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Aug. 25th, 2015 @ 02:50 pm Passion of the Carrot
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: Edward laughing
Tags: , , ,
So many starlets have gone on record (after the arrival of their first child) to crow about the amazing and powerful absolute love they felt upon seeing their child for the first time.  Variations on a theme continue, but they all insist they never knew what love was until that moment.

I'm not sure I've ever felt it.

And now I must qualify.

It's possible I've forgotten the rush in the years and chaos that has followed.  My clearest memory of Xander - a little crystal blip in the fog of time, pain, terror, and surgical hijacking - was waking up post-recovery and having him put into my arms.  He was so still and so white, you would have thought they handed me me a stillborn.  Whatever medication they had pumped into me (and the trauma of a stalled labor) was probably still in his system, needing to be slept off.  I recal being amazed, in a very distant numb way, and unwrapped him to see what he looked like.  I saw a small birthmark on his ankle, prompting my first coherant thougth in days - "He's not perfect."  Fast on the heels of that far away and detatched thought was a hotter shame that such thing should be the first thing that I thought about my first born when I saw him.  I can still remember the detatched distinterest.  I can still feel the shame.  This might be the first time I've put the moment to words.  I suppose with that hindsight, it shouldn't have been any surprise that I suffered (undiagnosed) a terrible and criplling postpartum depression.  I wonder if that troubled bonding continues to echo.

If I can remember that all through the years, I wonder why I cannot remember those first moments with William and Seraphina who had better birth experiences and easier infancies.  It left me wholly unprepared for whatever it was I felt when picked Edward up out of his bassinet the other day.  Whatever it was, it was fierce.  Maybe Fierce, with all that a capital letter implies.  But the Fierce Whatever I felt I would not catagorize as love, unless I don't know what love means or all these talking head starlets are unable to break down into parts what it is they're feeling.

I felt smug that I had this baby, smug that he was healthy and beautiful, never mind that they were things I had no control over.  I felt possessiveness in that total and complete "This is mine."  TV shows and movies find that easy to portray.  The mom who wasn't clinging to their newborn was obviously the Bad Guy(tm).  Perhaps some of that Fierce had an element of joy in it, as if I couldn't take any more pleasure in this being than I already did.  I don't know that any of these emotions I felt were in any way seen as positive save for when they're listed in the Mama Bear column, but I could have lit the house on fire for my happiness.  A fierce happiness, a fierce possessive joy, but I'm not sure it was all consuming maternal love.
Goblin King
Aug. 23rd, 2015 @ 12:27 pm Summer is officially over
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Dirty Old Town by the Pogues
Lovecraft BBQ has come and gone and I'm doing the childhood regression of eating party leftovers for breakfast.  That was always the best part of my parents having their adult get-togethers, that for a brief time the house would have soda, chips, interesting and addictive dips, as well as left over grilled meats.  Chicken in a Biscuit and Spray Cheese has a terrible disgusting nostalgic place in my heart.  These things, on normal days, were either not present, strictly rationed and/or rarely of the name brand vareity.  (Those south side cheap-ass Chicago suburban colas were never as good as Coke)  But the morning afters, my parents still sleeping-in (a rarity with my mother), the scattered leavings of party food still out on the table with no ridiculous adult to ration/monitor our intake while mowing relentlessly on said goodies were free for taking.  Didn't matter that the hotdog were room temperature or the popcorn slightly chewy for having been out all night, they were still delicious for being rare delights of chemicals and salts and protiens.

Probably the ilicit nature of them - being "company only" foods and now eating my fill without parental proscription - just made them more delicious.

This is obviously the seed of my "It's a party, let them eat whatever they want".  Nothing like coming to a ridiculous buffet of party food as a small child and being given plate with stingy spoonfuls of whatever I had my eye on as well as handfuls of stuff that my parents/responsible adult felt would "round out" my healthy and nutrious dinner, all the while being chased away from the Doritos and denied more than teeny glass of soda.  Granted, I do come down on Liam for wanting to eat only potato chips and I have chased Seraphina away from the bowl of cataloup for her having eaten nearly half of it before the party was an hour in.  Eat some broccoli off the veggie plate and I'll let you have more potato chips.  Eat more than one hot dog and I'll probably let you have that fourth cupcake.

Balance.  Sorta.

Seraphina is now having a very strange breakfast of potato chips and strawberries.  She and Liam already went for a walk around the block (Liam was trying to earn gamecoins on his DS, which apparently involves some sort of Fitbit action) which earned them both a cupcake.

