Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ermahgerd! Fern Sterf!

So, I'm minding my own business, catching up on the photos of my friends and their kids, what they had to eat for dinner and where and scratching my head over those cryptic passive-aggressive status updates, like "People who think they know my business should totally stay out of my head and stop acting like they know...YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!" when I got a notification from one of my BFFF's (Oh, yeah, I DO know there's an extra F in there and if you know ME then you know it's not a mistake.) So I clicked on my own timeline and this is what I found:

And I laughed for about ten minutes with tears coming out of my eyes. And then I went about my business and every time I came back to this photo I'd crack up all over again. And so it went for like 5 days. I know I've read all over the place about the Ermahgerd! girl supposedly being a real hottie now that she doesn't wear Wal*Mart vests and read Goosebumps! books. I guess losing the ponytails and braces would immediately increase anyone's hot factor by about 4 points.

Actually, I know that I'm a dork. (That's "Ercterler, I kner thert Erm a derk," in Ermahgerd-speak.) It doesn't take that much to make me laugh. And the Ermahgerd-girl has done it! She has poked me in the funny bone repeatedly. Not all of these meme's have the same effect on me...but damn, if Buffy and I are not trying to one-up each other by posting these on each other's timelines. And it never fails. We always manage to catch one another off guard.

I have also discovered that someone else has even MORE time on his/her hands than I do, because this person actually sat down and wrote out an Ermahgerd! translator program. NO REALLY! So that if you want to create your own Ermahgerd! meme and are unsure of spelling, you can go -------> HERE and type in your phrase and hit enter and it translates for you automatically on the right. Only downside is that you can't go from ermahgerd back to English.

Is there a reason for me telling you all about this:  NERT RERLER....but it seemed like a good idea at the time I started writing it. And maybe it's funnier in my the sound of the word canoodle (especially when said in ermahgerd:  CERNERDL ahhahahahahahhaha!) But like I said...Erm a derk.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doh!! I'm Really Not That Clever

On the way home from school today, my youngest son and I had the following conversation:

Boy:  You know this chocolate bar is stupid. I can't believe I just
          spent a whole pound on this skinny chocolate bar and I feel
          like I got ripped off. It's so small.
Me:    Yeah, well. You chose it, remember.

Boy:   Still, it tasted good.

Me:     I guess.

Boy:   You know, Mommy. They have the same size chocolate for
           half a pound but don't ever buy it.
Me:    Yeah, I know. It tastes like butt.

Boy:   Well, I was gonna say, 'It tastes like poop.'

Me:     Got much experience in what poop tastes like?

Boy:    Not really. You got much experience in what butt tastes like?

Me:     Touche'.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Diet by Stress

We made a huge decision a couple of months ago regarding our oldest son. And it was fine when we decided it 6 weeks ago because it was the right solution, only still nebulous. But NOW that I'm 3 weeks away from it all becoming a real solid reality, I have developed a nervous stomach....not butterflies. Bats.
And I'm trying to squish in 3 weeks of dental appointments, closet clean-outs, extra hugs and kisses and last minute instructions and don't-forgets.

Is this what it's like? Is this the beginning of "empty nest syndrome?" Or "emptying nest syndrome" since I still have 4 that will be left behind.

On the upside, I've never been so "regular" in all my life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Flip Side to the Bully Problem

I cried.
I felt the pain and frustration and anguish and nausea of the bullied 
kid's mom.
I felt what she felt because I've been there before with my kids.
But I also felt it from a different perspective.
See, I'm the mother of a "bully."
When I use the quotation marks I'm not at all attempting to say that the word 
bully is a misnomer;
not even in my son's case.
However, it is a label that I don't like attached to him. 
He's so much more than that. 
He's bright.
He's funny...and not only at your kid's expense.
He's also frustrated.
And he's embarrassed.
And he's ashamed.
He has a learning disability that we've only recently been able to figure out.
Does this excuse him punching his sister in the shoulder
because he didn't like how she told him "What's it to you?"
Does it excuse him constantly aggravating his younger brother by 
farting on his head and stepping on his pillow or throwing his used
tissues at him?
Does it make him any less responsible for his actions when he 
chooses to beat up his older brother or challenge his
"manhood" by calling him hateful names?

See, I'm well aware that this kid is my test in I fear I may be failing
I have tried talking to him,
yelling at him,
taking away his privileges when he bullies,
rewarding him when he doesn't.
It's not working.
I ask him why he hits and pushes and teases and hurts  others.
His answer is always the same:
"I don't know."

I am frustrated, too. I want to puke, too. I cry, too.
But not because my kid is being bullied...
because my kid is bullying yours.
And I get the nasty glares,
and the hateful retorts, 
and the threats from angry siblings, cousins, neighbors, teachers and parents.
I'm not ignoring it.
You're right it IS unacceptable behavior.

However, I do live in a country where psychological counseling is 
questionable at best.
So seeing a shrink is not an option.
I'm doing my best to try to find exactly what 
is making him behave this way 
so that we can work together
to fix it.

