A Letter To A Dog, by my 4th Grader

Today I cried, twice.

But, these weren’t my usual  tears of utter exhaustion, frustration or disappointment in my parenting.

I had hit that afternoon wall at the corner of I’m-Over-It and Is-It-Bedtime-Yet? Baby was in the highchair watching Dora, 4 year-old was playing video games and 9 year-old was drawing,  so I  was checked out.  As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed I came across a post from an animal rescue group I follow.  There was a picture of a completely emaciated Mastiff and his sad eyes touched my heart.  Among many needs, what jumped out at me was that he would need heart worm treatment.  A little background – before I had kids I was very involved in animal rescue and took in two gorgeous,  6-year-old Weimeraners. Their owner had bred them, made money off the puppies and apparently didn’t find it important to put a single cent toward heart worm prevention.  I poured every ounce of myself into their recovery.  It was emotionally draining and expensive.  This was before the days of social media so the only fundraising I thought to do back then was yard sales with proceeds going toward their vet bills. Long story short, they lived to be 11 years old, they were my special gentle giants and stories of dogs suffering from heart worms are very personal to me.

I clicked on the donate link and must have sighed or something because my 9 year-old daughter asked what was wrong.  I showed her the picture of this mastiff, Winston.  I read his story out loud and saw the sadness hit her eyes.  “I want to donate my allowance to him,” she said. She handed me all of the stars from her chore chart and told me to give the money to Winston.  This, from the kid who earlier in the day was asking when I’d take her to Target to spend her money before it burned a hole in her pocket. On payday she always NEEDS to get more play makeup or the 37th ‘different’ mechanical pencil. But today, she had another plan for her money.

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Ok, so this isn’t when I cried.

Later in the day there was an update on Winston, he was in a foster home now and even wagging his tail. We were so happy to hear the news.  She started to write him a letter.  Yes, she wrote a letter to a dog – this is what it said:

Dear Winston,
When my mom told me your story I felt heart-touched. I thought you needed that money more than I do.  You worked so much harder than I did.  You worked by surviving.  I have fostered a dog.  We adopted him.  Right now we’re fostering another dog and trying to adopt her.  Also, I hope someone adopts you soon.  I hate to hear that a dog like you, so sweet, nice and kind is in such a bad place like that and to be starved! To hear that, made me want to help you.  Here are some things about me. I’m 9, my name is Bella and I LOVE DOGS. I have a question for you, how old are you?
Love,
Bella

Insert tears here.

I question my parenting on a daily hourly basis. A majority of what I write is focused on the chaotic and disgusting aspects of our family life.  This afternoon though, I finally got some of the pay off I’ve been needing.  I was validated.  I was rewarded.  I was proud.

I can’t take full credit though.  Her father and I are divorced and she spends plenty of time with each of us. I like to believe that it’s our combined influences and ability to co-parent that are helping her grow into this compassionate and thoughtful person.  She spends a lot of time with my mom (AKA her favorite person in the world).  She has a great relationship with my husband, her stepfather.  And she has full faith in God.

Later that evening I heard her reading her letter to her step dad. I cried again.

 

Winston, photo from A Way for a Stray Facebook Page

Winston, photo from A Way for a Stray Facebook Page

 

To read some of Winston’s Story from the rescue group A Way For A Stray, go here. To learn about the group helping heart worm positive dogs, including Winston, or to donate visit Rooster to the Rescue.

 

 

When Did This Become Acceptable?

The housekeeping standards that have become acceptable after baby #3 make my head spin.

When there were just 2 kids, I was able to maintain our home pretty well.  I mean, it wasn’t in model showcase condition like it was pre-kids, but we could walk without tripping over shit and if an unexpected guest stopped by, I could throw crap in a closet or under a bed pretty damn fast.   Now? Well now we look like we live in the damn Malcom in the Middle house. Minus the bitchy-ass wife, oh wait.

Vacuum cleaners are supposed to have a permanent spot in the living room right? If not, then the Goldfish, Cheerios and dog hair would.