Most of the usual suspects were there and my brother even made it this time with his new girlfriend.  I hope he doesn't mess this one up, Katie and I like her.  The original plan was for a family part with a few close friends I rarely see.  I think after five years and only Laura and Scud making an appearance, I'm giving up trying to have family parties and going to start skewing it to other Scadians I like and don't get to see outside of events (wherein we're all busy doing Scadian thing and don't get to socialize on a slower schedule).  Not that I go to a lot of events these days, of course.  I hope my old vampire gamers and the scadians mesh well enough.  Gamers are gamers regardless of genre, but sometimes there's a weird divide that some refuse/can't cross and I'm always hesitant when I try to mix friend groups even though I want them all in one place.

But it was good.  As much stress as it brings in getting read (cleaning house and buying foods) I like being able to host at least one party a year.  My house, while perfectly sized for the family is not spaciously sized for parties above a certain number, so good weather is essential to the spilling out of doors.  Christmases will only be possible in this house when they are all of an age where the house is not decorated in Early to Middle Childhood and, being theoretically adultish, will be able to keep themselves contained.

I just pictured gradkids coming to this house and starting to re-think that attic as the childhood wasteland in order to make space for adult gatherings....

Yesterday, as Leah was snuggling Edward (she started crying at one point, wanting another baby so bad - her one and only is 13 now) I could see that straight Martin nose on him and wondering how he'll look as he gets older, with a Martin nose on a face that everyone claims looks like my Matras brother.  I turned to look at Scud and was almost started to see that same nose.  I don't think I ever noticed before, or maybe I couldn't see it because my mother's face had been so chubby.  She's lost weight lately and now that Martin nose sits like a blade on her face.  Maybe that's how it is that us three siblings look like siblings, even though none of us look like each other.  Maybe it's the nose.

It was funny to see the teenagers in the back behind the playhouse talking mysterious teenage boy things and drinking Mountain Dew.  When Jimm called them out to make sure they all ended up in the recylcing bin, it was amusing how they slunk forward and dumped an entire case at once, as if they were slamming them like cheap beer.  Hilarious.  Somewhere between outnumbered by children and having grandkids show up for Christmas will be Lovecrafts where there are no children, or at least one or two adult children who might not have left for college yet and not opposed to sitting with boring adults and eating angry octupus cupcakes.
Best Comic Ever
Aug. 15th, 2015 @ 10:01 am Operation: Baptism
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Ave Nobilissima Creatura/Benedicta Tu, Motet For 6 Parts: by Josquin Desprez
Today was the planned day for getting wee Edward baptized for all the strange and amorphus reasons I want it done.

My godson Joseph is the chosen candidate for being godfather for the last of my podlings, bringing about a very nice Circle of Life feel to the whole things.  His older sister is pretty much the only cousin (of of the dozens I have) that is willing to have anything to do with me, so that also made a very nice family connection.  However, Joseph is in the Army and stationed at a base not far from here.

Okay, like almost an 8 hr drive according to his parents.  But really - what's 8 hours?  That's closer than Pennsic and I can do that no sweat.  I had originally thought it was a six hour drive, and six hours to me was the metric for "not far".  Regardless, my metric for judging distance and if something is drive worthy is totally jacked up.  Jimm is perhaps more realistic, thinking that "not far" was somewhere around the four hour range.  Maybe if I road tripped more, I'd have a better handle on either my drivable distance, or a lower tolerance bar on how far/long I'm willing to drive.  When you're a stinky shut-in, nine hours anywhere not in the house is an epic adventure.

But moving on.  Joseph is godfather to his niece, Nora, but since he was still stationed somewhere on the coast, his duties were done by proxy for not being able to get home for the baptism.  I didn't want to proxy Joseph - he ending up with a phalanx of godchildren and not having actually been to any of the ceremonies.  With that in mind, my plan was to put Edward in the car, pick up Laura on the way south (his new station being somewhere near the TN border), drive my six hours (or maybe 8) to the base, have the chaplain do the deed, take Joesph out for dinner, put Laura and Edward in the car, come home.

Perfect.  It was going to solve so many problems -

1. Get Edward baptised.
  A) Shuts my mother up
  B) Having broken with the fire & brimstone churches local, I wouldn't have to put up with shocklingly un-love your neighor homilies
2. Jimm won't be there
  A) This, apparently, is our compromise on his Christian Haterade vs my Medieval Supstition
3) I don't have to proxy Joseph
4) Who doesn't love a road trip.

Laura was all about this (she's more desperate for a life worth living than I am) and we joked about how - "It's like Thelma and Lousie!  If they were middle aged, had a kid with them, no one got to sleep with Brad Pitt and no one died...."

