It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s more like I can’t find the time to sit down and form everything together. Lots of little things happen that I want to write about, but I think to myself, “That’s too small and insignificant” and forget it. I seem to be losing track of the original purpose of this blog, which was to keep records of events in my life and my children’s upbringing. I want to have all those stories, pictures, anecdotes (whether they be good or bad) in one place for much later in my life when I’ve started to forget them.
I also need to set aside time to write. It’s taken me over a week to write this entry so far because I never seem to have the time to spend in front of the computer doing nothing but writing. It makes me edgy when I go too long without writing.

Marika is settling in well. It’s both weird and not weird to have her back. On one hand it feels completely natural: she was here for such a long time before, so whenever she visits or comes to be with us a while she slides right into the normal routine as though she never left. Having her here is not only ideal; it’s comfortable. On the other hand, it’s awkward for her because this is the first time she’s been here as an independent adult; a room mate who is going to be paying rent and contributing to the household. We both find ourselves slipping back into the mother/child dynamic and it’s hard to get out of it. She asks permission to buy stuff or eat snacks and I remind her to clean up her dishes. It’s ridiculously hard to break that habit, for both of us. Thankfully she’s not the type to be offended by it, but it’s still weird every time I catch myself doing it. I have to work at reminding myself that she’s an adult who is about to be a mother, and I can’t act like that anymore because it makes this shit even weirder.

For a few weeks she had no prenatal care as a result of being switched around. When she first got pregnant I managed to get her in with my old midwife, she saw her backup once, then played phone tag for the next two appointments. Eventually this got to be too inconvenient, so her care was transferred to a midwife they chose that lived closer to her. She was with that woman for about 3 weeks, saw her once, and then this whole thing happened and she moved back. We called right away, but by that point they’d already booked in another few women and were now so overbooked they couldn’t squeeze her back in. We were both rather devastated by this; Jill has been “vetted”, so to speak, and we both know her as an amazing care provider who does really well with the type of personality we both have. Marika managed to get connected with a youth advocate, and a young parents group, and her advocate called around midwifery places finding ones with openings for her to talk to. We got her in where Jill used to work, but the midwife she saw was… really shy. That’s not a horrible thing, and she’s a lovely midwife, but it just doesn’t synch well. I went with Marika to the appointments (at her request) and we both agreed that while this midwife was lovely and nice, she was rather awkward. There were long, really painful silences throughout the appointments, she always seems to be struggling to find something to say, she didn’t push the conversation along and was way too shy to be “friendly”. It felt weird to be there.
We kept calling around but no one else had any spaces. Then, on her second appointment I got a call in the middle and ran out to take it (I’m on call with the hospital so I can’t turn my phone off). It was Jill’s assistant telling me she had a client cancel and Marika and I were the first people she wanted in the space. OMGYAY! Without consulting Marika I went ahead and made an appointment IMMEDIATELY just in case we’d lose the chance, and then told her about it after we got out. She was equally OMGYAY.

We saw Jill’s backup, Julia, the next afternoon and the difference in care was like night and day. The entire time we were all laughing, hugging, chatting comfortably… she immediately remembered Marika she she walked in, commented on how nice her belly looked and how beautiful she was, remembered her situation with her mom and wanted to hear her talk about it (if she was comfortable, of course). She listened sympathetically and made a note on her file about not releasing any information to her mother at any time. She made only supportive comments, and never pulled any of the, “Well your mother loves you” bullshit that so many other people say. There is no bright side to having an insane, abusive mother that you had to run away from: I hate it when people try to find one.
The difference is not only in her outgoing nature, but in how genuinely interested she is in her patient’s lives. Her first questions weren’t about the pregnancy, but about Marika’s situation, if she’s okay, if she has support, how she’s doing through all of it. That kind of care is awesome, and it makes her feel comfortable being there. For the first time she told me I didn’t have to come to the next appointment if I was busy, that’s significant because she’d previously asked that I accompany her to all of them. That alone shows how big an impact it makes to be an engaging midwife versus a passive one. You need vulnerable clients to feel safe and comfortable, especially the shy ones who are unlikely to just come out chatting about all their problems in the first five minutes. I’m so unbelievably happy that she got back in with them. As weird as it sounds, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders.

