RTT: Sex and The College Boy

Oh, look – it’s Tuesday and I actually have some Random!  Yay!  You guys know the drill…

Stacy

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We were incredibly fortunate to be gifted with a deer for our freezer this year – this makes me especially happy because we decided not to get a goat again this fall.

We went to pick her up after she’d been processed and packaged this last Saturday, and while we were perusing the freezer cases at Whitefeather Meats we noticed they had some nice-sized domestic rabbits, already cut into pieces, for sale.  Our last two forays into cooking rabbit were quite successful, so I grabbed one and added it to our purchases.

It wasn’t until we were headed home that I realized we had both Bambi AND Thumper in the trunk of our car.

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‘Tis the Season, of course, and The G Man has informed us that what he wants most from Santa is a “hewicopter wif a ‘mote” and…batteries.

Yes, he asked for batteries, and at the rate he’s playing with all of the battery operated decorations on the tree and around the house we, at least, are going to need them by Christmas.

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As I’d noted earlier, The Young One has been accepted to Kent State University and we did the obligatory campus tour yesterday afternoon. He’s bound and determined to live on campus and I’ve resigned myself to letting him go, even though we live close enough for him to commute if he wanted to.  I have to say, it’s a nice school and I’m excited that he’s so excited about going there.  But they certainly seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time assuring me how safe the campus is.

I guess as long as they keep the National Guard away, I’ll be okay.

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Kent State is a big school; I’m a bit worried about the quality of the food available to The Young One while he’s there – at one point I thought I’d wandered into the food court of a shopping mall.  It seemed every kid we passed on our tour was sipping a Pepsi, and I was absolutely appalled when we were told there is a Quaker Steak and Lube in the student center.

Is it inappropriate to send him care packages of pastured eggs, raw milk cheeses and grass-fed ground beef?  I hear you can accomplish amazing things with a microwave if you know what you’re doing.

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One of the things we learned while touring the campus is that he can buy just about anything on campus (apparently as long as it’s a product of PepsiCo or ConAgra) with the exception of toiletries, which he’ll have to buy in town.  He was pondering that as we drove away, when we passed a CVS and Walgreens, right next to each other and right off the college grounds.

“Oh, look, hon,” I said, “You won’t even have to go all the way in town.  You can go right there if you run out of toothpaste or shampoo.”

He turned to me and grinned.  “Or condoms!”

Why…oh, why, did he have to say that.

Yes, The Young One, There IS a Santa Claus. YES. THERE IS.

Recently my friend Gretchen wrote about the apprehension she experiences when she thinks about having the “there is no Santa” conversation with her young son when the time comes.

She’s completely justified in this.

I originally posted the following in August 2008, and it is extremely fitting for this time of year.  It basically recounts what is probably my biggest parenting fail (although I’m sure if you asked any of the kids, they could reel off an entire list of them).  But even if it wasn’t the worst, it’s one of those memories every parent has that makes them cringe whenever they think about it.

So, just do yourself a favor and think about how you’re going to tell your kids there is no Santa…or take the easy way out and never tell them at all.

(For the record, the child in question has turned out to be a reasonably well-adjusted human being.  Although he will NOT hesitate to tease me mercilessly about this.)

(Oh, and I’ve adjusted their ages for the purposes of keeping this current.)

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Beloved and I have 5 kids between the two of us – their ages are 28, 25, 23, 20 and 17; the oldest and youngest are boys and the middle three are girls.  We’ve been through this, and while I can’t vouch for Beloved, the most traumatic of the “There is no Santa Claus” conversations for me have been the first and last…probably because they were the first and the last.

When Oldest Son was about 8 years old – maybe as young as seven – his father and I told him the truth about Santa Claus.  I don’t really remember why; perhaps he’d heard something from the kids at school, or maybe we’d just decided he was old enough to know the truth.  Telling Oldest Son anything has always produced one of two reactions – grave contemplation, characterized by a slight frown and furrowing of his brow, or complete skepticism, denoted by the downturn of one corner of his mouth and the raising of the opposite eyebrow.  (As a teenager he expanded on that repertoire with a completely blank stare that was surprising in its eloquence:  “Yeah, Mom – just keep yelling at me…it’s all going in one ear and right back out the other…”)  The Santa Claus Revelation produced the Grave Contemplation response, whereupon he immediately retreated to his video games to mull it all over.

