same dance

Monday, February 28, 2011

He never asks me questions when I feel like answering him.

No. It is always, without fail, at 11 pm, just as Jon Stewart is smiling at me and I am attempting to settle into my nest for my descent into sleep.

So it was Last night. When Terrance bursts into my room, looking closely at the objects on my dresser, like a pig hunting for truffles.

Because I know he wants me to ask him ( and get whatever it is he is looking for FOR him), I stay silent.

Until his rifling through the things I have carefully arranged in the way that I like them has irritated me enough that I am forced to say

"What are you looking for?"

Sometimes I stare at him to express my irritation. Other times, I refuse to stop looking at whatever I am otherwise intently focusing.

"Uh, you know. The thing."

In the day to day life of a marriage this thing that he does makes me insane. This not naming things. This "Thinga-majigy" or "you know the thing" with accompanying gestures and signs.

Of course, three days ago he completely forgot the PIN number for his card and had to come home empty handed from the grocery store, only to endure howls of laughter from me as I pointed out his approaching 50th birthday.

I wait and let him gesticulate awhile.

I know what he wants. I knew when he first came in the room, but there was no way I was getting up to serve him and his rotten memory.

Finally he spits out "Your foot Cream! Where is your foot cream?"

"I don't have foot cream", I say. I still know what he wants, but I am going to make him work for it.

"That coconut foot cream?", he stammers.

"I used the last of that about 2 years ago, Terrance."

He grabs at a tube, thinking he has outwitted me and pulls it closer into his face.

I start to laugh. "That's After Sun Cream. I am not sure that is going to help you in the least."

He sullenly pokes at the myriad of baskets on my bookcase. "You have something in there?"

He pokes. And Stops and waits for me to find the thing he is looking for.....but I don't.

"Are you asking me about the Bag Balm?" My voice is even and light.

He glares, slightly, at me. I point. "It's in there". I gesture in the same way he gestures, round and wide with nothing to indicate anything about direction or location.

He now Pouts. "I Looked in there", he whimpers.

Three year old Terrance has appeared before me. He won't go away until I have supplicated his need.

"Oh for gods sake!", I bluster and throw my quilts to the side to stand up. I make a large and loud show of finding the thing he is asking for, pointing out that "it is where I said it was and why couldn't he recall the name of the thing he wants, I am not a god damn mind reader after all, and ALWAYS at 11 p.m. when I am starting to get sleepy..."

I trail off, handing the bag balm to him.

I climb back into my bed as he stares at the bag balm in his hand.

"Geesh, you didn't have to get so cranky about it", he mutters.

My giggle catches up both by surprise. I can't contain it and it flows out of me until it has become an actual laugh.

"You make me crazy", I say. "Now take your bag balm and your funky cracked feet and get out of my room".

He wanders out to his bedroom.

"Love you" he says to me.

Four years in Quebec has paid off

Friday, February 25, 2011

We were watching "The Pink Panther Returns" this evening.

Emily was laughing, then turned and said:

"His French is Terrible! And the french word for monkey is "singe". Geesh, even I know that."

Jaded, But Hopeful

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I have half a dozen really kick ass posts in the works. I honestly do.

But February has suddenly risen from its bed and grabbed me in the last vestiges of winter embrace, knocking all intent and purposefulness from my brain, leaving me cloudy and confused.

Not unhappy, mind you.

Lethargic, but not from a satisfying meal.

Sleepy, but not tired.

Restless, but unfocused.

I know if I can only hang on a few more days, I will have beaten you February. You will be forced to concede to March, when the signs of spring start to occur with more frequency. Rain boots will replace winter boots and my outerwear will begin to reflect more festive times to come.

For they are coming, the festive times. I can almost smell them underneath the snow. I see them in the blue pale legs of over optimistic college students.

I stretch in my winter dry skin, pushing out against the chapped and cracked surface. It has been hard, this winter. Hopelessness, the bride of February, accompanied me for too long.

But just a few more days.

A few more days until I can stir in my cocoon, reaching out for the sun, and rain to help me blossom again.

Great Expectations

Monday, February 21, 2011

I have always been cautious.

The blessing and curse of the cautious child is observing others. We are Watchers, I think.

More than that, however, is that the watching distances us from people. When I can remove myself from the scenario and focus on you, my mind is occupied intellectually. I don't have to feel because I am wholly absorbed in the task of observing. I am comforted by understanding why others act the way they do, but at a distance.

