Sweet rewards of parenting

 

Image result for difficult teenage boys cartoon

My teenage son has contributed to the vast majority of my gray hairs, and although I love him a crazy amount, he also makes me crazy.

From his special ability to only see things from his own viewpoint, rendering himself the victim in every possible scenario….. to his disregard for a clean organized room and bathroom which is all I really will ever want from him for Christmas….

It is sometimes quite a challenge.

And, you know, he’s a teenager. So multiply everything by 5 million because if those two chin hairs are any indication….hormones are raging, and rational thought is out the window.

Something is happening though…

Here is an example of something that kind of gives me hope that he might come out the other side of puberty in a good place.

He was at his dads house Monday, because that’s one of his nights with his dad. I get a call from him, around the time I need to put the little ones to bed, asking if I can iron some clothes if he brings them over because he forgot he needed to dress up for school.

“Don’t you guys have an iron??”

He doesn’t want his dad to iron his clothes, and he doesn’t want to….because neither one is capable of doing it well, not as well as me.

This is true….but also designed to inflate my domestic ego so I can’t resist demonstrating my mad ironing skills.

It works. He comes over and hands me a shirt that looks like-and probably was-balled up somewhere before it was fully dry, and a pair of pants with questionable history of cleanliness.

I iron them both, he takes them and leaves.

Later that night, I get a text.

Good night mom, love you. Thank you for everything you do for me. By the way  you need to step it up, you’ve been slacking lately. JK, love you but for real pick it up get your head out of the gutter, JK love you. Tell Gasan to keep up the good work, he’s been ballin lately.

Interpretation: I love you mom. I’m 15 and on the verge of being a man, but still kind of a little boy and I know maybe I’m hard to deal with but I’ll never actually admit that…but we can both just “know it” and I’m going to cover up any expression of feelings with little odd remarks about you not doing your domestic duties well enough and a nod to your husband for being a cool guy.

Progress people. I’ll take what I can get.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Juggling

Image result for juggle

mycareertopia.com

I’ve been going through an adjustment the past month or so, some changes in the office that have required me to take a LOT of work home with me. Instead of sitting up at 1am thinking of good blog topics, I’m typing away, bleary eyed, preparing for patients the following day.

The last few days, something occurred to me.

I feel like I can breathe again…..

It’s what happens when you don’t have a choice but to tackle the obstacle in your path. You adapt whether you want to or not. Things find a way to settle in, and you get used to it.

Not that I love the extra time I’m spending….. but at least it’s not overwhelming anymore.

And then I think about what I do in a day, in a week…geez, it’s a lot!

Get up early, shower and get ready for work before I force the two youngest out of bed to get dressed, fed, and out the door to school. We leave by 7:30, which still causes some internal crying and gnashing of teeth, but I act like I love it.

Drop kids off, and depending on the day I may go to the office, or a facility to see patients. Or I may stay at school for an hour and help with a project before rushing off to work. Driving usually to 2 places, timing myself down to the last second so I see enough patients yet get out in time to pick up the kids after school.

Multiple phone calls to different facilities, patients families, my own personal business as I’m driving….

Getting homes means homework with the 1st grader, reading with the preschooler, dinner, cleaning up, all the household stuff like pesky laundry that can’t figure out how to wash itself…..

millions of little things like stop at post office to mail the rental contract that I just co-signed so the oldest can rent a house with some friends at college next year. And not worry at all about my credit being ruined if no one decides to pay…….  Call the insurance company about some missing social security number, email the teachers to coordinate time to come in and paint with the kids for the school project that’s due next month…….

And then after kids are in bed, I can get started on my own “homework”, reviewing prescriptions refill requests, and loading patient data for the next day. Maybe having some tea and cookie. Or six. Going to bed around 1:30am, trying to stay awake to read ’til 2…..

Does it sound terrible?

Honestly, I know I’m not unique at all in my busy life. Most of us are juggling all day long, right?

But I don’t know what I’d really change right now. Overall, I’m happy. I’m lucky to have my kids, my home, my job (s), even though I think waking up early is crap, I just count down to the weekends, and summer…..and look forward to being 76, because surely by then I will be sleeping in every single glorious day.

