Friday, October 2, 2015

Favorite Kind of Kid

I’m getting better at asking for clarification when someone, anyone, asks me a question that I don’t understand.

So when Lyss asked me last night what my favorite kind of kid was, I quipped, “A sleeping one.” Then, after she got over her outrage at the fact that Liv was sleeping and thus must be the favorite, she asked again.

The second time, I took her a little more seriously and said, “I don’t even understand that question.”

She thought about how to clarify it but couldn’t quite figure out how to ask what she wanted to know. She said, “Do you like babies best or little kids?”

Ahh, I thought. I get it.

“No,” I told her. “My current favorite kind of kid is the twelve year old and eight year old varieties.”

She grinned with satisfaction. But then she wanted to know why that as the case.

I returned her smile. “I like the ages you guys are now because you’re way more fun now. Babies are boring and needy. They’re lumps who poop and cry and sleep, or in the case of you and Liv, lumps that poo and cry and I tried to make sleep.”

And honestly, the more I thought about it, it’s all true. I mean, sure, I knew that’s what she wanted to hear but I really do love the ages the girls are right now. They’re independent, they’re self-sufficient (for the most part), they can talk to me and tell me if something is bothering them and they can do fun things like go to movies and restaurants without it being a huge production.

These girls are both as such awesome stages right now. They’re people with thoughts and feelings and worries and imaginations and stories and experiences. They talk to me all the time and while it might get tedious sometimes, most of the time, I marvel at amazing they are, how awesome it is that I’m there to hear their thoughts, their ideas. They’re mine as much as I’m theirs and I like to think that we’re all so very lucky to have each other.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

No, Seriously!

I feel like my job as the parent of an almost-teenage girl is complete as of a couple of weeks ago.

We were heading into our small-town grocery store because we while we didn’t need a bunch of groceries, we did need a few specialty items and I’m willing to pay the outrageous prices charged at the locally owned store and save myself twelve miles (one way!) of travel.

So we’d parked and I helped O out of the backseat of the car. Lyss was at the front of the car waiting for us and for some reason I quoted a Monty Python bit. You know the one about the newt? Yeah, that one.

As I got to the “Well, I got better…” part, Lyssie hissed, “Mom, seriously!”

Which, hahahahaha. Oh yes, I’ve so wanted to hear that from at least one of my daughters. It was glorious.

See, the grocery store is in the same town as the girls’ school and A knew that there was the very real possibility seeing someone she knows, someone she might actually not want to hear her mother being ridiculous.

I laughed through the entire store as we picked up bacon bits and Dr Pepper and a gumball for Liv.

My work here is almost complete. Now, in just a few years I just have to manage to elicit a similar reaction from Livie and we can all retire to a lovely condo in Florida.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

But Seriously

Alyssa asked me last night if I take myself too seriously.

Ha. Hahahahaha. Oh, how I laughed.

Then, when I got myself back under control, I asked her who sat at the computer desk mere hours before caterwauling about being rubbed the right way?

Yes, I was singing a Christina Aguilera song. But I’d taken the sexual connotation out of it. My neck hurt and I just wanted someone, ANYONE, to rub it and make it feel a little better. Heck, even Liv’s weak little hands helped a little when she deigned to come up to me and nudge my neck with the back of her hand for three seconds.

By the time we sat down to dinner, everyone, including me was tired of my whining. I sat at the end of the table with my face in my hands, looking miserable and quite possibly insane. Alyssa asked, “What is wrong with you?”

Tom, from across the room, said, “She’s having a meltdown.”

Which, yes. I believe I was. And yet I was aware of how ridiculous it all was even in the middle of my meltdown. I managed to pull myself together enough to finish dinner and even do the dishes. But damn, I really wish someone in my family would take my requests for a neck rub seriously. I supposed if I were to just ask, you know, in a normal sort of voice, instead of wailing for all the world to hear, they might actually listen and react appropriately.

But back to Lyss’s question…no, I don’t think, most of the time, I take myself too seriously.

Where did this question come from, you ask? Why, let me tell you!

A few weeks ago she asked why I let her watch Z Nation, a zombie show that airs on the Sci-Fi network, but I won’t let her watch The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead.

I tried to explain to her that I let her watch Z Nation because it’s a show that doesn’t take itself seriously. I mean, come on, it’s a show that has glow in the dark zombies, for Pete Sakes. And there’s a dude in trapped in the arctic circle with only a dog for a companion who talks to the survivors via police radio and other cobbled together devices. It’s all kinds of awesome.

