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I know, it’s common knowledge that parenting is a tough job. And more and more people out in the interwebs are willing to admit that being a mom is not always sunshine and kisses. There are days, weeks, even months where you feel like you aren’t going to make it. Where you feel like they made a mistake and gave you the wrong kid. Where you think there was a clerical error in the parenting degree department and you really failed that qualification test. (What’s that you say? They don’t actually have tests? Well. Perhaps they should.)
I admit to having moments where I changed my mind. Hell, I changed my mind when I was in labor. “Um. You want me to what? Screw you guys. I’m going home.”
I came dangerously close to losing it completely during the first few months with two kids under two, when one of them was beating her head against the wall (she was autistic, we just didn’t know it yet) and the other screamed night and day because she had that lovely unspecified wonder that is colic.
Some of the issues are expected, the sleepless nights and the crying. The tantrums and the terrible twos. Some of them, not so much. People don’t usually talk about the ‘roids, and the please-don’t-do-that-in-public conversations.
As the kids get older, the problems change. You get to sleep more usually, but you have to deal with a whole new range of problems. How do you deal with a bully at school? What about when they have their first broken heart? Not to mention algebra.
Most of this, the spoken and the unspoken, is common to most parents. There are some difficulties specific to special needs parents, but generally, they are shared among other parents of kids with similar problems. And if you google just about any problem, you’ll probably find a blog somewhere written by someone who has been through it before. You are not alone.
Sometimes, I feel a little bit isolated over here though.
Lately, the impending holidays have been giving me some interesting new problems to deal with. For instance: How do you explain to a child who is constantly bombarded with Christmas, that she does not get to celebrate it the way everyone else does? That there will be no Santa? How do you make her feel that her holiday will be just as special and magical as everyone else, even without the Fat Man? How do you keep her from feeling left out? How do you buy things your kid will love while avoiding all of the shitty plastic toys being pushed on little girls today? (Speaking of shitty plastic toys, save the indie toys)
And how do you shop for kids without having any idea what they already have, what they like, or what size they wear? Do you send them gift cards or cash, as impersonal and depressing as that seems? What do you do when you have no idea if they will even get the gifts you send, or if they do, know they are from you? (A few years back, I got to take them shopping during my one visit per year I was allowed. We let them point out things they liked. and went back later to get them. We dropped them off at his mothers house the next morning, where I found she had gone out after we left for the evening, and bought and given them the exact things they picked out, even though she knew I had already bought them. Just to take away the one thing I was able to do for them that year. And another year, I was told they were not given my letters because the pictures of Myself and their sister might have made them feel bad.) What do you do if you fear their father will take any cash or gift cards you send them and use it on himself? Do you send nothing, knowing that it will only be used against you later?
Sigh. Parenting is hard. Need better manual. Need help.
In case we haven’t met, I am Pando. And I am a gamer. I know that female gamers are not all that rare anymore, but I’m more than just a gamer.
I’m the girl who used to steal quarters from under the couch cushions and sneak out to play Street Fighter in the arcade at the local convenience store with all the gamer boys when I was eleven. I grew up with a Nintendo controller firmly in hand.
Hell, I even have a Nintendo purse.
I am a grown woman, people. But I carry this with pride.
The Guy is a gamer too, so when we moved in together I was in heaven. New games! New systems! He had an X-box, and knew how to use it, which was very much a point in his favor, I might add.
We jumped in to our gaming relationship But we immediately found a setback. There is a surprisingly sad lack of games for the new systems that can be played together. Back in the Nintendo days, every game had a glowing two player option. But not anymore. It seemed like finding a game with a decent co-op mode was just too much to ask for, unless we wanted to compete. And we didn’t really. He cries when I beat him at stuff.
So we stopped playing together.
When the new new systems came out, we went out and we looked at them all. We really thought it would give us something for us to do as a couple and as a family. But Wii’s were never in stock, anywhere so we never did choose to hunt one down and pay more than we could afford for it.
Sigh. We made the wrong choice. The stories started coming back from our friends about how much fun they were having with the Wii they got for their children. Hell, they could even play Tennis. Without even leaving their house. (Which is a big deal if you live in Florida where it is only cool enough to leave the house for one month out of the year.)
So, I was already kicking myself about the choice not to buy a Wii. And then I read about Wii Fit.
You probably know already that I’m sick. And, while I don’t want to play the “I have a chronic illness so give me stuff or I’ll die” card, my illness does factor in to my ability to exercise outside of my home. I need, desperately, to move. To get myself in shape so that I can handle this better, physically and mentally. But even going for walks is a lot for me, because of the fickle nature of my issues. I’m, frankly, terrified of being struck with symptoms while far away from home. And not being able to walk back. Add to that, the fear of being stuck somewhere with my five-year-old and I rarely even try anymore.
