Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Keeping Appearances - An Update

Posted by Anonymous - an update to her post from June...

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


This is an update to my original post back in June - "Keeping Appearances"

It has taken a long time in the making, because I'm such a details type of person, but I told my husband on Saturday that I am filing for a legal separation, and I signed a lease on my own apartment yesterday. The moving happens Saturday.

Of course there were a few more "episodes" and a few more warnings, but none of them sunk in. I believe it got to where he was drinking at least a 12 pack a day when I wasn't around to call him on it.

He is taking it extremely hard - refusing to admit it will be okay as long as he gets help (which he does plan on getting), unable to face our 7 year old daughter, begging me to not leave the house. I have stood my ground though and insisted that I need my own place so I can feel safe and secure. I know that the best thing is for him to get counseling not only for the drinking, but to deal with his sudden loss of everything he knows. It is not my place to get him through it - they are his consequences to suffer, not mine.

He has asked me to go with him to his appointment at the outpatient treatment center next week. I said yes of course, this is about getting him better, not punishing him. I still will be able to keep distance though with a place of my own. I will at least know that I can decide not to see, talk, or deal with him at any time I want or feel it is necessary for the children.

I find myself telling him that as long as he is getting treatment and we go to counseling, we can still be a family, we just have to go about it one step at a time in a different way for a while, with me in my own place. That is okay, isn't it?

And, as far as our daughter is concerned - she's handling it well. She knows that she will go to a new school this year, but maybe next year she can go back to the "first school". She will be able to do more activities than she could living where we were, and she will be able to see her dad more this way (provided he is getting help). It's really a positive thing for her, regardless of the reason it has happened. I just hope her dad learns that I am right and he stops avoiding her before she notices he is.

And as everyone says, while part of me is broken, there is a huge part of me that is happy, proud, and looking forward to the freedom of not having to be a drunk's wife anymore. I'm in control now.

Thank you to everyone who commented, or even just read it. You gave me strength to know that I knew what I needed to do and not back down!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Physical Love

Posted By AngelBaby (who wants to make her thoughts - inspired by these posts - public but doesn't want to cause any discomfort for certain people who read her blog.)

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I have realized that I love my daughter and her body in the same sort of physical way that I love my own body. Except that I think I love her more than I love myself. I have an intimacy with her body that I don't have with anyone else. I have shared skin contact with her more than I have with anyone else. I have washed every single inch of her naked body in the tub every night for the last sixteen months. Physical love must grow out of physical contact, right? It seems thateven in the absence of breastfeeding and bathing that my husbandshares a physical intimacy with her just as a product of changing herdiaper a couple times a day.

When I attempted this conversation with my husband he gave me a sternlook and in a skeptical voice said, "What do you mean?" Gosh, aren't men so conditioned to believe that physical love is expressed solely in one direction?

I explained to him that he kisses her and loves her and hugs her and pats her butt and LOVES naked baby time right before the bath andteases her tummy and plays with her "meat thighs" and blows rasberries on her belly button. And that's the short list. I told him that these are things he would never consider doing with his guy friends. He that he shares for our daughter. He nodded. But his love for her IS physical. He said he understood and changed the subject.

And so I have reflected on MY love for her. We spent the weekend at my in-laws and my mother-in-law has been DYING to change her diaper. I have never really let go enough to let her, but finally this past weekend I relaxed and let her go do it on her own. Of course, after areasonable amount of time I grabbed my daughter and hauled her upstairs to inspect how well my MIL did at cleaning up a poopy diaper. (The instances of my MIL's desperation to change a diaper and also my interest in checking out the cleanliness of my daughter's butt/vulvas both physical intimacies are not lost on me.) When I removed the diaper I noticed that my MIL had done a fine job of cleaning her butt.But there was poop all in the crevice between her thighs and vulva andeven more up inside her vulva, making for one very nasty rash scenario if not cleaned up immediately. I plopped my girl down in the bath toclean her up right.

Now, I have come to understand/believe that my MIL is awfully sexually repressed. She has told me things that lead me to believe that she is uncomfortable with her own sexuality and that of other people too. Sexual repression has never ever ever been a concern of mine. Maybe that's why I'm comfortable with my daughter's body and it has never crossed my mind that where/how I touch her might be improper? Simply because it isn't. I pretty much clean her up exactly like I clean up my own body. With a couple kisses here and there. (For her, not me!) And so my MIL couldn't quite bring herself to touch my daughter THERE even though it was required. When I confronted her on her shoddy cleanup job SHE EVEN ADMITTED that she didn't do a very good clean up job because "it was all dirty up 'there' and I just didn't, well, you
know, I wanted to ask, I just..." And so at the next poopy diaper I called her over and got the wipes and cleaned her up properly while instructing my MIL about how to open her legs up, cleaning her up THERE, etc.

And the beautiful thing about that experience was that I truly believe that it was through my comfort with my intimacy with my daughter that made two more things happen: First, I believe that my MIL became a little tiny bit less repressed because I demonstrated, without judgement, how to be absolutely 100% comfortable with one's private parts withoutovert sexualization. I believe I demonstrated normalization that she couldn't attach to my feminism or politics. And second, I believe that through the intimacy I have with my daughter's body it helped create intimacy between me and my MIL. The next time she changed a diaper she did just great. It took only exposing her to normal intimacy ONCE for her to get comfortable enough to do it. And after that second time she actually asked me if I had checked and what I thought!! Excellent all the way around!

