I saw some
awful pretty bitter things on social media on Father’s Day — things I didn’t see at all on Mother’s Day. People were even calling it “Single Mother’s Day” and disregarding the fathers entirely. I’m not saying I condone it, but I understand.
I was raised with a dad, who busted his butt to provide for us and was always home by dinner time, but he wasn’t very involved at all. He was a psychotherapist. He listened to people all day long, so he kinda tuned out at the dinner table. He didn’t come to my recitals. We were mom’s sole responsibility on Saturdays and at bedtime. I can’t remember him ever reading me a story.
Before Hannibal dawned my Doty Avenue doorstep on Thanksgiving night in ’06, I was a happy single mother. Everything in my home was exactly where I put it. The environment was quiet and peaceful, so Mooch was a chill kid. I thought I’d never date again, because I had a daughter and I didn’t want anyone bothering her lady parts (scary stuff). I was content with it. Dating and the kid would remain separate. It was going to be me and Mooch — at least until she was eighteen.
Today, I can’t even imagine the past six and a half years without Hannibal. He is a true partner. Hannibal supports me and encourages me in all that I do — even when my ideas are
a little way off the wall. More importantly, he is an AMAZING father. Mooch was almost three when she met him, and he has had a pivotal role in her development. He is her father figure, along with my brother, who has stepped in to teach her voice and answer millions of her questions.
Without Hannibal, we wouldn’t have Fuss, who is joined to his hip most days. She came to disrupt all peace and quiet and is definitely as far from chill as she could be. She provides the balance. Hannibal plus Fuss equals crunk, and they bring it out in all of us (I’m usually only crunk at parties and social events. I like my home dead silent.). He tells the most animated stories, shows up to every recital and school event, listens with intent, and showers the girls with affection. He sings, cooks, cleans, brings me flowers and cupcakes, washes dishes, and makes the bed. He does all this after working all week and sometimes all night, knowing the responsibility for the financial needs of the family rest primarily on his shoulders. Me and the girls are grateful.
We had a resplendent Father’s Day yesterday. In addition to new headphones (desperately needed), a “Super Dad” apron, and a swiss army knife, Mooch made Hannibal some homemade barbecue sauce, and Fuss made him tooth paste. I ended up taking over on the “breakfast in bed,” because the kids were pooped from making their gifts.
In the afternoon, we had halibut, curried quinoa (with raisins and almonds), chard, and fattoush salad. It was a very delicious meal prepared by yours truly. Just kidding. My sister-in-law made it. She’s awesome! The kids got to see my brother, his wife, and meet her mother, who had the best stories — like how she ran the preschool where the Black Panthers’ attended. We also had a lot to discuss, because Dr. Thelma Harms is world renowned in early childhood education.
We played the vegetable game and Go Fish. The kids had a special Father’s Day edition of Twister. He mostly won all the rounds. The way the dots are placed, that game is really not for children. Fuss and I built with Legos and blocks, and Mooch showed my brother her Beyblades.
Good times were had by all.
Today, I asked Fuss to pick up some receipts off of the floor and throw them into the trash for me. She replied, “No, I don’t feel like it.” I said, “Okay.” Hannibal looked at me like I was crazy.
About half an hour later, I was in my room, and I called her in and asked her to bring me a handful of plantain chips. She replied, “Oh, sure, Mommy” and she ran to do it.
It can be hard to hear “no” from anyone — especially a child, but no one hears “yes” all the time. If we overreact in response to an honest “I’m really too tired to do that right now,” or worse, if we use specific tactics to pressure and manipulate them into getting what we want, they will do the same. Moreover, they will not feel comfortable voicing when they don’t want to do something. This can be dangerous — especially for girls.
I’m learning to model the behavior for her even when it’s uncomfortable for me. I just thought I’d share. It came to me intuitively. It’s not scientific, and I didn’t read it in a book, so please don’t feel obligated to incorporate it into your lives. Take what you need from it.
Just don’t feel like if you accept a no or two from your kid, they’ll never say yes again.
I don’t want to add any information that Hannibal isn’t comfortable with, so I’ll just say with this plus the move, I’m super overwhelmed.
Guest blog by: Hannibal Tabu (my husband)
Original Post can be found here
As of this writing, I am at a medical facility, torso covered with electricity-enabled adhesives. I am told that I have a “ventricular arrythmia,” an irregular heartbeat based in the rough neighborhoods of my cardiac city.
WHAT? Yeah, it freaks me out too. I was among the healthiest people I know. No booze, no cigarettes, no red meat. Fairly regular walks and what have you. Fairly low sodium intake. Weird.
On Sunday, I got out of bed to get my youngest some almond milk. I felt my heart beating like it did when the regional spelling bee was on the line, but I had no immediate reason to be nervous. Ignoring it, I went about my day — lugging things down from the attic, packing, parenting, et cetera. Even saw a great EcclestonDoctor Who episode (I’m late to the party). At 11 PM, lying down to sleep, my heart jumped and jagged like a car engine that’s threatening to stall. I asked my wife to put her hand on it, causing her to run for the girls’ stethoscope. “You need to go to the hospital.”
