Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Kvetch, By TC

I am going through the Celexa withdrawal from hell.

I am still waiting for the Wellbutrin to kick in, if it's ever going to.

On the way to pick up N at school today, Snug decided to suddenly bolt, wrenching the leash from my unprepared hands. He ran like a bat out of hell; I didn't have a chance. By the time I'd called Baroy and told him he'd need to get in the car and go looking for Snug, the dog was already sitting on our front porch...with four bloodied paws. One trip to the vet's complete with sedation and morphine later, and he's got four bandaged paws, and is lying on his doggie bed, groaning in pain.

I lost my ATM card...in Vegas, probably.

I got my period yesterday.

I have a headache that won't go away.

I can't remember the last time I felt like laughing.

In short, I hate everyone and everything. (Except you, of course. I still love you.)

And how is your week going?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Out With the Old, In With the...Wellbutrin

[Damn. That title would have worked so much better if only my new prescription had been for Neurontin.]

Last Thursday. Annual physical with semi-new doctor. (I've seen her once or twice before, and 'know' her from my previous job in PR on campus.) I tell her my depression is back, and that it's, well, depressing me. She decides to switch me from celexa (which did its job well, if not superlatively, over the past however-many months I've taken it) to wellbutrin. She decides to do it immediately. Cold turkey on the celexa, right onto the wellbutrin.

Easy for her to say.

"I'm a little concerned about doing this to you while you're depressed, since the celexa will be out of your system in a couple of days, and it may take the wellbutrin a few weeks to really start working," she muses after loading me up with two-months'worth of samples. (God love the drug reps on university campuses.)

"Eh," I say, unconcerned. "The depression is bothersome, but it is what it is. If it gets worse for a few days, I'll power through."

And I did. Thursday night I took my wellbutrin instead of my celexa. Friday night, same story. All was hunky. And dory. Saturday, I noticed I was getting a little edgy, but that's a classic depression symptom for me, so I took it in stride.

Then, on Sunday, I had my little encounter with my self-gratifying friend. And all hell broke loose.

I've spent the past three days grappling with seemingly unending panic attacks, fending off nausea and headaches (either from the celexa withdrawal or the wellbutrin ramp-up; who knows?), and screaming at my kids at...I'd say at the drop of a hat, but it doesn't even take that much. When I'm not doing that, I'm trying to push my way back up to the surface through a xanax-induced haze; it keeps me from freaking out, but it also makes me a zombie. A very, very, very slow zombie. Who is also kind of stupid. Or maybe a lot stupid. But so slow, it takes her a while to realize how stupid she is. So that helps.

I feel better today, though. Not a lot, but a little. But, tomorrow I'm supposed to email my doctor with a one-week report on how I'm doing with the switchover, and I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to say to her. I mean, this is pretty much SOP with psychopharmaceuticals; none of this is a suprise, though I could have done without the addition of the panic attacks after Sunday's episode. But when I think about it, I guess I'm doing as well as could be expected, if your expectations are really, really, really low. Hey! That's what I'll tell her!

So much for powering through. Maybe I'll just set mt sights on getting through. Today, at least, it feels like that just might be doable.

Working Mothers

I just posted a new blog entry over at ParentsConnect; it talks about the annual Working Mother issue on the 100 Best Companies for working moms.

I'm not planning on bugging you all with constant "check out my entry over there" posts, I promise, but I had to point this one out, only because the comments are veering away from the serious issues facing working moms into a discussion of the best and brightest in lactation lounges, and it's really making me laugh. Worth a quick look, I think. (And yes, if you want to comment on the blog, you need to register at the site. But, really, it's a pretty non-invasive registration, as far as those things go...)

Monday, September 25, 2006

On A Much Lighter Note

Baroy sent the following email out to his family yesterday:

N and Em were in the living room and not getting along. I called in from the family room where I was. This was the conversation:

Me: N, what's your problem? Why can't you get along with Em?

N: My brain's making me mean.

Me: Your brain is.

N: Yes.

