I have been very tired lately. Not, like, the most tired person who was ever tired ever, but some schedule changes and whatnot have just… made me tired. I moved into a different job, sort of, at work, which would be tedious (to you) to explain, but I’m working more and I like it. I like my job. I don’t hate going there. I had a job, a long while back, that was a very tedious job and very demanding at certain times of the year (THIS TIME OF THE YEAR, if you recall my job at the accounting firm), but you know, I never hated going to work. Even when we were working 10+ hours a day every single day of the week, I just didn’t hate it. I was tired, and it was stressful, but it didn’t make me hate my life. I didn’t realize that, though, until I had a job, the one after that, that did make me hate my life, made me a truly miserable, unhappy person, a person who was completely consumed by the disgusting terribleness that job pushed into all areas of my existence. After that, I had the realization, eventually, that most people probably do at some point, that it’s TOTALLY FINE not to love your job. If you don’t flat out hate going there every day, you’re probably doing all right. And right now, I wouldn’t say I LOVE LOVE my job, but I don’t hate it and I don’t mind going there at all, so I’m doing just fine.
When I’m tired, though, when I’m really, really tired like I am now – okay, I’ll tell you part of it, because it’s my blog and I can be tedious, and it’s not like it’s a secret or anything, it’s just boring life details – I had been intermittent part time (anywhere from 0 – 29 hours a week) in one location and was trained to work in another as well. The girl who worked in the other (it’s a coffee shop) had to leave for child care reasons, so my boss asked me to apply for the regular part time (35 hours) position there. So I did, and I got it, and it’s nice, though I miss going back and forth between the two locations because I liked the variety and I like the work better at the coffee shop, but the fast pace better at the other shop. This is a military base and this is also food service, so people are in and out a lot, as you expect, and situations worked out that I was essentially the only person left able to work in the coffee shop at all. Someone else has been hired and can start in a week or two, and another girl was/is being trained to do like I did and work between a couple different places, so that’s good, but for a while here it’s been just me, so I’ve worked quite a bit. I have felt weird complaining, especially to my husband who has always just, you know, worked, about working 5 or 6 eight hour days in a row like it’s some kind of super taxing schedule, which it’s not, it’s not even close to how I used to work, but I haven’t worked outside the home in years and I spent a couple of those years sleeping and I stand all day, and I don’t know. You’re not going to make me defend the fact that working all day makes me tired, are you? If I promise that I understand that there are certainly people with harder jobs who work more hours and have more kids and extra jobs and all of that who are probably more tired than me? I promise I do know that, and I promise I feel the adequate dash of shame when I think about how tired I am.
Anyway, so I work most days from 6:30am until 2:45-ish, depending on how fast I can close things up, and that’s a pretty good schedule, I think. I like the hours. I mean, I don’t like getting up that early, but I like being done for the day that early, so it’s a fair trade. The issue is, though, that Phil has switched to swing shift for a bit, so when I am coming home and pulling into the driveway at 2:45, he is pulling in right behind me with Penelope, collected from school/daycare, handing her off, and going to work until 11pm or so. We’re really pretty much on waving terms these days. And you know, that’s fine, too, because this schedule isn’t permanent, and he’s been actually gone-gone for longer than this schedule will probably last. But it started around the time that my new schedule started, and also Penny’s “spring break,” which wasn’t really so much a spring break as it was just a week off from pre-k – she still went to daycare. Which is convenient. Except they take naps in daycare. So for that whole week, she was coming home WELL RESTED, which is a nice change from the exhausted and whiny child who normally comes home, but not so great when you worked on your feet all day and your feet HURT and your husband is at work and she has no intention of going to sleep any earlier than 11pm. Maybe.
Anyway, that’s all to say, or to justify, maybe, the fact that I am just tired. And when I’m tired, I want to complain. Just in general. All the things I want to talk about are complaints. I don’t spend my entire day complaining or whining, but when I look at the Internet, I just want to complain about shit at length, so I mostly just haven’t been on the Internet too much, because I used to be comfortable complaining about whatever was bothering me that day and moving on, but over time I became aware of the fact that as far as a lot of people know or care, what you blog is who you are, entirely, and if I was to complain here and on Twitter, then for all intents and purposes for a lot of people, I am someone who does nothing but complain all the time, and while I know that’s not true, and even if it was partially true, it has become less true as years have gone on, having people think that about me just makes me want to complain about the injustice of it all, so you see the loop I become trapped in there. But you know, it’s been a while, and I’m tired, and Penelope is going to be awake for like 80 more hours, so I’m going to just go ahead and tell you some of my recent complaints, but to make myself feel better about my perfectly justified complaining, I will insert one good thing after every complaint.
FIRST COMPLAINT. Is not about working moms vs stay at home moms, but is somewhat related, in the ways of attitudes and all. You know some people are never going to be okay with working moms, and some people are never going to be okay with stay at home moms. There are those not okay people. But let’s assume that the majority of normal people are fine with whatever you want to do and whatever works for your family and honestly don’t give a fat fuck either way. This is something that is bothering me, though. There’s this whole other attitude about working, sort of, that if you’re going to work, your job should be at least good. And my job, to some people, would not be considered good. I do work for an hourly wage in food service. And you know what, like I detailed above, I like it. I tried stay at home mom-ing. I tried working from home and have done that on and off for the last seven or so years to pretty decent success. I just didn’t want to do those things anymore. And I’ve worked in an office and “used” my college degree and all of that, but after my last experience with that, I didn’t want to do that anymore, either. I wanted to work, but I didn’t want any real responsibility. I don’t want to take work home with me or get my work email on my phone or talk to anyone from my job when I am not actually, physically at my job. I didn’t want to get involved in long projects or make important decisions or be in charge of anyone or anything, really. And I found something that works for that. When I first started working again, at the end of last year, I was making pretty much exactly enough money to pay for Penny’s daycare and nothing more. I make a bit more now, with the more hours, but in reality, if we’re speaking in terms of financial sense only, it makes the MOST financial sense for me to not work and to keep Penelope home with me, childcare costs and all that being what they are. I’m not going to do that, though, because I get more out of my job than money. No real deep satisfaction and personal fulfillment or anything like that, but I LIKE working for a paycheck and I’ve found a spot that meets all my requirements for that.
Penelope was on Facetime with my parents a couple of weeks ago and I offhandedly explained, just lightly, that I really like my job and could easily see doing something like this forever, because… I don’t know, I think I’ve adequately explained myself through the rest of this post, and my mom said, “Oh, well, that’s not a very good idea,” in a way that implied that it wasn’t okay to just be an hourly food service worker forever, that it was fine for now, but of course at some point I’d have to do something else, and just… why? Why would I have to do something else? What would the something else be? If it works for my personal family that I get to work at a job I don’t hate for not really great money, then why isn’t it a good idea? It’s not a good idea, probably, because the sort of job I am working is not really one that college graduates are supposed to be working, maybe? Or maybe because I used to have office jobs that seemed higher status? (They weren’t – I didn’t wear a uniform and a visor to work at them, but it was just grunt work in a different environment, and I actually have more responsibility/autonomy at this job than I did at a couple of my others.) I guess it comes down to some kind of perceptions about this kind of job vs that kind of job, but I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about it, because did you see up there? Where I wrote about not hating my life? I realize it’s totally a luxury to work at a low paying job that doesn’t make me hate my life, and I get that, I really do, but why shouldn’t I get to do that if I can? I’m working, I’m getting paid real money for real work. Why can’t I do it forever if I want to, MOM? If you’re reading this, MOM, that was a shitty thing to say and you should apologize. Also apologize to my sister because I told her you said that and that made it double rude, considering she has happily worked at a restaurant for the last thousand years. RUDE.
Okay, here’s a good thing. I am enjoying the HELL out of my scooter. I ride it to and from work because we only have one car and it is just a goddamned delight. I encourage everyone to get one.
THIS IS ANOTHER COMPLAINT. I know I have complained about this before but every once in a while my fury is brought up anew, and it’s about lady grooming standards. Really, it’s about the fact that there are lady grooming standards. You know, I’m going to allow for the fact that there are some raised eyebrows when a woman doesn’t shave her legs or her armpits. I get that that can seem weird. I’m not saying I PERSONALLY think it’s weird – you go on with your razor-free lifestyle. It’s fine. It’s a thing, but it doesn’t strictly need to be a thing. What ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT EVER BE A THING is the idea that there is some kind of widely accepted standard for ANYTHING covered by a bathing suit. “Well, it’s a hygiene issue.” No, it’s not. “It’s fine to not go bare, but you need to at least trim.” I DON’T NEED TO DO SHIT. “Personally, I just won’t date women who don’t clean up down there.” One, it’s not dirty, and two, those women don’t want to date you, either. “It’s fine to not shave but you should know the labor nurses WILL make fun of you.” No they will not, because what kind of hellish seawitch makes fun of a giant pregnant lady who doesn’t want to wave a razor near her parts when she hasn’t even seen those parts in months, and even if they DID, fuck them, they’re terrible people and no one cares what terrible people think because they’re terrible.
I’m not even upset about this because it strikes too close to home or anything. At various times in my life I have engaged in various styles of personal grooming and I expect my preferences and level of give a fuck will continue to fluctuate as time goes on. The aggravation is with the idea that there is some assumed basic level of pube-keeping. Like if you look at some stranger on the street, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you might feel safe to assume she shaves her legs, shaves under her arms, and forms a nice lady hedge once a week or so. Like there are people who assume that that is just what’s done, and anyone not doing that is an aberration of some kind, when there should be ABSOLUTELY NO ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT A PERSON’S GENITAL UPKEEP, OTHER THAN MAYBE, YOU KNOW, CLEAN. If you get right down to it, there shouldn’t really be an assumption about whether or not a lady is going to shave her legs or shave under her arms and which of those decisions is right and which is wrong, and maybe I’m just being held down by the societal man, but I am way more accepting of those assumed standards (not that I personally keep them or don’t keep them with any strict regularity, I do what I want, just like everyone should) than I am of the idea that anyone feels that EVERY WOMAN EVER should be sticking to a certain pubical guidebook, and not only that they should, but that most DO. It’s the ASSUMPTION. THE ASSUMPTION IS UPSETTING TO ME, UNENDINGLY. I have said before, every lady is free to do whatever the hell she wants, and every dude or other lady or variety of whichever type and combination of sex, gender, and body type that is themselves interested in sexually interacting with a vagina can certainly express a PREFERENCE, like I have a preference for big fat dudes, but I am married to a not big, not fat guy and that’s fine because YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET, ESPECIALLY when the possessor of said vagina is going to let you GET ALL UP IN IT. If I let you stay in my guest room (I don’t have a guest room), are you going to take a look around and be like, “Well, I’ll stay here, but from here on out you need to paint it green.” NO. YOU WOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW INSANE PEOPLE ACT. And that example is about PAINT. In a ROOM. NOT A VAGINA. You can prefer green til your tits fall off, but to get mad when I’m like yeah, no, I’m not painting my cooch green for you, tough luck is just EGREGIOUS AND OVER THE LINE.
