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Disappointment is harder than Potty Training

  • March 8, 2012 11:09 am

My mantra these past almost eleven years of parenting has been that NOTHING, I mean NOTHING is as hard as potty training.  For us, and the Scroggins Hoodlums, this was by far the most difficult skill to master.  Even given the current status of my oh-so-not-into-school-kindergartener, I’d rank potty training as harder.

Until now.

Yesterday, our oldest hoodlum competed in the Regional Spelling Bee.  Reading, Writing, Spelling, Acting…anything with words and letters is completely her thing.  She’s a dog with a bone when she’s talking plot or word parts.  Because of that, she was pumped for the contest, completely high on her ability to put letters together in the correct sequence of a word.  We studied.  She studied.  We studied some more.  We were all prepped and ready.

When we arrived at the contest, I think we all were a little overwhelmed.  It was held on TCU’s campus, and was quite an official event, with printed signs and ready made name tags.  After a light breakfast snack, all the spellers and families headed into the ballroom to hear the rules, and the spellers took the stage.  At that point I realized we might be in over our heads.  The contest was held for third through eighth graders, and from the looks of the spellers, most were very mature eighth graders.  When the contest began, I knew we were in over our heads.  Many of the spellers asked for root words, definitions, parts of speech, etc.  It was exactly like all the Spelling Bees I’ve seen in movies–this was the real deal.

Watching our hoodlum walk across the stage to the microphone, listen to the words, and tentatively ask questions was…difficult.  On her final word, she looked at the moderator, asked for the word again, and turned three shades of red.  She held on to the bottom of her shirt and started to spell…A.  It seemed like hours while I watched the gears turn in her head, and her mouth say the word as she fidgeted on stage.  Finally, she finished…uria.  But, it was Aria, the soprano solo in an opera.  She was crushed, disappointed, and deflated.  It was heartbreaking.

I know it built character.  That’s what my mother always told me when something like this built my own, but it broke this mommy’s heart.  She recovered through the day, but I still saw the ghost of disappointment pass across her face as we celebrated all the successful words spelled up to that point.

She’s vowed to return to the Bee again next year, and to begin studying now, which is an amazing feat for her really.  At times I wonder if she thinks she was born with the ability to read.  I know she looked to those older girls with respect, and hopes to strive for that kind of success again.

I knew there would be moments like this.  I knew there had to be moments like this.  I didn’t know that it would feel like my own heart fell out of my chest and onto the floor as someone stomped on it.  I didn’t know that I would wish for superpowers, and hope for time to freeze as I snuggled my hoodlum to a safe, cozy place to recover.  I didn’t know that I could will something to happen with every cell in my body, and feel the hurt in those same cells when it  didn’t happen.  I know there will be more moments like this–probably many more.  Next time I will try to prepare The Mommy as much as I prepare The Hoodlum.

Technological difficulties continued…

  • June 20, 2011 7:20 pm

I’m exhausted.

I spent the better part of today trying to problem solve this cell phone situation.  I started with the point of purchase-the Wal Marts.  I explained my predicament, and how the phone seemed to just die in the air.  Unfortunately, after close inspection in the flourescent lights, a crack appeared in the corner.  That crack labeled me with “user neglect,” and they would not return my broken phone.

I was defeated.

Their advice was to go to the corporate Sprint Store, and beg forgiveness, and hope for a screen change.  Having had quite a few broken phones over the years, I did not have a ton of confidence in the corporate store, or in their sympathy for me.  Instead, I started calling.  And calling.  And calling.

I gave up after a few hours–never able to get through to the Cell Phone Powers in Charge.  Instead, I called our local store and told my woeful story, and describe my desperate need for a calendar (with reminder beeps.)  After much conversation and further explanation, the verdict? 

Sprint sent me back to the Wal Marts, citing their 30 day return policy; I have the option to return the phone within 30 days, no matter the condition of the phone. 

So, I shlepped back, but with only an inkling of hope left in me.

But, when I explained all the other explanations that had been explained to me, and in great detail, Wal Mart agreed.  They returned the phone, and gave me a brand new, WORKING phone.  I was over the moon with gratitude, and must have thanked them no less than a hundred times.  It didn’t matter that I’d spent the day explaining and re-explaining a situation that could have been solved earlier in the day–well, it mattered a little. 

But, only a little.  I’m all too happy to having a working phone and calendar now, and to be connected with the real world once again.

Just another day in my crazy, mixed up, wacky, disorganized life.  I suppose I’m used to it.

an end to a decade

  • May 2, 2011 9:09 pm

Osama bin Laden is dead, and with that a decade of terror has ended, in the same year my daughter will enter “double digits.”  She was my first thought as the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, and in those thoughts I realized her world would feel much more unsafe than my world had ever felt.  I have resented that loss of innocence since those attacks, but today I felt some of that innocence return.

