23
Feb
13

the diagnosis

So after years of struggling with school, it was recommended that we have Big tested by a Pediatric Neuropsychologist to make sure there weren’t any learning disabilities or disorders that had been hidden all these years. The first time I met the Doc was in December when Big and I went in for an intake interview. She talked to both of us together and then sent Big out to fill out a survey about himself. As soon as he left the room she turned to me and asked, “Is it common for him to avoid eye contact?” I knew immediately what she was asking and every question that came after that made it only clearer. I taught in a special- ed inclusive classroom when I was a teacher. I taught children with autism and asperger’s. I knew where she was going and I refused to go there.

The questions about his social strengths and weaknesses, the obsessions, the tics and other “quirky” behaviors, all pointed at one thing. I tried my best to be honest, but it’s often a mother’s prerogative to under report  especially when someone is trying to tell her that the baby she’s raised for the last 10 years and 7 months isn’t “normal.” She sent me away with bundles of surveys for me and the Mr. and for Big’s teacher. I was uncomfortable with what she said and what she didn’t say, but I heard. But, everyone I talked to thought she was obviously just as crazy as I did. I put it away. I tried to put it away, but in those quiet moments when my mind wasn’t busy with something else, it popped in to visit. It got too comfortable for my liking. For every “but there’s this…” there was also a “yeah, but there’s that too.”

Big underwent two three hour sessions of testing with the Doc. Last week the Mr. and I nervously sat next to each other on her velvet love seat while she sat across from us with a thick folder of documents and said, “it’s complicated.” As the weeks had gone by, the autism piece kept creeping back in to my thoughts. I tried to shake it away every time, but as I sat there next to Mr. the room was stuffed full of the anxiety I had been carrying around. I was waiting to hear those words and hoping and praying they wouldn’t come.

He could have a nonverbal learning disorder, she said, but all the pieces aren’t there. He’s this, but not this. His scores on this are off the chart, his scores on this are significantly lower. It’s complicated. But let’s talk about my observations.

That’s when it began, the truth began to pour out of her mouth and those papers stacked on her lap held the evidence. She went over the surveys we filled out. She asked Mr. the questions that she had asked me that December day. With each answer he gave and each excuse I prepared, I knew I was wrong.

Autism. High functioning Autism. It was there on the paper. The criteria were scientifically checked off and mathematically added up. The tears came then as they still do now. Why? We had an answer, he was still the same child (as everyone under the sun feels like they need to remind me of.) Why?

So, I’m a planner. My anxiety is of the anticipatory variety. It thrives when I don’t know what comes next. In those moments that the evidence was presented, the documents shown, the direct quotes shared, my expectations for the life I had imagined for my son were thrown into disarray. His quirks had been things that we were sure he would outgrow. He would learn to make more friends, he would take up other more diverse interests. He would grow into a normal guy that functioned in the world just like everyone else. With that label the evidence said now belonged to him, “normal” faded away to a once upon a time thing. This was going to be forever. This was a battle we would always be fighting. Selfishly, it wasn’t a battle I ever wanted to care about. But, life doesn’t care about what you want, selfishly. And the truth is, I love this boy so hard it hurts. His difficulties are mine. His successes light me up. This is a battle that though I never imagined for myself, I can’t ever imagine not fighting for my son. 

The other battle I fight daily is with myself. The blame and the guilt. With everything I knew about autism and asperger’s how did I not see it? How did I ignore it for so long? What damage have I done by not seeing? He could have been getting the support he needed years ago, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t getting the help he needed because I didn’t see it. My therapist, his teachers, my family and friends all say I didn’t miss anything. I did okay. No one saw it until now. I’m told that’s normal, the average age for a diagnosis for asperger’s is 11. Each time I hear someone new tell me it’s not my fault, it chips away just a little at the guilt, but it will be a long road for me.

