Monthly Archives: December 2017

More on community

I seriously love the new receptionist at my chiropractor’s office. She’s been here a few months and she is a delight to talk to. Her kids are 18, 12, and 6. So we talk about the insanity of having a third child and the masochism of age gaps. She laughs at me a lot (in a “I did it to myself and now you are doing it to yourself so ha ha ha” sort of way) and she helps me strategize how to cope with some issues.

I had an interesting text conversation with our former neighbor yesterday. The babysitter’s mom who moved out of state. She is just noticing that FMC is nonbinary and she is pushing back on my attempts to inculcate the pronoun usage. She asked if I was upset with her for asking questions. No… that’s not it.

I’m really upset with myself that my child has been adamantly insisting on an identity label for over three years and so many people in our life have… not noticed. That means I’ve failed pretty hard and I’m really glad I sent out the Christmas card.

Oh hey. I just noticed that I did not receive cards back from a few long-term friends who are hard core Christian. I’ve been on their Christmas card list for almost two decades. Hmm.

I’m not happy that I have been such piss poor support that people who spend a lot of time with us have… missed this detail about my child. That’s a huge failure on my part. I fucked up. And I need to do better. I need to jump on every single instance of “How are the girls” and correct people. I need to interrupt every single person who misgenders them.

Or I’m not really doing my job and that’s not cool.

I think this has been muddy for me because I have come into this situation from the POV of having adult friends who transition and they don’t always/usually want me to speak for them. They don’t necessarily want to be outed or put on the spot when people misgender them. Staying out of the business of an adult friend is… a more common or more appropriate tactic.

But this is my damn kid and I have not been doing my job. It’s different. I think I’ve been trying to let FMC set the terms of these interactions and that’s… mixed? I’m good about checking in with them when we go to a new place to meet new people (like getting dropped off at camp: I ask if they want to do introductions or if they want me to handle it. Their opinion varies over time) but I think I have been expecting them to carry the burden of setting reality with the grown ups we see a lot and that’s not fair.

It’s like getting upset when a child doesn’t prevent an adult from abusing them.

“Why didn’t you stop it. I assumed you were ok with it because you didn’t stop it.”

know my child needs my support on this issue. Abdicating responsibility is a chicken shit action. My kid deserves better.

And that has to entirely come from me.

Bitchy bitchy bitchy observation.

Today at the party there were two men I’ve had *cough* relations with. One of them was super attentive to his child and helping with food and just generally being an awesome community member and upstanding person. I have nothing but positive memories of our brief interlude.

The other dad kept telling his kid to go ask her mother for help. He sat around and didn’t help. I remember things not being much fun when we tried to get it on.

This is amusing to me.

God, you are still one of the nicest people I ever slept with. I’m so glad there are men like you in the world. You give me hope.

Yay! A grown up party!

The folks who used to live with Noah when I met him had a party today. It was kind of like old home week. I saw lots of folks I haven’t talked to much in the past ten years but I saw them a lot before then.

It was nice. It was lovely having history and understanding. A woman and I were talking about who our respective spouses dated before us. In her case she was stating that her husband can handle her crazy because the person who came before her set the bar sooooooooo low. In contrast, I don’t have such an excuse because the gal Noah was dating when he asked me to marry him was so fucking sane. Everyone in the room nodded with understanding. Noah needed someone crazier than her. So he came back to me.

It was… weird and validating? These are people who knew Noah and I before we knew each other. I’ve known one of these people since I was in high school. Noah went to college with a bunch of the crowd.

And they still want to know us. They were happy to see us.

I got the impression there were one or two people at the party who would have been just as happy/more happy with us not being there… but that was it. And I just got the impression. Meh.

That was a great event. I’m glad we went.

Trying

I tried to talk about sex stuff yesterday with Noah. These conversations are harder for me than you might assume based on my willingness to write about sex. I talked about how I have a hard time with the fact that my masturbation must be discussed (I have to get permission to orgasm… at all…) but his is off-screen.

It’s not that I want to control his masturbation. It’s that his desire is off screen.

We’ve had this thing for years where he tries to balance my fucked up “won’t say no” crap with… not initiating sex much. It’s a good way for him to ensure he’s not pushing me into something I don’t want. I respect that. It’s a reasonable plan.

Only it means that 100% of the push for sex in our marriage is supposed to come from me. And that’s not as sexy as it sounds. It winds up with me feeling like I’m supposed to turn myself on and be excited about sex and just show up ready. That’s…. not my favorite. It stopped particularly working a long time ago.

So how do we navigate between the landmines of I’d kind of like to feel like my partner actually wants sex with me enough to bring it up and I’m a fucked up person who doesn’t set healthy boundaries in the moment because I have all kinds of messed up stuff around owing Noah and me not in general having a right to say no to sex and….

So I get that this is shitty for him. It’s not fair. It’s complicated. But it’s also not exactly a walk in the park for me. If I’m expected to just show up turned on… yeah that’s not always going to happen. So if the frequency for sex has to come spontaneously from me without outside influence or turn on… then uhm… don’t be upset if it takes me a while between that being true. And he does get upset. Not like mean to me upset, but it feels bad to him.

So he wants me to spontaneously initiate sex all the damn time because I desire him so much.

But then we run into another issue. I’ve had it programmed into me since I was literally a child that I’m kind of a monster if I push for sex.

“I won’t say no” (on Noah’s end) isn’t the same thing as a partner who feels like they are enthusiastically there for the same thing who also initiates and indicates interest and asks for things.

Let’s talk about bdsm stuff. Noah has long said he’d like to practice rope stuff. This only comes up if I mention it. Which means I end up feeling like this is one more thing I’m pushing and I shut down. Which prompts Noah to feel like I don’t want to do bdsm with him.

And round and round we go.

How to get things started is hard.

We both have different “I won’t say no” responses. For him it means that if sex is brought up he will always say yes because he always wants more than he is getting. He always feels like sexual contact is a good thing. For me, sex has been currency as long as I have been alive. So I feel like saying no to it is doing a bad/wrong thing.

Which is complicated. I am hyper aware that Noah is a better husband than I deserve. It wouldn’t have been possible to observe my sessions with the last therapist I fired and not notice that clearly the perception is that Noah is better than I deserve. She spent a lot of time talking about what I owed Noah for being so nice to me.

