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.

 

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?

 

 

Babysitter secrets

I was having a conversation with my sister the other day, about a mutual friend who seems to have such conflicted feelings toward her babysitter.

Seems like the sitter is very nice, happy, friendly, responsible, and loving toward her child. He loves going over there. He is treated like family. Yet….. the friend was reluctant to leave him with her. Found fault with the way she did things, and seemed very suspicious of her.

My sister doesn’t understand how in the world this is possible. Especially since the babysitter is also a close friend of hers…and she can vouch that the girl is in fact NOT torturing or neglecting this child during the time she is watching him.

I decided to fill her in on the whole mom/babysitter relationship. At least how it sometimes goes.

For example, if you look on any babysitting site, there are ads from parents looking for that perfect person to watch their baby. But what they are asking for and what they really want aren’t always the same. In these cases, you need to read between the lines and understand that we don’t REALLY want you to love our kids. Maybe just a little, but not enough to make them love you BACK. Because then you’re competition. And that makes us hate you.

This might be a more honest look into the heart of a mom who has to work, and needs a sitter, but also hates the idea of needing a sitter, and worries about being replaced emotionally.

“In search of a dependable, efficient, no-nonsense sitter for my kids. Please be very kind to them, but also sometimes indifferent so they don’t start to love you, but instead always remember to love me more. No more than 3 hugs per day, which must be initiated by the child and tolerated by you. Absolutely no cute nicknames for them. Please do make them healthy and yummy lunches, but don’t cut the sandwich the special way that I cut it… and no pancakes made to spell their names. Just circles for you. If you witness a “first” moment, ignore it. Pretend it didn’t happen… save it for me. If they tell you they love you, pretend you just stubbed your toe and jump around yelling to distract them from those dangerous thoughts. Must be kind of irritable at the end of the day so they run to me with smiles when I come home.”

Or if you need visuals:

NO

YES

 

I may have experienced this myself…. so it’s possible that I know what I’m talking about just a tiny bit. It doesn’t make sense, but nothing makes sense after having kids anyway… In my own experience, I did finally come to really appreciate that the kids and the sitter DID love each other, and time made me realize that nothing-so far-has been able to replace me in their affections.

I think our friend is going through the same issue. Which sucks, but I guess I’d rather hate my sitter for loving my kids and making me jealous, than for actually being a shitty sitter. Ha, try saying that five times fast, shitty sitter, shitty sitter, shitty sitter….. can’t do it can you??

 

bad dreams = bad mom

I may have mentioned that I do the “dream magic” for the kids at bedtime. I made it up for the oldest, during the afraid of the dark/bad dreams phase…. and introduced it to the 6 year old not too long ago. Now it’s a ritual, I HAVE to do it.

He’ll remind me so I don’t forget.

Seems to work, or at least he doesn’t usually remember any bad dreams…

Last night though, he woke up crying out. Somehow I didn’t hear but his daddy did and went to lie next to him in bed until he slept again.

This morning, I’m getting ready for work… just about to wake Sammy up for school. He comes walking into the bathroom, looking a little pissed. Hand on hip, he stops in front of me and narrows his eyes.

“Guess who did the dream magic wrong?!”

I had to laugh, out loud, because I wasn’t expecting that…. he believes so much in our little dream magic ritual, that he can’t fathom it not working….unless I screw it up.

Oh, he’ll make a great teen one day.

Breakfast surprise

breakfast1

It was Saturday morning around 8am, and I heard chairs moving around downstairs in the kitchen, cabinets being opened, bags rustling.

Although it was a lot more commotion that it usually takes for the hubby to make his morning coffee, it just didn’t register to me that anything else might be going on.

I head downstairs with the three year old hanging on my back, and I get stopped at the bottom of the stairs. Husband is being used as a guard, I’m not allowed in the kitchen yet. Ok, I’ll go with it.

Sammy calls out finally, “don’t look!”

He comes and takes my hand, I must keep my eyes closed, and guides me to the kitchen. Being 5, he doesn’t take into account the various walls I might walk in to, but I only shoulder check one because I promise not to cheat and peek.

“Surprise!”

Sammy made us breakfast!

breakfast2

A feast, of green bean crisps, pretzels, peanuts, pita chips, trail mix….oh, and those cute little cheese sandwich crackers from Trader Joe’s. Pretty much cleaned out the snacks…. We all got a heaping plate, and even a nice big glass (Oh geez, REAL glass!) of deliciously gritty iced tea, made with love and LOTS of powdered mix.

All of our places were set, and he waited indulgently for us to sit. Of course it was the most amazing breakfast ever!!

