About Me

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A slightly insane mother to three girls ages 11,11, and 5. I live/love to find the humor in being a parent.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Storm Within

Well we survived our little side swipe from Hurricane ( or was is tropical storm) Issac.  Thankfully we can all go off tomorrow to our respective schools and workplace. I think spending another day cooped up in this house would be the equivalent of shaking a soda bottle and opening the cap.

In the beginning, as it always it, it was nice. The girls played together, giggled, made up little games....then it began. The first sign I had was when Shayna wandered into my room with quite the pouting face and explained to me how Hannah was making her "constipated".  Yup, you read that correctly, Constipated. I asked Shayna how this could be, and she proceeded to tell me how Hannah will not play with her.  "oh", I said, you mean frustrated. Constipated is when you can't poop." "No", Shayna said, "She is making me constipated! She is making me angry!"  "Okay, but I think you really mean frustrated." I said.  We went round a bit in circles until I had to convince her that being upset at Hannah may make her frustrated and angry, but probably would, in fact, not make her constipated. I am pretty sure she really did mean frustrated, however, Shayna is a bit stubborn and hates to admit she might be wrong.

After realizing the real impact this storm will have, my darling husband took stock of the situation and decided we needed supplies. He went to the store and came home with three different kinds of chips, assorted cookies, PB and J sandwich stuff, and beer. He will be upset if I fail to mention the few bottles of water and the cans of tuna he brought home. I still do not know what he intended us to do with the  twenty four containers of Easy Mac that clearly require a microwave to cook if we lost power!  This is probably the last ( and note first) year I will let him handle the storm shopping.

So at this point my children, and dogs, are stuffing their faces with junk food and feeling the effects of cabin fever. Now the fight over the TV begins..."I was watching first" "SHE changes the channel" Amazingly the case briefs I was typing did not include "Hannah didn't pause it while I went to pee!"  as a cause of action.

This is when the storm really began. Couch cushions overturned, food scattered across the table,Toys dragged out of rooms and left stranded in hallways...I still do not know how a pink pair of panties ended up on the living room floor.   The good news is that everyone is all right and Shayna now knows the difference between being constipated and frustrated.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good Taste in Universities

So, I have officially started law school and as expected there is some impact on my children. I am hoping that when they see me working hard, it will inspire them to take education seriously and think about their future. Unfortunately, I had not foreseen how my being a full time student would impact their interest and requirements in choosing a higher education.  Take, for instance, the conversation I had in the car with Hannah this morning as I was taking her and her sister to my parents house so I could attend day two of law school orientation. 

Hannah: Do you get to leave for lunch or do you have to stay in school like us?

Me: Well, I can leave, but they also have places on campus to eat, but not like your cafeteria at school. The cafeteria is more like a food court at the mall.

Hannah: Cool! Can I go to your law school?

Me: Hannah, most universities have food courts, University of Florida had a huge one when I was there. If you want to be a lawyer you should go to the best law school that will accept you. This involves hard work and good grades.  If you work hard enough you can even go to Harvard or Yale!

Hannah: So, does Harvard have a big food court?

Me: "sigh."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Never Say Never, Learn as You Go, and Other Cliche`s

This week we broke down and got Hannah a phone. I know, one of my first posts was all about how she would not be getting a phone, that she did not need a phone. This is where I think of that old saying "Never say never." However, circumstances have changed.  I am no longer teaching middle school and she will be going to school without her twin ( Rachel will be at a private school that works closely with kids on the spectrum) as well as taking the bus to and from school on her own. 

I must add that the phone is not fancy, no Internet or downloading capabilities. I have all the parent security stuff on it like being able to limit the time frames and minutes she uses ( unlimited for family). Also it is a basic phone, I refuse to have my child have a more sophisticated phone than her parents!

As a lay study in Tweenragolgy, I have noticed several interesting phenomenons regarding this new device that has been implanted in my daughter's hand ( I do believe it became fused upon first contact). I have recorded a few of my observations for the sake of science.

1) she is quieter.  When Hannah was little she was a  "binky baby", She never went anywhere without her pacifier and it seems a cellphone has much the same effect on a Tweenrager.

2) I can be screaming at her from two feet away and she does not hear me, however, if I send her a text I get an immediate response. Thus I conclude texting is the main form of communication for tweens other than whining and stomping feet.

3)Tweenragers have incredible texterity, the rate of TPM (text per minute) is quite amazing! After only three days, I believe she could have possibly penned a novel.

4) Apparently Tweenragers are also quite adaptable. After loosing the use of one hand ( due to the phone fusion) she is still quite capable of doing everything one handed.

Overall, I feel that with supervision this phone thing might not be too bad. In fact I now have a new weapon to hold over her head. If she does not listen, or fights with her sisters, all I have to say is "Do you want to keep your phone?" and she stops!  I still get the "look", but then I think of the old cliche` "silence is golden" and smile.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Home Security ( Hah!)

Kudos to all you single moms. I really do not know how you manage. This week my husband is out of town on business and I am the sole parent in the house.  It is not that I am unable to care for my family with my husband away, I am fully capable and fearless in this matter. The hardest part of being the only parent around is the invisible weight that rests on your shoulders. 

The weight I refer to is the one that tells you that there is no "break" waiting around dinner time when your spouse comes home. All decisions must be made by you, and all grievances ( and with three children there are lots!) must be heard by you. So even though it is only three days, the absence of a partner is sorely felt.

There are so many little details that when you parent as a team that you take for granted when the other person is not around. This morning I left the house without letting the dog out and forgot to take out the trash. Last night I ran around at midnight because I could not remember if I locked all the doors.  This morning I slept past the alarm (not sure if it even went off) and was running around like a lunatic making sure every child was dressed, groomed, and ready for camp only to realize in the car that I forgot to feed them breakfast (yay for Dunkin' Donuts).

Even the dog is a little "off" with my husband gone for a few days. She is a sweet dog, but can be loud and will bark ferociously at anything that may pass the window or knock at our door. She is a great comfort ( so I thought) to have when you are home alone. I let the girls sleep with me last night for a "slumber party" and at sometime in the middle of the night there was a small storm. We would all have slept through it, except for the darn dog!

Our fearless protector was so scared she climbed up to the top of the bed and tried crash our little slumber party. Mazel is a German Shepard mix, not a tiny dog, and in that moment she was trying to squeeze as close to us as she could. I was sleeping through the storm until I woke to my littlest one crying "mommy! mommy! help!"

"Wha..what..is it?" I say through my haze.

"Mazel..is..sitting on me!"

Huh? I look and there is the dog shaking with fear, and siting smack on top of my 4 year old, tail swishing in her face, trying to get some attention from the other side of the bed.

If it wasn't 1:30 in the morning I might have taken a picture of our big oafish dog smack on top of Shayna freaking out from the thunder. 

I think the weight on my shoulders got a bit heavier when I lifted the dog off of Shayna. So much for canine security....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Family Vacation

Wow, it has been quite a bit since I have blogged! I have been experiencing a bit of writers block as well as just hanging out at home this summer and reading all the books I put aside during the school year. I seem to be at a crossroad in my life, leaving behind my old career as a teacher and venturing of to law school in the fall.  However, my role as mom remains the same. In fact I have promised my older children that we can be "study buddies" as they make their way through middle school.

Summer...ah summer, I have fantasized how wonderful it would be with the children in camp during the day. I had plan to catch up on laundry ( hah!), organize the garage, and spend time at the beach(double hah!). Unfortunately, driving to three different camps all over the county and fitting in doctor appointments for the children has left me with about 1.5 hours a day to myself and this time is usually spent trying to read and cool off between scorching hot trips in and out of the car. Reality really is a bitch.