Me: Well, if you don't stop, you and your brain are going to have to go into your room for a while.

N: My brain's already there.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Can't Shake The Feeling

I was in the middle of a post about my recent meds change, when the day overtook me: There were kids to wrangle, a dog to walk, bread to be thrown into a nearby stream.

[The latter is a ritual called tashlich that is performed during Rosh Hashanah; it's a symbolic casting of your sins upon the water. Our congregation met in a park, said a prayer or two, tossed our crumbs of bread, and then hung out, ate fruit, and chatted for about an hour while the kids ran up and down the stream, poking at the water with sticks and trying to see where the bread would wind up.]

Normally, I would have taken the entry up again when I got home, but despite having had a wonderful time at the park, I was feeling restless and unhappy in general, and decided to try to walk the feeling away by heading down to the local drugstore for a few items I needed.

On the way back, Starbucks iced coffee in hand, I nodded pleasantly at the woman walking her dog, the young couple strolling hand in hand, the family out for a bike ride, the teenager carrying his skateboard in one hand and jerking off with the other...

Huh? I whirled around. Said young man caught my eye and began moaning, walking toward me, continuing his, um, current occupation. I swear that it didn't occur to me, then, to be scared; instead, I was just, well, grossed out.

"What is WRONG with you?" I yelled over my shoulder at him. "What is your PROBLEM?" And I walked away. He followed, moaning.

I hadn't gone more than a few steps when, turning a corner, I saw a woman with a large dog walking toward us. Masterbatory Boy saw her too, shifted his skateboard to cover his, um, actions, and shifted to continue walking up the street we'd both been on a second ago.

After he was out of sight, all I could think was, "Ew." Well, that and, "You've gotta be kidding me, kid. I'm a 42-year-old mother of two. If this is the best you can do, you've got a sad life ahead of you."

I was another three, four blocks away when it occurred to me that maybe I should have called the cops. Not that I could have done it at the moment I saw him, had I even thought of it, since my cell was in my backpack/purse, and not easily accessible. But even if I could have...what would I have said? "Be on the lookout for a young man sporting a skateboard and a large erection"? It just felt so stupid...and so icky.

It's only now, hours later, that I feel really shaky and sort of sick to my stomach with the what-could-have-beens and the what-I-should-have-dones. Why didn't I even take out my cell phone when I saw him turn toward me, if only to scare him off? Why didn't I say anything to the dog-walking woman about what she might have been walking toward? Why didn't I do ANYthing except scold him like he was three years old?

None of that changes the present reality, of course. And the present reality is now this: It's going to be a while before I'll feel safe heading out for a twilight walk again, especially without Snug in tow. It's going to be a while before I feel safe walking to the drugstore again. It's going to be a while before I feel safe.

Of course, I've been here before, in this place where I used to, but no longer can, feel safe--even in my own home, or in my own neighborhood. Most woman have been here, to be honest; I'm not special in that way. I just have a little more experience with it than some, thanks to Stalker Girl. I just have an already-primed and somewhat-more-sensitive set of neurochemicals. But I also have a previously-put-in-place game plan for when things rocket out of my safety zone. And so, once again, I'll curtail my activities, make changes to my life and my routines, and pop a few extra Xanax...all because somebody else decides to act like a dick.

Still, none of that makes me any less angry. And, man, am I angry. Man, would I love to kick that kid's pathetic little ass. And man, would I love, just once, to be able to get angry...really angry...without also being really scared.

I'm really scared.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Years Wishes...

to you and yours are here.

(Click on read more to see an example of my old-lady-before-my-time handiwork, of which I am actually inordinately and probably inappropriately proud.)

L'shanah tovah, to everyone.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I know this isn't a news site (that would be my other blog, which now has a direct and easy link for all of you to bookmark: http://lorio.parentsconnect.com/blog), but when I saw this, well...Come on! I mean, really! A penis transplant! For real! And to make it even better, this isn't just a tale of two penises. No, that would be too simple. This is a tale of penis rejection! Penis hatred! A foreign penis traumatizing its new, um, owner? Master? Mistress?

