Solo Mama: Don’t ever do this…..

My daughter makes her mark on my world every day. Every single day. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she makes my head spin, she makes me clench my teeth and raises my blood pressure. Lately she has been on this “Momma, never do “X” because…” mission. To the point where I’ve had to start keeping a list of everything I should never do.

I’m not sure where this recent focus has come from. She has been watching a lot of YouTube lately, but from what I can see, she mostly watches a really upbeat cute blond girl with an Australian accent talk endlessly about DIY projects – how to make a cute and colorful stress ball out of a balloon and cornstarch that you can tie to your backpack with curling ribbon, how to create a bright and attractive pencil pouch so you can sneak candy into class, how to make a fake cactus out of painted rocks and a flower pot to decorate your room when you can’t keep plants alive. The list goes on and she always has ideas for DIY. I can’t keep up and it has started to become a source of stress due to all the random things I need to keep on hand. 😑

Anyway, I felt compelled to share my list to date of things I should never do. Maybe it will also help some of you who had ever planned to do some of the following things give them a second thought.

  1. Don’t ever build your tent by a pile of rocks beause a bunny could come and throw rocks on your tent.
  2. (For God) Don’t ever build a volcano next to where you think a street might be some day.
  3. Don’t ever put a string on a tree and hang on it because a bunny might come and cut the string and you will fall down.
  4. Don’t ever hide in a fire place.
  5. Don’t ever play hide and seek in a car. Once, a little kid did this when his mom was on a date and he was stuck in the engine for 30 years. He survived by drinking oil.
  6. Don’t make a store with lots of money otherwise no one will come there and you will be broke.
  7. Don’t ever try on anything if you don’t know what it is, you might turn into a mermaid.
  8. Never use berries as lipstick. They could be poisonous.
  9. Never leave the house and go anywhere without making sure your purse opens.
  10. Don’t eat random things. You might be killed by people who don’t like America.
  11. Always check the boxes in your mail. Read the tag first to make sure it’s not a bomb.

She makes me laugh ❤️

Play date (aka when a saint offers to host your children at her house for a few hours while you are at work)

What’s new this week? Well, my children had a play date with a family they have never visited before.

The mother picked them both up after school. Nerve wracking. What can my children do to embarrass themselves and me between 2:30 and 5:30 at a new family’s house? I was at work, holding my breath. At 4:30, I jumped out of my seat, packed up and flew out. I set my map and headed north.

How fancy will their house be? Will my children already have mentioned how much cleaner and bigger their house was than our house? I was sweating now. What is my daughter telling the mother? It was my son’s friend and my daughter was invited along, despite my warnings to the mother.

“She likes adult women. She thinks she’s a grown up too. She will talk your ear off. She might not say age-appropriate things. She likes painting. Give her some paints and some paper. She will leave you alone.”

The mom reassured me that it would be fine. She didn’t mind. I was pretty sure my daughter would be telling this mom a bunch of weird things about me and our family. Or asking her questions that were too personal.

To my relief, the strangest exchange was my daughter asking the mom if she was Jesus’ mother (they share the same name). Not bad. My daughter painted in the basement the whole time, churning out miniatures on small wooden panels. My son, along with his friend, were acting a bit like crazed maniacs when I arrived.

I immediately felt a mix of sympathy, admiration and gratefulness for this mom. She had taken on a huge risk, supervising these two squirrels, her older son, and Vincent Van Gogh junior, who might have very well cut off her own ear during the visit.

I am so thankful for people like this in my life. People who are willing, whether they realize it or not, to lend me a helping hand by welcoming my children into their home. ♥️

Was v Were

Was v were. I never thought I’d be THAT mom.

“Momma, I were at school yesterday and -” my daughter starts.

“Was. You was at school yesterday.” I’m such a jerk.

“You was not at school yesterday, I were.” Correct. I were not, you was.

“No, I WAS at school yesterday, NOT I were.” My final attempt at teaching good grammar.

Her, exasperated: “You was not at school, Momma! I were.”

Like a nightmare flashback of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” in the making. Where are the cameras? I’m being punked.

Keep in mind, my correcting her is VERY recent. I’ve listened to was/were reversals for months now.

“Momma, if Reiny and I was at school together, is it was or were?” We are on to something here. If I can’t communicate this concept, maybe with the help of a stuffed reindeer, we will be golden.

“Ahhh, yes. If there is more than one of you, it is were. If it’s just you, then it is was.” I am pleased she is making the plural form connection, which we’ve touched on a few times.

“Momma, where is Reiny?” Uh oh.

“She stepped out back to smoke a cigarette.” Me, trying to cover for the fact that I forgot Reiny at home when I came to pick up the kids. Along with their snack.

“Reiny doesn’t smoke.” Seriously? Then who is leaving their butts outside my back door?

