This Week in Gratitude

After barely-squeaking through a week of being too sick to do much more than work and sleep - and neither of those things to any real degree of effectiveness - i have never been more grateful than I am right now for Platex Purple Plastic Dish Gloves

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I try to keep the a/c off as much as possible when the kids aren't home, because (like pimpin') a/c ain't easy. When my March electric bill, with no ramp up or warning or anything, leaps straight for the clitoris and exactly doubles itself, I find myself willing to endure a little more in-home sauna experience than usual. Which you'd know is really saying something, if you've ever smelled me in the summer.

Sex Education aside, because you totally forgot about this, didn't you? You're welcome:

My kids have pretty much been left to their own devices this week, because my skin, something inside and under both my right rib cage and right hip bone, and all the glands from my belly button up declared mutiny this week, and so there has been a lot of breakfast-cereal-with-a-side-of-Xbox for dinner which is great in an air-conditioned college dormroom, but isn't so idea inside the tandoor ovens they try to pass off as Real Estate in the Sun Valley. 

Lucky-Charms-milk left out on the counter for just two or three hours in the desert heat turns was the inspriration for The Leprechaun. Fact*. You should probably just take my word for that.

And so now it's Mother's Day, I'm off the Lance Armstrong dose of predanose, and I have a week of dishes to catch up on. Because nothing says Happy Mother's Day like opening up your dishwasher and finding all your good mugs stained damn near black from tea, and probably your mother in law's soul. 

You see, my mother in law, who I've managed to say pretty close to not a single word to since her son and I broke up once and for all, came to spend some quality grandma time with 3of3 while the boys and I hit the road for Mom 2.013. Which was very nice of her. I kind of thought the giant super fancy dishrack on the counter, the purple dish gloves hanging over the faucet, and the utter lack of dishwasher detergent in the cabinet would have been clue enough that we don't really use the dishwasher in this house, and if you leave all of your dishes in there, I'm going to find them a week later having just come off of Autoimmunopocalypse and you are going to cease being my best friend. 

It wasn't.

Maybe I should stop talking to her in smoke signals and hints and grow the fuck up.

Nah.

And so I'll be spending most of Mother's Day wearing a scrunchie and Playtex Plastic Purple Dish Gloves, scorching the last week's yuck off of our dishes, then our floors, then the laundry, and bleaching my ex-mother in law out of my Starbucks Architectural Mug collection while my not-so-little one spend the day with their father going to see Iron Man and swimming and yard-saling and doing whatever it is they do on his days with them that don't have anything to do with me anymore - so that when they get home tonight, we can just be. Together. With no distractions. Because the only Mother's Day present I need or want is to be theirs**. 

*ish.

**That, and I have the a/c set to 76 today. And I have the whole house to myself. #rebel

Lice Don't Project, They Jump. Right?

When I was a little girl, I had hair past my knees - and I don't mean just hair, I mean HAIR. I mean hair you couldn't wrap a pony tail holder twice around. I mean hair that took all night to dry. I mean hair that kept me out of foster care because it made up 6/10 of my pathetic, starving body weight. I could get out of the shower, comb my hair out, and walk out of the bathroom completely naked, because I was Cousin It with calves. Or Samara, if you're under 25. #stayingrelevantforthedamnkidsonmylawn

And one night I was laying in bed, and found a bug in my hair. A bug. IN MY HAIR. I imagine all kids are senstive about bugs, but when you live in the 'hood, and everyone you know lives with cockroaches and ants and shit, bugs in your hair are not. even. a. little. okay. I ran downstairs crying, and shoved the bug on the tip of my finger between my mother's nose and her Nintendo paddle.  She smacked my hand away from her face and yelled at me OH MY GOD SHANNON IT'S A FUZZY GO BACK TO BED. Because Tetris. 

So I went back to bed. And then more fuzzies I found, the more silently I freaked out, because fuzzies are really disturbing things to find. Eventually I stopped finding them, mostly because I stopped looking. I got off lucky with a hand smack that one time, and I was not about to tempt fate, or my ass.

Years later, someone I knew from church told me her most vivid memory of me was this dream she'd had of me once, in which she was sitting behind me and my hair, my veritable wall of hair, was moving. - because it was full of bugs. I never did tell her it wasn't a dream.

