Saturday, December 22, 2012

Megan, you're such an asshole.

Time to start with some lighter topics.  I can't fix the world myself and I desperately need to laugh or make fun of myself rather than cry over the news today.  So here I go, in an attempt to do both.

Yesterday the kid and I headed to Amherst to see my parents.  It's their 35th anniversary this weekend, and I wanted to spend some time with them.  I also needed a day where I spent some of it doing something relaxing, and I find driving relaxing.  I'm generally happy to get where I'm going, I can't do anything else (clean, work, read news) so I get my playlist going, let Henry watch some How to Train Your Dragon (I don't know who invented car DVD players but if they need a kidney both of mine are theirs for the taking) and hit the road.

I decided to take my parents out to dinner in the town where I went to high school.  I never really go there except to visit my parents-I'm not the best about staying in touch with people, and I didn't really have a great time growing up there.  My parents also moved from the house I grew up in to a new house when I left for college.  Yes, my parents moved when I went to college, and didn't tell me.  Seriously, I got a call near Thanksgiving to let me know to not go to the old house because they didn't live there anymore.  I guess I should be glad they told me.

It's not like I had a terrible childhood, I was just very shy and awkward and attempted to make up for it by trying too hard.  I didn't hit my stride until my twenties.  People who knew me in my twenties are probably scoffing and saying "You call that hitting your stride?  You were still at the level of an unsocialized, talking rhinoceros who someone let drink Jack Daniels" but trust me it was an improvement.

Anyway, on to me being an asshole.  When we walked into the restaurant, the guy at the stand looked really familiar, but I was trying to corral Henry and I just didn't put it together.  If you have a small child, you know eating dinner in public is not a relaxing event.  If that child has not had a nap, it is the equivalent of eating a meal next to a ticking time bomb that is certainly going to explode and act like a total asshole and embarrass you in public.  It's not their fault, but there it is.  So the guy comes to say hi, and it's someone I actually knew pretty well-I was also good friends with his sister, but I just didn't put it together.  That plus having one eye on a small child who was slowly transforming into a crabby stomping dinosaur made our conversation too brief, and I felt really bad about it.  I'm pretty sure this guy lost no sleep over it but it's probably going to be one of those embarrassing things that decides to replay in my head at night when I can't get to sleep, and my subconscious feels the need to scream "YOU ARE SUCH A DORK" and chortle at me while I cringe and accept that as correct.

Here is the thing about me.  My vision sucks.  I have a problem with my optic nerve, so it's not really my vision, it's the way my brain and eyes communicate.  I can look like I'm looking at one thing, and really be seeing something else-something above or beyond it.  Face recognition is really hard for me, and if you're moving, there's no way I can pick you out.  I've walked past my husband and my mother, among others, without seeing them, making them both chase me down like we're on a blind date instead of people who have known each other for years.

This leads to lots of misunderstandings.  People have told Ben, "I saw your wife and she looked right at me and didn't say hi, is she mad?"  Which is a nice way of saying "Your wife is a total cunt but I'm going to see if you have a good excuse for her."

Please know that there is literally NO ONE I know who I dislike to the extent that I wouldn't at least say hi to them if I saw them.  If you see me, and I don't say hi, it's because I didn't see you, or I can't figure out who you are.  I would never be that rude and chances are I'd really like to talk to you.  My eye problem led to a lot of my social awkwardness and a lot of people thinking I was cold or stuck up when I wasn't-I wish I had figured out a good way to address it when I was younger, I could have saved myself a lot of time and a semi-alarming drinking problem I developed in a sad attempt to relax myself enough to fit in at parties.

So to everyone out there that I may see this holiday season-Hello!  I've missed you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What can you say?

I've spent this week in a constant state of distress.  I'm not even sure how to put any of this into words.  It's not like I didn't know what type of violence we're capable of.  I read the news.  I see what goes on in the world. I try to step out of our America-centric media sphere and get an inkling of what goes on outside of our hemisphere.

I think it all started with the Israeli/Palestine conflict, or, I guess I should say, increase in conflict.  Days of bombings on both sides, children dead, communities torn apart.  I'm always amazed by how much death is justified by faith.  If there is a God, I imagine He's just rocking in a corner, mystified and horrified by what He created.

The violence that happened in the US recently is an eye opener to us, but in too many countries it's the status quo.  In too many places mothers can never be sure if their children are going to come home.  We send our own kids and brothers, sisters, wives and husbands, moms and dads, to fight wars that we never agreed to, or don't understand the real causes for.  I feel for every parent in Afghanistan who's just trying to have a life and raise a family, and never agreed to be the centerpiece for a bloody battle we even remember any more?

