Still Sick Little One

Husband had to take Little One to the doctor yesterday.  She got her nasty, awful cough Saturday night, and it was getting worse.  She has a sinus infection, so she was out of school yesterday, and I convinced her to stay home today.

She really felt awful.  Last night, as I was relaxing in the recliner, she tried to climb in and sit with me.  She is 15, and almost my height…and I’m 5” 6 1/2”.  I suggested we sit on the couch together, and after moving Fluffy White Dog twice (he was not impressed with me), I was able to hold her while she cuddled next to me feeling miserable.  Yep, I loved feeling needed!

Husband thought it was funny, so he took a couple of Snap Chat videos of it, but Little One didn’t think he was funny, so she hid under the blanket.  After she went to bed she texted me (teenagers!) and asked me to come upstairs…she wanted me to lay on her bed until she fell asleep.  Much as I would have loved to do that, neither of the dogs were open to me laying on the bed next to her, and I was really tired, and needed to be able to get up for work.  So I laid down, with a dog on my head, for a while, so she could get comfortable.

As Husband put it, if I could have, I would have spent 3 hours laying in her bed, or cuddling her on the couch.  I don’t get many requests to hold my girls anymore, and it’s usually when they are sick that they ask.  It can be tricky figuring out how to best be the Mom of a high school and a college student, but it is never hard to figure out how to love, support, and hug them when needed.

My Little One

I love watching Little One cheer. She completely lights up, and she is charged with energy.  Cheer coaches have told me how electrifying she is when she is “on”.  I like that she has so much fun doing it, and that it makes her happy.

I remember her very first cheer competition, when she was in 2nd grade.  She had spent the previous year watching her big sister do competitive cheer, and she couldn’t wait to join a team.  She was super nervous when the day came to compete, and she wouldn’t smile at all until it was all over.  I have a great picture taken of her right after it was over, and she has a big smile on her face.  That entire first year she couldn’t smile or do facials while competing until we were at nationals.  The very last competition of the season she finally smiled while doing the routine.  It was great!

I have always done her hair for cheer, except now she is so tall I need her to sit in a folding chair in the bathroom. She does her own make-up now, and likes to make sure there is some sparkle to it that the lights of the football field will pick up.  When the cheer team takes a water break, or has a break after their half-time routine I’m lucky to get a brief kiss in passing, because she has so many people to talk with.  That’s okay, because I’m just happy to be at the game to watch her cheer

She isn’t doing competitive cheer this year, due to my medical issues and her knee problem. She’s in a high level tumbling class once a week though, which she loves, and I’ll probably give in and let her take a 2nd one after the first of the year.  She comes home so happy, with such a big smile, ready to sit down and tell me all about the class and her accomplishments.  I look forward to that.

I tease Little One that she can’t go to the same university as Oldest One, that she has to live at home and go to the local university. She isn’t having any of it.  I told her to have fun in high school.  She can look forward to college, but she needs to live high school, and make good memories.  She can’t wait for her senior trip, and to start having the experiences she’s seen her big sister have.  I wouldn’t mind spending another hour with the 2nd grader who just finished her first cheer competition.

Love Doing Nothing

I had such a good weekend! It was the first weekend in months we had nothing scheduled, which was wonderful. And, the girls wanted to spend time with me, which was the best part of the weekend.

Saturday I slept in, and decided not to tackle household projects, but to relax and read. I finished a book and started another, and it was so relaxing. I haven’t been able to read more than a few pages the last month or so, and I can get cranky if I don’t get my reading time. I did get the laundry done, but that didn’t require too much effort.

Saturday I also watched Legally Blonde (again) with the girls. We love that movie, and of course it brought up other movies we needed to watch together if we all find ourselves with no plans on a Saturday afternoon again. Little One watched Netflix DVD’s with Husband and I Saturday night, which again is a treat, because she only gives a movie about ten minutes, and if she doesn’t like what she sees she leaves and goes to her room.

Husband spent Saturday working on the pergola he is building in the backyard. I’ve already claimed it for my outdoor place to read when it is done. Because he was outside all day Little One and I decided to get chicken and frozen veggies from the store for dinner, and she talked me into some French fries because “she had been craving them.” She was happy to have time alone with me to chat.

