Friday, April 15, 2011

Communication? I think?

Our children grow up so fast. My oldest son Austin is going to make the huge transition from elementary student to hormonal 6th grader next year and I can’t help but fear what’s to come. We have already covered a lot of ground this year alone. The milestones of growing up and away from innocents have included an array of topics! My boys know the proper terms for body parts and the differences between boys and girls but the time finally came for "The talk"...... you know.........the dreaded "talk". Starting out with that topic had us off to a greaaaaaaat start (yeah if you missed it, that was drenched in sarcasm). I recall telling my husband multiple times "I just got peed on, you get to have The Talk!" and of course "Another 10 hour trip to the E.R. you are SO having The Talk!". He did try..........unfortunately holding a glass against the wall doesn’t actually work so after giving him ample time to handle the situation I breezed quickly thru and "overheard" him talking about Mersa..............Mersa?!?!?!? Really?!?!?! How the hell did you get on that topic?!? So once they were finished I asked my son if he had any more questions, an hour later we had completed our conversation. I do have to say when you get right down to the facts its quite difficult. I found myself unable to put certain clinical terms into a complete sentence. Using the proper terms for body parts is okay individually but when you look at your ten year olds innocent face and try to put them all together well......the best I had was an analogy that consisted of putting a key into a lock (better than my moms bee pollinating a flower crap). As it sunk in I could see the gears in his brain turning as he became more and more aware, and mortified about the concept of....dare I say We both walked away a little traumatized but fortunately it opens the door for communication about embarrassing topics in the future (boy I can’t wait!).
After the effects of our conversation wore off I felt it was only right to take the next step and send him off to middle school with the knowledge that all of the colorful childhood characters that have filled his life aren’t real. I started out with Santa and he responded with "Sooooo I’m guessing the Tooth fairy and the Easter bunny too?". I’m pretty sure he was already on to me but my honesty made him feel like a grown up. In the hopes of preserving his little brothers wonderland I made him a deal. Keep your mouth shut and you can have extra money for a tooth, stay up late on Christmas eve and help me "set up", and we will be tackling Easter here pretty soon. The new responsibilities and privileges have shown his restraint and maturity. I figured the first time Noah kicked him in the nads Austin would be screaming "THERE’S........cough cough.... NO.....cough... SANTA!!!!". But he has handled his responsibilities in a very grown up manner.
Finally getting past the "Girls have cooties" phase he now has a girlfriend. I have to admit I had to fight the mental picture of a bleached blonde leather wearing tramp with a cigarette hanging out of her lips! I was very pleased to meet a cute lil hyper blonde girl with glasses........and of course she’s scared of me so that’s always a plus! As horrified as I am about him growing up and dating I still found myself giving him advice.......because I of course had so much "game" at 10 years really I did.....hop scotch, chutes and ladders, barrel of monkeys. I try to find the positive side of things so I’m focusing on how I will torment my kids and the poor girls they bring home to meet Mom. I have every intention of mowing the lawn in a tube top and daisy dukes, and I think for fun I’ll throw in a side pony and some blue eye shadow. Maybe I could talk about how they breast fed till they were 10? And for future reference I’m always open to suggestions!
When talking about relevant topics I cringe when my boys start a sentence with "Well my friends told me......". Not wanting them to be misinformed I’ll do my best to tackle whatever they throw at me as long as we can keep the lines of communication open. Hopefully by the time Noah needs to have "The talk" I will have a better analogy than a lock and key. We’ll see!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Language Barriers

I’m sure every ones heard the old adage "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". If there is any validity to this comment then our offspring must be from Uranus (well at least that’s where my 7 year old thinks they come from). The language barrier between children and adults has long perplex the confused and sometimes frustrated parents of these little extraterrestrials. The "He said, she said" dynamics of an adult relationship dull in comparison to how our children are translating what we are saying. I’m pretty sure "Clean your rooms" is interpreted as "Honey why don’t you stuff your clothes under your bed and play your DS for a while?". "Go to bed" in kid language means "Play as quietly as possible and when Mom is coming tuck and dive into your bed!"
While sitting in a room at the pediatricians office I was sure that there had to be something affecting my sons hearing. I wasn’t nearly as amused by the doctors comment as he was "There’s a difference between hearing and listening." he said with a chuckle. After humoring me (as he has so many times in the past) I was informed that my boy had passed with flying colors. Not that I wanted my son to have a hearing problem but maybe the possibility that there was a M&M or something in there that could be affecting his listening ability.
When I had my first son I was advised by many parenting books to create background noise purposely so he would be less effected by noise creating better sleep habits. Simple concept whether it was radio static, a vacuum, or anything with a fan and it worked my son could sleep through a Kiss concert! However I now believe this is a conspiracy concocted by children to dull the senses and ultimately torture their parents for the sheer joy of it. They adapt to the common background noise (a.k.a. the sound of our voice) but are aware of certain words, I like to call it "Word Hearing Awareness Triggers" or W.H.A.T’s. These trigger words very between children and at their discretion. My children hear blah blah blah "Ice Cream" which triggers a response and a need to all the sudden listen. I believe most Moms have exercised a counter attack called "Severe Word Association Tactics"also know as S.W.A.T. Our children hear yadda yadda "grounded" and have no alternative but to listen to the threats we are making.

