What To Do If You Expect Your Child is an Addict

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Is An Addict

If you’re a mom who suspects a family member is addicted to drugs, you may be wondering what to do. There are many treatment plans available for all age groups, and the earlier you can get them into a program the better. Some of these include combatting addtiction with a combination of counseling and pharmaceuticals. But dosing too early can cause severe withdrawals so you need to get the right treatment plan, customized to each individual. But how do you know for sure?

Overreacting?

How do you know if you’re overreacting to minor issues, blowing things out of proportion?

The first thing to notice is if your child is having problems. Perhaps, they are similar problems their peers face. Alternatively, they may be more severe and disruptive.

If they are preteens, they could be having problems with self-esteem and taking care of themselves.

If they are adolescents, they could be having problems with staying healthy, making friends, or getting along with people.

If they are young adults, they could be having family and work issues, struggling financially, or in trouble with the law.

If you notice your child is having more problems than before, it’s reasonable to guess that substance abuse may be the cause.

One strong reason for suspicion is if they appear untroubled by the behaviors that are causing the problems. In this case, their addiction may be stronger than the desire to stop the problems it’s causing.

The best way to approach the issue, in this case, is to talk about the problem directly, without linking it to what you suspect may be the cause. See if they are willing to discuss the problem? If they deny having an obvious problem, then this is a strong indication that there is a deeper reason for it.

4 Intervention Steps

If you’ve come to the conclusion that there is a strong underlying reason for their problems, then it may be time to take some action. Here are 4 things you can do.

1. Confirm your suspicions.

Educate yourself about substance abuse symptoms. There is more than enough information available online to come up with a profile of the underlying disorder.

While there are variations on how people react to different forms of substance abuse, there are a lot of commonalities among users taking the same drugs.

2. Observe the person over a few days or weeks.

How closely does their behavior match up to your hypothetical profile? This information is important for four reasons.

First, you will be able to clarify whether or not their erratic behavior is due to drugs or some form of psychological issue.

Second, you will be able to convince other family members to help you if you can prove your case.

Third, you will have more than enough information to share with a substance abuse counselor to help them come to a clear understanding of the issue.

Fourth, you will be armed with more than enough information to convince the person you are trying to help that they really do need the help.

3. Enlist the help of other family members.

You don’t need to create an exhaustive profile before you share your information with other family members. If you are a single mother, you may have to enroll aunts, uncles, or cousins.

Tell them what you suspect and why you suspect it. They, too, may want to deny that there is a problem, but it will be harder to dismiss your suspicions if you have strong reasons for them.

If you can get other family members to help you, then also come to an agreement about who is the best person to talk to the person about the need to get some help. As a mother, you may be the least influential and your child may be more open to listening to a trusted aunt or first cousin.

However, before an intervention, get some professional advice on how to go about the process.

4. Speak to a mental health professional.

There are many mental health professionals who have worked with hundreds of substance abuse cases and can provide you with invaluable advice on how to conduct a successful intervention. Seek out the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist, a school psychologist, a college guidance counselor, a family doctor, or a clergy member.

When you speak to them, they may want to know certain things about your family.

a. The reasons you think your child has a substance abuse problem.

This will help them decide whether or not this is a psychological problem or one due to substance abuse.

b. The results of any substance abuse behavior you may have noticed.

  • ·  What type of alcohol do they drink?
  • ·  What type of drug have you seen in the house?
  • ·  How much do you think the person is using?
  • ·  How long has this been going on?

c. Any changes in behavior?

  • ·  What was their behavior like before they began using?
  • ·  Has it been getting worse or staying fairly consistent?
  • ·  What was your child’s response to questions or confrontations about their behavior?

Tough Love

Although confronting your child’s substance abuse is emotionally painful and may increase already difficult behavior, you should take action using these steps as a guideline. It’s not an issue about whether your child appreciates your intervention, but about getting them to a safe harbor where they will get the help they need.

In The Kitchen With Aunt Becky

One of those things that I always figured I’d do when I was bored and had scads of free time, which, you know, I’m just swimming in with my three kids and houseful of pets, was to learn to decorate cakes.

I somehow forgot when I was hatching my Great Plan, that I have absolutely no eye for detail and have about as much fine motor skill as my poo-eating dog. But yes, in my head, I was going to be the next star baker.

Just like I was going to be the next Rembrandt, Britney Spears, and uh, Martha Stewart, because all of those plans were SO SUCCESSFUL.

But when I saw that I could buy something that fit my “I never got an EZ Bake Oven” fix AND test my prowess as a Master Cake Baker, I was all over it. (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go here)(then come back)(and you should know that I do love me some Pioneer Woman)

Cake Wrecks 1

Really, I didn’t see how I could go wrong. Except that a 29-year-old woman with a full kitchen of her own had bought a toy cake bakery. That seems all kinds of wrong when you put it THAT way.

But let’s not dwell on the negative here, Internet!

Cake Wrecks 2

Microwaving, AWWW YEAH!

Now, see, THAT is the kind of cooking I can do. Short and sweet. None of those wonky STEPS that I can misconstrue or FORGET because I’ve accidentally wandered off to see what happens when I put the cat in a box.

Cake Wrecks 3

While I don’t know why someone would want a pamphlet of “DUFF” inside a box clearly marketed for children, I suppose that is neither here nor there. He seems a little, uh, CREEPY and vapid, doesn’t he? (I know he’s on the Ace of Cakes)

No accounting for taste, I guess. Which is why you read my blog.

Cake Wrecks 5

While shit, man, that’s waaaay too many instructions. I don’t need to read instructions. Those are for sissies.

Cake Wrecks 6

Why, isn’t that perfectly darling? A wee cake decorating set! I can’t figure out what most of the doo-hickies are for, but, you know, I AM READY TO LEARN. Providing I don’t have to READ WORDS and FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.

