April 15, 2009

Full Moon Delay

The full moon was last Thursday, but I believe there's been a delay to it's effects this month. My kids have been nuts the last couple of days. Just totally spazzing, not listening, it's like they're a couple of animals. I was fully prepared for this kind of behavior...last Thursday. And really, even Friday, because my kids aren't big on following rules of logic, although logic and the full moon don't really go together, do they? Well, anyway, I was prepared for this last week. When it didn't happen, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and did a little happy dance out of sight in my bedroom, joyful that this behavior stayed away this month. Then...this week. It starts. And I wasn't prepared. So I've been going crazy Monday and yesterday.

And before that...do you know what I hate about owning my own home? There's no landlord to call when things go wrong. For the last few weeks, we had some really gorgeous weather. Beautiful sunny days, comfortable temperatures. We were able to open the windows every day, let the fresh air in, and be very comfortable. This is something that only happens twice a year in this part of the country, and usually we're lucky if it lasts a week. But, then after the little cold snap last week, I knew the heat was on it's way, so I decided to turn on the air conditioning. This did not go well.

My parents were mowing the yard, so we were outside. I flipped on the a/c and went back outside. I come in an hour or so later, to find that my house is now warmer than outside. I discover that my a/c is blowing heat, because the reverse valve (the thingie that makes it go back and forth between heat and a/c) isn't...well, reversing. This is not an easy thing to fix, did you know that? I know that. Now.

It took us all weekend to get this figured out and fixed. And the sad part? It was my mother who fixed it! My mom rocks! I told her she's my new hero. It was a very hot, harsh weekend for us. But by late Sunday afternoon, we had a/c, and it was blissful, wonderful relief to feel it.

Even with the heat, my kids had so much fun. They were so ready to color eggs, they wanted to start before I even boiled the eggs. It was really pretty funny.

Speaking of the eggs, the dog and I have to have a talk. The dog tried to give me up! My kids tend to get up very early, even on the weekends (a horrendous habit I am trying mightily to break them of), so I got up at about 4am to put the eggs out, because my wonderfully innocent babies still believe in the Easter Bunny, and I don't want them to know otherwise just yet. So, here I am with a carton full of eggs and a flashlight, stepping gingerly on tiptoes and holding my breath to hide eggs, and what does the damn dog do? Starts growling and barking at the flashlight beam, which he can just barely see through the blinds. And of course, I can't just yell at him to shut up! I did manage to successfully hide the eggs, get back to bed, and get some more sleep, with the kids being blissfully unaware. They were amazed at where the Easter Bunny hid the eggs this year, and thrilled at what he put in their baskets.

And while we're on the subject of Easter, did you know that apparently, when you go to your child's class at school, you are there, not for your child, but to socialize with other adults? This was news to me. I went on Friday to J's class, to color eggs, and watch Wizard of Oz with him. I spent my time there with him. I sat with him, talked to him, laughed with him, and helped him color his eggs. As I did this, I watched 3 other mothers come in, talk to other mothers and the teacher and completely ignore thier children's presence in the room. One even told her daughter to go away, that she'd talk to her later! What is the point of going to your child's class if you are just going to ignore him or her? I mean, really. I went to spend time with my son, to give him a special memory of some one on one time he got to spend with mommy, without having to share me with his brother. I didn't go to stand around and talk to other adults, something I can do anytime, anywhere, and not have to ignore my kid to do so.

I've bought a new camera. It should be here tomorrow, so I will be posting tons of new pictures in the coming weeks, as I put my new camera through it's paces. Keep checking.

