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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's not you, it's me. Actually, it's YOU. Totally YOU!

Photo Credit
Darling Son,

We are in the throes of it- you and I. Although one could say parents and children are always in the throes of something, aren't they?

We've got this push-pull thing going on. You want so much to push when I ask you to pull. Then you just have to pull if I so much as suggest a push. You want to be your own young man- not just my son. You want independence and all the decision making power. Until you don't.  Suddenly you are incapable of the most mundane of tasks and you want me to do everything for you. That’s not annoying at all, by the way.

I tell you to take a shower and wash your hair. You tell me you'll wear a hat. I grab you a hat. And now you want to shower up. I recommend you wear a jacket. You tell me you don’t need it. And surprise surprise!  You're freezing 30 minutes later. I say "clean your room" and you tell me it's already "done."  There seems to be some confusion on the meaning of "done."  I'd say it means"complete". You say it means "good enough." For the record, your definition is wrong.

And so we are in this place of Mom vs Son. Conversations quickly becoming skirmishes. Wouldn't it just be faster to grab the jacket, take the shower, clean the entire room rather than argue about it? Apparently not.  I guess every argument, last word, and alternate suggestion is a small victory for you.

I miss your sweet. I remember your snuggly. This new Tough Guy with a pinch of huff and puff and a heaping spoon of attitude is not cute nor is it sweet. I'm a little sad, a tiny annoyed and a whole hell of a lot frustrated.


How did we get here? What did I do? What didn't I do?

For a moment I think "It's not you. It must be me."

Then I remember battles over hair styles and clothes, too much time on the telephone. and boys.  There were years of eyeballs rolling so high I'm surprised they never disappeared into my cranium. I can recall the sound of my own huffs and puffs with perfect clarity. And I definitely remember the words I said without using any words at all. I mastered "the look." The one that screamed "Whatever!" Oh and the hours spent sitting on the couch- defiance rippling off me in waves and the set of my shoulders that spoke of my unwillingness to listen. Oh the memories.

 And I think- It's not me at all. It's you. Totally and completely you.

You’re growing up. Sometimes faster than I want. Other times not nearly fast enough. This push-pull dance has gone on between mothers and their children since the beginning of Man. It’s normal and we will survive. Just like my mother and I did.

If you remember nothing else as we navigate through Those Years, my darling son, remember this: I
 love you. Fiercely. Passionately. Without end or beginning but everything in between. It just is.

And so, when it's you and not me, I will love you enough to stand my ground. I will love you enough to make you go back when you say it's "done" until it's really “done.” I will take away your prized electronics when you lie or disobey. And I will send you to your room because we do not tolerate eye rolling and words hidden under a breath.

And when we are in the thick of it during Those Years- the real ones coming down the pike- I'll love you enough to keep you home if I think your destination is not safe. I'll love you enough to say no when all the cool moms are saying yes. No matter how much you hate me for it. Because that's love.

When you were little, and Those Years were only those years, we said we loved one another to the moon and back. It remains that way for me- even when it's you and not me. And I think it's safe to say you love me that much as well- even when you know it's you and not me.

This growing up stuff is tough and it will just get tougher, from what I hear. But just remember- It's not me. It's you. Totally you. And I still love you.
It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it’s totally you.
That’s just my normal.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What we've got here is failure to communicate


 
 
 
 
 
Living in a house full of men, I spend the majority of my time being worshiped and adored completely ignored.  It's not that I'm not loved.  The fact that my children can't bear to be apart from me for the 2 minutes it takes me to pee, proves that.  Their desperate need to share their thoughts and feelings the moment I get on the phone with a friend clearly demonstrates their utter adoration.  And let's not forget the tokens of their affection they leave scattered around the house so I couldn't possibly miss them while they're away at school- socks, water bottles and globs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink.
 
You would think that with all these grand gestures, I'd be feeling the love 24/7 'round these parts.  Unfortunately, toothpaste and interruptions aside, I feel a little unloved and, well, invisible because no one does what I ask.
 
