Thursday, August 23, 2007

No Human Rights In "Kid Nation" - August 23, 2007

No Human Rights In "Kid Nation" - August 23, 2007

Trying, trying trying to be non-judgemental here... I'm sure there's some reason somewhere why parents would 1) allow their children to be a part of this show and 2) sign the waiver giving CBS the responsibility for even picking out medical care for their children! Consent for surgery!

I'm sure somewhere there's some reason.


Somebody please tell me what it is.... because this absolutely and totally boggles my mind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Churning, churning...

You know, when I was with X it wasn't great... but at least when I was feeling off, when things were bothering me... whatever - I always knew where to look (inside) for the cause of those problems. Him! Antsy? Depressed? Angry? Anxious? Tense? Stressed? X. X. X. X. X. and X. Sure I felt those feelings on a pretty regular basis... but life was predictable. I'd wake up, feeling anxious, know it was because of X... get my walls up & get through the day. Ahhhh. life was so simple then...

Now, it seems, something else is happening. I'm feeling tense. I'm feeling anxious. I'm feeling stressed. And I'm not really sure why. I'd say this has been going on a good three months... with breaks here and there....but yeah. Three months.

We spent the past weekend at J's & it was great. Friday night I took the kids to B'nai Jeshurun for Friday night services... J met us... I was fine. Happy. Calm. Thinking/feeling.. isn't this nice.... Then at some point: BOOM! I got tensesotenseIcouldnotrelaxeverythingwasbotheringme. That's how I felt. Totally wound up.

Did I mention my parents came, too?

I'm not saying it's because of them, but I'll tell you - I was miserably tense all though dinner (and had two glasses of wine!)

My mom, of course, started the evening by telling me she brought the boys jackets. That I didn't pack. Because it might be cold. Tension point number one.

Both parents were dying to spend time with the kids. They hadn't really seen them since July 4th weekend. The kids would have no part of it. They were doing their own thing. Plus J's other daughter was there & the kids never see her.... so.... pretty fun girl, boring old grandparents? Right. The Grandparents were visibly upset. Tension point number 2.

Plus I always feel like my parents have super x-ray eyes. (They're parents after all. Don't all parents have those?) They're watching me. They're watching my kids. Waiting. Waiting for something to go wrong so they can tell me. Tension point number 3.

Ahhh, you're saying... you know why you were tense after all! Ok. Maybe I do. But that stuff has all happened before... not really sure why it was so bad that night.... and it was bad. I was miserable. Can't say it was any better for poor J - who had to bare (bear? I never know) the brunt of it.

We get back to J's place, I get the kids settled & go into his bathroom to get ready for bed. My stuff! It's all over the place! Some of it is missing! MY STUFF!!!!!! I ask (in my calm, not at all tense voice - yeah, right.) WHERE IS MY STUFF? J explained that the girls cleaned out the stuff in the bathroom. The put most of my stuff back, but the stuff they didn't know who it belonged to... was in this box... MY STUFF!!!!! I was like "but, but.... I had ALL OF MY STUFF in one place. It wasn't like it was all spread out. If they didn't know whose it was... if it was in my place, it was... (say it with me now) MY STUFF!" (I like my stuff, OK?)

Could have, perhaps, maybe, overreacted a wee, wee bit. But shit. Don't mess with a girl's stuff!

Had a horrible nights' sleep, was so tense before I fell asleep you could have bounced a marble off my back. Woke up in the middle of a dream - when J's alarm went off. I said: "I was in the middle of a dream" and promptly started hyperventilating and crying. Sobbing. All the feelings that were in my unconscious. In that dream. There. On the table (OK, bed. We didn't sleep on the table.) Out there. Raw. And I couldn't really even remember the dream, just kept saying/feeling "It was that I didn't belong."

Oy. I tell ya'. I'm sick of this emotional drama in my life. I understand that when you're in therapy you bring things to the surface & become a bit more exposed. I get that. But c'mon now!

So I've been really thinking about this - beyond the "I don't belong" feeling... because that would probably be a whole other post. But I've been thinking why I've been having so many more feelings (and the good ones too - but just not having as many of those recently!) and I think it's because when I was with X I was so concerned with HIS feelings. Keeping him happy. Keeping him relaxed. Keeping him calm would keep things calm for me. I didn't have time to worry about my own feelings... if he was OK he'd be OK at home. When I did have the feelings... my own feelings.. they were immediate. A reaction to what had just happened with him. And it wasn't talked about. It was tabled. Shelved. In my brain.

