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parenting teens

“Warriors” Collage

Here is a link to one of Ethan’s works of art featured at the MCAD art sale this weekend. It is a collage constructed from thousands of old comics.

P.S.  #Two is doing brilliantly at college. He is as completely in his element as I’ve ever seen. I needn’t have spent all those years worrying when he forgot his homework. He is so on top of things now. Wow. Wow. Wow. Such a complete and total joy to see the kids you’ve raised spread their wings and fly. In fact, soar. I may have done lots of things imperfectly, but maybe, just maybe, I did a few things right in raising this one.

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Yep. I am now (unofficially) a grad school drop out. And why does the song “Beauty School Dropout” have to keep running through my head? It was always the moment in Grease where I really really could have used the fast forward button of a DVD player; I disliked that scene so much. And I didn’t even have the slow forwarding process of a VCR because I was watching it on TV, with commercial breaks. That is how old I am.  Perhaps this current in-head song track has something to do with the fact that my drop-out status coincides with my own hair-dye nightmare. I currently have purple hair because my former status as busy grad student, and busy mom, dealing with two boys now with two different chronic health conditions, and playing chauffeur to eighteen-year old who can no longer drive due to seizures that have yet to seize, did not allow time to get myself to any sort of proper salon. And being the queen of frugality (for own self, not my kids–no, my three-year old gets a $30.00 hair cut at a boutique kid salon that caters to the SPD child), I purchased a sort of purple-red color that was on clearance at my local food co-op, hoping it would look more red than purple in my hair. My hopes were deflated when Josh woke up from his nap and asked why I had purple hair. We then picked Ethan up at school, he looked at me and asked why I had decided to “go goth with the purple hair.” And it isn’t even well- distributed, with spatches of brown (and well, yes, some silver) showing through. This demonstrates that I cannot dye my hair when it is long as it is now; I can only manage a proper self-dye job when my hair is shoulder length or less. And, in any event, when I was in the shower rinsing the purple matter out of my hair, I realized that the dye, surely toxic even though supposedly “natural,” was running into ALL of my crevices.

Later that same day, Chris and I attended a Lucy Kaplansky concert–an anniversary surprise for him. During the concert, I had a huge chemical reaction, complete with brain fog, pounding head and burning throat. I knew it wasn’t good when I broke out in a rash all over my belly because the back side of the top button on my skinny jeans was touching my skin (I have a metal allergy that apparently worsens when when my system has been overexposed to toxins). I went to the bathroom during the concert, witnessed the swelling abdomen and the tell-tale patches of thrush popping up all over the back of my throat and groaned. I told myself that, from now on, I would embrace the natural color, silver and all.  Anyway, determined to make it through the concert, I hiked up my underwear well over my belly-button, and a good two inches over the upper edge of my jeans. Sexy. I know. Perhaps it was the make-shift appearance of “mom” underwear or the purple hair or my complete inability to focus on anything but the writing and research assignments awaiting me over the next two days of the weekend; well of course, except when Lucy sang Ten Year Night and This is Home and Mother’s Day; somehow it all made me realize that perhaps I just need to dive in and embrace my MOM-ness right now. Indeed, I remember Lucy talking about her own song-writer’s block after she adopted a little girl from China a few years back (probably 8 now—ahhh time flies; incidentally her most amazing album, The Red Thread, is about the adoption process). But once she fully entered into it and started writing songs from her mom-ness, she came out with these wonderful songs such as Manhattan Moon (“I used to travel in a straight line, now I travel on roads that wind”).

Last weekend, I still did my homework, writing and researching; preparing a joint-presentation with another more studious student; a more scholarly scholar. But the night before class, I heard the pitter patter of little feet calling me back home. It wasn’t Josh’s (or even Ethan’s) feet. It was my manuscript. The one that has been sitting untouched since I applied to grad school in early january. It called me back and let me know I had taken yet another detour to avoid it, asking me “when are you just going to sit down and write this mofo (manifesto of fettig’s ovulation?) instead of seeking (well-meaning) distraction after distraction? I am not saying that yoga training was such a distraction (I am not saying it wasn’t either), but perhaps the way I just dove into teaching, subbing for everyone, picking up class after class–maybe that was Distraction. I have wanted to be an author (which means the writer of a PUBLISHED book), since I was 10 or 11 years old. It’s time to fulfill the dream of that amazing pre-adolescent girl, so tapped into her intuition as she was. And I will. I will.

