Lessons Learned

This was a week of lessons for both myself and T. I think too that it has been a hard week for him as the amount of time the Ex has spent with him has been minimal. I cannot even work up anger. I am resigned. I am sad for T. I cannot make him change. I cannot make him see the young man who is growing up right in front of our eyes. T is playing Farming Simulator as I sit here typing this.

I was excited because I am able to listen to my music on my notebook while writing and also watch T play Farming Simulator. I believe I have explained before? Long story short you build up a farm. People create maps and you go farm. Drive around. It is a popular game judging by the amount of Youtube videos I have been subjected to. At the moment I am sitting here with our shared headphones on (the ones that cover the whole ear not inserted buds that would be gross) listening to Florida Georgia Line. Basically I load the entire album and start at the beginning. Today may be the first time in a long time that I get through the very long list.

We had two rather comedic episodes that left me gasping for air I was laughing so hard.

Yesterday morning I was about to wash the bathroom floor and asked T if he wanted to go use the bathroom before I did. He said yes. As he is climbing down his ladder I stand there  and tell him he is not to pee on the floor, the seat, the side, nowhere but into the toilet as I had just finished cleaning it. As a matter of fact, I suggested that he straddle the toilet and push it down to pee straight in. With hand pantomimes. T stared at me in absolute horror and as I turned away informed me that that was the absolute worst advice ever. And if I had one I would totally understand why. I giggled again typing this up.

Later in the day as I was driving him to the Ex’s for his night with him T was muttering away about what an absolute boring evening it was going to be. That none of his friends could come over. It was going to be dad, grandpa and grandma. I

I am trying something new. We are all programmed to notice the negative, the absurd, in other people’s pain. We mock others to make ourselves feel better about our own selves. When T and me had our long conversation the other week I told him that we needed to change. That we needed to look for the positive no matter how hard it is going to be. And it is going to be hard. I mock others. I make fun of them to others. I am no saint as I told K and P. It is a habit, a trait, who knows but it needs to be changed. Now the other day when I dropped T off at school I mocked the bright color of one of his classmate’s snowsuit. I tried to recover by saying at the very least we would not lose him in a snowstorm. Told him that he was not to make fun of the boy to which he emphatically told me he would never. I told him I was sorry. That I should never have made a comment and about a child’s snowsuit nonetheless.

So back to T and me, driving to the Ex’s. Grandma and grandpa are visiting. T is going to be bored. I suggest that he could hang out with grandma. And glanced over to see him looking at me like this. Yes I pulled over and took this picture. Mom, he leans forward his arm on the back of the seat, that male posture when they want to tell you something really important in the car, Grandma is old. And she is annoying. The laughter escaped me and I tried to stifle it. I looked at T and explained to him that grandma really loved him. That she wanted to spend time with him. As he is muttering away, frowny face on, arms crossed. That was when I learned something new about T.

I suggested (I am great for suggesting things) that he might want to spend some time with grandma because she would not be around forever. And he said no that was not true. Um yes, unfortunately we all die someday. Nope, we get another life. I looked over at T and said you think after we die we get a different life. Yep. So you believe in reincarnation. Yeah like having past lives and all that. We get to be together in the next life too. There are times when T reminds me how so very special he is. He also believes that had he been born a girl, the Ex and me would have still been his/her parents. The life would have been the same just pink. He expanded my mind right there.

Today he was annoyed that I had picked him up from his friend’s so early. Had thought that he was going to be staying there until 5 p.m. He was angry with me and refusing to talk. So I thanked him. I could have argued until I was blue in the face with him about his attitude but again I am trying different things to find what works for us. I want to stop that cycle I have seen myself falling into. But no, I thanked him. And waited. Finally he asked for what.

I told that I had taken his suggestion and had started writing a story the night before. Wanted to know what it was about so I gave him a quick a synopsis. Explained that what had started off as a short story about one thing had morphed into something else totally different. My main character had a story to tell we were just figuring it out. I thanked him again and he said you are welcome. I felt it was a small victory and we chatted and laughed all the way home.

Once home with chores taken care of I went to grab the headphones and T was loading his game. Asked where the headphones were. As if I didn’t know, he had taken them into his room one day watching Youtube and left them in there. He fought with me. Told me I had taken them and put them somewhere and it was not his fault that I could not remember. I took the remote for the XBox and sat down on the couch explaining that he could have the remote back once he checked his room.

