Albert Einstein defines insanity like this: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I have always been drawn to this quote because, well, according to it I am insane. I struggle to not do the same things repeatedly, looking to achieve different results each time I do them.

I am not sure if Einstein had people in mind when saying this famous line but, I think it holds true. I have trouble with this because when it comes to people it is only natural, I think, to want to give them the benefit of the doubt. The only problem is usually the people that continually need to be given the benefit of the doubt are the exact people who don't deserve it and always let you down.

I have seen this countless times and still I try to believe differently. I still look for any signs that the person has changed or become different, each time I end up disappointed. According to Einstein, I am insane and according to me, foolish.

My husband is better at this than me.  He is more of a fool him once shame on you, fool him twice shame on me, or him, (you know what I mean) kind of a guy.  He refuses to expect more from the very people who consistently fall short.  He warns me over and over not to let myself expect anything different because I am just asking for disappointment. I still sometimes do, although the bigger the disappointments the faster I am getting to know better.

It doesn't matter how kind you are, how supportive you try and be or how honest you are with them. They inevitably put themselves before they would ever consider you, lie to you so they feel better about themselves or just plain think they have the answers to everything so there is never any listening with them.

Life is not only about talking, but also about listening and most importantly, hearing.

I still hope for a different outcome. I wait for the day when maybe, today, something will be different. I can't continue on the pattern anymore though. It turns out doing the same thing over and over again doesn't give you different results. It will, however,  drive you insane. Einstein was right about that.

So, I will stop expecting things to be different than they always have been. I will also stop offering the benefit of the doubt to people who are so wrapped up in themselves they don't even see me there offering. It is these people that disappoint me over and over again and I have no room for them or the insanity they cause in my life.

Living in Fear

I have fears, a lot of them, or at least more than I think is a normal amount. You know, if there were such a thing as a normal measure of fears and all.

Some of them are things I have always been afraid of and to some degree they are just part of who I am. I live in fear of vomit, am afraid of small, confining spaces and have this fear of my car plunging into water and being stuck inside with my kids. Which results in all of us basically drowning. I saw a story about that happening on an Oprah show years ago and now whenever I am crossing a bridge, that is my fear. Thanks, Oprah.

I used to live right by a river and this fear was enough that my Mom actually bought me one of those handy tools that you can break glass with and also cut seat belts off with, just in case. It was comforting to me at the time. Now I no longer live by that river so I only feel this fear creep in when I am crossing a long bridge. The only issue is the tool is buried in my glove box somewhere so if I ever was to crash into said river I would probably drown while looking for the tool. It would be a total fail.

But I digress... The more grown-up I get (which is really another way of saying older) the more fears I seem to be developing. There are days when I live more in fear of the fears than not.

I fear something happening to my kids. It seems not a day goes by that there isn't some sad story on the news, in a blog I read, from a friend, etc. about a child dying. If those kids can die, mine can too. That is what that means to me. My kid says his legs ache, I instantly think he must have some form of cancer. I am smart and logical enough to know his legs probably hurt because he played extra hard / rough today or he fell and bruised it somehow. I know this yet I can not stop my brain from thinking the worst.

Because what if. What if something happened to one of them? It is a question I can't bear to answer yet I can't seem to stop thinking about. It is sick and twisted that I even think such horrible thoughts. It's just I  know how lucky I am to have healthy, beautiful kids so it is like I am waiting for the what if to happen.

I fear something happening to one of my parents or sisters. I know as my parents get older my time with them is shorter. I am dreading the phone call that tells me something bad has happened to one of them. Just the other night my older sister called my cell (which is not a regular weekly occurrence) at 9:50pm. Instantly my heart started pounding and my minds first thought was something happened to my Mom. In my mind why else would my sister be calling me? What  I should have thought was why wouldn't she be calling me. We do talk often and sure enough she was calling me to talk about a blog we both read. Nothing bad, nothing urgent. I had that panicked fear feeling for absolutely nothing. God forbid someone calls my house in the middle of the night. I might just have a heart attack.

I have had the fear of something bad happening to my husband since the day I realized I loved him more than most things in this world. I always worry about him and he hates that I constantly check-in with him throughout the day to be sure he's okay. If he mentions he has the slightest ache or pain, I am insisting he goes in to the doctor for a complete work up. It is insane, yes I know. It is also part of who I am.

I also have a newer fear involving my husband. Divorce. No, we are not having marital problems and I have absolutely no reason to believe that we would end up divorced. It's just that it seems like so many people end up that way these days. I mean when 50% of all marriages end in divorce, it is tough not to worry about it. More specifically, I obsess over how to not end up divorced. This just leads me to worry about things in my marriage that are probably not worth thinking about let alone fretting over. I just don't want that to be us one day, the divorced couple. I can't imagine being happy without my husband.

The people who know me, know that I am like this. That I worry a lot and obsess about things I have no control over. This isn't a new thing and I do feel like my fears ebb and flow. Sometimes they are easily quieted in my mind and then other times they are so loud it is like screaming in my head.

It is a work in progress for me. I try not to project this worry and fear onto my kids because I would hate for them to worry like I do. I also know that living in fear of the fear is really not living at all - but merely existing.

