Raising Boys – this just might kill me

  My son is a rough and tumble type of boy. He loves to wrestle. When I try to do crunches or other floor exercise, I will be bodyslammed by him guaranteed.  He doesn’t back down one bit when met with an opponent on the soccer field.  He loves to play “tackle football” with anyone who will play.  A game of tag is not complete until he grabs you around the legs and forces you to the ground.  As a female, raised in a household with only a sister, and previously a mom to only a girl,  I was a bit concerned. My husband (obviously a man), raised in a household with a brother and in close proximity to male cousins, told me to relax.  He repeatedly says, “boys will be boys.”

I tried to relax.

Recently Bugaboo has moved to the 3 year old class at daycare. The afternoon teacher asked me if it was okay that he wrestle with some of the other boys. He is the smallest kid in the class. “Sure,” I said, mindful of my husband’s admonition to let him get his aggression out in safe ways.  She said that he seemed to love playing wrestling and football with the other children.

The next week there was a report that Bugaboo had spit on another kid – for no apparent reason. There were also reports of pushing, shoving and pinching – usually a tussle between a few kids.  When these happened, we reminded Bugaboo that “hands are not for hitting” and we needed to use soft touches and make good choices.  We talked about it being okay to wrestle and play football but not to just hit people. 

Yesterday I picked up Bugaboo and the afternoon teacher informed me that he had given another child a black eye.  What?  My cute adorable little blonde haired angel?  She explained that another child left his spot on the carpet, came up and gave her a hug and then walked back to the carpet to take his spot next to Bugaboo. Bugaboo reached out and cold-cocked him.  She said that she spoke to Bugaboo about it and showed him the injury later – after it had turned pretty colors. Bugaboo shut down and refused to say anything, other than to make baby noises (which is what he does when he knows he has done something wrong).  The teacher said the other mother was pretty upset (obviously).

I left daycare feeling like Loser Mother of the Year, and quite tearful that my child had blackened another kid’s eye.  Bugaboo and I talked about it and I did manage to glean the name of the other child – not someone with whom there have been prior incidents.  I went to sleep with visions of my child being labelled a Bully.

This morning, Husband dropped off Bugaboo and talked to the Morning Teacher about our desire for there to be strong consequences for hitting – an immediate time out and removal from any fun situations/games for a time period.  She seemed confused.  She explained that what she saw was Bugaboo and the other kids dancing and Bugaboo elbowed the other kid – she wasn’t sure if it was accidental or a “you’re in my space” thing. She said she’s never seen Bugaboo be aggressive or act unprovoked.

All of a sudden my child looks more like a typical kid?  The afternoon teacher is new to the center and has an older child – not sure if it is a boy or girl.  The morning teacher has been in this center for years, taught my daughter, and has two boys about the same age as my kids. 

So is my kid an unprovoked Bully? Or just a rough-house typical Boy?

I’m fixin’ to find out. I set up a conference with the teachers for this afternoon. If it’s an altercation between kids I’m more in line with their policy of separating the kids and talking things out.  If it’s an unprovoked event, then Bugaboo is in for some firm consequences.  If the first situation, I’ll apologize profusely to the other mother.  If the latter, I might have to bake her cookies and sobbingly beg her forgiveness!

Stay tuned for more information!

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Potty Training Humor

Yesterday was Day 1 of Operation-No-More-Diapers for Bugaboo. Now, I’ve potty trained a girl.  I should be somewhat familiar with this process.  I figure I’ve got this figured out. Slam dunk.  Not!  I forgot that Munchkin pretty much potty trained herself with her bladder of steel (only child I know who can drink 16 oz of juice, go to bed, get up and stay awake a few hours before hitting the potty – never had a UTI child).

So we figure it is time to potty train Bugaboo who is showing interest in big boy underwear and pottying.

We talk to daycare and are all on the same page.  I buy the big boy underwear. It has the cute Thomas characters on it (do you know the character underwear is $9 a pack versus $4 for plain blue ones, but I digress)  We talk everything up and we are all set.  Right? ………..Wrong.

There are decisions to make. Decisions that I am not equipped (literally) to answer.

Will he sit or stand while learning?  What sort of potty training device should I buy? A stool? A seat?  How about a urinal?  I didn’t even know they made urinals!

What about in public?  Do I teach him to wipe the seat and sit? Cover it in paper and sit? Do I lift him up and help him hover? Does he stand and do I lift him if he can’t reach?  How about we just stay home FOREVER!

