We are hitting some major and welcome milestones in the X household (like I’m posting twice in one month!).

I am perhaps most excited about Rex’s: he can wipe his own bottom and can buckle himself into his seat. Halle-freaking-lujah. I didn’t realize until these tasks were taken away from me just how much time and aggravation they took (of course, only after he was out of the cute cherubic baby stage when pooping in the pants is considered de riguer). And, I am sincerely grateful that I no longer have to hear, “Mooom! Come wipe me!”

Of course, that leads to the non-milestone for Little Miss, namely she’s not potty trained. I’m not fretting this yet. At 2.5, My deep mother intuition and knowing of my child tells me that she’s not quite ready yet as we’re only starting to get notification of the happening of things (i.e. “Poop out!”). I’m not thrilled with the method of basically sitting them on the potty constantly waiting for them to go.  I prefer the method where she becomes aware enough of her bodily functions and knows to alert us that they are on the way so we can get her to the potty.  We haven’t reached that point yet.

She also is still sleeping in a crib for which I am again thankful. I remember when we were first considering transitioning Rex to a toddler bed and I was terrified of him wandering around the house in the middle of the night.  We kept him in a sleep sack in his toddler bed as a precaution so that even if he did get out of bed, he would be hobbled.  Again, though, I get the sense that she’s not ready (and frankly, neither are we).

Little Miss has, however, started asking questions and being super inquisitive and it is adorable.  “Where kitty go?”, “Bye Daddy truck” and her great “I don’t know” in toddler sing song voice are precious.  My next trick is to get her to climb into her car seat on her own.

Rex’s biggest milestone by far is coming up in August – he goes to Kindergarten. There is something profoundly sad to me about having my baby go into the system (since this is the excellent free public school that we specifically moved to this neighborhood to have access to, it is definitely a system).  He has a folder now and a record and it will follow him for the next 14 years.  Of all of the things about this milestone, sharing him with a much larger community seems to be the hardest.  It’s been easy at his little community private pre-K.  Now he’ll be one of quite a few other students in an identical sea of blue shirts. At least he will also be one of the tallest kids – he’s officially now 4 feet tall.

Next goals: Rex being able to get himself juice without spilling or overpouring, Little Miss ditching the diapers and Mr. X volunteering to take the kids for a night so I can go out. One of these will not happen anytime soon. Can you guess which?


I had a realization today about the direction of my life.  For quite a while, I have been riding the wave of other’s tides. Mr. X’s job moved us to Texas and then back to Louisiana.  I’ve been doing the same job for Boss Man for 12 years.  I’ve grown two little humans who still direct me constantly on where to go (sometimes at the same time, in different directions, natch).  I was going along with the very heavy flow.

I did this in part because I had to.  Mr. X’s job pays more than mine so it was kind of a no-brainer that it would dictate where we go.  The little humans have so. many. needs. to. address. RIGHT NOW, it is wonder some days that I get out the door dressed.  And, of course, Boss Man pays my salary, so I do what he asks.

But something is shifting.  I finally gave myself permission to seek fulfillment outside (but not to the exclusion) of my job, marriage and kids.  Last fall, I started stepping a toe out of the water.  I signed up to be a CASA volunteer and went through four weeks of night classes.  And now, I’m beginning the process of finding a new job or even a new career.  But why stop there? I’m also thinking again about writing a silly chick lit novel.

Finally, I have some say in the direction of my life again and it feels really good.

(Hello, yes it’s been a while. Not much, how are you? Can we skip the promises that we’ll talk again soon? I make no guarantees.)

I Have So Much More to Say

You’ve heard it from me before: where did the time go? I honestly don’t know.  All I know is that it has been six months since my last confession blog posting which means that I and the munchkins are now six months older. Six months doesn’t have much impact on the overall development of a 30-something but it certainly does on growing munchkins.  Little Miss will turn 2 in less than a month and is starting to potty train.  Rex is 4.5 heading to the dreaded 4.75 era and I am already starting to see the signs of the shit storm that is probably coming down the pike.

