Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sucker Bet

At some point recently, I taught LE about making bets. It started off as trying to be a marvelously clever mom teaching him stuff, like, "I'll bet you I can download the 4th season of Regular Show by tomorrow. Just stop bitching." If I won, I got a massage. If I lost, he got to punch me in the arm. So it was pretty much a win-win because he doesn't punch very hard and his aim isn't good enough to hit the dead arm sweet spot. I'm screwed when he learns how to do that.

Then I started using betting as a bargaining chip, like when we were coming home late in a taxi and I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be able to carry him up the stairs if he fell asleep. He's gotten pretty big the last few months. So I'd bet, "If you can stay awake, I'll give you a massage. If you fall asleep, I get to punch you in the arm."

I wouldn't have punched him hard, even if he did fall asleep, which of course he didn't because a winning a massage in a bet is like the Holy Grail of stuff you get in our house.

But tonight, there was the issue of what to leave out for Santa. My dad sent a Santa video telling LE to go to sleep so Santa could come and advising him to leave out milk and cookies. LE was worried because we don't have cookies, so I assured him the candy-coated walnuts that came with our Chinese food would do nicely.

Even the condensation on a milk glass is unacceptable.

But then there was the issue of the milk. The thing is, I hate milk. I hate milk with the white-hot burning passion of 1,000 suns. If I think about milk for too long, I get all queasy. I don't like it when milk touches my skin. If someone were to give me a pile of dogshit and a glass of milk and told me I had to choose which one to stick my tongue into, I would hesitate and think about it for a bit.

I'd probably opt for the milk, but still.

I tried to get LE to agree to leave out a glass of rum for Santa. No dice. He wasn't having it, no matter how much I promised him Santa would like rum ever so much more than milk. So then I tried to get my parents to corroborate my story that Santa prefers a nip of something warming over milk. But they didn't play nice. I claimed to remember leaving Santa brandy or cognac or something-- two glasses at that-- at a house we lived in when I was 7 or so. They claimed I was doing revisionist history. I claimed they were.

We both had our reasons for wanting to believe our particular versions of reality.

My mom suggested something involving a funnel, knowing I would never dump perfectly good milk down the sink just to please the kid. It was a good idea, but I was afraid the funnel idea might involve too much potential contact with milk. My dad concurred because he is also appalled by milk.

So I made LE a bet. I put a glass of milk and a glass of rum side by side on a plate of candy-coated walnuts. And because he was so insistent that Santa would drink the milk, I just went ahead and made a sucker bet with him, and bet that Santa would choose the rum.

Up till now, I've never made LE a sucker bet. Even when he wants to bet something completely ridiculous, like, "We don't have to go to work and school tomorrow," or "The moon isn't going to come out tonight," I'd never abused my superior knowledge of reality to earn massages or money, and that kid keeps trying to bet me money.

All this government corruption has caused me to lose my morals.

Probably it's about the Santa lie. I find myself working a little too hard to keep the Santa lie alive. Even tonight, when he was weeping into his pillow because I wasn't going to sleep (and thus I was preventing Santa from coming), I kept the lie alive. I told him Santa only doesn't come when kids aren't sleeping, but it doesn't count for grownups. I told him I talked to Santa last year and that Santa thought it wasn't fair that LE should receive no gifts because I was being naughty and not sleeping. And the previous year, according to a story I made up right then at that moment, I was watching a movie and watching for Santa at the same time, and I looked away from the tree for just a few seconds but when I looked back, the presents were all there and I didn't even see Santa.

It didn't work. He was still upset. Christmas gets a bit intense for kids. But that didn't stop me from making a sucker bet. I told him if Santa chooses the rum, he owes me a massage. If Santa chooses the milk, I owe him a massage.

Guess which one I'm drinking right now?
Red for haram and green for halal was an unfortunate Christmas decor-related mistake.
It's not like LE gives very good massages anyway. But at least we're sorted for beverage choices for future Christmases. So that's got to be worth something.

Maybe I can teach him to mix a martini.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Somewhat Stale Mix

I have lying around on my desktop a few mixes I made for the radio back when I was doing that. I don't get to do radio anymore because now that I have the boy all week, there's no time and I can't be bothered to go up to campus on weekends. I kind of miss radio, but I'll live.

