I could be paraphrasing this one, but the title was actually a line from G-uno and BFF’s dad. I’ve never so fully understood it until having a kid myself. Granted, … Continue reading parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth (g2)
OK, so today wasn’t the epicness it usually is. I love my kid, my Spawn, I thoroughly do.
They are a 60/40 split of the other contributor’s and my genetic makeup (not in my favor) in all the visual ways and they got all the good bits. 99.999999% of all the shit that comes out of my kid’s mouth is riddled with me.
I know this.
Spawn hit their teen years at age two. I’m hoping any day now is the day they start evolving out of it because since that time, I’m basically a complete moron who will never measure up to the vast amount of knowledge they have about… everything.
I saw a sign recently that said “I’m not young enough to be an expert on everything.”
It’s true, as we get older, we learn what we thought is mostly wrong and it seems to become less as we get older. So wisdom is essentially the acceptance you don’t know shit so you’re more receptive to taking in new information.
Kids deny this, but I bet any of you with kids are nodding your heads sagely and know exactly what I’m talking about.
Spawn and I have all the same problems at any other family really. I get accused of being a broken record, because I’ve gotten three inches from their face to tell them to do the same fucking thing they haven’t done the first seven times I said it.
We’re on over two weeks of this shit and with what I’m already contending with at work, my fuse is short. Most of it I’ve let go because I was too tired to even acknowledge it. Then I tried the question:
“Why is it I’ve asked you to do something, just one thing, four days in a row now and its not touched?”
Response was a series of mumbles and grumbles probably only understood by those 20 and under. I think children should be put under the same study program they have for the pops and whistles whales and dolphins make. Maybe there is some vast wisdom we’re not hearing as parents. Or maybe dolphins and whales are just going “god, my mom is such a dictator and my dad is such a dork, you’ll never believe what they made me to before I got any fish at the fin hop….(because in my world, dolphins listen to 50’s music and watch Flipper)”
Last night was the moment I flipped my shit when I’d said “put it in the microwave for 20 seconds” one time too many and Spawn continued bitching about whatever it was like I hadn’t said anything and continued complaining about the thing I was telling them how to fix and that’s when it exploded to:
“ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF OR DO YOU JUST THINK I’M STUPID!?!? PUT IT IN THE FUCKING MICROWAVE FOR 20 FUCKING SECONDS ALREADY SO YOU CAN STOP BITCHING ABOUT IT.”
And once a parent has hit the point they engage language only preserved for the high seas, it becomes a general flood of every indiscretion AT LEAST since the last time you bitched.
Kids, the reason we sound like a broken record is because you continue to pull the same shit. Find something new to fuck up and stop doing the old one and the tune will change. Thank you.
Everything from not getting one chore done in the last three weeks to the bread being left open was all addressed in very loud detail.
Of course, the child response to this… the classic eyeroll.
Then the “you just hate me,” another classic.
“I just can’t do anything right!” (To which I respond, “leave off the last word and change ‘can’t’ for ‘won’t’ and you are right”)
It’s annoying, and I wish I knew the magic bullet that would finally break through that barrier between kid and parent, but essentially it boils down to:
- Don’t ever think the mere blink of life that you have been on this world will ever compare the length of mine in wisdom. The things I have experienced and have surpassed give me a perspective and a knowledge base that you, if I get it right, will never have to know.
- I’m still learning and I fuck up, I know that. Throwing mine in my face without acknowledging my progresses makes yours fair game. Don’t fight dirty.
- You may have an unusual parent, but you in no way have a stupid one.
- Kids are meant to rebel, that’s a given, but do it effectively. If my open-mindedness isn’t evolving with the times, that is a good time to open a dialogue that “rebels” with my thought processes.
- Otherwise, until you are contributing in a productive way instead of just a smart mouth, you can shut the fuck up or write a congressman, join a protest, or sign a petition instead.
- Roll your eyes again and I will carve them out with a grapefruit spoon.
- What you’re not getting is I carry the weight of our small world on my shoulders. The bills, the chores, the errands, all the little things that keep us going. I don’t ask for help to be mean, I ask because its just too heavy for me to carry all the time and you’re capable of carrying some of it too.
- I love you more than you will ever know.
Even when he was small he was large.
He slept with such content that even the angels envied his peace.
My eyes held his every breath with such closeness
that his breaths became mine.
As he grew, so did I.
I’m not sure anymore how much detail I’ve gone into, I’m too lazy to go look at any prior posts of mine about health. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, just like Grand. Unlike Grand though, I don’t hide twinkies and say I bought them “for the kids” or a 10 lb bag of oranges and eat them over a few days because I’m too lazy to cook for one.
I do however, have an intense love of chocolate and had (my meds make me crave meat now, go figure) a sweet tooth so fierce I’d make myself sick. I could never understand why, but my doc said that since I’d always ran a low sugar until now, I would of course crave it. I used to have a blood sugar of about 74 shortly after eating. I know only because I had a type 1 boss who would stick you anytime you alluded to not feeling perfect.
I’m on a pill twice a day. I’m thankful I don’t have to use insulin, for now. I’m also glad I’m not having to stick myself, for now. My numbers have been getting better minisculely, not rapid enough for the instant gratification loving person than I am. I know that this is a process, but the process, to me should be faster than 10 lbs in three months.
Walking… hurts right now. But I do as much as I can. I would love to swim, but have no access to such in a reasonable time frame or distance. If I tried to do yoga, I’d fall and hurt myself. My body is not fully under my control right now.
I’ve always berated myself for being a food-addicted by-product of bad genes and a worse upbringing, but I don’t think that is the whole story.
I distinctly remember crying over a plate of food because I couldn’t eat anymore and I thought I would be in trouble. Grand always fixed our plates for a 300 lb grown man and then demanded that we eat everything. My mom tossed the plate I was crying over in the trash and spent the next hour trying to de-program a short lifetime of conditioning.
I was suicidal by age seven, depression came on pretty hard when the hormones did in my preteens, and so did about 10 or so extra pounds. At that point, I didn’t have any major body issues, I figured my next growth spurt would probably iron it all out, as I was still a kid.
That is, of course, until I sent to my Aunt from Hell’s house for the summer. She promptly slapped me on the Atkin’s diet, droned on about “ketosis” and fed me shitty unsweetened yogurt and unripe blueberries. It would be twenty years before I would ever willingly taste another blueberry.
I had one friend I made that summer and was thrilled when they invited me over for a sleepover. Anything to get out of that bitch’s house. Their dad made homemade vanilla ice cream, a treat I’d never had in my life. I ate one small scoop, since I was trying to keep to the Fuhrer’s strict rules.
I was subsequently screamed at for an hour when they found out.
Years later, when same aunt was giving me advice about the “delicate psyche” of children before Spawn was born, I brought up this small page in our history. I also told her I used to find her terrifying.
her:”…………….I’m….. I’m so sorry”
me:”kind of fucking late to regret now, isn’t it?”
I think that was the only time I ever heard that woman apologise for anything. She is Grand’s twin in many ways.
My twenties, I ended up with the marital fluff that comes from too much indifference and entirely too much meat and potato-based meals. When we split, I’d put on 30 or so lbs. I lost any taste for soft drinks and spent the first month or so gorging on as many raw vegetables as I could get my hands on. Not because I was dieting, but because I craved them. I didn’t count anything, didn’t weigh anything, I ate what I was in the mood for, including a 3 scoop variety bowl of ice cream with all the crap on it. I took up yoga, I loved it. I felt centered for the first time in my life.
I did weigh myself though. I had a mental number I wanted to reach and when I was within five pounds of it, I decided to take up a judo class. The first month, I instead gained five pounds but had dropped a pant size. It was my first epiphany in how little numbers mean.
The second was with a friend of mine who also had the desire to lean down, while we were at a pub crawl (I did mention I gave up nothing, right?). We were on bar three and moving to bar four. It was probably just a couple blocks to the next one and my friend and I were chatting and laughing and outpacing everyone. We passed two individuals who represented everything we were trying to achieve, size-wise. As we passed, we heard one complain about being exhausted and their feet hurting. The other responded in agreement. My friend and I looked at one another and I simply said “maybe we need to rethink our priorities…,” they simply responded “indeed.”
When Spawn was known but in the works, I ended up taking care of Grand, a noncompliant diabetic. I never understood what Grand thought they were accomplishing by not checking their sugar and lying about what they ate. They lost their eyesight and their independance, and its by sheer miracle they didn’t lose an appendage or have to go on dialysis.
While they were under my care, they dropped about 9 sizes. I cleaned out all the garbage and started cooking my normal jive. Grand was a shopping junkie, so I took them grocery shopping about three times a week. It seems excessive but I refused to keep any mass quantities of fruit (their main addiction) and Grand always had to walk down every aisle each visit.
Let me repeat that…. they had to walk down every aisle each and every time. Even if nothing had changed, nothing moved, nothing.
I played a game of trying to find the biggest grocery stores I could that still kept only within the food range. Wal-Mart was off-limits except for only special trips (moments I wouldn’t go postal spending days in a store). With Grand’s macular degeneration, they would obsessively grab shit and put it in their cart and I would pull it out of the other side and put it back. I tried to keep the splurge tab in the 10-15 range so the high could be obtained without the expenditure. Grand was a junkie when it came to shopping, folks. I would bribe anyone of you to do my shopping for me.
Grand:”I could have sworn I got more than this…”
Me:”hmmm, nope… you were a bit picky today.”
With Grand getting exercise on these trips, so I enforced the rule of only 2-3 pieces of fruit and each had to be a different color (probably the only thing they could see anyway) under the agreement we would come back when they ran out. When I refused to allow them the 10 lb bag of oranges, I got a call from one of her children about how I wasn’t feeding Grand. The 9 pant sizes and the elimination of two of their medications for sugar (there were four) seemed to support this. I did mention I was the evil black sheep of the family right? I fed Grand how I liked to eat, they had 3 squares and 2 snacks a day, and it worked.
My thirties, the weight crawled on while taking care of Spawn. Getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night with absolutely no break, full-time work and a kid who would scream if they had to consume anything besides chicken nuggets and french fries all summed up to a good 80 or more lbs. I responded the way I had in the past but with prepackaged salads, cooking mass quantities of meals and shoving them in the freezer (the first time around I had more than me to cook for with friends, roommates and my mom around all the time).
I tried to involve Spawn in my yoga. It didn’t go well and I wasn’t able to focus on it like I had when I could do it by myself, so I scheduled it when they were asleep. The weight also wasn’t budging either, even reviving the old habits. But this was a decade later.