What about targets? Do you know that there are people who actually buy targets instead of using cheerios, fruit loops or whatever else they have in the cabinet.  Seriously? People pay money to buy something for their child to literally piss on.  Hmmmmmm (missed $$ opportunity for me there)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I sat down with my husband figuring he would know the answers to my questions.  Not so much. Turns out that having male anatomy does not automatically vest you with information about how to teach your child to use it.  My husband was most amused with my questions.

Me – do you hold it?

DH – What?

Me – do you hold it? or does it aim itself? Do you wipe or shake?

DH – Are you serious?

Me – yes, come on. You really don’t want to know what pops up when you google this kind of thing.  Just tell me.  Okay fine – easy question. Should we have him sit or stand?

DH – I don’t care.

Me – but aren’t you concerned he might get confused if we teach him to sit when doing #2 and standing while doing #1?

DH – I don’t know.  I don’t remember being potty trained.

So last night was night one.  I picked him up in daycare where he proudly announced he “pee peed on the potty” and had no accidents. Yippee!  We rushed home and I encouraged him to go on the potty. He sat. He went.  I patted myself on the back.   Then I walked out of the bathroom to see the puppy had peed on the floor.  I cleaned it up, set clock to remind myself to take Bugaboo back to bathroom, started dinner and Bugaboo announced he peed.  All over the kitchen floor. Okay no biggie.  Cleaned him up. Fed everyone. Put dog out. Took Bugaboo to potty where he did nothing.  Let dog in. Dog pees everywhere. Clean it up and Bugaboo says “I pee pee too” – on the floor.  Put Bugaboo in bath.  Turn around and puppy has peed. AGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

End result.  Bugaboo – 50% success on potty.  Puppy – 50% success outside.   Mommy – 50% chance of successfully going crazy. 

Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea……………

When do Little Boys Become Useful Hunters?

  My husband has great dreams of our little boy becoming a great hunter. I hate to tell DH, but I think his efforts thus far have failed. 

This morning went like this –

Me – Ick spider…..hmm I think it is dead.

Bugaboo –  Spider?  I see.  It dead.  Get it mommy.

Me – why don’t you get it?

Bugaboo – I get it? Okay —– leans over………hmmm not dead

Me – it’s dead.  Here I’ll get the fly swatter and you can scoop it up with it.  

 (hands him swatter)

Bugaboo – it NOT DEAD. 

 spider moves.  I shriek  (biggest fear is scooping up a supposedly dead critter and having it be alive and jump on me)

Me – (shrieking) KILL IT

(Bugaboo whacks it many times)

Me – whew.  Good hits.  You killed it now.  Scoop it up

Bugaboo –  no way. You scoop it up Mommy

Me – no way. You’re the boy. You scoop it up

Bugaboo – no way. You the mommy. You the boss. You scoop it up

(I  scoop it up.  holding it away from body I dump it in the trash with Bugaboo hanging on me.)

So he might be a good killer of spiders but he’s lacking on the disposal score.  When do little boys grow up to be useful bug killers to their mommy. That’s supposed to be one of the benefits of having a boy, isn’t it? Someone to kill the critters.

Sick Sense of Humor – these are the days of my life

 When you do this kind of work you have develop thick skin and a sick sense of humor. Otherwise you spend all your time crying or going crazy. Not that I don’t do my fair share of that too.  However, today has been especially raunchy around here — the fact that it is Friday isn’t hurting.

This morning my first call was from an adult services social worker to tell me our guy wasn’t dead yet. That’s a shame. Today at 9:30 our order expires and we have to conduct a hearing. This isn’t the type of thing you can continue. This gentleman is on death’s door and has lived a week longer than we expected.  Yesterday a bank found an account in his name. Which means if he doesn’t die before our hearing today we have to deal with medicaid and estate guardianship issues.  So the question of the day in that area is “has the old man kicked the bucket yet?”

In my other line of work, it is baby daddy & baby mamma tax day. Today is the tax deadline.  In child support court, that means at midnight we seize lots of money. The deadbeats call because they learn there is a lien on the refund they’ve probably already spent. The custodial parent calls wanting to know how soon they will receive their portion.  The new spouses call wanting to make sure that “their” portion comes to them and not the ex.  Today is “show me the money — or not” day in child support.