As far as grad school goes, even though I only get a partial reimbursement of my tuition, since I attended almost half of the classes before realizing that it wasn’t the thing for me at this juncture of my life, I at least got a two-for-one student discount on the Lucy Kaplansky tickets and THAT ALONE justifies my six-week stint as a grad student, don’t you think?

Speaking of movies and dropping out, while deciding whether to drop this class, I kept hearing Kevin Bacon’s character, Jake-aka Jefferson Briggs (and his friend, Davis, was played by Alec Baldwin–oh so handsome at that time in his life) , in She’s Having a Baby saying to his wife (played by Elizabeth McGovern–hasn’t changed a bit) “I didn’t learn anything in undergrad and I am learning even less in grad school!” He eventually dropped out and wrote his book, presumably “She’s Having a Baby.” Was this sort of an autobiographical sketch from John Hughes?

By the way, instead of paying someone to “fix” my hair, I am going to “act as if” my purple hair provides me with the “finishing-your-book” power (sorry, but I live in a world of super heroes–the little one plays with them, the big one draws them, and the husband–we’ll just say he knows an awful lot about them). I need a proper super hero name. Flame? Has that been taken? I’ll have to ask “the boys” tomorrow.

  1. Hannah wasn’t injured today on the way home from college when something struck her windshield and sent chards of glass her way. It could have been so much worse.
  2. All of my kids are under one roof tonight. Ahhh. Before Hannah left for college, I didn’t appreaciate just how lovely that is.
  3. There is a life-sized skeleton sitting in the chair next to me–Josh’s friend Seymour Skinless–and it doesn’t even feel all that strange or unusual anymore. I guess that Seymour and I are finally becoming friends or I’ve come to accept his presence in our life.
  4. The smell of onions, celery and wild rice hanging in the air.
  5. Hannah and the two friends she brought home from college for the weekend hanging out watching a movie in the next room.
  6. Josh finally allowing Chris to put him to bed even when I am at home tonight so that I can cook.
  7. Twinkling lights from the other room.
  8. Pumpkin candles made in Mason jars, purchased at a truck stop in Wisconsin.
  9. The Into the Wild (Instrumental version) soundtrack.
  10. Rare night out with Chris last week. Thanks to Karin for subbing for me as a mommy and Suan for subbing for me as a Yoga teacher.
  11. The Yin Yoga training I attended in early November.
  12. Teaching Yin Yoga, which is all about acceptance. I love teaching yin. How it came to be that I even learned about this awesome form of yoga, I know not. But I am so so grateful.
  13. Our new wool mattress topper. Oh, the healing powers of wool.
  14. Garlic and ginger, ginger and garlic.
  15. Tumeric. So healing for your body; such a lovely flavor, especially in my cauliflower soup.
  16. Finding a Sit’n’Spin at the Goodwill for $2.50–to help with Josh’s vestibular development (I had been waiting for about a year to find one used).
  17. Beautiful Thanksgiving flowers from Sydney and Timon (our house guests).
  18. Everyday, my family and I have an abundance of food.
  19. Fresh, potable water comes out of our tap; everyday I am still a little amazed by this gift.
  20. All of the beautiful friends that have blessed my life through the years.

