Thursday, August 22, 2013

Confessions of a "Latch Key Kid"...


The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Summer is “My Parents Failed Me (A Little or a Lot)” This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the parenting failures of their own parents or in themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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I'm not even sure how many people will understand that title.  When I was a kid, a "latch key kid" was a kid who got home before their parents.  I honestly don't know the origin, and where as I could google it and give you the root origin of the slang term, that's not why I'm writing this.  No, today folks, I'm not going to talk about any products, or stuff I've made.  I'm probably not even going to mention my boobs more than a few times, but I'm betting they'll factor in too, because in truth, I harbor some resentment about that too.

Growing up, my mom worked.  She worked a lot.  My dad was in aerospace and had a tendency to have a hard time holding down a job for long stretches (or so it seemed in my mind and please forgive me Dad if that's way off and you by chance actually read this).  So my mom supplemented our income with a series of part time minimum wage jobs.  As most people know, when you have that type of job, you take the hours you get offered so you get offered more hours. That's what she did.  I had an older brother, but he was unreliable, and at best would be there to watch me MAYBE a few days a week when I got home, so for the most part, when I was done with school, I walked home, opened the door with my own key and spent several hours alone in an empty house.  This started when I was my son's age.  I was 7 and in the second grade when I got my very first house key of my own. I wore it on a chain so I wouldn't lose it.

I can't imagine my son walking home alone, let alone coming home to an empty house.  For this, I feel my parents failed me, and I'll explain why, but for now, let me focus on my own kids.  My older pair, the adult and the teenager were awful when they were young.  They could not be left alone until they were well into their teen years because they just could not be trusted to not set the house aflame or flood the bathroom or some unholy disastrous thing that I could not fathom dealing with.  They once tried to "bake a cake" on the kitchen floor by mixing all the ingredients on the tile.  So they were not left alone.  Maxwell on the other hand is a marvel.  He is my perfect baby, remember?  He could be left alone long enough for me to take a shower when he was a toddler.  I did have the older two to make sure they kept a bit of an eye on him, but he didn't need them at all.  He was just that kind of kid.  And now, he is seven.  He can do so many things on his own that I am still constantly surprised.  He can make his own food.  He can use the microwave.  He can get his own drink.  He knows not to go out in the backyard because there is the pool out there.  He knows how to let the dogs out, and not to answer the door and this list goes on and on and on.  I can't imagine that boy here alone.  I can't wrap my head around it.  But when I was exactly his age (actually 6 months younger because of the way his birthday falls in the school year) I started walking home from school alone to an empty house.  For hours.

As the years went on, it progressed to things like me doing the dishes before mom got home.  Starting dinner so mom wouldn't have to cook after work.  Then when my dad left, my brother left shortly after and I played housewife for a while because my mom just didn't have it in her.  When her second husband came along, I was set in this routine and resented his presence.  His mess.  I resented the fact that she'd skipped from relying on my dad to my brother to me to him and never relied on herself.  But I digress...

This messed me up permanently.  I don't like being home alone.  I don't like going places alone.  I just plain don't like being alone.  I blame this in part to the hours upon hours I spent alone in an empty house as a kid.  I could never do that to my own children.  Hell, I never even put them in a daycare setting.  We worked really hard when the bigger kids were young and damn near lost our marriage because of it.  Him working third shift and me working a split shift to keep from needing daycare until they started school.  When the little ones came along I was already able to be at home.  I'd rather be broke and with my kids than have a ton of money and them come home to an empty house.  The worst part about my growing up that way?  We never made ends meet anyway and I got a job two days after I turned 16 to help with the bills and had two jobs simultaneously while finishing high school before I left home at 18.  I ended up taking the five year plan in high school as well and graduated a year late in part due to my need to work.  But mostly because I just didn't want to go to school and deal with everything else.  But alas I did finish.

So what brings me here today?  Well, a lot of things really.  It's the start of a new school year and I was thinking about when I was in second grade.  My mom is driving me nuts lately.  In fact, she's making me question a lot of my parenting choices again.  The boobs come up again here.  At dinner the other night, Phiz climbed up in my lap for his after dinner boobs, which he literally ALWAYS does, even if he's got a drink at the table (he doesn't always, he likes to pour them on his plate instead of drink them).  I needed to scoot my chair back and he was being very impatient, and I told him he wouldn't fit right then.  My mom looks at me and says "If he won't fit, maybe he's too big to nurse at the table honey."  She wasn't being mean.  She was just being honest with her feelings.  Have I mentioned before that I wasn't breastfed?  My mom claims she never made milk.  My grandma says that's bullsh*t and when I was a baby she was so engorged she had to get a shot to dry up her milk.  I don't know which is true, I just know that I resented the comment after my recent battle with mastitis while she was pretending she didn't know I was even sick.  Remember WE LIVE TOGETHER?!?  I have no idea how she didn't know when an AMBULANCE came to pick me up to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM! But ok, mom.  Moving on, he's my last child, my last nursling and he can nurse as long as he likes.  There is no such thing as "too big" to nurse at the dinner table if you want to in my opinion and this is my house too.

Also, I wrote this today because I'm entering it in a contest which I think is pretty brave of me, but as you guys know, there are more of you now than there used to be and I think that's so cool I want even more people to come read too.  This whole thing has been so cathartic for me.  It's the best therapy I've ever had to be able to write here and in truth, I'm grateful for the *almost* anonymity of the internet.  So there you have it.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Until next time...
J


August 2013 Taboo Carnival


*** Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!
  • I Am Not My Parents — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a guest post from a mama whose tumultuous childhood witnessing the daily volitility of her parents' dysfunction empowers her to provide her children with the peaceful, respectful, non-voilent childhood she longed for.
  • Am I a Liar? — Jorje of Momma Jorje *really* didn't appreciate being considered a liar as a child. Click to read how this has affected her relationships.
  • Confessions of a "Latch Key Kid"... — Lois at The Myth of the Perfect Baby talks about being left alone after school as a young child and her thoughts on extended breastfeeding at the dinner table.
  • Sometimes Families Break Down — Joella at Fine and Fair shares a guest post about how a mama ended up being estranged from her family and what she hopes to do differently.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hair Products in Hell...