Sunday I spent the day doing the things I didn’t want to do Saturday. Oldest One did her nails in the living room and chatted with me while I was doing some of it, and then she asked if she could go to Wal-Mart with me. Wow! Oldest One came to my work Friday and we had lunch together, and it was a really good lunch and we talked. Yes, ice cream was involved. But it was nice that she wanted to do a Wal-Mart run with me, and she asked me to go shopping with her next week. I’m on a roll!

I have to mention that Sunday Husband put a new clock spring in Oldest One’s car, which required (at least from what I saw) taking the entire steering wheel column apart and putting it back together. Without the air bag going off. Husband is amazing, because he can pretty much fix whatever is going on with the cars, he builds or fixes or paints or whatever is needed for the house, and he even sews. Really. He is truly a keeper, and I am so lucky he wants to be with me, when I am not a good cook (I can bake, but cooking meals, not so much), I can’t sew, I can’t fix things, and I don’t like to paint. Oh, and he is also an amazing Dad!

Barbie Table Memories

It happened on Mother’s Day when Oldest One was about 5 and Little One was about 2.  The Barbie Table had been problematic for several days.  The Barbie Table came about as a way to keep all the wonderful rooms Barbie lives in (and that Mattel realized was a much better way to go then a simple townhouse that took up a corner) along with furniture and clothes in one place and somewhat organized.  It was still messy, but a contained messy.

Oldest One was in a non-sharing mood, and kept getting mad at Little One for wanting to play at the Barbie Table with her.  So, about a half hour before Mother’s Day dinner with my Mom and Dad, Oldest One lost it and yelled at her sister again, at which point Husband was done.  He went into the playroom with two large garbage bags, swept everything on the Barbie Table into the bags, and told Oldest One she had lost the Barbie stuff until she could share.  That caused a meltdown, and Oldest One went into her room to cry, with my Mom following her.

I had no problem with what Husband did, we had taken toys away for not sharing before, it was just the timing.  Right before dinner on Mother’s Day wasn’t the best timing, but really, with kids, is the timing ever good?  Oldest One calmed down, we had a nice dinner, and a few days later the Barbie Table was back.  My Mom had a completely different take on this.

My Mom called me the next day and gave me a lecture about my supporting Husband over the girls.  She informed me that I should never choose Husband over the girls, and the girls were always going to be in the right.  She proudly told me she never sided with my Dad when it came to my brothers and I, and that she always supported our views instead.  That explained a lot about my parents relationship.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that Husband and I always tried to back the other when it came to the girls, and that we felt working together was the best way, and we weren’t going to side against each other.  Harder to do sometimes as the girls have gotten older, but we still strive for that.

Fast forward to today, when my Mom’s Boyfriend (we’ll call him MB) didn’t like me, or Husband, or the girls, and my Mom never tried to defend me.  Apparently I remind him of his deceased daughter who he didn’t get along with.  Pretty hard to overcome that.  And the things my Mom began to tell me about myself, my life and my family weren’t nice.  What she told my brothers about me was awful.  Never once did I hear her say anything good about me, just the bad.  What happened to siding with the child?  Not that I agreed with that, but it would be nice to think that a guy who has known me less than a year would at least get chastised a little bit for being mean, rude, and just not a good person.

My Mom wants to act like none of this happened, but it did, and it really upset and hurt me.  I know she won’t be here forever, and I know at some point this needs to be resolved.  Oldest One is inviting her to the graduation.  Little One isn’t, but after how my Mom treated Little One’s Bat Mitzvah, and then forgot Little One’s birthday, well, it’s understandable.  But when I think of having a conversation with my Mom about all of this I just get so angry at how she treated me, and how it’s okay for MB to think and say bad things without anything being said to him about how he acts.  I also feel childish thinking and feeling this, but at the same time I just can’t get over it.

This is on my mind at some point every day.  I try not to let it be because I do get so upset, but my Mom and I used to talk every day, and she used to do a lot with us, and was a big part of our lives.  We haven’t seen her since September, we don’t talk anymore, and she has missed everything the girls are doing for over a year.  At my Dad’s funeral an old friend of my parents, whose wife had died many years before, was there with his daughter, who is my age.  My Mom later told me that he had remarried, but was divorced, and during his marriage his 2nd wife hadn’t wanted anything to do with his daughters, so he hadn’t seen them during the marriage, two or three years, and was just building a new realtionship with them and his grandchildren.  She thought that was awful of him, and that he should have stood up to his wife and not abandoned his girls.  Yeah, I think that too.

