Being Brave

I have felt better lately, more confident, having the courage to finally show my writing– and therefore myself– to the world.  To me, writing is baring the soul, the heart, the very nakedness of myself.  So when I finally started this blog, after years of wanting so desperately to do so but being so deeply terrified of it, I felt a freedom that I cannot compare with anything else in my life.

I felt very alone for the first 31 years of my life.  I was surrounded by people who not only did not understand me but who also used me as a punching bag on which to take out all of their aggression, fear, and sadness.  I don’t know whether that actually caused my depression and anxiety disorder or exacerbated it, but I have lived with those things for as long as I can remember.  I began suffering from insomnia at the age of three, and I first experienced depression while I was still in elementary school.  The anxiety and panic came when my parents separated.  I was twelve when I had my first panic attack.  I was spending the night with my grandparents, and my grandma and I were sharing a bed because I was having trouble sleeping.  I sat bolt upright shortly after laying down, overcome by a sense of pure panic, dread, and terror.  My grandmother was hard-pressed to calm me and get me to sleep.

After this incident, I experienced many, many more, well into my seventeenth year.  I continually asked for help– or for my mother to take me to someone who could help– and was continually dismissed.  At the age of seventeen, I read a magazine article about anxiety/panic disorder and was amazed to see, for the first time, that there was a name for what had been happening to me.  Up until that moment, I had thought I was crazy.  The relief I felt was palpable, followed by anger that no one had listened to me.  That anger still lingers.  Anxiety and panic attacks ruined so much of my teenage years, and it could have been treated had someone had the kindness and patience to listen to me.  Maybe someday the anger will go away, but I am not ready to let go of it yet.

Today, though I no longer suffer from panic attacks (because I had to learn to control them out of necessity), I still suffer from anxiety.  And usually depression goes hand-in-hand with it.  But it is manageable most of the time.  However, it is vital to me that as many people as possible are educated on this subject, if for no other reason than to prevent other young women from feeling completely alone.  Please, please click on the link below.

I watched this ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqu4ezLQEUA ) tonight and was overcome with sadness and poignancy.  It perfectly describes what I went through with my mother as a young woman.  I know her dismissal was borne of ignorance, not lack of caring, but I still ache from it.  If your child or sibling or parent or friend or anyone else ever comes to you with this, do not respond with fear or ignorance or impatience.  Open your arms to them and offer your love and acceptance and any help you can give.  It is so imperative in recovery to not feel alone.  If you are a close friend of mine, you have already seen me suffer through this, and I thank you for standing by me.  I am beyond thankful that I am no longer alone.  I have much to be thankful for today– summer with my children, a new job, and six weeks of full weekends coming up.  In addition to wonderful friends and an amazing husband.  Anxiety and depression do not understand thankfulness, and they don’t realize that they don’t belong where things are good.  So I hold on to the happiness I have today and the hope that my monsters don’t intrude on it.  I want to enjoy my reasons for being thankful.

I know I write a lot about uncomfortable things– reason being that these things need to be brought out of the shadows and into the light.  The stigma needs to be erased so that those who suffer from it no longer have to feel ashamed or guilty or self-conscious.  And remember, if you are one of those who does struggle with depression/anxiety– flare-ups are temporary.  Depression and anxiety lie– do not believe what they tell you.  Hold on to your life and to the ones you love and believe that you will walk through it.  Because you will.  I have survived it enough times to know.  Above all, know you are not alone.  Life is not easy for anyone.  It is more difficult for some than for others.  Today, I am thankful that it isn’t hard.  Today, I will revel in the many reasons I have to be happy.  Because I don’t know when the clouds will come.  I do know, however, that I will walk through them and see the sun again.

Childhood Bonding Experiences with my Father, Some of Which Were a Little Traumatic

When I was a child, kids were reared very differently than they are today– especially in Texas.  My dad was “Texas” through and through.  When my mom went into labor while my dad was attending Yale, he brought a jar of dirt he’d dug up before they’d moved to Connecticut and insisted on placing it under the delivery bed so that he could tell everyone his first child was born on Texas soil.  My dad and I had some great– and occasionally really gross or fairly dangerous– times together.

