Parenthood

I’m not very good at showing my appreciation for your support, more so now then when I was infertility-blogging. I wish there was a way to let you know how much it really does mean to me. However, with that, I probably will then come across as some kind of asshole if I now told you that at this time we probably won’t seek psychiatric help in regards to Doodicus.

Keeping in line with being an asshole, part of the reason is monetary. Please, I know. How could I put a price on his mental health? We put a price on ours during our infertility treatments; we can now as well.

But that is only a very small part of why we won’t seek counseling in the immediate future. It wasn’t that long ago that Dood was evaluated by a psychologist, who while he thought Dood was an excessive worrier, never suggested that we schedule some private sessions with either himself or another professional. Also, I worry that taking Dood to see a counselor might make him worry even more. Worry that something is wrong with him.

To me, that’s not fair. The bullying is not a result of something wrong with Doodicus. It’s due to something being wrong with the bullies and with the system that either doesn’t recognize it or ignores it.

What we will do if he does tell us about teasing in any form is not ignore it. We hear parents tell their kids to suck it up, to grow up, all the time. Sticks and stones and all that shit, you know? But that’s not how we see it. More specifically, how *I* see it as Sparring Partner does occasionally think that Dood can be too immature and too emotional.

The other night, the movie Parenthood (the one starring Steve Martin) was on. If you’ve seen it, you may recall the scene where the child, Kevin, comes unglued because he lost his retainer at the family restaurant. His dad (Martin) complains later that he’s like a high-strung poodle. Kevin’s character is Doodicus. Years ago when Sparring Partner and I had watched the movie, we saw the resemblance. Now that Doodicus is 9, the same age as the character, we no longer think “he’s kinda like that.” It’s “he’s just like that.”

I think what’s important in helping Doodicus right now: recognizing that he is going to need help.

Bullying

A couple of weeks ago when I picked up Doodicus from school, he was clearly upset about something. I have to admit that at first I tried to ignore it because he can be overly emotional about what should be very insignificant things: I combed his hair wrong, his pants are too long, his toast wasn’t cut exactly down the middle; however, not even with me being a hardened bitch could I ignore his attempt to not cry.

It took some gentle prodding for him to finally admit that a couple of his classmates were making fun of his name. At first, I imagined the name that my SIL had once called him when Doodicus was a baby: “Maxi”. Sparring Partner immediately read her the riot act for obvious reasons. And if it isn’t obvious to you, then you were never a school-aged child.

Instead the name they called him was Office Max. I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, but they must have needled him to no end about it. I tried to convince him that he should have just replied, “That’s the best you could come up with? You guys are idiots,” but snappy comebacks do not come natural to 9 year olds. By the end of the day, it had all but been forgotten.

Some days later I was reading the People magazine which highlighted the deaths of several young people who had committed suicide following some form of bullying. Inside were stories from other students who briefly described the bullying they had been exposed to, including one who said she was bullied “just because.”

I knew after reading those stories that I had to say something to my son’s principal about it, especially since the recent name calling was not the first time Doodicus had been upset at the end of a school day. A few months ago, he joined the Y contact football league for the first time. He was so pumped about it, and while we knew he would never be NFL material, we were thrilled that he was putting in the effort of going to practice, a brutal 90 minutes two times a week and the one hour games on Sundays. But after the first handful of games, he suddenly stopped being excited about practice and asking if he could stay home. He finally told us that one of the kids on his team, who also was a classmate, would tell Doodicus that he should just quit football; that he sucked and he shouldn’t come back.

As you can imagine, I was furious. To make matters even worse? This kid’s dad was one of the coaches. At the next practice I pulled aside this coach to let him know, and he seemed genuinely concerned. He agreed to address the kids as a team about how this was to be a learning experience, a fun experience. Doodicus told me later that the coach had reminded the kids about what was expected of them as a team, but the haranguing from that kid did not cease until football season finally ended. I doubt Doodicus will return to football this coming fall.

