A conversation with my 7 year old son, Bryce.
Bryce: Why do you smell like you’re going on a date?
Me: Because I have a date with Daddy tonight.
Brcye: Oh…well….I guess that’s ok then.
A conversation today with my 6 year old son…
Bryce: Mom, I’m really sorry.
Me: For what?
Me: You dropped a booger in my purse?
Bryce: Yeah, but hopefully it will be crusty by the time you find it. Then you know, no surprises. That’s good, right?
Boys are gross.
This is the conversation I just had with my son, Bryce (age 6).
Bryce: Mom, I love this rock! (It’s a plain river rock.) Can I carry it with me everywhere? Even on vacation?
Me: Sure. You really seem to love rocks. Maybe you’ll be a geologist when you grow up. (Case in point, I fished three rocks out of my washing machine this morning, because he picks them up everywhere he goes and leaves them in his pockets. One of them wasn’t even a rock, it was a broken bit of concrete.)
Bryce: What’s a geologist?
Me: A scientist who studies rocks.
Bryce: Oh, cool. But can I also still be a secret agent?
Me: Sure, buddy. You can do both.
Kids are awesome. 🙂
The summer has flown by, as I knew it would, and as I predicted, I only got about three posts up all summer. Figures.
But life continues to be busy. Since I got home from my grandparent’s house at the end of July, I hosted my college roommate and her family for a few days, was sick for two weeks with a nasty virus that closely resembled strep throat, threw a birthday party for my son and twenty of his closest six-year old friends, and got both of my kids back to school. So yeah, life and children continue to dominate my time and attention. Blogging has been on the back burner for a long time, and I’m hoping now that I have both of my kids in school full-time that I’ll have more time and attention for both myself and all of you.
Being sick for two weeks wasn’t fun. I went to the doctor about five days into it and she ran all the typical tests to rule out bacterial infections. It felt like my head was going to explode, and every time I swallowed it felt like my eardrums were bursting and I was trying to swallow crushed glass. Fever, fatigue, and all the glamorous parts of feeling like total shit. My husband had to be out-of-town for work for several days, so taking care of the house, kids, and all the pets when all you want to do is lay down and die was no picnic. Unfortunately, the doc couldn’t give me any drugs because it was a viral infection, and it took a solid two weeks before I felt human again. To add insult to injury, going to the doctor in the first place is always such a mind-fuck. I already felt like shit, and have you ever noticed that going to the doctor makes you fat? Seriously. I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve gained ten pounds. Then the nurse puts you on the scale and you realize that in the two hours since you got dressed and hauled your sick-ass to the clinic, you really must have gained ten pounds because their ancient scale, that must be counter-balanced with massive invisible boulders, says so. Why don’t doctors use modern digital scales that will weigh me the same as when I’m at home? And now that I feel like a sick, ginormous, fat cow, I have to sit, forever, in the little room and wait. And there’s a mirror in there that is now confirming what the scale said. Somehow my face looks heavier. My ass seems to be climbing up my back and my muffin top is more muffin-y. And now I want to cry because my throat hurts, my ears hurt, I can’t get any meds, and just walking in the door made me feel like Martha Dump Truck.
Damn, I’m glad that’s over.
