Category: Journal

Storms 2…

“Jesus wept.” -John 11:35

In the past when people have said, these kids are driving me crazy, I always laughed it off. I always thought it was a joke. It’s not a joke. I know that now. I know that because my own child literally drove me out of my mind. Going forward, when I refer to “the thing,” I will be referring to the thing that he did which drove me out of my mind. I cannot describe the thing again, or I shall go mad, once again, and I can’t allow that to happen. I still don’t know where he got the idea for the thing, and that is the most maddening of all. What I can say is that right now, he is behaving perfectly normal, as if the thing never happened, and I’m feeling mostly relieved, although somewhat perplexed about that.

To start, my child is different from most. He has special needs, and he was in a special class, with only six other little dull-faced children, who may not even be potty trained, and who talk even less than he does, but he has no diagnosis of anything actually the matter with him. His speech was delayed and he has trouble picking up on social cues. He also gets really wild and aggressive when he’s not getting enough attention or getting his way. The thing is, every single problem he has is something I can trace back to some mistake that I made. I handed him everything too easily without ever making him ask for anything or use his words. I discouraged his babbling because I found it obnoxious and didn’t understand why he insisted on incessantly filling the air with random face hole noises. Seriously that shit was cute for about three seconds. Then not so cute anymore. Then really annoying. I didn’t want him to be one of those people who never shuts up. I have to live with this kid. He’s my only child so he’s used to being doted on and maybe even worshipped a little. He basically immediately became the most dominant member of the family. Then I tried spanking him and that completely backfired and wound up angering him. I roughhoused with him because I figured that’s how a father would play with him, I don’t know, maybe I confused him? Look, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Mistakes were made. These are all mistakes I’ve made. Mistakes I’ve been working to correct over the past year or so, and for the most part, it’s been working. I’m pretty much in charge now, the kid is talking a lot more, he’s being way more respectful and well-mannered, understanding and respecting rules and boundaries, truly thriving.

The reason why the thing drove me out of my mind, is because it’s inconsistent with who he is and the sort of problems he has. My son has problems, but not this kind of problem. My kid can get aggressive and doesn’t follow orders, but he’s not a sexual deviant, and I sure as shit don’t appreciate that getting added to his list of issues. That shit is fucked straight up. Anyone without kids may not know that kids do masturbate and discover themselves, but mine is more along the lines of a public nose picker than a public masturbator. I never shamed him about it when he did do it, but he didn’t do it any more than any other normal kid, and to be honest, he didn’t do it nearly as much as I was expecting. If I discovered that I had a penis one day, I would probably spend a lot more time with mine than my son did with his. It was just, oh neat, this feels nice, whatever, what’s next? Oooh, check out these toes! Basically I think it was around age three that I told him that it was time for him to start doing that privately and, with a few reminders, he got it, no problem. Potty training was also extremely easy for this kid. It took a few tries, but when the time came, it was basically like pointing a kitten in the direction of the litter box. I can count on one hand the number of times this kid has wet his pants. Nothing has changed and the kid still doesn’t wet the bed or anything, I’m just saying it’s usually the bedwetters that are the pervy ones. My son doesn’t have any indicators of any abnormal sexuality. I don’t even think he’s gay, and it’s fine if he is, whatever. I’m just not seeing it yet at all, if he is. Just sayin, that’s the kind of kid I was dealing with.

Then the thing happened.

It wasn’t in any of the parenting books I’ve read. Nothing like it was mentioned in the normal developmental milestones charts. It wasn’t an escalation of any other related behaviour. The thing came from another planet and struck like a damned meteor from outer space. It’s not from my son’s realm of ideas and capabilities. As soon as the doctor told me I was having a boy, I knew I was in for a tough time, but I didn’t know what a run this kid would give me for the money. I want him to socialize and have friends but, at the same time, I want to protect him from the world. I want to protect him from the world but, at the same time, I don’t want him wearing my clothes when I’m dead and making lampshades out of people. I know boys will be boys and they do strange things. I’m finding out that a lot of the things I thought boys learned from their fathers, are actually things they are born instinctively knowing and doing on their own. My son hates shopping, hogs the remote, and watches Netflix with his hand shoved down the front of his pants. He likes farting, video games, and trucks. Some of his ideas seem to come out of nowhere, but this one, it doesn’t add up. I may not fully understand his testosterone infused little mind, but I know when something isn’t rightly making any sense, and this still doesn’t make any logical sense to me whatsoever. Kids don’t just leap from average normal self-discovery straight into… the thing that he did.

What’s most important to remember, during a time like this, is, firstly, that I didn’t kill anyone. Mostly because I didn’t know who to kill, or if I even needed to kill anyone at all. Secondly, no matter how the thing came about, whether someone showed him this, or whether he somehow managed to get this crazy idea all on his own, I still love my son very much, no matter what. But still, where in the hell did he get this idea? The choices are not pretty. Either my kid is a natural born sociopath, or some sort of deviant has messed with him. I’m not even an expert parent, let alone an expert in how to deal with this sort of crap, so I just slowly backed away, and started thinking, while trying not to think, trying to wrap my head around what just happened, while also trying desperately to scrub it from my brain and protect my sanity. I managed to ask a few light questions about where he might have learned this, and then I went to lay down because I was feeling sick in my guts.

The only person I could speak to was my sister, but I couldn’t actually speak aloud to her because I didn’t want to spook my child into shutting down about where his idea came from. As far as he knew, he did the thing, then mommy started feeling sick entirely unrelated to the thing that he did. I needed to keep it that way until I knew what I was dealing with. So we texted, which wasn’t very ideal. As a single mom, even having an open telephone conversation can be tricky. I didn’t send my son back to school, and he’s still never going back there, because that’s the only time in his life that he’s ever been alone with anyone who could have taught him the thing. I’ve been a single mom since day one, and my son has only been left alone with a very select few people. School is the first time he’s ever been entrusted to the care of any man I haven’t personally known for at least a decade. It’s also the first time he’s just randomly come home one day, triggered, traumatized, re-traumatized, and drove me straight out of my damn mind with the thing, the thing that he should not even know, the thing that he should not ever do, the thing that he should definitely not try to involve his own mother in doing with him. Seriously, what in the actual fuck?!? I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but this?!?

