Raising Teens, Tweens & Killer Dust Bunnies

Pink Hair, Don't Care, Unless You Happen To Be My Kid!

I have straight fine hair (and by fine I mean not like...duuuuude, you got some fine-looking hair... but more like...duuuuude, your hair is soooooo fine, can't do nothing wit-it!), so I keep it short and make sure to take many selfies on good hair days...you know...to document...on the Internet...forever and ever, amen.

"What color are we doing, today?!?"

Fortunately, my hairdresser has known me for a very long time and happens to be a good friend of mine.

"Oh, I don't know, surprise me!"

She is also a master colorist and a Ninja with a pair of razor shears. We have pretty much lived through every color on the Redkin spectrum, together.

"I have decided to dye my hair pink!"

Okay, I lied, except pink. Which is probably why our youngest daughter...who has dark hair and looks a lot more like me than any of my other kids...poor kid...decided it would be totally awesome to dye her ENTIRE head pink, because...warning, parental spoiler alert ahead...TEENAGE GIRLS DO NOT WANT TO LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THEIR MOTHERS!

"But you will need to bleach your entire head, you know that, right?!?"

She is also fourteen, which is that magical age in between "Read me a bedtime story!!!" and "Loooook at meeeeee, Mommy!!!" to "What?!?" and "WHAT?!?" because teens are super-inquisitive, like that.

"I already Face-booked Lori about it, she gave me several options and mentioned she may have to bleach it twice!"

**blink-blink**

"Aaaaaand, I'm okay with that!"

Which is Teenagerese for: If it helps her stand out from her older sisters and brother, even better!!!

"I have [birthday-graduation] money saved up!"

Aaaaand, she was saving THAT one for last. As the youngest of four, she's learned to watch...wait...and spring it on Mom when she's SUPER tired.

"So you don't EVEN have to pay for anything!"

Well played, indeed.

 

Before picture of our mom/daughter prettifying appointment, so excited! And a little scared, because...well...you'll see :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:02am PDT

Long story short (you're welcome!): A very large part of me admires her bravery, because being a freshman in high school is hard enough (personally, I'm still waiting to grow out of my awkward stage!) and then there's this teeniest, tiniest voice inside my overly-processed head that's all, "But does it really have to be your ENTIRE head...and pink?!?"

Add to the list of 7 words that you really don't expect or even want to hear, as a parent: Feel how hot my hair is getting!

 

It's getting real up here, you guys!

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:45pm PDT

But then the color started going on and...Holy Hannah Montana...that IS sooooo waaaaay pink!!!

 

This kid, tho! She is fearless :)

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:41pm PDT

The salon was very busy (because mah girls at Trio specialize in "I don't know, just make me look good, dammit!") and there were three distinctly different reactions:

1. My favorite: You are SO brave!

2. Okay, I like this one too: Wish I could do pink hair!

3. And the one that stopped me dead in my tracks, because it was not so much what was said, but the delivery: WOW, that's a different look, isn't it?!?

It was when my friend Lori began layering on the two colors (magenta and way more magenta), so I was actually on my way out to pick up my two oldest girls at work. The woman was getting her hair toweled off and I'm pretty sure the grimace pasted on her face wasn't from the toweling.

"I don't think you can get MUCH pinker than that, can you?!?"

Did I mention, I don't do well with passive aggressive asshat comments?!? My kid, on the other hand, took it in stride and without skipping a beat, said:

"I don't know, Lori is pretty good, I bet we can go even pinker!"

 

Now she wants to drive the car. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea... #PinkHairDontCare

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:46pm PDT

Did I mention, this kid is way smart?!? Well played, kid. Rock on with your pink self :)

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

They Say Humor Helps Your Heart, Mine Is Cry-Laughing!

It's been a week since I've been home from the hospital and, well, did you know that laughter lowers blood pressure? Good thing, too -- now that high blood pressure and I have a history, dammit.

Me and Hope Trying to Ignore the Needle in My Arm!
She fainted while visiting her grandfather in the hospital a few years ago, so we've never been allowed to even mention the word and refer to it as "The place where really sick people go".

Long story short (you're welcome!): I haven't been feeling very well for quite a while and waited until "Holy crap!" and "MY CHEST HURTS!" oh, and by the way "I CAN'T BREATH!" before getting myself some serious medical attention.

"Your blood pressure is 193 over 112!"

Because of my family history, I am very vigilant about getting a yearly physical and I've never had a history with high blood pressure, until now.

"And it's not going down, so we're going to have to admit you!"

[one beat, two beats]

"That's...[huff]...what...[puff]...she...[huff]...said!"

