Thursday, March 16, 2017

Growing up sucks

Today we went to a carnival.....today I realized more than any other day I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Or as they like to say "almost 9" and "almost 6."

E1 has been tall enough to ride all the rides for quite some time and today, at 42" short, E2 was able to ride numerous rides. E1 was bored on baby rides when just last year she was all smiles. E2 loved the independence of being able to ride without a companion. Today, we did not bring our stroller. And tonight, I cry. I am sad that our stroller days are over. I actually told the hubs, "We need to adopt a third. I need a baby. Now."

They are growing up and I love all the new adventures we can experience because they are older, but I hate that cartoons are being replaced by "real" TV. I hate that bedtime is getting later because a full day of activities no longer exhausts them by 7:00 pm. And I really hate all the damn opinions that come with more mature girls.

8 year olds suck. I am saying it and I am mean it. What a crappy age. 8 is young, but old enough to know better. 8 is immature, but mature enough to understand peer pressure. 8 needs help, but only wants independence. 8 is a daily struggle. My beautiful, bright, brown eyed girl struggles each day with wanting to be older, but still needing her mom. She goes from sweet and kind to a pre-hormonal raging bitch in 30 seconds or less. I hate 8. Every single day I wonder if my little girl and I are going to hang out or if my "pre" pre-teen is going to come down the stairs with the best resting bitch face I have ever seen. I hate 8. Playing with toys is fleeting and the board games she chooses makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork. 8 is tough. She is not ready for the pre-teen topics and pre-teen life, but she is outgrowing her little girl life quickly. 8 makes me cry on the regular. E1 is putting together her world, her family, and my glossing over responses no longer cut it. She needs details. She wants to understand her new world, but her heart is still so young. I really hate 8.

On the other end of the spectrum, 5 is still a favorite age of mine. E2 is happy, young, naive, and it is blissful. It is the great age of complete sentences, the ability to do small tasks on her own, but the age when a hug and a kiss from mom cures everything. E2 getting older has thrown me off my game this year. It is hard to admit, but when you're kid starts therapies at 22 months it is hard to imagine a time when they are all caught up or a time when what needs to be accomplished will have to come in its own time. E2's to do list was extensive and for the past 3, almost 4 years we have slowly checked off milestones. Somehow I have nothing left to check off. At 5, she speaks beautifully, rides a two wheel bike, socializes with friends, makes her opinions known, eats typical food, wears the right size clothing for her age, recalls her days and retells the stories, and now she swims. E2 argues with E1, reminds me when I forget something, cries when she is frustrated. A year ago, the world around her had no meaning and now - she is a part of her world. I love watching her get older, but to know she starts kindergarten has me crying like a newborn baby. I don't even know how we got here. I don't know how I will log on to the district website in a few weeks and register my baby for kindergarten. Homeschooling is looking like a great idea (again). I cannot "lose my baby." I know I must. She is ready and if you don't believe me, my almost 6 year old will tell you she is ready.

Growing up sucks for the mommies.

Stupid 8 and 5 - soon to be 9 and 6.
Stupid preschool graduation soon to be kindergarten
Stupid second grade soon to be third grade
Stupid no more strollers

Mama wants her babies back.
Well, babies that sleep through night because I am in no mood to be awake at 3 in the morning.

And...pray for my husband. Three women under one roof is no easy feat.




Friday, March 3, 2017

Thirteen


Two days ago I gave blood as part of my bi-annual check up. I sat in a chair and stuck out my arm so the phlebotomist could take my blood. The phlebotomists for the most part are nice, but holy hell they are chatty. The people that work at a cancer hospital try so hard to make the patients happy. They are as nice as Disney employees. So Chatty Cathy over here with a damn needle in her hand, aimed for my vein, proceeds to tell me I need a type and screen for my procedure and they are going to take extra blood. Um, hey lady - I don't have a procedure. She says that I do. We go round and round like 3 year olds with "Yes you do" and "No I don't." While we are arguing, I email my nurse (whom I love) and ask her what the hell. As I am typing the email, Chatty Cathy says, "Well - the only other reason we do a type and screen is for someone who has been here a long time. Have you been a patient a long time?"