I started counting calories for the first time. I hated it. I was hungry all the time and it felt like a full time job. I tried several calculations and set an amount that would hit a 2 lb weight loss a week, and it still didn’t budge much. I would knock off another 100 calories until I started losing again, but I was so damn hungry.
I started walking every other day. I found out one of my blocks was about 2 miles around, the other almost 3, so I walked both each time. BFG bought me some walking sticks because we had read it could help with strength training and your posture so you could walk faster. I didn’t even care if I looked stupid. I read so much material on nutrition and weight and exercise that, just like parental advice, it began to contradict each other.
I managed to knock off about half the weight. I’d had to give up caffeine due to an ulcer, and my last vice was smoking. When my cholesterol came back elevated, that went too. I was ok about it when I gained 12 lbs from quitting. I thought it’d be more. But I still had 30+ lbs left to go and it refused to budge.
Then I came home one day and my legs ached when I walked, my arms ached, I couldn’t get a full breathe, my brain ached. I was so mentally drained I felt like I’d been trying to do calculus without paper. I felt like I’d run a marathon and every bit of liquid I’d had in my body was focused completely around my legs like a pair of saline pants I couldn’t remove. I moved like Grand at 80, the 50 yards to the bed felt like Mount Saint Helen, so I crashed on the couch most of the time.
I slept at least a dozen hours every time I could, more on the weekend. It was insanely difficult to get up in the morning. I was always stiff, always tired, always hurting. I had donned a gorilla costume the Halloween before and chased Spawn for hours while they knocked on door after door and now I had no chance in hell of standing at a stove for thirty minutes to cook anything. I couldn’t stand five minutes without whimpering.
My doc tried upping my anti-depressants, my cholesterol problem magically disappeared but my blood pressure was elevated, no that’s no longer a problem but your triglycerides are weird, nope, now its your thyroid. No wait…. DIABETES!
It stayed like that for almost six years now, and over 100 lbs this time. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was sitting at 11 in misery. Of course, over those 6 years I felt like cooking very little, drive-throughs often providing our only major meals. This pleased Spawn, but not me. Crap makes you feel like crap, but I wanted hot meals and had no desire to make anything. I could stare at a full fridge and could not come up with a single thing to make. I felt like I was dead.
I still pretty much feel dead, maybe a zombie walker? My last visit we talked while I was getting checked out for a sinus infection (before the nurse told me to bend over). Cooking at home is now outweighing how much we grab. “Grabbing” dinner involves salads and lean meals at least half the time when I can find places that serve good food. I’m beginning to feel like I am at 8, sometimes 7 on good days. I’d lost 10 lbs… but in 3 months. It only took 6 months for that 100+ lbs to slam itself on and at that point, I was sleeping more than I was doing anything else. I even slowly weaned myself off the anti-depressant to see if maybe I wasn’t having some weird reaction to them.
So I’m at the point where I’m considering gastric bypass. I feel like I will continue to lose this battle with my own body unless I do something drastic. I have no intention of losing the war. I just need better artillery and the older I get, the harder this battle is getting.
I have read something about transfer addiction, and I used to think I had an addictive personality, but when I’ve set my mind to toss something out, I don’t go back. Chantix starts you out with 3 months, I quit in one, I kept another week of the pills to help with situations of temptation and donated the rest to a fellow smoker looking to quit. I’ve never looked back. I felt pretty smug sitting at an outdoor table with a pack of chain smokers with no desire to join them. I knew then I was done for good.
If I get my emotional brain to shut up, my logical brain tells me “remember that time you refused to drop the calculus class with the Russian professor you could never understand? It’s like that and it’s time to ask for help.”
Have you guys ever considered or done anything this drastic? I know I’m tired of just existing and now that Spawn is older, this is not at all the way I want them to remember me. I want to go on trips now, to experience now, to live NOW. Six years was too much already.
Spawn has just me.
I have no siblings, a cousin whom I only get along with for three day or less periods, an absent dad I flipped off once over thirty years ago, a dead mom, no living grandparents.
On the other end, there is a shitty biological donor with mental and drug-related problems, one dead sibling, an absent dad, absent half-siblings, a dead mom, no living grandparents.
Don’t get me wrong, if you dig past that, I have a couple aunts and some more cousins, but we don’t see each other much since we aren’t close. I’m the evil black sheep of the family and I’m to be kept away from the straights lest some of my bohemian lifestyle wear off on their offspring.
My BFG is like the only second parent to Spawn. They seem to be kindred souls in many ways, they both have an addiction to bacon and pasta that is unmatched and often, BFG’s presents to Spawn kick mine’s ass. They just “get” my kid.
Spawn’s other donor and I met in art class in high school actually. Then we parted for years because, life, and when I met them again, they were able to put on a reasonable facade of the person they used to be, but the cracks showed up pretty quickly and the whole thing ended.
When Spawn became exclusively mine, legally and otherwise, I figured that the questions about the other donor would be better if I made them up. We split a long time before either of us knew Spawn was a factor and its a miracle they came so healthy.
However, the other donor actually asked if they could be a part of Spawn’s life. I told them the door was open but if they pulled any shit, I reserved the right to end it immediately.
At first, this was a weekly pick-up from daycare and they would go for a walk at a park or something until dinner. It dwindled over the course of a year or so and then it would be nothing.
Almost annually, usually around their birthday (they couldn’t be bothered to remember Spawn’s), they popped up for a little while, want to see Spawn, then disappear like a bad dream. Once they decided popping pills and driving were a good combination, Spawn was no longer allowed to be alone with them, much less in a car.
I tried very hard to work things in such a way that Spawn had a great memory of their other donor without becoming aware of just how messed up they were. I would pick them up, schedule a “them” focused day and kind of linger in the background. Spawn had a great time, the other donor earned some points, and I didn’t have to deal with the shit for another year.
Example: Spawn wanted donor to watch them at karate class, I dropped them off, went down the road to run a load of laundry, to come back and find out donor has taken off across the street to a place that, not an hour before, they told me they used to buy drugs.
The last one was about five years ago or so when the other donor, who is currently ordered to pay a pittance in child support (seriously, $40/week is the order, I agreed to whatever would get me out of there fastest since they originally ordered $80) decided that in order to get out of this monetary infringement so they could pool their resources for better prescription drugs, they needed to get married. Apparently, they assumed that being married would automatically grant them half-custody and they would not longer have to pay child support.
So the other donor decided to disappear for a month and brought back a spouse from… god knows where. They lived like a recluse so none of us could figure out where they found this person. The donor has a house (paid for) and car (paid for) they inherited when their mom died, plus some actual monetary inheritance. I don’t know the last time they actually had a job, so I have no clue what the hell they thought they were doing. Usually I get a fat lump check whenever the court threatens to toss them in jail, since they’d already done so once.
The marriage didn’t last a month, despite the fact the spouse was apparently at least slightly crazy too. Friending me and Spawn on facebook and gushing about the “happy family” and “fast friends” they hope will be kind of made my stomach lurch. I ran interference before Spawn saw any of it often.
I watched the crazy sort of run its course, talked to a lawyer, found they didn’t have a leg to stand on, and just waited to let them run it to exhaustion. The only thing I had to say about it was to keep their crap away from me and Spawn. There would be no further visits for now.
This was the catalyst for them to release apparently a lot of pent up vile they have been holding onto against me. They couldn’t have their way, so I was the monster. I won’t get into it too much, it makes me rather ill, but when they decided in their drug-addled brain, to send my grade school kid this long facebook message about how I raped them and that was the only reason they existed,and I also apparently orchestrated the goings-on of the entire world with my genitals, being nothing more than a devious puppet-master.
I saved it. I blocked them, blocked their number, and sent everything to social services and family court, along with my only response. I told them if they thought they had a leg to stand on, they were welcome to take me to court, that they had no visitation rights, I had full custody and they had nothing, including the three bottles of prescriptions meds they ordered online, which I listed by name, by quantity and how many were left during the 10 days they had been in their possession before they had their stomach pumped (I was friends with their mom, and their mom’s best friend. The last time donor went to the ER for a stomach pump, the friend did some housecleaning and gave them to me as a backup plan).
That the true problem could be known quite clearly by simply pulling their medical records for the last twenty years and talking to the only person(s) who would still have anything to do with them, since they only did so in honor of their mother.
I told them if they ever wanted to see Spawn again they would have to submit to a mental exam and a rehab program, and only after an extended time of passing both, with court supervision.
It wasn’t long, a couple months, for the silence to end and I get a text from a number I don’t recognize with an apology. I respond with “too late” and block that one too. So far, they have tried to reconnect only twice. A few days ago, marks the third. Spawn and I both got a friend request from yet another account they have created, since I blocked all the others. They are convinced I’m just going to forget and forgive just because they play nice for now.
I only know because Spawn asked if I wanted them to block it. Spawn remembers when I told them the donor was no longer to be around us, that they had gone too far but I wanted them to keep the few good memories they had so I would not be getting into the details of why, but to please trust me that I was doing it for good reason. Spawn cried of course, but eventually figured out over the years that I wouldn’t do something like that with half-assed feelings.
Donor gave Spawn a ball once, one they’d shoplifted. Other than that, the other donor spends their time inhaling copious amounts of prescriptions and alcohol, spewing word salad and trying to pass it off as poetry and making shitty art. Even Spawn said “all there is on their facebook is badly taken photos and crappy poetry.”
The donor’s birthday is a little over a month away. I had always tried to acknowledge the big gift-giving occasions on behalf of Spawn. Of course, that stopped years ago when I noticed that the reciprocation was never there. As usual, this is a test to see if they can eek back in. I don’t know if selfish acknowledgement is the only motivation.
I’d like to think there is one tiny speck of humanity in there that realizes Spawn is their only living family left. Unfortunately, my very next thought is the only reason why any of this would matter to this particular piece societal garbage is for what exploiting Spawn would get them. They are a taker, they give nothing.
So my response was simple “pull something like this again and I will involve the police.”
Is it bad to wish they’d just die?
After all the long months of planning our daughter is now a married woman, and in spite of of all the details of the event I managed to remain deeply present in every moment. My fear was never about her choice of who she was marrying, my fear was of being so involved in executing every detail of her wedding that I would not be fully present in the moments.
As I stood in the dressing room watching her calmly handle every decision thrown her way, I was so proud of her graceful way of keeping everyone on task. She’s always been extraordinary in that way. I could here all the buzzing around us, but she kept looking at me in a way that let me know she was also focusing on being completely present in the moment too. She and I have always been able to speak to one another without words, we flow easily with each other.
I could see that she was happy, and that everything around her had fallen gently into place. I told her how beautiful she was, then I kissed her cheek. As I walked out of her dressing room I caught my husband’s eye, and nodded that it was time. I looked around at the wedding party. Our son was a groomsman, the four of us are extremely close so once again there was no need for words.
