It’s ok if you pretend you don’t know me

 

I’m not really sure what to do as I recently made it so that I can never show my face in my kid’s school again. This will most likely pose a problem for his upcoming band concert performance. And basketball season. And every school-related event ever over the next two years.

Here’s how it went down:

Parent/teacher conferences were last week. For the first time, my kid had to lead the entire conference while his teacher and my husband and I all sat around a table in his classroom. He was a little uneasy because, duh, but I kept telling him it was NBD. He can easily talk to his dad and myself. He can easily talk to his teacher. The conference was just combining the two easy-peasy interactions into one and he’d be totally fine.

On the night of the conference, my kid did his thing and it was great. Then it was time for him to go out into the hall while we had a few minutes alone with his teacher.

So he goes out through the classroom door and closes it. I start to say something or other to his teacher. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the door slowly cracking open. I decide my kid is trying to be sneaky and listen in, and in a clear, loud voice I shout, “CLOSE THE DOOR!” I mean, can you believe the nerve?

And then the door opens even further and a head that is not my kid’s pops into the classroom. To my utter HORROR I realize I am staring straight at the principal.

Yup, that’s right, I screamed at my kid’s principal and I cannot even convey to you how much self-control was needed in that moment not to vomit all over the table in front of me.

I look at my husband and I believe his reaction is best conveyed by this emoji:

Which was in no way helpful.

I panicked because, well, have you met me?, and screamed at the principal, “OH NO! YOU don’t have to close the door!” And then I think I actually cackled.

I looked at the teacher and was about to literally die where I was sitting, but instead of dying I whispered to her, “I can’t believe I just yelled at the principal!” to which she responded, “At least it wasn’t me!”

Again, not helpful.

It turns out the principal just came in to engage in some playful banter about both my kids who were sitting in the hallway. Instead of bantering playfully, however, I completely sullied my reputation, that of my children as well as the millions of generations that have come before me and will come after me. I am not even exaggerating.

So the next time you think you’ve committed a faux pas, please take comfort in the fact that no matter what you have done, it will never be worse than what I did on school conference night. And for those of you who I usually run into at school, I will see you after graduation.

 

A cautionary tale

 

My kid had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, which meant that instead of him taking the bus home from school, I’d have to pick him up directly. It sounded so easy. However, it was not at all easy and now that all is said and done, I think I’ve been added to some type of “crazy parent” list that the school district keeps on file.

Here’s what happened: I drive to his school to pick him up. I sign him out, wait in the cafeteria for him to come out, but he doesn’t. I realize after 10 minutes of waiting that he probably forgot I was going to pick him up.

No big deal. I go up to the guy with the walkie talkie behind the sign out desk and tell him about my predicament. He walkie talkies the office, and they go down this whole chain of command, the result of which is that (and this is where it starts becoming a big deal) my kid is already on the bus. It’s too late to pull him off because the bus is en route to the junior high, where it will pick up a whole other group of kids before bringing them all home.

Walkie talkie guy tells me if I hurry, I might be able to pull him off the bus at the junior high. I momentarily consider just meeting him at home and canceling his doctor’s appointment, but quickly remember who I am and that failure is not an option. I sprint out to my car and drive like a madwoman over to the junior high.

I try to turn into the parking lot when a police officer, who is standing in the driveway to the lot, shakes her head at me, indicating that I am not allowed to go into the lot. I roll down my window and tell her in my most desperate voice that I need to grab my kid off the bus before it leaves for its route. She says that’s fine, but no cars are allowed to go into the lot during bus pickup.

Exacerbated, I throw my hands up and yell, “So what do you want me to do?!?” Please know that I have never in my life been disrespectful to a police officer, but she is messing with my meticulously planned schedule and THAT CANNOT HAPPEN.

She tells me to go park on a side street. I sigh (loudly), and speed into the fruit store parking lot next to the school. I sprint down the sidewalk, where I see her waiting, and it occurs to me that I wasn’t very nice to her before and, if she wanted to, this could end very badly for me. So as I run past her I yell nervously, “MY KID IS IN SO MUCH TROUBLE! HAHAHAHAHA!” and she just kind of smirks but I know she hates me.

