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I Am Fat....

Today, I am not going to talk about children or adoption or mental health. Today I’m going to talk about myself. (Ok, so maybe a little mental health then.) But I want to address an issue that led me to near-tears in Target just this morning. I say “near-tears” because I refused to cry a pathetic cry in front of my toddler. (Well, my toddler and the twenty-something Target employee who was gracious enough to look the other way while her 36-year-old customer had a near melt down… again, near.)

I have PCOS and I am fat. I am fat because I have PCOS (and because of Oreos… but mostly PCOS). Now, this isn’t something I just realized today – although shopping for curvy pants in a skinny-jean world certainly drove the message home loud and clear! My fatness has been a long time coming. I can actually remember the week when I realized that I could no longer put my arms all the way down next to me because my arm fat and my back fat created too much squishy resistance. (Now I walk around everyday trying to smile more because my natural arm stance looks as if I’m ready to take someone on in a sumo fight.)

I also took note of when I first rolled onto my side to fall asleep at night, only to find that I was short of breath. This was because my boobs and my stomach rolls teamed up and decided to kill my lungs by squishing them to death. And then recently, the only 3 pairs of jeans I have left (all 3 pairs of my previously labeled “fat pants”) decided to rub clean through in the upper thigh area. I now have holes, far too near my crotch, and had to go pants shopping (which, other than swim suit shopping, is the worst thing in the world – just in case you’re Miss Skinny Jeans and didn’t know this already).

Despite these dreaded things happening to my body, I didn’t cry. Crying over my weight is something I gave up in my twenties – back when I still had a faint memory of my metabolism, and before the PCOS hormone imbalance completely had scarred my view of self. Now… I just don’t look at myself anymore. I mean, I look in the mirror to do my make-up and hair (which I’ve kinda let go anyways), but I feel as though I’m looking through myself instead of at myself. I see the absolute “musts” that need to be seen before rushing away and immediately forgetting what I look like. My survival instinct is to remember myself at 30 – back when I was overweight but still somewhat healthy. I feel like it’s a compromise between the old me and the new me. This lets me get through the day without the tears spilling over, even when my big girl undies refuse to stay up over the tummy rolls.

I’ve seen so many doctors and had so much blood work – I’ve tried all of the diets and exercise routines there are. I mean I stick with them. But nothing works. And if one more medical professional tells me that I just need to cut my calories one more time, I will likely end up behind bars… as if I’d never thought of that! Two degrees and a decent IQ and it never even occurred to me to just “cut my calories”! In fact, I call BS on all the P90X and HCG plans, all the 5:2 diets and anything else that is too hard not to be given a name… just a dumb set of letters and numbers and punctuation marks. And as for all this Crossfit, Acefit, Kinofit nonsense… I just want my freaking pants to fit! (PS if a loved one tells me that my face is “still pretty” one more time, I will likely go postal, because all you’re saying is that I’m fat AND there’s a time limit on how long the front part of my head will hold up before it goes, too!)

Like I said, I try not to let this get to me on a daily basis. I don’t even use the “f-word” around my kids because I want them to grow up with a healthy sense of self – I want to be an example to them that shows that you can be happy and healthy, even if you’re wearing the “wrong” size. But today was pants shopping day. And Target was my safe place back when I used to have money to buy new things, so naturally that’s where I ended up.

After trying on 40 pairs of pants in women’s, plus size, and maternity, I still walked out with two pairs of jeans that make me feel old and frumpy. No khakis, no dress pants, no capris. There was nothing that worked on any level for this weird body of mine. In fact, between the tears that threatened to pour out and the horrifying lighting, I decided that even my knees are now fat (knees… things that are literally made of bone and cartilage and tendons… they are now fat. And old. I have old, fat lady knees which I didn’t even know about until today while attempting to find shorts.)

I stood there half naked in a Target dressing room, contemplating my looser, pale skin. My stretch marks and cellulite. My hair crimping around my neck from sweating under the fluorescent lighting. The stubby nails and the wrinkly hands. The decade old shoes that I keep getting fixed because they don’t hurt my arthritis like the trendy high heels do. The redness that’s creeped into my eyes, accompanied by the dark circles underneath them. The chin hairs… oh, the chin hairs!

