Friday, May 28, 2010

I don't accept "Boys will be boys"

as an excuse for bad behavior. Sure boys are more likely to be obsessed with modes of transport, super heroes and sports. More likely to run around the park, sweating for an hour straight, to climb anything that stands still for 2 seconds, and to wrestle anybody near the same size and plenty of people who are more than twice his height as well. But, we all know they don't have a corner on the "boy" behavior market just as well as we know that even boys who exhibit all these typical traits might be found wearing fairy outfits while caring for doll babies.

The problem is when they relish in their aggressive play, and even just plain aggressiveness. Particularly when "they" is the nearly 3 year old boy that sprang forth from me after his 2 sisters. Laughing when he wrestles his protesting sister to the ground, smacking at some one for each irritation, greeting Aunts and Uncles with a barrage of punches {edited to add - this was playing for him, but damn he's strong and accurate!} (though they are the rough play types & responded to this in a positive reinforcement way {and adding that they would never let him get away with this if he were doing it out of frustration or for any reason to another kid}), refusing to apologize and worst of all laughing in our faces when we reprimand him. We're getting to our wits end. Which means we lose our tempers when dealing with him. But if we walk away to collect ourselves, that leaves him free to continue to beat up on his sisters. I certainly don't want to send the message of "I've seen you, I know what you are doing and I'm ignoring it." I think to a 3 year old that's almost as good as saying "What you just did is fine." At any rate, when we return to discipline we're still facing a child who will most likely laugh, refuse to say sorry and fight time out which will take 15-20 minutes before getting 3 minutes of compliance out of him.

Sure our girls have behaved this way on occasion, but I doubt even in their combined 10 years it was as many times as their brother displayed this behavior in a month. How do you deal with the pernicious side of "boys being boys?"

*Edited to add what our current methods are. Let's say he smacked his sister because of something at breakfast AND that we didn't have the additional issue of defiance and laughter. Get down on eye level. Tell him "We do not hit people" & "Tell your sister that you're sorry you hit her" (which included the words and a hug or other gentle touch) & "Now say 'No more hitting'" -- Then he does it again later. Get down on eye level. Tell him "You hit her, we do not hit people when we are mad" then the rest followed by "If you hit again you have to go to timeout" and if he does it again, he has to apologize then go to timeout until he stays there quietly for 3 minutes. Now, the reason he gets 2 (or is it 3?) chances is that he's little and I understand that he is still working out what to do when he's angry. His 4yo sister would get 1 chance and his 6yo sister wouldn't get any - for the violation of hitting or like behavior that is. We are not a spanking family, but both of us were raised in that environment. Since the defiance and laughter incenses my husband more than it does me, I am the one who has to handle it. But regardless of who handles it - this method is not working. And frankly, by the time we get to the 3rd or 4th cycle in a day of this whole routine, it is more yelling than stern talking to.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TV?

I did a pretty good job with AT, she didn't really watch TV until I got into the second trimester of my pregnancy with GR. So she was about 18 months at the time and I was more tired than she was on some days - the days she didn't go to preschool to be exact. I could easily have held off longer if only I weren't so tired. Oh well. By the time AK entered the world I had a 4yo and an 18month old so TV became an enticement, during the many, many nursings, to keep GR from drawing on the walls in the next room. While there are plenty of days that we don't watch TV, there are plenty that we watch a few shows and then I'll admit, on those days when sleep deprivation hits me like a
and I cannot stay awake as much as I try, the TV is on more than I even know. But still, for all these years I made myself one promise - I will not put TVs in my children's bedrooms. Then during spring break my 9yo niece stayed with us and the kids were driving me crazy so I begged Joe to drag the extra TV out of storage in the basement so they could watch a DVD in bed so I could decompress before bedtime routines. And he did, and they watched a movie and the TV stayed upstairs. At first, I moved it to the playroom, I could only slide it on the floor and I wanted it out of their room, and they could play Click Start in there. Then came a really long day, with excellent behavior from all my kids on a really tough day. As a reward they wanted a movie, but again I needed some peace so I scooted that TV right back into their room. And now I am that mom. I suppose it remains to be seen if I can stick to my new rules now that it's summer. There's only a DVD player and my main rules are that it can't be more than once a week, viewing can only start after PJs and teeth brushing and it must be completed before bedtime. I don't think that will be too hard, but if I find myself tempted to let it slide... I think I'll have to make Joe take the TV back down to the basement.
What are your rules for TV watching during school and during summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