Cake Wrecks 7

Well, THAT is fancy-pants. It’s either a toothbrush holder…or a sex toy. Kind of advanced for children.

Huh.

If parents can get outraged by the Fresh Beat Band, why not providing our children SEX TOYS!!1!! OH THE HUMANITY!!

Guess you know what I’ll wander off to do.

….

BRUSH MY TEETH, YOU PERVERTS.

Cake Wrecks 8

Here we go, with some mother-humping yellow cake. That’s wicked yellow and I stirred it approximately 4.3 times before it was mixed thoroughly. Because that is the way I make cake, bitches.

Cake Wrecks 9

Well, now, here I have expertly poured two thimbles of cake into the microwave pan where I shall bake it for exactly 30 seconds. How can this be bad?

(cue ominous music)

Cake Wrecks 10

Well. That…uh, looks appetizing. It’s really a shame that I can’t make this blog post scratch and sniff, because this smells like burning hair.

nom nom nom SOYLENT GREEN nom nom nom.

Cake Wrecks 11

The Soylent Green patties are, I should note, about the size that one might expect to feed a wee field mouse. I am holding my lens cap up for perspective.

Cue the old joke… “the food was so bad….And there was so little of it!”

Cake Wrecks 12

In an effort to cover up the horrible yellow color of the cake, I have chosen blue as my fondant color. Note my expert mixing technique. I should probably get a medal from the Mixing Olympics.

Cake Wrecks 13

This fondant looks like a pile of, well, blue…poo.

I’m certain that I can roll it out and make it look better.

Cake Wrecks 15

Oh. Well. Um.

Maybe I should have read the directions.

I know, I’ll read them now!

Cake Wrecks 14

Okay, that looks NOTHING like what I’ve got.

Uh. Well. I KNOW. NEXT STEP.

Cake Wrecks 16

Icing. I can cover this with icing. THAT’S ALL. I bet it’ll look as good as new in NO TIME.

Cake Wrecks 17

That looks a lot like we’re about to artificially inseminate something. WICKED.

Cake Wrecks 18

My pre-iced cake on it’s pretty little platform. Doesn’t it look like, well, someone with no thumbs decorated it?

Scratch that. People without thumbs could do better. BLIND people without thumbs could do better.

Cake Wrecks 19

Aunt Becky’s Weapon of Mass Destruction. The ICING GUN. Prepare to meet your MAKER.

Cake Wrecks 20

Uh. WHOOPS.

I genuinely do not know what I did wrong here. It appears as though my icing gun misfired.

(cue inappropriate jokes)

Cake Wrecks 21

UGLY CAKE, PREPARE TO MEET YOUR MAKER, uh, PART II.

Cake Wrecks 22

Awww! Lookit my whimsical, drippy heart! With some balls thrown on it for good measure. Because everything is made better with colorful balls and icing.

(go ahead)(make your jokes, people)

Cake Wrecks 23

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the reason that you do not want me to cook when you come to my house. THIS is the reason that I order takeout.

Because while this appears to have been done for comedic value, it actually was not. This was genuinely the best that I could do.

I’m pretty sure my poo eating dog could have done better.

The Butt Sex Saga Part #1

I’ve been friends with Pashmina for, shit, what 10, maybe 12 years now, she was my coblogger for the pre-Aunt Becky days and she’s the only reason that I met The Daver. We’ve managed to stay friends for all of this time, and she wanted to show her appreciation for all that I’ve done for her (read: flaming case of The Clap) by asking me, nay, INVITING me gently to read at her wedding.

Thrilled that I didn’t have to stuff myself into a bridesmaid dress like a shimmery encased sausage, I readily agreed. I didn’t so much care WHAT I read, just that it didn’t involve dyable shoes.

Weeks before the wedding, she – like the Type-A freak-a-leak she is – called to regretfully inform me that I wouldn’t be getting a copy of my reading stuff until the night before. Because the priest was writing them.

Not being Catholic myself, this didn’t send off any warning bells like it would have with other, more normal people.

After huffing it to the rehearsal on Friday, I was shocked to learn that I would be reading the “Lord Hear Our Prayer” part of the service. When I told this to Daver, who knows the church much better than I, his jaw dropped open like a sea bass and he started laughing. When he finally stopped, after seeing the quizzical look on my face, he sputtered,

“You’re…” *snort, snort* “You’re leading THE PRAYERS!” Then he erupted into another gale of laughter as the realization seeped into my brain.

Now, I’m a fan of organized religion, despite not knowing much about it, and I love the rituals and the kneeling and the singing, but this, this was Pashmina’s way of getting back at me for making her wear a strapless dress to my wedding.

I’m probably the least qualified person on the planet to lead prayers in a Catholic wedding.

No, seriously.

The wedding, though, was lovely, and I found myself misting up when she walked down the aisle. Here was my FRIEND, the one that was busted by the Jesuits with me, and she, well, she was in the puffy white dress and aww….

And the leading of the prayers even went fine. I did not erupt into a fireball of flame and ash at the altar. I did not wear my own wedding dress, as previously threatened. I simply read the lines, prayed, and then sat back down before bounding off to drink with some old friends.

Because I dropped out of Girl Scouts after realizing that even at age 8, I had no aptitude or interest whatsoever for crafts or cooking, I am never prepared. So during the three hour break between wedding and reception, I sent The Daver off to find appropriate cards.

He did, although I don’t remember what they said, only that I wrote “Happy Birthday, Steve!” on the outside after I was chastised for not properly addressing it.

(my point was: who the hell ELSE would I be getting a card for or giving a card to AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME?)

(answer: apparently, Steve)

The reception was a total blast. We got to hang with old friends and drink, eat delicious meat twinkies (tiny, mini meat sandwiches) and watch other people get drunk. With the exception of the woman who came up to me mid-bite, while she waited in line at the buffet, and demanded to know what I was eating in a fairly unkind way, it was fucking awesome.