Then I made my way into the room where every guest was seated. The room was beautifully lit, every table perfectly set. “Little Miss Magic” was surrounded by her closest family, and friends. I looked at my son-in-law. He was so handsome, smiling, and waiting to see her in her gown. I sat, the music began, and one by one the bridal party came down the aisle. Then my husband with his baby girl entered the room. My son-in-law began to tear up, and in a matter of seconds there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. She was exquisite in every sense of the word, and his reaction to her was complete love. The kind of moment that could not have been scripted by even the world’s most prolific writer.
I looked at each of my loved ones as if time were being captured in slow motion, each of their expressions deeply embedded in my memory. I felt so much love, so much joy. There wasn’t a single thing that we would have changed about this day from the very beginning until the very end. Every single second as precious as the moment before. She and her, father danced to Jimmy Buffet’s “Little Miss Magic.” Her father chose this song for their dance.
As I watched the two of them glide across the dance floor I couldn’t help but remember their first dance around our living room the day we brought her home from the hospital. My husband had the same look of love on his face as he looked at her beautiful little face, and into her big brown eyes. Our little girl is now somebody’s wife, but the truth is she will forever be “Little Miss Magic” to her father, and me. 😉
Spawn is getting to the age of doubt about the whole fat guy thing. I’m a huge proponent of them believing in magic and Santa until they die of old age and as long as I’m alive, I’m going to do my best to do my part to ensure their believe and faith in magic.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to beat the living shit out of other’s people’s children, as much as the idea of snapping them in half by their head and ankles makes me giddy.
The little shits loudly proclaim the fat man false and I loudly counter they must be off the list then, good job, I’d crap in your stocking too with such a positive ‘tude.
It’s amazing I have a mature kid, I’m aware.
I don’t get it. If you no longer wish to believe in Santa, what right does that give you to shit on everyone else? Do they feel they are unveiling some grand conspiracy?
Mind you, I ran into Santa at the ripe old age of… two. Yes, two years old, it is indeed my earliest memory. I fell asleep in a corner hidden behind a violin case and woke up to the noise of Santa. I admit it was jarring, here I’d just barely gotten down the idea of some stranger being in our house only to find out the unique truth to that almost immediately after, but I’m an only child. I was ok with the idea I didn’t have to share Santa.
With Spawn, I’ve had to be realistic early. With an observant older cousin and a wise soul, I’ve had to be quick on the draw about a lot of things:
- Why do some kids have so much less/more than I do?
- Because as parents, we get a bill from Santa. He makes the magic and we provide the resources. Not all parents have the same resources. Not all kids want the same things. Some don’t want Santa at all.
- Why do some kids get nothing?
- Like all resources, even Santa has a limit. He gets to as many children as much as he can. Grown-ups try to help where they can as well and step in sometimes where Santa just cannot reach, but there will always be some that are missed, so matter how hard we try. Maybe one day we can say every kid who wishes for Santa will have him.
- My friend Muhammed al Hinkerschmidtbach says Santa never visits him, why not? Whose Saint Nick? Whose Kristkind? Whose Krampus?
- He doesn’t visit every child, he visits those who believe in him and wish for him, i.e. Jewish and many other religions do not welcome Santa. He also exists in different forms based on location. Krampus is a scary fucker and why I will not be moving to Germany, like ever. Be glad you’re a good kid and shut up about that one or he might show up like Bloody Mary. Who suddenly wants to binge watch some Netflix?
- Waaaaaahhh! I can’t go to sleep! Santa is going to skip over me!!!!
- No worries, he actually texted and said he was held up with Ming-Lau over in China, you have some time to get drowsy, let’s make some cocoa.
- Isn’t this the wrapping paper Santa used on my gifts last year?
- Well that fat bastard! Why the hell should I have to clean up after his ass. (Spawn’s response: “Guess I know why you don’t get visits from Santa…”)
Spawn writes long notes to the tooth fairy and gets pissed when she doesn’t write back. Spawn has done the same with Santa for ages. I dutifully mail Santa letters off to North Pole, AK every year but Spawn likes to cut it very close and too often their wish list is left out with the cookies. I’ve had to explain on more than one occasion that if I wasn’t emailing updates they wouldn’t have gotten anything. It doesn’t seem to phase them. It’s like there is an unwavering faith at the same time there is doubt.
This year, Spawn’s philosophical question to Santa this year is:
“When do kids not get stuff from you anymore, what’s the limit? Adults still want things, but they are too old.”
Suggestions on how to respond?
Also, and possibly my favorite part of the letter:
“I want to wish you and everyone else on this planet Merry Christmas, whether they are old, young, poor, rich, nice or mean. Remember to wish them that when you stop by.”
Yesterday was speech therapy with “The Baby” otherwise known as “The King” in “Little Man’s” household. The “Baby has not yet been given a diagnosis, but he is most assuredly somewhere within the Autism Spectrum. Unlike his middle brother “Little Man,” the baby severely struggles with speech. He is three now, he cannot speak to you in full sentences, and his vocabulary is quite limited.
What he lacks in speech, he more than makes up for in intelligence. He is off the charts smart, and stellar in his ability to communicate in nonverbal exchanges. His inability to communicate his point in words brings out his adult -sized frustration, and his adult-sized temper. He is petite in stature, very easy on the eyes, but he has been known to strike fear in the hearts of the less than savvy adults who do not easily pick up on his particular communication style.
I am favored in his kingdom because he, and I communicate very well together. His speech therapist who was less than enthralled by his “King-like” behavior has grown to love him as I do. He is unusually charismatic. She has also come to understand that he uses his adult-sized temper as a way of avoiding the one thing he is not stellar at…speaking. Plus she is as much a hard ass as he is when she wants things done in her way. She is a great therapist, and he is thriving under her care.
The “Baby” loves books so he, and I do a lot of reading together in between appointments. Yesterday I introduced him to “The Bernstein Bears.” As we were looking over the beautiful illustrations I pointed out the daddy bear, the mommy bear, both brother & sister bear, as he sat curled up in my lap. He is extraordinarily smooshy too. There was another female bear in the picture, and before I could tell him who she was he pointed at her, and said “That’s the Mrs G-uno bear.”
I’m not sure which part delighted me more, the part where he spoke a sentence with complete clarity, or the fact that his family has a “G-uno bear.” 😉
I warn you now, my head is still filled with all the epic ways I still love Skyrim and some of the stuff that irks the crap out of me, so there may be a sequel to that one.
With that said, I asked Spawn one day “Do I troll you?”
To which Spawn responded with: “…. a little bit.”
Now if you’ve never heard of the term trolling, click the link and it will give you a bit of the internet history of it being basically a person who stirs up shit for their own amusement. That’s the very minimalist version, most true trolls are epic assholes. I don’t think I’ve hit quite that level.
Trolling my kid started from an early age, back even in diapers.
When Spawn was in the potty training stage, Spawn was perfect with toilet use at home, but always ended up in those damn pull-ups when I went to pick them up from daycare. Spawn didn’t want to stop playing to go to the bathroom and would intentionally go in their underpants to get a diaper put on.
I loudly informed the teacher with Spawn in hand, that if Spawn let it go in their underpants again they were to sit it in for a few minutes, just toss a bag over them and put them in a corner that you couldn’t smell and just let them enjoy their own stench. Overhearing this, Spawn never had another “accident.”
Spawn was going through the raging tantrum stage… now, I will say I was lucky and can only recall three really major episodes, all of which ended with either a bathroom or car visit (because of course they were public) and some sensitizing of a tiny backside, however there would be days when Spawn would be manipulating all of my hot buttons. One particular day, I leaned over and very low and soft I said, “you know, I do like you a LOT better than I did my other children.” The wide-eyed realization that crossed that face still makes me laugh.
The rest of that day was very quiet.
Oh and for those against the whole spanking thing, I say… meh. I tried the timeout thing once and ended up with a metal chair almost thrown at my head (Spawn was 3). A couple smacks to the butt might sting a few seconds, but then it’s over, your position of parental authority is reinforced (for a while at least) and I’m never disengaging as a parent (Who’s that time out really for?). So if you’re counting, Spawn has had three, maybe four spankings their entire life…so far.
When Spawn started trick-or-treating, I had already heard all the parents who bemoaned all the costume accessory crap they would end up carrying around before the night even got started. So I headed that one off really early by telling Spawn to only wear what they would wear all night because I had to keep my hands free in order to fight zombies, should any show up. To this day, Spawn will still carry my keys.
Spawn was going through a stage of toddler rebellion, I realized that what they wanted was a choice. So I figured out how to give a choice without it being a choice. “Do you want to get in the tub on your own or would you like me to throw you in?” It was rude, but it gave my kid a choice and things calmed down.
I used to often teasingly say to Spawn as a toddler, “Don’t make me beat you…” This backfired when my words were teasingly tossed back at me in the local store “Please don’t beat me!” *snicker*
Guess turnabout is fairplay…
I won’t accept that.
Nowadays, I troll Spawn by giving them vivid details of bathroom visits, or offering to take a picture.
Spawn has never been embarrassed to be around me… at least yet, so threatening to black out teeth has done little to amuse me. However, dropping them off at school and calling after them with a sad “I’ll miss you” when they are halfway across the courtyard garners me at least one good glare.
I will randomly text Spawn things like “It’s been too long, I don’t remember what you look like anymore” when they’re in school.
I tease constantly about this time-space that seems to only exist for kids in which when you say “a few minutes” this seems to translate to 30 to a kid. Spawn has been cooking dinner for us lately and a 30 minute recipe will take them an hour and a half.
“Is that in your minutes or real ones?”
And actually, Spawn’s interpretation of recipe reading has a lot to be desired. I had tried one of those food delivery services during the summer. With Spawn at home, they had plenty of time to read it over and make them up. Everything came in kits. It had fucking pictures. It really could not have been easier.
There would be leftover ingredients sitting on the counter…. always!
I realized Spawn was skimming. There were assumptive sentences and wording that was tripping them up so they’d ignore it. Like “After sauteing the chopped garlic (this would be skipped because “sauteing” was not understood, garlic would be left on cutting board, unchopped), mix the blah blah…..” Basically in that beginning phrasing, it would be the first time chopping or cooking that ingredient was mentioned and it didn’t specifically say “chop this.”
Spawn needed “Chop garlic tiny, put in pan with X butter, cook for X minutes.”
I get the recipes were worded for both efficiency and to still be descriptive enough to keep pace, but I guess kids or at least Spawn needed much simpler instruction.
Last night I told Spawn to make biscuits and gravy. I went over how to 3 times in 3 different ways.
