Puke and a Bunny

My plan for last night was to work on the Christmas gifts I’m making for the girls.  Time is getting short, and I want to get them done and wrapped.  Didn’t do a darn thing with them last night.

Before I even left work Little One was calling and telling me she didn’t feel good and her stomach hurt.  I was still a half hour from leaving work and about a 45 minute drive home, Husband was on a work call and couldn’t leave, and both girls were about to start school cheer practice.  I told her to sip a Sprite and to sit practice out.  Five minutes later she called again to let me know she had thrown up and one of the Mom’s we are friends with was bringing her home.  I left work a bit late, and I got a call as I was leaving, and she was completely incoherent and hysterical.  I called Husband (he was outside) and he took care of Little One and the puke explosion that had occurred in the kitchen.

By the time I got home she was in bed asleep.  I took that as a good sign.  I really should know better.  Husband and I brought the bunny inside and put her in her cage in Little One’s room, and she slept through us doing that.  I could definitely smell the bunny’s litter box, so I figured when she woke up I’d clean it for her.  I did hear her wake up as she was violently puking in the bathroom.  I ran upstairs and held her hair (not much else I could do), and got her back into bed.  I figured I’d do the litter box quick and get to the gifts.

Except that not only was the litter box full, but the cage had litter and bunny poop all over.  What in heaven’s name had the bunny been doing?  She’d been outside most of the day!  So I started with just dumping the litter box instead of trying to scoop.   Mind you, the bunny is still in the cage.  I then began sweeping the litter and poop towards the middle of the cage, starting on the side the bunny isn’t on.  Bunny thinks this is a fun game, so she is nudging my moving hand and doing half hops with her back legs.  I moved her to the clean side of the cage to get started on the other side.  Bunny discovers the litter/poop bag, and wants to investigate.

So I take Bunny out of the cage, and realize Little One is not in bed.  Since I have a squirming bunny in one hand I don’t go see where she is; I close the bedroom door, close the closet door, and put the bunny down.  Bunny loves to get under the bed, so I’m now on my hands and knees on the floor trying to block off the bottom of the bed with anything I can find.  This becomes dirty clothes, shoes, and finally a blanket.  Then I can go back to the cleaning.  I’m getting sweaty at this point.

Bunny thinks I’m on the floor to play with her, so she is right next to me trying to get my attention.  I was thankful she didn’t let out a bunny scream (they are awful) when I move and my knee lands on her front paw.  She just did a thumping bounce at me.  The dustpan I am using is too big to fit through the cage opening, so I have to get what I can in the pan, dump it into the bag which is in the cage, and then do the process again.  Little One comes back in (from puking again) and flops on the floor, so Bunny left to go get her attention.  I finally finished, the cage and litter box were clean, and Bunny got back into her cage and stretched out to sleep.  I showered and put on clean clothes.  Little One went downstairs to lay on the couch.

I spent part of the night sleeping in Little One’s bed fighting one dog for a pillow and being woken up by the other dog wanting to know what I was doing in that bed.  Poor Little One couldn’t sleep, and kept waking me up.  She threw up one last time at 1a, at which time I apologized and felt terrible, but I went back to my bed after I got her settled back in her bed so I could get a few hours of sleep (because I knew she would wake me up again, which she did at 2:30a) to function at work.  This morning she looked awful, but she has finals, so she went to school for those, and it’s a half day, so she will be home and back in bed by noon.

Tonight I plan to work on the last gifts for the girls, to get them done and wrapped.  What can I say, I am forever the optimist!

Knee Pains

Yesterday Oldest One came home and said she hurt her knee again, but she didn’t know how.  She was limping, so I had her sit on the couch with an ice pack, take Advil, and then I served her dinner.  This morning she hobbled up the stairs crying to Husband and I that it hurt, she couldn’t walk, and she was very upset about possibly not tumbling, and she just can’t miss cheer.

Knee injuries are nothing new in my house, and judging by the number of knee braces I see at competitions, they are common to cheer.  Oldest One has a knee brace for her right knee, and Little One for her left.  It does help to find them during competitions.

I don’t take the knee issues lightly.  Oldest One is on Advil every 6 hours with Tylenol for pain, she is wearing her brace, and she was told to ice it several times during the day (the office at school has ice they’ll give her).  I also told her that she needs to not tumble the next few days, and that since the cheer gym will be closed for two weeks during the holidays she’ll have a chance to rest it.