In child welfare, it is “baby snatching” day.  Apparently the full moon triggered a whole rash of stupidity.  What moron thinks it is okay to leave their children in Toys R Us to play?  There is not a sign that says “leave your 2, 4 and 7 year olds here for 3 hours and we’ll be sure to watch them.”  Granted the children had a blast. But that’s not the point.  Another parent didn’t understand that spring break did not mean she could leave her 15 year old home alone for a week while she went to the beach.  A father wanted to know how on earth he was supposed to make his son go to school — apparently he’s never made his son do anything, including brush his teeth — since after taking custody of that child we had to take him to the dentist to have the majority of his teeth pulled.  And my favorite — the mamma who let her 13 year old drive her home from the bar. The 13 year old successfully drove home, but his mother didn’t think he could parallel park. So, she got behind the wheel to do that part.  Ended up hitting 2 parked cars and setting off the car alarms, resulting in the police being called, at which point she said to her son, “I should have let you finish driving.”   So I’m off to snatch some babies — and big kids too.  Maybe I should let the 13 year old drive……

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

  I learned last week that there are changes on the horizon for me.  Due to personality clashes between a particular attorney and a certain judge, my work is being adjusted. Because this attorney and judge combination has resulted in the agency losing cases and children being returned to potentially unsafe environments, the  idiots-at-the-top powers-that-be-in-charge decided to throw me to the wolves move me into that caseload. The Chief Idiot Judge doesn’t want to deal with the issues of this particular judge. Even though he saw fit to remove this judge from one court rotation, he blames the problems in our court on the attorney. The attorney blames the judge and the high-ups here choose to accept this story because this particular attorney is from money a good name/family.

So what does that mean for the one on the bottom of the totem pole  me?  It means I am being pulled out of child support court (which I love) all but one week, and moved into juvenile court.  I AM PISSED %&*(@#^% IRATE MAD NOT HAPPY.

I love my current schedule.  I currently get up at the ass-crack of dawn really early so that I can get to work at 7:15.  That means even with a 1/2 hour lunch, I can leave at 4:45 every day and be off at lunch on Fridays.  Leaving that 15 minutes before 5 saves me from killing the idiots commuters on the road 45 minutes in driving time.  Plus I love being off at lunch on Fridays.  With my new schedule, I’ll have court 2-3 days a week. Court hours are 8 – 5 pm because I have to do what the judge says (who doesn’t care that day care charges $1 a minute if you are late).  It is asinine idiotic to drive to work at 7:15 only to turn around and leave for court in 30 minutes.  But do I want to have to work later?  What about the fact that my entire summer schedule had already been planned?  What about the fact that my calendar is already color coordinated with which court I am assigned too (yes I’m anal!). 

Then there are the bigger issues — I’m not confident in child welfare court yet. What if I lose a case and a kid gets sent back home to a dangerous place?  What about the fact that I promised the child support agents I was not looking to move into juvenile court and leave them? What about the fact that I love child support court.

The Big Cheeses  bosses tell me that this is only a 6 month change and that I can go back to what I love in October. This is just a chance to prove that the problem is the attorney (in which case they’ll talk about firing him but probably will not) or the judge (in which case we’ll beg to transfer him out of court but nothing will happen).  My concern is that I’m the new hire and if this dude likes child support court (which he will) and wants to stay (which he will) then will this really be a temporary solution?

I hate change.  I am a control freak. I become completely unglued when my calendar gets messed up. Now I have to run to Walmart to buy a new monthly calendar and set of markers. I wonder if they make 100 color markers? I’ll need that many shades to keep up with my new responsibilities.

From Redneck Girl to Sophisticated Lady

 This weekend we travelled to my in-laws for the night. They live way out in the country where cell phone reception is questionable and there is no wireless internet.   I can let the children run outside and know if they happen to run far enough to leave the boundaries of FIL’s land, that they’ll end up on some other relative’s land and be returned.  We arrived mid-morning Saturday where my ILs gave the children Easter baskets and hyped them up on sugar. Then we went out and rode the tractor which has a cart hooked up behind it.  We flew kites (and drug them around with the tractor).  We visited Uncle’s new animal barn where he raises chickens and roosters (for the eggs), peacocks (just for fun),and quail and pheasants (to release and hunt). We helped him train his new puppies by driving the lawnmower through the woods while dragging fox and squirrel hides behind. The dogs then learned to follow the scent.  We all shot some guns.  I hit the milk jug and DH didn’t, which made for some good teasing.  Munchkin wanted to shoot the gun initially but after watching decided she wouldn’t. She did scale the tree deer stand quite adeptly.  Bugaboo walked around with his toy pistol shooting everything and showing everyone his “camo pants.”

After lunch (fried chicken of course) and a nap, DH & I got ready to go to dinner. My college mentor/advisor was retiring after 40 years of teaching and they were having a dinner at a nearby country club in honor of him.  We changed out of our blue jeans and into a suit and dress.  Gone were the dirt stains under the nails and on went nail polish.