Initially, I concluded that the lack of response to most of what I say was due to one of the following reasons:
1. Everyone in my house must be deaf.
2. I only think I am speaking, yet I am in fact mute.
3. Being in possession of a penis somehow interferes with the ability to hear
 
A quick trip to the pediatrician several years ago ruled out #1. I know #2 can't be right because all my girlfriends hear me just fine when we meet up for Happy Hour. And let's not forget the fact that they think most of what I say is brilliant and wise- clearly a sign of good hearing and listening (and half price margaritas.)  And although I'm not 100% convinced there isn't some sort of penis-hearing correlation that science has yet to discover, my own "unofficial" experiment proved that even with a penis, a person can still listen if the information is presented in just the right way.
 
After years of in depth research into the male mind basically talking to myself I think I have finally solved this mystery! What we are experiencing here is not a failure to hear or even a failure to listen.  We are experiencing a failure to UNDERSTAND the words I am saying.  It's not a physiology thing, it's a vocabulary thing.  You see, the people in my house (mainly my children) obviously have a different interpretation of the things I'm saying.  They hear, they just misunderstand.
 
Luckily, I am a total word genius. Of course you knew this already, right? So I think I can clear up all this miscommunication going on and end a decade of chirping crickets whenever I speak.
 
11 Words or Phrases the Boys in My House Misunderstand
 
1. Gratitude
What it means: thanks, thankfulness, graciousness, appreciation
What it does NOT mean: Thanks, thankfulness, graciousness and appreciation ONLY when YOU get what YOU want.
 
2. Obedience
What it means: The act or practice of obeying, doing what you are told
What it does NOT mean: The act or practice of obeying, doing what you are told WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT.
 
3. Sleeping in
What it means: to be dormant, quiescent, or inactive
What it does NOT mean: Sleeping 3 minutes later than usual
 
4. Clean
What it means: free from foreign or extraneous matter
What it does NOT mean: I'm tired of picking up my room so I think I'll stop now and tell Mom it's done.
 
5. Ready
What it means: completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action
What it does NOT mean: Still needing to grab your hat and/or jacket and tie your shoes when it is time to leave for school
 
6. Funny
What it means: providing fun, causing amusement
What it does NOT mean: Tormenting your sibling until he finally cracks and punches you in the face
 
7.  Hungry
What it means: having a need for food
What it does NOT mean: Boredom, your tummy made a tiny sound so you must fill it, it's been 3 hours so you might as well eat
 
8. Bored
What it means: to weary by dullness, tedious repetition
What it does NOT mean: Too lazy to come up with something to do to entertain yourself
 
9.  Hurry
What it means: to move, proceed or act with haste
What it does NOT mean: to continue on at the same pace with no sense of urgency whatsoever
 
10.  Move, please
What it means: to politely ask someone to move from one place to another
What it does NOT mean: to politely ask someone to move from one place to the exact place your mother is trying to push the cart or maneuver the vacuum!
 
11. Sorry
What it means: feeling regret, sympathy or pity
What it does NOT mean: automatic absolution from any wrongdoing and avoidance of a consequence
 
 
So you see, my children are not suffering from some undiagnosed hearing problem and their genitalia is not preventing words from entering their ear or hindering the brain's ability to process said words.  What we have here is a simple failure to understand the words Mom is saying.  Thank God I figured this out!
 
I can safely assume that there will no longer be tiny heads in my face, waking me up from a dead sleep and giving me a heart attack at 7:03 on Saturday morning.  Tomorrow, when we are HURRYING out the door with the speed and agility of a cheetah, everyone will actually be READY, really ready.  Hat, shoes, jacket and backpack in place. And the next time we are in Target or the grocery store no toes will be crushed beneath the wheel of the cart because when Mom kindly says, "Move, please" my little darling will actually move OUT OF THE WAY, not simply in front of the cart. Most importantly, though, all these things will be done immediately, with only one request from Mom to her obedient children.  Right? Yeah, I didn't think so.
 
