Six Years of Silence

Last night I went to the movies with my 12-year-old daughter and one of my best friends. On the way to and from the theater, my friend and I attempted conversation with my tween. Attempted. I offer now a brief summary of that “conversation”:

“Hey, what’d you think of the movie?”

“Good.”

“Did you like it?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you like this one better or the first one?”

“This one.”

“So, how was the last day of 6th grade?”

“Fine.”

“What are you looking forward to in 7th grade?”

“I don’t know.”

“What electives are you taking?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they let you pick?”

“Yeah.”

“So, what’d you pick?”

“I didn’t get to pick.”

(Pause for confusion on behalf of the adults)

“Wait. You said you got to pick. Did you get to pick?”

“It was too late.”

“So, were you supposed to fill something out?”

(Insert five-minute very confusing conversation about whether or not there was a form and whether or not it had to be signed by a parent – which quickly turned into more of an interrogation than anything.)

After a pause in the conversation she asks:

“Can I show you a video on your phone?”

And that’s how all the “conversations” end. The phone. Face glued to a screen. Parents effectively blocked. Silence officially in place. Except for the singing along to the YouTube videos, of course.

 

Mind you, my daughter is not a shy and quiet individual. She will talk to you. And she can be pretty spirited. But, it has to be about something she’s interested. Which, apparently right now, is strictly YouTube videos and performing songs from Just Dance or something she sang in choir.

 

OOH – maybe that’s the tactic I should take from now on? For the next six years, if I want to communicate with my daughter – I’ll just record a video of myself singing and dancing about it and post it on YouTube!

“Sweetie, be sure to use shampoo.” (Sang to the tune of a Taylor Swift song.)

“Did you get all your homework done?” (Awkward mom dancing – waving hands over head. Maybe going old school and breaking out the Roger Rabbit.)

Yeah. That should about do it. At least I know for THAT I’ll get more than a one word response.

All I Want for Mothers Day is….

Stop for a second. Think about this statement and complete it:

All I want for Mothers Day is….

Here’s the thing – I don’t know what I would even ask for. Nothing store-bought, that is. I’m not secretly wishing for a new purse or a pedicure or scented candles or any of those standard things. Honestly, before I started writing an article today for work about Mothers Day, I hadn’t even given it a thought.

Like Christmas and Easter, I feel like Mothers Day has gotten ridiculously out of control in the commercialization department. Here’s my solution – lets ask for something money can’t buy.

Instead of an expensive bouquet, I want my kids draw me a flower. (I’d say pick a wild bouquet, but this is May in Alaska, so yeah…)

bouquet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rather than pricey jewelry, I’d love a noodle necklace to add to my collection.

noodle necklace

 

 

 

 

 

Forget a day at the spa, I’ll take a private potty break.

pee alone

 

 

 

 

 

We don’t need a restaurant for brunch, my kids can make me breakfast in bed.

breakfast in bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Move over Hallmark, hand-made cards are the best.

card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, when all else fails – there’s always bacon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what’s your answer? Complete this thought: All I want for Mothers Day is….  Oh, and be sure to tell your family before they spend a bundle buying you a bottle of perfume, lotion or a candle…

Playing Telephone

Seven. That’s the number of times my phone rang in church yesterday. Seven. And it’s only a one-hour service! Thankfully, I had turned off the ringer. When church was through, I saw I had missed seven calls. But here’s the deal – there were only two callers. And they were both friends of my kids. One child called six times. The other just called and left a voicemail. My theory is the parents of the six-timer didn’t know what he was up to.

Now, let me start by saying – my children are not innocent of this. In fact, I wrote a post about the same phenomenon when my daughter was nine. She would call people and if they didn’t answer – no problem – she’d call back until they did. It must be the age because now my nine-year old son’s best buddy is calling and doing the same thing. He’s called 13 times since Saturday morning at 8.

He’s excited to get together with his friend. It’s understandable. But, what do you do with that? Do you call the parents and alert them that their child is calling ALL. THE. TIME? Do you mention something directly to the child?

What do you do when a child wants to play telephone?

Weighted Worries

My 9-year-old son complained a bully told him he is fat.

My 12-year-old daughter walked away from the scale saying she is chunky.

Both times – I found myself assuring them they are not fat. They are growing. Sometimes you fill out before you shoot upward. But, sometimes you fill out because you’re eating junk. And lots of it. And then what? How do you address that with your kids without hurting their feelings or body image?

We feed them a nutritious breakfast. We pack them a healthy lunch – a sandwich, fruit and veggies, yogurt and cheese. Family dinner typically consists of salmon or moose meat with steamed vegetables and a baked potato. Sure, we like ice cream as a treat and pizza typically hits the table a few times a month. But, during the day – my kids find their way to the underground snack food market. They come home with candy, drinking a soda or munching on a cupcake. Where do they get this stuff? They trade or use the change from their piggy banks to load up on goodies they know we’d never buy them.

They are growing children. I understand that. Heck, I have a second helping here and there and I’m all grown up. But how do you balance healthy eating at home with the garbage they get their hands on elsewhere? What do you do in your household to teach healthy eating in a way that makes your kids want to just say no to junk?