That’s the thing. If you are nice to me, I owe you for it because there is no chance I just deserve it. Because I’m hard and not really worth it.

And so if I need more from foreplay I should shut up and suck up that need because I am really not worth more effort than I get. Which makes saying “slow down” or “not yet” almost impossible because I know that doing so is inappropriate because I already ask for too much in a global sense.

So during this pregnancy when Noah has invited me to hang out with him while he was masturbating… that’s probably been some of the most creative sex of our marriage. It doesn’t always result in PiV but occasionally it does. It’s more about being around each other. If I need to just lay there and watch it’s ok. Because he didn’t ask me for sex. I didn’t agree to sex. So I don’t have to feel like I must follow through no matter how I feel. It’s been really nice for me. It’s been a window into his sexuality without me being on the hook for following through on an activity that might literally hurt me.

I’m really sorry that my vagina is broken.

This stuff is really hard to talk about. I feel so much shame for being so broken. It isn’t my fault. I can’t do anything about it. But I inflict it on other people by existing.

So yeah. It’s hard to talk about sex and ask for anything.

That was really sweet.

EC and I had an hour long chat this morning. We reordered the chore list so that it is easier to understand/follow/check. We updated the point distribution a bit. We listed next to each chore whether it is daily, weekly, or optional for bonus points. She’s pretty happy with this update and she thinks it will help her be more consistent. There are even zero point chores on the list because they have to be done anyway (like getting dressed and brushing your teeth).

We talked about her perception that it is terribly unfair. I said, “Let me talk to you about the things in my life where I have missed out on a big thing by having one tiny thing not be perfect. Let’s start with the masters degree I spent 7 years and $35,000 on. That I don’t have. Because I didn’t cross my t’s and dot my i’s properly.”

(Yes I know that isn’t appropriate apostrophe usage but doing it another way looks even stupider.)

I went down a long list of things that I have tried to get/accomplish and I’ve missed by the skin of my teeth. At the end… she was way less upset about losing out on a couple of hours of screen time.

I’m always impressed that she listens to me for these conversations. We talked about why I’m being a hard ass and why I think it is important given that the rest of the world is going to be way colder and less understanding than me. If I don’t help you transition to what the world expects… I’m hurting you. I’m being a bad mother if I give you what you want every time. Life isn’t like that.

It is my job to tell you no, you haven’t done what you agreed to do so you don’t get the reward.

Even though you were soooooo close.

Sorry my love.

My kids talk about the concept of punishment a lot, which is interesting to me. I don’t actually punish very often beyond a time out. They’ve both been grounded 2 or 3 times in their whole lives and the groundings very tremendously based on what happened. Sometimes it’s a minor “You don’t get x & y privilege for a week” and sometimes it is “Your life is going to suck for a week. You get nothing good.” Which is… much harsher… but uhhh… still feels namby pamby to me? When I was a kid harsh punishments involved beatings and being locked in a room that was stripped of everything. I wasn’t allowed to read or have toys or anything.

I’ve never taken books or toys away. I’ve just said, “I’m not taking you to the park/to playdates/out to dinner/you don’t get dessert”.

I really struggle with perspective on this issue.

So she’s not mad at me anymore.

I told her it’s ok for her to still be mad at me. She’s allowed to get as frustrated or upset or irritated or angry as she needs to be at me. I suck sometimes. I am the enforcer of limits and rules and punishments. It’s totes legit to get pissed at me.

And then we need to talk about it. Because I’m your mom and you are stuck with me for another 8.5 years and we need to find a way to live together.

It’s hard that sometimes I’m an asshole because I am trying to help you in the long-run. That doesn’t feel good. That doesn’t feel validating or true. It feels like a lie. Until I tell you a lot more about my thinking process and the things that have happened to me to help me feel like this is the right choice in this moment. Then… oh. It kind of makes sense. But I’m still an asshole. AND THAT’S OK. I know I’m an asshole. Yup. Totally true.

It’s fascinating to me how my kids make such small mistakes. I fucked up big over and over as a child. (This was partially due to poor supervision.) But my kids are just not drawn to the huge fuck ups I did. This is fascinating to stand adjacent to. I would never punish my kids the way I was punished, even if their fuck ups were bigger… but I really struggle with understanding how to cope with this stuff. It’s so…. opposite my experiences. My kids are so good. I was the canonical bad kid. I tested every boundary until it broke and then I just kept going. My kids don’t.

I can’t tell if I’m too hard on them or if I’m hard enough that they are having a really good childhood that will prepare them for the fact that life is hard. I really can’t tell and that’s scary.

I feel like we are rounding the bend coming out of a big disequilibrium period. We still have bumps but there is less frantic fighting. Less fury. Fewer explosions.

I can’t tell how much of this is just me and my emotional cycles. But I think the kids are feeling less distress too. EC was terribly distressed for less than 24 hours. And now she’s back to giggling and being wonderful. She isn’t angry we withheld the screen yesterday. She’s just super motivated to get her time today. (She did half of her chores before she walked in to talk to me at 6am.)

She’s excited that I am going to sit down and help her plan out the game she wants to release for her birthday. I think that’s our afternoon activity. I am going to sneak school planning into the system. Because I am deeeeeeeeeevious.

We have these amazing science books that the charter school paid for and we will have to give back at the end of the year. So I’m trying to push hard and get us through all of them in the second semester because I’m not going to buy separate copies for us to keep going next year. We have the k-4 curriculum right now and I’d rather get the 5th grade+ curriculum next if we are going to buy more from this author/publisher. Which means we need to get our butts in gear and get these science experiments done. We have physics, biology and chemistry. We are mostly done with chemistry (EC’s favorite of the science subjects), we have a solid start on physics, and we need to get our butts in gear on biology.

Amusing side note: I’m pretty sure EC is in the middle of a growth spurt. She has hurt herself running into things approximately 20 times in the past three days. It’s getting kind of funny in a not funny and she’s mad at me for laughing sort of way. It’s just so… hyperklutzy that it’s funny. This is about her body changing, not about her paying attention. She’s also getting noticeably less chubby.

