Saturday, April 17, 2010


The kids have been out of school for two weeks. Mae and Mihiretu (private school) were out the week after Easter and Lana (public school) was out this last week. Combine that with the stress of packing up half the house, putting it on the market, trying to keep it spotless while the three kids are doing their usual mess-to-mess procession, then, the veritable straw, Ben went out of town. I woke this morning at 5 AM to Mihiretu scratching my face, insisting I get out of bed. I didn't take it that well. While we've been making great progress, this morning he and I were combative again. He was testing and I was failing. It felt terrible to be back in that dark place, particularly because, now that I have new tools, I have expect more of myself than this morning's incarnation of grumpy, angry mom.

We've been watching way too much TV around here. When we lived in Marin, we watched the occasional movie with the kids but limited it to that. Here, particularly lately with the house for sale, it's been a free-for-all. You might find it on at any hour. And then, when the kids go to bed, all I want to do is watch my Tivoed Survivor or Project Runway or, the creme-de-la-creme, America's Next Top Model. When I want to escape my world, diving into somebody else's silly story is palliative care.

This morning around seven-thirty, the TV had been on since dawn and all three kids were fighting over what to watch. Remotes and fists were flying. It seemed time to pull the plug, quite literally. From the depth of my sleep-deprived gloom, I proclaimed no TV for a week. Firestorm.

Once the dust had settled and we were finally eating breakfast, Lana gave me a new "what if". She has already planned her future family. She really wants to be a mother but she doesn't want to have a baby in her belly. Having had two in mine and, more impactfully, had two come out, I can see where she's coming from. She wants to adopt. This morning, she said that she would adopt a one-year-old from China. Then she came up with the idea of adopting a baby from the orphanage Mihiretu came from in Ethiopia. Yes, she said, a one-year-old boy from Ethiopia. Then, after further thought, she said, "Actually, no, a girl." I smiled and my daughters looked at me questioningly.

"I like girls," I admitted. My history up to now with girl children has been simpler than my experience with my boy. I have no doubt that will change but when I think of girl babies, I feel soft with motherly affection.

"Yeah," Lana said, "Boys are" and here I must interject that Lana has a bit of a speech impediment and what I heard was "assholes."

I howled with laughter. Lana looked confused.

"I said 'rascals'," she said.

"Oh," I agreed, trying to keep a straight face. "Yes, boys can be rascals."

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