Category Archives: Raising Boys

Of Two Minds

The sad state of affairs is that many (not all, thank God) single parents have to be both Mom and Dad to their children. I’m no exception, and I think I need more practice.

At times, I want to be the softer, indulgent Mom who says, “Oh, they’re so sweet, it will be ok. Come give me a hug.” But then I remember that I’m trying to raise them to be good men, so I have to become a hardass with them again.

I watched my mom and my YY with them over Thanksgiving and was simultaneously jealous and a little frustrated at how indulgent they could both be. I forget though that for me the antics and craziness of the boys is common and therefore annoying…but for family who don’t get to see them, it’s cute and playful, and “Aren’t they adorable?” No, actually, they aren’t. I’ve told them 10 times NOT to say “butt” at every opportunity. It ceased being cute about six weeks ago.

I’m not out trying to get re-married anytime soon…and the way my personal life has gone in the past few days, the odds of it happening are even slimmer than a week ago…but, there are some things that I hope I don’t have to do and that by the time we get to these milestones, I’ll have found them a father…and in some cases, any ole father will do – even their own…

Puberty – please don’t make me explain why there’s hair down there…please. And God help us all if I have to explain what happened to a boy in the middle of the night and why the sheets have to be changed.

Sex – my idea of dealing with this is to make sure they have a supply of condoms, because I refuse to raise grandchildren while my own children are still in high school. But at some point, a conversation is going to have to occur with regards to Tab A and Slot B. I really don’t want to be in the room for that one.

Driving – I didn’t get my license until I was 19…because I was just that bad. And I’m a cautious driver who, when nervous, drives like an old woman.

The proper way to treat girls/women – Ideally, they would see this done the right way, but my life doesn’t seem to want to cooperate right now, so someone’s going to have to explain it to them. I could do this, but don’t these lessons sink in more from a guy who can tell you what happens when you don’t?

While I’m not on the prowl or anything, I hope that a miracle occurs, and I’m not doing the single mom thing until they’re in their 20s – at which time, I shouldn’t be doing anymore raising of anyone.

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Remembering What’s Important

It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day, forgetting what matters most…intellectually, I know that my children and my family are what matters most…the people I love matter…but it’s easy to take that for granted – until you’re reminded…

This week, for the first time in my life, I feared for my children…I’ve been nervous before…I’ve been anxious, worried, stressed before…I’ve never feared for them…thankfully, they were ultimately fine, but I spent a nervous night wondering if I had made a horrible decision leaving them in the care of their now ex-babysitter…if you’re going to go all crazy on me, I’m going to assume you’ll do it with my children…if you’re going to make unreasonable demands of me, I’m going to assume that you’ll do that to my children…once I lose trust in you, there’s no way you can be around my children…that’s just how I roll…

It’s a long, dramatic story that ended up fine…for various reasons – Mom #2 being the main reason…I’m not sure what I would do without her sometimes…but, for the first time since I began travelling for work, I was ready to go home because I needed to hug my babies tight…I needed to feel their warm little bodies close to me…I needed to see for myself that they were fine…

Sunday, I came home and their excitement to see me was contagious…I bravely decided we would go out to dinner…just the three of us…we survived…sort of…Sean has a new habit of telling me he needs to use the potty, requiring that I take him to the bathroom, only to sit down and then say he’s “done” when he never did anything in the first place…thanks, dude…this immediately requires washing of hands, because, well, ew, gross! Aidan likes to make paper airplanes out of his place mat, but I get to be the one who threatens his life if he throws it…

The fun didn’t stop there…because I effectively fired my babysitter, I had no childcare on Monday – Veteran’s Day…schools were closed and so were daycares…we’re doing this wrong, I think…I worked from home…well, I struggled to concentrate on the task at hand while mini tornadoes tore through my house for about 8 hours, but let’s call it work…fun times…fun. times.

