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More on fear

Y’all are great. I love that when I ask random questions you have all sorts of answers for me. And yes, I appreciate all of them. I am now 1) smarter about hotels, 2) hoarding cookie recipes, and 3) slightly less worried about loft beds. See? IT TAKES A VILLAGE.

I did get to thinking about the whole bed thing some more, yesterday, and I wrote a post for Alpha Mom and then never got around to linking it because both of my children decided yesterday would be an excellent day to fall deathly ill. Fantastic! But today one is back at school and the other is sleeping peacefully and now I remembered. Here you go! It’s about worrying and fear and a little bit about getting your kid ready for college.

[Bonus anecdote from last week’s college visit: During a parents’ informational session, someone asked about on-campus parking, which seemed reasonable to me, but then their follow-up question was about the availability of electric charging stations (for the record: there are none because this is rural Georgia, not San Francisco). I could not stop giggling, and as I was in a large room of very earnest parents, I had to sort of sink my face into the scarf I was wearing while I tried to regain my composure. To the credit of the people running the session, none of them laughed. I was REALLY HOPING someone would say something like, “I’m sorry, but your precious snowflake may need to trade in that Tesla before coming to campus,” but alas. I won’t even buy my kid a car and that question hit my funny bone. To be fair, it was towards the end of a very long day and also I am a child.]

If you want to skip straight to the bottom line, here it is: We can’t keep our kids safe, any of us. My goal is simply to find an acceptable level of fear and risk and learn to live with it.

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Two turkeys, no waiting

Remember when I used to write here regularly? I can’t decide if my life is less interesting now or if I just finally realized my life is not nearly as interesting as I once believed. It’s probably best not to dwell on it.

Today we are trying to Return To Normal Life, only that’s working about as well as you might imagine when my entire family returned on Saturday, over-stimulated and under-rested. Otto is a pretty good sport, as you know—plus when he’s tired he’s not mean, because he is a fully evolved human—but the kids spent most of Saturday in bed and then grumbled around for a while on Sunday and this morning they’re both sick. Because of course they are. (In fairness, Monkey told me he wasn’t feeling well on Saturday, I was just trying to wish it away because that’s a thing that’s worked so well in the past. HAHA. Kid made it 15 minutes at school today before I had to pick him up. Now he’s home with an ear infection and a lot of guilt-inducing comments about how he TOLD me he was sick!)

Chickadee is at school, though, because (quiz time):
A) She is a conscientious student.
B) She is paranoid about falling behind in her AP classes (read: all of her classes).
C) She wants to see her friends.
D) She fears I will give her a hard time for staying home.
E) She’s doing me a solid because she knows Monkey is sicker.
or
F) Some combination of the above.

This was all a fitting end to my few days of solitude, I guess. (more…)

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Never a dull moment

I really thought that once Chickadee got her license, my life would become less complicated. Like: immediately, and exponentially less complicated. Because everyone knows that just when you feel like your kids have reached an age of relative self-sufficiency, you are then relegated to 24/7 chauffeur status for years while they are too old for you to micromanage their lives but too young to handle their own transportation.

To some extent it’s true that things are easier now, in the sense that I am no longer driving back and forth to school more often than not, because I can let the kids take my car and they do many of the same activities, and then I can just wait at home in my apron to serve them a hot meal they don’t want when they get back. (I almost never wear an apron, so that part is hyperbole.) And while Chickie doesn’t have her own car, we happen to have a spare (you know, the haul-the-camping-trailer truck which, now that the camper is gone, is mostly the haul-the-Costco-shopping-trip truck), so it’s not a hardship to let her take my car and leave me out of the daily GOTTA GO TO THIS THING AND THEN GO THERE BE HOME LATER BYEEEEEE thing.

On the other hand, sometimes the kids don’t have the same activity, and sometimes they still need me for something other than rides (the NERVE), and I’m supposed to be working on work stuff and I am also working on book stuff (shhhhhh; the first rule of HolyshitIamwritingabook Club is that we don’t talk about HolyshitIamwritingabook Club) and I am trying to get back to exercising regularly and it’s getting colder so I need to cook and bake stuff to make the house warmer (that’s totally a thing) and sometimes the dogs need me to play with them. Stuff is still going on, is my point. And mostly it’s manageable.

