That's right! We have our very own website!! Please visit us and subscribe to:
So this morning I'm staggering around, still asleep making coffee and feeding the two hundred pounds of dog we've managed to adopt and out of nowhere, my son mumbles something about going out for the debate team.
My initial response to this is for my heart to leap into my throat, to throw my arms around the dogs and yell "OH THANK YOU GOD HE'S INTERESTED IN SOMETHING THAT'S NOT ON X-BOX."
But, no. I'm smarter than that.
I know that if I move too fast or show any actual excitement, he will back away from whatever he is interested in like it was writhing on the floor and rattling. I look up. I tilt my head slightly.
"Hm," I say. "Let me know how it goes."
I drop him off at the bus stop, race home and spend an hour looking up articles in the school newspaper about the debate team. The debate team is good!!! They win a lot!! It's incredible preparation for both researching and public speaking!! I Google "Middle School Debate Questions." I momentarily consider e-mailing the dean, (posing as my son, of course,) and asking what the try-outs entail.
During a break at work I start to think about the question upon which they've been asked to speak. "Does Wikipedia do more Harm than Good?" I come up with some captivating opening remarks on the subject. I write them down, thinking maybe I can casually drop a couple of these gems during dinner and nudge him in the right direction.
I order a sandwich and sit down at my desk to learn the rules of debate. Forget my actual job. That's a drag. I need to find out how one persuades an audience that their argument is the correct one. That their reasoning is flawless. Convinces judges that theirs is the side of truth and righteousness
And then it occurs to me. Do I want my son to have this ability?
Huh. I mean, the concept of "debate" is such an educational Ivy League kind of thing that I just jumped in and started pushing for it. But let's think about this. Why the hell would I want my kid to learn how to argue? Why would I want to live in a house with someone who deals only with absolute and irrefutable logic?
"Time for bed!"
"Oh, Mom. You silly thing. In 1997 the Brookheim Institute of Teenage Sleep proved that I actually get more rest if I nod off at the computer while playing violent games."
"I said, go to bed."
"I'm sorry... 'I said??'... Is that supposed to be an argument?"
"I don't need to argue. I am your mother."
"Again, I must point out to you that your title is not a rational defense."
This could be a real problem.
Okay, well now I'm praying that he fails the try-outs. My mind wanders and I begin to picture the debate room. I can almost smell it. I see the judges. The nervous kids. The moderator smiles sincerely. He turns to my thirteen year old who stands at a lectern. He speaks. "The question we will explore today is: Does Wikipedia do more harm than good?" My son looks at him thoughtfully. His mouth opens.
"What about it?"
"Does it do more harm than good?"
"When people use it. In general, does it do more harm than good?"
It's possible I don't have anything to worry about.Rae
I have often thought that it would be far more constructive for pharmaceutical companies to come up with, rather than new diet drugs, simply a drug that makes one taller. For example, I myself at 5'2", would have a perfect body without losing any weight at all if I could just add on, say, two feet.
Consider it. If they could figure out what the chemical is in my son's body that grows him taller every night wouldn't it then be possible to extract some of that chemical or hormone or whatever, make a synthetic version out of it, package it nicely, say in a pretty green (for growing) box and sell it? It's a billion dollar idea. We could call it, "Rotundanol" or "Short-Be-Gone." I would buy stock in a company that was doing that. They do it for penises for God's sake, why not fat women??
I admit I am frustrated when I watch my son eat. He got up this morning and devoured two blueberry muffins, 3 eggs and 3 waffles. Two hours later, he consumed 18 Bagel Bites. At the school picnic this afternoon he had french fries and Kettle Korn. The rest of the day, while he sits completely stagnant on a couch for 6 hours playing X-Box, he will eat a full bowl of spaghetti covered with parmesan cheese, buttered bread, an orange soda, a bowl of cereal (just so he doesn't get hungry) and a couple brownies. Tonight he will grow a half an inch and when he wakes up in the morning his ribs will show through his skin.
I on the other hand today had a banana, a yogurt and a glass of wine. I walked the dogs two miles and did 106 sit ups. Tonight while I sleep, my spine will contract and when I wake up in the morning, I'll be shorter, stiffer, uglier and able to dent a Volkswagon with my hip.
Is it wrong that I am jealous? Shouldn't I be a bigger person than this? Shouldn't I know that my time is over and be thrilled that my beautiful son has the good fortune to possess a spectacular lean, graceful body? I guess I should. It's just that -- I'm so hungry.
Skele-Tall... Elongatrin...Moreovyu...ElimaChub. Somebody, please.
So, as you've probably gathered, I've started to become quite disturbed about my son's (lol) "cleanliness."
Let's take the other night. We were in the middle of a bonding moment. We have Netflixed "Gladiator," and the scene is the Roman Coliseum where there appear to be ravenous tigers who want to jump on Russell Crowe. Well yes. So do I. But in a horny, naughty way, not in a way that will cause him to bleed to death. So to avoid seeing my sweet, sweet Russell mauled beyond recognition, I turn my head to the left where my son is sitting (probably yearning for the bloodbath).
Even in the low light, I detect a conspicuous globule of wax nestled in the kid's right ear. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" I demand, as I (because I can't help it,) start to stick my index finger directly into his ear. He karate chops my arm away. "What the hell!," he says. Ooh. Hell. I've forgotten that he's not three anymore. That I'm not allowed to stick my fingers into any of his orifices without permission.
"Honey, really." I say, rubbing my poor arm. "When was the last time you cleaned out your ears?" And of course he tells me that he "showers every night."
Well I don't care that he showers every night. That's just bullshit. I don't know how, but he comes out of this 'alleged' shower each time with wet hair that smells like rainforest mushrooms. He comes out with dirt rings under his "cocaine dealer" fingernails and Sharpie on his arms. He emerges having been in there under streaming hot water for no less than twenty-eight minutes and the BOTTOMS of his feet are still dirty. You know. The bottoms. The part that's actually been submerged for the entire SEVENTY GALLONS of water. Still dirty. Still.
I open my mouth to explain to him that it must have taken weeks for that kind of wax to build up in his ear and that if he doesn't start seriously cleaning himself, I'm going to take a washrag to him here and now and...
...probably ruin the bonding moment.
I glance over to the television. Russell is triumphant. He has managed to slaughter along with two enormous angry tigers, a small army of Roman foot soldiers.
And he's still cleaner than my son.
I only want one thing done before school starts tomorrow. Only one. I understand it's a big deal... but I feel I'm entitled to ask for it. After all, I am the one with the career that is paying the tuition. I am the one that purchased all the books and backpacks and laptops and calculators. I have filled out applications so that my son can get anything he wants at the school cafeteria and book store. I have perched on the computer like a nesting bird for an entire morning to make sure he was signed up for the bus before space ran out, and now, I have just one request.
I want him to cut his toenails.
And you know what? I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen. The same way I appear to have lost the "Please, you don't have to cut it , just SHAPE your hair" battle. It's six-thirty the night before school. It's Labor Day and I know there are no salons open. On the other hand, one does not need a salon to cut ones toenails. One merely needs the toenail cutters from the drawer and a little incentive.
Like maybe a serious kick in the ass. Because you know, I've had it. My son has developed the personal hygiene of a fairly vigilant homeless person.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Here's a question. Do we all think that our sons are so sweet at ages ten and eleven that they couldn't possibly turn into the heinous hormonal teen that everyone else seems to be complaining about? Does it completely shock all of us or was I the only one out there thrilled with my boy, accepting compliments on his obviously delightful behavior and thinking... "Oh those poor other mothers! Dealing with all that teenage attitude! Thank God I've managed to dodge that bullet."
What a maroon.
It's Labor Day weekend. My son has turned thirteen and his first year of middle school starts next week. It's a highly coveted private $chool. We have, my son and I, spent countless hundreds of hours over the past year filling out applications, writing essays, being interviewed, touring and sucking up beyond all human endurance to get into this particular place. We did it. WE-DID-IT!!!! Now the moment where he actually gets on a bus and goes there is 3 days away and (as every other single working mother knows), it is the weekend to buy new school clothes.
But he won't.
Not only that. He's laughing at me.
I sit down next to him at his computer and say, "You have a choice. You can either go out there right now and get some new clothing while it's still new clothing or you can, lazy and too late, lope on out there in a week or so and end up with the dregs of sale garbage that the world has already picked through and decided against. It's your choice."
He blinks as though coming out of a coma and turns his head to me.
No. Is it really possible that he hasn't heard a single word of my long and (I'd thought) persuasive speech? He turns back to killing zombies. "No clothes," he says.
Now, he's bigger than I am. I'm 5'2". At this point, and I do mean at the exact moment I write this, he's 5'9". God only knows what he'll be by tomorrow. And he's going to get much much bigger according to his orthopedist. He will, within the next five years become, no doubt about it, 6'6". We do not want to make this an argument based on size.
"Yes, clothes," I say firmly. He ignores me. The zombies are prevailing, and I believe he blames me for this.
"Besides which," I continue, "It's my three day weekend too. I've been working hard all week and I'd like to get out of this house and not sit here watching you play video games for 72 bloody hours if you don't mind. I have shopping to do also and I think we should make a day of it. It'll be fun. Come on. Get your sandals on and comb your hair."
There. It's decided. We're on our way to the mall to buy clothes. I give the dogs water, put them out, grab my keys and my bag and open the front door. He looks up. "Are you going somewhere?"
A very long hour later we arrive at The Grove. People are window shopping, lunches are being eaten, music is playing, and I am with arguably the most enraged person on the planet. He stands directly behind me. I walk, he walks. I stop, he stops. He. Is. Doing. What. He. Has. To. Do. We go into no less than six clothing shops and surprise surprise, there is not ONE SINGLE GOD DAMNED THING he wants or is willing to try on.
"Are you hungry?" He stares at me. "Are you thirsty?" I'll try again. "We could do something fun, you know. We could see a movie." No response. "Want to go to the Apple Store?" His eyes narrow to slits, his shoulders slouch even more. His mouth opens almost imperceptibly. "Why?"
OHMYGOD. Okay, I think. Just keep going. Dutifully he follows behind me step-for-step into the Cheesecake Factory. He orders and eats an entire 8 piece pizza, a caesar salad, 2 cokes, french fries and a piece of cheesecake without speaking to me even once. Gratefully a couple of women with a little girl sit down next to us so I can enjoy some human contact. As he follows me out the door I make a decision. As long as this is going to be a bad day, let's make it a really bad day. Let's teach this kid that sometimes, just sometimes, what his mother wants to do needs to be respected. "Forget clothes," I tell him, "We're going to the movies. We're going to go see 'Julie and Julia'. It's about two women who found themselves by learning how to cook." When he hears this I know he just wants to die.
So now we're even.
He slumps into his seat. The chick-flick begins. He furiously stares off to the side of the screen proving, he must think, to everyone in the theater that THIS WAS NOT HIS IDEA. He's obviously inherited my stubborn side. For a solid hour he remains petrified and unyielding. People around us are enjoying themselves. There is laughing. My son, as far as I can tell is not even breathing. About halfway through, Meryl Streep makes reference to some Strawberry Bavarian Cream thing. I sense a minute shift in his body language. He glances over at me. Almost imperceptibly, he speaks. "That sounds good," he says. This is it. I seize my chance. "Maybe we should get the recipe and try to make it," I whisper back. He nods his agreement, turns his head toward the screen and it's done. Suddenly the wall of resentment has come down. I have established a beachhead. Civilized communication is re-established!
Which all sounds great until I realize that now I have to actually go buy Mrs. Child's book and make Strawberry Bavarian Cream whatever-the-hell-it-is. Oh well. I'm going to put this one in the "win" column. Think of the money I saved on clothes!
Talk to you soon,