We discuss world events in our house, and our kids occasionally watch the news–mostly to tune in to dangerous weather conditions, but sometimes to “catch up” on what’s going on out there in the “real world.”  As the house awoke this morning to more news coverage of the last 24 hours, there were questions.  As I strategically explained the latest events, I focused on the change our Country has endured in the last decade, and how this Death marked an end to that decade.  I never know how much to share with my children, how much to educate them on World Events and Tragedy.  I remember other parents actively turning off televisions during the aftermath of 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina to shield their children from the information and the images.  My children were still too young to internalize the extent of that information, but I remember filing that away for when my children were older, and closer to the “age of reason.”  No one has defined that age for me, and because of that, my husband and I are blindly finding our way through this other part of their education–the part where they discern their part in world events.

And today, as that innocence crept back into our world, I delicately focused on a New Decade–a New Decade of Hope and Faith, ever mindful of the never ending Pride in our Country and Military, and yet also mindful of how my reactions affect their reactions as history writes its story on their lives.

Momversation

  • January 18, 2011 6:51 pm

Currently, I am reading Queen Bees and Wannabes  by Rosalind Wiseman, and it’s laying the foundation for what I feel will be a fantastic conversation with my book club next month.  In fact, it might just be the subject of another blog post after I finish the book.  Not only am I dissecting my daughter’s current and future social drama and stress, but I am revisiting a few of my own skeletons and finally dealing with them.  Therapy.  It might just be a good thing. 

In telling a few girlfriends about the book today, I stressed what I thought would be an intense momversation with the topics on hand, and in saying that, I realized what a necessity that is for us moms.  I have always felt the need to validate my own mothering insecurities with another mom.  When my kids were tottling and potty training I sought out other moms that would promise to me that potty training was THE MOST DIFFICULT part of mothering, EVER.  As the kids have grown, I have continued to crave that validation in many aspects of my life, but specifically this whole mothering aspect.  I have an intense NEED to know that I am not alone in whatever crisis my children are putting me through, and I also have an intense NEED for other perspectives to assure me that the outcome will turn out ok.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be ok.  My world needs to be ok.  I like an ok world.  Ok worlds are very, very lovely places to live. 

I realize that not every mom or woman out there craves the connection and relationship that I do, but I think momversation is a good thing.  I think it’s a positive thing.  As my kids graduate from tottling and elementary school, I’m scared at the problems that will arise when we introduce Facebook, texting, and other technology into our lives.  I know I will lean on my girlfriends for their mom advice, and continue this Momversation into those teenage years, perhaps indefinitely.  I can’t imagine sending my children off to college without leaning on a few girlfriends and momversing with them to validate my empty nest insecurities.  And then?  When they are grown ups?  How will I ever make it through that without Momversation.

It’s never-ending.  And in sharing my little woes with you every week, I’m extending that Momversation beyond my own little Circle of Trust, and asking for even more validation (remember that connection I crave??) that everything will be ok.  Because it will, right?  You Moms have been there, and somehow, I will get through all the crap of raising the children, and they will become functioning adults without needing too much therapy…

Right?  :)

The Classics

  • October 4, 2010 7:34 pm

 

There are some fantastic family movies out there, and ours are increasingly the ones more “vintage” than the rest.  This weekend we stubbled up on Harry and the Hendersons and the kids were absolutely glued to the TV, laughing and crying along with the mini-drama of the family as they welcomed Bigfoot into their house, and made family friends with him.  The premise itself was pretty hilarious, and the groovy cars were that much more funny.

So, it made me think…what other classics should we watch with these kiddos?  Any suggestions?

and again,

  • August 30, 2010 5:46 pm

Today I was told I was the “worst Mother in the history of Mothers.”

Really?  of ALL the Mothers?  All the Mothers in the history of Motherhood itself?  That’s gotta be…A LOT of Moms!

And, I’m the worst?

I suppose I must be doing something right then.  That’s my hope anyway.

Daddy Daycare-superfun for everyone.

  • August 4, 2010 8:31 pm

These weeks before the kids start school leave the teachers running around like maniacs-believe it or not.  As a result, I’m on a daily quest for A Plan.  I’m pretty sure it’s against the rules to leave them unattended for large periods of time.  Anyway, today’s solution involved my husband “working from home” which means he went into work SUPER early, and packed up as much as he could handle for a day of work at home with the boys. 

And let me tell you, the boys were PUMPED about their day with Daddy.

After a quick sausage biscuit picnic, they met some friends on the square for a real-live tour of the Courthouse, which honestly I didn’t know was available for field tripping.  I should have looked into it though, being the field trip maniac that I am, because my kids (as nerdy as they are) ALWAYS ask to go see “what it’s like.”  They’ve literally been asking for years to take a tour of the Wise County Courthouse, and my response has always been that tours weren’t available.  Who knew?  These are also the same kids that beg to go to the library, so keep that in perspective.

