ACW Episode 197 – It’s a matter of style

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Yes, this conversation actually happened. No I did not ground Princess. She went to school wearing my favorite t-shirt, my best striped socks, and a tiny lime green fez I made. Pixie wore another of my favorite t-shirts, a kitty cat skirt I had made her for Halloween two years ago, and a yellow bandana I knitted a while back. They both looked… Interesting.

And yes, when I am home all day, I do wear pink and black flannel pajama pants. They are COMFORTABLE.


Play Dates and the Bad Mom

Am I a bad mom? I ask myself this question much as I’m sure every mom must ask it when a conflict arises between Mom giving the kids what they want versus doing Mom doing something for herself. In my case, what my kids, Princess specifically, are asking for lots of play dates. What I’m asking for is a couple of hours to myself every afternoon to do some work.

It’s a sticky issue. There aren’t a lot of little girls Princess’ age in the neighborhood. Only two, to be exact. Everyone else is either a boy, and only wants to hang with other boys, or quite a few years older than Princess. Of the two little girls who are Princess’ age, one is getting ready to leave for a cross-country trip this summer. The other lives within walking distance, but I’d have to walk over with Princess (no biggie, I can always use the exercise) AND… Pixie is not invited to go with her.

I hate that. As with Princess, there are only two children in the neighborhood around Pixie’s age. One of them is sister to the girl who’s about to leave on that cross-country trip, so she won’t be around either. The other is allergic to just about everything under the sun, so arranging play dates requires a lot of pre-planning and logistical discussion (choosing a restaurant can we all eat at, scrubbing my kids down before going over to make sure they’re allergen-free, etc.).

So essentially, Pixie is out of luck in the local friends department. I’ve made arrangements to have Princess’ one little friend come over here a couple of mornings a week, to ensure that Pixie isn’t left out when the girls play together, but even then it’s a crap shoot they’ll all get along. Every time this particular kid comes over, she has a nasty habit of dragging Princess into her room and slamming the door on Pixie, who then comes sobbing to me. I’m going to try to prevent that scenario from happening this summer by making the kids play outside all morning while I garden (and I’ve already told the other mom that’s going to be the rule – girls stay outside!). Even so, I can’t guarantee Pixie will included in the older girls’ games.

All this means I’m not inclined to have Princess’ friend over every day of the week (especially since she also annoys the hell out of me). In fact, I’m thinking along the lines of one or two mornings a week at most. Then I’ve got a standing agreement to meet with a friend of mine and her kids one morning a week. Patty’s got two boys, one Princess’ age and one Pixie’s age. It’s a bit of a drive to get together with them, but doable once a week. That gives us three mornings a week of play dates. And of course I’ve planned to take one day a week for day trips, just me and the girls, to the beach, the museum, Busch Gardens… I’m thinking that’s pretty good right? Plenty of activity all summer and lots of play dates with other kids!

Except Princess keeps whining that she wants to see her one girlfriend every day, in the afternoon, either at her house, where Pixie is not invited to come play, or here, where I will be hard at work writing the next great American smut novel.

My plan was that I would devote the entire first half of the day to the girls – play dates, gardening, going to the pool, throwing water balloons, karate classes, arts and crafts, etc. Princess’ little friend could come over during that time and join us for some outdoor fun. Then we’d come in for lunch and after lunch, when it’s hot enough outside you could fry an egg on the front porch, the girls would go upstairs to their rooms and play together. Quietly. While I worked in the office for a few hours.

I thought that arrangement sounded quite fair. They’d get to see friends and have all the fun they wanted in the mornings, I’d get the work time I so desperately need in the afternoon. But when I discuss this with Princess, I get a lot of arguing about how it isn’t fair, she never gets to see her friends often enough, she’s bored, she’s lonely, why can’t she play outside by herself, she won’t run out into the street, she won’t let her sister run out into the street, the three girls could play very quietly in her room and no one would fight or set the house on fire while I was working, etc., etc., etc.

