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Sweets for my sweet

It happened again, last night… the inevitable pre-birthday sadness. This is the first year you tried to put it into words: It’s too big of a deal, too much pressure to be a happy day and too many eyes on you. You didn’t want it. Don’t want it.

“I look at the past year, the past three years, and… nothing’s changed,” you said, voice low as we lay on the floor of my office together, pretending to be starfish, because for some reason that made talking easier. “I’m still me. I haven’t fixed anything.”

“Of course you’re still you,” I said, trying to keep the alarm out of my voice. “That’s a GOOD thing! And things have changed. It’s just not changing as fast as you want.” I flung out my starfish arms and struck what I hoped was an evocative starfish pose, drawing a small smile as my reward.

I don’t write about you much anymore, kiddo. I want to. My fingers itch, sometimes, poised over the keyboard, desperate to share something wonderful or terrible so that someone will say, “Us, too!” This new habit of holding back (or writing, when I must, but not sharing) makes me feel a bit unmoored, sometimes, but it’s what we need. (more…)

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Thou shall suck it up and talk about it

There’s this magical time period when your little kids start becoming more self-sufficient and fun to do things with that do not involve Candyland or being a pretty pretty princess, and for a few years, you can totally be lulled into feeling like being a parent is totally awesome and not that hard after all.

And then they become teenagers. (SURPRISE!) So then you’ll find yourself saying things you never imagined would need saying, and doing things like putting a condom on a banana and then watching your kid eat the banana afterward because, hey, that’s a very safe banana and it shouldn’t go to waste.

Yep.

In an effort to spread the horror joy, I’m over at Alpha Mom today, outlining the commandments of talking to your teens about sex.

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Waking up is hard to do

I commented to someone the other day that I really never know how to react to the (often placating) usage of the phrase “All teens do that, it’s totally normal.” Do they/is it really? On the one hand, I don’t appreciate challenges we face due to my kids’ “extras” being brushed off as no biggie; but on the other hand, it turns out that I have no idea what normal teens do. It’s doubtful that I was ever a normal anything, myself, and my kids are not neurotypical, so how the heck am I supposed to know if they’re being normal teens or being their special snowflakey pain-in-the-butt YOONIQUE selves?

The one thing I have managed to learn is that a little humor brought to even the most aggravating situation can help a lot. I’m sure the kids don’t think it helps them as much as it helps me, but it helps me not to strangle them, so it’s all good.

Without further ado: Feel free to head over to Alpha Mom for the ballad of the school morning teen.

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Attack of the giant toddlers

Come closer, so that I can share a great secret of the universe. I just figured it out, because I’m brilliant, and so naturally the next logical step is to share it with all of my closest friends on the Internet.

Here it is: Teenagers are a lot easier to deal with when you realize they are just overgrown toddlers. (I KNOW. I was super impressed with me, too.)

Over at Alpha Mom, I’m expounding on this great revelation, because my teens may be LOOKING more like adults, but their behavior is giving me deja vu.

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Sometimes I am a delightful jerkface

I think I have discussed here before a certain… shall we say… philosophy difference in parenting between myself and my children’s father. Said difference manifests in a hundred different ways, but one of the most frustrating for me has been—and mind you, we’ve been divorced for ELEVEN FREAKING YEARS—this pervasive feeling that, as the custodial parent, I do most of the “hard” stuff and he gets to do the “fun” stuff. This is not a problem unique to us, of course. But as someone who really enjoys giving gifts to people I love, it has been a small but sharp point of contention all this time that I’ve essentially been unable to give “good” gifts to the kids since the split. Because the other person in this equation 1) buys stuff for them constantly and 2) is willing to spend way, WAY more money than I am.

This is perhaps a silly thing to get annoyed about, and I know that, too. Also, things have changed over the years, and that whole mythical “figuring out some basic truths about the way different people move through the world” thing that everyone told me would eventually come to pass is happening now, and so the sting of “I never get to be the hero” has lessened, of course. Still: Every electronic or “big” treasured thing my children own did not come from Otto and me. And that’s fine, but it can make occasions worthy of present-giving kind of challenging.