So now my son is home, I can’t actually talk about the thing with anyone, even thinking about it makes me feel queasy, and this all culminated to a head on Saturday, when my sister was coming to Toronto to buy a minivan from someone on Kijiji.

I had a plan. I’d done as much sickening online research on how to deal with this sort of thing as I could stomach, and I had a plan to have a nice calm and rational discussion with the good folks down at the sex crimes unit of the police department to see if my fears were justified, and what appropriate steps I might take next. This calm and rational discussion was to take place during the half hour that my sister would have my son at the park.

The plan went off the rails immediately when I called three times and nobody answered the phone. Within minutes after that I was somehow involved in a very frantic and irrational standoff with the police, in which I refused to tell them where my child was until I was promised that nobody would interrogate or frighten him or force him to have a rape kit done. I didn’t want my son to be re-traumatized by the reporting process. I couldn’t protect him from anything that was already done, but I wanted to protect him from things getting any worse. I already checked and there was no sign that anyone had hurt or damaged him, and he seemed to have no idea that anything wrong might have even happened. I needed to protect that innocence, but I couldn’t just leave the other kids in his class potentially exposed to a predator, and unable to even speak up about it. My son might be those kids’ only hope, but he’s still my only child. I had no weapons, no hostages, no plan, no clout, no leverage and I was so ill with dread and panic that I could barely think straight or even stand up, let alone stand up to the police and, to be frank, I’m quite lucky that they didn’t just taze the shit out of me, take my little boy away, and put me in a loony bin. I had about the amount of power that a fly has over a lion, but I was ready to ride or die for my child and king kong didn’t have shit on frail and shaky little me. I even played the race card, which was quite foolish and unnecessary since I’m so light skinned that I literally had to explain my race before I could even play the damned card. Before I go any further, I need to take this opportunity to apologize to the good folks down at the fifty-five division precinct of the Toronto Police Department. I am truly sorry and embarrassed about my erratic and panicked behaviour, and for the race card. Despite all that, I was treated very kindly, with much dignity and respect. My son had a fun and easy experience meeting the police officers and riding in the ambulance, and for that I am super-grateful. They could not have been more professional in handling the situation, although it would be nice if they carried some lorazepam on them for these types of situations, not every problem can be solved using only handcuffs and a gun, just sayin, one little lorazepam certainly would have deescalated the matter pretty much instantaneously. But despite the delay in getting me dosed up with the coping dope, thank you so much. I do owe them my thanks. I basically had a miniature mental breakdown, and those people see people at their very worst all day every single day. For all they knew I was some sort of tweaker meth-head making up a story and using my child in order to somehow get free drugs. They could have shot me in the face and moved on with their day, but they didn’t. I’m so thankful that they didn’t. I was losing my mind and raving like a lunatic, trying desperately to make sense of something that didn’t make any sense. My child was safely at the park, out of earshot, and I could finally speak openly about the thing. I could finally cry, and grieve, and stop trying so hard to pretend everything was fine. I could hear how agitated and mentally unhinged I sounded, but I just couldn’t bring myself to chill the fuck out. Thankfully, one of those officers was a mother, and when I described the thing to her, she understood exactly why I had lost my mind, or at least, she managed to convince me that she understood, while also convincing me to voluntarily go down to the hospital to get some sort of voluntary mental health check. They used the world “voluntary” a lot. Finally someone gave me some lorazepam, after those useless dicks at Med Visit refused to see me the day prior to this whole fiasco, and of course that helped immediately. I have one left, and I’m saving it in case this child does anything else to drive me insane. I always thought that was a joke. Mostly it is. The lorazepam is just in case.

After my son spoke with the proper detective and child protection agent we spent a few days with my sister’s family because I needed to rest for a bit. They were watching him for any odd behaviour, but nothing happened. We’ve since all questioned him, lightly, without any shame or accusations, just asking for information and promising that he won’t be in any trouble if he tells the truth, but so far, he’s saying nothing and acting completely normal. Not a single name, nothing. I’ve left it alone because I don’t want him to just make up a name to get me off of his back about it. His speech problems make it really hard to get the truth out of him, which is why I was so desperate to get him directly to the top professionals trained to speak with children in this sort of situation, so even if he gives me a name, it would have to be looked into before any conclusions could be drawn. If he gives me a name, I have the detective’s number, so I know what to do now. Knowing what to do is the easy part, the tricky part is actually doing it… I just hope he answers the phone… I’ve been known to act a little rashly when things don’t go according to plan.

Storms…

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” -Mathew 24:40

Ugh, I need to sort my Hub file. It’s basically a Scrivener project with tabs similar to my site menu, but it’s where I store all my rough ideas and all the shit I jot down so I won’t forget. It’s mostly sorted, but I need to add and file this massive list of jotted notes from my iPhone, and sometimes I don’t know even why I’m doing this. I’ve only managed my way through a handful of short stories and at this rate, all my best and most challenging ideas won’t actually be penned out till I’m in my sixties. It’s getting to where I’m almost sad when something comes in that I know could be amazing, because I just don’t seem to have the talent to put it into the proper words. As a novice writer, it kind of irks me when people try to offer me story ideas. Sweet and well-intentioned so I’m always polite, but I already have the ideas. I already have the words. It’s the putting them all together the right way that is the actual work of it. I could imagine awesome and cool ideas all day long, and I actually did just that for a long time. I spent years being super-depressed and not wanting leaving my bed, or my home, unless I needed to. My imagination and my dreams were my main source of cheer and happiness during that time. Now I thank God for giving me such interesting and wonderful places to safely ride out the storm. But back then I begged God every single day to just let me sleep and live in my dreams forever and not hurt anymore. He gave me a choice early one morning when I awoke to frantic banging and screams that the house was on fire. It was an answer to my prayers. I could have just laid there and let it take me. But I didn’t. I don’t know why, but I didn’t. I guess that’s why I’m still here and doing this now. I never had a life plan. More like a death plan.

That was many years ago. That fire wasn’t even close to the worst thing to ever happen to me, but the unfortunate events that transpired before and after the fire summed up a pretty devastating blow. Days before the fire I lost my job and my license got suspended for demerit points. Days after the fire, the solid rock of my childhood and the woman who singlehandedly raised my sister and I, the most incredible and strong woman I’ve ever known, she passed away. I had to get a ride back to the wreckage of my old house to pick out a dress for my Grandmother’s funeral.

