Look at My Kid

05.9.13

No, really. Look at her. Both of my kids are hypermobile. Some people call it double jointed. It’s a good thing to have for sports, Jane can pull her arm back a little further than most kids so she gets more momentum when she’s hitting the ball. Alexander can do wacky stuff with his elbows when he’s throwing a baseball and then there are the parlor tricks when they both just start wrapping their bodies into odd shapes solely to creep me out. Lucky me.

Yesterday I pulled out the camera for Jane’s volleyball match and was able to snap a shot of her hypermobile arm in action. This is why I make her do plank every day. Those are some unstable joints.

volleyball double jointed

Dinner With the Pope in Hell

06.28.12

I love Phoenix in the summertime. 110 degrees… what arthritis. I’m running up and down stairs here just for fun.

Volleyball is disastrous in ways I really can’t begin to explain. The girls are playing horribly, their coach showed up two hours late after sleeping through an alarm clock, numerous phone calls and her assistant coach pounding on her door. She then proceeded to melt down when the girls didn’t play well. The owner of the club isn’t responding to parents anymore and to say I’m dissatisfied is a gross understatement.

I was talking to my co-chaperone about how I wished the club was a little different (you know… like with responsible coaches and all) and she told me that sometimes her friends tell her that they’re liberal Catholics and they wish there would be a more liberal Pope at which point she tells them that what they need is a new religion.

So we went to dinner with the Pope, two coaches and eleven 13 year old girls.

 

I’m not sure how I’ll deal with the volleyball debacle. I’m finding that some conversations aren’t worth having, some relationships are so fouled that the only option is to walk away.

The girls will never know how livid the parents are. We won’t ruin the season for them but part of me wants to tell my daughter, “That lady… that’s who I don’t want you to grow up to be.”

She Just Wasn’t My Dog but Jane is 100% My Daughter

06.27.12

canal in tempe arizona near aunt cheladas

Today was the first day of actual volleyball (don’t even ask me why I had to leave my house before dawn on Monday) so we scheduled a dinner on the hotel property. We thought driving the kids around Tempe might be a little bit much.

When you walk from The Grand to Aunt Cheladas (could I make that name up?) there’s a golf course to cross and then a tiny bridge over a manmade canal. The girls were walking ahead of me and I was hanging back to have a much needed phone call with my husband (whom I am officially missing terribly) when I noticed my daughter veering off from the path to the restaurant and running next to the canal.

“There’s a dog in the river!” She was upset and running alongside it. The dog was paddling and being taken downstream. As Jane was running and sweet talking the dog would turn toward her and try to climb the concrete embankment and just as quickly fall back in. She had a square head like a hound dog or a Catahoula Cur but her torso was spotted like an Australian Shepherd. The girls thought she looked very thin and I thought she looked strong and lean like a hunting dog ought to.

I sent a half dozen girls back to join the others at the restaurant while Jane and I followed the dog downstream. There was a dam of sorts, like a screen meant to gather trash perhaps, and the dog was able to climb it and pull herself out of the river without injuring herself.

She was magnificent and afraid. She was as large as any Catahoula I’d ever seen and I thought I’d pegged her breed until I saw her tail. It was thick and long like a raccoon, soaking wet it was thicker than her legs.

She shook herself off and then ran off toward the highway where she finally settled down in the dirt and watched the cars go by.

Jane was convinced there was another dog in the tunnel. I offered to call 911 knowing full well there was no other dog and if there was we couldn’t possibly save it. I called fake 911 but accidentally dialed 911 and promptly hung up.

Remarkably someone from the Maricopa county 911 system called me back. I explained the dog dilemma and they put me through to a phone tree for animal control. I hung up.

I convinced Jane to go join her group at Aunt Cheladas and we both walked back there feeling horrible about the giant dog at the side of the road. She sat with her friends and I sat with the moms and when I recounted the entire experience to the other chaperone I ended the very short story with, “and I’m not sure if she’s my dog.”

“What would you do if she is your dog?” My co-chaperone asked.

“I suppose I’d ditch the plane tickets, rent a car and drive the three of us home.”

