Calling on experienced parents of boys

Well, we have officially entered the, "I don't want to go to school, school is stupid phase". It took two weeks to completely settle in. Combined with this, a pediatrian informed a friend that there is a very strong testosterone surge at age 7. This would explain the explosive entrances, the walks that are not strolls but a combination of wrestling and track and football all in one. Of course, I think my child is bright. I didn't read the entire nonfiction of the children's library to him for nothing. But, of course, he hates practicing reading. A few days ago he did not bring home his homework folder. We went back to school to retrieve it. In front of the teacher, he emphatically explained, "These readers are boring and stupid!" Calmly, in the manner that only a 20 -something with no children
and hoards of time on her hands can get away with she said, " Well, we all have to do things we don't want to do." She didn't think I'd already used that line? Oh well.
My heart breaks and my frustration rises at the same time. This kid with a creative brain and body growing so much faster than I can write is in turmoil and I want to be gentle, but I also want to just scream. Do it! Tow the line, and buck up! My daughter waltzes through school- she's just not bothered by all the "do this and do that" orders of the day. Her interpretation of school is that there are rules and his interpretation is that everyone is bossing him around. She has her faults for sure, but she takes everything in stride. And my son bucks it all every step of the way with his tender ego just hoping someone will light his fire and call him out as special.
This can be all too much when the socks just have to go on and the coat just needs to be zipped. Is this boy? Or just my boy? A little of both, I am sure. He is special, after all.

You can get what where?

Did you know http://www.growafrog.com/ existed? I did not. But when a friend of mine asked if someone in my family might like an African water frog who was raised from a tadpole ordered from this place, I soon discovered that you truly can find joy on the internet. Since nothing could be more ill-mannered than our dog or a grumpy first-grader, a frog doesn't seem likely to cause much of a stir. Needless to say, the seven year old is THRILLED and monitors those who watch him closely. Proclaiming, "He's mine!" means you have spent too much time in front of the tank. It's an odd little webbed-footed friend who's major selling points included the price- free- and was an amphibian thus high on the list of things desired by a seven year old boy. Surprisingly agile, Bullseye's life expectancy is 35 years but we all know we dropped that by 10 when he crossed our doorstep. The anticipation in the acquisition of this frog was so high it was nearly unbearable, but the minute our Knopp Valley elves pulled into our driveway and revealed the bucket transporting our new friend all was right in the universe. When he was released into the tank...it was Christmas and birthday all rolled into one. I am sure that Grow-a-Frog could never have anticipated the joy they would create. Or maybe they did, and I need to stop bashing my own dreams. Truly, anything is possible.

Tiny tale

Ben has quite an imagination and it can prevent him from sleep. He woke up at 2:00 a.m asking for me. I went in and he started complaining about some creatures invading his safety shield and then after a pause he asked, " How long is this night gonna be?"

Whose idea was this?

I often see families out and about looking just like advertisements for travel brochures-everyone bicyling happily or walking along the lake with smiles and laughter. Just like a pre-teen looking at her first Seventeen magazine, I'd think, "Why can't this be me?" It always seems like any outing no matter how small becomes a big production of dramatic "I don't want to go" or "Do we have to?" protests. In less than sixty seconds you become your own mother clenching her teeth chirping unconvincingly, "You will come and you will have fun!" Once out and about someone forgets their water bottle (I look back and think that I must have spent my childhood dehydrated because I do not recall the obsession with water bottles when I was a kid-is that what was wrong with me all those years?), someone has to pee miles from a bathroom, someone is being attacked by flies, someone wisely becomes pokey or incredibly efficient to remove themselves from the bad group karma (him), and someone glumly trudges along wondering when she will learn that most of her great family friendly ideas are bad (her). What saves everyone is some lame attempts at humor which eventually become real enough that people forget when the mood turned and it no longer seems like the project that it was. "Can we do that again?" requests are met with silence. Then you slowly nod your head because of course, you will forget all the bad parts and you will do it again and it will likely be your idea.

In the parent hood

It's the last day of our grueling school week (only 3 actual class days) and people (my kids) are CRABBY. Oh, they like it well enough. However, the only comment Ben could muster about his first three days was this, "My teacher has smoov (smoothe) hair."

We've been lazy--sleeping in until 6:45 all summer and that 6:15 wake up call that is currently still exciting has already shown signs of fading when I prompted Ben awake and he rolled over muttering, " I don't fink so."

My days are quick. Polite people enter the book store and look at me kindly and show appreciation for any help I can give them. I am giddy with this thing that almost feels like affection. I switch gears at 2:30 and prepare for the onslaught of what I like to term "soft abuse"--whining, indignant requests for this and denials for doing that. Ben attacks me with hugs- he can't tone it down--he's been reigning it in all day. I am a sponge for all that pent-up angst.

Despite the drama, I see that perhaps even if I never publish a book or teach a class again, I have done something-- I have kids who light up when they see me. Besides a spa week in Hawaii, what more could I want?

From bones to bells

In one day, I experienced two firsts. I took my eldest to get her first cast on a fractured wrist due to an adventure down on the farm in Iowa. More than anything, the COLOR of the cast seemed to dominate the visit. Growth plates, be damned! What color will this cast be? Try as I might, I couldn't get the doc to crack a smile (no, it wasn't her dad) and I aborted the mission after my third attempt. I did see the student suppress a grin as though he wasn't sure he should or not. The child was nonplussed and thoroughly elated with her electric pink accessory and is desperately seeking Sharpies.

I ended my day with a 12 minues Fat Blast using kettle bells. There is a lot wrong with that sentence. If I could blast my fat in 12 minutes I would not be toiling on this blog. I would have pulicists and agents to attend to and speaking engagements to prepare for, but some crazy women I know wanted to show me Kettle Bells. At 9:30 p.m. I found my self swinging some weird 12 pound weight while a perky and fully abbed-out chick kept saying, "You're almost there." Where? is what I wanted to know. On the path to freedom from fat? Sunny San Diego where you are taping this damn thing? I didn't feel on my way to anywhere--except on my way to get an ice pack for my sore arms.

As I have said more than once, I can't make this stuff up. Adventure seems to stalk me.

Gone, babies gone.

Everyone probably thinks I am clicking my heels. And perhaps my step is a bit lighter, but the first day of school is always a little weird. Everyone is so excited, but I also feel a bit sad. Ben didn't think I needed to stand there to witness them getting on the bus. "We're big kids, mom." Oh. Well, I stayed anyway and he held my hand anyway so that was something.

Perhaps it's because while it is our adventure, it really is their adventure and it baffles me to think there are parts of their lives that I just don't know. One day you can time your child's bathroom habits and the next day, they are off in the free world listening (hopefully) to others tell them what to do. It's great and it's odd and it's what you've wanted and now it's here and it's great and it's odd.

"Will you meet us at the bus stop after school?" says Lucy Goose.
"Do you want me to?"
"Just today. You know we are big kids now, mom."
So I've been told. But I'll be there.