Mommy Gone Berserk (over a Cheezit)!

cheezitInstead of spending my typical, lazy Sunday afternoon taking a much deserved siesta, I let my 12-year old talk me into a cleaning frenzy (she wants to have a friend over next weekend – read ulterior motive). Me, being, me figured, OK at least I’d get some help with the drudgery and agreed to her plan. She’d start in the kitchen, I’d focus on the living room/dining room, and the little one got stuck with the bathrooms. She plugged in the iPod and the tunes blared through the house as we got down to work.

After about ten minutes, the youngest decided to “help” me instead of working on her designated room (can’t say I blame her there). One corner of our living room is called the “peace” corner. Originally the idea behind said “peace” corner was to give the girls a place to “chill” when they got overwhelmed and needed a “time out.”  Unfortunately, it quickly became the dumping place for all the stray toys that never made it back upstairs to their bedroom. We targeted that area first, sorting stuff into various piles: the Barbie pile, the American Girl Doll pile, the Polly Pockets/Littlest Pet Shops pile, the book pile, the hair stuff pile, the pens/pencils/markers pile, the stuffed animal pile and laundry/shoe pile. As you can tell a lot of stuff fit/crammed into that little corner.

I made painstaking progress as my helper found her “long, lost” something or other and switched to playing instead of helping. I let it go as I could clean a lot faster (and put a bunch of junk in the “trash” pile) without her watchful eyes. My 12-year old was still on a mission to somehow turn our house into one out of Better Homes & Gardens (I applaud her lofty goals). Three hours later, the kitchen gleamed and the living room looked descent (at least we wouldn’t be showcased on Hoarders Buried Alive this week). I’d just finished wiping the sweat off my brow, priding myself on a job well done, when the incident happened. (I shutter even now thinking about it:))

The little one is making her American Girl Doll kick an American Girl Doll-sized soccer ball across the freshly vacuumed carpet. My oldest saunters into the room and informs her little sister that she doesn’t get to have a friend over because she didn’t help clean up. (I know that’s a lot of she’s, but you get the idea.)

“Yes, I did too help!” the youngest screams in her loud, screechy, seven-year-old voice (you know the kind that makes you wish you had ear plugs). She then reaches into the box of Cheezits that sat on the end table (she hadn’t gotten around to putting it away yet) and throws one at her sister. I watch as it sails across the room and lands in the middle the carpet. It was in this moment (the last straw so to speak) that I lost it and am ashamed to say dropped the “F” bomb. My oldest recoiled in horror. The little one just shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me. Can you believe her audacity!?! I let a few more expletives fly and looked directly at my oldest daughter and said, “Yeah, I said a bad word and I’m going to say some more if you two don’t stop fighting and some one doesn’t pick up that blankety-blank Cheezit right now.”

Thank God above, they didn’t argue over who was going to pick it up and the little one bent down and actually picked it up. I don’t really know what she did with it next (I doubt she ate it, though, as she is my germ-a-phobe) as I headed upstairs to lace up my running shoes. Five minutes later I hit the pavement. Forty minutes and four miles later, I felt much better. I apologized to the girls for yelling and swearing. They apologized for fighting and being a tad messy and we forgave each other. Hugs all around and our house is mostly clean.

Next Sunday afternoon, though, I’m definitely taking a nap!

My Dear Daughters

a-to-z-letters-dAs I tossed around all the “D” topics I could write about on this fourth day of the A to Z blogging challenge, it dawned on me that my favorite “D” topic in all the world is my two dear, daring, dramatic, dancer, distinct, dreamer, doer, darling daughters.

I am a truly blessed mother. Back in the day, before motherhood I’d heard people tell me how much I would love my children one day. I couldn’t fathom the love I have for them back then. But it is true, my love overflows for them.Sure I may yell and complain when they spill an entire carton of cottage cheese upside down on the bathroom floor or refuse to eat the supper I made or leave their toys where I can trip on them or bicker with each other over what show to watch in the end I love them more than I can express. They are so much more than just their short-comings and so am I. My daughters make my life brighter each and every day. Whether the the sun is shining and everyone is smiling or dreary clouds hang above and I’m feeling depressed, thinking about them and the little things they do always brings a smile to my lips — like the way my oldest daughter comforts and protects her little sister who is afraid to go to school or the smile on youngest daughter’s face as she realizes she can read a book all by herself. I feel their joys and accomplishments as well as their pain and suffering. Through their tears and smiles or mine, we always seem to find find our loving arms around each other. We are all learning, growing and living.

I am so proud to be their mother and with God’s grace and guidance I hope some day as they look back on their childhoods that they will be proud to have me as their mother. I’ve heard it said I’ll love my grandchildren even more than I love my children, right now I don’t see how that is possible, but time will tell.