I get into the junior high lot and am immediately confronted with 35 buses parked within one inch of each other and they all look exactly the same. I take a deep breath and try to remember the number of the bus my kid goes on. Miraculously, I remember, and start running through the lot looking for it. Yes, there are middle school kids, many of which who know my kid, staring at me through the window thinking I am a complete lunatic, but I don’t care because we have only ten minutes to get to the doctor’s appointment.

I find the bus! I go up to the door and tell the bus driver that I need my kid! And she tells me that she can’t let him off without a school administrator present.

Without even answering her, I run over to the building and find some random guy who looks like he works there. I scream at him, “Are you a school administrator?!?!?” He tells me that he is not, in fact, an administrator, but he can call one for me.

I stand there in the lot and time is a tickin’. My kid is on a bus 15 feet away from me and the buses are about to pull out and I don’t know if the school administrator is going to come out in time for me to grab my kid and I seriously think I’m going to LOSE MY FREAKING MIND right there. I’m swearing in my head left and right as I’m scanning the 6000 kids who are currently exiting the school, hoping to find this mythical school administrator in there somewhere.

He comes out and approaches me. I’m so flustered, I can’t even get any words out. All I can do is throw my driver’s license at him and run towards my kid’s bus.

Well, in the end I got my kid off the bus. And I got to meet the junior high vice principal, who thinks I’m a lunatic. He spent five minutes on his walkie talkie verifying who I was, making sure I wasn’t some insane person trying to grab a kid, which, if you think about it, I totally am.

I got my kid to his doctor’s appointment on time, but AT WHAT COST?!? I think I need to bake pies for a whole bunch of people to thank them for dealing with me in my heightened state of anxiety.

Panic Attack: The Junior High Years

What I have just been through. I can’t even. I think it’s pretty impressive that I’m even functioning in a close-to-normal capacity after the trauma that I experienced last night. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I attended a Junior High Open House.

Now, I don’t know about your junior high experience, but mine left something to be desired. Namely, a healthy self image. And now that I have a kid who is in junior high (WTF?!? How am I old and living in the future?), and I had to walk through his entire schedule and sit in junior high desks in junior high classrooms and…well, I don’t think trigger is a strong enough word.

It didn’t start out all that well to begin with. We had an extremely hectic day yesterday with orthodontist appointments and extracurricular commitments. I had to meticulously plan the driving situation down to the minute. I thought I had it all under control. I was able to feed the kids in the 10 minutes I had allotted for dinner before I had to leave, and I foolishly believed it was all good.

Until I parked at the junior high, got out of the car, and started heading into the building. I realized then that I had no idea where the hell I was going because we were to go to our kid’s first period class and I FORGOT TO BRING HIS SCHEDULE.

I frantically texted my kid and begged him to take a picture of his schedule and send it to me immediately. I was at his mercy. Luckily, he has a pure heart and sent it to me without question. He did not realize that he had such leverage at that moment that he could have asked for anything and I’d have no choice but to comply. As I write this, I could have guys digging up my backyard preparing for our new in-ground pool. I really dodged a bullet on that one.

I made it to first period and, once that was over, had exactly four minutes to make it to the next class. If you know me at all in real life, then you know that I am not late. Ever. And if I happen to be, I basically have an anxiety attack.

The halls were super congested with parents and all I wanted to do was get to the next class. They were not moving fast enough. I was screaming on the inside. So loud.

Language Arts was okay, as was Social Studies. My anxiety was slowly building just being in that place, but it was manageable. Until Gym/Health class.

All the parents had to sit in the Health classroom and the gym teacher stood up front and told us about the curriculum. She was a perfectly nice, lovely lady, but for some reason all I wanted to do was get out of there because I was scared that she’d force me to start playing some kind of sport and then I’d make a goal for the opposing team (that never happened; if I went to junior high with you, you are wrong, I never scored a soccer goal for the other team and you have a faulty memory).

