Tag Archives: boys

I said no…to lemon

I was inspired to blog this story because my amazing niece shared a post on Facebook where a woman compared her dog not eating the steak in front of it to men keeping their shit together and behaving. Meaning some dogs are better behaved than many men. Her caption was, “Teach your boys better people.”

I couldn’t agree more. I have two boys. I’m sick to my stomach every damn day when another celebrity or well-known person is outed for being a pig. Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m glad these brave women are speaking out and I’m proud of them. But the sheer volume lately is sickening. It’s like when you turn over a rock and tons of those little worms go wriggling for cover. There are far too many worms right now.

The up side, if there is one, is that it makes me super vigilant with my kids and how they are learning to treat women and be respectful.

My six-year-old LOVES to “make” you a water with lemon. I don’t know, don’t ask. Anyway. I’m not a fan of lemon in my water. So the other day, I asked him to put water on the table for dinner. He asked if I wanted lemon. I said no. He gave me water with lemon. When I reminded him that I said no to the lemon, he smirked and said, “I heard yes.”

Poor thing. Let’s just say he got the message that that is not acceptable. (Don’t @ me, I didn’t spank, yell or threaten to beat him.)

I know he was not being malicious. He’s six. He just likes to stick a lemon on the side of a glass. It makes him happy for some reason. But his happiness does not trump me saying no. That’s a really serious lesson that he needs to learn now.

What do you say? Let’s raise a generation where we don’t have to worry about all those worms under the rocks. It starts now.

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I miss my baby boy.

My son is 12. I check his web search history and read his texts. He knows I do. I want to make sure he’s on the right path, so for now, I’m all up in his business. (We’ll save the privacy debate for another time. )

Recently, I was looking at his search history  and found something that broke my heart. (To protect his privacy, I’m not saying what it was.) Oh, man. It was like a punch in the gut. It still hurts my heart just to think about it. Why did it hit me so hard? Not because it was something shocking or bad. Because it made me realize how much I miss my son.

There was a time he and I were inseparable. We did everything together. We talked about everything. He never hesitated to ask me questions, about anything. It was me and him. We were buddies. Then, things changed. Mostly for the better, sure, but still… I got a promotion and had less time. His little brother came along. Puberty came along. Girls came along.

Now he’s this pre-teen boy with secrets who won’t be seen with his mother. Who won’t hug or kiss his mother (God no!). Who won’t talk to his mother. I don’t know how to reach him. And I miss him. I miss him somethin’ awful, as my Gram used to say.

Here’s a boy who for years started every morning by curling up in my lap for a few minutes. Every. Morning. I tell you, there is no better way to start the day. Now, I’m lucky if I get a “good morning” grunt.

And every day would end with us snuggled in his bed, with books and bears and talk of what we did that day, and what we’d do tomorrow. Now, I get a quick “good night” and when I go in for a kiss I’m met with a turned cheek and an eye roll.

And now he’s a young man who Googles things instead of asking his mother.

I know it’s normal. (I hope?) Boys grow into men and to do that they must change, and pull away from their mommies and start to figure things out on their own. But when I see that my boy, my baby, is looking for answers to something, and that looking doesn’t include me, I want to go full on momma bear.

I’m not gonna lie. I worry. I worry that it’s not normal and this divide between us is something I did. Or some pain he’s harboring. Or something that went wrong. (WHY DIDN’T HE ASK ME?!) I worry about him a lot.

So, what do I do? How do I get this man-child with the thin mustache and croaky voice to open up to me? Is that even possible? And how to I deal with the guilt I have for my part in this? Was there something I could have done to prevent this chasm? Should I have been more engaged?

It’s not all bad. We still have “our time.” I do my best to make time for him alone. We have movie dates, which are my favorite. And we do talk. But mostly about lacrosse and Nirvana and which Avenger would kick which Avenger’s butt and how the Beatles influenced most music we hear today. But not about how to talk to girls. Or navigating middle school society. Or the thing he Googled.

I miss my baby boy.

 

People can be mean

I called a little boy at the playground “nasty.”

It was not my finest parenting moment. In fact, it was a missed teaching moment. But he made my son cry and I lost it.

If you knew my youngest son you might understand. At five, he’s the sweetest, most friendly, outgoing, easy-going kid.

He just wants to play. He’s never mean. (Unless it’s to his older brother, but he usually deserves it.) In fact, when has encountered mean kids he’d get a confused look, like he just didn’t get it. And why should he?

He’s the kid who runs on the playground to join a group of kids he doesn’t know without reservation. (And being his shy, introverted mom, I’m always awed and thrilled by this.) He’s also the one who, when he sees a kid playing by himself, will invite him to join whatever he’s doing. He says hello to everyone he passes and never turns down a chance at a conversation, with kids or adults.

