Friday, January 30, 2015

18 Ways Teenagers Are Just Like Toddlers

If you thought that somewhere along this parenting journey things were going to get considerably better, just let me burst that bubble for you right now. I know I thought it. Once they can __________ (fill in the blank) walk, talk, go to the potty, go to school, etc., it will be so much easier! Sorry, but that doesn't actually happen. Face it now and you will be much better off.  There are many things that don't actually ever go away.  Sure, they might take a little hiatus, but they will be back with a vengeance when the Terrible Teens are upon you. Be careful about casting that pitying look on the toddler mom in the middle of the grocery store because when the Terrible Teens do arrive, you will having a sickening sense of deja vu as you realize just how much like toddlers your teenagers are...

1.  They whine. Incessantly. About everything and nothing at all.

2.  They are expensive. Diapers? Toys? Teenage boy's car insurance premium? There               will be nothing left for college for anyone. I'm pretty sure there is nothing left now.

3.  All they want to eat is pizza and french fries. If I see another pizza I'm going to vomit.

4.  They are loud. Annoyingly loud. So are their friends.

5.  They wake you up in the middle of the night. See #4. Crying from nightmares has nothing on teenage boys playing Call of Duty as far as noise level and parental involvement goes.  

6.  All drama, all the time.  Teenage girls, middle school.  Need I say more?

7.  They try to run away from you at the mall. The only difference here being that now I let          them.

8.  They are messy. Toys everywhere. Stinky socks everywhere. hard is it          to put them in a laundry basket?  Exceedingly hard is what I'm gathering.

9.  They dress themselves in weird clothes that don't match.

10.  They smell. The difference between poopy diapers, Axe body spray and B.O. is                    negligible.

11.  They are grouchy when they wake up and fight you about going to bed.

same look, different kid

12.  They sleep a lot. Which does exactly no good. See #11

13.  They want all your stuff and a pox be upon you if you touch theirs!

14.  They don't know anything. Point to Team Toddler here. They actually don't know                    anything.

15.  They can catch the slightest whiff of anything even remotely "educational" and want              NOTHING to do with it.

16.  They can not do anything for themselves. "Mom, I'm hungry." Go ahead, try to guess            the age of the person saying that. Good luck. Honestly, somewhere around 8 years old they became quite self sufficient. Then the novelty apparently wore off.

17.  They have poor taste. All the movies,TV shows, music, etc. suck.  Ok, maybe not all.            I have a soft spot for Winnie the Pooh.

18.  They think the world revolves around them.

There is so much more I could add about hissy fits, temper tantrums, etc., but just know this…the more things change, the more they stay the same. Forewarned is forearmed Mama.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The $25,000 Question

Ok, so it isn't $64,000, but after some rather rough math, I figure I'm into this for at least $25,000, so here it is....

Why won't my children brush their teeth?

I use the term "children", but we are talking teenagers here.  While they certainly aren't adults by any stretch, they really aren't children either.  What they are though is old enough to know better.

Not to toot my own mothering horn here (because God knows I don't deserve it!), but in the aspect of oral hygiene, I was NOT the one who fell down on the job.

They both started at the dentist at the recommended 3 years old....hell, I actually had them there at 2 so they could get used to the chair, lights, etc and have their teeth "counted" so they wouldn't be afraid to have them cleaned.  It worked too.  They LOVE their dentist.  I take them to a pediatric dentist with slides, fish tanks, video game machines, prizes, flat screen TV's in the ceiling for them to watch, ( I am NOT making this up) and they love every minute of it. They call the sweet lady at the desk Gramma and she knows their names!

They have had every toothbrush know to man...spinning brushes, princess brushes, Bob the Builder brushes, brushes with fat handles for tiny hands, brushes that play 2 minutes of music so they know how long to brush.  And timers of all sorts to get in the requisite 2 minutes.  They had bubble fruit toothpaste, Spongebob toothpaste, Colgate, Crest and every damn other kind.  Pills to see where you missed.  Mint flavored rinse, blue rinse, fruit flavored rinse.  We have enough floss to braid together a rope bridge to cross the Amazon River!  And I personally brushed their teeth myself for YEARS. we are.  I have one who brushes, but only because she has to wear a retainer and it grosses her out.  She won't rinse or floss.  The other one has to be caught in the act of not brushing.  So now, with a 17 year old I am officially the Hallway Toothbrushing Monitor.  

Their bathroom is right outside my bedroom door, so I sit and watch as they get ready for bed and at least 2 times a night say "Don't forget to brush your teeth" which is promptly greeted with much eye rolling and an exasperated "I KNOW Mom".  Still, most nights it will involve at least one trip down the hall for me to guilt the offender into coming back to the bathroom and brushing.