The fire started in the basement when our drunk roommate decided to take a romantic candlelit bath alone, and then pass out and leave the candles directly beneath a towel rack. Virtually every surface of the house was covered in a fine black soot. Even though we tried not touch anything, we got covered in that crap every time we went in the house even just for a few minutes. It was everywhere. Everywhere except my bedroom, which was completely untouched and in pristine condition. Almost as if God knew that I would save myself and need a dress for my Grandmother’s funeral. I almost made my family go to two funerals, of two unrelated deaths, in the same family, at the same time. I’m so glad I chose to walk out of that fire.

There’s more to the story. The owner of the house had started using coke again, despite being seven years clean. He’d also started growing pot plants in the basement. I tried to warn him. I didn’t feel good about it, and I tried to persuade him to cool it with the dope and to not grow the stupid plants. He had plenty of money, he didn’t even need them. I love pot as much as anybody else, but you know what I don’t love? Taking stupid risks, and those plants were a stupid unnecessary risk, and look how that turned out. Everyone in that house had a stake in those plants, but I refused to have any part of it. I wish this was the first time I’d watched someone completely disregard my advice and immediately fall directly into disaster. I just don’t get too attached to people anymore. Of course the fire department snitched to the police and I had to watch the man’s kids get taken away, and they had to watch their father get arrested. Nobody else stepped up and claimed their share of the plants, not even the the girl who burned up his house. It broke my heart, and I’m sure it was a million times worse for him and his children. If he didn’t have those kids living in the house with us, I would have been all for the plants, but those kids raised the stakes much higher than the payoff… which was seized by police.

This happened in the year 2005. Five years later and things are starting to wear on me again. I don’t know exactly when, but my depression lifted after the fire. I felt like there had to be some reason why I got up and walked out of that fire when I didn’t have to. God doesn’t do things for nothing. If I had nothing here for me, I would have gone home right alongside my Grandmother. So, it’s five years later, I’m drinking again, sometimes getting a little high, basically killing myself again, although not depressed and miserable all the time, which is good. I’m fully functional, but I know I’m slipping. I’m still wasting my life on bullshit and parties, getting caught in the same old traps.

I start to pray for a soulmate. I ask God to send me someone who truly deserves all the love I have inside of me to give. Then my beautiful phoenix arose. My gorgeous little boy, who’s name is NOT Phoenix. My God-given gift of the strength to carry on in this world; my raison d’être. I asked God for a soulmate who deserves everything I have to give, and I ended up with a pure and innocent baby child. All my own, and I can love on him fearlessly for the rest of my life. He called me his hero the other day.

Bad things happen to everybody. There are people who are better off than me, and people who are worse off. I know that there will be more storms to bear in the future. God is my safe haven in the storm, he’s brought me through so many. I’m raising my son to be of good and noble character, and God is raising me. He’s preparing me for my place with Him, just like I prepared my own child in my womb. I can’t go until I’m ready, and crying about it isn’t going to help. I don’t even want to go yet, because I’m happy here with my son… Except for one thing.

It’s been five years since the birth of my son. A few hours ago he did something very odd and out of character for him. I can’t say what because that is private, but I can say that it was so disturbing I had to consult my big sister for advice, and she is concerned as well. Another storm may be on our doorstep, and I’m trying to pray my way out of it, but it might bear down on us, all the same.

As tough as this recent event is to cope with, I could never imagine having to walk alone without God’s guidance, wisdom, strength, and patience. Life can turn in the blink of an eye, and no one said it was going to be easy. My son will never know more about my reasoning and plans than I do, just like I will never know more about God’s reasoning or plans than He does. No one knows what the future holds, but I’m so glad I know who holds my hand.

Note: It’s pretty obvious from my blog that I’m not a traditional Christian and I’m no saint. If God called me for that, then that’s what I’d be, but that’s not the call for my life. My lot in life is what it is and my religion emerged and solidifed through study, prayer, meditation, faith, and experience, in that order. I do my best to always listen for that still small voice. It has never, ever, steered me wrong, and has saved my actual life more times than I can count.

Note 2: A girlfriend and I road tripped across Canada and I think we were… Idk, past Winnipeg for sure, and we were getting a bit sick and tired of each other and we went to a bar to break it up a bit, and I wanted to leave with this guy, and she didn’t want to come with me, even though the guy was super nice, and it would be fine. I didn’t like the guys she was playing pool with, and I told her to have her fun, but please don’t leave the bar with these guys. Please. Just. Don’t. Me and my friend went back to his place and chilled for a bit and it was pretty awesome, interesting, whatever, he told me we could stay with him for as long as we’d like, so then I called her. Basically that was the end of our road trip. She caught a flight home when she was released from the hospital, and I drove home on my own. Didn’t listen. Straight into disaster. I’ve seen it happen before and it sucks every time. I’ve ignored my own intuition and walked straight into disaster myself a few times. That’s how I learned to listen. It’s easy to just brush off a shady vibe and tell yourself it’ll be okay or that you’re just being paranoid. I feel awful for leaving her, but she’s an adult and I told her to come with me. I had no idea that’s how bad they were or what would happen or I would not have left her there. They just gave me an uneasy feeling and I told her they were not nice guys, but I guess maybe she thought I was jealous and trying to ruin her fun. She actually tried to get me to chill with them, but I refused. Sure glad I listened that time, and I wish to God she had listened too.

Summer School

I’ve worked out an entire summer school program for my son. It used to be that he did whatever he wanted, while I did everything else. We played together and stuff, but I wasn’t really teaching him anything except how to play around all the time, and I think that’s where I’ve been going wrong. He’s getting older, and it’s time he starts learning some responsibility. I’m also including him in some of the stuff that I have to do. I’m hoping it will teach him empathy and responsibility, as well as how to do things for himself. He’s already doing much better.

For reading and math he has a summer workbook, everything else is on me. I make sure he gets outside everyday for fresh air and exercise, and I try to catch every teachable moment I can and use every chance to talk to him. He’s understanding me now better than ever before and he really needs to start learning this stuff. He’s pretty far behind, like, he’s going to be in special ed next year. Literally getting bussed to a different school on a short bus in a class with about six or seven of the slowest kids in the entire school district. That’s how epically he’s failed his first year of kindergarten. It’s how epically I’ve failed him as a parent.

