Chronicles of my Mid-Life Crisis in the Making

A School Superintendent’s Guide to a Parent’s Point of View

My frustrations as a parent are building; not because of my child’s misbehavior, but because of my feelings of opposition concerning our poorly ran school district. A school district that once was rated at four-stars, bringing our family the decision to move here.

Currently while amid my full-time job, I am looking at my child’s grades that may display clear reasoning’s about where his improvements and his weaknesses are and checking for missing work. On my phone is a school app, I have pop ups, each time a grade is inputted from the teacher, which admittedly takes me away from my focus of being at work. Work that helps me pay for the care of my child; including the school supplies I am expected to pay. The two hats I wear throughout the day, every day, as both parent and employee can be overwhelming. Yet, my husband and I chose to bring this beautiful being in the world and I need to make our living. So, it must be done.

Clichéd as this might sound, it most aptly was different when I was growing up. I will first indicate the obvious that we did not have such forms of technological advances we families are all expected to have today within our households, up and running with an I.T. person readily on hand to keep it all functioning. Although I do not have one on the payroll and if our technology goes down, we have it figured out. Instead of running to the neighbors for a cup of sugar, we now borrow their computer. Hey, it’s still a good excuse to see how they are, right?

With my own personally saddened recognition that the days of my ever being a June Cleaver or a Donna Reed or a Carol Brady – complete with Alice the housekeeper, will never be me or probably most of the parents within our society; I do believe if I were, if I had more time to offer my child, I may just be that parent you’d believe is an actual caring parent for their kid. Alas, my employment must supplement my husband’s, so my child can and will be cared for. With that comes the daily notion my son is missing out on much of the doting I wanted to provide him as a stay at home mother.

Now let’s bring up the topic of your teachers that are on the payroll, okay? Without my child, your teachers (and yourself), would not have a job. Nobody twisted their arms to decide to go to school to become a teacher of snotty-nosed and entitled brats, full of daily defiance, where their parents obviously do not care about them. I’d like to enlighten you on the fact that if I was given the awareness of my child ever misbehaving, consequences at home would be implemented because although we have taught him better, as parents it is our duty to modify it whenever it decides to reappear. When I hear weeks later (from my own child’s mouth), that he has misbehaved and we were never informed by the school, I am stunned. Why was I not informed? The typical answer from your school is, “because he was provided a consequence at school and it was believed that was enough”. You’re joking, right?

When I was a child, if I misbehaved to a certain degree, my parents were called and every privilege at home ripped away from me. My parents and my teachers stood as a united front and if I did so happen to get away with something, I felt guilty for weeks thinking it would be found out by all parties, along with the recognition it being probably best not to do it again. But, I cannot say my accusations of your schools’ conduct are entirely true. My husband did get a phone call at work one day from the principal: On the last day of school, my son did give a friend a piggy-back ride down the hallway. So, it is not entirely accurate, the school has notified us on what really matters (sarcastic tone intended).

My son requires special attention as per a 504-Plan implemented by my son, his parents, principal, and teachers in a meeting. I requested this meeting with the hopes of establishing a closer, more attentive relationship primarily between he and his teachers, followed with that of his parents and his teachers.

When the dreaded time occurred to call upon his teachers for extra help, I can most equivocally portray my request using the, “like pulling teeth” analogy. When I dare thought to think outside the box and call the school for an outside tutoring resource versed in at least one subject, the school was unable to say. I would have gladly put such a resource on my payroll. I felt too uncomfortable posting an ad on a help wanted website for some stranger with potentially made up references to come inside my home and tutor my child. As an alternative, I emailed teachers with hopes of better collaboration. “Have him come see me” was a common response.

Okay well there is hope in setting up such a meeting between student and teacher, right?

Wrong.

My son’s worst subject (and his parents) is algebra. Why this forsaken subject is taught, I cannot say. Nonetheless, this kid is required to learn it. I can confidently realize he will never use it in his lifetime, although it is for some reason a requirement and therefore, I will do my part to ensure he learns it. Who knows, the future may have more of a trend in physics or engineering after my son has a brain transplant.

