Friday, July 27, 2012

Ermahgerdify Yourself!

     Clearly you've all seen the Ermahgerd meme by now.  If not...well, I can't even finish that sentence because it's rude.  Anyway, the brilliant woman behind Wub Boo Mummy decided to tweak the meme (mainly because we all have pictures where we look as ridiculous as the Ermahgerd girl, and it's only fair.)  She bravely and selflessly took it upon herself to Ermahgerdify her old pictures.  And the courageous Robyn at Hollow Tree Ventures followed suit.  And, since I try to always be doing the same thing as the cool kids, I'm jumping on the bandwagon.  I'm a joiner.  (And, I'll have you know, I didn't have to look very far for these.  They were hanging on my wall.  I have no shame.)

Yes, those shirts do say "Cheerleading or my boyfriend,"
and those jackets are suede...and luxurious.

We're not even going to discuss my bangs or why I wasn't wearing a shirt.

It's really hard to spell 'rad' in Ermahgerd.
     So, anyway, that's all the public humiliation I can stomach for one day.  Who's next.  You ladies (and gentlemans) better man up!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Friendship: Mating For Life

     Some people mate for life when it comes to friendship.  They meet a kid in first grade, discover they both love Rainbow Brite, and become best friends forever.  Emphasis on the 'forever' part.  Sure, they make more friends as they move through the years, but they always make room in their life for each BFF they accumulate along the way.  My mom and my brother are like that.  She still regularly communicates with kids she was friends with in school, and my brother has had the same best friend for over twenty years (and he's only 28 years old, I might add.)  They've added to their friend menagerie substantially, of course, and it just blows my mind that they are able to commit to that level of friendship with such a large group of people.  Because, dear readers, I have a confession to make.  I'm a friendship slut.  I'm a love 'em and leave 'em kind of friend.  (Don't worry; I'm not proud.)  It's not that I move on to the next friend, and never think of the old one again.  I just don't possess the emotional maturity to devote myself to more than one friend at a time.  And, as we all change in life, when I would 'outgrow' a friendship, I would usually just go for the amicable divorce instead of resentment-filled marriage.  We would part as friends, and wave happily to each other if we met up in the grocery store, but we wouldn't be a daily part of each other's lives any longer.  This is how I lived my life.  Until I met Slapajawea, that is.

Me and Slapajawea when we first got to Iraq. 
Yes, I'm making a duck face.  I didn't know any better at the time.
     I don't know how Slapajawea and I became BFFF's (extra F is intentional.)  We were civilized with each other from the day we met, but she thought I was weird, and I thought she was kind of a bitch.  (Turns out we were both right, which is why we mesh so perfectly.)  We mobilized to Fort Dix, New Jersey to get ready for our deployment.  One day we were just fellow soldiers, the next we were joined at the hip.  It was very much like that scene from Stepbrothers. 

Dramatic recreation of our friendship forming.

     While we were deployed, our friendship grew even stronger.  (Duh.  Combat zones have that effect.)  But ours was a little different.  Even in Iraq, people grew close with each other, and then kind of moved on to other besties.  Slapajawea and I remained so close that I'm pretty sure our DNA meshed together, giving us both super powers.  One of our lieutenants joked that we were the only couple that didn't break up during the deployment.  We even took the giant leap of moving in together, both of us terrified that we would eventually try to kill each other with the rock we used to prop open our door to the scenic Iraqi views.  (We named that rock Monty, by the way.)  Didn't happen, though.  Old Slappy remains the only person in my life other than my family members that I haven't outgrown.  I don't know if it's because of the deployment that we've mated for life, or if we would have been such good friends regardless of how we met.  I don't really care, though.  And for those who would posit that we've only been friends for a few years, I say this.  I've been friends with my Peppermint almost as long as I've been married to my husband.  And I'm equally committed to both relationships.  Even when shit gets crazy hard (and I know it's hard right now,) I'm going to be right beside her, calling her a hooker, and making her laugh.  What I'm trying to say, Slapajawea, is that I dearly love you, and I would crumple up into a whimpering ball on the floor if you weren't here.  So stay here.  Please.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poop: The Indignities Of Parenthood