Have you been a patient a long time?

Yesterday, I went for my follow up appointment with my oncologist. I was not nervous because Nurse A had already called me to tell me I was fine. My doctor's other amazing nurse came out to get me. We chatted while my vitals were being taken. As I verified my date of birth, Nurse C says, "GIRL!! YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE 40!" I laughed and she then said, "Wow, I have known you a long time."

Wow, I have known you a long time.

I am healthy. I am alive. My remission status is stable.

I left the hospital, called my mom so she would stop freaking out, and then cried. I cried for the very reason I smile. It has been THIRTEEN years and while I am so thankful, I am terrified at the same time. Thirteen years ago, a different doctor told me I would be dead within five years. I was 27 at the time. And now thirteen years later, it is that memory I hold onto. The memory of being told I had five years to live, max.

Turning 40 means the world to me. I never thought I would see 40. I never thought I would be a mom. I never thought I would have a life. To face your own mortality gives you a perspective you cannot undo.

For thirteen years, I've woken every morning thankful.
For thirteen years, I have prayed nightly for another day.

Nothing good comes from fear except for my desire to live and then to make the most of each day.

When I let my preschooler miss a day of school because she wants to stay home.
When I take my girls for frozen yogurt.
When I play Candy Land.
When I decorate like crazy for birthdays.
When I go over and beyond.
When I travel.
When I laugh.
When I smile.
When I am truthful.

I do all these things because at one point in my life I thought I would never get to and because I never know if it will be the last time. From an outsider's perspective, this is morbid. I understand this. From my perspective, it allows me to really think and consider is this really how I want to spend my day.

When I discipline my child for being sassy.
When I limit her screens and social media.
When I make the girls learn life lessons even though they are throwing temper tantrums.
When I say no.
When I get aggravated.
When I let my emotions get the best of me.
When I stand up for what I believe in.

I do all these things because at one point in my life I thought I would never get to and because I never know if it will be the last time. I do all these things because I am true to myself. I am honest with myself. I live each day for myself and for those that are important to me.

I have one chance to make sure my girls become phenomenal women.
I have one chance to teach them independence, self worth, and kindness.
I have one chance to be a parent.
I have one chance to be a wife.
I have one chance to be a friend.
I have one chance to be a sister, a cousin, a niece, an aunt.
And I don't know when that one chance will end.

There are days that I make a fuck ton (in case you're wondering that's more than a shit ton) of mistakes.
There are days I take risks with my own life and then think to myself you're an idiot.
There are days I think too much and act too little.
There are days I act without thinking.

To hear the words "long time" from people at a cancer hospital is both exhilarating and startling.
To hear the words "long time" let's you know you are beating the odds. In fact, you are kicking the shit out of the odds.
To hear the words "long time" makes you realize the last thirteen years went by so quickly.
To hear the words "long time" gives you the realization that each day, each week, each month, each year is a gift.

I made a promise to myself, my family, my friends, my children to give it my all and in this house we don't break promises. Not ever.

I am strong in my faith to know I still have more time and I still have great things to accomplish.
But I'd be lying if I didn't say the thought of tomorrow never coming is what keeps me awake at night and what keeps me going each day.















Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just Complaining

February has been all around NUTS! It has been a roller coaster over here. This parenthood thing had me all worked up these past few weeks.

When we arrived home from Costa Rica, the girls were very excited and very clingy. E1 seemed to bounce back after a day, falling into her usual schedule. E2, well that kid is a different breed. She is back to crying when we leave her with a sitter, back to asking me to lay with her every single night, and back to crying out for me in the middle night. She has repeatedly told me never to leave her again. I am trying to maintain normalcy over here, but her sweet smile melts my heart and eventually my mommy heart breaks and I give in to her. We still go out on a Saturday night and I still tutor two afternoons a week, but her interactions with the babysitter are different. Not bad, just different. My heart breaks, but my mind knows E2 will eventually get her groove back....after she stops crying and saying, "Why are you leaving me again?"

