Wednesday, November 18, 2009


At the library this afternoon the kids and I kept it together pretty well. Until it was time to tell Stella it was time to go. "Nooooo!!!" she shrieked, eyeballs glazed purple from all the computer time she'd logged during our visit. One of my favorite things about the library is that books are secondary to computer games and DVDs.

I left her there on the mangy carpeted floor, made my way to the stairs (they keep the children's section in the dungeon), and just before ascending from view, hooked an angry "get over here NOW" finger at her. She submitted, crying and growling loudly enough to elicit a stream of apologies from my embarrassed mouth to any adult lucky enough to be in our path on the way out. All the while I wondered why it always feels like it's the Miller family who causes the loudest ruckus in the library.

In the car, when Hamish sang, "Stella is a Baby-Cry!" I banished them from television for the remainder of the day. The night turned out to be uplifting without TV, enough so that Bryan and I have volleyed a few emails this evening considering removing it altogether.

Hours before the glory, I snuck a call from the back steps to tell him, "It's fallen apart already. I want to lock myself in the bathroom for the rest of the night, I'VE HAD IT." I explained the library situation and the fact that upon returning home the two humans I brought forth from my loins lay sprawled on the living room floor demanding TV RIGHT NOW MOMMY!! And when I refused again (and again and again) they stuck their tongues out at me and spit a wet ditty.

During our phone conference Bryan and I decided it would be best if I indulged my inner bitch for the night, forgoing my usual round of "Why can't I be one of those moms who never raises her voice, who always has a gentle tone and age-appropriate distraction at the ready, who always sees the glittery golden angel inside the demon spawn, and is never shaken, ever?" We thought maybe the kids had grown into a phase where they were possibly begging for limits, in the form of BitchMom with a Sledgehammer.

So I brought it down.

In Miller-ease this meant: no TV, sending Hamish to his room for "making bad choices," taking away the toys they refused to clean up, making him—gasp—get his own fork for dinner, demanding they clear their plates under threat of confiscated Bionicles, Bakugans and unicorns, warning my son that I was prepared to take away so many beloved privileges that I'd send him to school the following morning naked and starving, and so forth.

And it rocked.

We wound up reading an entire novel together.

And later, when I had time to think and write about it, I had REALIZATION/EPIPHANY/REVELATION #3,472,988:
It's amazing how honoring my feelings of anger, rage, fury, resentment etc. versus rationalizing, guilt-tripping, and/or bullying myself about them allows true (i.e., not contrived or nauseatingly fake) feelings of love and affection to surface. (This is not to indulge said unsavory feelings with bouts of vein-popping bellows or belt-buckle lashes, but rather to give myself full permission to be BitchMom™ and punish lavishly and accordingly.)

Thank you Jesus.

Then, a heartwarming turn:

One of their library books, Smitten had the kids entranced. A love story about a lost sock and mitten who find each other and fall in love amidst cold urban adversity, it warmed all our hearts. I explained to the kids that smitten is what you feel when you're in love, and Hamish said, "I'm smitten with Alexandra*," a classmate of his. I was all, "Really?" And he said, "Yeah, but she's not smitten with me because every time we're in the cafeteria her hits me on the arm." I told him that this usually means that the girl IS smitten. But he insisted that she is not. So I clarified, asking, "So, you're in love with Alexandra?" And he nodded, and I asked, "And it's okay that your love only goes one way?" And he nodded again, and reader, after such a long love drought, I was deeply smitten with my little boy.

Thanks for reading,


kristi said...

oh! i love this post. (maybe i should just not even say that anymore, and just say "the usual over-the-top compliment applies.")

ok, here's what i love the most (because i identify):

1. anytime tv is not in our equation, we are a much happier family. we have some arab friends who told us their parents called the tv the "devil box," and honestly i couldn't agree more. it definitely brings out my kids' demons. so i have had those moments where i've wanted to get rid of it as well. then, i realize i have an entire (horribly written) book about radar antennas to edit, and all resolve goes out the window.

2. it's encouraging to hear how when you confront your anger you are better able to deal with it. i haven't thought about this that much in myself, but i think this does happen with me as well. it's when i'm trying to stuff it down that it comes out in the worst ways possible.

3. i hate to break it to you, but your family is most certainly not the loudest in the library. that would be the bennett family. sometimes i really hate those library quiet rules...

4. um, the baby-cry thing? my older two spew this at each other all the time. well, maybe they have finally stopped, now that gillian is almost EIGHT. and i think i have said that exact thing: get it right, or don't say it. or maybe it makes you a cry-baby if you can't say it right. yeah, i'm sure i've said that one before...

5. i really like the idea of locking myself in the bathroom. i am going to try this. can you see me doing it at my parents' house? haha. leaving them out there for everyone else to deal with.

6. can't wait to see you soon!


Amelia Plum said...

three cheers for bitchmom. so have you already registered that trademark and i'm assuming you're getting that domain name as well? i think you're quite write in that when you acknowledge the anger that the true love can surface. and bringing home bitchmom with a slegehammer wasn't bad, she's clear and rational with the discipline she (meaning you) enforce. yeah you! now i'll find an appropriate ad to click. xox

elise said...

agggh kristi I feel the same way about your comments. they've kind of become a lifeblood for me. no pressure. thank you thank you. tv is the devil box. amen to that. it creates 'tude city, AND I think it depletes the kids' time and ability to live in reality and their emotions. It's a precursor to numbing out in more unhealthy ways, I dare say. let me know how it goes locking yourself in the bathroom!

amelia, thank you, from one bitchmom to another. now for consistency! must register domain name now!! love.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add that when I give my daughter the "oh that means he likes you" line (which I totally believe), they both think I am crazy. My son, who is 10, is adamant that it absolutely does not mean they like you. Could we be wrong about that whole thing?

Also, I wish you would keep posting on FB when you put up a blog post! Every time you do it, I come and read, and now I find I am so behind. Well, it's nice to be catching up, anyway.

Larissa Phillips said...

Oops, that's Larissa here. Didn't mean to post anon.

elise said...

Hey Larissa, great to have you here! I will keep my mind open to the possibility that the line is bogus, though I know for a fact that this girl does like Hamish, and that she is a bit of a sass-pot, in a good way. Humorous-like. We are moms, so that means we are always wrong about something. jeesh.

As for FB, I may have not posted once or twice because I felt too vulnerable about the content. But now that you're saying something about it, I will always update! Even if I have to hide my eyes. Like in a horror movie.

I always love to hear from you!! xoxoxo