Hell Is a Car Pick Up Line

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It’s long, it’s boring and the end result is a child. It’s actually very similar to sex sometimes. The dreaded Car Pick Up Line. It is inevitable if you drive your child to school. You will sit in the Pick up line. The drop Off line is nothing. It takes mere minutes. The longest part of drop off is traversing the winding road leading up to the area where your little munchkin hops out of the car and you get a few minutes of blessed silence before you have to either go to work or begin your daily routine of chores and never-ending laundry. But Pick Up…..that’s a whole different monster entirely.

Mine is a special kind of Hell. you see Bean goes to a school in a more affluent part of town. The Beach side. It’s not uncommon for me to be surrounded by BMW’s, Mercedes, Audi’s and even a Porsche. Why someone would buy a 4 door Porsche sports car is beyond me, but hey…..whatever floats your yacht. I drive an American made SUV that is almost 8 years old. I’m slumming it compared to these other parents. And that’s just my car. Just wait.

The types of parents you will encounter in the Pick Up Line are a vast array of personalities. There’s;

“Tennis” mom. She looks adorable in her perfectly matched tennis skirt, tank top and coordinating sneakers. The thing is, her sneakers don’t have any scuff marks. Her makeup and is perfect and every hair is in place. This mom just wants you to think that she plays tennis in her free time. What she really does is sit at the tennis club (yes we have those here) and drink martinis at the Tiki Bar. Trust me, I know a bartender at one of those clubs. I know.

The Yoga mom. Now there are actually 2 subtypes of this category. There’s the pseudo-yoga mom, who really just wears yoga pants 99.9% of the time and hopes that people think she is holistic and calm and centered when actually she’s a hot mess because she basically runs a small country. I am part that yoga mom.

Then there’s legit Yoga Mom. She is slender and sinewy. She wears yoga pants like she was born in them. She only feeds her kids organic, non-GMO foods and she probably drives a hybrid, complete with a Namaste sticker on the back right next to the magnet for the school.  In fact she’s so enlightened you really want to shove a Twinkie down her throat while she’s in downward dog and watch her crumble. Her only flaw is the fact that she smells slightly like Patchouli no matter what. It lingers. You can smell it under her designer perfume. It’s always there. It wafts out of her vehicle and into yours.

The PTA mom. Ugh……the PTA mom. She knows when every school related event happens. She is able to rattle off every early release and school holiday. She has no problem walking down the Pick Up line selling T-shirts, raffle tickets and whatever else the school is peddling. It’s best to just put limousine tint on and don’t make eye contact when she gets near your vehicle.

The Clueless Father. Not all dads in the Pick Up Line are clueless. Usually the clueless ones are the dads who got called at the last minute because mom’s Hot Yoga class ran late and now the poor guy is sitting in the line like a deer in headlights. He’s clearly not even sure if he’s in the right place. Hopefully he picks up the right kid. Or the right amount of kids.

The Tech Mom. I personally hate this mom. She is either Facebooking, Instagramming or crushing candy while waiting for the line to move. Then once the line starts moving she’s in a bonus round and forgets she has people behind her waiting anxiously to pick up their beloved children and hear all about their day at school. Actually, why don’t you go ahead and finish that bonus round, I’m good waiting.

All these pale in comparison to when the line actually starts moving. The line at Bean’s school. is a double line that merges into a single line. This requires that people not be assholes. That is humanly impossible. For some reason people seem to be in a rush and forget common courtesy of alternating sides. It gets ugly. Like I’ve wanted to get out of my car and physically accost someone. It’s ridiculous the amount of rudeness and disregard that can occur in a rush to get to your child. Not that any of it matters because you still have to wait once you get to student area. You have to wait for the teachers to get your child’s attention. you have to wait for the car in front of you to finish loading all those kids….how many kids can fit in a Denali anyway?

And I dedicate hours a week to this. It basically equates to roughly 2 hours a week of sitting in this line, enduring this. I can think of several other things I’d rather spend 2 hours on, and most of them do not include my car, kids or other parents. a word to the wise…..Let your kid ride the bus.

