It will never end

I feel like this week isn’t ever going to end. I know I am exaggerating. As an author I feel entitled to embellish feelings every so often. It is my job.

On Monday we had our National Night Out celebration in the town I work in. As a dedicated employee and person, I did the honorable thing: I volunteered my entire family. They were a mixture of “Yay!” and “Why?” types.

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The kids petting our town’s police canine unit dog. Town is so small that we only have the one.

Monday was also my second child’s sixth birthday. Lan, my son, was thrilled!

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It was such a busy night that we didn’t get into bed until almost midnight. My kids’ bedtime is usually 7:30. They were a mixture of exhausted and too excited to sleep.

Tuesday I took my third child out for our “alone” time. Every few weeks I take one of my children on my day off out for shopping or a meal. Nate chose rainbow pancakes and to invite an honorary aunt to join us.

Wednesday was just a lot of working and I babysat my two nieces. Having the six kids here on the farm is always interesting. They decided they needed to play with the cats until Emrys, my oldest’ therapy cat, came running from the bean field to give them his mouth he caught. That ended the fun with the cats.

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Tiger, one of the kittens, asleep after being the “prince” to the cat city they built in the back yard.

My “baby” sister had her third baby today, too. A healthy little boy they named Eli. She lives half the country away, but it is nice to know he is doing well.

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Eli, my newest nephew.

I don’t usually post face pictures, but she already has a large following who has seen this picture.

Today I sat down to set up our meal plan for August.

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Basic meal plan so I can get supplies for the month.

As I was sitting here I wondered to myself: when was the last time I wrote a blog post? Is this week over with yet? Holy buckets, it’s only Thursday! It’s Thursday?! What have I written this week?

Yeah, I also haven’t written anything new on any of my stories or books, either. It was just chaos this week. I also still have this week’s classes to do.
Tomorrow, Friday (finally), I have all six kids again. I bought that movie “Home” and so I plan on plugging in the TV and having it babysit for me for two hours. According to my schedule listed, I should be able to resuscitate my muse by Sunday if I finish all of my school work tomorrow night. Then I can get Casey finally updated, do the next chapter to New Camelot: Blackout, and work on the revised ending to Keeper’s Kinn. Only four more weeks of English left and then I will be able to tend to some of the deeper wounds.

Let’s hope this new movie is a success!

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Dairy free “homemade” ice cream sandwich for my oldest, Ken.

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Pulled too early, but still a decent size! My sister couldn’t wait and needed to see some. The rest will be pulled after the first frost.

The Storm Chapter Eleven

Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin or Disney’s Frozen.

Chapter Eleven

The small alcove inside of the three trees that held the young sorcerer was warm as his fire burned happily in the center. He impaled five large mushrooms onto a long stick and held them over the licking flames. Behind him in the dim light of the cave like area he had created shelves using vine made twine and long sticks. Using his magic he had forced branches to come out of the trees and turn into holding sticks. He really didn’t want to embed anything into the living trees around him. The wild life around him had been kind enough to let him move in and so far peaceful. He did not want to be cruel to it just because he could master it.

The wind outside picked up and blew against his vine hanging door. The storm, which he had forced away from his small clearing, was starting to come in again. He decided he would let it for a little bit water the area. A crack of thunder sounded high above him, and he questioned his sanity living inside of the trees. Allowing his magic to encompass his body and flow through his veins, he pushed the static away from his home. It would be stupid to allow the lightning to cook him, really, when he had the power to at least push it away from where he was.

He took the mushrooms, his dinner, off of the stick and let them lay on a flat stone to cool. Standing up, he went outside to gather some water into a bucket he had created from clay he had found on the banks of a nearby river. As he left his little doorway and stood straight he came to stare at three deer just feet in front of him. Their black eyes looked at him as they waited for possible danger. Two does and the fawn were posed to retreat back into the stormy forest as the rain started to finally come into the clearing around them.

Merlin smiled to himself and just watched the deer as they became comfortable again and ate the green lush grass he had pushed from the ground just the other day where there had been nothing. All was right in his world now, even if he missed Arthur coming to tell him stories from the other side of the door in the castle. Here Arthur could not kill him for what he could not control. Here he was one with the animals and the magic inside.

~*~Ma~*~

The king sat on his horse while his blond haired knight he had chosen mounted beside him. He looked up at the staff, his nobles, Morgana and his uncle. “Morgana I want you to help uncle while I’m gone,” he called to his adopted sister.

She nodded, “You just make sure you return safe, Arthur. We’ll handle everything here.”

They bowed to him as the knight and king took off into the now misting rain. They rushed through the gates and passed the lines of migrants coming into Camelot. The people were fleeing to higher ground or straight for their capitals all around Albion. The castles had been built high on top of hills for protections and currently it was the only way to save everyone from the mass flooding. The king ignored the cries from the hungry children and the signs of the dead along the road.

He needed to find Merlin and make him stop this horrible storm before it killed everyone.

“How are we going to find him, sire?” the knight asked as they slowed their gait to a walk. The rain started to pick up again and Arthur wished they didn’t have to be out in it.

“We will first go to where he is from and then follow up the boarder. There have been reports of areas where the storm hasn’t touched, but no one can actually get into the area,” Arthur said. “It’s alright, Leon. We’ll find him and I’m sure he’ll stop this when he learns how much it is harming people.”

“But he’s a sorcerer…” Leon started as he followed slightly behind the king’s horse.

“He’s also my friend and what I can remember from our childhood,” he thought bitterly to add to himself that he really should have more memories and somewhere they had been blocked, “he isn’t bad. This has to be some horrible mistake and I’m sure he’ll fix it once he realizes what he has done.” They continued on in silence. The monarch kept trying to think of what had happened before his mother’s death. He couldn’t remember a single instance in his entire childhood about magic, and yet he knew that Uther hadn’t attacked magic until after his mother’s death.

Had he known about Merlin’s magic as a child? He could remember playing with the other boy, but parts were fuzzy. He knew that as people aged their childhoods disappeared or only significant memories stood out. Yet, he also knew that somewhere along the line he had to have been exposed to magic. Not a single memory of his father’s court sorcerer or his best friend preforming magic.

His memories did include the purge. They included his mother’s funeral and a few vague memories of his mother alive. He remembered all magic after his mother’s death in snips and pieces before the users were sentenced to death.

Deciding that thinking about sorcery was useless at the current time he focused his thoughts on his friend. His memories were again haphazard at best, but he remembered playing in the castle on cool days. Merlin would laugh as they ran through the corridors and he was always a clumsy sort as well. He remembered scaring him from a hiding place at one time during a particular game of hide and seek; he remembered butterflies of beautiful colors surrounding them on a wonderful summer day.