Am I wrong? Should I try to have Princess’ friend over in the afternoons? Or have I set a reasonable schedule for all of us? I can’t say. I will say I’m not budging from that schedule. No kidding, I have a novel to write this summer, and a website to massively update. I can’t afford not to work those hours. Princess will get to see her friend once or twice a week, see some other kids once a week, and go on some fun trips every week. That’s enough, right?

Now to figure out how to quit feeling like a bad mom every time she asks for a play date…

Things I Suck At As A Mom

I really should be working right now, but the current free-for-all/play date going on upstairs has inspired me to write the following list of Things I Suck At As A Mom.

  1. Mommies groups. Never joined one that I really fit into. Mostly because I am a Freak Mama, and mundane mamas scare/irritate me.
  2. Chit-chat with non-Freak Mamas. Related to item #1. I have very little in common with most non-fandom or non-freak moms, so doing the whole polite talk thing is painfully awkward for me (as I’m sure it must be for them to talk to me).
  3. Play dates with children of non-Freak Mamas. I do not relate well to other people’s kids at the best of times. Dealing with kids whom I am afraid will contaminate my kids with such anti-Freak ick like “Hannah Montana” or “Bratz” just drives me up the wall.
  4. Cooking dinner. Hubster used to do ALL the cooking, because I honestly never learned how. And since I get up at 5AM, my brain usually shuts down around 5PM, which is of course the magic hour at which dinner is expected to be prepared.
  5. Packing school lunches. I don’t know why I suck at this one. I had to pack my own school lunch for years when I was in school. Somehow, I can’t pull it off for the Princess. It may be that many times we don’t have what I need on hand to make said lunch (because I also suck at grocery shopping, yet another task the Hubster does). It may be part of the whole “brain shuts down at 5PM” thing. I just can’t say.
  6. Children’s parties. I think kids’ birthday parties should be small simple affairs. I don’t like renting inflatable bouncy death traps, nor do I like hiring evil clowns/magicians/balloon animal artists. I prefer simple parties at home. However, right now my home has no downstairs bathroom, no patio furniture, no grill, and no linoleum in the foyer. Also no fence, so no way to coral screaming children. Makes it hard to host a simple barbeque in the backyard.
  7. House cleaning. I’m too damn busy being Freak Mama and doing my writing/graphic arts thing to get around to this one. And don’t even ask about decorating the house. I decorate with dust bunnies, okay? That way all the rooms in the house match!
  8. Sleep-overs. I have not yet even attempted to have one at this house. I just can’t stand other people’s children long enough to force myself to suffer through one. I live in fear of the day I do have to do it.

This list probably doesn’t even begin to cover the things I suck at as a mom, but right now I’ve got small screaming children in the house tearing things apart, so I have to go.

What do you suck at as a parent?

Things I Found While Cleaning Pixie’s Room

If you were following me on Twitter today, you might have noticed the list of things I posted as I shoveled out Pixie’s room this afternoon. For a two-year-old, that kid owns a lot of crap. It’s not my fault, I swear. I don’t buy that much stuff for her or her sister. But my mother on the other hand… Grandmama is not happy that she lives so far away from the grandkids, and she compensates by sending them loads of packages full of toys and clothing, and she even sends the prizes she gets from kids’ meals at the fast food joints she eats at (not kidding on this one; we currently have more Rally’s toys than an actually Rally’s restaurant has at any give time).

With the changing of the seasons, I had to clear out the old winter clothes from Pixie’s closet and put in the stuff we saved from Princess’ wardrobe. That’s a huge headache for me. I know it saves a ton of money, but I have having to sort and store all that clothing. We simply don’t have enough boxes for it all. And remember, my mom buys these kids clothing in BULK! We used to get a package a week, filled with little dresses and outfits, until I made her cut back.

Anyway, I decided to spend today cleaning out both kids’ closets, only I got into Pixie’s room and realized I also needed to sort through her toys and clean up a few messes, so I ended up only doing her room. And while I was cleaning and swapping out clothes, I found a few interesting things, like…

An old maternity top of mine. It’s a lime green t-shirt from Old Navy. I owned several of them when I was pregnant with Pixie, and thought I had gotten rid of all but one, that one being the one I was wearing on the day I went into labor. I kept that one for sentimental reasons. Now that we’re contemplating child #3, I wish I had kept them all.