     I had my first child over ten years ago, and she was certainly not my last.  And as a parent, it has become pretty difficult to surprise me where poop is involved.  Factor into that my time spent working as a CNA, an EMT, and an Army medic, and I become nigh unshockable concerning any filthy thing that can come out of the human body.  (To, this day, I am still almost as familiar with my Army buddies' bowels as I am my own.  It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.  Cliche' for a reason.)  But, my son did something a few days ago that definitely falls under the 'shock and awe' category.  It also falls under the 'reasons I gave my kids blog codenames' category, but I digress.
     As I've mentioned about a bajillion times, my son, Skeletor, is obsessed with all things Halloween.  Except for the candy, of course, because that would be far too typical a thing to be excited about.  As an example of this interest, I submit to you that we have three different colors of those trick or treat pumpkins -sans handles by now- that the boy plays with on a nearly daily basis.  Remember that; it will become important shortly. 
     So, a few days ago, I fed the children, and was attempting to get them to at least splash some soap and water on their cruddy bodies.  Sassafrass was in the bathtub, and Skeletor was watching 'Ren and Stimpy' in his room.  (Because I'm an excellent mother.)  As I passed by his room, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was sitting on top of his pumpkin.  He was being surprisingly quiet and calm, so I quickly leaped out of his eyesight.  We don't poke the bear, right, kids?  A few minutes later, I heard a terrible shriek coming from the bathroom.  I ran into the room just in time to see Skeletor dumping something most foul out of his pumpkin and into the toilet.  Sassafrass kept screaming, "Brother pooped in the pumpkin!  Brother pooped in the pumpkin!"  Upon further inspection, I discovered that, indeed, Brother had pooped and peed in his pumpkin.  Dumbfounded seems to be a pretty accurate description of my state of mind at that moment.
     To my eternal credit, I didn't scream, slam the door shut, and run away.  And to Skeletor's eternal credit, he appeared to have merely used the pumpkin as a bedpan.  As soon as he was finished, he went and emptied it into the potty.  So, obviously, we had a long discussion about appropriate places to poop, but I didn't feel as if punishment was in order.  I believe he was testing the waters, so to speak.  And he hasn't had a repeat showing, so fingers crossed that the message got through to him.  Anybody have a good poop story they would like to share in the comments?  Don't be afraid.  We don't judge here...clearly.

I guess it could be worse...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Great Infestation Of 2012

     In my internet travels as a blogger and a blog reader, lo these three months, I have seen a lot of people confess a lot of things.  And thank God for that.  Without all of these perfect strangers spilling their respective guts, I may have gone completely insane by now.  (As opposed to the three quarters insane that I currently am.)  One person, in particular, has struck me with her candor.  She even hosts a weekly link-up called Secret Mommyhood Confession Saturday.  I'm, of course, referring to Kimberly at All Work And No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something.  It's fairly self-explanatory.  Every week, mommies from all around the interwebs link-up to post their deepest, darkest secrets.  After weeks of reading and lurking silently in the shadows, I've decided to leap into the fray this week.  Hopefully, I don't scare away everybody.
     As I've mentioned, blogging is awesome because it allows you a forum to talk about things that are frowned upon in polite society.  But my secret mommyhood confession is one that I haven't heard anyone else talking about.  It seems that even in the liberating world of the mommy blogger, there is still at least one topic that is taboo.  Lice.  Yeah, I said it.  We've had a lice outbreak in my house.  No big whoop.  Wanna fight about it?  Nobody, and I mean nobody wants to admit that their kid has lice.  Because even though intellectually most of us know that a lice outbreak has little to do with hygiene, hearing that our child has a damn entomology exhibit on their head sends us into a tizzy.  "What?  Well, I never!  That's just not possible.  I blow dry my child's hair with compressed air every night.  There's simply no way that a life form could survive on his/her pristine scalp!"
     When you find out that your child has lice, you will go through an abbreviated version of the five stages of grief.  They are as follows:
  1. Denial:  I've already mentioned this one.  You could have a licensed health care professional pointing out the little critters to you individually through a magnifying glass, and you will still not be able to accept the situation.  Fortunately, this stage passes pretty quickly, or everyone in the surrounding area would be summarily and permanently infested.
  2. Anger:  This stage is a bitch to get over.  You will lash out at anyone who has ever come near your precious angel baby while having the audacity to have hair on their head. 
  3. Bargaining:  This stage passes more slowly for some than for others.  My bargaining stage consisted mostly of pleading with the follicular gods to pretty please with sugar on top prevent the little critters from spreading to my other children.  Much like genie wishes, I should have been more specific.  None of the other kids got them, but my one poor child got them over and over again for almost five months.  We've since figured out where she was getting them, but still.  Cut me a break!
  4. Depression:  My depression stage hung around for a while, especially since we could not seem to shake the damn things.  It came in many shapes.  From reading the note that the school sends home, all the while knowing that the anonymous child they are referring to is your own, to being forced to ask the make-up counter lady at Walgreens where the lice shampoo is.  These things will send you into a shame spiral.  Side note:  I don't know who you're trying to kid, lice shampoo manufacturers, but your product does not have a fresh herbal scent.  Instead, it smells like I dumped a fifth of Jager onto my child's head.
  5. Acceptance:  Most people tend to reach this stage only after they have managed to rid their house of the scourge.  Hell, I'm doing the same thing right now.  Only after we discovered where the lice were coming from, and did our final treatment, am I now comfortable talking about this.  Yeah, I'm a hypocrite.  So, what?
     Whew!  I feel better already.  Confession really is good for the soul!  Maybe next week I'll talk about something really gnarly.  You've been warned.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Night Is Dark And Full Of Terrors

