Friday, March 30, 2007

Anatomy Lesson

Help!
OMG I am so lost.
I'm slow to catch on to the Grey's Anatomy phenomenon and need someone to explain things to me.
I just finished watching the last 5 minutes of the rebroadcast and am totally LOST.
First, let me just say Patick Dempsey. YUMM-O.
And now a bit of explanation, please?
Who is McSteamy?
Who is McDreamy?
Are Meredith and Patrick Dempsey's characters together or NOT?
The first episode I ever watched was where Meredith almost drowned. And I was SURE they were a couple. I mean the PAIN and TORMENT on his face as he sat on the floor outside her hospital room. OMG!
I wept.
Seriously.
(I know.)
And now tonight's episode ended with him with that other chick where they were talking about their failing marriage and how he was working on things?
And... AND! Meredith slept with George?!? Isn't he married to that new chick that noone likes or at least that's the impression I got from my all-too-limited viewing experiences?
WTF?
AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
What the hell is going on?!?!?!?!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dear Internet. I Need Your Advice.

Hansel went to the E.R. Thursday night.
After 4 hours, some medicine in his butt to control his vomitting and 2 dixie cups of liquids later he came home.
The evil virus seems to be gone now.
Left in its wake is a weakened shell of a boy. He's lost 5 pounds and is now mere SKIN and BONES.
No exaggeration there.
I was shocked at what I saw in the bath yesterday. His HUGE knee joints and protruding clavicles made me a bit uneasy.
His appetite is slow to recover. I am anxious to help fatten him up like a Spring pig.
Today, he's had two cups of milk, 1/2 yogurt cup and 1/3 of a pop-tart.
His all-time favorite, Ovaltine, is being given the cold shoulder.
Ack! What am I to do?!

Any advice as to what I can feed him that packs the most punch? Is healthy and high in calories?

Monday's Mailbag: Stepfathers

Dear Wicked:

What about stepdads? Can you offer any pearls of wisdom for the Dads out there facing similar struggles?

Signed,
New (Second)Dad



Dear Dad II,

From what I've seen and experienced Stepparent struggles know no gender. Stepmoms and Stepdads face many of the same challenges, as you noted, so I hope you've found some solace here since online resources are (sadly) limited.

(Though my Stepdad made it look so easy. He was the coolest most down-to-earth guy who NEVER got his feathers ruffled. I miss him.)

But if you're looking from some places geared just for Stepdad's try
here and here. Also give these Dads a shout and see if they can scout out a blogging Stepdad to add to their family.

Good luck!
W.S.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Custody Issues: Parental Authority

Hi, it's Malificent. Sorry to be a pain but I wanted to call to let you know I wanted to pick Cinderella up at 7am tomorrow since the roads are going to be really bad later on the day.

Malificent was concerned over how the pending snow storm would affect road conditions for her regular visitation pick up time of 4pm.
Prince Charming was away on a business trip so She was vying for some authority in his abscence. Trying to dictate a change in visitation without seeking His approval. Thinking I would have no choice but to allow it to happen.
I give her the same response I have given her each and every time she has tried to usurp his authority...

I'm going to have to call Prince Charming and let him know since this is not my decision.

[stunned silence]

Oh, well he's going to have to be reasonable... I mean, I deserve to see my kid!

I understand that. But you also have to understand that it's not my decision to make. I'm not THE parent. I'm not her parent.

She doesn't like being reminded of the Truth. The truth being that she was stripped of all Parental Rights and Authority in a court of law. And that even in my husband's absence she still does not have the authority to tell me Squat.
She doesn't like being reminded of any of it. That her actions cost her Custody of her Daughter. And in many ways her Dignity as a Parent.
At this moment I don't care. I resent being forced into having this conversation with her. I suck at confrontations and continue to be fearful of saying something that might piss her off.
(But oh how I wish I could lay into her just once!)
At the same time I enjoy having the opportunity to respectifully throw her words back at her.
I'm. Not. Cinderella's. Parent.
It's. Not. My. Decision.
Had I been better prepared for Her call I would have been more eloquent. Instead of tripping over my own words as I tried to explain to her why I could neither agree nor approve any change in the visitation schedule. She offered to call Prince Charming herself to ask his permission discuss it. I agreed that was a good choice since that's what she should have done in the first place.

Should I call you back after we speak?

Nah. He will call to let me know what was decided.

(Yep. That pissed her off too.)

