Category Archives: kids

What does that mean?

Tonight FMC asked me why I call them “angel”. I asked them if they know what an angel is and they said not really.

I told them that angels are spirits. Mostly they are basically good but some of them are dark. Angels bring gifts like joy and love.

I said that they brought joy and love and happiness into my life. So it’s like they are an angel sent to me.

They asked me, “Am I like a dark angel? Like a demon?”

I asked them what they think. Like I do.

They said, “I don’t know. I do the wrong thing a lot.”

I said, “That’s because there are a whole bunch of things you want to learn and you can’t learn without making mistakes. Wanting to learn doesn’t make you a demon. Trying something that turns out to be the wrong thing doesn’t make you a demon. Setting out to be cruel is different. Setting out to hurt and damage people is different. Purposefully trying to destroy people…. that’s evil.”

“I don’t do that!”

“No. You don’t. You are a kid who is trying to learn who you want to grow up to be and sometimes in that process you make choices that are not like the choices you hope you will make as a grown up… because you have to learn. The fact that you keep trying to be better… sweetheart that is about you reaching for the light. Dark angels don’t do that.”

Their face relaxed and they smiled at me. They told me that they love me.

I love you my baby.

My kids amuse me.

My kids are approaching puberty. They are both SO EXCITED. Last night at bed time my daughter (9 years old) was really sad and she couldn’t figure out why. We spent a while talking and snuggling and being close because it’s ok to have any feeling you have.

This morning she woke up to brag to their sibling that she is so excited that mood swings are happening and now they are randomly sad sometimes… and it’s great because mom was there. Mom hugged her and helped her feel better and that was so nice.

I love you so much. I really want to help you learn that your feelings are ok. They are just waves that come and if you are patient with yourself… they won’t overwhelm you. Your feelings are ok. Even if you don’t know what they are and even if you don’t know why you are having them. That’s ok too.

Mood swings are part of life. I love you.

Oh what tangled webs we weave…

Something occurred to me recently, as Noah and I are in round 45,203 of our Epic Conversation. This has been going on since we met. We… we like to talk. A lot. We are cutting into our sleep patterns in ways that might prove to be a problem because we censor ourselves in front of the kids and they WANT US ALL THE TIME.

Side note: I am feeling surprised by my interactions with the kids’ therapists. I keep expecting them to think I’m doing something horribly wrong and I keep thinking they will give me feedback that indicates I’m totally fucking up. Instead they say things like, “Things seem pretty developmentally appropriate but gosh your kid wants to spend more time with you.” We then had a civilized adult conversation about how there are not more hours in a day and I’m with my kids all the fucking time. So I guess that means it is time to talk about how feelings and wants are valid and real even if they can’t be acted upon. I can’t spend more time with you. That time doesn’t exist. But I get that you want more from me. That makes sense. I’m really glad that the big feedback from your therapist is, “Gosh your kid likes you and wants to be with you all the time.” I love you too.

Back to main topic for this babble. My marriage.

I realized something when we were talking. Noah was emphatically talking about a current set of priorities and I realized… I don’t have a good map in my head of who Noah really is at this point. That’s complicated. I still think about conversations from 13 and 11 and 8 and 3 years ago when Noah expressed different preferences and needs and… I get it all mixed up. That’s really not a great thing for facilitating good communication.

Noah was asking me how many times he had said a particular thing and I had to admit that I don’t know for sure. It may be once. It may have been an almost flippant thing one time 11 years ago but for some reason the phrasing stuck in my head like glue.

It’s making me feel really shitty and awful. I don’t know what set of “requests” and priorities I’m supposed to follow at this point. That’s… overwhelming and kind of scary.

When we first got married I felt very much like what I had to offer was constant sex. We did… a pretty terrifying amount of it in the first year. We went to work and we fucked. We didn’t see our friends much. I felt like it was very clear that I was expected to maintain that pace. I… can’t. It’s not physically possible.

Later in marriage I was told that at least 10 times a month would be… acceptable. So I hurt myself keeping to that schedule for many years through times when my body literally was not god damn interested in sex because I believed that I had to.

Then I kind of collapsed under the weight of that and Noah tried to pull back from his demands. But I could still see the tally system and that was enough for me to pressure myself and it just kept going badly.

