The Associate sums it up nicely and slightly incredulously.

TA- Mom, why are you smiling? (The Associate asks as I beam at my phone)

me- I am happy because the highest court in our land decided that a person can marry the person they love.

TA-  huh?

me- The Supreme Court says it legal for a man to marry a man or woman to marry a woman.  The point is that if you love someone and want to commit to them legally you can.

TA- wait illegal is bad, and legal is good.

me- in this case, yes.

TA- Wait, it was illegal before today?

me- in some states, yes.

TA- well, I am glad they finally figured that out.  Makes sense to me.

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last days scramble

As the teachers of the world scramble to get the last days of school done, those parents that are at home with the children all summer scramble for a last bit of sanity.

My conversation in my head goes as follows.

Monday! Only four more days of school!  There are meetings I must schedule. done. now how to spend any possible free time I might have. One last alone trip to the grocery store, start meditating (too late), sit on the porch quietly? think clearly while not being hit with a water gun? organize my life? take a uninterrupted shower?

Monday starts off ok, as I get interviewed for our local paper.  I struggle through the parts about me that I have yet to nail down, and of course gush about my new project and my team.  Slightly proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone and not having a panic attack, I go on with my day, and manage to organize the mini studio a bit while fielding phone calls.  I spent the evening fretting over The Teenagers study habits, because she didn’t call off work and had a math final in the morning. I have already mentally prepared myself for the bad news, and I am irritated with her when I pick her up from work.  I do manage to calm myself and tell her that my attitude stems from my desire for her to be able to become whatever she wants when she grows up. I don’t want her to be held back by grades.  Her chilly exterior defrosted and we move on.

Tuesday starts by waking up The Teenager and her dragging her butt to school, LATE for her exam.  I know this particular child only learns when she messes up, but I find it difficult to hold my tongue. The Husband and I head out to a doctors appt in the maze of The Cleveland Clinic. We attempted to have a nice brunch ALONE after only to have my eggs delivered with a hair draped across them.  (I could scrap it off,  NO, I could cut around it, NO, I could send them back, YES, but appetite is unfortunately gone for good :(.  For some stupid reason I decide to spend the rest of the beautiful afternoon cleaning out the garage!  sit down! be quiet! do a puzzle! I do manage to meet my friends for dinner and relax until I get a phone call from The Associate begging me to come home because her orthodontic paraphernalia has popped out of her mouth.  Asleep by 10:30 I awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to call the orthodontist and beg for an immediate appointment. I only have two days of peace and quiet left!!!! The woman felt my pain and told me to come right in. As soon as we are back in the car The Associate begs for donuts, because we always get a donut as a reward for orthodontia! FINE!  We are not allowed to go through the drive thru anymore because The Associate learned it was bad for the environment. I somehow manage to get her to agree to a simple glazed donut opposed to the double chocolate one that she wants and all is right with the world, until she starts to negotiate for a second and third donut. deep breath. I drop her at the front door of the school and peel out of the parking lot.  (five hours and 15 minutes) I take care of some paperwork, take care of my mind and head to pick her back up from school.  The Teenager lets me help her study for a bit, of course it is the exam that she is really prepared for because she has a great teacher and she loves it.

Thursday I dragged them out of bed and to school and I took care of my important meetings.  On my way home we crammed a bunch of teenagers in the car and they proceeded to lay around on each other, eat and zone out.  We retrieved The Associate from school and I almost immediately went into shock.  My brain stopped working. After substantial amount of time, I snapped out of it, and I realized how lucky I am, and decided to stop complaining. HAPPY SUMMER.

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baseball cupcakes

The Associate is a tough interrogator, and can sniff out the truth like Matlock.  She is full of questions all of the time, and doesn’t hesitate to grill me.  My parenting style has always been to give as much information as possible without giving my direct opinion.  One of deeper conversations while driving about town was about metal detectors in stores.  After figuring out what the heck she was asking me, I paused (a little too long for her.)

