Making things is both awesome and scary

Whenever my children are being buttheads—and trust me when I tell you this happens plenty often—the default tension-defuser is for said child to declare, “YOU MADE A THING!” Translation: “I’m a butthead, but you made me, so clearly this is your fault.” (Monkey also loves to follow it up with a gesture towards his sister and the addition of “You made TWO things!” Har har.) And it’s true, I made two things which are apparently now full-fledged individuals whom I cannot control. TERRIFYING.

I feel compelled to make LOTS of things. Some of them work out, some don’t. Some are successful, some not. Some are scary, like when I decided it would be a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC idea to purchase this mushroom-growing kit because HOW FUN! Mind you, I am the only person in our immediate family who even LIKES mushrooms. But SCIENCE! We watered it and peered at it for about a week, wondering if our kit was a dud. But then… look, I’m just going to hide this under the fold in case fungus freaks you out. It’s freaky. But if you dare, click through and behold the FUNGIPOCALYPSE. (more…)

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Admitting ignorance is the first step

Remember the old saying about how a kid’s parents get dumber and dumber until the kid is an adult and then—magically—the parents start getting smart again? We’re going through that right now, and I always thought it meant that hahaha, the kids would think I was dumb when really I wasn’t, BUT NO, I’ve come to believe that I am truly losing brain cells as they get older. My poor kids, and their dumb ol’ mom who can barely function anymore.

For a while there, Monkey was very fond of declaring, “It’s okay, I’m a doctor!” in response to any sort of doubting of his ability. This morphed into, “It’s okay, I’m a DOG-tor!” (usually while holding a dog, natch), and now it seems like everyone in the family uses it as an all-purpose response. Well. The other day I tried to say “It’s okay, I’m a DOG-tor!” and it came out more like, “It’s okay, I’m a dog door!” and now Chickadee is fond of saying, “It’s okay, Monkey, Mom is a dog door.” I have no idea what any of that means, but there you have it. How dumb am I? I am SO DUMB, I am now a dog door. (May I show you to the run? It’s lovely out there.)

In the meantime, my children only increase in their ingenuity. About a week ago I discovered Chickadee’s watch left on my desk after the kids headed to school, so I sent her a picture of it with the caption, “OH NO!” She replied with this image, and the caption “IT’S OKAY, I GOT THIS.” Because of course.

All of this is a long preface to two things. The first thing is that driver training continues apace even though I am really dumb, and you should go read about it over on Alpha Mom if you are so inclined. The second thing is that we’re thinking of launching an advice column over on Alpha Mom sort of like Amalah’s Advice Smackdown, but for questions specifically about older kids and teens/young adults instead of little kid stuff. Would you read that? Would you ask stuff? Would you ask stuff and read it even if I—clueless and confused much of the time—was the one writing it? Any and all feedback welcome, and if you’d rather just send in a question because you think it’s such a great idea, hit me up at alphamomteens@gmail.com. (Have I mentioned lately that you’re my favorite? You totally are.)

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Berries, berries, berries, berries

We have reached the portion of our program where I am completely ready for school to be done and the only thing I care about very much is going strawberry picking. What can I say? 1) It’s not a terribly long season and 2) I’m a strawberry glutton. There are worse habits to have, I’m sure.

Monkey has started peering into his lunch bag each morning and saying, “Whaddaya know? STRAWBERRIES! I’M SHOCKED!” But it’s not a complaint, because what sort of weirdo would complain about fresh strawberries?? (Do not tell me the sad tale of your second cousin’s girlfriend’s cousin who was deathly allergic to strawberries. I know those people exist, and I am sad for them.)

If you need me, I will be in my kitchen, which looks like a crime scene, and I will be happy. If you need more words about strawberries (you do!) and some great recipes, come on over to Alpha Mom. Spoiler: Tonight for dessert we’re having strawberry basil frozen yogurt. YESSSSSSSSSSSS.

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Who says romance is dead?

Exactly eight years ago, right about now I was getting my hair done in preparation for taking another crack at the whole ’til-death-do-us-part thing. That feels simultaneously about a million years ago AND just a few weeks ago. Time is weird like that.