     First off, yay for "Game of Thrones" references.  Second, as my brain is currently mushy and useless, it's time for another installment of Tales From The Before Times!  This, of course, is when I tell you lovely people all about some strange and random thing from my past.  You're welcome.

     Once upon a time, when I was still a young and sassy firecracker (as opposed to an old and sassy one,) I moved into a new house.  I've moved about a billion times, so this should have been no big whoop.  But things are rarely as they should be.  This move, in particular, took a few days to complete.  On the first day, I basically just moved whatever random crap had made its way to the front of the random crap pile.  I also moved a couch, so I would have somewhere to sleep that night.  Moving is hard work, and I was a lazy ass, so I called it quits around mid-afternoon.  I jumped in my car rather spryly to make a run to the grocery store.  As I backed out of my driveway, a man walking down my street flagged me down.  I may have mentioned that I was young and thusly stupid.  So, of course I stopped my car and rolled down my window.  I was ten feet tall and bulletproof, after all!  Anyway, this man asks me if I've got any spare change.  I used to be a sucker for a sad story, so I gave him the approximately fifteen dollars in change that I had in my console.  To paraphrase Daniel Tosh, "You hit the jackpot, mofo!"  He was pleased with his unexpected windfall, and I left for the grocery store feeling morally superior to everyone I passed.
     Fastfoward to that same night.  I went to the store, and got myself some yum yums.  Tired from my day of half-ass house moving, I ate and then retired to my bedchambers, aka my couch in my new living room.  Around four in the morning, I was awakened by someone knocking on the front door, which happened to be right next to my head.  And I don't mean a polite tapping on the door, or a "it's probably just a tree branch" situation.  I mean a full-on "let me in the house because a monster is trying to eat me" scenario.  I peeked out the blinds behind the couch, and who did I see but the same man I gave about twenty pounds of change to that afternoon.  As we did not have plans to play bridge and have a spot of tea, this immediately sent me into panic mode.  And what did I do in panic mode, you ask?  Oh, just froze solid on the couch, and prayed that the man didn't come around to the side door which didn't have curtains.  As he continued to pound on the door, I managed to thaw out one of my hands, and called my mother.  She told me to stay still and quiet, and that she would call the police.  But since I made it a point never to listen to my mother at this point in my life, I did the exact opposite, and began searching for a weapon.
     At that point in my life, I didn't own a gun.  I also hadn't moved any of my silverware or table lamps.  Basically, I had nothing to defend myself with.  Other than my samurai sword, that is.  Serendipitously, a few days prior, I had passed a yard sale, and purchased myself a fancy schmancy sword.  It also came with a board to mount it on for display, but I hadn't attached it yet.  And this is how I found myself to be creeping silently through my home, with a giant sword held at the ready.  I was absolutely ready to decapitate some intruders.  Suddenly the knocking stopped.  I don't know if the guy was able to see me through the window, and had second thoughts about assaulting a girl who defends herself with a sword, or if he just got tired of knocking.  But a couple of minutes later, another knock at the door came.  Thankfully, the man knocking identified himself as a police officer.  Because I may have had trouble explaining myself for assaulting an officer of the law with a dull, ninja sword.  And I think this story is entertaining enough on its own without having to add attempted murder into the mix.  What say you?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Permission To Feel