But, I am also seeing signs that things are getting …. differently easier.  To that I mean small chunks of time where neither child is in need of immediate attention, feeding, wiping, diapering, stimulation, correction, rescuing, or general attention and I can just be for a few moments. They are few and far between, though. Outside of the house Little Miss is still under constant supervision (aka “suicide watch”) due to her inability to judge correctly that something is beyond her ability and could in fact be lethal.  Inside the house, though, with the proper doors closed (brother’s room so she can’t climb into his bed, laundry room so she can’t “clean” the litter box, bathroom so she can’t flood the sink) she is usually safe to roam outside of our vision.  In those moments, she actually prefers to be in her room, sitting in her rocking chair “reading her books”.  Adorbs. It’s not all wine and roses, though. Her sleeping habits have been far less regular than her brother’s.  Although, if she potty trains by the time she’s 2 1/2 I will totally forgive her for this.  I will consider the score even.

Rex has been allowed to participate in the afternoon sessions of learning at his Pre-K school and the changes are quite noticeable.  Next year, he goes into FREE public school kindergarten.  I’m a little verklempt at this development.  I’m also verklempt about the fact that there is less than a 5% chance that he will nap on any given weekend day meaning one of us must stay up with him and at least keep him company.  I refuse to see my job as a mother to be his constant source of stimulation and amusement and I find myself more and more chiding him to “go find something to do” that doesn’t require me.  I’m itching for the day when I can send him out of doors with the general instruction to “play” and he actually does.

Mr. X and I are as ever.  Our marriage takes a daily beating from the ever present mundane bullshit of life but we’re weathering it well.  We have date nights and good talks. Ironically, some of our best time together is after dinner when the kids are playing in the living room and we just hang out together. Those are some of my favorite times of the day (next to bed time).

I still have more to say. I just hope I can get around to it earlier than six months from now.



She Not Me

56332937_957671817f_zLast summer, I had lunch with a former law clerk of our firm – let’s call her “She Not Me” – as part of my re-entry to the local legal community after coming back from Texas.  We had actually offered She Not Me a position upon her graduation many moons ago but she turned it down in favor of a judicial clerkship.  At the time, BossMan groused that she was making a poor choice, which I didn’t understand since in my limited experience a judicial clerkship was quite the plum assignment given only to those in the top of the class and were very marketable later on.

During my Texas exile, BossMan had kept in touch with She Not Me through community service stuff and had told me at the time that he thought she had had a miscarriage in the last few years.  Fast forward a while and we find ourselves in firms working right across the parking lot from each other.  I was eager to catch up with her, especially if she was a fellow miscarriage survivor. I remembered her as being a pretty fun person.  We finally got past the waving hello stage and set a date to have lunch.

Within 5 minutes of being in the car, though, I knew it was going to be a difficult lunch.  She Not Me was not who I remember.  She was swearing like a sailor.  While I am a fellow sailor, this was a Deadwood-level of gratuitous swearing. I at least try to be judicious with my swearing, especially around people I haven’t seen in several years.  In between swearing, she was telling me all about swaggering from job to job and becoming a partner.  Kids seemed on the distant horizon for her. She only mentioned that she and her husband were going to have a lot to learn about having kids – and weirdly, about how she almost bought a car that wouldn’t fit a car seat.  No peep or hint of any difficulties or miscarriages.  She also didn’t ask me much about myself or what I had been up to for the last 10 years.  She certainly didn’t ask about my kids.  I was very disappointed.  I was really looking forward to having a girlfriend around for lunch or the occasional hilarity.

A few days later, She Not Me drops the bomb on Facebook: she was pregnant and already in her second trimester.  I was pissed off.  The girl knew when we were having lunch that she was going to have a kid and soon, and essentially lied about it to my face.  Granted, we didn’t know each other that well and she was under no obligation to share her joyous news with me (although looking back on it, I had this feeling that she might be but then said, “Nah.”), but her way of handling it did not do anything to raise her credit limit.  I totally get the desire not to divulge a pregnancy until it is safe, but in that case, don’t talk about kids, period. Let’s talk about interesting cases, bosses, whatever, but not kids. I can have that kind of conversation. I have a life outside of my children.

