Thursday, May 25, 2017

Up and At 'Em

Each day this week I’ve had to practically drag Olivia out of bed to get ready for school. I get up between 5:30 and 6:00, depending on the day. I try to wake Liv up around 6:15 to give her time to just relax before starting in on getting dressed, doing hair, eating breakfast. She needs about ten minutes to just sit in front of the space heater (in LATE MAY!) and cook her feet before she’s really able to function enough to, oh, put on underwear.

This morning, though, was different. My alarm went off at 5:30. I turned it off and rolled over, knowing the next alarm would go off at 5:45 (what?) At 5:32, Olivia called from her bed, “Mom?”

I muttered, “What?”

She asked me something I don’t even remember and I gave some answer and told her to go back to sleep, it wasn’t time to get up yet.

About thirty seconds after the second alarm went off (WHAT?!) she started to tell me about a dream she’d had. I didn’t listen because I went back to sleep.

Because I wasn’t listening, she called, “Mom!?”

I called back, “What! Don’t you know it’s time to be sleeping not chatting?”

She laughed and continued to chat as if we were in the middle of a conversation.

This kid. One regular school days, I have to literally drag her out of bed.

But on the last day of school, she can’t wait to start the day.

I suppose I understand. Kind of. Okay, not at all. She still had to go to school even if it was the last time for third grade. Who doesn’t want to snatch even five extra minutes of sleep?

Oh yeah, Olivia…that’s who doesn’t want to snatch a few extra minutes of sleep. Crazy girl.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

3-2-1

We’re almost done. This afternoon, either Tom or I will pack O’s last lunch for 3rd grade. Alyssa will pack her last lunch for 8th grade. As of 1:30 tomorrow afternoon I will have a 4th grader and a freshman in high school.

Wheee!! This whole life is passing me by so very quickly. The lives of these beautiful girls are flying by. I want to grab it by the pigtails and slow it all down.

Alas, I can’t do that. So I’m holding on tight to this ride and trying to take it all in, absorb all the love, the memories, even the irritation, so when I’m old and they’re grown I can look back and bask in love we’ve nurtured and grown.

I will confess that 3rd grade has been the most challenging so far for Miss O, though. I don’t know if it’s just that the academic requirements are the most difficult so far (they say 4th grade will be that much harder still…) or if it was the combination of teachers (she had a new special ed teacher this year as well as, obviously, a new classroom teacher (it was also her classroom teacher’s first year teaching 3rd grade, this same teacher took eight weeks off for maternity leave during the middle of the year)) but life wasn’t always easy this year.

I got more emails and notes home this year regarding behaviors, requesting suggestions for how to motivate her, and just informing us of issues than we ever received before.

Olivia can be…stubborn. Yeah, that’s a good word. She either wants to work hard and totally gets the work or she…doesn’t. I honestly don’t think she can control these things either. Math is difficult and when we sit down to do math, I can see her shutting down. She needs a lot of one-on-one time and redirection when working on math. She loves to write but sometimes those fine motor skills get in the way and she doesn’t space her letters well, making her handwriting hard to read.

She wants to do well. I know this. She beams whenever anyone tells her she’s doing well. She knows she’s smart she just has a hard time showing it sometimes.

Her fashion sense, however, continues to be impeccable.


She brought home a sheet of paper on which she and her classmates had to write nice things about each other. She got a lot of compliments on her hair and her outfits. One kid did suggest that she might talk to her classmates a little more. How she laughed at that one.

As she gets older, Olivia is beginning to understand that she’s different from her peers. She pointed out to me several times this year that she did math sheets that were different from her classmates’ sheets. She is still very socially awkward and she knows it. So far, she doesn’t seem bothered enough by her social awkwardness to do anything about it but it’s only a matter of time.

I want so badly for her to have friends. I want her to come out of her shell and talk to her peers. I want them to see how funny she is, how sweet she is, how imaginative she can be. I want her to have the kind of friendships her sister has and honestly, I’m not sure she’ll get that.

We’re trying though. This summer we’ll work on math facts, we’ll read, she’ll write stories both on her tablet and one paper. We’ll have playdates with classmates and encourage one on one communication between her and her peers. We’ll help her maintain the academic gains she made this year and prepare her for 4th grade.

And we’ll continue to help her remember how to behave in public. We’ll encourage good behaviors and develop consequences for less favorable behavior. We’ll keep on striving to reach her fullest potential.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Car Trouble

I’m so irritated by my car right now. It’s a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox. I loved it when we first got it. We bought it from an older gentleman who’d purchased it new. It had very low miles and we’ve had it for about three years.

When we were in Bowling Green several weeks ago for Lyss’s choir thing, my mom, Liv and I were driving around town wasting time until it was time for A’s concert. While sitting at a stoplight, my car dinged at me, three little warning chimes and then the StabiliTrak light came on and a warning came up on the console telling me that “Engine Power is Reduced.”

Yikes!

The car did not die, though, so when the light turned green, we limped over to a parking lot and turned the car off. We let it sit for about ten seconds and I turned it on again. The warning lights/statements were still on.

I turned the car off and called Tom. While on the phone with him, I turned the car on again and this time, the warnings were off. Well, except the ‘check engine’ light, it stayed on and has stayed on since.

We were an hour and a half from home. This was not a good feeling, knowing I was having car trouble and we were that far from home.

We obviously made it home and all was well for a couple of weeks.

Until Saturday, when the stupid StabiliTrak light came on AGAIN, this time while idling in the driveway while waiting to pick up Lyss from a sleepover after the JH dance.

I turned the car off, waited two minutes, turned it back on; still being warned about reduced engine power and the need to service the stabilitrak. I turned it off again, waited, no reset this time. The lights remained on.

We drove home at forty miles an hour. Thankfully, we were only about six miles from home. But ugh! So annoying!

So Tom spent most of Saturday and Sunday working on the stupid car. He changed some parts, cleaned some other parts, checked out a lot of YouTube videos of other people working on cars and on Sunday afternoon he declared it fixed. He’d driven it to town, exchanged some parts, put new parts on right there in the parking lot of Auto Zone and drove it home. He swore that it drove better than it had in months.

I test drove it to my mom’s. We sat in her driveway for a couple of seconds (literal seconds!) letting it idle because, yeah, that’s when the stabilitrak warning light comes on.

IT CAME ON AGAIN! This time I took pictures of all the lights and warnings because I wasn’t actually sure my darling, devoted husband believed me when I’d told him about them before.

See, he’d never actually seen these lights and warnings. And the parts he’d replaced had nothing to do with the stupid Stabilitrak and he was getting REALLY annoyed with me asking about it.

And I was getting annoyed with having to ask about it. I just wanted it fixed, whatever that meant. I hate having a car I don’t feel like I can rely on. I mean, I’ve driven some clunker in my day but this car is NOT a clunker. I shouldn’t feel like I have to rev the engine while sitting at a stop light to keep it from idling too low and having the warning lights come on again.

So…where are we right now?

The check engine light is still on. The “Service Stabilitrak” warning is off. There is no warning that the engine has reduced power but there is a weird clicking that can be heard when the car is running.

Tom thinks we need to just trade the stupid thing in. He has done some research and apparently Chevrolet was going quite a bit of experimenting on the Equinox between 2010 and 2012 and we got one that doesn’t seem to have quite been done right.

We don’t want to deal with constant repairs or warnings or issues. We just want a car we can rely on to start each day, get us where we’re going and then get us home again. That’s not asking too much.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Speaking of Abandoment Issues

Last Friday on our way home from a choir contest (they got a superior rating!) Alyssa played a video for me and my mom. It was of Avi talking about needing to take a break from Pentatonix.

Alyssa was…sad. Is that the right word? I’m not sure. She was concerned and confused. She wants to support Avi but she also wants Pentatonix to continue being who they are, making the amazing music they make and she worries if they replace Avi with some other bass, well, it just won’t be the same.

She worked her way through these emotions all weekend long. She cried a little. She wrote PTX Forever on her wrist in solidarity with the rest of the Pentatonix of the world.

I teased that this was like when the Beatles broke up. Which, obviously, it’s not to that scale but she and a lot of the more…fanatic…fans were fairly upset.

She was obsessed with reading every single tweet that was tweeted, watching every reaction video posted, responding to all Instagram pics posted. She talked about it pretty much non-stop, going back and forth between her love for Avi himself and her fandom for Pentatonix as a whole.

I reminded her often that in his announcement video, Avi said he was taking a break, not that he was quitting forever. He said he’s going to continue to make music but that the breakneck speed at which Pentatonix has toured and traveled and performed has become too much for him and he needs to slow down, regroup, figure out where to go from here.

She understands but she’s also fourteen and feels all the things so deeply, as only a teenage girl can feel them. She’s doing better already. She’s consoling herself with the fact that Avi is performing in all the events that PTX committed to do before his announcement, so he’ll be in Indianapolis on August 10, which is when we’ll also be in Indy to attend the Pentatonix concert.

It also helps that she’s super busy with end of school year events. Tomorrow is Olivia’s annual field day, it’s also the Junior High Dance. Monday we have to attend an academic awards ceremony for Alyssa. Next Thursday is their last day and it ends at 1:30.

I’d say bring on summer but summer is bringing its own version of busyness with marching band, band camp, summer intervention.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Junior High Band/Choir Concert

We attended our last EVER Junior High Band/Choir concert on Monday. I make the distinction that it was Junior High because, duh, we’ve got four years of high school band/choir concerts ahead of us.


Fun times, indeed.

