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say what

The best description of what it is like to be a parent is a comment left by suesue on Merrilymarylee’s Weblog:

Having a child was deciding to have your heart walking around outside your body forever

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My oldest turned 12 this week.

12.

That is a full Zodiac Cycle. I am sure it means something.

I am lucky in the sense that I only have boys; boys mature much later both physically and emotionally than girls, as I was assured by many moms with preteen girls. Therefore we really have not hit the “preteen” stage until recently. Like, a month ago.

The heralding moment? Facebook. As in,

“Mom. Can I have a Facebook account? Why can’t I be on Facebook? EVERYBODY ELSE is on Facebook!”

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You should be scared. Very very scared when your parents are on Facebook...

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It took me one month to go through the entire grief cycle and I am finally calm and collected enough to talk about it without sobbing uncontrollably.

It all started when he came home one Friday afternoon when I happened to be working from home. He seemed a bit jumpy. Happy jumpy.

“Mom… Can I tell you something? Hmmm… Well… Something happened at school today… NO. Nothing bad… Hmmm. Uhhhh.”

“Would you like to IM me about it? Would it be easier for you to tell me?”

“Yes!” He ran to the family computer and Ping! <<Begin transmission>>

son: mom
so…
me: yup
what’s going on?
son: um
i didnt tell u b4 but
ive always kinda…
me: i am fat?
son: liked
[this girl]
and
me: ohhhhhh
sorry dude
son: 2day
she said she liked me 2
:)
me: awwww
son: happy
me: :-)
son: :)
yay
ok
bye <<end transmission>>

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The :-) from me was a big fat lie. Acting skills came in handy in motherhood I learned. All through the exchange I was screaming inside my head. Headless chicken running around. WTF? He’s only in 6th grade! Elementary school. Why is he liking girls already?! Ohhh WOE IS ME! WTF?! Take a deep breath. Try to stay calm. You don’t want to make any wrong move. ’cause if you startle the snakes, you’ll never catch them again…

Thus began the Grief Cycle…

Denial: “No. Not him. Not my son. The 6th grader. Wasn’t he just a baby not too long ago? Aren’t 6th graders supposed to be safe from these things?!! I thought he hated girls. What happened to ‘Ewww. Girls’?! I thought I had to wait until Junior High for this? What’s happening?!”

Unfortunately, this phase lasted about 5 minutes since later when I signed his weekly school report, I saw:

“Dear Parental Unit…The best part is that the most beautiful girl in the scholl like me! Awesomeness!!”

Anger: “WTF? Why is this girl ruining my life?! Why is HE ruining my life?!”

My Facebook status read: “[Son] just said he wants a Facebook account. Then he showed me just HOW MANY of his classmates are on Facebook. 6th graders? With hundreds of friends? Already? Seriously? WT[beep]?! What happened to my baby?! I need to seriously get those evil women away from him…”

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Ok. Maybe I won't be the worst mother-in-law in the world...

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Soon the anger was channeled towards my husband who dared to laugh out loud when I informed him of the blossoming puppy love.

Unfortunately, this phase lasted for the longest time. I was mad in advance at the cruelty of my children, forsaking me for THAT OTHER WOMAN in the future. In my most irrational moments, I even called him SOB in my head as in ME being the Biatch. I said I was being irrational… Yeah, I know. I am going to be the worst mother-in-law in history. I can tell already from the boiling blood inside my skull…

Bargaining: “If I am a better mother, maybe he will not become wayward like this.” “I wonder whether supplying him with more video games will help divert his attention away from girls.”

The bargaining goes both ways – Facebook time & privilege has now become a major ACE in my card deck when bargaining with my oldest. I can also threaten him with, “I am going to write on your wall!” <cue evil laughter>

Depression: “Fine. He’s going to leave anyway. He’s going to grow up. My baby….”

This phase actually started from the beginning as I alternated between cursing and sobbing, especially when I went through his baby pictures.

Acceptance: “It’s going to be ok. I can deal with this. We can do this. I will survive without killing anybody.”

By talking to people about their “OMG my child is on Facebook” experiences, I learned that there are ways to tame this monster to your own parental advantages. After some trial and errors, Facebook turned out to be not as evil cradle robber as I expected. I can now spy check on my son and see who he is talking to, and what.

All in all, reflecting on this agonizing month, I am glad that I bit my tongue and played it cool. Yes, at the beginning there were a lot of dramas that provided record-high number of WTF moments in one sitting. 6th graders? Lamenting about love lost? Say what? Not to mention the “F” letter scattered throughout the conversations, most of the time unnecessarily. Do you seriously need to use LMFAO? The initial excitement over the “declaration” has apparently worn off.  My son’s Facebook status now consists mainly of game score updates. THAT’s my boy.

As I said to my husband, I feel better that my baby still prefers video games to girls. I don’t mind if my boys are geeks. I am sure that Bill Gates’ mom didn’t mind at all. Not one bit.


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We have been watching the Winter Olympics. I didn’t plan to. But what’s not to love really? Finally something on prime time that does not involve dead bodies, sexual predators, or its own mythologies.