Here’s a good thing. Four is a good age. Penelope is super enjoyable right now. She’s also really, really, really trying our patience on a regular basis. I mean, to insane levels, having to leave the room and tap out for the other parent, taking deep breaths to calm the rage, more yelling than feels should be necessary, but EVEN WITH THAT, four is really good. She’s quick and funny and really, really kind and thoughtful. She’s almost five now, so I expect it will all be over soon. Maybe four seems so great because Timehop is regularly reminding me of the flat out INSANITY of two year old Penelope, which, even looking back on the evidence, does not seem like it could have been real, when I was regularly coaching myself through the day by reminding myself that it was just a phase, not her actual personality, just a phase, not her actual personality. Holy shit. Two year old Penelope. Maybe she’s still that challenging but two year old Penelope broke us and all we ask for four year old Penelope is that she not burn down the house, but whatever. Having a four year old is, overall, pretty fun.
I put off this post so long for not wanting to write a whole pile of complaints that I can’t actually remember any of my other complaints. There’s a complaint. I want to just be able to complain without worrying that people will think I do nothing but complain. Yes that is what I did in this post. No that is not what I did all day today. Actually, I got a massage today because I finally got a day off. No complaints there. It made me think about pubes a lot, though, so probably just fanned the fires.
Phil is retiring from the Air Force next year. Actually, early 2018, but with terminal leave and processing and all of that, we’ll actually be out of here at the end of 2017.
When we still lived in Phoenix and it looked like we were going to be there forever, we really didn’t question the fact that that’s where we’d stay. I didn’t care for it when I first arrived seven years ago, but it really grew on me. Desert living is the life for me, for real. I liked the weather, I liked the town we lived in, I liked the church I went to. I really didn’t like New Mexico, and continue to not like it. A lot of that may be a function of the fact that this base is literally nowhere – there’s a very small town 15 minutes away, and then it’s one hour to Las Cruces one way and an hour and a half to El Paso the other way and nothing at all in between. We have to travel for doctor’s appointments and swimming lessons, and this place has really just not grown on me at all. When we got here, we weren’t sure when he’d be getting out or if we’d have one more PCS before he was done, but it was pretty much understood we’d go back to Phoenix when it was over.
Once we knew that he’s going to finish out his 20 years of service and get out, it became a little less clear. We could really go anywhere we want, provided he can find a job. We’d also like to live near a base and VA medical services, just for ease of life. We’ll still have commissary shopping privileges and the same medical insurance, so that just makes sense for us. But that really does leave the whole country open, for the most part. We made a short list. Phil didn’t have a lot of preferences and I hated all his preferences (I do not want to live in California or the Pacific Northwest, I just don’t), so we came up with a short list: Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas. We were working from those. The main consideration was living somewhere where we – or at least I, because Phil is a bit of a hermit – know some people. Life got really stressful over the last six months or so and moving somewhere without some kind of support network, even just a few friends scattered around, wasn’t going to work for us. So those three cities were our short list.
To be honest, I was set on Dallas. I’ve got friends there, there are good churches there, and Kpop concerts come through there on the regular. Those are all equally valid reasons, every last one of them.
Last week, I posted an article on my cousin’s Facebook wall, something about public school, I can’t actually remember the exact topic at this time but at the moment it was really stressing me out. I posted it with a comment to the effect of, if we ever move back to Pennsylvania – and you should know, Pennsylvania is where my entire family lives, all of them, every list single person I am related to in the entire world lives within about 40 minutes of each other in North Eastern PA – I will home school Penny and my cousin’s daughter, Candy together and use my spare time to make them into a pop duo sensation. They’re only six weeks apart in age, and come on. Penny and Candy. They’d be a massive success.
To my surprise, though I shouldn’t have been surprised, because I know her, my cousin loved the idea and said she wished it could happen. And suddenly… it was a viable plan. Phil and I have always toyed with the idea of homeschooling Penny, but I work now and she really likes other kids, and for various reasons, it just didn’t seem like it was going to work for us and we were fine with that, because, you know, we think public school is just fine, too. Candy’s mom is a single mother and apparently has always wished she could homeschool Candy, but she works, of course, so it just wasn’t going to work out for her either.
But very quickly, we all thought about this, and suddenly decided, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to go back to PA where everyone lives and I’ll homeschool the girls together. I’m kind of conflicted about the homeschooling thing and I keep gut checking myself on it. Do I want to do this because I’m overprotective and want to protect Penny from SCHOOL DANGERS!! and bullying and other things? Do I want to do this because I think she’s a special snowflake who deserves or needs BETTER than what other kids are getting in public school? Those were things I thought about a lot before we came up with this plan, and I would be lying to say those things didn’t factor in a LITTLE, but not that much – because, like I said, we’d be fine, really, sending her to public school, and are going to, actually, for kindergarten and the first half of first grade.
It’s not really that I think she’s in grave danger going to public school, or that she wouldn’t get an adequate education in public school, or she would somehow suffer greatly if she went. I did absolutely fine in public school. So did my cousin. Obviously, that’s not always the case for every kid, but neither of us have any personal evidence or memories for why public school is NO GOOD.
I don’t think Penny is a special snowflake who needs more attention or unique teaching or anything like that. When I really sit and think about it, I think that if all parents could do something to put their child in a smaller class, with interest-directed learning that was engaging, on topics that interested them, with the ability to delve more into things that grabbed their interest, with less focus on statewide testing, more time to play, the ability to move at a pace that worked for the kid and not the whole class of varied learning styles, wouldn’t they? If a parent could place their child in an environment like that, if it was available to everyone, wouldn’t everyone do it? Or most people, at least. But in reality, it’s not practical or possible for most people. It’s like cloth diapering, I think – you could do it and it would probably be good, but it is just not something most families are set up to be able to spend their time and money on, for a whole lot of completely valid reasons.
But this opportunity came up, and I can do it. I realize what an incredible luxury and privilege it is to be able to do it. The benefits of moving back to a state I hate and potential benefits of teaching Penny at home with her cousin have outweighed every other option we had on our list. We’ll feel less guilty about her not having a sibling, for one. She’ll be around all of her family who are head over heels nuts for her, for two. And three, no small thing, she’ll get to get her education at home in a way that works for her.
I’m not going to whip out statistics about how homeschooled children perform and socialize and all of that because I don’t really feel like I need to defend the decision – some people are going to think it’s ridiculous, some people are going to wish they could do the same, and some people already are doing the same, and that covers all the people. I’m not going to be changing anyone’s mind on anything. I’m not trying to. I’m just, you know, putting this update out there. On my blog. Like you do.
I think one of the biggest things for us in all of this, right now at least, is having a plan. Getting out of the military after 20 years is intimidating. We had our short list of cities, yes, but really no idea what our lives were going to look like in 2018. We made the list of potential cities and then stalled. Having a plan, an actual real workable plan that we’re all on board with, has kind of spurred us into action. We have something we’re working toward, and it looks good to us. Life after the Air Force is actually going to happen, and this is how it’s going to happen.
Anyway. That’s it. Going back to the east coast like I was certain I never, ever would. Coming for you in 2018, NEPA.
So I think I have a serious case of imposter syndrome. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t be arsed to go look because I’m not impostering someone who makes efforts with her blog. I’m not even going to pretend on that front, sorry.
Anyway, I find myself doing things with the motivation of making people think I’m the kind of person who will do those things. Like at work. We have had a lot of turnover recently. Actually, turnover would imply that spaces have been filled with new people, but not so much. We’ve just had turn, I guess. A little lacking on the over part.
So I get called pretty regularly to come in to work to fill in for someone who called off or who quit or otherwise just isn’t there for who knows what reason. Our roster is pretty thin, so in a lot of cases I know if I say no, someone is going to be working all alone, or trying to get through the peak time with too few people. And logically I know that’s not my problem. A lot of times when I get called, the idea that if I say no, they’re going to be kind of screwed pops into my head, and I feel obligated to go, or else it will be my fault that they’re understaffed. But it really wouldn’t be. I only get one – or two, nonconsecutive – days off per week, and there’s NOTHING wrong with me having plans on those days, even if they’re just plans to sit at home and do nothing, which, to be honest, they usually are. And that the person calling me is just doing his job of trying to fill in the holes in the schedule, and if I say no, it’s his job to continue trying to fill it in or make do without. Still, though. Guilt.
More often than not, I do say yes. Sometimes it’s because, like last night, the person calling me SOUNDS SO SAD facing a night of working himself and having to close up himself. And in that case, I knew it would be the second day in a row he’d be in that position, because I was working in another location on Saturday and he came in there to tell me they had a call off, and could I… ? But I couldn’t, because I’m limited on how many hours a day I can work and I was already bumping against it, and even if I did stay to help out, I couldn’t close, so. Anyway, you don’t care about all of this. So I did go in last night when they called because of reasons.
Other times, though, when I have gotten a call at five fucking forty five in the morning asking me to come in and cover the coffee shop for the day, I have hauled up out of bed and been there within 15 minutes, and it’s because I want the people I work with and the manager to think I’m the type of person who would do that kind of thing. That I’m an employee they can depend on to help out, etc. So they call and I think, if I go in, they will think I am a good employee. And I go, and I think I have them fooled into thinking I’m a good employee.
But by going in at all, aren’t I a good employee that they can depend on? I think of all the times I’ve been called in in the three months I’ve been employed, I turned them down maybe two or three times. Actually, one time I had to turn them down twice in one day, because both shops needed coverage and the manager insisted I be called again, just to see. That was a rough day on my guilt-feelings, because I couldn’t go. But I almost always go. The calls have even begun to start with, “Hi, I am so sorry to do this to you… ” because while they try to schedule me at least two days off a week – which is tough because I work in two shops with different schedules – they know that with the number of times I get called in, I rarely get those two days. Sometimes one. Occasionally none. If they end up calling me in so that I work a lot of days in a row, they do try to juggle other people around to cover my shift on another day so I can get a day off and I do appreciate that.
