Last week, my son spent $5 on a pair of his friend’s shoes. They are too small for the friend (he must have had a growth spurt since I saw him a couple weeks ago – not entirely impossible at this age). They are also straight-up hideous. Some sort of shiny, plastic-y, aluminum-y basketball shoes. KD 11th generation (#idon’tknowwhati’msaying) or something. Seriously, I think they’re made of plastic. And they were insanely expensive. Plastic. They’re my son’s new “play” shoes.
His friend spent $1 on a pair of the same friend’s outgrown shoes. Think he got a bargain? Think again – one of the shoes was missing its sole. As in, it was detached. Said friend plans on Gorilla Gluing it back on. Or something. I can only imagine his mom’s reaction when he got home.
Interestingly enough, the next day a coworker of mine sought me out to consult on whether 13 year old boys are all so…out there.
I assured her that in my experience they were. However, I have only experienced one (and by proxy a few of his friends) and therefore I am not necessarily an expert. Mine is still very much “boy” versus “young man” although we are getting there. Mostly I pray every night he will survive the day with all his bones, and his shoes, intact. I figure if he can manage those two things, everything else is gravy. We go through casts and shoes at an alarming rate. And now I'm thinking I might be off the hook with this new purchase...at least for a while.
Today his friend texted him to see if my son had any shoes he wanted to get rid of. Is this a thing? He texted pics of the shoes he bought last week. More texts were exchanged that mostly contained words like “sweet” and “dude” and “idk” and “ya” and he told his friend he’d sell them for $20. To which his friend said “$10” and the transaction was complete. He made $5.
Ya, dude. Sweet.
I’m not sure where this transaction will take place – school? If it takes place at all (Momma might put the kibosh on it, if she’s anything like me. Scratch that, I actually let him buy the stupid things.)
The newly minted business man is now pondering his next venture. In the meantime, he’ll be at Dick’s purchasing a (just one - $5 only goes so far) lacrosse ball with his earnings.
"Get the coins out of your nose." Followed by "why?" Because, really.
"Don't lick your sister." Just don't.
"What do you mean, you sometimes forget to wear underwear?" I can't.
"I'll be back with crickets and pizza." The toads are having a party.
"I don't care what so and so does. If he/she ran out into a busy road and ate dog doo, would you do it too?" A grim example of why being a follower is not a good idea, and one of my parents' favorites.
"Gah, what is that smell?" Because you don't actually believe YOUR child's room will smell like a small animal died in there. Not your child. No way. Never.
"The dining room is the room over there. Hint: table." Giving directions in your own home. They've lived here all their lives.
"Did you just lick the tire?" My head hurts.
"Nope. That is not what head trauma is." #lifewithboys
"Because I said so." Because you said you never would.
Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are not.
This morning, I walked in on T getting dressed. He was wearing new shorts that still had the tags on them. I walked over and reached out to pop them off and he ran away.
“I want those there.”
“But T, they’re supposed to come off.”
“But I want them. I like them.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. You can’t walk around with store tags hanging off your pants. Be reasonable.”
“Because you just can’t.” How’s that for parental expertise? Way to let him know who's boss. “It’s just how it works. It’s tacky. You don’t want people to see what they cost. It’s inappropriate.” That’s one I whip out whenever I can’t figure out an explanation that will actually work.
“But they make me happy!” He’s being silly, I know, and this particular child has a flair for the ridiculous, I also know. But he cannot wear shorts with tags. I mean, right?
“Take off the tags.” Me using my end of discussion voice. At this point it's crossing into "you're disobeying" territory.
“Fine, then I just won’t wear them.”
He is also a child of extreme stubbornness. The one who will sacrifice something equally good if it’s not what he wants. If he feels strongly about Bruster’s ice cream and everyone else wants Sweet Frog, he won’t order anything as a form of protest. If I tell him that he has to eat his Brussels sprouts or go to bed at 7:30, he’ll hit the sack before the sun goes down. He’s a martyr for his causes, no one can deny this.
I'm told I was the same way.
I stopped. I mean, really, what WAS the big deal? His pals would probably think it was funny. He went through a phase where he would wear his shirts inside out and backwards every day. His brother only wore black striped socks the summer he was 5. His sister liked to wear yoga pants UNDER her dance leotards. He wore his dad’s old glasses, a cape and a tool belt to every swim meet one summer. And, remember, this is the kid who wore a huge lobster hat and claws to Red Lobster for his birthday. The one who dressed up as an eyeball wearing a suit for Halloween. His sense of humor tends to lean toward irreverent, to say the least.
