...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

one day we'll attribute all our successes to each other

My oldest son and I are at a stage in our relationship where we have a healthy respect and admiration for the other. Oh sure, we love each other and I think he's one of the greatest things that ever took a breath, but he's not going to go out of his way to prove he loves me or anything. Oh no! Not when he has learned the fine art of asking "Why?" from his father when I tell him I need a kiss.

I believe that soon "Why?" will be coupled with "What's in it for me?" when I ask for any display of affection from this boy. When that inevitably happens, I will spread my arms like the wings of an angel and spin around the room, bumping into toy after bountiful toy and singing "Just take a freakin' look around this place!"

Because I'm all about buying the love.

Catching me as I start to stumble from that dizzying dance will probably not be an option he'd consider because honestly, that would be too much like an actual hug. The only way I can get a hug from one of my kids these days is if I am holding the PS2 controllers above my head, and that's only after a great deal of negotiation outlining the length of said hug and if any actual pressure must be applied.

And a lot of "Why?" being tossed around.

Anyway, this boy, at nearly 10, would much rather spend his time outside with his friends, riding his bike, playing basketball, or staging heroic battles with his countless action figures. Anything other than spending quality, quiet, introspective time with me. The vessel that nurtured him and brought him safely into this world. We don't have the deep, philosophical talks that heartwarming Lifetime movies depict between mothers and sons.

I daresay the child would actually weigh the pros and cons of gnawing his way out of a steel bear trap versus spending 15 minutes of quality time with me. It's understandable. I still think that sometimes when I consider my own mother.

However, this past weekend, my husband and I and the oldest boy trotted out to a Scouting graduation ceremony. Like these things often are in our Scouting program, it was disarray and poor scheduling. After a couple of hours, my son's role in the event had come to an end and boredom had set in. For my part, boredom had set in about 30 minutes before we'd arrived. I was sitting quietly by myself on a lawn chair near the campfire, trying desperately to drown out the sounds of 40-plus boys of all ages as they screamed around me, when very quietly, my son slipped into the empty lawn chair next to mine.

"Hey, buddy," I said with a smile. "What's up?"

"Nothin'," came his reply. Quiet and somewhat fidgety, he messed with some patches and pins he'd just been awarded. When I asked to see them, our hands connected and I grasped his and told him I was proud of his effort.

To my surprise, he didn't pull away. My heart swelled a bit as he smiled and thanked me, and I believe it's accurate to say a tiny tear of pride may have been welling in my left eye when he suddenly yanked his hand from my gentle grip and started bouncing at the edge of his seat.

"Hey mom! Wanna see something?!" he exclaimed.

"Absolutely, bubs!" I replied, certain that we were on the brink of something so memorable I'd want to immediately rush home and capture this moment of mother/son breakthrough in his baby book.

"I can fart using my hand and my armpit!" he crowed with pride, then proceeded to demonstrate it for me several times.

Sure, I beamed at him with love. And sure, this was a bonding moment for the two of us, even when I had to explain to him that for various reasons, girls (at least this girl) kind of lose the ability to do that really cool trick as they get older. But for his sake, and for our moment together, I tried it out.

"I can totally make some killer fart noises using just my mouth!" I conceded. This, of course, delighted him. It was totally "game on."

Thus kicked off a 20 minute "no actual fart farting contest" between the two of us. He won. My age and obvious years of experience over him was simply no match. The kid is stellar.

"Pretty cool, mom," he said after recovering from the fit of laughter his last lingering mouth fart produced.

Absolutely, I thought. If it takes fake farts to bring us closer, I'll take it.

Then we made up a secret handshake and held a best out of five thumb wrestling match.

And out of nowhere, without any coercion, he gave me a hug. As we walked away from the campfire, he promised he'd teach me how to armpit fart.

It's worth it.



Blogger The Savage said...

Yeah... kids are awesome....
See ya on the flip side....

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 6:25:00 AM  
Blogger Crazy Computer Dad said...