On the rare occasions that I want to participate, want to interact, it is of prime concern to me that I am Chosen.

I must be Chosen.

If I am not chosen, then I should not invest my emotions in the relationship. Red sirens start swirling and the abandon ship horns begin to blow. I believe that there may be a small military voice yelling "Get out! Get out! Get out!" as he helicopter arms the path to the exit.

Last week in massage therapy, this is what was brought out. My left shoulder holds intense "stuff"... I do not kid. My massage therapist has to exert a tremendous amount of force on my body to get my energy moving. It would be comical if it was not my body that demanded this punishment to release the pain.

And still, I resist. It is Mine and I hold Onto it. A Two Year old with her blanket. While Adult Dawn comes to work this out of her body, to renew her energy for the next phase of her life, Petulant Toddler Dawn glares through lowered eyelashes.

My massage therapists has her elbow and knee in my shoulder as she moves the muscle. She asks "What IS This? What are you holding here?"

I do not answer at first. Not because I don't know, but because it sounds silly, juvenile.

"It's like there is a fence right HERE..." She emphasizes this by moving the ridge of accupressure point where I am blocked with her fingers. The exquisite. I am nearing the edge of what I can bear before I tell her to stop, but I wait, trying to control my breathing - blowing it out, blowing it out.

"And you keep jumping on one side of the fence and then the other, one then the other... You've got to Choose Dawn. Make a Choice! Why can't you make a Choice? This sitting on the fence is ripping your body to shreds!"

The tears jumble with the words, released all in one great rush:

"I can't choose because I wasn't Chosen."

My need to be Chosen has so tightly bound itself around me that I am paralyzed, continually inhaling, while the need wraps itself tighter and tighter around me. I am left cut off from my own body, starved of oxygen.

As someone who prides herself on being self aware, it is moments of revelation such as this which leave me breathless and shaken.

As she pushes the energy down through my back she reminds me that I can not control the choices of others. No matter how I stomp or glare or hold my breath until the world sees that I am RIGHT, I can not bend others to my will. However, my choices are equally my own and not dependent on the reciprocity that I have always deemed essential.

That my choices are my own, but must be made without Expectations. I should not choose only because I expected or needed to get something in return, but simply because it was my choice.

The days since that massage have been revelatory. I practice - Hard - with this idea. To live your life without expectation is perhaps the most challenging idea I have undertaken, but one that found me at exactly the right moment.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My mother had a chick mustache.

Since I was born in 1970 and she went through a phase of "Hey, all body hair is natural and cool" which lasted until about 1982, I didn't really notice it too much.

Actually, that is a lie. I noticed. And was freaked out.

Imagine my distress when I was entering my own puberty and started to noticed the darkening of the hair on my jawline....and then upper lip. It was bad enough that I wasn't a size 2 and now I was the new incarnation of teen wolf?

So I began an obsessive fixation on inappropriate facial hair. It started with my upper lip, then moved to my eyebrows and has progressed to my chin.  I do not lie when I tel you that were it not for my daily meticulous attention to the potential chin beard hairs, I would look like Scott Ian from Anthrax:

You think I jest? Alas, I do not. (Thanks hormones that lost their minds when I turned 36. That was a sweet gift you left there.)

Since my mother never had a "Female Facial Hair and what to do about it" discussion with me, I had to find my own way - shaving, tweezing, waxing until I found my own regime that worked.

About 8 months ago, Emily approached me and said "I think I am getting a mustache".

And it was true, she was.  Ye olde Puberty hormones were rearing their follicled heads and making themselves known. Another girl had made a comment and Emily took it like a dagger to the heart.

One one hand, I was REALLY sad that my daughter did not seem to have inherited her fathers ridiculous lack of body hair gene. On the other hand, I saw my opportunity to pass on some helpful advice - female to female - in a way that I never got.

Since this wasn't a chapter in "What to expect when you're expecting" there wasn't a lot for me to go on.  I mean, this is NOT a topic of most other mother groups:

"So! Let's Talk about the chick  'stache and what we should tell our daughters about it!"

I decided to go with humor and described her grandmothers epic Fu Manchu stylings of my early teen years. I then described the terrible travesty that were my mothers Jolen Bleaching years. My best description was that an albino fuzzy wuzzy had come to live on the top of my mothers lip, and we were supposed to pretend like we didn't notice.


