Sex and the Pre-teen

In this motherhood journey I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m balancing what I should share with Munch and when. It’s a juggling act. Do I want to take away his innocence early or wait until later? I’m rambling about…the sex talk. I’m wondering, when is the appropriate age to talk about sex with your children?

I have a boy and for all intents and purposes he’s still pretty innocent. He turns off songs with bad words in them or inappropriate subjects. He still watches Disney Jr. and Nick Kids. He just recently started watching The Thundermans on Nickelodeon about a superhero family. I’m wondering if broaching sex now will change him somehow.

My mother never talked about sex with me. I learned at school in the sixth grade with all the other children. Not that I was thinking about sex or anything, but I had started my cycle before then so I had no idea what was happening to me. It was as though the sex talk was somehow taboo.

Children are growing up faster now than when I was a child and I don’t want Munch learning something from the kids at school or in the streets. I want to give him all the information to make informed decisions. I want to teach him how to love and cherish his body and to not treat sex as a rites of passage. It’s your body that is a temple that we should use to honor God.

But, I don’t want to be naïve and think that he may never do it, so I struggle with how much to tell him and when?

My best friend has a son one year older than mine and I asked her had she talked to him about sex? She said no. He’s not mentally ready yet. So, I’m wondering do we wait until our children are mentally ready to have the sex conversation or do we overload them with information now in hopes that they will choose to not engage in sexual activity until marriage?

Yes, Munch knows about his body and boundaries. I’ve made sure that he calls his genitalia by the proper terminology. I’ve explained that a doctor can only examine you with mommy and/or daddy in the room. He is now getting shy and embarrassed when a doctor has to examine his penis during his annual visits. However, is it too soon to have the sex talk?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

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Gifts of Gratefulness

I’ve been really going through it lately. Being introspective. Being in prayer. Being observant of the things and people around me.

I’ve had this writer’s block and I didn’t know what to say. This mood. This is a funk that I’m in. It’s been rough. But, in my funk I had an epiphany as to what I should write about…being grateful.

So, that’s what I decided to do. Write about what matters to me. The moments of gratitude that I have that never ever seem to diminish no matter what is going on around me.

One of the things that I’m most grateful for is Munch. He’s amazing. A few weeks ago, we had a packed weekend of activities including a paint night. He had been asking to attend and I was happy to oblige.

But, he’s also a ten year old who still gets upset about things. He acted out when he didn’t like his photo that he was painting and he wanted a whole new canvas. I was fit to be tied at his behavior.

I politely explained that is not how it works and it is supposed to be fun not stressful or perfect. He was not understanding. It made it worse when another parent said “I love your duck”. He replied with tears in his eyes “It’s not a duck it’s a dolphin.” She was awesome because she didn’t miss a beat and said “Oh, it is a dolphin, I’m sorry I couldn’t see because your mom’s arm was in my way.”

I smiled. Just like that. She made my son feel better. Mothers do that right? They sense the uneasiness in a child that may not be their own and they come in and try to soothe their spirit. I smiled and said “Thank you.” He sighed. He was still disappointed.

It was distressing to watch him unravel over a painting. I tried to comfort and talk to him. It wasn’t working. He asked to throw his picture away. I said no.

Later that evening when he was speaking to my mom she asked him how it went. He explained that he threw a tantrum because he was upset over his painting and how I was hurt at his behavior. She asked him what happened. They talked. I think he began to understand.

The next morning he apologized for his behavior. He said he loves me. He hugged and kissed me. I said “Okay”.

I know Munch is still young so he doesn’t understand the gratefulness of spending time alone with Mommy or being appreciative and accepting of his choices, but it didn’t make me love him any less. I was grateful for our one on one time. I was grateful for our mutual love for art. I was grateful for making memories. I was grateful for time.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Parenting Fail: Cleaning Out The Closets

A couple of weeks ago I was frustrated by all the clothes and toys that Munch had outgrown and the fact that I had yet to set an appointment for Purple Heart to come pick them up. With a steadfast determination I selected my appointment and packed up his room of too small clothes, brand new jeans and shirts (I forgot they were in his closet and had never been worn – please don’t judge me) and toys to donate. I needed to have order in the chaos of his room.

