Hi! I'm Lauren, and I need a Lobotomy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Totally Faking A Handicap

Tonight I pulled into a handicapped parking spot at the store, inconveniencing two guys who were talking across it. I flipped the handicap tag down on my rear view mirror and slowly got out of the car.

"You're not handicapped!" The guy on the driver's side said.

"Yep," I responded.

"You must be handicapped in the relationship department. You must make bad decisions on who to date," he said back to me. (I can't remember what he really said, but it was something along those lines) "Maybe we should get together."

"Sure," I responded. I was on my cellphone when all this was going down, so I wasn't paying much attention.

"Is that guy hitting on you?" the guy I was on the phone with asked, who also just happened to be my husband...

"Yeah," I replied. "He probably just liked me for the tag and the parking spot that comes with it."

We had a giggle over it, but I have to admit I was a bit offended by the guy's comment.

I know I don't look like I have a handicap, but I'm a really good actress when it comes to that and I have a pretty high tolerance for pain manifesting in the facial expressions I make. I have a friendly attitude and I usually have a smile on my face no matter what is going on.

However, and it's probably too early to share this with any readers, I do actually suffer from some pretty cruddy stuff. My main diagnoses is neuropathy. My doctors believe it was brought on by gluten, but I quit eating gluten before they could test for it and I am not going to eat it again for the sake of a blood test. I have been on this journey for four years and it's finally better, as in I can bear it and I've made adjustments to my life that no longer make me feel like the most worthless person on the planet. My grandmother has neuropathy and my great-grandfather had it, although it didn't really have a name yet when my great-grandfather was still alive.

At one point I had a $16,000.00 genetic test, which showed absolutely nothing, and once cutting gluten out of my life and feeling better, I decided to stop costing the government money with further tests.

That does not mean that the nerve pain is gone. The doctors don't know if the damage can ever be reversed or if this is something I will live with for the rest of my life.

I try not to think about myself, my pain, or the inability I have to accomplish even the simplest of tasks some days. (let alone take care of two small children, a house, and two dogs - I'm working on fitting a job back into the mix) I have made a choice to live the life I have, and even when it hurts I put on a brave face and try my hardest.

Some days it hurts to get out of bed and put my feet on the floor. Sometimes I want to have my six year old cook breakfast for herself and her brother. Sometimes I wish I could send everybody away and not have to take care of anybody. When my fingers don't seem to want to do what I tell them to do I want to hire someone to be my hands. When my strength in my arms fail and I have to hold my son down with my legs so I can change his diaper while he flails around it makes me want to cry. None of those things are an option and I have to carry on with the life I have made for myself.

My support group is amazing, and I love them all so much for the help they give me, but I have to choose to live while it would be so easy to give it all up and take the easy road.

It hurts when someone doubts me and what I am going through, but in the end I guess I will choose to be proud that I've given them doubt as to my condition, which makes me a pretty good actress. Is there an Oscar for me?? Just kidding, I'd probably fall up the stairs when I had to give my acceptance speech, and I wouldn't ever want to look like there's something wrong with me.

So, yeah, guy outside the store, I guess if you can't tell, I should be pretty proud of my skills. So thanks for that, I guess!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boarding School

At what point do I get a break from an angry, yelling, stomping six year old? When do I finally say "Enough!" and call the farthest (furthest??) boarding school away from here? Just kidding. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe... We are on day three of horrible behavior time from Missy Mad Mad.

I feel like this is all because her dad is away for some military training. She always brings her worst to me when he is gone. I know it is because she misses him terribly and it's hard when he isn't around. She doesn't know how to articulate her feelings very well because she doesn't have the words. The poor girl has really only spent about 3 years of her life with him; interspersed throughout the six years she's been alive. The longest stretch was a year and a half, which isn't saying much because that's when she was 2 1/2 to just-turned 4 (literally - he left four days after her birthday to deploy) and it's hard for her to remember all of that time.

It's hard to know what to say to her when she gets like this. I've been to all of the military classes that supposedly teach you how to deal with this behavior and what to do about it, but I have yet to find something that helps right away. I have found it just takes time, sometimes a long time, but the toll it takes on the parent left at home is definitely difficult. We have the Daddy Dolls * (which are fabulous, might I add - the link is below), but they obviously aren't the same as Daddy being here. I tell her we will see him soon, that he is only a drive away, but she doesn't really understand geography and it feels like it will be forever to a child who has a different sense of time than an adult who can process those things better. I try and be an understanding mother, but eventually the tantrums wear through my patience and I get sick of them.

It's then that I start looking for boarding schools. I found one in Australia that looked really nice right after my son was born and my daughter was a holy terror. She was almost 4 1/2 and my husband was deployed on his third tour. I (wisely) decided against sending her there. Her dad probably would have been a tad bit angry at me when he got home and she was gone, or when he saw the money coming out of the account... But, oh my, how I wanted to sign her up and ship her out! Maybe he won't be so mad if I look for one a bit closer, like London, or Switzerland... nah, he'd still be upset.