“Then she is at driving lessons, with Alec.” I took at stab here. Last week, my daughter swore Reiny had enrolled in driver’s ed.

“Reiny hates Alec. He makes fun of her in ballet class. Plus she doesn’t drive, Momma.” This is all news to me. In fact: Newsflash. Reiny doesn’t smoke, drive or take ballet. And who is Alec? We don’t know a single person named Alec. Yet these are all things that YOU, child, have told me she is doing over the past week when I ask YOU where she is. I was just playing the game.

“Ok, baby. I have a confession. Reiny isn’t feeling well and she’s at home in my bed.” I come clean. Kind of.

“Did she throw up?”

Oh my goodness. Really?

“I don’t know baby. She were not throwing up when I left her this morning.” BAHAHAHAHA! So bad.

And now you know why I am rechecking my medications, giving up gluten, catching up on past church messages, listening to soothing classical Indian ragas and meditating like a boss. All in my free time.

I Can’t Keep Go-Gurt in Stock

“Maybe we should go shopping tonight,” my daughter suggested as we walked in the door after returning from the after school program.

“Why shopping? What do you think we need?” I asked.

“We are out of yogurt again,” was the reply.

“Well, it’s not my problem that you and your brother consumed 16 tubes of go-gurt since we went to the store LAST NIGHT!”

“That was 3 nights ago,” says brother.

We have problems with time tracking and targeted consumption at our house. I can’t keep go-gurt in stock. Sour Patch Kids Go-Gurt flies off my refrigerator shelves like box fans at Walmart in August.

These kids get so pinpoint focused on one type of snack or food and then you can’t keep enough of it at home. I like diversity. It’s the key to a good life. With food and my kids however, the name of the game is sameness.

What’s for dinner this week?

Pancakes and sausage. We must eat this every night. If the kids come home and momma’s mixed it up with hamburgers and French fries, all hell breaks loose. This was pancakes and sausage week.

“Momma, what do you have for a snack?”

“Graham crackers.”

“I hate graham crackers. I’ve hated graham crackers forever.”

No, in fact, you haven’t. I thought we were still on graham cracker for snack week. It appears we transitioned to yogurt smoothies week and I didn’t get the memo. The kids only drink yogurt smoothies now. Graham crackers are passé. Hated even.

“Momma, can we have dinosaur chicken nuggets for dinner this week?”

Shocked. “I thought you hated those?”

Look of mild confusion on son’s face.

“No? When did I say that?”

Hm. Ok. It’s dinosaur nuggets and tater tots week. Search back of freezer for dinosaur nuggets to see if they have expired since the kids’ last love affair with dinosaur nuggets.

My freezer is full of once-loved food items, just waiting, like sad, worn toys, to be loved again by my children. Sometimes when I see expiration dates approaching, I will say at dinner time (over pancakes and sausage):

“Hey, remember those turkey meatballs that we loved to eat every night last March? Wouldn’t it be great to have those again?”

Blank stares on children’s faces.

Sigh. Looks like that bag of meatballs won’t be making a comeback before its time is up…

Swimming: “F*cking Sh*t” Momma

I came up out of the water and wiped my eyes off so I could scan the pool. Treading water in the deep end of the rec center pool, I tried to locate my daughter as the waves grew larger. Kids on inner tubes bounced above increasingly larger mountains of water created by the pool’s wave system. It took me a minute to locate her in the shallow end of the pool, bobbing crazily in a red life jacket, her head poking out above a clear, over-inflated inner tube. Our eyes met.

“Fucking shit,” her sweet little mouth formed the words as she glared at me.

Not the last time I would hear those words over the course of the two hours we were at the pool. They have become my daughter’s new favorite way to irk me when I’m not doing what she wants me to do. I’ve discovered that the only ways to reduce her use of these new words is to surprise her with random outbursts of the words in conversation and ignore her when she uses the words. Slowly, their attractiveness as one more way of naughty-making is becoming less appealing.

“Hey Momma! If you don’t come over here and carry me, I’m going to say F-u-c-k,” she announced from the pool stairs.

I swam small laps, as some strange little 6-year old sat on the pool stairs repeating “fuck” over and over. Whose child was that? What a weirdo.

Eventually, the cursing died down and I swam over to her. She hopped on my back and we floated around together. “Momma, I love you more than anything in the world,” she whispered in my ear.

Sigh…

The iPhone Police: Quinquagenarian v. Teenage Son

How many government workers does it take to figure out how to restrict a teenager’s access on their iPhone?

I know, a new version of an old joke. I’m so scared to become a parent of a teenager. Only 6 more years. Six more years until I will live in even more of a hyper state of hyper-vigilance. This is how the conversation went this morning between me and my co-worker about policing teen iPhones.

TP (Teen Parent, or Toilet Paper, which is what he really is right now to his seriously tech advantaged son): “I need to delete Instagram and Snapchat from my son’s phone. How do I do that?”

