Saturday, February 23, 2013

Daddy issues

     The father-daughter relationship gets a lot of attention. The phrase "Daddy issues" has been uttered in jest or judgement so often that virtually everyone knows what it means. Tonight as I watched my husband and daughter engage in their latest Daddy-daughter bonding ritual (she lays on her back while he rubs her belly, usually with her pacifier or toothbrush handy) it sparked a thought or two. I envy her sometimes, for the relationship she has with her Dad, and at the same time, I am proud of my choice in her father and I want to brag to the whole world that I picked a Daddy so brilliant, people should take classes from him. The funny thing about that is, he will tell you he has no idea what he's doing, he just loves her. Sounds easy enough, right? I don't think it is, for every man.

     Our family has a mission statement. BE HONEST. That's all. It's what this family was founded on. It's what I have learned from experience is the most important thing anyone can do in order to live a genuine and happy life. Sometimes honesty hurts. I have had to say difficult truths to husband and son that even though I was aware I may hurt their feelings, I knew in the end that my integrity and respect for them would trump our being temporarily uncomfortable. I love them, and so I must be honest. That is love.

     In generations before ours, honesty was not a part of child-rearing. My parents did not want to worry me with "adult things" and so I was left out of certain topics and forced to come up with conclusions of my own. To be fair, I must add that my parents were not even aware of some of their own truths to a degree that they could include me on any of those topics. That was a result of their own upbringing, as well. It took me years of observation and detective work to figure that out.

     The excuse for my father's behavior towards me growing up was, "He doesn't know what to do with a baby girl." So, as soon as I began to seem girly, have crushes or whatever, around 5, Dad checked out. He would take me to parks and things, but getting a push on the swings was a feat in my manipulation skills. Physical contact was sporadic, to say the least. My Dad's younger sister, Aunt Laura, had serious Daddy issues. She grew up believing that her father was the best man on earth, and the only man who would love her to that great degree. Her parents taught her that. She measured every man up to that standard her whole life, and ended up dying alone because of it. Or at least, that's how my Dad saw it. My Dad also dealt with my Mother's father, who abused my Mom and her siblings, and likely also molested Mom, although that is one of those things she only hints at to me, and can not be honest about. Dad took all that in and decided he didn't want to chance fucking me up. He wanted my love, but he wanted me to be able to love another man one day and get married and the whole shebang. He wanted the best for me. The hands-off approach was the best he could do to that effect. How do I know that? because we had a long, drunken discussion about it after everyone went to bed one Christmas night. I learned so much from that talk, I think it's what saved any relationship we still had.

    My mother was the opposite in parenting. She never denied me a cuddle or a piggy back ride. I practically had to pry her off me. Those that know me well and have any basic knowledge of psychology will read that and say, "Ooohhhhhh....." Daddy issues. And they're right, I have had "Daddy issues", and they have affected my choices and behaviors in a negative way. These days, it is merely a memory and a learning experience. But I appreciate the importance of it. And as I watch my daughter interact with her father, I gain confidence that she will be just fine.

     My Husband is the most honest person I have ever known. It is the most comforting trait I have ever experienced in a person. I truly believe that if everyone were just honest with people, there would be far, far less divorce, violence, heartache, and pain in the world. If you're honest about things, they are in the light and can be addressed, no matter how uncomfortable they may seem. It's so strange to me how a person can keep secrets from the one they love in order to protect them, but then create more and more secrets to protect those lies, and on and on until the relationship is so broken from lies that you can't even respect them anymore. That is not to say that I haven't been guilty of this. I have. I still think it's strange. It must be some kind of unevolved human survival technique.

     Bug's Daddy stops whatever he is doing, at all times, to be present with her. No matter how long his day was, or how much he hurts from working. He cares about what she says, even though she doesn't know English yet. He pays attention to what she's pointing at and takes her over to it and talks about it with her, "Yes, that's the refrigerator. Food goes inside it...". He notices when she's sleepy and has that presence about him that lets her know it's time to calm down, lay back and get her belly rub so she can go to sleep. And she always does. It is intimate and beautiful. It is what we try to teach the kids through example about how a loving relationship is supposed to be like. Be present. Be physical. Be confident. Be honest, and do not be afraid.