He argued with me and I kept my cool. I did not yell. I did not let my temper get the best of me. I spoke calmly and repeated that he would get the remote once he had gone to look for the headphones. Finally I said that if he was sure they were not there could he please just humor me and go take a look. Stood in the door and said looked. Uh-uh get up there and look.

I heard him climb up into his bed and silence. After a few moments I got up and double checked the table and counter just in case I was being a hardass for something I had in fact done. I stood watching him from the doorway as he climbed down and threw the headphones at me. I think he thought I was going to crow and say I told you so. Or some form of that. Instead I said thank you I really appreciate that you looked for them. Warned him I might sing and was that okay? I was informed that it was most definitely not cool to sing out loud. I made no promises. He giggled.

I need to be his example. I cannot expect him to act one way and for me to act another. I will slip. I am sure that I will make a mocking comment about someone, and snort giggle when reading memes on FB again I am no saint. But I will actively work to do this. For both of us. And in a world full of negatives looking for the positive is hard. And that is when I learned my second lesson.

What I do now is easy. I am in my home. Being a good example is not hard when I am not interacting with others for extended time periods. I will be going back to work. I will be around toxic people who are going to attempt to shame me. Those who are going to judge me. Not celebrating with me as I recover from this bout of depression. That I am emerging a better stronger woman. And it is going to be hard to not to give in. To not laugh at that little aside about a coworker. A dis about an employee. An irate customer. Being tired. I could come up with a thousand reasons why I slipped back and forget what I was doing this for in the first place.

Yes in part this is a step in my mental health and realizing that I was following a cycle that my father got from his mother. I was yelling at T and several times during the week I cut myself off from phrases he said. I need to break it here and now. But this is for Tember. Our children are our future, and I want to encourage T to see the good first before having to process the bad.

 

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Bull’s Eye

T has been home sick for the whole week. Headache, stomach ache, slight fever and a cough. The first two days he slept 13-15 hours which caused me a great deal of concern. The cough settled in his chest, harsh and well, I have heard the sound before many a time coming from myself. Dug out the inhaler and he had to use it a few times.

Yesterday he was feeling better. As the day progressed he turned from the sweet sick hasn’t eaten a full meal all week, into the 9 year old doofus that is my son. The voices came back. The odd thing where he wrinkles his nose and curls one side of his lip returned. His appetite returned.

I made a top sirloin roast yesterday. When I buy roasts, I cut them in half as T and me cannot eat a whole one to ourselves. The amount of leftovers never gets eaten either so I am learning. 375 degrees for almost an hour. Should probably have pulled it out after about 45-50 minutes. Still as I cut it, the knife moved through it like butter.

Prepared T’s plate for him and set it on the table. Informed him that I wanted him to eat all of it. I knew based on the week that the likelihood of his eating a lot was next to nil so I had only given him a wee bit. I was getting my own plate ready when the following occurred between us.

‘Mom, where is my ketchup?’

‘Ketchup? With that roast? No you are not ruining it with ketchup.’

‘But mom it is just for dunking.’

‘T you are not using ketchup. Use the bbq sauce. There are three on the bottom.’

‘Which one should I use?’

‘The one that is open?’ I realized I had given him an out there so came over to the fridge and pointed to the bottom shelf. ‘There that one.’

I go back to my plate and suddenly T is having a little fit.

‘Mom, what, this was never opened! I cannot get the lid open. Mom, what is going on?’

He is muttering away as I walk into the living room. Shaking the bottle and trying to find the seam on the cap. I place my plate down and turn to look at him about to ask him to hand me the bottle and I would open it for him. Now I was really perplexed because it is a BBQ sauce that has already been open! Had he been so weakened by his week of illness that he could not get the lid off?

As I reach my hand out about to say just give me the bottle already I realize what he is doing. His thumb keeps sliding off the lid as he is trying to flip it open. The petulant look on his face ended it for me. I begin to howl. T is staring at me like I have gone insane.

‘Dude, it is a screw top not a flip top!’

If looks could kill, I would not be typing this up right now. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. T was so not impressed with me. I was told that I was not funny in the least and I was to stop laughing. Little did he know that I posted it to Facebook and now here. Am sure that he will appreciate the humor once he is a parent himself.

