Mothering and Life in General
*** This may be a trigger to those who have been through sexual abuse ***
There are so many things that you learn you are not ready for when you become a parent. You question yourself while you are pregnant, how will you be? Will you be able to care for this child and will you be an asset to this new life? Then again, once you have your child in your arms. There were so many things that I was sure I achieved greatness along my journey with enough knowledge that I am still far from being the perfect parent. Until early this morning, when I felt like nothing more than what is underneath a shoe.
At 2am, I was ready to lay in our bed. I was just finishing up with some reading, my eyes were heavy when I heard K2 cries. She has not cried like that in about a year. I thought maybe I was hearing another child, so I listened for a few seconds. Then I heard “MOMMY!”, I hardly made it out of my chair and I was in full sprint down the hall. Even at almost 4, she only cries as long as it takes me to get to her.
She is sitting in her bed in tears, whimpering, when she sees me she lets it all out. I ask her what is wrong and that is when the words a mother never wants to hear comes out, “I can’t tell you, because I will get into trouble”. My heart stops, never in my life would I think my child would be saying the same words I told my mother so long ago. I was in shock, for the first time, nothing came to my mind, no logic, no rope, no hope. I was sick, my stomach was tight, and I can’t breathe.
I held her, I asked her questions, like “What do you mean, you will get into trouble?”, “Mommy wants to help, can you tell me what is wrong?”, “Who told you, you can’t tell Mommy?”. All she returned with was, “I don’t know”. I was bordering on hysteria. I noticed my eyes were watering, I needed to settle myself to be able to be good for her. I did not want to scare her, I want her to know she can talk to me about anything and at any time. I asked her if she wanted a freezie and I allowed her watch some TV, while I quietly went on the balcony.
As controlled I could ever be, I called DH (who was out with a friend playing darts). I asked him if he’s ever left K2 with anyone alone while he went out with her. Of course he said he never did, so I told him what happened. He shrugged it off as a bad dream, and for a quick moment I thought so too. I was able to take in some air, but deep inside there was dread. DH does not understand the fuss or the bother. In some ways I am grateful, because he does not have the deep fears that I do.
I turned to look at K2 on the bean bag chair watching TV. My heart was a lump in my throat. I still was not calm enough to talk to her without tearing up, or suggesting this conversation we would have is wrong. Who on the small list of people have I wrongfully mistrusted? Then I felt guilt for even thinking that. Was it wrong to think that? Was I taking things way too far? I thought I worked through my past abuses enough to deal with this the proper way. With every minute I waited to settle, was that every minute I was failing her?
I called a friend to see about how to go around speaking to her about this. If she would take things the same way. She was not touched by a dirty hand, so if she took it the same way as I did, then would that make me normal? We talked about what happened, and I allowed myself to quietly get upset. I spoke about what happened in my past, and why I fear of doing things wrong. I don’t want to make the matter worse, but it’s K2’s answer of “I don’t know” to questions previously asked that bothers me.
After calming down, I came in from the cold, K2 asked to nurse. I thought this would be the time where I would have her attention, and the one place she would feel my comforting arms. I turned off the television, and I told her that Mommy has something very important to say. As I sat on our chair with her on my lap, I asked her if she remembered what she said when she woke up. She nodded with a look of awaiting trouble. As calmly as I could, I spoke to her that she would not get into trouble and I will not be mad. That it’s important to tell me what she meant by “I can’t tell you, because I will get into trouble”.
She told me she had a dream that a boy I look after pushed her, and she got really hurt. She told me because it did not happen, dreams are not real, that telling me would be a lie. Telling lies gets you into trouble. As relieved I was with her words, it was her body language that allowed me to believe this was what happened. I had to explain that talking about dreams are ok and is not lying, and that I was happy that she understands the difference between what dreams are and what real-life is. As I hugged her tight and kissed her forehead, I thought maybe I jumped in deep with conclusions. I kicked myself, and asked will I ever be a normal mother?
I took this opportunely to explain good touches, bad touches, good secrets and bad. I was impressed how quickly she received the information, but still felt like I had failed her some way. I know she felt my over reaction, I know she felt my dread.
