Polarised Views

While on a shopping expedition with his Grandparents last weekend, my 13-year old took a serious liking to a pair of sunglasses. When he couldn’t persuade them to part with $40, he pounced on me the moment I arrived to pick him up.

“They are really good, Mum. They have rubber on the arms, so comfy and polarised lenses. Can I get them? Please? I’ll use my own money.”

I pointed out $40 was a lot of money to spend on glasses for a 13-year old, especially a week away from winter. On top of which, it’s not his birthday or even remotely close to Christmas and he hasn’t done anything worthy of a reward.

After a relentless weekend of nagging, I had dealt with every argument he could think of and stood my ground, but was thoroughly exhausted and sick of the discussion. I hoped with Monday would come the end of the battle, but as soon as he clamoured into the car after school, the nagging started again.

“Did I mention they have polarised lenses?” He asked.

Yes, I moaned disinterestedly.

“And I did a Google search and compared to some, these ones are really cheap. Some sunglasses are worth over $150. Some cost more than $300.”

Yes, I know… I lamented. Doesn’t mean I’m prepared to spend $40 on sunglasses for you.

“And…… I read people who squint a lot, because they don’t wear sunglasses, get wrinkles. When did you start wearing sunglasses cause you know you have…..”

Yes, thank you. I cut him off short, batting away the finger being pointed at my eye. Show me the picture of these magnificent glasses, I finally relented, thinking ahead to his birthday. They’re $50 bucks!!!! I cried. What happened to $40?

“They’re 20% off,” he huffed.

No! I stated bluntly. We’re not buying you any sunglasses and I don’t want to be nagged about it again. I’d reached the end of my tether.

He folded his arms and I knew I’d won; an very weary victory.

Then a little voice piped up from the far back seat. “When we were out shopping with Nanny, I found this camping chair I really liked. It was only $80 bucks… Can I get it? Please Mum. I’ll use my own money.”

**** Smacked forehead****

Blonde on!

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She’s a Lovely Boy

Tyler Croped

How many choices can an 8-year old really make every day – an apple over a banana, a blue t-shirt instead of red. But essentially, all decisions are made for them.

So when my 8-year old son decided to grow his hair long, it still fell back on me. Would I allow it or not? His conviction was strong, and because I couldn’t see the harm, we decided not to overrule his personal freedom and let him grow his hair.

It now reaches well below is shoulders and is causing lots of confusion. Strangers refer to him as ‘she’ and comment on his being ‘a lovely girl’. Ignoring his obvious ‘boy section’ clothing, people react only to the most obvious visual cue – his long hair – and decide, therefore, he must be a girl.

We take no offence, because at his age it is impossible to tell, and we no longer correct them, because it really doesn’t matter. But we had to learn to accept the confusion and common mistake about his gender with good grace.

To be clear, he has no gender confusion. He knows he’s a boy and doesn’t want to be anything else. So when kids at school comment and say, ‘you look like a girl,’ he simply smiles and shrugs, because he doesn’t care. He just loves having long hair.

Then this happened. One of his teachers threatened to tie back his hair if he didn’t behave in class. That ruffled my feathers. Did she threaten the female class members with the same punishment? Were the shorthaired people threatened with a scarlet letter pinned to their chest if they misbehaved? I doubt it…. but let it slide.

Then waited (somewhat anxiously) for the letter from school formally asking us to have his hair cut, and considered in advance how would I react to their request. Did they even have the right to ask? Thankfully, the note didn’t come and I breathed a sigh of relief.

….. But for the record, if we had been asked to cut his hair, I would have refused.

There is no reason why an 8-year old boy can’t wear his hair long, and it shouldn’t – doesn’t – mean anything other than the child has been allowed to make a bold, personal decision for himself.

Blonde on!

Brain Scan

Sometimes, a little knowledge is bad thing.

After watching a medical-based documentary this week, my over-extended 11 year-old came to me quite in earnest and requested I take him for a brain scan.

‘Why?’ I immediately feared the worst. ‘What’s wrong with you?’

‘I don’t know,’ he huffed angrily, ‘That’s why I need a scan.’

Along with a few deep breaths, I took a moment to consider what he was actually trying to say. Learning to read-between-the-lines is an essential parenting skill and there was obviously a bigger picture in the background.

‘What will they tell us after they’ve seen inside your melon?’ Fingers crossed in hope I’d set foot on the right path, I found myself unprepared for his answer.

‘They will tell me why I’m afraid all the time.’

I literally scratched my head. This was left field, to say the very least.

‘There is nothing wrong with you,’ I began. ‘Everyone is afraid of something.’

No. No. No. This was different. ‘I’m scared of stupid things… Like zombies.’

‘Well, yeah!’ I gasped. ‘Zombies are bloody scary…..’

‘And ghosts.’

‘I’m terrified of ghosts,’ I almost yelled.

‘Well, I’m scared of a bad man breaking into the house.’ He all but folded his arms and tapped his foot in triumph. He’d got me…. And I pulled up short, because one of my absolute worst fears is finding a strange man in my house. But neither of us was giving in to fear. Not today. So I squared my shoulders and made out brave.

‘Well he’d be a fool to come into our house, ‘cause he’d have to get through me, and I know damn well how to swing a cricket bat.’

But the child was not going to be out done.

‘Good one, Mum,” he rolled his eyes. “Then he’d be a ghost, or worse, a zombie.’

Hahrumph….

Perhaps the child does need a brain scan after all… if only to see why he’s too smart for his own good!

Blonde On!

Pride

There’s a mixture of pride and shame when your kids start to exceed you. I used to be able to lift them up, astound them, teach them new things and dance them around the living room.

Now, my thirteen year old can solve a Rubik cube in less than fifteen seconds, while in the same amount of time I can line up… well, two blue squares.

And my over-extended eleven-year old stumps me daily with questions like

‘Was the discovery of nuclear power accidental?’

‘How do they know there are black holes?’

And, ‘Is methane more flammable than hydrogen?”

I do my best, I really do, before throwing my hands in the air (feeling really STUPID) and declaring, ‘I’m not Wikipedia, child. Go look it up on the internet!’

Then there’s the little guy, eight years old and I haven’t beaten him at game of Connect 4 in weeks. And believe me, I’ve tried…. Is humiliating!

Yesterday, he even outran me in a game of chasey  when I took off with his hot cross bun. How swiftly his little legs put me to shame and he sat up at the bench with butter smudged across a very smug little smile.

But when my thirteen-year old has to bend down to hug me, I grip him tight and think, that’s the way, my handsome boy. Tower high above me.

And when my eleven year old asks, “When I’m a multi-million dollar online game creator, what colour Lamborghini do you want?” I say, surprise me clever boy…. Like you do every day.

And when my eight year old looks up at me from his pillow at night with his beautiful dark brown eyes and simply says, I love you, Mummy…… there is no part of me I wouldn’t sacrifice to see them all become bigger, better, taller, faster, smarter than me.

Blonde on!