I'm sorry if this is rambling on a little too long, but I have one more thing to say: I am a touchy person. Not overly so, but definitely with people that are close to me. (With strangers I appreciate a healthy distance.) But on Sunday my best friend came over and we werel aying on the couch together. She was rubbing my feet. Our legs were intertwined. During conversation she would touch my shoulder, I would touch her face. It was comfortable. Perhaps this contributes to my feeling like my physical love for my daughter is normal? For further example, if I met someone at work I would shake their hand. But if I met someone else, perhaps you, I would definitely offer a hug with a smile. That's just me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Posted by Anonymous.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


My son is sterile. He was born with a rare condition that means he will need to be on hormone (testosterone) therapy from the time he hits puberty until he dies. He will never produce sperm.

Otherwise, he is a perfectly healthy kid. He doesn’t know, yet, that his health is different from anyone else’s. We’ve had a few surgeries, and will require a few more, but they are not difficult surgeries, from the surgeon’s perspective: outpatient, taking only a few hours, with a fairly easy recovery. According to the doctors, his prognosis is excellent. He will be able to experience sex like anyone else, there is no gender confusion, the hormones will ensure that his body changes in puberty just like everyone else, he will not be in any pain, and no one ever need know about his condition unless he decides to tell them. The only part of the equation that has no solution is the fertility.

I shouldn’t complain.

I mean, think of the illnesses he could have. He could be dying. He could need a transplant of some kind. His surgeries could be much more complicated and difficult to recover from. He could be visibly deformed in some way or he could have a brain malfunction. God knows he could be in some kind of accident tomorrow and lose the use of his legs, or worse.

He just has this. This seemingly small, almost fixable problem.

Right now, my son is too young to understand any of it. He’s just a happy-go-lucky 3-year-old whose biggest problem is how to avoid his nap every day. I, on the other hand, am stuck in a kind of limbo: should I be grateful that his condition is not more life- threatening? Or angry that he has any condition at all? Is it worth getting upset over now, when we really won’t have to deal with any of it for at least 5 more years?

Still, sometimes I do get upset about it, because what happens when he is an adolescent? When boys start measuring their penises and talking about balls and sex and all of it? What happens then? Shit, being a teenager is tough enough without there being something actually different about your genitals. (Not that it will be visible. I mean, his penis is small, but not unnaturally small. In any event, he will know, in his head, that he is different, and surely that could cause some insecurity. And if somehow the wrong person finds out that he has no testosterone, that could be devastating. Imagine the jokes.)

I get upset about it when I think about his future, too. Will he be able to find someone to love him, despite his inability to father biological children with them? Of course the rational side of my brain says yes, and I do believe this. You don’t need to tell a person on the first date that you can’t have kids. Once you get to talking about kids, you’ve probably already fallen in love, right? You’re close, at least, and I know that the kind of woman I want for Adam will love him anyway, and be willing to do whatever it takes. But what a burden to add to the equation! Not to mention, how will Adam feel about the fact that he will never see his own eyes reflected in his children? Will he be crushed? I personally feel sure that the love you feel for your child does not change whether that child is sprung from your seed or not—but it’s easy for me to say that, having two children that share my DNA.

When Adam is old enough to understand all this, will he blame me? Will he shut me out, claiming that I “don’t understand”? Can I actually understand, given that I have not faced anything similar in my own life? Will he hate me?

Once, a few months back, I was in a restaurant bar with my husband. We were drunk. Somehow I got onto the subject of adoption (which I’ve always been interested in) and said, “I’d really like to adopt. Not just for us, but for Adam, too. To show him that adoption is just as wonderful as having biological kids.”

And he said? “If we’re going to have another I’d rather have our own. I’d like to have a son that can have his own kids.”

I’m not sure I can forgive him for that statement, although he has apologized, and insists he was drunk and just not articulating very well. But maybe I shouldn’t have to forgive him. Maybe he was just being honest, and maybe that is the way Adam will feel, too—only Adam will be physically incapable of creating a son of his own.

You can see the problem. His own father sees him as damaged goods, even if I don’t. It won’t take much for Adam to see himself the same way, especially since the world—if the world knew—would think the same thing. After all, if you said to a friend: “that guy has fake balls”, wouldn’t that be a criticism? Wouldn’t you be feeling sorry for the guy, even as you were making fun of him? I don’t want my son to be in a position to earn your heckles or your pity-- and yet here he is, via a sub-par roll of the pregnancy dice, and there’s nothing I can do about it. We already rolled. Now we have to make do with the results.

My mother says I keep things too bottled up, and that I should allow myself to cry about this. I suppose she is right, but it’s so difficult for me to cry about it, when all I see everyday is this wonderful, perfect kid. He doesn’t exactly inspire sympathy, running around laughing and playing like every other toddler on the block. Also, I don’t know what the future will bring. I hate to be all doom and gloom when maybe things will be just fine. It’s not as if his life is in danger, after all. Maybe some miracle will happen, maybe the adolescent therapist we hire will be able to give Adam the tools he needs to navigate those years without trauma. Maybe I will figure out what to say and how to say it. Maybe my daughter will be Adam’s best friend, confidant, and protector, and maybe that’s all he will need. Maybe my husband will step up and understand that both adoption and sperm donation are viable and beautiful options.