Sadly, I cannot take her word for anything. I cannot trust her to have a firm enough grasp on reality and relay the actual details of what Prince Charming and She discuss. The woman lives in her own altered reality. She is happy there.
Prince Charming calls me moments later in a Fury.
Fury being fueled by frustration.
He knows that no matter what he says Malificent is going to do whatever she wants. She has no respect for him as the custodial parent.
If he leaves it for me to decide whether the roads are safe for travel, She is going to resent having to take my word as final. And I am not comfortable being placed in that position.
(Did I mention that I don't like confrontation?)
He is not Home to make this judgement for himself.
His hands are tied and so he gives his consent to picking up Cinderella early to avoid the snow and hopes that Malificent will exercise her own good judgement.
Luckily the roads were fine that morning. So it worked out fine. Cinderella was able to get a little extra time with her Mom. Which is good for Her.

Old habits die hard.
Malificent still siezes every opportunity to regain what she has lost.
Prince Charming is trying to find a balance between respectfully establishing his authority while setting boundaries and keeping the Peace.
And Cinderella sits at the Center of it all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Little Virus That Could

Hansel and Gretel have been knocked for a loop this time around.
Gretel's Puke O'Fest from the weekend has now moved South producing some extraordinary diaper deposits which cannot be contained.

I'm up to my eyeballs in bodily fluids.
And laundry.
AGAIN.
Gretel seems to be on the mend while Hansel's stomach has been reduced to a shriveled up raisin over the past 19 hours. Three sets of sheets and two wardrobe changes later my Son reminds me of Twiggy with his pale frame and freakishly ginormous eyes.





Mommy, my hands feel heavy! My legs hurt!
His poor muscles are so weak. His limbs shake and quiver from the loss of electrolytes.
Please take some more sips of this Pedialyte apple juice, Baby.
(Whatever you do don't tell him it's anything other than "juice" DAMMIT!)
Mommy, I'm thirsty.
His lips are red and pouty. His mouth is pasty.

Here, suck on some ice chips.

Please don't let this end in a trip to the E.R.

Probably More Than You Will Ever Need To Know

Ok. I apologize in advance if this post makes you want to poke out your minds' eye, but...

Have you ever gone to bathroom and wiped only to come up with copious strands of scalp hair on the t.p.?
I mean, how in the hell does it find it's way DOWN THERE?!
Or am I now growing a tail that I don't know about?

(And let's not even talk about the spiderweb-y sensation tickling your nether-regions that make you want to LOOK in the first place.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No Trolls Allowed

Friday. 12:30pm. Hansel's* school.
We had an incident today.
Oh?
Yes. Hansel was pinched by another student.
It was completely unprovoked?
Yes. He was turning off the lights for naptime and another student pinched him.
I washed his arm and gave out lots and hugs and kisses.
Because of some ridiculous policy no doubt designed to protect little Trolls from irate mothers Hansel's Teacher was not allowed to tell me the name of his assailant.
He on the other hand was all too happy to stand over her sleeping body while pointing her out.
She's right here Mommy!

POINT!
POINT!
She looked so sweet and innocent as she slumbered. I wanted to stomp on her sleeping Troll face on the way out the door.
My Son had a swollen welt and bruise the size of a silver dollar on his tender underarm flesh.
HOURS later it was still there.
TrollGirl is a Champion pincher. She's either done this before, or has been pinched a few times herself. She knew right where to strike to do the most damage.
Hansel's teacher filed an incident report which was sent home with TrollGirl's mother.
(NO apology was given, BTW. By either TrollGirl or TrollGirl's Mom.)


***


Monday. 12:30pm.
Hansel is playing in the back of his classroom. With two Girls.
(Oh, his Dad would be so proud.)
One of them, TrollGirl #2, sees me and knows I am here to take Hansel home.
She places herself in his Path and backs him against the wall. She isn't ready for her Playmate to leave.
He is too innocent to know what she is doing or to be bothered by it.
Sadly for TrollGirl #2 his Mother knows what she is doing. And I am bothered by it. I don't like Bullies.
I have to step between them in order to escort my Son out of the classroom.
I later ask Hansel about TrollGirl #2. What game were they playing. Were they playing nicely together.
I don't know the name of the game, Mommy. TrollGirl#2 picked it. She likes to boss me around.
He then tells me he is not bothered by it blah blah blah.
Ok then.
I tell the overprotective Mother Bear inside me to SHUT UP and let it go.

