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…..

My little monster

 

Don’t be fooled by my innocent smile…..

 

I just want to say, the 15 year old was right. As much as I hate to agree, his baby sister is kind of a monster. Sometimes.

She loves school, grabs my hand and drags me into the building in the morning, and is beaming when I pick her up at the end of the day. She believes it is “her” classroom, and the other kids and teachers are there for her entertainment. She does not miss me at ALL.

Monster, right?

And suddenly, she’s way more independent and impatient with the rest of us. As I’m sitting in the car, waiting for the cars in front of me to move so we can park and walk in….she starts to get belligerent in the back seat. “Mommy!, why are we taking so long! My teacher is waiting for me!” She doesn’t seem to care that I literally can’t get out of the car yet, and so threatens to stop being my best friend if I dare continue to keep her away from the teachers who are desperately waiting for her inside.

On the way home yesterday, she is holding her water bottle in the back–thirsty after school. As I’m on the highway, and in no way able to turn around and help her, she decides she can’t hold it a second longer and I need to take it from her now, now, NOW!

I tell her no, hold it herself…. and Sammy starts to talk about wanting to go out to eat somewhere. He’s listing the choices of places for me to choose from, and Jenna breaks in:

“Well, YOU both can go, I’M not going with you! I’m going to stay home all by myself!” (Complete with wide eyes and head bobbing for emphasis) “Because YOU won’t hold my water bottle!”

We have some back and forth, with her emphatic that she will stay home alone, and will also not let anyone in to HER house, and me wondering if I’m going to get pegged with a water bottle in the back of the head…..

And poor Sammy in the background trying to tell me “don’t talk to her momma….” (because she’s mean of course….)

As much as I worry about her strong, super sized personality…… I still love it. I love the attitude and I love knowing she’s got something I never had at her age–call it confidence, bravado, an unrealistic sense of self importance…whatever…..  she’s not afraid to speak up for herself and it took me decades before I could do that.

And then late last night she called out for me, having a bad dream and wanted me to sleep next to her. And I loved cuddling up to her…..it was great for about 5 minutes…. then she asked me to move over and stop touching her 😦

Definitely monster.

 

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.

 

When things go missing

I had a plan the other night…. it was about 8:30 and I was going to let the kids watch something before bed for a treat…. and to keep them away from me so I could get some computer charting done for work.

But where was the remote?

It’s always in a predictable place, but after checking the usual places, and then more places, I started to worry. I couldn’t focus on anything until I found it. Grilled the little kids, checked with the older kids….no ideas for me.

I thought back, and couldn’t recall when I last had the TV on, could it have been days ago? Did my toddler nephew hide the remote when he was over Sunday? Possibly in the pantry where he likes to hide and poop? Nope, not in the pantry. Not under the tables, in any of the other rooms, in the toy boxes, on the mantle. Not in the basement, the bathrooms, my room, my kids rooms…..

Time ticked by…. no remote. After a good hour, I was standing on a chair, looking from a higher place to see if I could find it. Then I saw it. Tucked in next to a dish filled with decorative flowers, the highest shelf of the entertainment center, way off to the side…

The babysitter hid it, then forgot to put it back.

This she does because she has a hard time telling the kids “no”. So she hides the remote, and tells them she can’t find it so they can’t watch TV.

Sometimes I will be cleaning, and find a hidden cache of annoying toys that have been silently tucked away and forgotten…… in an unused cabinet in the basement, or under a couch….

 

 

I found the kids Easter baskets, full of candy, hidden in the top of the pantry last month. Those poor milk chocolate rabbits just dying for some attention.

I’ve asked her not to hide things…. the kids are used to being told “no” if I don’t want them to have something. Besides, they’re on to her, the 6 year old seeing through her excuse that his kindle disappears when she comes over…. but she can’t help it.

I expect when we eventually move, we’re going to find all sorts of things we will have long since forgotten, hidden by a well-intentioned sitter who doesn’t like to be the bad guy. I guess I could put a positive spin on it, and treat every day after work like the scavenger hunt it is.

 

 

 

 

Anniversary after divorce?

Today, I felt like I was missing something. An appointment? A call to make? What did I forget??

And then, this afternoon I realized it was my anniversary!  Of my first wedding, way ,way, way back when I was TWENTY years old. It would have been twenty years today!

This didn’t make me sad, or angry, or bitter, but actually kind of nostalgic. How much time has gone by since that day, how much I have changed since that day.

wedding96

I love this picture, especially as I get older. I am currently watching my 19 year old navigate life and comparing where she is to what I was doing at her age.

I see this photo and remember how innocent, yet all-knowing I was. How very smart and yet stupid I was. How young I was, and yet-weirdly-how I continue to stay exceptionally young while my MIND alone continues to mature and age…. strange…..

