Saturday, February 19, 2011

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

I really don't know where I could have gone so wrong. Well that's not entirely true, if I really wanted to be honest about the whole thing- I could sit down and pinpoint a few moments between my daughter and I that define our relationship, her personality, and where I went terribly wrong. I know you are thinking this is a passing phase, that she and I will work it out. I will hope you are right.

All I know is that at 10am this morning, I was confident that I was ready to handle the next 3 weeks as a single parent again and that by 3 pm, I questioned my existence as a parent and worried that I wouldn't see my child again. It's a terrible feeling, sitting there having no clue as to the whereabouts of your child- hoping for the best- pushing terrible thoughts from your mind. And then you see them, safe and your first thoughts are just short of murderous.

It went down like this. I have a child who is a compulsive liar. She can't help it. Even when there is no reason for it- her first response is to lie. My husband and I have exhausted our reservoirs of ideas and coping mechanisms to handle it. We know that her currency is her social life and her prized possessions and have multiple times removed them from her grasp. She is aware of the steps she must take to regain them and when prevailed upon, will go to no ends to saitisfy those requirements. We have a zero tolerance policy. It's exhausting. I am either constantly playing detective or enforcer.  I have been grateful for the past 3 weeks my husband has been home, so that I can play good cop for short bits.

So today at 9:43am, we dropped Phil at the airport for a 3 week TDY to Japan. We were all feeling a bit melancholy, but also know that 3 weeks isn't that long. Of course in the grand scheme of things- it's a lifetime of possibilities for things to go wrong.  I mean weird things could happen, someone could bust a pancreas or something. It's possible- and in the Mallory household- it is quite probable. As I pushed the melancholy from my mind I decided to harness the power of positive thinking.  Not only would I be fine this TDY- I would be productive. My first task- getting Lily to her soccer game on time. Her game- 10:00, current time: 9:47- ETA to destination 17 minutes. Not good odds so far. The traffic was not cooperating and at 10:03 we were still 5 minutes away when I got the call form the soccer team mom. I apologize profusely, take a deep breath and realize- it's a 5 year old's soccer game- not the world cup- it's gonna be fine. We get there halfway into the 1st quarter and no harm, no foul. Halfway into 2nd quarter the soccer ball gets beamed off of Lily's face. I got it all under control. I convince Lily that she is not going to die, that she can in fact return to the game. She does and we are midway into the 4th quarter when she nearly gets beamed again- she throws me a crazy shaka and tells me later that she could feel the ball in her hair. It occurs to me that I never gave her her morning meds- I am off to a great start. 1 hour down- 503 to go.   I tell the kids if they can manage to behave in the car, I will take them out to lunch. I haven't even fastened my seatbelt before Thing 1 and Thing 2 decide to go silent ops WWF on me. For the love of GOD, if I didn't have eyes in the back of my I head- I surely would have seen their shenanigans in the rear view mirror. Honestly.  Needless to say we went straight home.

Kiera immediately requests permission to abandon ship. Permission will be granted when room is in tip top shape and the galley has been tidied.  She concedes and abandons ship. After a reasonable amount of time, I journey on over to my neighbor's house. It's much easier to ignore the stacks of to-do items looking at you when you are looking at someone else's house. Kiera and her bud request to go for a run. Their footwear is questionable and I don't see the need to take a purse for a jog. I point this out. Both are acting shady. I inquire as to their intended destination and required time to complete it. Neither can give any indication of either. Request to run declined until proper details can be itemized. Children glare at parents and openly declare hatred of disciplinary action and parents. See most parents would be thrilled their kids were asking to go out for a run and open the door for them. But Kiera falls into fits of itchiness the second her skin starts to glisten. I find it hard to believe that she is opting for a run at 3 in the afternoon, with a purse and inappropriate footwear. But that's just a gut feeling.

