Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vindication

I talked to Mommy tonight.
Cinderella promised she would set the record straight with her Mom regarding this recent discovery. A discovery that reiterated the need for therapeutic intervention for Cinderella who continues to be barraged and influenced and confused by Maleficent's trash-talk. Her diarrhea of the mouth creates a struggle of conflicting emotions within Cinderella. Deep down she knows her mother is wrong. But on the surface she wants so desperately to keep her on that HERO pedestal to which our kids raise us.
A Bioparent's hold over our children is strong. We should use our superpowers for good and not evil.
It'd be too easy for me to condition Hansel to despise Maleficent. TOO EASY.
She's already done most of the work for me.
(Instead I do everything in my power to prevent that. I'd even go so far as threaten punishment if I should ever hear Hansel utter the words "I don't like Maleficent" again because YES he did say that and YES I agreed with him COM-PLETE-LY but I do not want my son feeling - let alone EXPRESSING - that sentiment about his Sister's mother.)
My feelings towards Maleficent are MINE. Not Hansel's.
Maleficent's feelings towards me should not be forced upon Cinderella.
Cinderella struggles to retain her own emotional independence and to speak up for herself.
But it's hard. Mommy told me I should never question her.
We've been trying to help her find the courage.
This night was a huge step for her.
I haven't talked to Mommy before tonight because I didn't want to do it over the phone. I wanted to be face-to-face so I could really explain things to her and know that she heard me.
I told her that I didn't tell her the entire truth about the time I thought you called me the "B" word. And about when I told her that you guys yell at me for no reason.
And I asked her to stop speaking bad about you because it hurts my feelings and I know it hurts your feelings to.
The things she said and how she said them caught me by complete surprise. Not only did she stand up for herself, but she also stood up for ME.
"Wow, Babe. Thank You."
Wow, indeed.
Like I said. HUGE step.

Birthday Bake-a-thon

I've said it before and I'll say it again, July is the month I love to hate.
Hansel. Prince Charming. Cinderella.
All born in July.
The 15th. The 25th. The 26th.
Each one gets their own cake. On their own day.
(Yeah, I know!)
This year, Hansel wanted a Ghost Rider cake.
(What the hell?)
"Wouldn't you rather have a Pirates of the Caribbean cake?"
Noo-oo, Mommy. I want a Ghost Rider cake!
Feeling uninspired, I took the easy way out. I bought mini-action figures from the movie and decided to recreate an alleged cemetery battle scene on a 9x13 cake. Sprinkled Oreo cookie crumbs to resemble dirt. Printed out black and white photos of tombstones and glued them onto toothpicks.
Viola. Instant cemetary.


Think he liked it?


Cinderella wanted a garden theme cake.
Lucky for me, I just bought this pan and was able to whip up these little beauties in no time.


I add a little green food coloring to coconut to use as "grass" for the bugs.
It was much easier to pipe on the frosting accents than to frost each cakelet.


Each guest got their own cakelet. No cutting. No one fighting over who had the bigger piece.
Each one a perfect serving-size.


Until next year...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Don't Tell Her Father



I can't help myself.
It's a sickness, or some warped Mommy-fetish, I know.
You're right. You're right. I know you're right.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just Say Hello (REDUX)

I left my camp shirt at Mommy's. I need it for our field trip this Friday.
My first reaction was to tell her that she wouldn't be able to go on the trip then.
Her Father and I have been telling both kids that they need to be more responsible with their camp things.
A forgotten water bottle. Lost Tae Kwon Do uniforms. Towels left in the van. Forgetting to tell us when they need to bring something in.
Maybe missing out on a field trip will drive the message home.
I quickly realized my reaction was not about teaching anyone a lesson in responsibility. It was out of my dread and not wanting to pick up the phone and call Maleficent to ask for the t-shirt.
This is ridiculous!
Is this what I have been reduced to?
Then I remembered this resolution.
Nuh-uh. No way, lady. I'm not going to let your refusal to communicate bring me down to that same level of childishness.
I choose to be the Adult.
It's an effing t-shirt for chrissakes. It was left at your apartment and the kid needs it for camp.
End. Of. Story.
I need it back so I can wash it (because I know you are not going to do it for me or Cinderella).
I call her cell phone. It goes directly to voice mail (as it has been doing since this).
I'm Polite. I'm Respectful. I let her know that she can leave the shirt in the mailbox if she'd rather not come to the door. Or even drop it off to Cinderella at camp Friday morning to avoid coming here altogether. Whatever she is more comfortable with. (Why I am so placating is beyond me sometimes.)
Either way, I ask that she call me back, or email Prince Charming just so I know.
She does neither. Instead she chooses to relay the message through Cinderella.
During their nightly phone call last night, Maleficent tells Her that the t-shirt will be dropped off around 8/8:30pm tonight. Cinderella relays the message to me.
Oh, and Mommy's washing machine is broken.
(Shocker!)
An hour later the phone rings again. I check voice mail. It's Maleficent asking for Cinderella to call her.
When Cinderella gets off the phone she tells me that now Maleficent says she will drop off the t-shirt at 6:30pm tonight.
I guess I should be happy to have the extra time to do the laundry.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Promised I Would Stop After She Turned 1 Yr.

