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.

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Sick Little One

My Little One is sick.  A cold, making her stuffy, sore throat probably from her nose draining, and she feels worn out.  This is a peppy teenager, very energetic, so when she just wants to lay on the couch with a blanket you know she feels lousy.

Of course she wouldn’t stay home from school yesterday, and today she has basketball games to cheer.  I’m giving her Dayquil, which is about all I can do from work with her at school.  She also doesn’t want to miss math class.  I give her points for not wanting to miss class or cheering the games.

After she went to bed last night she texted me (I was downstairs) and asked me to come up to her room, which I did.  She wanted to be hugged, and she wanted me to lay on the bed next to her for a few minutes.  This is a rarity, so I gladly hugged and kept her company.  I was actually a bit sad when she told me goodnight and gave me a kiss on the check, to let me know I could leave the room.

Both of the girls loved to cuddle when they were little, but of course grew out of it as they got older.  I’m only called Mommy now when they are sick, need help, or need money.  I understand, and actually I’d probably feel weird if they called me Mommy at a school event because that isn’t who they are.

So, even though I dislike Little One is sick, I admit it is nice to be needed, and for her to want hugs, and to want Mommy to take care of her.  By the end of the week she’ll be fine, and bouncing off the walls, and ready to go conquer the world.  And for me to drive her around to conquer the world!

Enjoying My Little One

I had a 3 day weekend, which was great.  What was even better was how much time I got to spend with Little One.  She is at that moody, sometimes unpredictable teenage girl stage (only moody with Husband and me, of course), so I’m never sure what to expect.  I know she’ll come out of it, but she started two years earlier than Oldest One…does that mean she’ll get out of it sooner?

Friday I went right from work to watch her cheer at first a Varsity girls basketball game, and then at the Varsity boys basketball game.  Fun, but exhausting.  I love to watch her cheer; she completely lights up and you can hear her loud voice over any yelling crowd.  Then we got to eat dinner at 10p at night while watching TV together.  All in all a very good day.

Saturday I took her shopping.  Again, I never know what to expect, but we had a lot of fun together.  She needed some new tops, some yoga pants for cheer practice, and some jeans.  We went to four places, and we stopped for ice cream.  We chatted, we were silly, and we just had a great time being together.  She even called her big sister to tell her how much fun she had.  I love the times when we are just together and bonding, so Saturday was an awesome day.

My Little One is growing way too fast.  I knew she would, but it was easier watching this happen with Oldest One, because Little One was still little.  Now I know this is it, and once she leaves for college my babies aren’t babies anymore.  They will still need Husband and me, and they will still will want to come home, but they are on the path to their lives.  It’s good, because that is what you hope to raise your kids to do, become independent adults.  But it’s staring me in the face, and as I’ve said before, I’m so not ready.  I doubt in three and a half years I’ll be ready.

So I actually try to enjoy the moodiness, the eye rolls, and the impatience with parents who aren’t too bright.  Because it will be gone all too soon, and although it is nice when they realize you do know things, it also means they are away at college and need advice.  I try to embrace her messiness (and she is one incredibly messy kid; I don’t know how she does it!) as much as I embrace her silliness.  I’m just trying to enjoy it all, because by tomorrow I’ll be driving her to college.  Which, again, is a good thing.  But I’m just not going to be ready for this, ever.

Teenage Tears

Lately it seems we don’t have a day without a teenage girl crying in the house.  It’s crazy, but I can’t remember the last cry free day we had.  Little One is at that stage where anything can set her off at any time with no warning.  I think Older One is, as she gets closer to leaving, feeling both the excitement and the scariness of living away from us.

Husband is not fond of the crying.  He wants to figure out the problem, give a solution, and have it done.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.  The girls might just be having an emotional minute and no amount of problem solving is going to help.  They could be crying because of us, so we can’t offer a solution (some days saying no is a lot harder than others).  Sometimes they don’t even know why they are crying, they just are.

As a teenager I wasn’t known for crying; I was known for never crying.  Looking back that was just weird.  What teenage girl doesn’t cry when a boy hurts her feelings or her parents yell at her?  Me.  My friends would comment on it, and how I never cried, but also how I was never serious and always joking.  I cried for about three minutes the night we graduated, and that was it.  Obviously it was my way of coping, not crying, and also just shoving things away that might bother me.

I do cry these days, which is probably a lot better for me.  I can also shove things away (like my Mom situation) but I usually try to face and talk about issues.  I can be serious, and am actually too serious sometimes.  I still deflect with jokes, especially at work, but I usually do it in situations where keeping it light is the better way to go.

Little One wants to be hugged when she is upset and crying, and Oldest One just wants to be left alone.  So we do both.  And offer ice cream for the harder situations.  Or French fries.  Or both, because nothing helps with crying like ice cream and French fries.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what will help the girls, but I’ve found giving hugs and letting them know they are loved is never wrong.

The One with the Louder Yell

Last week I learned that even though I say No a lot to the girls, they are actually more concerned with upsetting Husband than they are with getting me worked up.  His voice is louder (of course!) and I guess his stern tone is just far more forbidding than mine is.

I’ve known for a while the girls don’t think I’m as stern, although they do say I have an “angry walk” and if they see me doing it they leave me alone.  Doesn’t that sound intimidating, an angry walk.  I don’t feel I’m a total pushover, and Husband has been known to give an okay to things I’m iffy on.  On Halloween I said No to Oldest One staying out all night at a bonfire and missing school the next day even though “all the kids would be there.”  I did ask who all the kids were, and got the answer I wouldn’t know any of them.  That made it better, hanging out with a bunch of teenagers I had never met.  She had friends over to watch horror movies and was in school on November 1st.

