‘Slap my bitch’

I think by most counts, I could be considered a pretty wholesome person. I have a secret desire to be a slightly ‘edgy’ mom/wife but anyone that actually knows me knows that is laughable, if not down right hysterical. I am in no way smooth enough to be hip or edgy and being the ‘cool’ mom boils down to me willing to drive my 14 year old to Speed and Strength workouts at six friggen thirty in the a.m. every morning.

Any mishap of coolness on my part is more than likely just that–a mishap. I have recently become very aware that my 8 year old daughter loves to sing and actually knows the words to most of the songs on the radio. When I hear her singing about broken hearts or scorned women, or toes in the sand, I try to remember she doesn’t really know what she is singing about. After all, one of the very first songs she responded enthusiastically to was, ironically, Crazy by Cee Lo Green. I mean, come on–who can’t really relate to that one?! Ok, so not exactly Mary Had a Little Lamb but she was little. I was trying to get motivated to clean the house without the use of a pressure washer and snow shovel this morning and turned some music on on the tv. I found an underground club techno station that had some really fast, upbeat music that made the kids giggle and want to dance and hell, they were even cleaning so I figured it was all right. We stayed busy for a while and a new song came on that had a repeated line that I couldn’t quite catch as I was scrubbing dishes but I didn’t pay much attention. I happened to go through the living room and glanced at the screen and saw the displayed title of the song on the tv screen and much to my horror it was ‘Slap My Bitch’. WTF!?!?! I nearly killed myself getting to the tv to change the station and cover my babies’ ears at the same time and of course, once I saw the words, I could decipher it very plainly as some asshole repeatedly chants ‘Slap My Bitch’ in the background of the dance music. I don’t think the kids caught it, I hope not, as their chorus of groans further appalled me when I abruptly cut off their dancing music, but its hard to tell.

I recently read an article about how women shouldn’t consider being called ‘bitch’ an insult, but as empowering. No thanks. I’ll stay the podunk, backwoods, lame and boring housewife and mama and attempt to retain some of my dignity (somewhat diminished after tripping over furniture and toys this morning) and dare I say class and refute the claim that being called a ‘bitch’ could, in any way, be a compliment. Nor do I EVER want my daughters or my sons to become that desensitized. I can tell you right now who would be getting slapped if I heard my sons ever utter the phrase ‘slap my bitch’.  

This is most definitely a world where role models are most often mistakenly celebrities and musicians and what is it that they are actually inspiring? I have so often heard the phrase ‘that’s just the norm for kids now days’ it makes steam come out of my ears. That is the biggest cop out for parenting that I have ever heard! And don’t get me wrong, I know it is not easy to be a parent now days, but that does not remove any responsibility. We have a duty and responsibility to be the filter for our children.  Or correct the mistake, as in my case. Every child grows and matures at a different rate so don’t tell me every 10 year old has a cell phone or ipad, or that they all should. Because, let’s be honest, they cannot handle that responsibility and it will bring drama and trouble-it is the same with any other form of media. Don’t accept that as normal. Society is incredibly deceptive in convincing us as to what is acceptable, modern behavior and necessary items for our children.

Teenagers (obviously younger than 13, too, as I pointed out my daughter of 8 years is already developing her favorites) are going to want to listen to different music and will connect with certain musicians. But if they listen to music that is bluntly degrading, why would you be surprised if they treat their parents, sisters, future girlfriends poorly with little or no respect? The same goes for the girls–being nasty, vindictive, and selfish seems to be basic training for elementary, let alone high school and beyond.

From what I can tell, my kids are blissfully aware of my mommy blunder this morning and will have no knowledge that our ‘awsome’ cleaning song was actually ‘Slap My Bitch’ and I will try and scrub the memory of them innocently giggling and dancing to it from my mind!

If only I could be perfect like my teenager…..

I am learning that one of the most valuable skills a person can have is the ability to take criticism. And how do we teach that to our children in a world saturated with lazy children and instant gratification? That criticism or even to be corrected (or heaven forbid, actually disciplined) isn’t the end of the world and is an attempt to improve, or adjust one’s behavior. If only I could be perfect like my teenager…….if only I could always be right and never doubt my resolve. If only I could be singularly selfish and only care about the ridiculous drama that only occurs in your teenage years. And it’s not like I am not painfully embarrassed by my own memories of severe injustice inflicted upon me by my own parents. The shame…..unfortunately, if we are lucky, it will be years before or oldest begins to taste the shame of the arrogant disrespect he has shown us.