At times our children may understand simple commands, but do not expand on the larger idea of the comment. For instance when I tell my son "Don’t hit your brother" he follows the basic concept of my command however because I did not specify he believes it is still allowed to pinch, push, Indian rub, noogy, wedgie, and do that obnoxious thing where they let spit dangle from their mouth over their victims face and then suck it back up.............hopefully. One time I told my son he had to finish all the food on his plate including the vegetables, and I better NOT find any of it in the garbage can. I was surprised when several seconds later he had finished. Fortunately my son lacks the ability to lie so after enquiring to the whereabouts of his food he explained to me that it was not in the garbage "can". However it had made it into the garbage disposal. Apparently there’s a big difference. I believe Charles Shultz the creator of the "Peanuts" cartoons had a realistic understanding of how as adults we are interpreted "Whooomp whoooomp whooooomp waaa"

I’ve been told by many seasoned parents that this lack in communication and understanding is something that is just perpetuated as time goes on, escalating until it hits a peak during the teenage years. I personally don’t believe that teenagers are unable to communicate with us I think they just choose to advert with a simple "Mom you just don’t understand". (Insert door slam here) Of course honey because I have never been a teenager, I’ve always been the decrepitly old unknowing mother that stands here now. Well Fortunately for now I don’t have to deal with that. But hearing the stories of others makes me strive even harder to keep the lines of communication open with my own children. I had children because I wanted to be a parent not a friend but maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be seen as a confidant now and then instead of a warden all the time. But then again I’m so good at that job, just ask the inmates.

Friday, April 8, 2011


 I remember being a lazy messy kid.....(My family is thinking UNDERSTATEMENT!) But my youngest son takes it to a whole new level. Cleaning his room is a three day process. Day one is spent listening to him swear its done, its done mom, I promise its done, really its done. Knowing full well he was in there for a max time of three minutes, I send him back in. I hear the snapping sound of Legos and the loading of Nerf guns. After "cleaning" for a few minutes again he’s in my face "I’m done Mom". So to humor him I take a 10 seconds I point out all the surface imperfections of his room "Okay I got it!" Shortly after here he comes again. I look at the surface, its mediocre at best but at least there was a little effort. This is where the fun begins I notice his little area rug is "floating" Its only 2'x4' but he managed to fit half his room under it. I start to look a little deeper and find some very interesting things. Obviously dirty clothes are carefully folded and placed in drawers. Clean clothes are placed in the hamper, even some that are still folded. With a large closet I organize his extra sheets, and sports gear in bins. Wadding up clothes and climbing the shelves so he can work the bin open stuff them in and then close the latch sounds so much easier than just doing a freethrow into the hamper.
Day two is my whatever day. I don’t care what you do but your not coming out until its done. And I don’t want to hear "It’s done!" Every time I hear that and its not true I'm taking a toy and throwing it away. This day is spent walking past his room and just shaking my head in frustration.
Day three is the breaking point. This is the point where I rip out half my hair and start to twitch a little. I go on a rampage pulling the crap out of every nook and cranny and throw it into a huge pile in the middle of his room. At this point he’s crying over the amount of shit he has to clean up. And again I have to explain that this isn’t just me being mean it’s his own fault for not taking care of it in the first place and I didn’t blah blah yadda yadda read "language barriers". After several hours he emerges from his room with flushed cheeks and a slightly broken spirit but the room is finally done. I check it and its up to code.......until next week. Uhhhgg.
Because of my sons amazing abilities I have found myself loathing certain holidays like Valentines Day and anything with packaged toys that have to be opened. Do you know how my many places a kid can find to hide wrappers? They have been piled under my recliner chair, the crock pot I keep my change in, and crammed in his crayon box. In my sons room there’s a short stool for his desk its shaped like a barrel and the bottom has a small lip on it. The lip creates a small area that’s hollow but my son can fit a weeks worth of laundry, or his weight in matchbox cars under it. One time I found a bunch of his socks in the garbage. Apparently it's to much effort to put them into the dirty clothes that sits two feet from the garbage can! His laziness is a talent really, he puts more effort into being lazy that what it would take to just do the job right the first time.  If it could be an occupation he would master it and be rich.
I hope someday he will become the neat freak I want him to be but that surely won’t be happening while he lives under my roof, (if ever) so till then I’ll wear a wig.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Boys vs Girls?

