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This Boy – Part One December 6, 2013

I remember thinking what idiots my parents were when they said “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.” That phrase was usually followed by a whollap across my ass or in later years being grounded “indefinitely.” (Grounded indefinitely was a phrase that I’m pretty sure that my mother invented. It means that you’re grounded for an undetermined amount of time, lifted or enforced at will, feel free to use it when applicable.)

Kameron has not inherited my long-term memory, or short-term memory for that matter, which to me is extremely frustrating. People can make excuses for him all day long, he’s a man, he’s fourteen, it’s puberty, it’s classwork, yada yada yada… You can preach that stuff to me all day long until you’re blue in the face for all I care. The bottom line is you don’t have to deal with the consequences of his lack memory motivation.

Let me enlighten you. It’s Tuesday, BEFORE Thanksgiving. I’ve heard nothing from his father about plans, not a peep from Kam, so I decided to press on with our own plans. Those plans included Thanksgiving Day putting up the Christmas tree and watching football. Friday Samantha was going to be home and I planned on cooking our family dinner. Saturday my mom was coming over for dinner. Sunday was nothing, to relax and get ready for the week ahead. I went in to tell Kameron good night Tuesday night, he had this weird look on his face, I could tell something was on his mind. I asked “what’s up?” He looked at me and said “just wondering what I’m going to do on Friday with my Dad.” Excuse me? The two of them had made plans on Friday and just “forgot” to tell me about it. So I rearranged our entire schedule.

Tuesday of this week (I guess Tuesday is a bad day.) Kam has choir practice, it ends at 4. I left work, ran some errands, and was at school to pick him up around ten till. I was on the phone with my cousin, so I wasn’t bored, but when the clock showed ten after I started to get irritated. My cousin said “I bet he has practice until 4:30 and forgot to tell you”, I said “no way.” Sure enough, 4:30 rolls around and out he strolls with this somber look on his face. “I forgot” he says. I’ve waited for 40 minutes and “I forgot” is all he has?

Today, I emailed his choir teacher to make sure they didn’t have practice until 4:30 again today, she replied no, so I was at school in line to pick him up at the regular time. I knew they had a performance today at school, but had no idea that there was another performance at 7 tonight and he had to be back at school by 6:30. “I forgot” again. This time I was pissed. I grounded him. Which means no phone, computer, games, etc.

Now he’s grounded “under the house” as I like to put it.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out why.

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Progress Report November 4, 2013

kam14Last week we had parent teacher conferences at Kam’s school. I remember going to my own parent teacher conferences, the fear, the dread of what the teachers might tell my parents.

Things were different when I was in Kam’s shoes. My parents couldn’t check my grades online. They didn’t get weekly emails telling them what my grades were. Progress reports were given to parents and the parent teacher conferences were so the teachers could hold our feet to the fire in front of our parents, or the other way around. It was definitely more intimidating.

When I got to school Kam met me in the hallway. I could tell he was nervous. Report cards had already come out, so I already knew what his grades were. He made second honors, which in my book is great, not so much in his book. He puts an incredible amount of pressure on himself about his grades; and pretty much everything else. Walking up the stairs I asked who he wanted to talk to, he said his home room teacher and Mr. Carter. I put my arm around him and said “I’ve told you Mr. Carter reminds me a lot of my professor Mr. Hanna right?” He said “yeah mom.”

Mr. Hanna was hard on me. It wasn’t because I didn’t get good grades, it was because he saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. He helped me get through school, when I wanted to quit, he would just tell me “oh that’s just bullshit.” When I went to school I was working full-time, going to school at night, and toward the end pregnant. I remember crying on the phone with Mr. Hanna not wanting to leave my month old baby to take finals so I could graduate. He probably said something like it’s 2 hours, get in there and get it done, it will be ok. So I did, and I graduated.

We went into Kam’s homeroom teacher. She’s very nice, saying that Kam is participating a lot more in class, and just needs to work on his AR (some additional reading they have to do every quarter.) I assured her that we were going to be working on that. She said that he was very polite, and respectful to the girls. I thanked her, we headed out down the hallway to Mr. Carter’s room.