E1 is having a "stressful" school year. On the surface things seem great, but deep down she is a stress case. She puts tons of pressure on herself and with second grade being the first time receiving numerical grades, the pressure got worse. Last week she cried when she made a 94 on a test. She wanted a 100. TEARS. And not tears for attention, actual tears of sadness and disappointment. As parents we had to rethink all our parenting strategies and expectations. There is no need for an ulcer at age 8. Yesterday, I sat down E1 and explained while school was important we are no longer focusing on her grades. We are going to focus on effort. If she does her best, that is all that matters. I do not care if her best is a B or an A or even another letter grade - as long as she tried. I told her second grade should still be "fun" and she needed to concentrate on having a good time with her friends at lunch and recess and simply relax and do the work during class. I have no idea if this pep talk will work. I have no idea if I will literally have to throw away her work without looking at the grades for her to believe me, but what I do know - an 8 year old should never be crying about grades in school. Second grade is too serious. I fucking hate school.

E2 and I faced our fears and E2 started swim lessons. Yes, OUR fears. E2 has been fearful of getting her face wet even though she has always loved the water. She has been in a floatie since her first summer which has kept me in a state of fear each and every time summer approached. Between speech, PT, and OT she was not ready to learn to swim. With PT and OT behind us, I finally had time to realize that E2 is now 5.5 and will literally drown if she fell into a pool. Cue major anxiety. Friends of mine suggested an intense swim program offered at a local swim club. Last week E2, the child who refused to get her face wet, started intense daily swim lessons. There have been emotions ranging from terror to excitement and E2 is learning to swim. Legit, swim. She is succeeding beyond my wildest dreams. Hallelujah for checking off another item on the E2 To Do List.

Adding to my crazy, the hubs is in Australia for two damn weeks. Do not feel too badly for me, I have a friend whose husband is gone for almost three months for work. She is the true superhero in my subdivision. Back to my annoying two weeks....I HATE waking E2 to take E1 to school. I HATE having nothing to do on the weekends. I HATE having no one to talk at night. And I HATE that the girls miss him and a certain 8 year old is acting like an asshat. The plus side: I have majorly cleaned out closets, caught up on so much laundry I am embarrassed I was ever that far behind, and am watching all the BRAVO I want without anyone saying my show is stupid.

Another thing taking up all my time? My 8 year old. Dude. This age SUCKS. I actually think it is worse than three. E1 is sweet, empathetic, kind, a great friend - for a real, a wonderful child. But recently, hot damn she is annoying. From being bitchy to snotty to snappy, I have started to wish for the nice dwarfs like Goofy and Happy. Nothing is good enough, always complaining UNLESS she is off on her bike playing with her friends. Truth: fine by me - get on your bike and go. You have been home from school for 30 minutes and I already want to yell at you for your attitude. I am starting to truly worry if I will survive her puberty. It is no coincidence I taught 2nd grade for two years before realizing, I prefer junior high. Second grade sucks! These kids are stuck between growing up and still needing a hug when they are crying and all worked up. Some days I wish I could scream, "Snap out of it, bitch!"

Another time suck? E1 and E2 are playing softball this semester. I did luck out and one night a week they both have practice, but we basically live at the ball fields. With practices and games, I am already praying for rain. They both have two practices a week, but E2 does not go to one of hers. Her second practice is Friday night 7-8 pm. First, we have Shabbat dinner. Second, my five year is not going to practice at 7 pm. It is tee-ball. Go fuck yourself.

This parenting thing is hard work. School, therapies, after school activities, homework, tests, projects, play dates.... I am exhausted.

Yes, I am bitching. Sometimes it is necessary.

I am now going to take some Imodium for my diarrhea of the mouth.







Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Vacation, Not A Trip

In 48 hours the hubs and I are going on a vacation. A real vacation. Not a trip. What is the difference? Kids. Our girls are staying home. We are headed to Costa Rica for 5 nights and 6 days without our children.

And I am having a mild panic attack.

I am a planner. We all know this. We have been planning a 15th wedding anniversary trip for almost a year. When we finally decided where to go, we had to decide when to go. Costa Rica has amazing weather and that amazing weather is now which is great timing because our anniversary is now. What is not great timing is my mom's work schedule and her inability to watch our kids.

