Torches; Passing On Thereof

The best part about having kids is realizing one day that you're done with all the sleep-deprivation and the booty wiping and the non-stop maintenance and that those tiny little things who couldn't breath without you are suddenly people.  Their OWN people.  People who you can do all sorts of kick-ass things with.

My son was chosen to be the editor of his classroom newsletter.  Excuse me while I do a geeky little happy dance of joy.  We sat up all night laying that sucker out.  He's got a headline article, a monthly recipe, a seasonal column and a monthly teacher spotlight, where he will one-by-one interview all the teachers in school.  Each teacher will get a standard lists of questions and then one that is a surprise, editorial if you will.  Teacher one is being asked, "Why was man able to set foot on the moon before they put wheels on suitcases?"

Gawd, I love that kid.

And oh yeah, he wants to start a blog.  And I'm totally going to let him.  And it will totally rock your socks.  Or bore you to tears.  Either way, I'll read it.

As if that's not good enough, I offer you evidence that I have sufficiently warped their little minds and can now retire to a treehouse in Fiji, with a drink in a pineapple rind and a little pet monkey.


I tried to take them the last time Weezer came through Denver, but it just so turned out that the baby likes Weezer, too, and decided to claw her way out of my more delicate bits right about the time the show would have started.  That's dedication, yo.

Angels and Airwaves opened for them, which is one of all of our favorite bands.

The kids were sort of, well, shocked by the whole thing.  I tried to prep them for the bass feelings in your chest, but I failed to mention that they might get something of a contact high (which I have no doubt they did, fucking Vancouver, man) and the boys spent the first 40 minutes of the show just about like this.

(By the way, can you tell what good seats we have?  The Donor never, EVER, has to do a load of laundry again.  He came through in a big way for me on this one.  We could see the sweat dripping off their foreheads, I tell ya.)

But when Weezer stepped out on stage, and before the lights even came up hit it hard with My Name Is Jonas, the mood all changed.

My kids?  ARE THE FREAKING COOLEST KIDS ON EARTH.  They lovelovelove Weezer.  They stood on their seats and screamed along with the band for the rest of the night.  I could die.

And then the 3 year old flipped out on the sitter, and I had to leave the boys behind and head home right when 1of3 grew the cajones to go crowd surfing (turns out, there's an age requirement.  Which?  Grrr) but the report is that the last half of the concert was exactly as good, if not better, than the first half.

Dude, I don't care if you're not much into nerd rock, I don't care if you're 96 3/4. Go to Weezer if they ever come through your town.  Take your kids.  They are flawless live.  And every single person, even the 8 year old in the section up from you, will be singing along at the top of their lungs to every song, all night long.  It'll be like Woodstock, only with talent.  Also, not disgusting.


PS: I was so excited, I even did my hair.  And so did Colleen. Just sayin.

See all of Lotus' not so geeky Weekly Winners right here.

Rate the Hate the I Don't Even Have FLOUR Yet Edition

I'm supposed to at the store right now, buying turkey for Thanksgiving on Monday.  Except that I totally forgot that my darling daughter climbed into the car the other day and turned on EVERY BUTTON in the car.  Guess who has no battery?  Guess who's husband is 30 minutes away at work until 2 this morning?

So I could clean (and god knows, I should) but I'm all sorts of pissed at the world about the car thing, so screw it.  Internet therapy for me!

We're having 7 adults and ohmygodalotofkids over for Thanksgiving this year.  And that I have 7 friends and ohmygodalotofkids to spend the holidays with is the one single thing I am thankful for this year.  Finally, I moved into Canada.  Ahhh.

As promised, the entire menu with complete recipes follows after the jump.  This year, I'm getting over my control freak issues taking it easy and letting guests bring dishes, so it's just the bare bones, meat and potatoes menu.  All of it easy, all of it delicious.  Enjoy, and feel free to steal!

(PS: The recipe contest is still open for entries!)

Turkey: I found this Porcini Mushroom Turkey recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago, and dear lord in heaven, I could die. It was my Christmas turkey last year, and I wished I'd made four. It was THAT good.  This year, I'm making two smaller ones as opposed to one big one.  The small ones just seems to cook more evenly and still retain a lot of moisture.

