Mom & Son

How to blackmail your #teenager

Over the summer, my son and I came to an understanding. He did what I wanted. He’d get to game. Teenagers aren’t the most cooperative, though. Anyone in the history of the world knows this. We were having a particularly rough battle of wills. This was before school and summer band started in full swing and I was determined to make him a little human. Or at least a little more respectful of his mother. He’d been spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping and gaming. I wanted to break that cycle. I told my husband as we were getting ready for bed to change the WiFi password. He stared at me a long moment and then said, “All right.” I think he secretly loved the idea. I should mention my husband delights in coming up with some really creative passwords. The one he came up with was very relevant to the situation at hand. Something along the lines of “be nice to your mother” will well placed special characters. The next morning, when I got up to get ready for work, I wrote a list of chores I expected the teenager to do before he could get online (see photo). This went over like a lead balloon, let me tell you. The kid was not happy at all, judging by the tone of his texts. Really, if I could have reached through the phone and throttle him, I would have. He did perform the chores I listed and sent…

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Parenting and the Dangers of Social Media

As a parent, I want to protect my son from everything bad. But I also know I can’t possibly do that when there are so many outside forces surrounding him. School life, friends, social media. But something happened recently I think all parents of tweens and younger need to know about. People, it is NOT okay to give your young children smartphones. I get you may want them to have a phone to get in touch with you. But does an 8-year-old really need an iPhone? Or even as 12-year-old for that matter? No. And I’ll tell you why. My son is 12. He’s a little on the young side for his grade (7th). However, he’s very smart and when he was tested to see if he was ready for kindergarten, the school said okay even though his birthday is right on the edge of the cut-off. He’s in AP classes and aside from a little laziness, he’s does really well in school. He’s even overcome some of his more difficult socialization situations. He’s in theater and his first play. He has friends. He’s a very sweet boy. So when he told me one of his classmates opened a Facebook and Instagram account as him, using a picture of him and spreading lies about him, I was instantly upset. He was very upset as well. As he should be. I found the Instagram account. The profile picture is of my son but it was clearly taken with a cell phone…

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Frozen…Not Just a Movie

Where I live in North Texas, we got hit with an ice storm. It came in late Thursday night and stayed with us all weekend. We were literally frozen and stuck at home for 60 plus hours. I’m not even kidding about that. See when we get stuff like this, everything – and I do mean everything – shuts down. No school. No work. No church. No nothing. School was canceled the night before so I knew I wasn’t going to work the next day. There was no way I was going to even try. When I got up the next morning to see the weather it turned out to be a good decision. I’m sure most people don’t understand why everything closes down here. It’s because we don’t get snow. We get ice and sleet. It turns the roads into an ice rink and that’s not something I want to drive on. Ever. So we knew we would be homebound for the weekend. So what did we do cooped up in a 1400-square-foot house for all that time? Lots of different things actually. Friday was sort of a nothing day but the husband did venture out to the store to pick up a few staples. I made an impromptu stir fry with stuff I had in the freezer. He worked off and on that day while the kid glued himself to the computer or the 3DS. I braved the cold to take some pictures. Here’s one of the icicles…

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Twelve Years Ago Today

At 12:41 pm, my son arrived into the world on this very day. It’s hard to believe it’s been TWELVE years. I now have a 7th-grader who plays trombone. Who loves Star Trek and Dr. Who. Who thinks about Minecraft more than school work and who laughs out loud at Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Who thinks making movies from books “is dumb” (because we all know the book is way better). It seems so long ago but at the same time it seems like yesterday. I still remember the day he was sitting in his bouncy chair and discovered he had hands and they were the coolest things EVER. And the day, shortly after learning to walk, he slipped and fell and conked his head on the coffee table. Which, of course, made me feel like the WORST PARENT EVER. Now he’s riding the bus home from school. I realized with some trepidation that it’s not long before he’ll be driving. Not long before he’ll be a freshman in high school. Not long before he’s graduating and heading off to the next step of his life, whatever that may be. So happy birthday to my little boy who’s not so little any more.

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Road Warriors Part 2: Rushmore and Badlands

So yesterday I told you about driving for two solid days to get to the Black Hills. It poured that first night we were in the tent and I wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into. The tent faced east and it was a spectacular sunrise. The orange glow woke me up at 5 am and being the camera nerd I am, I immediately jumped up and unzipped the window. It was breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an orange sunrise quite like this. It was still kind of rainy, though, so I zipped it up and lay back down. I drifted on and off for the next hour. When I tried to check the time on my iPhone, it was completely dead. Not sure why because when we bunked down for the night, it still had about 50% battery left. Husband’s was dead, too. We figured it was trying to hit a network all night or something and it killed it. Luckily, we could charge in the car. We finally dragged ourselves up at around 7 am. He made percolated coffee for the first time and I snapped pictures here and there of the campground. It was CHILLY! We had to wear our jackets. It was also threatening to rain again. Dark clouds moved in overhead. Since we couldn’t see the radar, it was hard to know what was happening. Luckily, the rain held off just as we poured our first cup of coffee and headed back into the…

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