It’s fun to give someone something that makes them happy. I like to make my children happy. Lord knows I don’t get a lot of opportunities to balance out the “WHY ARE THERE DIRTY SOCKS ON THE COUCH?” and “ARE YOU TRYING TO FAIL THIS CLASS OR CAN YOU JUST NOT BE BOTHERED?” moments. (more…)

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Sing it with me

Being an adult is complicated, man. While I appreciate that I don’t have to ask anyone if I feel like having ice cream for dinner (this IS the marvelous future I imagined!), there are other aspects of adulthood I don’t relish quite so much.

Like, the older I become, the more I realize I’m responsible for my own behavior, regardless of how anyone else has behaved towards me. In a word: BUMMER.

Teaching these lessons to my kids feels a bit Sisyphean. Today I’m over at Alpha Mom, talking about what respect really means, and how much it’s not about the other person. It turns out that sometimes other people are jerkfaces, and that doesn’t entitle us to be jerkfaces right back. Weird, right?

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The only constant is change

Scintillating life development this week: I went to make myself a haircut appointment—as the weather warms up, my hair has begun to expand accordingly—and discovered that my last cut was… last April. Granted, I’ve been growing my hair out more or less ever since I stopped dying it and cut it all off a couple of years ago, but still. The fact that I went almost an entire year without so much as a trim is an excellent metaphor for the year in general. Don’t worry, I’m getting it cut on Thursday. For my next trick, I may even remember to have my teeth cleaned.

Anyway. While I’m busy indulging in self-care (HAHAHAHAAAA) I’m also thinking about my kids’ futures (because why not). I can take care of the haircuts and dental hygiene and whatever, but I would really like it if society would stop telling them they have to figure out the rest of their lives before they turn 18. I’m grumbling about it over at Alpha Mom, because that’s what I do. You know, between haircuts.

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Kids. SHEESH!

Chickadee managed to catch All The Germs during the Icepocalypse week off of school, which is doubly impressive when you consider that we were trapped in the house all that time. (Where did the germs come from? Had she been saving them up? DID SHE EAT INFECTED SNOW???) I ignored her misery for several days before caving and taking her to the doctor, at which point my just desserts were “Yeah, that looks pretty nasty, let’s get some antibiotics on board” and the subsequent and immediate coming down with the crud, myself. HOORAY.

This is where I would normally tell you that in my next life I am only going to have dogs, because kids are just too disgusting. But then this morning Duncan crapped all over our bedroom (you’re welcome for sharing) so basically my whole world is gross and I don’t know what to tell you.

I am now busy alternately blowing my nose and Cleaning All The Things, but also preemptively freaking out about summer plans, because I’m an overachiever like that. If you’re starting to think about what your teens will be doing this summer, please come on over to Alpha Mom and commiserate with me. Misery loves company, and I promise not to breathe on you.

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While we prepare for the Icepocalypse…

… I’m over at Alpha Mom, realizing that Duncan is teaching me a lot about what Chickadee needs.

[In case you don't live in the south or haven't seen the news, we are about to be slammed with an ice storm "of historical proportions." This is alarming, of course, but also comes with a side helping of my-parents-were-supposed-to-visit-but-ICE-STORM and a dessert of our local production of The Vagina Monologues was supposed to open tomorrow night and now we are delayed at the very least, if not canceled. In other words, I'm cranky, and after a morning of storm prep (firewood! batteries! charge all the devices! move the trampoline! bring the grill in to the screen porch!) I'm kind of freaked out, too. If you don't hear from me for a few days, please send gluten-free cookies and trashy novels.]

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One month in

Monkey’s been back at public school for a month, and Otto and I still whisper and knock on wood when we dare to speak aloud about how great everything is going. Rational or not, we are still afraid to jinx it.

Of course, today I decided that that was just plain silly, and I went over to Alpha Mom and wrote all about how my baby is finding his awesomeness, which OF COURSE meant that I then got a phone call from school that MAH BAYBEE had become collateral damage in a hallway brawl. (Yep, I jinxed it.)

But he’s okay. Better than okay, really. I hope you’ll come read about why, because I think my kid is teaching me way more than I’ve ever taught him.

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