Friday, February 27, 2009

A Confession of Loneliness

"Peyton: Is it me? Am I the reason people always leave? Am I the reason all these things keep happening to me? Maybe I'm just destined to be alone.
Lucas: It's not you, and you're not alone. But eventually you're going to have to be.
Peyton: No, you're right. I can do it."
-Where Did You Sleep Last Night, One Tree Hill


Loneliness is something I have lived. I’ve felt alone when I shut everyone else out while I gave into and then fought my eating disorder. I’ve felt alone when I moved to Michigan and found myself miles and miles away from my home. I’ve felt alone when I was in Oregon and fought another battle of abuse. I’ve felt alone when I moved back to Southern California and felt out of place. All these times I've felt alone was because I refused to let anyone else in. I felt alone because I put up a wall of pure steel and ice all around me. I dated guys and made great friends, and still felt like I had to protect myself.

Then my fiancé and I found each other again. It was like I had waited a lifetime to finally feel the love and trust and compassion that I feel now. It was like a warm flame that melted me from the inside out. It was like a warm relaxing bath that engulfed my soul and put me at ease. And it wasn’t that I felt all alone anymore, but for the first time it felt that I didn’t have to protect myself from someone. And I let him in.

And now, now I feel a different kind of loneliness. I don’t feel like I have to live this new life alone. I don’t necessarily feel out of place – and yet I do.

This loneliness sucks. I feel it whenever my fiancé goes to scoop up one of the boys. I feel it when we visit with family members on his side. I feel like I stick out. I feel like I belong in a Sesame Street segment of “Which one of these things is not like the others? Which of these doesn’t belong?” And it’s not that I don’t belong, I do. I know I do. But I still feel like I don’t. I don’t quite know how to explain this loneliness.

I’ve tried to talk about it to my fiancé. I tell him I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I feel like I don’t blend in. I feel like I’m the damn live-in nanny. I hate this feeling, and no matter what I’ve tried I can’t shake it. It’s kept me up late at night at times. And I truly know that yes, it takes time. But I still can’t help but wonder if I will ever feel like I fit in with this family.

I do all this reading that focuses on the children’s lives, how dismantled and traumatic and raw a divorce is for them. And it’s true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve never experienced it, and no, I can never understand what it’s like to be a child of divorce. But I've seen it. I've been sensitive and aware to it.

I think I feel like I don’t fit in because I literally was not a part of making this family. I wasn’t here from the start. My life feels dismantled, torn apart and raw. I feel like I'm being forced to experience divorce (even though I know I had a choice in whether to get into this relationship or not). I guess it comes back to the whole "I thought I knew what I was getting into but I really had no idea" realization of every stepmom's experience I've read about.

It’s like when I was little and I had all the Care Bears in my collection – except for Love-a-Lot bear. My Grandma made me a Love-a-Lot. And she belonged, she completed the Care Bear family, but she stuck out. She stuck out in a special way, but just by looking at her you knew that she was not from the same line as the other Care Bears. That’s the best way that I can explain it, describe it and make sense of it.

I remind myself, daily, that life is rushing at me at a rapid pace right now. I remind myself that eventually it has to slow down. And that I’m not alone even though I feel like I am at times.

Younger Boy Antics

I always joke around that Younger Boy and I are attached at the hip since we literally spend all day together. I’ve come to the conclusion though that the kid needs some friends his age. I’m starting to rub off on him.

Corruption 1 – My Pony
I don’t know if any of you have heard it, but this sweet Northern California band, Far, did a cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony” from the 80s music scene. Anyway, Far’s version of Pony is one of my favorite rock covers yet. I don’t play it over and over, but I do play it often while I’m working out or just working.

My fiancé and I were sitting on the couch earlier this week. Younger Boy was splashing around in the bathtub. Out of now where I hear, “Ride my pony” come from out of the bathroom. He was singing his own version. I started cracking up and I grabbed my phone so that I could record it for my sister Wendy (who had to work a double that day and needed a good laugh.)

It was so cute, funny and wrong all at the same time.

Me: Are you singing the Pony song?
YB: Yeah. Just ride my pony Crys. My pony is green.
Me: *trying so hard to just smile and not laugh and hang my head in shame*
YB: And your pony is pink.

