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You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

Actually… most of you probably WOULD like me when I’m angry. But other people… not so much.

Anyway, I’m trying to cool down, but: I’m angry. Every day, in a dozen tiny ways, the world misunderstands my kids. That’s the nature of the beast and my mantra is to assume people are generally well-meaning and kind, and ignorance isn’t malice, after all. But every now and then, the ignorance is hard to bear.

I dusted off my soap box for this one, because disability is not laziness, and teachers—of all people!—should know that. C’mon. It’s 2015.

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Life is like a sticky banana

Bananas are a very tricky thing ’round here. They have to be ripe—but not TOO RIPE—and they cannot have any signs of bruising (because that’s not a thing that ever happens to bananas… oh, wait…) because that is Completely Unacceptable. This is where people who are new here assume that I have toddlers because HAHA no one over the age of 4 would be this picky about fruit, right? Yeah. No. (For the record, it is really only one child who is super-picky about the state of bananas, but then the OTHER child insists things like, “I don’t like watermelon” and WHO DOESN’T LIKE WATERMELON, THAT’S CRAZY so let’s call it a draw when assessing Which Teen Is More Insane When It Comes To Fruit, I guess.)

I don’t pack bananas in lunches all that often, on account of the whole It Must Be Banana Perfection thing, but every now and then the planets align and a perfect banana emerges. I will lovingly scoop it up, adorn it with a quick note a la The Bloggess (I did it once and then there was complaining if it didn’t happen every time), and place it INSIDE a large plastic container also housing a sandwich, so that the aforementioned pristine banana-ness may be maintained despite whatever trials and travails a lunch bag might encounter throughout the morning. Both children are aware that this constitutes an implicit Banana Contract wherein YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE BLESSED BANANA AND NOW YOU WILL EAT IT.

You can skip eating the crackers. You can leave the juice pouch. Heck, don’t even finish your sandwich. I don’t care! But eat the damn banana. Because perfection is fleeting. (more…)

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The greatness of terrible television

I watch way more TV than I probably should, and some of it is great, but a lot more of it is downright terrible. I’m okay with this. I don’t go out and get plastered or gamble; if watching stupid programming is my biggest flaw, I figure I’m doing okay.

Recently Chickadee got first me, and then Monkey, hooked on Girl Code. Have you seen it? It’s AWFUL. Just, like, cringeworthy in every possible way. It’s so bad, it’s FANTASTIC. If you’re not easily embarrassed and are looking for an open door to talk to your teens about sex and other uncomfortable topics, Girl Code is your show. It is MTV’s living, breathing answer to the timeless question, “Are most people really pretty gross?” (Answer: Yes. Yes, they are.)

So when someone wrote in to Alpha Mom to ask me about dating rules for my teenagers, I was ready. Because we watch Girl Code! And we talk about all kinds of stuff! And no, I still have no idea what I’m doing, not really, but I have an approach that—so far—seems to be working. Come on over? (And seriously, DVR Girl Code. You can either thank me or chew me out later.)

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The magic of growth

The older I get, the easier it is to figure out what really matters. I had a friend in high school who often proclaimed that she didn’t “suffer fools gladly,” and while it was a grandiose turn of phrase, at 16 or however old we were, it felt kind of… rude. It felt like the point was that stupid people are stupid. Now that I’m older and arguably wiser, it feels more like a declaration of focusing on what’s important. I’m not always good at it, even now, but I’m improving.

Also, I believe God has a wicked sense of humor, so of course I have a couple of teenagers to help show me the way via stark illumination of the many ways in which a human can get caught up in everything BUT what really matters. Hooray!

Example 1 of focusing on what matters: Duncan has (another) ear infection. He is pitiful and cranky, and he really doesn’t want me messing with his ear, which of course I need to do to put medicine in it. (Progress: a year ago he would’ve bitten me. Now he just pulls away and cries and my heart breaks.) Duncan also has a deep and abiding love of ice cubes, to the point where anyone using the water dispenser on the fridge will cause him to materialize out of nowhere, staring upward and wagging, hoping for an errant chunk of ice. He’s still doing this even though he’s unwell, but (perhaps because he’s unwell?) he is likely to grab any offered ice, spirit it away to another room, and then leave it to melt and create a surprise puddle. So I don’t want to give him the ice, because I don’t like surprise puddles.