I'm tellin' ya, the 10-year-old boy in me is simultaneously snorting with potty-humored laughter and cringing in sympathetic pain. The 42-year-old woman in me is embarrassed for myself. But I'm not listening to her. She's just a big old poopy-head. No! No! She's a big old penis-head! Bwahahahaha!

Go on. Read it. You know you want to, if only to drown out the sound of my childish idiocy:


Monday, September 18, 2006

Email Issues

Apparently, some kind of virus has invaded my sbcglobal account. I won't say ANYthing about how this has never happened before, and certainly not before I had a PC on which I occasionally check my emails. Nope, not going to say it.

In any case, the account is currently--and possibly forevermore--beyond my reach. Nobody, including the *third* tier of tech support at SBC/Yahoo, can open or delete or move any of my emails. So, if you've tried to reach me of late and I haven't responded...I'll be using that as my excuse.

In addition, from now on I'll be using the so-far-more-reliable gmail for my emailing needs. Want to get in touch? You'll need to reach me at tinycoconut at gmail dot com from now on. Because even if they can revive the account I had before, I found certain of the technicians' comments annoying enough to think that I'd rather take at least that part of my business elsewhere. (I think it was the "they may end up terminating the account because you've violated the TOS." Um...*I* violated the TOS because someone ELSE hit me with a virus? "Well," said tech support, "we have no way of knowing what sorts of lists you've subscribed to..."

Whatever. I'm moving on.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dog Heaven

N, Em, and Em's friend J spent several hours yesterday turning our family room into a series of interconnecting clubhouses, using pillows and quilts and afghans and chairs and stools and whatever they could find to create a series of tents. They had a blast. And, as is usual in this house these days, they had company: Snug never let them out of his sight.

But Snug had had a long hard day of playing and running and running and playing, and so after a while he succumbed to the temptation of a soft afghan in the middle of the room, curled up, and went to sleep. Insisting that he couldn't POSSibly be comfortable that way, the kids quickly added a blanket tucked around his sleeping form, and a couch pillow for under his head. The result elicited so many ooohs, aaaahhhhs, and squeals of delight at the cuteness in our midst that even Baroy was compelled to break out his camera.

[FWIW, my mom made that quilt for N when he was a baby.]

The cutest photo of all, however, was one in which Snug is in the identical position to the ones above, but N is laying on top of him, and Em and J are resting their chins on his head/back. But while, as some of you have acutely noticed, I've become somewhat more cavalier about posting my own image on this blog, and even put up one of Em recently, the kids are just too plainly, visibly themselves in that photo for me to feel comfortable about putting it out there. And so, you'll just have to take my word(s) for it. Edibly cute.

As for Snug, he either wins the award for World's Most Contented Dog or World's Most Patient Dog. Or, possibly, both. In any case, any puppy who will lie perfectly still while three loud and rambunctious kids climb all over him is a keeper in my books. Even if he DID chew through a leather billfold, a bluetooth earbud, and a hardcover journal all in one week.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Tearful Fan

My 9-year-old daughter sobbed last night watching the TiVo'd recording of Project Runway in which Kayne was "auffed" from the show.

If that sentence doesn't sum up all my parenting failures in one fell swoop, I don't know what would.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

At The Office

I've been asked, fairly often, how I like working at home. I freaking love it. And here's why:

That's me in my Big, Comfy, But Hideously Upholstered Chair, drinking an iced coffee, and working on the evil Dell laptop issued to me by ParentsConnect and my much-beloved iBook at the exact same time. See why I'm so afraid of having my cushy little university job yanked from me? I'm pretty sure that most offices would balk at the idea of my lounging barefoot in a tank top sipping iced beverages and checking one job's emails while waiting for a .pdf for the other job to download. And I'm positive they'd object to the part where, after I've put in a couple hours' work, I go upstairs and nap off a bit of my malaise for a while before getting back down to it after the kids come home from school, or after they've gone to bed.

