The Best Laid Plans

I had such great plans for today. I was going to Get. Stuff. Done! I was going to start out the day right with an awesome workout, and go from there.

I was three minutes too late for an awesome workout. I arrived at the gym entrance intersection just in time to have the whole street blocked off by fire trucks and an ambulance responding to a huge crash in the intersection. The people all looked ok, but their cars did not. I could tell it was going to be a long time before the intersection was cleared.

The road system here is extremely convoluted. It doesn’t go in a grid pattern. Instead, it is made up of all kinds of swirly bits that don’t meet up with each other. With the intersection blocked there was literally no way for me to get to the gym. There was also no easy way for me to get home! I had to take a 15 minute jaunt into the next town over to loop around to my house. So crazy.

I really shouldn’t complain. My day had an unexpected turn, but at least my car wasn’t totaled in the middle of an intersection. I came home and started crossing other exciting items off my list, like scheduling a mammogram and a haircut.

I have been desperate for a haircut for several weeks, but I have hair cut anxiety. I knew I wasn’t going to my normal stylist. She keeps moving around and her prices keep going up. I went to her new, fancy Paul Mitchel spa/salon last time and was incredibly uncomfortable. To avoid finding a new stylist, I took a whack at my bangs (not the biggest disaster in the world. It all just blended into a big mess) about a month ago. However, an adult woman with short hair can only take so many whacks at their own bangs before looking like a clown. It was time to get serious.
I finally found someone and went in for my typical razor cut. My last gal would never cut my hair short enough to suit me, so I tried to make it clear that it was ok to be short. Well this new girl took that super seriously and now I’m bald. Erik’s hair is longer than mine. I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I had to run into the school and everyone’s eyes about popped out of their head when they saw me. I was dying inside.

When Elsa got home she was not pleased with the new ‘do. “But why would you DO THAT?” I don’t know, child. I really don’t know. I feel despair.

How about an unrelated rant before I have a mental breakdown about the hair?

It’s the end of the year, so time to gather up volunteers for the fifth grade recognition ceremony. It is traditional for fourth grade parents to help serve snacks so fifth grade parents can just sit back and enjoy the ceremony. I think that’s a great idea and am happy to help in that way. They are also doing a fifth grade Olympic Day as their big fun celebration. There are 65 fifth grade students. That’s a whole lot of parents. How many do you think have volunteered to help with the activities? Two. TWO. Now I am being badgered to go help and you know what? I don’t wanna. Pure and simple, I don’t want anything to do with it. I work my ass off at the school in many ways and I usually don’t even mind. But there has to be a limit. The parents of these particular children simply must step up. Why is it my responsibility make sure they have fun, when there are well over 100 parents who could give up their morning to go and help with the activities? I basically am refusing to do it. I can’t care more than the parents of the actual children. And yes, I understand a lot of parents work. However, I also understand that the majority of parents will be taking that day off for the graduation ceremony, so there are many parents that can be available if they so choose. It is up to them to celebrate their own children.

Whew! Felt good to get that off my chest!

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Back to Life

Friday night we had the biggest PTA event of the year, our annual Sweets and Treats carnival. Usually this event is held in October, but no one wanted to chair it. I said I would chair it, but only if we could move it to May. You can guess how many hands shot up to do it in October, right? Not a one. Of course, once the event didn’t appear on the October calendar I had all kinds of parents commenting on it. I could usually shut them down by telling them, “Ok, I’ll put you down as chair for next yea for October!”

Prior to my leadership program I never understood just how badly people resist change. Personally, I love change. I get bored very easily and am always moving on to a new project or obsession. See also: moving to a foreign country with a guy I barely knew. Change!

The change haters were out in full force when they realized that not only did we move the carnival, we cancelled the spring sock hop. The horror! Last year there was literally one child dancing, Erik. Why are we renting the room and hiring a DJ to have the kids all come in and run in circles for an hour and a half? What a waste of precious resources. The carnival was a much better year-end celebration. Change haters can suck it up.