I am a pretty relaxed parent. It was the first years of his life. I didn’t want to start putting all this pressure on him right out of the womb, man. I kept it easy and fun, but I may have let things be light and loose and way too easy for too long. It frustrated me because some stupid part of me actually expected a child to pick up the ball and be like, hey, she does an awful lot around here, I should probably pick up my own toys and not scream at five am anymore. Obviously that never happened.

Having doctors and teachers and the principal of his school in constant contact and having to listen to how tough it was for him, and for them, it was a real wakeup call to find out how far out of control and behind all the others he was. We had our own chill vibe, but the kid can’t get along in the real world at all. That’s the problem and it’s entirely my job to fix it – not be his chill vibe buddy. I mean, maybe when he was a helpless little baby and needed a chill vibe buddy to respond to his needs and provide before he could even want, but those days are long ago, man. Long ago.

It’s time to adult the shit out of this.

We’ve just moved apartments and it’s the perfect time for a change. I need to change my image as a parent, and my style with my son. I’m not his maid anymore, and I’m not his slave anymore. I’m not his chill buddy. I’m his mother.

I’ve done up a schedule, it has house rules, my responsibilities, his responsibilities, and what the goals are for the summer. It’s bananas. “Bob” is my top priority and, while it’s too late to change what’s happened, I can at least make sure he has a great start and the best possible chance for being reconnected with his friends and his home school for grade one. Grade one is when shit gets real.

A lot of the stuff “Bob” used to get away with isn’t going to wash anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of him or his meltdowns. He’s starting to understand when I say that we will go home and he’ll be punished and I don’t lie to my son. If I say something is going to happen, it happens. It always has, but I just never really threaten him… until now. It’s actually working. He’s taking me pretty seriously and he’s not too thrilled, but he’s not heartbroken either. He seems to want to learn and have personal attention. He tries to play alone all the time, but when I force him to play with me, after a brief meltdown, he’s pretty chill about it. Sometimes he even wants to keep hanging out after the game/lesson is over which is sweet. He’s so inquisitive and adorable!

So, I guess to end this on a positive and maybe even a hopeful note, I think I’m actually starting to settle into my permanent sort of mom self. Not the baby-slave who answers every cry and is exhausted and longing for only peace and quiet, and maybe a night out or a day at the spa… desperately… where was I going? Yeah, the frantic new mom has fluxed, or is fluxing, into the stable mama-rock. The one who means what she says, has a look that actually works and isn’t laughed at and taunted, and is firm, fair and consistent. I’m still the mom who provides before he can want, but now I’m providing him with education, and independence… in addition to all the other stuff too. I’m making sure he gets everything he needs, not just whatever he may want.

Do I have any regrets?

I regret not moving sooner. This new place is much more suitable and healthy for us and I think the move will definitely play a good part in any improvement we experience. We’ve been here three weeks and already there’s been lots of improvement. My summer school program can only increase the benefits.

I kinda don’t regret being so chill with him for the first bit. If you look at the royal kids, I mean, yeah, they’ve got all the money in the world, but they have to always behave and carry themselves certain way, they can never just be themselves. They present themselves as who they’ve been taught to be, not as who they truly are. They are like plastic people masks. So many people look to them as indicative of what and who to be, but they aren’t even real. It happens to royalty and celebrities on a severe scale, but really, it happens to all of us. It starts in kindergarten, sometimes sooner. We start taking away who they are and telling them who it’s okay to be. We need to do that in order to have civilized society, and I know my son has to learn, same as everyone else, but I wanted to just save him from it for as long as possible. Let him have as much time as I can give him to just be real and natural, human and only himself. I’m really glad I could give him that and I don’t regret it. I regret that it has to be over, but I think he’ll still do really well in the world, despite his unfortunate kindergarten crash and burn… then explode… then burn some more… then fall down cliff and explode again… then smoulder for a while… then burst into epic flames, once again… *sigh* it really was that rough. The bottom line is that we’ve always been tightly bonded and working together seems to only be bringing us closer together. He can trust that I just want him to be happy and learning how to behave, listen, and follow direction at school will definitely make him happier in the long run. When I realized we needed to move asap, I thought that our summer was going to be ruined. I was so devastated, but everything has worked out so well. I kinda think that this may be our best summer yet.

Drama on the TTC…

I’m going to try and tell this as best I can. It’s a true story and emotions were charged, there was adrenaline flowing so while some parts are in high-definition, brilliant technicolour, and slow motion, there are some parts that are a hazy blur. Bear with me, I’ll do my best. Here goes:

My son and I had spent a lovely day at Taylor Creek Park in Toronto and we were on our way home. I had also picked up some super-bulky yarn for blankets or possibly snuggie’s so in addition to my large purse loaded with snacks, water, first aid kit, and all the usual accoutrements of shlepping a child around, I had a huge bag with ten very large balls of yarn in it.

We’d had a blast at Taylor Creek Park, if you call me almost having a heart attack every time my son got closer to the creek than I was comfortable with a blast. Oh, and him dropping his mitt in the creek in the process of tossing sticks in there and me having to dangle from a tree-limb like a damned spider monkey and use a large stick to fish it out for him – those mitts are handmade by moi, and so not easily sacrificed to the whims of the creek. And him fooling around and stepping out of his boot in the mud then landing back in the mud in his sock, so that I had to peel his sock off, roll up his pant cuff, and he basically went the rest of the day with one naked foot in his boot – where was I going with this? Oh yeah, aside from a few minor incidences, we had a blast. I’m grateful that my adventurous and hard-headed little monster didn’t go headlong into the creek or, worse, into the sharp rocks that line the bottom of the creek, just below the surface. I call that a win no matter what else may have gone sideways.

So we have two buses to take to get home. First the 23 Dawes to Main Station, which we ride without incident. Then the 64 Main south to Queen. The drama begins to unfold in the station.

I’m sitting on a bench at Main Station with my son and the first bus that arrives is marked ‘Not in Service.’ A bit of a letdown, but no big deal. I see a young man running for the bus. When he sees that it’s out of service he stops with a dejected sigh but no embarrassment at all which I find unusual, but nothing suspect. Maybe he’s just that confident.

