Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pounced

Somebody pounced her way into our lives two weeks ago. Not a tiger, though I wish, but someone equally as cute. V and I were taking a walk, and a tiny, affectionate, starving kitten demanded our attention and pets. She came home with us, to at least reevaluate and contact some friends, but as it pans out, we're keeping her. Her name is most likely Latke, though frequently Lottie. (Abridged version: I was calling her tater tot; V was calling her cupcake and muffin. We settled on potato pancake.)

Calcifer likes to chase her, which she's totally fine with. Mei Mei has been miss hissy fit, but she's getting better. And Lottie is charming the pants off of us. Her tail fluffs when she plays! She's probably about 7 months old, and much less starving already. We meant to stop at two cats...


Bug

I accidentally made a new "friend" yesterday morning: salmonella. And then we had a photoshoot yesterday evening with three boys under 4, which "conveniently" coincided with the time my new friend decided I needed to use the restroom for obscene amounts of time. And then a shoot this morning with two boys under 4. I'm exhausted.

I've been doing a lot of lying on the couch, eating soup and jello. V has been amazing, doing the dishes, making soup, editing pictures. I'm so glad we're going away for her birthday this weekend; she needs it.

At the moment, her computer isn't cooperating (the one with photoshop, that we make a chunk of our living off of), I'm totally wiped out, and life looks like it might be heading downhill for a bit. This was not in the plans.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Room

I have today off, because the kids are out of town visiting their dad's extended family. So, instead of photography and homework and litterboxes, V and I rearranged our entire living room (/dining room). It looks kick-ass.

Because that's what a real day off is, right? Not what needs to be done, but what begs to be done, when we're sitting on the couch on our computers, looking around, unhappy.

We're very happy now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PDA

In a way, this article on Salon goes along with my recent post on "claiming" my gay-ness in public. I can relate to most of the sentences in Christopher Records's piece, and I hate that. I'm generally the (much) more comfortable one, but that doesn't mean I don't think about these things.

Great relationship, not-so-great-but-totally-understandable paranoia. C'est la vie.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy

"Would you like to wake up every morning with happy, positive thoughts?"
So asketh the Jehovah's Witness tract we found on our front porch.

"I'm in-right, out-right, up-right, down-right happy all the time!"
So sangeth the wee children's church kids, myself included.

Is it any wonder, then, that depression was the unnameable? It wasn't just that I was taught to "pray through it"; it went more to the core. Depression was a failure of God in my life, and therefore, unacceptable. Not that I ever actually spoke the word, or admitted to myself that it was what I was struggling with...but I still knew how to "deal with" depression. Pray it away. Be happy all the time.

A few weeks ago, I read an article on happy being the only acceptable emotion. The context was contrasting attachment parenting, where children are generally allowed to express themselves, with hyper-conservative parenting that frequently results in children too terrified (of being spanked, frequently) to show any emotion that isn't positive.

I definitely wasn't raised in that latter camp. But the same mentality showed up in my children's church, and is still being heralded as the cure-all that Jesus will bring. "I've been set free; he has made my life wonderful" was an unspoken refrain of my growing-up years. There wasn't a category for depression. The answer was always: Jesus.

No, Jehovah's Witnesses whom I'm glad we weren't home to have to deal with. Dialoguing with you, or more, attending the conference with "a live play" that you want me to, will not make me wake up happy every morning.

"Since Jesus Christ came in, and cleansed my heart from sin, I'm in-right, out-right..." That one didn't work either.

And you know what? It's okay. Because at least it isn't fake.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Refresh

Few things are as healing - even when I didn't know I needed to be healed - as spending time with fellow LGBT-ers, ranting about conservative family, and then being at a housewarming party where someone refers to V and I as his "absolute favorite lesbians, which means you rank even higher than Rachel Maddow."

This weekend away feels so wonderfully refreshing. I'm almost in shock.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Claim

Growing up, I heard a lot of "If you were at gunpoint, would you stand for Jesus or would you renounce him?" We all pledged that we would be like the missionaries and high schoolers who chose death over denunciation. We were told that we would never know unless the moment happened, though.