So this is it. The new reality. The books by experts, the meetings with support teams. The fights to get him the help he needs. At the same time that I’m torn up about this news, there’s a part of me that feels a little bit of relief. Can we help make his life better? Can we take some of the pressure off of him at school? Can we better understand what makes him tick? These are the goals. It’s time for me to crawl out of my selfish hole and get to work. I’ve started fighting, but the tears still come. When I’m faced with the immensity of this new paradigm, I’m tempted to take a few steps backward into my hole and wallow. But, Big doesn’t have time for wallowing. The tears may still come, but I’ve got to take those steps forward. I’ve got to fight for my son.

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18
Dec
12

my son, the paper marksman

I know there have been plenty of blog posts and news stories about the tragedy in Connecticut last week. Truthfully, I haven’t read many of them because my heart just can’t take it anymore. Unlike the families and friends directly effected by the shooting, I’m lucky that I have the ability to just shelve it in the back of my mindImage. I can’t imagine the level of daily pain that so many people feel. Just knowing what I know is difficult, I could not handle more. 

The thing that is so beyond understanding to me in this whole horrible situation is why this man had the guns he had. How does that happen? I’ve already gotten myself in trouble on social media for saying that stricter gun control might have prevented this, so I might as well go all in. 

I hate guns. Hate them. If I had my way, no one would have one, for any reason, ever. There. It’s out there now and you can feel free to stop reading if you need to. I’ve always hated guns. Hunting makes me sick to my stomach and the idea of having a gun to protect yourself is ridiculous to me. I would have been perfectly happy to never have a gun, or the idea of a gun, or the word “gun” show up in my life forever. I could have lived my whole life without a finger pointing at me and saying “bam.”

But that wasn’t my lot in life. My lot in life was to have sons, three of them. Me, hater of all things violent and weapon-like. My oldest son, ten, is the sweetest, kindest, animal and baby lover there is. He defends woman-kind to his 4 year old brother when he can’t shut up about “pajinas”. “You should stop that, it’s offensive to women!” That’s my boy. 

We go through more construction paper and tape in our house than should be allowed by law. That’s good, right? He’s making an arsenal of paper weaponry: giant, intricately created rifles made of rolled up tubes of paper, handguns, even a bazooka. That’s my boy, too. And it scares me. 

We were a “no guns allowed” household for many years, then he went to kindergarten, where a boy with older brothers (of course) taught him about bounty hunters and bombs. I was destroyed. Discussions about bombs blowing up the world were few and far between at first, peppered in with a love of Herbie the Lovebug. But, then came Star Wars. Lightsabers turned to blasters. We left Star Wars behind only for ninjas, with giant swords and nun-chucks. The last five years of my life have been a merry-go-round of things that kill. Then of course, the two younger boys wanted to do everything he did. Little shot me in the face with a finger gun at the dinner table when he was nine months old and I bawled.

Why didn’t we just ban weapons in our house? I tried for awhile, but they were just everywhere in boy play. Daddy reminded me again and again that he had played “war games” and turned out fine. He’s right, he’s the kindest, gentlest husband and father I know. I read books by experts on boys, experts who said that “war play” seems to be part of the genetic makeup of boys, it’s what they do. I had to make peace with my sons warring ways. We have strict rules about the warfare and people’s feelings are a top priority. I feel like I’m doing what I can to keep a minimal amount of control over the weapons. But can I tell him what he can and can’t make out of paper? He’s the most creative and mechanically inclined kid I know. I can suggest other options, but ultimately I don’t want to dictate his art projects. And I don’t think I should. We talk about what weapons really do, and why I don’t like them. Big gets it, but Middle and Little don’t see any danger in a paper grenade launcher or a plastic laser blaster.

I’m pretty okay with the “war play” at my house until something happens like the tragedy in Connecticut. Then I panic. I get anxious. Seeing paper rifles leaning in the corner of my dining room and a Popsicle stick and construction paper dagger on the sideboard make me nervous. I’m ill at ease with what’s happening here. I don’t care what the experts say, I don’t like it and I DON’T understand it. Is it my femaleness? Is it my bleeding heart liberalism? I don’t know, but my comfort level in my own home is way down as I pick up Star Wars guns from the couch. Big and I talked about it and he respects my wish not to have any guns in my sight for awhile. He knows about the tragedy in Connecticut and has talked to Daddy about how he thinks assault weapons should be banned. Just not the paper kind.