I was up very early and I could not sleep, going over ever aspect of ‘last night’. I still tear up thinking about it. Yes, I believed her, when people did not believe me. Yes, I took it seriously, but did I handle it the way I should have? Did I put fear into her where none should be? Did I cross the line? It’s hard to teach these things when you come from the position of being touched. You know what the dirties do, you see what they want and will freely take. You know what they say, and how they think. Trying to put clear and concise information together to an almost 4-year old is not a simple task.
Do you tell them only Mommies and Daddies can wipe their bums, yet what do you tell them when you have to leave them with a Provider? Do you tell them that no one sees them naked, leaving room for them to believe their bodies are bad? How do you tell them that not every hug is good and not ever touch is bad? Do they know about what is comfortable or is that something that is taught? Sometimes being ‘touched’ can have it’s silver lining, you know things others do not. Most times being ‘touched’ leaves you enable to handle things well, and second guessing every action you take. I hope with all my heart our daughter never understands my feelings.
Being a childcare provider, allows me to talk openly with other parents, to give and receive suggestions in parenting. As we all know, parenting is an art not a science. There is always a wrong way of doing things, but never a perfect way. There are also times when your parenting style clashes with another parent’s. I try to stay open-minded, with short implications that some things can be adapted during my care, however there are things I just simply will not do. One of these things would be not allowing a boy to play with dolls.
I can appreciate fears of boys partaking in doll playing. I can understand the concerns, however I can not, not state my disagreement. Playing with dolls will not make a boy more feminine, it will not change your son’s sexual preferences later in life. In fact, doll playing helps with so many important things, that is easily overlooked. Like introduction to dressing, being kind & gentle, and creative-role play.
Allowing your son to play with dolls can help with the concept of dressing, as it provides a different view-point that can make it easier to understand. Most of the Velcro in doll clothing is easier than other child’s dressing items, and the openings of these clothing are usually larger than in T-shirts and sweaters. The snaps are also larger to help little finger grasp and best of all no tying!
Introducing a new addition to the family, can be made a bit easier with doll playing, by showing him how to hold a baby and how to touch gently. Doll playing can reinforce gentle actions and empathy with the new baby to come. When the baby is brought home, you can have your older child diaper their baby while you diaper the ‘real’ one. You can also buy special fabric for your son to carry his baby, if you are a baby wearing parent. Dolls can also aid with reenacting the roles they have in their family.
There are also different types of dolls that use creative-role playing, some are potty training dolls, some are newborn dolls, others give the idea the child can be anything when they grow up, as long as they put their mind too it. Dolls help with providing a world where real-life and make-believe are joined, yet the child has the control to make up the ending. Doll playing also helps with balancing out the active, destructive toys, most boy toys provide, and changes the creative play feel.
Unfortunately as adults, we forget the power of play in general. No matter if it’s playing with action, ‘masculine’ toys or ‘feminine’ dollies, play is the basic need in teaching a child and having a child learn what is being taught. Any type of play is an asset to children, and every child should have many toy-outlets to use to move on to the next learning curve. In my house, play is important, I believe its first step to other things. Just like you can’t run without learning how to sit first. Without one step you can’t fully learn the next one without being stunted. Taking out doll playing takes more away from the child’s learning than what you are afraid is being added. So please parents I beg you, let your son play with dolls.
I am not an intolerant person towards bugs. I feel each one has a job to do. I don’t mind spiders or silverfish or worms, but I do draw the line with sharing my food, my body and my bed. When it comes to be being a meal, excluding the little beings I created, the line has been so far past you can’t even see it anymore. I feel leaving my family’s body, food, pets and bed alone is something that is a reasonable expectation, that should be taken into consideration once the ‘small ones’ take a vacation at my house. Don’t get me wrong I don’t roll out the red carpet to these pests, I am saying with no offense intended, you would never see me standing on a chair screaming about a spider. Well, you would hear me shrieking at the person who killed a spider at my house, but that is about it. All that I ask is they don’t sneak up on me in the dark of the night, when I am the only one awake. That shit is just not funny.
I have spent the past several days thinking over our situation, in which I have to honestly admit, that in situations like these I am a bit freaky. I would like to share with you my personal stages of being buggy about bugs (if that is what you want to call them, they are IMO, parasites). Please note there is cursing in here, so if you do not like to see this please overlook this post.
“You have to be fuckin’ kidding me!!!!”: Yes, that is the first thing that came out of my mouth once I ‘diagnosed’ our issue. Heart elevated, as I looked at our bedding. Call it the denial stage or the shock stage, does not matter. Just something I wish on no one.