Me, Sammy, Jenna, and the hubby got the same thing. For some reason though, his big brother Jake got the supreme version full of whole granola bars, some fudge dipped, and LOTS of trail mix.

breakfast3

breakfast of champions

 

Of course, we didn’t want to disappoint him, so I munched on that “breakfast” all day, and tossed what I could when he wasn’t looking. I did realize what a good amount of crap food we have….. and also how much I love pita chips….but mostly how much I love that little guy.

 

perfect kid vs gestapo mom

paper

Last night the husband noticed some wallpaper had mysteriously gone missing on one of the bathroom walls, the one the kids take a bath in before bed each night.

Ironically (you’ll see why later), he blamed Sammy initially… although I was leaning towards Jenna. This morning, as I rushed through the routine of feeding the kids, and packing up for his school and my work, I questioned Sammy as the husband made his coffee and listened.

“Did you peel off the wallpaper in daddy’s bathroom?”

Big eyed silence is what I get in return.

Then a very slow head shake, and a small voiced “No, Jenna did it.”

“Really??? You saw Jenna do it and you didn’t tell me?”

Now, I can already tell he’s lying. If he saw his sister doing ANYTHING he could tell on her for, he would be yelling for me in a heartbeat. And the big eyes… the big scared eyes of a little lying boy…..

I give him a few chances to come clean, he doesn’t. I pull out the God card, “you know God sees everything we do, right? You wouldn’t want to let Him see you lying, right?” And all the other stuff about how telling a lie is worse than the actual bad thing he might have done and does he want to just think again about what he’s saying??

Daddy steps in, as thought I’m the gestapo.

“No! He said he didn’t do it, he’s a good boy!” Lots of hugging from daddy, me rolling my eyes.

So poor Jenna is blamed, even though I know she didn’t do it. And there is no punishment, but still, it’s not sitting well with me. I need him to learn and understand that telling the lie, and throwing his sister under the bus isn’t how to handle getting caught. Even though, to daddy, his guilty appearance means absolutely nothing. Because he is perfect. Just like when he hits his little sister, and she screams at him, it’s HER fault for having a big mouth… not his for hitting her. This is what we deal with over here.

We are in the car for about 5 minutes when he admits he did it. I tell him we need to call Daddy and let him know so he doesn’t bother Jenna about it. As soon as I get the husband on the phone, Sammy starts to sob, and I get yelled at for terrorizing him, and he has the nerve to tell me that he probably only admitted it to stop being tortured by me. The guy still doesn’t believe he did it!

Now, he’s guilty for thinking Sammy’s perfect all the time… and I’m guilty for thinking he’s perfect sometimes but at least these moments bring me back to reality.

Although I fumed this morning, silently…. I decided to forgive him this afternoon and called to see how his day was going. He still likened me to a war criminal with cruel interrogation tactics. I can do nothing but tell him he is lucky to have me, or our perfect son would grow up thinking he truly can do no wrong.

I can deal with my son being a normal 5 year old. I can deal with my husbands rose-colored glasses. I will be the gestapo mom if I need to be, and perfectly thankful for the opportunity to do it.

 

Taco salad can predict the future

Taco-Salad

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.

 

 

 

 

Mom failure

inc.com

inc.com

Sometimes things happen that remind me of my lack of perfection as a mom.

I know it may come as a surprise, but I have been known to make mistakes. Just ask my 14 year old.

And even more surprising, sometimes things happen that force me to remember that even my kids aren’t perfect.

Such is the week I’ve had.

One  example…. I just had a birthday. My 40th. It’s one of those milestone birthdays, if you’re into paying attention to that sort of thing.

I found a post from my oldest on my Facebook page.

Happiest of birthdays to my beautiful momma!!! I really don’t know what I would do without you, you’ve been my best friend for 18 years (except from ages 11-12 when I was a total psychopath; sorry about that).. there’s no one else I would rather tickle until they collapse and cry, or lip sync Sky Full of Stars to until I give myself whiplash..thanks for being the best mom out there and I hope you have an amazingly wonderfully awesome-sauce day

