Do You See the Scrotum?

01.23.12

My stepbrother texted me last night to let me know that he’d sent Alexander a text saying “keep it clean”. I was out buying the perfect silk blouse so I couldn’t exactly be bothered with parenting at the time.

When I got home I asked Alexander for his cell phone. He looked sheepish handing it to me and we went through the text messages together. Most of the text messages were fine, funny even. There were links to chicken butt pictures.

chicken butt And then there was a note to his cousin saying, “This is you”. Along with this picture.

dickhead scrotum chin

There was also a WTF. Potty mouth… I wonder where my child would pick that up?

I sat down with my boy to talk to him about media use. I reminded him that Daddy and I would always be checking his texts, computer and emails. I told him that anything you write is public and you should want it so that even your mom could read it. Blah blah blah it was the same talk I’ve been giving Jane for years. Even I was bored listening to me.

I asked Alexander if he knew what WTF meant. He nodded his head and looked embarrassed. I told him that I knew it was funny and that it was a word I’d like him to not use but that I know everyone slips up. I also told him to NEVER write it so that people wouldn’t think he was a bad kid.

Take my advice, son, I won’t be needing it.

Then I asked him about the picture. Why would you send that to your cousin?

“Because it’s an ugly guy.” He said.

Is there anything else about it that’s bad? I asked him this in a thousand different ways. Finally I pointed to the chin. Is there anything about his chin that is bad?

“It’s long.” He said, and looked genuinely curious.

I didn’t punish him. I’m out of the business of punishment, being embarrassed with your mom is lesson enough.

Later in the evening I showed Mr G the image. “He sent this to his cousin.” I said. Mr G shrugged nonchalantly.

Apparently I’m the only one in the house able to identify a scrotum.

Approaching the Teen Age Years

09.3.11

Jane is twelve. This autumn she will be thirteen and I’m pretty sure what we’re experiencing here is not unique. The elementary school years were pretty easy, there were no big upheavals, just a bit of mean girl behavior in third grade that got nipped in the bud, but nothing monumental. Sixth grade was pretty much a cake walk too. This summer there’s been a change in the air.

Jane is pissed at me because I have limited her phone access. After 10pm she can only text us and her grandparents, the same goes for phone calls on the cell. Further, her computer time is limited to ninety minutes a day, the computer simply shuts off after ninety minutes. These simple steps save Mr. G and me from policing screen time.

Jane came to me with tears in her eyes. I treat her like a baby and none of the other parents have time restrictions for their kids. In fact some of her friends are scared of me.

Good.

I had to explain to Jane that I hadn’t recently called any of these other parents for advice on how to monitor social networking and child-rearing. I had to explain to her that unrestricted smart phones for 12 year olds means that a parent isn’t doing their job. I then got to remind her that I’m not her friend and her friends are not allowed in the master suite at any point in the day, not even to pee, there are bathrooms downstairs.

Something horrible happened. Instead of tears her eyes turned a steely blue and her lips pursed shut. We were nose to nose and I got a curt, “fine then”. My daughter turned on her heel and walked out of the room, composed but seething.

I told Mr. G about the event and I asked him what he thought. I told him that she’d said that none of the other girls had media restrictions and that I’d told her our position on it. I asked him what he would have said to her if she asked him to lift the nighttime texting and social media bans. His response? “Drop Dead.”

At least I have an ally. I really hate that it’s so clear that we’re going to have prolonged battles.

When Multitasking Lands You In Therapy

04.18.11

This weekend Jane had a soccer tournament and Alexander had baseball. Mr G and I went with the divide and conquer parenting strategy. I went with Jane to Newhall and Mr G hung out with Alexander for picture day, a game and a few playdates inbetween.

When our foursome is split up we typically rely on texting quite a bit. While Jane was warming up I grabbed my iPhone and played catch up.

My father sent me a message asking where I was. Newhall, I told him. He texted me, Hot?

I moved over to texts from a girlfriend. It was so nice to see you, you look so good, I love your hair… you know the standard stuff. She texted me a question about my shorts, they are cute where did they come from?

I watched a little soccer and then there was a break in the game. I picked up the phone and started sending replies.

I replied to my father’s question about hot: Hot as hell and tacky as shit.

And then I replied to my girlfriend’s question about my shorts: Why thank you.

Except I sent them to the wrong peoople, so the text threads looked like this.

DAD: Hot?

ME: Why thank you.

FRIEND: I love your shorts.

ME: Hot as hell and tacky as shit.

I have tried, unsuccessfully to scrub this from my brain. So I figured I’d share my therapy moment with all of you.