About a week ago she walked out of her bedroom and Curtis announced, “Oh my god you’re huge”. And then I came up to see what the fuss was about, and said the same thing. I think she’s dropped or something. It’s crazy different. Suddenly her belly is big and sticky-outy and we can see movements so much clearer. It’s exciting and fun to be doing this again, except it’s not me and I’m not miserable. We’ll have a little baby in the house again.
She had a moment in the car with me the other day where she burst into tears, scared that it’s so close so quickly. I told her that every single mom feels this way no matter how many kids they have, and told her crazy stories about me while I was pregnant and the stupid things I did or said. By the end of the drive we were laughing again. She didn’t let go of my hand until I pulled into the driveway.
As hard as I know it can be to become a single, teenage mom… I don’t feel horrible for her. She has too much going for her life to be an object of continued pity or sympathy. Her situation with her mother and her ex are horrible, but she’s too amazing for anything but admiration. I’m just really, really glad she’s here now… and glad she’s going forward.

Tempest turned 9 years old on the 7th. Her last year of the single digits. She’s changed so much in the last year to year and a half, it’s like she’s becoming a little woman… or at least a little teenager. For one, she’s started being weirdly judgmental. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: forming judgements is how we understand our world, find out what we like and dislike, discover our boundaries and our personal goals… I have no problem with it unless it either hurts people or is based on ideas that contribute to hurt, stereotyping, et al. She’s done it twice recently that made me do a spit take. The first time was when she asked me to remind her how old Marika was.
“Seventeen.” I told her. Marika turned 18 a few days after this conversation.
“Teenagers can have babies?”
“Yes, they can,” I answered. “As soon as you have a period, your body can have a baby. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should, or that you’re ready, but it does mean you can. In a few years, you’ll have your first period and your body will be able to get pregnant too.”
She thought a moment. “I don’t know. I don’t think teenagers should be having babies.”
“Why not?”
“Because they’re not grown ups. And grown ups are parents.
“Teenagers can be parents, too.”
“They can?”
“Sure they can. Sometimes it’s not what they planned, but surprise babies come all the time, even for grown ups. Lots of parents are surprised by their babies, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be bad moms and dads to them. They grow and change and learn as they go. Marika will learn how to be a mommy, too. And she’ll be a really good one, even if she’s a teenager. Lots of other teenagers have babies.”
“Really? Why?”
“Most of them are probably by surprise. They may not be trying to get pregnant, but it might happen by surprise without them realizing it. You’ll understand it more as you get older: it’s easier than you think to get pregnant by surprise.”
There was a long silence as she mulled through this new information. “Hmm. Well… I guess that’s okay then. I think Marika will be a good mommy.”
“Of course she will. She has lots of people to help her, like you and Xan.”
She seemed very satisfied with this answer, and was visibly less concerned.

The second time was a bit later, when we were walking to the beach. As we approached, we saw five or six little kids running around on the sand naked. They weren’t toddlers, but weren’t quite school age kids either. Maybe five year olds.
I saw Tempest watching them as they ran around in circles, and after a moment she clucked her tongue. “Who let them out of the house like that?” she commented. She almost sounded offended. I was completely shocked by that one.
“You were naked all the time when you were that age.”
“Of course. Kids love to be naked. They’re not hurting anyone.”
“… Well, I guess that’s true.”
I tried to point out how happy they were. “They’re sure having a good time.”
“Yeah, they are. I guess it’s fun to be naked when you’re little. Baby likes to be naked.”
“She sure does. It’s her favourite thing.” And once again she was satisfied with my explanation and dropped the subject.