 

Random Childhood Injuries

So, my 5-year-old son burned his nipple last night at dinner. How, you ask? You know, just eating. Hot from the wok stir fry slipped from his fork and down the top of his shirt, landing on his nipple and leading to a panic-induced dance and corresponding song of, “OWWWWW! My nipple! It’s burning my nipple! Mommy, kiss it!” (And yes, I kissed it, much to the dismay of my 9-year-old son who called it, “Gross.”)

This morning, that same 5-year-old managed to nearly take the flesh off his face when he decided he wanted to, “shave like Papa.” Thank the Lord above – I managed to grab the razor from his hand in time. No blood. No damage.

My friend’s daughter also suffered a random childhood injury yesterday – rolling her ankle while hopping through a sporting goods store. What? Yep. A hopping injury.

I started thinking about all the weird ways our kids manage to hurt themselves. There’s the typical stuff: bonking a head or butt while sledding, scraping a knee while running or falling off a trampoline and breaking their leg (yeah, that’s a childhood memory I’ll never forget. No, it wasn’t my leg.) But – what I’m talking about here are the injuries that lead you, your family and friends to ask, “What? HOW did you do that?”

So – tell me – what’s the weirdest way your child has ever hurt his/herself?

Antici…pation.

Do you remember when going out to eat was a big deal? I do. When I was a kid, we hardly ever went out to eat. Birthdays, mainly. I remember my parents would let my brother and I scan the coupon book to decide which place we wanted to eat at for our birthdays. One year, I found a restaurant – I think it was Japanese – that caught my eye. I really, really wanted to go there. For what felt like months (and was probably just a few agonizing days for my parents) I obsessed about this place. How you would take your shoes off and sit at this little table in a room partitioned off from everything else – with white paper screen walls. It seemed like such an exotic experience. There was only one problem. It burned down. It had burned down long before I ever saw it in the coupon book. My heart was set and now my hopes were dashed. It was the looking forward to it, the anticipation that really had me going – all to be crushed before the day even came. My parents asked me to find another place to celebrate my birthday dinner, but it just wasn’t the same.

These days, I wonder if my own children will ever really know what that anticipation is like. Really looking forward to something. It seems our society is so eager to deliver that we don’t often have to wait. If we’re curious about something, we don’t have to wait until the next day to go to the library and look it up in a book – we just pull out our phone and ask Google. If we really want to see that new movie, we don’t have to wait months for it to come out – we can find a bootlegger somewhere online and watch it rather easily. If we hear the highway was shut down for an hour – we don’t have to wait for the evening news – we just go on to Facebook for answers.

With anticipation comes appreciation. Lack of one can often lead to lack of the other. This past weekend is a good example of that. We decided to have a family day. (Mind you, this was after strenuous hours spent on a science fair project and frustration levels were high all around.) We went to the park and played and then decided to go out to eat. As soon as we got in the car, the complaints started. Two of the older kids would rather have play dates with their friends than have family time. I explained that was not going to happen and was just shy of a, “beatings will continue until morale improves” kind of speech. On the way to town, the kids started arguing about where they wanted to eat. One wanted Taco Bell, another Subway. This wasn’t going to be a fast food meal. As we pulled into a sit-down restaurant, my 9-year-old son groaned, “Oh man, we’re going here?! Ugh.” That was it. I’d had enough. I told my husband to turn around and take us home before launching into a speech reminiscent of one I’m sure my parents gave me as a child, about how going out to eat was a privilege, not a right. How they should be appreciative, blah, blah, blah.

The experience got me thinking – do our kids want for much anymore? Do they count down the days for things like we did? (Don’t even get me started on what it was like to wait for clothes you ordered via a catalog to arrive here in Alaska…) Do they daydream about fun times or do they just pull out an iPad? Have they lost their appreciation because they don’t know how to antici….pate?

And with that, I leave you with a little Rocky Horror Picture Show.

 

 

 

The Sleepover Hangover

My 9-year-old son can be the sweetest, nicest, most caring boy. He can be fun, smart and creative. And he can be kind. Unless, of course, he’s just come back from a sleepover.

The sleepover itself seems not to blame for his sudden shift in attitude. It’s not the fun they have or the sweets they eat or the time away from home. It’s the staying up until all hours of the night and then coming home, sleep-deprived and full of angst for all those around him. And believe me, it’s no fun for any of the parties involved.

It occurs to me – a sleepover is kind of like a night out with your friends when you’re in your early 20s:

  • Stay up late
  • Eat or drink too much
  • Dance – with or without music
  • Being ridiculously loud and getting told to quiet down
  • Have an awesome time with your friends
  • Play some interesting games
  • Try not to get busted by the cops (aka, mom)
  • Instructed by others to go to sleep already
  • Wake up… in a mood.

For my son, the return home from a sleepover usually starts well enough. He’s amped up, energized by an evening of good times – but it soon turns ugly. He’s refusing to listen, he’s grouchy, he’s threatening to hit his siblings. For all intents and purposes, my 9-year-old son is a mean drunk. And then he sobers up and sleeps it off. (In 3rd grader world, that’s equivalent to letting the sugar rush pass and going to bed early, for everyone’s sake.) In the morning, he’s apologetic for his brutish behavior and we start fresh. Until the next sleepover…

Anyone else dealing with the effects of a Sleepover Hangover?

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