After about a half an hour passes, and I get that gut feeling again. I call down Bella, My little informer. Whatcha doin? Playing Barbies. With the girls? No, just Lily. What are the girls doing? I don't know, they left. They left? Yep. Ohh no. I look to my friend, the mother of the other half of the dynamic duo.  We yell their names, nothing. We check the house, the yard, my house, their friends' houses. No one has seen them .  I send Phillip out on his bike to scan the neighborhood. My friend hops on her bike and I stay at her house in case they return to the scene of the crime. I take to pacing in the front yard. Kiera's friend's sister drills me on exactly how much trouble they are going to be in. Are we talking like two weeks grounding?  Try at least 2 months. Zero tolerance.  Wow- that's harsh. Insert parental tirade on safety and kids wandering around unsupervised.  Hmmm she says. We are now going on an hour. My friend and I are trying to figure where they could have gone. I remember the purse Kiera was going to take on the "run"- it's still on the ledge by the door. I open it- there is a ziploc of shells inside. They mentioned "exploring" while on their "run." shells. Oh no. They wouldn't.  I look to my friend- they wouldn't go to the BEACH would they? She calls her husband who is driving around- they both take separate cars to the beach. She returns about 10 minutes later, no girls. I get the call from her husband. He is watching them walk down the beach. He will bring them home.

I am alternately relieved and enraged. I want to find a neighbor with a van- have them throw the girls in the back and scare the living daylights out of them. They have no idea what they have done. My neighbor brings them home. Both girls are covered in sand. They are informed that all priveledges have been revoked. Both girls swear they only went because we never let them do anything. Apparently in the 10 year old mind, this makes sense.  I keep my hands tucked in my pockets so that they won't wring her little neck. After the Miranda rights were issued, I marched my child home. While she showered I got the largest hamper I could find and 2 huge rubbermaid bins. I asked her if she knew what happens to people's stuff after they die. She shook her head. I told her their loved ones have to go through it, bit by bit, each piece more painful than the last. And then you have to decide what to keep and what to give away, all the while you just would give anything to have that loved one back. She left without telling me. I had no idea where she was or where to even look for her. If something would have happened to her- I would have not been able to help her. If someone would have taken her and chopped her into little bits, I would have to go through her things. So she was going to do it, to save me the heartache- I had been through enough today worrying about her.  After she got dressed, we emptied the contents of her closet and drawers into the hamper. All toys and electronics went into the bins. I removed them from her room. I had her pick up the carpet, by hand. Then vaccuum. I had her wipe down the shelves and the walls. When I got Mcdonald's for dinner- she had to make herself dinner.  And then do the dishes. She quietly took out the trash and asked if anything else needed to be done before she went off to bed.

So here I sit- 493 hours to go. Day 1 reaches it close and all children are present and accounted for. I guess technically alls well that ends well, yet tomorrow is another day where I will try to impress upon my daughter the importance of honesty and integrity and to be independent yet accountable. I don't need her to understand today why I make these decisions, I make these decisions so that someday she will be old enough to understand. And that makes it worth it. I think. But I could be wrong. I'll have to let you know someday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Swim wares

I know I have been terribly remiss in blogging. We are all alive and well. Phil returned from a funfilled Crossfit adventure Training Session in Florida where he also learned to fly the F-22 Raptor. Oh I love long TDY's- he loses 30 pounds and looks so fabulous I can barely keep my eyes (or hands) off of him which is problematic because we have 4 kids and other obligations. Like life. I on the other hand do what I can to maintain my glorious physique- which in and of itself would be a daytime job. But I currently have 1 fulltime day Job(Bella) and 3 partime afternoon jobs followed by my housekeeping service, laundry service, driving service, professional cheerleader and tutor, on call medical consultation and handy person jobs- so there is very little room to work in fitness.  And when I get tired of tending to those responsibilites, I moonlight as a volunteer in no less than 3 arenas and from time to time make appearances on online support groups for various conditions that have become part of our daily lives.