First, you make mushroom butter.  You can make this up to 2 days ahead, just wrap it all up tight and don't forget to save the water:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes to 2 hours to rehydrate

  • 4 peeled cloves garlic

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) room temp, unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley

  • 1 tbsp each fresh chopped thyme, rosemary and mint

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper (I like fresh ground, your call)

After you soak the mushrooms, strain them but KEEP THE LIQUID.  When you soak them, there will be some grit at the bottom, so strain slowly, keeping the grit or sediment at the bottom of the bowl.  Chop the mushrooms and put 1/2 the chopped shrooms in a small bowl.  Keep the rest (about 1/3 c) in a ziplock for the gravy later.

Chop the parsley in a food processor.  Add the butter and the rest of the spices.  Mix and then add the 1/2 of the schrooms you'd kept out.  Grind that all in a processor until it's a coarse paste.

Turkey Stock (also called water, if you're lazy.  Like me): You can totally just use water, but if you want a gravy Elvis would come back to life for, just throw 8 cups chicken broth in a large saucepan with 2 unpeeled carrots and 2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks, 1 quarted unpeeled large onion, 1 bunch (not stalk, BUNCH) parsley and the neck, heart and gizzard from your turkey (I throw the liver in, too.  Your call.)  Boil that and then simmer for about 90 minutes.  Take out the heart, neck and gizzard and strain the liquid.  Cool it, pull the neck from the neck, chop the other turkey bits, and add all that meat back to the strained liquid, and chill it for up to three days.

Now, you get the turkey ready:  I am a briner.  I swear, it makes or breaks your turkey.  If you are, too, just brine it the night before with ice water, salt and pepper.  I think I threw some Worchester sauce into the brine, and a bunch of herb stalks.  Either way.  Preheat your stove to 325 with the rack on the bottom.  Sprinkle inside the turkey with salt and pepper, and then rub with 2 tbsp of that butter you made.  Then....

Start at the neck end of the turkey, and slide your hand under the skin.  Use your fingers to loose the skin from the meat, and wiggle your way back.  This is where you'll thank yourself for brining first; the skin will come up much easier if you do.  You want to loosen as much of the skin from the body as possible, all the way down through the thighs and upper drumsticks and everything.  Once it's loose, grab fingerfuls of the mushroom butter, start at the BACK of the turkey, and rub that sucker down with the butter, under the skin.  It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, just get everything.  Work your way up to the breast meat and the neck end.

Inside the cavity, shove about 10 sprigs of parsley, 6 rosemary and 6 thyme.  You can buy fresh herb bundles at the grocery that are just called "Thanksgiving" or "poultry" herbs.  Just use that pack if you can find it, but pull out any rosemary or mint.  Tie the legs together loosely and tuck the wings under the body.

Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Rub the outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour 2 cups of the stock (or water) into the pan.  Roast that turkey with a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165, which should take 3 hours, but I use convection, and as I learned last year the hard way, a lot less than three hours.  Watch your thermometer.  I strongly suggest you go to Target and drop $15 on a digital remote thermometer like this, and DO NOT OPEN THAT STOVE FOR ANY REASON.  Every time you do, you slow the cooking.  It's basting itself thanks to your butter, yo.

When it's done, tilt it so all those juices run into the pan (for your gravy) and then transfer the turkey to a platter.  Tent it with foil and let it rest; it'll finish cooking all on its own and rise 5-10 more degrees if you let it set for 30 minutes.


