Middle School Anxiety Day 1

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Middle School is off to a roaring good start and by roaring I mean the very loud gut-wrenching vocalizations of an angst-ridden tween who is losing her mind. I’m not so sure Bug would appreciate me making fun of her here on my blog but she is always telling me to write a graphic novel so we’ll just put these sketches here and say that they may not be the whole story. I’ll give her a chance to make fun of me too. SHE has plenty of material to do so with.

I really was that horribly embarrassing parent on orientation day. Me being me, I decided to walk the dogs before orientation which was at 10am. I left at eight-ish.  Plenty of time right? My walk usually takes 45 minutes and then I take a shower (because I am the walking sweat machine). Then we’d walk to school her and I. No big thing.

Well…one thing lead to another and five minutes from getting home from walking the dogs I get a frantic call from Bug. “WHERE ARE YOU MOM?! I’M GOING TO BE LATE! I NEED YOU TO DO MY HAIR!!” fret fret fret, freak-out, freak-out, freak-out. So I rushed home, jumped in the shower, barely dried my new hairstyle of a hair cut and quickly braided her hair. We walked as fast as we could to school and then stood in line for an hour.

My wet hair was dripping all down my back and I was sweating because it’s been hotter than dog’s breath lately and it’s terribly HUMID. All the water was cumulating in the swell of my back where my butt sticks out. I can’t help it. I have a bubble butt. Bug was beyond embarrassed. If she has more acne than usual on her forehead it’s because of all the face palms. I tried my best to ride the wave of embarrassment by pretending that nothing was wrong. I greeted all her friends and their parents and we had the usual parenting social hour which you know is the worst torture ever for budding young middle-schoolers.

We survived orientation and we were both pretty excited about middle school. We went back-to-school shopping and bought about a thousand surf-related t-shirts. She got a new back pack. All was going well.

But I sensed it wasn’t so smooth-sailing when she called me twice from her Dad’s to make sure I would be there Thursday morning to do her hair if her dad dropped her off early. Poor kid. She was fretting over everything. She made a special notebook with folders and her schedule clipped prominently inside. She made sure she went to bed early two nights before so she would be in the habit of getting up early and then called me in a panic because her dad was NOT getting up early on her practice going-to-school-days. I told her not to worry. Her dad would indeed get up in time on the day he actually needed to get up early.

This is what it’s like when you have anxiety.

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Today she showed up extra early. Almost an hour before school started. We took pictures with her dad and then went inside to do her hair. I went over her list of things she’d need for the day. Did she have her notebook? Did she have her lunch? Did she have her schedule and ID card? Wait What?!! OH NO SHE DID NOT! She forgot everything at her dad’s house and there was no time to go all the way to his house to get them!

Oh crap.

Much weeping and wailing went down while we packed another lunch, printed out her schedule from online and sat down to practice her new combination lock she would need for her locker. Oh my goodness, you’d think figuring out a combination lock was something out of National Treasure with secret compartments and dead sea scrolls. Turn the lock three times to the right, then two times to the left, then one time to the right…

Mom, stop screwing me up! I don’t think in pictures like you do!”

Albeit, I was trying to explain how the levers worked inside the lock with hand movements. I guess imagining the internal mechanisms of a lock don’t help everyone like they do me.  In the end I just let her muddle through it and somehow on the seventh or eighth try (after two freak-out melt-downs) she figured it out.

Hell-LAY-lujah.

Kids, man. They just don’t want to be helped. But if you don’t help them YOU ARE THE WORST.

She did want me to walk her to school though which surprised me because I’ve been preparing for the parental rejection years since kindergarten. I know I’m embarrassing for her. I embarrass myself!  Surely she doesn’t want me walking her to school. But she was nervous. The whole lack of a schedule and an ID card was nerve-wracking. So I walked half way and then her friend showed up. Her friend is the exact opposite of her. Cool as a cucumber and not one bit worried about anything under the sun. She shrugged off Bug’s worries as if they were mere dandelion seeds flying in the wind. No schedule, no ID card, no problem! It’s the first day of school nobody expects you to know what you’re doing. Today is a free day!

I love her friend. I’m super sad she’s moving to New York in two days. I think we both need her.

A little catch-up linkapolooza!

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November started off a little rough for me. I had big plans of blogging everyday and participating in my own version of nablopomo. I was even thinking of telling stories from my Pet Hotel days (my parents owned and operated a boarding kennel when I was in my teens) but you can see how well that went! One lonely post showed up in November. Go Brenda.

I do want to get back to those stories one of these days though. Ask me about the time my brother and I were hiking back behind the kennel and we discovered a ditch full of freshly dead dogs. It was a Stand By Me moment if I’ve ever had one, even though my brother has no recollection of the event.

Anyway! I’m posting my pictures backwards so let’s just go back in time from the most recent to the least recent. Most of these photos are from Instagram. That’s where I hang out these days. If you follow me there this will all be old news. Sorry! Instagram killed the blogger.

First up: An advent calendar that is a village that is a wreath! I’m such an over-achiever. I like to cram three things into one because I can!  I’ve already made a few villages. You remember that tiny Hanukkah village? That was so fun, made out of raisin boxes. And my favorite village of all: The Milk Carton Village!  (who doesn’t love recycling.) And I’ve made a few advent calendars and even an advent wreath with lollipops! but never a village AND an advent calendar IN a wreath. Whatever whatever…we’re over it already. Who’s gonna go spend three hours hand-painting an advent calendar and lighting it and assembling it all in a bla bla bla stinkin’ wreath. Obviously only me. But it was fun and if you are crazy like me I recommend it!

Next up: Boba and Bug. Bug LOVES boba. She begs for it every mother-daughter date we go on. I’m wondering what ingredient is in it that is so addictive. Taro root? Sugar? Caffeine? Hmmmmm….