I don't remember much after my inner-twelve-year-old showed up, but my oldest daughter filled me in later:

  • I apologized to the nurse dude, while the poor guy tried to remove my shapeware-type camisole (because, OF COURSE!) and my industrial-strength bra (because, midlife girls need serious support, yo!)
  • He then removed my flats and I apologized for not freshening up my pedicure from 3 months ago
  • I apologized to the other nurse attempting to insert a port into my arm -- prematurely, since I did not end up biting her, I think
  • I apologized to the guy (or woman!) in the emergency bay next to me, because I pass gas when I get nervous...okay, fiiiiiiiiine...I fart, like a boss
  • I apologized to the nurse dude...and to anyone and everyone...FOR EVERYTHING...just in case I pass out...or something

Even longer story, short (seriously, you owe me a thank you note!): The next couple of days were scary...as all get out...and, well, let's just say I'm bruised from head to toe with all of the prodding...and the poking...HOWEVER...I'm not afraid of needles, any longer...okay, not as much...fiiiiiiiiine...my stomach still hurts!

"And then she kept apologizing for wearing her industrial-strength bra!!!!"

Because teenagers love embarrassing their parents, I think it's called payback.

"It's probably why she couldn't breath!"

And those were perhaps the BEST five minutes spent...just sitting around the kitchen table with my kids and Garth (not his real name)...cry-laughing...yeah, life was good.

Until!

"Well, now that we're all together, we have something to tell you and Daddy!"

My husband and I looked around the table and opted for the "shut up and listen" parenting strategy.

"We ALL pooled our money and rented you guys a studio apartment in Cape Cod to spend your 25th anniversary in August!"

To say that both our eyes went REAL WIDE would be an understatement AND THEN our middle girl (i.e. the spokeskid) looked me dead in the face.

"Sooooo, now YOU have something to look forward to!"

[one beat, two beats]

Garth (to me): "In other words...we can't get our deposit back...DON'T DIE!"

I gained back close to two years, that day!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Why I Won't Be Calling Dibs On The Bath Tub, Anytime Soon!

One of the many things I miss (sort of) from when our kids were littler (i.e. being able to shop for 3 girls and 1 boy, at the same time AND at the same store) is bath time and the kids loved bath time, too! Except for our youngest, Hope -- she hated taking showers, even more!

Photo

The girl hated, Hated, HAted, HATed, HATEd, I mean absolutely HATED taking showers!

She even faked taking a shower with a container of baby powder (aftermath pictured above), because her middle sister insisted that their father and I would NEVER...EVER...know the difference and, well, Hope has since learned to NOT listen to her sisters!

Except for yesterday, she was feeling...ummmm, you know...thirteen.

"You should take a nice soak in the bath tub, Hope!"

Long story short (you're welcome!): Things have been a bit stressful around here...okay, a lot...fiiiiiiiiiiine...try living with 5 other people (who happen to be mostly adults) and see how long it takes before someone HOLLERS dibs on the bathroom...with the bath tub!

"I'M TAKING A BATH!"

Two hours later and we're back to lowercase, again:

"Okay, I'm done now."

So, yeah, bath time has...once again...become our family's go to relaxation/survival technique.

"HEY! Wait a minute!"

Until it's MY turn to use the bathroom!

"Come get your dirty clothes from off of the floor!"

Teenagers are generally not very good multi-taskers.

"Aaaaaaand, you need to put ALL these candles back!"

Teenagers aren't very good at putting back stuff, either.

Displaying 20150318_184141.jpg

Every time I turned around...BOOM!!!...another candle.

"And I mean put them back where you got them from!"

Because I sure as heck-fart can't be expected to remember where they ALL go...and daaaaaang, but we got a lot of candles...AND DID YA REALLY HAVE TO USE ALL OF THESE CANDLES!!!

"Maybe YOU should take a bath next, Momma!"

[one beat, two beats]

"You know what? You're right? I'mma take a shower!"

Because I'm 5' 9"! Our bath tub isn't long enough for me to soak properly...without something sticking out of the water...but let's NOT open up THAT can of whoopass, m'kay?!?!

"GAAAAHHHHH, WHO USED UP ALL THE HOT WATER!!!!"

Don't you just WISH you could live here?!?!

[sound of water, dripping]

Stupid shower, dumbass water heater. 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Teenagers, You Goth To Love Them!

One of the BIGGEST fallacies you'll ever hear about parenting teenagers...IMHO, as a parent of teens, four times over, maneuvering through waves of hormonal and emotional angst for the last 9 years...both theirs AND mine...is the popular belief that parents of teens are entirely responsible for their children’s behavior.

That is SO not true! I am mostly responsible for my teens behavior, but not entirely.

Like adults, teenagers have their own agenda and many times (okay, mostly) it involves doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what their parents would do in almost any given situation and, well, it's a part of growing up.

Hope: I'm going to go with Holly and pick Heather up from work!

Unless you happen to be 13 years-old AND your 3 siblings happen to be older than you...well then...I am most assuredly responsible for her behavior...entirely.

