Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thank God for little boys!

Poor Little Red. I think being part of our family might have ruined having children for her. At least, the excitement part. She and our oldest are expecting at the end of May and recently had an ultrasound to check everything out and were told the sex of the baby. Which she wanted to keep quiet until the shower. Unfortunately, Fate and baby gear designers conspired against her and everything gender neutral was hideously ugly -- so the plan to register for gender neutral items went out the door and the announcement was made to the world.

L.R.: "Guess what, world? We're having a boy!!!!!"

World: Yeah? Big surprise, you're a {{insert married last name here.}}

The response to their announcement, being that Football has five brothers (and only two sisters), and the boy cousins outnumber the girls by 2-1, was completely underwhelming from what I saw. I felt so bad! Having a son is cause for celebration.

I think one of the reasons I felt so badly for her was that no one was ever excited when I announced a pregnancy. Well, our pastor and his wife were great. But my family? Not so much. My mom's attitude was always that Hubby had "Too Many Children." Really? Which ones should he get rid of? And I once had a friend who said, when I announced our third pregnancy (had a 9 month old and one that was ALMOST 2) that people should have, "Children. Not litters." Actually, when I was pregnant with my daughter (my second child) she said, "Maybe you'll be lucky and miscarry." I know! So sweet and supportive! Guess who isn't a friend anymore? Not even on Facebook!

I guess the point of this is for Little Red: WE are super excited for you. (Okay -- mostly because I'M going to be a GRANDMA!! ;-) ) But, Hubby and I know how wonderful it is parenting a son. Sons are so much fun. The crazy, bang-'em-up, attack everything, throw everything else, and then dive safely into mommy's arms for hugs little boyishness that you're going to experience is wonderful beyond belief. You'll look into his eyes and wonder how you could be so lucky and blessed almost every single day. The other days, you'll wonder how you and he both survived his antics. And then you'll remember that you're both lucky AND blessed.

Just make sure you keep good medical insurance. With boys, you'll need it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I have the funniest (i.e. strangest) kids sometimes. While sitting in the living room checking out the step-mom blogs I follow, a paid program comes on tv. For the Jack LaLaine Power Juicer. My six year old was in my line of sight, standing in front of the microwave making a bag of popcorn and a memory came flooding back.

When Little Louie was about 4 y.o. he sat, transfixed, in front of the tv watching the Power Juicer infomercial. He was fascinated. And he wanted one. Badly. He even asked for one for Christmas. And his birthday. We bookmarked the site on the computer so he could watch the infomercial any time he wanted. It was way too funny.

I asked him today if he still wanted a juicer for his birthday. He grinned his wonderfully sweet grin and shook his head no. But he remembers wanting that juicer. And right this minute? He's sitting, once again transfixed, watching Jack Lalaine and his wife sell a juice machine. I wish I had a decent camera and knew how to post photos on here because the grin he keeps giving me is just too sweet.

Can I just add? Jack reminds me a little of my grandpa, "You're getting gypped there!" Love you grampa!


Exciting news: Belle will be starting tutoring with a specialist to remediate her dyslexia (I think that's the term) a week from now. For FREE! Finally a specialist was willing to call it 'Dyslexia' which is a relief in itself. But for this wonderful woman to volunteer her time to meet with Belle on a regular basis for 2 years? I see some seriously wonderful gift cards in Mrs. L's future.


Rehearsals started for the Spring Ballet (Peter Pan) today. Billy-Bob, to his relief, was only cast in one role for this show. He was pretty tuckered out by his multiple roles -- including the Nutcracker Prince -- in the Nutcracker this past December. Belle, to the dismay of a few jealous older girls in her class, was given three nice roles -- mermaid, Indian maiden, and pixie fairy. I love that she's handling her good fortune with class and grace. (More class and grace than me, I'm afraid!) And Gil, my wonderful, intellectual looking boy was cast as John, the older brother. He's only 9 but has amazing potential. So glad he's getting this chance because living in Billy-Bob's shadow for 9 years has been a tough pill to swallow, Thank you Gail for your casting wisdom! If Gil had been cast to play Michael, the teddy-bear toting little brother, to Billy-Bob's John it would've been a nightmare.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Strep. Yippee!!

Snow day for 3 of my kidlings today. They go to a small charter school, the principal is from someplace down south. . . he's not used to Midwest weather. So 4-5 inches is cancel-able weather in his book. :-) I love Southern principals!!

Since the kids were homeschooled until this year, this is their first snow day ever so we should be celebrating. But we're not. Instead we're cleaning and disinfecting now that I'm home with older brother (who, being at another charter school, didn't have a snow day) from the Dr's office. This doodle is the one who catches every single bug that comes around. Not that he's sickly -- but when he gets sick he gets SICK. I mean, running 103-104+ degree temps for 5-10 days sick. When it doesn't include a sore throat, I don't worry too much. But blinding headache, severe sore throat, neck pain, swollen glands, and aching knees? That's a trip to the Dr's office, my dear.