An Or, an Or, an Oreo…

English: Two regular Oreo cookies. Please chec...
 Photo credit: Wikipedia#

“I want to scream and shout and let it all out. . .An Or, an Or, an Oreo…”

My children have decided these are the lyrics to Brittney Spears latest song and I think I kind of like them better than the actual lyrics. When the song comes on radio (and it seems like it’s every time I turn it on), I can’t help but sing along using the Oreo version, which then is permanently stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

If you think about it, when I’m upset and overwhelmed I do want to scream and shout and then eat a Oreo or two or the whole package! My youngest daughter has been my latest exasperation. She’s afraid she’s going to throw up. Mind you, she hasn’t gotten sick in a very long time. I’m talking years. Nevertheless, from the moment she gets home she starts peppering me with questions about what will and won’t or could possibly make her throw up. She’s afraid any little thing will cause her to up-chuck. If she washes her hands and a soap bubble pops on her lips she’s afraid she’ll be sick. If she sees some thing “odd” in her food (like a speck of pepper), she refuses to ear. She constantly asks me if I think she’s going to throw up or if her sister is or if I am. If anyone even suggests the don’t feel well she starts to freak out and cry. It is driving everyone crazy. I’ve tried reassuring her that we wouldn’t feed her food that would make her sick (at least not intentionally – I’ll admit I’m not the best cook).

This fear has taken over her life. She doesn’t want to go to school and cries every morning and at school as well. We are trying to go ten days without crying, but so far the longest she’s gone is a day. If she makes it to ten, I promised to come to school and help out with “jobs” in her kindergarten room. Her teacher feels she’s just going through a phase and I agree, but right now it’s hard to see her so upset. I’m at a loss at what to do to help. Maybe a Oreo would help? Yeah, that’s a good plan. In fact, I think my little one should give me hers too (just in case they might make her sick). I’ll take one for the team:)

Seriously though, if anyone has any ideas to help her over her throw-up fear, I’d love to hear them!


Passion in My Pants?

So the girls and I are on the ride home from work/school. My nine year old has commandeered the front seat. (I know she should probably sit in the back seat for safety’s sake, but I always loved riding up front with my mom and I let her. I do make her push the seat a far back as it goes. I didn’t have the air bag danger in my days in the front seat.) And the reason she wants to sit up front? To be closer to her dear ole Mom? Not likely. She wants control of the music.

When her dad’s is in the van with us, he is in charge of our listening pleasures. She has to listen to the music he likes (currently he’s in a Stray Cats retro period), which unfortunately is not what kind of music she likes. When it comes to music, I’m not a totalitarian as he is.  I don’t mind listening to the tween music she’s into. I like most kinds of music (except maybe recorder music played by the above mentioned fourth-grader, but that’s another story). While Taylor Swift, Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus aren’t at the top of my play lists, I have to admit they have some catchy tunes that stick in your head for the rest of the day. If the music makes her happy and smiley, then I’m happy and smiley. So I know the lyrics to Mean, and TTYLXOX and Good Girl. We sing along and rock it out. It’s not such a bad thing.  In fact many a day, I’ve found myself humming along to her music and realize she’s not even in the car with me — I just hadn’t  remembered to change the station after dropping her off.

My preschooler also knows to the lyrics these songs as well. I never really thought much about that fact until the other day. You see we are also into the wii game, “Just Dance” we have 1, 2 and 3. Although I wouldn’t want anyone I know to actually see me playing this game, its kind of fun. And so my fourth-grader has moved up in her musical tastes to “artists” like lmfao and Katie Perry and Kei$ha. I never thought much about the words of these songs as mostly I’m concentrating on the next move in the dance and not falling on my butt.

So when my five-year old started singing about “a bottle of Jack” I started to think maybe the music was a little bit old for the girls. Nah, I wasn’t going to turn into a music censor. If I say she can’t listen to it, she’ll want to listen to it all the more.  I remember when my parents and teachers had fit when we listened to “Jack and Diane” – he put his hands between her knees you know. Or worse George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex.” I remember my mother cringing everytime that one came on. However, I admit I had to pause when she then asked me what “passion in your pants” means. I decided maybe we needed to reassess the play list. I tried to ignore the question. Act like I hadn’t heard her. But she is persistent. “Mom, what’s passion in your pants?” Then the nine-year old chimed in, “Yeah, what does that mean?”

“Ahhhhh….I’m not really sure.” I get out.

The preschooler asks, “Is it some kind of bug?”

“Umm, maybe?” I dodge the question. I’m so not ready for that talk. “I think he just likes to dance and the pants he has on.”

“OK” she’s satisfied and moves on to some other question.

Hmmmm. Maybe we should just stick with the Stray Cats…

What do you think?

