Tag Archives: parenting

Sidenote

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Sidenote

It’s Saturday. I haven’t blogged in a while and, if I had more time (duh), you’d be able to see why.

We’ve finished up our first competitive cheer season, Doc is trying to beat CR7’s goal-scoring record this year in *cough* first kick rec soccer, and The Boy is trying to set a record for the number of times he can bang his face on the ground, into the lip of a table, or corner of a bookcase in a single month. Coach is finished with soccer season and has moved full-on into yearbook (which means he’s busy covering every sport, concert, play, and awards dinner at THS). Work is work for me. I love it. Busy, busy, busy. They keep giving me things to do so I’ll take that as a good sign.

I have been feeling the urge to reorganize, purge, and simplify our belongings (again). Realizing the reality is that we probably won’t try and move this year, all the STUFF in this house is making me crazy.

I want to redecorate the Boy’s room. It doesn’t really say anything now that I’ve taken his sports stuff out of his crib. I think we’re doing race cars, but I just haven’t had the time.

*sidenote* I’m writing on Coach’s mac (#love), but I’ve gotten used to my Surface and so now I keep touching the screen. */sidenote* HA.

Doc & Munchkin (can I still call an almost 13-year old “munchkin”?) (and, @sarah, is it more correct to put the punctuation inside the “” or outside, since the “” was to designate a name, not a quote?)

What was I saying?

This is my life. I can’t keep a !@#($% thought in my head for longer than about :25 seconds. So, you see why blogging has been such a hit or miss thing this year. I want to. My life would make a great sitcom. My children are hilarious and I really should be writing this down because [in my most obnoxious, patronizing voice] “they won’t be little forever.” (see, I know I used it correctly there.)

And it’s not all fun and games. There are things I want/need to pour out so I get them out of my head, but I open up the page to write and stare at a blank screen. And then life intrudes and demands my attention. So, in my head these thoughts stay.

Speaking of. The Boy just poured a cup of cinnamon toast crunch out on the kitchen floor. Because 18 months, you know?

Excuse me while I go back to the mess.

worlds_okayest_mom_mug

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Quiet

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It’s a little before 5am. The house is quiet; everybody still sleeping. I’m sitting in the dark living room, finishing my first cup of coffee and thinking about a second. It’s a rare treat that I get to enjoy a cup of coffee in silence since the arrival of The Boy. Has it already been almost three months? Has it only been three months? He seems so much part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine him not here.

Princess Crybaby is good. The other night, Coach told her it was time to go to bed. She walks over, stands in front of his chair and says, “can we talk about this?” And that about sums up where she’s at. Everything has to be explained. She’s into the “I need reasons mother” phase. It’s obnoxious. And adorable.

Munchkin is in a play at the high school. Yesterday, I picked her up from the house to take her to rehearsal. I smiled inwardly as I noticed she’d taken great care to get ready. Her hair was arranged and there was a certain “big kid” air about her. A part of me sighs a little more each time I have the opportunity to witness this young girl transforming into a young lady. I am happy, of course, because that’s what she’s supposed to do, but still. Glimpses of the little girl are becoming a little more rare. This part is new for me, so I am trying to approach this with a certain air of conservative detachment. (yes, I made that up)

As we pulled into the high school parking lot, I asked her if she wanted me to drop her off or walk her in. (I kind of thought she’d just want to be dropped off – I mean, I’m MOM and she has started striking out on her own a little more…I didn’t want to cramp her style and I knew she was perfectly safe) Because it was right at 4 o’clock, there was still a lot of traffic – both people and cars. She asked if I’d walk her in. Playing it cool, I parked the car and she hopped out. This is our world – we spend a lot of time around Temple High School – so, as we walked through the parking lot, we chatted about rehearsal and what she would do when she was finished. I reminded her to turn her phone off during rehearsal (no, Munchkin, silent isn’t enough. If it accidentally goes off, you might get tossed off the stage… LOL – just kidding. kinda)…etc.

At this point, we’ve waded pretty far into the mass of humanity in the plaza outside the student center. It is all the sudden I feel a very close little shadow at my side. She leans into me a little and says, “there are so many people, Mommy,” and she takes my hand. It is then I am reminded that she is not so very grown up after all.

