The Hanger is Real

Ask anyone who knows me & they will tell you I am not a pleasant person when I’m hungry. Unfortunately, it’s a trait I have passed on to Bear. He’s even more of a bear when he’s hungry. Since he was four or five, he has known & been able to use the word hangry properly in a sentence. It’s funny, except when it’s not.

I got the boys from M this morning & everything was going decently well. They were respectfully quiet because J & BK were still sleeping. They were super excited to tell me about what they did the past weekend. They saved up some money & bought new Nintendo cards because they wanted to get new games for their switches. M asked me last night if I was able to give them permission [all hail Nintendo’s parental controls; they are an absolute god send] to do so, but I was busy at work, so it had to wait until this morning.

We have this rule in our house. It’s something I saw on Pinterest so I can’t take credit for it, but the kids each have a chore list. They also have a list that they have to accomplish together & after everything on their lists are done, they can have electronics as long as they’d like, or until the parental controls turn their devices off. It’s something that has worked for two summers & their lists include spending time outside & doing something creative, so please don’t @ me about my kids’ screen time.

After BK woke up this morning, the kids immediately wanted to get on their electronics. The first question is always, “Are your chores done?” If they’re not done, they don’t get electronics. It’s really quite simple. Spoiler alert: this morning, their lists were not done. Butter & BK immediately jumped on what they had to do. Bear had a bit of a meltdown. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he had two things on his personal list & the entire joint list to do. [He did not have the entire joint list to do, he had one thing to do.] He was laying on his bed pouting.

It took me 0.000562 seconds to figure out what was wrong, but I still asked him if he’d eaten breakfast.

Of course he hadn’t.

He had some fruit, he had a waffle, & he was like a brand. new. kid. I [absolutely, 1000% jokingly] told the other two kids, “When Bear gets like this, feed him.” All you have to do is throw a snack or a string cheese at him & I promise he’ll start to feel better. J kind of rolled his eyes at me when I said that. I just stared at him pointedly & asked him what he does first when I’m cranky.

“I feed you.”

The apple did not fall far from this tree. Sorry, Bear.

Questionable Parenting Choices

Several nights over this summer, Bear has announced to me that he doesn’t like going to bed. So, I came up with a solution.

One night when I didn’t have to work the next day, the kids could stay up as late as they wanted to. Stipulations included not waking the adults & not arguing. If either of those things happened, it was an immediate trip to bed.

Last night was the night & honestly, the three of them did very well. Butter had a bit of a freak out somewhere around 4:15 this morning & the kids were told to finish the episode of the TV show they were watching & head to bed. All of them claimed to be very much NOT TIRED. They all slept until just before 11 AM, though.

I don’t know what prompted me to come up with this plan. Normally, they start getting ready for bed around 9 PM & are in bed no later than 9:30 PM. It’s a bit earlier during school time. Though, who the heck knows what is even going on with school this year, so who knows whether or not their bedtime will change? I knew I had to make sure that I didn’t have to work because I didn’t want to stress J out with having them be annoying to him. He’s currently at work, but he got up later than the kids & took a nap this afternoon. I was up most of the night, not because of the kids, but because my head felt vaguely like someone was shoving an ice pick into my right temple.

Maybe I came up with this because I want to be the fun parent? That’s very likely not it but I believe kids should have that kind of fun. In the past, we’ve made it a point to have ice cream for dinner at least once during the summer. J & I are talking about a role reversal day with them, where they get to be the “adults” for a day. They’re already planning how they’re going to make us do all of their chores & especially that they’re going to make us go outside for an hour & a half [they have to do at least that much time outside most days] without our phones. I laughed & reminded them that they’ve got just about every excuse in the book for not actually staying outside their allotted time. Yesterday, they came in after about 40 minutes because they saw a spider & thought it was dangerous.

They’ve been well behaved today, too. Bear was a bit grumpy when he had to go to bed this morning & when he woke up. Butter didn’t want to get out of bed. Having them do their chores in order to get their electronics today was a little closer to pulling teeth today but nothing terrible.