So, I'm thinkin'... that part of it is an overflow from what was created with him (my friend, a shrink, really feels that part of it is PTSD - the sobbing & hyperventilating) and part of it is just the luxury of having feelings. Being able to have my own... so I'm experiencing them more.

So yeah. It's been the best of summers, and the worst of summers. And now I'm just ready for it to end. (NOT the summer! NO! Love summer! Hate Moods!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thw Wall Has Been Smashed

So I'm at work Friday & on the phone with Citibank trying to figure out what was going on with my new bank card. (I lost one, they sent me a new one, and it's been chaos ever since.)

So, I'm on the phone with them for a good half hour trying different things.... FINALLY - they figure it out and tell me: "I'm going to put you on hold for a minute, will put this through, then when I come back on it should be fixed." I say "ok." I hear: Click. Phone disconnected. I say:


I hear:


Max was at work with me.

"I NEVER hear you say that! You said the F word! Daddy says that, but you NEVER do! I don't believe it! The F word!! You said it!!!"

I apologized and attempted to explain myself.

Later I see him sitting. Looking pensive. I ask him what he's thinking about.

"I'm just thinking about you saying the "F" word. I just can't believe it."

The innocence: Gone. Another wall: Smashed. I am one step closer to being a regular person and not just a "Mom."

Ay yay, yay

So OK. I'm not perfect. Sometimes things happen in my kids' lives that I don't pick up on & I'm not the perfect, kind, supportive, always there for you mom.

But I get an A for effort, right?

Nathan is going through something. Not major. But enough. He's clingy, he's teary, he wants to know where I am all the time - But it took me his "I'm going to cry every day when Gwen leaves." comment for me to realize. It's.....

Transition Time.

Think about it. He's spent his summer not seeing most of his friends, the babysitter he has had for most of his life is leaving, he's going to a brand new school, none of his friends will be at that school - and oh yeah, I carelessly let drop that he has to go for a blood test the end of this month. Just to pile another worry onto him.

Let me explain.

I'm a single mom. A social worker. A social worker with lots of debt. A single mom with an X husband who though he supports us as he's supposed to - does not really like to part with money. An X husband who does not believe in summer camp. ("They can go to the park." "This is a time of cutting back, camp is a luxury item. I don't support luxury items.") And you know, the mediators support that. When we were doing the agreement, they said the same thing. I could have gone through lawyers, but to pay the legal fees for that -- just to get him to pay for summer camp.... well... doesn't make too much sense. (And I'm not sure why it's not covered - as I WORK during the day, and we're getting a PART TIME sitter since they're both in school full time - so WHERE DO THEY GO the first half of the day. Help me. I'm already stressing about next summer! Make me stop!!)

Enough. Back on track.

So. Since X left the kids have been going to summer camp at the Forest Hills Jewish Center. They went for school from the time they were 2 1/2 and then camp. When X left he would not pay for it. You know: Luxury Item. But I was determined to keep things the same as possible for them... so I spoke to the director. She helped me out, and let them go to summer camp for free. (By "camp" I use the term loosely. It's at the school. In classrooms. They play on the roof...)

Once most kids get older - say about 4-5 years old - they leave the Jewish Center camp and go to "regular" camps. On Long Island. That cost upwards of $3000 for a summer. I have two kids. Free camp? $6000 for camp? Plus babysitter. Right. You get it.

(Omigod, sorry this is so long!) This summer ALL of Nathans friends were at other camps. They would get home at about 4 pm when he was done at 1, and he never got to see them. Plus he was one of the oldest kids at the camp & had a difficult time connecting with the other kids. (Which is not usual for him. He's usually the most loved. For the first time he came home and said "Coby said he doesn't want to be my friend!" It was heartbreaking!)

So he's been off kilter all summer long.

Now our sitter is leaving. At first I thought he was ok. Now he's asking, all the time: "When is Gwen's last day?" And saying: "I'm going to cry every day when she's gone." And "Gwen doesn't love us. She loves babies."