I see a pop-up on my phone (at work) indicating my son has approached an  “F” in algebra. Instead of putting my focus on work, I am staring at his grade trying to think of ways I can better collaborate with his algebra teacher. Eureka! I shall send her an email in which will request extra assistance for my son, emphasizing his weak areas of the subject and hopefully targeting those areas to get him caught up. I apologize to the teacher for all the homework he has turned in that have only been partially done, although we were unfortunately incapable of helping him as we do not understand it ourselves. In the back of my mind, I wish there were more hours in a day to try and attend an algebra class so I could not feel so helpless in this area of math.

Side note: How do single, working, parents do this?

I get a response from his algebra teacher:

“I am available every Wednesday during lunch time and Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Your student will need to set up an appointment with me to ensure I am not in a meeting. I have two-hundred and fifty students in my workload, many who require special attention like your son. Therefore, I cannot be relied upon to approach him.”

Okay, I can work with this. My son has a 504-Plan that indicates he may require reminders for specific things. Although, my son is unable to attend extra help after school because he already has that reserved for other subjects. So, Wednesdays during lunch it is and I will seek a way for my son to remember to approach his algebra teacher.

I feel more hopeful for my worried son who is feeling the pressure of failing and repeating the ninth grade, as am I. Yet I do not share this concern with him near as much as I honestly feel. It would only cause him more duress. I share what I can with hopeful optimism of what the plan of action is to get him to succeed. I also tell him several times to set the meeting up with his teacher for this to happen. My son assures me he will.

It seems for a small, fraction of time my lack of faith for our school system has been restored. That a plan has been successfully streamlined between parent and teacher for the pending success of my son’s academia!

This feeling of heightened faith crashes and burns quicker than my hope had begun. I want to cry. I’ve convinced myself my son will be residing in a cardboard box after my husband and I have left this earth because he will have never graduated high school and cannot afford living independently because being employed at a fast food restaurant was the only thing he was qualified to do.

My son “forgot” to set up such a meeting, even though he has algebra two periods prior to lunch. Okay, I must alter this gap in communication and step up my game as a responsible parent. I give my son two more opportunities to seek independence on this matter. And he fails to succeed on both accounts. I already have established a back-up plan should this happen anyway so I incorporate his needs written within his 504-Plan that he may require reminders to assist him. I email the algebra teacher with a polite request to approach him to set up a meeting. I also fill my son in on the plan and let him know if he does not show up after her reminder, I will then begin making requests to the office to make such a request over the loud speaker, knowing this would potentially encourage him to avoid such embarrassment.

Clever, huh?

Two Wednesdays go by. Both Wednesdays the teacher was absent and there was a substitute. I confirmed this beyond what my son reported. That very Friday, I receive an email (at work), after the school day and the school week had ended, indicating by the very same teacher all the work missed must be turned in that Monday whereas no more assignments would be accepted thereafter. You’re serious? Am I reading this wrong? Wait, what just happened?

I stare at this email. I search my other emails wondering if I missed something where she may have specified such a deadline in addition to my requests. Nope. Nothing. What do I do now?

I get frustrated. I get angry. I email his teacher, with every attempt I can think of to hold her accountable. Before I click send, I copy the principal to what now is a scathing email emphasizing her lack of cooperation and a request to remove my son out of her class, concerned I may have gone too far only after I click send.

I admit, I allowed my emotions to overtake my logic. Although, I am not heartless.

Only after I sent the email, I thought of her potentially losing her job, her inability to financially support her own growing family and their needs. I considered how it is portrayed how busy teachers are, the pay they receive, and how they spend so much of their time inputting in computers what they are teaching instead of spending the much-needed time to actually teach. It also occurred to me, they did not always have a choice that our small rural town has become an ever-growing and renewed community where poor and wealthy and in between reside, side by side, and their children all go to the same schools within that district, complete with diverse cultures and demands for all to have such accommodations considered. It did occur to me that because of all these accountabilities and accommodations left on their shoulders, two hundred and fifty students a day for one teacher’s workload, is nothing short of irrational for any one person to manage with great success.