When I got home, I got cut up summer sausage wearing goopy rue jackets… in a wok.
Yeah, visualize that a minute.
The biscuits were good, but then they were frozen and only had to be baked for 20.
Spawn has seen me eat sausage gravy.
Spawn has seen me a MAKE sausage gravy.
Times like this make me wonder if I’m the one who is getting trolled.
So…with that in mind, my latest text to Spawn:
“Ever wonder why you don’t use shampoo and conditioner on your crotch too? It’s just as susceptible if not more so to breakage and split ends.”
So, I’m a bit dizzy at the moment, and I feel like I might keel over every time I bend at the waist, so let’s all be thankful I don’t have to tie my shoes today. Unfortunately, the fair is in town, Spawn will be there and I’m to catch up with them and our respective friends after work.
I want to go home and sleep.
I used to love a constant state of activity. I sought it out. I could not stand any level of boredom.
I hate that shit now.
I want to go home, I want to nap, I want to put on something very soft and warm and I want to make weird noises on the couch while the cats try to alternate between trying to kill me in my sleep and finding my best accumulation of fat to sleep on.
A couple weeks back Spawn’s computer went down. We had a lot of flooding that weekend. The power was iffy, and after about the 6th time of flickering, the power went out for good that night. When it was restored the next morning, the computer would not come up. It was so bad that no tool made for repair was working. Even the installation disk just wanted to give up. The drive was fine, but nothing would touch the files. When work opened again (I did say flooding, right?), I took it to work and see if I could find anything to repair it.
I ran everything I could to repair it, but it looked like half the operating system files were just missing. I’ve never had a disk I couldn’t get to boot Mercury is still in retrograde at this point (the time I opt out of any repair work) so I’m positive at this point I’m being unduly influenced by it, El Nino and the Blood Supermoon who are all working in cahoots with the Illuminati. Probably. Of course, I also lost the cover to the install disk, so I have no clue what my code is anymore. Most the tools I downloaded to find it, couldn’t.
The downtown and many low points of our city were completely buried under water, including a portion of the sewage plant. We had some coffins making escape attempts, bridges and roads collapsing, trees falling, debris, etc. Spawn and I were lucky, we were on a well, lived on a hill and ended up with a soggy driveway and a bad installation in the aftermath, that was it. All too many completely lost their homes and everything in it. Of the hundred or so co-workers I have, just two were affected. For situations like this, that’s not bad odds, even though it’s terribly shitty for the one experiencing it.
We had a few deaths, but the overwhelmingly rapid and adaptive response time that occurred during and immediately after the floods was enormous. Twitter and Facebook were blowing up with statuses of the conditions in the area, pictures of the wreckage, if people were trapped in particular locations, responses that help would be coming and when, words of encouragement.
When I was a kid, I got to see firsthand the aftermath of a hurricane and my little hometown had no power for weeks. Power was restored this time in days. Businesses that were half-swimming opened up in a week or three later. One Little Caesars opened as immediately as they could and was one of the only places for miles feeding people. A Shoney’s followed suit with a no-menu, breakfast bar only option and bottled water. Sure, it’s still a work in progress and not everything is back to normal. Even Spawn in on delays at school still to compensate for the navigational problems. Ironically, there are a ton of roads just around my area that are completely destroyed.
But it was nice to see the passive-aggressive bullshit put aside and an overwhelming amount of people just asking “What do you need? Where can I get it to you?” and making it happen. The surrounding states? They fucking rock like Elvis. Not even sport rivalry was slowing down the overwhelming amount of generosity and support I witnessed while people went without decent water for almost 2 weeks, but we didn’t lack. Where there was a need, there were plenty trying to fill it. I know it’s twisted, but I appreciate the simplicity of importances that are realized after a catastrophe. I just wish that simplicity lasted.
As for the computer, Spawn helped out at work, I backed as much as I could on my work machine, cut my losses and completely reinstalled the operating system (I found one tool that gave me the code). This time I made sure it was 64-bit. I even went ahead and upgraded Spawn to Windows 10 (making sure to turn off all the Big Brother options, of course. Fuck you, Microsoft, you creepy stalker!). Ironically, things that used to be problems before it crashed, were no longer an issue.
Spawn was just happy to have their machine back and spent the next weekend getting to know the newness. It made me long for mine as well, until I realized more hardware, a custom service rep and an RMA were involved and took a nap instead.
This past weekend a friend and former co-worker we haven’t seen since Spawn was half the size they are now came by in order for me to help them update their resume and catch up. You never really realize sometimes how much you miss someone until they are in your face making you acknowledge it. Spawn was a shock to them, but they managed to catch up like times never changed and we had a great time just talking.
The next day, I planned to go north and nab apples for our annual visit. It was a long drive, the weather was chilly and beautiful, we were there pretty much all day and it was tiring but nice. We enjoyed apple slushies, apple doughnuts, apple bread, apple butter, a half bushel of apples, and Spawn picked out a pumpkin they liked and my usual partner-in-crime and their two kids got about the same and a few more veggies. We had quite a load to haul back home and the kids didn’t last long before they just conked out. It meant the conversation could get more R-rated, which is rare when we hang.
I hate doing any sort of activity on Sundays, I think Sunday is such a jype anyway since it’s technically a weekend day but you still have to go to bed early. It sucks. Sunday should be Saturday, part II and Monday should be Sunday. We already hate it enough already, this would lessen the ire and instill World Peace.. let me know and I’ll tell you where you can send my Nobel.
As tired as I was when we got home, I wasn’t able to sleep, my voice is threatening to give out today and I was already barely holding some sort of funk at bay.
And today… the fair. The screams, ear-blistering music, seizure-inducing lights, the wafts of fried dough, vomit, sugar, piss, diaper, 30 year-old uncleaned ashtray and asphalt nostril-raping passersby with their constant orgy of aromas. The rotund herds of people, mouth agape, wondering where their next fried chocolate bar will come from while they wander right in your pathway like a pack of drunken toddlers on downers, incapable of keeping their focus on the direction in which they are sort of aiming. I’m still trying to figure out what the signal is that makes them wander right from the pages of the People of Wal-Mart and into this place where you can purchase a cup of french fries for $10, or cotton candy aka candyfloss for 15$ and $25 for the small and large bags respectively.
It’s at least not Disney World, but that’s a rant for another day.
I want to go home. I also want a gyro. Maybe an elephant ear, definitely some fries with some vinegar… do they do the fried onions anymore? ooooooh, friend mushrooms…!
Of all the trashing I do on Grand, they had their high points. From Grand, it was drilled in my head to never put on credit what you could pay off in a short time. Never take home anything you didn’t own outright, unless it was absolutely unavoidable (a house, for example). If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. Quality over quantity.
Grand was infamous for spending a great deal of time choosing a particular piece of furniture, it was always good quality, then making several payments over months until they could finally bring it home.
Considering I was also a child who was never on health insurance of any kind, how Grand managed to not only handle my braces, but when it came to needing surgery… as a parent now, I could hyperventilate over the co-pay alone, let alone having to shoulder the whole thing. It galls me now that I cannot provide better for my kid than Grand did on less money. I know it’s thirty and more years, inflation and the economy sucks, but sometimes I still feel like Grand would have just done better than I have.
You could also probably say I wasn’t too well-adjusted since I didn’t go to any kind of daycare or afterschool. I was a bastardized version of a latchkey kid. Grand was in the house, but I saw them little.
The few times I remember going to a daycare, it was a woman’s house way out in the sticks, the entire house was made just for taking care of large amounts of children. I remember mostly there being babies and then this wide age range of children who ran around and screamed like wild banshees. As an only child completely unfamiliar with kids who behaved so wild, I shoved myself in the darkest, quietest corner I could find and I did not sleep, talk, eat, drink or pee until Grand came to get me. It was hell.
Grand often did some jobs in different areas of the state as well. It was boring work involving copious amounts of fast food, walking and driving. It could normally take all day and sometimes the people you had to interact with weren’t so nice to deal with. It would take Grand to a lot of questionable neighborhoods as well, which all contributed to the reasons that Grand wanted to leave me elsewhere.
The last time Grand brought me out to that rabid, dog-fighting pen for infants, I snapped. This is years before automatic locks and Grand’s car was a relic even among that. I locked myself in the car and screamed that I was not ever going in there again. I could not have been more than six years old at the time. Any time Grand managed to get one door unlocked, I took my fist and slammed it down quicker than they could open the door. My face was purple, I sobbed, I yelled, I kicked, I made it clear that if either Grand or the woman who ran the daycare touched me, they’d come back with a stump. I was like a feral animal hell bent on mauling anyone who tried to drag me into that place.
In the same position as a parent, I’m pretty sure I would have given Spawn the worst spanking of their life.
But Grand didn’t.
I had never in my life behaved that way. Not once. All I can think is that, looking back, if I hated something so much to behave that badly now, there had to be a reason. Grand backed off. I could even perceive the slump in the shoulders when they gave up. Grand told the woman to leave and that I wouldn’t be staying. I very cautiously unlocked the door and backed as far away as I could. I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was going to get a lecture, at best. Considering Grand often shared techniques of taking the narrow end of a ruler to the backside of an uncle or two, I was convinced this was how I would die.
Grand didn’t go home though and we didn’t speak for a long time. In fact, when Grand finally did speak, not a word was said about anything I’d done. Grand went on to their locations of that day to do their work. I either sat in the car or made myself scarce while Grand did their job. I was perfectly content. Grand simply took me with instead and I never went back.
Over time, I learned to dress nicely and pack an activity bag, but oftentimes I was entertained just by the amazing (and often off-color) stories from managers, gas station attendants, drugstore shopkeepers and the multitude of people who became permanent fixtures in Grand’s world during these trips. It went on that way until I was old enough to drive and took over doing it for Grand instead.
Grand added an office to the back of the house and closed the shop they had rented. I was taught how to file, run copies, keep the drink station filled for people who came and waited. Hell, I even remember Grand describing how to keep a ledger of incoming and outgoing funds. I was probably the only toddler who could use the word “itemize.”
I still remember being plopped in the floor with a file cabinet drawer open while filing. I sang the alphabet song the entire time over… and over “A,B,C,D…….A,B,C,D,E… A,B,C,D,E,F….” for HOURS!!!! I sucked at alphabetizing even for a kid. I often wonder how in hell Grand managed to listen to that for that long and not lob a shoe at my head.
I was also only allowed to stay in the office either after Grand closed or I was needed bad enough for it to not matter. Otherwise, I was to remain scarce. So when I returned from school, I usually had to make my own meals and spent a great amount of time by myself. I was allowed to use the microwave, but nothing sharper than a butter knife. I had no clue how to cook. I once tried to boil water and almost melted a pot. I didn’t even know this was possible. Of course, I eliminated the evidence as quickly as I could.