We have a set of weight lifting equipment in the garage that I don’t use anymore, because I just can’t stand to sit alone out there. I try to use workout videos, but frankly, it has become mind numbingly boring. The same goes for yoga, which I was once incredibly passionate about. I think part of it is the depression over being sick, and I need to get out of that rut somehow. I know being fit would dramatically improve my life, I just haven’t been able to find a way.
So, when I saw the Wii Fit, my first response was “OMG, we neeeeeed that.” I could actually do that. We could do it together!
As it is now, my daughter hangs out in her room with her toys most nights, one of us watches television and the other sits in the office and screws around on the computer. (Guess which one of us that is?)
We are all gamers, and we just need a game that can bring us together. We need something we can do as a family, and this system seems to be doing that, incredibly well, for everyone we know who owns one. And the fact that it could potentially change my life, health-wise is a pretty damn great plus!
And so I stood in the aisle, guarding the last one, for a good twenty minutes while we talked about it.
” We can get one, but, that will be it for the holidays.” he tells me.
” I want that!” I shriek, like a little girl.
“It’s up to you” he says.
I waver. I waffle. I ponder. Because while I know that the three of us will get so much use, and I personally, stand to benefit immensely from this machine.
But, no. I can’t in good conscience, spend the money on that machine when I still have my two lost children to buy for. When I still need dental work, and glasses and a new computer. And bills. Oh, god, the bills.
While we are doing better than many this year, we are still feeling the pain of the current economy. Yes, we still have a home, for which we are incredibly grateful. But, a game system plus accessories just isn’t in the budget right now. Frankly, nothing is in the budget right now. Even though he told me the decision was up to me, and I know he wouldn’t have held it against me if I had chosen to charge one right then and pay for it later somehow. I know we are already charging ourselves to the limits to afford our relatively lean holiday season as it is. And I am an adult, with responsibilities. (Yeah, its not all it’s cracked up to be.)
So, I walked away from my Wii. With me being unable to work anymore, I just can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on it. No matter how much we would love one. So I finally just… walked away.
And I’m sure it was the right choice, but I can’t help but want to try to win one. Because how incredibly awesome would that be?
Oh, god, I have to do the poo test again. Oh god. Fuck you universe, Fuck youuuuu.
Ok, now that I have gotten that out of my system. We are getting ready for nondenominationalholidaylikecelebrationofseasonsandalsohanukkahhere. ( or NDSHCSH, for short)
It’s not as easy as you’d think to have the holidays without Jesus, or Santa. Especially with a five year old who now goes to public school. Where they apparently, talk about God. Yes, even though that is not supposed to happen. We live in the South, people. When she came home near Thanksgiving, with a paper that said she was thankful for “god”, I was encouraged to let it slide. We figured she might not have understood the question and so one of the teachers made some suggestions about what she could be thankful for.
How about “I’m thankful for my mother, for putting up with my crap and loving me anyway?” Or even, “I’m thankful for my house, or for the fact that we can afford dinner?”
Okay, maybe these ideas were over her head at this point, but still. I think they should not have given her a suggestion to be thankful for something that she has absolutely no concept of. And had her write it on something we are supposed to cherish and keep. I asked her, when I saw it, if she even knew what god was, and she shrugged and said no. And then when she came home from her field trip to the farm, and told me the trip was “.. a miracle.” I just sighed. “Do you even know what a miracle is?” I asked. ” Nope” she replied, ” But Stephanie’s Mom said so.”
It’s not that I hate god so very much that I don’t want his name mentioned in my child’s presence. (Ask me how I feel about most organized religion some other day) It’s just that I do not think it is anyone’s place but ours to teach her about these things. And it is certainly not the responsibility of a teacher or some room mom to tell my kid that she should be thankful for some magical being in the sky who she has no concept of, whatsoever.
Chances are high that she is going to be raised with at least some knowledge of Judaism, and its rituals. She will probably even participate in some of them herself. And when she is old enough to really understand, we will teach her about the different religions, and also about what we, respectively, believe. And let her decide. She can make an educated choice. But it will be her choice. Not yours. Not even mine. No matter how much I want it to be mine.
I really do try to respect other peoples beliefs, or at least their right to have them, no matter how I feel about them. I really wish people would respect mine. That’s not to say I don’t talk about I feel about some of it (because I clearly do this far too often), just that I recognize that other people have the right to think/believe/pray to whatever they want. (And I have the right to make fun of it if I so choose.)
