Tag Archives: Kids

The Family Snapshot

Summer break has begun.

It’s only been one day. Yet I sit here and wonder how I’ll get through nearly three months with the kids. Don’t get me wrong I love these kids more than anything. But today started off with the two of them quibbling over how to properly prepare a frozen waffle.

A WAFFLE.

So of course they had to wake me up several times over how to cut it, and what to put on it. Now the 15 yr old knows better. But my dear nearly 7 yr old was being a pain in the ass. No two ways of saying it.
The unspoken rule is not to wake me up before 9 on weekends and days off. I’m no slacker, but I don’t sleep well on a normal basis.

Add a mammoth storm overnight and I spend half the night fretting over whether or not my soffit is going to fall off my house(yes, this STILL isn’t fixed). So I sleep horribly. C usually gets up with E and helps her with breakfast and gives her cartoons until I get up. Today however was the day they decided every ten minutes would be a great time to come up and irritate mom. Therefore my already sleepless self was beyond shaky all day.

Add an aborted attempt to go to the Y. We made it there but we arrived and E decided her stomach hurt suddenly and she couldn’t stay.

We went home and well, I felt under the weather with my eyes coming and going. We spent the day taking care of normal business. Then as the day went on I felt worse. No energy. Weaker than normal. I finally told J I was ordering out dinner. I was supposed to take C to the library for a volunteer orientation session. I was exhausted and cranky when we left. I knew it wasn’t the best time for me to drive but I had no choice.

I can’t even explain what happened next. I feel like I was there but “not there”. We were talking about E’s having a fit as we pulled out. My eyes were blurry but they went from blurry to flashes to not there. But I was halfway down the driveway. I heard the noises and that’s when I knew something was wrong. J’s car was in the driveway and I just ran into it.

The realization combined with the issues with my eyes hitting me was a nasty combination. At this same time my arms were shaking. I had seizures as a kid so I briefly thought that was what was happening. My son was freaked out and all I could say was “go in get him something’s wrong maybe seizure”. He didn’t know what to say so he gathered J ASAP. He ran out and I remember that when he came out my left arm was tremoring so bad it was whacking the steering wheel like mad. I couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t get me out of the car at first.

Once we came inside I realized I hit his car. Knowing how much he loved his car I panicked. He said it was scratched up but it was OK. It took some time trying to get the kids to understand I was ok.
Trying to explain this illness to them, how it’s progressed for me in the last couple of years, and what I’m going through is next to impossible. Especially when it concerns my youngest. She still doesn’t understand what’s happening with Mom. And why there are many days Mom can’t do what she wants her to do.

Eventually I called my mother who my son apparently had already called to freak out to about what happened. Long story short she volunteered to take the kids for the night. So J took the kids over to her house and this gave me time to think and rest.

I know that part of my problem is that I don’t sleep well. I never have.

However lately it’s been horrendous. I toss and turn with so many thoughts running through my head.

I do know that I’m lucky. That my kids are ok. And that despite the fact that I just whacked the hell out of his passenger side, my husband still loves me. Faults and all. Because when he came into my life I had many. And for his staying with me all these years I’m thankful.

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Quiet Time

That seems to be the condition my brain is operating in. I feel like I have a lot I could write about and at the same time, so little.

Life has been pretty boring lately. At least boring to the general blog public I would assume.

There have been health issues(yeah, big surprise), kid issues, car issues, house issues, school…The list could go on. It’s basically been the usual list of suspects that happen when you own a house, raise two kids and deal with an illness that frequently likes to mess with you.

There is one very big, one very awesome thing going on right now but it’s a bit of a secret. I’m fearful that if I say anything before everything is finalized it won’t happen. So I’m just going to be super happy but terrified for the next three weeks until I get the ok not to be worried.

I could just try to list everything in brief that was my semi-exciting and annoying week that was the last one:

-The heat was a horrendous bitch on Labor Day and I almost passed out at the local fair. Yeah that was fun. My MS then decided to be horrendous for most of the week after that. Add some weird stomach problem where the idea of food made me angry for three days and a mild sore throat. Last week was a blast I tell you.

-The kid’s meds were briefly adjusted for a few days. I say briefly because the intention was there to lower one of them finally but the reaction we had was fairly immediate and extremely frightening and the Dr put him back to the regular dosage. I won’t go into major details but I almost called the cops on the kid and he whipped me in the face with a pair of his underwear. Thankfully they were clean. And all is well now by the way, the Dr. apologized to me for not mentioning there would be a reaction that quickly. ugh.

