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Spagaryus

Speaking of mispronounced words, does anything beat ‘spagaryus’?  I think not.  By the way, I’ll give you extra credit if you can figure out what it means…

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Every parent thinks they’re doing a good job of not swearing in front of the kids… until the kid starts using those words unexpectedly.  

The other day at the library, Alec was playing a game of Memory and when he didn’t get his match, he blurted out a “Dammek”.  (which is unequivocally his version of ‘dammit’).  And in the library, no less.  Yikes!  What else could I do but give him a stern look and tell him not to use that word?  Ok, could’ve been worse, and he hasn’t said it since so I guess it’s ok. 

Except that now I’m on hyper-alert mode, just waiting for him to say something equally as embarassing and hoping to cut him off before someone hears.  Tonight Alec was watching an episode of Blues Clues and he decided to skip through the house, singing the song that he heard in the episode but with his own improvised and slightly mispronounced words.  So, instead of “It’s time to go outside and play, play, play”, his version sounded like “It’s time to go outside and f**k, f**k, f**k”.  The poor boy got grilled so badly about what he just said.  I didn’t understand that he was actually saying “fox” until I asked him to spell it out for me.  He looked so perplexed as he said, ‘f-o-x’. 

Ahh, to be as innocent as a four-year old again.

Facebook-free for a month

Since I’m incommunicado with the Facebook world, I figured I’ll do the next best thing:  blog about all my daily doings and amusings so that my friends can catch up and know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth for a month.  Turns out this will be better than FB after all, because I can go back and use this as a baby book and a personal journal, too! 

This is my 6th day in, and although temptation has reared it’s ugly head a few times, I’ve been holding out pretty strong!  My cell phone is thanking me, I’m sure.  I’m pretty certain you’re not supposed to be using the data package for 18 hours a day… and it can’t really be a good thing to need to charge the battery twice (sometimes three times) a day. 

Highlights of our weekend:

Friday my dad and I took Crystal for a walk.  About halfway through we saw some lunatic driving his car and backing up repeatedly, turning around in people’s driveways, and then finally drove down the street and turned the corner.  When we got to the street the car had been on, we were greeted by a couple who was standing out in their front yard, warning us to be careful because the crazy driver is actually their 12-year old neighbor girl who decided to take mom and dad’s car out for a joy ride with her little brother in the front seat, and they’d be back soon.  Just as they predicted the kids came back around the corner and whipped into the driveway, running a shrub over that just happened to be in their path. The neighbor went over to the driver’s door, helped the girl out and took the keys away before telling the kids to wait in the house for their parents to come home.  As soon as they knew they would be in trouble, the kids starting screaming and crying hysterically that they would get KILLED if the parents ever found out.  They were so scared and so vocal about being “literally killed” that I began to worry about if they would really get physically hurt.   They did go sit in the garage and my dad and I continued to talk to the neighbors for a few more minutes.  What do you do, as a bystander, at this point?  At least they weren’t going to drive anymore and potentially kill themselves or someone else.  But, now there was another worry about what would happen to them when their parents found out what they were up to.  At this point, the couple introduced themselves to us as Brenda and Larry.  Larry is a pastor for a Baptist church and they’ve been living there for about eight months.  I felt good that those kids had such caring neighbors to at least intervene and take the keys away, but then again, it was worrisome that my Dad and the neighbors were so unaffected by the severity of the kids’ distress about what would happen to them.  I hope it was dramatics and not a real fear of abuse.  I went so far as to drive by the house later that night, just to see if I could see anything or hear anything concerning.  But, all I saw was the blue flickering light of the TV, and since I didn’t want to seem stalkerish, I kept driving, and we went home for the night. 

Saturday was much less intense.  Alec played soccer at Brockmeyer Park, and was pleasantly surprised by two sideline visitors: Donna, his daycare teacher, and Trudi, my very good friend.  He did a good job, although he needs some coaching on which way to kick the ball.  Thankfully he hasn’t scored a goal against his team yet.  After soccer, we went shopping for some T-Ball equipment (he starts playing on the 14th) and then picked up cousin Felicity for a sleepover.  The day included Barnes and Noble, a feast of a dinner followed by a couple hours at the park and then home for dessert and Dr. DoLittle.  By 9:00 I was half asleep on the couch and the kids were still ready to keep going.  Thanks to some dictatorship authority bedtime was announced and, surprisingly, it didn’t take very long for them to fall asleep.  Well, it was either that or I fell into such a deep sleep that I couldn’t hear them goofing off.  We’ll go with the first theory. 