And even at 12, the strep culture process is traumatic for him. He has autistic tendencies and has always been super sensitive to touch. Clipping his toe nails was a process that usually included hubby holding him down while I did my best to trim them, right up until he was 8 or 9 and old enough to clip them himself. Rubbing his back? Not happening. So someone sticking a swab down his throat? About 5 minutes of psychological prep time and 4 tries, including smacking the nurses hands three times and knocking his head against the wall. Thankfully she was very sweet (and reportedly has a terrible gag reflex herself so was understanding.)

Now we get to keep an eye on the rest of the kidlings (and my preggo d-i-l since they're living with us until their house is finished.) My son is pretty worried about passing it to sister-in-law but she's not that worried. She'll get it or she won't, and staying away from him at this point isn't going to make much of a difference. But what I'm worried about is the way it tends to cycle around and around through the kids. Sometimes they've gotten it 2 or 3 times before we finally eradicate it. Fun. I hate January for this reason. My kidlings always get sick in January.

Oh, and loved the Dr's response when she looked in his throat: "Where are your tonsils?!? How do you have strep?!?!" Umm. . . had mine out at 1 1/2 y.o. and ended up with life threatening strep/scarlet fever at 16. Remember when Jim Hensen died? Yep. He and I? Have that particular rare strain of strep in common. His turned into pneumonia, mine into scarlet fever. I was one sick puppy for a long time. Lost 20 lbs in 2 weeks. Hmmm. . . . Wasn't I just saying the other day I could go for that diet again? Maybe this is Fate! Come here and kiss me son! I need me a debilitating case of strep.


And in bonus good news today -- I'm 8 lbs down from my last Dr's visit in December. Or November? Whenever. But he upped my thyroid meds then, and I've been feeling a little better. AND I started following the Weight Watchers point system this past Monday and seem to be doing really well. Not doing meetings yet -- don't plan to unless I see I'm not able to do this myself so I don't know where I started on Monday weightwise, but my face seems a little less puffy with eating healthier. And? I can take my pants off without unbuttoning them. Had to move my belt in one notch, too. I have about 67 lbs to go, but I'm excited about this start. With all the things made that are Weight Watcher's friendly because they're adding fiber (hostess mini-cupcake three pack? ONE point! How awesome is THAT?!?) this might be easier than I thought.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What not to do

Happened across the phrase 'Borderline Personality Disorder' and, thinking of my d-i-l's sister read it to her. Then discovered Histrionic Personality Disorder, read the symptoms and we found that fits sister better. Then we read Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Lo and behold, it fits my second oldest step-son to a T. Wow. Then I found a 'What's your personality disorder?' test.

And I took it.


And Yikes!!!

Don't ever do that. You might not like the results.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year?

Watching the 'Whatever Bowl' half-time show tonight, I asked my husband, "Isn't five days into the new year too late to be wishing people a Happy New Year?"

"Well, I'm telling it to all my clients," Hubby tells me. "I guess the rule is if it's the first time you've seen them you can wish them a Happy New Year."

"So, if I don't see someone until July, I can wish them a Happy New Year in July?"

"Pretty much," he said with a snicker. "And you can tell them your husband said it's all right!"

Ima gonna have fun with this!


One last note from Hubby as he watches me write this post: "But you have to tell them I've had three rum and Mt. Dew's!"


(But thanks for supporting my dieting by not bringing Coke into the house. Love you!)

Caught him with his pants down. Figuratively.

So. . . my d-i-l and I have a really nice relationship. She's easier to be around than the step-daughter I've parented for 13 years. Why? Part of it is because we are very similar. (How scary for my oldest ss that he married his stepmom?!?) and the other part is because I don't think we have all the baggage that comes with parenting some one else's children.

The other day, she told me that she and my husband had had an awkward conversation where he told her, "You know, you've called me 'Dad' a few times and. . . actually I'd really like it if you called me Dad." Poor Little Red had no choice to reply anything but, "Um, okay." Not that she has anything against calling him dad, I don't think. It's just something that will either evolve or not and to be put on the spot, or for him to actually have the guts to say that (my shy, non-confrontational hubby!) is a bit awkward.

Of course, if you've read my last post you know how I've been feeling about my step-kids. (For the record, Little Red's husband is my favorite. There. I've said it. I have a favorite step-child! Take that and skewer me with it, world!) Anyway -- how I've been feeling about SOME of my step-kids. And so my brain went into hurt mode and I asked her something like, "And what about me? I'm just {{insert name here}}?" Poor Little Red, deer-in-headlights is the best way to describe the look. Wasn't mad at her for telling me. Felt bad that she was the one who got to step in it.

So I asked hubby, casually, "Well, L.R. told me you asked her to call you Dad?"

Hubby: "Yeah."

Me: "And what did you ask her to call me?"

Hubby: "Uhhhhhhhh. . . . {{crickets}}"

Me: "Exactly."

But, in the end it was a good thing. I realized that it didn't really matter to me what my daughter-in-law called me -- I had actually never, ever contemplated that she would give me a different title and not use my name. I'm so used to it being, "Dad and {{insert name here}}." I was irked at his clumsiness -- but I think he's finally getting the picture and beginning to understand the feelings that have developed over the last 13 years.