In the morning as they come downstairs they are greeted with "Did you brush your teeth?"  Which has led to many discussions on why I feel it's OK to brush before breakfast instead of waiting until after eating, all of which boil down to the simple fact that I don't trust him to go back up and do it!  It is like some sort of mexican standoff going on here and I am at a total loss as to WHY??

Don't you want to have clean teeth?  Fresh breath?  At the very least, isn't it a gross, slimy, nasty feeling to not brush?  Thing 1 actually has to go to the dentist every 3 months instead of every 6 because he has "gum issues".  Go figure.  Every single time they tell me I should probably get him a water pic toothbrushing system because they work "much better on people who have problem teeth".  Thing 2 is working on getting there with her total avoidance of flossing.  I refuse simply because the last thing I need to do is go spend $65 on something thats going to sit in the bathroom and collect dust next to all the Reach flossers and rinses.  All that needs to happen is some good, old fashioned brushing.  Period.  So I just spend my life monitoring their teeth.  

You can tell this irritates them because the toothpaste is spit with such force that the bottom half of the mirror is covered in it.

I suspect it won't be long after they leave home before they start to look like this...

and probably with the exact same confused look on their faces!  Wondering how this could have happened to them!  And the only logical explanation will be the same one that covers everything...

It's Mom's fault.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

5's one of those number we tend to give more weight to than others.   5, 10, 20.  For reasons I don't know, they are more significant in our minds.  Maybe because those are the denominations that money comes in, somehow lending them more importance than they really have?

I try to tell myself that it does't really matter.  That 5 is no different than 4, or 6.  But still, it weighs heavy on my heart.

Next week will be 5 years.  How can it seem like yesterday and forever all at the same time?  I can still hear her voice in my head, but it takes effort now.  I have to be still and think.  It saddens me because I know that is the beginning of losing that piece of her, that in a few more years it will escape me all together.

She was one of those friends that circumstance brings into your life.  Kids the same age (my oldest, her youngest), going to the same pre-school.  We lived in the same neighborhood and agreed that car pools were wonderful things!

She brought with her many things I had been missing in the 4 years since my son had been born.  Coffee with other "Mommy" friends, Chuck E. Cheese, story time at the library, pet sitting and Girl Scouting.  I don't know that my daughter would have had the wonderful Girl Scout experience without her.  And I'm certain I wouldn't have been the troop leader.  I can't imagine that now, missing all those times with my daughter.  Her daughter was one of my son's first "best friends".  So many memories of their childhoods weave in and out and around her. 

As I said in her eulogy, she was bald from the chemo when I met her, and all through the years of our friendship, hair never looked right on her!  She was relentlessly positive that she would overcome cancer.  Too busy creating fun and memories for her kids to dwell on an illness.

A lot has happened in 5 years.  One of her kids is now college aged and her daughter and my son have drifted apart in a high school of a couple thousand.  Would things have been different if she was still here?  I don't know.  Maybe our relationship would have changed too.  Her husband remarried and they were absorbed into a larger family with their own kids and traditions so I don't see them as much as I would like.  I pray for them and love them from a distance.  Her daughter comes by occasionally to see me and its always a welcome treat.

So maybe 5 is significant, and maybe it's not.  I don't know.  What I do know is this...

I still miss her.

Friday, January 9, 2015

You be Thelma, I'll be Louise

Parenting teenagers sucks.  Lets just get that out of the way up front. But (because there is always a but), it doesn't always suck for everyone.  Some of us have a suckier (is that a word?  Because if it's not is should be) time than others, certainly.  And that is NO reflection on our parenting skills I assure you, I know because I am a super awesome parent, it's just life, the chosen path, personality, nature over nurture or whatever you want to call it.  The problem in dealing with this though is the fact that the risk-to-reward ratio is considerably higher in the teenage years that the toddler years, which can drive a parent to madness!  Or drinking at least.

When they were toddlers, the risk was low, the reward was high and the control factor was off the charts!  I may not be superwoman, but I can man handle a 30 pound kid any day of the week.  Don't want to get in the car?  No worries, I can make that happen without your help.  The risk of being exposed to things was much lower, mostly because I was standing right there with them the entire time.  They didn't know how to use the internet at 4, and if they walked in on a movie at an inopportune moment what's the worst that would happen?  They might hear the F-word?  And repeat it at preschool?  Trust me, its not as big a deal as you think it is.  The rewards were great!  Lots of "I love you Mommy" and hugs and sloppy kisses, stories and snuggles at night and all the cute little crafts they brought home for Mother's Day or Christmas.

When they become teenagers, everything is turned upside down!  Risk is high, reward is low and control is no where to be found.  When you are 16 and exposed to sex, drinking and drugs, and thats just at school as everyone talks about parties, etc., bad choices can easily be made.  Staying on top of kids with school, friends, activities and jobs becomes almost impossible and by now they can be adept little liars too! And the reward for your vigilance?  Maybe a "Thanks Mom" tossed over a shoulder, but more likely the reward is that they come home when they are supposed to, which is nice, but doesn't match up to a homemade pot holder!