The first time Oldest One hurt her knee during her second year of competitive cheer (always the right one) was when she did a toe touch and her knee cap went out, then back in.  She was unable to do much for about a month and a half.  She was a flyer at the time, so I had figured if she got hurt, it would be from being dropped.  I’m happy to say that at least when I saw her go up in the air she was never dropped.  Last year she came out of her tumbling pass at practice in the wrong spot, and when her feet hit the mirrored wall it caused a sprain, a bone bruise, and general stress to the knee.  Her knee swelled to about three times its normal size and she was on crutches.  I had to have her coach threaten her with not competing when she was well to keep her on the darn crutches.  I bought her various colors/designs of duct tape and she blinged her crutches out.  She was out for about 2 months.

Little One hurt her knee a couple of summers ago, no idea how, so we just sat her out and had her watch since summer is about conditioning.  Then this spring she kept complaining about her knee again (always the left one), so Husband took her to the doctor.  Besides the fact she has a huge gap at the growth plate (uncommon for most 13 year olds, but not either of my kids) she has her Dad’s overly large muscles, and she wasn’t warming up enough (for her muscles) so she was dragging her knee cap out of place.  Knee brace for her, and she was taught extra exercises to get her muscles warmed up.  She still wears her brace for support, since she hasn’t started her growth spurt yet.  She’ll be 14 next month, but Oldest One didn’t really start to grow until 14, and she is over 5’7” now.

Am I worried about cheerleading messing their knees up forever?  Well, not really, because unfortunately these things are a risk with any sport, and when the girls are hurt we don’t rush them back, or say they need to be out there and working through the pain.  I’ve seen that happen.  We make them mad and have them sit out until they are ready, so that they aren’t partially healed going back out to hurt it even more.  Oldest One is barely swelled right now and we are still taking all the precautions to protect her knee. Also, I never did any kind of sports, and I have all sorts of back and arthritis issues, so I’d rather see them active and having fun, with a chance of knee problems, rather than trying to cover them in bubble wrap and then see they have knee issues as adults, without having had any of the good times to cause it.

Being a Good Sport – Not

Husband was telling me about a friend’s friend who coaches a football league in town.  The team (we’ll call it Team F) made it to the playoffs out of state, and played a team that had gone undefeated for several years, and happened to be supported by a celebrity.  Team F beat this team.  When the game ended and it was time for teams to form lines and slap/shake hands, the Celebrity Team refused.  As Team F was leaving to get on the bus the parents from Celebrity Team were calling them names I’m not going to repeat and screaming they were going to kill them.

Bravo to this celebrity for fostering this type of sportsmanship.  Bravo to the coaches and parents for showing these kids how to lose gracefully, and how to be respectful and professional.  I always enjoy seeing good role models out in the world.

Team F had the same thing happen to them in the championship game, which they won.  No celebrity was involved, but more inappropriate name calling and threats.  I think it is sad that this is considered common practice in many places.

Our school football team played a team last year and this year whose parents seem to follow the rules of rudeness.  Last year I was asked to go with another Mom and sit in the visiting section because they were harassing our cheerleaders – one of whom was mine.  We just went, and smiled, and had a presence.  They quit bothering the girls once we sat down.  This year their coach kept yelling inappropriate things at our cheerleaders (new school property, still figuring out where everyone needed to stand), and the parents were still rude.  I’ve heard that between the administration’s complaints and the parent complaints we won’t be playing that team again.

People need to understand that kids take their cues from what the adults around them are doing.  If they see those adults yelling inappropriate names and threats, they’ll think it is okay, and they’ll do it too.  But, if the adults do what they should, and they act appropriate and don’t say bad things about or to the other team, the kids will instead model that behavior.

Big as sports for kids have become, parents need to step up and do what is right.  Yes, we pay a lot of money for our kids to do these sports, and of course we want to see them win.  But not everyone can win, and losing needs to be done gracefully, and without inappropriate language and behavior.  When my girls teams don’t place well in a competition we don’t start screaming at and harassing the judges – even when we don’t agree with how it turned out.  Instead, we try hard to ask them if they had fun, and how they feel about it.  Sometimes we slip and say we feel they were short changed, but that is after we have left the competition, and we aren’t rude to anyone competing or judging.

