Archive for October 2010

Ben's last year in the single digits

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's so hard to believe that our baby boy is inching closer to the double digits. This little guy made our family complete 9 years ago and daily he continues to infuse joy and laughter into our home. He has such a way of bringing a smile to your face with his impish grin and silly sense of humor. In fact, this year I kept track of a few quotes that came out of his mouth during the last few months. They still make me chuckle as I read them.

  • Back in February I gave his oldest brother permission to walk to a birthday party with another girl from his class. When Ben got word of this, he looked at me incredulously and asked: "Are you okay with that???"

  • After a day trip to Vancouver, B.C., we stopped in at Costco. While in line I handed him a $10 Canadian bill to get smoothies at the snack bar. His eyes got real big and he asked: "You can use Canada money here????" As if we were committing a crime.

  • Recently I was preparing to make pancakes and plugged the griddle in on the kitchen island. He was sitting on the barstool watching and said: "Wow, I didn't know electricity could do so many nice things for us."

  • This is my all-time favorite: Quinn had started to like a classmate and was downstairs asking my husband to reiterate our dating rules. Ben and I were hanging out in my room when Ian came up to inform me that 'Quinn was trying to talk Dad out of the not dating until 16 rule' when Ben chimed in: "I'm so glad you guys made the rule to be 16 to date cause then I'll be driving. I wouldn't want my mom and dad to have to drive us and my girlfriend think I'm a total loser!"
Sweet Ben, I love you to pieces and wish you another wonderful year experiencing all the joy you bring to others!!


43 Ain't So Bad

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I got a text from a friend tonight asking how my birthday was. My response? "It was perfect." It really was. Filled with all the things I love: football, flowers, friends, family and food and fun. It couldn't get any better than this. Well maybe if all of the above happened on an island in Hawaii.....I'm just sayin'...

This year's birthday fell on a Saturday. The first Saturday of the season in which all three boys' games were in town-- and the times did not conflict. My mom, Auntie Carolyn (mom's BFF), my sister, brother-in-law and nephew all came up from Seattle to see the boys play and celebrate our October birthdays.

The first match-up began @ 9:00 a.m. on the big city football field. Ian did not disappoint. With three minutes left in the game, while trailing by 7, all 79 pounds of him broke away and ran 25 yards for a touchdown. Obviously I was too excited to get a photo. Unfortunately the extra point (that he was attempting) resulted in a blocked kick and that was the end. A tough loss but we all enjoyed his shining moment.

Next stop: Ben's game @ 10:30. Ben was on the sidelines sulking as we arrived. When I inquired about the tears, he divulged he was mad at the coach: "Dad". Apparently this tough coach calls all the hard plays when Ben is QB. After halftime he channeled his anger into a show off moment for his proud extended family. Again, I was too excited to snap a picture.

We came back to the house for a delicious lunch of Round Table pizza and Dairy Queen Blizzard cakes and we were off again to stop #3: Quinn's soccer game. I'm sure he felt the pressure to perform after his brother's command performances ( no competition around these parts) but it just didn't happen. They ended up with a 1-1 tie which is better than they've fared most of the season. We said goodbye to everyone and ended the evening with a delicious dinner out with my sweet husband. (We were home by 9:30 and asleep by 9:45. ) The wish of feeling younger doesn't appear to be panning out.

Not enough room on Dana's cake for all those candles so we'll stick them on Ben's.

Make a wish!

Still smiling after the game

All the October birthdays together

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All My Boys

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last month we did our 'every other year' family photos. Now that I look at them I have another dilemma: time to change the colors on the blog. Darn.

Until I figure out how to do that, I thought I'd share my faves. Such darling subjects if I might say so myself.

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The Anti-Boy Bias

Monday, October 4, 2010

From the time I gave birth to my first son, I quickly learned that I was proliferating the less-preferred gender. Rarely has a week gone by since then that I haven't been reminded of society's bias toward testosterone and those who are full of it. After my second son was born, someone commented to me: "you had the wrong baby". Following the ultrasound, where we discovered we were having boy #3, the typical response I heard was "Awwwww." As in: "you poor thing."

Of course I wanted to have the experience of raising a daughter. As a little girl, I used to play with my doll and daydream of my future with a house full of sugar and spice and everything nice. As a young adult, I warmed up to the idea of "one of each" or maybe "two of each". Instead, I got "three of one." Not once have I ever doubted that God knew exactly what he was doing in charging me with the responsibility of raising young men. But I have to admit that sometimes the anti-boy sentiment can be a little much. And it's so accepted. Especially in the school system.

Consider this: At our first back-to-school night's this year, the staff was being introduced to the audience of parents. As the woman at the microphone went down the list, she made sure to point out that one class of 18 had 13 boys. "And won't that teacher need to have a lot of patience?!," she said as the crowd burst into laughter.
Last week we went to a middle school open house. We arrived late and the parents had already been dismissed to visit their student's classrooms. The only authoritative- looking person I saw was at a PTA volunteer sign-up table. When I questioned where we were to go, she said: "Well if you have a girl then I'm sure she brought her schedule home for you. But if you have a boy, then you probably need to go in the office and get his." What??? Even if it is true, why is it necessary to make such statements?

I don't want to sound like "sour grapes" because, quite honestly, I had the same attitude before I became a mother of sons. I grew up in a female dominated family and spent a lot of time with my sister and girl cousins. Our neighborhood had a 5 to 1 male to female ratio and all outdoor play was dominated by any activity ending in "ball". The boys always got their way. I babysat a lot of boys but all that did was reinforce my desire for an overdose of pink. Yet, based on my own parenting experience, I have found many reasons to celebrate the differences between boys and girls. I just wish others could do the same.

To make sure this wasn't just me having a little pity party, I did some research into the anti-boy bias of which I'm speaking and found a few books written on the subject. Two authors that I stumbled upon both identified the school system as having the biggest influence on this attitude. Funny how this is where I've felt the bias the most. In her book Save the Males: Why Men Matter. Why Women Should Care, Kathleen Parker states: "Fourteen years isn’t long to roam the earth, but boys learn early that they belong to the “bad” sex and their female counterparts to the “good.” For many, their indoctrination starts the moment they begin school and observe that teachers (who are, for the most part, females) prefer less rambunctious girl behavior."

In Bringing Up Boys, Dr. James Dobson says: "Almost every authority on child development recognizes that schools are typically not set up to accommodate the unique needs of boys. Elementary classrooms, especially, are designed primarily by women to fit the temperament and learning styles of girls." In Dobson's book he quotes psychologist Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. Thompson expresses his concern about how boys are being treated in the classroom. He said, "Boys feel like school is a game rigged against them. The things which they excel--gross motor skills, visual and spacial skills, their exuberance--do not find as good a reception in school."

So maybe it's just not me. I am the first to admit that boys can be more challenging to raise--and teach. But that doesn't automatically mean girls are superior. We are all created equal. Just not the same. Now wouldn't that be a good lesson to include in the textbooks?