Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here's why I haven't written.

This probably won't be a funny post. Oh, who am I kidding? It might be a little funny - I can't help it. But if you read me primarily to laugh, you won't hurt my feelings if you click away now. I'll try to have a funny one next time.

Some of y'all have beheld my brilliance since the time when all I wrote about was my sucktastic knitting, long before I gave myself permission to let the F-bombs fall where they may. If you've been with me since before this blog was funny, then may the God you believe in bless you.

Over the last few years, you've been here for potty training, my boys starting kindergarten and my girl starting junior high, phone harrassment, Lubaba, Swamp Thing... and I've truly felt your presence in my life during the good and the bad.

You've kinda watched my kiddos grow up on my blog, and so have I. You've watched me grow as a parent too. And sometimes when I read back over past entries and the encouraging comments you've left, I choke up. From my heart, a sincere thank you.

Anyway, I've been dealing with the full spectrum of parenting this past week.

Being the mother of a junior-high girl is, as yet, the greatest challenge I've ever encountered in my life. I recently found out - from Buffy, no less - that Beebie had broken up with Princeton. Or rather, that she had gotten one of her friends to do it for her. Ugh. Classy move, Beeb.

Now, granted, Beeb and Princeton weren't ever really "Boyfriend and Girlfriend" in the traditional sense, which was why I was perfectly ok with it. They were really just best friends. And Princeton's a great kid. Always had her back.

Turns out, another little boy named Skip told Beebie he'd had a crush on her since last year. And Beeb decided to give Skip a chance, after Skip's friend Jughead (who was "dating" Beebie's friend Elle) convinced her that Princeton was a total loser and a shitty boyfriend, and that "Skip would do anything just to see [her] smile."

Smooth, right? But get this - Jughead convinced Beebie via her Facebook page. The one we told her she wasn't allowed to have, even if she didn't use her real name, even if she only added friends that she actually knows. The one she knew GOD DAMNED WELL was absolutely forbidden.

R and I were LIVID. We deleted her profile immediately and told her to give us all of her logins and passwords to all of her online activities - IM's and email addresses and whatnot. Then yesterday, after she swore up and down that she'd told us everything she'd been using, I caught her creating a brand new email account for herself. And I have no idea what to do about it. She wants us to like her new "boyfriend", but we've told her that if he thinks it's ok for her to do things that are against the rules in this family, we're not going to like him very much.

We've taken away her cell phone for two months (the amount of time equal to how long she's had a Facebook account she knew she wasn't allowed to have), and we've put a keystroke logger program on the computer she and her brothers use. But every time we take something away, she just gets sneakier, and I don't like where this path is leading. I'm scared. Truly scared.

Beeb asked me if she and Elle could meet Skip and Jughead at the park near our house. Actually, Beeb asked if she could go to Turtle Island with Jughead. I should mention that Jughead broke up with an 8th grader to "go out with" Elle, PLUS he told Elle that he loved her, just to give you a sense of the shenanigans I'm dealing with. And I'm also using the " " on any dating terminology as it applies to 11-year-olds because the whole concept of these kids using these words is just fucking ludicrous.

Anyway, Turtle Island. I agreed to take Beeb to the park for just the few minutes before I had to be at the next place I had to be. Then Beeb informed me that Elle needed a ride to get there. Yeah, thanks for treating me like everyone's taxi. So I drove 5 minutes to get Elle, 5 minutes back, and let the two of them meet up with their little boyfriends at the park to I could check the boys out.

I saw the little island-like peninsula (really more of an ithsmus, if I wanted to get technical) in the pond that the park's path circles around. Is that Turtle Island?, I asked a kid who was there with a mom I recognized from the boys' school.

No, he said, THAT's Turtle Island. He was pointing away from the pond, toward a wooded area at the bottom of the embankment.



I squinted and saw that there's a worn path about six inches wide, which disappears into the trees. ANYTHING could happen back in there, and probably does. It's completely hidden from view. COMPLETELY.

And would you like to know what I said to my daughter?


Yes, friends, I used those exact words and I'm not the least bit sorry. I even told my own mother that those were the words I used.

Anybody else get the vibe that these little boys are bad news? We had the talk about how boys know that you can get a girl to do anything if you tell her you love her, but Beeb insists "Skip's not like that." They're all like that, honey.

Gonna be an interesting summer. Especially since I just found out that Jughead dumped Elle today via text message. Get this - he told her she was being "Obsessive". How does an 11-year-old even know what that means?

So that's one dimension of my parenting woes. The next is the fact that Pie is now the same age that Beebie's friend Jack was when we first met him. Jack, if you're a newer reader, was Beebie's best friend in Second Grade, and he died the following summer right before Beeb's birthday.