The event itself went really well. We’ve been doing it for ten years and the original planner had it extremely well organized. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone and added a few games into the mix. If I hadn’t done that, the whole thing would have literally consisted of me editing docs, sending out flyers, buying candy, and getting volunteers. Everything else was done. I ended up with a co-chair, so the work was very manageable. The hardest part was managing 25 middle school students the night of the event. My co-chair didn’t know how to deal with children that age, so I had to work my new leadership magic on her and get her to cool her jets. She was freaking out when they finished setting up and we had 45 minutes before the event started so they were playing the games. What harm comes from playing ring toss and Plinko? They are not consumable.

She also irked me because she came in late and started snapping at all the volunteers to hang up posters. I had little slips of paper for the kids. Each slip had a job with very specific directions. They would come in, take a slip of paper, and perform the job. When they were done, they would put the slip of paper in the done bin and pick a new job. She came in and created chaos, not even asking them what they were doing before snapping at them to follow her around and hang up poster. We had a ton of kids there and I had them divided into two teams of three to hang posters.. I am very, very glad I have been learning about leadership because it took a lot of will power to reign her in instead of reaming her out. I’m finding the biggest thing about being a leader is having self-control.

Speaking of leadership. . . time to go answer my discussion questions about leadership. Answer the questions is easy. Finding a peer reviewed source to agree with me–not so easy. Six weeks to go!

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The Bane of my Existance

Another day, another post!

If we’re Facebook friends, you know another reason I am so busy I can barely breathe some days. I am finishing out my second year as PTA president. Thank the lords of Kobol there’s a two-year term limit on PTA board positions so I can’t get sucked back in. I’m almost freeeeeeeeee!

My time with the PTA has been pretty rocky. For years I thought the main PTA people hated me because of where I lived. I don’t live in the McMansion neighborhood surrounding the school; I live quite a ways away in a townhouse community.
Last night I discovered that they don’t hate me because of where I live. They hate everyone who is not in their little clique. Most of the clique moved on to middle school last year, which has been great this year. No more tension! There’s just one of them left and she pulled quite a number at our last PTA meeting—tried to tell us that we had to pay $1,100 for a fifth grade field trip that the PTA has never paid for before and is not in our budget. We had an emergency board meeting last night and I found out that all the other people on the board have also been victims of this clique. And all those people live in the “right” neighborhood. I don’t know whether to be happy it’s not just me or sad that people are so immature and catty.

Honestly, I am ready to move far, far away from this school and this neighborhood. It was a cute little place when we moved in, but right now there are six cop cars sitting outside my house while the cops are doing who knows what inside one of my neighbor’s houses. My kids get nothing at school because the teachers are so busy trying to deal with the seriously bad behaviors of some of the other students. I am tired of it all. I always said I loved this town and how family friendly it is, but people are being stabbed in the Safeway and robbed outside the library. Now that my kids are both in school I barely see my friends. I think it is time to move on. To where, I don’t know. Hopefully by this time next year we’ll have a good game plan for both Mike and myself, employment wise.

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Like a Phoenix

Guess who!

It’s been two years since I posted, but I’m back! Maybe! We shall see.

Why did I disappear? I started a master’s program and became paranoid that my classmates would look me up and see the real me. Once I realized my classmates probably didn’t give two hoots about looking me up and looking into my life, I was so bogged down with homework that the thought of writing for fun didn’t appeal to me. I’ve been writing several scholarly posts each week complete with reference section for the past two years. It’s been exhausting, but daily blog writing prepared me well for it. I’m in my last class and am currently working on a 50 page research paper. Seven more weeks and I’ll be d-o-n-e with a master’s in strategic leadership.

How about a funny story for old time’s sake?

