Saturday, June 30, 2012

WIC, Food Stamps, and Bureaucracy

When we had to switch to formula and were dead broke, WIC was a godsend.  Formula is EXPENSIVE.  And while I wasn't happy about using the prepared baby food, it was free.

But once over a year, the provisions given through WIC can be frustrating.

  • 8 1/2 gallons of whole milk
  • 16 oz of whole grains (twice)
  • 64 oz of juice (twice) 
  • 6 15 oz cans of beans or 1lb raw beans
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • $6 toward fruits and vegetables.
$6.  That's what our government considers to be the importance of fruits and vegetables in our children's diets.  This month I managed 7 bananas, 2lbs carrots, 1 bunch celery, and 3 apples.  Don't get me started on the beans that my son won't eat.  I will be making chili a lot.  Or juice that pediatricians DON'T recommend.  And forget about the limitations within the limitations: only certain brands, no organics, nothing fortified.

I get that those cost more money, but it's quite difficult.  Walmart didn't have ANY bread that qualified. Many places only have 1 loaf that counts.  Or rice, but again, nearly impossible to find.

Don't get me wrong; I am incredibly grateful for whatever help we can get, but it can be frustrating, that's all.

But while I'm on a rant.

We applied for medical assistance and food stamps.  The information we faxed got lost.  Apparently this is common.  The information we sent the first time wasn't okay.  It needed to be updated to 3 days later.  My case manager won't return phone calls.  The food stamp EBT card she was supposed to send me hasn't arrived yet.  Nor do I know how much I'm getting.  

*insert scream of frustration here*

The best part?  These are FEDERALLY funded programs administered by the STATES.  Which means that when I move...THEY. DON'T. FOLLOW.  I have to wait the time limits in Ohio, and reapply if we still need the assistance.  Because they are administered by the individual states despite being federally funded.  

*insert another scream of frustration here*

So essentially, yes, very grateful for assistance, but holy shit is it difficult.  Seriously.  Sigh.  And let me tell you, it already sucks needing it.  To have a case worker be a douche to you when you are in dire need is simply humiliating.  I cried over the phone to her.  She pretty much blew me off.

But oh, no.  This isn't the end of my red tape fun for the week.  

My settlement that was supposed to come through 4 months ago had what should have been a final hearing or whatever Wednesday.  I called Thursday.  Had to leave a message.  24 hours later, still no return call.  I called again.  This is what I got told (essentially):
"Your regular attorney was out of the office so she prepped another one to go instead.  The file is still on his desk.  He has to write her a memo about what happened and then give the file back to her.  Then she needs to review the file and THEN I will have information for you."

Not "I will be able to send you a check."  Oh, no.  Basically, what she's telling me is that when the lawyers get off their asses and do their job I stand a chance of finding out when the check that is going to allow me to move us and all our stuff to Ohio will show up.  Maybe.

Our bank accounts are empty.  Hubby is actually staying with friends.  His mom sent him enough money for some food, maybe a little gas.  He is applying for things like mad, but the best option in terms of a temp agency, well, they have a lot of red tape, too.  You have to fill out all the information online and then they call when it hits their system.  He has done this, with online confirmation, 3 times.  But it's not showing up.  And according to them, it's on his end, his computer.  He's used 3 different computers.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just SOMETHING fall into place.  

Sorry.  Really needed to vent.  I'm so sorry.  Thank you for bearing with me through my bitch fest.   


Ohio doesn't have any residency requirements in terms of time.  So as long as state id and lease showing our monthly rent are in place, we can apply if need be.  Thank goodness!

Friday, June 29, 2012

And Then I Gave Him A Spoon...

P is a food thrower.  Doesn't like it?  Throw.  Not in the mood to eat?  Throw.  Finished eating?  Throw.  And he cannot be stopped.

For this reason we have NOT given him a bowl and spoon.  It was a scary proposition.  But, it had to be faced at some point.  So I bit the bullet last night and gave him yogurt in a bowl, and a spoon.  I kept some aside so I could try to actually get some in his mouth.

This is what happens when you give my kid the tools to feed himself.

It should be noted that at the end of this little adventure I gingerly carried him into the bathroom and plopped him in the tub.  In his diaper.  Because it had yogurt dripping down it.

The good news?  He didn't throw any of it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hippie For The Win

I can easily look back on the happiest times of my life and see the commonality.  Nature.  Lack of technology.  No computer, no phone, no email, no blog, no twitter, no facebook.  No tv, no cable, no REALITY tv.  

Me, Mother Nature, the open road (sometimes).  Living by the day as nature designed.  Up with the sun.  Firelight after dark, or bed.  

No air conditioning, no cookie dough, well, you get the idea.

When I really need to center myself I lie in the grass.  Stand in the rain.  Face the wind.  And it often works.  It takes summoning the energy to actually get off the couch and outside, though, and that is easier said than done.  

