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It's not a toomah!

I'm feeling down, but I'm not sure why. I mean, I have my theories, of course. And since all three of you come here to read about my harebrained theories, I'll expound.

Theory # 1: Money Sucks

This theory is twofold: 1.) I know in my head we're in the best shape financially that we've ever been in. 2.) It's still not "enough". Damn it! Oh, sure - our bills are paid, we're saving some, we're sending our kids to the schools of our choice - these are all things we never would have imagined we'd be doing a few years ago, when I was freshly laid off, pregnant with the second kid, and John's business was in its infancy. Back then, we were happy if the bills got paid every month without dipping into our measly emergency savings. (And I still wonder how we actually managed to survive that time without incurring crushing debt.) But it seems that whatever "new" money is incoming is immediately spoken for without us even having a chance to relish the thought of - I don't know - having extra money? "Oh cool, hon, I booked three extra weddings, bonus! Wha- what did you say? The minivan...broke...down?" "Whoah! Your new job is going to give you a substantial bump in pay! Extra mon-- wha? Gum recession? You need braces now? Didn't you already have those in, like, junior high?" We want to do things like look at new houses closer to Bryce's school, but those houses are out of our price range unless - get this - we stop paying the tuition to send Bryce to his school. Ow. It's so deep it gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Theory #2: Good Stress Is Still Stress

I like my new job and all, but, come on, people! What is with companies who expect you to actually WORK when you show up the first week? Sheesh. All this reading is a little much, don't you think? They need to give me a little transitional time - I've been twiddling my thumbs and reading personal e-mail all day for two years, with about an hour of work thrown in for good measure. What's this "eight hours of actual work per day, five days per week" thing all about? Slave drivers! I'm going to love the new job once I get past all the training time (for which I'm actually very grateful, despite all my sarcasm), but it's still a system-shocking change in routines and an unbelievable amount of material to learn. In theory, I love that I'll be challenged by my job. But somehow that same fact is contributing to my headache. Hmm. Another oddity.

Theory #3: Quinn Is Out to Get Me

About a year ago, maybe a little more, Quinn entered what I thought was a "phase". Other people called it the terrible twos, said it was normal for kids to act this way when they learn they're independent and separate beings from their parents and siblings. During said phase, he began screaming and yelling and throwing and kicking when someone (that means "I") wouldn't give him exactly what he wanted - more milk, some goldfish, a butcher knife. He also began to reject me in favor of John, the parent he spent the most time with. It brought me to tears on more than one occasion to have my own offspring scream and thrash in mid-air as if someone were kidnapping him and holding him for ransom over a volcano pit as John tried to hand him to me when I'd get home from work. So, John and I started a campaign wherein I took over certain aspects of Quinn's day - mainly bedtime and mornings. After a few months, Quinn didn't openly hate the sight of me and things felt pretty normal again. But the screaming and the kicking and the hitting when he didn't get his way - that has never gone away, and in fact it seems to be getting worse. The newest part of his repetoire is waking up EARLIER AND EARLIER every. single. morning. What does he do when he wakes up? What do you think? Loudness yelling, of course! Bryce's room is connected to Quinn's, so the kid's really got us in his clutches, and he knows it: "You don't want to Bryce to wake up, eh? Well, suckers, there's a simple solution here. GET ME OUT OF THIS CRIB. NOW. I'll start the screaming. I will. I'll do it, man!" Makes for some pleasant mornings around our house, let me tell you. There's nothing like two pissed off adults and an overtired pre-schooler glaring at each other, with the pre-schooler throwing out the occasional "NO! Get out!" punctuated by his accusatory glare and his very taut arm pointing at one of us from across the room. Good times. Except for that headache.

Theory #4: Braces Are Evil

It's been three weeks, and despite my orthodontist's sweeping claims, I am NOT used to them yet. I still walk by the mirror and cringe, especially at work. When I am introduced to someone new, I do my typical over-analysis when I note their visible recognition, and then their visible attempt to cover up their recognition, that I have braces. My inner dialogue goes something like "Oh crap, they're going to introduce me to this guy. My mouth is closed, but I'm going to have to smile when I shake his hand and there's no way I can do a closed-mouth smile without looking like a chimpanzee doing tricks, so I better just get ready for it. AND THERE IT IS! The slight blink, the longer focus on my teeth, the quick glance back up to my eyes to pretend he didn't notice. But...but...OOOOH! And he couldn't resist! Yep - you saw it right. I have braces, pal. Don't make any snide comments unless you want me to whip out my go-go gadget mouth weaponry." The other thing about these unnaturally jagged metal appliances on my teeth - and I know this is going to be a shock - THEY HURT THE INSIDE OF MY MOUTH. I have cuts and indentations all over the insides of my cheeks. I thought the pain would have subsided by now, but I find that while I'm engrossed in reading at my desk, I have to hold my jaw in an unnatural position to keep the swollen cuts on the insides of my cheeks from rubbing on those pesky sharp objects that just won't go away. And the holding of my jaw in the unnatural position for hours at a time? It gives me a headache, too.

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