I'm still not 100% sure that a penis doesn't interfere with the ability to hear.
That's just my normal.
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Silent Milestones


When you’re a parent, Milestones come with the territory.  The baby industry has made sure we don’t miss any of them by providing month by month (and even week by week) descriptions of all the things our kids “should” be doing as they grow and develop. And, conveniently, they’ve created an assortment of products to sell us so we can commemorate each achievement. I just wish they’d tell us where we’re supposed to put all these photo books, growth charts and certificates! I’ve only got so much closet and wall space people!

For someone like me, milestones were not always a source of pride.  They totally stressed me out.  It was that I worried my kids weren’t “on track.” I am a firm believer that most kids learn to do most things before they leave for college, so why worry? I saw a lot of weird stuff in college, but no one was still working on potty training or suffering from binky separation anxiety.  Any falling down or slurred speech I encountered wasn’t from deficient development.  Typically it was from over-efficient consumption of alcohol.

What caused me to worry as a Milestone Marking Mama was the fact that I completely missed when one occurred or I couldn’t determine the right answer to put in The Baby Book.  For example: First Time Baby Rolled Over. Technically, Luke rolled over at his first doctor’s appointment after leaving the hospital. Was he a gifted 1 week old? No. He was totally pissed because the nurse took his diaper off.  So do I put that on the line in the book? I don’t know! Is this a test? Do I have multiple choice options? Did they mean the first time he meant to roll over? What’s the right answer!?

Then there was the mess with Baby’s First Word.  Well who the heck knows what his first word was? His first sounds strung together that were word-like were Da-Da.  But he pointed to everything and called it Da-Da.  He even called our mailman Da-Da one afternoon. That wasn’t awkward at all. Is there a spot in The Baby Book for “Identified Incorrect Baby Daddy?”

Let’s not get started on the walking and crawling stuff.  First of all, crawling is such a progression that it’s hard to determine when exactly to give the kid the cred he deserves.  We had the getting up on the knees, the rocking back and forth, the army crawl and eventually the alternating hands and knees movement.  So which one is the “official crawl.”  Which freaking date do I write in the book?!?! Oh, and walking? Luke never walked.  He would stand and sort of do this half step thing until one day he grabbed hold of this push toy walking thing and ran right by me.  Literally, ran right by me while I was on the phone.  Now I have to get White Out and change “First Steps” to “First Sprint.”  It’s all too much, I tell you.

This isn’t my first post about Milestones. Some of them are standard such as walking and words.  Some are silly like the ones I’ve shared before here.  Others, however, are more subtle.  Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s the exhaustion talking, but I’ve recently been struck by the Milestones that silently crept into my house.  These are the ones that mark major changes that have occurred,  in undetected and simple ways. These are the Silent Milestones.

Silent Milestones

1.   The day I realized there was not one Sippy Cup to be found in my home.  There is usually one lying around in the back of a drawer or tucked behind some dishes in the cabinet, right? It’s pesky valve collecting dust at the bottom of a drawer. At this point, however, I have officially cleaned house enough times that every Sippy Cup is gone- valves and all.
 
You used to haunt me with your mold-collecting valves.  Now I kind of miss you.
 

2.   My children are suddenly using real dishes.  Picnic wear and Toy Story plates are nowhere to be seen at mealtime.  I set 4 ceramic plates, 4 ceramic bowls and stainless forks and knives for everyone. Everyone is using real glass wear as well. (Please note, I rarely set the table but when I do this is what it looks like.)
 
You are officially off to "Infinity and Beyond," Buzz. 
 

3.   My oldest child is too big to eat off the Kids Menu. Not only does he order an adult portion, he finishes it.
 
"Are you sure you can  eat all that?"
"Duh, Mom!"
 

4.   The day I was sorting laundry and realized both boys have gotten so big I can’t distinguish which socks and boxers belong to which kid. 
 
Oh I miss you tiny undies
 

5.   The moment I realized I didn’t need to hang on to that old highchair or pack-n-play for a friend because there are no new babies on the way and there never will be because all of us have the families we’ve always wanted and officially “done.”
I'll miss digging my fat hand into your tiny crevices to extricate bits of crusty food.
 

