Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Man Child Damage

When you have a large male teen in the house, there’s a lot of collateral damage. Mine grew over 6 inches in as many months this year and still isn’t quite used to his new size, or weight. His centre/center of gravity has shifted so much I’m constantly amazed that he can walk in a straight line. Sometimes it seems to amaze him too.

Our house is proof that he’s still on quite a steep learning curve. For example, we have stairs that curve at the bottom and the top, which tends to make people swing on the banister as they mount them. Tonight he did that and pulled the whole thing out of the wall.

Yesterday he was looking for something in a cupboard underneath the basement stairs. The doors are cut into the wall and you have to stoop to see what’s in there. When the man-child stoops and leans on them, they have a tendency to come off their hinges. Sigh. He also slammed the upright freezer door so hard that it bounced open a little bit – and stayed that way all night. We now have a lot of food to eat before it goes off. Sigh.

He showers every morning, and about twice a week pulls the curtain back so roughly that the whole spring-loaded curtain rod comes down. Fortunately he is now adept at putting it back together as if nothing had ever happened. Except he usually manages to stand on the hem of the plastic curtain, which is now ripped in several places.

I drive a minivan/people carrier with sliding doors on the side. One side is automatic and doesn’t need the human touch to close it. The other side needs a firm hand, but not a full on body launch. Last week, he closed it with such force that it now takes about three attempts to get it to shut properly. Another sigh.

And that’s just a week with him. The saddest thing is that my husband is the world’s worst at repairing things. Sigh!

Expat Mum

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Why don’t the kids do as I ask?

I always thought I was persuasive. After all, I work in Marketing and PR. Yet though I hate to admit it, my persuasive charms are wasted on my children. Are they genetically programmed to ignore everything I say?
Over the years I’ve read all the parenting books. I’ve been to Positive Parenting courses. I’ve even swotted for coffee mornings so that I could appear vaguely knowledgeable amongst the mothers who know. But I didn’t pass.
Good mummies don’t want to share their intellectual property. They don’t want to share the inside knowledge - the gen - on how to kid-wrangle. I lag behind. My ADD addled brain can’t remember from one minute to the next what instructions I’ve given them already.
Was bedtime 9.30 or 10.00? Were they allowed to stay up on a school night to watch something vaguely educational, or not? Is it ok to eat seven Weetabix, because after all they are full of healthy fibre? I can’t recall.
What’s worse is they remember. The kids know everything. They know that if they wait till 7pm when I’ve already downed a nerve-soothing glass or two of vino that I may just say ‘yes’ to all sorts of things. They wait and watch, and then pounce. Dazed and distracted I’m likely to say ‘sure, you can go to that party, and yes you can have the last twenty pounds in my purse to buy junk food at the movies, and of course I’ll pick you up after netball even though you do have legs and last I checked, could still walk!'
Then there is the blatant blanking.
‘Can you please empty the dishwasher?’ (yes the dishes again! A household with five people has a daily Everest of dishes.)
She scoots upstairs and disappears into the bathroom. She has not suddenly discovered that she is covered in slime. There is no urgent need to worship the shower god. I am being blanked because I’m asking her to do something she does not want to do.
She is the queen of the blank. Son’s not much better, and the youngest daughter is learning fast from her older siblings. She used to be so good, so obliging.. Ooh the rot is spreading!
The funny thing is that in a way I’m reassured by their innocent naughtiness. In the dark days, when the ex and I had just parted the kids watched me with twitching eyes. They jumped to attention every single time I asked. They compassionately did their jobs and their homework. No one lifted a penny or five from my change purse. Not one of the three kids misbehaved, or acted out or was horrible, arrogant or lazy. No one ran away from home and joined the circus, no one dated an unusual person with pierced private parts, or failed to do their homework, or got rude notes from school.
They were quiet and polite and caring. They were good kids, and they told me often that I was a good mum.
Strange sad days. I guess they were too nervous to lay any more strife upon my shoulders for fear it may be the last straw.
When My Englishman first met my kids at home in NZ he commented that everyone ran rings around me. Even the dog and cat had me under their control, he said. He was indignant on my behalf and determined to change their ways. He didn’t realise that they’d only just adapted to the marriage breakup and had settled back into their wicked ways.
Tonight, four years later and half a world away, I breezed in from a hectic day racing from the printer to the supermarket, and found the girls watching i-Carly in the dark surrounded by mess. Dark Princess ignored me when I asked her to do the dishes. Son quietly pocked £1 in loose change I’d left on the bench and the youngest one (she who can do no wrong!), nicked off with the last of the digestive biscuits (and right before dinner too!).
As I coated the chicken with five spice and soy sauce, I smiled quietly to myself. Everyone is behaving wickedly. Even the bear regularly raids the bin and scatters chicken bones all over the carpet. They must feel relaxed and at home after 18 months of change. As good as that is, I’d still like some advice from the ‘good mums’ out there.