And that lady? Just weird.

I hadn’t spoken to Pashmina until today because I was giving her time to both consummate the marriage and enjoy her honeymoon (bitch), and I figured she was kind of people-d out.

She called me today to discuss, sandwiched in between her bragging about her tan (bitch), the card that I’d gotten her.

Specifically, the check I had written her.

My initial thought was, “SHIT, did it bounce? I had money in the account!” immediately followed by “shit! Did I make it out to the right person?”

But no. My check didn’t bounce, and I absolutely did spell her name properly (after 10 years, even my dumb ass has learned to spell some things). Let’s just say that I pulled off the ULTIMATE Feat Of Awesomeness.

See, now, when I’d written out the check, I engaged in a revolting and juvenile past time of mine. Whenever I write out a personal check to a friend, I make sure to include something special in the MEMO box.

My favorite, and easily most common is “Funky Butt-Lovin'” but that night, I’d had a migraine (same as I do now, WHEE!) and couldn’t quite remember.

So instead, I wrote in the MEMO box: “Butt Sex” figuring she’d get a chuckle out of that among the “CONGRADULATIONS (sic)” and “Wedding” (which I saw on many of my checks from my own wedding). I hadn’t thought about it since.

But no, Pashmina hadn’t forgotten it. Not at all.

Turns out that as they’d deposited their checks, Pashmina had made some sort of addition error (I will blame her English degree (s) on this one)(somewhere, she is flicking off the computer as she reads this) and the bank had An Issue.

An Issue, of course, that had to be corrected IN PERSON at the bank. So, like the adult she is, Pashmina marched into the bank to figure out what the hell was going on.

The clerk couldn’t figure it out, save that one check had not been accounted for, so he signaled his manager over. His manager, who took one look at the Problem Check and said to Pashmina, “You got a check for BUTT SEX?”

The bank stopped. The bank stopped and the bank listened and then the bank burst out laughing. Tellers doubled over in their lanes laughing, tears rolling down their faces as they had to explain and apologize to customers for their inappropriate behavior.

Like a rock in a stream, Pashmina stood there, probably cursing my mother for birthing me, and certainly cursing herself for inviting me into her dorm room to hang out. She alternated between laughing herself and trying to appear unfazed and unflappable, and the matter was, at long last, after several calls to corporate, settled.

Pashmina, payback’s a BITCH, eh?

The Butt Sex Check Saga Part B

There are always about 40 sides to every story, right? I told you my side of the butt sex story here (as well as back in September). This is Pashmina’s side.

For simplicity’s sake, I tell people that Becky is my college roommate. This is not entirely true, as she lived two doors down from me, but she might as well have lived in my room, seeing as how SHE SPENT PRACTICALLY EVERY WAKING MOMENT STEALING OUR BEER. YES YOU, BECKY.

We have been friends for 10 years. It would have been, in fact, 10 years ago this fall that I was all, “Can I smoke in here?” and Becky was all “sure!” and her roommate was all, “SMOKING IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DIIIIIIIIIIE.” So, it’s true that I’ve known Becky a long time.

It is also true (she denies this) that when we get together, your Aunt Becky and I suffer from revertigo. This is to say that when we get together, we behave like the 19 year olds we once were, which is to say that our collective average age when we get together is about 12. Dick and fart jokes are the norm, and whenever Bones and I leave an afternoon with Becky, he lovingly tells me, “You guys are fucking ridiculous.” It’s true. I am.

It would not surprise you, then, to learn that for our wedding, Becky made a check out to us and wrote in the memo “Butt Sex.” It certainly didn’t surprise ME, and Bones and I got a good chuckle out of it when, a couple days after the wedding, we went through our gifts so that we could deposit any money before going on our honeymoon.

I slipped the check into the pile, deposited it, and Bones and I spent a week in the Caribbean. (ed note: Bitch)

When we came back, I had a letter from the bank. I opened it, and it contained three things:
1. A notice of error that said (and I quote) “Check Enclosed, Not Listed. Account Debited.”
2. A copy of the deposit slip
3. A copy of a check from your very own Aunt Becky, for Butt Sex.

Being that the whole thing was cryptic and confusing, I called the bank for an explanation. They told me I would have to go into the particular branch where we had made the deposit, since they didn’t quite understand either.

Not thinking anything of it at the time, I put “Bank” on my list of errands and headed over. Whatevs. I walked up to the teller, explained my confusion politely, and asked if he could provide me an explanation. He guessed at something. I asked a follow-up question. He called over his manager.

His manager came over to the teller window, looked at the documents and said–louder than she needed to–“OMG, who wrote you a check for butt sex?!”

The bank stopped for a split second and then erupted in peals of laughter around me. Me, I was caught between wanting to fall over laughing and being totally irritated that THE CHECK THEY PULLED OUT HAPPENED TO HAVE THE WORDS ‘BUTT SEX’ on it.

There were several other checks for identical amounts, but no, the bank and to pull THAT ONE for me. Thanks, Bank. Thanks for making me explain that my college roommate decided that this would be a hilarious thing to do.

I mean, it’s one thing when she writes me thank you notes that read “Dear Aunt P, Thank you so much for the Beer and Crack Whore money you gave Alex for his 2nd Birthday.” It’s totally another to have to take a check for Butt Sex to a business.

I explained that my college roommate had a sense of humor, in a way that implied that I didn’t while the bank continued to laugh around me.

Said the Teller, “Do you think maybe they didn’t deposit it because it said– because of the memo line?” (by now, the stern-faced, Chicago-bred security guard was smiling)

Manager, “Um, let me call corporate and ask.”

aw, fuck.

