Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's just say it was temporary insanity and call it a day.

There are very very few things that I feel are superior about myself. Average looks, average housekeeping skills, average cook, average at most things despite giving my best at everything. Well, maybe my hair. I have terrific thick hair that is usually, unfortunately, pulled into a sloppy ponytail. But the potential is there, dammit. I do not purport to be better than anyone at all of these things and many, many more. But. BUT! I am a GREAT reader. I love to read kind of like I enjoy, um, breathing. It is essential to my well-being and I must have a book that I am in the middle of at all times, lest my brain get that foggy, unused feeling. And, oh boy, am I ever a book snob. It is one of my biggest hangups and I just cannot get past it. The gist of it is this: I WILL JUDGE YOU. I will see you with a trashy grocery-store romance novel with a busty maiden riding off into the sunset with Fabio and I WILL JUDGE YOU FOR READING IT. I can't help it, I've tried. I like books that require an IQ above 90 to read and actually have some sort of underlying message or deeper meaning beyond OMG, they totally fell in love and grew old together and had an idyllic life the end. Which is why I'm more than a little bit ashamed to say what I am about to say. I READ TWILIGHT. AND I LIKED IT. In all honestly, I LOVED it. I went into what I now refer to as My Dark Place, which included reading...nay, DEVOURING...a whole 700-page book in two days. FOUR TIMES. Yes, all four books. Each in two days. My children may or may not have had to bathe themselves and eat Cheerios off the floor for lunch while Mommy was reading, please for the love of Jeebus, leave Mommy alone, I NEED TO FIND OUT IF BELLA AND EDWARD EVER JUST DO IT ALREADY OR IF THEY JUST WHINE AT EACH OTHER FOR ALL ETERNITY. CRIPES. I still to this day do not have the foggiest idea what it was about these teen-romance-vampire-fiction books that put me in a completely idiotic trance. It surely was not the writing. My hat is off to you, Ms. Meyer. Well played, ma'am. You took a plot line and characters and other-worldly creatures that are best suited to a Harlequin romance novel and you have managed to turn it into a worldwide best-seller, a feeding frenzy of teenagers and housewives ensuing in it's wake, Bravo. But a way with words you do not have, madam. Me thinks you were betting on girls and women everywhere caring oh-so-deeply for your hero, Edward (SUCCESS!) and reading your books one after another just to get more, more, more, oh God, I read those books like a crackhead in need of another hit, it was just sooo good just one. more. page. Ahhhh. So on that front? Well done. All of that to say that the writing left much to be desired, so it wasn't that. Hell, I can't say what it was that compelled me read over 2800 pages of that garbage. I still feel ashamed to admit that I have crossed over into the group of twelve year old girls who read this crap. I have read Chaucer. CHAUCER. And my top four favorite books of all time are The Secret History, Anna Karenina, The Fountainhead, and Orthodoxy. I consider myself a well-read, intelligent person. Yet I fell prey to this vampire-werewolf nonsense phooey just like the preteen angst-ridden girl thumbing the pages of book #3 on the school bus. But I did. And I loved every minute of it while I was in the midst of glittering vampires and stuttering, awkward heroines and romantic werewolf love interests. And I will see the movies, because I cannot stop myself, apparently. Would I read them again? Eh. Probably not. I'll file that week of my life in the same place I filed that night in high school when I tried a certain, um, "thing" that left me seeing dragons and Oompa Loompas: ridiculous, unnecessary, and slightly frightening. And kind of thrilling.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maybe because I do this parenting thing all day, every day, alone with the kiddos, or maybe because I've had a tiny person in the house who has been capable of speaking in whole sentences for about three years, but I do not notice what comes out of my mouth anymore. What I mean is that the most bizarre things can be uttered, and they just seem commonplace to me at this point in my life. If I had heard someone say "PUT THAT FORK DOWN AND GET AWAY FROM THE TOILET!" four years ago, I would have sloooowly backed away from that person while dialing the nearest mental health facility. But because the things that come out of a four year old's mouth and the things that a toddler chooses to do are so very odd sometimes, so are the words that come flying out of my mouth a hundred times a day. I don't even notice anymore, really, how odd it all sounds, so I made an effort to pay attention over the last few days and tried to remember a few of them.

