Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fight the power!

 For the last month I have been putting a small rack outside with about 12 diapers and inserts on it.  Last night we got a letter from our HOA to cease and desist.

We live in a small town home community (about 20 units).  I am beyond pissed.  We have until June 30th to quit it, or my DH says they can sue.  I completely get why we have a HOA, and why we have standards, because I don't want to live in a dump, but seriously.  A small rack of diapers.  The irrational little person inside of me wants to send a letter to each of my neighbors asking which one has a problem with my diapers, so I can go over and kick some narc ass.

Last night I was ready to go door to door, and light a match.  That letter, and Rob standing there laughing as he read it out loud, as I was elbow deep in rinsing diapers, made me see red.  You see, I have an awful temper.  Maybe it's the Irish.  Maybe it's righteous indignation.  More likely it's that I am shithouse crazy, and feel the need to lash out at the HOA, because other areas of my life seem to be spiraling out of my control.

So, this morning, bright and early I stuck my rack out there.  And will continue to do so until June 30th.  And I seriously dare anyone to say something to my face.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's on your plate, Mama???

Sharing a meal with Campbell is a little like eating with a loaded gun at your head. You just never know when she is going to flip out because: you are too slow cutting up the food, too stupid to figure out what her grunt and lunge means, or when she's had enough and the table gets cleared.

At this meal, my very own eating machine consumed: mussels, scallops, shrimp (with a very horseradish-y cocktail sauce), lump crab, bread (x10), egg, tomato, avocado, spinach, mashed potatoes, calamari, strawberry milk, strawberry shortcake, half of Rob's dessert, and part of a crayon.

It was a special night for Cam, as it was her first trip to the Yacht Club.  My Dad was a member from forever ago, and I spent MANY hours there learning to sail, ordering "free" cokes on my Dad's tab, and causing the Club to wonder how one kid could do so much damage to one brand-new 420 sailboat.  I hated sailing school, because it was four days a week, ALL. DAY. LONG.  When my friends were all home hanging at the pool, I was sitting in a boat doing anything but what was expected of me.  I never, ever won a race.  I learned how to sail fast enough to gain on the Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, so we could pelt them with water balloons (asshole little kids, we were).  I also learned that if you said you didn't feel well, you got to ride in the committee boat all day with the instructors, and drink Coke.

My Dad was an award winning sailor.  He had sailing down, it was his thing.  So on father/kid race night, who won all the races?  Yup, that's right.  Captain Bligh and his hapless mate.  The instructors were always dumbfounded.  Then they started to have....expectations.  If my old man was such a winner, and had the trophies to prove it, what was my problem?
The only award I won was for "Best at capsizing and recovery".  Meaning, I could flip a boat over, and get it upright like nobody's business.  Truth be told, whose boat would you want to be on?  The one with the sailor who could win the race?  Or the one who could save your ass if the boat turned over and took on water?   That's right.  And I'd even buy you a Coke.  On Dad's tab.

Cam, you have a lot to live up to.  Grammie is already counting down the days until she can enroll you in sailing school.  Here's the secret tab number...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

14 months or 14 years?

I love me a good temper tantrum.  I feel so invigorated and ready to move on to the next problem of the day after a good yell, cuss, and stomp.  My mother loves to tell me how awful I was in public places, especially the grocery store.  I would throw myself down and scream hysterically while kicking and flailing; she would step over my body and continue on to the next aisle.  Sensing my audience was gone, I would hightail it to that aisle and resume the unbridled rage of a pissed off toddler.  Knowing my mother as well as I do, she probably gritted her teeth, muttered some cuss words, and kept moving...until she'd had enough.  Then it was the death grip on the upper arm, with her unbelievably strong nails dug in for good measure.  She had her box of wine to look forward to at the end of a day with me.  I fully acknowledge she deserved that wine, and then some.

Karma has no statute of limitations.

When Cam was a teeny little newborn we nicknamed her "The Angry Hornet", because when she got upset about something, it was out of nowhere, a rage filled cry, and then gone once soothed/fed/changed.  It scared us into action, and a few moments later we were always laughing.  Impressed with our new daughter's spirit.  The nickname was dropped after a month or so, as Cam became aware that we were at her beck and call. 