Sunday was recovery day for me.  I was still so wiped out by the hot sun and fresh air from Saturday that I could barely keep up with the hooligans.  We went to church, which was OK, but I know one little girl who could have behaved much better than she did.  We took a walk downtown and then came home for a spaghetti lunch, followed by another 45-minute trip to the park and then a road trip for some ice cream before taking Felicity home.  We had a nice cook out at Papa and Grandma’s house and didn’t get home until after 9:00PM.  That’s surely enough activity to wear this Mama out!

I’m still surprised I could even wake up this morning, but I knew I had to throw towels in the dryer before I could even think of taking a shower, so awake I was.  We left the house about 8 minutes late, and I miraculously made it to work on time.  But not before Alec scared the living daylights out of me as we were driving to daycare.  We were halfway there when my eardrums were nearly blown out with the petrified screams of a 4 year old in the backseat — all because there was an ant on his carseat.  The smallest and most benign of all bugs, and my son is having a full-on freak out over it.  Of course traffic was NUTS so I couldn’t pull over, and I had to try to calm him down (and keep my calm) in the insane traffic of the Monday morning work rush.  And if I thought that was the last of my vehicle-related woes for the day, I was sorely wrong.  At about 9:45 this morning a severe, albeit short, hailstorm passed through and I was seriously tempted to run out of work to shelter my new SUV with my body.  I was very pleased to see, when I left work for the day, that there was no damage from the hail.  But, wait!  Fate wasn’t done with me yet today.  Apparently, the residents of this town haven’t figured out how to drive through construction zones yet, and I was almost part of a 5-car pileup on the way to pick up Alec.  My next project may very well be to cover my vehicle in bubble wrap. 

Anyhow, stay tuned for more adventures of a Facebook Junkie going cold turkey.

Doubts

Doubts.  This has always been my biggest problem.  Mostly, doubting myself.  But also, doubting God, my worthiness of anything good, and the intentions of others. 

I posted recently on my facebook status that “as far as I may ever stray from Him, this [Lent] is the one time of year I always feel I can come back and start over.”  But why should I feel I only get a do-over once a year?  Isn’t every day a new day?  The wise words of fictional charactor Anne, from Anne of Green Gables were, “Tomorrow is always new with no mistakes in it”.  Try living by that wisdom.  It is sometimes more challenging than it should be.

It is very hard to take a negative experience and make something positive out of it.  It is even harder to know of a horrendous thing, and then have to try to make peace with it, and trust that it won’t happen again.  That is a lot to expect out of a person.  Especially when that person is as filled with doubts as I.  And even more especially when the consequence of that horrendous thing happening again will absolutely harm and traumatize a precious, wonderful child. 

It is extremely difficult to hear the words, “Trust in God” and “Rely not on your own understanding”.  A person wants to understand!  A mother wants to protect! 

Yet, in order to keep some semblance of sanity, you have to let some things go – no matter how hard it is.  You have to give up the need for control.  You DO have to have faith that everything will be ok.   But, how do you divide yourself into having faith and still having the acuity to see when things are starting to go wrong?  How do you watch for warning signs while trying to stay as positive as possible? 

I was attacked by anxiety the other night, but was able to calm myself down and had some time to evaluate and think things through.  But, I don’t always have that luxury.  Sometimes things happen in the spur of the moment.  And I do not fare well in those instances.  My mind freezes, or it races.  I am either unable to think and speak, and advocate for my child – or I react and I say things I wish I hadn’t.  I wish there was a pause button for life.  I wish I had more confidence to ask the things I want to ask and get the answers I need.  More than that, I wish I didn’t need to ask the questions that need answering. 

I need to find my Peace.  If anyone can help me with that, I’d be very grateful.

Wisdom of a 4-year old

He never ceases to amaze me.  Tonight as we were snuggling, he said “I’m so glad God made us”.  What precious words to hear out of your own son.  I smiled and he asked me if that was a nice word.  I said, “Baby, those are the nicest words you could ever say”. 

Then, a few moments later, he wrapped his arm around me and my shoulder popped.  He said, “Sorry I broked you!”  I chuckled and explained to him that he didn’t break me;  sometimes I click because my bones are old.  With a sheer look of panic on his little face, he said worriedly, “Mama, I think you need an X-ray”.  Oh my gosh, I was rolling with laughter.  Of course, Alec caught on quickly and kept repeating the punch line.  What a wonderful way to put my baby to bed tonight. 

He had an excellent day all around, which makes it even more perfect.  I think 4 is going to turn out to be a very fun year!

