My son Skip is a very lovely young man. He is polite. I've seen him open doors for people. He's helped older women without being asked. He is a doll.
My daughter Zoey adores her big brother Skip. She is fun and full of life.
And when they are together I want to scratch my eyes and eat my young.
My son turned 11 and he is very much preparing for middle school. In fact, he quit washing his face so he COULD GET ACNE BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT MADE HIM LOOK OLDER/COOLER. I may have actually said "That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard." I then explained how no one has ever looked back on their teen years and said "I wish I had only had MORE acne."
I should also disclose that I used a sarcastic tone that implied he was a dumbass. Hold on to that for a moment.
I'm not sure when my sweet son turned on me, but it has happened fairly recently. And surprisingly. I am not the doting, dingy mommy who talked baby talk to him. I've always respected him since birth and talked to him normally. I've asked his opinion and it matters. When I chaperone trips for his class, I am the one the kids run to. My husband refers to me as the school yard rock star. My son even had an issue in third grade when he didn't want me to volunteer because he was jealous-- he didn't want to share. We are close enough that he was able to verbalize this to me. Then he decided that since some of the kids didn't have moms or nice families that it was okay to share. And if he hadn't felt that way, I would have stopped volunteering.
But now he wants to find something wrong. A cause from which to rebel.
And there isn't one.
So he's trying make stuff up.
Like the "my mom is so stupid" thing. But I'm not. And it's annoying. Ask my husband. He could totally run with the "my mom is fat and out of shape" and he'd have me on that one.... but the stupid thing.... well.... it's not a great game plan. His homework does not baffle me... yet. I'm sure the day will come. He was memorizing the US presidents-- something I never had to do. So I was learning it with him. I'm lost on most of the 1800s, but I can nail the 1900s. I was explaining to him how they fit together-- suggested he learned it and not just memorized it. He fought and then he realized that learning it made it stick a little better. I gave him some ways to help him, but in general I explained how it fit together. He was happy to finish before most of his class.
We are working on the Gettysburg Address now.
He wants to kill me. Because my method works. And at the end of the day, he is my son and he wants that A. Apple. Tree. He'll put up with me to get it.
So as he's fighting through this whole love-hate thing, his sister is getting the brunt of the abuse. He is being a complete and total douchebag to her. She adores him. He is the sun and moon in her life.
He doesn't care.
His computer privileges were pulled when we caught him chatting online. To his credit, he didn't lie. Zoey would log in so he could still play Minecraft. She even got mad at me for getting mad at him for being mean to her. He didn't mean it.
She can hold her own, too. Don't misunderstand me. And that's what makes it worse. The constant bickering. He makes sarcastic comments (I told you to hold that thought from earlier...), she whines back.
The kid is 100% my son. Apple. Tree. Very sarcastic tree, I should add.
And if I have to pick sides, I have to say, she is usually in the right. Sorry. Plus, she's nicer to me these days, so of course I side with her. That's how the world works.
But the bickering... I'd rather be locked in a room without windows listening to "What Does the Fox Say" than this perpetual angry banter.
Last week we were on our way to school and they were slap fighting...in their "Be Kind" shirts. I started laughing. "Be Kind" does not apply to siblings.
So Skip and I had a chat tonight. We discussed how cool his sister really is. We discussed how he is a bully to her.
And then I stole and idea from my friend and told him he had to write 10 nice things about his sister (Thanks, Rita!). My poor friend is in Snow Day Hell in Chicago with her boys. I feel for her.
I know this is a phase. I know it will stop. I know some day I may even miss this crap.
But I won't stand for him being mean to his little sister. I can take it. She doesn't deserve it.
And just when I was about to give up on my parenting skills, I did the laundry.
There were as many pair of underwear as days since I last washed clothes. Almost. Close enough.
I guess something is sinking in.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I am turning 44 on Monday. It's apparently such a big deal they made it a national holiday. I thought I would take some time and share some of the amazing insights and lessons acquired over these past 44 years. Try not to laugh or take this too seriously.
So happy birthday to me!!
- Your life will not turn out like you planned. If you embrace the unexpected, it's probably going to be better than anything you imagined.
- Kids grow insanely fast. Crazy fast. Don't blink.
- Don't wait until tomorrow or next year to do that thing you want to do. I work with a lot of older people. Stuff happens.
- It's much harder to lose weight than I ever imagined.
- Letting friends go is not a bad thing. Chances are they won't even notice for a year or so.
- Speak using proper English. If you talk like you don't know nothing....
- Don't marry someone just because they asked. Marry someone because you can't imagine a future without them.
- You don't have to have children. Make sure you want to take care of someone for 18 years. No matter what.
- Public schools are only as good as the public they serve.
- Fact check the crap you post on Facebook.
- When something bad happens, give yourself 24 hours to pout. Then move on. Seriously. No one else cares and there's no point to whining.
- If you don't like something, change it. Try changing your attitude first.
- Say a prayer or meditation of thanks every night and every morning. It really does make for a better day and puts thing in perspective.
- Children need time and love, not stuff.
- Living abroad will change you.
- Be kindest to the people you love the most. Don't take them for granted.
- Reality TV is not real.
- Dusk is my favorite time of day and I have no idea why.
- Eat outside as much as possible. Food tastes better outdoors.
- Learn to say "no" and feel okay with saying it.
- Love is a verb, not a noun.
- Don't expect the movie to be as good as the book. They are different. Go with it. Appreciate them for what they are.
- Don't buy a car based on the payment. Buy a car based on the price.
- Have friends of all ages. My older friends are inspiring. My younger friends make me feel better about the future.
- Learn to roast a chicken. It's easy.
- Don't make celebrities and sports figures your heroes. You'll be disappointed. It's not their job.
- Dance at weddings. Life's too short to be too cool to participate.
- Try to kiss your spouse like you're 16 as often as possible. The kisses that never ended and usually led nowhere....(I was a fairly good girl, what can I say...)
- Take a staycation to enjoy your hometown more.
- You are not obligated to be friends with your family. Just because you're related doesn't mean people have the right to treat you poorly.
- Being cool is a completely useless endeavor. Being kind is far more important.
- I have no room in my life for racists.
- Good wine is whatever wine you like.
- The disclaimers on commercials are some of the funniest things I read. I know cars don't fly...
- 3-D movies make me nauseous and are rarely worth the extra money.
- Stay up on technology. Not only is it useful, it's really cool.
- The past is not nearly as wonderful as you remember it.
- Have one nice outfit that makes you feel unstoppable when you wear it.
- Write letters to your grandparents. They will love it and you'll be amazed at what they write back. And they will write back. And you will treasure it.
- Talk to your spouse about how you want to parent. It makes it easier to be united when one of you isn't making the "huh?" face.
- More is not better. Enough is best.
- Sleep is the best cure for everything. Except a concussion.
- Your worst moments will eventually be your best moments because they help define the person you are.
- I am incredibly grateful for my friends, my career, and most importantly my husband and children.
So happy birthday to me!!
Posted by Mama Bean at 6:49 PM