29.4.06

Chronicles of Pee



I realized early what I was getting into marrying a man who had five brothers, and only two sisters. I knew that they were a testosterone poisoned, belch in public, pee outdoors type of family. I found this out when I first looked through a family photo album when we were not yet engaged. First there was the honeymoon shot that his parents took of his dad peeing over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Then there were the shots of my genius husband, as a small boy peeing over the edge of yet another cliff or mountain, I don’t remember now, and then his younger brother, and then the brother after that. Boy number four had his feet hooked under the bottom rail of a boat and was urinating over the side body swathed in a bright yellow slicker. At this point I realized that I would be forever encountering public urination if I attached myself to this family.

I have gradually gotten used to it. There were the days when I would drive onto the family property in the morning and boy number 6, child number 8, who was just 5 or 6 at the time would stand next to the car and pee in the dirt beside it as I got ready to get out and then say “Good morning,” in the most perfectly natural tone of voice. This brother also, being the most testosterone poisoned of them all after so many older brothers, was the on who decided he had to pee after church one day and so dropped trou and peed off of the front steps into the parking lot. Did I mention that his dad was the pastor?

So when the Boy reached potty training age I was prepared for the inevitable world is my toilet mentality that little boys have. Learning to pee on trees with dad was part of the training, and much more fun than keeping it in the potty. There was one tree in particular, a date tree in our back yard in Vancouver that the Boy was diligent to water.

Since we have moved to California, and don’t have our own back yard, there has been much less peeing outside, unless we’re at Beema’s house, where testosterone still holds the day. But there have been one or two occasions recently when we had a potty emergency and I found a good hedge to hide behind so the Boy could do his business. The Girl has found this process fascinating, she watches very carefully, pushing her little tummy forward in imitation of his pee stance, and I can see the little wheels going inside her head.

One day last week, she announced that she had to go too. Since with a newly potty trained girl wearing panties instead of pull-ups you don’t say wait until you get home because we don’t want the tragedy of an accident should she not be able to hold it all the way, I pulled her pants down and held her in a squat over the same little ditch that the Boy had just used so she could go.

So I guess you could say what happened a day later was my fault. At the playground in our complex, that has a bathroom very nearby, though a grown-up with a key needs to let you in as it’s next to the pool, she suddenly runs up to me as I’m distracted with the Boy his friends and a kite, and hands me her clothes. Before I quite realize what’s going on and am calling to her to come and get her clothes back on, she disappears around a corner and before I get to her comes running back with a huge smile on her face.

“I goed PEE Momma,” she announces triumphantly, “right der!!”

I look where she is pointing and sure enough there is a puddle of pee on the sidewalk right next to the flowerbed she was trying to pee on. She needs a little practice to get it right because she splattered on the back of her legs, but I suppose it’s a good thing to be able to go in the woods on hikes if there is no toilet so maybe I should let her develop this new found skill. But I have realized that my sweet little girl is also a victim of testosterone poisoning, perhaps I am too. I wonder if the neighbors hate me yet.

25.4.06

Little Girls Who Don’t Sleep

The Girl is right now in the bedroom wailing that she wants mommy. I’m typing this instead. Don’t gasp her father is in there with her, I need a break. This has been going on since 8pm; it is now 10:18pm. It’s my fault really, I let her nap for almost two hours this afternoon, not the best way to help her go down on time after a weekend of late nights, but she’s been so tired.

We’ve had sketchy success with teaching this little girl to sleep by herself, if she had her druthers she’s still be nestled up next to my body all night long nursing whenever she felt like it. This arrangement worked well for us her first year of life, and long into the second, but then neither of us was really getting much sleep after that and it was time to get her a bed of her own and teach her that she really can fall asleep without a nipple in her mouth. I won’t bore you with the long process that ensued to reach this goal, but we did eventually get there.

Some nights we can brush her teeth, turn, out the light, sing and leave with absolutely no fussing and she will go to sleep and sleep all night. And then there’s tonight. She lay quietly for almost 20 minutes, and I think the problem is she just wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep in that time, because it has gone from there through the various calling and I have to pee excuses to heartbroken sobbing if one of us tries to make a break for the door.