We arrived to find black suited wait staff walking around with hors d’oeuvres and glasses of wine. Dinner was a wonderful spinach salad followed by chicken, pasta, veggies and then wonderful dessert of apple pie or a carrot cake.  I went from handling a .44 magnum to deftly managing three forks and cloth napkins.  My topics of conversation went from the best way to cook venison to what I thought of the latest trends in tort reform.

Call me what you want, but I’m definitely a contemporary woman.  From redneck woman to sophisticated lady in less than two hours. How many can do that?

Monday Morning Randoms

I have lots of thoughts running through my head but none coherent or long enough to justify their own blog entry so I’ll just include them all here in their original, straight out of my brain, form.

  • Why is it that I get so excited for spring every single year the first time it hits 80 degrees? I know, from years of experience, that it will turn cold again.  This week it is 40 and rainy. Totally sucks.
  • What part of “I have a headache” does my husband not understand? You’d think the fact that I went to bed at 7:30 pm would have clued him in that I was serious.  It’s really not that hard to look in and see that both your wife and your son are asleep in the bed, to turn and walk away. Instead DH chose to wake me up to tell me he was leaving to go pick up Munchkin, wake me up to tell me he was back, allow Munchkin to come in and sleep with me, leave Bugaboo in the bed, on the edge where he fell off at 3am. To top it all off, he then whined this morning about how he had to sleep in Munchkin’s bed and it was cold in her room.   Then he asked me if I slept well.  Lucky for him my vocabulary was restrained by the fact that Bugaboo was in the room.  I still have a headache too.
  • A person who is running from their child support obligation and is bat-shit crazy keeps sending me emails bragging because we haven’t caught him yet. He claims that the government is conspiring against him because he’s a secret agent who has some knowledge the United States doesn’t want getting out. He also claims his wife is an unfit mother because she and her new husband took some provocative pictures and somehow he hacked into their computer and found them. He now sends them to me in the emails he sends. I have learned not to open attachments from him so he cut and pasted it into the body of his email.  Someone pass me some bleach for my eyes.  IT is now working on blocking his email from our server.
  • Last week one of my (least) favorite defendants was in court. Two weeks ago he was ordered to do community service until he found a job. We told him that he would work for free until he found a job and could pay child support. He didn’t like that so much. The next week he was to report on his progress. Lo and behold, we got a message that he had fallen off the curb waiting for the bus and was at the hospital.  So last week he was on the docket again. He showed up at 12:40, much later than the 9 am start time, a time which the Judge had specifically ordered him to appear. He came hobbling in on crutches proudly clutching a stack of medical papers. I guess he didn’t think I would read them.  Not only did I read them, but I shared with the Judge the fact that the “fall” took place three days prior to court and was at his house. He presented to the hospital on the morning of court with a chief complaint of “I have to be in court but I don’t have any money. Can I get a doctor’s note?”  He also explained that his fall occurred after he used ecstasy, meth and smoked large quantities of tobacco. So this guy had money for drugs, but not child support. He also appeared wearing brand new Nikes.  He went to jail without passing Go and collecting $200.  In our jail you can be a trustee/supervisor which means you get some privileges (own cell, more freedom) in return for taking on some extra responsibilities.  This guy is accustomed to being a trustee but you have to be able to walk in order to get that position. Lo and behold, this guy was walking without crutches within 10 seconds of being informed he would have to share a cell.  So glad I could play a small part in healing this person. What a miracle!
  • I learned last week that my husband has been washing our clothes with fabric softener instead of detergent.  He thought all containers in the laundry aisle were the same. I shudder to think how long it has been since my clothes saw soap. He also chose a lavender scent despite knowing that Munchkin and I are both allergic to lavender.
  • I finally sewed on all the badges to Munchkin’s Girl Scout and awana vests. Only to get an email from the leader today that she is sending home the recent badges they have earned. Grrr. My fingers are still sore and bloody.
  • Munchkin was super duper wild yesterday. I threatened that if she didn’t calm down, I’d take her outside and make her run laps. She thought that sounded fun and continued to act out. So I put on my sneakers and made her run.  I’d walk behind her and say “run to the black mailbox.”  It was a mile walk probably. She was whining the last bit and I turned the corner as if to do another lap and she begged me to stop and promised to behave. It was good exercise for me. Wonder if I can get her to be wild again tonight? Ha
  • I heard that the Oxford dictionary added “LOL” and “BFF” to their dictionary this year. That irks me. What irks me more is the teenagers who sit through church and text.  Worse than that are the grownups who do it too.
  • I’m addicted to “quotation marks.”  I also start each question with “and.” These things I learned in reviewing a recent article I wrote and listening to an audio recording from a recent trial.  Oh well, that’s me!

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