  • 1 lb sliced cremini mushrooms

  • 3 chopped garlic cloves

  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots

  • 1 c dry wine wine

  • 2 cups turkey stock (you know, that you TOTALLY made 3 days before)

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 5 tsp cornstarch

  • 1/4 fresh chopped parsley

  • 1 tsp fresh chopped mint

If it's in the bottom of your roasting pan, it's going into a big glass measuring cup.  All of it.  Scrape the bottom and stuff.  Spoon off the fat, but keep 3 tbsp of that set aside.  Heat that fat in a heavy skillet on med-high heat and add cremini mushrooms, garlic and shallots.  Saute for about 6 min, until the schrooms are tender.  Spoon out the mushrooms and set them aside, then add the wine to the pan.  Boil for about 3 minutes until it reduces to about 1/2 cup.  Add the 1/3 c porcini mushrooms you had left over from the butter to the pan, the liquid left over from soaking the mushrooms (but pour SLOWLY so that the sediment stays at the bottom!), the 2 c stock, and the contents of the glass measuring cup with all the stuff you scraped off the bottom of the pan.  Bring that to a boil, and then simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and the cremini mushrooms you set aside earlier to the skillet.  Mix the water with the cornstarch until smooth, and then whisk that into the gravy.  Simmer until you like the consistency, and then add the mint and parsley.

Then prepare to die and go to heaven.

Potatoes: This recipe comes from Leslie Dillinger at The Hipo Lounge.  I also made these at Christmas last year, and I licked not only the pans, but everyone's plate and everyone's face after they ate them.

  • 4 c thinly sliced potatoes

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375.  In large bowl, toss potatoes w/ SOME of the salt, pepper and garlic.  Place 1/3 of potatoes in well-greased 9X12 pan. Sprinkle SOME of the nutmeg over them.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Gruyere.  Dot with 1/3 of the butter.

Repeat this process two more times.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, cream and remaining salt/pepper/nutmeg.  Pour this mixture over the potatoes.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake covered for 35 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.

Dude.  Seriously.

Something green: I made these last year. I posted these last year. I will make and post them every year until I find a better alternative. Which I won't.

  • 1 pound of thinly sliced shallots (or leeks. I use leeks. I like leeks. They're biblical and shit)

  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp plain old flour

  • oil for frying

  • salt

  • 2 1/2 pounds green beans. This is great for child-participation. Let your kids trim the beans. They'll love it.

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I never seem to have paprika on hand, and I've never missed it in this)

  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  • fresh ground pepper

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced (one time I used the whole mushroom, not just the caps, and no one had a trip or went to the hospital, so I'm guessing this part is optional. Oh, and you should be able to get these mushrooms anywhere. Just ask the produce dude.)

  • 2 cups of chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (it's in the fancy pants cheese aisle. Secret? If you can't find it, use Cool Whip. It totally works.)

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. I promise, I promise, you want to squeeze out a lemon for this one. Don't go with the pre-bottled stuff. I promise.

Toss the sliced shallots/leeks with 1/3 of the flour, shake off the extra flour, and fry them in batches in a deep pan with 1 inch of hot oil over moderate heat. Salt them after and set them aside. You can do this the night before and stick them in a tupperware. Just recrisp them for a few minutes in a 350 degree stove right before you use them.

Boil the beans in a large pot of salted water for about 5 minutes, until they're bright green and just tender. Drain them and then run them under cold water to refresh them and stop them from cooking any further. Pat them dry and set them aside, too.

Melt the butter in a large skillet, cast-iron if you've got one, which I don't, and add the medium onion. Cook on low for about 5 minutes until it's softened. Add the paprika, cayenne and a large pinch of pepper and cook while stirring for about a minute. Then add the mushrooms, cover them and let that cook, still on low, for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 5 minutes more, until they've browned a bit. Stir in the 3 remaining tbsp flour and slowly stir in the stock until smooth. If you're doing this ahead, stop here. The rest has to be all done together, at the very end of cooking.

Let that simmer (or bring it back up to a simmer if you're coming back to it) for about 5 more minutes, and then add the creme fraiche, lemon juice and beans. The thing with dairy and lemon is that if it doesn't boil, it won't curdle, but if it DOES boil, you're screwed. Don't let it get hotter than a gentle simmer. Cover everything, watch the heat, and let it all cook together for 5 minutes. Season it with salt and pepper to taste and then transfer it to a baking dish.

Cover the dish with foil and bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the shallots/leeks, and serve.

