Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Inspired

We’ve watched some of the Olympic trials over the past few days.

Since watching the gymnastics, Alyssa has been inspired to move, to stretch, to bend and to jump.

Four years ago, Alyssa was nine years old and taking gymnastics classes. She’s mastered the backbend, the back handspring and a few other skills. She was swinging from the bars and trotting across the balance beam. She did pit crawls and worked hard each week at class.

It’s been three years since she had a gymnastics class. The last time she did a bridge was at track practice/meets when she was warming up for the high jump.

She told me on Monday that her goal is to be able to do a backbend by the end of summer.

She did one yesterday afternoon.

I love that watching other people do amazing things inspires her. I love that she’s got the drive and the stamina to work out for several hours a day (she did this yesterday) to improve her health and her skills. She wants to do this for fun, not to be competitive but seeing other who are so good makes her want to be just a little better.

I could learn a lot from this girl’s work ethic, her sense of self and her motivation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Best Medicine

While I’m so happy that Olivia seems to bouncing back from her tonsillectomy very nicely, I am not bouncing back quite as well.

See, of the past six nights since her surgery, we’ve slept through the night twice. Two nights of uninterrupted sleep.

Now, I realize that after the last nine years, one would think this is old news to me and I’d be able to just slip back into the routine of being woken up repeatedly night after night with nary a yawn from me.

One would be wrong in thinking that.

I’m a mess.

I proved this at 2:30 this morning when Olivia woke me up for the second time. The first time she woke me, I was so tired I just moved over and let her climb into bed with me. Big mistake. HUGE!

I have no idea how long it was between the climbing into the bed and the whimpering but I realized that I should have gotten up when she first woke me and given her medicine. Alas, I did not do this and so when she woke me up again at 2:30, I was less than kind.

I know! I know how awful that is.

But let me just get this out there. I hate sharing a bed. I did it for years with the girls and I’m over it. I don’t like having them throw their long limbs across my body. I don’t enjoy their body heat or their breath (and OH MY GOODNESS, Olivia’s post-tonsillectomy breath is so, SO awful *shudder*) I just want them to sleep peacefully in their own beds so I can do the same in my own bed.

Ahem…so yeah, I got up and started for the bathroom where I could use the nightlight to draw out the right dosage for her. I got three steps from the bed when I realized I didn’t have both parts of the medicine dropper thing. I stopped to retrieve it and I swear, if she’d been moving just a little faster, O might have been able to lodge herself up my butt.

I grumbled, “You could give me just a little space. You are, after all, taking up over half my bed.”

Please remember I’m never at my best at 2am, but especially not after several nights of waking up over and over again.

We continued into the bathroom where I started to get her medicine. I don’t even remember why, but she was RIGHT THERE again and almost got an elbow to the face when I turned suddenly. Thankfully, I was quick enough to pull back and not actually elbow the poor child. I think I said something obnoxious again, though because she started to sniffle.

My shoulders slumped and I asked her, “Okay, so are you crying because your throat hurts or because I’ve hurt your feelings?”

She shrugged in the dim light of the flower nightlight. I rolled my eyes (I don’t think she could see because the nightlight was at my back, but yeah, the stellar parenting moments just keep coming.)

Finally, I sighed and said, “Okay, let me use the bathroom and then I’ll hug you and we can go back to bed.”

We hugged, I told her I was sorry for being grouchy, that I knew it wasn’t her fault that her poor tonsil holes hurt so much and that I was just so very tired.

She sniffled into my neck and we headed back to bed. Yes, back to MY bed. I managed to hold out until about 4:00 at which point, I grabbed my alarm clock and headed to HER bed, where at least I could move without her following me in her sleep, like a heat-seeking missile.

I will try to be more patient tonight. Really, I will.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bouncing Back

She’s on the mend.

I don’t want to jinx it but five days out from surgery and Olivia seems to be doing pretty well. There’s still pain. She doesn’t want to open her mouth too wide for fear of ‘breaking her jaw bone’. That’s a direct quote from her.

But other than that fear, O seems to be adjusting to being tonsil-less pretty well. She’s eating better than Alyssa did and she’s drinking a lot. So much, in fact, that I’ve had to change the sheets on her bed twice in the past two days.

