He gave me Greek mythology. Pretty sure I remember very little from hs and pretty sure I’m not going to do research tonight so I’ll talk about Alex instead. Alex is my middle child and my only son and that poor kid had to grow up in a with a mom, 2 sisters and when Samantha guilted ( apparently that’s not a word, I’m using it anyway) me into getting a kitty, the pet shop only had females, so a female cat as well. Honestly? It took me about 10 years to learn that I could never be his dad. More wishful than slow learner.
I adore his honesty. When he was 3 and Rob told him that he had to do this or that, Alex informed him “um, dad…..sometimes I don’t like you”. Easily amused me had to really stifle my laugh that time. Not something I’d want to support but he caught me by surprise. Another time, maybe 6 years later, the kids and I were all in the car and the subject came up about someone at school doing something sneaky. I hate sneaky. I verbalized it. “I hate sneaky. I HATE sneaky!” Alex belted out from the backseat “I’m sorry mom! I played nintendo before school yesterday”. Right, the rule at home was no nintendo before school.
The year Alex started kindergarten was the only year he and Shannon walked to school. That year a 5 year old girl went missing here in MN. We all talk to our kids, especially when the media is on overkill and schools are alerting the children. Be aware of strangers. Never do this. Never do that. If this ever happens, this is what you need to do. Next thing to pop up on the news was that it was being blamed on a family friend. How on earth do you explain that to a child? Code word, code word, code word is being drilled into the parents. I gave my kids a code word. If someone, that you’re not expecting, picks you up, you ask them for the code word even if you know them. One day when Alex was in kindergarten and I had gone to buy a car while he was at school. It took longer than I imagined it would so I called and asked my neighbor, Kevin, if he could meet Alex and take him to his house. I gave Kevin the code word. Kevin met Alex and told him that I was running longer than expected and invited him to his house and Alex never asked for the code word. A little scary, yes. When he was in 1st grade and we’d moved and I picked them up every day, my sister Bernadette just happened to drive past the school one day and saw Shannon and Alex waiting for me and she pulled in just to say “hi” and Alex looked her dead in the eye, a little suspiciously and said “What’s the code word?”.
Like I said, we moved during the year which put us in a different school district . I kept them at the same school and just drove them back and forth till the end of the school year. Which is why the kids were waiting for me when Bern saw them. Second grade was not just a new school year, it was a new school for Alex. It was years before I found out that Shannon had told Alex that we HAD to change schools because he’d failed 1st grade. If they stayed at the same school he’d have had to go to 1st grade again. That poor little guy believed it for years.
So he’s now in 2nd grade at a new school and where does he get placed because he’s a new student? In the problem class. Are you kidding me? I didn’t know that at the time or I would have had a lot to say about that. One day he had taken Fool’s Gold for show and tell and it was stolen. My 1st reaction was to console him let him know that we’d get him more, so no worries. Later that night, after I’d put the kids to bed I got to thinking about it. If do nothing but replace it that would teach him that it’s okay to be a victim as long as it can be replaced. Right, that’s not okay. I would also be teaching the 2nd grader that stole the Fool’s Gold that it was okay to steal as long as you didn’t get caught. Also not okay. I was up all night. The more I thought, the madder I got. The kids didn’t take the bus the next day, I drove them to school. I walked into the school and had a talk with the teacher. This poor woman should have never been given the problem kids. I was in her face and demanded the phone #s of all the parents with kids in the class. THIS WAS NOT OKAY! I’m really, really not a scary person … but…the old you fuck with my children, you fuck with me thing comes into play. Add to that, I had been up alllllll night mulling over this issue. I’m tired, I’m crabby and this is NOT acceptable. Of course she didn’t give me the phone #s. What she did do was, once the class was all seated, was bring up the issue of the theft. If anybody saw anything or knows anything please…..I was still standing in the doorway with smoke streaming out of my ears. I may have looked a little scary to the class. Why hadn’t she brought the subject up the day before? Sometime during that day the thief hid the Fool’s Gold in a spot where it could be found. Never owned up to stealing it but made sure it would be found. We never found out who the thief was but apparently drove fear into them. That’s good enough.
I raised my children with you never have the right to hit someone else. Again, hindsight is best. Apparently we had always lived in good neighborhoods and we found out fast that this was not a good one. My poor children listened to me. This was when we had moved to the famous apartment that we lived in for over 9 years. We were new in the neighborhood. I’ll peg Alex and Shannon here as 9 and 7, they went out to the playground and another boy, Alex’s age , wanted the swing that Alex was on. That boy pinched Alex’ hands (to let go of the swing) so hard that he had marks for 2 weeks. Bad me. Bad, bad me. I looked at Shannon and asked her what she had been doing while this was going on, she was bigger than that kid and could have taken him down. That poor, sweet, (well ya know, except for telling Alex he’d flunked 1st grade) little thing looked at me, very sadly and said “you always told us we weren’t allowed to hit anyone”. Kick myself! Kick myself! Kick myself!
That day the rules changed. Never provoke anyone. Never hit first. If you do have to take a swing, you take them down. The other night when I posted the blog about dirt bag-boy and I was stretching my memory to think of anything good about him, I didn’t remember that he taught Alex how to dodge a hit and how to take someone, bigger than he was, down. Alex was was little. Luckily that never had to happen but at least he got to be armed with the skills just in case.
In 3rd grade he never went out for recess in the winter. He wasn’t allowed to. He never, ever had everything he needed to go out into the great outdoors of MN for recess. Hat, mittens, snow pants, boots, scarf, etc. There are rules on what each child must have before he is allowed outside for recess. He had always forgotten at least one thing at home. Years later I learned that even when I made sure he had everything, he made sure to hide something so he wouldn’t have to go out when it’s below zero. Smart kid.
Okay, it’s late and Alex is much too big of a subject to put in one blog . He’s turned into an amazing 23 year old young man who always makes me laugh and never fails to pick me up and swing me around, as he does with his sisters. I love that as much as I hate it. This proud mom is headed to bed :o)