This plan was pitched to my mother who was up. my. fucking. ass. about getting Edward baptised and how there's no religious instruction going on in this house.  All those offensive homilies from Seraphina's baptism and Xander's First Communion were not seen as offensive in the slightest by my mother.  She can, apparently, ignore the awful parts and just concentrate on the good parts.  I suppose I know now where I get my Oblivious Superpower...  Well, plan pitched she declares that she's coming with us, to make sure we do it right.  None of this find a Sikh chaplain, sprinkle some water, and claim it good.  So now we're middle aged Thelma and Louise with a baby and their mother with no Brad Pitt and no one dies.

I'm sure there's an audience out there somewhere who'd watch that movie.  What made that thing totally aggravating was that as soon as mom signed aboard the bandwagon, she started going on about "Why are you doing this?" and "If it's just to make me happy, then don't do it."

ITS A TRAP!

Yeah, because me going "Oh, you give me permission not to do this?  Okay, we won't." wouldn't then set me up for the rest of my goddamn life of hearing about it.  Ma told me there's a point where I have to make clear to her that I'm an adult and can make my own decisions.  I just stared at her with that "O rly?" look.  I can't get her to accept the notion that Sera can wear a goddamn tshirt from the boys' section of Target and she's thinks - for a moment - that my mother will meekly submit to some sort of final pronouncment that I'm making the rules here?  I feel like I'm taking crazy pills every time I talk to either of them.  Mom doesn't listen to any decision I make and Ma Polli only refuses to listen to me on the smallest of decisions. (OMG YOUR GRANDAUGHTER IS WEARING AN IRONMAN SHIRT I GOT OUT OF THE BOYS' DEPARTMENT LOOK AT ME TOTALLY SUBVERT THE GENDER NORMS!)  I know that the bulk of Mom's sudden reluctance and trying to talk me out of it was probably due almost entrely to the road trip aspect of Operation: Baptism.  There was no way on God's Green Earth that she was going to miss it, but she's was going to do her damnest to move it to locations more conveint to her.  She did the same thing when I decided on Holy Name Cathedral for my wedding, going so far as to say Grandpa & Grandma won't come because it's in the city and they're terrified of the city.  I told her that they could meet me at the reception hall afterwards then.  (spoiler alert - they made it to the church)

Joseph, darling that he is, is doing all the legwork at the base - finding a Catholic Chaplain (apparently the one assigned to his unit is not of the Catholic variety), filling out the paperwork, taking a godparent class - the works.  It even lines up with one of his four days (baptisms always seem to be held on 1st & 3rd weekends for some reason) and it being on a Sat rather than Sun makes the bat-ride-to-hell home a little less helly.  All I need is a permission slip from my pastor saying that it's okay.

Well, crap.  I had formally broke with St. Mary's figuring that there's no point in staying on the books since we're not going to mass there and I didn't think there'd be any more kids.  I suppose I should have thought of this when I got pregnant and registered somewhere just for this issue.  I guess I wasn't thinking clearly at the time.  Hell, I wasn't thinking clearly the whole nine months.  Low blood sugar and terrified certainty that the baby was going to die on me sorta interrupts the normal brain waves.

Time to call in the calvary - Ma Polli's brother-in-law is a Deacon at the church all the Pollis spawns attended growing up.  He might do me a solid and get me a Priestly Permission slip.  Going to Uncle Tom, cap in hand, I explained my situation and he seemed to pin the bulk of his focus on the fact that I was not currently registered at any parish (I was already aware of his dislike of the Rockford diocese - which I am a part) so willingly gave up the fact that I broke with St. Mary's and never thought to re-register for the thought that there wasn't going to be any more kids.

So he tried to do me a solid.  Long story short, the preistly permission slip is for active members of the church (had to be on the books for at least a year) and the best he could do for me is to perform the baptism himself any weekend we could get Joseph up here.  That was better than nothing, but Joseph can't go more than 100 miles away from base for the next year.  So, we're back to proxying, which is the one thing I really really really didn't want to do.

September it'll happen - I just need to figure out what weekend is free (between Liam's birthday, Uncle Pat coming into town (that's a whole 'nuther ball of family drama), Jimm attenting TOC, Laura potentially not being available) and how this proxy thing works.

I'm way more torn up about it than I thought I would be.  It might have been what kicked off my depression spiral.  Like I'm terribly sad just thinking about it and there's not a whole lot of excitement in the thought of doing it.  I mean, there are so many people who won't be there due to haveing died or being far out of state, and the bulk of my family won't even come because...well....they don't come to any other of my family parties, why give me the reminder of them wanting to do anything but deal with me?  At least on an 8 hr road trip there was a very good reason for not having anyone there.

I suppose the only thing that makes me look forward to it is that Grandma Emily has been asking when the baptism was.  She wants to be there too.  My great-aunt Pat just died the other day.  She's 94 and has been suffering dementia.  Grandma Emily is 90.  It was a sudden reminder that she won't be here much longer and this is her last great-grandchild (unless Katie or Jon surprise us all) so I'm glad to make her happy. 
Icon
Aug. 13th, 2015 @ 02:59 pm Setbacks
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: fragile
Current Music: suspicious silence
I've been a bit fragile of late.  I'm not sure why, but most people give the answer of "Duh.  Newborn?"

