Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (okay...almost wordless...)

Yes...this is exactly what you think it is...

A keychain of pregnant woman's body made out of clear plastic with detachable bouncy ball uterus (complete with baby inutero).

Little Mikey can snap out the uterus and play catch with his little brother long before the baby's spine is even fully developed.   Wee!

Brings new meaning to the term "bouncing baby boy."


And How Was Your Weekend?

Ahh...family trips.

You know the kind - those long weekends when you pack up the kids and travel across the country with your ex-husband and sleep in your ex-brother-in-law's room at your ex-in-laws' house to go to a bat mitzvah that is attended by other ex-relatives who hate you.   We've all been there, right??

No?

Okay then, you're probably thinking..."Wait a second.  You WENT AWAY with your ex-husband and STAYED with your ex-in-laws?!  In their house?!  Voluntarily?!"

Yeah.  I'm stupid like that.

But I had a really good reason.  We all traveled across country this weekend to go to our mutual "Niece's" Bat Mitzvah.

I am close with my Ex-husband's older brother and wife and they invited me because we agree it's important for the kids (who are always going to be cousins) to know that I am still and always will be their cousin's mother - their "aunt" in essence - if not by law.

It just made sense (or so I thought...) to go together .  The kids could see their grandparents and relatives.  And why wouldn't we stay in the same place when we're going to the same party anyway?  Good idea, right?

No.  Bad idea.  Very, very bad idea.  After ALL of the parties I've been to with my "Ex" since the separation - it JUST came to my attention this weekend that a good portion of my "Ex's" family hates me.  Like, really hates me.

I know this because I caught them talking about me.   I stood there - 5 feet away - as they ripped me apart, unaware of my existence. 

I don't know exactly what was said - every third word or so was drowned out by Beyonce suggesting all the 13 year old "Single Ladies" come out to the dance floor - but it all started with my shoes.

I wore really high platforms to the bat mitzvah.  Major party shoes.  Admittedly, incredibly insensible shoes.

They wouldn't have been such a bad choice except I'd had worn them them to another party the day before (a bar mitzvah for one of my best friends' sons was the same weekend) and my allotted "comfort" time in them had been used up.  You see, my shoes and I have an arrangement.   I can wear them.  For like a day.  For 5 hours to be precise.  And they will love me back, making me look leggy and elegant and fashionable.   But after those 5 hours are up, they turn on me.  They will no longer tolerate being molested by my sweaty feet.  They cramp my calves, they crush my toes and they make my back arch like I'm Quasi Moto.   As clear as a tired Jewish wife who doesn't want to have sex, they make sure I know they want to go back to my closet and be left alone.

And they did hold up their part of the bargain for the first party and I should have left well-enough alone.  

But I wore them again the next day.

And as I sat at a table unable to move because my feet were revolting, a family friend told me how much he liked my shoes and pointed them out to some other people.  I told him about how my grandmother had taught me "Beauty is Pain" and called her heels her "sitting shoes."  While I worshipped the woman, I was seriously questioning her theory.

A couple of my "ex- relatives" overheard the conversation, gasped at my ridiculously high shoes and called an emergency meeting of the "I hate Sarah" club to discuss my flippancy over foot health.  I sat there watching them as their hand gestures grew increasingly wild, they said mean things about me and made comments about how now that I'm divorcing my "Ex," I don't belong there and that they want nothing to do with me.

Then they saw me sitting there.  Staring at them.  Five feet away.  And they froze.  My whole body language shouted, "Seriously?  I'm right here!"

I couldn't look them in the face for the rest of the bat mitzvah.  They had burnt a hole in me.  I was sick to my stomach.

Just then my "Ex" sister-in-law came up to me,  hugged me and said "Are you having fun?  I'm so glad you're here!"  I just gave her a big hug back and toasted her with my seltzer.  Why drag her into it.  It was such a nice party.  No, it was a GORGEOUS party!  Why did some people have to be so mean.

When she left to say hi to other guests I said to the husband of one of the relatives I caught being mean "Nice to be talked about while I'm standing right here." Then I turned away and avoided eye contact with them all for the rest of the party. 

I suddenly felt so alone.  And I was in pain.  Emotionally and physically.  It was suddenly clear I didn't belong.   I was an outsider.  It didn't matter other parties before had gone well.  That they seemed to like me.  They didn't anymore.  What hurt the most was the surprise at finding all this out.  I had seriously thought we were all fine with each other.   I thought since my "Ex" and I were "okay" that everyone else was okay.  It was obvious now, I was wrong.

But I had a whole night ahead of me, so I took off my shoes so I could enjoy the party.  I sought out the passed hors d'oevres, I danced like a party girl with my 7 year old son - who it turns out is a fabulous dance partner - and ate my meals with my kids who gladly made room for me in the kiddie area.