If you hadn’t put two and two together yet, one of the kids that had been poking fun at Doodicus’s name was the same kid from football. When I sent the principal an email about these incidents, I did name the kid as the bully. The principal replied that they would be on the watch for future interactions, but I honestly have the feeling he didn’t take it that seriously.

Here’s why I am taking it seriously. VERY seriously. As I have mentioned, Doodicus is very sensitive and emotional. He recently got into trouble for something at home and lost privileges to his new ipod for a week. He was so upset, he told me he doesn’t deserve to be alive. You can’t possibly know what that feels like, but I can tell you my blood ran cold while at the same time the surge of adrenaline nearly blinded me. The only thing I could do was to calm and reassure him that it’s the action we were displeased with but that wouldn’t change how much we loved him for him.

And this is not the first time he has made this kind of statement. What scares me more than anything is that we know it won’t be the last. You think I am worrying for nothing? Almost exactly a year ago a nine year old committed suicide in his school. He had been sent to the nurse’s office for disciplinary reasons, panicked, and hung himself in the bathroom.

He had been taking medication for mood swings and for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had been having suicidal thoughts for about two years, the police report states.

In 2007, [his] parents, [J] and [D], sought treatment for their son for ADHD.

And yes, those are the parents’ initials (for those who know us).

So I hope you can understand why the bullying cannot – and will not – be taken lightly. I am afraid. Please don’t tell me not to be.

Three Ways of Being Felt Up

I got to do something fun last week: I got a pap smear.

I know! Aren’t you jealous?

Actually, this is a big deal because it’s the first time I’ve set foot in my gynecologist’s office since my six week postnatal appointment, which was August 2008. And while that doesn’t seem that long ago, let me add that the last gyn appointment that I had that included skipping first base and hitting second and third, was when we decided to go with a donor egg IVF cycle. My RE had required it since I would be 40 at the time of the transfer.

Obviously then, it has been a while.

I decided to see the PA at the office since the OBGYN is usually booked weeks out. This was the same PA who was instrumental in our first pregnancy. In giving us advise, obviously!

My love for my PA was only strengthened when we actually took 45 minutes to just talk and catch up on our lives. Who does that, right?? I then had to ruin the mood by telling her about the weird thing going on down under, my cancer, and of course loss of job and asking where I could get a film mammogram since it seems everyone has gone digital (which can run almost five times the cost). And with  that, we got on with the exams.

I learned two things from that experience: 1) apparently yes, I do still have a hemorrhoid that wasn’t caught during my pregnancy since I was a repeat c-section, and 2) rectal exams are standard for the over-40 crowd.

Thank god she didn’t warn me about the latter until the moment before; however I’m sure she was somewhat glad I had warned her about the possible ‘roid. If I could hear the non-stress fetal testing going on in the next room, I’m sure that patient would have heard the quick horrified shriek from my PA.

Hoping now that my malignant melanoma doesn’t end up being a harbinger of more bad medical news in 2011.

My IRL Friends Suck

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I sent a text message to two of my friends who still work at the life-suck pit where I was fired from, asking them if they wanted to do lunch; a get together before the holidays. I was hurt when I didn’t hear back from either of them. That night I sent them an email that basically said that I know that since I don’t work there anymore, it’s hard to stay on the radar, but it would’ve been nice if they would’ve at least replied even if it wasn’t going to work out that day.

While one replied she didn’t get the text (which I can believe as she’s not very technologically savvy), the other replied that she was in another town and wouldn’t be back into the area by lunch and that when she did get back to work, she got busy. I’m sorry, but how long does it take to reply with a text, “Can’t today. How about Friday?” I’m sure she had plenty of time to sit in the other’s office and complain about whatever we always went into each other’s offices and complained about…I didn’t bother responding to either of their emails.

So yeah. I took it very personally. I also realized that each time we have arranged to get together, it has ALWAYS been under my initiative. Neither of them have called me or emailed me to get together. And that hurts a lot.