I read posts from people about how the Bill of Rights guarantees their right to bear arms, to let anyone who wants to buy an automatic weapon have one, that they need these weapons to "protect their families". Where the fuck do you live, Somalia?  Where in America do you need to fire 30 rounds to keep your family safe?  Either fucking move or improve your marksmanship.

And here's the fun thing about the Bill of Rights and Constitution.  They don't give you the right to do whatever you want.  And if you think you'll ever have to rise up against a "tyrannical government", I advise you to look into the US defense budget and ask yourself if your guns are even going to help you if that happened.


So that's a lot of bitching from me, maybe I should try to offer some answers.  I don't know though.  I know more guns aren't it.  I know armored backpacks aren't it.  If I have to send my kid off to school packing a side arm and a bulletproof vest, then we've already lost any freedom I could have hoped to give him.

I have had some rays of hope this past week.  Ben told me about a teacher in Rockingham, a football coach, who requires his players to spend time in the class the coach teaches.  This class is for profoundly disabled students.  This coach has brought kids into that life, and shared his classroom with them, and has created a new norm.  I read about a quarterback who looked out for a disabled student who was getting bullied.  I read about teachers who gave their lives to protect their kids.  I saw kids in Islamic countries holding signs that their God doesn't condone violence.  Because it's our God too.

We have so much potential.  I want to have faith that we'll realize it, and not spiral into oblivion.

This might have not been the best post for the theoretical end of the Mayan calendar, but perhaps it really is the end of a cycle, and the start of a new life where we value our children-not just the ones we bring into the world, but the ones who will run our world.

End late night rant.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today was a really bad day.

Like so many people out there right now, the world isn't making much sense to me right now.  I opened my news page at work to read about a shooter, three people injured.  Over the day I watched that story grow and morph into a nightmare-a gunman at an elementary school, twenty innocent children and six adults dead.   Children, gunned down in their school.  We still don't know why, although I'm sure the media will hammer us with the gory details in days to come.

My heart is broken for every person in that town.  Not just for those who have lost loved ones, but for the surviving children who are forever marked by this.  I resisted the urge to run out of work and go pick up my kid, and never let him go again.  I probably should have stopped reading or listening to the news, but that just seemed like a betrayal, sticking my head in the sand would be an insult to the families who can't hide from this.  So I listened to NPR on the drive home and cried the whole way.  Looking in the cars around me I knew I wasn't the only one.

This day reminded me of another awful day, the day of the Virginia Tech shootings.  That too started out with reports of a couple of injuries, then quickly spiraled out of control as a nation watched in disbelief.  Just like then, I can't get my head around how a person could walk into a school and open fire on people who had never done them any harm-to people they had never even met.

I think the root of all of my distress is the reminder that no matter how hard we try to cushion our children, we fail.  I can spend thousands of dollars on safety gear, strap my kid into the car, cushion the hard corners of life, but I couldn't have stopped this.  We can't protect our children from life, and as a parent, that knowledge leaves me vulnerable and devastated.  I can't imagine getting that call.  Or the desperation a parent must feel knowing their kid was in harm's way and they couldn't protect them.  I'm watching my son play and know that I would not want to live in a world without him.  He probably is wondering what the deal is with the excessive hugs he's getting today.

There will be a lot of conversations in the next few months.  Maybe it was a gun problem.  Maybe it was the pervasiveness of violence in every aspect of our lives.  Maybe it was mental illness on the part of the shooter.  Maybe it was all of these things, and more.  I hope that as a country we can pull together and start having real conversations-not blame throwing, not partisanship, not knee-jerk reactions-about how we allowed our society to break down so much that this sort of thing could happen.  I hope we can band together and realize that nothing, no ideal, no political belief, is worth the safety of our kids.  They depend on us.  We have to do a better job, be better people, for them.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Grandpa Wayne

I've been thinking about my father-in-law a lot today, as have many people who loved him.  Today would have been his 63rd birthday, but he died in 2009 after a pretty terrible illness.  In the fall of that year I got pregnant with Henry, his first grandson.  It bothered both me and my husband Ben that Wayne would never meet his grandson-he would have been crazy about both of his grandchildren.

And they would have been crazy about him.  He was a kind, funny, approachable, caring guy.  He had his flaws and his demons, as we all do, but he was a loving father, a caring husband for over thirty years, and a highly amusing father-in-law.  The first time I met him, he told an incredibly inappropriate dick joke, and I knew I was going to fit in just fine.

Some strange things have happened since his death, and I'm going to write about them now.  I carry a healthy skepticism about this sort of thing, but neither I nor Ben can deny that they happened.  In the end they give me peace.  You may read this and decide I'm insane, delusional, or both, and should not be trusted.  All I can say to that is join the motherfucking club, line forms to the left.  I know this all sounds farfetched, but until you experience something like this personally, you can't really understand the impact.

