Well played by the teenager

I have probably mentioned a few times….. I am a clean freak. Just a little bit.

Not surprisingly, the kids don’t appreciate a sparkling floor as much as I do. Gleaming fixtures do nothing for them. The smell of lemon fresh pine sol doesn’t spark joy, it just makes them hide.

I was in whirlwind clean mode today after bringing Sammy home from school. When Jake, the teen got home, I followed him up to his room…. this is after I’d washed floors, vacuumed, and cleaned 2 bathrooms….

“Look,” I said to him, holding a box of miracle Clorox singles scrubs.

“These things are amazing! Even YOU can keep your bathroom clean-FINALLY-if you just use these once or twice a week!”

He wasn’t impressed. Kind of lingered in the doorway and I could tell I was losing his interest. It looked like he needed a demonstration.

Desperate to get his attention, to engage him in my cleaning fetish, I force him to watch as I blast the sink and start scrubbing it.

“Watch me!, just watch….. see how easy it is!!!”

I lather, I rinse, I repeat…. and off to the toilet to show him how the SAME sponge has enough cleanser to continue the job here. You can use the same one!!!

All the while he is mumbling about how it doesn’t even look dirty to him as I bitch about the toothpaste marks, hair, and good old dust showing up all over the place.

I finish.

And it’s sparkling, clean…. I feel great!

Except I was supposed to make him do it.

Oh well. At least I know I have a good day or two before my beautiful job is buried under another coating of grime and apathy.

My biggest critic


image from: abovethelaw.com

The oldest is fortunate enough to get my blogs posted to her wall on Facebook so she doesn’t even have to strain herself to find and read them. It’s my way of keeping her posted on the goings-on in the house, and in my head.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, she has designated herself to be my official critic. She is pretty harsh sometimes, and I find myself getting strangely frustrated when I see a 6/10 on a post that I thought was at least a solid 8. Feels like I’m back in my first writing class in college……

let’s be honest you’ll probably never gain enough self-control but I like the optimism, 6.5/10

I enjoy that you’ve accepted defeat, since you have 4 kids there’s no way you’ll ever win. and I love how mean Jenna is, she’s got spunk. I’ll give it an 8/10

I’ll give it an 9/10 because I like how passive aggressive you’re being with Gasan and I enjoy your sarcasm

aww this made me sad. you have a 10/10 forehead and you’ll still be hot when you’re all wrinkly :))

you’re a ho ho. I don’t like that you’re being healthy, it makes me feel like I should change my lifestyle and I’m not ready for that. 6/10 for unintentionally shaming me
I have found that she tends to be a little more forgiving with her grading system when she’s feeling sorry for me for 1. having so many kids, 2. having so many kids and so many wrinkles, and also she seems to like it when I’m being snarky.

I’m not going lie, I now find myself anticipating her judgment, and also find her awesomely sarcastic and amusing. I wonder if she thinks her personality is anything like mine??


Taco salad can predict the future


I want a taco salad.

I don’t want to make one, I want one from taco bell. I don’t eat these very often, but today I want one.

I resisted the urge all day, but tonight it’s calling to me from across the road as I stir this delicious dinner of vegetables with green curry. I’m not being sarcastic here, it’s really good.

But it’s not a taco salad and so is not going to satisfy me.

I couldn’t get one for myself.  I was rushing with the kids to get them home and in bed, having just brought soup to my own mom who isn’t feeling well. She told me not to come, but I knew she would eat the soup… ended up driving home later than I thought, and although I pass taco bell, I just couldn’t justify wasting the time for myself.

Running upstairs to get them to bed, see the oldest sitting on her bed, hasn’t gone out with her friends yet. PERFECT.

“Please, can you get me a taco salad?”

I get a stare.

“You don’t need a taco salad. I’m doing you a favor”

I throw out another please but don’t have time to grovel as I start the bed time ritual for the two little ones.

Soon after, I hear her leave the house. I begin to think along the lines of “wow, she’s really getting it for me…. awwww, she didn’t have to, that’s so nice.”

But time passes, and she doesn’t come back. I notice a text on my phone. It’s from her, she’s going out with her friends. I’ve lost hope.

After this revelation… a little passive aggressive texting back and forth, me trying to ensure she feels guilty and suddenly realizes how much she loves and appreciates me, and how much I DO FOR HER… her focusing more on the fact that I seem to be upset about a taco salad, and not the meaning BEHIND IT….

Because this obviously means that I will end up in “a home”. Alone. Discarded as soon as I am no longer useful.

Currently working on a way of avoiding this, while also ensuring all remaining children find it impossible to say no to me for any reason.





Beyond clean…


It’s funny how different people can define a concept in so many unique ways.

Take the concept of clean, for example. As in “A clean room”.

To my teen, this is a very loose concept, a fluid term, can’t be pinned down to any rigid standard…. certainly not by any standards of mine that might include Windex or a vacuum cleaner.


