POTTER, GEORGE, WHATEVER. HE DOESN’T ANSWER TO EITHER.

ppan1I thought I would try subscribing to the twitter feeds through google.reader so I can keep up on the oh so funny things you all are saying and not feel like Bucktooth Betty up on the bleachers in my peter pan collared dress and puffy sleeves.

As my mama would say: It don’t work so good. I can’t even describe the slight feeling of either motion sickness or schizophrenia I have when reading the updates, which include ALL of your replies to many twitterers that I don’t subscribe to so then I feel like I’m eavesdropping on conversations and then I start wondering if it was all code for how you were making fun of me. Because I’m paranoid like that.

See? My eyeballs were softening just enough to allow brain matter to ooze out.

Today I had to unsubscribe. I like by brain matter. And my eyeballs. Both right where they are. They keep my head from looking like a deflated grapefruit.

I got invited to my first GNO last night (GNO = Girl’s Night Out. I didn’t know, either).

Yes, it involved a combination purse AND happy chef (or something) party, but it also included margaritas! Alcohol! In someone ELSE’S house!

Alas, it was a bust. Why? Because Mr. DD had to work late and I had to clean out a rabbit hutch and feed my two rug rhinos.

Rabbit? What rabbit?

georgeUh, yeah. I volunteered to take my brother’s rabbit, who was housing it on behalf of his grandkids who no longer wanted it. I was told when we went to visit the quads that they were going to turn it loose this spring. One fat, brown, bunny, hand-raised by four rambunctious kids wouldn’t make it an hour in the “wild”, and since I have a soft spot for widdle bunny wabbits and “sucker” tatooed to my forehead, I am now the owner of an utterly useless pet named Potter who I was able to get onto the property under the guise of being Xbox’s pet in spite of Mr. DD’s vehement protests, “Don’t ask me to take care of it!” and “You’re not putting it in the shop this winter!”

When he’s not looking, I just roll my eyes and make the yak-yak-yak motion with my hand.

Did you know rabbits can be housebroken? Too bad Potter has been housebroken to crap in his covered hutch and not out in the open area because now I have to lift the damn thing out (the hutch that is, not the rabbit) and carry it out past the yard and dump the contents of poop pellets and urine-soaked sawdust in the field, all the while trying not to gag when the smell of ammonia hits my sinuses. Meanwhile, ZGirl is screeching in protest in the playard that I had to carry downstairs and set up without screaming “motherfucker!” when I pinched my finger, and XBoy is wrinkling his nose in distaste and poking Potter with a piece of straw.

Once the hutch has been scraped out and freshened with new bedding, I have to carry ZGirl back upstairs; come back downstairs, curse some more under my breath some more while I try to break down the playard; and then carry that back upstairs.

All I can add is that rabbits were much more fun and cuter and didn’t smell as bed when I was a kid and my mom took care of them for us; and I don’t get nearly enough GNO* to make up for the fact I have to clean up rabbit poop for the next five years or so.

* Maybe it’s just me, but do you read that as “gyno”?

WHEN WILL THE DAMAGE BECOME IRREVERSIBLE?

I’ve mentioned before how Mr. DD can be a real asshole when it comes to what I loosely term as “parenting” XBoy. Before I rant about it, I will say that most of the time he’s great. It’s just when he’s not, he’s really not.

This morning? Mr. DD hit one of his low points.

XBoy has a hard time in the mornings. It’s not because he’s still tired or sleepy. He just can’t seem to focus on what’s important, which is to wash up, get dressed in his school uniform, and let Dad know what he wants for breakfast (I’m usually getting ready for work and dealing with ZGirl, but I have to overhear the inevitable arguments). It’s not unusual to find XBoy in is room half-dressed and playing with something instead of taking to task. We understand that he’s 7. We understand that his room is full of tempting toys. We understand ADHD. We understand that it can take up to an hour for his meds to take hold. But it tries our patience to the limit since this is something we have dealt with every.damn.school.day for the last three years. It infuriates Mr. DD. Granted; it pisses me off, too.