All the advice, all the books, all the Mom groups out there are for Mom's of the littles running around.  As you cruise through the tween years the voices get quieter and quieter until, as you reach the full fledged Terrible Teens you think you are out there alone.  The silence is deafening.

Just so you know......we are here.  We have ridden through the lonely wilderness and gone right over the cliff, Thelma and Louise style.  That's why you can't hear us, we are at the bottom, shell-shocked, but alive.

The good news is that we survived the drop and you will too!  We may be a little battered, a little bruised, but we pick each other up, dust each other off and put each other back together.  We are at the coffee shops and, let's face it, wine bars, sharing our stories and in the yoga classes trying to find some darn inner peace.  We may look good on the outside but we are certainly a little worse for the wear.

So go ahead, take the fall.  We will be at the bottom ready to pick you up, dust you off and pop the cork while you tell us how you got here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I Resolve Myself

I have a weird relationship with the New Year holiday.  For the most part I don't like it.  Or maybe care about it?  Aside from having to remember to write a new number on checks, whats the big deal, right?  And I don't write checks anymore anyway, so hey, New Year, same as the Old Year.

But the resolutions.........Oh! How I love the resolutions!  Waaaay too much, to be honest.  Too much for my own good or for the good of anyone around me to be sure.

It's like this...I have never started a diet on any day other than a Monday.  I have never started anything on any day other than a Monday.  I love the "jumping off point" thing it has going on and what bigger, better jumping off point is there than New Years?  So every year I go to bed at 9:30pm and come January 1st, off I jump.

The problem is that by January 1st I have put a lot of thought in my resolutions and I have decided that this is the year I will do All The Things!  Never mind that I decide that every year and I have yet to do ANY of the things, let alone all of them, because it's a New Year and all things are possible!  Most of me knows that this is ridiculous and won't happen, but theres a teeny, tiny, little sliver of me that says "Oh, we can do this.  We can definitely do it this year" and I like that tiny sliver.  I listen to her and I BELIEVE!

So in 2015 I resolve myself to accomplish the following;

I will lose weight!  Obviously I am meant to do this.  Target is conspiring to help me by putting all the diet/exercise things on sale.....what more inspiration do I need? 

I will lose weight by eating healthy foods.....not just any old healthy food the little voice says  Whole 30!  Local! Organic!  

I will exercise!  yes, of course, she says, but what kind? I will Walk, no Run, do a 5K and yoga too, let's not forget the yoga!  Holy Yoga too!

I will get organized!  I will organize my office, my closets, my pantry....ALL THE PLACES EVERYWHERE!  Yes I will!

I will clean my house!  Often.  I will have a cleaning schedule and I will do it every day, always, no matter what!

What else can you do in a year?

I will practice my photography!
I will catch up my scrapbooks that are roughly 10 years behind!
I will get all my work done early in the week...on time!  Faster than on time!
I will read all the books on my reading list!
I will watch all the movies on my Netflix list!
I will watch everything on my DVR!
I will make all the appointments for everyone's Dr and dentist visits on time, even for the OIL CHANGES in the cars!
I will take vitamins!  (why?)
I will spend more time with friends!  (this isn't actually an issue since its what I do best, but I need some success somewhere)
I will grow my own garden....local, organic and FREE!
I will get rid of all the things floating around here that we don't need!
I will save money and stop buying things!
I will cook new foods!  Whole 30, local, organic foods!
I will drink more water and less coffee and wine!  (No...I will NOT)
I will plan an awesome vacation and they will all be excited and grateful!

That's where it starts to get a little more dangerous......

The kids will get good grades!  

Who put me in charge of that?  Well, I did, of course.  Someone has to care about college applications and it surely isn't going to be them!

The kids will bathe regularly, brush their teeth daily, eat healthy (whole 30, local, organic!) foods!

Now I'm resolving for everyone......... 

The yard will be mowed and the pool clean all the time!  This isn't actually my problem, its the Hub's, but Im pretty sure he didn't make any resolutions (slacker) and someone needs to be in charge of all this stuff too.  Besides, how much can one little resolution hurt him?

Then the end of 2015 will come and I.WILL.BE.DONE.

I will have my shit together and I will be able to maintain this togetherness forever!  If some random tragedy befalls me, I will die with EVERYTHING.DONE.

I actually think these thoughts and the sliver? She believes in me.  Who am I to tell her that her faith is misplaced?

This is year 11 of "The Plan for World Domination". 

So far the only "Whole" thing I have eaten is a whole doughnut, but there's still time.