Monthly Archives: October 2015

Brain dump

I put a bunch on Twitter, because my arms burn like fire and I only had about 20 minutes on the computer yesterday. This may be a touch repetitive for those who follow me there.

This trip to Texas is flat out weird. It is going so well. I have mixed feelings about this because Noah says that part of the reason it is going so well is because I loudly telegraph my boundaries now and I wasn’t good at doing that in the past. I’m having a hard time with the idea that perhaps they are treating me like a human being because I have finally figured out how to fake acting like one so they aren’t kicking me any more.

That bothers me.

I can’t wait to see Noah’s baby sister. I suspect that things went as well as they did with Noah’s mom because of the intervention of baby sister. She said she was working on things.

They are acting more like I am “one of them” instead of being an interloper who needs to be chased off. They are acting like I am a high status person. I feel almost allergic to what is happening and yet, this is nice.

I am feeling overwhelmed with horror that I am getting to the point where upper class white people no longer feel secure fucking with me but police officers still get to assault black children in school.

The world is disgusting and broken and I want no part of it.

Yet traveling with my children gives me the weirdest hope. They really don’t recognize barriers. They are fine with people “signaling” poor. It isn’t off-putting. They sit down for a chat. “I’m from California, are you from around here?” is a great way to have people tell you lots of stories. I am in awe at how my Eldest Child continues to morph her working-a-crowd techniques.

Last night we went to dinner with Noah’s brothers and their respective SOs and they were a bit flabbergasted when EC walked off in the middle of dinner because she was done and a kid was wearing a Minecraft sweatshirt. I kinda waved like I do to acknowledge that I know where she is. The grown ups at the table were asking, “Uhm, what should we do?” Noah said, “Oh this is her normal.” They all looked at me a bit funnily and I smiled brightly.

You can get away with a lot if you act like it is dead normal.

“Yeah, traveling with her is a bit like traveling with the President. She wants to meet everyone.”

They all kind of nodded slowly and then tried to eavesdrop on her conversation. It was hilarious how they all said things like, “Wow. She’s funny. She’s getting really good at her stand up act.”

Yup. She’s had a lot of practice.

I have some mixed feelings about how hypersocial she is, but I don’t see how I will do her favors by trying to rain on her parade. Near as I can tell, she is getting the support she ought to have. She gets to experiment with people in safe environments basically all day every day. What could be better for a child who has this much need to connect?

She crawled in bed with us this morning telling us about her nightmares. It was fun talking to her about her conscious mind and her subconscious and why she has way more power in her dreams than she thinks. “If you can learn to tell yourself ‘I’m asleep and that means I have all the power in the world’ then nightmares get less scary. You can fight back.” She was incredibly excited about this concept. Thank you, Freddie Krueger movies. I’ve learned so much.

It is really nice having Noah here. I’ve been gone too long. I forgot what it was like to have my mobile self-esteem boosting service around. Noah really likes me and dealing with him is such a treat. He’s nice to me even when I’m sharp.

I really appreciate that my husband and kids act like me getting snippy is a sign that I’m over extended and we should take a break because I don’t need to get so tired. That is… whoa.

They don’t punish me for deviating from cheerfulness. They act like, “Oh poor Krissy.”

Do you know how fucking weird this is?

Last time Jenny was in the country she commented that I’m different. I’m not angry and combative like I was.

I don’t have to be any more. This is what I’m like after 9 years of safety. Imagine what I could have been like with 30+ years. It boggles the mind.

I’m still fierce and I don’t plan to change that. But I’m not looking for a fight in the same way. I’m just fierce. I just have strong opinions and I’m completely happy to share them. I don’t mind that part of my personality.

Staying with the brothers is a bit of a trip. Noah’s parents sent us to this house with a 6-pack of wine. Noah and I each had a glass. The other adults drank 4 bottles. And they had a full bottle at the restaurant.

Whoa. We are out of our league. After EC has spent months convinced that one drink would turn me into a raging alcoholic (BASED ON WHAT?! Have you ever even seen me drunk?!?!?!! NO.) she had quite a spell last night. Telling one of the girlfriends “Oh I see you are the drunk bandmate huh.” The girlfriends response was, “I have never been the drunk band mate. That’s not fair.” But it was funny? A little? Funny in a way that was just a bit too pointed?

The amount of drinking here is pretty scary. And they all think nothing of hopping in the car to drive.

We ain’t in California no more, Toto.

Youngest Child woke up. We think we might run off to the florist and get some flowers to replace all the dead ones hanging out around this house. We are the only ones awake after all.

Kinda funny.

So last night the kids and I were talking about fussing and getting along. Youngest Child said, “I get so scared when you are angry and yelling at us. I’m afraid… you might ground me.

This was said with full quivering of lips and big sad puppy dog eyes.

I literally laughed out loud. Kid was kind of annoyed with me. “What! Being grounded is the second scariest thing ever! Missiles are scarier, of course, but grounding is awful.”