On a side note, my sister did love the voicemail of Younger Boy singing his version of Pony. I tell myself it could be worse. He could be belting out some rap song full of curse words.

Corruption 2 – Ready for the ER
In addition to my guilty need to watch One Tree Hill, I also watch Grey’s Anatomy. Except since I’ve moved in I’ve been DVRing everything and watching them on my own time. (You just can't get into a dramatic moment when there are kids running around.) This last weekend I decided it was time to catch myself up on some Grey’s. I watched quite a few episodes and got all caught up.

Monday rolled around. I was working and Younger Boy was in his room playing when I hear “Clear!” I stopped tapping away at the keyboard.

YB: Crys! Clear!

He’s been randomly yelling “Clear” through out the day. There doesn’t seem to be any game he’s playing that he can’t incorporate a good “Clear” into. At least he’s not going around calling everyone McSteamy, McDreamy or McAnything else or trying to perform life-saving operations on anyone. Right? Maybe this is subliminal workings to entice him to be a doctor.

He’s also showing signs of turning into a full-out boy. And I’m talking about gas and the humor in talking about gas. Although I don’t think he’s quite figured out just how funny it is because he says it so innocently.

Gas Man 1 – The Burp
Yesterday during lunch Younger Boy was sitting at the table eating and I was my desk working. That’s when I heard a very loud belch. Younger Boy whirls around like he just won a million dollar cash prize. Wide eyed and full of excitement he says:

YB: That was a good burp!
Me: I, yes. That was a good burp.
YB: That was a GREAT burp!
Me: *Trying really hard not to giggle* Sure! It was pretty great.

Normally I would have tried the good ole “And what do you say?” except I couldn’t quite manage to say it as I stifled my amusement. He was just so proud of himself. How dare I even think of taking away from that.

Gas Man 2 – The Fart
My mother came over for dinner last night. The six of us were sitting at the dinner table eating when Younger Boy yells out, “Fart!” We looked at him confused. That’s when he let it rip. And oh, how he let it rip loud and long. I covered my face with my hand and looked at my mom with a look that I can’t quite describe. The look on my face had and OMG of disbelief, confusion and amusement. In fact, I was trying pretty hard not to laugh because at that point of the day I was pretty tired. She just looked at me and smiled and patted my hand with hers. I could hear the words she wasn’t saying, “There, There mija. Welcome to motherhood.”

So, that boy needs some friends his own age to play with and entertain himself with. You know, to play things that 3-year-olds play. I’ve tried looking into some social opportunities that he can attend for a couple of hours each week. I would love preschool, but I think he’s still working to master the wipe. (His arms are just too short! I’m pretty sure one of you mentioned that when I first began teaching him the art of pooping on the toilet.) I’m hoping I’ll find something.

Either way, that kid cracks me up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family Acceptance & Wedding Planning

I wanted to share some wedding planning since it’s been a while. Now, my family has always been about being unique. We don’t enjoy following what “everyone is supposed to do” and it’s not necessarily that we’re rule breakers or renegades, but we find pride in paving our own path. So I’ve been trying to see how I can make a twist with some family wedding traditions for my situation.

Wedding Tradition – The Unity Candle
Traditionally a Unity Candle symbolizes the joining of two families. But I really wanted to somehow include the boys in our ceremony. That’s when I stumbled upon the sand ceremony. It’s basically a large vase and instead of lighting candles the couple pours sand into it. And, I found a company that makes smaller vases so that children can also participate. I’m really excited about this because each of the boys can choose their own color sand to symbolize them, and take part in a special part of our ceremony.

My fiancé seemed really happy with this idea. He even suggested that we could get a China Hutch to put the vases on display. (I was rather impressed! Not only did he know what a China Hutch was, but he also wanted to put this special keepsake from our wedding on display without me having to suggest the idea in the first place!)

What I’m trying to figure out now is how to include our parents in it. With the Unity Candle the parents usually light the candles for their child (the bride and groom). But with the sand ceremony we would most likely already have the sand in the vases. I’ve considered spending a little extra money and getting our parents each their own vase to add sand as the base for our family. That way they can still participate, and they’ll each have a little keepsake from our wedding.