As is his style, Otto swooped into the kitchen this morning with a small flourish and a big, “Happy Familyversary!” and an extremely thoughtful gift for me and a family gift for all of us. He is the BEST. (Did you know that the 8th anniversary is pottery? I got a beautiful piece and we’re all going to a wheel class at a local studio next week to make our own creations, too. Again, I say: HE IS THE BEST.)

Because I suck, I confess that often I don’t get him an anniversary gift at all because I suffer from Gift Anxiety and his presentations to the three of us each year are always so thoughtful and amazing I feel like I cannot possibly compete. But something spoke to me this year, something I think he needs to have at this point in our marriage, and so I actually have a little something for him. Rather… it’s arriving today. Shipping was slow. So:

Me: I have something for you. But you have to wait until tonight.
Him: Oh?
Chickadee: GROSS.
Me: Ha! Not that, something else. It’s arriving tonight.
Him: Oh. [He sounded a little disappointed.]
Me: But hey, THAT TOO, if you want.
Chickadee: EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

It’s actually more romantic when you can squick out the nearest teen. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.

Happy anniversary, honey! Whaddaya say we go out to dinner tonight and find an innocuous way to mortify both children in public to further cement our love and kick off the next eight years together?

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Breaking Craigslist news

The last time I tried to sell something on Craigslist, I received a slew of weirdo spammy responses about how “I come right now and pay you twice your asking price” followed by “and then you ship item to my little cousin in Upper Slobovia, yes?” and never anything that led even remotely close to an actual sale. I listed my item (a decent Yamaha student trumpet; anybody need a trumpet?) twice and had no luck either time. So when Otto declared he would list our old, peeling patio furniture on Craigslist and handle everything, I may have snickered to myself a bit. He listed it for twice what I thought it was probably worth, and I figured he could deal with the spambots for a while before we donated the set to Goodwill.

He sold it yesterday (less than two days after listing it). Takeaway: in case you were wondering, my husband is made of magic and Craigslist mojo.

We celebrated with cheap Mexican food out on the porch (Cinco de Taco!), wherein I commented only two or three times how much I love the new furniture.

In unrelated news, school is drawing to a close for the year, at which point I will officially have a junior and a senior (ZOMG A SENIOR HURRY PANIC COLLEGE ANGST AAAIIIEEEEE), and because I don’t want to think about what’s coming next, I am parking myself firmly in the current end-of-school-year angst with my youngest. He’s doing a lot better than he thinks, and you can read about it over at Alpha Mom if you’re so inclined.

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I would like a weekend from my weekend

Traditionally the weekend is a time to relax and unwind, to sleep in and do Super Fun Things. I mean… I assume that’s a tradition for some people? We’re terrible at that in general, though I do hold the whole “sleep in” part pretty sacred. (As I said to Otto just last night, it’s not so much that I view getting up early and packing lunches all school year long as a burden, it’s just that by May I am completely OVER it.) Anyway, sometimes we aren’t so great with the whole “Super Fun Things” notion, what with the kids’ various activities and need to be with people other than us, GOD, MOM, because we’re so terrible, plus the whole thing where Duncan has to eat every few hours, and of course the problem of me being a hermit.

All of this is preamble to say that we had a very busy weekend and I am EXHAUSTED. Delicate flowers are sturdier than me. I managed to combine two things in the most stupid way possible, but it all worked out okay in the end.

Thing the first: You may recall that a long, long time ago, we replaced our deck and added a screened-in portion and then I commenced freaking out about furniture for it for… ummm… forever. We did finally buy a table and chairs, followed a bit later by a Craigslist adventure wherein we eventually drove nearly an hour to purchase a dubious wicker seating set that was not so much “indoor/outdoor” as it was “indoor but look, put it outdoors and now it’s outdoor!” This set was… not ideal… but the price was right, you understand. (more…)

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Dog weirdness and a new chapter

Theoretically I could just say, “Oh hey I have a new post over at Alpha Mom you should go read” and link to it, but I have a couple of dog-related things to share (which, granted, have nothing to do with the Alpha Mom post) so I am just going to put everything here and call it a post. Because… reasons.

