Saturday, July 28, 2007

me & my monkey

i spent the morning doing the dishes with my son. there were some bubbles in some places. he got a few of them clean. he helped rinse the suds off. then he me unload the dishwasher. he also tried to eat some of the food that was dried on the plates from the night before. oh well. he's not even 20 months old yet. i don't know what i was expecting. but we had a great time and i was able to improve the cleanliness of the kitchen and watch him at the same time. who cares if we were both soaking wet by the end? that's why we don't change out of our pajamas until noonish. :-)

the question is, will the house look passable by the time the in-laws get here today at 3 p.m.? let's hope so. otherwise my MIL will start cleaning things. see, i don't care if she wants to help out while she's here with chores that were created by her existance. if we make a big dinner for them and she wants to do the dishes afterwards, great! but when she goes out of her way to find things that haven't been cleaned in a long time just so that she can clean up after us? (like the microwave?) that really really bugs me. i know it shouldn't, but it just does.

i try not to talk about my in laws on thesynergizer but it doesn't always work out that way.


Friday, July 27, 2007

I would fly you to the moon and back

Andrea loved this song.

She’s taking her time making up the reasons to justify all the hurt inside. Guess she knows from the smiles and the looks in their eyes, everyone’s got a theory bout the bitter one.

Mama never loved her much. Daddy never keeps in touch. Now she shies away from human affection. But somewhere in a private place, she packs a bag for outerspace. Now she’s waiting for the right kind of pilot to come. And she’ll say to him, I would fly you to the moon and back if you’ll be, if you’ll be my baby. Got a ticket for a world where we belong. So would you be my baby, yeah. She can’t remember a time when she felt needed. If love was red then she was color blind.

All her friends have been tried for treason. And crimes that were never defined. Love is like a barren place. Reaching out for human faith, it’s like a journey I just don’t have a map for. So baby’s gonna take a dive, push the shift to overdrive. Send a signal that she’s hanging on her hopes on the stars. What a pleasant dream ...

The thing is, I never could grasp why she felt that way. Her mama and daddy did love her much. There were no smiles and looks in their eyes. She might have been bitter, but it was her own choice. And her friends? They were never tried for treason. If she was the princess, I was her bodyguard. Her lady-in-waiting. Her everything.

It was never important that she love me as much as I loved her. It was fine that she let me hang around. Separations came and went. Sometimes she didn’t return my phone calls. When we were 15, she stopped talking to me for several months, and I was sure that was just it. But then on the fourth of July, I saw her outside. I was in my room, and I saw that she saw me. So I waved, and she gestured that I should come over. We walked to Safeway in our shorts, flip-flops and bikini tops and bought fireworks, even though legally you had to be 16 to do so. We looked 16. She looked amazing. The guys at the fireworks stand opted not to argue with her when she leaned forward over the counter and let her dark hair fall all around her.

We laughed at the look on his face as we walked back home. After that, we were best friends again for the rest of high school and into college. We went through boyfriends and other friends and parties together and apart. We found the worst sort of trouble to get into and stayed out very, very late.

For her 19th birthday, her boyfriend wanted to take her to Canada, and my fiance and I went along. She drank more than we could imagine a 110 pound 5’7’’ girl holding ever. She started to cry. She’d just returned from an exchange student program in Australia to find someone else wanted her guy. He hadn’t cheated, but he hadn’t exactly kicked this other girl, Dawn, to the curb either. They were “friends.”

“She’s prettier than me! You should just go be with her. I’m not good enough for you. Look at me! I’m so useless. Just get out of here. I don’t even want to talk to you.”

Her boyfriend, Chris, who was drunk, but less so, was lost and hurt. I shoved him away and held her. “Shhhhh. It’s OK, it’s OK. I love you. You’re wonderful. He doesn’t want her, he wants you. He’d do anything for you. Shhhhh. It’s OK.”

She cried and cried and cried and told me she loved me. It was the only time she ever did.

Later that night, Chris called our hotel room. She was puking in the bathroom and wouldn’t let him in. He was worried she could get hurt. I went up there, but she wouldn’t let me in either. She was sobbing again and wretching. The next morning, I combed her hair out for her and helped her put a cold washcloth on her eyes. She vowed she’d never drink again.

A year later, she was the maid of honor at my wedding. She came, she smiled, she wore a dress and stood in pictures. I was so glad she was there for me, even though really, she’d done none of the typical bridesmaid duties. Honestly, I don't think she even knew she was supposed to be in charge of a shower. Luckily, another bridesmaid, Katie, knew this about her, and just stepped in without making a deal over it. Andrea was flighty and we’re just glad she agreed to help at all.

That was really the last time we were friends. A year after that, I tracked her down and went to see her at the UW. We visited for a few hours. She’d gained a bunch of weight while Chris was in Iraq, and then lost it quickly when she heard he was coming home. She didn’t look well at all. It was like I was talking to the shell of her former self.

I talked to her on the phone after I moved to Idaho a few more times. Two perhaps. She said she’d love to come visit. Maybe in October?

She never returned another phone call or email after that. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she had a new email and new phone number. (Her cell had a computer voicemail, so there wasn’t anyway to know if it was still her number.) I left her a message once every four months or so. I emailed periodically. Nothing.

Once, a guy answered her phone. When I asked for her, he hung up. That told me a lot. If it had been a wrong number, he would have said so, right?