On Edge, But Not Yelling

One of the tactics I use for coping with a teenage daughter who is frustrating me is to remove myself from the situation.  I really, really don’t want to start yelling.  My parents both yelled a lot, and with cuss words, and used name calling and that is a path I don’t ever want to go down with my kids.  Yes, I’ve yelled, but I haven’t called them names, or used cuss words to tell them what I thought of them.  That isn’t the kind of parent I want to be.

Yesterday I took Oldest One to get vaccinations for her trip out of the country this summer, and to get the college vaccination sheet signed saying she had all the required vaccinations.  I was chatting with her in the waiting room – well, trying to – about upcoming activities.  Out of nowhere she gets an attitude, and starts in on something that surprised me, and she wasn’t very nice about it.  I tried to answer nicely, but she set me on edge.  We were sitting in chairs next to each other with our arms touching, and at the point I was getting upset I moved my body away from her in the chair, and moved my arm away from hers.

I moved away without thinking, and what made me realize I had was Oldest One immediately looking at my arm after I moved it and suddenly backtracking on what she was saying.  At that point since I was irritated I think I answered “Okay” and then started reading a book on my Kindle through my phone.  I wasn’t trying to upset her more; I was trying to get myself away from being angry.  About a minute later she was leaning towards me and had her arm on mine.

Later in the evening Oldest One, who was now in a good mood after cheer practice and because she and her friends were going to hang out during the week since it is spring break, asked me for money.  She uses The Bank of Mom & Dad.  I looked at her and half-jokingly/half seriously commented on if she deserved money to go out after being rude and not nice in the waiting room.  I was going to give her the money, I just wanted to see what she said.  She said she was frustrated and apologized, and looked like a deer in the headlights.

When I am fairly calm and tell Oldest One that her behavior is not appreciated, and that she is being rude, not nice, and not showing respect I seem to get through to her.  I’ve only done this a few times, and usually after I’ve had several days of behavior I don’t like.  Recently Oldest One and Husband had a clash, and a few days later her club cheer coach told me Oldest One had told the coaches about it, and they had told her she needed to change her attitude and get a respectful tone and recognize all we do for her.  Go coaches!

I am not a perfect parent, but I try my best to be a good one.  I know Oldest One does love and appreciate all that is done for her, but she gets lost in the teenage world view, which is limited and small, and often shows the opposite.  I can’t always talk to her and get through, but I know that if I keep trying and don’t yell there will be a point where she will want to talk, and I’ll be available, and we will bond over ice cream.

Change of Heart on Cheering

Yesterday after I got home from work, but before the girls left for club cheer practice Little One and I had time to chat.  It’s their spring break, so she slept in, and cleaned my bathroom.  I gave her a list of cleaning and told her I’d pay her, cash or nail supplies her choice, if she did them.  Lovely child that she is my bathroom was tackled first.  It sparkled she had cleaned it so well.

The conversation got around to club cheer as it does so often right now, and she told me she thinks she will stay in club cheer next year, and with school cheer too.  She thinks she would be unhappy and miss competing if she gives it up after six years.  She has been talking with her coach, and she might go down a level to be able to do tumbling passes again while working on what she needs to be on the high level team and be a tumbler.

I am not surprised at this change of heart, and Husband isn’t either (although he was pretty happy at the thought of not doing cheer competitions next year).  I think this shows good reason for sticking to our rule of making them follow through on commitments.  If I had let her stop a month ago she’d be miserable with the decision she had made, which would have made life miserable.  A pouty, cranky teenage girl isn’t good for anyone.

Doing competitive cheer has been a very positive experience for the girls, and although a break would have been nice, I think she is making the right decision.  Granted, I am the chauffer next year, so it means a lot of driving again, but nothing I haven’t done before.  She has learned a lot of skills being part of a team at our gym, and I know continuing on for another four years will make her a stronger person better able to cope with what life throws at her.  If you can figure out how to get along with the snarky girls on the team, and avoid the drama mama’s you can pretty much handle it all.