Then I broke it to Emily as gently as possible. She seems to have come from a hirsute female line and that there was no reason to live with this. That, in the 21st century, we had things to deal with the hair, should she feel self conscious about it and want it removed. Puberty is spectacularly shitty enough without the entirely removable problem of facial hair. I confessed that I, myself, could grow a girl goatee to rival her fathers, should I let it all just go feral.

Her decision was absolute: "Get rid of it".

So, every three months, my daughter and I sit down for a 5 minute wax session where I remove her mustache.  Zip, Zip, Zip and Voila - all done.

Today, Terrance walked in and saw the box of wax strips on my dresser. "What are these for?" he inquired.
"Your daughter", I replied. Then stared at him, waiting for his head to implode. Which it did.

"Isn't she too young for this? I mean, won't it all just grow back Darker and Thicker?"

I raised my coiffed eyebrow at him and opened my hairless mouth: "Would you rather she be teased at school? Would you rather that she HAVE a mustache?"

He sulked.  "Well, No...".

"Ok Then. This is one area when I can claim absolute female knowledge superiority and just say that Yes, we wax her upper lip and it is no problem. The end".

So we did. We do.

And I have no regrets.

Comprehensive Exam

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Standing at the cliff of the educational brass ring, I pause.

"What's it like to do your PhD?", I am asked. A Lot. Followed with "Is it hard?" and then "How do you find the time?".

Sit down with me. I am going to tell you some things. Some things you might believe and others you may dismiss outright as lies and fabrications.

School, for me, was never hard. It was, in fact, blessedly easy. Once you figure out what the people want, giving it back to them is simple. Since 90% of information in the academic milleau lies within text, my ability to read,decode and analyze like a mother trucker comes in handy. It is the gift of the bookish child, of the observer, to take in words and the nuances behind them and then recreate the story in your own words.

The work isn't more in a PhD program, at least not in the way you expect. You take the same classes as the students doing a Master's degree program. I was oddly insulted when I found this out. I think I expected a small wood paneled room, with large leather chairs where myself and my PhD seeking brethren would convene to share knowledge. Here at McGill, I only had 4 courses that I had to take. Anything beyond that was looked at oddly. I took six courses, as there were a couple of others outside of my department that I was interested in taking, and I had to get special permission to do more than was required.

As an adult, the courses were relatively easy. I mean, if you have had a real job in the external world then time management should be a skill that you have successfully acquired. If you have had a real job and a spouse and a child, then squeezing in ANYTHING, let alone reading journal articles on a timetable has become second nature.

No, it isn't the work - as designed by others. It is the ember of YOUR idea which is what becomes difficult. I suppose it is different in the physical sciences, the world of hypothesis and scientific method. You try it, it either works or it doesn't and you write a paper describing the process. PhD DONE!

In the social sciences, it is a different process entirely. You are expected to walk in with a rough outline of what you want to study. You should already somewhat know the question you are going to start to investigate. You have to tell the University what that question is, with a proposal - BEFORE they accept you.

And that question? That proposal? Well, you can't just replicate someone else's work. (Actually you can, but I am of the opinion that this does not rise to a level or academic rigor required in a PhD). You have to show that your question has not been addressed in the academic literature. You have to prove that you are looking to find out something new, something different, something which "adds to the scholarly field of inquiry".

THAT is the tough part. Your question becomes an extension of You. It will be, after all, your first major mark in the field in which you study. It will dictate your future employment and writing, therefore you want to make sure that your question is something about which you are truly passionate....because you are going to spend a heck of a lot of time with it.

And I mean A LOT of time. As I prepared to hand in my Theory and Methodology Comps in December, I reflected on how much Time it took me to get to this point.

Now, here is where I must admit that there is something in my nature which is perfectionistic and obsessive. I couldn't Stop reading. And as I read more, I wandered down other academic pathways and alleys. Which worried me that I didn't know enough about my topic, so I read More. I ended up in Neurochemistry, Cultural Psychology and Bahktinian Discourse study. All of this panicked me, so I read more.

I would not advise this method for most people. It took me nearly two extra years to be ready to write since I was so absorbed in my pursuit of MORE. However, on the up side, I have a theoretical base for my argument which weaves some really interesting threads of other fields into education, perhaps for the first time. I am fortunate that my supervisor encourages me to stretch in this manner, as I am using the arguments of fields in which I technically do not "belong" to make my argument stronger, more cohesive.