My son’s birthday party was fun, and humiliating. But I found my self-respect at the top of a bounce house, so that was an unexpected bonus. We had the party at Pump It Up. If you’re unfamiliar with the Pump It Up franchise, it’s basically a party venue with giant inflatables. Each room is a massive, two-story room with multiple indoor inflatables, like bounce houses, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and things like that. We had the Glow Party, which is like a super cool rave for kids with music and glow in the dark everything. I had promised my daughter that I would do some of the inflatables with her because as the big sister, she was the oldest kid at the party and didn’t really want to hang with the six-year olds. Thank God it was dark in there. I was a little dressed up for the party and my nice jeans were somewhat confining. Also, you have to wear socks in these things, and I quickly realized that with
socks on it’s hard to get any grip on the structure with your feet. So, I was attempting to climb this two-story monstrosity that was part rock climbing wall and part slide in tight jeans and slippery socks. You see where I’m going with this? You had to put your feet on these small squares and then use alternating tether straps for your hands to climb up. Well, the tiny-made-for-five-year-old-feet squares would collapse under you if you didn’t move fast enough. Half-way up there was this ledge you had to get over, and then another ledge all the way at the top. I fell trying to get over the first ledge. Kids were flying past me and laughing as I flailed and dangled by the tether straps. Did I mention it was also pretty steep? And also that I’m not a ten-year old? Anyway, I dug deep and hauled myself to the top, and as I was struggling to get over the second ledge, and considering saying fuck it and just letting go, my son’s friend from his class was sitting at the top of the ledge, and she was watching me as I hung on the tethers. She’s an adorable little girl and she says, “Keep going Mrs. B! You can do it!” Sweet Jesus. How do I fail in front of her now? I couldn’t, and it was ugly, and I’m glad it was dark in that room, but I managed to get my fat ass over that ledge and to the top. I was sweating and tired, and when I went down the slide it was so steep and fast it actually launched me out of the shoot and I landed in a heap in front of several parents watching from below. There was no way to play it cool, so I laid there like a lump, catching my breath. Thankfully, several parents said how impressed they were that I even attempted to get to the top, so at least I got some street cred out of it. Or they were just trying to make me feel better. Either way, only one other parent attempted the same structure and made it to the top, so that makes me one of the cool moms.
My kids went back to school on August 31st, so I had three days last week of blissful alone time. I’ve never had that, and I savored it. I read several of your blogs, did some housework, ran errands without children, and met friends for lunch. It was heaven. I’m really looking forward to this school year. And for the first time since my oldest daughter started school eight years ago, I didn’t cry at drop off on the first day. I fucking celebrated and went out for sushi!
Life is good, people. Life is Good!!!!!!
My five-year old son, Bryce, just finished his first regular season of Little League Baseball. It was a fun season and all the boys seemed to learn a lot and have a good time. They slowly progressed from chaotic dog piling on every ball to learning to work as a team, and for the most part, learn the boundaries of each position to support each other on the field.
During our last game of the season Bryce was placed in the position of pitcher. He didn’t really have to pitch to the kid at bat, but he maintained that position for his team. There was a coach positioned several feet in front of him and the coach pitched to the kids since the five-year old division is a combination of live pitch and t-ball.
So imagine this adorable five-year old kid in ‘baseball ready’ position, on the pitcher’s mound, in plain sight of everyone. (I was watching the game from the dugout, helping another mom to manage the boys and organize them during each inning transition.) I’m watching Bryce, shouting encouragement to him and the rest of the team, and then I see him use his ungloved hand to go in for a deep and prolonged wedgie grab. His hand was on the outside of his pants but he was working the angles, maneuvering his hips to get a good handful of whatever he was looking for.
The other mom starts cracking up, and I shout to Bryce and give him the what-the-heck-are-you-doing-face. He looks up at me, smiles and gives me a thumbs up. And then he goes right back into the ass-grabby position, but this time he takes his glove off and is digging at his butt from both the front and the back. He’s bent forward, looking between his legs as he attacks himself, and he’s digging for gold like a marathon miner. He’s in the middle of the field just going to town, completely oblivious to the game continuing around him. Balls are flying past him and he’s more concerned about whatever is going on in his pants than the rest of the inning. He ignores my shouts to pay attention to the game.
At the end of the inning the kids all run back to the dugout and I start checking his pants, thinking (hoping) that surely all that ass-grabbing had to do with his sliding shorts either riding up or being bunched wrong under his pants. So I ask, “Why were you digging at your bottom out there? Are your sliding shorts riding up?” And in front of everyone he says, “Nope, I was itching my butt. I think I sharted and I need to wipe it.”
My kid used the word sharted in front of his team and other parents. The other mom next to me is thoroughly losing her shit with laughter. As my face turned red with shame, I looked at her and said, “Please inform the Delegation of Perfect Parents that I will have to forfeit my membership and my Parent of the Year award…again.”
You know the one I’m referring to, right?
Of course, I’m talking about The Sex Talk. I should clarify and say that I didn’t intend to have the sex talk yet, but when you’re looking for shortcuts in dealing with major transitional issues in your child’s life, well, shit happens.