We did manage to make one trip to Disney World this summer.  They loved it, I survived.  I am not a theme park person. I have never understood standing in lines for hours for a 5 minute ride. I do not like the heat, the crowds, and the herd-like atmosphere of people following the pointing mickey hand to find their destination. But for the love of my children, I strapped on the fanny pack, packed the sunscreen, and lugged the stroller.

Our trip was decent until the last day, it had rained a little bit before, but the last day was nonstop rain. The kind that just soaks through your poncho and sloshes in your socks. We had save Hollywood studios for the last knowing they we could probably see all we wanted in half a day and then hit the road.  When we realized that the entire day was to be a deluge, my husband and I tried to convince the girls that we should just head home. Hannah and Shayna did not seem to mind, but Rachel was adamant we go to Hollywood Studio.  After all we had planned the trip, bought the 3 day passes, and this was the third day. We had a schedule and Rachel was firm in us keeping the schedule. Ira and I did not argue, because getting a little bit wet seemed better than listening to her screaming a fighting with her sisters all the way home.

I think we were soaked through, even with ponchos,before we even made it to the ticket gate.  After two shows, Rachel turned to me and said "My socks are wet and squishy!" ( not to mention I had to keep bailing out the stroller for fear of Shayna drowning!)

At this point, I seized on her vulnerability. "how would you like to change into some dry clothes in the van? We could go have lunch at a nice place on the road instead of shivering in our squishy socks?"

It worked! Not only did we get to dry off, but the cost of our meal at Perkin's for a family of five was much nicer than Disney's prices!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Didn't Do It!

My life just flashed before my eyes.  Who would have thought a death trap would involve a phone, some jelly beans, a puddle of water, and of course three children starting at the TV?

It really is my fault. I had the nerve to answer the phone.  I always joke my mother calls at the most inopportune times.  Apparently the jokes on me. I heard the phone ringing from the other room, so I peak into the family room and see that the caller ID is flashing my mother's phone IN BIG PRINT on the television. The same television that my three children are huddled around even though the sound is blasting. I scream for someone to pick up the phone ( they know my mother's number, so no stranger danger here). No answer.

So I run for the phone, which incidentally, is parked right next to the tv!

Bad idea. Someone had spilled water and jellybeans all over the floor ( tile by the way) as I was dashing barefooted for the phone.  Luckily I was able to slide the rest of the way to answer the phone before mom hung up and tried my cell causing me to make a mad dash in the other direction.

Instead of "Hello?" This is what mom heard.

Mom said "Hello, you sound a bit overwhelmed" (understatement of the day)

At this point I hear my smart alecs answer the first question though it was a bit rhetoric.
"Jellybeans and water."


I got three "Not me's". The one of my children sweetly gave me the explanation as to why no one bothered to move a muscle to clean up the sticky/wet death trap (or even warn me).

"Mazel did it."  Mazel is the dog.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

A noisy Morning is A good Thing

I know I must be doing a good job, right now I have an almost eleven year old rampaging through the house and a four year old crying hysterically. Why? Because I am just being "mom"!  It all started when the tween woke up this morning. Almost immediately she wanted to go outside to wash my car ( aka play around with the hose). She was adamant that I had given her permission yesterday. What I really said was" maybe", but what she heard was "as soon as you wake up even if I haven't had my coffee or done any of my household chores." So thus began the whining and stomping around the house, made worse of course, with the suggestion that she actually help with my chores to speed things up.

About five minutes later, the aforementioned tween, decided it was the optimum time to reopen the issue of her getting a cell phone when she goes to middle school.  Really?  She should actually be happy with the recent turn of events regarding this matter. Her father and I have decided that since she will be attending middle school without her twin ( who will be going to a private school more suited for her disability) and will be riding the school bus, we will get her a limited access phone ( no texting) that will be pre-programmed with all the important family numbers. 

"But how will I talk to my friends? ( said in an escalating tone)
"You can still use the house phone to talk to your friends." ( said in a calm even tone)
"But I already told my friends I was getting a real phone!" ( higher pitched with a defiant tone)
"You are getting a real phone." ( I am very proud of how calmly I said this)

"Arrgh..hrumph...ahhhh" :: stomp, stomp, slam!::

At this point all I want is my cup of coffee and to finish this mornings crossword. However, my littlest "tween-in-training" had other ideas. She was walking around the house carrying and eating her bagel with cream cheese so I told her to sit at the table and eat.  She apparently has selective hearing like her older sisters and ignored me. I said it again, this time a little louder and with firmness. She sat down, and about two minutes later (deftly applying the delayed, built-up to hysterical method) she is sobbing because "mommy yelled at me". 

Cue my husband running, not walking, off to the office. ( I am pretty sure there was a lightness to his step as he headed for the door)

Ironically I would be just as worried if it was a peaceful morning, sometimes the quiet can mean a great deal worse. That story I will save for another time, but let's just say I had to give the dog and a child lots of washings to repair that damage.
So, as all good parents should, I know where my children are.  Screaming and crying in the other room while I sip my coffee and finish this impossible crossword.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mom Moments

This Mother's day marks a full decade of motherhood for me. These ten years have gone by in whirlwind, okay more like a tornado, but I still have at least one toe touching the ground so I think I am going to be okay for the next ten years. In honor of mothers everywhere ( and to help them feel better about themselves), I am going to post two of my most memorable "mom moments". 

Wardrobe Malfunction
Back when my twins were around the age of two years old, they were absolutely gaga over The Wiggles ( imagine the Beatles for toddlers). Being the perfect parents ( a.k.a. new parents), we just had to buy tickets to see them in concert. At this time The Wiggles were still playing smallish type venues and we had excellent seats.  Upon my research, I found that if you brought roses to the show,  all of the Wiggles would go out into the audience and collect roses for Dorothy The Dinosaur ( her favorite snack).  While Dorothy was singing and dancing on stage, Jeff the purple Wiggle danced over to our row and began collecting roses. My husband was holding Hannah and I was holding Rachel. As I turned and Rachel saw who was standing in front of us, she got super excited. Rachel was practically jumping out of my arms. She got so excited she was yanking on my shirt and bra, and yes, she yanked them DOWN! To this day, I  am probably the only concertgoer ( over the age of three) who has flashed the Wiggles.  So yes, I have been to some wild concerts in my day!

The Pit
Danger lurks everywhere for parents, we are always careful when crossing the street with our children or walking in the mall.  Unfortunately danger can rear it's ugly head in unexpected places, for me it was the foam pit at the local gymnastics center for children.  I went for the first time upon a recommendation of a fellow mom who raved about the three dollar free play they offered in the afternoons. I took the twins who were about three at the time and everything was great, they were having fun until we encountered the foam pit. 

A foam pit is a pit filled with foam. scraps of thick, bouncy, stinky, dirty, foam (most likely never cleaned after hundreds of tiny children had been wallowing in it). The bottom of the pit is quite deep and springy. It is so springy that there is really no traction to the bottom. Children rarely touch the bottom as they are light enough to bounce around the top, this is not so true for overweight moms.  Hannah had jumped in the pit, but was too scared to work her way out, so I jumped in without a thought to help her out.  Upon rescuing my child and passing her up to another helpful parent I proceeded, or tried to proceed, my way out of the pit. After a few useless attempts to "swim" to the side it became apparent that I was stuck.   My children of course noticed my predicament and started to cry. This of course brought me to the attention of everyone around me! Children were gawking, parents were staring and probably glad it was me and not them, a few nice people tried to give me pointers on what and where to grab onto to get out. This all only prompted my daughters to cry even louder. Finally after willing the strength of God, and fearing the image of the Coral Springs Fire Rescue hauling me out on the 6 O'clock news, I managed to get out with the help of a few strong men. Needless to say, we never went back there again.