“Just give him some ice!” Chickie said, seeing me trying to explain to him that he didn’t really want any ice, this morning. “Who cares if there’s a puddle? He loves it! It makes him happy! He’s old and his ear hurts! GIVE HIM SOME ICE!” Know what? She was right. The moral is something about being nice even if you end up with a wet foot, or something. I don’t know.

Examples 2-6 of focusing on what matters: I’ve got an assortment of unexpected life lessons I’ve had to teach my teens over at Alpha Mom today, because “practically raised” does not, oddly enough, mean things have gotten any easier. (Kids, man. SO MUCH WORK.)

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A matter of distance

I’m beginning to suspect that Otto was excited about Chickadee finally getting her driver’s license because it afforded him the legitimate opportunity to talk endlessly about Our Next Car. Otto LOVES talking cars, in a way I will never understand, but I tolerate it because I adore him and he’s cute. Also, any time I go to him and say, “There’s a light on my dashboard that sort of looks like a fish that lit up…?” he knows exactly what it is (and fixes it). He’s handy to have around, even if he gets a little too excited about cars, sometimes.

Here’s what matters to me in a car: 1) It should get me from point A to point B without any of the pieces falling off, and (hey, Georgia!) 2) the air conditioning should work. That’s… pretty much it. My current car doesn’t even have one of those remote clicker thingies so I have to unlock the door with a key LIKE AN ANIMAL. I don’t care.

Otto cares, deeply, about makes and models and mileage and design. While I count down the days until graduation—a tangible, shareable proof that we all made it out of The Bad Years not unscathed, no, but ultimately triumphant—Otto is reading his automotive magazines cover to cover, lurking on various WE TALK ABOUT CARS A LOT discussion forums, and scheming a dozen different ways to make all of his 4-wheeled dreams come true. (Sometimes it’s “You should think about this kind of car,” which is fine, but other times it’s “We should trade in this car and get that car for you and then I’ll swap my car for this and she can have this other thing” and I start rocking back and forth with my fingers in my ears.)

So he’s thinking about cars, and I am realizing I’m thinking about proximity. (More on that at Alpha Mom, if you want to come over.)

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The beauty, it’s genetic

I should have known the second I posted about sitting in the new dog bed to encourage Duncan to love it that someone would ask for a picture. And because I live to serve and also have zero dignity, well, why not? Besides, I thought it was time to really embrace my exquisite, graceful beauty, and lay claim to my child’s, too.

Here I am:

Duncan was perplexed. Possibly because classy is my middle name.

And here’s my girl:

We are practically twins, no?

Oh, did you happen to notice that awesome hair? Don’t worry, I’ve got the whole scoop on how to do unicorn hair over at Alpha Mom, if you want to check it out once you’re done marveling over how two people can look SO MUCH ALIKE. It’s uncanny, I know.

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Dental hygiene: Well, crap edition

Help, my face is numb.

Backing up: What better way to create a gentle reentry into normal life after a relaxing getaway than to visit the dentist?

Backing up even further: Once upon a time, we were Visit The Dentist Every Six Months Like Clockwork people. I believe in good oral health, truly. But… at some point I had to cancel a cleaning for Chickie because she was in the hospital (yes, this was years ago, I KNOW I SUCK THANKS) and then our dentist stopped taking our insurance and the rest of us stopped going and hadn’t found a new dentist, and somehow—presto, chango, lazy-o—years elapsed and none of us had been to the dentist. Whoops. It wasn’t intentional, it just sort of… happened. So the good news is that we finally got our crap together and Otto went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago and the kids and I went yesterday.

The bad news is that I had a cracked filling and Chickadee needs to have her wisdom teeth out and Monkey came back from his cleaning with a hearty, “Here, Mom, I brought you some gingivitis!”