6.   The day it finally occurred to me it was time to throw out those old bath toys because no one has used the bathtub in over a year. It’s only showers for these big boys.  
 
Goodbye bath buddies.
Farewell to your mold-infested water that accumulates in your bellies.
 

7.   The first year there was not a single toy on the Christmas Lists.  Not one.  Football jerseys, Xbox games, books and iTunes cards.  Not one single trip to Toys R Us, nothing to assemble late in the night on Christmas Eve, not even a bike to hide for weeks on end.
You've brought us hours of joy and taken a good portion of our money.
Adios, my friend.
 

These Silent Milestones don’t make me sad, per se.  I guess you could say they make me wistful and force me to take pause.  Although they signify the end of some things, they also represent the dawning of some new things- some great things.  I might not scrub heads in a bathtub any longer, but I do sit on the closed toilet lid and chat with the boys about school and friends and answer important questions while they wash their own hair.  I miss seeing Buzz Lightyear’s face smiling up at me from the plates in the sink, but it’s pretty cool that we sit around the table laughing and being silly while eating off our “real dishes.” And while I miss folding tiny boxers for Nate, I love that he is growing into himself- both physically and emotionally.  Every day he is less “Luke’s Brother” or “Our Youngest” and more Nate. That’s a beautiful thing. 

I scoffed when people told me, “You’ll miss this stuff in a few years. Time flies.” I’m still waiting for this supposed “flying time” of which “They” speak.  However, I can admit that “They” were right about one thing: I miss some of our “stuff.” And I’m glad that, although The Baby Book might not be 100% accurate, I can pull it out and enjoy remembering The Good ‘Ol Days when my kids were little.

Time isn’t flying, but it slowly sneaks by without me noticing at times.
That’s just my normal.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My life is a refrigerator magnet

Somehow, mothers in Africa have become my "guilt barometer." I've developed this bizarre habit of comparing my life with the lives of these women, ultimately, coming to the conclusion that I am a selfish white woman who should feel guilty.  All the time. 

"I feel guilty for grabbing coffee in the middle of the day.  Mothers in Africa don't get to hang out in Starbucks."

"I really wish I didn't have to work.  Wow, I'm a jerk.  Mothers in Africa would love the have the opportunity to work.  Now I feel guilty."

There are many reasons why this is one of the most ridiculous (on an extremely long list of ridiculous) things I do. First, in my mind all mothers in Africa live in tiny houses in the middle of nowhere.  This is an absurd and probably offensive stereotype.  In my defense, I did grow up in the "We Are The World" era. I blame the combination of Kenny Rogers, Cindy Lauper and Lionel Richie sharing a microphone- that can skew anyone's perception of reality. 

Second, if I have learned anything in my 10+ years riding this roller coaster called Motherhood, it's the universality of the motherhood experience.  Whether you live in America, Saudi Arabia, India or even Africa, all mothers lie awake at night and worry about their children. All struggle with making decisions about what to feed them, what freedoms to give them and how to discipline. And deep down inside we all fear that although we are doing our best, it might not be enough. That being said, mothers everywhere just want to pee alone.  We just want to clean the house and have it stay clean for longer than a few hours.  And sometimes we just want to sit down with a friend over a cup of coffee and share our hearts or giggle like teenagers.  Those aren't just Mothers in America things.

And third, almost every country in the world has a Starbucks so it's pretty likely that even moms in Africa can hit up a 'bucks with a girlfriend.

And so, I have decided enough is enough. Today I pulled the plug on this guilt thing. I have kicked it to the curb! I have given it entirely too much power in my life and in the words of the great Janet Jackson "what has it done for me lately?" (You know you're all singing that now, aren't you?) I'll tell you what all this guilt has done for me- a whole lotta nothing other than rob me of joy and make me an Eeyore of a person.  Woe is me. I can't do the things I want because I feel guilty.  Guilt can suck the fun right out of ya!

But no more, I tell you! As I had this epiphany today while running on the treadmill (Before you ask- Yes, I felt guilty for working out at 12:30 in the afternoon. Mothers in Africa probably didn't get to do that.) I realized that if I remove guilt from my life, I am going to have an insane amount of free time.  Like hours and hours of unoccupied mental space.  So what could I possibly fill it up with?