On the other hand, the Walking Dead shows take themselves WAY too seriously, which is why they’re scarier and less likely to be approved by this mom for her twelve-year-old to watch. There is so much more psychological horror on those shows than zombie issues.

But I admit to enjoying all the shows mentioned above. I get a laugh out of Z Nation and I get delicious chills of terror from the Walking Dead shows. It’s sort of like Hannibal. That show was gruesome and so very serious and yet beautiful and artistic. It took itself way too seriously and it was awesome.

So okay, there may be times when I take myself too seriously (last Friday’s post about suffocating on monotony? Yes, a bit too serious.) but I’d like to think that I also make fun of myself on a regular basis, even in the middle of melting down. I mean, come on, anyone who sits around warbling about being a genie in a bottle can’t be taking themselves too seriously, right? Right.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When It Rains the Bees Sting

Olivia was out of school three days last week with Strep. She was diagnosed on Monday evening at Urgent Care, sent off with me to get a prescription for an antibiotic and then home to spend Tuesday through Thursday on the couch with her dad.

We sent her to school on Friday with soft foods in her lunch because this bout of strep messed up her poor mouth. She had a sore under her tongue, another on the upper left inside of her cheek; her gums were raw but never quite bloody. It was awful.

I had her rinse her mouth every evening with a mix of peroxide and Benadryl (a suggestion from the Urgent Care doctor) and then with salt water (a suggestion from Liv’s Gram.)

As of yesterday, the sores were mostly healed, thank goodness. Because, ugh! Mouth sores are gross. Oh, and they make it hard to eat because, yes, sores. She’s eating much better these days and not just cream of chicken soup and applesauce, so there’s that.

So I was happy as I went home last night thinking that I’d be greeted by a couple of happy, healthy girls.

Instead, as I pulled into the driveway, I found a sobbing Olivia. She was crying because she’d run from the barn to the garage to meet me and Orville, that silly cat, had run with her and he terrifies her. She was so upset at his mere presence that I had to hold her for ten minutes just to calm her pounding heart.

Once she’d settled a bit, she told me she’d been stung by a bee that day while at recess.

This is the second time this year she’s been stung during recess at school.

I would REALLY like it if the school would do something about the bees, obviously.

I mean, come on! We just got this kid over freaking strep throat and she comes home with a bee sting.

I put some baking soda on her hand, gave her a dose of Benadryl and we went about our evening.

This morning when she woke up, Olivia showed me her hand. It was swollen, red and hot. Yikes! We put some Benadryl cream on it and then I gave her some more Benadryl liquid in hopes of counteracting her reaction to the sting.

I also sent her teacher a note, letting her know that O’s hand was swollen from the bee sting (THAT SHE RECEIVED AT SCHOOL!) and she’d probably have trouble writing that day.

Sigh. My poor baby can’t seem to catch a break. First strep, then bees and finally, a terrifying encounter with Orville. She needs to be swaddled in bubble wrap and put on a high shelf where she’s out of danger of infection, bees and cats.

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Face Lies

There must have been something about my face last weekend that said, “Talk to me, I care!”

Because of this apparent sign on my forehead, the women manning the drive thru windows at our local Wendy’s chose to vent their troubles to me in the fifteen seconds I had to spend with each of them.

We’d stopped at Wendy’s because the girls wanted Frosties. I get them as we’re heading to the grocery store and they eat them while we shop.

When I first pulled up to the speaker at the drive thru, the voice said, “One moment please.”

Okay, no biggie. We waited. The voice came back and tried to interest us in a combo. I replied, “No thank you, we’d just like two small vanilla Frosties, please.”

She told me the total and asked me to drive up to the first window.

I did just that. When I got there, the woman inside the window hissed, “I have to take the orders AND the money today!”

“Oh,” I said, startled by the venom in her voice. “I’m sorry you’re having a tough day.”

“Yeah,” she went on. “It’s a bunch of shit! I don’t get to leave until five this afternoon. I was supposed to come in at ten but we had a morning meeting at nine thirty and so I’ve been here since seven thirty. And I haven’t even had a break.”

Okay then. Since I didn’t have any change coming, I put the car in gear and said, “Well, I hope your day gets better.”

Then I turned to Alyssa, who was in the front passenger seat and rolled my eyes.

We pulled up to the second window to get the Frosties. At that point, the woman in charge of giving out the food handed the Frosties out to me. She was slightly out of breath.

“Sorry!” she said as she gave me a couple of spoons. “I had to walk all the way over to the Frosty machine to get these for you.”

“Thank you!” I called out and then we drove away before she could tell me anything else.