***

Wednesday 12:30pm.
Same scenario. Different Day.
This time when TrollGirl #2 sees me she pulls Hansel BY.HIS.COLLAR to keep his attention on Her. I stumble over the midget-sized table and chairs as I rush to intervene with this little snot who is challenging me and bullying my son.
Excuse me, but playtime is over. It's time for Hansel to come with ME.
NOW.
As we are getting his coat on TrollGirl comes to the front of the classroom and stands with her hand on her hip. She keeps her body squared off with his. Hansel is oblivious to her and speaks with his Teacher while trying to get his coat on. He looks like a dog chasing his tail as he spins in circles trying to chase down the ever-elusive sleeve to his jacket.
(It was quite hilarious, actually. Reminds me of this.)
TrollGirl's eyes are fixed on Hansel. She adjusts her weight from hip to hip as she remains fixated on my Son.
She is vying for his attention.
Hansel has no idea she is there.
Hansel, say goodbye to your Friend.
Goodbye!
Goodbye Hansel.
TrollGirl #2 is satisfied and walks off.
At the car I question Hansel about TrollGirl #2 again. I don't like what I am seeing. He is being bullied by girls GIRLS! and doesn't think to care. My mind fast-forwards 10 years from now when he gets his heart stomped on by some other TrollGirl. My heart breaks at the thought of this.
Mommy, you know what I told TrollGirl #2 before? That one day I was going to marry her.
ACK!
Nuh-uh. No way. I'm going to nip this in the bud RIGHT NOW.

No Trolls Allowed.
Time for the protective armor. I wonder, which do you think would be the most effective. This, this or something more to the point like this?

(*I'm exercising a little creative freedom and parental right! My blog. My kids. So henceforth The Boy and The Mouse shall now be called Hansel & Gretel.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday's Mailbag: Expert Resources

Dear Wicked,

Nice blog... but,what makes you such an expert on stepparenting?

Respectfully,
Stepmom Searching for Guidance


Dear Searching,

Nothing.

I am only an expert in steparenting as it relates to MY life because... well, I'm living it. This blog is about my Life experiences as a Second Wife, Stepmom and Mom. All of it.

The good. The bad. And the ugly.

I write more for myself than anything else. It's a therapeutic outlet to help me navigate the sometimes troublesome waters of my Not-So Fairytale Life. But in so doing I've also gotten some pretty amazing comments and feedback from some pretty amazing Stepmoms who have helped me to learn that I am not alone. And for that I am grateful. I've also received some notes of thanks from other Stepmoms who, like me, felt they were alone. And for that I am also grateful. And humbled to think that my ramblings might actually be of some use to someone else. (Who knew!)

I'm no expert by any means. If you're looking for experts try
Dawn or Jann and Sharyl. These chicks have already won their battles and learned the lessons that I am still learning and have some pretty amazing resources for Stepparents.

I have a ways to go but I will get there. One day.
In the meantime, you're welcome to come along for the ride if you'd like. If not, I can try and help point you in the right direction.

Sincerely,
W.S.

What Would St. Pat's Day Be Without...

(*Edited to add link to soda bread recipe. I used this recipe but I also added raisins. How much? A couple of handfulls until it looked like there was enough.)
(** Soda bread with raisins is called "spotted dog.")

Irish Porridge for breakfast.
A feast of corned beef and cabbage,
beef and guinness stew, colcannon, champ and soda bread.
A pint of two of the
black stuff... and,

Our very own mischievious Leprechaun.






And one of the Frosty-kind,

And a puking Pixie who figured her Mom hadn't had enough after
this experience. This time, in addition to getting Herself AND my clothes she projectile vomitted all over the couch cushions.
Lucky for me our guests came to my aid as my Prince Charming simply stood there pint in one hand and stew in the other frozen like a deer caught in the headlights.
'Tis a Blessing indeed!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

'Tis a Blessing

To be a toddler ...



... with enough flexibility to smell one's own feet.


May your Past be a pleasant memory,
Your Future filled with delight and mystery,
Your Now a glorious moment,
That fills your life with deep contentment.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh
(Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Custodial Stepmother Failures

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stepmother's Bill of Rights":
What a joke. I've been looking for information on custodial stepmothers, who aren't mothers at all - and the fact that there is some bill of rights for these "mothers" is ridiculous. They aren't your kids. Let's see - read that again - they aren't your kids. You think you won the lottery by marrying their dad, you are unrealistic, you are idealistic and mostly - you're a failure - have your own kids. I've yet to meet one custodial step "mother" who was worth the title.


