"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are You Ready for School?

We are one of the last states in the nation to begin school. One of the ways we try to keep out of bankrupcy is by getting people to come here and pay for stuff, but you have to have employees to take the money, and the only people who want to be paid to take money for just the summer and no longer are...


So, while the rest of the nation is happily buried in textbooks and icky school lunches and maternal bliss, we get an extra week to freak out.

This year, the freak out is compounded by a new school. Princess started hers six weeks ago, Peanut four, and Buddy freaked out six months ago when we broke the news, and is mostly fine now. The Cuddle Bear is just happy that she is finally old enough to do something the other kids do, she really doesn't care where.

I started mine this week.

This, of course caught me off guard.

About mid-August, people start asking, so are you ready for school to start? as a conversation opener to moms. Suddenly, I realized that every time someone asked me, they'd slowly start to back away and then find something important on their fancy-pants touch-screen phone. That's when I realized my mouth had disconnected from my brain: my brain though I was saying, oh, I don't know. I like having them with me, but the reality was

Will my teachers like me?
Will I get in trouble with the principal?
Will I make friends?

What if no one likes me?

No. I'm serious. What if no one likes me? I'm in this horrible phase were no one has as many kids as me, so everyone I suckered into liking me with a boy Buddy's age has had all their kids in school for a couple of years and have gone back to work full time. All the parents of kids the Cuddle Bear's age didn't have enough kids to get to the Eh it's Not Really Dirty You Can Still Eat It Was it You Who Put the Dog in the Pot on The Stove That's So Funny stage, so they're slightly horrified at my parenting. And everyone knows middle kids get lost in the shuffle, so I'm not even sure Princess's and Peanut's classmates have parents. Top that with the economy that has lost three of my friends' husbands their jobs so they moved out of state for new ones, and you find that I know roughly one person in my community.

I am bored and lonely.
And I'm concerned that my social skills have deteriorated.
Am I going to have to *shudder* join the PTO?

Tell me it's not as bad as all that.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kerrie, Friend of the Reframe

Me last year: For Pete's sake! Can't I be outside for five minutes without someone making someone bleed?!
Me today: Come on, you guys! Can't I be outside for fifteen minutes without someone making someone bleed?!

And that's how I knew things have gotten better on the whole.

It's hard to tell, you know. Kids don't heal on a continuum. It's more like that hose you found in the barn that hasn't seen the light of day since the owners before the previous owners. Tangles. Straight parts. Kinks. Then suddenly you realize there are less knots than there were when you started.

This summer there have been several reunions and weddings and things, and at each one there have been several people who love me who pull me briefly aside and whisper,

so how are things going?

I know what they mean, of course. But the first time I had to stop and think. I didn't really know.

Last summer (which doesn't really count because it was SO hideous because we were moving) sounded like this:
Me: Princess, please (insert menial day-to-day task every member of society must preform to avoid being committed to an institution).
Princess: Primal scream, primal scream, primal scream, whack whack whack, object flies through air, primal scream, primal scream. Kick Mom's shin. Grab Mom in places Mom is unaccustomed to being grabbed. Primal scream. Bite Mom's arm. Don't open mouth back up. Open mouth. Primal scream.

This summer has been more like this:
Me: Princess, please---
Princess: You make me do everything around here! You never make Peanut do anything! This is all your fault! I hate you! You're ugly and mean! You can't tell me to stop shouting! You're making me shout at you and be mean! If you wouldn't make me do stuff I wouldn't shout at you! I'll stop shouting at you if you give me a cookie.

So see what I mean?

I finally decided that yes, I guess things have gotten better. They are not really any more pleasant, but let's face it. Constant shouting, sassing, back-talk, grouching, and refusal is, well, not exactly normal, but closer to the elusive Range.

Embrace the reframe. You never know.