You know what? Maybe I’m not as mean as I want  to believe. I think I do a better job of keeping my cranky away from the kids than I think.

And then this morning we aren’t going anywhere because if you’ve dumped all your clean underwear in the laundry basket because that is your version of “cleaning up” then we don’t need to go anywhere.

I am sick to death of these kids acting like “cleaning up” means “dump it where mom has to deal with it and I don’t.”


I am not going to go do laundry today just because you feel like dumping all your clean stuff in a pile and telling me to wash it. By my reckoning we have 3-4 days before I should do laundry.

Which means I am medicating.

Just done.

I am at the point where if my children refuse to eat, fine. We will sit still all day. Because if I do anything other than just sitting still I have to hear screaming, whining, and begging for sugar. They are pretty unwilling to eat anything other than sugar at this point and I feel like I’m about to lose my mind.

I guess I won’t see New Orleans.

I sincerely hope that was rock bottom.

Yesterday sucked.

We had two long driving days in a row followed by setting up camp on the second of the days. I’m not feeling in perfect health. My body hates what I’m doing. I’m not sure what piece is the hardest.

I’m making a lot of suboptimal choices as we travel. Things like choosing to drink soda even though I know corn syrup rips up my inside. Things like having carbonation even though it causes intense abdominal pain. Things like too much fast food because I can’t deal with preparing better foods. My body is not doing well at all. I keep spiking fevers and having tremors.

My intestinal health has been all over the map on this trip. I have alternated between some of the most excellent poop of my life (I am really impressed with the size and form of a few of these days. Whoa. I don’t know what the hell I did) alternating with burning awful. I’m not even sure how it maps onto drinking soda.

Mostly I’m drinking soda for the caffeine. I should take the caffeine tablets out of my bathroom bag and put them near where I drive and switch to juice. My body would be so much happier.

My weight is slingshotting up and down. I judge this based on how my clothes fit. I can’t tell if I’m gaining muscle or what.

Last night after I had spent the day being a really terrible mother the kids and I laid down in the tent and I said, “Aunt Sarah suggested that we check in. How was today for you?”


“Ok. Did you feel like it was ok to tell me to stop yelling or did you feel like maybe you deserved it?”

“Well, I knew I didn’t deserve it and I knew you were being inappropriate… but it’s kinda hard to tell you to stop when you are that fierce. I just kind of wait for it to end.”

“I’m really sorry. I was pretty awful and mean today. It isn’t your fault when I lose control. Me getting so upset is about me and not about you and I’m really sorry that I am doing such a poor job of controlling myself.”

“Mom… you’ve done well for a long time. This stress is really getting to you.”

“Yeah, you see that’s the part that scares the crap out of me. You should not justify people treating you badly. Don’t let people think that is ok. You don’t deserve it and me being under stress does not justify taking it out on you.”

“I think it is going to take more practice before I can stand up to you on those days.”

“Well, we aren’t dead yet. We have more time to practice before I send you off into the world to deal with bigger bullies than me.”

Younger Child wasn’t very verbal during this conversation. I get the impression that Eldest Child just has… an awareness of self that isn’t quite there yet for Younger Child. It’s complicated. EC can cut me off saying, “I think you are being harsher than you mean.” YC just starts screaming, “Stop being mean to me!!!!”

We are working on nuance. It’s coming.

I don’t even know why I crashed so hard. We got to New Orleans and I stopped to get directions to a grocery store. (I know I was kind of freaking out about being out of food. I’m really wacky about it.) I had a hard time because with the trailer a lot of the roads around here are hard. Lots of narrow streets and quick crossings.

The traffic around here is… I don’t know. I don’t like it. Tons of tail gaiting.

It is fascinating to me how different parts of the country treat the speed limit. In some places, no one speeds. In other places if you go the speed limit people try to run you off the road. I can’t figure out the pattern. I think it would take a lot more experience than I’ve gotten on this trip.

The streets around here are narrow, crowded, and everyone speeds. That’s enough to set off my anxiety.

I’m being forgetful about meds. I’m not taking them as consistently as I should be. That isn’t helping my self-regulation.

I feel super guilty about the fact that the single thing that is getting to me the most is… I need to have a good hour every single day where no one is talking to me so I can just think my thoughts. My kids are literally incapable of shutting the fuck up. I love that about them and I feel like I am going to lose my mind at the same time. We are on day 127. I have had childcare help on approximately 12? 14? days out of this trip. I’m really really low on time to myself and the strain is showing. I need to stop taking it out on the kids.

I’m also flipping out because after New Orleans we head to Texas and holy shit on toast I am not in the god damn mood to be nice to Noah’s fucking parents. They haven’t ever been nice to me. That’s a problem. I’m looking forward to the Great Grandmother. She has put a lot of effort into getting to know me through letters. I feel like she has sincerely tried to adopt me and I appreciate that. It isn’t a strain to be nice to her.

I’m feeling this increasing paranoia that I’m just a fucking asshole all the time and that’s all I am and that feeling makes it so much harder to be nice or patient.