My heretofore sweet, easy-going baby, has learned she has free-will and she's pissed she can't exercise it.  Campbell has shocked and scared me nearly shitless a number of times over the last week.  The sheer force and energy is like a tornado, sucking life out of the room.  Whatever hyperactive energy I have from my ADHD is leveled by the time she has released her fury.  Last week, while on one of our many trips to Target, I was perusing the baby goods, sipping my peppermint hot chocolate from the Starbucks, when out of nowhere Cam screamed so loud and angrily, I thought she was on fire.  After checking that she wasn't, my next inclination was to run far and fast.  My mind reeled.  "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!" left my mouth, not quietly.  I looked at her clenched fist, and in that split second she threw the empty carcass of a smoothie I literally JUST gave her at me.  The screaming baby and her swearing mother got the attention of two other mothers and their baskets full of kids standing in close proximity.  One gave me a withering look and scuttled away, the other laughed a knowing laugh, and gave her own two kids the death stare as she pushed past.

Unaccustomed to being assaulted like that, I ran back over and grabbed another off the shelf and gave it to her.  This time I watched my baby suck the contents out in one big gulp.  I gave her another, same thing.  I gave her another, and the screaming stopped, but she eyed me with contempt for the rest of that trip.  To be fair, I have conditioned my child to expect food and beverage while at Target.  Once she learned that what I was drinking was tasty (isn't it cute the baby likes whipped cream?!?), she squealed and lunged for my Starbucks every time I got one.  So I thought in my infinite wisdom I'd buy her a chocolate milk.  It's organic!  Of course it's a good treat!  First time I poured that milk into her sippy cup and handed it to her, she gulped it all in one sitting.  Never letting the cup leave her mouth.  My inner addict was alarmed, but I just thought "hey, she really liked that, how cute!".   It dawned on me a few weeks later, and a cow's worth of moo juice in my kid, perhaps all that sugar is a bad idea.  That little carton of organic goodness has the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke.  Yikes.  So, after her outburst over the smoothie, I loaded up my cart with a bunch of them. Smart, no?

No more outbursts like that until yesterday.  Cam sat in her high chair finishing up lunch while I cleaned the kitchen.  I gave her two little graham cracker sticks.  She polished those off, and started pointing (so damned SMART, that kid!) to the container that held the sticks.  We have been doing baby sign language for at least 10 months, a few days ago she showed us she knows the sign for more.  So when I asked her to do the sign for more, she complied, and I gave her another stick.  You see where this is going, right?  She gobbled that stick up, and started signing again.  "Nope, sorry Cam, lunch is over."  She started signing furiously, this time, really defining the finger movements (before it was a lazy gesture), "No more, Campbell, all gone."

She started rocking, and then SLAMMING her body back and forth so violently in that chair, I rushed forward to grab her before the chair either split apart, or she launched herself out of it.  Then the arching of the back/kicking/ flailing of arms/and my personal favorite, the head butt.  I didn't know what to do, so I put her on the ground, but she refused to stand, so I laid her down, which got her even more pissed.  I needed to walk away.  She got up and followed me, as did Karma.

This went on for 30 more minutes.  I tried reasoning ("this is unacceptable Campbell, stop it right now.  Lunch is OVER."), I tried holding and hugging, finally I just let her lay on the ground and SCREAM.  Every few minutes the intensity would wane, and I'd offer her my hands to help her pull up into a sit.  As soon as her back would come off the ground, the fury would start all over again.  I was shell-shocked by the time Rob came home.  Any time after that, if I tried putting her down, or walking more than a foot away from her, all hell would break loose, so I just sucked it up and held her.

So when Cam woke up from her nap today, and was already in a foul mood, I had to bite the bullet and drag her with me to the store.  Her father has been working crazy, long hours, so my hopes were dashed for a reprieve from The One Who Screams.  We got to the front door, I had in my arms:  23 pounds of surly toddler; the diaper bag; my keys; a mug of tea; an umbrella; and an extra cloth diaper (don't ask why it wasn't in the diaper bag).  I am someone who cannot/will not come back for anything.  I will die from a broken neck on day, because I will have been hauling 42 bags of groceries, a cat, my purse, and a cup of tea, and I will trip from the unwieldiness of it all, and because a Pug will be underfoot.