Oh, Anonymous!
I am so sorry for whatever experiences you have had in your Life that have left you so bitter and biased against Stepmoms. Experiences that would prompt you to search for "custodial stepmother failures."
(Oh, and I am sorry for deleting your oh-so-constructive comment.)
I feel for you. For I know how difficult it can be to forgive and forget and MOVE.ON.
And how easy it is to play the victim, focus on the negative and cast hateful remarks.
I've perfected that role. I am Master of the Me Vs. Them Game.
But I'm learning that our only Failures are if we don't use our individual experiences as opportunites to learn and grow and be better people.
People who can rise above the petty bullshit that oftentimes pits BioParents, StepParents and Kids against one another.
I still have a lot to learn. A lot to forgive. And a lot of healing.
I'll get there one day.
I wish the same for you.
Oh, and with regards to your last comment. I do have my "own" kids in addition to my stepdaughter. Two of them, actually. I've posted about them quite frequently here. I'm sorry you didn't stick around long enough to learn that not all Stepmoms are as vile as those which you claim to have encountered.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'd Like Some Cheese With That

Cinderella comes home from her visit with Malificent.
I pulled a muscle in my neck. Mommy says I should put an ice pack on it.
Oh. Sorry, we don't have any ice packs.
[cue whining and tears]
But it really hurts! What am I supposed to do?!
A hot shower should help.

But Mommy said an ice pack will help!
Sorry, babe. We don't have any ice packs. Did Mommy give you an ice pack at her house?
No! She didn't!
Ok. Then try a hot shower. It just needs to work itself out.
***
Five minutes later after the shortest shower in the history of Tweendom Cinderella emerges from the bathroom.
[cue whining]
My neck still hurts! What am I going to do!?
You weren't in the shower long enough.

[cue whining]
But it wasn't helping!
That because you didn't give it a chance to. You'll feel better in the morning after you get a good night's sleep. You probably just slept on it wrong.
[cue whining]
But it was fine this morning!
Ok. Well we've all had a stiff neck at one time or another. I know they hurt. It'll get better.
It really hurts when I turn my neck this way.
[try to stifle chuckles as I deliver the punchline to one of those classic Doctor-It-Hurts-When-I-Do-This jokes]
Well don't turn your neck that way.
[cue whining and flip Exaggeration Switch to FULL-ON POSITION]
But then I can't move my neck at all!
***
Go make your lunch for school tomorrow.
[cue whining and tears]
But Daddy said I can buy lunch tomorrow! You heard him!
Sorry, he didn't tell me. But I'll ask him later and maybe you can buy lunch on Friday.

***
I ask her to dry her hair.

She has the most beautiful thick wavy hair that I just treated her to having cut by my hairstylist who used to work in Hollywood and still has some celebrity clients but now makes home visits thank.you.very.much.
Five minutes later after the shortest blow dry in the history of Tweendom, and with her hair twisted into two buns to hide the fact that it is still sopping wet...
You hair is still soaking wet. Please go dry it.
[cue whining and tears AND foot stomping]
Huh? Where?!

I just dried it!
I don't want to dry it!
And this time in case there was any doubt in my mind that she is totally turning into a hormal Tween she storms off and slams the bathroom door which is directly outside her Baby Sister's room just for effect.
Five minutes later she emerges from the bathroom STILL stomping and is now angrily flipping her hair about as if to say SEE!!!!! It's DUH-RY NOW! FLIP! STOMP! FLIP! STOMP!
***
This entire exchange took place in the span of 45 minutes.
Holy moly. It's a wonder my mother didn't murder me in my sleep when I was that age.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Searching...

... for something witty to say in response to my last post because, really, there's a joke or two hidden in there somewhere.
But I can't seem find it.
What I also can't find is that hour of sleep I lost sometime over the weekend.
Has anyone seen it?

I Don't Know What To Say

Recently I read yet another story about a breastfeeding Mom being discriminated against because she had the audacity to feed her baby in public.
Right.
Ok.
WhatEVAH!
Be discreet is what they always say. I've heard this lame defense in EVERY conversation-turned-debate over the topic.
(Had this same debate with my brother a while ago but we won't go there again.)
I don't mind as long as she is discreet.
Ok, so who defines discreet?
And now I just read about this new product - a N.I.P.P.L.E.T.I.N.T. - that makes your nipples appear "pert and fresh looking."
I'm dumfounded and flabbergasted over the absurdity of it all.
Seriously, people need to make up their effing minds. You can't have it both ways.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Stepmom Name Translations

Spanish = Madrastra
Greek = Metruia
German = Stiefmutter
Italian = Matrigna
French = Belle-mère

Portugese = Madrasta
Swedish = Styvmor
Dutch = Stiefmoeder
Finnish = Äitipuoli

(The above might not be exact translations. They were obtained using the translation tools offered by several online dictionaries. Please contact me with any corrections or additions.)

