Friday, April 28, 2006

Imitation is The Sincerest Form of Flattery And a Sure Sign of Mental Instability

The Husband had no way to prepare for this.
If he didn't have years of learning to stifle his reactions he probably would have given a response comparable to that of a Three Stooges skit.
What he saw when the door opened to Her apartment was shocking to say the least. Shocking in a sort of
Single White Female-meets-Face Off kind of way.
Cinderella's BioMom has had her Hair cut and colored to look exactly like mine.
Even I had a hard time believing it as he sat there describing what he saw.
You can't be serious.
Hon, it's like someone took your head and put it on Her body. Like it was done from a picture.
My initial reaction was that I should be flattered. I have never thought of myself as a trendsetter. I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. I don't pay attention to labels, the latest fashion or make-up trends. Hell, I'm lucky is I get to shower every day.
The thought that someone might actually like my look, my Hip-Momma-Wanna-Be look, was flattering.
Then I remember who we were talking about.
[The custody case didn't mandate a forensic psychiatric evaluation for nothing.]
And then I remembered that this is not the first time she allegedly has done this.
During the custody case in January She had dyed her Hair from brown to auburn. The exact same shade, as it was noted by both my Mother and Husband's Lawyer, as my hair color.

The dialogue went something like this:
Do you think she is trying to be like you?
Hell no. That would be crazy.
It was that next week that I selected
this as my new hair color. Red had suddenly lost its appeal.
Now, barely three months into her new color I am told she has changed it again.
Changed not only Her color, but also Her entire Hairstyle to resemble mine.
This is no small feat.
Her Hair is long with thick spiral curls.
My Hair is thin and straight.
Her Hair is all one length.
I have bangs and long layers.
If it weren't for Husband's reaction and desperate need to come home and tell me this like well, A WOMAN, I wouldn't never have given it much thought. Hubby is not the gossiping kind.
He especially doesn't like to talk about Her and avoids any discussions revolving around her like the plague.
And now, here he was, initiating a conversation about Her. Nearly bursting at the seams to include all of the gorey details.
This was on a Saturday.
I quickly realized that I had to wait an entire week before I could see this makeover for myself.

It was Cinderella's Spring Break from school and she was home with us for the week.
I could hardly wait until that Friday so I could witness the transformation for myself and then run out to CVS to find a new haircolor toot sweet but not before snapping a photo through the bedroom window as evidence for posterity.
When the day finally came, and I laid eyes on her for the first time I was shocked and a bit confused. Her hair?
It was curly.
It was auburn.
As she approached the front door to ring the bell I turned to Hubby and asked "Are you on glue?" and then let Her in.
He swears she changed it back. Recolored it and apparently used copious amounts of Rogaine to grow out her bangs in record time.
I honestly don't know what to think.

Stepmother's Bill of Rights

[Reposted from archives.]

1. I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.
2. People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.
3. I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.
4. I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.
5. I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.
6. I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.
7. Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.
8. I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.
9. My husband and stepchildren must treat me with respect.
10. Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Children of Divorce: Bill of Rights

[I wish a copy of this would be sent to every divorced parent along with their divorce decree. ]

1. The right not to be asked to "choose sides" or be put in a situation where I would have to take sides between my parents.
2. The right to be treated as a person and not as a pawn, possession or a negotiating chip.
3. The right to freely and privately communicate with both parents.
4. The right not to be asked questions by one parent about the other.
5. The right not to be a messenger.
6. The right to express my feelings.
7. The right to adequate visitation with the non-custodial parent which will best serve my needs and wishes.
8. The right to love and have a relationship with both parents without being made to feel guilty.
9. The right not to hear either parent say anything bad about the other.
10. The right to the same educational opportunities and economic support that I would have had if my parents did not divorce.
11. The right to have what is in my best interest protected at all times.
12. The right to maintain my status as a child and not to take on adult responsibilities for the sake of the parent's well being.
13. The right to request my parents seek appropriate emotional and social support when needed.
14. The right to expect consistent parenting at a time when little in my life seems constant or secure.
15. The right to expect healthy relationship modeling, despite the recent events.
16. The right to expect the utmost support when taking the time and steps needed to secure a healthy adjustment to the current situation.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Obligatory Post

Spring Fever has struck.
I have 5 half-completed posts but would rather be outside enjoying the weather with the kids.

