Thursday, October 05, 2006

Personal Spin

I have a friend who loves to hang around addicts. He says they're the most creative, intelligent, and resourceful people in the world.

"Who else can not have a job for years and still support a $300-a-day habit?" he'll say. "That takes some ingenuity."

Me, I'm far less sanguine about interacting with addicts.

They tend to kick my ass.

One in particular.


My 10-year-old is losing things. Lots of things. Since school started (on the Thursday after Labor Day) here's the tally of lost things:

  1. Backpack
  2. Lunchbox
  3. Denim jacket
  4. A pair of jeans
  5. A loose-leaf binder
  6. His band permission paperwork
  7. A field-trip permission slip and six dollars to pay for it
  8. A composition notebook
  9. Several homework assignments
And it's barely October. If this keeps up, he'll be naked and stupid (and I'll be broke) by March.

And besides the loss, this is a symptom. There's something wrong. I've got a good idea of what it is, but that doesn't matter. He's got to find it out for himself.

And his parents need to help him find it. Which meant a call to STBEW.

Her solution was to have his little sister move in with her.


According to STBEW, my son's problem is that I take his sister's side in everything.

Which is partially true. If they're fighting, and I didn't see how it started, I assume he started it. I told him this, and I explained why: He's the older brother. She follows his lead. If she's hitting, it's because she's learned this from him. If he stops, she'll stop. Maybe not right away, but soon.

But that was not the point of the call. I wanted to talk about making sure he's held accountable for his actions.

Did I stay on topic? Of course not.

She's a pack-a-day smoker* who lives in a studio apartment with a murphy bed. Even when I did smoke, I never did it in the house with the kids around. When I pointed this fact out to her, she said she'd only smoke in the kitchen (a tiny alcove) and put up a curtain. She had similar half-baked bullshit responses to my other queries about sleeping arrangements, et c.

The bottom line reason for this decision, however was this: She'd get more money if she had at least one kid living with her.


I knew that was the reason waaay back at the beginning of the conversation. I knew it, and I also know that this is not going to happen.

What made me mad is that I was sucked in.

She may not be drinking and drugging, but she's still an addict. Right now, her addictions are "feen and teen" (coffee and cigarettes), and men. She's still manipulating.

And sometimes, I still get spinned.

Tonight's dinnertime game was 'Superpowers/Superproblems.' My son came up with the concept. It's a variation of the 'Your wish has been granted' game: You choose a superpower, and someone else spoils it with a superproblem.

Some of the problems were power-related:
Me: My power is I can fly
Son: Your problem is you can only fly six inches off the ground.

Daughter: My power is that I can shoot spikes out of my wrists
Me: Your problem is your aim sucks.

Then my daughter got all tangental:
Son: My power is that I can shoot lasers out of my eyes
Daughter: Your problem is you can only do it while peeing.

Which got us into role-playing
Me: Hey Laserboy! We need your help!
Son (as Laserboy): Hang on! You know I can't go when people are watching!

And then:
Son: My power is that I can control people's minds.
Me: Your problem is that you're a cow.
Son: Milk me, human slave! And bring me a hamburger! I know that's cannibalistic, but man, we're tasty!

Did I mention she's 8, and he's 10?

I know that eventually, they won't be living with me. But no way will it be because she'll get more money for cigarettes.


*Only because she can't afford to be a two-pack-a-day smoker**
**She had quit smoking in 1991, and was smoke-free for 12 years. Before that, she was maybe a half-a-pack-a-day smoker. She seems to be trying to make up for lost time.


Blogger Jessica said...

Stay strong. Keep being the great parent--the safe parent--your kids need you to be.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

stay strong mijo

you are exactly the right kind of parent for these kids. you are fun yet stern. you're doing a great job

8:22 AM  
Blogger Åsa said...

Don’t let your children live with their mom! Jeeeez! Tough job for you though. Protecting your children from all evil INCLUDING their mom! Holding on to them and at the same time teaching them to be individuals with their own needs and desires.

Cool game! Nice creativity.

Your kids are lucky to have you :-)

10:18 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

You have smart kids. Good job. Hope Lt. Trouble is doing as well as the other two. The dinnertime games sound like fun. Where did you come up with this idea?

11:24 AM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Your kids make me giggle out loud!

I wanna play superhero/superproblem!!!!!

Keep them under your wings, big daddy eagle chief.

12:59 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...


i hear you

when you've been sucked in - don't berate yourself. just climb out. understand that it will happen again and again.

as you know, i am one to talk...

call that advice mutual support


i love the superpower game

i will be stealing it


4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool game!

Good luck with the STBEW. Is your son getting things stolen from him? That's a lot of things to lose, especially the big stuff...

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i LOVE that game! it's so creative. and your kids are funny.

i was thinking the same thing yankee is... about the "lost" stuff.

jayzus. sending hugs...

8:54 PM  
Blogger What the Chuck said...

Hi BP,

Hey man, when my 6 and 8-year-old are going at it, either a.) I let them, or b.) I bust them both. If they go into their room and shut the door, then they can have at it.

I want them to be and act like a team, in all instances. So I treat them like one. And because of this, I've watched them take care and prevent each other from harm.

Nothing's perfect in this household either, mind you-- just a suggestion.

And hey-- you're a great dad.



6:28 AM  

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