Which only leaves me with one question:

Pardon me, but what the hell are you thinking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is mother’s day weekend and it is at this very moment I am choosing to hold down the couch, in spite of the countless things I must do today. It is raining nonstop outside. This is a good thing. Our little desert town surely needs it. What’s more, the sound of the rain and the blackened sky, seems to bring contentment out of my very core. Hence, it is 1:45 on a Saturday afternoon, and I have accomplished nothing. Yet at some point, “adulting” will call me back.

The elder son’s prom is today. I am not sure who has the right to claim their right to passage on this: He or I, but it is certainly a happy mommy moment. It is I he chose to assist him in picking out his tuxedo and the corsage for his prom date. It is also I, who talked him in to going when since the beginning of his high school career, he insistently refused. Then, a text from him came in one day. “So to make you happy, I am asking someone to the prom.”

I took a moment to take it all in and as not to sound overly excited and to avoid spooking him out of his decision, I texted him back with a cool sounding, “Okay, let me know how I can help out.” Meanwhile, on the other end, I was doing the happy dance at my desk at work. Of course, I will never tell him.

We have actually been allowed to meet this young lady. We’ve even been allowed to have her over for dinner a few times. AND, last night they accepted our invitation to take  them out to dinner. He has actually kept his room clean without prompting. We’ve observed him apologizing to her for his bed being unmade. He’s been…nice! To me! Who is this kid? Could this young lady be THE one? I find my husband and I simply looking at one another and shrugging with astonishment. I know this is adorable and cute and all, but this is clearly not our son. If this is his attempt to weird out his parents, it is working.

Still, the clock is ticking away till the time of tie adjustments, the fastening of cufflinks and of course tons of picture taking. For the sake of all the time and expense the lavish couple and their parents have taken in order to obtain such rights of passage in all our lives, I will hope for the rain to cease and return at a later time. And, I will do everything I can to avoid doing the happy dance in front of them. But no promises!

Love Always,

Viva

 

 

 

 

 

I started off alright. A typical day. I actually felt quite accomplished during my morning at work. Everyone I spoke to, seemed to reciprocate my help with gratitude and appreciation for my time and knowledge. I felt delighted at the positivity that was generating within the hustle and bustle of our office this morning. That was until…

The “other” supervisor in our office (one I am not directly under), decided to rampage with her frustrations at Lord only knows what. No sooner than snide comments flair and passive aggressive comments made, did the whole morale of our little office flicker into darkness. At first, I thought it was just me feeling the heaviness of the atmosphere. Alas, others commented with the same feelings I had. It amazed me how one individual could work so little to compromise the workings of a lovely day and generate a dark cloud so instantly.

I proceeded to continue to try and flow and let the chips fall where they may. I decided to head to the store during my lunch and buy some coffee and creamer to stock for our office. It had been some time since I pitched in. And honestly, I wanted to see some light in the now dark cover of our little office.

I came in to the kitchenette area to unload our treasure. I opened up the little fridge and made joking commentary at the stock load inside. This particular supervisor unloaded with seemingly snarky commentary which I can not seem to repeat. Not because it was terrible in nature or derogatory, only because my focus was her tone of disgust and not even the content. I don’t know where within me it came out or why, but I flat out stated she just needed to get over herself.

Shocked to my own surprise, one of my coworkers hugged me with crazy gratitude and thanked me. I was a bit puzzled at first. But then I understood: She too was exhausted from the immeasurable amount of insult and negativity she endured for so long and apparently never had the gumption to say. My blurting such disrespect, if you will, wasn’t for anyone else initially. I just had enough.

Presumably, one of her “minions” must have stated something to the effect of, “did you hear what she said?”, as when I began to walk by, she felt compelled to verbally notate, “I don’t take what is said personally.”

I couldn’t stop myself; “Well, I didn’t say it for you to take personally, it is meant professionally. And, as a supervisor, you lack professionalism.”

She snickered and smirked while her head cocked to the side, “What do you know about being a supervisor?” And there was her challenge to entertain her.

Oh, honey it was on!

I seemingly imitated her posture and with a raise of my eyebrows, trying to appear very wise to the subject, “Well, I can tell you I can only presume that as a supervisor, the goal would be to be proactive and maybe teach others how things should be done instead of complaining about it and behind their back! Hence, not reactive and critical! Therefore, you may give someone a clue as to what you expect.”

