Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The Kid: Those girls need to listen to their mother better. [referring to a family of three girls that go to daycare with him]
Me: Yeah, their mom always looks harried and stressed out picking them up. It makes me think of Meema having four daughters, wow. I can't imagine having three girls.
The Kid: What about having three boys?
Me: Oh, it would probably be worse! [pause] Oh, I'm kidding, I'm kidding!!!
The Kid: No, you're probably right.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
- I've reconnected with an old friend, who has a really great website, visit her on myspace, or maybe even buy one of her cds. She is incredibly talented. She is a professionally trained flutist who can dance like no one I've ever seen. She's making some pretty exciting music. Hi Divasonic!!!
- I finally got The Kid to part with a bunch of his baby toys. Or junk. It's an eye of the beholder thing. But anyway, his room is so clean and organized now I just want to move in there.
- The Kid is working really hard on learning how to pronounce L's. So, no more Fa Wa Wa. I cry, because I think that when the L if pronounced will mark the day of the official end of the days of baby.
- I've written this entire post with one hand because the other has been dialing for Elliott on American Idol. I'm an addict. Like, I've got a problem with this show in that I geek out about it so very much. But Dude, this kid really did a great job tonight.
- Regarding my recent theme of dogging on Tom Cruise, I want you all to go read this post from Go Fug Yourself.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
- The Kid and I watch National Lampoon's Vacation. I make him help me clean the kitchen when the "sexy" parts come on. He proves that he is totally my kid when he gets overly concerned with the whole 'Aunt Edna is dead' part, and later tells me that he didn't really like it because they were so mean about her. I hate comedies that involve dead bodies. It makes me really uncomfortable. Vacation gets a pass, however, because on a family road trip, my family pulled a pull-the-car-over-to-the-side-of-the-road, everyone-jumps-out-screaming, not because of a dead aunt, but because of the announcement, "Mom, Molly's wretching!"
- After I get The Kid to bed, I spend the next two hours playing with the new toy I got from my mom on Easter. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I'm not going to go all domestic product placement blog on you, but I swear to God, this is the best thing that ever happened to my bathroom. Seriously, clean your grout with this thing. It was kind of orgasmic.
So, yeah, I've reached that point in my adult life where the most exciting thing that happened to me all weekend was that I found a product that will get the slimy crap out of my grout and aptly cleans the jacuzzi jets in my master bath. And not only that, I am so psyched about it that I've chosen to write about it in my blog.
I'm so awesome.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
He's used the word "win-win," and that's a very important concept when it comes to economics that are mutually beneficial.
-George Bush, in reference to Hu Jintao, and trade between China and the US.
The president is so smart, I bet he went to college.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The Kid generally has had his rages at school. He has definitely threw his fits with me as well, but the environment at home has been more conducive to settling down. Again, a guess.
But The Kid has three main environments. Home, School and Daycare.
So, if the first four years of his life were struggles at home (sleep deprivation, night terrors, a little something called plank, my own struggles of figuring out how to do all of this motherhood stuff, my insistence that he was exceptional to doctors' deaf ears, etc), and the next two years were struggles at school and preschool, it is only fitting that we are now having problems at daycare.
The Kid has gone to the same daycare since he turned three years old, with a short hiatus of about 11 months at a formal county-run preschool that I wrote about when I started this blog. He went back to the daycare when he started Kindergarten. My neice and nephew both go and went there (respectively). My sister and I have really come to like the daycare for its diversity (a rarity in our part of town), the teachers and the other kids. It's not your average daycare.
In March, the daycare came under new ownership. Also in March, The Kid started in on mania again. So, last Friday, I arrived to a note on the door informing me that The Kid would be suspended from daycare on Monday because he had bit another child.
The new owner watched me intently while I read the note, waiting for my reaction. I'm trying not to go into the place where I think she was judging me as she watched me read, but I can't shake the idea that she was. She had a look on her face like, bring it on, mama-of-the-terrible-child.