     Last night, I found out that an old friend of mine passed away.  I worked with her for several years at the Crimson Crustacean.  Anyone who has worked at a restaurant in their late teens or early twenties knows how close you become with your co-workers.  You work together, you play together, you are completely enmeshed in each other's lives.  I haven't spoken to my friend in several years.  We just drifted apart, as so often happens.  When I was told about her passing, I immediately brushed it off.  I said to myself, "That's very sad.  But you haven't talked to her in years.  You don't have the right to get all torn up about this."  And then I went to sleep, and had troubled dreams that I can't remember.
     This morning, as soon as I opened my eyes, I remembered that she was gone.  And I remembered what a wonderful person she was.  I never heard a hateful word come out of her mouth.  And then I gave myself permission to feel.  And I cried.  A lot.  I'm trying not to cry right now.  I have tried very hard all my life to shove my feelings down into a nice, tidy bundle that can be kicked under the bed.  But, I'm not going to do that today.  My friend Amy died.  And that breaks my heart.

Rest in peace, Amy.
  The world will truly be a poorer place without you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Crazy, But That's How It Goes

     When I am stressed (a.k.a. always,) I have a tendency to downplay whatever is bothering me.  I like to call this "pathological optimism."  One of the downsides to this is stress dreams.  Once upon a time ago, when my life was relatively carefree, my stress dreams almost always involved waiting tables at a certain restaurant.  We will call it the Crimson Crustacean.  Years after I stopped working for this establishment, I would still have dreams that the hostess was seating me back to back to back.  In the dream, every time I would go into the kitchen, I would have three new tables when I came back out.  Pretty tame, right?
     After I got back from Iraq, and started dealing with my son's autism and the adjustment back to civilian life, my stress dreams got a little more awesome.  They were about zombies.  (I told you they were awesome.)  Now, these were not nightmares, they were stress dreams.  I was not running through some desolate, burned out cityscape, avoiding a messy death at the hands of the zombie hordes.  No, no.  My zombie stress dreams always took place at my grandma's house in the country.  And I was not scared.  Rather, I was irritated at all the logistical demands being placed on me during the zombie apocalypse.  Why aren't those windows blocked?  Who has been dipping into the rations?  Where's my lobotmizer?  Has anyone seen Skeletor?  Maybe he defected?  These are the things that I worry about when it's stress dream time.  Until recently, anyway.
     It seems that my subconscious no longer finds the thought of the dead rising to be upsetting enough to be the stage upon which I act out my anxieties.  What can I say?  I adjust quickly.  No, it seems the old canoodle had to bump it up a notch.  A few days ago, I had a stress dream about finger amputation.  Again, this was not a nightmare.  In the dream, obviously, three and a half of the fingers on my right hand were amputated.  Surprisingly, I don't remember how they got cut off.  I find this mildly disconcerting.  I'm not running around like a crazy person, bleeding all over the carpet.  Instead, I've got a dishcloth wrapped around my hand, and I'm looking all around for the fingers.  I have a cup filled with ice, and it's my intention to gather all my errant digits, and get to the hospital.  One by one, I find the little suckers.  Only, because this is a stress dream, I somehow keep losing one every time I find another one.  This doesn't end.  I don't ever get to the hospital.  I just wake up.  That's right.  I've thrown down the stress dreams gauntlet.  I'm such an over-achiever.  Tell me about your stress dreams in the comments.  Please?  So I know I'm not completely insane?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Special Needs Parenting Drinking Game