And, best of all, she’s slept through the night the last two nights. Whoohoo!!

I mentioned casually to Tom yesterday, after night of uninterrupted sleep, that perhaps we should consider weaning O off the prescription pain medication and see how she does with OTC stuff.

He quickly countered with the fact that we’d been given a HUGE bottle of the stuff, that she was still very obviously in pain and we should just give it to her until it’s gone. Because, well, you see, they wouldn’t have given us so much if they thought she wouldn’t need it five days after surgery.

I shrugged and went about the day. I mean…whatever. It’s not like we’re giving her morphine. I wasn’t going to fight with him about what we gave her to help her with the pain.

Then! (Yes, there’s a then.) This morning, he mentioned in passing that he’d read over the medication schedule we’d been given by the surgery center and perhaps we should consider trying to give her just the OTC stuff to see how she does. I tilted my head and blinked at him several times to see if it would trigger the memory my saying pretty much EXACTLY that about twenty-four hours previously.

Instead of acknowledging that he’d just repeated my suggestion from the day before, he then asked me if the surgery center or the nurse or doctor had mentioned how long her pain should last.

I reminded him that they’d said the most likely time for a tonsil bleed was between days seven and ten after surgery, so we should expect her pain to continue for several more days.

But, he wanted to know, had the doctor given me a specific timeline for her pain?

I patiently explained that, no, the doctor hadn’t given a specific timeline for Olivia, that instead, he spoke in generalities and told me to make our decisions based on her specific behavior and pain level.

Sometimes…yeah. Anyway.

I told him that since he was the parent at home today, he could make whatever decision he felt was right for Olivia and her pain meds. Though I did still write out the schedule he should use if he chooses to give her the prescription medication. He’s a good dad, he’ll make sure she gets whatever medicine she needs to continue to heal just like I do when I’m there.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Smothered

Sometimes, I swear my family is pranking me. There has to be some sort of light or buzzer that goes off the instant I unbutton my pants in hopes of peeing in private.

For example: Last night, Olivia fell asleep on the recliner at 6:45. Tom and Alyssa went outside to give Harvey the cat his evening scoop of food and some attention.

I checked on Liv, who was snoozing away. Then I went upstairs to use the bathroom. (Why, yes we do have a bathroom downstairs but I prefer the one upstairs…just because.) The second my butt hit the toilet seat, I heard Olivia call, “Mama?”

I called down to her, “Be right there, Livie. Just going to the bathroom.”

She called up several more times with a sad little voice, “Mama? Mama?”

I kept calling to her, “I’m coming, Sweetie. Be right there.”

So much for a nice leisurely, private pee.

Anyway, I rushed through washing my hands and headed down to check on her. And guess who’d fallen back to sleep between the last “Mama?” and my rushing down the stairs. That’s right. Olivia wasn’t even awake to appreciate my stellar mothering.

About two minutes later, Tom and Alyssa returned from their visit with Harvey and from that point on until we went to bed, Alyssa was velcroed to my side.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that my thirteen year old still enjoys my company so much that she wants to be near me at all times but…sometimes, like, you know, when it’s NINETY FREAKING DEGREES OUTSIDE, it would be nice to have just a little personal space, you know, so I could sweat in peace, or maybe not share sweat with either one of my children.

We watched some television (Big Brother 18 premiered on Wednesday, Lyss and I are enjoying getting our hate on with these contestants) and then she wanted me to take a couple of character quizzes before bed.

Thankfully, she sat in the second computer chair instead of trying to share the one I was sitting in and I indulged her. We found out that I am most like Doc from Z-Nation and Goulia Yelps on Monster High. My life is complete knowing these things.

Olivia slept fitfully until I finally took her to bed at about 10:30, at which point she sleep soundly until 12:30 which was when she needed more pain medicine. I tucked her back into bed and she slept well until 3:30, when she woke up for more medicine.

You know? There’s a reason most 45 year olds don’t have infants. This whole getting woken up every three hours is killing me.

Here’s to personal space and long stretches of uninterrupted sleep in my very near future.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tonsil Holes

It’s done. She is on the mend.

I texted Julie yesterday: I feel guilty because I brought my perfectly healthy child in to have someone deliberately injure her.