I gabbed with whomever would talk to me (thank GOD for the few "Ex" relatives I'm still close with!  I would have been crouching in a bathroom stall if it weren't for them...), I celebrated my incredible niece, and I painted a big smile on the outside of my face.

Then I went back home (to my in-law's house), barefoot and pretty shoes in hand, and cried.

Here's what I learned.  Spending time with ex-relatives after a divorce is a bad idea (Not as bad as staying at the ex-in-laws with your soon-to-be-ex-husband and your boyfriend at the same time....don't ask) but a bad idea nonetheless.   Even if you loved them.  Even if you thought everything would be okay after the divorce.  That they still cared about you.  But the truth is no matter HOW much they liked you BEFORE the divorce, they'll hate you that much after it.  And the hate is relative to the amount of love they used to have.  Apparently, it's exponential.

And, like wearing insensible shoes you love - spending time with your "Ex's" family can feel good for a while.   But by the end of the day you're crippled by the pain.

And if you're stupid (like me), you might try to wear the shoes again - some day. 

But I can't help but wonder if I might be better off just leaving them in the closet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Normal? Not My Izzy..." Los Angeles Magazine

If you didn't get a chance to pick up this month's copy of Los Angeles Magazine, "Normal, Not Her Izzy!" is now a FEATURE on LA Mag's website.  Just CLICK HERE to read it.

Whether you have a child on the autism spectrum or not, I hope you'll enjoy this REALLY SHORT article I wrote for LA Magazine about my daughter (and maybe even leave a comment for the editor that it's the BEST article you've ever read and is there any more by this incredibly talented writer!?)

I hope you guys enjoy it.  I'm really proud of it.  And so is Izzy...I mean "Bob."

Photograph by Sarah Maizes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Formal Apology to Evan Handler (or How NOT to approach a Celebrity)

I accosted Evan Handler today.  You know, Charlotte's undefinablly sexy, menchy husband from "Sex in the City."

The poor guy never stood a chance.

He was sitting with his wife (who's really hot, by the way...) watching his kid from the "holding cell" at gymnastics.

I thought "Wow! Evan Handler!   I'd LOVE a quote from him for my book, "Got Milf?"  He'd be PERFECT!"  It took me 45 minutes to decide between respecting his personal space and just biting the bullet for the sake of the book and going over to him.  Then it took me another 45 minutes to plan my strategy and work up the nerve to approach him.  I told myself "You're a published writerAn author!  Not some person off the street.  Maybe he'd even like the idea of being quoted in a book.  Look he's reading a book.  He likes books, see?  You're halfway there!..."

Finally, I gripped a business card (unfortunately, I only had one of the crappy "back-up" business cards I had to make for BlogHer - not one of my good cards...) and I performed a surgical strike.  I went straight up to him and said:   "Hi, Mr. Handler.  I love your work I don't want to bug you even for a minute so I'll make this super quick I have a book coming out next spring and it's a pretty big book for the publisher who is Berkley they're a really big publisher and it's called Got Milf? and it's about being a hot mom but it's NOT porn it's a humor book so it's funny but anyway it's a big book for them for the spring and I know if my editor knew I saw you and didn't ask you for a quote she would kill me and I would love a quote from and you're totally perfect for a quote I have a quote already from the Executive Producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" so you see I'm the "real deal" and here is my card so if you're interested at all please feel free to check me out yourself and I promise if I see you here again I won't ever mention this again and I'm going to go and disappear right now so I don't bug you anymore.  I just had to ask because it would be so great to have a quote from you and I promise not to bother you again you have my card."

I didn't use a single comma.  Or breathe.  It just all spilled out.  Before he could tell me to f*ck off.

He smiled and said "It's nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too."

Then I turned and bolted.   My face and entire upper body burning up from embarrassment.  Did I just use the words "Real Deal?"  Yeah.  I'm an idiot.

I think I can kiss that quote good-bye.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Formal Apology to Simple Human...

Dear SimpleHuman,

Thank you for the stuff you sent me.  I'm sorry I haven't written about it even though it's been a year.  It's not personal.  It's just that I usually write up the reviews about the stuff I either really love or really hate.  It just makes for a much more "Mommy Lite-ish" story.

Your stuff is good.  Don't get me wrong.  I like it.  Not all of it.  Some of it. 

However, last night a blogger (let's call her Blogger chick) set me straight for getting a free dishrack and not writing about it.  She yelled across the table at me "You took free stuff and you didn't write about it??!!!  Did you tell them you weren't going to write about the stuff?! 

I tried to casually explain that I liked the stuff they sent.  That I e-mailed them to say I had planned to talk about it, but that I wanted to wait for the right story to work it into.  I tried to explain that Mommy Lite is a humor site - not a review site - and I try to have a consistent thread throughout my content.  I tried to explain that I'll do a review if I love or hate the stuff and I can work it into a story that's funny, or weird, or disconcerting so that it's consistent with my site content.

