Monthly Archives: August 2011

little dancers…

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While walking home from school yesterday, I noticed Elle dragging behind more so than usual.  Slowing down, I waited until she and I were about even and then asked, “What’s going on here darlin’?”  With a forlorn look on her face, she complained, “Well Mary said that ‘so and so’ said ‘URHHG!’ when she learned I was going to take jazz too.” “Oh, I see.” I replied.  “I didn’t even want to take Jazz this year, but they aren’t having a tap dance so Ms. ‘C’ threw me into Jazz instead.  Why would she make that noise?”

By this time we had reached my home.  I opened the door for all the kids to enter and then invited Elle to have a seat on the front stoop.  There, in private we could talk.  “Well, I don’t know why you should be upset by what one person said or didn’t say.  ‘Ms. C’ runs a tight ship over there, right?”  She nodded.  “If she didn’t think you were ready for jazz, she would have never invited you.”   Taking this in for a minute she looked back at me and said, “You’re probably right, besides Mary likes to bully me, so who knows who made that noise.  Guess what Aunt Marsha?” she said, switching gears on me, “hmm?” I mumbled back.  “Tonight my mom is going to take us shoe shopping for school……”  and on she went.  I’m glad her problem was solved so easily–on my end anyway.

I took all three girls over to a local dance supply shop and set about buying them their much needed shoes for Jazz.  Mary and the doll fluttered, here, there, everywhere, getting into trouble.  Elle, who wanted to participate too, noticied  the steam rising  from my shoulders and thought better of the idea; sat still.  At one point, after I repeatedly asked the girls to sit down like young ladies, Elle asked, “Are we in timeout?”  Smiling I said “Yes.  If you cannot contain yourself and sit nicely while we wait, then that tells me you don’t want these shoes.”  

Mary lasted one minute; the doll lasted three; yet Elle sat content, a nice young lady.  At least we did enjoy a moment’s peace.

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the audition tape…

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My hearing over the last several years has deteriorated, although I’m not quite ready for a hearing aid yet.  I have always attributed my hearing loss, to working at Best Buy.  While pregnant with the boy, our loss prevention policy at the time was to stay inside the speaker room, whenever a customer ventured in regardless how loud the music became.  Seems the speaker room was the perfect hiding place for discarded boxes recently detached from their contents.  One day a suspicious looking kid entered the room and behind him I followed.  Seeing I was seven or so months pregnant, he sought to chase me from the room by setting the bass line on a rather large pair of Cerwin-Vega speakers,  to an all time high.  I stayed in the room that day and destroyed my hearing.

Cut to present day….

“You dumb dog, what’s the big idea of attacking a defenseless box?”  I said when I found a box  nearly ripped to shreds. Striking the doll and her cousins funny, they immediately began to laugh; the doll repeating “What do you have against a defenseless box?” over and over again, to more giggles.

This set up the rest of our afternoon.   As they sat to do their homework, one of them would say something silly and then all three would laugh.  The boy, becoming increasingly more annoyed by his sister and cousins, disappeared into his bedroom to complete his homework in there. “Smart thinking boy!”  After a while the girls disappeared into the doll’s bedroom to prepare for ballet, still giggling and laughing as they went.

Finishing up the laundry I could hear the girls screaming, then laughing then screaming some more;  as if trying to see who could scream the loudest.  I wondered if they were being funny, seeing a bug or trying to get a rise out of the boy?  Grabbing my flip camera, I approached the doll’s room, flung open the door and destroyed what was left of my hearing.

Their screaming is a daily occurrence at my house; my hearing, doesn’t stand a chance. 🙂 Listen at your own risk!

 

raining shit…..

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“Mom, I have some terrible, terrible news to tell you…” the boy said through the phone receiver.  I was out walking, trying to get myself back into the rhythm of the 4-mile daily walk, when I called home to remind the boy to jump through the shower while I was gone.  “Okay, tell me what happened…” I said, trying not to sound alarmed.  After all, his father was home with him.  How bad could his news be?”  “I overflowed the downstairs toilet…” he said, with a hint of remorse in his voice.  “Ah” I said adding, “…so is  your dad in the bathroom screaming and yelling at you?”  “Yes.”

Ordinarily, a little water on the bathroom floor doesn’t cause much havoc; however, whenever this particular toilet overflows, a large nasty mess occurs.  First all of the contents inside the toilet tends to flow out into our hallway, if we don’t catch the mess in time.  Then as if to add insult to injury, the water seeps through the floor boards resulting in rain falling into our basement laundry area.  Both areas need to be disinfected with bleach once the blockage in the toilet is released and the water has been absorbed.

By the time I arrived home, most of the mess had been cleaned up, except the actual disinfection of the bathroom floor.  “Mom, where is the Lysol cleaner for the bathroom floor?”  Dad asked.  Walking into the kitchen, I retrieved the spray bottle I use for small areas like the bathroom and handed the bottle to the boy.  “Why are you giving me this?” he asked.  “You made the mess, you clean the floor” I said in return. 