Anyway, I made three mixes I never got to use. This one I did in the middle of Gezi stuff, but I never played it because the radio broke and I didn't really want to be there anyway. It's not really Gezi music because the Turks had that one covered. It was just music that I was thinking about at that time while I was worrying about people who were down there kicking ass and kicking myself because I couldn't be down there kicking ass.

I guess it's an okay mix. I was quite enamored of it at the time and for sure it has its moments.

Here you go.

Monday, December 16, 2013


There is no specific thing to report on. There are a few things to mention. I don't even know if they're worth mentioning.

I'm avoiding the topic of infrequent blogging. I tried to post earlier in the week, but Blogger wouldn't open so I gave up. That accounts for last week.

Here's one thing that happened. It snowed. When it snows everything simultaneously goes completely crazy and completely still.  But I wasn't glad about the snow this year. Last year, when the snow was way worse and Rektör didn't cancel school, I was still kind of happy about the snow. But this year when school wasn't cancelled and I was feeling that I might be inconvenienced in some way, I was all, "Oh, what the fuck." And I wasn't happy about it.

LE was. LE was ecstatic. It was like there were rainbow unicorn sparkles exploding out of him he was so
happy about the snow.

It's hard for those kid feelings not to rub off. Little boys are strange people indeed to share one's living space with. They do stuff like rant at you for 20 minutes because you used their saved-up tooth fairy money to break a 20. Even if you let them watch the whole time, and break the whole thing down into a step-by-step process, and lead them through a series of Socratic questions involving simple counting and arithmatic to show them what you're doing, even then they still get mad. You're a thieving witch who's taking away 3 of their money and replacing it with one.

Burn, witch. Burn.
But then after dinner they nuzzle into your armpit next to you on the sofa and for a moment are still. They sigh like they've always done, through the nose with the softest hint of voice. It's so good. Then they mention for the 67th time how happy they are it's snowing, and ask if they can look inside your nose. So all in all living with a little boy is an extraordinary experience.

Throughout the snowy day, things just seemed bleaker. Everything kind of sucked. It wasn't fun. The snow was absolutely perfect, too. The exact balance of wet and dry that begs frolicking. In the morning, I rushed LE off to school and had no fun whatsoever, not even with the pink cheeks and unicorn sparkles. I started wondering if I was dead inside.

Little boys have to jump up and try to touch everything they might be able reach. They pretend they weren't dancing when it was obvious they totally were.

Has no one heard of these?
I left work early because I was so tired and pissy and in no mood to have a snowy adventure like I did last year and went home planning to do something or other, but by the time I got there all I wanted was bed. So I went to bed. LE's preschool called around 4 to let me know LE's Big Boy School had been cancelled. I'd checked several times about school closures and had seen nothing about this. That's because school was closed after the teachers all decided they didn't want to come. No one bothered to inform anyone. Fortunately the preschool had just brought LE back and all was well. But it pissed me off.

Also, does that mean teachers can just do that, decide not to come to work because it's an especially sucky day and not worth the hassle to get there? Why don't we just do that?

It was around then I realized I was sick. For real sick. Like could barely move sick. But I went and fetched LE. I warned him I was probably getting sick. I wasn't 100% sure yet because sometimes you totally think you're getting sick but then you have a gin and Tylolhot before bed and the next day you wake up fine. I powered through the pain and we made gingerbread cookies because I had promised him and there was no way I was going to unleash the wrath that would ensue if we didn't make the cookies. Also there was no way I was going to suffer the guilt for being the selfish mom who denied the cookies just because I was pretty sure I was going to die.

At some point in the night, I wondered if I had the virus that would start the Zombie Apocalypse. That's how bad I felt.

Sometimes I get regular sick, but once in awhile I get Damn Sick. Completely incapacitated. After standing for 90 seconds all I can do is crumple into a ball and shiver miserably in bone coldness and drift off to sleep. The next day I was too sick to take LE to school. He makes his own breakfast so I wasn't totally neglectful. I managed to shift to the sofa for a bit so the cleaner could do stuff in the bedroom and then I was down for the rest of the day. That night I tried to order some soup from Yemeksepeti but the restaurant cancelled the order, which I didn't notice for like an hour because they sent me a message but I'd fallen asleep again. So we ate some crap Knorr powdered soup that I think we've had since we lived in Beylikdüzü.