I have a new nemesis and her name is Crazy Cat Lady. She’s a 68 year old animal hoarding narcissist who hangs out at my gym. I think she’s a lesbian because she likes to run her hand along other lady’s arms and call them princess (and yes, she has done this to me before *shudder*). She’s hot all the time, so she likes to stand under the fan. I’m hot all the time and I like to stand under the fan. You see where this is going, yes? Problem is I get to class at least 15 minutes early so I can claim my spot under the fan. She gets to class at least 15 minutes late and still thinks she can stand under the fan–the very fan I’m standing under. She gives zero f—ks about personal space. She’s covered in cat hair and I’m allergic to cats. About five minutes after she arrives my throat starts closing up because the animal dander is being blown all over the classroom. We are standing under a high powered fan, after all. I have told her I’m allergic and asked her to stay away from me, but she refuses. She says all the right things, “Oh yeah, I’ll move, sorry.” But she doesn’t move. I hates her. I’ve rearranged my schedule so I don’t go to the same classes she goes to, but if I ever have an off week and have to attend a Tues or Fri class, there is is–just waiting to kill me. It’s too bad because I love the Friday teacher, but I love to breathe even more.

And that’s all for today, folks! Is there anyone still out there?

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The Real Party!

I was quite content with the lack of a party for my birthday. I figured it was just par for the course. I’m old, I’m crotchety, I don’t like being the center of attention. No big 40th blow out for me. I would not have wanted a big party with black balloons and over-the-hill jokes. In fact, such a party would have infuriated me. I’m not a very good sport.

Though I admit the birthday was lacking a certain spark this year.

We planned to have dinner with friends this weekend to celebrate and I planned on bringing an Olive Garden copy-cat black tie mousse cake. I love chocolate, and it’s a chocolate bomb. I worked my ass off on this cake for two days!

Anyway, we go over to our friend’s house and around 3:30 Mike suggested we cut the cake and have it with our coffee. I found this extremely odd since we usually have dessert after dinner, but I was eager to cut into it. Mike is not the type to ever ask for sweets, but whatever. I don’t say no to chocolate.

Then just when it’s time to start cooking dinner, everyone starts laughing and telling me that we are not having dinner at home. Linds was taking me to an undisclosed location and the dads were going to stay home with the kids.

I had no idea where we were going or if I was appropriately dressed. I thought maybe we would go to a local restaurant or maybe even a play or show. We ended up taking the metro into DC in the pouring down rain (better to metro in than drive in the monster storm!) and I still had no idea where we were going.

We ended up at Co Co Sala, a chocolate lounge and boutique. So yummy! And so fancy! I told Mike about this place two years ago, but we never went. Somehow he remembered and arranged for my friend to take me down there as a girls’ night out–with him footing the bill!

When we got there someone called Linds and said she was running late, but I had no idea who it was. I told Linds that I could only think of three people that I’d like to walk in the door and she laughed and said “those were the three people on the guest list!” Only one of the other three could make it, so there were only three of us. It was still really fun and delicious.

I’ve never eaten a gourmet meal before, so I felt like I was on an episode of a cooking show. The foods were strange, but delicious. The portions were super tiny, but we didn’t want a huge meal since we were going to gorge on chocolate after the main course.

I got an artichoke tart and then finished off with super yummy chocolate stuff that I can’t even describe. I also got a cocktail called a Fetish–strawberries and chocolate infused vodka. It was really sweet and I’d have liked to have another, but I didn’t want to get drunk down in DC. In fact, can someone make me a Fetish right now? Man, that thing was good.

After dinner, we walked our friend to her car and got to see all kind of city things that we never see up here in the ‘burbs. Lots of young’uns lined up outside clubs, limos dropping parties off, hotel doormen blowing whistles at cabs. . . just the vibe of the city. Though there were lots of drunk people out, it didn’t feel particularly unsafe. I guess we must have been in a good area. It was mostly fancier looking people that were out and about.

We rode the metro home and were safely tucked into bed by midnight (which sounds lame I guess, but I was very happy with that. I like sleep.).

The whole evening was such a surprise! I had no idea Mike was planning something like that or that he even remembered me mentioning that restaurant. It was very nice to celebrate with friends and chocolate and something very outside the realm of my ordinary life. It turned out to be a good birthday after all! This was so unexpected, especially since Mike had already gotten me a very nice birthday gift.

Oh, speaking of unexpected gifts, here’s a little story that is not exactly funny but I must tell.

