PSA

I’m sure I’m annoying those of you who already visited my new site, but for those of you who don’t read blogs on the weekend… Wheels on the Bus has moved.  From now on, you’ll find me at http://emilyrosenbaum.com .  And if you head over there this morning, you’ll find some good news.

In case you missed it

My blog has moved.  You can now find me at http://emilyrosenbaum.com .  C’mon over!

Movin’ on up

After more than three years of blogging here, these wheels are rolling.  Please visit my new site with my very own domain name.  Update your feeds and come along for the next part of the ride.

I know that only a complete moron posts a move message on Friday night, so I’ll post this again on Tuesday, when the internet opens back up for business.

Brave boy

He’s fine, thank you.  The surgery went smoothly, the adenoids are out, and the child is resting on the couch, watching Lassie and eating his second bowl of ice cream.

I’m supposed to keep him in the house for a week, which is fabulous in theory, except that he looked up after his first bowl of ice cream and said, “Mommy, I want to go outside by myself.”  If he’s up for going out ten minutes after we get home, what’s he going to be like by Wednesday?

How many times can he watch Lassie?

More to the point, how many times can his sister watch Lassie?

Please send chocolate.

Pieces parts

We’re off today to get Benjamin’s adenoids out.  I’ll be back around noon, and I’ll try to post an update.  But since all of you know this isn’t really a big deal, I suspect you’re a hell of a lot less nervous than he is.

I’ve been revising the book.  Does that surprise you?  My agent dumped me, but there are plenty of small presses out there.  I can pitch the damned thing myself.  My writing group gave phenomenal advice on a section that has plagued me for years, so I should be done revising and writing the pitch next week.  IAin’t nobody gonna keep me down.

Zach is off to his grandparents today.  We can’t wait to send him.  I love the child, really I do, but he has grown increasingly impossible.  The fact is, he didn’t make a lot of friends during the school year.  He has a few, but we’ve only been able to see them sporadically this summer.  The summer has been hard for him.  He had to transition to camp, and transitions are not his strong suit.  New kids, new place, new routine.  He snapped at me this week, “People always say summer vacation is so fun.  It’s NOT fun!”

“I know kiddo.  Is school fun?”

“Yes, school is fun.  Summer vacation is not!”

This is how we know he’s my child.  I wonder sometimes whether his father really contributed any genetic material.

That’s all for now.  I’m off to take my dude in for surgery.

Popping the question

When he was four, he wanted to know if my mother was dead.  I told him she was.

When he was four and two months, he wanted to know what she died of.  I told him that she got sick and her lungs stopped working.

When he was four and two months and one day, he wanted to know how old I had been.  I told him two.

When he was five, he wanted to know about my father.  I told him he lived far away.  But then he wanted to know about my stepmother, and eventually, after the questions became more and more probing, I told him the truth.  She wasn’t very nice to me.

“Why wasn’t she nice to you?”

“I guess she didn’t like me very much.”

“But why didn’t she like you very much?”

“I don’t know, sweetie.  I don’t know why someone wouldn’t like a child.”

He wants to know more about what she did, I think.  He doesn’t have the words to ask because he doesn’t even know the word “abuse.”  It is all so vague for him, and it’s hard for me to figure out what’s going on in that little head.

I sure as hell don’t want to tell him more than he’s asking.  He’s not asking to know that she beat me.  He shouldn’t even know that she hit me.  He’ll have sixty or seventy years of his life to understand the specifics of what happened to me as a kid; right now, it’s not necessary for him to know I slept naked on the hallway floor and ate my own vomit.

But I also don’t want to tell him less than he’s asking.  Kids left to figure shit out for themselves can imagine some pretty horrible stuff, although I guess he can’t imagine much that’s worse than what actually happened to me.  So, I wait for the questions and field them as they come.

Except when I don’t know the answer.

Because there is one question I’ve struggled with for years.  The same question that grown men ask me every single time they hear my story.  The question Zachary asked me the other day.

“Why didn’t your father help you?”

Why didn’t my father help me?  Why, indeed.  There are a couple of ways to go about answering this one, but “because he’s a narcissistic asshole” doesn’t really answer the question.  Plus, then I’d have to define narcissistic and asshole.

Instead, I went with, “I don’t really know.  I think maybe he just didn’t care that much.”

This threw Zach for a loop.  Having no experience with stepmothers, he can accept that some are bad.  But he has experiences with fathers.  In his experience, fathers care very much.

My husband thinks I answered wrong.  And maybe I did.  Unfortunately, my husband does not have any suggestions for better answers.  I think that’s because there aren’t any better answers.

How do I answer a four-year-old who wants to know why the woman on the cover of Time magazine has her nose cut off?  I mean, other than to wonder why the hell the grocery store put the magazine at precisely four-year-old height.    How do I answer when my children want to know about war and genocide and mental illness and homelessness?  I answer as honestly as I can, trying to help them understand there are injustices in the world that they can help to right.

But, when my almost-six-year-old wants to know why a father stands by and allows his children to brutalized, why my father did that, well, I just don’t know what to say.

Mr. Charming

Since we discovered that Benjamin does not have allergies and does have chronic sinusitis plus chronic infected adenoids, he has had four sinus infections.  In as many months.  We get him off antibiotics, and within two weeks, he is miserable again.  Crying, hitting, not sleeping.  Then, we get him back on antibiotics, and twenty-four hours later, he is Mr. Charming.

I took him in to the doctor on sinus infection number three.  “I think it’s time to see the ENT about his adenoids,” she said.

“I think so, too,” I replied.

I took him in to the ENT, who looked at his CAT scan.  “I think we need to take the adenoids out,” she said.

“I think so, too,” I replied.

Now, I’m not a big fan of CAT scans and surgery and general mucking about in a four-year-old’s body.  But I’m also not a big fan of my kid single-handedly creating SuperBugs because he’s rendered all of the antibiotics ineffective.  He’s been sporadically miserable for over two years, and we’ve always tried to correct the behavior.  Turns out, he was just pissed off because he was playing host to a colony of microscopic critters.

So, Friday it is.  They’ll be giving my kid anesthesia on Friday the thirteenth.  He’ll come home sore and not be allowed out for a week.  We’re shipping his brother off to his grandparents’ house for the week because I don’t need Zach pushing Ben’s buttons all week long.

Also because Zach just generally drives me bananas.

But then, maybe, just maybe, Mr. Charming can stick around a bit.