Right after our son was born and we brought him home from the hospital, strange little things started happening.   We'd put him to bed with no blanket over him (he was born in June) and when we went back to check on him, he'd be completely tucked in.  Like, from shoulders to feet, looking like a little burrito.   As he grew, we started noticing more strange things.  He had a habit of throwing his pacifier out of his crib, or his stuffed animals, because he knew we'd come in and get them.  One day I just decided, "Screw it.  If he's going to throw stuff out of his crib, it's just going to be gone."   He threw his pacifier out of his crib, cried for a bit, and then was quiet.  I went in, and the pacifier was in his mouth and he was asleep.  I heard it hit the floor.  Ben was in the basement and heard it hit the floor above him.  But there it was.

One night when he was maybe 6 months old he figured out how to flip himself over the railing of the crib.  Our bed was still in that room at the time, and there was just a narrow walkway between his crib and the bed.  I know before I went to sleep I cleared it, because I was always worried about tripping while carrying him in the dark.  Somehow, when he fell, he landed on a pillow that took up that entire walkway, and he was perfectly fine.  We dropped the crib down that day to prevent any more jailbreaks.  But I have no idea how that pillow got there.

One day I went in to check on him after I'd gotten home late from class.  He was really cute, all cuddled up with his blanket and his stuffed sheep, Stanley.  I took a quick picture, went to the living room and showed it to Ben.  He said "Hey, where did you find his sheep?  I was looking everywhere for that!"  I said "It was in there when I went in there."  Ben gave me a strange look and said "Are you fucking with me?  I turned that bedroom upside down looking for that damn thing.  You had to have put it in there."  I responded that I really hadn't.  Hmmmmm.

The best story occurred when I was home on maternity leave, and Henry was maybe 4 weeks old.  Ben had been working all day, and when he came home, I asked him to take the baby for a while so I could have a break.  He said sure, if I could just let him grab something to eat first.  I went into our office to sit on the chair in here because it rocks.  I was facing away from the door, and I closed my eyes as Henry snuggled against my chest and fell asleep.

I felt what I assumed to be Ben walking towards the chair.  He stopped, put his hand on the back of the chair, and stood there, looking down on us.  I was thinking "He's going to think we're asleep and sneak out of here without taking his turn with the baby."  I played asleep for a minute, until I heard him walking back out of the room.  I turned around quickly to bust him, but no one was there.  I got up and walked to the living room, and Ben was eating on the couch.  I asked him if he'd just been in the office, and he gave me a look and said no.  I am positive there was someone standing there, with their hand on the back of that chair.  I went back in and sat down again, and realized I smelled cigarette smoke.  Neither of us smoke-but Wayne did.

Little things kept occurring for the next month or two-finding toys in the crib we hadn't put in there, Henry being tucked in several more times, footsteps.  One day I was home alone with Henry and I heard footsteps.  Henry was in his exersaucer, and he looked up and started waving and laughing.  It really looked like he was looking at and interacting with an adult.  I heard an adult laugh, and I smelled cigarette smoke.

I said "Wayne, we miss you, you can come visit Henry any time, just please don't scare him."  Then I heard a man's cough, seemingly right next to me.

These might seem silly to nonbelievers but they gave me a great deal of comfort.  I know Wayne is gone, but I like to think he swings back by to check on his grandson, and now his beautiful granddaughter, and to let us know we'll see him again.  Don't know where, don't know when.  But we'll meet again.  Some sunny day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So it's been a while since I posted, and yeah, that seems to be a habit with me.  I've been doing some serious thinking, and am leaning toward discontinuing this blog.

Like many, many people, I struggle with what I want to do each day.  And by that I mean professionally.  My personal life may not be perfect, but honestly, when I get to day care to pick up my son, and he sees me, and drops all toys and runs to me yelling "MOMMY!", I really feel that I have no other purpose in life than that.  It's that great.  That moment can blot out any bad day, and this is coming from someone who wasn't raised in that tradition.  My mother never really brought up the "wife and mother" stuff with my sister and I-she wanted us to be intelligent, successful, and resilient.  I like to think we're both those three things, but I wasn't prepared for how a child might impact the life I'd set out for myself.  i didn't understand the kind of love I'd have for him, and the kind of sacrifices I'd make for him.

Writing for a living has always been a dream of mine.  I'm still working out the when and how, and reading as much as I can between a full-time job, two classes, a toddler, and trying to retain some semblance of a marriage and a social life.  The more I start researching humor writing and that sort of thing, I realize this sort of writing is done to death.  And by that I mean the mom blog.