TA- MOMOMOMOM!

me- yes!!! sweety!!! I was just framing my answer.  Do you know when you try on clothes and there is that annoying tag in a really bad place?

TA- yes.

me- well that is there so if you try to leave the store without paying for the clothes that metal detector thingy sets off an alarm, and the police will come.

TA- why would somebody do that?

me- that is called stealing, and it is against the law to take something you haven’t paid for or doesn’t belong to you.

TA- but that store has plenty of money.

me- *sigh* Wellllll, that store has to buy those clothes from another company, and then this store adds some money to the price and sells it to us.  So…. if someone leaves the store without paying the store loses money and then it will go out of business.

TA- so….

me- That store creates jobs in our community  (this is where it gets tricky. We are actively shaping her power to work for good, so my answers are straight forward, but lean towards the consumer and the worker, without demonizing well run businesses.)

me- (in my head, how the heck does she do this to me every time, why can’t we have a nice ride in the car and look at the trees!)

me- Ok, we are going in this store to get one thing, we are on a mission to get things we need not things we want.  (mercifully she does not argue and we make it all the way to the counter without incident)

TA- Why do they need to make these?

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what the heck?

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why would anyone collect cereal?

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me- at least no one will steal that junk.

The associate’s bloody tale

She was born smiling, her teeth popped through in all the right places creating a perfect set of teeth, straight and white.  We ignored the gentle warnings of our dentist that this was not going to last, and we snapped a million pics of her beaming smile.

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(That was her cramming raspberries into her face phase)

As they fell out we realized that Dr. Dorothy was in fact correct and our little smiler was quickly starting to look like Sponge bob.  She wasn’t fazed at all and kept flashing her chiclets.

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About 6 months ago we began the arduous task of correcting her jaw and she was a trooper.  She would obediently lie down on the couch so I could crank open her palette and crack jokes all the while. The Herbst appliance was next and she became bionic.  You can hear the hydraulics inside of her mouth operating like one C3PO’s limbs.   She soildered on and only slightly complained, always looking forward to her braces, which for some crazy reason she thought was cool.

Then one day I decided to obey her and hang the hammock. I went in the house to grab some water and then heard a blood curdling scream.  I ran out the door to see blood spurting from her mouth and through her fingers, while she yelled “MOMMMMMMM”  I grabbed a towel that was luckily blood-red and dashed over to apply pressure.  Leaving her alone I ran up the stairs to find The Husband trying to get off of the phone face stricken from what he overheard downstairs.  While The Husband dug around in the grass to find the missing tooth I called the dentist, and she cautioned us to put it in a cup of milk.

The Husband- what?

Me (very loudly)- Just put it in a glass of milk!!!!!

Our dentist met us at her office so she could take a look but it was very clear this child needed to be knocked out, so we headed down to the ER.  Somehow I managed not to throw up while holding her, and her cup of milk with tooth while looking up the number for the ER and requesting a pediatric dentist.  The Husband at the wheel got us there in no time flat.  I was half in the bed with her trying to calm her, as people came in and out.  Apparently the new method in the ER is to give very specific directions about what they are going to do to you.  I interrupted knowing that this child or possibly I would not benefit from the nurses’ over sharing.

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We managed to get a movie playing on the TV and were calm for a bit, but by the time Dentist arrived the poor kid was anticipating the needles and moaning.   One nurse sat on the bed with her knees around The Associates head, another was trying to distract her with a huge ball and another with an ipad, all the while the Dentist tried to trick her into opening her mouth.  I came in and out of the room my heart pounding while she screamed at the top of her lungs.  The Father sat solidly by her side and as per usual tried to distill the tension with humor.

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Screaming, crying and definitely over stimulated the The Associate hushed us all up.  We all backed away, hands up and she declared “Let’s get this over with!  The mayor is waiting for me!”  Stifling giggles they got back to work and the tooth was finally wedged back in. The room was quiet and she was instantly better, still excited to see The Mayor.  Sanity partly restored we were freed to go back to home.