The payoff for me is having my supervisor, my committee members sigh after reading my writing. A contented sigh. A "That was enjoyable" sigh. Too often academic reading is self inflated and needlessly dense. A field where stinging nettles are planted up front in order to make it painful to enter.

My writing? Much like my writing here. Narrative.  A story to be told, to be enjoyed, to be absorbed.

Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.,I enter a room and defend my idea to a jury of my committee.  I do not fear it, for this thing I have woven from an idea I saw in Ms Deb's kindergarten classroom in 2005 has blossomed inside my brain. I know I am right about this idea, because all of the pieces make sense to me, and to the people reading my writing.

And once that part is over, my PhD is down to what I do best - watching children and making sense of what they experience.

Not a Love Song

Monday, February 14, 2011

I wrote this in April of 2006.  We were getting ready to move to Montreal, and I was quitting my job. Quitting my job was hardest as it meant that I was handing over monetary dependence to Terrance. I  hated it and fought bitterly against this. 

This post was also written before some really, really terrible shit went down in our marriage. Shit that I  still don't feel comfortable exposing to the world and perhaps will never write down. Following that Shit, I went into a full blown manic depressive episode that lasted well over six months before we got it under control.  There have been at least two more depressive episodes we have managed following 2006.

Today I look back and consider Terrance. A man who was managing an at times brilliant, but crazy wife, a move to a new country, a shift of complete financial responsibility, and our Daughter. 

I am not always kind to my husband. I take him for granted frequently. I can be selfish and self absorbed in my own world of thoughts and writing and obsessive pursuits. Yet, he persists. He STAYS, even when I have told him that I hated him and wanted him to leave. Even when I have looked at apartments and made moves to leave HIM.  He stays. 

That Fact alone amazes me. In my life when every person I wanted has left me by the side of the road, this man Stays. That willingness to stay with me, despite everything, remains a mystery to me.  In my marriage I didn't get what I wanted, but I seem to have gotten what I needed.  And today, I am grateful.

I have been thinking about my ex’s a lot lately. I find that when my life is about to take a major leap, the stir of echoes from the past gets strong.

I sometimes think as you move forward, the need to revisit familiar places gets slightly stronger. Part of leave-taking is imprinting your memories. Ends of relationships are similar times. Tumultuous, intense, sorrowful, joyful – all rolled into one big ball, like being in a giant emotional dryer on “tumble.”

There has never been a romantic relationship that has ended and I have thought ( in hindsight) “Damn, that was supposed to last.” Each one took its winding and specific course to its inevitable ending. Terrance, of course, was different. He wanted no end to “the Dawn show.”

Terrance’s steadiness, and tenacity have been godsends for my less rational fluctuations in mood. His ability to plot a course and guide me through it has been the anchor to which my life has been tied for the past 15 years. I, in return, add the wackiness and humor to our lives. We are the ultimate opposites, but exactly the same.

With Terrance, I found a man who loved my mind, as much as anything I could do for his body. That was a shock and took me a long time to acclimate into my view of what relationships “were”. With all my other partners, I took solace in my sexuality. It was something that I could offer that they could appreciate. If everything else in the relationship was going to hell, sex was always great. As a girl who had emotionally distant fathers, and as a young woman who chose emotionally distant boyfriends, I could be close with sex. It was the intimacy that wasn’t intimate! See me giving, without giving! The drama, the chase, the emotional roller coaster!

Terrance’s insistence on emotional intimacy was scary as hell. I fought him bitterly for the first year we dated. Sex? No problemo, I could do that all day. Emotional intimacy? Jesus Christ! Wasn’t the sex enough? That whole year, I retreated twice a week into my therapists office, trying to understand why this man that I yelled at, hung up on and generally tormented stayed around. Was he a masochist?

A year later, after I had said and done anything I could to drive this man away, my therapist leaned forwards and said, “It’s time to stop fighting, Dawn.”


I suppose it was.

When, as a child you were abused and abandoned by your father, the urge to fight is strong. Learning to suppress that urge to fight – the urge which has lead to your survival, is like learning to talk again. Vulnerability is not an option. The vulnerable ones? They end up dead by their own hand, or damaged beyond repair...victims. You are not a victim.

When your survival has been rooted in giving yourself sexually, but never emotionally, opening that door is scary as hell. There is a little girl behind that door and you promised her that you would never let anything else happen to her. Not without one hell of a fight.