Can getting old give you PTSD? Just wondering…

It was a very lowly and pitiful 2 minutes of reflection – a time in which I looked AT myself instead of through myself. Dinosaurs growled in the background from whatever my son was watching on YouTube. I started to giggle at the fact that I was in a posh town where every other woman in the store was super put-together, along with their toddler in tow. And there I was, in Target’s dressing room, looking at my life from such a physical sense, realizing that the theme song to my life would, in fact, be the soundtrack to DinoTrux. It seemed fitting.

I decidedly put the 38 items back while purchasing my two pairs of jeans. I re-layered myself in the clothes that I wore in, doing my best to cover the lumpiest parts. My toddler and I drove home quietly – away from the trendy city and back to our humble town filled with dollar stores and cows.

My life is not glamorous. I am not glamorous. But something that has been resounding with me lately is this: Identity. Who am I? Not “what” am I, but who? I decided that if I were going to allow the time to actually look at myself, I wasn’t just going to go over my flaws. Because that’s not WHO I am. I am God’s Child. I am a Queen. I am Loved Unconditionally. I am Chosen. I am Appointed and Anointed. I am Called. I am Covered in Grace. I am Forgiven. Redeemed. Made in a Holy Image. A Fighter. An Advocate. Fulfilled. Precious. Beloved.

And as ridiculous as it sounds, the words “thin”, “trendy”, “youthful”, and “glamorous” don’t even make the top 100 of my thoughts. They’re not even part of my goal when I think of my identity! That means that the war that the enemy tried to have with me back in Target this morning was over things that don’t even hold a candle to who God made me. I am not in my twenties. I am not thin. I am not perfected.

And I don’t care.

I am loved by God who created me. And that’s all I actually need.

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The Spirit Animals of Our Children

When I think of special needs parenting, I feel exhausted... mainly because I'm living it daily, as many of you are. Those daily "quirks" that make our kids extra crunchy, the idiosyncrasies that feel like nails on a chalkboard - those are the things that nervous break downs are made of. After all, there are times when I look at my children and all I see are wild animals. They act like they can't be tamed and they have the social skills to prove it!

So, this week, I decided to battle these quirks with some humor. In a day and age of memes and gifs, I thought it would be appropriate to create a post that let us giggle a bit at our children's oddities...

These are the Spirit Animals of our children.

The Isolator

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The Depressed

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The Binger

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The Tantrumer

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The Self-Stimmer

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The Liar

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The One With No Personal Space

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The RAD - Inhibited

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The RAD - Disinhibited

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The Anxious

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The Self-Harmer

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The Unmotivated

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The Oppositional Defiant

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The Attention-Seeker

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The Artificially Charming

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The One With Pica

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The Uncomfortable Starer

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The Bully

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The Fecal Smearer

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The Inappropriate

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The Hoarder

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The One With ALL The Rage

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The One With A Few Learning Delays

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The ADHD

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The Refuser of Showers

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The Runaway

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The Illegal Substance Experimenter

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The Thief

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The Promiscuous

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The Screamer

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The One With OCD

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The Property Destroyer

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The Socially Awkward

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And Finally....

The Mama by 8:00 pm

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"Strength and dignity are her clothing,and she laughs at the time to come."

                                     Proverbs 31:25

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"Shame!"

          Last night I discovered that my 4th grade daughter has been forging my initials on school documents for almost a month to avoid missing recess. That means that for 3 and a half weeks, I have been harboring a felon. Now, honestly, this is the behavior I expect from my 6th grade son. With all of his mind-boggling tantrums and homicidal threats lately, forgery didn’t seem like something too far off of his grid. However, I generally ruled out this type of behavior because it requires, how do I put this… intelligence… to pull this type of scheme off. And quite honestly, we haven’t had to worry about that particular amount of intelligence as of yet.

            But it seems that I have underestimated my daughter’s capabilities, as well as the lengths she will go to avoid sitting out for recess. It’s odd, but there was a certain part of me that felt almost impressed that she was able to pull something like this off for so long. I had been doing what 4th grade parents are instructed to do – start pulling back on being “helicopter mom” and allowing the kids to fail or succeed (to a certain degree) on their own. It’s their time to learn how to organize their papers, be responsible for getting signatures, and miss recess when things are not signed or completed accurately.