Mr. Carter is an old school type of teacher. Instead of talking about what grades Kam had he asked him how he thought he was doing. Kam said “good.” Then Mr. Carter asked what he was struggling with, they chatted a little. I was looking at my baby having a grown up conversation with his teacher, I could feel myself holding my breath; taking in this moment. Then Mr. Carter said “what do you think mom?”

I told him that Mr. D and I were very proud of him, we’ve noticed he’s really grown up this year. Mr. Carter agreed. He said that “in sixth grade Kameron seems a little dazed, but he’s really come into his own. He’s more confident, he applies himself, he’s respectful to the girls, he has a real presence about him. You should be very proud of the way you’ve raised him. He’s going to Roncalli next year right?” I said yes, we’re very excited.” “Good, that’s good, he’s really stand out at Roncalli, he’s be a star there.”

As we got up to leave Mr. Carter shook Kamerons hand and told him to keep up the good work. He patted my shoulder and said “nice work mom.” An oddly familiar gesture, it’s exactly what my Dad would have done.

 

PA – Procrastinators Anonymous December 11, 2012

Hi my name is Stephanie, I’m a recovering Procrastinator.

Procrastination is a disease. It can be passed down from generation to generation. As a former procrastinator I feel it is my duty to stop future procrastinators by watching for the warning signs.

Not really, but really. I used to procrastinate a lot more than I do now. Every once in a while I’ll find myself slipping into procrastination mode especially around the (ahem) holidays or Fridays after three o’clock in the afternoon. When you have a profession that has deadlines (which most of them do) content writing, social media, there isn’t a lot of room for error. Procrastination is not your friend.

This post is not about me however, it’s about my 13-year-old, know it all, procrastinating son.

Kameron was all geeked up this morning because I promised him that I would take him to the video game store to pick up the new WWE game he’s been saving up for. He didn’t want to wait until Christmas to get it, and his mother wasn’t just going to go out and buy it for him for kicks. So chores were suggested to earn money in order for him to purchase the game himself. One thing about Kameron, if he wants something he is very (almost to the extreme) motivated to get it.

So when I picked him up from school he announced that “it was going to be a great rest of the day” because he asked me about 20 times if we were going to get the game. I asked him what kind of homework he had. “Spelling, literature, and my passport project.” The passport project was something he had worked on a little and I suspected that there was more on it to do than he would have liked to admit.

He started unwrapping the game even before we left the store. “Mom this is so cool” he said as we were driving home. I told him that we could work on the spelling and literature when we got home. After that he could play his new game for a while but when dinner was done he had to work on his passport project which he casually mentioned was due TOMORROW. “Ugh” I thought, something tells me this is not going to be pretty.

Disaster comes to mind now that I think about it. When Mr. D started helping him with the project I could hear Kameron whispering to him. I turned the tv down and started asking questions. There was a lot of work to be done according to Mr. D. So they started working on it together. About an hour into it, I heard Mr. D ask Kameron to come over and look at something. I knew exactly when that little booger was doing, he was playing that game while Mr. D looked something up. Sternly I said “Kameron are you playing that game?” He looked over the ledge of the loft and said “yes.”

I could feel my blood pressure rising and a hint of steam was beginning to come out of my ears.

“Bring me that game” I said. Kameron with tears in his eyes brought it to me and sarcastically said “I probably won’t get this back until Christmas.” I smiled and said “probably not – now get back to work.”

He was probably thinking in his head that he purchased that game. He saved the money, paid for it himself, so I couldn’t possibly take it away from him. Here is what he doesn’t understand, the game even though he bought it, is mine. The x-box that he plays the game on is mine. When you don’t do your work, or procrastinate until the last-minute, those things will be taken away from you for an undetermined amount of time.

Shit, I’m my parents.