So last week was a cookie baking and poster making week as senior athletes were being recognized, and cheerleaders were giving them goodies.  At least mine were.  Oldest One got home from club cheer practice after 9p (she had to stop at the store for candy to hand out) and let us know she was making and icing sugar cookies.  Of course, because I wanted to go to bed.  Oh, and she was making several amazing posters, one of which Little One needed to work on because it was for her basketball player.  Oldest One needed my help writing numbers on the cookies, so I told her to just wake me up and I would go downstairs, write numbers, then go up and go back to sleep.  She said No, never mind, she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell.  What?  I asked if she was worried about me getting mad, and she said no, I’d only get mad if she got sick (I had said staying up all night for several days doing all this stuff was a great way to get run down and to get sick).  I said that I’d never gotten mad at her for getting sick, and she said, “See!? Exactly!” which did make sense if you look at it from a teenage view.

Then I got upstairs and Little One was melting down because she didn’t know what to do for the poster.  I had just traced out part of it in pencil, so I said I’d go help her and then go to bed.  She didn’t want me to because she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell that she wasn’t letting me go to bed.  Again, What?  I convinced her nobody would yell, we went down, and I helped her get the poster started, and went upstairs to get ready for bed, and to complain to Husband that it wasn’t for my welfare the girls weren’t willing to bother me, but because they didn’t want to make him mad and have him yell.

He thought that was really funny.  Mainly because I come from a family of people who yell to communicate, and it took me several years to learn not to yell, but if anyone is going to crack and yell it would be me.  He also thought it was funny the girls weren’t worried about me not getting enough sleep and having to work, or anything along the lines of making my life more difficult, it was all about not upsetting Dad.

So what I get from this is I need to learn how to be louder than Husband, and sound more threatening too.  An angry walk just isn’t enough; I need something extra that makes it bad to upset me.  Realistically, who am I kidding?  I like being needed to help with their things, and I’ll drag myself downstairs and complain about losing sleep while happily helping with whatever they are doing.  I enjoy those small bonding moments, and I like to see the girls doing nice things for others and not expecting anything in return.  Oldest One also sets cookies aside just for me, so really, I can’t complain too loudly or I might not get the cookies.

Ahh, College

Going through the college process with Oldest One brings back memories, and definitely has provided some interesting moments of how the teenage mind works.

Oldest One will be attending the university I started out at. The processes were completely different back when I was about to be a college freshman, and there is no comparison to how it is done now. But it is still bringing back memories of my excitement, and how ready I was to leave home and be on my own. Not that I was truly on my own, I just didn’t know it. Oldest One loves to tell us she is almost an adult, and gets quite miffed when I respond that it is due to Husband and me providing the money for her to be there that it is happening.

Oldest Ones best friend was not able to get into the same dorm because she was doing everything a month later than Oldest One had. So she was trying to convince Oldest One to move dorms. We looked at six or seven dorms during our visit last year, and there was one dorm that stood out that Oldest One loved. It is across the street from the rec center, there is a university store within walking distance, and it is at a good place on campus to access the student union, library and most classrooms. Luckily the housing website has pictures and video tours of all the dorms, so before any changes were made I suggested we look at those. We looked at my old dorm, and wow, as much as it has changed a lot was still the same.

The showers looked exactly the same, down to the white shower curtains across each one. The closet and dresser in each room were the same. The beds were new, and much nicer, and there is a separate desk for each person. When I was there my roommate and I had a huge table with a chair on each side and that was our desk, our refrigerator was under the table, and it was also a catch-all for stuff. The night the table came off the wall and fell on me we discovered someone had written “beware of the killer desk” on the bottom.

Oldest One stayed with her original dorm choice, and now needs to do roommate matching. I was supposed to room with a good friend who ended up not going to the university at the last minute. So I was put with someone who hadn’t requested a specific roommate. She was fine, but her boyfriend wasn’t, and when I walked into the room one night and found him going through my underwear drawer I was done (the last of many wrong acts on his part) and requested a new room with a new roommate. The new person didn’t have anyone who wanted anything to do with my underwear. So I hope the roommate matching system, which works with Facebook, is good. She’ll answer questions and then be matched with other people looking for roommates and they can find out about each other, message, and decide if they want to room together. If she matches with more than one person she gets a list of people. Almost like looking for a date, only if you don’t like this person after a couple of days you are probably stuck for a while.

One of the best parts has been applying for scholarships. I didn’t have any scholarships and nobody ever suggested I apply for any. My student loans will be paid off after my house is. So Oldest One is being seriously nagged about applying for scholarships. She is doing them now in her senior year, but after all I’ve learned Little One will start applying for them in her sophomore year. Oldest One is trying to find and apply for anything she qualifies for. I was so happy when she started asking me questions to help her determine what she could apply for, and to help answer questions for specific scholarships. I did have to point out that she shouldn’t mark that she is active military, but that she is the dependent of a veteran. And unfortunately nobody in any family is a licensed contractor, so that scholarship had to be skipped. We figured out that if we had been homeless, she had a kid, one of her parents was part of the LGBT community or any other number of categories she didn’t fit she would have a much easier time with the scholarships. Oh, and it would have helped if Husband and I didn’t have college educations. She was right, we didn’t plan well for the world of scholarships.

So as Oldest One gets ready to start making college memories I am remembering my college years. I had fun, it was a great learning experience for me, and I am so glad she gets to do this. I’m not looking forward to her being in a different city, because of how much I’ll miss her, but I was fine, and she will be just fine too.

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.