About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I always believed that when my girls got older and the tedium of parenting babies and toddlers fizzled out that parenting would be much easier.  I mean, what could be more exhausting than being entirely responsible for two people who are unable to do anything for themselves and seem to constantly be offering their little bodies to test one dangerous and unwise situation after another?

Now that my girls are 8 and soon-to-be 7, it should be much easier.  I mean, theoretically, they can brush their own teeth, get their own snacks, pick out their own clothes, wash their own hair, play in the backyard all by themselves without any fear of a.)death or b.) being put into foster homes due to parental neglect and when something goes wrong, I am never met with a temper tantrum, but am instead able to have heart to hearts because they can express their emotions in a remarkably mature way.  Life should be a snap.

But it isn't.

Let me backtrack.  Just try to bare with me because I have to peddle backward into my own history so that you can understand the problem that I'm having.

I have never had good luck with friends.  By nature and by training I am a people pleaser.  I live in near constant fear of disappointing, displeasing and crime-of-all-crimes hurting someone's feelings.  I will forgive pretty much any transgression and overlook the most giant personality flaws.  I rarely criticize and will be a doormat to just about anyone at any time, putting most of my own conveniences aside for someone else's.

In order for me to be fed up with someone, they have to have really pushed me far.

Since marrying Jay, who does not care about what anyone thinks of him ever... I have gotten a little bit better at taking less shit from people.  My husband has crazy-people radar and is usually able to spot a jerk-user from a mile away... and to this I owe him a great thanks and have learned to trust his instincts.

Though I could go on-and-on-and-on about the many horrible-a-person who has taken advantage of me in my time, let me get back to my children.

I suppose that one of the reasons I married my husband is because I see so many qualities in him that I wish I had and hoped to pass on to our children.  He is incredibly strong and secure in places that I am weak.  I really hope that our children are more like him in these respects.  I just never anticipated how hard it would be for me to let them become like him.

Here's what happened:

My girls have made friends with a neighbor of ours, C.   She's a year older than Bunny and their fence backs up to ours.  When the kids can't play at each other's houses, they go out to the fence and they'll toss a ball back and forth or make up songs and put on shows.  C has a HUGE personality.  It's certainly bigger than that of my children and is very demanding of attention and frankly, both bossy and bullying.  She's not my favorite.  She's been really mean to Groovy-James and so he hates her. We've actually been afraid that he'll bite her.  For these reasons we've been inviting C over less and less.

Recently, one evening after playing in the backyard, my girls came into the house covered in dirt and compost.  C had taken a bucket of dirt and poured it over the fence and onto my children's heads and then run away to go inside.  Worse, we had the worst time getting it out of Lila's hair and she sat in the bathtub crying.  We couldn't rinse the big chunks of compost out.  They had to be picked out, piece by piece.  Talk about gross.

And worse still, she had thrown dirt at Lila the night before too.

I was, of course, livid... and so was Bunny.  Lila was just hurt.

The next night when C came to the fence calling for the girls Bunny went outside and told her that they wouldn't be playing with her anymore and that she shouldn't come looking for them because they were no longer her friends.  She told C that Lila had cried in the bathtub and that we couldn't get all of the dirt out of her hair and that they no longer wanted to spend any time with her at all.

C didn't take this well.  She said that she hadn't meant to throw the dirt on them and she started crying and ran away.

I can not lie.  This really hurt my heart.  Even though C has consistently been mean to my children and has failed to play nicely with them, I feel so sorry of her.

This is the point when (if I were in this situation) I would give her another chance and forgive and forget.  It was my gut instinct to talk to Bun about forgiveness and have her try to make up with C.

But I didn't do this.

I resisted all of my natural tendencies and I just let Bunny be angry and done and supported her choice to eliminate C from her life.

I don't even like C and I am eaten up with guilt about her tears.  I have even thought about MOVING because I don't want to live near her and the hurt feelings are devouring me.

But I know that my silence is encouraging my children to be stronger people who know how to stand up for themselves and don't get into friendships with bossy women who treat them poorly and control them.

Being a parent is so hard.  Teaching your children to be people who are better and stronger than you are is harder.  My biggest parenting challenge thus far is to resist passing onto my children the qualities that I dislike in myself.  It means having an awareness of my actions all the time and censoring everything I do, as not to damage my children.  The anxiety I feel in this is much more taxing than the anxiety I felt in waking up to feed and change a baby every hour and a half.

I seriously wish that I could take my children and move to a place that has no other people (I have been thinking a lot about moving to Barrow, Alaska...it doesn't even have a road that connects it to the rest of alaska.  you have to FLY there) for miles and miles.


  1. Some kids are brats, but grow out of it with some discipline. Don't feel bad about her crying - maybe she'll learn that she needs to be respectful -or- she'll find another kid to throw dirt on and your hands will have been washed of her.

  2. That's pretty much what I told my girls. I told them that they'd done her a big favor. Now she understands that there are consequences for treating people poorly and she will be less likely to do something like that again.

    I have also learned that some people are jerks because they were born that way. I don't necessarily think that this is true of C. She just seems like she's vying for attention all of the time. I guess that's what made me feel so sorry for her.

  3. i totally understand, i am the same way, forgiving all and everything. but i fully support what you did of course. MY gut instinct is to give her time and eventually probably give her another chance. because maybe she did learn her lesson and won't be a crap in the future.
    but i also struggle at times to not pass on my bad traits to my girls, even as young as they are. so hard.

  4. I applaud Bunny. She stood up for herself and for her sister. And maybe with time C will learn how her actions hurt other people and the girls can be friends again.

  5. i hate c. i'm glad bunny stood up to her, and i'm glad you did what you did. i would tend to want to forgive too, but no...i am SO proud of bunny for expressing her feelings and SO proud of you for staying out of it. i know how hard that is.

    it's so hard. gah!

  6. Yikes! What a hard little girl to live next to, but I'm so proud of Bunny!

    Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever love. :)

  7. I agree with Mathew that C needed to be set straight. Her behavior was not ok and she needs to learn she can't treat people like that - unintentionally or not - and there not be a consequence.

    I doubt her action was unintentional though. How could she not have intended to dump the dirt on them? She had thrown dirt the night before too...something tells me this wasn't just a coincidental placement of a bucket of dirt over the fence.

    I really applaud Bunny for standing up to her! The girl is mean to your pet too! Maybe Bunny figures she's given C enough chances to redeem herself and this was the last straw?