I can’t say I regret this day 20 years ago. I don’t regret being the girl in this photo. Sure, I would have liked to avoid some of the difficulties that came later, but it all brought me to this spot. And that day was a day I will never forget, even if the marriage didn’t last.

Lately, when the oldest is panicking because she can’t figure out how to physically go into the post office and mail a package without hand-holding, I think about what I was doing at her age. Living with my fiancé already, buying our first home with the help of his mother…worrying about paying bills, making enough money, and learning how to grocery shop and planning a wedding.

I’m so GLAD she’s not ready for any of that. I’m not ready for her to be ready for that!! But I’m so thankful for her and her brother, and so also thankful to have had that wedding 20 years ago.

Feels like I should be doing something then, maybe to celebrate? Or acknowledge the date?? How about some low key photo fun, compliments of snapchat……

My headache cure

It started yesterday evening, a stabbing into my skull ranging from a very light throb, to a vicious pounding that makes me wince. Of course, I keep thinking I need to take something for it, but never seem to make my way to the bottle of ibuprofen.

Woke up with same headache, trying to keep myself from scowling at everyone as I continue to forget to do anything about it except be miserable and crabby.

This afternoon, I forced the kids to lie down with me so I could try to close my eyes in a dark room. I finally remembered to swallow the medicine and wanted a chance for it to work. The kids took turns propping stuffed animals on me before the youngest finally cuddled next to me, falling asleep immediately.

Sammy was reading in his bed, I thought…..

And then before I knew it he was standing next to me, big smile on his face.

“I brought you a sandwich and a glass of milk for your headache.”

Sure enough, he had dragged a table next to my bed, and had laid out his headache cure for my enjoyment.

What kind of sandwich?

I was thinking it was going to be peanut butter and jelly…..but not from this fancy guy.

A combination of American cheese and sprouts, nestled between slices of dry wheat bread. Sure to banish any headache in moments.

I ate (some of) that sandwich because he is awesome and I love how much he loves me. Bonus points for his original sandwich making skills.

 

 

Boys are from outer space

Sometimes I feel like my boys just don’t understand me. I wonder what makes it so hard for me to communicate with them meaningfully, because it seems like they will do the exact opposite of what I say-with a smile on their faces, as if it is a good thing they aren’t listening. Almost as though they come from some other planet, where ignoring your parents is actually good manners and expected.

Sammy has become amazingly good at misbehaving in public places, strategically avoiding eye contact, thus avoiding “the look”, and staying just out of arms reach,thwarting my attempts at a quick swat when no one is looking. It is uncanny how he just knows exactly when he will be able to get away with something because I’m powerless at that moment to stop him. Weird alien sense of self preservation?? Perhaps.

 

Exhausting. And so hard to understand when I am told by everyone how well behaved he is at school. Unless he’s got them all brainwashed with his alien mind control powers.

I am fed up with finding all sorts of weird objects stuck at the uppermost and difficult spots to reach in the house. Socks. Rubber dinosaurs. Plastic balls and frogs, a million of them. Every time I drag a ladder into the house and try not to die in my attempt to remove them….. more just appear.  I think this might be some sort of extraterrestrial home decorating that I just don’t appreciate. It must be in their DNA to do it. I’m sure they can’t help it.

I don’t know how the teen manages to get out of most chores I ask him to do. It all starts the same way, I’ll ask, or suggest that he vacuum something….. and suddenly everything goes fuzzy…. I have vague memories of some sort of verbal dialogue between us, he appears to be offended and suddenly far too busy….. and the next thing I know he’s gone. And I’m vacuuming. Possibly more alien mind control??

They have secret handshakes. Elaborate ones that involve a lot of fist bumping and weird finger moves. I think the secret handshake is just a cover for their secret alien communication…. they’re plotting against me, I know it.

I don’t understand them at all. Frankly, they scare me. They seem to stay pretty mellow and not aggressive as long as I keep enough things in the house they like. Yogurt, beef jerky,  pancakes, basketballs, Pokémon.

You have boys??

Word of advice. It’s pointless to yell at them about all the dirt they track around your house. It’ll just confuse them. On their planet, dirt is a status symbol…. they’re programmed to carry as much of it on their bodies and into the home as possible. All in the effort of improving your rank in the alien community. Probably better to just thank them.

How to win a trophy

Sammy finished his first T-ball season yesterday, and the coaches surprised the kids with a trophy for each of them.

Of course Sammy was feeling pretty self important and strutting around holding that trophy for the rest of the night.

We took it with us for celebratory ice cream, the trophy displayed rather blatantly at table center.

Jenna trailed behind Sammy the whole time, just wanting to be near. Of course she wasn’t allowed to get too close. I didn’t hear his explanation to her as he shut down her last attempt at sneaking a quick touch. But it all became clear…..

“Mom…..”  she began, with those big, earnest, brown eyes….

“So I can get a trophy when I’m six…..and a boy?”

Uh. Yes?