I suppose they're right.  It landed me in the Doctor's office today for a check-up/check-in since my last visit to the pediatrician had me fail a post-partum questionare.  I did much better today, although my blood pressurew as a little high.  My bottom number is never anything other than 70 and I never have triple digits.  Ever.  So they let me sit for a while and it came down.  I'm sure that'll be noted on a chart somewhere.

I'm good.  Baby's good.  Pamphelts for postpartum support groups at the hospital.

I don't think I have time for that.  Even if they do occasionally spring for pizza.

On the way back, I stopped to see the bees.  I'm going to loose the outside hive, I think.  There are still frames in the body that are emtpy, laying pattern is sporadic and practically non existant.  I don't know if I have the money to keep them in hive patties.  Inside hive is much better, super is starting to get drawn out, but not by much.  Opening the body had the colony spilling out.  Oddly, most of the honey is in the hive body and their laying patterns isn't any better than the first hive.  The frames are heavy with the honey, in fact, so it might survive in terms of food and should survive in terms of population (once they kick all the drones out) but I have no idea if there's a solid queen to make it through the winter.  I've never been able to find the queen.

So that has left me feeling uneasy on top of an already awkward morning.

A stop at Once Upon A Child before reaching our final destination.  After the upscale resale absurdity, I looked for other markets.  I showed up at the first place with two bins and two shopping bags of stuff.  They took one shopping bag.  If it all sells, it's like $100.  I'd have to check to see if that's how much I get or if I only get 40% of it.  I forget.  Still, let's say $40 for a shopping bag of stuff.  At Once Upon a Child, I dropped off three bins of clothes (since they buy out of season, I took everything) and one shopping bag of clothes.

They took one bin of clothes and cut me a check for $38.00.

I was so disappointed, I was mad.  The "the kids are being kids and I find it so fucking obnxious I want to scream" kind of irrationally mad.  Refer back to fragile.

Again I got the "We take complete outfits" (I'm guessing that the upscale resale place broke apart the matching sets I had all put together) and "We take things in the last couple of years".  I have no idea what anyone considers current fashion as I'm looking at a bin of Sera's dresses that are less than a year old.  Much like I cannot comprehend the advanced min-maxing that it takes to make couponing work, I don't know by what mystical way other housewives of my acquaintence manage to break even let alone get ahead on the resale world of domestic goods.  I suppose now I'm back to Itemize Like The Gods and try not to think about all the kids clothes Goodwill doesn't put in their local stores.
Anger Beyond Mortal Comprehension!
Aug. 12th, 2015 @ 08:21 am Rich in sons
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: O'Carolan by Aine Minogue
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Xander came snuffling to my room at oh-god-dark-thirty.  A nightmare, apparently, which was fairly detailed and complicated and vibrant and ended with me being zombified.  It's heartwarming to know that the thought of me joining the shamblign hordes of forever undead terrifies him to the point that he's compelled to seek out the safey and comfort of the Mom Bed that every child knows is a citadel against the terrors of the night.

So I shuffled over as carefully as I could (Edward was next to me) to give Xander some room to perch on the edge of the bed.  Afraid he'd fall back asleep and fall off the edge, I gave Edward a quick nurse and eased him into his bassient.  Xander did not make use of the room I gave him and all that movement on my end awoke the snot gobblins in my head.  That necessitated me getting up for kleenex and Claritin (goddamn these late life/late summer allergies), coming back to find Edward had spit up all over himself and the bassinet, stripping him down, bringing him back into bed with me, then Edward being hungry for round two.

All this shuffling and movement and whatnot probably kept Xander awake, but he lay there perefctly still for whatever reason he actually stills himself for.  This is rare and unusual.  Maybe he was afraid I'd send him back to his own bed before he was ready to go (Xander never stays the night, unlike his other siblings).

But it gave me a chance to really look at the two of them and the promise in the bones.  Edward is hinting more and more to a Martin look.  Whatever fleshy Matras candy coating he's had on him seems to be changing.  I saw it in his face a week ago when he got his first round of vaccinations.  Everyone talked about how much he looks like Liam, who looks like my brother, who was fished out of the Matras cloning vat at birth.  Edward took a deep breath and screamed at the first shot and there under the red chubby face of an infant were the white stresslines of the bones beneath.  I was looking at the face - the very pissed off face - of my Great Grandfather Emmett Martin.  I look like a Martin.  I am oddly pleased that I shall potentially have a child that looks like me.  Jury is out on who Sera will transform into - they say she has my eyes - but she's not coming down on any one side of the gene pool yet.

