Replacing…Dad?

Do your kids have lovies? Something to snuggle with when they go to sleep?

Experts say that lovies take the place-by substitution of a parent as a comfort item to make the child feel safe and secure.

My son has had the same lovey since he was about a year old. It’s a blue satin bear blanket that someone gave me before he was born. Although he is 4 1/2 years old, he needs his lovey to sleep. At bedtime, if we can’t find Mr. Lovey it’s a panic freak out until we do find it.
My daughter on the other hand has a different kind of lovey…

Dirty underwear

The dirtier, the stinker the better. She lies on the dirty clothes pile and snuggles the underwear. She rubs them on her head and coos and squeals. It’s a game and It’s kind of gross.

I wonder…if a lovey is taking the place of a parent as a comfort item-what is it with the dirty underwear?

She must be substituting her father

 

Predictable

There is one thing I can always count on.

How predictable my husband is

He thought he was being smart by proposing to me on Valentines Day, 2004. Little did he know I smelled him coming a thousand miles away (and panicked) but I married him anyway.
I’ve let him think to this day that he was real smooth and spontaneous-proposing to me at sunset on the beach on the corniest day of the year and all.

One day, he started talking about golf. I thought to myself “oh please Lord don’t let him get into this sport! This sport is for rich men only!” So I told him that too. He swore up and down that he wouldn’t get “into” it. Said he just liked watching it on tv that’s all.
Waaahla —> he goes golfing at least once a month and he wants a membership to a club.

Now he’s starting to watch that new show on Animal Planet “Tanked”. He’s talking about taking Sarcastic Boy and Sarcastic Girl to the fish store, you know “it’s for the kids” to do “something as a family” to “look at all the pretty fish”.
Do you know what’s next?
Yup, he’s going to want another fish tank.
Not just any fish tank I suppose. But a big fat one with the big fat expensive fish.

Ugh

The Loss of Innocence

I am a firm believer in all things gender neutral. Although I was never able to go on to grad school-it was my intention to neuropsych test the basis of gender differences. It is my hypothesis that there is very little difference between the genders. It is my opinion that the gender stereotypes we do see are largely that-socially implicated stereotypes of what a “boy” and “girl” are.

I have attempted to raise my children in an environment that is gender neutral. For my son’s first birthday I bought him a doll. For my daughters first Easter I bought her cars.

My 4 1/2 year old son’s favorite color has been pink for as long as he could express it.

Today, during preschool he played with moonsand and filled out an “about me” piece of paper.
Sarcastic Boy: “Today we played with moonsand. It was fun”
Me: “What is moonsand?”
Sarcastic Boy: “I’ll show you when we get out (of the car). It’s on my shoes”

On the “about me” sheet were questions like: Whats your favorite food? (Mac and cheese) What makes you special? (my Daddy loves me) Where do you want to visit? (Disneyland)
The question I zero’d in on was: What is your favorite color? Blue

Immediately I felt a loss and a longing for my baby boy back.

It seems to me there has been a loss of innocense in Sarcastic boy. It seems he has been influenced by peers and social pressure. I panicked and saw the immediate horizon where pink is for girls and blue is for boys, that trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls. That all the social gender stereotypes would begrudgingly be forced upon my son’s shoulders. He couldn’t like pink, he couldn’t like to play with his doll, he couldn’t like to paint or bake or twirl around with ribbons. He had to like blue, he had to like trucks.

I felt as though that all my hard work and effort these last 4 1/2 years to raise him to be gender friendly was all for nothing.
I felt hatred for the school system and for what Sarcastic Boy will be forced to become.

When we got home, I gently probed him for more information. I asked him what his favorite color was-and when he replied “blue” I asked him what about the color pink?
Without hesitation, Sarcastic Boy announced that he likes all the colors, blue and pink and purple and green.

Ahh, perhaps I am doing something right.

Depression, it’s what’s for dinner.

Oh, hello. I'm depression. You were probably expecting me. (Sandra Ranja Illustration)

Depression
Psychologists consider Depression as the “common cold” of psychological disorders. I’ve never met a person that didn’t have some form of it. From just a little sadness, to full-blown.

I know I have it

I’ve never been medically diagnosed or treated for it, but if you know you have a hairy toe-you don’t need a doctor diagnosing you for it. A hairy toe…is well, a hairy toe.

What’s my depression like? I have days where the dishes remain unwashed, the phone remains unanswered, the floors remain sticky and the kids remain neglected. I feel tired, not just a sleepy tired but a tired to the bones-where it’s hard to even walk, or go to the bathroom. I kind of zone out, I can’t really hear anything or even think really. I’m unresponsive and I push everyone away.