Soon after an older woman catches up to him. The young man is slender and attractive, save for his rap-star getup. He’s really gone all out with the gold grill in his teeth, the super-baggy pants, the hat, the shoes. He looks like an extra for a Little Wayne music video.

I’m sitting on the bench with my son. Some time passes, and he asks me for a seat. I actually stand up because there was a woman behind me with her groceries so I’m not sure if there’s room for both of us, but there is because she has moved, and a few seconds later he pinches me, sort of like to get my attention. I think he was intending to say that we could both sit down and that he didn’t mean for me to give up my seat, but the bus is there and I’m so shocked about the pinch that I just drop it and so does he.

Now, he does something unusual getting on the bus, but I can’t remember exactly what. What I do remember is that it caused me and another woman to make eye contact.

“What is he on?” I ask.

She gives me that universal expression for ‘it sure beats me’ in response, and we board the bus.

My son, whom I shall call ‘Bob’, sits in his favourite seat, the very back corner, window, of course. I sit beside him. The young man sits in the very back on the other side of the bus along with his mature female companion, who was dressed in frumpy black clothing. The lady I had made eye contact with is sitting in the back, a seat or two in front of Bob and I.

A large Asian man boards the bus. As he is walking towards us, he makes the mistake of making eye contact with Little Wayne Junior.

“What the fuck you lookin’ at?” Shouts Junior. “If you ain’t got no money for me then sit your bitch ass down!”

The Asian takes a seat a few rows up with his back to us.

“Yeah, that’s right, punk.” Continues Junior. “You don’t know me, I’ll fuck your shit up!”

If my first clues weren’t obvious, then that one sure was. I was on high alert that trouble may be brewing. More clues were forthcoming. The next one came as we were pulling out of Main Station where he began mean-mugging a parked Police Cruiser through the bus-window, and throwing up what I can only assume are gang-signs. To this day I have no idea if there was an actual officer in the car, or if it was simply the car itself which caused this aggressive display of vitriol, what I do know is that if this guy is in a gang, he is a very small fry. First off, he’s riding the bus. Second, anybody with any type of clout at all is very low key. Only an idiot glares at the Police and throws up gang signs. The real big guys wear seat belts and drive no more than fifteen clicks over the speed limit.

So, I’ve already learned a lot about this guy. Namely that he’s probably on drugs, may be in a gang, and is definitely looking for trouble. What I was curious about was whether he already knew the Asian dude, or if he’d just randomly picked on him.

Our usual bus-ride on the 64 Main usually lasts about ten minutes, if that. I don’t even think we’ve made it to the first light when he pinches me again.

“Hey, you’re beautiful.” He slurs.

“Please don’t touch me.” I snap. He continues talking and I stare straight ahead, hitting him with an icy Dikembe Motumbo finger wag. Oh, no you don’t, is what I’m exuding. I’m really not too keen on being sexually harassed in front of my son.

I think this might have been when he mentions that he’s Colombian and that the woman with him is his mother. I don’t care. The answer is still no, but he’s still talking. The woman I’d made eye contact with takes this as her cue to move to the front of the bus. I consider moving, but this is Bob’s favourite seat, he won’t understand why I’m moving him and he may cause trouble, besides why should we move? For this punk? No. If anything does go down, I don’t want to be fettered by a very strong and frenzied little boy, angry about losing his seat for no reason discernible to him, so one goal is to keep my son as docile and cooperative as possible. Plus, in the seats we are in, I can completely block access to Bob with my body so he’s safest in the back corner with me beside him and able to quickly move in front. All of this I’m calculating in summing up my course of action, weighing options and considering all the variables. My hope is to be left alone to enjoy the rest of the ride without incident, but I’m not counting on anything but my own wits and strength. I believe the lady who has fled her seat for the front is informing the driver of the potential issue, but I can’t count on that either.

Our Colombian drug lord turns his attentions back to the Asian, all the while his mother sits in stony silence. I don’t remember what he’s saying, but he stands up, walks towards him, and begins swatting at the back of the man’s head. I assume this is the posturing men do when they want to fight, but the Asian is not responding. He wants to be left alone. He is standing just behind and to the right of the Asian man, with his left hand he is holding the railing, and I see him begin to ball up his right fist. He is about to sucker-punch the Asian, and the man has no way of seeing it coming. The other lady has moved, leaving only the mother, myself, and Bob as witnesses to what’s about to go down. My heart is pounding and this is so wrong.

I see a gaggle of young children have boarded the bus, I see elderly people, tired people, I think of my son, all in the twinkling of an eye.

The balled up fist gets tighter, then tighter, then begins to twitch.

“YOU WILL SIT DOWN AND BEHAVE YOURSELF ON THIS BUS!” I boom in a voice I rarely use and hardly recognize. There it is. The mommy-means-business voice and accompanying glare that my son laughs at and doesn’t take seriously. There’s only one difference; no matter what my son does, I’m not going to knock him the fuck out. This guy? I’ll lay him out like a… well, like a random stranger who is threatening people on the bus. No qualms. As a matter of fact, I’ll lay every beating on him that my ungrateful, hard-headed, heart-attack and grey hair inducing son should have gotten. Did you read about the snowsuit?!?

Every eye on the bus is on me. Colombia is so shocked that he obediently slinks down into the nearest seat, deflated. I’d like to think the matter settled, but it’s not.

“Mommy, you scared Bob.” My son accuses.

“I’m sorry, honey, don’t you worry. Everything is okay.” I say, in my normal, soothing tone.

Colombia stares at me with a blank expression of shock, then saunters over.

“You wanna start something?” He asks, towering over me. So now he’s posturing with me. I want to de-escalate the situation, but another part of me wants to kick his misbehaving ass. He has no right to be harassing and threatening people in the presence of children and ladies.

I’m sizing him up and deciding how to respond so he repeats the question, my son is still weakly whining about me scaring him.

“No,” I finally reply. “I’d like for you to sit in your seat and behave yourself. You are NOT going to fight in front of my son.” He continues to defiantly tower over me. “Sit down.” I say, firmly, but not unkindly. His eyes go from me to my son. I’m a little worried he’ll go for Bob but, finally, he sits. Then the bus driver shows up.

“Am I going to have to put you off the bus?” The driver asks.
Colombia stands up and mutters something about wanting his money back if he’s kicked off. The bus driver tells him he needs to behave and Colombia slinks back down and dismissively agrees to cool it. The driver returns to his post and we are on our way, once again.

