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    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Paying for a Weekend Away

    Captain ADHD aka Monkey aka yes-my-kids-have-real-names had a meltdown this morning. Somehow 7:50 AM snuck up on him. He’d finished breakfast and was watching Fairly Odd Parents when I told him we needed to think about getting dressed. Yes, that is how I phrased it. We have a system.

    7:50: “It’s time to think about getting dressed.”

    7:55: “You’ll need to get dressed soon.”

    8:00: “Go brush your teeth and get dressed.”

    8:05: “We’re running out of time. Go get dressed.”

    You may think this is nagging or that not making him go immediately is a poor parenting tactic. But this is how we handle pretty much everything in Monkey’s life. The reason? ADHD. Monkey needs to know what’s coming and be reminded of it several times in order to process the change in his activity. In many cases it’s not about obedience. It’s about easing through the most difficult parts of his day—transition times.

    But this morning, the reminders didn’t help. He lost it. He told me, “I didn’t have enough time. How can it be 8:00 already? I didn’t get enough time.”

    Guilt washed over me as I cuddled him, trying to lay out the day and our week in reassuring, positive tones.

    This breakdown was my fault. I’d been gone all day every day from Thursday to Sunday. I attended a fabulous writer’s conference here in town then on Sunday after a half day at the conference, I drove up to Denver to join Mom at the Englewood Library’s annual Meet the Faces author event.

    Kory was awesome while I was gone. I am blessed beyond the stars to have a husband who supports my writing. But it’s hard on my family.

    This weekend an important homework project was overlooked. The laundry staged a coup. Chunky had no clean underwear last night, and Monkey didn’t have shorts to wear today. And this morning my son suffered because our routine was off. He didn’t get enough time. With me.

    I drowned in the weight of the moment.

    Moms out there, I know you’ve felt the same way. I know you’ve asked, “How can I take time for myself when my family pays the price? How can I be that selfish?”

    Hear me on this.

    Being a mom is wonderful and important, but you are more than a mom. You are a woman with talents, abilities, and interests, and it is not wrong to develop those. It’s not selfish to pursue the God-given desires of your heart.

    Selfish is spending your family’s food money on alcohol.

    Selfish is neglecting your kids because you’re too strung out to care.

    Selfish is running down another mom because she works outside the home. Or doesn’t. Sends her kids to a certain kind of school. Or doesn’t. Goes to the gym. Or doesn’t.

    Yes, we might’ve been ahead instead of behind on the homework project if I’d been home this weekend.

    Yes, Chunky would’ve had clean undies, and Monkey would’ve had the shorts he wanted to wear if I’d been home this weekend.

    And, yes, Monkey probably wouldn’t have had a meltdown this morning if I’d been home this weekend.

    I wouldn’t have sat with him on his bed as he panicked about all the unknowns of his week. I wouldn’t have told him that when we go through something un-fun, like a test, we can remind ourselves of the good things coming—a family outing this weekend. When one more day of school feels like eternity, we still know that summer is around the corner. When we’re miserable we tell ourselves, “It’s not always going to be this way.”

    My little boy needs to learn that lesson. He’ll need to hear it over and over again. Because I was gone this weekend, he heard it this morning. That’s one down. 99? 1,000? Who knows how many to go?

    photo by flickr contributor Earls37a

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Random Utterances from the Bathroom

    My youngest, Chunky, is chatty. He wakes up every morning stuffed-to-overflowing with words. He requires the entire day, and countless pairs of listening ears, to empty his language load.

    It starts the moment he crawls into our bed in the morning, continues through breakfast, car rides, school, errands, homework, dinner, bedtime routine, reading time, prayers, and goodnight kisses.

    And he doesn’t see any reason to stop talking just because he happens to be on the toilet.

    This behavior is normal and even cute for toddlers. But--trust me on this--it gets more and more disconcerting the older they get.

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “MOM!” from behind the bathroom door. . . And it’s always in that urgent tone of voice that lets you know you’re either going to be running to grab more TP or explaining (again) why blue frosting yesterday equals green poop today.

    But more than half the time when I arrive at the door and say, “Yes?” Chunky responds with, “I love you, Mommy.”

    Kory and I call this phenomenon “Random Utterances from the Bathroom.” We try not to think too much about why it always occurs to Chunky that he loves his parents while he’s on the toilet. We just tell him we love him too and go on about our business while he finishes his.

    So the other day I wasn’t surprised at all to be called to the boys’ bathroom while Chunky took his bath.

    I peeked in, ready to hear the adventures of underwater soldiers or washcloth alien creatures. “Yes?”

    Chunky looked at me, dripping and wide-eyed, his barely-there eyebrows raised high.

    “Mom, I just farted, and I could smell it underwater. I didn’t even know that was possible! I bet it’s some kind of record!”

    I was speechless for a moment, but taking my que from Chunky’s animated expression, I stumbled into the appropriate congratulations. I agreed that it probably was some kind of record. But who do you contact to get a momentous event like this recorded for posterity?