My eye started twitching around 3:00 p.m…I haven’t been so happy to go into the office in a long time…but despite all the insanity, the whining, the crying, the punching, the wrestling, the tearing apart of my clean house, I noticed a difference in myself…I signed up to attend Aidan’s Thanksgiving lunch at school…which means I’ll attend Sean’s (gotta be fair, you know)…Santa is coming to the mall this Saturday, and I asked the boys if they would like to go…by the way, a resounding, “YES!!!” on that one…

I’m so happy to be back with them (despite the twitch I’ve developed every time one of the boys says, “Tell me to fart!”) that I’m taking advantage of opportunities to spend time with them…if this had been a “normal” trip away, I would have dreaded coming home to the routine…I would have dreaded the return to their normal selves after the excitement of my return wore off…that didn’t happen this time…this time, I was forced to remember what’s important…I hate that I spent even one moment afraid for my children…but I’m happy that my perspective was forced to change a bit…

Growing Up…Sort Of

Earlier today, I had this written in my head…a moving tale of how Aidan is finally growing up and doing things independently of Sean and myself…and how time was flying and I couldn’t believe my baby is at this point…

And yeah, so that came to a screeching halt while he yelled and cried because I wouldn’t let him sell all of his stuff in the front yard to raise $299 – and no, I don’t know what he wants that costs $299…

Of course, Aidan is growing up…quicker than I would like sometimes…last weekend he spent both Saturday and Sunday at a friend’s house…heaven help that mother who offered to keep him an extra night…I’ll do one night, but not two with Aidan AND his rowdy friends…today, he had a birthday party to go to, and since I had no desire to be there, watch him, AND keep up with Sean (who would need a nap anyway), I arranged to drop him off and pick him up…

I learned, later, that he finagled $20 out of his friend’s stepfather…I’m not sure whether to be mortified or impressed…I’m both, actually…mortified that he thinks it’s ok to go around asking people for money…and impressed as hell that he convinced someone to give him any amount, let alone $20!

He’s growing up in other ways, too…in one day, he got caught peeking into the girl’s restroom at the Boys and Girls Club and he cracked a joke at lunch, encouraging all his friends to shove their hot dogs in their mouth as fast as possible…of course, he didn’t say “hot dogs,” he said “wienie” which frankly, is better than “wiener” to me…either way, he got in trouble for “playing with his lunch” which apparently is a big no-no – enough to get you sent to the timeout lunch table…who knew there was such a thing?

Two notes for me to sign in one day…and his biggest fear was that I would take away his opportunity to go to the birthday party today…he got in trouble for the notes coming home, but since I found both situations so ridiculous and completely age-appropriate, I didn’t take the birthday party away…

I learned that it’s harder to punish a kid when what you want to do is laugh hysterically at their antics…and then of course, I wondered what that says about me…

Just when I start marveling at how much he’s changing, he reminds that he still has a long way to go…whining and crying the moment he thinks he’s not getting his way…pushing and yelling at his brother because he’s tired of looking at him…

I know I’m not supposed to wish his childhood away, but if this stage could pass a little more quickly, I’d be ok with that…

Chatterbox

I know, I know, I suck…I’ve been silent for a couple of weeks (or longer)…I guess that’s what happens when life gets to a place that might be called “normal” – there’s nothing to bitch about…And while the boys are usually all I need for a little blogging fodder, they’ve been downright boring lately…well, until recently…

I don’t notice it until I’m alone with him, but Sean is a total chatterbox…yeah, ok, I hear the snickering from my family…it’s genetic…I know…his ramblings are cute and funny, but not so memorable that I can hold them in my brain long enough to blog about them later…

He chattered away today, but it made me sad…

“I miss my daddy…Mommy, did you know I miss my daddy?”

“I want to see my daddy…he’s in Georgia…can I stay with my daddy, Mommy?”

“My daddy tickled me and tickled me…and I laughed, Mommy…do you hear me laughing now, Mommy? Daddy tickled me, and I laughed.”

He hasn’t been around his father since August, so I can only imagine that was the last time The Ex tickled him…and my heart breaks, because Sean still has memories of his father, good ones…and they make him miss The Ex…

I received a text from The Ex today…”My phone is getting turned off tomorrow.”

I think that was his way of telling me that instead of talking to the boys once a week, they’ll get to hear from him once a NEVER…

In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west…

Le sigh (that’s all the French I remember from high school, in case you were wondering)…

Regardless of the topic, I’ll let Sean chatter away…he’s always thinking (a little like his Mommy) and I never know what’s going to come out of him next…

So This Happened…

So this happened this weekend:

Yeah, I’m one lucky girl.  2012 Toyota Corolla, only 20 miles on her when I drove off the lot VERY late Saturday night…thank God for The Step or it never would have happened…I have an amazing family, and while I’m always thankful for them, I will be even more thankful each time I get behind the wheel…

For the first time since 2003, I have a brand new, never been owned, pretty AND reliable AND fits my personality car…and I shall name her Ginnie…no, not Ginny or Jenny…or Virginia or Jennifer or any of that…Ginnie…think of it what you will…that’s who she is…and I love her…

I bought her first accessory today:

 

Her first piece of jewelry – and a nice-smelling air freshener.  It sparked a teaching moment for Aidan…

Aidan: “I, um, looooove the new air freshener, Mom.”