I’ve managed to find ways to overcome my depression. Having something fun to look forward to helps me get through the days that I’d rather just sleep through.
The more depressed I am. The more daytrips, the more plans, the more projects I make and take-on.
I bet, that if I were to create a diagram with my level of depression and the daytrips that I have been on, they’d be completely correlated.

I was in the shower tonight and I was thinking about all of the places and things we did in the month of August. It was kind of staggering.  I was upset about letting my son go, releasing him from my protective wing and entering him in Pre-K. Letting someone else watch and teach him was a difficult thing to accept. So, therefore we went and did and went and created and went and played and went and went and went.

I am perfectly aware of my depression, even when I’m experiencing a bad episode of it. It’s almost like I can see myself from the outside. Messy, unresponsive, grumpy and disheveled. My son, knows instinctively that days like that, are a freaking-free-for-all. Bouncing on the furniture and watching movie after movie after movie.  (Now, before you call child protective services on me. I’m always aware of my depression and I work through it. The kids still get fed and taken care of).
But daytripping and planning things gets me through it. It keeps us out of the house and it keeps me happy.

I’ve never talked about this to anyone before. I don’t want to be judged, I don’t want to hear that I’m crazy or ungrateful.
I’m perfectly aware that my life is pretty fantastic and that I “shouldn’t” be unhappy, that I “shouldn’t” be depressed, that I “shouldn’t” “need” to “do” things.
But you know, it’s not something I can help. It’s not something I’ve chosen. It’s just something that happens to me and I have no control over it.

The reason I have shared this, even if it means very little to you-is that maybe this will mean something to someone. Maybe someone who does know me in real life, but perhaps didn’t know that I have bad days with greasy hair and sticky floors will feel better about themselves. Knowing that everyone has bad days, even people with seemingly good lives-means that we’re all the same and that we’re all going through the same crap.

It means that we’re not alone.

Extortion

I’m experiencing extortion of the dirtiest kind…extortion involving my kid.
Last night was back to school night at my son’s Pre-K. We’re sending him to a local Christian Preschool. We walked around his classroom, checked out his cubby, the toys, the curriculum and then we went to his file. Inside the file were a bunch of papers, newsletters and order forms. It wasn’t until tonight, when I had 5 seconds to sit down and read through the spam that I noticed a blue sheet of paper.
This nice little blue sheet doesn’t come out and explain what the program is that it is advertising but after reading it twice I figured it out.

It’s a blue sheet full of extortion.

This private Christian Preschool is expensive. Maybe not South Orange County expensive, but expensive for where we live. This blue sheet is a sign up for a monthly donation program for gifts to the “aides and multitude of staff entrusted with our children for an entire school year”.
They want me to sign up for a monthly program that automatically donates money to the teachers and staff.
Not only that, this blue sheet full of extortion also states “that each staff member has filled out a gift registry form that tells us their personal tastes”. These “personal tastes” are kept in a binder in the office for everyone to view throughout the year. This binder is not only for the program that the blue sheet of extortion is advertising, it’s also for Christmas and Staff Appreciation week in may (which they specifically note is a national recognized holiday) and year end.

This blue sheet of extortion is making it VERY CLEAR THAT THESE STAFF MEMBERS EXPECT FREE SHIT.

Does this piss you off? Well, as you can tell. It makes me very,very angry.
I don’t like being told what to do. I don’t like being forced to give when it’s not from my heart. That is exactly what this school is doing. They are expecting me to give and I don’t like it.
I am going to refuse this blue sheet of extortion. I am going to hope that a “staff member” asks me about our subscription to their monthly extortion program cause I’m gonna give it to them straight It’s my natural instinct to dig my heels in and put up a fight. I don’t like confrontation but I do stand up for my integrity and what is right.
Here’s my dilemma…
What are they going to do to my kid? Is he going to be known as “the kid with the stingy mom”? Is he going to be looked at and treated different?

Do you see why this is extortion?

This will be his first time going to school, it’s something that I’ve been dreading since the day he was born. Saying that I’m having a hard time letting go in an understatement. But I am ready to let go. I know that I need to. It would be easy to home school him. I could do it, I’m smart enough, educated enough and creative enough to do it. But I don’t want to, he deserves more, he deserves to be independent and not under my wing all the time.
I’ve trusted this school with my baby and this is what they’re going to do? Extort me for money because I don’t want him to be looked at differently? I don’t want him to be known as anything other than a really awesome kid?

What am I supposed to do?