Case in point: Our neighbor lady for whom I work asked for help weeding her flower beds last night. She said all the kids could come, it was a beautiful day. So when my oldest got home from school, I told him he had a choice-he could come with me or he could go to town with his dad, but he was NOT going to sit home by himself playing on the computer or watching tv. Of course, he adamantly denied that he would do either and said he had planned on doing his math homework (yeah, right–if only I thought all people beside myself were idiots, I too, could be as wise as my teenager). So the sullen attitude kicks in as he contemplates throwing himself from the vehicle as we drive to the neighbor’s. Once there I was surprised to see him get out of the vehicle. Oh, crap. I had assumed he would go to town so now I am stuck with for children AND a crabby teenager. If I had been smart (like my teenager) I would have video  taped his lazy, rude behavior to show him exactly how he appears to other people. Our neighbor lives on a dairy farm so by comparison, her 16 year old son truly does know what work is–he awakens early every morning for chores and does chores every night, often many many chores in between. Things that must be done and cannot be neglected. That teenager is a man. By all accounts, mine is a ‘good kid’. But does he know what real resonsibility is? Accountability? No. While I weeded and the little kids ran around and tried to help, he begrudgingly did a few pitiful jobs and would plop back down in the patio chair, snap at the children, argue with my oldest daughter and make them fuss and cry. The confusion of what authority he thinks he has over them is infuriating. When he thinks he can supercede me, I want to put him over my knee and spank him like the bratty little child he is. But he is 6 foot and I am not sure I could pull that off anymore. It is embarassing, as he gets after the kids about something I said they could do and then chews me out in front of one of my peers. There is no self awareness, only injustice as his stupid mother doesn’t listen to him. What does she know about raising children, anyway? And to further add insult to injury, I took away his cell phone (text was taken away months ago for good reason) and told him he was not allowed to go to the movies as planned tonight because he continued to show disrespect this morning. If only I could feel as self rightous in my actions. Truly, I must be gifted with a child prodigy of infinite wisdom and rightousness. Oh, and if only I could be the perfect martyr, as he is. How unfair he has it. Lucky me, I get to see which son will come home from school this afternoon–will it be Dr. Jekyll, who will kiss my ass, tell me what a wonderful mommy I am and how much he loves me in hopes that I will change my mind and let him go to the movies? Or will it be the crabby, grouching, insufferable Mr. Hyde who will make it clear his life is but one miserable day after another and that he has been cursed with the drudgery of having to endure this ignorant, oblivious family to the gift that is him? Ah, if only I could be more like him, everything would be perfect.

A little boy’s thoughts on heaven…..

I know each parent believes their child is unique and special. And the amazing part is, they ALL are! The miraculous part of God’s creation. Each of their little minds work in such different ways and it keeps life so very, very interesting.

I first figured out I needed to find my faith again when my oldest son posed a very simple question after being told he needed to behave–‘Why?’ Why indeed. What is the point? Why should I try and raise my children to be compassionate to others? Kind? Forgiving? To reserve judgement? Lord knows I am not the perfect example I want them to follow–not by a long shot! So began the humbling, pride swallowing trip back to church. Thank goodness for that child’s one simple question. Until then, I was able to deny I needed any presence in my life to guide me from right or wrong. The belligerence of a teenager took one conflicting experience and jumped to such a hasty conclusion. I am happy I was wrong. And it took the wisdom of a five year old to show me.

Even if I am still on a journey with my faith, it has been incredible watching my children build an understanding of God. A couple weeks ago, putting my girls to bed, my 7 year old, Piper, commented out of the blue ‘So, Mom, you know how childbirth hurts?’ Well, my dear, I am awkwardly caught between a fight or flight feeling. On the one hand, I am terrified to know where she was going with that loaded statement. On the other, where the heck is she going with this statement? So I humor her and reply, ‘Yes, honey, I am aware of how much childbirth hurts.’ “You can thank Eve for that, Mom!” Followed by a fit of giggles, because yes, childbirth pain brought the giggles out in me for sure. Of course I laughed and asked her how she knew that and was informed the Sunday Bible lesson was all about Adam and Eve and the consequences for eating the apple and being kicked out of the garden. Her little mind must have been humming applying all that happend so long ago to a very present, very real consequence of today.

And today, Cabel, my 6 year old asked me out of the blue why people killed God and hammered nails into his hands and feet. How do you explain that? Part of me worries I will give him the wrong answer. After a very sober little conversation, he sat quiet for a long time and asked me the question I believe he was truly concerned about the entire time. “Mom, when I die…..and go to heaven……do I have to wear a dress?” Oh, son. I told him he he could probably wear camo if he wanted.

As much as I get frustrated and want to tear my hair out and have anxiety over being a are we raising these children right, the laughter is such a blessed gift. I love how their little minds work. I love watching them put things together in their special little ways. I love that all their questions affirm the faith I am trying so hard to grow and trust in myself.