But not this fight. Not with this man.

Terrance wanted everything. All parts of me.

It is not a great romantic love. It is not a sexually charged dynamo. My marriage, however, is everything I needed and much more. I truly have a partner who walks next to me and is committed to our relationship. I love him more than I can say.

So why do the ex.’s walk through my brain during these times? I think it has to do with protective mechanisms. When I have to trust Terrance, when I have to stop fighting – as I do with the move to Montreal- my mind kicks back to other struggles. To men that I was less vulnerable with, with twice the drama. To men who only wanted the sex, with no demands on my emotions, no demands to trust them.

I have to remind myself, “It’s time to stop fighting.” It's Ok to be vulnerable.

Your kid is not that special

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I know, it is difficult to believe. Your kid just isn't that special. He isn't a genius because he can read some words early, or knows all the dinosaur names, and she isn't the next incarnation of Picasso because she likes to color, or walked early.

Here, sit down. Let me hold your hand. I say this to you as a Friend. I say this to you as a teacher who has seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of children. I say this to you as another Parent.

My kid isn't that special, either. Of course to ME, she is everything. She is the sole cumulation of my effort, knowledge and genetic contribution to the species. She is exquisitely funny and delightful.

However, in the scheme of things, she is just another Kid. Your kid too - just another kid with quirks and some talents...but really just an ordinary kid.

Why is it important that you accept this fact?

You, Parents of the World, You are trying too hard. You are moving beyond "supportive" to "Blind indulgence and Irate Body Guard" and it is not helpful. Not to your kids, and certainly not to the adults who are working with them.

I mean, we all want our children to feel loved. Supported. Encouraged.  But this continual "Rah-Rah-Rah, My kid is AWESOME" stuff? This is encouraging entitlement. Rudeness. Selfishness. Bullying.

As a teacher, I have been required to say some unpleasant truths to parents. Their child can be poorly behaved. Mean. Conniving. Deceitful.

When I say this to parents who believe that they have a normal, un-special child? I get listened to, and the parents and I can work as a team to correct the behavior. That's what discipline is, after all. To Teach. To Guide. We do this best when teams of adults can consult and listen to each other and then work together in the best interests of the child and family.

The parents who believe that they may have given birth to the Second Coming?  Fight. Denial. Their child would NEVER do this. Their child is SPECIAL and therefore should be given different or more consideration. Their child isn't a bully. Their child would NEVER urinate all over the bathroom wall because he thought it would be "funny".

Have you seen these parents? They will park in the middle of a one way street in front of the school and block all the other traffic so they can walk their child into school. They will show up in professor's offices to plead why their child doesn't deserve that failing grade...even though the child didn't show up for class all term. If the parent doesn't get their way with the professor, they will go to the dean. There is always an excuse. Always an exception.

We are not giving our children good "self esteem", we are setting them on the path of self destruction. Mini Lindsay Lohan's with no boundaries and no expectations beyond  outward markers of success that we - their parents - are willing to fight to the death to protect.

I love my Kid, but she is a normal kid and she screws up. As much as it kills me to see her suffer the consequences of bad decisions like deciding to put off her homework until the last minute, or lying to me about making her bed...I would much rather her suffer those consequences now, than for her to live in a world in which she believes that she has some kind of divine right.

Those screwups are not a reflection of bad parenting, but rather the necessary stumbles on the path to being a conscientious adult. As such, I can handle other adults disciplining her. Not beating her. Not berating her. Simply Disciplining Her as I do their children, if needed.

Parents need to remember that WE are not our Children.  We are simply the vessels through which they arrived.

And I leave you with one of my favorite passages of The Prophet, which as a young hippie child growing up in Vermont in 1979, I was intimately familiar.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.  

Other Mothers Bug Me

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

OK. I already know that I am going to get grief about this, but here goes:

I don't like most other women who are mothers.

It certainly isn't my own view of being a superior parent. Because I am not a superior parent. Some days I am barely an adequate human, let along a superior anything.

It's not because I view my life as more fulfilling or somehow better than other peoples lives.

Not at all. 

When I was newly pregnant and convinced that the whole world rejoiced at the miracle of life blossoming in my uterus since I was chosen to be a Mother ( with a capital M), therefore I was being inducted into the new status raising class of being able to say things with more authority because I had DONE THAT, I was pulled up short by my beloved ( if not cranky) midwife.