10th Anniversary Chronicle

Since I ended up giving almost a play-by-play of Mother's Day, I thought I would do the same for this day, my actual anniversary, and for our celebration day which will be Saturday. It's got to be better than the last special day simply for the fact that he is actually involved in the planning, nay, is doing most of the planning. So far, he has arranged childcare, researched restaurants and made reservations, picked out his clothes and has something to do for which he needs a couple of hours alone in the house before Sat.
This morning I was woken with gentle whispers of "Happy 10th Anniversary." Right at this moment, he is at the coffee shop where he hangs out doing his "work" with AK in tow. This was so that I could have a few minutes peace this morning to finish showering and eat breakfast - and to blog, though I'm sure he didn't have that specifically in mind! HAHA!
Now, I'm going to hit "publish" and then come back through the day / weekend to report on his progress. Hopefully, this will all be done with a smile on my face.

It's now nearly 6pm on Thursday. I've been doing power shopping and at least have something to wear to the apparently fancy restaurant we're going to. I actually bought 3 dresses but will only keep one, 2 pairs of shoes, though one has already been returned and a purse that I will replace if I find something better. I usually only buy things if they are on the upper end of "good enough", but I've got no time to waste and "OK" is better than nothing! However, I haven't been able to find what I want in a gift for Joe, grr. Normally I don't like to leave things like this to the last minute but I didn't know we were going to celebrate with the same budget we'd have if Joe was working. I'm not sure what I thought we'd do, but I've already spent more on clothes than I thought we'd use for presents. I only did that because last night Joe told me he's taking me to a semi-fancy restaurant, which to us means entrees start at $30, so I figured I should have a dress that costs at least as much as my meal will and nothing in my closet qualified for that save my bridesmaid's dress from last summer! I realize this isn't exactly an update on his behavior, but I haven't seen him since I picked AK up just after my initial post.

It's Friday, yesterday evening Joe returned home and took the kids outside for something mysterious. They returned and presented me with cards and roses and the night returned to normal. So, now I've just got to figure out what to wear!

Sunday: Yesterday was a whirl of activity to get ready for our date. We went tie shopping for Joe and I did find a gift for him - though I think I've about had it with our regular jewelry store. It's a funky store in midtown that carries a lot of modern and unusual items and we've been going there since before we got married. I saw exactly what I wanted in the front case so that part took about 5 minutes, but I was still in there nearly 45 minutes mostly waiting to get the sale completed by one of the 4 salesclerks - 2 of which were not helping other customers and they're the 2 that have been there a long time ugh! OK enough of that!
We went to a "continental" restaurant. Joe had a rustic thin crust margherita pizza and I had grilled lamb. Both were OK but we've had better of each. Then after dinner I was describing just the kind of dessert I'd like to have while we were waiting for our server to return so we could ask for the dessert menu. When she did return she carried a plate in her hand with a dessert that perfectly satisfied my craving! With a candle in it complements of the house as she noticed our gift exchange so knew we were celebrating. It was ricotta cake with a poached pear. That earned an eyes-rolling-MMMM from both of us. Afterward we went to our favorite dessert spot, though Joe had a coffee "cocktail" and I had another glass of wine.
So, gifts. While Joe and I appreciate traditions we are not what you would call "traditional". We both wanted to get the other a ring but neither could find just what we wanted, at least not in stock. Men's rings were gimmicky or wedding bands and the women's rings were too complicated to fit his idea & were frequently made with yellow gold. In the end we were able to find rings that fit the bill. This is a similar ring by the same company. While the sapphire ring is a close enough image I found on-line. (We had to exchange the rings we presented each other to order ones in our size)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Poor posture

