"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Favorite Chore

I love Clean Sheet Day. It's when you learn all the good stuff. Like what their secret plans are:

Or what they're getting the next time they're allowed a treat:

If only doing the dishes were so interesting.

Monday, May 23, 2011


*the sound of a gargle of extreme frustration

Have they isolated the genome for perverseness yet? Because the second they do, I am there with my handy hypodermic syringe, I tell you. I will suck that puppy out of my child on a moment's notice.

Princess is getting into increasingly more trouble at school. It happens every year at this time, I think because the work is getting too hard and her already teetering self-esteem is getting hit too hard. But every year it's getting more serious, and it's hard to not fear for what's next.

The girls Princess chooses to call "friends" are the well-behaved, very likeable, academically and extra-curricularly strong girls. But then there are the ones she calls "sometimes friends." These are girls who are mean, then fakey-nice, then mean again, and Princess cannot read the nice as fake. She also learns only very slowly by consequences, so every time the girl is nice, Princess figures she won't be mean again. Princess also HAAAAAATES conflict (until she snaps), so when a girl who's been fakey-nice is mean again, Princess can't leave her alone; she literally hounds her to change her mind.

And so, the Bus Incident. On the way back from Field Day, Princess sat on the bus next to Fakey-Nice Mean Girl. Chose to sit there. This is a verified fact. The other verified fact is that Princess slapped Fakey- Nice Mean Girl in the face. Everything in between is hearsay and conjecture, and is disagreed upon between Josh and myself.

The story I heard was that third-graders were making her feel dumb by asking her math questions.

The story Josh got was that third-graders were asking her hard math question and laughing at her for not knowing the answers. Then Fakey-Nice Mean Girl put her hand over Princess's mouth, and Princess slapped her.

Josh's side is that Princess so rarely defends herself in a bullying-type situation that if Fakey-Nice Mean Girl was physical first, it's not such a big deal (in our opinion) that Princess slapped her.

However. I have yet to hear Princess tell about something that happened without leaving out as much as possible that makes her look bad. So this is what I suspect is the most probable version:

Either Princess or the Third Graders said something challenging about multiplication and the other party reciprocated. A Third Grader eventually said, "oh yeah, you don't know what 8x4 is!" and Princess put her hands on her hips and waggled her head at them and said, "yes I do!" They said, "what is it then," and Princess gave the wrong answer. The Third Graders and Fakey-Nice Mean Girl laughed at Princess for not knowing the answer. The Third Graders laughing was one thing, but Fakey-Nice Mean Girl laughing was another, so Princess uttered a bunch of angry-sounding-hyper-nonsense with her mouth half an inch away from Fakey-Nice Mean Girl's face, and Fakey-Nice Mean Girl put her hand over Princess's mouth. And Princess slapped her.

See how that works? It's happened at home dozens of times.

It happened at home this morning. Princess came downstairs and said something to Peanut and the Cuddle Bear, and Peanut said her breath stank. It was just being mean (mostly), and I told them to stop. But Princess wouldn't stop. She kept trying to get them to say her breath didn't stink. I called her out of the room twice to remind her that she heard me tell them to stop, they stopped, and it was time for her to stop as well. Each time she went back in the kitchen, sat and inch away from one of them, and tried again to make them say her breath didn't stink. The third time I called her out, Peanut smirked. When Princess when back in the room, she slapped Peanut in the face.

But she smiled at me!
I know but
She was saying I stink!
I told her to stop, rem-
She smiled at me!
It's my turn to talk now.

Princess. It's not ok to hit someone for smirking. Ever. If you can't stay away from someone who's bothering you, then I have to help you stay away from someone who's bothering you. Get a book and go hang out in your room.

It's your turn to talk now.

Silence. Because Princess only likes to talk to me if I'm already talking. Or sometimes if I'm listening to someone else.

Go then.
Buuuuuut sheeeeeeeee smiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiled at meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Later, I tried to process with her. I told her that if she couldn't walk away, she was going to be the one to end up in trouble. And she replied,

but everyone always blaaaaaaaaames meeeeeeeeeeee!

Yeah. They do. Because you're the one who hits.

