bad day, children, motherhood, parenting

Mommed

I was having a moment.  I had been cruising through the week and then, I wasn’t.  Mad Dog has been gone for over a week and won’t get back for a few more days.

I have no reason to complain.  My boys are older and they are about a thousand percent easier to manage compared to when they were small.  We also do lots of fun stuff together like special dinners out and movie marathons.  It isn’t perfect but it works.

However, we all miss Mad Dog and after a while, this feeling of missing him creeps over us and then it’s harder to be our best selves.

Yesterday, as I tried to order Full Speed’s track uniform (yay! He made the track team!  So what if all he had to do was show up, basically, he made the team at ‘hello’, still….he made the commitment to be on a team…woo-hoo!), I lost it.  Why? Part of it was that it was about my one-hundredth action item of the day, and the other part was that Full Speed is one of the hardest kids in the world to find clothes that fit properly.  I can’t explain it but he always seems to fall in between regular sizing.  I had stared at the computer screen completely flummoxed as to what size to purchase when I finally pulled the trigger.  As I printed out the receipt I realized after all that agonizing, I had ordered the wrong size!  Yes, in the grand scheme of life it is no big deal, but it felt really big right then and I started to cry.

Full Speed came over to me, put his arm around my shoulders and said:

“It’s okay, Mom.  Everyone makes mistakes.  I just appreciate you buying the uniform for me.  I know you miss, Dad, too.  Because you miss him that’s probably really why you are upset. I understand.”

I had to admit, the kid made some good points.

Then, it dawned on me…I got ‘mommed’.

He basically said every exact thing I would say to him if the tables were turned.

I’m grateful he had the empathy to comfort me.  Nice that some of what I say to him sticks.

Today was better.

Here I will share a photographic art installation which symbolizes how well I am managing.

Thankfully, Little Guy waived all modeling fees.

family, humor, motherhood

Democracy in Action

Every family has a structure of ‘power’ so to speak.  It’s a dance between allowing everyone to have their say and getting individual needs met.  Let’s say you are on a 15 hour road trip one way (true story), and it comes time to decide where and when you might make a pit stop.  Each member of the family is allowed input and then a family vote is taken.

Voting System Breakdown

(should be noted this is Mad Dog’s creation):

As an adult and as a child over the age of twelve, myself and Full Speed are afforded one vote respectively.

Full Speed = 1

Mom = 1

Got it so far?  It seems straightforward but gets infinitely more complex as the process continues.

T.Puzzle gets a half vote since he is under twelve.  However, if he agrees with Mad Dog he gets a full vote.

T.Puzzle = 1/2 vote, bumps to 1 vote when he aligns with Mad Dog.

Mad Dog gets three votes.

Mad Dog = 3 votes

Yes, you read that right… three votes!

In the rare event that T.Puzzle’s half vote slips under the radar and a tie ensues, Mad Dog automatically becomes the tiebreaker.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

-Sun Tzu

Game over, Mad Dog.

Game over.

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We all voted and yes, Mad Dog makes us laugh… a lot!
humor, motherhood

How Do You Spell Amazing? (Part Two)

Towards the end of last year, I shared with you my elite status as a spelling bee prep consultant (How Do You Spell Amazing)? There are many things one must do in order to get their clients in fighting form.  In addition to being able to read a list of words out loud (gasp!), it is paramount as a consultant to live a varied and rich life.  Through your life adventures, it will help expose your clients to words that may have otherwise slipped past them.

Well over a decade ago I must have had a premonition that I would need to grow the vocabulary of my life to further the academic excellence of my children.  When Full Speed was 8 months old, Mad Dog and I had our first weekend away.  As a mom who struggled with the all-consuming role of caring for an infant, this weekend was a revelation.  Simply walking down a hall unencumbered felt foreign and liberating.  Getting a chance to eat a meal and engage in an actual conversation warmed the depths of my soul.  During this outing, Mad Dog and I also spent some time at our resort’s bar.  Having recently stopped breastfeeding, I was happily free to indulge in a glass of wine.  I’m not sure if it was the headiness of my new-found (and short-lived) freedom, but that first glass of wine there was transcendent. To this day, I wonder if it actually is as good as I think, or if it simply reminds me of that formative slice in time of being footloose and kid-free.  You may wonder where I’m going with this, but you’ll see how it plays out later.

As I continued raising my little family and expanding all of our horizons and vocabulary, I came into my own as a spelling bee prep consultant.  The result was Full Speed’s exciting win as a fifth grader and lo and behold, T.Puzzle followed exactly the same path!

So, there I was in the audience, watching my handsome and brave T.Puzzle compete in his school’s spelling bee.  Each time it was his turn, I couldn’t even watch him.  I stared at the paper list of contestants held tightly in my hands.  I proceeded to crumple that paper to shreds as I locked it in a death grip.

