Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WARNING: Dangerous Curves Ahead

There I was. 
Standing before him. 
He was talking to me. Asking me questions. Reassuring me with his own responses.
But all I could do was think, "Holy shit. I am standing in front of this man with no shirt on and the girls dangling hanging out there. And he is looking at me" 
I'm topless. And he is talking to ME and not my BOOBS.
Well of course he is, he sees them every day. It's no big deal to *him*. 
It's only a big deal to you.
(And trust me, my boobs are no BIG deal which is WHY I am there in the first place.)

Before having children my figure resembled that of a prepubescent boy.
(Well... a prepubescent boy with a bit of boo-TAY.)
Calista Flockhart? Debra Messing?
Those chicks are fecking Dolly Parton compared to me.
Hello Great American Flatlands... meet your East Coast rival. My chest.
After two pregnancies and two years (cumulative) breast feeding I now have as my Stepdad affectionately called "woman curves."
South of the Border, that is.
Hellllooooooo pear-shape!
So here I was talking to a plastic surgeon about breast augmentation.
Looking for a bit of balance to my curves.
"I don't want to look like Pamela Anderson. Or like I make my living getting up close and personal with a stainless steel pole." 
(No offense, Josie.)
An hour and a half later we left our consultation after sufficiently grilling our HIGHLY qualified surgeon with our well-researched questions.
And here I am a month later with a surgery date scheduled for early June.
I have not yet decided how much of this journey will be documented here.
Not sure how many of you will care or if I want to go into that much detail about my boobies.
(Whatever I decide there will be NO before or after pictures. Pervs.)
But what I will say is that I am excited, relieved and anxious all at the same time.
I feel empowered for taking control of something that I have been talking about for twenty years. Just one of many things that I had always wanted to do *for myself* but never gave myself permission to do.
Then I saw this quote on the blog of one of my favorite social media gurus & Twitter friends, Jeff Pulver.
I didn't want to let another twenty years go by and regret not doing it.
No Regrets. That's my new philosophy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Custody & Visitation: Transportation "Responsibilities"

I waved as I drove past the house. 
Their waves were as much an expression of their gratitude as much as their happiness.
Five minutes later my cell phone rang.
Hi WSM. I wanted to thank you again for driving Cinderella here. I know you are now rushing to make it to your appointment but I really, REALLY appreciate it.
"Oh, it's no problem really."
Well, I am grateful because I know you didn't *have* to do it.

Maleficent was right. 
Legally transportation for her visitation days is not my responsibility. Court documents put the onus entirely on her shoulders.
And then there's the "all-of-the-responsibilities-none-of-the-rights" argument that plagues stepparents. 
Technically I didn't have to drive Cinderella anywhere. But emotionally. Morally, I *had* to. 
Ten minutes earlier my 11 year old stepdaughter was in tears after just learning that her mother would not be able to pick her up for one of their twice weekly visits. 
I was heading out anyway. So what was the big deal to leave 10 minutes earlier?
Are you sure? I don't want you to have to take the kids out in this [rainy] weather. 
"It's no big deal. Hansel and I have a 5:30 chiropractor appointment so we were leaving in a few minutes."
But will that make you late for your appointment? I just feel so terrible, we hate to lose time with each other and I had no idea I would be stuck without a car but my time with her is so preshus already... but are you sure you don't mind? Will the doctor's office take if you you are late?
(Well if you stop ASKING me if I was sure and let me GET OFF THE PHONE DAMMIT I will be able to make my appointment.  My moments of compassion and empathy for you are fleeting, woman. Don't make me lose sight of WHO I am doing this for by making it all about you.)

I was late. But who cares. I called ahead to the chiropractor's office and there was no problem.
Maleficent thanked me profusely on the phone, in her maniacal waves as I drove away and then again when she called me on my cell as I was rushing to our appointment in between reaming Prince Charming a new one for not listening to his voice mail sooner.
But most importantly, Cinderella was happy.
I may not be responsible for the visitation transportation, but I am responsible for her happiness.
In the end, that's all that matters.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Putting the HOME Back in Homework