So at the front door, I pause to grab the door handle and feel wet all down my front.  I forgot to close the top of my travel mug.  I was now wearing almost the entire mug.  I thought for a brief moment that I would just endure the wetness, hell it was already raining, but vanity and stupidity won out.  As soon as I stepped one foot back in the door, Cam decided to freak the fuck out.  Again.  She had already melted down twice in the ten minutes it took me to grab her from her crib, change her diaper, and get to the door.  Shall I explain how the rest of the afternoon and evening went?

I thought about calling my mother to apologize for the years I took off of her life, but decided I couldn't stand to hear the laughter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And she'll probably deserve it.

The one on the left is Alabama.  She is one of our three cats.  The one looking like life has burdened him, on the right, is Dixon.  The cat loves her some Pug.  The pug?  Not so much.  To be fair, she is what one would generously call a nuisance.  She's incredibly sweet, extremely friendly, but is a complete pain in the ass.  The cat that will fuck with you all night, waking you just enough to screw with your sleep.  She has been literally thrown off the bed, I don't know how many times, and always comes back.  When you wake in the morning, she is the sweet one, all curled up in a ball fast asleep, and you are left wondering if it was all a terrible dream.

Bama has a litter-mate brother in residence.  Clarence.  Clarence is a BIG, dumb, oaf.  As sweet as the day is long, frightened of people he doesn't know well (anyone that isn't me or Rob), and is kind of like a large, warm paperweight.  He does nothing but sleep and eat.  If Clarence is perchance walking around, and Bama is within a foot of him she will yowl LOUDLY, as if stepped on.  She is a bitch, that way.  She harasses him to no end.  All my boy wants is some sleep, a hard rub down (he thoroughly enjoys being slapped on his kitty ass...told you, not too bright), and some wet food every once in a while. 

Clarence is smart enough to avoid Cam.  When I lay down on the floor to play with Cam, sometimes Clarence will slink out of his box (a basket of baby stuff he likes to nest in) and come lay next to me, looking for a good ass smack.  Then he sees Cam, a blur of motion, and he retreats.  Only smart thing I have ever seen that cat do.  Seriously.  Once as a kitten I watched him fall off a chair...and he didn't land on his feet.

But Alabama.  She loves her some human family.  Needs to be right in the thick of any and all family members.  She has lost more fur to Campbell's clutches than I really dare admit.  At night when we put Cam down for bed, Bama likes to come and lay next to us.  It's very sweet.  That is, until one night she got locked in Cam's room.  We were watching TV when I saw something suddenly move on the baby monitor.  It was Ala-fucking-bama perched on the rail of the crib.  I had to admire the skill in staying steady for the 15 seconds it took for me to run up the stairs and fling the door open to snatch her up.  That was about six months ago.  Ever since then, I make a note to grab the cat before exiting the room.  Except Alabama got the brains her brother clearly didn't, she now hides from me.  I am a little ashamed (although not at the time) to admit that I have used her tail more than once to get leverage on her hiding spot and roust her out. There's nothing like sitting down after your child is finally asleep for the night, dishes are washed, you are about to get comfy on the sofa, when you glimpse the monitor and .... what the hell?!  Bama is nosing around the baby, annoying her as she does us. And then we have an angry Cam on our hands because her 14+ hours of sleep have been disturbed.

So when Rob came up the stairs the other day with a grim look on his face and said "....blah blah blah....Alabama..." I kind of ignored him (hence all the blah-blah-blahs).  I figured he was just going to tell me what an asshole she had been...again.  No, he was telling me that Campbell has taken a vested interest in annoying Alabama.  Heh.  Karma is a bitch, no?

Rob was all worried that Cam was going to hurt her, so he had been trying to contain Cam and keep her from the cat.  What I was thinking:  "she's a CAT.  Nimble (except Clarence, ahem), agile, fast, in other words: CAPABLE OF GETTING OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY.  I could tell by the look on Rob's face he was perturbed at my lack of empathy or whatever.  I explained that no I don't want our baby damaging the cat, and that yes I will work on it with her.  He knows I don't put up with rough play with the Pugs, so I just let it go.