How do you get your kids to do as you ask?

Vegemitevix xx

Friday, 20 November 2009

In which we inflict our weirdness on an unsuspecting world.

I have some little quirks of personality that make me unique, you undoubtedly do yourself and so have The Beautiful Children. We know and love each other and we're pretty cool with each others weird stuff. When we are at home we do have lots of chat and everyone tries to outfunny each other, we are a big fat bunch of show offs and a whole heap of strange. But you kinda don't notice that in your own house where you exist in a cosy little vacuum.

But we went out today, all together, the family Von auntiegwen went to the dentist.

We arrived and were met by the world's most sullen dental nurse (Olympic standard for sure), we did some form filling in and then entered the waiting room. Cue the Twilight Zone music. There aren't 4 seats together so we find seats where we can. Now regular humans are there, being quiet. This does not perturb The Beautiful Children at all, they continue to hold their conversation across the room, they didn't get the memo that says you have to be quiet in any kind of a place that smells antiseptic and people wear white uniforms.

Eldest Beautiful Daughter starts getting twitchy because on the wall there is a plug socket, a double plug socket and one switch is on and the other is off. They have to be both on or both off, yep, this is the same one who has a phobia of feet. So I can see her looking and I wonder if she'll get up and flick the switch in a nonchalant fashion or if she'll hyperventilate and faint. Oh no, the bold girl herself, marched up and switched them both to off and explained to a rather startled waiting room that uneven switches make her feel sick, then proceeded to tell them how in her sociology class there is a row of 3 double plugs and she has now trained the teacher to sort them before her lesson. She returns to her seat, not a bother on her and I flippantly (I know everythings my fault before you start) say "Good girl yourself, I thought you were going to have to sort the magazines out"

Oh my, back up she gets and starts to tidy the magazines up, she arranges them in size order and straightens out the bent covers and makes them all line up exactly in a row.

Then The Beautiful Son chips in with "You didn't arrange them by genre or date, you're such a fail at OCD, they'll take your badge back off you"

So with every eye in the room on her and the regular humans beginning to wonder if we should be out without a carer back up she gets and starts to re sort the magazines.

We have been waiting around 15 minutes or so when The Beautiful Son gets up and has a wander round the room, reading the notices, still talking loudly in his very exaggerated Scottish accent about when he was a laddie (he pretends to be a very old Scottish man, he sounds like an unsexy Sean Connery) when he stops in front of a picture that has 3 photos of smiling mouths and he exclaims in delight (so much so that he forgot to do the accent) "Look, it's me, remember when Mr Dentist took my photo the last time" and he points to a very obviously female mouth, in his defense it was the nicest one. His sisters hoot with derision and tell him that a- this is a woman's mouth and b- that photo was an x ray. He recovers quickly and back in unsexy Sean Connery voice retorts " Ah dinnae ken why he was xraying ma mooth, it wisnae even a bit broken"

The Beautiful Baby Daughter who is the most functional and sensible of us all looks totally disgusted and disgruntled at her fate of being landed with us, the weird family. She plugs her thumb back in her mouth, puts her ipod in and ignores us, she still manages to look more adult than the other 2 combined. This is actually quite hard to do whilst sucking your thumb.