It’s still not over. Colombia begins to apologize profusely, almost in tears. Apparently he just broke up with his girlfriend of four years. I do my best to sympathize without engaging too much. I really don’t want him to get the wrong idea, but I’m not made of stone and I’m a pretty understanding person when my only child and I are not being menaced. He’s laying across the seats and moaning about his difficulties, I know about hard times and I don’t hate the guy. I say something about him needing to go home and just sleep it off, and that everyone on the bus is going through their own issues. Then his eyes roll up and he slides onto the floor. I’m still not sure if something was wrong or if he was just being dramatic, but he laid there, cold, till I asked if he was okay and called out for the driver, saying I think he may need medical attention. I was concerned that he might be overdosing.

Finally his mother gets up and leans over him, liquid falls from her, and I’m not sure if she’s urinating or vomiting. It turned out that she was spilling her beer. She’s trying to wake him, the driver has stopped and is on the phone when he begins to come to. I’m thinking he’s going to wait for an ambulance, but he stands up and begins falling all over the other passengers. He’s fast approaching the gaggle of terrified children.

“Stay here, and don’t move.” I call to Bob as I rush forward, his mother is beside me.

“All right, that’s enough. Are you with him?” I say to his mother, “because it’s time for you to go.” I direct them both off the bus, keeping my arms out to make sure he doesn’t flop on anyone else. An elderly woman cries out in fear as he passes.

“Relax ma’am,” I say in my most soothing tone. “It’s alright.”

He’s off the bus and I quickly return to my seat. I feel bad for not comforting the elderly woman, but Bob is scared and alone and I need to get back to him, besides, what the hell is everybody else doing on the bus? It can’t possibly fall to me to do everything.

“Thank you,” says the Asian man, sheepishly. He’s a big guy with glasses. A gentle giant, probably accustomed to being picked on by tiny tough-guys. He doesn’t look like a fighter, but neither do I.

“No problem,” I say.

The woman sitting beside him turns around. “Are you okay?” She asks.

“I’m fine.” I say. “My adrenaline is pumping a bit. For a second I thought he was going to fight me.” All eyes on the bus are still on me. I feel a little embarrassed. I notice the men on the bus, the ones who did absolutely nothing to help, and I wonder if they would have just sat there, staring, if I’d gotten my ass whooped. They probably would have. Pussies.

My adrenaline was pumping for a while after that. I was pretty stoked up. Once I calmed down a bit I began to realize what a sad man I had dealt with and wonder if maybe I’d been a bit too harsh. He wants to be a gangster, but he’s riding the bus. He wants to be tough, but he just got put off the bus by a lady. Regardless of how he behaved he is still a human being and obviously one with problems. I know what it’s like to be sad, hurt, and painfully lonely. I know what it’s like to pretend to be something you’re not because fake friends and fake confidence are better than no friends and no confidence. My prayer is that he can make it through to the other side or at least find a happy balance and some wisdom on his journey. I wish him well.

As for the smattering of pussy men on the bus who failed to defend my honour, it’s just as well. I had everything under control and they’d likely have only made things worse. All’s well that ends well, although, I wonder how Colombia is doing and I have to admit it’s a bit of a stretch believing that he will be okay.

Menstrual Cup 2…

Guys, go grab some tissues and hit up Pornhub. This one is for the ladies. Have fun!

So, the menstrual cup is a win. It hasn’t spilled so much as a drop, as yet. You’ll want to wear a pantyliner as there may be a minor amount of collateral leakage during the ‘freshening up’ process. It’s weird to know what to call that. You aren’t changing it, like you change a pad or a tampon, so I guess freshening up is a nice, lady-like term that doesn’t allude to the sheer gruesomeness of it.

I’ll go into detail. It kind of vacuum seals up in there and you have to reach in and wiggle it a bit to break the seal and get it out. There is a little pouk sound as it pops free and you tilt it up and, admit it, you’re going to examine the contents. No need, I’ll describe!

The blood settles at the bottom, and the clear vaginal fluid floats on the top. So it basically looks like one of those fancy layered shots they serve at the bar, but you really don’t want to drink this, and if you do, um, that’s really none of my business.

Moving right along, you dump it out in the toilet, carefully, you don’t want to drop your cup in there, and it will be a bit slippery with vaginal fluid. I fully wash the cup with soap & water, rinse well, I like to dry mine with tissue, then blow off any tissue fibres, then re-insert. I’m lucky because I have a small bathroom and can reach the sink without moving too much. If you have a bigger bathroom than me, which is everybody, then I suppose you would stuff a bit of tissue between your thighs and waddle on over to the sink. Or I suppose you could squat in front of the sink, but make sure there’s no carpet underneath you, floors cleanup easier, if there’s a problem.

Now, this is something you are not really going to want to do in a public bathroom, especially the communal type with stalls, and probably especially the co-ed bathrooms that are… yeah, I hate those. Just because we’re equal doesn’t mean we want to share a bathroom with dudes. Gross.

If you have a bathroom of the type where it’s one at a time and you can lock the door, think Starbucks, then you might be able to go for it, but still, I’d try to wait, if I could. You never know how sanitary anything is in a public bathroom. For all you know they keep their bathroom tissue loose and stacked on a dirty floor with mouse turds, and a disgruntled employee might’ve jizzed in the soap. No thanks. But in a pinch, I guess I’d trust the water.

Thankfully, you can leave it in for up to twelve hours. So hopefully that works for you.

I’d recommend changing it sooner than twelve hours. While I was awake, I changed mine every four hours, and then it was about ten hours between the time I changed it for bed, actually fell asleep, then woke up and changed it in the morning. I was a bit panicked when I woke up and I was sure I felt moisture between my legs and that the thing had sprung at least a minor leak, but my panty liner was as white as a fresh paper napkin when I checked so it must’ve been a psychosomatic sensation induced by the PTSD associated with my previous menstrual-cup-trauma.