Laundry being done, used to mean it was clean, dry, folded and put away – in the right drawers. Now if the clothes didn’t turn mildewy and is folded on the back of the couch, voila!  Laundry done.  If  I’m extra ambitious, everyone’s piles are separated.  Don’t hold your breath for mated socks.

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Beds being made used to be the first goal of the day.  It’s a little easier to accept notebooks, barbies, jewelery kits all being strewn about if the  sheets are pulled into hospital corners and the shams have perfectly pointy, crisp corners.  We are now on day 3 of messy bed.  We are lucky if the bedspread is even balled up on the bed instead of thrown on the floor … with the dog laying on it …  licking his junk.

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So I try to hit the main areas right before bed and make sure they are tidy enough to be functional in the morning.  Functional!  When the hell did that become the goal?  Kitchen – no food left out, no disgusting dishes in the sink.   Yep, that’s the whole checklist.  Most nights we settle for 1 out of 2. Clean floors, disinfect counters, empty trash can, put away dishes from drying rack – alllllllll of that, nope.  Not anymore.

Dining room table …  no sticky shit on it? Good to go. Captain America shield, Lego Batman, coloring book, tiny Spiderman – you’re all welcome to sleep there tonight.

Playroom – is there a clear path to walk? Awesome.  Finally I can go brush my teeth and get in bed. Oh, a Batman mask in my bathroom? Puh-lease, that’s totally acceptable.

 

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*If you enjoyed this and want to read more, click on the My Posts tab, Like Send The Bus on Facebook or follow my blog here.

 

 

Too Serious To Take Seriously

Laughing and making fun of things is my coping mechanism of choice.  It’s how I keep a grasp on my sanity. I’ve got shit to do, I can’t be bothered with big, life things when I’m caught up in the chaos of all the little things. There are diapers to change, lunches to make, fevers to break.  I went into this blogging adventure full force as my usual, loud, smart-ass self cracking jokes about all these little things that are life.

Today I was smacked in the face and kicked in the gut about what things are life.

I’m in my 30’s. My kids are little and I’m just starting to get a hold of this mother, wife, family thing. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to perfect it.  Except I may not.  Today could be as perfect as it get.

Could you imagine changing a diaper and looking down at that squirming, twisting, shit covered baby and thinking, “this could be the last time I do this, if I’m gone tomorrow who will know how to occupy your little hands so you don’t stick them in your poop? Who will know just how close these tabs need to be so this diaper doesn’t leak or fall off? Who will know which diaper cream is for day time and which is for night? If I’m not here to lift you up and kiss your little face like I do after every diaper change, who will do it???” These are Mommy jobs.

Today a baby lost a Mommy. That’s too serious to take seriously.

A group of teenage girls with boyfriend problems, research papers, high school pageants and homecoming dresses all grew up, got married and had babies. Today, thanks to cancer, one of those babies is left without a Mommy. That’s too serious to take seriously.

That group of teenagers had a toast and today it’s all I keep replaying in my mind. I hear it loud and clear.  I see our smiling faces, carefree, all of us in a circle looking at each other, raising those solo cups of beer as we shout:

Here’s to the boys, that we love, that we love.

Here’s to the boys, that love us, that love us,

But the boys that we love, aren’t the boys who love us,

So fuck the boys, and here’s to us!

photo(14)Ms. Fletcher Pageant 1996

 

They Like Me, They Really Like Me!

 I started a blog because I enjoy writing.  Sometimes it’s the writing part of writing that I enjoy.  Taking the time to craft my words so they wind and twist delightfully through my readers’ mind is a challenge I enjoy taking on.   Other times, and most often in this blog, I get my words ‘on paper’ as fast as possible before someone poops, breaks something or sets the house on fire. Nonetheless, I write because it’s what I like to do, so for other bloggers to enjoy my writing enough to nominate me for an award is just the icing on the cake.

liebsterblogaward

The Liebster award is awarded to bloggers to try to promote their blog and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules are as follows:

  • The nominated must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
  • Tell 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 question set by the person who nominated you.
  • Choose 11 more bloggers and ask them 11 questions.

