Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Vacation - Day One

So far today, I've paid bills, had coffee with a friend, done a ton of paperwork, a few loads of laundry, and made my lunch. It's 4 p.m. and my two oldest teens (16 and 19) slept until 2:30 p.m. My daughter, attempting to make herself an egg sandwich (brunch at 4 p.m. anyone?), sprayed Pam into an open flame and almost made flambe out of the entire kitchen. I've heard the following phrases, "I'm going to lose my virginity in a Buick" (this was not one of my kids!), "Let's go do something! It's the first day of summer vacation!", a rousing rendition of "Let's Go Fly a Kite", and an impression of Sarah Palin as played by Jenna Marbles making chocolate chip cookies.

I also had the following conversation with my son's 14-year-old bestie:
J: It's half way to Christmas? Are you excited?
Me: Not really.
J: Why not? Why don't adults get excited about anything?
Me: We used up all our excitement when we were kids. We get excited about different things.
J: Like what? Being old enough not to get your period anymore?

I came home from coffee with my friend to find a lone dog turd on the floor, a guilty-looking old dog wanting to go out, a Tupperware container on the floor (having been licked clean of pizza leftovers by said dog), and a bottle of chocolate syrup overturned on the kitchen counter.

Scene in my living room: Two kids playing the same mindless game on iPads, one on his phone texting while the TV is on (with no one watching it).
Me: Why don't you guys play the Wii or something?

Scene: me on my computer, two boys asking what to do.
Me: Go play outside! Go find that coyote that keeps howling all morning and see what's going on!
Boys: What if it eats us?
Me: Well, then we'll have a great story to tell.

Now all I hear is the sounds of "What, What, in the Butt" coming from my family room.

Sweet baby Jesus, help me. And bring booze.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Attention hogs?

I've been hearing, from the children of my children's generation (teenagers), that there seems to be a pervasive feeling among all of them - no one feels as though they are getting enough attention from their parents.

I reflected on this and I realized that this generation of children (1990's born) probably has received more parental attention than generations past. When my firstborn arrived in 1993, we were immediately plunged into baby/parent groups, which was just the seedling of the harvest of parent/child activities that segued into a plethora of kid activities for which parental involvement was a necessity.

We've done soccer, baseball, softball, gymnastics, dance, summer camp, drama, art classes, cheer, music lessons, scouts and Camp Fire. I've spent endless hours driving my kids to and from these activities, as well as being present during the activity or being an active participant. I've rarely missed a game, never missed a recital or performance, been a scout leader, and volunteered to be the backstage mom, the party host, or the organizer.  In short, I've BEEN there for most everything.

But does just BEING there count as attention? I mean, we can get mired in the daily comings and goings without really seeing or hearing our child. Our conversations are sometimes limited to the minutia of everyday life without really going deeper than "what's for dinner?" or "did you finish your homework?" So, are our kids really getting enough attention?

I have a few memories of feeling left out when my parents were focused on my siblings and their crisis of the moment. That continues to adulthood, but I never felt like my parents paid any more or less attention to me than any other parents did at that time. In fact, while my generation's parents were definitely more involved than that of the generation before me, for the most part we did our own thing and our parents served two purposes: 1. to make us food, 2. to drive us places.

So, I wonder how much attention does a kid need? We've created this society of egocentric kids and I can't help but wonder if, when they express their need for more attention, we can EVER give them all the attention they want/need. Add in the fact that most kids are not only children, and it gets harder and harder to have one-on-one time with each child. I find most of the individual time I spend with my kids involves driving them to appointments and picking up Starbucks or a treat after. It might not sound like much, but it works, and we have long talks (often sitting in the car in the driveway long after we've arrived home).

Still, I wonder if kids are just becoming more egocentric, or if we are really not paying enough attention to our offspring. What's your take? Do kids need more attention? Or do they just have a constant need to be in the spotlight?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Twitter's A-Flitter

Here's the thing with social networks. Once you post something, EVERYONE can see what you say. My last post was a bit of a nod to that, and this one is no exception. Only this time, the person lives in my house and it's a Twitter rant.