The point is, I don’t go around, trying to convert people to my way of thinking. So, please stop doing it to me (and my kid). Stop telling me I should worship like you, or I’m going to hell.
A- I don’t believe in your hell, and
B-What do you care what I believe anyway? How does it affect your life? At all? Same goes for my kid. Leave her alone. Especially in school.
So, now that I have gone off on a tangent, let me get back to my point. We have a tree. We have stockings even, because its fun. We also have a menorah. We don’t have angels, or mangers or bible stories. We have stripped it down to the basic pagan roots, we have a tree, we bake stuff, we give each other gifts, usually on Hanukkah, with stockings for Yule, which usually ends up being Christmas anyway.
We don’t actually do Santa though. We have talked about it, and really, I have no problem with Santa, as he is mostly an obviously fictitious pagan deity based on a crazy guy who may or may not existed, and really has nothing to do with Christ, or God.
O.K. On rereading that, he does sound rather Christ-Like.
My point is, he’s not really part of the whole miracle-that-is-Christ’s-birth part of Christmas, and he is supposed to be fun. But, as the UnHusband pointed out, neither of us technically celebrate Christmas, so why should we do the whole Santa thing?
The part of me that grew up with the joys of Santa is a bit saddened by the taking away of that little bit of magic from the kid. Which is totally hypocritical, I know. But still. Its hard to let go of something you grew up with. I understand that. (I think if I grew up in a highly religious family, I’d have had a harder time letting that stuff go as well too.)
Maybe. Or maybe not, since people generally admit that Santa does not in fact, actually exist. That he is just for fun, just a symbol.
I just hope she does not go to school and ruin it for the other kids. How do I approach that? Tell her to lie to other kids? Or lie to her myself and tell her Menorahs are Santa-Kryptonite and Santa can’t come to your house if you have one?
Um, getting back to topic, (I can haz a topic?) We decorated last Friday. And had the traditional fight that lasted all of Saturday and Sunday. Ahh the holidays, just like Mom used to make.
The tree looks absolutely awesome, if I do say so myself, and, well, See for yourself. This is what the “holidays” are really about, to me. Not this, this:
When I went to pick the kid up from school, a guy in a giant dinosaur suit was hanging out in the parent pick up line. I have no idea why. No, it was not this guy. ( Okay, when I found that link I was forced to listen to ten seconds of Barney talking. Is it me or does he sound even more like a creepy pedophile than he used to? Is that even possible?)
Yesterday, after my procedure, they were kind enough to give me forms covered with pictures of various internal parts of my body as taken by their scope of fun. Every picture looked like an anus. After much deliberation, I decided that reposting them here would probably be too much. Even for me. And no, none of the pictures is actually my anus.
With the exception of the box of crayons and the mystery wood, the dogs have not eaten anything exciting this week.
I have been trying to download a game demo for three days now. Three days. What the fuck? It better not suck!
We dumped the kid at the hourly crap-hole for a few hours and had a date. It’s been months since we have had a minute alone.. Did I say months? I meant years. What did we do with our few hours of freedom, you ask? We saw Batman, of course.
And yes, it was just about as good as advertised. I did get a little tired of his scratchy “I’m Batman not Bruce Wayne, Really” voice. But.. it was dark, and complex and pretty, well.. awesome.. as promised. The best part, to me , was that it was true to the idea of Batman that I have had in my head since I was a wee fan. He’s always been my favorite superhero. Because.. hes flawed. Because he doesn’t have superpowers, just passion and a sense of justice.
And then we get the kid, and shes all depressed because some other asshole kid told her shes not a ” Karate Girl” And therefore she is nothing. My four year old told me she was nothing.
So it begins. And here comes school. How do I keep the other kids from breaking her spirit? Shes so awesome and so happy. I know I am biased and all, but she really.. has a super personality and I’m gonna be so upset if it gets crushed by those little assholes telling her she is nothing. I guess I should get used to it, huh?
Yet, anyway. Ive recently moved here from Blogger, just for a change of scenery.
I have had a grand total of 6 anesthesia involving procedures in the last year. And, no, they still don’t know whats wrong, but they’ve given me several new problems to deal with. I’m not going to be going into detail on much of it, because, frankly, I’m sick to death of it. Almost literally.
I still don’t have any answers regarding the Situation.. My last contact with anyone was a blackmail attempt on his part. My insides are rotting away from the repressing I am having to do to deal with all of this.
The kid wants to play soccer, and so she shall. She starts in the fall, right when she starts school. I’m a fucking soccer mom now. Jesus.
I get to plan her fifth birthday.
We got another dog. The first one was lonely.