When they call, I usually go, and I think that they will think I am a responsible and helpful and dependable person to have me around, and maybe they do think that. I think they think that. My manager makes an effort to regularly tell me how much she appreciates me, and honestly, why don’t more bosses do that more often? It has to be the cheapest, easiest, least efforty way to boost employee morale. But at the same time that I am coming in and helping them out and making them appreciate me, I still feel like I’m tricking them.
“Ha ha ha, you think you can depend on me because I always come when you call. I’ve totally pulled the sheep over your eyes, you suckers.”
EXCEPT, by coming in when they call, aren’t I that type of person? Not tricking them into thinking it, but actually just the kind of person who will come in to help out whenever I can? They seem to believe it, so why don’t I? By taking all the actions a good, dependable employee would take, doesn’t that by default make me a good and dependable employee? Somehow I don’t think so. And it’s not like I have some secret non-dependable, crappy employee habits. I come in and do my work and I do it right so everyone will think I am the kind of person who will come in and work hard and do things right and can be trusted on all those fronts. What I don’t understand is why I am doing all this so they will think it, as if it’s not actually true.
It must be true, right? If I’m doing all the things, regardless of my weird motivation, I am that type of person. So where is the mental disconnect here? I do things for my friends so they will think I am nice and a good friend. I do things at work so my coworkers and managers will think I’m a valuable employee and pleasant to work with. So why do I think I’m doing all these things to convince other people, rather than just knowing these things about myself and accepting them?
I don’t really have a conclusion, as usual. Just throwing it out there so you can tell me all the ways you act toward other people so they will think something about you that you apparently don’t believe of yourself, but must actually be true, right?
HELP ME OUT HERE.
I had to make sure 2015 was well and truly out of tricks before I could write this post. Normally, I don’t really feel the transitions between years is much of a thing. Not that it’s an ACTUAL THING for most other people, either, but it’s a non-event for me. No staying up til midnight, no parties, no resolutions, no new plans. Just keeping on keeping on. This time, though, we’re all greatly in need of a fresh start. We’ve actually had one, really, and things are going well, but I this year, I just really needed to slam the door on 2015 officially and MOVE ON.
I don’t want to do the survey this year and I’ll probably regret that sometime down the line where there’s a year missing from my collection of surveys to look back on, but I’m just not into it. Instead, I’ll just tell you how everyone is.
Brinkley. Oh guys, my dog. Two years ago, he broke his leg on Christmas and he hasn’t caught a break since. Aural hematoma, valley fever, an enormous abscess in his leg. He made it through most of 2015 just fine, until the day I took him in to the vet because he was breathing fast. Something just wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what. Well, after a series of frustrating and upsetting events involving getting him a special appointment at a far away vet for an ultrasound, and then that vet coming all the way down the mountain to town to see him, after hours, WITH her ultrasound machine, we found out it was cancer. A LOT of cancer. This was in the late summer. They said they’d rarely seen a liver like his before – just completely invaded, no normal liver tissue left to be seen in any significant amount. It was starting into his spleen as well. After biopsies and blood work came back, it was confirmed – much, much cancer.
They said we were looking at 2-3 months. It felt like we’d lose him at any minute. But time went on and Brinkley went on. And on. And on. Medication adjustments happened a couple of times. Increases in pain medication as his arthritis took a major turn for the worse. We took him off his valley fever medication, even though it meant the disease would likely make a comeback, because it’s a very rough medication for him to take. It was a calculated decision, because we didn’t think he’d make it much longer, certainly not long enough for the valley fever to take over again. And then again, more increases in pain medication.
You know, he’s good. He’s slow and he’s in pain, but he’s still normal Brinkley. It’s hard for him to get up, but he totally will, if you’ve got pizza crust. He instigates play fighting with Sheldon and we’re terrified he’ll break a hip. He spends a lot of time laying in a hole he and Sheldon dug in the backyard. Over the last couple of days, especially, he looks tired and sad a lot, like he knows and he’s just waiting to die in his hole. But everyone said “you’ll know when it’s time,” and you know what, we don’t know that yet. He’s still with us and we’ve had double the time predicted. Brinkley 2016!
I don’t think it will be much longer, but I’ve thought that before. I just don’t know, really. I don’t know at all. But I’m happy he’s here with us and he seems happy to be with us, so we go on.
Sheldon. Well, Sheldon spent the beginning part of last year healing from the brown recluse bite he got near the end of the year before. Other than that, he’s just a good dog. He’s a little crazy, and we can’t let him out around guests or new people because he’s enthusiastic and nuts and doesn’t know he weighs 80 lbs, but he’s surprised us.
Sheldon was a terrible dog when we got him from a rescue. Already 60 lbs at 8 months old, he’d never lived with people at all before. Just kennels and shelters. And if I’d been pregnant when we got him, he’d have had to leave. He tackled me to the ground regularly. He bit my arms – never aggressively, just playing, but he was 60 lbs with no idea how to control himself. I wouldn’t say he was a “dangerous” dog like the type that kill other animals and people if they can, but he was… not good. He took a long time to calm down. A really, really long time. Multiple years. Even now, if he gets excited – which he does, often – he will jump up and punch you affectionately in the guts, or knock you over. But he also is affectionate. He’s big enough to just walk up and lay his head across your belly when you lay on the couch. He will get in your lap if you let him. He loves us a lot, especially Phil. Especially Phil. In Sheldon’s mind, the house hierarchy goes Phil, then Sheldon, then no one else matters.
It kind of crept up on us, but he’s turned out to be such a great dog. Not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure, but he doesn’t need to be, because he’s our dog. He’s handsome and goofy and he doesn’t intentionally knock anyone down anymore. He takes (steals) food right from Penny’s hands, so gently. He’s never hurt her or needed to be prevented from hurting her like we would have feared when we first got him. He’s usually (“usually”) quiet and calm. He loves blankies and carries them around. If someone comes to the house, the first thing he will do is run and get a blankie and try to bring it. He’s quirky and interesting and I don’t know when it happened, but Phil hasn’t sung the “Nobody likes you, Sheldon” song in maybe a year. I think he’ll have a hard time when Brinkley’s time comes.
Penelope. Well. Penny went to pre-k this year, and loved it. Then we ended up putting her in before/after daycare, and she loves that, too. The social stuff stresses me out – she always has reports of who was mean to her or who doesn’t like her anymore, but you know, I”m sure other kids are at home saying the same stuff about her. She’s got a couple good friends that have stayed consistent, even when she comes home and swears she’ll never play with them again, so I assume all is as it should be.
She’s learned a lot in pre-k. Letters, numbers, colors, all of that, and that’s great. But they do other things, too, just great socialization stuff that makes me really have no regrets about her being away for the whole day. They eat meals family style, everyone at one table and sharing food. She cleans up her plate and tries new foods. She learns manners and sharing and how to behave at a table. All stuff that we, of course, have worked on at home, but when it comes from the teachers she adores, it seems to sink in more. Again, just how things are supposed to be, probably.
She got taller this year. Every year, I think she looks more like a kid and less like a baby or toddler, but now it’s really true, I guess. She seems so big, but she’s just average size, all around. I think she actually might be one of the smaller kids in the pre-k class, but whatever, she looks huge to me. She dresses herself – often and repeatedly throughout the day – and the other day, she yelled out from the shower that she’d washed her own hair and added, “I growed up all by myself!”
She didn’t have any major injuries this year, which was great. No real illness, either, until the end of the year, which I’ve detailed here in great, frustrating detail. She is finally, finally better, but now we’re dealing with mystery hives. They first appeared after we met the cat on Christmas eve, and I though, well shit. But they’ve continued to pop up here and there, well after the cat contact and multiple baths and showers. Nothing serious or crazy, but she’s allergic to something and we have no idea what.
She played a lot of video games this year and continues to enjoy them greatly, much to Phil’s delight. They’re downstairs playing Rock Band together right now. She turned 4 on her birthday and had her first little party with friends. We got her a bounce house I was sure would be a hit and it wasn’t. She’s just not that into it. She was a veterinarian for Halloween, though she couldn’t really trick or treat due to illness. She got a drum set and microphone for Christmas from her aunt and her boyfriend and they’re obnoxious but she enjoys the hell out of them.
Fortunately, aside from starting pre-k, there’s been nothing huge going on in Penny’s life, and it can stay that way for a thousand years.
Phil. Well, Phil can tell you himself how his year went, if he feels like it, which he won’t. I will say that he had the worst year out of all of us, and no one knew how terrible it was. He’s worked hard to resolve things, though.
Me. Well, what did I do this year. I struggled a lot with chronic illness, but I’m doing fairly well right now. Not perfect, not great, but better than a lot of the last couple of years, so I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can. I lost 50 lbs this year, which makes me slightly bummed that I’m not doing the survey, because I’d finally get to say “thinner,” in the thinner/fatter question. I started a new at home job this year that I didn’t hate, but kind of eventually came to hate but tolerate, but I lost it because Phil was away for the very part of the year when Penelope was so sick, and I ended up unable to fulfill my contract. I took another job out of the house, though – just quick service food on base – and I’m very pleased. I pretty much only make enough to cover the cost of daycare, but it’s a sanity thing, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it, actually. I like to work. I was ready to be out of the house. It’s convenient and the people are nice. It’s busy and the time goes by quickly. I’m not terrible at it. It’s fine that it only pays for daycare, really, because it’s doing a lot for me. I like Penny to see that I go to work and I don’t hate it. Phil appreciates how much I appreciate being able to do it. It’s a good thing in a lot of ways.
Hm, what else. Right now, we’re researching buying a Vespa for me. I’m also considering the Genuine Stella and the Genuine Buddy. Hopefully we’ll make some progress on that this month, because I am jazzed as fuck to scoot. I’m going to join a scooter gang.
Last year, I went to CA with some friends to see BIGBANG, and it was probably the highlight of my year by far. I know a lot of people have touched on this in their year end stuff, but seriously, FIND PEOPLE who are stupid enthusiastic about the stuff you’re into. If you want to know someone more or be better friends with someone, LET THEM drag you into whatever they’re stupid enthusiastic about. You will become much better friends much faster. If YOU’RE crazy into something, keep offering it up to people. Just do it. Only good shit is going to come from it. There is NOTHING more fun than going whole ham over something with people who are equally ham-mad about it.