My daughter is eleven years old now, and in middle school. I remember middle school well. It’s an excruciating time period rife with insecurity, bad skin, growth spurts, and hormonal rebellion. And with the hormones come the puberty, and with the puberty comes the realization that boys aren’t gross (all the time). Sometimes, they’re cute. And funny. And did I mention cute?
Bryn started coming home from school with stories about eighth graders holding hands or kissing in the hallways. She says it’s gross, but I can tell she has that beginning fascination with watching it unfold, and trying to figure out how a seemingly normal girl/classmate would want to kiss a boy in the hallway at school. She wants to understand it. And I want her to understand it. As much as I hate it, I don’t want her to be ignorant about what’s happening around her. In a world where kids are growing up too fast and have too much access to adult content, I don’t want her to be uninformed about her body or how it’s changing. I want her to understand why eighth graders believe they’re mature enough to be “in love,” and why they think it’s a grand idea to shove their tongues down each other’s throats in the middle of a junior high hallway with an audience. I want her to be as informed as possible so that as she gets older she can make informed decisions for herself without relying on misguided and/or incorrect information from her friends. Plus, if she’s ignorant about things she’s more apt to succumb to peer pressure, and we all know peer pressure is an asshole!
I just wasn’t ready to approach all of that at once. I thought I would spread it out a little.
To help guide me in this new world of raising a pre-teenage girl, I did the only thing that made sense. I bought a book. Books are awesome. I was at a book party with several moms from my neighborhood and the book I purchased came highly recommended by the woman selling the books. I also noticed several other moms purchasing the book so I snatched up my copy, flipped through it and decided the content was appropriate for Bryn’s age and developmental level. Puberty, periods, and pimples. Perfect.
My original intention was to sit down with Bryn and for us to read the book together. But after three weeks of the book lying on my dresser untouched because I didn’t make the time to read it with her, I just gave it to her and said, “Here, read this and let me know if you have any questions.”
Famous last words.
She did read it, and holy hell did she have questions! I should have read the book first. Then I could have tagged the pages I wanted her to read and saved the rest for later. But I didn’t do that. And I paid the price.
Bryn came downstairs after about an hour of reading and said, “Mom, what does this mean when they say a slippery fluid comes out of the woman’s vagina when she’s going to have sex? And I’m unclear about this whole erection thing.”
I grabbed the book and read the page she was referring to. It was a very detailed explanation of the mechanics of sex. It was worded appropriately considering the book is an educational tool, however, it was more detail than I had planned to share at this point, and clearly further explanation on my part was necessary. I had no choice. Pandora’s Box had been opened and it was all my fault. I couldn’t ask her to un-read what she had read. The knowledge was there and now needed my parental clarification.
I grabbed a glass (read bottle) of wine to fortify myself and we went upstairs to her room to continue the conversation I had never intended to start. The book covered everything from sex, puberty, periods, hygiene, acne, male genitalia, masturbation, wet dreams for males, attraction to both the opposite sex and same sex genders, as well as nutrition, exercise, and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Holy sweet Jesus!
Two hours later she looked at me and said, “And you do this? You do the sex with daddy?”
To hesitate is to show fear. I couldn’t hesitate. I looked her in the eyes, fought to keep a straight face and said, “Yes, I do.” She looked back at me for a long moment, and then she calmly said, “That’s just gross.”
She then went on to explain that I didn’t need to worry about her having sex because she was not interested in doing that, ever. I asked if she’d be willing to sign a contract in blood every year until she graduated from high school. She was confused by my request, so I let that one drop.
At the end of the day I was glad we talked about it. But her new found knowledge has opened up new and not always welcome conversations. The other night we were watching TV and there was a commercial on for erectile dysfunction medication. Now that she knows the vocabulary, I can’t take anything for granted. She said, “What did the commercial mean when they said ‘Be sure your heart is healthy enough for sex.'” So I told her, “You know how exercise increases your heart rate? Well, sex is like exercise, and the old guys can’t always handle it if they have a bad heart.” 😉
PS–I’ll leave you with my favorite passage from her book. This was a girl’s book, by the way, so I’m not entirely sure why this information was necessary considering they have a separate book available for boys. I did find it rather hilarious though.
“Boys often have erections at inconvenient moments and it can be especially awkward if the erection won’t go down. While a boy is asleep, he may have what’s called a wet dream–an erection and then an orgasm….This is only his body getting used to its new way of working, but it can be embarrassing to stain the sheets.” —What’s Happening to Me?