-I was dealing with some depression issues that stemmed from being sick so much this past few months. It hit me really hard last week and the idea of doing anything but sitting on the couch with a book or at the computer really didn’t interest me. I wasn’t myself and it was really disconcerting. This happens from time to time and I know it mostly kicks in hard when there have been flares from the MS. The depression and flares seem to go hand in hand.

-I keep have qualms about taking the burlesque classes. With everything that’s gone on physically I’m scared silly now about putting myself out there and looking like a total idiot. Though one of the local performers who’s really awesome has been talking with me a bit here and there via message and she’s had a lot of encouraging words in general(that and she read my blog and liked the pets piece). And just knowing that she’s been taking the time to be super awesome friendly with me has just made me crazy happy. I guess sometimes in this world when everyone is often so self-involved, when someone just happens to be really down-to-earth and nice it throws you off. In a good way.

– The election season is just making me boil. I want to leave the country for the next couple months and just bury my head in the sand until it’s over and the outrage(from whichever party lost) settles down. I feel like this country is more divided than ever. Family member against family member, friend against friend. And it sucks. Sorry I can’t come up with a more eloquent word to describe it, that’s really the only thing that pops into my head.

-Amy Poehler & Will Arnett split up. WTF?? I know I shouldn’t be disappointed in a celeb marriage breaking up. But they’re both so freaking awesome(though I’m a huge Amy fan, so I like her a bit more than Will) and so cute together and they’re just hilarious. And it just seems so wrong. Which apparently is the reason why so many news outlets and entertainment sites echoed the same thoughts as mine for the last few days. They’re just too cool together to split up. Fuck. If those two crazy kids can’t make it, who can?

-We went to Michigan for the weekend to see some old friends. Very good friends that we never get to see anymore. And being with them just made my day/weekend/life. I didn’t realize just how much I missed having them around until we were together. Saturday night was much-needed. My favorite part was seeing Josh reunite on (a) stage with Derek. They’ve always been so amazing together and I miss seeing them play since Derek & family have been in Portland. I also forget how much I love seeing Josh play. I don’t get to see his new band play that much due to their inability to schedule a show on a weekend, and my inability to get a babysitter.

My favorite part of that night was late night when everyone(including friends of our friends that I’d never met) hung out around the fire pit and J & D sat there with guitars in hand and sang. It was just splendid and warmed the cockles of my heart.

Es has a best friend in H, our friends son. The two of them just adored each other at first glance. They played a bit when they were toddlers before our friends moved to Michigan. The two of them were attached at the hip for the next 20 hrs. And it dawned on Josh and I the next day in the car ride home that we’ve never seen Es with another kid for so long and not fight/argue even ONCE. Blew our mind.

This weekend made me miss the days before the others moved away from here. I’m just happy we had a chance to really reconnect and decided to make more of an effort in getting together from here on out.

– Es started karate lessons, lessons she won in a raffle at the labor day fair we went to. Hilarious part is that they’re taken in the same building as the gymnastics company that she won free lessons from in the raffle last year on Labor Day. Kid has some insane luck I tell you. She took to it quite well. First one was a private session with one of the company owners to see how she liked it. She took to it really well. Es needs some major help with focusing and body coordination so watching her take to this and actually learn something immediately thrilled me. She also was told to stomp on a board and when she did she broke it in half which stunned and excited her. The woman never told her she might do that. Tonight she ran around yelling “Hiii YA”

-One of my proudest parenting moments occurred the other day when C informed me he’s positively addicted to Dr. Who now. I made him watch an episode the night before because I was sick of him watching One Tree Hill and Smallville reruns on Netflix. That afternoon while I was gone he watched three more and said he can’t stop. Nice. Makes mama proud.

-I discovered Tumblr. I knew it existed, another blogger told me I should try it, so I did. Damnit. This is going to suck up a lot of my life I can feel it. And then I showed my friend Erin. Now she’s mad at me because she too senses this is going to be one hell of a time suck. Oops, sorry.

-Aside from my stupid birthday coming up at the end of the month(I’m pretending that I’m no longer aging) there are two great events coming up in the next two months. One is our anniversary in October. We’re going to another burlesque show and then staying in the city. I’m psyched. We did this last year and decided it should become a tradition.

-The other is I’m taking Erin to see Amanda Palmer in November. I’m excited. I have these crazy mixed feelings about her methods sometimes in her self-promotion, but in the end I love her dedication to the arts, and how free she is to be who she is. She doesn’t give a damn what people think, which is rare in the music business. Also she really does love her fans. She’s also out there with her creativity in a way that can at times be extremely moving, but also frightening. The latter is her new video for her new song “The Killing Type”. In one instance it’s very intense and moving, the other bloody and grotesque. But you can not help but watch it again and again. The lyrics are why. Anyways, it’s my first time seeing her and I just hope it’s everything I think it will be.