Apps: I'm pretty sure I'll make bruschetta for before; just have the grocery store slice a baguette short-ways, toast the sliced on a Foreman or a Cuisinart grill, and then top with a fat slice of Roma tomato and a chucks of fresh mozzarella.  You can sprinkle that with diced red onion if you want, and then drizzle the bruschettas with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Easy and delicious and really quite pretty.

Dessert: I'm not making cheesecake for the first year since I've celebrated Thanksgiving.  *sigh*  I thought I'd try my hand at Lisa's Cherry Danish recipe, though.  The kids want to make something, and this sounds like something they could handle, but that still would make us all do a little happy dance:

Cream Cheese Cherry Danish Dessert

  • 2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls, divided

  • 2 tubs (8 oz each) cream cheese

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar, divided

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Unroll 1 of the cans of crescent dough. Place in greased 13x9-inch baking pan; press onto the bottom of the pan to form crust, firmly pressing the seams together to seal.
3. Beat cream cheese spread; 3/4 cup of sugar, the egg white, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended. Spread mixture onto crust.
4. Spread cherry pie filling over cream cheese.
5. Unroll remaining can of crescent dough onto large sheet of wax paper. Pat out dough to form a 13x9-inch rectangle pressing seams together to seal. Flip the dough over onto the cherry filling to form the top crust. Discard wax paper.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 20 minutes.
10. In a bowl, gradually add milk to remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, beating until well-blended and thick. Drizzle over warm dessert.

Cut into 24 rectangles to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

And until I hear from my guests, that's about all I've got.  Except for Stove Top.  We will always and forever have Stove Top.  I just don't boil it, I bake it in a glass pyrex with the butter sliced and laid on top, not stirred in.  Because, yeah, trailer park.  Whatever; shit's GOOD, yo.

I've Still Never Been To Detriot, Though.

Jeremy at Discovering Dads (who was awesome enough to make this banner for his new website just for me)

is asking people to tell the stories of their greatest adventures (and giving away killer prizes. Just saying.)  I have no delusions of winning said contest, but since I have never read One. Single. Harry. Potter. Book. Ever., I thought I'd try my hand at entering.

My gut instinct was to write about my stumbles through parenthood, or my marriage, but then I asked myself, "really, self?  Have you done NOTHING of interest?  Think, dammit, think!"  And so I thought.  And came up with nothing.

I am the most boring human alive.  Really, besides that one border-hop into some very suspect town in Mexico to buy cheap cigarettes and Valium a guitar for my kid, I've never actually left America.  I did move to Canada, however, and our first two months here were actually quite adventurous and exploratory, but in a very family-friendly, corporate-sponsored hotel suite sort of way.  Not a hell of a lot of grit there.

Just as I was ready to drown my sorrows in a glass of White Zinfandel*, I remembered that Hey!  Once I did that thing, and it was totally awesome!  Who knows if it will translate on paper, but for the entire Harry Potter collection, I'll give almost anything a whirl.

Way back in the day, when I drove a fast car that I paid too much money for, and wore a size Barbie, and worked at a gas station because I look hot in polyester brown pants, my best friend from high school and I decided that we could not go one minute more without a cheesesteak.  FROM PHILADELPHIA.  I asked my boss for a week off, and she told me to shove it up my ass, and I returned the sentiment, and off we went.

We had about 30 hours to prepare for our trip, but since we were both suddenly sans employment, that was no problem.  A quick oil change, a rocking mixtape, a trip to the store for Saltines, spray cheese and some of those Arizona teas with Ginseng and honey, and we were set.