Maybe two or three hours passed when he approached his father, and with a completely hopeless and dejected countenance, said, “Dad…the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy too?”  We felt absolutely awful until we found out that he turned right around and – you guessed it – spilled the beans to his 4-year-old sister.

It wasn’t anything, though, compared to that same discussion with his little brother.  Fast forward 12 or so years, and The Young One and I are in my car, driving from Euless, a suburb of Ft. Worth, to downtown Dallas to pick up Oldest Son and bring him back to our place for a couple of days (probably so he could do his laundry).  If I remember correctly, it was early October and the initial “Holiday Season” onslaught of toy commercials was just beginning.  The Young One was 9 years old, and happily chattering away, something he does exceedingly well to this day (both the “happy” and the “chattering”).  Before I knew it, the subject of what he wanted for Christmas came up and somewhere in there the words “I hope Santa Claus brings me” were uttered.

I was a little taken aback – somewhere, somehow, my middle-aged and over-tired brain dredged up an obviously false memory of having laid this subject to rest the year before.  I shot a quick glance at him as we bulleted down I-35 towards the Mix Master, and uneasily said, “Uh…dear?  You know there isn’t really any Santa Claus, don’t you?”

He turned a startled and stricken face to me.  “Huh?  What???”

“Honey, you know Santa Claus is really Mommies and Daddies, right?”

He gave me an incredulous stare for maybe five seconds and then burst into anguished, wracking tears.  I was at a complete loss – never in my wildest dreams had I thought I’d get such a reaction, no matter how wrong I was in my assumption or how disappointed he might be.  It took him a couple of minutes, but he finally calmed down enough for me to say, “Honey – I’m sorry!  I thought you knew!  Haven’t the other kids in school been telling you there isn’t any Santa Claus?” (He was, after all, in the fourth grade.)

“Yes – but I believed YOU!” he cried, and began sobbing uncontrollably again.  “I’ll NEVER be able to trust you ever AGAIN!”

I have to tell you – I’ve had people say some truly horrible and crushing things to me before (*cough*ex-husband*cough*), but nothing has ever made me feel as awful as that did.  I had visions of being dragged, against my will, on Oprah and having Dr. Phil declare me the most insensitive and unfit parent in recorded history while the audience beat me with copies of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

Fortunately, Oldest Son and Darling Daughter have a marvelous relationship with The Young One, despite their age differences, and he adores and worships them both.  Once I had Oldest Son in the car, he was able to begin damage control and had The Young One calm enough for Darling Daughter (master of the “Let’s See How We Can Use This To Our Advantage” school of thought) to take over by the time we got home and really work on him (I’m sure it was she who pointed out to him that Parents are far more easily manipulated accessible than Santa Claus could ever be).

I think he even learned to trust me again.  Or at least wrangle an XBox out of me.

 

That’s What She Said

For all of my bloggy friends that have very young children:  In case you’re worried that once they become teenagers they’ll stop saying cute and funny things, I’m here to tell you…

…they’ll very likely become disgusting.

Oh, wait, this is supposed to be supportive.  Sorry about that.  Anyhoo, yes, they will still say things that will crack you up.

A little background information:  our favorite waiter at our favorite restaurant happens to share the same first name as Beloved (imagine that – a waiter named Beloved).  For the purpose of this post, we’ll refer to the waiter as Be.  Now, Be The Waiter loves us – we’re fun, naturally, we love food, of course, and then again – we tip well.  A couple of weekends ago we had an excuse to go to our favorite restaurant two nights in a row, the second night with The Young One and Miss J, who was visiting from Texas.

There were all sorts of indulgences that night, in the way of an upside-down banana rum cake that I shared with Miss J, and just a smidgen too much Hendricks gin for Beloved, who became quite, er, jolly.

