Monday, March 31, 2014

Why We Quit

It’s been a hell of a winter here in the Midwest. We all know that. We know that there has been record numbers of days below zero, record numbers of snow fall and even record numbers of days school was closed.

We have had it with winter, is what I’m saying.

But school wasn’t the only thing cancelled a lot this winter.

Because of the crappy weather, the girls went to gymnastics only twice in January, once in February and twice in March. Some of these cancellations were because the gym was closed due to weather but most of them were us just deciding that the roads were crappy and we didn’t want to drive the eighteen miles to and from the gym in the dark, below-zero weather.

I paid for each month in full, of course.

I’d realized back in October that Alyssa didn’t seem to be getting as much out of this year as she had in years past. I don’t know if it was the coach, the new management , or, yes, even just because Alyssa wasn’t as into it herself.

Olivia was enjoying her class very much, though she often turned it into a one-woman yoga class more than a kinder gym with actual classmates.

We missed class two weeks ago due to O’s kindergarten program, which was definitely worth the missing of class.

Last week the girls were on spring break (we had temps in the twenties and low thirties all week, thanks Mother Nature) and I called my mom on Thursday as I was leaving town to tell her to have the girls change so they’d be ready to jump in the car when I got there.

She told me Alyssa had said her stomach hurt and wasn’t going to go, so there was no rush to get Olivia ready since O’s class didn’t start until an hour later.

So…Alyssa wasn’t going to class. Again.

I decided then and there we are done. I’m not paying for these classes anymore when we make not even half of the classes each month. The girls are plenty active at home and O’s social skills are improving at school. Maybe next fall we’ll find a ballet class for Olivia. Maybe not. We’ll see.

But for now, we’re going to enjoy our Thursdays and the little extra cash that will no doubt be nowhere to be found even though we won’t be spending it at the gym.

When I got to my mom’s and told Alyssa what I’d decided, she gave a look of relief. She agreed that it felt like a wasted year and was glad to call it quits. Olivia…well, we didn’t actually discuss it with her but she’s kind of a go with the flow kind of gal. She’ll be fine.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hair Today

Alyssa loves movies/television as much as I do. I’m oddly proud and dismayed all at the same time by how much I’ve influenced this child and her leisure activities.

She especially likes to watch movies and get ideas on how to do her hair.

The first time we dyed her hair blue was because she loved the look on the mermaid played by Sara Paxton in the movie Aquamarine.

The summer after that, she wanted me to dye her hair dark brown so it would look more like Katniss’s hair from Hunger Games. She loved having me braid it from one side to the other, just like Katniss wears hers in movie.

Last fall after I got about eight inches cut off my hair, Alyssa wanted her hair cut. I put it off for several weeks because I wanted her to be sure. She insisted she was. So we went for it and got her hair cut to just below her shoulders.

She loved it…at first.

This morning, though, she declared, “I blame you for my hair not being long anymore.”


First of all, it’s grown out quite a bit since that cut back in September. Second, I made her wait to be sure SHE wanted her hair cut.

But whatever. I can take the blame. It’s what moms do, right?

But what had her in such a snit about her hair not being long like it once was?

She’d requested that I braid her hair like Elsa’s from Frozen. Alas, even several inches longer than it was back when she first got it cut, her hair is not as long as Elsa’s. I was still able to do a pretty close approximation to the Elsa braid but it doesn’t drape over her shoulder the way Elsa’s does.

But then, the Katniss braid no longer drapes the way Jennifer Lawrence's does either. But we make do.

We arrived at my mom’s this morning with A and O sporting the E and A braids from Frozen, the favorite movie of most girls these days. They were both pretty proud of their hair this morning.

I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the results. Alas, I'm not nearly as good at this picture/blogging thing as I'd like.

I was just glad we’d managed to brush their hair this morning. We weren’t quite that productive yesterday, or the day before or…you get my drift.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I am one of approximately 10% of the population who is left-handed. Of those ten percent, I’m one who does everything with my left hand, as opposed to those who just write and eat with their left hand but do everything else right-handed.

Oh no, when I say everything, I mean everything. I bowl left-handed, I putt (I’ve only ever play mini golf but I promise that if I were to ever actually attempt to golf I’d do it left-handed), I bat and I even use a bow and arrow left-handed.