Our next door neighbor is two years older than Big and before he got too old, he was a regular in the neighborhood Star Wars play. He’s kind and witty and thoughtful. He’s smart and funny and he plays first person shooter games. His mother is involved and socially conscious and they have a great relationship. Will this be Big? With a chest of construction paper weapons instead of a first person shooter game? I hope so. My deep, aching fear is that it will go the other way. No matter the evidence I have to the contrary, I see him patiently working out the details on another rifle and my heart breaks a little. 

My son is loved, cared for, listened to. He is smart and kind and thoughtful. He recognizes when other people are feeling bad and tries to help them feel better. He is a good, good kid. I’m going to nurture him as best I can and hope that the interest in things that kill is a passing one. I’m going to love him hard. I’m going to try not to be judgmental about his interests. When I was a girl I couldn’t get enough Barbie,so there’s no argument that my childhood interests were healthier than his. It’s just no one ever got killed by a Barbie. I’m trying. Trying to be both loving and aware. I’m trying to be both patient and firm. I’m trying to make sure that the dark side never wins.

 

 

 

12
Oct
12

So, there was this too.

This May I was lucky enough to write and read for a national show called Listen to Your Mother. You may or may not recall that I wrote a blog post about my anxiety going into it.

Well if you missed it, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iTOUrKtsNY&feature=plcp

 

 

12
Oct
12

So, apparently amomamongmen might also be a teensy bit a manamongmen

I’m about to get real scientific on your ass. Now, this isn’t stuff I personally understand, but I can regurgitate it from various scientific sources.

So the deal is this: now scientists think that when a woman is pregnant, cells from the fetus actually travel up into her brain and then survive there FOREVER. So, women who were pregnant with boys got some of that good ol’ male DNA lodged all up in their brains and then the baby popped out, but the DNA didn’t. That male DNA is now part of the woman’s brain. So, imagine that times three. Yeah, go ahead. I am practically a man.

I started thinking about the negatives and positives of this new tidbit of scientific discovery and came up with a fairly comprehensive list of the drawbacks and benefits of being some sort of brain based hermaphrodite.

I’m going to break it down into two easy to understand categories: 

Things I SO don’t want to inherit from my sons and Ways I’d use that male DNA to kick ass

Things I SO don’t want to inherit from my sons:

1. Unquestionable immunity to the smell of urine.

2. Blatant disregard for the conventions of hand washing.

3. Obsession from birth with things that go “vroom” and things that can be forced to roll.

4. Passion for camouflage. Just not a good look for a mom who has no position with the U.S. armed forces. Much easier for a nine year old boy to pull off, especially while wearing a t-shirt that he has Sharpied himself to say “made in the armee”.

5. Which brings us to fashion sense. Inability to recognize poor wardrobe choices. Just because you own a red shirt and red shorts doesn’t mean you need to wear them at the same time. Ditto a camo shirt and camo pants.

6. Unwillingness to relegate markers to paper. Markers are drawn to my sons’ skin like metal filings to a magnet. Actually, given the time they would probably find a way to use said filings in a completely inappropriate way that would probably discolor their skin.

7. Aversion to showering. But, just to mix things up a little, see number 2 below.

8. Inability to read emotions. “You’re crying Mom. Get me a snack.”

Ways I’d use that male DNA to kick ass

1. Two words: body confidence. In their little minds they are perfect. Their bodies do exactly what they’re supposed to: run, jump, climb, sword fight, punch, etc. etc. etc. Does it matter if they got a little paunch? Does it matter that they’re kinda shrimpy or a little skinny? No, not at all. And just to prove it to you, they’ll jump around the living room naked so you can see how awesome it is to have a penis.