“I want you,” in a little tiny voice punctuated with broken hiccupping sobs, and a little arm fastened around my neck like a vise grip. So I count to warn her that I must leave now, I will return to check on her in five minutes, she is quiet until I reach the door and then the wails begin again. I know she thinks she needs me there, I know her heart needs reassurance, I also know that if I stay until she sleeps, she will wake up all night in a panic when she no longer feels my body next to hers, and we will both be tired and cranky in the morning, because I won’t allow my children to cry themselves to sleep. Not if it’s real crying, fake tears and temper tantrums on the other hand, not a chance that I’m caving to those, and I can tell the difference, most mommies can.

I told her she couldn’t go pee an hour ago because she had just gone, and 10 minutes ago she appears at the bedroom door and collapses into tears at my order to get back to bed. I go in to her and smell the pee in her pull-ups.

“Were you coming to tell me you peed in your diaper?”

“Uh-huh.” Again with little hiccupping sobs.

“Why didn’t you tell me before, was it because I said no more pee?”

“Uh-huh.”

So we change her diaper and she begins wailing that she wants to go pee in the potty, she gets really upset by accidents. So I take her to the bathroom, and she tries, and of course there is no pee, She wants to try the other toilet, so we go there, again no pee.” Tired tear-stained and heartbroken she lays down in her bed again sobbing, “I want to pee in the potty.” as I tell her I know, I’m sorry, it’s mommy’s fault, over and over again, until I hear Daddy get home and am rescued by him coming in to sing to her.

As I type she is finally sleeping, calmed by Daddy’s promise to get ready for bed and come in soon. I keep telling myself that she will not be like this forever, by the time she’s 3 things will look much different. They had better, because we just found out there’s another one on the way, so she’s got 9 months to figure out this sleeping thing before mommy becomes very unsympathetic, maybe less.

21.4.06

Kids at Play

The Boy tries, unsuccessfully for about 5 minutes to get the Girl to take his toy dagger, he is wielding the sword, and play soldiers with him. She would rather walk around with the big stuffed dog.

She trips and falls. In a flash he is at her side, “Sister did you trip?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Did a monster trip you?”

‘Uh-huh.”

Handing her the dagger, “Well then here, take this and kill it!”

A couple of minutes later he has his sword in the dog’s heart, the stuffed one, and I hear him saying, “We need food, we are going to have food now that we killed the dog.”

She kneels next to him and responds, “Uh-huh!”

One minute later, the Boy calls, “Mom, do you want to buy a dog? It’s dead, I killded it and cut all the meat off. It’s tasty.”



Don’t ask me, I honestly don’t know.

20.4.06

Sleepovers at Beema’s House

The Boy has been sleeping over, all by himself at Beema’s house, otherwise known as his grandmother. It’s not like he hasn’t slept there before. We have lived there on several different occasions for months at a time. This year he started sleeping in the “BIG BOYS ROOM” with his uncles on the trundle bed.
So when we were there for our second Friday night dinner after moving to our own place, he naturally assumed after I got him out of the bath and into his jammies, (in anticipation of going straight to bed when we got home) that he was going to sleep at Beema’s that night.

I said “no” at first and then on further reflection thought, “Why not?” So after making sure it was okay with Beema, and the boys, my brothers in law, whose room he would be sharing, I sat him down to make sure that he knew what he was asking.

“Mommy and Daddy will be driving home now, are you sure you want to stay here and sleep without us?”

“Umm, yep.” This said brightly with a firm upward lift of his chin that means his mind is made up, followed by vigorous nodding.

“Well try to imagine how you will feel when it’s dark and the lights are out and you ONLY have Beema to sing to you after Mommy and Daddy DRIVE AWAY!!”

“It will be good mom, I’ll be okay.”

“Are you sure?”

“Uh huh, so can I stay?”

“Well, okay… I guess we can try it.”

I am obviously much more traumatized by his casual step toward independence than he is. I walked past his open bedroom door several times that first night, constantly feeling like I was forgetting something, and then realizing that he wasn’t there and feeling slightly bereft again for a second or two. He went to sleep just fine, played all day until his dad picked him up at 3:00 in the afternoon, and didn’t act like he missed us at all. Though he did need an extra bit of holding when he hurt himself, which made me feel better.

