things (part 2)

My child is a biter.

You know that list of despicable human qualities that you carry around in your head? The one that helps you decide if the person standing in line behind you is worthy of a smile and possibly bumping ahead of you because he's only got two things and you've got a whole basket full of chocolate covered shame that he hopefully won't notice because he will be so surprised and thankful that you allowed waved him ahead or very much NOT despite his impatiently tapping too-shiny, too tappy, too self-important tappy shiny shoes, you may just stand there Mr. Impatient Tap-n-Shine, and consider for a moment if you are really as important as you seem to think you are because I do not, no sir, I DO NOT... that list? Yeah. "Biter" ranks number 2 on mine. Which is hilarious because Haha! Universe, I have a Biter! And, Hoho! He's almost 4! And, Heehee! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT! Isn't that a riot? *snorts, wipes tears from eyes*

I have spoken to him sternly. "Teeth are for food and blankie." "Teeth hurt! I don't like to be hurt!" "You are not allowed to hurt other people." "Use your words! I don't understand teeth - I understand words!"

I have reacted loudly, strongly. "OUCH! THAT HURTS ME!" Pulled arm/leg/hand away quickly, allowing those gnashing chompers to come in contact with whatever else they might, hopefully something hard and immediately painful; left the room/vicinity immediately, even locking him in his bedroom so that maybe just maybe he will begin to associate BITING=ISOLATION; smacked him (don't judge. Those effers HURT.); maneuvered his hands/arms/whatever so that HE is on the receiving end.

I have tried reason. "When you choose to hurt me, I choose to defend myself. I don't like to be around you when you hurt me. When you hurt me, I am going to leave the room." "Do you remember how much it hurt when [neighbor's MUCH younger, TEETHING (and therefore COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE) child] bit you? That really hurt, didn't it? That's how it feels when you bite me. Can you understand why I don't like it when you try to bite me?"

And on Friday? On Friday I decided to summon every ounce of my inner Zen and let him get it out of his system. I was loading him into the car. He did not want to be loaded. He chose to indicate this by launching his teeth at me. I chose to respond by letting him bite me. There we stood: car door flung wide open, my right arm pinning his body into his carseat, his mouth firmly clamped onto my left forearm. Stalemate.

"You're LETTING him bite you?"

I'm pretty sure that what Josh really wanted to say was more along the lines of WHAT THE F-CK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I'm equally confident that my response of "If you don't run, you can't be chased" made exactly zero sense to him. But that's what we tell the kids on the playground: You give something, SOMEONE, power by your reaction. If you choose not to react, you take away all the power. And that, my friends, is what this all boils down to -- classic power struggle, redefined to include teeth.

At that very moment, my thinking was along the lines of "Go ahead and bite me, you little sh*t. Bite me with all your might. I will not flinch. I will not struggle. I will not step away. And when your little jaw has grown tired, your rage subdued, I will calmly finish securing your seatbelt so that we may safely journey home and I will think of all the reasons that they should bring back the practice of beating small children." I just hope this m-effer on my arm bruises up nicely so that I can take a picture of it for his 3 year memory book.

On a positive note: I decided to follow through with my spiel of "I choose not to be around people who choose to hurt me" and pretty much ignored "distanced myself" from him for the rest of the night. At one point during the car ride home I poured the little bit of water from his dinner cup into my water bottle (much to his dismay... I truly didn't start doing it to piss him off. No, pissing him off was just a happy, unexpected side effect of being thirsty coupled with my neurotic need to only drink from my own drinking vessel) to which he then announced "Now Mommy and I are both sad. Mommy is sad because I bited her and hurted her and I am sad because she took my water." I didn't apologize. I didn't try to soften it, didn't try to explain to him how that even though I was sad about his behavior, I still loved him very much. Didn't console him, didn't make it okay. Didn't give HIM the chance to make it okay. Mean, mean, mean.

I also skipped out on the bedtime routine (which K-I-L-L-E-D me. I almost broke 3 times in the 15 minutes it took Josh to put him to bed), which seemed to have an additional lasting effect on him: He came into our room Saturday morning to ask me "Mommy, how do you feel? Are you still sad?" Also? Has not so much as chewed with his mouth open in my direction. So while I'm (twice) shy of feeling like we can put that one in the "lesson learned" column, dinnertime is aesthetically more enjoyable. So there's that.

W(TF)WJ(or Dr. Sears)(or Freud)(or you)(or your mother)D in this situation?



Part 1 in a multi-part series because I can't stand looking at all the unfinished drafts anymore.
Let the Hodgepodge begin!