In summation, I have to say that I’m glad I tried this and I’m going to stick with it. It works well. It’s as sanitary as you choose to make it, oh, and it can be sterilized by boiling for extra cleanliness! It’s economical and eco-friendly, which is a big sell for some, but for me, I really love that I don’t feel like I’m on my period when I’m wearing it. PMS sucks, and the whole dirtiness of the pad thing just makes me extra crabby. I hate being dirty, I hate sitting in my blood, I hate the bulky, diaper feel of it, the Always infinity memory foam ones are okay, but still. When I can’t take it anymore, I usually put in a tampon, but they leak for me a lot of the time, plus they seem to slow my flow and make the whole thing just take longer to be over with. I’m not sure if there’s some science behind that, or if it’s just me, but I’d rather just get it all out, quickly and unobstructed. Oh, and the price was good for me as well. Under $40, and it may last up to a year, longer if you choose, but I’ll go with the suggested expiry date of a year. I can definitely get my money’s worth in that timeframe. It actually works out to less than three dollars a month. Woohoo!

So my period, and experiment, is over for this month. Next month I will use it from start to finish, but I did cut out of using it a day early. When I woke up to only a few little rust-coloured drops in the bottom of the cup, I switched it out and finished up with a pad, just to let the last icky bit flow out naturally. Up to each to decide if that’s the call for them.

My only contention, if I can call it that, is that my size two seems a little big. I’m over thirty and have had a child, but he was only six pounds and I’m not really into massively hung dudes, seriously, the spot I’m looking to hit with them isn’t ten inches inside of me so I don’t need all that and it kinda hurts me. So getting the size two in there caused me some minor discomfort. Once it’s in I don’t feel it, but if I’m not moist or aroused, which, yeah, shoving a menstrual cup in there didn’t really do it for me, so maybe I should have tried the size one first. But I don’t have the size one to compare so I can’t say for sure that it would have worked for me. Maybe I just need some lube, or to think sexy thoughts.

I had this crazy dream that I got arrested and strip-searched by a cop. I won’t go into detail but that’s a good one. There were… handcuffs involved… and he spanked me. Meow!

In closing, I solemnly swear that this will be the last blog post about my menstrual cup… unless something goes horribly wrong. Or if something interesting happens and the menstrual cup is involved somehow. Stay tuned!

Menstrual Cup

So, I’m sitting here wearing a menstrual cup.

Guys, you might want to grab some nachos and go watch the game or whatever it is you do, this one isn’t for you.

I only tried a menstrual cup once in my life and it was not a good experience. In fact, it was downright traumatizing. I got the disposable kind, now, this was a long time ago so I’m hoping I get all the details straight, I think I saw the bastards that burned me in the drugstore beside the Diva Cup I wound up choosing. Ooh, I just coughed… nothing. The cup didn’t move or try to shoot out or anything. We’re good.

Anyways, I followed the directions for the cup, this is the one I tried many moons ago, and then carried on living my life, as one usually does when one is menstruating. There was a lot I loved about it, or rather, the idea of it. Not spending days on end sitting in a blood-soaked pad was the most exciting prospect of the experience. I mean, honestly, they can put a man on the moon, but us womenfolk have to spend a week out of every month, stewing in our own blood! Not that stewing in somebody else’s would make it any better, but still. It just seems so archaic. Aren’t we beyond this? We have satellites for pity sake! Google maps! 3D Printing!

Things went well for a few hours with what I will dub, the disposable cup of horror, and then I did something. I don’t remember exactly what I did because it was so prosaic. I changed positions. It might have been from sitting to standing, or standing to laying down, something like that. What I do remember is the aftermath. The entire contents of the cup dumped out in one fell swoosh, not a typo, it was a monstrous swoosh. I’ve blocked out much of the memory, and thank God this was during the infancy of camera phones, but I can recall my mortified dash for the bathroom, the resulting mess everywhere, and me, angrily hurling the rest of the cups in the trash.

I had followed the directions. Everyone who knows me knows I always follow the directions. Whether I’ve just bought a new car or a toaster my first priority is always to read the directions, cover to cover, then examine my purchase, instructions in hand, to ensure I’m familiar with the operation of my new acquisition. It might legitimately be some form of OCD I have, but that never changes. Besides, if that’s the learning curve or the price you pay for failure, then count me out. I’m usually a pretty quick-study, but I sure left my share of blood on the floor that day.

For a long time I forgot about that bloody awful experience (Pun intended, with prejudice). But I’ve been hearing more and more about these cups, more women are trying them, and many are swearing by them. I, for the reasons described above, have been wary. Every time I hear about the cup, I am reminded of my traumatic experience on that fateful day, and I cringe, ever so slightly. Yet, here I am, with my cup. So far, so good.

I got the Diva Cup, size two since I’m over thirty and have a child, and it was on sale for three dollars off. If you are under thirty and you have no kids, then you go with size one. Getting it in was a little weird – I will spare the gory details of that, but afterwards I did clean myself up around the outer area and I’m wearing a pantyliner, which of course will be useless in the face of a tsunami like the one I suffered the last time, but will suffice in the event that this works out.

I unbox the Cup, and before I even remove it, I take out, of course, my directions, and examine the little cotton storage pouch that is included. It is patterned in pink flowers with red centres. Yes, I’m on my period. I get it. Cute. Back to the directions. The Diva Cup is sold beside it’s own special wash, which is also a face and body wash? Something like that. I didn’t buy it because it seemed like a gimmicky add-on, but the directions say it’s best to wash it with unscented, non oil-based soap. Hmm, I make soap. Isn’t all soap oil-based? The very term ‘soap’ denotes the process by which oils, in conjunction with sodium hydroxide, are saponified in order to form the sudsy substance. But I digress. Long story short, maybe I should have gotten the special wash. Next time I’m in the drugstore I will take a closer look at it. But for now, I’m stuck with my regular hand wash, which happens to be antibacterial, which is instructed against. Oh well. If using the wrong kind of soap causes the elevator scene in The Shining to happen between my legs, then just damn it all to hell.

I need to wash my hands before I wash the cup so where does the cup go while I’m doing this? Not on the counter, smeared with my son’s toothpaste stains and lord knows what else he does to the surfaces when he locks himself in there, I mean, he’s four, not fourteen, but still. Boys are boys at any age. Messy. So I hold the cup gently between my lips. The ones on my face, you sicko! Already this is kind of awkward, but I manage to wash my hands and then the cup and next time I go to remove it, my hands will be washed while the cup is still safely tucked away, yes, between my other lips, enjoy the visual. Savour it. I don’t mind.