The thing isn't that my step-kids haven't been respectful. To my face, at least. But I thought, imagined, that when they were adults, they would break the twisted bonds with their bio-mom and we would have a free-er, closer relationship. A friendship or something. And that they would appreciate me. It hasn't happened. In fact, since they've become legal adults, with 2 out of 3 it's gotten worse. Their attitude toward me, especially when they're not here and I'm not giving them some sort of handout, has gotten a lot worse.

So I've decided -- they're old enough to decide what kind of relationship they want with me and they've decided. To them, in spite of every single fricken' thing I've done for them, the messes I've cleaned up for their mom so they could have some sort of relationship with her, I am just their dad's wife. Not a parent. Not a parent-figure. Just the woman their dad happened to marry. Which means, for me, I have no obligation to them other than to be their dad's wife. And, frankly, I'm damn good at that. Birthday presents? Christmas? Weddings? That will now be their dad's thing. I will not have a single thing to do with the planning or purchasing of anything for special days. I did, exclusively, for 13 years. I'm done. They need money or help with something? Talk to your dad, who will remember that they're adults. And that they only come over or call when they want something. Weddings? Dad might throw in a little money as appropriate, but no way am I busting my ass to help in any way like I did for the oldest and L.R. who both appreciated the hell out of it. Nope. I'll spend their wedding day at the spa (maybe with Little Red!! haha!) getting gorgeous and attend as their dad's guest and the mother of some of the wedding party. I will be kind and cordial. But in the end? They just happen to be the adult children of the man I married. And I owe them nothing.

Strangely, this has been extremely freeing. Even everything else that's been weighing me down seems much easier to deal with. Or ignore, whatever. And while this makes my husband a little sad (mostly for me, that his kids have turned out like this toward me after 13 years) he understands. He knows everything I've done for them, the sacrifices I've made for them AND for their mom. Even our children have made sacrifices for his children and PEW. Considering we have five children of our own, he agrees we've done all we can or should for his older children.

Who would've thought that separating oneself from children one has raised for 13 years would be this easy and pain-free? Maybe it's true what everyone said, I won't love them as much as I love my own. Maybe it's because I wasn't allowed to. But I did love them the best that I could.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tired of always being in the wrong

As a step-mother of 13 years, it's assumed by most of society that I'm evil. And no matter how I've worked to put the needs of my husband, my step-children and even the PEW (ex-wife), ahead of my own and my children's -- I'm still seen as 'The Problem' by most of the parties involved. What I do is never enough. What I don't do I'm informed I should have done. And ALWAYS I did more for those children than their own mom did.

As much as I knew it would take time for my husband's parents and family to accept that I'm not the PEW, that I truly care for him and my children, I could do no right and was talked about badly every time my name came up. I fell short because I didn't 'let him' see his mother enough. I fell short because when I came in to pick up my children my m-i-l was babysitting, I would pick up my infant bio-child before greeting my step-children. And now that my crazy m-i-l didn't come to my oldest step-son's wedding becuase she was drug-shopping at an ER, and I've forbidden her to see my children until she checks into rehab, I'm definately the bitch. And everyone likes to forget she drank my 8 y.o. son's Tylenol 3 days after his tonsils were removed and he still needed the medication. And stole half my vicoden after my gallbladder was removed. I'm still the bitch. And my husband hasn't bothered to set anyone straight.

As the daughter who was sexually abused by her older brother, I am at fault because I'm STILL not over what he did to me 25 years ago. I am in the wrong and resented because I finally refused to see him and pressed charges against him after finding out that there was no statute of limitation on the degree of abuse he inflicted on me. It seems that giving me all my parents gave me, though they never condemned his actions but instead excused them, is supposed to make up for the damage that was done to my personality and spirit. I'm supposed to blame all the damage on the date-rape that happened my freshman year in college which brought everything I'd tried to bury, as the 'good daughter' to save my parents hurt, to the surface and lead to an emotional breakdown. It shouldn't surprise me that this is the case because even when there was clear and evident psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of my older brother, my mom chose to not get involved and I would be punished by my dad when I would finally lose it at my brother. I was the one who squawked, I was the one who was punished, never protected or defended.

It seems that the hurt and damage I've accumulated over the years, some of which I thought had been dealt with several years ago and now find is back in spades, means my husband can go into a funk and not talk about or try to help me deal with this. The revelation that there is still more abuse that I've never divulged to anyone (concerning my brother), and that several years ago when dealing with all that crap was suicidal and no one ever knew is met with silence. And avoidance.

I'm at the point where I don't know what to do now. Don't know where to turn. Shutting down seems to be the only way to save myself -- but that means living forever with the voices in my mind that tell me I'm worthless. And my husband's reaction? Confirms my worthlessness and that I've never, ever -- not even as a child -- been worth defending and protecting. And if my husband can't deal with supporting me in this, how am I supposed to deal with living with it? Or trying to face it and put these things in the past, or at least in perspective, where they belong.