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Raising kids is not for wimps

I have two sort-of-parenting-related things for you today:

1) I’m coming clean and I’ve donned my fireproof suit; over at Alpha Mom I’m explaining why I feel justified in snooping on my children. Now I just sit back and wait for someone to explain to me why I’m a terrible person, right? Because that’s how the Internet works.

2) While I am merely angering random people online, some other folks are doing awesome charitable things while being rockstars. For the entire month of October, my friends Asha Dornfest and Christine Koh (co-authors of Minimalist Parenting) are donating 100% of royalties from books purchased via this link to WOMEN AT RISK, an Ethiopian organization that helps women lift themselves out of prostitution. Their book is fantastic, anyway, and this is an easy way to extend your charitable reach for a worthy cause. Go buy a book. Heck, buy two—they’re small.

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It turns out my life is dull

I don’t know if my life used to be more interesting than it is now, or if I just used to believe it to be more interesting. (Maybe don’t tell me. Allow me my fantasy that my life was once better than it is now.) I keep thinking, “I’ll write once something fascinating happens.” But guess what! I suppose this is middle age, yes? When you realize that your life is just not all that exciting…?

(To be fair, I actually had that epiphany over the weekend when Otto was watching Formula One and I plunked myself down on the couch next to him. The coverage cut to a new thermal imaging camera they’re using to show how hot the tires get on the track, and at the same time both of us went, “Ooooooooooh!” That was when I realized that what passes for excitement in your 40s is really nothing like what you imagined when you were younger. It was also when I realized that true love is also a far cry from what I once assumed.)

So until something thrilling happens (haaaa), you get snippets. (more…)

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Another month, another calendar page

This morning I realized it was October (hello!), which of course meant I had to attend to two very important events:

1) Peanut butter pilly time (sung to the tune of “peanut butter jelly time” while feeding Licorice her monthly meds in a big glob of Skippy)
and
2) Updating the kitchen calendar.

The calendar is serious business. It requires colored pens. And consultation of several other calendars. And discussions with barely-awake family members. As I filled it in, I began to fantasize about what I wished was ACTUALLY on the calendar rather than the stuff that was REALLY on it.

You can read all about it over at Alpha Mom, because I suspect I’m not the only one who finds that color-coded schedule somewhat lacking.

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Slacker? Genius? Smartass?

Back in the days of OH I COULD NEVER EVER HOMESCHOOL (haaaaaaaa!), my aversion to this idea was multi-pronged. Basically I was convinced that:
A) I am not patient enough to be my child’s main teacher.
B) Curriculum planning is probably hell on earth.
C) Spending all day, every day, with my child would strain our relationship.
D) Working and homeschooling are incompatible, even though I work from home.
E) There is not enough Excedrin in the world for this.

Spoiler: I was wrong. I mean, Excedrin comes in really, really big bottles (especially at Costco!), plus there are ways to deal with all of those other concerns. For example, we use virtual school classes, which means that my “curriculum planning” consists of going through the course catalog to pick classes, rather than actually writing syllabi. Also, when I need to get work done I just ignore Monkey for a while. Easy!

[As for patience, well, I still think I'm probably not patient enough, not really. But I'm a lot more patient than I was a few years back, which is just as good for me as it is for him. And when all else fails, there's that whole ignoring thing. Which I am totally joking about! Except not really.] (more…)

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Sometimes I’m a little punny

Some of the drama du jour ’round here has me thinking about what it means to be in the right, and how the older I get, the less important it feels to me. The kids, though, man alive. When they’re right they’re RIIIIIIGHT, and woe betide the person who tries to interfere with their convictions with pesky things like a differing opinion.

We’re working on it, and while we do, I started working on a piece for Alpha Mom, and then cracked myself up by titling it The Unbearable Rightness of Being. Get it? Get it?? It’s okay if you don’t agree that I’m funny, because I know that I don’t always have to be right. (See what I did there? SEE? Oh, nevermind.)

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It’s important to smell good

It’s always fun to have to fulfill a work assignment dealing with parenting tips during a time period when I’ve become completely convinced that the only parenting tip I’m qualified to offer anyone is, “Don’t have children.” That’s my FAVORITE! (As my kids would say: hey, it’s Opposite Day!)

So when I was thinking about my topic for Alpha Mom this week, I ended up feeling confident about… well, the fact that my kids are clean. Yes. I’m 15.5 years into this parenting thing and that’s the kindest parenting-related congrats I can offer myself right now. There’s plenty of other awesome things about the kids—don’t get me wrong—but I feel I can only take CREDIT for the fact that they smell pretty good most of the time.

