Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going mental

As a co-worker recently pointed out, being a parent of little kids is a physical game. But being a parent of teenagers is a mental game.
Don’t I know it. At one point, we  had three girls all under the age of 6. I’m still recovering from that parental triathlon. If you think one is hard, try three. As I tell people without kids, it’s not twice as much work to have two kids, or three times as much work to have three. It’s exponentially harder, like earthquakes.
I’m not even talking about childbirth. They give you drugs for that. They don’t give you drugs while you’re actually raising the kids. If it were that simple, I’d be ordering my daily epidural about 7:30 p.m. each night. I’d be feeling good, people. Homework, fighting, drama — nothing would bother me. Wake me up in the morning, I’m all good here.
And babies have crazy little internal alarm clocks. They don’t realize that the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. are meant for sleep, or at the very least, quiet time in a nice dark room. Nothing good ever happened at
2 a.m., and that includes a sleep-deprived mom stumbling to find the baby in the dark.
As parents of little kids, we end up chasing them around parks, parking lots, down the street and down sidewalks. When they’re tired, we pick them up.
We push them on swings, we lift them on our shoulders. We push them in strollers, carry them in backpacks and tote them on our hips. No wonder my pants were always baggy when our girls were younger. The kids were like my personal elliptical system. Have you ever noticed that moms with a baby usually have great-looking arms? That’s because she’s lifting that kid like a 20-pound barbell all day long.
Now that our kids are older, we’re not chasing them down anymore. We’re not picking them up. They’re teenagers. The game has changed and whoooheeee, it is so ON.
Your baby, who once ran to you after school, now runs from you once you get home — into her room, with the door shut.
And when they do come out, or deign to talk to you at all, it’s because they want something. It usually involves money or a ride somewhere. But don’t you dare try and figure out their plans. The life of a teenager is strictly on a need-to-know basis, and what that means to the teen is that you don’t need to know.
Luckily at our house, they haven’t figured out that mom and dad are outnumbered. If our three kids ever got their act together and decided to stage a revolution, we’d be out of luck. They could literally take over if they weren’t so insistent on sleeping in until all hours of the morning.
Teens are persistent little buggers. If you don’t give in to what they want the first time, watch out. They don’t like it when we say no. It’s like hearing something in a foreign language.
“Hmmmm,” thinks the teen. “That ‘no’ word sounds familiar, but if I just keep asking, surely I will get a different answer, and one that sounds more like ‘nnnnnyes.’”
Like some kind of hormonal interrogator, they want you to surrender, to give up. They want to break you, Marine-drill-sergeant-style. It is war, man, and you are the enemy. This makes for some very interesting family mealtimes. A simple request to pass the ketchup can lead to verbal atomic bombs, or at the very least, snarky comments about why that person even needs the condiment to begin with. The North and South Koreans probably get along better than our teenagers. At least they keep one eye on each other across the border. Ours avoid eye contact most of the time.
Give a teenager an inch and they will take 100 miles. They will look for any “out” to whatever you have asked them to do. They will drag their heels, hide in the bathroom when it’s time to rake the leaves, and pretend like they didn’t hear you from 5 feet away.
But of course, we parents can’t give up. No matter how many times we say “no,” or insist on knowing about their plans, or repeat the phrase “don’t talk to me that way,” we must say it again and again and again like some parental robot.
It’s a battle of the wills.
They won’t stop being teens. And I won’t stop being the mom. Get used to it, kids, because moms don’t lose.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who knew?

Annabelle's never been in any kind of theater production or play, but this past fall she signed up to do a comedy improv show at her high school. 

I was a little surprised about this.  I mean, she certainly doesn't spend her hours at home doing any kind of stand up routine or trying to make us laugh.
I had to wonder:
Would this be any good? 
Would she be any good?  
Would it be..... funny????

Luckily, the answer was YES. 
Here are pics from her first opening night.

Mom's brag post

Fair warning: this is post where I will brag about my kid. Now some of you might read this and think "borrrringgggg," and that might be true. But let's be honest. Every mom's own kid is the most interesting to her than any other mom's kid. It's just the way of the world.

It's a mom's prerogative to brag. I mean, as parents we must be hardwired to do it. It's some kind of biological thing. And if we didn't want to brag, wouldn't that mean something in itself? Like we didn't care enough?  So you've been given fair warning. I'm gonna brag. So here it goes:

Our oldest daughter got her first college acceptance! Acceptance! To COLLEGE! 
Woo hoooooooo.  Insert triple fist pump here!!! 

Now I know this is starting to happen to every senior in America. But this is the first time it has happened to US and boy is this exciting! 

Oldest Daughter has been accepted to Distinguished Art School in Oakland, Ca. Naturally, said Distinguished Art School is also Very Expensive. But fear not, she has been offered a merit scholarship to attend.  Insert quadruple fist pump here!!!  How cool is that????? 
Now it's not enough to pay for the whole thing, but boy, does it help. It brings the cost of attending down from Impossible to Slightly More Possible (with financial aid, cashing out of life insurance policies, student loans and one or more family member not eating for the next four years.)

We got the news on Friday afternoon and I have been in a daze ever since.

Next up: the all-important FAFSA.

To be continued....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Planet Claire predicts the Miss America 2012 top 10

Well readers, tonight is *the* night. America's newest Sweetheart is about to be crowned.
Here at Planet Claire we have concluded an exhausting, comprehensive, and completely unscientific study of who we believe will be the top contenders this evening in Viva Las Vegas. Here ya go:

Miss Hawaii (LOVE her jump rope performance for talent!)
Miss Oklahoma (Platform: Milk, It Really Does A Body Good! Love the "really")
Miss Wisconsin (won a preliminary night event for talent)
Miss New York (Career Ambition: To become a professional actress and entertainment producer)
Miss Texas (Just 20 years old)
Miss Utah (won a preliminary night event for swimsuit)
Miss Idaho (Career Ambition: To become a journalist for a women's health and fitness magazine. You go girl!)
Miss Kentucky (Scholastic Ambition: To obtain a law degree)
Miss California (it wouldn't be right to leave out our Miss Ca)
Miss Alabama (those southern girls always do well in pageants)

My top pick is Miss Hawaii. Check out how she "jumps" on her, ahem, tushie. I like her sparkly outfit and fancy jump rope that has glittered handles. Too cool!