One of my favorite bloggers has posted a list of 6 weird things about her. And while noone loves me enough to tag me, in the interest of keeping this blog interesting, I have decided to do a list anyway. So there!

Six Weird Things About Me
1) My two secret food passions are: sweet gherkin pickles and peanut butter sandwiches and Wise Potato Chips dipped in Carvel Soft Serve Chocolate Ice Cream.
2) My second toe is longer than my big toe on both feet, and from a certain angle has been said to look like a penis.
3) I slept with a lesbian in college. (Hi Dad!)
4) Whenever I see the time 11:11, I can't help but think of an old television commercial for I-can't-remember-what but it had the address of "1111 Old Country Road in Westbury."
5) I have a penchant for pens, especially those with pretty colored ink.
6) I have scoliosis but you would never know because my body has compensated for the curve.

Monday, April 10, 2006


The Boy sneezes.
I congratulate him because He does so in the crook of his elbow instead of blowing his Boy Cooties all over his hand.
[Hey, whatever we can do to prevent the spread of infection.]
Then I see IT.
A creamy white-ish/yellow-ish spot on his lower lip.
What's that on your lip?
He feels around his lip with his hand and tries to pick it off.
I don't know.
Then decides this is a job better suited for his tongue.
In a single swipe the mysterious blob disappears.
What was it? I am almost afraid to ask because ... really, what else could it be?
The Boy is all too happy to confirm my suspicions.
He exclaims this with the excitement that only a 3 year old boy can muster up for something so gross.
I wonder with my own morbid curiosity whether it was blown out from his nose or dislodged from the back of his throat.
Either way, it doesn't matter because it is now gone.
[Yep, I saw him SWALLOW but not before savoring it for a moment or two.]
And then he kicks the grossness factor up a notch, flashes his maniacal smile and announces...
I like slippery boogies, Mommy.

Needless to say I did not have breakfast that morning.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Breastfeeding 101: Or How To Poison Your Baby In 5 Easy Steps

1) When a recipe calls for both garlic AND onions, don't be so stoopid as to think that cutting back on the onions will make it OK for you to double-up on the garlic. This does not do a damn thing to lessen the painful gas producing qualities that will be transferred to your unsuspecting breastfed infant many hours later.

2) Cayenne Pepper in ANY amounts, no matter how miniscule you might think, will be detected by your baby's sensitive palette turning your boobies into hated melons kiwis of fire.

3) NEVER add garlic, onions and cayenne in the SAME RECIPE unless you are hell-bent on killing your baby.

4) And never make a recipe that calls for garlic, onions, and cayenne pepper the day before you will come down with the virus from hell that brings on aches, chills and a fever because you will be at the mercy of a baby whose tummy is filled with noxious gas THANKS TO YOU and will not lay down because OHMYGOD the pain and you will have to distract them from their misery by a combination of a vibrating bouncy seat and Baby Einstein video at 3 in the morning. You do know what karma is, right?

5) The next morning, when you are sleep deprived and go to pour yourself a cup of coffee that your sadistic caffeine addicted husband made from a bag of highly-caffeinated coffee that comes with its own warning. Pay attention to the warning and DO.NOT.DRINK.IT. I mean, really, what did your baby ever do to you?

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Stepmom Names: A Few Suggestions

Cinderella calls me by first name and probably will for the foreseeable future. And I am just fine with that. However, if you are newly stepped and would like your stepchildren to call you something other than your first name, or are currently facing a situation like this, I put together this list to help you along the way:

OtherMom (Om / Ommy)

ExtraMom (E.M. / EM / Emmy)
Mom/Mommy + First Name (Mom-Cathy)
Mom/Mommy + Initial (Mommy-C)

You could try a unique variation of your first name, such as "Cat" for Catherine.

Or come up with a special nickname that relates to something unique to you and your stepchild. For instance, if you both love Oreos, they can call you “Cookie.” If you are a bit wicked, like the author of this post, why not "Apple." (If Gwynneth Paltrow can do it, why not you?)