Hey, I’ll take what I can get. I’m not proud. Meanwhile, my teens are free to express themselves in various ways, as long as they shower first.

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Bona-fide adults

A few years ago, Otto and I went through the process of writing our wills and advanced directives (I almost wrote “prime directive” there, which I suppose my little Trekkie would’ve appreciated, but that’s not the same thing), by which I mean we gave a lawyer a lot of money and he gave us a lot of paperwork. This was the adult and proper thing to do, but the impetus was not quite as mature as it maybe should’ve been. Most people think, “You know, I just want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row in case of unexpected tragedy or whatever.” And then they go write their wills, like grown-ups.

For us, I became irrationally convinced at some point that 1) I was going to get run over by a bus or fall off a cliff, and that then 2) my children’s father would compound their grief (assuming there was any; most days, only half my kids find me bearable) by immediately traveling to Georgia to snatch them out of our home the second I stopped breathing.

So, sure, “estate planning” and “establishment of trusts for the minor children” and blah blah blah BLAH; I, personally, spent all that money on all of that paperwork so that the completely non-legally-binding phrase, “In the event of my untimely passing, I urge my children’s father to consider their desires and school careers and grant temporary custody to my husband if the children desire to remain in their current home even after I am gone.” (more…)

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Gross or awesome? You decide!

Every now and then I do something where I catch myself and go, “… did I really just do that?” It’s usually because I can’t decide if I’m amazing or disgusting. (In my defense, there’s sometimes a really thin line between these states. Also, I’m not very bright.)

Before the Internet, I had to just wonder in silence, or call a friend. But now I have all of YOU! Ready to tell me the TRUTH, and scold me if necessary. So naturally just now I did this thing and was all, “Oh yes, I must tell the world about it immediately so that I can find out how to properly judge my own actions.” Woooooo!

So the best part here is that I just reread this intro and I’m now envisioning readers being all, “What? WHAT DID YOU DO? Did you bring home roadkill? Are you snacking on ants? HOW CRINGEWORTHY ARE YOU RIGHT NOW??” This is sort of like that letter that’s been going around for years where the college girl writes to her parents to let them know that she’s hooked on drugs, living with a convicted felon, knocked up, and a bunch of other stuff. And then at the end she’s all, “Just kidding! But I did get a C in a class. No biggie, right?” This is going to be sort of like that. I hope. (more…)

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They refuse to stop growing

Last night at dinner, the following conversation occurred.
Otto: How was your day at school?
Chickadee: Terrible.
Otto: Really?
Chickadee: No. Just messing with you.
Otto: And how was YOUR day at school?
Monkey: It was good. How was YOUR day at school?
Otto: It went well. Thank you.
*here there was a pause, as everyone turned to look at me*
Otto: Do you feel left out?
Me: A little!

Of course, Monkey’s “day at school” yesterday was on the computer, but today, EVERYONE WENT TO SCHOOL. I’ve been alone all day and it’s rather glorious. (I’m hoping the new co-op goes well for Monkey, as I’ll be treasuring the one day each week where I don’t have to listen to Minecraft stories.)

This morning I packed lunches for my darling children, and then Chickadee put on her shoes to go wait for the bus, and because I was still barefoot, this made her taller than me. THIS WAS NOT OKAY. Shortly thereafter, Monkey put on his shoes, and that made him almost my height, and that was even WORSE. The saddest part about all of this is that I’m a dirty enabler, constantly FEEDING these kids and encouraging them to grow. I am ashamed. But not so ashamed that I won’t tell you how we do it, because misery loves company.

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My own series of bumper stickers

As an added bonus to my usual case of return-from-flying-the-friendly-skies-in-a-giant-germ-filled-metal-tube plague, both kids appear to have… something… as well. As in, they were sick before I got home, so I didn’t give it to them. No one is deathly ill, we’re all just ill-ish (is that a thing? I feel like if I were cooler, ill-ish would actually be a compliment, no?) and grumpy and SUPER FUN TO BE AROUND. Also, shut up and stop looking at me.

Needless to say, this has made that whole getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things endeavor even more painful than anticipated. Because what now? We’re out of milk? And you can’t have cereal because there’s no milk? Why don’t YOU go to the store for more milk? The fact that you’re not old enough to drive is not an excuse. Wait, you ARE old enough to drive, but your meaniepants parents won’t let you get your learner’s permit? It’s probably because they want you to die alone, carless, and without any milk. Clearly.

A couple of days ago Monkey started the day by flinging himself down on the floor of my room while I was in the shower, and when I emerged he told me he felt “really sick.” I assumed he was dying, but it turns out he just has sniffles and was really sleepy. Still! Points for identifying feeling yucky! (more…)

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