The standard directions for correct posture often sound like "Pull back your shoulders and pull your tummy in but not your rear" oh.kay. I never really knew what that meant until I looked at my side view in the mirror and analyzed it. Pull back your shoulders so the joint in in line with your hip joints. Pull in your tummy to make your core muscles, in this case your abs, do their job and it keeps you from pushing your sternum out when you pull your shoulders back (a sternum sticking out is what makes your chest say "HEY Here are my boobs!"). Don't stick your butt out because it knocks your spine out of alignment and don't pull it in when you do your abs because it rounds your back and makes it hard to keep your shoulder and hip joints in line. Now, just because I know what correct posture is and what that looks like on me, doesn't mean I usually do it. However, here is a photo that shows the difference. Consider that I only have an A cup, so if you're more endowed the difference will be bigger. Your breasts wouldn't just recess like mine do, they'd appear droopy and they'd press on your abdomen, which would just make your tummy look that much bigger.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What I'm wearing?: Anniversary Edition

I mentioned in my Chronicle that I didn't know what our budget would be for this special occasion (heck, if you've been reading you may remember that I wasn't sure that I even wanted to celebrate it). But after talking to Joe Wednesday night, it was clear he intends to budget as though he had a job, so I guess that's what we're going to do. The problem is, that in order to feel like I'm dressed appropriately for a nice restaurant, I'd need to go shopping. I'll save you the details of why I have a hard time finding clothes that fit, but I only found 2 things yesterday and I don't know which to wear! What do you think?
They both need to be ironed, so ignore that. Joe and I each like a different one. I'm not fond of big sash bows on grown women, but both of these dresses have it. I think I need to try to take that bow off the front of the first one, but it's not just tacked on so I'm not sure the cotton underneath isn't scarred. And the second one, well take a look for yourself...
A free lesson on why correct posture is important

In the first photo, I'm standing correctly, but the shine and pleats don't exactly complement my baby belly (as in what was left AFTER babies). The middle one is also correct posture. The problem is that I don't always - or usually - stand with correct posture and the last photo is unflattering on the whole torso. (I noticed 2 things about the side views, the dress itself doesn't stick out past my butt, that's the sash and even though these 2 show the straps, I think I'll wear it strapless) Also, the cotton dress doesn't "hide" my baby belly, but since it's not pleated or shiny, it doesn't accent it either. So both dresses have their issues, but they're my choices. I need your honest opinion, unless you're going to tell me I look like a hag or resemble a troll, that opinion you can keep to yourself HA!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Almost there

Just a few days until my 10th anniversary. If you're one of my regulars, you know that Joe really screwed up Mother's Day - again. He has some behaviors that aren't acceptable, but I let his history excuse them away. It's not like he's a BAD guy.
I know that his trust issues come from being devastated by his first love. I know that his worth issues come from the horrible things his family said to him. I know that his abandonment issues come from his mother leaving for rehab with nothing really explained to him. I know his over-protectiveness comes from love and being very afraid of losing it - the first true love he has known. I know his self-centered-ness comes from having 2 of the most self-centered people I know as parents. When his mother was living with us she told me she had NO recollection of EVER telling Joe that she loves him. NONE. But that she was inspired by hearing us say it to each other and to her, to say it to us and to say it often. It wasn't, self-centered as she was, that she didn't love him, she just never verbally expressed it. It was quite possible her family never said it to each other when she was growing up either.
So, I know these things so it is hard to not let his crappy behavior get a pass. BUT I've been living with it for about 12 years AND with the words he uses to tell me that he is not the person still held back by those things, that through our relationship he is getting free and is changing. HOWEVER, progress is SLOW or not at all. I'm just tired of excuses all around. His reason for crappy Mother's Day, "It's not you, it's that all Mother's Days have been crappy." What? So one more is OK then? It's OK that because life surrounding us is crap that you don't have to try to carve out something special for me - for our kids to learn?
I'm so sick of hearing him talk, of hearing promises and plans, of excuses and denials. I'm tired of telling him that I want a marriage to the man he says he is & not the man he acts like. I'm tired of being the one to implement the plans for change that we make together only to find out that I'm the only one doing the work. I'm tired of living down to his level. He said a big mouthful of words tonight. I told him that if he went through with it, the actions would go a long way in fixing things for us. We'll just have to see if it happens, frankly I'm not holding my breath. And that makes me sad.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me without makeup: Status Quo