Since then the sleep over at Beema’s has become a regular part of the weekend, and sometimes the week. It feels weird that it feels so normal. Beema told me that one night as he lay sleeping in their room as they got ready for bed the boys asked her if was weird that he was sleeping there and yet it’s not. The ages are close enough, only a 6 year gap between the youngest and him, that it’s almost as though he is their little brother and he’s graduated into their larger family out of our smaller one.

This is the blessing of living close to a larger family unit, and of trusting everyone in it, a luxury I know everyone doesn’t have. This is why we moved 3000 miles away from our old life and friends to be near our family. The way we and our children are engulfed, wrapped up in, and taken up by the family Beema and Grace have fashioned extends and enriches all of our lives in ways that, while expected, still delight and comfort us.

Even if I have to listen to my daughter recite at least a dozen names a night of the people she “wants” before she sleeps. How wonderful for her that she has that many grown-ups and older people in her young life to care about and have relationships with.

18.4.06

After This We'll Cover Sex and Politics

My MILly is a wannabe Jew, which isn’t all that weird to me since my mother, also not a Jew, has this deep emotional/spiritual connection to Israel also. I think it may come from a lifetime of studying the Bible; after all it is all about the chosen people start to finish. How nominal Christians throughout the centuries could have missed this and become so anti-Semitic I have no idea. So we celebrated Passover last week.

We have actually been keeping Jewish feasts day with our little family for quite a while now. We decided a long time ago to dispense with the confusing, misleading, syncretistic North American traditional holidays and what better thing to replace them with than the feasts that are commanded in the Bible and are designed with the instruction of your children in mind and the memory of God’s provision in ages past. Assuming of course that you believe the stuff in the Bible, which we do. Most of the time anyway.

So before I lose everyone because I just dissed all of the Holidays, let me explain. Do you know that the word Easter is a derivative of Ishtar the goddess also known as Ashtereth, sometimes Isis, I think, as well. Did you also know that in 350 something AD after Christianity had become the state religion Christians were forbidden to celebrate Passover, which if you follow these things, is the Feast the Jesus celebrated with his disciples, the context without which communion makes a whole lot less sense, and one of the most meaningful holidays for Christians and Jews alike. Instead of Passover the Christians were to celebrate the resurrection on the Sunday following the full moon, Equinox, which somehow corresponded exactly with the worship of Ishtar and the celebration of some God attached to her, I don’t remember which, returning from the underworld. The Jews had been forced to worship Ishtar and Marduk during their Babylonian exile and captivity, and now Christianity, a faith that owes it’s entire life, roots, understanding of God, and center, to Judaic tradition is now absorbed by the prevailing pagan culture around it, and turns it’s back on the faith that parented it and with whom it is most closely tied.

All right, so that was all background so that my coming rant will make a little bit of sense. You see I have friends that are pagan and still worship Ashtereth consciously. And yes I can be friends with them and love them, even if the over arching stories that we live in are different and we often disagree. These women know what they are doing when they say Happy Easter.

We celebrated Passover on Friday, yes it was the wrong day for the Seder but that’s when the whole family could be there and since we’re not really Jewish, and it lasts three days anyway, we figured it was okay. It was a lot of fun, and very instructive for the kids. The Boy cried at the thought of eating horseradish, which you are supposed to eat so that you cry and remember the bitterness of slavery in Egypt, so we didn’t make him eat it until the second dipping with the Charoset on top, which is sweet and then he asked for more, which was funny and appropriate for what it’s supposed to teach.

The next day we went to the messianic Synagogue where the rabbi so beautifully brought together the deep symbolism of the Passover lamb with the death and resurrection of Christ and it was all whole and complete and there was nothing jarring or inconsistent about the whole day and the day before it. The kids seemed to get it, as they always do when we do things the Jewish way.