His clean is so unstructured, so free…. free of the materialistic burden of bedspreads and dirty socks, free of the narrow-minded idea that toothpaste on the sink could ever be “unclean”. Indeed, the toothpaste is clean. The sink is clean. Together, they can only be MORE clean.

He must be evolving, my small mind tries to understand.


I struggle with it.

I’m sure it’s my own fault. My faulty reasoning, that of an adult whose only remaining dream is to walk into his room without being disgusted.

I cracked today. Vacuumed up things that didn’t seem to belong on the floor by my antiquated reasoning. Toenails, fingernails, I don’t know what that other stuff is…..

Felt a small measure of peace, probably destroyed an ecosystem he was painstakingly trying to create.

Oh, I’m sure I will remain an embarrassment. Not enlightened enough to see beyond my superficial concept of clean. I hope he can forgive me one day, and learn to somehow live with my primitive addiction to Pine-sol and Clorox wipes.

….not so evolved……



The becoming that happens to us


You are 17 “and a half”, as you like to remind me.

As if being 18 will make you a real adult.

Not 18, not 20, not 28……

I think real adulthood settles in somewhere in the 30’s, I FINALLY feel like I’ve gotten there. But probably 15 years from now I’ll be thinking how I still didn’t have a clue back then….. when I was just 39.

I think a lot about how much I’ll miss you, because again, you like to remind me how soon you’ll be leaving. Off to college, adventure, LIFE.

You laugh at me because I finally start tearing up every time we talk about it, when before I was just on your case about not missing deadlines and getting all those college visits scheduled.

Of course I love you. But I have grown to really, really like you. The person you are. I dread you being gone from my day to day routine. I feel sad for myself, and for everyone that will have to put up with me after you leave.

I was driving home today, thinking about how people become parents, and more specifically how women become moms.

You are the person who first made me a mom.

When did I start to FEEL like a mom?

It wasn’t when you lived inside of me or even  just after having you. I wanted you, I loved you, but I can look back now and say no, I didn’t feel like a mom yet.

I grew into it, as you grew.

We reached milestones together, mine as your mother, and yours as a growing child. My self consciousness as a parent gone by the time you hit preschool….and I fought with anyone who would dare stop you from hugging your friends goodbye, or from keeping chapstick in your backpack.

I became strong for you, from being your mom.

I’m still becoming, I don’t think we ever really stop. And again, you have been the catalyst for so many of the things I have become… A mom, the mom of a teenager, soon to be the mom of a child who has grown up enough to leave home…and one day the mom left at home as the rest of your siblings follow you.

And I like to believe the things I tell you about our relationship. How it will change as you grow older, and right now I know you are so ready to get away…but that eventually you will come back. I tell you how close we will be, even closer. I believe this, and want you to believe it too.

You are becoming independent, and I know I’ve pushed a bit lately, worried I’ve sheltered you too much and wanting to make sure you can handle it alone…ordering pizza by yourself and making your own appointments…buying your own tampons. (Alright, we both know I’m going to send you care packages with all that stuff plus chocolate…). But still, being away is going to be so new and exciting…that for a while I am going to become more of an obligation. You will HAVE to call your mom, you will HAVE to spend time with us on breaks from school…you won’t need me the way you did before.

But time has this way of going on…and as you are becoming an adult, a wife, a mom, I will be there right along with you. Becoming your friend, a mother-in-law, a grandmother…

I am so grateful for this journey, and for having you to share it with me.

The joy of having a 13 year old


Truly, an unparalleled experience.

This is the second time I’ve had a 13 year old. I have 2 more to go after this one.

There are just so many amazing and wonderful things that go along with this age. Some things I remember from my first child at that age, and some new things I am just learning. For instance…

There is a need to be right, and always have the last word. It’s not even a need to be right, who am I kidding. He’s right. that’s IT. I just NEED to accept it.

There is a potential argument for everything. Because he is always right. And by speaking to him, I might somehow be questioning his awesome rightness, so he must assert himself yet again.

the whole idea of good personal hygiene is still a bit hazy….the need to take a shower after football practice does not strike him as urgent, although the rest of us are gagging every time he comes close to us and begging him to clean himself.

Deodorant is still considered optional.

He will still take walks with me and the little kids to get ice cream, and even pull the wagon without embarrassment.

If he is required to make his bed and keep his room clean, I have no right to expect him to help vacuum the living room. because that is borderline abuse. And the start of a text argument.

He plays amazingly well with the 4 year old, then fights with the 4 year old, then gets mad at me because I expect one of them to be more mature than the other in these situations. Apparently the 4 year old should know better.

He still lets me kiss him goodnight, and tells me he loves me.

hairy legs and baby face. (him…not me)

All discussions (arguments) will end in me losing. Because no matter how wrong I believe he is….. he simply reminds me that  I am the one who chose to bring him into the world. And since he couldn’t have done anything bad if he didn’t exist…..that clearly makes everything my fault. (he’s a philosopher.)

He will be a man…tomorrow. But still clings to his childhood today, as do I. The day I can’t excite him with some fake tattoos or bubble tape will be a sad one indeed.