This was on my mind ...

Getting a New Number

I am getting a new number because my kids have my old one and they keep dialing it up.

This is a homework thing. (You know, I didn’t mind school so much the first time I went through it but these second and thrid visits I’m making with sons V and VI are about to send me straight to the loony bin.)

My children know me well enough to work me. I have these three personality traits which they understand and use to their advantage: 1) I am big on school and life learning. 2) I am impatient – in the extreme. . . . 3) and I can’t stand a lot of silly stuff.

Youngest son does the following: He hides the educational ball. To hear him tell it, he NEVER has any homework. Or whatever homework he did have he finished in school. And last but not least, any and all work, no matter its amount or nature, is due NEXT TUESDAY.

His excuses, notwithstanding, the boy isn’t failing because he has no 4th amendment rights. He is subject to search and seizure the minute he walks in the door. I do everything short of make him drop the book bag, put his hands on the wall and spread ’em. I search his stuff. I search him. I am on line with his teachers. I know what his assignments are before he does.

The problem is once I get the info I want to kick educational behind. He just wants to shut me up. So here’s the brilliant move on his part. He gets started and then comes to me with: “I don’t understand” “What does that mean?” ” I didn’t see that” or “Well what are you supposed to do?”

I get him started. He then says things like; “Now what?” “I thought I was done?” or “Well what else is there?”

Next thing you know I’m saying “Can’t you see that . . . ” Then I do a problem and say “Do the next one like that.” He stares blankly into space. He writes down something dumb. I say “Didn’t I just show you. . . ?” “Look this is what you need to do . . ”
Next thing you know, I’m angry and he’s walking away with his homework all done. He has neither lifted a finger nor activated a single brain cell.

My older son has my number as well but he uses a different phone line. He comes to me with his work. Tells me how overwhelmed he is and how important it is for him to do well. He says things like “I don’t know where to get started with this” I give him an idea. He says “That’s good.” Then writes it down. Afterwards he says: “What do you think we should do next?” (you do see the importance of the pronoun he used don’t you?) I say “OOOOHHHH you know what would be cool. . . ” Do I need to tell you how this story ends?

Here’s the lesson. I KNOW better than to do this but my children read my emotional state and use it against me. Emotions, I am telling you, they are the key.

But that’s okay. I’m done now. I’m getting them a tutor (I tried having my husband take over but I began to feared for the boys’ safety.) I am going to pay somebody to do what I can’t. I am cheap but I know what money is for. I don’t get my nails done. I perm my own hair. I buy most of my clothes at Target. (and I’m not pleading poor. How dumb would that be? You know what I do for a living.)

I may not be a good teacher but I know where my money is supposed to go.

So like I said, they got my number but I’m shutting that switchboard down.

If this is a war of attrition. I plan to be the last man standing.

And the Winner is . . .

And the Winner is . . .

ME.

What did I win, you might ask. Well, I’d tell you if I knew. Though I’m not sure exactly what I’ve won I know who gave me the award.

Apparently there is a committee of 13 year old boys somewhere that pass out parental titles. And the reason I know I’ve gotten one is because I always have a house full of them. Even when they are all supposed to be somewhere else, they end up here – in quantity – and I’m not at all sure why.

That’s why I’ve decided that I have been awarded something. I’m not sure which one I’ve gotten but I do have some ideas:

1. The Mother Most Likely to Order Pizza
– You see I have this thing about feeding my kids at regular intervals. And I can’t feed mine without feeding everybody in the house who is under 18. I have this innate communal mother gene. Anybody in the house under 18 is my child while they are here. – So whenever meal time arrives I am getting food elsewhere (it’s one thing to give your own family food poisoning but it’s just embarrassing to take down the entire 8th grade) And you know how 13 year old boys like to eat. Little hoover vacuums – these people – And I don’t know about yours but mine don’t have an ounce of body fat anywhere. (pisses me off).

2. Mother Who Got Suckered into Buying the Most Game Systems.
– I think that one speaks for itself. And by the way you would not believe the funk generated by a room full of 13 year old boys huddling around a video game for a couple of hours with the door closed. Sometimes I throw them out and make them play ball just to air out the room.

3. Mother Least Likely to Go Crazy When Something Gets Broken.
– My 13 year old is very social. He has whole packs of friends. Several of them are very physical. They have a run and shoot offense. Skate boards bicycles, foot balls. You name it. They fly around here like a swarm of bees. I don’t object too much for a couple of reasons: A. I like that they don’t just sit around and play video games. B. He is the last of six sons. Lots off stuff has gotten broken over the years. You either learn to go with the flow or lose your mind. I decided to go with the former.

4. The Mother Most Likely To Engage In an Adolescent Conversation Without Judgment
I talk to them like I was thirteen. If they were engaged in some low level nonsense I ask about it like I am interested. I laugh. I say things like “You didn’t really say that did you? That’s cold. I bet he never bothers you again.”
My son won’t tell me anything but if your are non judgmental with other people’s kids they give up all kinds of information. Of course, if they are doing something really bad (a) they don’t tell me and (b) I’d get all in it. But they tell me what they are thinking and the basics of what they are doing. That’s good intelligence. The CIA would be proud.

– Anyway, it appears that I’ve gotten the award for something. And like I said, you don’t get a statue for it, all you get is a house full of kids.