But maybe it will all go to shit, too.

I find myself jealous of other little boys. Little boys with normal balls. Of course it’s unfair that Adam has this kind of medical problem. Would it be fair for some other little boy to have it instead? No. Still, I’m envious, and sometimes a little pissed off.

I’d love to talk about this on my own blog, but the personal nature of the problem prohibits me from doing that, especially as I don’t use a pseudonym. Actually, the personal nature of the problem prohibits me from talking about it with just about everyone. You can’t just walk around discussing prosthetic testicles.

So I ignore it. I deny it. I write letters to Adam and then rip them up, because they never convey what I imagine I need to convey. I call my husband names. And no matter what I do, it’s still sitting there, like this giant boulder in the road: puberty, without working testicles. Then, after that: no biological kids.

Fucking hell.

(I watch him while he sleeps, completely unaware of what awaits him in a few short years, and I want to scream at the injustice. He is so completely perfect (if you could see him!), why does this have to happen?

Tears well up in my eyes, but I push them away. I will not cry over him. He is fine. He will be fine. He is perfect, dammit. He does not need my tears.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Some Families

Posted by Anonymous.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


In a manner of speaking, I have been dooced. My harmless blog has sparked a hurtful family rift and I don’t know what to do next. Advice, please!

I have a problem with the in-laws. I never thought I’d say that, because for the entire six years of my marriage, I didn’t think there was a problem at all, we got along just fine. I always knew we were different—I’m a vegetarian, don’t go to church, very liberal. But I tended to hide my true thoughts to avoid conflict (I’m a huge conflict-avoider). They know the basics, but I never told them how I really feel about anything. It didn’t seem necessary. We weren’t extremely close, but I think we knew what to do with each other: avoid politics, focus on the kids, make small talk and enjoy our time together. I didn’t need them to be my best friends. It all seemed to be fine.

But then we went on a trip to Texas to visit my husband’s sister.

He had not seen her in 8 years. I had never met her. She has NEVER EVER come north to visit us. So we visit and had what we thought was a fine time. I endured her racist and homophobic comments. I played nice. We stayed in a motel because she has lots of animals and I was sure my daughter and I would stop breathing if we stayed there (bad allergies, asthma). I had to defend myself 5 times on that. She thought I was being rude I guess. Perhaps I should have brought a doctor's note to explain ALLERGIES.

Three weeks or so after we got back, my husband posted a short entry about our trip with pics of the cousins and all. We had been so busy until that time and he just didn't have time to write at length. He said "we had a nice time...blah blah" in the first paragraph. In the second paragraph he decided to get witty, so he talked about some of our observations of Texas. Like how Texans like pickles (reference the pickle available for sale at the movies, also at gas stations). Or how the weather in Houston sucks and we wouldn't want to live there (reference the two unbelievable storms we drove through that almost killed us). Or my favorite, when we drove past the Huntsville prison there was a blue visitor sign that said "For visitor information turn here." I thought that was HILARIOUS.

The sister didn't like his comments about Texas. The unfortunate thing was that my husband wrote it in the third person, so she ended up thinking I wrote it. Then she sent me a NASTY email saying I was hateful and what I said was unforgivable. That if the only thing I took away from Texas was pickles, prison, and weather, she's sorry for me. She yelled at me about staying a hotel too. Bullshit about not letting my husband stay with his family and reconnect. Then she said I was "lucky" she didn't post her comments to my blog. Ahem.

So the husband calls her back and leaves a VM saying "if you have a problem, talk to me cuz I wrote it" and then I start to feel sicker and sicker, like maybe her vile attitude will rub off on their parents: I don't want them to think badly of me. So I beg my husband to call his mom to make sure she still likes me. Bad idea.

My usually very quiet mother-in-law then proceeds to go off and say she thinks I'm driving a wedge in the family, I'm godless and I should be raising my daugher to know god, and that I FORCE my daughter not to eatmeat.

In case you’re keeping track, so far I'm hateful and godless. I should interject here that my in-laws no longer go to church. And she’s asked me for veggie recipes to help her husband whose cholesterol is very bad.

So the next day the husband writes a long letter to his parents about how they have no right to judge how we raise our daughter etc and he’s sorry they have problems with the very things that he loves about me. That night his mom and sister both call him to talk about it and they both say they're sorry to him and when he says, "you really need to say that to my wife" they both (separately) say, "Oh, not tonight. I just can't tonight." Poor ladies. It must be so hard for them, you know, finding out after six years that your in-laws HATE you, oh wait--that's me.

That all happened almost two months ago. I have received NO call of apology. Now, I'm pissed.

Then it gets worse.