It was weird hearing her say those things. The naked one I’m pretty sure she picked up from cartoons and was testing the waters to see how I’d react… but the teen pregnancy one she had very seriously thought through. She had made a judgement based on her idea that teenagers were not the same as adults. If teenagers weren’t adults, that meant they were like children, and therefore should not have children. She sees herself as unable and incapable of raising a baby, and therefore was honestly concerned that Marika felt/was the same way. It’s very basic logic, but logic nonetheless. I’ve never witnessed this in her before: she has always taken her cues from us (and our opinions), or just outright asked us before she reaches a final conclusion. I’m not saying that’s a thing I’d want to continue forever: I’d like her to come to her own conclusions and have them naturally differ from our own, but I suppose I expected it to happen more gradually. This is a judgement she came up with all on her own… and as weird as that is, it’s also kind of cool because it means she’s growing up in a really huge way.
Suddenly her plunge into teenagehood doesn’t seem that far away. As we were unloading Marika’s baby supplies out of the back of the van this afternoon, Tempest had a major squee over a small bedside bassinette that Marika was gifted.
“That’s so sweet! Is it for baby?”
“It’s for a baby,” I answered. “Marika’s baby.”
“Maybe baby can use it when she gets older?” Xan suggested.
“Well, Zephyra will be far too old for it. She’s already too old for it.”
Xan tried to come up with a better answer. “Maybe Tempest can use it for her dolls.”
Tempest practically exploded on the spot.
“When Marika’s baby outgrows it, she certainly could… but Tempest honey you may not even be playing with dolls by that point anymore.”
“I… won’t?”
“You might not. There will come a time when you don’t want to play with toys anymore.”
She raised an incredulous eyebrow and stalked off. I was reminded of the fact that I didn’t stop playing with dolls until I was 13. I was so embarrassed to still be playing that I’d lock my door and put a sign on it that said, “KNOCK and WAIT for an ANSWER before you enter!” with capitals and underlines and unnecessary amounts of exclamation points. I’ve said before: my mother must have thought I was discovering masturbation like normal 13 year olds, but no… dolls.

Somehow we’re getting baby stuff organized, albeit slowly We still need to find Marika a baby dresser, yoga ball, some new and/or better bedsheets and maybe even a changing table with drawers (for easy storage of diapering supplies in a small space) if we’re lucky. Dad has been awesome: donating his garage space for anything she manages to get while we figure out where to put it, or if it’s in good enough condition to use, keep or sell.
Krazy, on the other hand, has been her normal loveable self. She either avoids Marika entirely, or goes on her classic abusive email sprees for days in a row. Her most recent antics seriously cost Marika in more ways than one. With help from a youth advocate through a young parents association she was able to get appointments with the government offices for a program called a youth agreement that will give financial aid to at risk teens, young mothers and so on… it was looking extremely positive and ever tying was all set to go until they went through the mandatory phone calls. Marika is underage (you need to be 19 to be on standard programs like welfare and the like) so they make a cursory call to her mother and father to ensure they can’t financially support her. They have all the information already, of course, it’s just standard practice.
The phone call to dad goes fine, but as soon as they call Krazy she puts on a show-stopping performance about how she lives to support Marika with every ounce of her being. This isn’t true: she told Marika years ago that she’d never give her “even a dime” unless she came home and effectively submitted to her for the rest of her natural days… this is all about manipulating Marika into calling her and having the upper hand.
“Make sure you investigate all your avenues with your mother,” they told her. Awesome.

Marika asked me to be with her while she called her mom so she’d have some moral support. She opened the conversation with a straightforward explanation of what was going on with the government, her mother’s comments and how they may have been “misunderstood” so she had an easy way out… it still took almost half an hour for her mother to simply answer the yes or no question, “Will you be able to financially support me?”. A question we all knew the answer to, but she still had to go through the hoops due to her mother’s obvious manipulation.
I listened quietly, rubbing Marika’s shoulders, while her mother went on and on about how she was a sad, pathetic child and carefully avoided ever asking about or even commenting on her pregnancy. By the end of it, Marika steered the conversation to an end and told her mother she loved her. That seemed to be her last straw, and Krazy started screeching, “No you don’t! You never do! You don’t love me! You’d call if you loved me!” until Marika was eventually forced to hang up.