My meals consisted of a LOT of canned soup and sandwiches growing up. Oftentimes, I would slip in just long enough to hide a sandwich in Grand’s desk drawer until they could stop and eat something more filling. In the winter, Grand would sometimes make a revolting pot of vegetable mush soup. I found with enough buttered bread wrapped around it like a burrito, I could shove it down without actually being subjected to the mushy texture. No vegetable should disintegrate like that. Grand was old school, and salmonella was a plague on everything.
It was the potato soup and chicken and dumplings that soothed my soul and made up for all the crappy canned soup. Those two were wondrous comfort food that thankfully my Grand could not fuck up. Grand tried their best, and generally tried to make at least one big meal a week, if possible with leftovers. Though it usually ended up on the weekend, it wasn’t always the weekend as Grand worked then too.
I normally got myself up and dressed, fixed some cereal or whatever breakfast items were sequestered off for my consumption and went to school while Grand was still asleep. Grand often worked until three and four in the morning, many weekends, bent over backwards for their clientele and refused for many, many years to increase the prices for their services. When it was glaringly obvious that Grand would not be able to make even basic ends meet, they finally bumped their prices up to meet the market average, and forever felt guilty for it.
These days, I’m not a morning person, Spawn has changed schools, so I have been coming in somewhat later. However, I stay even later and very rarely ever take a lunch. In fact, that was the only complaint on my last review was me not taking enough breaks. I know my boss worries because of burnout, but I’m at least a third generation workaholic. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember and I doubt I will ever change.
I think the only thing that has changed for me now, is that I’m a little jealous that both my mom and Grand have made it work by working for themselves. I’m tired of reviews. I want the day to start at a time of my choosing. I want to work as long or as little as I want. I want to reap the rewards of my efforts alone. As it is now, I am more or less a hamster doggedly trying to get that wheel to show some progress.
I am grateful for the lessons. Spawn knows how to cook and likes to stay home. They understand when they are home alone, they should either be doing homework or chores, but a little downtime is also important. Spawn has helped me in every office I’ve worked in since they could understand language, often to the amazement of my co-workers. I am often confused by their awe, since my own upbringing was much the same.
It was a shock to the system when I have had to be subjected to the children of others, children older than mine, that were officially hired to work and they have been worthless. I realize and am ok with the fact we might not be ladder-climbers, but we sure as hell know how to be invaluable. When the owner of a company is more impressed with my kid than his own… I learned something right and passed it on well.
Growing up, I was pushed to read advice on manners from Edith Head.
- I know the difference between a ham and tomato fork.
- I know the proper time to put your napkin in your lap when dining.
- I know the difference between a champagne flute, a red wine glass, a white wine glass, a brandy sniffer, sherry glass, etc.
- I know that ladies are to sit with their knees together and ankles crossed, and a gentleman never sits down at a table first with a lady present.
Grand wanted to be money. Grand wanted status and prestige. Grand opted to marry for love, spent their entire life just scraping by and resenting their spouse and four children for not being more. There was an unspoken law that I, as Grand’s do-over, was somehow supposed to rectify that in a manner to which they planned to become accustomed.
Grand resented the sister who married for love and got both love and money. They didn’t speak for many years because of it. If her sister wanted to share vacation pictures, she was “rubbing it in my face,” according to Grand. Grand was not the type of person who could be happy for anyone doing better than they were.
Grand resented there were no “coming out” parties for their two daughters. They could never be “debs.” My aunt, the eldest daughter, who thinks eerily the same as Grand and will bite the head off anyone who suggests it, probably still resents never being a “deb” too.
When I was little, I thought manners were essential to establish a set of rules in civility in dealing with other people. A way to properly make someone feel welcome and regarded. The strict rules were there to ensure no one was misunderstood or took offense. Boy, was I deluded…
The older I got, the more I came to realize that with Grand and most who preached etiquette, they had no sense of humanity. They might know the right things to do and made all the motions, but with smirks and sidelong glances to one another to assure themselves of their own superiority. Kind words so dripping with honey, you just knew it was laced with poison.
In the South, old money is the best, new money gets you in the door, fuck up your salad and dinner fork or have the audacity to tuck your napkin in your shirt collar and you’re done.
Etiquette was simply a weapon with which to ostracize those deemed “lesser” from their lack of knowledge of its rules. If you dared to drink out of your finger bowl or not realize how to use a shrimp fork, you were considered garbage. Put that pinky up with your tea and you may as well be a street walker.
The older I got, the more I pushed away from Grand and their philosophies on life. Most of them just felt dark and ugly. I was terribly slow about rebelling against Grand, and it would be in subtle ways that made it hard to punish.
I hit my teens just as the Grunge era was becoming big across the rest of the US. Men and women wore pretty much the same thing, tights, flannel, lots of oversized shirts, ripped jeans and shorts, skirts and kilts. I shaved the back of my head, let the rest grow longer, dyed it a new color every week. It was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, but I was getting to a point I asked for neither.
Damn, I still miss the clothes!
Grand networked for status, or tried to. If Grand didn’t have money to break into the society, at least they would have the impression of having had money. I was forced into dinners with people as artificial as Grand while they fake-smiled the shit out each other and lied about their own importance. I often asked embarrassing questions, or made remarks cutting down whatever farce Grand was trying to sell. At first it was unconscious then migrated to scathingly intentional. I chewed with my mouth open. If it was seafood, I demanded a mallet. I blew my nose at the table, picked my teeth with my fork. Edith Head and Grand both could shove it up their asses.
I was never allowed in the living room growing up, and later only for functional purposes (i.e. cleaning). It was separate from the den and was strictly for welcoming and entertaining “special guests.” Grand was quite proud of this room and only allowed those most valuable to stay in it for any length.
Occasionally, Grand wanted someone to brag on and being the only kin in the house, I was drug out to meet whoever it was Grand wanted to impress. I was overall a good student with a promising art skill and penchant for foreign exchange trips. However, I was especially fond of sporting a mini-skirt with some loud boxers during these introductions, I would intentionally sit in such a way both Grand and the guest were in full view of some serious manspreading. Most of the smirks at this point were all mine. Grand would chew me out later and I would feign ignorance.
I don’t know if Grand ever really caught on to why I would ace every pop quiz I was given over the identification of every utensil in the silver chest, as well as its placement and then turn around and behave as though none of it stuck, but just sometimes. All I do know is… the times I was requested to be the dancing monkey on the grind box finally stopped.
I think there should be common courtesy, and I will scold Spawn when I hear them smacking when they chew or their jaw is making wider rotations than a cow. I think basic manners are important. However, the person who uses them as a method of exclusion will always be trashiest of all.
So I think I said in a prior post where I was ranting about my health that I had signed up for a service that brings fresh foods to your door and covers maybe half a week of meals for two peeps. For me, it was like mutha-effin’ Christmas because if I never have to see the inside of a MacD’s again, it will be too soon. Kids have a tendency to fuck up your principles like that.
I won the great Barney debate of the 00’s with Spawn’s other grandparent…you pick your battles. Chicken fingers and french fries the first five years as a diet staple was non-negotiable.
This has been a painful but prideful adjustment for Spawn. With summer upon us and only sporadic early camps to look forward to, daily chores and cooking dinner are the two things that Spawn gets to manage on their own. On one side, they love the freedom, take pride in the tasks completed (once we have WW3 for a while and they finally break down and do it
MY… um, the right way). They have also enjoyed how when I get home, I devour this wonderful meal set before me because OMFG, COMING HOME TO A MEAL READY IS THE AWESOMEST THING EVER, WHY… WHY DID I NOT KNOW OF SUCH THINGS?!?!
It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve slowly noticed the little things… like if you’re going to call something a “salad” it’s not normally served dry, greens that are cut so big they could choke a hippo, things left to the side that are usually included in the a meal of that type. At first, I thought it was just Spawn’s weird affliction that makes them avoid anything combined, especially when it’s wet. It took a nice long holiday weekend making a couple of the dinners together to realize the problem.
Spawn skims…. spawn skims a LOT…
“Slaw” that was supposed to included mayo, vinegar, spices was merely a plate of dry kale and cabbage.
“Biscuits” (American style) – were soft versions of flat disc “biscuits” (british-style).
When Spawn forgot to bread something and they already had it in the frying pan, they attempted to fix this by tossing handfuls of flour into the pan.
I was a broken record the entire weekend: “Will you read the entire freakin’ recipe already, like all the words even!”
Spawn:”It didn’t say to do that..”
me:”YES IT DOES!”
Spawn still doesn’t understand the difference between onion and garlic, and has at least once created a dish so pungent I could have probably lit my own breath.
Spawn adds too much liquid because they eyeball it instead of measuring. My kid is overconfident in all the wrong ways.
Last night was the kicker when the meal included shrimp that were tossed in a seasoned sauce and not a damn one of them were shelled. I tried my best to get them to eat it with the shell on. No dice.
Watching my kid shell shrimp made up for the fact that it was another hour before we could eat. It involved only 4 very disgusted fingers and a lot of noises of “ew” and “gross”. I had most of it done by the time they had just under ten shelled.
Spawn asked how I could shell them so fast….
“Grand at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and arthritic hands. If I wanted anything to eat at all, I had to shuck that shit twice as fast because their face was like a damn Hoover when it came to seafood.”
I get mad and frustrated with Spawn, but something tells me this is my own prior cooking history biting me in the ass. I suspect my mom is somewhere nearby just laughing her ass off. I would imagine my BFH would also be laughing/cringing since the first time they came to visit me in years, they surveyed my kitchen briefly and declared “you better have measuring utensils by the time I come back.” (I had nary a proper tablespoon even)
I complied. BFH is an epic cook and is very exacting. By contrast, I’m like a mad scientist who’s main measuring tool is my fist. I would start out to make two loaves of wheat bread and end up with eight loaves of garlic-dill-onion wheat and grain bread. Apparently, Spawn is favoring my method of things, intentional or no.
I have disclosed my many…. many…. many… past mishaps with cooking to Spawn and told them they really should follow everything to the letter first before braving out into creative license, but that shit would fall on deaf ears for me too. In fact, the more the critics would tell me I needed to do things one way, I was hell bent on doing anything but. Following a recipe to me was using the book as a stand for my bowl and occasionally looking at the picture.
With all that said, Spawn has about a 50% ratio of hits to misses on their own creative license, which is amazing considering they are figuring out a good portion of this on their own. It’s been good in spite of the errors and even though there are evenings that spawn does little more than pick at their plate, they are still trying a great deal more than they had previously.
