Tag Archives: parenting

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 Cried Today

  I cried on the way to work today. I cried for my daughters, gay and straight, for my granddaughter and my nieces. I cried for all the beautiful LGBTQ people I know, who are terrified of losing everything. I cried for myself and for every woman who has ever been sexually harassed, abused, demeaned, raped or made to feel that she’s somehow less because of her gender.

  I cried today for all the people who came here, to America, looking for a better life for themselves and their children. For the people of all races, colors, genders, and religions who have fought and struggled for basic human rights.

  I cried for the people who believe that the man they elected cares about them, because if you don’t look like him, if you are not a rich, white, middle-aged male, he really doesn’t.

  I cried because yesterday America decided that none of that matters.

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.

 

 How Many Socks Can I Pick Up?

Bob Bobson: Welcome ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for America’s favorite game show: How Many Socks Can I Pick Up?!

(applause)

Please say hello to our returning champion: Suzanne Kosmerl! Suzanne hails from a little town just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, is married, has two boys, and is defending her How Many Socks Can I Pick Up title of an amazing 45 socks in one swoop. Suzanne, what’s your secret?

Suzanne: Well, Bob, having two boys and a husband, I have to pick up a lot of socks! And, we have a crazy dog who likes to steal socks and hide them in strange places, so I’m used to the odd numbers. Let’s just say I get lots of practice!

(laughter)

Bob: Well, Suzanne, it sounds like you are a picking-up-socks pro! Let’s see if you can hold on to that title. We’ll meet your next challenger, after a brief word from our sponsor, Maytag.

(applause)
(cut to commercial)

Amanda

I wrote this when I was a young mom, shortly after my first baby was born and I was overwhelmed by the love I had (and still have) for her.

Watching her sleep, so helpless and small

The greatest gift from God20160905_121527

The most beautiful miracle of all

Tiny and wonderful, full of love to give

She smiles in her sleep, having angel dreams

I reach down and touch her cheek

Stroking her soft pink skin

Looking into sparkling, wide eyes,

Laughing over a tiny upturned nose,

She has brought joy and love to an empty life.

What the hell, World?

Has it always been this crazy?

The presidential election. (Sigh. This election.) Terrorists. Mass murder. Hate. Racism. Every other ism. Allowing ourselves to be pitched against one another. It’s madness.

My motherly instincts want me to hide my kids away, shield them from the absolute insanity going on in our world today.

But. They have to live in this world. And hopefully make it better when it’s their turn. So don’t they need to know it. All of it? Even the bad stuff?

It’s enough to drive a mom mad.

And yes, I do think it’s always been this crazy. We just didn’t know it. We didn’t always have social media, where we can literally watch things unfold in real time.

We didn’t have the news in our Facebook feed showing us every missing child, every murder, every abuse case from every small town in America. (Seriously, how do I turn that off?)

We didn’t have live tweeting from the scene. Giving us a perspective we’ve never had before. (And if you’re like me, you find out about things happening from Twitter.)

In the old days, if you skipped the 11 o’clock news and didn’t read the newspaper you were blissfully ignorant. (As long as you could dodge Gladys from down the street.)

Now, it’s everywhere. It’s difficult to ignore because social media and all things online are ingrained into our every day lives. It’s hard to escape, even if you wanted to.

I do love social media. I must, I do it for a living. I love keeping up with family and friends far away. I love seeing their pictures, hearing their stories. I love getting to know people from all over the world in a way that I could not have before.

But with the good comes the bad.

I also get to see the world as it is. Warts and all. And I get drawn in. Refreshing that feed too often. Checking the phone one too many times. And you know what? It makes me unhappy. (At least sometimes. I still love a good puppy pic.)

All the more reason to unplug regularly. (Or go off the grid altogether if that’s your thing.) I want to set a good example for my kids. I do think that, within reason, they should know what’s going on in the world. But they also need to learn moderation. And that constant exposure to social media and the insanity that comes with it is not healthy.

Earlier today as I sat in front of my screen working, my younger son waited patiently for me to read to him. I’ll tell you what, watching him giggle over a baby firefly being called a pupa was the most awesome thing that happened to me today. I’m glad he reminded me to unplug.

The best thing we can do is put our devices down and spend quality time with our kids. Raise them to be good human beings. As Whitney says, they are our future. Maybe if we raise them right this world will have a chance. I know I’m going to try harder.

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.