Happy Mother's day and if you happen to ever run into Jeff the Purple Wiggle , send him my regards. I am pretty sure he remembers me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My "Other" Child

Yesterday Hannah told me she sometimes wonders what it is like to be someone else. I was super excited to hear this because it means one of the big lessons I am trying to teach my children is starting to sink in, empathy.  I always try talking to them about "the other persons view", it is important that they learn to think about others besides themselves.  Rachel has a more difficult time with this concept, as someone on the autistic spectrum it is a big leap to jump into another persons shoes when half the time she is still searching for her own pair. My little one, Shayna, is still in preschool.  She is still blissfully enjoying the fact, at least in her mind, the world revolves around her.  So when Hannah shared with us her thoughts on how important it is to think about others, I beamed with pride.

The odd thing is that though she is compassionate and gentle towards other peoples circumstances, I find the exact opposite in the home. I think I have Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde living under my roof!  Maybe it is a "tween" thing, but when we are out she is the poster child of good manners and compassion yet when we enter the privacy of our own home she begins to contort and writhe thus being transformed into what can only be described as "scary"!

Jekyll Hannah is fantastic, she helps with her sisters when we are out, she gets raves from all her teachers, and often is lauded on how well she speaks to adults.  I could not be more proud of Jekyll Hannah. However, when Hyde Hannah comes out, beware. She will antagonize her sisters, and demand immediate tasks from mom and dad. The other day she wanted me to paint her nails, It was seven in the morning and I hadn't even finished my cup of coffee. When I agreed to do it later the Hyde Hannah came out in full force. I am pretty sure there were physical formations, she became more hunched over with eyes bugging out. If it were not for her braces I think her teeth would have gone crooked as well!

I have been sorely tempted to record Hyde Hannah one day to show to Jekyll Hannah, but I am afraid this might actually encourage Hyde Hannah to make her presence known. So, until her two personalities morph into one ( hopefully Jekyll will win this battle) I am constantly on guard for the "transformation".  The first sign of a "change" appears in the eyes (think Incredible Hulk), then she will begin to huff and puff ( it must be hard on the body), and finally there is a full on crazed mode. At this point she is often sent to her room, I don't usually get to witness the change back to Jekyll Hannah. 

Is this a phenomenon among tweens? Do other Tween Jekyll and Hydes exist? We really cannot know how many walk amongst  us.  I propose a support group,  H.E.L.L. (Hyde Epidemic Let Loose).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

That's "Mrs" to You!

 The other day I had to run an errand. It was right after I picked up the kids from school and I was rushing to get to the hardware store. I had forgotten to pick up a sprinkler pump for our sprinkler system and our repairman was already waiting for me at the house.  I was way behind schedule, so I sucked it up and dragged all three girls along with me.

To make it faster I squeezed my 4.5 year old into the child seat of a shopping cart thus making my supervisory role much easier and our trek down the aisles much faster. She was thankfully happy not to have to walk, unlike her sisters who whined the whole way through the store.

Upon locating the plumbing section, I found everything having to do with sprinklers except the pump itself which ironically was located in a different section.  More groans from the unwilling participants ensued.  I was getting frustrated and ended up asking for help from the nice young man who worked at the store. He saw my motley crew and very graciously told me what a blessing my children were. I must have really looked like I needed convincing because he really kept hammering the point about my beautiful children.  It was nice of him to say, but I really just wanted the darn sprinkler pump.

He continued to be very attentive to us and even helped lift the extremely heavy pump into the cart. At this point Shayna, my four year old, must have picked up on how attentive and nice he was being to me ( really he was just doing his job and doing it well) because the next words out of her mouth were "MY MOMMY IS MARRIED!" as she grabbed my arm and yanked it towards her in what could only be interpreted as possessive.

Thankfully the hardware man continued to be very nice and gracious as his reply was, " I am sure your mommy and daddy love each other very much". This prompted lots of "uh huhs" and a rapid affirmative shaking of her head.  She went on to tell him that we go on dates and kiss.  I was trying my best not to loose it it with nervous laughter and slight embarrassment over this odd discussion my four year old was having with the hardware clerk. 

I told my husband later that evening not to ever worry when I am out with the kids, because apparently, I have my very own chaperone!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Am Her Mother

An open letter to to the lady at the mall ( you know who you are).

Dear ignoramus a.k.a dumb lady,

I heard you loud and clear. I heard you above the screaming of my child ( she was quite loud) in the noisy food court. If you happen across this blog, you know who you are. You are the person who said to her friend " If that were my daughter..."  You might remember me because I actually stopped for a second at your table looked you in the eye and proudly stated " That is my daughter and she is autistic."

I really should have said more, but I was hurrying to get to her and help calm her down.  My husband was there trying to calm her and deal with the other two, and frankly, my family is much more important than you. but now I have the time, and the words to say what I wanted to say at that moment.

Thank God, she is not your child! Thank God she is my child! I hate to think how awful her life would be with a woman like you as her parent.  Throughout my time as her mother I have heard people tell me how fortunate Rachel is because I "get it", because I was an special education teacher long before I was a mother and am equipped to be her parent.  I have often doubted this insight because parenting is tough, and nothing can really prepare you for being a mother. However, you have helped me to really see that Rachel is better off with me as her mom. Not because I have a degree in special education, but because I am able to see past people like you who judge. I can look you in the eye and proudly state , "I am her mother, and I am a damn good one too!"

I can now take the time to tell you how stupid you looked to other people in that food court who understood what was really happening. They saw how I was able to calm her down in seconds by giving her a bear hug and helping her cover her eyes and ears to the sensory chaos that she was experiencing.  They saw my four year old sitting patiently while I tended to Rachel's needs. They saw you fussing and fretting over something that lasted all of 30 seconds.

Twenty minutes later, as my family was finishing up at the table, an extremely nice women and her teenage son came over to tell us what a beautiful family we had and how crazy you were.  Can you believe that? My 10 year old daughter screams at a mall, and you are the one who ends up looking awful.

Thank God you are not her mother.

her mother

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Growing Pains

Once upon a time, I was happy to have given birth to three girls. When they were babies I felt that I had dodged the huge stress of dealing with a Bris ( Jewish circumcision ceremony) and I never had to deal with "getting hosed" while changing a diaper.  As they have grown, I have discovered the downside to being a mother to girls.  When we are out to dinner, it is mommy who takes the girls to the bathroom. They never have to go at the same time. I always ask "anyone else have to go?" before escorting the one child, only to find when I get back that another one has to go.  This cycle repeats itself constantly throughout the meal!

Now that my twins are getting closer and closer to "womanhood" I have had several talks with them. We have gone bra shopping, discussed the changes in their bodies, and our most recent talk included preparing them for their first periods.  I always tell them they can ask me anything, but inside I am screaming "No! Don't ask that!"  When I was a kid, I was a bookworm.  My mother gave me a book about growing up and I read it cover to cover. This was enough for me, I don't remember asking so many questions!  And I have given them books, but of course they then have questions about the books.  Maybe because it was a one on one situation for me with my mom as my sister was older and already was dealing with puberty by the time it was my turn for "the talk".  Not me, I have two girls peppering me with questions, asking questions off of each others questions! Through all of this I am doing my best to pretend that I am "cool" with the questions.

I know through all of this my husband is sitting back with his fingers in his ears saying "LA LA LA",  Content with the knowledge that this is my role as "mom".  I bet he is relived that we have all girls and can just run and hide when I have to have these talks with the girls.