I heard about this idea on twitter #bloggerswithoutmakeup
Here is a link to the original meme author, Mummy Mayhem, I know nothing else about her, though
Today bloggers are encouraged to show a photo of themselves without make up. The idea is that we feel perfectly comfortable putting all kinds of real, TMI stories about ourselves out there but pick perfectly coiffed and digitally adjusted photos to post.
Actually, I do wear mineral makeup base powder most days, but since the only easily seen aspect of my olive skin is the grease slick across my face, most of the powder gets wiped off before lunch. (as evidenced in the shiny forehead, which isn't too bad here but I still SO wanted to photoshop it out) Since this was taken after dinner there likely isn't any left. At any rate, it is only 1 of 3 photos, from the same night, that exist on my new computer and Joe has the camera.

I love the slightly worried, slightly perplexed look on my son as he gazes up at my bare face. Possibly he's wondering just how I got into that awkward posture - so am I. I'm making my head go forward, tilt sideways and look up all at the same time. Which I'm not sure I could recreate IRL, but so many photos of me exist with that pose! Hey, I figured that since finding me without make up is easy, I'd go ahead and take the challenge to be real to mean showing an unflattering pose. HAHA!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking back on a Sucky Sunday

Comments made by my family and by my lovely internet friends and visitors have led to more thought on the events last Sunday, aka Mother's Day.

1. Did he remember to do something for his mother?
Well... his mother died earlier this year, but in the past, no. I was the one who purchased and sent the card.

2. Did his feelings about the loss of his mother affect his behavior this year?
Perhaps, but this was just par for the course and not out of the ordinary.

3. What will I do for Father's Day?
A couple of years ago he gave me a 6 pack of a candy bar that is OK, but that I've never purchased for myself. For Father's Day that year, he received that very same pack of candy bars. It took a couple of weeks for him to realize it. I'm not sure how I give this back to him, but I like the suggestion from Alex to leave him with the kids so he can BE a father on Father's Day.

4. Did he go on to do anything to revive the day?
Not really. We got home quite late (OK it was 10:30 but that's late for a family with small kids) as he had to stop at the home where his father lives (it's not fully a nursing home) to change a bandage from surgery he had the other day. I was dead tired and climbed into bed fully clothed and with my glasses on. In recent years when I fall asleep with my glasses on, chances are I would wake up several hours later and take them off and turn off the lamp. In the past it was practically a given that Joe would remove them and turn off my lamp. Last night he took off my glasses and my jeans. He put pajama pants and socks on me. Exhibiting the kind of behavior that is part of why I fell in love with him was good, but really speaks to other issues between us rather than the MD debacle.

