24 September 2010

life is messy

It has been a super-annoying week.

Mimi and Boo have both had difficult days, although they at least had the grace to alternate; Wednesday Mimi raged and screamed from the time I got home from work right straight through until bedtime; tonight Boo started whining at me the minute I walked in the door, everything from "I want milk!" to "That's BOOOOOORING" to "my thumb tastes nasty." I am thinking about ripping my ears off.

I made my kid cry by threatening to trash her play-doh.

My kids keep substituting the word "poop" into random song lyrics.

The house is a wreck and I'm having family and friends over tomorrow for Boo's birthday so I have a ton of clean-up to do. Plus presents, decorating, wrapping, etc.

I got called judgmental on twitter, in the process of asking people not to judge others, in regards to the whole Similac formula recall. Some people can't successfully nurse their babies. Some people choose not to. Can we all stop being MEAN about it, please?

I posted a link to a blog post about taxation an the middle classes on facebook, and started a whole thing without intending to, and called someone an asshole, and somehow got insulted for being short. I just thought it was an interesting blog post. I should really know better by now.

I have crochet orders backed up the wazoo and barely any time to work on them. I strained a tendon in my hand a few weeks ago and couldn't crochet at all for a couple of weeks, which didn't help.And I was recently reminded about some stuff I still owe people from the summer. And it practically takes an act of God to get me to the post office, I don't know why.

I got accepted as a hack writer for a content provider which is wonderful because I desperately need even the pittance that might bring in, but I have not been able to get my brain functional enough to write a 500-word article about perch fishing in Michigan. Seriously.

The cat keeps eating the dog food. The dog keeps eating the cat food.

And this is not even counting the normal, everyday woes like not having a functioning washing machine, the laundry piled everywhere, my broken tooth, the house falling apart around me, my negative checking account balance, Mimi's psychological issues, childcare scheduling difficulties, and my tendency to start crying at the stupidest things these days.

This is my life. It's insane. I wish certain things were very different. I would like to be able to pay my bills and own a house and sent my kids to gymnastics class and buy pretty things for myself.
No time, no time, no money, no time.

Really, the reason I started this post was to say, gah, I have had a crap week so here's some cute stuff to look at. But instead I made a wish list at etsy to cheer myself up. Someday when I have discretionary income again, I am going to buy myself some cute stuff and not feel guilty about being good to myself and everybody else can just bite me.

I'm here. I'm alive, and I'm grateful for that. Life is messy. The alternative is worse. I beat myself up for lots of reasons, most of them related to things listed above that aren't really even in my control. I am not the best mom in the world. Or the nicest person. But I'm the best me there is and that's what you're all going to get.

This post was inspired by this one. Please read it. It's important.

22 September 2010

What's Going On With Us

I don't know if anyone missed me, or what, but since it seems I am blogging again, I thought I'd do a nice little catch-up post. I haven't really blogged regularly since May of 2009, and kind of a lot of stuff has happened since then. Although you might mostly know this already, since I tend to overshare on Facebook. Anyway. In no particular order (neither chronological nor in order of importance):

I got divorced. I separated from M officially in December 2008, although things had been pretty much over for about a year before that. The divorce was final July 2010, which took longer than I might have hoped but was at least fairly drama-free, as these things go. It was delayed because we filed for bankruptcy jointly before we filed for divorce. M's years of unemployment and some poor financial decisions on both our parts had got us into a hole there was just no way out of. Our house went into foreclosure in the summer of 2008, and we moved into a rental, where I still live with the girls. The only way out of that was bankruptcy. So that all sucked, but it's done. I'm still on rather shaky ground, financially, since I'm not getting much in the way of child support -- M is working, but not making much more than minimum wage, and there's a support order in but sometimes I get the money and sometimes I don't. I'm managing (some months, just barely, and I have no savings or extra) and things are hopefully starting to turn around in that regard. Emotionally, I'm good. The girls have adjusted fairly well, all things considered, although it's an ongoing process. M is around a lot, takes them to school most mornings, and we get along well. But I'm making all the big parenting decisions and most of the little ones, and paying all the bills, and yeah. It's stressful.

Mimi is now in second grade. She'll be eight in December. EIGHT. Remember when I was blogging her adoption? That was six years ago. Seriously. I didn't blog any of her first grade adventures, and I feel kind of badly about that, but it was a tough year all around. Second grade has gotten off to a bit of a rough start, but things are starting to settle down. I hope. She's dealing with some major adoption-related trauma -- her dad not being around as much has predictably brought up a bunch of abandonment issues -- but we're getting through it. She's talking about it, which is huge. She blindsides me with it at bedtime or on the way to school, but she's talking. And because her dad's disregulation was contributing a lot to her own, she's also relaxed quite a bit in the past year. Developmentally, she's still a bit behind her peers in her class, but she's come such a long way. And she read TWO CHAPTERS of a Junie B. Jones book out loud to me last night. That is remarkable. I about cried.

Boo is in full-day preschool. Seriously. She can write her name and climb to the top of the monkey bars and ride a bike with training wheels. And she will be four next Sunday. Thankfully. Because three has been extremely difficult for her and for me, and while I know she won't magically be a reasonable person next week, I can hope that the combination of being FOUR and being at school all day will turn her into more of a human being and less of a wailing banshee-child. She already has a friend, whose name she actually shared with me, and this is a big deal. Because last year at daycare, where she was two to three days a week, all day, she pretended not to know any of the other children. For MONTHS.

I started tango lessons. I'm still doing this, although not as frequently only because my schedule is all effed up right now. I love tango. I have shoes I wear just for dancing. This is remarkable, trust me, and I will be writing more about this.

