Axe the Axe

 

 

 

Santa, dear Santa

santa2It’s that time of year

But you showing up

Is now my biggest fear

 

I’m not being critical

Of the stuff that you bring

In fact, I’ll tell you

It’s only one thing

 

Santa, you know

I don’t mean to be mocking

But last time you left

This stuff in the stocking

 

So Santa, my friend

I’ve just one thing to say

Please don’t leave Axe

At my house Christmas Day [Read more…]

The New Rules of the Working Mom Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Younger Boy and Older Boy,

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been at your beck and call for the last fourteen years.  I, your faithful indentured servant, have been available 24/7.  No lunch money?  I delivered.  Needed a ride?  I was there.  Forgot to clean your room?  It was done.

No doubt, I have been working.  And I’ve been well paid in the currency of stay-at-home momhood – glitter glue cards and spontaneous hugs.

But we’ve entered a new phase.  You’re both in high school and I’m bored.  So I’ve got BIG news. No, it’s NOT a baby brother.  [Read more…]

The Verdict on Junk Food

Trouble was brewing in the cereal aisle. And the one about to incur the wrath was me.  As my ‘tween and teenaged sons stood there, it was clear they were about to make their case with the tenacity of Perry Mason and Atticus Finch.  “See Mom, you were wrong!” Older Boy said shoving the box within an inch of my middle-aged eyes.  “Go ahead, read it.” Younger Boy then chimed in. “They’re GOOD for you,” he argued.  “It says so right on the box.”

My bad.

It was hard to argue with the good health claims emblazoned on the front of the Cocoa Krispies and Froot Loops boxes that my boys paraded in front of me like I was a Price is Right Showcase Contestant.  There they were – boxes of an immunity-boosting, fiber enhanced morning indulgence that I’d denied them based on my misguided beliefs.  And boy did I feel pretty stupid. All these years I’ve been making them eat real froot. [Read more…]

Summer Time – It’s A Teen’s Life

School’s out today.  No more studying for finals, no more tests.  Just a long stretch of summer days.

But a lot has changed since the boys were little kids.  For all of us.

Because within a few hours, this is what my house will look like:

Welcome to the hang-out house.  I love it that they’re all so comfortable being here.   [Read more…]

The Truth About Dating

I thought I’d stumbled upon the Watergate story of the Parenting World, complete with an anonymous source.  But there are no break-ins, wiretaps or tapes.  There are no cloak and dagger-style espionage or late night meetings in semi-dark parking garages where my informant is wearing dark glasses and a trench coat.  It was simply through solid investigative journalism that I cracked this story wide open.

In the spirit of Woodward and Bernstein, I will protect my confidential source.  You can subpoena me, make me pay fines or throw me in jail like Judith Miller.

Because I’m not talking.

I will tell you that I call my secret informant Smart Girl.  And that won’t narrow it down one bit.  Because as far as I can tell, there are a whole lot of them in this valley.

While I will not reveal her identity, I will share the intel I obtained on that fateful cloudy day.  It was so shocking, as a member of the Parenting Tribe, I knew this information could not be dispensed on a need to know basis.  Because parents You. Need. To. Know.

Smart Girl told me Middle Schoolers are Going Out.  That’s right, they’re dating.

Sensing this story was Big News, I remained objective as a good reporter should and asked a well-reasoned line of probing questions.  “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY ARE GOING OUT?” I shrieked hysterically. “YOU ALL ARE TWELVE AND THIRTEEN YEARS OLD.  NONE OF YOU CAN EVEN DRIVE YET!  WHERE ARE YOU GOING AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW ARE YOU GETTING THERE?”

I’m glad I was driving so I couldn’t see her roll her eyes.

Without giving Smart Girl time to answer, I continued my careful inquiry. “HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?” I screeched at a windshield rattling volume.  “AND BE STRAIGHT WITH ME, IS MY KID GOING OUT?”

That was about the time that Mango Melon SoBe hit the windshield.  Smart Girl was laughing so hard it shot out her nose.

When she regained her composure, Smart Girl asked me, “What do you think Going Out means?”

“It means that you Go Somewhere, like to dinner and a movie,” I replied.  “You know, like a date.”

Smart Girl remained remarkably poised although it was clear she was trying hard not to spray the windshield with SoBe again.

But she continued.  “It’s not like that at all,” she explained.

“YOU HAVE TO TELL ME,” I loudly blathered on, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”

Thanks to my line of razor-sharp questioning, I had her exactly where I wanted her.  “It means they sit together at lunch and don’t talk to each other,” she said matter-of-factly.  I can’t confirm or deny this but I’m pretty sure there was another eye roll at this juncture.

So nothing has changed since I was in 7th grade.

Except when I was in junior high, there was one boy who really could have gone out.  Elvis Ray James flunked 7th grade so many times by the time I landed there he had already voted in a presidential election. He routinely inquired when they were adding a student parking lot.

Elvis Ray was every mother’s worst nightmare.

So on that day with Smart Girl, I’m glad I didn’t overreact.  It was a relief to learn that the Middle School version of Going Out story wasn’t even worthy of the National Enquirer.  But I remain on Red Alert for the Next Big Story.  You never know where Elvis is going to turn up.

