The Mom Olympics

There is a lot of competition between us moms. Am I caring enough? Do I speak in sweet enough tones to my children? Do I discipline the “right” way? Do I never EVER put convenience above hygiene or general cleanliness? Am I making activities educational enough? Oh, that other kid knows his ABCs at 18 months, should mine too? The list is endless. Add snarky looks from other moms who OBVIOUSLY do it better than me and other moms who could OBVIOUSLY learn so much from me and my mommy-skillz and my self-esteem is always tip-toeing on the wall between the confidence of Kanye West and George-Michael Bluth.

My vote is that we stop this arbitrary and objective competition and hold one that matters for realsies and can actually be scored (preferably by someone holding big white signs with numbers 1-10 on them).

Enter the Mom Olympics.

image

We will have general areas of expertise with sub-events in each area. This is an Olympic year, after all. Let’s get in gear, Mama.

Hygiene

  •  Nail-cutting: Momletes would be judged on speed, overall precision, and ability to hold toddler still during event without clipping skin or using “scary mom voice.”
  • Diaper-changing: Momletes will be given a toddler with a dirty diaper who has been fed 3 pixie sticks and shown a light-up toy that is just out of reach and then evaluated on swiftness, ability to keep diaper pad clean, and least number of wet wipes used.
  • Bath-time: Momletes will be given two children ages two years apart to fully bathe while being scored on memory of and cleaning of all parts and crevices, creativity with bath toys, lack of actual or perceived soap-in-eyes, and least amount of body splashed.

Bedtime

  • Bedtime Story: Momletes will be judged on use of theatrical character voices, maintaining control of situation with tired, banshee children, and resistance to urge to suddenly shut the book mid-story and say “the end.”
  • Bedtime Ninja Crawl: Momletes will be given an only somewhat sleepy child and tasked with putting said child to bed, only to be asked by child to “lay down for a minute.” Momletes will then have to wait until child is asleep and then do her best stealthy escape without waking child up with movement, sound, light from outside of room, or annoying 6th sense of child.
  • Post-Bedtime Victory Dance: Momletes will be allowed to include a partner for this event, and will be scored on enthusiasm, overall choreography, creative inclusion of partner, with bonus points given if dance is continued all the way to the place where wine is kept.

Sickness

  • Nose-Sucking: Momletes will be evaluated on ability to hold down child while keeping his/her hands from swiping the bulb mid-suck and completing actual snot-extraction with only her two arms, and also instinctual knowledge of whether there is more gunk in child’s sinuses, paired with decision of whether or not it is worth it to retrieve said gunk or just call it a freaking day.
  • Comforting: Momletes  will be judged on use of soothing tones, creative use of unnecessary medical items (ie: bandaids) as a placebo effect to trick child, and resistance of using the phrase “suck it up” with over-dramatic children.
  • Immune System: Momletes will be scored on dodging of sneezes, coughs, and throw-up, remembering to take Vitamin C tablets (even though science has told us that this mostly does not work), and of course, sheer internal will to not get sick.

Communication and Media

  • Listening: Momletes will be paired with a 7-year-old who had an interesting day at school and then have to listen to the child turn a simple story into a 30-minute saga while being judged on head nodding, tracking sounds that make her seem interested, resistance to checking time or letting mind wander, and performance on detailed quiz at the end.
  • Deciphering Cries: Momletes will be played a series of cries, screams, and tantrums and tasked with deciding whether each one is a result of child letting go of a balloon or of breaking an actual bone.
  • Instagram: Momletes will be paired with a toddler who couldn’t care less about being photographed and then scored on ability to use creative lighting, difficult positions, and non-cooperative child to create the best photo shoot with the wittiest caption.

Being in Public

  • Grocery Store: Momletes will be given 3 children and an extensive shopping list and then evaluated on tantrum policing, control of situation on cereal and snack aisles, and will-power to not abandon cart and carry all children football-style to car.
  • Other Children: Momletes will be paired with a child in dire need of a nap and placed in a dentist office waiting room with badly behaved children whose mother is at the point of waving a white flag and doing nothing to control them. Momletes will then be judged on ability keep child from also turning into a monster and resistance to crazy-eyes.
  • Mall-Escape: Momletes will be placed in a crowded shopping mall and paired with a child who has been told “no” multiple times when he or she requested to purchase wildly unnecessary items. Momletes will then be scored on attempts to keep child’s spirits up, followed by ability to stop child from laying down in the middle of the mall while throwing a tantrum, and finally, discretion on best timing to airlift child and take situation to restroom or vehicle.

Playtime

  • Park: Momletes will be tasked with taking a child to the park and evaluated on ability to push child on swing with vague “correct” speed and height, coming up with new and convincing reasons why she cannot play tag beyond a quick 3-minute stint, and knowledge of when to put down phone and look attentive to child for the sake of other, judgy moms.
  • Arts and Crafts: Momletes will be given multiple children with varying personalities and tasked with casting their hands, putting together a gingerbread house, and supervising them playing with a bead set. Momletes will be judged on ability to pep-talk herself before activity begins, willingness to throw structure, order, and instructions out the window, and coming out of event without crazy-eyes or more than one child punished.
  • Make-Believe: Momletes will be scored on correct portrayal of character they barely remember from some children’s show, enthusiasm while being stabbed by fake sword, shot by fake gun, or otherwise slayed as a dragon, and ability to expertly repeat mildly decipherable line of dialog fed to her by child.