So I decided that since what Noah cared about most was me being constantly up for sex I should find a way to make that happen. Sex with lots of people will make that work for me pretty much regardless of other stressors. I’m still getting hurt by the sex, but I go into this hypomanic state where I’m highly dissociated from my cunt and it isn’t the same problem in terms of my daily life. I’m hurting myself, but I’m numb to the damage.

That blew all the way up. Ok, that’s not the solution.

But now what. What is the most important thing? I don’t know.

This is complicated by the fact that Noah has spent a lot of time telling me that sex is how he motivates himself. He rattles off the stuff he does for me (much of it without me directly asking for him to do) and explains that doing ALL THAT makes him tired and he needs something to make up for it. So I respond by taking over as many of the chores as physically possible until I overstrain myself and collapse because I am just not great with the dynamic that I owe sex in exchange for him doing the dishes. I’ll do the fucking dishes.

Man those Cosmo articles that tell men to do housework to earn sex are complicated.

Because the thing is, if I’m falling down on my share of housework because I don’t feel good, the housework being done isn’t going to make me feel good and make me feel sexy and make me feel like I want sex. But if I have to feel up for sex in trade for housework then I’ll do the god damn housework if I have to drag my nearly corpse-like body around to do that shit.

But the thing is… me doing more and more and more of the housework so that he’s not worn out so that I don’t owe him more motivation… yeah that fails completely and totally. There is never a reflection (that I see) that I am taking strain off of him. Nothing I do removes strain. The only thing I can to do to make his life better is add sex. Everything else seems to be basically worthless.

This is hard because when we got married I was touch averse in a big way. I would have freaked out and physically attacked someone for trying to get me to snuggle as much as I do in an average day now. I could handle sexualized touch or a bdsm scene, sure. But I didn’t do casual just sit around and touch each other shit. It was a big concession for me to sit on the far side of the couch and let Noah touch my feet all the time because that was something I had to work through. That was overwhelming.

But I’ve worked on that. At this point I snuggle my kids and Noah so much that I feel like I spend almost 1/4 of my waking time with one or the other of them touching me. Some days it’s a much larger block of time.

And that doesn’t count as being something I’ve done to increase connection and that’s really god damn hard for me. Noah was touch starved and that wasn’t ok… I had to figure out how to touch him. But I don’t get credit for that being part of what I have done for him. That doesn’t count as connection when he wants sex.

(Disclaimer: We’ve had good sex this month. Lots of masturbation near one another without it having to escalate. We are trying.)

And when I say “It doesn’t count” I don’t necessarily mean that Noah has never acknowledged it or has never commented on it. I mean that in aggregate I feel like conversations about his needs always come down to one kind of need and all that I do to meet his other needs is kind of hand waved away. I *feel* like this happens. I’m not sure it is the only thing that happens but my emotions camp right there and throw a mean as fuck party.

I’ve worked on being kinder to Noah. For all that I worry that I am still abusing him terribly… I know I am better than I was early on. I’m not as negative. I don’t bitterly complain about him as much. I don’t swear at him as much. I don’t call him names like I did. I’m still not where either of us want me to be in terms of my treatment of him… but it’s come a long way and I still don’t think that is good enough.

I feel like no matter how hard I try to change it will never ever ever ever be enough. No matter what.

But a lot of the current problem is I’m still tied up in my head in trying to meet demands that were made a decade ago and he doesn’t really still feel like I should be doing that. But I don’t know what I should be doing.

I don’t know how I could be good.

Don’t stop

EC and I were talking about the way I stare at her. I notice everything. I told her that I know it is annoying sometimes and she nodded emphatically. “YES.”

I asked her if she wanted me to stop.

She melted and said, “no. It makes me feel so awesome.”

I love you. I’m glad it feels awesome to you.

We have to reframe this.

We are having a problem because EC is pushing for more individual space and boundaries. It isn’t a problem because she wants it. It’s a problem because FMC is uhhhh not interested in allowing their sister any space at all.

We have been talking about this in the house for a while. We keep coming back to “We are not willing to escalate punishments to the point that they are more effective and the ways we have tried to punish for this interruption are failing entirely.”