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by 2 bloggers I recently started following:

Robin| A Little of This and That. Her fun blog combines sassy humor and easy family recipes in a unique way. Check it out here.

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Enissa | Self Love, Soul Series. A refreshing blog that is empowering and inspiring.  Visit her  here.

11 Facts About Me

I know every line in the movie, Heathers. / I cry when I hear Baby of Mine (Dumbo). / I drool in my sleep. / Cigar smoke makes me sick. / I ❤ NY / I wanted to be a Radio City Rockette / I hate when too many sentences start with “I”.  / I haven’t slept a full night in 9 years. / I have a favorite child (but it changes daily) /  I have an irrational fear of sharks. / I have an obsession with finding shark’s teeth.

Questions From Robin

What is your favorite childhood memory? Watching 4th of July fireworks from the top of the UN building in NYC / If you could sit on a park bench with anyone (alive or on the other side) and talk for one hour, who would it be and why? My Uncle Joe, because I miss him every day / How many items are on your bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list, only a to-do list… to which I have now added: Make bucket list / What is your favorite post on my site? “This Is Not An Assignment” / If you could be one super hero, who would it be? Iron Man / Would you ever give your significant other a hall pass? Nope / Favorite meal? Anything with steak and Bleu cheese / What are the top 5 places you would like to visit? Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Australia, Venice … and the utopian world from Avatar / Soda or pop? Soda #representNYC

Questions From Enissa

What was the last book you read and why? Fifty Shades of Grey Series, because I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  I was pregnant within a month and haven’t had time to pick up a book since /  What inspires you more than anything? People who don’t make excuses / Who is someone you know that you respect and admire? Why? My mom. As cliche as it sounds.  She is the most admirable person I’ve ever known. / What is a gift or talent that you have? Making meatloaf.  No seriously, even people who don’t like meatloaf, love my meatloaf. Adding crack helps. / What qualities do you love about yourself? The ability to stay focused and calm in emergency situations. / What qualities do you wish you can change or strongly dislike? My impulse to want to strangle people on a daily basis. / What pivotal moment made you start your blog?  When my Facebook status updates about the insanity in my house were getting too long./Where do you see yourself five years from now? Crying in the hallway of an elementary school when my last baby starts kindergarten. / What is your favorite t.v. show and why? I suck at having “a” favorite anything. The Walking Dead – Hoarders – Chopped – Archer / What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough … and Toasted Coconut … and Moose Tracks. Yea, not good with the favorite thing. / What type of music do you like?  All 80’s, 90’s Alternative, Classic Rock, Old School Rap, Merengue.

 Questions For My Nominees

Where are you originally from? / Biggest pet-peeve? / Crunchy or Creamy? / 3 things you can’t live without? / Your favorite post on my blog? / A word that annoys you? / Favorite Movie? / Favorite villain? / Your favorite post on your own blog? / Morning Person or Night Owl? / Why do you blog?

My Nominated Blogs

( Cue screaming baby …. I will post the rest of my nominees as soon as possible)

 

 

Random Easter Sunday Thoughts

 

Skipping baby’s nap (even done with good intentions) is dumb. Dumb. DUMB!

Only a moron would let their kid go all-you-can-eat buffet crazy with their Easter basket and then sit them in a church pew.

Hello, my name is Moron.

Is it wrong to want to bitch slap the chick in front of you who has a 2×4 up her ass and apparently hates children?

The tiny wine shot-glasses you get for communion are a terrible tease.

Thank God for bowing your head and listening to long prayers.  I needed that little power nap.

The Easter bunny is a genius! Putting the  Frozen DVD in the basket bought me hours on end of peace and quiet.

Hello, my name is Genius.

Babies squirm and squeal at church, as long as they look freakin’ adorable, get over it!

Ok, mayyyyyyyybe baby girl took it to level 5 meltdown status, which led me to this:

Church EasterSEND THE BUS! To run over the bee-otch in the pew in front of me and take this baby on an a joy ride and bring her back when she’s no longer possessed by the devil.