But ... seriously ... how could I NOT post yet another preshus baby butt picture?

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Early Bird Catches... A Lot.

I'm early.
She is already there (no big surprise there) speaking with the Camp Instructor.
The Instructor upon seeing me immediately leaves her company to greet me at the door.
Hi! Your kids aren't here. Their vans haven't returned yet.
I'm standing in the entryway holding the door open. Gretel is still in the car so I want to stay close.
Over his shoulder I see Her. I try to catch her eye so I can give her a friendly nod of hello but she refuses to make eye contact as the Instructor rambles on about how he took a short cut and of the lack of faith displayed by the other drivers who refused to take his lead and are now stuck in traffic. Harhar.
Maleficent paces the floor. Fidgets. Looks around everywhere but in my direction. The vending machine. The dry erase board. The wall. The floor.
I've seen this body language before. She is anxious. Nervous.
But about what?
About being caught trying to pick up Cinderella early?
Over the Instructor's choice of the phrase "your kids" when he addressed me?
Or is she still experiencing residual hard-feelings from this misunderstanding (which Cinderella said she cleared up).
More parents arrive. I hold the door open to let them in. I'm still trying to break from the Instructor's gab-hold so I can return to Gretel.
Something's caught the Instructor's eye. An unfamiliar face. He watches as this Stranger, who is nervously looking over his shoulder, is clearly feeling out-of-place, proceeds further into the dojang.
Can I help you, sir?
Oh, he's with me.
Maleficent lays claim to this Stranger.
I've only seen Him from a distance. And only through her car windows whenever he has accompanied her to pick up Cinderella.
It's her Boxing Coach, turned something more. "Mommy's friend," as Cinderella calls him.
Her new hobby Man.
I shall call him ... Diablo.
Diablo joins Maleficent's side. He gently leads her to the farthest wall opposite the doorway where I am standing. Their backs are to me and the door. They are quietly speaking.
He appears to be comforting her. Their heads are hung close together. His hand strokes her back.
It's not until I return to my car, having broken free from the Instructor, and upon seeing Maleficent and Diablo making a hurried exit to her car, that it occurs to me Diablo was there because of Me.
Did he think Maleficent was in some sort of peril being left in the dojang alone with me?
Did I make her feel trapped by the fact that I was standing in the doorway?
MUWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!
(Oh, puhlease. She's a grown woman. Say excuse me and walk out the door forfucksake!)
Does my presence cause that much anxiety?
What did He think was happening?

I am both offended and empowered.
Offended that He would think She needed rescuing.
Empowered to think that I actually have that kind of affect on her.
And at the same time... I am bothered that I have given this much thought to it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eight Random Things About Me

Thanks to Susan Reynolds for popping my Meme cherry! I hope I don't disappoint.

1. When I was 16, I ran away from home and slept in the elevator closet on the roof of an apartment building. I ran away not because I hated my Mother, but because my best friend hated her Mother and I just couldn't leave her alone.

2. I love sweet gherkin pickles with Jif peanut butter - dipped in or sliced on a sandwich.

3. I used to be a Trekker" (not to be confused with a "Trekkie" thankyouverymuch) complete with the role playing uniform, was a crew member on a ship and attended quite a few Star Trek conventions AND! snagged a Majel Barrett autograph.
(Yeah, I know. I say "Trekker." You say "dork." Whatever. The uniform was kewl.)

4. I was once involved in a car chase. I was the driver. And the one being chased.

5. When I was a little girl, I thought the sky was a giant semi-circular dome that encased the Earth; the Moon followed me and ONLY me; and more than once during a vacay cross-country found myself wondering 'who was the highway line leader?'

6. I'm a sexual abuse survivor-in-progress.

7. My great-great-grandfather was born in Cty Cork Ireland, immigrated to the US in the 1800s, lied about his age so he could join the army and went on to fight in 17 Civil War battles.