Her mother came into the area today for some sort of exam, and Marika spent the entire day wringing her hands, terrified that she’d show up at the door. I assured her she wouldn’t: Krazy would never come by the house unannounced. She hates us way, way too much. Sure enough she left us alone, but Marika didn’t relax until past dinner. This is no way to treat your kid. At this point we’re all relieved that Krazy has no interest at all in her granddaughter and seems to give no fucks that she even exists. It’s for the best, as Marika continues to be afraid she’ll “drop in” for a visit and she’ll have to do the awkward, “I don’t want you around my child” thing.

Our oldest and beloved cat Ziyal is gone, and the whole house is mourning her loss. She’d been extra cuddly the month before, nosing her way into everyone’s lap no matter where they were in the house. She even managed to get up on the top bunk of the kids bed to sleep with Tempest a few nights. That last one is a big deal, as she’s been arthritic for the last few years and can’t jump well. I told Curtis that it had started to worry me.
“I feel like she knows something we don’t,” I said to him one night.
And it seems that she did. Three or four weeks ago now she walked out one morning and never came back. Her collar has all our information on it, and if no one has called or come by then she was never found. She was anywhere from 18 to 22 years old… and we’re certain that she went off somewhere private to die. She hasn’t left the front yard in about 5-6 years, she’s just too old.
Telling the kids was horrible. I sat them down at the table together and started in as gently as I could. Tempest figured it out fast. She doesn’t like to cry in front of people for emotional reasons. I tried to give her a hug, but she bristled when I reached for her and instead pointed to Xan. At that point he figured it out, and had his head down on the table, crying into his arms. We sat together and told stories about Ziyal for the next hour. I told them the tale of how she came to live with us, and how she surely would have died that winter if my mother hadn’t rescued her.
We decided to make memorials to Ziyal and picked up some driftwood to paint and put in the backyard. That helped a lot. At the very least it gave the kids some closure. I feel like I can’t really accept her death because there’s no body, and likely won’t ever be. She just … .walked off.
Xan told me later, “I think maybe she was trying to find the forest she was born into, so she could die where she was born and find her family.”
Tempest wanted to go searching for her body, but Curtis told her that we should respect her wishes for privacy. Cats, like most animals, want to die alone. Xan seemed to understand this, but Tempest had a really hard time with it. I’m having a hard time with it, too. I keep having dreams where she walks in and we all act like she never left. This morning Marika walked in with Chloe while I was snoozing on the couch and said, “Look what I found in the garage!”, for a moment I thought she had Ziyal instead, and was elated. I want that to stop soon, because keeping that kind of hope alive is depressing me. She’s been such a fixture of the family that it’s weird to have her gone. She was here for every baby, for falling in love with Curtis and getting married, through every house I lived in… it is really empty without her.

Chloe, her sole surviving kitten, is distraught. It took her about two weeks to figure it out, and now that she has she’s gone back to shaking and hiding. She often sits in the front yard (something she was previously too anxious to do) and just waits. She’ll even stay out there into the evening.
D’Argo spent two continuous weeks prowling up and down the streets, SCREAMING for hours every night. We had to start bringing him in at midnight because he was so loud that we’d hear the neighbours complaining. I think he’s through the worst of his grief, at least.
We miss her terribly.

Just after I announced her passing on Facebook, a friend of mine posted about her cat having kittens. Turns out they were born almost exactly the night Ziyal disappeared. My friend saw the message but didn’t want to say, “Hey I have kittens!” and sound insensitive, but she felt similarly about their timing. It seemed like fate. Curtis and I went over to see them (without the kids; we won’t tell them anything for a while) and fell in love with one of the three. Curtis hasn’t ever seen kittens, or any baby animals before… so that was kind of neat. We agreed to take one when it was old enough, but probably won’t tell the kids and instead make it a surprise. Normally we would never try and find another cat so quickly… but it was like the universe was lining up.
Curtis said we should call the kitten Serendipity.

Xanism of the day:
While Xan is stalling bedtime, he comes out for the 47th time to complain.
Xan: “I have a bump in my mouth.”
Me: “Where?”
Xan, puts his finger just on the inside of his cheek. “Righ’ hwear.”
I put my finger in and feel that it’s just a little skin tag. “That’s normal Xan. I have one too, see?” I pull back my cheek to show him.
Xan: “But it disturbs me.