 

 

Written by Guest Blogger (and friend) Jason McLeod

Dear Single Ladies,

I would like to answer a few of your questions regarding my status as a single dad.

1.        No, I will not “skip” a weekend with my kids so I can take you to a concert.  If something important comes up, I can “switch” but a date  is not one of those instances

2.       No, I don’t hate planning my social schedule around my visitation schedule

3.       No, I am not going to get my vasectomy reversed

4.       Yes, I am aware of how much money I could have if I didn’t pay tuition.

5.       Yes, I know my boys could share a room.

6.       No, I don’t mind the Art Table in my living room.

7.       Yes, I think the tortoises are cool and No, I don’t think they should have to live upstairs.

8.       No, you cannot sneak over after my kids are in bed.

9.       No, I will not “just get a sitter”  I am the sitter.

10.   Yes, I think your skirt is too short and you are showing too much cleavage.

11.   No, I don’t want to do shots.  I am out of college, and not homeless and cannot afford a DUI or bar fight.

12.   Yes, I will go home with you on the first date, but please do not expect a second date.

13.   Yes, I do talk to everyone around me, but just because I made the bartender laugh doesn’t mean I want to leave my genetic material in her car.

14.   No, I will not text you if I am giving my full attention to my kids, patients, friends, family ect… But don’t fret, I will show you the same courtesy

15.   No, I do not want to be in a couple’s selfie since we just met.  I don’t want snap chats of your 4:00am Waffle House Breakfast either

16.   Yes, I do insist on the use of condoms, no, I don’t think you have a disease, but I also don’t know where you have been.

17.   Yes, it is important for me to pick up the check.  There need not be discussion.  I invited you, I insist.  If you don’t come off your meds, maybe we will transition in to Dutch dining, but not tonight

18.   Yes, I think powdered cocaine is still cocaine and is not an “Acceptable” drug.

19.   No, I will not walk you around on a leash

20.   No, you do not look like your profile pic.  You are a decade older and 3 large concrete bags heavier than the pic you posted from 1994.

21.   No, I won’t buy your girlfriend and her boyfriend drinks because they are having a “difficult time”

22.   Yes, having a husband is typically a deal breaker for me.  I’ve been shot once and that is plenty for me.

23.   No, I don’t mind that you have kids, I do mind if they are wards of the state or if you moved 3 states away from them.

24.   No, I will not call you names.  But I expect the same.  If you are classy I may use terms like: Beautiful, sexy, cute , pretty, gorgeous, radiant, smart, witty, funny, fun, provocative, ambitious, and amazing.

25.   No, I am not a douche.  Do I smell like vinegar?

26.   Yes, It matters if you are employed. (unless you are rich)

27.   Yes, how you treat strangers matters to me.  Especially if one of those strangers is my sister

28.   Yes, I do think personal and dental hygiene is important.  Are those Fritos on your toes?  I love the scent of a woman, but only when she smells like a woman.

29.   No, I will not loan you rent money

30.   No, I am not “hard up”  or “desperate”  If you are older than my mom, have track marks on your arm, are homeless, still live with your boyfriend or husband, don’t like kids, won’t use condoms, starred in a porn, danced on a pole, have a prison tattoo, have a guy’s name tattoo, have a naked person tattoo, have more than 8 tattoos, missing multiple teeth, had a penis, have a penis,  are an Islamic fundamentalist, anti-military, anti-gay, anti-gun, anti-American, anti-dogs, have multiple sores on your lips or genitalia, can’t see your toes, don’t own a bra or a car, can’t read, can’t write, can’t vote, can’t buy alcohol, or go within 500 feet of an elementary school then I probably will not want to date you.  Just consider it a personal preference.

I hope this answers many of your questions.

****************************************************************************************************************

I would like to Send the Bus to Jason.   Let’s fill it with a beautiful, traditional, femininely-flowerly smelling, kind, outgoing, self respecting and witty single mother… along with her respectful and fun, friendly child, a bottle of bubbly and top it off with a big old confetti explosion! The bus in on it’s way!