Alyssa laughed. “What is it, like ten feet from the window to the Frosty machine?”

“I know!” I said, laughing too. “What was wrong with those women? And does my face say, ‘Talk to me, I care?’ Because if it does, my face LIES!”

This caused Alyssa to fall into a fit of laughter that almost made her drop her Frosty.

I’m all for caring about our fellow (wo)man but damn, those ladies needed an intervention. Or maybe a vacation.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I feel like I’ve settled into a sort of monotony that is overwhelming me.

Every single day feels exactly like the day before. I get up, go to work, come home, do the home work and go to bed. Repeat ad nauseum.

There is so much I need to do around the house but it doesn’t get done because I’m either tired or the girls need attention or I just don’t want to do anything that is on the to-do list.

The to-do list is so overwhelming that I just don’t even think about it most of the time. Which is obviously part of the problem. The longer I don’t do anything, the longer the list gets and it’s all a vicious cycle.

I need something. Something to motivate me to break out of this monotony, this feeling of suffocating every single day.

See, part of my problem is that I know I have nothing to complain about. My kids are awesome. They make every single day worth waking up. The stories they tell me, the love I feel for them when I glance across the room or down into my lap if one of them is laying on me is so enormous. I am filled with gratitude that they’re mine, that I get to be their mother.

It’s not them. It’s me. I’m at this weird place where I don’t know what to do next. Where am I going? What am I doing? How am I changing even my own little corner of the world? How can I make every single day feel a little less ordinary, a little more exciting, a little more productive?

I’ll figure it out. I always do. I just…I guess I just need to keep breathing until the answer comes.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

High School Football...How I Loathe Thee

My high school was so small that when I was a freshman, the administration realized we simply didn’t have enough boys to go out for the football team. So they cancelled football. Yay? Well, yes, yay for me because I was in the band and that meant that when we had a football team, we had to play during the game.

So I only had to deal with one year of high school football before they did away with that particular torgure at my high school.

Alas, even though Alyssa’s school is almost as small as mine was, they grow those farm boys bigger and more aggressive twenty miles to the east of where I grew up. So yes, Lyss’s school has a football team.

Last weekend, the junior high band was invited to play with the high school band during the halftime of the football game.

Alyssa was excited for so many things. Of course she was excited to play with the high school band but she was also excited to spend an evening with her friends in the bleachers, to go to an actual football game. She’d never attended one before, because, duh, I didn’t want to go and Tom’s not a big fan of watching a game where he knows exactly no one on the team.

So seventh grade was the first year she attended a high school football game.

I drove her to the school at 5:00 because that’s when the band had to be there. I then went home, made dinner for Olivia, napped for fifteen minutes, because, um, I could. And then at 6:15, I headed back to the school.

See, I wanted to be there to watch Alyssa and the band play. Of course I did. My first born was playing in the marching band. It was a big deal. At least to me.

But this meant I had to endure the first half of the stinking football game before she’d take the field with her trusty flute.

I stood to the side of the bleachers and pretended to watch the game occasionally but mostly, I tried to stay out of the way of people who were obviously there to actually watch the game. It was so boring. It was also loud and the first half seemed to last for freaking ever.

With about five minutes left in the game, the elementary school secretary walked up to me. See, her mom and my mom are neighbors and they used to commute to work together before they both retired. So we have a vague connection outside of school. Let’s call her Mrs. A since her last name actually starts with an A. I’m clever like that, you know.

Mrs. A found me standing in my stupor of boredom and asked me, “Please tell me I’m not the only one who loathes things like this.”

It was as if I were Anne Shirley and had just caught of glimpse of Diana Berry across the lawn at the garden party. Mrs. A and I were instant bosom friends as we bonded of just how awful football is.

Actually, we bonded over how much we both hate almost every organized sport.

She was there for the same reason I was, her daughter is in the junior high band and yay, they were both playing that night.

The five minutes left in the first half took at least twenty minutes to pass and finally…FINALLY, the band took the field. We laughed over how H, Mrs. A’s daughter is probably smaller than the instrument she was playing and how flipping loud the piccolo was. We marveled over the dedication shown by the football players and cheerleaders who were also in the band. It was cool to see kids who didn’t choose between activities. Those kids were showing everyone that you can do it all if you want.

I didn’t want, though. I wanted to go home.

But, because I’m an awesome mom (in my head, please don’t burst my bubble) when they were all done and we’d told the kids how awesome they were, I asked Lyss if she wanted to stay and hang out with her friends or if she was ready to go home.

Bless her, she said, “Ugh, let’s go home. Football is so boring!”

That’s my girl.