Actually, it really was fine. I had to get there a half hour early because Alyssa had to be there a half hour early and even four miles seems silly to drive back home when it’s only a half hour. I sat next to Alyssa’s friend Tessa’s mom, which was nice. She’s lovely. Actually, we’re really lucky because most of Lyss’s friends’ moms are lovely. Oh, damn, I just realized that if most of her friends’ moms are lovely, what if I am the NOT lovely mom of that friend group? Unnerving thought!

Tom and Olivia arrived at 6:59 for the 7:00 concert. And get this…Olivia behaved VERY well. I mean, like REALLY well. She was a paragon of appropriate public behavior. It was awesome.

The concert began with the choir, then the fourth grade performed using their recorders.

Yes, it was as ‘awesome’ as one might think. Though to be fair to this year’s fourth graders, they were actually better than I’ve ever heard a group of fourth grade recorder players. So that’s something.

After the fourth grade, the tiny little fifth grade band played. They were…fifth graders.

The sixth graders were also…sixth graders.

The junior high band, though, was pretty great. I mean, for junior high students, right? But since my kid was one of them of course they were awesome.

I really am proud of how far she’s come as a musician and a performer. She seems to enjoy herself so much these days as she’s making music either through singing or her flute.

The sad part, though, is the awesome band director who has been at the school for four years is leaving at the end of this school year. They haven’t hired a new ‘instrumental music teacher’ yet, and Lyss and all her friends are very hopeful that they’ll find someone as awesome as Ms. P has been. I hope so too. I’d hate for her musical education to suffer because of a bad teacher.

But here’s to another year in the books…almost. Only six more lunches to pack. Just saying.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Those Damned Math Sheets

There were so many tears last week and they were mostly due to half-page math worksheets.

Every single freaking day, Olivia brought home a half-page math worksheet. This worksheet was supposed to have been done that day at school during ‘morning math work’.

It was never done while at school. What was done at school was a bunch of doodling and scribbling upon the half-sheet of paper.

I asked Olivia so many times last week what her teachers/aides were doing while she was scribbling all over her morning math worksheet.

She’d shrug at me.

She did take the time to explain that the worksheet she was doing was different from the worksheets the rest of the class were doing.

I don’t know if this bothered her but it seemed as if she thought this was enough of an explanation for why she was scribbling all over hers. I mean, we’re talking SCRIBBLING. She’d write random words, lines, squiggles, circles. You name it, she wrote it on her math worksheets. Wait, unless you name numbers. There were no numbers on her math sheets. It’s almost as if she’s allergic to numbers.

So yes, these math sheets were sent home every single freaking day last week with a note asking, “Please have Olivia complete the morning math sheet that she didn’t complete at school today.”

And to do this, I’d have to erase ALL.THE.SCRIBBLES each evening. Most of the time, not all the scribbles would come off but I could get it fairly clean and we’d sit down to do the work.

Sometimes this math work was complicated. Like story problems such as, “Eric had 75 cents. He bought a candy bar for 45 cents. How much money does he have left?”

Olivia’s brain doesn’t quite compute how to figure what the actual problem is.

I mean, she can do 75 minus 45 if it’s written as:

75
-45


But figuring out the starting point in the story problem is difficult for her. I mean, duh, girlfriend has a chromosomal deletion! Let’s give her a little break, ‘kay?

On the second day she brought home a scribbled-upon math sheet, we took away her tablet. I mean, there had to be some kind of consequence, right?

She lost the tablet from Tuesday evening until Saturday morning. She didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.

Friday, though. Oh, Friday. I checked her folder. There was another math sheet. This time, there would be no erasing. She’d gone after that thing with crayon. I was lucky I was going to be able to read it well enough to rewrite the whole thing.

At that point, I informed her she was losing all doodling privileges. Oh, the tears fell when she heard that. She loves doodling (as shown by the doodling on the math sheets.) I informed her that the day she managed to come home from school without a destroyed math sheet, she’d get her home doodle pad back.

We talked about it all weekend long. I reminded her each time she asked for a pad of paper and a pen that she couldn’t have it because she wouldn’t stop doodling on her math.

I honestly don’t know how much of the doodling/scribbling is in her control but I will say, there was no math sheet yesterday.

I wonder if her teachers took the email I sent yesterday to heart or if Liv just learned a little self-control. My email suggested that Liv needs more help at school during morning math work than she was getting. That if there was an aide or a teacher available to guide her in the math work, maybe she wouldn’t decide that doodling was a vial option since she couldn’t figure out the problems on her own.

Whatever the reason, she didn’t bring home a math sheet and for that, I’m so very grateful. And for the record, I did get her back her home doodle pad. She was one happy doodler.

(She got around not having paper this weekend by drawing with chalk on the driveway but…shhhh, let’s not talk about that.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Freshman Orientation

Whew, now that all the stories about the Junior High honors choir trip are told (not really, I haven’t mentioned my stupid car…) I can finally talk about Freshman Orientation.

Alyssa and I went to her school at 6pm last Monday evening to listen to her principal and guidance counselor talk about the importance of maintaining a good GPA, how there is a path for every student in their school; such as the academic honors diploma, the college credit classes, 4 County (a sort of vocational school in our area) and blah, blah, blah.

I was in a mood that evening. I think it was because earlier in the day I’d stupidly searched for ‘thinspiration’ on Pinterest and it depressed me/made me mad. That one about not taking orders from a cookie? Bite me. And the whole, nothing tastes as good as being thin feels…really? Are you sure? Have you ever had a York peppermint patty?

So I was in a mood; a cranky, irritable, three-year-old who dropped her cookie mood.

I listened to the speeches, followed along with the slides on the projector screen. But I was so distracted by all the fat mothers in the audience with horrible haircuts.

And it hit me. I’m a fat mom with a horrible haircut. The people behind me were probably as distracted by my fat rolls as I was by the fat rolls of the women in front of me. (Maybe not, I was wearing a sweater, and it camouflaged my fat rolls…just saying.)

I hate that I’m so judgey. I hate that I think about this so much that it filters over onto other people. But ugh! So much back fat and so many horrible layers in hair. I mean, seriously, I wondered of that one women let someone cut her hair with garden shears.

And then! Then the stupid principal called up the senior class president to give a speech to the students in the audience. OMG. This guy thought he was so funny.

He wasn’t.

He was irritating in that way that only eighteen year old dudes who think they’re funny can be.

And he had a beard. Did I mention he was eighteen? I know. It was gross.

All in all, we came away with information. We have some options.

I reminded Alyssa that since I have a BA, she has to at least meet my level of education if not surpass it. She rolled her eyes at me. I didn’t care because I was going home to have a cookie.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amelia's Mom

As we sat in the lobby of the music center waiting for the junior high honors choir to begin, my mom and I made idle chitchat with the parents of one of Lyss’s friends, Amelia. The four of us made a concerted effort to ignore Olivia. I appreciated Amelia’s parents’ efforts. They were quite admirable.

But this isn’t actually about Olivia! I know. Who knew I could write anything that didn’t involve the little darling?

It’s actually about how refreshing it was to sit and talk to Amelia’s mom. This woman was so refreshingly unapologetic about how much she is OVER doing mom things these days.

She didn’t even pretend to feel bad about being thoroughly annoyed by all three of her kids for various things. It was awesome!

Her son is finishing his freshman year of college. She said he brings a ton of laundry home every single time he comes home, which, she declared, is WAY too often. Ha! She said that the night before the JH honors choir, he arrived at 8pm with his usual duffle bag of laundry. At first she informed him she was not doing his laundry that weekend but then, she said he started talking about stuff she just didn’t want to hear about so she escaped to their laundry room just so she didn’t have to hear his voice.

She didn’t have much to complain about her middle child, a daughter who is a junior in high school. This child, she said, at least cooks.

But she told me and my mom that her youngest, Amelia, who is Alyssa’s friend, is so wishy washy about every little thing and goes back and forth on all decisions. She said the latest obsession is whether or not she’s going to play sports in high school. Amelia’s mother informed her that she has until next fall to make any decision at all and she doesn’t want to hear another word about it until early August.

I wanna be just like this mom when I’m a grown up mom. I love that she’s letting her kids that her very existence doesn’t rely on them and their needs. She’s reminding them that she’s a person too and she doesn’t have to cater to their needs.

I could learn a thing or twenty from Amelia’s mom.

Though, to my credit, just this past Tuesday at Lyss's last JH track meet EVER I informed her, "If you're cold, I could give you my sweater but, yeah, I kind of don't want to. So I'm not going to. You can go get your sweatshirt out of the locker room." I'm getting there...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jr High Honors Choir - part 2

On the Friday evening before the Saturday at BGSU the girls and I went to my mom’s house for a quick visit.

While there, my mom told me she’d decided she was going to go with me to BGSU and we’d spend the day around Bowling Green. She suggested we take Olivia with us.

I’d planned to leave Liv at home with Tom because I knew she’d be bored, especially during the concert.

But my mom made a good point when she mentioned that every time I have to go somewhere with one kid and leave the other at home, I’m so torn between the two. I always feel like I should be where I’m not. Maybe that’s a hold-over from when Liv was in the NICU and I always felt like I wasn’t where I should be. When I was with her, Alyssa, sweet little three year old Alyssa, was at home. When I was at home with Lyss, tiny little newborn Olivia was in the hospital. I was never where I was supposed to be because I was supposed to be in two places at once.

Ahem. Okay, sorry for that brief therapy session.

Anyway. It was decided that Liv would go with us and we’d find things to do and places to be while waiting between dropping Lyss off at 8:30am and her concert at 4:00pm.

