>Mama Bear

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If you look at the mothers of all sorts of species, you will have no trouble finding the stories that are out there of extraordinary measures a mother animal will go to in order to rescue her young. She will become ferocious, brave, unbelievably strong. It is biology. A Mama Bear is hard-wired to protect her cub.

We humans are no different. I am included.

I can be level-headed. Rational. Intelligent when needed. I can be wise. I can be weak. I can be any array of any aspect of what it is to be human. Until you mess with one of my cubs. Then? Well, then biology takes over. I can be viscious. Mean. Ferocious. I revisited this concept today in an experience that still has me reeling.

We have had an ongoing problem with Evan and our neighbors. No, not the children. The adults, if you can believe that. I have posted before of Evan’s behavioral difficulties. He has a temper. And he loses it. A lot. He will raise his voice and carry on like you would not believe. We have sought, and are undergoing, treatment for these issues. We, as parents, are trying everything we know to help him because we love him. He is still our baby, our firstborn together, the glue that held us together in the lean years. He’s our Evan. And we are working on this issue he has each and everyday not only for the sake of harmony in the house, but for the sake of Evan and his need to learn to effectively navigate the world in which he lives. What we do not need is advice to beat him from old ladies in grocery stores or negative comments from people who are uninvolved. I believe that it sometimes takes a village, and so I am open to suggestions from people who have dealt with the same. I’m not speaking on that. But anyhow…

Our neighbors (trashy, nasty, ghetto, uneducated, rotted-teeth-having, dirty, house-stinking-of-dirty-dog-everytime-they-open-the-door-having, skanks that they are—yeah, I said that here because I will never, ever say it in front of Ev because as an adult I woud not want him to torment their kids when they can’t help any of it. But I can say it here You won’t judge me.)….Anyhow, our neighbors decided a while back that because of Evan’s tendency to yell and be disrespectful to us, they do not want their (dirty, skanky, trashy) children to play with him. It really isn’t their business, so long as Evan does not act that way in front of them, which I assure you he does not. He doesn’t lose his temper or raise his voice to them. He isn’t aggressive toward them. But Lesson Number One in the world of getting along with your neighbors is that not eveyone is going to like you, no matter what you do or do not do. And so I let it slide. It is, after all, their prerogative. I just explained to Evan that they do not like the way he treats us and therefore he should just ignore them when he is outside playing. And John and I have continued to be civil to them. We share a duplex, for crying out loud. Evan does as he is told. For the most part, they spread their backwoods dysfunction across the backyard and we pretty much keep to the front lawn other than to park the vehicles, which is to the rear of the house. Until today.

Evan was riding his bike when I woke to eat a quick lunch. I had the full intention of going back to bed before work tonight. Until Evan came in with tears streaming down his little cheeks. He had gone to the back end of the driveway to turn around on his bike when their (dirty, toothless) children decided to talk to him. Evan said he ignored them like I told him to do since the parents didn’t want their kids to play with him. The (white trash, likely inbred) father was out back whittling yet another tacky lawn ornament to litter the backyard and heard the boys talk to Evan. And he shouted at them in a way that Evan was sure to hear (and yes, I verified with other adults who were outside and heard it), “Don’t talk to It. IT doesn’t know how to speak. IT is a monster. Stay away from IT.”

IT is my nine-year-old son. My oldest baby. The kid who almost didn’t make it into the world. The kid who is gifted and bright. The little boy who has given away his toys to neighbors in need without being asked. The kid who once witnessed a metally-disabled little boy on the playground as he was being tormented by other children, and subsequently took the little boy by the hand and played with him away from the mean kids. The kid who cries at the sight of a homeless man and insists we stop to offer help. The kid who is so gentle and loving to the little brother he never asked for but got anyway. The kid who smiled when his world turned upside down on him.

He is my cub. And he gets a little taller each year, but no amount of time or height can change that.

I know I should be rational and go and speak to the neighbors. I also know I should do so with a level head and steady voice. But I am the type who cries when I get angry enough to go into a rage. And quite honestly, this rage will not stop. I have tried everything. I could handle it if the children said something to Evan. But this was a grown man. Older than either John or I. And if I start a confrontation right now, I swear I will go to jail today.

I cannot help it. I am a Mama Bear. I am hard-wired for it. And biology is a powerful thing.

>Swept Away

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I have a confession to make: I am enthralled in this whole Royal Wedding thing. Why? I can only speculate. I’m not usually one to care about this type of thing. I do remember waking up one morning as a little girl and finding my mother clutching her coffee mug while staring raptly at the television screen as Charles and Diana wed. Some of the details of that are a blur, except that I seem to remember that it was God-awful early in the morning, and Mom had been awake for hours. Watching the commentaries, the images of the processional route in her cloud of Vantage ultralight 100’s carcinogens at a time when the idea of second-hand smoke being as harmful as active smoking was almost laughable. And so clad in my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas, I watched with her over my Pop-Tarts.
The history, the symbolism. The romanticism as a commoner became a princess in a sea of ivory dress that was so beautiful then. Now it looks like a monstrosity of a dress, but then? Then it was all about that dress and whether she would mess up Chuck’s name during the vows. And I watched with the dream all little girls have of their fairytale wedding and what it would be like to be a princess.