I hope my kids are not scarred by the way we talk about their bodies. We embrace chub. We are gleeful and happy about pudging out because it means a growth spurt is coming soon. EC has been decidedly chubby lately. We go, “Oh look! You have a double chin again! I wonder when you will shoot up…” Because there is such a strong cause and effect with both of my children. They don’t have extra pudge unless they are about to grow. So they get excited and brag, “Heyyyy look at my belly. Chubchubchubchubchub.” Then we giggle and think it is awesome.

But Noah and I are both incredibly gleeful and delighted with our bellies as well. So far my kids seem to think their bodies are awesome.

It’s been a good morning of talking to my family.

Meanest mom ever

I made my daughter cry. Well, we made an agreement a bit ago and I’m sticking to it and that seems TOTALLY UNFAIR to my daughter and she’s crying because I’m being consistent. Specifically: chores. We had a long time where the kids were allowed to have screen time as soon as they were done with chores.

This drifted because I’m pregnant and apathetic and spaced out as shit. So eventually EC was just sneaking on to the computer early in the morning and then spending a bunch of time whiiiiiiiining about how it wasn’t fair she had to get off the computer to do her chores.

I was asking about the same (not that long) chore list upwards of 15 times a day. When I’m using hyperbole I like to say I was asking 90 times a day. I doubt it was ever actually that high… but I’m certain there were days when I got up to 30 asks because I had to ask about each individual chore several times. “Are you sure you’ve brushed your teeth? Come here and let me look” kind of bullshit.

So I told her that I’m tired of playing this game where I am spending the entire day begging/demanding that she do her chores. If she asks for screen time and she hasn’t done her chores then she doesn’t get screen time today. Because I’m sick of you irritating me and wasting my time and acting like it should be my job to hound you all fucking day to do your chores. This isn’t ok.

So yesterday she did all but one chore. And then got REALLY MAD at me for pointing out that she hadn’t done her chores and so the answer for the day is no.

THAT’S NOT FAIR.

Actually, when we sit down at the table and discuss how we want to handle this ongoing problem and we agree to a solution in the cold light of day… and then I enforce the agreement…

That’s kind of the definition of fair, kiddo. We discussed this and agreed that you are having trouble building consistency/responsibility and it should be on your head not mine to get your stuff done.

But me remembering and actually enforcing these limits is terrible.

Well. Stop fucking trying to get out of doing your stuff. You know what your stuff is. We’ve talked about this chore list a lot. We negotiate about everything on it. Fair doesn’t mean you always get what you want.

We also tried for a while that she could earn chore points by building things/using programming languages to create her own games… but that morphed into her playing other peoples games and bitching loudly about how she should get points for that.

Right. No more points for building games because you are exploiting the system.

NO FAIR.

Oh well.

I realized this moment that by the time future youngest child is ready for academics… EC will be 17. Oh god. That’s a lot of fucking years of home schooling.

Can’t think about that yet.

I got to see Pam yesterday. She had a layover in the bay area and she drove around spending a few hours with her Important Peeps. I’m really glad I made the list. It was so nice to talk to her and hug her. She’s one of the more touchy/huggy of my friends and that felt absolutely lovely. It’s hard having her on the wrong coast. But, she’s doing something that is important to her and the only reasonable response is, “I support you and good luck.”

I am afraid of showing favoritism between my kids. I have this horror of it. My mom played her kids off of one another. I have different things I like about my kids and they have different traits that irritate me. I try to give them different experiences and I end up wondering how they will perceive this in the long run. Like: FMC has had way more traveling/exotic/interesting birthdays… and fewer in town birthday parties. I think they’ve only had two birthday parties with friends. EC hasn’t had the traveling birthdays but she’s had more parties.

They get different toys at different times and I’m never sure what “fair” even means. I feel really guilty that I gave EC a doll for Christmas and FMC didn’t get a similar kind of present. Even though FMC has a huge stack of dolls they are being petulant about. And FMC got another damn doll from grandma for Christmas. EC just got the one from me. (For the record: FMC was freaked out by EC getting a doll for Christmas and has decided to “share” their dolls now because they are afraid that EC won’t share her one special doll. It’s… uhhh… interesting.)

I’m watching FMC go from being fully in their Id to having a little bit of an Ego and the barest hints of a Superego. I feel like EC went through this transition much younger. But I can’t tell because with the two year age gap I get hella fuzzy.

EC was good at sharing her stuff from absurdly early. She’s generous by nature. She’s not a grasper. She’s not one to hoard her shit. FMC on the other hand…. is all about MINE!!! FMC will only consent to share if they can see a clear benefit to themself coming any minute now. I think I judge this more than I should. I’m a sharer. I think I have a hard time with the hoarding. Because to me, in order for the hoarding thing to work out you either have to have WAY less personal stuff or you have to be ok with storing multiple copies of everything to be “fair” and neither sounds great to me.

I forced sharing for years because that way we got to have a reasonable variety of types of toys in a small space. Now they are getting too big for that. So they are each culling like mad down to having just a few things they want to hoard and be selfish with and… I’m not sure how this is going to go.

I can hear a child up and wandering around… but no one has come in to see me yet.

Oh hey. I typed too soon. And she walked in and stepped on my ankle. Awesome.

fatalistic attitude

I’m in a weird mood. People are who they are going to be. Better/worse are such weird qualifiers to use to judge people.

I am not better than someone else because I have more money. I am not worse than someone else because I have less impulse control. I am not better if I am more of a planner. I am not less if someone else is more physically fit.

My cousin is where she is in life partially because of shit that was beyond her control and partially because of her choices. Like all the rest of us.

All children go through whinnnnnnnnnny phases and I just signed up to hear that with a third damn kid. My stupidity knows no bounds. I’m a full-fledged masochist. I understand it is developmentally appropriate and a kid isn’t really doing something wrong when they go through that phase. But my big kids are past that phase. And now I’m starting over. I will have more years of loud whining/shrieking in my house because little kids don’t have volume or tone control. It’s 100% normal, predictable, and appropriate. But it’s kind of rough on the ear drums at times.

I’m in a mood where if you have to laugh or cry about life… I can laugh. It’s all so ridiculous.