The award system will be tiered with:

Gold: Night in a hotel to yourself

Silver: Drinking an entire beverage while it is still hot

Bronze: Getting to pee alone

I really feel like this should be a thing. Can we get on this? 

What events am I missing? Lay ’em on me!

Love, Alex

Advertisements

The Epic Homework Battle of 2016…and 2015

DTS_Photography_Movie8

Like many kids who have come from the system, El Oso is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in stubbornness wrapped in self-esteem issues wrapped in a rabbit hole of baggage. We have been working with him on no short of 20 bazillion issues all at once. Ok fine, maybe a little short of that. I digress. It’s been rough, no surprises there. He has been improving on so much, though! He came to us with the maturity of maybe a 10 year old, and I’d say he’s up to 13ish now, which is huge! He’s getting better with his social cues, his knowledge and understanding of wrong and right, his acclimation into a normal family life in general, and a crap-ton of other things.

The big problem right now?

Schoolwork. AKA the bane of my existence.

It’s an interesting concept when I have to sympathize with my parents and all they had to deal with when raising me and/or my siblings…only 8 years after they were done doing it. It helps that they are still in the thick of the child-rearing with my sister, but still, it’s super weird to talk teenagers with them when I was one a mere 6 years ago.

We were/are brought up to believe that school was an important key to getting to our goals in life. We wouldn’t fathom not turning in homework or not studying when we needed to or not participating in class or any other things that we could control in regards to school without fear of lengthy lectures followed by some form of punishment. Ahem, discipline. Sure, I didn’t always study, but I didn’t always need to study, and I knew that and had the wherewithal to regulate and manage my own crap. My brother forgot to turn in homework all the time in high school and was usually punished for it. He is also smart enough to where he could literally be on his phone the entirety of a class period and then ace a test on what was covered. Stupid smarty pants. This is why he is in med school though. Glad one of us can buy that retirement beach house my parents have always dreamed of, I guess.

The point is, we had 14 full years of of parenting before we reached high school. My parents had 14 years to teach us how to be responsible and how to care about our grades and how to expect the best out of ourselves. We weren’t always perfect of course, believe me, (I once spent a good 2-3 solid months grounded. My siblings have been in similar predicaments, but they read this blog and one of them still cares about the world knowing this stuff. So if you want to private message me…just kidding) but it went a long way. So what do you do with a kid who has been told his whole life that trying in any capacity at all or that doing even a small amount of the work in any shape or form constitutes “him trying his very best?” My anger and frustration fades to sympathy when I realize that this is truly not his fault. He doesn’t know. Sweet Oso. (Or Oso Dulche, as the creator of his nickname would say it.)

So this is where we are. The past week, or more maybe, I try to lose count, we have had a blow out every single night about the stupid schoolwork. I’m exhausted. Bryan is exhausted. El Oso has to be exhausted.

The problem, and I say “the problem” like it’s the only one or like I even fully understand “the problem,” is that he has never had the expectations that he has now with us. He all of the sudden has people checking up on his crap and calling him out on it and he is acting like the freaking apocalypse must be nigh.

Now let me be clear. This is NOT a situation where he is truly only capable of his current output. He is not lower functioning and hasn’t had even HALF of the experiences that most kids in the system have dealt with. He has experienced very little movement during his time in care and has managed to not only NOT fall behind one to two grades as is common in foster care, but has maintained being a year AHEAD of where he should be according to his age and the cutoff date. This has been accomplished via years of skating by. He has had it drilled into his head that if he can just stay below the radar, everything will be fine. Don’t excel, don’t fail too hard. As long as other kids are falling on their faces harder than I am, everything will be ok. And this has of course laid the groundwork for a whole crop of laziness to grow as well.

My reaction to this has been very mature and understanding. I always speak in soft tones and refuse to let my frustration translate out of my brain and into a vein slightly protruding from my forehead, or, Heaven forbid, a snarky comment…or two.

I’ll let you decide whether or not that is fact or crap.

On the real though. This ridiculousness continues to be HARD. On Monday we opted to order take-out so that I could spend the entire evening walking through his homework and studying with him. We made leaps and bounds of progress! Developed a new system! It was wonderful! And then while I was still patting my own back for a job well-done Tuesday evening, we found him fallen asleep mid-homework with almost zero of the Monday’s knowledge having transferred. Cue another lengthy conversation about responsibility and listening, and selfishness, and rebellion and blah blah blah blah blah.

Can you see it? ALL OF THE MATURITY SPEWING FROM ME, THE PARENT?

