The Gallery… Boys

They grow up way too fast.

One minute you’re gazing at them as they lay nestled in your arms.

And, then the next they’re towering over you.

*sigh*

20130219-221942.jpg

This week’s theme for The Gallery is boys. I decided to pick this photograph because I love how it perfectly captures the spirited side of my boys. What say you?

20130219-215523.jpg

The Gallery … Faces

The Gallery: Every Wednesday

When I saw this week’s theme over at The Gallery was faces, I immediately knew that I would use this photo of some adorable pumpkin faces my boys and I carved over the weekend.

But, then I thought maybe that wasn’t quite what Tara was going for when she suggested the theme so I decided to use some of my favourite photos I have taken of my boys over the years.

This is one of my oldest when he was about 12ish.  When I look at it all I can see are how blue his eyes are against the backdrop of the sky …


This photo of my middle son aged 4ish makes me smile every time I look at his laughing, mischievous eyes …

This is one of my favourite photos of my youngest son when he was just a year old … I think because he looks so calm and inquisitive … as is his nature.  Sort of.

I love this one of all of my boys because they just look so darned cute and adorable, no?

And, last but not least is this photo I took of one of my brothers with my youngest son a few years back that I think captures the theme perfectly …

i like boobs … part 1

My laptop has crashed.

And, burned.

Again.

Ugh.

So, while it’s away being repaired … again … I asked demanded kindly urged the teen to let me on his when he’s not using it.   After an ungodly amount of clicking, he reluctantly and begrudgingly agreed and handed it over.  The first time I went to go use it, however, I noticed he had a password on it and after a couple of failed attempts at logging in, I was forced to wait for him to get home before I could use it.  Without saying a word, he logged me in and I was finally able to surf the net get some work done.

The following afternoon when I went to get on the laptop, I realised that I had neglected to ask the teen for the password.  As you can imagine given our society’s reliance on all things electrical it was almost the first thing I uttered when he walked in the door from school. 

Okay, I’m not that attached to the ‘net.  I did ask him how his day went before requesting said password.  Give me some credit for my nurturing, mothering abilities.

Anyway, he mumbled for me to hand over the laptop so that he could just log me in himself. 

My immediate thought was eh, what’s going on here then?

My oldest is a good kid and has always been very open and honest with me.  He has never given me any cause to worry about him with regards a lot of the issues facing teens today and I thank my lucky stars for that.  I don’t feel the need to snoop on him and he knows that hence him letting me use his laptop in the first place.  

But, he is a 15-year-old boy.

Who was obviously hiding something.

I did feel the need to voice that I trusted him and hoped that in turn he trusted me that I wouldn’t snoop.  Alls I wanted was the password so I could get online to check my emails, etc.  Not his.  He immediately got all defensive insisting he didn’t have anything to hide from me.  I told him, all right and that he should just tell me his password then.

And, he got all flustered and started blushing.

At this point, I really didn’t want to think about what could possibly be on my son’s laptop, so I stomped off and told him, not to worry about it and that my own would be returned soon enough.

“Okay, mum,” he said and with a heavy sigh, blurted out “My password is ‘i like boobs.’ Okay?”

I stopped dead in my tracks with my eyes as wide as saucers, unsure of what to say or do next.  So, I do what I always do when confronted with uncomfortable situations, I snorted, laughed and made a joke.  Not my best parenting moment I will admit as I asked him “large or small,” but it did kinda stop his embarrassment long enough for me to lecture him that maybe it wasn’t-the-most-respectful-to-women password he could have picked. 

But, he’s only 15 and as was pointed out to me by a friend, the situation could have been something far worse … I mean, his password could have been something like ‘i like feet’ or ‘i like drugs,’ but it wasn’t. 

It was clearly dreamt up by that of a 15 year-old-boy. 

A 15-year-old boy who I might add now has a nice, new, mum-approved password.

Now, I’m sure there are some grown-up boys out there too with similar if not exactly the same password.  I’m not pointing any fingers or anything.  Just saying.

*cough, cough*

I wanna wear my “da car” tee-shirt …

So, these were the words my youngest son woke up saying this morning.

“I wanna wear my ‘da car’ tee-shirt, mum.”

It was his first day of preschool here in the States and he had what he was going to wear all planned out in his head.

He was wearing his “da car” tee-shirt.

Being the ever-attentive, good mummy that I am, I begrudgedly happily pulled out what I thought was his beloved Cars tee-shirt for him to wear … cursing that it was at the bottom of the child’s stack of tees.  When I handed it to the munchkin I sadly did not get the gleeful squeal of delight that I was fully expecting.  Instead, I got a face that looked like a bulldog licking a thistle and those words again … “but, I wanna wear my ‘da car’ shirt.”

“This isn’t the right car shirt, son?” I asked him, patiently.  By this time, the clock was a-ticking and I was worried we might be late.

