Monday, October 05, 2015

My Daughter is Stressed Out

Isn’t almost 11 much too young to be “stressed out”? And yet Sophie has been stressed out. It makes me feel sad and also like a parenting failure. Truth is, we did it to her/she did it to herself.

Let me explain.

We are in the SAME situation we were in LAST fall when we SWORE we would NEVER.AGAIN. Here we are with Sophie having an activity EVERY SINGLE NIGHT OF THE WEEK (except Friday) and last Monday she broke down because it was TOO MUCH and you know what? I DON’T BLAME HER. It was too much for me too.

So yes you can fault me for being one of those over-involved parents that carts my kid from class to class or activity to activity but I was not the one who wanted to do all this stuff in the first place: Sophie was. But imagine how guilty I felt when last Monday evening at 9:30pm she was crying, after being exhausted from choir, school, musical theater, soccer and 3 pages of very difficult math homework, “I NEVER GET TIME TO BE A KID.” Ohmygod you could hear my heart cracking in two. Because you know what? There is PLENTY of time in life to be stressed and as one gets older, plenty more to stress about. But my 5th grader SHOULD NOT be stressed.

In reality, she is doing only 2 activities (okay 3 if you count choir but that is only 1 hour a week before school and I love it because it gets me to the office earlier). She is only doing Musical Theater and soccer. The problem is she’s doing TWO Musical Theater classes this year – one on Mondays and one on Wednesdays; AND she’s practicing with one Select soccer team and playing games AND practicing with her BFF Taylor’s CYC team. So that means she has soccer practice min. 2x/week plus games on weekends. Tuesday night she is tutored in math by Grandma Sue (Jamie’s mom), which is less of an ‘add-on’ and more of a necessity.

And she’s getting sick of rushing around and going from here to here and quick change your shoes and quick shove these French fries down your throat and quick go-go-go. And frankly, so am I. ESPECIALLY when Sophie’s ever-so-helpful and present father shows up to soccer practice on Monday night but didn’t bother to help GET her there or get her FROM Musical Theater TO soccer or bring her food to eat for dinner or take her HOME from soccer or ANYTHING THAT COULD MAKE MY LIFE EASIER. No, instead he just shows up for a bit, says hi, watches, criticizes, encourages, and then goes home. HE doesn’t care because HE’S not the one rushing around.

Because Sophie has two opportunities a week to practice with the Select soccer team (Mondays/Wednesdays), and her Mondays are so full with choir plus her longer Musical Theater class, Jamie and I are switching up the entire schedule. We are switching our schedule instead of doing what maybe we SHOULD do which is cut down on soccer. Cutting down on Musical Theater is not an option because it is Sophie’s passion. That girl was born to be on stage; it’s her favorite activity, and I see how much joy it gives her. Cutting down on soccer – for example, just doing the CYC team – would help but won’t progress her as a soccer player. And she has so much fun and has come so far with practicing with the Select team.

Sophie doesn’t want to do soccer on Wednesdays because then she’ll miss out on time with her brother Sutton. And when I suggested maybe we alternate Monday/Wednesday soccer (but not switch the Dad day schedule), she broke into sobs and said, “Please don’t take my daddy and tt and suttie away from me; I see them so little as it is.”


I didn’t want to take them away from her; but I need a little relief too, quite frankly.

So now Jamie and I are switching up and sometimes he’ll take her Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays and sometimes I’ll keep her Wednesdays. Which kind of messes up my Wednesday night ‘date night’ with Jeff but in reality often times all we do is sit in our three seasons room and get drunk and then I go to bed at 9:30 so really what is the point? Tuesdays we have Ethan but Ethan refuses to play with Sophie and is more interested in his phone (he recently turned 11 and is now acting like a complete and total teenager – a post for another time) so it doesn’t really matter if Sophie is with her dad on Tuesdays; besides, Ethan has soccer anyway and we don’t see him until 8:30.