To get to an amazing beach for a picnic last weekend, we drove just over 2 hours. Xan doesn’t do car rides well, and about an hour into it he very quietly asks us, “Mommy? Daddy?”
“Yes, Xan?”
“Can we never, ever come here again?”
Once we finally arrived, we had to hike 20 minutes through the rainforest to get down to the beach access. Initially Xan was still in his mood.
“I think we should come back soon,” joked Curtis. “Maybe next weekend?”
“No!” Xan yelled. “Never!”
“What about tomorrow?”
“I think you can come back WHEN I’M DEAD.”
However, by the end of the day Xan had completely changed his tune and was excited by the idea of returning before summer ends.
Curtis was teasing him as we returned to the car. “So… you do want to come again?”
“Yes, yes, yes!”
“Oh, see I thought you said we were only allowed to come here again if you were dead!”
Xan sighed deeply. “Okay, you can come back while I’m still alive. I do like the beach…”
“You just hate the drive?”
“Yes. I wish the drive had a million million shortcuts.”

And one more, without context during a tantrum over god knows what.
“I hate this! I hate you! I hate the words you say! You are not fair! Not far at all! You are not as fair as the smallest thing in the universe! You are not even ONE ATOM fair!”

Links of the Day:
How to scare women – Jennifer Block, author of “Pushed”, has a fantastic retort to “Dr.” Amy, et al. The long and short of it is that when you look into the claims made by physicians to see “hundreds of dead or injured babies from failed home births” their own practices, experiences and hospitals don’t back it up. It’s rumour, not fact, that is driving the anti-homebirth movement spearheaded by she-who-must-not-be-named.
Get more out of Google – The title is deceiving. This info graphic will teach you how to research using Google… the right way. This has some pretty fantastic tips.
How to use a fan – Oh my god. We’ve been using fans wrong our entire lives.
Meet the Predators“Second, the sometimes-floated notion that acquaintance rape is simply a mistake about consent, is wrong. (See Amanda Hess’s excellent takedown here.) The vast majority of the offences are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population, who do it again … and again … and again. That just doesn’t square with the notion of innocent mistake. Further, since the repeaters are also responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of the intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate. If we could get the one-in-twelve or one-in-25 repeat rapists out of the population (that is a lot of men — perhaps six or twelve million men in the U.S. alone) or find a way to stop them from hurting others, most sexual assault, and a lot of intimate partner violence and child abuse, would go away. Really.




  • bluealoe says:

    I’m glad Marika is back with you and getting the care she needs, both from a midwife and from an emotional perspective. I do kinda know what you mean about falling into a parent/child dynamic, I definitely did that when I lived with my mom a few years ago, even though I was 25 at the time. Most of the time we were fine, but sometimes it waslike I was five years old again.

    She has too much going for her life to be an object of continued pity or sympathy.
    Thanks for reminding me of this. It’s so easy to feel sorry for someone in her situation, to treat that person as an object. But you’re right that she’s doing amazingly well, and admiration is called for.

    9 YEARS OLD?!? No, I refuse to believe it.

    Oh, Krazy…I continue to be baffled by her. I mean, “you’d call if you loved me”? That’s the kind of manipulation a child would try. She is definitely a narcissist of the highest order.

    I’m so sorry about Ziyal. I remember when you first got her, and you called her Moriarty because you thought she was a boy.

    I feel like I can’t really accept her death because there’s no body, and likely won’t ever be. She just … walked off.
    This hit me really hard, because I went through a similar thing when my dog disappeared. No body, nothing…she just disappeared one day, and we never saw her again. It’s the uncertainty that gets me; we’ll never know what happened, and that makes finding closure just so hard. And even now, nine years later, I STILL have dreams where my dog shows up, I’m so happy she’s back, and then I wake up and I’m more depressed than before. *hugs tight*

    Kittens being born the night Ziyal left…it’s fate. When will you get to take the new kitten home?

    The quote about you not being fair reminds me SO much of my nephew, who just turned 6. In his mind, if you don’t do exactly what he wants, you’re the unfairest thing in the world and you’re doing it just to be mean. We’ve taken to calling him Charlie Brown, since he thinks the world hates him.

