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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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Date night with a side of caketastrophe

Otto and I don’t get out enough as a couple. This is a subjective assessment, of course; what is “enough,” really? Whatever it is, we aren’t there. This is because we have jobs and other commitments and needy teenagers and a fairly comfortable couch and also because my natural inclination is to be a hermit. Otto, however, as both the extrovert and better wife in this relationship, periodically insists that we leave the house together, just the two of us. (And apparently when we go grocery shopping together, that doesn’t count. Sheesh.)

Last night we went to the sort of artsy-fartsy thing college towns are known for; there was black-and-white photography! There was poetry! There were figs stuffed with fancy cheese! I very nearly felt like a grown-up, right up until people started packing into the tiny seating area and a woman planted herself next to me and set her wine glass on the floor. “I’m going to try really hard not to kick that over,” I told her. “I’m sort of clumsy.” I thought I was just making conversation, but she looked at me like I’d just confided that I both had Ebola AND sometimes I tongue-kiss the nearest stranger. So that was nice.

But I should back up, a minute, to earlier in the day. (more…)

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Did you know it was cold?

I’m sure it comes as a tremendous shock when I tell you that Hey, it’s cold outside. It’s not as though 1) it’s cold absolutely everywhere, and 2) the news is all OMG HIDE YOUR CHILDREN IT’S THE COLDPOCALYPSE!!1!!!

So yes, it’s cold out. (In other news: Water is wet. Amazing!) It’s so cold out, we didn’t have school today.

Today at Alpha Mom, I’m telling you why this is all my fault. And I’m only sort of sorry.

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Smells like cinnamon and big changes

Last night I mixed up and kneaded the dough for the Super Fussy Pain In The Rear But Most Beloved Homemade Cinnamon Rolls so that I wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn this morning. I took a break to call you and your friends downstairs for a bedtime snack of milk and cookies (hey, you may be teenagers, but cookies are cookies), and then you all swarmed back upstairs without even saying goodnight. I felt a small pang, but you were having so much fun, I tried to let it go.

I should’ve known better, though—you all got ready for bed and then you snuck back down to the kitchen to give me a hug. I squeezed you tight, marveling anew at how you’re nearly my height, now, and then demanded a second hug, on account of it was to be the last 13-year-old hug I’d ever get from you. You did a little dance of glee, hugged me again, then ran off with your buddies to a room littered with sleeping bags, video games, monster manuals, and stinky socks. I finished forming the rolls, ready to throw in the oven this morning.

The cinnamon rolls are always the same. They’re a fragrant anchor in a sea of ever-accelerating change, where every year I cannot believe you’re the same kid who had a birthday just one short year before. (more…)

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If you’re into that sort of thing

Thank you so much for the swell of kindness yesterday regarding Monkey’s Next Big Adventure. It gave me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings to know so many folks are behind my kiddo, even if most of you do live inside the shiny box on my desk.

I don’t necessarily want to belabor the process, here, because I know not everyone is interested in all the nitty gritty details, but if you ARE, today at Alpha Mom you can check out the extended dance remix version of how/why we made this happen. And it’s all fine! Good! Perfect! I will just be over here breathing into this paper bag just for fun.

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Can of worms, ripped open

Life has been a little nutty ’round here, lately.

Um, not the “ZOMG Y’ALL I AM SO BUSY” kind of nutty. For one thing, I sort of hate that assertion on general principle, because isn’t EVERYONE busy? I mean, usually? When I have a lot of stuff to do, any spare moments I have for reflective thought tend to take the shape of “Did I remember to eat today?” and “Do I have any clean clothes to wear?” or even “Why do these children keep talking at me and expecting me to feed them?” Even if I had time, it would never occur to me to be convinced that I was eversomuchmorebusier than anyone else. Life is busy for 99.99999% of the population.

No, it’s been nutty more in the MANY FEELINGS and CHANGE IS HAAAARD and HOW DO I MAKE THE THINGS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN ACTUALLY HAPPEN kinds of ways. And while that last item falls, I guess, into the general “busy-ness” category, the other two are much more matters of “May I please be excused? My brain is full.” Only no one ever explained to me as a kid that adults are never excused no matter the fullness of their brains. So unfair. (more…)

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