So, I took a seat and waited while the manager called the corporate headquarters and explained the situation and my confusion. Then I heard her say clearly, “Oh! Yes, it is Paisana!” She pulled the phone away from her mouth and said to me, “He remembers you!”

Oooof course he does.

A few more minutes with corporate–and several tellers who had to explain to the PEOPLE DRIVING THROUGH THE DRIVE UP WHY THEY WERE LAUGHING–later, the manager called me back over to her desk to explain to me what corporate had told her, assuring me the whole time that no, corporate had not rejected the check for Butt Sex.

She was very happy to use the words “butt sex” freely, too, and every time she said it, the security guard got a chuckle and EVERYONE IN LINE looked my direction with a “WTF?” expression.

She then explained to me that my error had been in addition (I had added the check twice) and we went through the deposit slip line by line until I was satisfied that my bad math–and not bank error–was at play. I thanked her for the explanation and she said to me, “Tell your friend she’s funny!”

She’ll appreciate that.

National Pregnancy, Infant And Child Loss Day: Tables Missing One

Band Back Together is doing a wall of remembrance as well. Please visit if you can. We’re also calling for submissions from our pregnancy, baby, child  loss mama and daddies this month. Any issues logging in email bandbacktogether@gmail.com.

When I first started blogging, I found myself fitting in, not with the other mom bloggers, but with the fringe groups. The infertility bloggers, the baby loss bloggers, the special needs bloggers – those were people I could identify with much more so than the people I was supposed to fit in with. Maybe I hadn’t lost a child, maybe I hadn’t struggled in that very same way, but I had struggled in my own way.

We were the outsiders. The misfits. We had stories that no one wanted to hear about. Elephants sat at our tables, in corners and we were forever on the outside of normal, looking in. It’s the natural progression, I suppose, that I would create a space for us to gather. I’m proud of that. There are many of us outsiders. So many more than I’d thought.

When my daughter was born sick, it was no surprise that it was these people that came to my side with swords to help me slay my dragon, fluffy tissues to wipe the tears, and a barf bucket for when it all came to be too much.

I have an email folder that I’ve carefully saved every email I’ve gotten from that time that someday, I will print out to show my daughter. Most of the emails are from the people like me. Like most of you. The outsiders. The people who have been through hell but know how to make the ride a little…easier.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss day. Every year, I do a Wall of Remembrance for the people who have picked me up, dusted me off and wiped the barf off my face when I needed it most.

For that, I owe them everything.

According to the Center’s For The Disease Control’s Website, about 1 in every 100-200 births in the United States results in a stillbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million stillbirths occur yearly worldwide. One in every four diagnosed pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The numbers for neonatal and postnatal deaths run into the tens of thousands.

Those numbers seem large to me, but even after having to take a statistics class to get through nursing school I can’t say that I’m much of a numbers person. My son, he likes numbers, which is why he’ll be off saving the world, one string of code at a time, while Your Aunt Becky sits here, mouth breathing and occasionally wondering aloud, “Is the INTERNET working?”

Numbers aren’t my thing. People are my thing. 1 in 100-200 sounds like a hell of a lot bigger number when you attach faces to those numbers. Faces, stories and names. People. My friends. My nieces, my nephews, their parents. Tables forever missing one. Lives cut short. Unlived.

Still born. Born still.

My friends. Their children.

Today, we remember.

Shale

Matthew

Charlie

Cora

Thalon

Maddie

Peyton Elizabeth

Hannah

Sarah Kay

Paige

Ashley

Hannah

Baby Morgan

Baby Twin lost at 8 wks

Kiara Jolie

Jellybean

Baby C miscarried at 12 weeks on 1/7/07

Robin

Brian

<3 speck, Peanut, and Bean <3

Mindy’s three angels

Baby Jersey Girl Gets Real

Caleb

Gabriel

Anne & Jed’s babies

Sydney

Athena Rose Moore – 24 weeks Gestation (2nd loss, only one named)

Baby 1 – 9 weeks

Baby B – Twin to my 13yo, 12 weeks

Baby 2 – 9 weeks

Baby JP

Kathlyn

Baby Cherry

Nicholas

Ellis

Tevin, Taylor & Tristen

Elijah Michael

Brenna

Kherrington Faith

Baby H and Baby Boy H

Kalila

Baby J A and Baby J B

Anna

William

Robert Alan

Isabel Grace

Maddy

William Henry

Lilee

James and Jake

Aodin

Selena- lost pregnancy at 9 weeks

Callum

Sarah

Connor

Liam

Samuel

Jacob Lane

Caden

Masyn

Olive Lucy

Seth Milton

Abigail Hlee

JoeJoe Sherman

Baby Nick

Gabriel Anton

Ryan

Jonathan

Devin Alin

Jacob and Joshua

Baby K, Gabriel Connor, Christian Elliot and Andrew

Emmerson

Baby Kuyper

Mara S.

Nathan Michael

Eva and seven additional losses

Timothy, Taea, and Thomas

Kyle S.

John Addison

Raime, Elora & Connor

Ava and Nathaniel

Rose

Micaela, Angelica, and Frankie

Donald Angus

ETW’s seven losses

Becca’s twin siblings

Piper Isabelle

Libby’s Baby

Baby Cline

Addison Hope

Ryne Moyer

Marcus Reeves

Julian Ulysses

Becky

Caleb

Sean Isaac

Clayton and Skylar

Jessica Anne

Paul James

Ashlynn Brooks

David Lee

Babies Boone

David

Olcott-Lueke angels

Baby A and Baby B twin girls

Baby Girl B and Baby Boy A

Becca’s Twin Siblings

Jackson

Kaitlyn Grace

Brennan

Ellery

Robert Daniel

Quinn

Josie Ree Smith

Isabel

Issac

Samuel and Amelia

Draven Fredrick

Baby George – stillbirth

Eva and 7 other losses

In memory of my baby girl, Kaela Alexandria, 7 months and 4 days old when she passed.