Pet Pickles

 

It seems crazy sometimes, surreal, even, how no matter how stressful and awful circumstances are there can always be laughter. These days, laughter is much needed. My oldest son has been struggling with POTS (Postular Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and very often feels terrible. It kind of depends on the day–some days he wants to crawl in my my lap and just wants me to comfort him (which would be difficult considering he is a 6 foot 14 year old!) and other days, I am the enemy who doesn’t understand what he is going through. It creates strain, to say the least.

Living with five children creates a bit of constant unknown as a given…..I wish I could say I had these perfectly behaved, predictable children, but that would be…well, boring! Even though my youngest is 2, she does not sleep through the night. My husband likes to make fun of me for, if the house is oddly quiet and I happen to be sitting a comfortable position, I pass out like I was hit by a truck. But the other night, I managed to stay up with him until 2 am working on our taxes. Not much of a husband/wife bonding night, but we got it done. In the morning, my oldest had to be driven in to school early for a math compeition he was going to and I somehow rolled out of bed, blindly downed coffee until I could see through the blur and delivered him to the school. I got back to the house just in time to meet Teagen, our 3 (soon to be 4) year old coming down the stairs. She muttered a good morning as I went past her up the stairs and headed down for her morning cartoons. I passed her bedroom and glanced in when something caught my eye. I stopped and squinted–the sun was just coming up and the light was dim in the room she shares with her sisters. I impulsively took another step towards her room. I could see a half dozen or so oblong shaped objects on Teagen’s bed. My first thought…’did she seriously crap on her bed!? Why would she crap on her bed?’ I squint and shake my head some more–I must just be tired–squint some more….definitely something there. Crap. I vaguely recalled she was still wearing her diaper when I passed her on the stairs and dismiss her as the guilty party. Teagen shares her bed with her little sister Aiden so my mind flitted to the next possible culprit, all the while, I am afraid to step any closer to the bed and continue to squint at the offending turds (are those seriously turds on my daughters’ bed!?). It couldn’t have been Aiden–she came to our bed, as she usually does, at some point after I went to bed and I know she still had her diaper on. Well, what the hell……the cat. That fucking cat. Are those seriously king size cat turds on the bed? Those are some pretty big fricking cat turds.  If the cat actually shit on my kids’ bed he is out the door. Why would he do that? He has never done that before…..I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and muster the courage to walk over to the bed and take a closer look and confusion takes over. Pickles. A bunch of slightly dried, wrinkly green/brown pickles. What….the….hell? Oddly, as confusing at it was to see a pile of pickles on the bed, it is Teagen so there is a certain amount of dismissal when it comes to her odd little mind. My husband happened to be passing by the room and I found it irresistable not to call him over and have him look at the bed as well. The narrowing of his blue eyes when they landed on the bed and saw the offending turd shapes quickly followed by the obvious disgusting conclusion and repulsion and the apprehension as I can no longer hold in my laughter and encourage him to touch one!

Teagen has established a history in her 3 short years of being ridiculously practical in her theories of why she does what she does. Wacking off all her hair was of course, just because it bugged her and she was quite confident in her hair cutting skills. The bald spots have filled in, finally. It honestly didn’t even occur to me to ask her why she had pickles in her bed until my sister asked me what she said. It’s Teagen–who knows? So I did ask her. She knew she wasn’t supposed to have food in their room so she smuggled a bowl of pickles into the room right before bed time. She carefully hid them while I tucked them in and said goodnight, turning off the light. She quite happily munched her pickles in the dark until the bowl spilled, spilling pickle juice all over her sheet and cold pickles all over. Being the smart, committed bugger she is, she knew turning the light on would alert her older sister, drawing attention to herself and of course, my attention to what the commotion was. So of course, it only makes sense that she slept all night with her little pet pickles, the only complaint being that they were cold, at first! How much I love each of my children and their ability to make me shake my head in wonder as to how their little brains work! It makes the dark days bright and is the constant reminder of how God has blessed us in ways we don’t understand.

Love the crazy

The other day, we had an admittedly awful, hateful day. I don’t know if all parents struggle with those ups and downs–I would imagine they do but I don’t hear about it all that often, like it is admitting some kind of dark failure. I think it is kind of sad people aren’t more open about their struggles, especially in today’s society of ridiculous expectations, instant gratification and unrealistic perceptions as to what family life should be. Maybe the divorce rate in this country would be lower if people understood marriage is a roller coaster ride and it’s not the immediate lows they need to be thinking about, it’s the lifetime of highs. You can remind me of that next time I want to kill my husband! I do know there is no way I would still be married if not for the brutally honest advice of my oldest sister who ripped the Cinderella book right out of my hands and cracked me upside the head with it. Family and marriage is WORK–non-stop, grueling, relentless work. And the good days may come a little fewer than the rotten ones but it is like God sent a ray of sunshine straight to me to remind me of my purpose, my love and my devotion for our crazy little family with our warped sense of humor.