Try Mother/Mommy in another languages:
Dutch: Moeder/Mama
French: Mère/Maman
Gaelic: Máthair/Mamai
German: Mutter/Mamma
Italian: Madre/Mommy
Portugese: Mãe
Spanish: Madre/Mama

No matter what you decide, make sure it's mutual. Don't force your stepkids to do something they (or you or your hubby) are not comfortable with.
And as difficult as it may be for some, always take BioMom's feelings into consideration.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Why You Should Never Turn Your Back On Your Kids

The Mouse is 4 1/2 months old.
She is playing on the floor in the living room surrounded by a variety of her favorite toys.
She needs one more, I decide.
I go into her room and pick out a toy that has a teething end to it. The copious amounts of drool and finger chewing tell me something is lurking just beneath her gums waiting to make its debut.
{God how I hope it's not while nursing. }
I return to the livingroom and things are not as I left them.
The Mouse is now on her tummy.
I realize that she has rolled over for the first time unassisted.
And like her
birth I missed it.
I do what any self-respecting Mother determined not to miss another single second of their child's life would do.
I push her back over onto her back and command her to DO.IT.AGAIN.
It's now two days later and I am still waiting for that repeat performance.
No matter the age. No matter the milestone.
Good. Or Bad.

You cannot turn your back on your kids for even a second.

Monday, April 3, 2006

StepMother May I?

Children are funny.
Just when you think you are the worst Parent in the World, they unknowingly give you that much needed pat on the back that reassures You they are indeed thriving on the stucture and stability that You work so hard to provide them.
I recently attended an Open House at Cinderella's school.
It was important for Me to go to this event. It had been a difficult few weeks and I felt that our relationship had slipped a little. I wanted to be There to reinforce my commitment to being an active participant in Her day-to-day activities.
Would it be OK if I go?
Sure if You want. I was going to ask Daddy is The Boy could come but if you want to be there too that would be OK.
Her ambivilance takes me by surprise but it quickly forgotten once we arrive at Her school.
Throughout the entire tour, Cinderella speaks directly to Me. She excitedly shows me her school work, papers, drawings. I try to stand off to the side so Hubby and BioMom could see her desk. Still, she seeks me out, proudly holding up Her work for Me to see.
Walking through the halls She provides me with a running commentary on her school - from the classrooms to hall decorations.
The more I try to step aside, the more she tries to draw Me back in.
Throughout most of the evening She does not direct her comments to her Mom. Instead, She cranes her neck around her Mother or through the crowd of children so she could continue her dialogue with Me.
I suddenly realize Cinderella isn't the only one putting the focus on Me. Her teachers are directing much of their comments to Me as well.
She's working really hard on not calling out in class. I know it's a problem for Her but she's putting in a great effort and I try to reward Her as much as I can for a job well done.
BioMom sees this discussion taking place and decides to join her Teacher and Me.
I begin to avoid eye contact with the Teacher in the hopes that she will direct her comments to BioMom.
I want to reassure Her that I am not trying to take Her place or play Mommy.
Still the Teacher continues to address me.
That's why I sent her Home with the certificate because she tried really hard that day...
Oh, when was this. Recently??
I can feel the uneasiness in BioMom's voice. She is feeling left out. Like she has missed out on something.
Oh, She only just brought it home yesterday.
I hope my words reassure Her but I am doubful.
I participate in the conversation less, delaying my responses to the Teacher. I look to BioMom to respond.
Still the Teacher talks to me.
Could the Teacher have mistaken you for her Mom? My Mother plays devil's advocate.
There is no confusion as to who I am. The teachers know of our situation all-to-well.
And if there was doubt, BioMom made sure everyone knew that she was "THE MOM."
She introduced and re-introduced herself as such to Anyone who would listen that night.
It was during this conversation with Her teacher that I was brought back to Cinderella's Communion luncheon a year ago.
I was the one she turned to when it came time to order.
Can I have the burger for lunch?
And then for her beverage.
Can I have a Sprite?
I counted 6 instances during the course of Her meal where she asked Me for permission.

She was sitting directly next to BioMom.
I was sitting directly next to Hubby.
And still she deferred to Me.
It wasn't until the sixth time during this lunch that it dawned on me that Hubby or BioMom might be bothered by this although neither had said anything.

Can I have dessert?
Babe, why don't you ask Mommy or Daddy? It's not up to just me.
BioMom flashed a look that said You''s.not.up.toYOU.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too hard on Cinderella. I wonder if I am just trying to provide a structured environment or punishing her out of some misguided anger.
And yet, She still looks to me to offer feedback, praise or give permission. And somehow Her teachers have picked up on my influence in Her life.
I guess I have my answer.
Children thrive on structure. They crave stability.
Cinderella can count on Me for that.