We got a thick Amazon packet on Friday. I couldn’t recall ordering anything so decided I better not open it in case it was a late birthday gift. When Mike got home I showed it to him and he couldn’t remember ordering anything either. We had a little skirmish about who got to open it. Once we saw the book we basically threw it at each other and tried not to touch it. It was a big, thick booked called Outsmarting Your Cancer. We both just stared at it and kind of freaked, until Mike realized his dad probably had it mailed to us. I guess his dad had prostate cancer and used some of the ideas in this book and now he is cured. Or something? I don’t really understand the details.

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Friday Night

Life keeps going at such a fast pace that I never have a second to sit down here with my thoughts, so I turn to the devil that is Facebook instead of here. Though I have really been censoring myself a lot on there lately because I am annoyed by so many of the mommy posts that I never want to come across as “that mommy.” Except? We all know my kids are the bomb diggity, right? So I guess I am “that mommy.”

I was asked what Erik did for a science project. He used his Squishy Circuits* to test different kitchen items and see if they will conduct electricity. Surprisingly, cheese was the best conductor.

Our science fair is non-competitive and not a requirement. We only had about 20 participants (out of 517 students) so it is very low-key. Our school just can’t seem to get parent involvement and it drives me crazy. And let’s face it, a science project is not going to happen without parent support (even if it is just driving the kid to the store and paying for some supplies), thus the low turn out.

I had my big birthday on Wednesday, which is a really awful day for a birthday. But birthdays are really awful when you are turning fucking-40 so I guess that makes sense. I had too much going on to really celebrate. It was just a bad day all around. I didn’t realize I was PMSing, but I totally was. Elsa woke up at 6:30 and kept coming in my room every five minutes trying to get me out of bed. I am not a morning person so this was not making me happy. When the alarm finally went off, she came in my room and held a bright red light in my eye so I screamed at her to get it out of my face and then she cried and cried and cried because I hurt her feelings, so I felt like mom of the year. All day long she was cranky and tantruming (probably because she got up so early) and being extremely defiant. I hate defiance.

It may have been my birthday, but when you have little kids your birthday is no longer about you. The kids were over-the-moon excited to present their gifts to me and I had to act over-the-moon excited to receive two Frozen magnets, a purple pillow pet and a stuffed fish.

Obviously I was over the moon that they were over the moon about being gift givers. Erik is an extremely generous, sweet young man who is working very hard at giving thoughtful gifts. Elsa. . .well. . . she’s three. She has claimed my stuffed fish as hers and is not happy with me when I suggest that maybe I want to keep my own gift (and I really do not want to keep it!).

My friend came over after lunch and brought flowers and a cake, which was so thoughtful of her! It’s good to have friends.

Then I had to take the kids to swim lessons and by the time they were done we didn’t really want to go anywhere too far away so ended up at Outback so I splurged on a Bloomin’ Onion and lived to regret it. I can’t eat onions, so I was sick all night long. I really would love to go to an adult restaurant, but Wednesday night is not an easy night to find a sitter. We’ll go out when my mom is here in April.

Mike bought me exactly what I requested–a Silhouette cutting machine! I can’t wait to play around with it! He also got me Orphan Black Season 1, so we’ll be able to review before season 2 starts. I love that show.

Then, of course, I had to talk to my mom on my birthday. I really love talking about all the various ways my sister has screwed up her life and is neglecting her children. Such an uplifting topic. My dear sister has lost her HUD house (not actually her fault because the house had a secret basement that was forbidden by HUD standards) so she and her boyfriend are flopping on her husband’s couch. Yes, that statement made my brain hurt. She found a place, but the landlords did a background check on her boyfriend. He had over 50 charges ranging from DUIs to assualt to burglary, so they refused her and my mom was mad at the landlord. Why would any landlord ever rent to that mess?

I know without a shadow of a doubt that my sister is going to try to move into my mom’s house while she is here (she arrives April 12). I know my mom is going to spend her whole trip on the fucking phone, either yelling at her or kvetching with her 3 friends. I know she will speed out of here early, after promising my children that she will stay the whole time. I know that she only has two topics of conversation and I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SICK of both them 1) How to lose weight and be thin! And 2) Your sister is a meth-head whore so I better throw more money at her so I can end up in the poor house while she does meth!

