Saturday, October 15, 2011

Parenting Partnership?

My husband has an ongoing feud with our daughters about keeping their room clean. It is a battle that I decided to withdraw from some months ago realizing that it was not going to be a situation that would be resolved in a day, week, or even a month. As it turns out I was not being pessimistic. In fact, the battle has raged on to the point that some days I would love to close myself into a sound proof room and refuse to come out. But, alas, that is not an option.
In all his wisdom, dear husband, decided to take away privileges for their lack of attention to the cleanliness of their space. His specifically removed the television from their room and informed them that they would not be able to watch or have computer time until they established order. The television sat in front of my closet door for more than a week. Not only was I reminded constantly of the situation by having to maneuver around their television as it blocked access to my closet, but my husband is also working an extended period of annual overtime. So while he may have issued the restriction of privileges he is at work during the peak enforcement hours. This leaves me with two very unhappy children who are doing their best to win the power struggle that has ever increasing stakes. Well meaning friends have suggested a variety of alternatives. I can only smile and nod as I check off the list. We have tried it, done it, punished, threatened, rewarded, restricted, and done it ourselves. This is a battle that the children are obviously winning. I am becoming more and more frustrated but managing, so far, to keep the frustration to myself. The battle wages on.....
This past Thursday arrived. I had big plans. The children would be out of school for both Thursday and Friday. We would have four days to clean clutter, get that bedroom under control, and do some work on a couple of quick household projects. The end was near and I was excited! My plans came to a screeching halt when I remembered that I had promised to drive my sister to the hospital for an outpatient procedure that was scheduled for Thursday. No big deal, I thought, we will get the procedure done and have plenty of time to get to that room. Boy, was I ever wrong. My sister and I didn't return to her house until 4 pm. By that time my family was starving and time was ticking. My husband had to leave for work at 6pm to work until 7am. We decided to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant and relax together. I wasn't at all concerned. I had left instructions for the day. The kids knew what they had to get done. Besides, I had also sweetened the pot by promising the girls that if they would get the room clean I would make sure we went to get those long promised bikes this weekend. Mom was taking no prisoners.
We arrived home in time for my husband to get ready for work. I walked into the house happy and relaxed from a nice dinner with my family. I was in for a surprise. The kitchen was a disaster. All of the snacks that had been purchased the evening before had been consumed and the empty boxes were on the counter. The dogs had not been fed or let out. The living room was a mess. Worst of all, since my husband had to sleep in preparation for work that night, he had simply told the children they could watch tv and play on the computer and they had.....for the entire day.
The red heat that went over me was no hot flash. Towanda (ref movie  Fried Green Tomatoes) was ready to put that man into a headlock. The nerve! Not only that but he insisted upon stirring up strife with them before leaving by stressing the importance of cleaning the room and the consequences. (Are you kidding me?) He also emphatically stated that they should do the cleaning and not me.

He left for the night and I sat fuming. That man has a lot of nerve. Finally I stopped fuming and started thinking. A smile formed in my mind that was reminiscent of the one on that crazy Grinch in the Christmas story. I would take matters into my own hands for my own sanity and the sanity of my family. It was time.
I activated my children. First I made sure that I just started cleaning and zipped my lip. I knew I certainly had enough residual anger and frustration that I could quickly just end up yelling at them and I truly wanted to avoid that. I was working to end the battle not start a new one. They were grateful for an intervention and caught on quickly. They started helping and realized I was in no mood for chit chat. We got that room significantly cleaner in record time. Early the next morning my husband came home to find them finishing the sweeping and mopping. The job was complete.
The stubborn man and I had a discussion. I agreed not to put him in a headlock i.e. not to release all the wrath of my menopausal alter ego on him and he agreed to handle things better next time. In his words "I am waving the white flag like Robert E. Lee at the Appomattox Courthouse. I surrender." Smart man. The girls got their bikes today and I will be going to my Schutzhund training with my dogs. He and I have honed our partnership to a little sharper performance. After all, not everybody can be the star player.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The reality of good health

I had quite an eye opening experience this summer. What started as a small red spot on my breast turned into a large and painful spot in just a few days time. It was diagnosed as an abscess and cellulitis. My word of wisdom is that if you have any type of change in breast tissue you should get it checked out immediately.
In my case, I was busy with home and family just like always. It was not painful or worrisome at first. It seemed like something that would heal and go away on it's own. By the time it became apparent that I would need medical care my doctor was on vacation and I delayed a couple of additional days so that I could see my regular doctor. My husband and I went to her office for my appointment expecting perhaps to have it lanced and to come home with an antibiotic. We were very surprised to have her emphatically state that I would be admitted to the hospital immediately.