The waiting room are perplexed at the bizarre theatre of strange before them but are glad when we are called through. We could hear (from the other room) and were hurt by the collective sigh of relief.

We don't have our usual dentist but a new one, a Sith Afrikken one, and now TBS morphs into a bad Nelson Mandela Accent and "yisses and viry nice to meet yi" to the new dentist and we all get a clean bill of health, 3 weans all teens and not a filling between them, ever, in their whole life, surely that's worth a good mummy badge?

As we get ready to leave, I'm sure to the whole building's delight and I have to make the new appointment with the sullen girl, remember her? from the beginning of this long and sorry tale, she asks us who we want the appointment with and The Beautiful Son decides he's going to make her smile, with his bad patter, and starts off with a "I've been wi Mr Dentist since I wis a wee laddie, fur 9 years I've been cummin heer and fur 17 of these 18 times I've had Mr Dentist, he's ma pal and I dinnae want 1 of yer new fancy dentists, I'm loyal to ma ain dentist"

And right on cue behind him comes his own dentist who is more than a little surprised to be so enthusiastically greeted by TBS who grabs and shakes his hand all the while explaining that he didn't choose to be unfaithful to him (still in the bad old man unsexy Sean voice) that it was sullen girls fault for sending him to the other dentist. This was accompanied by pointing and wagging of finger to sullen girl. Who has upgraded to cross and sullen and is now in training to be a Doctors receptionist. Or in therapy.

Like I say, we don't go out much with the regular humans.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cross-Dressing Teens...

From Dreamy Pictures, Images and Photos

Grizz and I were watching a very challenging TV documentary the other night. It concerned very young children who had elected to start making changes to their pre-pubescent bodies as a result of feeling that they did not belong in the sex they were born to.

I was marvelling at the patience and stoicism shown by most of the parents portrayed. That they could be so honest about the process of letting go of their little boy, for example, to embrace the little girl who came into their lives instead...

The children appeared mainly to be so set on their paths, determined at a very early age to right the wrongs that fate's hand had dealt them, to go through excruciating medical procedures and torment, no matter what their peers might throw at them; This was extraordinarily brave. The parents appeared to be living with the undenable alternative which, to them in every case, was perhaps to lose their child to an early choice of death at their own hand... Which no parent should ever face.

Grizz was tussling with the choices of the children featured. They were brave. They were going through bizarre things. Weren't their parents amazing to go through all those heartaches? Didn't that boy look right as a girl? Wouldn't it be weird to have to make those choices?

Cross Dressing Pictures, Images and Photos

And then, as I followed him up the stairs to bed, I noticed that he was wearing black linen pants. A pair that I'd never seen him wear before... I asked where he had got them from, and he pointed out that they were mine, that he'd plucked from the linen basket earlier that evening, to fetch something from the car... 'I could get very used to these,' he said. 'Aren't they really comfortable, mum? Do you think anyone would notice that I was wearing women's pants?'

He did look really good in them as it turned out. And we laughed out loud, after watching such incredible journeys being made. That this was my son's first foray into anything like cross-dressing!

(I have yet to tell him, of course, of the story that when he was born and we had to spend days in hospital, for he was a little premature and pretty jaundiced. And I asked my hubby to go off and buy a couple of babygrows at Mothercare as we were running out. And he returned with a packet of two, ostensibly white, baby suits but he had failed to notice that one had a faint pink horizontal stripe running through it and the other was adorned with pretty pink daisies... I ensured that the baby Grizzler wore them until he outgrew them, mind you. I've never been one to waste pennies unnecessarily!)

teenagers Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, 16 November 2009

Does anyone have a Mother-Teenager Dictionary?

Have we talked about this before?

Forgive me if we have... But I was very keen to share this clip with you from the British Comedy duo, Armstrong and Miller.

In their recent sketch show, they often portray war-time 'Johnnies' as you might see them in any black and white film of the period - But these potential heroes speak as only our British teenagers can... 'Yeah, but! No, but!', and so on and on and on.

I, and I'm sure many others, find these clips hilarious, illustrating as they do, the vast gulf, nay chasm, that opens up before us when we are dealing with Teens, Tweens, Text-talk, MSN and just generally chatting...