I very calmly told her that we needed to talk. I told her that The Kid has a disability. It's called bipolar disorder, aka manic depression. Bipolar manifests itself in children very differently than it does in adults. Instead of distinct depression or mania, you see anger. The Kid's anger has really been boiling over lately, and this is something that I am very aware of. I also told her that he knows that he is not to hurt anyone, and that it is his job to keep himself and others safe. But his fits of rage are not misbehavior in a traditional way, but a kind of chemically induced state, which inhibits his ability to process the information that other children can when they are frustrated. The end result is rage, and in this case, a bitemark. I stressed again that the rage is part of his disability. Disciplining The Kid by suspending him from school when his disability is causing the trouble would be like punishing a kid with asthma for having an asthma attack. In short, it will have no effect. I told her that I understand that she has to be concerned about the other children's safety and that this is a private daycare, and not a public school, so she can expell us if she wishes. If she is intent, however, of following a protocol of suspensions leading to expulsion, we will have to find another daycare. Basically, this kind of setup for discipline is a sure recipe for failure when it comes to The Kid, and bipolar disorder.
She was speechless. She asked for information about bipolar disorder. End of discussion.
The Kid stayed with my mom on Monday, and had an absolutely AWESOME day. Because there are no challenges with rage when you are hanging out with your favorite person on the planet.
He's back now, but I'm waiting to see if they are willing to accomodate The Kid and bipolar disorder.
It's a tough proposition to "explain" your child's misbehavior as I did. I want to stress that I'm not saying it's okay. Instead, I'm saying that there are a lot of strategies that one uses with a "normal" kid that won't work with a bipolar or otherwise explosive child. One of the recent amazing things I read recently said that if we are trying to teach our explosive child how to be more flexible and to work with his frustration better, the worst thing we can do is be inflexible. The "because I said so, that's why" style of discipline in all cases is just asking for more rage, and more than that, is setting a terrible example. For a daycare worker or even a teacher, this is a huge paradigm shift to ask for.
It's also a huge thing to ask a basically untrained daycare teacher to work the common strategies of proactive discipline that is required in dealing with The Kid.
The onus is on me as a parent to educate. I think I'm going to have to write an essay or something. Like a formal report on The Kid's bipolar disorder, his cycles, our personal 'buzzwords' for his feelings and strategies that will work for us. I could then just pass them out to anyone that has any regular contact with him. Because I'm tired of explaining it over and over.
Friday, April 14, 2006
With absolutely no intention of wit, he looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know. Maybe I farted?"
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Tom Cruise is crazy. Everyone agrees. He's in a crazy religion where they think the world, after an invasion of earth by a bunch of freaky alien dudes, was infested with midi-chlorians or something and you have to pay a bazillion dollars for spiritual guidance to rid your body of these thingies. Then, and only then can you be a fully realized human being. A lot of these folks are movie stars, who believe that apotheosis is possible while here on earth. Because they are supah stars! That was your 10 second theology lesson on Scientology.
I've had little reaction to scientology except to think two things about it:
1. Dude, do they really believe that?
2. I think Bono, Jimmy Carter and I could think of a few other things these rich folks could do with their money to help them feel like better people.
That was, of course, until I heard about the silent childbirth stuff. It's fair to say that now, the gloves are off.
I've read around about it, just because at first it sounds so preposterous. From what I understand, it is okay for the woman to grunt. So, grunting is okay. But actually communicating is not okay. FOR SEVEN DAYS. Feel free to insert your own Andrew Dice Clay joke here, about how the ideal woman does not speak, okay? Anyway, according to L. Ron Hubbard, it is traumatic to babies to be born. No doubt, it's a fairly violent act. But his prescription to this is the silence, and no medical tests for seven days.
Before I get to my feminist rant on this, an appeal to mothers: when you met your baby, wasn't one of the most amazing things in the universe watching your baby turn his or her wobbly head toward your voice? The womb is a noisy place. They can hear everything going on inside and outside of you: Every heartbeat, every intestinal gurgle, the vibrations of mamas and others voices. I would think that silence would actually be a pretty disconcerting thing to an infant. But that's not even my issue with it.
Religions have been tough on women through out the ages. Christianity and Judaism state that women's punishment for the fall in the Garden of Eden was pain in childbirth. Islam has women cover themselves up to hide their sexuality. Almost every religion has a "rebirthing" ritual of some sort. A lot of young-man initiation ceremonies throughout the world in aboriginal (as opposed to monotheistic) societies are fairly literal about cleansing young men of having been born of the vagina, and rebirthing them into the world of man. Our culture has baptism, which can be seen as a pristine (again, cleansing) birth into the society of the church, or the briss, which is a physical alteration of the infant from its state when he was born.