As the wind picked up and turned each drop into pins he focused on the memory of the warm day with a smiling best friend before he had been locked away. He needed to find that friend again. He wanted to see those days again and he wanted to have a smiling best friend again.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Ten

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Warning: Possible graphic triggers for abused PTSD sufferers.

Chapter Ten

“You’re limping today,” the voice came to him from his left. He turned and looked at the girl who sat next to him in his math class. She wasn’t smiling but looking at his shirt curiously with bright blue eyes. Her brown hair was messy, like it hadn’t seen a brush, and was pulled back into a pony tail. Her clothes were baggy on her; her pants seemed to have a few stains of unintelligible origins. “Last week you were favoring your left arm, and today you walked in trying not to show a limp.”

“I’m clumsy,” he answered back the unasked question. She smiled and chuckled, but still didn’t look at his face. He tilted his head down a bit trying to get her to look at him and she turned toward her hands on her desk to away from him.

“I don’t think anyone is that clumsy. I understand, though. I guess you can say I’m clumsy, too,” she laughed a bit as if she was saying a joke. “You can come and sit with us at lunch today, okay?”

“I’m fine,” he said. She shook her head. “What?” he asked.

“It wasn’t a question. You need us,” she stated matter-of-factly and went back to doing her math work on the paper. Lunch was after math, so when the bell rang not long after she grabbed her book bag and then onto his long sleeve and dragged him along with her.

The “us” she had been speaking about where a group of misfits who sat together and were the newest group formed in the school. He had heard from some of the other students that they gathered the bullied and the out casts and made themselves a group like non-other in the history of the school. Usually in middle and high schools the picked on stayed away from others to avoid more harassment. These girls and boys’ motto was that you can’t be picked on if you had a group and so they pulled in any who seemed to need a friend. Daniel thought that it wasn’t the worse group to be invited into. She sat down and so did Daniel. He brought out his home packed lunch from his bag, but saw that most of them didn’t have any food in front of them. There were four girls and three boys sitting there on the steps to the court yard in the corner and away from the larger more popular groups. He knew the girl from math was named Jenna, but the others were just from passing. Jenna seemed to sense his hesitation as he didn’t eat his meal so she pointed to each in turn starting with the girls, “This is Bob, Starr, Jessi, and the boys are Lep, Keenan, and Kenré.” Once again Daniel noticed she didn’t look at anyone when she did the introductions. The other’s, except Kenré, all nodded their heads and smiled at him. “You all already know Daniel,” she stated as she looked up finally to another two people approaching the group with their arms filled with food from the cafeteria. “Those two are Ashley and Rosemary,” Daniel recognized Ashley from the special needs students who came into P.E. with him during that hour. She was severely mentally challenged but very quick to smile and want to be everyone’s friend. He had felt horrible with how he watched the female P.E. students treat the girl during the hour.

They all had “reasons” that the popular groups picked on them. They were either extremely obese, mentally challenged, or homosexual. He was sure Lep was homosexual if the rainbow wrist bands, choker, and earrings were anything to go by. He suspected Kenré was mentally challenged, but he was mainstreamed unlike Ashley. He wasn’t bothered, though, by these things. He didn’t think any of those were reasons to not like someone. He had been bullied enough in the bigot school to understand the need to just be yourself. He smiled and bit into his sandwich while their food was distributed. Kenré pulled out his meal from his pack as well and without looking at each other, he handed a similar lunch bag to his own over to Jenna.

“My mother made your lunch for you,” he explained as she took it and opened it up. “She even remembered to cut the bread correctly. She is so sorry she forgot yesterday.” Jenna smiled and pulled out the contents of the bag and precariously set them out on her lap. She brought everything out and then carefully refolded the bag to a square shape. Being as meticulous as she could she start to eat off her lap starting from left to right. He looked over at Kenré who was eating from his bag instead of pulling things out all at once. He reached in and then ate what came out as it came out.

The others all ate as well and talked about random things. Staying at each other’s houses and then everything changed to the mall after school. Lep turned to Daniel, “You’re coming with us.” Once again Daniel didn’t know whether to be annoyed or not that they were ordering him to do something.

“I have to tell my mom first,” he said as he took another bite of his sandwich.

“My sister can drive us there first, then,” Jenna said. “I’ll take Daniel, Kenré, Lep and Ashley in our van. We have one more seat if someone wants it. I’m sure Niki won’t mind.”

Bob spoke up, “I think you should take Starr, too. You know she would be upset if she was separated from her girlfriend for too long!” They all laughed, except Daniel and Jenna, as Jenna turned bright red. Daniel looked at the group and realized that they teased each other, too, but it was out of camaraderie and not out of malice. Starr reached over and punched Bob in the shoulder, then stood up and sat next to Jenna to say something into the other girl’s ear. Jenna turned an even brighter shade of red. Bob laughed harder and choked out, “My brother will take the rest of us. We’ll meet in front of the Chinese food place in the center.” Starr kissed Jenna’s cheek when the bell rang and Daniel wondered how his thoughts that Kenré was dating Jenna turned to sudden realization that Jenna was with Starr. That wasn’t something she expected.

~*~Ma~*~

It was Jenna and Daniel only in the van as they waited with Jenna’s sister for the rest of the group to come out of the school. Daniel was nervous and hoped his mother didn’t mind him leaving for the few hours to be with his new friends. Jenna was taping onto the handle of the front seat as she waited. She started rocking in her chair along with the rhythm and humming quietly. Daniel became more nervous as he waited. He didn’t know what she was doing, but it was starting to feel weird to him. Niki, Jenna’s eighteen year old sister, turned in her seat and looked at the wide eyed Daniel. “Jenna,” she brought the girl out of whatever she was doing in a quiet voice. “Jenna, did you tell Daniel about your Autism?” She stopped humming, but now added shaking her head to the rocking. Niki turned to Daniel, “She’ll stop soon. School overwhelms her. She has higher functioning Autism.”

Daniel looked more at the girl in front of him, from what he could see at least, and realized the unbrushed hair, the not looking into his eyes, and sometimes how she would draw circles on the top of her math work was all signs of this disorder he really didn’t understand. “Is the mall a good idea?” he asked. “If school overwhelms her, then won’t the mall put her in a worse… uh… mood?”

“Over stimulation is something she does to herself sometimes. She’ll calm down at home as long as she doesn’t see our dad tonight,” she stopped talking and looked conflicted. Daniel remembered Jenna saying that she was also “clumsy”. Realization once again dawned onto him. Her father didn’t like her behaviors or maybe didn’t like her girlfriend. Something caused him to want to hurt his daughter. “She deals just fine and the others bring out her inner personality more. She’ll stop once we start driving,” she said.