Bring me the syringe.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Gift

We haven't even finished this year's grade, and school for next year is already thoroughly occupying my mind.

When we moved last fall, we moved into a different school district. We kept them where they were for this year, but decided to move them to this district for next year, but me no likey change. I've been stressing out about Princess, particularly, because I can hardly just leave her to the wolves in a new school.

So I scheduled a meeting with the principal.

I spent weeks going over what I'd say and what I'd not say. I prayed for the right words I prayed for people who would trust us that I could trust.

We sat down, and I gave a nice, concise, run down of Princess's background, challenges, and needs. He took notes. And what he said next made it hard to not fall right off my chair.

He said, "we did it the opposite of you."
What do you mean?
We adopted four siblings. Then years later had a baby.
So when you talk about early environment and brain development, subtle manipulation, and difficulty with trust, I know what you're saying.
I know the perfect teacher for her.

I am so stunned. In all my preparation, I never thought to ask for someone who understood.

And it was given to me anyway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So. Mother's Day.

Somewhere along the line, Josh developed the theory that I was sabotaging Mother's Day as much as Princess. It could have been that I could not stop crying in public long enough to eat a taco last year. But I don't know. So he decided to spring it on both of us by going out to brunch after church the Sunday before. Which would have worked really well. If I wasn't already freaking out about Mother's Day. And if we hadn't had a rip roaring fight in the car on the way to (and from church). We didn't fight at the actual church. Mostly because I ditched him when he went into the bathroom.

Not my most mature moment.

So it didn't work and later in the day, after hand-scrubbing the floor- which I only do when I'm really upset. Or really motivated. Mostly really upset- I begged and begged and BEGGED, on my hands and knees, even, not to have a Mother's Day. Unfortunately, Josh insisted because, and he wouldn't stop, that I deserve a Mother's Day. And this was a big problem for me because I realized

I don't actually believe that. 

And I've been trying to resolve this in my head, because, really, I know I'm a good mother. I have three children who are above average in everything they do. One of them has come from almost where Princess was and amazes me every day. But Princess. Every day Princess pounds into my head, whether she means to or not:
  • you suck
  • you'll never make a difference
  • what you do doesn't matter
  • you're letting the rest of your family down
  • there's something wrong with you
  • you just might be crazy
and that's not easy to combat. You have to do it consciously, telling yourself the opposite, the TRUE thing, five times for every one you think.

And I haven't been. I've been agreeing.

Friday came, and the school-aged kids pranced up to the car and shoved all their gifts in my lap and insisted I open them while I tried to navigate the car-rider line without committing an unwritten car-rider line felony that would cause another mom to get out of her car and unload her angst upon me. Because it has happened before. And their things were super-sweet.

(that would be Buddy. I especially like the last sentence)

(and there is Princess. I suspect heavy prompting, but still a pretty big deal. It's all true to at least a degree, and she didn't say anything like, "My mom is close to my heart because she washes my socks." So it's all good)

(Peanut. What I love love love about this is that the big red hear is ME! I am the biggest! And that is a big, BIG deal)

Somewhere around Sunday afternoon, I lost it. I don't know how they did it, but the kids managed to be more awful than usual. Buddy was the worst, and since I can usually count on him to think past himself, it really hurt my feelings. And then my hurt feelings hurt his feelings. Since we are essentially the same person, that let to a cry-fest stand-off in the bathroom.

We eventually resolved it, though, and ended up sitting on the front porch together watching the stars come out, and it turned out to be the best part of the day.

Now we do it every evening.

In retrospect, I should have done it differently. I should have told them what I wanted. Point-blank. I should have sat them down and made them paint those birdhouses I bought. And then I should have left while Josh hung my bedroom curtains and cooked me dinner.

So don't be surprised if you call next weekend and I'm out getting a pedicure. I really need one, anyway.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Cuddle Bear Turns Five

I have every intention on venting writing about the two-week depressing saga I refer to by the code name "Mother's Day," but this is so much cuter.

Happy birthday Cuddle Bear. I thank God every day that the caseworker didn't listen when I told her I wasn't taking three.