Saturday, November 21, 2015

Eight Little Words That Crushed Me

My youngest, Little L, who is two-years-nine-months old, has always been strong willed. She is incredibly independent and vocal about what she wants. I recently went back to work meaning she had to go to preschool full time. 

Little L had gone through a bit of a rough phase, behavior-wise, that started six or eight months ago. She was in the 18-month to 3-year-old class at preschool and she was screaming a lot, hitting from time to time, and just showing general bad behavior. We kept chalking it up to the "terrible two's". I didn't get it because my other two never went through that phase. 

Towards the end of the summer Little L's preschool director reached out to me and asked if I would be alright with moving her up to the three-year-old class. She said even though Little L was only two-and-a-half, she felt she would do very well as she was completely potty trained and was getting bored in the baby class. They needed the room in the younger class as they had new kids enrolling, so we agreed that would be fine.

Little L's first day in the "big kid class" was also the first day back at school for her siblings. She was so proud of herself. We started to notice positive behavior changes almost instantly. She was flourishing. She loved all the art projects that she was doing, and she loved being able to play on the big playground and on the swings. When she went full time, I didn't think it would be that much of an adjustment as she was already there three days a week.

Apparently I was wrong. Over the last couple of weeks since I started work, Little L's behavior has started to slip again.

We used to have two days a week together, just the two of us. We would go to the park, or go grocery shopping, or just hang out at the house together. Whatever it was we were doing, it was just us. Sometimes we would nap together. I loved that. It was like when she was a little baby all over again. She didn't have to share my attention with any of her older siblings or her dad.

Last night hubs, Little L and two of our other kids went out to dinner. I thought it would be a nice treat to kick off the Thanksgiving vacation. That was a big mistake. Apparently Little L hadn't napped at school and she was a nightmare. She wouldn't sit in her seat and she kept screaming every time we told her to do something. Eventually I told everyone I was going to sit in the car with her, told them to eat and just get my food to go when they finally brought it all out. 

So off we went to the car. 

"Why are we leaving, mommy?" She asked, big brown eyes staring up at me.

"Because you wouldn't sit nicely and you kept yelling and screaming. There are lots of other people trying to eat dinner who don't want to listen to you scream." I responded.

She climbed up into the car, I buckled her into her car seat and then I went and sat in the front.

"Can I watch one wittle tiny Paw Patwol?" 

"Yes, but first you need to listen to me. You can't behave like that when we go out places. You have to listen to mommy and daddy when we talk to you. If we ask you to sit nicely, you have to do it. Do you understand?" I asked.

"Yes, mama. I'm sowwy I didn't listen."

And then she said eight words that I never imagined I would hear; "I just miss you every day at work."

Soul. Crushed.

She was holding my hand, rubbing my thumb with one of her fingers and then she turned back to the DVD player and kept watching Paw Patrol.  

I'm not sure how I didn't cry. Maybe I would have if my two older children hadn't come crashing into the car at that very moment.

It was that moment that it hit me. I had been excited to start back at work. I had dreaded it for so long, but once I was out there working again, I was feeling really good. My anxiety had lessened and I was no longer taking antidepressants. I had a reason to get up and dressed every day, and although I was still surrounded by kids all day, I was also having adult interaction with someone other than my husband.

I had just assumed that everything was fine with Little L as well. I sent a text to her teacher to ask if she had napped that day and tell her that lately, she had been very grumpy at night. Her teacher told me Little L hadn't napped today and that she had "been a little stinker at school lately too."

I suddenly felt very guilty that I hadn't even thought about how this transition was affecting her. Not only do we not have our alone time anymore, but her dad is now dropping her off at school every morning. Every afternoon when I pick her up she runs to me screaming "MOMMY" as though she hasn't seen me in weeks.

I know she will be fine, she will adjust, and life will go on, but I still don't like that a decision I made - to go back to work - is affecting her negatively. It is really hard for me to discipline her for misbehaving when the root of the behavior is my fault, and added to that is her exhaustion from a long day with no nap. 

How do I handle that? How do I be firm and consistent with my expectations of her, yet understanding and not overreact when she's simply just tired and cranky?

I guess I will have to spend as much one-on-one time with her as I can and have lots of snuggles and naps with her whenever I can.

Friday, November 20, 2015

EXPOSED - Brian the Foot Man

I first heard of Brian the Foot Man last year when he messaged my page, asking if I would be interested in sharing his message. I posted a status with his offer: get paid $50 for a few pictures of your feet. That was it. Apparently he had pretty specific requests when it came to the pictures, but it was still a free $50.

Many questioned why he would do this. It was simple. Brian had a foot fetish. He would not approach women who had not expressed interest first. My status got a few responses and from what I understand, a few women actually took him up on his offer. Didn't seem too bad to me. There are a lot of women out there who could use some extra money, be it for diapers, groceries or even a pedicure. I considered it, until hubs told me he wasn't comfortable with me doing it.

Fast forward a year or so, and Brian reached out to me again, asking to share his message. I did, and I even joined a secret group he had for the women who had participated, or were interested in participating, even though I never did. At first the group seemed like pretty much any other group - a bunch of people with similar interests sharing stories, memes, looking for advice and support, etc. I basically hung around in the background, commenting on things here and there but never really getting too involved.

I was taken back a little with just how personal some of the women in the group would get with each other. I thought it was nice that they had somewhere they considered safe to reach out to people when things were tough, but they were sharing their most intimate thoughts with a man most of them didn't know. Brian and I had messaged back and forth a little through my Silence of the Mom page, and he came across as very polite, understanding of why my husband wasn't comfortable with the whole thing and generally respectful. Another blogger friend of mine also joined the group and shared the same thoughts on him as I did.

