Category Archives: parenting

Today. 

The 2 younger boys are at a summer camp for the better part of the day this week Monday through Thursday (cue angels singing), leaving me and Luke to fill our days.  

This morning, I asked him to come with me to drop off the boys, then go for a walk/jog on the levee. Told him we’d go look for some shoes for him after that, then get lunch. He agreed, and he wasn’t even reluctant.

We exercised, shopped the outlet mall, and ate Pie Five for lunch. And it was just so pleasant. 


Not that many years ago, I would’ve told you that the prospect of parenting teenagers, especially boys, freaked me out and seemed completely out of my comfort zone. 

And trust me, there is still plenty to be uncomfortable and awkward about, and moments where his obvious early-teenageness makes me crazy. 

But gosh, I love it when he’s talkative and willing to listen and have a conversation. I’ve warned him before, and reminded him again today, that he has a mom who is not afraid to discuss hard topics, and give him different angles to consider, so that he can form his own opinion. And that I hope it means he knows a) I’m going to bring stuff up that may be awkward and b) it means I’m comfortable with him asking questions, etc. 

Today we talked about current events, particularly about prejudices and stereotypes, and why they’re just not ok. We talked about the difference between ISIS and Islam, and how some people don’t understand that there’s a difference. We talked about LGBTQ issues – how America views the issues, how Christianity does, how I view it all – and the horror of the massacre in Orlando, and how people are trying to use this to further religious/political agendas. We talked about how it’s entirely possible to have a different opinion than your friends, even on heated topics, if you can simply manage to approach each other intelligently and with respect.

I’m sure there were lots of times that he would’ve preferred I stop talking or asking him questions. But he’s not always easy to engage, so I took full advantage of our morning together. And I really feel like these conversations have to happen if we, as a generation of parents, have any chance of putting humans out into the world who do a better job of civilly engaging with each other.

And yes, I’m all warm and fuzzy about parenting right now. But give it an hour…his brothers are about to blow in here like a hurricane, and then it’s the supper/baseball game/baseball practice evening frenzy that is regular life (which I love, don’t get me wrong).

Just thankful for the one-on-one we got today 🙂

Dear Bennett’s Future Wife,

A few weeks ago, I caught him like this.


He had accidentally smashed part of a cracker on the floor, and he cleaned it up himself. Without me asking him to.

I just want you to know that I worked hard to instill something like this in him, and it appears that it may have at least partially sunk in. I’m not celebrating just yet, but I want you to know that he knows this.

He’s the best kind of adventure, this one. Prepare yourself, whoever you are. I’m already praying for you.

Love,

His mom

He’s Mine. 

Oh hi friends. I know. Long time, no blog.

It’s a combination of things: if I’m writing right now it’s book/proposal/query related. Also, the boys still do things that I want to remember, but they’re generally getting too old to regularly be blogged about.

But honestly, I still think in terms of blog posts a lot of the time. When I saw this reading log on the counter a couple of weeks ago, I snapped a picture because I knew I needed to record it here. I laughed because Jack Henry’s comment here is so totally me. (Also, please note: he is occasionally critical of the sloppiness of my signature.)

my comment – his teacher’s – JH’s

I especially love seeing this little bit of me in him because his brain works so very differently than mine. Here’s an illustration of that:

Jack Henry asked for a strategy game called QBitz Extreme for his birthday. Matt’s sisters bought it for him, and he’s really good at it.

He wanted me to give it a try, and not knowing exactly what it was, I said sure. Teach me how to play.

Basically, there is a pattern on a card that you are to replicate with small cubes. Let’s just say that spacial-relationship-type thinking is not my strong suit. (However, I can read a map pretty well, so there’s that.)

He gave me an easy one to start, and I was able to solve it. But, I could tell he was watching me do it, and he knew it was hard for me. The second one he gave me was a little harder, and I swear he was looking at me the whole time like I was adorably dumb (though he was not in the least condescending…that’s so not in his nature).

As I frustratingly finished the second card, I decided this was a great opportunity to talk about multiple intelligences, and how some people are stronger in some areas than others, and vice versa.

And then I recommended that all math questions from here on out be directed to Dad, and that I would handle reading-and-writing-type questions. I think the boys were all “yeah, we already knew that” but at least they were nice about it.

he’s the cutest.

