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Ah, parenthood. . ..

It’s been 3 weeks since my 14-year-old Niece 2’s arrival, and I gotta say, it’s a whole new world in the Alexander household.  My younger sister’s sitting back, observing, and restraining her laughter at some of the new-to-me situations her kid’s bringing to my life.

So, what’s different with the arrival of Niece 2 since she flew in on a big jet from the South Pacific?  Go grab a drink and let me count the ways. . ..

1.  I’ve learned my life is not my own.  So far, there’s been cross-country training and core workout training. IMAG0737There’s her fall schedule and books to buy.  There’s a tour of her new school and angst over whether or not she’ll make friends.  There’s clothes shopping (who forgets to bring SOCKS but remembers a stand-up cardboard cut-out of Niall Horan?).

She’d also like to go to the pool a couple of times a week as well as take piano lessons.  Once school starts, I predict even more hauling her around.

Then there’s the laundry.  Good grief.  How could one more human being add two extra loads each week?  I’m beginning to think I should restrict the number of baths she can take each day.

IMAG0733Yeah, yeah. . .. those of you whose spawn were under your care from the beginning are rolling your eyes.  But, really, Hubby and I were a couple of DINKS (Double Income, No Kids) for the LONGEST time.  And when our then-18-year-old Niece arrived three years ago, we figured we lucked out since we got the experience of a sort-of offspring without the 3 a.m. feedings and diaper changes.  *Snort* (Have I got a few stories for you. . ..)

I’m sure some of you think we’re insane to have her sister move in, too.  I get to reserve judgment on that one, but you might be right.

2.  I’ve learned that when you’re around a teen, you gotta watch what you say like a hawk.  Or maybe just a parent.  Regardless, dirty jokes are now taboo in our home.  Do you have any idea how freakin’ hard that is?

Instructions given to Niece 2 need to be specific.  Another hard one for me to learn, because, really, “don’t do that” seems pretty self-explanatory.

3.  Justin Timberlake.  (Grrrr!)  His song “Mirrors” will soon be added to my list of songs-I-can’t-help-but-know-the-words-to-but-wish-I-didn’t.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it’s clear as this promise
That we’re making two reflections into one
Cause it’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

Yeeesh.  If I looked in the mirror and Hubby’s face stared back when he wasn’t in the room, I’d freak.  Just sayin’. . ..

Given her taste in music, I’m willing to bet there will be worse even more memorable songs.  Which scares me.

4.  There’s more whine to go with my wine.  Did you know a 14-year-old can sound a lot like a 4-year-old?  It’s true.  Niece 2 has this selectively used, high-pitched tone that makes me raise an eyebrow.  Especially when she’s asked to do something and she responds with, “It’s soooo hard.” Said like she’ll never figure out a math problem unless it involves a sale on a great pair of short shorts.  (Yeah, I’m working on that, too.)

Really, kiddo, use your words without the intonation.  I promise you’ll still be heard.

5.  There is, once again, a picky-eater in our home.  I swear if all I bought were bags of Oreo cookies and tubs of ice cream, Niece 2 would think she’d been sent off to some fantasy land full of. . . well. . . Oreo cookies and ice cream.

Breaking her of the sugar rushes won’t be easy.  It sure wasn’t easy with her sister, either.  Which makes me wonder if my sister — their mom — fed them that stuff for a reason.  (Please see 4 above.)

6.  For her there can never be too many accessories.  Particularly dangly stuff.  And shiny stuff.  And glittery stuff.  *Rolls eyes*  I can’t believe she keeps it all straight, tracking each piece like part of a prized collection.  Which now makes me wonder if there’s enough brain power for silly things like reading and math. . ..

7.  Drama queens can reside in a teenage body.  I know some of you are nodding your head in understanding.  Or sympathy.

Suffice it to say that my little drama queen hasn’t pulled the kind of stuff on me that she has on her mom.  Yet.  Maybe because, deep down, she knows her mom isn’t trying to “make my life miserable.”  (Insert a whine to get the full effect)  I, on the other hand, just might if she pushed it. . ..  Is that too harsh?

In all honesty, Hubby and I are happy that Niece 2 has moved in and added another dimension to our family.  It’s going to take some adjustment, but she’s bright and eager to learn (once we get past the whining), and her presence has broadened our perspective on life.  I just hope the boy-thing and my-friend-hates-me-my-life-is-over thing don’t pop up too soon or too often.

On the other hand, there could be a few stories that can come out of it, right?

-Melia

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