When Kameron finally got done with his project we all had a little talk about starting projects earlier, working on a project a little bit at a time so it’s not so overwhelming, and being more diligent about planning his homework schedule.

He said he understood. I caught him looking over at his game resting on my dresser.

Yeah, the game is going to be there for a few days bud.

 

Are Choir Girls More Aggressive These Days? November 30, 2012

One of my least favorite things of all time is the car line at Kameron’s school. I’ve seen people literally look like they were going to come unglued in the car line. I have to admit, I’ve said a few choice words to myself about this idiocy. Seems pretty simple to me..you get in line, wait for your child, the child gets in the car, you drive away. I guess there is some book somewhere in the principal’s office with a special drawer; you must have the exact key code to unlock the car line secrets. I imagine unlocking that drawer someday, opening up the book with angles singing in the background as I uncover all the secrets of the car line.

Who the hell am I kidding? We’ll get through seventh and eighth grade and move onto what is sure to be a more complex car line in high school.

Anyway I was sitting in the car line today waiting for Kameron to come out of choir practice. Choir practice ends at 4:00 which really puts a dent into my Dr. Phil time, so already I’m irritated. Did I mention that my son moves as slow as a snail? Especially after a long day at school and choir practice on top of that. Did I also mention that Kameron still doesn’t recognize my car that I’ve had for two months? I’ve seen him walk right past it looking for my Jeep that Mr. D now drives. It’s frustrating.

I caught a glimpse of Kameron in my rear view mirror today, he seemed to be moving, almost speed walking to my car. “Great” I thought to myself. He’s going to blow past my car again. In anticipation of that happening I rolled down my window in order to get his attention which didn’t happen. What I heard from inside my car certainly got mine “Kaaammmeerrroonnn I love you!” “Kameron I’ll see you tomorrow – kisses!” My mind instantly turned into scrambled eggs because I didn’t even notice that Kameron had gotten into the car. Flushed, eyes wide open, with a look of (dare I say) terror on his face he said “Mom get me out of here!” Putting the car in drive and throwing caution to the wind as I drove quickly out of the car line.

I think we were both in a state because I said in a somewhat crazy voice “who was that?” Kameron told me the girl’s name, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what it is now. “It’s her mom, she says she loves me, she won’t leave me alone!” “I don’t like her like that mom!” I thought “man, choir girls are more aggressive than I remember.” They were always the soft-spoken girls when I was in school. I guess things have changed a bit.

I let Kameron calm down a bit. He was listening to his iPod to some really loud music. I do that too when I’m frazzled. What do I say? What do I do? Last year he can’t get enough of the girls (one in particular.) This year he’s running away from them. I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned off his iPod, he knew it was time to discuss the situation.

I said “Kameron do you know why she’s teasing you and making a big deal about her liking you?” “No” he grumbeled. I said “well, she probably does like you, but she’s telling you and you’re freaking out right?” I got a defeated “Yeah.” In my infinite mommy wisdom I asked him “do you want her to stop?” “YES!” “If you want her to stop ignore her. She’s only doing it to get a reaction out of you. If you don’t freak out after a while she’ll stop.” “Ok Mom,” I could tell he was feeling better.

He seemed relieved and I was too. Now not only do I have a car line problem, it appears I have a girl in the pink sweatshirt problem. Fabulous!

 

Kameron Goes To D.C. October 12, 2012

I’ve been agonizing over this for weeks. Kameron taking a class trip to Washington D.C.

To Our Lady of Greenwoods credit, they were very organized planning the trip. Meeting after meeting, they had the trip planned down to the last-minute. So why worry right? Kam is in the very capable hands of OLG and their chaperons.

The activities they have planned for the next two days are unbelievable really. A trip to the Smithsonian Institute, the Holocaust Museum, mass at the National Shrine, a guided tour of DC including the White House, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, The Lincoln Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument, and that’s just the first day!

Today the kids get to go to Fords Theater, US Capitol Building (tour), lunch at Union Station, Mt. Vernon, Alexandria walking tour. After that, get this, a private pizza dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac!