The knitted yellow hat Pixie got at the hospital when she was born. It was the first article of clothing that kid ever wore, and it suited her. She had a touch of jaundice and was about as yellow as the hat. We had to lay her naked little butt on a blanket and scoot her from one sunny spot to another around the house for the first week she was home. She didn’t like that, and she announced her displeasure with a lot of explosive, projectile poops.

Several small brushes and combs for baby hair. Neither of my girls had hair when they were born, so these have never really been used.

One pair of nursing pads. I used to own a ton of those things too, and will need to stock up for child #3. God I hated wearing those things, and I hated wearing nursing bras, but now I want all that stuff back!

My breast feeding log for Princess. I put Pixie’s in the cedar chest in my bedroom. I didn’t realize the notebook I’d used to record all of Princess’ feedings was still in the dresser in the nursery. Now that really brings back some memories — late nights, trying to stay awake, swollen boobs, falling asleep in the glider, twelve feedings or more a day, a lot of those feedings spent scribbling madly in a notebook or typing stories on a computer. And yes, I’ll do it again gladly with child #3.

A dozen flannel baby blankets. Word of warning to new and expectant mom — you cannot have enough flannel blankets. Between leaky diapers, spit up, and other mishaps, new babies go through about five a day. You will do laundry constantly! I never gave away any of the flannel blankies I got during Princess’ first months, and I’m very glad I still have them. However, I did give away…

Cloth diapers used as burp clothes. That was stupid. The only thing we went through faster than the blankets was the burp clothes. I can still recall how they smelled, that slightly sour odor of spit up and the slightly sweet odor of fresh breast milk. I over-expressed with both kids, and stopped more than a few spray-a-thons by slapping a burp cloth over the offending boobie.

In the toy department, I found some interesting odds and ends. Namely, I discovered that Pixie and Princess own enough Barbies and Little People to repopulate the entire world should the Apocalypse ever occur and we are all wiped out. Please for love of God, if you have any intentions of giving my children a gift, do NOT give them Barbies, Barbie clothing, or any Little People. We’re full up.

In the Barbie basket, I did find a couple of badly tattooed dolls. Pixie loves to color on her dolls with magic marker, and unfortunately, even the washable stuff is permanent on Barbie dolls. She also got into her sister’s Style and Curl Barbie head, and did a real number on that…

However, I noticed some of those markings are a little too well made, and I suspect Princess may have helped out with this makeover. I don’t care though. This damned thing has been a thorn in my side since the day we got it, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to toss it. I keep finding all the little rhinestones and barrettes all over the house, and honestly, a six-year-old does not need to apply makeup to anything. Nor can she really style the hair. Except for the marker makeover, this thing has mostly sat on the floor and collected dust. So today it was, “Hasta la vista, you painted tart!”

Speaking of tarts, I also found this in Pixie’s room…

Poor Steve. That dress really doesn’t fit him. But at least he has pants. None of Pixie’s other male dolls are that lucky. Most have a shirt, but no drawers, and some only get a pair of high heels.

Once I got past the toys, I was able to start moving boxes of clothing off the spare bed we keep in Pixie’s room. That’s when I discovered Pixie’s latest adventures in art…

Yeah, it’s marker. I spent so much time doing everything else today that I did not have time to scrub it yet, so I don’t know if it’s permanent or not. But I’m thinking either way, it’s time to take away the markers from Pixie again.

At last I got to the closet, where I pulled out a ton of old winter clothing, all of it 2T. In addition to her sister’s hand-me-downs, Pixie also got new clothing from Grandmama, so I had to do a culling of the clothes. Anything with a stain went, as well as anything I recalled Pixie would never wear. She’s big on comfort, so if she wouldn’t wear it, I doubt the next child will either. Then I got rid of a few things that were just ugly. Yeah, I’m picky, but with so many clothes to store, I needed to be. I got everything down to just three boxes, one of which was nothing but frilly little dresses Pixie will never wear again. I remember those dresses. Her sister wore them too. They were a big part of Princess’ wardrobe when I was pregnant with her sister. I’m sad to see them go.