2. Despite number 7 above, they never have a bad hair day. I’d like a piece of that.

3. View of Self. My sons? They’re rock stars. They can do anything they want to, eschewing physical or biological boundaries. Be a cheetah when they grow up? Why not. Beat daddy in a race around the yard? Duh. Become a jedi? Did it; last year. Count super high? So I missed 14, what’s it to you? Whatever they picture themselves doing, consider it done. 

4. Independence. Big is an independent guy, always has been. He came home one day from fourth grade and reported to me that some asshole kid had said that he didn’t want to be friends with him. My reaction: automatic heartbreak. His reaction: I didn’t want to be friends with him anyway. Can I have a snack Mom?

5. Knowing how to work a room. Let’s talk about Middle for a sec. That boy is Mr. Popularity, has been since preschool. When I went to volunteer in his Kindergarten class last year, I saw first hand the fawning that takes place, especially from the female demographic. I experienced some of it secondhand when I was confronted by a five year old girl with a tall, thin, super-tressed mom. “Are you Middle’s mom?” she asks. I nod. “You’re pretty.” Whatever prep work Middle did buttering up his classmates I thank him for it. The biggest compliment I hear from my own kids is “Wow, you can read anything!”

6. Energy! Unless Little has been getting four hour energy drinks on the black market or has a Red Bull dealer meeting him on the playground, that kid is just naturally a doer. Walk around the zoo? Not if you can run! Battle zombies in the backyard for two hours? Just set me up with a sippy cup of chocolate milk and I’m good to go! The boys doesn’t stop, until he does.

7. Head. Pillow. Sleep. Wake up at 6:30 ready to do it all again.

 

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The last boy, the one that put me over the edge into Manhood.

What would life be like for all us moms if we loved our bodies, believed in ourselves, didn’t care what other people thought of us, followed our hearts and had bitchin’ hairdos without actually doing anything but sleeping? Maybe as the mother of three perfect, amazing rock star sons, it’s my destiny to find out.

29
Jul
12

Amomamongmen’s shot at Olympic glory is upon us…

I’ve been in training. For years now, really. I guess I could have competed in the ’08 games, but I didn’t feel like I’d had the breadth of training experience that I’d really need to kick some serious international ass. Now, now, I’m ready. London 2012: Mothering Olympics: the Summer Games, slightly different than the Winter games only in their inclusion of cheering for crying toddlers at swimming lessons and their exclusion of the timed ‘dressing a preschooler for below zero’ competition.

These are my events for 2012:

Patiently Restating the Obvious: I’ve been training hard for this baby, my specialties are difficult maneuvers that take place in the shower and while driving. My trainers are ruthless and punishing and after years of grueling workouts I’m certain that I can score near perfect marks with my unending repetition of statements like these: “I don’t know what time Daddy will be home; I’m in the shower and I don’t have a clock in here.” Key here is the delivery and the dismount; those who want to stand on the podium pay special attention to tone and facial expression. I feel especially good about “I can’t pick up that lego piece right now; I’m driving.” If I can compete anywhere it’s in the car. If the competition moves to pets, I’m sunk. My dismount for “DON’T SIT ON THE DOG!!!!!” lacks key elements of patience.

Sustaining Meaningful Conversation with Children: This is a tough field. You’re going to find a lot of mothers here who have a lot more in common with their kids than I do. Mothers whose kids are say, female and have interests that don’t revolve around heavy weaponry and wrestling. Still, YOU will not see me staying home. I will be out there competing. I’m not going to lie, training got a lot harder when my trainers turned it up a notch by switching from The Harry Potter training regimen to The Last Airbender regimen which is basically just designed to weed out the pussies, of which I am not one. While the event requires that the conversation be “meaningful” it doesn’t require that the mother be fully engaged in it. I say, fake it, ’til you make it, right?