And it was fine. It was fine all day long until it wasn’t fine anymore.

Let’s back up. First, we headed to Hobby Lobby and wandered around there for about an hour. Then we went to TJ Maxx and wandered there too. Pizza Hut was across the street from TJ Maxx so we decided that was convenient.

By the time our pizza was eaten (it took FOREVER for it to arrive and there were MAYBE four other tables in the entire restaurant) we decided that even though it was still two hours before the concert, we’d head back and look at the cool building on the BGSU campus that looks like a sinking ship.


After the sinking ship tour, my mom decided to sit down in the lobby of the concert hall and I let Olivia run around the ramp outside. It was a fun ramp that went in a semi-circle so she thought it was pretty neat. She ran around it many times before declaring she was tired and wanted to go sit with Gram for a while.

We sat down, she played on a wavy bench and all was well.

Then other parents started showing up. And my mom and I started talking to these other parents and Olivia was no longer the center of attention nor did she have the potential for being the center of attention and at that point, as far as she was concerned…it was on.

She started asking for snacks and moving her wavy bench closer and closer to my chair. And asking questions in the middle of conversations. To give her credit, when we’re around strangers, she doesn’t talk very loud so she wasn’t bothering anyone but me.

I finally excused myself to go out to the car and get her some snacks. She opted to stay in with my mom. When I walked back into that lobby, Olivia was laying on the floor. My mom reported that the minute I walked out the door, Liv calmly settled into a prone position on the floor. My mom had told her to get up several times but she just grinned and laid there. Sigh.

She did get up when she saw me because she knew I had food.

She ate her snacks and continued to quietly pester me. I acknowledged her often but tried not to derail conversations when she interrupted.

Finally, hall opened and we got to go sit down for the concert. We had to sit through four songs by the college ‘a cappella’ group. I put a cappella in quotes because this group had a piano playing along with their song. So yeah, not so much a cappella. But whatever.

When Lyss’s group finally took the stage, Olivia lost her mind. She realized that her sister was on stage and that mean I was paying attention to her sister and not to her. She started bouncing in her seat. She started tugging on my arm. She put her face in my armpit. She kissed my hands, over and over and over.

Now, bless her, Tessa’s mom suggested that Liv couldn’t help these behaviors. So kind of her to give my little monster the benefit of the doubt. I know better. My mom knows better.

After several hissed orders to settled down, I decided to ignore her.

My mom said that the grin on Liv’s face as she upped her antics was almost funny, if she weren’t being such a brat.

In the end, A’s part of the concert only lasted about fifteen minutes so I only had to put up with Olivia and her naughtiness for that long but in the moment, it felt like forever.

I’m not saying I won’t take her to something like that again. But I am saying that we’ll have some stern discussions before it happens. And, thankfully, each subsequent experience will happen to a slightly older, hopefully more mature Liv.

Monday, May 8, 2017

BGSU Junior High Honors Choir

This past Saturday, my alarm went off at 5:30 (earlier than the work week…ugh!) and I hit the shower. I was in Lyss’s room at 5:45 to make sure she was awake and Olivia was up at 6 asking when her blueberry pancakes would be ready.

By 7am we were on the road toward Bowling Green, Ohio, home of Bowling Green State University.

I needed to have Alyssa there by 8:30 to check in for the junior high honors choir. Since we were going that way, I offered to take one of Lyss’s friends with us, Tessa, so that Tessa’s mom wouldn’t have to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 and drive the hour and a half trip and then find something to do until the 4:00 concert.

My mom went with us and after we dropped Lyss and Tessa off, we headed to McD’s for breakfast (why yes, Olivia is part hobbit…she very much enjoyed her second breakfast) and then wandered around the town trying to find things to do. We were NOT going to drive the hour and a half back just to turn around and go back AGAIN to watch the concert.

We found things to do, dealt with a minor bit of stress (more on this later this week) and Alyssa stayed back with her friends learning new songs, hanging with college students and, apparently being annoyed all day long.

When we went back to Moore Musical Arts Center on the BGSU campus, Alyssa and her friends were on a quick break. She informed me she was singing the alto part. I was impressed. She usually sings soprano and so this was a new thing for her. I thought that might be a good thing.

No.

It was not a good thing; at least as far as Alyssa was concerned it was NOT A GOOD THING.

The concert was performed. It was lovely. We met up with our various kids and headed out.

And the rant started.

We went to McD’s (AGAIN) with Tessa and her mom and Lyss and Tessa compared notes on how messed up the entire day had been. See, Tessa usually sings alto. Lyssa usually sings soprano. On this day, they were required to sing the other’s part. Gasp.

To add insult to injury, at registration that morning, Alyssa was given the wrong-sized T-shirt. When she signed up for this event, she wrote on her form that she wears an adult medium T-shirt. She received a child large.

If I were ordering a shirt like this for Olivia, I’d ask for a child large. For reference, Olivia is 4’9” tall and weighs about 85lbs. Alyssa is almost 5’8” tall and weighs more than 85lbs.

Here’s a picture of each of them wearing the very shirt Alyssa was so pissed about.



Once we hit the road for home, my mom, Olivia and I were subjected to an hour long rant about the injustice of Alyssa having to sing the alto part in that choir.

Oh, and the people in charge of this honors choir thing didn’t even give the kids water. They had pizza for lunch but nothing to drink. That might be the biggest grievance in my book but I don’t sing, so I don’t know how important it is to be allowed to sing what one considers one’s part. Though, honestly, I should understand it after listening to it all the way home from Bowling Green.

When we got home, Lyss quickly texted every single one of her friends (all fifty of them) and all but one told her she was completely justified in her angst and frustration with the day.

That last one? Well, she was quick to point out to Alyssa that SHE (the friend) is an alto and was forced to sing soprano (for the record, this wasn’t Tessa speaking) AND this poor dear had received a shirt that was WAY too long. It wasn’t too long. I saw this young lady’s shirt, it was fine. But whatever. Alyssa took this one-upping badly. I mean, I get it. But I pointed out that maybe this friend was just short on empathy at the moment and needed to vent too.

Alyssa found her friend’s vent insensitive and frustrating because, DUH, she was mid-vent and didn’t want her vent to be high jacked by someone else’s vent.

What we went through was pretty much Lyss’s version of a tantrum. I’ll give it this much, it was well-thought out and never once did she raise her voice during her hour and a half rant. She did repeat herself often but…she’s fourteen and felt very put out by the entire situation.

We ended up finding out that her choir teacher was the one who messed up the vocal ranges of the girls who participated in the honors choir.

Makes me wish I’d recorded Lyss’s rant so I could forward it to Mrs. F since it was, basically, her fault my mild-mannered teenager was on the very edge of losing her beautiful mind.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Can We Slow It All Down Just a Little?


Freshman…what the hell? I mean, yes, I know, time flies and it seems like just yesterday she was three years old and saying things like, “Mommy, hold you.” And, “Can I have some macamoni and cheese?”

But here she is, on the cusp of her freshman year of high school.

I wish that when I were fourteen, I had the confidence, the character, the strength my Lyss has. She’s a loyal friend, an admirable musician, a speedy-fast runner. She tells her dad when she thinks he’s being a jerk and manages to do so with a smile and leave him feeling like he’s her whole world.

I hope these strength, this confidence never leaves her. I hope when she’s forty she’s still this feisty, this sure of her own convictions. I want her to change the world. I hope the world doesn’t come along and change her instead.

I just want to wrap her in bubble wrap and keep her with me a little while longer. I want to protect her and keep her innocent and not let the big, bad world touch her.

But I owe her more than that. I owe her the trust that she can handle this world. She can make a difference in her world and change it to suit her, not the other way around. She’s strong, she’s so freaking smart, she’s beautiful. She’s got this.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pushing Through

Alyssa stayed home from school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. She didn’t have anything going on that required a doctor visit, just a vague, “I don’t feel good.” She said her stomach hurt and she felt dizzy and tired. These were the first days she’s missed all year so Tom and I believed her words and let her stay home.

When I got home from work yesterday, she was singing in the shower so I knew she was feeling better.

But alas, I started feeling icky. Like Alyssa, it was nothing specific, just a vague achiness.

But Olivia had homework that needed to be done. We also needed to study her spelling words. Once all that was done, it was 5:40. For a minute, I considered going in and sitting on the couch. But I knew if I did that, I wouldn’t want to get up and make dinner. So I pushed through. I started dinner for the girls and it was done by 5:50. They were eating by 6 and Olivia was in the bathroom at 6:20 ‘reading a magazine.’

Yeah.

But because I pushed through my vague icky feelings, I was upstairs in the tub by 6:50, blessedly alone.

I made my way back down at 7:20, ready to finish the day. O’s school reading assignment was done by 7:30, she was finished with her evening snack by 7:50, her teeth were brushed by 8:00 and we were all heading to bed at 9:00.

When I woke up this morning, my ickiness was gone and I made it to work with nary a thought to calling in.

Here’s to pushing through and getting it all done even on those days when you just don’t wanna.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Diva

Just before the girls and I headed out for our weekly shopping trip, Tom called me. He needed me to search for local U-Haul rental places.

See…he’d left that morning to go to an auction. Along the way to the auction, he stopped at a garage sale. As he was making a pile for himself in the corner of these people’s garage, the dude running the sale said, “Why don’t you just buy it all?”

I think the guy was joking. Tom was not when he asked, “How much will you take for it all?”

This house had been empty for a year. The house had just been sold to a neighbor and they were trying to sell of the contents for the widow who’d lived there previously. There was a lot of crap in that house. A LOT.

