Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling Better

Well, it's been another few days of my new routine with the kids and the chores. I'm feeling better. Lucian is behaving better, and Val is napping better.

I knew that this, too, would pass. The kids are still a bit clingy, but we're adjusting.

Of course, just as we get under way with our new version of happiness, life takes an unexpected turn. The economic crisis, or poor decisions by individuals (not myself), or petty bullshit between friends has caused a need in my family. We have a need to become a multi-generational family. Pete and I will be moving our family into his parents' house. It's not in the town I chose to live in, so I hope we won't be there too long. I hope to be able to move my kids back into the land of good school systems and choice by the time the kids are in like 2nd grade. But honestly, I don't know if we can move that quickly. Pete and I have some ideas, but we're not positive we can make them work.

It's going to be a struggle for everybody. The kids have gotten used to Mom-mom and Pop-pop's house being a rules-free zone, and now they'll have to cope with it being at least as structured as I have been working to make this house. Pete and I have gotten used to being able to prance around naked after the kids go to bed, and when they're visiting at Mom-mom and Pop-pop's. Now, there will be no nakedness outside of the bedroom, and there will be no more kid-free weekends since there will be nowhere to send them. Mom-mom and Pop-pop have gotten used to living a quiet life while they get by in semi-retirement, now they will have a house full with 4 adults, 2 children, and 3 dogs. HOLY MOLY!

Some days (since this decision was reached) I sit and weep over what I'll be losing. Other days I sit in awe at the things I'll be gaining. Mostly, I'm just terrified of change. Which is unusual. I was once accused of being a gypsy. Not that the person thought I was foreign, or that I went around wearing broomstick skirts and lots of jingling jewelry and beating on a tambourine for money, just that I moved around a lot. I ever wanted to be stationary. I wanted to live a life of many apartments in lots of different places, I even had a dream of living in my car and driving across the country getting part time jobs in any town I chose to stay in for a few months. (Have you ever seen the movie "Chocolat" - that life was pretty perfect for my dream.) But now, it seems that I have finally gotten everything I wanted - a home, a family, a future... now I'm terrified of change. I'm afraid that change really means destruction of everything wonderful about my life.

Maybe it will all be great. It could be. I believe that. I just don't want to be miserable. I don't want my family to be miserable. And honestly, I have a great relationship with Pete's parents right now, and I don't want to lose that, either.

Right now, my life is back in limbo while we get ready to pack, and try not to tell the kids too much about where we're moving so they don't get impatient, and I have to go shopping for a few things that we can't live without even in the new house.

Maybe I'll have something for you to read about when I get back from shopping.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I'm looking into daycare for my oldest. He's three years old, and he's a brat. I know that sounds like I just repeated myself, but seriously. He is mean, he thinks he's #1, and he won't stop talking. EVER. If he is awake, you can hear his constant chatter. He doesn't listen, and he only tries to be a good boy for about 2 hours after being spanked. I don't like to spank him, but it's the ONLY thing that's worked. I've tried time outs, sending him to his room, making him clean up his mess, taking him out of the situation... shit I've even tried praising him for every "good boy behavior." ex. 1 he goes to the potty and only washes his hands once, I give him a big hug and tell him how proud I am and describe what I'm proud of. ex. 2 he stays in his playroom even though he can get out on his own while I get my chores done, I tell him how very good that was, and helpful. Reward: getting to play Mario Party with me.

Nothing has worked. Sure time outs work in that way that he cries, but sits still, he apologizes for the behavior in a way that sounds convincing, "Mommy, I'm sorry I made a mess in the bathroom, I won't do it again." The very next time he goes to the potty? He has soapy water all over the counter, the floor, and obviously - himself.

Pete and I took the kids to the mall the other day. The mall has a cute little park in it. It's all soft plastic stuff to climb on, and it's enclosed so the kids can run around and have a good time. Lucian felt the desire to not only push other kids off of what he wanted to climb on, but he also felt the desire to jump on top of other kids, with his knees! I'm at my wits end here. I don't think I'm a terrible mom, but I do think that I'm failing at teaching my child that he's not a prince, he can't treat other people, be they kids or adults, like whipping boys/slaves/toys/trash. He also, has an uncany ability to break his toys. It's almost as if that is what the toys are for, to be broken. Not played with, not shared, just destroyed.

And what's even worse? He's turning Val into the type of 1 yrd who bites, fights, and growls. Well, Val always growled. We've always thought it was cute, but now he growls at people.