For instance, my father was an avid hunter– because Texas, ya’ll– so I ate a lot of venison.  That wasn’t the bad part- venison is actually pretty awesome when it’s not game-y (I would like to say, however, that I do not advocate hunting, even for food, because we have these great things called grocery stores now).  In addition to eating a lot of recently murdered animals, I also grew up around dozens of mounted heads and hides (and one gigantic snake skin from an enormous snake my dad killed while doing a geological survey for Exxon).  My dad did not believe in wasting any animal parts that could be eaten or used for home decor or given as gifts. He once gave my mother a set of taxidermied turkey feet. She thought he was doing some voodoo shit on her.  He also believed in doing the “cleaning” himself.

**WARNING: This next part is super-gross, so don’t read it if you don’t have a strong stomach or get offended by descriptions of dead animals!!**

One day when I was about three years old, I wandered out the front door of my grandparents’ ranch house and was not at all surprised to discover an entire deer hanging from a tree with a giant hole cut in its side.  Next to the deer stood my father, covered in deer blood and dropping the last handful of deer guts into the pile he’d made on the ground.

“Whatcha doin’?” I asked, probably very cutely.

“I’m cleaning the deer I shot,” my dad replied, no attempt to shield me from the disgusting animal carcass.

“What’s that mean?” I asked.  (I was going through the ‘question everything’ phase.)

“It means I take out the guts and take the skin off, so we can eat it,” he answered matter-of-factly.

“Can I see it?” I queried.

“Sure,” he said, stepping back, giving me room to inspect the deer.  So I toddled over to it and poked at it a little and very probably put my finger in its nose because I was known to violate animals’ cranial orifices when I was little.  Seeing shit like this is almost certainly why.  I inspected every inch of the deer until I got to the gaping hole in its side and then stuck my head inside to look at the inside of the deer.  That happened, people.  And do you know what my father did?  Did he snatch me up in horror and try to explain how gross and potentially messy and dangerous that could be?  Nooooo.  My father felt the correct response to this inexplicably icky action was to lift up the deer’s tail, peek through its butthole, and happily exclaim, “Peekaboo!”  To which I responded by laughing hysterically.  So then and there, my father and I played a ten-minute game of peekaboo, using the asshole of a dead deer.  And I know I am remembering it correctly because my dad, when he was still alive, used this story to illustrate to his friends how “Texas” his only daughter was.  This explains so much…

He also proudly taught me how to clean his shotgun, and I used to look forward to it after every hunting trip.  He would take out his case of tools and gun oil (I loved the smell of gun oil as a kid), and he would let me screw the pieces of the plunger-thing together (I don’t know what it’s called, but you use it to clean the barrel).  Then he would thread a piece of cloth through the thing on the end that looked like a giant needle-eye.  He would let me shove it into the barrel and get it all clean, and then he would let me help him polish the gun all over.  Most parents wouldn’t want their small children exposed to firearms, but my dad wasn’t most people.  He thought I should know all about guns so I wouldn’t try to play with them, and I thought it was the funnest thing in the world.  I was not a typical little girl.

Think back to your last intestinal bug.  Was it a miserable day or two of running back and forth between the bed and the toilet?  Not at our house.  At our house, when you had a stomach virus, you were confined to the bathroom by my mother, who would not even chance someone barfing on the carpet.  She would make you a pallet and put the nine-inch, black and white TV on the bathroom counter.  You would snuggle into your warm, puffy pallet, watch cartoons, and get up occasionally to puke or be force-fed Pedialyte mixed with Sprite (back then they only had one flavor of Pedialyte– sweat) or to get an anti-nausea suppository rudely poked up your backside (no joke).

On this particular occasion, because Dad and I were both sick, my mom let us camp out in the master bath to give us room to get to the toilet without tripping over each other.  When we got bored with the TV and started to feel a little better, I snuck to my room and grabbed my cassette recorder.  I thought one of the most hilarious forms of amusement was to record myself on a blank tape and play it back over and over.  I brought the tape recorder back to the bathroom, and Dad and I spent the next two hours recording ourselves making fart sounds, singing, and making “bomb” sound effects.  Nothing passes the time when you’re sick like being trapped in a bathroom with your dad, a TV, and a tape recorder.  I saved that tape and played it over and over for the next two weeks, giggling behind my hand the whole time.