It ended up being a ‘family affair’ as Tom called it. He was so excited about this little excursion. We even managed to rope my mom and step-dad into helping. It was actually kind of insane, if you ask me.

After we’d arrived and the home owner and her children (who were older than my mom!) left, I told Tom, “So, basically, you paid these people to let you pack up their house?”

He was too gleeful to even take offense. There were so many treasures in this house, he assured me.

Whatever. There were also a lot of dead bugs.

We ended up being at that house for about five hours, wrapping dishes, packing boxes, declaring that so much of the stuff we were dealing with was GARBAGE. Ahem.

Alyssa was an awesome helper and when she got tired of packing boxes, she asked if she could do her sister’s nails. We’d bought some fancy-dancy press-on type nails while at the grocery store earlier that day and O had been pestering me to put them on her all afternoon.

When Lyss asked if she could do them for Liv, I said, “Yes, please!”

So they sat in the empty living room on a blanket my mom had brought and ate snacks and did their nails.

A while later, I suggested we go outside and get some fresh air before we started on the crap (I mean, treasures) in another room of the house. While out there, I exclaimed over a fancy lilac tree. It was so pretty, with frillier than usual flowers and that glorious lilac smell.

As she was attempting to smell the flowers, Olivia tripped over some wrapped fencing. She caught herself and then promptly tripped again. When she finally recovered, she stopped for a moment, caught her breath, looked at her hands and declared, “I didn’t lose any of my nails!”

My little diva definitely understands what’s truly important. She might have skinned the hell out of her shins (she didn’t) but she didn’t lose a nail.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Vindication

Olivia stayed home (okay, wait, she stayed with Gram) from school last Friday. I woke her up like normal that morning and all was going well. She’d changed out of her pajamas and had put on her shirt and was in the process of pulling on a pair of tights when she announced that she didn’t feel well. She positioned herself at the toilet and threw up. It was gross and awful. She was sweaty from the effort of vomiting and while she’d made it to the toilet, well, not all of the puke made it in there. She swiped her arm across her mouth before I could stop her and so the shirt HAD to come off.

I rushed to get her some clean pajamas and a washcloth which I used to wash her face and then let her use to wipe her mouth again. I got her some water to rinse her mouth and told her that once she had her pajamas on I’d brush her teeth to get rid of the nasty taste of regurgitation. Ick.

We got her cleaned up and headed downstairs to impart the good (to Olivia) news that she would not be attending school that day.

Tom looked at me with near-panic. Evidently, he’d planned on doing things that did not involve child care. Huh.

I asked him if he’d like me to call my mom and see if she was available to watch Liv that day.

I could almost see the release of tension in his shoulders as he nodded and said to tell my mom he could come get Livie afternoon if she needed him to do wo.

I made the call, my mom graciously came to the rescue and we went about our morning.

I mentioned that Liv was actually probably fine now, that she’d probably thrown up due to eating too much junk the night before (it had been a Thursday, so Lyss and I were at a track meet until after 7 so Tom had fed Liv and then let her eat way too much chocolate, at least according to the contents of the toilet that morning…wait, is that TMI?)

He brightened at that thought and said, “You’re probably right, she really could just go to school.”
“No,” I clarified. “Even if she is fine, which obviously, I hope she is, I don’t think a kid who pukes at 6:30 in the morning should have to go to school that day. Puking is one hundred percent a get out of school for the day event.”

He started to argue and I stopped him, “Do you want to get a call from the school at noon letting us know someone needs to come get Gaggie McPukerton?”

At that, he agreed and Livie and I continued to pack her stuff for her day at Gram’s.

And what do you know? My mom called me at work at 12:30 saying that Liv had thrown up again and had no change of clothes.

I’m an idiot. I had packed Liv’s book, her tablet, a movie, a blanket and …. No clothes.

My mom’s house is only three miles from our house but she hadn’t been able to get Tom on the phone. I told her the way to get into our house in case he wasn’t there and she and Liv started head over there.

Tom finally called me and said he’d take several pairs of pajamas to my mom’s house and all was well.

And while I felt like a dipshit for not taking a change (or three) of clothes, I did feel just a little vindicated over the fact that she had, in fact, thrown up again and I was absolutely right in keeping her home from school. Not that I’m glad she threw up, just that since she did, I’m so, so glad she was at home (or, rather, at Gram’s) to do it rather than at school. No one wants to puke at school.

Like I said to my mom, if I were the stay at home parent, these issues wouldn’t even need to be discussed. Unfortunately, I am not that parent and so…the opinions of others (okay, one other, whatever) must be considered. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

All Night Long

Sunday and Monday nights (or was it Monday and Tuesday mornings?) Olivia woke me up at 3am to discuss the weather, politics, the new animation of Monster High and whether or not she should change her earrings when the sun finally rises…) These wake ups both lasted nearly forty-five minutes, with me telling her after every single question to turn off the damned book light and go back to sleep.

Last night before bed, I told her that if she woke up in the middle of the night, she should roll over and go back to sleep and NOT talk to me…at all.

And what do you know? It worked. If she woke up, she didn’t tell me about it and I got a lovely night’s sleep last night. I don’t know if she did or not but that’s okay because I did. And supposedly a happy mom means the whole house is happy.

So…yeah, everybody’s happy, right?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekend Accomplishments

As I tucked Olivia in on Sunday night and settled into bed myself I reflected on the weekend that had just passed and wondered if I’d managed to accomplish anything.

I mean, sure, I bought groceries, I swept the kitchen floor, vacuumed the living room and family room. I changed the sheets on all the beds. I made banana bread. Both my children were relatively healthy and my husband was still speaking to me, sooo, sure?

But what had I REALLY done? I wondered.

I went through a couple of boxes of clothes that Alyssa outgrew years ago, picking ones I thought Olivia might wear, putting those in a basket to be washed and tossing the ones that I knew Olivia would never in a million years wear into a box to be given to my oldest step-son’s daughter. We send all O’s outgrown clothes to her and tell her parents, “Whatever you don’t want, you can give away, donate, burn, whatever. Once they’re in your hands, they’re no longer our problem.”

Or something like that. I just like to get stuff like that out of my house.

I’m trying to get the ‘guest’ room cleaned out so I can move Olivia’s stuff in there. Alyssa’s claimed her room and it’s all good. Even though O’s bed is in my room (so she can chat with me at 3am…Oh dear lord, WHY?) I want her to have a space that is clearly hers. So I’m getting all the stored stuff out of there, but it’s taking forever. I figure maybe by the end of summer, I’ll have it set up like an actual room for her. Maybe.

But sorting clothes can take a while. So once that was done, it was time to make lunch for the girls and then the afternoon just floated away and it was time to make dinner and wash the dishes and settle down for the night.

And just like that, the weekend was gone.

I got into each Friday afternoon thinking of all the things I might get done that weekend. I mean, there are two whole days ahead of me, days during which I don’t have to leave for work.

And yet they fly by and I never get the toy room organized or the stuffed animals out of the corner of O’s future room. I don’t get the pile of crap by the door in my own room cleared out either. It sits there, mocking me, asking me what I’m doing with all my time.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Starring in My Own Personal Episode of The Super Nanny

Remember that show? It basically trained adults on how to parent and helped them get their kids under control.

While most of the kids in the episodes of Super Nanny were under five, I got to spend about an hour in a special kind of hell that only a belligerent ten-year-old can create.

It was a Saturday night. We’d settled in on the couch, me in the middle, Olivia on my left and Alyssa on my right. It’s how we always sit. It works for us.

Okay, so it usually works for us. On this particular Saturday night, when 9pm rolled around, rather than settle down for a nice back scratch and a snooze, Olivia got some kind of insane burst of energy and started bouncing on the couch like a beached salmon.

Basically, she was acting like a lunatic.

I told her several times to stop it and settle down. She laughed.

I moved from the couch to the recliner and ignored her.

She moved closer to Alyssa because, duh, she needed to annoy someone. What’s the fun of being a lunatic if no one is even bothered by your lunacy?

After trying to ignore her for another fifteen minutes, I warned her that if she didn’t stop the bouncing (think full-freaking-body bouncing on her half of the couch) I was going to take her to bed, where she’d be expected to stay while I came back downstairs to finish watching the movie I’d started.

She laughed at me again and so I calmly went over to her, took her by the hand and led her up the stairs.

To her credit, she didn’t fight me. She probably thought I was going to stay up there with her while she fell asleep. I tucked her into bed, kissed her goodnight, told her I loved her and that I’d see her in the morning. Then I left the room.

I went downstairs and sat in the recliner, which is the only seat in the living room from which you can see the stairs.

About ten minutes later, I saw the flash of the book light that Liv often falls asleep holding.

I calmly went to the stairs and found her about halfway down. I turned her around and walked her back up to her bed. I kissed her goodnight again but this time, I didn’t say a word. I just turned around and walked away.

We did this little dance two more times. The third time I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and counted. Seven seconds after I’d reached the bottom of the stairs, Miss O appeared at the top. I took her back to bed.

This time, I didn’t even bother going down the stairs. I stopped right outside the bedroom and four seconds later, she was there, slamming into me because she was so intent on making her way down the stairs.

This time when I started to tuck her back into bed, she burst into tears.

And that’s when I felt like I was actually reaching her. She finally got it. She knew I was serious.

I asked her if she was ready to come downstairs and let me rub her back.

She sniffled and said, “Yes.”

She was asleep about five minutes after we sat together on the couch.

And it appears the lesson has been learned. She started to get crazy again last night and all I had to say was, “Do you want to go to bed alone?”