If you want a book or a blog about parenting, no matter your style or your interest, it's out there.  Some moms present themselves as terrifying (looking at YOU, Tiger Mom, and maybe at my own mom) and some portray motherhood as the pinnacle of existence as a woman.  You'll also find every single level in between.  I've noticed three trends in the books I've read (they may vary slightly but really, it's in three categories)-the stay at home mom who is really happy about it, the stay at home/working mom who seems equally happy and pissed about it, and the working mom who seems to be trying to justify it.  "I make my hockey kid peanut butter sandwiches and have a glass of wine and it's ok!"  Maybe also the tattooed, punk-rock mom, but these days, honey, who are you kidding?  There's more tattooed moms than non-tattooed moms in my city.  You're not even edgy anymore.  In 15 years our kids are going to think tattoos are the lamest thing ever because everyone's parents have one.

Which is not to say I dislike them.  Tattoos, I mean, not parents.  I want one.  And I'm encouraging Ben to get MEG LIFE on his abdomen, Tupac style.  So far no dice.  But back on track.

So you read a lot about parenthood-the serious advice, the humor, the "how to raise an A student/Christian/Jewish/Muslim/valedictorian/well-rounded Princeton applicant who never shows up two hours past curfew at 16 years old and proceeds to barf on your car".

And fuck if it doesn't get boring.  So I'm pretty done with this blog.  There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said, and the thing is, we all (hopefully) do the best that we can, and that means different things to different people.   I don't want to gush about my kid off of facebook, and I really only do it there to keep my relatives and friends who I don't see up on things.   I've been intimidated to take a leap into writing about things that I care about, who I'm not related to, and to stretching into fields I'm unfamiliar with, but it's time to get over that.  I'm nothing unusual as a mom, but I'm also completely unusual as a mom.

So maybe some day I'll write a book, and I'll spare you the expense of my advice:  get the epidural.  Totally just saved you fifteen bucks, or whatever it's going to cost to get books implanted in your brain after Kindle technology improves to the point where the new Twilight book literally haunts your dreams.

Until then, keep your eye out for the new blog,  Go To Sleep, Crazy Lady, and hopefully a few more projects I'll get to work on once classes are over this winter.  Branching into some grant writing and some marketing, so we'll see how it all turns out.

Til Then-  Smell ya later.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Maybe Marathon

I think I've signed up for the Richmond marathon maybe three or four times already.  Every year it's in November, but I have yet to actually run it.  One year I got hit by a car in August.  One year I found out I was pregnant in September.  One year I'm pretty sure I just gave up.  But this is the year, dammit!  I've been running pretty steadily for the last few months, and today I started my actual 18 week training plan (Hal Higdon, if you're interested in these things).  I set my alarm for an obscenely early hour, and  promptly slept through it.  I'm pretty sure my sleeping self just thinks my awake self is an idealistic asshole, so she ignores me.

I rolled out of bed when I heard Henry crying for me, far too late to get a run in and still make it to work on time.  So when I got home I had to scramble to beat the rain that's looming over us, but hasn't actually fallen.  I trundled through my three miles, dragged the trash out to the street, gave Henry a bath, and am now settling in for the night, promising to get up early and actually get my run done tomorrow morning.

Lots of people have asked me why I'm doing this.  Well, they don't so much ask in words, but in their response to you saying you're going to run a marathon.  I don't go around telling people this, because quite frankly if I fail the fewer people to say "So, how'd that marathon go?" to me, the better.  But when exercise and fitness comes up, and I mention that I'm training for one, the look I get is generally one that you would associate with someone saying something like "So I've decided I"m going to quit work and cartwheel all day" or even "I just crapped my pants."

To be fair, I've heard the second one can and does happen to marathon runners.  It's a legitimate fear.  That, nipple bleeding, and your upper arm flaps catching in the breeze and blowing you back a mile or two.  Well, these are the things that I worry about, anyway.  Although the last one could work in my favor if I catch a back wind and sail across the finish line like one of those flying squirrels.

I used to be a pretty ok runner.  I ran cross country in high school and always placed in the top ten, but was never really a stand out.  I had it in me to be a great runner-I just never tried that hard.  Lately I've realized that there's not too much I have tried that hard at.  I'm lucky enough that i get by on mediocre effort-I made good grades, I do okay at most jobs I've had, I found a nice little weird group of friends.  I think a lot of people are like that.  It's not the trying hard that scares me-it's the failing.  I mean, what if I put everything into something and it blows up in my face?