I've decided to take up macrame! I kid...

That's when I had my second epiphany- good thing they happened rather close together, I don't have much stamina and I was starting to huff and puff on the treadmill.  (Yes, I felt guilty for having a treadmill in my garage.  Mothers in Africa... well, you know where I'm going here...) I have decided to replace my guilt with gratitude.  Now don't you worry.  I won't become one of those annoyingly positive cheery people who smiles all the time and thinks the world is rainbows and unicorns.  There's way to much sarcasm running through these veins to become that person.  And as much as I want to smack myself in the back of the head for being a Negative Nelly I would want to throat punch myself if I started acting like Emmett from the Lego movie, singing "Everything is awesome!"

The simple truth is this- I am blessed beyond measure and I am able to do a million different things in this life.  Not everyone has that privilege.  But swimming in guilt or talking myself out of doing things that are reasonable simply because someone else doesn't have that opportunity will not change their circumstances.  But it will certainly change mine because in the end I am the one left with a missed opportunity.

So it's time to start doing things and doing them with joy and enthusiasm and without guilt. And most importantly, doing it with an attitude of gratitude.  I realize that is one step away from "everything is awesome" or an annoying refrigerator magnet.   But it's true nonetheless. There's a reason the refrigerator magnet industry makes billions.  (I totally made that statistic up, by the way.)

I will embrace the circumstances of my life- the good the bad and even the ones that talk back and leave their shoes all over the house- and I will do so graciously because even if mothers in Africa can't, I can. And I will do it for the both of us!

My life has become a refrigerator magnet.
That's just my normal.

P.S. Thanks to all you sweet readers who have emailed or messaged me looking for your dose of "normal." You're all incredibly kind.  Sometimes life gets so busy it's hard to find the time, the funny and even the words.  Thanks for being patient.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day in Photos: Courtesy of Spike

Upon returning home at 9:45 on Valentine's Day Eve, we discovered this...


The utter destruction of a class set of NBA valentines meticulously assembled by Nate.
 
 
 
 
 

The lollipop and slobber-encrusted socks I included in the teachers' Chinese take-out gift boxes.




The box carcass



The valentines stuck together by dog drool, excessive scotch tape and sticky wrappers.



Please note Spike's ability to eat the lollipop and the wrapper while
leaving the stick attached to the valentine.
Clearly we are working with a professional here.




I will spare you the horrifying images of what I saw at Walmart at 10:15
when I went to buy new valentines for Nate.
Let's just say I lasted approximately 4 minutes before I left and went to Vons
where I happily paid twice as much to avoid the crazies.
Too bad the Starbucks was already closed.
But the liquor aisle wasn't...
 


The Fort Knox barricade Hubs built to keep Spike confined to our carpet-free downstairs last night.
Why did we keep him downstairs?
Because no one wants to be awoken at 2 a.m. by the sound of their dog heaving
 his guts and 17 lollipop wrappers.

 
The moment I finally lost my shnizzle and stormed downstairs because I could not listen to Spike pace and attempt to knock down the barricade so he could get to us upstairs...
and probably barf on my carpet.

 

The barricade I attempted to navigate in the dark at 3:06 a.m.
Thank God I've done yoga because this took some serious maneuvering to get around!
(I went over the railing- in case you were wondering.)



There should be a picture here of my iPhone reading 3:10 a.m.
This was the time I finally go back into bed after giving Spike a piece of my mind.
But I was too tired to take a screen shot. 





The Morning After:
The pathetic look of Guilt and Shame
Or maybe a lollipop hangover.

 
Spike's replacements
No feeding necessary.
No shedding.
No pooping.
No bed-hogging.
No Valentine Massacring.
The Perfect Pet.