39 days to go. 6 more days in New Orleans. (We had beignets today. Eldest child adored the traditional cafe au lait. How in the hell did that kid come out of my body?!) Then 11 days in Texas. Then 15 days of travel/camping to get from Texas to the Grand Canyon and then on to Anaheim. 5 days at Disneyland with Sarah. That’s going to be so nice.

She’s going to help drive home. That sounds so wonderful right now. I’m really glad that of the next 39 days I’m not actually alone with the kids for 18 days. Only 21 more days of being alone together and it’s broken up. Thank goodness.

I have already emailed our babysitter at home. I want to start right the freak back up again. She’s game. Yay!

Not writing increases my sense of being scattered and unfocused and confused and cranky. Dumping stuff here helps so much. So I sent the kids into the tent to play and I’m out here typing. This is the closest to alone time I get right now. I can hear them completely and totally but they aren’t screaming directly in my face.

The internet connection here sucks so I don’t know if this will post or not.

I pulled apart the back of the van and changed the organization a lot. I think this will work better on the last leg of the trip. At this point the sky box is full of presents and the tumbling mats.

This is going to be the Krissy Claus Christmas.

I haven’t slept well for the past few weeks.

My spoon drawer is empty. I think I have used all of Novembers spoons at this point and I’m borrowing into December. This is starting to seriously worry me. My arms are in so much pain.

I’m having very worried thoughts about this whole WWOOF year thing. If I don’t find a way to be in less pain… I should probably give up that dream.

I’m feeling really upset with myself for my weakness. It is hard to not be really nasty with myself because I am spending so much time sitting very still so I don’t cry from pain.

I am having increasing feelings of panic because I am going to have to find a way to make a transition when we come home. I am going to have to figure out how to deal with home school group stuff. That’s going to be so hard for me and every time even a whisper of a thought crosses my mind my stomach explodes with acid.

And Eldest Child has been talking a lot about how upset she is about the Godmamas not wanting to know us anymore.

I’m feeling grateful that they were only around for six years. There is a chance the kids won’t be damaged forever. It would have been worse if they had stuck around for eight or nine years before bailing. These memories will fade. I’m being asked to process a lot of stuff around that ending/break up. “Did Aunt ____ get much more strict in the last few months because she wasn’t liking me any more and that’s why she stopped wanting to see us?” Oh honey. I can’t know why people are behaving how they are behaving. I don’t truly understand the whole break up.

I know that they didn’t feel supported enough. Me offering repeatedly and being told no… well… I guess I should have shown up even when I was told no? I know they didn’t feel that they had as much influence over the children as they thought they would have. I’m not even sure what that means.

I don’t know.

It is really hard processing this stuff with the kids. I really don’t know what to say. They don’t want to be in our lives. I can’t control that.

It wasn’t a good enough deal for them.

I’m really having a hard time with both of them wanting to talk about it. I feel like it is picking at a scab. I’m not 100% sure what all I did wrong and I’m pretty sure this breakup is about stuff I did wrong. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of that with the kids though. It’s so complicated.

I wanted to be there to provide support after the accident. I was told that wasn’t ok.

It feels like I can’t do anything right.

If me speculating that I have to cover my ass because if I falter my kids are screwed isn’t being respectful enough… well. My kids are the only ones I have to consider here.

I’m feeling really bad all the way around.

We have had a good day today in terms of interactions, with the kids I mean.

I just… I’d really like to go find a nice bath tub and lock the door and spend a few hours cutting. I don’t like me very much right now and I can’t see anything about me that doesn’t deserve to be set on fire.

I haven’t been mean at all today. I’ve been quiet instead.

I’m glad that my kids know that when I lose control it is about me screwing up and not about them. But somehow that doesn’t seem like enough.

One more night in Florida

Today we leave Vero Beach and drive to Marianna Florida. It’s just too far to get to Alabama in one day from here. This means we will drive through Alabama and not really stop. We are going to stay in New Orleans for 8 nights because that is less exhausting than drive/camp. I planned to drive/camp and… I’m so worn out. I just can’t. I feel guilty.

I sat still for almost three days in a row here. I’m so tired.

40 days until we get home.

On our last day in New Orleans we pick Noah up. Then we get to spend 13 days with him. That will be lovely.

Of course those 13 days will mostly be spent in Texas with his family. I’m feeling kind of numb to that right now. I’m nervous because I don’t have a lot of patience left. I’m kinda worried I will blow up at Noah’s family.

Depends on what they fucking say to me.

8 days in New Orleans, 12 days in Texas (in multiple cities seeing his whole family), 5 days in Disneyland (with Sarah!).

We are otherwise driving then staying put for a day until we get home. That’s the plan. I might change our destinations slightly so that we can have slightly longer drive days and camp for 3 nights in a row to rest in between driving.

My back is so pissed off at me. My arms hurt. I’m spending lots of time on Twitter because it doesn’t cause as much pain. I think it is funny that I thought I would be off Twitter for six months. Instead I’m not posting much here because my arms hurt so much and I don’t want to be recording all of my emotional ups and downs here.