    *hugs* I love you!!

  • altarflame says:

    I feel like M is so lucky to have you. So, so lucky.

    It really made me think, the bit about not reverting to parent/child dynamics. I had to stand up and demand that from my mom and grandmother, and continuously got villified for it. There was an attitude at my church and among my neighbors and anywhere I went with my baby, that I needed help and advice and guidance and that people needed to swoop in and tell me what I was doing wrong, and it made me absolutely nuts and I think I went around so defensive in those early years…then there were the weird other comments – things like, “You need to stop dressing like a teenager, it makes you look like a teen mom.” Not even suggestive; just “young.” I still get irritated when I think about that :p I used to want to scream at people that everyone from Shakespeare’s Juliet to the Virgin Mary were FOURTEEN getting married, and I was an old maid by historical standards :p Which is actually true, my Cuban grandmother was married at 15 and had 5 kids at 20…

    A lot of my friends acted so upset to be turning 30 but it was sort of a relief for me – like, ok. People take me seriously as a parent, now. Because there really is a HUGE difference in how people listen to me or assume I know what I’m doing, whether it’s with the 12 year old or the 5 year old.

    The biggest thing I’ve realized as time has passed is that nobody knows what the hell they’re doing, and everybody makes mistakes they learn from and/or regret, with first babies – no matter when they have them. It’s important for moms to realize, but it’s also important for onlookers to realize, because I have certainly watched as my 35 year old, crack addicted, non-med-compliant bipolar sister in law makes astounding, gut wrenching parenting mistakes – and I think that when young moms make mistakes, there is a knee jerk tendency to think they’re making them because they’re young, and that their youth means it’s EXTRA, EVEN MORE everyone else’s job to step in and be a busy body…when really that same woman might be doing just what she’d do with a first baby at 40, or better than the 40 year old that is next door…

    I lol’d at “You can come back WHEN I’M DEAD.”

    • admin says:

      Fuck yes, to everything you said. Totally, yes. Including the relief at no longer being in your 20’s because you’ll finally be taken seriously. Being older also means that for the first time when people card me (which they still do, every fucking time I could ever be carded I get it) I get raised eyebrows and, “Well you certainly don’t look that old” and I feel really awesome about it because yeah, I’m OLD. RESPECT ME MOTHERFUCKER.

  • gardenmama says:

    It heartens me to know I’m not the only one with an intensely dramatic 5-year-old.

  • the_wanlorn says:

    Losing a family pet really sucks balls, especially one that’s been with you forever. I’m sorry for your loss.

    In my experience, the !!!! … 🙁 reaction to “Look what I found!” and variants thereof totally lasts an unreasonably long time. Like, I’d be over the fact that my cat disappeared — it was still terribly sad and all but I was done grieving — but I’d still have a moment of !SHE’S BACK! when my sister was like “I found this outside!” or my parents were like “Look what I found in your room.”

  • Marika sounds like she is doing so well. How much longer does she have to go before her due date? It must be really close now.

    I love hearing the stories of your kids! I think it is really good the way that you explain things to Tempest, it’s very mature and logical. 🙂

    I am so sorry to hear of your cat. She was such a lovely looking cat too. I recently lost my cat, she was almost 16. It is just so hard. I like the name Serendipity and the timing of finding out about the litter of kittens. It is going to be such a lovely surprise. 🙂

  • Your new kitty to be is adorable in the extreme.

  • aw! I shall start calling kitty by her name.

  • jenrose1 says:

    She’s having a girl? I may send a dress… it’s size 18 months, feel free to use it with Z if it will fit her. It’s a wee fae sprite thingy…

  • Anonymous says:

    I love calling the kitty Serendipity! You can call it Sera (ornounced Sarah) for short 🙂

  • azdesertrose says:

    I’m sorry for your loss of Ziyal. It’s hard to lose a cat who’s been a member of the family for 20 years-ish. (We lost two in 2009 who had been with us 20 and 18 years, respectively.)

    I’m glad Marika is getting good prenatal care.

    I hope Serendipity settles in well, when you do get the kitten.

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