I decided I"m going to start finding out.  The first thing I knew I wanted to do the best I could at was motherhood.  I knew if I ever had a kid I was going to love the hell out of them and be the best mom I could be-which doesn't mean helicoptering or making excuses for them or spending every free moment skipping through fields of wildflowers or making them completely dependent on me.  My friend at work, Steve, has a saying he got from his dad.  "Give them a strong foundation and wings."  So make a solid kid and then make them want to get the hell out of your house and live their own lives without doing anything too stupid. I try to plant seeds for good growth daily in Henry.

Like today, when he was eating blueberries and Ben was mentioning that he'd seen a guy with a Redskins neck tattoo, and I cradled my son's beautiful little face in my hands and said "Henry, if you get a neck tattoo, Mommy won't pay for college."

And before my many tattooed friends get mad at me, I'm not against tattoos. Quite frankly I think good ones are great.  I went nerd-girl over guys with black glasses and tattoos before Target started selling Ramones t-shirts to hipster tweens (and before nerd-girls realized they could get guys).  I went to a super preppy college, and instead of donning the sweater set and attending semi formals, I found a bunch of townie misfits who were in bands or wanted to go see bands and introduced me to punk rock and who helped me figure out who I am.  I sat in class next to people in polo shirts and capris wearing my Descendants shirt proudly.  Not that all preppy people are jerks and all tattooed musicians are great-there's douche bags in every group, and I"m an expert on that, because I dated all of them.  In my late teens and early twenties I was a goddamn d-bag magnet.  But most of those townies I could still sit down and have a beer with, and I kept in touch with exactly one person I went to college with (and she is a totally awesome mom who suggested we write a book called Mamacide) (copyright pending).

But my point is, tattoos can be great, I married a guy with four and can't think of many people I know besides me that doesn't have one.  That being said, don't fucking get them places where business dress won't cover them.  Because as much as you like the tattoo and that area of your body, you might also like getting a legitimate job one day, and playing punk rock on the weekends.  And guy with a Redskins tattoo on your neck...well, I just don't know what to say to you.

Anyway, I"ve gone severely off track, but my point was, I've got a great kid, I've got a great job, I've got a great tattooed husband and now I've got a marathon to run.  Stand back, people, Megan's going to make an effort.  Maybe we'll all be surprised by the results.

Or maybe we'll all just crap our pants.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


It is way too fucking hot.

Before you say anything, yes, I realize it is July, and yes, I realize I voluntarily live in the South.  In my defense I live in the upper border of the south, and we're often politely included in the "Mid-Atlantic Region", but right now, I'm not able to tell that we're there and not in the pits of the hell that is the state of Georgia.  Sorry if you're offended by that, but I lived in Augusta for four years and all I remember is heat, rattlesnakes, fire ants, and the promise I made to my six-year old self that once I got out I'd never live there again.  So far, so good.

I do have some interesting memories from that time-including one where a rattlesnake was in a neighbor's tree, and the wife called my mom to come get it out.  This probably seems odd, but when all the men were at work, my mom was the closest thing to a guy my neighborhood had.  The women there were Junior Leaguers who wore hose and full makeup to go to the mailbox.  To say my mom didn't fit in is possibly the greatest understatement in the history of time.  She ran, she wore shorts and sneakers to the grocery store, and despite my dad making a perfectly generous salary, insists on wearing t-shirts she got for free until they quite literally fall apart at the seams and/or my dad throws them out.  She didn't hide insults in compliments, she had no time to sit over iced tea and gossip, and she worked.  Probably the biggest scandal was that her best friend, and my godmother, was black, and if you think the South was integrated in the sixties, then you weren't in Augusta in the eighties.  She also, trust me on this one, was not afraid to use less ladylike methods than they did in corralling her four kids.  She seemed to take in the situation she'd found herself in, and rather than attempt to blend, set out to stand out even more.  She planted a herd of pink flamingos in the front lawn, and decorated our house like Vegas for Christmas with the sole intent of pissing off the neighborhood wannabe Southern elite set.  She also acquired a strange flock of poultry that terrorized the neighborhood and more than once ended up swimming in the neighbor's pool.  Most of these women stood for everything that she was against, and if she was going to be the odd man out in the neighborhood, she was going to take it to the next level.  At this point in my life I feel proud of her for saying "Fuck fitting in, I'm going to buy some turkeys" but it was hard to understand then.

So our neighbor calls her about this snake (not the lady with the pool that our geese enjoyed, the one on the other side who still spoke to us), and she went over there with a shovel.  I remember her hitting it once, and then she sent me home, possibly realizing that you don't want a pissed off rattlesnake around your six year old child.  I don't remember what happened after that, but I imagine she gave the snake the look that later made her a very effective middle school teacher, and advised it to get out of there and think about what it had done.  I feel sorry for that snake, and hope it decided to show up on the perfectly manicured front lawns of some of our neighbors to send big-haired women screaming back into their homes, and built its self esteem back up.