It gets annoying to me.

Lots of big feelings. Mostly we are having a really good time. The down moments still don’t last that long but we are having harder and harder days. The kids are out of fucking patience. So much screaming lately over anything.

Mostly younger child. I think that kid is always going to have big, explosive feelings. Let’s go home and work on managing them in a lower stakes environment, ok? We can figure this out together.

The gender ambiguity is… different than it was months ago. Most days are she/her/girl. I honestly think that the wedding in New York with lots of women in suits was the big thing. There was all of a sudden the perception, “I don’t have to change genders to change how I look. Oh.”

I’m trying to still be tentative about my assumptions that I “know” what this kiddo will decide long-term. It’s not my body and it isn’t my life. I’m trying to just be accepting.

I’m being too hard on Eldest Child and I know it. I’ve been told that she isn’t going to tolerate me being this bossy once we get home. Heh. “Mom I know that you are being so controlling because we keep changing environments and they all have different expectations… but I’m done with this. It stops when we go home, ok?”

I don’t know how I ended up with a kid like this. I mean, yes she reflects the parenting she’s received but I honestly believe most kids just couldn’t be as sure as she is even with me as a parent. Youngest Child sure isn’t the same.

Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with a very short 60 year old. She’s not 30 or 40. She’s… just… I don’t know… aware and resigned to the idosyncracies in life? She is accepting and yet completely sure of her limits and needs. I rarely see that in folks who are more in the middle of life. She’s just… I don’t even know. She’s seen it all. She rolls her eyes like a grandmother who is tired of your lip. She doesn’t put up with guff.

It cracks me up.

I was told that when we get back kids will not be doing chores for a full week. They are just done with being helpful. But they both say, “After that week you get a week off. That’s only fair.”

Holy crap y’all are so fucking nice.

It’s funny how they teach me how to teach every day. We’ve had dozens of philosophical conversations about doing dishes. “It’s not like taking a shower. You don’t just run the water over the dishes for a long time and call it good. Really, haven’t you noticed how in the shower we use soap and rub it on our bodies? Yeah. You have to *rub* the dishes with a soapy sponge/cloth or they don’t get clean. No, running enough water to flood the carpet doesn’t get the dishes clean. Bummer.”

I am… liking Disney resorts less as time goes by. Disneyland is different. The thing that is bothering me the most is how this is a closed community of upper middle class/rich people. Everyone here feels 100% confident that their politics are universal.

I am liking human beings less with every passing day.

Fuck your assumptions with a pogo stick.

I think it is really ridiculous that people feel they have the right to yell at me because I am “bailing on the system” by home schooling but when you mention private schools, “Well that’s different.”

You piece of shit hypocrite. So the very wealthy putting their kids in private school is fine. Poor people or lower middle class people providing an education on their own is destroying the moral fabric of our country? Shove your idiocy where the sun doesn’t shine.

The home schooling demographic is all over the place but usually not that common at the top-most rungs. Most very wealthy people would rather put their kids in private school than home school. Most very wealthy people don’t want to spend that kind of time with their kids because they have to work to maintain that lifestyle.

Did you know that ~25% of the schools in this country are private but they only serve 10% of the population of children? How in the hell can that kind of subsidizing not be more of a problem to the public system?!

Especially since many ostensibly home schooled kids are enrolled in charters and are still part of the funding cycle.

I don’t think it is going to be possible to convince me that caring about the larger system is more important than caring about the individual needs of my children. I brought these people into the world. I owe them. I don’t owe everyone else.

Also, I actually was a public school teacher. I don’t think you get to say I have never contributed in a positive way towards other peoples children.

I’m just not going to throw my kids under the bus. What does that mean? My kids would not be doing hours of homework. I would be organizing mass protests through the PTA. I’d be a problem. My kids would be punished for that.

That’s not fair either. And I sure as fuck am not going to teach them that they should waste years of their life not progressing because other people need to catch up. I’m not going to teach them to do busywork to appease a system that doesn’t care about them and doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

The current public school system is a mess. The push towards testing is really harmful. It creates all kinds of stupid anxiety and self-dislike. Children are convinced by their teachers that they can’t possibly be smart if they don’t follow along like good peons.

I don’t really want to raise people who believe that they are required to just follow bullshit orders. I want my children to think about what they should do and why rules exist.

The convenience of a teacher, principal, or political system should not be their highest priority.

Shit like this. My kids are not going to go to school to be subjected to the casual views of my broken culture. No fucking thanks.

Do you know what my kid says? “Well, I used to think I would marry ___ but now I think that is not a good idea. I want a partner who won’t hurt people. You know… he actually used to push me around too. I didn’t like it but I liked him. Maybe I shouldn’t let someone do that to me. I want a partner who is nice to me. I’ll keep looking.”

My children will not be raised in toxicity. They will not be enculturated to believe that abuse is the same thing as love even though that idea is absolutely pervasive in American culture.


If people don’t treat you right, get the fuck away from them. There are too many fish in the sea.