Seriously folks, I'm at my wits' end. I don't think I've spoken to my children in a normal tone of voice in like 48 hours. Do you know what that's like? Do you know what it's like to feel like all you do is yell at your kids? I believe that I am a good mother. I also believe that I'm not the best for them 24/7. I think they, right now, especially Lucian, need to be in daycare. He needs to feel like 'just another kid.' He needs to learn how to treat others. I've been taking the boys to parks, playgroups, out in smaller social situations. I've tried. I've tried, and tried and tried, and I'm tired.

So, while I will of course accept advice (even from non-parents) on what else I could do to help my kids be the sweet angels that they were, I'm really asking for advice on daycares. I don't have an unlimited supply of cash. (I know, right?) So I can't afford much. Should I go with a church based daycare? They tend to be cheaper, but we're not christians, and we don't intend to be.

Do I go with a local private business, or should I be looking at chains? Lucian used to be in Tutor Time and Kinder Care, which were both chains, but he was under two at the time, and I wasn't terribly concerned with him being taught anything. I just wanted him safe and fed until I finished work. Now, I don't even know what I'm looking for.

Is there boot camp for three-year-olds? Is it wrong that I want to find one?

If you happen to live in the Sarasota area, do you know of good daycare options?

Well, I've had enough of writing about it. I'm going to call around.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Leaf

So, Monday the 15th, started my new leaf. The one I turned over. I began keeping my own house clean. I know this sounds like a ridiculously easy task. But let me tell you. I've never been real big into the whole domestic scene. I mean, I've gotten used to coming home to (well, since I never go anywhere I should say, waking up next to) the same man day after day, and raising children, and doing grocery shopping. I am still working on being used to vacuuming everyday. And mopping. And folding AND PUTTING AWAY the laundry. See, we had a cleaning lady. My house wasn't dirty, it was a little messy at times, but I chalked it up to having two children who walked and carried toys everywhere, and I was under the impression that it just couldn't be neat. The cleaning lady came every Friday, and I would take the kids out of the house for several hours... usually to a park, but sometimes we got shopping done, or went to the doctors, or whatever. When I came home, all the toys were put away, the beds were made, and the house smelled of cleaning products, instead of dog. I have two dogs. A St. Bernard, and a shitzpoo. So, moments after the cleaning lady left, there was dog hair on the carpets, and by the base board, my children, who had been out all day would already have all of their toys scattered about the house, and Pete would take a nap. All of this supported my claim that having a nice, neat house was impossible until the dogs die, the kids grow up, and Pete learned how to make the bed.

*ASIDE* Pete is awesomely domestic already. He did most of the laundry, cooks dinner, and helps me pick up the toys at the end of the night. He also loaded and unloaded the dishwasher as needed. And he takes out the trash. So my claim that he would have to know how to make the bed was one of those things that you just don't say out loud, because that'd be like spitting in his face considering that the house would probably smell like old food if he didn't do all the things he already did for the house. *ASIDE over*

I was also under the assumption that I could never get anything done while chasing after two toddlers. That even though most of the day I was letting them watch TV while jumping off of the couch pretending to fly, that if I wasn't at their beck and call for juice cups, or to break up fights, or find binkies - not to mention getting down on the floor to build towers out of blocks and hope I could stack more than three before one of them knocked it over, helping them into their dress-up clothes, clean up the DVDs after Val pulled them all off the rack, and do all the silly dances with them on Yo Gabba Gabba, that they would kill each other or make an even bigger mess, or just generally fall apart. I felt that being a mom was all I could do.

I read some blogs here and there, and at night I've been playing WoW. I felt this was my god-given time after a grueling day of 'being a mom.' In some of my blogs I read about women who work at real jobs, make dinner for their families, and keep their house clean. I began to think that if I got a job, maybe I could be like them. Notice that my first thought was not that I could clean the house, but that I could go out and get a 40 hr/wk job. I felt that somehow this would motivate me to be more active around the house. The wrench in that idea is this: Pete makes enough money to support our household comfortably, and unless my paycheck could do a lot more than pay for day care, it wouldn't be necessary, so I would slack off at work, and eventually quit. Not to mention, I wouldn't get to see my kids very often. And I would have EVEN LESS time to do chores. So Pete and I brainstormed some more.

