Happy Halloween!

And Eli, Three Years Ago:

Every Year It’s Always the Same

I couldn’t decide whether to get Halloween candy that would be really delicious, so I could eat half the bag ahead of time the leftovers, or if I should get Halloween candy that’s “eh” so I wouldn’t be interested in it.  I opted for Option B (Swedish Fish) and now I’m wondering how I can con my husband into going to 7-11 to buy me a bag of Peanut Butter Cups, because I just read this blog post and now I desperately need peanut butter and chocolate.

Boo.

 

Desperate For Content

Is anyone else planning Thanksgiving dinner yet?  Last year I was in the the throes of morning sickness and it suuuuuuuuuuuucked so this year I am making up for lost time.  Let me just put it to you this way – we’re going to have two different kinds of rolls.

Here’s our menu:

Breakfast:  Cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, coffee, mimosas

Dinner:

Turkey, brined

stuffing with chestnuts, apricots, and sausage

mashed potatoes and gravy (Every once in a while someone tells me about a Thanksgiving dinner where NO MASHED POTATOES WERE SERVED.  I have to stick my fingers in my ears and hum so I escape hearing about these types of things, lest I be haunted at night for the rest of my life by the thought of Thanksgiving with NO MASHED POTATOES.)

ambrosia salad

cranberries two ways (and the two ways are the kind loose from a can and the kind jellied from a can, sliced.)

Martha’s sweet potato biscuits

buttered rosemary rolls

southern style green beans

spinach and iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing and radishes

roasted brussels sprouts

pumpkin pie (ick)

ginger apple cheesecake (mmmmm)

PS Every year my sister names our turkey and my mother’s turkey after some celebrity du jour.  We’ve had Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, Frankie Munez, Hilary Duff, Britney Spears.  This year I’m pulling for Justin Bieber, but I would also accept Taylor Swift.

Party Time

Please note, he tells everyone who asks that he is “a pregnant bee”. Awesome.

I had the BAD FEELINGS about the Halloween party which Eli did NOT WANT to go to. We were supposed to come pick them up early to “watch them dance” and he was horribly opposed to the idea of dancing and had refused to do it all the other times they practiced at preschool.  The teacher kept saying “We don’t want our kids to be standing at the side of the room in Junior High!” and I really wanted to point out that he comes from a proud line of standers by the side of the room during dances type people especially in Junior High when tequila shots before required dancing is frowned upon and that also were it not for the invention of wine he probably wouldn’t even exist, but I refrained.

Anyway.  When I got there he was sitting away from the circle of kids in his own separate chair. (urgh.) But I told him to go sit with his class and he did.  They sang songs as a group while the parents watched and he just SAT THERE and I rethought the preschool decision a thousand times in that moment and thought about the giant SUV I could buy with preschool tuition, because I am a very bad person.  But THEN they did “solos” of the songs, and five or six kids went (a bunch wouldn’t do it) and the teacher asked if he wanted to and HE DID IT.  She said “Ok, everyone, shhhhh, this is a very special moment” or something like that, and shushed everyone, and then HE STOOD UP IN FRONT OF EVERYONE AND SAID A POEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BY HIMSELF!!!!!!!!!!!AND BOWED AFTER WARDS.  And I DIED.  I was grinning and crying through the whole thing, I was just so proud.  And then he was the FIRST to model his costume (walk in a circle in front of everyone) and a bunch of the other kids also wouldn’t do that, and then they all danced and he danced! Jumping up and down with everyone!  A happy wiggling dancing bee! It was one the best sights of my life, and I have seen some things, people.

And then I got the big double thumbs up from the teacher, who was also astounded at the developments.  And teacher approval! Who doesn’t want that?!  Good on her for asking him if he wanted to do a solo, I never would have even asked.

I mean, really, it’s a bunch of three year olds in costumes, it’s the cutest thing ever no matter what, and obviously I am biased, but he really was the most adorable child in the room, bar none.  I mean, it’s a room full of PARENTS and when he modeled his costume other childrens’ parents audibly gasped. I ASSUME at his cuteness and not his rapier wit, or whatever.

Also, when class was over he had a bag of candy and he said “Mom, that cupcake in there is for you.” and if that is not a sign of a well raised child I don’t know what is.

 

Help, Please!