Ok, kids are waking up. Time to push on.


Tell the truth.

Well, I’ve hit my kids. Both of them.

I was leaning into the van trying to find things and I noticed that the kids left a milk container in there. It was sideways and leaking onto a pile of books. I yelled for Eldest Child to get over here and help me. She appeared and I meant to hand things back to her but I misjudged distance. I smacked into her belly pretty forcefully. I wasn’t trying to hit, but I did. We’ve discussed it a few times and I’ve apologized. I really didn’t mean to slap a pile of stuff into your belly. I meant to hand it to you and I misjudged. That’s sucky. I’m sorry.

Then this morning Eldest Child thought it was funny to tap on my face. I said that it hurt and I wanted it to stop, but my eyes were closed and I wasn’t that emphatic. So Youngest Child walked up with a toy and slapped me in the face hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. I smacked her body hard enough to get her away from me because she started bouncing the toy on my face again.

I didn’t apologize for the second hit. No, I’m not actually sorry that I hit you hard enough to push your body far enough away from me that you had to stop hitting me.

I didn’t punch or slap that hard. There isn’t a mark at all. But it hurt my bloody nose and I’m not freakin sorry I made your body get away from mine. You don’t get to hurt me.

So, I’ve done it. Shit.

I’m going to have a day of feeling like a bad mother. But you don’t get to hit my fucking face. I don’t care who you are.

Rape & privilege

I’ve been talking about rape a lot on Twitter lately. I want to organize my thoughts a bit more, even though my arms burn like fire. So this may be a bit choppier than I normally blog. The Twitter character limit formatting is changing my writing. I hope in a positive way. I know I get too verbose for most people a lot of the time.

Noah spends a lot of time telling me that I spend too much time trying to figure out “who is to blame” for various problems. He’s right and he isn’t.

Thing is, dealing with rape is complicated. It is complicated at a personal level and it is exponentially more complicated at the level of a city and … then try to solve that for a state or a country.

My therapist tells me that it isn’t a good thing that the only way I know how to keep myself safe is to keep actual walls between me and other people. Well, it is the only effective method I’ve ever discovered.

That said, I travel more than the vast majority of people ever do. It’s just too expensive for most people. So I put myself in lots of situations. I put myself in situations where I have to keep, not only myself, but my children safe. Am I willfully putting us into danger just to… I don’t know… prove some macho ass shit to myself?

I genuinely don’t think so. Stranger assault is statistically rare. We don’t invite people into our tent/room. We talk to people in crowded public places then move on. It genuinely doesn’t feel risky.

Do you know what was risky? The way I was taught to walk into bedrooms with people because you wanted “privacy” after just knowing them for a few hours. That was how I spent my childhood. Asking to go into peoples rooms and initiating as much sexual contact as I could get away with and only acknowledging rebuffs grudgingly.

Sometimes it makes my heart beat fast when I enforce boundaries with my kids. They are not allowed to walk up and sit on laps any more. Not with a complete stranger. They can’t jump on strange men. Playing for two minutes doesn’t make them close enough to jump on, nope. You have no idea what is going on with their bodies. You don’t know if they just had surgery on their back. Nope. Don’t jump on strange people.

It is really weird to feel like the biggest god damn hypocrite on the planet. Don’t do anything I did.

This experience is how I understand the neglect I experienced. I completely lacked a frame for it before I was a parent. The awareness comes in stages of dawning horror.

How fucking formative that trauma was. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

I’ve been acting like a bully with the kids. I’m not asking them to do things I’m ranting that I’m sick of them not doing the thing without being asked. We are talking about it.

I feel really guilty that Eldest Child said, “It’s getting to the point where it’s almost 50/50 nice and mean and that has to change. I know you are tired. Maybe we shouldn’t go out of the room much for a few days.”

I feel this horrible mixture of pride and guilt that she has to help manage me. She can be aware of those kinds of needs. That’s amazing. I don’t want her to parent me though. I’m not using emoticons even though I want to put like 75 frowny faces in a row.

I try to tell myself that the feelings of guilt and shame are because I was raised to believe it is not ok for anyone to ever have to pay attention to me and take care of me. It is not ok for me to want anyone to help me.

I try to tell myself that this is ok. It is a kind of enmeshment, yes, but we talk about how this is not her job and she is going to not be responsible for me long term. I thank her for feedback about her perception of being around me. I seem tired. I should rest. Yeah, thanks.

She acts like I am worthy of paying attention to. I wish that didn’t make me cry.

I’m going to jump back to rape. Why am I confident that my children will not have a life like mine? A kid kind of grabbed at my kids crotch. The instantaneous response was, “You do not have my consent! Get your hand off!”

I win.

I couldn’t save my niece nor my nephew. But my kids don’t think that anyone who wants to is allowed to have access to their crotch. They believe their consent is vitally important.

I win.

That doesn’t mean they will never be raped. I understand that. Let me tell you, I’m not done educating them. I’m just going at an age appropriate rate.