"Get your brain out of your uterus, Dawn. Billions of women have done this before you, and a billion more will do it after you."

Ah, Judy. My Cranky Lesbian Midwife. How I loved thee.

Judy was adamant that I was not special for being pregnant. She held no truck with coddling or suggesting extra time off from work. You were pregnant, dammit - not disabled. Even when I developed the whole "insulin 6 times a day dependent gestational diabetes" situation, she was not impressed. 

"You do it because you have to do it and thats the end of the discussion. Now stop crying and listen to how to give yourself the insulin."

Whenever I get one of those saccharine forwarded emails about the "joys" of motherhood, or the "specialness" of a child, I just cringe. Gah. Even worse? Watching women try to convince other women that somehow they are being let into a new and special club because they are pregnant...or recently had a baby.

A friend shared a facebook status update she had recently seen:

"I love watching my pregnant friends transform into mothers. I love how their updates go from being about them to being imediately about their joys and concerns of being a parent. Its awesome being a parent."

My first thought: "Spare me this shit."

And why?  Because it is really no different. There is no shift from themselves to the child,  this attitude retains the self-centered viewpoint of the securely righteous. Furthermore, this attitude seeks to exclude other women by implying that women without children are somehow missing something ( or worse, are being selfish and bad for not being parents).

Implicit in this statement is the societal double standard that women should be self sacrificing on behalf of their child(ren), thinking only about raising the next generation.  Of course, this little rabbit hole leads to all sorts of  debates between and amongst women. Working Moms versus Stay At Home Moms, Bottle vs Breast, Attachment parenting vs Free Range Parenting, Tiger Moms vs Sloth Moms.... A whole new and ever evolving way for women to fight other women. We get to put each other down with poorly concealed digs at the quality/quantity of our parenting, How Fun!

Can I also take issue with the word "Transform"? Did I transform? Become a beautiful Butterfly Mother? 

Hell No. I became crazier, more exhausted and prone to crying jags over things I can't control. I lost all sense of who I was for a couple of years until I fought and scratched and clawed the "Mother" skin I was trying desperately to stretch over myself to ribbons, letting Dawn back out. 

It is no more awesome being a parent than it is awesome being a wife, or a lover, or a daughter. My life does not revolve around my daughter, no more than it revolves around my husband. 

I do not regret being Emily's Mother, but I also do not define myself as such. I understand that this is a difficult concept for many people, particularly women who are mothers, to understand.  I suspect some of you reading are curling your lip up in vague distaste. 

However, I think I give my daughter a greater gift by retaining my essential quality as a Woman who refuses to be defined by my roles to Others in deference to the way She defines Herself. 

Women who are mothers aren't more special than anyone else, regardless of how many times we like to tell ourselves that we know more, or have loved harder or have sacrificed in ways that other people can only dream about. It isn't true and we don't help ourselves by perpetrating the lie unto other women.

Be on the lookout for my  follow up post: "Your Kid is not that Special".

The week is going to get better, right?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Today started like any other day.

Well, really it didn't. When today really started, at midnight last night, I was racing through the house searching for witch hazel and hydro-cortisone.  Why?

Well, money has been a bit "tight" here.  I've been minimally employed for about a year now and despite my best efforts at pretending I'd rejected such old fashioned concepts like "money", the dwindling amount in my bank account has finally caught up with me/us.

So, I have been looking for ways to conserve my output of cash. This has led to me putting things like "Salon based pubic hair removal" on the absolute back burner.

By Saturday, I just couldn't take it anymore. I mean, it had been nearly 3 MONTHS. Ladies, I implore you. Consider your legs or armpits after 3 MONTHS of neglect. It was like the heart of darkness in my thong. I decided to shave. I mean, millions of women shave, right?  This isn't rocket science.

So by Sunday when the terrible razor burn rash had spread EVERYWHERE, I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong. I had exfoliated. I used my bump stopped afterwards and continued to apply lotion all day. At one point on Sunday, as Terrance and I were grocery shopping and I was walking like my pants were literally on fire he stopped me to inquire if something was wrong.

"I don't know but if I don't get home and get these underwear off soon, I think I am going to die."

Sexy words in some contexts, but not when your wife is glaring at you with malice and speaking through her clenched teeth.

Which led me, eventually, to the racing through the house,opening cupboards and rifling through baskets of things desperate for some relief.