We need to find a way to incentivize instead of punishing away this behavior. I believe in behavior extinguishment… but it’s complicated. Punishing often makes a behavior more entrenched and resistant. (For one thing our “punishments” are pansy ass and we know it. We are not here to hurt or shame our kids.) We need to find a way to make giving someone else space something that gives FMC more of what they want in life. We have to find a way to frame this/phrase this as “Here let us show you how you will get what you want if you go along with this boundary.”

I know that some people don’t like how manipulative I train my children to be. I respect that opinion. But I think my behavior as a human being improved when I learned how to think about my behavior in terms of “Will this help me meet my goals or will this create problems for me?”

I don’t believe in training children to follow rules because they are rules and you must follow rules. That’s bullshit. Some rules need to be broken. Some rules need to change. Some rules just don’t fucking apply to the situation we are in.

Why does this rule exist?

I’m not saying I have to fully agree with every rule in order to follow them… but I am more likely to follow a rule if I understand why the rule exists and I am at least in agreement that following it is in line with who I want to be in the world.

How do we teach FMC that giving their sister space is going to create the relationship they want in the future?

Punishing is not going to teach this.

Heh. Punishing me is a great way to ensure that I’m going to do what you don’t like….. where you can’t see me.

Enlightened self interest babe, how can we teach this to you.

For EC I have been chanting since they were 2 years old, “If you want to have a good relationship with your sibling when you are an adult you need to think about whether or not this action is likely to make your sibling want to know you.” The same chant really hasn’t worked with FMC. When they look up at their sister they see an unfailing flow of love and support and I think they genuinely don’t believe that their sister would stop providing it. They identify less with the fact that I walked away from my family and rejected everyone. EC knows that I refuse to know my big sister and that haunts her. FMC… doesn’t care?

FMC doesn’t believe they have to earn love in the same way. Uhm… I guess that’s good? It’s mixed. Noah and EC and I all act like we have to do a shit ton of work to earn being loved in the long term. It’s questionably healthy. Near as I can tell FMC is the only person in this house who believes in unconditional love. They think we will love them and take care of them and be with them no matter how big of an asshole they are.

I mean… that’s… good…

I’M SO CONFUSED.

I feel this terrible existential keening because I think I’m too demanding and boring to deserve friends and I feel like I should stop bothering people because I don’t have enough to offer…

And I live with this fucking kid who believes that them existing is their fucking gift to this world and now what does the world have to offer them.

It’s… weird.

Really weird.

Like… WHO THE FUCK MADE YOU weird.

It’s funny how they feel like me and not like me and like my chance to rewrite my history and like an alien and…

I love them so much. I feel bad when I target a specific behavior and assert my will as if I actually know things and I’m right about my judgments. What fucking hubris. Who in the fuck am I to decide that they are not good enough?

I’m their fucking mother and if I say they need to god damn learn how to let their sister have boundaries I’m fucking right and you will motherfucking do as I say.

Only I say it to them with less swearing.

One of the few things my mama said right to me was, “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it.” My mama, for all the bad things I can and do say about her… she only kind of sort of wanted to silence me. She was afraid of me speaking truths that would make her already shitty life harder… but otherwise she encouraged me to speak up. When teachers would complain I was too mouthy my mama would say that they must not be a very good teacher then because I do just fine in a classroom with a good teacher.

My sweet little baby. I don’t want to punish you for crossing boundaries. That makes me feel like shit. It makes you feel like shit. You then proceed to cross the next boundary like clockwork and we start the whole shitty cycle over again.

What can I do to help you believe that following these boundaries is the thing that you want to do?

Because I want to manipulate the shit out of you. I have no pride. I will not dissemble. My sweet love I want to manipulate you until you believe that it is just absolutely the right thing to give people space when they ask.

How can I do this?

This is my next hobby horse to ride. Because if we don’t figure this shit out… I’m afraid you and your sister are going to get into a big bloody fist fight. And frankly… y’all don’t need that.

Even if you might kinda deserve having someone punch you for being so disrespectful of their boundaries. I won’t do it or condone it… but I’m capable of seeing why someone else might think it was the best reaction to your behavior.

God you are so much like me.