Dog Matter #1: Licorice has developed a super-annoying habit of licking the kitchen floor. I don’t mean occasionally, or just that she scoops up food I drop (that’s why you have a dog, after all, so that you don’t have to vacuum as often), but that she will park herself in one of two favorite spots—directly under my feet while I’m cooking/prepping at the stove and the counter space right next to it, or under the kitchen table—and lick, lick, lick, until we worry that her tongue is going to fall off. We have scrubbed the floor. It does not matter. I think she’s removed whatever remained of the protective coating on our ancient vinyl and is giving herself brain damage. I HAVE CONCERNS. Otto’s suggestion of “coating the entire kitchen in Bitter Apple” seems… ill-advised. But I feel like I spend every morning and evening when doing food prep saying, “Licorice, stop. STOP. STAAAAAAHP LICORIIIIICE!”

Dog Matter #2: The other night we finished eating dinner and were hanging out at the kitchen table and I decided to have a banana (the fruit bowl is right there and perhaps I am low on potassium). As soon as I peeled it, both dogs were all up in my grill, per usual, but when Duncan stood on his hind legs and put his paws on my thigh I figured, what the heck, I’ll just let him take a little bite. I lowered the banana to his face and instead of the dainty bite I had anticipated (because I am delusional), my 17-pound delicate flower turned into one of the aliens from “V” (you know, the ones who can unhinge their jaws to eat stuff?) and CHOMP, 3/4 of the banana disappeared. He then lowered himself to the floor and chewed as if his life depended on it, because he knew that if he tried to set his stolen prize down to manage it better, Licorice would steal it. I laughed until I cried, while Otto and Chickadee asked me what I THOUGHT was going to happen. (Me: “Not that!”)

But hey, did I mention I have new post up at Alpha Mom? Because I do. It may not be as entertaining as Duncan stealing most of my banana, but you should go read it, anyway.

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I know that it is spring because…

… every time I let the dogs out, Licorice comes back in covered in twigs and leaves and mysterious little burrs, all “I’M A WILD ANIMAL! YOU CAN’T TAME ME!” Meanwhile, Duncan comes back inside sneezing. Because he is a delicate puppy-flower, and he has hay fever.

… both children are suddenly complaining that they “don’t have any clothes that fit,” as if it’s somehow MY fault that they grew since last year. Also, at 15 and 17, they seem unable to grasp the concept that 10 minutes before the bus comes is not the most optimal time to start demanding I find them some larger shorts. (I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.) I bought Monkey 5 new pairs of shorts after confirming that, yes, every pair of shorts he had magically shrunk over the winter. The first morning he wore a pair, I asked him if they felt alright and he said, “Yes, they’re comfortable and easy to wear!” This prompted a conversation about the extreme (comparative) difficulty of wearing jeans (don’t ask me; I’m just as confused as you are), and for WEEKS he then appeared in the kitchen each morning, struck a pose, and announced that his shorts were easy to wear. I really have no idea what that’s about but it makes me laugh every time.

… tiny ants. TINY ANTS IN MY HOUSE EVERYWHERE OMG MAKE IT STOP.

… everyone suddenly seems very interested in their grades. I am amused by this. I mean, you couldn’t be bothered for the last 9 months, why start caring now? Er, I mean… great job, kids…? (Related: I think we’re all ready for this school year to be over.) (more…)

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#oldmomnewtricks

All I could get Chickadee to tell me she wanted for her birthday was permission to install Snapchat. (Owing to an unfortunate bending of the house rules a few years ago, that particular app was off the table for a while, because I am a Giant Meaniepants.) I let her go the entire day without mentioning it, then downloaded it to her phone right before she went to bed that night. Then, of course, I had to install it, myself, and it was even more cringetastic than this:

It got me thinking, though, that as inept as I am, it’s always worth it to meet the kids wherever they are in terms of their preferred method(s) of communication. I think Snapchat is dumb, but whatever. It’s working for us.

In fact, quite a few things I never would’ve predicted are working for us right now, so I’m sharing over at Alpha Mom, because maybe you, too, have a teenager daughter who wants you to leave her alone and cuddle with her, simultaneously. It’s not just me, right…?

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Turn down for Flerp

I don’t know if you knew this, but today is a very special holiday. Just in case we all suddenly fell and hit our heads and forgot, my darling daughter made sure to note it on the family calendar pretty much the moment we flipped over to April.

flerp-day

That’s right—Flerp Derp hopes you are all observing International Flerp Day today. (Translation: It’s her birthday. Please to remit candy immediately.) (more…)

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