I DO have a husband who is kid-free every night of the week except Tuesday, and he WILL do whatever I ask him to do, but he doesn’t automatically think about Sophie’s schedule and getting her from here to there and all of that. And in his kid-free evenings he mostly does whatever the hell he wants which is sometimes a problem for me because it makes me feel like a single mom again. But we’ve had ‘discussions’ over that too. Now, when he has Ethan and I don’t have Sophie, I tend to do whatever I want but you have to remember I have only ONE weeknight per week sans kid. Maybe I’m just justifying. Maybe I just need to speak up. Maybe I just need to hire a chauffer.

First world problems, yo.

I sound like a total douchebag in this entire post but this is what it is.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Name This Disorder

So my cousin on my dad’s side, “R,” is a freshman at 'Hahvahd' [that’s how Bostonians say it] and ever since my dad found out R was going to Harvard, he’s been borderline obsessed with the kid. It’s getting pretty creepy. 

All summer long, all my dad could talk about was R getting ready for Harvard. My dad would email me R’s football stats (he’s on a full football scholarship, and is also an extremely good student), send me videos of him lifting weights (WTF???!?), etc. Meanwhile, my dad wouldn’t ask a damn thing about Ethan or Jeff. He would ask how Sophie was doing in softball and I would share and then try to say something about Ethan’s game and he would completely cut me off.

THEN, in late August when R started at Harvard, my dad literally sent me a photo of his school ID (which my dad obviously told R to take a picture of and message him with it). And my Dad text me, “Someday Sophie could have her picture on this type of school ID.” And I wrote back, “Yep, or Ethan, you know the son that doesn’t exist.” 

Okay, I only said the first part.

I mean, it was just getting weird. Here’s what you have to understand. I have 9 cousins on my dad’s side. My dad barely mentions ANY of them except when one of them is doing something life-changing or “cool” like when my one cousin got a job working for a sports network which meant he got to travel all over the world to incredible locations for golf tournaments, etc. And of course my dad says he found that job for my cousin T but I find that hard to believe as my dad is always trying to take credit for things he didn’t actually have anything to do with. 

Like, you know, raising me. 

Just the other day, I was THIS CLOSE to telling my dad to FUCK OFF because he literally called to tell me a story about the MINUTE details of R’s schedule and what time he has to wake up to go lift weights (5:30am) and how hard he is studying and you know what? He would not be able to tell you a g-damn thing about MY LIFE or MY schedule or my day to day (I’m up at 6 every day dad and raised a kid completely on my own for 8 years and when she was a newborn, there was nobody to share middle of the night feedings with AND I had to get up the next day and go to work and I was so sleep deprived that one time I drove off from the gas station with the hose still in my gas tank [true story]). And then, in that same conversation, I told my dad about my husband’s new job. 

Jeffrey was recruited for a new position and it’s very nerve-wracking but exciting to us and he will be making a higher steady income which is great but he is also leaving a job he did for 7 years. “Oh that’s nice,” my dad says. Because you know, it’s not impressive enough for him. My husband is not a judge, he does not work for the largest firm in his industry, he does not travel the world, and we do not live in Ladue or Clayton - i.e. the only two places my dad deems “worthy” enough of living if you are stuck in the state of “Misery” that is Missouri.

And when I tried to tell my dad about how Ethan got on a Select basketball team; he had to try out and he made the team, and we’re all very excited for him - my dad goes “Oh I don’t know what that is” and changed the subject, despite me trying to explain to him why this was a big deal, and a proud moment, in my 11-year old’s life.

The last thing you have to understand is that my dad and my cousin R aren’t even particularly close. That is to say, it’s not like my dad is his godfather or had any influence in his life growing up. No, it’s more like when my dad popped into Pittsburgh to visit family, he would stay with his brother because his brother is rich and has a big house and R would be there and would be friendly and would say, “Hi Uncle Tommy, it’s nice to see you” because he is a polite kid raised by good parents and my dad may have asked him a question or two about school and football and then didn’t really hear what he had to say because he didn’t give a shit and then turned back to my aunt and uncle telling some lame-ass story that made my dad feel a lot more important than he actually is.