Snafu One; I bet you can squeal like a pig:  We hit the road in the early hours of the morning from Denver and made it to Nebraska by that evening.  We crashed at a friend of her family's house, and the next morning made the push from Nebraska to Pennsylvania.  We got stopped at 4:30 in the morning on a pass in Nebraska for going 75 in a 60, just like EVERY OTHER CAR ON THE ROAD THAT DIDN'T HAVE OUT-OF-STATE PLATES, and officer Deliverance who pulled us over, possibly to rape us and hack our city-dwelling asses into tiny little bits in the Nebraskan darkness, asked where exactly we were going so fast.  "My grandfather died last night," Eva squeaked out through the most awesome, Oscar worthy fake tears I've ever seen on a human.  "Grrr" was all Officer Deliverance said.  And then that fucker searched my car.  SEARCHED it.  He found cans in the trunk and said, and I quote, "Ah-ha!  Beer!  I knew it!" to which Eva replied, "Um, dude, apple juice.  I'm Mormon."  To which officer Deliverance said, "Grrr.  Well, if you hit a duur going 75 miles PER hour, it'll go clear thrugh your WUNDSHUD."  To which I replied, "Not too likely on a main street in the middle of morning rushhour, homes."  To which he replied, "Grrr.  Here's your ticket.  GET OUT OF NEBRASKA."

(I hate that asshole aside: That's the one and ONLY ticket I've ever got.  Better not be on my permanent record.)

Snafu Two; We like the cars, the cars that go boom: We did indeed get out of Nebraska, and fast (suck on THAT, bitch) and Megadeth and caffeine kept us hopping until the PA border.  We spent the night on Eva's uncle's ranch, in farm country, and early the next morning we set out for Philly.  At which point, I hear a boom.  We drove a little more and saw some smoke coming from my exhaust.  We drove a little more and heard a grind.  I did what any savvy, totally able to take care of herself in the real world girl would do; I stopped and called my daddy.  His solution?  "Throw a quart of oil in it; you'll be fine."

I threw a quart of oil in it, and then another when we got to the best steak shop in the history of the world, and then another at my friend's house in Delaware, and then another once we hit Maryland, and then another once we passed DC, and then when we got to Eva's still very much so alive Grandfather's house on Cobb Island in Maryland, the little car that could, couldn't.

I somehow managed to get the car back up to DC and into the Mitsubishi dealership, and they gave me an estimate of 2 days to have it checked out.  Funny, I was supposed to head home that night.  OOOPS.  So, there we were, Eva, me, her brother who met us there, and her grandfather, stranded on an island on the Potomac.  Poor.  Abused.  Us.

Turns out, I found a way to get the turbo in my car to explode.  Like, there was almost nothing left of it.  And I had a MONTH left on my warranty.  So, an overnight stay at grandpa's turned into a week long stay, complete with fishing, crabbing, eating fish and crabs, driving around in little golf carts, learning to love cole slaw, sleeping on piers, writing, reading, baking apple pies, and so much laughter, I don't even know how to tell you.

(Tragically karmic Aside: Grandpa died shortly after our visit.  Yes, I totally blame us.  And Officer Deliverance.  Asshole.)

Snafu Three; Living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine: We left Cobb Island early in the morning and since two were now three, and we had a really zoomzoom new turbo, we decided to drive straight from the bottom of Maryland to the middle of Colorado, through Tennessee.  Because I-70 is for pussies.  With nothing but spray cheese, saltines and Arizona green tea with Ginseng and honey.  The idea was one drove, 2 slept.  Except, yeah, we had They Might Be Giants and Megedeth.  And were wired like crack whores.  Somewhere in the middle of Memphis, we all had a dehydration and sleep deprived moment of divine illumination.  In other words, we all saw god.  Maybe it was just Elvis, who knows?  Either way, the rest of the trip home is a blur.  I do remember the New Mexico deserty area, where I won't even get into what I thought I saw in the haze.

We made it home, but by the grace of Elvis, and I've never slept quite that soundly in my whole life.  Every muscle hurt, I had no vitamins left in my body, and both my front cars speakers never worked properly again.

But, a few months after that, I met a boy named Josh and had a litter of children with him, and now the most exciting thing I do every day is watch a new episode of Wonder Pets.  The next time I will be childless enough to try something like that, I'll be way to sensible to even think about it.  But once, at least once in my whole life, I did something totally reckless.  Something downright stupid, something that had no point at all, that cost me more money than I had, that was a complete waste of everyone's time.  And it was GLORIOUS.  I wouldn't trade those two weeks for anything in the whole world.

(In retrospect aside: My car insurance was totally lapsed the whole time.  Stop looking at me like that.)