So yeah, even with the evidence of Alyssa sitting next me, all healthy and awesome, I was feeling pretty awful about handing Olivia over to the nurse for her elective surgery.

But then, about ten minutes after I sent that text to Julie, the doctor came out. He told us that it went very well, that Olivia was in recovery. He went on to say that her tonsils were enlarged and had debris on them.

“They were just waiting for the next cold bug to come along so they could become infected again,” he concluded.

One more mark in the “You’re doing the right thing” column.

About ten minutes after the doctor left, a nurse came along to take us back to where Olivia was resting. She hadn’t really regained consciousness yet, the nurse assured me. But she felt O was on the verge of doing so and wanted her to have a familiar face when she did wake up.

The nurse in charge of her greeted us warmly and said, “She’s having a nice snooze. I think this is the best nap I’ve seen all day.”

I brushed O’s bangs off her forehead and whispered that Gram and Lyss and I were there.


After about ten minutes of watching her sleep, I saw a single tear well in the corner of her eye. I told her nurse that I thought she was waking up and was in pain.
At that point, he put some medicine in her IV and she opened her eyes for a couple of seconds.

She surprised all of us by being such a trooper. She ate half of a popsicle (which is more than her sister did…just saying.) She slept a little more, drank some water and some apple juice and then was finally ready to go home.

On the way home, we stopped at McD’s and she tried to eat a fry but opted instead for ice cream, saying, “The coldness on my throat feels good.”

When we got home, she asked why her tonsil holes hurt.


I tried not to laugh because, well, TONSIL HOLES! I told her that they hurt because, well, there were holes where her tonsils once were.

She ate some soup and some jello. She and her sister went upstairs and played with makeup.

Then, for dinner, she ate TWO pieces of pizza.

I know! Pizza! It took Alyssa four days to be willing to eat anything, let alone pizza.

After dinner, Olivia asked if she was allowed to have sweets because Tom had brought home a cake to celebrate her being so amazing during the entire procedure, before and after.

I told her she could eat anything she wanted, so she ate a piece of cake.

I got up every three hours through the night to give her medicine for the pain and when she woke up this morning, she told me her throat hurt. I reminded her that it was probably because it got dry through the night and so she asked for some water and a popsicle. After the popsicle, she asked for a Gogurt.

So yeah, basically, everything I feared for Olivia is going in the opposite direction.

I don’t want to jinx it but so far, she’s doing great. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go. For now, I’m so glad we did this because I’m very hopeful that it will make her that much healthier and heartier.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

11:15

Less than twenty –four hours from now, I will hand over my baby to a doctor and some nurses and they will take her to a room from which I am banned and they will cut out a part of her body.

Now, logically, I know that Olivia is not a baby.

I also know that having tonsils removed is a fairly common procedure and it’s going to be SO worth it when she’s healed and healthy again.

But right this second, I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m worried about my baby.

When she was nine months old, we took her in for an MRI because, well, she was quite obviously delayed and we had no idea why. We were still more than a year away from having a diagnosis for her and we were looking for anything that would explain her global delays.

She was supposed to go to sleep for this procedure. She fought the anesthesia like crazy. She was all of 15 pounds at that point and she resisted falling asleep like a character from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Obviously, she did finally succumb to the anesthesia and we started the MRI. About halfway through the scan, the little stinker woke up!

So…I’m worried about anesthesia. I’m worried that because she doesn’t talk, she won’t tell them if she’s awake. I’m worried about pain.

I’m worried about recovery.

Sure, Alyssa bounced back but even she seemed to take a while and Olivia has always been more sickly, more likely to be sick forever with something that Lyss kicked in a few days.

And let’s remember that even though Miss O is nine years old, she’s still my youngest, my last child, my baybeeee! She’s also not quite at the same emotionally mature level as your typical nine year old. So there’s that too.

Obviously we’ll push on through the first days of pain and recovery and in a few weeks I’ll wonder why I was so worried. But we’re not there and so for today, I’m wallowing in my self-inflected misery as I stare down the clock waiting for it to be time to hand her over.

Monday, June 20, 2016

One Step Closer

We had Olivia’s pre-op blood draw on Saturday.

Can I stop right here and say how amazing the lab personnel at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola, Indiana is? The woman who drew Olivia’s blood was so kind, so gentle, and so good with Olivia. I was so grateful to this woman for making a painful experience less stressful for my sweet girl.

Though, to be honest, Olivia wasn’t all that stressed out over a little needle prick. She was more excited about her Draculaura doll that was promised to her after the blood was drawn. She did flinch when the needle pierced her skin but I was distracting her, keeping her from looking at the actual needle and she did very well.

The phlebotomist actually gave me kudos for preparing Olivia for the prick of pain that happens when you’re stabbed with a needle.

She said that there are some parents who tell their kids that it doesn’t hurt. I suppose I understand not wanting your kid to worry and maybe there is less fighting if the kids think it won’t hurt. But it DOES hurt and I’m lucky in that my kids accept that, accept that it won’t hurt for long and just deal.

So we dealt and we’re one step closer to Wednesday when those tonsils and adenoids come out.

And without further ado, here's O with her beloved Draculaura (she chose the doll from the Monster High movie The Great Scarrier Reef, so yeah, Dracula's daughter has a tail.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Intervention - Almost Done

It appears that in the five years since Alyssa went to summer intervention, things have changed a bit and Miss Lyss is sort of pissed about those changes.

See, Olivia comes home every single day and reports on the fun things they did, the awesome, creative snacks they had and how great the morning was.

Alyssa, on the other hand, laments that the only thing she got to eat the entire two weeks she attended summer intervention was toast she’d made herself to take to the school and eat during snack time.

I laugh at her because this complaint sounds so much like the whole, “Back in my day…” complaints but yeah, she’s probably not exaggerating.

The teachers live and learn and evolve and this year they’ve made summer intervention fun. Olivia is learning even as she’s having fun and that’s the whole point of summer intervention.

But as much fun as she’s having, she’s looking forward to being done on Friday this week. Of course, being done with summer intervention means we’re that much closer to her surgery next week to remove her tonsils and adenoids. She’s not nervous about this at all. In fact, she’s excited about the blood draw on Saturday because she gets to pick out a DracuLaura doll at Walmart. She’s been thinking about this doll for weeks.

I think because Alyssa went through this surgery, Olivia is heading into it with no worries. I’m glad for that. I’ll worry enough for both of us.

For now, we’re finishing out her last week of summer intervention. She argues with me about what she’s going to wear each morning (asking if she’s already worn that shirt or those shorts to summer intervention, because, don’t you know, summer intervention is like the awards show, you can’t wear the same thing twice.


She’s coming home with projects (we have to work with her on counting money…ugh) and stories about what everyone wore that day, who had matching flip flops, what their snack was and how it played into the lessons of the day.

I am in awe of these teachers. They give so much all year long and then step up and give even more for the summer. I knew, way back when I was an education major in October of my fifth year of college that teaching was not for me. I couldn’t have done what these amazing people do. I didn’t want to. But I’m so grateful that they did want to do it all and that they continue to want to do it and make it such a treat for the kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

'Latent' Racism or Blatant Asshole?

My dad, who, for the record, is 76 years old (not that this is an excuse, just a point of reference) will often make the most obnoxious remarks and then say something like, “This is probably just my latent racism talking…”

Which…yeah. Dude, what he’s saying is NOT latent racism. It’s BLATANT, in your freaking face racism. And it’s making me crazy.

It is also giving me points of discussion with my girls once he leaves the house.

Most recently, he said, “I took the test to be a postal worker. It wasn’t a hard test. But the only way anyone was going to get hired as a postal worker in the seventies was if they were a woman or black.”

I just stared at him, kind is squinting. I mean, seriously? Seriously! He honestly believes what he said to be the case. He truly, sincerely believes that he was discriminated against in the seventies because he was a white man.

The insanity boggles my mind. He truly does not understand his place of privilege and I’m not sure at his age I can teach him.

But I want to try, if only to show my girls that we shouldn’t just stand there and listen to bullshit, even when it’s being spouted by someone we love and should respect.

My brother posts the most radical, insane things on Facebook. His stance on gun control and his hatred of one of the presidential candidates boggles my mind.

My mom tries to talk him down from time to time but he doesn’t want to hear it.