Anyone looking to adopt a dog? I might have one available immediately. Free.
Happy Valentine's Day.
That's just my normal.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This Mom is OK-Enough

Photo Credit
I find this parenting thing tough. I’m an expert in Mom Math; but other than that, I’m pretty a remedial student in the School of Motherhood. I’m not talking about the physical fatigue that rides shotgun with parenting. The running around, lugging laundry baskets, chasing basketballs down the street, getting in the car and out of the car and in the car and out of the car, and myriad of other Boot Camp-like maneuvers of parenting I can handle.  It’s the mental and emotional grunt work that has me heaving a heavy sigh most days.


I guess it would be like cruising through life dragging a giant tire behind you. Oh, and this tire is attached to a chain that’s strapped across your chest, making it hard to breathe, weighing you down and yanking you back when you are trying to move forward.  That massive tire has a name, by the way.  Its name is GUILT.
Is that the new Guilt Workout? I've read about that.
It's supposed to be so good for you legs and butt!
Photo Credit

As if making decisions (big and small) isn’t difficult enough! I have to do it with this giant thing hanging off me! Did I make the right decision? Should I have considered more options? Was I too hard? Was I too soft? Did I explain myself enough? Did I explain myself too much? Was I consistent? Was I too rigid?

Those are just the thoughts that plague me when I make a decision I’m pretty sure about.  Don’t even get me started on the mind games that begin when I am pretty certain there’s a strong possibility I blew it!

And what about all the other things I feel guilty about? The times I lose my shnizzle and yell at my kids just because I’m in a bad mood. What about the days I let them watch TV. until their eyeballs fall out of their heads? And let’s not forget the 10 ton pile of guilt trailing behind my car anytime I drive away from an establishment that provides food through a window.
 
However, none of the chest crushing guilt trips (literally and figuratively) that stem from indecisiveness or poor decisions comes close to the robe-tearing, teeth gnashing guilt I feel when I’ve totally and completely dropped the ball and epically failed. Like I did today.
For those of you not “in the know” today was the 100th Day of School for my children.  (Please note the fact that this piece of news determines my “in the know” factor saddens me.  I used to be somewhat cool.  Well, marginally cooler than I am now, at least.) You lucky parents with school-aged kids know that the 100th Day of School has become quite the big deal.  (Again, please note my life’s pathetic factor.) Schools around the country memorialize this momentous day with parties, treats and a whole laundry list of Pinterest-worthy activities.  Just Google it- you’ll be amazed how many ideas are out there. (On the bright side, I might be a loser for being “in the know” but at least I didn’t Pin or Post “10,001 100th Day of School Craft Ideas!”)

 A recent 100th Day activity I’ve seen getting some play is the “dress up like a 100 year old person.” Any of you seen those pictures floating around Facebook lately? They’re actually quite cute.  Little people with gray hair, using canes and walkers and wearing glasses.  Wait a minute, I have gray hair and wear glasses…
Anyway, last week I received an email from my 1st grader’s teacher informing us we would be celebrating the 100th Day of School by bringing 100 into the classroom.  They’d be working with numbers totaling 100 in Math.  100 words would be written for Spelling. As a class they would read 100 stories! But the piece de resistance would be 17 little 1st graders dressed up as an elderly person.  Or, a mom in her late 30’s… whatever.
I read the email. I made a mental note.  I mentally perused our costume bins upstairs to determine if we had anything100 year old-like.  I considered heading to Party City in search of a wig.  And then… I was distracted by work, or football practice, or homework, or dinner prep or, well, lint on the floor.  Who know what exactly derailed me from my Old Man costume musings.  But I was derailed nonetheless.  And the whimsical ideas of a tiny suit jacket and pen-drawn wrinkles disappeared into the ether until…
I received the following email at 12:39 yesterday afternoon We have had a wonderful morning!  We all made 100 math facts and 100 words.  We have counted by 2's, 5's and 10's to 100.  We have divided 100 donuts holes and 100 suckers with our class!  What wonderful Students!!!!”
Ooooooooohhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiittttt!
Today was the 100th Day of School and I totally and completely forgot. 
My kid happily went to school after an oddly smooth morning during which neither of my children needed a reminder to brush his teeth or grab a jacket (This should have been my first hint of impending doom) only to realize that everybody else dressed up and he didn’t because his mom is experiencing delayed short term memory loss due to potentially excessive partying despite her mother’s warnings her junior year in college.
Bring on the guilt. 
To some of you, this is no big deal.  So I forgot.  My kid will live.  He can’t be the only kid of a memory-challenged mother, right? This might be true.  But you are forgetting two very important factors here:
1.      This is my 4th consecutive year serving as a Room Mom and my 3rd year serving as the Elementary Room Mom Chair… for the entire elementary school.  Forgetting things is not in the job description.