    In the end, we were forced to quietly celebrate the earth-shattering event with only immediate family present. Then, like so many profound historic moments, it slipped away under the murky waters of time.

    photo by Flikr contributor tawest64

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Just for Fun

    My friend and fellow author, Brandi Boddie tagged me to answer 11 fun questions, and then pass the quiz along to 11 bloggers. Since I’ve been buried in my work in progress and haven’t poked my head up to notice whether or not the earth is still spinning, let alone if anything blog-worthy has happened, I figured this would be a fun little post. If you aren’t the least bit curious about my answers, I don’t blame you. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves or hum your favorite elevator music.

    1. Book or movie and why?

    Book, with one exception. How to Train your Dragon the movie is brilliant. The How to Train your Dragon books are written for 10-year-old boys. Not so brilliant. Unless you’re a 10-year-old boy.

    2. Real book or e-book?

    Both. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I do love my Kindle when I’ve just got to get that sequel NOW!

    3. Funniest thing you've done in the last 5 years?

    Tried to ride my bike to the elementary school to deliver my son’s asthma medication while under the influence of migraine medication. You can read about my stoned trip here.

    4. How would your best friend describe you?

    Deluded in a good way, highly-susceptible to the side effects of medication, neurotic, spineless, creative.

    5. Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch?

    Mostly, no. But sometimes the books I write take on a life of their own. Or rather the characters do, and then I just might imagine a certain very hot house faerie peeking around the office door and asking if I’d like him to vacuum the living room and make dinner.

    “Yes, please!”

    6. Favorite kind of car and why?

    I have tried to have an opinion about cars. I have tried to think the little sports cars are cool. But I really just don’t care. So my answer is, The Tardis!

    7. Would your choice of party be a catered meal or barbecue out back?

    Catered. By a sexy house faerie. Duh!

    8. What's your favorite season and why?

    Autumn. I love the cooler weather and the fact that it’s not windy like spring. And the leaves. And pumpkins! Pumpkins make me happy on a deep, psychological level.

    9. What specific lesson have you learned - Spiritual, educational, occupational?

    If you’re going to ride your bike while on Topamax, wear your helmet and consider attaching a flag.

    10. Besides writing, what's your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?

    Read. Play Words with Friends. Actually spend time with friends, like physically in the same room. It’s a crazy new fad.

    11. What's one place you can be found at least one time every week?

    This question put me in a bad mood. I really don’t like the places I go at least once a week. So I’m going to pretend the question is “What’s one place you wish you could be found once a week?”

    The gym.

    And now, the winners of 11 Random Questions Blog Bingo!

    Beth at In Others' Words

    Mary at God and My Everyday Life

    Brandy at Pith and Moment

    Daphne at The Perky Pessimist

    Jennifer at Lookie What I Can Do

    Amy at Backseat Writer

    Mangy at Mangy's Creative Blog

    Linda at Mama Mentor's Menagerie

    Melissa at Tag(g)lines

    Kay at Loopdeloops in La La Land

    Debbie at Writing While the Rice Boils

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    The First Step to Recovery

    Cooking. It’s complicated. I’m not a foodie. I wouldn’t mind being married to one. But Kory isn’t a foodie. We call our youngest Mini Foodie because he loves to try new foods, but he’s only 7, and black olives are not a meal.

    I kind of like to cook, but I think I need to go on a journey of cooking self-discovery. This is a nice way of saying I wish all the opinionated members of our household would find alternate methods of nourishment.

    As far as my cooking heritage, I was raised by a recipe-follower, my grandmother, and the queen of improvisation, my mother. This has made me a schizophrenic cook. I tend to follow recipes when we’re having guests over for dinner. Unfortunately, they’re always NEW recipes so dinner, although planned, is still a gamble.

    When I’m cooking for the family, I improvise. Take last night.

    I’d inadvertently bought chorizo.

    “How do you inadvertently buy chorizo, Evangeline?”

    “You go to Costco and leave your brain at home stuck in a book.”

    I decided to make stuffed mushrooms since Mom and I are doing the low-carb thing. But I had lots of chorizo left over.

    What goes with chorizo? Beans, obviously.

    What else? Maybe canned pumpkin? I added that.

    The contents of my skillet looked, well, brown. I added Rotel tomatoes. Brown and red is a good color combo, right?

    That’s about the time I realized that nobody was going to eat my . . . stuff. What does Evangeline do when she’s created something weird for dinner? Try to fix it with something even weirder. I made guacamole with Greek yogurt.

    And since I needed something close to normal, I also made breakfast sausage, rice, and cornbread.

    By the end of the evening I'd cooked three separate meals, my kitchen was a disaster, and I had heaps of chorizo “stuff” left over. I ended up eating my guacamole with apple slices.

    I think I need help. Are there any culinary therapists out there? What am I going to do with the second package of chorizo in my freezer? Should I stop adding canned pumpkin to everything? Is it normal for a thirty-something woman to not really be interested in eating anything but avocados?

    Please advise. My family has started coming to the table wearing fight-or-flight expressions.