And it's hard...REALLY, hard.
And I can only apologize to those parents of bullied kids
on behalf of those of us who have kids who bully
and are aware of the behavior 
and are trying to change it.
I'm sorry.
But I'd like to ask a favor of you.

For just one moment, please step back from the emotion
of your situation and it won't be easy...
but before immediately asking that hateful 
and hurtful question:
We don't "allow it."
I know MY kid has never come up and said to me,
"Mom, if so-and-so gets on my nerves today, is it okay if I throw his
backpack out of the 3rd floor window?"
Most of the time, we're not aware of the bullying. 
Once I was notified, I began immediately to work with my son
in an attempt to identify the reasons behind the behavior AND to put an 
end to it.

It's not going to happen overnight.
Let's be realistic. 
All of our kids are works in progress.
I'm not saying at all that I'm sitting back and hoping that he'll outgrow 
this stage like he did the nail-biting thing.
But I'm also groping around in 
the dark.

All of these cool websites who offer "help to stop bullying" are
seemingly coming at it from a "how not to be a victim of bullying."
This is not helpful to those of us who are on the 
other side of the bullying spectrum.

I have found a couple of sites that at least touch upon it
without the immediate 
"Go seek mental professional help" option.

You can find assistance here:
or here:

Anyway, I just wanted to say that 
the bullying problem is just as frustrating from the other
side of it only in a very different
perhaps more guilt-ridden way. 
If we, as parents, work together to teach our kids
to work through their frustrations in a healthy way and how to 
stand up to bullies by talking to parents or teachers or
some other adult who can help,
then maybe we can succeed at stopping 

Feel free to place helpful suggestions in the comments section. 
I really am tired of banging my head against a wall
to come up with new ways of
trying to work through this with him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gainful Employment *OR* 1 Down 4 to Go

Yesterday afternoon, while I was sweating my ass off in the kitchen making dinner and washing up the dishes that the kids had stacked up to just under the spigot so that I had to lift it up in order to unwedge the large pot from between it and every dish I own under it, my mobile phone rang. (Okay, it didn't actually ring. It played some bizarre ass Portuguese song called 'O Sol' that I don't understand because, even though I speak  5 languages, Portuguese is not one of them.) I squeezed the excess water (2/3 of which was probably just sweat) from my t-shirt and answered the phone. It was my husband's cousin.

She called to offer my son, Ismail, a job. She's working at a bakery now and in need of someone to work with her selling bread, breadsticks, cookies, muffins, zweiback toast and this awesome, flaky Egyptian pastry thing called FATEER. Anyway, she had heard me talking about how he was on my last nerve and in need of a job to keep him busy and to help him to learn responsibility. I could hear Ismail and his older brother starting to argue, so I told her I'd stop over at her  place after I fed them.

Fast forward through the next 3 hours of my typical, only-boring-because-of -the-repetition-and-not-because-my-kids-don't-try-to-kill-each-other kind of day and I sent Samiya (nearly 13) to her French lesson at the lecture center, Randa (16) was taking a nap, Mohamed (17) was at the cyber-cafe and Ismail (14) and Aiman (11) were just chilling out watching television. I quickly got dressed and ran over to Abir's house. She looked completely knackered. Poor thing.

She'd been at work from 7am until 2pm. She stopped to buy food on her way home and ran home to cook, fed the boys (ages 5, 6, 9 and 10) and then hustled the three oldest out the door to the lecture center (where my daughter goes.) The water had been shut off in their building all day long and she couldn't do the dishes or wash the mountain of clothes that 4 young boys will go through playing soccer in the dirt all day while she was at work. I could totally feel her pain.

So, she started talking to me about the job and explained that because he is strong, he would help her to lift the trays in and out of the ovens. Also, she knows that he is trustworthy. She knows he's ornery as hell but that he doesn't steal and that he has a good work ethic. I was honored that she offered him the position before her own siblings. Anyway, I texted his father and let him know what was going on. He said, COOL. So the boy began work this morning at 7 a.m.

He was up and dressed by 6:45 and out the door to meet Abir just seconds after I insisted he wait until I unlock the door. (We can't have an Ismail-shaped  hole in the door, now can we?) I went back to bed. HE got the job not me.

I called him around 12:30 to see how he was doing. He really liked it. He asked if he could stay until 3 if they needed him and I said yes. He came through the door at 2:30pm, happy as a clam with his daily pay in his pocket.

He had his dinner and we started his English lesson. About 30 minutes into it, I could see his eyelids fighting to stay open. I told him to take a shower and hit the sack. In all the excitement about starting work, he couldn't fall asleep until nearly 3 in the morning. He was out like a light by 6pm.

