DIVAS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES

Have I ever mentioned how I came to adopt my diva Chihuahua–aka Satan, aka My Worst Nightmare, aka My Baby? No? I’m a guest on one of my favorite blogs: http://www.menopausalmom.com/2013/11/wacky-wednesday-writers-guest-post-by_26.html?showComment=1385577452301#c8604764490218201249

Come on over and show some love, and tell me whether you’re a dog or cat person. While you’re there you can check out MenoMom’s blog–she is a POWERHOUSE blogger. This woman has more blog awards than I have notches on my bedpost. And in case you need some motivation…

The diva ChihuahuaShe’s lucky she’s so cute!

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HELL IF I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MAN

BOXER

If you’ve read my blog for awhile you know I have to be both mother and father to my 10 year old boy. Often, I have expressed frustration over being at a total loss when it comes to teaching him how to be a man. But there’s no one else around to do the job, so that leaves me. I don’t claim to understand men; if I did, I’d probably be in a healthy relationship right now. Even though I write from my male character’s POV in my romances, who knows whether it’s really accurate? It may be, it may not be—ultimately, it’s a male mindset from a woman’s point of view.

Women are always complaining about how they want their men to be more emotional, more expressive and sensitive. I don’t want that. I’m already that. I sure as hell don’t need two of me blubbering over a romantic comedy. I need a man to be strong mentally, esp. in stressful or dangerous situations, and strong physically, as in they’re able to kick the ass of another man if needed.

I happen to be one of the least warm and fuzzy women on the planet. I don’t like talking about my feelings, and I sure as hell don’t want to discuss my feelings with a man. That’s what I have girlfriends for when I’m so inclined. I don’t need to know how you feel about me or where our relationship (if we have one) is going, because as far as I’m concerned actions speak louder than words. I’ve had boyfriends tell me they loved me while at the same time were screwing other women, so words don’t mean much to me.

Weakness in men makes me emotionally uncomfortable and frustrated. I know that comes across as harsh, but if you have a toothache and you’re writhing about in bed, asking for last rites to be delivered, well, in my eyes, your penis has just gotten smaller by about 3 inches. I’m pretty sure that unapologetic attitude comes from having gone through 16 hours of unanesthetized back labor, getting a cavity filled without Novocaine, and growing up with a mean, nasty father.

How does this all translate to my son? From the time he was little I was the kind of mom who, when he fell down and hurt himself, would coddle him for a few seconds, then send him on his way. (Suck it up, you’re a boy.) I don’t have a hellava lot of sympathy for him when he’s whiny with a head cold, but I’ll happily administer the Motrin and vitamin C. I don’t force him to talk when he doesn’t want to, or demand he give me a proper kiss (he gives me the top of his head to kiss). And from what I’ve seen, most people tend to act the same way with their boys, esp. dads. After all, we gotta teach our boys to be tough, right?

My son is extremely attached to me, definitely a mama’s boy, not real aggressive, slight in body, shy, anxious. These are not traits that bode well for a man, imo. Men should be confident, self-assured, outgoing, bold, shouldn’t they? In the words of my father, my son is “a weenie,” made worse by the fact that I’m a single mom.

I am embarrassed to admit I agreed with my father for a time, if only because I couldn’t get the kid out of my bed until he turned 10. He wasn’t tackling the crap out of others in football, hanging out with a pack of boys on the corner, setting off fireworks, or able to watch scary movies without becoming frightened. How in the world would he ever be able to assimilate into a society where the majority of boys are like this?

I’m reading a book called The Strong Sensitive Boy by Ted Zeff, and I realize now that my son isn’t a weenie, he’s sensitive, and trying to force him to be something he’s not will result in more harm than good. Example: I took my son to see a concert when he was 8. The Black Eyed Peas (who he loved at the time) opened for U2. He wanted to leave after the second U2 song because they were “too loud.” I was so disappointed in him. (It was U2, for God’s sake!) What I didn’t understand at the time was that he’s extremely sensitive to loud noises and I’ll never be able to change that.