Kenré chose that moment to open the other sliding door and look at Daniel. “That’s my seat,” the blond told him. He stared straight into Daniel’s eyes for the first time ever. A challenge, he realized. He nodded and unbuckled to let Kenré climb in and he went to the seat behind Kenré.

“Can I sit here?” he asked the other boy. Kenré nodded and then looked up at Jenna. “Oh…” he said as he noticed Jenna rocking and humming and now shaking her head. He looked out the window and watched everyone streaming out of the building. Lep and Ashley filed in next and took the back bench with Daniel. Starr got in, shut the sliding door, buckled and then leaned forward to pull Jenna back into her seat and squeeze her lower arm.

“Shh,” she said to the other twelve year old. “Okay, Niki, we’re all set.” Daniel watched Lep pull the seatbelt around Ashley and latch it. Jenna lowered her window and waved her hand through the wind as it blew through like a ship on water. Kenré covered his face with his hands from the wind and Daniel heard him start to hum as Starr reached down and brought a blanket up from the floor and give it to the other boy, “Kenré, here’s your blanket dear.” Kenre grabbed it and pulled it over his head to completely cover himself from the wind.

Daniel turned to Lep who was next to him in the seat, “Is Kenré like Jenna?”

“You mean Autistic?” Lep asked back. Daniel nodded. The red head smiled at him and nodded, “Yeah, but they are different. Things Jenna enjoys can set Kenré off. They both enjoy the mall, though. Jenna can’t stand strangers touching her or talking to her, but she enjoys the sounds and sights. Kenré is extra social, we have to watch him carefully because he’ll wander off to talk with strangers, and he enjoys all of the strangers.”

Daniel looked over at Ashley, “And Ashley?”

Lep looked at the girl who had pulled out a coloring book and was coloring a page of Disney Princesses all red instead of changing colors. “She is mentally slow; about the age of a three or four year old. Her mother said she was born like this. She lets her come with us because she is thrilled that Ashley finally has friends. She’s a sweetheart and always happy. She also has to be watched, though.” Lep sighed, “I usually get Kenré duty since I know how to calm him down if he starts to stim.”

“Stim?” Daniel tested the new word.

“What Jenna does in the van after school. Autistic people have different ways to get stimulation to avoid the real world. Kenré can start to stim, but if whatever is bothering him isn’t removed or he isn’t stopped, then he becomes violent. Jenna has also had a tantrum during an outing, too, but her’s are rare. Only her dad can bring out those tantrums more than usual,” he had the look that Niki had when they spoke of the man. As if they were saying too much. “Starr has Jenna and Rosemary takes Ashley.” Daniel nodded. “We all help, though. If we see one of them wandering off or needing help, we step in.”

This was an odd group Daniel had found himself in. He turned away to see Starr looking at him cautiously. He smiled at her. It might be an odd group, but it didn’t bother him. It was still a way to stay away from his foster dad.

~*~Ma~*~

They were standing in line for Chinese food, which Jenna refused to eat and so had a sub from SubWay in front of her made just the way she’d eat it, when a stranger approached them. He had bright blond hair and baby blue eyes. He was older than them by a few years but he seemed to come out of a confused daze when he locked eyes with Daniel. “DUO!” he yelled as he came rushing over. He was a half a head taller than Daniel.

“Duo, where have you been? We thought you were in Spain,” he said to Daniel. Daniel shook his head slowly and looked at the others in the group watching.

“My name is Daniel,” he told the older boy. “I don’t even speak Spanish.” At least, he didn’t think he did. The boy had an Arabic accent that was almost hidden with his perfect American English.

Starr came over then with Jessi next to her, “Maybe you do know him, Daniel.” Starr pointed to the boy who kind of did look familiar to Daniel. “Maybe you know Spanish, too.” They had just been talking about his amnesia after he had gotten permission to go to the mall with the others. They had said maybe he would find his family and here was a boy that looked nothing like him who said his name was a name that started with a “d” like he had thought.

“Duo?” the boy asked concerned.

“Look, my name is Daniel. Please stop calling me this other name. It’s kind of unnerving,” he said. He started to walk away from the blond. He didn’t want to know how this older boy knew him, because right now he was finally starting to not mind his life.

“He was hurt about a year ago. He has amnesia,” he heard Jessi explain to the other boy. Great, even his new friends were trying to “help” when he didn’t want them to. If he wasn’t around to take the brunt of Justin’s temper than he could turn onto Chia.

The boy broke away from the group of children and grabbed Daniel’s arm. Daniel didn’t even think about it, he turned and swung a punch at the older boy. To his surprise the older boy caught the punch before it could impact his face and held the fist tightly in the air. Daniel grabbed back his hand and stepped away. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled. He took off down the long halls of the mall toward the bathrooms on the other end.

When he finally returned to the misfit group all eating their supper at a large table the blond kid was gone. Starr reached into her pocket and handed him a note. No words were exchanged as he opened the note up.

I’m sorry I scared you away. I heard more of what happened from the kids. I would like to talk with you. We didn’t know you were in the States or we would have gotten you earlier. Please just call or text my number and meet me soon. I think you should know who you are. Having amnesia cannot be any fun. I’m sure Trowa would understand better than me, but he’s off planet. I’ll contact him as well since he can help you better, but I do think you should talk with me as soon as you can.

-Quatre

Below that was a phone number for a cell. He sat down with the others who were chatting amongst themselves again and he was grateful they ignored him. He had wanted someone to find him for so long, but now he didn’t want to abandon Chia to a possible life of abuse nor did he want to disappoint Kira with having them remove Chia for his protection. Maybe knowing more about who he was wouldn’t cause them to remove him? He could only hope, because his curiosity was too great not to contact this other boy.

~*~ Tsuzuku ~*~

The Storm Chapter Ten

Disclaimer: I do not own BCC Merlin nor do I own Disney’s Frozen.

Chapter Ten

His golden head bobbed in place as his eyes kept drooping down to close. His blue eyes flashed open as he heard the noise of his cupboard opening in the bed chamber. “Sorry, sire,” the servant, George, said as he realized he had shut the door a bit too hard and had woken the monarch. Arthur waved his hand into the air and yawned as he arched his back against the chair. Three days now of endless storms, rain, and sometimes just a mist that settled over the land. Three days now of him reading every inch of both of the journals. He had them now practically memorized. Merlin’s was the hardest, at first, to understand. The boy had written it starting from a young age and almost as an afterthought to the day. They were short logs of his musing, anger at being locked up, and then later his fear of Arthur finding out about him and killing him. He had almost felt like crying to read the scribble saying how Merlin had actually feared lighting candles for a week after the first sorceress had been burned in the court yard. The biggest thing, though, was the shock that went through him to find out that Merlin had never studied before he was locked away.