I’m really enjoying all the conversations with folks about where to move in the country. The folks I’m talking to are mostly coming out on the side that my family should stay on the left coast or we are not going to have an easy go of life. Given the diversity of experiences/perspectives I’m hearing this from… I suspect it has some merit. I’m truly hearing this from an extensive list of people. Even my damn chiropractor, after knowing me and my kids for a few years, has said that he suspects we will not be happy unless we stay in a left coast state.

It’s neat in part because I’m hearing more about what people think of me and they are trying to phrase it in excruciatingly polite ways. “You are very progressive and I don’t think a more regressive state would be comfortable for you.”

Ha.

More and more people are spontaneously using the word progressive to describe me, which I find fascinating. Folks don’t describe me to my face as a liberal. They just skip that word.

I feel so physically weary and exhausted that I can barely move around. Yesterday I barely hit 1,000 steps by bed time. I think I’m sick again. I’m super dizzy. But no cholestasis! (That was the possible liver problem that would have resulted in early delivery.) I’ve just got itchy as shit winter skin. That’s a great problem to have. Ahhhhh. If lotion is the best cure for a problem life is fucking awesome.

I am enjoying less social media in my life. I feel like I am feeling less cranky about the fact that I’m never going to be a big part of anyone I know’s life. I am on the outskirts of a lot of communities. Not because I am shunned or excluded, because that is as close in to the center as *I* feel comfortable.

No one can make me feel comfortable. I’m not sure if it is emotionally/physiologically possible for me. I have rare moments when I’m with my nuclear family where I feel totally relaxed and comfortable but if I add more people into the room my anxiety levels creep up. Even with the people I love the most like Sarah and Pam and Jenny. Because I’m afraid I will say the wrong thing and be offensive. I am afraid I will cross a boundary I don’t understand and justifiably earn a punishment. I am afraid I will lose these people who are so important to how I define myself and that is abjectly terrifying.

The fact that Jenny has consented to being a witness to my life for 24 years is something I use to console myself when I feel worthless and like I am ruining everyone around me by existing. Jenny’s had a pretty ok life. It hasn’t been full of ostentatious displays, but her life has been alright. Me standing near her didn’t make it so she was unable to be a successful person. I didn’t wreck her by existing near her. You don’t know how much I have been afraid I was such poison I would hurt her like that.

So I hold on to the fact that she still wants to know me even though I’m difficult. And the knowledge that I could totally fuck that up because I’ve got mad skillz means that when we are in person I’m awkward and stiff and I say stupid shit because I’m nervous.

So I don’t spend a lot of time feeling comfortable. Even around the people I love the most. Which isn’t their fault. It’s about me knowing that I am not always appropriate and I deserve the consequences I earn whether my fuck up was deliberate or not. Intention doesn’t matter.

As the years go by I am terrified that I will retreat more and more into silence around people because I don’t know how to judge if the words I want to say are ok or not. There are some subjects I can engage in where I don’t think people will get mad at me (gardening, and art are the two safest topics I know) but mostly… people are unpredictable to me. It’s hard to guess where they will blow up and why they will hate me.

I am never going to be the most popular person in a room. I will always be difficult.

And even if everyone is there for my fucking birthday and interested in a sex party with me at the center I will still sit in the corner and sob because of course people actually hate me and I’m a terrible person for asking these people to come to my house and not do what they would rather be doing.

I’m speshul.

I asked Noah for the key to the medicine cabinet. I don’t think I’m a risk to myself at this point. I carefully counted out and divvied up my medication. I now have seven bags in the freezer that demarcate how much medication I will use over the next seven months. I’m reducing my dosing for the next couple of months even though that is not great for my mental health because it will reduce how much pot is in the meconium if the hospital decides to test me. The hospital told me they wouldn’t be testing my baby if I come in through an established OB practice, but I’m nervous. We don’t have a healthy federal administration and more marijuana using mothers are facing problems.

I also very specifically counted it out so that I’m slashing my night medications down to the barest possibly helpful dose after my due date because I can’t be sleeping that heavily with a newborn. I won’t sleep well for 2-3 months and that’s the deal. Right now I’m taking 50mg at bedtime. I’m cutting down to ~17.5mg (cutting the gummies is always approximate) because not having the medication in my system means I can’t wake up in the morning and eat food because my stomach hurts so badly. It’s a balancing act. But taking less than 20mg at bedtime is pretty unlikely to put me heavily to sleep. When I am having serious sleep problems and I need to be whacked in the head to get to sleep I take 100mg (or something much stronger like Ativan).

So under 20mg at bedtime seems… like the best compromise I can get. I wish I had doctors who could better talk to me about my medication management. I alternate between “Oh my god that’s too much!” and “Wow that’s hardly anything” and neither feels like useful feedback as I’m trying to figure out how far up and down to go.

Because I’m using the pot for: pain, sleep regulation, stomach pain management related to IBS, anxiety, depression, anti-nausea, and to help manage ADHD symptoms of impulsivity… err, what should my dosage be?

That’s at least 7 separate concrete reasons I use this medication. I would be on more like 10 other medications for the same impact if I stopped using pot. Many of them would be gnarly hard on my body.

So yeah. I wish I could find someone to seriously talk to about dosing. Cause I go back and forth between sativa and indica and cbd heavy and I’d love a knowledgable practitioner to plan with. I start the day with sativa because otherwise my depression and anxiety symptoms are awful. I need the cbd heavy for pain management. The indica helps a lot with stomach pain and anxiety and it helps me sleep.

But I’ve learned what I know through trial and error on my body over the last almost decade. I actually feel like I’ve done a great job of managing my medication usage given that I don’t really have guidance. I had a few spells where I used more than needed and I was stoned a lot for a while but mostly I’ve fought hard to stay at the lowest possibly effective doses because this shit is expensive.

Oh, and I’m a less attentive caregiver when I’m really stoned. I guess that part should matter. But it’s super hella fucking expensive.

I’M KIDDING.

Of course I care about the attentive caregiver part… sheesh. It’s a joke. I’m funny. WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING AT MY JOKE, GEEZ.

Sometimes I feel like part of my problem is that I am an overly attentive caregiver.

But I digress.