I am so happy. That old phrase "busy hands are happy hands" could not be more appropriate. When he doesn't have something to occupy his time, he gets creative...usually in a very ornery sort of way. I just can't wait until Saturday. Samiya and Aiman will be heading back to school then and I may have peace in my household again by October. WOOHOO. Can't wait.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Forcing the Hand

I've been busy this past week. I completely blew off my blog with the exception of the post about my step-brother's car accident last week because it was the only way I could deal with my emotions about the whole thing. I was busy editing Nuala Reilly's latest book release, Spring Daisies.  Well, I finally finished that last night. And since I've been focusing primarily on that and NOT playing around on Facebook or too terribly much on Pinterest or here, I decided that I should get on here and get in some goof-off time. I deserve it.
Also, since Mohamed and Ismail are both finishing their 3 day sentence of no t.v. and no computer privileges due to their last 3:30a.m. fight and disrespect Mom session.....I figured, Samiya and Aiman had been online for far too long anyway and took my place at the keyboard. Here's how it went about 15 minutes later, with Aiman:

"Mom, I want to go play at the cyber-cafe."


"Awwwwwwwww! Why not?"

    "Because it's dark outside and your sister is at her French lessons and your brothers are both grounded and you're not allowed to go by yourself."

"You NEVER let me do anything!"

He stomped off and then came back 3 minutes later, plopping down on the foot stool that has become a permanent fixture next to the computer desk.

"How come you won't let me buy membership to Monkey Quest? You HAVE a credit card in your purse. I saw it!"

    "It's not a credit card. It's a debit card."

"So why can't I use it? HUH?"

    "Because it's expired and it's a debit card for a bank I don't have an account with anymore."

"Well, why can't I get a credit card so that I can buy Monkey Quest membership and get access to all the cool levels, HUH?"

    "Because you are 11 and you owe me $37,628.34 for everything I've spent on you so far. Now beat it. And if I hear the words "credit card" or "Monkey Quest membership" in the same sentence from you again I will block the Monkey Quest site from our computer and you won't be allowed to play it again until you're 19."

"You are ALWAYS telling me NO!"

He stomped off again and I was able to write a comment on my friend's photo. It consisted of LOL. Then he came back and started pounding on the arm of my chair.

    "What do you want, Aiman?"

"Can I go up on the roof of the bread factory tomorrow?"


"WHY not? Ismail gets to."

   "First of all, Ismail doesn't "get to." He is going to talk to the woman who owns it and get permission from her to go on the roof of the bread factory so that he can collect up all of the trash and crap that our lovely neighbors have chucked out of their windows and off of their balconies and we can possibly cut down on the mosquito population and keep the bread factory roof from leaking once it starts raining next month. Until he has permission he doesn't "get to" do anything."

"So? Why can't I help him?"

     "Because you're 11. And you trip over air while walking through the living room sometimes. I don't want you clowning around up there and end up falling off and breaking your neck. I really can't afford spinal surgeries right now. I really want to buy a house."

"He's ONLY 2 years older than me!"

    "He's 2 and a half years older than you. And I don't want you up there."

"WHY are you such a jerk to me?"

     "Just remember I'm the "jerk" who can take away your computer privileges for a week due to your sassy mouth."

"I NEVER get to hear YES from you!"

He stomped off again and I got to read a one-liner status update on Facebook before he stomped back over and started slapping his sister's yo-yo around the legs of my chair.

     "Stop it."

"I don't want to. I'm trying to make it wrap around the leg and then unwrap on its own."

     "If you break it, then you will replace it with your own money."

"I don't have any  money."

    "Then I'll let your sister pound 3.50 EP out of your hide to pay the debt. I'm sure she won't mind."

"You are really mean to me."

    "I must not like you very much. Is that what you want to hear?"

"No!  Can I go outside to play?"



     "It's dark outside and you have to be in the house by sunset, per your father's rules. Don't like it? Raise your kids however you like when you grow up and get married."

"I will! And I won't always tell them NO like you do to me, either."

     "We'll see, won't we?"

(Now crying real tears.) "Why do you always tell me NO for EVERYTHING??!"

      "Why do you always ask me for permission to do things you already know you're not allowed to do?"

"What do you mean?"

      "Well, had you asked me, 'Mom, may  I wash the dishes for you?' or 'May I watch t.v.?' or 'Is it okay if I grow a fu manchu mustache?' I would have said 'YES! YES! and YES!"

"I can't wait until I'm 18."


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just Thanking God Today

My step-brother and his wife, two sons and three other kids from the boys' baseball team were in a rollover accident in this SUV yesterday...and SURVIVED. I am so grateful to God for watching over them all. One of my nephews was thrown from the door of the vehicle and walked away. My other nephew had to have his ear stitched back into place. Thankfully, most of the damage was vehicular and minor injuries.

I was one hot mess last night waiting for updates from my family. Thankfully, everyone is okay and back home recovering from their injuries and thanking God that they are all okay and have each other.

I hugged my kids a few times each today to let them know I love them. We never know what will come our way on any given day. Make sure your loved ones know how much you love them. And let God know how grateful you are for each day you have with them. Because life is short...and sometimes scary.