But the most important thing about all of this is…. OMG, I COME HOME TO A HOT MEAL ALMOST EVERY DAY! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?
School time is going to suck…
I normally don’t bother much on Mother’s Day… hell, I’m still not used to not working on Mother’s Day. I used to work at a distribution center that took orders for flowers… This past week was hell for them. You’d think it would be Valentine’s, but that is a distant second actually. I find it ironic the woman who tried to have Mother’s Day made into a thing, actually tried to have it abolished when it started become commercialized. Sadly, if there wasn’t a buck to be made off of it, I doubt it would be a holiday at all.
It didn’t register that it was a holiday until I hit my Facebook feed and saw pages and pages of old pictures or recent ones of people with their mothers. It was cool seeing people I know in the lines on their mother’s faces or the expressions they wore. Of course, it made me miss the fact there is no one for me call anymore.
My great accomplishment today was laundry and scoring allergy medicine on the cheap. Afterwords, Spawn and I binge-watched The Big Bang Theory. For holidays, that is awesome.
It did made me remember a couple of past parent days. I am always shit with gift-giving. My moments of having money never coincided with the holidays and birthdays I needed the resources for. I would procrastinate then find out whatever I wanted to get would take weeks longer than anticipated. The only holiday I ever got it right, I was ordering from one place, ordered my entire Christmas a month in advance… and they fucked it all up. I still won’t shop in Book-A-Millions because of it. and NO I wasn’t just ordering books for everyone… that’d be lame… one was a punch-out book that assembled into a working robot! I mean, a ROBOT! How cool is that?
I couldn’t seem to get my shit straight so I stopped worrying about it and just tried to make sure I at least well-wished on the day. Right now, I have an entire muck bucket of Christmas and birthday for my cousin’s kid who I have just not managed to see to give them. I figure either I’m damn early or fucking late depending on how much of an ass about you want to be about it. Feel grateful I thought of you and shut up.
Where was I? Oh yeah…. mom. Now working several years on Mother’s Day and knowing its going to be hell means I was terribly unavailable trying to prepare for it at work and completely forgetting how the thing keeping me so busy applied to my mother. Looking back, I was an unintentional dick, but I was still a dick.
I got a little better. The last parental-related holidays I spent with my mom, I tried to make up for all the ones I’d missed, forgotten, allowed myself to be barred from or that she’d mostly been absent so it didn’t matter. When Mother’s Day rolled around, I was as normal in the gift-giving department as I always am. I got her a high power drill. If you knew my mother, you would know this actually made her as giddy as a school girl since it finally gave her some torque for some projects she’d been unable to do with her gimpy electric screwdriver.
Grand came to visit my mom when Father’s Day rolled around, so I figured… hey, let’s do something for the people who played dad for the dad who was never dad. Also, I was at work and have an employee discount. I had a co-worker place my order and moved on.
I ordered a tropical arrangement, considering this is the northwest, I soon got a call about my options. This is the place that spent over half the year covered in snow, so tropical flower access was still a few months away.
I told the lady, “envision the most classic, conventional, tasteful arrangement you can”
to which she said,”yeah, ok”
I said, “Good, now I need you to do the exact opposite.”
She laughed. She also asked if I was sure about the card. I assured her I was.
To me mock daddies. Love, the Brat
It will be one of “those” evenings, where my kid and I are just too much on edge to not get on each other’s nerves. Because of work, I’m up to a 2 pepcid, 1 alka seltzer and a few tums a day kind of habit. Ulcers are lovely things, you’re never completely free of them even when they heal.
Spawn is still not happy with school and ready to see the end of the year. I would attribute some of the emotional flux to be with hormones, Spawn is a bit ahead of the game for their age… I am hoping this will mean a quicker return to normalcy/sanity at the end.
I have noticed over the years that my kid also tends to have a few very distorted views of their past. I have been accused of being a butcher when it has come to splinters or loose teeth or just about anything you normally run to your parent to help with. The thing is… I’ve always had this theory about this kind of stuff.
Whenever there were shots, whenever there was a point where my kid hurting was just a fact of whatever had to go on, I let the nurses take my kid. I was the hero at the end, I was to be the rescuer, no way was I going to hold them down so my kid could get four shots in their little legs at once. Hell no.
I have always been so nervous about hurting my kid that I only once allowed a cousin to treat a rather large series of splinters in the bottom of Spawn’s foot. It was already painful. Sadly, this particular cousin apparently had the touch and technique of Woody Woodpecker on an 8-ball of coke with garden shears.
However, the prospect of me fixing their splinters seemed to just make it worse, so I had to go so far as to hold down their foot to pull them all out…then I when i was done, I just continued to hold them… and Spawn flailed, and screamed, and flailed. It took a good three minutes until they realized I hadn’t moved for a while and was staring at them wondering when they would notice I’d long finished.
Same with teeth. My best friend and Spawn’s godparent, BFH, is probably the only person who has ever managed to get Spawn to allow them to wiggle their teeth. They have a technique where they take those long fingers and wrap around the tooth and twist, lightning fast. Sadly, Spawn was quicker. They realized what was going on and jerked out of their grip, but BFH made a bigger success than I ever did. Only once has Spawn allowed me to touch one tooth, I very lightly moved it forward and backward once, just to see how far it was coming. That was it.
Even now, we had two big teeth that Spawn won’t wiggle and I have threatened with a hammer before I will pay a dentist to do it. But if anyone asked Spawn… I have done nothing but caused them pain when they have had loose teeth or splinters, I have ripped out half the hair on their head when I’ve combed it… I’m nothing but mean, all the time. Just ask.
This was the subject of the argument on the way home today. I was short fused, hungry and fed up. Spawn thankfully offered to cook, and then spent the next hour playing with the cat, so that didn’t help either. I have resigned to watching Constantine while its still free on Hulu and letting the awesome punk music they keep playing soothe my soul so I don’t have to interact. Spawn has this method of being an absolute shit until I’m in a crap mood and had enough, then they lay it on thick trying to be nice and whining that I’m ignoring them….I’m the bad guy.
But it does make me wonder… how fallible are our memories? Why does Spawn remember me in such negative ways and how much of my own memories are altered either due to an emotion, perception or my imagination rewriting things? Were things as bad/good as I remember? Did I completely rewrite something or did I just give it a tweak?
With my upbringing and Grand’s ability to alter reality to their own will, I was always intensely sensitive about being as accurate as possible, only claim what you absolutely know for sure, admit what you don’t. But I was a kid too, with the same type of rational as my kid to some degree… why would they remember something being in a way that I know to be untrue?
“Little Man’s” Mom is a high-ranking manager for our very large city. Yesterday was take your kids to work day. It’s her job to organize this event for her fellow employees, and her children’s participation in this huge event is not optional! “Little Man” & “Big Brother” who are highly intelligent are equally lacking in their social graces. Yesterday was an absolute freaking nightmare!
For those of you who are not familiar with our Blog, “Little Man” is a nine-year old boy whose superpower is Autism, and I have been his superhero activity assistant for almost three years. I also care for his older brother who is ten, and their baby brother who is three. “The Baby” otherwise known as the “King” is exhibiting some Autistic behavior, but has not been officially diagnosed. “The Baby” was given a pass on today’s events because of his age. Thank goodness for small blessings.
I adore all three of the brother’s, but their public behavior can be much less than desirable. Mom is painfully aware of this. She asked me to be there to help out with the boys who are notorious for wandering off in large crowds, and prone to some “Dennis The Menace” like antics. “Little Man’s Autism plays a huge factor in his awkward social behavior. He does much better in small crowds, and with a scheduled routine. “Big Brother’s” crotchety by nature, and can be quite rude when things do not go according to his expectations.
Yesterday’s events involved 31 other employee’s children, 13 other adults besides Mom, and myself. It began at 8:00 in the morning with a light breakfast (Director’s Welcome) at Mom’s workplace, followed by a tour of one of our cities aquatics programs featuring a tour/lecture on their new Geothermal Heat Pump. We were surrounded by huge swimming pools with slides, but that was not included on our to do list. Try to imagine how 31 children felt about that. Next was a tour to our City Hall to meet our Mayor, and Deputy Mayor. Then back on the bus across town to tour a new recreation center, and lunch. Then back on the bus across town to another recreation center that’s focus is on wildlife preservation/environmental studies, and then back on the bus to our final destination yet another new recreation center/gift tree dedication. Then back to Mom’s work place to clean-up before going home at 5:00.
Now if you haven’t fallen asleep from sheer boredom let me tell you about the “Brothers” reactions to this kind of scheduling. The breakfast entailed a game of healthy bingo. Each card had healthy not-so- common foods in the squares rather than numbers. A great way to introduce new choices, that included some pretty great prizes for the winners. Well guess whose two children did not win a single round. It was a huge battle just to keep “little Man” from continuously examining all the prizes prior to giving them out. He is like a “Houdini” at working his way out of a designated seat to go somewhere he has been told is off-limits. Meanwhile “Big Brother’s” face is contorting into the most awful expressions of pouting known to mankind. Mom’s colleagues, are witnessing the whole situation because we are all packed into a conference room like sardines.
Mom is attempting to keep “Little Man” in order as I try to quietly persuade “Big Brother” not to embarrass himself in front everyone else, especially Mom’s boss. Next stop was the aquatics park where our beloved “Houdini” once again ignores directions, and slips off a narrow cement landing almost ending up in a deep pool of very nasty water! I was lucky enough to grab him mid-air by the back of his shirt, and pull him back onto the ledge.
Next stop City Hall for a tour to meet the Mayor. He explains to the children how things work, and he asks the children if they have any questions. “Big Brother” raises his hand and asks “When can we go I’m bored now!” Mom tries make him apologize to the Mayor, to which he loudly replies “I’d rather drink from the toilet!” Mom takes him into the hall to scold him. Then he begins to cry loudly, wildly waving his arms, stomping his feet.
Next stop new recreation center “Big Brother” openly rolls his eyes at Mom’s co-worker who was very nicely trying to give him directions. When another co-worker steps in to help she also get’s an eye roll accompanied by a smart-ass remark. When he was asked to apologize he replies “I would rather drink from the toilet!”
Next stop animal show at environmental center. All the children had been instructed not to make loud noises or quick movements during the birds of prey show because the falcon, hawk, and owl were very nervous by nature. “Little Man” becomes overly excited by the falcon’s wing fluttering jumps up screaming. This causes all the other birds who are tethered to their caretaker’s arm’s to wildly flap, and do 360’s around their arms in a mad attempt to flee from this chaos. This frightens the other children who are now screaming and running away from these pretty scary looking panicked birds!