So, after the fun tour, they really just hung around the house.  They played a little catch, played a little Wii, had some snacks, resumed the Wii, played with the dog, and before they knew it, I was home.  And, they were in the BEST mood; they rambled on and on about the wonderful day they had with Daddy.  I literally got a minute by minute rundown of every thought, move, and step of the day. 

I guess these random at-home-days-with-Dad are pretty rare, and that in and of itself makes them pretty special, add in a few cool things like a TOUR OF THE COURTHOUSE, and you’ve got yourself a Disneyland kind of day.  Daddies are lucky to have that Magical quality.  Everything they do seems to have a touch of fairy dust attached to it.  Mommies don’t seem to have that same special power-at least not this Mommy.

You know me though, I’m going to bed with the warm fuzzies I got watching their faces light up talking about their day.  Daddy Daycare-good plan!

but it’s not miiiiinnnneeee!

  • July 22, 2010 8:06 pm

My children have superpowers.  Aren’t you jealous?  What kind of superpowers you may ask?  Well, they have an insane ability to be able to filter and process any trash, toy, book, or general clutter for ownership.  This ability comes in super handy almost daily, and in a variety of situations.  For example, this evening when we returned from an all day field trip to a water park.  Now, if you’re me, and plan for three hoodlums for an entire day of outside fun in the Texas Heat, there is a certain amount of STUFF that goes along with that–stuff including a cooler, drinks, a swim bag, extra clothes, a towel bag, food, more drinks, bandaids, and of course, a camera.  Upon our return, I laid out the evening plan, consisting of car, baths, teeth, pjs, reading, and bed.  They knew the plan.  They agreed to the plan, and yet, they did not follow through on the plan.  I was the first one back out to the car to make the second trip into the house, and as I came in saddled with STUFF, I found my little superhero angels sprinkled through the house in various states of leisure.

Umm, no.

I reminded them of the PLAN, and shlepped them all back out the door to help me unload, pointing out more specific items they could choose to retrieve.  And, that’s when I got my favorite line, “but it’s not mmmmmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeee!”

Umm, okay.

Blink.

Blink. Blink.

And, despite their superhero status, this silent conversation usually ends with an, “oh, okay…I’ll get it.”

Umm, yes.  Yes you will. 

There have been times when I have gone on strike, only picking up after myself, only cleaning up my own trash, and only washing my own clothes.  It’s a little embarrassing to admit that, but I did it to make a point-running a home is not a one person job, it’s a team effort.  Even if things aren’t yyyyoouuurrrrssss, it’s just good manners to help out for the good of the team.

Lucky for me, I’ve got superheros on my team.  Lucky for them, I’m learning how to channel their energy against the Dark Side.

my own spot?

  • July 20, 2010 7:43 pm

Last week, I was visiting with some girlfriends over a hypothetical game of bunco, and we got on the subject of our favorite snuggly, cozy spots in our houses.  The spot we might retreat to with a good book, a hot cup of tea, a Ranger Game, an iphone, or even a Diet Coke over ice.  Everyone had their own spot.  For some it was their bed, overstuffed with pillows.  For others it was their couch, covered with a blanket.  And for one, it was even her closet-the one place that was completely hers. 

For me, well, I didn’t have one, and it really, really bothered everyone around the table.  They imagined me somewhere with my laptop typing out word after word-inspired by this very special spot.  They threw out all kinds of ideas, including the back porch or a spot by a window, but truly-I don’t have one specific spot in this house that is my favorite retreat. 

So, since last week, I’ve been trying really hard to find that inspirational, cozy, special spot.  I’ve curled up on the couch, the bed, the back porch, the kitchen table, the kitchen counter, the floor…everywhere I could possibly think of the stake out and claim as my own. 

But still, no spot.  Nothing is taking. 

It’s kind of stressing me out, which I think is the opposite effect of this so-called special spot.  Does everyone have one?

Slob Central

  • July 13, 2010 8:15 pm

I’ll admit that I’m more of a neat freak than most.  It makes me really, really, REALLY happy when things are tucked away in their official place, when things are clean, and when there seems to be order in the world.  Really Happy.

But, I know different things make different people happy in different ways.  So, I can recognize that say, my daughter, doesn’t have the same happy place in the same neat world I do.  I can recognize it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t drive me crazy.  It totally does.  Sometimes I walk into her room and feel weak in the knees because of the chaos that surrounds her.  Is that really her happy place??  Surely not.

Right?

So, here’s my question.  What’s the general consensus on kids and clean rooms?  I don’t want my kids remembering the chores of their childhood, bemoaning the fact that their Mother was a crazy nut that liked everything in order.  But, I do feel it is their responsibility to keep their part of our home at least in working order.  Sadly, one member of our little clan could spend much of her day everyday trying to do just that-make a path, and keep things in working order.   So, how do I walk the line separating our two worlds?  How do I instill the importance of organization, yet relax in the haven we call home?

I’m hoping that Slob Central isn’t the answer.  I’m really, really, REALLY hoping that.  :)