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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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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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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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Because I’m the meanest

They say you should be careful what you wish for, you know. Sometimes I think I WISH MY CHILDREN WERE MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT and then… I have to learn how to let them be more self-sufficient, no matter what that looks like. It’s kind of agonizing. Because if they would JUST… it’d be so much easier IF… but don’t you SEEEEEEEEE…?

Hell hath no fury like a control freak thwarted, is my point.

But hey, my kids will be adults in just a few short years (hang on, I just need to breathe into this paper bag for a minute), and time marches on whether I like it or not. As scary as it is, I’m turning over the reins more and more, even when I know it’s not going to go the way I want to.

Hey, at least it affords me good blogging material. Come on over to Alpha Mom today to read about how I’m letting go of lunch, even if it kills me (and it might).

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Coffee and not-so-snappy one-liners

It’s been… kind of a hard month. February, man. February just blows chunks, under the best of circumstances. I don’t know why, but we should probably just accept that as fact. The days are short, the weather is wonky, etc. (Mind you, I do not miss the endless days of snow we had in February up north, but even here in Georgia, the weather is confused and unpredictable. TIME FOR A SNOW DAY = no snow at all. SUPER WARM DAY is then followed by CARNIVAL OF ICE, and so on.)

The other day, Otto and I were headed out to An Unpleasant Event (first rule of Vague Club: We capitalize things to pretend we’re not being vague) and it was even worse than necessary because we were out of coffee. THAT IS HOW BADLY FEBRUARY SUCKETH, we ran out of coffee beans and no one noticed and/or had the fortitude to replenish our stash in a timely manner. And now we were faced with heading into hard things without caffeine… unless we stopped for coffee. (Otto is a problem solver. I was all OH NOES, NO COFFEE, EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, whereas Otto said, “We can stop and get coffee.” This is why I love him.) (more…)

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February goes out with a loud sucking sound

I started off the week thinking, “Huh. It’s almost March. THE SUCK IS NEARLY OVER.” But I guess I forgot I still had a whole week to get through and that I am me.

This past week included: Taxes, a giant box of ordered-on-the-cheap Christmas candy which turned out to have a short expiration date (and Amazon gave me my money back but now I have 15 pounds to lose and a GIANT FREAKING BOX OF DELICIOUS CANDY ABOUT TO EXPIRE), the disappearance of several key lunch-packing containers (but no one knows anything about that! IT’S DARK MAGIC, they just DISAPPEARED), a snow day completely void of actual snow, a planned teacher dinner for which shopping and cooking had already happened but then, you know, SNOW DAY OF NO SNOW, so things had to be rearranged (and this was not my job because I am not in charge—honestly, who would put me in charge of anything, right? RIGHT—but I had whipped out my crock pot and cooked up several pounds of food no one needed anymore, so that was great), canceled teacher conferences which meant I was receiving emails of “proposed schedule for next year” and sending emails that said things like, “Who put this together? Because I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Monkey didn’t ask to take Zoology, just a thought,” and life in general was giving off a lot of THINGS ARE NOT GOING THE WAY YOU THOUGHT THEY WOULD sorts of vibes. You feel me?

It was a long week, is my point. Also, I am old and feeble and stupid so I injured myself. That wasn’t even this week; it was weeks ago. ANCIENT HISTORY.

But this week it got worse and I made a two-pronged error: I both
1) Googled my symptoms
and
2) crowd-sourced information.

Rookie moves. In case you’re wondering, I’m probably dying. (more…)

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Maybe it’s just… February

The other day a dear friend said something along the lines of “Maybe I’m not a horrible person and maybe the world isn’t awful. Maybe it’s just February.” (I am paraphrasing a little, I think.) This struck a chord with me, because everything does seem particularly awful right now, but doesn’t it EVERY February? And aren’t I just as surprised, every single time, to discover that JUST POSSIBLY it’s a Calendar Thing rather than a Life Sucks Thing?

I am a slow learner, is my point.

Calendar or not, this “short” month is feeling particularly long, not the least of which because it always seems to be in February when I decide that’s IT, I am really going to get in shape now, seriously, I am, because my pants don’t fit and it’s cold out and I require pants. The problem is that at various daily intervals I also decide I require: cookies, chips, a second helping of whatever I had a good-sized serving of already, or a Random Piece Of Cheese. I’m not one of those “I work out daily and eat right and goshdarnitall I cannot figure out why I’m not losing weight” kinds of people. I am one of those “I do not exercise nearly enough and also I eat constantly so SURPRISE, I weigh more than I should but, you know, Sour Patch Kids are delicious” kinds of people. I start working on it (daily exercise! sensible eating!) and then life gets hard and I remember that chocolate makes everything better. Whoops.

Anyway, I’ve decided that yes, I’m totally going to blame it on February. Why not? Hey February, you are disgruntled and a little pudgy. You remind me of myself! Let’s be friends. Or let’s just move on to March. Whatever. But first: a moment to pause and appreciate Valentine’s Day. (more…)

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Maybe she’s my spirit animal

This week has just about eaten me alive, but I did take a few minutes out to admit that I might be seeing an apparition in our yard. I’m sure it’s a REAL dog. It’s just that… I’m the only one who’s ever seen her. That’s not weird. Not very weird. I mean, plenty of things are weirder.

Does a ghost dog explain my relative silence? Not really, but sometimes life is like that.

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