Monday, November 16, 2015

The Boy. (Can I Still Call Him Baby?)

We are sitting here sharing a piece of birthday cake. It's good. It's chocolate and pudding-y and sweet and it was exactly what my boy wanted for his birthday party (which was a few days ago.) An epic rager that had hot husband and I clorox wiping most of the house well into Saturday night and I'm sure I'll be finding Playdoh chips meshed with carpet fibers till I'm 70. I'm exhausted and leaden and kind of out of it today (his actual birthday) but every time he enters the room and one of us says "happy birthday! to him, he says: "fank you!" and I get a little bit lighter

And the cake! It had humpback whales on it. Whales that were sculpted from modeling chocolate and meticulously carved. He loved it! Even though he couldn't blow out the candles or deal with 20  or so booming (off key) voices singing "Happy Birthday" to him, the cake won him back to the table and right now it has him deliciously smudged in pale blue icing and dark brown crumbs.

My son, Mr. Lincoln Anthony Sgueglia, has been born many times for me. The first time, when I found out there was a new little someone cooking in my belly. The second, the day he was came out of that belly and joined his air breathing family. The third, the day he was diagnosed. The fourth, the moment the grief subsided and I let go of the son I thought I was going to raise... and on and on and on and on and on.  And this is how it goes, isn't it? We are spectators to our children's evolution, aren't we? Often active participants, but equally as often, nail-biting side-liners waiting to see what will happen next.  And when SOMETHING HAPPENS I am there to receive the newly transformed being in front of me.

Do you know him, my son? My boy? He is spectacular. He gets mad at me and tells me "I can't love you mom". He makes up with me and says "Mom! I love you so much!".  He calls his dad "My man!".  He prefers soft pants to jeans, inside to outside, his grandpa to ANYONE, pasta to protein (except for eggs and hot dogs). He won't use nick-names. Lincoln will always call you "Christopher", "Penelope", "Adelaide"; there will be no shortcuts.  He deals in absolutes. He has no ego.  He loves big boys, dogs, sharks, whales, skittles, bubble baths and Toy Story. He doesn't like liquid medicine but he'll swallow pills.

The 7 year old guy I have living in my house right now may be my most favorite iteration of LINCOLN ANTHONY SGUEGLIA to date. He's sharp and sweet and very, very much in love with me. He is Christmas in July every day of the week and today, November 16th, 2015 I wish him a very, very, very, very, very happy birthday.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Why I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love My Kid's iPhone

For your consideration, I would like to offer up the following:

Can we please not blame teens for living in the world we created for them? Can we stop with the trite "when I was your age I had one toy and it was called OUTSIDE" statements?

If you look even a little bit beyond the surface you will see an entire generation of alternative thinkers, skilled typists, talented researchers & adept self-soothers. The exact opposite of what is usually spouted off about 12-20 year olds-- that they are lazy, can't get their faces out of their phones, that they don't know how to interact socially.

I live with two people within that population and based on my anecdotal evidence they are outgoing & funny. Opinionated and proud. And they also happen to be on their devices ALL THE TIME they aren't doing homework, sports, drawing.

And when their friends come over, I witness the same behavior. Yet they all appear to be healthy, happy and well adjusted.

A theory I have on this: Social media is an outlet for them, not the end game. Kids who in past generations who may have been to shy to interact well can use platforms like SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter to expose their very cool, very unique personalities.  Smart phones and tablets and my blessed internet allow them to investigate interests that their parents may have not had the resources to provide access to, so they get "sucked in" and guess what? They learn stuff! Amazing stuff! And they talk about it! At dinner! With their families!

Downsides abound. In everything. But that's where we come in. As guides, as parents and mentors. We check the devices and see what they're looking at,  set up ground rules for what can and can't, should and shouldn't be posted on sites open to the entire www. We remind them that reading the Dictionary is the ultimate nerd pastime, that if you finally want to beat your mother at Scrabble, you'd better read a book or two. We meet them where they are and start conversations about the things they are watching, seeing. We do our job and when that balance happens, we can stop seeing a bunch of anti social, rude, disconnected teenagers.

I cringe and then I get sad every time I see and hear someone from my generation negate and vilify the world we have offered up for our kids. It's in an incredibly shocking slap in the face to them, to us!

Smartphones are not making our children rude little introverts. The internet is not robbing away childhoods right before our very eyes. With even the slightest shift of gaze, it's obvious the exact opposite is happening.

Technology is a gift, an effect of our brain's continuing evolution that has had overwhelming positive affects on our world. Why, when it comes to our kids do we hold it, them hostage?