Get this: we are planning Bug’s twelfth (!) birthday party for January (I like to start early)  and we have happened upon the greatest party idea of all: A limo ride! It solves so many problems. She wanted a green party like the one we threw for her third birthday. (She’s not spoiled or anything, heh.) But I just couldn’t land on a cohesive theme for the party and  you know me. It has to have a grand vision.  These grand visions get harder to visualize when kids are old enough to muck things up with their own ideas.  Kids.

She wanted everyone to wear green and have some kind of loosely interpreted fairy theme with vines and flowers and fairy crowns and maybe a dinner party in the backyard and of course everyone bringing their Pusheen stuffed animals because that is a THING. So green, fairies, flowers, Pusheens, boba, green mochi…it just wasn’t coming together for me and I didn’t want to just do another galaxy party in a new color. Then I realized I could make all her friends wear green, take them on a trip to get boba in a limo, maybe make a few other stops along the way to do fun green-themed adventures (green piñata in the park maybe?) and then drop them all back home for a green dinner with green mochi ice cream for dessert! Brilliant plan! I’m sure I will keep you posted on that progress.

Le sigh. Remember her pink phase? I’m so glad I had a daughter. I’m also so thankful for an extra daughter. I’d take 12 daughters if I could afford them. I think Joon wants a race car-themed birthday this year. That should be interesting. Like daughter, like father. They are both really into cars which is completely opposite of me. But I do love a challenge.

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Next: The sticks. My parents are planning an eventual move from their property. This is good news as their neighborhood has gone south in the past ten years. Drug dealers and users and half-way houses full of people who aren’t really serious about rehabbing have moved in and increasingly deteriorated the safety and beauty of their neighborhood. It’s a sad state of affairs. While they plan to sell their property they are packing everything up and planning on moving to Idaho which is crazy far away for me. BUT I have grand plans of visiting them and taking vacations there. This means they are giving everything away and forcing me to clean out the shed that I used to store old things in that I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of. Yep. No more free storage for me.

I took a trip out there and cleaned out my shed.  It was a task and a half. I brought back box after box of old journals, tons of yellowing photo albums, flower-business supplies, artwork, certificates, awards, newspaper clippings, yearbooks… all that stuff. And guess what? I don’t want it!! I went through a few journals and they are SO BORING!!! I thought I’d save them for Bug but I couldn’t even get through them myself! Who really cares what the weather was like in 1986?!!

I chucked my old yearbooks. I don’t care about them anymore. I took all the photos I cared about out of the old non-acid-free albums and organized them into a box full of labeled ziplock bags. It took forever and I sneezed for days from all the dust but it’s done and I’m happy to report I only have one box full of photos left. Everything else I either tossed or squirreled away in Payam’s house where nobody will ever really notice it until we have to move someday. I’m really good at squirreling things away. It’s always a super rude awakening come moving time.

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The big news of November was THANKSGIVING! More on that later. For alphamom I made some drink-stirrer thing-a-ma-bobs that look really cool but aren’t that useful since I don’t think feathers are dishwasher safe. But they are really really easy to make and everyone loves an easy craft. (Except me!) If you’re looking for an easy but impressive gift for your lush friend who likes to throw boozy parties, these things would be the ticket.

I also made some mad-lib style placemats that I think would be a hoot for a thanksgiving with a lot of kids. Too bad Thanksgiving is already over but save this link for next year!

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ALSO in the news, I have a new book coming out. I don’t know the exact date yet but I finished it in November and it is in the publisher’s hands now. I will keep you posted to that when I know more.

It’s actually written by my friend Teri’s (of mettaprints) husband, Chris, and it’s all in rhyme. I had the idea of writing a story something like a Dr. Seuss style Cat in the Hat but involving slime because I hate slime and it has sort of taken over our house and contaminated everything. I never got around to writing this story but shared my idea with Chris and he wrote it for me! It’s really cute and really long so you’ll get your money’s worth of illustrations out of this one. Though you might hate us if you have to read it before bedtime too many times.  I’m excited about it.

Speaking of books, did you know you can hear me read my own books on epic!? It is the coolest thing ever and I can’t believe I never looked into it before now. I recorded a few books for my publisher years ago but never really investigated where my voice went to. I don’t read all of them (thankfully, my voice is horrible!) but I do read a few like “Be Mine” and I think the bunny books too. Anyway, if you have epic, you should head over there and take advantage of that. It’s really cool.

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But the big news of November is THANKSGIVING! I finally pulled it off you guys! I made a turkey from start to finish (with the constant help of a good friend via text) and it turned out GREAT!!!! It was the best turkey ever!  I was so stressed about it too. I’ve had a few flop dinners served to Payam’s family and I have been living in shame over it secretly for years. I really want to be a good cook but I just never quite got there. I do like to cook and I do cook well a lot of the time just not 100% of the time. It’s been a source of stress for a long time. But this year I conquered it and now I can’t wait to do it again!

Everything went smoothly. Everything was done on time. Everything even tasted great! I think I’m more proud of this silly thanksgiving dinner than I am of all the parties I’ve thrown over the years. It’s funny how some things are just a thorn in your side. So phew! Turkey achievement unlocked!

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Next up Christmas! Except this Christmas is going to be kind of sad for me. Bug will be spending two weeks in Hawaii with her dad (lucky duck). While I’m really excited for her to finally go on a trip he’s promised her for years, I am going to miss her like CRAZY! I feel like I finally figured Christmas out last year and I really want to keep the traditions going but it’s kind of hard when you’re missing one kid. I’m sure we’ll manage and Joon is a very good stand-in kid. But it will be weird.

All for now! Hopefully I’ll be back here again soon!