I have four here now even though the plan was as of 5:00 pm yesterday was that my son was going to sleep over at someone else’s house. Next thing you know its 7:30 pm and I am getting a call saying ‘can you pick me up from the mall and yea can Chris come.’ I say okay. When I get there I find my son, Chris and yet another kid I didn’t know about. What am I gonna do leave that last kid there? So I brought them all home. By the time I woke up this morning my husband says another showed up after I went to bed.

But as my husband says: It’s better to have them here where we can keep and eye on them –

Mess, funk and broken lamps notwithstanding.

Up Early

Hello all,

I got up early this morning (5:30) so I could meet my girlfriend for tennis. It was a bit windy (that is today’s excuse for not hitting well) but my serve was better than normal. That was cool. My friend is better than I am but she is very patient and supportive. Her name is Toni – so you know I have got to love that!

In addition the the live performances I am starting a new phase of my career. Can’t discuss it yet. There is still an opportunity for me to be laughed out of the room on this one but I like to reach – and don’t mind falling much. (ooooh that’s a lie – I mind a lot – but not enough to keep me from doing it again. . . and again . . .)

I have my regular tennis lesson at 1:00 pm today. I hope the wind dies down before then. Thanks for your responses to yesterday’s blog. It’s hard putting the genie back in the bottle. But what are you going to do just watch it and shake your head?

Where is Jan?

Peace.

Man of the House

I just had to share this.

Whenever my husband leaves town or will be away from home for a while he tells my oldest son “Will, You’re next in line. While I’m gone you are the man of the house.”

When he was young he thought it was cool. When I would ask him to help with his younger brother as the man of the house he was on point. But once he reached adolescence he began to question its meaning. Especially the other day when his father took his younger brother to a baseball game out of town and it was just me and Will.

His father said the same thing he always did. “While I’m gone you’re the man of the house.” My son Will responded as follows:

“That’s just dumb. I can’t tell her what to do. So what does it mean? I’m not the man of the house. I’m not in charge.”

All my husband did is say “remember what I said.”

Well, while hubby was gone I decided to paint the wall in the living room. I thought it best to do it in his absence since I had had a painter come and paint it three different colors three different times and I still wasn’t satisfied. (yeah, that’s right, I want what I want and I was going to work it till I got it)

Anyway while I was in the garage trying to get a ladder Will comes out and says “what are you doing?”

I say, “I’m getting a ladder to paint the wall.” He then took the ladder from me brought it in the house and set it up. I jump on the ladder and he says, “Mom, it’s not steady.” I say “Oh it will be okay, just hold it.”

He said “I’ll tell you what you get down and hold it for me I’ll get the top part.” And that’s what he did. When he finished he asked me if I was cool. I said “well I gotta wait for it to dry and do a second coat.” He says, “Well when you’re ready let me know. I’ll get the top part.”

As he left the room I hollered after him. “THAT RIGHT THERE IS WHAT YOUR FATHER WAS TALKING ABOUT: MAN OF THE HOUSE” What neither one of us could explain to him he did by imitation. He watched my husband and naturally followed suit.

I always get a lot of “who shot John” on Divorce Court about being the man of the house. Most of what I see is a claiming of rights without the taking of responsibilty. No matter what your view is on men as head of the household, none of it means a thing unless the care is there. No matter what else it means to you to be ‘the man of the house’ it must include taking responsibility for your family’s well being.

I had to share this because I complain about my hubby and kids a lot on the show. (and I tell you, they do get on my nerves – there’s a whole lot of “I want, I want I want” going on around here)

But I was so proud of my son and husband both. And I have never been able to really put it into words. It was what I wanted to tell that brother i yelled at the other day but didn’t have it together enough to say.

That’s why you fellas have got to be there. No spreading your seed and walking off. In the house. Involved. Invaluable.

And to all of you who are (and there are a lot of you) : Mad props!!!

Peace.

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My Mother's Rules" is a humorous, easy to follow self-help guide to managing your emotional life.

Using lessons learned on the bench along with humorous anecdotes from her own 30 year marriage, Judge Lynn Toler wrote "Making Marriage Work" as a logical and simple guide to bringing back the practicality lost in relationships over the years.

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Getting a New Number

Posted by on Feb 5, 2009 in The Blog | No Comments

I am getting a new number because my kids have my old one and they keep dialing it up. This is a homework thing. (You know, I didn’t mind school so much the first time I went through it but these second and thrid visits I’m making with sons V and VI are about to […]

And the Winner is . . .

Posted by on Jan 31, 2009 in The Blog | No Comments

And the Winner is . . . ME. What did I win, you might ask. Well, I’d tell you if I knew. Though I’m not sure exactly what I’ve won I know who gave me the award. Apparently there is a committee of 13 year old boys somewhere that pass out parental titles. And the […]

Up Early

Posted by on Jan 8, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Hello all, I got up early this morning (5:30) so I could meet my girlfriend for tennis. It was a bit windy (that is today’s excuse for not hitting well) but my serve was better than normal. That was cool. My friend is better than I am but she is very patient and supportive. Her […]

Man of the House

Posted by on Oct 12, 2008 in The Blog | 3 Comments

I just had to share this. Whenever my husband leaves town or will be away from home for a while he tells my oldest son “Will, You’re next in line. While I’m gone you are the man of the house.” When he was young he thought it was cool. When I would ask him to […]