Nope, she didn’t want to do that. She stopped flopping on the couch and settled down.

I suppose that’s one benefit to “Super-Nannying” a ten year old. They can usually be reasoned with. But sometimes, not so much and in those moments, The Super Nanny techniques actually work.

For the record, I’m counting this one as a Mom win. I need to take the wins where I can get them.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

For My Mom

Last night as I scrubbed Olivia’s hair in the tub and she was shrieking that I was killing her, I found myself thinking, “Kiddo, when you have no idea how much I do for you and how much I love you.”

For the record, I wasn’t scrubbing hard, but she thinks that any water in her face when I’m rinsing her hair is drowning her.

Once my thought about how much we moms do for our kids and how much we love them, I thought of my own mom and how much she did for me and my brothers.

It’s probably stupid but it occurred to me for maybe the first time ever that my mom loves me and my brothers as much as I love my girls. She sacrificed, she worked so, so hard, she stayed up late and got up early to make sure that we never felt deprived. And she did all this mostly alone. She and my dad divorced when I was eleven. My dad only moved three houses away but my brothers and I never once stayed overnight with my dad in all the years that went by after the divorced. So my mom never, ever got a break.

And she never complained. At least not so that we could hear.

We went about our lives thinking that laundry got done all one its own, food appeared on the table as if by magic, the dishes were done by fairies and there was always enough money in the bank to buy groceries and shoes and school clothes/supplies each year.

Now I know. I know what she did for us, behind the scenes, making sure we could just be kids while she managed the house, made sure we were fed and clothed and clean and healthy.

This week has been tough with Alyssa’s muscle strain, Olivia’s double ear infection, laundry, dinners and lunches and breakfasts. So much to do and still we need to fit baths in there and snuggles and bedtime stories.

And I have a partner who helps as much as he can; as much as the girls will let him.

My mom did it all by herself. My dad, Lord love him, even when he was around, wasn’t much help around the house or as a parent. Sure, he worked and provided an income but…my mom was our rock.

And I see now how much she did, how much she gave, how very much she loved and still does love us.

Even if my girls never have kids of their own and never really know how much I do for them, how much I love them, that’s okay. Because I know…and that’s enough. Motherhood is no about the accolades. It’s not about recognition. It’s about loving and nurturing these little people as they become bigger people and hoping you’re doing enough to turn them into good people who can change their world, even just a little, for the better.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Invested

Alyssa started complaining about pain in her hip a couple of weeks after track practice started a couple of months ago. I asked her several times if they were stretching enough, and she admitted that they weren’t stretching before or after practice as much as they had last year.

At her first meet, she did the high jump and ran the four-hundred. By the time she ended the four-hundred, she was limping. She walked half the eight-hundred and was near tears when it was over.

Her coach brought her some ice and told her to sit.

The next day at school, she met with the athletic physiologist (think PT.) He diagnosed her with a strained muscle in her hip/lower ab area. He told her to ice it often and gave her lots of new stretches to do.

She’s sat out the last two meets and will sit out the on this coming Friday.

At first, I was VERY bothered by this sitting out. I don’t know why. I’m trying to figure out why I’m so invested in her athletic career. Why does it matter to me? I mean, I don’t actually enjoy going to track meets and yet…I want her to do them. I want her to enjoy physical activity and for it to become a part of her life.

And there it is…I don’t want her to be sedentary…like me. I don’t want her to get to a point in her life where exercise is a chore instead of a fun thing to do.

But it’s her life and if she’s hurt I obviously want her to take the time to get better rather than hurting herself even more by pushing too hard too fast.

I think when she first got hurt, she was ready to just quit track and move on but since she’s still an official member of the team, she’s still going to the meets and cheering on her teammates. It’s during these meets that she finds herself longing to be on the track, especially during the four-hundred. She considers that her race. She doesn’t mind missing out on the eight-hundred, though and gleefully sits back to watch others run those two laps.

She’s been going the stretches and icing her hip for over a week now. I think she original injury happened about four or five weeks ago, during one of the practices. She’s going to see the athletic physiologist again on Thursday to see if she’s cleared to compete in next Monday’s meet. IF so, yay, if not, well, I think I’m learning to let go of my own investment in her track life and content to just listen to her and her needs. She knows what hurts, she knows how hard to push herself.

She’ll figure it out and I’ll sit back and let her, encouraging her to do things that are hard but also trusting her to know when it’s just not going to work out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mine

Last weekend, my mom and I drove to Defiance High School (about 45 minutes away from my house) to watch Alyssa perform in a flute solo, a mixed woodwind trio (two flutes, on clarinet…damn, those clarinets are SO loud!), and two choral ensembles.

It was requested by Lyss that we be at the school by noon even though her first performance wasn’t until 1:34. This request also included an order from McD’s for lunch. Alyssa ended up sending me at least five texts with new orders from her friends who’d heard we were stopping at McD’s and wanted in on the fast food action.

After picking up ALL the chicken nuggets, a burger with ketchup only (can I tell you how much I HATE ordering special crap like that…ugh!) and fries, we met with Alyssa and her friends at the school.

There is something about the smell of McD’s that brings every single teenager to high alert. There were so many kids surrounding our table, begging for just one nugget, or a couple of fries and, hey do you have extra water?

But it was fun too because, as Alyssa said later, since I’m always the mom with the food, I’m the favorite mom among all her friends. That’s something, I guess.

While we waited for it to be time for her first performance, Lyss and her friends took us to the gym where they’d dumped all their crap, um, I mean, their instruments and jackets and music and backpacks. Yeah, their crap.

While there, I took a few pictures of Lyss and her friends.

As she stood around with her group of friends, I leaned in to my mom and said quietly, “Sometimes, I look at her and I can’t believe she’s mine. She’s just so amazing, isn’t she?”

My mom literally wiped a tear and said, “She really is.”

The rest of the afternoon was spend going from one room to the gym, to another room, back to the gym and waiting and waiting and waiting some more. But the performances were awesome. These kids work so hard and have so much fun. I’m so glad that Alyssa is finding her place in the world. She has great friends, she’s enjoying music so much and honestly, I look at her and can’t believe she’s mine.



The scores were:
Flute solo - superior rating of 1
Woodwind ensemble - superior rating of 1
Mixed choral ensemble - superior rating of 1
Ladies choral rating - good rating of 2

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sweet, Sweet Wednesday

I was all ready to write about how awesome Wednesdays are, what with not being bath night and us not having any track meets and you know, not being Tuesday.

And then today happened and I’m done; so done with everything. While at work I feel like I’m just always annoyed. Always.

A delivery driver asked me how I was doing today and I actually muttered, “Horrible.”

I mean…come on. Just because I hate that part of my job doesn’t mean he needs to know it. And yet…dude, I was SO overwhelmed by people the moment he asked me that I couldn’t answer in any other way. And if you don’t want the truth, don’t ask the question.

I realize that that is so mean…and rude. I also realize that he was just being polite and making small talk but I didn’t have freaking time for small talk. I needed him to go away and well, telling him I was having a horrible day actually worked, so…job well done?

I feel like I’m so negative these days. So frustrated and annoyed and busy. I often feel so put-upon, as if people are asking me to do things that are outrageous and, while not beyond my skill level, are just things I do not want to do. Heck, being asked to sign my name irritates me beyond belief these days. And I have to do it several times a day. So that makes for a lovely mood.

On a lighter note, last Friday evening my dad stopped by. I was in the middle of making dinner for the girls so he didn’t stay long but while he was there, I was a perfectly lovely hostess.

In fact, when he left, I called out to from the front door to anyone who was within earshot (not my dad, who had already driven away), “I want credit, I was a delight!”

I think it’s sad that being a delight is such a rarity for me these days. Something’s got to give.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hateful

One of my grandma’s favorite things to tell me when I was a teenager was that I was a hateful, hateful child.

Yeah, whatever. She was (in my teenaged mind) a nagging old hag (by the way, she was probably all of 50 years old when I was a teenager, so…yeah, let that one simmer.)

These days, my grandma is a lovely 91 year old lady with lots of awesome stories to tell. She has the softest hands and always smells like roses. So sometimes, we can grow out of being hateful.

Except, while I’m no longer hateful to my poor, dear grandmother, I am hateful at other times in my life.

I find myself muttering, “I hate that guy.” I do this while at work.

While in the car, I mutter much worse (is there much worse than hate, though?) I hate people who drive the wrong way in a parking lot. I hate people who pull through parking spaces and then ‘have’ to drive the wrong way.

I hate that one guy that ALWAYS pulls out in front of me when I’m on my way home. I hate to tap my brakes because even though he can see me coming, he pulls onto a state road, drives all of 40MPH for a freaking mile and then turns off the state road. I hate him sooooo much.

So yes, I’m so hateful these days.

I should probably do something about that. It can’t be good for my soul to be so full of hate. I need to find my zen.

Any advice on doing that?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I Can Do It Myself

You know that stage toddlers get to where they want to do everything themselves? That moment when your two-year old doesn’t want your help putting on her shoes because, as she says, “I can do it myself!”

Yeah, that phase that you’re sort of glad they’ve reached because, yay, independence, but also a little frustrated by because, damn, it takes that kid a long time to put on her freaking socks and shoes.

That phase is one that Olivia never reached. When she was two years old, she still wasn’t walking, let alone putting on her own shoes.

When she finally started walking at 29 months old, her hands were still weak enough that there was not inclination on her part to start zipping her coat or picking up her spoon and feeding herself.

Because of all of this, we’ve created a ten-year old monster. She would really rather NOT have to do anything herself, thank you very much.