Til today.  I am cleaning up after lunch.  I can hear Cam chattering away, music is playing, all is fine...until...meeee - YOOOOOOOOW.  I look into the living room to see Cam grinning ear to ear, bouncing up and down on the dog bed (dogs NEVER sleep on it, should just call it Cam's new beanbag or the cat bed) while Bama lays curled next to her.  Um okay.  Swear I heard a cat yowl.  Back to cleaning.  Hear it again.  Same thing, Cam grinning and bouncing, Bama laying there like she's all chill.  Dixon, who we call the regulator, is now sitting up, ears perked.  He HATES when other animals have fun.  He's our own fun police, and will dispatch his slumbering body and bark after any and all animals that look like they may be enjoying themselves.  So when Dixon is alert (um, he sleeps roughly 23 hours a's what Pugs do), I know something is amiss.  Now that Cam has an audience, she bounces as hard as she can, and then flings herself and falls flat on top of Alabama.  Gales of laughter erupt.  And not just from Cam.  Then I picture Rob's stern face in my head, and tell Cam "NO!  No hurt kitty, GENTLE!"  And we all know what happens when you tell a 14 month old to stop doing that.  Right.  The stupid cat stayed there through 3 more belly flops. 

I remove Cam from the dog bed.  She gets interested in her books, I round the corner to rinse some diapers and I am joined by Alabama (not unusual, cat loves to visit me in the potty, go figure), and close on her heels is Cam.  Within a blink of an eye, Cam has her trapped between the wall, the toilet, and a bucket of wet diapers.  Amazingly, that dumb cat squeezes through a tiny space between the wall and toilet and lights out of the room as if on fire.  I figure she has gone up the stairs to finally escape the torment of devil baby.  Nope.  She perches right on the sofa, eye level with Cam.  NEVER LEARNS, THAT ONE.

I may change her name to DEATH WISH.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I shall bring hellfire and brimstone, you bring your own, tiny caskets.

 Repeat alert!  For those on, I need to cast my net far and wide.  And I am out of material.

After years of enduring their assaults on our home, I have HAD IT.  Do you know how embarrassing it is to pull your wallet out to pay for something, and an ant or five hop off and crawl onto the counter top?  Or to be sitting at the car dealership waiting for your car to be detailed, itch your face and come back with an ant on your finger tip?  Or dropping your diaper bag on the counter at play group, and having a family of ants disembark?

So, I need help.  I have been looking up possible "solutions".  Borax, which I have in mighty supply, seems to be a cheap and effective way to go, but I need confirmation before I turn my kitchen into a laboratory.

So who has some useful tips????  And don't bother telling me to live and let live.  I am way past the niceties.  I love ants WHEN THEY STAY OUTSIDE MY HOME.  I am the first person to rush a bug to the outdoors.  Pick up worms on the sidewalk after storms.  Leave spiders alone to work their webs, if they are in a non-high-traffic area of the house. 

I just cannot take seeing ants stroll on through my kitchen wares without unloading a loud and unrelenting shit-storm of four letter words.  Every time I pick up the diaper bag to leave, Cam learns a new, and interesting way to use the word "fuck".  And she also thinks it perfectly normally to have 20 bugs scatter and run when you pick up your bags.  And that pressing an angry forefinger into each retreating ant body is not only mandatory, but acceptable.  I mean, how do I tell her "gentle" with Dixon and Zelda (Pugs), but by ALL MEANS CRUSH THOSE LITTLE ANT BASTARDS!?

So, tomorrow morning I may or may not be the person buying a case of yogurt, just so I can have the little yogurt cups and their lids for my recipe of death.  If only I had all the little cups and lids of the yogurts I have bought in the last 2+ years.  You know, the yogurts I have bought as a replacement for the pint of ice cream I eat each night.  Yeah, those yogurts that sit untouched until the expiration date has passed and they go straight to the recycling bin.

Now I really have a reason to eat that yogurt.  Straight up, unmitigated blood lust.  My colon may thank me later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

He brings chocolate eggs too?

I always hated mascots.  Santa scared the shit out of me as a kid.  I've avoided them like the plague, until now.  Until Cam. 