Getting rushed past the waiting crowd was weird, but in I went for chest x-rays, EKGs and more to discover something, somthing that may have been there for years, was awry in the core of me. Something new, past the regular misanthropy and madness.
An overnight stay on atavan gave scant slivers of sleep. An afternoon angiogram is on the agenda, while my non-stop job will have to churn on without me, maybe for a month, if one cardiologist is to be believed.
SERIOUSLY, WHAT????? The bottom line is I’ll be okay. It’s very early detection, it’s “wholly fixable” and everybody here is treating it like a simple instance. I’ll be home with my ladies this weekend.
What’s funniest is that 90 percent of the things they thought would be the cause — smoking, fried foods, drinking, et cetera — were not relevant. My cholesterol and blood pressure are fine. Ditto blood sugar, and there are no signs of infections or foreign biohazards. Only worry — which I absorb through waves of second hand stress from half the people I know — stood as a red flag. I will have to try more exercise to offset the toxic energies floating around me.
Mostly it’s just a random accident of chance, the spin of some cosmic roulette wheel. Funny old life.
JUST IN CASE: There is a mathematically insignificant chance that something untoward might happen to me. If that’s the case, I want all my intellectual property turned over to Chinedum Ofoegbu (my wife has the passwords), and for his work on my work to be overseen by Vince Moore, Geoffrey Thorne and Brandon Easton. Any and all gross profits are to be divided evenly between my daughters, returning 45 percent of said profits to Ofoegbu, Thorne and Easton.
Not that any of us expect this to happen ..
DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Since 1 AM, a loud chime from a Phillips Intellivibe heart monitr has relentlessly sounded whenever my heart does something unusual, or I think about …
… as it does now. A head-splitting reminder of my inability to relax. 20 percent charge on my iPad, heading for traffic and dye in my arteries, I’m just trying to breathe easily and become still waters, so I can flow to refresh my wife and daughters — and hopefully you — for many decades to come.
… BUT IF ONE WERE SO INCLINED … If you have a jones to do something to help me, you could use the Gumroad link and buy copies of my novels, The Crown: Ascension or Faraway, as most of that money goes right to me (well, right into feeding my kids anyway). If you own it, buy a copy for a friend. All good.
Now, to try to get Netflix going on my phone …
I wouldn’t have survived the last two weeks if it weren’t for all of the sex, love making, and quickies. Sure, we’ve had to make some modifications to the twice-a-day plan, because of Hannibal’s comic reviews, our packing to move, the dusty construction work, and just the sheer business of our lives. That hasn’t stopped us from doing it at least once per day.
Wednesday is comic book night, so we did it before reviews, and it was amazing! The sex has gotten much longer, because of all the practice. It’s way more interesting, and it is truly therapy. The morning after, Hannibal was sleeping like a baby. He usually doesn’t get to go to sleep on Wednesday nights at all. He gets in bed at about five or six in the morning after writing all night. I couldn’t bring myself to wake him up and demand sex before he commuted forty minutes away to Pasadena to work his nine to five. That’s just wrong.
I never expected that we’d actually hit the goal of doing it twice per day, but aiming high always guarantees more. This is definitely more! I’d say we were doing it about 2-3 times per week before. I’m very spontaneous when it comes to sex, and I’ve always been against planning it. This activity is helping me be able to feel natural with sex that is sometimes planned. It can still feel organic even though I know it’s going to happen. The more I do it, the more I think about doing it. I’m sure I’m spreading sex vibes all over the city this month. Ha!
Fuss is testing Mooch at every turn. She’s also trying out some of the hitting she learned at the daycare while Mooch and I were overseas. I’ve been working on tools for Mooch to use to redirect her sister, get her to express her feelings another way, and divert her sisters attention. Sometimes it works. A lot of the time it doesn’t.
At the annual swap that Mooch’s school holds each year, she got something really awesome for her sister. The fact that she even thought of her sister when free stuff was involved is indicative of her character. Mooch is sweet. Well, after her sister hit her once every day for the past week, she decided to withhold the Melissa and Doug Pizza Party set that she got for her. When Fuss’ behavior towards her sister turns around, Mooch will give her the treat.
Since babysitting funds are in short supply, Hannibal and I have opted to go out separately a lot of the time. I took Mooch to see Fela while he put Fuss to bed. I went to Wives Club while he took the girls to ballet. Gosh, I went out a lot last weekend. I think it’s his turn this weekend. He has a lot of deadlines coming up, so he’d probably prefer to write.
I’ve confirmed that we are moving again, so that’s exciting, because I have no idea where we’re going. I started packing today. For some reason, when you’re having sex twice per day, none of the dumb shit bothers you. I’m joyful and hopeful and going with the flow.