Weening off.

She toys with a nipple between her fingers. Her eyes survey my face looking for approval. I repeat again, “no, no, no.” She cries. Large tears cascade down her cheeks. She rubs her eyes. Taps out code on the nipple, eying it, then my face with longing. She hovers close, resting her chin over her hand, turning slowly closer to latch. Her throat catches as she tries to calm herself. “Mommy, want night night? Thank you, Mom. Thank you, night night. ”

She hugs me, resting her head against me. Her hand remains on my breast, cupping it protectively.

“Want teeyee. Want Hot Dog?” she requests, temporarily distracted. But as I locate her channel, she fixes attention again on her night nights. Mouth gaping, she tries again to latch. I recover my chest, securing my shirt. Tears fall quickly. “Peez, Mommy?”

I refuse to give in.

“Mommy, baby? Night nights?”

“No, big girl. Good morning.”

“Okaaaay,” she sings. And she slides off the bed to her own room leaving me to watch DocDoc alone.

Sand and Surf

The tides were high today, waves crashed into the rocks along the shore and carried seaweed, broken tree limbs, and assorted sea creatures onto land. The sun – less intense than in days past – still carried an intense yellow glow that cast upon us. Ri insisted on taking her shoes off, toying with the sand between her toes. She gathered it in her hands and watched it fall slowly down in a glistening cascade as it caught the light. She searched for sticks, and once found, dragged them through the sands creating lines. She watched the water wash each away.
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She is a bit obsessed with all thing Anna (of Disney’s Frozen). Elsa? Who is that? Olaf? Well, yes, we like him, too.
So mommy found a very inexpensive Anna dress and presented it to Ri. “Hannah!” she shouted, shrugging quickly out of her clothes and insisting on putting on the gown. We added her princess kit (won at Chuck E. Cheese for a lot of tickets). She took pictures – willingly – in the studio.
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And then it was time for bed. And she refused to take off the dress Princess Ri slept in her gown, holding it in her hands, with arms clamped against her to ensure no one could try to remove it in her sleep. I began to fear we’d never get the dress off of her. And then, the lure of a bath changed her mind.
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Return to Watkins Park

Carousel rides are the best.
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Sincerely sixteen

I’m told boys don’t have sweet sixteens. Anything considered sweet is feminine,  and right now there is no place for a heterosexual young man to harbor female traits.  Hubs assures me (repeatedly ) that men, boys, and male babies are never to be referred to as cute, either.  So, I committed a foul when I wished our son Happy Sweet Sixteen on the morning of his birthday.

But truly,  the day did arrive like a candy treat worth savoring. Sixteen has to be better than fifteen.

It has been a long year.  There has been more discord and more defiance. More punishment,  more deprivation. More challenge and more secrecy.
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At times I’ve wanted to call it quits and admit defeat. I’m just the step mom. I’ve no control, only opinion. And in his heart, his mother is someone else.  If I overstep, I cease to exist.

Yet he is my son. I pray for his success. I mourn his failures. I contemplate how to help him achieve,  to make difficulty disappear. I hold expectations high.

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I love him. Through his struggle to become the man he wants to be, I love him.  I didn’t carry him, or labor to deliver him in 1999. But I carry him now in my heart and I labor to keep him safe, give him a home, and prepare him for a prosperous future. I stepped up to be mom.

FROZEN: No smiles, no frowns.

Everywhere we go, Ri is on high alert for all things Frozen.  She shops for princess items, carrying anything with these Disney characters on them around stores and performing full on fall out fits when we refuse purchase.  In CVS, it was a box of tissues with Sven, Anna, and Olaf. In Giant,  it was diaper wipes with a similar scene.  In Target, it was a reusable shopping bag with princesses (and she filled it with an Elsa notepad and assorted themed writing supplies).  PEZ dispensers, bubble wands, juice drinks. Each time she proclaims “HANNAH!” and leads us unwillingly toward the spotted product.

I’d pretty much had enough of the winter cursed crew.  And then, last Thursday, I discovered I’d also been cursed.  It began with a locked jaw that made chewing a robotic, awkward effort.  Soreness in my muscles turned into frostbite tingles overnight. My fingers numbed.  By Friday, my headaches increased intensity – not quite migraines,  but profoundly disruptive. My tongue swelled (had I eaten something with sulfide preservatives?). Speech slurred.  My face was frozen.

The speech distorted even more by Saturday,  and I’m sure it was hard deciphering my words as I tried to help Chi with her Atlanta Fashion Walk activities. By lunch, I couldn’t eat – the muscles in my jaw weren’t responding to commands.  And my eyes burned, my lids fought against blinking as vision grew progressively hazier.

By Sunday,  I could no longer articulate my thoughts.  My ears hummed, sounds echoed as though tunneled. Voices were amplified and pitched. Images in front of me blurred. My legs stiffened. And my frustration reached a new peak.

I was frozen and no amount of summer heat – of warm hugs – was melting my curse.

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