Xander is almost a man.  I was stroking his hair over his over sized rock hard melon.  It is no wonder they had to cut me to get him out, you can feel the density of the bone just by laying your hand on it,  the difference of laying your hand on the head of a Great Dane and a Mastiff.  Both huge dogs, but the bones vibrate differently (to get all hippy metaphysical) as if one was cement and the other bedrock.  His hands seemed abnormally large, long fingered and wide in the base at age 11 as mine is now.  I couldn't tell you if I was actually seeing his over-large hands as the fast growing appendages of a body that hadn't caught up yet or if I was seeing the hands that were to become.  Again with the hippy metaphysical, but it felt different than seeing a puppy with big paws and predicting a huge dog.  Felt different in the eyeballs, not the maternal heart.  I looked at my own hands, wondering if those long piano playing fingers were from me, a feature I was oft complimented on as a child.  Apparently my mother thought it was an attractive feature on a woman.

Xander's feet were so far away, even curled up as he was under the comforter.  They seemed to be proportional to the rest of him, long and lean and going to get bigger.  In a very classical Greek sense, Xander is well formed.  I remember thinking this when he was a toddler and I was giving him a bath.  The lines on him were clean and strong - helped that he's like his father and alabaster pale - something that you just don't see any more with school yards full of rolly-polly fat faced munchkins.  There is a certain amount of maternal smugness that - despite his emotional insanity (and the upsetting potential of a clinical case of anxiety) - Xander will be strong and tall and handsome and not-fat.  That can take you far in this world where pretty white men have a decided edge over regular white men who then again has an edge over everyone else.

(We shall overlook for the moment the possibility that open hunting season is about to be called on this demographic)

The not-fat is what pleases me the most.  Because I am shallow.  Because I like the idea that my sons will stride god-like among lesser men.

I'm pretty sure I just painted myself as one of those Classic Greek Tragedy Creeper Moms.
Barbarian
Aug. 5th, 2015 @ 09:35 pm I ran out of summer
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: suspicious silence
Tags: , ,

I walked over to school the other day to drop off Xander's health form (required for 6th grade).  And I say with great pride he all caught up on his vaccinations, thank you very much.  Mumps just broke out at an Illinois University.  Just wait until a college student ends up dead in his room.  It was shit like that which lead to all of us getting vaccinate for Meningitist my Junior year.  Student health was giving them away.  Fuck, yeah, sign me up.

At any rate, in 12 days they all go back to school.  I've been spending the day washing all the new uniforms that the collective Grandmothers have purchased.  An epic mound of red/navy polos and navy pants.  I'm not sure why no one bought khaki, as that is also a permitted color.  Also shows dry erase marker better than the navy and why is it they never seem to mark up their clothes with the washable markers I get them, always that one permanet one?

I still have to buy their insane level of school supplies.  Even Sera has a school supply list this year.  I can't remember if she had one last year, but if she did - it was paper goods, cleaning supplies, maybe a pack of construction paper?  Not like every kid had their own art box - it was shared stuff.  This year I'm buying Play-Doh?  That's a new one for sure.  Every month I think "Okay - bill X gets paid off this month so next month I'll be able to throw that extra money at Y and get that paid off faster" and I swear every month in the year has some expensive once-a-year thing that requires all that extra dosh and I'm no farther than I was before.  Even not having gone to Pennsic - one of the more Adulting thing Jimm and I have done in a while - has not netted us extra dosh which makes me wonder how its it that in years past we've been mostly solvent every year right up until July and then we hit the skids.  It had to be Pennsic doing that too us.

Quick answer - Well you had a baby this year.

I don't think the other surprise medical costs of Seraphina and Sweet William helped.

So I'm looking down the barrel of Parent Liberation day and feeling like we've done nothing all summer.

Okay, Xander went to sleep away camp for the first time, Liam went to Webelo camp.  They all got swim lessons, the boys have each spent a week at mom's and now a week at the lake, Sera will at mom's all next week. They've played with friends (a couple of times).  We've gotten ice cream (at least once).  It hasn't been the most exciting summer.  We didn't go to the museum/aquarium/planetarium.  The only out of state travel we did was to Lady Astrid's house.  No SCA events at all.

My Tiger Mom Summer school did not go as well as hoped.  Liam is almost finished with his math program.  Xander was stuck on 33% for the longest time.  Thought, eventually, that the reason he wasn't progressing was because if a practice test was too difficult he'd quit and move on to a different section.  You only finish levels if you complete a Master Challenge.  You only get those by completing the practice tests.  Much much much too late  - as usual - I found out he was watching Halo videos on  YouTube with the sound off and finishing nothing.