A lot of “staying safe” is a complex web of knowing the right words to say at the right time. If you have highly specific technical language you don’t seem like a good victim and any good predator will walk right by you. Obviously you have the support to protect you. You are not going to be easy to intimidate.

People comment, just about daily, that my children are so aware and ….themselves. It is funny how often the wording is almost exactly that. Another friend commented that it is amazing that people don’t think Eldest Child is bossy. She just has a good plan she wants everyone to follow.

I talk to them about what they want to get from life all the time.

Eldest Child and I have been talking a lot about what she wants to do school-wise when we get home. She has specific requests. She wants to work on languages more. She is frustrated by the limitations on who she can play with. She freaking asked if we can look for a Chinese class (I can hear Pam cheering from here) so she can work on that more consistently. She said we all should take Spanish together (I’ll see what I can do, Youngest child wants Spanish and is not up for Chinese). She said maybe on Hindi for a while. She said we should practice the alphabet and such at home but she thinks we don’t need that as a formal class. So I guess that will be some structure in our days.

We all want martial arts. The kids want gymnastics as well. I can’t teach them many skills like that. I’m happy to pay someone who can.

And she wants to play the violin.

I said we would add lessons one a month until we got up to the full load because all of that at once would crush her. She says that is probably smart.

I appreciate how often she tells me I’m smart.

You know… I think that’s why she does it. She’s a perceptive little thing.

My kids are not going to look like good victims. Not ever. They are going to seem like… they have all the support in the world. It’s only sorta true, but I’m going to give it my all.

But you know what? This option isn’t exactly available to most people. My kids get a full life of having a Ladies Illustrated Primer walking around with them. That’s not what most people experience.

Holy tomato I love my job.

My kids are in touch with their bodies. They know what they like and don’t like and they consider their preferences to be absolutely worthy of consideration at all times. Good prey act like it doesn’t matter what happens to them. They often don’t know what their preferences even are. And as much as we cannot guarantee our own safety in this life, we can build resilience to weather what may come.”

I can never guarantee that my children will be safe. Not truly. Not completely. But I can teach them a variety of skills that will increase their likelihood of not only escaping from a lot of traumas but being able to cope with the inevitable tragedies in life.

My children will experience loss and pain. That is a non-negotiable part of the human condition. I know that. I’m trying to teach them how to ride the waves.

We took a break from the screens. The kids begged me to go back to the beach. It’s supposed to start storming tonight and rain mostly till we leave so I said yes. Even though it scared the absolute shit out of me. The kids kept asking me to go sit with the grown ups and just let them play.

No. No. No.

I sat between them and the ocean. There were four good waves where they started getting dragged out to sea and I grabbed them and bodily pulled them back to shore. They stopped arguing with my presence after the second grab. But they really didn’t want to stop working on the dam they were building.

They are fucking obsessed with building dams this trip. They have built them in little itty bitty creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It was awesome watching them lecture much older girls about how “We have to find a variety of materials to help provide structural integrity! Just sand won’t hold!”

That was why I had a hard time stopping the play. It was so… intense for them. But that ocean doesn’t fuck around. Lots of places are currently flooded and people die from being swept into the ocean all the time. It’s not a game. There are no take backs. The ocean is bigger than all of us.

After the fourth time when I grabbed them and I felt like barely pulled out of the wave I said, “Ok! That’s it! I’m done!”

The kids didn’t really argue with me. They spent over an hour saying repetitively after we got back to the hotel room, “I think you just saved my life. Wow. You care that much. You are going to stand right there so you can save my life. I think you just saved my life.”

My response is, “I brought you into this world and I’m not giving up on you yet.”

They snuggled with me and looked a bit stunned.

The ocean is not something to fuck around with.

Want to know something kind of hilarious? I had a similar experience with the kid who kicked me in the throat at a group beach trip.

The ocean is bigger than you. I don’t give a shit how strong you think you are. The ocean is bigger than you. Never fight the ocean. You will lose.

So yeah. I think I’m done. If it is storming I am definitely not going down there with the kids. If we want to swim in between rain bursts they have a pool. That is risk enough with a damn thunderstorm.

You have no idea what you mean to me. No forking duh I am going to keep you out of the ocean when it is dragging you like that and you are screaming out in fear. That is my job.

It is both my job to teach you to respect that power and my job to protect you from it as you gain enough experience to have proper respect. It’s a complicated operation.

I think I am really feeling the need to cross reference all of these experiences because I am trying to understand the scope and effects and structure of rape culture. What does it even mean?

Do you know who really taught me I didn’t deserve rape? Sex workers. Grown ass women who were god damn sure what was and wasn’t ok to do to them. I know women who have been sex workers for decades and members of the kink communities for decades who have never been assaulted. I study them with a more than just friendly interest. I want to understand their instincts.

I want to teach those instincts to my children and people who aren’t sex workers have never been able to break them down in a way I can understand. They specifically can talk about what they do to manage risk. I know vanilla women who have never been assaulted. They don’t understand why that is true. They just got lucky.