            That being said, I secretly watch her grades on the new school Skyward program, and since most of them were in the average range, it didn’t occur to me that I was being played… until last night, when I realized that she didn’t want me to see her planner. THEN I knew something was up. She had been hiding behind the distraction of her older brother’s rages and her toddler brother’s Terrible Three’s, and she had been doing so extremely well! My daughter actually banked on the fact that I wouldn’t check up on her because of the other chaos going on. She played me like the fiddle that I am, whispering words of how proud she is of herself for doing so well lately, and saying how she “feels just awful” that her older brother can’t seem to get on track. (Blah, blah, blah.) She blew so much smoke up my rear end that I could’ve passed for a chimney.

            Oh my gosh, I seriously just recalled half a dozen times that my daughter massaged my feet or complimented me out of the blue recently… that tricky little monster! I should’ve known something was up when she told me my unwashed hair of 3 days was “stunning”, because seriously? Stunning? You’re NINE. Say “cool” next time you’re trying to cover up your sneakiness!

            On top of all the manipulating and the forging and the deception… this child had the audacity to LIE, to my face, 5 times in a row – digging herself deeper into the trench that will now be the burial ground for her social life. Because the Fiddle has regained her rightful spot as the Fiddler, as Fiddlers tend to do. Goodbye gymnastics! Adios birthday parties and play dates! Bon voyage recess! (Because YES I emailed her teachers and informed them of her need to sit and find repentance during the 25 minutes that used to be her school play time.) At the risk of going overboard, I actually thought about cutting out an “F” in red cloth and requiring her to wear it on her clothing until I feel she has securely learned her lesson, but apparently the letter F could cause some confusion that is unnecessary for the 4th graders of our rural community.

            Therefore, if you live in the local area and see my child out in public, feel free to point your finger at her while yelling “SHAME!” I would consider this fair and equal punishment.

          (PS, before you get all judgy and condescending, my daughter came up to me after school and told me that missing recess is just fine with her because they miss it half the time anyways because the class talks too much. Yeah. She told me my consequence meant nothing.)

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Three Reasons You May (Definitely) Like Your Pet Better Than Your Kid

           I’ve always grown up with pets. Whether a cat a dog, a fish or a frog, I’ve been a parent to many a small creatures. So naturally, when I found out that I’m allergic to dog and cat hair, that was a sad day. Luckily, I already had three dogs – so I decided that allergies were going to take a backseat and I would suck up my fear of needles until my little fur-babies bought the farm. My kids, including the big hairy one, all whined and moaned. I want a cat, I want a dog, I want a monkey! Everyone wanted something I was allergic to and I gave my resounding NO to all who breathed an animal request in my direction. That is until…

            Ok, so I lost my entire resolve when three small kittens found their way into our shed. Surrounded by dogs and all the wild creatures hanging out in our woods, we had to save them from a life of orphanhood until we could find them a good home (aka, our home). They were 3 or 4 weeks old, had an absentee mother, and they yanked on the part of my heart that still loves to foster small, needy things. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you have to eye-dropper feed little creatures, you’re kind of attached… especially if you choose to name all three of them. (Let’s be real… this was a done deal from the first meow anyways.)

            Ok, so here we are. A family of 2 adults, three kids, three dogs, three kittens, and we are moving into our new house with our two in-laws and a grandmother. I say I want to simplify my life, but I just keep adding things in threes! Yet their big, sweet eyes and tiny, pink noses bring me so much happiness that I’m contemplating getting rid of the three kids instead of the cats. (Because if we’re being honest, the cats are way cooler than my kids.)

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            Three reasons why I may like my kittens more than my kids:

1)      My kittens were potty-trained in 12 hours.

          Do you even understand the irony of this in my life?? I have been potty-training my toddler for 2-and-a-half YEARS! He is never going to be out of diapers or pull-ups. NEVER! I even tried to shame him into toileting.