Now, before I go further let me pause and tell you that my son is a stuffed animal hoarder. He truly is. He needs to be on a show. He doesn’t care if there is no room to sleep on his bed. He loves stuffed animals. In the last year he had over 100 stuffed animals and played with maybe 5 consistently. His favorite is this stuffed dog that he got for his second birthday that is still holding on. I’ve washed and sewn up the holes multiple times. It needs to be refilled with stuffing. But, that dog (whom he affectionately named Puppy Thomas) remains firmly on his bed as he sleeps with it while at my house.

As I began to get the toys and clothes bagged up, I left the stuffed animals on his bed alone. He slept with them and they weren’t bothering me, but the rest had to go. I needed to make room. All in all there were 9 bags of clothes, shoes and toys that were put out for the van to pick up that morning.

Munch watched me lug those bags down the stairs and out the front door with nary a question or look. I had to get it together. I was on a mission for some form of organization and Munch didn’t question it.

However, that didn’t last long.

Last night when I was tucking him into bed (yes, I still do that) he asked about the bags of stuffed animals. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. “What about them Munch?” I said. “Well, where is it?” he questioned. I replied “Munch I donated them to Purple Heart a couple of weeks ago. You saw me take the bags outside.” He said “But Mommy, all my stuffed animals were in that bag.” I reminded him that he hadn’t played with any of the animals in the bag in the last 11 months. He said “Mommy, my Alvin and the Chipmunks were in the bag. You got those for me last Christmas.” He started crying.

I didn’t know what to do. I mean I went through the same thing as a kid when my mom started donating my toys behind my back, so I could relate to his 10 year old pain. Had I become my mother? The giver of things without my input or knowledge?

I tried to comfort him and explain that I didn’t look in the bag and that I didn’t know the Chipmunks were in the bags. Truthfully, I should have because isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Remember to do everything?

Those are his favorite plush animals and he watches Alvin and The Chipmunks on Hulu faithfully. I didn’t know what to say. I felt bad. He hugged his puppy and just cried. He asked “Are you going to give away puppy one day?” “No, I would never give away puppy” I told him. I kissed him good night and told him how much I loved him. He sniffled and muttered “I love you too.”

I felt heartless and did the only thing I thought could make this better. I caved and went on-line to order them again. I remembered ordering those stuffed animals for Christmas 2016. I remembered Munch being so excited to get them because he loved the Chipmunks. I went in search of these particular plush animals. I found them on the Fisher Price website and on Amazon. I ordered them on Amazon because it was free shipping and with my discount I was able to get them sooner and with free shipping. Crisis handled.

I needed a drink. But, I didn’t grab a bottle of Chardonnay. Instead, I went into his room and told him that I’m sorry and that I ordered him Alvin and the Chipmunks again because I knew how much he loved them. I told him it came with Brittany. He smiled and closed his eyes.

All is well in the house tonight. It may not be well tomorrow or the next. But, I am loving the fact that I went from villain to hero in 10 minutes. I guess I’m doing something right?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Get a Plan

My visit to the ER was the scare that I needed that had my worst fears going at 100 miles per hour. Death. Heart attack. I had to make a change.

I am still restricted from working out due to surgery, but I needed to come up with a plan. It hit me the following week when I had Munch with me.  I noticed that Munch struggled to get out of the pool. He was literally throwing his body on the pool floor and trying to lift his weight up out the pool. It was rough to watch.

Two things happened when I saw that. First I realized that he was not utilizing the ledge in the inside of the pool to step on (which was weird as heck) but second I realized that we both needed to get healthy and increase our upper body strength. This was my opportunity to do it with Munch.

So, I reached out to my fellow blogger, David, over at Chape’s Fitness and asked for some suggestions. You know what? He gave them to me. He gave me some work out plans to help strengthen my ten year old son’s upper body. We had a plan. So, the next thing was to figure out how to tell Munch.

I casually mentioned it to him last week that we needed to work on his upper body strength, but I don’t think he got it. So, when he comes home tonight we will talk about our fitness goals. We will do this together. Not just Munch.