The thing is, it’s a delicate balance, and it doesn’t take much to upset it. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC. (more…)

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Because reasons, that’s why

It has come to my attention that my perception of “normal” may be… a little off. Weird, right? I—and my family/home—am the picture of boring normalness, surely. (Voices in my head: Yeah, no. Also, don’t call me Shirley.)

I mean, doesn’t everyone reassure others about their competence by announcing that they’re a dog door? No? Or own their stupidity by exclaiming “Gorgonzola!”? Also no? Weird.

For some reason, this morning, I started thinking about all of the weird little things which happen around here and strike me as perfectly normal even though it’s POSSIBLE that they’re not. Or maybe they are and I’m just really confused. That’s also a plausible explanation because let’s face it, I spend a lot of time being really confused. A day where I’m NOT confused is probably… a day when I’m asleep. (Wait, is that an option? I would like to be asleep right now.)

So for my own amusement (and maybe yours?), here’s an assortment of things which I’m sure are perfectly normal: (more…)

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Greetings from Crankytown

I’ve got sleep on my mind, because we are currently experiencing a shortage. It’s no one’s fault, really, it’s just a lot of stuff on the schedule and less-than-ideal time management and the usual crop of minor crises. Everything’s fine. We’re just tired.

It did seem like a golden opportunity to make with many words about how important sleep is to growing teens, though. I swear I am more or less following my own advice, it’s just that life is unpredictable and also morning seems to come very early.

You can read more on Alpha Mom while I fantasize about taking a nap. (I won’t actually be taking a nap, though, because I’m about to go have a mammogram, instead. I KNOW HOW TO PARTY!)

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Oh you know, the regular

We are all trying to get settled into the school routine now that we’re back to it, and it’s been long enough that it’s not feeling new, but short enough that we’re still sort of hoping it might be a mistake and it’s still summer. I’m not really sure what’s happening. Mornings haven’t been too bad just yet (I wrecked it by saying that, I’m aware), but evenings are proving challenging.

I forgot that when everyone doesn’t get home until after seven, I really have to crack that whip and shove dinner in front of everyone to keep the evening moving along. (But why are they late? They had cake after marching band. GUESS WHO WASN’T HUNGRY FOR DINNER?) Monkey used to be my reliable “Well, it’s 8:30, I’d better turn in!” angel of a easy-to-bed kid, but I guess he’s a little old for me to still be expecting that from him. The problem is that escalation, thy name is sibling. Chickadee never wants to go to bed, EVER (this is not new; she was the prototypical BUT I’M NOT TIIIIIRED!! shrieking toddler and is now just… a larger, slightly quieter version of that), but now that NEITHER of them want to leave, it’s a complete goat rodeo every night.

Mind you, I don’t force anyone into bed. Just LEAVE ME ALONE. Go upstairs, be quiet, do whatever. I don’t care. You don’t have to sleep, but I don’t want to see you anymore. I think that’s fair.

Meanwhile, last night I didn’t manage to evict them from the family room until around 9:30, and once upstairs, they commenced having some sort of discussion (?) or argument right at the top of the stairwell, bickering back and forth until I bellowed, “GOODNIGHT! GO! TO! BED!”

Chickadee bellowed back, “DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE!” while Monkey came streaking back down the stairs to do a victory lap around the first floor, shirt held triumphantly above his head and trailing behind him like a flag, calling, “I’m a FREE SPIRIT! I CANNOT BE CONTAINED!”

The dogs were super confused. I, myself, found it difficult to be cross when they were both being such goobers.

ANYHOO, I just like to establish my status as a professional and flawless parent (*cough*) before redirecting you to my latest bit of parenting advice over at Alpha Mom. Today I’m tackling the “my kid isn’t fitting in with her peers” question, and thank goodness, that is MUCH easier to address than getting teenagers to go to bed.

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Working on growing up

I spent all summer avoiding thinking about work, and now summer is over and I have to be an adult again. Being an adult is highly overrated.

It turns out that if you’re trying to shepherd a couple of kids toward adulthood, though, you kind of have to have a grasp of it, yourself. At least, that’s the idea. So I keep working on it, FOR THE CHILDREN, even though I would much rather… read a book, or bake something, or bathe my cat. And you know I’m allergic to cats (even the imaginary ones I don’t really own).

