The Day I Lost Two Boys to Telemarketers

03.27.13

omni amelia island room view

Today was our first full day at the Plantation at Amelia Island. When we arrived yesterday before even checking into the rooms I rented the boys bicycles. With over 1300 acres and a 20 MPH speed limit I figured I’d let them have free range of the resort (minus any natural bodies of water).

Did I mention that since Jane is in London and Mr G is in New York I let Alexander bring a friend? Well, I did, the Australian Actresses’ boy is with us. That makes two preadolescent boys that I love like crazy.

This morning they were keen to get to the main swimming pool which is about a half mile away from our villa. I wanted to wake up in the shower a bit so I told them they could ride their bikes there and wait for me by the pool, I’d be 20 minutes behind them.

I took my shower and walked along to shore to the main pool and went in search of the boys. They weren’t there. I walked a second lap around the pool, no sight of them. I asked the attendants at the towel shack if they’d seen the boys (two 11 year old boys, one bright red hair… easy to spot, right?). No one could remember seeing them. Great.

I walked around the main building and asked the guys at valet but they hadn’t seen the boys. I left there and walked to the game room, the Xbox has been known to sing a siren’s song. Still no sign of them.

I called the room, thinking maybe they’d returned there looking for me but the phone just rang and rang. This is when I returned to the pool to ask yet another employee if they’d seen my boys. She hadn’t seen them but offered me a cocktail suggesting that I’d be more relaxed looking for them. I walked the resort and called the room a few more times.

To be clear there was no part of me that was worried about them. I knew that they were together and I knew that they’d stay away from the ocean, marshes and the ponds. Nothing else on site represents any danger worth noting.

I explained to the server that I don’t at all mind being the lady who lost her kids but that I absolutely do mind being the boozy lady that loses her kids. The mojito would have to wait until they were located.

I returned to the front of the hotel and asked a valet to call me the tram (there are trams that drive endless loops here so there’s no need for a car), while we were waiting for the tram I explained to him that I was going to hop into my car and look for the boys. The valet radioed security with descriptions of the kids and told them to radio us if they were located and then he started walking around with me to locate them. We skipped the tram and he drove me around to fun places for 11 year old boys. We were both sort of laughing and channeling our inner 11 year olds to imagine what on earth they’d been thinking.

After about 20 minutes of this I suggested he bring me back to the room and I’d hop in my own car to look. I didn’t want him to be gone from the valet stand so long. He assured me that there were two other employees there and he’d be happy to help me so I gratefully sat in the passenger seat and scanned the bike path for two boys on red cruisers.

Rather than checking the room I decided to call the room once again. Still no answer. So I ran up to the room to leave the boys a note, should they check in there. Imagine my surprise when I saw the two of them sprawled out on the sofa watching cartoons.

Why didn’t you wait for me by the pool?

Because we were done swimming.

Did you hear the phone ring?

Yes.

Why didn’t you answer it?

The only people who call landlines are telemarketers.

Arrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh that’s the part of being eleven that I forgot to channel.

 

So I Have this Fantasy of Jane Breathing New Life into Ms. Magazine

02.14.12

I’m a dismal failure as a feminist. It’s only recently that I cared about reproductive rights because it never occurred to me that Roe v. Wade could actually be challenged. It never dawned on me that people would actually try and legislate my uterus. I’m still mostly stunned when a fuss is made and I almost don’t believe the Catholics when they say they don’t want to pay for birth control. It’s like reading The Onion… only after a certain point I realize that some evangelicals are, in fact, so very worried about the next life that they’re willing to ruin this one.

Jane and I were in the car alone today, and there’s something magical about silence in the car. It begs to be broken and Jane heeds it’s call. We talked about friends of the family who got caught drinking. The boy was given a hard time and some moms don’t want him in the house (understandable), the girl was labeled a slut and Facebook has been abuzz for two weeks. School is misery for her.

I asked Jane why she thought consequences were different for boys and for girls. She had a lot of theories, and concluded with “Some things just are.”

