Friday, May 18, 2007

my favorite kid is a gemini

You guys are so very cute in defending my honor on the "Does-Taking-Time-Off-Make-You-A-Bad-Mommy?" thing. But seriously. No need to do that on my behalf. You are totally preaching to the choir here, kids.

I'm a (close to full time) single-mom, of an (almost) 10-year old boy, who is a bit of a drama-king, and is very high-maintennance (wonder wherever he gets that from). He's also a gemini, and I could swear sometimes that I am parenting two kids (and one is the evil twin). I know damn well that if I don't take time off to recharge the mommy battery, you'll find me either doing a really shitty job of parenting (which I am not), or over there in the corner killing the pain with strong liqueurs (which I also am not doing...although I am reserving that as an option for getting me through his teen years). When I don't take enough time for myself to power-up, I end up having days when I am "there," but not, "reallllly there," if ya' know what I mean. I try to avoid those.

Now, obviously he's my kid (although I will never follow that with, "and he can do no wrong," because he does), so telling you how great he is seems like a complete waste of words. But I'll do it anyhow. He's pretty damn great. In pretending to view him as if he were someone else's kid, I see a real good kid. He seems well-rounded...doing the absolute best he can do when he can do it, and fucking other things up royally, just like he's supposed to (I try to remember that fucking up royally is actually in his job description). MyFK's degree of well-roundedness is the measuring stick that I use for myself, in part, to make sure that I am doing a good job as a parent (and I am also doing the absolute best I can do when I can do it, and fucking up royally, just ike I am supposed to, because it is in my job description).

Oh as total aside.....remember that flight he took last weekend? My mom and dad sent him up there with their camera and they just got the photos back. MyFK took these shots of the town of Napa and the surrounding valley (dudes....this is like 10-15 minutes from our new pad...I cannot wait to go exploring).

Wide. Open. Spaces.
Yes, I get that one of the wide open spaces pictured is a golf course, but look at the surrounding hillsides!

Okay. So back to blathering on about my kid. MyFK is one great kid. He's at the top of his class, and has scored high on his district and state tests. He has pushed past his own stagefright and will be performing in the school play next week. And his Science Fair project landed him a 1st Place ribbon for his grade level, and he is moving on to the district finals next week. Good kid.

MyFK is also right on track to with his pre-teen emotional development. He is a text-book example of a tormented pre-teen, thereby fulfilling the request that MY made parents made to the universe so many years ago. This may sound familiar to some of you. It's the prayer parents send up through gritted teeth that sounds something like: "I only hope someday you become the parent of a kid just like you." You know. That one.

Well, thanks, mom. It's working.

Ok, so I suppose it's probably not only my mom's mojo that's causing this. Karma would have bit me on the rump anyhow. But mom: I know you read my blog, so do me a favor. Please. Retract. The Mojo. Just in case. (and I've already said I was sorry, but...I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...oookay??) hahaha

MyFK is so on track to be the same pain in neck that I was, that he's already jumped on TheAngstExpress, which at age 9+3/4, seems to be leaving the station a little early. The first signs of his buying a ticket to AngstLand (and let's hope round-trip ticket...because I'm screwed if it's one-way), are in his choices of music.

I don't decide what kind of music my kid likes, nor did I ever forcefeed him certain styles of music in an attempt to preset his preferences. I have many tools in my parenting toolbox, but the big fat wrench over there is the one marked, "Pick Your Battles," and I decided very early on to conserve my energy for the big ones. For ME, what music he listens to is not a big one. Sure, I have a couple of rules about it. Nothing with parental warning stickers due to obscenity/adult content (and even that I can budge on, but I have to hear it first); if you gotta have it now, pay for it yourself,; and if I'm not in the mood, that's what headphones are for. I have similar feelings about clothing. Wear what you want, but it will be a cold day in hell before I pay for baggy-ass jeans that show off your underwear. You want a purple mohawk?? Fine. But I hope you find a job that likes your dooo because that Aquanet gets pretty expensive. I think you get the idea behind my philosopy. I'll save my energy for creating and enforcing policies about what I think (to me) are the bigger things. I'm okay with my kid being allowed to express himself through music and clothes. Maybe because I was allowed to walk out the house with big hair and spandex pants, and I really enjoyed at least having one aspect in my life I was in control of. My policy is sort of to do your absolute best in everything you do, especially your work...and while you're at it, pick up your dirty clothes and put away your breakfast dishes.

So the soundstrack for the AngstLandExpress is currently dialed into Linkin Park.