I’m sorry kid.

I wish I could have given you easier genetics. Sigh.

How can we teach you without you having to get as many black eyes as I did? Or maybe you just need to get them and I can’t protect you from that. I’ve always needed to learn from experience too.

I hope this hubris I have in believing I know best for you doesn’t fuck up our relationship forever. I try hard to limit my control areas… I know I don’t know best in all areas… just a few.

I love you. I’m trying. I know I’m failing to meet your needs in that way that all mothers fail their children. I hope you can forgive me.

Appropriate exposure?

Last night I kind of exploded at EC. By exploded I mean that she was taunting me in a way the kids have been enjoying irritating me for a few weeks now and I asked why they are doing it. She giggled and said “To irritate you”.  I said, “Go somewhere else. Go sleep in the backyard, on the couch, in the garage, in my bed… I don’t care. Go somewhere else.”

That was the explosion. I didn’t even yell. FMC was asleep.

After 15 or so minutes of crying I felt really bad so I went and found her. She was in the garage bed. (We have beds all over our house.) She was defensive and kind of pissy at first, which was appropriate and fair.

I told her, “There’s something I need to talk to you about. You know how I tell you that sometimes my brain is an asshole to me? (Assume she interrupts with a lot of “yeahs” and “uh huhs” and “oh that’s what that means” but doing the actual dialogue is a pain in the ass.) First of all: do you know what a cycle is? Like a butterfly’s life cycle. (Oh yeah!) Well, my mental health stuff comes in cycles. I have long periods where I do ok and then for a while I do poorly. For a few weeks now I’ve been having a problem with my brain being an asshole to me. Part of my mental health stuff is called depression. It’s kind of like being sad but sad turned up to the max plus not liking myself very much and feeling REALLY irritable because my brain is being such an asshole all the time. Imagine walking through your day with your brain constantly screaming that you are bad and worthless and you deserve to be in a lot of pain. (At this point she interrupted to exclaim that she hasn’t known!) Of course you haven’t known. It isn’t real appropriate for me to tell you this stuff most of the time. It’s not your business. You can’t change it. You can’t make it better. It doesn’t happen because of you. Why should I act like you should walk on egg shells because it is happening? That would be wrong. So I do my best to be cheerful and loving even when my brain is telling me really vicious things. But sometimes when this happens… I’m going to be over sensitive and I’m going to over react to you trying to irritate me because… I’m already dealing with the maximum load of irritation I can bear. Just because my brain is being an asshole.”

She was really sweet about it. She said that she’s sorry my brain is doing that to me and she’ll try to not be extra irritating for a bit.

I reminded her that it is in fact her job to irritate me… she’s a kid. I am not telling her this so that she will change her behavior a lot. She’s doing what she is supposed to do. I’m telling her so that she understands that I’m not blowing up because she deserves it. I’m blowing up because my brain is being such a raging asshole that I wish I could blow up almost every minute of every day and I’m fighting that urge and sometimes I lose. I don’t want her to feel like my loss of control is her fault. It’s something that *I* have to get a hold of. It’s not a problem she can “not irritate” me out of. I’m going to struggle forever and there’s not much she can do about that. My problems aren’t about her.

She said it made sense. She asked if it was ok for her to come back in the bedroom. I said of course. We went to bed.

I hope I handled that right.

it fades…

I told the kids that their dad was careful to make a bunch of food and leave it in the fridge for us. And we have to eat it because it was made with love.

Kid says: “But sometimes love fades….”

Testing documentation

I got an email from our educational specialist (ES) today. She tested both kids last time she was here. The results both surprise me and don’t and I feel like a huge asshole.

I expected Future Middle Child to not do well because they aren’t reading yet. If we had tested Eldest Child before we left on the road trip… she would have been at a similar level for grade. My kids are late readers and that impacts their ability to take tests. FMC did so poorly on the reading test that I wasn’t given a result and instead I was told that kiddo needs to start remediation… which I’m unhappy about. Kiddo is where I expect them to be. I don’t think forcing them through not-very-effective “support” is going to help. I think it is going to make the process of learning to read shittier. They tested at the 65% for math and that shocks me because they stand behind their sister giving her answers to her math problems that are two grades ahead of them. I think it is because they don’t read and that messes up their ability to test in anything.