They even appear to communicate with one another in very different ways to those we used and those we use now...

Dictionary Pictures, Images and Photos

I keep chiding my teenager, Grizz, for how I hear him speak to his girlfriend on the 'phone... It sounds as if he is fighting with her, disrespecting her, putting her down - as I listen with my glass held up against his bedroom wall! The reality is in fact nothing like that, it's just the tone that jars my old-fashioned ears somewhat...

Alexander Armstrong (bizarrely, the son of the lovely learned man who was once my doctor!) was interviewed, in THIS article:

“THAT Vera Lynn, she’s well fit”.

“You like, crashed your plane, isn’t it?”.

“You can’t actually stop me cussing because I’ve got a hyperactivity disorder, I’ve got a note and everything.”

These are just a few lines from one of the best comic creations of recent times – the World War Two pilots from Armstrong & Miller, who talk in teen speak.

The inspiration for them came from a writer who heard two teenagers talking at the back of a bus. What makes it funny is the comparison between 19-year-olds today and teens who were risking their lives in the war.

Alexander Armstrong says: “The pilots highlight how our generation has evolved into this terrible state of self-regarding compensation culture, from the selflessness of the previous generation.

“Our pilots have a whole list of disorders they suffer from, which somehow should excuse them from any responsibility. Notes from their mum, asthma, learning’s a wonderful performance piece but a nightmare to learn.”

It's been a week, in the UK and Europe, where we remember and mourn our dead of so many needless wars... That in the end, we come to rely upon really young people to fight the brave fight, puts all of my own, self-obsessed, whinges into perspective sometimes...

Still, maybe we should start compiling that dictionary now? It took Johnson nearly nine years to complete his, after all!

Poppy Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, 13 November 2009

Could you P- LEEAZZZE...

See full size image
I remember quite clearly a time when Moannie wrote a list of do's and don'ts for the teens in her family, partly illustrated as is her style. This was a cry for help that l recognised, I had long since left home, married and I was visiting one day when I could tell she was at the end of her tether. I think this was also around the time she, at the end of a meal, in response to a simple question like, would you like some pudding too? that my fathers response was less than polite, probably sarcastic in his snappy Latin inimitable style, and she poured the contents of a can of chantilly cream all over his bald head with it.

We all hesitated with held breath for more than a nano second, realised he wasn't going to implode and instead we all laughed together, including the french student who looked aghast but just a bit impressed at the goings on within his anglo/french host family.

This list of heartache my mother poured out on to a large card, which she put up for all to see (And sign that they read and understood if l recall) in the dining room. This was the result of her lazy teenagers, showing her little respect, albeit unwittingly. And for the lackadaisical demeanour shown by my siblings and my father to her at the time.

I thought this was all fairly amusing and typical of my slightly manic and turbulent and very reactionary family. So no surprises there.

But now, almost 3 decades later, I GET IT MUM!

I wonder if you still have that list from which we could all here draw upon here.

Mine would have such detail and beseechments as;

PLEASE for the sake of your mothers sanity...

  • pick up your clothes of the floor
  • remove all food stuffs, milky mouldy glasses, old foiled wrapped sarnies now blue green and put them in the bin
  • close the inner packaging in the cereal boxes, that's why they go soggy!
  • don't stack the dirty dishes on top of the dishwasher, the machine is good but it cannot, as yet stack itself
  • close the front door when you enter, no l don't mean lock it I mean CLOSE it.
  • lock the doors and close windows when you leave the house unattended,
  • tell someone when you drink the last of the milk/bread/butter and leave none for the morning
  • correction, please do not DRINK the last of the milk, LEAVE some for the morning
  • Don't leave lights, computers, speakers and hair straighteners on, for so many reasons, least of all costs and safety!
  • It would be grand that after 14 years of early mornings and school runs, if I could have a lay in on MY day off, and you get yourselves up, JUST ONCE maybe!
  • Don't bang doors
  • Don't swear under your breath, I take it personally
  • Don't talk to me walking halfway up the stairs I don't have bionic hearing
  • I still give you lunch money, that means food & drink, not Starbucks and not to spend on the bus, its only 1.25 miles to school! If it rains l give you lift! OH Whatever!
  • do say please and thank you to ME! Everyone tells me how Fab you both are, how polite and respectful but WHAT ABOUT ME! Thank me for the lifts here, there and everywhere!
  • Please get up and answer the door to the postman when l'm at work and you're home (in bed asleep) the note he leaves has a time of attempted delivery, so l know what time you were still in bed. AND if l can get out of bed on MY day off and sign for YOUR ebay items, then you can scrub my back also....
Please feel free to add your rants here..............................Phew!
I KNOW there's so much more, but l need to take a break.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Heart in your mouth