Rachel May's photo.
And so, there I was. Feeling pretty smug about the whole parenting thing. But how could I not??!  Here was proof of my success! She’s 18, a legal adult…. so I succeeded!!  I raised her to adulthood and she still loves me!!
Pretty great present.
And then….. later…. a text from the 14 year old.
I won’t show the text, as he would likely kill me for that…. but the gist of it was that he decided I was extremely selfish for going to a “random” kids birthday party and then off to babysit my nephew, because he had come home after football, and made time for me at that moment and I wasn’t there waiting for him. And I could find my present in the trash if I wanted to look for it.
Needless to say, a complete downward shift to the day….resulting in a lot of angry texting, and the realization that I am not a perfect mother…. not because I did anything wrong (I absolutely did not)… but because if I was truly a perfect mother, wouldn’t all of my kids always think so?
Oh… he’s going through the hormonal shift, and still sometimes seems to be dealing with some anger issues stemming from my divorce from his father. I know we love each other, and pray that one day he will be a bit more rational….but it’s still not easy to deal with.
And then… then, the icing on the cake!!
At the “random” birthday party for his classmate, a very precocious girl led Sammy away from the pack of children and proceeded to moon him. A couple parents saw this, it was over by the time I got to where he was. They said he didn’t seem  too impressed, and walked away.  I did find his little sister doing her best to pull her pants down though, and assumed she had to potty…..
Once I found out what happened, I talked to Sammy and told him if anyone does that he needs to walk away from them, and tell them it’s not nice. I really thought we were clear about this.
A couple days later, I was at the park with my two little ones, and a couple friends with their kids.
Two of the boys ran over, yelling “Sammy pulled his pants down!!”
What??!!  Not my perfect boy!  Surely, SURELY…he had mulch in his pants, or a bee……
I find him.
He looks guilty.
“did you pull your pants down?”
He did.
” Do you know why?”
He didn’t.
He did finally point out that he didn’t pull down his underwear, but clearly wasn’t ready for the repercussions beyond the initial shock value of his action. Seems the whole pants-dropping thing had made an impact on him after all. Clearly we had more to discuss….
He sulked in a tire swing the rest of the time, as the other parents laughed and told stories of things their own kids had done in the past.
So lessons this week for me in humility, patience, and proof that none of us are perfect.
But perfectly flawed maybe?

What I hate about parenting…..potty training :(

potty1

Potty training.

Have I mentioned this? Yes, once or twice.

I am stuck right now, obsessively fixated on potty training, SURE that I am screwing up my 2 year old beyond repair. I hear people say things like “just don’t worry, your child will TELL YOU when they are ready to use the potty”. But I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it will happen without mental agony on my part. This is the only way I know how to do anything….is with a healthy dose of psychological pain. It’s my process.

Jenna herself seems fine. She actually goes several days without having an accident. This is because I take her potty often. And catch her trying to hide when she wants to poop. Then it’s all good natured fun “Oh mom, you caught me again!” Jolly laughs on the way to the potty.

If she happens to wet herself, she tells me-probably during the act-that she has to go potty. Then we go to the bathroom, find that her pants are wet, and it’s big eyes all around, “how did THAT happen???!”

Can I just say that she USED to tell me before she had to pee. Like, a year ago. And I don’t know why that doesn’t happen now.

So I worry about it. Worry that I’m screwing up, that I’m not getting it right. I MUST be doing something wrong… right??

Yesterday, I tried to just let her tell me when she had to pee. We have been wearing cloth training pants with a diaper cover. Diaper cover is NOT water proof, as I came to find out.

I asked her a lot if she needed to pee. “Nope!” is her gleeful reply.

Then she pees herself, and decides to tell me she needs to pee. No big deal, accidents are a necessary part of training. I know this.

Later, I take the kids grocery shopping. She had just peed, I gave myself a good hour to get there and back. Kept her in the cloth pants, because I don’t want to confuse her.

We were on our way to the register, cart FULL.

“Mommy, I have to go potty”. Which means, I just peed. I picked her up, and saturated my shirt. Huh… guess there is really no point to diaper covers.

We get home, wash her, she takes a nap.

Upon waking, Jenna decides she hates everything in the world, and refuses to do anything she is asked. I don’t want to push her, so once her tantrum started-after I took off her pants to use the potty- I just walked out of the bathroom to let her calm down, or follow me, thinking when the urge hits, she would go sit on the potty.

I hear this noise…Sammy is standing next to me. He knows what it is before I do.

“Mom, Jenna is peeing on the floor.”

Sure enough, she is standing there, peeing on the floor. (the floor I just washed, of course) By the way, there are TWO little potties in there, one on either side of her. I really think she was making a statement. A statement of my supreme failure.

Don’t ever Google anything about potty training. Every mom has a story, either horrific (My adorable 7 year old little Charlie is just so stubborn, we still can’t get him to use the potty!!), or depressing to the rest of us loser moms (My triplets were all potty trained at 6 months. Right after they learned how to knit and speak Japanese. They each have a different dialect, it’s so cute!)

Today, it was back to just taking her potty when I thought she might need to go. No accidents….but I know she’s not the one being trained here…