I feel like a huge asshole because I’m shocked by EC’s results. Uhm. She is higher than I expected by a lot. She is at the 98% for math and the 97% for reading. I……. honestly expected her to be at closer to the 60% for math. She complains all the fucking time about doing math of any sort for any reason. She tells me all the time how bad she is at math.

Uhhh… guess not.

She started out 3rd grade significantly behind. The Stanford evaluation proved that. She was way below grade level in every area. That was one fucking year of trying to do academic work.

I expect a similar dynamic from FMC and I’m seriously bummed that I put them in a charter school this year to fuck with my system. IT WAS WORKING.

Ok, I thought I wouldn’t tell EC her actual test scores. (I took a break right there to go talk to her while FMC is asleep.) I asked her how she thought she did. She’s all “Meh. Probably around 60%.” Ok, if you are going to underestimate yourself by that much… I need to tell you the score.

I feel bad that I have communicated my low expectations so accurately. I’m a shitty mother.

She is ebullient. We talked about how this is not about her being “smart”. One year ago she was tested as below grade level in every area. Stanford wanted me to get her into tutoring because she was so below grade level and I saw, “Naw I just haven’t started teaching that yet.”

EC attaining this is about the hard work she has put in. It’s not about smarts. It’s work. She has worked very hard for the past year and it shows. It has tangible results. FMC has not yet begun that work and it shows.

And that’s how it should be.

Before you are taught something of course you do poorly when tested on it.

But when EC is struggling with a math problem FMC stands behind her and rattles off the answer to the problem.

I think this is going to get interesting.

I told EC that I am very proud of her. She attained this on her own because she was willing to work so hard. Her face lit up like the fourth of July.

Err, if it isn’t clear from elsewhere in the post the scores aren’t 98% out of 100% of points earned. That’s the percentile for how the kids did compared to the expectations for their grade.

I wanted to get my kids caught up by 4th grade so that if they had to transfer to a school they wouldn’t be ashamed of being “stupid”.

Achievement partially unlocked. My 2nd grader is on track where I expect them to be. And my 4th grader god damn did it.

I didn’t do it. She did.

I mean… there’s this niggling part of me that says “I’m fucking brilliant and so is Noah so of fucking course our daughter is this fucking good at this shit.” And then there’s the bigger part of me that says, “You know how you’ve been underestimating her and acting like she isn’t that smart? You fucking suck rocks.”

More than one thing can be true.

I need to write Noah’s grandmother a letter. She will appreciate hearing this more than basically anyone else.

That’s a lovely milestone.

Today my daughter was talking about something… I can’t quite remember how we got to this, but I handed her a textbook I read in my junior year of college so she could find out how different the original stories of Beauty and the Beast are from the Disney version. She said there were a couple of words she didn’t know, but that was fun to read.

Two years ago she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book independently. Now she’s reading from my college textbooks and understanding almost all of it.

I’m glad I trusted her to learn at her own pace. I’m really glad I didn’t push her beyond what she felt she could do.

I don’t fail at everything.

Why?

Today Future Middle Child asked me why I read forums since I think most of the people who post there are mean and unpleasant.

I told them it is a distraction. Sometimes the words I hear inside my head about my head aren’t very nice. I feel happy when I think about my kids or my husband and sometimes with some of my friends. But there are times when my brain is kind of mean to me and every thought about myself is really mean. When that is happening… I read stuff about other people so I don’t have to think about me.

Sometimes lying is the truth.

Today I am going to smile. I am going to laugh. I am going to be encouraging and I am going to seem happy.

It is my baby’s birthday party. I can’t make this about me. My baby needs love and support and to feel like they are delightful for being alive.

Yes beloved. I will put my shit in a box. I’ll deal with it later. Today it is about you. And you are glorious and a source of joy.

Calm or productive

This morning started out a little rough for me. I asked EC a couple of weeks ago to cull the multiple boxes of school stuff from last year and pick out which items she wants to put in her portfolio. I guess she didn’t understand what I meant. She threw away all of her previous work from grades K-3 and she threw away her sibling’s portfolio work (only kindergarten) and she filled the portfolio’s with random memorabilia and knick knacks. I didn’t discover this till today, so there’s no chance of climbing through the recycling and getting stuff back.