Reactions

When life becomes too overwhelming, I spend time searching for inspirational quotes to repeat to myself, like a calming mantra.  A while ago I came across one that said “Respond, don’t react”.  It is very clear to me that most people will react, rather than respond, to things – and I am definitely one of those people.  Couple that with my tendency to romanticize and create illusions of people, and you’ve got a major problem.  Sure, I’ve got my cynical moments, everyone does, but it’s safe to say that I generally create an image of what and who I want people to be, rather than see them for who they really are.  Usually I accept who they really are after it’s too late;  they’ve already hurt me, disappointed me, or something else equally as disastrous has occurred.  Or maybe the simplified problem is that I just have too high of expectations – out of people that I know and out of myself. 

This brings me to today’s entry, which is also tied into last night’s.  The reason my brother was able to break down part of my wall was because my dad decided to share some very personal, private information with him without my consent.  To some, it would be no big deal and the whole world would know their business, but I am a much more closed person than that.  I worry about what people think of me. And more than that, I like to keep some things private.  Sometimes I share it with people that I feel the closest to, sometimes I don’t.  It’s just who I am.  

I have always put my dad up on a pedestal and I convinced myself that he was flawless.  (In the ways that really count, I mean I always noted the unique idiosyncrasies that he has).  Until about four years ago, one other time that my oldest brother blindsided me and asked me a lot of questions that I wasn’t comfortable answering…  he has a way about that, I guess.  I won’t go into detail, because those are not my stories to tell, but the image I had of my dad drastically changed then, and I never fully got back to that idea that he was infallible again.  Close, but not quite.  Since he was the person who told my brother my business, I felt rather betrayed.  Did I confront him about it?  Hell no.  There are some pretty strict limitations to my comfort with confrontation.  Especially since the first opportunity for confrontation would have been the night of my son’s birthday.  I wasn’t about to make waves. 

Today, I was hit with some more news… this time it was regarding my dad.  My mom was the one to tell me.  I’m still up in arms over whether she had the right to tell me.  She said she decided to tell me because she thought I had a right to know.  I think that a part of the reason she told me is because I criticized her earlier today and she took offense to it;  she wanted to make my dad look bad because I pointed out something that made her a little less than perfect.  Of course, that could also just be my overanalytical nature at work.  In any case, the news that I’d just heard made me even more furious at my dad.  Not because of the circumstances – because it seems to me that he is becoming a victim of injustice at this very moment – but because he can tell at least two people now (that I know of) my business, but he can’t tell me what’s going on with him!  My mom tried to convey to me that she thinks he is embarrassed to tell me, but my immediate reaction is, “So what?!”  He is embarrassed to tell me something, but yet he has no concern at all about how it would affect me when he opens his mouth about me.  Yes, I know it all sounds very silly and selfish, but dammit, think before you speak!  How many times has that been drilled into my head?  How many times have I thought, and thought, and thought about what I would say and how I would say it so that someone doesn’t get hurt?  Am I the only person around anymore that thinks about these kinds of things? 

It baffles me how many people ask point blank questions about things that are none of their business!  And, if you follow good ol’ etiquette and answer in a way that tells them just that and that they should find another topic of conversation, those nosy questions just keep coming without even a stutter.  Everybody thinks they have a RIGHT to the intimacies of people’s lives.  When did that happen?  And what kind of bubble have I lived in, that I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking?

I had the unfortunate, but inevitable happen to me this week:  someone put a wrecking ball in one of my many protective walls.  It was sudden and unwelcome, yet surprisingly satisfying to my soul.  And perhaps strangest of all, it was my oldest brother who managed to do it.  He and I are not very close.  Maybe because of the large age gap between us, maybe because of the miles between our homes, but in one area we have always seemed to be able to relate – matters of the heart. 

I will never forget the summer after the devastating break up between me and my first love.  I went fishing with my dad and my brother, and as I was vehemently chopping off trout’s heads and ripping out their guts, “our song” came on the radio and I started to cry.  My brother may not be the most eloquent speaker, and he isn’t the most affectionate, but every once in a while he says just the right thing, in his own gruff, straight-forward way.  He did that for me that day.  He let me in on some of his own pain and I’ve felt closer to him ever since.  Mind you, I haven’t always acted on that feeling of closeness… I just kept it inside me, safe, where I keep just about everything important to me.

As we were talking the other night, once again I was reminded of how much he really does love me and my son.  And, even though that wrecking ball hurt, it also healed just a tiny part of me.