Losing is a part of life.  Not easy, not fun, but it happens to everyone at some point.  I’d prefer my girls understand how to handle it in an appropriate manner, instead of screaming obscenities and threats.  It’s a lot easier to lose and be nice about it, and then go on with life in a happy frame of mind, instead of being angry and accusing, and dwelling on it for longer than it took to play the game.

Dancing and Cheering

Tonight is Little One’s dance program at school.  Tomorrow is the first cheer competition for our cheer gym.  I had to get Little One’s hair and make-up done this morning because they are performing for the school at an assembly, and then tonight for family and friends.  I still don’t have the lipstick I need for the girls for competition tomorrow.  I’ve been to Wal-Mart and Target and they carry the brand, but not the color.  I’m trying Walgreens, CVS and K-Mart tonight after the dance program.  Oh, and as soon as the competition ends we need to run to the basketball games so the girls can cheer for the school.

I remember how excited Husband and I were at Oldest One’s very first holiday performance in Kindergarten.  All the kids looked adorable, especially ours (with her Pebbles hair-do), and they were so cute as they sang.  Little one was in preschool when she had her first one, and her eyes were sparkling with excitement at being in front of all those people and getting to sing.

Oldest One started competitive cheer a year before Little One, and it took me an hour and a half to do her hair and make-up for the first competition.  We had to be there at 7a, so you can imagine how early we were up.  The next year when Little One started I was at about 45 minutes a girl…the pouf and fake pony tail were a challenge.  Now Oldest One does her own hair (well, I put the curlers in the night before, and no more fake pony tail) and make-up, and I do Little One, and we rarely have to be at the competition site before 11:30a since they compete at later times these days.

There is only this year and next, and then Little One is done with PE so won’t be taking dance at school, and won’t be in the dance program anymore.  This is Oldest One’s last year at our cheer gym – this is her seventh year with them.  Little One still has four years left with the cheer gym after this one, and she has already been there six years.

Husband claims he won’t miss any of this.  There are parts I won’t miss, like badly run competitions, last minute extra practices, and how cold it can be watching the dance program.  But I know I’ll miss cheering for my cheerleaders, and shaking and banging the purple and zebra tambourine the girls gave me one Christmas, which saves my arthritic hand from not moving after clapping too much.  They’ve told me they listen for that tambourine, so I make sure it is loud.  I’ll even miss the expensive out-of-town competitions, because we have some great memories from those trips.

Yes, again, this is a year of looking back as the girls are leaping forward.  I’ve just been having such a fun time with them growing up, and everything they do that I get to support and watch.  I know that won’t end, it will just be happening in a different way.  And, after going to the competition and then running to the basketball game I’m sure by the time I get home tomorrow the misty eyes will be gone, and I’ll be complaining about how awful sitting in bleachers all day has been.

My (unrealistic) Budget

When I did the budget last Friday I calculated all bills, groceries and gas through the month to try and scrounge up a bit more to buy some Christmas gifts for the girls.  I even added extra into the food budget, figuring a bonus on the 23rd (yes, I’ll probably be shopping then) would be nice.  That was blown to bits by Sunday evening.

This week is Spirit Week for basketball season.  For $5 each the girls get to dress down all week.  At a school with uniforms this isn’t to be missed.  So I made sure to have $10.  Then Little One needs something camouflage for Tuesday.  She has a shirt with Bambi for animal print day (the school mascot is an animal), and she thinks she has red day covered, but nothing camouflage.  So I bought her a shirt at Wal-Mart.  Done!

No, not done.  Oldest One gets home, and she said she is going out to buy shirts for Spirit Week with her friend, and she has money on her debit card.  She has her gas money on her debit card, as I mentioned to her, and got hands thrown up in the air in response.  Then her friend cancelled, and there have been a few friend issues there, so as I am getting ready to go shower, I get the “Mom, please go shopping with me.”  7:30p at night we got into my car to find yet another camouflage shirt and an animal print shirt.  I did talk her into wearing a panda shirt she had, so I only had to buy her one shirt…plus the eyeliner, new shadow liner and a liner brush at Target that were really needed.  Okay, we did have a good talk, and we did walk arm in arm through the stores and laugh a lot.