I still think about this a lot. The thing is, though, my brain has replaced "Jesus" with "wife." We live in a decently liberal city in a conservative state; I still live on edge sometimes about being gay. The scenarios in my head aren't usually life or death, but it's the same principle. If a police officer stops me for speeding and asks where I'm going, do I mention I'm on my way to pick up my wife? To the wrong person, that could be me asking for trouble.

It frequently occurs to me, since I love to be so vocal about having a wife, that I could be asking for my food to be spit in, or my speeding ticket marked up to the next price bracket, or, more casually but still hurtfully, would-be friends and acquaintances to walk away. It's always a risk.

I read once, I don't remember where, about how for LGBT people, holding hands on the sidewalk is never just that. It's so true; it's true of so much more than holding hands. One word could change anything and everything.

Despite all the stress, I'm glad the word isn't "Jesus" anymore, though. I'll take my wife, any day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Roulette

I'm in the middle of Jessica Valenti's fabulous book The Purity Myth, and so much of what she talks about, especially in regards to abstinence education, rings familiar. Being homeschooled, I never went through a formal sex-ed class, but as she's talking about the metaphors and catchphrases, I know it.

"Relying on condoms is like playing Russian roulette."
Yes. V actually had a conversation with an old boyfriend, talking about sex, where she said something about not risking the consequences. Of course I'd wear a condom, he said. I know, she said. That doesn't matter.

"Stephanie and Drew want to save sex for marriage. Stephanie is super affectionate and dresses in tight clothing; Drew is finding it harder and harder to wait."
Yep, sorry Steph, but it's all your fault. All your responsibility, too. Stop looking like such a slut, and maybe he'll be able to honor your mutual promise to wait.

"If I take this velcro and stick it to to everything, pretty soon it will lose its stickiness, and it won't be able to cling when it finds the other half of the velcro."
Evangelicals don't often go for subtlety, I must say. Also, it sucks to find out that my self-worth and sexuality is on par with a fairly unreliable method of adhesion.

I hate that it's all so familiar. I hate that so many people could say the same thing. I hate that so many more don't see anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fundamentals

Every now and then, I run into an issue where the twins' mom and I are just coming from totally different angles. It happened last night, and I'm trying to figure out how to operate within her parameters, while still sticking to what I believe.

The issue is supervision. Last week, the kids played downstairs for an hour together, without fighting. I was near the top of the stairs and could always hear them, but they only came up once or twice to get me.

Yesterday, they played with Laura and Danielle, back in the latter's playroom, for an hour. Every now and then I heard giggling, talking about how they were having a party, or other chatter, but they never came out and never seemed to have a problem.

I'd mentioned both of those things to Patrick and Lilly's mom, and last night she sent me a text (or rather 6) about how she expects that I'm with them almost all the time, and she and her husband don't leave them unsupervised, and they're only 3, and she understands fostering independence, but...

And I had one of those moments of realizing we operate from different original mindsets. For me, I want the kids to be able to do their own thing. I see it as progress that they can play by themselves. I hear times when usually one would look at me to solve the issue, but instead I hear them figure it out. It especially makes me happy when they can play with friends for such a long time. I feel like I do so much hovering, because yes, I interact with them lots during the day, but I also always try to push them to entertain themselves.

My theory is that their mom doesn't spend as much time with them, so she's very involved and very much entertaining them. I support that - but I wish she also had the perspective that one day, she's going to want them to be able to go off and do their own thing! (She doesn't even know I've let them out in the backyard and I've stayed inside. I don't know what her reaction would be to that one.)

Anyway, it's frustrating. I promised her I'd be more on top of them, and I will, but I'll also just learn to edit my notes to her. I want to respect her parenting; I also want her kids to grow up with a sense of independence.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lazy

This weekend has been good for me. We've done next to nothing: V is in between summer sessions, the dishes are in the sink, the drying rack upstairs is still full. I've laid on the couch, fighting PMS cramping, reading about the ingredients in a twinkie.

