Monday, November 30, 2009

Tired of the Flu

Well, the title of this entry should give you all a big clue of where I’ve been the past week. It all started on Sunday … last Sunday. The boys were staying over at Jane’s because her day with them was going to be Monday, and since they had the week off from school we thought it would be a good idea to let them stay the night.

Except at 1:03am (Monday morning) we got a phone call from Jane because Middle Boy was feverish, babbling incoherently and delusional. Now, not to discredit Jane, but Middle Boy sleepwalks. When he sleep walks he babbles incoherently and doesn’t know what’s going on. When he’s sick and not feeling well he does this often. But he did have a 103 degree fever so I can only assume he was really loopy. And let me just tell you how the conversation started out:

FH: Hello
Jane: How long has he been sick?

You know ... because we always send sick children over there.

She called again at 1:15am to tell us that she was bringing him to the emergency room. This meant that we had to get out of bed and meet her there. Now, I was not pleased ... especially since I had just driven a 7 hour drive from Southern California to Northern California. Not that I’m against being safe than sorry, but I didn’t see it as an emergency room trip that needed to happen. Having to drag my butt out of bed didn’t infuriate me as much as when they finally arrived and Middle Boy (who was the reason we were there) had on one sock and one bare foot.

So Jane and FH went with Middle Boy to see the doctor who apparently had a look on his face of “Oh boy, another one of these.” Meanwhile I, Jane’s guy, Older Boy, Younger Boy and Jane’s baby all had a camp out in the waiting room. I learned some interesting stuff about their life at home. And I was rather interested in the part where he told me that he was feeling sick and dizzy and not well. (You know, considering that she was blaming us for sending a sick kid over there.) I also held my tongue on many occasions when Jane’s guy said some stuff that sure as heck made it sound like Jane doesn’t see the boys because we moved across the bridge. Man I was proud that I held my tongue and didn’t shoot back with “Well you know if she actually put effort into trying to see them and didn’t cancel on them ever two to three weeks” coupled with “well these are the choices she made and we’re always willing to work with her schedule to fit in an extra day.” Let’s just say I was proud.

We didn’t leave until after 5am. The doctor sent us home with the instructions to give Middle Boy a lot of rest, fluids and children’s fever reducers. Luckily both FH and I were able to use a sick day for work because we were both exhausted and I really don’t think I would have been able to sleep and then wake up at 7am to work. And the boys came home with us. Some of you may remember “this” but Jane doesn’t enjoy having the boys with her if they’re sick. That apparently is our job as she so willingly sent them home with us. OK, I lied. What really infuriated me was that she didn’t say goodbye to them. They were all awake. Both I and FH asked her if she was going to/wanted to say goodbye. She ignored us as if she hadn’t heard us. I bid her a safe drive home. She replied she wasn’t driving and that was that. The fact of the situation though was that I didn't have time be angry. My energy was needed at home to take care of the boys, and my priority is them.

Long story short – that set the energy level for my week. I was exhausted all week long. And trying to make sure Middle Boy was being taking care of, making sure Older Boy and Younger Boy were healthy, doing all the other things I do around the house, and then eventually at the weeks end having to take care of a sick Older Boy and FH … I am still trying to catch up on the energy level.

So here’s hoping that my home is a flu-free home sooner than later, and that all of your homes are healthy and flu-free too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Memo To Younger Boy – Boys Have a Penis & Girls Don’t

Memo: To Younger Boy
Dept: Preschooler Unit
From: Crys
Subject: Boys Have a Penis & Girls Don’t

Younger Boy. First off I wanted to thank you for your help and assistance when your cousins Max and Tracie were over last Saturday. Specifically in the fact that you not only played nicely with Tracie who is a year younger than you, currently potty training, and learning to use her words instead of baby talk.

I thought it was very nice of you to play with her, to share your trains and your motorized hamsters with her. While I know that she often snatched (Footnote 1) the toys from you while you were trying to play with them, I am most impressed with your choice to use your words instead of screaming and crying and snatching it back. I am very proud of this progress in your behavior. It was also very helpful considering there were five children under my care that day (especially since your father was at work for most of it.)

And now I would like to get to the main point of this memo. I’ve come to realize that you might have some confusion about Tracie and going to the bathroom. On a quick side note I would like to thank you for your assistance in helping make sure that Tracie went potty on the toilet and not in her pants. I was very thankful to hear you say “I’m going to go potty too” or “Do you need to go potty? I need to go potty.” I think that your actions as a role model helped to prevent a couple of possible accidents that day.

On one occurrence I went to go peer around the corner just in case Tracie needed help. I noticed that you showed Tracie how to urinate while standing up. I’m pretty sure from the look of awe on her face that she was not only impressed with your ability to pee standing up, but also fascinated that you are able to pee standing up.

