Month: September 2011
On Saturday night my house was overflowing with testosterone. My son turned 13 and we allowed him to invite five other friends over for sports and to stay the night. Wow, was it eye-opening! This was quite the opposite of what I’m used to with four daughters and only one son. My oldest two daughters opted to leave for the night. Now I know why. My conclusion after this experience — boys are fun but stinky, especially when they’re in junior high (God bless the teachers that have them after P.E.).
I still can’t believe I agreed to this many teenagers staying over on one night. The last time I did this was seven years ago and I vowed to never do it again (I should have tattooed that reminder on my forehead). I believe this party may even have been my idea. In a moment of weakness, and grasping for affordable ideas, this is the only thing a friend and I could come up with. And turning 13 is a big deal, marking the beginning of those teenage years for my son and guaranteed gray hair for me. Obviously, some sort of party was necessary.
The night began with sports including basketball, volleyball, and badminton. There was air hockey and foosball, too. Next, there was pizza at our house. Before I finished eating they were off to their next activity. After an afternoon of rain showers, what more fun a thing could boys do then play tackle football in the wet grass? (I misjudged their creativity.) What may have started as football quickly turned into something else much more exciting and dangerous. They started diving head first down our slippery front yard. Apparently football in wet grass wasn’t enough. They even got out the hose. Within minutes they were covered in mud and tons of grass and they were giggling like girls. I went out to capture the moment on video and asked them where exactly they thought they were sleeping looking like that. Without hesitating they yelled, “Outside in a tent!” I immediately vetoed that idea. Besides getting eaten alive by every insect known to man, I don’t think I would have slept a wink wondering if they were actually going to stay in our yard or explore the neighborhood. It sounded like too much freedom to me.
After three loads of stinky, muddy laundry (my washing machine now has an atrocious odor), and after wiping up wet floors so they wouldn’t slip and knock themselves out, they watched a movie (praise the Lord; they were finally taking a break from possible injury).
I then overheard their plans for a Nerf gun war. My only consolation was any glass wouldn’t break with spongy bullets flying around. One of the boys found the marshmallow shooter, (similar to a Nerf gun, only it pelts people with mini marshmallows instead). It’s quite fun, I must say, but I was fresh out of marshmallows. This was no disappointment to me. Again, they got creative. The next morning I found random Cocoa Puffs scattered about. It could have been Reece’s Puffs, too. It’s hard to tell when all our kids’ cereal looks like brown sugar pellets (obviously we’re striving for high nutritional values). Nonetheless, considering the cereal boxes were mysteriously empty, they cleaned up most of the evidence.
Having ended their fun-filled night at 5 a.m., they said they were disappointed they didn’t stay up all night. I’m not sure what all night means to them, because 5 a.m. shouts success to me. I woke up the stragglers at 11 a.m. insisting it was time to rise and shine before their parents reported them missing. I considered the night a success with no blood, no broken bones, and no broken furniture. I only hope their parents are still speaking to me after returning their severely sleep-deprived sons with mud-stained clothes. Maybe, I should have used more bleach.
Compliments of the Atchison Globe
The birds and the bees Lisa Baniewicz
Is there a magical age when to talk to children about the birds and the bees? If there is, I’m not aware. I have found it’s best before they hear it from their friends (or there’s a lot of backtracking and correction) and much too late if your children are already married with kids of their own (just an observation). With Internet sites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and others, the age of knowledge (and end of innocence) seems to be getting younger faster. Information, really too much information at times, is just a click away.
My hope is that I talk to my children about important topics while I still have their attention. In a parenting class my husband and I took several years ago, the instructor said, “Children gradually stop listening to their parents around age 11 and start listening to their friends more.” I remember a tightening in my chest and shear panic setting in even though our oldest was only 2 years old. I began to plan.
Five children later, and I feel like I’m falling behind schedule. One of our daughters reminded me that she hadn’t had “the talk” yet. It’s a right of passage in our home and she was eager to learn. All I could think about was how I’d completely forgotten. (So much for staying on top of things. Luckily, she was on the ball.) Halfway through our chat, which also included alcohol, substance abuse and other topics, I realized how much I’d forgotten to tell her older siblings. Maybe what I realized is how much I needed to cover, already having teenagers of my own. I began to take notes, since obviously my memory eluded me more than I’d like to admit. I vowed to get back to the others with the more thorough version. This was met with a lot of “yes, yes, we know” and just a little new information for them.
Luckily I have some time to breathe before my next child is of age for the talk and other life lessons (I should put it in my calendar now). In the meantime, all that’s left is a lot of time to worry. As a parent, I can only hope and pray my children make wise decisions when they aren’t with me. When my older children weren’t in school yet, I used to worry about them falling or getting hurt. Now I realize that was nothing compared to my current worries. A more experienced parent of grown children once told me, “It’s not when they’re with you that you have to worry. It’s when they’re not.” This is why I hope my oldest children have taken the talks we’ve had seriously (along with the advice I will continue to give no matter what age they are), and that it’s hit a nerve and resonated.
Our parting words to our daughter after we talked emphasized that this special talk is meant to be between a parent and their child. It’s not her job to inform her friends about the facts of life. Lord knows there are enough people already trying to do that.
Compliments of the Atchison Globe