*Kidding.  No matter how suburban sell out I get, I will never drink fake wine.

Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal Make Bad Parents

Five Star Friday
Last week, I received a few emails from some people who took issue with my birthday post to my daughter.  I believe their point was that I was, oh, full of myself and a wretched excuse for a human being who doesn't deserve her children, or something like that.

Why?  Because I stated that I wasn't too sure about having a girl when I got one.

Now, I could take issue with that and be all pissy and defensive, or I could just realize that most of you have better things to do with your time than read through 3 1/2 years of archives to figure out what the hell I'm talking about, and in all fairness, I can almost see their point.  Starting the Happy Birthday post with "Yeah, not so excited at first" could come off as the slightest bit horrendous, I guess, if you don't know the history (and you don't bother to read the rest of the post.  Bygones.)

So maybe I should cover that history for a second.  Just a second, I swear.

See, here's the thing.  My family has dark, dusty storage lockers rented out all over the East Coast full of skeletons.  Everything is hidden.  I didn't even know my mother's actual, legal maiden name until I tried to get a Social Security Card when I was 17 and the girl at the counter felt badly enough for me for clearly knowing none of my family history that she told me.

Growing up, I knew that my mom's mom was abusive and the slightest bit nuts, I knew that my father's mom and sister had some issues with substances and sanity, but I never knew details.  No one knew details.  No one talked about anything.  My whole family tripped through life with a bag over their head, hoping that if they just didn't acknowledge anything at all, it would all magically go away.

No one ever sat me down and explained that mental illness, severe mental illness, is swarming in my gene pool.  No one ever told me what drugs were, let alone that we're all freakishly predisposed to addiction.  No one utter the words "child abuse" or "substance abuse."  The word "sex" was never spoken in my house.  All we knew is that private parts were dirty, that god wants parents to beat their kids, and that those kids need to shut up and pray.

So when it all fell apart, none of us knew why or what to do about it.  I used to have teachers come up to me and ask direct questions about my home life, and it never even occurred to me to talk about any of it, because I just thought no one talked about those things.  I just thought that was everyone's life.  I didn't get it that normal people do talk about these things, and that my life wasn't normal.

It took me a long time and a long series of breakdowns and some self-mutilation to work through everything once I left home.  It took hours in darkness, mulling over blurry memories, piecing stories together, writing about it and talking through it before I realized that I was at the bottom of a long, twisted spiral of DNA gone haywire.  I thank the flying spaghetti monster every day that I was at least given the intelligence to be able to see these things and make sense of them in the end.

What if I hadn't been able to sort it all out?  What if I had just once cut deep enough, when that was the only coping tool I had at my disposal, and I'd never figured it out?  What if I'd never really learned that nothing that happened to me had anything to do with me, just with my situation and with the brain chemistry of my relatives?  I probably wouldn't still be here, that's what.

Now, I got really lucky in that my family's particular brand of nutsosity has seemed to lay off me for the time being.  Usually, it hits hard right after you have your first girl.  I'm three years in and still don't think I can see the molecules coming out of the thermostat.  I've never once called a priest to inquire about and exorcism for my daughter.  (Though, honestly, I can almost see the reasoning behind that one.)  (Kidding.)  (Maybe.)  I've never wanted to beat her until she bled, I've never once felt like all my problems are her fault, when her father and I split up, it never occurred to me to try to beat her father out of her.

I think I'm in the clear, here.

But what if she's not.

What if she grows up, has a baby, and all of this starts for her?  What if I fuck up royally sometime in the next 15 years and she can't understand why?  What happens if she grows up thinking that her mom had it so easy, and that all women naturally take to parenting, and then she has her own children and struggles like I did 8 years before she came, when she couldn't have seen it or known about it?

What fucking good is keeping my past a secret going to do for her?  None.  But it might really help her to know someday.  She might need that information.  She might need to know that it's okay to be afraid to be a mother, to be so humbled by the awesome responsibility of bringing up a child that you are terrified of doing it poorly.  She might need to realize that her mother is so very fallible, but fighting every day to be better than she thinks she can be.