It makes me sad that there are people about whom I care who feel and think the ways my dad and brother feel and think. I can’t fathom how they got to this point, how I came from my dad and how I was raised in the same house as my brother and we’re so far apart in these areas of thinking.

I do believe I’m not going to be able to ignore my brother’s posts for long. And I fear that I’ll make an enemy of him when I stop just ‘liking’ my mom’s replies to him and start adding my own replies.


I mean, if I can’t speak up when my dad and brother are being assholes, when can I speak up? These are two men who are supposed to love me and perhaps even take what I’m saying seriously. If I don’t start with them, I won’t start anywhere and that’s not acceptable.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Choices

The girls and I went to my mom’s house last Friday after work to give her and my stepdad some strawberry plants. Tom ordered some and when they arrived, he found he had too many for the plot of dirt he’d dug out for them.

While there, I related a story I’d read on FB to my mom regarding an eighteen year old girl with 5p-. This girl said to her mom, “So I’ll be a senior next year, right?”

When her mom confirmed that she would be a senior, the girl went on with, “So that means next year I’ll go to college.”

Her mom gently broke it to her that she’d be in high school until she was twenty-one. She did say what the girl would do once she was out of high school.

I expressed my sadness for both the girl and her mom in this situation, knowing how hard it was for the mom to tell her daughter that college was probably not in the cards for her.

Then I said something about Olivia getting a job once she was out of high school.

The pity that showed on my mom’s face broke my heart.

I get the feeling that my mentioning Liv having a job broke my mom’s.

But see, I don’t think it’s an impossible dream for us to have for Olivia. I don’t think that Olivia is incapable of having and holding a job. I think she’s capable of learning and doing something if she wants it badly enough.

Perhaps this comes from my own place of privilege. I’ve always been told and believed I could do anything. I’ve been raising my girls to believe the same thing.

Am I being fair to my sweet Livie? I mean…she’s nine, she knows she’s got 5p- syndrome if only because she’s heard me talk about it and I’ve explained it to her in words I hope she understands. But I don’t think she sees herself as different from her peers. Not yet anyway. I think she knows that things are a little harder for her than they are for her peers. She knows she has to work a little harder to do some things but she’s never come across as task she can’t figure out or learn

Not yet.

But is it coming? Am I wearing blinders where she’s concerned? Am I in denial when it comes to her choices and the life that lies ahead of her?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I want her to be happy. Whatever happiness looks like for her, I want that. If it means a job, then I’ll work with her to make that happen. If it means living at home forever and figuring out how to achieve and maintain a social life, then, yes, I’ll help her figure that out too.

I get what my mom was thinking. I get why she gave me that look. But I also stand by my statement that Olivia can have a job at some point in her life. If that’s what she wants, we WILL figure it out.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Remedy for Boredom

School has been out almost two weeks and already Alyssa is lamenting that she’s bored.

This week, she’s had to go to my mom’s each morning because Tom and his brother are rebuilding my aunt’s deck and so they’re gone from the minute Olivia gets on the bus for summer intervention and not home until after 8pm each night.

So there’s poor little Alyssa, so bored at her Gram’s house, with her computer and her tablet and her cable television.

The first day, my mom let Lyss lament to her heart’s content. But the second day, yesterday, the minute Alyssa announced that she was bored, my mom put her to work. Ha! Gram for the win.

Alyssa dusted my mom’s ceiling fans, cleaned her large front window and folded a load of towels.

This morning on our way to my mom’s house again, I asked, “Does the fact that you have to leave at 11:00 each day to pick up Livie give you something to look forward to, to break up the boredom?”

She rolled her eyes and said, “No. It just means more waiting when we get there because Livie’s bus is always late.”

“Well,” I suggested. “Why don’t you vacuum or put away the dishes or start a load of laundry?”

She gave me such a look if disgust.

I laughed at her. “Remember yesterday with Gram? If you complain about being bored, we’ll find things for you to do.”

She sighed.

I think I should have emailed the teachers at Liv’s school and asked if they needed a helper in the classroom for these two weeks. I really think Lyss would have been good with the kids and yep, it would have given her something to do for at least the morning. Alas, she’ll just have to suffer through vacuuming and laundry and dishes.

Poor kid.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From One Obsession to the Other

While Alyssa is obsessed with Z Nation and all that goes along with that (including buying a baseball bat at a garage sale last weekend because, duh, it would be an awesome weapon should the zombie apocalypse descend upon us.) Olivia is way more interested in Monster High these days.

Given the fact that I won’t let Olivia watch Z Nation to begin with, this is probably a good thing. Though their two interests do overlap in that there is a character on Monster High named Goulia and she’s the daughter of zombies…and she’s blue, like Murphy, which is just all sorts of awesome.

Anyway, Olivia’s love of Monster High drives Alyssa crazy.

Let that sit with you for a minute.

The child who will sit for six hours (at least) and watch a television show she’s watched more times than she can count and then TALK about it to me and her dad and anyone else she can tie down for ten minutes and then, after all that, will search online for forums and discussions about the show thinks her sister’s fascination with a cartoon is annoying.

I laugh because that’s pretty much how obsessions go. YOUR obsession is awesome, but the other person’s obsession is stupid.

Olivia has a shirt that is on the verge of being too small but it’s got DracuLaura, the daughter of Dracula, on it and she loves that shirt so much that she’s going to wear it until she can’t pull it over her head. She has two Monster High DVDs and searches YouTube for videos of people reviewing the Monster High dolls and for episodes of the show she hasn’t seen (or hasn’t seen at least twelve times.)

She talks about the characters on Monster High and is planning which DracuLaura doll she’s going to get when she has to have blood drawn before her surgery later this month. She shows me the videos she’s found and just wants someone to listen to her as she talks about this thing that’s very important to her.

And when Alyssa rolls her eyes and sighs about how annoying the video that is playing on O’s tablet is, I remind her that not everyone enjoys Z Nation as much as she does, but the people who love her indulge her and listen to her thoughts on it all.

It’s what we do. We take an interest in our kids’ interests. We listen and we learn the characters and their traits.

I mean, come on. If I had my way, I would not know every single member of Pentatonix (Alyssa’s other obsession), from their names to their ages, their vocal ranges and even their siblings’ and dogs' names. But I do know these things because it’s important to Alyssa to talk about it all and for me to understand and REALLY get what she’s talking about.

Just like it’s important to Olivia that I know that DracuLaura is 1600 years old, that Goulia’s boyfriend’s name is Slo-Moe and he’s also a zombie. She wants me to listen as she talks about Peri and Pearl, the daughters of the hydra, who happen to have two heads and one body. She wants to discuss how beautiful they are and how they’re almost exactly alike, except for their makeup and how Peri is actually nicer than Pearl.

Does all this get monotonous/boring? Of course, but these girls of mine are only going to be these ages for a short time. They’re only going to want to talk to me about their interests for a little while. I need to soak it all in, all the Z Nation information and the Monster High trivia that I can because someday, I’ll be the one seeking them out, trying so hard to get them to fit me into their schedules.

And all this listening that I do? I feel like it’s building something in them, a voice maybe, that tells them their thoughts, their opinions, their feelings matter. That voice in my head that tells me I’m gross and stupid and annoying? I don’t want them to have that voice. I want the voices in their head to tell them they’re amazing, they’re smart, their worth listen to. I want their voice to tell them that their interests are valid and awesome and that there is no shame in loving what you love.

So every day I go home and I listen and I discuss and I smile as they share. I watch the videos with them and I laugh at the jokes and I truly enjoy being with them, learning about what interests them. And when Alyssa rolls her eyes at Olivia when O shares stuff with me, I just smile and remind her that Olivia finds Monster High just as fascinating and intellectually stimulating as Alyssa finds Z Nation.

That keeps the eye rolling to a minimum for at least ten seconds before the next episode pops up and annoys Alyssa all over again. Lucky for both of them, Olivia doesn’t care even a little that Alyssa doesn’t like same things she (O) likes. She only really cares that I listen, that I care, and that’s enough for me to keep on doing what I’m doing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Alyssa's Latest Obsession (Spoiler: It's Z Nation)

I could have sworn I wrote a post a while ago all about why I let Alyssa watch Z Nation even though I don’t let her watch The Walking Dead. Two words explain it all: Zombie Baby. As in, Z Nation is only two seasons in and yet each season has had its own zombie baby.