I may be moody, panicky, and depressed, but I love my life. (I know. Doesn't make any sense to me, either. But it's totally true.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Because, really, who wants to hear the ins and outs of someone else's job negotiations, here is the long-story-short version: I'm still on the payroll. There are no long-term guarantees (there are people actively trying to convince him to get rid of me, and people actively trying to convince him to keep me on, and he can see both sides of the argument...as can I, actually) but for now, I can expect to see that paycheck in my bank account at the end of the month. And it's not a given that I'm ultimately out of there. It all depends on...hmmmm...I'm not sure what it depends on. But it's something.

So, I guess I can save that particular nervous breakdown for a few more weeks, at least.

Thanks for the thoughts and words of encouragement.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

24 Hours Til Trainwreck Time

I was one of those unbearably annoying people in college who used to declare, both before and after every single exam, "I'm going to fail." And then I would get an A. Or, rarely, a B. Still, each and every time I would vociferously proclaim to all and sundry that this time was different. This time, I'd say, there was proof. I knew I'd gotten number 7 wrong, for example, or I hadn't had a chance to pick up the book once before heading in to take the test. This time, I was truly, for real, absolutely going to fail.

I never failed.

I need to tell you all this because there is a vague possibility that, despite the fact that this is the real world and not college, I am about to cry wolf once again. Dear god, I hope I am about to cry wolf once again. Because otherwise, I'm screwed.

Tomorrow, at about the time I began writing this, I'm scheduled to meet with my boss at the university. He called the meeting. Through his secretary. Which, for the record, is unprecedented; we always just email one another. And he did so just a week after he killed one of my major projects, and just two weeks after he responded to my query of "what else do you want me to be working on right now?" with "just get what you're working on finished."

Can you see maybe, just maybe, why I'm seeing pink right now? As in slip?

The timing makes perfect sense. I started on the job on April 1, which might have been my first mistake. We agreed to revisit the situation in six months to decide if this was working for both of us; in fact, my employment contract only runs through October 1.

It has not been a good six months. There has been much else on my plate (as in outside work, like ParentsConnect), and the job has reamined ill-defined, despite my pleas for more direction.

But I've also fucked up. I haven't been able to get stuff produced, finished, out the door. I have plenty of excuses, especially considering that none of this is the stuff I'm good at and I've never done any of it before and I have literally zero support from the office and so have to figure it all out by myself. But that's not an overall excuse, if you know what I mean.

If I were my boss, I'd fire me, too.

What will this mean? No health benefits. No life insurance. No security. A loss of two-thirds of my income. Tears. Panic. Anxiety. Depression.

I can almost hear my girlfriends screaming at me: Stop horriblizing! But I can't. The truth is, I know intellectually that we'll survive. I don't know how, exactly. But we will. I also know we'll take a big hit, at least at first. And that it will hurt. A lot. And that, for a while at least, I'm going to wallow in that hurt.

Emotionally, however, all I can think about is this: I'm going to fail. I'm sure of it. This time is different. This time it's for sure.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My 9/11--A Story In Emails

[My 9/11 was different from that of so many other people's, because while it began in fear and anguish, the personal component of it, which was paramount in my mind, ultimately ended happily. It wasn't until many days, if not weeks, later that I began to think more globally about it all.

The only thing you need to know when you read this is that Em was just a few days past her fourth birthday, and on a trip back east with her daddy while N--who was not even nine months old--and I stayed at home. These are the emails I sent to some of my mommies' mailing lists.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 8:13 am PDT/11:13 am EDT

Subject: update on us

A quickie, because obviously all heck has broken loose.

Baroy and Em were at Kennedy when the attack began this morning, but
weren't on any of the pertinent airplanes. They are currently trying to
figure out how to get out of the airport and to a place in Queens where my
mother can pick them up--apparently they're not letting traffic into the
airport, though they told everyone that they can indeed get out of the
airport. On what, I don't know. So it's wait and see on how they make it to
my folks' house, but rest assured they're OK.

Looking for updates from all other DC/NY moms...

