Saturday, June 30, 2012

How My Kids Murdered My Type A Personality

I have reluctantly resigned myself to the fact that I am a type “A” personality. I get it from my mom. Both of us are planners, or at least that’s a nice way of putting it. We’re in control. Not because we necessarily WANT to be be, it’s because we feel we HAVE to be and no one else it capable of running things. If we don’t do it ourselves, no one will. We worry not only about ourselves, but everyone close to us. We’re “involved” in our families lives and do whatever it takes to make sure that everyone receives the best outcome. We are full of advice. We don’t always volunteer this advice, but if you ask our’ve just opened a whole can of worms that you hadn’t anticipated. We fret. We worry. We toss and turn in our beds. We plan every outcome to every scenario possible.

It’s hell for us. And probably hell on our loved ones. But only because we care, and because we want what’s best and we just love you so much! At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Not entirely, but for the most part, my kids have done what they can to demolish that side of me. And I don’t mean they’re like water and have gently eroded away my control...they have taken a 50 lb. sledge hammer and shattered it to bits.

So now comes the week that I look forward to every year. I relish it more than Christmas and Halloween rolled together. It’s the week my parents take the kids. It means the world to me. A week without interrupted conversations with my husband. A week where my house stays clean for more than 5 minutes. A week of not working around schedules. A week of being spontaneous! But not for my mom.

She adores this week and does everything within her power to plan a fun-filled week with Grammie and Papa that would revile Disney World. But in so doing, she fills her schedule with allotted times, cleans her house, and worries about what isn’t going to get done.

Here’s some things I have reluctantly realized:

1) EVERYTHING takes more time than you allow for it to take. A 15 minute trip to the grocery store? Plan on 45. You need to consider the time it takes them to get their shoes on, the time it takes you to tell them 7 times to find their shoes, and the time you spend looking for them in the grocery store after you turned your back on them in the produce aisle.

2) All that time you spent making your house look so nice? Gone. In less then 10 minutes. Guaranteed. And picking up? Yeah, they’ll help...for about 5 minutes and then they get distracted and you end up doing it yourself.

3) The most awesome thing on your agenda for them...a plane ride. The thing they will tell mom and dad about when they call...the time they spent at the City Pool. With a slide.

4) You have to tell them it’s time for bed an hour before their bedtime. Not kidding. Because there will be glasses of water, having to pee, and someone needing, “just one more thing” before they actually hit the bed. And it doesn’t end there. Count on 20 more minutes of giggling and laughing, farting, burping, and “it was his fault” before they actually fall asleep. On top of you. In a king sized bed.

5) Something will get broken, scratched, or lost and it will be nobody’s fault. And there is NO WAY you can prove it.

6) Nice clothes for public, washed faces, and combed hair...will be stained or messy 2 seconds after you’re in the car.

7) You think you can “wear them out” so they will go to sleep early (and so can you!) HA! They somehow find an adrenaline shot of energy 6 seconds before bedtime, even if they were asleep on the car ride home.

8) The reward you said you would give them if they ‘promised’ to be good? You will end up giving it to them first because of all the begging and pleading and they will disappoint you. I tell myself over and over again that I won’t do that the next time, and yet...inexplicably, I do. (Grammie has more self control on this one than I do.)

9) All the parenting advice you have given me over the years? Don’t yell. Don’t threaten. Don’t take your frustration out on them. Be patient. You will find yourself doing within the first few days if not hours. It’s okay. It happens. If you don’t’ sometimes raise your voice to them, you end up taking it out on your spouse, then everyone’s mad at you.

10) I don’t care if you paint the worse case scenario of being bitten by the dog...stitches, a trip to the doctor with shots, losing a limb...they will still tease the dog. And not understand when he bites them. Maybe they need to be bitten so they stop (not hard, mind you.)

They will leave every light on in the house, they will feed the dog “people food”, better check your hoses at night to make sure they’re not running, you will retrieve items of clothing from you backyard at 10 o’clock at night, your refrigerator will be sticky and have hand prints all over it’s stainless steel surface, they will want to play your computer 10 hours a day, they will “surf” in your bathtub and “accidentally” miss the toilet when they pee.

So just remember...sit back...enjoy the time they spend with you even if it doesn’t coincide with your schedule. Because when they come home, they talk about are how Grammie read them bedtime stories, or how Papa played the Wii with them. Go with the flow, and if it isn’t what you planned, and you still enjoy what you’re doing, then so be it.

