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Eating in silence, again?

18 Oct

When my boys were younger, I never would’ve thought this would be possible.  But with one away at college and one deep in teenage thought, I kind of wish we had the hectic goofiness at the table again.  Or, forgive me for saying this… that another chic lived here so we could have a little conversation at dinner.  Sheesh.

So, yes, my husband is at the table with us too, but he’s also a dude.  So there ya go.  I’m really not a chatty person, but also not very content with silence reminiscent of a monastic vow at the dinner table either.  It just gets boring.

And all moms know, the one thing you’re NOT supposed to do is ask your teenager questions.  Right? All the fancy parenting books recommend strategic conversation-starting tactics including…  ‘just sit there in silence’ and eventually someone will speak.  But now that they are nearing the end of their teenager years, my beasts soak up the silence.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they are thrilled to not say a single word, if possible.

So, I break the rules and ask questions anyway.  Not many. Just enough to make sure they still possess their auditory senses.  It is amazing how many meanings there are behind a symbolic shrug and the word, “Fine.”  And that’s in answer to questions that are not answerable by yes or no.

The good news is no one refuses to come to the table.  Which is probably because they are getting fed.  What beast turns away a meal they didn’t have to prep?

So as I type this, I am thinking I need to change the game plan and bring the baby beast into the kitchen sooner so he can help prep.  I’m sure he’ll love that… but as I tell him any time he fusses about a chore, “I’m teaching you this so I can ensure my future daughter-in-law will like me.”  And secretly, hope he’ll accidentally start verbalizing a fraction of what is being processed behind that pensive, deep-in-thought expression.

We’ll see.  It probably won’t work, but why not try it.

1 Peter 4:9  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Parenting Tip:  Pick one day a week/month for them to be in charge of dinner at home.  Planning, prepping and cleaning so they not only learn how to cook but also how to appreciate what others cook for them.  (And it could benefit the future daughter-in-law relationship too.)

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Unintended blashphemy

1 Sep

“Dear God in heaven!”

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me but I keep saying something that I think is blasphemous.  Well actually, I do know what’s wrong with me.  I’ve been doing something really stupid all summer long and each time I do it, I react with “Dear God in heaven!”

For some idiotic reason, I keep smelling random clothes found on the floor to determine if they’re clean or not. Guess what, they never are!!!  And let me tell you something about summer, very bad things brew in the summertime and permeate quite generously from the fibers of a teenager’s clothing.   In this instance, it comes down to basic math:

Marching Band + Cross Country + Soccer² = Toxic Wash

I debated on whether to include “Summer Job” in the formula, but my eldest works at a BBQ restaurant and the smell of smoked beef is quite a nice turn compared to everything else — those clothes don’t cause me to blaspheme my Lord. Also, the aroma of BBQ smoke is generous enough to infiltrate a 10 foot radius, so I know whether it’s clean or not before I’ve entered the room.  No need to lift and sniff those clothes.    Although, they do require the use of one of those Oxy-based detergents to get 95% of the smell out.

To be fair, I should add my husband’s contribution of “Team Manager” to the formula ’cause it happens with his T-shirts too.  I mean really, after 20+ years of marriage, I totally should know better.

I had actually improved my acts of stupidity during the summer and clearly recall making a pact to myself that if it’s on the floor, I’d just deem it dirty and NOT smell it first.  But today, I was thrown off because my dog likes to snag socks and brings them to the gameroom — clean or dirty. The pair today we’re all folded up, just like a clean set newly washed.  So what do I do?  Smell them…. “Dear God in heaven!”  They weren’t clean.

I really just need to stand firm to my rule.  No more lift and sniff!!  Maybe if I stop blaspheming Him, I’ll start remembering to just wash instead of wonder.

Deut 5:11  No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.  (The Message)

Parenting Tip: Axe spray deodorant isn’t enough.  Once the essence of your beast really develops, an antiperspirant with deodorant is required.