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As we drove out of the hospital. The Associate came up behind me and reminded me that The Mayor was waiting in a conspiratorial lowered voice.  I laughed as I braced myself to go to at least 3 pharmacies to get the medicine we would need.  Three weeks later her tooth looks alive, but we shall see, one step at a time.

imaginary friends

The Teenager, had three very elaborately concocted imaginary friends when she was little. “Salad” was the first to enter her world.  She (Salad) was very particular about what she consumed, opting most often while dining for “just salads.”  “Black eyed Susan” didn’t actually have a “black eye” but was always referred to by her full name and really loved black beans.  “German” was a bit more elusive and was always traveling. When questioned about his whereabouts, The small Teenager would be ready with an extensive list of destinations that “German” was currently visiting.  It has been to revealed to us just last week that “German” was her imaginary boyfriend.  We have yet to delve into the reasons why he was never around, but I feel we will be informed in time.

Around the same time The Niece was very vocal about her Imaginary friend whose name was “Matthew Bloopbloop” sex, female.  “Matthew” was also an avid traveler and was known to visit her grandma who lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, but was originally from Managua, Nicaragua.  “Matthew” has vacationed in many real places that I didn’t even know existed, but such is the crazy smart brain of The Niece.  When I have the pleasure of her company I learn more from her than she does from me.

This cast of characters are a distant warm memory now that both girls are Teenagers, but The Associate did not disappoint. Approximately 5 years ago she appointed her very literal imaginary friends.  “Mirror” was the first to arrive, and being eager to hear her explanation, I questioned her immediately.  Her answer was very rational “I can see her in the mirror” – “so she is your reflection?” -“yep.”  Whenever we happened upon a reflective surface she would happily converse with it.  Next, “Shadow” appeared,  and The Associate explained that she is always with her, and you can’t argue with that.  Mirror and Shadow’s presence dwindled over the years until we went on a recent vacation, and they came back and multiplied.  Being the youngest by 7.5 years can be tough, especially because The Teenager is very mature for her age, and laughs at all the adult jokes. The Associate’s wit is quick and when the topic goes over head she kind of just wanders away to text her imaginary friends whose names have been changed to “Miranda and Shada.”  Yes, that is correct in the span of 8 years technology has come so far that you can imagine you have a smart phone and on it you can reach anybody you can conjure up.

We chatted about this quite a bit while we were away, and it came in quite handy when I was questioned while muttering angrily to myself about “Religious Freedom.”   When The Associate asked me why I was upset I could easily keep the conversation age appropriate without spewing my anger onto her.

me- “Well honey, Some adults have imaginary friends too.  The difference is that they feel like their imaginary friend can tell other people what to believe and how to live their lives.”

TA- “Why would you want your imaginary friend to be a bully?”

me- “good question.”

Amid the nonsense, teachers are still teaching.

Social media has been bombarded by testing nonsense. I personally think the wrong people are making important decisions and changes to the public education system.  I do what I can, opt out if necessary, but I find myself angry and feeling very futile.

So today I would like to focus on the positive and draw attention to just one of the many good things that happened at my daughters  school yesterday.  It is quite simple, but The Associate thrives on positive reinforcement and I am not very good at giving it. I usually obsessively recycle everything that comes in her folder. I glance, I recycle. The other day she asked me if I saved her timed tests, I said no, but promised to keep them in the future.  After thoroughly ignoring this cue she sent directly to me, a reminder followed her home in her folder.

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Hey, your kid did well!!!! I just wanted to make sure that you saw how great your child is doing so please sign and return. Thanks for reminding me.  Teachers are awesome.

The Associate turns 8.

Me- (one day prior to birthday celebration) “Good morning sweetie pie, it’s almost your birthday, what kind of cake do you want me to make you?”

The Associate- (eyes still unfocused) “Can’t you just buy a cake like a normal person?”

Me- ( taken aback) “No, your mother isn’t normal, and she never will be.”