For now I am rapidly becoming the ‘uncool’ mom which I am totally fine with. If this is any indication of what is to come, I am going to have a lot of humorous stories to write up. T may find right now that my desire to document the things he says annoying and so a mom thing. Yet, when he is older and time has done its work, he will be able to sit down and reread about his youth.

And I am pretty sure, that he is going to have a sense of humor which is a carbon copy of mine. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Works of Art in Progress

T and me, we have had an interesting morning. He slept in, me I was up at 6 a.m. when the alarm on his phone (it is not live, it can only be used with wi-fi. No phone calls, no texting.) went off and played for a minute. I did try to go back to sleep, but to no avail. So up I got, made coffee and fed the cats.
T, he slept until 10. He laid in bed for awhile and finally I had to holler at him to come into the living room.
He was mad at me. He asked me to get him a bowl of cereal. I said no I was working out. I ended up getting annoyed. I snapped at him. Raised my voice slightly. Tember rolled his eyes at me. I snatched the phone out of his hands. Walked into my room and set the phone down. When I came out T was covering his eyes with his hand. I sat down on the couch next to him and looked at him.
Our conversation went all over the place. I have a super bad habit of looking forward as a control issue. So that I have everything planned out and I know that nothing can hurt me. Weird that that is how it came out. I keep telling T that once he becomes a teenager he will not want to spend time with me. That his friends will be more important. I am okay with that eventually he will come back to me.
Suddenly T begins sobbing and tells me that I am always telling him what he is going to do. That he is not going to do that to me. And I started to leak as well. I have damaged my child. My anxieties, my depression have scarred him. He is angry with me. And I am badgering him.
I told him that the reason that I was so insistent on us being together, talking and hanging out, was because when we first split, my Ex told me that T had told him that I never did anything with him. That I am so afraid that he will still feel that I do not spend enough time with him. Tember got really angry and said that he had never said that. (I imagine some of you are wondering why I would tell T that his dad made that comment and I am not telling him something that he has not already figured out on his own. Yes, run on sentence. ) T said the Ex had made that comment.
I took a deep breath and even though tears still leaked from my eyes, I told T we were going to change. That I was going to work very hard to stop planning so far ahead. That we are going to start living in the moment. I also told him that he would have to help me with this. That if I started to plan too far ahead (like when he is 30) he will rein me in.
I asked him once more if he wanted me to speak to his dad about the fact that T feels that he is not spending enough time with him. Adamently told me no. I told him that I loved him. He told me he loved me. And than the goofy talk started.
I said to T that maybe one day I will win the lottery. That I would be able to stay at home and be with him all the time. I would follow him everywhere. Helping out in his classroom. I do believe that although he laughed along with me T is horrified to think that I may actually do this. He said several times that it would be odd, awkward and disturbing if I were to follow him everywhere.
This segued into a conversation about school. That I would not be helping the students. That I would be doing paperwork with the teacher. Which some how led to us talking about math. And how bizarre it was the way they did it now. That in my day we did not require a Ph.d in Metaphysical blah blah blah you get the point. At which point T annouces that that was ’80’s math’. You know like more than 20 years ago. Ha.
I grabbed a note book and got a pen. Sat down and made up a number. I showed T how we use to multiply numbers. We flipped over to a clean page and T wrote out his way. Our answers did not match. I had to get out the calculator and show him. His response to being shown that the calculator and my answer matched: ‘Mom you cannot believe calculators. Or Google. Or the internet.’ I could only stare at him in disbelief.
I have been working very hard not to use the angry raised voice. My annoyed voice rises slightly but it is not the raised voice. I need to work on my listening skills, and rather than responding quickly and saying the wrong thing, actively think about what I am going to say. A couple of times I did do this while we were in the angry part of the conversation. I stopped myself from whatever I was going to say and took a deep breath before continuing.
T and me, we are going through growing pains. There is also the fact that we are seeing one another every day with the exception of the Saturday and Sunday of his dad’s week and the Sunday at the end of my week. That is an adjustment. As well, I can only imagine how hard it must be to go back and forth between two very different households. T goes from little to no rules to rules and routine.
I cried. T cried. We had a really good conversation. I know that there is no rule book for parents. I am learning how to parent T as much as he is learning who he is and defining the values that he will hold dear as he becomes an adult. I am evolving as well.
We are works of art in progress.