Carlessness (car-less-ness)

I am coming to terms with my newest diagnosis, carlessness.   It is not recognized by the medical community and the only known cures are time and/or purchasing a of third car.  We practiced and prepared for months….. I was clearly in denial… We discussed important issues that are not covered in the handbook.

*Conditions:  To further reduce the carlessness blight the ground work must be laid.  My stuff will always be more important than your stuff, so….. there.

*Protection from cross contamination:  Only push the unlock button once to open the driver door so no one can jump in behind you (all I can see in Farah Fawcett trapped in her fireplace in the movie Extremities.) Reminders of the actual law, will potentially reduce the threat of abundant people in the car.

*Avoiding non-essential hemorrhaging:   If the parking meter has a yellow pole you get a whole hour for a quarter and if it is green you get a measly 30 minutes. This is a huge deal when your carlessness flares up while helping the instigator pay a parking ticket.  Continuous reminders of the cost of maintenance, insurance and fuel can significantly reduce attempts at third car syndrome.

*Therapeutic remedies:  A rash may appear if I ever see or hear she was texting and driving, this is unlikely because I threatened to never let her drive again and flip phone for life.  Spend new acquired time doing something for self, try to avoid driving other child around every five minutes for at least 5 months and work on getting her involved in activities with more carpooling opportunities.

Sometimes I find myself staring out the window wondering what I am supposed to be doing.  When I realize that she took the car to dance or work, my symptoms are momentarily relieved, only to be overshadowed by the thought that my baby is growing up.  My carlessness is feeling quite hopeless today, but there is a bright side.  I complain a lot less and I may even have time to cook real meals again.  Maybe it is more of a virus.

Community Press/preterm

I really like giving back, it makes me feel good, and I feel like my little bit, however small can help.  I have never been much of a PTA mom, and my attention span is spotty at best if I agree to woman a table, or fundraise for an important cause.  I yearned for another way.

I am fascinated by the screen printing process and have always made do with bits of cardboard and my imagination. I jumped at the opportunity to purchase a professional screen press from a friend last year. It is one of a kind and quite quirky, like me.  The components and ink sprawl throughout my small basement, but also fill a need.  Instead of shying away from the bake sale or the volunteer gig I can offer a service to organizations by donating my skills at my convenience. Perfect!

If you are a reader of my blog, you know how I feel about reproductive rights. preterm is an organization here in Cleveland that has been providing “safe, compassionate sexual health care” for over 40 years.  I attempted to sponsor a bowling team a couple of years ago, we raised some decent money, but it is not where my talents lay, so I offered my services.

I was a little overzealous and agreed to a task above my current skill set, which is just how I do things (sigh).  After deciding on the design and actually figuring out how to line up two different colors on the back and the front,   I knocked them out.  The Associate made an apperance or two in the basement full of questions as usual, and we opened up an age appropriate conversation about reproductive rights.  They are not perfect. I did save preterm a bunch of money on printing costs, I expanded my abilities, and I planted a seed in the mind of my smallest child.  It is one my dreams to be able to open up this little press to the public  to help promote important causes in our community in healthly and clever ways.  I’ll keep you updated.

go to the website to learn more about this amazing organization.

http://www.preterm.org

 

 

 

The Associate is an IB learner.

Over the last couple of years our school system has been transitioning to the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Below is the mission statement.

The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

It sounds sophisticated and wonderful, but I was sure that if we allowed our teachers to teach without interference they would come up with a similar plan. I do still believe this, because all the teachers I know are awesome, but I have to say this program appears tailor-made for The Associate.  She is quite dynamic and strives to embody all 10 IB traits. (Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk takers, Balanced, Reflective.)  We are consistently negotiating these ideas.  For example, being a risk taker does not mean hurling yourself over the couch blindly,  and nobody told her she could inquire as to where I put my chocolate, but you get the point.