Then we went to church on Sunday and someone said Happy Easter to me. I had to chomp down on my tongue so hard it almost bled to keep from snarling at them. I was surprised at the gut reaction I had because I wasn’t expecting anything else, but the several days before of immersion in Passover had caused the celebration of Easter/Ishtar to be almost personally offensive to me. Perhaps I am thinking more like a Jew, hard to say. But I understand why they are offended almost regularly by all of Christendom.

See, if you want to be a pagan go ahead and be a pagan, eat your little fruit buns that were traditionally an offering to the Goddess, enjoy your fertility symbol bunny rabbits and have a good time. I am offended by the people that claim to be of one faith and yet nurture and carry on the traditions of another that is so contrary to their own with no idea of what is going on. Come on people, do a little reading, decide if you are pagans or Christians and then do accordingly.

So now by sharing my new found sensitivity and offended ness I’m sure I’ve offended at least some of you. I’m sorry because that’s not my intent, I have a chronic need to educate, and I can’t comment on something without giving background, in this case a pile.

So, am I being too extreme? What do you think?

17.4.06

Are you for real?

SO I want to post about our weekend and the long stay at Millie’s house, and Passover with the kids, but that will take a long time and I’m tired, so stay posted, hopefully tomorrow.

I will tell you about the apparently perfect woman I met at the boy’s Judo class. Yes we signed him up for Judo, and he looks so cute in his little gi, and he is getting really good at his throws already even though it’s been just a few weeks. His uncles and aunt are in the same class so they pick him up and take him with them several nights a week and I know he’s okay because those kids are the greatest with their little niece and nephew and they help him practice throws and teach him how to do a real push-up and hug him if he cries.

So back to the perfect woman. Today I was there and was talking again to this mom I met our first day at the dojo. She is this petite blond Norwegian woman, I learned the first day I met her that she competes in triathlon for fun. She is training for the iron man in Hawaii in 2010, she runs 6 days a week, she cooks from scratch organic nutritious gourmet meals for he and her three kids. She has a fridge in her car for the southern California commuting so she can take her fresh healthy food and feed her kids when they’re hungry and avoid the fast food trap. She is a single mother of three. She is a successful enough real estate investor to buy houses for cash to turn around and sell. You can imagine what she looks like in a pair of sweat pants with all of that training. AND she’s a friendly outgoing person that you can’t really dislike. She wakes up excited about what she’s going to cook next, or do that day.

I want to think that she must have some huge hidden flaws and heartache somewhere in her life, just to make me feel better about not being as full of energy or as productive as she is. She probably does we all do. But suppose hers’ are no worse than mine. Where does that leave me?

Maybe I prioritize relationships, which I do. Maybe I have more time to enjoy things, but I don’t think I do, I think she enjoys things better than I do. People like her are a mystery to me. Where do they get that zest for life, the motivation to accomplish things? I want some.

What to you think? Are you internally motivated and dangerously close to perfection, or are you having a hard time finding a reason to get off of the couch or out of bed most days?

11.4.06

Destructing

Mom why doesn’t this go on here?

What?

Why doesn’t this go on here?

I can’t even see what you are holding buddy. What is it?

He holds up a Lego wheel part and the wheel from a wooden rocket ship toy that he pulled apart earlier that day.

That isn’t going to work buddy it’s not made to fit together.

Why not?

Because Lego didn’t make that wheel, so it doesn’t fit with Lego parts.

But why mom, why doesn’t it?

Because it has to be made by Lego to fit onto that piece.

But why mom, why does it?

There is no answer to your question honey.

Head down and face averted. Don’t say that to me mom, you’re destructing me.

I’m what?

You’re destructing me with that.

Are you trying to say that I’m being destructive to you or that I’m destroying you?

No I’m just saying that you are destructing me.

Destructing isn’t a word. You can say that I’m destroying you or that I’m being destructive to you.

No mom, you’re just destructing me, stop destructing me.

9.4.06

My Biggest Fan

There are days when I am the coolest person on the planet, to my son anyway. When I was assembling an IKEA kids table for his use I was told at least 10 times that I am doing wonderful, good job. Then he would dance around and laugh and make a mantra out of the phrase “a table, a table a table a table.”