Sometimes, I want to declare responsibility bankruptcy too, kid. Do you have room in the center of the universe for me as well? Does this sound a bit harsh? Just wait for the annoyingly hard lesson that always comes after I get too wrapped up in someone else’s problems.

During my epic tantrum is usually when God comes in all High and Mighty (<– see what I did there?) and is like “You see it don’t you? How ridiculous you’re acting about something that you do as well, but on a bigger scale?” Ugh God. You and Your logic. The theme continues: I learn more about myself and my bratty, ungrateful, selfish nature by getting mad at someone else for doing it to me. God: “El Oso’s stubborn and refuses to see the logic and do the right thing for the hundredth time? Hmm sounds like someone else I know.”

God: Infinity.

Alex: Still zero.

I’m glad someone’s got this, because I sure don’t.

Love, Alex

For fellow foster/adoptive parents: This is not news to you and I would love to have coffee with you. Everyone else, I welcome your comments and encouragement IN LOVE.

 

I Be Missin’ You

DeathtoStock_Medium9

I’m writing this while listening to my 1-year old cry because the poor thing is surrounded by toys in his playpen, but is PISSED that I put him in there instead of continuing to chase him around and keep him from physically harming himself at almost 8 months pregnant. The audacity. He’s just lucky it’s not cheerios in his high chair while Curious George does the entertaining for me. Or perhaps he would like that more. Maybe that’ll be my after-nap strategy.

If this isn’t an indicator to why I have had trouble making it to my computer to actually put ALL OF THESE WORDS into blog-form, I don’t know what is. I feel like my eyes are permanently on the crazy setting now.

Anyway, HERE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME. I actually have been really missing this. I’ve been tossing the idea around to try and create blog content every day for a while just because I need to. Like for me. And my sanity. I’ve been holding back because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through, and then I would be embarrassed in my failure…because that’s a thing I do. BUT I’m going to try it anyway. So basically, get ready for a lot of boring blog posts with daily (or not) ramblings about our turned-upside-down life.

I really don’t know how to do an update without organizing and categorizing it, so that’s what I’m going to do, sorry for you free spirits who don’t understand the NEED for bullet points and numbered lists (but how?).

Me: Since Jane is still a part of me for now, this update is really about the both of us. I have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms that I felt toward the end of my last pregnancy when I got pre-eclampsia. I’m a lot less far along than then, so it’s been worrying me. At one point, I felt so bad that we ended up going to my clinic’s ER (it was like 10 pm on a Friday night). It was a pretty terrible experience in which I was made to feel really stupid for daring to believe that something could be wrong outside of normal pregnancy symptoms. This is super different from our usual experiences with this clinic and hospital. So yesterday at my regular pre-natal appointment, my doctor took me seriously and has placed me on a tighter appointment schedule, as well as some extra testing to be on the safe side. We set her c-section (!!!) to be April 21st, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it that far. We’ll see! Other than that, I’m just trying to keep up with everything without going crazy. The norm. Bryan would prefer if I sat around all day and literally ate bon-bons, but I have trouble sitting down long enough to feed the 3-month-old. So this is going well.

Bryan: Still running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Always dreaming and scheming. I love this about him, I really do. Now just to get him to sit still and finish something. You guys he is just so cute to watch be a dad though. We now have 3 boys, and while I always saw him as more of a girl-dad, he truly has so much fun with the dudes. It helps that we gender-swap in a lot of areas, so while I could cry actual tears while being forced to snuggle for an extended period of time, he is a rock star with the middle of the night baby breakdowns. I and my body-heat-thermometer thank him.

El Oso: He started at a new high school at semester, which was both scary and exciting for him. He’s getting a lot more one-on-one attention from teachers, but it’s the #1 school in the state, so the stakes are a lot higher for him. His grades are a constant battle for us, but we’re working through them little by little.

Grady: You guys, no one told me how fun of an age *1* is. He is an absolute mess, stubborn as a mule (or his mama), and gets into EVERYTHING, but watching him learn new things every day and figure stuff out on his own is so much fun. It helps that he is so good-natured and thinks things like pretending to drink out of his sippy cup could be slaying material for comedians everywhere, but I digress. SO MUCH FUN. It makes me sad that he will eventually get sassy and develop an attitude. Can he just stay this small and adorable, but learn to spoon/fork-feed himself?

Osito: He is making leaps and bounds in the medical realm. He has appo

intments on appointments on appointments lately, but everything is improving and not getting worse, so we will happily take it. He’s a smiling fool now and JUST LAUGHED FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY OMG. He’s also just so handsome. He has these dimples and when he smiles I can just tell he is going to be on every girl’s crush list. I’ll of course tell them all to back up off asap, but I doubt it will work. It’s crazy that he will start solid foods soon and move to a new nap schedule that will match Grady’s for a while (Thank the good Lord above). I’m excited for that stability before the new baby comes though. Perfect timing.

So that’s us right now…the very abridged version anyway. Congrats to the people who read this far! Hopefully my creativity will pick back up and I’ll be able to write actual meaningful posts soon.

Love, Alex