Wedding Tradition – Down the Aisle
So far, my mother has begun the tradition of having both of her parents escort her down the aisle. (I’ve actually seen this done at a couple of Hispanic weddings so I can’t really claim that it’s new.) Anyway, we’re doing it a bit different. In my bridal party are two of my best guy friends from the college days (both of whom my mother has dubbed as her sons). So the two of them will be escorting her down the aisle, meanwhile my father and my Grandma (my mom’s mom) will be escorting me.

My Grandma and Grandpa practically raised me. Both of my parents worked, so I spent a lot of time over at their house. My mom called me a couple of weeks ago to relay that my Grandmother had shared that her dream had always been that she and my Grandpa would be able to escort me down the aisle at my wedding (Which my mom found totally touching and appropriate). Sadly, my Grandfather succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease and passed away from complications from it around my Sweet Sixteenth Birthday (wasn’t much of a Sweet Sixteen). But I am very excited to have my father and Grandma escort me down, and in my heart I know that my Grandfather will be there with us.

The thing though is that it’s a still a secret to my Grandma right now. She’s kind of at that age where she’s old, and rather extremely aware of her health (the woman has already taken care of costs for her casket and left directions for her funeral proceedings). So basically I’m going to surprise her with this dream-come-true a little later this year, probably for a Christmas surprise. She is already excited though because she’s already out shopping for the perfect dress to wear.

Family Acceptance
Getting engaged and moving in with the boys has really given me a whole new appreciation for my family. Not only have they been excited for me, but they have been oh so welcoming to my fiancé and the boys. We’ve been hanging out with my cousins and my parents quite a bit. (Which is pretty normal for my family members that life near each other.) In a family that’s been torn apart my stupid drama, us younger generations (my mother and down) have really embraced family ties and the importance of having your family close at heart.

Of course I received many looks of shock and disbelief from some members, but still at the end of the day (or once the shock has passed) most of them really have been happy for me and welcoming of the new family members. The boys have also been rather open to having quite a large family now (my family is huge, especially compared to what they are used to from my fiancé and Jane’s families). Middle Boy was so excited and he told my mom, “I have so many cousins now and I don’t know all their names!” She was pretty touched by that. She’s worked in child development for years and I think was really touched that he was so open to including our family as a part of his family now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My First Doctor Visit As An Instant Mom

I seriously need to work at this “relaxing” and “letting it out” thing. I’m exhausted from staying up so late last night, but it made a huge difference. Instead of holding all those feelings inside which kept building up and up, I got them out.

I felt the difference when I heard “I have a drippy nose” about 12 times this afternoon in one go, and I was able to ignore it and not get all anxious and frustrated. I also took the time to finish off my cappuccino cheesecake that I got over in Napa this weekend.

There was an experience I wanted to share. As mentioned here, Tuesday I got to bring Middle Boy to the doctors to find out how bad his possibly ear infection was. It was nerve-wrecking for me.

The last time I was in the pediatric wing of the hospital, I was a kid. I also was really nervous about the fact that I legally don’t have a say in making choices about the boys. My brain raced through anything and everyone. Mainly though “Is it OK for me to accept a prescription for him? What if the doctor asks me a question that I don’t know the answer too? What if something has to be done, I don’t think I’m allowed to make that decision. Where the hell is that fiancé of mine?!?” I wasn't even supposed to be the one bringing him, but my fiancé was running quite late getting home from work.

Their doctor is a nice woman, although I really could have done without the sarcasm. (This coming from the princess of sarcasm.) She was talking to the boys and then side talking about me to the boys. She was being serious, and humorous I guess. But it made me feel like a big dumb ass. Of course I knew that kid Robitessin doesn’t help the pain for an ear ache. BUT, the warm compress that we put on his ear helped, a lot. And that was without someone feeding words into Middle Boy’s mouth. And he got the kid Robitessin because he also had a gnarly congested cough, and I know that you’re supposed to try and get them to cough all the phlegm up, but that’s all I had. I didn’t have kid Motrin or Tylenol and I didn’t want to risk giving an adult Advil.

Anyway, she didn’t really give me a chance to introduce myself. She could only assume who I was, as I obviously wasn’t Jane. And my fiancé had updated her on the situation of their lives. I tried a couple of times, but she cut me off each time with some more of her (not exactly mockery) but making a dumb fool of me.