My plan is for us to do the following:

• Step on the scale and write down our weight

• Follow the plan that David sent over together

• Walk the track at the high school down the street when the temperature goes down

• Go to the pool together

• Eat more fresh veggies with our meals and less carbs (he loves rice and I love bread)

• Hydrate by drinking our water

• Track our steps – I just bought a Fitbit and I’m looking to get Munch one.

I don’t expect it to be easy, but I’m hoping that he will enjoy just doing these things with me. That it will allow us the opportunity to get meaningful workouts in and just enjoy getting healthy together. I need to strengthen my core, keep my heart strong and be here for Munch.

I want us to both be healthier. I’m not trying to kill him, but I want our health to be a priority. I want to model the behavior that I’m trying to get him to adopt. Healthier choices. More exercise. Keeping our heart healthy and living longer.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

*Mothering Violence

I had to share this post because I’m a mother and in between watching your son grow up, shuffling him to activities and helping with homework and watching him sleep at night, you pray that you will never ever have to bury a child. But, this mother and many mothers do have to bury their son’s.

via *Mothering Violence

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Random Thoughts – 06.20.18

Last week I was drinking some water and spilled half the bottle of water on my computer. My computer won’t cut back on. I sighed. I complained. I wanted to cry. Heck, Munch did cry because he wanted to play a Sonic The Hedgehog game on my computer. I didn’t stay in the place of despair.

I quietly said a prayer and ordered a new computer. It’s been 3 years. It was unfortunate, but I’m going to be spending a lot of time this year writing and blogging so I need a working computer. I also need to work with Munch this summer with typing as he will now be typing his papers for English class. I guess it died when it needed to. But, thank God that I could afford another one.

I’m feeling better mentally and physically. Mentally about my break-up and physically with my body. I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. I can’t wait to get back to the gym. I learned some interesting things about my body during this process, but it was all good. I started making a list again – yes a list. A list of qualities that I want in a partner since it’s been a while dating other people. Ya’ll know I kissed a lot of frogs before meeting Mr. C, so I’m not looking forward to the frog kissing stage, but I’ll be dating.

I’m probably looking more to spending this summer living my best life and focusing on me and enjoying each day. I have some things planned with Munch and I’m getting serious about my book. I’ve done the outline and I’m just trying to get the short stories together to develop it into the masterpiece I pray it will be.

I have a busy summer with Munch. Between his swimming, private flute lessons and summer camp I’m adding tutoring at Mathnasium so that he can stay fresh in math and that he can work through these word problems. I discovered this year that Munch likes to just work on a math problem on a computer, but he won’t pull out a piece of paper and pencil and work the problem first before answering the question. This leads to many failed tests. That’s something we’ll be working on.

Between the beach and the trip home to Tennessee it will go by quickly. I won’t be taking any long trips because I exhausted leave for my surgery and I’ve only been at my job for two years so I don’t have much leave. Oh, today is my 2 year work anniversary. I still love my job. I consider myself blessed.

That’s about it for the random things in my life right now. How are you? Any exciting plans?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Your Shoes are Fake – Continued

In last week’s post I explained how Munch was hurt because this girl at school was telling him his shoes were fake. Sitting in the car listening to my young man hurt about something that I never thought he would have to deal with really punched me in the gut. What do fourth grade children know about name brands or fake stuff? Where do you even buy fake tennis shoes? Who are the parents of these children and what values are we teaching them.

I called a few of my male friends to get their perspective on the situation and what I should I tell Munch. The advice was pretty much consistent because they have sons who went through something similar or they were young men who dealt with this at one point in their lives. They said to tell him to ignore it.

But, one of my friends who was born and raised in Washington, DC said that other areas around the country are not as “up on the latest fashion and tennis shoe styles as the Washington, DC metropolitan area”. He told me to explain to Munch that “if someone comes up to you more concern about the shoes you’re wearing and the clothes on your back more so than the content of your character or who you are then that’s probably someone you should not play with.” Great answer, right?