So, amidst all the Halloween stuff that is big business here in the States, the Queenager decided to give me even more gray hairs. She drove herself and a friend to another friend's house on Friday night. Eek. First time in the car without a parent.

Such is the carefree nature of youth that she wasn't really bothered about having no idea where she was going. We dont have the fancy navigational stuff in the car, although there is a compass and if you keep going east you hit Lake Michigan, so I suppose you can't really get lost. But she has no sense of direction and didn't know the streets near her friend's house very well. Plus, they're all one way streets, so if you make a wrong turn it's not just a question of going around the block to right youreself. I insisted on printing a map of the immediate vicitinty with big arrows pointing to the road home, much to her chagrin.

Ten minutes before she left with her friend, it started lashing down and of course it was dark. Not great driving conditions, espectially since no one here seems to make any accommodations for inclement weather and other perils of the road. So off they went giggling and laughing about this great adventure, while I stared at the clock in the kitchen and tried not to imagine the police call telling me to meet them at the local emergency room, or Queenager herself tearily explaining that she somehow managed to hit a parked car. I did however, expect her to ring me when she got to her friends - you know, just to calm me down. But no! Having far too good and liberated a time to think about dear old mom. (I did call and she'd made it there in one piece, even managing to park the car in one manoeuvre.)

It's not that I don't trust her or think she's a terrible driver (she's actually quite good), but I remember my first foray on my own after I'd passed my test and it was pretty scary. I realise that parents of driving teens all go through this, but I'm glad the maiden voyage is over - for everyone's peace of mind!

Expat Mum

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Day 7 - A.D.

The drive back from the therapist was an opening.

My son bubbled over with chatter and deep conversation. He was my little boy again.

Then we spent most of the weekend together. Hey, without friends and laptop I am not such bad company for him.

He sat next to me while he completed college applications and drafted an essay.

Yes, he sat next to me.

He is taking all of his many consequences with grace. He has not complained except to say that he wonders when he is going to stop being surprised by consequences. He asked when some of them might be lifted. I told him that I didn't know -- I had never had a kid before who smoked pot -- this is new for me, too.

Hey, today he laughed at one of my jokes.

Hey, today I joked.

One step at a time.

Meanwhile, I am keeping this boy close to my hip.

I've always said that kids (especially boys, at the risk of sounded sexist - but since I have 4 of each, I may have enough experience to make this judgement) are brilliant when they are in the kitchen with their moms. Right and Wrong seems very clear while standing near the homefire.

As kids get further and further from the kitchen, they get dumber. Yes, they do dumber things.

And the more teenage brains are in in one place, the dumber they get. Brain mass actually atrophies.

Yes, I am getting my sense of humor back.

I recognize him more as my son as time goes on. And I recognize myself a bit more, too.

Thanks for listening to me as I go through this little dip in the raising teenagers journey. I am sure that we are not done yet...but I think I will pause from sharing the day-by-day with you.

Now back to our regular parents-of-teenagers-tongue-in-cheek posts. I'm ready for the laughs.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Day 6 A.D.

Finding out for certain that your son has been smoking pot is not unlike having a houseful of kiddos with swine flu: A parent worries and stresses, plans to prevent, and prepares for the worst, then once it happens, the energy shifts. Now it is time to take action and do all the things that need to be done.

