Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brainstorms (more literally than not, these days...)

If I were pressed to choose a theme for April 2013, at least pertaining to Team WestEnders, it would have to be: confusion. I think I first became aware of--at least my own--mental fogginess when I completely forgot that the boys would be bringing home Report Cards to mark the end of the 3rd quarter of school. Granted, this is the time of year when we all--either secretly (yours truly) or completely blatantly (the kids)--begin looking ahead and longing for the conclusion of the academic circus (I mean "term"). But Overlook my children's grades? That's never happened before. Must be that nefarious pollen, clogging my...cognitive pathways...or something. Or it could be the fact that after a couple of throw-open-the-windows balmy Spring teaser days, we're back to brisk temps, biting wind, fleece shirts, and relying on the furnace for heat. So really, my brain is iced over, and filled with sneeze-inducing gunk--I don't stand a chance at maintaining a semblance of coherent thought or organized behavior. (You see how I neatly blamed any upcoming instances involving forgetfulness, poor planning, or unfinished business....on Nature? Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it..)

This particular week included a veritable runaround of scheduling challenges, such as: Tuesday--Derek's soccer game with his school team (an "away" match, to which I drove from work so I could watch, then shuttle Derek home with me), followed by rec-practices for both boys; Wednesday--Derek's practice with his school team; Thursday--ditto, then a repeat of rec-league practices. Friday should have been a nice break, with absolutely no events whatsoever...but a slight wrinkle occurred in the relaxing, low-stress afternoon...when Derek failed to show up at home after school. I didn't worry right away, as he sometimes strolls and chats with a pal after getting off the bus. But when his little brother wandered in, and he still hadn't made an appearance, I became concerned. "Thank goodness we finally gave him that phone," I thought as I called him to ask where the heck he was. He answered (luckily for him), reported that he had gone to his buddy's house, and insisted that he'd attempted to leave a message but had gotten cut off by the machine. Strike One. Then I posed the crucial question: "Are your friend's parents home?" "" Strike. Two. And let me tell ya, in this Parental League, that's plenty enough for an out.

After he trudged home, we discussed--again--how "telling me where you'd like to go does not in any way constitute permission to do so...especially when you neglect to actually convey your whereabouts" and the corollary "you're not allowed to be at someone's house unsupervised. Period." Then it was time for consequences: I confiscated his electronics for the evening. No iPod to text or watch YouTube videos or check ScoreMobile updates. No PS3 for the allotted Friday evening video game time. How much of an impression did his punishment make? He got so bored during the hours before bedtime...he did his weekend homework! (Win: Mom!) Later he lamented, "My first week as a teenager, and I already got in trouble!" (Yes, dear, and I'm sure it won't be the last... )

However, all was forgotten by the time he got ready to cap off his birthday festivities by hosting the annual Family Party. He spent quality time with his cousins; he got presents; he enjoyed burgers, pigs-in-the-blanket (his special request), and chocolate cake with buttercream icing. And that, my friends, kind of sums up life as a teenage boy: lapses in judgment...busy life filled with activities...and license to consume thousands of calories a day. (Contrasted with a Mom's World: looking over your shoulder--as unobtrusively as possible--to keep you in line, shuttle you from place to place...and feed you!) I'd say, as long as we get to share the cake, it's all good!

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