When none seemed forthcoming I did what any New England girl would do: Lotion up my crotch with Bag Balm and called it a night.

It seemed to help, at least enough to get to sleep.

When I did wake, it was to the dulcet sounds of

"Hrrgh- Hrrgh-Hrrgh"

and Terrance saying "OH MY GOD, THE CAT IS GOING TO PUKE ON YOUR RUG!" - while making no effort to save the rug from the forthcoming vomit.

Then he stared at me while I cleaned as much cat puke off the rug as possible, then put on pants and carried the rug outside to pack it in snow.

I also started a real job search last week. As in "Dawn now gets emails everyday with jobs that match her education criterion and then she gets to weed through all the places she doesn't want to live before sending off one CV a day to places that never contact her".

I suspect more than one of you feel my pain on this front.

And now I am going to apply more bag balm and figure out a way to save/earn money, because I am too old to have my crotch on fire for THIS reason.

And some of you wonder why we never had a 2nd kid

Saturday, February 05, 2011

"Ain't nothin' cute at 2 a.m."

Actually, that was a paraphrase of what one of my best, oldest friends said to me at one point in her beginning days of motherhood.

I happened to have had experiences last night that made those words - the very words that made me laugh like a hyena in my car as I navigated traffic while listening to my voice mail- pertinent again. What she really said was "Between the hours of midnight and 6 am, the word cute does not exist in my vocabulary"

Last night, at 2 am, with my daughter howling in her bedroom and my husband howling from the couch and me - half asleep- wishing we had a much bigger house where I could escape from them both, I recalled that phrase.

The battle lines had been drawn earlier in the evening. Daddy, once again, leveled some threat regarding the door being shut and her staying in her bed. "You're seven years Old! You are too old to be sleeping with us every night." and then it went on - as usual- to involve some thing that would be taken away if she didn't stay in her bed.

So at 10:20 p.m., my husband of 9 years and partner of 14, attempted to claim his rightful place in bed next to me. He also had some high hopes for a little love being sent his way, so he shut our bedroom door and sidled in next to me. Four minutes later -no lie- I heard a tiny thump in the area of my door. P-A-U-S-E. Knock, knock, knock- "Dada?"

Now, this is actually my husbands WORST nightmare - having our child walk in on us during any kind of intimate moment. So he leaps up like he has been electrocuted, scrambling for a towel or something he can put over himself. I yell "Emily - go back to bed!" and start to laugh ( very very quietly) because he now has his shorts on inside out and is making for the door to see what her issue may be. I know what her issue is......She telepathically picked up that our door has closed and we must be touching and that none of this involves her nosy ass.

Now she knows something is up. Her solution is to stay awake to prevent any more shenanigans from occurring on her watch. Now, I fell asleep before the Daily Show, and awoke again at 2 a.m. to hear them yelling at one another from their respective corners. She had been awake all that time, waiting for him to fall asleep so she can run into my room and get into bed with me. But he keeps intercepting her and sending her back to her room.

I get up - go to her room and say "It is Two in the Morning! Why on Gods Green Earth are you awake with your lights on?"

Emily: "Oh, it's two o clock? I stayed up a really long time."
Me: "Go to sleep!"
Emily: "OK Mama, good night"

seven minutes later, I open my eyes and she is standing in front of me, trying to get into my bed. Me: "Emily what are you doing?"
Em: "I had a bad dream"
Me: You couldn't have had a bad dream, you haven't gone back to sleep."
Em: "I haven't?"

Emily retains her crown as the master. She is betting that I am groggy enough to have forgotten I spoke with her a few minutes ago. Maybe if she sells this hard enough, she'll make it into my bed.

Terrance: "Dawn, is Emily in there with you?"
Emily: "Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" This is accompanied by her running back into her room and throwing herself on her bed.
Terrance: "I swear to god child, I will beat your ass if you get out of that bed again"

@ 4 minutes later... I hear the quiet foot falls of her trying to see if he is asleep on the couch from her bedroom. I think "This kid has the biggest, brass cojones EVER" In a weird way, I am proud of her tenacity.

She appears like a ninja.

Me: "Em, you are about to get in a whole world of trouble that I can't protect you from. Daddy warned you."
Em: Sigh. "Ok, I'll go back to my bed"

And where was she this morning? Tucked under my arm - fast asleep.

The master retains her crown.
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