Me: Hang on, let me see your face!

Something you may or may not know about me: I don't have a very good poker face and will undoubtedly be the MOST popular person at the Texas Holdem table. Also, the poorest.

Hope: What's wrong with it?!?

However, after 21 years of parenting, you think I would know better, right?!?

Me: Nothing, just stay in the car and try not to scare anyone!

Nope!!! Judging by the way her shoulders dropped as she walked away from my desk, not my best parental moment.

I am, however, a Professional Dork and totally comfortable with calling out myself for being an asshole -- except for this one time.

Holly: Was that REALLY necessary?!?

My oldest was more than happy to take on THAT job.

Me: I'm not happy about her wearing THAT much makeup.

Now this is where my middle girl would remind me about the time she went through her Goth stage and be all over me about how I was NOT helping my youngest with building her self-esteem...if my middle girl had been home when this all was going down, I mean...but Holly was kind enough to take on THAT job, as well.

Holly: Yes, but you're not helping her confidence any.

See what I mean?

Glen (shivering): EEESH!!!

My son was sitting right behind me, playing his video game and making it clear that he wanted NO part in this conversation, until the girls left the house.

Glen: She's sooooo pretty, why does she want to hide it behind ALL that make up?!?

And you know what? I started to brain-vomit ALL the stuff that SHOULD have been said to my 13 year-old:

  • It's hard to be the youngest
  • Feels sort of like getting lost on a crowded street
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Finding her own identity
  • Being comfortable in her own skin
  • And if that means wearing black lipstick...so be it

Except I was saying ALL of it to my 16yo son.

Me: And now she HATES me!

Aaaaaaaand, flashing my parental insecurities like a bead-hungry and slightly drunken reveler on Mardi Gras.

Glen: She doesn't hate you, she just doesn't like you very much, right now.

Did I mention my teens are WAY smarter than me?!? In fact, I think maybe I've learned more from my teens these last few years as their mom than...well...let's just say, they've been doing most of the adulting, lately.

Soooooo, I thought to myself...SELF!!!...what would teens do?!?...WWTD?!?...I texted her an apology.

Apology TEXTED!

Then I sat and stared at my phone. And sat. And stared some more. 

Me (siiiiiiiiiigh): She's not answering me.

Aaaaaaand, then my cell phone rang.

Hope: I just saw your text, Momma....

I'm not at liberty to share the rest of our conversation, but suffice it to say that I am forgiven and continue to remain an example of exactly how NOT to act...to my children AND other parents...you're welcome.

Hope Is A Little Goth
She's a little bit Goth, I'm a bit of a Dork...okay, A LOT! #nofilter

In fact, she agreed to a selfie and insisted that I blog the moment...you know...as a reminder...in case I forget what an ASSHOLE I can be.

Glen: Aaaaaaand, another tender moment brought to you by HORMONES!

Teenagers, you gotta love them...I mean...because GOTH!!!...but I love them! Seriously.

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Toiletexting: It's A Real Problem - At Our House, Anyways!

I started blogging in 2003 (with 4 kids home all under the age of 10) and I remember how most of my mom and dad friends (at the time) thought I was soooooooo crazy, because who has the time...really?!?

Christmas 2002
Photo of my Mom with her grandrugrats, taken circa 2003 B.P. (before picmonkey)

They were right, of course! Those were some crazy-busy daze, my friends! On the other hand, blogging was (and still is) cheaper than therapy.

And then Facebook happened (i.e. one of the top ten BIGGEST time sucks in internet history) and now we can ALL meet up for some coffee (or cawfee, if you're from Jersey), rather than wave at each other as we attempt to maneuver our way OUT of a school parking lot (I don't miss having to do school drop-offs and pick-ups anymore, NOT ONE BIT) and now we can discuss parent-type things...on the internet...in our pajamas...from the privacy of our own bathrooms and everything...YO!!!

Looking back on it now, I kind of...sort of...almost...miss those crazy-busy daze...but living in a house with 3 teens and 2 other adults can get really weird, too!!!

Most especially when one of them texts you...from the bathroom. 

Teens Toiletexting Exhibit A

I was warming up the car to take our youngest to school, because they haven't shoveled the bus stop (which is a whole OTHER blog post!) and, well, standing out in 13 degrees...with a wind chill of minus HOLY CRAP IT'S COLD...would make me have to go to the bathroom, too!

Teens Toiletexting Exhibit B

Moral of the Story: Teens are REAL DEEP sleepers and GAHDFUHBID one of them replaces the toilet paper!

By the time I got back inside the house, Holly was already awake and had gotten her baby sister some toilet paper. And I would have been MORE pissed about it...if it weren't for the fact that...after getting out of the car and going back into the cold...I also had to go to the bathroom...like REAL bad, too...YO!!!

