I Guess We’re the Village

CH has a friend. We’ll call him S. S is in the ROTC with him, and doesn’t live too far from us, now that his family has moved. I feel some kind of way about his family and his home situation.

A few weeks ago, he came to spend the night. They had an ROTC event, and he was going to ride with CH. This was a Friday night. Saturday I went to pick them up, and CH asks can he spend the night again. Sure, if that’s ok with his aunt and/or grandmother. He stays. The next day, HH heads to work and tells them to wrap their weekend up by 5:00.

At 4:55, CH comes to me wanting to know if I can give S a ride home. Something about his aunt didn’t want to drive in the rain. And? I’m supposed to drag my 4 month old out in the rain? No! Make arrangements to get your kid. Or, as an ADULT, you call me to square the situation away. Don’t send messages through the kids. As you can tell, I was a bit perturbed. We don’t send CH anywhere without arrangements to pick him up, or prior agreement with other parents to drop him off.

Long story short, these trifling azzed people his family do not come and pick him up or make arrangements for him to be picked up. HH has to take him home at 11:30pm.

Who does this?!?

He’s been over another night since then, but now that they live closer it’s walking distance. One day I asked CH what’s the deal. This was a day that I was nice enough to drop him at home, since I was running errands. To my chagrin, we pull up and there’s two cars in their driveway (grrrrrrr – you got 2 cars but can’t give your kid rides anywhere?!?) Anywho, CH says he lives with his aunt and grandmother, and from the little interaction he had with them, he even felt that they were trifling. He said that S always calls or texts him on the weekends wanting to know what he’s doing, and saying he’s trying to get away from the house. I asked him what does S plan to do after HS. He said he’s going into the military.

I don’t know where his mother is…but it appears his aunt/grandmother took him in, and they act like it was done under duress. Why would you take him in if you didn’t want to be involved in his life?

I feel bad for him, but I am not about to entertain and feed him every weekend. He looks to be well clothed. When they’re not paying attention, I check for signs of any physical abuse, and I haven’t seen any.

Yesterday morning he walked to our house so he could get a ride to ROTC. He came back with CH in the afternoon and stayed here until CH sent me a text asking if he could stay the night. I said no, maybe next weekend before we head to NY. I wasn’t feeling well, and Lailah was on one. I felt kind of bad, but I just wasn’t in the mood.

I’m trying not to make too many assumptions. Maybe he’s trouble when he’s home. Although I don’t think so, because he’s super polite when he’s here. If I go grocery shopping, he’s trying to beat CH to the car to get the bags. They made breakfast for everyone last weekend and cleaned the kitchen. He clearly knows the rules here. LOL

On the one hand, I feel good that our home is an environment that he feels comfortable in, but on the other, you’re not going to hand your kid off to me and I’ve never even met or talked to you. It takes a village to raise a child, but my goodness. I just really wonder what goes on at his house, that he always wants to escape…

Monday Randoms

I did a comparison pic of me vs. Lailah at 4 months. A comparison of foreheads shows that I am the mama! *Mau.ry Pov.ich voice* LOL!

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HH and I switched cars today. He wants to wash mine. Now that he has new rims on his car, I have to get 28 instructions on how to drive it: don’t hit any potholes…watch the curbs when you turn… I mean, really. You scratch ONE rim, and your driving skills get downgraded to “remedial.” LOL!

There’s an older man who I see in Star.bucks every morning. Today, he and his partner in crime told me that my shoes were beautiful. It was like that scene from Coming to America: “what is that, velvet? This is niiiiiice!”

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My friend Nee sent us a gift card for Lailah…using that and two other Tarjay cards I had left over from my shower, I was able to get Lailah a big pack of diapers, 2 boxes of her vitamin D supplement, some bibs, and a bottle warmer – which is more for Daddy’s use than her. Poor thing. He wanted to bottle feed her the other night, but he was so discombobulated. He forgot to turn on the water to warm it up before he went in to change her. She, like her mamma, is ready to eat when she’s ready to eat. So, she’s already aggravated by the diaper change, and now the food ain’t ready? Not happy. I ended up having to get up anyway, so I just nursed her. Next time, we will be ready. The bottle warmer heats the milk up in about 3 minutes. :)

Our daycare said they love Lailah, but they’re not taking any more infants unless we have another one. Alrighty then! I don’t think we’ve fully decided, but I did determine that the cut off age for another child to exit this body is 41. If it doesn’t happen by then, somebody goes under the knife.

I got back to yoga last week. I decided my days to go are Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Right now, I’m on a 30 days for $30 special. After that, we’ll have to see what’s in the budget.

Speaking of which, I set up a budget and I’m trying to get back to living on a set amount of cash between pay periods. Gas and grocery expenditures will be on one card, and I will pay in full after each statement. Hopefully I guesstimated correctly on those. I even budgeted in my Starbucks habit. Part of budgeting is being realistic, right?

We are heading to NY in two weeks. Lailah gets to meet her other grandmas, her grandfather, and aunties and uncles on HH’s side. We are staying with MamaMixtress, and I have already advised her that she will have to share. She said, “I guess!” Oldsters. LOL!
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I found a mini “Lord Business” Lego figure on Amazon. It wasn’t in the budget, but it was $9 so I ordered it. *shrug* I am going to keep it on my desk at work.