Ok, so that's probably dramatic, but it's hell LIKE here some days and I need to talk about a hair product today.  I'm going to get that shit out of the way first, because frankly, it's cool hair stuff and because I don't want to forget to do it.  Uberliss.  Weird name, great product.  They sent me some samples of shampoo and conditioner, but the bigger deal here was the Uberliss Straight Effect Rituoil Orchid and Argan oil complex.  It is AH-MAZING! It really is.  I believe it's designed for curly haired folks to use to straighten with heat but I have extremely straight hair as it is, so for me it just made my hair smell great and feel like cornsilk.  I LOVED using it the first time, and realized that even though the shampoo and conditioner were one use only samples, the oil is going to last quite a while.  You only need about a dime size amount to cover my hair and it's down to my waist so it will last me probably a good 3 months and that's if I share it.  How cool is that?  It is rather expensive to purchase, but still, if it lasts that long it's totally worth it right? The Rituoil is $20 for a 2 ounce bottle and here's a link to their site to check it out. I don't get a kickback or anything if you buy from their site so if you find a better deal somewhere else, have at that, cuz it's great but I don't spend $20 on hair shit often.  So my take on Uberliss?  Love it, would use it ALL.THE.TIME. if I could afford it, and will use the Rituoil often until I run out and then hopefully find another product like it to review :)

Moving on to the hell part.  This past weekend I had to call Poison Control for the first time in my parenting career.  Memphis swiped a bottle of tea tree oil off the bathroom counter while we were running his bath and got the lid off and tried to take a sip.  I'm honestly not sure how much if any he really had in his mouth, he looked like he might have had some in there, but I caught him in the act and he quickly gave me back the open bottle that appeared to be missing very little.  He does this thing were he keeps things in his mouth and spits them at you and I tried to get him to do that, but he panicked and whatever was in his mouth he swallowed, so then I panicked too.  R was right there, and all I could think to do was make him vomit it up the good old fashioned way so we swept his mouth and my good in a crisis husband got him to vomit up his stomach contents all over the hallway.  I wish we'd had the presence of mind to move it to the bathroom tile, but well, hindsight is 20/20 right?  So while we were making the kid barf, Mik, my 19 year old daughter was getting the number for poison control and the phone, and we're calling as we're stripping him and I down since we are now both covered in his puke and get ready to clean ourselves up while R deals with the poison control call.  It's times like that that I remember that he's not an idiot, he can handle his shit really well, and in a pinch, he knows exactly how to act like a grown damn man (it's just the day to day that gets him all fucked up) we get the instructions to watch for and the longer it is since the "accidental ingestion" the more we realize he must not have gotten much in him if any, because he's acting totally normal.  Tea tree oil should make a kid his size really drowsy and lethargic and he was up running frantically around like he always is.  Part of the instructions were that we were to watch for an hour and they were going to call us back to check symptoms at that hour mark.  They did, and when we told them he was up running around eating an otter pop, the guy laughed and said we had a tough kid, and R said "you have no idea" and laughed with him in relief for a few minutes before we got ready for bed. By the way, the number in the US for poison control is 1-800-222-1222.

And that was what we did, but this weird thing has been happening where he wakes up at about 3:15 every morning and starts talking to someone.  Someone we can't see, the dogs don't react to, but he points to the person and tells me someone is there.  I don't know if it's one of our resident ghosts or if it's a dream state he's in or what, but he's been doing it for 3 nights running now.  Today he didn't take a nap, and he's already out cold before 10 so hopefully, he'll sleep all night for me!

I've also been a busy little bee lately (for me).  Just tonight I made some banana bread from scratch, and I realized that for that kind of thing, I don't even need a recipe, I really can just eyeball it and it comes out amazing.  Someone ate all my walnut halves so it was missing that, but short of that, it was so good I almost wish we had more bananas going bad.  I made spankopita the other night, and that was a hit.  Been cooking a bunch really, I also made Alfredo sauce from scratch tonight, for the tortellini that my son had been craving.  So yeah, I can cook some amazing stuff...I'd forgotten that.  I need to unforget and get back in a kitchen so I can keep myself a little more busy.

I also have an update on my mastitis issue (sort of).  It really is more in depth than I'm going to post right now, because it really is a blog in itself and it deserves to be the focus, but I wanted to give a short update none the less.  I am doing much better now.  I did end up with thrush from the antibiotics of course, so I was on diflucan after the antibiotics were over.  The baby did not get thrush thank god.  It did take quite a long time for the duct to stop being sore, but it's mainly because of which duct it was, the tissue there is sensitive, it's been through a lot and been battered and bruised since I began having ICD's put in.  My primary care doctor visit was interesting at best.  He let me in on a "secret" of his own that he himself had been breastfed to the age of 3 so saw nothing wrong with me continuing to nurse Phiz as long as my meds caused him no ill effects and they really truly don't.  Anyone that knows him knows that, as does his doctor.  The medication that I take is mostly life saving for me and the benefits outweigh the risks.  I'm not his primary source of nutrition either.  So there's that too.  Yeah, I'm still touchy about it, and I'm sure I will be for a while, but I just can't help it, this is a big deal in my life.  I'm going to leave you with some links about extended breastfeeding as well today :)