My dad and I had some great– and unusual– bonding moments.  He liked to tell the story of the time I saved him from a snake when I was four.  We were at my grandparents’ ranch again (lots of gross stories occurred there, often involving peril to life and limb), and we were getting ready to take the canoe out on the pond for a little fishing.  My dad had the oars and fishing poles, and I proudly dragged the tackle box along with both hands.  It was winter, so we weren’t really watching for snakes because they should have all been hiding underground or under rocks and stuff.

Dad laid the oars on the ground at the edge of the icy water and gripped the canoe on one side to flip it over.  As the six-foot, metal boat turned over and exposed the hard ground beneath, I caught a glimpse of something orange-y and white in the grass.  I looked closer and saw what I knew, even at age four, to be a Copperhead.  It was slow-moving because of the cold, and but even so, I saw it pull its head back as though readying itself to strike at my father, who was less than two feet from it and had yet to see it.

“DAD, THERE’S A SNAKE!!!” I yelled.  In one swift motion, he grabbed one of the heavy, wooden oars, looked to where I was pointing, and brought the flat end down hard on the snake’s head.  Then he hugged me tight and thanked me.

“We need to get a picture!” he exclaimed.  So we ran back to the cabin and told my grandpa what had happened.  He followed us back to the pond with the camera.  After poking at the snake a few times to make sure it was really dead, my dad scooped it up on the end of an oar and sat me on his knee while my grandpa took a couple of shots.  For the next few weeks, my dad proudly told anyone who would listen about how his four-year old had surely saved him from a venomous snake bite, twenty miles from the the nearest hospital.  Every time we flipped through our photo albums after that, Dad would point to the picture and say, “Remember when you saved me from Copperhead?”  And I would feel proud too– and thankful.

Dad and I had some strange and sometimes idiotic adventures, and I loved them all.  I also love that I have his wicked, sarcastic sense of humor.  I love that I can see him in my son and my brothers.  I love that I have these great memories of using my dad’s golf clubs to whack the heads off the mushrooms in the backyard every spring, and I love that he  introduced me the Beach Boys when I was eight.  I love that he always had a sports car and would sing “Barbara Ann” to me along with the stereo while we drove to the beach.  He called me “B,” and to this day no one else is allowed to call me that.

My dad would be fifty-nine years old today, and I am currently the same age he was when he died.  When I remember my dad, I smile.  I can never watch a bad ’80s horror movie or a Godzilla movie without thinking of him.  And how many kids can say they learned to read from the Sunday comics, while sitting on their dad’s knee?  My dad was funny and incredibly intelligent and also very, very complicated.  I look back on some of the very strange things we did together and– even though some of them are a little disturbing (like the deer peekaboo) or dangerous (like the snake)– I am grateful for every one of them.

Why Animals are Better at Teaching Sex Ed

Before you think I’m an unconscionable pervert, this post is not about bestiality.  It’s about how kids growing up in the Midwest learn about sex far before we take sex ed in school.  When I was a kid, I thought my family were the only freaks who learned the facts of life from, well, wildlife, but my husband recently put that fear to rest by informing me that he learned about sex from… tortoises.  Yup.  Tortoises.  Just about the least sexy animal in the world, next to hippos.  And giraffes.  Giraffes are very unsexy.