We were at a park this summer and all of the kids were running around in circles,  The Associate was picking up garbage while running full speed.  I yelled to her “What are you doingggggggg?”  she relied without skipping a beat.  “I am being Pricipallllleeeeddddd!”  That is adorable.

She has an entire school set up for her big eyed fluffy animals and spends hours discussing the IB traits.  I have since rearranged her room to move the classroom out of the stairwell and avoid death by stuffed animal.  IMG_1025

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got the paperwork for her to sign up as an ambassador,  I was hoping she would want to do it. After much consideration she did and was accepted.  One of her jobs is to welcome new students to our school and make them feel welcome.  When I woke her this morning, she said and I quote “we received word that there would be a new student today, I have to get ready.”  Quite a departure from the normally groggy jerk that I encounter in the morning.

So far so good,

P.S. Thank you teachers!

learn more

 

 

 

Discipline “motivators”

It seems a pivotal, life changing moment when you figure out the “motivation” that will make your kids listen.  The Teenager is mostly well-formed by now, but when she does get snarky or forgets herself I pull out my perfectly formed threat and she tightens up quickly.

“If you don’t (insert offense here) I will call Shaker Dance Academy and sign up for the adult hip hop class.  I will insist on choreographing a dance that you and I will perform together at the end of year recital.”  The behavior is miraculously transformed, as she visualizes the fallout.  Of course there is always the I can take your phone away “motivation”, works like a charm every time.

The Associate is quite different.  She is competitive and a ferocious negotiator.  She plays soccer and does Karate and still finds time to kick me in the shin.  I know she can behave,  her teachers think she is delightful.

The Ah ha moment hit the other day as I observed Karate, and the class began to learn the basic rules of tournament scoring.  The teacher said something like this. “The only time you are allowed to make contact with your opponent during a tournament fight is if you are blocking a punch or kick.”  Wait, WHAT?  The teacher continued “If you cannot control yourself and you hit someone while sparring it is a point for your opponent.”

“Oh this is good!”  I thought to myself.  I pretty much checked out at this point planning my next move.  I practically skipped out of Karate.  The very next time she kicked me, I very calmly said,

“Point for me.”

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nobody is perfect :)

The Teenager wanted to work at the local Ben and Jerry’s and waited patiently until she was 15.  We went over the whole job applying process very thoroughly from start to finish, and when she started was teased because she had never mopped a floor.  She came home a little forlorn, and I said “It’s my fault, I never taught you how.”

It can be argued that I employ a “different” parenting style with The Teenager.  Much to the chagrin of my husband and increasingly myself this focus is not on house cleanliness.  In my mind I am arming her with different information.  Information on how to move about this crazy world with empathy, self-confidence, kindness and fun.  Some of these lessons are impossible for a person of the male persuasion to understand, and I understand his confusion.

Our conversation that mopey mop day continued and the topics ranged from global politics to the difference between baking flours.  Weeks went by as they tend to do and I began to see large gaps in my parenting agenda.  Most of the problem areas are related to cleaning, and we begin to imagine the messes we will make in her future home.  Tea bags in random places, smoothie cups drained dry but not rinsed, blender stuck to the counter. I will most definitely leave my underwear on her bathroom floor tangled up in the soaking wet towel that I took from her hook. I relax thinking about it, my eyes twinkling.

I am startled out of my reverie when I realize that I also making these same mistakes with The Associate.  I temporarily talk myself up and deny my faults.  “If she knew how to clean up after herself, than we wouldn’t know what the sneak is up to.  We can hear her eat sugar from the bowl because of the clink of the fiesta ware as she puts the spoon back in.  I cannot hear the brown sugar container open or close, but I can always read the telltale signs of a powdered sugar meltdown.  The sprinkle of dust goes all the way down the cabinet, under the burner on the stove and into a little heap on the floor.  There is no good way to justify this behavior in her or me, especially when a steady stream of ants invaded for a couple of days.