See? Totally random.

Seeds

This week’s theme seems to be about seeds. Pretty appropriate, given that it’s spring time. Although, with these temperatures, you wouldn’t know that. But anywho…

This week, I started back with some yoga classes. Long story short, HH and I had to look at our schedules and see when we had free time…and then when in that time could we fit in our “me time.” It’s pretty easy for him, because on his days off, Lailah is at daycare. But on my days off, she’s with me. And she nurses every 3 hours. And sometimes she doesn’t want to be put down. Or take a nap. And then I have to try and cook dinner or clean some clothes. You get the picture.

So, while it breaks into our time we could spend together, I scheduled my me time to be a 5:30 yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I went to a yoga studio that is (relatively) close to where we live, and one I’ve never been to before. It’s actually in the same plaza as our gym. Since I was early, I actually changed at the gym and did 15 minutes on the elliptical, then headed over.

Joan was the teacher for my class. I told her about my prior yoga practice, how I was post partum, and filled out the release form. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a vinyasa class, but everyone’s vinyasa is not the same. I used to take Baptiste-style power yoga classes, but I knew I was not in shape to handle that type of class. Thankfully, this was not.

At the end of the class, during savasana, teachers will do different things. Some are quiet. I had one who used to sing Amazing Grace. Others will read inspirational quotes. Joan read a quote to us about seeds. I don’t remember it verbatim…the point of savasana is to rest and just let the thoughts float by…but she talked about how seeds just have to surrender to the process. They have to burst open into the darkness, not knowing what to expect or what they will grow into. That stayed with me for a few days.

This morning, my friend Serenity_23 posted a pic on IG about a devotional she is reading. Today’s was about seeds. In this case, about how seeds take time to grow. Many of the things we do in our lives now are planting seeds for the future. It could be anything from time you spend with your kids, your fitness and dietary habits, or your friendships. Whatever it is, we have to be patient and let it develop.

Today, I went back to yoga class with the same teacher, and she spoke about seeds again. This time, she talked about how you might feel like everything you’re holding in is about to burst out, like a seed. And that’s ok, because it just means that a change is coming.

Well, how many times do you have to hear something, before you realize the message is for you? LOL! My whole life is one big ball of changes. Huge changes at work. Changes every day with Lailah. With breast feeding. With HH and I, and how we have to find one on one time with an infant in the picture. Some days it’s maddening. I think because I have a hard time just surrendering to the change. Other days, it feels pretty darn good, because all the moms I interact with on social media have been unknowingly preparing me for this time in my life, with their stories on parenting and their lessons learned. Seeds they planted long ago that I didn’t even know I would need. I’m glad they sowed into my life.

When changes come, just remember the seeds.

Friends

I was thinking about friendships recently. Mostly about how they ebb and change when your life changes. I guess we all serve a purpose in someone’s life, in one capacity or another.

I’ve noticed, since Lailah was born, some things have shifted. I don’t have the “freedom” in my schedule and cannot be as spontaneous as I used to be. We don’t have family here, besides HH’s niece; she’s in law school and just recently moved her pre-teen daughter down here, so we don’t want to impose on her. We don’t want to impose on our friends, either. So far, we’ve only had one friend babysit.

But anywho, I’ve noticed the people who have sort or backed away, and others have stepped up. Maybe I’m just in my feelings (LOL), but when I log into social networks and see people posting about events/get-togethers that I would’ve been invited to previously, that they didn’t even bother to invite me to now, that kind of sucks. Like, I still want to have a life, too. If I know in enough time, I can make arrangements. Reminds me of when Tiffany in Houston wrote about how her single friends were acting like she was persona non grata when she got married.

Then I got perturbed. I’ve noticed that some people really leaned on ME when they were having all kinds of trouble and problems. Now that life is back in order, I don’t hear from them as much.

Yes, I am a mom now. But that’s not my whole life. I was talking to a counselor about all the changes from 2012 to now. He pointed said that he is a big proponent of “me time,” and that it seems most of my “me time” outlets have gone by the wayside. I never thought about it, but he is right. When we moved to our house, that took me (physically) away from the activities I used to do and people I used to hang with. No more yoga. No more triathlon mentoring/participation. No more dropping by to see friends as much, because we live on opposite sides of the earth now. I think this has been part of my frustration and tension lately, and I’m making plans to address it.

I know they say that some people are only in your life for a season. I guess I’m surprised by some or the people who have become seasonal. Also grateful for the people who still reach out and communicate.

Do you think people can move between friend status and acquaintance status? Or are they always friends, but just move from being close to being distant?

2 Minute Gratitude List

The other day, I read a blog on Ten Things Moms Need to Remember. I posted it on my FB page, and several mommy friends thanked me for posting it.