My darling husband, visiting the zoo with his dad as a young child, had no idea that he was about to be traumatized forever.  As the hubby and his dad wandered toward the tortoise pen, they heard a strange, unidentifiable sound: “Wwwwwoooooowwwww…  Wwwwooooooowwwww….  Wwwwwoooooooowwwww…”  They followed the sound, curious as to what it could be, and saw a crowd gathered.  Pushing their way to the front, they saw two tortoises, one perched awkwardly on top of the other, the top tortoise weirdly making the “Wwwwooooowwww…” sound over and over.  My husband and his dad looked at each other, and my kindergarten aged hubby imitated the tortoises: “Wwwwwoooowwww…”  His dad made the same sound back at him: “Wwwwwoooooowwww…”  And this became their private joke any time they both saw something awesome.  “Wwwwwoooooowwww…”  This explains… a lot…

Not quite as bad as tortoises– but definitely disturbing– was learning about sex from livestock.  Growing up, my family owned lots of horses and cows.  I still feel bad for my brothers because I can see how this would cause some insecurity in the male department.  Being the oldest, I was a little more educated than A1 and A2.  So when they saw our horses mounting each other for the first time, I had to answer some uncomfortable questions.  Being the excellent older sister that I was, I took full advantage of the opportunity to do as much psychological damage as I could to my little brothers.  It was hilarious.  There’s nothing like telling a three-foot-tall person that he is going to remain exactly the same size, grow a member the size of a horse’s when he hits puberty, and then have to reproduce in exactly the same position as a horse.  The facial expression is beyond priceless. (Almost as priceless is watching a miniature pony try desperately to mount a palomino that’s about fifteen hands high.)

Parents, take a lesson– unless you want to try ineffectually for years to undo lots of mental trauma and eventually end up paying for a decade of therapy, just have “the talk” with your kids. It’s uncomfortable, we all hate it, and no one can look each other in the eye for a couple of weeks. But it’s preferable to catching your two sons measuring their wieners every day and then asking you how long before they grow horse dicks. No one wants to have that conversation.

How a Camel Tried to Eat my Face and Other Reminiscences

When I was three years old, a camel tried to eat my face.  My mom had taken me to the Houston Zoo, and back then they only put glass or tall fences around the obviously dangerous predators– alligators, lions, gorillas, etc.  Camels, apparently, were viewed as docile and tame enough to allow toddlers access (despite their propensity for spitting).  I don’t know if what I experienced is typical of camels or if this particular camel just happened to be an asshole– either way, it traumatized the hell outta me.

My mother stood back with A1 (my first brother) in his blue stroller, and I climbed up on the log pen that prevented the camels from wandering around like free-range douche bags.  Evidently, I found the camel that was creative enough to come up with a way to assault the general public despite his captivity.  As I leaned over the top of the fence, holding on to the top log, a large and rather smelly camel lumbered over to me– and promptly wrapped its entire mouth around my tiny head.  I remember seeing the camel walk towards me, then suddenly being enveloped in very wet darkness.  The next thing I knew, someone’s arms were around me, rescuing me from the camel’s oral embrace.  I was so shocked I didn’t know whether to cry or pass out or poop.  So I just stood there, camel saliva dripping from my face and hair, and stared in dazed astonishment at my mother– who was looking back at me with the same open-mouthed, wide-eyed expression– and then at the stranger who had had the presence of mind to rescue me.  (My mother was remarkably terrible in an emergency; her panic mode kicked into overdrive pretty fast, and then she was useless.  I learned how to handle 911 situations by the time I was ten.  As a result, I am now excellent to have around in a crisis.)

When I got older, and began retelling the story to my friends– because I thought it sounded pretty awesome that I had narrowly escaped being devoured by a large and massively stinky mammal– my mom told the story from her perspective.  She watched in horror, panic making her immobile, as the camel slurped my face into its mouth.  Fortunately, some other mom (who apparently was actually functional in emergency situations) sprinted over and yanked me away.  Hearing that, I was very glad that the camel hadn’t bitten down, or I might have been accidentally beheaded.  Or be-faced.  De-faced?  What’s the word for having your face ripped off?