Tomorrow they get to visit the US Marine Corp War Memorial and are touring Arlington National Cemetery that includes a changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then they come home.

Pretty exciting stuff right? Kameron was totally stoked going to the airport at 4:30 in the morning, me, not so much. When we got in he immediately found his friends and starting talking with them. I was trying to take a picture of him – this is what I got, annoyed as hell. His chaperone found his group and they started getting their tickets. I could feel my stomach churning as they grabbed their boarding passes.

I thought is he going to be too cool to say bye to his mom with all his friends around?

I get a little wonky when Kameron isn’t around. He’s been to CYO camp but that’s only 45 minutes away. This was a big trip for him, and just another step in the process of those words I really hate; growing up.

Looking at Mr. D I was like well, I guess it’s time to go. Then I heard “Mom.” I turned and Kameron had stepped away from his group and was motioning us over. I walked over to give him a hug (lying to myself that I wouldn’t cry.) He hugged me and then hugged Mr. D. Then he hugged me again, a little tighter than before. I told him that I loved him and to have a good time. “Ok” was my answer, and he was off.

I of course cried all the way to the car.

I was very happy to get a text message from Kam last night that said “We are in Washington D.C.” I asked if the plane ride was ok (he has problems with his ears) “Yes” he said. I was all great, have fun, I love you, text me if you want…I waited for a reply. Nothing. He did his due diligence and was off to monkey around with his friends. Which is fine. I’m surprised I got the text.

I’ll be very happy to see my little man and hear all about his great adventure in D.C. tomorrow, and to have him home.

 

“You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be A Teenager” August 20, 2012

That’s the new catch phrase in my house. It usually is said with some type of eye roll, sigh, foot stomping, or a combination of all three – which is my favorite.

The problem of course is me and Mr. D. Apparently we’re unreasonable in the eyes of this 13 year old.

Let me give you an example of the madness. Last Wednesday as Mr. D. was dropping off Kameron at school Kameron decided to TELL Mr. D. that he was going to the library with a friend after school. Mr. D. is much more patient than I am, he calmly asked if Kameron had asked me about going to the library. The sigh came and then he said “no.” I don’t know why Kameron thinks he can manipulate this situation. Perhaps he’s testing Mr. D. to see how far he can push to get a yes out of him. Kameron isn’t stupid, he has learned that timing is everything. He figures that if he asks when he’s getting out of the car that Mr. D. will be distracted and won’t think of asking “have you talked to your mom about this?” Don’t let the sexy grey hair fool you, Mr. D. is pretty quick on his feet at 7:30 in the morning. Kameron quickly got out of the van. I’m pretty sure Mr. D. didn’t get “have a good day at school” out before Kameron slammed the door and stomped into school.

A few minutes later I got a phone call from school saying Kameron would like to talk to me. A last ditch effort before class starts. “Mom, can I go to the library after school?” Ugh. “I don’t recall you asking permission to go to the library last night, did you?” “No” he said, sounding disappointed. “Well Kameron when you want to do things you have to ask for permission before you just assume you can do them right?” “Yes” he said sounding very irritated by my speech that I’ve given him a hundred thousand times. “So no Kameron you can’t go to the library today, I’ll see you at three o’clock.” “Ok” sounding so defeated, and hung up the phone. So it goes, I’ve ruined his life yet again. I suspect he’ll live.

So I go back to the statement “You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be A Teenager” yum, yeah I do. However my teenage years look very different than yours Kambo. I’ll admit it, Kameron leads a very charmed life. It’s my fault, well, mine and my parents fault. I overcompensated a lot after I divorced his father. Where I lacked, my parents filled in the gaps.

Just in the last year my poor, can’t go to the library kid, has done the following: Gone to Florida, Holiday World (twice), CYO camp (twice), Roncalli Theater Camp (twice), and WWE Wrestling matches (twice – maybe three times.) Countless number of games to play, having friends over, plays, theater, extreme Christmases. He’s been to California three times (I’ve been once.) He’s going to Washington D.C. in a month through a trip that his school has coordinated. I could go on and on, but frankly, it’s embarrassing.