          “Wyatt, even the KITTIES go pee in their potty and they’re just babies.” But his response was this. “Mama. I’m not a kitten! I’m a little boy!” (I have no idea how he thought this fixed things, but it did in his mind.)

          My son is the king of announcing that he peed in his pull-up. At the store, in the yard, next to the toilet, it doesn’t matter. I picture him in his cap and gown, shaking hands with the college president, switching his tassel to the other side as he proudly announces “I peed in my pull up!”

          Or maybe he will be in his double-breasted tuxedo, standing in front of 100 of his closest family and friends, looking deeply into the eyes of his bride-to-be. Only instead of vows, I see him lovingly whisper to her that he peed in his pull-up.

          And can we take a moment to remember Taylor being 6 before bed-wetting stopped? Not to mention that Cameron still has the occasional accident at age 11? Even my dogs can’t hold it anymore. All I do is clean up urine in my life. All day, every day, I deal with pissing and moaning in the most literal sense.

          So yeah, I definitely like the kittens more.

2)      My kittens are content to snuggle in silence.

          Whereas my toddler chooses to use cuddle time to try out his WWF moves, the kitties snuggle sweetly into the crook of my neck. Whereas my toddler bites, pinches, sits on my head, and randomly humps things, the kitties stay in one spot, occasionally nudging me with a nose to encourage a head rub. They never leave me bloody or feeling violated, and that’s a huge improvement in my life.

          And then there’s my daughter. She LOVES cuddling. Like, if she could crawl into my skin and join her cells with mine, it still wouldn’t be enough physical contact and emotional oneness for her. People talk about their children being up their butt all the time, however, I literally feel like my daughter tries to imitate a butt plug during 98% of her waking moments. She’s a human enema.

          Finally, there’s my oldest. He refuses to cuddle or have physical contact in the slightest. His idea of snuggling is sitting on the bed and asking me 9 trillion questions as I lay there with my eyes closed trying to go to sleep. Does he not see? Does he not realize? Does he not think? The answer to all of the above is “Duuuuuhhhhh… I’m a pre-teen boy… I have no social skills… duuuuuuhhhhh.”

          Do kittens ask me questions? Do they have to be inside of my body? Do they smack my back fat and laugh at the jiggling?

          No. No they do not. Because cats don’t have an 18-year learning curve. And that is why kittens are awesome and kids stink.

3)      Kittens are self-sufficient.

         Seriously, have you ever had a cat ask you to wipe its butt? Or does your kitty scream that your neighborhood is stupid because there are no other cats their age to play with? How about this, has your cat ever thrown a royal tantrum and then asked you to give them money minutes later for a new toy?

          No! Of course not! Cats are thrilled with whatever you serve them for dinner with nary a complaint! They go to sleep without a tuck in, 4 drinks of water, bedtime prayers, or a story! You guys, cats are quite literally over the moon with a piece of freaking string. On the other hand, my children require an entire circus, a posse of friends that rotate every 5 minutes, and mind-numbing electronics to keep them from complaining that they’re bored (and even these things only last for a half hour, if we’re lucky).

          Kittens enjoy their shadows. Kids want constant entertainment. Kittens can play with a tiny piece of paper for hours. Kids can tantrum for hours when asked to pick up said piece of paper and put it in the garbage. Kittens smell like sweet fur and milk. Kids smell like neediness wrapped in week-old socks.

          When it comes right down to it, don’t we all like pets just a little bit more than we like our children? You don’t have to speak your answer out loud, I won’t make you feel guilty about your secret contempt for parenting… but just remember that the next time you hold a little baby in your arms and your spouse looks at you with a glint in their eye that says, “You wanna?” – I want you to smack them square across the face and go get a kitten. It’ll save your life, I promise.

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"God help us, it's almost summer!"

How is it possible that these children are going to be out of school in a matter of days? How?? Don’t get me wrong, I am literally dragging can to make lunches each night at this point, and thank God for the blessed teachers who have stopped giving homework because Lord knows this mama is basically over checking math facts and quizzing vocab words. But isn’t there a place that these little people can go until fall arrives again? Because quite honestly, it’s May 24th and I already want to staple all of their mouths closed.

