The Dreaded Halloween Costume

As the leaves turn golden and the first chill in the morning gives way to scorching Southern California afternoons, it seems we have slipped into the fall season, which I mostly like, except for one particular event that makes me cringe-the dreaded Halloween costume shopping.

Now, I take great delight in picking out baby’s costume (this year she is a puppy), but the big kids are another story all-together.  First they beg and plead for me to drive them to the mega-land Halloween store which I’m pretty sure is the main clothing resource for serial killers and prostitutes.  I seriously despise these places.

Generally, I make the kids stay one aisle behind me as I scope out the next, that way I can deter them from a particularly raunchy or gruesome stretch.  People look at me like I’m nuts; “Kids, abort, abort…don’t go down this aisle. It’s The Girls Next Door meets The House Bunny.”

I know my son get’s an eyeful every time we go to these places, despite my stalking around like an over-protective mama bear.  Can someone please tell me why Halloween has become a socially acceptable day to dress like a slut or better yet Freddy Krueger? ( And yes, I do remember dressing up as a sexy Red Riding Hood one year in college.  I know the pot’s calling the kettle black here, but I’ve matured people!)

Faith is at the awkward age between little girl costumes and the dubious Jr’s section.  Anything in Jr’s has big gaping pockets for the tween’s chest, and since most ten-year olds are still growing, I can only assume the boob pockets are to hold candy?

Two years ago she was little Bo Peep, which means mommy had to do some altering of the sexy sheep girl’s ensemble.  First we bought big, so the skirt covered her bum, then we laced her up tight and made her wear a shirt underneath.  We also had to do some creative pleating along the top and add some big bows to cover the gaps.  She looked adorable once we were done, but the effort was hardly worth the fifty dollars they charge for this riff-raff.

Last year she dressed as an eighties girl and I breathed a sigh of relief. She looked like a cross between Cindy Lauper and Madonna, with a hot pink tutu and green streaked hair, but who was I to complain? At least she was modest.

Kyle on the hand dressed as a priest with black sunglasses.  Was it irreverent? Possibly.  This year he’s going to be a Mexican Bull Fighter. I know, right? It just gets better and better.

At least I get to dress up the baby in whatever I want. Next year I’m rolling out the princess gowns. Whoopee!!!!

 

 

The Text Monster

 

Text Log of My Kid at 11:00 a.m.

Nate-“Want to come over ?”

Kyle-“Sorry dude! I can’t come over until I finish the laundry.”

Nate-“Just put some music on and bust it out!”

Kyle- “I can’t. My mom won’t let me listen to music.”

Nate- “Wow! Really?”

Kyle- “Yeah, and she said I have to stay here until 3:00p.m.”

Nate-“Bummer”

Kyle’s mom sounds like a real B…. (Oh wait, that’s me!)  To my almost thirteen-year-old there’s nothing more embarrassing than a parent, even when the parent is ridiculously cool like me. (ok, maybe not so much)

I know my son adores me, but in his defense, I’m also the biggest obstacle in his pursuit for independence. One day he needs me (usually for food or money) and the next day he pushes me away. Bagging on his mom in a text is a great example.

It gives me such an indescribable thrill when my son rips on me with the same phone I pay for every month. This would be on his new latest and greatest phone he was so excited about last month when we bought it for him. Oh wait, I remember, that’s the day when he said I was the best mom ever. 

Sometimes it feels like my kid is one of those passive aggressive dogs that licks you in the face and simultaneously pee on your foot.

So how come Kyle conveniently forgot to mention the details in his text dialogue?  Like the reason he’s doing laundry is because he acted like a jackwaggon on the last day of school.

Kyle came down to breakfast with his pants sagging halfway down his posterior and his yellow boxer shorts predominately displayed. My husband Tim caught a glimpse and sent him back upstairs to change.

When Kyle came back downstairs, Tim asked him, “Did you change?”

Kyl e replied, “Yep!”

In the car on the way to school, Kyle started wiggling and squirming in his seat.  I asked him what was wrong.

Kyle gave me a defiant look, “Mom, why does it matter what I wear? Now, I’m totally uncomfortable.”

“Why are you uncomfortable?” I asked.

Kyle lifted his shirt to reveal his boxer shorts still on, with the addition of a pair of boxer briefs over the top. Of course it was uncomfortable!  It looked like he was wearing a leotard over his shorts and underneath his jeans.

I shook my head in disbelief. Really? It must be mentally draining to come up with moves this smooth.

Dishonesty, in our house means extra chores-thus Kyle got to do the laundry. I guess he forgot to tell his buddy that part.

Then there’s the music reference.  Yes…we do allow our kid to listen to music, even good music.  But we don’t allow him to blow out the speakers on booty smacking, boots with fur, getting slizzard like a G6 gangsta rap.

When I read Kyle’s text message log back to him he chuckled and admitted he had indeed been rather harsh with his mom. Honestly, I don’t even think he realized his disrespect until I pointed it out.

I’m convinced puberty causes brain damage and the only cure is growing up, moving out, and paying for your own stinking phone.

Teen Snatching

We almost had to file a police report. Our jovial and loving pre-teen son seemed to have disappeared.  And to make matters worse, the perpetrator replaced my darling child with a defiant, sullen, and entitled kid with a decided mean streak. So, we called for backup and fell to our knees begging God for the return of our son.

I also pulled out Boundaries with Teens, by John Townsend and cracked the cover.  I bought it a while back, anticipating such a time as this and knowing I would need all the help I could get(I know, I know, there are moments where I seem a little less blonde).

As far as rules go, we try to keep it simple in our home.  There are three biggies we enforce religiously that best define our family’s values.  This is not in some pastor’s manual, it’s simply the Keller’s trying to figure out how to be parents and not screw up our kids.

The Rules are: respect, honesty and obedience.

If the kid is disrespectful, they lose a dollar out of their allowance.  If they are disobedient they get fifteen minutes of extra chores and if they lie, we take away dessert for two weeks or skinny jeans depending on the child.  So far, the baby has only had a time-out but we expect great things from her spunky and independent little spirit (translation: strong-willed child).

But Kyle was blowing through all the biggies in minutes. Something had to be done. So, for the first time we implemented the full grounding of said child.  No friends, no social engagements, no phone, no texting, no Mac, and no fun for a solid week with an option for two.  We also took away the teen dances he loves to attend, indefinitely, until his two B’s find their way back into the A range.  This is not because we are Tiger mom and dad, but because we know he is capable.

And something amazing happened…our son has returned home.  It took a few days, but he seems to have come around (at least for now), and I am happy to report the book works!  I am hoping(and praying) as Kyle re-enters society he will not turn into Mr. Nasty again, but I am more than willing to put him back on restriction again(less driving him around, more help around the house…the benefits could go on and on). I’m sure this is just the first of many battles and it scares the spit out of me if I dwell on it too long.

I think the biggest lesson from the book is that freedom is earned and respect is a non-negotiable.  To give our son boundaries is truly a gift for the both of us.  He enjoys newfound responsibility and we have an amiable son navigating the path to adulthood.

Tone matters. Demeanor matters. When I watch kids treat their parents like morons my heart aches.  I don’t believe it has to be this way. 

Most of all, seeing his smile again matters to me.  And at least for this week, I’ve got my boy back again.

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