After calming the kid stampede, and getting the birds safely back inside their cages the kids are taken to a city program which again involves games, and prizes. “Big Brother” loses again has a complete meltdown. The D.J. gives “Little Man” a gift for being a good sport to make a point to “Big Brother,” this just causes him to react even more. Now at this point I have had it, I pull “Big Brother” from the floor, and drag him back to the bus.
These are not my children so I had to restrain from my natural desires to deal with them in what I know would have been completely foreign to them, and very much deserved! We finally arrived at our last stop, both boys knew that I was very unhappy with them. They have never seen this side of me so they decided to turn themselves around. At this point I was desperate to bring this day to a close. Mom had tried to bribe the boys that morning with the promise of a great reward if they could be on their best behavior that day. You should know I am not a fan of this idea. My children were required to behave because it was simply the right thing to do.
“Big Brother” looks up at his Mom and says”I know we had a rough start, but we did turn things around in the end. Can we still have our reward?” Mom looks over at me, and says” What do you think Ms. G-uno?” I am now boiling over with anger, my hands are clenched, “Big Brother’s” attempt to manipulate his mother has me ready to explode! Both boys are searching my face waiting for my response. I’m desperately trying to edit the response that is going on in my head. Then I look them all in the face, and say “I’d rather drink from the toilet than give you a reward!” 😉
Being a family… sounds like a simple concept, right? Even sitcoms go by the same essential recipe….
1. Have issue/issue/concern/dilemma
2. Try to hide it/resolve it/fix it on your own.
3. Find out that makes it worse.
4. Share with Family
5. Problem solved. (all steps occur in under 30 minutes)
But the real world, you find out just how different we all family. Yes, I’m using it as a verb. The way I family is probably a lot different from the way you family. You may think it’s nuts that my kid knew about LGBT issues, drug/alcohol abuse at age four. The way I family now as the head of my household was vastly different than the way I familied as a child when someone else was.
Growing up, we didn’t talk about anything worth a damn. Grand would go on diatribes lasting decades about the epic amount of trauma each of us had inflicted on them and “the hell they put me through.” I heard that sentence alone quite a lot. The older I got, the only one I saw inflicting any major trauma was Grand.
It took me age and wisdom to realize how enlightening a psychology project I had done in middle school was. I had to ask people I knew their favorite fairy tale, then their favorite character in that tale and reflect on what this told me about the person being questioned. Their favorite character had elements they saw in themselves. Sure enough, Grand’s favorite was the martyr of the story, beaten down by circumstances out of their control. I wonder what would happen if they ever realized they were really the villain.
Grand didn’t talk about anything to any of us… not periods, spontaneous hard-ons, long visits to the bathroom with the Victoria’s Secret catalog, headlights in the nipple-hardening sense, leg shaving, wet dreams or any of the vast slew of information kids need to know about their respective pubescent futures. I did get a thin book with a couple of cartoonish fat people on it that explained the basics of sex with tasteful and somewhat humorous demonstrations.
Grand tossed it at me with the mumbled monotone words of “let me know if you have any questions….” while simultaneously flying out of the room. I flipped through it, and a few minutes later handed it back to Grand saying “They went over this in school two years ago and If there was anything I needed to know, I wouldn’t ask you anyway, so don’t worry about it.” I realize now I was dismissing them as a parental figure, but at the time I thought what I was saying would be a relief.
Any other questions were directed either to my mom (occasionally) or my best friend (mostly). I’m glad I had a knowledgable best friend since that really could have gone badly. But by then, I was already building a pseudo-family outside of my blood family that was a lot more supportive to one another than my blood family ever was. In a lot of ways, it was exactly what each of us needed and to this day, even though some of them I haven’t talked to in years, but I’d be there in an instant if they needed.
In my family, you were family as long as you were married to family. As soon as there was a divorce, the non-blood member was a pariah. Why this was, I never knew. Personally, I still see those prior spouses as aunts, uncles, cousins, or whatever the case may be but when the example around you does nothing but trash talk the newly ousted member, it was pretty obvious I was in the minority. I’m pretty sure Grand set the bar on that one.
When I got a divorce, my ex and I had a pretty good idea of how we wanted to settle things on our own. It’s a good thing both of us were young, broke and cheap. It wasn’t hostile, we just didn’t fit. I think years later, they would eventually agree this was the case. As people, we didn’t dislike one another, we could still talk tech until the wee hours or the latest maneuvers on whatever game we were playing or existentialism, friendships or whatever… but they wanted someone they could isolate who would happily devote all to just them and them alone and I am fully the opposite in that I need time and friends outside of the relationship to feel balance. To top it off, both of us royally sucked at communicating and resolving those issues.
So when I told my family about getting a divorce, the ex that Grand had previously been enamored of, suddenly became enemy #1. I didn’t go into any details and most of my family has no clue why we really split up, I didn’t feel it was necessary. Grand once wanted to get into a bash session about my ex, fueled solely on their own speculation. I snapped.
“Take it thoroughly to heart that I married a person who was an awful lot like yourself in the worst possible ways. Apparently, I had some deep-seeded need to have the same bullshit fights with a different outcome with a person who was an awful good mimic of you and surprise! It didn’t work there either. So remember that very clearly the next time you feel the need to say anything about someone you really didn’t know, weren’t married to and had no real amount of interaction with which to judge.”
It took some years, but I get it now. This was how Grand was trying to be “supportive.” By trying to be my champion, or whoever else was divorcing, this was their way of saying “it’s not you, its them, you’re fine.”
This is just how families are… or so I thought.
When I first met my in-laws, I knew they were all mormon. Some of them knew I was atheist. Only one had a big issue with that, though he was too polite to say so. Over the years, his mind opened to the idea that “not religious” most certainly didn’t mean “not moral.” They were all very nice, which in my family means you should be instantly suspicious. When my family is super-charming and they really can be, you don’t tell them anything you do not want them to use against you… which basically means you lie constantly. I hate lying, so I artfully dodged it with bullshit and sarcasm. It’s probably why we’re all fluent in it.
My in-laws however only partially got sarcasm, so it took them a while to get my humor. It was the first time I met such a large group of people who were sincere in their overall happiness, sincere in wanting to know about me and I was embraced into the fold as though I had always been there. Sure it pissed me off when my father-in-law sent a Mormon recruiter over to have a “chat” with us about God and religion. But it was nothing that a little terror and a lot of NSFW conversation couldn’t resolve from ever having happen again. I’m pretty sure I’m on a Mormon blacklist even now. I also understood that he sincerely thought he was helping us, in his own way. My sister-in-law (former Mormon) recommended talking about anal if they ever came back.
Over the years, I watched as a couple of my in-laws hooked up and/or married some pretty sketchy people. People to which my own family would have immediately and vocally objected. My in-laws, however, never questioned anything. They took this approach of “we love you now, we’ll figure out why later and if we don’t find a reason… oh well, we’ll love you anyway.”
When I asked for a divorce, I was fully prepared to be the bad guy. I withdrew from everyone, especially mutual friends so my ex could badmouth me if they so wished. They needed people to talk to and if that meant I needed to be seen as evil, so be it. I moved, started completely over with a rusty car and $100 bucks, and with a little help from mom, rebuilt my life.
A couple years later, I get a conference call… from all of my in-laws across 3-4 states.
They are all asking me questions, asking how I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, how I like it, and where I’m working. I try to answer the questions being peppered at me between tears. I didn’t think I’d ever talk to these people again and it dawns on me how much I’ve missed them. When I finally get a gap to speak, I finally ask “It’s been two years, what the heck spurred you to call me now?”
My ex had moved away with their current partner. I had heard through the rebellious grapevine of two of my brothers-in-law that the new partner was really, really touchy about my name being mentioned. I can guess why. My ex had a bad habit of comparing the immediate prior one to the current. Meaning whatever the ex before me did right, I would never live up to; and anything they did wrong, I was destined to replicate. Considering our breakup wasn’t even all that bad after 5 years and our hobbies had a lot in common, I can only imagine what their new partner was going through.
Sure, that used to annoy me as well when it was happening to me but after a couple years of hearing about the praise was given for whatever by their prior partner, I finally sat them down and told them “yeah, about that…. been dealing with you a lot longer now and I can tell you with all sincerity… they lied to stroke your ego.” Never heard another word.
But my in-laws did not see the divorce as anything that should affect their relationship with me. They stayed away, at the behest of my ex and their partner, but when my ex was not in the immediate area, the rules changed. We’ve all stayed in touch ever since. Social media was a godsend as we are all eventually scattered across the entire continent (sometimes not even on the continent). My sister-in-law’s kid and mine have a lot of common interests and they are linked on facebook. We cannot wait for the day when we can get them in the same room with one another for a change. No, this is not the ex that is the other half of my kid’s DNA, Spawn occurred a few years later, they are just that awe and happy about me being a parent. I would imagine they are a little sad that Spawn isn’t their legit family, but that hasn’t stopped them from treating Spawn like they already are.
Spawn has one semi-decent-doing-the-best-I-can parent, one ridiculously-waste-of-flesh-but-genetically-linked-addict parent and one epicly, bitching Godparent. But along the side of all of that is a ton of pseudo-family that can out-family my family any day of the week.
It isn’t composed of just in-laws either…. all that family built up from my teens on, and relationships I’ve made later, friendship and otherwise, all compose of my “family.” G-uno is a big part of that and has been a pivotal part in keeping the creative flames alight in Spawn. Spawn is always so excited when they hear from G-uno (of course, G-uno has that kind of touch with kids that is just magic). Godparent is very much like Spawn, and my relationship with one gives me insight into the other. I joke often about raising a geek version of my best friend.
It may seem weird, but when Spawn wants to ask questions about what kind of weapon or armor they should use in one particular game, they check in with someone I used to date. Kind of weird, but we’ve even put our kids together on a game so they could virtually play together and usually when we are doing dungeon runs, it is usually Spawn, myself and this particular ex. We dated over ten years and 3000 miles ago, but never stopped being friends.
Even though Grand had a pile of children, a spouse, a home, bills paid, food in the fridge and a ton of siblings, parents and grandparents who loved and supported them… Grand was always lonely, cold and spiteful. Grand made it their life mission to tear apart any kinships that might have existed between their children, had a hand in destroying quite a few personal relationships of their children, seemingly hated their spouse (died before I came along) all the time complaining that everyone else had done them some great evil.
Even though both Spawn and I both are technically only children, we still have TONS of family. There are at least 50 people that Spawn may have never met in person, who would never hesitate to aid them if they needed it. I would do the same for any of them. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for the in-laws and friends who taught me how to family. Anything they needed that was in my power to give, I would. Because, pseudo- or not… they are all family. The best family.
Ok, so when I ended the diatribe about dealing with the bullying teacher, that of course, was not the end to things.