I haven’t had any contact with them since then because I figure after two years, if they haven’t taken that first step, they aren’t going to start. But then a couple of days ago I got an email from one asking if I wanted to work at a school function with them. I haven’t replied because quite frankly, I’m peeved.

Let me just segway here to add that a few days ago I filtered out some of my FB “friends”: those who I’ve never had interaction with. One of those people was my techno-deficient friend’s husband. Granted he had once commented on one of my wall posts, but I then noticed he had friended the ex-coworker who had stalked my blog AND who had given my blog address to the HR person where I temped for 18 months. Now he can be friends with whoever he wants, but you know what? I don’t want him to have ANY information about me that he could let unintentionally slip to her. No way. No how. So I cut him.

Man, I can’t believe what a paranoid and crazy bitch this makes me out to be.

Anyway, still peeving about the whole scenario. I’ve even illogically expanded on why I’m mad: no inquiry as to our holidays (BTW, for the past three Christmases I sent them both cards and never got one in return); she couldn’t have called me? It’s not like I’m working! And she knows that. Also, I’m almost certain that if I accept, they’ll end up not being there and I’ll be stuck with two other school moms that will make me wish I had started drinking at 8 (in the morning).

Did I mention paranoid and crazy?

I will probably accept, but I think I’ll wait a few more days before responding. Not that they’ll sweat it out or anything. Hell, my luck? They’ll tell me that since I didn’t reply earlier, they got someone else to help them.

Looking Back

I was snooping via google for an ex-boyfriend from a past life and found that he appears to still be married. He cheated on her with me. Kind of. As I thought about that whole mess from eons ago, I realized it’s a story I should share with you. Not that you care, but it is my blog after all.

I think I was barely 21 when I met this guy. His name was Rheza and he was Persian. He looked just like David Byrne from the Talking Heads. Not quite as pale, though. He was buff, lean and 10 years my senior. He would dry his dark wavy hair by thrumming his fingers quickly back and forth over his head. He tried it on me once and I almost fell asleep because it was so relaxing.

Not long after we started seeing each other regularly, I was at his apartment which he shared with another countryman watching TV, when there was loud banging on the door. Rheza got up, looked out the peephole, looked back and me, and stepped outside shutting the door behind me. I knew who it was. Her name was Kate and I had been informed that they were recently broke up, but that hadn’t stopped her from calling or stopping by at random times.

When Rheza came back inside I decided enough was enough and he had to tell her to stop bothering us. I don’t remember exactly how our conversation continued from there except that he finally told me that he couldn’t tell Kate to never call again; they were married.

Stunned, horrified and furious, I ran out the patio door and he followed, grabbing my arm to stop me. He sat me down in the quiet area between the apartment complex buildings and explained how his visa had expired and they had married so he could remain stateside.

Our relationship from there obviously got complicated, Kate was always in the background but Rheza assured me he would divorce her…eventually. He didn’t love her, he was just using her until he didn’t need to anymore. He flew me to Florida and introduced me to his older brother, and took me to Disney World. But in the pictures that I still have the tension is visible,  made worse by the fact his brother called me Kate several times during the trip. By the time we flew back home, Rheza and I were barely speaking to each other.

Not too much longer after that, we got into yet another argument about who knows what and he slapped me hard enough to make me see stars. He was immediately apologetic but for me it was the final nail in the coffin that held our relationship.

So now, over 20 years later it would appear that his marriage hadn’t been the sham he had tried to make me believe it was since they are still married. Not sure how they reconciled his cheating or his violent temper, but I also can’t help but wonder if I had been thinking of them, had they ever thought about me? Did my name come up during arguments, maybe even still? Is that an egotistical thought? Sometimes I do wonder, what if, but not for long. I remember that dizzying slap, the grip on my arms that left bruises, and the fact that he (and she) are still both 10 years my senior and I know I’m not missing out on a thing. We often have to rerun our past to know our future is pretty darn good.