The best was when she looked at Middle Boy and asked him who I was ... Like he was supposed to introduce me.

Doc: And who is this? *head nod toward me*
MB: That’s my mom. *in the duh tone*
Doc: *Total look of confusion*

From her reaction I almost wanted to jump on the defense to let her know “I didn’t tell him to call me that.” Not that I’m upset by it, I found it rather caring that he’s given me this responsibility and has let all the other adults (his teachers, the bus driver) know that is my responsibility. I basically told the boys that they can call me what ever they want as long as it’s respectful and not mean. So they call me by my name, but to everyone else I’m their mom. It’s caused quite a bit of confusion, but most people in their lives know what’s going on and have gotten used to it. Although I can’t say the same for Jane, but I don’t put too much worry into what she thinks about it.

Anyway, the look on her face made me first anxious, but then I calmed down. She really couldn’t argue with him. Have you ever tried arguing with a kindergartner? I don’t recommend it unless you have really good physical and strong proof.

At the end, I finally got a chance to introduce myself. That’s when she asked how my baby was. I looked at her so confused, because I really was.

Doc: Didn’t you just have a baby?
Me: Nope, not me. *Really confused here*
Doc: Didn’t someone just have a baby?
Me: Oh, their mother did actually. You must mean her.
Doc: Yeah, that must be it. *awkward silent pause*
Me: Yup. *Because I really wanted to talk about Jane and her new baby. Not really, but I’ve learned some good moves to let it slide over and then change the subject.*

My fiancé got there just as we were finishing up Middle Boy’s appointment. I guess late is better than never.

Anyway, that was my first hospital experience with the boys (or at least my first boy-related hospital experience). I’ve been there enough for my own issues these past couple of months.

I really dislike going to the hospital. But that alone just spiked up my dislike for going there even more.

The Reality Check That Sucked

I have been having the hardest time writing this entry. I feel so very vulnerable, and I think that is a huge part of the problem. I think another part of the problem is I’m ashamed to write down some of the thoughts I had. Putting my thoughts down on paper has always made them more real. And I think I need to get them out. After all, it is after midnight and I do need to function tomorrow.

Last week was horrid! It was a combination of unbelievable stresses. All combined and I found myself past my breaking point. My patience was shot. Last week was my week of “I don’t know if I can do this” it was my week of “There is a reason why I don’t have children of my own yet” and it was a week of “You chose to be here so you had better figure it out soon because you’re sure as hell not getting a divorce once that ring goes on your finger” and it was most definitely a “I’m so over your damn divorce” kind of a week. [Whew, that wasn’t that bad.]

I blame myself for my fall. I dived into work and tried to accomplish far more than I was capable of. The problem really is that I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t capable of it. I’m Wonder Woman at work. There isn’t anything spectacular and amazing that I won’t take on and do magic with. I've participated in the launch of two websites, I've assisted in the launch of two others, I've made and directed webisodes, I've covered breaking news, and I've taken on multiple projects and completed them. I'm amazing at time maintenance and organizing my priorities. OK, maybe not as spectacular but I like projects. I like big projects. I like projects that take me down to the line. The adrenaline of completing a big project is so awesome!

And then last week happened...

I drove down to Orange County (about 7 to 8 hours) Sunday evening. Monday I woke up and did some work from my sister’s house, and then I drove in to the office to direct and participate in a video shoot (I filmed a public service announcement for an upcoming contest for the publications). I then sat down in front of the computer and edited that sucker. Around 3:30pm I finished up, got back in my car and drove back up to Nor Cal. I get back late to find out that Middle Boy stayed home from school that Monday because he was sick. Tuesday I wake up to find that he not only has a gnarly congested cough, but a gnarly ear infection (and I got to be the one that met their pediatrician for the first time without my fiancé, because he was running late trying to get there, which was nerve wrecking in itself when she mixed me up with Jane when she asked how my baby was doing). Wednesday I again had a combination of Middle Boy (who was feeling much better after taking his antibiotics and bouncing off the walls) and Younger Boy (who has started this phase where he had decided that he needs to ask permission for anything and everything from blowing his nose to going potty, and he’ll sit there asking and asking and asking until you acknowledge and give him permission). Not only that, but Thursday comes along and I’m recruited on to help launch one of the other upcoming websites. So I spend hour upon hour looking through pages, and pages, and pages of HTML … looking and deleting parts of codes and trying to figure out how it was even possible to mess up an HTML code so badly. By the time Friday came around I was ready to grab my keys, get in the car and drive. I don’t know where too, nor how far but I was ready to get the hell out.