June 9:
One day back home & my mom is already yelling at me, ordering me around, and treating me like a child.  
Well, I DID say "you have one week to get your room organized". I didn't yell it. It could be considered an "order", I suppose. And she IS a child, at least as long as I'm supporting her, so I guess if having rules and expectations is treating one like a child, then...guilty!

One day home and I already want my own space back.
I want your space back, too. I could use an office, or a yoga room, or my own escape.

Trying to clean my room with my mom yelling at me is difficult...
So is trying to clean the WHOLE HOUSE while you continue to put crap outside your door and on the counters. I'm a little #stressed too.

At this point, one of her Twitter friends offers her a garage to rent. Sounds like a fair trade!

Literally feel dead.  
You can't "literally" feel dead. Because if you did, you'd BE dead and then you wouldn't feel. Duh. And the Benadryl? She insisted she needed it to sleep. Of course, getting up before 4:30 in the afternoon works, too.

My mom asks me to help her clean/decorate for the stupid cast party today, and them does nothing but yell & criticize me. 
Actually, I did do it myself. With the help of her siblings who were kind enough to actually help me and not Tweet about how much they hated it. For the record, I asked her to hold one end of a tablecloth for me so I could stretch it out over the table.

Also, my siblings have the radio absolutely BLASTING and my mom won't tell them to turn it down.  
We did have the radio up loud. I turned it on myself. We were cleaning and the vacuum was running and it was loud and fun. Made things a little more bearable for all. It wasn't hurting anyone and we intended to turn it down when guests arrived, which we did. Also, I'm 44 and she's 18 and last time I checked, it was the OLD person who always wanted the music turned down.

I need an apartment. Stat
Yes, she does! Unfortunately, being unemployed with only a minimum-wage summer job doesn't allow for much in the rental market. I say before you start saying what you "need" you'd better be sure you can afford to fund it. 

We need quiet hours at my house. 
This is not a dorm, and it's never quiet. Get used to it.

Note to my family: if you have to scream at the person next to you to have a conversation, the music is too loud. 
Again with the music. It was not that loud. And I'm a mom, so that's saying something.

One if the guests outside has a FUCKING WEIRD LAUGH.
Now she's insulting our guests? Perhaps if she were out socializing with us, instead of watching "Modern Family" on her computer (aka best friend), she would know what the laughing was all about.

My mom told me that the van had a flat and that I had to take it to get fixed. Now she's talking shit about me to the other moms. 
Yes, indeed, I did inform her that she would need to allow for extra time to get the tire fixed before her noon dentist appointment. I reminded her of this because (see previous) she generally does not wake up before noon. Her answer was "I'm not going to have enough time." and "Can't Jeff do it?" Sadly, Jeff and mommy both have to work in the morning. Because it's Monday. And we have jobs.

(Editor's note: I have to skip one of the posts because it's rude and insulting to one person and I do not want this person to get their feelings hurt by my rude daughter)

I need all these people to leave so my wifi gets stronger. They're all using it right now.  
The only good thing about this post is that she does acknowledge that hers are #firstworldproblems and that she's lazy. She "needed" the WiFi so she would watch "Modern Family" on her laptop. Meanwhile, the room is still full of boxes and clothes and crap and remains unorganized and a mess.

All I can say is SERIOUSLY? We just racked up nearly $20,000 in student loans for you to attend your first year of college and this is what we get the first weekend home?

This is a sad state of affairs. I spent the second weekend in a row flying solo because my husband was out of town and I had more than my share of kid drama, dog drama and general chaos and I was so tired tonight I was near tears. I don't even have words for this type of disrespect.

And later tonight, she helped her sister with a project. Of course, there was the requisite begging and drama, along with an offer of money to help from the little sister (which I forbid!). But she ended up helping her, like a big sister should, out of the goodness of her heart, without expecting anything in return. Why can't she be like this all the time?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How easily forgotten.........