It doesn’t mean she won’t cry at things, because she will, a lot.  She’ll still have to figure out how to navigate all the girl problems in high school, because no matter what high school a person goes to, there is always some sort of drama with girls.  But it will help her continue to learn how to stand up for herself, and to say no, and to take a stand on what is important.  I have watched Oldest One become a leader, a lot of it due to being in the cheer world, and I know Little One is going to evolve down that path too.  Plus, the gym is family to her, and she would hate to give up a part of her family that has been there so long.

So next year will be another year of running to various back-to-back cheer practices,  watching Little One cheering at school sporting events, going to competitions in and out of state, and making everything work when there are multiple commitments all happening the same day around the same time.  It sounds perfect, and I am up for the fun!

What are Designer’s Thinking?

Prom dress shopping ended without a dress, and with my friend and me wondering who is designing these dresses for teenage girls.  I’m okay with short skirts and short shorts (as long as the rear end is covered when bending over), and I was once known for the short skirts I wore.  As a student employee I had a skirt or two I was asked to not wear to the office again.  But compared to the prom dresses I saw I was dressed for a convent.

The worst ones were two piece outfits; a long skirt, and then a top the size of a sports bra covered in sequins.  It looked terrible on the hanger, and I can’t imagine it actually looked good on anyone.  Not what I want to see any teenage girl wearing at prom.  Then there was the dress Oldest One tried on that was quite deceptive on the hanger.  It was so low in back underwear couldn’t be worn, and the cutouts were so deep the front was compromised.  I’m okay with a low back, but I would like her to be able to wear underwear without it being seen.  And I want her front covered.

Do these designers think us parents want to put our daughter’s in these dresses?  I saw dresses where the material was in strips on the top, so skin showed on the top and there was no back.  Or the dresses that have the see through material on top; it doesn’t look good on a wedding dress and it sure doesn’t look good or appropriate on a prom dress.  I have an idea where the designer’s heads were when they designed these dresses, and it’s too bad that this is what they think a prom dress should look like.

We didn’t see any girls trying the inappropriate dresses on, but we didn’t see anyone without a parent either.  It isn’t like these dresses are affordable, because some of them were in the $300 range, which was well outside of what I was willing to pay for a dress that had all the material.  I understand why many schools ban certain types of prom dresses these days.

I know, I sound really old, but these dresses were just so awful and inappropriate.  I don’t want a picture of my daughter I wouldn’t want to put out because of what she is(n’t) wearing.  Her taste might be different than mine, but last year she chose a very classic and elegant look, which the dresses with low backs and barely there fronts will never have.  I think designers need to quite trying to be cutting edge (or their idea of it) with prom dresses, and keep to the cute and the classic.

Prom Dress Search, The Sequal

Saturday is prom dress shopping for Oldest One.  Two of her good friends are going, and one of my good friends is coming along.  Little One opted to stay home and babysit my friend’s son.  That says a lot about what the experience was like last year, since Little One usually loves to come along.

Last year Oldest One decided to go to prom shortly before it happened.  I figured we wouldn’t have any problems finding a dress, and since we were already going shopping to get two dresses for Little One for her Bat Mitzvah I thought it would be easy.  I was so wrong.  We found Little One’s two dresses fairly quickly.  Oldest One was more difficult.

We started out at the mall, where we had 3 department stores, plus some of the smaller stores that were carrying prom dresses.  Everything Oldest One tried on looked great, and she didn’t like any of it.  So we went to David’s Bridal, where she tried on more dresses that were lovely on her that she said she wouldn’t wear.  From there we went to a mall nowhere near where we live, but that had several stores our mall didn’t.  More dresses tried, more dresses found lacking.  We went to another mall, no luck.  I’m getting tired, she is getting frustrated, and we are a week and a half out from prom.  So we go to one of the oldest and biggest bridal stores in our town on a Saturday morning with my friend and her son, with Oldest One sick, to hopefully find the dress. Which we did!

The dress cost a lot more than I wanted to spend, even though it was half off, but at that point I didn’t care because We Had Found A Dress!!!  We took the dress to her friend’s Mom, who took it in and added a slit in the side (it was a long dress).  She couldn’t find shoes she liked, which was another round of shopping, so she wore a pair she owned that matched beautifully.  She went on her own to buy the jewelry, and when it came time to leave for prom she looked stunning.