The Easter Bunny set up his wares and photo shop at the mall a few weeks ago.  I got excited.  That Bunny freaks me out, but I gamely put my kid on it's knee.  I couldn't even look at it as I was convincing Cam that she was fine, the Bunny was cool.  The lady who was taking the photos earned her money, because she captured a smile that last 1/60th of a second.  For the most part Cam had that "Cam look" she always gets when a camera is pulled out.  You can go back and see it in the Santa picture.  A slack-jawed "huh?" look. 

I find it interesting that while I get skeeved out from the Bunny (and his animated brethren), I follow the herd, and make my kid sit on it's lap.  "It's tradition Cam, it's what Americans do...NOW SMILE!!!!!"

Had the kid screamed her head off, I would have bought two sets of pictures...cute smile and terrified anger.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It wasn't a total waste, see, Cam?

 Fresh out of the oven, Cam gets first taste.

 What?  What IS this?

 I don't understand......

 It's just so good!
Finally quiet.

P.S. - And yes, that is a box of Lucky Charms on the counter behind her.  An eagle-eyed friend of mine busted me out.  No, I don't feel guilty for eating that while Cam eats whatever that organic, fruit-sweetened stuff is over to the right.  Not at all.

This is vacation?

Rob is off work this week for some well-deserved vacation.  Low on extra cash, we are just hanging around the house instead of traveling.  I was SO looking forward to this week, because last week was a marathon in hell.  You see, I am spoiled.  Rob works from home 90% of the time, so he's always underfoot around to help out.  Last week, he had to be in the office, so I was alone the whole week with Cam.  I very needy, has-to-be-held-at-the-worst-possible-moment, Cam.  With Rob around, I can pop upstairs to tend the laundry for a few minutes, or, go to the bathroom ALONE.  With Rob at work, I was never alone, and it was the week she decided naps are for chumps
This week (it's only Tuesday!) it's been project after project around the house.  My flights of fancy have been dashed.  He is such a flurry of activity, that I feel compelled to match, even though I thought we were going to have a relaxed week of maybe going to the zoo, or a day trip out to the closest Cracker Barrel (don't judge, you know you are jealous).  My hopes were dashed when he came home with enough lumber to build a guest house.  And he ain't that handy, y'all.

Last week I managed to do all my normal chores, as the neat-nik and clean-freak I am, but I had a 21 pound weight wrapped around me for most of it.  She was also teething, got two more teeth...molars I think.  I only "think" that, because she won't let me put my hand in her mouth with out pulling back a nub.  The only adult interaction I had all week was a few minutes here or there with Rob when he got home, and then got immediately back on his computer to do more work or to do homework (my man is doing some book learnin').    What put me over the edge was that Rob and I had volunteered months ago to cook at the local homeless shelter, this past Saturday night.  We've been wanting to do this for YEARS, and were so excited about it.  Our church does one Saturday night a month, and we got on the schedule with two ladies and one seventh grader.  We made our menu:  Pork BBQ (bought at Sam's Club...I was displeased my chef husband went the lazy route, but it was actually good stuff), green beans with bacon, corn, homemade potato salad, homemade macaroni and cheese, salad, homemade cookies, and lime sherbet donated by our local Bruster's Ice Cream store.

 I enthusiastically agreed to make cookies for 60.  I haven't made a chocolate chip cookie in....hell, 15 years?  I remember making cookies ALL THE TIME as a kid.  I used to love to cook and bake.  Then I married a man who cooked for a living.  Nothing I make is up to his standards, so why bother, right?  By the way, he would totally disagree with that statement.  He argues this with me every time, BUT he's never eaten a meal of mine where he hasn't given me some sort of "advice" on how to make it better.  Whatever, dude.  Jokes on YOU, because now you get to cook everything!  Anyway, so I thought making cookies would be so easy.  Relaxing, even.  What I didn't count on was doing it with a loaded gun to my head in the form of Cam hollering at my feet to be held THE ENTIRE TIME.