Jack's death broke my heart and Beeb's, and that is weighing on me really, really hard. I can't imagine life without Pie, and I imagine Jack was a lot like Pie when he was Pie's age. And both Pie and Jack were born with birth defects. It makes me want to save every single scrap of paper he scrawls something hilarious on, because if something happened to Pie, I'd wish I'd saved more examples of his creative genius to remind myself - and the world - of him.

And this has been a severe struggle for me recently. That's dimension two.

And the third dimension is this: Today was Tito's Kindergarten Graduation. It was precious.

Days like this are when I'm glad I have boys. A lot of the girls were all fancied up in dresses. Fuck that. I don't dress the boys up for shit. Other boy moms apparently feel the same way. None of the boys were dressed up.

I had completely forgotten that Lubaba's mom (in the lovely pink ensemble) was going to be there. I'd like to point out that I still have never seen Lubaba in person. I think that idiot woman made Lubaba up, so people would bring twice as many presents to her son's birthday party.

But I digress. I've been a stay-home-mom since I went on bed rest two months before Pie was born. Next year I'll have no one to keep me company in the mornings. Guess I need to start looking for a jobby-job. I really don't want to.

It's not just because I love hanging out in my jammies and knitting and playing video games all day. It's because there was one little girl in Tito's class whose Mommy couldn't come to the Graduation because she had to work. She didn't want anyone to see her, but she was curled up and weeping. And my heart ached for her.

What could the teacher say? That it's important for parents to go to work too, so we can have money to buy the things we need? Even as delicately as a grown-up could say it, all a kid knows is that something else is more important to my Mommy than I am. I used to work full-time, too, when I only had Beebie, and fortunately my boss was a Mom who recognized the importance of things like this in your child's life.

Then I got an asshole of a boss after that, who was a total douche about stuff like that because she only had cats. (Not a rip on cat people, just saying she didn't have her own kid so she kinda thought that cheesy kid-related stuff was stupid.) So there are some things of Beeb's that I regret having missed.

I'm glad that I've been able to be there for the boys, and I'm loathe to put myself in a spot where I might not be able to be anymore. Of course I fast-forward in my mind to Pie on a therapist's couch explaining how he doesn't know how to give or receive love because his mother missed his 1st grade play.

Incidentally, I forgot to post a pic of it cuz we were so freakin far away from the stage, so here ya go. Pie's in the red plaid, right in the middle.

It was called E-I-E-I-Oops, about the animals on Old McDonald's Farm getting their sounds screwed up.

I remember commenting to R, at the time, that it was like porn for the pedophile who dabbles in beastiality.

Anyway, I don't know if it was the right thing to do or not, but I told the little girl that I knew her Mommy was sad too, because it's really hard for Mommies and Daddies when they can't be there for their little girls. I know exactly what that's like.

So this week has been pretty tough on the Mommy side of PK.


Rip said...

As a veteran dad of 2 boys and a now-14-year-old-boy-crazy-girl, the only thing I can think to say is that you and R have taught them to be the wonderful people that they are. THEY know what's right and what's on the edge.

I don't think you are being overprotective, YET, but there will very soon be times when the long arm of the PK Posse law will not be around, and Beeb is gonna make her own choices, and all you can do is hope she was listening and watching you for your example of how to behave.

My own daughter, when I asked her if she was sexually active yet, told me no, that she respects herself too much to do that so young. Hmmm. A well-placed diversionary tactic, methinks. But hey, at least I asked the question.

Our children are growing up in a completely new age than we did. The internet makes lots of really adult things exceedingly available and the temptation is simply not fair to such young minds. By age 11, I am sure Beeb has seen all SORTS of things that we didn't see until we were MUCH older, and I am equally sure her "boyfriends" sure have. I have heard lots of stories about kids Beebs age and just a little older doing all SORTS of things that I don't want my own daughter doing, but it's becoming part of the norm. There is virtually no way to shelter them from it, unless you cross the line and become very overprotective, which has been shown to cause rebellion once they attain any freedom at all.

It's a fine line we walk. Giving Beebs freedoms means giving her responsibilities, and she has shown you that she is not worthy of the freedoms per your own family rules. She broke a rule, plain and simple, and she will do it again, regardless of what you do. She can have friends set up accounts for her. She can go to the library and set up accounts.

I caution against knee-jerk reactions because kids recoil from them with ever-increasing vigor as they mature.

I'm sorry you've had a bad time of it lately.

You know I'm here for you.

Penny Karma said...

I admire you so much as a dad.

Scott Hulbert said...

