What to do when your TEENAGER sneaks out at night

Emily is 18.  I kept her back a grade way back in grade school when her dyslexia and the school’s inability to help her made it necessary.  I freely admit she could pack a bag and move out, but I asked her to stay at home her senior year to have some stability, get some sleep, and keep up her grades.  She agreed.  She has a new boyfriend and she spends most of every weekend at his house.  I don’t ask.

Then he got an after school job until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  I started finding a note in the kitchen every morning “I went out to breakfast before school with Jake.”  The first day it seemed normal enough, but on the third day I began to question this.  It was her younger sister who pointed out that she might be sneaking out when he gets off work and staying at his house.

Information is gold.  How could I use this to my advantage. I didn’t want her to stop working so hard to sneak out.  It took some effort to get out of the creaky house, down the driveway, past the Grandparents’ house.

On the third morning I called her before school and she somehow answered the phone without knowing she had so I listened, as any mom would, for half an hour before she discovered it was on and turned it off.  I heard “Oh, it’s really nice outside” as she opened the door of his house and looked out for the first time.  Confirmation that we were right.

So I came up with a plan:

Part A:  Sabotage.  Hide shows.  Vaseline doorknobs.  Marker doorknobs.  Hide backpack.  Stay up late watching movies.

Part B:  Pile on affirmations of being such a good daughter, being so honest and respectful.  Lay it on thick.  Make her lie more.  Make her feel guilty.

It’s really too bad she figured it out in 2 days.  I was having such a good time.

Even if she was jumping off the deck instead of using the doors.

Communication Problems in Marriage: Is He Tuning me out or is it Something Else

I’ve struggled for 4 years now communicating with my husband.  At first I blamed his slow processing speed for the blank stares I would get after I said something and the seemingly senseless comments he would make back.  It was hard to figure out what was going on.  And why it would make me so crazy mad.  At times I would stop telling him things just to avoid the reaction.  It seems to go through cycles of good, then falling apart, and then absolutely maddening.  It’s difficult to explain to someone else what happens when I talk to him.  I end up sounding like a controlling person.  Finally I started running our dialogue past my best friend to see what she thought.  It became clear to me that this was a basic logic problem.  Let me show you:

Info we both already know:  I have a physical therapy appointment in the afternoon and he has to be at work at 5.

Me:  I’m going down to pick up Gina after school and bring her home so she can watch the babies.

Him:  So you’ll be here before I go to work.

Me:  Why would I bother to go to town to bring Gina back to watch the babies if I’m going to be here before you go to work?

That’s the kind of conversation we have a couple of times a day about something important that I’m telling him.  It seems like he’s completely lost and I don’t want to take the time to catch him up and I don’t feel like I should have to.

Like today:  Haley called and asked if someone could bring the babies down to the park in town so she can trick-or-treat with them.  He knows I have to take Gina to a doctor appointment.

Me:  Here’s the plan for this afternoon.  Meet Haley at the park at 4:00 to trick or treat.

Him:  So she’ll already have the babies with her.

Me:  Why would I send you to the park if she already has the babies?  Did I say she did?

It’s confusing and twisted and if he was abusive I would say it was damn near crazy making.  My friend says he might be tuning me out.  Her boyfriend tunes her out.  He’ll change the subject and talk over her while she’s finishing what she’s saying.

I took a LOGIC class once and it seems to me that he doesn’t have a grasp on the assumptions that are behind my statements.  Here’s the logic rule that seems to fit:

  • One statement implies a second statement if and only if it is not possible that the first statement is true and the second statement is false.

In other words, a statement P implies a statement Q when and only when it is the case that if P is true then Q is true. For example, in the following case, the first sentence implies the second:

  1. Sam is 33 years old.
  2. Sam is older than 21.

Given these two statements, my husband would be most likely to say:

“So Sam can’t drink in bars.”  He would either not be able to pull up the assumed information that the drinking age is 21 or maybe my friend is right and he tuned out what I was talking about and just threw something out there to make it look like he was paying attention.

He takes an assumption and instead of asking if it’s true he will say the opposite, false, statement.  If I said Sam and I are going out for a drink, he would say “So Sam is a teenager.”

Not that our conversations are as simple as the Sam thing.  They are a whole lot more confusing than that.  Which is why it took me forever to figure out why he was making me so angry.  And I can’t guess as to which assumption he’ll screw up.  I tried this morning with the Halloween thing.  I planned it out ahead of time.

Me:  Here’s the plan.  You’re meeting Haley at 4:00 in the park for trick-or-treating.

I guessed that he would either say

  • So you’re meeting me there with the boys.
  • You want me to stay in town and meet you there.

If it was as simple as giving him ALL the information to clear up any confusion there is no way I can do that as I can’t guess which implied true statement he will switch around.

I don’t have a solution to this yet, other than recording conversations.  I’m think a white board to map out true statements and what can be implied from them might work.  It sounds bitchy.  But I don’t know how someone doesn’t learn this.

 

What to do if you have food stuck in your teeth at a restaurant.

I was out last night . . .  Ooooooo, I know surprising, with my daughter and after some chips and a drink she told me I had something stuck in my teeth.  I grabbed her for companionship and went to the bathroom.  There was nothing around sturdy enough to floss with so I yanked a thread out of the bottom hem of my shirt and used that.

She was aghast and full of pride at the same time.  I don’t quite get it.  I do what I have to do.

More about TMJ and that funny fuzzy head feeling

This is a new phase in my life.  My splint is like a really sturdy retainer on the bottom that makes me lisp.  They said it would take some time to speak normally, but it’s been 2 months and I have a lisp still.  Sometimes I walk with a limp as well because of that old hip injury.  Yup, that’s me limping and lisping along.  And I thought the 40’s would be SEXY and I would have it all together.