Brian's identity was totally private. His original profile had been shut down, so he took over the profile of a friend's husband. The only clues we had as to who he was, was a shot of his hairline, a picture of his calves, and the fact that he said he was an accountant and was single.

Recently, women started complaining that someone was taking things they had posted in the secret groups and were sharing them in other groups. This was obviously upsetting to some of the ladies who had entrusted us with their deepest, darkest secrets.  A few days after I noticed the first complaint, Brian posted that he was leaving the group and shutting down his account. It appeared that a woman had made it her life's mission to find out the truth and expose him. She posted a blog entry on a seemingly brand new blog, showing screen shots of the picture of his hairline, his real Facebook account, his wife (no, he wasn't single), a Paypal transaction with his wife's email account. Also shared was what appeared to be texts between him and someone else, listing the collateral damage that this woman had managed to bestow upon him, his family and his life by outing him.

According to the snitch, Brian's wife had no idea about what he was doing. I find this strange because it was supposedly her email attached to the Paypal account. What I find even more strange, however, is why was this woman so hell bent on exposing him? What did she stand to gain from it? Was she just hoping for a huge first post on her new blog? 

I am by no means saying that what he was doing was right. You pay women for pictures of their feet to satisfy some fetish you have and you hide it from your wife, that's wrong. Granted, he wasn't molesting children or stealing money from the elderly, but he was being unfaithful. He may not have physically been with all these women, or feet, but he was carrying on relationships that he didn't want his wife to know about, or so the story goes.

Was it this woman's duty to out him? She certainly wasn't doing it for the wife's sake. She blasted pictures of her and Brian all over the internet in her blog post. If the texts she posted screenshots of were legitimate, she had also done irreparable damage to their marriage. Why? Why did she do this? Why did she feel it was OK to share personal information of women in that secret group? Why did she feel she was justified in vilifying Brian and exposing the identity of his wife, who was supposedly oblivious and innocent of any wrongdoing?

I guess I won't ever "get it" unless this woman comes forward an gives an explanation for her actions. Then again, I don't need to "get it", it doesn't affect me personally and has nothing to do with me. I can't help but feel bad for the wife. She didn't ask for a husband with a weird foot fetish, and she didn't ask to be blasted all over the internet either. I also feel for the women whose private information was shared with people in a group that they weren't part of, without their permission.

I wish I had so much free time that all I had to do was go on fabricated witch hunts to expose people I don't even know.

Brian, if you're out there reading this, I'm sorry that biatch decided to out you. I may not like that you were doing this behind your wife's back, but it wasn't that trolls duty to expose you.

To the woman who outed Brian, maybe you should put all that energy into something that is actually productive.

Did you have any experiences with Brian the Foot Man? Weer they positive, negative? What do you think about him being exposed like this?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Back to School, Back to School...

This week I started working at my children's elementary school as a Teacher's Aide. After the birth of our youngest, hubs and I decided to try and make it last as long as possible with me staying home. That was over two and a half years ago. I knew I was going to have to go back to work eventually, but I was putting it off as long as possible. Part of me dreaded leaving our youngest, but part of me knew it was time and was yearning for some adult interaction!

After the birth of my first child, I had no choice but to go back to work when she was 12 weeks old. It killed me. Luckily she was with my ex husband two and a half days, my mother two and a half days and me on the weekends so I didn't have to put her in daycare. After my son was born I managed to stay home for roughly eight months before having to go back part time to help ends meet. I was so consumed with the luxury of being able to stay home with baby number three that I would get teary eyed every time I thought about having to go back to work.

I had been trying to get a job with the school since April. I interviewed over the summer and eventually a spot opened up. I was already familiar with a lot of the staff and the procedures of the school having spent so much time there as a parent. The first week I trained as a volunteer, getting the hang of the office policies, as I will be spending some of my time there each day. I also got to see a little of the classroom, which was what I was really looking forward to! I was officially hired on Tuesday, November 10 and got my schedule and the teacher's who I would be assisting.

So far I am really enjoying it, even though I feel a little out of place, not too dissimilar to Billy Madison. Everyone has been really helpful and kind. The majority of the kids have been pretty gentle on me. There are a few who have tried to get away with things a newby wouldn't know, but I'm pretty sure I haven't fallen for any of it! Some of them I just want to wrap up and take home with me, like the ones who tell me they're still hungry when they've finished their lunches, or the ones who get picked on and start crying.

My least favorite part of the job is definitely lunchroom duty. All the aides have to work it, but as I'm the low man on the totem pole, I have to work the entire two-hours. Wiping tables, opening ketchup, handing out napkins, spoons, and forks. Today was one of the worst. On the menu was tacos and ice-cream sandwiches, among other things. Doesn't sound bad, right? Wrong. There was taco meet EVERYWHERE - all over the floor, on the benches and tables, basically any surface that could be covered, was. The chocolate cookie from the ice cream sandwiches was smooshed all over the benches. It honestly looked like half the kids there had bathroom accidents.

We are considered a "healthy school" because we serve whole grain foods. Problem is, most of it is whole grain junk food. The majority of the kids today had pretzel bites with cheese sauce, an ice cream sandwich and a frozen icee-type of thing. Not exactly nutritious. I typically pack my kids' lunches because they prefer it to most of the food served, and I control what is in there. There is always a sandwich, some form of fresh fruit of veggie, yogurt or cheese stick and a drink. Yes, there is also some form of treat, either gummies or cookies, but it's all about balance, right?

I could go on and on about the food, but I'll save that for another post. I have a feeling I will have lots to write about now. I hope you'll stick around and follow me on my back to school adventure!