Of course another great post. My oldest daughters last day of Kindergarten is today. I am happy and sad at the same time.

It is hard seeing them go on to make their own choices but they have to do it.

Good luck holding it together.

Stickyfingers said...

Sob, sob, sob. I'm going back to work in July and leaving my baby in daycare. I certainly hope it never makes her cry, but I'm sure it will. I certainly wouldn't say you overstepped at all, trying to ease that little one's heartache.

amylovie said...

I break out in a cold sweat when I think about what my TWO girls have in store for them very soon.

Doesn't help that my karma is seriously bad from my teenage years.

God help me.


Beverly said...

As much as I desperately want children, the thought of parenting teenagers scares the shit out of me. I wish you calm and wisdom and I wish Beeb an open mind (to your counsel) and respect for your authority. You have a long road ahead of you.

Jo said...

I find this so scary - I know how I was at that age (and the stuff we got away with). Good lucky - and I think you said the exactly right thing to Beeb.

Anonymous said...

Since my last attempt to leave a comment got lost to the ether...I'll try again...

I've said this to you, to R, and even left it as a comment on this blog, but I think it bears repeating. If I could have been assured that my kids would have turned out as well as yours, I might have reconsidered not having any.

I'm not a parent, but I've played one on TV. (well sort of...) I worked in a residential child care facility with kids that were unable to function and thrive in a home setting - they all had emotional issues, many were survivors of abuse, and had severe behavioral issues. So my frame of reference for how children behave is a bit skewed.

It was a locked unit, where we had more control over their lives than would ever be possible in a home setting. The units were set up so that as a staff, I could see every kid from one spot, unless they were in their rooms - and I could see when they came in or out of their rooms. They didn't have access to phones, they sure as shit didn't have internet access. And I know how hard it was for us to keep the kids from doing things that they knew were wrong. So yeah, I'm not a parent, but I've done all the not fun parts - administering consequences, bandaging cuts, restraining an out of control child so they do not hurt themselves or others. And I spend more time with those kids than many parents spend with their own children. But I never got the rewarding parts of the job.

You and R have every reason to be pissed at the Beebs. And you should administer appropriate consequences to her. But you know I like to look at both sides... The fact that she is able to thwart your efforts at every turn might be seen as a testament to the intelligence and creativity that you both have instilled into her, both through genetics and parenting. Yes, she is making poor choices in how she uses those skills right now, but she is using them.

When you showed me the path to Turtle Island the other day, I agreed whole heartedly with what you said to Beebie. I wanted to repeat it to her when we got back to Chez Karma. And I'm not even her parent - just a friend of her parents who cares about her.

SuperWife and I may not be parents, but we'll help you guys out any way we can. And the fact that we're not parents might come in handy - who knows, the apes might listen to us.

I know that you and R are very careful about what the apes are exposed to, and what they watch on TV. But most parents aren't. So those boys have been exposed to things that we never were as kids (just like Rip said).

Maybe Beebs will get through her rebellious phase now before she's old enough to really cause herself trouble.

Bezzie said...

Sometimes I'm happy I have two boys....buuuuut then I hear what hubby did when he was a horny teenaged boy and I worry. Esp. since his mom had no.freaking.idea. God help me if I'm snowballed that easy.

Hang tough!

jessica o said...

Ack! I have FOUR girls! What am I going to do? I used to hang at the park, in the tunnels! That was loads of fun that began when I was 12. Yikes!

I was always a sensible kid and didn't feel compelled to indulge in the unlawful activities (underage drinking and smokin' the reefer) happening around me. Peer pressure was never an issue for me.

BUT, as a parent, even if my kids are sensible and make good decisions for themselves, no fucking way do I want them to hang around with those little park urchins.

Kay aka dkswife said...

Oh Sarah I am so sorry. My prodigal child essentially did the same thing, except started in HS. I'm not going to lie to you and say my circumstance had a good outcome because it didn't. I haven't seen her in going on 2.5 yrs now. The drugs, alcohol, thievery, and materialistic BS has gotten the best of her.

Now, I am an extreme situation. Most of the time the kids pull their heads out of their asses.

I will keep your daughter in my prayers, along w/ you and R. It is very hard. I know from experience.

MOF, I am crying while typing this. It hurts me so badly.

((Hugs and Love))


Penny Karma said...

Kay, you've helped me feel that I'm not over-reacting. I really appreciate your sharing that.

((hugs right back atcha))

Ferris Family said...

You are amazing, truly amazing. I look at you nad hope to have it "all together" when Liv gets to be Beebie's age. I think you are so great at keeping everything in perspective. You make a big deal out of things that are a big deal!!!