I’ve been known to call my right hand my ‘stupid’ hand. It’s just there as support for Leftie.

I do, however, use my right hand to manipulate the computer mouse (that is not a euphemism.)

In fact, I realized that other day that being left-handed has its advantages when working at a computer. My boss, who happens to be right-handed, is my backup for one of the jobs that I do daily. When I’m not here, he performs that duty. And it typically takes him a little longer than it takes me.

As I sat that other day, doing that very job, it occurred to me that being able to write with my left hand while clicking away with the mouse using my right hand makes my job easier and faster.

A right-handed person has to stop what they’re doing with the mouse, pick up a pen, write something down and then go back to the mouse. As a leftie, I never have to put the pen down, I can keep clicking away with my right hand while writing with my left.

My right hand is no longer just a support to the left. It is finally holding its own.

Ha! Perhaps it’s becoming a left-handed world. After years of cutting paper with scissors designed for the right hand and hurting my left thumb while doing it, this fills me with just a little bit of glee.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Superman Shirts

I bought my first shirt with the Superman “S” on it last spring. I found it in the Junior section at Kohl’s. Yes, I am a 42 year old woman who bought a shirt from the Junior section.

Why was I shopping in that section of the store? Duh, they don’t tend to stock Superman shirts in the Women’s department. What grown woman wants to buy a Superman shirt?

That’s right, I do. I wanted that shirt the minute I saw it. I went back and forth on whether I should even try it on. I told myself I was too old to wear a Superman shirt. I insisted, in my head, that I was being ridiculous and everyone would look at me and think, “What is she wearing? She’s way too old to wear that.”

But Alyssa was with me and she told me I should at least try it on. She’s a sweet one, that girl.

So I tried it on. And I wanted it. Oh, how I wanted that shirt. And, bonus, it was on sale for $4. But still I dithered. Did I dare buy it? Would I even have the nerve to wear it if I did purchase it?

Alyssa grew exasperated. “Just buy it, Mom! You’re not too old and even if you are, well, tomorrow you’ll be even older and you’ll definitely not buy it.”

She was right. I bought the shirt. I wore that shirt proudly and never once felt like anyone was looking me like they thought I was too old to wear it. And over the past year, I’d bought three other Superman shirts, each one a little different from the others.

What she said made me think. Today, I am older than I’ve ever been. But I’m also younger than I’ll ever be again. So damn it, I’m going to wear the hell out of those Superman shirts.

In fact, I wore one of them last Saturday when the girls and I met friends to go roller skating. When the other mom and her girls showed up, she exclaimed, “I love your shirt!”

She called to her daughter to show her what I was wearing and she declared her love for it too.

D, the mom, said, “I have a Superman shirt. I love it. But I’m often nervous to wear it. I’m so glad you wore yours and I’ll be wearing mine more often too.”

I love that by getting over myself I might just be helping other women who might be close to my age get over themselves too.

Because like I said we may be as old as we’ve ever been but we’re never going to be this young again, we may as well embrace it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This Girl

Is only eleven years old but looks sixteen in this picture.

She’s grouchy one minute and clingy the next. She’s always reading, unless she’s on her tablet, killing zombies and building whatever is built in Minecraft.

She wants independence even as she holds tight to childhood.

She’s at that amazing age where we are lucky she wants to be near us and grateful when she doesn’t.

I can’t keep up with her as she outgrows pants and shoes but still sleeps with Bubby the stuffed dog.

She hasn’t missed a day of school this year and yet celebrated every single snow day like a veritable delinquent glad for an excused absence.

She’s got one foot in the teen years even as she looks back at seven with wonder.

She amazes me even as she frustrates me.

I remind myself every single day how lucky I am to be on this journey with her, to hopefully guide her and help her navigate the tough world of the preteen years and the coming, gasp, teenage years. She’s challenging even as she’s inspiring. I’m just along for the ride, holding tight to her coattails, hoping she’ll let me stick around the edges of her life a little longer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Bear Hunt

Olivia’s class put on a show for us last night.

The class has been preparing for this for over a month. O’s been singing the songs they’ve learned for the past couple of weeks. She sings in the car, at home doing flips, in the bathtub. I love listening to her sing.