"It's okay if Stu is peeing on the Christmas tree. No, because the lights are not plugged in anymore." *

"Let's not sing songs about poop, 'kay?"

"Actually Stu CANNOT do ballet, and you are going to possibly break his leg."

"Princesses do not hit their baby brothers with sticks."

"People are still allergic to cats, even if they're the size of mice."

"Dogs don't like lipstick, leave him alone."

"We do not put carrots there."

"I'm sorry if your eyes are scared of going to sleep. It is still bedtime."

"If Charlie's 'wiener' is 'freaking you out', then get out of the bathroom."

*I have to make a note that the Christmas tree is not, in fact, inside the house. It is on our deck. In March. Still.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Patience is a virtue. Or a by-product of parenting Charlie. Either one.

I believe one of the most jarring things about having a second (or third or fourth, I would imagine) is that you have most definitely NOT produced a 2.0 version of your first child, which is maybe kind of what I had envisioned during my pregnancy with Charlie. "Oh, he will be just like Ella...he will be calm and quiet and loving and light years ahead of other kids his age when it comes to talking and other smart-stuff." And now? Now, all I can say is HA. I was tempting the universe to show me just how wrong I was, now that I think about it. Not that Charlie is not loving, he is...EXTREMELY SO. In fact the one word that comes to mind when I think of him is EXTREME. As in, "I love you SO MUCH I AM GOING TO BANG MY HEAD INTO YOUR CHEST. HARD. RAAAARRR." He loves fiercely, he does not just give hugs and kisses, he runs smack into me at a force so great that sometimes I fall backward onto the floor while he is sliming/biting my chin instead of kissing me. He loves me so much that he has progressively gotten worse about me leaving him alone for even two seconds to, God forbid, pee or put the laundry into the dryer. Those that know him can tell you that "Calm" and "Quiet" are not words that would be used to describe Charlie. They don't even make the top 500 adjectives on the list. Hell, they are honestly not even on the list at all. What is on the list? Demanding, Screaming, Tantrum-Prone. Those just about cover it. I am coming around to the belief that "this", this extremely extreme child's screaming fits and demands, are not so much the product of my parenting as they are just...him. I am also beginning to see how this person has been put into my life for a purpose greater than being cute and funny and charming (when he wants to be all of those things). Through him I am, against all odds, becoming EXTREMELY patient. And those who know ME can tell you that "patient" is not the first word they would have used to describe me a year ago. I didn't really have to be with Ella. She made silly toddler mistakes and had the odd tantrum, sure, but on a daily basis she was (and is still) pretty agreeable and sweet and kind and mellow. So I have essentially gone from one extreme to the other here. A year ago: NO patience required. Now: Patience required every thirty seconds to deal with Charlie. Come to think of it, I may hang a sign around his neck that says just that: Patience Required. The ironic thing about this whole rant about Charlie's screamy screaming? HE ONLY BEHAVES THIS WAY WITH ME. I leave him with the husband, and I get phone calls to report how FUN and FUNNY and LAID BACK Charlie is. Charlie stays overnight at my mom's house, and aside from one or two small-ish meltdowns, I get nothing but "Oh, he is so FUN! We had so much FUN!". So, yeah. What I really want to say is "Good for you ALL, that he is so fun for you to be around. He screams at me if I walk three feet away to turn the TV off. Go to hell." But I don't. Instead I take a deep breath and try to remember that this will pass (Oh, please tell me this will pass, as the thought of him still doing this at the age of eight is making me want to stab myself in the eye.) and that through all of his Charlie-ness I am learning patience. And while his tantrums and temper my be epic, so are his heart and his hugs. And his smile. His smile is extreme.