Her new album came out yesterday and I was so incredibly shocked with how much I loved it. I know this sounds positively bizarre seeing that I claim myself as a fan. The thing is I love her music but not all the time, there’s never been one album she’s done that I’ve loved the whole damn thing. I’ve never been emotionally struck down by her music as I’d been with this one. Half of it was just so moving and depressing, the other half brought me back to my days of being 16 and dancing at Medusa’s club in Chicago and trolling Belmont with all the other kids like me. I was a bit of a Goth/punk rock kid.  The music she created on this album takes so many amazing elements of the new wave/ punk music that was out during that time, therefore there are songs that instantly transport me back to 16(mid 80’s, let’s leave it at that).

I haven’t stopped playing it the last 24 hrs. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that with an album. A VERY long time. So this makes me more excited for her show coming up, I should probably warn my friend that I may revert to 16 yr old me when she plays a few of these songs. This album makes me just positively love her now instead of having these love/hate feelings.

I also found myself somehow embroiled in a big argument online today over a very incorrect article that has been printed over and over today over how she’s treating musicians on her tour. It’s amazing how much can be so erroneous and misunderstood by so many so quickly. This is one reason I hate the internet. Also the fact that my twitter blew up for two hours as some(including one in her camp) agreed with me and others kept going around and around in a circle.

Today made me miss writing about music. Something I used to love to do but somehow lost my passion for several years back. Today made me think it might be time to start writing about it again, and if I weren’t so tired I’d irritate some more people on the internet and go into detail over this whole debacle.

-I might be taking a break from writing for a week. There are so many things coming up that are going to be taking up my time around here that I need to concentrate on, and I don’t think I need to bore everyone with the details of the cleaning out of our garage.

Until then…

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The War that was Won

Over the years my family has had many pets. Most of them I lived with at some point or another. We had dogs, cats, gerbils, birds, fish, turtles, iguanas(my younger brother’s), ferrets(my sister’s), and at one time(briefly) a duck & a chick. I know the latter sounds like a Friends episode. But it’s true. And like the Friends episode, they were sent to a “farm”.

My parents were always animal lovers, in fact my mother for years wanted to be a veterinarian and went to school for it when I was 10. Sadly she wasn’t able to finish and never reached her dream. Instead she just took in dogs that needed homes and eventually became a wonderful dog mom up until this day. My dad & stepmom, like my mom really love dogs and they have for years had German shepherds. Sadly they recently lost their remaining dog Ava to a long and terrible illness, she was only 6. In fact when they brought her home I was pregnant with Esme. My son Charlie and I were the first ones to meet her. My dad lived in the same building as we did and we met her in the parking garage the day they brought her home, she was a little spitfire and the sweetest thing in the world. This past week they adopted a 2 yr old shepherd who should easily fit in to the family.

Me? I’ve always been a cat person. My first cat was named Tara, a cute little grey thing that my neighbors gave me when their cat had kittens. I was in third grade. She later ran away due to repeat terrorization by my older brother. A year later a classmate by the name of Kristin had to move to the Philippines due to a job her father had to take there. They had a year old orange and white Tabby named Marmalade. I already loved the cat and played with it every time I was at her house. Cats understood me. When it came time for them to leave they asked us to take him. My parents agreed to let me take him in. He was my best friend for many years after that. I even at one point had great admiration for him because he liked to trip my sister every time she walked up the stairs, he just never liked her. And back when we were younger her and I felt the same about way about each other that he did about her.

He was with us for about 8 years maybe when one day he disappeared. We never saw him again. To this day the feeling in my gut is that he just wasn’t well and what I know of cats, when they’re dying they often like to do it in peace without anyone around.

As a kid and to this day I still have a strange way with cats, even the most ornery ones. I don’t know if it’s because I have a tendency to pull back in situations and not insinuate myself or I just give off a vibe that I get their ways. I’ve just always preferred them.

I love dogs, don’t get me wrong. I lived with them for years whether I was with my mom or my dad. I was there helping my mom’s dog Bichon(yes my mom named her after her breed, no one could agree on a name) deliver her puppies at 11:30 one particular halloween of my late teen years. One of Bichon’s puppies and I bonded and for Christmas my mom surprised me with the announcement that we could keep the one I had at that point named Athena(I’m a fan of Greek mythology). She was a cute little thing and I loved her dearly. And one day I moved out and she stayed with my mom, and her mom.