I just want all of my kids to participate in their childhoods.  I want them to know that alcoholism and drug addiction runs rampant on both sides of their family, that mental illness is right there in the corner watching them, and that I KNOW those things.  I think it's important that they know about the limitations they may possess; that maybe drinking isn't a hot idea for them, and that taking uppers is WAY OUT, and that the second they feel like they're slipping, mom is going to be there to catch them.  I don't want big, dark secrets.  I want my children to know me, to know where I came from, to trust me and come to me when they need to.  I want them to know I won't bullshit them, and I won't pacify them, that I will believe them and can probably relate to them when and if the time comes.  I want them to know that I love them so much, I'll tell them things I don't like to talk about anymore, because it's important that they know.

So, if that means that I have to tell them that I was scared shitless every time I saw that + on the stick, then so be it.  Because maybe they'll be scared shitless, too, when they see their first +, and at least they'll know they're not alone.

On Screwing Myself

So, yeah, there's a picture of a trash bag on my blog.  I'm sure you're clicking away to a decent blog all, "WTF, yo?  Are you too lazy to take your trash out?"  Yes, not relevant, though. "Are you waiting for The Donor to take it out?"  Double true, it's a boy's job, also not important right now.

I've been hanging on to that bag for almost a week now.  I kept it in the trash can for as long as it would fit, and then sat it there and have stared at it for more nights than are appropriate.

See, I am a terrible mother.  I have absolutely no follow-through with my kids.  Now that they're old enough to actually get right from wrong, now that they've had it proven to them that I am a mean old bitch when I have to be, now that I'm past those years of constant discipline and re-directing and explanation, I've just stopped doing any of those things at all ever.

(Yes, I am aware that there's another small child still in the house.  God help her husband.)

My 8 year old has taken up a new habit...roller-blading in the house.  Which really doesn't bother me all that much, except when it drives me absolutely bat-shit crazy.  I have told that kid 8 million times to stop it.  I have explained that the floors will scratch, and they're stupid laminate wood that can't really be fixed (asshole floors) and I have threatened him over and over and over with the eternal loss of, and possible damnation of, his dear roller-blades if he doesn't knock that crap off already.  But I haven't actually done anything about it just yet.

So when he came skating out of the dining room last week with that "I'm so cute, and my gramma's right there on the couch so you can't kill me" look, my head exploded.  But, well, gramma was right there, so I did the only thing I could that didn't involved pea soup and/or pitchforks; I grabbed his shoulder and in my veryvery low, quiet voice, said, "Take them off and put them in the trash.  NOW."

Oh, the screaming.  The weeping.  The gnashing of teeth.  He threw them out, ran to his room, screamed like a hellish banshee for exactly one hour, and then all was right with the world again.  Except that I forgot about one little thing later that day.

Have you ever made your kid throw his favorite X out? The first rule of Trash Can Parenting: Take the thing OUT of the trash while they're in their room freaking the fuck out.  I totally forgot about the roller blades for two full days.  That's two days with no garbage disposal, two nights of a kid who still wears a diaper to bed, three filters full of coffee grinds (desperate times, yo).

By the time I remembered them, I was screwed.  If I dig them out, I'll A) puke, B) have to sanitize them every day while he's at school for the next decade and C) puke.  They were old anyway; he could use a new pair, for sure.  But it worked; he got my point.  AND he said he was saving up for a new pair already, which mean he's got a work ethic and I can MAKE HIM DO MORE CHORES.

If I don't dig them out, I'll have to buy another goddamn pair of stupid roller-blades.  Why on EARTH would I drop $100 when I could spend $5 on vinegar and Lysol?  Besides, the point has been made.  I can't go back now or the kid will realize I've pulled them out of the trash, and he's just old enough to never forget that, hence losing me my most awesome discipline strategy ever.

And so, there the bag sits night after night as I negotiate with it.  Thankfully, I'm sort of getting used to the smell.  Maybe he'll just see them through the bag and grab them when I'm "not looking", or maybe someone could just come over and throw it out for me?  I am clearly too cheap to do it myself.