A few months ago, we moved our dining furniture into the breakfast nook. And put down foam puzzle pads into the dining room. We bought a TV stand, and put a 13" TV in the new 'play room.' We put bins for toys in there, and a few standing toys (tables with things to spin and twist that play "educational" songs, and such), and we hooked up an Xbox to play kids DVDs. But the kids wanted to watch TV shows, not DVDs. We procrastinated on getting cable run to their TV, so they just watched mine. And since they were in the living room, they brought their toys with them, and my house looked like a tornado hit daily.

Pete and I decided it was time for more drastic measures. So we organized all the toys and put them in bins with lids that they haven't figured out yet. We put those bin's in Lucian's closet, and have given him the option of one bin of toys at a time. Val doesn't talk, yet, so we left his toys in the playroom, in little mini-hampers that he can reach the bottom of. We put a giant corral around the open side of the playroom with gates that neither of them could open. We called Verizon and had them run cable to their TV. Please, you can yell at me about the harm of TV. You can explain to me that being sedentary while watching the TV is going to make them fat. But listen, these kids are NEVER sedentary. They run around inside their playroom, and well... hear me out.

So all of this was Saturday. Sunday, the kids went to the beach with mom-mom. Pete and I didn't do a single chore, as there was no time between all the sex, and all the football. Monday, the kids were staying at mom-mom's because pop-pop missed them and wanted to spend some time with them. I cleaned up all the mess that Pete and I had made during our weekend. It was a lot of work. I cleaned up the whole kitchen, vacuumed, mopped, did laundry, etc*. Tuesday, I de-cluttered the house, vacuumed, mopped, did laundry, etc*. Tuesday evening we finally got the kids back, so we took them to Boston Market, and went to pick up Pete's new suit. By the time we got them home, it was time to put them to bed. Wednesday, we all woke up early enough to go to a playgroup, then came home where Pete had a gourmet lunch waiting for us (brats, macaroni's in a cream sauce, and a baked, stuffed, tomato), after lunch, the kids were put into their basically new playroom. Lucian actually took to it a lot better than Val. I got more chores done, and Pete made a new recipe for dinner. We invited his parents over for grub, and after dinner his mom and I cleaned up dinner. (Usually, she cleans up while I lamely protest saying I'm going to get to it later, and she should just relax, and then I go smoke a cigarette on the lanai while she finishes cleaning up.) I was pretty stoked, and I'm sure she was happy to see me being such a good little domestic girl. Yesterday, mom-mom joined Lucian and I at mini-golf, and we came home to find pop-pop playing with Val. More lunch, then kids to playroom while I did more chores, and mom-mom and pop-pop went visiting other family.

Today, I've been relaxing a little for the morning, but now it's time for lunch, and then mom-mom is coming back to swim with the kids in the pool so I can do more chores. So I think this is a pretty good routine. In the mornings the kids get to run and play, then they eat a real lunch read: not just whatever microwavable meal I can heat up, but a meat starch and veg meal made from scratch, then they play together in the playroom while I get chores done. About an hour before dinner, I let them out of the playroom, to sit and play with me, then it's on to dinner, show, stories, bed. And I still have time to WoW.

Neat, huh?

Hopefully, I'll keep this up forEVER. Probably, three months.

*etc. should be translated "sex"

P.S. It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Arrgh!
P.P.S. there are a lot of places where I should have added links. I'll do that when I'm done with today's chores. I'm not actually smart with bloggy stuff, so it will take some research. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kick-Off Family Style

Yesterday was the first Football Sunday of the season. It was pretty awesome. Of course Val is sick, so there was a lot of getting up to get medicine, and he was napping at odd times, but while he was up he sat with me and Pete on the couch-bed and relaxed.

The couch-bed. That is what Pete and I have decided will be our Football Sunday tradition. We'll pull out the couch-bed, eat snacks, and watch all three football games. We'll chase the kids around the house during half-time, and pre-game, and let the kids have movies on the playroom tv when they get bored of football.

Do you have traditions built around sports? How do you get your kids involved in the things you love?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Weeee! Debating.

I have been debating on other people's blogs. It's fun. It reminds me of when the WWW was first created, and lots of people had message boards, and chat rooms, and I used to get into heated discussions with people I didn't know. Only this time, it's seemingly itelligent people with better things to say than, 'Well, you're ugly and stupid, and that's why no one likes you!" It's good too, because when I try to debate with Pete's cousin Joey, he always wins due to the fact that he gets louder than me, and I get frustrated with being yelled at, and give up. Here on my adored WWW I can get my turn to say something, and believe that it's being read, and um... I'm at a loss for words. I want to say ingested, but I think that's wrong. I really should go back to school to keep my brain functioning better. Basically, I believe that the people I'm debating with are at least thinking about what I have to say. They may not agree, and generally have something to say back, but at least when they do they're not just giving me virtual raspberries.