Xander must think I'm the stupidest mom in the world for being so easily tricked over and over and over and over and over....  His girlfriend is going to be the stupidest bitch in the world and take his indifferent abuse.  Seriously, I'm the biggest chump.  And this, class, is how those In Denial Parent refuse to face up to the fact their kid is either the biggest retard or the biggest drug lord in the neighborhood.  We just keep trusting our kid to do right and are eternally surprised when they don't, but then give them a Second Chance (n+ infinity) and are surprise (again) when the kid disappoints them.

Their reading program is almost done, and that was fairly easy for the two of them.  Handwriting has gone so-so.  Liam still scribbles like he's got palsy and neither one of them understand capitalization or punctuation, but at least they can write.  The hard part is actually getting them to write in cursive every time I want them to write.  They prefer to print and they draw their letters backwards every time (ie: all letter drawn up from the bottom rather from top down) which drives me up a wall.  I have not managed to break him of these habits and I suppose, in a world of increasing technology, their education and social class won't hinge on how nice their handwriting is.  I hope.

You just start the summer with all these Pinterest ideas and plans and then you end up lucky you have your hair combed.


Hordes
Aug. 4th, 2015 @ 09:43 am Things are just things -
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Edward fussing

My sister's speech at my wedding was just short on brilliant.  I wish someone had taped it because it was very good.  As crazy bat-shit conspiracy as she can be, she has been - at random yet important times in my life - the one that gives the throw-away bit of enlightenment you weren't expecting that suddenly Changes Everything(tm).

I, regretfully, don't remember the whole of it - but the line "Money is just money and things are just things" continues to resonate.  I try to remember that as my various issues regarding both creep up to eat my brain.

Katie and I both had been so hyper careful with our toys and clothes that I still have a few stuffed animals that are near on mint condition, dating from the early 80s.  Of course, it probably helped I wasn't much a stuffed animal/doll kind of kid, so they didn't get a lot of wear.  Still, we were very careful to make sure we never lost a puzzle piece or single game piece.  If anything broke or got lost, we'd never get a new one and - of course - never hear the end about how careless we were and how we didn't respect either our thing or the person who gave it to us.  Because (wait for it) it was expensive/money doesn't grow on trees.

I remember once standing outside of some church venue - for a Girl Scout function - and was with my Grandma Emily, for reasons I cannot recall.  My father's side of the family was the worst for counting every penny on every thing and measuring worth accordingly.  I had a dime in my hand, not sure why, and was flipping it up in the air repeatedly to catch it.  At one point I flipped it too high and lost in the grass.  Cue twenty minutes of stressed filled hunting, whipped on my Grandma, to find that goddamn dime.  Wasn't until many years later, recounting that story, I thought "The fuck?  It was a goddamn dime!"

Of course, she grew up in a time where a dime was still important money and - being the Depression - they probably counted every dime.  Add that conditioning to my mother's poor large family south-side upbrining?  All this adds up to some nice generationally conditioned freak out.  Can't throw anything away - you might need it.  Can't buy nice because you don't have the money for it (and the "you'll only break it anyway" was implied).  Don't you dare break/loose it becaue there's no way you can replace it.

I'm pretty sure this is the fertile psychosis that horders spring from.

Katie and I both took care of things to prove we were deserving of better, but the proof was rarely ever good enough.  And after a lifetime of this comes my boys.  The carnage they leave in their wake drives me mad.  There is an arsenal of Nerf guns simply missing.  They most likely got left out in the yard (admittedly, both Jimm and I could be more On Their Ass to bring their toys inside) or left at a friend's and got walked off with.  The soccer balls that they got for Christmas (and I have no recollection of them ever playing with) are missing and a "Oh, I think I left it at Eric's house" turned up with nothing and a vague excuse when I sent Xander to go retrieve it.  Says something about our boys and the quality of their asshole friends.  Once, only once, in childhood did I fall for the "Can I see it?"/"Borrow it give it back to you tomorrow?" bullshit.  Never saw that toy again.  Never played with that kid again, either.  Don't know why I didn't tell an adult.  Probably because my parents would say it was my fault and his parents would defend him.  Adults were worthless when it came to helping.

I am besides myself with these many losses.  I don't want to replace anything/everything - under the idea that "We do not live a disposible life!" but at the same time, Liam harranged me into signing him up for soccer this fall.  Had I known he had already lost his soccer ball, I might not have, because now that's one more thing I have to purchase on top of the team jerseys, shoes, shorts, and shin guards.  Not that any of those thing are expensive in of themselves, but not having to drop another $30 on a ball would have been nice.  I don't know how to teach them that you just don't go out and replace something at the drop of a hat, you have to take care of your stuff, without generating the same pyschosis that were seeded into us kids.  That my mother is now of the "just buy a new one!" mentality after so many years of the opposite, I'm like to strangle her.  I'm sure that is where my kids are picking it up.

