I forgot the password

Both my kids are now in school full time, from 8 am to 3 pm.

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No, it’s more like

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I have recently started participating in activities that I had abstained from in the past due to the pursuit of such activities being an exercise in futility.

What are they?  Oh, you know, stuff like bathing regularly and being able to hear myself think.

I have been immersed in 24/7 child care for so long that seven hours on my own feel awfully strange.

I have to keep reminding myself about tiny details, like that it’s okay to sit down to a meal without having to worry if the boys have had theirs, and that I can now pee with the door completely closed.

And locked.

That last one is still taking some getting used to.

Summer vacation 2015 felt like the long weekend from hell.  Each day was so much like the other that I felt as if we were on constant rewind.

Even my boys were bored out of their minds with so much free time.  The other kids in our neighborhood were either at camp or on vacation.  Sure, we had swimming and karate classes twice a week, but what else is there to do to fill up the many, many hours of radiant sunshine that is summer?

That’s right.  Video games.

And don’t even get me started on the fights that these games caused.

Each morning I would wake up to the sounds of screams and shouts, some excited, some plaintive, some whiny, and some of them combined with tears.  I would stumble my way to the living room like a zombie, still half asleep, the effects of not having gotten enough rest clearly showing in my puffy face.

Blogging?  What blogging?

I am an avid reader/follower of many different, wonderful blogs, and I hate when they don’t get updated for extended periods of time.

Of course, I would never do that, I prided in myself.

Which just goes to prove that it’s easy to blame the chipmunk if the nut has fallen from the tree.

Didn’t get that?  I didn’t either.  I think it’s my summer brain still doing the talking.  Or should I say typing.

But you know what I mean.

Oh, the onslaught to the parental brain that is summer vacation.

And don’t forget its evil sibling, which is the transition from late nights and lazy days to early mornings, parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, and homework.

Shudders.

No, it’s not that we don’t want to spend time with our kids.

What ever gave you that idea?

It’s just that summer kids are bored kids.  They’re bored kids with bored friends who are so bored that they start thinking up of devilish things to un bore themselves and then they end up not bored, but also not very happy.

Like my 5 year old, who thought it would be fun to go all George of the Jungle on the long living room curtains.

Watch out for that coffee table!

He flew right into it.  On TV, little birds go round and round your head when you crash into something, but in real life, you get a big hole in your chin, where, upon impact with the coffee table, your incisors chewed through your lower lip.

You get blood that looks like a chocolate fountain coming out of your mouth, 3 hours in the ER, and seven stitches.

And you get a momma with severe heart palpitations from the stress.

And that’s not even the worst part.  You want to know what the worst part was?

The worst part was that when they were all backpacked and ready to head out the front door that first day of school, I didn’t want to let my kids go.

That’s right.  Even after this crap fest of a summer, all I wanted that day was to have my sons stay home with me.

Figure that out if you can.

I wanted to diaper them, feed them mush from a jar, and have myself be their go to person for their boo boos, their stories, their meals and their play time.

I wanted them to be my babies forever.

Damn those onion cutting ninjas!

With precious little brains left, I had no time nor energy for creative wording, so I just gave up attempting  blog posts during the summer.

And because of that, I forgot the password to my WordPress account.

Late in August, when the reprieve, AKA the first day of school, was right around the corner, I attempted to log in and failed.

Five times.

And now that I’m here, that’s all I had to say.

Hope your kids are enjoying being back in school as much as mine are!

Snow is a four letter word

There are days when my brain works at a speed and efficiency that surprises even me.  On those days, I am charming and at my witty best.  I also manage to churn out draft after draft of the most fantastic blog posts, the sheer awesomeness of which would completely boggle your mind.

Then there are those times when I can’t even spell wow and only every so often is there an occasional blip in the flat line that is my brain activity.  All those fantastic blog posts are trashed and I wonder what I was high on that I ever considered them good enough to publish.

This blog post has been stuck somewhere between those two states of mind.

As I sit and type, son 1 and son 2 are jumping off and climbing back on my king size bed.  They’re chasing each other and laughing like maniacs.  There’s a lot of noise and hyper activity.

Occasionally I have to move my laptop out of the way for fear of one of them crashing down on it.

Son 2 just sat on son 1’s face and farted.  I was going to say something, but before I could, son 1 laughed hysterically and shouted Mine will be worse than that!

The joys of being the only female of the house.

My sons think women don’t have gas because they’ve never heard me share it before.

After a week’s worth of monkeying around, picking up of toys, fighting, shoving, crying, refereeing, complaining of utter boredom, and trying to keep from losing my sanity, Son 1 had his first full day of school, post spring break, last Monday.

Back when I was a student, spring break actually started in Spring.  

The icing on the cake was the surprise snowstorm we got on the first day off.  We woke up to five inches of the white stuff on the ground and temperatures low enough to make sure it stayed there.  For the entire week.