Last year, I had all kinds of amazing support from all kinds of amazing people who tailored their support to who I am. People who know me and apparently like me and just always made sure I knew they were there and they were listening and they were ready to help me if I wanted or needed it. There have been people this year who have demonstrated what my own model for good friendship should be going forward. It’s almost enough to make me hope something very mildly terrible happens to them so I can demonstrate all I’ve learned. Almost.
Nothing else is really sticking out in my mind for 2015. Another year, another spinal tap, plus some other stuff. It seems like every year, everyone talks about how hard the previous year was for them or the people they know, how it was universally just a terrible year. And the next one is always the same – a healthy dose of bad shit that stands out sprinkled in with everything else. And 2016 will probably be the same. Maybe, though, 2016 is the year where it matters less or I handle it better or bounce back more quickly. Because while I truly want 2016 to be the first just… normal, boring, standard kind of year Phil and I have ever experienced in our entire marriage, the truth is the last several have probably been exactly that. In 2016, I guess we’ll stop waiting for the bad stuff to pass and start plowing through with PURPOSE AND INTENT.
I don’t know. I can’t wrap this up with something wise and pithy. Let me just tell you again, instead – BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SHIT. BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SHIT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. BE SHAMELESS IN ENJOYING THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR THING. THIS WAY LIES THE GOOD STUFF.
Or do you just want to read 4000 words about stuff I like? That’s fine, too. I’ve never really done a favorites post of any sort before, because I don’t take good pictures and I can’t do accurate swatches, and if I committed myself to learning how, the post would never end up done, so I’ve just kind of shrugged off the whole genre. But I got to try a lot of things this year, and I know when I have gift cards, I do like to check out what other people have bought and enjoyed, and also, it’s my blog and I can post whatever I want, so here we go: my favorite products of 2015.
Actually, here we don’t go yet, because let me lay out some helpful information first. My skin tone is fair, but not, like, alabaster pale. Just regular fairly fair skin. It borders on dry, with those annoying as shit flaky patches that will fuck up your foundation and ruin your whole day. I may have the occasional oily patch, but I don’t generally have to consider oiliness as a factor with skin care and makeup, so do keep that in mind if that’s your issue. I don’t know how to handle that or how any of these products would work with that kind of skin. My hair is dark, but I don’t generally consider that because I don’t have any real skill or knowledge.
That’s another point to consider: I don’t actually have any credentials that make my opinion weigh more heavily than anyone else’s. I’m not particularly good at makeup, but I enjoy it with great enthusiasm, and a line I read late in the year that’s stuck with me for some reason lately is “it doesn’t take talent to practice.” All of this is just my own opinions, and none of the links are affiliate or sponsored in any way. Most of the products are available at either Ulta or Sephora, and I’ll note the ones that are Sephora only or vice versa. I live to help you buy things I like.
Also, there are no pictures, because they would be crappy and worthless because there are many areas in which I am unskilled and I’m mostly fine with that.
I tried a lot of skin care this year and I have to say, I feel like 2015, especially the later half, was when I finally got my skin to a place I really like it. Or mostly like it, anyway, because the quality seems to depend entirely on me engaging in the full routine every single day, and that’s kind of annoying as hell. It’s been worth it, though, because it makes makeup application go easier and does a little more to mask my lack of ability in that area. I feel like it just looks better, which is all I really want, right?
Anyway, reminder: my skin is a bit dry, especially in the winter. It’s not especially sensitive and I rarely have a bad reaction to a product. I have some redness that’s increased over the years, around my cheeks and forehead. Dryness, redness, and overall skin tone and texture have been my main concerns this year. I don’t think all these products would work for everyone, but I do think they’re all very good products.
belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist: This is a relatively new addition to my routine. I use it to wash my face in the morning, when it feels kind of tight after a hot shower. I’d kind of gotten used to my face feeling itchy and tight after washing, then counteracting that with other products. I don’t have a lot of oil on my skin, so it seemed like it was super easy for any face wash to totally strip it. Not this one, though. It feels like it gets my skin clean in the morning without drying it out further. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it adds a ton of moisture, but it’s a good first step. It doesn’t smell bad or perfumed, and it’s very gentle. Sephora only.
May Coop Raw Sauce: I put this on next, in the mornings, before I brush my teeth. I bought the smaller bottle and use maybe 4 drops a day. Shake it in my hand and then just pat it on my face like Kevin in Home Alone with the aftershave, but it doesn’t hurt. This is super liquidy, like water, and it sinks in fast while I brush my teeth. I think this would probably work differently for everyone, but I believe it’s a huge part of why my skin texture has improved so much with consistent use. It claims to make other products work better by preparing the skin, but I don’t know about any of that science shit. I know, though, that it just makes my skin look better in an annoyingly unquantifiable kind of way. Even if I’m not wearing makeup, this goes on under my moisturizer and sunscreen. Sephora only.
belif Hungarian Water Essence: I use this like the May Coop Raw Sauce, but at night. I feel like they’re possibly interchangeable, for me, or that I could do with one or the other and see largely the same results. Sephora only.
belif Aqua Bomb: I have been a Clinique Moisture Surge person for years. I really like the kind of gel-textured moisturizers over creams and lotions. I feel like they’re more immediately effective, especially when my skin is being a total shit with the flakes and tightness. This year, I switched over to this one, and I’m really very pleased. The results seem more long lasting, improving the dryness over time rather than just for the day. This is the last thing I do before sunscreen (sometimes I do them in reverse order if I’m feeling WILD AND CRAZY), and I do it right before I do my makeup so I’m still all slicked up when I sit down at my vanity. I would say that as far as skincare goes, this was probably my top product of 2015. Sephora only.
boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser: This has been my nighttime cleanser all year. I have a backup bottle ready to go at all times. It’s gentle, it’s effective, it doesn’t smell gross. My skin likes it and I don’t see any reason to change it.Late in the year, I started using it with a konjac sponge. I like the gentle exfoliation, but I think it works just as well with clean hands. It’s the one step of my routine I haven’t adjusted/fiddled with this year. It just works. Sephora only.
Other stuff: No standout exfoliators this year. I’m still using Mario Badescu toners and PTR Anti-Wrinkle Peel Pads occasionally. Also, I’ve been using a snail essence kind of peel, but, you know, not everyone is into snail mucus. Same sunscreen as always, too. I tried a lot of masks this year and still have a lot to try, but none really blew me away. I do like to use sheet masks a lot these days, and the GlamGlow Thirsty Mud as an overnight sleeping mask maybe once a month or so. I have a ton of PTR masks to try out. Also, no real favorite eye cream. I’ve been using Origins Ginzing and you know, it’s fine. It does what I need it to do. I put it on right before makeup so my undereye concealer doesn’t look cakey, and it does that. I’m not seeing anything else to write home about, though.
Becca Backlight Priming Filter: I’ve never found a primer I liked that also seemed to make my makeup stay on any better. I tried a bunch this year – Too Faced, Make Up For Ever, etc – and they were all just… fine. This one, though, is different. It really does add a kind of lit from within glow to the skin. I don’t think it makes my makeup last any long and holy shit is it easy to over do it and look like the moon. But it looks good under makeup, over makeup, or even by itself, sometimes, and it at least does something for me, which is more than I can say for other primers I tried this year. Ulta and Sephora.
L’Oreal Pro Matte Foundation: I tried a bunch of foundations this year, but I mostly stuck to my usual Korean BB creams until maybe June or July? I don’t know when I picked this up, but holy shit am I glad I did. It is. So good. The coverage is at least medium with one layer. It is as matte as the name suggests, but not chalky-matte. It doesn’t cling to dry patches. It applies easily and evenly. I was able to find a great color match (though I know that won’t be the case for everyone). It sets quickly and isn’t tacky. I love it. I’ve recommended it to 8000 people. It’s less than $15 and available basically anywhere. Love it. LOVE. IT. And from what I understand, it should work fairly well for oily skin, too. Ulta and drugstores and wherever.
Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder: Another super cheap product I can no longer live without. I also tried several setting powders this year. I tried the Tarte powder and a couple of others and eh, fine. But I keep coming back to the Coty powder. It’s just effective. I use the translucent shade. I apply it over my concealer and foundation with a damp beauty blender, which I know might sound strange, but try it with your powder. It’s been holding my makeup in place all through the day, including my concealer. There are some tradeoffs with the price, though. It smells. Like, big time. Like someone’s stinky grandmother. The smell doesn’t last on the skin, but hoooomygod is it stinky when you open it. Also, it’s a loose powder, and I’m incapable of using loose powder without getting it every-fucking-where when I close the lid. Otherwise, though. Less than $10. Worth a try. Drugstores.
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: I’ve used the LORAC Behind the Scenes eyelid primer forever with no complaints. I always had a little sample tube because they come with the palettes and I liked it. I tried this one out this year, though, and it’s just better. I’ve never really been a big NARS person, so even though I’d heard good things, I’d kind of ignored it. I think because I’m the kind of prude that doesn’t find shade names like Orgasm and Deep Throat to be cheeky and edgy, and I basically held it against the whole brand. Whatever, though. This shit is good. It’s not sticky and it dries down quickly so it’s easy to apply eyeshadow over it without any kind of patchiness or skipping. And it just stays all day. My eyeshadow looks exactly the same at the end of the day as it did at the start, which is a good or bad thing, depending on how artless and sloppy I was that morning. Just a boring, solid product. Sephora.
Wet n Wild Eyeshadow single in Brulee: I don’t know why I’ve never talked about this before because I don’t know how many of these I’ve been through over the years. I’ve used this forever as a base shadow color, just all over the lid, over primer and before other shadows. Obviously, this depends on skin tone, but it’s a fair match for most of us at the lighter end of the spectrum. I just buy this over and over, though I don’t know if I’ve ever used UP more than one or two. I probably just lose them. But $.99! Who cares! This is the perfect base shadow. The texture is super smooth, so when you apply your other shadows, they blend much more easily. This can really be accomplished with any good shadow close to your skin tone, but like I said, this one is nice and $.99. Cannot live without it. Also, it’s great to use for blending along the edges of your shadow after you’re done, to kind of fuzz out and clean up your (my) many copious ham-handed mistakes. Drugstores, Walmart, wherever. $.99!