It’s a shame that boys growing up in North America have a harder time of it when they’re sensitive, creative introverts—that is, until they grow up to become a famous musician or actor and the world worships them. Telling sensitive boys not to cry or forcing them to do activities they don’t feel comfortable doing will undoubtedly saddle them with huge intensive therapy bills later on in life.

Our western society thinks Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films or James Bond when they think of “real men,” or (shudder) Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t know about you, but I think I need to reevaluate my definition of masculinity. After all, I had to reevaluate my definition of a “real dog.” I wanted a Lab—strong, steady, reliable, but the weight limit in our complex dictated we set our sights more on little runt dogs. Well, that and my son insisting on a Chihuahua after seeing the movie, Beverly Hill Chihuahua. While the Chihuahua we ended up getting is certainly a miserable diva to the tenth degree, I’ve learned to be thankful for what we have, even if I have to grit my teeth the entire time

What’s your definition of masculinity? Do you think perceptions of men are changing?

BEWARE OF NON-BARKING DIVAS

Chihuahua

Lola aka the Diva

I’m a cat person. I’ve had cats my entire life. I even think of myself as part feline—independent, moody, and only liking to be touched when I feel like being touched, much like a cat. Cats are low-maintenance pets, imo. You can leave a few bowls filled with food, access to water, and take off for a week without having to worry about Monsieur Chat. They’re like a great wash-and-go haircut.

I’m living proof of what happens when you don’t listen to your intuition. For a year, my son bugged me for a dog. Not just any dog—a Chihuahua. “Absolutely not!” I told him. “Chihuahuas aren’t kid dogs; they’re mean, yappy, and not even considered real dogs. A real dog is a Lab or a Collie. Chihuahuas are simply accessories for rich folks to dress up in tutus and carry under their arm like a football.”

The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua must have made an indelible impression upon him, because his stubborn mind was set on a Chihuahua. Every week we visited the animal shelter, which was filled with nothing but Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas. On the rare occasion there happened to be a Lab mix, I had the volunteers pull the poor dog out and weigh him. (My complex only allows dogs 40 lbs. and under.) “Nope, this one’s 45,” they’d say. “Sorry, he weighed in at 48.”

Then one bright, sunny day in August, my son and I went to the shelter and stepped into the section for large dogs. There in a cage, all by her lonesome was the prettiest little Chestnut-brown Chihuahua, with fur so shiny it looked like it had been polished with lemon Pledge. And she wasn’t barking. A Chihuahua that wasn’t barking? Unbelievable! While all the dogs around her were furiously barking their heads off at us, this one simply strolled over and started licking our fingers through the bars.

SOLD! I named her Lola after the song by The Kinks, because she was sexually ambiguous. Her female part looked suspiciously like a male part, and she humped the cat, so I thought they had made a mistake about her sex. I also discovered she wasn’t potty-trained. And that she didn’t particularly like children, and she really didn’t like men, and she barked. A lot. And she chased cats, and kids on bikes, and kids on skateboards. And she’d grab your bacon when you weren’t looking.  Or your sandwich. Or chicken leg. Oh, and did I mention she barks? A lot.

As soon as my son realized Lola didn’t appreciate when he tried to wrestle with her, it became his purpose in life to try and wrestle with her every chance he got. Which further served to reinforce my reasoning to only give birth to one child.

No matter how many speeches I gave my son beforehand about how the dog was to be HIS responsibility, including feeding and walking it, they got filed away in the folder entitled, “Worthless Mom speeches to wholeheartedly agree with, and then promptly forget.”

Having a dog is like having another toddler all over again. Privacy? Forget it. Remember when your kids were that age and you tried to get a minute alone in the bathroom, only to see tiny fingers creep under the door three seconds later? This dog follows me like paparazzi trying to get a picture of Suri doing normal kid things. She HAS to be in the same room as me or she’ll have an anxiety attack. If I leave for a moment to take out the trash, you’d think I’d been gone for several weeks.

