July 23, 2014

She's Evil.

Me, during a phone call to my mother, recently:

“You know, Frankie has always presented me with challenges…right from the beginning. There was the discovery of the heart defect and the open heart surgery and the lagging behind in developmental milestones, and now these latest motor skills issues which are probably going to end up creating legitimate learning disabilities…but, behavior wise, he has always been so easy.”

Then I keep bragging because even though I’m 40 years old I have apparently not yet learned how the universe works:

“He takes no for an answer and transitions so easily. He shares beautifully and is so sweet and laid back and easy going. He’s never had a SINGLE tantrum or meltdown. He really is an angel.”

After that, I hung up the phone and ran over to the mall to make a return with Frankie where we discovered a bouncy house on the first floor. Quickly we learned that only members of the mall’s kids’ club could use the bouncy house. I didn’t even have a chance to ask them to check if were members because the universe flipped some fucked-up switch somewhere and instantly turned my boy into a demon who specializes in public fucking freakouts.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeevil. She’s evil,” Frankie screamed at the perfectly polite kids’ club representative before breaking free from me and running in the direction of the bouncing rubber room in which he completely belonged if only that mall had a Straight Jackets R Us. Not gonna lie…totally considered walking away as I watched his blond head bob around in a psychotic effort to jump the line and dive head mother fucking first into the bouncy house. But my husband was elsewhere in the mall and would probably wonder where our only child had ended up during my watch.

So I became her. That mortified woman I’ve probably condescendingly smiled at 1000 times in public spaces while urging my child not to stare: “It’s not polite, angel,” before smugly walking into Starbucks to enjoy a coffee, feeling so fortunate to have gotten a good kid. Turns out undiagnosed motor skills and muscle tone problems make your average toddler pretty damn easy to keep in line, seeing as how it’s easier for them to just hang in the stroller or on a bench.

But when they get older and the stroller goes to the consignment shop and the pre-k teacher insists that playgrounds are for running and climbing, not sitting and chatting up babies in the sandbox about the Fresh Beat Band….well.

 Shit gets real.

July 13, 2014

Have We Met?

In recent days I've been reminded of the powerful connection -- and dear friends -- I enjoyed when I blogged as Tobacco Brunette. And so I wandered over here and was surprised to see the number of familiar old friends who'd been popping by regularly in the last few years to see if anything was going on at TB HQ.

I felt the love.

I have been mentally composing blog posts for the three years or so it's been since I shut the whole place down after being outed in a mommy group. So I figure it's time for me to stop being chicken shit and get to gettin'. I'd like to not do this anonymously, but since I'm admittedly a little nervous and completely lacking Eden's balls, I'm going to take baby steps here, at first.

Hello. When last we connected my kid, Frankie, was like two and some change. He was super laid back and easy -- once the open heart surgery was behind us -- a blond-haired, blue-eyed ball of chill.  I was a working mom in her 30's -- fundraisin' like a mother fucker  -- the primary breadwinner in our family, I was a gin and cardio enthusiast (but rarely at the same time) raising my baby boy, while also being a charming, lovely and exemplary wife (read: blow jobs were still on the table). My husband, was a brilliant teacher and coach, living the amazing dream of actually loving your occupation (not an experience I've yet had). We lived in a rental house in a tough neighborhood I chose for its Colombian bakery and the opportunity to learn Spanish. This backfired because the only thing my cultural immersion experience achieved was offering four or five opportunities a day for my kid to mortify me by pointing excitedly at neighborhood women while yelling, "Dora!"

Fucking white people.

Now fast forward a few years and...holy shit. Frankie is pushing six and views the world as a series of opportunities to defend helpless children everywhere from the authority figures who are helping and protecting them. He inserts himself in adult-child exchanges he perceives as contentious (and he pretty much thinks they are ALL contentious) everywhere we go. He has particular disdain for cops (should have deleted Public Enemy from our iTunes years ago), life guards (he refers to them condescendingly as "winkies," the Yo-Heeve-Ho guys from Wizard of Oz), and the membership department at our club. Its, frankly, fucking annoying and I have threatened to stop including him in public outings of any kind if he doesn't stop his absurd crusade. My mother thinks it's hilarious because...well, grandmother...and says, "Oh I bet he'll grow up to become an activist."

An activist. She may as well have just said, "Oh I bet he'll never move out and you'll be supporting him for the rest of his life."