I was raised Catholic, and was taught to admire and pray to my intercessor, the Virgin Mary. Mary was a woman, but perfect. She was a perfect woman because she was a virgin AND a mother. Which is an impossibility for the rest of us women. And because of that, we feel guilty. Because we feel guilty we become very artful at making everyone else feel guilty. And that was your 10 second lesson on Catholicism. [and I feel guilty about writing this, because it's holy week]
It seems as though religion has two main aims. It explains what happens to us after we die (which is helpful), and it explains away what happens to us when we are born (which helps some people feel better, but ultimately takes the power of creation from the woman). Women are getting screwed, here, do you get what I'm saying here?
So, the silent birth. If a woman chooses to not verbalize during her labor, I have no problem with that. But dictating that a woman MAY NOT verbalize during labor, that IS a problem. What is effectively done in this instance is stripping the woman of choice, and of her power inherent in her biology. I think what L. Ron did with this is to imagine his perfect woman, like a Virgin Mary. She does not express pain. She does not express wild feminine power. She is silent. Ultimately, she is invisible.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Maybe I'm just not as happy. I should IM more.
Friday, April 07, 2006
So, we were treated to a private room, lots to nosh on, and much like a time share deal, we had to sit through a quick informational meeting about the sponsoring company. The Kid was quite good through the meeting, drawing on napkins and eating potato chips. I think he gets that it's all part of how mommy gets to take him to do him cool stuff.
One of the downsides to this is that The Kid ends up thinking that all sporting events are private parties, with access to players, mascots, free stuff. I took him to a baseball game last year (paid for it myself, so we sat in the $5 seats), and at one point he turned to me and said, "So, when do they bring the dessert cart by?"
The Kid is one of those extraordinary individuals that amazing things always seem to happen to him. Remember the VIP seats at e-Town? Every time we go somewhere, something happens. He once met David Lee Roth, which I realize is extraordinary or not depending on where you stand on the whole Dave/Sammy debate, but it is something that most of us have NOT done, so there's that.
Back to tonight: The Denver Nuggets have just about the best mascot since the San Diego Chicken. Okay, Rocky is cooler than the chicken. The person that in in that suit is seriously a body actor in the Andy Serkis realm. He is capable of scaling the interior of the Pepsi Center. It's pretty cool.
The Kid decided that he was entitled to meeting Rocky. I had to explain that Rocky was working and that he doesn't meet kids during the game, as the lame dinosaur of our local baseball team does. The Kid wouldn't take no for an answer. And, sure enough, as if The Kid bent his will, Rocky climbed up (no, like literally. He climbs over chairs and people right through the middle of the section. Rocky don't take the aisle, yo.) into our section and climbed pretty much right over our heads, but he did not stop at us. The Kid was so psyched, but it wasn't enough. He wanted to HUG him. He wanted to MEET him. So The Kid sulked. I was with coworkers. It wasn't pretty.
One of my favorite co-workers was next to us through the game. He's met The Kid numerous times, as he is one of my favorite co-workers. He's also a grandpa. So, at The Kid's sulking, his grandpa gene kicked in, and sure enough, after halftime, he appeared with a beanie with the Nugget's insignia and Rocky on it. If I didn't know this co-worker and his tendancy to take his grandchildren to every cartoon character on ice and spend more money on crap in the concourse than on the tickets for the show. So, I accepted the gift, and The Kid just about cried. I always cringe when The Kid is given anything after being a brat, but he can just always seem to make it work for him. The hat made his night. Literally:
Monday, April 03, 2006
So, this purpose of this post is that I slept on it, I played with The Kid on Sunday, made dinner, put him to bed and watched the Sopranos. Life is like so totally better now! Ohmygod.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
We had an exchange that I can't stop thinking about.
The French have an expression called l'esprit de l'escalier, which describes the realization of the most perfect and witty or fitting comeback in a conversation well after the conversation took place. You can roughly translate it into 'staircase wit.' This is one of those many linguistic phrases I think of all of the time, because I am thinking about things I could or should have said roughly 80% of the time while falling asleep.
On the converse, I occasionally come back with exactly what I need to say. The exchange I'm about to describe is one of these, but I am still haunted with thoughts circling my head after we hung up the phone. This proves that even when you say the exact thing you wanted to say, you can still occassionally continue to think of it as you descend the stairs immediately after the conversation, as you fall asleep the night following the conversation, as you grocery shop the day after the conversation, and while you watch bad VH1 tv shows while you clean your house a good 24 hours after the conversation.
So, let me set the scene.