I about blew a gasket.

I didn’t call names. I didn’t scream about how terrible they were. But I did scream that I was very angry. When I calmed down I said (perhaps inappropriately) that a lot of the reason I am so meticulous about keeping this documentation is because I need to make sure no one can ever say I’m not educating my kids and take them away. EC internalized this as “I threw away the portfolio documentation and that means I’m going to be taken away.” We’ve since talked about how there aren’t actually legal requirements to keep this documentation and my fear of CPS is very irrational given that we are unlikely to be looked at as a family at risk. We talked about the difference between a rational fear and an irrational fear.

I think we’ve all calmed down. But I’ve been the opposite of productive since then. Because I need to put most of my mental and emotional energy into calming down. I uhhh also neglected to take any pot till 1pm, which doesn’t help.

Noah says I didn’t cross a line but the line was getting reeeeeal close and I was teetering.

It’s weird having another adult in the house to walk around following me as I rant. It makes me think I’m glad he missed the first three years of my parenting because I was a much bigger bitch.

My poor children.

I sent out another email looking for a therapist for EC. She has fallen through the cracks in the past few months because the folks who looked possible for her didn’t pan out. I need to get that in line though. It’s not ok that she justifies me screaming at her. That’s fucked up and not ok and she needs to have her own therapist who can help her feel like no one should be screaming at her. Not even her mother.

She isn’t always ok with me screaming at her. I don’t get a free pass. But if I’m yelling at her about something she really did she will often say, “Oh I deserve this one.”

NO. YOU MAY DESERVE TO HAVE SOMEONE TALK TO YOU SHARPLY BUT NO ONE DESERVES TO BE SCREAMED AT UNLESS THEY ARE COMMITTING ASSAULT. SCREAMING IS A SIGN THAT SOMEONE HAS LOST CONTROL AND THAT’S BULLSHIT.

She needs a therapist. I say it to her all the damn time. I phrase it as, “I lost control and I was wrong.”

She doesn’t want me to feel bad.

That’s broken and we need to fix it. I get to feel bad for my shitty actions, too.

Really lucky

Holy smokes. This pregnancy has been… so incredibly supported. My friends are stepping up in ways that shock me. One gal in particular, Rose, has delivered: a bassinet, changing table, a swing, most of the clothes we will need for the first year, bedding, a baby carrier, toweling, and maternity clothes.

I wasn’t looking for this support. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t beg. It just arrived as this beautiful gift from the universe. I have a wonderful friend who saved everything from her last kid and she wants to share.

I first met Rose in I think 2001ish. She doesn’t remember me from that period. We started talking a lot more last year. She has spare maternal energy lying around. I appreciate such folks.

Other fabulous friends have passed on more maternity clothes and supplies I’ll need before/after the birth.

It’s starting to look like the only thing I’m really going to have to buy are diapers. That’s ok. I love buying Rumparooz because they are the cutest darn thing ever. The prints! Oh they are so cute. There’s not much in this world I think is more precious than an enormous cloth diaper butt on a baby. It’s weird… but man that sight makes me choke up with joy.

WHEN DID I BECOME THIS PERSON. Err, over a decade ago.

And my Jenny is even going to be sending me super tiny diapers so I don’t need to get any for the first few weeks.

I have arrived. I am there in life. I have friends and family and support and love.

I feel so incredibly lucky. I didn’t think this would happen to me. But here I am.

Do you know what is incredible to me? When I started on the parenting journey some of the folks I loved the most told me they didn’t approve. They thought I was going to do a horrible job. In the past nine years of parenting what has happened is I started off doing ok and I’ve improved. I am way more calm. I am way more able to communicate in useful, effective ways that are appropriate for children (or for anyone, really).

I got my first real shot at learning and growing and developing in a stable environment. And I have blossomed. And my friends tell me so and can point out specific ways I’ve changed and grown and they can tell me why they are impressed with my progress.

I’m not sure I’ve changed my spots. But I have developed some interesting stripes to go along with the spots.

My children continue to be my favorite people.