Alas, last night, while on the second step of a set of risers, Olivia did not sing. She stood there and looked around at her classmates, most of whom were singing, doing motions and having a great time.

I could tell Olivia was nervous. I knew it wasn’t the lights or the audience that made her nervous. No, it was the riser on which she was standing. She wasn’t comfortable up there. She felt unbalanced and unsafe.

But you know what? She powered through. She stood there and found her footing. She centered herself and realized that she wasn’t going to fall. She started moving her feet a little here and there during the songs. She stepped down to play her part when it was time and she climbed back up when her part was over.

Five years ago when Olivia took her first tentative steps, I never imagined she’d be climbing up risers, overcoming her own fears and standing there, straight and tall. For the first year of her life as an independent walker, Olivia had serious balance issues. She had no idea how to break a fall and fell often, landing on her face more often than not.

These days, she’s a flipper, a runner, a climber. And as of last night, she’s performer. She was so excited when the program was over and asked if I though her class would get to do another program soon.

I hope so. I love watching this girl shine.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Other People's Kids

While at McD’s last night, my mom and were subjected to many eardrum rupturing screeches from a couple of little girls who were playing.

These little girls were not our little girls, by the way. My girls aren’t screechers. They never have been.

Jaxon was with us too and after the second crystal-shattering scream, he made his way out of the play area and came to sit with us. “Why are those girls making those noises, Gram?” he asked.

“Because they can,” my mom answered.

Yes, we were in the play area of McD’s but honestly, it wouldn’t have killed the parents of those children to actually tell their children to hold it down a little.

Maybe they’d gone to McD’s to let their kids run off some energy and screaming was one way of dong that. Whatever.

The point is, those parents and their children were not the only people in that place and I always find myself wondering what other parents are thinking when their kids are being obnoxious but the parents do nothing about it. Do they think that others will understand that their kids are just blowing off steam? Do they think other people enjoy the screaming sounds of kids having fun?

I’m am so hyper-aware of how my kids’ behavior might be affecting other people that I am probably at the other end of the spectrum, jumping all over my kids before it’s even necessary but I realize that other people might not enjoy the spectacle of my children as much as I do. Heck, they might not enjoy my children at all, gasp! I feel like one of my jobs as a parent is to make my girls aware of the fact that they share this world with other people and they need to be considerate of those other people to a point.

The visit to McD’s reminded me of a conversation I had with Julie earlier in the week.

She was talking about some lovely parents she knows who are both very patient and loving with their kids.

To be honest, after talking to her, I feel like the parents are too patient and loving and that they put their kids’ feelings above the feelings of the rest of the world.

At one point, the son of these lovely parents spilled water all over our good friend Julie. She didn’t say whether the parents apologized to her for their son’s accident. She just said that they were so calm and patient with their son, letting him know it was no big deal that he’d spilled water over someone.

Excuse me, but it was sort of a big deal. The kid spilled water on her a second time not even five minutes later, so obviously, their patience did nothing to teach him to be more careful and more aware of how is actions might inconvenience others.

As with most aspects of parenting, it’s a fine line. Yes, we want our kids to feel like their feelings matter but I don’t think we should put our kids’ feelings above everyone else’s. Not only are we trying to keep these kids alive, we’re also charged with raising contributing members of society. And society isn’t always going to be as patient and loving as dear old mom and dad.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Middle of Noon

Reason #457 to hate daylight savings time:

Last night I was trying to convince Olivia that it was time to put on her pajamas, have her bedtime snack of cherry pie and ice cream and let me read to her so she could settled down and go to sleep soon.

She looked out the front window and asked, “Why are we getting ready for bed at the middle of noon?”

I glanced outside with her and saw that it was definitely still daylight out there and laughed. “It’s not the middle of noon. It’s actually 7:40. I know the sun is still shining but it’s definitely almost bedtime.”

She looked skeptical but accepted her pie and ice cream with relative grace. After the pie and ice cream were consumed and hands were washed, I read our nightly books to her.

Finally, I got up and closed the curtains, shutting out all that ‘middle of noon’ sunlight that was distracting Olivia from the fact that she was quite tired after a full day at school.

