"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."

Monday, April 30, 2012

And Yes I'm Whining About Homework Again

because I realize this blog might as well have the catchy name: "A Whole Bunch of Homework Interactions." But you know what? I embrace that. I accept that I bore random people to death with How Homework Went Tonight, by Kerrie. It's ok with me.

The real reason is that I don't think anything that happens with Princess harrows my soul more than working on homework. Not the pee. Not the rages. Not the police being called to our RV while on vacation.* It's the homework. I used to start shaking at 3:00 every day. I thought it had gotten better over the past three months, but it turned out that was just that Princess wasn't actually bringing home any of her homework. I hope I never, ever have to be exposed to her locker. Anyway. The homework. After two years of enduring horror that no psychopathic thriller movie has ever explored, I trigger as soon as her voice starts getting the "things aren't going well" tone.

Can I hear an "amen" from those of you whom have endured third-grade multiplication? It is not what it used to be. Now there's a grid, and all this weird multiplication facts and adding stuff you're supposed to do in certain places designated by a variety of textures of line. Buddy made up some worksheets for me so I could learn how to do it. Once you figure it out, it totally makes sense and is tons easier than the "that's just the way it is so memorize it and deal with it" school of thought that taught us. But I groaned when I pulled it out of Princess's folder. There are a LOT of steps. And steps are not Princess's cup of tea. I worked her through the first three problems, and it wasn't that bad. But the fourth problem did not have the numbers written on top of and on the side of the grid. You had to write them there YOURSELF. And this made it just go all to crap.

As soon as the whine started, my stomach churned and my hair stood on end (does anyone else's do that? Seriously. I like being reassured that I am not an entirely different species), and I suddenly had to fight myself to not raise my voice. Mostly, I did ok. I said a lot of things like, "really?" and, "well that stinks," and, "boy I'd be super mad too if one minute 7x9 was 48 and the next it was 72." And then I cracked.

By this point her paper was ripped to shreds. Mostly because whenever she asks me to explain something, she thinks she knows the answer after I've said three words and starts writing. Then, of course, since I WASN'T DONE, what she wrote is wrong and has to be erased. Do that eight times in the same spot and, well, paper just wasn't made to put up with that. She kept harping at the paper about how stupid it was, which, bullet point #1, SHE WAS NOT BLAMING ME!!!!! HAPPY DANCE!!!! But since I wasn't mentally equipt at that moment to recognize this monumental achievement, I instead slammed my can of coconut milk on the counter and said in a low growl, "it is NOT the paper." Then I caught myself and softened my voice, "it is not the paper. It is that you are frustrated. It's ok to feel frustrated. I feel frustrated too. She put her hands over her eyes, and, bullet point #2, CRIED. Then she bullet point #3 TOOK DEEP BREATHS.

That would be without prompting. Oh yes it would.

And if that were not shocking enough, she then finished the problem. With help from me. On another piece of paper.

Last semester, never. Never never never ever never. No way that wouldn't have ended with her screaming in her room and me crying over my stir-fry. Uh uh.

So yes, I am a hot mess. Yes, my healthy children are fried out. Yes, the third-grade teacher has been driven to drink. But good things are on the move.

*Josh keeps bugging me. When are you going to write about our vacation? You should write about our vacation. Haven't you written about our vacation yet? Why don't you write about our vacation. I probably will. But I only accept suggestions from Josh if they backed by at least three other people (sometimes just one, if said person has a PhD). So for now I think I'll just mention random bizarre parts here and there, and then eventually compile them. When I feel good and ready.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Not Faster That Way

Josh wants Princess to clean her room every morning before school. I'm kind of meh on it, so I let him follow up and all that fun stuff. However, the other day I realized that she has been folding her sheet and placing it at the end of her bed. When I inquired, I received this response:

I don't know. It's just faster that way.

Except it's not. It's not faster to take your sheet off your bed and fold it up than it is to straighten it out and put your comforter on top. It just isn't. Plus, I'm not that hot on the idea of washing Princess's already too-worn-for-it's-time-on-this-earth comforter weekly, so I told her that the sheet is part of making her bed and does not involve it folded and placed at the end of her bed.

Although I thought the folding was a nice touch; I told her so.