1.  When Eli does something he’s not supposed to do, we count to five and if he doesn’t stop doing it, we put him in time out for three minutes.  This has always worked really well, although he does sometimes go in time out a shocking number of times per day.  Lately, however, he’s figured out that we reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally don’t like it if he screams and yells and cries at the TOP OF HIS LUNGS and bangs on things while he’s in time out, because if his sister is sleeping, it wakes her up.  Yesterday I had finally gotten K Dub to sleep after hours of trying and Eli wouldn’t stop being horrible so I put him in time out, where he proceeded to carry on like no body’s business and then wake up his sister.   He knows he is doing it, he doesn’t care, and it gives me the RAGE. The fiery fiery rage.  And I have no idea what to do about it, because I can’t put him in time out while he’s already in time out, and it’s our only threat/punishment/consequence.  Anyone know what to do about this?

2.  The preschool halloween party is tomorrow and he’s doesn’t want to go, but too bad, he’s going, and in a bee costume, at that.  He’s supposed to bring 24 of “something” to share.  The teacher said it could be anything from candy to pencils to gum.  Eli wants to bring bananas, but I’m not too thrilled at the idea of carting 24 bananas and a 4 year old dressed as a bee and a 4 month old into preschool.   Is there something really cool I should bring, or should I just buy 24 fun sized starburts and be done with it? I don’t want to bring cookies or cupcakes because my kid can’t eat those (gluten allergy) and I can’t make gluten free stuff because our gluten free flour has nuts in it and a kid in the class has a nut allergy.  Is it lame to bring pencils? I don’t want my kid to be the one passing out the crappy stuff, obvs.  Which is why I am totally overthinking this.

3.  Anybody know anywhere to buy super cheap feather boas?  The ones at the Oriental Trading Co. are 9.99, which is more than I want to spend.

4.  Maggie and I decorated the Blathering Friday night dinner in our heads last night on IM, and now I am wondering what else I can stuff in my suitcase that is silvery/glittery/feathery/cheap/light/takes up little space.  Ooooh, spray painted acorns maybe?

5.  I thought I had more questions but apparently I do not.  Oh, yes, here is one: K Dub hasn’t pooped in 24 hours and is obviously miserable, farty, and crabby.  Any tips? I might just have to breakdown and give her a bath.  I’m kind of terrified of what happens when she finally, uh, un binds.

 

Elsewhere

I’m on solo parenting duty right now and oh holy eff, you don’t want to hear my take on this day.

Maybe go read some of these blog posts I’ve been collecting – my favorite things other people have written. I’ve got a ton but I’ll start here.

Eliza Lou – The Joy on the Other Side

Girl In A Party Hat – Goodbye to the Girl With the Kaleidescope Eyes

Betty Duffy – Fighting the Man

The Intern – Thoughts on YA

Stalemates – Sweet Juniper

Kate Harding – The Fantasy of Being Thin

Suburban Bliss – I Never Told That Lie Again

Slynnro – The Little Things

Kirida – Recharging

ABC Family – Don’t Tell Me What to Eat, Please

Where the Catholic Sun Don’t Shine – In Which I Tackle Life Lists

The Eleventh – Spinning or Teetering or Just Holding On

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driven

WHEWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

I have been waiting to write this post for six years, since I started this blog.

So here’s something that most people out there reading this don’t know about me.  I am 34 years old and I have never had my driver’s license.

I have gotten really really good at hiding it, because I just felt…ashamed and embarrassed and terrible.  I have gotten really good at walking places.  I have gotten really good at making my husband drive me everywhere, although we have had many many many fights about it.  Many.

For 18 years, I have resolved to get my license, over and over and over again.  I have taken the permit test so so so so many times, renewed it and practiced and taken it again when it was about to expire.  I’ve had this…lack…hanging over my head for EIGHTEEN YEARS. I have been in the DMV so very very many times.

I have no idea why this is.  I have no idea.  Well, maybe I have some idea.  I think maybe it was just the perfect storm of things I am not good at.  I am not perfect at driving, so I don’t want anything to do with it. It makes me nervous and it confuses me and it makes me anxious and it terrifies me, and it’s really hard to make yourself practice something over and over and over again when that thing scares the shit out of you.  It was always impossible for me to imagine not being terrified to drive anywhere by myself.   I couldn’t imagine what would happen if I got into some traffic situation or saw some sign and didn’t know what to do.  Mostly though, the thought of being trapped in a car with a stranger for TWENTY MINUTES while they JUDGED me just seemed…impossible.   Totally impossible.