So now I’m a grown woman with a career. And a husband. And 2 kids. I never had the fairytale wedding. I wore a pencil skirt and a white silk blouse when John and I wed ten years ago. I never became a princess. Things are so different for me now than they were in my childhood fantasies. But I am still watching the fairytales. That part never changed. But instead of dreaming of what can be, I’m reflecting on how things are. I married the love of my life. I have a career that, while not what I planned, is rewarding and fulfilling. And I have my boys. Would my life have been different if those dreams would have been fulfilled? Absolutely. Would it have been better? Nobody knows, but all I’m saying is that Diana died being chased by paparazzi.
So I will watch the wedding. I’ll wish I had the roses and the dress and the carriages. But this time around, I will be grateful for this life I have right now.

>Goosebumps

>I just found this old picture of my mother. There aren’t many of them because she was like me and refused to be in pictures as an adult. But this is her. She was around 50 years old in this photo, about 7 years before I lost her. She was already battling lung disease and has raised 6 kids, leaving only me in the house. I was in the fifth grade the year this photo was taken, and it was the day my oldest sister got married. But what gave me chills is the place in my files that the computer saved it. Right next to the other picture in this post. I swear she is here with us in Zachary. I just know it.

Mom, born May 12.


Zach, born May 13th.

>Easter for the Heathen

>Okay, so I do not get into the religious stuff. Never really have. And despite the plastering of bunnies and eggs all over everything, I want to remind you that Easter is a religious holiday. And I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about not going to church. But nevermind that. Chocolate for everybody!

I spent the day being very lazy until about 9 PM tonight, which is when I had the realization that I have yet another of the seemingly endless stream of marketing papers due tomorrow while I am scheduled to work. So I did get that finished. Other than that, I got nuthin’.

Zachy got his first ever Easter basket, which involved a tiny taste of chocolate and a couple of the requisite Peeps. I hate those damned things, but love ’em or hate ’em, they are a part of Easter and Zach got a row of them. And just like Mama, the kid hated them. He took one lick and threw the offending neon-pink chick on the living room floor. Other than that, his basket was filled with small-ish toys, like he needed any more. Evan’s basket was another story altogether. I am awaiting the appearance of CPS workers since there is no way in hell that a kid with the dental issues he has had needs that much candy. But he is a kid and it is Easter. I can just make him brush his teeth after Every. Little. Bite.
So after basket fun, my boys and I headed out for a leisurely lunch a local Italian joint. And came back to play video games together on a very rainy afternoon. (Yeah, turns out I am a hardcore bitch and enjoy blowing brains out via Call of Duty: Black Ops. And before you say a word, that one only comes out when Evan isn’t around–and he was off watching a movie or plannning his planetary takeover, either one, while we played it!)

So now here I am. The house is quiet, the paper is done, and I am speaking to you through the blog I rarely have time to write on these days. And I am so very grateful for the fact that we had such a relaxing day. And I am reflecting on the past two Easters. 2009: I was so busy working like crazy that the shopping for candy and basket and other supplies slipped through my fingers. And I had to call John from work the night before and tell him to take my debit card and go to the store and get Evan stuff for a basket and that I would put it together when I got home in the morning. He bought a package of Reese’s eggs. That’s it. No basket, no grass, no jelly beans or Peeps. No solid chocolate bunny or stuffed chick or spring-themed book. A package of Reese eggs. I cried and cried because when I tried to fix his error by stopping and getting the stuff on the way home, they were all out of everything. That was the year Ev got his Easter basket in a large wicker laundry basket. There were no complaints from him, though. And 2010: Ahhhh, that one. The pregnant one. I won’t even go there since it was in the last month I was pregnant, and therefore probably the darkest of all of them. I just remembering John coming through well enough that I was pleased with the way Ev’s Easter turned out. And I remember trying not to grimace through the contractions so Evan wouldn’t feel bad as we played board games and colored in my bed, all while muching on Easter candy.

I’ll never be sure why Easter-time is always so blah for me. The only theory I have is that the period between mid-April and mid-May was always Mom’s time. Mothers’ Day and her birthday. And since her death, it has been the hardest time of year. This year is so different, though. May 12th will forever more be the day I heard the phrase “mature lungs”, got the call to tell me to be at the hospital the next day so they could end my misery. Mom’s birthday. And then we have the 13th. Zach’s. Suddenly the April-to-May transition isn’t a sad time to think about the anniversaryh of Mom’s death or how I miss her on Mothers’ Day. Suddenly this is a time of gratitude and peace and happiness. Once again, thank you, Zachary.