In order to bolster some sort of responsible frugal life hack, I took all the outgrown kid clothes I had to the upscale resale place.  I had washed, organized, weeded out anything the slightest bit stained/worn/lame, and made sure that outfits were matched and folded together.  A whole bin and two big shopping bags.  They only took one shopping bag worth.  I stared at the woman over how little they took.  The bin was full of Seraphina's things - hardly worn and all crazy girl fashion.  But, she said, they only take "current fashion" and all this stuff was too old.  I was too stunned to point out the boys' size 8 black pinstripe suit was only a year old and men's fashions barely change by the decade.

Now I'm afraid just to dump it on Goodwill without scrupulous itemization (something I've never done before) in a desperate effort to get a significant tax return.  However, none of the Goodwills near my house have any baby clothing sections whatsoever.  Nothing for kids below size 7.  Why donate it to them if it won't get used?  Of course, I've read dozens of articles about how most clothing donations end up in rag bins and markets in Africa.  I might as well be sending it to the landfill myself, which now puts me into a paralyzed back to square one panic of wasting it all and how "I don't understand the value of a thing" and show a "lack of respect to the giver".

I'm half tempted just to lay it all out on the front lawn with at "Free To a Good Home" sign, just so I know that it'll actually get used.  All the new babies in my family are boys, so I can't even sluff the girl stuff to the next generation.  I did give a small bag of cute seasonally appropriate 12 month old stuff to the Nice Lady across the street (her daughter will be a year in September) so at least I have that going for me.

I think for now - I'm so overwhelmed with medical bills and a Super Busy August ahead of me - I'll put the bins back into Seraphina's closet to itemize later once I get my life back together and have Purple Heart just come and pick everything up.  I know they just sell the stuff to other suppliers and use the money for Vets, so as far as I know, it doesn't get any more re-use than if I give to to Goodwill.  But I'm making myself sick thinking about it.

Sound investment
Jul. 29th, 2015 @ 09:01 am That Mother(tm) 2.0
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: suspicious silence
Today is the second-to-last day of swim lessons and I'm sorta thankful that I'm nearing the end.  It has put a hiccup in the Tiger Mom Day School I had going on and we've all fallen off the wagon save for the two important ones: reading and math.  Of course, that would go better if Xander could stop messing around on the computer and just finish the work.  There's no way he's going to finish the 5th grade math program before the start of 6th grade in two and a half weeks.

The boys - this time - seem to be doing well and might actually pass into the next level.  Finally.  It also means I can probably cross off a bunch of requirements off of Liam's Aquanaut Webelo pin and get that out of the way.

Seraphina, however, will most likely be repeating Level 1 next year.  It's not that she's afraid of the water like her older brothers.  Far from it, in fact.  She loves the water.  The sitting timidly on the side of the pool waiting patiently for the life guard swim teacher to take them around the pool one by one, encouraging them to kick as they struggle to hold balane on the kick board is not for her.  While said teacher, a young patient thing, is going carefully and slowly with each over cautious student, Sera runs to another part of the pool - where there are baby water slides and fountains.  Sometimes she takes a floaty device (it looks like a styrofoam barbell) and kicks around in water just deep enough that she must stand on tip-toe if she wishes to breath.

I'm heartily tired of trying to deal with Edward (who seems to like to nurse in the humid environment of an indoor pool) and having a very helpy helicopter mom come over (with her newborn) to point out that my daughter has one again escaped the eye of her teacher and was stopped before going up the For Big Kids water slide.  It actually has a heigh requirement.  It might be teacher-fear that prevents these teenage life guards from even verbally disciplining wayward kids.  That whole "You can't talk to my kid that way, even if he is a total jerk!" thing.  I noticed that the teacher did take a firmer hand once she saw me getting all "oh hells no" with Sera, giving her a wallop before sending her back to her class.

But firmer hand means nothing after a minute of being bored.

I am a bit cross that my mom kindly ponied up $100 per kid for lessons and, at least for Sera, it's been something of a waste.  My darling daughter is having the time of her life and I suppose for that, the money is worth it, but I don't think she's learning very much.  And would it kill the lifeguards on duty to actually keep track of a four year old in the deep end?  It's getting to the point where some helpy parent is either going to call the cops on me because I'm not helicoptering Seraphina in the pool (where there are three dozen goddamn lifegaurds on duty) or they're going to call the cops on me because I walked away from the stroller where my newborn lays fussing so I can wade into the pool to pull Seraphina off the play island and send her back to class.