I have flat out told her I don’t want to hear it and she’ll stop for a little while, but she has a boring life and those are the only two topics that interest her. I am dreading this visit. I have a feeling I am going to snap and it is not going to be pretty.

But now I really have to get to bed. Hopefully I’ll have a relaxing day tomorrow and can write some more! We are going over to our friend’s house for a birthday dinner and I’m taking the cake I’ve been working on for the past several hours (why do I do this to myself?). Erik is going to spend the night there, so I should get a nice break (I put Erik to bed, Mike puts Elsa to bed).

*Way cooler than Snap Circuits, or at least the children we’ve introduced them to think so. It uses playdough instead of wires to conduct electricity. You can make all kinds of thing, especially if you make the non-conducive sugar dough to keep things divided when you are creating sculptures. I kind of understood electricity from the snap circuits, but playing with the Squishy Circuits was much more education for me personally.

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Little of This, Little of That

I can’t believe how little I post here these days. I am super busy, but there is a sameness to the days that precludes posting every little detail. I wish I was still a naive young blogger who believed no one in real life would ever find my little corner of the internet. That ship has sailed and I know better. Now I can’t tell you all about my crazy acquaintances because I am pretty sure I’d be caught. Plus, I have a much better quality of friends these days so I wouldn’t want to write crazy stuff about them anyway. I know some crazy people, but I am exhausted by them and they aren’t worth the drama.

How about some quick bullet points?

*I was promoted to Assistant Regional Coordinator for MOMS Club a couple of weeks ago. I love it! However, it means a lot of computery e-mail time. I have several coordinators working under me and I’m the person they come to for answers (though I have people above me that I go to for answers). Right now I am supervising all of Maryland and a few chapters in Virginia. My supervisor and I work together really well. She was my trainer when I first started out and we think a lot alike. We’ve only met in person a couple of times since she lives in Kentucky.

*Today I knew my winter doldrums were finally gone for good when I took the vacuum upstairs and attacked my room and did a piles and piles of laundry. I do piles and piles of laundry every week, but this time I did some blankets as well. It felt good to get things in order.

I also emptied out Erik’s trash can in his room. I don’t do that very often because he doesn’t have much trash, so I was shocked and disgusted when I found very old URINE in the bottom of his trash can! It looked like someone had moved the trash bag and peed under it because the pee was all in the bottom of the can and not in the bag. DISGUSTING.

Erik swears he didn’t do it. It is possible his little friend did it, which kind of sounds like something that kid would do. I don’t know. His room has been stinky for awhile, but I couldn’t figure out why. I guess that problem is solved. He was just very lucky he was at school when I discovered the problem or who knows what I would have done to him. I am still in shock that someone would do that!

*I got a long over due hair cut today and am really pleased with it. I just wish I knew how to do the magic that a stylist can do. Guess we’ll see if I am pleased with it tomorrow when I have to do it myself.

I’ve needed a haircut for at least two months, but I am d-o-n-e with my regular stylist. She was always pushing color on me, and I don’t need color. The last three or four haircuts she gave me were awful and she also refused to consider a different style for my hair. Ummmmmmm. . . what? Sure, it was a cut that worked for me, but I do like to try new things. Hell, I had a great style in 1995, but that doesn’t mean I want a Rachel for the rest of my life. I would just agree with her because I didn’t have time to fight, but the last cut definitely pushed me over the edge. Finding a new stylist is really daunting, which is why I kept going back.

I tried someone totally new at a new salon and I loved her! She was a teacher of cosmetology and decided she was tired of the commute into DC, so got a job up here. Maybe this stylist break-up will be a lot less painful than I thought it would be.

*I’ve had three people in the past week tell me they are planning on naming their future (as yet to be conceived) daughters “Elsa.” Aaaaaaaannnnnnnddddd. . . . there goes her uncommon name, which I knew was going to happen as soon as I saw the movie. I know I just need to let it go.

Who knew I was going to end up with a Disney prince and queen? (I forgot the prince in Little Mermaid is named Eric).