With Easter just around the corner I realize that I needed to go out clothing shopping for my boys. The last time I bought them nice clothes last year for Dads funeral and wouldn’t ya know........not a one of them fit. So off to JC Penny’s I go (only place that sells slims) looking around the racks I started to understand something.........Us boy Mom’s got SCREWED! We get slacks (brown or black), dress shirt (fanciest you can get has stripes), black dress shoes, and a tie. Shopping’s done in oh 60 seconds max............But if you have a reason to walk across the isle into the pink fairy land you get fluffy dresses in every fabric and color of the rainbow, every style and color of shoe you can think of, gloves, handbags, hair accessories, frilly socks. It hardly seems fair that just because we have boys we should walk through the grim reapers living room to find something suitable for our boys to wear. All the while a magical unicorn has shit rainbows and cotton candy in the girl section. You will now realize this the next time you shop at Penny’s. I’m sure the girl moms have their own take on this but I will never fully understand because I have belching, farting, crop dusting little heathens!
The battle of "Boys vs Girls" has been around for centuries. I don’t see where any girl mom should complain about their angels until they hit that point in life where they are wielding a hot curling iron towards their sister. I think that’s the same time they realize how smart and grown up they are and we are just the dumb drooling zombies that fund "their" lives. That part is consistent for both genders.
All my friends and family had girls so my sons have had their share of hair bow attacks and makeup applied while sleeping. They can pretend but I know they enjoyed it! My boys are still in the faze of dressing up in my clothes and shoes and they think its hilarious but don’t realize their scaring the shit out of their Dad.......and I find that hilarious.
So weighing the options of what’s harder Boys or Girls depends on ones experience. My son was doing chin ups on his closet bar as a one year old. Shortly there after he broke his arm. He could ride his bike without training wheels at two, so by the time he was three and a half he was racing BMX. Shortly after that he knocked all his front teeth out and needed stitches. He is the perfect example of an overly physical boy, and his brother was three years behind him. At two he managed to climb the ladder on our camper. Standing on the top doing pelvic thrusts we laughed and took pictures. Once he was down the laughing stopped!
My girlfriend (we were pregnant together both times) had girls. As I tried to bungee cord my child down I noticed her daughter was beautiful, well mannered, and sweet. As a one year old she could talk in full sentences. At four years old she was so articulate and was a fluent reader. She never let out loud bodily noises and no ER trips for her! I wanted to take her home and claim her as my own, but honestly the idea of girls scares me. It’s the uncharted water in my world.
Maybe it’s the brunets want to be blondes and blondes want to be brunets thing. Each one looks at the other seeing the greener grass and wondering about the other side. And then some kids make us look at our own with great pride, and appreciation! While the walls fall down around us and we sift through the medical bills its easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of things. But just as I have had my fill, my boys walk in with a heartfelt homemade card and a snack. And now I have to go clean up the mess in the kitchen!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Occupational hazard!

As a mother 99% of the stories I tell have to do with my children. I understand this is frustrating to all the people who do not have kids, as they see them as little aliens with snot and other bodily fluids running out of every crevice. But through the years I’ve found that these little creatures are an amazing source of entertainment. Whether they are unintentionally making you laugh, or your torturing them just for fun its always interesting. Any care giver will tell you how perplexing it is to see the insanely large mess such a small being can create. The amount of work required to parent a child is astronomical. Which got me thinking, I was sitting in the doctors office the other day filling out a mountain of paper work when I came to the insurance section. And there it was staring at me, taunting me, the one word question I absolutely hate!!! OCCUPATION? There is no way to answer this question on a line that’s no longer than a matchbox car. So what formal title.......... homemaker? Stay at home mom? None of these terms quantify our actual job. If I were to fill out a resume right now I could probably score a job with the secret service, or if nothing else run an insane asylum blindfolded. The most obvious roles a parent tackles would be child care and development, janitorial services, short order cook, and a chauffeur. But if you look a little deeper my experience goes much farther than that. I've dabbled in environmental clean up when both my boys had the stomach flu. And when there’s only one ice-cream bar left in the freezer you can see I’m a pro in politics. I was an EMT, and Er nurse when my son cut his finger off. At some point your gonna be a therapist, and probably a psychologist. I'm a wireless polygraph specialist. And if your kids are anything like mine most Saturdays and part of Sunday will be spent as a warden, waiting for the inmates to clean their cells. We're coaches, and cheerleaders. Singers and story tellers. And even though we will never admit it were the best damn pathological liars you will ever meet. Two words....tooth.....fairy!!! But at the end of the day its my boys that give credit to my occupation with a simple I love you mom. Its been the hardest job title I’ve ever earned. The hours are long, the workload is crazy, and the bosses are demanding, but the pay is great!