I think she actually considered giving it a try until I decided to step in and help her to sit down on the toilet. Now, I’m aware that you had a look of confusion on your face. You seemed to be most confuddled by this action. Let me explain.

Boys have a penis and girls don’t. Boys pee standing up and girls have to sit down to pee. However, yes, boys and girls both do have to sit down to poop.

I hope that this explanation is adequate enough for right now. I think that we can go into more detail when you get older. But I felt that it was necessary to at least give you the knowledge of these basic facts since you seemed confused by your experience in trying to help give Tracie potty training lessons.

Please direct any further questions to your father. Thank you.

Kind Regards,
Crys, House Co-Director

1: “Snatched” was the word of the day that day. I heard it from each of the five children that day. I’m also pretty convinced that Nasty Cat used the word “snatched” when all five children decided that his toys were the coolest toys to play with.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Need to Purge and Release

Thank you everyone for your encouragement and understanding. I think a lot of it was a ton of built up stress, and the fact pointed out that FH and I really need to try to get some time to ourselves to work on our relationship. If we don’t take care of us then there is a greater chance it just won’t work out. Right?

I very much needed to get the feelings out, and then sleep on it. I felt a bit better this morning, although I’m still stressed.

Another part of it is just stress from wedding planning. I never dreamed I’d be paying for my own wedding, at least I always figured I’d have some financial help. But in the current economy both our parents are strapped for cash as well. I also never counted on having to pay for three kids that weren’t mine. Considering FH and I are the only ones providing for them, that down right frustrates me when I’m no longer able to treat myself to my once a month splurge.

I finally allowed myself to order coffee from a coffee shop as my treat for the month because it had been about two months since I had done so.

Another stressor is that FH got a second job on the weekends, which leaves me and the boys home all weekend together. It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with just me and the boys, but it was a very long weekend without him there. Especially since on Saturday I wasn’t sure of when he’d be home and it was a very long waiting day. And then on Sunday the boys decided it would be the day to not listen, bother each other without mercy, and to totally act up to the point that I was pulling my hair out.

A big part of me wishes that I had been the one to pick up a second job just for the sanity of getting out of the house and conversing with others. But another part of me thinks a second job would not be mentally sound for me right now. I’ve always been the super do it all woman, but lately I’m just exhausted with all the current stress factors.

I also just don’t know who to turn to sometimes. It’s bad enough I’ve never had an easy time reaching out. But when it comes to feeling frustrated about the situation it’s not easy to talk to just anyone about it. I feel like if I don’t get it out then I’m going to bottle it up. And yet on the second hand I need to work on not getting so frustrated with it. Jane’s not going to change and this is most likely how life will continue to be.

BTW, thank you for the idea of swapping babysitting nights. I know I have other people out there who are always willing and have told me to let them know if we would like a night off. I think in the madness of wedding planning events the last two and half weeks and feeling pinched because we just don’t have any money to spare this week (it’s the week in the month where I pay all my big bills and FH doesn’t have any money left over either) I’m just feeling like I’ve dug myself into a big hole and I can’t figure out how to get out.

I find that even though I’ve been doing this for a year there are still a lot of things I’m having to adjust and adapt too when it comes to having children in your life. I assume this is something almost every parent feels as their child grows and becomes a different person. Throwing sass one day and hugs the next. I also assume that the fact that I’m raising someone else’s children with no previous experience of my own is another punch being thrown at me.

I’ve Felt Smothered

I have felt so smothered these past couple of weeks. I have been so incredibly busy, so incredibly broke, and so incredibly on edge. I have not had any real time to relax, unwind and recharge. I’ve had a couple of opportunities that just didn’t do the job. My future hubby and I haven’t really had a chance to spend time together either. It is so frustrating.

Can we backup to one of the main reasons why I feel so suffocated and smothered and stuck? Jane has canceled left and right for one reason or another. She canceled the first week of October because she was sick. She canceled the second week of October because she didn’t time manage accordingly. She saw the boys the third week and even doubled up the fourth week. And yet, FH and I weren't able to have a date night alone any of these days due to errands and things we had to do. Then she skipped the first week of November because she didn’t get her shit together and let us know her days off until it was at the point that our schedule was busy and planned. And she was fine with that since she had seen them twice the week before. And now, she's canceled tonight's visit.

Seriously!?! I need a date night alone with FH. I need a night alone. I need a night out with the girls or myself or my friends that doesn’t involve feeling stuck here during gaming night. I don’t know what I need. I need a break from all of it before I completely freak out. I need a break from being an instant mom for just a couple of hours. Who am I kidding, I need a spa day where I can focus on and take care of me. I need a day to be number one again because throwing myself into instant motherhood cold turkey has been insane.


I’m anxiously awaiting Friday. Friday I’m heading out to that small little middle of an orchard in the middle of no where town I grew up in to hang out with my best friend from high school. I keep trying to ground myself with the chant of “This is the choice you made” but it really doesn’t help all that much … Especially when lately it’s been followed by a silent “What the hell was I thinking?”