We finally made the decision to euthanize Annabelle. I keep telling myself it came down to a matter of choosing Quality of life over Quantity of days. I keep questioning exactly whose quality of life was really declining, but that's a guilt trip to take on another post. After two years of a rigid diet, insulin shots twice daily, so many vet visits (between trying to regulate the insulin levels and the sporadic flare ups of her EG condition) that we lost count, and the scoopage OH.MY.GAWD. THE.SCOOPAGE -- twice, sometimes thrice, even four(frice?) times per day. Are litter boxes even made to withstand that much scooping?--, well, even the vet suggested that we had probably made all the progress we were ever going to make. Making her comfortable would have involved anesthetizing her to extract 8 of her teeth (due to severe gingivitus due to poorly controlled diabetes and poor oral hygene because, hello? Have you ever tried to brush a cat's teeth? Nevermind the whole "what do you mean it's not appropriate to lick the floor or the other cat's ass" mindset.) which

  1. possibly/probably wound up in the kitty disposal options conversation anyways given that "General anesthesia can be hard on the liver and kidneys..." and, whoopsie! Diabetic cat! Liver and kidneys not working so well already!
  2. wasn't likely to improve her quality of life much since the 8 teeth being extracted would just be the first round and call me cold hearted, but kitty dentures?
  3. would have set us back another $800, TO START, depending on which of the other two options came about, and
  4. would have started another fabulous session of "Choose the Antibiotic Least Likely to 1)Eff With the Rest of the Medical Protocol That This Cat is Already On, 2)Induce Seizures Because of It's Delivery Method to a Cat Prone to Stress Induced Seizures, or 3) Kill a Cat Who is Apparently Allergic to Air When it Kills Off All the Infectious Bits Floating Around, One of Which Just Happens to be the Only Thing Keeping Said Cat's Immune System From Collapsing in A Mass of Useless Goo on the Carpet" TM
So yeah. RIP, Annabelle. We shared 10 years with you (4 or 5 of them mostly good), the equivalent of a small country's GDP in vet bills, and became thoroughly conversant on a number of feline related issues that we never imagined existed when we picked up your "Free To A Good Home" little furry self from that rickety old trailer out behind the hills where Christ lost His shoes. Perhaps we should have been suspicious when the door of the trailer slammed milliseconds after your mewling little body was thrust into our "just looking" hands.
PS. Sorry for the shitty picture. I had good intentions of finding something cute and cuddly from your younger years and will do exactly that when I can figure out where the "path to the network drive" disappeared to. What exactly do I look for? Breadcrumbs? Yellow bricks? Kitty litter?


gigantic: block party edition

When Amy took on the task of Theme Thursday several months back, I thought "Ah! The perfect opportunity to reintroduce myself to my camera on a regular basis!" and promptly forgot that I was going to join in all the fun. Week after week I've watched the themes go up, followed by an amazing array of photographic interpretations and personal recriminations for yet again not getting my act together in time to participate. This week, I am breaking free of that rut. True, my entry is late (I sort of forgot the posting portion until I began seeing all the other pics go up), but I am pleased that I

  1. found my camera in time
  2. remembered to take it along with me
  3. remembered to actually USE it, and
  4. uploaded my shots well in advance an hour or two ago.
Here's what I came up with for this week's theme: Gigantic.

Last Saturday was our second annual neighborhood block party. You might remember the fiasco de las habas (yeah, I thought it should be "los frijoles", too, but Babelfish insists that "habas" are "beans" while "frijoles" are "kidney beans" and believe it or not, my high school Spanish did extend to the subtleties of bean nomenclature and therefore left me in no position to dispute the great and mighty Babelfish). This year we brought (store-bought) brownies and (store-bought) tortilla chips and (store-bought) salsa to share with the swarm of local teenagers our neighbors. Surprisingly, though, the hit of the day wasn't the food table.

Not when the whole street looked like this

and you had to walk past this

and this

and this

to get to the food which was stationed right beside this.

As you can imagine, the fun was off the hook,

as were the crocodile tears when it was time to go home for a nap.

Visit Amy at The Cheese Party to see all the other Gigantic posts and don't forget to check back in to see what she will challenge us with next week! (And by "us" I mean "those of you who don't forget that you're committed to doing this and don't have my track record of whiplash inducing start-n-stops".)


dear automotive shop front desk lady,

Perhaps it is the term "Stay-At-Home-Mom" that is throwing you off. So let me clarify this for you: I do NOT, in fact, simply stay at home all day. A good bit of my time is spent at home and, yes, I do tend to be responsible for the more traditional tasks often associated with motherhood -- laundry, cooking, cleaning. But my responsibilities, my job description, if you will, entails far more than simply staying at home all day everyday would allow for. And, given the location of our residence, those responsibilities require extended mobility. Extended mobility such as you might expect public transportation or a car to provide. And, since reliable public transportation is a completely foreign concept around here, we've chosen to rely on what so many others around us rely on: the family car. Which is why we've put over 45,000 miles on it, more than half of those in the last two years since we moved here. You will have to forgive my frustration, then when you blithely suggest that I might be without said reliable means of transportation for an undefined period of time.

Imagine for a moment what it would mean to your life to be confined to your home and the few places within walking distance from your home. Imagine, now, how you might feel if you were told that the term of your confinement could range from "as little as a couple of hours to as long as a week, or possibly more, I can't make any promises as we don't know what we are looking at." Further imagine that this confinement comes not as a result of any action on your part, but rather is because of action on the part of those now restricting your movements. Finally, add to that confinement the inexhaustible energy levels of a 3-year-old boy who could no more wrap his mind around the idea that the avenues that used to provide outlet for said energy are no longer viable than you could shove a lightbulb up your ass, pull it out your nose, twist it in your ear and light it up by humming the first three bars of Dixie.

Do you begin to see how this might be an inconvenience?