I know, I know.  I should have done it while she was asleep.  But.  I did.   That was day one of her nap strike.  She woke up all cheerful, followed me into the kitchen, watched curiously as I got the mixer going.  When the say soft butter, they mean soft enough to butter was soft enough to get all stuck up in the beater.  Sugar and all.  Flummoxed as to what to do, I moved the big-ass Kitchen-Aid mixer into a nice sunny spot on the counter...and waited.  And waited some more.  Patience is bullshit, in my head.  And evidently in Cam's too, but I gave her some unused measuring cups and she gave me 5 minutes of peace.  By the time the butter mixture got soft enough, Cam's cheerful mood was shot, and I was starting to lose my shit over the cookie debacle.  The clock showed I had over an hour until Rob would arrive home from work.  Got the double batch ready to scoop and drop (a double batch is NOT a bright idea in that my Dad was fond of saying "10 pounds of shit in a five pound bag".), but by then Cam had had enough of my disinterest in her, and was mewling and pinching at my leg fat to be held.  An extra arm, and we would have been set.  So, while Cam hollered, fussed, pinched, slapped, and YELLED at me, I made 5 or 6 dozen cookies.  By the time Rob walked in the door, I was fit to be tied.  When I asked if he could take her and bathe her, I got silence and a sigh, then "sure".  REALLY?!?

That was just one day.  The next day I had to make more cookies.  I gots me my thinkin' cap on, and thought" No way Cam will eschew her nap again".   HA!  This time her mood was shitty from the outset, and now that she knew what I was doing, she hollered, fussed, pinched, slapped, and YELLED the ENTIRE time.  So when Rob got home and said "why didn't you just do it tonight and save yourself the headache" I wanted to punch him in the throat and run away sobbing.  As if he doesn't know that after Cam is in bed for the night, my ass becomes one with the sofa, until about 10 pm when I all of the sudden I wake up and feel the need to clean the house (again)/read EVERYTHING on the internet/walk the dogs/watch my DVR'd shows/start doing more laundry....

The end result was over 200 cookies.  190 made it to the shelter.  Doesn't sound like many cookies, but I needed about 8 big Ziplocs and a grocery bag to haul them.  What satisfied me, and made me glad I did it was watching an elderly gentleman come up and grab about 10.  He was trying to wrap them up in a napkin, when I told him to wait a minute.  I am a nut case for recycling, so I saved my Ziplocs, I ran to get one, and he LOADED that sucker up.  Each bag held about 40 - 50 cookies.  He looked about as sated and happy as a cat with a full belly.

 It was a great time, got to meet some of the residents and spend time talking with them.  The food was well-received, and everyone was very gracious and helpful.  Just as we were about to start serving, a young lady in the eight grade at a local school came in to do some service work.  She was so excited to be there, and had already put in some hours was just cool to see kids "get" what it means to give something of your self.  Way back in the olden days when I was her age schools in my area didn't have service work requirements.  She gave us the low-down on why she chose the shelter, and how she had to write a proposal on what it meant to her and what she thought it meant to the people she was helping.  All the adults were impressed with this kid's maturity and willingness to forgo a few hours of fun on a Saturday night.  We left the shelter that night feeling good, and with an itch to do more. 

So on a wave of good-will and even tempers, I am still left wondering, where the fuck is my vacation?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I weep for the future.

Cam and I were in Target this morning, to return (of all things) some brown sugar.  No really, THAT was my excuse to go to Target this morning.  It's kind of legit too, because I needed to purchase dark brown sugar for the over-whelming number of cookies I volunteered to make for our local homeless shelter (I must have lost my fucking mind when I agreed to make cookies for 60 people).  Seems there is an actual difference between light brown an dark brown sugar.  Who knew?  No really, WHO KNEW THAT?

So we make our return, and get my $2.88 back and head on over to the Starbucks so teasingly placed inside our Target.  The $2.88 barely makes a dent in my Tall Peppermint Hot Chocolate (YES I want whipped cream!  Stupid question.).  Because I am not content to actually shop for what I NEED, we make our way around the store the long way.  Perusing clothes, undies, Easter themed socks (yup, I am THAT nerd, ever since Cam came home...holidays need to be done up right.), and into the baby section.  Because my ADHD and depression meds aren't working worth a shit lately, my mind is a sieve, I forgot Cam's sippy cup.  I have trained my 14 month old child to expect a milky treat (Organic Horizon Farms chocolate or strawberry milk) every time we go to Target.  You can gladly laugh in my face when in 12 years I am bemoaning Cam's unhealthy relationship with food.