On this day, XBoy was looking for some money he was given by Mr. DD’s hobby group members for helping them out at the track. He wanted to bring the money to school and buy something at the book fair. Mr. DD had picked it up off the floor last night after XBoy had went to bed, and was peeved at his carelessness and instead of giving the money back to XBoy when he asked where it was, he simply told him that he might get it later, after XBoy had gotten dressed and had breakfast.

Unfortunately, XBoy got upset. He started to cry. And whine. Two things most hated by Mr. DD. He told XBoy to “dry up” and then he did something I’ve never heard him do to XBoy: he started to mock XBoy by mimicking him. Even when Mr. DD is being a total prick to XBoy, I try not to intervene openly. Instead I’ll glare at him or give him the finger across the throat sign for “That’s enough!” without XBoy’s notice. If crying and whining are the sparks to Mr. DD’s anger, me undermining him in front of XBoy is fuel.

I was in the bedroom during this most recent exchange so I could only listen and feel my own face burn in embarrassment and anger on my son’s behalf. After things settled down, I called Mr. DD into the bedroom under the guise of needing help with something. When he came in, I had him follow me into the master bath where I proceeded to rip him a new one.

“Did your parents mock you like that?!”

“Hell, yes!” he responded as if that an everyday occurrence with him (and knowing his parents like I do, it probably was).

“Then that’s YOUR problem. Don’t make it XBoy’s. He’s already got issues with you as it is (hinting at the comments XBoy made about his dad in counseling). Stop comparing him to his classmates (he was doing this after XBoy’s poor behavior in church, “Soandso was saying the Lord’s Prayer! Soandso was sitting still! Why can’t you? Etc. etc. blah blah blah.”) He’s not Soandso. He’s Xboy! How would you like it if I said, ‘This Boyfriend did this for me,’ or ‘That Boyfriend did that for me,’ when you’re being a total Fuck to me, huh?”

“You mean, why don’t I beat you like That Boyfriend did?” he replied.

*screech!*

Oh, yes. He did.

And yes, I did have a boyfriend who I would have to call abusive. If  I had stayed with him after he slapped me – once – in anger. But when that happened, I packed my shit out of his apartment and was gone before the end of the day. And completely irrelevant to anything but purely a knee JERK (can I say “literally” here or that pretty much implied?) response from him!

After he walked back out, I thought of several things I could have said to make matters worse (like, “Was your Mom sober when she verbally abused you??”), but I bit it all back. Move on, I told myself. But I’m pretty angry about it because we’ve had these kinds of discussions before. XBoy doesn’t take criticism well (who does?) and we are impatient parents to a child that needs infinite patience.

It’s a total sonofabitch to want so badly for your child to mature into a responsible, caring adult if the adults raising the child can be sonsofbitches. It’s a volatile mix.

INSIGHT

A list of 10 things I openly ridicule and/or loathe but secretly covet and/or envy:

1.) gladiator sandals

2.) maxi-dresses

3.) lobster tail

4.) thong underwear

5.) pierced baby ears

6.) pregnant Wal-Mart shoppers

7.) 2-seater sports cars

8.) tans

9.) tattoos

10.) the number of pictures of myself

DEVELOPING

I’m pretty self-conscious about sharing updates on ZGirl’s development simply because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of those who find those kinds of posts upsetting. Like I did before I got pregnant with her. Actually, I still would at 8 months pregnant even though I could almost convince myself that I might – just might – have a baby.

However, with time slipping by so quickly and updating her non-existent baby book has been impossible because, duh, I don’t have a baby book. I remind myself that this blog will someday be the embarrassment of my children when I hand them each a paper copy for their graduation.

ZGirl is quickly approaching 10 months old. At her 9 month check-up she was taller than 9 out of 10 babies her age and heavier than 3 out of 10. All her chocolate, wavy, baby hair is gone. It’s been replaced by sandy-blonde hair, straight and fine, much like my own. Poor girl. Her eyes are still the loveliest blue-gray. XBoy inherited my eye color and his dad’s long, dark lashes. ZGirl’s lashes almost disappear in the light as they are as fair as her hair.