When I tell her to do things, like, oh, sit down to dinner and eat, she’ll look at me like I’m crazy and ask, “Why do I have to feed myself?”

Our current canned response is, “Because you’re ten and you have arms and hands. Just do it.”

Then she’ll sigh dramatically and act like we’re being the meanest parents in the world and finally, FINALLY sit down and feed herself. But it can be a battle.

Shoes and socks are still a struggle but again, we remind her that she’s ten, she can do it. Sure, her hands are still weak, hence the need for weekly OT at school. But she CAN do it. She just doesn’t want to.

In January, I started making her fasten her own seatbelt. She was so mad at me. She whined, she fussed, she acted like I was making her hug a cat. But after a few weeks, it was no big deal. In the beginning, I’d pull the seatbelt out and hold it for her while she snapped it in. Now, she climbs in the car, pulls her own door shut, pulls out the seatbelt and fastens the things all by herself.

She CAN do so much. We just have to keep reminding her of her own abilities because that need that most kids develop at two or three years to do everything themselves skipped over Olivia. She’d so much rather you just do it for her, please and thank you.

But by doing things for her, we are doing her no favors, even if she believes otherwise. So we’ll keep being ‘mean’ to her for her own good. Someday she’ll thank us. Really.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Contributing Again

With the sickness that ran rampant through our house for the past three weeks, I’ve felt like I haven’t contributed to our family much at all.

On day three of my own sickness (which was a Saturday; over a week ago) I did manage to take the girls to the library, lunch and the grocery store. I had to take a four-hour nap to recover. Then, after I woke up at 6pm that evening, I went back to bed at 9. I was a mess.

But we’re all better now. Wait, let me be honest here. Olivia is better and yet most days the sleeves of her shirts are still snot-encrusted. It’s so gross. I remind her often that her sleeves are not napkins nor are they tissues. She laughs like a loon and continues to wiper her disgusting snotty nose on her sleeves. Ick!

I’ve cooked dinner most nights for the past week or so. I have done several loads of laundry and I even vacuumed both the living room and the family room last Sunday. I know, it’s already Wednesday and NO we have not vacuumed since Sunday but I won’t confess to how long it had been before I did finally haul out the vacuum three days ago. So there.

Alyssa’s first track meet of the season is tomorrow. They’re forecasting snow. Of course they are. I mean, why wouldn’t it be 38 degrees with 25mph winds on the day of the first track meet of the season? I am planning to take my winter boots, a hat, scarf, winter coat and a pair of mittens. I feel for the kids but at least they’re moving around. The spectators (should I just call them parents because who else goes to track meets other than parents and grandparents) are the ones sitting in one place freezing their asses off. Ahem.

Then on Saturday, we get to drive to Defiance, OH for the day for Alyssa to participate in the Solo & Ensemble contests. She’s singing in two ensembles, playing the flute in a solo and playing the flute in a mixed woodwind trio. So yes, it will be an all-day thing. BUT! It’s inside, so there’s the bright side.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

For What It's Worth

Olivia called me dumb and lazy the other night. I was in the process of taking the old nail polish off her nails so we could put new color on her and she asked me, “Why are you dumb and lazy?”

I stopped what I was doing and asked her, “What?”

She repeated herself with a tone that basically said I was proving her right just by asking her that question.

So I asked another, “Do you really think I’m dumb and lazy?”

She shrugged and said, “Kinda.”

Okay then.
I thought about being upset by this. I considered it for a few seconds and then shrugged it off because, well, for one thing, it was Olivia saying it and sometimes she’s just got odd thoughts about some things. Second, she’s TEN. So what if she really does think I’m dumb and lazy?

I know I’m not. I mean, I was doing something FOR HER at the moment she asked me that obnoxious question.

I mentioned it to Tom and he laughed and said, “Let’s consider the source.”

And he’s right. But I do find myself wondering why she’d think I’m dumb and lazy. I get why she’d say it to me if she’s thinking it, she’s got no filter, at least as far as family is concerned. If she thinks it while at home, she’s says it. But to have said it…she had to think it.

I did stop with the nail care that evening and told her to think about what dumb and lazy really mean and if she really thinks I’m those things, well, she can think about everything I do for her on a daily basis and then rethink her opinion.

I’m not going to let this fester. There’s no point. And I’m not going to bother pointing out things to her that I’m doing in the hopes of getting her to realize that I’m not, in fact, dumb and lazy. I mean, like I said, she’s ten. And she’s Olivia. And! I’m the adult in this relationship. But I thought it was interesting and wanted to put it here, maybe just as a reminder of the things kids say.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bad Mom

After her bath last night, Olivia declared that her arms ached. She said she was cold and asked for extra towels as she huddled in front of the space heater while I sweated my way around her gathering stuff to comb and braid her hair and get her into her jammies before she turned into an icicle. She then hovered over the toilet for a few minutes thinking she might puke.

Yes, she’s sick again.

Does it make me a bad parent that my first thought wasn’t my child’s comfort and worry for her health but more like, “How is this going to affect my sleep tonight?”

I’m so tired of sickness around here. And I know! I know it’s only been a few weeks. We’re so lucky that we don’t live with chronic illness. We’re so lucky that we’re all relatively healthy and that this is just a blip and next week, we’ll probably all be well and happy again. Yet, I dreaded going to sleep last night because I was so afraid that I was going to be woken up every hour or so with some request or another.

And look at that, all that worry was for nothing. She slept great (after a dose of acetaminophen) and didn’t wake up once in the night. I, on the other hand, woke myself up coughing on several occasions.

Sigh, if it’s not her, it’s me and that’s almost as frustrating. Yep, mother of the year right here. I’m moving things around to make room for my trophy.

Monday, March 27, 2017

So Much for Spring Break

Sometimes, you just have to decide to consider yourself lucky that crappy stuff happened when you already had the day off work.

The girls were on spring break last week. I took Thursday and Friday off to spend the days with them. We didn’t have any actual plans but I’d hoped to do something fun, like, I don’t know, go to the park. Something!

Instead, on Thursday, I had a mammogram and then came home with a fever, chills, aches and went to sleep for many, many hours.

It was not restful sleep. This was one of those weekends where I might have muttered on more than one occasion, “My bed is making me mad.”

Yeah, I’m really mature when I don’t feel well.

We’re going to try and do spring break better next year.

On the bright side, Alyssa attended two sleep overs and Olivia took three showers. That’s something.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cusp

I feel like I’m on the cusp of a change. Something has to give and it might just be me.

I’m feeling less guilt when I fall asleep at 5:45 on the couch because of a horrible day at work. Tom steps up and makes dinner for the girls and I don’t feel as bad about that as I did a few months ago. Things are hard right now and I’m trying to stay afloat. I’ll take all the help I can get to do just that.

I feel lucky that my home life is good. That I have a spouse who is kind and loving and takes up the slack that I’m leaving in my wake as I struggle just to get through the day.

My girls are sweet and loving and they just want me to feel better, emotionally, physically, mentally.

I want that too. I’m trying. I’m trying so hard.

Monday, March 20, 2017

One Step Forward

Olivia had a very rough night this past Saturday night. She woke me up no fewer than six times, each time to ask me to fix the blankets on her bed.

Each time she woke me up I felt my patience fraying just a little more. She has been sick for fifteen days as of Saturday. Of those fifteen days, she’s slept through the night once. That is one night out of fifteen during which she didn’t wake me up at least three times.

During the height of her cold, I was the epitome of the patient, loving mother. I got her drinks of water, fixed her blankets, brought her a wet washcloth to wipe the crusty snot from her face. I went down and got medicine, refreshed her water, refixed her blankets…over and over and over for the last two weeks.

But Saturday night, I was tired. I was at the end of my patience. My love for this child is infinite; alas, my patience is not.

She’s been on an antibiotic since Thursday. Her congestion is so much better now that we have a prescription level decongestant to give her along with the antibiotics, which are fighting off the infection that is causing the congestion.

My sleep-deprived mind couldn’t grasp why this ten-year-old child wouldn’t just sit up and fix her own damned blankets. She has two hands, she can grasp. She was the one who kicked them off, she could pull them back up over her.

Because, see, the reason she woke me up six times that night was mostly to fix her blankets.

But the fourth request for straightened blankets, I snapped at her to go to sleep. I told her that she could fix them herself and I was so tired that she needed to NOT wake me up again.

Five minutes later, she requested the book light.

I think I might have growled at her. I refused her request for the book light because it was two o’clock in the morning and it was SLEEPING time, NOT book-light time. She sniffled at me and said the book light made her not feel so lonely because it made the dark go away.

I rolled my eyes (remember, it was dark because I’d refused to give her the book light, she couldn’t see my distain) and told her that I was three feet away and if she’d just go to sleep, she wouldn’t be lonely.

As I lay there, seething at 3am because of yet another wake-up call, this one asking if she could come lay in my bed (nope), that voice in my head told me I was being a horrible mother for being so short with her. But! But, but, but, that voice was quickly followed by a softer, kinder voice that reasoned, “She’s ten years old. It is not unreasonable to expect her to just go back to sleep if she wakes up. She very obviously knows she can wake me up if it’s an emergency, ie, she’s sick or scared, but just because she kicked her blankets off? No. I’m not a terrible mother for wanting to sleep through the night.”

That right there is progress. That is a moment fourteen years in the making. I’ve been trying so hard for so many years to be perfect. To be perfectly kind, perfectly patient, perfectly available at all times that I’ve trained my kids to think they can ask anything of me, day or night, reasonable or not.