In other words, my dad has never been all that interested in his nephew or what he was doing, aside from saying, “he’s a nice, handsome, smart kid” UNTIL THE KID GOT INTO HARVARD. 

And now my dad is obsessed. 

So name that disorder. When an alcoholic uncle is obsessed with his ivy-league schooled nephew. 

Come on, give it a try. You guys are a lot funnier than I am. 

PS - Here’s the last post I wrote about my dad, which was after my wedding, in case you’re not familiar with my dad and you are thinking “Who the hell is this guy??!” (Warning: it doesn’t get much better).

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ethan is 11!

We celebrated last night at Red Robin (Ethan's choice) with me, Jeff, Sophie, Marcy, Marcy's parents, Marcy's sister Danielle (whom I really like), her husband (first time I've met him - he's a workaholic), and their son Noah (who is adorable). It went well and it was nice:)

Ethan never really asks for anything other than gift cards and cash, and he didn't seem TOO disappointed that we didn't get him an orange lamborghini (his dream car).

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Things My Daughter Says

So last night I’m laying with Sophie before bed and she says, “It’s so hard not having a Mommy and Daddy who live in the same house.”
My heart breaks a bit and I tell her, “I know, and I’m sorry; I didn’t plan it this way.” 
Sophie: Yeah, I know. Plus, you’re happier now, right?
Me: Yep. And Daddy is too. 
Sophie: Besides, if you and Daddy didn’t break up, he wouldn’t have met TT.
Me: Right. And then there would be no Sutton. No Jeff. No Ethan….

She’s nearly 11 and has never known us living in the same house, but obviously it still hurts. :(

Friday, August 28, 2015

Reconfiguring Spaces - Small Bedrooms

I almost feel like this is turning into an HGTV blog, sheesh. 

Anyway, Sophie really, really wanted a desk in her room but her room is SOOO tiny that we needed to reconfigure in order to make room. Well I don’t have any good pictures of her room before, except this one:
Her bed is a full and it has a big headboard and footboard. She also had a dresser and bookshelf, bins in her closet, and really the bed took up the majority of the 9x9 room; there was hardly any space at all. So, we reconfigured. 

First, I took off the closet doors. Then I moved the bins out of her closet and instead put the dresser in there. Then I added beads. 

We took the headboard and footboard off the bed and repositioned it, placing the bookshelf at the end, on the wall next to the closet. 
We moved the bins to the long wall opposite of the bed and now she uses the top as a little shelf. 
Then Grandma and Papa bought this beautiful feminine desk for her, which fits nicely in the room but doesn’t overcrowd. 

*I’m* happy because I didn’t have to spend any money or buy her a new bed or new bedding or anything; all it took was some moving around. Score!

Sophie is happy because she loves her new room and does her homework at that desk; she is getting to the age where she is wanting some more privacy so will sometimes be in her room with the door closed doing god only knows what, and Jeff is happy because Sophie’s papers aren’t sprawled out all over our square dining table anymore!

Win, win. 

It’s good to have fairy wish-granting grandparents:)

Look Who's Here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I feel very “off” today. My anxiety is high; my nerves are making me jittery. Last night I was up til midnight because I couldn’t sleep because I was nervous for today – Sophie’s first day of fifth grade. How did my baby grow up so fast? How did I get so old?

I had a couple of glasses of wine last night but it’s not like I drank the whole bottle or anything.

My left hand is tingly – left hand only; in my fingertips. It wasn’t like that when I woke up; it just started on my way into the office. I had to get allergy shots this morning and I told the nurses that and mentioned that my mom had had a stroke and the one nurse started telling me to do the things for stroke signs – stand up straight (does one side slouch/fall/slump?), stick tongue out (is it straight?), etc. but I was like, “I know I’m not having a stroke. But if I go completely numb on one side or if I start slurring my words, I will call 9-1-1.”