Recent happenings have caused me to ponder how easily we forget people. Not our loved ones who have passed on - surely we remember them from time to time with fond memories. What I'm noticing is how easily we forget people in our lives due to a change in circumstances. For instance, in past years, friends I've had from my neighborhood have moved - not out of state but to a nearby neighborhood - but they might as well be out of the state, or the country for that matter, for all I've seen them since. People who spent weekends at my home, enjoying a party or a game night, have dropped out of my life completely as soon as they moved a few blocks away.

Within the past year, my daughter has moved from her high school to a homeschooling program due to health issues. And slowly her friends have faded from her life. There is an occasional invite to a girls' night or gathering, but more often than not, she's forgotten. The downside of social media is that it's not too hard to know what all your friends are doing when they post their every move on Facebook. So, it's easy to see the events you haven't been invited to. And it's all the more distressing when you know those same people have been more than happy to spend their time at your home, taking advantage of your hospitality and rarely, if ever, reciprocating.

I think it's just a lack of manners today. I've noticed this type of "take but not give" mentality overtaking our society. I cannot count the times a parent has been more than happy to drop their child off at my house for a long playdate, but never reciprocated. Even now, as teens, my kids' friends' parents seem to think we're the daycare/carpool/eating establishment for their children. I love to welcome my kids friends (and my own friends) into my home, but when that invitation is rarely extended by others, it doesn't feel very encouraging.

Recently I drove carpool for a week to an event my children were involved in. I picked up two teens who needed rides. Only later in the week did I find out their parents were not only home, but available to drive, they just didn't want to! These parents did not offer gas money or any other compensation for me to drive their children (neither of whom I had met previous to the carpool arrangement). I felt they could have at least offered to take one day each in exchange for me driving the other days. My husband and I are very generous about giving rides home to our kids' friends, but when it becomes an expectation, it makes you feel taken advantage of and the result is that you simply do not want to extend the generosity anymore. Which is sad, because that's the very problem I'm talking about. People are not very generous with their time and hospitality these days.

I understand that we're all busy and have jobs and families to take care of. But I also know it's not that hard to extend some common courtesies. The sad truth is, I think people just "forget". I'm certain most people would love to catch up more, have more fun with their friends, celebrate the good times. But we get so wrapped up in ourselves, we rarely look around us or think about others. Our best intentions are just that - intentions. It reminds me of a quote I read recently "a goal without a plan is just a wish". This is so true - we can talk it up all we want, but until someone springs into action, it's just talk.

It breaks my heart when I hear my kids talking to their friends and making grandiose plans for the summer. "We're totally going on a road trip!" or "We are having sleepovers EVERY weekend!" And I know those things won't happen unless someone plans them. It's all well and good when school is ending and summer is looming, long and luxurious and unscheduled, and the next thing you know, you realize summer is impossibly short and you never went on that road trip or had that sleepover or got that awesome tan.

In my family, we do plan. Most of that planning falls on my shoulders, but I've had enough experience to know that if I don't plan it, no one will. And the thing is, I WANT to have fun. I WANT to socialize. I WANT to celebrate. So, I do. And I won't stop doing it just because others are too wrapped up in their own lives to include me or my children in theirs.

But I'd like to see more people take some initiative when it comes to including their friends. That friend you always say you're going to have lunch with? Make those plans today. That spontaneous gathering? Don't forget that neighbor or friend just down the street who might also enjoy it. And when you think back on all those people you "used" to be friends with, try to remember why you're not friends anymore. If you had a falling out, perhaps you can revisit your friendship now that time has passed. If you just forgot about them as you moved on, perhaps you can remember that they were once there for you unconditionally. It's ok if you've let friends go for other reasons. We can't all stay friends forever. But you might be surprised that the friends you "used" to know could still be the same trusted, loyal friends they once were before you let the slip from your circle. Don't forget.