I remained friends with her on Facebook, anyway even though every single post made me roll my eyes in a dramatic teen fashion.  I was still pissed off about the pregnancy announcement.  It got worse with the baby sonogram, shower pictures and eventual “we’re in love with our new baby” picture.  I was  beginning to feel that my angst towards this girl was not so much about her lying, but something deeper so I finally decided to try to figure out why this girl had gotten under my skin.

It came to me while I was making dinner a few weeks ago. Are you ready? It is this:  She is who I thought I would be and don’t think that I am. How is that for a mind f*ck?

My biggest career regret is that I didn’t pursue a judicial clerkship.  At the time, I didn’t think that I was good enough and so I didn’t try.  I wasn’t on law review and thought that would sink my chances.  I also wanted to know for certain that I had a job that was relatively permanent before I started studying for the bar.  I got my wish. I was hired by the firm I am still working at – relatively unheard of in this day and age – and heard many times from my now boss that clerkships are useless.

She Not Me, of course, clerked for a justice on the state Supreme Court.

And, there is also the little issue of how freaking long it took for Mr. X and I to have Rex.  I thought, given her rumored previous miscarriage, that She Not Me and I had some common ground.  I gently floated some of the troubles that we had had and she didn’t bite at all.  Now I know that She Not Me wasn’t going to bite because she was already pregnant. And, it turns out that she didn’t suffer my pregnancy-related depression or anxiety about whether or not I was even going to have a live baby. She sailed through her pregnancy on a haze of happy Facebook posts and gauzy baby shower pictures.  So far, it doesn’t appear that she has had an inkling of post-partum depression, or at least nothing that she’s copped to on Facebook.  By the time Rex was 4 weeks old, I was all over Facebook practically begging for comfort from people I hadn’t heard from in years.

In short, She-Not-Me appears to be sailing through this motherhood thing already.

I feel like she is my alternate, more bad-ass and accomplished self and she is sailing through the same wickets of life that I kept getting hung up on.

The problems with this conclusion are many.  The first is that I am assuming that what she is telling me is accurate and that her Facebook persona is even a marginal representation of her real life.  The bigger one, though, is my notion that I am not as bad-ass or accomplished as she is.  I don’t think this is the case.  I have to be bad-ass on a daily basis with this crazy life o’ mine and I bring it, every damn day.  I may not be as accomplished in the resume department, but I have a job that enjoy and am good at it.  It also affords me the flexibility that I need while raising two small children with a husband who works long hours far away.

In fact, she is actually probably jealous of me. Imagine that.

When It’s Bad, It’s Very Bad

I’m fairly embarrassed that I haven’t blogged all year and the year is already into month three.  I don’t have a good excuse, but I have plenty of bad ones.  Should I start with February being short? How about January being f*&$ing ridiculous with the ice and cold and FOUR DAYS of school closures in less than a week? Maybe my children wearing me down to a nub by the end of the day so that I think I am only capable of drinking wine and surfing Facebook in those precious 90 minutes before my bedtime?

No, while all are sort of contributory, none are the real reason.  The real reason is that the only time I feel compelled to write is to moan, wail and complain about how hard everything seems to be.  When things are going well and right, I just want to sit back and bask in the glow of my perfection.  When things aren’t going so well, I want to jump on the keyboard and pound out a diatribe against whatever is lousing up my day, or month or even year (yes, you got that reference, didn’t you?).

So, I finally decided to say f*ck it and write about things that are genuinely on my mind, which truth be told, are usually the difficult parts of my life, not the easy ones.  I cannot and will not be the blogger who gives you a happy ending every time. Because, who wants to read that? I personally would much rather read about other people’s struggles and how they have managed to hack their way through it, however ugly it may be, than read a nice little present with a bow on top.

Right now, what is on my mind is that this winter is just kicking my ass, and I am not even in the snow zone.  We’ve had some pretty crappy weather (see January above) but overall, we in the south are guaranteed a faster exit from winter than pretty much anyone else. No, the ass kicking has come from Little Miss.  Poor child has been averaging at least one illness per month since October.  Kidney infection, pneumonia, random fever illness, tick bite (where I had to remove the tick – OMG).  I had really hoped that when she turned 1 in November, the bug train would slow down, but so far, she’s still attracting the germs like flies.  In January, we actually managed a 6 week period of no illness only to get BACK TO BACK hand/foot/mouth in February followed not a week later by adenovirus with inflamed tonsils and high fever.  I have had to resort to sending her pediatrician a gift card to the local movie theatre to take his family out because I have been pestering him so much.