Me: “You do?”

Aidan: “Well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings so yeah, I love it.”

Me: “You don’t have to love it.  And as long as you speak nicely, you can share any opinion you have with me.”

Aidan: “Oh? Ok…I hate the air freshener, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Me: “Why don’t you like it?”

Aidan: “It’s too girly! It has flowers and stuff. Oh, but there’s a spider up top. I like that!”

For the record, it’s not a spider, it’s a flower, but I didn’t tell Aidan that.

Lesson learned (hopefully) – be nice and respectful and feel free to give your real opinion…I hope that sticks…I’d rather he be different from me in that area…I’m always nice and respectful…but I white lie to protect feelings with the best of them…

Oh yeah, and this happened:

 

Sean’s birthday! It was actually Monday, but we celebrated on Saturday when Mama and The Step could be here. We were supposed to do presents and cake in the middle of the afternoon, but the car-shopping experience took the entire afternoon and evening. Birthday festivities were at 8:00 p.m. while we waited for pizza to arrive. The adults, who hadn’t eaten since breakfast (myself, I’d had a whopping 250 calories 12 hours prior) scarfed down cupcakes and then stood in the kitchen and ate pizza hovering over the sink, as if we were in college and had no home-training…

 

You had to know it was going to be Thomas the Tank Engine, right?! And that little mark down at the bottom? Aidan’s finger just couldn’t help itself, apparently…

Oh, and if all of THAT wasn’t enough, this happened, to:

 

That’s Aidan, at a Cub Scouts Shooting Sports Day program, learning about BB gun safety before he was allowed to go near the BB guns. I wish I had a picture of him attempting to shoot, but Mama and I wrangled Sean…and bought a Cub Scout uniform…and drank water like we were in the Sahara…

Aidan attempted to shoot the BB gun…and never hit the target…but that’s ok…he tried archery…and hit the target twice – when the adult leading the archery pulled his arm back for him…but that’s ok…he’s not a natural athlete – he’s my literary, sensitive, loves art and music child…Sean, I think he’s going to be a linebacker or something…

He had a great time, scarfed down his hot dog lunch in record time, and declared Cub Scouts, “Awesome!”

And yes, every bit of the above occurred on Saturday…and I’m still freaking exhausted…but I have Ginnie…and I’m happy…and I have one less thing to worry about…and life is good.

 

Happy Birthday Sean

Sean’s entire three years on this planet have been documented via Facebook and WordPress.  Go ahead, crown me Mother of the Year.  Within moments of his birth, his picture (which included me looking like I’d been drug outside, beaten, run through the mud, and put up wet) was on Facebook.


I hope you didn’t think I was exaggerating.

The polar opposite of his brother, Sean keeps me on my toes.  He looks at the world and comprehends more than I think a toddler should.  A prankster at heart, he likes to make people (especially himself) laugh.  And there is no greater joy for him than antagonizing the hell out of his big brother.

I admit that I pay more attention to his development and growth than I did to Aidan’s.  Does it count that I took a few hundred more pictures of Aidan?  Probably not.

Sean knows his letters, his colors, and his shapes (including octagon, y’all!).  He knows his friends’ names and who he would prefer not to have to hang out with.  He is naturally shy with new people and dogeys (aka dogs), but once he loves you, he loves you with his whole heart.

Happy birthday, Sean.  I hope one day you appreciate that your brother is the one I practiced on first.

$&!# My Kids Say

I’ve discovered a purpose for Twitter…or at least my Twitter account…shit my kids say…I’m sure I’m not the first to use #shitmykidssay, but I’m definitely using the heck out of it now!

In the past few days, here’s what I’ve heard:

Aidan to Sean: “Be a man!”

Sean: “Don’t race, Mommy.  The wheels spawn and spawn.”

Sean: “The rain makes me sick.”

Sean: “You heard me? I was farting.”