I have to admit, I get a little jealous. Because you have taken this time out of your busy life and dedicated it all to them. You are able to sacrifice a busy work schedule to cater to their every whim. Something I can’t do...yet. I have school, I have work, I have to get up early, I have to study. I have laundry. I have to clean the house. They anticipate this week probably more than I do because they realize that they are going to be the center of attention. And they are so lucky to have you in their lives. Able to do the things you do together. What a wonderful opportunity for them to have the relationship they do with you, since there are a lot of grandchildren who don’t.

And I am lucky too. Because the week allows me not only time for myself, but also allows me to realize how empty my life would be without them.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The List

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how long it's been since I've been able to write! I'm sure most of you thought I was dead. I'm not. I'm in school. Which is almost the same thing. And I swear it takes up every waking moment of my time. But I have lots of posts swimming around my head, and now that I'm on my three week "summer" break, I can write some of them!

Spring and summer is also my husband's busiest seasons with his handyman business as well. And together, we are trying to manage time with our sons and time to get the every day things done around the house. With all the time constraints, I have become a slave to 'lists'. They come in several different formats; a white board calendar on the 'fridge-color coded for appointments vs. work schedules vs. (now past) school activities. Sticky notes with "things to do..." like laundry, so I don't have to send the boys to daycare with mismatched socks...again. That list is also my 'ego list' since I can judge how productive my day was by how many things I was able to cross off. And if I accomplished something that wasn't originally written on my list--I will write it on there just for the satisfaction of crossing it off. OCD, I know. Also, my 'bible' which is also known as my day planner for school. It not only includes when assignments are due and when tests are scheduled and ward care (when I take care of animals), but also my work schedule, just in case I missed it on the whiteboard.

But the most sacred of all the lists is the grocery list. This list takes more than one day in the making. Without being able to cook as much as I used to, I worry that I may be the sole demise of my family's health. That my sons will be on Dr. Phil with some sort of eating affliction that will be traced back to their mother's neglect. Diets cannot consist of hot dogs, ham sandwiches and 78¢ potpies alone. No. For my own peace of mind, I must include things like, fresh fruit, yogurt, and popcorn for snacks. Then somehow I can feel I have done my motherly duty in making sure my family eats healthy! (Even if "fresh fruit" comes in the form of Scooby Doo shaped fruit snacks.) What? Don't judge me.

Not our actual shopping trip, but close!


My husband, who has a sweet tooth the size of our refrigerator, will "pick up a few things," to fill the vast hole my list has left...junk food. If, after spending several hours planning, and ordering my groceries online to be delivered (did I mention the greatest idea on earth?!), there is no chocolate, my husband will either, A) intercept the Schawnn's man with a flying football tackle in the driveway to order ice-cream sandwiches, or B) need to pick up something essential I left off the toilet paper. (Or so he claims.)

One day, against better judgement, I had no time to order online, nor run to the store myself. I should have known better when he volunteered to run for me.

Now I must interject here, my husband, no matter how good his intentions are, can only remember things for about 20 minutes. (Don't even get me started on how he left the dryer with a broken timer running for 6 hours!) So I decided to write him a list. We needed mayo. Which I tried to burn into his brain by singing, "MAYO! MAAAYYYO! Daylight comes and I wanno go home" about 50 times that day. (From Beetlejuice, and yes, I'll include the awesome scene for you. You're welcome.)

I wanted some kettle corn (which had become my 'studying snack' and new addiction).  I wrote these things down. On a list. I gave him coupons. One of which was $5 off a $45 purchase. He told me he wasn't going to spend $45. I said, "take it anyway, you never know."

When he came back, he had about 5 bags worth of groceries and I started unpacking. There was Ho-Hos, Oreos, a package of brownie mix, oh...and mayo, frozen pizzas, and various other garbage food. As I was unpacking the bags, he slaps his forehead, "Urgh. I forgot your kettle corn!" Ok. He made the run. I forgave him...until...

"How much did you spend?"

"About $45."

"Well, good thing you had that coupon then..."

(blink. blink.)

" mean to tell me, you bought all this junk, PLUS AA batteries, which wasn't on THE LIST and didn't use the coupon?!"

At which point he opens his wallet and hands the coupon back to me. "It's good until the end of the month."


No wonder the kids like him best.