Then the anger came over him as he read that Gaius taught Merlin the words of the incantations needed to try and get the boy to control the wild side of his magic. Merlin, according to Gaius’ journal, wasn’t a sorcerer, but rather he was a warlock. A child who could do magic, powerful magic, from a very young age, and Merlin was even more special in that he could do his magic from birth. Merlin, in his journal, had thought he must have been cursed, but Gaius’ journal told that it hadn’t been a curse that the boy had been born with.

The sorrow filled pages of the physician countered the fear filled pages of the boy’s. Arthur had read both of them as if he could hear their voices in their writings. Gaius calling the child a gift and Merlin calling himself a monster was hard for the king to read.

He read in Gaius’ journal about his mother’s death and the time his father had enacted the law against magic. The account had continued and Arthur was sure that his own memories must have been erased at some point during his childhood. He saw in the journal that Arthur and Merlin had been best friends, he remembered that much, but he couldn’t figure out how the untrained magic user had not let magic slip during the time he was young. Arthur had gripped his head at that point and tried to remember if he could of any time where Merlin had used magic. He couldn’t though, and the storm raged outside letting him know his friend was certainly very powerful.

Council meetings had happened two and three times a day. Refuges were coming from all corners of Albion. They were trying to evade the storm that had now covered all of the kingdoms. Crops were drowned, live stock had been drowned, some villages had been buried in landslides, and new lakes were emerging where people had once dwelled. The lords were begging for the kings to do things in every corner of the lands. Arthur had sent messages to the other monarchs asking if they knew what they could do. So far the only thing he had received back was to get people to higher ground and pray to God to let the storm end soon. Two of the magic using kings had even sent that, even though they knew Arthur’s stance on magic, no sorcerer could end this plague. He knew, though, that what they had written was a lie. There was a sorcerer, or rather a warlock, who could end this terrible storm.

Arthur stood from his desk and popped his back in a few places with a good stretch. His servant quickly darted from making the bed to where Arthur was going to behind his dressing screen. He needed to dress quickly now since he had taken the small little nap at his desk over Merlin’s last entry.

At last he was on his way to the council for their morning meeting. They had too many deaths now from the torrential downpour. He walked through the large double doors and into the room where everyone was sitting on either side of the long table. He took his place at the end of the table in the larger chair, the throne room type chair, and nodded the meeting to start.

The lords started to clamor all at once about the state of Camelot and the kingdom. They had too many refugees and not enough rations. Wood was now scarce to keep people warm since the rain and mist had seeped through to make everything too wet for burning. A cold, cough, and pneumonia had begun in the people as their lungs were being filled with the moisture of the air and their bodies trembled from the perpetual cold. If drowning and starvation didn’t kill the people than the new sickness would surely do the final job of it.

Arthur looked over to his uncle at his right, “What do you suggest we do?” He needed guidance. This was not how he had thought his first week of reining would be like. He had imagined his best friend where his uncle now sat, but obviously that was not how fate had deemed his sovereignty to be.

The man looked troubled for a second being asked and then said slowly, “We need to finish this storm any way we can.” Arthur sighed and looked at the grain in the table in front of him. The smooth sanding job had brought out the knots and patches of perfection. He nodded to his thoughts; he needed to sand and smooth his friend into letting the storm go.

“I will end this storm,” he said definitely. “I will go out and find the one who created this storm and force its completion…”

“You cannot go alone, sire. It is too dangerous to approach the sorcerer,” his uncle protested. He leaned forward and put a hand onto the king’s shoulder, “Maybe I should go in your stead…”

“No!” Arthur said forcefully. He said in a softer tone, “No, Agravaine, I cannot allow anyone else to approach him.” His uncle looked liked he had been slapped and Arthur continued, “I know you want to keep me safe, but I did cause his outburst.” The older man nodded his understanding as he withdrew his hand from the shoulder. The other lords agreed with their king but insisted he bring alone someone else to keep him safe.

“I have a knight in mind and I think as long as it is only the two of us, then Merlin will listen to reason and release this curse,” he said as he stood up and dismissed the council. He would leave at dawn the next day and try and find what the scouts they had out for the three days now hadn’t. He knew he would be able to find the scared boy who had been forced to run from the citadel and he needed to tell him that he was sorry for his father’s transgressions.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Nine

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Warning: Possible graphic triggers for abused PTSD sufferers.

Chapter Nine

Daniel had found himself enjoying having a little brother. The younger child was quiet, like him, but Daniel could see an inner prankster. This made Daniel thrilled, though he couldn’t explain why he would be excited about rule breaking. The weeks with his new family had been passed like a dream.

He should have known life wasn’t going to be paradise, though.

It was Friday. School had ended and Daniel had walked home in the crisp February air in peace. His mind had wandered to possibly showing Chia a prank to do on a friend with a paper clip he had borrowed from the English teacher. He intended to return it, so he had forgot to actually ask permission to borrow the paper clip.

Ah, school, his brain shifted thoughts quickly. This school was like the others, except for the horror school from the bigot area. No one bothered him much here and he chatted when people talked to him. He wasn’t a click kind of guy, though, and hadn’t made any friends like the friend, Sam, that he already had. The same Sam that called every night to talk about random movies and plot to kidnap Daniel for a sleep over that would be the sleep over of a century, or so he kept saying.

Daniel walked through the front door and felt a new sense come over him. An instinct told him to run. He shoved it down and called out, “Mom! I’m home!” Silence greeted him. The horrible memory of finding Mama Snow unconscious assaulted him. “Mom?” He walked further into the house and heard a small noise coming from the master bedroom.

He knocked quietly and heard sniffles and choked sobs. “Mom?” he asked again as he slowly opened the door. The room was dark, the blinds drawn shut. He allowed the light from the hall to come across a figure hunched and sobbing into a pillow on the bed. His foster mother was trying to stifle the crying into the blue pillow case. He walked over to her and laid a hand against her shoulder. “Mom, are you okay?”

She shook her head but didn’t bring it up to see him. She was in her night clothes still and he could see horrible angry purple bruises all down her arms. He hadn’t ever seen her arms before. She kept them covered, but since it was cold and winter he had never thought anything about it. Now he saw that someone was hurting her. The large hand marks where she had been grabbed stood out against some of the lighter healed bruises.