Luke – stillbirth

Baby Ari, August 21, 2000.

Baby 1, August 2004, miscarriage. Baby 2, September 2009, and little baby girl Addison, accidental suffocation, 2008.

Ethan

Iris Rose, respiratory problems, three years old, April, 2012.

MTGracie – Her two little forget-me-nots.

Baby Roessler, miscarriage, 7 weeks gestation

Noah Issac (9/1999) and Angel Faith (6/2005)

Lidia Faith and Ronnie Jo aged 7 and 3 at time of death on 12/2/2010. They passed away in a house fire.

Our sweet baby Ava Rose, miscarried at 13 weeks on Oct 3, 2007. I will never forget. <3

Mackenzie. She’d have been 19 this year.

Patrick and Anthony, born at 22 weeks gestation. They would be 19 1/2, if they had lived.

Isabella Joy (miscarried in April 2003).

Thaddeus and Clara

Zephyrus Atiyyah

———–

I’ll add any names to this list so if you’d like me to add a name, please don’t hesitate to email me at becky.harks@gmail.com or leave a comment.

At Band Back Together, we have a Wall of Remembrance as well. Remembering, loving these lost souls is so very important to me.

At 7 pm tonight, October 15th, A Day To Remember, I will burn a candle in memorium.

Dona nobis pacem.

(give us peace) Lord, give us peace.

What Was Decidedly NOT Brownie Batter

Part I

Part II

Part III

After what felt to be 27 years – but was more likely to have been 27 minutes – I decided that one melting down child (read: me) was enough; it was time to return to our humble room to watch some … whatever people watch in hotels that isn’t porn. When I’d skinned the kids of their wet suits, much to their vocal displeasure, I noted that they were covered tip to tail in a rash. Attributing it to over-chlorination, I felt, for the first time, pleased with the hotel. We all know kids whiz in pools with alarming frequency and by the rashes on their bodies, I figured that even if some kid dropped some pipe in the pool, it’d probably immediately be reduced into an effervescent chemical reaction that looked remarkably like pool water. The kids, on the other hand, weren’t as comforted as I. Instead of doing the right thing and plunking them into the bath, instead I tried to rub hydro-cortisone cream onto their skin.

Bad fucking news.

I halfway expected DCFS to break down the doors with the screams Mimi was emitting, noting that while they didn’t quite sheer the ugly “tropical” wallpaper from the walls, it came damn close. Feeling like total shit for making things worse, I tried to make it up to them without much success. Finally, my father returned with Culver’s which, at the very least, provided the distraction needed to move on with the evening with our eardrums intact.

We picked at the food until we deemed it “done” and began the task of cleaning the room. As I hadn’t known when we’d be lounging against the machine, I’d declined maid service for the day and embraced shopping instead. Besides, I’m perfectly capable of cleaning up a mess made in part by me and in part by those who (unfortunately for them) share my DNA. The Littles sat on the bed watching Minecraft videos and lamenting the snail’s pace of the hotel wireless while I busily cleaned the room, getting ready for the ultimate in sucktastic jobs – packing.

Soon the room was nearly clean and I steeled myself for the packing project by staring dejectedly at my suitcase, hoping that some magical packing fairy would come along and pack for me. I’m absolutely uncertain how – without purchasing a single thing – every time I go to pack, my crap has multiplied. With the kids? It’s like eleventy-niner times the amount I’d brought. When no magical packing gnome fell out of the sky or someone’s ass, I got ready to get down and dirty.

That was when something caught my eye.

Earlier that day, we’d thrown what was supposed to pass for food down our throats. I sadly ate my boring oatmeal as I jealously watched my eldest devour a chocolate chip muffin. I don’t know if the muffin was supposed to be “extra mess-worthy,” but I swear to you, Pranksters, I’ve never seen a muffin end up spattered on walls, in the hallway, and in the bedroom next door. I’d assume it’s simply Ben’s amazing ability to eat without actually getting food in his mouth, but without further inspection, I didn’t particularly care.

So that’s what I assumed it was.

More chocolate chip muffin carnage.

Because I am not a complete dick*, I grabbed some tissue to pick up the chunk on the floor – no reason to make more work for the maids, who, I’d assumed, lived in a perpetual homicidal state after cleaning up after kids all day, every day. It was, I figured, the very least I could do. Only after I’d absentmindedly picked up the chunk on the floor did I realize what it was. It wasn’t muffin wreckage. It wasn’t the remains of the airplane that vanished. It was decidedly not brownie batter. It wasn’t the Lindbergh baby or that huge ass diamond from motherfucking Titanic. It wasn’t even Carmen motherfucking Sandiego.

No.

It was a chunk of shit.

Horrified, I threw the offending turd into the garbage can and practically elevated to the bathroom to scour my hands. The kids, sensing something was wrong – I think it was the screaming and retching that tipped ’em off – stared at me all wide-eyed. I stared back at them, remembering all of the times I’d said “jeepers, mister, this room smells like a fresh dook!” when it dawned on me – without maid service in the room, the remnants of someone’s colon had been sitting on the floor since we’d checked in. We’d unknowingly slept in a hotel room in which someone had laid pipe.

Someone’s entirely digested breakfast had made its way from their colon onto the floor in my hotel room. Crawled? Deliberately placed? Oops I crapped my pants? Carelessly tossed from a rectum? Gnomes? Vampires? I scratched at the inside of my brain and could come up with no good reason why a pile of poo had been left in the room. And I knew I never would.

It was then that I suffered a complete break from reality:

“I think we’re all fucked in the head. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun!”

(pants)

“We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! Holy Shit

“I think,” Alex said to his sister, “Mommy needs her medicine.”

“Yup,” she nodded. “She does.”