Stop the World I Want Off: I felt dirty. I did not know if it was us that started it. There was no notices in the building, no talks in the common areas – nothing. You would think a situation like this would spread fast. I was thinking we had to be the first. I walked around the apartment, had a few cigarettes, and I wished for some wine. At this point, the ‘visitors’ had me defeated. I wanted to sit in a corner and cry. I gave up, I wanted to leave. They won, the white flag is up. I will be leaving on the next bus, have fun with the place. Hope I tasted good, um, ok bye! They took everything, our bed, our bedding, K2’s toys, everything was gone. On $400 per month, how can I cover anything new? Defeat, pity party, swallow me whole.
As DH Would Say, “Suck It Up!”: Suck.it.up! After my pity-my-poor-family hours in the night, I was empowered to realize I am the only one in this home with experience with quarantines and pest control. It’s not the first building I have lived in and I was an older child when my mother needed my help before our home was sprayed. My experience is what is going to get us out of this. Suck it up, or they are going to take over. That is when my analytical mind came into overdrive and I started planning what to quarantine first.
Knowledge is Power… Well, So They Say: I am all for educating yourself, but there are just some things I really did not want to have to know. Such as, my visitors are known to travel 20 feet to their meal. Their meal, would of course, be us. Our apartment is not that big. Our bedroom is not that far away from our save living room. Siting at my glider on the computer my arm is getting itchy…
“You have to be fuckin’ kidding me!!!!”: Yes, we are back here again. I never said once you move past a stage, it does not welcome you back with open arms. They took my freaking chair! The chair I sit at while nursing our daughter, the chair that I have a love hate relationship with. The only chair, with the help of cushions, that is comfortable with my arm issues. They.Took.Over.My.Chair. They took the chair in the only room I have quarantined. The only place I was able to think as safe. They took it, all within 24 hours of knowing. I was scared, I was mad. I heaved my wooden glidder on the balcony, mumbling profanities, I threw it in the corner. I can see it as I type this, poor lonely wooden glidder, I miss how you used to tip just at the moment I was getting up with K2 in my arms, sleeping.
Sleepless in B-Town: This was not a romance comedy either. I spent the rest of the night on a hard, cushion-free, dinning room chair with tape in the legs. I was hesitant to lay K2 on the bed. So I held her, until the pain went to my shoulders. When I did lay her down on the Queen size blow up mattress, I sat for an hour watching her sleep, just to see if she would scratch. Then being afraid to go to sleep, every movement of your child wakes you up in a fright. You check your bed, blanket, and pillows. Then you reinspect them again. I was not certain if they were there, hungrily waiting. We folded our blankets, pillows and blow up mattress, placed them in bags and put them out on the balcony for the cold to get them. I checked K2 from head to toe for more bites, not knowing that old bites takes a few days to ’emerge’. Every new spot of angry red was a flashing, you-should-have-known sign in my face. I was angry now, they messed with the wrong child!
This Means WAR!: I have spent over $80 dollars on eczema products, I have spent close to $30 on probiotics. All for a ‘rash’ on K2’s skin that I thought the doctors were overlooking. I knew something was wrong, however, I did not think it was bed bugs! I was looking into spending $50 plus for Black Deep Sea Mud and taking out dyes in her food. I knew we needed a new bed, but it could have waited. I knew we needed a new couch, but that could have waited too. I really did not need some evil living Dracula Bug to kick our asses in gear, especially so close to K2’s Birthday! If I was going down, I am taking those fuckers with me too!
Burn Down the House: This one says it all. After the I-am-taking-you-down-with-me thinking, I thought about burning the blood suckers. There was no escape. We can’t go to a friend’s house, we can’t move, we can’t go to the mall, we are walking around naked until we leave the house. What else can these little apple seed sized monsters do? To top everything off with a coating of sprinkles, management KNEW there where 5 other apartments in my area, and they did not mention it. Nothing was said. Do you think my neighbor who was sprayed 2 weeks before us noticing our visitors, tell us? Nope. Why would he do that?