There were new dresses to put in though, lots of pretty, colorful summer dresses, enough to keep Pixie happy no matter how many times a day she tries to change clothes. As I put those in the closet, I cleared out some tchotchkies that were lying around on the top shelf — wall plaques with Sweet Memories sayings and stuff like that. I know they were gifts and keepsakes, but I don’t hang on to stuff like that, and never did put any of that stuff up in either child’s room. So those went in the give-away bag. May they find a good home! Then I found the stuff I would keep no matter what — the christening dresses my mom made for each girl; the matching blankets she crocheted for their baptisms; a doll with a crocheted witch’s costume, also made by my mom; my old doll house, given to me by my grandmother when I was about Princess’ age; a Gimbel’s box full of Louis Marx Wild Animal toys, again a gift to me from my grandmother when I was very small. Those things stayed. Then while I was finishing putting stuff away, I found one last treasure.

A set of hospital bracelets. Two were mine. One was labeled, “Madden, BG… 2003.”

Pixie turns three in a few more weeks. I looked at that tiny little bracelet, remembered how small she used to be, and I cried.

Made it damned hard to finish cleaning up, I tell you.

Poetry? The Walk

I make no claims to being a poet. This is simply what came to me yesterday as the Pixie and I walked through our neighborhood in the rain.

The Walk

The world is mine today
Empty, abandoned
In the wake of some apocalypse
I must have slept through this morning

Dull little houses line
Oil-slicked streets
Blank windows, locked doors
Sing a requiem
for Suburbia

The ground is black
And bitter as used coffee grounds
The sky is gray
As my mood
Or the hair I found
This morning

One wiry antennae
Sticking straight up
From my skull
Receiving all messages of
Doom and gloom

Doom and gloom
Gloom and doom
Mist wraps around me
A second, clammy coat
My bat black umbrella
Flaps overhead
The leaden sky bleeds acid rain
Forcing all the sugar mamas
To stay inside
And gawk as I shuffle by

They’ll melt, they’ll melt
My god, they’d melt!
If they ever set foot outside

But I don’t have
That concern today
I’m old and sour
As a basket
Of assholes
And the rain, the rain
Fits me like a glove

Doom and gloom
Gloom and doom
The world is mine
The world is grey
And I shuffle through it
A zombie at home

In the damp, in the dead
In the swampy mists
Only one thing seems amiss
One small detail out of place
The little Pixie who dances
At my side

Her tiny pink coat
Is a shocking wound
In all this glorious misery gray
It rips me
Out of my stupor and into
A world where squirrels
Natter and birds
Shriek and shrill and puddles
Wait to be stomped

Splash and dash!
Dash and splash!
She flits around
The little busy buzzy bee
Tearing my world apart

Her high pitched giggle
Like a sword-thrust
To my senses
Simply kills my good bad mood
Like holy water on vampires
I am forced to step out of my
Steaming gothic remains
Into the world of the living

Splash and dash!
Dash and splash!
Look Mama
A bird!
A squirrel!
Another puddle!

The world is hers
Not mine
I hope I can surrender it
With grace

Funny How Things Change

Before I had kids, I used to go to the bookstore all the time. Seriously, I lived there. I even dreamed that I owned a house that was a bookstore, complete with a fancy cafe and all the cappuccino I could drink.

After having my first child, I quit going to bookstores for a while. It was just too hard. I couldn’t browse for books while handling a screaming baby. It got a little easier as Cassie got older and developed an interest in books, but even then I frequently found myself trapped in the kids’ section of the store, watching my daughter tear around the place and wishing I could somehow magically transport myself to the magazines, science fiction, mystery, non-fiction… Any part of the store that didn’t involve Disney Princess books and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now that Cassie is in kindergarten and Sam is almost ready for preschool, I’d begun to look forward to the day when I’d be able to hit the bookstore alone. I could browse for hours without listening to someone whine “I’m boooooored!” I could order a piece of cheesecake at the cafe and not worry about someone dropping it on the floor before I could get a bite. I could have coffee and not have to argue with a small tot over why they can’t have another sip of my delicious and highly caffeinated beverage. Then came today.