“Who did this?” he asked quietly. A fire of anger came over him and he climbed onto the bed in front of her. Gently he brought his hands in to bring her face up to see him. The tears had caused rivers to run down her face and he could see an angry shade of red, purple and blue covering a swollen closed left eye. It was the only damage done to her face but since her arms spoke of multiple attacks, he knew the damage done to the face was a rare occurrence of repeated abuse. “Are you hurt anywhere else?” he asked his foster mother.

She looked at him with her only good eye and saw the light of someone not twelve dwelling inside the small body of the boy in front of her. “It hurts to breathe,” she whispered and gasped again. “I… I…” she didn’t know what to tell the child.

With careful hands he brought them down to her sides and gently pushed against her ribs. She gasped when he touched her fourth rib on the right side. “Bruised but not broken,” he told her. He looked back at his current mom, “Did dad do this?”

She nodded and threw her face back into the pillow. She mumbled into it making it hard to understand her, “I didn’t have lunch ready for him today.”

He felt his world shatter again. He had thought this was an awesome family. He hadn’t ever seen his new foster father raise his voice or even get angry. He was strict, and had made it clear that he expected his foster sons to do their best in everything they ever set out to do, but he had never gotten angry or even punished physically.

“I can’t have children,” she admitted and peaked up at him. He nodded. He understood. They were there to keep her from being beat while they were home. His foster father would never hurt his wife in front of people, and especially not in front of the kids. He needed to keep his mouth shut to keep his foster mother safe.

~*~Ma~*~

Once again, though, he should have known that this man who hurt his love wouldn’t settle for just hurting the woman. Daniel asked Chia if their new dad had ever lost his temper with him, but Chia said he had never been even spanked. Daniel, on the other hand, wasn’t seven. He was twelve and should have known that setting the man off could result in the same punishment he gave his wife.

So, when the hand came at him suddenly back handing him across the face, he really shouldn’t have been surprised. Justin sailed a tight ship, and Daniel had caused a delay in their schedule that morning. They were getting ready for church and Daniel couldn’t get his newly chopped hair to lay right. It took longer than he thought it would to brush it out and use some brush through hair gel to get it to not have bed-head.

As he walked out of the bathroom the hand came out of almost nowhere. It completely caught Daniel off guard and he was thrown back and against the wall of the hallway.

“We’re late now,” Justin didn’t yell. He growled. Now Daniel knew why they had never heard the man yell. He wasn’t a screamer. He was a hitter and would lower his voice. Justin stood grabbed Daniel by his collar and forced him back onto his feet. Daniel grabbed at his shirt to stop from choking as he was pulled roughly through the now empty house and toward the car.

Before he was able to get into the back seat Justin pulled him close, nose to nose, “You tripped.” He didn’t have to say more. Daniel knew he had a mark across his face and it could possibly bruise. The threat was there, though. He nodded. A smack across the face was nothing compared to what his foster mother would go through if he was removed and right now he was glad the man had hit him and not the woman.

This he could handle, and it would protect the other two in the house. He now knew he could bring the wrath on him and this would be acceptable to him as long as the woman and child didn’t get any of this pent up anger this man held in a barely controlled check.

~*~ Tsuzuku ~*~

Blaming Disney

He is four and impressionable. We don’t have access to an outside source of media, except for our radio which isn’t on a lot and my internet that the kids aren’t allowed to use. We use DVDs and VHS as our television expirence. Disney, and movies similar, are constantly on during the winter when the kids are stuck indoors for their own safety. The shelves of the toy’s department is  lined with these items as well. Who hasn’t seen a Disney’s Frozen item, whether it is the cereal or the 3 1/2 foot doll? You can’t escape these princesses.

I love that we have strong females for our girls to now model after. Elsa’s declaration of “You can’t marry a man you just met” alongside the sister-love is what makes this movie great. I love Merida in her quest to change their traditions to empower princesses, though I hope my kids never turn me into a bear or feel the need to rebel like that. Even the older ones, like Mulan going to war to save her dad and Jasmin catching Alladin in his lies, all have purposes for showing girls they can be strong.

The problem I have? My four year old is a boy who wants to be a Disney princess. He doesn’t want to be a prince, because the princes are dumb. I can’t blame him. The males in these movies are chauvinistic, lying, and most of the time not very bright. The men are either the bad guys or have a lot of problems in their character.

In Beauty and the Beast the roll models my boys can have are either Gaston, the Beast, or the dad. They don’t really see the other characters as male since they are all objects found in the castle. Gaston is the “bad guy” but also just wants his woman to be meek, pregnant, and ignorant. He cannot read and thinks his woman shouldn’t either. The Beast is turned into who he is by a witch. He turns his nose up to ugly things (which we are constantly reminded at the beginning that Bell is the prettiest thing in the country) and has major anger issues. The dad is a good guy, but he is considered insane for being brilliant. Not good models.

Alladin has a lot of issues as well. Alladin is poor and homeless. He steals, lies his way into the castle, and just generally teaches boys they have to be untrustworthy if they ever want to get their princess. They will be forgiven, though, because that is okay to do to a woman. The “king” is easily controllable and isn’t much of a man. And then we have the bad guy, Jefar, who is evil.

In Cinderella, the prince is a minor character who is needed to save the princess. The problem? He doesn’t even remember what she looks like! She puts on a pretty dress, gets washed up, and dances in glass slippers, but he didn’t look at her face? He rushes around the kingdom to put the shoe on people because he didn’t look at this girl’s face.
I’m not saying that having character flaws is what I am looking for. What I am saying is that give our boys something to strive to be. Also, please market something for them too. I can’t go into a store and grab a “Christof” outfit in the Disney section nor can I get them a 3 1/2 foot reindeer.

When being a princess is better than being one of the males in these movies, well, no wonder my four year old wants to be one!

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(This is satire. Please take no offense to it. I came up with this rant as a joke while talking to my grandma about my gender fluid four year old. Disney will always just be Disney and I know TV isn’t raising my kids.)

The Storm Chapter Nine

Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin or Disney’s Frozen.

Chapter Nine

Arthur opened the door to the old chambers he used to visit frequently behind his father’s back. He had a suspicion that Gaius knew he was still coming to see Merlin, but the physician had never said anything. Looking around he saw books, old utensils of vials and things Gaius had used in his life but their new physician didn’t need, and Merlin’s bedroom door firmly shut. I was almost like those blissful days of childhood. Dust swirled around in the room and he wished for the sun to shine through to make the patterns like it used to in the air. He suddenly didn’t want to be an adult, or even king, but rather the child who just wondered why his best friend had locked himself away from the world.