Of course it's also inspiring me to do more research. Because most of what I know of the world (politically speaking), comes from my discussions with Pete. in which, he reads something, it causes him angst, he talks to me about it during our cigarette breaks, and we discuss how we feel about it, how we see the issue and so on. Usually he has to give me the background on why the issue is important, and then once I am armed with that information, I think on it between cigarette breaks, and discuss it further with him. and while that's good, mostly he and I agree. He's a little right of center, I'm a little left of center, but ultimately, there's not much that he and don't agree on.

I think in the light of debating with people who seem further left than me, I will have to start doing my own reading. I guess that I will try to use my computer time more wisely.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Grown-Up Blog

I am eventually going to actually tear down all my old blogs. I feel that they are no longer a decent representation of who I am. And while they do give insight into who I was, I feel like since my kids were born,or perhaps since I moved to Florida, I have gone through a transformation. I have let go of a lot. I have breathed in the peace and tranquility, and exhaled the bitterness, snarky-ness, and mean-ness. I guess, a lot of my old blogs revolved around me trying to 'prove to the world' that I was "better" than the people who dropped my friendship like a bad habit. And told me that I was a bad habit. I don't want to focus on them, or that, anymore. I want to focus on what's important to me now. My kids (and the rest of the family), my community, my experiences.

And despite my title, I will sometimes complain about my in-laws, or toddlers... but in a sort of frustrated, 'this too, shall pass' sort of way. I love them, I really do, but some days are better than others.

These days, everyone is talking about which candidate they'll vote for. It's a time when normally well-adjusted adults start getting petty, and childish, and nit-picky. What it comes down to for me is this: the candidates are human, too. They all have their character flaws. They have their families who do not necessarily have their best interests at heart. They have pasts.

I have a past, too. One that while I do not deny it, I also do not feel that it should destroy the person I am, or the person I am capable of being.

However, what matters to me, in this election is that McCain has proven time and time again that he loves this country, and he wants this country to prevail and prosper. He recognizes that we are in a time of history when we need to show our iron side. I have two children. I like to let them do whatever they like. I enjoy letting them run around and go crazy. I like to spoil them, with toys, freedoms, and letting them decide how to govern themselves. But they get out of hand. They start to not listen to me, they start to think I am incapable of enforcing the rules I have set out. When this happens I usually spend a week coming down hard on them. Sending them to their room for each tiny rebellion. yelling at them in my scary voice, with my ugly face on. Spanking them when necessary. And after a few days to a little over a week, they are back to being my little angels that I can allow to have some independence. McCain knows that we are in a period of coming down hard on the world. And I make this analogy, because as the superpower of the world, we have the responsibilty of keeping as much peace and control as we can.

I know that as a parent, I am expected to lead through example. I also know that while one of my children responds to being sent to his room, the other only responds to the ugly face. I am a unique person, and my children are individuals.

McCain sees that what seemingly works for Europe (a whole other matter I won't get into right now) won't work for America. McCain has the researchable history to prove that he stands firm on his beliefs, and does what he feels is right. Obama, has only 2 years in Congress voted on almost nothing during those two years, and his most gut-wrenching decision as he put it, was voting against the war... while he was in the state senate in Illinois. Which means that his vote meant very little... he had no real say in what the NATION was going to do about the war. Obama wants to force Americans into buying health insurance. Health insurance companies are a private business. If it becomes a law that every American who can afford it must buy it, that is the equivilant of them levying a tax. Obama wants to make it possible for private industry to levy a tax people!!!! Obama wants to make SUV's illegal. Because they're not green. And while I'm all about doing right by mother nature, I don't think the government should regulate this for me. I want my government to do what it promised. Protect me from outsiders, provide me with oppurtunity to better myself, and allow me to believe and say and do what I want. I do NOT want the goverment to protect me from me. I do not want the government to patronize me and tell me that I am incapable of making the right decision so I have none to make.

*SIGH.* I don't know how long this post is. I do know that no one will read it. I'm feeling a bit spent. I'm sorry if you did read this and it doesn't wrap up nicely for you. Perhaps i'll come back to it later.