So for now, I will post when I get time to breathe, usually at odd hours when I’m sitting quietly in my home and world is asleep all around me. Also, because as everyone knows, Twix and snickers are magically calorie free during the hours of 12-2am.

 

 

 

Apples, Hay, and Tacos

My plans for a playdate are not usually very exciting, so I have my friend to thank for the idea of taking the kids somewhere new today.

I may have been apple picking as a child…. I have vague memories of paper bags and apples on the ground…but no sense of whether I enjoyed it or not. Today I got to try it with the kids at Hillcrest Orchards.

It was a perfect day, sunny and in the low 70’s, and the place was big enough to accommodate everyone without seeming crowded.

Of course there is the requisite hay maze……

As well as the farm-themed cut out boards for the kids to pose as animals, farmers, or pumpkins…..

We finally headed off to the orchard to put the kids to work, getting there on a rickety tractor pulled wagon of course.

We picked honey crisp today, and at first I thought the rows of trees were just baby saplings. I was shocked to see them bearing fruit, an amazing amount compared to their tiny size. Super sweet, we were allowed to eat them right off the trees. Bonus that the kids found that irresistible. Jenna was shocked to find seeds in the middle of her apple….because she has only ever eaten her apples sliced on a plate before. Eating food from it’s original source, off the tree in this case, instead of from the fruit bowl seemed to stimulate their appetites. I wonder what she would do if I pointed at a chicken and told her that’s where her chicken tenders come from??

There were more things for the kids to do, like a track for go cart type bikes. I can’t show you a picture because I spent my time there pushing Sammy on his, or riding Jenna on the back of mine. GREAT workout, but not fond of the unattractive panting after I was finished.

 

More acceptable ride that doesn’t require mom to exert herself…

 

Didn’t mean for this to be freaky…but reminds me of “The Ring” and if she had started crawling on the ceiling I would have left her there…

 

And the day would not be complete without dried corn stuck in everyone’s pants

 

And finally. The best part. The grand finale of my trip. The reason I will definitely more than consider going back……..

Before we left we wanted snacks. There was a little eatery inside with cider, water, apple cinnamon donuts and cookies.  There was a food truck outside, with a menu posted on it’s side.

I was amazed at the selection of food…. and please, please forgive me for not having a picture of the actual menu. I can recite a couple things by heart…. such as the all beef hot dog in toasted pretzel bun, complimented by apple chutney and cheddar cheese….. or how about the rosemary parmesan fries, complete with garlic aioli dipping sauce? Or my personal favorite….. drum roll please….. butternut squash and black bean tacos. Oh my god. I’m so glad I ordered them, because they were amazing. Not what I expected from a food truck at this farm out in the boonies.

I did not take photos of my food because 1. I didn’t want to look weird and 2. I ate it way too fast. But I checked Pinterest and found something close to just give you a tiny idea….

fries

Trust me when I say the tacos and fries I ate today were so much better looking and tasting than these examples, but you’ll have to trust me unless you check out Hillcrest Orchards yourself.

 

 

 

Dinner observations

Image result for restaurants with screaming kids

I took the kids to dinner the other night, only because Sammy had it in his head that we should go and I liked the idea of not making dinner. Besides, we needed a break at the end of a loooooong week of school.

He picks Cheesecake factory, and we are seated outside. The tables are so close together, you can’t avoid sitting in the middle of the conversations around you.

On my left, is a family of 5. Two parents and three children, all seem to be under 5. They are loud, kids take turns screaming, actual screams…. and the parents both speak a mixture of English and Italian to them. I like the sound of the Italian, but not when the mom is speaking in a constant yell, right into my ear.

Jenna likes to watch other people, she’s still too young to realize it’s rude. And knowing her, she probably wouldn’t care. I keep directing her attention to our own table, but the noise and activity next to us are hard to ignore. First she comments that one of the boys goes to her school. I don’t look over, but I sense the mom turning her head toward us as though she knows they are being mentioned. Jenna says later that one of the boys is looking at her, as she continues to stare at him. I feel eyes on us again, and lightly tell her to just look at me then.