Only a couple weeks ago she was desperately trying to master crawling. Now she cruises easily and confidently along all vertical surfaces including the walls. She’s become so aware of her balance that she knows she can lean into something with her body so she can grab at whatever’s within reach. Boxes of Kleenex are her crack, pulling them out one-by-one only to drop them on the floor. She also enjoys eating said Kleenexes, paper, and her butt-wipes (homemade from paper towels).

Speaking of eating, cheerios are still her snack of choice. We are constantly stepping on errant pieces of cereal and have nicknamed the ones that hit the floor O-Bomb-A’s (Obamas – get it?). Those pricey “puffs”? She takes them in but a moment later they are being ejected much like a bad CD in a drive. Five cans of puffs were delivered free of charge to the daycare for other babies to enjoy, and I created more space in my pantry. I’m pretty sure XBoy was sporting a nice set of teeth by 10 months whereas ZGirl is just now getting her third. The daycare feeds her a “regular” lunch as she prefers table food over that sissy baby food.

She’s still very much a Mama’s Girl. If grandma is spending the day with her, I have to make sure to leave the house before she wakes. If I don’t, she pretty much cries throughout the morning until after her first nap when of course, the day starts over for babies. When I pick her up from daycare, if she’s playing with something, I just need to say her name and she will look up, beam, and crawl quickly to me. After I pick her up, she seems to hug me by burrowing her face into my shoulder, and then she’ll look into my face, grin madly, and burrow back in. The simple action makes the whole world and its problems completely fade away.

ZGirl loves the feeling of wind on her face and will bounce in my arms and kick her legs in excitement when I carry her around outside. I can’t wait for it to get hot so the three of us can go to the pool and play in the water, which she also enjoys.

Her personality is wonderfully tolerant (with the exception of the odd stranger or two). I can set her down in front of her stash of toys and walk away knowing that as long as her diaper is fresh, her tummy is full and a nap just moments behind her that she’ll play and explore contentedly by herself. If XBoy is putting together some legos, I will get the “MOM!” holler since she wants to play with whatever and wherever he is. Sadly, that part will get old quickly.

I’ve mentioned that she pats and slaps herself in the head when she’s tired. She still does that as she’s taking her bottle before nap or bedtime. Otherwise, when she’s having a bottle, she’ll reach up and play with my hair making me regret that I cut it off as it requires me to lean over quite a ways for her to reach anything. She also takes the time to explore my face with her little fingers. I shake off the finger up the nose so she’ll move on to something else. For example, she is fascinated by my eyelashes and strokes them gently, almost by instinct, back and forth when I close my eyes.

She seems to laugh more now, too. I wouldn’t necessarily call it giggling; more of chuckling to herself, soft and low, if one of us does something to amuse her. She smiles easily and broadly. She screeches in excitement and chatters in play. Her favorite noise is made when she clicks her tongue in her mouth, and it’s our cue that she’s awake in her crib when we hear it over the monitor.

Don’t get me wrong, the girl can be quite whiney and fussy at times as well. Any crying is almost always accompanied by real tears, but it’s because something hurts. It could be her head where she clonked it on the side of the cabinet or when mommy lifted her carelessly out of the high chair and caught her leg under the tray (yes, I felt this {-} big). When she’s not in the best of mood, she’ll crawl over to me, pull herself up by grasping carefully at the fabric of my jeans and smack my leg with an open hand. Whatever I may be doing, it’s forgotten when I look down and see her tiny face and those lovely eyes begging to be picked up.

She lifts her arms when we ask, “Up?” She claps when we say, “Yahoo!” She waves her little hands and arms in a “wax on” mini Karate Kid imitation when we say, “Bye Bye!”

Every day I impatiently watch the hours and minutes until I get to pick her up from the daycare. Every week is a countdown in days where I look forward to the weekend and spending the short time I get with both my children. I drink in the smells and sights and words as if the next day was my last because every day that passes is a day that I will never get back.