 

 

He’ll Always Have Paris

 

Almost one year ago, Older Boy announced he wanted to participate in the school language class trip to Europe. The deal was he had to come up with a way to earn half of the $4000 price tag to get there. He spent a good portion of the summer as a street musician where he earned a surprising chunk of change. Older Boy also did pet sitting, lawn mowing, flower watering and grocery bagging to earn his cash. He saved birthday money and Christmas money. And when he counted up his stash this week – grand total earned: $2001.53. He made it.

And it’s a good thing, because today was the big day.

The buzz has been building for almost a month now. Packing, re-packing. Meetings with classmates about the trip. A few jittery moments. (One notable moment occurred when he was packing. He came out of his room and said, “I just felt like an adult and I didn’t like it.”) The teachers, who have led numerous groups on this very trip, told them when they got on the plane, they’d forget where they came from and have a great time. And from what I saw today, those teachers were exactly right.

Older Boy was up at the crack of dawn, no easy feat for a non-morning person, which was to me the ultimate measure of his excitement. His suitcase was already by the door. I was feeling like the portrait of the modern, hip parent who believes in the idea of giving your kid freedom and the growth that comes with independence.

At least until we headed to the airport.

In keeping with The Husband’s traditional guaranteed on-time airport arrival, we were the first ones there. Parents and kids trickled in. And pretty soon, the kids were scanning their passports to get the boarding passes for the first leg of their journey. A journey that for many of us started a year ago at the first informational meeting.

And then the moment came that I suddenly dreaded, the moment I had to say good-bye.

I wasn’t feeling quite so modern or hip anymore. Despite all my big talk about wanting him to be independent, there I was hugging Older Boy a little longer than I really needed to. Because I seemed to be the one having trouble letting go.

Today I took my little boy to the airport. I snapped a mental picture of him as he waved goodbye and headed for the plane with his friends, promptly forgetting about me (as it should be). And I’m glad I have that freeze-frame image in my mind. I’m guessing when his trip is over, I won’t recognize that little boy. Because I suspect I’ll be picking up an independent young man.

It’s A Shock Alright

 thought that upon Older Boy entering the teenage years, parenting would get easier in the sense that it’s not that hands-on, high energy, goalie parent thing like when they were little.

Har-dee-har-har.

What I’m starting to realize is that my job just got much more difficult.

Problem is, I remember all the shit I pulled when I was a teen (my mother will without question verify this).  Numbskull stuff.  Stuff that when considered long enough, makes me thankful that I’m still alive.

In short, I was an idiot with a teenage brain.  Which is exactly why I’m so worried now that I have one of my very own.  And I feel relatively clueless as to what to do.

I’m not afraid to make unpopular decisions as a parent.  He doesn’t have to like me and I feel certain that he probably won’t for awhile.  But I wanted a little more guidance and maybe a better understanding of why kids do what they do.  So I did what I always do – I went to the bookstore.

There are a million books out there on parenting.  I wanted one that would be honest and real and not shelter me from the things I needed to know.  I wanted something based on facts and science.  That’s when I stumbled on NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  Flipping through the book, there it was, the chapter I so desperately needed -The Science of Teenage Rebellion.

I should probably have prefaced this with the fact that Older Boy is not a bad kid. Not at all.  He’s testing the waters of personal autonomy and making decisions for himself.  I know this is normal.  In fact, I’d probably worry if I had a compliant little follower who didn’t rebel.  Plus, I’m kind of bossy (read: control freak) so I tend to pontificate a little more than necessary.

One thing I learned that surprised me was that the need for autonomy occurs a lot earlier than I expected.  I thought when kids were 17 or 18 would be the peak time for rebellion.  Wrong.  According to this book, the need for autonomy peaks around age 14-15.  So maybe he’s pretty normal after all. But that isn’t making my job any easier.

I had another surprise – arguing is good.  Personally, I find it exhausting and highly stressful.  And from my perspective as an only child, well I just don’t get it.  But the book equated arguing with honesty – a fact that apparently we as parents don’t realize (See, stress and exhaustion above).  And the biggest surprise of all – certain types of fighting are actually a sign of respect.

Maybe I’m loved after all.

 

Learning To Wobble

It’s obvious that I’ve not participated in NaBloNoPo, which challenges bloggers to make a daily post in November.  I’ve been participating in NoBloInNo (No Blog posts In November) this month during which I’ve failed make even one post this month.  Outstanding indeed.

It’s been a bitch of a month of parenting and quite frankly, I just haven’t had the energy to even think about this.  I thought the high energy days of parenting were long behind me with the toddler years where I played goalie parent. I was mistaken.  I settled, quite happily I might add, into my current role as The Wallet and Car Keys.

But when Older Boy started testing the limits, well, all bets were off.  And it’s a test I feel like I’m failing.

Today in yoga class, oddly enough, the universe spoke to me about parenting through the words of my teacher.  As we all struggled, she told us that she had difficulty with this pose for years.  “You have to learn to let yourself wobble.  Sometimes you might even fall.  But trust that balance will come,” she said regarding this twisting pose which tested our balance.  Those words hit this control freak with great force in terms of parenting.  I am wobbling.  And some days I sure feel like I might hit the ground face first.  I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time with this parenting thing.

So I’m going to let myself learn to wobble in parenting and know that I can’t control everything.  I’m also going to trust balance will come in my parenting.  It’s all I have.

Note: I’ve also been frustrated in dealing with the technical aspects of this site.  People tell me they post comments, yet they never appear or that it’s very difficult to even post a comment.  As a result,  I’m looking into moving this blog to another service.  I will post an update when that happens. 

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