When I was pregnant, I called her parents house. I realize now that talking to her dad was a mistake. He told me he’d give her the message, but he never really gave them to her when we were kids either. I should have waited and talked with her mom. Anyway, he did refuse to give me her contact info, which told me even more.

I asked my mom to find out what she could. (Andrea’s mom and my mom go to the same hairdresser.) I guess she’s living in Seattle with a guy named Gig. I guess she’s not interested in ever talking to me again.

But there’s still some part of me that wonders. What if she’s scared? What if she’s trapped in an abusive relationship with some over-controlling guy?

Sometimes I’m hurt, and consider her gone for good. But sometimes I miss her so much my heart aches for her.

Honestly, when I was a teenager, I used to wonder if I wasn’t maybe a little bit bi. But it wasn’t that I loved all women, it was just that I loved her.

I still have the same phone number I did in college when we last talked. My mom still has the same address and phone number she did when we were growing up. If she wants to find me, she can. But if she doesn’t want to be found, she doesn’t want to be found. (She’s ungoogleable. Andrea Clark. Ha ha ha ha!)

Everytime I think I’ve said good-bye for good, gotten all the closure I’ll ever need, something else happens. My son and I danced to Savage Garden the other day, and I wondered. Did she ever find the right kind of pilot? I hope so.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

parenting nightmare

This is going here because I have this inexplicable urge to write about this incident but yet at the same time am so humiliated that I don’t really want anyone to know about it. I know I am often snarky about my husband’s parenting.

Yet, several times now, I, too have messed up big time. OK, yeah, my brain can say all the cheesy supportive stuff, like, “Oh, you’re only human” and “Everybody messes up sometimes” but this is my child’s well-being on the line here, and sometimes you don’t deserve a trite pat on the back, “Oh, it was an accident” you know? You deserve to be bitched out about it because you are 100 percent at fault, and that’s what you would do if the situation were reversed.

I left the bathroom door open. That has happened before. We’ve both done it. We remember to shut it like 99 percent of the time, but sometimes it gets left open. Well, my 19-month-old son wandered in there and came out chewing on something.

It was my razor.

And, what’s worse, his latest antics include running from you if you try to take something away from him. The more important it is to you, the faster he runs. I shouted, “Stop!” and he bolted. My husband and I took off after him and we both were screaming “No! and STOP!!!” at the ultimate intensity, the kind that should make your kid cry for like 10 minutes and make you feel like an ass for overreacting. Nope. My kid kept running. He even ran like he was scared of us. What on earth has ever happened to him in his short baby life to make him think that he should run from us? We don’t spank him ... we hardly even yell at him much.

We finally corner him in the kitchen and pry the razor out of his hands. He turns and looks up at me and I started bawling. Blood is oozing out of his mouth. He looks like a vampire baby from hell. Even my husband started to cry. At this point, the baby starts crying too. Who knows if he actually felt the pain or just decided to cry because we were crying.

So we went out of our way to try to make this as much of a lesson as possible. We show him his bloody face. We show him the blood on the sharp razor. We reiterate the words “SHARP” and “STOP” and “NO” and tell him he needs to listen or he could get hurt. We tell him that he got an ouchie because he ran from us. When we say “stop” he needs to stop or else more ouchies.

The problem is, he’s disturbingly fascinated with things that hurt him. He understands “hot” and will back away from something that’s very very hot, like when we were putting asparagus in the steamer and a bit of steam made him jerk his hand away. He started pitching the asparagus from afar. But within a week or so, he was back up at the stove, pulling on the oven handle and trying to reach the stuff that’s up there cooking. I’d like to think that it’s just because he doesn’t remember, but I know it isn’t true. The whole time he’s grabbing at the stove, he’s saying “hot hot hot” over and over again.

Same thing goes for when he got a slivers in his feet, just a few days apart. My husband had to use a safety pin to get them out, and the poor baby screamed and wailed the whole time. Later, we’d put a Band-Aid on his “ouchie” and he’d go off, being happy again. For days and days afterward, he’d shove his foot in my face and point to the infinitesimal scar and say “ouchie” and make me kiss it. And several times, when he’s seen the safety pin (it’s actually a diaper pin) on a table or something, he lunges for it. “NO. That’s ouchie. Sharp! Do you remember ouchie?” and he’ll make an upset face that shows me that he does indeed remember, and present his foot for another kiss. (My favorite part about this whole thing is that often it’s the wrong foot.)

But then he still wants the damn safety pin. Once, I found him with it in his mouth. (Thankfully it was closed.)

I mean, I know you have to child-proof your home when you have a toddler. But this kid can climb tables and scale walls and open cupboards and cabinets and he’s fast as lightning. You can’t leave anything anywhere even for a second.

I was also the one who left the razor by the side of the bathtub instead of putting it back up again in the shower caddy. So we fed the poor baby as much ice as he wanted (which is a lot, he LOVES ice) and he seemed to be fine. There are no scars and he hasn’t had any trouble eating.

But oh man, I just cannot get the sight of all that blood out of my brain. I’m eaten alive with guilt over an incident that produced no harmful long-term affects and my son will not even remember. Guess it comes with the territory.

read the parenting stories I’m not too embarrassed to share with my friends at thesynergizer on livejournal.