[sound of crickets, sighing]

Dumbass polar vortex, stupid weak bladder!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

PLEASE Don't Call It A Sweet Sixteen Party!

My son is turning 16, next Friday. SIXTEEN!!! The difference between his turning 16, as opposed to my two oldest daughters having crossed that bridge...with very little pomp and circumstance, other than a group sleepover...YAY!!!...while my 13 year-old daughter is already clipping through fashion magazines for prom dress ideas...WOW!!!...is that the boy insists his turning 16 is really not ALL that big of a deal.

Gamer Glen

Guess what he wants for his birthday?!? G'head, I'll wait!!!

Glen: I have to tell you about something my friends and I did in school.

Aaaaaaaand, here's where being a mom of a teenager (for the last 9 years) comes in REAL handy.

Me: [blank stare]

Rather than jumping to conclusions (which is the only form of exercise I seem to be getting, these days) and imagining the worst possible things my son and his friends could have done, to want me to hear it from him first...because TEENAGERS...I've learned that's it's probably a real good idea to just...you know...shut up and listen.

Glen: This kid invited us to a party.

Still shutting up and listening.

Glen: He's a special needs kid, it's his birthday, but we're not sure how we feel about going.

This is the part where my brain nearly exploded and it took ALL of my strength (mental AND physical) to not want to revisit the last almost-sixteen years of parenting my son, because clearly I'm NOT doing it right.

Me: What do you mean, you're not sure how you feel about going?

My husband and I have been especially mindful of our childrens' need to be able to understand and acknowledge empathy, however, our parenting doesn't always necessarily translate well outside of the home...because PEER PRESSURE!

Glen: We want to go, but for the right reasons.

So I asked him for their reasons:

  • Birthday Boy visits everyone's lunch table, for a few minutes, every day.
  • On this particular day, he invited each of the kids to his birthday party.
  • He had a list of 21 kids (TWENTY ONE!) who accepted his invitation and said they would go...and then as soon as Birthday Boy left their table...they whispered to each other how...nah...they really weren't going.
  • Throughout the day, my son and his friends were asking around, you know, to see who was going (or not) to Birthday Boy's party.
  • None of them expressed any interest in actually going.

And the number one reason why my son and his two best friends actually went to Birthday Boy's party:

  • How would YOU feel on your birthday...if no one showed up...seriously?!?

Not including my son and his two best friends, four other kids were there and they ALL had a really great time -- especially, Birthday Boy!

Don't get me wrong. This is not a post about how I feel my son is better than your son (or daughter) and, quite frankly, the boy is especially gifted at driving his father and I bat-shit-crazy...more often than not...trust me.

Glen: You can blog about it, if you want to.

But because people are always so quick to point out how (or when) a kid should (or shouldn't) act...especially if he or she is not your kid...it's nice to hear whenever a teenager is NOT driving his parents bat-shit-crazy.

Glen: Because not ALL teenagers are like that.

Aaaaaaand, my son thought it was good to know -- me, too!

Glen: But...PLEASE...don't call it a sweet sixteen party!

Sometimes, these blog post titles just write themselves...YO!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Free labor!

I was pregnant with our oldest daughter when Garth (not his real name) and I bought our house, which makes for an awesome timeline...because our oldest daughter turned 21 in November...and now I don't have to worry about doing too much math, to figure out that we bought this house 21 years ago and...YES!!!...I'm an awesome planner, like that.

3 more kids later, not so much.

This house was supposed to be our starter home. What?!? Okay, fine. I guess it's safe to say that we're just really sloooooooooooow starters...ahem...aaaaaanyway, a modest 3 bedroom home would fit us perfectly.

3 more kids later, not so much.

Now that the kids are mostly grown and 2 are very nearly out of the house, there's really no reason for us to upgrade to a larger home. See how that ALL worked out?!? Besides, our 3 girls have grown used to sharing a bedroom for this long, what's another year or twenty, right?!?

Note to our girls, if any of you are reading this post right now: that was totally a rhetorical question.

Anyway, here's the really, really, best...I mean like totally AWESOME...part of having ALL 4 kids STILL living at home:

Day 2 All Hands on Deck!
It's 38 degrees and sunny out, ALL HANDS ON DECK!

FREE LABOR, enough said! Oh, and if you're wondering where kidlet #4 is?

Hope likes to organize - she gets it from her Dad!
Hope likes to organize stuff, she gets it from her Dad!

I've put her organizational skills to good use -- she's already gone through the ENORMOUS stack of filing that's been piling up since I don't remember when and is waiting for permission to shred!

The Christmas tree, on the other hand, will most likely stay up until around sometime in February...because I'm also easy-breezy, like that.

©2003 - 2015 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything! Also, I'm attempting to blog EVERY DAY in 2015, I hope it lasts! #TFH365

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.