I needed to get some gift cards for Cassie’s teachers. The bookstore seemed like the best bet for a teacher gift. I grabbed my wallet, coat and keys and turned to Sam.

“Okay, let’s go to the bookstore!”

“No! I don wanna go bookstore! I stay home with Dada!”

“Huh? Uh… I’m going to the bookstore, sweetie. You know, books? Thomas the Tank Engine? Disney Princess stories? Cookies and brownies and treats? Let’s get your coat on, okay?”


I looked at my husband. He looked back at me and shrugged. “Go ahead. She can stay here with me.”

So I went. And I hated it. I didn’t have anyone to sit with me at the cafe. I didn’t have anyone to chat with as I browsed for books. I didn’t have anyone to ask if we could please buy a princess book. I was so damned lonely I almost cried.

Next time I go to the bookstore, Sam doesn’t get a choice. That little fart is going with me. It’s just no fun on my own anymore.

Episode 23 – When Princess Grows Up…

People always say that Princess is just like me, only shorter. That is not true at all. For starters, Princess wears a lot of pink. Pink shirts, pink pants, pink socks, etc. And she wears dresses. Lots and lots of frilly dresses. And she loves the jewelry and the bling and all the glitter she can get her hands on. There’s a reason why we call this girly-girl Princess.

Me, I don’t do the pink thing. I look good in black. And brown. And I’m killer in red. As for the type of clothes I wear, I’m a basic t-shirt and jeans kinda gal. Dresses? Don’t own any. Well, okay, I have one or two, but they only get pulled out once every couple of years when someone gets married or dies, and those dresses are definitely not PINK. I don’t like pink and I look horrible in it. In fact, I think I’m allergic to the color. Seriously.

Anyway, I wanted to apologize for being a bit late with this week’s ep. My husband, St. Michael the Magnificent, spent all last week re-painting the downstairs and that completely disrupted my work schedule. But those rooms need painting, badly. We’ve been in the same place for the last 14 years, and things were starting to look shabby. Since I knew it would be another 14 years before we would re-paint, I made sure to pick out a color I would be happy with. I spent hours comparing paint chips, studying them in my foyer and kitchen until I finally found just the right shade. It’s a very pale sort of shell pink. Wait, no. I did not say pink. It’s really almost a warm white. You can’t tell it’s pink at all. Unless you look at the trim color which is mint green, and then you know it’s pink…

Well crud.


Cassie went on a field trip to an apple orchard earlier this week and came back with one small red and green apple.

“Mama! Let’s make pie!”

How do you explain to a five-year-old that one small apple will not make a whole pie?  You don’t.  You figure out how to make pie instead.

We have a couple of kids’ cook books at home, so we dug through them until I found a recipe for jam tarts.  We used the basic recipe for the crust and rolled and cut out two crusts about 6 inches across.  These went into two of the cups of an extra large muffin tin I have.

“Mama, that’s not a pie plate!”

“No, it’s a mini-pie plate.  If we had more apples, we’d make more crusts and fill up the other four cups.  But we have one apple so we’re only making two mini-pies.”

I crossed my fingers and watched the cogs turn in her brain as she mulled that over.

“Okay.  I like mini-pies!”

Then we chopped up the one small apple and added it to a mix of brown sugar, butter, dried cranberries and walnuts.  I figured if we used plenty of dried cranberries and walnuts, we could get away with just one apple.

“Mama, how come we’re adding so much stuff to the apple?”

“It’ll add extra flavor and make the pie taste more yummy.”

“Okay. I like yummy pies!”

Once we had the pies filled, we still had some leftover scraps of pastry so I pulled out some cookie cutters and we made decorative tops for the pies.  This went over very well, especially since we have fairy, star, dragonfly and bumble bee cookie cutters.

“Yeah!  We made fairy pies!”