So when I hear his tale of woe, I roll my eyes and heave a sigh. Teenager? Let me tell you kid, you don’t get it. As I’m writing this I have a feeling that he’s going to “get it” very soon.

My teenage years were full of responsibility. A lot of responsibility. When I was Kameron’s age my days while I was in school were filled with school, homework, and taking care of my sisters. When I was thirteen my sister Marcia was ten, my sister Ashley was a newborn.  My mom would pick me and Marcia up from school with Ashley in the backseat. We would go home and start on homework. Ashley was about seven months old, so she was mobile. While we were studying we had to keep a watchful eye on our infant sister. The weekends were filled with chores (that you didn’t get paid for), and “babysitting” (babysitting you didn’t get paid for.) If the chores didn’t get done, we were grounded. That’s it, that was the way it was.

My sympathy meter for Kameron’s “teenage life” is low, very low right now. I am going to start some new rules, with some new responsibilities. It’s time, and way overdue.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

When A Pass Really Isn’t A Pass February 8, 2012

I’m not fond of Kameron’s religion teacher.

I’m not alone.  If you remember my rant on the parent/teacher conferences her line was the longest, and took the most time.

Do you remember “Passes?”  Not like a pass to the bathroom.   Test/Quiz Passes.  They were like the golden ticket of catholic schoolism.  I remember teachers giving passes out at Christmas time, pure joy came over everyone.  Even the meanest girls were a little nicer when test/quiz passes were handed out.  My definition of the “test/quiz pass”  say you weren’t prepared for a test, or you just totally spaced the test was Tuesday,  you thought it was Thursday.  Whip out the test/quiz pass – the heavens opened up and you could hear the faint singing of angles, it was glorious – it also meant you didn’t have to take the test or quiz.  Auto 100% –  nothin better than that baby!  Obviously there were some things that you couldn’t use them on, but the teacher would always tell you in advance.  Passes were sacred man, few were given out.  You held on to them like gold.  I remember selling one of my passes once, teachers wised up to what was going on and started putting our names on them.   Thanks for ruining the profitable fun, and the mean girls blackmail scam.

Anyway, Kameron had a pass that he had been holding on to for the right opportunity.  I get it, no sense in wasting a pass, it has to be a legit reason.   Which happened to be his religion quiz on Friday.  Kameron’s a funny little creature.  After making first honors this grading period he wants to check his grades like every day.  It’s good that he wants to know, I have a feeling the thought that pass thing was too good to be true.

Ends up, he was right.

Looking at his grades online he was like MOM – like he had hurt himself or something.  I come over and he said “look” pointing to the computer screen – at his religion grade.  33% on a religion quiz, well crapola.  He said “I used my pass, I used my pass.”  I told him not to worry about it and that I would email his teacher.  Long, heavy, sigh.

So I sat down and wrote this email:

“Mrs. _________,

Kameron’s latest quiz is scored as a 33%.  Kameron indicated to me that he used a quiz pass for that particular quiz.

Did he use a pass?

Thanks”

After about a half hour, I got this reply back.

“Mrs. Daily, I believe he had one attached but they have to score at least a 60% to use it.  I have that as a mark so that they will still study.  He will get his pass back with his quiz tomorrow.  If I don’t use it, I return so they can use it another time.

 Mrs.________.”
So the pass isn’t really a pass. (Insert expletive here)
I felt my blood pressure going up…. a scene from Sweeney Todd ran through my head.  I knew their had to be a reply, but not from me.  I diverted to Mr. D because I know when I can’t write an email.  (That’s what ages gets ya.)  I’m sure he wrote a very diplomatic response to the nonsense that I’ve since deleted from my email.
I told Kameron not to worry about it.  He has the rest of this grading period to make up for the mishap.
So a pass isn’t really a pass anymore.  That  sounds like a line straight out of  a Seinfeld episode.