The term "sentence" usually applies to the criminal, the inmate, the person who actually committed the crime. In my case I got an 18 year sentence when I gave birth. Then I returned to the scene of the crime 4 years later, which means one could argue I actually signed up for a 22 year sentence...at least. Given this is the era of the "Boomerang Child" -- he leaves home, then makes a lovely arc right back to your house -- my chances of being pardoned after 22 years are pretty slim.
In the interests of keeping my sanity I decided a paradigm shift was in order. I was not an unwilling victim. I had chosen to have children. I was not confined against my will. I had, with no malice but a lot of aforethought, decided to produce offspring. The fact that they acted less like children and more like unruly inhabitants of Attica just meant that I had to adjust my expectations. Perhaps I had read too many Little House books, where Laura and Mary and the rest of the brood willingly followed their parents' orders and the most rebellious thing they did was wander too far from the log cabin. I possibly spent too many hours on the avocado green carpet, my eyes 2" away from the screen, and taking in every word of parental advice from Mike and Carol Brady. Mike was stern and moderately strict, but his children always came to realize his wisdom by the end of the 22 minutes. Maybe, just maybe, one of the few things I actually listened to during Sunday Mass in my childhood was that "children are a gift from God." Of course, the priest didn't say that the gift was the human equivalent of a box of exploding cigars or a flower that squirts.
I once was intelligent. I had a good memory, I was creative, I was dependable, I was diligent. I had so much potential. Then...I had children. The inmates. I don't blame them. It's not their fault (exactly) that 90% of my brain cells were mysteriously expelled with the placenta. Why, then, did I feel compelled to start this blog? My sister has been after me to start one for years and I consistently said there was no way I could type several dozen cohesive sentences with my daughter hanging off my hair like it was Mother Nature's trapeze. As I type right now she's hopping around the room, alternately practicing her cartwheels and talking to invisible friends (who apparently are deaf, given the volume with which she is speaking). At this point in time, with Christmas looming and the hyperactivity of my children increasing daily, I chose (there's that word again) to start a blog. Perhaps it's insanity. Perhaps it's desperation. Or maybe, just perhaps, there's a part of me that feels that if I share the antics of the inmates they will seem less overwhelming, less irritating, less unbearable. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to find a good therapist and if I'm going to ramble on about my "issues", I might as well be able to do it in my pajamas.
-- Originally written in December 2010.
You might also be interested in:
* MEET THE INMATES -- "FOGHORN"
* MEET THE INMATES -- "THE PROFESSOR"