5. If this is typical, where do we go from here?
I do not know.

Thanks for listening guys.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seriously, I have a right to love Mother's Day

So in case you missed all the joy contained in my Mother's Day post here's a recap:
My morning started out by being woken up to clean pee off the floor so Joe could go back to sleep. I "made" breakfast, changed and dressed everyone, packed up supplies to go to my parents' procured lunch, and reminded my children to tell me "Happy Mother's Day."
That more than covers what I wrote about yesterday.
Once we finally arrived at my parents' Joe gave me a cursory apology and was ticked that I gave him my cheek when he wanted to "kiss and make up." "Is that all I get?" he asked, "Maybe I'll feel like kissing you when you feel like you're actually sorry," I replied to which he said "Well, I'm not going to give you the present until you kiss me for real." And off he went on an unnecessary errand with my dad, leaving me with the kids and another poopy diaper. They returned and mom and I went to rent a chick flick (which he complained about - both us leaving and our choice in movie) My dad made dinner, fixed our plates and later made & served us brownie sundaes. After dinner, I said it was time for presents and got snapped at because he even though his plate was empty, he wasn't done eating. So the kids passed out their cards and photos were snapped. He asked if I was going to kiss him so I could get my present. I asked if he were going to give me a real apology. So he said he was sorry and seemed sincere until he made me kiss him several times until I got it "right" - annoying!
He did the dishes (!) and watched the rest of the movie without any further complaints. But when it was time to leave, he came to announce it to me in a way that was clear he expected me to go get them ready argh! Instead I said "Well, have them potty, brush teeth and get in the car" and he huffed but sort of did the tasks. So that's it. I really can't believe that last year, when I still had to clean, change and dress the kids, feed them lunch, pack everything needed to leave the house, endure his bitching the whole weekend still counts as the best Mother's Day ever.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day's a bitch, no wait, my husband's just an ASS

This morning, I was woken up to the sound of my husband bursting through the bedroom door (it only opens quietly if you do it on purpose) and then slamming it shut. "What's wrong?" I ask. He replies in a loud and gruff voice, "AT peed on the floor, right in front of the refrigerator. She's cleaning it up." And he goes into the bathroom, slamming that door, too. He comes out declares "I only slept a couple of hours, I need more sleep" and crawls into bed. Conveniently leaving out the part about why he only slept a couple of hours. I'm 99% sure the answer is that he stayed up all night playing computer games - as usual. After a few minutes he says, "Are you going to give her a bath, or just wipe her down?" Happy Freakin Mother's Day to Me.

So, I go down stairs to find the giant puddle of pee left behind by a 6 year old whose bladder had been filling for 11 hours. (Yes, I have to make her go potty almost every morning because she almost always insists that she doesn't have to pee and YES Joe* knows this about her, but because I'm usually in charge an accident is very uncommon.) So she and I clean the pee and I mop, although since the sinks have been full for 4 days (his chore) and Joe ruined the mop bucket, it isn't an easy task. (stand off on chores = a whole other post, but let's just say he spent all the hours he was at home yesterday playing that same computer game with a little hockey watching thrown in.) OK that's done.

But where is the pancake breakfast in bed that the children have been asking Joe to do for 2 days? Hmm, first the kitchen would have to be clean enough to a. have enough room to move and b. have enough clean dishes to cook and eat on. Second, Joe would have to actually be awake and downstairs. So, children what did you have to eat? Nothing? Big surprise. Here's a fantastic breakfast: chocolate milk and doughnuts (boo, unfrosted cake doughnuts, I'm a meanine). While I'm fixing the breakfast of pee-on-the-floor-champions, AK comes and asks me to change him. Yep, they'd been up for an hour and a half (I know because they named the 3 shows they watched) and hadn't been taken to the toilet (even though she shouldn't have to be), had a diaper changed or fed. I wouldn't be so ticked if this weren't typical for the one day a week I ask to not be in charge in the morning, despite telling Joe repeatedly it's unacceptable.

And here we are at 9:30am and I can say yet another Mother's Day that sucks ass.