Two years later I was back(briefly) at my mom’s when Athena’s mom passed away. I remember asking my boss at the time if I could leave work to go with my mom so she wasn’t alone the day we received the call that she had to be put down. My boss was a kind man and let me go. I’m just happy I was there to be there with my mom and  Bichon to help them both.

When I had to move home with my mom I arrived with two cats and two parakeets. The parakeets I had for about four years, the cats for about a year and a half. Two loved me, two were indifferent.

Hunter was my parakeet that my mom bought for me when I was 19. He used to sit on my head and peer down into my face and sing to me. He was honestly the coolest bird I had ever met. A year later I bought him a mate, Lily. She was kind of a bitch and really didn’t like me much. I took them both with me when I moved out two years later.

A year after that I was at a party with my then boyfriend that I lived with. Every time I went to get a drink from the cooler an orange & white tabby kitten sped up and jumped into the cooler. Behind him were usually about three or four brothers and sisters. By the end of the night the tabby and I were fast friends and my then boyfriend’s friend asked me if I would take him home, as they had to find homes for all of these kittens. I said yes on the spot. Landlord be damned. He came home with us the next day and I named him Max.

Max was my baby. That was apparent from day one, he snuggled up in my neck every night to sleep and that was a habit that he kept for the few years that I had him. About six months after we brought Max home we were at a local pet store buying food and spotted a female that could have passed for his sister. I bought her and named her Lucy. Lucy came home with a million ear mites. Lucy went back to the pet store and they treated her for said ear mites. Lucy, like Lily, was not a big fan of mine. At first. The first couple weeks I was woken up each night to the sounds of Max & Lucy trying to kill each other. Eventually they found peace. And they tried in vain to get my birds who were hanging from the ceiling. This never happened by the way, neither bird died by claw.

A year later things went bad, VERY bad. I had to move out. By that time I had already relocated the birds to my mother. Let’s just say that some of what I endured was due to the fact that I didn’t want to leave my cats behind. I loved them that much. And once we did finally find a safe haven, they repaid me(even Lucy) with a lot of love and protection from then on.

Only less than three years later I found myself having to find them new homes because I was getting married and my fiancé (Charlie’s dad) was unable to live with the cats. It was honestly one of the hardest times of my life. If I could go back to that time I would have insisted upon them staying, but at the time I had no choice. My mom and I found a woman who took in hard to place cats and she adopted Lucy, promising her a good home(she was still stubborn and didn’t like anyone but me). Max. Oh Max. I still can’t think of him without crying.

He brought home many presents for my mom when we lived with her. Frequently I would fly out of bed to my name being screamed at high volume early in the morning ” JENNIFER!!!”. Because Max had dropped a squirrel or rabbit on her back doorstep. He thought he was honoring her. And me. Eventually she came to be fond of him, he really was such a charmer.

I still think he knew I was pregnant with Charlie before I knew. He suddenly started sleeping on my stomach at night. Years later when I was pregnant with Esme, my cat Bluegrass did the same thing. Then I figured it out. Cats are awesome.

Max went to live with my brother’s girlfriend at college. I heard two years later he was at an(actual) farm chasing mice and living with many other friends. I wish I knew more of what had happened to him, but I know he must have been happy and I think of him often. Giving him up is still one of my worst experiences in life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes I prefer cats to people.

Fast forward many years and I meet a charming young man post my divorce and my tumultuous dating years. We fall fast. He has a lady cat that’s about 5 yrs old named Mittens. Mittens has never liked any of his past girlfriends. Not long in, guess whose head Mittens starts wrapping her herself around at night? Yup. You’re smart if you guessed me. This wonderful man knew right there I was the right one(though he claims he figured that out sooner) if his cat loved me that much. We got engaged. We moved in. We got another cat. Bluegrass, a beautiful rescue cat from Anti Cruelty. We loved them both. We got married. A few months later Mittens became sick. Cancer. It was horrible. We tried to keep her alive. We tried everything. It didn’t work and a couple days past Valentine’s day we had to put her down. We were both with her and we held her as she closed her eyes for that final time. I had never actually experienced the death of an animal in front of me(I wasn’t in the room when Bichon passed) and I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that followed. For Josh it was even harder, he brought her with him years before from New England to Chicago.

A couple of months later we decided Blue needed a companion and we went back to Anti Cruelty. We started looking at cats and there were a couple cats I was interested in, one was a black cat, one an orange tabby(oh Max). He found this kitten about 5 months old that was grey/brown with a lot of white. He kept pawing at Josh through the cage and seemed to have one hell of a personality. The worker hesitantly brought him out to us at the “meeting” area. This kitten proceeded to crawl over us and then all over me and just nestle me. He wouldn’t leave my neck and curled up to me. She walked over to see how we were doing and said that she’d never seen this cat do that to anyone before. Josh wanted to pick him right away. We said goodbye to him and as we did he suddenly put his paw outside the cage and grabbed my finger. He meowed. That was it. I told Josh he was the one.