Can I Leave It Up To A Coin Toss?

I’ve been vacillating between letting 2011 being my year of forgiveness: forgiving my former employer for being a cocksucker, forgiving myself for being hard-headed and abrasive, so I can go on to be a kinder, gentler me.

Or to be the year of shirking this neutral pansy cape I’ve been wearing and scream out, “Fuck you, you losers!” like Superman in the phone booth and stop worrying about diplomacy, both here and in my personal life.

Either of these options actually make me cringe a bit, and I realize that it will probably take me all of 2011 to figure it out.

I all but gave up looking or a job. When my computer was infected and I had lost a recent version of my resume about a month ago, I never went back to rebuild it. There’s currently two positions I found locally I should apply for but the idea of being rejected again overpowers the very slim possibility I would even land an interview. The lack of confidence I feel contributes to my desire to go with Option #2 above in the harsh day light. It’s at night, when I invariably wake up to stare at the shadow of the ceiling fan that I wonder if I wouldn’t be more at peace with Option #1 because my ass is sore from the repeated self-kicking.

Last night as I was cleaning off the remains of supper (the one Sparring Partner cooked (he always cooks)) while he was playing a computer game with Doodicus, I felt oddly at peace rinsing the dishes, stacking the dishwasher, wiping the table and clearing the counter. Like I was happy, carefree. And now this morning again I am knotted up with stress and once again disenchanted.

Not looking for answers. Just airing my brain while Aitch sleeps in after her repeated wakings last night. Once at 3:30 a.m. to play with her stuffed toys in her crib and the second time at 5:30 to whine loudly. Literally, whine like a puppy. SO annoying!

And at that, I hear her. She must be more rested than her mom, as she is playing quietly. I wish I was 2 1/2 years old again.

High Horse

I must not be reading the right blogs because while I’ve read references about bloggers who write about writing too-personal posts, it wasn’t until today that after googling “mommy bloggers too personal” that I actually found a blog specifically written about whether mommy bloggers are getting too personal.

Could I have possibly squeezed in one more “personal” in that sentence?

What annoys me about what I have termed the High Horse Mentality is that it’s coming from big-name bloggers. Big Name bloggers who probably started off anonymous writing under cute pseudonyms who got popular for their writing, then got enough emails to convince them to write a book, which of course required them to write under their real name (because no one is going to pay good money to buy a book with an author’s name like Yo-yo Mama). This always leads to publicly acknowledging that their child’s name is really NOT Doodicus but is indeed Norman, and look! Here’s a picture of Norman naked in the tub/sitting on the potty chair/playing with his Barbies.

And THEN they wonder why they get creepy emails from Lester of the MWLBs.

While I’m on the topic of annoying things bloggers do, here’s a common mistake most bloggers make. In fact, I’ll admit I made it (I makes lots of them…), don’t ever say, “My blog is for ME and I’ll blog what I want!” Wake up. The ONLY blog that is truly written solely for the blog owner is the one set to private. Completely private. Not this private-but-my-family-and-friends-can-read-it, because the pictures and stories that get shared are not for YOU then, now are they?

Blogging has kept me sane over the years, especially during our ART years. I also think blogging is a dying art. I get more feedback on Facebook nowadays then I do here, but I will continue to maintain my blog for a couple of different reasons: 1) there are things I can still say here that I can’t on FB. I am friends with my family, in-laws and classmates there – many times regrettably so; and 2) I find it reassuring that with how things are right now with my son that I am not alone. Who knows what the coming months and years will bring for my daughter.

As for worrying about my kids someday finding my blog? I sincerely hope they do and realize that I wasn’t just “the Mommy”. I am a real person who worried about their future, proudly shared their accomplishments, and really did hate the constant picking up I had to do and that my annoyance wasn’t just for show. If they can’t appreciate that then I guess I could always lie and deny that this blog was about me or them and they need to stop being so damned paranoid.

Ah, the beauty of an anonymous blog.