So, I told Munch exactly what he said and he seemed to take it all in and just listen. But, when he saw my brother the next day and my brother complimented him on his shoes Munch said “But, people are saying my shoes are fake”. My brother told Munch that there is nothing fake about his shoes and he had a pair when he was in the 11th grade. He explained that they are Jordan Trunners and designed for runners. He told Munch “to tell the kids that his shoes are not fake and his uncle owns many pairs of Jordans and that they are real.” Munch seemed to accept that.

It’s funny because in many ways Munch seems to accept what other adults tell him over me because he views me as always loving him and telling him what he wants to hear. My brother made it better for Munch. Although, I wish I could have, I’m thankful that Munch knows that there are men there who will tell him the truth. Ugh, I wonder what 5th grade will be like.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Happy Father’s Day

To all you wonderful men out there that are fathers or who are role models to young men and women. We salute and honor you for being you. Your continued support is invaluable to our children.

I pray that you have an amazing day and you know how appreciated and valued you are.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Your Shoes are Fake

I sat there stunned thinking about all the times that I’ve heard the saying that “women can’t raise boys because they can’t teach boys how to be men”. Today I wondered was there any truth to it. I mean Munch and I are really close and I know he’s still innocent, but would I be able to navigate him through the trials of life when he comes to me with a situation? I honestly felt inadequate at that moment.

I thanked God for the opportunity to love and raise this little boy and for all the men in my life that I call friends to help me navigate unknown territory because it was them that I called on for advice. So, here’s what happened…Munch’s feet are growing like crazy. He’s gone from a kids size 7 shoe into a men’s 9 shoe in one years time. Honestly, he only has a little room in the 9 and he’ll be off into a 9 1/2 shoe probably by the end of summer. I wasn’t ready.

He’s 10. He hasn’t gone through puberty yet. Do you know how much men’s shoes cost? I have always believed that my son should have nice clothes and shoes. It was something that I felt was required because he should always be presentable. That said he will always have name brand tennis shoes. I prefer Nike, but will buy a nice running shoe as he’s hard on his tennis shoes as evident in his daily playground time.

We went to the store last weekend and I had him try on tennis shoes to find the ones he liked. Munch hates tying his shoe laces and so we found a great pair of Jordan’s with no laces. Perfect for the remainder of school and through the summer. He hated shoe shopping and we wrapped it up and headed home.

He was excited to wear his new shoes to school on Monday and off he went. But, on Tuesday when I picked him up he asked me “Mommy, are my shoes fake?” I was stunned. Munch knows nothing of name brand shoes. I had gotten his shoes on sale at Foot Locker and stores don’t sell fake shoes. I responded “No baby, why would you ask me that?” He began to tell me how a girl at school had told him that his shoes are fake and that they aren’t real. He said that she told another little boy and they were saying the same thing. He said she told me to take off my shoes so she can see them.

I was livid. I calmed myself and explained this one rule…never take off your shoes. That’s how someone can steal your shoes. I told him to ignore her. To tell her that your mom doesn’t buy you fake stuff and to mind her business. But, I wondered was it enough? Was I equipping my son with the sharp witted skills required to respond to ignorance?

I called three male friends who are parents and asked for their advice. I needed help. What am I supposed to do to encourage my Munch?

-To Be Continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Skipah’s World

When I got an email from Double T recently asking if I wouldn’t mind spewing my special brand of B.S. on her website while she would be down for a bit, to say I leaped at the chance would be an understatement.  I mean seriously, one of the most intelligent women I have the pleasure to call a colleague in the blogosphere asked this college flunky for a post, I would have been an idiot not to say yes.  That still doesn’t excuse the fact I’m an idiot, but I mean we are talking DOUBLE EFFING T asked ME for a guest post.

Double T is one of my sisters from a different mister.  We’ve both dealt with divorce, single parenting, and the mysterious phenomena known as family law.  It’s been so long ago I’m not exactly sure what brought our paths together.  It’s the wonderful thing about being a regular blogger, you meet people (not literally, but Double T and I almost did meet last year when I was in her part of the world for a couple of days).  I just remember reading some of her earlier posts about her precious “Munch,” and it just brought a warm and fuzzy smile to my face.  I was in the middle of an ugly custody battle that I ultimately lost and reading Double T’s blog and how much she looked out for Munch always had a connection with me.