LORAC Pro Brow Pencil: I talked about eyebrow products at great length in another post, so I won’t rehash. Still really like the micro brow pencils best, and this LORAC one has turned out to be great. The slate color is perfect for dark-ish brows. It doesn’t look grey, it’s just a great match, so give it a shot if you’re struggling with finding the right shade of dark brown, especially in cool tones. Quick and easy, the spoolie is nice, and I’d say it’s a more than adequate way to save a couple of bucks if you’re loyal to the Anastasia Brow Wiz. Ulta.
Viseart Eyeshadow palettes: Okay. Okay. So I know the price is… whoa. But you know I wouldn’t recommend something audaciously expensive to you if I didn’t very grudgingly accept that it’s kind of worth it. I feel like the kind of people that are going to overlook the price and buy a Viseart palette are maybe the more serious makeup people, but I want to make a case for giving them a try if you feel like your skills aren’t good enough to justify an $80 palette. These shadows just work. Just like good brushes are going to make your eye makeup look a little better even if you don’t actually get any better at doing it, these shadows are the same. The colors look on the skin exactly like they look in the pan. When you apply them, they just DO WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO. You don’t have to fight with them. They don’t smudge all over and they don’t skip or apply in a patchy way. They blend together with much less effort than similar shadows. If you feel like you’re not very good at eyeshadow, these will give you a boost. I have the matte neutral palette and the bridal satin, and as soon as I used them, I started looking at my other palettes wondering which I can just get rid of. Yes, they’re very expensive, but you know how irritating I find it when expensive products are actually good, so it is with full irritation that I recommend these, BIG TIME. Sephora online. Other websites sometimes have deals on them, as well. This is a good use of gift card pretend money.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer: I’ve never found a concealer that didn’t look horrific under my eyes. Cakey, sunk into fine lines that I otherwise can’t even see, etc. I tried the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, figuring I’d throw money at the problem, and was just totally meh about it. Rather than just return to drugstore products that gave me the same shitty results for way less money, I stupidly bought this one. I didn’t care for it at first. However, lately, it’s really been doing it for me. I know it’s probably a factor of improved skin care – dry under eyes WILL fuck up your concealer. Like I mentioned above, I’ve been using that Origins eye cream, and I put it on with my moisturizer, right before I start my makeup. That, combined with this concealer, seems to be doing the trick for me. It suddenly goes on smoothly and doesn’t cake up. I apply it with the wand (which gets super goopy with way too much product), then tap it in with a damp beauty blender. I set it with that Coty powder, and what the hell. It looks good. This has a really nice texture for me. I’ve never done well with those thicker undereye concealers like Bye Bye Undereye, and the gel formulation of this one seems to be almost the exact opposite of that sort. So if you’ve had the same kind of trouble with popular thick concealers, maybe try this one out. Sephora and Ulta.
Other stuff: No favorite mascara or eyeliner this year. I’ve never found a mascara that totally blew me away. Well, sometimes, but I only seem to like them for the first few uses, and then I’m underwhelmed. Probably just my lame eyelashes.
Blush tie: Becca Mineral Blushes and Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes. I have five or six shades of each of these. I haven’t picked up my beloved Benefit Hervana in months. Both of these blush lines have a little something extra that make them look really glowy but not shiny or sparkly. They blend super easily and don’t look streaky. The shades are interesting and varied. These are easy to wear. Becca at Sephora and Ulta, Hourglass at Sephora.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors: Highlight of choice for the whole year. I’ve tried both the pressed and liquid formulations, not the poured. Opal is probably my go-to shade. I’m not going to call them subtle, because… they’re not… but they’re not disco-bally, either. They go on smoothly and are buildable, so you can be as shiny as you like. I think the poured and liquid can be more subtle, but I don’t know, I don’t wear highlight every single day and when I do, I don’t generally aim for subtle. Whatever, you do you. I know Anastasia has come out with some well-reviewed highlighters this year, but I feel like my highlighter needs are totally covered by Becca. They go on smoothly and blend well into whatever else you’re wearing, so it doesn’t look like a big streak of glow. I think all the colors are very nice, depending what you’re looking for, but claims that a certain color is “perfect for every skin tone” are greatly exaggerated. Ahem. Ulta and Sephora.
Hourglass Ambient Bronzer: If you’re not a bronzer person, I probably can’t make you into one, but if I could, I’d likely suggest one of these. Like the other Ambient Lighting products, they go on smoothly and blend really well, so you won’t look like you have dirt smudges on your face. This one has that powder mixed in with the bronzer, so you’ll also get a nice glow with using it. It’s not easy to over do, but of course, I find a way. This was really, really awesome in the summer, when I don’t wear much makeup at all and just want to add a little color back once I put on whatever foundation I’m wearing. I haven’t reached for it as much as it’s gotten more wintery, preferring a matte bronzer like Benefit Hoola, but I would still say this was probably one of my favorite products of 2015. I do like to wear a lot of makeup, but also really appreciate products that cut down on the routine for days I want to wear less (which does happen!), and this was one of them for me. A few swipes around the outside of my face and a bit on my cheeks plus sunglasses and done. Sephora.
Shiro’s Do Your Research Contour powder: Soft, easy to blend, a great choice for fair-skinned, cool toned people. It’s a loose powder, so it can be a little messy if you’re not careful, but I have faith in you. Also, look at the picture on the front and tell me you don’t want it in your makeup bag.
NARS Audacious Lipsticks: Great formula. Almost justifies the price. They’re long-lasting and have an outstanding color range, one that supports my need to own any lip product that could even be widely categorized as a “dusty rose” shade. (Anna) Good color range + good formula (doesn’t bleed, lasts, isn’t uncomfortable to wear). Probably have to put this one near the top. Sephora.
LORAC Alter Ego Lipsticks: I’m going to say that the formula on these is not my favorite. If you don’t like a dry formula in your lipsticks, you probably won’t like these. However, the colors Duchess and CEO both featured heavily in my rotation this year and I don’t think I could do 2015 favorites without them. I’m pretty sure it was Duchess that kicked off my dusty rose obsession, can’t stop won’t stop. Ulta.
LORAC Pro Matte Lip Color: Two more that I wore all the time – Pink Taupe and Mauve. I don’t think you need to ask what color family those fall into. These are the currently popular, easy to apply lip crayon format, but they have a smaller tip than some others. These STAY PUT and last really well through eating and drinking. They are MATTE-matte, though, so if you’re not on board with the matte lip trend, maybe skip. Ulta.
MAC Creamstick Liner in Buerre: Every time I wear this, I get asked what I’m wearing. Enough said.
YSL lip products in general: I admit I first bought some of these because I wanted to feel like a fancy lady. I now own a couple of the Rouge Volupte Shine, a couple of the Volupte Sheer Candy, I think two of the Volupte Tint-In-Oil, and one of the Vernis A Levres Glossy Stains. No regrets. The price is high, but sometimes you just want something fancy, you know? Of course you know. The packaging feels heavy and special. I like holding them. I like seeing them out on my vanity. To be perfectly, shallowly honest, that would have been enough for me. But they’re actually all quite good. First, every single one of them is among the most comfortable to wear lip products I own. They go on smoothly and easily, and don’t feel tacky or drying at all. Every one of them, across all lines. With that, you’d normally expect to sacrifice some wear time, but I don’t find that to be the case. The ones I own certainly don’t last as long as the matte products or liquid lipsticks I own, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised, over and over, to find lasting, even color four or more hours after application. They’re just good. All around. Also another great use of pretend gift card money. Sephora.
This paint brush. I like to wear black eyeshadow as liner. I have never gotten the hang of liquid or gel liner and I just like the softer look of the powder better. I have used this brush to apply black powder as liner for years and years, and when I was looking through my stuff to decide on my favorites, I couldn’t believe I haven’t brought this one up before. It’s cheap, it’s easily available, it’s soft and perfectly angled. I use it every single day I wear eye makeup and I think you’d like it, too.
Okay! So! That’s it! Not all the products I’ve used and loved this year, but all the products I think stand out as favorites. Did I miss anything? I don’t think so, and how would you know, anyway? If you feel like it, let me know what your 2015 favorites were or what you’re going to get with any holiday gift cards. If you don’t feel like it, that’s fine, too. I already own all the best stuff ANYWAY.
Hope your holidays were fabulous.
So on the morning of October 29, Penny’s school called me to let me know she was just inconsolable. It was just a “courtesy call,” they said, and they said that right up front, which I appreciated. We’d had some stuff going on at home over the previous few days, so I wasn’t totally surprised. I had to work later, though, and I had an appointment I didn’t want to miss, and kind of feeling like a dick, I asked them to give me an update in 15 minutes or so. That’s normal, right? Whatever, it’s what I did.
I hopped in the shower and before I even got out, my phone was ringing again. She just could not calm herself down. Ok, no big deal, she needs to be at home today. I got out and went and got her. Once I had her home on the couch, she settled a bit and fell asleep. I was chatting with my friends on base and with Jess while I sat on the couch with her, and fortunately managed to make arrangements for one of my friends to come over and sit with her for a couple of hours while I went to the appointment. In the midst of talking to Jess about suddenly inconsolable children, I reached out to re-cover Penny with her blanket and WHOA HOT. HOT HOT HOT. I felt like a giant idiot for not suspecting anything and got the thermometer. 105. Eep. Okay. Big dumb idiot me. I immediately called the doctors on base and they could not get her in. I debated waiting to get an appointment the next day, but by then Penny had woken up and was crying and crying that her neck hurt. Nope. Noooope. So we got loaded up in the car and headed to the ER on the ped’s recommendation.
We were at the ER all. day. Not because they were backed up or slow, that’s rarely a problem here. But just because they were so intent on getting her fever down and figuring out what was going on. I had medicated her before we left and they kept on rotating Tylenol and ibuprofen to bring her temperature down, but it never got under 101. They were fortunately able to determine it was not meningitis, though they had to call in another ped to do it. Despite the rapid strep test being negative and another test not back yet, that doctor determined she had strep and mono. We left with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to work on keeping the fever down, etc.
Here is a picture of my sad baby that I took for Phil, because I should have mentioned that he was away at the time and was actually away for the entire duration of this story.