The sister emails to say that her husband has cancer. So obviously my husband calls her and talks to her and we both feel terrible for him and for her and the kids. But then, she's started emailing jokes like nothing ever happened. And 60% of the phone conversation was her asking how everyone was. Like normal. Asking how I was. But he doesn’t say anything because this is an awful time for her. Inside I’m screaming, “I’m still waiting. Please apologize to me. I’m a very nice person. You’re wrong about me.” And deeper inside I’m screaming, “God you suck! YOU are hateful.”

Now his mother has been hospitalized for complications following a surgery. He called as soon as he found out, which was last night. This morning we get an email from the sister saying that she really hopes he can put his feelings aside and call Mom. That she made the first step in apologizing to him and that Mom really isn’t in a good place to deal with me just yet, but he needs to “start the healing process.” That families always argue, but that doesn’t mean that any love is lost. Meanwhile, I’m having a hard time believing there was any love there in the first place. And not all families are like this. I have to believe that.

The whole thing makes me sick. I don’t know what we should be doing. I’m not worried about our marriage—that is very strong. But I hate drama. I go to great lengths to avoid it. I haven't blogged since and I'm actually thinking of moving the blog so they can't find it. I don’t know how to get past this. I know I should, but I don’t want to be the better person. If I move on and don’t expect an apology, doesn’t that mean I’m subtly telling them it was okay to do this to me, that they can do it to me again?

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Posted by Anonymous.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...

And, don't forget to poke your head in on the
circle share, below. Leave your own definitions of selfishness in the comments - or, if you're so inclined, post them at your own blog and leave the link. Next week, I'll post the results of the circle share, with links, as a Very Special Basement Post on selfishness.


My marriage is pretty good for two fairly volatile people with issues. No biggie issues.

The biggest issue that has a ripple effect across the continent is that my libido is vastly lower than my partner's and how I view this vs how he views it.

Life seems fairly simple for him. Really. If he gets enough action, he is a happy little man who can purr along and deal with anything... if he starts to feel thwarted or hard done by, then BLAM! The world explodes.

I apparently have been looking foxy lately... I have not felt this way...I have felt run down and tired (but apparently I always do so that is just an excuse!)...yesterday I felt really beat, but still wanted to take my mom up on her babysitting offer.

Dh wanted a hot date night. I just wanted to get out and would have preferred going out with a group.

HE had visions of many sexual fun and games (though this was supposed to be MY birthday treat, not his!)....and went on and on and on about it....this had the total opposite effect on me and just started to irritate me...especially when it was the middle of the day, I was feeling awful and stuck at my inlaws place!

So I tried to have a good time, but wasn't into bj's in the car or lord knows what else..though I tried to not run screaming and tried to feel good.

We got home and were met with a story and mess about how my son had been brought home by his uncle and started barfing all night long. We had let him stay and go have dinner with the family at Denny's to be returned later.

Apparently he got sick after pop and milk shakes (though us having him out in the sun was too blame...not the junk and not his uncle getting him over excited).

So I talked to mom about this and, yes, she rambles on and then went on about her trip and so on. Dh got pissed and left. I finally got mom out the house.

Dh then went on about how my mom drives him nuts because the date then just ends the moment we walk in the door and the mood is gone and we are stuck listening to my mom and why doesn't she get the hint.

I agreed and apologized for not jumping on this and it was a bad habit (party brought out by the fact that she is our ONE and only babysitter and so humour her) and last night because I was SHATTERED AND REALLY NOT INTO MUCH ELSE!).

Anyway..he got madder and madder and it escalated into him may as well see a hooker for some satisfaction and so on....this is the usual argument by the way.

And how it shows how much I don't care about him etc. I just see it has having a lot more on my list of things that need taken care of in a day....mainly HIS KIDS!

Again..this is a repeat fight. He stormed off and I went and slept with my soon and he then stayed in the bedroom till after two this afternoon. He then took it out on his rambling and irritiating mom who had called about needing him to run an errand and again about heat stroke and so on, and threw the phone across the room.

He is sulking and I don't even want to attempt to deal with it. I know our perspective and libido's clash....I am just not sure how to deal with that! Rallying and getting into it does work.. but I was just unwell last night...plus, he really makes me feel pressured....the language of 'romance' does not impress or do anything... it makes me feel like there is an 'or else' there and I am sure that there is and he just doesn't want to admit it.

It leaves me cold. It leaves me imagining life as a single parent.

I don't think that is the right approach. This is our albatross... this is the biggest issue... the fight arises every couple of months and the same stuff gets chucked out there... I am assuming I have to go get help and get horny. I just don't feel like I want to... not under an 'or else'.

What do I do? He is not a total asshole... he is a good guy. His family are awful and I can't say I was upset to have him yell at his mom... but not for his own personal reasons. I don't even want to deal and that is bad. Do I go groveling to him... you are right I am wrong...how can I fix it? All that?

I cannot talk to anyone about this... it is just not me.

I thought maybe the blogging crew lurking around the Basement might have some sage words for me...


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Selfish - A Circle Share

Brenda from Premature Optimism sent in a link to her recent post on selfishness, and suggested that visitors to the Basement might be interested in sharing their thoughts on selfishness with her and with each other. A cool idea, I thought - our very first circle share!

Leave your own definitions of selfishness in the comments - or, if you're so inclined, post them at your own blog and leave the link. Next week, I'll post the results of the circle share, with links, as a Very Special Basement Post on selfishness.

