Special Projects Take a Lot of Time and Mess

“Mom?”

“Mmmm?”

“They’re voting for student officers at school and I want to run. I can spend $40 in materials and can give out gum and mints and need to make some posters.”

I eyed my oldest from my peripheral vision, so as to not crash into anything whilst driving. Trying not to panic him nor myself, I thought before phrasing a question. “Okay. And …when do you need to have them done?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe Friday.”

It was Wednesday. Given his usual record, that was a pretty long time to prepare.

“Okay. Well, I can’t buy you supplies right now. We need to get home and clean for your brother’s baptism this weekend.”

“That’s okay. I’ll have time.”

I wasn’t sure. He had a history of not only springing things on me the half hour before they were due, but also of completely breaking down over the inevitable failure from not being prepared. Fortunately for me (and him), whoever was in charge of the campaigning sent all parents of interested students an informative e-mail.

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Did I say “fortunately?” More like “indispensably.” For one thing, she said the materials were due Monday instead of Friday. For another, there were size requirements on posters and ….a campaign video.

Which is what he we have been working on since church this morning.

After a meltdown yesterday in which he yelled about not needing us to suggest campaign ideas but that he really just needed us to suggest campaign ideas, he came up with a Minecraft theme. Actually all on his own; he crafted a zombie, squid, villager, and slime poster with pun-laced slogans like, “Don’t be a Zombie, Vote For Me.”

He took my suggestion to use some of our thousands of Lego Minecraft sets to do a stop-motion video. His father is helping making the whole thing on the computer.

I am very proud of my son, but try to avoid special projects like this. When he (or his brothers) get the look and start discussing supplies and cost and what I need to do; I foresee the stress, yelling, meltdown, extra store trips, last-minute failures, and special project hangover when it’s all over.

I am frequently left -not only holding the bag; but buying the bag, filling it with expensive things we can’t reuse when most don’t get used, driving the bag to school when they accidentally leave it at home, and then cleaning up all the bag scraps left over the next day.

Yet… this is childhood. This is learning. This is trying and mistakes and all that important stuff I want my kids to learn.

Not that remembering those things makes the mess and the stress go away. What really makes it worth it is the other look: pride. It’s that look that lights up my kid’s face, even subtly, when he surveys what he has done. It’s when he smiles with a sense of accomplishment.

Having him clean up afterwards is a nice perk, too. We’ll do that as well. Probably Tuesday.

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—————

Sunday, May 12: Shared a previously-written bit on Mother’s Day: “Happy Mother’s Day?

Monday, May 13: Trotted out a short poem titled, “Just a Little Housework.”

Tuesday, May 14: Shared a quote I found online.

Wednesday, May 15: A toast! -to toast with “Breakfast Tip 3.

Thursday, May 16: “Time Out!,” a snippet setting the ‘punishment’ record straight.

Friday, May 17: Reminisced on Pregnant Times and how we ought to lay off ourselves in “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself.

Saturday, May 18: Shared WTFDAD‘s tweet about scary(?) stories.

Sunday, May 19: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Annie Spratt
Samuel Zeller

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?

Today’s advice is really short, sweet, and to the point: do not have teenagers.

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You’re still here? Ah; maybe you, like me, haven’t really got a choice. You birthed or adopted a cute little bundle of joy, lived through the terrible twos, survived the first and second set of teeth, and even passed most of the elementary years.

The problem is that, now, the child you once knew has …changed.

You tiptoe (yes, you must tiptoe) down the hall to your child’s room. You know you are getting close because of familiarity, but also because of the smell. Okay -you knew you were getting closer because you followed a Hansel and Gretel trail of dropped socks, pants, and accessories to the door.

And because of the smell.

If you are a bold enough adventurer to peek inside (without notice), a mishmash mess will meet your eyes. It’s a jungle in there: clothes, school things, sports equipment, blankets, and some of your items you’ve been looking for are draped everywhere in anti-fen shui-style. A fish eyes you from the dresser top detritus and mouths the word, “Help!”

As scary as the physical side effects of a teenager are, however; there is nothing to quite prepare you for actual encounters with one.

One, tentative question about homework may lead to a Mt. Vesuvius eruption. A term of endearment might cause a glare and door slam. Requests to pave a path through the teen’s room will result in a yelling insinuation of how little you care for their feelings and how much you just want them to diiiieeeeee!

And, I have a boy teenager. I thought I wouldn’t have drama.

So, as I recommended: avoid the teenagers. Get yourself a nice, helpful preschooler who’s just napped and who loves to get five-cent candies as a reward for mopping the floor. Give the teens to their grandparents; you know, the ones who were so keen for you to have kids for them in the first place.

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Photo Credit:
Image by Gary Cassel from Pixabay
Photo by Justin Chrn on Unsplash

No Encore, Please

Nothing shows real love like sitting through an hour-long concert of your junior high student’s boys’ choir.

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I’m sure it’s great practice for when their voices finally finish changing.

The Joys of Pre-Puberty

I have finally reached a milestone every young mother dreams of: all four children completely potty trained.

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Seriously, if you’ve not experienced the Iron Man Competition that is Potty-Training, then you have no idea how many angelic choirs sang after that opening sentence.

In related news, my oldest son entered junior high school. He’s taller, stinkier, slightly more mature, much more capable, and so freaking hormonal. And his voice hasn’t even changed yet. Granted, I didn’t go through male puberty so I wasn’t entirely accurate in my assumptions of what comes first.

Still, I feel like I now have a teenage girl on my hands (something I do have personal experience with).

Every little thing, visible or not, sets my son off. My helpful question of, “Hey, your English teacher mentioned you might need to turn in some of your work. Can I help you with your essay?” led to a HYSTERICAL, “I CAN’T! I JUST CAN’T! LEAVE ME ALLOOOOONE!”

I am not exaggerating.

Besides the smell and the extra dents in the wall, I enjoy my household of boys. As Erma Bombeck wrote, “With boys you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.” She said boys are easier because of that; because they tell you exactly what they think.

With boys, you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.

I have a younger brother and his pre-pubescent journey was not so dramatic. I think. Maybe I’d better call my mom and ask because I was a little involved with raging hormones of my own at the time. Sixteen years old is such a lusty time, you know?

I suppose I pictured the pre-teen and teen years with my child as a picturesque coming-of-age story. Not Harry Potter, of course -more like A Day No Pigs Would Die or Finding Neverland. My oldest is a lot like the oldest boy in Neverland, and I just expected he’d suddenly sprout facial hair and finally be able to shovel the driveway in winter.

If we’re being honest here, I’ve more often related my 12-year-old to Ender Wiggins of Ender’s Game. I think I started calling him that around age 2, actually.

And now I’ve got Rapunzel from Tangled. *sigh*

Has anyone else experienced pre-teenagerhood? Do you have any advice for the rest of us?