The Second Time Around

When we had Jack, we were on the ball for just about everything that mattered when it came to parenting. The kid was quick to learn, talked earlier than most kids his age and was potty trained at like 2 and a couple of weeks.

We read to him as an infant every day and night. We practiced certain signs so he could tell us things before he could talk. I read anything and everything I could on developmental things, sleep schedules, pages upon pages on how to raise a happy child.

Then we had Joey.

Joey came into this world on a mission. He is the kind of kid you love so much it kills you and you want to kill him all at the same time. His nickname as a toddler was "shit wrecker" and let me tell you it wasn't because he wasn't wrecking shit. He destroyed almost everything he touched.

Both of my boys have been difficult in their own way. Joey is just a force to be reckoned with. He is all or nothing, at full speed, with absolutely no fear.

So while Jack started preschool and was learning and growing and excelling, I was home trying to keep Joey from killing me or himself. There was some time spent reading, but truthfully by bed time I was more like get your asses in bed and less like Goodnight Moon. By bedtime I could care less about saying goodnight to the kitten, her mittens or the f'ing moon. I was very much like please just go to sleep before I start drinking.

There was less time practicing the alphabet and counting and more time spent refereeing between Jack & Joey. I hardly ever read anything on parenting and instead focused on anything that was not kid related because I did kid things all day long. I was not at all interested in reading about them in my free time. I also learned with Jack that no matter how much you read, your kid is his/her own person and they will roll over, crawl, walk and talk when they are good and ready and not a minute sooner - no matter what your stupid book says. So I was kind of like, why bother?

I knew enough about parenting and babies to get us through. Joey was healthy and growing, even if he wasn't getting my attention like Jack did. I had two things to give attention to so Joey inevitable would have to share.

Now they are 5 and 3 (well, almost 6 and 4) and Jack is thriving in Kindergarten. He is knocking it out of the park and we are so proud. Joey is in 3 year old Preschool and he is also doing well, but not like Jack was at 3.

There it still comparing the boys to one another even though I KNOW they are two totally different kids. I am stuck on the idea that just because they share the common denominator of Jay and I that they are comparable to one another. They aren't.

Joey is incredibly outgoing and social, especially in school. He will try new things without bribery, unlike Jack, and he growing at a rate that Jack is not likely to keep up with.

Yet, he knows his alphabet and counting, but still confuses certain letters. He was not completely, fully with no accidents, potty trained until he was 3.

When I asked his teacher if he was behind because oh my God I know I am a bad Mom because he is behind, right? She just laughed and said he is exactly the same as every other 2nd child in her class.

This shocked me. Apparently a lot of parents are just like we are. You are all I am going to be the best parent in the whole world and have the smartest babies ever with the first kid and when the second kid rolls in you are more like I fed you and washed you and you are healthy so please just go play with something quietly so I can nap. Or maybe that is still just me, but you get the idea.

This isn't my first time at the preschool rodeo and still I find myself being the mom that constantly worries her kid is not as great as all the other kids. When really, in my heart, I know he isn't as great as all those kids. He's the greatest - even if he thinks snake sometimes starts with C.

Bribery At Its Finest

This past week my sister, Amy and my Mom came down and we ran to the mall before heading out for some lunch.

They chose Portillos so they could get their fix.  For those of you not from the Chicagoland area, Portillos is an infamous hot dog and Italian beef fast food restaurant. It is a Holy place in the area and people who come into town for a visit always beg to eat there. It is tasty, but also right down the street from my house so not as thrilling to me. Well, that and I don't eat hot dogs, beef sandwiches and the like.

When I go to Portillos I order a Chopped Salad. It is a delicious salad on the scale of good salads (and they give you a muffin, which is a win because everyone likes muffins) and I am always happy to go there and get the salad while my family gets its hot dog craving satiated.

There is one thing about Portillos I have a hard time resisting, the french fries. Make that cheese fries! They have the best french fries, yes even better than McDonalds, and the cheese, well who doesn't love anything dipped in nacho cheese?

When I go to Portillos alone I am fine. I get my salad and muffin, yeah done, but when I go there with just about anyone else I inevitably end up stealing a few fries. Just to get a quick taste of what deliciousness I am depriving myself of for the sake of thinner thighs.

Back to my sister, Mom and I having lunch, as I head to the salad line and my sister to the "unhealthy" food line, I confirm with her that she is ordering french fries. I need to know, up front, if I am going to eat the rabbit food that there will be a couple of french fries that I can steal. She reassures me that, yes, she would be ordering herself and my Mom fries.

We get our food and as we are eating, I grab a few fries from my Mom's container and continue eating my salad. When I go back for a couple more fries they are just about gone so I quickly look to my sisters fry container, no luck. I am disgruntled because now that I have had a taste of the fry goodness I obviously want more.

It is then that this conversation occurs:

Mom: So what are the chances of you having another baby?

Me: As of today, not so good. I am just not sure it's going to happen, Mom.

Mom: What if I bought you your very own cheese fries? How about then?

Me: Are you bribing me to have a baby with an order of cheese fries?

Mom: Yes

Me: Nicely played but not even for a cheese fry, Mom.

This just goes to show 1) how well my Mom knows me (and my love of Portillos cheese fries) and 2) that my Mom will try and bribe me with anything, literally anything, to talk me into another baby.