Plus Double T and I are similar bloggers.  We just speak what is on our mind for the most part.  Baby momma/daddy does something stupid, we put them on blast with our words.  Remember now I’m an idiot, it cost me a ton of money legally, but I’m still pounding out meaningless words on a keyboard and meeting interesting characters along the way.

So who am I?  I’m the Skipah, a nickname that has stuck with me since I was a young teenager.  I got into this crazy little world of blogging back when I was blindsided by a divorce in 2014 fresh off a three day stay at the hospital after an unsuccessful attempt at perfecting the Klonopin diet.  I thought eating thirty of them would help me sleep a little better or, like, forever, but thankfully it didn’t.  In a state of confusion that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, I thought what the hell let’s start a blog.  Second chance on life, no reason to go back to the status quo and thus, Skipah’s Realm was born.

What started out as a nightly series of my own personal “keyboard” therapy as I was figuring out life while going through a divorce and one of the nastiest custody battles this area has ever seen quickly morphed into a passion.  The early days of my blogging career were literally me figuring out life on the fly, looking out for my daughter every way I could, and learning very quickly that the aforementioned family law game doesn’t work on common sense and facts.  More like the best lawyer(s) and the threat of a suicide attempt held over your head at every turn.  Of course, my little digital love child definitely didn’t help, and I learned quickly that a family law judge can pretty much make up the rules as he sees fit regardless if they are considered “legal” under criminal court.

Always centered around my daughter first and everything second, my blogging days morphed into just telling my story on a semi regular basis in hopes that some soon to be divorced dad would maybe stumble upon my little sector of the internet and figure out that life doesn’t end with an unwanted divorce.  In fact it is quite the opposite. Your child(ren) become your rock and keep you distracted when yet another legal bill comes in the mail and you are torn between peanut butter crackers or a can of Campbell’s soup for dinner because frankly that is all you can afford! After my divorce and suicide attempt, I really don’t get to rattled now when things don’t go my way.  Sure I bitch and moan (I am a man after all), but at the end of the day things usually seem to work themselves out.

Blogger world got a whole lot more interesting for me though on July 28, 2015.  I had been on a few dates post divorce, some went ok, one went into the batshit crazy zone, and one inconspicuous date had me travelling 45 minutes from home to this podunk little piece of Americana better known as Madison, Indiana.  Coincidentally it would be the last date I would go on with someone I had never met.

When Miss Madison (now my wife) walked into the land of Skipahsphere, that next year was easily the most fun I’ve had in blogging.  Between her, my daughter’s former KGB spy hamster (now deceased…R.I.P. Hammy), my future step-children, and good lord all the travelling Miss Madison introduced me to, Skipah’s Realm was a fun place to visit from time to time when you were missing out on something to read while killing time at the airport or sitting in the car rider line at school.

My proudest blogging accomplishment would be back when I did a little freelance work for Credit.Com and had an article featured in the financial section of Time.Com and the Yahoo finance page, as well as a few of the bigger newspapers in the country.  When I received a grant to go to the Dad 2.0 Blogger Conference in San Diego last year was pretty exciting also.  Throw in some big ticket product reviews and overall my career as a blogger has been eye opening to say the least.  What started out as my personal therapy really grew into something I would have never thought back when I hit publish for the first time.

So anytime you are bored and need to something to read to fall asleep, come on over to Skipah’s Realm.  These days it’s a series of bad jokes, me bitching about millennials, enjoying life with my new family, and currently trying to get this damn pool cleared up in our new house we just moved into a few months ago!  It’s never dull and boring around here, so come on by, hell you never know what we are up to around here!

Now before I go, my mom would rip my ass if I didn’t thank my buddy Double T for the opportunity to say a little piece on her site.  When I get back to the D.C. area I’ve already promised Double T dinner on me and we are eating some of the finest seafood the Chesapeake Bay can offer!  Give “Munch” a high five from me, and keep doing what you are doing as a single mom!

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This post was submitted by my friend Gary over at Skipah’s Realm. Check him out.