I left the restaurant through the front door and walked down the Arizona highway where my maybe dog was still resting. When I got close to her I whistled a bit and watched for her for any shows of aggression. I got to within 20 feet of her and she leapt to her feet and began walking across eight lanes of traffic. My heart raced and I screamed while cars braked to avoid her, she galloped past them taller than I’d imagined and easily visible to sedan and SUV drivers alike.

She wasn’t my dog and I tried to not cry but still a tear escaped.

I turned to walk back to the restaurant and looked on in horror as I saw my daughter standing next to the canal watching me and the dog who wasn’t mine.

Chaperoning is for Suckers

06.25.12

This morning I was up at 6 so that Jane and I could get to the local high school by 7.30. Buses pulled out at 8 and we arrived in Blythe midday and then Phoenix, Arizona mid afternoon. Blythe was predicably disgusting with men sitting on milk crates rolling joints and drinking from brown paper bags while we decided which fast food restaurant we’d poison ourselves at.

We arrived at the hotel in the hottest part of the day, 119 degrees to be exact. We had four busloads of volleyball girls disembarking and not a bellman in sight. The hotel rooms are filthy and sitting her on the bed I feel like I’m on a clean island and I’m afraid to step on the floor barefoot since I’ve moved chairs and found potato chips and dirty tissues under them. I’ve scrubbed and dusted and thrown out no smoking signs, clearly they are meaningless as the room smells like a cigarette.

I’ve been to WalMart and I cannot believe the prices or the sadness that permeates that store. It’s the size of of a city and filled to the brim with things that we shouldn’t want and definitely don’t need.

I’m driving a Chevy 15 passenger van and although it’s a 2012 model it has over 20,000 miles on it. I hope that the air conditioning holds out on us and I really hope that I’m able to not crash into people.

The girls are a delight. They are sweet and enthusiastic, they are polite and lovable. Granted, this is day one.

Mr. G has called to find out where the dog leash is, when we’re coming home, if Alexander’s friend Steve wants to sleep over and he wants to know if the housekeeper is coming. I’m not a great communicator with him. These things probably should have been in a note, but we have text messages and I like hearing his voice when he calls.

Should I survive this trip there will be wonderful tales to tell.

 

It’s 10pm. Where is Your Child’s Cell Phone?

05.10.12

 

In an effort to make my teenage daughter hate me (because really, what other motive could I have?). I gave Jane two options regarding her cell phone at night.

Option 1: She can leave her cell phone plugged in downstairs

Option 2: I can add back parental controls and after 10pm she will only be able to call or text me, her grandparents and 9-1-1.

There is no option 3.

We had tears and threats. I wasn’t spoken to for two solid hours. If you’ve ever met Jane you’d know how meaningful silence is. This is a child who needs to communicate to feel alive.

“It’s my phone.” She wailed, “You treat me like a child. No one else’s parents do this.”

And I was horrified. “They don’t? Well they should.”

I went on to explain to her that there were two scenarios (two is my favorite number in this discussion). The scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1: The other kids do have to give up their cell phones at night but don’t want to talk about it because they’re embarassed.

Scenario 2: The other kids’ parents are making a mistake.

There is no scenario 3.

With a not fully developed frontal lobe teens are notoriously poor decision makers. Add a little sleepiness to the mix and there’s just no good reason to allow a cell phone into the bedroom at night. There’s the obvious nudity issue, but there’s also something a little less terrifying that leaves a big mark on their lives. Sleeplessness.

Adults who sleep with the phone by the bed suffer from sleep deprivation. Our kids hardly get enough time to sleep with school starting so early in the morning, why give up an extra hour (or more) at night?

Jane doesn’t seem to know yet that I’m chaperoning her volleyball team for five days in June. I’ve already let some of the parents know that my plan is to have all the cell phones in the adult room at night. I’m pretty sure it’ll go over like a lead balloon but unless someone else wants to take up the chaperoning baton it’s my rules.

I can’t wait to have a dozen 13 year old girls not speaking to me. I can almost imagine the silence.