Scarring Your Children - the Wax Edition

My mother is Irish and Ukrainian by decent, and has gorgeously deep olive skin, huge hazel eyes, and shockingly jet black hair that doesn't grow back after it falls out, which has most likely rendered her bald in the 21 years since I last saw her.  

My father is Scotch-Irish by decent, and has skin the color of fluorescent lighting, salt-water blue eyes, and red hair (now white with age) that covers his entire body, and I do mean entire, excepting three spots: One club-shaped spot on his lower back, one circular area in the middle of his right forearm, and the entirely of his head. Every other spot on his body is a plush matte of man-fur. I learned to french braid down my father's back, not kidding.  

Ask me how happy I am that I took after my father when it comes to my coloring and body-to-hair ratio. ASK ME.  I'm really not sure what's worse: having to tell me kids I'm going to get my beard waxed off, or having their reply be simply, "oh, okay."

My 13 year old used to be my Official Waxer because he's better at it than anyone I've ever met because (I'm guessing) I went and had that other kid and bumped him out of the baby-spot in the family and ripping hot wax and tiny hairs off my eyelids apparently gives him a nice, sanctioned opportunity to pay me back for ruining his life. 

But then I found a woman who was just as good at shaping my eyebrows but wasn't so hell-bent on making me paypaypay and I started sneaking out to her table in the middle of the afternoon when 2of3 was at a friend's house, or in school, or at his dad's for the weekend. When he found out what was going on, I watched the therapy bills piling up behind his big, doey, puppy dog eyes.

I'm not really sure what's worse: needing therapy because you used to wax your mother's jawline for her, or needing therapy because she found someone else to do it. 

Me More Than You

I started working from home about six years ago, after I moved to Canada and got everything I ever asked for. Everything I ever asked for was, of course, to be able to stay home full time with my kids (and not totally suffer for it - I did in fact stay home full time with my sons and we ate sogoddamnmuch Kraft dinner and it was worth every bite). IN Canada, I actually wasn't allowed to work. Visas are weird. So is being a full time stay at home mom in a new country where you literally don't know a single person except the people directly to either side of your condo and you only really know them because that one night that you left the country in the middle of the night with your kids in tow, they'd offered to hold you while the cops beat your door in with sledgehammers to retrieve your children from their deee-runk! father. 

Can you tell I haven't been writing in a while? All of that should have been seven words. Man, when the levee breaks, I tell you WHAT.

So there I was, after a year of being a single mother with three very small kids and a potentially-ex husband in an entirely different country while living off of my two nights a week at the bar tips and a pathetic amount of assistance from the kids' dad in an 800 sq ft apartment, standing in the middle of the most gorgeous place on Earth in a quaint townhome and nothing at all do to but take care of it, and those kids.

I hated it, of course.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, the right someone was able to find that post, and he offered me a small little side gig that paid out of America, so Canada could shove it in my house-shoes and smoke it, and my days of working from home commenced. 

They quickly expanded beyond the confines of that small little side gig into a real live big girl job with a title and a teency bit of supreme executive power and a'ight stock options and a lunch hour and everything

Before all of that I waited tables. I loved waiting tables. I was really good at waiting tables. I gave waiting tables a lot of shit, but you know what? Waiting tables was something I couldn't do at home, and my kids never once asked me to stop serving that Côtes du Rhône and help them fold a duct tape wallet RIGHT NOW OR EVERYTHING WILL END.

My family has never really figured out what working from home means. They get mad if I won't let them play games or get on the computer after school because GAH, YOU ARE ON THE COMPUTER. The kids' dad used to expect to come home to dinner and a clean house, and I was like ARE YOU GOING TO COOK AND CLEAN? and he was like I AM WORKING and that my friends is THE POINT. I don't leave, so they don't think of it as work. One of the kids once said that their dad deserved to sit on the couch and watch TV instead of helping me with the dishes because he worked all day every day. 

Brains sure are hard to scrub off of popcorn ceilings. 

They think I type all day, and that is not an exaggeration  I took my two sons to Mom 2.013 Summit with me this year because I wanted, no, I needed them to see exactly what it is I do all day. They were like YOU GET FREE STUFF FROM PRETTY GIRLS IN SUPERHERO COSTUMES ALL DAY?

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My plan clearly needs some rethinking.

They did get a bit of a glimpse, or at least some context, into what I do at the computer all day, and I think it may have helped some. Of course, that didn't stop TXU from calling me yesterday to tell me, not ask me, to bring his homework to him that he'd left in his overnight bag from his dad's. This is where you point at the monitor and judge me, because you know that if I bring him the homework, I'm the problem, right? Well, I am, and I did, but only because A) I could and B) he'd worked all weekend on that homework and I have divorce-guilt.

Had he left it on the computer, that may have been another issue entirely. Which is exactly what he did this morning. 

So it's 7:38 am and he is ringing my damn phone of it's non-existent hook, and I just keep ignoring his call because he wants SOMETHING and I am not in any state to deliver ANYTHING except coffee to my face at 7:38 am, and he gets the point eventually and hangs up. And then he calls me from the school. And then he starts texting me.

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Can you get it to me by 8:03 am?  My boss would be hard-pressed to say that to me.

But the thing is, he worked SO HARD on that music. I should know, I listened to him play and replay and note and re-note and play and play and zomgmakeitstop until he had all the music written out perfectly. He's so squirrel! with everything in his life that when he really focuses, when he sits down and does something all the way start to finish, I just want to hold onto it because I know that he must really truly madly deeply love the hell out of it. I knew what would happen if I said no, I wouldn't bring it - he'd panic, then he'd get angry, then he'd get upset, and then he'd have a shitty day. I don't want to be the cause of his shitty days. I also don't want to have to drag my seven year old daughter out of her morning routine to go rescue her brother who could finish his work (bravo!) but couldn't get it from the desk to his backpack (boo!).  

So I told him no.

And I heard it. I heard him run through panic, then anger, then sadness. And it broke my heart, but I had to do it. At some point, these kids all have to be let to fall on their own, of their own, and they have to figure out how to get back up on their own, by their own. Their mother isn't going to be there with their homework and a cape all of their lives, and if I keep letting them think I will, then I am the problem.

Turns out, he explained what happened to his teacher and she is giving him until tomorrow am to turn in his assignment. I had nothing to do with this conversation. I'd be willing to bet, however, that he learned a way more valuable life-lesson during that negotiation than the reiteration of my unboundaried love for him would have reaped. And it only hurt us both a little. 

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.