And you also know where I go in my mind - that mommy guilt. That Divorced Mommy Guilt. And even though I know that Wallerstein says not to put everything back on the divorce... I feel like he's had this loss of having his dad move out... why this, too? (And now of course he's older & he's saying things like "When I'm at Daddy's I miss you. When I'm with you I miss Daddy.")

So, I try. I try to say the right things "Gwen still loves you. You can call her. We can see her." But he just refutes everything I say.

And now kindergarten. "I don't want to go. None of my friends will be there. It's scary. It's big." Which I know are all normal feelings, but....

THEN he had to hear my telling J that I had to bring him in for another blood test (he's on the small side so we've been monitoring his growth, hormone levels, etc...) His pediatric endocrinologist had actually told him that he had to go for only one more test - and then he wouldn't have to come back anymore -- and Nathan told EVERYBODY! "Dr David told me I don't have to come back!"

Except that on his last blood test he tested low for thyroid. So he has to get it re-tested.

So he hears me telling J and he's all "He lied! Dr. David lied! He said I don't have to go back! I don't want to go for another test...!"

And now he's all anxious about that, too!

I don't know. I mean, I know kids go through stuff.... and this is all relatively minor stuff - on the Stuff Scale ... but I just feel like they should be able to go through at least the first ten years of their lives without stress, without anxiety... there's so much of it to go around when they're older...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The working wounded / Most women don't have a choice to stay home with kids

The working wounded / Most women don't have a choice to stay home with kids


Random thoughts from a baseball weekend.

I'm going to start off this post by saying that I hope the pictures I upload end up at least somewhere NEAR where I want them to be... I haven't been having the best of luck with that.

So this weekend was another baseball weekend. Yankees and Detroit Tigers. J is an ardent Tigers fan (his dad was a fan... way back from Hank Greenberg - one of the few Jewish ball players who apparently won a very ardent group of followers.) So, even though they never lived in Detroit, or even Michigan, J grew up following the Tigers. Plus J has season tickets to the Yankees... sooo.... We went Saturday and today (she said, still picking peanut shells out of her shoes...).

My boys have been converted from the dedicated Yankees fans they were at the beginning of the season, to the sort of Tigers fan that would make any Motor Cityite proud. So they were very excited to go both days. J couldn't go Saturday - so my sister came with us - then J was with us Sunday.

I just don't get the absolute dedication and ardor that people show. To a sports team. Now I guess you have to understand something - when I was growing up we never went to any sporting events. Never. Oh wait - we went to a few MISL games because I developed a crush on Branko Segota (we were snowed in at a hotel with the New York Arrows & he was there & he waved at me. He waved at me!! I must have been about 14/15 years old... and this cute soccer star WAVED at me! That and my mom said "He's looking at you. Look! He's looking at you!" OMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD! But I digress.... but what a fun digression down memory lane it was....)but we never really did the sports thing. The culture thing, sure - but... (And Ok, in the interest of full disclosure I did have Jim Morrison, John Lennon, and Mick Jagger posters all over my room...)

So here are two things I noticed. Going to a home game with people (children) wearing hats from the opposing team. Uh uh. My kids were NOT shy about who they support ("Go Tigers! Yankees Suck!"). They got high fives from the U. Michigan students, pats on the back from the older Tigers fans... and... the man sitting in front of us today ripped up paper and stuffed it in his ears to prevent him from hearing my kids yell. (No joke. I sat there watching him, and I'm now trying to decide if I want that paper to get stuck in there or not.)

But I'm watching the game, watching the people & MAN - people take this shit really seriously, huh? Like really. Like enough to give little kids a dirty look when they say "Yay Pudge!"

Then there was this man who stood up and danced each time the Yankees did... oh... anything.

But there was the man with the orange goatee who sat on the end of row. He left his seat and came to get us after he saw us walking the wrong way (away from our seats) saying he wanted to help us even though we're Detroit fans. (Thank you Man With The Orange Goatee! We'd probably still be wandering if not for you!!)
Then we went to wait for autographs after... and it made the whole thing worse... imagine if you will... a group of people - grown-ups and kids... waiting for a smile, a wave, a handshake or maybe even an autograph from a sporting figure they've been rooting for for the past three hours. Imagine, if you will, those same sporting figures walking by. Not waving. Not smiling. Not acknowledging at all. Huh?!? I was so aggravated. Of course, the "real" fans forgave them. Me, I'll get back to you.
And no. The pictures are nowhere near where I want them to be.