Was it worth it to go round and round over some stupid tags? No. Not really. Do I think it’s ridiculous? Of course. You should see the look my husband gave me when he saw them. I know he thought we were both off our rockers. However, I made him tuck them into his pocket. Mission accomplished, for us both.
Sometimes, you just have to pick your battles. Sometimes, you have to compromise. He wanted to be right, I wanted to be right and the reason for both of us was "just because." I want my kids to see that their parents are people who can be reasoned with, when appropriate. I want my kids to have a sense of independence and self expression. I remember one time I made a miniskirt out of a piece of fabric my mom had by pinning it together and then, basically, pinning it on me. I still can't believe my mother let me do that, but I appreciated that flexibility and compromise. Quite frankly, arguing over something as inane as tags can be a soul sucking sacrifice of sanity. Yes, I just alliterated the heck out of that. Will my lack of adherence to the “rules” about the tags reinforce bad behavior or rebellion long term? I doubt it. No one got hurt. Will someone say something to him and laugh? Perhaps, but maybe it won’t matter. Maybe my extreme sense of “supposed to” and “not supposed to” is MY issue. I’ve been pretty flexible with my kids over the years when it comes to hair, clothing, etc. I’m usually all about compromise and letting them have some control. I was so happy the boys didn’t argue with me when I requested that they wear something “nicer” to dinner on Mother’s Day that the fact that T was wearing a mint green stripe tee with green, navy and red plaid shorts didn’t even phase me. Again, not worth it. He did what I asked because it was Mother’s Day and he loves me enough to honor my request.
It was a battle that would have ruined Mother’s Day and it was a battle that would have ruined the morning. And over what?
…that your son forgot his chromebook for school and you have to take it to him.
...that you have no gas, which you really realized last night but you thought “nah, I’ll get that on my way to work.”
...that you may not have enough to get to school and back and then to the gas station on the way to work, and you can’t go to the gas station on the way home from the school because then you will miss getting the other two kids on the bus.
...that you have a gas can for the lawnmower in the garage and you consider whether or not you should put a little of that in your car.
...that you will probably spill it because you are clumsy and besides, you really don’t have time for that anyway. Middle school is about to start. You think. When does it start again?
...that there are way too many kids who don’t ride the bus in the morning and now you have to sit through the same stoplight 3 times until it’s your turn to go and you are worried about the gas situation so you keep putting the gear into neutral.
...that you are not sure this strategy actually works but it makes you feel better anyway.
...that there’s a traffic jam of cars trying to get OUT of the parking lot after having dropped off their middle school students.
...why it’s such a good thing your son rides the bus.
...that, as you sit in the exit traffic jam, everyone’s trying to get out of the lot so people are doing all kinds of crazy things and now you’re REALLY worried about gas because you’re pretty sure you’re going to run out right there in the narrow entrance.
...that if that happens, you will be blocking the lane, thereby trapping everyone in this hellhole parking lot.
...that, after finally getting out of the lot, said traffic jam has cost you precious time and it’s EXACTLY the time your children are supposed to leave the house for the bus and you can feel their panic from where you sit.
...that you’re REALLY going to be in trouble when you have to go to work because now there is REALLY no gas.
...that you forgot about the gas can in that garage. Things are looking up.
...that your children are in full on panic mode because they are used to leaving the house at 8:38 and now it is 8:41 and they are creatures of habit who are also apparently very specific and so are terrified they are going to miss the bus. After what you just went through and the fact that your car is now running on fumes alone, you panic a little too and run with them in your heels to the bus stop.
...after standing there panting for a few minutes that you haven’t had a chance to do your makeup or your hair so really you’re in some weird state of halfway dressed and also that the bus is late. Finally, something is working in your favor this morning! They get on the bus, you go home to try to fix your hair and apply new deodorant and drink some coffee so you can be ready for work.
...that you were so relieved to have everything done that you forgot about needing gas and the fact that you had planned on hijacking the lawnmower gas can.
...that you could go back and get it...
...but with your luck, you will turn around only to find that the gas can is empty and that will be that many fewer fumes you will have to power you to the Sheetz down the road and then you will be caught on the side of the road calling for help while tons of moms you know drive by on their way to the gym, not stopping until THEY realize, too late, that that was you.
...that you have hit every. single. light. Of course.
...that youhaven’t prayed this much in a long time, which makes you feel terrible because praying for gas seems awfully selfish when there are far bigger problems in the world.