TC, who just wants her husband and her baby girl home

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 9:37 am PDT/12:37 pm EDT

Subject: safe for now

Baroy and Em are at my parents' house. I can sort of breathe again. I
hope everyone else has similarly happy endings today. Thanks for all the
thoughts...I'm thinking of all of you on the east coast, and especially
those of you in New York.

a very shaken TC

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Subject: update, such that it is

Since people have asked...

No flights out today. Baroy finally got through to United just a few minutes ago, and they have a definite confirmed flight out on Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness. And they're on a waiting list or whatever for two flights tomorrow. No standbys allowed right now.

I am so on the edge of losing it, but hearing that there is an end in sight has really, really helped. I'm worried about Em, who won't allow Baroy out of her sight. I'm trying to get something set up for her for early next week so that she can be seen/evaluated by a psychologist. I have a feeling we're going to have some separation anxiety issues...

Last night on the phone, I asked her if there was anything she wanted to talk to me about.

"I'm worried," she said.

"What are you worried about?"

"I'm worried about the men who crashed the planes into the buildings. It makes me sad."

"It makes me sad, too, honey."

"And I'm worried about you, Mommy."

"You don't need to be worried about me. I'm fine."

"I'm worried that I can't see you."

And this morning, I was trying to prepare her for the fact that although they were going to the airport, they probably wouldn't be coming home.

"But if I never come home, I'll never see you again." And she started crying, and I couldn't calm her down. The more I talked, the more she cried...

Sigh. One more little piece of collateral damage.


Friday, September 14, 2001, 12:15 pm PDT/3:15 pm EDT

Subject: on a plane

Em and Baroy are on United Flight 897, waiting to take off, as I type. Please keep them in your thoughts over the next six or so hours, that they will arrive safely.

Baroy said they had to do a body search of every passenger, no exceptions. Em protested, so they made it into a game. Now I suppose we're going to have to explain the "nobody can touch your private parts unless there are terrorist attacks and you need to let them so you can get on an airplane" rule.

Hopefully, this is the end of it for us, and now I can concentrate on worrying about my brother-in-law (my stepsister's husband) who is an NYC cop on the front lines right now and spent most of last night at the morgue. ;-( (And who, apparently, would have been among those buried in the collapse had he not had a doctor's appointment in the Bronx Tuesday morning, and who is now mourning the loss of most of his fellow polic officers from his unit...)

TC, heart in her throat

Friday, September 14, 2001, 9:31 pm PDT/12:31 am EDT

Subject: home, safe

Thanks for all the good wishes. Em seems fine, Baroy seems very, very
tired. I'm off to take care of both of them, and couldn't be happier.

Talk to you all when I resurface.

Saturday, September 15, 2001

Subject: Re: Plane in LA

>I just checked the United Airlines website and it looks like Baroy and
>Em are home in Los Angeles. I know I am breathing easier.
>Sending a big hug to TC and her family!!

Not only were you right, Deb, but it turns out that they were the first plane to leave JFK since Tuesday. Everyone had been telling Baroy to just stay put at my mom's house and keep calling the airlines, and that it was ridiculous that he was insisting on going to the airport, etc., etc., etc., and now he is totally full of himself because, of course, he was right to go. Their plane was only half full, he said, and when they touched down, the passengers broke into spontaneous applause.

Apparently, by the way, a Newsday reporter was watching when Em was being searched and Baroy made it into a game. (And yes, it was just a very close wand search.) She was on assignment--her assignment being to fly on some of the first planes out of various airports, and she interviewed Baroy for over an hour during the flight. So, for those of you in New York who get Newsday, could you keep an eye out for me for whatever article they might be mentioned in?

Also, it seems Em was the talk of the airplane. When they were waiting at baggage claim, one of the women from the plane came up to Baroy and was telling him how everyone had been commenting on how amazingly good that little girl had been, especially considering the tension of all the adults around her, and even moreso because she hadn't been allowed to take very much on the airplane with her...just a few Barbie dolls in a case. No books, no crayons, no scissors, etc. I'm really proud of my girl.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Sometimes, writing fails you. Sometimes, even photos--those items that are purportedly worth a thousand of these word-things I keep spewing at the screen--fail you. Sometimes, there is simply no way to really express what a difference it can make to be among friends.