Every time I talk to friends or family- which is a fairly rare occurrence and cherished when possible- I am constantly told that they don't know how I do it. This causes  me to laugh. DO what? Keep my children from becoming cretins- the jury is still out on that. Clean house- not if you've seen it lately. Ask the ants.  Stop by and you will see the baskets of laundry which are my version of practical, functional living room art.  This last TDY I thought I would get to some scrapbooking, or some photo editing- yet the only time I ventured to open the roll top desk where I "play" it was merely to shove more stuff under the lid and slam it closed quick before something slid out.  Every now and then something slithers out and I have to decide if it's worth shoving back in or if it needs to go.  It's funny how clutter accumulates and it can seem overwhelming- yet if a piece slides out from time to time- it's pretty easy to handle. That's life.

I take small steps. I make a point to walk every day. Of course most days it ends up just being from the bedroom to the kitchen to the car to the kitchen, but I try .  I don't stress about the number on the scale. Other than the fact that it's larger than when I was 9 months pregnant with my first child. I live by how I feel and if how much chocolate I consume to numb the pain is any indication of how I am doing- you will have your answer. So today I managed a walk with Bella which was cut short because she managed to fall off the ledge at the golf course into the prickly bushes. Twice. The first time was funny. She laughed, I laughed, we decided to not do that again, yet she did. It was not so funny when a prickly gets dangerously close to areas that don't like to be pricked. SO we pack up and move on back home. I stop by the mailbox and the powers that be mock me with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Oh for the love of all that is good. Wasn't I tortured adequately with Vicky's swimsuit Issue a week ago with suits that are complete knock offs of my teenage years? 

So I sit down an peruse the wares. It is very disheartening. The only girls wearing swimsuits are the amateurs and the athletes. And by athletes I mean women who play athletics who generally get no more mention than a blurb. I wouldn't say the swimsuit models were modeling as much as creatively displaying the product. I still am really unsure as to what the product is. In some cases the product was merely a necklace and a couple of bracelets. Unfortunately my daughter overhears me grumble- that's not a swimsuit, that's 3 shells strategically placed over her hoo hoos.  I can hope that she will gain from the statement an understanding of the word "strategic" but I am pretty sure she will only remember hoo hoos. I thought about being offended, outraged at the nudity. But in all honesty, it's about as real as looking at the Sunday comics. Between the plastic inserts and photoshop- I am positive the finished product is far different from the real thing- and then I find out that there is another swimsuit edition out there, from a less likely source. National Geographic.  Somehow the irony is so thick. The mag that is notorious for printing nudey pictures under the guise of culture is doing a swimwear spread and the mag that is notorious for printing swimwear pictures is doing a nudey spread under the guise of athletics. Outstanding.

I will not blame SI for negatively promoting/destructing female body image. That is up to girls and their parents. We need to take charge of our own perceptions. I don't hide the issue from my kids. I make it clear that I disagree with the lack of taste- not the human form. I also let them know there is a certain amount of movie magic that occurs behind the scenes. The fact is that sex sells and so does shock value. It sells because we buy it. I personally was more disappointed than shocked by the lack of swimwear.  I think the body painting section they started a few years back was a genius circumvention of the porn I mean swimwear norms. I'll admit it, we spent more than a little time trying to spot the inconsistencies, if you will.  That's the fun- the mystery- the what if. That is sexy. Remember the old saying- why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? Exactly. Milk has been free for quite awhile at SI Swimsuit edition. If SI is now what Playboy was then , I don't even want to know what crazy stuff they are doing over at Penthouse. 

As for my personal body issues- they are mine. I know enough women sporting silicone tatas because their bodies were ravaged by cancer to know that despite that we are more than our breasts- they are part of who we are. I have also run across enough boobs in my day to know that people place far too much value on physical appearance and not enough on the appearance of propriety. As for my daughters- I try not to show them my issues. For all they know I love my body, that doesn't mean I wouldn't change a thing here or there. But I hope to also impress on them that when it is all said and done- your body withers, but your legacy will not. I for one sincerely hope that my legacy in completely unrelated to swimwear.