*Results pending

Twi Hard

Yesterday at 1:14

Me: “You know what I don’t get? TWILIGHT.”

Lauren: “Oh Em Eff Ge I LOVE those books.”

Me: “How can you read them? Stephanie Meyer can’t write herself out of a paper bag?”

Lauren: “I may have also seen every movie opening night.”

Me: …sputters… (eye twitches)

Lauren: “Haha.”

Me: (googles “how to understand Twilight if you haven’t read it,” then thoughtfully erases it from the search box in case someone wandered by and accidentally saw that I’d googled anything about Twilight. Filled search box with “why is orange a color and a flavor?”)

Me: “Okay, I found something that sorta explains it to me.”

Me: (reads)

Lauren: “Is it helping?”

Me: “Not really – why does Bella love that one dude that has a shirt on?”

Lauren: “Because she’s marked for love with *swoons* Edward.”

Me: (goggles at her) “Wait, so in this land everyone has a “soulmate?”

Lauren: “Well, vampires do.”

Me: “I feel myself getting dumber.”

————-

Today 9:34

Me: “So I’ve thought about this whole “Twilight” thing and I realized that I’ve changed my mind.”

Lauren, “Yeah?”

Me: “I figure anything that gets those cretins we call “tweens” reading and away from Justin Bieber… well, that’s a good thing. And really, there’s no reason to hate the series – I don’t want to be one of those pretentious asshats who’s all ‘lookit me, I HATE something that’s MAINSTREAM.'”

Lauren: “Absolutely.”

Lauren: “I’ll bring you in one of the books.”

Me: (googles “Twilight quotes” and comes across a gem about Bella, the angrily constipated protagonist, who is now bleeding from the eyes.)

Me: “So wait – Bella is now bleeding from the eyeballs?”

Lauren: “Yeah, she must be a vampire now.”

Me: (goggles)

Lauren: “Vampires bleed from the eyeballs.”

Me: “You know you’re not making this decision any easier on me.”

Things Unsaid Today

“I was so happy to see your Mom at Alex’s concert the other day. Saw she’s using a cane now, so’s mine. She’s been falling a lot – I’ve had to go over and help her off the floor more times than I care to count. She needs a second total knee replacement now; she told me that your mom does, too. Sucks watching our parents get older, doesn’t it? Fuck, it sucks getting older – period.”

“You’ve been on your own Medical Mystery Tour – forgot to tell you: I finally had that MRI. I guess I got tired of people making the whole, “a migraine for a month is called a ‘brain tumor'” joke and figured that if I was actually dying, I should probably be aware – I’d have to plan my own funeral, after all. The test wasn’t too bad, but it was the first time I’d had to sign one of those “emergency contact” forms. I no longer had anyone to list and it felt weird. I’d actually started to fill out your information when it dawned on me – you’re no longer my person. You lose people in small ways for a long time, I guess.”

“Got the results back the other day – “bright spots and structural changes consistent with chronic migraines.” Beats the balls a brain tumor – guess Mimi and I have more in common than erms, well, everything. She’d probably agree that the only time you want to hear the term “bright spot” is when you’re talking about diamonds, not your brain – she’s my daughter, after all. The neuro seems unperturbed by this – the bright spots, not the diamonds; never talked to him about those – so I guess it’s just one of those things that happens. Still kinda scary. I try not to think on it.”

“Hope work is going great for you; I know how you love your job. My job’s going well – just got a promotion. So weird to think that all of those years ago when you told me I should “start a blog,” it would change my life. Not only did I start spewing verbal diarrhea across the Internet on Mommy Wants Vodka, I founded Band Back Together; landed a job as a writer in downtown Chicago. Thanks for the suggestion – never really did think it’d go anywhere. It’s funny – I regularly take the very same train you’d tried to unsuccessfully catch all those years. Reminds me of college: I still bitch about the “lifers” and commuters on the train – they’re still the same pricks I remember. Never did love the bustle of the city like you did, but it fills my days, and that’s what matters.”

“Glad to see you’re still using the “Good Dog” bowls I bought for the cats years ago, remember how I’d laughed at my cleverness? Miss those days. Happens, I s’pose. That reminds me, the wisteria needs a good pruning. Sorry to see that the trellis I’d put up didn’t withstand the harsh winters a bit better. It was a good experiment. Saw that you’ve got an old wasp nest on the porch, right by the nickel address sign I’d proudly picked out – the kids are so scared of bees, you may want to take care of that before it’s a problem. I can do it if you want – wait, that’d be weird. Forget I offered. The flower beds I’d planted in the front are overgrown with weeds – I’ll teach the kids how to take care of them. Bet they love the magnolia I’d planted to replace those overgrown horrifying bushes I ripped out when I realized they made us look like those creepy people who probably made lamps out of the boobs of dead hookers. Always wanted a magnolia bush. Never did get to see it bloom.”

“Feels so weird to be in an apartment after living in a home for so long. Forgotten how transient apartment living makes life feel. Always did like the idea of putting down roots somewhere – I know it wasn’t your style, but it was – still is – mine. I’ll plant another magnolia, more roses, have another orchid collection. Someday.”

“Did I tell you? I’m Marching for Babies again this year! Still looking for more people to join our team – so far it’s a couple of my work buddies. Remember the last time we did it? Mimi was barely walking, Alex was too young to go, and Ben, well, it was a long hike for him. Just a few of us walked right along the river. I remember happily pointing out my (old) apartment complex to you. Sure never thought I’d move back there. Man, that feels a lifetime ago. This year, I’m walking along the Lakefront downtown – both Alex and Mimi want to walk, but I’m torn. One hand says, Mimi is one of the reasons I walk for babies, the other reminds me that, 3 miles is particularly long for a five-year old, even if she is a miracle. Hm. Yeah. Maybe I’ll get a stroller.”