It started with our 3 1/2 year old, whom is the spit and fire of the five children, laying on my husband’s bare chest and cuddling with him while he watched tv. She kept poking at his nipples, pinching them, and he kept swatting her hand away and telling her to stop, it hurt when she pinched. She then tells him, very matter of fact, “Your nipples aren’t stupid……but they are pointless.” I thought my husband was going to cry he was laughing so hard! You will get to know her over time and see that there is no exaggeration in the stories about her–of all the children, she probably scares the crap out of me the most. She is fearless, fierce, shrewdly intelligent and will be four in April. Thinking of trying to harness her energy and focus it in a positive direction makes me hyperventilate just a little, although I will do my best never to let her see my bluff–that I actually don’t know what I am doing!

My two year old is definitely the baby. She blinds her grandma’s with her sweetness but she also has the baby of the family’s talent for being bossy, demanding, and a bit manipulative. I have been casually working on potty training her for some time now as she early on developed an unfortunate habit when dealing with potty habits. With a family this big, potty humor is unfortunately ever present as it is a rather big part of our day, every day. The first time made me scream and the other kids laughed hysterically. I hear her calling ‘Mommy! Mommy!’ and go to her and she holds out her hand to give me something. I reach out my hand to take it from her and just in the nick of time, realize what it is and pull back my hand with a shriek as a large turd falls to the floor. She hasn’t been able to fool me since, as I am always wary any time she tries to ‘gift’ me with anything, although when I was at the Mayo with our oldest, I heard from my mother who was watching the little girls while we were gone, that Mom was ‘gifted’, much to her disgust! Anyway, I was laying on our bed with my hubby, talking about our day and the little one was laying on the bed with us. Despite her sweet appearences, she has the ass of an old man and with her legs in the air, interrupted our conversation with a horrifying, absurdly long old man fart, immediately resulting in my husband bolting from the bed and tears falling from my eyes as I laugh uncontrollably. As we are fleeing from our room, she starts laughing and saying ‘I’m poopin’! I’m poopin’ in your bed!’ Teasing is a huge part of our family dynamic and obviously our kids have picked up on this from birth. My husband replies by telling her ‘I’m gonna go poop in your bed!’ She of course, sobers up immediately, as if this were an actual possibility and sits up and yells ‘No! Don’t poop in my bed!’. So she chases him from our room and he runs into hers and jumps up onto the twin bed, and, committed to it now, pulls his pants down (leaving boxers in tact, of course) just enough to give the desired illusion, and squats on her bed, making the most horrible facial expressions of one being constipated with a turd the size of a bowling ball. Baby girl of course is PISSED and screaming at him to stop pooping on her bed! The absurdity of it all had me on my knees laughing till it just hurt too much and I am quite certain I will never get the image of my husband squatting like that on his daughter’s bed out of my head. She followed him downstairs chewing him out all the way and at the bottom of the stairs, he hands her a plastic Wal-mart bag and tells her she better go get the turd off her bed. She actually took it and grumbled all the way back up the stairs and spent the next few minutes searching her blankets for her dad’s little gift!

I am almost afraid to find out if we are that weirdly different from other families. I only know it works for us and makes those rough days non exisitent for the moment and makes me love the crazy. Possibly only the crazy that we will understand. The crazy that is ours.

Can take the girl out of the country but….maybe she should stay there

So it is pretty standard for me, anyway, to have mini mishaps at every turn. I don’t know if it was necessarily due to how we were raised (family with five children, dairy farm). But I have NEVER been able to pull off that classy, sophisticated persona full of grace…..kind of hard to when I am less than graceful and a little socially challenged!