     When I was pregnant with Bug, Husband and I had many conversations about raising little girls. One time he told me, "Do I have to have tea parties? I don't know what to do at a tea party..." Without thinking I said, "You don't have to do anything at the tea party, you just have to be present in her femininity." Huh? At the time I felt like random words just flew out of my mouth, but I have thought about it since, and it really is true. Well then, what IS femininity? Merriam-Webster defines it as: 1. The quality of being feminine, and 2. Womanhood. That's pretty vague, and I like it that way. Femininity is going to look different to everyone. Whatever makes a woman feel like a woman, is feminine. To a girl who likes tea parties, that is a piece of her own femininity. To a girl who feels at her best when she's digging holes in the backyard, that's a piece of her femininity. I think it is extremely important to have those things validated in you by your parents, and especially your father, who is the first man a girl ever becomes familiar with, and ultimately, the one which all future men in her life are measured against, good or bad. And little Bug....will one day be a remarkable, open, and happy woman.

  
     

Friday, February 22, 2013

Etsy and cat food.

     I had an epiphany! I should start my own business, because I have a hobby I can profit from and a repulsion to working for other people, especially in a "team" environment. It has come to the point in our family where it's pretty hard to function comfortably on one income, and my experience lies in the service industry, which in Florida amounts to far below poverty wages. Unacceptable. My other option is to work for the family business, which used to sound interesting, but now I realize it's just retail and I'd rather wait tables. Except I don't want to wait tables. Starting the business was the quickest decision I have ever made, which is scary, but also funny because it shows how little I want to go out and get a "real" job.
 
     The subject of family businesses and the food service industry reminds me of when I worked at Olive Garden, where they "treat you like family". Just in case you don't know, companies who tell you they'll "treat you like family" are out to fuck you. Why? It's a psychological joke, because the idea is, you trust them, you are loyal to them, you protect them, and you forgive your family for almost anything. You do not sue them, sell them out or pull a no-call/no-show on New Year's day. Don't fall for it. Go to college.

     So I'm starting an Etsy shop to sell my handmade/altered baby and toddler girls clothes and accessories. Figuring all that out and making items to sell, plus getting ready for Bug's 1st birthday, has made me very busy, hence the inability to blog very often. I did capture this priceless moment, where she played for 30 minutes...you heard me. THIRTY MINUTES, with the dry cat food. I didn't even care about the mess!


     Back to the Etsy shop, I am a bit nervous. I look at some of the stuff other people have in their shops, and they seem so fancy. Sometimes my seams are a tad crooked...or the shade of pink thread I picked isn't dark enough....But generally I think that if I would be happy with it, others would too. Ugh but the other day I made a tank dress for my 2nd cousin, and had to use crappy binding tape that was rough, and the hem wasn't finished right. And I think now, why didn't I finish the hem or go get the right binding? The answer is, because I did the same for that dress as I did my own daughter's which was a replica of the first dress. Is that bad? Maybe. But Bug grows out of stuff so often...I dunno. From now on though, I will only turn out proper work. Because that's fair, and not everyone sees this temporary situation called childhood as something to be relaxed about, like I do.

     All of a sudden I have tons of ideas about what I could make and sell, and I know that if I could just get my shop SEEN, people would like my stuff. But ads aren't free, and I have run out of money to spend on the business for this month. Hopefully I can sell a couple things and put the money back into the shop. Another part of me really wants to keep all this stuff for Bug! Especially the reversible owl skirt, UGH! I even made it in the size she'll be around Easter, and promised myself that if I can't sell it by then, Bug gets to have it! Cross your fingers!

     My Mom is going to be here on March 18th. Plenty of time to prepare for her visit. I talked to her recently, and it worried me to hear her so out of it. I feel like she's just waiting for her first chance "out" if you know what I mean. My father's death and our moving out of state has made her so depressed, she sleeps too much, barely eats...it's heartbreaking.I have been trying to mentally prepare myself and my family for her visit. I plan to keep things happy at all times while she's here, and keep the mood fun and light (which it always is anyway) so that she can just have fun. And also because I want her to know that we are happy, and just fine. Because if she is just waiting to go be with Dad, she can hopefully do so with peace.

     Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! Bug is walking! Well, she walks holding my hand all the time, and now she'll do it independently too, if she's holding a baby shoe in each hand. I tried to give her a block in each hand, and then two other toys in each hand, but she wouldn't do it. Has to be shoes. She also learned how to dance, and it's the cutest thing ever! Now I keep the music channels on all day for her. She likes the kids channel (but I hate it), doesn't like the toddler channel, and her favorites are reggae, classic rap, and electronica. She's pretty much RAD.

Go check out my Etsy shop :) SterlingsCloset on Etsy

Monday, February 4, 2013

No, I am not a stuck up bitch. I'm deaf.

