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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Flipping through my blog, I realize that I don’t share too many stories about Caroline. But I really should. Because the kid is hilarious. Basically my entire personal Facebook account consists of funny Caroline quotes and stories. So, here’s a post-Christmas Caroline story for you all, too long for Facebook, that I haven’t yet shared anywhere:
I had gotten Caro a dollhouse for Christmas. Not just any dollhouse. A giant dollhouse. The size happened purely by accident. I’m not so good with the measuring and the planning. I just ordered a dollhouse that I thought looked pretty sweet. Which it is, but it’s also so huge that I could basically quit paying rent and just live in it.
The enormity of said dollhouse meant that I had to rearrange Caro’s entire room to find the wall space to fit the thing. I had pretty much managed it (by getting rid of some furniture), except for the problem of her stuffed animals. Any parent will vouch for me on this issue. The damn things just multiply. I swear they are breeding in there overnight. I don’t even want to know how it happens but I am positive that it does. No kid needs half as many stuffed animals as they actually have. I can’t even remember where half of them came from, which only strengthens my theory that something twisted is going on in there while our backs are turned. (Half of them are rabbits, okay? Case closed.)
I digress. So my solution to the stuffed animal problem was to rig up one of those Pet Nets, to stash the suckers up near the ceiling, out of the way. I was struggling to put it up one morning when Caro noticed what I was up to.
“Mama, what are you doing?” she asked suspiciously.
“I’m putting up a hammock for your friends to live in,” I said cheerfully. “This way they can look down at you and say, ‘hey Caro!’ and whenever you want to play with one, I’ll get it down for you.”
Her bottom lip started to quiver. “No, Mama,” she wailed. “I want my friends to live down here with me!”
“But honey there’s just no room,” I tried to reason with her. “I don’t want to have to get rid of any of your friends.”
This only set her off. “NO!!” she screeched. “Cannot get rid of my friends, no!” She snatched up the box to the Pet Net and pointed furiously at a forlorn-looking hippopotamus sitting in it among the other stuffed animals. “See!” she yelled accusingly. “Look at him! He looks sad! I don’t want my friends to be sad, no!!”
(To the extreme right is the hippo who screwed me. To be fair, he does look a tad miserable.)
We went around in circles for a little bit, but, in the end, my strong-willed child won out. She and that hippo outfoxed me. This time.
Hmph. I wasn’t using the changing table, anyway.
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012
Sometimes… a girl has to be a little b*tchy.
Actually, I should have prefaced this post with, “I’m back, you guys.”
Due to the HSD breakup drama, I had been lying in bed at my parents’ house and being useless all weekend, feeling naush, not eating anything and not really sleeping either. My mom even accused me of being a detached mother to Caro, which was not exactly what I needed to hear at that point. I was feeling pretty crappy about everything, which was only compounded by the fact that I left my parents’ house with Caroline to do some retail therapy shopping and accidentally rear-ended this woman as I was coming off the mall exit.
Yeah. Awesome. Not a great start to 2012. I was starting to think that maybe in a past life I had dumped someone via text message for a married woman, or something. (Karma, you know?)
I kind of wanted to lie down and give up at that point.
But I didn’t.
I chatted with the poor woman who I rear-ended, apologized a billion times, and told her about my crappy week:
Me: I know this doesn’t matter to someone who doesn’t know me, but my boyfriend dumped me via text message for a married woman the other day. I guess I was distracted. I’m so, so sorry.
Her: (long sigh…) Oh, honey. I’d be out of it too. I think your baby’s crying in the car. You should go sit with her, I’ll talk to the police for you. Hey, you know, I have a 16-month old boy myself.
Me: Really? Awww. What’s his name?
Her: DJ. What’s your baby’s name? She’s so cute.
Me: Caroline. She’s pretty hilarious. Poor kid, she has no idea why her mom is such an idiot.
Her: Honey, you’re not an idiot. My name’s Natasha, by the way. Hey, here’s my cell number. Let’s keep in touch? I hope things get better for you.
Clearly, Natasha and I are basically BFF now. Even though, you know, I rear-ended her and destroyed her bumper and made her late for work. We’re totally gonna hang out next weekend. I told my friends this story and they all said “only you, Jules.”
So where was I? Oh right. After my retail therapy shopping session, which I really can’t afford since my car is most likely totaled due to the accident (seeing as how it’s worth about $400), I went home and posted the following Facebook status:
“ATTENTION! Down-on-her-luck single mom, totaled car, dumped by douchebag boyfriend via text message for married woman, seeking volunteers to drive self and adorable toddler around for the next week. (I’ll take 2011 back, thanks…) Any takers, please let me know! Hugs.”
It got quite the response. (If you’re a longtime reader, you know I’ve used my Facebook statuses to provocative effect in the past.) Tons of people replied and messaged me and texted me and called me, and I have to say I was very touched by the outpouring of support and generosity towards Caroline and myself. (Thanks, you guys.)
