Monday, April 30, 2007

There but for the grace of Homer go I

Lately I have had a series of DUH moments. Less like mini-epiphanies, more like forehead-slapping D'OH!s. Things that seem to spring forefront in my mind and then kick me backwards because of their...well, their DUH-ness. Things that I realize and then go, but, wha...? Why didn't I... I can't believe I didn't... What's wrong with me that it's taken this long to SEE that.
Today I realized that I am not ashamed of staying at home with the kids.
That's right.
I thought I was deeply ashamed.
Go figure.
I have been ashamed for the last, well, four years because NOT ONLY have I dropped out of college more times than I can count on one hand, NOT ONLY did I have my first baby at the ripe old age of 21, NOT ONLY was I working a crappy, dead-end job when I got pregnant with my second child, but here I am, three children into it, and I am at home. A SAHM. Oh, the horror.
When our first was born I went back to work 2.5 months after she was born. Veerrrrrrry part time, but still: I was at work. Not sitting on my couch eating bon-bons and watching mah stories like my boss liked to put it. When she was almost 1 I was back full time. 3 weeks before our second was born, my boss sent me home early and for the last time. I was officially without a job. You know, a REAL one. Money was tight; we had just bought a house and we were in just a teensy-weensy bit over our heads. We made it work, we thrived, and I felt completely worthless.
It is safe to say that my husband valued the work I was doing more than I did, but even he asked, jokingly-or-no, when I was going to get a job. I would peruse the classifieds hungrily and with tears in my eyes because it had to be there. If I looked hard and long enough, if I could somehow read the letters and decipher the code, I would be able to find it: the job that would let me go back to work. The job that required only a couple hours during the day and that paid so well that I could also afford childcare and that left me feeling like I was worth something and that made my kids worth leaving and that had the added benefit of being brainless because truly, I am stupid and could only handle something that rivaled licking stamps for thought-output.
I never did find that job.
This sense of just being in the way has gradually lifted. I knew, even at the lowest points, that what I was doing was truly important and that if I hadn't been there with the babies when they were little I would never stop regretting my decisions, because I COULD be with them. We were able to make it work. We still are. Sometimes it's tough and I don't have as many shoes as I would like, but I'm here. As crazy as they make me, I'm here with them and I love it. And today I realized that I'm not ashamed of not having a job anymore.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Holy bullets

I know this is not such a good time to be thinking about guns. Or, maybe this is a really important time to be thinking about guns. The bean is a little obsessed. Ok, maybe not OBSESSED, but he is...highly preoccupied with the idea of guns. Making them, using them, defending them. I am feeling a little beaten down.

When the babies were little, I thought, ho! They are not so different, these boy and girl babies. They cry the same and they eat the same and they poop in their diapers the same. They enjoy taking baths and snuggling. They appear to enjoy it when I read to them and they make me feel loved and needed and they're both really, really scrumptious. What's all this shit about boys and girls being so different? People are crazy and sexist and I am totally buying a doll for my little boy and he is going to love it.

Ok, so he got the doll. Did he love it? The short answer is: No. Didn't appear to hate it, just was fairly indifferent. Meh, it's a soft thing for me to play with. Got any legos?

So the legos came. And trucks and trains and trucks and cars and trucks. We gave Peanut some cars and trucks as well and she reacted in a manner similar to that of the Bean's upon receiving the doll. Meh, these are hard and have edges. Where's my doll?

So! I thought. They really are different, these boy and girl babies. They like different things when they get big enough to have opinions. Interesting.

And then came the guns.

I thought that this was a battle I was totally going to win. I'm not sure why I thought that because I had no battle plan and my methods were shakey. But I would not bring a toy gun into the house. Not a single water pistol would cross the threshold. At this point, any parent with a boy could probably have told me that I was waisting my time. In fact, I remember my parents having a similar dilemma. My brother loved playing with guns and although my mom never let a toy gun in the house, he found things that substituted. Sticks. Other toys. Toilet paper rolls. More sticks. And then one day at the park, joy of joys, he found a gun that had been hand carved out of a piece of wood. It was crude, but oddly endearing. My mom sighed and relented. After that I don't really remember if it was an issue anymore. We just had toy guns and they were played with and somehow we survived. He even got a b.b. gun one year for Christmas. I tried it. It was fun.

So, yes, the Bean began making finger guns, lego guns, block guns, truck guns--anything that could possibly be aimed at you was a gun. And then he said "I'm shooting you, I'm killing you, you're dead." And I would sigh and say that we didn't play that, it wasn't friendly. And he kept on doing it. One day, I said, Only guns that shoot Love and Happiness are allowed in my house. Guns with bullets are not.

The Bean looked at me.

He walked away.

He came back a little later with a really fucking huge lego cannon and aimed it at me and made spitty machine gun noises.

I said, Remember what I said? No bullets!

He said, "It's not bullets! I'm shooting Love and Happiness at you! Pow pow, I love you! Some of my bullets are made of kisses even!"

That was nice.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why I am an asshole: part the second in a neverending series

I totally stood up a playdate yesterday. There is a special place in hell for people who make other moms with little babies sit in cafes by themselves waiting for you to show up, and let me tell you: I am totally headed there.
I have a friend whom I completely adore. She's funny and gorgeous and has way better fashion sense than me and is funny. Also gorgeous. We have a good time when we get together and we eat lots of food usually and drink lots of drinks and we talk about how much we hate our husbands/boyfriends. But the best part? She doesn't have any kids so scheduling things with her is easy! It's great! I mean, as a young, funny, gorgeous single person she's very busy but her schedule is fairly flexible. I can call her and ask her what she's doing next week at ten or this weekend on Saturday night and unless she has lots of sex planned she's usually free. And yay! We set up a date.
I have known this person for roughly three years now. The number of times we have successfully set up a time and a place and then actually achieved the victory of meeting up? Roughly 6 times. That's, like, if my math is serving me, an average of twice a year. The reason for this? We suck. Either I have a child-related cancellation or she neglects to call me when she said she was going to call or I have a child-related cancellation. But! She's worth it, and also it's usually my fault. When we do manage to get together we have a good time. And she has never (NEVER) left me sitting somewhere waiting for her. NEVER. This makes her a good friend.
Yesterday, I was not that friend. I did not skip Go and collect 200 dollars. I stood up a really nice mom that I'd like to be friends with and collected all kinds of negative karma points. Way more than 200.
This is why I am an asshole. The end.