Looking over at his father and then back to me he whined “Dad?” as if pleading for a repreive from this latest chore.  “Sorry boy, you made the mess now you clean it up” Dad said without sympathy.  “Bu, bu, but, I’m just a boy, this is an adult type of thing to do, isn’t it?  You want the bathroom done right don’t you?” the boy argued. 

His dad and I traded glances before I spoke directly to his question.  “Boy, all weekend long, your dad and I have been working our butts off around here to get things done while you and your sister sat around and watched TV.  Look at our house.  We’re falling behind, because there are four people living here but only two are contributing.  Guess what?  Your free ride is over.  We need your help, along with your sister’s; or we will not survive.  The time has come for you to step up and clean up the messes you make.”  In a last ditch effort to get out of the work he whined, “But I didn’t make the mess, the stupid toilet did…” 

Grabbing the boy by the scruff of his neck and directing him toward the bathroom his father finished the arguement saying, “Be that as it may boy, regardless what caused the actual mess, you were was the last one sitting upon the toilet.  Cleaning up the mess is your responsibility, so get busy.”  He handed the boy the spray bottle, a rag and a towel and gently pushed him into the room.  Then Dad stood guard directing the boy while listening to him gripe and complain about the unfairness of this all.

Afterward his father said to me, “Can you believe how much he complained about cleaning the floor?”  “Yes, especially since you and I let him off the hook all the time.” I said.  Looking back at me he replied, “Well no more.”  Easier said than done…especially for dad.

hair today…

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Last night the kids were stalling at bedtime.  The boy wanted to play a computer game while the doll wanted to watch Project Runway with me.  I however stuck to my guns and enforced their bedtime hour.  As I pushed the doll to brush her teeth, I realized her hair was still wet from an earlier shower; thus making the hair stringy and tangled.  Grabbing a hair brush I said, “Come here let me comb out your hair”.  Instead she tried to avoid me, making odd cat like noises (Ehhh ewwww ehhhh –similar to fingernails on a chalkboard) while attempting to move away.

Ever since airport security removed her hair de-tangler from her carry-on bag last July, she has been very wary of anyone combing her hair.  “Doll, look at me”, I said blocking her from leaving the room, “I totally get what it’s like to have your hair pulled, I mean, shoot, look at me”.  I said, grabbing a handful of my own curly and knotted hair to show.  Reaching up she placed her hand into my hair and found plenty of tangles to yank and pull. “Ow, hey, that didn’t give you liscense to…ow!” I said now moving away from her.  Instead she continued to reach out to pull more hair.  “Okay, ha, that was fun, now stop! Please stop!” I ordered.   Laughing and giggling she said “You’re right mom, you do have tangly hair.  Let’s do this again it’s fun”.  Smiling back I declined saying “Let’s not and say we did.”

I guess empathy was too much to ask from her when it came to hair pulling.  But I did have the last laugh…when I pulled, er I mean, combed out her hair and blew it dry.

 

attitude with a capital A

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I’m not sure when the doll decided talking loudly at me while explaining her point of view was a good idea.  Mind you, she’s always had a bit of attitude;  I even have a picture of her when she was nine months old, wagging a finger at me with attitude written all over her face.  But talking back in a condescending tone, that’s a new one.

I’ve noticed a change come over her lately.  She seems to be grumpy and moody all the time, exhibiting extreme sensitivity and at times,  neediness.  I cannot tell you how often she tries to sit on my lap, when there are plenty of seats open in a room.  “Oh, mommy” she’ll say as if uttering those words  magically turns me into a chair for her to rest upon.  My once delightful child, now enters rooms with a grumpy look upon her face; then when she opens her mouth, look out!

Yesterday while the kids worked on their homework, Mary asked if she could have a clementine for her snack.  “No, I only have a few left and the doll is only allowed to eat “healthy” snacks at school.” I replied.  “She’s just mean.” Mary said in referring to the doll’s teacher.  “Mary, I’m not being mean, I’m simply expressing my opinion” the doll said.  “She wasn’t talking about you.” I said to the doll.  “Mom, stay out of it, you don’t know what this is about…” the doll shot back.  “Doll, I wasn’t talking to or about you” Mary tried to explain. Then I said back “No, you don’t know what you’re talking about, Mary was talking….” That’s when the doll cut me off. “MOM I know whAT SHE WAS SAYING!!!” her voice rising as she went along.  That’s when Mary’s attitude began to rise “Nu huh, I was talking to aunt Marsha!” 

Elle and the boy, who were both working on their homework stopped and tried to interject their opinions into the fray.  I thought at the rate this misunderstanding was escalating, something bad was about to happen as all four kids began arguing and talking louder and louder.  Not seeing much of a choice in diffusing the situation quietly, I shouted, “DOLLLLL SSSSSTTTTOOOOOPPPP!!!”  When everyone stopped arguing for a second I said,  “Listen, just because I have my headphones on, doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what’s going on here.  First of all, Mary was answering me, when she said, “She’s just mean”. She was talking about your teacher only allowing you to eat healthy snacks at school”. 

Not wanting to back down, the doll tried to argue further “Mom, if that’s true why was she looking directly at me when she said it?”  Smiling at both kids, I replied, “Dear God, I don’t know why she was looking at you…maybe  you have something stuck on the end of your nose or maybe she felt bad for you since your teacher won’t let you eat chips at snack time.”  Still not satisfied, the doll looked at me and said, her now familiar catch phrase, “Stop it Mom!” 

I could have continued arguing with her but decided what’s the point.  A few minutes later another tussle would start between the girls and we would be back to square one.  I realize this is all part of puberty, but I’m not liking this attitude one bit.  One of these days she’s going to fall hard and realize you get more flies with honey than with attitude….especially where mom is concerned.

mathematical equations…

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“Mom, I don’t understand this question…” the doll said, as she held the paper up for me to read.  “Doll, just do what it says to do” I said, pointing at the parallel line segments on the page.  “But that’s just it, what am I supposed to do with those lines?”  she asked.  The question was a bit obtuse, but essentially she was supposed to connect them, creating a parallelogram.  “Mom, is this a rhombus?” she asked.  “Feeling like a deer in headlights, I said, “Ask your brother.”

Both my kids have an acuity for math.  This year alone, the boy is in accelerated Math and Science.   Thank goodness they do not take after me in this respect.  I have never been good in math, beyond the basic calculator of add, subtract, multiply and divide and sometimes not even then.   Sure I can tell you how all of those base ingredients work for you in “life”, but when finding the circumference of say, a globe, all bets are off. 

Of course it doesn’t help that the “new” math they are teaching our kids, is completely foreign to me.  Even after reading the home links–paperwork explaining these new methods I am completely lost.  As I watched my son work a lattice web to come up with the answer, I wondered what the heck was he doing.  “Oh Mom, this is an easier way to add…” he said and tried to show me.  Too bad I was lost before he ever said word one.

“Aunt Marsha, I need your help….” Mary said to me.  “I don’t understand how to do this assignment.”  Ah, third grade math, this is more my speed.  “Darling, read the instructions first.”  I said, reading them along with her.  “I know, but I don’t understand these diagonals.” she retorts.  Abstract math.  They want her to be able to leap ahead in her thinking; not stay so strict and regimented in the addition and subtraction; something difficult for her to do, regardless the subject matter.  So together we  worked her sheet until I realized she’s waiting for me to give her the answers.  Too bad she didn’t know what she was asking.

A few minutes later, her sister Elle walked into the room and handed me her second grade math homework and said, “Aunt Marsha, I don’t understand this at all!”  Looking at the paper I realized she handed me her “study guide home link”.  “Elle, this is your study guide for at home with your mom” I said handing back the sheet.  “Oh, that explains why it didn’t make sense!” she said with a giggle.  Looking over the paperwork, I laughed along with her.  “Your right, this doesn’t make sense to me either!”

the aroma war….

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How come whenever the boy walks into the kitchen and finds me making food he deems inedible, he’ll tell me how god awful the smell is?   Yet he doesn’t seem to notice his own stench.  I don’t mean to sound so negative but geeze, twelve-year-old boys  smell; or more to the point, my twelve-year-old smells.  “When you finish your shower don’t forget to put on your deodorant” I’ll say to him.  Yet inevitably, before he walks out the door, I’ll ask again, “Did you put on your deodorant?” At which time I watch him stop, take off his shirt and apply the Right Guard deodorant  he forgot to put on earlier.

Come on, this shouldn’t be this difficult, should it?  Is this normal practice with all boys or just mine?  “Boy, I’m sorry to tell you, but you stink” I say, hoping not to hurt his feelings or self-esteem.  “Mom, that’s my man smell” he says with a bit of pride.  “Boy, men don’t smell like that on purpose and neither should you!”  I try to convince. “Oh I’ve smelled Dad like this before.” he argues. “You have?” I ask.  “Yes, right after work.” he explains.  “Yes, but do  you smell him later?” I ask.  “No.” he replies “Exactly!  That’s my point!” I say triumphantly.  “When your father comes home from work, he’ll clean himself up.  He doesn’t want his pungent odor to overpower the room and be a discomfort for others;  neither should you.” I explain; crossing my fingers in hope that he understands and gets with the program.

Yet the next morning I begin my mantra all over again, “Did you put on your deodorant?  Did you put on your deodorant? Did you put on your deodorant?”  UGH! I sound like a parrot.   Sometimes I’ll try a different tact, hoping this might encourage him to apply the deodorant.  “Boy, you won’t have any friends if you continue to smell like this.  No one will want to sit next to you and you’ll become a target for kids to make fun of.”  I hate saying that, but kids are cruel, especially to those perceived to have cleanliness and odor issues.

I don’t know if struggling to get your boy to wear deodorant is a common thread amongst parents but short of making him stand at attention and applying the stuff myself, I’m running out of ideas.  I don’t know why he doesn’t notice his malodorous stench, but God help us, the rest of us do!