Silence. Pure, uncomfortable and uncertain silence. Not even a copier going or a phone ringing.

It killed me, but I made my point. And, I made sure my eye contact did not break first. It occurred to me what repercussions I may eventually have to face. Would I be written up? Or, would she wait like an Italian mafia and get me when I least expected it.

At this point, I do not know the answer. What I do know is I was able to say what I felt in my frustrated mind about this woman directly to her. It may not change her behavior, although my peace was made to myself and I made it apparent I was not a doormat. That was enough for me.

In a way today, I felt like the kid that stood up to the bully and became the hero for saying things others may have secretly wished they could say. Perhaps not. But I’d like to think so. Maybe this soothed her savage beast where it will hibernate into a deep slumber and never wake up until the end of her position.

As a subordinate, I felt it discerning to have to be in such a position to become so desperate to say that. But I am learning, when you are employed within a non-private sector of employment, the inner workings of grievances and justice alike can be quite difficult to get through. Ordering a pencil takes four signatures. I can only imagine a simple request to mediate a tiff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by an absolute favorite blogger and friend. The Adventures of a Scorned Woman, Vickiewhat. Although I have known this blogger for many years, it still amazes me of what happenings she comes up with in her writing and editing. Not because I ever felt her to be unable, NO, NO, NO! It is because I have read and listened to her content and say, “Damn, I never saw that coming”, or “Why didn’t I think of that?!” I love her outlook in not only her writing style but in her way of life. She is truly the only person I know that is consistently grateful for being grateful – through trials and tribulations…she remains Vickiewhat.

To the meant for great things, vickiewhat, I love you, I honor you, and I know you will soar BIGTIME! Thank you my dear, sweet friend.

The Liebster Award is a ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ nomination, which enables us to network with other bloggers!

The following are the questions, which vickiewhat provided for me to answer:

11 Questions for you

  1. Who is your favorite author? I have to say David Pelzer is my all-time favorite author. Once I read, “A Child Called It.” I couldn’t put it down and yearned for more. So I read all of his others. It is an autobiography of his in which the subject matter of child abuse is painstakingly sad, yet this man somehow finds a way to reflect on his childhood with an abundance of humor, carrying on with his life in finding the gratitude and self-actualization so many of us seek.
  1. How does your spouse/family/significant other feel about you blogging/writing? Quite frankly, he doesn’t understand it. He feels to put things out on the World Wide Web or social media sites in general is both leading to a waste of time and being too public. My response? I’m not hurting anyone or breaking any laws, so go watch golf.
  1. Name 3 things which are in arms reach? My dogs, this computer, my water.
  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Vested in my retirement plan and sobbing away as my youngest drives down the road to venture toward a life of his own with the last alive pets with him, while locking the door to our home and heading to the airport with my husband to travel to Australia in order to make me feel better from empty-nest syndrome. Oh, and while we’re there, I plan on visiting the Australia Zoo!
  1. What are you terrified of? Oh goodness, my children passing away in my lifetime. My failure and complete inability to quit smoking so that I can live a longer life in order to see my sons develop from the amazing individuals they are to the even more amazing men they will become – together with my husband. To never make amends that God above wants me to make. To never be comfortable in my own skin. To always feel guilt-ridden even when there is nothing to be guilty of. To be alone. To die without a great purpose or positive affluence.
  1. If you could have a meaningful conversation with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? My parents. I would like to tell them I love them, and that I know they did the best they could at the time, I forgive them, and I’m sorry. I would ask them what heaven is like. Why? Because I love them and I miss them. I would also ask for their forgiveness for all of my disrespect.
  1. What is your idea of a perfect day? Being clear minded, content, being a long time non-smoker. Having a family day that doesn’t result in sibling conflict or technology really.
  1. What random piece of advice would you give out? Do EVERYTHING in moderation. Too much or too little of anything is not good for you.
  1. What is your dream job? Being paid extraordinarily well where it is peaceful and productive!
  1. Who is your hero, and why? My husband. He is the yin to my yang. I am a firecracker and he is a turtle. He finds logic and calm in almost every potential situation in times where I am literately having a nervous breakdown. He quiets my over analytical mind and despite the fact he is not a literary extraordinaire, he has tons of common sense. (Sometimes too much)
  1. What do you like to do for fun? Do I have fun? That’s probably the self-disputing part of my life. I need a lot MORE fun! I love to karaoke or go to a dance club! Anything I can do to exert and express myself simultaneously…hiking, racing the quad. I’m not a risk taker although I do have hunting large game and sky diving on my bucket list! In truth, I’m boring. I do not believe in going out to clubs or bars without the hubby and he doesn’t necessarily enjoy clubbing or karaoke….but he does like darts!