“No, I want my ‘da car’ shirt,” he replied.

Insistently.

My heckles went up when I heard him say “want” and for a moment, I pondered whether it was an appropriate time to give my little man a lesson about the use of that word and the fact that I would actually really rather him say “I would like.”  Knowing how I can ramble on, I obviously decided against it and went in the closet for another car tee-shirt.

This time, I came out … a triumphant twinkle in my eye … with his tee that had RC from Toy Story on it, but I was met with the same response as well as a stifled cry of sorts.  Bless ‘im.

“Mum, I want my ‘da car’ shirt,” he whined

“I don’t know which one car shirt you mean, son,” I whined back.  “Come on now, you need to get dressed or we’re going to be late.”

“Awww, mum,” he said looking at me tearfully.

Not wanting to have a parenting fail on my youngest son’s first day of preschool, I decided to look one more time for this bloody tee-shirt.  Standing there, I started looking through the boy’s shirts, muttering to myself “dar car ey?”

“Da car.”

Till I finally I spied it.

And, I swear it was like a thousand light bulbs going off.

Or at least a gazillion of those ridiculous Oprah aha moments.

“Is this what you want?” I asked my preschooler.

When he gave me a squeal of delight, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

I was holding a new tee-shirt his grandma had bought for him that had a guitar emblazoned on the front of it.  He had meant “guitar” not “da car.”

Finally, a parenting result.

He quickly finished getting dressed and we headed out the door … with me attempting another parenting result by trying to get him to pronounce the word guitar correctly.

I’m pleased to report that his first day went really well … all the better for knowing one of his teachers.  He was a tad confused by the differences between here and in the UK,  for example, he kept asking what colour his teacher was going to be.  This was a little embarrassing , but not so after I explained that at his nursery in England all of his teachers were colour coded so to speak … they each wore a different colour apron and the children were assigned to either the red group, the blue group, the green group or the yellow one.  Yeah, they don’t do that so much here.

He was also upset by the fact that he wouldn’t be having lunch at preschool. No matter whether he was in the morning or afternoon session at his nursery in England, he would have lunch there with his friends and so he doesn’t quite understand why that’s not the same here.

When I picked him up, one of the first things he did tell me was this … “guess what mum, everybody weeeeeally liked my ‘da car’ tee-shirt.”

Result.  I think.

==========

The teen and tween had good first days too — thankfully, they were put in the correct classes and by that I mean those advanced  and gifted ones.  Last week, I had to get all Yorkshire ghetto with the teen’s high school guidance counselors when they tried to tell me that they were not going to give him credits for the classes he took in England.  And, that he very likely may have to repeat some of them.

*cough, cough*

Sometimes, one has to get a little forceful when it comes to one’s children. Ye know?

Goddammit, one day he’ll realise I’m a cool mum …

Last week, the teen had a day off school because of one of those professional teacher training days so I thought I’d plan a nice mother-son day out.

Yes, I know I can hear you scoffing right now. It was a bad idea from the start, yeah?

Well, first of all he slept in.  I was told earlier in the week by my electrician … yeah, best you don’t ask … lots of issues going on with the rental causing him to spend muchos time here giving me parenting advice …  that apparently teen boys can’t help an overwhelming need to sleep. 

Pfffft.

Whatever.

Eventually, his lordship got himself up and all beautified for a day couple of hours out so off we set to walk in to town.  It took me a minute, but then I suddenly noticed something.  An oddity if you will.  The teen was walking a couple of steps behind me.  So, I would stop and wait for him to catch up and note that he would stop too.  This went on quite a few times till it dawned on me what he was up to and then I was all …

Eh? 

What ya doing? 

Son, what’s wrong? 

You don’t want to walk with me

To which he looked at me rather sheepishly and said, “well no.  It’s not very cool to walk with your mum.”

*sigh*

When did that happen?

That I became an uncool mum?

Where’s my little boy gone who couldn’t wait to hang and play trains with his mama?  Who took my hand whenever we were out? Who called me his best friend?

*sobs*

Ye know I could be one of those mothers that looks like this …

… or one of those mothers that makes their sons go buy tampons at the corner shop.

Instead, he’s got me …

…and one day he’ll look back and know I was one cool mum.  Goddammit.

The Gallery … Children

When I saw the prompt for this week’s Gallery I immediately knew which photograph I was going to use … the reason being that it seems to have captured a little of each of my son’s personalities perfectly.  

Cheeky.

Mischievous.

Serene. 

I’ll let you try and figure out which adjective goes with which child. =)

Potty training follow through …

I think we mothers of boys know the following events all too well.  You think you’ve fully potty trained your son, but then …

You suddenly find yourself desperate for the loo.  So desperate are you that you don’t really care where you go.  In fact, so desperate that you run to your bathroom and sit down on the toilet without even looking at the seat.  Big mistake because then you feel it.  That familiar slippery wetness.  But, it’s too damn late.  You’ve been forced to sit on what you hope is your little boy’s wee.  Again.