That day I also finally got around to changing out the rails on his bed so that we could use the Ikea slats and put his mattress on them instead of on the floor inside of the bed.

“Thanks for fixing my bed mom, you did a good job.”

Today he stood next to bathtub and watched me wash his sister’s hair.

“You are doing really good mom, you are doing good at that.”

So I chose this moment to explain that the correct way to say it was that I am doing it well.

“But why mom?”

“Because that’s the right way to say it.”

“But why?”

“Because to say that I am doing it well is how to make the words say that you think I am doing a good job. To say that I am doing good is saying something that may not be true because it means my action is bringing good to another person when all I am doing is washing her hair.”

He thought about this for a second and then insisted, “But you are mom, you are doing good.”

Maybe he’s right.

I’ve never read that book about everyone’s love languages and the different ways different people experience love, but the concept is simple enough.

I’ve come to realize that his love language is having things done for him, which is both simple and remarkably complex. He chooses not to do some things for himself, like wipe his own butt, because having this done for him seems to make him feel loved and secure, at least for the present. How do I know this?

He usually needs it done first thing in the morning when I am still asleep and his sister has just dosed off in my bed while nursing, because she only gets to nurse when it’s morning time. He comes to tell me that he needs his bum wiped. I have two choices. I can tell him to do it himself, or to wait for me to come but I’ll be a long time. (He’s waited for over an hour upon occasion.) Or I can drag myself out of bed. Wake up the girl and if her father is home him too with her waking up too early screams and go wipe his butt. He then feels right and loved and happy with his dose of mommy took care of me and brightly goes about dressing himself and getting food and playing with things, etc.
If I tell him to do it his self, he’s four, he will wait until I get up and ask me to do it then, and he will spend the morning melting into puddles at the silliest things and crying and generally having a miserable day. This scene plays itself out every single morning, one way, or the other.

So maybe I am doing good when I put a table together for him, or wash his sister’s hair, or make his breakfast. According to way he thinks, doing things for people is doing good.

5.4.06

My Big Heroic Moment

So last night in San Diego we were supposed to get 1 1/2 inches of rain, I think we got way more than that. I left the bedroom window open, because it’s not cold and it smells good, and I like the sound of rain falling outside my window.

I also need to add that I have always loved storms and thunder and lightning, I used to drive to the highest spot in town during storms to get the best view. This was of course when I lived in the prairies and thunderstorms were a nightly occurrence.

Well last night I was sleeping, and having some sort of dream when lightning and thunder happened, simultaneously directly on top of us. The thunder went on for about 30 seconds. I half woke up and opened my eyes to see this flash of light coming at me from the window and this huge sound and I was certain something was actually coming in the window like a big explosion or something and glass was breaking and flying at me. I was truly terrified. So I did the most logical thing one should do in that situation, I curled into a ball, tucked my head under the covers, (to protect myself from flying glass) and screamed like an idiot.

Still half awake and scared I hear the Girl crying and the GH going over to her bed and picking her up, so the mommy instinct finally kicks in and I get up and take her from him and hold her as she clings to me and cries. I don’t know if it was the thunder or my screaming that woke her up, though hubby says the thunder would have woken up everyone, except the Boy, he slept through it all. There were car alarms blaring all over the place, and the people upstairs were awake and walking around so he says no one would have heard me scream. I spent almost two hours calming her last night and getting her back to sleep, I even broke my set in stone no nursing at night rule in order to help her calm down. Meanwhile my heart is racing and the adrenaline surge is keeping me up and nervous and now the sound of the rain is grating and the departing thunder nerve wracking and I can’t relax.

So when I finally calm down enough to think about it, I am completely embarrassed by my actions. Here I am, actually believing something dangerous is coming straight at me, and I hide under the covers, and action that is completely useless to everyone including myself. I could have thrown myself over top of my daughter who was laying less than 4 feet away, thereby dodging this thing and protecting her, that would have been useful, noble even, but that didn’t even enter my brain. The truth is at that moment I didn’t even remember that she was there. I was locked in this weird moment.

I’m blaming the dream state I was in. Maybe if something really does happen and I’m awake I’ll do better.

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