 That's okay, because I have already decided, and I believe I have earned this decision.  When they turn 15, HE IS TEACHING THEM HOW TO DRIVE!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Mall

I miss the stroller.  I am happy that Shayna is getting older but yesterday we went to the mall. It was me and the three girls.  Shayna is really too big for the stroller, yet she is still small enough that I do not trust for a second to let go of her hand. A stroller is also ideal for hanging bulky bags and placing drinks that your children no longer wish to carry. Add to that Rachel and Hannah. They are almost 11 so you would think that walking around the mall would be no big thing, but Rachel has Asperger's. This means that she is easily drawn away by something that takes her fancy and is prone to wander. She is also hard to get moving if she does not want to do something or wants to go another direction. As a result, I become a boot camp sergeant at the mall.

The first stop we made was the shoe store, all three girls needed sandals and both Shayna and Hannah had outgrown their sneakers. You would think that this would be no problems, however, the way that the store is set up, all three girls sizes are spread out in three different aisles, but we managed. At the check out I specifically told the clerk to keep the boxes as I would be walking around the mall and didn't want the bulk. I guess she was too busy chewing her gum, and I was too busy keeping the girls from playing with all the accessories they sell at the counter and in my line of vision to realize she did not have the ability to chew gum and comprehend what I said simultaneously.  There was a long line behind me so I just grabbed the two bulky bags, fixed all the stuff my four year old was playing with and left. 

Next the department store to buy a new training bra for Hannah.  Macy's used to have just one store in the mall.  Now they have a whole store for women and another store at the other end of the mall for men, children, and home stuff.  I decided we were better off going to to the lingerie department (plus it was closer). Hannah disagreed. When we got to the department I asked if they carried training bras and she said no, I should check out the other Macy's at the other end of the store.  Hannah them loudly turns to me "See! I told you so!"  The clerk gives me what I am sure is a look of sympathy because that is the moment Rachel decides to loudly comment (inappropriately, of course) on some of the more interesting types of underwear while Shayna is trying to get my attention to discuss the size of my breasts and determine which of the bras on display I should buy.

I usher them out of that department and made the mistake of stopping at the make-up counter to replace my face powder that I have used down to the last particle.  Apparently Shayna really likes Clinique's display make-up. 

At this point there was no way I was dragging my motley crew down to the other side of the mall. I found a "tween" store that sold the size bras we needed.  While at the store Shayna wandered a little too far and I could not see her, I panicked and yelled at her when she peeked into my view half a second later. This caused her to cry the entire time during check out. 

Finally, I thought, we were finished! But It was close to dinner time and I had bribed Rachel and Shayna to behave with a rare treat of dinner in the food court.  Normally I would relish the thought of not having to cook, but the food court means lots of choices.  They all wanted something different. So the drill sergeant in me organized a plan.  We would stop at each of the three places and get it all "to go" rather than balance three different trays and four bulky shopping bags.  Hannah helped with some of the bags so I could carry the food bags as they increased at each stop.

We settled in at the tiny tables and chairs they set aside for kids. I really didn't care that my knees did not fit under the table or that my ass was hanging way off the sides of the chair. I made it.  We were so close to leaving I was able to relax thinking it was easy sailing from here on, I was mistaken.

Shayna made a little friend sitting at the table next to her. The little girl was her age and came over pulling up a chair next to Shayna. I thought it was so cute! Her parents were right behind us and we were enjoying watching and listen to the two preschoolers introduce themselves and have an adorable conversation. Until...

Shayna was telling the little girl about her family. Her sisters and her mommy and daddy.  On Sunday, Ira and I had gone out for a date night without the girls, it was the first such night in a long while.  Shayna proceeded to tell this little girl that her mommy and daddy went on a date. This is pretty much how the conversation went.

"My mommy and daddy went on a date, and they did this"
Shayna began to make small fists and was bumping them together in what looked like and obscene gesture in front of her!

The little girls father was at this point cracking up.

"what?!?" I said to Shayna,  "Are you talking about?"
"This mommy", and she repeated the gesture.
Then she said to the little girl, with a giggle "they kissed."
Of course, the gesture was her mommy and daddy kissing. Still, it was rather embarrassing.  I went five shades of red and tried to laugh it off!  The girls dad was really cracking up at this point.

This is when I cleaned up our mess, smiled politely at the little girls parents, and left dragging kids, bundles, leftovers, and a various assortment of drinks.

I miss the stroller.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rinse and Repeat

It is a really good feeling when you can get your house in order. This weekend, I cleaned, dusted, swept, and mopped the floor. I was extremely proud of myself. The house looked good...for five minutes.  I told the girls not to move from their respective spots as the floor was drying, but Hannah was hungry. She slipped on the way back to the table after getting her lunch, food everywhere. After the floor was sparkling (again) Shayna spilled her juice.  Then Rachel walked around the house eating various things until I caught her, but not before much of it hit the floor. Soon after, the dog did her usual spot rotation around the house leaving tumbleweeds of fur floating on my pristine tile making me feel like we lived at the OK corral.

In addition to the floor being instantly mucked up, I find mysterious trinkets and toys laying around the house. I say they are mysterious because whenever I ask the girls to pick them up, I am told by all three, that they "didn't do it" or the mess is "not theirs".  Apparently I have faeries residing in my house as well as three daughters, a furry dog, and a well meaning husband. 

It seems like my house is one giant shampoo bottle; rinse, repeat.  I think I am going to take the day off from cleaning and let the fur fall where it may. A nice long soak in a hot bath sounds delicious.

Wait, the tub needs to be cleaned....

Saturday, March 3, 2012

An Ode to Dr. Seuss

It is apparent that a parent has much to learn and grow
Tots become tweens and know that they always know!

Sneeches turn to screeches and oncelers become one-ups
We balance more than a fish bowl, an umbrella, and a few cups.

One no, two nos, then maybe a yes
A perfectly patient parent is always under press.

Mood swings, mood rings, and moody snooty tweens,
Once I found a snoot-a-lot among my daughter’s things.

Oh the places we go and the new things we juggle,
Here is why we struggle;

Piled high atop the drama ,
 way above the rest
are classes, sasses, and puppy love by the masses;
We really are just doing our best!

So if you wonder why we seek
Refuge from a crazy week
Just look inside our house and take a peek

On second thought, just close the door
Back away a little more
Turn and run (left foot, left foot, left foot, right)
I wish to spare you such a fright!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Planning for the Unplanned

I believe there is an unknown law of Physics that applies to parenting. My father would disagree and say that there is already a name for this, Murphy's Law.  The phrase "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray" originated in a poem by Robert Burns about a poor mama mouse who unknowingly made her nest of babies right in the path of a farmer plowing his fields.  Though I have not yet experienced a bulldozer plowing through my home, I can relate to that poor mama mouse.

My husband and I first noticed this phenomenon when our twins were babies, just when we thought they were both going to be asleep at the same time, the other one would awaken.  If we planned a very expensive family vacation, someone would get sick.  I once planned what I thought was the perfect birthday party for the twins only to have the establishment pack up the presents for the girls in black trash bags, then throw half the presents in the trash!

It is easy to look back and laugh at our misfortunes, in fact it is probably the only healthy way to get through life.  There is a picture of Shayna floating around the family dubbed "towel baby".  She is sleeping in her infant seat dressed in nothing but a diaper and makeshift outfit of towels.  My husband and I had dropped off the kids at my parents house for a night of freedom, our first since having Shayna. I had packed the diaper bag carefully with everything she needed as my parents live 40 minutes away.  Upon arrival it became apparent that both my husband and myself had thought the other put the diaper bag in the car.  "No problem", I said and ran to the supermarket for emergency diapers, wipes, formula, and bottle.  Unfortunately the supermarket did not have extra clothes and this was the night Shayna decided to spit up...everywhere...more than once.  We arrived back at the house to find my baby swaddled in kitchen and bath towels blissfully asleep looking like a cute little hobo. 