“Saw the new car in the driveway, glad you got that CR-V off your hands. I know it was a good idea to get it at the time, but it turned out to be an albatross of a thing. Alex told me that your parents got it for you – that’s really nice of them. I’m sure the new car is more gas efficient – total plus. You must be so happy about that.”

But I don’t say any of these things.

I can’t.

My mouth’ll form the words, but the words won’t come out.

What tumbles out is, “See you later,” as I bundle the kids out the door I once tripped through spilling my diet Coke down the hallway as laughter rang freely. I hear you say, “Yeah, whatever. She’s here. She’s just taking them for a couple hours.” Tears I can’t explain sting my eyes as I walk out the door of the house I once called home.

Street Fighting (wo)Man

Part I
Part II

Because I am not only stupid, but dumb too, I can’t back down from a fight.

I tried once, but it broke my arm.

So when I started getting the hairy eyeball for daring to sit on an unoccupied chair adorned with an unused beach towel, my fake-rock bruised ass was absofuckinglutly ready for the Thunderdome. Wearily, I hummed Eye of the Tiger and was all “I know EXACTLY what roadkill feels like” as the entire row of vultures, er, people in the chairs in front of me got up, one by one, and began to form a semi-circle around one man who appeared, from my vantage point, to be as tall as he was wide. By their goat-eyed stares, I assumed they were either talking about me, or the kid in the glasses in the corded-off area behind me devouring an ice cream sundae using absolutely no silverware at all.

Honestly, I couldn’t blame the group if the kid were the target – that’s pretty impressive.

street fighting woman

The staring contest persisted far past my comfort level, and when bordering on “abject annoyance,” my opponent made himself known. Hoisting up jean shorts purchased (assuming) deliberately in size “comically large,” he waddled over to me. Not because he was overweight; not a bit, but because his pants were so enormous they needed their own area code and walking as a normal human being would have been damn near impossible. Nevertheless, he deliberately made every attempt to appear as though he was swaggering all macho toward me, which made him seem about as hardcore as Grimace or Big Bird. It was clear he was posturing in front of his crew and all 63,027,182 children in the pool, so I let him have his moment. Clearly, waddling is hardcore work, so it took him a good few minutes to travel the twenty feet to me; the one I’d “stolen” after I’d finished my days work of mercilessly butchering baskets of fluffy kittens, insulting a wee baby piglet in rain boots, and knocking over teacups filled with incy-wincy hedgehogs.

By the time he actually reached me, he was sweating so profusely that it looked for a small moment that the tattoo across his neck said, “Booby,” instead of “Baby.” Maybe that “art” was intentional – I’m not a fucking tattoo artist. Because I am also physically incapable of making a good decision, I stood up tall and proud as he tried to squash me with his eyeballs … this time from a closer distance. What he had misjudged as he postured before his crew was something very simple: I was easily half a foot taller than him. While this may seem a moot point, I’m sad to report that I’m only 5’5″ which does not a hulking Amazonian princess make. His eyes widened as I stood – I was even taller in the heels I was wearing.

It was clear he’d not thought this through. But could he back down in front of his crew? Could he? Could he be beaten into submission by a female? I wasn’t sure and, I like to think, neither was he. He got into my face to see if the whole “personal bubble” thing would, I don’t know, knock down and cause me to whimper for sweet mercy at his flippity-flops. I’d have said, “Ha, I have kids, motherfucker. I can’t even take a poo without someone trying to clamor up onto my lap,” but it was too fucking loud to communicate.

As we sized each other up and down and back up again, his eyes began tearing, which I’d initially attributed to fear, but in hindsight, was probably due to the heavily chlorinated air, he made his decision: he could. He COULD back down. There was no place, it appeared, for a street fighting (wo)man in this waterpark. Which was just as well – I didn’t want to brawl in front of my kids.

With that sad, sad realization, shame mingled with the sweat now traveling down his pants, making him appear to have pissed himself, he did a Waddle of Shame back to his friends, but not before he grabbed the free beach towel off the back of the chair, his eyes daring me brawl over the free towel. I simply stared, undeterred.

Once he was safely back into his pack of still-glaring friends, I settled back into the tacky beach chair, eyes squarely on my kids – well, two of them – no one’s returned my call about cosmetic surgery to add a third eye. Eyes daring between the three kids, I waved at Mimi who was happily splashing in the wave pool that was, no doubt, full of the pee of a thousand diapered asses, and smiled, no idea that evil was about to hit so very close to home.

Dun-dun-dunnnnnnn.

 Part IV of this omfg-stop-talking-about-your-stupid-vacation-already-Becky will conclude this series. EVENTUALLY.

Panic! At the Pool!

Part I

After wandering through the endless labyrinth of badly-carpeted halls while lugging the absolute most amount of crap I’ve ever packed for a trip, finally, we reached our room. The kids, by this time, were weeping from hunger, and I’d begun to shake although I couldn’t say for certain if it was low blood sugar, horror at the prices of a cup of entirely mediocre coffee, or as an aftereffect of the cacophony of the lobby. Eyes set forward on an unfixed mark way down at the end of the hallway, I set my mouth into a thin line and said to no one in particular, “We’d better get there fucking soon.”

The kids nodded tearfully.

Standing in front of our room, dutifully, I whipped out the packet the guy at the front desk had slithered to me as he mumbled this or that. For all I know, I’d just agreed to let him harvest my kidneys in exchange for my keys – it was too loud and I’d left all the fucks to give in my other pants. Into the tiny folder I went, fingers scouring for that telltale plastic edge to simultaneously give me a paper(plastic?)cut and let me know that I’d gotten the implement that’d allow me to laze about in my underwear for the next two days.

Nothing.

Nada.

Confused, I put down the 37 stuffed animals and “special” blankets my children insisted were too heavy to carry, and searched with my eyeballs this time. Again. Nothing. A couple’ve plastic wrist bands for the kids but nothing that would allow me access to my room.