>Zach’s Latest Toy

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I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with any of the vast array of toys he received or will receive as birthday gifts. Though on a side note, ask and ye shall receive! I made a desperate cry on Facebook about how the numerous electronic sing-songy toys he has are driving me to the brink of insanity and our relatives and family friends responded with piles of non-electronic toys that are actually educational: bead mazes, wooden block sets, wooden puzzles, books, shape sorters, stacking and nesting toys, and more. Love it!

So anyway, back to the story at hand…

I was sort of sleeping, sort of awake, and Zach was playing in his Pack & Play in the living room while John ran an errand with Evan. I kept hearing this gagging, retching sound. Zach has never vomited and I can count the number of times he has even spit up on one hand, so I was more than a little perplexed by the sound. I would immediately check on him, and he would be fine. And I would hear it again. Again, I would check and see nothing out of the ordinary. After a few times of the same, I finally caught him with a single finger thrust deep into his mouth. A-Ha! So he was gagging himself with his finger. Baby Bulimia? Hmmm…

About that time, John arrived home from his errand and I told him what I had been witnessing. He didn’t act surprised in the slightest. “Oh, he’s been doing that,” John said. I had been working for the few days before. Translation: work, sleep, get ready for work, go back to work, and repeat for three days. So I missed it.

What did I miss? Well, Zach has this new love of his uvula. I mean, it dangles there in the back of his throat. Dangly. Fun, I guess, if you are a baby dicovering such things as your belly button or toes or ears. But his uvula? John has caught him on more than one occasion with his finget thrust deep into his mouth, wagging it back and forth as if playing with something. And Evan is hilarious about it. As in: “Da-aaaad, Zach’s playing with his uvula again!”

My children may be more than just a little off. Just sayin’.

>Sorry, Nothing To See Here…

>My life is a sea of endless reading and written assignments, baby and older child, husband, and work. Wait, scratch work from that list because my slacker butt has been off since last Thursday morning. I have absolutely nothing to tell you. Other than to bore you with details about my trip to John’s mother’s house this past weekend, which highlights some of my Mommy-of-the-Year contender moments.

Let’s start with the trip down there. It couldn’t possibly have gone smoothly, because this is me we’re talking about. It started with me trying to sleep just a couple of hours, having worked the night before and not being too keen on falling asleep behind the wheel with my children in the car. My dearest hubster decided that, hey, it’s nice outside, so he is going to ride his Harley down there while I follow him in the car. Of course gas is ridiculously expensive right now, so that in itself is grounds for divorce in my book. But he did it, leaving me in the car with the two kiddos for the four-hour drive. Thanks, John. We stopped at the midpoint for him to fill up, being that Harleys hold about 2 ounces of gas at a time. Evan was starving anyway, and Zach needed a diaper change. I just wanted coffee. And I took the opportunity to brag about my angelic children. I should’ve known better, considering we were only halfway there.

Because as soon as we got back on the interstate, Zachy started to scream like he has never screamed before. He screamed like the devil himself had posessed my baby. And he did it all the way from Elizabethtown (yep, as in the Kirsten Dunst movie) to Central City, Kentucky (Mayberry in my book). That’s a lot of screaming. I even, in sheer desperation, told Evan to let Zach have a sip of his drink (Diet SPRITE!!!!!) thinking it may calm him down a bit until we get somewhere where I can fill his bottle with milk and help him go to sleep. But no, he kept screaming. To the point that, once there, I opened the door and got out with the car still running, the headlights on, the kids buckled in, and all, telling John, “Get YOUR CHILDREN. I’m DONE!” Hey, at least I managed to put the car into park first.

Yep, it was that bad.
But we had a nice relaxing visit. Until we came home.

No screaming this time, unless you count the obscenities coming from my mouth as I watched my husband, who was supposed to be careful, darting in and out of traffic next to massive semis which made him look like a pissant. I could just see him getting squashed like a bug before our very eyes. Could sense the therapy bills it would take to get Evan over watching his dad die on the interstate. Really. As a matter of fact, when we stopped for gas this time, I asked John if he was enjoying his ride, explaining that it would be the last one because I was putting the m-effer on Ebay as soon as I got home. He tamed himself after that. I think everyone could sense that I had reached my limit, because the boys were angels for the whole ride home. Evan finished his homework as Zachy snoozed. Once Zach was awake, Evan played with him quietly, keeping him entertained and quiet while I fiddled with the radio and counted down the miles.

Oh and one more thing: this fricken song. played. at least. a million times. And got stuck in my head. I never would have known it was Katy Perry. And it’s admittedly weird as hell, but I think I have to buy the cd now. Or mp3 or whatever the hell I mean right now. Definitely not what I usually listen to…

>Finally!

>My favorite book of all time. Somebody did it. Someone needed to. Amazing that it is so old, yet seemingly written about the day in which we live right now. I have to find a sitter! It is only playing in 300 theaters, and there is one in Cincinnati. Who is John Galt????