How jolly you ask?  Well, when the dinner was over and the check paid, Be The Waiter came up to me and gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek, like he usually does.  This night, Beloved felt he should get a hug and a kiss instead of a handshake and said so.  Be The Waiter may have been a tiny bit startled, but not being one to offend a customer that consistently tips 20%, gave Beloved a warm hug and peck on the cheek (and, if I might add, probably enjoyed it, if you get my drift.  Nudge, nudge, say no more…).

I drove us home, teasing Beloved about being amorous with the wait staff at the restaurant.  The kids were in the back seat, rolling their eyes at us as usual, so Beloved turned around and asked, “I didn’t embarrass y’all, did I?”  (Are you kidding?  He was banking on it.)

“What?  Never!” exclaimed The Young One.  “We’re always up for a little Be on Be action.”

At which point I nearly ran us off the road from laughing so hard.

But I think I need to confiscate the boy’s computer.

Mulch Ado About Nothing

I’m still absolutely overwhelmed, and am SO grateful that Jen at Sprite’s Keeper has given us a break this week and let us pick out our favorite posts for the Spin Cycle.   This is from April 2008, before I had any readers to speak of, and is relevant and at least mildly amusing.  One caveat:  Darling Daughter has done an admirable job of getting her shit together since this was originally posted.  Haven’t you, my little Elk’s Lodge chaplain?

I’ll catch up with all of my reading and commenting once things have calmed down a bit.  In the meantime, have a lovely weekend, y’all.

Spring has arrived and so has our mulch, which Beloved has been enthusiastically spreading for the past several days. The first day he performed this yearly chore, the kids went outside to be dragged around by walk the dog and stopped dead in their tracks.

“It smells like ass out here,” Darling Daughter declared. We’d have asked her how she knows what ass smells like, but since she has her head stuck so far up her own it really wasn’t necessary. (You have to understand I love this kid to death, but if she doesn’t get her shit together soon I’m going to have to kill her.)

However, she isn’t that far off – the stuff is fragrant. And the simile has stuck; while running our errands this morning, we stopped by the discount store and picked up 10 more bags of what The Young One now refers to as “Ass Mulch.” Now none of us can stop calling it that – our grandchildren are probably going to refer to Spring as “Ass Mulch Season” and we’ll all end up explaining ourselves to a school psychologist some day.

Of course, the entire town smells like ass these days (since it is that time of year) and that made me think about those people who are of a green and/or money saving disposition and make their own compost and mulch. The “why” part of that is understandable, but I have a real problem with the “how??” Where do you put it while it’s getting all, well, ripe? I can’t see keeping it in the house or garage, so do you just, like, keep a big pile of slowly decomposing crap in the back yard? Wouldn’t that cause your neighbors to complain and lower your property values? How would you keep the dog from jumping in it and rolling around every time you let him out to do his part in the lawn fertilization process?

Do you fence it off and post large “Beware of Mulch” signs? Go all Martha Stewart and construct a camouflaging-yet-decorative container out of old, flowered-patterned sheets and wire coat hangers? I suppose you could pack it away neatly in some of those 30-gallon plastic leaf bags, but it seems to me that would hinder the decomposition and render the attempt to be “green” rather pointless. Not to mention that once it was bagged, your teenage son would probably take the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the curb on trash day for the first – and only – time in his life without being asked.

You see, these are the kinds of things that keep us city-raised-but-moved-to-a-small-town-girls up at night.

Frankly, I Think She’s On To Something

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone today (and I have a ton of stuff to do), so no Spin Cycle today – I’ll post it tomorrow.  However, I thought I’d post this because I found it both hilarious and thought-provoking:

I know a few of my readers are educators, and even more have children that are either school-aged or have graduated from public schools and I’d really like your thoughts on this.

Texas was the very first state in the country to have standardized testing, which means that our kids were among the first to be put through the grist-mill. Beloved and I have very serious issues with standardized testing – as the parents of five children, we can tell you there is absolutely nothing standard about them.  Couple this with the fact that OGT testing – the standardized test here in Ohio that a child must pass in order to graduate – is being administered this week (and has completely disrupted The Young One’s schedule AND education), well, I’d like your opinions.

Standardized testing – what do you think of it?