I am pissed off that the state of California, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to make edibles almost non-usable for medical patients in favor of trying to regulate casual users of pot now that it is legal as a fun party drug for anyone. Limiting edibles to 10mg doses is absurd for medical patients. I know a lot of people who take 50mg-200mg at each dose. Telling us to eat mountains of candy every day to dose effectively is ridiculous. (The non-sugared edibles are… really hard to swallow cause they taste so bad.) I don’t think my pills will be available at all. I’ve been taking 50mg pills for a long time because it’s the best way to get the right dose level and there’s no sugar.

But oh well! We need to PROTECT THE CHILDREN by making medical patients eat mountains of candy all day long.

Err… ok.

I bought every fucking pill container my dispensary had. I may try for one more big order before the 31st. Because if I do one more big order… I might have all of 2018 covered with the kinds of dosing I prefer.

This is a little amusing because I’ve been trying to clean out the deep freeze because it needs to be defrosted badly and now most of what is in there are my drugs. This strikes me as funny for some reason.

I can put the drugs in a cooler while the freezer defrosts and they will be fiiiiiiiine.

I had an awkward conversation with my kids yesterday as I was dividing up the meds. They came in and sat with me and had a lot of questions about the different packages and types and why are they different. So uhm… I taught a lesson about marijuana dosing for medical usage. I stressed many dozens of times that the piles look the way they do because I have a higher than average tolerance to this mediation and for someone else to take as much as me would result in them feeling horribly bad and sleeping for a day or two.

We talk so often about how medication is a wonderful tool that can kill you. Ok, marijuana won’t kill you if you overdose… but most medications can kill you if you take too much. Never ever take a medication without carefully looking into dosing guidelines for your condition and your body weight.

I told them that the state of California has decided that people should be allowed to use my medication for fun the same way people can use alcohol for fun. Just like with alcohol you have to be careful how much you use and start very slowly. I told them that if they ever decide they want to try marijuana (I don’t recommend it unless you have a medical reason) then they should make sure they start on 5mg or less. Because you don’t know how it will make you feel. “So basically if you ever decide to steal some of my medication you will be very very sorry because everything I buy is too high of a dose for a newbie to start with. Stay the hell away from my medication.”

They nodded and said that sounds like good advice.

I told them that they come from two families with addiction issues. They are likely to build tolerances to medications and drugs quickly and they should be very careful about that. It can be so dangerous.

My sweet daughter piped up with, “Yeah! We are likely to gain tolerance fast and that’s why we shouldn’t use things like Ibuprofen unless we really have to. If we build a tolerance we won’t be able to use it in an emergency.”

THEY LISTEN TO ME AND APPLY THE LESSONS LATER. I FEEL I HAVE WON A GIANT VICTORY IN LIFE.

But then again we talk about things like how most people who grow up to become addicts do it because they have emotional problems they don’t know how to deal with. Most addicts do not have the emotional support they need and I’d much rather figure out how to help you get more emotional support than have you deal with your issues through addiction. Tell me if you are hurting. If *I’m* the one hurting you… tell your father or a therapist or a friend. Talk about your feelings my loves. You matter.

I feel weird about it but I feel pride when my kids tell me that I fucked up in how I said something. “Mom, when you said ____ it hurt my feelings and I was upset.” Oh shit. Ok. That happened. I said that and you were hurt. I am really sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. What part of that hurt you so that I can choose my words more carefully in the future?

And now my daughter is awake and wants to snuggle me. Bye, oh void.

I will miss this community

I went into the bank by myself. The tellers wanted to know where my kids were. But they didn’t even ask in idle curiosity. They were a little mad at me because they wanted to talk to the kids.

It’s going to be hard leaving somewhere that we are so well known that people act entitled to a chat with my kids.

Plugging along

I continue to be impressed with Future Middle Child holding it together through Christmas. They genuinely had a hard time with their sister getting a doll and them not getting a doll and they are talking about their feelings, in a separate room from sister, instead of tantruming. That’s awesome. Well done, kid.

They already have enough damn dolls and they won’t share any of them. Eldest Child is not being unduly favored.

I feel happy about my continued plan of not giving many toys for Christmas. I am not good at making things “even” and this is just easier.

They share most of the books they get. The clothes that EC gets will be hand-me-downs before much longer (and frankly they can share the clothes that FMC got this year because they are practically the same size). The art supplies mostly get shared. The games are played together.

The only “just mine” thing is the doll.

So it is reasonable for FMC to be having feelings. But they have half a dozen “just mine” dolls already.

I love that we give each other a lot of food. That feels nice to me.

We have very functional/consumable Christmas presents and I like it. It suits my personality. We aren’t trying to look for pretty/useless things or duplicates of what we already own.

Everyone is highly conscious of the fact that over the next year we want to downsize a lot.

I broke the zipper on my favorite jammies night before last. My belly was too much pressure. I am going to find a tailor to replace the zipper because those 10 year old jammies are not ready to be binned. They just need a new zipper.

I’m happy that by 33 weeks pregnant I am starting to be big enough to strain my damn pajamas. My belly feels… so non-impressive to me. I don’t have tight skin on my belly. I have a bunch of loose fat and extra skin. You can still smoosh my belly fat in big handfuls! It’s hilarious. I don’t anticipate new stretch marks from my body expanding around this kid. I will never again use up all the extra skin I used for containing EC. That pregnancy was just… whoa. I was huge.

Dad called on Christmas. That was nice. He’s doing well. His current relationship is far less dramatic than most of his relationships. I hope things continue to go well for them.

I talked to my cousin a little. She needed to tell me at great length how devastated she is and then she instantly switched into the drama from her dating life and how she’s going to get even with people. Ok. That’s where you are in life. Ok. I don’t feel as sad about her not showing up. I recognize that we probably only had a low stress Christmas because she didn’t show up. It would have been anxious with her here.

I wanted her here. But maybe getting what I want isn’t always a good thing. She actually had the audacity to suggest that we could try again next year.

hahahahahahaha no. I need to not keep being this flavor of stupid.

I will need to love her over the phone. Or stop talking to her. I’m not sending more money. Ever.