Today. Sheet folded on the end of her bed. My instinct was to go all Walking Dead on her. But sometimes a mom just cannot follow her instincts. This was one of those times. So.

"Princess? I really appreciate that after breakfast you're going to make your bed with your sheet. Thanks so much! Hey! We haven't hugged today." *

I ran up before school to get something from her room. Yep. Sheet folded and placed on the end of the bed.

I took the earphones out of Princess's ears.
"Hey! Thanks a bunch for going upstairs right now and making your bed with the sheet."

Now, if I were really mature, I would have just let the whole sheet thing go. Cause she folded it and all. But I'm not really all that mature. I have a stash of marshmellow eggs, and sometimes I play W*bkins when the kids aren't around. So I didn't let it go.

"And hey! I haven't hugged you for like, five minutes. Come here!"

On the walk to the bus stop, Princess reached for my hand.
I think the changes are going to have to come from me first.

*Yes. Totally stolen from Christine Moers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Thought Remorse Was a Rumor

"When Princess comes here, we're all about her. She gets all our attention, and she hasn't hurt any of us. So we end up seeing some different things than you're going to see at home. And one thing I'm seeing is a very, very, VERY remorseful girl. If she's done something big to you, she walks right in and tells me, 'I beed really mean to my Mom." After your vacation, she made a b-line to the crafts. I had other things planned, but she would have nothing to do with them. She couldn't think about anything else until she had made you something. You know. Like a three-year-old. They think if they give you a dandelion, it's going to be all better. She is all about YOU. And she knows she's hurting you and she doesn't know how to stop or make it better."

"But how can that be? How is it I never EVER see that? At home, everything's about how everything is everyone else's fault. She NEVER seems sorry. And all those things she makes me? She shoves them at me with a "here" like she's done with it now and doesn't know what else to do with it."

"Have YOU ever had to apologize to someone? You know how much anxiety that makes."

Oh no. Oh no oh no. Ohnohnohnohnohno. She can't be right. Because that changes everything. As Princess's medication balanced, she got meaner. It wasn't like it didn't know what was happening. I knew she was suddenly feeling everything without knowing how to deal with it. I knew it. But I got scared. She was never sorry; she never felt bad; she always acted the next day (or the next hour) like nothing had happened. She didn't care. Why should I? The implications were horrifying. It was easier to pull away. I told myself it was ok. I was giving myself space. I was taking care of myself. Right? Right?

Except that's not really what it was.

And then a little grain of anger formed. And that was ok, too. Wasn't I entitled to feel angry? I mean, who wouldn't? It was all so unfair and all. So I periodically took it out and stroked it and polished it, and pretty soon it was bigger and hard and shiny and I could carry it everywhere. And so the wall went up. Which was great, because things didn't hurt so much then. Because what did I care?

Only this. This changed everything. I knew what she said was true because I felt my insides whump as soon as she said it. Because if she cares, then all I'm doing is reinforcing her shame, reinforcing her perceived worthlessness, her unloveablity.

And that's not why I'm here. That is not what I set out to do.

The same day (of course, because that's how things work), Christine said something about being brave enough to trade anger for silliness. It was just enough to kick my butt back on the wagon.

"I know you're not listening. That's cool. Thanks for picking that up anyway."

Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last night, Josh walk in from the kitchen with a piece of paper.

You got another check. For your blog.
 Mmmm? Oh. Yeah.
You're still making money? You're not even writing.
The check's still made out to our street. Maybe our whole street can take it to the bank and cash it.
Mmm. Yeah. I should really change that.
You should really write again.
No. You really should write again.

I know. I want to. But I can't even figure out what's going on for myself. How will I tell about it? And I'm afraid it will all up sounding the same. Like the same whiny baby. I'm afraid of being boring.

Maybe that's ok. "Same" is ok. Haven't you noticed for weeks we've been watching a bunch of guys pretend to be bikers, and they keep doing the same stupid crap every episode? And we're entertained! And now we're going to watch some zombies. I'm going to guess there will be some faces falling off. And a lot of growling and oozing. And maybe some sexual tension. So you should write.

And really, he had a point. Because if you have the kind of family where your husband can pull off supporting and encouraging you by comparing your work to that of zombies, then really, you should write.