Ewwwwwwwww, right?

Looks like it’s back to Potty Training 101 or is it?

This rather annoying stage of the toilet training process is what I like to refer to as potty training follow through.   Yes, that’s right — potty training follow through.  It’s the uglier side to toilet training a boy, if you will.  And, it’s a long drawn out stage that literally can take years. (And, years off the parent’s life too.)

Oh, the joys of potty training boys. 

Not that I’m saying the initial stage of potty training is any easier with a girl, but unless they have a penchant for peeing when standing, when you potty train a girl, it usually ends there.  They sit, they go … end of. 

 With a boy, however, it’s a little different.  It doesn’t just end with getting them to do their #1 in the toilet.  You have to follow through on the potty training.  That is, you must train your sons up on all those little nuances a male needs to know before, during and after a visit to the toilet …

  • Firstly, it’s all about the concentration.  You really must make sure that when they need to go to the toilet that they concentrate on only that because the next thing you know they’ve been distracted midstream by some shiny bright object and you’ve got them weeing up the walls, on the floor and goodness knows where else. 
  • You also have to train the little treasures to actually lift the toilet seat before going so as not to get afore-mentioned droplets on it thereby causing mummy to shriek in terror. 
  • Next on the potty training follow through list is to teach them to put the seat down once weeing has ended.  Never ever during.
  • Getting the aim right is very high up there on the potty training follow through list.  Need I say more?  Really?
  • Lastly, if they do dribble, how about teaching them to wipe it so as to avoid future potential shrieks.

My littlest one will be 4 in a few short months so I’m now full whack in the midst of this stage.  And, I have to say it’s going pretty well.  Only time will tell if he gets through it with straight A’s.

I fully realise what a big undertaking and responsibility this potty training follow through is for me.  I mean, women all over the world could potentially thank me one day for potty training my boys correctly.  When my sons find that perfect someone and she realises that he puts the seat down AND doesn’t dribble on the floor, they’ll come and worship at my feet, right?  Well, a future mother-in-law can dream.

Time marches on …

The past week or so has been really hard on me. 

Truth be told, I am not coping very well.

Not at all.

And, I think it all has to do with my oldest son growing up.  Way too fast.  Couple that with all those classic sayings about time I keep hearing and you have yourself a basket case.   Yes, all my wonderful, helpful friends love to tell me how time flies or how time marches on or even how time won’t stand still.

Bloody time.

He will be turning 14 in a few short days and I just don’t know where its gone.  Time, that is.  It seems like only yesterday that I was holding him for the first time.  My firstborn.  My beautiful baby boy.  My heart.

I will always remember one of the first times I took my newborn baby out for an afternoon.  I went to the local shopping mall with my mum and as I was sitting feeding him, a kindly old lady came over to admire him.  I don’t really remember what she looked like, but I do remember her telling me to enjoy every minute of him because before I know it, he’ll be all grown up.  Again, with the time.  At the time, I just nodded, smiled and blinked through tired eyes at her, but today I find those words resonating and true. 

Before you know it, he’ll be all grown up.

He is.  He’s turning 14, he’s got mood swings I never saw coming, he has his first girlfriend and he’s graduating middle school.

*sobs*

And, I shall just have to learn to cope.  I shall hang on tight and ride this test of time while trying to enjoy every minute because before I know it, he will be all grown up

Bloody time.  It marches on.

That is all.

The words I wasn’t quite ready to hear …

Today was just like every other day.

I picked you and your brother up from school at exactly the same time as I have for the past week or so.  It’s just been so hot here.  Too hot for you to walk home in.

But, today I noticed you get in the mini-van with a swagger I’d not quite seen before.  A quiet confidence, if you will. 

You said hi and asked me how my day was.  I replied telling you how your little brother had been uncharacteristically (sarcasm) naughty and asked how yours and your brother’s day was.

And, as your brother started to tell me about his day, you said something at the very same time … that I wasn’t quite ready to hear.

Your brother kept talking. 

He was oblivious to the tug I felt on the invisible umbilical cord that bonds every mother and child as I again heard you say something I wasn’t ready to hear.

You turned and looked at me.  I think, this time to make sure I heard you.  Your eyes were as blue and sweet as the day you were born, but your baby face was gone.  Now slowly being eroded by time and replaced with the strong angular jaw of a young man.

And, then you told me. 

The words I wasn’t quite ready to hear.

Today you told me you had a girlfriend …

=====

I am beyond thrilled to have made it as a finalist in the first ever UK mummy and daddy blog awards aka the MADS and would be so very honoured and humbled if you could please, please, please vote for me here.  Thank you.

“The