Ten minutes later? Girlfriend was sound asleep even though the light trying to creep past the curtains assured her it was still only about noon-thirty.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Beer

“I’m still not happy with you,” Alyssa informed her father yesterday afternoon as she and Olivia and I were heading to the car to go to my mom’s for an afternoon of television watching and visiting.

It took me a minute to remember why she wasn’t happy with her dad.

Ah yes, it was because she’d seen him drink some beer the night before at a birthday party for Tom’s oldest son, who happened to be turning 30.

Alyssa had never seen either of us drink any sort of alcohol and the sight of her dad drinking a cup of beer really irritated her. She knows that alcohol is not good for you. She’s been told in school that it’s a bad habit to start and so seeing her dad do something she knows in her very sweet, sanctimonious little soul is wrong just really got to her.

I tried to explain to her that at 53, it really was okay for her dad to have a cup or two of beer. That the very fact that she’d never seen him drink before was a good thing but it really wasn’t that big a deal that he was having a cup that night.

She informed me haughtily, “I am not getting in our car if he’s driving us home.”

I told her I would, of course, be driving us the hour and a half home from the party that night. That appeased her wounded heart.

This girl…she’s so much like her mom. That would be me for anyone not paying attention. I wasn’t a drinker. I’m still not much of one except once a year, I might have something while away from home for a weekend. But even then, maybe not.

But when I was younger, as in Alyssa age and even in high school? I had very strong opinions about alcohol. It was illegal for anyone under 21 to drink and so I wasn’t going to do so. And I didn’t think anyone else should either. Everyone around me knew my thoughts on this subject because I strenuously shared this opinion with anyone within hearing distance.

Honestly, I hope Alyssa maintains this stance for many years to come. I hope she continues to view alcohol as a bad thing, as something to avoid. I hope she also maintains her convictions and her strength in sharing those convictions. I love that she has a strong opinion and isn’t afraid to share it, even with her dad.

At one point in the evening Tom and I were standing with his younger son and Tom’s ex-wife. Alyssa happened to walk past and mutter something about Tom being drunk.

Everyone laughed because, well, it’s laughable. Tom has never been drunk in all the years I’ve known him. Even is ex-wife admitted that in all her years of knowing him, she’s never seen him drunk either.

I explained Alyssa’s views on imbibing and Tom’s ex whispered to my sweet, opinionated girl, “Your daddy doesn’t deserve a daughter like you.”

To be honest, Alyssa couldn’t be more different from her big sister, the daughter Tom shares with his ex. J is doing amazing things with her life these days but there were months, years even, when we all worried about whether or not she’d survive the life she was living.

I pray that Alyssa continues on her straight and narrow road. She’s a good girl, something I am constantly reminding Tom about. She’s strong, she’s smart, she’s sure of herself and if she’s a little sassy to her dad? Well, where do you think she learned that sass? It wasn’t from me, is what I’m saying.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tough Day

I’m out of sorts today. My eyes are tired, my body is hungry. My brain is foggy and my mood is grim.

My husband sent a big ass box for me to ship today, which irritated me, which, in turn, irritated him. Whatever. I can’t bring myself to feel bad for being irritated. He muttered that I should be happy that this is one of the last packages he intends to ship UPS. I’d be happy if the last one he’d sent was the last one but no, this is just one of the last ones. Which means there will be more after this one. This one is huge and over thirty pounds, which just makes it awkward, which irritates me all the more.

Anyway, like it matters, right? That’s probably not even what is making my mood do bleak.

Last week was a tough week as far as food goes. I ate badly and it showed up on my scale. I got myself under control and the scale is showing decent progress but I’ve spent most of this week hungry and that tends to make me grumpy. Obviously, I’d rather be hungry and thin(ner) and grumpy than fat and happy because honestly, no one is truly happy when I’m fat. This just so stupid. The whole thing makes me crazy. I had to cut out a serving of raisins, for Pete Sakes! (Again, I know the phrase is Pete’s sake…I like Pete Sakes, though.) Who the hell eats too many raisins!?! Me, obviously.

I also had to drop a serving of peanut butter in order to get back on track. Again, it makes me a little nuts to know that my weight is so precarious that a serving of raisins and a serving of peanut butter can make or break me.