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Looking Up

I don’t know if it is my e-mail or LJ, but I only got a couple of your comments in my e-mail. I just logged in and saw that there were a ton of other comments. Thank you, everyone! I think you are all right in several ways.

Yes, this winter is never ending. Living in the DC area for 8 years, I’ve gotten very used to mild winters and a lot of time spent outdoors. People here generally won’t go out if it’s below 50, but I just bundle the kids up and out we go. I find it more enjoyable than the muggy, buggy summers. This winter has been much too cold and snowy. Now that the snow is melted, we still can’t really go outside because it is a muddy mess. I almost fell on my butt when I checked the mail, the grassy area was so muddy and slippery. When 19 inches of snow melts over the course of just a few warm days, it leaves a lot of water.

Physical therapy has also caused a lot of this depression, I think. For the past month I’ve had absolutely ZERO me time. I drop Elsa off at preschool, head over to physical therapy, hang out with a bunch of weirdos while doing some seriously sexual looking moves for two hours, barely have time to run home and grab a bite to eat, then pick Elsa up again. No time to relax, work on a project, or enjoy those precious hours of freedom.

Plus, it means I wasn’t going to the gym, thus I was not getting my endorphins. I’ve discovered that I really can not function well if I am not getting those endorphins.

I am finally done with physical therapy, so hoping to get back on track with my free time and my gym usage. I have got to get this body moving!

Yesterday I somehow found some motivation (the toilet flooded, so I was very motivated to clean that up right away) and as long as I kept moving and didn’t sit down, I accomplished a lot and felt better. I just need to keep applying that lesson.

If I can’t get myself back on track by next Friday, I’m going to schedule a therapy appointment. I’ve never had therapy and it makes me nervous, but I really do not like feeling the way I’ve been feeling. If therapy is the kick in the pants I need, so be it. I’m open to the idea. . . just hoping I can get myself on track before then.

****Several Hours Later*****
Well, maybe it was just sunshine, fresh air and socialization that I needed. I spent about 3 hours at the park with the kids today, sitting on the park bench and talking to one of my best friends. What a difference it made!

The playground was not too muddy, but there were huge mud puddles in the grassy areas. It was 60 degrees out, so my friend and I let our three little ones (Elsa and her two boys) jump in the puddles for over an hour. You should have seen the side eye we were getting from other park people. It was mostly young families with their first babies barely walking, so they are not quite at the point of throwing up their hands and saying “oh well, that’s what plastic bags and washing machines are for.”

By lucky happenstance, our old neighbors showed up to do work on their house today. We took their daughter (Erik’s age) to the park with us and they had a great time playing together. Erik generally does much better with girls, which is kind of funny. He really is a gentle spirit, compared to many of the boys I know. He enjoys rough housing a little bit, but not like the boys around our neighborhood, who have no limits and leave bruises.

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Running on Empty

I am completely unmotivated. I’ve been completely unmotivated since before Christmas. I can’t seem to take care of myself, my children or my home. Yes, we are all alive and trucking along, but I can’t seem to pull myself out of my chair to do the nitty gritty chores not absolutely required. I don’t vacuum every day like I used to (sounds obsessive, but we have a carpeted dining room so it really needs to be done daily). I don’t interact with Elsa the way I’d like to. I can’t seem to stick to a diet and have completely given up on pretending that I care.

I don’t know.

I need a gigantic kick in the pants, but I don’t know what that kick might be. Mike says I just need to get a job, but nope. Not gonna happen until Elsa is in kindergarten.

I think a huge part of the problem is that I am not socializing all that much anymore. Now that Elsa is in preschool I don’t have many MOMS Club events to go to and I’m getting lonely. I never thought of myself as an extravert, but as I grow older and learn to know myself better I’ve discovered that I am an extravert if I’m with the right crowd. It’s just a matter of finding that crowd. My crowd is slowly moving away and I’m not sure how to replace it.

I feel especially bad that I have been so short with Elsa. She is in the stage that I really can’t handle very well–constantly telling me she doesn’t like me, wants a new mommy, wants to live somewhere else. Yet, she is also constantly pulling at my clothes and sticking her hands under my shirt to grope my belly and boobs. She even tried to nurse when I was getting in the shower and leaned over to put my towel down! Talk about a surprise! Today her preschool teacher pulled me aside and said I needed to work on having her not grope the teacher. She didn’t say it quite like that, but that is what she meant.