And while I was casually explaining my position to this woman I hardly knew she delivered a line that turned this review into a story.  "CAN YOU JUST FOCUS ON WHAT I'M SAYING TO YOU!!!!!  CAN YOU FOCUS???!!!!  ARE YOU FOCUSING??!!!  DID YOU TELL THEM OR NOT!?"

I was beside myself.  And a little afraid.  "Er...no."  I don't think I actually did anything wrong.  After all, Mommy Lite is my site.  I am in charge of my content and have a right to say what works and what doesn't.  I also don't think mediocre reviews of anything do anyone any good.   But, I said "no" to end the conversation.  Fast.

"WELL THAT'S JUST WRONG!"  She shouted across the table and group of people who all looked like they had just stumbled across a naked married couple fighting.  Awkward...

Honestly, I'm not greedy, and I was so grateful to be invited to the event.  Again...I like your stuff.  I just had no idea that a follow-up review (whether or not the blogger liked it) was such a touchpoint. 

So anyway, SimpleHuman, I've posted a review of the fabulous stuff (and the not-so-fabulous stuff thanks to this blogger chick) under my REVIEW section.

Yo, self-righteous Blogger Chick, focused enough for ya?

Co-Sleeping with the Enemy

The "family bed."

Do you know what this is? It's how psychologists refer to your bed when your children sleep with you. It's the pillow-y haven where the family nestles down together for the night, arms and legs draped across each other in a trusting, completely unprotected fashion. Soft breathing whooshes in and out of your little angels' puckering, lightly parted lips while their dry warm bodies cuddle into your scooping frame and together you recreate the feel of your womb.

Well, I don't like it.

And I confirmed this to myself last night when I let my son sleep in my bed.

I'm not big on co-sleeping. I've never been big on it. I know it works for some people. I however can't have anyone else in my bed. Ever. Even when my boyfriend sleeps over, he is relegated to one side of the bed. If he crosses the line there are consequences. Consequences that usually involve sex being withheld. Or a lot of scowling.

And here's something they don't tell you. Kids are pointy. They have elbows, knees, heels, chins and cheek bones. And all these parts move. A lot. Especially when they're sleeping. I needed shin guards and a face mask to protect myself from the onslaught of kicking, smacking, stretching.

And then there was the grinding. Somewhere around 2AM I woke to a sound like nails on a chalkboard...Grrrriiitttttt.....gggrrrrraaaaaatttttt....griitt....gggrrrrrrriiiiittttttttttt. My son was grinding his teeth in his sleep. Who knew such tiny teeth could make so much noise?

Shortly thereafter came the snoring. Loud snoring. Like, old man snoring...

And kids are much bigger than they look.

I've also let my oldest daughter sleep in my bed on occasion and I am always surprised to see how she unfolds to five times her natural size. I call her "Origami Girl" because it's like her body is a folded paper design and at night the whole paper unfolds all over my bed. My son is a smaller origami form, but he takes up more room than my boyfriend. And he’s only 7. It's unreal.

And let me introduce you to my son’s favorite stuffed animal, Funky Chicken, who spent the night staring at me with his wide chicken eyes. I'd wake up and there was funky chicken. Watching. Waiting. I'm not sure for what. Maybe for me to hit REM so he could prod Ben to shift positions. Why would I think this? Well, at 4AM I was jolted awake by a kick to my thigh. My son was now sleeping sideways. Across my bed. Across me. There is no doubt in my mind this was Funky Chicken's idea of retribution for putting him in a washing machine a few weeks earlier.

And then, of course,...there was the "accident." (Don't tell my boyfriend though because he doesn't know - and it was on his side of the bed...).

I won’t go into details, but let me just say that upon waking the bed was immediately stripped and cleaned.

I know there are moms out there who love this experience. I totally "get" the love you feel when you look at their tiny sleeping faces smushed up on the pillow. I totally "get" the feeling of protectiveness you experience by having them so close and I completely "get" why kids sleep so well in their parents beds. Yeah, yeah. All very sweet and cute.

But unfortunately the one thing about the "Family Bed" I didn't "get" at all is one of the things I cherish most.

Sleep.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Independence Day...

Today is Independence Day!

After three months of sleeping late, weekday sleepovers, all day tv, video games galore and asking me every five seconds "What are we doing today?" finally the kids are back in school.

The summer seemed to last forever.  We did TWO sessions of sleepaway camp, one mini sleepaway camp, life in another state, a whole month back home swimming, hiking, cooking, anything and everything we could do to keep the kids busy.

But now they're at school and I'm FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!