Advanced Read Aloud: I am seriously the Misty-May and Kerri Walsh of the Advanced Read Aloud competition, except that I don’t read in a bikini and there’s only one of me and I’m not hot. I own this event. Seriously, I am over a thousand pages and hours into the Rowling training method which guarantees gold. I have to give a shout out to my high school theater director Mrs. Clark for starting on the road to Olympic glory so many years ago. I’ve got such a wide variety of British accents in my arsenal that Ron, Hermione and Harry themselves know which character they’re interacting with based on voice alone. The only way I’m screwing this up is if some jealous competitor hires a goon to chop me in the vocal cords with a crow bar and then I become America’s sweetheart anyway, so win win, right?

Walking at the Pace of a 4 Year Old When You Have Someplace to Be: This one takes some serious training. All those athletes in London and their personal interest stories about how they have to train so hard to go so fast. That ain’t shit. They’ve obviously never spent thirty minutes walking half a block with a four year old that’s soooooooooo tired. The training is excruciating. At the end of every training session my mind is shot because of the mental effort that goes into this event.If you’ve seen race walkers, you may have some idea what it’s like. You can see that they’re walking so fast that they’re almost running and they’d be so much more comfortable if they could just run. This event is like that but different; you can see the strain on the athletes’ faces. Either they want to just take that step that would boost their pace up to a normal human walking pace, or just stop moving altogether. Either one would be more comfortable than what this event demands. It’s a sport for the mind: like chess. You’re going to see so many competitors drop out of this one; just pick up the damn kid, choose a normal place, get where ever the hell they were supposed to be ten minutes ago and kiss their Olympic dreams goodbye.

Bland Cooking for Those Precious Darlings with Self-Imposed Dietary Restrictions: Another one that I’ve got down. My final training test for this was a surprise; I should have known that my trainer wasn’t going to let me off the hook without one final task that would prepare me for either Olympic glory or crushing defeat. It’s become known in our little Olympic family as the Couscous Trials of 2012. I’ve been training so hard for this one for so many years and so carefully, so much of my training has become just everyday living that I guess I got cocky. That won’t happen again I can promise you that, not after my trainer proved to me that I may not have what it takes to win gold after all. I’d cooked that pot of couscous a thousand times, all within the training restrictions, it had become like second nature. But this time, I must have missed something, because he called me out, something fierce he did. In that clean pot that I cooked PLAIN couscous in PLAIN water in; I accidentally served my trainer a… black speck. In that moment I saw my Olympic dreams crash and burn in a blazing fire of six year old anger and hysteria an Olympic training facility hasn’t seen since John McEnroe did just about anything except make commercials for bran cereals. I got my shit together though; took some time for myself and reevaluated how badly I wanted this Olympic dream to come true. That and I made a lot of couscous.

Ass Wiping: In it to win it.

The Events I’m Not Particpating In: These are the events that I’ve got to leave to some other mothers. I trust that in their hands we’ll see nothing but gold for the U S of A!!!!

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You do NOT want to mess with my trainers.

French Braiding, Multi-Tasking Soccer Mom with Several Heats of Car-Pooling, Marathon Breast-Feeding, Organic Snack Shopping, Vegetable Consumption Monitoring, Double Stroller Obstacle Race, Any event that takes place after 9 p.m or before 7 a.m.

03
May
12

oh lord, what has amomamongmen done this time…

I’m gettin’ a purty dress, and shavin’ my legs, and wearin’ some fancy shoes, and gettin’ my hair cut and maybe even wearing some lip schitz.

The momamongmen has found a showcase for her verbal diarrhea. the momamongmen has found a stage and a microphone and will soon become amomamonghundreds and then when the video is posted to the world-wide webs, she’ll possibly be amomamongthousands. All because I love the sound of my voice amplified, the feel of hot lights on my skin, an excuse for a new dress and I’ve got an issue close to my heart that I feel like somebody should talk about. Oh, how about me?

It’s no secret amomamongmen loves to talk. Always has. This is the once upon a time girl whose fourth grade teacher tied her into her desk because she got up and chatted with all the students as they tried to finish their ditto sheets (touche Beaulah Seaman, touche.) I started taking drama classes in elementary school and had broken the glass ceiling for holiday plays by the fifth grade ( I made a damn fine Scrooge too, even if I couldn’t sing and they made me kind of say the lyrics to music, it was an early kind of rap. way ahead of my time.) I had a career in theater going throughout middle school and high school, but I never played a character like this. Me. I sailed through public speaking classes, practically begging for extra credit work, which in college is a little embarassing. Let me talk more! Me! Me!

