Thursday, December 9, 2010

If it looks like a teen and acts like a teen, it probably is one.

Officially speaking, I will have two teenagers on June 1st of 2011. Unofficially, I have two now, and I think I will go forward with that idea. Tommy, or "Tom" as he is known to his fellow Boy Scouts, started shaving a few months before he turned 12 this summer. He is taller than his elder sister, he has hairier legs that I would if I didn't shave them for a good six months or more, his voice is on the descent, and he eats...and eats...and eats. He is the go-to guy for jars that are stuck, and he is my lawn-maintenance-man in training. He has yet to give me regular attitude issues, but since I would rather do without those anyway, I think that it is fair for me to call him a teenager. I am glad that he waited this long to make the transition.

Catie, unfortunately, followed in my footsteps by entering that hideous stage of life known as "puberty" on the early side of average. (Lord help us all if Monica does the same!) The physical changes have been here for a while, but it is only recently that I think she has stepped into the role, so often assigned to teenagers, of starting to think her parents don't know everything. The world is beginning to come into it's orbit around her; though for now it still often includes us. I am going to do my best to remind the universe that it's proper rotation is *not* around my 14 year-old daughter, and see if I cannot get it to resume it's course in the heavens.

I am certain she would scoff at my saying she thinks she is the center of the universe, and by comparison to many, she is still very level-headed, and I am grateful. However, it seems as though reminders that "tone of voice" and "physical attitude towards others" are both very important manners, have been needed more and more often. Your sister is your room-mate, you cannot keep her out of your room; just because your sister is being cheerful when you are not, does not mean that you have the right to snap at her for making any noise; when you say "sorry", say it like you mean it. Grumble under your breath at me all you want, God knows I did the same to my mother; but don't let me hear it or see it.

It feels wrong of me to even write these things down, since Catie is my right arm and saving grace. Living with fibromyalgia is no treat, but I hate to think how things would be if I didn't have her help. She understands that there are times when I just don't function, and she steps in and takes over as needed. She makes dinner more often than I do, gets lunch for Joey and helps Monica if she needs it when she makes her lunch, and will run a million little errands for me; often things like getting me more water when I am worn out and plopped on the couch. Tommy does help with a lot of these things, too, but Catie will often do things without even being asked, and she just seems to "get" it, which is a comfort to me. I am sure that a lot of girls her age and position in the family would be very resentful at having a mother who is often "broken", but Catie handles it all with a grace that I am not sure I possessed at so young an age. Maybe it has more to do with her being the eldest than I had thought.

She has her teenage moments, but she also possesses a strong maturity regarding so many things. If I factored all of that in, I am not sure she would still count as a teen at all; which would put me back to just one teen. Who eats...and eats...and eats.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Learning to relax

Last night I allowed Joey, who will be 4 at the end of January, to use the kid scissors, paper and some glue. He kept himself so entertained (and out of trouble) that I told him he could "do it again tomorrow". This was the only way he would agree to get ready for bed, since he was having so much fun. As soon as he saw me this morning, he went right over to my desk where we set aside his supplies, and started jumping up and down asking for them. He has now been sitting at the dining table for nearly an hour, happy as a clam as he expresses his creativity.

I cannot help but wonder at the amount of creative stifling that has gone on due to my hesitancy (and that of other mothers, I am sure) to allow my children freer reign with creative outlets. Perhaps I squashed the next Michelangelo when I didn't let my older kids play with Play-dough because I didn't want to deal with the mess? Well, *that* one I am not as sorry about, although I have been thinking that I should get some of the malleable goo for them to experience. It is better than the modeling clay that came with our homeschooling supplies. That stuff makes a horrible mess!

All of this falls under one of my favorite sayings: Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. I *very* firmly believe the second half of that statement to be of utmost importance. Yes, I would deal with my children when they are sweaty and dirty, especially if the are hurt, but that does not mean I would sit snuggle with them when they are perfectly able to go take a shower first. This also goes for my hubby.

The second part of that statement is actually the more important. Not worrying about the little things that go wrong or are outside our plans is the part that I know I have struggled with over the years. Part of that, I am sure, is due to being mildly OCD, part also due to battling depression as I have for years, and maybe even partly due to the fact that I am the middle of seven children and had the good fortune of having my own room most of my childhood and therefore became used to having my immediate surroundings arranged to my own specifications. I cannot tell you how many times I rearranged my bedroom furniture when I felt I needed to change something or was feeling frustrated with my life. (I was a rather emotional teen.) The irony of me learning to relax with child number four is that the first three are often wound way too tight with him. "MOM!!! Did you say Joey could use GLUE?!?" "Yes, I did. Leave him be." "Mom! Joey isn't using small dots of glue, they are HUGE!" "Joey, I said little dots, remember?" "OK, Mommy." "But...Mom! He made a mess!" "He can clean it up with a baby wipe." "But..." They always seem so frustrated that I am not freaking out when they are themselves.

As if on cue, emotions are once again flaring, including the youngest, so it is time to go calm nerves and soothe feelings. Perhaps I will fix another cup of tea...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fire One!

I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time, so that I would have a place to write down random thoughts and musings that come and go through my head. I cannot tell you how many times I have had "deep thoughts" while waiting to fall asleep, or wished to have a place to discuss my feelings on issues that I really don't feel like posting on Facebook. I figure this will also give me something to focus on during the day while waiting out those occasional lulls in our homeschooling day. I don't intend this to necessarily be a place of deep inspiration, and I certainly am not expecting a world class following. I figure my dear husband, Mike, might read it now and then, and that will be good enough for me. I will be working on a biography to add to the page, as well.

Until my next post, be well!