This topic came up in therapy a few weeks ago, and coincidentally, my therapist came across and printed out an article for me regarding this very thing. 

Don't Let Chaos Get You Down is an exerpt from a book by Andrew Weil, M.D. printed by Newsweek last Fall.  It's worth a read.  And it makes sense, at least to me, especially when I really think about it.  

I hate how much tv I watch (thanks Mom for the free cable, damn you!).  I despise my dependence on my "smart"phone.  My need for human contact has been changed from a need for PHYSICAL interaction to VIRTUAL interaction.  Yes, it's emotionally safer.  And the support is broader.  I certainly am able to find people with whom I have things in common much easier.  But it ends up thwarting me.  I have become a couch potato.  Fuck.

It needs to change.  I watch tv ALL. DAY. LONG.  Unless we have to go somewhere.  It's on in the background constantly.  P doesn't really watch, but he likes it being on, too.  Quiet inside a house is almost unnerving.  

I would love to get back to being more unplugged.  More off the grid.  That means some serious sacrifices.  But if I want P to know it's good to get out, I have to get out.  And off.  Off the grid.  Off the phone.  Off this very laptop I am using to share this.  Power off.

I don't expect technology to go away, and it has it's place.  But as with so many other things, there needs to be a balance.  Somehow, I have lost that balance.  

I have lost balance in so many aspects of my life.  This is one more thing.  But together, rebalanced, reorganized, they all hold the key.  The key to figuring out a way to live that works for me.  And so, I am putting down the technology, turning off the brain sucking tv, and taking my son for a swim.  Or a walk.  Or at the very least, sitting on the floor with him.  (It's hot out!)

Peace, y'all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WW: My First #iPPP

Okay, not entirely wordless as I need to explain a bit.

 #iPPP stands for iPhone Photo Phun but really, the idea is using your camera phone.  Ummm, yeah, I do that EVERY DAY.  So, on Wednesdays, when I remember, you will catch me trying to dump some fun ones all over you!

So here we go!

Total accident! Dropped while shooting.


Monday, June 25, 2012

The Lovey

Lovey: transitional object to aid the feeling of security, to help with self-soothing.

For 14 MONTHS I tried to introduce loveys.  Desperately.  Pacifier: rejected.  Items designed to be loveys: rejected. Blankets, stuffed animals: all rejected.  At some point I just decided self-soothing would never happen.

And then...

About a month ago, one of the nights P was in bed with us because he was having a rough night, he discovered his Lovey.  An item he had contact with for a year because of co-sleeping.  But something clicked that night, and the next morning without us noticing he tossed it off the bed.  It wasn't long before we realized that it was always near him.  Always.

Tired?  Crawl to Lovey and curl up with it.  Upset:  Bury face in Lovey, and sometimes, curl up with it.  Bedtime?  Lovey goes to bed, too.  Time to get up?  Lovey starts the day, too.

I had a difficult time, as with other things regarding babies, believing the magic of the Lovey.  I was the Lovey.  I have been replaced.  By a ratty old handmade pillow with a Teddy Bear in a Santa outfit.  Really?  Okay, whatever works.

Case in point.  Very tired sick baby today - screaming for an hour straight, but didn't want cuddles. I was useless.  And Lovey was in the washer.  And fell apart...again.  It had to be repaired.  So there I was, trying to sew (not very well, I might add.  He doesn't care if it looks good!) the pillow back together and he's standing in front of me TUGGING on it, trying desperately to wrest it from my grasp.  The pillow is WET, mind you.  So I finished sewing it, let him grab it, and within minutes he was quiet, and asleep on the floor with it.  On a wet, ratty, old pillow.  Yeah.

The Lovey is magic.  The Lovey is old.  The Lovey is going to need patches (on a pillow!!) before too long.  But dear god, don't get between P and Lovey.  Hell no.

Loving the Lovey.

Can't even let go to drink milk!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Hubby and I are very laid back parents.  I really believe in "Free Range Childhood."  I won't live in fear.  I let my kid eat dirt.  I let him get filthy.  I let him explore his world.  

The word "no" is completely ineffective as he is headstrong and willful.  If something is truly dangerous, I pull him away from it.  He finds anything he can to put in his mouth.  We spend a lot of time pulling those things out, but I don't freak.  It's what kids do.  

I don't want him to grow up with fear.  Kids learn by exploring, by experimenting - remember when we were kids and we played outside and no one was hyper vigilant regarding child safety?  Things are no different now in terms of statistics regarding kidnapping and other atrocities.  The difference is that now media coverage, tv shows, internet all blow everything up.  Fear is the word these days.

Having said that, I have had a few minor panics - weird bubble swollen thing on his penis when he was still tiny and the incision was healing.  Hives from blood work.  In those times, Mama Bear comes out.  She is a totally different person.  And don't get in her way if she is in protect mode.  Oh, hell no.