I mentioned to my kids yesterday that I had mentally observed that our Disneyland trip was scheduled for when I am 35 weeks pregnant. The first thing my kid said was, “Wow mom that’s really late in the pregnancy. I think we should cancel.”

Then the other kid suggested, “Would it be possible to move it up and go earlier? It’s really not wise to go at the very end.”

My kids are so awesome and wonderful and nice to me.

So I called DVC (the Disney time share company) and explained my situation. Of course they were happy to find a way to get us in early. In fact… we are going in two weeks. The week between our anniversary and my birthday.

It’s a really good thing I hadn’t invited someone else and scheduled around their conflicts. I get to just… do what I want. That’s so much easier.

We are looking into what California missions we are going to visit on the trip. It’s 4th grade time… we need California history this year….

And we are debating between 2 and 3 days in the park leaning heavily towards 2. Because mostly we want to go rest and just be mellow together.

I love my family.

Another ultrasound

The tech was… not warm. She had crappy bedside manner. But I have pictures of Lightning. The tech inappropriately told me that she saw nothing wrong. That’s supposed to come from my doctor. But that’s fine. Likely no Down’s Syndrome.

There’s a part of me that is feeling angry about people being relieved my baby is any way. However they come out is how they are supposed to be and fuck you very much. Are there some ways of being that create more work in the world? Yes. BUT WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE AND WE CAN AFFORD THAT SHIT SO STOP ACTING LIKE PEOPLE ARE SUPERIOR BASED ON HOW ACTIVE SOME PARTS OF THEIR GENOME ARE.

I just…

It’s bothering me. Like it would be The End Of The World And The Worst Thing if my baby were born… dunh dunh dunh… abnormal.

Guess what motherfuckers. We’re abnormal.

And lots of people in my family are disabled in one way or another. I’m not real open to the perception that we should be sad about any of us existing.

Reading White Trash and looking at the genetic stuff that likely comes from poverty and trauma…

GAH.

I would not terminate a less than “perfect” child. I will embrace them and figure out how I need to grow and change to support them in their path to independence. That’s my job.

I’m in this with them until I can’t be anywhere any more.

That’s the deal.

Oh here we go

So The Guardian came out with a thing saying that if you care for the planet you should have fewer children. Enter judgmental shaming.

I’m having a third child. I still don’t know if I’m having a fourth child.

Is this a tremendously selfish choice? Absolutely. Am I contributing another body to the planet when there are already a lot of bodies? Yup.

But you know what? Not that many people in the world were genuinely wanted. I’m going to be a selfish piece of shit and bring another person or two into this world who is desperately wanted. Because I need to stand near that so that I can try to learn how to fix my fucked up brain. I’ve made a lot of progress… but I’m not done growing up.

I am teaching myself attachment with my children. It isn’t the most recommended way to heal developmental trauma but I’m doing a surprisingly good job based on the evaluations I get from a wide variety of health practitioners.

I should be dead. This still comes up.

But I’m not dead. I’m instead making progress on my mental and physical health. I continue to make progress.

My children talk frankly about how they love how much I focus on them but I’m clearly going to need more people to balance the load in a few years because they are going to want more time away from me. This is a conscious thing we work on. We support one another while giving space for someone to pull away because that’s healthy.

I think it is funny that I sometimes make progress because a therapist helps and I sometimes make progress despite a therapist being an obstacle. Both seem useful.

My shrink said something that is burning in my brain and bugging me. “You are obsessed with being unique.”

Oh bitch, please.

I have spent my life meeting people and trying desperately to find reasons that I am like them. I can usually find somewhere between 5%-50% of similarity in experience and then I say something else about myself and the person starts doing the loud, “NOT LIKE THAT. I’M NOT LIKE THAT. NO. NOTHING LIKE THAT.”

I’m not obsessed with being unique. I am resigned. I am aware. I am trying to find ways to move through the world that allow me to get hurt less while also hurting other people less and that’s complicated because I don’t have that much in common with almost anyone so finding a way to interact without mutual pain is fraught.

A fucking psychiatrist who tells me that two dozen medication trials mean that I’m just getting started and I should do two or three dozen more trials before I’m allowed to say that medication doesn’t work for me… that’s someone who is obsessed with not seeing me as unique. That’s a problem. Given that a high number of these pills make me intensely suicidal and your advice is, “Well, go to the ER”…. naw. Nope. No fucking way.