Sleep Interrupted

“Are you going to sleep the whole day away?” I smile thinking about those words my late grandfather once uttered. I’d just rollover and put the pillow over my head and go back to sleep.  As a teenager and college, I could sleep for hours on end. It was nothing to stay out until one o’clock in the morning and sleep in until noon. These days I had to fight to stay awake just to ring in the New Year and sleeping in is 8 AM.

After becoming a mother, I now treasure and savor the precious commodity called sleep. Eight hours of uninterrupted Z’s? Pure bliss.  An afternoon nap? A slice of heaven. So when given the choice: Sleep or sex? Sex or sleep? I choose, sleep. Yes, most definitely sleep (sorry hubby, don’t take it personally; and I’m sure any male readers who might be reading this are glad they aren’t married to me).  In fact, I’d wager a lot of mother’s out there would concur that sleep wins over sex, diamonds or maybe even chocolate.  And it’s not that I don’t like those to other things, I do. I don’t want to sleep my life away by any means. It’s just that I get cranky when I don’t get my eight hours in.

I’d guess it’s been more than ten years since I’ve actually slept eight hours straight more than one night in a row (my oldest is nine and half and the sleep interruptions began when I was pregnant).  Chronic tiredness gets, well, tiring.  I hear the words “you look tired today” (AKA “you look like crap today”) more often than “you look smoking hot today” (not that I’d actually hear those words even if I weren’t tired, but a girl can dream). Yes, I know I look tired; I am tired. No amount of makeup can cover up the dark circles under my eyes.

Some of you may remember my quest to become a morning person. In doing so, I make sure I’m in bed by ten every night and I get up at five every morning. I know that’s only seven hours, but still better than before. In fact, after a few weeks, I actually felt less tired during the day; I was getting more done during my two hours of morning quiet and feeling pretty proud of myself.  Unfortunately my oldest put a kink in my morning-person quest. She’s developed a fear of sleeping alone. Having her sister in the room is not enough. It has to be an adult. It has to be me. Daddy isn’t good enough.

While most would think, her tactics a ploy, I can truly empathize with her fears. She recently saw a scary movie (at a church activity no less). I’m sure most kids wouldn’t find this particular movie that scary, but my nine-year old is sensitive. She sees a show on tornadoes; she can’t sleep.  She sees a show about a fire; she can’t sleep. We had to leave many a G movies because it was too scary for her. About an hour before bed she starts to feel sick to her stomach, anticipating being alone in the dark.  By the time its time to turn the lights off, she’s in full-blown panic mode; racing heart, hysterical crying, nausea, cold sweats.

I know what that feels like all too well. I’d do must anything to avoid those feelings myself. So when what alleviates her fears and gives me the opportunity to sleep myself (as opposed to fighting with her all night about sleeping alone), is to sleep with her, I do. I know she should be able to sleep by herself. I’ve tried leaving a light on (she can’t sleep with a light on) or checking on her every ten minutes, but the nights drag on and on and neither of us get any sleep. So now the compromise is, I lay with her until she falls asleep and then I move to my bed. Of course this shoots my whole in bed asleep by ten all to hell as she takes forever to actually fall asleep. When I try to sneak out, she immediately sits up and begs me to stay.

So my sleep-deprived self just wants to say what difference does it make if I sleep with her all night? Why does she have to sleep alone? Is there really a point to forcing her to sleep alone? She’ll outgrow the need for me to sleep with her eventually. Right? Is it wrong to just want to get some sleep anyway I can?

Of course my husband wants her sleep alone, by herself, in her own room as soon as possible. He wants me to sleep with him for some odd reason. So, I’ve come up with the perfect solution…we get a bigger bed and we all sleep together!  Sigh. Somehow I don’t think he’ll go for that. Back to the drawing board and dark circles…

Anxiety Amuck

As I cleared the pile of junk mail cluttering our dining room table, I salvaged a scrap of paper and set it aside for safe-keeping. No, I’m not a hoarder, although sometimes I do feel buried alive among the toys, clothes and shoes that litter the floors of my home.  As soon as I pick things up, it seems something (or someone) else sneaks behind me and puts something else in its place like quick sand.

But back to the all important scrap of paper. On it my nine year-old daughter had scribbled the lyrics to a Christmas song she had written. I smile to myself as I read her neat handwriting and phonetically spelled words. Her song is about having a “wonderful time.”  I take the scrap upstairs and put it in my keepsake box with the other songs, stories and poems she has written. She loves to write and she loves to read me what she has written. Pride and love fill me as I listen to her and watch her face light up as she reads something she has written aloud. She asks me if I like what she has written and of course I do. She is aspiring and I want to help her get there. I admire her creativity and openness. Her kindness and empathy.