The first rounds were easy for the most part, but soon the words took a complicated turn.  He hung in there round after round.  Then, he got to the word:

CONUNDRUM

Immediately, I relaxed my hands and shot my mother-in-law a huge grin.  I knew my baby had it.  It wasn’t for the win but I rest assured that he was safe for another round.

‘Conundrum’ happens to be the name of the very wine I drank all those years ago.  It remains one of my favorites and has graced our table, our fridge and my outstretched hand on many occasions.

He spelled it without an ounce of hesitation.

As a mom, I pledge to do whatever it takes to help my children succeed.

 

I’m good like that.

Cheers!

Full Speed and Mad Dog took a half day to cheer T.Puzzle onto victory. A great day for all of us. Way to go, T.Puzzle!

 

 

 

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood

How Do You Spell Amazing?

As a mom I wear many hats.  Personally, my favorite is a Cubs baseball cap, but here are a few others that I inhabit:

– Chinese leftover reheater

-Dog walker and trainer (the latter may be easily disproved in a court of law or more likely, upon meeting our wildly energetic adopted dog, let’s just say, girl gets by on her looks…a lot).

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-Extremely empathetic validator of the universe’s feelings

-Housekeeper

-Wife extraordinaire

-Friend, mother, writer, sister ….and the list goes on and on.

Now the hat that many don’t know about and that I keep a closely guarded secret is…

-Spelling bee prep consultant

I have a track record of helping one young man place second in the whole county….

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Cool trophy, right?

Anyway, given my illustrious track record, it only makes sense now that this young man’s  brother is going to compete at his school’s spelling bee, he would reach out to an elite spelling instructor such as myself.  So, that’s where we are at.  I am now helping T.Puzzle prepare for his grade school spelling bee.  Truly, the only special skills I am bringing to the table are the ability to read words from a list (out loud, no less!) and patience.  I don’t mind the sometimes repetitive process as long as my spelling padawan is focused.  So far, T.Puzzle has that in spades.  Here is a recent example of the elite-type of training that I offer.

Me: “Icelandic”

T.Puzzle: “I-C-E-L-A-N-D-I-C”

Me: “Correct” (as in, he is correct, not please spell correct, I think you get the idea, so let’s move on to a word in which more elite spelling instructing is needed for clarification)

Me: “Pesky”

T.Puzzle:  “Use it in a sentence, please.” (he didn’t really say please, I just added it in for my own creative spin as moms-who-love-manners are wont to do)

Me: “Little brothers are pesky to their older brothers.” (see what I did there?  I made it relatable to my subject…genius).

T.Puzzle:  “P-E-S-K-Y”

Me: “Correct”

Me: “Annoying”

T.Puzzle: “F-U-L-L  S-P-E-E-D”

Apparently, I have my work cut out for me.

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Good luck, T.Puzzle!

 

humor, motherhood

Statistically Speaking

67F4643C-77FD-4BA1-831C-FD5B7BFA9F5E.jpegIf you are ever in need of slowing down time, I have a dandy trick that works like a charm.  Simply watch your youngest child play goalie during a soccer play-off game.  Really, any old soccer game will do, the play-off part only makes it that much more excruciating to witness.  Trust me, you will marvel at the way time nearly halts as the minutes tick away until halftime.

It had been one of those seasons for T.Puzzle.  You know, the character building kind. The kind where losing by a large margin was commonplace and mettle was tested. It was a tough season to watch sometimes, but I loved that T.Puzzle never gave up.  He showed up for every game and practice with a good attitude and shook off the losses with ease.  When it came time for their single-elimination play-off game, he didn’t have a lot of confidence they would win (no one did), but he played his heart out.  They were matched against a team that had handily beat them 7-1 a few days prior.  So, what did coach do to shut them down?  He put my baby in at goalie.  I mean can you imagine?  Unfortunately, I understood.  T.Puzzle isn’t a perfect goalie but he will give it his all for however long you need him.  He goes where the coach tells him without complaint.  I love that about him.  As the first quarter unfolded, we miraculously took the lead.  As spectators we savored those few minutes in which we were actually winning and grateful for such a competitive quarter of play. Eventually, the other team tied us and as the first water-break was called to order, the score remained 1-1.

Full Speed, always on fire with the sideline analysis, broke down the stats. Essentially, our opponents dominated in every possible statistic:  shots on goal, possession, passing completion.  You name it, they owned it.  However, after further scrutiny, there were two critical areas that no matter what the other team did, they could not touch us. First of all, we had the most players wearing headbands.  Ok, so it was only T.Puzzle but it’s a necessity to keep sweat from blurring his rec-specs’ field of vision. Secondly, whenever T.Puzzle was back in goal, we dominated on the goalie with the best dimples.  T.Puzzle’s dimples are extraordinary.  Take that other team!

As you can probably guess, no matter where T.Puzzle played or how hard his team tried, victory remained elusive.

Win, lose or draw I’ll always be there on the sidelines.

That’s a stat you can count on.