Maybe my parenting philosophy is not yours, but these kids were safe & they had an absolute blast staying up until almost 5 AM. M thought I was teaching Bear a lesson when I told him that I let them stay up last night, but it wasn’t about that, either. I’m want to say that I’m teaching them real world experiences. Had I wanted to be hard on them, I’d have woken them up after only a couple hours of sleep so they can learn what parents go through when they’re in the throes of parenting. But no, I wanted to let them have fun. They had a great time, they didn’t give me crap when I told them they had to do certain things before the night could start, & they worked through 90% of their issues without needing parenting intervention. Because I was up all night, I know how often they had discussions about what they were going to do next. It was surprisingly democratic [and we’ve got two who can be super bossy].

The fact is, I’ve got a 9, 10, & 12 year old in the house & I’m learning on the fly. I only had boys up until J & I starting dating & now my mom thinks it’s hilarious he’s got a daughter since I always said – because I was & am a total tomboy – I had no idea what I would do with a daughter. I still don’t know what to do with a daughter. Blending our families is a something one of my dear friends asked about, so I’ll address that in a future post.

Enjoy your evening, everyone.

One Breath at a Time

There are many days when taking one breath at a time is the only way I get through.

I tell myself more often than I’d like to admit: one breath, one second, one minute, one hour at a time. When I am alone – truly alone; no guy or kid in the house, just the cats & me – I sometimes go to dark, dark places. Places where I am certain my children hate me. Places where I am the worst mother, the worst HUMAN, in the entire world. I know deep down that is not the case, but still.

As I said before, I cry more than I should. At least I feel that way. Stupid little things set me off like seeing a boy grab his mom’s hand on the way into the grocery store or a baby smiling at me at work because I’ve waved & given her a big smile. My heart breaks on a daily basis & I know it’s all my doing. You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that I am not at fault for the way I’m feeling, but it never works. So many people have tried. The thing is, when that darkness sets in? Nothing gets through to me. It takes time. It takes breathing & crying & talking to the boys, no matter how much it breaks my heart at that moment.

There are people who have asked me if I’m dealing with depression. Probably. I’ve likely been dealing with it for years. I have this grand idea of getting on a service like Talkspace [because for real, with my schedule the way it is, I am one of those people who literally does not have time for in person therapy] but there’s the issue of paying for it.

When my dad died, M called our doctor’s office. We still use the same PCP & he made a phone call that made me realize the benefit of still being technically married sometimes outweighs the negative. He was honest. I’d been back & forth between the ICU & home for two days. I hadn’t slept. [By the time my dad’s heart beat for the last time, I’d gotten maybe 45 minutes of sleep in about 36 hours.] I made a crack to my mom [I genuinely need to blog about how the universe works in mysterious ways & my mom just happened to be in Delaware the day Dad coded] about whether or not the doctors who came in to ask me if I wanted to autopsy [no] & told me they had to do an official examination so they could pronounce him [I understood that wholeheartedly] could write me a prescription for Xanax or Ambien or anything to help me sleep. That’s where M making a phone call came in. He made the call & went to pick up what our doctor called in & have I mentioned that I’m grateful as hell for him & I’m so glad we’re still friends despite all of the things we’re dealing with? If I haven’t, take this as my notice. I still adore that man & I am desperately sorry our marriage failed, but he’s the father of my kids & one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life & I’m glad we seem to be keeping that friendship. All of that being said, the doctor called in a prescription for Xanax. I’d only ever taken it once when I had an MRI so this time I only ever took half a pill. I needed to sleep.

I don’t think I’m a Xanax person. I’d rather be unmedicated if possible. I also know I need to schedule a physical & talk with the doctor who is taking over my PCP’s patients [he is retiring]. I’d like to remain off of medication because there are so many complications with the Moyamoya. However, M has seen the new doctor & she knows what Moyamoya is, so that is immeasurably helpful. I’m so tired of explaining it to people. It’s medical condition & you’re a medical professional, either read my chart or figure it out. Please.

I am working through this in the best way I currently know how. I got a gym membership & I am set on using it. Not only because I feel that it helps me, but also because I’m in a wedding in September & am unhappy with the turn my body has taken in the last year. I’m starting to write again [hi, hello, thanks for reading if you’re doing so!]. I am drinking a lot of wine because that helps, too, & I don’t want to be judged for it, thanks. I’m planning on reading more this year. Self help, true crime, fiction, & nonfiction. Nothing is off limits, so if you have recommendations, please throw them my way in the comments. I had this idea to take my journal & write down one thing I like about myself every day, but that hasn’t happened. Maybe it will in the future. Who knows? My life is chaotic, but I’m learning to own it.