“Yes we did, sweetie.”

The pies went into the over for about 25 minutes and came out looking scrumptious.  I let Cassie pull out some livid pink decorator icing and we added that to the pie crusts.  Then Sam woke up from her nap and Michael came and we all headed out to the elementary school for open house.  All evening, Cassie talked about how much she wanted pie.

“Well, sweetie, when we get home, we’ll all have some pie.  You and Sam can share one pie and Daddy and I will share the other.”

Only that wasn’t what happened.  Cassie decided she had to have a pie all to herself, and then Sam decided she had to have a pie all to herself and that just left this one teeny-tiny jam tart I had made with the final leftover scraps of pastry and some orang marmalade.  The jam tart was good, but the smell of those pies was just killing me.  I had to wait until after both girls ate the tops of the pies and then abandoned them before I could steal a bite.

So that’s how you make two pies and one teeny-tiny jam tart from one apple and you better make sure you make that little jam tart because if you have two little girls, there’s no way in hell you will get a slice of pie.

Here’s some pictures of the pies:

Mini-pies before decoration

The mini-pies before decoration.

Mini-pies after decoration

The mini-pies after decoration.

Jam tart

The world’s smallest jam tart (shown larger than actual size).

Chef Cassie

Chef Cassie prepares to decorate the pies.

Sam offers her opinion

Sam offers her opinion (“Okay, I’ll eat it. No Mama, you can’t have any!”).

Miss Unpopularity 1987

If there was an Olympic event for making mountains out of mole hills, I think I would have won a gold medal this week.  Or maybe not.  Maybe my intuition about certain recent events is right on target.  It’s hard to say because I’m rather biased about this particular topic.  And that topic is…

Popularity.  As in, who’s cool in school and who gets treated like crap.  You’d think that at the age of 39 I’d have gotten past all that by now.  Well, think again.  Ever since Cassie started kindergarten a few weeks ago, this particular issue has hit me like a ton of bricks.

Let me explain.  Twice last week, Cass came home from school in a very unhappy state.  The first time, she came off the bus sobbing because, as she put it, “So-and-so was mean to me!”  The second time, she waited until we were at home before disintegrating into tears.  When I finally got her calmed down enough to ask what was wrong, I got the same answer as before.  Some kids at school were mean to her.

What does that mean, the kids are being mean to her?  In the course of the past week it has meant: other kids pulling and hitting on Cassie’s backpack while she’s standing in line; one child scratching Cassie’s hand while trying to get her to turn around and sit forward on the bus (was it horseplay? accidental? deliberate?); name calling; being played with and then abruptly ignored; and other minor events.

I know enough about kids at this point to know that I’m not getting the entire story from Cass.  I’ve e-mailed her teacher and talked with her to confirm that Cassie has not become the class pariah.  The backpack incident was horseplay and Cassie wasn’t the only target that afternoon.  I’ve also talked with the mother of the child who scratched Cassie’s hand, to try and ascertain what happened that day.  We’re both chalking it up to personality differences and a misunderstanding at this point.

So there may or may not be a problem.  At the school open house tonight, Cassie seemed to have a lot of fun playing with a few of her classmates (I gave my number to the moms in question in hopes of setting up play dates). And Cassie’s teacher says Cass has a great time in school.  But then I keep thinking about the two days Cass came home crying last week, followed by mornings where she did not want to go the the bus stop and see the girl who scratched her, and I can’t help but worry.  You see, I was one of the most unpopular kids in my school.  It started in first grade and it only got worse as I grew up.  Name calling, snubbing, a little outright hazing and plenty of rumor mongering.  At age seven the popular girls liked to pretend I didn’t exist even though we sat at the same table and were assigned to work on projects together. By fourth grade, one little twit started a rumor that I was stuffing my bra even though I didn’t own a fucking bra yet.  In seventh grade, at my first dance, one of the most popular girls in school threw a soda in my face just because I showed up and it pissed her off.  Mary remembers that night.  She grabbed my right arm to keep me from punching that girl’s lights out.  So I hit the bitch with a left hook instead. 

