Archive for the ‘teenagers’ Category

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Christening

March 17, 2013

“Oh having teenagers has been so EASY lately.  I haven’t had any trouble with them at ALL.  They’re so well-behaved, and respectful and WHOLESOME.”

Ha ha ha.  Joke’s on me.

We had a kerfuffle last weekend.  Oh yes, we did.

I suppose it’s not something I should post onto the internets, especially since I told my daughter* that she should keep her own mouth shut about it, and explained to her that I haven’t told my friends (who are parents of her fellow students) the details of what happened, lest they decide that their kids shouldn’t hang out with my kid anymore.  So now I will be cagey.

Except to say — I haven’t talked to a single adult about her lapse in judgement who hasn’t chuckled, remembering their own, very similar, story.  And also to say – no one was harmed, in any way, during this little dalliance of my daughter’s.

Oh!  Total subject change, not at all related to anything that happened in this house:

When I was a Junior in high school, my parents were pretty strict.  I didn’t go out that often, but every now and then, I managed to convince my parents I should be allowed to have a social life.  One particular weekend night, I told my mom I was going to my friend Missy’s house.  Instead, a group of us went to a party at someone’s house whose parents weren’t home.  We were having a lot of fun (in my memory, I wasn’t drinking).  I didn’t want to stop having fun to get home in time for my  11 p.m. curfew.  So I called my mom to “tell” her that I was sleeping over at Missy’s house.  My mom — clearly not a stupid person — said “the hell you are” and insisted that she was coming to pick me up – right now – at Missy’s house.

Oops.

So I got someone to quick drive me to Missy’s house, which was not even in the same TOWN that I had called my mom from.  I was very nervous, thinking I wouldn’t make it there in time.

I got to Missy’s house before my mom.  Of course, Missy wasn’t there.  She was still at the party.  But Missy – like most of us – had a relatively long driveway that went down a hill to her house.  So I stood at the top of it to wait for my mom, hopefully keeping all of this out of Missy’s parents’ view.  She showed up, kind of angry, I got in the car, and we went home.  She didn’t ask to talk to Missy’s parents, and Missy’s parents didn’t know that she was there at all. Also – (key point here) – my parents didn’t socialize with my friends’ parents.

 

Advice to those of you with younger children:  socialize with your kids’ parents.

 

 

* The older one, thank God.  I don’t know why it feels so appropriate for a Junior in high school to be fucking up in the particular way that she did, whereas if it was my Freshman, I’d be looking into military school or something else equally extreme.  Those two years make a big difference, in turns out.  When they’re Juniors, you can’t help but to acknowledge that these follies are only a foreshadowing of the college years, which are not far away at all.

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Chastised, yet again.

March 1, 2013

After yesterday’s post about what a conscientious parent I tried to be to my young children, I thought it appropriate to show how far I’ve fallen.

  • Yesterday, at the pediatrician’s office for the girls annual check ups, Jules was asked about her diet.  Fruits and veggies? check. Plenty of water?  check.  Milk and Dairy?  “Well, I have cream in my coffee every morning.”  The doctor(nurse practitioner, really) whipped her head around to shoot daggers out of her eyeballs and into my brain.  I – very maturely – returned her look with a smug look, with a bit of a giggle suppressed.  “It’s too early.  You need to stop that!”  I continued with my look, and did not agree to “stop her” from drinking coffee.  As if I didn’t choose to let her drink coffee when she asked after careful thought?  
  • On the way home from the pediatrician’s office, I got pulled over.  Awesome example for my nearly-driving-aged teens, no?  Fortunately, it was not for a moving violation – it was because my inspection sticker had expired.  On January 31st.  Oops.  We knew it was expired.  David and Juliette figured it out while Em and I were traveling last week, but David thought it was the registration.  When I got home I pointed out that, no, it’s just the inspection.  We had been joking for the past 4 days that we shouldn’t drive the car because we might get pulled over.  Then I drove the car, and I got pulled over.  The very nice police man let me off with just a warning, and I went straight to the inspection center and forked over the $29 to get a new sticker.

I’d also like to point out that their doctor appointment was at 2:15.  This required me to leave work at 1 p.m., and I opted not to go back afterward.  This 1/2 day of work gave me not only the time to take the girls to the doctor, but also to get the car inspected AND to write my first blog post in months.

Half days may be the key to the universe.  Too bad they’re also a once-every-six-months treat.  (If you can call being snarked at by a poopy-face nurse practitioner a “treat”).

 

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Hippie mom of preschoolers = chastised mom of teenagers

February 28, 2013

In the last week, I’ve been reprimanded twice for my decisions when the kids were young:

First, on Sunday, Em complained that I didn’t let them watch t.v. when they were young.  “there are so many shows that everybody watched, but we didn’t, or at least we didn’t unless it was on in the summer when we were at dad’s.  Why didn’t you let us watch t.v.”

Oh, I don’t know.  Because I thought you and your brain development would be better served by playing outdoors, reading books and drawing pictures?

“But t.v. is the one thing that connects us to other people.  Even people who don’t have anything in common at all can talk about popular television shows.  And you DEPRIVED us of this connection to our world!”

Never mind that they really did watch plenty of t.v. in the preschool years, although it was limited to PBS and Playhouse Disney — I did get stricter as they got older and the shows got crappier. They were complaining about not watching some show like the Suite Life of those boys – whatever that was.  I don’t know – I never saw it.

Then, today.  “E-Z Bake ovens are so cool, but we could never have one!”  I had to foolishly ask “why not?”  “Oh, because you hated plastic toys.  And because you didn’t want us to have gender-specific toys.  So we couldn’t have doll houses or EZ Bake ovens!”  Em went on to say “I liked my wood blocks and legos, but I wish I could have had an EZ Bake oven!”

Even though we did bake all the time …. and I am pretty proud of my teenage feminists.

 

 

 

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Those Dreaded Teen Years

October 23, 2012

When my girls found out that they made the musical, they both called me.

Em is 16.  Jules is 14.

And I was their first phone call.

This makes me so happy.

When I tell people that I have a 14 and 16 year old, they wince.  They recoil.  “Oh, you poor thing,” they say.  And I always say, “no, it’s good!”

And it really is so good.

There’s no doubt that they’re more independent than they were when they were smaller.  Our relationship is definitely different.  But they do not have an attitude with me.  They are not rebellious.  Both of them still cuddle up with me, and they tell me about their days.  They talk and talk and talk about things that happened in class, what went on in volleyball, how things are going in crew.  They talk to me about decisions they need to make, challenges they face.

They don’t talk to me so much about their social lives.  They don’t tell me kid-gossip (except occasional HUGE things).  Which is fine.  I’m not a teenager.  I don’t need to know who is dating who and who yelled at who, etc.

And it’s not just me.  They are this way with David, and they are this way with each other.  Emma was so happy to tell her sister the news about the musical, and they are both so happy to be in it together.

The other day, Em’s class went on a field trip, and ended up in a cannoli shop (very educational, I know).  I knew that cannolis are one of J’s favorite desserts, but when Em texted me to say “guess what I’m doing!”  I was in the middle of something, so responded with a “that’s so cool!” or something like that, but didn’t go on to remind her about her sister.  But a minute later, Em texted me a picture of the cannoli to-go box with the note, “I got some for J!”  And then she carried that damned box around for the next hour or so, just so that her sister could have her favorite treat.

This school year has been pretty intense for both girls, which has contributed to the time we all spend together and at home.  When Em was a freshman, it was a big transition, but the school work was just so-so.  For J, the school work has been a HUGE step up  from 8th grade (a welcome huge step up, in my opinion).  And Em has AP classes, and they both have sports.  The result has been a lot less social time on weekends.  In fact, a couple weekends ago, J came to me very upset because she kept telling a close friend “no” to requests to hang out, and she felt bad.  But she had homework, and tests to study for and auditions to prep for, and she really didn’t feel that she could hang out.

I know I still have years to go, and things may fall apart.  But every day I am grateful that my girls are going through these teen years without some of the issues that I know are out there.  Issues I had as a teen.

Geez, when I was a teen . . . I honestly used to bait my mother with my attitude and my snarling remarks to try and force her to blow up at me.  I liked having that control.  Now – to be fair – my mother and I were locked in power struggles over freedom and other issues in a way that my girls and I have not been.  I didn’t do just for fun.  I did it in response to being forcefully limited in friendships and associations based on religion.

And even without that kind of extreme (or something even more extreme), I know there are a lot of teens who are just basically disengaged.

And I’m very grateful.

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Mid Life Crisis

October 5, 2012

It’s the last day of a very long week.  I’m so tired, I feel like my tissues are melting right off my bones.

I was telling a friend today that I wished hard work – my kind of hard work – burned calories. Then I could really work my ass off.

Drove Emma* to a voice lesson tonight, and we were chatting.  She told me that she was thinking about the fact that between school, crew and homework, her days are often longer than mine.  I told her that I was not minimizing the work or stress or commitment of doing a sport (i.e., a coach to answer to, no flexibility to skip without consequences), but I really wished exercise was built into my day like that. She actually understood.

Then I had her fill out a check for me to sign, to pay her voice teacher, and she told me a funny story about when she was in Manhattan this summer – with my credit card – and people would be thrown off when one of the many checks would come back from the split bill with MY name on it.  “Who is Suz?” they’d ask.  “Oh, that’s, um, me!” she would respond.

I said to her, “you know, it wouldn’t be so bad, being me.  I have a good life.”  I told her I like my job, my husband, my kids.  She said, “wouldn’t it be funny if you woke up on the day after your birthday and you changed your mind?  INSTANT mid-life crisis.”

Then I puzzled through that for a minute  (out loud) … I had my kids on the younger side, they’re getting older while I’m still young – I’ll have an empty nest at the age of 44!!!  Does that mean mid-life crisis comes sooner?  hits harder?

Her take was this:  mid-life crisis happens when people look at their lives when they hit 40 or 50 or whatever, and they think, “crap! I didn’t do anything I wanted to do!”  “But you, you’ve done everything you wanted to do.”

I liked that.  I like thinking that’s what I’ve shown her.  That she looks at her mom and she thinks “she’s happy; she did want she wanted to do.”

Including – in largest of parts – raised [almost] daughters that I can have fun conversations with, and who sit in the dark in the car even though they’re 3 minutes late for their lesson to finish a conversation.

Happy Friday.

 

 

 

*Yeah, I know.

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Sunday Bullets

July 8, 2012
  • I was knocked down by a wretched virus this week.  David started to get at the end of vacation, and then it peaked for his first and second days of his new job, poor guy.  I started coming down with it on Tuesday, and it peaked on Friday.  I went home after lunch on Thursday, and stayed home on Friday.  I think that’s the first time I’ve done that since I have been working as a lawyer (2007).  I decided to go to the doctor, since I was home anyway.  I feared it was strep, and that I’d still be sick on Monday if I didn’t take care of it. My fever spiked while the doctor was examining me, and I guess I was warm enough to make him go “hmmm,” so he sent me for blood work and chest x-rays.  Everything was negative, and he decided I had “viral laryngitis.”  Today – Sunday – I finally am feeling on the upswing, and my throat is only a little sore.
  • Mouse is away for the long weekend, sharing in part of a friend’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  I am jealous.  I also kind of miss her.  She stayed home from all things social on Friday to tend to me and keep me from getting lonely.  She made me lunch, brought me water, and generally spent the day hanging out on my bed with me.  We had some good chats about her thoughts and fears about high school (starting in 2 months!), and about this and that.  So now I miss her.  David rolled his eyes at me, asking what I’m going to do at the end of the month when she goes to camp for 4 weeks, and then of course – the inevitable.  
  • Lemon has been fun to be with, too.  Yesterday she was home for most of the day, and we hung out for a good bit watching Twin Peaks.  I decided that finally watching that iconic show that I have never seen (even though I was the perfect age for it when it first came out; hyper-religious parents got in the way of watching such shows) was the perfect healing mechanism for my crappy “cold.”  She’s not home today, though.  She voluntarily woke herself up at 7 a.m. to go to a crew race to cheer her team on.  (She’s not doing crew this summer, but is doing her best to stay in touch with the team, regardless.)  I woke up at 7:30, and was sure that she slept through her alarm.  But no, her bed was empty. 
  • David is annoyed with me.  The shifting is more complex than we were ready for, I guess.  I think as much as we know that we’re sharing in cooking, there is more to figure out as far as shopping, and kitchen-ownership.  Or maybe he’s just sick of me complaining about being sick, and as a result, everything I do annoys him.  Which is possible, considering that I have about a pinky toe’s worth of sympathy for him when he gets sick.  I’ve been working on that, but I’m stained with the irritability of years’ past.  Not sure I can ever recover.  
  • I’ve been pretty consistent with my low-carb eating.  It’s going pretty well.  When I was not feeling well but still had a full-on appetite, I found my mind wandering to convenience foods:  a sandwich, a pizza, a burrito.  But I resisted.  It looks like after about a week, I’m benefitting from the initial weight drop of a few pounds.  Of course, “it’s likely water” blah blah.  It will be fun to see what happens once I’m truly over this bug and I can exercise.  I haven’t been exercising consistently for a few weeks.  I may be focusing on walking, rather than running, and strength, including yoga.  My running partner is out of commission with a knee injury, and between the two of us, injuries have been plentiful.  I’m wondering if running is my “thing,” especially given my wretched feet.  We’ll see.  No reason to write it off just yet.
  • I had a small lull in work this past week.  I chose a good week to go on vacation (the week before the 4th).  Most of the office – if not the profession – took off the week OF the Fourth.  So things were slow in the office and with opposing parties.  Which is why I was able to take it easy with my illness.  But as I was lying in bed, assignments and new projects were coming in fast and furious.  Everything for “Monday.”  Tomorrow’s gonna be a doozy. 
Have a great Sunday!