When we left when I was nine, I feel certain there was a celebration in our neighborhood, not just from the people who felt we were bringing down home values,  (we were) but also by the various poisonous animals who no longer had to live in fear of my mom.

Virginia has been much kinder to our family, although we all do tend to be oddballs, and my mother is currently at war with one of the neighbors on her backwoods street because he hates her dogs, possibly because they are really loud and tend to escape and roam the neighborhood.  They are also not terribly nice or attractive, as my mom is drawn to the misfits of the human and animal world.  It's gotten to the point where I couldn't guarantee that every animal she has can technically be classified as a dog-at least, not fully.  She has one that looks like a Dalmation mated with a special needs sheep.  I've stopped commenting on them because I've learned over the years that she will always take their side over mine, even when they bite me.  And they do.  She has literally made me sit on the floor because the couch was taken by the dogs.

But back to the heat.

Henry has been bouncing off the walls, he is not used to spending so much indoor time.  We're trying to get out in the morning.  I load the jogging stroller up with dinosaurs and juice, and go for a run.  He gets pretty pissed when I go running without him, and really, it's beneficial to me to run with a stroller.  Because I'm pretty slow at this point, but with the stroller, I look slow because I'm pushing a child here, you judgmental prick, not that I'm out of shape.  And the people who see us don't need to know that I'm just as slow without the stroller.

So we run for a while and then try to find a shady place to sit and have a snack and play some soccer, and I try to wear the kid out a bit before it officially becomes child endangerment to have him outside.  We tried to go down to the little creek the park has, but as we made our way down there yesterday, I heard someone clear their throat, and I saw a middle-aged man in jeans and workbooks just....hanging out in a very random part of the park.  I decided to head out of there to let him have his privacy and also because I like being alive.  When I told Ben about this, he pointed out that it was far more probable that this man was sitting in the woods waiting for a blow job from another man, as our park is a fairly popular hookup spot.  (FYI, guys who go to public parks for illicit sex, you should at least look like you're going for a hike or something.  If I see you head to the trail in a shirt and tie and wingtips, I don't think you're going for a hike).  Either way we left him to it, as fellating a strange man in the park is just above getting stabbed by a strange man in the park on my list of things I'd rather not have happen.

So we headed on home, and spent the rest of the day migrating between the A/C and the backyard, where Henry splashed around in the pool and ran terrified from the sprinkler I bought for him.  I'm feeling really bad for my friends and family in the Amherst/Lynchburg area who got hit really hard by a storm last week, and many of whom still don't have power.  So I'll quit my bitching and send out lots of hope that AEP gets everyone up and running soon, and that you don't melt.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Potty Time

This weekend has sucked.  I mean, really, really sucked.  The kind of weekend where the world doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, and you find yourself asking questions that you know you'll never get an answer to.  I hate to see people I love suffer and not be able to do anything about it.  I really do wish it had been me-not for altruistic reasons, but for selfish ones.  Because I can deal with my own pain better than I can sit there and watch someone else's.  Not going into detail because it's not my place and not my business to, but suffice to say, getting out of bed has been a challenge these past few days.  If Henry didn't need me, I doubt I would have gotten up at all.  And like I said, I didn't get the worst of it.  Some broken hearts.

And Ben hasn't been around, he's dealing with some family health issues of his own, so I decided to throw my energy into some potty training.  Henry's shown increasing interest in his potty and ours, and he's started to take his diaper off, which is super fun.  Depending on when you catch that, you either have to go hunting for puddles or change some crib sheets. Thankful for mattress pads.  He needs to not sleep in a pee-soaked crib, and I needed a distraction and a way to ward off coming in and seeing that he's done worse in his crib than peed (and then, according to my kid-having friends, most likely fingerprinted with it).

With that in mind, I set out with the old-fashioned method in mind-outright bribery.  We went to the store and picked out "potty candy" and I've been letting Henry run around naked a lot.  He's got his dad's attitude about nudity-and if you've ever been around Ben at a raging party, particularly if it's his birthday, then you know what that is.  Not me.  I hate being naked and am probably a step away from wearing denim cutoffs a la Tobias in Arrested Development.  Never nude!

We've also strategically placed the potty in front of the TV, so he can just sit and relax on it while he watches TV.  He's got a real obsession with the Muppets, so we watch that almost daily (well, parts of it.)  I figure it could be worse.  I'm a big Muppets fan, so it's not too much of a hardship, and I figure if they ever do a remake I have all the songs and dance steps down at this point.  So today has been a lot of basic conversation, which is about all I can handle.

