Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam I Am

Today my baby boy is fifteen.  Fifteen is the stage where they know everything, yet would still like you to make them lunch.  (And pay for everything, and "Hey, can you wash my shirt by tomorrow?")

His teenage-ness started when he was 11 and I was no longer allowed to talk to him in public.  Oh, how I miss those days.  Whenever I tell someone about what a difficult time we've been having with him, they ask his age and say "Oh, that's a tough age."   It's been  four years now and they're still saying it.

Sometimes I think it's going to have to be military school for Sam or AA for me in order for us both to survive his adolescence.

But then, every once in a while, there's a little glimmer of the sweet boy he used to be that makes me think I might not have failed utterly as a parent.  Sometimes he forgets he hates me and tells me something funny that happened at school or gives me a flash of the dimples when I joke around with him.  Then he slinks away and yells at his sister, but not before I recognize my son in there.

A couple of weeks ago I was waiting to pick Sam up from soccer practice (in the car of course--teenage handbook clearly states all parents must wait in the car) when I noticed one of the kids talking to the coach.  This boy was returning some borrowed gear, talking and smiling, all the while  looking the coach in the eye.  Wow, I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a son like that?  Friendly, responsible, and respectful of authority figures. Then I realized it was my son!  Apparently his mother did teach him some manners, he just chooses not to use them at home.

So Happy Birthday to my baby boy.  You taught me how to be a mother and a lot about patience.  I'm hoping one day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny.  Sometimes it's even funny now, but only after a good glass of wine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How I Spent My Facebook Vacation

I wish I could say giving up Facebook for Lent made me a better person.  I should be coming out of these 40 days having spent my time in quiet reflection and worthwhile pursuits.  Sigh.  Instead, this is how I spent Lent:

1.  I started blogging, which some may say is a worthwhile pursuit, but really it's just an extended FB update.  With spellcheck. ;)

2.  I was unkind to a door-to-door missionary.  I let my dogs frighten her and I had unkind thoughts about her fashion sense.  Three Hail Mary's and an overnight stay in Purgatory (without FB).

3.  I made it to the gym more often, yet I didn't lose any weight.  Could be those brownies I ate to fill my empty FB soul. 

4.  I also started doing Jillian Michaels' yoga DVD.  I still can't do the camel pose, but have come to the conclusion that her belly button resembles the navel of an un-ripe orange.  (While my belly button is past it's expiration date.)

5.  I came up with new and inventive ways to harass my kids.  Without my face pressed to FB, I realized I have some pretty funny kids--who are even funnier when I annoy them.

6.  Soccer practice, soccer game, volleyball practice, band concert, volleyball game, school volunteer day...Laundry.   Phew!  It's a wonder I had time for FB.

7.   I freaked out about my kids' grades.  I spent sleepless nights imagining them working as telephone solicitors and living in our basement.  And we don't even have a basement.  Then I had a margarita and figured  D was really the new C, and, hey, they were passing weren't they?

8.  I thought un-kind thoughts about my husband as he checked his FB account while sitting next to me.  And I came up with new and inventive ways to harass him.

9.  I finally got around to a couple projects I'd been putting off.  I spray painted the wood chair I got from Goodwill pink to match Olivia's room.  In the process I might have accidentally painted the driveway pink (well, fuchsia).  Right after my husband had spent an entire day pressure washing it.  He isn't as funny when he's annoyed.

10.  I shopped for our upcoming Vegas trip.  I shopped and shopped.  I think we may have to extend our trip a day our 12 so I can wear all my new clothes.  (And you are welcome, local Marysville retailers. You'll be seeing a blip on your economic indicators for the 40 days leading up to Easter.)

So you see, while giving up Facebook for Lent was definitely an exercise in will power, it did not bring me any closer to God.  If you think about it, though, God created the people who created Facebook, so really it's kind of a holy time-suck, instead of your run of the mill time-suck.  God wants me to be on Facebook. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Selling Jesus Door To Door

A missionary showed up at my door the other day, complete with brochures and homely outfit.  I think she was a Jehovah's Witness, maybe a Seventh Day Adventist.  (Someone really needs to come up with a field guide for missionaries.)

Let me just state for the record I'm not overly fond of missionaries.  I get the idea behind it:  go forth and spread the good news, go tell it on the mountain, if we have to dress in these dowdy outfits everyone else should, too.  It's not the religious fervor I object too, it's them telling me I'm wrong I have a problem with.  Not only that I'm wrong, but I'm too stupid to know it. 

And the pamphlets.  I hate the sad pamphlets.  Do these people know nothing about marketing?

When My Missionary came to the door, perhaps the dogs might have accidentally got out.  Now, if you know anything about our dogs (two good natured if slightly spastic labs), you'd know this is no big deal.  Unless you don't like to be slobbered on or covered in dog hair.  White dog hair.  And you're wearing a long black skirt, black tights, and a black coat.  And you're a timid missionary who doesn't know our dogs would sooner learn to play the violin than bite anyone.  So they accidentally got out.  And in the confusion of getting them back in the house, I just didn't get a chance to discuss if I was wrong or stupid or going to hell with My Friendly Missionary.

But then she played the pamphlet card.  Now I ask you, when in all the history of missionary-hood, as a poorly illustrated pamphlet sealed the deal? I, however, went to Catholic school and I know a false prophet when I see one.  Now, if she'd invited me to a Sausage Fest with a Beer Garden, that would have been a different story.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Report Card Blues

Having internet access to your kids' grades isn't always a good thing.  Remember back in the good old days when parents could be lied to and strung along until the day the actual report card came out?  Those lucky moms could spend months at a time, happy in their ignorance, not needing to anguish over what to do about about Tommy's poor grades.

I suppose if your kid is an overachiever, the daily access to their GPA would be great. Oh look, Suzy got an A on her math test and an A+ on her book report!  But not my kids.  My formerly intelligent children have decided to forgo the traditional path of studying and good grades and have instead devised a way to use their brain power to torment me.  Turn in homework?  Boring!  Be aware of assignments and due dates?  How predictable!  You know what will make Mom absolutely crazy?  If we complete a project and then forget to turn it in!  ROTFL!!

I've begun to wonder if all the time I spent playing educational games with them and the countless hours spent reading bedtime stories were just wasted time.  Apparently I could have just plopped them in front of the TV!  Hey, maybe I should have had that margarita when I was pregnant.

In all honesty, I have great kids.  They are smart (thanks in part to my superior parenting) and funny and easy going.  Maybe not excelling at math does not doom one of them to a future working at McDonalds.  And if one forgets to turn in homework, perhaps it is not an indicator of intelligence, but that she just has so much going on in that smart little head of hers she can't keep track of details.  Perhaps it would just be easier on all of us if I lost my password to the online grade book.