We spent a mere 48 hours in Vegas this weekend--from Thursday to Saturday. We were there to celebrate Ambre's 40th birthday in style. There were, originally, four of us--our week-in, week-out gang of mommies. And then I happened to spend an afternoon in New York with Paula, our amputated friend. (If you've ever had a close friend move away, you know what I mean; she is the person who may not be with you, but whose absence is always obvious, and felt deeply.) And I mentioned our Vegas plan, and blithely threw in the usual, "You should come with us," thinking only to induce a little more guilt over her having left us, even if unwillingly. She longingly sighed and said, "I wish," to which her husband, who will now forever be my Favorite Person in the World, quietly said, "Then why don't you go?"

And so it came to pass that on Thursday night, after dinner at the cafe in the Bellagio, we were hanging out at some slot machines when Paula came sauntering up to a completely not-in-the-loop Ambre, and said, brightly, "Hey!" And there was squealing and hugging and beaming. And the Good Times were officially on.

[Sorry, Ambre. I know you're going to yell at me about the chins, but look at that smile! Look how happy you are! How could I not include this photo?]

Nothing could stop us. Not Susanna's bronchitis, not Debra's hard-core blackjack addiction (she was the only one who walked away with any real cash), not my lingering malaise, which was clearly morphing into an actual depression. It's not so much that we partied, because, truthfully, for five women away from their families for the weekend, we were pathetic. But we connected. We ate and we drank and we gambled, but mostly we talked and we laughed and we talked and we laughed and we talked. And then we talked some more.

At dinner on Friday night--the official birthday celebration at Commander's Palace (and all I can say about that is OMIGODYUM)--I made a little toast to Ambre, in which I called her our group's heart and soul. And that is absolutely true. What is equally true is that I could say the same thing about Deb or Susanna or even missing-limb Paula, and be just as sincere. These women--both individually and as a group--are so important to me. It was so nice to just be with them, except nice isn't the right word. In fact, there simply isn't the right word. Sometimes, words fail you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What Happened Next

With Em:

She *loved* the new (much too gorgeous, much too blonde, much too young) teacher, who basically kept the kids in stitches the entire day. (Em's favorite part was when she took them on a tour of the school--there are a bunch of new kids--all while pretending to be a tour guide.) She and C got along just fine, and even chose seats next to each other. She's going to have a good year.

With N:

He seemed to have had a reasonably good day. When we came to pick him up, he was in line with the rest of the kids, had his backpack and lunchbox in hand, smiled at us. He hadn't used the potty at school the whole day and han't eaten much of his lunch, but otherwise seemed to have handled it all really well.

On the way home, I was peppering him with questions and he seemed to be getting annoyed, so I finally said, "Can I just ask you one more question?"

"You need to ask me lots more questions," he replied. "I did a lot of things today."


This morning was just as heart-wrenching as yesterday, but Mrs. W clearly has his number; when she saw him standing in line, crying, she took his hand and told him very clearly that she wasn't letting go and that she was going to help him into class. (She also took the hand of a teary little girl next to him, so he wasn't alone in his lack of second-day adjustment.) When we picked him up, Mrs. W told us he had had an even better day than his first; she later expanded on that when she called me at home to see if I can come in tomorrow morning to volunteer in the classroom.

"Yesterday, when I would ask the kids to do something, he told me several times that he didn't want to," she said. "But today, the only time he said that was on the way into the classroom, when I told each kid that they had to repeat the Number One poem I'd taught them the first day before they could go in. He just refused to do it, so I said it with him, and he was fine. After that, he never once told me he didn't want to do anything. So that's an improvement! Oh, and he agreed to sit in his place on the rug today, so that's good, too."