We adopted him. I picked him up a couple days later. We named him Wally. Blue was pissed. But later they became hetero life mates as Josh calls them. I can verify this, as at sometimes the way they curl up with each other to this day speaks volumes.

Per usual over time the cats sort of became mine. Or rather I was the one around the most and fed them, gave them treats so it was my head Wally sleeps on most nights. He also follows me most everywhere, sits in front of the computer screen if I’m writing, and creepiest of all he HAS to sit on the toilet seat and watch me shower. If he hears me turn on the water he flies into the bathroom before I have a chance to shut the door. The best part is most nights he waits nearby my side of the bed while I read. As soon as I turn off the light he’s up in bed waiting for me to stretch out  my right arm, where he then lays down facing me curled up around that arm with one paw laid out to touch my face. And this is how I fall to sleep about four nights a week. The other three he’s downstairs knocking things over or fighting with his brother. Or in winter, bringing me live mice.

The funniest thing Wally has ever done was growl at the Chinese food delivery man one night. I was a few months pregnant and apparently he was protecting me from the poor kid delivering my chicken & vegetables.

Now these cats have lived a very charmed life with us. They are like my kids

The reason I started writing this in the first place is staring out our back door. Matilda. Matilda is our 16 months old shepherd mix. Part German, part Australian, possibly part Rhodesian ridgeback. Who knows. All I know is she is 100% pain in the butt.

Josh had been needling me for a year or so to get a puppy. It never seemed like a good time and frankly, I didn’t want a dog. Slowly but surely I warmed to the idea a year ago spring. We had been perusing all of the humane society pages looking for dogs. After weeks of doing this Josh happened to find a picture of a cute (supposedly) Australian Shepherd mix puppy. She was four months old and sitting up. And winking. I’m not kidding, in the picture the puppy was winking. Me, the not too thrilled about dog person, fell in love with the dog in that picture. So we pursued her. We went and visited her at the humane society a week later. Everything went well and she was super sweet and energetic. We wanted her right away.

Now the horrible thing is that we were leaving the following week for our yearly excursion to New Hampshire to visit J’s family. But we were afraid she would be gone if we didn’t act on her fast. So we went back the next day, E’s birthday.

Unfortunately things did not go well. Our dear to be dog decided it was super to jump all over Esme pushing her to a chorus of repeated screaming” Aaaargh get it away from me!! I hate her get her away from me!!!”. Poor kid. She had the worst birthday in the world because mom was stressed and pissed by her ruining our chances of getting the dog, and she was getting terrorized by a dog.

The people at the humane society told us to come back later when things calmed down. So we did that night when J could come with us and the child was pacified by presents.

Things were a bit better by that point. The puppy had calmed down a bit. We still decided to proceed with her. So we adopted her on the spot. Which left us in a massive pickle. We could pick her up in two days, but we were leaving in six. Luckily my younger brother and his (then)girlfriend had two Australian shepherds so they volunteered to take her for that week we were gone and work on training her. Things went fairly well. We were lucky because she was crate trained and potty trained.

While we were gone things were a little too much for my brother. And it was then he figured out that she wasn’t an Australian shepherd but perhaps a Rhodesian ridgeback. If you know these dogs, well they’re tall and energetic.

The first several months with her were hard. I wasn’t prepared for all of the craziness. She ate things. Like cd’s, shoes, belts, bras, shoes, and toys. Esme lost countless toys to her chewing. We were nipped at constantly.

The kids went to school and Josh went to work so here I was with the most annoying dog known to man and I was expected to take care of her day in and day out. When Esme wasn’t in school or other activities she spent her time perched on the back of the couch in our family room. She was absolutely terrified of the animal.

I wanted to love her but I just didn’t know how. I was so frustrated on a daily basis it seemed impossible. Especially when my Wally developed another Urinary infection because she kept blocking him from coming down to go to his litter box. I was furious and told Josh we had to find someone to take her. I felt awful saying that but I was upset. I think this became so routine, my calls to  him in tears saying we have to get rid of her that he knew not to take them seriously. He built a cat door into our kitchen/utility room door and thankfully that cured Wally of his issues.

I won’t lie. It took a very long time for Mattie and I to get used to each other.