Naturally I gravitated towards Ice Dancing and Figure Skating. (No, I don’t really want to engage in a debate about how Ice Dancing does not count as a sport and should not even be included in the Olympics. Thank you very much).

Last Sunday though, we caught a glimpse of the Super-Combined and the boys and I were hooked. We don’t ski. Skiing has never entered my mind as a recreational option despite our proximity to some relatively inexpensive hills in Wisconsin. The word “skiing” conjures up images of Vail and the fancy schmancy aura surrounding “Skiing resorts” in my psyche. Memories of seeing people refusing to do away with their lift tickets still hanging on their zipper pulls long after their last skiing trip without any hope of ever going back again this season.

What was shown on TV was exhilarating. The commentators were talking about Bode Miller as this Comeback Kid. Everybody loves a good comeback story. So we held our breath as he rushed downhill. The camera at one point cut to his mother, I assume, with her hand to her mouth watching her son intently, perhaps with a bit comprehension. The camera zoomed in further to try to catch an emotional moment. Everybody loves a good human interest perspective in the games of sports.

With his eyes still on the screen, my oldest commented,

“You know, when I or [my brother] go to the Olympics? You have to remember that you are always on camera. So you have to remember to look good all the time. Don’t let the camera catch you tweeting or Facebooking! That’s the lesson we should learn here.”

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Our job goal as far as our kids are concerned as parents is to never embarrass them. I am sure with me as a mother THIS is constantly on his mind. Later when one of the athletes crashed on the snowy course and thus dashed his dream for any medal, for yet another human interest angle, the camera mercilessly zoomed in on the father who buried his face in his hands, leaned his forehead against the fence, visibly shaking.

My preteen reached across the sofa, grabbed both of my hands, and besought me,

“Promise me. You will never do that! Don’t cry like that if we lose. Promise me!”

I simply laughed. For sure, this is a promise I will not be able to keep…

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I also learned that athletes for Winter Sports live on the wild-er side, and they either have no mental filters because they are so adorably honest, or they are simply really really high, like “high”, when they are on the high mountains…

Read this quote from Norway silver medalist Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset as reported in Sports Illustrated… and tell me if it is not one of the best…

“My name is Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset. I skied the second lap and I f—– up today. I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days. I have the room next to Petter Northhug and every day there is noise in there. So I think that is the reason I f—– up. By the way, Tiger Woods is a really good man.”

(Sports Illustrated Writer’s note: By far the craziest quote released by the VANOC information desk over the past 13 days.)

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Or this quote from Graham Watanabe, a snowboarder from the U.S.

“It’s feeling a lot more like this is my first Olympics. Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

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Update: Naptime Writing had written in a post “Lessons from the Olympics” which has a list of the things she learned about human nature from this Olympics that was observant, profound, hilarious at the same time. Knowing my readers, I just want to emphasize hilarious. I was grateful that she commented on the “fake flesh-colored” costumes worn by the skaters to make them look like they are wearing skimpy outfits when actually they are not. So it’s not just me.

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You can debate the merits of HCR or whether Mr. Stewart did “OWN” Betsy McCaughey on this segment (she may be crazy but she has guts, you have to give her that!) What Jon Stewart said at 2:00 is the reason why I love and respect him.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

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My apology to Kathleen Parker. Frank Gaffney is way crazier…

June 9, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet Now I feel bad for lambasting Kathleen Parker for hinting at a tenuous relationship between Obama and Osama because of the rhyming last names. (This reminds me: is it now a good time to resurrect the old Internet sensation the Llama Song?) I was alerted to an article by Frank Gaffney, “America’s first Muslim […]

Tis a low ball to insinuate anything via someone’s family name…

June 9, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group commented (criticized, no need for euphemism on my own blog) on Obama’s latest speech to the Muslim world at the Cairo University on June 4. Granted that most of Ms. Parker’s columns leave me fuming, I have learned to agree to disagree with her and her […]

My first picture taken inside the Forbidden City is a sign that warns against vandalism

March 30, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Mind you, the grammar is correct.  But nobody speaks this way.  And this sign is everywhere inside the Forbidden City.   It always amazes me that folks cannot seem to find other folks that can properly translate a language into another language. I believe even if you go on Yahoo! Answers and ask your language […]

Utah Senator Butt-Arse calls Gays immoral. And polygamy is? Where is the Big Love?

February 20, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet No flaming please.  I didn't mean to compare Gays to Polygamists.  But if Utah Senator Chris Butt-Ars (A-ha!) has his right to speak what is on his mind, to spout garbage based on stereotypes and gross generalization and nothing else, despite being an elected public official, then I have the right to generalize the State of […]

The New York Post chimp cartoon – Not at all funny no matter how you look at it…

February 18, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet New controversy alert! February is not over yet, and as many of us have held our breath fearfully awaited, the FIRST racist cartoon about our FIRST Black Prez is out! My fellow Americans, once again, you do not disappoint… So the unfortunate New York Post published this cartoon today and also on its website. […]