Friday, May 27, 2016

The challenges of parenting a teenager (aka, I am the Fun Crusher.)

Elli and I got in a huge fight the other night. It ended with her calling me the "Fun Crusher."

It was like a punch in the gut.

No one ever wants to be called a fun crusher.


I basically told her she couldn't do something - which apparently all her friends were doing and it set off a fight like we've never had.

She's 14. Completely independent with an incredibly strong will like most teenagers.

Here's the thing. She's a really good kid with a good head on her shoulders. She has great judgement which is why she sent me a text asking permission to do something.

Her friends did not do that with their parents.

They took the risk.

I'm not sure if Elli was really going to ask permission. Or if my text to her asking when she would be home prompted her to ask permission. I'll never know.

I know you're wondering what happened. Basically, Elli wanted to jump in the high school pool (which was closed) with all her clothes on with her friends. They climbed the fence to get in. She sent me a text asking permission. Which I denied. Which started the whole fun crusher thing.

All I know is that it was 9pm on a school night and I didn't want her in the pool (which was closed) with all her clothes on.

I guess I am the fun crusher.

"What's the big deal? It's just clothes and water. Who cares? Why do you care? All my friends are in the pool having fun. You're no fun. You ruin everything. You never let me have fun. You are the fun crusher."

Geez. Being the fun crusher really bites.

She was upset. Big ole tears. Slamming doors. Hatred for me in her eyes.

I tried explaining myself. Why I pulled "the parent" card.

She didn't care.

As the evening went on I started to doubt my decision and the way I handled the whole situation. The more she argued the more I fought back and got defensive.

I wish I had read this article The Misguided Desire of Wanting our Kids to Be Happy. I totally would have put myself in a "Parent Time Out" for a few minutes before debating with her.

I still feel guilty about how it all went down. And now I'm a little worried if she is going to be like her friends and do something they know is not right - and ask for forgiveness later. Which is what most teenage kids do.

These are the things the Fun Crusher worries about.

Elli has already moved on. She sent me this text the next day: srry for calling u a fun crusher.

And then asked us to buy her tickets for the Memorial Day carnival.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

How strong is your will power?

by Kris Mulkey

Don and I were watching tv the other night when he looked at me and said, "Please stop making cookies. Why did you start making cookies again anyway?" You could tell he was really struggling with keeping his hand out of the cookie jar. Or in our case, the Ziplock bag of home-made sugar cookies in the freezer.

" be nice. Because you like cookies." I said, kind of snickering. Which is mean really. I know he loves cookies and has trouble eating just one. So really, he's right. Why do I taunt him. But then again, where is his will power? Why can't he eat just one?

His will power to stop after one is non-existent when it comes to cookies and other sweet treats.

I can stop. I don't need to eat cookie after cookie. In fact I can go without cookies all together. I know they are in the freezer. But they are not calling me to eat them.

When I was working with Jump Start on the diet I did have sugar cravings a lot. Which is unusual for me because I usually crave salty snacks.

The dietitian I was working with told me that you should never crave anything. If you are craving food then your diet isn't balanced. I really found this to be true. When I followed the rules I didn't have those crazy cravings.

But following the rules is really hard. And keeping your hand out of the cookie jar is even harder - especially when you're married to a meanie like me. I guess!

What are your tricks to control your cravings?

Here's the recipe in case you want to make some cookies. I know. I'm an enabler. I can't help it.

Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 t. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beating thoroughly. Sift flour then measure. Add salt and sift flour again. Add to creamed mixture, mixing only enough to combine ingredients. Taking a softball sized ball of dough roll out on floured board or on the counter to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Or, just scoop and place on a cookie sheet like I did. Press with a glass (buttered and dipped in sugar.) and decorate with sprinkles.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use a silpat.) Decorate with colored sugar or nonpareils. Bake 375 degree for 8-10 minutes. or until just brown on the edges. Cool on racks. Store in an air tight tin.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Our kids don't think like us

by Kris Mulkey

This past weekend I was trying to get Elli to understand something and she said "Mom, stop. I don't think like you."

It literally silenced me. I stood in her doorway looking at her and thought, you're right. You don't think like me. That's why you have not opened the spreadsheet I put together for you which will help you get your fundraising effort organized.

You're creative and a free spirit. Most of the time I understand you. But today I don't. You are a complete alien to me.

Why did I think she would want a spreadsheet? Why have I been banging my head against the wall trying to get her to understand my point of view.

She doesn't care.

She wants to figure it out on her own. Her way. Which of course in my opinion is all wrong. But then again. I'm not 14. I'm the mother of a very smart "I know everything." 14 year old. Just like I was at one time.

So how do we communicate with these alien beings? How do I get her to realize how hard it will be to raise $4,500 for an International Relief Mission trip to Fiji which she wants to go on this summer.

She made this announcement to me last Thursday night after I picked her up from dance. She was talking so fast with excitement that she could barely contain herself. She told me she has always wanted to help people in another country who have been affected by tragedy. Of course this was news to me. I've never heard her say this. Ever.
But, ok. I liked that she wanted to do something charitable.

"So my friend Sienna and I are going to FIJI for two weeks to help the people of FIJI!!"


Uh, what? FIJI? Was there a disaster in FIJI that we missed.

"Daddy wants to go to FIJI. Can he go to? Do the people of FIJI need help?" I asked.

"Mom, I'm serious. My friend Grace went on a trip last year to help the elephants." she said.

"The elephants in FIJI?

"No. They were somewhere else. We're going to FIJI."

"Ok..........She probably just shoveled Elephant dung the whole time." I said. "You won't even pick up the dog poop."

"Elephants just eat hay so their poop is less stinky."

I just started laughing.

"Elli, their poop is the size of our dogs!" I couldn't help myself. Who is she kidding here?

"Well, we're going to FIJI. So it won't matter." she replied.

"Ok. You have to raise the money. Dad and I aren't funding your trip."

"It will probably be around three thousand dollars." I told her. Only I was wrong. It's actually closer to $4,500.

I am officially the fun buster.

There was silence in the car.

I've done tons of fundraising in my life so I started thinking of things she could do to raise money.

I put it all in a spreadsheet so I could see exactly how many babysitting jobs, car washes, pizza parties, and donations from friends and family it would take to get her there. And then I emailed it to her. I really thought it was the best way for her to understand just how hard this was going to be.

I kept bugging her to see if she read the spreadsheet I sent her. And that's when she basically told me to back off  and said "Mom, stop. I don't think like you."


She seems to have it all figured out. She's very convincing when giving her sales pitch. Of course she doesn't completely understand what she'll be doing in FIJI. All we know is that it's the cheapest trip and the shortest plane ride from California. We'll get to the details eventually. I'm sure.

So there you go.

My little alien is raising $4,500 for a trip to help the people of FIJI.

And I don't know shit.

I'm sure I'll be hitting you up for a donation soon.


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