Something however happened over the last few months. She calmed down a little. And being with me day in and day out I was the one that taught her all her little tricks. Like how to high five, how to shake, and best of all “how to give ten”, which is currently her favorite thing to do when she wants a particular treat.  She just sits back and puts both front paws up saying “I’m cute please give me what I want”. And she is, she’s a gorgeous girl. She’s even gotten to the point that if you offer a particular treat and it’s not what she wants she does a little jump back dance and shakes her head no. Last week she nodded at me when I nodded to her  and said that she was a good girl. Charlie cracked up so hard I thought he’d burst.

It’s been well over a year. She adores Charlie. I mean adores. He gets the best greetings when he walks in out of all of us. She’s also extremely fond of Charlie’s dad. So whenever he comes over she goes absolutely nuts over him.

E is finally happy with her. She called her the perfect dog just yesterday which made me very happy. Now she giggles when she attacks her with kisses instead of screaming with terror.

Mattie spent a lot of time socializing with other dogs at Doggie Day Camp. Yes. Seriously. It was awesome. She’s learned to love other dogs and I swear that’s helped her disposition quite a bit in dealing with everyone else.

She’s an excellent fly catcher. But she keeps trying to take my curtains down in her determination to take down the flies.

She has a best friend. Daisy. It’s a stitch. Daisy’s “mom” and I are really good friends and the girls have playdates. It’s become really funny when I go there because Daisy sees me and goes nuts thinking Mattie’s with me. When she’s not you can sense the disappointment. When we went out of town Daisy’s family took Mattie for the week. And she’s so used to them now she doesn’t terrorize them like she does everyone else. Which I guess you could say is pretty amazing. They recently came over and she went nuts running from person to person not to jump on them but wondering where her friend was. To hear one of the girls explain to her friend who the other dog was and say “oh that’s Daisy’s best friend” made me giggle. They really do adore each other. I swear she goes through withdrawal when she doesn’t see her friend for a few days.

So my friend and I try to get them together a couple days a week. Never thought I’d be setting up playdates for a dog.

So yes, my absolute terror and annoyance with this animal has become sheer love. I absolutely adore her. The kids are back in school and it’s just the two of us(the cats come down as little as possible when she’s around) and she’s mellowed out.

We’ve seen the difference the last couple weeks. She’s changed. I can’t put my finger on it, but she’s a different girl.

I know it makes everyone in this house much happier when I’m not shrieking because of her actions.

I still wish my cats would give her a chance. The best part of their fights is the fact that they really do say “NOOO”. I have video proof of this. Somehow they learned how to say it and they say it to her when they get really mad. Imagine two cats on a stairwell in a standoff with a dog weighing 50 lbs more than them, not only smacking her down the stairs but screaming a chorus of “NOO”. Yeah, I know you can’t. We couldn’t either the first 50 times or so. Now it’s normal.

I guess sometimes you find love where you least expect it. I didn’t think I was capable of being so attached to this animal, but now I can’t imagine life without her. Especially when she’s trying to smother me.

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Censoring

That word. It’s a tricky one. It means so many different things to so many different people. What some people believe should be censored, others call free speech.

Personally I don’t believe much should be censored. I believe in the freedom to express one’s self verbally. Or through writing, art, music and film in the way they believe helps them explain what they feel and think. So much is open to interpetation in so many different ways.

Only in some extreme instances where it may cause harm to someone physically do I believe censorship should be involved.

This week there were two instances of censoring that I became involved in. One is rather silly, at least to me, because it involves saying words that some may be offended by but a good portion of the population will shrug off. It did not stop me from getting into a war online with some people who took offense to my very opinionated view on the matter.

The other was a bit more personal.

It took me a very long time to be able to show my writing to people. To trust my gut and my mind, to be able to show everyone what I might have to offer. It began here with this blog.

I had zero problem letting people in to things that may be deeply personal for me. But when it comes to issues or history that involves other people I’m a bit more hesitant than normal.

I wrote a piece last weekend. One I toyed with for a couple days. If you remember from a piece I wrote last week about insomnia I recognized that something was toying with my mind. A memory of some sort. The more I had been writing the more these memories I had been hiding away for a while started to push free and escape.

One day late last week I figured out what it was that was truly bothering me. And I wrote about it. Only I wrote about it in a roundabout way that caused some problems with other people in my life. I didn’t go into as many details as I would have liked, because one of my biggest faults is not telling people when they make me angry or hurt me. I generally take it in further and further until it eventually boils over and I explode a jumbled mess.

Some of these things I put in the past to stay in the past. And they have.

However, there were some issues that were somewhat related to this past that I have never quite forgiven myself for. Namely that I was not a good parent back in this time.