I will keep donating money to places that use it instead of buying plane tickets that go unused. That’s a bad usage for money. And since I have feelings about money being essentially set on fire in terms of usefulness… I need to not do this again.

It’s ok. Today I get to talk to Jenny. The kids want to go shopping for a couple of things they want to buy with their allowance. Noah is working. I will putter through chores. I like it when the kids are on academic break…. And all of their physical skills classes are on break. Blissful easy schedule.

I went to the dispensary yesterday and bought 4 months of meds. As of January 1st the laws around my medication are going to be shitty. All medications must be sold in 10mg doses. I use 50mg-70mg at a time. So I’m going to have to buy huge lots of single serving medications and fill my stomach with shitty candy constantly in order to medicate appropriately. The pills I like… are going off the market entirely. I’m stocking up.

I continue to be amused at how perception of marijuana usage varies. My last (fired) psychiatrist was panicking and throwing fits about how I am an addict ruining my life because I use so much pot. My pain management doctor says, “That’s a very conservative dose for managing your conditions–you are doing great.” The budtender says, “Wow! You microdose! Good for you!”

Perspective.

Am I a filthy overusing addict or am I using a moderate amount of medication for my conditions. Who the fuck knows.

Sigh.

Taking 50mg pills 3x’s/day is not being a heavy user. It’s staying medicated so I don’t have the big dips in mood and pain.

The Zantac is my best friend right now. I’m chugging water and it feels so good. I haven’t been on it a week though. I’m watching carefully for when it becomes less effective.

I feel less depressed but like anxiety is hiding nearby. I don’t feel super anxious. But I feel like super anxious is watching me from the corner waiting to jump on my head.

I continue to worry about the results of the liver test I took. I won’t get results for a bit. I’m a bit worried about my next ultrasound. Kiddo’s kidneys weren’t shaping up perfect. I’m afraid of needing to have a bunch of specialists in the room when my child is born. But if that is the path… I just need to find gratitude that I live in a place where such people exist and I can afford to pay them for their time.

But I’m nervous.

I don’t feel like the baby is transverse anymore. When I do a sit up there is now just a solid ridge down the center of my belly and it isn’t wide anymore. Way less vicious kicking into my lower right ribs.

The baby is still moving… but it doesn’t feel as frequent/constant/painful. Lots more Braxton Hicks contractions.

I think it’s funny that no matter what time of night or day if I put my hand on my belly and ask how the baby is doing… the baby starts moving instantly. I know it’s woo woo weird shit, but I feel like this kid is excited to meet me too.

Looking at the calendar… we should probably try to do dates with the kids this week. It’s easier this week than any other week till after the baby is born. The date nights we do are a big deal. The kids really value them.

My kids ask me a lot about dates. They think dates are the best things ever. Going on a date means you spend time one on one with someone talking. You get to monopolize someone’s attention and you aren’t being rude at all. Dates are fabulous. No sharing mom’s attention with that pesky sibling. Ha.

When I say that I hear too much about video games… I don’t mean that I hear the games (thank god). I mean that our date night is going to involve multiple hours of me hearing about which game makers are the current obsessions and what a child likes about this way of playing a game and what they want to make in their next game and why they want me to do a bunch of supportive work (I finally got around to uploading music for EC onto her computer so she can stop bugging me about this step) and…

My kids want me to help them learn how to process their thoughts. Including about video games. We work through how to plan out their process. EC wants to release a game on her birthday. We are talking about how to schedule the work so it all gets done while she’s also doing all her school work.

We are going to go get her a paper planner so we can start talking about the logistics of planning this shit for herself. Really we just need replacement months because she’s stealing my old planner. I prefer paper but it’s harder to share with Noah so I don’t use it much anymore. We are going to talk about different planning/journaling styles and she will be encouraged to try things and see what she likes.

I’m not so secretly excited about the teaching planning portion of helping with the video game. Even if I do wish I never had to hear about the damn games again. Sigh.

No life is perfect. I may chafe at being dumped in gamer culture but I picked my spouse and this is his culture. Suck it up, buttercup.

Noah’s been ridiculously nice lately. Sometimes he’s distracted and inattentive and I feel neglected. He’s nailed the last few days. I feel guilty for enjoying this so much because I will feel petulant when he gets busy again. I don’t want to feel guilty for enjoying this. I want to just enjoy it. But letting myself have good feelings would be silly or something.

Noah’s talking about his conference schedule for the year. May I say again how the timing of this baby was maybe not the easiest possible? He’s going to hit the ground running for travel before the baby is three months old and then he’s going to be gone just about every month after that. The month the baby is turning 3 months old he is gone for over a week between two conferences.

That’s going to be… festive.

But we’ll cope. It will be fine. The big kids will be sad they don’t get to move back into the bed with me when Noah is gone. Not with a 3 month old. This will be our first time of me not snuggling them when their dad is gone. That piece is going to be emotionally hard for all of us. By the time the kid is over a year old… sure. Not at 3 months.

I feel a little bit like a hypocrite. When FMC was born EC still slept with me basically full time. But BIG OLE 7 & 9 year old bodies are different.

They could hurt the baby in their sleep and there are no take backs.

I’m excited that we are running low on Christmas sweets. I feel… over sugared. Good thing my sugar levels are always so low that me binging on sugar around Christmas is not particularly unhealthy…

I’m afraid to stop eating the sugary snacks though. I’ve gained a little weight and I don’t want to lose it….

I’m going to go climb back in bed. I’m cold.

Still good.

I talked to my cousin a little. She’s upset. Ok. I’m… not. I’m just sighing a bit. Of course it went this way. Shrug. Yup.

We still had a great day in our house. We played together and read together and snuggled and talked and ate good food.

FMC had some big feelings and we talked them all through with kindness and grace and they ended the day feeling pretty good. We were patient with them and they were willing to put effort into managing themself. That was great. I’m glad that we as parents could hold it together today and not be pissy with them for being a kid.

One of our elderly neighbors came by to bring us candy. (We’ve had other similar deliveries from other neighbors over the last week.) She mentioned how much she loved the Christmas letter and said that she had to immediately get on the internet because she has never heard of the concept of being transgender before. She left our house with a book to help her understand more and she’s glad.