And that’s not fair. It’s not fair to me or to them. They need to understand that I am not an extension of them and just because she’s awake, Olivia doesn’t need to wake me up to keep her company.

It’s okay for me to sternly (yet, lace that sternness with a little kindness) tell her to go back to sleep. She’s not sick anymore. She’s just bored. And the cure for boredom at 3am is to go back to sleep. And I’m finally okay with telling her just that.

It feels good to be just a little bit righteous sometimes.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Second Shift

I forgot to brace myself before heading in to the house last night after work. I got cocky and just waltzed right in there like it was the end of the day or something.

I was a little later than usual because I’d had to swing by the school and pick up Alyssa from practice with her trio members and their band director. They’re prepping for the Solo and Ensemble contest in another month or so.

Olivia and I sat down and did her math (angles this time) homework, I filled out her reading and math logs and Alyssa sat at the table with us and ate a cookie.

After homework was done, I took a minute to use the bathroom. Olivia followed me even though I assured her I didn’t need company to pee. She laughed and followed me up the stairs.

As we were leaving the bathroom, Liv mentioned that her neck still hurts. The night before, she’d complained and I felt her neck and found what I thought was a swollen lymph node. I had Tom feel her neck. He compared her neck to Alyssa’s and declared it normal.

This time, the swelling in her neck was about the size of a golf ball. I declared it was time for a trip to Urgent Care. It was 5:35 at this point.

We headed downstairs, I had Tom feel her neck (only to confirm what I’d felt, we were going to Urgent Care whether he thought it was necessary or not at this point.) Thankfully, he actually agreed that she needed to be seen. She put on her boots, I grabbed my coat and purse and we were out the door at 5:45.

When we got to Urgent Care at 6:10, we were checked in right away but the lady doing the checking in told me before she even started, “All our rooms are full and there are seven people in front of you. It’s going to be a bit of a wait.”

I told her I figured that when I saw how full the parking lot was and that we would wait. Liv absolutely needed to see a doctor. We sat and watched a two year old boy throw a package of wipes around the room. We watched him throw several tantrums because his mom wouldn’t let him play in the drinking fountain. We watched him take off his shoes and throw them at his mom. We listened as people were called back to the examination rooms, counting off the people, knowing we were inching ever closer to when it was our turn.

At about 7:30, Liv leaned into me and asked, “Do you think they forgot about us?”

I assured her they hadn’t and told her to look around the room. There were only two others left, one dude who’d been there when we got there and a mom and her two year old daughter who was very obviously feverish and miserable. They’d come in after us.

We were finally called back at 7:45. The doctor declared that her lymph node was swollen due to her sinus drainage and once we cleared that up, the lymph node swelling would go down. At 8:21, he sent us on our way with a prescription for an antibiotic and one for a decongestant to help clear up her sinus and let her sleep.

We when to McD’s and got her a Happy Meal from the drive-thru because she hadn’t had dinner yet and it was almost 8:30.

At Walmart, we used one of those awesome blue carts which allows a kid to sit and eat her cheese burger, fries and Gogurt while her mother pushes her through the store toward the pharmacy. Wonder of wonders, Urgent Care had called in the prescriptions and they were actually ready for us at the pick-up counter. And better still, they were covered 100% by my insurance. I know, what are the odds?

We paid for her Reece’s and a bottle of water and were back in the car at 8:56 to head home. As we drove, she talked about being tired.

I gave her a rundown of what we’d do when we got home. She likes knowing what’s coming, what’s going to happen. It helps her prepare.

I told her, “When we get home, we’ll give you your medicine. I’ll get your pajamas, we’ll change you into your jammies, brush your teeth. I’ll rebraid your hair and then you can rest on the couch while I go make your bed. Does that sound good.”

She declared that it sounded awesome and when we pulled into the driveway at 9:20, that’s what we did.

When I came down to get her after making her bed, it was 9:50 and she was sound asleep on the couch. Poor love had had a very tough evening.

And I was, quite honestly, glad that the second shift of my day was finally almost over and I could collapse into bed too.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Me Time

I had to see a doctor earlier this week. It was a routine visit, he made the requisite mention of me doing something about my weight (whatever, like I don’t know I’m fat!), told me my blood pressure is lovely, which I think he found surprising considering my weight, and at the very end of the appointment, he told me to try and take some time for myself.

Oh. Okay.

I responded with a laugh that was on the verge of tears and said, “Honestly, the only time I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself is during my morning shower each day. And that’s not always me time because sometimes, my younger daughter is in the bathroom, BUT NOT THE SHOWER, with me.”

The doctor gave me what I interpreted as a look of pity and concluded the appointment.

Sigh.

Time for myself? What is that? Is that doctor-speak for “Make time to exercise”? Because, yeah. I want to want to exercise but actually doing it? I feel like I’d have to lose fifty pounds just by dieting along before I don’t feel like a fool trying to exercise.

I know all this is ridiculous. Please don’t think I don’t know that. I know this self-pity is so stupid and inane. I know that I have it so good. I have a (mostly) kind husband and smart, sweet girls. I live ridiculously close to my mom and see her at least twice a week if not three or four times a week. Hell, she even has enough land that we could create a sort of walking course around it so we wouldn’t have to walk on the road and run the risk of being run over, kidnapped, getting tired while a long away from home…etc. So the potential for exercise is there…I just have to want to do it.

The whole conversation about taking time for myself reminded me a little of the latest episode of This Is Us (amazing show, if you haven’t seen it.) This episode concentrated on the lives of Jack and Rebecca, their beginning and their potential end. They’ve been married for quite a few years, have three teenagers and Rebecca has rediscovered her love of singing. An ex asked her to sing with his band and she loves doing it very much.

Jack hates that she’s away from home so much and they have this HUGE fight about it all.

Throughout the fight, she’s going on and on about how he just can’t stand that she’s found something for herself. He can’t stand that she isn’t at home, waiting for him, waiting for the kids, waiting for her life to start.

He tells her she’s a forty year old mother and that the singing thing is delusional. Yikes.

Each time she screams, “I finally have something for myself and you can’t stand it.” I cringe.

Maybe I cringe because I’ve been socialized to think that we wives and moms aren’t even supposed to want something that doesn’t revolve around our husbands and children. That’s so wrong.

I need to find a way to change my mindset and rethink everything. I need to figure out why I’m so broken and fix myself. If I can’t do it for me…maybe I can trick my brain into thinking I’m doing it for my girls. If I can invoke their needs as my own and make it about setting a good example for them…maybe.

Maybe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lockers

One thing that was brought up (by me) at the very end of our IEP meeting for Olivia last week was the fact that next year she’ll have a locker with a combination.

The year after Alyssa was in fifth grade, the fourth graders were moved from the elementary wing of the school to the junior high wing. They’re still considered elementary but they’re bunched down with the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders now.

As it is now, Olivia has a locker but there is no lock on it. She puts her backpack, her lunch, and her coat in that locker daily and because she’s in third grade there are no valuables that need to be locked up.

Next year, though, even though she’ll still have no valuables she’ll have a locker with a lock…a combination lock.

I shared my skepticism as to whether or not she’d be able to master the combination lock and was assured that she’ll have time to get used to it. For the first month or so, it was suggested that she practice unlocking her locker but if she can’t do it in a reasonable amount of time she’ll be able to take her coat, lunch, and backpack to her classroom.

I said that we’ll buy a combination lock and let her practice at home but I worry that having another combination might not actually help. It might just clutter up her brain with too many numbers and too much left, right, left crap. I guess we’ll see.

Right this second, I can’t let myself worry about it because if I do, I’m borrowing trouble and we’re still smack dab in third grade with plenty of trouble right here that needs to be handled. Let’s not worry about fourth grade until at least July!

Yeah.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sick Kid

Last week was miserable all the way around.

Olivia came down with a cold on Sunday. She was sniffly, achy, and whiny; basically, she was miserable and wanted to make sure we all knew it.

The first night, she was achy and so sleep didn’t come easily. She whimpered most of the night, often asking, “Why am I so achy? How can my throat hurt when I don’t even have any tonsils? It even hurts when I yawn.”

At that point, it was around 2:30am, so I gently told her, “If you’d go to sleep, you wouldn’t be yawning and then you wouldn’t be hurting.”

She stayed home from school on Monday but seemed to be on the mend so we sent her to school on Tuesday. When I got home from work, she looked pale and tired but a little better. But her nose was still full of thick green snot. Her right nostril and the area around her nose was red from being rubbed all day long.

And let me ask right here, how does one teach a child to blow their nose? If nose-blowing doesn’t come naturally, how do you teach it? Nothing has ever come naturally to Olivia. But I know that once she learns to blow her nose, she won’t ever forget. However, this particular cold did not lend itself to the learning of blowing her nose.

Nope, instead, she went through a box of tissues a day, wiping that disgusting green snot on a corner of a tissue and then throwing it away and yanking a new tissue out of the box.

I even went out and bought her fancy tissues with LOTION hoping they would be kinder to her nose and the cheek area surrounding said nose.

As of yesterday morning, her face looks better. The redness has healed a bit and she’s on the mend.

I will confess to having given her Benadryl last night and the night before last. Not only was I hoping it would dry her up, she and I both needed the sleep that might come from it.

All this to say that I’m tired. So, so tired. Alyssa said to me one day last week, “Did you know that sleep deprivation is a form of torture?”

I turned slowly toward her and said, “You don’t say?”