Thankfully, we have managed to get through all of these little bumps in the road.  It is frustrating when you are 500 miles from home and you child has thrown up in a taxi, but hey it's memory you'll never  forget!  As annoying as Murphy and his little law can be, life would be boring without the mishaps.  After all, parenting is a road trip without a map and sometimes you find the most beautiful places to stop.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Get's Different, Not Easier

The early years with twins were not easy, I shudder when I think of octo-mom!   I sort of remember those sleepless nights of constant feedings. I say "sort of" because I spent the entire first year walking around in a trance from lack of sleep. I do remember once in the middle of the night I poured Coke into a bottle I was preparing, thankfully I caught myself before bringing it upstairs!  I remember taking the Diaper Genie every one raved about and tossing the entire thing in a fit of rage into the dumpster because, while it might be ideal for a single baby, it was a nightmare stuffing it with twice the amount of diapers.   Going to the grocery store was a challenge. I would see all the singlton moms with their little portable car seats perched on the grocery cart zooming through the aisles. Not me. There was no room for two car seats, I would push the double stroller in front of me and drag the cart behind me only to be stopped every few feet by some well meaning older woman exclaiming, "Boy, you've got your hands full!"  Every so often I would meet up with another mom with young twins. I recognized the exhaustion and feel real pity for them.  Sometimes they would ask me if it gets easier. I couldn't lie, I told them that they will have more sleep in their future, but I never say it gets easier. I just say it changes, it gets "different".

Parenting never gets easier, whether you have one, two or eight ::shudder:: babies at once.  Yesterday as we were leaving for the Renaissance fair I looked at what Rachel was wearing. Her shorts looked a little too tight, I told her to change as she must have outgrown them. "But Mom, this is how teenagers where their shorts, and I am a preteen!"  Help.

Gone are the days where Mommy was queen.  Where everything I told them was golden and right. I get challenged, sassed, and told how wrong I am despite the fact they constantly acknowledge my wizened age.   I am also loosing my youngest to this behavior, because, "monkey-see-monkey-do".  That same inner strength I had to summon years ago to deal with late nights and double dirty diapers, I must summon again to maintain self control and not end up on the 6 O'clock news.

Yesterday while I was in the shower Hannah came in demanding breakfast. As it was a long weekend and we had plans to go out for the day, I told her that I was going to treat them to donuts after I got out of the shower.  She did not like this option. "You're just lazy!", she yelled at me.

What did my daughter just say to me? It took ALL of the inner strength previously mentioned not to jump through the shower curtain at her!  I will not go into a list of my duties as mom, teacher, and wife; but being lazy is definitely not on them.   On top of the anger I was feeling at this audacious comment, I was hurt.  I know some parents and non-parents would suggest a good slap to the face or sufficient beating to the bottom for this behavior, but I would never slap her across the face ( though the temptation was there!). I am not above a spanking, but I strongly believe in never spanking while angry and I did not think in this case it would be as effective as the punishment her father and I had in mind.

She thinks I am lazy?  Well, now her duties around the house have tripled for the week as I am too lazy to work. She is among other things, responsible for all the dishes and making her bed. I might throw in a few loads of laundry as well.  Because I am so lazy, she must pick up the slack. Breakfast will no longer be available from this lazy wench ( I was at the Renaissance Faire yesterday).  To give her credit, she was very remorseful when she saw how upset I was over her comment. She apologized and felt bad, but she still must learn not to say things out of selfishness and anger. 

What a nice day out today, I think I will be lazy and go make a mess in the kitchen before retiring to a good book. Happy President's Day!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Little Red-Haired Girl

Last week I reported on the "love life" of my ten year old, Hannah. Well it seems that in a very short time frame the drama has escalated into a love triangle.  Josh, being the typical boy has been going back and forth about whether he is going to the dance with Hannah, his yes went to a no and back to a yes again. After his last yes Hannah received a note from another boy, Mason.  It was asking her if she would go to the dance with him!

So now she comes to me with note in hand not sure what to do. I explain to her that she and Josh have an agreement despite his going back and forth, his last answer was yes and she has to be honorable and not back out.  I did tell her that if Josh changes his mind again then all bets are off and she can agree to go with Mason.   I really don't want my daughter breaking any hearts at age ten. This fifth grade parenting stuff is quite stressful!

As I suffer through this drama with an "award winning" straight face I can't help but think of the "little red-haired girl" in Peanuts.   Unfortunately the role of Charlie Brown goes to poor little Josh who just does not seem to be brave enough to admit he likes her, hence the running back and forth during recess with one word yeses and nos. 

As a typical supporter for the underdog, I am hoping Josh doesn't back out this time. I don't know this Mason kid, for all I know he could be "Pig-Pen"!  Besides, who doesn't want to see Charlie Brown end up with the "little red-haired girl"?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love on The Playground

My ten year old daughter has a love life, or so she tells me. Yesterday she came to me and said she needed to talk...about her "love life". I was drinking my coffee and almost choked.  It is moments like this when I wish my children had a "Tivo" setting.  I really wanted to pause, laugh my head off, and then turn her back on with a serious face.  Fortunately I had a mouth full of coffee and had to devote my energy to swallowing with a straight face.

Apparently the drama began at the beginning of the year when it was announced that there would be a fifth grade dance at the end of the year. There is a little boy in her fifth grade class that has been in all her classes since first grade and she "likes him".  I believe there have been notes and friends going back and forth between the two to determine if the feeling was mutual and if he would agree to be a "couple" at the dance.  Heavy drama.  The latest update, according to Hannah, is that he ran up to her during recess and said "yes" and then ran off to play with his friends. 

I cannot complain with her choice, he is a nice boy, no tattoos or piercings. He gets good grades and is on the safety patrol with her. He also has won the science fair for the past three years at the school. Not bad, eh?  I can only hope her tastes do not change as she gets older ( please G-d, do not let her bring home the high school dropout with the tongue piercing!). So now we have the added drama of what to wear to the dance.

Now I really want that Tivo button. I want to rewind and watch her as a baby and see her dancing to the Wiggles. I want to fast forward through this conversation and tuck her into bed with her blankie and favorite stuffed animal.  I have an odd feeling this will not be the last conversation about her "love life".   If this is how stressful it is for me at ten, I am afraid to think about how I will be when she is 16.  My darling husband jokes about getting a gun...and some land out in the Everglades.  At least I think he is joking.  His standard response these days when I talk about our girls growing up is "I don't want to hear it!"  Poor daddy.

So now Hannah is going on about a dress she saw in a store window, she has asked me if she could get her nails done before the dance.  She is already discussing how she will wear her hair ( should it be up or down?).  I take a sip of my coffee and listen to her, all the while wondering if this poor little boy really knows what he got himself into when he said "yes" during recess!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Cure

Is your child acting "tweenish"? I have had many people share with me that they suspect their child might also be afflicted with this trying disorder.  I will now post some telltale signs of this conditon.

Excerpted from TwebMD,

Overview and Facts
Tweenragism is a condition that usually afflicts children between the ages of 9-13 (in rare cases with older siblings it can manifest itself earlier). Often it continues beyond 13 in the form of another condition usually referred to as "teenrager".
There are no known causes, however research has shown that prolonged exposure to the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon can aggravate the condition. 

Are you at risk? If you are a parent, you are not at risk to contract this condition, but you will suffer from it. Any child approaching the preteen-hood is dangerously at risk.