Also, HSD’s brother commented:
“Huh? Is there something I should know????”
Whoops. Apparently, HSD didn’t even tell his family. (Perhaps he was ashamed…?)
My response: “Well. This is awkward.”
And I swear, if I hear anything from HSD about posting that on Facebook, my response will be, “Yeah, I feel badly about that. For your brother. Because it sucks to hear about important information via Facebook… or text.”
I hadn’t cracked a smile since I got that terrible text, but for some reason, this made me giggle for hours every time I thought about it. And I felt like myself again. Thank goodness. I’m back, you guys. I won’t let all this stuff get me down in the new year.
I needed a new car, anyway.
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Christmas is almost here! If you haven’t yet finished your shopping, it’s getting down to the wire. I would know. I haven’t started. I think that at this point, my only option is to fake my own kidnapping. Anyone have a basement I can hide in?
Just in case you’re like me and you put things off till the last minute, and you have some parents on your list of people to buy for, and you have no idea what to get them, don’t worry. You’re in luck. I’m here to save the day!
Here’s my list of holiday gifts for (almost) any parent:
1. The gift of the gift card. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I have a little extra cash, I feel like it should really go toward something my child needs or wants, rather than toward something for me. We don’t often get to shop for ourselves, and when we do, it can come with an unwelcome side of guilt. What I wouldn’t give for something like a little prepaid credit card to an adult clothing or jewelry store, free money that’s impossible to spend on anyone but myself… oh, wait, they do make those? I’ll take seven…teen.
2. The gift of not getting their kids a noisy gift. You know the kind I mean. Drum sets. Loud, beeping electronic toys. In case you’ve already gotten something like this, it’s okay! All is not lost! Just don’t give the kid the batteries. I know, I know, you’re trying to be considerate, because nothing comes with batteries included. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: we parents don’t want the batteries. We don’t! We just want to pretend that that toy was never designed to make any noise, ever. If our kids are under five, they probably won’t figure it out.
3. The gift of time away from our kids. I’m probably supposed to be all happy and friendly and whatnot in a holiday post, but this is a reality here, people. We parents are tired. Especially us single ones. By the time the holidays are over, we are all set with the crying and the temper tantrums and the 24/7 time with the kids. We need a spa day. Yup, the men too. Extra points if there’s booze involved.
4. The practical gift. Something we need or would make our lives easier, but don’t have the cash to get for ourselves, especially after the holidays. This kind of gift can range from gas cards to a GPS to babysitting services to the thing that HSD got me for Christmas and I am technologically stupid so I don’t know what it’s called, but it plays DVDs and Netflix and other stuff from the internet on my TV rather than my computer, so I can keep Caro entertained while I cook or whatever (and it lets me watch my stuff after she goes to bed, too!)
5. The totally unnecessary but awesome splurge that we’d never get for ourselves. This one goes back to the shopping-for-ourselves guilt. I love getting presents that I’d never dream of going out and buying, but are things that I want anyway. Like perfume, or jewelry, or a great bottle of wine. (Okay, wine is not considered to be unnecessary, at least in my house, but I’m making a point here). The only catch is, it can’t involve our kids at all– no photography sessions or anything like that. It has to just be about us.
6. The gift of taking my kid for a week and returning her fully potty trained. Oh, that’s not a real thing? Well it should be. It’s a great business idea! You can have it. For free. Let me know when your services become available.
What do you parents out there think? Anything I missed? Leave suggestions in the comments!
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Sunday, November 27th, 2011
2006, a.k.a. The Year We All Looked Really Thrilled To Be There.
It’s my favorite time of year! I try to “respect the turkey”, but the second Thanksgiving is over, I break out the Christmas music and decorations and shopping and baking and gingerbread-house-making. I love it all. Having a child makes it that much more exciting, because let’s face it, I’m getting a little bit old to be having trouble sleeping every Christmas Eve (not that I do, okay? I don’t. Much.)
In the spirit of getting into the holiday season, I want to share some of my favorite (which generally translates to “craziest”) holiday memories. If I get nothing but coal in my stocking, it’ll be worth it. Probably. Here goes:
1993, a.k.a. The Year Of Little Dolly Pukehead.
When I was in third grade, I wanted this doll so badly. She was one of those dolls that had actual bodily functions, I think. Something like that. The only thing I really remember about her is that she had this bleach-blonde ponytail sprouting out of the top of her head, and if you cranked her arm, the ponytail got shorter, and if you held her arm straight up, it would grow. The overall effect of it, as my dad so kindly pointed out, was that of her head vomiting hair out of the top of it. “Little Dolly Pukehead,” he affectionately called her. Way to ruin an eight-year-old’s favorite gift, dad. To be fair, he was kind of right. It was pretty much the weirdest doll ever. (I’d like to know if you can still buy them, but I’m afraid to google “Little Dolly Pukehead” even with my SafeSearch on, and I’m not sure what else I would search for.)
