I’ve read this before

1 06 2010

I’m reading The Spire by Richard North Patterson.  Contrary to my title, I’ve not read THIS book before, but the story is similar to others I’ve read.  I can’t pinpoint which book I find it similar to right now, but I’m sure it will surface in my brain eventually.  It’s a memoir type of story that mingles with a new murder and some theft and college frat boys… I’m not bored with the story.  I just think someone else wrote it first and that I’ve read it and it’s somewhere in my library.

My title actually refers to this monotony of mommyhood I’ve found myself in.  It’s comforting and fucked up at the same time.  I’m living the life I worked so hard to build.  I’m at the end result of what I had planned.  The next part of the plan is “live the life and enjoy it!”

It’s just  hard to quantify joy.  There’s no number or date or even data that can identify joyfulness.  You can’t make a joy graph.  Well, I’m sure you could, but it would probably be boring.

I’m an analyst.  I’m a very smart analyst trained in problem solving.  There’s no problem and now I’m a little lost.  Sure, there’s this lupus and fibromyalgia thing, but that’s more handling the symptoms as they come and trying to live a lifestyle that doesn’t provoke the symptoms.  The first part of problem solving is to identify the problem.

So back to the monotony as it is.  After midnight last night, I didn’t sleep well.  I need to clean the bird cage.  My pain level is small enough that I haven’t taken any meds today other than my morning dose of Lyrica.  The wireless keyboard on the right side of my desk got some fingernail clippings that were left in the clipper in it (yuck) and now some of the keys stick and sometimes the space bar makes two spaces where only one is needed.  My calendar tomorrow is a little stressful, but manageable.  The kids are on summer break and I reinstated afternoon naptime.  (Yay, nap time!)

Earlier I took a bath and Nola, our Great Dane, opened the door to my bathroom.  There’s a reason Great Danes are the inspiration for almost every cartoon dog in the American zeitgeist:  they really do act just like a cartoon.  They’re expressive, clever, gentle, and act pretty much like the dumbest kid in the gifted class.  They’re too smart to be retards but they’re too retarded to be smart.  They also have no clue that the rest of the world thinks this about them.  They’re mainly happy ass dogs.

MY cartoon dog can open doors.  She figured it out on her own… or she somehow communicates with Ernie, our half-Siamese cat, who can also open doors.  That thought is fucking terrifying.

Yes, I do need a baby gate.

So, Nola breaks in and looks at me with those big, dark eyes.  I say “Nola, go away.”  She turned around and tucked her tail as if she was leaving then turned back around and looked at me again.

Yes, our bathroom is so small that one turn of a Great Dane encompasses all the square footage.

“Nola, GO. AWAY.”  Nothing.  I’m largely ignored around here.

“You can’t get in here with me.  Lay down.”  I was hoping being on the bath mat next to me would be enough.  It wasn’t.  She started to look like she was going to get in the tub with me.  (It’s happened before.)  I snapped my fingers.  “Lay down.”

She sat and then she turned towards the door again.  “Ok, then.  Go away.”

She stood in the door, tail tucked and looked out.  I took this as a cue to finish up in the bath and investigate for myself.*

I wash my hair, get dried off, moisturize my face and wrap myself in my towel.  Investigation time.  I walk out to the living room trailed by a scared cartoon and find Ethan singing at the top of his lungs while drawing on the cat with two markers – thankfully capped – one in each hand.  From the scared dog, I surmise that he started on her.

The part that startled me was MY reaction.  I wasn’t shocked, surprised, mad, or anything.  I just said “Ethan, put them away, NOW.”

Then I got some clothes on, made lunch, and sat back down at the computer.  Absurdity has become monotonous.

*From this point, the internet ate my post revisions which made this post way awesomer.  Fucking internet.  I could fix it, but why?  WHY DO YOU DO THIS, INTERNET?

In all actuality, it’s Firefox that’s eating everything lately.  FF is about to be the major reason I switch to Google Chrome.  It won’t be because it’s awesome – it will be because FF sucked.

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going to Kindergarten

21 01 2010

So, remember the whole purple handprint on Chickpea’s face thing I talked about last week?

Well, all week we’ve been “following up” on that. It turns out it was the kid who sits across from her in class (who all sit right next to alleged broken computer) was the one that slapped her.  Now, did she start the fight or get in her own hits?  Probably.  I know my child and she’s a ninja.

I’ve talked to the vice principal, emailed back and forth with the teacher, cc’d the entire crew (teachers, vp, principal, Shaun) and finally the teacher said that maybe I should come visit the classroom.  The time she picked was the EXACT time that the bell rings at LJ’s school to let out and wouldn’t I like to help with the pinata party?

Let’s take a time out right here.

1.  Ms. Teacher Lady knows I have 3 kids in 2 different schools because the school A goes to can’t support LJ’s special needs.

