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.



Rachel said...

You're back! And just when I was searching for things to read on the internets ... since I'm back to pumping every 2 hours round the clock for the next several weeks ... Also not working, although for rather different reasons. Sadly moved away from our lovely mini-Manhattan dwelling about 4 hours South to another big city for JD's job. I can't believe Frankie is almost 6 - the fusspot is 5 and a half and I often think we still treat her like a toddler. If you still have my e-mail send me an e-mail offline.

BigP's Heather said...

Soooooo to hear from you! I might have to update my blog sometime soon too...

eden riley said...

Jesus FUCK all of these things happened!! You quit your JOB and everything ... major, major props for the care and diligence and patience in his assessments and diagnoses, bloody hell Tobacco.

I love reading your words. Please keep writing them. Nobody does it like you. And man did I FUCKING JUST GUFFAW two paragraphs in at your blog being outed in a mommy club. I remember how awful it was at the time but for some reason it's hilarious now, like, who gives a shit? You write bunch of words on the net so what?

Love and gin to you XXXXXX