I think I’m lonely. All my friends live over three hours (driving time) away. Which means I never see them. We email and Facebook but it’s not the same. They’re amazing email buddies but I miss their smiles, their voices, their hugs. I miss sitting around and talking about nothing, or even talking about something, like our kids and our worries for them. Alyssa asked me last week what superpower I'd choose if I could have any superpower in the world. My immediate response was the ability to teleport. This would come in so handy when I wanted/needed some me time with my besties who are all the way down in Indy.

The girls and I have a sort of friend date for a week from Saturday to go roller skating with a mom who has daughters who are A’s and O’s classes. Her girls are awesome and I really like this mom. I hope we can do this a little more often because it might help this crushing loneliness I seem to be suffering.

Yikes. Can I get more maudlin? Suck it up, right? Things aren’t that bad. They’re never that bad. We’re all healthy, we’re all here, life is good. Really, it is. And tomorrow it’ll be even better.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


When Tom and I decided that Alyssa was the name for our first child, I thought we’d call her Ali. I don’t know why I thought that. I just thought I’d like that nickname better.

Alas, Ali is not a natural name for a child named Alyssa. At least, it didn’t come naturally for me. I supposed if I’d started calling her Ali from the start, it would have been fine but it didn’t feel like her name. Actually, it was even hard for me to call her Alyssa for the first six months or so. It just felt so grown up and awkward. Weird? Maybe but she grew into her name and now, at eleven, she loves it which makes me love it that much more.

But the nicknames that have come from the name Alyssa are fun too.

She’s Lyssie around the house. Or just Lyss, which I kind of love. And there is always the fun Lyssie Lou and Lyssie Louise, which is nothing like her middle name at all but just rolls of the tongue. It actually sort of makes me wish I’d named her Alyssa Louise because it’s awesome.

She told me yesterday that a couple of her friends have given her new nicknames recently. I was very interested to hear these.

One friend calls her Alyssie. Which, yeah, cute, right?

The other calls her Alaska. Huh. I kind of love that. And, oddly enough, I can totally see how Alaska comes out of Alyssa.

A lot of her other friends call her Lyssie, like we do at home but most of her classmates and all of her teachers just call her Alyssa and that’s fine with her.

I think she’s just glad that none of them call her Alyssica, which is something I throw out every so often just because it’s a blend of her name and her older sister’s name. I also call Olivia Olivica every so often just because it’s fun and silly.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Just a Cookie

I made cookies this past weekend. Triple chocolate chip cookies, Tom’s favorite and Olivia’s second favorite.

About three quarters of the way through baking these cookies, I put a pan of water on to boil so I could toss some spaghetti in there for dinner (for Tom and the girls, I’m still making my own separate dinners because, duh, still not at my goal weight, even fifteen months into whatever it is I’m doing to get healthy.)

Except, I’m sort of an idiot and I turned on the front right burner, the one I usually use when making dinner, instead of the back right burner which is the one on which the pan of water sat, all cold and non-boily.

But I didn’t realize this at first. No, no I did not realize this. Instead, I went about the house, putting clothes away, talking to Olivia, helping her find some shoes she was asking about as that uncovered burner heated the hell right up and the one with the water sat, still cold and non-boily.

I took the cookies that were in the oven getting all browned and perfectly lovely and put then on the stove to cool on the pan for the two minutes suggested by the recipe.

Olivia and I went upstairs for something and as we came back down the stairs, I smelled the distinct scent of burning chocolate chip cookie. Just, just one cookie.

That one cookie that sat on the cookie sheet directly over the burner that I’d accidently turned on instead of the burner on which the pot of cold water sat, that cookie was smoking and burning into the cookie sheet.

I moved the cookie sheet from the burner, turned off that burner, turned on the one that held the pot of still-cold water and then went about taking the cookies off the cookie sheet. Well, I took all the ones that hadn’t burned off of it. The one that burned? It had to be scraped and soaked and as of today, remnants of that cookie still stain the cookie sheet.

I know that everyone makes mistakes. I get that. I also know it was just one cookie in a big batch of cookies. But damn it!

Do you know what it’s like to live with a husband who never, ever seems to make mistakes? One who looks around the house and knows exactly what needs to be done and how to get it done and who doesn’t shy away from giving advice on how to get things done?

It’s not always pleasant, is what I’m saying. I often feel like such a moron if only because I’m never as sure as he is. I’m never as competent and I probably never will be.