8. I always challenge myself to identify and name the celebrity doing the voice-over in commercials (and I always win!).

Tag! You're it: BlondeByDesign, Dayngr, KarrieLyne, Canape, BrendaJos, Maternal Mirth, Kat, Golden Calf & Cathleen Rittereiser.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Build Me A Woman

I need a wife.
I'm a reluctant SAHM/domestic goddess.
I got the Mom part down ... mostly.
(Ok. Yeah there was that one time when PC got a last minute invite to a fancy-pants-black-tie-celebrity-red-carpet-paparazzi-gala and I spent the entire day running around trying to make it so I could also attend. Dress? Went shopping in a friends' closet and found the perfect black cocktail dress. WooHoo! Shoes? Got em! Hair & Makeup? Perfect up-do and smokey eyes compliments of teh interweb. Accessories? Another friend. Winna! I am hooked up baby! NYC here I come! Then.... hold up.
What?
Kids? What kids? CRAP!! We have kids! KIDS WHO NEED SOMEONE TO WATCH THEM!!!!!! OMMYGOD WHO IS AROUND AT 2PM TO WATCH OUR KIDS?!?!?!
Fantasy Over. Real Life steps in.
Dress: returned. Shoes: re-shelved. PC went. I stayed home. Boo. Hoo.)
Yeah, so I kinda got the Mom thing down. I did remember them, eventually.
But the domestic goddess stuff? Not so much.
Cooking? Sure. I can handle that.
As long as the victims are willing. Cinderella's been turned, but we're still working on Hansel who won't eat anything but melted cheese sandwiches, pasta or chicken nuggets.
Oh yeah, and ketchup. On any of the above.
Or by itself.
Baking? Yeah. I got it covered.
Laundry. Tolerable.
Now that I've adopted a new method whereby hampers have been BANISHED! and dirty clothes get placed in a laundry bag every night. The theory being that said laundry would then be thrown into the washer and drier that night and folded the next day.
What? I said it was a t-h-e-o-r-y.
(Geez... you and your semantics. First with the parenting and now with the clothes!)
But Cleaning? Nope. Not my forte.
I hate it.
HATE.
IT.
I'd rather give up my beloved grocery home-delivery and actually go TO the grocery store with BOTH Hansel (now 5) & Gretel (20 mos) than to clean my house.
Fuck. Today I even bought one of those automatic litter boxes just so I could not have to scoop cat crap.
My idea of cleaning the bathroom includes a monthly spray down of the mold with bleach, close the door and walk away.
Beds? Why make them when we are just going to sleep in them again tonight. Besides our bedroom door is closed to keep the cats out so I don't have to actually see our unmade bed until night time when I am too tired to give a shit and actually appreciate the added convenience of not having to fold down the sheets just to get in.
Cinderella and Hansel's room is upstairs, and is the only room upstairs so I don't have to go up there. Beds? There are beds up there?
See what I mean?
Out of sight. Out of mind.
It's an all-around win-win.
Dusting? Nah. Too many toys around to cover it up. What dust?
However...
My horoscope for today read:
Capricorn: There's just one primary thing to keep in mind today -- work hard to have fun!
Really?
Crap.

Never one to argue with the stars, off into domestic goddess Hell I go.
Crap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kandahar: Summer of Love

This is Danny.

Danny is a soldier. A Sergeant Major in the Army and part of a Team of nineteen men currently stationed in Afghanistan fighting the War on Terror. Their mission is to train the Afghan Army on ways to fight the Taliband.
Danny and his men are in need of some TLC.
They have been adopted by myself and some fellow Twitter-folk thanks to an initiative started by this woman. Who asked this man on his recent trip with the Secretary of Defense to find a soldier in need of TLC. He brought Danny to us.
A call to help was broadcast.
Those of us who answered the call have committed to sending a little bit of home, a little bit of love, and a whole lotta support to this brave group of men.
So far, I have sent two boxes of food items to Danny & His Team. Some specifically requested by them - Crunch 'N Munch, Hot Peanuts and Trail Mix.
And some suggested by a fellow Twitter-er and Army Reservist. Crystal Lite to be exact. 80 individual packets to help flavor their not so flavorful water and keep them hydrated 'cuz they tell me it's hot over there.
(BTW - Did you know that only a few bags of trail mix can push a box's weight almost to its 10lb limit?!?)