He slowly walked into the room and went straight for the closed door to the smaller bed chamber where Merlin had stayed. A flash of lightning tore through the sky and the thunder shook through to his bones. That had been a close strike. He put his hand against the still vibrating wood of the door and said loudly, “Merlin?” He knew his friend was not on the other side, though. “Merlin, why would you learn magic?” he asked the vacant room. Sighing in resignation of not getting his answer by talking to air, he turned to the room around him. He needed to find something that would tell him why his friend would ever learn the banned arts.

His eyes scanned the shelves full of the books that Gaius had needed during his time in the castle. He would start there, he decided as he climbed to the top of the terrace to begin going through each and every book.

He had been searching for hours now, pulling one book down after another and looking through to see if he could find any indication of magic use within each cover. He was a fourth through the books when his uncle had walked in to find him. “Arthur? What are you doing in here?” he asked as he looked up at the boy putting back another large tomb and grabbing a slightly smaller book.

“I am researching,” he answered tersly.

“Well, I searched for you for a while now. I thought maybe you had gone after the sorcerer…” he trailed off as Arthur scanned the pages. “Arthur, you need to come and attend to your duties. As king, it is important to show strength right now, sire,” the honorific almost seemed like an afterthought. The newly crowned king ignored it, though, as he reached up for another book.

“I am doing my research for my people, Agrevaine. Please cancel all of my appointments for today. I will call a council meeting as soon as I find my answer,” the younger man said back.

“Answer to what?”

“To how and why my friend would do such horrible magic.” The room went silent as Arthur continued to search through another book. His uncle said he would have food sent up to him and left the room in a flourish of robes.

The monarch searched through the daylight hours and had to start burning candles before sunset due to the darkened sky. The rain started to come down in sheets again outside. He could hear it battering against the panes in the window and smacking against the stones in the courtyard.

He laid his head down against the table where his tray with his supper still sat. He had gone through most of the books in the room and now had started searching through haphazard places. He had found books not filed away on the shelf, but those didn’t seem to have any information. He turned his head to the side and laid his cheek against the cool grained wood. He shut his eyes and thought about how to continue. Of course Merlin and Gaius wouldn’t leave a magic book out in the open. Where would he hide a book he didn’t want anyone to find?

He wouldn’t hide a book, of course, but then he mentally shook that thought away. Where would they hide their magic books? …Or something that could contain information about magic?

His eyes snapped open and he ran to where Gaius used to sleep. Bending down he searched underneath the small bed. He couldn’t see anything underneath the bed, but he allowed his hand to do a quick sweep through anyway. His hand and arm were attacked by dust bunnies, but nothing else was in the dark. “Ugh,” he said aloud as he shook the balls of fluff off his fingers. Merlin really needed a lesson on how to clean properly, he thought.

Getting up from the floor, he turned to look at the one place he really didn’t want to go into. Merlin’s bedroom door stood imposingly on the other side of the room. He straightened up and marched over to the door. He was a king and a wonderful swordsman, but for some reason the thought of entering the room Merlin had been kept in was daunting. He hadn’t ever been allowed in there in his memory and it felt wrong to enter it now.

He stole some of his nerve back and climbed the stairs. Before he lost himself, he tore open the door and looked at the small room. He felt taken aback by the size of the room. It was a storage closet with a bed, a cupboard like wardrobe, a night table and random objects. The room had not actually been put in to hold such things and they took up most of it. He tore himself from looking around with just his eyes and started rummaging through the clothing in the wardrobe. Finding nothing in there he leaned down to lay on the floor and do a complete sweep with his hand there like he had with Gaius’ bed. He was surprised when he brushed out not one, but two books. Sitting himself straight he opened them both while they lay on the floor. To his astonishment they weren’t magic books but journals. The handwriting was completely different in both of them. Looking at the one on the left he realized that Merlin had possession of Gaius’ journal, and it had actually been written like a long letter to the boy starting with the time that Merlin had been sent to live with him. Merlin’s, though, started years later when the child had learned to read and write by Gaius during his imprisonment.

He grabbed them both and ran from the small room and the old physician’s chambers. He briskly walked passed all of his guards to his own chambers to start reading Gaius’ journal first. He needed to know why the first lines started with, “Dear Merlin, Welcome to Camelot. I hope that I will be able to teach you to control your power and that you become best friends with Arthur through time…”

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Eight

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Chapter Eight

“You’re the kid from the TV!” he heard from behind him as he was folding the last of his clothes into his dresser drawer. He turned around in the small room and looked at a little red headed boy of about nine years. He nodded slowly and then turned back to continue unpacking. Why he was unpacking he couldn’t say and it seemed ridiculous to him to be doing so. He didn’t seem to stay in one place for long really. “Wow, dude, you look beat up, too,” the kid continued. “My name’s Jonah, but I’m not like a whale or anything. The kids call me that, but Annis saids I am too skinny to be a whale and they probably’s named me wrong.” Daniel looked over at the child now sitting on one of the bottom bunk beds of the three sets in the room.

“I’m Daniel,” he told the child. “Do you sleep in this room too?”

“Nah! I sleeps with the younger kids in the room next door,” he answered as he casually leaned back onto someone else’s bed. He pulled down his striped blue shirt as it rode up from leaning back against the quilt. His khaki pants were riding high on his ankles as well and Daniel wondered if he chose to wear clothes too small or if they hadn’t taken him shopping for new ones yet.

The last of his clothes fit neatly into the only drawer he was given and he closed it shut with a bang. “So, anything I need to know about this place?”

“Well, food is served at six, twelve, and six. If you’s don’t get there in time, then don’t be surprised to not eat. I heard the budget sucks right now and so eating three meals isn’t a priority for everyone. I suggest not screwing off in class before lunch, because I know I hates loosing lunch because I was held back by the professor,” Jonah laughed and straightened up. “Also, don’t try and fight for any’s of it. The bigger kids got bigger for a reason.” He smiled suddenly, “Though I don’t knows what kind of fight you been in, but I hope you won and the other guy looks worse!” He laughed a high pitch squealing giggle and ran from the room.

Daniel sat down on his bed, the bottom bunk in the back of the room by the window, and thought about what the other child had said. He looked at his watch. He had three hours before meal was served for supper. After supper Annis, the woman who ran the home for needy and discarded children, said that he would get his assignments for the week. The assignments were chores and such that children did in places like this between the class’s three professors came in to teach six times a week and between meal times. He reached down into his jeans pocket and pulled out the brochure on the place that Alecia had handed to him.

“I cannot place you in another home right now. I need you to go to this place instead and wait for a home to open up for you. It’s like a boarding school for orphans. I think you’ll be safe to heal there and get a good education as well,” she had explained.

