You all remember “Spot” right?

Click here to or Here  refresh your memory.

Its kind of a running joke between us, the whole “Spot” thing. He actually signs her daily sheets with “Spot” instead of his real name. He’s been LB’s teacher at her daycare for almost a year now. She runs to hug him in the morning. Every week he shows me pictures and tells me funny stories about her. She talks about him on the weekend. Monday is her favorite day because she goes back to see him. Did I mention he’s really cute and I have a minor crush on his uncanny nurturing manliness?

He was fired today. “Spot” is gone.

I’m so upset on so many levels, I don’t know how to express it.

I made an utter fool of myself, sobbing on the phone to the Head Start Central office, asking them how they can justify firing someone who has never been late once in their entire career, except for this one day when his alarm didn’t go off? I blubbered that I’m a single mom and my daughter doesn’t have a lot of positive male role models, so this man was extremely important to her, let alone the rest of the kids.

They flatly told me that they have  a zero tolerance policy on “AWOL” employees. I told them I’m filing a complaint with the Board to have that policy changed and “Spot” reinstated.

I know I don’t need more stress in my life, but this is just WRONG. I have to do something. My daughter is losing a very important person in her life. “Spot’s” losing a job he loves.  Its making me sick and angry, but mostly, sad. Very sad.

The Sticker Chart

Some of you remember the Love & Logic class Roofie and I were court ordered to participate in. He never finished it, but I received a little certificate which my former boss told me to keep in case I ever want to get a job in counseling, education or early childhood fields.

About a week after Love & Logic ended, the La Plata County family center offered a FREE 12-week parenting class called “The Incredible Years”. I certified mailed the flier to Roofie, asking him to come along, but you all know how successful my attempts at THAT are.

I really like the class. Unlike Love & Logic, where the cost was $75 for 6 weeks, this one also includes homemade dinner, childcare, books, stress balls, candy and information for $0, so the class is a lot bigger and much more diverse. I’m not the only single mom, and I’m not the only one who makes less than $30,000 a year. The teachers also work through Head Start, so they know LB too.

Its always fun to have teachers use your kid as  a good example in a parenting class, and inflates my ego a little bit more. We also get to watch these really ghetto parenting videos from the early 80s. Its all real footage, depicting “bad” parenting, but most of the time we just end up making fun of the bad perms and bell bottom pantsuits. Its pretty cringe-worthy all around, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

We’re about halfway through the class, and discussing praise, self-esteem and tangible rewards. They gave us all “sticker charts” for our kids, so we can write down good behaviors we want to encourage. Its got a reward system, where you make up a gift when your child gets a certain amount of stickers. We talked about bribing your kids versus rewarding them.

I was a little wary of the stickers, due to the year-long power struggle LB and I had over using the potty. She loved the stickers so much that refusing to give them to her when she didn’t go potty turned me into evil mommy. It did nothing to help her learn. I was afraid putting a sticker chart up would bring back all those memories, but it was homework for the class, so I tried it again. 

Right now I’ve got “make your bed” “pick up your toys” and “brush your teeth” on LB’s sticker chart. When she gets 5 stickers, she gets to play hide and seek with me. When she gets 10 stickers, we paint a picture, and 15 stickers earns an ice cream.

I put the sticker chart right next to her bed. She was very excited about it. She picked up her toys and attempted to make her bed without hesitation. Two stickers up. Teeth brushing was a little harder, but she eventually did it. More stickers. I could see the sticker lust starting to glint in her eyes.

She now goes directly to her sticker book every time we go into her room. She asks “More stickers?” and “I went potty! I get a sticker!” Or she will straight up lie and say “I made my bed, I get sticker.”

I’m starting to hate the sticker thing again. I have to keep explaining that she only gets a sticker when she does one of the things on the chart. I think its starting to frustrate her too.

Last night, I asked her to pick up her toys and went into her room about 15 minutes later to check on her. There she stood, plastering an entire page of stickers onto the damn chart. There must have been 30 stickers layered haphazardly across the paper. “I picked up toys!” She said defensively. My face must have accused her of mass sticker thievery.