It’s too soon to tell whether I am going to come to sorely regret this decision. What I can say is that it feels a little different this time. This cup is sturdy, built to last, replace annually, the directions suggest, and it’s shaped differently. The other one was shaped like a flimsy diaphragm, and only slightly thicker than a condom, it was meant to be used for a day, I think, then tossed out. This one can be worn for twelve hours and holds half the contents of an entire average period. That sounds promising. I don’t intend to keep it in for twelve hours unless I’m sleeping, but it’s good to know. The other ‘cup’ needed to be fished out and dumped as often as you would change an ordinary tampon, if I remember correctly. I only had it in for a few hours before my ‘accident’ so I never got to really give it a fair go. Maybe it does work for others. I just don’t think it’s worth the humiliation of finding out the hard way that it doesn’t.

It’s the weekend and I’ll be home for the rest of today and most of tommorrow. Not sure if I’m going to risk wearing this thing out of the house yet, but if all is going well and I don’t wake up in the morning looking like I went on a killing spree in my sleep, then maybe I will take the chance. Wish me luck!

Merry Knitting Christmas!

For the last week I have been knitting like a mad woman. This happens every year. I say I’m not going to knit anything and low and behold, I end up frantically knitting gifts at the last minute. The piece I’m working on right now is actually for myself.

It all started with a simple compliment. One of my son’s teachers complimented his hand-made mittens. They are his favourite because they are fingerless. They are designed for lighter weather, but he’d wear them in a blizzard if I’d let him. They are warm enough, but they aren’t as warm as those puffy ones that make your hands about as dextrous as giant snowballs.

I had been on the fence about what to get his teachers for Christmas, my best chance at buttering them up and pushing my little cherub into their good graces for the upcoming year, when I decided that those mitts would be perfect. They are made with super wash wool, making them washable and super-warm, they are fingerless, meaning that the teachers won’t have to take them off every time a child needs help with a zipper or a runny nose, or to take pictures for the class blog. As well, the wool is also very hearty and long-lasting – my son is on his second (or third?) year with his and he will likely outgrow, or lose, them before he destroys them. He is a very rough and tumble boy who cannot keep anything nice. The fact that his mitts have survived really says a lot about the quality of the wool.

So for my son I had made mitts and a full toque, but for myself and his teachers, I went with ear warmers instead. Ladies tend to wear their hair in different styles and toques are rarely forgiving to those styles so an ear warmer is generally better suited to do the job without too much collateral damage.

I wish I’d had some time to come up with an interesting pattern or some colour work, but I figure spending about six hours per teacher on a straight up ribbing and stockinette set seemed reasonable. If you count time plus materials, it’s a seventy dollar set, and that’s being as fair and generous as possible. He has three teachers, whom he adores, so they each got a mitt and ear warmer set in their own colour which I personally chose based on their skin tones and eye colours. I had to do one size fits all, which is pretty safe when it comes to mitts and hats because, if I’d tried to measure them the jig would have been up.

But I haven’t done much reading, and I haven’t done any writing. And now I have more sets to make.

I am visiting my birth-mother after Christmas – long story, not for right now. And I decided that instead of giving her some of my hand-made soap – or in addition to, I haven’t decided yet, I’m going to make her the same set that I made for my son’s teachers. And of course I can’t forget my sister, who is my best friend and well worth a handmade gift. If I make for her, I would also love to make a matching set for her daughter, which means altering the size slightly, no biggie, and less materials. But the rub with that is that I’ve now made a few things for my sister and her little girl, and I’ve made nothing for her son or her husband and I really don’t want to overlook them again. So I’m trying to come up with a complimentary colour to use for them, I’m liking navy and I have it on hand so that solves that, but for the boys, I have only two skeins of navy and I will need to make full toques for them, so I’m likely to run out of navy before I can get them all done. Meaning I will likely have to work another colour in there and spare the navy wool using some clever colour work.

I’m halfway finished my own set, making four total, and I still have five sets left to make. That will be nine sets total. That is fifty four hours of tireless labour. Even if you exclude the six hours I spend on my own, it’s still 48 hours of knitting, and there are less than four days till Christmas. I may be a bit of a masochist.

I’m guessing that there is no way my sister and her family’s will be done in time for Christmas, but she is my sister and she loves me so she will forgive a belated gift. Especially one of my gifts. I don’t half-ass things. If you’ve made it onto my ‘nice’ list, I can gauran-got-damn-tee that you are going to get a gift that will knock your socks off. Or maybe they will be socks. Beautiful, hand-made ones, the luxury of which you have never felt in your life.

The point is, a lot of love and time goes into hand-made gifts. Those teachers put a lot of love and time into my son who, admittedly, is a handful, and they deserve every hour spent on their gift, I only wish I had time to make gifts for the gym/music teacher and the librarian, who I overlooked, and the crossing guard, who I almost overlooked and winded up getting a Timmies gift card, and everyone else who makes my son’s time at school a safe and educational experience. Really, they are my heroes. Knitting them winter warmies is the best way I know how to say Merry Christmas and thank you… I mean, show it with actions. Obviously I could easily just say the words, which I did, but showing gratitude with thoughtful gifts made with love and quality materials is my way of expressing my feelings for them, which are warm and fuzzy feelings.

So I guess in closing, Christmas is not about material things, but also, it is. I really hate when cheapskates prattle on about how commercial Christmas is. As if there’s no reason for it. When you love or appreciate someone, you show them by doing something for them or giving them something thoughtful and special. Actions speak louder than words and while thanks are always appreciated, giving back is generally more appropriate and better appreciated than simple lip service. I could tell my son I love him till I’m blue in the face, I could smother him in a million kisses, and I’m probably closer to two million by now – I like to get him while he’s sleeping, muahahahaha! But those words and kisses don’t put food in his belly and I show my love for him by feeding and clothing him. So, go out there, think about the person you love and appreciate the most; what they’d love to have but would never buy for themselves, and get them that thing. If you can make beautiful things, then invest the time and do it, if not, then buy, and if you can’t do that, then do them a service that you can offer.

Don’t be that grinch who just uselessly complains about everything as an excuse to be stingy and selfish. Or be that grinch but just know that that attitude will not get you on my nice list and will not get you any cozy winter warmies from me! To everyone else: Merry Christmas!!!