Then we talked about Valentine’s Day and the fact that Daddy had asked Alexander if any girls sent him love notes while chiding him, but sounded worried when he asked her if she’d received any cards. We both smiled, because we know her dad loves her and we both want her to be happy, but it’s understood that a girl’s purity is to be prized while a boy who has many conquests is a hero. Who the boys are supposed to be with has always mystified me, but it’s been this way since the beginning of time. My time anyhow.

I didn’t apologize to Jane for her father’s concern just as I won’t undermine his parenting with Alexander. I don’t think my husband was wrong, or right. I think it just is.

Some things just are a certain way, and even if you disagree with them you don’t have to be loud or argumentative, you just have to be. Sometimes not calling girls slutty or acknowledging that really sexy women are beautiful is a loud statement. Sometimes it’s enough.

Sometimes you just sit in the car with your 13 year old daughter who is trying to understand why her friend who happens to be a girl is marked as a tramp while her friend who happens to be a boy is kinda cool, when they made the same dumb decision.

Jane told me about how girls will just talk to you and boys will wait like five minutes to answer back. When I tried to make sense of how it could take five minutes for them to answer she rolled her eyes and said, “iChat mom.” Oh. Yes, five minutes, of course. She let me know that it’s a power thing and we talked about how some relationships will always be unequal. She said the boys were trying to keep the upper hand. It was remarkably insightful.

She shrugged as she got out of the car for volleyball. “Everyone says they want equal rights and stuff, but I’m not sure why they want to play sports with the boys. They can’t even play basketball right and they have to dribble a 360 before they even take a shot and then they miss because they were too busy showing off to just play the game right. So maybe things already are equal because girls together are better.”

Which almost made sense.

It’s a marvelous time to be her mother.

Redshirting Boys for Kindergarten: What did You Do?

12.7.11

This is my very favorite momversation. You can see that we’re all in Daphne’s kitchen and the really nice thing is that Rebbeca, Daphne and I are friends. This is exactly how we chat together.

In any event I know that not all kids are ready for kindergarten, just as I know academically that some kids could skip a grade. I still think it’s a bad plan, and if you watch the video you’ll see why.

What do you think? When will you send your kids to kindergarten?

Football Girls and Very Bad Parenting

10.18.11

When Jane was in the fourth grade she wanted to play football. What you may or may not know is that within the private schools in Los Angeles there are intramural sports starting in fourth grade. During the fall season the boys play football and the girls play basketball. Three years ago Jane wanted to play football with the boys. I said no.

I love sports. I play a lot of tennis, I’ve coached Jane’s soccer, before I was a soccer mom I was soccer girl. Sports matter for their own sake. I’m the mom that gets it.

Maybe I’m the mom that only sort of gets it.

When Jane wanted to play football with the boys I could see what she wanted. She wanted to prove to them that she was equal, she wanted to show the other girls that she was faster, stronger and smarter than the boys and the girls, everyone really. Jane wanted to physically dominate. I said no. Mr. G. said no to Jane and we didn’t offer her an answer, we just vetoed the whole football notion and sent her off to play a crappy game of basketball. Jane’s fourth grade teacher said I should fight for her to play football. We didn’t reflect on this, as we were pretty sure we did the right thing.

Alexander is in the fifth grade and he is on the football team. This year there is a fourth grade girl on the team. At the dinner table Alexander would talk about how there was a girl and at practice he had to block her. “You’re not allowed to hit her.” I’d say. Mr. G. would roll his eyes and ask why there’s a girl on the team. I’d be unable to answer, Alexander would be unable to answer, and Jane would just glare at us and say, “I wanted to play football but you wouldn’t let me.” I’d smile and say, “You’re not allowed to block a girl, tell your coach your mom won’t let you.” and then we’d move on to another topic.

Alexander would occasionally revisit how awful it is to practice football with a girl on the team. He’d moan about how it sucks when you can’t block the person you’re practicing with. I’d nod, Mr. G. would remind him to be nice to her.

They played a game today. It was a good game and the team dominated but I felt conflicted about it. I liked the little girl being there and I felt like her very presence was a victory for little girls everywhere. At the same moment I felt like her very presence ruined the experience for the boys.

I understand wanting the world to be equal. I understand wanting all the same opportunities. I also understand wanting boys to play boy games.