The next couple days were rough, as you might expect, because she developed a gastro thing as well and was up over and over all night, every night. Not once or twice, but running to the bathroom once or twice an hour all night. She was not getting any rest and it was just dragging the whole thing out, and she was so miserable.
In the middle of the fifth night of fever, I called the nurse advice line about the fact that her fever just would not go away. Continually above 103 unmedicated and only down to about 101 medicated. Penny didn’t get sick a lot in previous years so I don’t have a ton of experience here, but I do try to keep a reasonable head about fevers. It’s just the body doing what it does, medicate for comfort, all of that. But day five seemed like a long, long time.
So the reason I called the nurse line is a weird thing with our insurance and the way the clinic works on base. We only have one urgent care in town and it’s kind of terrible and I don’t like it, but there are others in Las Cruces that are good. We need a referral to go there. Which is ridiculous. Especially because our insurance is INCREDIBLY STINGY with referrals to urgent care. To get a same day appointment at the clinic, you need to call at exactly 7:00am and hope. Well, if you call the nurse line while the clinic is closed, they go through a series of questions and use their information or program or whatever to make a recommendation. Usually, it’s something like, “we recommend she been seen within the next X days or hours.” If you time your call right and they recommend something like, say, 12 hours, they’ll transfer you over to the appointment line and make you an appointment at the clinic on base if they can find one, and that’s if the recommended window of hours line up. Well, I timed it stupidly or at least expected they’d give us a big window, but they didn’t and said she needed to be seen within 4 hours. Which, no. It was the middle of the night. The only urgent care in town only works limited business hours. They said to take her to the ER. I said I’d already taken my sleeping pills, so I wasn’t going to do that. But they refused to make a next day appointment for me because it would have been outside their recommended 4 hours. So basically, take her to the ER or we can’t help.
NOPE. Come on. I’m not going to get into a whole thing about abuse of the ER, because you know what, that is what it is. But it would probably be HELPFUL if insurance would WORK. WITH. ME. There was a nights, evenings, and weekends urgent care in Las Cruces I could have taken her to if they’d authorize it, but flat refusal to do that.
So, 7am on the dot, I called in for an appointment. This was Monday morning, I think, and all they could get me was an appointment for Wednesday. But could I hold on? They talked to the ped team for a minute and then asked me to take her to the ER. FINE.
So we went up there and got seen quickly. We went over what they’d done the last time. This time, they claimed they never did a mono test, which was INFURIATING, because they’d come back to take extra blood from her for it and she was bruised up and down each arm. But whatever, I don’t care what she HAS, just fix it. This time, they said she had an upper respiratory infection and a stomach thing. They gave her some steroids to help with this insane cough that seriously, just developed on the way there. We went back home and she continued to lay around like a sad, miserable sack.
I had taken the appointment on Wednesday at the clinic anyway, because I was supposed to follow up with her regular doctor. She looked decent at that appointment. Her stomach was still gross, but the doctor advised me that it would probably be like that for up to two weeks, based on what was going around at the time. She passed it to me in the next day or so, so I have great sympathy for how miserable she must have been. Surprisingly, the doctor also had information on the tests that had come back – the long strep test was negative, and so was the mono test, which had miraculously been found. We decided to finish out her antibiotics anyway, and fortunately, she was back to school later that day.
The night of November 16th, she had still been up all night every night coughing, and finally, at that point, had started coughing until she threw up. Okay, gross, but I can handle it. It’s just that she was getting NO SLEEP AT ALL during this whole thing, and I felt like it was making it difficult for her to get her feet under her in terms of finally recovering. The cough had been going on for two weeks at that point, so I was sitting in my bed debating waking up to call and fight for an appointment the next morning when she came in crying about her eye hurting and leaking. She kept getting out of bed all night to wash her leaky eye.
So, next morning, back to the clinic we go. I felt like her doctor must be sick of my stupid face by then, and got that weird paranoia about looking like a crazy paranoid parent, but ever since my paranoia about my infant CRYING TOO MUCH lead to us discovering her raging infection and kidney defect that ended up requiring surgery to repair, I kind of go with that feeling. I mean, I try not to let it get out of control, but that kind of paranoia only needs to pay off once for an already slightly crazy parent to decide she has supernatural sick-deciding powers.
Fortunately, her doctor said I did the right thing. A cough that goes on that long needs to be checked out. He looked at her and decided at this point, we were dealing with a new infection – probably a sinus infection – since she’d already done a full course of antibiotics. Oh, and also, pink eye. So we got another round of antibiotics for the new infection. If she was still coughing in ten more days, he wanted to see her again to see if maybe it’s allergies. She already takes Zyrtec, but I guess you never know.
And she went back to school again. (Her doctor did say it was viral pinkeye and she was free to go to school as long as it wasn’t weeping all over.)
All went fine. For a bit.
On the 23rd, at about FOUR OH FIVE PM. right after the clinic closed, she tells me she has a mosquito bite that is itchy.
OH, DO YOU NOW?
She’s never had a rash, so I called the nurse line to ask what to give her. Take her to the ER, they said. There was no lead up to that because I’m sure you’re not surprised. I was furiously consulting over text with all the other parents I know and it just didn’t seem very ER-y. But they refuse to give any advice other than what their thing says. So I called the clinic, hoping MAYBE someone was there? And they connected me to the after hours doctor, who was actually my doctor. He agreed that it didn’t sound emergent, but if it suddenly got worse than what it was, I should take her, but bring her in to the clinic the next day. Good. That’s what I like to hear.
OMG PENELOPE THURSA WORK WITH ME.
And it continued to worsen from there. When it started crawling up her throat and onto her face, I decided to take her in. Now having seen it, I probably wouldn’t make the same choice again, but at the time, I was freaked out that it was going to crawl down her throat in the night and choke her.
Fortunately, we were in and out very quickly again, and the doctor kept coming back in the room to tell me that if I couldn’t get her an appointment with her doctor the next day, he wanted to see her back there to take a look at her again. He gave me a card with when he’d be there and all of that. I appreciate the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing, but these doctors are totally encouraging my belief in my own spidey-penny sense and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
She got a lot of Benadryl and some more steroids and once she was asleep, she looked like this.
We saw a ped the next day and it was mostly down to just some red bumps, but we were only part way through the most recent course of antibiotics and she was still coughing, so we had to determine if she was going to keep taking them, assuming the rash was viral, since a newly developed allergy to penicillin was a possibly culprit here, or move on to trying to treat the allergies, since she’d finished half the course with little improvement in the cough.
During this appointment, Penelope was INSANE. IN. SANE. Even the doctor was like, can I please just talk to your mother for a second? She was flinging herself off the walls. I assured the doctor that she’s kind of crazy, but not like THIS. Steroids, the doctor reminded me. STEROIDS. She was HULKING OUT.
Anyway, we decided to go with a nose spray and ditch the rest of the antibiotics. When was this? I’ve lost track. Penny started finally sleeping through the night again right before Phil came back home December 1, which was so convenient for him. Then she threw up the other night so I just. You guys.
I was talking to Jess because apparently that’s what I do when everything is terrible, because she has more kids than me and knows more things and is very calm in a crisis, especially one that is not her own and not actually so much a crisis as a parental breakdown in sanity, really, and she told me that there’s some research that most kids get the same amount of illnesses between birth and five, and since Penny just started daycare/pre-k, she was finally getting her share.
It seems weird to say this, since she was in the NICU and hospitalized several other times and has had kidney surgery and has a digestive condition and allergies and reflux, but she’s really been a very healthy kid her whole life. So I am kind of bowled over by all of this, but I do understand that it’s totally normal childhood stuff. She’s just getting hers in a pile and I was not conditioned to know what to do with a sick kid through her earlier years. And I get that it’s not all been anything major. But we’re going into the winter now, her first winter in day care, and she just cannot seem to get her feet under her, health-wise, for a gottdanged second, and I’m concerned that it’s just going to be one thing after another while her immune system gets kicked around by all the other germ balls in the germ aquarium where she spends her days.
I’ve been trying to make sure she gets a lot of sleep, since it’s still broken up and restless most nights and has been since the end of October. Making sure she’s eating well, too. But what else can I do to kind of give her a boost through the rest of the winter. Vitamins? Do they work or just create expensive pee? What do probiotics do? Can they help here? Should I make her wear a blanket and eat soup? She already washes her hands until they chap. Should I just perform a full hose down when she comes in the door from school? I know she’s going to get sick more, but if I could just cut her a little break, that would be great, and any ideas you have or ways you help your own children through snot season would be helpful.
IN OTHER NEWS, I’ve recently taken to onesie pajamas and I encourage you to get on board, and look who is being delivered to Penny on Christmas Eve:
Do you know that book, the Five Love Languages or whatever it’s called? (It’s called The Five Love Languages, I just looked it up.) It’s this book that describes five different types of people and the way they show other people they love them? It was a big deal a little while back? Did you read it? If so, you’re probably going to want to skip this post because I’m going to talk about it having not read even a single word of it, and my inaccuracies and misunderstandings are bound to be annoying as shit.
So, I haven’t read the book. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it over the years. I’m sure we all have. It’s just never struck me as my kind of thing. I’ve heard people in some moms groups and whatnot discuss what they got out of it and how they found it very helpful, and I totally get that and I’m not knocking it at all, but just never read it. Actually, I’ve been waiting on a new, updated edition that might be more likely to contain my specific kind of love language.
Here I should probably note that I don’t actually have a real, whole concept of what a love language even is, but I’ve always assumed I don’t have one.
Except recently, some stuff has been going on, and some people have been really very helpful and supportive, in ways that is super kind and generous and seems to come very naturally to them, because they’re just the kind of people who behave in that kind of way toward people they like. It started me wondering what in the world I do to make my friends know I like them, aside from unreliably responding to texts and not asking them to please leave me alone. And I really couldn’t think of anything at all, which made me feel kind of bad, because you know, on my old blog, we talked a little about hesitating to text or whatever, or things along those lines, when in reality you should always just go ahead and send a message or send along the card you saw that made you think of a specific person or anything along those lines. That there’s two kinds of people, those who have those thoughts and act on them, and those who have those thoughts and don’t. Okay, I suppose there’s a third kind of person who doesn’t have those thoughts and thus can’t act on them, or has horrible thoughts and doesn’t act on them, or does act on them, and okay, fine, there’s a lot of people in this world, but the point is, if you’re having the thoughts and not acting on them, try to act on them. Just do it. If they’re good ones. That started out about texting people every now and then despite worries based in no facts that they might not want to hear from you, but obviously applies to a wider range of behaviors.
