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.

 

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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.