children, health, humor, motherhood

The Birds and the Bees

In a world where children are becoming more sophisticated earlier and earlier, I have been keenly aware of the changes in my boys, namely Full Speed.  Yes, his body may not be totally ready to burst into manhood, but I’ve had a feeling for a while now, that complicated questions have been churning in his mind.  I’ve always had a healthy sense of denial about the actual ‘birds and bees’ discussion because frankly, I thought I could pawn it off on Mad Dog.  Oh, how I loved living on this little island of glorious, ignorant bliss where all I would ever talk to my boys about were sports and movies about sports.

Both Mad Dog and I felt like the time for the serious conversation had arrived.  Mad Dog had the brilliant idea of finding some books about the changes boys face (see? I don’t even want to type the word puberty) and giving them to Full Speed since he is an avid reader.  This way, he would get all the information he needed and would be a good basis for Mad Dog to have the necessary discussions with him.

Life was so much more simple when books about Elmo ruled


Well, this didn’t go exactly as planned.  Full Speed, like his nickname implies, read the books speedily in one sitting.  Then, he proceeded to get a stomach bug that night and I was left home alone with him, for an entire day with all these questions swirling about.  I did what I had to do.  I talked to him about things in such detail it would have made a sailor blush.  While I was talking, I sort of had an out-of-body moment as I observed myself saying these almost unspeakable things out loud to my BABY.  I was woozy and light-headed.  Even though my insides cringed, I kept a calm exterior going.  I didn’t need to add to Full Speed’s confused wonderment by being flighty.  I had to sit there and I had to say it and I had to act like it was no big deal.

I think we both grew up a lot during this conversation.  At times, I felt like I was speaking to the adult version of my son, at other times, I could see the shocked little boy within him.  Either way, the timing and the conversation felt right.  I left the room knowing that he is armed with the correct information, he knows that his parents are there for his questions no matter how embarrassing and that some of the details of growing up are just plain gross.

All I can say is when it’s T.Puzzle’s turn, Mad Dog…. I happily pass the torch to you.

children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Teachable Moments

ry=400-7I love to watch movies with the boys.  However, it is often difficult to agree on one that we all are willing to watch.  Recently, Mad Dog persuaded me to allow the boys to watch a crazy tornado movie called Into the Storm.  My boys usually do well watching movies geared slightly above their age range.  We use a lot of humor to lighten the drama and it winds up being more comical than scary.

One of the reasons I love to watch movies with them is because they haven’t seen enough to understand obvious plot points.  When I accurately ‘predict’ what is going to happen next, they are amazed.

For instance, Into the Storm had a scene where I correctly predicted that both the characters would live, even though all evidence pointed to the contrary.  To see if Mad Dog was paying attention I said, “You know the hot girl lives.  They always do.”  He said an absentminded, “Yeah.”

Well, at this point, he was totally busted.  I teased him and said, “What?  So you admit she’s hot?”

He was backed into a corner.

As the movie progressed and this girl was in more and more peril, every time she survived, Mad Dog used it as a teaching tool.  “See boys?  See how the hot girl survives everything?  That’s why I married your Mom.  It’s the law of hotness.  I will never die in a storm as long as I’m married to your Mom.”

My prediction?  Mad Dog is safe for a long, long time.

children, family, kids, motherhood, parenting, potty training

From One Mom to Another

If you are out their struggling to make sense of your child’s behavior, you are not alone.  If you were to tell me how hard it has been for you to get your child to be potty-trained, eat vegetables, ride a bike, etc., I would empathize.  I wouldn’t be the type to tell you how easy it was for me to teach those skills to my kids and tell you the miraculous way in which I did so in under five minutes.

I’m not that Mom.

I’m the Mom that would listen.  I’m the Mom that wouldn’t judge you because I’ve been there.  In fact, I’m still there.  All you would need to see is me in the pool ‘teaching’ and ‘encouraging’ Full Speed to expand his swimming skills.  It would take you under a minute to see his stubborn face emerge, frustration creep over my face and understand the only thing learned in the pool that day is that I’m a terrible swim instructor.

I get it.

I get that you’ve tried every angle, every bribe you possibly can to get your child to comply with the life skill you are attempting to teach.  I get that you stress about it late at night and wonder what other Moms must think of you.  I know I especially experienced a lot of angst over potty training my boys.  All the ‘helpful’ suggestions from friends who had easily potty-trained their kids failed miserably for me.  Eventually I learned it is less about the methods and more about the DNA of your kid.  Even if you are equipped with top-notch advice and researched hours of the best solutions to your issue, if your kid is hard-core stubborn, most things are not going to work.

I am also the Mom that has faith in you.  All I can offer you is a spin on the current parenting challenge you are facing.  Focus less on what they are not doing and think about it more in terms of why they aren’t doing it.  It is all a matter of power and control.  So, maybe your kid isn’t the first one to ride a bike without training wheels, in the long run, when they learn won’t matter.  What you will come to appreciate (hopefully!) is that fire inside them that fights tooth and nail against your wishes will be one of their greatest assets as they move forward in the world.  I’d put money on them that they will be huge successes in anything they choose to be or do in this world.

I’m here to tell you that your kid, in all their feisty glory, is well on their way to being a strong, independent, amazing person.   A chip off the old block indeed, Mom.

children, family, motherhood, parenting

Thanks, but No Thanks

T.Puzzle had an excellent six month dental check-up.  Before we left for the dentist I kept reminding him that he needed to use his manners.  He goes to a great practice that takes him back alone.  Therefore, if I’m not with him reminding him every second about his manners, he has about a fifty percent success rate.

As we were leaving I asked him, “Did you remember your manners?”

“No, I forgot, Mom.  It was a long car ride over.”

children, family, motherhood, parenting

No Such Thing as Summer

Full Speed’s version of relaxing on the beach.

The school year is almost over and summer vacation is right on our heels.  I am arming myself with positive self-talk (‘you can do it!’/ ‘they may steal your energy but never your soul!’ / ‘it really is five o’clock somewhere!’), signing the boys up for a myriad of day camps and activities and my personal favorite, good old-fashioned denial.

Ready or not, here summer vacation comes.

I have noticed that Full Speed has cranked up his hyperactivity quotient (I honestly didn’t know this was humanly possible) as his first grade year draws to a close.  I still find it hard to believe that he holds himself together in the classroom.  His teacher insists he is very well-behaved.  I imagine even the best behaved kids are prone to losing it as the excitement of summer fills the school.  I worried for his teacher because if he was acting this out of control at home, what would he be like at school?

“Full Speed, do I need to call your teacher?  Does she need to know you are way too hyper today?”  I ask.

He snaps to attention.  “No, Mom.  I know what self-control is.  Sometimes I really want to be hyper at school but then I just don’t.”  His serious expression told me he was telling the truth.

Guess he’s saving up all his hyperactivity for summer vacation and for me.

I have no response to this because in my mind, there is no summer.  It’s the only way I’ll survive until the fall.