Winning the Day. 

Luke made it into the geography bee at school this week by passing a written test. 

The bee was today, and he made it to the 7th round. Each kid got 2 misses. Luke missed in the 6th and 7th rounds. 

But check out this awesomeness: I asked last week if I was allowed to come watch. Him: “I don’t think parents do that.”

So today, I was waiting in parking lot by around 4:20, in case he was done early from the 4:30 pick up time he’d given me. 4:30 came and went. His assistant principal called me at 4:40 to tell me he was still in, and that I could come to the commons to watch. 

Where EVERYONE’S parents were watching. 

Sigh. 

There are moments, few and far between, but they exist, when I miss the time that actually winning the day involved things like:

I fed all 3 kids 3 meals plus 2 snacks today! (Mom of the year!)

They all got baths! (Go me!)

And everyone just went to bed without putting up a fight! (Let’s celebrate with wine!)

Luke 100% acted like he didn’t care that I wasn’t there, but I still feel bad.  Now I know. (But seriously. Geography bee participant? Is this kid even mine? Are there more geography bees in my future?)

So Unpredictable. 

Scene: my living room, Luke and Matt sitting on the couch watching TV. 8:45pm. Jack Henry is asleep, Bennett is upstairs knocking out his pre-bedtime chin-ups/push-ups (yes, I’m serious, that child…), and I have just thrown in a load of laundry. Which contains the shirt that Jack Henry needs to wear on his field trip tomorrow. Naturally. 

I announce that I am taking over the living room to watch Gilmore girls while I iron. Luke kind of groans about turning the channel, and I gleefully reply that anyone who would like to do the ironing can choose what’s on TV. I jokingly ask if he’d like to learn a life skill. 

AND HE SAYS YES. 

What is my life? 

(So I gave him a lesson in shirt ironing. Which is hilarious because I’m awful at ironing; like no grown woman should be this bad. Whatever. Now I’m the second-worst ironer in this house because Luke would definitely leave more wrinkles than me at this point. But hooray for life skills teaching!)

Cheers! Because there’s no way I’m ironing and not having a glass of wine. Plus now it’s time for Lorelei and Rory and Stars Hollow. 

Ladders. 

Y’all. The imaginary Boymom Guide* did not tell me about how many times I’d have to climb a ladder** and rescue frisbees and balls from the gutter. It’s like my part time job now. 

So attention, moms of darling baby boys, don’t say I didn’t warn you: this is your future. 

 

I do not recommend making it look like it’s fun, lest they try to throw more stuff up there.

 
*hm. Maybe this is a book I should write?

**easiest ladder to use is not quite tall enough, so I have to climb up to the top a lot. I know. I always make a kid hold the ladder steady for me, but last time, when I went to fold it up, I accidentally pinched Bennett’s finger in the hinge. And because I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, I kept closing the ladder. Cue all the awful feelings. 

Older Kids Are Awesome: Saturday Morning Edition 

I’ve made no secret about how I know we are in a parenting sweet spot. Way past baby/toddlerhood (which I loved, but holy exhausting, that is for young people), but not yet at driving/girlfriends/college decisions. And while it’s not nearly all sparkly rainbows and unicorns, it’s nice.

Take this morning for instance.

Matt got up early to get an oil change, so he was out of the house. I stayed in bed (not sleeping, of course, because it’s the only morning I don’t actually have to be out of bed early, so naturally, I was awake. Nearing-40, you are a delight.) until close to 8, and came downstairs to the boys quietly playing a computer game together.

Because we have a slow day, I offered to make pancakes* for breakfast. This is a rarity…I have a minimal-effort-before-coffee approach to life, but what can I say. It’s a sunny, lovely fall morning, and I was feeling generous.

The 2 older boys immediately said they’d love pancakes, but Jack Henry was less enthusiastic.

Why?

Because my 8 year old already made himself breakfast, people. He had a bowl of cereal and cleaned up after himself.

Glorious.

(He did still have some pancakes. There’s always room for pancakes.)

*full disclosure. We are talking about add-water-to-a-box-mix pancakes. Not even the add-egg-and-oil kind. Or homemade, which are best, but please. It’s early on Saturday morning.