In other words, this show takes itself way less seriously than The Walking Dead. Are there creepy, gross zombies and scary moments? Sure, but it’s not nearly as harrowing as some of the things the characters on The Walking Dead face and I’m not talking about zombies at all now.

So yes, I’ve let Alyssa watch both seasons of Z Nation…um, several times. She’s obsessed, I tell you. When I get home each evening, I find out she’s watched six hours of Z Nation, probably most of at least one of the seasons. She tells me about mistakes she’s found, expressions on Roberta Warren’s (played by the amazing, beautiful Kellita Smith) face that she’d (Alyssa) missed the first seven times she watched that particular episode.

She loves the humor of this show, the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously (see above re Zombie Babies) and that there is even a little bit of romance.

The first season had Warren and Garnett. Alyssa wasn’t sure about Charlie Garnett at first. Was he really worthy of Warren and her awesomeness but by the third episode Thomas Everett Scott’s portrayal captured her love. Alas, he doesn’t make it beyond the sixth (or is it the seventh? Alyssa would know) episode of the first season.

But don’t fear our intrepid Roberta Warren had been given a new love interest in the second season, in the dreamy form of Javier Vasquez (played by Matt CedeƱo), an emotionally wounded loner who wants a piece of The Murphy. Alyssa is a big fan of ‘ship-names and so has decided that Warsquez NEEDS to happen. I can only shake my head in awe of the thirteen year old mind.

Oh yes, wait! Let’s not forget Murphy and his blue awesomeness. He’s the father of second season’s zombie baby, which is just all sorts of fun. Murphy is the sole survivor of a zombie bite. He was given an experimental drug which makes him immune to zombie bites AND lets him control zombies (kind of, if there aren’t too many) telepathically.

It’s fun to listen to Alyssa talk about these characters because she seems to love them all. There’s Addison Carver aka Addie (portrayed by Anastasia Baranova) who kicks some serious zombie ass with her z-wacker, a baseball bat that has spikes on the end. There’s Doc (Russell Hodgkinson), an aging hippy with a knowledge of pharmaceuticals.

Alyssa has a soft spot for 10K, a young guy who just can’t find a girlfriend in the post-apocalyptic world. On the bright side, 10K has the shooting ability of a trained sniper and his name comes from the fact that he plans to kill ten thousand zombies.

I love the fact that this show references a lot of pop-culture. In one episode, there’s a reference to a dirty guy on a motorcycle with a crossbow.

Another episode has a character named Dan Scully. This guy is in Roswell, Nevada hunting aliens, of course. This same episode mentioned a guy from Riverside, Iowa claiming to be a starship captain.

There’s just so much fun to be had in watching this show and so somehow I don’t mind that she’s sitting around on her summer break watching it over and over.

Okay, so I might be a bad mom after all.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Intervention

Every single day last week, when my alarm went off at 6:00am, Olivia was up and ready to start the day. She had no reason to be awake that early, she just was because, yeah, she’s a morning person.

Summer intervention started today. I had to wake that child up at 6:40 and she acted like she’d only gotten a couple of hours of sleep.

Why is it on days when she has to be up and ready at a specific time, I have to wake Olivia up and drag her little butt out of bed but on the days when she could sleep in, she wakes up on her own at 5:55, five minutes before my alarm goes off and is by my side the entire morning while I get ready for work?

Well, now that I’ve gotten that little pet peeve off my chest…

About a month before school let out for the summer, Olivia brought home a paper that invited her to take part in the summer intervention program. It’s two weeks in June, two weeks in July and one week in August during which the kids go to school from 8am to 11am and work with the teachers they had the previous year and the teachers they will be with in the coming year.

When Alyssa was in second grade she was invited to take part in this program and we sent her even though it pissed her off that she had to go to ‘Summer School.’

I insisted then just as I insist now that it’s not Summer School, it is Summer Intervention. It’s a chance for the kid work on the things they learned during the previous year and give them a bit of a head start on what they’ll be learning next year.

I mean, yes, duh, of course it’s summer school but I want her to actually do the work and maintain all the things she worked so hard last year and we say she’s going to summer intervention.