     I don't want to be Debbie Downer, I hate those kind of people. But here I am, Debbie Downer-ing. It's mostly because I feel sort of shitty and vulnerable at the moment. Mine and Gage's allergies are through the roof lately. Gage has always had this problem, and luckily we have been able to treat it quite well with Claritin and Nasonex, but here, his symptoms are far worse than in California, I assume just because he is getting used to new allergens. Here, the allergies cause him to get migraines. Poor thing. For me it isn't as bad, just mild sniffles and coughing, but the worst part is why I feel vulnerable...ear congestion. I am already deaf in my left ear, so to have my right ear clog up so bad that I can hear my heart beating is almost scary. I was at the grocery store today and couldn't hear a thing the cashier and bagger were saying. It was even worse because my bagger today was the lady with Down Syndrome and a southern accent.

     People always get so confused when I can't hear them. If I tell them I am part deaf, they often over-compensate by speaking loud and slow, and over-pronouncing their words, which I don't mind, I just feel bad that they look so ridiculous doing it. I guess I don't tell people about my hearing because I don't like making anyone uncomfortable. Wow...I can't believe I just said that, given all the crazy shit I have done or said in my life, but it's true! I don't think people know what to do with me when I hear so little of what they say. Mostly I find they think I am ignoring them. I have always heard a lot of, "I always thought you were a stuck up bitch until I got to know you!" At which point I always explain, "No, I am not a bitch, I just can't hear anything. I'm deaf". I have even had people tell me they thought I was SLOW - translation: mentally disabled. I assure you, I am not. The whole of my hearing issue is simply too much information to give out in a quick exchange at the grocery store, the gas station, a party, or most anywhere else. Even my friends don't know the whole of my story, because honestly, I never thought I was different enough from anyone else to bother explaining my problem. It wasn't until my most recent ex started getting annoyed and angry with me all the time when I couldn't hear her that I started to realize I had a significant problem. Then I met my husband, who cared enough to ask me questions about it and try to find solutions, and now, I have realized that it might be something I should work on accepting and maybe even finding help for.

     Officially, I have about 10% hearing in my left ear, which is great for hearing a jet engine when I am right next to it. As a result of chronic ear infections as a child, I lost my hearing in that ear, to the point of nerve deafness. "Nerve deafness occurs as a result of damage within the sensory cells of the inner ear and other in related areas dealing with hearing. The damage from this type of defect is usually uneven and not a loss of all hearing. Those afflicted with this type of hearing loss, may loose sensitivity to different tones (usually the higher tones). Particularly in the case of nerve deafness, a person may be able to hear normally average tones, but would have decreased sensitivity to loud or higher-pitched tones. The zone of normal hearing is greatly narrowed with this type of defect. This creates a difficulty for people with nerve deafness when distinguishing consonants, because it is the high sounds of the consonants which distinguish them from each other. This causes people with this type of nerve deafness to have difficulty hearing speech when there is background noise. The other cues which may allow better understanding of the speech are masked by the background noise." -macalester.edu

     The icing on my shit cake is central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). From Learning Disability online  "The easiest, quickest way to communicate is simply to say something and then deal with the other person's reply, right? Right, unless your listener has a CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), then your remark might come through with certain words drowned out by other noises, or with some words sounding like different words or as meaningless strings of verbiage. You might begin to suspect this when the other person's expression doesn't register understanding, or if he "answers the wrong question," or he asks you for additional information which most people would have been able to infer from what you just said.
Most of us aren't that sophisticated about CAPDs, however, and are much more likely to wonder if the listener is just not very intelligent or doesn't really care about us and what we are saying. People with CAPDs (which are usually part of a learning disability) have been embarrassed by situations and reactions like these all their lives."

     That pretty much sums it up. I don't always hear what you said, and sometimes even if I do hear what you said, my brain interprets it incorrectly and I will think I hear you say something entirely different. This is more likely to happen if we are in a noisy place, if I am reading, watching TV or doing something engrossing when you say it, or if what you are saying is complicated (like directions on how to do algebra) and requires me to think and hear at the same time. When I was doing my clinical rotation at the hospital for surgical tech, I had to hear what the surgeons were saying from behind a mask. That was already hard enough, but it was even harder when that surgeon had an accent, which was most of the time. To make matters worse, I was often standing in a position which didn't allow my good ear to be closest to them. Oh yeah, add in the awesomeness of me not knowing enough about the job yet to anticipate which instrument they might be asking for...it was almost impossible to function. I have maintained that the job "just wasn't for me", but as I look at it now, I think I just wasn't right for that job.

     Living with this disability has required me to develop certain coping and survival skills. For example, I can read lips. Not as well as a spy, mind you, but well enough that when I put your lip movement, body language and recent topic/current physical situation together with the sounds I am hearing, I get by. My husband thinks I am non-observant, and my family did too, when I was growing up. To some degree, I think they're right, but I also think that I concentrate so much on words and sounds, other things tend to fade into the background for me. Like, socks on the stairs. Yeah, I didn't see that.