I don't look like I have an inner Mama Bear because I am so laid back.  But yesterday, she came out in full force.  I left a friend - grabbed P and our belongings and bolted.  All I could think was
"Have to get him safe.  Go, go, go."  I was shaking, crying.  But I did what I had to do.  

I watched my friend's family go into complete meltdown mode, with kids, adult all yellingscreaminghittingkickingcrying madness.  I didn't know how to help.  I couldn't do a damn thing but GET US OUT.  I don't know how to help them.  But all I could think was about us first.

And while I am sad that I abandoned a friend, I couldn't watch anymore.  I was thisclose to calling 911.  But me packing and leaving abruptly in the middle of everything was enough to stop the madness for a bit.  The important thing is: I put my child first, me first.  Huge step.  It means I know I can do it, but apparently only do so when things are so far gone that I have no other alternative.  

They have to admit that they need help.  But more than that, be willing to figure out a way to get it.  Abandoning a friend hurt.  Hurts.  What other choice did I have?  I can't imagine living in that angry way.  

In my hurry to leave, however, I forgot P's medicine in the fridge.  And his Tylenol.  Fuckaduck.  So now I need to call the hospital and try to get another script.  And beg my mom for money for it.  Sigh.  This is what happens when you go into fight or flight mode.  

Don't fuck with Mama Bear.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012


One of my favorite songs, a go-to song, is by Peter Gabriel.  It's called "That Voice Again."

There are a number of lyrics that strike me.  If it hasn't been clear before, I thrive on music.  Lyrics that I cannot write, but that seem to be spoken straight from my mind.  There was already one lyric on my body.  Now there are 2.  And I have a 3rd planned.  

What I hadn't put together, entirely, was the meaning behind the the line from this song.  But it ties in so much to the addiction issue I discussed before.

You can listen to the song for the full lyrics, but the ones that strike me straight through to my soul are these: 
I'm hearing right and wrong so clearlythere must be more than thisit's only in uncertaintythat we're naked and alive

It's that 2nd half that is now tattooed across my shoulders.  "It's only in uncertainty that we're naked and alive."  But from start to finish, those 4 lines are key.  I can SEE the problem.  I can FEEL (sometimes) the wrong, or the right.  But sometimes it's backwards.

In relation to my addictions this is so true.  I've spoken with my therapist about it, early on, actually, when she asked me about my tattoos.  She asked WHY it was so important, and I had difficulty voicing that.

But after my epiphany, I get it.  I need drama, adrenaline, danger, fear.  The situations that cause uncertainty, whether regarding safety, emotion, or otherwise make me feel ALIVE.  Some of that is okay.  Skydiving, rock climbing, road trips.  Adventure.  Those are a productive use of that need.  It's in real life situations that I run into problems.  Relationships, all makes sense now.

I think, no, I KNOW that a lot of what needs to happen to make me truly functional, is to essentially break myself down, strip me clean, and build me back up.  Finding ways to take that energy and use it for positive, productive activities.  Without losing who I am.  It means keeping the good stuff while learning how to get rid of the bad.  The thing about the positive things is that they are quite individual.  So that brings us to the interpersonal stuff.  That's the issue.

I'm scared, you guys. Scared to dig that deeply.  Scared to recreate myself.

But with that...I feel alive.

And therein lies the problem.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Atlantic City!!!

So, when we were in AC, we went into this giant candy store.  Oh, they had so much more than candy, all adult oriented.  I thought of some of you specifically upon seeing things, or just you all in general.  Also below are a couple boardwalk photos.  I will spare you captions and just let you peruse.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action

I promised videos!  P dancing, P swimming, P just being silly.  Oh, how I love this child and the spirit he exudes.

Have you died from the cuteness yet?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer As A Peanut

I figured we could all use a break from the train wreck coverage.  P is a summer boy.  No doubt about it.  He is a FISH.  With absolutely no fear.  He swims - with swim wings, but still.  I have no doubt that he will swim without them before too long.  Ummm, he's not walking yet...Can you say swim lessons ASAP?

He also, it turns out, loves the beach.  He and I went with TG and the kids last week for a couple days.  I don't have any photos of him in the water because I couldn't be with him in the ocean and take pictures, too.  Suffice it to say he crawled right into the water, unafraid, seeking thrills.  Yeah, he is my son, alright.

More summer photos!

Yeah, are you dying of cuteness yet?

This is right after he climbed up onto the diving board and then
let himself down into the water that way.  My child is CRAZY!

Hubby is NOT holding him.  His hand is there just in case.  He swam the length
of the pool!

I think by this point he was turning blue but getting him out of the water is
an epic battle.  He throws himself in with a look of glee on his face, joy
exuding from him.

There will be another beach post, mostly non-P related photos and some goodies I found that made me think of my bleeps, tweeps, and peeps.  Oh, and videos.  Which I still need to upload to YouTube.  Like the one of P going off the diving board.  Crazy child.