And then the gym/health teacher told us that our kids would be learning about the human reproductive system and, as a result, would be watching the 1982 PBS production “The Miracle of Life.” I literally blurted out in front of 40 parents, “Oh my God. They made us watch that in health!” I am, to this day, scarred by that particular film. It shows a woman giving birth, and all I can recall are the screams from my fellow classmates as we watched every single part of a baby being born. In fact, the “miracle” in the title refers to the fact that I have children of my own, because I vowed on that day in seventh grade that I would never in my entire life put myself through that horror show.

In a daze, I made my way over to science class, then French, then math. I’m going to be straight with you: I almost threw up. All this talk about grades and tests and Bunsen burners was just too much. That, coupled with horrific memories of social pressure and peer ridicule, made me want to run away and hide in a closet. I think the 12 to 14-year-old Meredith lying dormant inside me has some issues that need to be addressed.

At least the Open House is over with for this year. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it next year. I should really be a mature adult and get over this for the sake of my kid and his education, but I don’t know if I have the mental fortitude. I guess time will tell.

 

 

Mother of the year over here

My poor kid has been home sick with the flu since Saturday, which means I’ve also been in my house since Saturday. My only outings have been to the doctor’s office and a quick run to the gas station.

Okay, so maybe I’m going a little stir crazy, but I didn’t realize how INSANE I was becoming until yesterday when I made the most epic parent fail in the history of parent fails.

If you know me in real life, you know that I’m pretty restrictive as to what types of movies/television shows/video games my kids watch/play. But my kid has been SO miserable and so sick for days that when he asked me if he could watch X-Men: Apocalypse yesterday I was all, “Sure! Why the heck not?? Whatever I can do to make you feel even a LITTLE better.”

He starts watching it and I go upstairs to do my thing. About an hour later, my husband comes home. I hear him chatting with our kid for a little bit, and a few minutes later he comes upstairs. Our conversation:

Him: “Are you FEBRILE?”

Me: “Huh? No. I’m fine. Why?”

Him: “Because you have him watching X-Men: Apocalypse!”

Me: “I know. Why? What’s wrong with that? He watches other action movies.”

Him: “Not like this! This is insanely violent!”

Me: “It is? I can’t remember.”

Him: “Um, yeah. Right now he’s watching the part where Wolverine SLAUGHTERS everyone.”

Then it came back to me because, yes, I’ve seen this movie, and no, I can’t even use the I-didn’t-know-because-I-never-saw-this-before defense. Wolverine doesn’t just kill a whole bunch of people. He literally impales them, decapitates them, DESTROYS them in the most graphic, bloody, disgusting way possible.

All I can do is mutter, “Uh oh,” and run downstairs. “Hey, buddy,” I say VERY nonchalantly, “so are you doing okay? Do you want to keep watching this?” I look over on the screen and see Wolverine BATHED IN BLOOD.

He answers that um, no, maybe I could just turn it off and watch something else because he’s feeling like he has to throw up again.

Nice. I am THE WORST. What is wrong with me?!? I am going nuts in this house. NUTS. Somebody send help.

One for the books

The library STRESSES ME OUT. A visit always plays out in the following manner:

  1. Kids beg me to go to the library.
  2. Kids spend 7 hours scouring the library to find books they want to read, at times consulting various librarians for assistance.
  3. Kids are super psyched about the books they’ve just checked out and start reading them in the car on the way home. In silence. It’s amazing.
  4. Kids get home and dump books in various places around the house.
  5. Kids forget about books for three weeks.
  6. I begin to receive emails that the books will be due soon. I ask my kids if they are ready to return their books, knowing full well that the only interest they’ve shown in them was during that five-minute car ride home.
  7. Kids say no, they need to hang onto them so they can “finish” reading them. Um, right. I realize that they renew automatically anyway, so it’s all good.
  8. Three weeks later I get an email that tells me the books will soon be due. I point this out to the kids and tell them if after a month and a half they are not going to read their books, then I am going to return them.
  9. They beg and plead for me to renew them AGAIN because they really, really, really want to read the books and how can I do this and they’re in the middle of them (nope.) and PLEASE YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO US.
  10. I try to renew the books online but realize I have to get up off the couch to get my library card number and that is way too much effort so I just blow it off.
  11. I get another email a few days later saying the books are now overdue.
  12. For several days I stress out about the fact that the books are overdue, but I have no idea where the kids have stashed them all and I need to remind myself to ask them when they’re home but I always forget. Meanwhile, I imagine my late fees creeping up into the double digits.
  13. I search the house while the kids are at school and somehow find all the books. It takes me three minutes and I have no idea why I thought this was an impossible task, considering three of the five books have been sitting on a bookshelf under the television that I’ve been staring at for, I don’t know, EVERY DAY.
  14. I drive to the library and am BESIDE MYSELF thinking about how much in fines I’m going to have to pay, vowing to make my kids pay me back every last stinking cent for their ridiculousness.
  15. I sheepishly tell the librarian that I need to return books but they’re late.
  16. She checks the books in, one by one, and I’m standing there, hands sweating, nervous that she’s going to (a) yell at me for having the books for so long and (b) tell me I owe the library $137.
  17. She says, “That’s 15 cents.”
  18. I announce to her that my kids will definitely be paying me back every cent of that because they need to learn a lesson, yet I secretly realize that when I ask them each for 7 cents, they will laugh at me.

This is just too much stress for one person to have to deal with.

Photo from Wayne County Public Library.

New Year, New You

I had this amazing idea during dinner yesterday. I’m not usually super into New Year’s resolutions, but I thought that maybe this year my husband, my kids and I could make New Year’s resolutions for EACH OTHER.

Within 10 minutes I discovered that this amazing idea was not, in fact, amazing but instead the exact opposite.

It all started out just fine. I was spitting out stellar New Year’s resolutions left and right for everyone. Less screen time! Better table manners! No more nail biting! It was amazing. It was like I had this superpower that would let me pinpoint EXACTLY what needed to be changed about a specific person and lay it out in no uncertain terms.

I saved myself for last. This is when I began to see the error of my ways. For some reason, I thought it might be hard for my family to come up with a New Year’s resolution for me. I don’t know why, because immediately all three of them started spouting off things that I could resolve to do:

  1. “Stop yelling so much.”
  2. “Pay more attention to me.”
  3. “Pay less attention to me.”
  4. “Publish a book.”
  5. “Be nicer.”
  6. “Stop our monthly check-ins where you ask me if I’m taking drugs.”
  7. “Don’t make us suffer because you are gluten and dairy free.”

To which I responded:

  1. I DON’T YELL! And anyway, if you want me to stop yelling, stop doing things that make me yell at you.
  2. Huh?
  3. Huh?!?
  4. That is out of my control. You have to tell me to change something I can control.
  5. SO. RUDE.
  6. Never.
  7. You’ve never eaten so well, ingrate.

What I’ve gathered from these suggestions is that: (a) I can’t take criticism, and (b) I basically need to change who I am as a person IN GENERAL. WTF?!? Like a simple, “Stop saying like so much” wouldn’t have sufficed?

I’m not going to lie. This cut me deep. Deeper than my #fingerbooboo, which, by the way, is on the mend. I have no feeling in the tip of my finger, but maybe that’s okay, because at least it’s numb to the events that occurred around last night’s dinner table.

Food fight

My kids are into this thing where they make up their own snack/breakfast/meal/etc. and then get somebody to judge which of their creations is better. I am usually that judge. Most of the time it’s okay. Nothing too crazy — toast sticks dipped in buffalo sauce, double stackers (honey and peanut butter sandwich on a pita, warmed up in the microwave and topped with powdered sugar), etc.

But this weekend it was different. I was forced to taste the most disgusting “food” on the face of the earth. It was so bad, I couldn’t even lie and tell them it was kind of good. I literally spit it out in the sink and screamed, “This is the most foul thing I have ever tasted in my life.”

What was it? Three words: Popcorn. Nutmeg. Cayenne pepper.

An abomination.

My other kid’s creation was called a “Uranus ball” (pronounced exactly how you think it’s pronounced). It was a ball made of rubber bands floating in a mug full of water.