     So, my day was quiet (har har). I spent part of it looking up home remedies for ear congestion, with little success. I'll try the Claritin tomorrow, hopefully that will bring some relief. In the meantime, I think I'll contemplate the benefits of trying to learn sign language again (I took a class in college and forgot most of it), or finding out if there is some type of hearing recognition therapy out there that I could benefit from, while I play pool with husband. I need to relax. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Beer teethers.

     I think poor husband was exposed to poison ivy, or some other poisonous plant life in our yard. At the moment, he is hopped up on Benadryl and beer and covered in Calamine lotion. The smell of him reminds me of having chicken pox as a kid *shudder*. Chicken pox sucked. The way I hear it, poison ivy rash sucks even worse. The other day he was trying to clear the huge amount of uncontrolled brush in our yard (shirtless), and when he told me he was pulling vines off the trees I got a little nervous, but talked myself into thinking I was just being silly. Here's why I went against my better judgement.

     When we first moved to this house, which is owned by my in-laws, I was given the "leaves of three, let them be" warning. As I became more familiar with the yard, I realized that tons of plants had three leaf groupings, and I had no idea what was what. So I did a whole day's research and felt pretty confident that we had some poison ivy here. I asked my Mother in law about it, and she reacted as if I were crazy. So I called a poison ivy removal service to ask how to tell if what I have is truly poisonous. He had me text him some pictures so that he could tell me for sure. I sent him 4 pictures. One of the vines that cover many of our trees, and one each of the vines with three leaf groupings that grow near those trees. He replied quickly that Florida rarely has poison ivy infestations, and that he just paid a large sum of money to homeowners in Florida  that asked one of his employees to clear 5 acres of "poison ivy" that turned out to be wild raspberry, and the land owners sued him for loss of raspberry revenue. They were both doctors. Not likely that they were going to sell raspberries on the side of the road, so they were probably just assholes. Needless to say, this company was not interested in sending an inspector to my house for a free consultation. Between him and my Mother in law, I decided to let the issue go. Cut to yesterday. Husband has swollen, welted, red blotches on his arms and belly. I look it up online. Looks like a poison ivy rash. Fuck. My mind raced. I just did mixed laundry! What was in the wash with his yard work clothes? What was he even wearing? Did the plant oils get on the baby? Oh my freaking God....fuck it. At this point, whoever was exposed, is already exposed. The rash he has now isn't contagious, so what can we do? Nothing.

     Because I am an amazing wife and mother, I have an inherent nature to care for people. I'm really good at it. My husband thinks this quality is useless to him, because he is a MAN, and "catering" to pain (he loves that word) is not useful to realistic living. In fact, he saw me typing a minute ago, and went on a looong rant that went like this: "Are you blogging? I knew it. I knew I'd be the latest entry. About how I don't wanna be taken care of, but I really do, blah blah..." Yep. I just made him a beer with one of each pickle in the house in it. Then I suggested he use this lotion stuff that is supposed to protect from poison ivy oils before he clears brush in the yard next time, and since he was already annoyed with me, his response was, "No. It's not a sterile world. I can be aware of my surroundings." Okay. Get your own beer then, jackass. No but really though, I feel so sorry for him. If he actually says he is in pain, I KNOW it's bad. he NEVER complains. :(

The bandana dress
     In other news, I am preparing for Bug's first birthday, and my Mother's visit around the same time. Prepare for my insanity around the 18th. The plan is to do a birthday photo shoot and a very small party for Bug, and create a comfy visit for Mom by putting Mom in Bug's room and Bug in the art room upstairs. I borrowed a bed from my cousin for Mom. I ordered about 400 yards of tulle for birthday tutu's. I also made Bug a shirt and a bandana dress just in case the tutu's don't work out. I am all set. I am also totally aware that I will be having a lot of sex during this time to compensate my Husband for my complete insanity. That's totally okay.

     Oh! Husband caught the rat that built the casino under our house! He trapped it and then released it this morning at a nearby stream. GOOD RIDDANCE. It was female though....hopefully there's no babies left behind :/

     I must include this next picture. Little Bug is teething. She is currently working on two teeth I think. At the moment, things like freezer teethers and what-not are laughable to her. We discovered that she likes very cold cans to teethe on. Here is Bug teething on a beer can, yes, of course it isn't open, what kind of mother do you think I am?...and I chose this pic because she looks so fucked up. Post-pigtails, eyes half closed....it's good shit. We laughed about it, hopefully you will see the humor too. Poor baby. HAHAHAHA....