So.....I did what any normal mom would do. I called my overprotective friends and went on the hunt for a sitter. It was surprisingly easy to find someone to watch our girls. What is even better is our sitter is a child care specialist at a local hospital - jackpot. Background check? Yes. References? Yes. More than capable of watching our girls? Yes.

In the last months, she has babysat for us and gotten to know E1 and E2. She is now not a stranger. She is a fully capable adult who is sweet, caring, and a great person.  As I am typing this, it lowers my stress because I know we have a the best of the best (next to family) staying with the girls.

But there is so much stress in planning a vacation, not a trip.

My kids (mainly E1) are worried about the minutia of our daily lives. And that is an endless list!
E2 really just wants to know how many sleeps until we come home.

I literally have written a book, well it feels like a book for Miss K. Thank the lord she does not mind, well she says that now - wait until she reads it all.

From braiding hair to lunch.
From nightlights to no crusts on sandwiches.
From play dates to the alarm code.
From the dog to dinners in the freezer.
From the back up dinners to the numbers of 15 friends plus family that can help.
From mourning routines to bed time routines.
From arts & crafts projects to softball tryouts.
From texting to FaceTime.
I have written it ALL out.
ANYTHING you can imagine, is written out.
She has notes of where we keep our medicine and how much the girls weigh, notes about screen time, notes about homework, notes about drop off, pick up, speech therapy...notes about EVERYTHING.

You know what I learned from all these notes? I do a SHIT TON! Holy motherhood! I am rocking this bitch.

And now Daddy guilt has come to play in this game of planning our vacation, not a trip. The hubs has been gone all week for work and we are leaving in 48 hours. This is not a good combo. The amount that is in our fucking amazon cart is embarrassing. Beanie boos, books, more arts & crafts all for E1 and E2 if they basically behave for Miss K. Why we are bribing our already behaved children is beyond my understanding. But then again, Daddy guilt is a real disease and I have no cure.

While the girls (again, just E1) are worried sick about my absence, I am planning for worst case scenario.

Here is the number to the pediatrician, here is our car insurance,  here is our health insurance card, here is a medical power of attorney, here is our will, and yes, I sent the teachers emails letting them know we were going to be out of the country and please contact Miss K in an emergency. (And please give my babies extra hugs!!)

I KNOW we will be fine, but all of this writing and prepping gave me an odd sense of peace.
I did not leave a stone unturned.

Lists are completed. Schedules are lined up and completed. Friends know. Family knows. Teachers know. Girls know and are as prepared as possible. I even cleaned out Five Below with fun new projects to complete with Miss K!

I am exhausted from planning this vacation, not a trip. Thank goodness we are going on a vacation! This is going to be great for all of us. Our girls will gain independence and confidence while seeing a positive example of a marriage being celebrated. My husband and I will a get a trip of a lifetime and time together with what I am hoping will be minimal stress.

It is now Wednesday late afternoon. We leave at the ass crack of dawn Saturday and I have not started packing. I am, however,  finished with my "sub plans."




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hatchimal Hater

WARNING: HIGH LEVELS OF PROFANITY

Hi. My name is Mom and I am a Hatchimal Hater.

The issue?

My girls are Hatchimal Lovers. These dumb fucking toys have aggravated me since they were opened. E1's hatchimal hatched within 20 minutes. E2's did not hatch right away. That night, we sent both girls to bed and literally googled "What if my Hatchimal doesn't hatch." E2 slept off and on crying, "Why my hatchimal didn't hatch?" "Maybe tomorrow?"

E2 was brought out of bed (I could not hear her cry anymore) and we worked and worked to get this damn fucking creature to come out of its mother fucking egg. Do you know how to get a Hatchimal to hatch? You must rub the egg. You must play with the egg. I don't know if E2's egg needed some damn Viagra or what, but we stroked and rubbed and caressed that egg like it was a 70 year old penis that needed to get up. After almost 30 minutes of being molested, the damn thing finally hatched. (Mind you we had rubbed the shit out of this thing when she first opened it.)

