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


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


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


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.