Well, fuck.

Briefly, I considered sitting down on my luggage and having a good old fashioned cry, but realized that it’d have just given me a worse headache than the hibiscus carpet and fuck-you-in-the-eyeballs paint on each wall already had.

Then, I looked down at the gigantic, orange band that looked as though it’d been thoughtfully regifted by the local penitentiary. I remember the dude at the front desk mumbling something at me about those particular bands, but unless he’d looked at me directly in the face, two inches from touching eyeballs and screamed, there was no way I was hearing dick. Hell, I already had ringing in my ears from merely hanging out in the lobby.
Stupidly, I did something that was probably going to cost me a good mocking for the rest of the vacation: I held my wrist up to the door like some wanna-be psychic. I whispered, “enter sesame,” although I didn’t even begin to understand why.

Click-whirr-click

Green light.

The door opened.

I’d like to say that balloons and streamers, possibly a hot guy in a cake popping out from somewhere, as calliope music filled the hall, but that’d be a lying lie. With absolutely zero pomp OR circumstance, we entered our room. My first thought was “wow, Panama Jack ejaculated everywhere,” followed quickly by, “there’s no door to the bathroom.” I shrugged at the last bit and vowed NEVER to carry a blacklight with me – if Panama Jack boofed anywhere, I’d rather be none the wiser then huddled in a plastic hefty bag.

The third thought that tumbled out was, “it smells like poo in here,” which I immediately wrote off as being par for the course – this was a kid’s resort, kids poo, kids often poo in the wrong places, and like second-hand smoke, it was probably just one of the delightful treats of staying at a kid-friendly hotel.

My father came into our room, gruffly told us to put on pants (which, had he looked, he’d have noticed were squarely on our bodies) so that we could go out to dinner. At that moment, I nearly hugged him. Dinner was everything you’d expect in a cheesy faux-tropical hell – bland, expensive, but with kicky (read: corny) names. Not one of us complained – we were so hungry that the Aye-Aye-Matey Burger tasted cardboard; delicious cardboard.

By that time, my mother and my eldest had arrived and quickly we switched to our swimsuits and headed downstairs for a late-night swim. And, it turns out, we were about to be schooled in the Ways of a Tacky Waterpark. The instructions, posted absolutely nowhere, included:

  • Letting your kid unattended in the pool area is a great idea, especially so you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage
  • Unattended children will attack your attended children with the ferocity of a thousand angry suns and you can’t do much about it unless you want to brawl
  • Pooing is okay in the pool so long as no one claims it
  • You should take every item you own and drape them over all of the chairs surrounding the pool, in the event that your fifty-sixth cousin from Brazil comes in to the States unannounced, somehow locates you at the water park, and would like to sit down

Feverishly, I wished that I drank alcohol for the 37th time in an hour and a half as I sat in the pool area, bombarded by inhuman noises that seemed to rattle the inside of my skull. I tried tuning them out. No luck. I tried listening over the din to Jimmy Buffet, wishing I could shove that cheeseburger down his smug motherfucking throat. Didn’t help. People-watching only reminded me that I needed to shave.

One by one, I pulled Alex and Amelia out of the pool, thanking the powers that be for dominant genes and together, we shivered back into the room.

“It smells like poo in here,” I remarked to absolutely no one – which is precisely who responded to my statement – as we readied ourselves for bed. One by one, we began to drift off into sleep, the delicate scent of an oddly-fresh pile dook playfully tantalizing our nostrils. I dreamed that night about a poo-flavored air freshener and woke early to cheerful pounding at the door. Blearily, I answered the door, knowing full well my nipples were on display through my sleep shirt – I was, once again, fresh out of fucks to give.

My dad, looking as though he’d just smoked a gallon of meth and was examining the wall to see the individual paint molecules moving about, greeted me: “GOOD MORNING, REBECCA,” he boomed. “READY TO GO SWIMMING AGAIN?”

No. The answer was no. I wanted coffee, a nap, and possibly a chocolate-chip muffin. I did not want to go swimming. Not even for a second.

But the kids were clamoring around my feet, all doe-eyed and sweetly inquiring if I’d please, oh very please, ma’am take them to the pool. I wondered for half a second how my kids had learned the phrase “ma’am” and then decided I didn’t much give a shit. Drinking hotel coffee swill, I grasped the hand of each of The Littles and off we trotted to the pool.

Nearly bowled over by the stench of chlorine, the kids made a beeline for pool and I looked around for a place to plop my ass. No way in fuck I was going to showcase my dimply white ass in the pool to a bunch of strangers which; now that I think on it, would be better than showing it off to my friends.

ANYWAY.

Chairs mysteriously taken by “beach” towels that appeared to have no owner, we took turns hovering over a rock, my parents and I, until my mother finally said “Fuck THIS” and plopped her ass onto a towel-covered chair. Hobbled, my bruised ass followed suit. Which is when the glares began. The front row of chairs circled the pool, making it an ideal place to watch your kids, if, in fact, that was your goal. It did not appear to be the goal of anyone in the front row, as they stumbled around, clearly intoxicated. As someone who refers lovingly to her children as “crotch parasites,” I am by no means a helicopter parent, but I do want to know where the shit my kids are if they’re in a gigantic pool (Read: DANGER) so this apathy toward children baffled me.

As no one appeared to be drowning, I sat back to live and let live. Which was, apparently, not shared by the guest’s whose chair I “stole.” A pack of people stood up from the front row, glaring at me, shouting to one another, while staring at me as though my skull make a nice trophy hanging on the wall of a rec room.

I stared back, undeterred.

They made their move.

I stood my ground.

Sorry, Pranksters, but Part III will air soon. I’m still getting used to writing all day, every day.
Gotta get my groove back on.