This is a controversial issue. Some experts feel that strict parenting can prevent tweenragism from occurring. Others feel that no amount of punishment can shake the symptoms.

Symptoms and Types
excessive eyerolling
dramatic mood swings
sudden dislike of their parents choices
frequent bouts of mortification
uncontrolled angry outbursts
an altered perception of reality

Diagnosis and Tests
Say "good morning" to the child. If you have any of the above responses, run!

Treatment and Care
There is no treatment for the child. For the parent it is recommended to get a good shrink and a bottle of Merlot.

Living and Managing
good luck.

Support and Resources
tweenragers.blogspot.com and the above mentioned bottle of Merlot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Asperger's is Just Plain Awesome

My daughter has Asperger's Syndrome. She makes me smile, she makes me laugh. I cannot imagine her any other way. She is not "special", she makes me feel special to be around her.

Here are my top ten reasons why Asperger's Syndrome is just plain awesome.

1.  Other people's opinions are not important. Rachel not only has her own drum beat, she has an entire orchestra playing her songs. She is happy just being her and doing the things she enjoys.

2.  Information is food.  She cannot get enough. Fact books, wiki, and almanacs are devoured like candy and instantly remembered!

3.  A great sense of humor. I once was told that people who have Asperger's may not "get" jokes. Not only is this not true, but I find that Rachel has an incredible perspective on things and is able to find humor in many situations that my neuotypical self cannot.

4. Incredible creativity. When she puts information together I am awed and amazed at how her mind works. This is the kind of creativity that moves the world.  I can't wait to see what she accomplishes!

5. Acceptance of others.  Rachel knows she is a little bit different and that it is okay. This is not just a rule in her world, it is a fact.  Sometimes I think the world would be better if we all had Asperger's!

6.  Never being a follower. There is no pressure to be like the others, Rachel does not care what is popular. As I said before, she has an entire orchestra behind her, why should she be in anyone else's band?

7. Life is never boring.  There are just too much to learn to ever get bored. Rachel can sit and read for hours and still not find enough information to satisfy her brain.

8.  Music and movement are a part of life. Rachel is always singing, dancing, and moving to her beat. She hears songs and remembers the melody. She was singing before she could talk. I love to listen to her sing and watch her movements. She can soothe her self with movement.

9.  Order in the unseen. Rachel has an order to the world that we cannot see, this is why she can make connections that most people cannot. Sometime it takes a while for my brain to catch up to hers, she teaches me so much.

And lastly...

10. Asperger's Syndrome adds color to a blank canvas. My world would not be as rich and complete without Rachel being Rachel. She is bright, funny, and adds so much color to my life!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reality Mom

"Mom, you look skinny from far away!" said my daughter as she ran to greet me upon picking her up from aftercare.  Children have a habit of speaking the truth.  My girls remind me when I look bad, when I need to color my hair, and when I need to shave my legs.  I no longer need People magazine to feel unglamorous, just a snuggle with one of my daughters to highlight my imperfections. 

I am not one of those moms who dress in designer clothing and have their nails done every other week. Even for work I dress in jeans and sneakers. I am a teacher for children with special needs. I need to be able to be quick at work and not afraid to get dirty.  I am practical.

I like to feel pretty but between being teacher, mom, and housekeeper; there is really not much time.  My grandmother once told me when I was first married that I should put on a little bit of lipstick for my husband when he comes home from work (she left out the part where I wait for him at the door with a martini, but I got the message).  I am not sure I ever took her advice before children, but after children, the only thing I might have handed him at the door was a baby in need of a change! 

I know they don't read People, but they do watch the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon where the moms always look perfect while doing all the typical "mom stuff".  Yes, the June Cleavers of yesteryear are gone, but they have been replaced by supermoms who have careers and STILL do all of that June Cleaver stuff.  This is much worse! I am expected to work all day and still be awesome. This is not new; I used to watch the Cosby show. Looking back at Claire Huxtible's character I laugh at how they had her cast as a mom who could handle anything.

There are positives to not being perfectly put together. My daughters know that I am not afraid to get dirty, dinner is usually something basic, and I am always available to answer their questions.  They know that it is rare that I am running off to a salon or to a party and I am happy to spend Saturday morning in PJ's with them watching TV and cuddling in my bed. I make no excuses for being unglamorous.  I am comfortable in my "mom jeans".

So if you are one of those mom's who often makes scrabbled eggs for dinner, forgets to color her grays, and sometimes spends the whole weekend in sweats catching up on laundry because her kids said they do not have clean underwear; do not feel bad. You are real.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Young Jedi

I am Yoda. My job in life is to teach my children to channel their powers for good and not evil, to resist the dark side.  Lacking of course, from my persona, is the endless patience Yoda gives Skywalker throughout their training. I often think Yoda had it easy with his charge! There were signs from the beginning that this would not be an easy job. Hannah has been fighting the force since birth.  When she was less than two months old she held her eyelids open with her little fingers as she started to fall asleep. A fighter she is.

At the age of three we had what I would call our first memorable disagreement. I don't even remember what I told her she could not do, but she promptly stomped upstairs and returned with her little disney suitcase on wheels.

"I'm going to grandma's!"  She anounced.

I asked her what she packed.

"Pinky." (her beloved blankie)

She stormed towards the front door, I followed. I watched her unsuccessfully try to unlock the front door.  After struggling a bit I figured she would give up and go sulk somewhere. I was feeling triumphant when she turned to me with determination all over her face.

"You have to drive me, cause I'm too little!"

At ten years old, she has not changed one bit, in fact the determination she showed me that day has only grown. The force is strong with this one. Her "midi-chorian" counts must be off the charts.  The positive uses for her powers are endless. She stands up for her sister at school when they tease her, and has strong opinions about how others should be treated.  She has the potential to be a champion.

But, my job is far from over,  I must teach her to fight the dark side.  By this I mean she must learn to control her temper.  Yesterday was the sushi meltdown. I apparently made a mistake by giving her little sister two pieces of her California roll from dinner the night before. I could have sworn I had asked her if it was okay, but could have been mistaken (this Yoda might have a few more flaws than the little green one).  The sith hit that fan around lunch time when my little Jedi discovered she only had two pieces left of her sushi. 

Her temper flared to the point I thought objects were going to start flying around me. She demanded I get her more sushi ( not about to happen).  She was so angry that she was breathing a bit heavy, and my mind flashed to her wearing black armor with her red curls stick out of a black helmet, I glimpsed at her dark side and it was not pretty. I offered her other dishes we had left over or that I could make her something else, she finally settled on her two pieces with a side of fried rice.  I heated up the rice in the microwave thinking that she could have probably just used the heat radiating out of her eyes!

Someday her strength and determination will serve her well in life. I can only hope and guide her in this endeavor. If I am unable to succeed, be on the watch for Darth Hannah.

May the Force be with you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sisterly Love

This image says it all, doesn't it?

My daughter has a temper. "Fiery red head" is an apt description for my middle child ( technically only by two minutes).  She was aggravated by her four year old little sister when she stomped outside and scrawled this on the chalk board. It really didn't help when the aforementioned sister followed her outside to ask her what the words said. Me? I was just glad that she was angry with someone else for once! She apparently found a form of expression that worked for her, she even read the note to her little sister and told her why she was mad. Of course this opened up a whole other problem with the little one in tears thinking her idol does not love her.

Right now, this moment, they are playing nicely. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for "the scream" followed by the usual "MOMMMMYYYYY!" There really is no....wait....there it is!


No one was hurt, although, if you happened to be walking by my house you might have been inclined to call 911. Please don't.  All you would have found was a 10 year old and a four year old screaming because they both wanted to sit in the same chair. 