And my poor baby girl is just miserable which makes me miserable.  It breaks my heart when she whimpers and I can’t do much to help except force her to take some ibuprofen. She doesn’t understand that it will make her feel better.  She doesn’t get why she feels like crap and her mouth is on fire.  She just cries and cries and throws little baby daggers of guilt straight at my heart.  If she could use the phone, she would have the grandparents on speed dial to tell them how much we suck as parents. I can only hope that spring will bring better weather and better health for all of us. Otherwise, I may have to start hitting my pediatrician with gift cards weekly.

The Battle on Burrito Hill

By Stefan via CC

By Stefan via CC

Late afternoons and early evenings on Sundays are fraught at best at our house.  We’ve all been together for 48 hours straight and are pretty darn tired of each other.  This Sunday was no different. Little Miss was Mega Cranky due to her failure to take a nap.  Rex was hyper from having spent a good hour and a half at our neighbor’s house playing with their different far cooler toys and three boys.  He was not pleased to be told that it was time to come home.

While I was giving Little Miss her nightcap bottle, Mr. X was finishing up dinner with Rex.  I heard the usual chatter and occasional falsetto singing that Rex swears is really him making the sound of a siren.  And then I heard the Whining Wail, unleashed by Rex in response to a fairly reasonable request that for whatever reason just rubs him the wrong way because he’s 3 1/2 and everything is drama.  I knew then that Daddy had drawn a line in the sand on the very hill that Rex had chosen to die on.  Turns out it was Burrito Hill.

I asked Little Miss what could have possibly caused the conflict. She had no opinion, she was busy sucking away on her bottle.  So, I took her with me into the kitchen and there was Rex in his booster seat, tears streaming down his adorable cheeks and Mr. X sitting across the table from him.  

Mr. X had made the very reasonable request that Rex finish his burrito before he could have his two requisite pieces of Halloween candy.  Rex, eyes solely on the prize, did not like the idea of having to eat any more of his burrito.  Given the limited logic skills of a 3 1/2 year old, he and Mr. X continued to have the same argument over and over again.

“I want my treaaaaaaaaaaaatts!” wailed Rex.

“You can have your treats after you finish your burrito. You have maybe 5 bites left.” said Mr. X.

“But, I want my treaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaats!” wailed Rex even louder.

“Like I said, you can have your treats after you finish your burrito.” said Mr. X.

And around and around the merry-go-round they went. We’ve lived with a 3 year old long enough now to know that it is completely normal for him to spend more time moaning, crying and wailing about doing something in order to get a treat instead of actually doing the thing. We also know that he is extremely stubborn and persistent in getting what he wants, despite the “obstacles” that we put up in his way.

I left them to their sparring knowing that I couldn’t help the situation and they had to work it out. Sure enough, Rex ate enough of his burrito that Mr. X gave him one piece of his candy. The Battle of Burrito Hill ended with a whimper and Snickers, not a bang.  

We Are in This Thing Together

I’ve been obsessing over ruminating on my Ex and his divorce ever since I saw him last weekend.  He was the left-ee in this situation – left with the kids by his wife.  Every time I think about it, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if Mr. X did the same thing to me. All I can think about is that I would be without my best friend and how much that would suck.  Because, that is what Mr. X is – he is my best friend with benefits.  We are each other’s other.  Thinking about it actually makes my stomach squeeze up a little waiting for the blow.

We are in this marriage together, for better or worse, and have to weather whatever comes together.  When it comes to the kids, though, it’s been hard to put this concept into practice.  Inevitably, rather than supporting each other, we are silently blaming the other for not helping enough with the kids or the housework or giving the other enough decompression time.  It doesn’t feel like we are in the battle together but in reality are battling each other while fending off the onslaughts from the children.