I was good enough. But I was alone with a child with what felt like little support around me. I was experiencing all sorts of new things for ME. Not just this child, but those which were all mine. Something I hadn’t had happen in years. They weren’t all rosy. And as some of these experiences began to sour I emotionally retreated. Which wasn’t fair to my child. I was “there”, but just not in the way that I should have been. And I think we both suffered a lot  because of this.

Instead of writing about these details I skirted around them and instead focused on what caused me to retreat emotionally. Let’s just say I wish I had been a much stronger person back then, something which I am today.

I posted this piece very late at night(or early morning) and a few hours later upon awakening I decided to pull it. So I deleted it. It was too much for some close to me, and it was too much for me.

I don’t think I’ll ever truly write about those days again. I still beat myself up mentally every so often, something I’m working really hard to stop doing.  I can no longer try to convince myself of what I could have or should have done. I only try to concentrate on what I’m doing now with my kid, which has us both in a much better place.

I also don’t want to ever censor myself again. Although I know that somewhere down the line I will ruffle feathers of friends and family with things I may write, I may hurt or offend someone without realizing it. I think at some point or another all writers have had that happen, it happens when you really start digging deep down inside.

Staying safe to please everyone all the time does no one any good.

However, there are still things I won’t go into here just because I do have too many friends & family on the opposite side of the fence as me. And those relate to religion and politics. I have enough issues this time of year trying to be in the same room as my dad and us not battling over our views. I think when those conversations begin my husband starts silently mouthing “stop” to me over and over. He knows the conversation is never going to end up going anywhere good.

I’m not even going to go into details over the other issue I previously mentioned . It’s not worth  my energy anymore. I did however come up with a future character for a story because of that discussion.

Now,

The Good News:

After the breakthrough I started sleeping again. Full nights. I have all week. Except two nights ago when I waited up for J to come home from the city where he had played a show. I can never sleep until he’s home. So that meant I had 4 hrs of sleep because kid had to wake up so early for school. But yay, sleep!

My kids are in love with school. If you knew me last year then you know how horrible that year was for both of them. I’m not exaggerating, it was horrendous. I should be sainted after the crap I dealt with from her teacher and the numerous problems he had. I think I cried tears of joy on their last days because of how happy I was to see it all end.

So this year I was biting my nails wondering what would happen. C loves HS and so far so good, he has a great team working with him and he said the kids seem really nice so far. There was a minor teasing incident on the bus last week but the school was on it right away and the kid who did it felt horrible and made peace with C. I just don’t want a repeat of the last couple years. I don’t think either C or I can go through any of that again.

The brilliant part of all this is that the Dean told me they encourage kids who witness this stuff to report it. Which is how the dean got word of it. A kid on the bus saw it happen, told their mom and the MOM called the school to report the teasing incident.

I love this school.

Small fry has adjusted to all day school with no problem. She keeps waking up an hour early each morning excited to go to school. She’s met a couple of new kids and plays with her best friends at recess since she doesn’t have them in class this year. She absolutely loves first grade. It’s amazing. Also she refers to backups in the lunch line and the school lines as “kid traffic”. It’s really funny when she says it. And she LOVES her teacher this year, which is amazing. Last year she was convinced her teacher hated her and she found her frightening.  5 yr olds should not hate kindergarten, yet her teacher made that possible for my kid to do last year.

So I feel like this year could make up for last year. One more reason why I think I’ve slept all week.

This weekend I get to see two of my favorite dancers perform at a Cabaret club. I’m ecstatic about it. Well that and the fact that our sitter was a bit MIA this summer so this is the first time we’ve been able to go anywhere since spring. Alone. Yeesh.

Hopefully I’ll be back with pictures from that show. If I’m lucky!

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Fifteen Years Old

Fifteen years ago I awaited your birth. You were late. 8 days late. Which isn’t really surprising now that I know you because you really do have a tendency to move extremely slow, but I think you just like taking your time. As you surely did back then.

Being pregnant with you was one of the easiest things I’ve ever experienced. Awaiting your arrival was one of the hardest. Before I even had my 5 month ultrasound, when they would tell me whether you were a boy or girl, I already knew I wanted a boy. I had hoped and prayed you were a boy.

And that day they told me you were. I was ecstatic. Your father was ecstatic.

I planned and prepared those last four months. You were wanted my dear, you were loved.

Naming you however was a complication I wasn’t prepared for. Your father and I had very different ideas of what your name should be. I was the writer. Since I was a kid I sketched out what I would name my kids. I liked strong, classic names. Names that had deep roots in literature and mythology. I wanted to name you Nathaniel. Lucas. Gabriel. Your father wasn’t having any of this.