By the time the school realized I had lice, all of the eggs had hatched and my hair was, quite literally, crawling with bugs. I don't even want to think about how many classmates I infected. We had to use a bottle of lice shampoo on all three of my siblings, and then another one on me. A whole bottle. And then the little comb thing, which was laughable but by then my mother was so completely freaked out by the infestation on my head that she sat Tetrisless, night after night, slowly combing dead things out of my hair. It took about a week. 

A few weeks later, once it was done and the house was bleached and my head was empty and I was able to re-enter public society, my mother saw in my hair what she thought was a nit, but was ironically probably just a fuzzy - so we did the whole thing over again. And it kind of burned my scalp, which created flakes, which she mistook for nits, so we did the whole thing again.

That's how cycles are created, which is kind of ironic because the other day after swim class, my daughter was pulling her cover-up over her head and something fell on her chest/jumped on her chest, depending greatly upon whom you ask. MOM THERE IS A BUG IN MY HAIR AND IT JUMPED ON ME!!! No, honey, it's not a bug, it's a fuzzohshit

I still contend that it was a fuzzie. I haven't flat out sat down and dug through her hair yet, because I'm still too traumatized by my last encounter with lice, and a bit too freaked out by the nearly-exact repeat of this little slice of my childhood, but I am going to have to eventually, and I guess I'll just have to pray that you can't give someone lice through flashbacks.

Updated to add: 8oz of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My friend Melanie found a way more elegant lice-prevention method than never-let-my-kid-out-of-the-house-again. 

My Little Brony

My son came home today with a scratch on his back. It wasn't anything major, big enough to need some peroxide and Bactine, and the peroxide bubbled a little bit, but not enough for much more than a Pacman bandaid and a kiss. 

Had my son came home with that exact same scratch on his neck and had said it came from a boy, I would have been on the phone with the school and that boy's parents quicker than you can say helicopter parent (and with good reason, I think. See: choking at schoolmugging at school) but since it was from a girl, and even better, a girl he and his frienemy have taken to calling Jim, I was totally unphased. Whatever. You'll heal. Stop calling girls you like Jim, you moron.

Because I am a hypocrite, and I have scratched my share of oh-em-gee-cute 13 year old boys, and gender issues are hard. 

My son, this second one, has always brought the gender issues *cheer snap* When he wanted a Dora birthday party when he turned four, he got it. When he marched into preschool with his pink Dora backpack and I told him he was going to take crap for it, he said very calmly, "Mom, Dora is awesome. Anyone who doesn't think so is crazy." He changed his name to end with an i that year. He was super excited when he found out, the following year, that the baby in my tummy was going to be a girl, because he totally loved pink and figured now he could have a pink room, if he bunked with her. He wears bright blue shoes because bright blue is awesome. His cell phone case is bright yellow. He gets hot pink casts. We can hypothesize all we want about why he does these things, or what it means, but really I think the answer he that he is a very cool and interesting person. The end. 

He is also now a goddamn Brony. NOT IRONICALLY. I think he just found my line.

It doesn't annoy me because My Little Pony is for girls, it annoys me the same way a 13 year old who newly-leaches on to any idea annoys anyone. HE CANNOT STOP TALKING ABOUT FLUTTERFUCKINGSHY. My 7 year old girl doesn't give as much of a shit about My Little Pony as this kid does, and I've heard all the 'it's so well written! and it just sucks you in! arguments, and they aren't working for me. He's completely fan girl over this crap and I have to be nice and supportive and interested while he talks to me about Pinkie Pie's most appealing character traits.

Pinkie Pie is a fictional horse. Who giggles. A LOT.

I am glad for him that he has a thing. I know it's important at that age (or any age, hell) to have something you really are just gonzo about. It's good that he has somewhere to focus his attention, something that he is so into that he learns it inside out and backwards, but honestly? I was pretty happy with the origami. I know how to talk to and with him about origami. I get origami. I really don't get pre-pubescent magical ponies.

Now this? This I get.

This makes me want to go to Bronycon myself and shake a FFF1987RETURNS' hand. This makes part of me think that if I ride this thing out, this god forbid I call it a phase, out long enough, it's going to turn into something epic and awesome. The rest of me, however? Most of the time, it kinda wants to disconnect the internet and lock him in a padded room with nothing but my complete Tick collection (complements of TwoBusy, winner of Best Gift Giving Blue Lobster, 2012). And I kind of hate myself for it. 