I think they’re trying to poison me.

Out of the mouths of babes

Things my kid has said to me in the past month:

1. Can you turn on the heat? Oh, wait, never mind. I’m here.

2. Boooooooooooooooo. (After I turned down “Uptown Funk,” which was BOOMING out of the speaker he set up for him and his friends in the backyard. HE BOOED ME.)

3. Kid: I’m going to play the tuba.

Me: Why the tuba?

Kid: Because it’s hilarious.

(I’m not really sure that’s the best reason to choose an instrument.)

4. I’m going to make a dinosaur. Don’t worry, I’m starting small so it won’t be a threat to human civilization.

5. Kid: (explaining a complex water filtration system).

Me: What does that have to do with making a dinosaur?

Kid: They need to drink. Duh.

6. We’re going to need to invent a pretty big tranquilizer gun (regarding Operation Dino).

7. Mom, you don’t need to check my math homework. You probably won’t get it. (Apparently fourth grade math is killer.)

8. That’s pretty heavy duty…(dramatic pause)…(hysterical laughter over the fact that he just said duty).

 

Sex ed and lasagna: It was a busy Monday

Last night I had to go to my kid’s school to learn all about an assembly he’s having next week entitled, “Growth and Development Lecture,” a.k.a. let’s talk about puberty. I literally can’t even go into it. It was that traumatizing. So instead I’ll focus on the lasagna I made for dinner.

The meeting was scheduled for 6 pm, which meant that I had to have dinner in the oven before I left. There are a few steps to actually baking the lasagna, so I decided to make a handy flow chart for my husband so he would know what to do while I was at the meeting:

flow chart

I even had him look it over while I was still at home to ensure that he knew exactly what he was doing.

So I’m sitting in this meeting learning about the appropriate time to start wearing a jock strap when I get the following text: “Made an executive decision to remove the foil at 6:35.”

I ignore it. I have made a flow chart so that HE DOES NOT HAVE TO MAKE EXECUTIVE DECISIONS.

A few minutes later I receive the text “Disaster, still not bubbling” along with a video of the lasagna actually cooking in the oven. I’m assuming he did this to prove to me that there was, in fact, no bubbling going on.

Honestly, I did not need this. I had a lot on my plate at that moment and it involved being prepared to answer questions like, “Help, I think I’m growing breasts even though I’m a boy. Is that normal?” and God help me I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE what the answer to questions like that are.

Anyway, I got home to find that the lasagna was fine. My husband had the audacity to ask me how it tasted like HE was the one who made it when all he did was take it out of the oven. It was a very rough two hours.

 

 

 

Day 5…

It’s been 5 days since my kids were in school.

Non-stop screaming has been coming from my basement for the last two hours.

I will not break. I will not break.

I have tried to stay positive. I have been preparing school lunches every night, completely in denial that snow is on its way.

We had to go to the grocery store yesterday. We HAD to. We were out of food. The kids didn’t start fighting until 10 minutes in. I told Kid #1 to stay to the right of the cart, Kid #2 to stay to the left. It worked for 20 seconds. Then they started fighting about who was supposed to stay on the right and who was supposed to stay on the left of me.

An older man who witnessed this fight started laughing. LAUGHING. Oh, you think that was funny, Mr. I-can-stroll-leisurely-through-the-grocery-store-by-myself-because-my-kids-are-all-grown? Yeah. Freaking hilarious.

I won’t even allow myself to think about what will happen if we have two more snow days. Because if we do, the (that-which-must-not-be-named but I will anyway) BLIZZARD BAGS will make an appearance. Not only will there be a snow day, but I will have to force my kids to sit there and complete a packet of homework that will take a minimum of three hours when all they want to do is run around like maniacs outside in the snow.

My eye is twitching.

And now I have to stop writing this because I can no longer focus. The kids have recorded their screaming from the past two hours on the iPod and are watching it sitting smack next to me, laughing maniacally, surely waiting for my head to explode.

They’ve asked for lunch 17 times. I guess I better make something.

Stay strong, people. I know I’m trying.

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