Recently (ok, today) the 11 year old got an award at school for something. I wish I could tell you what the award was actually FOR but to be perfectly honest I’m not really sure. And the reason I’m not sure is it seems like kids get awards for just about anything these days. Like if you showed up and didn’t punch anyone in the face… CONGRATS you get an award for Citizenship. You sir, are a good Citizen. Because you went to school and when some kid made a joke about yo mama you didn’t kick him in the man business. Well done.
Don’t get me wrong…. I’m a big fan of positive reinforcement. I firmly believe in Shamu Parenting. Serious. But COME ON. Must kids DO nothing to get awarded for just existing? Have we reached the point of such desperation that we now award people for just showing up? I made the honor roll EVERY FLIPPIN QUARTER When I Was A Kid. Most of the time with a 4.0. AND furthermore I never punched anyone in the face (ok once I punched Vernon Avila because he told the entire school I wasn’t a virgin after he kissed me inside a tractor tire. Which was NOT TRUE. Cause I was 8. Turns out he didn’t even know what a virgin was. And I only threatened to hit him with a rock. So… bygones.) Anyway I didn’t cut school. I came almost every day (like it or not, cause I had to be bleeding from my eyes to miss school). I even managed to get good grades while my mom was getting married and divorced and married and divorced and not even home… and you get the idea. And no one ever gave me any kind of award for any of that. My award was… wait for it… an EDUCATION.
While I don’t begrudge the kids their ‘Citizenship’ and ‘Merit’ I’m really just kind of jealous that those kind of awards don’t exist for adults.
Did you get out of bed this morning? Was it DESPITE having been up all night with a teething baby or someone with a fever or someone throwing up on you?
BAM. You get the ‘I Didn’t Want To But I Did Anyway’ award. Cause I’m THAT good.
Did your toddler poop on the floor? For the third time today? Or did your 12 year old spill yet ANOTHER glass of juice on the couch because he was watching tv instead of looking at his glass? Did your 15 year old take your blush? AGAIN? And through all of this did you manage to not scream? Or maybe you screamed, but it was just a little bit?
Oh SNAP. For you, the ‘I Can Get Through a Day Without Strangling Anyone or Running For The Hills Screaming’ award.
Did you look in the fridge and concoct something for dinner out of some tortillas and a couple of wrinkly apples and some half molded cheese? Because you wanted to get to the store but you just couldn’t on account of the fact that you couldn’t bring yourself to get out of your pj pants? Because of the aforementioned vomit/teeth/fever?
Well ALRIGHTY. For you, the ‘I Make Food Magically Appear’ award.
OK lets say it was a REALLY bad day and ALL you managed to do was keep the cranky baby fed and changed and you never got a shower or got to brush your hair or teeth but that’s ok cause the baby didn’t die?
AMEN sister. You get the ‘SHUT YO MOUTH HATERZ I kept the Baby ALIVE’ award. Well done. Mission accomplished.
I had a 10 and half pound baby. In MY KITCHEN.
I’m giving myself the ‘HOLY SHIT You Had a 10 and Half Pound HUMAN BEING in YOUR KITCHEN’ award. I deserve it. Totally. If that was all I did ALL YEAR, it really should suffice.
My husband? He worked 16 hours a day almost every day this week (and actually every day of the last 3 weeks). The majority of it away from his family, eating food he concocted in a microwave with two day old french fries and sitting in an office until 10 pm, usually alone, and he didn’t get any kind of award. (Though he did get his paycheck which is LIKE an award but somehow seems inadequate in the face of a zillion hour workweek.) What he got was hearing his crying wife say she was going to pull her hair out. Oh AND to sleep in an uncomfortable bed.
I’m giving him the ‘I Have No Idea What You Did But WOW You Did It’ award. You’re awesome honey. You survived.
And me? Well I kept the kids alive while he was gone. Despite getting very little sleep (see: teething up all night award), having a few moments of tears (ok maybe a few more than a few) and eating cereal for dinner. Twice. There should be points for all that too. Even though nothing earthshattering happened. I didn’t get the toilets scrubbed but I did mop twice because of Mange-y Dog hair. Oh AND I made the bed. THREE TIMES. Award for me.
I think you get what I’m saying. There are days when I get up and I have really good intentions. Like I MEAN to make a dress or headband. OR I WANT to bake something really yummy. Or some days I just aim to get my sheets changed. Some days I want to go shopping. Some days I want to write a blog post or call an old friend (you Holly).
Some days none of those things happen.
Some days I just keep the kids alive.
And some days, that’s enough.
Points for participation people.
For the love of motherhood,
*I walked around all day with my nursing bra hanging open. Unaware. That is how much time my bra spends open.
* I shaved my legs (it was newsworthy). I did not cut myself (also newsworthy).
* My 12 year old son is texting a girl. A female. He claims she’s not his girlfriend but I saw him text her a rose. Suspect. Highly suspect.
* I caught him doing push-ups. Oh. Dear. God.
* My 11 year old son got completely ready for school without any prompting. And also without pants on (inspiring my future book… Don’t Forget Your Pants).
* My 15 year old daughter started drivers training. Sigh.
* I hope bald is coming back because the baby pulled out half the hair on the right side of my head.
* One of our stupid dogs attacked the other stupid dog and I almost broke my arm trying to separate them. I am not a fan of our dogs right now. Or any dogs for that matter. Or the cat. In fact, the only animals I’m feeling any good about are the fish, and one of them died. Crap.
* I had to pee (at least once a day) but the baby was in the wrap so I peed while babywearing. In fact I also swept, cooked and dusted babywearing. I would have showered babywearing if my sling was waterproof (and yes they do make those).
* I made Henry the Hoot Owl. But I had to do it with a baby on my lap which means I stabbed myself with knitting needles no less than 7 times.
* I went almost an entire day without water. I had coffee and iced tea. That’s all. And they weren’t even caffeinated. I didn’t realize it until 9:15 pm. By then I had a headache. (I hope the Man isn’t reading this or I’m busted)
* I made rice krispie treats.
* I ate rice krispie treats for breakfast.
* I ate rice krispie treats for dinner.
* I probably ate rice krispie treats for lunch but I’m not admitting it.
* One night I served the 15 year old (who had to leave for an activity before dinner was done) a plate of mexican rice, a rice krispie treat and a banana. It looked as bad as it sounds.
* I started to write a tutorial for the owl I mentioned above. I got the first two lines written. So far, that’s it. It goes like this: Step One: Get some yarn. Step two: Get some size 3 knitting needles. (More on this later)
* The 11 year old told us he was learning about dictators that are “mean and crazy” also that he would like to be a dictator, but a “nice one” because he doesn’t want to be shot or hung. Awesome. It’s good to have dreams.
* I fell into the big curbside trash can. Like inside of it. I don’t really want to talk about it.
* Did I mention the rice krispie treats?
Oh also because I’ve been such a good wife and mommy (or you know, because I was looking for an excuse, like I FELL IN A TRASH CAN) I bought myself this lovely book:
Then someone spilled syrup on it.
So readers… what happened to you in the last week?
Hang in folks,
PS I love Jane Austen. Who doesn’t love Jane Austen? OK I mean what LADY doesn’t love Jane Austen? If you don’t love Jane Austen you should buy this book anyway because it’s so purdy.
PPS It’s been one the best weeks of my life.
I’m an advocate of family time. You know, time spent as a family. However your family is defined, I for one, think it’s important you all sit together and connect. Whenever. Dinner seems a logical time. Right?
Our family has six people in it. If you don’t count the dog and cat and bird and the tortoise and the three spiders the 10 year old keeps in his room. Coincidentally our table also seats six. (This is going to be a problem if we have another baby. Someone will have to sit on the floor. I hope it’s not me.) We eat dinner together every time we are together. (Which is to say Big Kids are not with their dad). This is four nights a week. The other three nights the Hubs and Ella and myself just stare at each other trying to figure out why it’s so quiet. Oh and we have a conversation about something relevant, usually. Anyway, those four nights we sit at the table together for food and conversation. Kind of.
We had a game we used to play all the time when Big Kids were still Little Kids called Hi-Lo. Each person in the family would have the floor to discuss the high and low points of their day. Presumably uninterrupted. Presumably. We went in order of youngest to oldest. This worked. For a while. Then, somewhere along the way, this game become passe’ and the chaos that we now recognize as dinner ensued.
Now, I hate to have to admit that I can’t keep my children under control, but I can’t keep my children until control. They’re just too big to be sat on.
Typically it goes something like this:
Me: Dinner is on kids. Let’s go.
Boys: (stampede) Where? Where? We’re STARVING.
Me: Ok good. I’m glad I cooked then. Let’s eat.
15 yo: Hang on MOM I’m talking to Marissa.
Me: No. You’re not talking to Marissa. Get off the phone it’s time to eat. (while trying to move out the way of the starving boys who think they are going to die)
15 yo: Ugh. fine
Hubs: Ok everyone let’s get at the table. (He likes to play Good Cop)
Then… We all get to the table.
15 yo: (hiding phone on lap under table, text messaging, I’m just going to guess it’s Marissa)
Me: Put your phone away please.
Boys: Where are the forks? Pass the _____? Pass the _____? PASS THE _______?
Hubs: Boys, don’t yell at the table please.
Ella: (sleeping in the sling on me)
Me: OK let’s try to have a civilized conversation. 15 yo (of course I would be using her name here), how was your day?
15 yo: (completely unaware I exist, still looking at phone in lap)
Me: I’M GOING TO TAKE YOUR PHONE AWAY. Please put it down.
15 yo: GE-AWD MOM. OK.
Me: Don’t talk to me like that please.
12 yo: OHMYGOD IF I SAID THAT TO YOU I WOULD GET IN SO MUCH TROUBLE. YOU NEVER PUNISH HER. UGH. It’s not FAIR.
Ella: (stirring in the sling on me)
Me to 12 yo: That’s not true. And stop yelling.
Hubs: (silently eating)
10 yo to 12 yo: STOP BEING A BABY. OH MY GOD.
Ella: (now awake and looking scared)
Me to table: Alright that’s enough. Can we PUH-LEASE just eat dinner and have a conversation without anyone yelling. Let’s play hi-lo (please God can’t we just go back to the days of playing Hi-Lo).
10 yo: OK. My high was…. when I had recess today and I was playing tether ball and…
12 yo: (cutting off 10 yo to recite line of movie/tv show or talking in one of his comedy voices)
Hubs: (laughing at 12 yo)
Me: (giving 12 yo dirty look)
15 yo: (rolling eyes) Can I look at my phone now?
Me: (head in hands) I give up.
And no one has even eaten yet. At this point I usually have some kind of mini-mental breakdown which scares the children just enough that they are willing to stop yelling and have a conversation. I’ve resorted to tears a couple of times. I’m not proud of it. Don’t you judge me.
Does this sound familiar at all? Please say yes.
Dear. God. Please. Say. Yes.
I’m going to keep sitting sitting at that table though. At 6 pm on any given night that’s where you’ll find me. Even if I have to drag them all there kicking and screaming. It’s happening.
We’re eating dinner. As a family.