It’s been three years since Lola joined our family. She sleeps with me every night, curled up by my side. I call her the Diva because she doesn’t like to go out in the rain, or when it’s too hot, or too cold. But I’ve bought her a raincoat, and a pink fuzzy sweater, and a red velour dress that she wears every Christmas. I even dress her in Halloween costumes. I love her to death, which is a good thing considering I’m probably stuck with her for the next twenty years.

For the record, I’m still a cat person.

UNTIL NEXT YEAR

Funny Merry Christmas Card Disfunctional Family Humor Greeting Nick Downes

I hope everyone’s holiday went smashingly well, and no one wound up with a DUI or an Elephant gag gift. Since I celebrated Christmas with friends, I experienced a dysfunctional-free day. Except for getting the finger from another driver, the day was completely void of animosity.

My son and I went to bed way too late the night before. I had to drink a cup of coffee at 8 p.m. to ensure I didn’t fall asleep before he did. He still believes in Santa, despite his two friends telling him Santa’s a fake.

“Do your friends receive a lot of presents for Christmas?” I asked my son. He shook his head no.

“That’s why,” I told him. “Because they don’t believe.” He accepted this explanation as gospel.

It’ll be the last year he buys into it, I’m sure. Which will work out better for me financially, since I have to buy him double the gifts. Boring gifts such as clothes = Mommy; Fun gifts such as DSI games = Santa. Santa comes off every year looking like the good guy, while Mom’s the dud.

Son popped out of bed like a piece of toast early Christmas morning. I tried to remember what it was like to be a kid, excited to open presents, but the old lady in me desperately wanted more sleep. It didn’t happen, and what followed next was like a starving pigeon feeding frenzy. All the presents were spread out like birdseed, and there was my son: the lone starving pigeon that descended on the gifts like he hadn’t eaten in a year. Torn wrapping paper (feathers) flying everywhere; screams of delight (coos) filled the air, and finally, much-needed silence (when I shooed him away to go and try out his new games).

I stared at the leftover mess (pigeon poop everywhere) and sighed. It could wait. We had places to be, and I needed to find the one sweater and pair of pants my son owned and convince him that even though Santa’s job is over for the year, he still doesn’t approve of wearing sweats and a tee on Christmas.

The three of us piled in the car – me, son, dog – and set off to the boondocks about an hour away. My friend’s husband’s family has adopted my son and I. They know we have nowhere to spend the holidays, and so they graciously open their home to us.

As soon as we arrived, the most well-mannered, mellow dog came ambling over to meet us. My friend, who is NOT a dog person, finally agreed to adopt a dog, much to her sons’ joy. After all, every boy should have a dog growing up, right? I leaned down and pet this most precious of dogs, who hadn’t yet uttered one bark and thought, THIS is the dog that should have been mine! Where was THIS dog when I went to the shelter twelve times before adopting a Chihuahua who didn’t bark once in the shelter and yet, barks ALL the time at home?

This most quintessential dog, who has forty pounds on mine went to sniff Evil Diva Chihuahua, and what did she do? Growled and snapped at him. All through dinner the uber-dog stayed on his pillow, while mine begged like some poor gypsy kid in Rome. And when the man of the house put his jacket on to go outside, Demon Chihuahua Dog started barking at him like a rabid beast. Apparently, she doesn’t like men with jackets.

For them, it’s probably similar to being friends with someone who has an unruly toddler. You like your friend; her kid, not so much, and you always breathe a sigh of relief when they’re gone.

On the way home, I went left when I should have gone right, and since it was a dark, two-lane highway, it took me forty minutes to realize we were lost.

My son started bawling. “We’re never gonna make it home! We’ll have to sleep in a ditch on the side of the road!”

“No,” I told him, “We’ll sleep in the car.”

“But what will we eat?” he cried. “I’ll be hungry by tomorrow.”

“We’ll eat the dog. She’s fat enough.”

He considered this. “How will we cook her?”

I smiled at him. “We won’t. We’ll eat her raw. Trust me, when you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat your own arm if you have to.”

“What do you think she’ll taste like?”

“Chicken. Definitely chicken,” I assured him.

He laughed, wiped at his tears, and we resumed singing Christmas carols for the extra hour it took us to drive home.