Me: “Hold the home button until the icons shake. There will be little X’s in the corner of each one? Press the X.” (Because at 5 years younger, I have a serious leg up on his tech skills and I know the terminology, like “icons” and “shake”).

TP: “The shortcuts are gone. But they are in his apps. Damn it. I told him to disable his password in the car today and he took his phone and he only had it for like 10 seconds and he was like this.” TP re-enacts son speed typing across the phone and hitting “send” 40 times in under 5 seconds.

Me: “Did you Google it? Google it. That’s what I always do. I don’t know what I did before Google.”

TP: “Yes, I googled it, I can’t find anything.”

Huge sigh from me. These seniors need so much help with their phones. “Ok. Give me a minute, I’ll go look it up.”

I find the information I need back in my office and call him at his desk.

Me: “Come down here. I have an answer for you.”

TP makes his way down to my office after a 60-second debate about why I just can’t go back to his office (we are literally 10 steps away from each other).

I read the instructions off my monitor about how to delete apps from his settings on the phone. He starts reading off apps as he begins deleting the obvious culprits: Instagram and SnapChat.

TP: “What’s Yellow?”

I quickly do a search on Google.

Me: “Looks like it’s the new Tinder for teens.” Scanning and reading aloud headlines about police and parent concern over Yellow, which has taken over every American teenager’s phone. My coworker breaks into a sweat and utters some words that I don’t like to print in my blog.

TP: “What’s Find My Friends?”

Me: “Oh, it’s just a standard iPhone app I think. I don’t use it. Whenever I turn it on, the only person I can find is XXXXX.” Insert name of another coworker who is seriously the only friend I can ever find with the app.

TP: “Ok. So those are all gone. I can give him access to Safari, right? I mean, that’s ok.”

I am starting to get lightheaded with all my tech expertise. What can I mooch from this guy? He really needs my help.

Me: “Wellllll……no. It’s not ok. I mean, all he has to do is go to the homepage of all of those sites and he can log in to them through Safari.”

TP: “I need to restrict access to those sites?” He is tentative, concerned, wide-eyed. Maybe he can buy me coffees for a week in exchange for helping him create a firewall between his son and the outside world. Did I use firewall correctly in that sentence, I wonder as I write this.

Me: “Yes. You will need to do that.” More Googling and giving him the URLs so he can block the sites from his son.

About ten minutes later, TP finally leaves my office, feeling a smug satisfaction, that he, along with the help of his much younger, more attractive and tech savvy coworker, has outfoxed his son this round. To be continued……..

Can He Be Our Dad?

We were headed off to the Dinosaur exhibit at the zoo last night, meeting a coworker and his wife and son. I received a text from him saying they were running about half hour late, so we stopped at a BBQ restaurant not far from the zoo. After a failed dinner – my kids ONLY eat hamburgers and french fries and tender shredded meat covered in tangy sweet BBQ sauce is abhorrent to them – we hopped back in the car to head to the zoo.

As we were pulling out, my daughter noticed an older man, dressed head to toe in camouflage, surrounded by backpacks, with a long, gray beard and wraparound sunglasses.

My daughter says from the backseat, “Momma, can he be our dad?”

“Who? That man with the long beard?”

“Yes. He looks nice.”

My heart broke in two right then. Like it always does when I’m overwhelmed by the crushing “you are less than because you are a single mom and your kids will wind up wounded” feeling.

“Honey, I think he’s homeless.”

“Well, then we can bring him home. He can live with us. He can be our dad.”

That put the cherry on top of my already feeling insecure parenting sundae. At the zoo, she reveled in the attention of my male coworker, begging us to each hold each of her hands and “jump” her.

We have a good life. Sometimes things can eat at you though. I’m still working on my heart of steel.

neelah-boots

 

Thursday’s Tomfoolery

I happened to open my phone’s internet browser this afternoon. Titles of the opened windows follows below. Who opened all of these windows? Who has been on my phone? When did this happen? Where are my children right now?

The Biggest and Largest Spiders in the World

World’s Biggest Jumping Spider

14 World’s Largest Spiders – YouTube

19 Most Unusual Houses in the World – YouTube

Fattest People Ever on Earth – Top 20 Heaviest People

Largest Jigsaw Puzzle – Most Pieces

The biggest organism on Earth

The World’s Tallest Tree is Hiding Somewhere in California

THE WORLD’S LARGEST FRUIT

Largest Sticker – Guinness Book of World Records

Who built the first building ever on Earth?

Earth House – Wikipedia

Watch the Age of Earth Clip – How the Earth Was Made

Is this 179-Year-Old Indian the oldest man alive?

World’s Oldest Child – Top Documentary Films

WEIRDEST PLANETS discovered by NASA’s Kepler Satellite

The Surprising Benefits of Being (Slightly) Crazy

(Admittedly, the last title is a window I opened recently.)