Until next time, keep those toes in the sand and your windows up!

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Introverted Motherhood

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I think sometimes Bean thinks I don’t love her, but nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is I’m an introvert. I like my space. I love my silence. I relish in being left to my own devices, free to read or do whatever I want. The point is, I’m OK with silence and being alone. This is a foreign concept to most children, especially mine. She doesn’t like to do anything alone. She doesn’t even like to sit in her room and play video games alone. It is a constant battle.

The Hubs will attest to the fact that I am not the most physically affectionate person. I love him. I find him incredibly sexy, but I am just not an overtly affectionate person. I don’t like to cuddle. I am quite content sitting in “my corner” of the couch when we watch movies. He gets upset sometimes because he equates PDA with proving love. I don’t. When I sleep, I don’t like to be touched. I don’t like to feel confined. He likes to spoon. I married my polar opposite. I gave birth to my polar opposite. Do you have any idea how hard that is to deal with?

Bean is a cuddler. When we read stories at bedtime she begs me to cuddle her. How do you explain to a child that cuddling causes you actual anxiety? That it makes you uncomfortable? Way to give your kid a complex! So I let her lay on my arm. That’s the most i can offer. I can’t envelope her in my arms like the Hubs does. I’ve tried, I just can’t do it. I know, this makes me sound like an awful mother. I hug her, pick her up and I comfort her when she is sad or hurt. But I am not a touchy-feely person. You know what I miss most about Pre-Motherhood? SILENCE!

I love silence. I love quiet. Not having to talk to people is my favorite thing. At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking “how does this woman have friends?” Well actually I have a core group of friends that know me and respect that. I was a bartender and server for a very long time. It was mentally exhausting to adopt a different personality for work. It was like putting on a show 4 nights a week. My friends and I can sit around and not talk and be totally fine. I love text messaging. I pocket dialed my friend the other day and she immediately knew it was an accident because I don’t actually talk on the phone. Bean is always talking to me. Always asking me to remember some tiny detail or something that happened over a year ago. The drive to school is torturous for me sometimes, because I feel like I’m on autopilot, just answering her barrage of questions even though I just want to listen to the morning show and enjoy the drive. I love my child with all my heart, but being a mother goes against my very nature sometimes.

I worry that I am giving her some warped concept of the dynamic between husband and wife and child and mother. She sees Hubs and I kiss and that, she knows that I am there for her no matter what, but I see her mimic some of my behavior, like her sitting in the opposite corner of the couch when we are watching TV together. And that makes my heart hurt. I can’t help the way that I am. And there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. There’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert. I just don’t ever want her to grow up thinking I don’t love her with all my heart. I just don’t want her to touch me sometimes.

Until next time, keep those toes in the sand…quietly

Summer Time Sadness

Well…summer is officially over in the Beach Bum Household. Bean has started school. This year she is a 1st grader. So now she is an experienced student….who still can’t sleep in her own bed. The summer went by surprisingly fast, and in all honesty, I feel as though I failed.

I had all these high hopes for Bean’s first official summer off from school. I finally quit bartending so I wouldn’t be so tired this summer. I had lined up Pinterest ideas and projects and outings. I compiled healthy yet yummy snacks and lots of things to keep my little monster stimulated and enriched while off from school for 3 months. Do you want to know what she did all summer? She played Minecraft. I failed. I epically failed. I went in guns blazing and I ran out of ammo like a week in to the summer. and I ran out of energy. Hubs works hellish hours, so majority of the child raising falls on my shoulders. And I am OK with that. Except for the fact that I get exhausted and then feel bad about complaining that I ‘m exhausted. And to be honest, I get a little tired of constantly having a shadow. Even this morning, as I was attempting to take a shower in the privacy of my own bathroom which is in my bedroom, I was interrupted twice because of a loose tooth. Within a span of 5 minutes. Now this isn’t her first loose tooth. It’s not even her second loose tooth. So really the urgency should have abated a little by now. But the way she came bursting into my bathroom twice, you would’ve thought that the house was on fire or there was a stick in someones eye. Nope, just a loose tooth.

