst. Instead, realization. Purpose. Drive.

So, happy birthday to me. My best friend called me this morning and told me that 30 is the new 21. And I said, I agree, except that we're smarter than to do questionable shots of apple pucker mixed with goldschlager.