April 11, 2009

Easter Eggs, Report Cards and why I'm a single mom

We colored our Easter eggs today. Every year, I obssessively inspect twelve eggs as they go in the pan. There are never any cracks, crevices, or weak spots crying "Don't boil me!" that I can see. I add water, heat, and about 10 minutes later, I have nine very nice eggs, and three that sport any of a variety of cracks: spiderweb, equator style, and Humpty Dumpty style. This year I had all three styles of cracks. How does this happen. What happens during that brief window of time when water and heat are present to cause these perfect eggs to become a mess? And why do I then eat multi-colored egg salad the week following Easter? The boys think the colored egg white is really cool when they do it, but ask them to eat it? Oh, goodness no! That's like asking them to eat rat poison, which I suspect they might be more willing to eat.

C brought home his report card on Thursday. This child has made me so proud. He's in 2nd grade, so they don't yet do the A/B/C/D/F grades, they do E/S/N/U, for Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory, same as the conduct/behavior grades. He came home with all S's for his academics, and all E's and S's for his behavior. This child struggled with reading and math all year, and had tons of trouble last year and in Kindergarten due to his ADHD. To have improved this much is such a wonderful thing, and I am so proud of him.

On that same day, he also scared the crap out of me. He and J are real big on finding....well, any living creature they can: lizards, frogs, toads, grasshoppers, beetles, whatever. That afternoon, they were digging by a pile of rocks, and I heard the word "worm" on the breeze a couple of times, so I wasn't overly concerned about what they were doing. Until a few minutes later when C shouts to me, "We found a snake!" I, of course, as mothers do, flip out. "What are you doing? Put the snake down!"

"It's just a little one!"

"I don't care! Put it down!"

"But it's tiny. It can't hurt us!"

I get a jar and demand that my child immediately deposit this tiny, little can't-hurt-us snake into the jar. He does, but very reluctantly and giving me the evil glare that says I'm the wicked witch of the west carrying Dorothy off to my castle.

I come inside to look the snake up on the internet, with stern warnings and threats of bodily harm to my sons of what will happen if they dare to touch another snake. Fortunately, they were right, it wasn't venomous. It was a Florida Crowned Snake, completely harmless to humans, and apparently fully grown at it's incredibly tiny size. I have some pictures that, once I calmed down, I took and will post later. I let them keep the snake for a couple of days, and this morning, we set him (her? it?) free in the front yard, so it could go on it's merry way. Then, we had another talk about leaving snakes alone and how it's not nice to give Mom a heart attack by catching one and then insisting that it's not going to hurt you.

I belong to a website for moms. It's a website where you can join groups that revolve around a variety of topics, and ask questions in various forums on numerous parenting issues, including relationships, cooking, and the different stages of your child's life. Recently, there was an article in a popular entertainment magazine about Jamie Lynn Spears and how she isn't going to get married right now. There was also a recent announcement that Sarah Palin's daughter and her boyfriend/father of her child broke up. And then, of course, there's Octomom.

Now, on the website I belong to, there are some very...young moms that have taken the stance that these girls/women are right, in not marrying. They are of the opinion that "you don't need a man to have a baby". Now, I am only 30, so I am not from that generation where unwed mothers got sent off to live in a convent or the desert until the child was born and then returned claiming they just had a nasty case of pnuemonia. But, the women making these comments are one of two things: they don't have kids yet (usually, they are pregnant), or they are happily married to the love of their life. Now, my question to them is: Do they really think that we CHOSE this life?

Let me be clear: I did not CHOOSE to be a single mother. I didn't get pregnant with the intention of raising my children alone. Yes, I was not yet married when I got pregnant with my oldest child. And yes, I did tell his father that I was not going to marry him simply because he got me pregnant, and yes I did mean it. But still, it was not my choice. It happened, and I was going to do what I needed to in order to care for and raise my child, even if that meant going it alone. But it was not my choice: it was not what I used to dream about when I would be waiting to fall asleep at night, it was not my goal in life, to get a good job and then have a couple of kids and raise them alone. I intended to raise them in a partnership, with their father. That did not work out. Their father was not capable of being a good father and husband, and I reached my breaking point, the point at which being a single mom sounded better than being his wife.