I left a message essentially saying I really did not want to hear her name mentioned again the rest of the year and things got pretty quiet. I checked in with Spawn daily to see how things were going and so far, so good.
About a week later, Spawn tells me their homeroom teacher pulled them aside and said that this particular teacher had mentioned they were going something bad in their class. I asked for a little more clarification, but that was all I was getting. Either way, I saw red. I laid it down that I didn’t want to hear her name again so now she’s enlisting assistance from my kid’s other teachers? Its on.
So I waited to settle down some, and organized a fairly long but impeccable email to the homeroom teacher detailing all the happening thus far and my stance on the whole thing as well as citing past experience with the same school and its attraction to teachers who had a penchant for bullying, and that I would not watch that happen a 2nd time. That I had previously left a voicemail when she did not answer and that I really wanted it to stop or I would involve the principal, so I was making good on that promise. I said that if I heard of her enlisting any more of my kid’s teachers to assist her in further targeting my kid, I would forward the same email to them as well, school board included. I CC’ed the teacher in question as well as the principal on this.
I was done.
Yes, before you ask I even put out some feelers among fellow parents and some creative Google searching to see if I could churn up any dirt. I’m a firm believer in knowing your enemy. Nothing popped.
The next day, the principal herself came out and wanted to schedule a conference. I said it wasn’t necessary as long as it stopped, but she was insistent, so we scheduled a good time for both of us.
I had a week to prep Spawn so they could get mentally prepared at stating their concerns. Spawn does NOT like to deal with any kind of confrontation, so this was incredibly difficult for them to handle. I was also well aware that I was merely the enforcer, not the person involved that had a real tangible knowledge of the situation like Spawn did.
On the given date, we showed up ten minutes early, the principal looked at us like she didn’t have a clue why we were there, and then we spent the next 37 minutes waiting for her to get her shit together and call in the other teachers. She wanted the adults to chat first sans kid. I wouldn’t allow it. I know “divide and conquer” when I see it and this was Spawn’s issue, the last thing that should happen was leave them out of it. Nothing would have pissed me off more if I’d been in my kid’s shoes. I cannot even understand the look of shock/amazement that I didn’t just blindly accept this condition. Is that really a thing?
We got in there and FINALLY got settled in. The principal started off by assuring my kid they were not in trouble, that were all here solely to make things better and she asked Spawn what exactly had been going on. Spawn got to speak first, this I liked. Spawn looked down and very slowly got out the words, took some breathes, but finally managed to give a brief rundown of what had been going on and how they felt about it. I was grateful that no one interrupted as it took a while. I’m not a patient person, but I have long learned that I need to reign that shit in when Spawn is finding their words to make a point they feel is important. I usually spend a lot of time reminding myself that I’d had a lot more years to expand my vocabulary beyond just dirty words in 5 languages on top of my rudimentary english.
When things are at this point, I feel my only real purpose is to make sure no one over-talks my kid and things get hashed out, so I took a bit of a backseat stance at this point and watched the ping pong of discussion get started.
1. Targeting my kid, constantly watching/speaking/criticizing just them for the most mundane of things – CHECK
This ended up a mix of things. Spawn, at least towards me, has a strong issue with self-persecution. Example:
me: “Can you pass me some chips?”
Spawn: “Why are you always criticizing me!?!?!?!?!” *usually some sort of melodramatic clutz exit, or flourish to emphasize*
me:”Whattheeverlivingfuck are you on about?”
I’m only embellishing a little, but as far as I have ever been able to tell I, as the parent, have been the only one subjected to this. Apparently some residue of this has bled over into their dealings with teachers.
From what both of their teachers were telling me, Spawn is a diehard loner and finds corners to hang out and doesn’t interact with their peers at all. The only time they have seen Spawn show any interest in anything is when they are drawing.
At this point I jumped in to say that Spawn has been very detailed in what the kids have been discussing and as long as that centered around drugs, sex and the opposite sex or flashing their various parts to their objects of affection, or who is “going with” who… I fully supported their desire to not have anything to do with their peers. This school was not their main source of friendships anyway.
Of course, like most adults in the education system, they frothed at the mouth for a list of these kids in particular who were discussing this kind of thing. I said I didn’t see any real point, its not like anything had changed in the last several decades in regard to what kids talked about, since it made them feel more mature, no matter how stupid they looked to us. I mentioned that a girl in my kindergarten class got in trouble for french kissing in the library and I was in second grade when one of my classmates explained “cum.”
The gaping mouths and stunned expressions that sat across the table told me they either didn’t have a similar experience or they just didn’t remember it.
It became more clear as they talked they were suspecting a serious behavioral problem. The teacher in question had been asking the homeroom teacher if they had noticed the same. Again, this is when I jumped in and gave them a better view of things. That Spawn indeed was a homebody and loved to draw, was good with computers and we played video games together quite a bit. But what they weren’t seeing, either by chance or choice, is that Spawn has a few close knit group of friends they had known since toddlerhood, they went to camps in the summer with piles of other kids they continued to stay in touch with long after camp was over, Spawn was also giving drawing lessons to three of the kids at the after-school center they attended. Spawn has friends, a social life, and sleepovers just like any other kid. They loved a disgustingly huge volume of music and played the guitar, and I fully encouraged all of this. In general, they were pretty happy… until they got to school. In fact, it was to the point where Spawn was begging me to do online school instead because they are sick of it. This seemed to trouble them quite a lot.
I further clarified that if my kid seemed withdrawn from the people around them, that said more about them than it did about my kid. But if they wanted Spawn to come out of their shell and interact more, backing off was the only course of action. No one likes to be hovered over and they sure don’t like being hyper-analyzed or nitpicked.
2. Trash-talking students to students – MAYBE
I don’t think we dealt with all of the instances mentioned and I do suspect there is a bit more of an issue there, but apparently the one biggest incident of smack-talking the awkward kid was apparently a life lesson after said kid had apparently used a racial remark just before Spawn had arrived. In this, I simply watched as Spawn set the seen and the teacher asked questions like “was it when…?” and ” did I say…?” until they both were thinking about the same time. Spawn was shocked about the racial remark, hadn’t heard it and from the look on their face, but it seemed to change the meaning of the rest of it to something that made sense to them.
3. Past issues of teacher bullying – CHECK
This wasn’t my choice to bring up in any detail, but both teachers and the principal wanted to know more about it. I named the teacher by name, said she retired years too late, and when a kindergarten teacher will tear up a kid’s coloring because it isn’t “true to life,” they have some major issues that make them unqualified to be around children. I also said no teacher should ever cause a kid to cry themselves to sleep at night.
I also shouldn’t have had to sit down a small kid and explain to them that a teacher could not hit, punch or in any way cause harm to them or their parents and if something like that did happen, said teacher could end up in jail. This is the part that actually soothed Spawn and made the rest of the year ok… wtf?
I expanded that because of that experience, Spawn had gotten a real hard and fast lesson that not only can a lot of adults not be trusted, but a good many aren’t concerned about your best interest, that telling a teacher they are wrong is not worth the grief and when it comes to getting in trouble, who cares if you’re innocent, that’s not the concern when they are too busy making a example of you instead.
4. Communicating concerns – MEH
Through the course of this, both teachers seemed to become rather surprised by Spawn’s current and past escapades, interests, actions and goings-on. I am cluing in to how little my kid has let them know about themselves. I am baffled if it is just simple oversight, no real opportunity, or a blatant defense mechanism to keep people at bay. When the principal heard my kid liked to draw, my kid was asked to hand her their notebook chock full of hundreds of sketches. The principal looked on in amazement as they flipped through page by page, apparently some were new to both the teachers as well by the looks on their faces. They were intrigued with Spawn’s interest in music and asked questions about that. Spawn blushed and smiled but responded quite enthusiastically.
I sat there while they finally got to know how interesting a kid they had in their respective classes. They knew my kid scribbled and was really damn smart and little else. Before long, Spawn was even laughing and taking an active part in the discussion since most of the concerns had been vented and addressed, I could see some hesitant relief wash over my kid as things progressed into a more casual tone. I could see the weight that had been there was starting to fall off, at least a bit. It really struck a chord with me when their homeroom teacher made the remark “I have seen you smile more in the past five minutes than I have seen you smile all year.” I was shocked. I looked at the teacher, then looked at spawn. All I could say was “really?!”
How bad have things gotten in the school system for that to be the case? I know school was a miserable nightmare for me, but that didn’t start full on until high school and only a part of middle. Have we still not figured out that kids have to have fun at school first, then casually slip in the educating?
I walked out feeling a bit more relieved myself. They didn’t know my kid at all, and that was a big part of the problem. My kid wouldn’t speak up for themselves, and that was a big part of the problem. But both seemed to care a lot about my kid and wanted them to do well and get engaged, which my kid finally realized too, and that at least, is a hell of a better start than someone who just wants to bash the fragile ego of a kid. I couldn’t have been happier to be wrong.
I bought spawn a stuffed cat that was for cleaning monitors, It’s tummy and crotch were chamois, I couldn’t resist. This is what spawn is referring to.
Spawn likes to regulate my intake of alcoholic beverages. I’m more of a beer person, but I do enjoy wine as well. This is my payback for letting spawn taste both when they were still a toddler and referring to it once as “stupid juice.”
spawn is hella impatient.
At this point we get into an argument over who is the messiest of the two and in turn, blame one another for the mess on our respective desk areas. “Yours crept over to mine because there was so much of it!” and the like.
spawn has been obsessed lately with Japanese fox spirits with large manes, it shows in their doodles too. The one below has a tail. Or two…or three?
(it was 4)
(it was maybe 7)
Spawn is getting to that point where the size and volume of clothing is starting to exceed the space that once held it all. We had a brainstorming session at this point where I had to clarify that just because a set of shelves once held nothing but toys did not mean that would be the only thing those shelves could ever be used for.
(spawn blames a kid at school)
(spawn is more likely to choke on cling wrap than to successfully stick it to a dish)
(spawn thoroughly shuts down when handling the daily tasks of social interaction with strangers. this could be a phone to a friend on my behalf, placing an order… even deciding not to refill their drink because they didn’t want to speak to the person standing in front of it and blocking it.)
Today is President’s day and like all other obscure fucking holidays, school is out for the day. As a test of self-management and responsibility, I left spawn at home with a list of things to accomplish before I get home. I’m testing the waters.
That said, I realize that trying to explain our conversations to outsiders is cumbersome at best, no one gets it and we really are all over the place but they tend to get damn funny. It is rare that I get a chance to document them in writing so others have a better understanding of how we interact. SO, I am pasting in part of our chat log that has been going on as they have been “cleaning” the house today. If it gets better, I may post more.