Over the last 6 days there has been very little talking. There has been no yelling, no lecturing. There have been no temper tantrums (by parents or son). Everything has been communicated through actions.

My 17 year old has been following me around the house a bit. He just seems to want to be with me.

This evening he started to talk. He said he was feeling anxious and a little stressed. We actually ended up lying on the floor, facing the ceiling and talking.

He is wondering when some of the consequences will be lifted...he is starting to ask questions: What do the clothes I wear have to do with smoking pot? Why can I not see my friends? Why are you meeting me off the bus? Why can't I ride in the car with friends? He says he has stopped smoking pot now and he wants to return to his B.C. (Before Confirmation of drug use) life. Why do I have to see a therapist if I have already stopped smoking?

Ahhhhh, finally, an opportunity for me to teach him. No lecturing, just answering questions.

So, here are some simple short points I wanted to be sure to make:

1) When a boat hits rough waters on the ocean, the sails are pulled in, the cargo is sure to be tied fast. We hold on tighter until the storm is over and the sails can be opened again. We are in rough waters right now, and we are pulling in. Not because we don't think that we will get through the storm, but rather because we know that if we take these steps we will get through to the other side with less damage. Dad and Mom are the captains. We are in charge.

2) Stopping drug use is easy. Living life off drugs is hard. Our job is to help him to live life now. The therapist offers expertise we don't have. We need the resource. We are doing things now to help him live his life without needing to smoke.

3) The consequences are not punitive -- they are constuctive. What do we need to do to help you get through this? We are not out to get you. We are in this together. We are on your side.

He stayed on his back for over an hour. We talked, I listened. He was quiet. Most of the time. I was quieter. I was just there, beside him.

And I decided that I had to be the one to out-wait him. He had to be the one to get up first. I wanted to symbolize that I was not going to leave him. I wanted him to feel that although we have 8 kids, he is special enough for me to give him this gift of time.

Quiet, solid, still. I need to offer him what he needs. He needs to be willing to reach out and take it.

I think he is getting it.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Day 5 - A.D.

The day we take him for an assessment-

He has not fought any of the consequences of his actions yet. He is resigned to the fact that things will change.

Uh, ye-ah, (can you detect the sarcasm in my writing?) that's what happens when your parents find out that you have been smoking pot...and lying...

How many lies? I cannot even begin to try to figure it all out. Lots of puzzles...

I am only looking forward.

So now I am looking at a whole different kind of letting go - one that I had not planned to experience.

Did you know that when you take a child to a therapist confidentiality sticks and the therapist doesn't have to tell you what your child reveals in therapy? I knew this. My husband is a therapist, and I knew this. Intellectually.

But to have to sit with a therapist, husband, and child in a room and leave the therapist with the son and know that I may not know the outcome of the discussion...

...I just have to trust that this professional will do what is best for my son.

Yup, a whole new kind of letting go.

How come letting go -- this thing that we are supposed to do as good parents -- is so painful?

I know, I know, the joy will come when they truly fly successfully on their own. For the moments they are aloft there will be joy. There is joy. I have seen it.

Thank goodness this is my fourth teenager and I know that the peacefulness will come.

And this is my fourth teenager -- I know that I am not done being a parent yet.

I may never be finished, right, Moannie?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Day 4 - A.D.

A.D. - After Drug use confirmed at our house.

H1N1 is full blown at our house. And this may just be a good thing...

The school superintendent has closed school for 3 days and we are all home together.


This is just what we need on days 4-7 A.D. -- After drug use confirmed by our 17 year old son.

Did I tell you that this particular child of our 8 has been the easiest? Truly?

His grades started to slip last Spring and we were worried. We started asking lots of questions, but he always had a good answer...and, here's our mistake: we believed him.

He picked his grades up, but still things didn't seem right. The last couple of weeks he wanted to sleep at a friend's house once each weekend. I smelled him when he came home, but never noticed anything. Nuts. I should have tested him right away.

I could torment myself by thinking about all that I could have done differently, all the lies he must have told me, but I have decided that I am not going to do that.

Instead, I am focused on each next right step -- an action plan.

