Mom’s Silence is Not So Golden

The other day, when I picked up my high school freshman from school, I had a lot on my mind. I guess I was quiet.

About five minutes into the drive, he said, “Well, this is awkward!”

“What?”

“It’s really weird that you’re not asking me a hundred annoying questions about my day.”

“But you complain when I ask you questions about your day.”

“It’s better than this! What’s wrong?!”

I smiled. “Anything cool going on at school?”

“Oh my God, you are so annoying!”

Advertisements

How to Have a Happy 15-Year-Old

These days, there are two guaranteed ways that I can make my teenage son happy.

The first, I practice almost daily. I bring the dog with me when I pick him up from school. No matter how grumpy he looks as he approaches the car, he is transformed if, when he opens the car door, the dog’s face is there ready to give him a good face-licking. Then, instead of sighing about homework or telling me I ask too many questions, he spends the ride home smiling in the rearview mirror and telling me how cute the dog is.

I learned the second way today. The hard way.

The second way I can make him happy is by screwing up… and getting caught.

“Do you know why I stopped you?”

Yes, I got a speeding ticket, cop motorcycle lights flashing, my son grinning ear-to-ear in the passenger seat, and the dog wagging her tail. Apparently, this was exciting for both of them.

As the police officer wrote out my $160 fine for going 33 in a 20MPH school zone (ooops!), my fifteen-year-old laughed heartily. “This is absolutely awesome!”

His Arm in a Sling

Yesterday, the name of my sons’ school flashed as the phone rang. Ugh. Images of vomit on his school supplies or his hands around someone’s throat at recess flashed in my head.

“Hellooooo?” Please say it’s vomit.

My fourth grader had apparently crashed into the fence during a football game and was claiming he broke his collarbone. (A potential copycat injury, as our friend broke his last weekend.)

“Jennifer, he’s sitting in the office with me right now, and we have ice on it.” Her voice was sing-songy as if to say “read between the lines, Mama.”

“Soooo, is this a come-get-him kind of broken collarbone or the kind that ice is making better?”

“Ohhh, I think the ice is doing a goooood job.”

I laughed. Ice is magical.

“But the teacher on recess duty is coming to confirm that he’s okay. How about I call you back after she checks out his shoulder?”

“I’m here if you need me.”

Then she whispered, “He’s very cute.”

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. “Now Jennifer, he thinks he can stay for Chess Club, but he doesn’t want you to be alarmed when you pick him up, because his arm is in a sling.”

What a player.

Two hours later, I picked him up from Chess Club. “Oh goodness! That must have really hurt!”

Dropped his friends at their house. And as I got back in the car to take him home, he pulled the sling off, big grin on his face as he waved his arm around.

“Phew,” he said. “I think it’s better.”

 

Seven Games to Go

Waiting outside the gym, one of the 4th grade team Dads approached, “Soooo, you were a high school baller?”

Nope. Never played in my life. Total dork.

“Uh, what?”

I smiled, “I’m the only one who would volunteer.”

My first game as coach of the 4th grade team was chaos. My plan for subs didn’t work because the refs told me they don’t really go by the stated rules, on which I had based my subbing plan.

Rookie coach.

And what gym has the parents sitting right behind the players’ bench?! Nightmare.

The gym had the worst acoustics ever. Our opponents had four 6’5” Dad coaches (all with ridiculously loud voices and likely played when they were 10 and 18) and three kids who shoot like Stephen Curry. Our kids didn’t know who they were guarding now that we don’t use colored wristbands. And no player could have heard what I was saying to them even if they were inclined to listen.

Plus, I can’t blow my whistle during games. We are the Bad News Bears. They need my whistle.

Good news? My co-mom-coach is way cooler under pressure than me. My son played good defense and left the game happy. Our star shooter stopped himself from crying even though we were losing so badly. And the player most likely to get thrown out of the game only said “Damn it” once.

One down. Seven games to go.

In a few weeks, we are going to rock this!

Flu Shot Fiasco

In the imagination of my ten-year-old, flu shots hurt. He claims that his arm still aches from last year’s shot. “I have been in pain for years and years,” he cried today in a plea to skip his appointment.

Moms typically find no humor in public meltdowns. However, the ability to re-watch the scene through the eyes of his teenage big brother – twinkling with both awe and amusement throughout the scene – can turn drama into comedy.

The not-so-little-anymore ten-year-old began the appointment hiding under the chair in which I sat waiting for the nurse. Crying. Shaking. “I’m going to throw up!”

The baby wailing in the next room could not compete.

When the nurse entered, he stepped up his game. Screamed. Leapt out of my arms. Flew open the door, and raced down the hall.

By the time the nurse and I ran after him – big brother didn’t move, by the way – the waiting room showed no evidence of a mad ten-year-old in flight. She searched amid the quiet children and parents waiting their turn. People, like I used to be, who assume a modicum of sanity from their offspring.

I checked the bathrooms. Down another hall.

Where could he be hiding?

I found him outside in his socks.

“You don’t know what it’s like to be me!”

I talked him back into the doctor’s office. Threats of returning tomorrow with Dad. Waved at the nurse. Read to him while she recruited a colleague to help us pin him down.

He screamed to stick his left leg. “I need my right leg for sports. It’s my strong one.” Then….

“Nooooo!”

By the time his doctor entered, he was finished with his fluorescent green ice-pop and riding an adrenaline rush that entertained her with stories of farting, bad school lunches, baseball and his struggles with spelling.

“Next year,” she said, “you get two shots.”

And his big brother grinned.

October Snow Dance

Rumors of an early snow day had three boys in my house in a virtual tizzy last night. And they concocted a few odd rituals to deliver the snow.

The eighth grader ran outside while we were finishing dinner and yelled into the dark, snowless ski, “Snow gods, make it snow!”

The fourth grader followed him out the door, but decided the snow gods would take more notice if he stripped down to his orange striped underwear. “We want a snow day!”

“No school!” called the ninth grader from the doorway.

I am not sure who came up with the final plea. For that, they dumped ice cubes into the toilet.

Then this morning, when only a dusting graced our lawn, they blamed the little guy. “You put too much ice in.”

Funny. I assumed it was the dance in his underwear.