Friday, March 23, 2007

Some Truths, and some truths about lies

Okay, first, Robyn over at Snarkling Clean tagged me to write some Mothering Truths.

Please keep in mind that my kids are still both small. Also keep in mind that my Faery has been particularly needy this week.

1. You will wonder what you were thinking when you decided to have kids.

Oh, yes. I was free. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted. I could sleep as late as I liked on days off work. I was HOT. I was tiny and slim, with not a stretch mark on my body. Now? You don't even want to know. I'm not fat, but I'm about five sizes away from those size 3s I used to wear.
I do love them, but there are days I would happily trade them both for a bottle of good gin (as I believe I said to my cp ages ago). Happily.

2. Children teach you that the world is terrible and unpredictable.

Sorry if this is a downer, but it's true. Not only do the world's fears suddenly seem so much more real--it's no coincidence that large numbers of people start turning a lot more conservative after they have kids--but you realize, in a way you never did before, that you can't do much about it. That you can't have something just because you want it.

My oldest daughter has developmental delays. For a while they thought she was autistic, then not, then maybe Asperger's, then not...we're still having evaluations etc (the last one was just a month or so ago) and the latest verdict is that Princess is just very socially awkward, and needs some physical therapy because she has very loose ligaments. Which is great.
But my daughter is still the one the other kids don't play with. She's still the one who doesn't know how to respond when people ask her questions a lot of the time. She's still the one who will always be in the chorus because she won't be able to handle a starring role in the school play. She's still the one who's developing nervous habits because she just doesn't understand what people are asking her, and is trying to buy time. She doesn't understand that when people tell her things, they're not yelling or criticizing.
I didn't take drugs or drink when I was pregnant. I took my prenatal vitamins. I ate healthy (and I ate a LOT, too.) Delays like this don't run in my family or in my husband's. There was no reason why this should have happened...but it did.

And it kills me. And I can't do anything about it.

And also, I wanted boys, which leads me into my last truth:

3. Mothering can be really fricking disappointing and painful.

Your children yell sometimes. They do things you don't want them to do. They break things. They scribble in your books. They refuse to eat food you paid for and cooked with love and hope in your motherly heart. They watch you button your jeans and say, "Mommy, why is your belly so big?" They watch a movie you loved at their age and tell you it's lousy and only dummies would like it. They refuse to wear clothes you bought them, enjoy books you bought them, or answer you when you talk to them. You repeat yourself a million times a day. You cry all the time because they've destroyed something else, or because they're so happy to see you they hug you and head-butt you in the process, or they're trying to get comfortable on your lap and smack or kick you in the eye, or dig their elbows into your sternum, or use your breasts as steps to crawl onto your head. Or, as in one of my favorite memories, they wake you up from an early-morning doze on the couch by slamming you on the forehead with a hardcover book.

Maybe that isn't the last one. My last one should be something sappy like "You wouldn't trade them for anything" ut as I said before, that isn't always true. So I'll do this one instead:

4. You love them anyway. And you can't wait for them to get older, so you can talk to them more, and teach them things, and hopefully send them out into the world as a couple of happy, healthy, well-adjusted members of society.

And some other news:

I blogged over at the Deliciously Naughty blog. It's just a little bio thing and an excerpt from Prince of Death. So pop over if you haven't had enough of me yet.

On Monday I'm going to do a continuation of Wednesday's blog post, about ego and giving up.

And a truth about a lie:

Gawker reports that a settlement is imminent in the "Million Little Pieces" fraud suit.

I thought I blogged about the Frey thing when it all happened, but I guess I didn't. Well. I think the story turning out to be a big old lie would have been a lot different if he hadn't been insisting for so long that it was true, it was all true, and I'm one HARD motherfucker, me!

And so this is what happens.

Also, I did this book meme thing I got off Scary Monster's blog (I think, or it might have been Paca) a while back. It's up on the overflow blog.


S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh... your truths are painfully true, December.

It does get better. Really. My son is ten now, and he's the most amazing little person EVAH.

It's so worth it. :-)

kis said...

You said it, girl. Kids really teach you stuff you don't want to learn.

My only daughter (among five kids and stepkids) was also plagued with developmental delays. Although she walked at eight months and could climb shelves like an ape before she was a year, she didn't speak her first sentence until after she'd started kindergarten, and had virtually no language at all until she taught herself how to read. Reading before speaking. You can bet everybody was up in arms about that.

She was detached among people she did not know well, and avoided eye contact because she usually did not understand what people wanted of her. "Okay, kids, line up at the door single file," was a command she simply could not decode until well after she started school.