The snow meant no chasing the chubby little bunnies in the backyard, no swinging or sliding on the play set, and no digging tunnels in the freshly exposed dirt to see if you could get to China without paying for expensive airfare.

So with the situation as it was, the kids were plenty bored.  PLENTY bored.

Which led to my husband buying them a brand new way to have some fun.

I have a strong feeling it was more for him than the kids.

The game system brought excitement and even more fighting, this time for who would get use of the fancy new controller.

Look, they stuck a little TV in it.

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It’s been almost two weeks since then and I’m still waiting for my turn.  😡

Times sure have changed.  I grew up in a house with four siblings.  If one of us ever complained about something as frivolous as being bored, we didn’t get toys.  We got lectures.  And not even your typical lectures.

Our lectures consisted of stuff like how we were the lucky ones, how kids in the old country would be happy to trade places with us, and that we were bringing shame on our entire family, plus a few generations back of ancestors, by not making the most of our time off and doing math problems.

No one does guilt like Indian mothers do. 😐

I tried the guilt thing with my kids once.  Just once.  I was sick and probably also slightly off my hinges for even thinking any of my parents approaches to discipline would ever work.

I said to my boys Can you please keep it down?  I’m not feeling so well.  I could use some peace and quiet.

They didn’t care.

Frustrated, I said If I had daughters, they would care that their mommy was sick.  They would tell me to rest and make me breakfast in bed!  

My boys looked a little shocked at that and traded nervous looks with each other.

I thought Jackpot!, but no.  

No jackpot.

Maybe you’ll have better luck next time was the apathetic reply.

I was almost desperate enough to start pretend crying next, because every man I know, from my 61 year old father to my 4 year old son, gets nervous and fidgety when the water works start.

But I didn’t.  I just lay down on the sofa, propped my feet up, and let the two of them play a game of who can jump over Mommy without crash landing on top of her.

Not my boys, that’s who.

Anyway, all that came to an end the moment Son 1 got on that giant yellow bus and I waved to him from our doorway.  I told him to be sure and thank his teacher for me as soon as he saw her on the first day back.

What for? he asked.

I replied Don’t worry.  She’ll know.  

I’ll bet he had to wait in line.

 

 

Motherhood. 24 hour service.

All mothers, or all parents rather, know that the time gap between one oh, shit! moment and the next is small.  There’s that golden five minutes when everything is right in your world and the rock of now freaking what?! hasn’t shattered the glass of homework is done, dinner is ready, house is habitable, and the kids are mostly clean.  Yes, when you’re a mother to two little boys, one of them prone to fits of extreme hyperactivity, that is your utopia.  It’s a step up from the game of limbo I was playing when both my boys were under the age of three and how low can you go was anyone’s guess.  That point was crossed when the washing machine crapped out at the same time as my breast pump.  Begging God to grant you just one effing onesie that’s clean, just one! while you rummage through the pile of baby clothes like a homeless bag lady with her udders full to bursting wouldn’t rank very high on anyone’s Nielsen box.

The past week has been a mad rush of trying to get all my school work done and handed in on time.  The feeling of thank everything that’s holy, the semester’s over had barely registered when I saw my first grader get off the bus and walk towards home.  He paused to fiddle with something the neighbor across the street had put up in his yard and that’s when we both heard it.  The extremely loud, nasal voice of our neighbor, demanding that my son keep his hands off whatever it was he was fiddling with for fear of it breaking and him hurting himself.  The man was shouting so obnoxiously, at the top of his lungs, that I and the other kids walking home from the bus stop could clearly hear every word.

My son stared in the direction of the voice for a minute, stunned.  Then he turned and slowly walked towards me, shock, hurt, and humiliation written all over his face.  I felt those emotions myself, along with guilt.  Not the kind of guilt you feel when you’re perusing Wikipedia articles while ignoring their please donate requests, but the kind of guilt you feel when you know you’ve failed someone.

My seven year old is a sweet little guy with an over the top zest for the funner things in life and an inability to keep his hands to himself.  He’s the typical boy, just extremely overactive.  He’s fried chicken, cooked extra spicy. If something in his vicinity is just standing there, minding its own business, he has to get his Facebook on and poke it.  Often that something is his little brother.

He’s a curly haired cutie that neither listens to nor fears anyone.  Being the first occupant of my womb entitled him to certain freebies in the minds of his grandchild starved grandparents, both maternal and paternal.  Before we knew it, he was spoiled to the point of no return.  He’s got an attention span of a full sixty seconds and a proclivity for bouncing off walls, sometimes literally, and getting himself into trouble, usually of the type that requires bandaging.  He is the road runner to my coyote in the  Sisyphus like trials that are the mothering of a child with a mind of his own.112699-15951

That’s not to say he’s mean or hurtful.  Far from it.  He’s the Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone, not the Macaulay Culkin of The Good Son.  If he knew what he was doing would bother our neighbor, he would never have done it.  He’s well aware that he’s only allowed to make his parents miserable.