But, still I would never, ever tell anyone that being a single parent, mom or dad, is a good idea. It's hard. There is no one to share the load, no one to help discipline or share disappointments, no one to celebrate with. No one to take over when I get sick, no one to cook when I am too tired. No one to ground them, to order them to take a bath, feed the dog, or go to bed, just me.

I love my children, and I would not trade them for anything, and if I had to go back, knowing how it would all turn out, I still would do it all over again. But, with that said, I got the impression from what I read about Bristol Palin that she is promoting abstinence. That's all well and good, but I have to say, I don't think I want my kids looking to her for suggestions on how to handle their sex lives. Whether she intends to or not, she looks like a hypocrit, and sets a bad example for teenage girls. To stand there, while holding your baby in your arms and say "don't have sex", makes you look like a hypocrit. And naturally, she looks great. Her family has money, more than most single moms, and so she has people to take the baby while she does her hair and make up before going in front of the cameras. It sets the wrong image in a teenage girl's mind of what motherhood is like.

I just had to get that off my chest.

April 6, 2009

One of those days...and beyond

Today was the first day back to school after Spring Break. Yay, right? Ha.

C and I have this thing, every morning, where we drop J off at his classroom, and then C goes from J's classroom to his own. J's is a portable, so I drive away. As I drive away, C walks along the sidewalk and waves to me. It's our own little thing, just a little special something we share. And he forgot this morning! It was rather disappointing.

But that wasn't the worst part of my day. No, that was something else entirely, something that actually had no effect on my family at all, but still just blew me away. In our area, there was something that happened that led to a high speed chase between the cops and a suspect or suspects, during which the suspect(s) fired on the officers. From what I understand, no one was hurt by any of this, which is a huge relief. BUT, apparently, a school bus for our school system got shot. No kids were on the bus, and the driver was not hurt, it just broke a window and dented the bus body. As good as that is to hear, here's the problem: The school system calls to let you know when things happen, to reassure and comfort. Nice, right? Nope. The call is a recording and it starts like this: "As you have probably heard by now, one of our buses was shot today." Uh.....NO, I HADN'T HEARD THAT YET! I mean, really? This is how we reassure parents, by announcing blythly news they probably HAVEN'T heard yet? Honestly, I was home all day, except for a couple of errands, and had been to our local news websites, and had no knowledge of this bus. So, I imagine the parents who were working or out running around all day had even less knowledge of what happened this morning than I did. So, perhaps that was not the best way to start that "reassuring" phone call. It seems to me that someone needs to remind our school superintendent about the old cat on a roof.

Could the superintendent really not come up with something better than what he did? I mean, how about "We want to reassure you about our commitment to your child's safety. With that in mind, we would like to inform you about an incident that took place today. Firs,t let me reassure you that no one was injured, and no one was in any danger of being injured..." and the move on to the bus being in a shootout. Hey, maybe I can apply for the superintendent's job?

Oh, and the last not so great part of today? The kids are grounded. No outside for a week. What fun. Hours of afternoon and brightly lit evening listening to "Please, can we go outside?" I hate when I have to do this to them. Not just because they hate it, and they whine, but because I really like them being outside. So many kids these days sit around watching the boob tube or playing video games, instead of being outside, getting fresh air and exercise. Don't get me wrong, my kids watch plenty of TV and play their fair share of video games, but they spend most of their free time playing outside. And, also, in the interest of honesty, the video games aren't that bad. They're the V-Smile educational games, no violence, and very helpful with their education. They get to play some games on the computer, as well, but again: educational only. After seeing how their father got addicted to video games, I'm going to make sure if they develop an addiction, at least it will be a helpful one.

I must go prepare for what will hopefully be the last cold snap of the season. I'm thinking of starting a petition that, if you are outside in shorts for Spring Break, wishing you could swim, that there cannot be any more cold snaps after that. Do you think it'll work?

I didn't think so either.

But a girl has to have some dreams, right?