So I talk to the people who can actually give me the information I seek. I am shameless and mercenary about it.

I’m not teaching my kids to be sex workers. I’m teaching them to think of their body as belonging only to them and never to anyone else.

I am doing my absolute best to raise people who will react indignantly if someone tries to abuse them. My kids interrupt me if they think my behavior is getting near a line. They are immediate in their ability to say what is or isn’t ok about what is happening to their body. It is stunning to see.

I have labored for so many years to try and develop those skills.

Sometimes I feel so jealous I want to shove my head through a window. Just to get that feeling away from me.

My brother used to put his head through windows. They made him wear a helmet whenever he wasn’t in a building with safety windows.

We have really liked hurting ourselves in my family for a long time. I feel so grateful that my children showed mild inclination and were quickly reassured that it is not the right decision to hurt yourself when you are upset. Ask for help figuring out how to handle your feelings when you feel overwhelmed to that point. Your parents will listen to you no matter what.

You don’t have to feel pain. We can maybe help.

I feel so grateful that I found a sperm donor who had excellent genetics and sincere interest in being a really involved parent. This is a wonderful experience to watch.

But Noah has committed rape. And so have I.

Do I think all rapists belong in jail?

Jimminy Christmas don’t ask me. 

This rape culture shit is complicated.

I want my children to be able to do better. I want all the children to have better. Education is the single best route to understanding diverse people and life experiences.

I honestly don’t know what else to do. I need to pick up the kids soon. I’m going to stop.


My shrink wants me working on specific aspects of my hypervigilance/empathy issues. Specifically she wants me doing woo woo shit trying to work on “creating a barrier that starts inside my spine and goes to the edge of my skin and holds me in without letting me contact other people”.

Woo woo shit.

But I’m GGG and I’m paying for her input on my life so I work on my assignments. It’s funny what I think about and notice when I do.

I notice the angry parents more than I notice the sad/upset people. Trying to “focus on myself” means I notice anger more. That’s kind of funny. I think I partially noticed that  because of a conversation I wrote about on the kid blog. My kid told me I was being average for yelling as much as I am at Disney World.

So I went to multiple theme parks without them (there was one roller coaster I wanted to ride and then that park closed so I went to the one that was open to eat) and I spent my time kind of looking around trying not to be impacted by peoples feelings.

I notice way more angry people than usual.

Want to know something funny about anger? I only notice situations that feel like they have probability to escalate as I’m walking around normally with my kids. I tune out the annoying yellers and ranters who just exist without impacting me. I just don’t notice them. When I’m trying not to emotionally connect with people I notice them and they bug the shit out of me.

Why are people so god damned mean?

(Small break to change the topic: ok, watching weather is way cooler on the east coast than it is on the west coast.)

It’s funny how I’m watching people act out the equivalent of that toddler HALT thing you are supposed to look for. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Thirsty) Uhm, it just occurred to me that it is absolutely equally as important for all age groups… but I learned it for watching toddlers.

I’m telling you, I’m learning how to take care of myself by taking care of my kids. It’s a trip.

Anyway. The arguments and fights. Whoo. Just calm down everyone. Clearly I’m not the only one struggling with adjusting to the weather and the distance of walking here. I’m not going to recount the bickering I heard because it’s not central to my story.

I’m the main character here. Stay on topic.

I really and truly love having a space where I get to be the center. I don’t have much desire to “promote” my blog or sell ads to make money. I just want a place where I get to be self centered because I can’t really be in the rest of my life any more. Not if I want to have the life I want to have in thirty years.

I have to think about Noah. I have to think about my kids. I have to make decisions that will have all of us continue this fantastic privileged life we are leading. We are so ridiculously lucky.

I think about that as I spend a lot of money on presents for freaking everyone I know. Yeah. It’s gotten ridiculous.

I think it is funny how it is a mix of things that remind me of you and things that I think will delight you because it will remind you of me.

So so so so many books.

I can’t tell if I am trying to buy peoples love or if I just want to share this ridiculous privilege that I find I’ve stumbled upon. I didn’t earn it. I just… have it. I’m learning so many things. I really want to share.

Want to know my favorite part? I am buying presents for grown ups too, but mostly kids. The won’t care at all if I’m trying to buy their love. They will say, “That sounds great!”

And in the process I will also get to share what I’ve learned. Because they will love me and want to spend time around me. See, it works all the way around.

But it still feels bad. It feels like my mom trying to buy me off from noticing that my life was shit. It feels like trying to buy forgiveness for harm.

I don’t think I’ve harmed them. I really don’t. But I feel scared.

I could let fear keep me from sharing this awesome experience with the kids in my life in the best way I know how. But that seems kind of silly. Even if the best way I know how isn’t The Best Way How Ever it’s ok that I want to do it this way.

“This is why I thought of you when I saw this. This is the aspect of your personality I want to remind you is visible in the world.” My unspoken wish is that this talisman will work as a form of validation for you. I see you. You do matter. I can’t be with you all the time telling you that. Please take this and try to remember it on the dark days. I see you. You do matter.