I eventually developed a fear of the Houston Zoo because bad things tended to happen to me there.  As well as almost being eaten alive by an animal that isn’t supposed to be all that dangerous, I was also sneezed on by an elephant.  I’m pretty sure I’m the reason they started putting double-fences and very deep ditches around even the “safe” animals.  I was riding around in my stroller, probably looking adorable, and my mom wheeled me up to the wire fence that separated the elephants from the spectators.  One elephant turned its trunk straight at me and sneezed with such force that it required a sink bath in the public restroom and a full change of clothes.  In addition, when I went to the zoo with my grandpa as a small child, some weird, older couple grabbed me by both arms and tried to run off with me.  I screamed my head off to alert my grandpa because my parents had instilled in me a specific terror of kidnappers (as most parents did to their children in ’80s).  My grandpa yanked me away from them and, as I recall, said a lot of words to them that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap had I repeated them.  So between the camel assault, the elephant attack, and the kidnapping attempt, I really disliked the zoo.  (Aside from the hot dogs.  The hot dogs were awesome.)

In fact, my spastic parents helped make me scared of just about everything and everyone.  If they weren’t telling me about kidnappers (which I’m sure was just their misguided way of trying to keep me from running off in public), they were talking about burglars.  There were a couple of times when houses in our neighborhood were robbed– despite living in a really nice area– and I heard a few too many burglar stories.  I was afflicted with insomnia and almost nightly nightmares as a child, so I was awake pretty often in the middle of the night.  I would lie there in bed, listening for the intruder I was positive would eventually come, and the moment I heard the slightest creak or groan of the house settling, I would run wake my dad and tell him to get his gun.  So he would dutifully, and groggily, grab his pistol from the bedside table (because in Texas, in the 80s, lots of dads slept with pistols next to the bed) and walk through the house checking for criminals.  Then he would reassure me, tuck me back in bed, and order me not to wake him up again unless the house was on fire.  But he didn’t understand– my bedroom was the first room in the hallway off the living room!  When the burglars came, they would come to my room first, and they’d probably kidnap me for good measure!  Then they’d send my parents a ransom note, and I would be forced to sleep in a basement with no TV and eat nothing but disgusting vegetables until I was rescued.  (I had a weird idea both of burglars and kidnappers.)

My fear of kidnappers was so severe that I would throw a hysterical fit any time my mom tried to leave me in the car while she filled the gas tank.  And when I went out in public with my dad, he couldn’t use the restroom until he got home because I would insist on going in with him to make sure I was safe.  Once he took me to the circus, and on the way back we had to stop for gas.  He needed to use the facilities and told me to wait right outside the door.  Which I did.  For about ten seconds.  The moment a strange man walked toward the restroom, I burst into the men’s room, screaming my head off, and startled my dad so badly that he peed all up the wall and all down his pants.

I wish I had some profound lesson from all of this (other than “Don’t tell your kids about burglars or kidnappers” and “Don’t get close to elephants”).  But really, what I got out of all of this crap is this 1) There is a fine line between teaching your kids to be cautious and scaring the ever-living-fuckity-fuck out of them and 2) Camels are dicks.  For real.  They are just about the biggest assholes in the animal kingdom.  Followed closely by elephants.

My Youngest Brother is Nuttier Than Squirrel Shit

My baby brother was a runt when he was little.  He was a tiny baby and was always the smallest kid in his class– until he hit high school and suddenly turned into G.I. Joe.  I think it may have been his midget-ness, coupled with the never-ending torture that my middle brother and I put him through, that spawned in him a need to prove himself.  And that he did, in every way possible.

A2 (as I have referred to him in previous posts) was the kind of kid who jumped off the top of the jungle gym and on the way down remembered, “Oh yeah, I have to land…”  He was so absent-minded and non-observant that the house once literally almost burned down around him while he obliviously watched TV.  (My mother got out of the shower and walked into the living room, which had completely filled with smoke from a very burnt turkey in the oven, and A2 looked up at her in complete surprise when she shrieked and asked him how in the hell of all shits he hadn’t noticed.)  And he feared nothing.  That is not a good combination.

A2 got stitched back together more times in the first ten years of his life than his brother and I have in all of our years put together up to this point.  The fact that he would eat virtually anything for money provided no end of amusement to A1 and me over the years.  The father of one of his friends once made the mistake of handing him an unopened box of Milk Bones and offering him a dollar for every one he ate.  He ate all thirty-five.  It was this fearlessness and ability to eat things that would kill a normal person that made him a perfect candidate for the military.  And it prepared him well.