I can work with all that thrown in to the budget – kind of.  But wait!  I get a text from Little One this afternoon that her pink dance tights are ripped and she needs another pair for dance class.  Oh, and Husband said we are going to go buy a prime rib for Christmas dinner (his parents enjoy it) tonight so he can do his aging thing with it.  I’m waiting for Oldest One to need one more thing tonight so I can hit the trifecta.

This isn’t new, and why I thought I could make a budget that wouldn’t get dinged I have no idea.  I know better.  And it’s not like they won’t have gifts.  Husband and I have some creative ideas and we are making some things the girls have asked for.  And some they haven’t.  Oldest One didn’t ask for a letter box for her varsity letter, but since she didn’t want a jacket, and because I don’t want it to get lost one day, we’ve decided to do that with it.  She’ll like it one day when she has teenagers.  Little One wants a bow holder (cheer bows multiply at night) and we are making that since I want a bigger size than we can buy.

So tonight, after we get done at the stores yet again, I am going to go home and pull out my budget that I so carefully put together.  And I am going to rip it up and throw it away.

My Little One

Little One often feels like she gets less attention and less stuff then Oldest One.  This year is a big one for her sister, so I understand why she feels that way.  I’m the youngest, and growing up it often felt like I never had any milestones because when I did my brothers always had bigger ones.  I did reassure her that next year, when she is the only child in the house, she will have All of my attention.  Strangely, that didn’t cheer her up.

This week Little One has done things that make me sad at how fast she is growing up.  Not that she won’t do these things again, but as she enters high school, and the world really does revolve around her and she develops tunnel vision, she might not do these things as often.

Over the weekend I had a sinus-type of migraine, and I was taking Benadryl and Sudafed to help.  Saturday afternoon I got very sleepy, and I couldn’t focus on what I was reading on my Kindle, so I decided to snooze off.  I woke up a bit when Little One gently removed my Kindle from my hands and put it on the side table, and then tucked the blanket in around me.  What a sweetie girl!

Tuesday the girls cheer gym was supposed to be evaluated and their routines given feedback.  This required the girls to have full cheer hair.  I really don’t like the way the hair is done this year, because it isn’t that easy to do, and a real nightmare to take out.  Big pouf in front, and the high ponytail in back is curled, teased out with a comb, then hair sprayed into a ball.  There is also the required huge bow in it.  I had curled Little One’s hair the night before, and taken out the curlers in the morning, but Oldest One had to do the pouf (I have no idea how she pulled the hair out of the ponytail) and teasing because I couldn’t get home from work in time to do it.  I warned Husband he might want to leave the house while that was going on, because it generally involves crying and screaming.  Well, the evaluators never showed up, so it was all for nothing.  When Little One got home after 9p that night the first thing she did after dropping all her stuff on the dining room table was to come over and full out lay on top of me (I was in the recliner) so I could hug her and stroke her head.  She had a hard day, and she wanted Mommy.

She called me during her lunch yesterday.  She does this several times a week, sometimes with a real question, sometimes with a made-up question.  I think she just likes that she can call me on her cell phone when she is at lunch.  There is a ton of background noise (a school cafeteria) and often her friends are in the background screaming “Hi”.  It’s actually nice that she is still at an age where she wants to call me just to hear my voice.  I’ll be lucky if that lasts through the end of this year.

So, I may not mention her as much right now as I do Oldest One, but it’s not because I’m ignoring her.  There is just so much going on with Oldest One that Little One kind of gets a bit lost in all of the activities.  But I’m lucky in that she still wants to watch TV with me, read books with me, play board games with me, and best of all, she still likes me to give her a hug and kiss goodnight.  My Little One is an amazing girl, and I am so lucky to be her Mom.

Quit Being a Work Jerk

I understand the difficulty of working in a place undergoing change. You hear vague rumors, or concrete conversations of where administrators would like things to go, but until a plan is rolled out, it is all speculation. I look at this kind of thing as the time to sit back and watch it all unfold. Others look at it as a time to come down on everyone in the workplace, and to assert their dominance.

Personally, I feel like one of the few constants that can be depended on is change. I wake up in the morning and change is already happening, because my today isn’t going to be like yesterday no matter how much I plan it. And it’s not like I’m great with change. Husband despaired of me ever being able to “go with the flow” in the early days of our relationship. I still like to have everything planned out, but I am also able to go with change much better these days.

