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

Steal Your Kisses if You Have To

My oldest has never been an affectionate child. Just like with pacifiers, bottles, or naps; I tried all the advice people gave me. No matter what, he did not like to be touched when he didn’t want it. It’s been thirteen years and he is still this way.

Naturally, I blame myself. It’s the mother thing to do.

On the flip side, however, my youngest is very affectionate. He literally asks for a hug or kiss or tells me what he is feeling and what he needs. The two are like night and day when it comes to showing love even though I’m fairly certain they came from the same womb.

So what’s a parent to do? Like the old song says, I always have to steal my kisses.

Not that I force myself on him; that would drive him further away. But; I do get in a head rub or a shoulder pat. If I haven’t encroached in his teenage space too badly he’ll even allow a side hug. When he’s had a great day he’ll sometimes be the initiator.

Besides the physical options, there are other ways to show affection. I can get away with notes, cards, presents, special privileges, helping with his chores, doing service, or just listening when he finally talks.

When all is said and done, I also sneak into his room and kiss him when he’s sleeping.

Don’t tell.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

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.