The sticker chart has taken over my child’s mind. Maybe its a little too much for both a single mom and her obsessive Gemini to deal with.

Birthday interview with LB

I’m 27 today. I’ve  been out of high school 9 years, college 5 years. I’m just about 3 years into Mommyhood. I’ve had a mailing address in Colorado since 1996. I’ve lived on both East and West coasts.

I asked my co-workers if they remember anything in particular about their Twenty Seventh year. 3 of them got married when they were 27. Considering my golden year, 26 was pretty brutal (yet empowering), I wonder what this birthday has in store for me.

On a different note, I stole Jenn’s idea and interviewed LB last night.  Our daughters are about the same age, so I thought the results would be similar. Boy was I wrong.

  • What does Mommy always say to you?
  • What makes Mommy Happy?
  • *points to herself.
  • What makes Mommy Sad?
  • * points to me
  • What does Mommy do after you go to bed?
  • Take a Shower. We don’t take a bath. I want to take Bath with Mommy, then I get my Jammies on. Its Dark. Hey my rock! I’m banging  my rock, Mommy.
  • Where does Mommy go when you’re at daycare?
  • Go Home.
  • What does LB do at daycare?
  • Mariah hits me here. *Points to chest. Then she gets Timeout.

If you have a chance to interview a 2.5 year old, I highly recommend it, especially if they are a Gemini. Thanks for the inspiration Jenn, and I really liked your questions.

Buffet for the soul

My daughter really is amazing. Mostly I just think of her as a very adaptable, intelligent, out-going, observant little 2 and a half year old. Every compliment she receives, I usually brush off with a “oh, stop.” I’m the one who needs to stop, because she deserves every bit of praise.

Its hard to stop and appreciate how awesome your kid is. Especially when you’re sharing your free time with another parent and his girlfriend. As a single mom, most of your non-working time is spent bathing, dressing, cooking and driving your child around, without the aid of another adult. You need shark-like focus. Good thing motherhood rewires your brain to accomplish these tasks.

 I once read about a study on virgin rats and mother rats. When put through the little “cheese maze”, the mother rats found the cheese faster and made less mistakes than the virgin rats. After a series of other test, Scientists concluded that the survival instinct in mother rats was significantly higher than rats without babies to feed. They did studies on the rats’ brains and saw radical differences between them when it came to problem solving skills. In other words, mamas get the job done. 

After my whole Planet Earth kick, I became convinced that single motherhood was a thing of nature. That moms are instinctively engineered to make sure their offspring survive, and that the instinct to please a husband just isn’t part of our DNA. Having a partner in parenting is an obvious perk and highly desirable, but as a functioning member of the animal kingdom, single moms aren’t anything out of the ordinary. I guess this would be a natural explanation as to why there are so many deadbeats as well. Ms. Single Mama is right. The dads who stick around should be given medals.

Ok that was a tangent. I’m watching CNN Live while working and blogging. My mind is a little spastic right now. I really just wanted to express how spending an entire day with my daughter was the equivalent of going to an all-you-can-eat buffet for the soul. Being a single parent really is bittersweet.  Its horrible to be separated from your child, but at the same time, you value the time you have with them even more.

My daughter currently likes calling me, “LB” and herself “Mommy.” She then sends me to timeout, cooks food for me and asks if I want to take a bath. When I react too loudly, she is quick to furrow her brows and say “Don’t be angry at me.” She does puzzles at lightning speed and sings

I hope one day I have a job where I can spend more time with my daughter. I’m glad I took the opportunity to play hooky while I still could. Now its all craziness and chaos at my job. Panic is setting in. I’m attending an inaugural party tonight while LB is with her dad. I’m also going to see an apartment in town tomorrow. What are your plans this week? Are you going to keep your sanity?