Things have slowed down enough here where I can finally catch my breath! Last week both of my kids went back to school. Bryn started 6th grade at the local middle school and Bryce started Kindergarten! It was a pretty big deal for both of them, and the week before that we were busy with orientations, registration and back-to-school shopping. The days were so busy trying to prepare both of them for these major transitions into new schools that I never stopped to consider how I really felt about any of it. As the parent, you just do what has to be done and reassure them everything will be amazing, challenging and brilliant. Yay for school! And Yay! for having three hours to myself, every weekday, for the first time in I can’t remember how many years!
So, when I lost my shit on the first day of school I was a tad bit surprised. I really was. I had managed to get both kids ready for school pretty well with only a few raised voices and barked commands to brush teeth, comb hair and put on shoes. As we pulled up to the middle school, Bryn and I both got out of the vehicle to give her one last hug good-bye and a reassuring, “It’s going to be a great day!” She was excited and not nervous at all. As she turned her back and began walking into the school, I burst into tears. I looked at my husband as I was sobbing in the car and said, “I had no idea I was even upset about this!”
I managed to get through the Kindergarten drop off just fine. Bryce was cool about it and even helped another little boy who was crying by holding his hand and walking him into the class. I was really proud of my self for not becoming overly emotional on his first day ( I had pulled myself together at that point), and I was proud of him for being such a big boy. The next evening was the night before Bryce’s fifth birthday. I was tucking him into bed and as we were snuggling I started to get choked up. He asked why I was crying and I said, “Tomorrow morning you will wake up and be five. You will never be four again, and four was a really good year. Mommy is going to miss four.” He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “But I’ll always be your baby.” Well hell, just bring on the waterworks! I cried most of the next day, which was his actual birthday. It was the third day of school and it all just hit me like a Mac truck! He was five and in Kindergarten! My baby isn’t a baby anymore.
I asked Dan if he thought it was too late for us to have another one, and then we realized that I would be 47 by the time that child started Kindergarten and Dan would be 51. So yeah, we’re totally done having kids, which then made me cry more, so then I just drank a bunch of wine until I felt better.
Wine fixes everything. 🙂
Me: What do you want for your birthday?
Bryce: A Dj set! (He then starts to imitate scratching records with motion and sound.)
Me: So you can drop a fresh beat?
Me: Where did you learn about DJ turntables and scratching records?
Bryce: America’s Cutest Cats!
Happy Friday everyone!
Bryce has been sick with a nasty virus for the past week. We’ve battled six days of high fever and other bodily functions I’m sure you’d rather I not go into detail about. Well, that’s too damn bad cause I’m totally going into detail about it. The kid has had diarrhea like an arterial spray. I’ll let that visual sink in for a moment. You’re welcome.
My kids are both very healthy. They only get sick once or twice a year, but when they do get sick, it’s serious. It’s a knock you on your ass for a week kind of sick. Their bodies hold onto infection like a fucking grudge. It’s horrible and scary. When you’re holding your child while their body feels like it’s on fire with heat, you can’t help but be terrified for them. They get that glazed look in their eyes, and when they talk, half the time it’s delirious gibberish.
I took Bryce to the doctor on day five of the fever and she told me it was a virus going around that was lasting 7-10 days. She said his fever shouldn’t last for more than five days. I explained to her that we were already at day five, as Bryce lay in my arms burning up at 103 degrees. She reprimanded me for allowing him to have dairy products. I explained that I was giving him whatever he wanted to eat because he had no interest in food and had already lost two pounds in five days. She scowled at me. I scowled back. She is not my regular pediatrician. (She was correct though. I shouldn’t have allowed him to eat yogurt and milk.) Then Bryce had a meltdown in the office when the nurse tried to give him a dose of Tylenol. With tears in his eyes and a hot pink flush to his face he explained that their Tylenol was different than our Tylenol, and he preferred to wait until we got home and take our Tylenol. He said their Tylenol was yucky because it wasn’t the right color. I eventually got him to take it, but with the last sip he gagged and then regurgitated a large portion of the dose back at me. I carried him to the car, both of us splattered with Tylenol vomit. Good times.