I finally realized this – it takes me a while these days, what with sleep deprivation and a metric f*ck ton of shit to do every day – when I was asked what thing I would give up that is only bringing me down.  I knew pretty quickly: I wanted to stop feeling like I was responsible for Mr. X’s happiness. I was getting very stressed about how I was managing the kids so that they wouldn’t make him more stressed. I was trying to control everything that could touch his life so that it wouldn’t cause him more stress than he was under.  You know how this doesn’t work, right? I didn’t.

I told myself that I was being a good partner – I was trying to lighten his burden because he was so stressed all of the time.  Of course, what I now realize is that in assigning myself the role of being his happy maker in addition to that the kids and the cats and the office and the clients, we were no longer working together. I was working for him. And when he didn’t appreciate the effort I was putting in to make his life less stressful – because we all know how easy kids are to control! – I would get angry at him and myself for the precious amount of effort I had expended on this monumental and now mostly futile task.

The person to whom I confessed this to is very wise, and also happens to have children out of the insane toddler years. She suggested that we be each other’s resting place.  The more I thought about this, the more I understood and appreciated what this meant.  Rather than trying to control the external factors of his life to make it more easy, I could instead become the person who gives him that outlet to just be or to recharge.  This doesn’t mean I will stop doing laundry or feeding the cats, it just means that I’m not going to stress about trying to make his passage through fatherhood easier. Maybe the happiness I get back from that alone will make him happier.

* And wow, two posts in one month!

** Double wow, I also forgot that I’ve been doing this blog thing for six years – twice as long as I’ve been a mom.

A Shadow of My Former Self

I took a trip back in time on Saturday.  I left Mr. X and our napping children, stole his car and headed across the lake to meet up with two of my friends from college, both in town for our 15th reunion.  I was very excited to go.  I looked forward to the reminiscing, the visiting of old haunts and the telling of old stories.  And, frankly, I was just as excited about not having any children or husbands in tow.  I was a single gal, at least for an afternoon.


Photo by zimpensifh, Creative Commons

I was also excited because one of the two friends I was meeting up with was an ex of mine.  I had a major bee in my bonnet for this boy for most of college and frankly, a few years afterwards.  Even when we were dating, though, I knew that we could not be together for any long period of time because we just brought out the worst in each other.  But, we did have a chemistry that was undeniable.  The last I had heard from him before the Facebook Era was right around the time I was getting married to Mr. X.  The Ex called to see how life was going and to report that he too had found someone and was getting hitched.  I was surprised, to be honest, since he had terrible commitment issues when I knew him and I couldn’t see him changing this so quickly. I wished him well, but was a little piqued that I still wasn’t the right lady for him.  Ten years later and he is now divorced and a single father of two.   And I am a happily married mother of two.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have at least a spark of attraction left for him.  But why? Because he was the one who sort of got away even though even at the time I knew he wasn’t right for me? No, I think it’s mostly because I never quite knew where I stood with him – did he like me, did he not like me? I could go through a garden full of flowers picking petals right and left and still wouldn’t have found out the answer. I wanted him to like me, I wanted to be The Girl He Wanted because he was the boy that I wanted.

When I joined Facebook in 2010, we reconnected.  We caught up and eventually came around to discuss our time together.  He apologized for leading me on, and I apologized for coming on too strong.  But, neither expression really captured what was going on. We were playing a game of push and pull with exquisitely bad timing and misreading of signals as only young adults can do so well.  At that time, I allowed myself to think about actually being with the Ex again and felt an almost immediate rush of … revulsion.  He wasn’t what I wanted.  But, I still wanted to be what he wanted. I still wanted to know, once and for all, if he really ever wanted to be with me.

So, fast forward to yesterday, sitting in the university center which was at once so familiar and also so modernized to be unrecognizable.  His mannerisms are driving me crazy again and we’re bickering, just like we always did. I said something about how I loved that my phone chirped and he said, “God, I missed you.”  “Missed who?”, I said. My phone? “No,” he said. “You.”

Later, after dinner hearing the really terrible tale of his divorce, I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek before leaving.  I realized in that moment that I still care about him, but now, it’s the same care I would feel for a brother (if I had one).  I wanted to mother him, make sure he was doing ok and find him a nice girl. I wanted to give him words of encouragement for getting through the tough years of being a single parent and getting his business off the ground.  Most of all, I wanted to tell him it was ok, I know that he did want me, just the way that he should.