Tag Archives: Sons

Are You There God? It’s Me, Monkey.

I hadn’t anticipated that I might need to have ‘the talk’ with my kid this Spring Break. I also didn’t realize that our new kitten would be the conduit to this conversation. The other night, our 7 month old kitten was howling. I had no idea what it was except that it was loud and strange and a lot of noise for a tiny cat. Turns out, Little Miss Monkey is in heat. She and her brother, Buster, were found in a parking lot and spent the majority of their lives in a split-level kitten condo at the vet. When we brought them home just over a month ago, Buster had been fixed, but the vet felt Monkey was still too small, so we needed to wait. Unfortunately, she was so overwhelmed by the palatial surroundings of our tiny duplex, that she sought refuge under the dishwasher, refusing to come out. We borrowed the condo from the vet and they both have slowly adjusted and have been feeling more social and ready to join our family. In the last week, she finally ventured out and was beginning to consider letting us pet her outside her cage. She was coming into her own, but then, just like that, my house became the cat version of a Judy Blume book.

This is a problem. My son is asking questions. At almost 10 years old, he still hasn’t asked me where babies come from or how they are made, and has no clue about how his mother’s body works. For goodness sake, this is the same child who once (not too long ago) asked me what I called my “lady penis”. For starters, never that. I thought by having two boys, I bought myself extra time. They have no idea about menstruation and that was peachy keen by me, but Monkey is messing it up for me. He wants to know what ‘heat’ is and why she is rolling around and moaning and trying to persuade her brother to rethink their sibling, and therefore, platonic relationship. He wants to know why I won’t let her meet the neighborhood boy cats who are coming by at night and doing their own version of “Say Anything” at our window. Oh what I wouldn’t give to hear a boombox and “In Your Eyes” blasting. But no, my ears are bleeding with the sounds coming from the Abyssinian down the block at my back door at 10 p.m. Don’t they know I need my sleep? I have a cold and my parents are coming to visit this weekend. I don’t have time for teenage romance right now, feline or otherwise. My son wants to know if she is looking to meet a boy cat and have a family. How will they make the baby and does being in heat hurt? So far, I’ve been able to dodge the question of how with distractions of extra TV time, but I also know I can’t run from it much longer.

Was it like this for my parents? I remember when I was about 10 or 11, my mom gave me a book and sent me to my room. “What’s Happening to Me” was this funny, accessible way to introduce me to what was going on with my body and where babies came from. It’s companion piece, “Where Did I Come From”, was something I had also read. I just looked at them again recently and wow, the 70s and 80s. Not exactly fit for the modern day, but it worked at the time. I also remember going to school one evening in fifth grade where we were separated by gender and left to watch sex education filmstrips. In fairness, I think it gave me the basics, but really, I don’t remember my parents sitting me down and explaining anything. I’m pretty sure I learned more from “Forever” (thank GOD for Judy Blume!) than anything else. Either I blocked out any talk with my parents,  or it just never happened. If it never happened, I hold no ill-will, I save my resentments for much more important things, like not getting my own room or having to beg for parachute pants. But this? No complaints from me. They dodged a bullet and I’d like to follow in their footsteps. I don’t want to explain this to my kids. It’s uncomfortable. It leads to other gateway topics like love and attraction and sex for the fun of it and why are his sheets sticky. Is it getting hot in here?

Like everything else I’ve done in parenthood, I’m sure I’ll have the conversation, and it will be fine. I’ll read 1000 blogs and articles, ask everyone I know, overthink it, and then just do whatever the hell I want. If I time it right, it’ll be on the day I notice he’s spending too much time in the shower and, please God, don’t let me have PMS.

 

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And the Tree was Happy

“Let’s read this book, Mom,” he said, handing me The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

Now that the Big One is 7, he reads books to me.  This is new and something I cherish.  Hearing him sound out words and use the punctuations to properly set the tone, I can see his growth and development unfold in front of me.  In second grade, they are working on comprehension, whereas in first grade, they worked on reading the words.  His schoolwork focuses on being able to recall and explain what he’s read and when he reads with me, I try to ask him questions to see how much he understands and whether he is digesting the words he takes in.

As a parent, both his dad and I have reluctantly read this book to our children.  We can barely get to the part with the boy wanting a house without starting to tear up.  Little Guy went through a period, around age 3, when he wanted it read to him every night.  “My favorite book,” he’d say, “is ‘The Gibbing Twee’, by Silverware.”  How could you not read it to someone who calls it that?

Tonight, after his brother went to bed, Big One crawled into bed with me and started to read.  I wondered what type of questions I could ask him.  Maybe talk about empathy, being considerate of others, taking and giving…what I hadn’t anticipated was that he understood more deeply than I could have imagined.

“Do you have any money? The boy asked the tree.”

“That isn’t very nice. He shouldn’t just show up and ask for money.”