P.S. Please send your thoughts to my friend North Dakota. She is a young single mom who’s daughter’s father was killed in a car accident this week. She is struggling already, and this is throwing her for a mental loop. Send her your single mom strength if you would.

Back to it

First day back to work was exhausting. I didn’t stop answering the phone or filling out paperwork all day long. After a few hours though, you kind of get into your groove, like a runner at mile 11 in a marathon. Maybe I can track thisenjoyment back to my days as a pizza delivery girl, or waiting tables, where you somehow find your rhythm in all the chaos. Or maybe I can chalk it up to a sick sense of pleasure in escaping my hellish Christmas break; compared to dealing with Rooferman’s guerrilla tactics, a never-ending conference call is a slice of cherry pie.

Tomorrow is my interview. I’ve spent a few hours minutes rehearsing my pitch, flaunting my administrative accomplishments and humbly professing my desire for customer satisfaction. In screenwriting class, they called this “fluff”, and the less you had in your script, the better. I hated my Tarintino-wannabe peers so much, I played hooky a couple times to crash my gay roommate’s Public Relations class.

Afterward, I said to him,”you know you are majoring in the art of complete and utter Bullsh**?”

He looked at me and said, “Breeder.”

pixar cars

Speaking of my brood, LB has started narrating stories that usually go something like this:

“Onceponatime der was a little gul named LB who loved Mommy berry much and ate chocolate dinner. I SCARED! GO AWAY MONSTER! I NO LIKE TO GO POTTY! And on that farm he had a dog…Kachow! Deeeee End.”

Friggin Geminis.

His Puppet Master

We didn’t go to court today. Since the recusal was granted, all further contact with our previous judge was canceled. Now we have to wait for February. We got hit with another helluva blizzard today and my phone was ringing off the hook with parents wondering if we were gonna let school out early. We also got a few angry parents calling because all buses going to out-of-town sports events were canceled.

“Its probably not even snowing in Grand Junction!” one mom screamed at me. “Do you know how frustrating this is?”

Um hello? You really want a bus driving your kids through a blizzard at 11,000 ft on THIS road?

Yeah, me neither. That mom was WAY more hardcore than me.

I called Rooferman and asked if he could drive LB home from visitation tonight, but he told me he didn’t have enough gas. I was pretty much expecting the following scene to occur by the time I went to pick her up.

Me: So, I’ll see you tomorrow at Mediation?

Him: No. I can’t afford it.

Me: Well that’s ok, we’ve got plenty of time before our next court date. When you’ve got the money together we’ll schedule another one.

Him: Nope. It costs way too much. Its bulls***

Me: I think it could really help us. I think its best for LB.

Him: I don’t need someone there to supervise our conversation.

Me: We can’t even talk without fighting. I’ve tried to do this many times.

Him: Well lets talk about it now!

*Note, I’m standing in their doorway, my car running, the blizzard simultaneously icing the roads, LB with her coat half on. Blondie is sitting behind Rooferman, massaging his shoulders. Her kids enter the room to see what’s going on. Blondie screams at them to get out.

Blondie: He’s sitting right here.

No s*** sherlock.

Me: I’m not having this conversation right now. Call me if you would like to meet with me and discuss this mediation thing.

Him: Ok fine.

I slam the door and leave. Rooferman follows me outside and dials his cell phone as soon as I get in my car. I answer.

Him: Ok lets talk.

Me: The roads a really icy, I will call you when I get home.

Him: Lets be adults about this, think about it (hangs up on me).

Me: (calling him back) I’m-

Him: Don’t be calling back just to get the last word in, lets be adults (hangs up on me again).

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t hear me saying that hanging up on me does not constitute “adult” behavior and I will not be calling him back . I shut off my phone and drove home to put my hungry, thirsty, diapered 2-year-old to bed.

Its official. I’ve used toddler Love & Logic tactics on my ex, and I actually feel good now! He didn’t get me mad. He didn’t make me cry. He just acted like a child and I treated him like one.

I hope he and his puppet master are very happy together.