This year we are starting earlier, and she has done some research on the internet so she has a couple of styles in mind.  Long and strapless, which is what looks best on her.  She is too tall for the shorter, fuller skirted styles.  Our plan is to start at the mall, hit all the stores there, and if nothing is found (and I am so hopeful it will be found at the mall) we will go to David’s Bridal.  If nothing is found there, then we have to go another day to another place.  I promised her we would get ice cream in between stores at the mall to keep all of us going.

I didn’t go to prom (I had a date my senior year, but he ended up in jail; I didn’t go to prom and didn’t see him again) so I really want to make prom special for the girls.  Oldest one will get a manicure and pedicure and have her hair done, and my friend will do make-up.  She gets to stay out past curfew with her friends.  Little One will get the same treatment when it is her turn.  As long as I survive finding a dress this year I’m sure the rest will be smooth sailing.

I Didn’t Want to Call Mom

Yesterday was my Mom’s 83rd birthday.  This is the first year in a very long time that I haven’t celebrated with her.  I did call her.  I called her not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.  For me this is an important distinction.  It wasn’t a long conversation, because I wasn’t up for it, and all it did was put me in a bad mood.

I thought about writing everything that happened to cause this situation, but that would be too long, and also upset me.  Basically, the way I see it (and I’m sure she sees it in a different way), moving in with her Boyfriend changed it all.  I encouraged her to move in with her Boyfriend, and thought it would be a good thing.  There is no way I could have known I remind Boyfriend of his deceased daughter who he had a bad relationship with, so he doesn’t like me, Husband or the girls.  My Mom told me as way of explanation for why we felt he didn’t want to be around us.  Nice.

So, it went from seeing my Mom every weekend, and having her do all sorts of things with us to only seeing her when she could convince Boyfriend to spend a few hours with us.  Then she started to berate me for perceived insults against Boyfriend, and was always mad at me, and made me feel that nothing I did or my family did was good enough, or right, or acceptable.

My Mom also called my brothers and told them a lot of nasty things about me trying to break up her relationship, and being mean…I’ll leave it at that, though she said much worse.  My brothers have been fairly cold to me, and one of them started to ream me out, except I pretty much hung up on him to stop it.  Plus I was crying.  I was worried about some things my Mom had mentioned about Boyfriend, such as it was a mistake to move in with him, and that he knew all her financial information and told her what she could spend money on.  My brothers blamed me for the problems, and said my Mom was happy and Boyfriend was great.  My brothers also live out of state and give my Mom a lot of phone advice, but never actually fly out to visit or help her.  That was left to me, so I have no idea what has been going on since I stopped talking to her in September.

When I called yesterday my Mom acted like nothing was wrong, and just wanted to get together because she misses me and the girls.  Mind you she hasn’t called, hasn’t apologized for saying some really nasty things, hasn’t apologized for ignoring the girls (she completely missed Little One’s birthday, which really made her sad), nothing.  Husband pointed out that is how my Mom is, but I can’t pretend nothing is wrong.  I can’t pretend that she pretty much ignored me when I was not able to get out of bed for a month, and instead of helping would call and yell at me because I wasn’t nice enough to Boyfriend.  When I needed her for support to get through a hard time she only made everything worse.  I know she is elderly, I know I am supposed to be better than this, but right now, I just don’t want to be around her.  I know I don’t want to do this to my girls, and I hope they never feel I let them down in the way I feel my Mom has let me down.

Husband was wonderful last night in helping to cheer me up, and didn’t say a word when my dinner was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and found Star Trek:  The Wrath of Khan for us to watch on TV (I am a huge Star Trek fan).  Then teenagers descended upon us (and the girls weren’t home from cheer practice yet) and that was the final piece that put me back into a good mood.  Something about the kids coming over, being comfortable at our house and eating everything in sight is just enjoyable.  It gets so loud I can’t hear anything, but the loud is laughter and happy talking, so I don’t need to really hear, I just smile at the chaos.  I’m not a perfect Mom, I don’t think there is such a thing, but I do my best, I love my girls, and I love the extra kids Husband and I have come to worry over and care about.  These are the people who make my life happy and extraordinary.