What to do now, how do I right this wrong? Now that I am finally seeing the light, The Husband can stop banging his head against the wall (which is good), but The Descendants aren’t thrilled with the change.  The Associate yelps out NO! like she is two and The Teenager smirks and lurks off to work or dance or something else of vague importance.  What to do…..?  I know!  Demerits!  (stay tuned.. he…… hee…..)

Why is this in the fridge?

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Evidence that The Associate has been trespassing in my studio.

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7.5 years apart

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I actually planned to have my children this far apart, and most of the time it works out alright.  The age gap became ever so much larger when The Teenager started to drive.  In the space of 30 minutes I went from indulging The Associate in a game of “I am a kitty take care of me (pictured above)”, to explaining to The Teenager how to drive responsibly.  Surprisingly enough I didn’t cry all over myself and was repeatedly astounded by my calm demeanor.  She chauffeured me all over the winding roads of Lakeview Cemetary, around dead people that she couldn’t kill because, you know, they are already dead. Each turn became a little smoother and her foot more leaden.

stopping for gas on the way home.

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We arrive home to The Associate panting at the back door. “Yes, you are a sweet kitty, here is some milk”  “NO MOM! I need you to take my picture so it looks like I am stopped in mid-air!”

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Switch!

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The manual is read and highlighted.  It is full of useless information, but I don’t tell her that.  There is no driver etiquette, or even common sense, so I begin to point these out quite obsessively when we practice.  I go over what I think a young driver should know, but the DMV has very different ideas.  I am all for it being difficult to get a driver’s license, and the questions to be tricky, but two questions she got wrong are utterly ridiculous. They are so bad I woke up thinking about them.

The first question on THE NEW DRIVER TEST that she gets wrong asks.  “If a driver is over 18, who in the car has to wear seat belts?”   My cautious and thoughtful teenager that I have spent 15 years buckling in, over 16 if you count me buckling my giant pregnant belly, answers: Everyone?  Sounds good, safety first, but to her surprise and my horror, this is incorrect.  The correct answer is: Only the people in the front seat.!  Thanks DMV.

The second question on THE NEW DRIVER TEST that she gets wrong asks.   “If a driver under the age 21 gets pulled over for drunk driving how long do they lose their license?  Again, The Teenager reasons, well the driver is drinking underage which is bad and driving under the influence, that’s really dangerous.  Her answer is 2 years. This however is incorrect, and the correct answer is 60 days.  Soooooooo. Let me get this straight…… A person under the age of 21 and over the age of 18 can drive around with people unbuckled in the back seat (kids included), while under the influence of Alcohol that they aren’t even legally allowed to drink yet, AND it is really not a big deal. 60 days and they can get their privileges back.  SERIOUSLY who do I call? Even if this messed up stuff is the law, is it necessary to put it on the NEW DRIVER TEST?? I have 7.5 years to get it changed, who is with me?

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.

Jewelry Converts #3,4,5 (ongoing diy)

While flipping my closet out for summer attire I realized that my wardrobe has lost its flavor.  I used to be prone to outrageous combos, and was a real fan of double-knit.  Maybe now that I am “older” I am shying away from my more whimsical ensembles, and the last thing feel like doing is shopping for new clothes. They are expensive and made to fade these days,  so I’ll tone it down a bit but that means it is time to accessorize!   This was the first bunch I encountered when I closed my eyes and dunked my hand into the FREE miscellaneous bin in the church basement.

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After thoroughly cleaning off the layer of caked on 80’s foundation, they didn’t look half bad.  Using wire cutters I snipped the metal holding the posts to the drop, It is that rigid, close to the ear thing that makes them really look bad.

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then I simply slipped on regular earring wires.  (When apple comes up with a phone that makes me look gorgeous in selfies, I’ll take a pic.)

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the final pair was pretty chunky and ugly but I wouldn’t give up. So I clipped them onto my high heels for a dash of 80’s glam.

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The most important thing is to have fun and try to find little morsels of coolness. Unless you want to look like everybody else 🙂