* Last night I had to have an actual phone conversation with my ex-husband. Oy. I only actually speak to the ex maybe once or twice a month, because it's highly unproductive, unpleasant, bad for the kids to witness if it's face-to-face, and did I mention how freaking unpleasant it is? But I had an open-enrollment counseling session scheduled and wanted to see what The XY's dental plan would cover as far as orthodontics, since Big Child was just referred for a braces consult by MFA Dentist; if it didn't cover braces or didn't cover very much I thought it might be worth adding just Big Child to my dental insurance and using it as a secondary plan for him. OHMYGOD. It was, at most, a five-minute conversation and I STILL have a headache, plus I didn't learn much about the XY's dental coverage, although I now know that if I expect him to pay the court-mandated 66% of medical expenses over $250 on this one I better make damn sure Big Child sees the cheapest orthodontist in town (ummmno, he will see the one MFA Dentist, who we trust, recommended, thankyouverymuch), because the XY knows how naive I am and the world is full of con-artists. Sigh.
* This morning I waited on a table consisting of a man, his wife, and their teenage son, and the man was just THE BIGGEST ASSHOLE EVER. Not to me, he was perfectly pleasant to me, but he was berating his wife nonstop. "GET A BAGEL, ORDER SOMETHING, IF YOU DON'T EAT YOUR STOMACH WILL BE GROWLING AND IT WILL EMBARRASS ME. YOU DO NEED TO DIET BUT YOU CAN START TOMORROW, HURRY UP, THE SERVER IS WAITING!" I wanted to slip the poor woman a note telling her she looked great and didn't have to put up with that crap and offering to be a witness in their divorce hearing should she ever need one, or at the very least spill something ice-cold on the guy's crotch. The worst part was their poor son, who was staring fixedly at the table as his father scolded and belittled his mother. Just...ugh.
* I saw on the Twitter where a blogger (many of you probably know who I'm talking about, but let's leave any naming of names out of this post and its comments) proudly posted a picture drawn by their young elementary-aged child that included the word "fucking" as part of the caption, and wanted to cry. See, I'm no prude but here is the thing: I was a foul-mouthed little kid raised by damn-the-man parents and in retrospect it SUCKED. Adults disapproved of me (and having been taught that it was perfectly okay for kids to curse if their parents said it was cool I just thought grownups didn't like me because there was something wrong with me), kids weren't allowed to play with me, and I spent a lot of time with the guidance counselor in elementary school until I learned to act a different way in public than I did at home. I know I'm probably offending a couple of readers by saying this, but people there is nothing cool or hip about letting your small child swear with abandon. You don't necessarily have to shelter them completely (in fact, I feel like that's almost as harmful because then you're letting other kids educate them on What Those Words Mean). My kids never hear me curse, EVER (with the exception of Festivus), because while I have a mouth like a trucker when I'm among other adults or blabbering on the innernet, I want to set the example that swear words are Not For Daily Use (that way when the first one crashes my car and I go YOU WRECKED THE FUCKING CAR??? they'll understand that shit has gotten real). I've never punished anyone in this house for language, mostly because it's never been an issue. They know they can ask me what any word means without fear of punishment for saying it. I'll provide an age-appropriate definition and describe the type of context the word might be used in and then let them know it's not a word they're allowed to use, and so far nobody in this house under the age of thirty has engaged in any swearing outside of Festivus. At Hotter's urging I've lightened up a little; the boys are allowed to say "fart" now, because yeah, it does sound weird for a middle-schooler to say "poot" and I don't want my kid to get picked on by his peers. But that's probably about as far as I'll go while these people live under my roof.