In the end I ended up having it taken care of surgically. It was painful and caused me to spend several days in the hospital. I also discovered that I have diabetes. It was a disheartening few days of medications and life changes as well as a big change in my frame of mind.  Turns out that it could have been a very big threat to my health and well being had the infection been of a more serious type. Who knew? Well, now I do. So I've made it my business to remind people that breast health is important for both women and men.

A plus of having my diabetes diagnosed is that I found out why I had not been able to lose weight. For months I had been exercising and watching what I ate. I have fibromyalgia so many of the symptoms I was having were simply blamed on the fibro. Plus, being right around early menopause, hot flashes were not exactly something that anybody thought was a big deal. Well, with the meds for the diabetes I have not only found it easier to lose weight but have found exercise easier and the hot flashes have disappeared. I admit that I am much more motivated also because diabetes does run in the family and I am quite cautious. Over all I am enjoying improved health and I am relieved and happy to have more energy.

Not to be preachy but it is often easy for women as the caretakers of so many in our lives to neglect ourselves. This is especially true in the area of good health. The truth is that it has taken me this long to learn that I am a much better person, mom, sister, daughter, friend if I feel good and healthy. It is something that I wish I had learned a long time ago. I hope that I pass along to my daughters to be good to themselves. I also hope that I inspire you to be good to yourself. Go ahead. You deserve it. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

A new box of crayons....

Getting ready for back to school. It happens this coming Tuesday. I was commiserating with my sister, whose youngest is going to be a senior this year, about how time flies. I remember the day we put our rising senior on that bus for her first day of kindergarten. ((sigh)) Yes, time certainly does fly.
My husband and I enjoyed some of the freedom afforded having the elementary school "upperclassmen". At school orientation we were allowed to simply go our own way. We met the teachers, picked up our packet of parent homework (sheesh, such a load of paperwork to fill out every year) and purchased our new tie dyed school t-shirts. We are set. No need to make that appearance to the gym for that long dreary and dragged out version of orientation. Whew!
And so our girls are growing up. They will be in third and fifth grade this year.  I've had my melancholy moments of missing the time when they were babies but something stopped me the other evening. I realized that I loved the time when they were babies. I also loved last year. And I will love this year. So I've gone back to the drawing board. I've opened my new box of crayons. I've decided to draw myself a new frame of mind. Instead of wishing for days gone by, I will look forward to the days ahead  and be happy. I will share with my girls the joy of blossoming womanhood.
I was quite amused the other day to hear my ten year old announce to her sister that she is not a child but "practically a young woman." Amused, but sobered, by the knowledge that this is indeed true. She is growing quickly into a young woman and I intend to be there with her to enjoy the time and guide them both every step of the way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Does somebody have some explaining to do?

Virginia has been a regular mecca of disaster these past few days. Okay, actually longer than a few days. First the Great Dismal Swamp has been burning. Each night on the news we hear that there are smoke advisories for areas not that far away from where we live. We have not been able to detect the smoke in our area but the video on television shows that some areas have a tremendous amount of smoke.
Yesterday we had an earthquake. An earthquake! In Virginia. What is most interesting about it is that the epicenter of said earthquake was quite near the North Anna nuclear power plant. Swell. Earthquake and nuclear are two words that should never be paired together. It doesn't exactly give you the warm fuzzies.
The day before the earthquake I was coming home from running errands and noticed the constant whirring sound of cicadas. Yep, I verified the sound on you tube. Definitely cidada.
Now we are waiting for the arrival of hurricane Irene which may cause the evacuation of the coast which will in turn cause traffic to be routed all four lanes in our direction. Chaos!
I am not going to pretend to be able to predict anything or hook it up with some prophecy or another. What I am going to say is what I have known all along and that is that life is delicate and fleeting.