Apparently, as much as I still feel like I’m Wonder Woman at work, I cannot pull off the double life any longer. I cannot function as a working-my-ass-into-the-ground career woman, and then double up as a working-myself-to-exhaustion-caring-for-sick-kids-doing-daily-household-things mother.

So there it is. I had a painfully exhausting (both physically and emotionally) excruciating reality check last week. My fiancé and I actually got to go out on two dates this three-day weekend. It just still didn’t help coming home to the same shit that was pushing me off the balcony in the first place.

It also didn’t help that Jane and her boyfriend have indeed both pissed me off. Her boyfriend has pissed me off by trying to say that the Parenting Plan arrangement Jane and my FH have made is no longer good because he’s changed the day he’s having his get-together day with his parents and he will not compromise, and I’m pissed with Jane for not standing up to that selfish idiot and saying “No, this is the plan and you’re going to have to figure something else out!” (Who ever would have thought that I would be willing to go to bat for Jane, and it’s not even that I’m batting for her but it's more I'm going to bat for the boys who I want to be able to spend some reoccuring and regular time with her. It also greatly irritates me when another’s Other is so selfish that he/she tries to make an ultimatum like that.) Maybe I’m still just in need of recovering from last week.

Back to the first paragraph…

I really felt ashamed, and horrible, and selfish that I even thought the whole ““I don’t know if I can do this. There is a reason why I don’t have children of my own yet” and “You chose to be here so you had better figure it out soon because you’re sure as hell not getting a divorce once that ring goes on your finger.”

All I kept thinking was “I thought I was prepared, I thought I could handle it, I thought I understood what I was getting into.” It meshed with “I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this, I’m so tired of doing this” and then melted into “I love my fiancé, I love the boys, I can’t not be with them” and that all trickled in with “I’m so sad that I still feel like an outsider, I’m so jealous that I don’t have that parent-child bond, I want that so badly.”

I really tried to prepare. I bought and read through books on step parenting. And I read all the words of wisdom and still, all of the homework I did before hand and pep-talks and “You can do it!” self-motivation didn’t prepare me for this.

This reality check shat on me like no other reality check has done before. And damn, have I been shat on before. And here I am, still pulling myself back up the muddy hillside because life just isn’t complete, or right, or whole without my fiancé and the boys in it.

It discourages me that the reality is that this is just a vicious cycle that can ambush me at any given moment again. The thing that has given me hope is the positive things I’ve had to remind myself of. Yes, I have to deal with Jane, I’m missing out on the parent-child bond, and I’ve missed out on all kinds of first things. But I’m the one that’s going to be here for all the other firsts that have come, and will come along. I was here when Younger Boy learned how to use the toilet and shunned the diaper away. I was here when Middle Boy read a book for the first time all by himself, and when he learned to tie his shoes. I was also here when Older Boy has needed to open up and talk about things, and when he found some confidence in himself and I get to watch him blossom out of his shell. I’m here for that, and that really is worth getting my butt knocked to the ground every now and then.

"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. . . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." – Erica Jong

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Something Lighthearted and Fun

I apologize for being totally MIA lately. All I can say is that it’s been a really rough and super busy project-filled week (starting last week all the way up through this week). Before I dive into that though (While I collect my true thoughts and feelings before purging them upon all of you) I thought I would do this great, fun blog meme that Just Me :) tagged me in.

I’ve done it before, but really, I love this one…probably because it’s (hopefully) not the same book/answer each time.

Here are the rules of the tag:

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open to page 56.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 2 to 5 sentences, along with these rules.

5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual book. Pick the CLOSEST!

6. Tag others to do the same!

My Book: Superfudge by Judy Blume

The following lines:

"Oh yes, that's the best," Alex said. "Nice soft bread with little worms here and there...."
"You can make a really tasty worm and cheese sandwich on it," I said. We were doubled over now laughing out heads off.
"And worm ice cream." Fudge said, jumping on top of us.
"Worm ice cream," Alex and I said together.
I decided that with Alex Santo in my class, Princeton might not be too bad.