These days my speaking skills are used mostly for encouraging Little to eat more than croutons for lunch, giving tours of his preschool to stunned parents (I’m sure they’re wondering, “my god, do all the mommies talk this much?”) and tossing out bon mots and generally giving unsolicited opinions at the Nursery School Board Meetings. My verbal diarrhea can be productive, it shares a razor-thin edge with annoying, but seldom do the twain mix (I’M SURE.) But this. This will be different.

You see on Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day: which you already knew, right?) at three o’clock, I am going to stand on the stage at the Barrymore theatre in Madison and spill my guts, there might be snot too; I wouldn’t be surprised. I am going to stand up on that stage in my new dress and strappy sandals and read a piece I wrote called “Mothering the Storm: Living, Loving and Parenting with Depression”. I’m going to pour out my heart and open myself up to judgement that I’ve never dared to tempt.

Last year I tried out for Listen to Your Mother too. I wrote a funny five-minute piece that was my heelariousest verbal diarrhea, basically one long string of bon mots called Making Peach with War about how to come to terms with my sons’ aggressions. I didn’t get in. I know now why. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t anything more than one long string of funny; which has it’s place. It wasn’t my story.

This is different. You see last year, this was the piece I wanted to write, the piece about depression, but I decided it was to hard, too Debbie Downerish and honestly… too honest. The story was rattling around in my head for almost a year; every once in a while a piece would surface and beg to be recorded and so over a long period it came together and to tell you the truth, when I read it, I still can’t believe it’s mine. These are my words. And they are haunting. I guess that when those words bubbled up and were recorded they were parts. Now, that it’s a whole, it’s far stronger, far bolder than the sum of all those little parts, phrases, sentences, words.

In both the books that I have written mental illness has either been a characteristic or plot point. Characters have either been fighting against or living with it. But it’s easy to draw characters with depression and anxiety; it’s much harder to draw yourself.

I have depression. I have for a long time. It sucks and I wish I didn’t but on May 13 at 3:00 I am going to get up on the stage at the Barrymore and talk about it, in my new dress and my strappy sandals (did I already mention those?) Even though as I do my stomach will be tied in knots as I worry that no one will understand. It’s my story, but I kind of think it must be someone else’s story too. I hope so or I’m going to look like some kind of asshole up there in my dress and new sandals (yes, those again.)

But I have to do it. My name’s on the poster. There’s no turning back. My hope is that somewhere out there in the audience is someone who’s been feeling alone and lost and as I sob my way through the end of my reading; they’ll feel just a little less lost. There’s that and I already bought the sandals.

http://www.listentoyourmothershow.com/madison/

Visit the website to find out how to get tickets (I know you’re curious about my sandals) and check out the bios for me and the rest of the cast, because yes it’s not just about me, like amomamongmen usually makes it.

01
Oct
11

chatty cathy vs. chatty johnny

As I was researching language acquisition for the last post I did, I found a lot of research on language usage and the subsequent amount of it. Blah. Blah. Blah. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Except. Except… in every single one of the studies I skimmed the scientists were showing that females talked more than males. Girls talked more than boys. Pretty much all the scientific studies showed the same thing: girls spoke earlier, more and had a bigger vocabulary. Except…

Um. No. Clearly these scientists and researchers have never met my children. My male children. All three of them talked early, often and with huge vocabularies, including words like “appeared” and “actually” (pronounced oxually). When big was not so big he never stopped talking, his entire life was a running dialouge. I say dialogue becuase no matter what came out of his mouth I was expected to respond and if I didn’t the conversation took on an urgent tone that I was forced to notice.

Big at 3: Vrooom. Vroom. The car is driving up into the parking garage to park on the top floor. [driving car around as described]

Mom: [silence because honestly I don’t know what kind of response is called for.]