The Associate- (resigned) “Fine, chocolate cupcakes.”

I think that it is important to mention that I am making her a duvet cover per her request.  It is apparently perfectly normal to sew a duvet cover instead of buying one, however it isn’t normal to bake a cake. This was fairly easy because Serge is my friend. IMG_8793 and I already had sheet size Bloomcraft fabric from the eighties.  A quick measure pin and sew.

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Unfortunately Serge wasn’t feeling very well and in my rush I neglected to oil him properly.  He is now in hospital at the Husqvarna shop.  I did not finish it time for her actual birthday.  We had a fun friend party in which 10 little girls wore berets and painted with watercolors and frosting. IMG_8817 IMG_8821 IMG_8822 IMG_8823 IMG_8831 IMG_8833 IMG_8838

Each little girl made her own wish, and she got 8 new fish!

snow days……….

 

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The Associate-  “I need to feel the sun on my face.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate- “I need a mental health day.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate got her wish.  It has been a chilly winter, and snow days quite common.  She is fine with this of course, what child is not.  Parcc Testing was postponed only to haunt some other day and it was so cold that the moment you left the house your face froze.  We tried to run errands after the first lazy day.  Hit the pet store for some additional fish to “help keep the tank clean” and met a sweet puppy.

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We left quickly and headed to the big box store to buy a whole bunch of stuff that will most likely rot. The Associate was wearing her camouflage outfit and I almost lost her.

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I bribed her with donuts so we could hit the thrift stores on the way home.  All in all a good day, but there was still another.

I am supremely lucky that I can adapt to these outages well, and I am most definitely not complaining.  Being an artist, and a stay at home mom I spend most of my days not knowing what I will accomplish, so why are these any different. I like to call these 2 birds one stone kinda days, although who would want to kill a bird?  2 venomous spiders one stone?  ANYWAY, I have been trying to get my children to accompany me to the Botanical gardens to see the orchid show, but every time I mention it, I get back some kind groan/grunt answer.  Who are these people, how can they not love plants?  The Associate finally agreed to come if her friend Hazel could join.

The orchids were lovely and the smaller people had a ball, while I wandered in my head and felt the warm air of the spiny desert and the rainforest.

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They insisted on staying so long that we were terribly hungry and I convinced them we should run over to The Art Museum for a snack.  The Associate and her Associate wanted grilled salmon.  A surprisingly healthy and inexpensive snack, I quickly obliged.

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They wouldn’t sit with me, and I pretended to be hurt when I was secretly excited to eat in the beautiful atrium all by myself.

They ran around and played in the kids studio and I read a book.

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Bring it on winter.

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Fastest Homework Ever.

The Associate enjoys lengthening the homework process.  What could easily take her 10 minutes can turn into a hair pulling, “you don’t care about me” exhausting dilemma.  On Wednesdays I drop The Teenager off at her dance class and I do a quick and scan of the thrift stores in that area.  Occasionally she asks if she can also attend a Ballet class before at a completely different venue and the schedule gets ridiculous. I usually leave The Associate at home for this because she despises thrift shopping and thankfully The Husband is usually home.  Today he was other wise engaged and she was going to have to come with me.  Her homework was still undone and as I was running out the door, grilled cheese for the taller child in one hand and my genius cap on.

me “I need you ready to go with me at 5:45.”

her “WHERE?”

me “daddy has to go so you are coming with me to take your sister to dance.”

her “WE ARE NOT THRIFT SHOPPING!”

me “If your homework is done by the time I come back we will not go thrift shopping, but if it isn’t we are going to scour all of them, your choice.”

I dropped The Teenager at ballet, hit CVS, dropped off my Zappos returns and picked up the prints from the sweetheart dance.  As I rushed back in, ready to battle, she was ready.  We picked up The Teenager from ballet and rushed her to the regularly scheduled dance class.  With two hours to kill, no thrift shopping 😦 , and a surprisingly flexible 7-year-old, we got more errands accomplished and had a little food and fun.

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