But I do know it was only a cookie. This time.

Edited to add that in no way does Tom make me feel like an idiot for the above burner fiasco. He doesn't ever act like he knows everything. This is all my own perception, my own issues. He really is just that confident, though. I envy that in him and wish he'd share just a little of his confidence with me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

More Than Just a Spoon

Tom was washing dishes this morning.

I’ll wait and let that sink in.

My husband routinely washes the breakfast and lunch dishes while I usually do the dinner dishes.

Unfortunately for him, there were a bunch of dishes dirtied last night after I’d already done the dinner dishes.

So there he was, washing a sink full of dishes as I finished getting ready to leave for work.

I heard him grumble and growl about something but didn’t ask what was wrong.

Finally, he called out, “Who took the strainer from the sink with the garbage disposal?”

I replied cheerfully, “Well, since you and I are the only ones in this house who wash dishes, we can safely assume that if you didn’t move the strainer, I did.”

“Why would you do that?” he asked.

“The water wouldn’t drain out of that sink last night. I moved it so it would drain. I obviously forgot to put it back.”

“Well, a spoon fell into the disposal while the strainer was out. But it was just one of the big ones, we don’t actually need all of those.”

I rolled my eyes and refused to be offended by his obnoxious tone.

Mistakes happen. Spoons fall into the garbage disposal.

When I didn’t respond, he continued, “You know, when the water won’t drain for me, I just turn on the garbage disposal and that sucks the water right down. Which is what I was doing when I heard the spoon get mauled.”

I smiled and replied, “Good to know. I’ll try that next time.”

He threw the spoon away and went back to his dishes.

I went back to whatever it was I was doing at 7:20 this morning. Somehow, it felt good to refuse to rise to bait.

And the kiss he gave me goodbye was that much better because he’d had his say and I’d listened without getting insulted and all was well.

I can’t promise that tomorrow will go nearly this smoothly. But I’m betting there won’t be a mutilated spoon involved.

Friday, March 7, 2014


This morning I asked my mom to DVR the TBS show The Little Couple. See, I don’t have cable (because we’re too cheap and can find plenty to watch on regular old free television) and I saw the commercial for this show. I almost cried during the commercial. Go ahead, laugh. Tom and Alyssa did. Whatever.

My mom already DVRs another show for me, on I go over and watch each weekend. What show, you ask? Oh, just The Walking Dead.


Can those two shows be more different from each other? Probably not.

And let me say right here and I’m so excited that today is Friday because it means that tonight a new episode of Hannibal is going to be airing. I’ll watch that after the girls are asleep, after we’ve watched a few episodes of The Brady Bunch.

Again with going from one extreme to the other, huh?

What can I say? I like my wholesome shows as much as the gruesome ones. I’m a well-rounded member of the television viewing audience.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


After putting the girls on the bus the other day, Tom asked me if I though Olivia was getting more difficult to handle these days. He’d just spend twenty minutes trying to get her to eat her breakfast and it was an effort in futility.

I shrugged and sort of agreed. She has good days and bad days. Actually, she has good moments and bad moments, both of which can take place in a five minute span.

These days she needs to wipe the top of her sippy cup and straw after very drink. She still needs to put the toilet lid down. She likes to have all doors closed and latched if possible.

When sitting in front of our oscillating space heater, she prefers the heater to not oscillate and very much likes to have it sitting perfectly straight on its base.

She feels like she needs to sit on the toilet and try to pee before putting on her underwear even if she’s just peed all of three minutes before I tell her to put on her underwear.

Olivia likes routine. She wants to know where things are and what is happening next. I get that. I’m trying, though, to get her to appreciate the thrill of spontaneity. I know that is a hard thing to embrace when you’re tendency is to lean toward the OCD side of the spectrum.

But since I don’t know how to help her deal with the OCD, I can try and teach her the fun of surprises and mixing things up here and there.

Of course, I do also let her wipe her cup each time she takes a drink and I remind her sister to cut her some slack when she asks three times if she put the lid down on the toilet. I’ve tried to get Alyssa to understand O’s OCD by comparing it to A’s desire to follow rules.

The ‘rules’ that Olivia needs to follow are the ones her sweet brain has created. She has a compulsion to follow those rules. Hence the C in OCD.