* names are no longer changed to protect the innocent, because, let's face it, he's not so innocent.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ramping up to the Anniversary

Still trying to make sure I do my 10 year justice, I've given some thought to some of the husband complaining that's going around the internet. I think blogs are great outlets for this activity, after all it was the primary reason I started this one. I had / have a quaint and much neglected little blog elsewhere, but technically all my family and friends know about it. I didn't want to start in on my complaints there because 1. some of my family and friends may have been tired of hearing me wax rhapsodic on the Hubs 2. I didn't want to share those kind of details with some of them and 3. I didn't want my complaints to color the view some people have of him. I only want to vent to people who will likely never meet him or who love him as I do i.e. despite his lazy behavior. Because, really, almost any complaint I have about the man boils down to laziness. Lack of follow through, not pulling his weight figuratively, not losing the actual weight he constantly complains about, leaving his damn dirty laundry in the small footpath I have right next to the laundry basket, etc. But yesterday, I gave some extra consideration to the irritations that are due to the male-female differences.

A couple of weeks ago when I gained a Twitter follower, @ToyWithMe, I didn't get very far in checking her out because, admittedly, I'm still a little uncomfortable with discussing and even reading anything to do with sex life outside my marital unit. However, yesterday another Tweeter (I don't remember who) sent a link to Toy With Me the blog. After reading the article about why men cheat (not a concern of mine, but I'm always interested in this topic) I looked around a bit and came to an article titled "Men - I'll Take the Good with the Bad." The Redhead (one of the contributors) touches on some fairly common husband/BF complaints and why she feels they are undue. Mostly I agree with her, but unless Hubs has just stepped out of the shower you will not find me relishing in his scent!

It is written from a humor stand point and not as a marital counseling article, so the parts I feel compelled to counter are irrelevant to the article itself, but pertain to the idea of complaints about husbands. While all those points on the natural behavior of men are good and true, there is a glaring omission that affects how we as women deal with it. Along with all our flaws, the average person is also equipped with self control, this includes men. They also have ears and brains that process and store information they gather via their ears. While there are positive aspects to the way men are wired, most of the drawbacks can be tempered if a man used his ears, brain and self-control.
(read the article, I'm about to vicariously bitch at my husband and it will make more sense if you know what she said.)
Seriously, who likes to be interrupted when recounting the problems of the day? Maybe it's not their problem solving instinct, but the interrupting and not listening part. I'm a problem solver, too, but I am usually able to listen to all the factors first. Being over-protective, too ready to get physical (fights and sex), possessiveness and being easily angered are all counter to the "sensibility" men supposedly have. It's all leaping before they look, not thinking it through. I really don't need you to drop everything you're doing and track me down in Target just because my cell doesn't get reception in there and you didn't know where I was every second that morning. You don't need you to drop it all either and if you could wait another 30 minutes, I'd be back on the grid. Here's another tip (that's oft repeated by me): If I've told you I've had a bad day, whether it's stress or headache or hormones, trying to feel me up isn't going to get you sex. The only dirty thing that will come from that is the look I'll give you while the dryer, oven and kids are all sounding their alarms while you're trying to get your hands down my pants. Use some of those problem solving skills: occupy the kids, fold the laundry, or bring me the ibuprofen and a glass of water. Anything that's helpful without me having to ask. Lord knows if you don't understand the basics of how a household works enough to figure that stuff out on your own, then you're just another kid to us and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have a partner relationship than a parent relationship with your wife. I know I would.

So, that's my husband rant for the day - just getting it out of my system people so I can, you know, be nice to him on our anniversary.

So hormonal

This past month has been really difficult hormone wise. It seems like any little thing can bring me to the edge of tears. Commercials, news, photographs, thinking of any member of my family, running out of something, realizing I bought something when there's already more than one in the pantry, watching Phineas and Ferb - just about anything.
I've also been very tired and extra forgetful. For instance, after I wrote the first paragraph, I picked up my kids from school and took a nap. Now I have no clue where I was going with this. Normally, when I forget what exactly it was that I was writing about I'll just abandon the post, but since this behavior actually fits in with the topic today I'm gracing you all with my hormonal joy.

What's the main emotional side effect of your hormonal days? (I was listing out some emotions but then it started to sound like an odd clan of 7 dwarves! Maybe I need another nap - or chocolate.)