He wanted to name you Johnny. After his favorite guitarist, Johnny Hickman from the band Cracker. That did not go over well with me. We both lost.

During those last few months of pregnancy I found myself standing in your grandmother’s kitchen with her and your great-grandfather. We were talking names. They laughed over the fact that we were still having problems naming you. Suddenly a name popped into my head, Charles. I loved the strength of it. How classic it sounded. I loved it.

An odd look came over your grandmother’s face when I said the name. I didn’t know why but it was a look of melancholy not disgust. It turns out that this was the name of your grandfather’s father. Someone I never knew as he had died many years before I ever came around the family. I honestly never knew his name. So I think the fact that I came up with it there in the kitchen that day surprised us all.

It was perfect. I told your father that night and he smiled so big I knew it was the right choice.

We waited a short while to tell your grandfather, it was a surprise. We told him father’s day weekend on the way up to the family cottage in Wisconsin. He cried in the car. He was so happy you were going to take the name of his father.

The middle name was a breeze compared to your first name. Both of your grandfather’s shared the same first name so that was the logical choice for your middle.

Things proceeded like normal. We eventually found an apartment and moved out of your grandparents a few weeks before you were born. You were due July 2nd. I was kind of excited and hoping you’d make an appearance on the 4th. But those days passed.

It was hotter than Hades.

Your aunt and I shared the same Dr and she had your cousin Mia just a couple of months before you were due. There was an issue with Mia and the Dr was terrified of a repeat performance, thinking your aunt and I were one and the same so she kept a close eye on both of us after that.

There was an issue and I was told you were probably going to have to be born by a C-section. You just refused to make an appearance.

After a week she told me to come in on the 10th. That morning I was sent to Hinsdale Hospital to be induced. All of your grandparents were there at some point or another. I honestly wasn’t that scared. I think I was more frightened of the horrible hair I had been sporting the last few weeks and how I’d look in pictures later(horrible, I have proof).

I knew I would love you. I knew you would be fantastic.

After several hours of being induced and you still being the most stubborn baby on the planet, the Dr came and announced she was going to lunch but “in an hour we’ll proceed with the C-section”. I was too tired and excited to really care by the lunch part. Your dad almost missed me being wheeled into the operating room. He had gone to get something to eat himself. He arrived about one minute before I was to go in.

It didn’t take long. You arrived. You were cleaned up and handed to your dad. Who showed you to me and the first words out of my mouth” he has my nose. No one has my nose”. Which is true. You and I are the only ones in all of my extended family that has this nose. I have no idea where it came from. Next I noticed you had my mouth.

Later it became a joke that if people really didn’t know any better they wouldn’t know you were your father’s son. You looked like me from day 1. So much like me it was scary. And it was that way through most of your life. The blond hair, the large dark eyes. Now you’re starting to look like your dad. Which I think could spell trouble as you go further into your teen years.

We gave you the best of what we had when you were little, you were my one and only. You were so good-natured and sweet. So inquisitive and creative. You still are.

Later things were rough. Your father and I divorced. Though we have always stayed friends, making sure that when we both remarried and had other children our families were close. We just knew it was for the best and we never hated each other. We just grew apart.

After that you had some school difficulties. There were other issues at hand.  ADHD and Aspergers. You’ve always been this amazing child.

I have always loved you. We have always loved you. You’ve weathered many a storm both personally, emotionally and physically. You’ve always managed to pull through and I know that you have my strength to persevere through it all. So you always will continue to do so.

I know I’ve been hard on you, but that’s only because I want you to be the best you can be. Even if it means you sometimes hate me.

The teenage years were never something I would be prepared for. The first couple years were the worst because of your conflicting hormones and that always lanky body growing taller and taller. You’re 5’8 and towering over me and if you inherited your Grandpa Niemann’s genes as we suspect you have, you’ll be minimum 6’2.

This year you’ve had the most amazing growth, both physically and emotionally. I see you getting stronger. I’m starting to see little glimpses into who you may be some day down the road, into the future.

In one month you start High School. And with everything you’ve gone through I admit I’m a bit scared, but like you I’m excited. Because I think this could be when you come into You.

However it was yesterday you turned 15. You’re no longer a little kid. There’s such a big difference between 14 and 15. And I’m seeing it now more than I ever thought I could.

I’m proud of you. I enjoy being with you. I’m looking forward to the next few years of you as a teenager and helping you navigate those murky waters. Next year you’ll start driving.

But for now…

I will Love you always, no matter what.

Happy Birthday Charlie, you’re still one of the most amazing accomplishments in my life!!

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