Alyssa thinks it’s awesome that Olivia has to go since she, Alyssa had to go way back when. Olivia thinks it sucks and honestly, I’m okay with that. Sure, I like it when my kids are happy but I also like it when they’re learning and behaving and so off to summer intervention she went this morning.

And she’ll be fine. She’ll be more than fine, she’ll continue to learn and grow. For that, I’ll take her being a little pissed off at me. It’s kind of my job to make my kids mad once in a while. After all, it is for their own good.

Friday, June 3, 2016

All Kids (and Parents) Are Different

One of the radio stations I listen to during my morning commute (ha! All twenty minutes of it.) was discussing ‘leashing’ children this morning.

I am the oldest of three kids. I have two younger brothers. I am four and a half years older than one brother and thirteen years younger than the other brother.

I’m sure that my mom parented us differently because we were all born at different stages of her life. With me, as the first born, I was an only child for four and a half years. I got all her attention. My brothers probably never actually got all of her attention at any point if only because there were always other kids around.

The point here is that my mom never needed to put a ‘leash’ on me because I was that kid who loved rules. I was also painfully shy and never ventured far from my mom’s side.

Jason, my mom’s second born, was a bit more adventurous but not too bed. He’d wander a few feet while we were in stores but came back when she called him.

Mitch, though, that kid was runner. No matter how my mom explained the necessity of staying near her, no matter how often he got spanked for running away from her, he still always did it. She was very attentive, always aware of where he was. And hell, she had me with her most of the time, a built-in babysitter and still he got away from her a few times.

So she bought a backpack with a ‘leash’ and put it on him to keep him safe.

The people on the radio had radically different views on leashes. There was one dude, the father of two, who insisted that leashes made for lazy parenting. That it is a parents job to always, 100% of the time to be aware of where your kid is. The woman on the show, who is not a parent, said that no one can ever be 100% attentive and that if leashes keep kids safe, where’s the harm? She admitted to wearing one of the leash/backpacks as child because she was a wanderer.

Neither one of my girls has ever had to wear a leash but that’s not because I’m an amazing parent so much as it’s because they never leave my side. They’re not runners. They like being near me and I do remind them to stay within my sight.

But I get that there are kids who run. This doesn’t make them bad kids. It doesn’t make their parents bad parents. It just means the parents have to find inventive ways to keep their kids safe.

Obviously, this conversation on the radio stemmed from the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure. Obviously, that kid was adventurous and rambunctious.

I do wonder, though, why his mother is the only one being called a bad parent these days. Was his dad there? Why isn’t he being called out for this happening?

Even the dude on the radio mentioned MOTHERS and how they need to be constantly aware of their children, always attentive, never distracted. Why? Why is it on the mom to be the constant safety guide? My girls have two parents and in our house, those two parents work hard to teach values, safety precautions, rules, etc. We both, my husband and I, are parents. We both make sure the girls are fed and clothed and that homework is done. We both parent our girls to the best of our abilities. We just got lucky that we didn’t spawn runners, I guess or those girls would have been leashed for their own safety.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Weekend Prep

I know it’s only Wednesday, but I’m already trying to prep for this coming weekend. See, it’s the first weekend in June.

So what, right? Except that the first weekend in June is a BIG DEAL if you live on Beetle Lake in Battle Creek, Michigan. Which, yeah, we don’t live there but my aunt Lorry does live there and so it’s a big deal.

Why? Because the first weekend in June is when her entire neighborhood holds their annual garage sales! I know, right?

My family (well, okay, my mom’s side of my family) is always able to find a reason to celebrate and gather and when we gather, we often do it for days at a time.

So on Friday evening the girls and I will ride with my mom to Michigan where we will spend the night with my aunt, shop at her neighborhood garage sales and then probably spend the night again on Saturday.

Which means I will have no time this coming weekend to do what I usually do on the weekends, which is cook, clean and do laundry.

So yeah. Laundry will be done as we go this week. The vacuuming…can be done by Alyssa. Yes! I do so love to delegate.

These weekends are always fun but when we get home, I always feel so far behind. No matter how hard I try to get ahead, it never quite works.

Of course, all this is to say that I don’t care because the weekends are fun enough to make it worth the time spent trying to catch up on what didn’t get done.