And I’ve been trying, really, to send a message to say hi more often, and I think I’ve managed it two or even three whole times since that post (usually to Arwen, because I think about her a lot, especially when I am struggling with my four year old, because I can remind myself that she has two, and it makes me feel better. Sorry, Arwen.) But I feel like saying hi to people is kind of the bare minimum in friendship, not so much an “I like you” as “You exist and I also exist.” So I realized I have no thing like those things that seem to come so naturally to other people.
EXCEPT TODAY. So, for the holiday, Bite Beauty does these double ended lipsticks. They’re really small lipsticks and there’s one color on each end, and they’re really inexpensive – only $14 (link). So it’s a great way to try a couple of colors or try out the line without a big commitment. During the Sephora sale, I bought one and I ended up really liking it, so of course started angsting over whether I should have bought more when they were 20% off, or if, since they’re so inexpensive, I should grab one or two more before they’re gone. I was looking over the colors Bite offers in general, and I saw two (Mulberry and Shiraz) that I thought would look really nice on Miranda, and I reminded myself to text her later to tell her, “Hey, I saw this thing I thought you would like.” (I haven’t done that yet. I will as soon as I finish this. Really.) And I realized I do that ALL the TIME.
Apparently, if I like a person, I will remember their preferences or random things they said down to creepy, obsessive detail and file it away so that later I can suggest something they should buy. One person mentioned issues with a certain brand of skin care, so when I came across one that was similar in effect and quality, I told her about it. A creepy number of months later. Two college friends still go to a lot of sporting events at the school, so when the Finish Line does their super cheap college hoodies sale, I always remind them. Twenty years ago my mother mentioned she couldn’t find a cherry pitter, so I still consistently look for one whenever I’m in a kitchen store.
So, if I like you, I will suggest things for you to buy based on details you probably forgot you ever mentioned by the time I find the perfect thing. I don’t know what love language that falls under, because like I said, I never read the book. I think it’s probably along the same lines of a cat bringing you a dead bird, but instead, I will text you out of nowhere to tell you that one shirt you liked that one time is on clearance on a random website.
Anyway, that’s all. I’m sure if I read the book I could fit myself into one of the categories, but then I’d probably feel obligated somehow to take other actions that would fit into that category to make sure the people I like know I like them, but I’m pretty content with this. If you’ve read the book, did you find you fit into one? Or do you just have a single thing? Can I gather up some minor detail about you only to come back to you with something you can buy six months from now?
Obviously, growing up, we all have ideas of what adulthood will be like, and some of those things end up turning out to not be things at all. Like, oh, shit, when I grow up, I’m going to have to pay bills and it’s going to be terrible. Except that’s not how it is at all. I mean, it’s not like bills are fun and it’s not like there aren’t 800 things I’d rather spend that money on, but the standard moan and groan about the adult responsibility of bills hasn’t so much come true. Sure, it would have sucked a lot to pay all of those bills when I was 14 or 15 or 16 because I had no money. At all. Because I was a child. Just putting gas in my car with my waitressing tips when it was less than $1/gallon seemed like the biggest chore, so obviously adding on shit like, I don’t know, electricity, seemed like the most enormous downer in the world. Ugh. Adults can’t do anything because all they get to do is pay bills. Two things I did not really factor in: one, I have more money now and paying bills, while not enjoyable, is not some life-ruining, adulthood-destroying burden. And two, I was kind of right. I don’t get to do anything now. Except it’s not that I don’t get to do anything. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to lay here quietly, and I’m entirely okay with that. A long time ago Swistle had this post (link) about how when we were kids, it was so puzzling that adults just wanted to sit around and talk to each other and HOLY SHIT COULD ANYTHING AT ALL BE MORE BORING except it turns out that children are actually a sort of idiot who are surprisingly incapable of predicting and understanding what adult versions of themselves will enjoy. Like lying around doing nothing. Children generally have no idea how much they’re going to love that and not really care all that much about paying bills.
Well, except surprise bills, but that’s a whole other thing. Did I mention Brinkley is going to the vet tomorrow? Surprise.
Anyway, there are these things like bills that turned out to just be a kind of normal fact of life that don’t really destroy it in the way I casually predicted. (Yes, I know there are people who can’t pay their bills.) And other things, like oh when I’m an adult, I will eat dessert after every meal, not just meals when my parents FEEL LIKE GIVING ME SOME BASED ON ABSOLUTELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE WHIMS. Except no, no, I don’t actually do that. Not because I hate dessert or because of some guilt-based issues around food or whatever. I just don’t want to. Small me did not anticipate that could even be a possibility. It’s there and you just don’t want to? Yeah, that’s not a thing, except it turned out to be one.
TO MY POINT (I assume you knew it was eventually coming). There are things that I just never in a million years could have anticipated would be a negative issue for adults. Things that as a child, not only would I never have disliked, but never could have even imagined it would become a problem sometime in the future. One of the major ones, the only one I can think of at the moment, actually, because my distaste is just SO STRONG it is blocking out everything else, is balloons. I cannot fucking stand balloons.
If we’re walking up to a store or something and someone is handing out balloons, I will try to find a different way to go in. I will say they’re for sale and I don’t have any money with me. I will say the person is taking them home to tie to his house so he can move somewhere nicer. It’s impossible to control my expression at the end of a birthday party or event when Penelope comes running out with her very own balloon. I will elbow a clown in the gottdanged throat if he so much as glances my way with his fistful of aggravation.
Growing up, I had no idea balloons were such a pain in the ass. There was this restaurant we went to when we were younger that always gave balloons to kids at the end of a meal, and there were three of us, and now that I’m an adult, I have a whole new perspective on those fun car rides home with three kids and three balloons in the back seat of a sedan. Oh, sure, bopping each other and bouncing them around and sucking out the helium was a blast, but now I can imagine it from the other side. “Hold your balloons. Hold your — HOLD YOUR BALLOONS. PULL THE BALLOONS DOWN. I can’t see around — shit! I can’t see around the balloons. GUYS YOU MUST HOLD YOUR BALLOONS DOWN. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE IF YOU DO NOT CONTROL THE GODDAMN BALLOONS AND WE WILL GO TO HELL AND IT WILL SURELY BE FULL OF BALLOONS.”
And that’s if the balloon even makes it from Point A to Point Car. Never do I have such a death grip on Penelope’s fist as I do when she’s insisting on carrying her own balloon to the car. We are a fraction of a second from wailing heartbreak and I am on guard the entire way. I don’t know if you know this about four year olds, but they do not have the attention span required to keep their fists closed. Every step between us and the car is the potential for the whole rest of the day to be IRREPARABLY RUINED because the stupid balloon GOT AWAY and on top of that? Now we’ve littered. Double tragedy.
And if we get it to the car and we get it home without spinning out into a ditch due to obscured vision, then the balloon is IN MY HOUSE. High ceilings. Ceiling fans. DOGS. It’s either not going to last, which leads to drama, or it’s going to become a task for me, constantly requiring retrieval from this location or that location. Is there anyone among us who hasn’t had to form a long, sticky-ended poking device to rescue a balloon from the absolute most inconvenient location in the house? One that additionally requires perching precariously on something? I’m risking my life for $0.005 worth of latex.
And sometimes! You think you can wait for the kid to go to bed and then pounce on the balloon, usually by then half-deflated and hovering around corners to scare you shitless in the dark, because she has taken absolutely zero notice of the balloon for days, so you can get it in the trash without incident. Now, if you don’t make the absolutely ROOKIE IDIOT MISTAKE of leaving it on the top of the trash for the kid to discover the body in the morning (“J’ACCUSE, MOTHER. J’ACCUSE.”), then it’s a guarantee that tomorrow morning, first thing upon waking, she’s going to ask for that balloon for the delightful day of play she’s got planned out for the two of them.
I just had no idea. Growing up there was no way to know or predict that balloons were one of the most dreaded parenting ordeals on the planet. I guess a lot of things become clear as we get older, you know?
Of course life kicks me in the ass right when I start a totally ambitious (not actually bitous at all, except in my own head and determination to be bitious) new blog, because, I don’t know, Murphy or something. It’s pleasant to think that the universe acts in response to my own actions, but have you noticed we only really think that when something goes wrong? Like the universe is just waiting to fuck with you. Like the universe is sitting around looking for people who did some innocuous thing like wash their cars, then sends a flock of birds to shit on it. No one credits the universe in that same kind of way when good things happen. Like oh, I did my hair today and it looks fabulous, but it rained, but I totally remembered my umbrella. THANKS, UNIVERSE. So the whole thing kind of falls apart, I guess, unless you want to believe the universe is a total fuck with you for the hell of it kind of guy. Which I guess most of us kind of do, and you know what, that’s a pretty dim outlook, so let’s just not do that anymore. My life didn’t suddenly get crazy because I started a new blog and the universe thought I was getting uppity. It just got crazy because it did.
Anyway, I was in my car yesterday and I was listening to the radio – satellite radio because we get about two stations on the regular radio where I live, and if you live in the kind of place that is so remote as to only get two stations, you can assume you’re probably spending a long time in the car to really get anywhere, so it’s kind of backwards, because you’re in exactly the kind of place that needs more than one station. That’s how we justify paying for Sirius, anyway, not that you care, but the point is, it’s satellite radio and I don’t know where it comes from, so I don’t know where this commercial is based, so I don’t know if you’ve heard it or not. But maybe you have!
So in this commercial I heard (some stations on Sirius have commercials because they’re just regular stations or whatever from big cities, but others don’t), they said something like “hashtag fbf.” Obviously that would be more accurately written as #fbf, but that’s what I heard. And, you know, I do the whole Internet thing, so I’ve seen that hashtag around. I’ve also seen #tbt, which has been around a really long time, since the dawn of hashtags, maybe, back when people USED HASHTAGS PROPERLY, not the kind of garbage people are doing today, where they put phrases in their hashtag that should just BE PART OF THE TWEET, and I don’t know, abuse of systems that have no actual basis in any kind of authority or necessarily need to be any kind of strict really annoys me because I’m that kind of pedantic person. And #tbt is Throwback Thursday, when you post a picture from a long time ago, like when you were a kid, or when you were in college, or to that day last week when you thought you looked particularly good. And I gathered from the kind of pictures that I’d seen people posting under #fbf that #fbf meant basically the same thing.