Well played, soup place.

It occurred to me that being super sick was revealing some sizable chinks in this whole plan of raising a kid by myself in a foreign country. I spent the night envisioning health and accident-related horror stories that I would be unable to fix. Like, for example, if LE or I were spouting blood, how would I wrap and keep pressure on it and call the ambulance at the same time? And I don't even know the number for the ambulance, or if people even call that number. I don't know my blood type or LE's blood type, though I guess they're written down somewhere. And what if I turned into a zombie? Does LE know he needs to destroy my brain before running to the neighbors'? What if I were laid up for two weeks, how could I take care of him? Stuff like that.

Maybe I've been watching Walking Dead a lot. But these are nonetheless legitimate concerns. We subsisted primarily on mandarin oranges and the gingerbread cookies LE had never gotten to take to school because I couldn't get him there. Not that he minded. He got to go play in the snow for awhile even though there weren't any other kids. He came home when he got cold. He said, "Look, my little hands are red."

At least we had cookies.
When I pick LE up from school in the afternoon, there's always a flicker of terror on his face the moment before he spots me. It's things like this that are the darkside of love, when I can't get it out of my head how his face will turn if I'm late getting there, or unable to come at all.

He doesn't use running as his primary mode of travel around the house anymore. And while we get along about most things, it's still a world of no for him. Little boys have appalling timing, like wanting to go swimming at 7.30 on a school night in November. They also have really awful ideas, like using their fingers to paint their spilled milk all over the table.

Still, I need to be better. While I was sick, I realized I'm a miserable fucking person. Completely insufferable. These are the sorts of things you realize when you're sick. I'm always telling LE no. I get snappish with him for no reason. Then he gets pissed off and sad and noisy drama ensues. I'm like the love of his life, which means he's always watching me to see whether I'm going to be cool or not. It's really easy to forget he's a person, the same way I forget students and strangers are people. It's really easy to abuse my authority. It's no wonder I have such crappy relationships if I can't live in relative peace with someone who loves me most of all.

LE's dad came and got him. Right after, LE got sick. MIL bawled me out for smoking and going on the balcony and for going around with wet hair so I took the phone off my ear and rolled my eyes for like 30 seconds. When I put it back, she was finishing up with a final bawl out for smoking on the balcony with wet hair.

I am such a strumpet.

I got BE to drop me at the doctor. Azeri Teyze leaned out her window to wish me geçmiş olsun and ask how I got sick. This is another one of those Turkish questions I understand but don't know the answer for. I'm pretty sure the answer isn't, "Because a germ got into one of my mucous membranes and maybe I was stressed or tired, or maybe it was such an especially virulent germ that it conquered my immune system and started festering."

I was lucky. That doctor who still calls me sometimes wasn't there. This new guy too, he tried to give me injectable antibiotics. What's with that? How is that ever convenient for a sick person to sort out? I talked him out of it and walked home wishing I would just die already it sucked so much being sick.

And now I'm pretty much better. Yesterday, my main accomplishment was shifting the big bottle of water
from the entryway to the kitchen and that pretty well did me in. Today, I successfully maintained my body temperature all by myself and wore real clothes and I'm still doing all right. Somewhere in there I made some really good soup.

Sometimes getting sick is like shedding a skin. I'm hoping it snows again. I'm glad I'm not turning into a bitter, dessicated, depressive old mule because I was pretty sure that's what was happening. I don't have black stinking zombie insides, which I was pretty sure I was growing. Or maybe both of those things are happening but I'm enjoying maintaining my own body temperature too much to notice it.

LE was really upset I was sick. He told everyone. He hardly bitched about being bored and sorted out his own needs, even brushing his teeth and changing his clothes without being told. He checked my throat and my temperature and told me he didn't want me to be sick. He cuddled even though I was stinky. He told me I was stinky. And he was pleased as punch to be sick with his babaanne (who's way better at the sort of insane fussing he enjoys so much when he's sick), triumphantly reporting to me that he'd instructed her as to which types of medicines she has to ask my permission before giving him.

I felt really bad I wasn't taking care of him and for all the times I was ever grouchy.

What would be the collective noun for little boys? A wriggle? A scamper? A jetpack?

A sparkle maybe.