My son will be 10 in a few weeks. He is still very clingy in many ways, probably due mostly to mother abandonment, but he has really been branching out lately too. We've never had a 'fart' contest though, just light saber battles, mock fights, video game contests, thumb wars, and secret handshakes. Geocaching (www.geocaching.com) is another great thing for boy and girls to get into. It is essentially a hunt for lost treasure for those young imaginations! I have to remember to video tape an outside, night time, neighborhood lightsaber battle this year too. That should be really cool! Your children are very lucky to have such a great mom!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 6:27:00 AM  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

Those moments do make it all worth it don't they? FAB post. I can so relate, it doesn't get easier (the hugs) as they get older they become even more stingy with the love. I was dragged into a spitting contest in a rainstorm in the driveway last summer that earned me a couple of days worth of hugs...totally worth it. Plus, I won the spitting contest too, so bonus...I couldn't help but think, my mother would be so proud...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 8:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me I know all about those fleeting moments and bonding over fart noises (BTW if you really want to impress him try putting a straw just below your armpit and then blow into it. If you find just the right amount of pressure it is quite impressive and I guarantee you will be cool mom of the month)I'm lucky that my ids are all pretty affectionate and I can even eek a hug out of the 15 year old boy every now and then but those spontaneous moments are precious indeed. Once again Ms. KAR you knocked one out of the blogging park.

asklwkpf (Yes! Even this was awesome!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Wonderful post, DKG!

Just judging from what I can observe of Molly's experience, you've pretty much nailed it. Pre-teen boys (and, just to help you mentally prepare yourself, teen boys are no better) just have this sort of 'anti-magnetic' thing with moms and affection. And, at the same time, certain moms (and you and Molly would definitely seem to fit the type) seem to have this 'busting-my-buttons' thing as they begin to perceive their sons' burgeoning manhhod, which prompts them to go for more of the PDA thing, and so on, and so forth.

Molly has always been a bit of a tomboy, herself, and has actually given our boys some very helpful lessons in the art of making oneself burp. So, yeah, in their eyes, she can still rock. . .

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger ArtfulDodger said...

You learn to take those moments when they are available and not to make such a big deal out of them when they aren't, it all sorta evens out. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is to always be READY for them, cause you don't want to miss one, or be too busy to pay attention. :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

I will say that I feel that I was unfair to my mother at times. I said things as a kid that weren't nice, and no doubt I treated her poorly. But now that I am an old man, I appreciate her much more. If only I could have enjoyed it more as a kid...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Mom, having raised 3 boys by herself, had a few such moments she sometimes wishes she had back.

Having 2 daughters this instead reminds me of dressing up for tea parties. Oh, and playing test-dummy when two pre-teen girls discovered lip-gloss and needed some practice, followed by the UPS woman needing a signature. And the Pastor stopping by for a visit. Ahhh memories.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

You're right in that they are really what is the icing on the cake, even if they are few and far between. I have a 12 & 14 yr old (boy, girl) and I only get to see them every couple of weeks but I talk to them every night ... my 14 yr old would much rather spend her weekends with me with her friends rather than I. My son is cool though he he still likes to hang around dear old day, but I know that will change.

It make those moments even more special if you can't see them every day.

Great post.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'm pretty sure you actually *did* steal this whole story from a Lifetime movie.

But now I'm wondering.... Why, anatomically, would girls lose the ability to do the armpit fart as they get older?

With this knowledge, I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with adulthood. If we can't make armpit farts together... Just what do we have, then?


Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:08:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Savage - I better not actually be hearing Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" in my mind, mister...

CC Dad - From what I've been able gather from your site in the chances I've had to get there, you and your son have a pretty great thing going. And a secret desire that our light sabers actually lit up. We have the Darth Vader masks, though, so we can at least sound bad ass.

Stacie - I'll have to let you retain that spitting contest crown. I will do a lot of things, but I honestly can't ever bring myself to spit! As for the "harder it gets the older they become" thing...I'm grabbing all I can now!

Finished - your armpit technique sounds complicated and covert! Does it work on bendy straws? Because that's the only kind I'm allowed to have in the house! I rather think they'd frown on this type of behavior at the McDonald's were I to try it there with a straw pilfered from them.