Chuck, Chuck, Geese: After finding out some great history against my attackers, I wanted everything infested out of my house. I don’t need a hundred bugs tracking K2 in the night. I wanted them out. All the geese can stay but the bugs needs to be chucked. We had more chucks than geese, I could not believe the stuff we threw away. Anything I was going to sell that K2 grew out of, things DH has not gotten around to throwing away (don’t ask). A lot of stuff was lost, but worth my sanity in the night. After most of the buggy things were out, and the bedding and clothing in our room were bagged, I felt a lot better, or maybe it was just the lack of sleep playing tricks on me.
Evil is Among Us: I surprise myself all the time, but this stage just really disturbed me. These little things are like a black hole, that sucks you into their dysfunction. I started to feel vindictive, not just the I am going to overpower you feeling. The crazy-ex-slash-your-tires sort of feelings. As I was on the phone joking about taking a few of the monsters into a small container and drowning them in their ‘food’ and not only do I wonder how long I have been laying my daughter down in a buggy bed, I just could not help but to think how long have I been having unwanted orgies? I pondered what their meaning is. What are they here to do. Just as I mentioned above, everything has a purpose, a ‘Greater Good’ purpose. Not these heartless basters. They are here to drive us mad, and they do a very swell job of it. Then I search for other bugs who eat bed bugs and I came across one crazy fucker called The Masked Assassin (AKA, The Masked Hunter, but I like the drama of Assassin, in this particular situation). Isn’t the name great? I wanted to take a few of my guests and an Assassin put them together in a glass tank and enjoy the festivities. I don’t know, maybe they would send a signal to the rest of the pack, they are tracked and are going down. Maybe they can send out smoke signals, telling the rest they pushed me beyond insanity, I am one crazy bitch.
“If You Have Enough Time To Argue With Me, You Have Enough Time To Bag!”: I can’t tell you how many times this harshly came out of my mouth over the last week. I don’t understand why people have to fight me on things all the time, but there are reasons to my madness. Not saying I am smart or perfect, it just takes me some time to take action. Once I do, don’t get in my way, or you will be fucked up. I thought for 24 hours, and even in my dreams I was plotting my action of attack. We can’t do the contaminated room, in risk of pushing them all in the safe areas. We can’t lay in bed without having a shower first. We have to take off our shoes by the door. Shoes that are used in ‘the room’ can’t be used outside. Things need to be bagged and not passed through other areas of the home. It’s a snowball effect, and if you think too hard on it, it leaves you with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t approach. I would not be brought to this level. I forbid it. Seriously, if you have to bitch and chew about how things are going to be done, then just fuck off. Your wasting your time, trying to tell me I am taking over the apartment and making rules you don’t agree too. Look at my face, does it say I give a fuck? Not today, sorry. Things from here now out, will be done my way, or you can have the door hit on your way out, don’t forget about the free T-Shirt.
Best Served Cold, um, or HOT…. (evil cackle): There are two known ways to kill these dreaded things, Heat and long periods of below freezing temperatures. Since pesticides are not working because of immunities, the only other way to help with quarantine is to get nature on your side. We bagged up K1/Playroom first. We stashed all the bags on the balcony. We cleaned the room out of toys and moved everything into the middle of the room. I then moved to the hall closet, bathroom and linen cupboard. Stacked them outside too. As much stuff that would fit on the balcony was put out there. Lastly we worked on the “Doomed Room”. Another fun way to kill these creatures is heat, and lots of it. So I had the greatest honor (sense my sarcasm?) to do the infested laundry. I loaded it up with Borax (BTW, Borax is unknown on whether it kills bedbugs, but it’s worth it to do anyways IMO). Carefully ensuring K2 does not touch anything on the way down to the laundry mat was fun. A few things were thrown out after the wash, because there was no way I was ever going to see that item in the same light again. It was nice, in an insane way, to think that finally they are getting back the torment they gave us. 50 minutes of high heated hell, served in a silver coloured drum, on the house!
Diatomaceous Earth (DE): Oh, how I love nature! Who would have known that some shelled algae could be an answer to this mess. I know it’s not a guarantee solution, but it gives some hope. I am questioning the regular use of this product. In reading the uses, I am concerned that since DE is given to animals and comes out the way it goes in. That this can harm other ‘good’ insects in nature, because we use the manure with DE as fertilizer. I feel everything has a cause and effect, and the main area we should be looking at is prevention. I think we should use our past mistakes on Pest Control and educate people, as the priority. So as disgusted you are, be one with the bed bug. Act and think like one. Empower yourself with everything you can get your hands on with these dreaded things. We were sprayed on the 22nd, which is another if-it-could-go-wrong-it-did-go-wrong post I wont bore you with, and I have only seen them in the bags of clothes I have washed.
