The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Raising Teenagers is Like Trying to Nail Jello to a Tree

and I've even got the button!

My girls are exceptional. I mean it. They are. Without. Exception.

After my last post, you probably realized that I was feeling a little bluesy. Feeling a little sad that my girls were growing up and getting ready to empty my nest. And without me even communicating that to them, they helped me get right on over that last night.

I do think I may have been a little hormonal. Ironically, I don't think I was the only one. In fact, I think Highlander may have been the only non-hormonal resident at Castle Anthrax last night.

After a harrowing ride home, via the Lexus express, I walked in the front door of my home to find that my darling daughters were on the computer and the X-Box and the tv. They all stopped their electronic worship rituals long enough to welcome me home, and then I began my evening routine. I walked to my bedroom to slip into something more comfortable and chatted a little with my oldest, who was sprawled out on my bed playing the X-Box.

"Have you gotten very far on FRANKENSTEIN?", I asked her. Her school assigned summer reading project, that she FINALLY got started last weekend. It needs to be finished by the time school starts...August 16th. I got a look and then a tone as she told me "a little". She continued to play the game and tried to ignore me. I, however, was looking for something a little less vague. "How far? You were nearly on page 50 on Sunday." The tone cranked up a bit and the icy glare replaced the previous snotty glance. "I don't know." Ahhhh, disrespect. That will back me down every time...

AH HA HA HA HA HA....I kill me.

"I want to know how far you've gotten on the book that needs to be finished in two weeks. You've had all summer and you've put it off as long as you can. It's 282 pages. How much have you read?" Now, she's a bright girl. She knows the repercussions for a wrong answer (ie: not enough reading done in the last two days) are gonna be me yanking her off of the X-Box and trotting her off to a quiet corner to read. And she don't wanna. So, she makes a big production out of pausing her game and stalking off to get the book to appease her evil mother.

When she comes back, she has the book with her. "Page 63." She snaps and picks up the controller and resumes her game. "You should be farther along than that, [Kid 1]." "I SAID I'd finish it, Mom.", with the evident "Now get off my back" trailing in the unspoken glare behind it.

I finish changing and before I left the room, I asked her how long she'd been on the game. "Less than an hour. You can ask [Kid 2] if you don't believe me." "Finish out your hour and then get to your book.", I told her, as I headed to the kitchen to start the chicken.

The older two are charged with keeping up with their youngest sister while the adults are at work. And, admittedly, [Kid 3]'s a handful (and a half), so I don't overload them with chores, but I do give them some. Yesterday's list included the following:

1) Clean your own room (the one the two oldest girls share) well. You're going back to your dad's this weekend, so you need to get it done completely.

2) Walk over to the grocery to pick up a gallon of milk. We're nearly out and you'll need it during the day.

3) Do the dishes. All the dishes. (I'd like to add that we have a dishwasher.)

So, when I walked into the kitchen to start supper and saw both sinks full of dirty dishes, on the heels of the attitude problems from [Kid 1], I was moving from simmer to boil. I went back to find the oldest two to ask them if perhaps there had been some reason that my request had gone unheeded. [Kid 2] was in her room watching tv.

I opened the door to find one side of the room looking like I must have just missed the civil defense sirens and the tornado that had, obviously, just levelled the area.

and the other side of the room looking more like this...

I should rename them Felix and Oscar. Really. But, as usual, [Kid 2]'s side of the room was pristine and [Kid 1]'s looked like we needed to call in the search and rescue canines. Though, I'd like to note that in all the detritus, the bed was made. WTF?

Mom that I am, I yank [Kid 1] off the X-Box and instruct her and her next youngest sister that the dishes were not done and the room was not done and I couldn't start dinner and they needed to address it RIGHT NOW!! [Kid 1], in her grumpiest manner, starts picking up her things, as [Kid 2] (who is not happy because she's the one who worked on the dishes early and she doesn't feel she should have to do it again) heads to the kitchen to clean in there.

I'm pretty worked up by now and decide to start a load of laundry while I try to calm down and wait for the kitchen to get cleaned up so I can start dinner. So, I gather up a basketful (which is rarely difficult at our place) and head to the basement. Where I discover a load of clothes in the washer. Clothes that they were to have been washed/dried/folded/put away for their chore THE DAY BEFORE. ::sigh::

So, I put those clothes in the dryer and start the load that I brought down to the basement and as I'm heading upstairs, I hear someone repeatedly slamming the back door. Now, let me note that the back door has a lock that engages by itself and if you don't disengage the lock manually and close the door like a normal person, the easier way to do it is to just slam the door and the lock will disengage. Our upstairs neighbor (the new one) has already mentioned to us that she is bothered because people are constantly slamming doors, so I'm hurrying up the stairs and as I near the top and hear the third or fourth attempt at shutting the backdoor with the slam method, I yell, "I'll take care of it.", with about as much piss and vinegar in my tone as I could muster.