I’m not normally a hypochondriac. But I’m just a bottle of nerves because I even wrote down Jeff’s phone number for two of my co-workers, just in case.

Maybe it’s just nerves+PMS+tiredness. I just feel…weird.

This makes me smile though:

(Technically Ethan’s first day is tomorrow but I had to get the photo opp while I could) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Questions of the Universe

Why does Sophie want a loft bed + desk in her very tiny room (7x8?) when 2 years ago we traded in her twin bed for a full (my old one from childhood that my parents still had) (they keep everything) (sophie is also using my dresser from when I was a BABY) and then in about 2-3 more years she’ll probably want to move into the big, purple basement room; that is if Jeff and I haven’t taken it over by then because my parents (or one of them) are living in our “master” bedroom. And also how do I find one that fits her room that doesn’t cost $3k and is sturdy enough not to fall over? And is not TOO little girl since I’m not fucking changing her room every damn year. And then if she goes down to a twin bed, I have to buy all new fucking bedding.

Why do I have an allergy-related summer cold and can’t breathe through my nose and forgot to take my Sudafed and this sickness made “family day” Saturday a bust because Ethan woke up with the same thing (though he bounced back much faster than me) and I slept 70% of Saturday and ended up sending Sophie to her dad’s but it gave me and Ethan a chance to “bond” Sunday as I let Sophie go to her cousins and me and Ethan went to a late brunch – just us – and then the three of us (me, Ethan, Jeff) saw the new Mission Impossible movie in the theater. And now Jeff thinks he’s getting what I have which means he’ll be a total baby about it because he’s a man.

Why do Ethan and Sophie both have the teachers that have the reputation for being “mean” and how are they going into fifth grade and how is it middle school next year and am I old enough to have fifth graders and Sophie doesn’t want to go to school because she is terrified of fire drills and they have them like twice a month; some they know about and some are ‘surprises’ and will the teacher this year be compassionate about Sophie’s anxiety like last year’s doll of a teacher or will she be mean and like “knock it off, get it together”? And also the only girl that we know so far that is in Sophie’s class is a girl named D. that’s friends with Sophie’s friend Lexi (the one with the odd parents) and Sophie says she’s a bully.

Why aren’t Jeff and I rich and living in a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood? Do I even care about a big house? No I’d rather go on vacation but seriously by most standards, we should be rich (if you just look at our combined income). I mentioned this to Jeff while we were out to eat last night while Sophie was doing soccer practice:
“Uh, we’re not rich because we’re both drinking and eating out and we’re about to spend $50 bucks on dinner and then after Sophie goes to bed we’re going to smoke cigarettes and cigars and drink a $12 bottle of wine and sip from a $30 bottle of Grandma [Grand Marnier]”
Oh yeah, that’s why.

Why am I two years away from turning 40 and still getting zits during “that time of the month”? Why am I paying a fortune for Proactiv when I still get zits but not as many and it’s the only thing that really works?

How can a silly little summer cold COMPLETELY wipe me out and Summar has to deal with exhaustion PLUS pain every single day and still actually live and see doctors and do support groups and swim therapy and take care of the kids?? It makes me REALLY, truly feel for her.

WHAT exactly are these people in Ferguson, MO protesting??

Does anybody trust Hilary Clinton and does anybody think she could POSSIBLY have ANY inkling of what it’s like to be “middle class” considering she and Bill are worth, what? $30 Billion and yet she claims they left the White House “broke” which is so fucking preposterous it’s hilarious.
(Why can’t I spell “preposterous”?)
Anyone who votes for Hilary Clinton just because she is a woman is as stupid as anybody who doesn’t vote for her just because she’s a woman.

WHY am I talking politics?

WHEN will this sickness go away, and when can I go back to bed and WHY on Earth does the school have meet the teacher and supply drop off from 3pm to 4pm because apparently NO PARENTS WORK.

I need to sign off now.