2.      I may or may not have a secret fear that I have early onset Alzheimer’s.  (Please don’t send me hateful comments about making light of the tragic disease that is Alzheimer’s.  I know how painful that disease is.  And I’m not kidding when I say that I have a hypochondriac-like fear that I might have it.)
You see a year ago, I would have had “100th Day of School!!!” plastered all over my calendars- yes “calendarsssss”, plural, as in multiple, possibly 3.  I would have had a smiley face and maybe excessive exclamation marks and I would have sent out a reminder email to the parents in my class and maybe even a gentle “Don’t forget” text that morning.  A year ago I was on the ball.  Hell, I was the freaking ball!

But not this year.  This year, I’ve been run over by the ball only to have it circle back, reconfigure itself into a giant tire named Guilt and attach itself to my body.  This year, it doesn’t matter how many calendarsssss I have, how many emails I read or how wonderful my intentions are… my life is just that much more busy and hectic and full of details and minutia that I can’t keep it all straight.  And things, even wonderfully sweet things like the 100th Day of School and my niece selling Girl Scout Cookies, fall through the cracks. 

Girl Scout cookies, permission slips, football practice, grocery store...!
(I couldn't resist the most iconic "being chased by a ball" moment in cinematic history, ok?)


So I spent from 12:39 until 2:45 tearing up and berating myself for dropping the ball.  I convinced my early onset Alzheimer’s was not an irrational fear.  I lambasted myself for not writing it down.  I cried because I’m not “That Mom” any longer. Instead I’m “This Mom” and “This Mom” forgets much more than she ever did and the things she does remember must be written on a Post-It Note AND calendarsssssss. And even then, it’s highly probable “This Mom” will only remember at the last possible moment and she’ll be flying out the door, cursing herself and having to make one extra stop at the store just to grab the party item she signed up to bring.
So with a heavy heart I pulled up at school at 2:45 and apologetically faced my 1st grader.

Hey buddy.
Hey Mom.
I totally dropped the ball and forgot it was the 100th Day of School.
Yeah.
I’m really really sorry.  Are you mad?
I was at first. But then I remembered I had a beard in my pencil box so I just put that on.  It was awesome. So it’s cool.
Wow, I’m so glad to hear th…. Wait, what? You had a beard in your pencil box?
Yeah.  It was perfect.  I totally looked like an old guy.  It was awesome. Oh and I got to eat 5 donut holes and 5 lollipops. This was the best 100th Day of School ever!

The moral of the story… I’m doing Ok-Enough at this Motherhood thing.  My kid was resourceful and pulled out his spare beard he keeps in his pencil box. (WTF?) I had a hand in teaching him to be resourceful.  He happily enjoyed his junk food that created a layer of scrunge on his teeth that he dutifully brushed when he returned home from school. I definitely had a hand in teaching him the awesomeness of candy and the importance of good oral hygiene.  And at the end of the day, in spite of his lack of gray hair and cane, he looked back on this day with joy and contentment.  He didn’t need it to be perfect in order for it to be great. And maybe, just maybe, I had a hand in that too. 

I might have the short term memory of a 100 year old woman, but I’m doing Ok- Enough at this Motherhood gig.
That’s just my normal.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mom Math: The Only Math That Matters

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If I were currently a high school senior applying to college there would be no way on God’s green earth I would get in. Anywhere.  I was no dummy, but my “slightly above average” status (earned through hard work, persistence, and the loss of a many years of my father’s life as he sat at the kitchen table helping me “solve for x” when he was pretty sure there was no hope I’d ever be able to do it) yielded a measly 3.5 Grade Point Average, a 4 on the AP Government Test and 1150 on the SAT. My high school academic accomplishments were mildly impressive but nowhere near what is needed to get into college these days.