HIM:  Potty?
ME:  Yes, potty.  Pee pee in the potty.
HIM:  Pee pee?
ME:  Yes.  If you pee pee you get candy.
HIM:  Candy candy candy candy candy candy?
ME:  Only if you go pee pee in here (me pointing to potty).
HIM:  (swaying back and forth to Rainbow Connection).

Jealous?  I thought you would be.  Remember this when you're out with friends discussing art and wine.

So anyway, he sat on the potty naked for basically the entire Muppets movie (the only time you can do this in your life without the judgment of others).  Then he got up and said "All done!" and handed me an empty potty.  I sighed and went to get a diaper, but he went to the bathroom door, pointed, and said "Potty!"  I figured, what the hell, so I took him in there and put him on the toilet.

And he peed.  Any parent knows that much celebration occurred then.  I've been excited before, but I don't know that I'm a good enough writer to describe the excitement that comes with knowing that sometime in the near future diapers may not be part of your life.  I wasn't this excited when I got my grades back my last semester of college and realized that despite majoring in alcohol and bad decisions I was going to graduate.

I know it's a work in progress, but a step in the right direction.  I called Ben to tell him the whole story, and after I was done, he said "Well, isn't that just like him."

That it is.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hi, Megan!

The title of this post references the fact that my son has started to address me by my first name.  I'm trying to not be pissed about it.  It evolved naturally.  Henry mimics EVERYTHING his dad does.  He wants me when he's sick or hungry or tired, but the line has been drawn and Dad is on the fun side.  I'm not terribly surprised.  I have worrywart tendencies and am decidedly risk-averse.  Ben flew in planes with his Navy pilot grandfather when he was a toddler-once the door on Ben's side even fell open.  Apparently his grandfather very calmly reached across him and shut it, mid-air.  Beat that, Sully!

So Ben walks around yelling for me with his Mini-Ben following closely, so I hear "MEGAN!  MEGAN!" followed by "MENAN!  MENAN!"  (Gs are hard, apparently.).  It's a bit much to explain to a 22 month old, and the other alternative is having Ben call me Mommy, and I won't go into all the reasons that I say NO THANK YOU to that option.

So Menan I am.  For now.

Easter is approaching, and that meant the big party at day care and the eggs we have to put together, and the cupcakes I had to make because I decided to not be lazy and just sign up to bring paper plates, which is what I normally do.  I'd love to be one of those crafty people who makes art and can whip up dinner from scratch based on greens found in the yard and a rabbit that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but alas, I am not.  I did pull together some nice cupcakes with strawberries on top.  Ben commented that "this is some Martha Stewart shit" as he ate several.  I gave one to my darling child, who decided to reward my hard work by throwing the cupcake on the ground and then spitting on it.

I suppose this is preparing me for his teen years.

So we'll be off to catch up with both sets of grandparents, and to let them stuff candy in this kid til he's up til all hours singing in his crib and closer to diabetes than we'd like him to be, but hey, isn't that what Jesus would have wanted?

Don't ask me.  Lapsed Catholic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Things are going in some interesting directions of late.  I finally realized I was chasing all the wrong things in life, and put a halt to what I could.  And so I write this as your average mom/grad school dropout.  I've been in grad school for what feels like a billion years.  I got one master's degree, and graduated right when the market crashed and I had no hope of finding a job, and getting in shape and stripping was going to be more of a time commitment than school, so I just went back.  I was taking business classes, and almost at my post-grad certificate, when something in me just...broke.  I couldn't make myself go to class.  I couldn't make myself care about anything I was studying.  I missed my kid, and my husband, and my life.

So I quit.

Anyone who thinks this is not a big deal wasn't raised in my family.  In our family, you don't quit.  You keep plugging away at whatever you're doing and YOU BE GOOD AT IT or ELSE.  I never quite figured out what the or ELSE was, but my mom scared me enough that I didn't want to find out.  So I ended up doing a lot of things I really hated, and becoming deathly afraid of failure.

Which is kind of stupid.  I mean, everyone who was a success was a failure at some point.  Einstein, Bill Gates....there's lots.  Google that shit if you're interested.  I'm not making a list for you, my research days are OVER.  Quitting grad school was a good move for me.  I don't feel like a failure and my life didn't end.  I spend more time with my kid and I"m restructuring what I want to do with my life.

That whole "figuring it out" thing isn't going so well.  I took the good job with the good money and the good insurance, and I'm not leaving anytime soon because, you know, insurance is nice.  But I don't see myself there for life (which I think my boss realizes).  But what do I want to be when I grow up?