What is irritating is people who are afraid of or don’t like the changes that seem to be coming in the workplace. That is fine, have your doubts and your negativity, but don’t put it onto me. People who are supposed to be professional (but usually aren’t) and who are supposed to be leading are some of the worst. I’m sorry you feel like your job is suddenly at risk of becoming something you might not like, but talking down to me and treating me in a dismissive and disdainful manner isn’t going to change anything. And I’m not the only one noticing the behavior.

I really like my job, and the organization I work for. I like my supervisor and my co-workers. But with things looking like a change is coming, people are getting noticeably more cranky. I understand it, but I can’t approve the behavior. Some of the problem may also stem from private life stuff. Which I don’t want to know about. I don’t usually have crankiness related to Husband and the girls, but when I do I don’t talk about it at work, and I also am very careful to not be abusive to co-workers because of it. Unfortunately not everyone does that. Again, I understand, because life intertwines and difficulties overlap, but if you are mad at a decision maker or your spouse, I’m not thrilled to be the stand-in.

Obviously today has been a day. In the last few weeks there have been more of them, and I don’t see an end coming very soon. I took this job knowing I wouldn’t be a decision maker, which was fine, I was ready for the change. Today, well, I still don’t want to change my job, or go back to what I used to do, but it would be nice if for one day it was acceptable to behave in the manner others are, just to give it back to them. But it isn’t, and I really want to be bigger than that. Really, I do.

Teenagers & Tree Trimming

Teenagers.  They’re happy, they have sunny attitudes, the world is lovely, and you turn around for one second and all of a sudden they are moody, parents are pains, and the world is out to get them.  I’ve heard boys are easier than girls, but since I have two teenage girls, I have nothing to go by for that.

Thanksgiving was really nice – except for the clean-up, of course.  Oldest One brought four strays (as Husband called them) and my in-laws seemed to have a very good time.  Oldest One and friends went out shopping late Thursday night (and we even allowed an extended curfew) and again on Friday.  Husband and Little One spent a significant amount of time lighting the front of the house and the yard.  It looks so awesome.  So Friday we didn’t do the tree as planned, but that was okay.

Then we hit Saturday.  We planned to do the tree in the late afternoon. And I had expectations.  I didn’t want to, but as I found out later, they were there.  The tree has been a really fun family time.  When the girls were little we helped them put ornaments on, and as they got older my job became to unwrap the ornaments for the girls to put on the tree.  About four years ago Oldest One decided to take over decorating the house, and then Little One joined in, and we have had some inspired decorating going on.

I was doing bills with a migraine when Oldest One came up from her bedroom and said she was going to make Hanukkah cookies.  She started counting how many she needed, and I reminded her Little One needed to take about 60 or so to school.  We had discussed this before, but by her reaction I was totally out in left field.  Because I wasn’t up to a big discussion after about a minute I told her “Fine, just worry about yourself and I’ll do the cookies for your sister.”  Well, that really set her off, because apparently I made it seem like she was selfish.

And down the day went.  When it came to tree time Husband, who ended up spending the day helping friends till their backyard, was a bit sore.  Little One was super excited, and couldn’t wait to get to the tree.  Oldest One, well, she really put a damper on my fun.  She grudgingly came in the living room (took time out from cookies even) and sat in a chair with her phone.  She barely acknowledged the new ornaments.  Deep sighs accompanied my handing her the ornaments with her name to put on the tree.  She was a fun person to have around.  At least she let me take a picture of her and her sister in front of the tree once it was done.

But her attitude (and my migraine that lasted all day) really dimmed the whole experience for me this year.  Like it was so huge for her to be bothered with us doing the tree.  She didn’t have any other plans, so it wasn’t like I was asking her to not be with friends.  And I know this is common to teenagers.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to take.  Then, later on when we started watching Love Actually (a tradition after trimming the tree, along with When Harry Met Sally) all of a sudden she got excited, because she loves the movie, and plopped down to watch it with us.  Little One even sat next to her and they were very sisterly.

I have plenty of experience with the mood changes of the teenage girl, but it never makes it any easier when the mood is cranky, and I am the not-very-bright parent.  Strangely, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.  But, I really do like when the girls think everything is unicorns and rainbows, because I’m much less likely to be viewed as annoying.