Not in my yard

Yesterday afternoon the neighbor kid who is 7 years old (same age as my son) came over to play Skylanders. If you don’t know what Skylanders is, don’t worry. I don’t quite understand it either. From what I can tell, you purchase a Skylander character, put it on a base that is connected to a video game system, and the character comes to life in a virtual adventure world.

I was upstairs listening to the boys talk about how many lives and super powers each of their characters had. I know I shouldn’t do it, but I love eavesdropping on them. You just never know what kids are going to say. For example, I learned that the neighbor kid’s mom “has the hots” for the Skylander character Boomer. “She thinks he is so cute,” he said to my son.

I went downstairs to watch them play and the neighbor kid greeted me, “Hi, Isaac’s Mom. Do you remember when you got upset with the kid who lives in the house next to yours for calling me an asshole? Well, we’ve had more trouble with him. This weekend he called me a jackass.”

“What?!” my son asked.

“Yeah. He called me a jackass. So my dad said he can’t play in our yard any more.”

“I can’t believe he said that to you!” my son said. They were caught up in the audacity of the 10-year-old’s behavior and forgot that I was there.

I went back upstairs and not much later I heard yelling, and then I heard the back door open, then shut, then open, and more yelling. My husband was in the middle of the commotion. “What is going on?” I asked him.

“The neighbor kid is trying to keep his nemesis out of his yard,” the hubs said.

I looked over and the neighbor kid was standing with his arms outstretched, acting as the filler for his fence, which is missing a section. “No! You cannot come in my yard! My dad said so!”

Then my son opens our back door and yells inside, “Dad, tell him he can’t come in our yard, either! I don’t want him over here.”

“You need to come in for dinner so no one is going to be in the backyard anyway,” the hubs said. 

My son translated that to his version of what was said and loudly yelled to the 10-year-old, “My dad said you can’t come into our yard, either!” He softly added, “And, I have to go in for dinner anyway.”

There’s no telling how long the backyard stand-off would have lasted if the neighbor kid hadn’t been called inside. All I know is, the line has been drawn.

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How do I explain this?

There is a way I should be doing this parenting thing. And yet with so many books, blogs, experts and advice-givers available to me, I still fly by the seat of my pants. So last night when we were walking home from the homecoming parade and my 7-year-old asked, “What was the float with the people dressed in rainbow colors that said ‘freak show’ on the side?” I did my best to explain what the LGBT rights float was about and that no, despite their poster, they are not freaks.

This is when the silent hubs — who passed on answering the question — finally piped in with, “Yeah, that was really counterproductive.”

Later on that evening I took the 7-year-old to CVS with me. While I was looking for some allergy medicine, he walked over holding a box and asked, “What’s this? ‘Eeneema?’ (trying to read the box) What does it do and where do you put it?” So I stood there in CVS and briefly explained the purpose of an enema and where it goes. He nodded and asked if he could go to the toy aisle.

“Yes! I’ll meet you there.” Is it OK to let your child wander around the store without you? Probably not, but it had just dawned on me that I should pick up a feminine product. Considering the night we were having, I thought about delaying this purchase. But, I knew if I put it off, the hubs (who does the grocery shopping) would eventually find it on his list. 

I grabbed what I needed, stopped by the toy aisle to get the 7-year-old, and headed to the register. I put the products on the counter and, despite my best efforts to distract my son, he didn’t miss a beat. “Mom, what are ‘tampones’?”

The teenage boy who was ringing up my purchases did his best to keep a straight face. I didn’t have it in me this time. “Girl stuff. Would you like a bag of Cracker Jacks?”

When we got home, I went upstairs to find the hubs and the toddler. “How was your trip to CVS?” the hubs asked.

“Um, fine…,” I looked behind him to see if our 7-year-old was within earshot.

“Well, you missed an exciting evening at home. Little man pooped in the bathtub.”

I had to smile. I looked at the toddler and asked, “Did you poop in the bathtub?”

“Yep,” he said matter-of-factly.

“I’ll stay with him,” I said. “He doesn’t ask questions. You go with Curious George.”

Keep your pants on

I don’t know what it is about guys and pants. My older son would only wear sweat pants the first four years of his life because anything else was too restricting — a behavior that was praised by my brothers-in-law who wished they could do the same thing. This morning, the toddler put up his regular fight, “No shorts! No shorts!” At times I even find myself asking my kids, “Where are your pants?” 

Normally I don’t generalize, but I’ve seen the same anti-pants comments on Twitter from men celebrating a pant-less evening at home. And in 2010, Dockers made a Superbowl commercial about men who don’t wear pants. (Mom, if you are reading this, don’t click on that link unless you want to see guys without pants.) I’m with the retail giant on this one. Sorry kids, but it’s time to wear the pants.

Monday is welcome

This has been quite the weekend. Between the toddler showing me who is boss, and the 7-year-old having a meltdown over not being able to bat as well as his 5-year-old friend, I am ready for Monday. I love my kids with every ounce of my being. I am also listening to the toddler crying for the sixth time today. And while I write this post, the Wiggles are playing in the background upstairs while Disney XD plays downstairs…as they have been since Friday night. I know I will probably get tomatoes thrown at me for this post, but sometimes Mondays are welcome.

And a half

Today is my son’s half birthday. He’s 7 and a half. At this age, the half matters. It’s a pretty big deal to be able to say you’re 7 1/2. It’s way older than seven. It’s practically eight. To celebrate, we had a slice of coconut cream pie.

Recently someone asked if it makes me sad that he’s already 7 years old (and a half). It doesn’t. In fact, I’m a little worried that my mommy button is broken because it really, really doesn’t make me sad. Not in the least bit. Not even if I close my eyes, concentrate and inwardly search for the sad feeling. It’s not there.

I look forward to every year. I like watching him learn and grow, and accomplish what he wants — even if it’s as simple as being tall enough and brave enough to ride a roller coaster. He rocked that roller coaster, too. And while we were walking through the amusement park, I didn’t look at the kiddie rides and reminisce. I imagined him bringing his date to the park, and I smiled at the thought of him spending his money on funnel cake, fast passes, and whatever else might make their night extra fun.

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