While standing at our door watching him walk over to me, I remembered another shouting my son had received from the same man, earlier on in the month, for not stopping to look right and left before crossing the street.  I had let that pass at the time due to it seemingly coming from a genuine concern for my son’s well being, but in light of the most recent screamathon, I felt like the world’s biggest dumb fuck of a mom for doing so.  If I hadn’t let the man think it was okay for him to raise his voice at my son the first time, he wouldn’t have dared to do it for the second.

Along with the guilt came the confusion of what exactly to do about the situation.  My mama bear instincts were raring to go ape shit on the guy, but were held in check by the fact that on both occasions, my kid was being careless.  And even though the man was loud and vile, the end result was that my son was safer due to his actions .  It was a tough few minutes of mental and emotional wrangling, but in the end I decided that, even it was for his safety, no one could talk to my child in a way that made him feel and look the way he did when he slowly walked towards me from the driveway across the street.  No kid’s safety should have to come at the expense of his self esteem.

I dialed the number for the neighbor and spoke to his extremely polite and really mature for his age eight year old, who rides the same bus and was witness to what had happened.  He calmly explained to me that his dad was too harsh and that when his dad shouts like that, it scares him, too, which made me think the man’s fuse seemed to be only slightly longer than that of the incredible Hulk’s.  The boy said not to worry and that he would send his father over to talk to me as soon as he returned home.

I hate confrontation.  I’m a five foot zero inch shorty, but my brain forgets that little detail when it’s trying to put out the fire in my she’s pissed off as hell quadrant.  I can’t say I wasn’t scared of meeting the man.   I was actually hoping he would show up after six o’clock and then he’d be my husband’s problem.  But I remembered the way I felt earlier, when I saw my son’s reaction, and that decided it for me. I had had enough of feeling like I had failed him.  Whether I wanted to or not, I would don my warrior mom, she bear out to protect her cub, this bitch means child protective business outfit and confront that bastard.  Which I did.  I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I got the point across, with double the prize money awarded because I did it without…wait for it…raising my voice.

This whole ordeal, and some of the other dear god, what the eff scenarios I’ve been through in the seven years I’ve been a parent, have taught me that being a mom or a dad is challenging.  Very challenging.  It’s the test of your life, without the option of open book or open notes. You’re expected to have all the answers when half the time you don’t even know what the fuck the question is.  Your job comes with the requirement that mommy will make it all better, even on occasions when mommy’s ready to shit her pants.  But it’s worth it in the end, when your children go off to college and become the state’s problem.  Just kidding.  It’s really all worth it just to hear those sweet little guys call you their momma.

In this corner, the jolly fat guy. In this corner, the other jolly fat guy.

My seven year old wants to celebrate Christmas.  He’d like a Christmas tree with the the works.  He insists on presents and stockings.  My husband remembers asking the same from his parents when he was that age.  I do too.  Christmas probably has the distinction of being the most beloved holiday for kids, because of this guy. santa-claus-clip-art-9izM4z6iE

What’s not to love about Santa?  He’s a fat old jolly dude that brings free toys.  Which is great and all except for one minor technicality –  we’re not Christian.  We’re Muslim.  In our house, Dec 25 usually just means we get to sleep in and you have to buy essentials early the day before because even the zombies at Walmart get the day off.

But try telling my kids that.  I wouldn’t know where to start.  Saying Santa only visits Christian homes makes him sound like a selective, prejudiced bastard, so that was out.

Before you tell me to haul my non conforming ass back to my own country, let me tell you that celebrating or not celebrating Christmas is not the issue here.  We respect all religions and to take part in the festivities of any holiday, be it Christmas or Diwali, would just mean more fun for us.  Besides, Muslims love Jesus just as much as Christians do.  I look forward to buying a little tree and sticking some presents underneath it, while telling my sons I texted Santa the code to our alarm system so he won’t set off the motion sensor.

The issue is that for my kids, Christmas is Cinderella and Eid her fat footed, big nosed sister.  No, we don’t celebrate Ramadan, just like you don’t celebrate November.  Eid is the name of the holiday and Ramadan is the the holy month that precedes it.  In the voting booths of kids brains everywhere, Christmas has taken a far lead over Eid, since one means presents and the other means a month of daily food deprivation.  Clear winner here.  This isn’t the presidential election of 2000.

In an effort to make the holiday more appealing to kids, my husband and his college friends once thought up a character by the name of Eid Saeed.  A Muslim Santa Clause.  I don’t know what they were smoking when they did it.  Eid Saeed would shake things up for the holiday, all right.  The idea of a Muslim guy who enters U.S. air space by magic and goes into people’s homes in the dead of night with a bag full of things you can’t see is definitely going to excite people.  Especially the authorities.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I really don’t have any solution to the aforementioned problem so that’s right, I’m just going to leave things hanging.  We already make Eid an occasion more  enjoyable for our kids than visiting Disney World.  I’m not going to fly Mickey Mouse out here now, too, because his ginormous rodent ass only travels first class.