As always, if you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


Selfish is…

... Getting dressed, finding the car keys, and sitting there waiting until I get the baby changed anddressed, diaper bag packed, me changed and dressed,the baby in the car seat, the list and whatever else we need for wherever else we are going.

... Saying you "need to" play on the computer to get your brain working in the morning, but not getting up in time to give me even 5 minutes to go to the bathroom by myself AND you want me to pack your lunch.

... While I am packing your lunch complaining how hard it is to play sudoku one handed, ever tried to make a sandwich one handed? Cook dinner one handed? Vacuum one handed while the dog tries to eat the vacuum. Did I mention you get to shower everyday before work too?

... Letting you alarm clock go off SIX TIMES, even though you know I am trying to keep the baby asleep because he just went down for a nap. If you object t oco-sleeping feel free to sleep on the couch. There is no air-conditioning in the nursery and you do not do any night-time parenting anymore so I get to keep my sanity by sleeping with the baby.

... Thinking you are helping with the laundry when you put a load into the wash before you go to work, thencomplaining because it didn't get out onto the line right away and now it "smells funny". I am sorry the clothes dryer isn't working but that doesn't make it possible for me to be in two places at once or dry clothes outside in the rain. Also there is no light in the backyard (Didn't you say you would put one up months ago?)

... Saying you will finish the dishes "FOR ME", the dishes are YOUR CHORE, I have only started doing them out of finishing them, I know you hate washing plastic, but that is just too bad. There will be MORE plastic as your child gets older. Also, putting dirty baking sheets in the oven doesn't count as cleaning them either.

... Staying up all night and then complaining you never see us. At 10pm you said you were so tired you would fall asleep if you watched anymore TV, so you went to play on the computer. At 11pm promised you would go to bed by 11:30 and at 3am I find you still playing computer games. You will say you "couldn't sleep" of course you can't sleep playing video games, as you stated earlier you were playing them to "stay awake".

... Complaining you are tired; you no longer take our baby at night so I can get 4 hours sleep, you no longer will watch our baby while I nap on your day off. You can sleep when and where you want. I have not slept for more than 3 hours in months. You do not know the meaning of the word tired.

... Whining when you are home and I manage to get the baby asleep and I try to get some chores done. I do chores when you are around because I know when our baby wakes up there will be someone else to comfort him while I get to a place I can pause, or heaven forbid, actually finish what I start. Some chores do not take well to being interrupted. I am sorry if you feel guilty because I am cleaning and you haven't done a thing around the house in a week. I am sorry if you miss time alone with me, I miss time alone with you too, but only when I am not pissed off because I do EVERYTHING.

I do not begrudge our baby any of his needs. I love our baby and have placed his needs first; he needs love, food, and attention 24/7. I have not left his side for more than an hour since he was born, and I do not want to. I would however like 15 minutes to shower every other day. To nap alone once in a while, read a book while you play with him. I even really want to be able to clean uninterrupted, occasionally; maybe even get the vacuum out.

Selfish is... not seeing these things.

How do you define selfish? Leave your 'Selfish is...' statement in the comments - or, post it on your own site and link back. (And note that 'selfishness' does not necessarily have to be defined with reference to spouses/partners: it can be defined with reference to in-laws, friends, co-workers, neighbors, bus drivers - even yourself... )

Saturday, August 12, 2006

How to be Nice with Niece

Posted by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I'm plopping on the couch here in the basement. I have a confession that I cannot tell anyone about. Maybe my best friend (ok, I did tell her), but it's something I cannot even mention to my very loving husband. If I did confess, he'd be furious with me and see me differently. I also know that my confession would hurt him deeply, and so I keep it to myself.

Confession: I despise our 8 year old niece. With a passion. One might read this and say, "Big deal"...after all, who doesn't have an annoying relative? But this is complicated...you see, I am currently responsible for watching the spoiled brat several days per week-and this responsibility is going to continue for a while.

I am off during the summer months. Hubby's sister is a single parent, doing the best she can-and not making it. Her loser of an ex pays minimal child support. She was able to land a job near us and is planning to relocate as soon as her custody hearing is over and done with. In the meantime, she has needed to start the new job, since she had to quit the old one. Since the new job is near us, and we are the only people she knows here, guess who watches the little brat while Mommy works? That would be ME.

I am trying. Really hard. The kid is going through a LOT...as much as we've tried to shield her from the custody battle, she's not stupid-she knows what is going on. Besides that, she suffers from a toxic case of what I refer to as "Only Child Syndrome" (those of you who are or have only children, please don't be offended-I was an only child until my teens, and I totally suffered from this very same condition-not all only children have it). She is SPOILED...because her mom can't afford nice things for her, the rest of the family spoils her...and yes, Hubby and I have contributed to that by buying her toys from time to time. But it's not just that she's spoiled by having the material things. She is used to having HER way, being first at EVERYTHING, running the show, and getting away with whatever. Her mother suffers from the guilt that plagues many single parents (again, not trying to offend, I was raised by a single parent who suffered this same guilt), and gives in to almost every whim.