Daniel sighed and threw himself back onto his own quilt. A place full of other children and it sounded like it was mostly take care of oneself and hope to survive. His ribs screamed in protest as he sighed harder. His hand once again came up and rubbed along his only possession from before his memories disappeared. Who had given it to him?

~*~Ma~*~

Jonah hadn’t been joking about the wolf mentality of the children in the place. First meal was like being thrown into a cage of twenty children and only one bowl for everyone. His left arm protested as he reached quickly for a biscuit before a larger and older child could get it from the main plate in front of him. Someone had placed multiple serving dishes out with food in the center of the table and then Annis had opened the main doors to the dining area and left the room; as soon as she had shut the doors behind her the chaos had emerged from the quiet children. No one screamed or shouted at each other, but the hands grabbed frantically at whatever they could get onto their own plates and as fast as they could get onto their own plate. Daniel, in a lot of pain now that he had over extended his broken arm and pushed against the table with one of his bruised ribs, had only been able to grab one biscuit and a scoop of mac’n’cheese from a large bowl before everything had been taken.

He looked around at all of the kids in the room. Everyone was ten or older in this room; Jonah was probably in with the younger kids in the other dining room next door. He quickly ate what was on his plate and saw other kids doing the same. There hadn’t been enough food, though. He realized that even his frantic grabbing had been just about the same as everyone else. Meager portions had been served on them all.

As he downed the last of his water glass the doors opened again and a hand bell rang. Everyone stood up and walked towards the large bathrooms down the hall to wash their hands and faces and then to start on their evening assignments. Daniel walked to the door and waited next to Annis as she watched the boys and girls go their separate ways. “Follow me Daniel and I will set you with some assignments,” she said in a gentle but firm voice. They walked down and passed the bathroom doors and into a small office.

One side of the office was a wall of books. Old books from the looks of them and Daniel wondered who even ever read papered books in this day. Even the poorest of poor was able to get a second hand reader from a thrift store now for about thirty dollars and borrow books from the library on it. He had a reader that Alecia had given him to have his school texts downloaded onto no matter where he went. Annis followed his gaze as he casually looked over the titles of them all. “They are antiques. If you want to read a title we can have it downloaded onto your reader for you,” she answered casually. He smiled a bit and nodded. Taking his seat in front of the large desk he noticed more around the room. Her vid phone, her computer, and her own personal note pad were all on standby on her desk. She went around her desk and turned on her note pad. “I think this week I shall put you in on kitchen duty. Do you know how to scrub and clean properly?” she asked him. He nodded and remembered Mrs. Snow and her kind lessons. She stood back up after typing quickly on the touch screen lying on her desk.

Daniel stood as well and followed her out of the room. They passed by the bathrooms again, this time Daniel could see in both of them as kids cleaned them and some kids walked with large push brooms down the hall passed them shoving dirt and dust down to the end. He could hear a vacuum somewhere up the stairs and above him. They passed the two dining rooms and into the kitchens. A huge machine with steam coming from it was being loaded with plastic crates full of dishes. Two older kids were rinsing the plates and such in a large sink and loading the crates as another child put them on the conveyer belt to be shoved into the washer. Another child was taking them from the end of the machine and stacking them to dry in a corner. The kids all looked up as Annis walked in. “This is Daniel, everyone. He will be on this assignment this week with you all. He will go in with your rotation. Daniel, this is Marie, Annie, Mike and Bryan.” Marie and Bryan were rinsing the dishes, Annie was loading the dish washing machine, and Mike was stacking the crates at the end. “Daniel I think it would be best if you swept floor and washed it after everyone is finished with the dishes. After you sweep, while you’re waiting for the dishes to be done, it would be best if you grabbed a few towels and dried the dishes and put them away. The others will join you as soon as they are finished with their current tasks.” He nodded and went and grabbed a large broom. Annis walked out of the room.

No one seemed to talk much as they cleaned up the large kitchen. Daniel liked that just fine. He didn’t want to make any friends here. He knew that soon enough he would be moving on to another home and hopefully soon his real family will come for him.

~*~Ma~*~

He was correct in assuming he would be staying very long. Two long weeks of barely eating enough to fill him in any meal and Alecia showed up and told him to pack his bag again.

His new family was again a small dwelling. A woman and man and a younger boy, a seven year old foster child, stood on the porch in the crisp afternoon to great him as he slowly brought himself from his social worker’s car. The woman wore baggy jeans, a large sweater, and a kind smile. Her hair was cut shorter than Daniel’s and was a touch lighter in its brown color. The man was of a larger built. He wore a nice fitting sweater vest over a dress shirt and blue dress pants. His blonde hair was cut in a professional way that made Daniel think of a lawyer like the ones he had seen on daytime television. The other boy was of an Asian decent and had slightly long hair brought back into a tight pony. For some reason Daniel thought it looked vaguely familiar. Like this child reminded him of someone he knew and he felt a giddy feeling come over him as he smiled brightly toward the child. He didn’t know why but he could feel a wonderful sense of joy come over him.

They guided them into a wonderfully decorated house. Flowers adorned the mantle, knickknacks of miniature houses were on shelves high toward the ceiling and surrounding the living room area showed a sense of taste for lovely things. Portraits of paintings of people who could have been family members of past were hanging on the walls around him as he sat on a plain white couch. The carpet was wonderful under his socks and soft in color and feeling. He could see into the dining room where a large table with an old fashion candelabra type chandelier hung above. Later he would find out that the bulbs inside the chandelier even flickered like candles and made eating a wonderfully relaxed feeling. The pictures on the wall in the dining room were of old fashion settings of the United States during the colonial times with horse drawn carriages and streets full of people in older clothing.

There were only two rooms on the second story. The master room was closed off and Daniel was told that he was not allowed to enter in there. He would share the other bedroom, not terribly small, with the little boy, Chia Xiao. There were two twin size beds in the room and a large picture window with a bench in front of it.

Kira and Justin Mack seemed like the perfect family for him after the Hell he had been through the last few times. The adults left Daniel to unpack in the dresser, telling him he had the top two drawers of the four drawer dresser. Chia sat on the bed covered with a cartoon character comforter. Duo placed his bag on top of the other bed, one with a generic brown and red patterned comforter.

“Chia, what should we do before supper is served?” Daniel asked the little boy who sat quietly across from him on his bed. Chia smiled shyly from the other bed and pointed to the closet door. Daniel stood up and opened the door. Inside were shelves full of board games. “You like board games, huh?” Chia nodded. “Okay,” Daniel reached up and pulled down Guess Who? “How about this one?” he asked the little boy. Chia finally smiled bright enough to show off his teeth, including the fact that he was missing a top front tooth. Daniel smiled as well and they both sat down to begin their game.