When I round the top step into the hallway, I see it's Highlander. Just home from work and not sure what he's walked into. The smart money would have seen him backing out slowly and spending the night in the vacant apartment across the hall. But, well, he's a glutton for punishment, that crazy, crazy, guy. In his defense, I'm sure that my perception of his "slamming" was worse than the reality. I was simply not in a particularly laissez-faire kind of mindset.

He walked me to our bedroom, where he proceeded to try to talk calmly and rationally to me, while rubbing my shoulders and back. Cunning, I know. I explained to him the chaos that had been the last 15-20 minutes and he asked what he could do to help.

Though I had, by that point, completely lost my own appetite, I got dinner started and went back to my room to lie down on the bed. [Kid 2], not feeling well, had wandered to [Kid 3]'s room (since her older sister was busy cleaning their room) and fallen asleep in her bed. I checked her and, after determining that she had no fever and no complaints other than fatigue, left her to her pre-meal napping.

When dinner was finished, they all sat down for a meal and I worked on trying to remember why I was sad about the end of the craziness in my life. Not ten minutes later, here comes [Kid 3] bawling because her older sister told her she couldn't have a cookie for dessert and she reeeeeaaaally wanted one, but she had a cookie for her afternoon snack, and....AUGH!!!!! So, I'm holding her and cuddling her and trying to calm her hormonal manifestation.

And then, as if lifted from the throes of a hot flash, she blinks over to "I guess I'll have the ice cream instead.", and trots off to the kitchen, where Highlander is finishing his dinner and can facilitate her request. And yet...

Apparently, his faulty, ineffectual scooping techniques set her hysterics in motion again, because I hear, from the kitchen, a grown man justifying his ice cream scooping qualifications to a six year old. Oh, you got it, Folks. The party just never stopped.

She opted to go calm down in her room and, on the way, before she could even get there, [Kid 2] tried to explain to her that she was wrong and shouldn't be upset about scooping issues. Which got them started arguing. Which, yeah, we soooooo didn't need spoiling our 'festive mood'.

So, after I break up THAT fracas, and all the parties are in their respective corners, and I've got about two minutes before the bell will signal the next round, I head out to the back porch for a breath of fresh air. Necessary, 'else I'll kill someone.

I didn't even get my full two minutes before [Kid 3] comes out the back door...still boohooing. I pop her up in my lap and rub her back and ask her what's bothering her today. She doesn't know. She feels bad and doesn't understand why. Ironically, it's the same thing I got from [Kid 2] when I asked what was wrong with her while she napped.

Holding and rocking [Kid 3], letting her work through it the best she could, she came back to something she mentioned to me during a (less intense, but similar) breakdown on Sunday. She missed her grandfather. My ex's dad passed away last fall and I think she's missing him. Which is sad. It's the first person she's been close to that has passed away. I tried to explain to her that he had loved her very much and that she would always hold him in her heart and in her memories. But, she was upset because she was beginning to forget what he looked like. I had no difficulty understanding what she meant. Part of it, too, I think, is that she's leaving behind her toddlerhood and growing into a girl. ::shudder::

"Let's go get that ice cream. Mom will scoop it for you. And I'll get out one of our photo albums. I know there are pictures of your grandfather in there. Then you can remember what he looked like. Will that make you feel better?" And she hugged me tight around the neck and we walked back in.

And while she ate her ice cream, I showed her picture after picture of her grandfather. Pictures of him at Christmas gatherings. Pictures of him holding her sister. Pictures of him standing in the backyard. The peace finally came to her. That was one of them, anyway.

[Kid 1] apologized to me for snapping at me. "I guess I was just in a mood.", she offered. There's two.

A little slower to come around, [Kid 2] later invited me to stay up with her and watch Criss Angel on tv. Nope. Not last night. I was drained. Completely spent. But, I was glad for the invitation.

Long night, but I'd finally gotten the triple. Didn't think I would for a while.

Not usually so taxing around there. Last night they were putting me through all my paces. Checking the calendar, I think it may be cyclical...though it doesn't appear to be lunar...;)


Blogger MJ Norton said...

Oh, most of this seems terribly, awfully familiar, except that the disaster area stretches nearly from indoor horizon to horizon...

7/27/2006 10:27 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Mike -

Mine does, too. I'm just not usually there for the entire show. I will note, though, that while there is always SOMEthing going on, it's rarely at the level it was Wednesday night.

7/28/2006 7:54 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

To paraphrase Beldar and Prymatt:

Memories. You will enjoy them.

7/29/2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger ashe said...

that's funny, cos' i'm almost there, but add in samoans, arm bars, choke holds and other assorted fighting techniques.

7/31/2006 4:43 AM  

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