Being a parent to human beings is hard. The end.

Lucky Number 13

Shitty Mother's Note: His birthday was on the 14th. In a week, I'll erase this editor's note and we'll all pretend like I got his post up on time. Deal? DEAL.

Last night your sister - with tears in her big, green eyes - said to me, "Mom, I don't want two teenaged boys in the house" and I said something to the effect of "tough shit, kid, because you're going to wake up tomorrow with exactly that. But I don't think even I believed it would actually happen. 

Your aunt Sheryl and I talked on the phone on your birthday about how, just yesterday, you were so small and silly, and about how you're still kind of small and silly, and that's so much a part of your charm. You're fun-sized and you know it. You work out. You're highly ridiculous. You love your momma. You can't remember your homework from 2nd period until 4pm, but you know every single meme uploaded to iFunny during the last 7 weeks.

Audience participation aside: Am I the only one who needs to call it a meh-m and not a mee-m? It drives me to drink.

I can't believe we are in stage two of your life already. The next big milestone we hit, you're out of my door and onto college/tour/jail. I'm banking on college, for the record. No pressure or anything.

Every single one of my kids swore with all the breath in their tiny little baby bodies that they would stay little for me, for ever. Only you have held to that promise. Your sister is - well, um, gah. Your brother? I can't even go there. But you...I hold your hand in mine and it is still as small and soft as it ever was. You hold on just as tightly as you ever did, even in public where there are *girls* and they might be *looking*. You still are as delicate and defined and satiney as the first day I met you, all wrinkly and snuggly and perfect.

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I was 24 that day, and you still are able to make me feel 24 today, in so many ways. I still feel unready for the depth of you, not strong enough to hold my own in the gravity of your being. You are an event, an astrological occurrence that makes everyone who's ever come across you stop and behold, with wide-eyed wonder. You are heavy lightness, darkly bright, a walking conundrum that I will never ever ever believe I made, but today, on your 13th birthday, I understand how lucky I am to have gotten every day I have had so far, and the few I still have ahead of me, as your #1 girl. 

All my love, my lucky little 13.

R is for Reason. Let's Show We Have Some.

He's why. His brothers and sister are why. My little sister is why. Every kid and every family of every kid who has to live with the reality of how hard physically, socially, and emotionally being actually, really physically or mentally delayed/retarded is, they're the reason we have to think about the language we use, and teach our children to do the same. 

That little boy up there sat up and looked out a window all by himself yesterday. That is the single biggest accomplishment of his life so far, besides you know, survivingThat's why not tossing retarded around like it's some flippant joke matters. We may have freedom of speech, but we also are able to, you know, sit up whenever we want. Power/Responsibility.

It isn't enough to just not say that word anymore. You wanna end war n' stuff, you gotta sing loud. The symptoms of the disease range from flippantness and callousness to  racism and bigotry, but the disease itself is fear and ignorance, and it is super contagious. You can actually carry it and pass it to people and and not even know you're doing it. If we want to eradicate this word and the disease that it is leached onto, we have to make sure our childrens' comfort zones and social circles expand well beyond that which they see in a mirror. We have to make sure that they know other children, ones who aren't abled as they are, ones who aren't colored as they are, ones who don't dress or eat or pray or talk as they do. 

You make it personal for your kid, and he will defend it to the death. Kids are way cool like that. You once explain to a kid where the N word came from and he will forever take head-smashing on school buses by thugs who say it, because he will stand up and shame the hell out of said thug. You introduce your kids to their fake Canadian cousin Jumby and they will forever stand up and stop anyone who they hear say the r-word like it's a joke, and not a war their family member fights and wins every day.

My kids are healthy, mentally and physically  and I know exactly how lucky I am for absolutely no reason at all to be able to say that, so it's my duty to make sure that my children, my family, each of us show respect and love with our words, thoughts, and actions. Not saying one totally insignificant word is a teensy price to pay for that cause. And if we can't think of a better one, one that doesn't make a mockery the heroic, brave, beautiful lives of children like my fake Canadian nephew, or my little sister? Well then, there's only one thing left for you to do.

Poster by Alison Rowan - $12.00

Poster by Alison Rowan - $12.00

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