Desmond - It should be known that I pretty much play the "Who loves you?" and "Give your mom a hug" games enough some days that I think they half-hearted give in just to shut me up. But sometimes I feel some genuine response behind them!

Sadly, I can't make myself burp!! The boys? They're great at it. This is, however, a skill I've never mastered. I also can't roll my tongue. Basically, what it comes down to is this - I'm a freak of nature!

Art - Everything you say here rings very true. I am never not humbled when my youngest reaches out to me on his own accord and pulls me in for some hugs. Of course, he then sometimes uses that opportunity to burp in my ear, but I have to figure that's how a 5 year old is going to show his love sometimes!

RS - Ha! An "old man." Alas, I'm sure you have wisened in your old age, and your mom knew all the things you felt for her, like I do with my own kids. I think when we're younger, we simply just don't realize it, or feel it necessary to show it.

XI - I've always wondered if girls showed their affection differently. My nieces are all about giving up the hugs and kisses, often without even having to be asked for such displays. However, my boys actually see it as a game now between us, and I suppose that has some rewards as great as an actual hug in the end. That my youngest wants to feed me plastic food he's prepared himself and my oldest clues me in on the things that interest him has got to be some form of their love.

George - I imagine you are very right. I know there are moments in my day when the boys have pushed me to the brink and I'm only counting the moments until they go to bed, but I then realize each day is an opportunity, and If I can get them to their pre-teen and teen years and still have them wanting to spend time with me, well, then, I'm sure I've done something right. As I'm sure you have, too. Thanks!

FTN - In reviewing my post, I don't see where I actually mentioned anything anatomically that would make it difficult for girls to do the armpit farting as they get older, but, of course, you figured it out on your own.

Besides, I think you just like it when I say it. So I'll scream it for you. Buckle up...



And I'll tell you what we have together -



A healthy, happy respect for them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Finished Last beat me to the Straw Fart Technique.

You can clear a room with one of those... bendy straw or not.

Great story!

Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Nah.. no Tom Petty playing sweets...
It's more like Radiohead.... Creep

Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:31:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Flutterby - I have no idea how I've gotten this far in life and not ever heard of the drinking straw/armpit fart technique! I still don't think I can pull it off, though, because I'm trying to picture what it would be like to have a straw tucked there, leaning down to blow through it and make the armpit action, too. In my mind, it looks dirty!

Savage - I'd notice if you weren't around...

Friday, May 11, 2007 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Loving this post....and dreading experiencing it at the same time. My little guy is such a momma's boy right now that it pains me to think that he won't want to cuddle one day.

Have you seen the McDonald's toy that does the armpit fart? Yes, good times. :)


Friday, May 11, 2007 1:26:00 AM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

Nice! He'll always remember that little contest. Making the parent/child relationship meaningful now means later they will be more likely to come to you. Great mom!

Getting on their level is great fun. LittleGirl loves when dad puts a pull-up (clean) on his head like a hat. We laugh hard and she explains what a pull-up is for. Reinforces the whole potty thing, is good for a laugh, and she knows I'll do anything for her. That's what matters.

Friday, May 11, 2007 9:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, he definitely sounds like a future wild college student who enjoys his beer.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nanette - Actually, it is with great pleasure that last week, while both boys were at school, I tossed out that farting Happy Meal toy.

After I played with it for a bit. Because I'm juvenile like that!

Finding Heart - Thank your for those kind words! I do hope it's these times and not the ones that are darker (probably in my eyes more than theirs) that they remember most when I'm not longer around to dispute them or defend myself!

Nocturnal - And now I'm scared...

Monday, May 14, 2007 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger SuperWife said...

Found you via FH, but am enjoying your writing immensely. This post in particular. I could totally relate to unusual bonding mechanisms. Though I have girls, they are weird girls...;)

Thanks for sharing!! And I'll be back!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Superwife - Thanks for the visit! If had but mere seconds to visit you, but I plan to be back, too.

And I wouldn't mind some girls sometimes. I simply want someone to play Barbies with!

Sunday, May 20, 2007 3:21:00 PM  

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