That was a really special moment. Our neighbors care about FMC and want to be able to help them feel included and loved. So much so that they will educate themselves and put effort into being appropriate. That’s just… magical.

We checked in with several neighbors. We watched The Trolls and the Christmas Express. Holy cow! We never watched the She-Ra and He-Man Christmas Special this year! Whoa. Advent just flew by.

I’m feeling calm and happy. This was one of the best Christmas days of my life. It was a shoot for the moon and land in the stars kind of day.

Merry Christmas to all.

Yesterday was mostly chill. I had a mini fuss when Eldest Child told me that I ruined the surprise of a gift when I could tell what it was from the package. I left the room and had my feelings. I’m over being told I’m ruining Christmas.

But we shook it off. She apologized and said she was trying to be funny.

It was a nice day. We walked around the neighborhood and delivered cookies to our neighbors. We cuddled and spent time together. Noah cooked lots of delicious food.

Today has been great. It’s not 9am yet. Our present pile was…. way bigger than I thought it would be when I was shopping. Eep. But more than half of what anyone got for Christmas was clothes. The kids have been genuinely having a hard time with not having enough winter clothes. They have about four pairs of long pants each. So now they each have a full week of winter clothes and Future Middle Child has a warm coat. They’ve been telling me that they don’t like having to wear three sweaters to be warm.

There was one doll in the bunch because EC has been having a hard time with the way FMC has possession of every doll in the house and they are nasty and refuse to share. So EC got a god damn doll. FMC just about burst into tears.

Noah and I talked to them about how this is one of those times when they are acting like it is mean and unfair for anyone but them to get a good thing. Is that a way they truly want to act? I also whispered in their ear that if they are sweet and generous and they give their sister a couple of weeks to enjoy her new toy… has she ever been a jerk about sharing?! They acknowledged that no she really hasn’t. She’s super kind.

So FMC shook off their upset in just a few minutes. I thought that was incredibly well done of them. It’s hard feeling left out. It’s hard feeling like someone else gets the good stuff.

But EC was elated over every present of clothing and FMC tossed things aside with near contempt.

Sigh.

They are both very excited about the stack of books we acquired. Quite a few kid books that are continuations of series we are reading.

Noah and I each got mostly practical gifts. He got a gravy separator, cookbooks, and a microphone he needs for work. All things he asked for. In his stocking he got a fur jock strap and possum fur nipple warmers because that has been an ongoing joke in our relationship for about 9 years. And he got bath supplies. And food.

I got two cute outfits from Trashy Diva from Santa, bath stuff, lids for Tupperware (all of our stuff is 30+ years old and in the past 6 months we’ve had all the lids break), a couple of neat books, a pretty mug, and a tray that will make eating in bed easier during the postpartum time.

Mostly very practical and/or consumable stuff. Perfect.

Each kid got a puzzle and FMC got a copy of the game Operation. So not an excessively toy heavy Christmas. They did get Shopkins in their stockings to go with their socks and underwear and bath bombs.

I have this weird obsession with Christmas presents being mostly functional/consumable. Food. Clothes that are necessary (ok, what I got isn’t NECESSARY but the dress and the shirt are both highly nursing compatible and I’m starting to run low on clothes that make my boobs accessible so they aren’t completely unnecessary either)- mostly socks and underwear and warm stuff. Books. Necessary work/school stuff. (FMC got a bunch of Spanish language learning books.)

We will watch The Trolls and the Christmas Express today because we haven’t yet. Dinner is pre-cooked.

It’s going to be a great day. 😀

Having a hard time with sympathy.

I know I should feel bad for my cousin. She failed because she has a laundry list of mental health problems. She doesn’t work at all because she is not competent to show up and do things. She was fired from the job I put her through college for because she couldn’t god damn file alphabetically.

She called me 72 hours before the flight to tell me she didn’t have an ID so she couldn’t get on the plane. I wired her money. She got the money late Wednesday night. She then slept through Thursday. She went to the DMV in the last hour it was open on Friday before Christmas. She did get an ID. She walked out 15 minutes past closing time with an ID.

Then she texts me 1.5 hours before she is supposed to be at the airport and says, “Can you change my flight so I can come at a later time because I can’t find anyone to take care of my dog.”

I told her that if she had planned in advance I could have helped her with finding dog care but changing the flights would be probably upwards of $400 and no… I’m not doing that for a $650 flight. When I sent you $200 for an ID this week. No.

So she isn’t coming. And now she’s sending me pity party texts about how upset she is about spending Christmas alone.

I spent almost a full year of my disposable income on this. So that she could choose not to fix any of the associated issues in a timely fashion.

But mental illness!

I think I need to not call her any more. Because this is so familiar. This is what dealing with my family is like. I’m not a person I’m an ATM who is supposed to solve all of their problems for them with money. Problems that could have been managed reasonably with just a little advance notice. Hell… I would have paid for boarding the dog if she had asked me in a timely fashion.

This is like my mom calling me 12 hours before her hysterectomy (that she knew about well in advance) and telling me that I have to give her $500 Right Now or she can’t have the surgery she needs.

I told my mom no.

Another expensive lesson: dealing with my family is just setting me up for heartache.

On the upside Christmas will probably be less stressful and dramatic this way. Being with Noah and the kids is lovely. I’m very lucky and grateful.

This is why I have more kids to have more family. It’s the only avenue available to me that will have the possibility of respectful relationships.

current medical dump

I’m really itchy. Apparently that’s a problem during pregnancy. I need to go in at 7am for a fasting blood draw to see what is going on with my liver. Hopefully all will be well. If things aren’t doing what they should do I will have to deliver in week 36 or 37.

In 11 days I go in to see what is going on with LIghtning’s kidneys. As of the last time I checked they aren’t where they need to be and there might need to be a pediatric urinologist on hand for the birth. The pediatrician will have to know about this possible condition before birth.

My massage therapist says she is feeling arthritis develop in my hands.

My massage therapist fixed the fucked up groin bits! God I love her. She’s a miracle worker.

I’m now taking Zantac. I slept better with less acid reflux. Let’s see how long one pill does anything for me… (I don’t take most over the counter medications because of how fast my tolerance climbs. It just seems… silly.)

