Chicago Cubs, children, humor, kids, motherhood

No Lie

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T.Puzzle has to write a speech to be performed in front of his class.   Thankfully, like his brother before him, he is fairly at ease with public speaking so this is not the challenge.  The challenge is coming up with a topic.  No lie, these are the highlights from the actual list we generated.  The ones in bold are my ideas, the ones in italics are T.Puzzle’s:

  •  Adopting our rescue dog
  • T.Puzzle’s first visit to Wrigley Field
  • The Olympics, I only like events where crashing happens
  • The Making of a Lego World
  • Cows, observe the cows
  • How to be a smart mouth to your mother and how this leads to success (or not, most definitely, not!)
  • Food
  • Cheeseburgers: why are you so delicious?
  • Origins of Fortune Cookies and the top five I would create: #1. Alive today, dead tomorrow 
  • This last one is all Full Speed’s idea: The challenges of having an older brother who is a track star

Like you, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for how this all unfolds.

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

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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.

gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Holiday Blessings

ry=480Another year is drawing to a close and I still marvel at all the ways motherhood continues to challenge me and make me grow.  I am grateful to both my boys for always loving me even though I don’t always get things right.  Their perpetual love of life inspires me.  Their perpetual energy?  I’m still trying to get a handle on that.

Full Speed has grown tremendously this year.  His humor is getting more sophisticated and I love that he can crack me up on a regular basis.  As a fourth grader, I’m fairly sure that Santa’s existence is tenuous at best for him, but he keeps holding onto the dream.  I suspect he is doing it as much for me as he is for himself.  That only makes me love him more.

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T.Puzzle has changed dramatically.  He still has threads of empathy woven permanently into his soul, but it surfaces less now.   All he wants to do is play football.  If he’s not playing it, he’s talking about it.  I miss the sweetness of him, but I admire the competitor he’s become.

Which brings me to the new level of interaction my boys have with Mad Dog.  They all live, eat and breathe football.  Even my precious walks to school with the boys are now consumed with serious discussions about stats and standings.

There isn’t much I can do about it.  It would be like my boys asking me not to be a writer.  I can’t ask them to be something they aren’t.  My job is to help them fully realize who they are.  Right now that happens to be fanatical football fans.  Sure it would be nice to have someone to watch romantic comedies with, take long walks in nature and sit with me in silence as we ponder life and existence.

I guess that’s why dogs were created.

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children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Changing of the Guard

The shift has been subtle.  Slowly, over the past couple of years, T.Puzzle and Full Speed have started to watch more and more football with Mad Dog.   It works out well for me because now Mad Dog has his built-in crew ready to watch his Buckeyes on game day.

This past weekend, I actually voluntarily decided to watch the Buckeyes play Northwestern.  I am partial to the ‘Land of Lincoln’ since it is where I grew up and was curious to see how the brainiacs of Mad Dog’s alma mater stacked up against his beloved Buckeyes.  While I was watching, I noticed something remarkable.   Of course the game was exciting, but what I found more entertaining were the spontaneous conversations I had with my boys.  The highlights were when T.Puzzle sat next to me and actually gently petted one of our dogs and chatted with me quietly.  I also enjoyed showing Full Speed the original and extremely more awesome version of the McDonald’s commercial which pits elite athletes in a showdown for food.   The 1993 Michael Jordan/Larry Bird commercial far outshines the current commercial with quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.  Full Speed and I were in stitches as Jordan and Bird one-upped each other in a ridiculous ‘nothing but net’ sort of way.

It seems that I am faced with a serious football choice.  I have decided for the remainder of the season to watch the Buckeyes with my guys.  It’s inevitable that the changing of the guard has happened.  It’s obvious my boys are starting to prefer their ‘guy time’ over sitting-quietly-and-reading-with-Mom-time.  What’s a girl to do?  Get her Buckeye jersey on and cheer like her life depends on it.  Well, at least her quality time with her boys does.

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The three of us in much younger days dressed in our Buckeye gear
children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Art of Raising Boys

ry=400-1As I navigate the sometimes choppy waters of raising boys, I’m often left wondering if I’m a balanced disciplinarian.  There’s a fine line between boys just being boys and blatantly disrespectful behavior.  I don’t want to live my life as Captain of the ‘No-Fun-Ever’ Police, but I also don’t want my boys to run wild.  I never know if I’m getting it right.

Here’s a list of common behaviors that fall into a gray area and how I view them.

1.  Wrestling constantly with your brother usually in a light-hearted manner.  ACCEPTABLE

2.  Yanking your brother’s glasses off his face while wrestling and tossing them across the room.  UNACCEPTABLE

3. Passing gas on command and cracking up endlessly.  Depends on the context and thankfully, it’s rare, so I usually let this one slide.  Do I understand the hilarity of it?  Never.

4.  Thinking you are AWESOME at everything.  ACCEPTABLE

5.  Smacking your booty every time you complete a math problem on the computer.  To clarify, only T.Puzzle does this.  I think it’s crazy and I do my best to ignore it.  At least he’s doing something academic, right?

6.  Arguing when told to do something.  Unequivocally UNACCEPTABLE.  This issue alone is the main reason my boys have come to know time-out and consequences intimately.

7.  Crying or having a terrible attitude when you lose.  UNACCEPTABLE

8.  The weird inability to pay attention to what I tell them to do.  As soon as a direction has left my mouth, I usually am asked 27 detailed, repetitive questions about what I just said.  As long as they comply with a good attitude, I chalk it up to that male quality that renders them deaf to the sound of female voices.

9.  Being averse to hugs and kisses from their Mom.  UNACCEPTABLE  They have to suck it up.  Just like I know they won’t change some aspects of who they are, neither will I.  Full Speed is politely resigned to my affections.  T.Puzzle is a little more squirmily defiant.  Either way, it’s happening.

10. Giving corrective feedback.  Well, if I married Mad Dog, the king of subtle, corrective feedback (an influencing genius if you will), then, can I really be shocked his boys share this trait?  I usually let it slide but if they catch me on a bad day, all bets are off.  For some reason, I’m much less open to Mad Dog’s feedback than the boys’.  Go figure.

I hope one day that my boys will be parents.  Ideally, they will have only girls and will be as confused as I am.