And you know what? I thought it was so obnoxious. I mean, I never called anyone out on it because I’m more of an internal pedant, but come on. If you missed posting the picture on Thursday for Throwback Thursday, just wait until next week. Why do you have to make up a whole new thing? I mean, Frowback Friday? It doesn’t even make sense. Just wait. It’s seven days! You can do it!
Then the commercial went on to say something about Flashback Friday.
And listen, I have to tell you, I did not just have my pedantic annoying thoughts in the 4 seconds between when the commercial said “hashtag eff bee eff” and “Flashback Friday.” No, I have thought this forever, or at least since the first time I saw #fbf, and this commercial just revealed the truth to me, and I was suddenly extremely grateful that I usually keep this petty pedantic shit to myself (except for the difference between the required eating methods for string cheese and Kit Kats, something I WILL NOT DISCUSS HERE SO DON’T EVEN TRY BUT YOU’RE PROBABLY WRONG and someday I will surely tell you that at great length), because you think there is nothing worse than a pedant, but there is, and that’s a pedant who is WRONG.
So that got me thinking about times I’ve jumped on someone for some petty thing, something I was actually totally certain I was right about, and turned out to be TOTALLY WRONG. I couldn’t actually think of any, which is not evidence that I HAVEN’T done it, but more likely evidence that my mind has completely blocked it out to save me from reliving the shame over and over, like you do with embarrassing moments, and then have to say something out loud or sing a song or something to try to force your mind to STOP REPLAYING IT.
As usual, when I think of something terrible I’ve done (or have most likely done in this case even though I couldn’t think of an exact example at the moment), I immediately want everyone to tell me of all the times they have done the same or similar.
So this is a lot of stuff wrapped up into one.
One of the last posts I wrote on my previous site was about how I was spending so much time in the car and it was slowly crushing my will to live. The whole day was broken up into small, barely usable chunks and I was in the car too much, Penny was in the car too much, and I just hated it. I wasn’t getting enough sleep or enough time to do a single gottdanged thing and it just wasn’t a sustainable arrangement. Well, it’s all different now.
Instead of Penny spending 3 mornings a week at an in home care and also 3 hours, 5 days a week in pre-k, she now goes to the daycare attached to the pre-k, 5 days a week. Phil drops her off in the morning, leaving me sleeping (well, it rarely works out that way, but that’s the intent) and she goes to daycare from whenever she arrives – usually around 7 – until 11:30, when they send her in to pre-k. After pre-k, at about 2:30, she goes back to daycare until we pick her up. As a result of this, I’m able to get the 11 hours of sleep per night that I require (I know, it’s a lot, but it’s a whole thing that’s not worth getting into) and I also am able to work a more reasonable schedule as well. I’m happy to be working, we have more money, and she has tons of friends at both daycare and pre-k and is enjoying spending all day playing with other kids.
Of course I’ve had the standard mental crises over the whole thing, alternately being thrilled with the whole arrangement and devastated that I’m going to MISS HER ENTIRE CHILDHOOD because she’s away for the whole day, but it really is for the best. Everything is working much more smoothly, aside from the small detail that a full day of playing is a little much for Penelope, so the couple of hours we do all get to hang out every night are kind of full of tired four year old, and I’m not going to go into any uncharitable descriptions, but you can imagine for yourself a small, hungry, tired person with poor impulse control.
She’s getting to do all kinds of fun things in pre-k and in daycare. She’s gone on some field trips and she has learned all kinds of songs that she sings non-stop, all day every day. Lots of art projects and the like and hey, I’ve found out I’m not sentimental about my kid’s daily art projects, so that’s a positive point in the future of my household and its risk level for saved art avalanches. She also has a Halloween carnival coming up and Phil is going to volunteer to help out with it. Leading up to the Halloween events, they’re having 5 days of themes, you know, the usual stuff. Today was Crazy Sock day.
We picked up some crazy socks for her the other night. They’re knee high Rainbow Dash socks, except they’re for bigger kids, so they’re actually thigh highs on Penelope. Since I like to stay asleep in the morning until I have to get up to work, I try to lay her clothes out the night before. If I don’t, she’ll go to school dressed, but there’s no guarantee she’ll look like a non-hobo. So it’s just easier if I set it out. Last night, I chose an outfit especially to go with the high socks – a straight navy cargo skirt in a heavy sweatshirt material, and a cute lighter blue striped shirt with a little bit of a puffy detail on the shoulders. It was adorable and was going to be super cute with the socks.
This morning, before I started work, Phil messaged me to tell me there was a big spider in the laundry room but he couldn’t get it because it ran under the washing machine. While I was accusing him of leaving me here asleep and alone to die, an email came in from him. As I was opening it, he said, “I saw the clothes you left out for Penny, but I picked out a different skirt instead and then the shirt looked weird so I picked a different one. I sent pictures.” As he was saying that, I opened the email.
I have to tell you, I felt faint. I said to him, but I laid out clothes. And he reminded me how Penelope said that one of her teachers said to always wear shorts under your skirts. I remember her saying that, and that’s one of the reasons we own so many skorts, but I picked out her clothes knowing that. I picked out a straight skirt that doesn’t fly up, and her socks come up to her butt anyway. I don’t know if I was more bewildered by his choice, or aggravated that he second-guessed what I’d laid out, as if I hadn’t considered all the information and Penny’s needs. Obviously, neither a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but I did remind him that the way she is dressed reflects on me, not him, whether that’s fair or not. And I know most kids that age dress kind of nuts, and Penny does do her fair share of dressing kind of nuts, but I wanted to tone it down a little for Crazy Sock Day, so that the crazy could be focused on the socks. Instead, it’s just full on crazy child day.
BUT WHILE I WAS SAYING ALL THIS TO HIM, a second photo arrived. There had been additional changes made to my choices before they got out the door.
What. Phillip. Ok, you know what, fine. Today is just crazy day, full stop. Yes, I do totally understand this is not a big deal. Really. I do. I’ve sent her to school dressed kind of questionably myself. But like I reminded him, if someone’s going to think something weird about it, they’re going to think it about me, not him. And he was in her room last night when I laid out her clothes. I pointed them out to both him and her multiple times, because they’re the exact same person in two different sizes, people who need to be reminded of basic things over and over because they’re just entirely too busy thinking big complicated thoughts about fun things to remember little details like where their underpants are. And that’s just them, it’s who they are and I kind of like both of them just the way they are, so again, fine. But when I’m going to all the trouble (well, “trouble”) to lay things out and create schedules and make arrangements because it’s just not their style (well, his, as he’s the adult and she’s a child) to focus on those kind of details, I kind of really need him to stick with my plan. Like when I was doing all the driving with our one car and had to get everyone to where they needed to be at the right times as well as work around my own inconvenient work schedule, I’d give him EXACT TIMES when he needed to bring the car to me, based on the complete schedule. Say I needed it at 10:45 so I could make a stop before I picked up Penny to take her to school. He would show up at 11, knowing that I had to be at the school at 11:30, and deciding that would be plenty of time. WHY DO I MAKE THE PLANS IF YOU’RE JUST GOING TO FLAUNT THEM If only one person is going to make the plans, YOU MUST STICK WITH THOSE PLANS, PHILLIP, OTHERWISE YOU LOSE PRIVILEGES.
In this particular case, Phil has lost the privilege of patterns and if he wishes to dress Penelope, he can choose a plain, solid color skirt and any blessed t-shirt he wants. But the dots and stripes are now off limits to him. He’s totally fine with this.
This isn’t really a huge annoyance. And like I’ve told you before, no real husband and wife fights would ever be posted on this site, because why would I do that? This is just a thing about his personality and I think it’s so funny to see how it’s reflected in Penny and the way her mind works. The two of them, seriously. I’m going to be following them both around forever carrying lost shoes and a meticulously filled in day planner in full on nag mode for the rest of my life, while they just think about… you know what, I have no idea. They’re not detail people, but they’ve both got a lot going on in their heads. I wish they would dedicate some small part of all that brain power to remembering what day of the week it is and what I just said two seconds ago, but you get what you get and you don’t get upset, right? Also, they’re both cute and I like them, so I’ll keep them and keep following them around.
So here’s the last thing. Penelope’s kind of a bit of a class clown, we think. We don’t get to watch her while she’s in pre-k, but we do watch her gymnastics class, and she is really invested in making other people laugh. I think she’s right on the borderline of being a good listener and maybe not being so appropriate in class, but she has a parent teacher conference coming up next week, so we’ll probably talk about that right after I tell her teachers that my husband is the one who dresses her. She’s very chatty and very social and very funny, and it’s possible she might need to tone that down in a classroom setting, but she’s only 4 and there’s plenty of time to work on that if necessary.
One of the things she does – and we think it’s to make people/other kids laugh – is that she smacks herself in the forehead. When she started doing it, we didn’t think anything of it, but she’ll do it over and over, like four or five times, usually laughing or making a joke, and we’ve started asking her to not do it. Well, if you look at those pictures above and you can tear your eyes away from the shoes – oh man, the shoes on top of it all – you can see that there’s actually a little bruise on her forehead. At first it was just a sore spot, and when she mentioned that, we started being a bit more serious in asking her to stop hitting herself. But now she has an actual bruise.
She usually whacks herself with the heel of her hand, but sometimes if she has like a lid or a little plastic plate in her hand, she’ll use that. And even though we’ve asked her to stop, it seems now that it’s become a kind of habit. She does it almost reflexively in certain situations. It seemed harmless at first, but now she’s gone and left a dent in herself. Also, we were pretty sure it was just to be funny and get a laugh from other kids when she started, but then why would she keep on to the point that she hurt herself? Phil especially is on her to get her to stop doing it, but scolding her doesn’t seem to be working. I’m not quite sure how to handle it from here – I feel like if we get TOO mad/yelly about it, she might just, you know, hit herself in response. But if we’re too gentle/laid back about it, we might not be able to help her break the habit. Also, there’s that underlying concern about her hitting herself and why she’s doing it.
If you’ve got any ideas on these topic, I’d love to hear them. Did your kid do it? Did you? How did you make it stop, or do you have suggestions on what might work even if you haven’t dealt with it? Is it something to be concerned about, or just a passing thing? Passing things are my favorite kind of thing.