Eleven facts about myself:

  1. I am working on a bucket list.
  2. If you’re kind, I will return that kindness ten-fold.
  3. I raise my children quite different from how I was raised.
  4. I love my job and my boss!
  5. I despise mean people, although appreciate good banter.
  6. I recently has a lumpectomy (yay, no cancer!).
  7. Game of Thrones is my favorite television guilty pleasure.
  8. I do not believe in “Best Friends”, although I am blessed with some pretty fabulous ones!
  9. I try and avoid confrontation because if I become angry, I either cry or say some things that can be regrettably sharp.
  10. I can become guilt-ridden easily.
  11. Of course, my children and my husband are my world!

Your job is to answer these questions in a blog post and spread the Lieb!

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this, since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

And That’s How It Goes!! Thank you so much for reading and following!!!!

Thank you vickiewhat, Sorry I took so darn long. See if you nominate me for anything ever again! (It was tons of fun!)

As it has been so long since I’ve posted anything here, I must again try and build some rapport with my blogger friends. It is at this time, I nominate those who have still chosen to follow and meet the criteria for this award. As always, thank you for reading!

XOXO, Vivalovealways

Okay fellow bloggers…I nominate any new blogger that would like to partake. And here are my 11 questions for you:

  1. What one thing in your life makes you happy?
  2. What is one thing that you have completely no tolerance for?
  3. What do you wish to accomplish when you write/blog?
  4. Besides writing, what other hobbies do you do that help you focus or relax?
  5. If you were to die tomorrow, how would you want to be remembered?
  6. What literary limitations do you utilize when on social media sites?
  7. Do you prefer to have a theme on your blog or write whatever? Why?
  8. What is one regret you have had lately?
  9. What is your idea of the perfect day?
  10. What is your overall personality like?
  11. What is your food weakness like no other?

I began a new job a little less than a year ago. I love what I do, really. Yet it’s a very caddy office. Period.

I’m not sure where to mesh because I don’t do caddy. It’s uncomfortable, even at the expense of others. There are several who will proclaim their camaraderie till death do them part, and then in the next breath, pull me to the side and discuss how much of a “backstabbing b****” that person is and just wants them to think they’re friends.

I just stand there. Astonished. And all I can tell myself is, “Wow”.

It’s chronic behavior in this office. I’m a nurturer and an organizer and I so want to fix it all. Okay, fine: I’d like to control all that nonsense. But if I could, how would one even begin?

If someone from another office within the same building asks in conversation, “What department do you work in?” I just want to lie because the typical response after I tell them is, “Oh, I’ve heard some awful things about that office.” I in turn, offer a crooked and meager glance which could be interpreted of actually wanting their sympathy. Oh, and I do.

If I could just plug-in to some smooth flowing jazz all day and type away at my computer, I would. Unfortunately, I have to go use the restroom, attend meetings, and talk to people about the job. So that’s a no-go.

My new outlook I’ve been trying to consistently establish is to ask myself what can I possibly learn from this? What, people are crazy? When I become their boss some day they’re all fired? I don’t know. I think that is the frustrating part. I just don’t know. How can the behavior of the office staff I work with, teach me? And why is it becoming a dreaded job for me? I love the work I do, I’ve just become almost combustible, full of anger at these people who work harder at stabbing one another than doing the actual work! Why does this concern me so much? I’m like a herding dog wanting to organize the frenzy and bite at their heels! ARRRRRRRRGGGGGH!