I wanted this to be a summer that mimicked my own summers as a child. Lots of time outdoors, drinking from garden hoses and things of that nature. But I was confronted with a sad reality only a couple of days into the break. Kids today can’t think of adventures to have on their own. Not even my child, who is very inventive and creative. She was happy to play inside all day, bossing me around and building legos and playing pony universe. But the moment I kicked her little butt outside to play with her friends it was like her life was over. Play outside?! They’ve never heard of such a thing. So I’d help them out and point them in the right direction; I supplied them with chalk, sports equipment, water balloons, water guns. That lasted all of about 15 minutes. We live in Florida, which in the summer is a few degrees cooler than Satan’s anus, so I tried to be understanding. But I was also tired. I can’t believe my mother successfully ran a household and a business with 3 kids out of school at the same time. I can barely keep my kitchen clean. So I caved to her demands of television, tablets and too much sugar. I let her play (IMO) excessive amounts of video games. I accepted my failure as a parent.

I’ll probably try harder next summer. I am going to attempt to go in more prepared. I’m going to resign my self to the fact that even if I don’t want to go swimming, I’m going swimming with her. Even if I don’t want to pack a cooler and go to the beach, I’m going to do those things anyway. Why? Because it’s not my summer. It’s hers. when I was a kid, Summer was a magical time of fireflies, water wars and adventures. I was lucky in some respects. I have siblings, so I had ready-made playmates. I am Bean’s ready-made playmate. And I need to make peace with that. I’m going to have to buck up and make myself behave like a kid. Darn. 🙂

M.C.S

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M.C.S – Middle Child Syndrome

Gosh that makes it sound like some sort of ailment.I saw all these posts last week about it being “Middle Child Day” and the big punchline is that it gets overlooked just like Middle Children do. That isn’t true. Being a Middle didn’t make me invisible. It made me into something better. It’s basically my superpower. I am a middle child and I am proud of it. I have the extraordinary pleasure of being in between 2 brothers. We are each 3-4 years apart. And each one of us embody a completely different point on the personality spectrum, from the quiet and reserved (older) to the outspoken and flamboyant (younger). Ironically I fall right in the middle of that spectrum. Weird, right? Well I learned that being quiet all the time would get you overlooked when it matters, like making friends and being social. I also learned that being the center of attention made it more difficult to go about your business undisturbed. I am the physical embodiment of middle ground. I am the peacekeeper. The problem solver. The strategist. I can find a solution to just about any problem and I can do it quickly and easily under pressure.

The Older was doted on. He’s the first-born. The First EVERYTHING. The parental units probably went all out. Bought the best of everything. They probably gave him all of their attention. The poor kid probably never got to eat paste. And then I came came along. The second born. By then they had learned that I would be fine if I ate paste, because the older one had survived. I was given much more freedom to roam and explore. I was able to learn from an older example while finding my own spot in the world. My parents were usually busy with Older and his school and activities that I was able to develop an immense imagination and learn to become a extraordinary problem solver.

Then the Baby came along. The last born. The last time my mom would get those little chubby cheeks and all those other baby traits. She relished in them. So Older had school and activities. At this point I had school. Baby had Mom all to himself. I wasn’t ignored by any means. M parents went to my plays and soccer games. They never forgot me anywhere….that I’m aware of. But they were also busy enjoying the last baby moments they would have. First steps, first words, all those milestones. And I was able to explore the world around me, often with Older as my playmate.