But I do get a free massage twice a week while they’re trying to get all the muscles in my head and neck to relax.  She said this work was like peeling an onion.  While I am happy to peel that onion I think that once it’s peeled and I’m sent home I’ll just twist right up again.

I haven’t had the funny head feeling in 7 weeks.  I can think!  Someone can be looking for the still packed box of light bulbs and I can say that it’s in the right side of the garage in a brown Huggies babywipes box.  I’m back!

What I thought was perimenopause or my thyroid or some weird monster inside me was TMJ Disorder

If you look back at my post from March I was having all kinds of weird symptoms:

  • vertigo
  • feeling like the floor was squishy
  • sinus pain
  • ear buzzing/plugged for a year and a half
  • constantly feeling like an ear infection
  • teeth aching
  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • buzzing in head
  • feeling like passing out on my face
  • panic caused by above symptoms

I went to six doctors including an ENT and emergency room visits.  The ENT told me to chew gum to make my tubes open.  The ER docs looked at me like I was crazy and did an MRI which was negative and drugged me up so much that of course I FELT BETTER.

It wasn’t until my jaw ached that I thought maybe it was my JAW.  I didn’t have popping or cracking or pain for a year and a half.  So I made an appointment with the TMJ expert in Vermont who took xrays of my jaw joints.  Both sides pop completely out of the pocket every single time I open my mouth.  The little hill on that side of the pocket is really shallow for me and so the sliding was smooth, without popping or pain.

Then he showed me how the muscles in the jaw are attached all along the sides of the head up to the top of the skull.  And how there’s a small muscle in the ear that keeps the ear drum from popping at very loud noises.  And this little lever is also attached to the jaw so that it might be vibrating against the ear drum all the time.  I got a jaw splint from him.  The most helpful thing thought has been the physical therapy.  They’ve worked on all the muscles that got knotted up from my jaw popping out, down through my shoulders and into my back.  There are also knots above my left ear.  Imagine that?

TMJ disorder mostly affects women between 30 and 40.  I imagine we clench our jaws quite often.  I clench mine when it’s open!  And if I feel the spot on my sides when my jaw should move without coming out, I can feel it slide past where it should.

I wonder how many people have this problem.  Oh, and insurance covered the visit and the splint and xrays.

My Oldest Child found a cure for LICE and joined the BLUE MAN GROUP.

MOM!  I HAVE LICE AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Did I shake my head, roll my eyes, give a tragic laugh?  I won’t say what I did because I’m still in the running for Mother of the Year.  The poor little 19 year old day care worker is accident prone and was voted most likely to be struck by lightening.  Lice was not so shocking given that some of the day care kids had been sent home with it two weeks before.  Another day in the life of Haley.

I had just gotten out of an hour long massage and was enjoying how my shoulders were not hunched up around my ears and how my jaw hung low instead of clenching.  Now was not the time to talk about lice.

I called her when I got home as I was walking next door to get the babies.  Go buy some lice treatment Girl.

I have no money MOM.

The last thing I’m going to do is give her more money.  I’ve given her money for a car after parts of hers rusted off.  I’ve given her clothesline, socks from my underwear drawers, my shoes, maternity stretchy pants, car repairs, more car repairs, a laptop.  Right now I’m poorer than she is.  I should ask her for gas money.

I had to feed two hungry babies so I told her to figure it out.  Just two days ago she told me I wasn’t her family and that she was never speaking to me again.

Next thing I know she’s on the lawn.

YOU CAN’T COME IN MY HOUSE.  DON’T TOUCH THE CAT.  CAN CATS GET LICE?  STAY RIGHT THERE.

I always have tea tree oil and I’m pretty sure it can cure anything so I did a quick google search and poured some into a baby food jar and gave it to her along with instructions.  Seemed pretty easy.

Next thing I know she’s at the door again with what looks like a shirt wrapped around her head and blue dripping behind her ears and down her neck.  She doesn’t smell like tea tree oil.

Can I come in and use a hair dryer?  My boss called and I have to go to work.

DID YOU USE THE TEA TREE OIL?

Yes, I did. Can I dry my hair?

YOU CAN’T COME IN MY HOUSE.  I handed the hair dryer out without opening the door farther than I had to.

She went to look for an outlet outside and came back.

I didn’t realize I’d have to dry my hair in a BUSH, MOM.

I sent her around to the basement.  Lice can’t survive alone in a basement, can they?

A couple of minutes later I looked out the window to see her headed to her car.  ALL of her hair was blue.  Her skin was dyed blue down her neck and below her collar.

That’s my child.  She takes a small disaster, asks for help, ignores the instructions, and makes a bigger BLUER disaster out of it.  In a few days she’ll realize she should have just done what I told her to do in the first place.  And I will still be shaking my head in wonder, with my shoulders hunched up to my ears and my jaw clenched.

Spiders in the Woods

I took Jude for a walk in the woods today.  Our woods.  It’s hard to think like that sometimes.  But now the woods are ours.  I showed him how to use a long stick to wave in front of you while you walk to knock all the spiders down that had swung across the road and make a home between the trees and right in front of your face.  GAH.  When I think about being a kid and all the times I would run around without looking and with my mouth open, I wonder how many spiders I’ve swallowed or had in my hair.  I miss the days when I was free of spider anxiety.  The days when I would look under logs to see what was there.  The days of wandering through tall hay or weeds.

It all ended about 10 years ago when I chased a firefly into the hay field in the dark and ran into a big something fuzzy and the size of a basketball at waist level and ran back out of the field.  And never went in again.