My husband is the type of guy where not much seems to affect him. He lives life with ease. I worry, he doesn’t. Don’t know how that works, but it does. I’m desperately trying to establish some of his outlook, and his persona.  I continuously tell myself, “not my circus, not my monkeys”. I also include, “it’s just a job” or “will it matter in 5 years”? Then, I get frustrated because if it were my children going through this, I’d have all the right comforting answers. Yet for me, nothing. His outlook fails me miserably…

Maybe my mom was right. Being a stupid adult is much harder. Dang it! And dang her for being right. I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to grow up!

Tomorrow it begins again like the insanity it is. I think I need some chocolate. Perhaps chocolate ice cream…with sprinkles too dag-nabbit!

My dear fellow bloggers…

Oh how I’ve missed you!

Basically, I’m just checking in to say hi all and offer an update on some happenings…
Life has been abundantly overwhelming and chaotic. No fun for Viva means I’ve been tired and cranky in which blog writing in such a mindset may be frowned upon (mainly by a future me).
To that end, I am now a full time working wife and mother once again. Not to sound overly pretentious, I think it may actually provide a successful and comfortable future. Well, at least that’s my hope.

Along with this sudden “success”, I am still picking up my boys from after school sports, assisting with homework, and making lunches while hubby cooks delectable meals for our family. The dinner table is busy discussing the events of the day with each family member whilst conducting discussions of who needs to see the optometrist or orthodontist and when to schedule it, and of course which parent can take them, etc.

Oldest son also has a driver’s permit in which I am the chosen parent to accompany him as I’ve been told I have more patience than his dad. Um, yeah.

Younger brother recently volunteered me for an extra credit baking project for a country I don’t even know where and told me the day before. Thank goodness the teacher stalks her emails and I was gladly given an extension. Needless to say, what seemed like hundreds of dollars and hours later, we cleaned up the mess just in time to turn around and start dinner. Oy!

Oh crap, I’ve got to finish the laundry.

Bye for now!

Viva 🙂

Wow, I wrote this over a year ago and never edited it to publish it. It is rather lengthy, although gave me quite the giggle. Not much has changed here. Quite simply, I hope you enjoy it and are able to relate in some crazy way – unedited and all. Enjoy!

I have often heard friends of mine complain about their teenage daughters. It is for some reasons I can understand; I was a teenage daughter once. Many moons ago. Chock full of drama and emotions even I, myself, could never could fully comprehend at that time. It wasn’t unlike me to go from 0 to complete bitch, snarling and foaming at the mouth. And yes, for that alone I am thankful for no daughters. However, it ain’t so pretty from this side of the fence here either people…

My teenage sons often institute different dilemmas but nonetheless, dilemmas. Let’s face it, they are “Weird Harold’s”. Ones who I am expected to raise into self-sufficient and successful men? With manners? Who some self respecting woman will fall in love with AND want to stay with? Are you kidding me? There’s barely anytime left!

I’ve known these people for 16 and 13 years. As their mother, I have made every attempt imaginable to teach and encourage application daily in order to penetrate through their thick skulls something as basic as proper toilet etiquette; thus a seemingly simple thing like lifting the seat to pee! They can’t even shut off the light after leaving the bathroom! Or any room.

Getting up for a potentially good urination in the middle of the night where either, A) you’re sitting in pee, or B) you fall in the toilet is highly probable. Unfortunately, the first option happens more often than the other. And, should you choose to address it, of course neither son “does that anymore.”
I don’t care what professional strength cleaner is out there, the smell of urine in their bathroom does not leave. These people are animals. Gross animals! I’d rather take my chances in a sani-hut at Burning Man on the last day, thank you.

If older brother would just keep his bedroom and the bathroom clean. I could ignore attitude adjustment issues or arguments of teenage logic. His bedroom has smells that seem to resonate what I could only compare to as smelly feet and armpit odor. My eyes literately burn and tear. I’d like to say all the tears are due to the smell, alas, not entirely. It’s also because of utter frustration and release in order to avoid throttling him out of existence. It’s enough to make you lose your breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. It’s not just him, it’s also his friends. And when they’re all hanging out in his room, I avoid that plague entirely. Did that once, not going back. It also appears as though both the atomic and nuclear bomb went off only 10 minutes after he “cleaned” it. Gathering an armful of cups and plates from his room to as far as the kitchen counter and upon request is not uncommon. And although he is quite an accomplished sportsman, apparently he stinks at basketball as his clothing never seems to make it into the laundry basket only a few inches away. I will say, aside from the stinky bathroom and bedroom, older brother does happen to spend more time primping in the bathroom than I do. He has acquired this need to have $20 hair wax in order to create a hairstyle that resembles something like Gumby. He wears braces and thankfully spends more than adequate time brushing his teeth. Where the stench comes from in his room, I don’t know. I know he owns deodorant and I’m asked frequently to buy it. So I presume he uses it. I could opt to search under the bed for it, although quite frankly, I’m terrified.