Now, I've turned my kid on to some music, for sure. I mean, this kid was never listening to Radio Disney. I'd have gone nuts. Mom was listening to Radiohead. So kid was listening to Radiohead. He liked that. He does not like everything I listen to, nor I do like everything he listens to. I didn't turn MyFK on to Linkin Park. Lucky for him, I actually LIKE them...which is cool for him because he can blast it in the car, and I'm hoping to take him to their concert this summer...but I'm sure in a trainstop or to, having your mom dig your music is going to be extremely un-cool.

MyFK found Linkin Park all on his own when he went to YouTube to watch episodes of his favorite anime, Naruto. He discovered that several people were making little music videos out of Naruto clips, set to Linkin Park tunes. Here's the first one he found. I think he watched it 458 times. I should know, because the computer is the same room as I am. Then he found more videos and decided to save up his allowance and buy the CD. Which I have also heard 458 times.

He does have a CD player is in his room, though. Here are some exerpts of Linkin Park song lyrics, just to give you an idea of what MyFK is listening to in his room when he's in there belting it out, thinking that I cannot hear him (cracks me up, especially to think I grew up doing the same thing in my own to Van Halen):

Sometimes I feel like I trusted you too well
Sometimes I just feel like screaming at myself
Sometimes I’m in disbelief I didn’t know
Somehow I need to be alone

To find myself again
My walls are closing in
(without a sense of confidence and I'm convinced that there's just too much pressure to take)
I've felt this way before
So insecure

I don't know what's worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don't know why I instigate
And say what I don't mean
I don't know how I got this way
I'll never be alright
So, I'm breaking the habitI'm breaking the habit Tonight

See? AngstLand, or Bust. I am fucked. That should probably have a capital F.

So the real reason I launched into this whole Linkin Park topic, actually, is beacuse they did this really cool thing this week. For one night only, and for only one showing, they aired very current live concert at select local theaters. I think footage was shot 4 days before they showed it. The showing was on the eve of the release of their new album (their first with explicit lyrics...lovely).

The show was great. Not just them, but the whole concept of seeing a concert in a theater. It wasn't exactly the whole live concert experience, of course, but you know when you are at a really big concert, and you are way back in the general admission zone, and you watch most of the concert on the big screens they have up? It was kinda of like that. It was produced in that style, so it was pretty easy to forget you were in a move theater.

yes, mom is dorky enough to have taken a picture of a movie screen for her blog

It was so much like being at an actual concert at times, that people in the audience were even yelling stuff at the screen and clapping between songs. As if the band was going to hear them. Hilarious. But it was great. I hope the trend is to produce more concerts like this and show them at these special theater events. It was very close to going to an actual concert.

Only with popcorn.

And no mosh pit.

Edit to add: The website for these one night events is here, and they don't just do fact, they're going to do a one night showing of the Naruto movie. Go figure.


Anonymous said...

Having helped to raise two excellent boys myself (but I had an unfair advantage; my husband is a mental health professional specializing in teens -- how I got so lucky I'll never know) I think it sounds like you are doing a fine job. Picking your battles is such a time- and mental health-saver; having a minimal set of hard-and-fast rules that you enforce pretty much consistently is another. Lots of love and laughter, too, which you have in spades. Go, A'tee!

Sheepish Annie said...

One of the occupational therapists in my school district introduced me to the phrase, "is this a hill you are want to die on?" when describing how she picks her battles with kids. It's so true! I'd be arguing all day if I was ready to go to the mat on all issues that come up with my students!!!!

And YFK is obviously one of the good ones. Naruto is the best thing ever. Ever. Even the Cartoon Network version. If I thought I could get away with it at 42, I'd be wearing the headband. Every. Single. Day.

Anonymous said...

Having spent a particularly long and potentially very boring [for him] day with the two of you I will definitely confirm that he is one awesome kid. Very thoughtful, and very kind and what a trip. Not that you were looking for confirmation, or anything. ;)

I've never bought any Linkin Park, and I doubt I'd pay to see them live or for their music but I do enjoy them now and then in small doses. There is way way worse angst-music out there.

And hooray for geminis! My birthday is coming up soon too!

Anonymous said...

You're a good mom.

By the way, the whole "televise a live concert in a movie theater" is a lot more popular than you might think. The NYC Metropolitan Opera has done a few simulcasts around the country which are pretty popular. I heard of people from the Bay Area driving down to Fresno to attend a show that wasn't sold out.

Karen the DL

Anonymous said...

My son is a Gemini too -he is living proof of the dual personality :-)but they do come out of the angst thing eventually. I have to say I love Linkin Park myself - but not as much as Stevie Vai and Joe Satriani ;-) I took one look at the first photo in you next post and though I was looking at my sons bedroom, it is curently doubling as rehearsal room for his rock band :-)