Pot works. It’s not perfect, NONE OF THESE DRUGS ARE PERFECT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, but it is less harmful than basically anything else available. The problem with pot is that it is illegal in a bunch of places. So I “should” get on a legally recognized drug. That will wreck my whole fucking life. Just so I can be legit.

But I’m unhealthily obsessed with seeing myself in context of my life?

I have some feelings here.

My shrink telling me that maybe I only need three hours of sleep so I shouldn’t use pot to help me sleep… that’s fucking bothering me. Chronic sleep deprivation is torture,. It literally makes people go insane. BUT DON’T USE POT.

I don’t think the bad thing here is my insistence that I be seen in context of my life and my experiences. We all have our own unique life experiences. Most people have life experiences that fit within a bell curve of normal. Then there’s me.

But I should stop paying attention to that so people can streamline care right the fuck over me. If I die that’s just collateral damage.

I am still alive because I god damn insist on seeing myself as unique. You bet your fucking buttons.

I don’t think everyone “should” have lots of kids because having kids is a good thing. I don’t think that adoption is bad.

I think I need to have more biological children because I have terrible problems in my brain that will only be fixed through long term exposure and work. I need to work on my family’s genetic problems and I need to find compassion for myself and the psychological and physical problems that come from being like me.

I’m not completely unique. I have children who inherit a lot of what it means to be me. And that means I need to work on what it means to be me.

I don’t think this is a journey that everyone needs to go on. I don’t think it is a journey that most highly traumatized people should engage in. I think it is what I need to do.

I think there is the distinct possibility that if I do move somewhere and get a big house… I will foster. I have always wanted to foster when my children are older and can be positive role models to the kids I’m fostering.

It isn’t that I’m opposed to helping kids who need a home. It is that I need to fix my home first or I’ll just fuck them up more than they’ve already been fucked up and that’s not fair. Not to them and not to me.

Today I see the pain doctor and the woo nutritionist. I’m going to tell her I need fewer pills. I’m gagging and choking and it makes eating a nightmare. My gag reflex goes into hyper drive during pregnancy and I’m tired of retching at the table.

Slight side note: Future Middle Child had their first solo therapy appointment. They told me they didn’t want to talk about it. They want privacy. I told them that is a jim dandy thing. I may sometimes say, “How did it go?” because I’m nosey and curious but telling me “I don’t want to talk about it” is ALWAYS ok. Telling me no when I want to know something is fine. You are allowed. You are permitted to have space where I am not.

Having children is complicated. There are consequences across many planes. Yes, I’m increasing my effective carbon footprint.

I’m also trying to learn how to feel ok. That’s really hard. I’m selfish and I’m terrible and I’m going to do what I need here.

“If you really want to have more children, just adopt. There are many children in the world who need good homes.”

That is… such a complicated statement, folks. Cross cultural adoption is complicated. Adopting older children who have major trauma is complicated.

Losing your mother is traumatic. Getting an adoptive mother is…. not the same thing as getting to be with your mother. I’m not knocking adoption. It’s wonderful. It’s important. Lots of people are effectively “saved” through adoption. But it has bad sides too.

In order to be a good adoptive parent you need to be able to put your shit aside and focus on the needs of this important person you brought into your life. They are not there to meet your needs and what is going on with them may not help you heal your ancestral trauma.

I have a lot of ancestral trauma to heal and I’ll be fucking frank that it is easier when I deal with my children. My children make me believe that I deserve to heal. That my family deserves to have better than we have always had. Not in terms of money or “things”. But in terms of love and consideration and mutual aid.

My grandmother fostered when my mother was tiny. My mom was highly damaged because her mother (my grandparent) spent a lot of time acting like the kids who were there to be fostered were special and needed special treatment but her kids needed to be slapped into silence.

My family has a lot of baggage in our bones and in our brains and in our blood. I want to see if that can be healed. I will not be able to do that through surrogate children. Only through children of my blood.

Which does not change the essential worthiness of all other children. But I’m not ready for them. It’s not them, it’s me.