Love Thursday: A Toy Story

Once upon a time there was a Bunny. She was loved by a Little Girl.
The Bunny had pink ears and a rattle hidden inside its feet.
Daddy brought her Home one day when the Little Girl was a Baby.
The Little Girl slept with the Bunny and brought Her everywhere.
They ate breakfast together. And lunch. And dinner.
The Bunny sat on the bathroom sink and watch as the Little Girl splashed and played in the bathtub.
They would watch Pokemon cartoons every night. And go to the movies together. And birthday parties.
The Little Girl would take the Bunny to the park where they would play on the slide and swings together.
The Bunny attended every one of the Little Girl's tea parties. And co-starred with her in every play and musical performance.
Every night Daddy would tuck the Little Girl and the Bunny in bed before reading them a bedtime story.
(And then the Little Girl would read her own stories to the Bunny after Daddy left.)
(For hours.)
The Bunny even went with the Little Girl to the hospital and got to wear a surgical mask and hat. The Bunny was there when the Little Girl went to sleep and was there when She woke up.
The Bunny was also there when her Daddy married her Stepmom.

When one of Bunny's ears ripped the Little Girl's Daddy fixed it.
He carefully cut a piece of Yellow cloth and stitched the torn ear back together.
(Yellow was the Little Girl's favorite color.)
The Bunny was happy with her new ear. The Little Girl was happy too.
The one day the Little Girl lost her Bunny.
For the hundreth time.
And like every time before, the Little Girl's Daddy was able to find the Bunny.
This time Bunny was left on a shelf in a toy store. Carefully put there by the Little Girl as she played with some newer toys.
It's time we keep Bunny safe at Home in Your Bed.
The Little Girl's Daddy couldn't bear the thought of her losing her beloved friend for good.
The Little Girl agreed. And the Bunny was happy.
Ten years have past since the Bunny came to know the Little Girl.
The Bunny knows there will come a day when the Little Girl won't need her as much. That when that day comes She will be packed away with her other cherished childhood memories and replaced with magazines and makeup and BOYS.
Until that day Bunny will continue to keep the Little Girl company at night and guard her bed every day while she is away at school.
For the Bunny loves the Little Girl. And the Little Girl loves her back.

Happy Love Thursday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Monday, March 5, 2007

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Remember this?
Umm... yeah, not so cute anymore.
The Mouse is lacking in the verbal skills department. But why speak when she can exercise her lungs.

All. Day. Long.
She has turned into a screamer.
(Which, if applied in the proper situations much MUCH later in life, will make some man very happy one day.)
Her screams have now become synonymous with any and every request that a Toddler can possibly think up in a 24 hour period.
I want that toy.
I want to sit in your lap.
I want you to read me this book. No... wait, I want to get down.
I want this book.

NO.
This book!
I want that cup. Not that cup. THAT cup. No I want THAT CUP. Over there. THAT CUP! THAT CUP! GAWD YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!
I want something to eat.
I want something else to eat.
I don't want to sit in my chair and eat.
I want my snack trap.
With Cheerios. Froot Loops. Oreos. Will they fit?
I want to play with the phone.
I want to play with the television remote.
No the REAL one; not the one without the batteries.
I want the toy my Brother is playing with. Oh, he's not playing with it anymore? Then I don't want it either.
I want the toy my Brother is playing with NOW.
Give me the toy.
GIVE IT TO ME.
NOW!
I want you to turn this toy on.
I want you to turn this toy off.
I want you to take the lid off this container.
I want you to put the lid back on this container.
I want to brush my own teeth.
NO! I want you to brush my teeth!
I want you to change my diaper.
Why are you putting me on the changing table and taking off my diaper?
PUT MY DIAPER BACK ON!
Why are my feet covered by socks? WHO PUT SOCKS ON MY FEET?
I want to take my socks off.
Take my socks off for me.
NOW!
What are these things in my hair?
I want to play with them.
I want you to take them out.
NOW!
I don't like the book you read me before. I want you to read THIS one.
No, no, no. I don't want you to actually read this book.
I want you to turn the pages.
Like I am a speed reader.
NO. You're turning the pages too fast. I can't see the pictures!

Start over.
I don't want you to turn the pages.
I want to do it myself.
These pages are too thin. I can't turn them.
Turn the pages for me.
I am tired. I want to go to bed.

::sigh::
She's not the only one.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Orphaned Laundry

The Husband emerges from the bedroom.
He is holding a single sock in one hand.

What is this like Mad Max: Beyond The Dryer Drum? Two socks enter...one sock leaves?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Love Thursday: Magical Firsts


December 2003. 15 months old.
The Boy sees his first snowfall.

[I can still hear his tiny awestruck gasp! as he appears to reach through the glass and touch the magical white stuff that had blanketed his world.]

Happy
Love Thursday.