Is that trying to buy love? I don’t understand gift cultures very well. What I grew up with was very distorted.

My mom overbought gifts because she was brought up Mennonite and poor and she wasn’t allowed to have things. Even when her family was fostering children and the foster children were given presents (to help them adjust) my mom wouldn’t be given presents. So my mom gave her children mountains of presents. By the time I came around it was stuff she has been buying all year long at $.25-$.99 at a time.

I have a lot of feelings about receiving gifts. Then I married Noah. His mom has gift giving issues of her own. We get a lot of stuff. Dealing with it has been an emotional journey.

Apparently Noah’s parents are very happy that we keep sending status updates about our journey to Texas. They are very happy that the kids are excited about visiting them.

I’ve written a lot of 10+ page letters that are probably kind of confusing talking about my background and why I’m not telling the kids negative stories about their grandparents and why I am telling the kids as much about their family as I know. “You get a blank slate with these kids. Whether or not you abused Noah is kind of moot. Don’t fuck this up. The well hasn’t been poisoned even if I don’t like you very much.”

I feel waves of horrifying guilt that I can’t curate this for my mother.

It’s different.

If my niece and nephew hadn’t both been sexually assaulted.

If I had managed to keep it from jumping down a generation. But I can’t do that. I can’t control their story. I wasn’t willing to stand next to them making sure nothing happened.

I get exactly two chances to do that this lifetime. It’s an incredible gift.

Thank you, Noah. I will never run out of gratitude for the fact that you are the reason I get to have this life.

I am watching the sun rise over the savanna as I sit on my balcony. The kids are still asleep.

I’m not sleeping here. I don’t think this is a proper queen bed. And I ran out of sleep aid. So I’m lucky if I catch 4-5 hours of sleep. Even with melatonin and pot. That forking sucks.

I miss Noah. I miss going to sleep without a wad of pills.

Human beings are social animals. It’s a well documented thing that some of the most successful marriages are those in which highly traumatized people have the opportunity to earn attachment.

I am really glad we did this trip. I will be really glad when it is over.

I’ll get to write about it for decades. I only have to live through it once.

I only have to be away from Noah for this long once.

It feels like trying to breathe without my left lung.

It feels like trying to go to sleep only I can’t because I lost Ted and I don’t have Noah and I feel so sad and like such a failure because I can’t even keep my teddy bear.

I can’t keep my mother. And I can’t keep a teddy bear. Clearly I do not deserve to live.

And that’s what keeps me up at night.

Sleep deprivation is known torture. I find that my inability to sleep goes in weird cycles with how safe I feel. The less safe I feel the less I sleep the less safe I feel in a terrible worsening cycle.

This is why I take handfuls of pills when I travel these days. Sleep isn’t optional. We leave the resort tomorrow. I’ll buy more. Driving will be fun before then.

We are spending the night in Miami tomorrow. I want to drive down to the Keys. I want to take pictures of the Everglades. We will have a king sized bed so I can sleep.

I’ve seen so many things. It is becoming kind of amazing to me. It’s not that I think I understand everything I’ve seen. I’m just saying that I have a significantly different impression of the field of botany than I used to have. I used to think plants were boring. I don’t any more.

I’ve seen too many kinds of fantastic plants. I’ve see such incredible growing techniques. I want to keep learning.

I hear my garden is missing me. Sniff. I miss you too baby. Next year will be great. ALL THE FERTILIZER! We’ll come back from this period. It’s ok. Eventually I’ll figure out automatic watering and you won’t have to suffer when I’m gone. I’m sorry.

You know what, Noah? I’m glad Puff didn’t have to spend her declining years dealing with snow. I’m glad she gets to enjoy the last of her life surrounded by sunshine most of the year. And yet she would be pissed here. She’s always pissy the one week we have horrible summer. She had a hard enough childhood with me. I’m glad she is so spoiled now.

I guess things are working out ok.

Today we are going to Typhoon Lagoon because it is the last park we haven’t been to. We’ve been here for like 18 days (minus travel time to/from NYC) and we still haven’t been to the last park. That’s a sign we’ve been resting a lot. Ahhhh. Wise choice.

I’m looking forward to the time on Vero Beach. Hurricane Joaquin means we shouldn’t spend a lot of time playing seriously on the water. Which means we might spend a lot of time sitting alternated with the kids running back and forth in the sand.

Sounds great.

The kids are really frustrated with being on resort property because there aren’t many places where it is appropriate to run.

We like to run everywhere. We don’t have good instincts around that. We spook animals with our sudden bursts of energy.

Good grief we are ridiculous.

Enh, we do fine as long as we move a lot during the day. We can sit. But we only choose to do so when focused on something we find interesting.

Is it really so bad? We are interested in a lot of things. The kids are progressing on skills. Why must it happen in an environment where they are forced to learn to sit all day whether they like it or not?

I just don’t get it. Ok. Wandering off. My arms burn like fire.