We let a friend's dog out this afternoon, and stayed at their house watching TV for awhile. Serenity was on; I haven't actually watched the movie in years (it's non-canon. bad things happen. i deny it.), but it was good to see all the old friends. I probably annoyed V by quoting lines a few seconds before the character.

I'm still in emotional recovery. V and I have been brainstorming about ways to get me out of it. I just feel deeper than usual...in a way, I feel like I did before ever starting on meds, and that's a Bad Sign. That sort of vague "meh" feeling about life, punctuated by occasional bursts of light.

Next weekend, we are off to visit friends. It's a much needed trip. It can't come soon enough. Of course, once we're there, I'll probably want nothing more than to be home. Damn me.

Well, this wasn't supposed to end on a sour note. Welcome to my sucky state of mental health? Sorry for the unintended tour of my brain.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alone

Patrick and Lilly played downstairs today, with their art stuff, for an hour and a quarter, by themselves, without needing me or fighting! The kitchen is at the top of the stairs, so I could hear them; my favorite was Lilly exclaiming "That looks fantastic!" Patrick came up once to ask for a piece of tape, and occasionally they'd yell up to me or I'd yell down to them. But overall, it was peace. I can't believe they got along that well for that long.

Maybe they're finally growing up some?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Accident

I've written before about my depression, that scary other part of me that I try to keep squelched down. Every now and then it gets the best of me.

One of V's summer classes ends tomorrow. We haven't been very good at keeping up with it, and so there's enough homework to probably take from now until class starts tomorrow to complete. A friend is visiting starting tomorrow; the house is a disaster and smells like cat shit. I'm PMSing like nobody's business.

I was supposed to watch Seth and Isabella tonight. On my way out the door (literally), I dissolved into an emotional mess. Wracking sobs, gasping breaths. Irrational sentences: I said something about wanting to get sick so I could just lie on the couch and eat toast, but somehow that turned into me wailing "I just want toast!"

Being an adult is hard. Worrying about money, school assignments, multiple jobs, and the future takes its toll. I told V this felt like mental car wreck. If I got in a physical car wreck, no one would expect me to keep functioning immediately as if nothing had happened. The car accident in my brain was just as bad, but not visible.

V texted Seth and Isabella's mom for me. I don't know what she said. I ended up falling asleep on the couch, when I asked for five minutes to try my hardest not to stress about anything. She gave me more than five minutes, of course; she had my phone, and somehow, I'm not babysitting right now. I don't want to know what she said. Thankfully, I've actually talked to their mom about depression before.

I'm still trying not to feel guilty. Not feel guilty for failing. Guilty for not performing all my responsibilities perfectly. Guilty for being human. That damn guilt has been chasing me for a decade now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Read

Go read Melissa's piece on Universal Health Care. Now.
V and I are moving to Canada, k?

Speaking of Canada, hopefully I won't have company...

Roll

Lilly: But I wanted to see ALL the animals in the zoo!
We come for three hours tops, kid. Good luck.

Lilly: What's that?
Me: An emu.
Lilly: Patrick, look, an ee-nu!
Me: It's an M. Emmmmmmmu.

Lilly: I'm going to tell mommy there were no tantrums, and she'll be sooooo excited!

Me: I love the new pillows for your beds!
Lilly: Uh-huh! Nana and Papaw were here, and we got new doggies [stuffed animals], and pillows, and games, and clothes...
Oh boy.

My favorite-
Lilly: COWS! I am so EXCITED!!!
Really, cows?

That kid was on a roll today. Also, I french braided her hair three times. It was my first time french braiding; needless to say, the third time looked much better than the first. The first one was so bad it fell out, and the second she pulled on too much when she was angsty at lunch. It's a pretty good look for her, though.