Seriously, I smiled and about cried. Reading the lines made me really thankful for my best friend and my fiancé. I have so many inside jokes and things that we can joke about with them. Even when times get tough all that needs to be done is the mention of one of them and we start giggling. That of course made me really miss my friends (Like you LL! I’m in need of a sushi and saki fix!) Oh, how I could really use some time away from children and work.

I also can’t begin to tell you how many times in a day I’ll hit a rut and then think of some story or liner from one of you ladies that puts an instant smile on my face. So thank you all (sorry to be seriously mushy – but its really been rough!) for being my friend and in my blog. I seriously have been catching up on past blog entries I’ve missed out on and can’t believe I allowed myself to get so busy that I couldn’t just log in and read.

So in like-fashion, I’d like to tag the following ladies:


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Believing In A Positive Attitude

Not to be a downer, but last night was not a good night. In fact, I haven’t slept well at all the past two nights. I’m really starting to feel the financial pain, and it rightly hurt more than I could bear last night. We’re paying for our family of five, our debts, our wedding, our rent, monthly bills and utilities and last week we got to pay for new brakes and rotors on one of the cars. Needless to say, for the next two to three weeks we have to get pretty creative if we’re going to spend money, and need to be really crafty and IN NEED of something if we’re going to spend it.

I already canceled a dinner date with a friend, am trying to figure out how to get groceries that we really need, and plan a business trip to Southern California. Yesterday I broke down quite a bit. I’d had it. It started with frustration and sadness. It made me sad that Jane puts no effort or desire toward wanting (displaying) that she wants any responsibility in the boys’ lives. That sadness turned into frustration. Frustration that she was allowed to not have to pay child support in the original papers (it’s stated as reserved and is rather ambiguous as to whether or not she would have to pay any ever). I spent the better part reading anything and everything I could get my hands on detailing their divorce, meditations, arbitration, child support, child rights and petitioning for child support after the fact. I thought that if maybe I understood some of it then maybe I could show my fiancé and we could do something. I cried a little.

Then last night it dawned on me. We were out of milk, out of fresh fruits, out of bread for sandwiches, out of frozen juice mixes, and really didn’t have a lot of money to just go out and pick these simple things up from the store. It hurt. It disappointed. It was a little after midnight and I didn’t want to wake my fiancé up with my angry tears and hurt. I hid them in a nice hot shower. I sobbed … and since I usually am unable to let go and sob it out I realized I was really at my wits end that I was able to cry so hard.

I let it all out. I’m angry at Jane for her choices. I’m disappointed in Jane and can’t grasp why she wouldn’t want to make a stink or any sort of stand in raising the boys. We get her opinion when we can (if she’s willing to offer it up), but seriously … I just don’t get why she isn’t putting forth effort, desire, want or need to be a part of the boys’ lives. She has a legal responsibility and she’s not fulfilling it! It made me angry as hell that I can’t just go out to the store right now and pick up all these things for the boys. I really didn’t even know where to go from there, nor what to do, nor what to ask my fiancé to do. Obviously he should talk to her about it, but something in my gut tells me that he has to be crafty, responsible and firm when he does.

I felt like I was whining and being pathetic. (That's being far too hard on myself there, I know.) I was angry at myself for allowing it to happen. How dare I allow us to end up this way! How dare I want to make the deposit on the hotel and photographer now instead of trying to wait for a more affordable moment! Then I realized that in planning the wedding, no matter how prepared and organized I think I may be, it wasn’t going to make a difference. There’s always going to be something that comes up. There’s always going to be groceries to buy (the boys go through at least a gallon of milk, a bunch of bananas and some fresh fruit every week to week and a half). If I couldn’t win the lottery tomorrow or make Jane be a more responsible parent and want to be a responsible parent then I was going to have to make some other change for myself.

And I woke up this morning exhausted. I’m still exhausted. But I’ve decided that I’m not going to let this situation or Jane's lack of responsibility ruin me. As disappointing as the current financial situation is, and as much as it hurts that we just have to ride it out, I’m not going to completely break or allow myself to be a victim of any of it.