So, there you go. Tomorrow I'll be in the classroom in the morning, so we'll see how things go when I have to leave, and whether he'll be able to listen to his teacher when I'm right there. I've got my fingers crossed.

(Did I mention that Mrs. W can't be getting paid enough? Well, it bears repeating. Over and over and over.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Aaaaand....They're Off

Em was a little disappointed this morning when she found out she has the 'new' teacher for fourth grade. (There are two teachers per grade, and the other regular 4th grade teacher is on maternity leave for the year, so the new teacher is an unknown entity.) She was even more disappointed this morning when she found out that her best friend is in her class. Yes, that sounds counterintuitive, except to those of us who know C. C and Em make a really great team, one on one. But in a group? Not so much. C prefers to have just one, very intense, friendship. Em likes lots and lots of kids. When C is around and Em is being friendly with other kids, ugliness occurs. So, yeah. We may have to have a sit down sometime early in the year to get things straightened out. We'll see what the first few days bring.

Still, despite the disappointments, she went off to class with a huge smile, squealing each time she saw another of her friends. She'll be fine. She always is. She is my Easy Child.

And then there's N. N did remarkably well in the lead-up to school. He put his clothes out last night, we packed his lunch together, he talked excitedly about what was going to happen the next day. And, oh, I wish I had a hidden camera for the part where Em took him into his room for a "sister-brother talk" about what to expect in kindergarten. Could you not just die? After that, every time I tried to prepare him for something, he just rolled his teeny little five-year-old eyes at me and said, "I know dat already. Emmy told me 'bout dat." Well, excuuuuse me.

Walking to school was fine; he even let us take first-day-of-kindergarten pictures in front of the school sign, like we did when Em started there. He held onto my hand as we walked up to the kindergarten building after dropping Em off, and even smiled as he found a hook to hang his backpack on.

And then his teacher said, "Come on in, N, and sit on the rug," and panic leapt into his eyes.

"You're going to come check it out with me, right Mama?" he asked.

"I'm going to peek into the room as you go in, but I'm not allowed in that room any more, remember? Only the teacher and the kids are allowed in."

"But I need you to check it out!" His voice rose, panic in it as well.

"I will. But from out here. You go sit on the rug."

"No! No! No! I don't wanna sit on the rug!"

It was as this point that Mrs. W--who simply cannot be getting paid enough for the year she's about to have--took him by the hand and said, "I'm going to hold your hand now, N, and we'll go over to the rug together."

N started to pull away, yelling, "No. I need my Mama! I need my Mama!" Mrs. W gave Baroy and I a firm but sympathetic look, and closed the sliding glass doors through which the children enter so that N couldn't escape. Baroy hesitated, but I took his hand and pulled him away.

"Oh, that was exactly what I was most afraid of," Baroy said, his eyes a little moist.

"That was exactly what I was expecting," I said, my eyes even moister.

Of course, we couldn't leave well enough alone, right? While I attended the Howdy Coffee/PTA meeting (I'm the recording secretary, so I had to be there), Baroy went skulking around outside the kindy classroom. Apparently, however, Mrs. W was on to us, and had the shades pulled tightly out front. Damn her.

I was not to be deterred, however. At one point, after the coffee klatch had broken up, I saw the principal head up toward the kindy classrooms. A little while later, I saw her head to her office again, so I ran to catch up with her, ready to beg for info. I didn't have to.

"So, you checked in on the kindergarten, huh?" I said, trying to be nonchalant.

"Yup," she replied, smiling at me while simultaneously seeing right through me. "N even remembered me; he pointed to me and called out, 'Hey, I know you!'" (Thank goodness we have the World's Sweetest Principal; she found that cute.)

"So he was OK?"

"Oh, yeah, he was fine. Can you believe Mrs. W already had them at stations, and he was at his station with everybody else. He did have his shirt up over his mouth," [his newest anxiety outlet is chewing through every single shirt that touches his body...sigh...] "but he wasn't crying or anything, and like I said, he wasn't shy about pointing me out!"

