January 25th, 2010

I’m Not Supposed to Tell You This


I think we’ve finally reached a tipping point with the Monkey.  The delicate balancing point that lies between all of the glorious silliness of a little boy and the pure embarrassment of anything out of the ordinary that comes with being a teenager.  Phrases like “Mom, please don’t ever do that in front of my friends” and “That’s okay, I can walk myself” have begun to emit from his lips.  Truthfully, I’m not particularly shocked or hurt by these phrases; it’s all part of the process and so far I’ve been able to take it all relatively in stride. 

 It does, however, present a problem for me.

My life—and more importantly, the lives of my kids—provides fodder for my livelihood.  Kid does silly thing.  Mom writes about silly thing.  Story about said thing gets published.   Kid makes poignant discovery, process repeats itself, etc. etc.  Everybody’s happy.  Until teenage boy decides silly thing is too embarrassing for publication.  It’s not uncommon for him to glance sidelong at me and say, “You’re not going to write about this, are you?”

Um…no, honey, of course not.

It’s made worse by the fact that there is no literary fruit sweeter than the life of middle school children.  They’re young enough to be goofy and old enough to be interesting.  Every day is an orchard full of gems about girls liking boys, boys liking girls, kids trying out their own fashion sense, languages, sense of independence.  Was there ever an age so awkward, and thus amusing, as middle school?

I haven’t shared much of my writing with my kids.  We have a sort “don’t ask, don’t tell policy”.  They don’t ask what I write, and I don’t tell them how much of their personal lives I share with the world.   However, we live in a small community where news travels fast, and it wouldn’t take too many degrees of separation to go from the pages of the Internet to the ears of the Monkey’s friends.

Oh what to do?  I suppose I could honor his wishes and overlook the rich material he brings to me on a daily basis.  Not likely.  I could give him a false name, but he already has one.  We could just move and make all our lives simpler, but that anonymity only lasts so long.

I suppose we’ll just have to play it one day at a time, trying to be both respectful of his wishes and my creative needs.

And the stories to come….oh, the stories.

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This Weeks Tip

Admit it, you’ve done it. You’ve tried to cut your child’s bangs the morning before a holiday photoshoot or an important tip to grandmas — only to make the “situation” worse. Here’s a tip for cutting straight… take a piece of  Scotch tape and put it UNDER the place where you want to cut. Then cut just above the tape line for a straight and beautiful result!