By the time she said this it had been at least three nights during which Olivia woke me up at least four times, sometimes for an hour or more at a time. She needed new tissues, or she needed a washcloth to clean the dried snot. Sometimes she wanted a drink of water or she needed to me replace the water in the bottle I’d given her just the hour before with COLD water, thank you very much because this water has been out of the fridge for an hour and isn’t cold ENOUGH. Sometimes, she just wanted company because, hey, she was awake and could I just be awake with her? Hi.

I know we went through about eight years of these kinds of nights but the past two years having been lovely, what with the sleeping through the night five out of seven nights. So five nights in a row of NOT sleeping through the night was torture for me.

So yeah, not apologizing for the Benadryl. Not even a little. Saturday night she only woke me up once. Last night? Not at all.

I’m hopeful that we’re all on the mend at this point.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

And Now for Something More Positive

Remember that post from last week, the one about a note home from school? Yeah.

Yesterday was our annual IEP meeting to discuss Olivia’s progress and what accommodations she’ll need/receive next year.

First, let me state how grateful I am to her teachers, therapists and most importantly, the principal of her school. These people make me feel good about sending my child to them every single day.

Sure, I have moments of doubt like the one a couple of weeks ago when notes come home but we discussed that note in our meeting and her principal said that she actually likes that Olivia gets stubborn with them sometimes. She WANTS Olivia to find her voice, to start being a little bratty even because it means she’s coming out of her shell, she’s getting comfortable with everyone working with her and her place at the school.

At one point in our discussion about Olivia’s limitations and frustrations with her lack of attention, Mrs. M, the principal stopped us all. She had something important to tell us, she said.

“Let me start out by saying that I love Olivia. I started working here when Olivia was in KinderKids and at that point, none of us knew what Olivia could do because she was, and still is, such a mystery. She wasn’t talking to anyone here at school and we were beginning to think she would need to be placed in the special education class full time because we just didn’t know what she knew.

“Now, though, four years later, she’s proving she can do the work. She’s talking to every single adult that comes in contact with her. She talks to one peer at a time as long as no one else is focused on her.
“And most importantly, when she was in KinderKids it never occurred to any of us that she would take the standardized state testing. We planned to exempt her from the start. Then, when we decided last year to let her take the tests, we exempted her from having to pass those tests in order to move on to fourth grade. But guess what? She passed! She passed when other kids, typical kids, did not. She can do this work. We just have to break a few bad habits that have formed over the years for her and for us. She likes to be babied. She’ll let anyone, peers, teachers, therapists, parents, siblings, you name it, if they’ll baby her, Olivia will let them.”

At this point, she paused to let us all take it in.

Finally, she continued, “Olivia has proven she can do the academic work of her typical peers. Sure, we make some accommodations but in the end, she’s proven herself and we just have to continue to let her do that and expect it of her.”

It was all very reminiscent of the day we got Liv’s diagnosis. Her doctor told us to take her home, to love her, and to expect from her what we expect from her sister.

The meeting continued. Liv will continue to receive weekly speech therapy with a peer because she will already talk to the therapist but doesn’t seem to want to converse with peers, so we’ll work on that.

She’ll get more time, fewer options in multiple choice tests, the occasional pull-out for tests or extra help and she’ll stay in the mainstream classroom as much as possible because that’s where she’s getting the most out of school. Being with her typical peers is very important. She’s a mimicker. She’ll do pretty much whatever those around her are doing, even if quietly off on her own.

Which is why we don’t want her placed in a special education class with other special needs kids. She needs to be around typical peers to learn what typical behavior is expected of her.

I feel so much better today than I did last week when I wrote about that note.

I have so much hope for Olivia, so much faith in the team working with her and so much pride in how far my girl has come. She’s a warrior. She works so hard and yes, she can challenge the most patient person in the world but she’s a fighter and the fact that she challenges us just means she’s got a mind of her own and she’s figuring out how to express what is going on in that amazing mind of hers.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Alyssa spent the night with her friend Tessa last weekend. Tessa’s mom called earlier in the week and said that she and Tessa were going shopping on Saturday for track shoes and shorts and they wanted to know if Lyss could/would go with them since she’s an old hand at track now that this is her second year doing it. Tessa’s mom said the shopping trip would extend into an overnight visit if we were okay with that.

I asked Alyssa if she wanted to go and then spend the night and she did. So it happened. Yay!

When she got home on Sunday she said that for dinner the night before, Tessa’s mom had made homemade chicken nuggets and they were awesome.

That’s a thing? Really? When there is the convenience of Tyson chicken nuggets in your very own grocer’s freezer case, people make homemade chicken nuggets? I mean…I don’t get it.

But apparently this is a thing and it’s a thing that Tessa’s mom does.

Even though I was in the middle of spooning chocolate chip cookie dough onto cookie sheets and baking that dough into delicious cookies, I immediately felt inadequate.

And let me say right here that the cookie dough was from scratch, not the kind one can get in the grocer’s dairy aisle along aide the premade tubes of biscuit dough (which I DO happened to buy because…yeah, it’s there and I’m incredibly lazy.)

But the point is, I was making cookies for my family, because they enjoy them so much and sometimes I overcome my incredible laziness to do nice things for them and there I was feeling bad because I don’t also make chicken nuggets.

Which is so stupid and I need to remember my conversation with Alyssa from less than a week ago about not comparing ourselves to others, to just doing our own best and owning that.

I ended up feeling weirdly bad for several hours about the chicken nuggets. I have no explanation except maybe I enjoy putting myself down and telling myself how horrible I am. Maybe I get a thrill out of seeing just how mean my own inner voices can be.

Who knows?

What I do know, though, is that I won’t be making homemade chicken nuggets anytime soon, no matter how often Tessa’s mom makes them. It just seems like a lot of work and I’d rather back cookies over here any day.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

No Comparison

Last Monday I took Alyssa to watch the high school choir and band concerts. It had been assigned as ‘homework’ to all of the junior high choir members to attend this concert. I think the choir director was trying to drum up an audience for the concert but whatever, there we were.

There is a freshman flute player who is amazing. As a freshman, she’s already the section lead. This freshman, let’s call her Harmony (Buffy shout out!!) also plays the piccolo and sings, as was evidenced during the concert, during which she had two solos (there were all of three songs…just saying.)

It should also be pointed out that Harmony’s mom also played the flute and Harmony has been receiving private lessons since she was seven. I know this because I spent an hour each way on a bus with her mom last year and well, what do band mom’s talk about other than their kids?

So yeah, Harmony is only a year ahead of Alyssa.

On the way home from the concert, Lyss mentioned the number of singing and flute solos Harmony had that night.

I shrugged and said, “Yeah, she’s pretty good.”

We drove in silence for a bit and then I said, “You know you can’t compare yourself to her, right?”

“Oh, I know,” Alyssa assured me.

But I wasn’t assured. I mean, Lyss works so hard, has so much talent and there’s Harmony over there with just as much talent and she obviously works hard too. And she’s a year older, so she’s got that working for her.

But I had to try and remind Alyssa of how amazing she is, without any comparison to Harmony in the mix.

“I’m sorry Harmony’s only a year older than you are,” I said with a bit of a laugh.

“Yeah,” Lyss joined me in laughter. “She’s going to be there until I’m a senior!”

“But you know that no matter how good she is, that doesn’t make you any less good, right?” I said.

She gave that some thought and then brightened up a little. “You’re right. She might be good but so am I. Just because she’s section lead doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be if she weren’t already there. And really, it helps that she’s older. I mean, imagine being one of the senior flute players and having that freshman come in and take your place? At least I KNOW she’s always going to be there.”

“And her being there doesn’t diminish how hard you work or how talented you are.”

“I know!” And this time, I was reassured. My girl’s strong sense of self-worth was fully intact.

Now…if only I could practice what I preach.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Husband of the Year

I had a horrible day on Monday. It was so bad that I was near tears most of that evening even though the day itself was basically over. I was just distraught and was having a hard time pulling myself out of my own head.

Tom listened to me vent when I got home. Then he listened again later that evening when other things occurred to me that I hadn’t said earlier.

The next morning, he told me he hoped I had a better day.

I muttered, “Probably not going to happen, it’s Tuesday, after all and Tuesdays are notoriously worse than Mondays for me.”

Poor guy didn’t know what to say after that, so he just kissed me goodbye.

Well, his wish came true, yesterday wasn’t nearly as horrible as Monday. When I got home, though, I braced myself before walking in the door. I mean, it’s what we do, right? We working parents? We get through the day at work and then brace ourselves for second shift, which starts the instant we get home?

I walked in and there were Tom and the girls, at the kitchen table, finishing up dinner.

He’d made dinner for them early so they could be done eating close to when I got home because that would mean I didn’t have to deal with figuring out what to cook, listening to fussy eaters, etc.

And because she’d had a math test yesterday, Olivia didn’t have any homework.

Tom suggested I go lay down for a while, that I could have my own dinner when I felt like it and it could just be a relaxing evening for me.

Well, since it was Tuesday, my dad had to show up for a ‘quick’ visit. I’ve tried to tell this man more times than I can count that week nights are BAD for us. They are too busy, too hectic, too short for him to ‘stop by.’ He doesn’t care. He’s retired, what does Tuesday mean to him? I greeted him at the door with a curt, “It’s Tuesday. How are you?” Then I told him that I had about ten minutes to talk to him because Olivia needed a bath. And it’s true, she does take a bath every Tuesday so it wasn’t just that I was trying to make a point that I figured he wouldn’t get. You can’t be subtle with my dad.

But! Even though that happened, most of the night was nice and calm and way better than the night before and it’s all because my husband listened to me the night before. He heard my stress and took steps to try and alleviate even a little of it.

It’s moments like this that make me glad I married that man.