Anyway, see...that is ADHD, mind all over the place before I even get to THE story.  I am in the sippy cup aisle all "what kind of cup shall we get..." when I hear a squabble in the next aisle over.  I immediately stood stock still as I hear a woman's voice roar "IT DOES FUCKING MATTER YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT!"

I could picture the woman's face, because I had gotten a good look at them when we strolled past that aisle.  I remembered their faces because I was cataloging them into my "assholes who block the aisle" part of my brain.  She...very white trash, stringy black hair, TONS of makeup, nails that can't possibly let your fingers do anything, and skin tight clothes.  She also had the little scanner out, so my brain also registered that she must be expecting.  Egad.  The man was unassuming looking.  If I had seen him anywhere else, I would NEVER have put him together with her.  There was also a little boy, probably about  four years of age.  Okay, so maybe the ADHD meds are working a little, THAT'S the kind of shit I can focus and remember, just not anything useful.  Such as where I put the phone down 2 seconds ago.

After the woman started hollering, she didn't stop.  For at least five solid minutes.  At one point I told Cam to quiet down, that Mama was too busy being a busy-body.  The man protested, and I have to say, he had a valid point.  "We've been standing her for 40 minutes.  They're bottles, just pick one."  Oh boy.  What followed even shocked my Navy sailor ears.  She ripped liek I have never heard.  "OH LIKE YOU WOULD FUCKING KNOW.  IT'S ONLY OUR FUCKING BABY.  OH YEAH, YOU DON'T CARE.  YOU DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT OUR BABY.  I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT AND YOU DON'T KNOW FUCKING SHIT.  YOU STUPID PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT.  I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT, AND YOU FUCKING DON'T.  YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING.  WELL YOU ARE STUPID AS SHIT.  OH, SO IT'S COOL WHEN THE BABY IS ALL FUCKING CRYING AND THROWING UP, AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT FUCKING BOTTLE IT IS?!?!?!  ARE YOU SERIOUS?????........."

Um.  Dude.  It was better than an reality show I can come up with.  If she had hit him, we would be talking Fox TV reality.  He smartly retreated, but not before telling her "you know, you don't need to speak to me like that.  The cussing just makes you look stupid and you are an embarrassment."  Heh.  So he walks off, and she continues her venomous litany, all the while, presumably, comparing bottles.  Cam and I finally leave the sippy cup aisle, and wander away.  I made it two aisles away when the man came back, and her rage ratcheted up again.  And my sick, perverted sense of decorum went out the window, and I found myself back in the sippy cup aisle.  He came back to poke the bear:  "you are still talking?"  HA!  "WHAT?!?!?!  I AM TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF OUR BABY YOU STUPID SHIT.  GOD YOU ARE SO STUPID!!  YOU CAN'T EVEN STAND HERE AND PRETEND TO CARE.  YOU ARE SO STUPID!!!"  He retreats again.  Cam and I leave again, and have picked up a few more essentials (squirt gun shaped like a cow, barrettes to go with the 454 that Cam won't let me put in her hair...) when my curiosity gets the better of me.  We walk back, and this time I stop at the end of the aisle to get another good look, when I see the little boy.  I'd forgotten about him, because he was so quiet.  There he is, patiently sitting on the floor, when a toy or something catches his eye.  He wanders off down a few aisles and calls for his parents to look.  He's four so he asks about 10000 times.  Because they are STILL talking about bottles, except now the man is all "yes baby, I see what you are saying", they ignore the boy.  The 1001st time he says "look!", the woman looks directly at him and screams "JACOB, NO ONE CARES SHUT UP!!!!'.

I felt sick to my stomach.  Like someone had just sucker punched me.  The look on that kid's face said he had heard that a million times.  Probably more.  I caught the eye of a lady who was pushing her cart past, and she looked like she was about to cry.  We walked a few aisles together, when she said to me "you know, we spend so much time trying to teach(nodding at her toddler boy) him not to speak to people like that.  That little boy doesn't stand a chance."