Now, here we are weeks after Hanukkah and these fuckers are the gifts that keep on giving migraines. They make noises, they move, they repeat things you say, their eyes glow! They are weird, bizarre battery operated toys that my girls turn on every.single.damn.day. If E1 and E2 are awake, Hatchimal is awake. The girls take such good care of these toys that I NOW know they are actually capable of keeping track of their crap.

And the poor dog!!! They like to play with the toy around the dog. The girls think it is funny to see the dog's reaction to the noises they make. I am almost positive the dog will need Xanax if these toys don't get the hell out of our house soon.

Hatchimals have phases....baby, toddler, and I don't know what else because I threw away the fucking instructions in hopes the girls wouldn't know how to play with them. (That didn't work if you are wondering). In some phase, you can teach your stupid asshat hatchimal how to do things. E1 figured this shit out. E2 cannot get hers to learn. Maybe it cannot learn because it is STUPID!!! E1 tries to help E2 and that is like a cat trying to teach a dog how to purr....it aint gonna happen.

Did I mention this happens every.fucking.day??

OH MY I HATE HATCHIMALS!!!!!!

And the only toy to top the annoying Hatchimal?
Zoomer Kitty and his best friend Zoomer Chimp.

To my amazing cousin who found the impossible to find Hatchimals - I curse you.
And to my amazing mom who purchased our Zoomer friends - say no to your grandkids.

Cherry on top? Zoomer fucking kitty and chimp charge with a USB cord...there is no "We do not have any batteries, sorry." excuse.

I pray the Hatchimal batteries die soon. Little Live Pet (bird) died the same way.

Funny how the girls never notice we have batteries for everything, BUT their toys.

(E2's hatchimal)             (E1's hatchimal)

Zoomer fucking Kitty

**Zoomer Chimp not pictured. His ass is still in the box**

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

15 years

On January 13th, it will be our 15th wedding anniversary.

15 years is a long time. At 24, we stood before family, friends, and G-d and promised to love one another. We promised to put our marriage first. We made this promise under the premise of love can conquer all. We were young and stupid, or were we?

We have friends that are divorced. We have family that is divorced. Some divorced after a few years and some after more than 10. Marriage is hard as hell. Divorce looms around every corner and I have no idea what causes some marriages to fail and others to survive, but I know we have made it.

Our marriage is no stranger to tough times. Our marriage has withstood financial problems more than once, my cancer diagnosis and treatment and thank G-d - remission, burying our still-born son, adopting both our daughters, the incarceration of my husband's father and all that was and is currently happening due to that, our youngest daughter's delays, our oldest daughter's anxiety, deaths of family members and family members on both sides not liking one of us.

On top of that ridiculous, made for TV drama, we have survived my husband's messy sink and nightstand that sends my organized A-type personality into a tail spin, my constant need to entertain not only my family but friends as well, my husband's inability to to take out the trash daily, my inability to grocery shop for under $300, my husband's inability to call when he is on his way home, my inability to understand that when he is at work he cannot always answer the phone, my inability to share the TV, his inability to communicate when his favorite football team is playing, my horrible PMS, and a slew of every day crap that is damn annoying to each of us.

We are not perfect. We do not have a perfect marriage. We get mad. We argue. We disagree. We have gone to bed angry. We really know how to push each other's buttons. And we are exceptionally good at pushing those buttons.

15 years later I can tell you we love each other. We share the same values and passion for family. We both put our family first and we both understand it looks differently. I put my family first when my annoying entertaining creates memories and traditions for our girls, for us. He puts our family first when he works twelve hour days to ensure our financial safety. My husband travels when he is not working twelve hour days. Those days when he is out of town, I take care of the girls and our home alone. It is not perfect, but it is what it is. This is our marriage. We sacrifice. We compromise. We understand. We each work separately and together to secure our future, together.

We put each other first, then our girls, then everyone else. Sometimes he takes the lead and I lean on him. Sometimes I take the lead and he leans. We need each other. There are times we know how much we need each other and yes, there are times we think we can do it alone.