Interior, bedroom, spring afternoon. "Molly," our protagonist, is on the telephone with "Pdoc," a kindly psychologist, discussing the difficulties finding other psychologists within Molly's insurance network. [please note NO discussion whatsoever of either financial or marital status had been discussed prior to the following]
Molly: ...and so I guess I'm going to have to either start looking for psychologists further from our home or just pay for treatment out of pocket. But you said you had some colleagues you could refer me to that you knew either took my insurance or treated young children. Your voicemail referred to a play therapist near Boulder?
Pdoc: I do have some referrals for you... Is your son's father helping to pay for this?
Molly: [pauses] Excuse me?
Pdoc: Well, I mean, can you get child support to help pay for this?
Molly: [begins to pace nervously around her bedroom in reaction to him nailing the fact that she is single, and due to the immediate pissed-off-ed-ness that she always gets when people assume that because she is a single mom she is destitute] I don't believe I've said anything about either marital status or having a hard time paying for treatment.
Pdoc: I'm just saying that paying full price for psychologicial treatment can be a heavy burden for a single parent.
Molly: Well, adding $120 per week to a double-income family budget is a heavy burden to most the double-income families I know as well. If you are asking if I am single, I am, and you could have asked me my marital status more forthrightly if you were truly curious. Since you are not going to treat my son, I don't see why you would possibly need to know this. I thought you were giving me referrals to psychologists you knew who specialized in treating young children.
Pdoc: Um, I, well, I just mean that I know that treatment is expensive. The name of the play therapist....
Okay. Here is what I can't get off of my mind:
1. The dude knew that I was single. HOW? Did I not "we" him enough, giving him those traditional verbal cues that married people give? Is my preoccupation with wanting to get mental health coverage under the mental health insurance policy that I pay premiums on biweekly a "single mom" thing? Because I'd rather pay a copay than full price? Do married people not deal with the annoyances of insurance and just pay more money because of their blessed two incomes? What the hell? Or, is he psychic? A psychic psychologist?
[side note, I had a friend in grad school who completely freaked out at words that started with P without the P sound, like psych-anything. She told me and another grad student this once after many pints one night. Naturally, the next day we stole a sticky-note pad and littered her desk with these words: Pneumonia! Ptolemy! Psychoanalysis! I think of Madeliene every time I write one of those words now.]
2. How annoying and random was it that he was digging for personal details after he'd told me that he couldn't help me except to give me a referral? Is this just part of the psychologist's psyche or was he being improper? I can't decide on that. It's almost as if he was digging for information, but to what end? Are there treatments or colleagues he would have advised me for or not depending on my marital status?
3. Outside of this conversation, a bit, but in there lies this fact: Being single makes people uncomfortable. I am fully aware that in other cultures, or in the past, I would have been stoned to death or put to work in the laundries or work houses, The Kid given to an orphanage. I am lucky to be an American in the 21st century considering the nature of my single-motherhood. This does not change the fact that single motherhood makes people really freaking uncomfortable. It is assumed that we are poor. It is assumed that we don't care about our children's education. It is assumed that we are irresponsible. You may read this and think, "I'd never assume that about someone." And in all honesty this is as much about me and my feelings as it is about the feelings of others, but it's out there, and I can't ignore it. I see it in the faces of coworkers at company (family) picnics. I see it in the faces of mom's at school who [secretly pitying me] say, "I don't know how you do it." And I hear it in the voices of psychologists I will never meet. They are uncomfortable with my single-ness. I know I'll get an amen from all of the single girls [Sarah, shout out!] out there mothers or not when I say, I'm not single for any other reason except that I've yet to find a suitable partner to be in my life. And I'm not willing, for one second, to settle for anything less than a suitable partner. I see married people all too often married to someone who is not a fitting partner. I can't do that. I have a child, and myself, to think about. Seriously, though, I think a lot more people would be more comfortable with me if I had a husband, any husband, to bandy about in "we's" and "ours" in conversations. Like that would make my life easier. Like because I was married it would suddenly assumed that I could afford medical care (because married people never struggle financially?), or that would illuminate how I "do it all," parenting while working 40 hours per week, like there aren't millions of married American women doing the exact same thing as I. It is infuriating.
So, yeah. I think I said what I needed to say to that psychologist, but clearly, l'esprit de l'escalier would have had me wage a full on single-woman-who-happens-to-be-the-mother-of-a-special-needs-child war on his ass. Sometimes I think it's better left unsaid, but nevertheless I'm really glad I have this blog to tell it to the stairs.