Taking It All Back: We still don’t feel comfortable with being in the master room for long periods of time, but we did take back K1’s/Playroom. We have plans to switch the rooms and give the girls the larger room, AFTER the crazies are gone. The small room will be enough for two shelves on either side of the bed (but far enough away to prevent a ladder for bugs), a king-size bed, and best of all, NO TV! It’s going to be awhile before I feel comfortable with buying anything for this apartment. In the mean time, I am window shopping. DH and I agreed (for the first time) on curtains for the living room, which is a validation that things seem to be improving (another update is needed on this topic, I know). It’s not a happy ever after, but things are better. They will be doing a second spray in a few weeks, and 4 floors are reported to have bed bugs. My father bought the Pest Repeller Ultimate® AT and we are waiting for it to arrive. I am not sure when I will start to use it, because I am afraid to move them from where they are hiding to other areas they are not. Maybe I should drink a lot of wine that night? BTW that was a joke, I rarely ever drink.
Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours: Thanks for everyone’s support and understanding my sick humor lately. I know I am all itchy from writing this, I can’t imagine reading it would be. DH says I have monkey arms, because I can reach every inch of my back. I will gladly send over some scratching relief if you every need it. I really hope no one goes through this. Again I urge you to educate yourself and protect your mattress and box spring, not just for bed bugs, but for your mattress’ hygiene. Hopefully this is the last of the posts on bugs.
Often times things are sent to you, when you need them the most. Today was a day where I would read the greatest words I have ever read during my mothering years. I have tried to search for the author which lead to mostly Unknowns. However, I did find this at Amazon. I will eventually buy this small book. Sit back and enjoy, take in every word, share it to those you feel needs to read these words.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”
Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel”. I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”
Some days I’m a crystal ball; “Where’s my other sock?, Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?”
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
1.) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.
2.) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3.) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4.) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.”
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no hockey/soccer/piano/Scout/school meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My Mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, “You’re gonna love it there!”
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.
I AM GOING TO LOOSE MY MIND, I hate this building! I feel like a prisoner in my own home. Not a room in this house is not infested! They don’t pay rent, nor clean, but they want a free meal. I can’t lay my daughter to sleep without her being eaten alive! There is no notices about these nasty, evil bugs. Yet, our apartment was number 6. They are Satan, slowly driving you mad. My daughter lays in my arms and I am here on a wooden dining room chair with tape on the legs, sticky side out. It’s the only safe spot in our ‘home’. I sit crossed legged, afraid to let my feet touch the floor.
We were evacuated from our bedroom, then our beds were all thrown out. My daughter cried that her beddy was gone. We entered the only place left to go – our living room. They took away her toys, her clothes, her blankets. They took away her Mom. She calls for me to nurse but I have to shower first. I am mad, frustrated, livid for the lives of these horrid creators. I am going to Hell by saying they don’t deserve to live. We can’t go anywhere because these hitchhikers will end up there. I would never wish this on anybody.
It’s not safe here now, they were in a pillow, and then they took my computer chair. They stock you, haunt you, then they feed on you. I have creepy feelings as I try to quarantine our home. I know they will find her, in the night when she is the most vulnerable. She says she’s itchy, but there is nothing I can do. As I look at the 2 paged list of things I need to do. I look out my balcony door with all of our belongings in large black bags. Just our luck the next three days are above freezing, so the tiny fuckers are not going to die.
I did 5 loads of laundry only find a bug attached inside. $40 wasted, one made it through the wash. All of our pillows are gone, and I want to burn this house. I would like to leave with my daughter, my cat, without any clothes and just start over. I am sorry for being so dramatic. I just never thought it would be me. My daughter’s birthday is in a few months are we going to be able to participate? I am stressed and hurt, I am entirely raw inside. I want to scream, I want to sit in a corner and cry. I don’t because I know I am the only one that stands in their way to her. But with every new bite mark I find, I see failure, failure, failure.
This is the beginning of this maddening story. The countdown to Bed Bug death! I will be bewildered at the count of bodies, I will be shocked at the site. I know there will be activity for 3 weeks after, but I am hoping for the best.