Aidan: “When will I get my tonsils out?”

Sean: “When we get home, I’m going to poop in the potty, Mommy…and then show it to you.”

Aidan: “My teacher said if its your mess, you clean it up, even in the bathroom.  And I’ve never had a drip until today.”

Yeah, that’s Twitter GOLD right there, people…so if you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow me and find out what one of them says next.

The Benjamin Boys’ Mean Mommy

Bet you didn’t know I’m a mean Mommy, did you?  Yep, that’s me…Mean Mommy.  I wear that title pretty well, and I’m pretty damned proud of it.

Sean ratted me out at daycare this morning.

Sean: “My mommy made me mad this morning.  She made me cry.”

Daycare: “How Sean-Sean?” (Gotta love that everyone calls him Sean-Sean now…)

Sean: “She made me cry because she wouldn’t listen to me.”

This is the same child who ended up at the office in a time out because he was so bad for his teacher today.  Sweet Sean-Sean?  Yes, I know, I was shocked too.

He woke up crying, because Mean Mommy made him get out of the bed and try to use the potty.  Mean Mommy also made him put on clothes, socks, and sneakers.  Mean Mommy gave him a banana for breakfast and couldn’t pull the coveted Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Poptart out of her butt (that’s what happens when little boys get a hold of the Poptarts while Mean Mommy is sleeping on a Saturday morning)…

And that “she won’t listen to me” line?  Straight from Aidan…

*****

Aidan (sobbing): “You aren’t listening to me, Mom!”

Me: “Well, tell me again.  Help me understand.”

Aidan (wailing): “You don’t understand me, Mom!!!”

Me (confused): “Help me understand.  Say it again.”

Aidan (sobbing and wailing): “You just don’t get it!!!  You never listen to me!”

Me (annoyed): “WHAT don’t I get, Aidan?!”

Aidan (sniffling): “I didn’t want pizza, Mom.”

Oh holy hell, really?

*****

Mean Mommy makes Aidan do homework, eat dinner, and shower before watching Netflix (no more cable) or play on his Nintendo DS. Mean Mommy requires that both boys pick up (most of) the toys each evening.  Mean Mommy doesn’t tolerate whining, complaining, backtalk, attitude, lying, and not listening.

I think I like Mean Mommy…

Coming Home To The Benjamin Boys

I’ve been gone for six days – working…and enjoying the “break” from my babies…It’s not a real break because I work long hours, but it’s my time in the adult world, and I do enjoy it…

I am often asked if I miss the boys…and I’m a little ashamed to admit that my answer is usually, “Not yet!”  It’s true, though…I am with my children 24/7/365 – the only break is work and sleep…and any parent will tell you that sleep isn’t a break because I wake up if they even breathe wrong…

But when I walk through the door and see their little faces, I realize in that moment just how much I missed them while I was gone…did I miss packing lunches, potty training, nap times, bedtimes, bath times?  Not really…but I missed those faces…I missed seeing their eyes light up when they see me…I missed hugging and kissing them…I missed tucking them in at night and having them fight over who gets the most kisses (I keep it as even as possible, in case you’re wondering)…

I’m tired from a long week…I’m emotionally drained because switching gears is always hard…but I enjoy coming home to the Benjamin Boys…

My Thanks to the Benjamin Boys

I would like to thank Aidan and Sean for performing a public service for me, their mother, the one who would kill and die for them…they used their weekend wisely, judiciously…they have made sure that I will not miss them while I’m traveling for work this coming week…

Isn’t that sweet of them?  I think so…they are so good to their mother…such good boys…

For a brief shining moment, I was happy that their age difference doesn’t impede their ability to play together for long hours…until one child began whining about the toy the other child was holding…and no, it wasn’t just Sean upset that Aidan had his toy…it wasn’t just Aidan upset that Sean was holding a toy that Aidan hadn’t thought of in months…it was both – often simultaneously…

There were those moments when I thought about how wonderful it was that they would let their tired Mommy sleep while they played early in the morning…until I realized every single baby wipe had been pulled out of the container (thanks Sean) or that all of their bedding was brought downstairs to make a “hideout” (thanks Aidan)…

So boys, thank you for making it easy for me to be gone for six days…I will be happy to be home, surrounded by loving, sticky, crying little boys once again…but in the meantime, is it time to leave yet and are we there yet?

 

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