They said extreme ADD.
They said autism.
They said Asperger's.
When she was in grade one, they gave her an IQ test and found out she was in the 150s, and performing math at a grade five level. But she still couldn't seem to properly respond to questions like, "How are you today, Chickpea?"

She got some speech and language therapy through the school, and learning assistance. Not a lot, though. Once she was immersed in the school environment, she advanced by leaps and bounds.

She's in grade six now. She has two girl friends who she hangs with regularly, and a boy who has a crush on her. She just brought home her first straight A report card. Her teacher is amazed not only how smart she is ("Tell me again why she gets learning assistance?"), but how kind and helpful she is to kids who, like she was not so long ago, are on the bottom rung of the social ladder.

We don't know why she had those delays. We have our suspicions regarding infant vaccinations, and have changed our attitude regarding them when it comes to four-year-old Blammo. We could be entirely wrong, but it's not a chance we're prepared to take.

The world is unpredictable and unkind, but kids have a way of getting by. Your daughter will find her place. And my daughter, she makes me proud every day.

Anonymous said...

Little buggers are all knees and elbows, aren't they. Apparently they grow out of it.

You forgot to mention snot and poo.

littlebirdblue said...

I'm content to be the cool aunt to a passel of (now toddler) nephews. I plan to be the one they go to when they get older--you know; the cool aunt whose house you can go stay at for a couple weeks when you have a really bad fight with your parents--or the one who will give you a little money, no questions asked, when you go to her crying.

The one you can ask advice about stuff your parents can't hear about because it would just kill them to know you're not their baby anymore.

The aunt with the kooky clothes and the cool books and movies and music and too much jewelry and the massive dog your parents never let you have.

That aunt.

Ann(ie) said...

My oldest, Birdie, has a temper like Mount Saint Helens. Nobody in the family has anger problems, but tell her no or let something bad happen and she might spend two hours screaming over it. Just utter rage.
I'm trying to teach her that's an inappropriate response to disappointment, but it's slow going, and it's really hard to be patient. I never had tantrums like that so I can't understand her at all. When she's not displaying her boundless rage, she's the sweetest kid imaginable, so I keep hoping she'll grow out of it.

Anonymous said...

". . . tagged me to write some Mothering Truths."

At first I thought you left some letters out.

You said it right, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Even though my daughter had free room and board, a NEW car, and an easy job, she still decided to quit and marry a sorry-assed loser she's trying to get divorced from. They just don't listen. The only good thing that came out of all that is my beautiful granddaughter.

As for my son, he'll be 21 in a few months. He quit college but is working and a good kid. But he has no idea what to do with his life. Good ol' dad won't be around forever. That's what I tell 'em. -V95

Robyn said...

Y'know, I wish I could point to some kind of disease or syndrome. Both of mine went to a class called 'transition,' which is inbetween kindergarten and first grade. But not everybody, just the kids the Powers That Be think need a 'little more growing up time.'

If you think I got shot condescending, oh, you poor thing! looks when I bottle fed, you should have seen the ones I got over that. BY MY MOTHER-IN-LAW.

Tempest Knight said...

As a single woman, I find this quite... interesting. Hmm... No wonder I'm still single, right?

December Quinn said...

Yeah, SW, I am looking forward to them being a bit older and more independent. I'm sure I'll miss being the one they need, but it will be nice not to hear "Mommymommy" a million times a day and have to stop whatever I'm doing to attend.

December Quinn said...

Kis, your daughter sounds so much like mine! Princess didn't sit until 8 or 9 months and never bothered to crawl, really, but stood on her own at like 7 months and starting creeping around the same time, and climbing shelves and into her highchair and onto anything else she could. She started walking three weeks before she turned one...took her first steps one day, was walking across the room the next.

Her math is terrible, but she's five and reads at a fourth-grade level. She avoids eye contact (but will make it if she has to.)

And yeah, questions like that are hard for her too.

Wow, I'm so glad you replied. I've always dreamed that as she gets older, she'll mature and be less awkward. Thank you.

December Quinn said...

Yeah, Seeley, but the snot and poo don't bother me so much (although I could totally do without the vomit.)

It's the pain I don't like.

December Quinn said...

Lbl, I think you've described the perfect life, I really do. How wonderful to have nephews!

Annie, that does sound a bit like my little Faery. She doesn't go on for as long, but she turns purple with rage.

Well, V95, I hope things work out for your daughter. Hey, at least she learned her lesson, eh?
And your son...sometimes it just takes longer to figure out what we want to do. My borther didn't go to college, and drifted around working at stores and stuff. Then he went to school to be a radigrapher, then he got married, had two kids, and is now about to become a pharmacist.

December Quinn said...

Oh, yes, the Mother-in-law...very, very hard not to mention the terrible genes on her side of the family, huh? :->

Tempest, consider yourself LUCKY! You're Free! I'm so jealous!!

Anonymous said...

Sure Tempest is free (and those times when a story is just begging to come out but can't because I still have dinner and homework to get done I envy her madly) but I had a pretty poor family life and round of friends. It's very nice to have love and support.

I feel December and Annie... My son is diagnosed autistic and the hardest things to deal with is his temper. Frustration feeds right into anger. It's frustrating to mom and dad too, when we see how much he loves creative things, especially acting out movies and music, but I know he couldn't deal at all with the critisism. It's so hard to have to make the choice not to help him. Often, I've found, even if he is misbahaving if he is in a good mood he doesn't see that he's being bad, so when it goes far enoughto need punishment he doesn't at all understand that mommy's not being mean, he's been bad.
All these social problems couldn't have anything do to with the changes in school could they? I mean, my kindergarden was half a day, with a nap! mostly singing and reading and play time. Now kids start school and they are expected to sit and work for six hours a day! My son's old school gave him almost two hours of homework a night in first grade, and gave the kids absolutely no "space" or "free" time. It was worksheet-reading-worksheet-math/calendar (sitting and repeating after the teacher)-lunch-lecture-worksheet- "special areas (music or computer class)- assigned "learning area" (group work like extra reading, hands on science, or another worksheet)-worksheet- explaining homework- going home. Sometimes they would get to play on the play ground, but often the teacher ran late with other things and so she skipped it. Of course a child that is slow socially is just going to fall behind when forced into 100% group work. Schools are crazy these days.

kis said...

That really sucks, Michele. It makes me glad that I stayed in this town, even during the gloomy winters, because we have great schools here. My stepson, who lives in California, has issues similar to yours. He has a different teacher for each class, and they all expect at least an hour of homework a night. A grade one student could figure out that those numbers just don't add up.

I really lucked out with my daughter. She was in a small school (K-5, less than 100 students) and wound up with the same, wonderful teacher for grades 1, 2, 4 and 5. Good teachers will see the value not only of a flexible schedule during school hours, but the value of after school activities like soccer and scouts, as well as time to simply be a kid and enjoy family life. As long as kids learn what they need to learn, it won't matter whether they did 10 worksheets or 100.

My daughter's grade 6 teacher has the kids sitting, and often working, in groups of five. But he arranged the goups in such a way as to foster cooperation and compatability among the students. He did this with the aid and advice of the school psychologist and the learning assistance teacher. He has been able to take my daughter's strong academic skills and her natural compassion and turn her into a leader and roll model in her group.

All the work he assigns can be reasonably completed during class time. Homework consists of one project or report each trimester, and whatever work a child did not complete in class. He never assigns homework on weekends because he feels family is more important than yet another worksheet or venn diagram. Not every teacher will agree with his relaxed style, but students from his class do as well or better than average when they hit grade seven.

Teachers who are hardasses when it comes to classwork just make kids hate learning.

December Quinn said...

Eeep, Michele, I'm so sorry I didn't reply earlier! I thought my comment was the last one..oh never mind. Sorry.

It's so hard, isn't it? And nobody understands what it's like, and they seem to think you're a terrible person for letting it upset you and/or sometimes wishing things were different.

I agree on the demands made on kids today. I know at least some of the issues with my daughter started because so much was asked of her at such an early age. It's one thing I really like about the UK, they don't demand as much in most areas. I remember Princess's pediatrician being worried that she wasn't talking at 15 months; over here all they ask for is 50 words by the age of two.

I have a bunch of theories on this, but as most of them are on the reactionary side I tend not to express them. Suffice to say children need more free time at home, IMO.

December Quinn said...

See above, kis. I totally agree.

Anonymous said...

I snuck in and answered you on Saturday night I think, so I wouldn't have been mad if you missed me :)

I've been told keeping my son on a strict schedule at home would help him. I refuse. He loves being busy at school, but he loves coming home and playing or laying, or whatever, as he wants.

Rebecca said...

Fantastic post December. I agree with everything you said - especially that the world suddenly seems a lot scarier once you have kids!

And isn't it wonderful when you slave over a hot stove cooking nutritious food that you hope they might like and you're rewarded with complaints and snarls??

oh....the joys

(And don't talk about bodies ...I had twins and the skin on my tummy is really very very sad now. :))