Really, a humor writer.  With a kickass job at a nonprofit on the side, saving the bay or local food or women's uteruses.  I want a job that lets me be the social miscreant I am at heart.  My next door neighbor is a stay at home mom, and she was just saying that she felt like staying at home was causing her to regress in her adulthood.  I told her not to worry, I go to work every day and I think I'm regressing, too.  I'm trying to remember what made me excited when I was young and stupid and idealistic, and to think about what I might actually be good at.  It's a scary thing to even put that out there, because there's such a small chance that I'd ever make it as a writer.  But you never know.

Now if only I'd figured out all of this and that money isn't what's important before I bought a lot of stuff I now have to work to pay for....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And we're puking.

Had a few entertaining things to post on facebook today and realized I needed to update this thing.  Had gotten the kiddo to bed and was actually getting ready to type a new post, and I heard...that coughing.  You moms know what I mean.  That "Hmm, that doesn't sound like a cold cough, it sounds like he's going to...." and then you just run to the bedroom and try to get the kid to the bathroom before he unloads everything he's eaten for three days.

Today we actually made it.  Ben was impressed.  He asked me how I knew he was going to throw up.  I guess you just get used to these things.  And as usual, after the barfing and a bath, Henry was in pretty good spirits, so we'll just hope that it was an isolated incident and that it's not contagious.

All parents are laughing right now because of course it's not an isolated incident and of course it's contagious.  I'll be up all night and chances are I'll be barfing by morning.  It might not be the worst thing.  I've been eating like a 15 year old boy lately (it's Girl Scout cookie season) and could probably use a cleanse.  Maybe I'll even market it-I mean, if people will drink nothing but lemon juice and cayenne pepper for two weeks to lose weight, maybe they'll pay me to come over and have my kid cough on them!  Same results, but with less wear and tear on your asshole.  I haven't read too much on those lemon/pepper cleanses but I can't imagine the exit of those substances can be any easier than ingesting them.

Other than this fun event, these past few months have been action-packed.  Ben's contracting business is taking off, my new job and school are taking up a ton of time, and this kid...this kid is changing by the day.  We've got tons of words, a dinosaur fixation, much more relateability and empathy.  It's just a really fun time in parenting.  Today Henry threw his penguin down (he calls it his "baby") because he was mad at me and throwing a fit.  When he calmed down, I said "You threw your baby and that wasn't nice." and he picked his penguin up, hugged it, and said "Sorry.  Thank you."

How could that not melt your heart?

But all this development definitely brings a new sense of independence and a new sense of defiance.  Henry's perfected the go-limp-and-cry method of resisting my attempts to corral him in public.  Yesterday we got to see one of my uncles, who was in Virginia to take his son to play soccer.  As we stood on the sidelines, with many spectators, Henry decided to pull the immobile protest because I wouldn't let him lay down in a puddle.  As he laid face down in the dirt and cried, and other people looked on, I said "Hey, Uncle Larry, remember that time I was fifteen and I came home sloppy drunk and it was my dad's birthday?  This is what I get for that."  He laughed.

But I will try to post more, not only because my tens of readers would like me to, but also because I'm getting out and talking to more moms and running into the same kinds of issues and problems and fun stories.  So we'll all share in the cute things our kids are doing, as well as the meltdown they had in the grocery store, or the tube of eye cream they shoplifted from Target.  Not that Henry has done either of those things recently.

Not MY angel.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reasons I am Getting Old, And the Ways It's Being Pointed Out To Me.

1.  I have a real job, with a real career track.
2.  The "buddy" assigned to help me learn my way around the office graduated college well after I did.
3.  I am officially in the "people with young kids" group at said new job.  While some groups talk about travel and bars and the softball league and how wasted they're getting this weekend, we talk about....Legos.  And how much we miss sleep.
4.  The other day, teenagers were blocking the road where I was driving and I snapped "What, you're too cool to get out of the street, like you're too cool TO WEAR A JACKET WHEN IT'S FORTY DEGREES OUT???"
5.  We have date night.
6.  Chances are 50/50 we'll fall asleep before the naked part of "date night".
7.  I said having two glasses of wine was "probably too much".  To someone who knew me when I was 23, and two glasses of wine was "breakfast".

Yeah, it's catching up with me.  Not necessarily a bad thing-my thirties have already beat my twenties all to hell, and I'm only two years in.  Getting a healthier start, working out, have a running buddy, doing yoga.  But, as always, I got sick my first week of my new job.  At least we've got the four day weekend for me to get over the cold-oh, and also to learn everything there is to know about auditing.

I guess number 8 would be that I'm going to be spending a four day weekend reading about auditing and wiping boogers off of myself and a 19 month old who acts like me wiping said boogers off his face is as painful as removing his skin.

At least I won't have a hangover.