I started dating. Kinda sorta. With varying degrees of success. And dealing with quite a bit of emotional that the whole oh-right-I'm-single-now thing brought up. That's an entire post in and of itself. More than one. But for the moment things are going kind of well in this department, and that's all you're going to get. For now.

I made it into the Regretsy book. Because I make these chapstick cozies, see, and sell them on Etsy. And then I made a whole bunch of them for a Regretsy book signing and the photos made it onto several mainstream sites. Never would have guessed I'd get my 15 minutes due to crocheted genitalia.

I think that's kind of the highlights. I traveled a bit for work-related conferences and classes -- Chicago, D.C., Charlottesville VA, Philadelphia. I crocheted a lot. I wrote a little. The girls and I all watched too much tv. I got drunk. I kissed some boys (sometimes while drunk). I lost a couple of friends, and made new ones. Just, you know, life. And stuff. And so now I'm back. Yay!

16 September 2010

Nobody puts baby in a tutu

It's that time of year, post back-to-school and pre-Thanksgiving, when we parents start hearing about Halloween every five minutes. The stores have costumes and candy out the minute they get rid of the lunchboxes and notebooks, so it's difficult to avoid. I've been poking around the web looking for ideas for Mimi, who is in 2nd grade and therefore, I feel, should not be dressed as a stripper or teen skank ho. I blogged over at The Sink about the issues I have with adult costumes, which seem to have a theme of "take a beloved childhood icon and make it 'sexy'," which mostly have the result of making me want to take a very hot shower in bleach.

So I don't have time to make a Halloween costume and I don't have the money to buy one (or the inclination to support the business of any industry that suggests this as an appropriate "nurse" costume for a child. (I particularly like the stripper shoes.) I could do a whole post on inappropriately sexy children's costumes, but I won't, because I don't particularly feel like grinding my teeth to nubs today.

Instead I went over to Etsy to look for ideas for appropriate, cute, handmade children's costumes. And what did I find? Tutus. Lots and lots of tutus. If your local Joann's is sold out of tulle, this is why.

Look, if your kid is a ballerina or a fairy for Halloween, fine. Maaaaybe a ladybug or a butterfly -- it's a stretch, but ok. But if your kid is Cookie Monster, a pirate, or a cowgirl? NO. TUTU. Ditto giraffes, spiders, and cupcakes. Seriously. Does EVERYTHING have to be teeth-achingly adorably girly? 

So I set out to find some cute, reasonably priced kids' costumes on Etsy that did not involve tutus in the least. It was harder than you'd think, and I had to venture into the dreaded BOY territory for some of them, but I was reassured to discover that there are people making cute, creative, APPROPRIATE outfits for kids. I put together a Treasury (because those are SO FUN, seriously, and I'm a little addicted to making them.) Click on the image below to get to the treasury, and click on each pic to go to the individual items. Explore all the great stuff in these sellers' shops. Enjoy. And buy handmade! 

15 September 2010

not myself

Mimi was in a major funk today after school. She's been in a mood for the week since school started: everything is "booooring" and "toooo haaarrrrd." She wants to come home from school and sit in front of the tv until bedtime, basically, and gets terribly angry at me when I won't let her.

Today I got home from work shortly after my mom picked up both girls from school, and when I came in I could tell it was going to be one of those days. Mom was tired and cranky, Mimi was tired and cranky, and Boo was pretty much the only one glad to see me. I let Mimi finish the show she was watching, and then reminded her that it was time to turn the tv off and have quiet reading time. She is very stubborn about reading, and still wants me to read for her most of the time even though she is perfectly capable, so I am trying to encourage her as much as I can. But reading? It's BOOOOORING and TRIIIICKY and TOOOO HARRRRD. I understand her frustration, and I was ready for it so managed to stay calm and offer to help her with her book. Instead of listening to what I was trying to tell her, she ran across the room and burrowed into a blanket, totally hiding herself.

I know she's stressed and anxious about school and changes and all the new things. I don't know how to help her through this right now. Eventually she came out from under her blanket, after I started reading to Boo. She said she didn't know what to do, so I suggested several options: reading, drawing a picture, coloring, writing a story or a letter. None of those were acceptable. She finally decided it might be ok to go outside and do chalk drawings on the driveway. Boo was thrilled with this idea, but once we got outside Mimi threw herself down on the ground and just stared at the sky. I asked if she wanted me to make a chalk outline of her we could color in but no. I asked if she felt ok, and if something was worrying her, and she said no. Then she thought for a minute and said "I'm just not myself, mom. I don't feel like myself."

Later we came inside and cut out pictures from magazines to paste into a collage. Boo didn't want to come in but was convinced when I told her she could use scissors and a gluestick. Mimi at first just wanted to watch, but she shortly got into the spirit of things and produced a fantastic collage of a peacock on a spaceship exploring the solar system. Then she gave me a big hug and said "Mom, I'm myself again! I'm so happy. I like being myself." Then we put on some music of Mimi's choice and danced around the living room, and both girls dissolved into hysterical laughter while they watched me. "Mom! You are shaking your booty!"

Crisis averted, for tonight, but oh, I am so tired. I don't have the energy for this sort of intense hands-on Mimi management every single night, and keeping Boo entertained at the same time. The evening eventually devolved into fights about coloring and what color a certain princess's hair should be so I had to cut things short;  Mimi accuses Boo of copying her but when Boo wanders off to do something else Mimi can't leave it alone and keeps poking at her until Boo comes back and "copies" some more. This is fairly typical sibling stuff and I can manage it, for the most part, but when it's on top of all Mimi's emotional issues, well, I'm exhausted. Mimi will be fine, I know, and Boo totally is fine, but me? I don't know if I'll survive.