She continues to watch the progress of the family, parents attempting to stop the screaming and fighting of their kids and not doing a great job of it. During a lull in the noise, she comments to me “Yeah, I like the dad better than the kids”… Since the mom is practically in my lap, I am sure she hears it. The head turning toward us confirms it. I think I tell  Jen to eat her dinner and keep her eyes on her food.

But she’s so right. He was definitely the quietest…..

Friday flop

Now that school is back in session, we don’t get to stay up late until Friday rolls around.

This week I kept reminding the kids to motivate them through waking up early and going to bed early…..Friday’s almost here!!

We usually let them stay up pretty late, watch movies, eat popcorn, play games. Daddy can always depend on them to wait up for him when he finally gets in from work.

So tonight, we were all set… went to the park for a couple hours after school and got home by 8pm. Everyone had a snack, showered, settled together on the couch to pick out a movie. I had my laptop appropriately in my lap, and was catching up on some emails.

Next thing I know, I wake up to the sound of Dora and her friends singing about how they couldn’t have done it without me…….. and no signs of life around me.

Lightweights…..

Clearly, we need to build up our Friday late-night stamina.

 

 

 

the ongoing hole in my heart

Last night together before heading back to college 😦

One might think that after having 4 kids, and sending most of them to school every fall, year after year….. I would be numb to the pain of “the first day back”.

Maybe this year feels worse than usual because last summer I didn’t know what it was going to be like without the oldest at home during the school year. This summer, I enjoyed her at home (most of the time…), but I also knew what was coming when summer vacation ended.

And it can’t be avoided… so I loved having her home, but dreaded her going back-for my own selfish reasons.

Adding to my pain, we have the 3 year old starting preschool tomorrow.

She’s ready! She’s soooooooo ready. But I am finding myself really depressed this week, as the days creep by. I squeezed her and kissed her so hard this morning that she faked an injury to get me to stop.

 

Will her school understand the importance of chocolate cake to her academic success???

 

I know I’ll be at work while she’s at school, but knowing she’s not safe in our little nest while I’m gone is stressing me out. Interacting with her teacher and other kids all day, going potty, eating lunch and snack, napping, playing, learning….. all these things will happen. She will be bossy, she will be bossed back. She will possibly be unhappy at some point.

Hyperventilating.

The 15 year is taller every morning. He’s back in high school, no longer a freshman. Lets me hug him at home, I don’t know about in public……

And the 6 year old started first grade today, away from the “baby wing” of the school, and upstairs with the big kids. He wore loafers today for gods sake…..and he loved it. He told me after school that he wants to live in first grade.

And so we are back in the school year, and all that goes with it.

Dammit, they keep growing up.

 

 

 

 

Starting back, but I’m not ready.

Image result for back to school blues

It’s coming….. end of summer, and Back to School. A time I mourn before it gets here, and mourn harder when it comes.

People think I’m weird for being sad to send my plethora of children back to school, but I hate it. For selfish reasons like not having to pack lunches all summer, or forcing children out of bed before seven in the morning each day. I hate how the clock starts ticking as soon as I make the drop off at school, and I have to make sure I get through my work day efficiently enough to make it back to school for pick up on time.

Everything feels like a rush, and too many things have to be jammed in the day.

Don’t get  me started on the fights about homework and dinner, and last minute stops to buy things needed right NOW for school the next day.

Cold weather, darkness, rain, ice, snow…… follow up to round out the crapfest that is the school year.

Hmmmmm. I might be a little pessimistic right now.

I think probably I’m moody because I’m dropping the oldest off at college again on Saturday. Tomorrow is my last day to spend with her, and part of it will be spent doing last minute shopping for things like pens, pencils, book bags, and water glasses to replace what I keep breaking. Not especially memorable, but necessary. Then she leaves, with only a messy room, and the shirts she steals from me as a reminder…..

And the youngest. Oh my god, how did I think she was ready for preschool??!  She starts in 6 days, and I feel the squeeze starting in my chest. I know she’s smart, and social, and so far seems to have no sign of separation anxiety from me…. but she’s never actually been away from the house, without me, for a whole day. I want to pull her out, forget it, we aren’t ready.

I’m not ready.