Anyone who knows anything about the military knows that, on bivouac, you get nothing but severely rationed rations.  Basically a square of cardboard meat and flammable, powdered creamer twice a day.  After being in the woods for a week, A2 and his guys wandered back onto their base and passed a dumpster.  On top of the trash in the dumpster was a Papa John’s box, and it called to them like a siren.  Upon opening it, they discovered half an  uneaten pizza.  So A2 and his buddies sat down on the ground next to the dumpster and went Godzilla on the trash pizza.  As they were wolfing it down, their CO walked by and gasped in horror when he realized what they were doing.  “What the hell is wrong with you guys??!” he cried.  “I threw that pizza out yesterday!!”

Once on an open-ocean swim, A2 and his swim buddy stopped to tread water for a moment.  “Damn, man, I’m thirsty,” A2 said.  And no sooner were the words out of his mouth than a half-full bottle of Gatorade floated past.  Not bothering to consider how long it might have been floating, or whether he might contract three kinds of hepatitis, A2 promptly downed part of the bottle, then offered the rest to his swim buddy.  He also once ate candy off the ground on the sidewalk.  Opened candy.  He has the immune system of a cyborg and the stomach of a trash compactor.

His next ocean adventure was a little less fortuitous.  He was doing a polar bear swim with the rest of the guys in his troop, and they made a bet to see who could last longest in the icy water.  A2, of course, won.  As he dragged himself back to the beach triumphantly, he realized that he was getting some funny looks.  Finally, he looked down and realized that there was a large and very alive jellyfish wrapped tightly around his calf.  He was so numb from the cold water that he couldn’t feel it.  Prying it off was the stuff of legends.  And now, among his guys, A2 is the stuff of legends.

I like to think that some of the torture A1 and I exposed him to as children helped prepare him for his life in the military.  He does seem to take everything in stride better than most.  Things that would either make me scream in horror or vomit profusely have no effect on him.  I view it as a excellent argument for the validation of shooting your sibling in the nipples with a BB gun for target practice.  Imagine all the times he found himself in a terrible situation and thought, “Well, at least it’s not as bad as getting tagged in the nips with BBs,” or “At least I’m not being force-fed dog poo (go read my previous posts for the story on that one).”  Yup, sibling torture surely made my youngest brother the G.I. Joe lookalike he is today.  You’re welcome, little bro.  I will be a dick for your well-being any day.

Awesome Convos I’ve Had with my Kids and Things I Never Thought I’d Say or Do Until I Became a Mom

This is a collection of hilarious interactions with my kids and things I’ve said and done as a mother that would’ve seemed very strange– or unthinkable– to me before the birth of my first child.


 

Convo with my daughters, R and G, when they were ages six and three years, respectively:

R: (pointing to a picture of me as a baby) Mom, I look just like you!

Me: Yes, you do, baby.  You look just like Mommy.

G: Do I look like you, Mom?

Me: No, you look more like your dad (referring to my ex).

G: (without missing a beat, loudly and furiously) HEY, I’M NOT BALD!!!!

Me: laughing hysterically


 

My son, age three years, sits down to pee on the toilet at my grandparents’ house where, for some reason, the bathroom is carpeted:

Me: Make sure you point it in the potty.

J: Point what?

Me: Your tallywhacker.

J: What’s a tacky-whacker??

Me: Your penis. Weiner.

J: My penis is named tacky-whacker???!!!


 

The following illustrates more than anything else how very much I love my son:

J was going through a phase where bugs and snakes were the most fascinating things in the world. And I could handle the terrarium with the benign grass snakes in it and the mason jars full of snails (that bred and laid 5,000 eggs and had to be released at our local park before they took over the house) and the caterpillars that we raised to butterflies. But then came the nightmare creature.