The kids are getting involved too. Cinderella & Hansel's camp is currently working on individual art projects and letters/penpal requests for each of the nineteen soldiers.
My next care package will be some cake/cupcake creation because that's - what - I - do.
If you'd like to get involved with helping Danny or other service men and woman check out this site and this one to get you started.
It can be as simple as an email, or a postcard or letter.
Or as ambitious as this awesomely incredible Twitter Knitter. (Yeah, she's one of the ones who convinced me to take up the habit craft.)
Do it for them. Do it for me. Do it for your Country.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Five Things Five Years

Year 1.
When your Grandma (Lulu!) dubbed you "Aflack" because of your big feet
.


Year 2.

Your first snowfall.


Year 3.
While now a "Big Boy" still being young enough to allow me to dress you in outfits like this.



Year 4.
Those fleeting glimpses of the man you will become.


Year 5.
Watching as you bravely took on new challenges...



... and succeed. (My you can be a smug little SOB!)



Keep a weather eye on that Horizon, Little Man. And remember wherever the current may take you, I will always be your anchor and your true North.


Happy 5th Birthday, Doodlebug.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Overheard At Our House This Evening...

Me: "Hansel, do your friends at camp know your birthday is this weekend?"

Hansel: "Yeah! Everybody in the WHOLE WORLD knows!!!!"

[Pause]

Hansel: "Except, China."

Oh, LOOK! A Baby!


November 14, 2005. She was 10 hours old.
But what's more noteworthy about this photo is Her placement in relation to the final word of her Dad's t-shirt.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Always Be Prepared

I should have been a Boy Scout.
Then I would have been prepared.
Prepared for the recent revelation that Cinderella has been speaking poorly about Prince Charming and I to her friends.
And Maleficent.
I know. I shouldn't be surprised.
I am sure I said unkind things about my Mom when I was younger.
But I wasn't prepared for it to be happening so soon with Cinderella.
She is not quite 11.
***
We had a recent exchange in which I called her behavior "bitchy."
(Well, she was!)
In her mind, I called her a bitch.
She told her Mother. And her best friend.
"Well... she's the bitch." Her friend responded.
And then proceeded to tell the entire bus of 5th graders of Cinderella's tale of woe at the hands of her Wicked Stepmom.
It's normal. I know. Kids complain about their parents all. the. time.
Tell half-truths. Leave out important details so they can remain the victim.
Still. It hurt.
Stepparents are easy targets.
We set ourselves up. Leave ourselves open and vulnerable.
Prince Charming came to my defense (somewhat).
Yet, he is the first to jump all over me when it comes to Her.
And still. I can't help but wonder if Cinderella's complaints are justified or a product of the Stepparent phenomona or Maleficent's verbal diarrhea.
Or all of the above.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Wonder...

What does it say about you when your friends and family say that they have to read your blog and/or Twitter to find out what's going on in your life?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Twitter Made Me Do It

Too many people on my Twitter friend's list are knitters.
All of the talk of knitting and yarns and blocking and pictures like this have piqued my interest.
So that's it. I'm going over the darkside.



My first project will be the baby bib featured here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

In Your Face

I recently joined FaceBook.
(And Wink. And Pownce. And Jaiku. And Twitku.)
(Seriously, I don't know what I am doing on all of these social networks. I'm really not that sociable.)
While nosing around FaceBook I decided I would join some groups.
Figured I would start by looking for some Stepmom & Stepparenting groups.
I was amazed when I saw Anti-Stepmom groups, started mostly by teenage girls.

"My stepmom yells at me for no reason."


"My Stepmom is a whore."

"Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Snow White was poisioned by her stepmom! Cinderella got locked in a broom closet! What's Great about Cinderella and Snow White is that they escaped and one day you will to!"

I was offended! I wanted to join these groups right away and set these girls straight.
But then I found myself wondering: Are these opinions based on fact?
Are these Stepmoms actually treating their Stepkids unfairly?
Do these girls' Stepmoms yell more than their Biomoms do/would?
Have they embraced their wickedness a little too much?
Or are they mere misinterpretations influenced by the negative stereotypes of Stepmoms?
Are these girls just being less forgiving b/c of the lack of a biological connection with their Stepmoms?
Does the lack of biological connection cause an absence of unconditional love?
The answer is probably yes to all of it. And to so much more.
I left these groups alone. These girls don't need me, a Stepmom, telling them shit about their lives or their Stepmoms.
Instead I've turned my focus inward. Towards the Mom in my Mirror.
I've been examinig my relationship with Cinderella.
I wonder, what will she post about me on her MySpace or FaceBook page?
Will it be anything different?
And, more importantly, will it be the truth?