There is no secret to a happy marriage. There is just work. Work that never ends. Being a wife is harder than teaching 180 at risk students. As a teacher, I ran my own show. As a wife, I have a co-teacher. My husband runs his own company, he is the boss. At home, he has a co-boss. We are both leaders. We are both strong-willed. We are both fighters. While sharing decision making is not easy, we do it. We do it knowing someone typically "loses."

There is no "winning" in marriage either. There are discussions, conversations that take place and two personalities and opinions collide. One of them comes out on top. I have made decisions for our girls that he was not 100% on board with, he has made financial decisions that I am not 100% on board with, but the decisions are made and we are not angry when our opinion/advice is not the "winning" one. Both of us cannot get our way. It doesn't work like that. The solutions are made based on facts and one of us is more knowledgeable about those facts- that opinion has more weight. It just does. We cannot both be the expert on everything.

In 15 years, we have learned that date night is important even when the week leading up to it is so aggravating that when we finally sit down at the table one of us admits to being an ass so we can move on.

In 15 years, we have learned to laugh at everything. Our humor is sick, twisted, and dark. If you cannot laugh, you will cry. We will find the humor in everything thrown our way. We were the only two people laughing in the waiting room when I had cancer. Like I said, we find the humor.

In 15 years, we have learned to be patient. I am patient when he is stressed and over worked (every day) and he is patient when I am obsessive and annoying (every day).

In 15 years, we have learned we are no longer the 24 year old bride and groom standing under the chuppah. We are 40 (and almost 40) years old and have created a family, a life, a marriage that has lasted well beyond the reception.

We are full of life, we seize the moment to be happy, we laugh, we love. We have experienced the depths of profound sadness and relished in the rainbows after the storm.

Fifteen years ago, I could have never predicted all that we would go through. And given the chance, knowing what I know now, I would marry my husband again. His smile, his gorgeous eyes, and his unwavering stubborn, fight for what you believe in personality is what I loved and still love about him.

Our good days, our great days, our bad days, our mediocre days have created 15 years of a marriage that we will not stop fighting for. We will continue to love each other and know that love after all this time does not look like it did on our wedding night, it looks better.



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios 2016, Hello 2017

2016. What a year.

There are many posts on Facebook how 2016 sucked. Some of the people are talking about the presidential election, some about all the celebrity deaths, some are referencing their are own personal disappointments.

My 2016 did not suck. yes, we had tough days. We had days of concern, stress, family drama, financial issues, major worries about each of our daughters, friends and family with divorce drama, company problems for my husband, social let downs, deaths of friends' loved ones, my aunt died and my grandma died. Looking at all this, one would think my year sucked. But it did not.

In 2016, we traveled, made happy memories, smiled, laughed, made new friends, and loved. My friends and family are all healthy, thank G-d, I am healthy - thank G-d, we have a lot to smile about. We have people who love us, people we can count on. Not everyone has people, but we do and we have many.

Each day gives us new hope, a new beginning, a new promise for a day that has yet to be written. Some days are for sure crappy, but it is just a day - start again tomorrow.

Maybe you had more crappy days than good days in 2016 and maybe your 2016 did really suck, but I did not keep track of how many crappy days I had. What's the point? Shouldn't we all look forward to tomorrow?

Yes, my grandma died. Yes, I attended two funerals in 48 hours, but the two women I lost would be pissed if I said my 2016 sucked because they died. Yes, they would both love the attention that sentence brings, but they were grateful for what life brought and they would both yell at me and call me a spoiled brat if I did not acknowledge all the good that was in my life.

I celebrated another year of holidays, birthdays, field trips, play dates, bike rides, my favorite television shows, sushi with my friends, steak dinners with my husband, coffee and drinks with friends....you get the idea. Even the smallest achievement, E2 moving from a 14" bike to a 16" bike, I witnessed and celebrated. E1 coming into her own stubborn, brilliant, loving personality, I have witnessed and celebrated (and drank wine on those stubborn days.)

2016 did not suck. It had days of disappointment, days of profound sadness, but my year did not suck.

I lived this year. I smiled this year. And I will do the same in 2017. I will find the good in my year and look forward to tomorrow.

Happy New Year, readers!