“Shivonne, aren’t you overreacting just a bit?” some may ask.

Um, no. And go kick rocks, by the way.

So, Wyatt has taken to baby talking. Not just acting whiney, but all-out baby talking “goo goo ga ga” crap. That is, of course, when he’s not screeching at the top of his lungs like a little girl, mooing like a cow, or singing the ABCs… which I’m daily regretting having taught him. And then there’s the fact that this kid is CONSTANTLY talking about food being in my boobies and hugging my uterus with a weird kind of fondness in his eyes. This child, in his best baby talk voice, is asking if he can go BACK INTO my belly and be a baby.

Have I don’t something to traumatize him? I mean, is it possible that there is some kind of psychological damage that’s been done? Did I nurse him too long? Because honestly, what child asks to re-enter the womb? It’s creepy and disturbing… especially when he pats my chest and tells me he loves my “bellies” so much because they’re just so squishy. And then he thanks me for having them… because it was obviously my choice.

Yeah, these are things that could end any day now and I would be quite fine with it.

Cameron, on the other hand, makes me want to staple his mouth shut for multiple reasons. First of all, the kid is majorly obsessed with particular things for a few days at a time and can think of absolutely nothing else but his momentary fixation. Pokemon cards, bay blades, planting his 2x2 foot garden, fidget spinners, fit bits, geocaching… whatever the fad for that second is the only thing he will speak of for days at a time. It’s kind of like living with a redneck Kardashian, minus the nude selfies (thank you, Jesus).

Secondly, I would like to staple Cameron’s mouth shut because, for those brief moments he isn’t obsessing over things, he sits there with his mouth hanging open as if he’s trying to catch flies. He will quite literally sit like that and drool until someone tells him to close his mouth! My husband and I have affectionally labeled this “Resting Doofus Face”. (I know, we are horrible people… and yet we manage to still live with ourselves.)

My 11-year-old came home the other day and was telling me all about a girl in his class who “has the hots” for him and how they’re practically dating. I mean, I tried to be excited I guess, but really, all I could think was that this poor female child must be blind and deaf because no one could possibly be drawn to the drooling and all this obsessive prattling about boring stuff. It’s just not possible. So, until I’m proven wrong, this girl is nothing more than a figment of my son’s imagination – someone he has invented because he needed one person in his life who wouldn’t constantly nag him to close his mouth.

Then there’s Taylor. The girl child who talks incessantly about NOTHING. I cannot fathom saying so many words in a single day without having accomplished a single productive conversation. It’s incomprehensible how much she talks about back-handsprings and bracelets and her hair! Seriously, is there nothing else in her head? Is there nothing else of importance that happens on a day to day basis? Why would she think that anyone cares to hear her tell them 17 times in a row how surprised she is that her new shorter hair will still go up in a ponytail? Like, oh my gosh, right?

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I simply cannot and will not feign excitement at one more cartwheel. I just can’t. The quality of my life desperately depends on me walking away from her when she jumps for joy and wants me to do the same when she manages to flip or flop for the 274th time in a single afternoon. And it keeps her alive that I have restraint enough to walk away from her when she repetitiously states the obvious every few seconds.

“Wow, it’s raining.”

“Wow, it’s still raining.”

“Hey, did you see it rain?”

“Is it supposed to rain tomorrow?”

“I like rain.”

“Oooo, it looks like the rain may start back up again any second…or maybe just sprinkle…or it could thunderstorm…no, I bet it’ll just rain…”

This makes me want to throat punch her. She sees me working on bills or talking on the phone or choosing songs for church and THESE are the moments she talks the most about nothing. And the sad thing is, even if I gave her my undivided attention 24/7, it wouldn’t come close to being enough. So, I try to hide from her until she leaves for school each morning.

Except school is almost out! There will very soon be NO MORE hiding. There will just be minutes and hours and weeks and months of quality family time, filled with nothing but stupid talk. Babyish whines. Repetition. Drool.

I can only pray for patience so many times before all that’s within me is gonna hit the fan, so God help us all this summer. You, me, and all of these wildly loud and ridiculous children. God help us.

#TeachersAreOfficiallySaintsInMyBook

 

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