To see new blog posts and status updates that will make you pee your pants,  like Send the Bus on Facebook.

 

Things I’ve Learned the Third Time Around

I’m no expert but by number three, it’s sink or swim time as a parent. Here are a few of my tips:

Cookies = quiet. Just accept it.

Shoes should just be left in the car, unless you really enjoy the “put your shoes on NOW” fight.

Don’t ask, tell.
“Do you need to go potty?” F that! Question marks are unnecessary. “Go pee.”

Put appointments on your calendar for random earlier times. Then the day of, you’re all “Shit, was his dentist appointment really at 10 or was it 10:30 and I tried to trick myself?”Winning.

Throw some chicken nuggets in a ziplock before going out to eat. You know every damn time you order the $8.99 chicken finger kids meal, they just suck ketchup off a fry anyway. Put that money to better use- Margarita please!

Buy each kid one of those light up, spinning, annoying woooo-wooooo noise things on clearance at The Disney Store. Take it to every circus, parade, theme park…. I’m done being robbed for that shit.

Set the clock an hour ahead one evening… Don’t tell anyone. Would ya look at that?!? It’s already bedtime AKA Wine-O’clock.

If you enjoyed this, scroll down to click the Facebook like and share buttons! Puh-leeeeeease.

I Heart My Little A-ha Moment

You know that feeling when your heart drops to your stomach and your throat closes a little? It ‘s like a gut punch that knocks the wind out of you. I’ve had that for 24 hours.

I kept thinking about an online conversation I had. Yea , I know it’s social media, not “real life” and shouldn’t be taken personally. If someone is on my friends list though, it’s because I consider them a friend in one way or another. It’s personal.

This conversation has been playing on a continuous loop in my mind. A mom friend posted about mom bloggers referring to their kids as A-holes and how she disagreed with it. Being a mommy blogger (even if just a teeny tiny one with less than 200 followers) I felt misunderstood. I had literally just posted about my kids being a-holes when I was on the phone that day. Thus the explanation and defending began. My thoughts were:

I’m not actually calling them a-holes to their face.
Lighten up.
It’s said in jest between adults.
What mom doesn’t get frustrated?
My family is from Brooklyn, we smile when we call each other A-holes.

The exchange went on and although it wasn’t a big brawl or anything, feelings were hurt. Fast forward to 3am the next day. I had tossed and turned for hours. Why was this still haunting me?

Then baby wakes with a fever and as I held 19 little pounds of fiery beauty in my arms, it hit me.

I’ve always listened openly to a seasoned mothers input. I don’t think I did that this time. Maybe I got too defensive without really thinking. Looking at those round , red cheeks and rubbing my baby girl’s soft little back,  I became overwhelmed with guilt and was in awe  that God trusted and blessed me with this little life.

I don’t think she’s an a-hole. Even now at 3am when she’s screaming … or ever. So why even jokingly say it? Maybe I’ve been the assjole (told ya it would come back) or been immature and irresponsible with my words. Maybe I don’t have to follow the trend that it has become acceptable to say. Sure, it makes people laugh when they read about someone else’s a-hole kids. But at what cost?

I’d like to think I’m a fair enough writer to accomplish that relatability without having to refer to these little people who grew in my body,  as anything negative. Don’t worry, I’m not going soft.  Trust me, I’m not selling out and turning all Stepford Wife.  But maybe it’s possible to still be me, to be real but to focus on the behavior which is frustrating, not the character of my kid. I guess I never thought about it long and hard.

I’m never gonna be a straight laced, curse-word-free blogger/mom/person. But when I see newer mothers doing things,  I do think to myself, “I wish they could learn from my mistakes.” Now after processing, I applied that to myself.

I’m just getting started in this blog world and my primary goal is to be real, stay true to who I am. One of my favorite bloggers notoriously refers to her kids as A-holes. She’s funny as shit and when you see video of her kids they’re well mannered and respectful. It’s obvious she’s not running around her house literally calling them A-holes. I’m not saying I’m better, just saying that’s her voice she has found. I’m going to find my own.