We spend a lot of time talking about our kids growing up and changing, and not a lot of time talking about how our lives and goals and callings tend to change right alongside them as we’re busy focusing on their needs. Maybe I’m just having a mid-life crisis, but I’m doing a bit of “what’s next?” over her and wondering if I truly know what I want to be when I grow up. I don’t have the answer (yet), but over at Alpha Mom I can at least tell you that I am for sure in good company in my confusion.

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Snippets in no particular order

I remember when preparing the kids for the start of school was practically an Olympic event. You’d get the list of school supplies and head off to your local Big Box store to buy your assigned allotment of glue sticks and whiteboard pens, and if you were supposed to have a magenta with teal striped 2.5″ 3-ring binder for a particular subject, well then, you had best find yourself that exact magenta with teal stripes 2.5″ 3-ring binder OR ELSE. Plus the clothes shopping. LORD. Uniforms, for the uniform years, or just replacement of what’s outgrown (him) and stocking the latest trends (her) before the big day.

Preparation for school this year:
Me: Does anyone want to go shopping for clothes? Do either of you need anything?
Monkey: No.
Chickadee: I’m busy.

I picked up some loose-leaf binder paper one day when I was getting groceries and they had a B1G1 special at the supermarket. Then I ordered a box of pens and half a dozen spiral notebooks from Target. Later that same week Chickadee deigned to go thrifting with me (first day outfit: procured) and I gave Monkey a haircut. Done! I LOVE HIGH SCHOOL! (more…)

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I’m just stroking his ego, really

I view myself as a strong, independent woman. I was fine being single. I don’t NEED Otto, you understand. I just WANT him. I like having him around, because he’s cute and funny and my rotten children often do not laugh at my lame jokes. But I could totally manage without him if I had to, despite his frequent assertions that I married him simply either for his health insurance or because I needed a lawn boy.

Once the freezer was cleaned out the other night, many items had been thrown away. Various mystery or in-need-of-disposal items, however, were in glass containers, and so we chucked them into the sink for defrosting so that the containers could be dumped out and then cleaned.

Yesterday—because my Pavlovian response to a big stack of dishes in the sink is to make an even bigger mess in the kitchen—I baked some “one-bowl muffins” which, true, only used one bowl, but also used my food processor and a bunch of other items, and filled the sink the rest of the way up. Once I got dinner going, I finally turned to cleaning up the carnage. I loaded the dishwasher, dumped out now-defrosted containers, washed items by hand, and then… turned on the garbage disposal when I was all done.

Did I mention, yesterday, all of the little containers of pesto in the back of the freezer? Darling tiny glass jars, each one juuuust small enough to slip down the drain unnoticed and be ground into a couple dozen jagged shards of glass while I cursed and leapt to turn off the disposal. Whoops. Nice work, me! So I’ll tell you that I don’t NEED Otto, but it’s a lie, because yesterday I needed him to extract all that broken glass and fix the garbage disposal. Or maybe I’m NOT a dumbass, and I just like making sure he feels needed. HARD TO TELL.

Whether I need him or not, soon it’s going to be just him and me again, so today I’m over at Alpha Mom planning for the future. (Not on my list: grinding up more pesto jars.)

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Christmas in July?

Every Christmas, Otto makes his family’s traditional Christmas cake, which is actually a recipe that yields TWO bundt cakes. If we have company or are up north visiting, both cakes are consumed. If we’re down here with just us four, one cake gets eaten and the other one gets wrapped and put into the freezer in the garage.

I liked the Christmas cake well enough when I was still eating wheat, but I did not… how shall we say… hold it in the same reverent esteem as Otto and his siblings do. And this is sacrilege, you understand, not to feel a deep devotion to the sacred Christmas cake. (It’s hard to explain to someone how nostalgia might augment a taste in a way that cannot be recreated for those who lack similar experience.) No matter—Monkey was only too willing to jump on the Christmas Cake Is the BEST! EVER! bandwagon with Otto, plus Chickadee isn’t exactly going to turn down an offer of cake, especially for breakfast.

This is all preface to saying that last week, I went to get something out of the garage freezer, and I saw the second Christmas cake in there, and decided it was time for second Christmas. I pulled the cake and set it on the kitchen counter.

“Is that… CHRISTMAS CAKE??” asked Monkey, licking his lips.

“Yep,” I said. “Merry Christmas!” My family proceeded to eat cake every morning until it was gone, and I felt like a hero without expending any effort, so I’m calling it a win all around. Plus I was patting myself on the back about how great it is to have that extra freezer. (more…)

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