Then I got really really anxious about life in general, and so the first time I tried to take the test, over two years ago, I was so anxious that I couldn’t even turn on the turn signals when the instructor told me too.  I just kept turning on the windshield wipers over and over again.  I failed, that time, and when it was over, I just wanted to DIE. I couldn’t stop crying.  I cried for what felt like days, the hysterical kind of crying where you can’t stop it.  It was one of those times when you felt like it was going to be terrible, ahead of time, and then it was that terrible and oh, it was just awful.

That was no excuse for letting it go again for two years. I have no excuses, I don’t think, but it just…got away from me. It became something that was so awful and shameful and anxious making that I just couldn’t face it.  I would try to drive and I would fight with Erik and cry behind the wheel and try to explain how much I hated driving and it just got worse and worse, the longer it got, and it became this huge  huge THING.

But finally a few months ago I found myself unable to sleep and I realized that this pit in my stomach wasn’t going away, and I was going to have to just do something about it. I was going to have to be straight up terrified and do it anyway, or else it was never going to go away, and I couldn’t be a mom of a six year old who could never do anything because his mother didn’t drive.  And as terrible as the problem had grown, I had to try to fix it. I don’t know, I just felt like I finally needed to try to fix this thing or I’d be haunted by it at 3 in the morning for the rest of my life.

I hate driving our car, our tiny little Jetta, because I feel like I can’t see out of it. It feels really unsafe.  But finally I quit crying behind the wheel and I got a pillow to sit on, and it made a big difference.  I made myself make a DMV appointment to take my test even though I really didn’t want to and as the date approached I felt sicker and sicker and sicker, I don’t even know how to describe it. I felt as though a giant force of impending doom was hanging over me.  There were so many things I had to get through, the preschool Halloween party, the election, and my drivers test, and I just felt like I wasn’t going to make it through the stress of SO MUCH all at once.

I never ever thought I’d pass.  I really didn’t  And it terrified me, because I can drive, I really can, but I was afraid that I was so anxious that I would never be able to be calm enough to actually sit in the car and pass the test without making a mistake.  I just…never thought I would pass, and I didn’t know how I was going to fix it, to fix me, so I’d be able to do it.  It seemed too huge to be possible.

I was so stressed and anxious and nervous last night I could barely speak at dinner.  I tried everything. I tried slow breathing and praying the Our Father and chanting “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” over and over again. I made bad jokes and tried to laugh about it.  I told Erik “I am just going to assume I’ll fail, and then we’ll figure out what to do after that.” but I was still just so nervous. I could not talk myself out of it, no matter what I did.

I didn’t sleep at all, last night.  I would calm myself down with affirmations and whatever else I could think of and then I would think “TWENTY MINUTES ALONE IN THE CAR WITH JUDGING STRANGER WHILE DRIVING” and I’d jolt back into terrified stress.  But when my alarm went off at 7 am I dragged myself out of bed and went for a run and then I had the nervous poos about nine hundred times.  Best diet ever!

And dudes, I totally passed my drivers test.

EIGHTEEN YEARS AFTER I TURNED SIXTEEN, IT IS OVER. I PASSED I PASSED I PASSED.

I never have to do that again.  I never ever have to do that again. I just…

I cannot believe it.  I am in shock.

I mean, Erik and I have been having this fight, this huge fight, for TEN YEARS, and now it’s over.  OH MY GOD.

I don’t even know how to explain it. All I know is I drove like an old lady and the whole time I said the “Our Father” under my breath and I think someone was watching out for me, up there, because the route was the preschool route that I walk twice a week and I know all the sketchy places where drivers try to run me over with the double stroller and I just kept thinking to myself “I won’t pass I know I won’t pass but what if I did? Oh please oh please oh please” and when the inspector turned to me in the parking lot after it was all over and said “Well, you passed!” I…there are no words. I’ve never heard anything better in my life, and after I stopped myself from saying “Are ya SURE?” and headed into the DMV to get my license I wanted to french kiss everyone in there WITH TONGUE and I don’t know when the last time you were in the DMV was but that’s really saying something, let me tell you.

Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers.

Man, that was really really hard. AND I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT and I never have to do it again.

And exhale.