Today I’ve been working on a new attitude. It’s not the strongest, or happiest, or cheerful attitude. It’s more of a “We will make it through this” and a “We will make this work” and a “We will be OK” attitude. It is a more positive attitude. I may have tears in my eyes, but I’ll keep this attitude in my heart. And I have to truly believe in it in order to make it work.

Here’s to believing in myself, my fiancé and my family. Here is to having a positive attitude no matter what bumps we’re currently hitting.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Monday, February 2, 2009

Teaching The Art Of Standing Up

I’d noticed some small mystery puddles here and there earlier this last week. But by Friday they escalated into huge ponds … and it was when Middle Boy squealed “He’s peeing on the stool” that I figured it out. If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own two eyes I would not have believed it. There he was, Younger Boy, sitting propped up with his hands on the toilet seat. That little booger had somehow maneuvered enough and aimed so that a stream of urine was sailing out underneath the toilet seat lid and above the top of the toilet bowl rim. Oh, and it sailed straight onto his stool and created a boy-made lake at the base of the toilet.

He thought it was the coolest thing ever. And if it were not for the look of sheer joy and amusement on his face, I probably would have written it off as a freak accident. But after it occurred two more times, and my fiancé and I had Clorox and wiped the floor and toilet bowl I was pretty done with it (Especially after I caught Nasty Cat sniffing around the toilet bowl).

Can I just say that I thought of all of you wonderful ladies as I sat there scrubbing the floor and the toilet bowl? As mentioned in another post, I remember being told, “Get ready to scrub.” But no one told me that the boy could manage to produce a geyser of urine in between the toilet seat and bowl, and only get a couple of drops into the bowl. (I think I was starting to write this very entry as I scrubbed and disinfected.)

Anyway, I declared to my fiancé that it was time to teach Younger Boy to stand up while urinating. I busted out the Cheerios and started the lesson on Friday. My fiancé was home from work so I had him show Younger Boy the ropes. Older Boy even helped out by doing a demonstration. That was great:

Me: Do either of you have to urinate? *looking at Older and Middle Boy*
MB: Nope
OB: *Has a look of curiosity on his face*
Me: I need one of you to show Younger Boy how to go to the bathroom standing up. It might help him to have one of you show him since he likes to copy everything you do.
OB: I’ll do it.
Me: Thank you. That’s a big help.

And oh, it was a big help. It, however, was going to take a little bit more demonstration and help from those in the house that have penises, because really, it’s easier to show a three-year-old boy than to try and explain the dynamics of it. I’ve amused my fiancé and his friends quite a bit this weekend. Let me share:

Example One of me trying to help Younger Boy out
He was holding it wrong. In fact, if he actually had gone he would have efficiently peed into his cupped hand. I tried to show him and maneuver his hand and fingers so that he wouldn’t be directly peeing into his hand. That’s when he decided that my help would be good enough and he dropped his hand away, leaving me holding it for him. And it was really kind of awkward.

Me: No, you hold it. That’s not my job.

Example Two of me trying to help
Again, he was holding it wrong. In fact, the angle and direction that he was pulling it reminded me of Stretch Armstrong. I didn’t know if he actually could urinate with it pulled and twisted as it was, but if he did he would have shot it right into the cats’ litter box. That just wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to completely clean out that night. And I tried so hard to explain to him:

Me: No, don’t pull on it. Just hold it with your fingers.
YB: *Pinches it in his fingers and pulls even harder*
Me: No, don’t try to rip it off
*Frustrated I walk out into the living room where my fiancé and his friends were hanging out*
Me: YOU have a penis! You go show him how to hold it!
FH’s Friend: You are talking to FH, right?
Me: Well, yeah.
FH’s Friend: OK, just making sure, because the rest of us have those too.

So Younger Boy is successfully standing up now without being reminded. We’ve even scrapped the Cheerios in the bowl after the first day. It takes him a bit longer to get over his stage fright and I’ve already asked his older brothers and my fiancé to PLEASE show him how it’s done so that he can see that it’s quite OK to go standing up. And I DO expect to be scrubbing for a bit longer, but I’m quite OK with it if that means that I’ll not have to clean up the Younger Boy-made lakes every day.