And now I am expected to watch her while Mommy works. I ADORE her mother. I love her as a sister and a friend. But her kid is a pain in my ass. And not only do I have her to keep an eye on, I have my own child. A child, who, at almost age 2, is easily impressed and tries to do what Big Cousin does.

I feel like a horrible person...I've been entrusted to care for the most special person in the life of someone I care deeply for-and I can't stand it. I dread mornings when she is dropped off here and I count the hours until she's picked up. I make the effort-I take her (and my kid) to the park, I read with her, play computer games with her...and when it's just us two, she's not so bad...but heaven forbid, she share the spotlight with my kid-she turns into a brat. She complains about the brand of jelly I buy (it tastes funny), the type of ketchup I buy (which is the same effin stuff that's at HER house), she will mess up my kid's toys and refuse to put them away...

When I return to work, I'll be watching her in the afternoons after I get home until her mom gets home.

Yes, I signed on for this...it was the only way that my sister-in-law could take the job and get out of the rut she was in. I knew what I was getting into, but I guess I was a tad unrealistic. I truly thought that with the gift of time, this little girl and I would bond and that I'd come to love her like a second child. NOPE. Granted, she is reaching out to me more than she did before this arrangement was made (I was often viewed at the 'strict' aunt)...she calls when she's not here and asks to do stuff with me, so I know she's enjoying my company at least a little-so I must be doing a good job of pretending to like her. But I just don't enjoy her company...I can't say she's BAD...but she is annoying.

And that's so cruel to say of a child going through so much...it's not her fault. I also resent how watching her takes time away from me spending time with just my child.

I would never hurt her. I would never let on to anyone how much I despise her at times. I would never mistreat her or act differently towards her. When she sees me, I am all smiles, ready to take on the day...we go to the park, we read, we fingerpaint, we talk, we watch movies...and all the while I am rolling my eyes on the inside. CRUEL, I am.

Deep down, I do know that I love her. If anything happened to her, I'd be devastated. But I am frustrated and overwhelmed by her. Because not only do I have to watch her, I feel I have to be 'extra cool' in doing so...the court date for the custody battle is fast approaching, and the asshole of a father she has would love nothing more than to march into court and state that he's hearing how unhappy his little girl is when she's with me...so I REALLY have to turn on the charm and be sweet AND cool so that she'll go there and go on and on about how much fun she has when she's with me.

OK, I fessed up...call me a bitch, a cruel, insensitive human being. After all, I am a recovering Only Child Syndrome case...I was raised by a single mom for years...and I teach young kids for a living...though I dare say it's far easier to teach a room full of little girls than it is to babysit them all day. I should know better, I should be above this petty cruelty...she's a little girl.

But she's such a BRAT.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Posted by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


Alone again.

What hurts is hearing him say that in ten years he might need someone but right now being alone doesn’t bother him. A month ago he was crying in my arms begging me to never leave him, saying that he never has been with anyone before who he wants to spend the rest of his life with. What happened to that man? What happened to “Never leave me. I’d be lostwithout you. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me”?

Now that we’ve told her that we’re over, I get emails from his mother telling me how sad she is that we’re breaking up because she wanted me tobe her daughter. I want to tell her that I’d love to be her daughter. I’d love to make her a grandmother. I’d love to take care of her when she ages. But that, well, your son thinks being alone is just great.

I know that this relationship is not good just as much as he does, but it’s not me that is making this not work. I am not the cause of this. He is. He is incapable of getting along with other people, not just me. He bitches about everything and everyone. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, the food sucks, the car cut him off, the neighborhood is dirty, I didn’t place the sheets over his side of the bed, everywhere is too dirty, everyone is too dumb to interact with, especially public employees. He won’t plan an hour in advance for anything. Taking meat out of the freezer for dinner isn’t possible, because how in the hell can you know at 9am what you’ll want for dinner at 6pm? He never wants to go out. “People suck. Why would you subject yourself to them for fun?” He has a ridiculously high standard of acceptability of anything. It’s just insane. Of course we have problems. We have problems because he has problems.

I’m damn good, I’m good enough for his mother, but no one is good enough for him. Well, fine. You want to be alone? Have fun. You’re right. When you’re alone, no one cares if you go to the grocery store every day to get food and spend $20 for one meals worth of food because you can’t plan. No one cares that you haven’t left the house in three days except to go get food and then you cursed at pedestrians for, you know, actually crossing the street. No one cares that you have a five step process for washingdishes. But the thing is, there’s no one there to care for you. You don’t seem to mind now.

But good luck finding a good person in ten years when you wake up and are tired of being alone. Good luck finding someone worth being with, who wants to be with you and not your money. Good luck suddenly trying to learn to plan and co-exist with someone who isn’t perfect like you are. Good luck finding someone to deal with your crazy family and actually love them like her own. Have fun.

I know you think it’s mean to say – but I feel sorry for you. I will move on and probably fall in love again. Of course, not now. Now I’m a sobbing mess. And when I do he might not be as great as you in all respects, his family might not be as adorable and he might not have a wonderful cat and the world’s most comfortable sofa. The sex might not be as mind-blowing. But most likely he’ll think I’m great and won’t care if we wash dishes differently or other silly things.