I've shared some of that with you in previous posts. My husband keeps asking me how I'm feeling (remember, we all have H1N1?). When I tell him still sick, I know that is not what he is asking. He wants me to share my feelings...and I tell him "I'm not going there..."

So, for today, it is the next right step.

Today my son is making his room spotless...spotless so that I can look in any drawer, in any corner, and know that he is not hiding anything. We are going back to square one.

Someday I'm going to laugh about this...but for today, it is just the next right step.

Day 5 - Appointment with Alcohol and Drug Counselor for an assessment.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Day 3 - A.D.

As the day starts, I still haven't cried yet. I am focused on the steps I need to take.

Have I mentioned that my husband is an alcohol and drug counselor. Yup. And he didn't think the test would be positive. It was me...the mom...who knew. How did I know?

I just knew.

So on Day 3 I met him off the school bus, and took him to get his hair cut. Short.

When he got in the car he was quiet. We haven't yelled, we haven't argued. He has gone along with everything that I have told him to do.

"You could have told me, Mom. You could have told me that I was going to have a hair cut."

"Hummm, I suppose I could have. I'll tell you this much: things are going to be different. For instance, I am not going to pay for college for a kid who is smoking pot."

C has thick, curly, beautiful hair, that I have always cut myself. He hasn't had it short since he was a truly little boy. Now he is only a little boy in my heart, a 17-year old, 6 foot tall man-child to my eyes.

When he sat in the chair and the hair dresser asked, "how short", I didn't give him a chance to answer.


"Really? His hair is so beautiful. Are you sure?"

Her own hair was half blond and half pink. She was only a year or two older than my son. Wait -- is she flirting with my handsome son? I want to tell her to get her hands out of his curls. But I don't.

"Yes. I'm sure."

He looks at me and knows I mean business.

When she was almost done, she asks me what I think. "I think you need to use the clippers. The bangs are too long. It needs to be very clean cut -- I want him to look like ... like...someone that you would not go out with."

I'm flashing back as I hear the clippers turn on. My son was born with a thick head of hair. It looked straight at first until we washed his head while still in the hospital. I ran the fine toothed baby comb through his hair and it curled right up. He has hair like mine. The first sign that he was truly my son.

I remember his first hair cut. I have the lock of hair in his baby book. It was a quick trim, ceremonial almost.

This is the longest hair cut of my life. I send a text to a dear friend while I am waiting --

"My first tears are falling as I watch his curls hit the floor."

Monday, 2 November 2009

Day 2 - A.D.

A.D. - After Drugs confirmed

No bike ride yesterday. Instead we took a walk to make a game plan. He confessed before he peed. My husband was wrong, unfortunately. My husband, the alcohol and drug counselor was wrong. I, the mom, who only had a gut feeling to go on...was unfortunately right.

I'm in shock...but will do the next right thing.

Here is our plan, so far:

1. Son will wear new pants to school - not baggy. I took him shopping yesterday for a very quiet shopping trip -- I chose all of his clothes. He tried them on and had no complaints.
2. Son will wear new shirt - not a band T-shirt to school, and no more black sweatshirts.
3. Talked to guidance counselors at his school. Set up for meeting on Wednesday.
4. Son went on his own to talk to his guidance counselor as well.
5. Husband scheduled drug assessment with an alcohol and drug counselor.
6. I left school early to meet C off his bus. (no more rides home with friends)
7. Son is riding with me to take other 3 kids to a doctor's appointment. I am not letting him out of my sight until we get an assessment of how complicated this issue is for him.
8. Oh, and I took his prize possession -- his laptop. No more isolating by watching movies in his room. The big idea of this game plan is to bring him back into the fold -- to improve attachment - remind him about what is important.

Life was so much easier B.C. (Before C screwed up.)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sunday Morning Activity at Our House

1. Husband and I take a walk and go out for a quiet cup of coffee.
2. Pick up Marijuana drug test kit at the pharmacy.
3. Pick up 17-year old son at his friends house.
4. Have son pee in a cup.
5. Husband and I take a long bike ride. (Could be really long depending upon the results of the test.)

Remember when they just used to pee into a diaper?