They had a cancelation for today, so I got my filling fixed, but I am pretty sure my entire face was injected with novocaine. I can’t stop playing with my lower lip, because it’s just this flubby slab of numbness. Fun!

While I go continue to marvel at the never-ending entertainment that is proper dental attention, you could go over to Alpha Mom and read all about how I love Snapchat. No, really. I do. No numb lips required, even.

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Greetings from Sin City

I helped Otto put several large pieces of furniture (such as my giant L-shaped desk, which was serving as the world’s jankiest island in our kitchen during the floor install) back into my office once the floor was FINALLY completed at about 9:00 on Monday night.

[Aside: Apparently the installing parent company called with a “courtesy post-project satisfaction survey” and Otto shared that we had not expected installation in a small room to take… nearly 11 hours. He said that the woman on the phone was horrified.]

Was my darling husband hanging shelves and such at 10:00 that night? Yep. But eventually most of the big stuff was back in there and we said “good enough” and collapsed into bed. Then I left the next morning and I am now in Las Vegas with Kira, which is a whole ‘nother story I’ll tell you about soon, because it starts, of course, with me being insufferable during planning, and ends with me being insufferable while walking around our giant hotel and saying not-at-all weird things like “I THINK I SAW THAT RESTAURANT ON CSI ONCE” and “Do ALL the people in the casino look miserable or just the extremely sad people playing slots?” I’m super fun. Also? Otto was all “You should go see the Hoover Dam!” and we are all “Hey, they have alcoholic milkshakes here!” So.

Also please note that Kira’s and my love for one another is an enduring, beautiful thing, especially when our room reservation got screwed up and instead of the two queen beds we SHOULD’ve had, we were given a room with a king bed. “Do you want to be the big spoon or the little spoon?” I asked my longtime friend.

“Touch me while I’m sleeping and you’ll draw back a stump,” she replied, full of the sweetness and adoration I’ve come to enjoy over the years.

While I go figure out how to do Vegas exactly wrong (we are not gambling or sightseeing, but mostly just talking a lot, which I guess we could’ve done anywhere, but definitely nowhere as SHINY as this place), you can check out the latest installment of me blathering about teen driving over at Alpha Mom. Only this time, we tried to make it useful: I made up a driving contract you might find useful. I hope it helps. Also I hope we can figure out how to get out of the hotel today. (It’s good to have goals.)

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Still recovering, but…

… it’s a good day, y’know? I like rainbows and they seem to be everywhere.

So just a quickie redirect, today: I thought folks would be tired of hearing about teaching a kid to drive, but I got a question about it at Alpha Mom, so check it out if you’re in that stage of life. (Spoiler: No, holding the dashboard with one hand and your face with the other is not the proper driver training position.)

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This is not the post I meant to write

I’m about 700 words into a different post and I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about. In fact, I realized I don’t want to talk, because I feel like all I do is talk, and the people I have a habit of talking at/to are tuning me out. IMAGINE.

So: I would like YOU to talk, please. LET’S SAY a certain kid is nearing the end of high school and a frenemy situation has reached Maximum Suckitude, where a former friend has extended the expected nastiness and friend-poaching and whispering to maligning this kid’s genuine achievements in addition to just plain being an asshole. LET’S SAY that all of the usual advice—ignore it, smile and be so sickly sweet that the aggressor wonders what you’re up to, align yourself with those who don’t listen to that nasty crap, know that all of this stems from jealousy and low self-esteem and your best karmic move at this point is genuine pity, etc.—is falling on deaf ears. Let’s say this has been going on for years and the latest straw or three is straining the camel’s back to capacity and promises that “this year will fly by and then you’ll never have to deal with this person again” are being met with skepticism.

What do you say to make it more bearable, other than “Yes, this sucks, and it’s unfair, and it will get better very soon but not soon enough”? My tales of high school suckitude giving way to a much improved life in college are being met with “I KNOW” and eye-rolling.

Hit me with your frenemy stories (preferably ones which end with your happiness and their sad, meaningless existences OR heartfelt apologies once they grew up a little) so that I may demonstrate this is a universal experience and somehow, we survive and thrive anyway. Please and thank you.

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