Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Evening Walk

I feel sorry for him. Really I do. Growing and developing and changing can really take it's toll on your ability to remember where the milk is stored in the refrigerator, to bring your PE clothes to school, to find your baseball glove hiding in front of you on the floor of the garage. My twelve and a half year old goes through phases where clearly his brain is off somewhere else doing other important things. During these times it is a good thing that his arms and legs are attached to him or he would loose them. Thank god he doesn't have to keep track of car keys yet.

These phases are maddening for a parent to watch, dangerous for a parent to participate in (take a giant step back please), and touched with a bit of empathetic embarrassment and humor.

I just learned a very important lesson about the phase of adolescence that we are embarking on in our house. In all the frustration and craziness, there are some crystalline moments when you see through the cloud of teenager to the wonderful person your child is struggling to become. You have to keep your sense of humor, you have to be patient, and you have to be willing to let it happen.

Today was the kind of day when I started out with grand plans to attack my To Do List and get a lot done. My oldest son called from school in the morning and very politely and apologetically explained that he forgot his swimming bag again. He had forgotten it the day before and had to run during all of PE, which wasn't so bad, but forgetting it again meant that his grade would be affected. God forbid his grade in PE be affected by one one-hundredth of a percentage point! He very nicely asked if it would be possible for me to bring his stuff by school, knowing that normally I don't make trips to school for forgotten lunches, homework, projects, or PE clothes. But he was so polite about it, and it's almost the end of the year, and I really have felt sorry for him and his lack of cognizance. So I brought the swimming stuff to school after I had coffee with a friend. The rest of the day saw only two small things crossed off my To Do list and by the time I was making dinner I had a headache.

My oldest son, taking a break from a diligent homework session, asked if he and I could go take the dog for a walk together. I informed him that I was making dinner and that after dinner would be a better time. I took a Tylenol, we all sat down to eat, and I figured he would forget about the walk. Just after dinner, he said, "OK Mom are you ready to go?" I wasn't really in the mood to go on a walk but the request was unusal and I thought I'd better take advantage of the opportunity. We started on our walk when he informed me that he had a route in mind.

Chatting away, we passed the time discussing geography of Africa and the Caribbean, summer plans, where the dog was going to poop. A mile and a half later, as we neared Baskin Robbins, my son told me that he really appreciated me bringing his swimming stuff to school, and dug a $5 bill out of his pocket. Would I like to stop for an ice cream?

Well knock me over. Wow.

The dog and I waited outside while he went in and ordered two Gold Medal Ribbons, each in a cup. I wasn't even hungry but that had to be some of the best ice cream ever, shared in a strip mall at sunset with my son who is really growing up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Family Camp

Last year after leaving Family Camp early, I really didn't think we'd ever go back. See last year's post here.

But we did. And it was the best year ever.

We stayed in a nice cabin right on the lake, the weather was great, and the boys are old enough to keep themselves busy all day long catching frogs, fishing, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

I just wish I didn't have so many loads of laundry to do. It's nicknamed "dirt camp" for a reason.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That Kind of Kid

I had to face a realization today.

My youngest son is that kind of kid.

The kind of kid who finds a dog biscuit in his pants pocket while at school. Instead of saving it, or throwing it away, he takes it out and shows it around, marveling at how it looks exactly like a chocolate chip cookie.

I happen to know it is in fact a dog biscuit and not a cookie but his friends are not 100% sure. He decides to take a little nibble. I make a yucky face but tell him it won't hurt him. He claims it is good. One of his friends bravely tries a tiny bit.

Yeah, he's that kind of kid, the kind that will eat a dog biscuit at school.

But he's also the kind of kid that will seek out the girl who loves sweets, who eats other kid's lunches, and test her specific reaction to his eating the dog biscuit. I can see him studying her response. Is she grossed out or interested? (Interested) Will she dare ask for a bite? (Not quite) What will she do? (Ask me if it really does taste good)

Yeah, he's that kind of kid. A risk taker who loves attention and pushing people's buttons to see what they do.

As a parent of that kind of kid, I'm not sure what I can do other than sit back and watch the show.

Does Playboy Have An Age Limit?

My youngest son, who just turned nine, and I were alone for a bit in the car the other day. Usually we listen or sing to the radio. This time it was mostly quiet, until he broke the contemplative silence with the statement, "Mom, I heard there is going to be a 75 year old woman in Playboy."

There are just so many things wrong with this statement coming out of my son's mouth that I didn't know where to start. My mind began spinning with questions to ask in return, and things I could say, and then, even a mental image of what that would look like in Playboy. I briefly wondered if I could have all this brain activity going on and still be a safe driver.

I began with asking him, "What's wrong with that?" I know, in hind sight it seems an odd thing to say but that's what I did. His response: "Mom," said with a hint of exasperation, a whisper of warning, an intonation of fear to take the discussion any further. I repeated, "What's wrong with that?" Long silence. Then he said, "Mom, the ladies in Playboy are supposed to be pretty."

I really should have pulled over at that point because I think my jaw dropped on to my lap. The knowledge he has gleaned from third grade astounds me.

I didn't know what to say, so I told him 75 year old women could be very pretty (I didn't say that it's a good idea for them to keep their clothes on though). He said, "Yeah, I guess so. Besides, I've heard bad things about Playboy."

"Oh really, like what?"

"Naked people!"

And that was the end of our journey in the car and the conversation about Playboy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Last week I received an email from my youngest son's third grade teacher. I've mentioned her before, she's fantastic. Anyhow, she was updating me on the results of a recent reading assessment she did on my son. Good news, he's reading above grade level, comprehension is good, doing great. Then about an hour later, the following email, from my husband to the teacher, appeared on my iPhone. I thought it was funny and wanted to share the male perspective:

To 3rd grade teacher in response to results of reading assessment, from my husband
Great news. You are to be commended. During the same time period you have brought him up in reading and math, my wife has almost killed him several times for his inability to find his proper clothing (baseball cup, hat, underwear), deal with person grooming, complete other simple duties around the house, etc.

Since I am a man and understand the limited capabilities of the male mind, this means that my son has directed ALL of his intelligence towards you and school – and is completely incapable of having any brain cells left to be a functioning member of our household. Again, as a male, I understand and have compassion for him. And soon, he will have brain cells for cars and girls, and then when he is older he will understand that he owes it all to his Mom. It just takes 30-40 years (or longer) for men to get it… why is that???

Interesting mother-related trivia to think about on Mother's Day:
While nearly 80 percent of Americans will buy a card for mom this year, 83 percent of the cards will be purchased by daughters.

The youngest mother on record was Lina Medina, who delivered a 6½-pound boy by cesarean section in Lima, Peru in 1939, at the age of 5 years and 7 months. She delivered on Mother's Day. Yes, it's true, check it out on Snopes here.

Think about Lina's mother. That had to be one heck of a shock.

I'm hoping for a Mother's Day that's more relaxing than shocking. And I hope my boys appreciate me just a little sooner than 30 to 40 years from now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

I'm so sari but I have to put a picture of this lemon on my blog. Jesus Christ, Mr. Bill or Cindy Crawford?