It is at these moments I morph into my mother. All those cliches that were said to me by my own mother come flying out of my mouth. "Stop instigating your sister!" "Your crusin' for a brusin'!" (one of my favorites) "Some day you'll only have each other!" And the classic, "Because I SAID SO!"  Often I don't even realize what I said until it bursts forth from my mouth. My inner voice is asking me with surprise if I actually uttered those same words.

So now I am wondering if all moms out there are just repeating the same thing generation after generation. How far do these cliches go back? Are we actually speaking the same words our great great great grandmothers spoke to our great great grandmothers? If so, we need some new material!

I love watching them when they play together nicely, I get all warm and fuzzy inside.  It is the fighting that almost drives me crazy! But, as my father used to say, "Almost doesn't count!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Like vs. Love

Hannah has tutoring every Thursday evening in math.  For the first time she is struggling and her grade in math for the first quarter was a "D". Though I am a teacher, me tutoring her was not an option. Not many people realize that it is very difficult for a teacher to teach their own children,  Homework is a battle unto itself. I was not going to attempt tutoring, so we have one of the other fifth grade teachers at her school working with her once a week in the evening. It is working, she has since brought her grade up to a "B" and her confidence is swelling.

Last week I was on the phone with a friend explaining to her that we were about to leave for Hannah's tutoring. Hannah was in the room when I told her  ( a close friend and a fellow teacher) about Hannah's recent problems in math. Hannah immediately turned to me with actual daggers flying out of her eyes. "MOM!", she growled/yelled, "HOW COULD YOU? YOU TOLD!"

I apparently embarrassed her with sharing this information with a close friend. Part of me was actually happy that she could get embarrassed over a bad grade ( this means she cares,  and will hopefully continue to care about her work). The other part of me was slightly amused at her reaction which is as follows...

"It's my life, my privacy...how could you? You have no right to tell!"

I did apologize for embarrassing her (something tells me this is going to be happening more and more...) and explained that my friend is a teacher who's own child has had similar issues and it is no big deal. I also pointed out how I also said to this friend how proud I am of her improvement and hard work. ( BTW, I am still on the phone with friend at this point).

STOMP! STOMP! SLAM!  ( do I have to explain what these sounds were?)

The subsequent car ride to the bookstore was quiet.  Upon arrival, I was opening the side door of the van for her when it suddenly flew back and slammed into my side.

"MOM! Are you okay?" ( she likes me, she really likes me)
"Yes, sweetie, thank you for asking. I thought you were not talking to me?"

"Mom. Just because I am disliking you right now, does not me I don't love you."

Ahhh, the sweet things our children say.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On The Road ( Again!)

I am really beginning to think that someone should look into a possible link to car accidents and the questions children decide to ask their parent while they are driving. Once again I found myself in the minivan trying to answer my children's very serious questions. It started innocently enough ( it always does!) with our conversation about twins.  We have quite a bit of twins in our family. My oldest daughters are twins, my father and uncle are twins, and my niece and nephew are twins.

Shayna, my four year old wanted to know how people get to be twins so I explained that they share their mommy's tummy at the same time and are born at the same time just like her sisters, her grandfather and great uncle, and of course her beloved cousins who are only nine months younger than her.

"No, Mommy." Shayna explains to me.  Adrianna and Andrew are not twins." At this point I think I knew where she was going and was getting a bit nervous. "um, yes Shayna, they are twins."
"No, Mommy, Adrianna was in Aunt Stephie's tummy and Andrew was in Aunt Mindy's tummy." She told me so matter of factly.

My niece and nephew have two mommies. My children have always accepted this fact and I have never really had to explain much to them. When Hannah was three she announced to me ( in the car of course) that Aunt Stephie and Aunt Mindy are married and that it was okay. She got no argument from me, I was proud of her that she understood something that most adults cannot wrap their head around! But now we were getting into waters that I was not sure how to navigate. I quickly explained to Shayna that no, Aunt Stephie had both of her cousins in her belly and that they were in fact twins, just like her sister.

But the conversation did not end with this explanation (of course not!), because I also had my two ten year old daughters in the car who got just a bit more curious. "Mom?" asks Rachel, "How do two girls have a baby?"


"Well....They had a donor..um..I mean a man that helped...I mean there is a website that they went to-"
"WEBSITE!" exclaimed my daughter who only days ago wanted to go to ask.com to research human reproduction.
"No, wait,  Rachel, what I mean is there is a company that helps people who need help having a baby. Your Aunts just contacted them and they gave them what they needed." At this point I am also talking in code because my four year old was in the car and I was not ready to talk to her about that yet.
"Oooh", pipes up Hannah, "I get it. But how does it go in?" She apparently picked up my code but wasn't going to let the subject drop. ugh.

"well, just like when mommy had you and your sister, the doctor helped things along by using a tube ( I had told them previously that I had trouble having a baby and had gone to a special doctor to get pregnant).
"WHAT?!!?" I hear from the peanut gallery,  "YOU WENT TO A WEBSITE, WHAT ABOUT OUR DADDY?"
"No,no,no!" I said. "Your daddy is your daddy!"  The doctor just took stuff ( code word again) from him and put it in me."
At this point I am speeding to get home but Rachel manages to ask , "So daddy had an operation to get it out?"
double crap.
"No Rachel, there are ways, I'll tell you later ( the hell I will!)."

Hannah pipes in after this, "I don't want to know."  (Thank God.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Shooting The Moon

One of my daughters happens to have Asperger's  Syndrome. This is a form of Autism. It is a little different than what people think of when they hear about Autism, Rachel is verbal and extremely bright. Her disability comes into play mostly when she is faced with social issues, unexpected changes, and sensory conflicts.  As a parent, there is nothing that I would change about my daughter. She is funny, sweet, and shares a perspective of the world I never would have experienced were she not an "Aspie".

School has been both a breeze and a challenge all at the same time for her. If she could go to school and only have to deal with the pure academics of things, she would be a star student. However, as we all know, there  are "hidden rules" in school. In school kids are supposed to just "get it" when it comes to how to react and behave to all sorts of situations.  The funny thing is, when you look at things from her perspective nine out of ten times she is right.  As a child I hated having to to do what I considered busy work, repeating something I have already learned over and over again, but I understood that it is something that we were expected to do. Rachel's view is that she learned it so let's move on ( she is logical, but getting her to see the overall picture is very hard).

Being Rachel's mom can be stressful at times, but mostly it is fun! Sometimes it is both. I feel the stress "in the moment" but can't help but look back and laugh. One of these such moments occurred in first grade.  There was a substitute for the day and that had wrecked havoc with her routine.   As all teachers do when there is a sub ( I know I am one such teacher) lots of review ( busy work) is assigned. Rachel was having none of this and pretty much had a full on tantrum.  Her aide took her out into the hallway to calm down and the ESE specialist came by to talk to Rachel.   Rachel's tantrum can also be quite loud. To this day her speaking voice is very high and quiet in a sing-song manner.  However, when she screams, walls come tumbling down.  So joining the group was the assistant principal.

I got the phone call at home, as I was still on maternity leave, and really was speechless when I was told what she did.  More than speechless, I was mortified. I, a teacher in the same school system was being told that my daughter, my sweet little girl....MOONED THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, HER AIDE, THE ESE SPECIALIST, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO HAPPENED TO WALK BY AT THAT MOMENT!

Apparently, while they were trying to "talk it out" with Rachel she turned around and pulled down her uniform bottoms. When asked "What are you doing?!" by the ESE Specialist. Rachel innocently replied, "I'm shooting the moon."