Up until that woman screamed that at her kid, I was a tiny bit disgusted with myself for being such a voyeur into such ugly behavior.  But, really, it did satisfy the very small, juvenile child that lives inside me.  Listening to her scream at that little boy made me feel dirty, awful, and ashamed.  I really wanted to smack the ever-living-shit out of her, and steal her kid.  And that poor baby?  Geez.  Mostly I just felt powerless.  As powerless as that little boy, because if I even tried to say something about her behavior, it would have just fueled her fire.  And I'd be cooling my heels in the clink.  I try to be a better person, but people like that don't bring the best in me out.

I struggle with being judgmental.  I really don't like that part about myself, so I try to catch it.  Part of trying to catch it is to put myself in the person's shoes.  The only thing I could come up with is that she herself was raised that way.  An unbroken cycle.  Sad and disgusting, and an unfortunate reality in our world.  Some people have shitty childhoods and work hard to overcome them.  And some just suck.  Continue to make poor choices.  Continue to wallow in hatefulness.  Continue as if the world owes them something.

I looked at Cam as we were walking away, and thought out loud: "you will never know THAT kind of crazy."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Got me thinking.

 I was perusing an adoption forum earlier today, when someone posited a question about why people chose transracial adoption.  Was it because children of color would be quicker placements?  Was one parent another race?  It got me thinking about when Rob and I were confronted with those little boxes on the adoption paperwork during our homestudy.

The questionnaire wasn't just about race.  It also covered mental health, drugs/alcohol, diseases.  We were very open.  With the exception of heavy alcohol use and schizophrenia, we were good with all drug use; Hepatitis A, B, C; HIV; other mental illnesses.  Those were all things we knew we could handle, or would find a way to handle.  When it came to race, we filled out all the boxes, except African American.
 In our area, and in this day and age, racism is very much alive and well.  I grew up here, we are 30 minutes outside a MAJOR metropolitan city.  Our town is a tourist destination, and is what you would call "picturesque".  I knew before I really knew, that my hometown was not a place that black folks feel particularly welcomed.  So Rob and I were wary of trying to raise a child of color here.  For many good reasons.  After a lot of soul searching, we also realized their were personal reasons as well.  Could we, whitey Von Whiteys, really be up to the task of raising a child of color?  Man, the universe is laughing it's balls off at us.

Because what kind of moron fills out every race BUT AA, and thinks Hispanic is just a darker shade of white?  Man, we had a LONG way to go in our racial/cultural growing up.  More on that later.

So, we turned in our questionnaire, and waited.  Less than two months later we got an email.  It was about a CC boy down in Florida.  We said yes, and waited.  A week of not hearing, I emailed our worker back.  She told us his mom chose someone else, but as luck would have it, they had a "walk in" over the weekend.  Would we be interested in a baby girl, who is 1/2 CC and 1/2 Hispanic.  YES.  A few phone calls later, they weren't sure of baby girl's race "she looks Hispanic".  Um, okay.  Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.  Really, at that point, we didn't care.  Cam spent 17 days in the hospital.  17 LOOOONG days of waiting to hear if dad would sign TPR.  When he finally did, we got to go meet her the next day.  There was no doubt in my mind that my baby was more colorful that just Hispanic.  Love, truly, at first sight. 

Now, we know Cam's make-up, and couldn't be more thrilled.  We are still scared we won't do right by her, but we are throwing ourselves into learning.  Before the adoption, we found a fantastic church.  One of it's hallmarks is of being extremely open to ALL people.  We already had very open hearts and minds, and this place just gave us a good shove in all the right directions.  Rob and I both signed up for a class on diversity.  What we thought was going to be two months, has been over 8 months and counting.  It peers into the darkness of racism, and ferrets out white privilege.    Being Cam's mother has been the most eye-opening, heart-warming, and profoundly beautiful experience in my life.  She is absolutely the "right" child for us.  Our plan is to move from this town in the next few years, but before we go, we will do our part in knocking down stereotypes and making sure our girl is surrounded by people that not only love her, but respect that she is a child of color.  Sick of this "love is color blind" campaign.  No, really it's not.  Love is ACCEPTING the whole person, not turning a blind eye to something so profound.  Cam will know, that she is Hispanic, Moroccan, and African American, and can be proud of that.