Instead, I have come up with a solution. I will put her in a box, with breathing holes, of course (come on, I'm not cruel!!) and ship her to him. I'd had that thought while he was overseas during the other deployments, but I thought that the flight would be a little long and she might get a cramp in her leg, start yelling like a banshee, totally blowing my cover, and I'd be stuck with her again. (not to mention child protective services) He's not so far away now, only a two hour flight, so maybe, just maybe it would work... Hey, a frazzled mother can wish, right?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Amusement" Park

I have learned a lesson: Never take 5 little kids to an amusement park if you want to come home with an intact brain.

I learned that lesson yesterday when some friends and I took the kids to the amusement/water park. We were doing great at first - we shelled out the extra cash for a personal cabana, and with all those kids it was a fabulous thing to have. We thought we were soooo smart! We had waited out most of the first 15 minute safety break when we thought it would be smart to take the restless kids over to the pirate ship area, which has slides and places to run in splashing water. My daughter, who's 6, immediately went into melt-down mode. She was screaming and stomping and causing a scene while she told us she refused to go to the pirate ship. Well, when you have four other kids who really want to go to the pirate ship area, the one who does not want to go has to follow along. She reluctantly came with us as I started to drag her along. I guess she didn't want to scrape her knees or something crazy like that.

We finally meandered over there and put our toes in the water. It was freezing cold. It was blasting out at our faces at about a million miles an hour, and it was, let me reiterate, COLD! The 'girl with the bad attitude' was sitting on a rock, pouting, as we chased the others around. I went with my little guy onto the pirate ship and rode down a water slide with him, immediately getting yelled at because there was a weight limit on the dang thing. Seriously? OK, whatever, lifeguard dude. We splashed around a bit more and then I heard yelling coming from the steps up to the pirate ship. Actually, it was more like shrieking, as in 'somebody getting knives stabbed into them' shrieking. I turn to look to see who's horribly undisciplined child was causing all the ruckus, and to my horror it was my daughter. Wow. I, being the responsible parent that I am..., made sure all the kids were being looked after and ran back to the ship. My daughter was standing on the steps telling me she hated this place, her face was red, and she was kicking the water all around. I grabbed her, took her to the 'shore' and plopped her down. She told me she was never coming back and she wanted to go home. When I reminded her how many chores she was going to have to do to pay me back she shut up and followed us back over to the wave pool. That was a little better for everyone, although once the waves started my little guy wanted nothing to do with it. I had to hold a screaming, not quite two year old, baby while holding onto my daughter's raft. Every time a wave came he would crawl up my body like a little monkey. It was a blast, let me tell you.

When the second safety stop came about we decided we should probably feed the whole rotten bunch of them before they became more rotten and we got ourselves kicked out. That is where adventure number two came about.

Everyone decided they wanted chicken nuggets and corn dogs. Fine. That shouldn't be too hard. It IS an amusement park, after all, and people like fried foods when they wear themselves out standing in ridiculously lines for the rides. We made our slow way over to the ONE stand that sold what we were looking for and got in line. Trying to keep everybody amused while we waited was neat. They basically took off and immediately started stomping on the flowers planted around a tree. One of us went over there, trying to stop the behavior, but it was like trying to herd cats. They would all stop for a minute, one would see our backs were turned and get back on the flowers, and they'd all be up there the next second. It happened so fast you would think it was magic. Black magic.

Trying to figure out why we'd been standing in line for ten minutes at this point and not moving, we noticed there was one guy working the most popular stand at the whole place. One. We contemplated going somewhere else but there was nowhere else everybody would be happy, so we chose to wait it out. Twenty minutes, and lots of yelling at kids and bad looks from just about everyone, we got to the front of the line. And guess what? They were out of corn dogs. Great. I run over to see if my daughter will eat anything else and she says no. I am about to scream in frustration when I decided to order her a hot dog and she could just deal with it. There was going to be no reasoning with her and I didn't want to fight it. She was trying to run the show and it wasn't going to work. I bribed everyone with Dippin' Dots if they ate all of their lunch. (Don't judge me) Lalalala - long story short, we finally made it back to the cabana a couple of hours later and we were pooped. We herded everyone back into the pool and attempted to have some fun again. We finally wised up and stayed there until they kicked us out. The margaritas certainly didn't hurt, either. (See, we were smart!) A few rides and games later and I'd had enough.

The fun continued when we left the park and I only had one bottle of water. Perfect. Two kids and one bottle of water. Well, Miss Anger Management Reject started kicking and screaming again about how it wasn't fair; I was a terrible mother; I should have two water bottles because I have two kids and I didn't think right; and so on and so on and so on. She also said she wasn't going to put on her seat belt if she didn't have water because she was too hot to move. I understand she was tired, yup, I get that, but it didn't make it any easier. With the threat of 'never ever going anywhere fun ever again and we were only playing in a kiddy pool in the backyard', she clipped it fast enough. Ten minutes into the drive home and they were both blissfully asleep and I could have a thought in my mind about something else that wasn't yelling, angry kids.

I'm never doing that again, I told myself. But, as it turns out, I'd bought season tickets. What was I thinking. I need a lobotomy. Please!! Oh, and the whole "I hate the pirate ship" thing?" Yeah. It all happened because my daughter thought there were real pirates there. Sheesh.