I smiled down at her and reminded her that they were just bigger versions of her and we navigated through the crowd and into the student center. I noticed the little bounce in her walk returned once she had ahold of my hand and it was all I could do not to kiss her head. (I know that would have been way over the “MOOOOOOOOM” line) Once we got inside the theatre, she slipped her hand out of mine and bounced off to her world in the theatre. The moment was over.

It was a sweet reminder that I still have a few years before I enter the uncool phase and she’ll struggle with her desire to be close to me and, at the same time, the need to be independent of me.

So much in which to delight. Mine is a cup that overflows. And that’s why the floors are sticky.

But, for now, it’s dark. And quiet. And you can’t see the piles of laundry still not finished (as if), and the dishwasher that’s full of clean and the sink almost full of dirty (I think they multiply like tribbles when we aren’t looking), and the …. well, you get my point.

And my coffee cup needs a refill.

invested

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When you are in a long-term relationship, you make certain investments in the relationship to help it grow. You give it your time and attention. You are careful to respect boundaries while still pursuing intimacy, trust and friendship. You work through bumps in the road together. You make certain concessions when the other party isn’t playing ball and hope they allow you the same courtesy. You never, ever quit. 

No. I’m not talking about my marriage.

I’m talking about school. I’m talking about our decision to trust our children to the public school system. To date, only one is currently enrolled in public school and she’s going into 5th grade this year. Our last year of elementary. Then…OMG…middle school. [excuse me while I take a moment to stuff that impending reality back into the dark corners of my mind; not to be thought of again for at least a few months…]

The last few years have been challenging. (to say the least) Oh, I’m not denying Munchkin’s culpability in creating and/or maintaining some of the drama through which we found ourselves wading. I’ve posted before about her amazing ability to find the most dramatic situation and implant herself smack dab in the middle of it. I’m also not denying there were things that were just part of another year of getting older, moving on, transitioning into another phase of childhood, etc.

What I AM saying is that there were some parts of the last couple of years where I felt a real sense of partnership and cooperation with the school and parts where I felt like I was dealing with avoidance, passive-aggressive behavior and constant conflict. Again, I will reassert that Munchkin can be something else and she IS entering the phase where she thinks she is more grown-up that she is and following those “little girl” rules are starting to pinch her, but she’s not mature enough to handle any more freedom. When she IS given freedom, she usually puts her foot in her mouth or makes some other dumb decision that, upon reflection, should have been foreseen by the adults in charge (ahem…us).

Academically, last year was an enormous catch-up, but the instruction was great. She made up all the ground she’d lost in the jumble of third grade math teachers and she gained and built on the spark ignited for reading and writing. Socially, my gawd I lived for weekends and holidays. I KNOW this is the age where girls hate each other with a venom that rivals the most poisonous animals on earth. Females can be vicious and cruel and we experienced both sides of that equation: Munchkin as victim AND Munchkin trying on the role of the spider. I watched her struggle with the seemingly endless cycle of cruelty. She was unhappy with her own behavior, but not mature enough to navigate away from it or work through it when it found her. I saw a side of her last year I hadn’t seen. I hope the experience worked itself out of her system and she is now content to go to school to learn; not be a gladiator. And yes, I know some of this is unavoidable. This cycle lives and breathes and grows freely in “good” and “bad” schools alike; public and private. So, no, I’m not looking at this through some kind of wonderland looking glass. The jabberwocky is everywhere.

Where I am hoping to see some measurable change is in the overall climate of the school. Teachers need to be supported by administration to demand respectful behavior in the classroom. Violence against one another MUST not be tolerated in any way.

Investment. Rather than pull her out and run to another school or district, we are going to stay in the fight and work through it. Because we have a relationship. Because Munchkin must learn that the way to handle your problems is not to run away from them but to roll up your sleeves and work HARD to fix them. Find a way to dialogue on topics you don’t understand or approve.

And I’m scared to death.

Scared to be “that mom.” Scared NOT to be “that mom.” Scared that not moving her to another school is going to automatically doom her to another awful year like I’m on the quest for the holy grail and her experience becomes collateral damage.

I just want to get it right.

 

 

This parenting stuff is hard, y’all.