Speaking of Mary, my best friend and partner in crime, she and I became the school lesbians after we decided to go to ring dance together because we couldn’t get dates.  (Recall back in those days that being a lesbian was a hanging offense… like it isn’t anymore, right?).  Anyway, Mary was just as popular as I was all through school, but by that point, the name calling didn’t really phaze either of us anymore so we hammed it up for all we were worth and to this day people ask if we’ve eloped to California yet.  Hey, they’d understand us there.

By 1987, my senior year in high school, I had quite the reputation.  I was gay, a witch (because I did a research paper on the Salem witch trials), and a socio-path who enjoyed dissecting cats (that last was actually true, but the cat was dead when I got it).  When the time came to vote for senior superlatives, I got ‘most artistic’ and ‘worst dressed.’  The same snarky little bitch that had accused me of stuffing my bra in the fourth grade nominated me for the later title.  Mary was voted ‘most anti-social.’  Today she’s a nurse who gives people colonoscopies if they aren’t nice to her.

So I went through all that shit and survived, and when I left college (yes, I had problems with the popular crowd even in college, thanks to my fellow fuck-head ROTC cadets) I thought I had finally escaped it all.  I went out into the world and became recognized as someone who was smart, competent, hard working, decisive, aggressive, and more than a little scary/crazy and not to be fucked with (and all these terms come from various job reviews and military evaluation reports I have received over the years).  I was in charge wherever I went, I had my friends who had stood by me all through school, I was away from the assholes who tried to make my life miserable, and on the rare occasion when I did run into said assholes, I just pulled out that scary/crazy confident aspect of me and they backed right the fuck off.

I grew up, and I grew out of the popularity contest.

And then I had a child who started kindergarten this fall and I am right back in the middle of that shit.

Is it really a problem yet?  Has my girl entered the popularity contest and been found wanting?  Or am I just too fucking paranoid thanks to my own bad experiences?  I so do not want to see Cassie go through what I did, and no, don’t even suggest that if I came through it a better person so will she.  I’ve only highlighted a little of the endless sadism I had to endure.  My kid does not need to face that to become a better, stronger person.  No one does.  So it raises my hackles when she comes home crying, sobbing, about how the kids at school are treating her.  I fear I see the hints of what is to come.  Cassie is me all over in many way, the younger me who didn’t have the razor sharp tongue and the scary-as-shit take-no-prisoners attitude.  She’s a smart, sweet, goofy kid who’s just entered a world where smart, sweet, goofy kids get turned into shark bait.

What to do, what to do?  I’m trying to get her out to see her friends more — her real friends like Mary’s son and the little girl down the street who’s allergic to everything under the sun and thus will probably never go to a regular school.  And I’m trying to help her find new friends by reaching out to the moms of the classmates she does seem to get along with.  But that one little girl, the same one who goes to Cassie’s bus stop, is in Cassie’s class, that same kid who scratched my baby and made her cry… I got a bad feeling about her.  I’ve got this sense that she’s one of the sharks, and somehow, some way, I have got to prevent her from eating Cassie alive.

I was Miss Unpopularity 1987, voted ‘Worst Dressed,’ ‘Least Liked,’ and ‘Most Likely to be Spit Upon’ by my fellow classmates.  That is not a title my daughter should have to inherit.

My Child Understands Me

Yesterday during ‘Quiet Time,’ Cassie came into my room cradling something tiny in the palm of her hand. She handed it to me with great ceremony and said, “Mommy this is a dead bug. I found it for you, because I know you like to take pictures of bugs.”

Then she handed me a dead housefly. I was so touched. I really do like to take pictures of bugs using the macro setting on my digital camera. I also take close up shots of tree bark, leaves, roots, rocks, peeling pain, rust stains, and other weird-ass things that I know will make great textures in my digital artwork.

I saved the fly. It’s still somewhere on my desk. If I can find it among all the odds and ends, I’ll pop it into the scanner and scan it at 200%. It was in pretty good shape. Cassie did a good job finding it.

And yes, I know. We’re both freaks.