You see, being in the middle prepared me for the adult world. Better than being the first born or the baby I think. I know when I should speak up, like when something is important or dire. And I know when to stand in the shadows and let someone else have the spotlight. I was able to use my imagination to no end, allowing my brain to work in ways that make me efficient and resourceful, because, let’s face it….when you’re the Middle, there are hand me downs and broken things. Being the Middle also taught me to work quickly, for fear of a sibling tantrum or a parental discovery if I was doing something bad, WHICH I WOULD NEVER DO!!! Being a Middle gave me a superpower. I am a watcher. When I enter new situations, I watch. I get a feel for the situation and the people around me. This is a trait of being a Middle. I want to know the people I’m surrounded by. The Baby, he just throws himself into the melee and hopes for the best. Older? He prefers to remain on the sidelines 99% of the time. Being a Middle taught me to assess situations and people. I am calculating, I am careful, but I still manage to have some fun! As a Middle, I have an extremely calm way of dealing with most problems, so stress isn’t really an issue for me. I don’t suffer from Identity Issues, like many people seem to think Middles do. I know exactly who I am.

Being a Middle also taught me survival. Every injury Bean gets is an emergency in her eyes. I’ve had broken bones and not even given a whimper. Being a Middle with 2 brothers taught me how to deal with pain. I am a girl who can throw an impressive right hook. I attribute that to Older. We were teenagers at the same time and forced to share a phone line back when phones plugged into the wall. It wasn’t pretty. But my reflexes are quick because of it, giving me the chance to prevent injuries to myself or Bean. I learned that not all of my problems were dire and most I could fix on my own. i learned to go to my parents with the really big problems. So when I did come to them, they knew it was a big deal.

When I was 5 and Older was 8 he walked me into my first day of school. And I wasn’t scared. If he could survive, I knew I would be just fine. And as our mom watched us walk away hand in hand(*tear-sniff-sniff) she noticed that I didn’t look back once. And she realized that I would be the child to venture furthest from the nest. I would be the brave child who would survive out in the world with ease. I was already a Middle by then. And she was right. I went to college at the other end of the state. I moved as far away as I could while remaining in the Lower 48. And I survived. I flourished even. I went through life experiences that might’ve sent others home to the nest, but i remained where I was and got myself back on my own 2 feet.

I’m proud to be a Middle. I’m lucky to be a Middle. People think that Middles get the short end of the stick, but what we really do is use our imaginations and make something really cool out of the stick. My parents did me a favor by making me a Middle

It’s OK to Tell My Daughter That She’s Pretty

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It absolutely is totally alright. I’m not going to rip your head off or sigh or make some comment about the merits of brains over beauty. Because the thing about smart girls who are mostly complimented on their beauty is that they will surprise people at the best times. I want my Bean to grow up aware of her looks. Not for narcissistic reasons. But that way she can fool people into a false sense of security. People never expect the “pretty girl” to bust out some crazy math skills or some little known science fact. You know why? Because nowadays apparently you can either be pretty or smart. but not both. And that is sad. So sad.

I don’t mean to sound conceited but I’m intelligent. I have been aware of it since I was a young girl. And I turned out just fine. I was an honor student. I got good grades. I received scholarships to college. I was on the Dean’s list almost all through college. I have a well rounded and expansive concept of the world. And the best part of it was that no one ever saw it coming. Know why? Because I’m also pretty

Yeah, I said it. I’m pretty. I have esthetically pleasing features. I have an hourglass figure. And I have used this to my advantage at times. When I was a bartender, I would often “dumb it down” because no one wants to be talked to like they are an idiot, even if they are. So I would bat my eyes, coyly smile and things to that effect because bartenders should be hot. Sadly, intelligence is not a requirement.

The thing about people complimenting your child’s looks is usually for no other reason than they don’t know your child well enough to compliment anything else. A passerby may just be struck by how adorable your kid looks. A not so close relative may not have had enough interaction with them to marvel at their problem solving skills. Its really not meant malevolently. I don’t mind it when people compliment Bean’s looks. She’s a beautiful girl. And the people that know her well also compliment her intelligence, her imagination, her personality and her energy. People aren’t selling her short by complimenting her beauty. They are helping her. Because at her age, she is learning all about self confidence. And being confident in your looks is a huge part of confidence overall.

So go ahead, compliment away. Just don’t be surprised when she starts a conversation about thermonuclear dynamics 🙂