So, that's good, right? He wasn't hiding in the corner, and he wasn't being mute. That means he's already doing better than he did during most of his time at preschool. So everything's going to be OK, right? Right?

I'm assuming that 11 am is too early in the day to take a Xanax. Damn it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I Should Not Complain

I should not complain. I should not complain. I should not complain. Most women would give their left arm to have a husband who, noticing a basket full of clothes, folds them and puts them away. I should not complain. I should not complain.

Not even if they were DIRTY clothes.

Off to go through the kids' drawers sniffing every piece of clothing to see what is clean and what needs washing...

[I should not complain. I should not complain. I should not complain.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dedication to Pessimism

It's hard to feel like the world is coming to an end when you're spending the day with your daughter and her friend on the beach in Santa Monica...sun, sand, surf, a pier full of rides, little girls screaming for pure joy in the waves (and then complaining about the sand in their bathing suits), waving with glee from the top of the towering ferris wheel.

It's hard to feel like the world is coming to an end when you're spending the day with your daughter and another friend on the beaches of La Jolla...more sun, more sand, more surf, splashing seals everywhere you look, little girls dining at a fancy restaurant where they sip Shirley Temples and wrinkle their noses at every 'unusual' ingredient in their food.

It's hard to feel like the world is coming to an end when you're spending the day with your son and his friend at Legoland...Lego boat rides, Lego helicopter rides, Lego horsie rides, Lego car rides, ice-cream and pizza and little boys splashing in fountains, getting "soaping wet."

It's hard, but it's not impossible.

Despite the fact that we're sending this summer out with a bang, my kids and I, I've been visiting my ugly place a little too often lately. In my ugly place, I'm in danger of losing my university job, and maybe my website job as well, and of screwing up a long(ish)-term relationship with a decently paying consumer magazine. In my ugly place, this is all my fault. (In the real world, it's probably about three-quarters true, and three-quarters my fault.)

And the worst part? I can't seem to get out of this place. There are things I could do...proactive steps, remedies, even just ways to adjust my thinking...but instead, I spend a lot of time pretending this just ain't happening.

I'm overcommitted, overextended. There are things I ought to be giving up, and things I ought to be putting at the top of the to-do list. But the things I need to give up are the easy ones, the fun ones. The things that keep sliding down the to-do list? Would save me my university job, maybe, but are hard, and a little bit scary, because what if it turns out I'm not good enough? There's a lot of learning to be done for that job, more than I'd expected, and I'm afraid to tell anyone that I need to be taught, because why keep on the stupid girl when you can get someone who knows what she's doing, you know? And the magazine piece, the one that--in the ugly place, at least--is torpedoing my entire freelance career? Well, instead of just responding to the 15th round of edits (I wish I were kidding...), I'm sitting here stewing about how unfair it is, how stupid the questions are, how wrong this editor is. Because that will take care of the problem, won't it?

So instead of taking positive steps, getting stuff off my plate, I go hang out in my ugly place. I think about how much it's going to suck when we have no health insurance, no significant income. I think about where we'll move when we lose the house. I think about how close I am to that exposure I've always known was coming...the one where everyone finds out what a sham I am, what a fraud, how useless and untalented and yadda yadda yadda. (In my ugly place, I'm not even original enough to come up with interesting angst. That's how ugly it is.)

When even I get bored of being in my ugly place, when I drag myself to what approximates the surface these days, I write blog entries and design ads for the temple, because that makes people respond positively and occasionally even praise me and tell me how wonderful I am. But that doesn't help, not really. Because what do they know? They can't see the ugliness.

And so I get in the car with my kids and drive to the beach, drive down the coast, drive to Legoland. And I smile and laugh, because their smiles and laughs are infectious. Because while I can't make money at it, and it won't stop us from losing our house, and it doesn't make me any less of a professional sham, making memories for and with them, watching them enjoy life...being there with them, being their mama...keeps the ugliness at bay. My kids are the antidote to ugliness. They are, simply, beautiful. And that may be what, ultimately, saves me.

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