When he got to the part of the story where the boy said he wanted a house, his voice cracked a little.  He kept reading, but I could tell he was starting to cry.  I promise you, it was at the EXACT same spot both his dad and I start feeling emotional.  He put the book down, looked away and told me he needed to go to the bathroom.  Sneaking up to the bathroom door, I heard him crying (and peeing) and sniffling.  I rushed away and back into my bed before he could discover that I was listening and he came back.  I asked him if he was okay.  I asked him if he wanted to talk about how he felt.  He said he didn’t, because he didn’t know.  “Do you want to keep reading?” I asked.  He did.

When the boy wanted a boat and said he was sad, Big One stopped again and just bawled.  He cried and hugged me so tight and said, “Why am I crying?”  I held him and said, “Oh my love, just cry.”

At the end of the story, we talked.  It made him sad that the tree was always there and he didn’t think the boy appreciated it.  He said he thought the boy used the tree.  He said that he thought the boy was a jerk.  I really appreciated his point of view, and offered that while I saw where he was coming from, I looked at it differently.  I explained that I saw the tree as the parent who was always there and that the boy needed the tree in different ways as he grew and that was exactly as it should be.  This may have been too much for my little Big One, because he cried even more.  He told me that he would never leave me for so long and that he’d give me things since I give him things.  I don’t think I could have put into words how much he had already given me.  I mean, I could have pointed out that when I buy him ice cream and then he doesn’t do what I ask, he’s kinda being a boy wanting the tree’s apples, but that would have really been a jerk move.  I mean, this kid GOT IT.  He has empathy.  He really WANTS to do nice things for the people he loves.  But he’s also 7 and doesn’t fully have a grasp on his actions, nor should he.  As his mom, I understand and accept that he will take from me and I will give and give and love being there for him, knowing that his appreciation may be difficult to always see.   I put him to bed and after a few minutes, he came back into my room a few minutes.  He asked, “could we just cuddle a little more?”

And the boy loved the tree, very much, and the tree was happy.

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Filed under Motherhood, parenting, Storytime

Happy Birthday, Little Guy

He is asleep now, but when he wakes up, he will be 5.  Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet boy.

I know it is cliché to say that we love them all equally, but like any parent, pet owner, or lover of any creature in groups more than one, it’s really true.  When I met him, I had been a mom to his brother for two years and I think I believed that they would be the same- that their personalities would be alike.  Looking at it now, I realize that was a naive but give me a break, I had just spent the last 9 months growing a person, raising/loving/chasing/being defeated by a toddler, all while working a full time job.  The kid was honestly lucky he didn’t end up with his brother’s name followed by a #2.  But from the start, this fella showed up and let us know how uniquely himself he was planned to be.  In honor of his 5th birthday, I want to share 5 things I love about him and only him:

1.  His scratchy little Muppet voice.
2.  He sings in the car, in his room, in the bath, everywhere.
3.  He loves animals and insists that they tell him things.
4.  He says his brother is his best friend and means it.
5.  He looks at me like I invented sunshine.

There are about a million more things I want to tell you, but instead, when he wakes up in the morning, I will tell him this:

“Little Boy, my special bug, I am so blessed to be your mom, to get to love you and to help show you the way as you grow.   Happy, happy birthday.”

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You Are a Joy and a Treasure

To my beautiful boy,

I write you today, just because.  It is not a special day of any kind, and yet, I felt like I needed to say some things to you.  Even though you are 7 and not allowed on the computer without permission and you might never even read this, I write this to you so I can remember today.

This morning you crawled in my bed, snuggled up and asked me to scratch your back.  You had horrible morning breath.  You farted on my leg.  It was incredibly annoying because really, I was doing important things.  I was reading my horoscope and checking Facebook.  My coffee was ready in the kitchen, calling to me.  I was in no mood to be MOM, not yet.

You started talking about making a carnival at your brother’s preschool.  Again.  This topic of conversation has been constant and when I said, “I’ll think about it,” you took that as a YES and have been planning it ever since.  No, I haven’t bought prize tickets yet, I haven’t asked the school if we can do it and I really don’t think an egg toss is a good idea for preschoolers.

You are the first person I ever met that I am biologically related to.  You look just like me.  You are loving and kind and creative.  You are so smart, that it freaks me out sometimes. But most of all, like your brother, I am completely in love with you.  I learn from you every day.  You teach me grace, because even when I’m not in the mood to get all mommy up in your business, I do it anyway and you just love me.  You don’t care if I’m having a bad day, you don’t need to know about the real, grown-up problems in my life, you just love me.

You are kind and funny and generous and mindful of others and I hope you got bits of those qualities from me.  I love that you want to have a carnival for preschoolers just because you think they’d love it.  But if I take any credit for those qualities, then I must also acknowledge that the things that drive me crazy are also bits from me, too.  They are little reminders of my own character defects, although I prefer to call them ‘personality quirks’.  I hope you grow to embrace them and not beat yourself up over them, because they are still part of you and you are beautiful.

Thank you for reminding me of this today.  And stop scratching your butt.  I love you to the moon and back, infinity.

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