Her high energy and waywardness might be a boon as she grows older.  One of those unshakeable platforms of enthusiasm that Sterotypica Teen Girl Drama cannot shake and little fear of her falling into a pit of gloomy self-loathing.  We want our daughters to have confidance, right?  I could do with a little less confidance some days and a little more obedience.
A promise
Jul. 27th, 2015 @ 10:12 pm Blink
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
Tags: ,

I noticed today that Edward has eyelashes.

That seems a strange thing to notice.  More so that I can't remember if he had any when he was born.  Maybe he did and they were just super wee or super thin or both?  Whatever the case, they're there and they're on the verge of substantial.  Not like Seraphina's - which make it look like she's got on eyeliner (gods willing she'll keep that into adulthood) but on the verge of becoming those guy lashes that every girl envies and are totally wasted on a man (which, I suppose, are what Sera has got going on).

He's only just turned 8 weeks and I actually had to go check a calendar to make sure.  Back to that whole "It seems like he's always been here" feeling that I get. Which is weird as I still stumble on the name Edward.  I don't know if it's because I want to call him Liam (sometimes Sera) or because Edward isn't his true name, it was supposed to be something else.  Maybe it was because the name wasn't even decided until after he was screaming in the warming basket and so I hadn't had time to practice it before he showed up.  Maybe part of me is still missing the girl I thought I was supposed to have and a boy name sounds weird to me.

About a week ago or so - I loose track of the days so easily - I had no more newborn onesie to put him in and so put him in a three month until the laundry cycled.  Of course, it took longer than it should and one day I put a three month onesie on him and it no longer bagged.  I was perhaps more surpsied than sad.  I'm not even sure I was sad.  There was a strage delight as I gathered up the newborn outfits (saving the coming home outfit) and put them in the growing pile of stuff currently taking over my bedroom slated for upscale resale.  I likened the feeling very much to that strange sense of satisfaction when the change of seasons have made themselves obvious, when the old has gone away and the new has come in.  This is new, I've alwasy wanted to keep them wee and not let them grow up, and now as each stage becomes Last and Final, I'm excited to give it away and prepare for the next.

I'm sure I'll regret Edward no longer being an amiable and mostly contented wee babe in short order, especially given how the other three have provoked me into Screaming Banshee Mother(tm) in today's edition of F-Bomb Theater.

Today was certainly not a day to encourage me that the best is yet to come.

Having always been able to hold his head up pretty well, he's on the verge of complete control.  He's been able to scoot himself for a few weeks now, more so if he's on his back and he can dig his heels into the mattress.  I'm not sure if he can roll over, as I generally put him on his side for sleeping (he spits up too much for me to be comfortable with on his back due to aspiration issues) and the other kids are oh-so-very-helpie with pushing him either one way or another.  Or, if he's doing tummy time on the quilt, Sera will flip him over so she can play with him.  She's not yet figured out - or understood - that he's not an action figure that she can pose, regardless of how many times it's explained.  He's also making those baby noises.  I suppose it's call cooing.  You know the sound - those single syllable sounds that babies make?  Ever watch Teletubbies?  The baby face in the sun makes those noises.  He'll also stare at me for a long period of time and I take that eye contact as relief.  Autism worries, y'know.

It seems like he's about to cross over into six month onesies and size three diapers, which seem a little soon on the curve, not even three months yet.  Especially since he'e not breaking into any upper percentile in terms of hieght and weight.  Although, he's got his next appointment next week - so maybe he's about to break into his monstrous Polli Heritage, just took it a little while to kick in.  He'll be getting his first load of vaccines then, poor thing.  I remember Xander didn't cry the first time he got his shots.  The second time though, I thought I was going to cry right then he took it so badly.  He was so red in the face and screaming as if the needles were red hot.  I hope Edward does better.  That's hard to go through.

I'm still not sure who he looks like.  A few days ago he looked so much like my Papa Bill (in profile) that I almost cried.  Then, in turn, he managed to look like his cousin Owen (who got most of his good looks from out of our family), Grandpa Munster, my brother, Christopher Walken, Liam, and then like no one at all.

I wish all my kids were this easy.  I'd be living in a Hallmark commercial.

Beauty
Jul. 16th, 2015 @ 12:34 pm I don't even remember when -
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Savior by Rise Against
I had a dream a while back, probably right after the ruling on Gay Marriage - that Cass & Amy got married.  It was totally a Bollywood fabulous wedding.  I told Cass they should do that and Cass was worried about cultural appropriation.  I think she'd look kick ass in a black nehru jacket with silver accents.

Another dream was that I attended Jacuqe's funeral and wept through the whole thing - that broken girl sobbing kind of thing.  I was surprised at myself, as I didn't think I had that many feels about it.  I would not have counted myself a close enough friend to be that destroyed.  But dreams are the things we deny ourselves in the daylight, right?
Dream