So, we were at the playground alone and he was doing his thing. A group of kids around his age showed up. He immediately tried to play with them. He ran over and tried to engage. It was pretty obvious from my view that they blew him off. But he’s easy going, so he went back to his thing. A little later, he tried again. No success.  But again, he just went back to playing alone. No biggie.

Then, they all descended on the play equipment that he was on. He was sitting at the top of the little slide, and a girl was trying to climb up it. He wouldn’t move. (He can also be pretty stubborn.) She started yelling for her mom, and eventually he moved aside so she could pass. A minute later, he’s standing there, head hanging down not saying a word, and this blond boy a good two inches shorter than him obviously just laying into him. I couldn’t hear what was being said, so I inched closer.

“You aren’t my friend!”

“You can’t play with us!”

“We are all friends, and you’re not!”

I asked what was going on. The boy said my son tried to hit him. “No,” I said, “I saw him and he didn’t.”

“He was going to hit my sister.”  “No, I said again, “I saw the whole thing, and he wasn’t.”

“Well, he was mean to me.”

At this point, I looked at my son. He looked pitiful. Big fat tears slid down his cheeks. Snot ran out of his nose and puddled on his upper lip.

This is where I went wrong.

Instead of walking away, or finding the mom (who was in a gaggle of ladies not paying any attention), or saying something more adult-like, I turned into a petulant child. I said, “Well, you are not nice. He was just trying to play with you and you were mean to him. You are a nasty little boy.”

The boy tried to argue back, and I again said, “You are not being nice.”

And then, I took my boy by the hand and we walked away.

I told him that sometimes people just aren’t nice and we shouldn’t let it ruin our fun time. Even though he was crying and asked to leave—and my heart was breaking—I took him on the swings and eventually got him to smile again. But his heart wasn’t in it, so we left soon after.

I forced myself to be pleasant all the way home and talk about how fun the playground was, and what we’ll do the next time we go, because I didn’t want him to focus on the negative. But my blood was boiling and, worse, I knew I blew it.

So, yeah, it was not my finest moment. And an opportunity to teach my son to be the bigger person was lost. But, damn, when I saw those tears and that wounded face…I just couldn’t.

Why Deadpool—and parenting—sucks

Sometimes parenting straight up sucks.

I made my son cry on the way to school this morning.

Why I picked that time I don’t know. I guess I didn’t expect that reaction. I knew he wouldn’t like what I said, but I didn’t expect him to cry. I forget that although he’s taller than me and sometimes has pimples, he’s still a little boy inside. Now I’m devastated, thinking he had to start his day like that.

But I did it for a good reason. Honest.

For two years he’s been looking forward to seeing the Deadpool movie. Since before there was even a hint of the movie being made, he drew pictures of him that he hung on his wall. He made Deadpool his home screen on the iPad. He bought some of his comics. He loves Deadpool.

(I know the comic books, and how raunchy the character is. My son’s read only read a few of them. In his twelve-year-old mind, Deadpool just looks cool and says funny things. He’s still naive and innocent.)

When he heard they were making a movie, he was beyond excited. WE were excited. Because that’s OUR thing. We see all the Star Wars, super hero, big monster movies together. And I cherish and love every second of it.

So he’s seen every preview, read articles about the making of the movie, counted the days.

Then, with a dawning sense of dread, I realized how inappropriate the movie is going to be. I stopped encouraging it, stopped mentioning it. Hoping he’d forget, but he didn’t. When the commercials started showing the opening date, he’d look at me, wide-eyed.  I’d smile half-heartedly and change the subject.

I told him last week that I wasn’t sure the movie was going to be appropriate for him. Laying the groundwork. I dreaded telling him that he couldn’t see it. I knew he’d be disappointed.

Last night, talking to a mom-friend, we agreed we’d go together opening weekend to decide once and for all if our boys could see it.

So, this morning in the car (bad timing!) I told him that I would see Deadpool this weekend to decide if he could see it. And he was crushed. He started to cry. For some stupid reason, I was surprised. I knew he’d be mad and disappointed, but didn’t expect tears. Ugh.

It’s moments like that, that I really hate parenting. I hate to see my boy cry, even if it’s for the right reason. And especially when it’s my fault. Part of me was screaming inside to say, “OK, you can see it,” just so he’d stop crying. But I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do.

Once I explained my reasoning and apologized for the bad timing, I changed the subject and tried to be cheerful. To his credit, he pulled it together and was talking about possible easter eggs in the movie by the time he jumped out of the car. But still. I’m left with this knot in my stomach.

Thanks a lot, Deadpool.