Friday, May 9, 2008

Sweet Scout

Yes, naturally being the huge dog-lover that I am, I must bore everyone with some musings about my wonderful dog, Scout. Scout, a female, got her name by default. Before we got her, I presented to all the other men in my family (me being the sole female)a list of wonderful, whimsical "girl" names for our girl dog. On this list were personal favorites like: Sadie, Zoey, Ruby. I also threw out a few Irish names since our dog is an Irish Terrier: Roan, Meagan, etc. Well, every single name I threw out was immediately nixed by my two sons. They felt all of my choices were "too feminine"! "Well, she is a girl, after all" I countered. They would have none of it. So, in a last ditch effort for a name if not feminine, then at least, unique, I threw out "Scout" as an option. Well, they loved it! Scout it is! I do want to remind everyone that our Scout is named after the daughter to Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, and not Demi Moore's daughter! I've actually gotten that a few times! I thought it might be fun to someday get another Irish Terrier, a male, and name it Atticus.

Needless to say, Scout has grown in to her given name. Her breed is known for "scouting" and she loves to go after birds and mice. She is a sweet, gentle girl, and I don't think my boys could love her any more! Even after almost 3 years of having her, they are so excited to greet her after school or in the morning. She is constantly man-handled by them, and takes it very well. Just this morning before school, my younger son Cole had one of Dad's socks over her long nose - "Look Mom! Scout's an elephant!" I couldn't help but laugh right before I told him to get that sock off her nose because she couldn't breathe! Scout just sat there, with that sock on her nose, peering at us with her big, brown eyes. If that is not love for her family, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Raising a Teen

Well, it's finally about to happen. My oldest son Ethan is about to turn the dreaded 13. In about a month, he will officially be a teenager. It's funny, when they are little you think they will never be older and then suddenly you are facing the fact that you only have them for another 5 years or so. It is the most sad, and yet exciting thing you can imagine. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night wondering why I can't be a better mother -- and especially, why I can't be a betterr mother to teenagers! They are a complex group, as many will attest, and the challenges they bring home with them everyday after the bus pulls away sometimes seem endless. Just last night, my sweet boy said to me "Mom, you liked me better when I was 6". I didn't know how to answer. In my mind I am thinking "Darn straight I did! You were a million times easier"! But in reality, I love him the same, if not more, today. There are a million ways he is so much fun these days. His sense of humor is developed and actually "funny" at times! I am able to converse with him about "real" things -- like politics, music, and morals even. He can pack a mean argument (and honestly, why does every conversation seem to turn into an argument?). Everyday I beat myself up about what I said or did, and every morning I awaken and ask God to help me be a better mother, to say all the perfect things. I want him to feel good about himself, and to have faith in himself no matter what.

I've spoken to many friends about this unending battle we seem to wage with our teens. It is almost like a "who will win this one" situation at times. My friends and I discuss how our children have become so self-centered. I reminded a friend that that behavior is part of being a teen (or so I've found from any parenting book I can get me hands on!) and yet we both agreed that it is terrible - just the same!

I was thinking about the complexities of raising a teen on the way to school the other day, and suddenly, there was Maya Angelou on the radio talking about mothers. She said there are two types of mothers, those who are wonderful with small children, and the next group being those that are great with teens. Which group do I fall in to? I haven't figured that one out yet -- but I am trying - everyday.