I am in a bad cycle with her and I have to change up the game. I am patient, patient, patient, patient, then blow up, then apologize profusely and sometimes give her what she wanted even though I know I am completely undermining my own parenting. I have to start preventing the blow up. I have to get control of myself.

This is a really hard age and I know that. We will get through. I just hope we get through with minimal psychological damage. She is such a different child than Erik. In some ways she is so much easier, but in other ways she is infinitely harder. He was not sensitive at all. Basically you have to yell at him to get his attention and even then he just looks right through you or says “oh, come on.” She melts down at a raised voice. Yet she doesn’t listen to a normal voice. So I yell. And then she wants a new mommy. Is it any wonder?

I really need to do something to refresh myself–my parenting skills, my eating habits, everything. If I was a robot, I could be re-booted. Maybe even refurbished. As it is, I am feeling stuck and don’t know what to do to unstick me.

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Valentine’s!

We ended up having a really nice family Valentine’s Day yesterday. I am so proud of Erik–he is getting to be so thoughtful and mature. It is really nice to see all the blood, sweat and tears we’ve put into making him a good citizen pay off. Elsa is still in the feral animal stage, which can be so disheartening, then we look over at him and see that yes, indeed, thoughtful parenting will eventually create a thoughtful kid.

When I went to bed the night before, I left a Valentine’s gift out for each family member (excluding myself). When Erik realized I didn’t have a gift he was very, very upset and immediately started making me cards, giving me his chocolate, and telling me how much he loved me. He sacrificed his chocolate for me! That’s huge! I also got a card from a secret admirer, so I told Mike he better watch out! Haha! It was fairly obvious who the secret admirer was–the handwriting was very Eightish.

We spent Friday morning making Valentine’s for the kids’ parties (they were delayed till Tuesday since Friday was a snow day) and Erik spent a long time thinking about the cards for each individual child. It was pretty cool to have a “boy” pack and “girl” pack of Valentines so he could semi-customize each card. He gave most of the girls a card from Frozen, but the girl he hangs out with got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle card. I was amused (and yes, we did have a talk about gender roles and there not really being things that are for boys and for girls, that anyone can like anything).

I know this sounds silly, but I am just so proud of him for recognizing that not every body likes the exact same thing he likes. He’s getting empathy! It’s a long road for a child to develop empathy, but it’s a beautiful thing when it finally happens.

It was also funny because I told him we had M&Ms to tape on the cards and he was coming up with all kinds of crazy schemes to tape them on individually. He didn’t realize they came in single serving bags.

Later, when Mike came home with flowers and a card, I pointed them out to Erik to show that he didn’t have to feel sad for me. He was quite put out and wanted me to know that his gift was much better than his father’s gift. We were definitely getting some Oedipal vibes.

Then!

Then!

Last night he declared he was going to sleep with us, and wouldn’t get out of my bed until I rather forcibly kicked him out. That never happens, so I was wondering how much he realized about Valentine’s being the holiday of love and if he was subconsciously or even consciously trying to prevent some lovin’.

I made Mike an origami fortune teller (more commonly known as a cootie catcher) with date nights listed on the inside. We didn’t have a babysitter scheduled and the roads were crap, so going out was not in the cards for us. I hate going out on Valentine’s anyway. I find crowds very overwhelming.

He ended up picking fondue night followed by chocolate, so we did a family fondue night. The original idea was some sexy chocolate time, but let’s face it. We are old, have little children that might interrupt us at any moment, and had just washed the sheets. We made chocolate fondue and had regular vanilla sex after the kids were in bed. With kids, that’s about as exciting as we get (and it is plenty good enough for me).

My mom is talking about coming over in April, so I’d really like to plan a date night while she’s here. I want to go into DC and either do a walking tour or see a show, then go to a fancy restaurant and stay at a nice hotel for a relaxing evening of fun. Nothing says relaxing like listening for little footsteps out of one ear.

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