For six days I monitored his temp, coaxed him to take medicine to reduce his fever and slept with him so I could feel his body and watch his breathing. I held cold packs to his back, forehead, stomach and legs. He would look at me with glassy eyes and say, “Am I still your little fireball, mommy?” It was the kind of fever that could have killed your child before the days of modern medicine. Thank God for modern medicine.
Finally, this morning, as I reached for Bryce’s forehead next to me on the pillow, I felt it. That cool, dewy ring of sweat around his head on the pillow. The gross, disgusting, beautiful ring of sweat that indicates his fever has broken. His little body was so quiet and deep in sleep, which was a blissful change from the constant moaning, rocking and shivering from the past six days.
I’m exhausted. I’m relieved. I can’t wait to get the hell out of this house. I need to drink wine on the beach and watch the sunset with my beautiful kids and my husband. I need to take him to the park and watch him run, and climb, and laugh, and play. I need to see him smile with excitement, health, and joy. That’s all I need. 🙂
Recently, my family and I were over at a friend’s house for their son’s birthday party. It was a party for a four year old, so there was a lot of fun stuff going on. There was a clown doing balloon sculptures and face painting. There were awesome little arts and craft activities and a bounce house. Of course, all the kids LOVED the bounce house. So, imagine lot’s of young children running around a picturesque yard with no shoes, squealing in delight over the endless fun of the afternoon.
And where there’s fun, there’s bound to be drama.
I was sitting on some patio furniture talking with friends when I see the hostess of the party run into the back door of the house with another mother and her child clutched in her arms. They were frantic. I could tell something bad had happened by the way the women were reacting and rushing the child into the house. A busted lip? A cut to the forehead? Did the child need immediate medical attention? Stitches? Who knows….it’s not my circus, or my monkeys. My kids were not involved, so I thought the best thing to do was to not over-react and let the adults in charge handle the situation.
A few minutes later, the hostess of the party (and I should mention she is a good friend and a great mother) poked her head out the back door and asked me to come inside. I gave my husband the ‘uh-oh’ look and walked into the house, where I was met with complete chaos.
Both my friend and the other mother were frantically rushing around and talking loudly in panicked voices. The child that I saw being rushed into the house, a beautiful little girl about five years old, was sitting on the bathroom counter with her feet in the sink soaking in cold water. She was crying uncontrollably. I didn’t see any blood or immediate signs of injury.
My friend says, “She stepped on a bee and we’re not sure what we need to do! We took out the stinger but she’s still crying and it’s swelling! I knew YOU would know what to do!” There was a first aid kit on the counter with all kinds of gauze, medical tape and bandages spread out everywhere.
What? They think I’m the most capable adult to handle this situation? When did I become the most adulty adult? When did I become the person you grab when you don’t know what to do?
I looked at the girl’s foot and there was no swelling. There was a tiny red mark where she had been stung. That’s it. She was simply terrified and carrying on because the adults in the room were upset. I guess I’m still surprised how many parents don’t realize that if you don’t lose your shit in front of your kids, more often than not, your kids won’t lose their shit either. I realize that sometimes it’s hard not to freak out when your child is upset or in pain. And it’s even harder to be objective when it’s your child whose experiencing something traumatic. But kids need to have faith that their parents can handle anything. They need to know that you are in charge and you are capable of seeing them through the tough shit in life. And when you’re five, your first bee sting is some tough shit. I guess my ability to keep calm in these situations is what makes me the most adulty adult. Sigh. That thought is so depressing.
I didn’t do anything heroic to save the day. I asked the sweet little girl what her favorite song was and asked her if she could sing it to me so I could hear what I was certain would be a beautiful voice. She immediately stopped crying, beamed her pleasure at me with a toothless grin, and began belting out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. While she sang, I put a Band-Aid over the red spot on her foot. All better.
Her mother threw her arms around me and hugged me so tight, thanking me for my help. I left the room and went back outside to sit by my husband. He asked what happened and after relaying the events to him I said, “That I’m the most adulty-adult at this party really scares the shit out of me.” 🙂
Same Shit, different Dave
Listen to your inner self..it has all the answers..
Chef, Blogger and Food Photographer
Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering
storytelling the world through travels & books
Jennifer Molidor, Ph.D
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain