Monday, May 8, 2017

Fine Dining and Teenagers

Last night my family and I were dining at one of our town’s finest establishments: IHOP.  That’s the International House of Pancakes.  I had the crepes.  Crepes are French.  Small had the grilled cheese.  Grilled cheese is from . . . where is grilled cheese from?  Medium ordered the chicken tenders, which I believe is Spanish for “long chicken nuggets.”  
We sat in a booth near the front and we noticed there was a group of 4-5 male teenagers at a nearby booth.  They were talking more loudly than is appropriate for normal conversation and periodically I heard a curse word (and if I’m being honest, I didn’t hear anything I wouldn’t say under my breath in the privacy of my own car to a particularly inept driver.)   Other than that, I didn’t notice them too much.  
            Midway into our meal, a family of 4 was seated in between my family and the teenagers.   I noticed when they sat down that the booth seats must not have been anchored very well into the wall, because when they sat, our seat moved.  The noise level raised a bit as well, because now my family, (which includes 3 excited boys,) a family of four, and the teenagers were all talking at once.
            All of a sudden, the family dad raised his voice and asked an employee if he could be moved to another booth.  The mom added that she kept getting “bonked in the head.”  I overheard the dad say “you’ve already made someone angry.”  They grabbed their soda glasses and their paper napkins and were escorted to another part of the restaurant while other patrons shared the what just happened? look. 
            Perhaps you think I’m going to criticize the teenagers for being rowdy, or for using salty language, or for loitering, or for disrupting my family’s dinner. 
            I’m going to suggest that the dad could have handed the situation a little differently.  I understand he was frustrated, but perhaps he could have quietly asked to be moved if the noise was bothering him.
     Here’s the thing.  It was a group of teenage boys on a Sunday afternoon who went to IHOP to get some grub and hang out.  There really aren’t many places for them to go these days where they will be welcomed.  Think back to when you were in high school . . . wasn’t one of the best parts of being a teenager being able to hang out with your friends without your parents hovering over you? 
            We were once in IHOP after a local football game when the entire back room, where my family of 5 happened to be dining, filled up with teenagers excited about a team win.  Yep, it got loud in there.  But if I wanted a quiet evening of fine food and drink, I wouldn’t have picked IHOP.  (Nothing against IHOP . . . I think it’s clear from this post that we loves the IHOP.)  I take my family to IHOP because there are all kinds – screaming babies and preschool playgroups and laughing teenagers. 

            Cut them some slack.  Teenagers have a lot of weight on their shoulders; if they want to go to a safe place to hang out and laugh with their friends, we should allow them some space to do so.  I’m not suggesting you hang out at 7-11 in case some 16-year-old needs you to buy him beer, but let them be kids.  Take a step back and ask yourself, are they really causing any trouble?  We were all teenagers once; just remember that. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Kid's a Medical Marvel

I read somewhere on the world wide internets that certain people are cut out to parent certain types of kids.  I’ve always said I think I was meant to be a boy mommy.  I just don’t think I was cut out to have girls.  I love girls; I have nieces whom I adore.  But for the day-to-day, I don’t see myself guiding a young girl into womanhood.  Granted, I’ve never actually BEEN a pre-pubescent boy and I know that there are all kinds of “surprises” in store for me within the next few years of my boys being in middle school, but I still think I’ll be better at boys than I would have been at girls. 

I was, however, a very awkward pre-pubescent girl once, and it weren’t pretty.  For some reason, I cut my hair short so that I looked like a middle-aged soccer mom trapped in a 13-year-old’s body, like I should be balancing a Virginia Slims cigarette precariously on my lower lip while spilling red wine everywhere and yelling at my peers to get off my lawn.  My pants legs were always too short approximately one week after we purchased them, but in the name of frugality, there was no way my mom was going to buy me a new pair of jeans.  To top it off, in 1987, suspenders were “in.”  Remember?  No?  Just me?  Anyway . . .  How does one wear suspenders when she is an awkward pre-teen with brand new boobs?  Do the suspenders go inside the boobs, so that they look like a giant hourglass?  Or do they go outside the boobs, so they look like giant parentheses?  I’m awkward from sheered head (BOOBS) to Bass Weejuns!  To top it off, I’m pretty sure I had a raging case of PMS for the entirety of the years 1986 and 1987. 

I think that my middle school years were a practice run.  God watched it all and thought: boys.  We’ll just go with boys.  So in 2003, he gave me one.

Apparently I’m not so great at raising boys either. Even though my mother-in-law periodically reminds me that none of her three boys every broke a bone, I cannot say the same.   
At age 7, Large had a well-fed 2nd grader fall on top of him during a game of tackle and he broke his collarbone.  He’s also had a run-in with a wayward swing (it’s complicated) and he had a freak just-walking-down-the-hallway-at-school accident.  Kid’s got his mama’s natural grace.  Medium’s non-existent ninja skills at a mall play area earned him a cast when he pretended to be running his own parkour course.  Turns out he’s not very good at it.  The only one I had left was Small.

A few weeks ago, Small and Medium were actually getting along, for once.  Naturally this caused the earth to fall off its axis in preparation for the imminent apocalypse, and Small broke his finger trying to catch a football.  He came inside, showed it to me, and told me it really, really hurt.  I took one look at it and my powerful mother’s intuition told me that a pinky is not supposed to be turned in that direction.  Off we went to Patient First, and I literally chuckled when the receptionist asked me if we had ever been there before.  (My monogrammed parking spot out front shoulda been her first clue.)  After three weeks in the cast, we went to get it removed, but Small’s finger hadn’t yet healed completely, so he had to wear another one for 2 weeks. 

Keep in mind that at six years old, he’s still pretty active.  Some might even use the word “rambunctious.”

Small’s pinky and ring finger were both inside the cast - the ring finger serving as a sort of splint for the pinky.  He complained a bit last week that his finger was hurting.  I figured he scraped it or that perhaps the cast was rubbing and irritating his skin, and I reassured him that it could not be broken, because it was already inside a cast.  Go home Mommy, you’re drunk.

When we had the cast removed, I immediately noticed that while his pinky looks as good as new, his ring finger was swollen and purple, and he couldn’t bend it into a fist.  When the xray technician took him back to look at the pinky, I asked real sweet-like if they could maybe just sneak a peek at that ring finger too.

Yep, broken.

Small actually broke a finger that was already inside a cast.  The doctor was very sweet but admitted that she had never seen anything like this happen before.  Look at that – he’s a medical marvel.  This must be what the first kid to ever get Polio felt like. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thinking about Keith Morrison.

The intellectual bank of BoyMommy is overdrawn.

Like many of you, I look at other women and think, “I don’t know how she gets it all done.”  I have friends and neighbors who always seem to have their sh*t together, and I feel like I’m one microwave meal away from a room with padded walls. 

I’m busy.  I’m the president of the elementary school PTA, I’m on the board of the local Little League, I’m working on my Master’s Degree, and then I have this little gig called parenting.  I love all of these things and don’t want to give any of them up.  I love being in the school, I love being involved in an activity that my entire family holds dear, and I love that I’m finally doing something for myself by thinking of my own future.  Of course, all this is secondary to my day job, which primarily consists of keeping three boys alive while feeding them nothing but grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.  It’s not like I’m spending my days going all Martha here at home.

I get in bed every night, exhausted, but my brain is all swirly.  I lay there and think of inane topics until I finally shut down about an hour later.  It’s like there’s no twilight for me; it’s all fluorescent lights and then darkness, and somewhere in there I’m supposed to relax enough to sleep. 

So last night I wrote some stuff down.  Obviously these are extremely important items that my brain thinks I MUST consider before shutting down:

1.  I wonder what Bill Murray’s favorite movie is.

2.  Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back, or on her side?  I’m gonna go with side.  Otherwise . . . gravity.

3.  What’s Puerto Rico like?

4.  Welcome to my house, play that music too loud, show me what you do now, we don’t like to go out . . .

5.  I need to make a decision about kitchen paint color.

6.  Does Keith Morrison sound like that in real life?  I wanted coffee . . . with sugar . . . but what about the creamer?  

7.  Is it Nels Faptha, or Fels Naptha?

8.  My neighbor looks a little like Newt Gingrich.

9.  Was Ione Skye in any other movies besides Say Anything?  I’m gonna have to google.

10.  I wonder if birds know how stupid they are.

I know you feel me, moms.  What stupid stuff is taking up residence in your brain where knowledge used to be?