You’ll live happily by yourself for a few years, and then you’ll wake up one day and realize that we were so good and you wouldn’t be the person this relationship needed you to be.

I was. I really was, and it ruined my first year of grad school. Because you wouldn’t come halfway in this relationship I had to go full circle to make it work.

I’ve said it before, but hopefully this time it sticks. Never again. Never again will I make myself another person for the good of a relationshipthat the other person doesn’t care enough for to do the same.

I am so tired. So sad. And all I want is to know someone in this godforsaken town who will let me cry and tell me it’s okay and I’m all alone.I’m alone because of you.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tired of Hating

Posted by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I had an unassisted birth. I know that is hard to understand for many people, I understand that it is not the right choice for everyone, etc, etc. But I did what I needed to do, what was right for me and my family, and I researched the hell out of it. I am a very careful person. I was willing to go to the hospital if something felt/went wrong. However, I did not need to go to the hospital and it was the most amazing experience of my life. Because of the birth of my son, my second child, I became a strong, confident woman.

This is not what I am upset about, this is simply background.

Here is what I am upset about, and I cannot seem to let it go, despite talking about it with my husband and my closest friends. I’m hoping that blogging this will help. I used to have my own blog, but family began reading it and I clammed up. I am extremely private, hence the unassisted birth. Blogging is different, because it is like a journal with the added release of knowing that someone out there (that you don’t need to have contact with if you don’t want to) may be reading it, may be hearing it, may be relating to it. And it’s easy to still feel private, especially when you have The Basement.

So, I have a cousin who is an asshole. Hardly a rarity, no doubt. He gives himself much leeway in his life; he allows himself to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and pity those who get offended. He does not offer the same courtesy to anyone else. He is right, you are wrong, the end. And he is willing to offer his opinion on anything and everything, and he is always right. Brilliant fellow, isn't he?

After my son was born, my children, my husband, and myself were attending another young cousin’s birthday. Asshole cousin was there, too. We began arguing about doctors. He was maintaining that all doctors are altruistic, and to say otherwise was sacrilege. I said that while I was sure some of them were, I was also sure that many of them were there for the money, or at least had stayed for the money. If only because doctors are human, like the rest of us. People do good things for bad reasons, and bad things for good reasons, and so on. He became deeply offended (I had no idea why, since he is an accountant, and as far as I know is not a personal friend of any sort of doctor). I usually enjoy a good argument, and thought this was just that, a normal, semi-intellectual argument. A day or two later I emailed him a link to an online book about how difficult it is to be a medical student and resident. (I just spent a while googling for it, but no luck as I can’t remember the author. A shame because it was fascinating and insightful.) What I got back was a terrible email that said, amongst other things, that my son should have died because maybe then I would understand how important/wonderful/useful doctors truly are. His email was filled with venom and vitriol. I was shocked. I had no idea he was so offended. Hell, I still don’t really know if he *was* offended, given how he likes to swing himself about. He may have just been messing with me. But either way, the message really scarred me. I could not believe that anyone, anywhere, least of all a relative, would wish my child dead to teach me a lesson. That moment was when I finally understood how terrorists and other purveyors of war think. Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but how else to explain the deep visceral reaction I had? I stopped talking to him that day. I spent months trying to come to terms with that email. Asshole cousin is not a parent, he doesn’t understand, he is an idiot, he did not really mean it, babe was young and I was hormonal, on and on. In the end I simply could not forgive him. I don’t know if he even realized I wasn’t talking to him, honestly. We were not close before that. I stopped showing up at family events, or if I did, I avoided him (and his wife; although I like her, I cannot fathom what she sees in him).

After a while I heard that he and his wife had been trying to get pregnant. There were difficulties. She had endometriosis. Eventually, after fertility drugs and other treatments, she did get pregnant. They were so happy, everyone was so happy (although asshole cousin has managed to alienate almost all the family at one point or another, no one wishes the pain of infertility on anyone). Even I was happy, if only because I figured he might deepen a bit. I also worried for the child, especially if parenthood did not magically transform him into a person who was not an asshole. I also learned via my mother that I and my children were no longer welcome in their home. Why? Because my children are not vaccinated (again, much research, just the conclusion my husband and I came to, you are welcome to your own opinion, I know that one is a hard call). He and his wife were afraid my diseased children might spread germs to her, and it was super important she stay healthy. Plus, I shit you not, their doctor recommended they not have contact with us as it could be risky. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you are vaccinated against certain diseases, and vaccinations are so effective, why would you be worried about catching said diseases? At least now I had some reasons why he might have been so rabid during our argument; my children are very healthy, and I had no problems getting pregnant. In fact, my daughter was a surprise. Ok, I said to myself, if you are in such a rough spot it would be tough *not* to be jealous of someone that had an easy time getting pregnant and then did things that you deemed irresponsible. I don’t take my good fortune lightly. I know how lucky I am to have my healthy, wonderful children. And I don't make any major decisions without first doing tons of research.