1996, a.k.a. The Year My Mom Destroyed My Self-Esteem.
You remember those little “shops” they used to have in the hallway during grade school so that you could buy gifts for your family with your allowance? Or maybe you have kids old enough to do that now? One year, maybe when I was in second grade, I had bought this hideous little Christmas ornament for my mom. It was this ugly little painted clown hanging inside a glass bell. I thought it was fantastic. I gave it to her for Christmas that year and she went on and on about how great it was and hung it on the tree every year after that. Some years later, we were decorating the tree and I dropped the ornament and the glass bell smashed on the floor. Before I could say anything, my mom, having completely forgotten where it came from, quickly said, “Oh, don’t worry sweetie, that thing was ugly anyway, I’m glad to get rid of it.” I turned toward her with a horrified look and cried, “I gave that to you!!” The look on her face was priceless.
2000, a.k.a. The Year My Parents Washed The Tree In The Dishwasher.
When I was in high school, I went out Christmas shopping with a new friend who I thought was so cool. She was pretty and popular and I had no idea why she wanted to be my friend, but I was totally psyched that she did. I invited her to come back to my parents’ house for dinner and she accepted. We walked into the kitchen to find… my extremely uncool parents, unloading the branches of our artificial Christmas tree from the dishwasher like this was a completely normal thing to be doing on a Saturday afternoon, or, well, any day, ever. My new friend stood there, confused, as I closed my eyes in horror. “What are you doing?!” I shrieked at a pitch that probably only dogs could hear. “It smelled musty,” my dad explained cheerfully, as my mom briskly shook out some of the larger branches over the sink. “I think we’ve fixed the problem now, though!” And then I died of teenage mortification, the end.
2004, a.k.a. The Year Of Chocolate-Covered-Cherry Food Poisoning.
I always came home from college for Christmas. One year, I went to my best friend’s house after Christmas dinner. Her boyfriend was there, and he had brought a cute friend with him. We played board games and ate a bazillion chocolate-covered cherries and I flirted with the cute boyfriend’s friend. It was a fun night and a nice change of pace from all the usual family stuff… until I started to feel a little sick. We all made plans to go bowling the next day and then I hurried home, feeling more nauseous by the minute. Turned out I had food poisoning, because I threw up fourteen times that night. (Just call me Little Dolly Pukehead.) To this day, I won’t even look at a chocolate-covered cherry.
There are others, of course… 1992, a.k.a. The Year of the Choreographed Christmas Chipmunks Dance Routine; 2003, a.k.a. The Year My Dad Made My Boyfriend Put the Lights On the Tree; and 2008, a.k.a. The Year My Parents Had 14 Cats and They All Had Their Own Christmas Stockings. Et cetera.
Now, I know some of you people with bigger families must have even more hilarious memories than these… so do share in the comments, please!
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Friday, November 25th, 2011
I didn’t have Caroline for Thanksgiving this year. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I never do look forward to holidays without her… divorced holidays are pretty sucky in general. It’s supposed to be family time, you know? Maybe they get better, but it’s all still pretty new to me at this point.
She left with Tyler for his parents’ house in Phoenix on Sunday, and she’s coming back tonight. HSD went to Florida to visit family. My best friend went to Maine to do the same.
I was not looking forward to this at all.
I made sure to have a big, long to-do list of stuff around the apartment to keep me busy. I told myself that the alone time would be good for me, that it would be nice to sleep in and work out and have a glass of wine on Thanksgiving without worrying about what Caroline was destroying in the other room.
And you know what? It was actually really nice.
I’ve gotten a ton of sleep, gotten all Caroline’s old baby stuff bagged up and sold for Christmas money, cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, and gone on plenty of long runs. I went to Thanksgiving at a family friend’s place with my family, and it was so relaxing to eat delicious food and have adult conversation and not chase around a toddler and try to get her to eat her green beans. It was just… nice. It wasn’t lonely at all.
So this year, that’s what I am thankful for. For the silver lining to divorced holidays, for the time spent alone, the time spent relaxing, a respite from my crazy-busy life. For the time to get things done, for a glass of wine, for adult time. And for knowing that once I’ve had my little break, my daughter will be coming home to me with a huge, excited grin on her face and with her arms outstretched towards me.
And now? It’s Christmastime, my favorite time of the year. I get Caroline for Christmas this year, and she’ll be almost three, and it is gonna be awesome. I’ve got all my boxes of Christmas stuff out of storage, and it’s ready and waiting for her to come home and tear into it. I am so looking forward to sharing all that with her… and I’m thankful for that, this year, too.
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Caroline, Christmas, Custody, Divorce, Friends, Holidays, Single Parenting, Thanksgiving, Vacation, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Divorce, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting