Monday, September 30, 2013

First Birthday Away

43 - no 46 is more accurate. The magic number of birthdays I have been able to hug my babies, and tell them of the day they were born. Some were days of celebration - all prep and parties. Others were days of work and school, hurried and harassed until the moment we came together as a family to celebrate.

Today Teen will be 19. In honor of her ability to not only survive, but thrive, I will be recounting 19 things I learned from parenting my amazing daughter.

1. They are called forceps - NOT salad spoons - and the doctor will not use them unless it's an emergency - even if you yell it at him.

2. Never trust the grocery cart straps - and in the event you do and your child falls out - the ER takes infants with possible head injuries much more quickly than they will later in life when they merely have persistent fever and severe stomach pain.

3. Which brings us to #3. When in doubt - make the appt on a Friday. If you don't the child will surely need medical attention by Sunday and if you do it's usually a cold.

4.  Play kitchens make an amazing dinosaur territory in the event your daughter has less than zero interest in baking pies.

5. Even if a daughter didn't use the play kitchen of toddlerhood, she will likely show tremendous interest in easy bake ovens. Probably has something to do with gratification.

6. If your child is a digger, section off an area. Otherwise your yard will quickly resemble what it has become - a dinosaur dig in search of the greatest dino of all time.

7. No matter how much your young child loves dinosaur toys & books, they may scream in utter terror when faced with life-sized models and the screaming only increases when the animatronics start.

8.  Though you may feel blessed in kindergarten when your child cries at missing school despite a fever and ear infection, that blessing will not last. One day, usually in middle school, that same child will likely ask to stay home just "because I need a break." read unfinished project

9. It isn't just you. We ALL know feel that kindergarten homework is really testing our parenting skills and does reflect on us - so feel no guilt at helping even coloring  freely. Think of it as bonding.

10. April Fools Day will elicit more energy from a teen than any amount of nagging you can do. You may even wake with all the living room furniture replaced by a complete bedroom set!

11. When teaching a teen to drive it is clear that squirrels are out to give you a heart attack, kill young drivers, or commit suicide - you decide.

12.It helps to think of hair color of the teen years much as you thought of the mud of the toddler days - it will change, wash out, or wear off. 

13. When the house is overrun with teens and their drama, it helps to remember that at least you know exactly what they are doing - so stock up on the PB&J.

14. No matter how excited a preschooler feels for the arrival of a new baby, the reality is a crushing blow and the joy fades as that baby takes more time, but one day they will bond - usually in a scheme against their parents.

15. Slamming doors are the chorus of a life with boundaries.

16. Though at home they may fight, in the world there is no one who will stand up for another more quickly than an older sibling.

17. Visit them at work, it helps to remind you that they have learned responsibility and how to clean - even if they don't show those traits at home.

18. Eventually the call of "come wipe my butt" will be no more. They will gain all the independence they need to survive.

19. When in doubt watch from afar. You will be pleased and proud by what an amazing person you helped to bring in to the world.

And though I can not hug her myself today, I wish my daughter a very happy birthday and a wonderful year. LOVE YOU!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

It Sneaks Up


Having Teen away at school is a new normal. As with any change, it takes time for the “new” to wear off and become normal. There are the little jokes, smiles, assists that take place in a hundred different ways - all absent.

 I have been striving for a positive posture, after all she did stay in-state when she was originally going to head off 1200 miles, she is in a positive place doing positive things, and above all I am happy for her. I repeat in my mind when I want to share a joke or a thought

But, it always comes as a surprise when her absence hits me with a bit of emotion. Whether it's a texting session she is having with Boy to help his transition to high school or Baby asking for "MY " I feel a wave of passes over. All part and parcel of growing children I tell myself, give a little smile, a shake of the head and move forward.

Which may be why it came as a surprise that while giving the “parent night speech” 5 times last night, I managed to choke-up each time. Simply by explaining my educational philosophy:

I simply can't imagine why... 

*Happily she is coming home this weekend for the dentist, but I'll take it!