"umm....I don't know what to say...." was my brilliant response to the ESE Specialist when she called me on the phone. I did hear muffled laughter in the background and could tell she was having a hard time speaking to me with a straight face.  What did they think she was seeing at home? was my first thought. As a teacher it is easy to make the connection to children's behaviors at school as something they picked up at home.  Did they think I actually taught this to my six year old?

After this disturbing phone call I immediately did what any parent would do, I called my spouse. He was at work at the time and when I told him what happened I expected him to be as furious and mortified as I was. But what did I hear when I finished the story? Laughter. Great big belly rolling, knee slapping, tear forming laughter.  How were we going to discipline our child if her father couldn't stop laughing? I told him between breaks of guffaws that he better be straight faced when he got home.  I wasn't sure if he even heard me as he was already busy trying to tell his coworkers (between breaths of course) what his daughter did at school ( a proud moment, I'm sure).

So, of course I was the one faced with dealing with our little hooligan when school let out that day. Upon quizzing  Rachel about the incident, she really did not understand what she did was wrong.  Rachel had apparently found the e-greeting cards section on AOL ( we have since filtered, BTW) and was perusing the humor section. Rachel likes jokes, she collects joke books and memorizes jokes. Her sweet little mind saw a funny e-card in which a cartoon  character was "shooting the moon". Since it was in the humor section, it was to her an acceptable joke to share with others. She did not get that it was "not appropriate".  So, with a straight face ( at this point it was also hard for me) I had to explain about appropriate humor and inappropriate humor. She looked at me, said "okay" and bounced off innocently to play in her room.

Nowadays we deal with lots of questions about social appropriateness, but I will never forget the lesson that I learned about no matter how much you think your child understands, there is always a surprise that will smack you right upside the head waiting for you around the corner.

 ©2012 Amy E. Silverstein. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tween Kryptonite

I will admit it here publicly for all. I like the Disney channel. There, I said it. Last night was the finale for Wizards of Waverly Place. I could hear the screams of excitement in the other room as the big premiere of who gets to be the family wizard was aired. The Disney channel has been counting down the days and my daughters have been waiting with anticipation. I acted all cool, like I didn't care, but guess where I was when the show aired? Yup, sitting right in front of the TV with my girls. When Hannah Montana had it's finale, I was in the same place.  I am 36 years old and was as riveted to the TV as my tweens!

One of the cool things about having children is that you DO get to be a kid again. I play with Barbies and was probably more excited than my four year old when she opened her dollhouse for her birthday. We just put a swing set up in the backyard, it is the kind that hold a lot of weight, now I can swing with the girls! There is something so free about hanging with your kids.  I am able to loose all inhibitions, much like my carefree college days! Lately I think I have been enjoying it more because they are starting to realize how embarrassing and dorky I really am.

Sometimes I will break into song and dance when their "tween" music videos pop up on Disney or Nickelodeon. I suddenly hear "MOM!!" or "STOP!!" or just watch them squirm with embarrassment (and it's just us!).  I have discovered their kryptonite!  Gone are the days when my little ones used to ask for me to sing with them,  the twins actually did not realize how embarrassing I was to them until a few years ago. Unfortunately my four year old has picked up on it rather quickly and constantly joins in the chorus of groans and screams when I sing and or dance.

So now I just have to use my weapon wisely. Maybe when they refuse to do homework? When they talk back? I am not beyond blackmail either. In this digital age, all I have to do make a video and threaten to upload it to youtube or send it off to all of their friends.  Hannah, who already has a "date" for the fifth grade dance, would be mortified if I showed up as a chaperone and proceeded to "do my thang" in front of all her "tweenrager" friends.  The possibilities are endless.

I have no desire to be a "cool" mom, or my daughters "best friend". I just want to make sure they stay in line and make the right choices in life. If I have to use blatant mortification to to get the job , than so be it.  I have an edge on all the hip size zero mom's. When my daughter tries to wear those cut off with the belly showing, so shall I; muffin top, stretch marks, and all. I will threaten to prance in front of her friends until she changes her clothes. Angelina Jolie has nothing on me, she's just way too cool to be an effective parent and I have no shame when it comes to my kids. 

So I say to all the tween moms out there, embrace the  tween kryptonite!

 ©2012 Amy E. Silverstein. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Birds and The Bees, Alcohol, and Radio Disney( aka Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll)

My children love to bring up the major issues when we are in the car and I am trying to drive. .  Forget texting, there should be a law against kids asking about sex while parents are driving.   A valid campaign, but will not save me from my own prying children. Actually it was probably my fault since I started the topic with asking the girls about how they were enjoying their books.

Hannah is currently reading "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?" by Judy Blume.  A book I highly recommended to her and had told her to ask me if she had any questions. So, in the car while driving she asked an easy question about getting periods. No problem, I became the expert and answered her questions with ease about how nature is preparing their body so one day if they choose they can have a baby ( I did add when they are married and grown up of course). Until her twin sister piped in with her own questions....

Now Rachel is much more naive than Hannah when it comes to sex. Hannah has always been persistent about these things until I sat her down and explained the real facts about a year ago. I do remember explaining them to Rachel as well, but I do not think it stuck.  So here we are driving to pick up their little sister and Rachel asks  in rapid fire, "If I stand to close to a boy can I get a baby in my belly?" "If I am hanging out with boys can I get a baby?" "How do you get a Baby?'

At this point I was really shocked. I thought she had understood the first time I explained it, but maybe she just wasn't ready yet. So as I prepared to explain it again Hannah shouted "NO MOM! TELL HER IN PRIVATE WHEN YOU GET HOME!  IT'S TOO WEIRD FOR ME TO HEAR AGAIN" (I was actually quite relieved because we were getting closer to Shayna's school and no matter how much like her big sisters she wants to be, she was so not ready for this discussion.)

"Rachel, sweetie? Hannah has a point, I will answer all your questions in private when we get home. But, you have to promise not to talk about this with your little sister or any one at school. This is a topic only for mom's and dad's and their own children. Just know you can always ask me or your father if you have any questions about this topic."

Of course Hannah has to pipe in, "NOT DAD! He hates talking about s-e-x with us."
"well, if I am not around, you can go to him, he will help you."
Now Rachel, my "Wiki-girl" pipes in, "or I could just go on Ask.com."

"Noo,noo, noo, Rachel.  Do. not. under. any. circumstance. use. the.internet. to. ask. these. questions." (because anyone who has ever seen Avenue Q knows what the internet is for...) At this point before I hit a curb I had her swearing she would not research this particular topic online.

So NOW we pick up the little one and are heading home. I am thinking I must be out of the woods, but nope.
"Mommy when your eighteen is that when you get to do whatever you want?"
"Well, you are considered an adult, but to drink alcohol you have to be 21." ( not a bad answer, huh?)
"Why do people drink alcohol, isn't it bad? Where does it come from?"

Crap. I just can't win today.

I explain that in moderation, it is okay for adults to drink. I them explained how alcohol comes from a fermentation process and grape juice can actually become wine.  We then talked about Potatoes, wheat, and sugar, becoming alcohol.  The kids were really getting into this as I explained there is a chemical process.  It occurred to me that I actually turned this conversation into a science lesson!

Somewhere in this conversation I convinced myself what a cool thing it would be to actually show them the process, heck, the science fair was in a few months. Then as quickly as the idea struck me, the image of the Department and Family Services showing up at the school to see the "moonshine mommy taught us how to make" knocked me back to reality.

Also, the kids had moved on and were fighting over the radio and who got to pick the station.

Now I need to go have a talk with Rachel, and have a glass of fermented grape juice!

 ©2012 Amy E. Silverstein. All rights reserved.