Alyssa asked why Olivia can’t just ignore those rules since they’re not really rules at all. I told her that as someone who doesn’t have OCD, I don’t really understand it any more than she does.

But we’re trying. And we’re keeping an eye on Olivia, in case that OCD gets worse. If so, we’ll find someone who can help her more than I can, someone who understands it better than I do and can work with her to let go of some of those ‘rules’ that can often seem to take over rational though and behavior.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Do You Make This?

Olivia asks this question almost every day. She’s usually asking about whatever it is she might be eating at the time. She wants to know how the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made, then she wants to know how the chicken noodle soup is made.

I usually give her a pretty scaled down version of what went into making something but sometimes, I’ll go into detail and she loves that.

I love that she’s interested in what goes into preparing a meal. I hope this leads to her one day wanting to do the preparation herself. It could mean that I’m done being the family cook and at that point, all my dreams will have come true.

Alyssa loves to help make dinner. She’s very interested in cooking after having watched the Master Chef kids edition. She was amazed that some of those kids were younger than she was and cooks intricate, fancy meals.

These days she can make macaroni and cheese (the Kraft version, nothing homemade. Then again, I don’t bother with homemade mac & cheese. I don’t think she even realizes there is any other kind of macaroni and cheese other than Kraft…ahem, end of tangent…) and other sides that involve bringing a milk/water mixture to a boil, pouring in the noodles and spices, setting the timer and then stirring every so often.

She can also warm up soup and make popcorn in the microwave. The independence gained from these seemingly small tasks is amazing.

One of these days, my kids will be able to feed themselves with no input from me at all. Whatever will I do with all that extra time?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Patience...My Lack Of

I am not nearly as good a mother as I thought I’d be. Before I had kids, I imagined my loving, patient self mothering only with love and respect.

That is so far from the truth.

I admire people with endless patience. I wish I were one of those people.

But instead, I snap at my children, I glare at them. I demand that they stop annoying each other and me.

Last weekend the girls and I went with my mom and step-dad to the local Home and Garden show. We drove about forty-five minutes to get there and once there it was packed. The girls started in about being hungry about five minutes before we got there, so you can imagine how they were after an hour of walking around.

They were driving me crazy and I felt awful for having accepted my mom’s invitation to join her to attend this because not only were my children being pests but I was also being a shrew to them. Not pleasant for anyone within earshot of us.

See, I know that kids get whiny and I wish I could just smile and assume others understand this and just let it go instead of feeling like I have to constantly correct their behavior. They were being kids. They were bored, they were hungry, they were tired. And I was awful.

This is obviously something I need to work on. I have a lot to work on these days.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rocking the Sickies

Olivia has had a bad cold for almost a week. By cold, I mean she had a fever the first night and then sinus congestion, a cough and a disgustingly runny nose the rest of the time.

I give her a non-drowsy decongestant during the day and another, sleep-inducing one each evening.

All this sickness for her has led to me rocking her to sleep at night. She loves, loves, loves this. Each evening since last Thursday, which was the first night I rocked her to sleep, she’s asked if we’re going to rock again.

My girl loves being babied. And to be honest, I’m pretty content to baby her as long as she’ll let me.

Alyssa, on the other hand, is not amused by O’s need for rocking. Alyssa pointed out, “I had a cold last week and no one rocked me.”

I asked her if she asked to be rocked and she replied, “Of course not!” As if I’s suggested some ridiculous. Eleven year olds are a mass of contradictions.

I then pointed out, “You know that whenever Liv catches a cold from you, she always gets hit with is about twenty times worse than you do.”

This is true. While Alyssa did have a cold, it consisted of the sniffles for about three days. Olivia is on day six of green snot, hacking coughs and congestion. She hasn’t had a fever since that first night so I’m thinking she’s going to kick this one on her own. But still, this is more than the sniffles.

She did go to school today, since her nose is no longer a color just a few shades lighter than Rudolph’s glowing nose. She asked this morning if she was going to school and when I informed her that yes, she was going to school, she gave me a bit of a glare, which only confirmed that the child needs to be back at school.

But just before getting on the bus, she asked if she could rock with me tonight, I hugged my baby and told her that of course we could rock together tonight.

Like I said, I’ll rock her as long as she’ll let me.