The last week has been a horrible, gut-wrenching, anxiety filled week. My oldest son (14) goes to the Mayo Clinic tomorrow for some tests. Long story short, a lung spot was seen on an x-ray and he has been losing weight, felt terrible and been in general very miserable. The doctors where we live told him it was ‘probably’ in his head, which sends a mother who actually knows her child, sees him suffering, right over the edge. So here we are, 5 hours from home, $90 in our pocket, a hotel room my amazing brother-in-law is paying for and driving my mother’s car. But let me back up a little…

Packing up four children 7 and under to stay at my mother-in-law’s house was no small feat. The Mayo told us we could be here for 1 day or 3 or more. My husband had no clue how fast the hamsters were running in my head last night–all he knows is he has to work and things are being taken care of (by the same magical fairy that does all the dishes and laundry). Trying to anticipate their needs, trying to make sure everyone had clean underwear…..and of course leaving my own packing for 5 minutes before we left this morning. I never leave my children….and I don’t want you to think I feel deprived by that in any way. That is the way I WANT it. Admittedly, there are times where I need space but it is an hour here or there. The combined anxiety of whether or not they will behave for my mother-in-law and the fact that I won’t be there tonight or tomorrow morning, plus worrying about my poor boy tomorrow….kind of makes my head want to explode!

But there I go, rattling on again! So we live in the country, small towns, you get the idea. I go down to the Twin Cities once or twice a year to visit my 2nd oldest sister or maybe a few times a year we will go to Fargo. So driving on freeways is not exactly my comfort zone, and certainly weaving in and out of traffic is not! I am not an aggressive driver, having the dillusion that other drivers will appreciate my politeness. They don’t….it’s more like they sense you are the weak one in the herd! I can’t complain too much about the traffic. Most of the way down I followed a big semi hauling giant straw bales. He was kind of like a big bull paving the way for me! The part where I really start to lose some class and sophistication is when we stopped to grab lunch at McDonald’s. I hate that place. Or rather, my ass hates that place. Something happened at some point in my life and I just do no digest fast food all that well. I swear I do not eat it all that often and every time I do, I think, ‘maybe it won’t bother me this time…’. Wrong. Very, very wrong. About an hour went by before the cramping started. Little beads of sweat popping out on my forehead as I am clenching the stearing wheel and my knee bouncing up and down faster and faster like it’s going to help. After a while, my son began to realize something was seriously wrong when I could no longer hold the gas in. ‘MOM! What’s wrong with you!?!’ I wish I could tell him. And what could I do? Grit my teeth, feel the blood leave my face as another round of cramping started and try not to shart myself. At this point, the ditch is looking favorable. I was almost frantic when the stupid navigator made us miss the right exit for our hotel. My son is now holding his nose out the window and begging to just stop anywhere. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I stopped at a gas station about 4 blocks away from our hotel and did the stiff-legged trot in there. I had another momentary panic when I thought both stalls where occuppied, thank God, no, but as I am hastily pulling down my pants realize there is some poor innocent sitting mere feet from me. I grit my teeth and sweat some more until she leaves. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say it was horrifying relief and thankfully, not witnessed by anyone. Freakin’ McDonald’s. I hate you and your nasty ass exploding food. That I will probably eat again at some point in time. But not for a while. My son is complaining the car still smells. There is not alot to say. We make it the four blocks to the hotel and check into our room. I start unpacking and realize I packed 2 shirts and NO PANTS. I am wearing some ugly athletic pants, thinking comfort for a long drive. I meticulously packed each of my five children but don’t even bring pants for myself!? Good Lord, please let this poor little country girl go back to the country where she belongs. I will try for grace and sophistication another day, I guess!

Disasters in Parenting…

So I am incredibly curious to know if there are other moms out there that fail as often as I do? It is nearly impossible to establish the stable image I strive for when I am constantly forgetting appointments, am late, and confuse dates. And it is not for lack of trying–I live for my kids! I have no social life, so there can be no confusion that I am spending time or energy doing anything other than feeding, cleaning up after, mediating, and driving my kids all over. And yet, some how, on their first day back from Christmas vacation, I screw it up. I SWEAR I had gotten a text and call from the school at the beginning of vacation stating their first day back was going to be 2 hours late due to a teacher in service….looking back, maybe I was mistaken? Well, obviously I was, because at 7:30 this morning I get a call from the mother of the little boy I take care of during the day saying the bus is sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for us….and all my kids are still in bed. CRAAAPPP! I managed to get everyone to school but how do I recover from that without seeming like a complete airhead? Maybe I need to just accept it! I wish I could say it were an isolated incident…I guess I can say it was the first time the kids missed the bus! That’s something. So enlighten me, please! Cause so many moms out there seem like they have some little secret that I was not privy to when I had my children. I would love to appear together, organized, and well prepared–more than that, I would actually love to BE those things! Is this just how it is when a woman has five children? I would love to hear from some other moms with several children. I know several large families but if they have the same struggles I do, they won’t admit it. And I get the reason why….I hate that judgemental look, that feeling that I failed my kids (granted, they were just happy they didn’t have to ride the bus this morning) yet again in some small way. I swear I am a reasonably intelligent person so why do I feel like that respect of being a together mom constantly eludes me?