Well, friends, this is when things take a turn for the worse. His son was stillborn. After years of trying and a joyful pregnancy, they had to face this tragedy. There was no cause of death discovered. It was terrible and difficult for everyone, especially since my Aunt, asshole cousin’s mom and my mother’s sister, had also lost her first child (a son who would have been asshole cousin's older brother) a day or two after birth. It was awful. I felt terrible. And yet, I am ashamed to say, I also felt like that was karma in action. I did my best to be empathetic, and I truly was to a large degree. No mother, no father, should have to face that. One of the worst pains for a parent is losing a child. They aren’t kidding when they say that having a child means agreeing to have your heart walk around outside your body. I sucked up my pain at the things he had said to me and wrote several letters (carefully, gently written) and even spoke on the phone a couple of times. Because, face it, you need all the help you can get in a situation like that. But please, internet, forgive me for having a small part of me begging to scream, “can you believe you wished this on me you stupid asshole?!?”

After they lost their son, they felt best attempting to get pregnant right away (I have no opinion on this, I know everyone finds their own path through grief). It took them only two months and she was pregnant again, this time with twin girls (and no fertility drugs this time, a wonderful miracle). She is pregnant right now, due in the fall. I have thought this through and I really am happy for them to have this joy and healing coming to them. I am excited to see the babies. We moved away several years ago, but we will be coming back to their town for my sister’s wedding next spring, when the twins will be 4-6 months old. I love babies, and I am sure they will be amazing little girls.

I thought I had finally worked through all my bad feelings. But then. Oh, but then. My mom told me of a recent conversation she had with asshole, that went something like:

Asshole Cousin: “Do you think anonymous blogger will come to our house when she comes to town again?”

Mom: “I’m not sure, that's between the two of you.” (I love my mom! she tries to stay out of the drama!)

Asshole Cousin: “Well, we hope she will, we would like her to. You can tell her we have forgiven her.”

Holy shit. I cannot believe the rage that flooded through me when my mom told me about that conversation. FORGIVEN ME FOR WHAT? Internet, I am pissed. I swear to you that I have gone over everything in my mind, thinking back carefully, asking questions of my other cousin who witnessed our doctor argument…the result is, what the hell would he need to forgive me for? For making my own birth choices? For saying that all doctors are not altruistic? For not vaccinating? I know that given his history with myself and other members of our family that he most likely does not even recall wishing my child dead (or he would never admit to remembering). I don’t want to hate this asshole cousin anymore. I want to be zen and calm and forgiving. I want to send his daughters little presents in the mail. I don’t want to avoid talking about him with my Aunt, who I love. But I also don’t want to suppress everything that I am in an effort to keep the peace. No one should have free rein to act like such an asshole. Plus I feel like I am wasting too much of my time and energy on this schmuck. ARRRRGGGGHHHH. I wish I did not have to see him ever again, but I’m tired of avoiding family functions because of him. And I am definitely NOT missing my sister’s wedding. She, for reasons unfathomable, manages to ignore his bludgeoning of everyone around him.

Hopefully this blog will help me release some of this. Suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Posted by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I am a huge supporter of the CIO (cry it out) method. I let my daughter CIO when she was a mere six weeks old. Yes, I know that's early. I've been judged, criticized, and even lectured by moms in real life and via computer message boards for doing this. I'm a horrible mom. BUT-my daughter started sleeping through the night pretty early on, so I can't be all that bad.

Despite her decent sleeping habits, certain milestone came along that would cause her to revert back to the 'waking every 3 hours' days. When she started cutting teeth, I thought I would never sleep again. I broke out the Tylenol, the Orajel, the teething tablets. I offered a bottle, I offered extra snuggles. But teething is painful (this I DO actually know, after having my own wisdom teeth break through in my 20s...seriously, OW). When all is said and done, sometimes you just want to CRY. And so I let her.

Don't get me wrong. I never let her sit and scream for hours on end. In reality, I never let her go on wailing longer than ten minutes. But I was told what a horrid woman I was/am for even letting her go that long.

To this day (because as we're now in the toddler years and milestones are happening more frequently), I let her CIO if she wakes during the night. I turn the volume on the monitor as low as I can while still being able to hear her. I listen for the cry-if it's a whimpery cry, I stay in bed. A more frantic, hysterical cry gets me running down the hall, but the little cries, I stay put.

In recent months, my child has gone through phases where she will cry in her sleep. At first I found this alarming and started thinking that she was suffering some form of psychological trauma as a result of being raised by two completely inexperienced morons. Now I know many kids do this. If she cries out excessively, I will get up and rub her back in an attempt to soothe her (even though she's snoring away between the cries and does not even know I am there). Otherwise, I let her 'work it out' herself and go back to sleep in hopes she will not start crying again in five minutes.

This makes her father crazy. He tells me over and over that I should get up with her and offer her milk. His theory is that a little extra milk will fill her up and she'll sleep for the rest of the night. My theory is that she's NOT AWAKE so why the hell would I wake her up and risk her STAYING UP? And since he thinks his theory is right, why isn't he the one getting up to test it??

I humored him and tested it at 5:00 this morning. Carried our kid downstairs, heated up a cup of milk, when she grabbed and tossed across the room (eyes still closed, mind you) and screamed. She then zonked out on my lap. I waited a bit, brought her back to bed, and that was that. Did she cry out again? Yes.

She cries in her sleep sometimes. Get over it. We tried it your way-your way sucks, and since you refuse to get up and help, we're doing it MY way.