This may be my most vulnerable post thus far.  Releasing your feelings into the world to be judged and scrutinized is tough sometimes, so if there is any part of this that you like take the time to ‘like’ and share.

Annnnnnnnd fuck, shit, bitch, damn …. because there was an apparent deficit of profanity here.

Holding my baby girl that night:Displaying photo.JPG

 

A Few Things I Won’t Let My Kids Be

To my children,

Remember how I told you that you can be anything you want to be?  Well, I lied.  Here are some things that you are not allowed to be.

 

Passive Aggressive

You are not allowed to be a whiney little whimp who hides under the guise of being nice when you’re really jabbing at someone.  You got something you dont like? Say so. Has someone done something that made you upset? If you really care about each other you face the conflict respectfully and head on. Talk it out or let it go. No in between.

 

Entitled 

The world owes you nothing. See, I’m your mama and think you’re a gift from God whom I love to the edge of the universe. I spent the first couple years of your life making sure you learned how special and uniquely perfect you were.  After the toddler years though, it’s time to make  a shift.  You learn the world does not revolve around pleasing you and you will not have things just put in your lap.  You (yes, even little old 3 year old you) can contribute to your household, your family, your world in some way.  I swear, any displays of entitlement in my presence will earn you a smack upside your head… yes, you will have earned that.

 

Lazy

I’m not talking about physical laziness, although that isn’t tolerated either.  Mental laziness is the big ‘hell no’ in this household.  Do not tell me you can’t do something before you have even tried.  If something is hard, you try harder.  If you try and fail, you’ve lost nothing.  If you fail to try, you’ve lost everything … including self respect.

 

Disprespectful

The other day at lunch, you (my normally polite little 9 year old) were playing a game on an I-phone.  The server came to take our drink order.  I held it together until the server walked away, then you got the wrath of Mommy.    “Give me that phone.  You know better than that! When she comes back you need to look her in the eye and acknowledge her and respond like you’re supposed to.”   This hits me hard for another reason I suppose; I worked as a server for many years.  Servers Adults don’t need some punk-ass kid acting like they’re too good to look someone in the eye.  Once our server returned, she was greeted by a smiling 9-year-old ordering her meal with the manners I expect to be practiced.

 

A Liar
This mean either outright lying or lying by omission.  Trust me, I know when you’re lying and if I don’t immediately call you out, you should be even more concerned.  I’m just giving you enough rope to hang yourself.  The punishment will be commensurate with the extent of the lie.  I can spot bullshit from a blimp in a fog storm.  You only lie if you’ve done something you shouldn’t have done and you know it.  The right way to handle that is to apologize.  Sincerely.

Brat2

A few obserations about Frozen

frozen

1. After giving such stellar parenting advice about suppressing emotions, does anyone know why the hell the parents left their kids?

I mean WTF is up with Disney hating parents? They always die or don’t even exist. Bambie’s mom? Shot. Dumbo’s mom? Locked up. Ariel? Does she even have a mom? What about Snow White? Well, I looked it up and her mom “died shortly after her birth”. Also she was 12 years old and roaming around the woods talking to animals and shacking up with 7 dudes.

2. What’s in that high altitude mountain air? It’s like the 2×4 was magically removed from Elsa’s ass and she went all a sex kitten, va-va-voom when she built her ice palace. Whatever it is she’s breathing in,  I wanna bottle that shit and sell it.

3. Thank you Disney for showing our girls that men can be scum who should not be trusted so quickly. Seriously, I know plenty of adult women who could learn from this and stop crying every time they find out their Prince Charming is a mooching ass loser.  Your man will be a bit of fixer-upper …  and let’s be honest, so are you. I’m down with realistic expectations and glad Disney caught on. The cherry on top of the ‘this-is-real-life sundae’ is Anna decking the douche nugget in the face. The double standard of domestic violence is fine by me.

4. Did Olaf really not have a nose before Anna impaled him with a carrot? I don’t recall a nose-less a snowman.

5. ” I don’t have a skull … Or bones.”   Yea, that’s not really an observation but it cracks me the hell up every time.