By the way, when did it become possible to earn a 6.0 GPA?

In my 20+ years post graduation, I have learned that, despite a mediocre performance in high school, one can still be quite successful in the Real World.  Complete a little college, toss in some life experience, get married, produce a few kids and voila! You are suddenly in the running for president of your local Mensa chapter and an Expert in your field of choice.
I am an Expert Mom.  I can successfully perform Expert Mom tasks. I can discuss Expert Mom issues with ease and confidence- whether or not anyone listens is a whole ‘nother story, of course.  I can even pass Expert Mom tests with flying colors. 
Dad, your blood, sweat and tears were not spilled in vain! The excruciating hours spent teaching me how to solve word problems have finally paid off! I am now fully proficient in Mom Math- the only math that matters.

Grab your #2 pencil because I’m about to test my mad Mom Math skillz.

1.      If a Mom has 2 children, each with their own backpack, jacket and lunchbox, and one child also has a report on George Washington that took 7 hours for the mom child to research, write, put together an authentic costume and produce a poster board full of visuals illustrating daily life in the 1700’s, how many school related items will be in the car when she arrives at school?

a.       7

b.      3

c.       14

d.      Cannot be solved because there is no way to predict how many items will be left at home no matter how many times Mom reminds them to grab their stuff.

2.      If a mom says, “Put your shoes on” 27 times in 15 minutes, what is the probability that her children will get their shoes on?

a.       1:3

b.      27:15

c.       15:27

d.      0- No one listens to her anyway

3.      If a mom has to leave the house by 7:30 a.m. to get her children to school on time, what time will she have to begin waking up her children if it takes them 20 minutes to put on 4 items of clothing, 17 minutes to walk down the stairs, 37 minutes to eat breakfast, 19 minutes to brush their teeth, 13 minutes to get into the car and 25 minutes to drive to school?

a.       5:37 a.m.

b.      5:00 a.m.

c.       6:15 a.m.

d.      The night before

4.      If a mom gets the Doctor Recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, eats a well balanced diet, consistently exercises and practices breathing techniques proven to lessen stress levels, how many times per day will she burst into tears without explanation?

a.       0

b.      2

c.       7

d.      Cannot be measured by modern technology

5.      If a mom is driving to the grocery store with 3 kids in the car, traveling at an average of 50 miles per hour for 12 minutes how many times will she yell, “Knock it off! Stop touching each other!” before she arrives at the store?

a.       0

b.      3

c.       4

d.      Enough to ensure everyone is crying by the time she arrives

6.      What percentage represents the number of times a dinner provided by a mom is met with the following response, “Yay! I love that meal!”?

a.       10% of the time

b.      25% of the time

c.       33% of the time

d.      100% of the time if the meal provided is pizza or anything else not prepared at home

7.      If a mom reminds her child to bring home his jacket, every day for 132 days what is the probability he will bring home said jacket?

a.        1:132

b.      5:132

c.       132:132

d.      What jacket?

8.      A woman’s husband has called and said he will not be home for dinner.  Her response is:

a.       Sadness because she loves her husband so much and wants to be with him at all times

b.      Anger because she spent hours preparing a gourmet meal that he and their children are certain to enjoy

c.       Understanding because she knows how hard he works to provide for their family

d.      A fist pump and cheer because now she can serve cereal and chips for dinner!

9.      The relationship between the age of a mother’s children and her weekly consumption of alcohol is

a.       Not related

b.      Mildly related

c.       Strongly related

d.      Identical: 10 year old kid = 10 drinks/week

10.  The average mom feels guilty

a.       When she yells

b.      When she gets frustrated with her children

c.       When she wants time for herself

d.      When she is breathing

Answer Key:
D. Every answer is D.
(Take that “slightly above average”!)

I’m a genius in the things that matter.
That’s just my normal.
 
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