Which is an excellent segue for my next update: I'm a stay-at-home mom, now, and can't afford to support him for another six months let alone six decades (because apparently I think I'm going to make to 100). I've been at home for a little over a year now. This all came about when Frankie's private preschool decided it was time for these kids to stop being kids -- just doing nothing but having a bunch of god damned fun all the time -- and get to the business of learning to write. He was three. It did not go well. His teachers recommended I have him evaluated. I scoffed and sought other schooling/childcare options, but it turns out this is what we do in America, now. We teach kids to write at three and if you're one of those kids whose fine motor skills and/or attention span and/or general disposition can't handle it? Well...you're kinda, sorta, pretty much fucked.

I'm sure in future posts I'll have ample opportunity to go into this in more detail, but in a nutshell:

  1. Had him evaluated; told he was fine.
  2. Teachers accept this result for three months or so and then requested additional assessments.
  3. New evaluation says he has sensory processing disorder and would do better in a special ed pre-k program.
  4. We put him in the program, which meets three hours a day in the middle of the day. Incredibly fucking convenient for working families. I spend five or six months shuffling him to daycare in the AM, rushing myself to work, then moving him to the special ed pre-k program in the mid afternoon, then returning to work until running back out the door two hours before the workday concludes to beat his bus home, while my co-workers shoot daggers at my back for ditching early. I try to keep up with demands of work at night after Frankie's in bed.
  5. My performance falters at work, anyway, and my stress level goes thru the roof as I struggle to hit fiscal goals I normally beat with ease.  I struggle to provide the extra support Frankie is proving to need, as well. My house becomes a disaster area. We eat out constantly. There's a death that rattles me to the core. I drink too much (or more than normal). I gain a shit ton of weight. Something has to give.
  6. I quit my job.
  7. Boss begs me to stay on until the end of the fiscal year (about four months away at that point).
  8. So bullet point #5 continues for four months with extra special emphasis on the weight gain.
  9. I leave my job, finally, and my husband, sacrificing his love for the classroom, moves into a school administrator gig to pick up some of the slack for my lost income.
  10. I stay at home, working with Frankie on his motor skills and handwriting...it's a slow, slow process.
  11. Did I mention the motor skills and handwriting shit is a slow, slow process?
  12. Like, mother fucking slow.
  13. Eventually, Frankie is diagnosed with dyspraxia, hypotonia, ADHD-inattentive subtype. Poor child is spending his summer in private PT, private OT, extended school year in the morning to reinforce what he's learned so far, and he goes to a weekly handwriting group. Pleased and proud to say he's "killing it" in all of these services right now.
  14. He will begin kindergarten in September and I suspect that at that point I will use this blog as I did back in the infertility days -- to keep me going.
So I hope you find me, old friends. I'm going to need you.


August 1, 2012


Tap, tap...is this thing on?

Ahem. So....spending most of today, August 1, thinking about my best friend, who is so deeply missed, and trying to find a way to honor his memory.

And then it occured to me: Oh! Tobacco Brunette!

No one loved TB like he did.  It seems only right to bring her back - a resurrection of sorts with just maybe the teensiest bit more discretion.

I know most of you have moved on to wordpress and then on again to twitter, tumblr, pinter-insta-what-the-fuck-have-you, but hopefully you'll find your way back here.

I miss you.


January 14, 2011

Oh Frig

Hmmm...I thought that when I ditched my blog after the Mommy Group Discovery, I did so in a way that the blog wasn't actually deleted, but just not published anymore. Like I kinda remember coming back to my dashboard periodically, visiting TB like the grave of a dead, beautiful friend, and eyeing the option to "republish"...

Or some shit like that.

Is it all lost?

Frig, I hope not. I must investigate - in the meantime, if anyone still reads this and can advise...drop me a comment, baby.

September 11, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear TB's Adoring Public,
So. Where to start other than with I FUCKED UP, followed by I MISS YOU.

Without going into the gory details -- because gory details have gotten me into all this trouble -- I told someone in my real life, another writer I'd met who I thought would get and even like TB, that I blogged. So she found me, outed me, and I spent a few days perusing real estate ads in between panic attacks.

TB is gone and I miss her already. She was a good time, no? If only I hadn't been so careless. If only... *sniff*

I hope you'll keep in touch with me. I need to write, but I can't do this anymore so I'm thinking about reviving the fiction 'zine' (yet another tumble further backward into those glory days of mine - the 90s)...if I can find what I did with my old word processor, I'm a do it. If you want in on all the mimeographed glory-to-come email your address to tobaccobrunettesblog@gmail.com. Subscriptions will cost you a flattering comment and a foot rub. Unless you bake. If you bake, send chocolate.

If you're all mukluk-wearing and earthy and think paper belongs on trees, you can wait for the movie.

(Thanks, guys, for all your love and support during the last few years. You certainly got me through some dark days.)