The last school quarter we have been faced with the realization that Cinderella had not been completing her homework.
Her recent grade and progress reports SCREAM of her irresponsibility and poor choices over the past 6 months.
Yep, six months.
You heard me.
For SIX months she has been choosing not to complete class assignments, as well as skipping her private (required) violin lessons at school.
I know what you are wondering, why have you allowed this go on for so long?
I didn't.
We didn't. Because we didn't know.
At Middle School orientation, parents were advised NOT to check up on their children's homework assignments as we had been required to do in elementary school.
They need to learn responsibilitiy, they said.
It will prepare them for high school, and college, and... LIFE.
(I did not attend this orientation, BTW. But her parents did. And yes, I questioned that rationale but that's what they and now I was beng told to do. So I did it.)
And then... the report card came.
Capable of doing better work. Inconsistencey in classwork. Grades reflect a lack of homestudy.
Her teachers had a lot to say.
We questioned her as to why. And were met with the answer that EVERY parent of a middle-schooler gets: "I don't know."
Oh, how I love that answer.
For a while, I even tried it on for size.
WickedStepmom? Where are my clean clothes?
"I don't know."
Can you take me to the mall to spend my gift card?
"I don't know."
The freedom! The lack of accountability that those three little words offered was liberating! No wonder she used it. All. Of. The. Time.
Yeah, well no anymore.
Cinderella, dearie. I'll tell you what *I* know. 
You WILL go to each of your teachers and request for ALL the past due assignments.
You WILL complete these over-due assignments THIS week (even though the time for you getting any credit for them has long passed).
You WILL start writing EVERY assignment down in your assignment pad.
You WILL ask for extra credit work.
You WILL stay for any and ALL extra study sessions.
And *I* WILL be checking your assignment pad and you homework EVERY DAY.
(Oh yeah, and Drama Club is OUT for the rest of the school. You see, most of these assignments were NOT done in favor of going to, and socializing at, rehearsals even though she had every possible opportunity to complete them during the abundant downtime she had as an ensemble cast member. Final curtain call! Take your bow and get off the stage. For this year.)

Three weeks, numerous calls and emails to her teachers and guidance counselors later, her grades are all back into the 80s. 
Her guidance counselor called just prior to Spring Break to praise Cinderella's efforts and to let us know of her progress.
I was proud. Prince Charming was proud. Maleficent was proud.
Cinderella was especially proud.
With this kind of turn-around, she has the potential to finish the year strong. 

You're damn straight she will.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bittersweet Milestone: His First Tooth

His Big Sister was the one who first noticed when this tooth came in.
He was just 5 months old at the time.

Five years later, it fell out at the breakfast table for us all to share.
All but one of us. 
Cinderella was visiting her Mom that weekend.
Her empty chair made the moment bittersweet.
That is, until she came home that night and he could tell her all about what happened.
Then the circle was complete.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Too Many Reps to Count

In the past week, I have been asked by two different doctors if I worked out.
Apparently lifting and constantly carrying a needy toddler tones one's pectoral and shoulder muscles.

Now if I can only learn to walk on my hands and carry her with my ass.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Milestone Rewind

Indulge me for a minute and pretend... for now, that it's last Sunday.
March 30th.
Are you with me?
Ok. Great.


OMG! Internet!
You won't believe what *just* happened. RIGHT NOW. At the BREAKFAST table!

(The SUNDAY breakfast table in case you forgot what day of the week we are on. Pretend I am Oprah or Ellen or one of those talk show hosts who pre-records their shows. K?)

Hansel has JUST lost his FIRST tooth! Gah!
It's been loose for about a week. He proudly announced and showed it to me after getting off the school bus last Monday.
Panic ensued. My [former] Stepmom, his Nanny, bought him this last month.
(Isn't it cute? And the personalized letter from the tooth fairy is preshus!)
"Oh you can hold on to it for a while. His tooth is only slightly loose so it could be several months before it's loose enough to fall out. No need to rush over here to get it to us. There's plenty of time."
Yes, clearly I am new at this.
Like I said, PANIC ensued. I grab the phone, run into Gretel's room, close the door and crouch down behind her rocking chair to make the secret call.
Pillow is dropped off Monday night followed by daily phone calls for the rest of the week asking "Did it fall out yet????"
When it finally fell out, we were eating this. We JUST sat down to eat this for breakfast a mere MOMENTS AGO and I was about to ask Hansel how his tooth was when he suddenly exclaimed that it JUST FELL OUT!!! as he spit it into his hand and then flashed a bloody smile filled with mushy monkey bread and a gaping hole between his lower right and remaining central incisor.
YUM! Eat up everyone!
After several moments of oohing and aahhhing we sent him to the bathroom to wash up and admire his missing tooth in the mirror while I quickly retrieved the hidden tooth fairy pillow from our closet and left it along with the letter on his pillow.
He's JUST found the pillow and his reaction was is classic!

Yes, there are pictures. And a little video as he read his letter.
But they are ... umm... on my camera.
So, let's pretend that it's SATURDAY and this momentous milestone hasn't happened yet so how could I possibly have any pictures to show you. You silly internet.
But WAIT till you see what I have to show you tomorrow!! You won't believe what's ABOUT TO already HAPPENed in the castle!!!

Oh, and just out of curiosity, what's the Tooth Fairy's going rate nowadays for a FIRST tooth?