Big: MOM! THE CAR IS DRIVING UP INTO THE PARKING GARAGE TO PARK ON THE TOP FLOOR!!!!!!!

Mom: OKAY! SUPER!

Every single waking moment of every single day I was expected to participate in conversationally; the boy performed no monologues. My brain was over-stimulated and it was the sort of thing that would make a mommy a little cranky. I perfected the least interested response I could. When I was pregnant with Middle and laying on the couch in the clutches of mid-afternoon sickness and Big was desperately trying to include me in a conversation about trains; I came up with this cheat sheet for the direst of times.

first response: Hmmm.

second: hMMmmm.

third: hmmmmMMM.

fourth: hmmmmm?

fifth: hmmmmm!!!

Repeat.

speak no evil, speak a little evil and speak much evil and by evil I mean mostly potty talk.

So of course I would go on to bear two more children who would grace the good earth with their voices that tinkle like bells ALL THE TIME. I was feeling guilty; like shouldn’t I want to be constantly engaged in unstimulating conversation with little people? I asked my therapist if I was secretly totally evil. She said, no. We had a nice dialogue about it. She said the human brain isn’t meant to be stimulated ALL THE TIME. I should tell him that for five minutes I was going to turn my brain off and he could talk, but I wasn’t going to listen. If he wanted someone to listen he should find someone else to talk to, like say his baby brother or his teddy bear. It took him about a week to stop talking to me and expecting a response, but it was damn nice not to be expected to remember where I was in the “hmmm” cycle.

So all these studies are saying that boys talk less than girls and they have evidence and shit and I say, “whatever” because I don’t see it. So I want to know what they think the reasons are, so I know if my boys are freaks of nature and possibly huge moneymakers some day. In The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre she talks about how two separate studies found evidence that pointed in two opposite directions. Super, science, just super.

In the first study researchers decided after following around 22 educated, middle-class mothers of toddlers, both boys and girls about the same age for a few hours every month and tape every word they said, that the moms used the same amount of words with boys and girls, but boys spoke less and used fewer words. They believed that there was something intrinsic that made the boys less verbal (pp. 65-66). However, in a completely different study across more diverse racial and socioeconomic lines showed that the number of words a parent speaks to a child is directly related to the size of the child’s vocabulary regardless of gender. So that means that if you have a very active boy who wants to be outside running around, throwing balls and stuff, you might not choose to take them to the story hour at the library or sit down and read books to them. If you’re doing what they are interested in, or what is easier to do with them, then maybe there’s less language involved.

Now that makes sense. They spend a hell of a lot of time with me and I am a world champion talker. The kind of person that loves to talk. The person that volunteers to get up in front of people and talk. I can’t get enough of it. “Listen to me world!” Maybe because no one listens to me at home. Naw, I’ve always been that way; in theater, forensics (not the CSI kind). LOOOOOVE the stage. My childhood report cards always said, quarter after quarter and year after year, “Becki’s a great student, but she needs to spend less time talking.”

I talked so much that my fourth grade teacher tied me into my desk with crepe paper so I wouldn’t walk around the room and talk to people. If we would have known then what we know now about suing for pain and suffering…

So the boys have a great role model, if they’d let me get a word in edgewise. Also, I’m not so much into the running around outside and the ball-throwing. I was always reading to Big and dragging him to story hours and anything else that involved me sitting on my ass. It’s gotten harder with Middle and Little because they seem to be more active types. And don’t go around thinking I’ve ruined Big and he’s like a big blob on the couch; he’s a white belt in Tai Kwon Do, but he’s going places.

I know that someday I’m going to miss all these little voices around me. They may be surly teenagers and I’ll have to beg them to talk to me. I videotaped Little yesterday telling me the names of all the Star Wars guys that he knew because it’s just too precious to hear your three-year old recite the members of the Dark Side. That’s not all he says, he says I love you mommy about twenty times a day, but I never have the camera ready for that. That, I’ll never forget.




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now what’s that now?

what’s done is done