     Just in time for the holidays, I present to you the special needs parenting drinking game.  Should you choose to actually play this beast, I will not be held legally or morally responsible for your alcohol poisoning related ER visit.  As my son has an autism spectrum disorder, a lot of the rules of the game are based on that.  But, from what I'm hearing, they're relevant to a lot of SN parents.  A big thanks to the lovely Elle at Call Me Momah for giving me the idea.  She's a hoot and a holler, so I suggest you go visit her immediately.  (Well, read this post first, please.  That would be very cool of you.) 

The Special Needs Parenting Drinking Game

  • Drink every time your child breaks something.  Finish your drink if he breaks something of great sentimental value.
  • Do a shot each time you take your child to Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, or any other kind of therapy.
  • Drink every time your insurance won't cover an intervention.  Finish your drink if it will.  (Celebration time!)
  • Do a shot every time Jenny McCarthy says something stupid or offensive.  Do two shots if it involves showing her boobies.
  • Drink every time someone says so-and-so "was just like that when he was younger, and he's fine now."  Finish your drink if the person who says this is a relative.
  • Do a shot every time your school system vetoes an intervention.
  • Drink every time someone says, "But he looks normal."
  • Drink every time a doctor ignores your concerns.
  • Drink for every referral you get.
  • Finish your drink every time you have to call your child's principal.
  • Do a shot every time someone calls your kid weird.  Do another shot for each violent demise you imagine for the person who calls your kid weird.
  • Drink every time your child reaches a hard-won milestone.  Finish your drink every time your child has a setback.
  • Drink every time your child gets overstimulated.
  • Drink every time your child is understimulated.
  • Drink every time your child starts stimming.
  • Do a shot every time you stay home from an event or family gathering rather than deal with the meltdown that is sure to follow.
  • Drink every time your kid wakes up in the middle of the night.
  • Drink every time your kid wets the bed.  Finish your drink if he wets your bed.
  • Do a shot every time your kid has a meltdown.  Hell, take two shots.
  • Drink every time your child eats chicken nuggets.  Finish your drink if he decides he no longer likes chicken nuggets.  Do a shot if he demonstrates this displeasure by throwing the chicken nuggets against a wall.
  • Drink every time your child screams.  Finish your drink if the scream is coming from one of your neurotypical kids.  Do a shot if you're the one screaming.
  • Drink every time your child refuses to let you cut his toenails, wash his hair, brush his teeth, etc.
  • Drink every time your child plays in the sink.  Finish your drink if he has incorporated a box of tampons into his sink play.  (Thanks to Kimberly at All Work And No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something for that one!)
  • Drink every time your child injures himself, someone else, or you.  Finish your drink if there's bloodshed.  Do a shot if the injury requires an ER visit.
  • Drink every time he cries.  Finish your drink every time you cry.
  • Drink every time you leave a store because of one of your child's meltdowns.  Finish your drink if you stay in the store for the duration of the meltdown.  Do a shot if someone calls children's services on you.
  • Drink every time you watch a certain t.v. show for the billionth time.  Finish your drink every time your child has a conversation with you based entirely on said show.
  • Drink every time your child refuses to go to school.  Finish your drink when he refuses to leave school.
  • Chug for five seconds when your child learns to unlock the front door.
  • Drink every time your child strips naked.
  • Drink every time your child's feces ends up somewhere other than the toilet.
  • Drink every time you replace your bathroom tile.
  • Drink every time your child refuses to wear an article of clothing because it is itchy, scratchy, too tight, feels funny, etc.
  • Drink every time your child dismantles a brand new toy, and then plays with just one piece.
  • Drink every time someone says IEP, annual goals, data, or vaccinate.
  • Drink every time you say an acronym.
     Well, there you have it.  Feel free to let me know any rules that I've missed in the comments section.  If you have been playing along as you read this, then you are completely schwilly by now.  Go to bed.  You're a mess.  And, no, I won't hold your hair for you while you puke.  I'm mean like that.