There have been moments when I’ve found myself thinking “There is a reason you were single and without kids” and then I remind myself “You’re engaged and have instant kids. Deal with it.” Some of you might know that feeling. I think that’s the only thing helping at this moment. Knowing that I’m not the first and I’m not the last that is going to have to deal with this.

I’m not alone. And as crappy as the situation is, and as much as I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it helps to know that I’m not alone. So thank you to all of you for choosing to be in the situation too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

He Duped Me!

I like to pretend that I can’t be fooled by the boys. I can almost always see right through their attempts to lie or manipulate the other brothers in situations. I always thought “I’ll be just like my mom and see through all the B.S.” Then I’m reminded of all the times that I duped my mom. There’s still stuff I’ve done that she doesn’t know about.

The best was a couple of year’s ago when my ex-highschool sweetheart’s stepmom (who loves me still) introduced her in a drunken swagger as “This is the mother of the girl that took my son’s virginity.” Oh yes, that was awesome.

Anyway, so I like to think that I can see through it.

And then there is the other night when I was tired, and cranky, and exhausted. And a whiny, tired, cranky Younger Boy came up to me holding out his toothbrush and tube of training toothpaste to me and says:

YB: Can you please put squeeze the toothpaste for me?
Me: Sure, OK, here you go.
YB: Thank you.

And as he walks away my future hubby says:

FH: So Younger Boy suddenly can’t do anything that he knows how to do?
Me: He doesn’t know how to squeeze out the toothpaste by himself.
FH: Oh yeah? He did it just fine by himself last night.
Me: Damn.

That little stinker duped me! You best bet he squeezed his own toothpaste out tonight when he tried it again. Ha!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Should I Keep Track of Communication?

I think October was the month of stress, money-draining, busy frustrations. Obviously by my lack of updates I was not around much. I think October was the month of updates for my blog. And I have some stuff to post, but I’m going to wait until later this week to get them out. I have an agenda for this entry.

Actually it’s more of an opinion gathering from all of you.

As some of you know, and some of you are learning, I make the visiting schedules for Jane to see the boys. I do this because one wasn’t set in place when the divorce was going through court. I also do this because Jane doesn’t put much effort forth into seeing the boys, so unless we nag her to give us the dates she has off from work, hand her a calendar and say these days work for us do they work for you, and hope she doesn’t cancel … the boys don’t get to see her. I also plan out our weekly meals to help budget our groceries and not knowing which days I’m not going to have to cook dinner I usually end up with stuff for an extra meal. Which I guess isn’t a bad thing, but more annoying to spend money we could use for something else.

I’ve adopted the stance that just because she’s not responsible doesn't mean that I’m going to slack off too. Someone has to look out for the boys, and make sure that their feelings, well being and rights are being met. So this is my effort. I try to make sure that I’m not being her personal assistance, because I’ve gotten plenty angry about being it. So my attitude is that I’m the boys’ care taker, and that I make these efforts for the boys and not to do Jane a favor.

This week we don’t have any days planned for the boys to see Jane. She hasn’t told us any of her days off. And the week is already getting filled up with wedding planning stuff, and social engagements. Hopefully she’ll have Saturday or Sunday available. And even better hopefully she’ll give us a call and let us know which days she has off.

As some of you may also know, I have both her and FH sign and date each schedule I make. Then we give copies to Jane, Jolie (Jane’s mom), and keep the original in a binder. I make notes on scheduled days that she cancels on (in my binder), and whatever excuse she’s given us.

Given the current situation of her not getting back to us with her available dates happens often, what I’d like to know your opinion on is do you think it is necessary to start keeping a log on when we contact her, and when she gets back to us about her days off?

And if we should what should I keep track of? Here is what I'm considering so far:

Date of call
What happened (Message left/conversation subjet)

Is there anything more I should consider keeping track of when it comes to phone calls? Do I need to be more detailed?

I know that sounds super OCD but I don’t want to give her an opportunity to ever say that we prevented her from seeing the boys. I want all my ducks counted, in a row and a paper trail of anything and everything to prevent this.

And to the point, I don’t want her to ever try and say that we didn’t let her see the boys. Especially if it was because she didn’t call us, didn’t call us back, and/or totally slacked on finding out and relaying her days off to us.

So what do you think?

And thank you in advance. I really appreciate all thoughts and opinions you all leave for me. It helps me to see things from the outside – and to take others’ experience in the life of stepfamilies and such.

To end on a positive note, here is the cake that I created for Younger Boy’s 4th birthday party. This year he wanted a blue Blues Clues cake. However, I couldn’t find a bottle of blue food coloring (I need a tablespoon to make the color) so I had to make it green. I had no complaints for creating a green Blues Clues cake.

Happy 4th Birthday Younger Boy!!!