My ex and I were up in the Texas Hill Country, which is home to all sorts of horrible bugs and snakes. One morning we found a 6-inch long centipede on the porch, so the ex trapped it in two Styrofoam cups, and we took it home to J. I could hear it skittering around in the cups the whole ride home and was terrified that it would break free and eat us. We put it in yet another plastic terrarium and gave it to J, and he lost his mind over it and named it Slasher. I literally had nightmares about it escaping its cage and munching us all to death with its appalling mandibles. I researched it and found out that it was a common and very aggressive red-headed centipede.  So aggressive, in fact, that it would stand up on its very back legs to snatch bugs from us when we opened the lid to feed it, so we resorted to feeding it with tongs.  Its diet consisted of enormous, green katydids that we caught in the garden.  It occasionally molted and eventually grew to be nearly a foot long– no exaggeration.  It lived for a year in that terrarium, consistently horrifying all of us, except for J, and giving me nightmares on a semi-regular basis.  I’m reasonably certain it was actually spawned by the devil in the deepest bowels of hell.


 

My middle child has always been very independent and insisted on doing everything on her own, frustrating the hell out of herself from time to time.  Potty-training and switching to big-girl underpants was no exception.  I was once interrupted while putting away laundry by the sound of a tiny voice grunting and whining in the hallway.  I peeked around the doorway to see R rolling around on the floor, red-faced and struggling with all her might to pull on a pair of her new undies.  At first I was confused as to why she seemed unable to get them up past her thighs, and she was so furiously pissed off that she was starting to scream in rage.  When I sat down next to her and put my hand on her to get her to quit squirming for a second, I saw that she had actually stuffed one leg is the waistband and was trying to get the leg-hole up around her waist (basically she’d put them on sideways).  When I got her calmed down, I showed her how to find the waistband by looking for the tag.  I will never forget her cute, little self, rolling around on the floor and squealing like a piggy as she tried desperately to get that leg-hole up over her butt.


The following are actual statements I have made (some more than once) since becoming a mother:

  • Don’t ride the cat.
  • Stop licking your armpit.
  • Don’t feed the cat popcorn.
  • Stop farting on your sister.
  • Don’t strip in public.
  • Please stop headbutting me in the tailbone.
  • Please don’t burp like a trucker at family gatherings (this to my seven-year old daughter).
  • Stop throwing bananas.
  • Please stop lifting my shirt in public to look at my tattoos.
  • Quit banging your head on the shopping cart handle.  We’re getting looks.
  • Get your fingers out of your sister’s nose.
  • Please don’t take off your diaper and throw it across the room after you pee in it.
  • Tossing your plate upside down on the floor is not the proper way to tell me you’re done eating.
  • Popsicles are not dinner food.
  • No, you may not go out in public wearing a purple unibrow that you drew on your face with my eye shadow.
  • Please do not ever again sneak into bed with me at 5:00 a.m. to cut my hair.
  • If you ever again fart in yoga class and then blame it on me, I will stop letting you go with me.
  • It’s not okay to call out your great-grandma on her farts in public.  She’s old, and she can’t help it.  She probably doesn’t realize she did it.
  • It is not necessary to name your poop.
  • Farting on command is not a talent– it’s a health hazard.
  • The cat’s tail is not a handle.  Do not use it to carry her around the house.
  • Diapers are not fuel– please don’t take yours off and toss it in the fireplace to make the fire bigger.
  • No, the lemons on the lemon tree in your great-grandparents’ backyard are not yellow because you peed on the tree when you were swimming and didn’t want to dry off to go use the bathroom.  You can’t believe everything your great-grandpa tells you.
  • Yes, girls do have ovaries, but boys do not have “underies.”  Please do not believe– or repeat– anything your uncles tell you.

 

I was once riding in the car with my son, my grandmother, and my aunt.  J was about two years old and was singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to himself as he looked out the window.  After a few verses he sang, “Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O!  And on that farm he had a dick-dick, E-I-E-I-O!  With a dick-dick here and dick-dick there!  Here a dick!  There a dick!  Everywhere a dick-dick!  Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O!”  I glanced at great-grandmother, whose eyes were round with shock, and at my aunt, who was shaking with barely contained laughter, and sighed and closed my eyes.  “Well,” I shrugged, “at least he knows Old MacDonald is a dude.”