She reminds me a lot of myself at that age. I still have a box of old stories and poems that I wrote when I was a kid. We both like to be liked and are hurt easily. Criticism can cripple us; even if it is not meant to. As I have got older I have learned to take criticisms as avenues for growth and not take it to heart. After all, it is my right to agree or disagree with it. It is just someone else’s opinion. They don’t have to like me, nor I them. I am worth more than one person’s opinion. My daughter has not learned these lessons yet and worries — a lot. This is another trait she got from me.

Nature or nurture? I am not sure. Was she born with propensity toward worry and anxiety or does she emulate what she sees? I have struggled with worry, anxiety and panic for most of my life. I empathize with the stomach aches and  racing heart. I know what it feels like to have some unknown heaviness pressing down on your chest threatening to cut off your breath. I intimately know about the restless indecision and unrelenting “what if’s” that make you want to jump out of your skin and run as far and as fast as you gave. I understand the waves of nausea, hot and cold flashes and the urge to pull the covers over your head and sleep. Sleep to escape. Sleep in the hope that tomorrow, you’ll feel OK again, but fear prevents you from actually sleeping, because what if you’re not?

Over the years I have learned many coping skills and have learned to keep the anxiety and panic at bay. My faith has given me that strength; continues to feed that strength. And still I worry about my daughter. I know I should give it to God and I try, but… The big “but.” I want to spare her from the pain, protect her and keep her safe. I don’t want to watch her go down the same path I did. I want to reassure her she is OK, not matter what. I teach her what I know when she starts to “freak out,” and it helps. She is seeing a counselor and created a worry box to put her worries in. She is making one for me as write this. She has a notebook where she writes down all the gifts God has given her that day – watching a funny movie, playing with her best friend… She re-reads her list of gifts when she starts to worry about something. The other day, she gave me a new notebook she got the other day from the treasure chest after one of her appointments. She told me I could use it to write my gifts from God in.

At the top of the list right after God’s grace, is her name and her sister’s name. I am truly blessed.

Sisterly Love (and Hate)

Growing up with my younger sister by two years, we were the best of friends. We loved to play together. We did everything together without a bitter word ever passing between us. We were the epitome of sisterly love.

And if you believe that, I have a private island in the South Pacific I’d like the sell you. In reality, sure there were times we got along well together, but mostly, we argued a lot. Back then, we really couldn’t agree on much of anything. Of course I was always right and she always started it! I can remember hearing my mother and grandmother saying, “Stop your bickering!” or “enough girls.”  But, we both had to have the last word and the argument would continue. At the time, I never really thought about how our arguing and constant picking at each other effected the ‘grown-ups’ around me until now.

I know God must be laughing at me now (along with my mother and grandmother) as I get my just rewards. I know have two argument-prone daughters of my own. At almost five years apart, you wouldn’t think they’d have anything to fight about. That they would actually get along with each other, but no. I think they live to antagonize each other and me. The youngest wakes up in the morning, reaches up and pulls her sister’s hair for no reason. And it begins:

“Mom, she pulled my hair!” the oldest one tattles.

“Well, she hit me first,” the little one defends herself.

“No I didn’t,” the older one retorts.

“Yes, you did!” she asserts back.

“No, I didn’t”

“Mom, I just lightly tapped her to get her to move off my shirt. Ouch! Mom she did it again!”

After a few moments, the words “That’s enough girls! Stop your bickering now!” spew out of my mouth. The constant picking at each other is like fingernails on a chalkboard to my nerves. They continue on with their argument, though, as if I hadn’t just told them to stop. It wouldn’t be half as bad if they didn’t keep dragging me into it. As the arguing escalates through the morning routine, I start to count to three. If I get to three, no TV in the evening. They hate that! It works way better than timeouts for me, plus I don’t have to watch the same episode of Shake it Up for the twentieth time.

One Saturday morning on our way back from running errands, their need to be right lost the television privileges for the rest of that day all the way to Tuesday. By the time they lost Tuesday, they were done fighting and were pleading with me for away to get their “Wizards of Waverly Place” fix back.

“What if we be good for the rest of the day?” they both begged.

“Well, I told them. You can’t earn back today, it’s gone. But, if you are good for the rest of the day and you help with the chores around the house, you can earn back your TV privileges.”

They were all over it! They were best friends for the rest of the day. In addition, they cleaned the bathroom sinks, the toilets and helped wipe down the tub. They picked up their stuff in the living room and cleaned up their room. It was AMAZING. We turned up the music and sang and danced as we powered through the chores. In the end, they earned back the three days of TV they lost, I didn’t have to listen to them argue and I got my bathrooms cleaned.

Hmmm…. Maybe their arguing isn’t so bad after all. They argue, I take away the TV and they earn it back by doing chores without complaining… I like it!!!

Back to my sister and me though, we are quite good friends now. We talk on the phone once or twice a week, we go on girls’ weekends when we can, and we rarely, if ever, argue. So, there is hope for my girls yet, that someday they will love their sister and value her, just as I do mine.