Friday, April 1, 2011


At the last minute my babysitting gig went from one three year old boy to three small children. I know this strikes fear into the hearts of many women who either don’t have children or haven’t had small children for a while. Not to mention the addition was two year old twin girls! I don’t know twins and I surely don’t know girls. To top it all off I can’t even look at these beautiful little creatures that out number me without them crying. But in the hopes of helping my sister and getting some over due quality time with my nieces and nephew I agreed. As I drove to my house with a backseat jammed full with kids I kept saying "Their more afraid of me than I am of them!". I’m still not 100% convinced! As I tried to safely juggle a girl in each arm into the house I realized they weren’t crying! Holy crap that was a first, but okay we’ll run with it. I dumped enough toys on the floor to entertain 12 kids and we started playing. I had forgotten how much fun it was to make snow angels in a pile of toys, actually I forgot a lot things. Such as but not limited to........... how much my solid marble coasters weigh, I don’t have a lock on my cleaners cabinet, you have to pull my bedroom door extra hard for it to latch, and only use the back burners on the stove. As time moves forward we become more and more comfortable with our growing children, at seven and ten my boys know they can’t scale up my curtains! But as we forget that if you tuck their pant legs into their sock you can put matchbox cars in their pants to slow them down.... we start to remember all the wonderful things that were lost before we realized it. Like rocking a sleeping baby, only now I don’t feel the need to put them down so quickly. And allowing them to help with a job, even though it takes ten times longer to accomplish. I remember the day my boys no longer needed me to do all those things, and it makes me sad. But I see how independent they have become and I’m filled with pride and hope for their futures. How confusing? Well if I still find myself confused at times maybe they will too and once again need me. Or maybe all along it was just me needing them? Who knows?

Ode to the sports mom

As the warm weather rolls in I’m reminded of the smell of warm rain, and fresh cut grass. Days spent laying in the sun or walking downtown with friends. Wait...... hold on.... my kids are fighting........... okay I’m back. Anyways to go back in time and have the knowledge I now poses I would appreciate time more and have basked in its glory a little longer. But as we know life goes on. It changes, gets better, at times worse, but most definitely life gets interesting.
        Now the mother of two rambunctious boys I rarely have the time to stop and smell the roses, especially when im smelling the pile of whatever it is my kids left in the back seat of my car last week. But its okay because I’ll have more than enough time to sniff it out due to the fact that I spent 80% of my waking day chauffeuring my boys around. Monday through Friday mornings are spent driving kids to school, Tuesdays and Saturdays, soccer games. Monday and Wednesday, baseball. and those are just the games, I don't even want to get into the practice schedule. When you add it all in with the wifely duties, well that’s a volatile concoction. But wait there’s more, this is just the spring sports! Summer sports are just around the corner and even worse, motorcycles, bicycles, don't worry I’ll spare you the details. I know it doesn't sound enticing but we put ourselves in these situations anyway. Every time that order form comes home we should tuck tail and run. But instead I find myself handing over the cash and signing away my summer on the dotted line. At first its all fun and games, literally. But once you've sat through a 50 degree rain storm just so you can see your son kick around a ball and complain that he too is cold, you start to rethink outdoor sports. Maybe we should've taken up golf? But for now your team needs you so get back out there, oh and don't forget your hat and gloves.
       Its quit easy to get wrapped up in all the negative aspects of being a sports mom. But once the lingering season comes to an end you can look forward to the remainder of the year to forget all that. Looking back I don't feel the cold or the crazy schedules I just remember the first time my son kicked that ball in for a goal. Once, while waiting on second base my son got his arm stuck through the face mask of his batting helmet. It took three coaches to get him unstuck, and I was of no help because I was too busy laughing hysterically. Boys crossing finish lines. Sometimes first, and sometimes last. Trophies larger than my 4 foot 2 inch son. Watching out for team mates. Meeting new friends. The pride and joy in their eyes, and in mine. I guess looking at the broader spectrum it only makes sense to engulf our lives in sports. Because we ourselves, our family, is a team. We couldn't accomplish a small fraction of what we do if we didn't work together. Whether I’m the coach, and at times the referee, there’s no doubt I’m always willing to go to bat for my boys. Speaking of which, I need to go and extract a skittle from my sons nose. And that’s a whole other column.