I haven’t been a very faithful blogger lately. I’ve been teaching yoga at three different places and am back in another yoga training every Saturday until the end of February. I am pretty much either teaching yoga, studying yoga, or taking Josh to therapy/working with school district therapists. And, of course, taking Josh on some fun outings too. Lately, Josh is obsessed with skeletons, bones, human anatomy and dinosaur bones and so, we became members of the local Science Museum this fall; money well spent. I am posting a slide show of some of this fall’s events in lieu of a more thorough update, which will follow hopefully in the not too distant future. Ethan and I took a trip to San Diego this past September and Hannah and I went to Seattle in August. Josh can’t fly yet so Chris and I take turns at home with him. Chris and Ethan also visited Texas in September so that Ethan could visit SFA in Nacogdoches (Chris, did I spell that right?). Ethan is very interested in SFA at this point. Here are some late summer – early fall photos.

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Ethan and I were in San Diego this past weekend. Exactly four years ago, we vacationed in San Diego as well. Ethan was 13 then and now 17. If you have a thirteen year old boy, here’s the difference that four years makes . . .

Ethan in La Jolla, CA–September, 2008.

Ethan in La Jolla, CA–September, 2012.

Over the past weekend, I thought often about how much change four years brings in the life of a child and came up with these little tips to parents of all teens (all parents, really):

  1. IT GOES SO FAST! Savor the moments; one by one.
  2. BE FULLY PRESENT FOR YOUR TEENS (they are not mini adults and still need your guidance).
  3. LISTEN WHEN THEY WANT TO TALK–even if it is 2:00 am.
  4. DON’T PUT OFF TRIPS OR OTHER SHARED EXPERIENCES.

Who knows what the next 4 years will bring.

  1. For all of the sunshine days during this typically dark time of the year;
  2. Almost made it to the shortest day of the year; I love when the days begin to get longer again
  3. Joshy coloring himself all over with marker, showing a willingness to get messy for once (I guess OT is starting to pay off)
  4. Sitting on the daybed on the porch, surrounded by twinkling white lights; Josh busy playing trains
  5. The same old blue tea cup I’ve had for years. It will someday break, like its two predecessors, but for now, it makes such a lovely cup of tea. Ahhh.
  6. The woman who lived in this house before me, God bless her, she made the most wonderful roller type of blinds out of some great fabric choices. I didn’t have to do a thing and yet I have all of these great window treatments.
  7. View of neighbor’s towering tall pine tree across the street at dusk, sun just slipping past all of the branches
  8. Living in a neighborhood of dog owners who walk dogs daily providing a sense that all is right with the world
  9. We have these high rectangular (horizontally placed) windows over our vintage clawfoot bathtub, which should probably have window coverings but are so high, I don’t bother as I always enjoy seeing the sky through the windows; last night through the windows I saw white and purply black angels spreading their wings in the positive and negative space of sky and clouds
  10. Small breaks now coming, here and there, from the tension headache gripping me since sunrise today; like ice moving off a lake in spring
  11. Hannah introducing me to Bon Iver; I just cannot get this haunting music out of my head (sort of reminds me of how I felt about Tears for Fears The Hurting, back in the day)
  12. Hannah coming home, reading the directions on the juicer for me (she is much more about directions than I am) and finally “rocking” the juicer with lots of vegetables
  13. The enormous excitement Ethan had about getting a “full in” and potentially “double full in” on floor yesterday (gymnastics reference)
  14. Watching Josh and Hannah finally really connecting . . . it’s been a long time coming (didn’t really happen the year after she returned from Japan)
  15. Streetlights coming on at 4:50 pm
  16. Creating my first yoga playlist and using it for a few days; yesterday to teach Hannah–I am ready to go (acting as if)
  17. Going from some sort of aching torment about Ethan having a girlfriend (Molly) over the weekend, to a bit of measured acceptance yesterday and today
  18. Ethan talking to me openly about his girlfriend, even letting me know that he intended to kiss her on Saturday (which gave me an opportunity to talk to him about respecting women and all of that other scary stuff–wasn’t ready folks)
  19. Josh just telling me “I poop”– first, he’s been hiding from us and resisting getting his diaper changed for a month or so now and he used a pronoun, instead of calling himself “Gosh”
  20. Josh running so much more since we starting the brushing (sensory processing disorder therapy), even if it is coming with more tantrums and such (just his system reorganizing, his OT says)
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