~*~ Tsuzuku ~*~

Normal parenting can be hard

I don’t know how many people who read my blog are parents, but let me just say that normal parenting is hard. Parenting one child is an endless decision and exhausting expirence as a whole. I love being a parent and I love my kids – all four (plus two) of them.

I have four little ones, ages 3, 4, 5 and 7 and two of my boyfriend’s, who are 15 and 17.

I have mentioned before that my little ones have challenges, and this keeps me running most of the time. My laundry is piled up (clean but I have no energy to fold and take the stairs to put away) and I rejoice when I get a room looking as awesome as I can.

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The living room/library. The pile in front there are the toys the kids need to bring back into their bedrooms.

I love it when I can say that I finished something that most moms do easily. “Sure,” you think, “you cleaned a room. The whole house should be done because kids live there!”

I wish that was the case, though. The kitchen is kept clean since I can’t stand cooking in dirt, and I don’t want to kill anyone. The kids’ rooms are barely traversable on most days. My stair way is becoming a member of the dirty laundry club since the kids have decided that is the best way to send their soiled items to my laundry room. I try to clear that daily. My mud room has never been unpacked and so we still go through the path to get from the stairs to the kitchen daily. I won’t mention the state of the media room, my bedroom, the laundry room or our stock room. I cleaned the living room and the kids were left unattended long enough to give me days of work. I know that my living room will be another hour of cleaning again tomorrow. Sadly, I have to work this weekend.

My normal day without appointments (meaning the days I work my retail job) are as follows:

5:30 am – finally turn off the alarm that has been blaring for a half hour. I don’t want to move. My bed has accepted me finally and I know it will feel rejected.

5:45 AM – hear the oldest boy’s therapy cat plunk down from his bed to come and greet me. It is now time to officially drag myself from my comfort. I meet Emrys, the cat, at the stairs. He runs back to wake his human for his breakfast. I throw last night’s washer into the dryer.

6:00 AM – oldest boy is now making my coffee while I try and get the youngest boy from his bed. Middle boy is dealing with the squealing guinea pig, Speedy, that he wanted so bad for his fifth birthday. Emrys is happily eating his kibbles bits as well. Youngest daughter is sitting in her night gown in the middle of the living room looking like she just got back from a rave.

6:15 AM – youngest boy might be up. The others are now playing instead of getting dressed. I am trying to drink a swig of caffeine.

6:45 AM – I am frantically getting into my uniform and yelling at the kids to help each other dress. Youngest boy is finally out of bed, but is naked now staring at his clothes. He has two outfits to chose from and he doesn’t like the one he will end up wearing, but the other choice will mean being himself and teased at school.

7:00 AM – we should be in the van and pulling out of our half mile drive way. We might be wrestling youngest boy into his clothes. Everyone else might be getting their shoes on.

7:10 AM – I am pulling a crying half naked youngest boy to the van. His shoes are in my hands. The others are carrying my coffee, phone, and keys. They might have their shoes on or are still barefoot. Hopefully someone grabbed their socks today. Oldest buckles in the youngest and the two others fight over the booster seats. I start the car and slowly try not to run over our kittens while I make my way finally down the drive.

7:15 AM – we are now on the dirt road leading to the highway. We are 15 minutes late.

7:30 AM – I am supposed to be clocking in at work. I am dragging a full tantrum four year old into the daycare now shoved into clothes hastily in the parking lot. The others are either following or using the key for the door to lock me out of the daycare “on accident”.

7:35 AM – I show up running into the front doors of my job. I get sympathetic smiles and told tohurry.

7:35 AM to 4:00 PM – I smile, help people find their things, joke around with coworkers, unload the trucks and do other things in a retail store. I might even cashier or bring in the carts.

4:15 PM – I park my van outside of the daycare and sit for five minutes to hear silence.

4:20 PM – I enter the preschool room and am immediately approached by one of the teachers for the run down of what my youngest two did that day. Daughter probably bullied or fought with someone. Youngest son lost his temper at some point or tantrumed until my sister was called to come calm him down. There might have been an issue with the dress up bin again with my youngest son, as well.

4:30 PM – enter school age room to find out what the other two did today. Gather soiled undies and clothes from middle child and cringe at whatever behavior needs correcting for oldest boy. We leave while I am still processing information given from the teachers. The ride home is me questioning them and usually not getting much real information.

5:00 PM – we start in on behavior correction. Youngest boy usually changes out of school clothes and into whatever clothes he passed up that morning when I gave him his choice.

5:30 PM – I make dinner while they are running in and out of the house.

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – dinner time. This usually means I have to figure out who doesn’t like what and take things off of other people’s plate.

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – reading, Lego’s, coloring, bath time, and then fighting over which bed and room the youngest boy will sleep in tonight. Bed time. I start dishes, putting kids back into bed, and feeling the day catch me.

8:00 PM to 9:00 PM – standing in the hallway between their bedrooms and browse my Facebook, text my sister, or my boyfriend and I whisper a conversation while we make sure the kids stay in their beds and go to sleep. I also gather the cats that the kids brought inside that need to be outside. Only Emrys stays inside to help the oldest when he is needed.

9:00 to when I go to sleep – kids might still be awake, school work needs doing, write a thousand words to another chapter of a story, or write on my blog. Maybe fall asleep at 9:00 just because I am that tired. Most nights I am up until midnight just to get school done or spend time with my boyfriend. I throw a load in the wash and take the dryer load to my pile. Maybe I will fold, but most likely I am showering and falling asleep.

Midnight to 5:00 AM – three of the four have woken up for drinks, nightmares, sleep walking, bathroom, or night terrors. They don’t do it at the same time, either. My sleep is now broken into naps. Time to start the next day and do it all over again.

Maybe it is my day off from retail and today we will be in the van going to our appointments…

I wonder sometimes if I should clean in the little five or ten minutes I have between each child’s crisis? Most of the time I just stand for a minute against a door or wall and center myself. My oldest boy will be 8 in September. I have been doing this for eight years.

This is my normal parenting. I didn’t even get into correcting speech, using signs, and their special needs things we deal with daily. I didn’t say much about my boyfriend or his two lovely daughters, because his shifts change and so some weeks I have their help and some I am on my own.

Then I also daydream, cram school knowledge into my head, learn more on how to help my kids with their challenges, and drift into my worlds for each story.

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Youngest boy walking as behavior modification. He had a very tough time at school and was still very angry.

Most days I think I am lucky the kids haven’t staged a coup d’etat. Now everyone knows why I might be late on a few chapters every so often!