2.  Even though A does not need the same therapeutic needs as LJ, she’s still classified as handicapped and we have a dietary order in place as well as a safety plan just in case she has a flashback.

3.  Dietary needs = very low sugar because something in the sugar seems to trigger the part of her brain that thinks she’s starving.  Seriously, 1 bite of cake triggers hoarding and stealing so we have to be sure that if she gets sweets, she’s supervised and monitored very, very closely.  Since snack time is literally 10 minutes before they get out of school, I asked that I just be allowed to feed her at home and that they give her computer time or library time.

4.  The teacher and I do respect each other but we have a few problems with communication.  I don’t speak a lot of Spanish and she doesn’t speak a lot of English.  Secondary to that, we have cultural and generational… challenges.

5.  I’m special needs myself.  I pretty much can’t plan when I’m either going to have a bad pain day or a bad OCD day.

OK, time back in.

I have QUESTIONS.

1.  What’s in that pinata?  I know how this works – kids smack something with a stick and candy rains down on them.

2.  How does this sound like a good idea?  Let’s put 30 kindergartners in a small room with a paper mache animal, a stick, and tons of candy.  Then, let’s put my daughter in the middle of it.  I know how this story ends – the pinata breaks, kids rush in, my daughter grabs the stick and starts smacking kids to stuff the pockets of her uniform full of candy.

3.  How are we going to talk while all this is going on?

It turned out not to matter because I ended up hitting a 10 on the pain scale that day and I laid in the bed and tried to breathe very slowly.  So, Shaun went.

He said it went well – that the teacher had apple slices for Chickpea laid out next to the snacks and that the pinata had toys in it as well so he was able to confiscate the sugar.  Afterwards, they talked and when I was finally able to understand what they had talked about, I decided I probably did need to go in and talk to her myself because I had questions and apparently she doesn’t like email.  (That’s fine, I don’t like people so we’re even.)

The first thing I caught upon was that I wonder if they really think parents LOOK at their children’s report cards.  I know that when I sat behind a desk for a living that we pretty much assumed no one read their email, so I’m guessing they were really surprised that Chickpea HAD gotten in trouble over her report card.

The main point I wanted to address was not so much that she had gotten into a fight but that her response was to automatically accuse me of it.  We’ve been thinking for a while that there’s some sort of attachment disorder going on and she has been bringing up lately that I’m her 8th Mommy.  So, while I understand kids scuffle at school and really don’t care – I do need to know if she’s saying stuff like this so we can address it with her psychiatrist and therapist.

I still haven’t recovered from sitting in the lobby of a “mental health hospital” with a suicidal 4 year old after a very under-trained caseworker set off a series of flashbacks which ended up in her being sedated (because the hospital was full) and an investigation into our home.  It finally ended when I broke the chain of command within the system and wrote to the Governor himself.

You want to talk about the worst few weeks of my life?  I’d rather have an epic migraine.  So when I talk to the school about needing to report stuff like this, I’m not over-reacting.  I’m taking preventative measures. Besides, they say they’re very well versed in how to deal with children from foster care (such as incident reports, etc…) so not reporting this kind of bruise to me or Shaun is startling.  We’re finalized, so while we don’t need the form filled out, a phone call would be nice.  Ya know?

Anyways, back on track – yesterday was a fairly good day as far as my pain level goes so I figure I’ll drop in and help out with snack time and talk to the teacher.  I take time to look semi-grown up – I have on jeans and a t-shirt that has a cute cartoon on it.  I’m wearing make-up and jewelry and my hair is up in barrettes.  I give the boys both a sucker so their hands and mouths will be occupied.

The teacher is out sick, lo and behold, gone for her pre-op appt and the class have a very young substitute and a male volunteer, also very young.  Chickpea has a bag of animal crackers and is stuffing them in her face so fast the first glimpse I see of her she looks like a chipmunk.

I force the smiles even though the back of my head is going WTFWTFWTFWTF like a choo choo train and we sat in the back of the classroom while they wrapped up their day.

I sat in the back of the classroom and had an epiphany.

My child is not the problem child in her classroom.  There are about 8 other kids in there who were actively being bad as fuck while the rest of the kids were somewhere between doing what they were supposed to do and wandering aimlessly.

One of the kids is at the whiteboard pounding on it yelling “I want to watch the pirate video!”  One says to another “holy shit, that lady has tattoos and that means she’s dangerous.”  The other says “nuh uh, stupid.”  Three are spazzing out like crackheads in the middle of the room.

Then the bell rang and everyone started lining up in the hallways to go to the buses, after school, or car rider lanes and the scene is exactly like the fire drill scene in Kindergarten Cop.

Actually, it was a lot like Kindergarten Cop.

This may explain our communication differences quite well.  I tend to not like movies where kids act like little shits (Parenthood, Home Alone, That Rotten Little Fuck that Vomitted on the Carnival Ride) so I’m totally expecting too much from my personal little shits.

In comparison, mine are qualifying for sainthood.