Music class tomorrow! I've missed it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sexuality Project

Awhile back, I mentioned that I'd be participating in Sierra's Religious Fundamentalism and Sexuality Project. I've been meaning to link to it again, but it keeps slipping my mind. She had so many responses that she's breaking us up into groups; I think that's awesome, and selfishly love that V and I are in the first group.

Here's what she's posted so far:
Sex Ed and the Body, Question 1
Question 2
Questions 3, 4, and 5
Question 6
Question 7

Peer Group, Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4

Romantic Relationships, Question 1
Question 2

Go add your voice to the comments over there, or leave some thoughts here!

Lines

It's been awhile since I mentioned the hilarious things that come out of the kids' mouths.

Patrick is very interested in the "lifegarden" who watches over the pool.

I took them down to a block party, and after looking around, Lilly asked me where the blocks were.

At Ikea, they asked me to take a picture of them on the (pink plastic) toddler bed they were playing on. I told them I'd taken enough...so they both got under the covers and snuggled together. Well of course I had to take a picture of that.

I had yesterday off, and it was wonderful. Especially because the kids are sick.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Share

It's been a day. Swimming with the twins, off to Seth and Isabella, and unexpectedly back to the twins, as their mom realized a friend was in town who wanted to meet for dinner. Thankfully, V has been with me for all of it. Swimming in particular is so much easier with two adults to two kids.

The days have been better. No tantrums on Tuesday; only one small one today. I'm calling Monday a fluke, and praying I never walk into the door at home in tears again.

At the pool today, a mom royally pissed me off. My kids had a few toys they'd brought to play with in the baby pool, and the little girl kept grabbing them. Her mother never stepped in, so it was left to me to do the "Hey sweetie, those are our toys; can we find you something else to play with?" After the third or fourth time, the mom finally came over. As she dragged her daughter away, I heard her say, "No, they don't want to share right now."

Excuse me? Who is at fault in that sentence? Not the girl grabbing other people's toys, that's for sure. I'm all for sharing, and sometimes I ask the kids to at the pool. But taking someone's toys right from their hands is never okay; her mom, though, made it out to be my kids' fault. They weren't sharing. They were wrong.

No, you need to teach your daughter to take responsibility. You took the toys. You grabbed things that weren't yours. If you wanted to borrow it, you should have asked.

Not they needed to give it to you. They should have shared.

The entitlement in that simple sentence, "they don't want to share right now," makes me fear for that little girl's future.

I'm not simply being uber-defensive of my kids. I do wish they shared better; they share great with each other (usually) but not so well with strangers. But regardless, they hadn't done anything wrong. And it irks me that the mother totally let her daughter off the hook.

Rant over.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fail

I don't want to write about yesterday, but I need to. I need to say something about the four and a half hours from hell, and me walking in the door to home, bursting into tears in V's arms. But I don't want to relive it. I'm scared for today. Not as scared, because I have Plans, but still...

The kids were whiny all last week. They were horrid for their parents over the weekend. And yesterday was pretty much a non-stop tantrum from Lilly, plus some spectacular contributions from Patrick, from when I got them up to when they went down for nap.

And I couldn't handle it. I did things I swore I wouldn't. I screamed at them. I smacked her. I failed as a parent.

Before you start to worry for their sake, know I am 100% honest to their parents. I left it in my daily note for their mom; I told their dad how the day had gone.

This morning, I had a long text from their mom. Part of it: "Know that I know you are wonderful and loving to them. I know how frustrating it is."

Not a word of it was condemning.
I'm doing enough of that myself.

All three of us adults in their lives agree that something is up. This behavior is out of character even for the girl who can be Miss Tantrum.

Today, I try something new. I will get them out of bed, throw some clothes on them, and shove food into them as we get in the van. I want to keep things going so there isn't any time to start the cycle. We're heading up to Ikea: their happy place. They've only been twice, but they love it. Jumping on beds, turning lights off and on, running through couches, "working" at desks. (I feel the need to add a disclaimer that they are not so wild as to hamper any shopper's experience.)

It's a trek, but we're going. Swedes, I have faith in you. Don't fail me.