My chiro says he is surprised by how much strength I am still able to demonstrate. Even though I don’t feel like I’m exercising “enough” I’m clearly still doing something that’s good for me. Yay for sit ups.

I’m going to place several huge orders with my dispensary this week. As of January 1st the laws on edibles in my state become absurd. And they are more than doubling the tax. Wheeee.

Market forces

There are few phrases that Noah can utter that make me twitch more than “market forces”. I’m not nice to him about this.

Whenever he says this, no matter what the context or conversation, I am instantly in the mindset of “Oh great the rich white man who was set up from birth to be one of the most successful people of his generation is going to lecture the white trash whore on our relative values. Great.”

I don’t think that is what Noah means when he says it. But that’s what my brain does and it makes it very difficult to hear the conversation. I know this is a me problem.

It doesn’t matter how much basic value or truth there might be in the conversation he might be bringing up. It doesn’t matter how neutrally he means it. He might be talking about something 100% removed from me or my life and I’m still… stuck.

This is going to have to move to the “work on it” list but I don’t know how to get past this twitch. I don’t know how to get past the basic fact that I view him as having just about endless value and I am worth nothing.

Anxiety.

I invited my cousin to come visit us for Christmas. After doing so she informed me that she will be spending half the time with the relatives I don’t speak to.

Yesterday she texted me that she needs money to get an ID card because otherwise she can’t get on the plane. In like 48 hours.

She knew she didn’t have an ID card before I bought the plane ticket. She could have brought up the fact that she didn’t have an ID nor money to replace her ID then. Instead she waited until late last night.

I’ve already done a bunch of physical labor preparing for having a guest. With sending her money for the ID and buying her Christmas presents and the plane ticket… I’ve sunk about $1,000 into this visit. That I get half of because she wants to go see the relatives who hate her and do nothing but talk shit about her.

And maybe she won’t be able to get an ID in time? I can’t find indication online for how long it takes in her state. It just says, “You’ll receive your ID after paperwork has been processed.” Does that take minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks?

I feel like of course this is how it is going. How could I have expected someone in my family to behave otherwise?

This is why Noah is so fucking miraculous to me. He’s the only person who makes commitments and shows up more than 95% of the time. Everyone else… I’m shown exactly how little of a priority I am.

I spent 10 months of my personal fun money on this visit. That may end up not happening. Because she didn’t want to tell me weeks ago that she couldn’t get on a plane.

This is why I don’t ask people for time or attention. This doesn’t actually surprise me.

I feel sad. I feel like of course this is how I’m being treated. This is how important I am. I’m not.

In other news I told the kids that they need to actually do their chores without me nagging and being a bitch before they get their computers back and we’ve had more than 24 hours off the computer and miraculously… they are getting along better. We’ve had less fighting in the past 24 hours than we’ve had in while. And things were on an upswing between the kids. So that’s awesome.

We saw Star Wars yesterday as our advent activity. Noah asked for it. Given that mostly the advent calendar is about what I or the kids want…. yes Noah we can totally go see Star Wars with you. It was sweet listening to his reactions.

And this morning we laid in bed and talked for a long while. It was so lovely.

It is hard that talking to Noah feels like basking in the sun. When he doesn’t have the time or energy to spend on talking I feel like the sun has gone away and I will never be warm again.

I know I can’t pin him down and demand hours of talking every day–he’s too busy for that. But it’s hard doing without it. I feel like I wither.

I try not to be too controlling with it though.

So then I get into this space where I don’t feel like I can ask for anything because asking is controlling, right?

Such a cluster fuck.

Distress

I was talking to someone about judging how other people parent. That’s a tricky thing. Here’s my basic position:

I don’t care what choices you make. I don’t care if you breastfeed or formula feed. I don’t care if you cosleep or if everyone is in their own room. I don’t care if you home school or public school or private school.

Are your children showing signs of distress?

That’s the only metric I care about. People need different things. There are families who are doing great with every possible set of choices. There is not One Twue Way. But if your kid is freaking the fuck out… you are doing it wrong.

Not because you should be doing it like me… my way might be totally wrong for your kid.

You need to look at the child you have when you make decisions. I came into parenting with some assumptions and some of them have proven correct (I have kids who have extreme needs with regard to attachment) and others have been proven incorrect (I thought they would be able to handle sleeping in a separate room by now… they can’t handle it).

Do what is right for your household. Not what is perceived as “right”.

consumed with frustration

My body sucks. That doesn’t help anything. Yesterday I had a nice healthy salad for lunch. When I was trying to swallow the penultimate bite I had to spit it out into my bowl. Then race to the bathroom to throw it up with great force.

Strangely about three hours later I ate a massively heavy Chinese meal and felt fine. I needed the calorie density.

Then all night long I was up to painfully poop every two hours. I feel like my intestine are being scraped with a paint scraper.

I’m so frustrated about the video games in my house. I have a full time god damn job of listening to video games and I have fucking hated video games for about thirty years now. But I can’t get a break unless I literally abandon everyone I live with.

I’m tired of feeling helpless and incompetent. I’m tired of needing so much help that Noah going to the grocery store is him contributing to bonding time such that I feel like shit all the time because the work that goes into maintaining my physical body is so much that talking to me isn’t much of a priority.

I hate that I am never alone and I feel so lonely that it physically hurts.

I want to mutilate my body so badly that I spend a lot of time sitting very still because that is the most self control I can have. Mutilating myself is a lot of how I remind myself that no one owes me anything. I have no right to ask for more or demand more or beg for more. Just shut up.

I have asked for way more than is fair to ask for. Just shut up you stupid bitch.

I feel like I want to leave. Not divorce/move out. But be gone from when I wake up till when I go to sleep. I’m tired of my role being to bitch at people all day about the work they don’t want to do in between bursts of listening to god damn video games.

So I spend a lot of time on the forums mentally checked out because it feels more like connection than anything else I have on offer at this stage of my life. Only it really isn’t connection.

I feel so empty. And I’m never going to get anything more from this valley. Asking is so utterly pointless.

I periodically go through the communities in my head that I miss. Then I remind myself of all the rapists who are more important than me. And I stay home.

I’m really sad and I don’t know how to change this feeling.