Not making the grade: A summer school anecdote

22 Jul

Background:  This summer our youngest beast took his first high school class just to get it out of the way and free up an elective during the school year.

Mom: “How did you do on your health test this week?”

Beast: “I got a 74.”

Mom: “A 74, that isn’t very good at all for a class that is supposed to be an easy A. This is your first high school class babe.  Grades really count starting now.  You can’t start high school with a C in a basic class!”

Beast: “No mom, it’s fine.  The teacher said that most kids got a C since this was a really hard test.”

Dad:  “We don’t care what most kids got.  Did you even study for the test?”

Beast, rolling his eyes and taking on the know-it-all tone:  “No dad!  You don’t study for an open book test.”

No.  No you don’t.

If this is any indication of his high school readiness… it’s going to be a long four years.  Pray for us, please.

Feelin’ Loved Lately

6 Feb

Trivia Crack helps me feel loved

Trivia Crack helps me feel loved

Let me preface this by saying if you’re one of those families with teenagers who still hug and kiss you, tell you everything about their day, and openly admit to wanting to spend time with you – the following list probably won’t make sense to you.

What I’m about to share is a simple list of moments, realizations and events that make me think I may still possibly have a special place in the hearts of my beasts. So here goes…  And keep in mind, the following are not regular occurrences, hence the reason they make me feel special.

Things my beasts do that make me feel loved:

  1. Respond to my text
  2. Put a napkin over their food so it doesn’t splatter all over the microwave
  3. Bring in the trashcan or recycle bin without being asked
  4. Takes out the trashcan or recycle bin without being asked
  5. Puts the toilet seat down (OK, this is rare to basically never, but a girl can dream)
  6. Shares a story from their day that is unsolicited
  7. Shares a story from their day that is solicited
  8. Responds to a question with more than a grunt
  9. Likes a pic I post on Instagram that doesn’t have his dog or self in it
  10. Invites me to load Trivia Crack so we can play against each other
  11. Opens a door for me (any door, anytime, any place – even if accidentally)
  12. Clears his place at dinner table without being asked (actually this is one thing they do well)
  13. Watches a TV show or movie with me (even if it’s about zombies, it’s still time together)
  14. Asks for help with anything

Wow.  It feels good just to type this. If you’re tempted to feel sorry for me or find me pathetic — don’t!!  Remember about 18 months ago I outsourced my emotional fulfillment and need to nurture by getting two puppies.  So if I’m having an off day, waiting for a response to my texts while scrubbing out the microwave next to an overflowing trashcan, chances are I’ve got two baby puppies at my feet waiting for me to make them feel loved too.

Leviticus 26:11-12 — I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.

Parenting Tip:  It may not be a picture-perfect relationship. We just have to be present and available when they’re looking for us.

La La Land

18 Aug

You Are Here

You Are Here

In case you’re not familiar, the urban dictionary describes La La Land this way:

You know when you see someone and think, “wow, they’re in their own world.” Well that world is la la land.

Well, I’ve seen first-hand that La La Land does exist.  Here are a few signs that confirmed my 13-year-old beast is currently living there:

  • Finding dairy products in the pantry.
  • Finding used hair product in the pantry.
  • Finding empty used sports bottle in fridge after asking him to put it in dishwasher.
  • After informing him it was in fridge, watching him put said sports bottle in cabinet and then realize it’s not the dishwasher after I inform him it’s not the dishwasher.
  • Instead of taking kitchen trash to outdoor trashcan, he carries it to mailbox then realizes where he is and turns around to take it to backyard where we store the trashcans.
  • Watching him bring the vacuum out the front door and up the driveway before realizing it’s not the closet.

These are just a few, very recent examples.  As hormone levels and surges begin to elevate, I think La La Land will continue to have one very loyal resident.

Parenting Tip:  Use that old chalk board or white board to write out a to-do list instead of ‘nagging’ them verbally.  They get a sense of control by picking which things they do first and marking them off as they do them, and parents can see what’s been done without having to ask.

[Proverbs 17:24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.]

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