Like older brother, Lord forbid younger brother makes his clothing into the laundry basket also only inches away. And he has basketball experience under his belt! His room is otherwise cleaner and for reasons scientifically unknown; less odor free. However, he is one of those kids that changes clothes like every hour because he dropped an 1/8 of a teaspoon worth of water on it. Thus, leaving me chronic loads of laundry and tons of time spent wondering if in fact, I had even seen him wear the same said item of clothing. Little brother’s hygiene is less to be desired; in essence, he has none. He will try to convince you he’s brushed his teeth or he actually cleaned his entire body during his 30 second shower. When he was younger, he was the child who would insist on dressing himself and combing his own hair. He would come out of the bathroom or bedroom so proud of himself in spite of the fact he resembled Alfalfa (from “The Little Rascals”), with a suit a few sizes too small, and red Spiderman shoes that blinked whenever he walked. Too support this new found independence, as he walked out the door to the bus stop, I would lovingly kiss him goodbye, hold his chin where his beautiful blue eyes met mine and say, “Be sure to tell your teacher you dressed yourself today, okay? She will be ever so proud of you just like I am.” He would smile and say in his sweet little voice, “Okay mommy!” And off he’d go, blinking Spiderman shoes and all! To this day, his sense of fashion is not that much different. Only now, it’s the first wrinkled item pulled from a disorganized dresser drawer and jeans (must be dark blue and from Walmart), that still can withstand flooding because of his abnormal growth in height within the past 2 months.

Now little brother is full of pimples and zits, a voice deeper than older brother, feet resembling a clowns, and hair that appears as though he’s transforming into a Rastafarian boy in spite of the expensive product line used to tame his once silky, smooth, straight hair.

Both of them suffer with apparent intermittent memory issues. It appears the height of the issues presents itself during occasions of unloading the dishwasher, cleaning aforementioned rooms/bathroom, etc., yet for some reason, the issue quickly resolves itself when they hear a 5 minute song playing and sing along somehow knowing every exact word. And, of course, they forget to feed the animals when I ask, yet I don’t believe there to be a time in their teenage lives where they have forgotten to feed themselves. Every 15 minutes.

Oh heaven to Betsy…their appetites… Apparently the joke, “they must have hollow legs” is a true. Yet, I have not personally fact checked. I have come to firmly believe there is not enough food in this world to sustain them. Or, financing high enough to support this… this… scarfing addiction. Do they really need that much food? My husband and I go to at least 3 different stores to shop for deals to adhere to this thriving hunger. It takes a full day to do it. No sooner do we walk in the door with 2 armfuls each with just the first load, and these people are wide eyed and famished, circling around us like scavengers and ready to stake their claim. We barely get the food put away in the fridge and pantry, and it’s practically empty again.

Poor little Alejandro and Lupe in Bolivia and Nanomi in South Sudan could have fed themselves, their entire village, and the camera crew recording their poverty for over a year compared to the days worth of food my boys eat. World hunger is obviously no joke, yet I’m quite certain both my sons’ appetites and the monetary contributions we’ve spent on food items to satisfy their shameful hunger can not be justified any other way.

The saddest part, both of my sons are thin as a rail. I’m actually considering them being tested for tape worm because this can’t be normal!

Kidding aside, I am deeply in love with and very dedicated to these Weird Harold’s who are smelly, slobs, with appetites I’ve never seen before. I gave them life and invested a lot of years, so I guess I have to continue my quest in raising these people to be more civilized. Let me tell you though, once they’re married, no longer my issue. Sorry dudes. Can’t say I didn’t try!

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