Even though I haven’t said much to friends, or posted much about it, most weeks I feel like I am not getting it right. Lailah is the most precious gift I’ve received, but I have a hard time dividing my days between work, her, HH, CH, and on yeah – myself! I feel like I am getting it wrong almost daily, which leads to at least two people being frustrated. It’s like a rain cloud that just follows me around. It frequently brings me to tears (in the shower, of course, because I feel like I can’t show this frustration to everyone). I’d say that it’s a small cloud, because in the scheme of things I have a ton to be thankful for. But the cloud is still there.

Number 8 on the list of 10 things to remember is “keep writing your gratitude list.” This is something I used to do a lot of. I even had a phone app and a journal app on the iPad. Neither of which have been used much lately. The author of the blog posted a Google docs link to a free printable for completing a 2 Minute Grateful List:

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You set yourself a timer for 2 minutes, and list the things you are grateful for today. On her blog, she mentioned a lot of little things I don’t even think of. Like coffee. Music playing. Freedom. The sweater she was wearing. The possibilities are clearly endless.

I started writing these earlier this week. My lists are kind of small right now. It’s hard to write a long list when you are feeling frustrated. However, I’ve found in those 2 minutes I feel a little better. I put the list up on the fridge each day so I can look at it when I’m in the kitchen.

At first, I was going to just do this without telling anyone. I wanted to see if I could keep it up on my own. I changed my mind because I figured you guys could help keep me accountable. I know at least two of my Twit.ter friends will harass remind me about the list.

Do you write a grateful list each day or periodically? If not, have you ever thought about trying it?

See What Happens?

CH got his report card yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before. I’ve got my days all mixed up as of late. Life with an infant will do that.

Any who, at the beginning of the year, his chemistry grade was a H.A.M. There was tutoring available and he wasn’t taking advantage of it. He was acting like a D was cool. Uh, no.

So needless to say, I was psyched to see his final grade as a B! Like maybe some of what I said was sinking in. He did get a C in math, but there’s some delay in the final grade on the state exam. He could possibly end up with a B in there as well.

I got home today and HH told me to go look in CH’s room. I knocked and went in to find a tv on his tall dresser.

Me: nice! See what happens when you bring those grades up?

Him: wait. This is because of my grades?

Me: not solely, but do you think this tv would be here if your report card had C’s and D’s?

Him: *looking as if a lightbulb came on* nope!

Now, I actually didn’t know HH was gonna get him a tv today. We need to flesh out the rules for usage and what things constitute removing the satellite box and Xbox. But I hope he sees now that there can be good consequences for doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s a welcomed change from having to discipline all. The. Time.

We shall see how long this lasts. LOL

My Thoughts on Step Parenting

This blog is, like, weeks late. I read this blog where a blogger was asked to give her thoughts on step parenting. It stemmed from this post from another blogger, Drollgirl. I don’t want to re-hash what they said. I agree with points in both blogs. Just want to add my two cents, before Lailah wakes up from this catnap she’s taking. Her sleep schedule is a whole other blog in itself. LOL! Anywho…

Like Drollgirl, I grew up with my siblings and both my parents. There were no step parents and no step siblings. I had no direct exposure to the blended family, though some of my friends did.

One of the lines in Drollgirl’s post stuck out to me. She said that her boyfriend told her, “…I would never be a mother to his kids — they already had one.” That’s pretty much my approach. I’m not here to be CH’s mom. She is alive and well and very much a part of his life. He lives with us because he’s at the age where he needs his dad’s foot up his butt guidance.

I remember trading teen stories with a coworker who has a teenage son the same age as CH. At one point, he was basically telling me that I should refer to CH as my son. To which I politely told him, but he’s not. To me, referring to him as my stepson is ok, because he refers to me as his stepmom. We know our roles and assume them accordingly. I always love how people who have never experienced step parenting have the most advice. Not. LOL

CH calls me by my first name. I’m ok with that. If he’s talking to one of his friends on the phone, I’ve heard him refer to me as his “stepmom.” That’s what I am. I have no complaints. He comes to me to talk about relationship questions, same as he does to HH. We talk about school. When I direct or ask him to do something, he does it. We’ve never had that awful “you aren’t my mother!” moment. Does he get on my nerves? Yes. Do I get on his? Probably. But I think that happens in all parent/child relationships.

I do think it’s important that all the parents are on one accord. CH also has a stepdad, as his mom is remarried. I’ve never heard him say anything negative about him. If I could change one thing, it would be that his mom and I communicated with regard to him. I think that’s where Jada Pinkett Smith’s story is rare, and may have folks thinking that step parenting is a cake walk. Kind of like The Brady Bunch and Modern Family.

One thing I noticed at Thanksgiving, and even now when we’re talking about them, he refers to my mom as “Grandma” and he calls my siblings “Aunt” and “Uncle.” He refers to their kids as his cousins. I found out the other day that he called my niece to talk after he broke up with his girlfriend. To me, that means we’ve done a pretty good job with the “blended family” notion.

It still throws me off when he calls my mom “Grandma.” I always think he’s talking about my mother in law. Then I realize the context of the convo and figure out that he’s not. I think he does a little better job at the blended family than I do, at times.

Step parenting is up and down. One week it’s easy, and the next week you’re over it. That’s the best way I can sum it up.