This morning, I got home after dropping the kids off and the house was empty.  Blissfully empty.

I almost didn't know what to do with myself.   Then I remembered...grocery shopping, hanging shelves, organizing clothes, cleaning, cooking, writing two articles by 5 pm and bathing the guinea pigs, running carpools, and filling out back-to-school paperwork.

Yup.  I can feel the freedom.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shana Tova!

Some of you might be wondering if Shana Tova is the name of some hot new Rap star.

It's not.  (But wouldn't that be a great name?)

"Shana Tova" means "Happy New Year" in Hebrew.  (don't ask me to say anything else in hebrew, I can't...)

So, you might have guessed by now,  I'm Jewish.  In the "cultural" sense, as I like to say.  What that means is I'm not religious or anything, but I really like diamonds.

I don't like to talk about religion because, personally, I think organized religion divides people.  And as a mom myself, I just don't believe that if there is a God, she wants to sit around all day listening to us fight.  But I do like the rituals, traditions, and the feeling you get by being a part of something bigger than yourself, and since I was raised Jewish, well, I'm raising my kids Jewish.

Or so I thought.

This morning we woke up early and got ready to spend the day doing what Jews do when they celebrate a holiday;  feel guilty, apologize a lot, then eat.

I got all of my kids dressed in their nicest outfits, brushed their teeth and I even managed to get Livi to do something with her hair.

As we got into the car to go to synagogue, Livi asked, "Are we going to Church?"

Obviously, we don't go very often.  And perhaps the Christmas lights we hang just confuse them.

Anyway, Jewish or not, I want to wish YOU - ALL of my awesome, amazing, and hilarious readers for whom I am SO GRATEFUL - health, happiness and a lifetime of laughter.

xo,
Sarah

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lost lost tooth: Oxymoron? Or just moronic?

My son JUST lost his front tooth.

Five minutes later he lost it again.  Somewhere on the kitchen floor.

After wiggling it, twisting it, and biting heartily into a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich he finally lost the tooth that's been loose for more than a month.

He was so excited he put it on a napkin right next to him.  So he could watch it and admire the bloody,  gleaming, "Chicklety" nature of it while he ate his lunch.

Then as he swiped his hand across the table to show all of us at the table how a "sandwich rocket" flies, he sent his tooth sailing.

You may recall, my son is a bit clumsy and somewhat "unaware" of his body as it moves through space, but this was a record "accident"... even for him.

If I were a better housekeeper this wouldn't have been a problem at all.  But unfortunately, it's been a couple days since I've swept (yes...ew...I know, I know...I just forgot).

Unfortunately, we'd had Matzoh Ball soup and these teeny tiny square crackers for dinner last night and I think there may have been tortilla chips involved in the lunch prior to that because the ENTIRE floor was covered in beige and white, tooth-sized crumbs.  It was like finding a needle in a crumbstack.  EVERYTHING looked like it could be the tooth.

I offered the kids a quarter to whomever found the tooth and we all ducked below and began searching.

I spotted something red and a little meaty looking.

"I FOUND IT!"

"YAY, MOMMY!" Ben shouted.

I triumphantly picked up the small red chunk to examine it. 

"Oh.  It's pizza.  Never mind."

I forgot.  We'd had pizza two nights ago.  I put the bit of pizza into a napkin so I wouldn't confuse it for the tooth again.

20 minutes later, we were all still scouring the floor examining small pieces of dried chicken, crackers, tortilla chips and more pizza hoping to find the tooth in this haystack of crumbs.  It was hopeless.  And a little disgusting.

I waved the white flag.

"You know what Ben?  I hear the tooth fairy is really nice and you can just right her a note to say you accidentally lost the tooth and can't find it."

"Can you write the note for me?"

"No.  That's part of the deal.  She'll recognize the tooth loss, but you have to write the note yourself."

Yup.  He bought it.

"Don't get excited, sometimes she doesn't come."  Said Livi - having learned from her own experience with the tooth fairy (see "One Flakey Fairy").

"No, no.  She'll come.  She just gets really busy sometimes." I said sweeping up the remnants of our last few meals. If the tooth was there, it was now going bye-bye with all the crumbs.  I was a little sad about it.  It was such a cute tooth.

Anyway, he was satisfied with the resolution and is now writing his letter to the tooth fairy.  I'm cleaning my floor.

I would love for one of my kids to lose a tooth without any drama.  Of course, I realize my part in this.  I should be cleaner.  I need to be cleaner.  I WILL be cleaner - starting right now!  New rule - NO teeth on the table.


SIX HOURS LATER...

We found the tooth!  We sat down to dinner and it was on his chair.  Obviously, in cleaning the floor it didn't dawn on me to clean the chairs.  I'm really not good at this "cleaning" business. 

YAY!  Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crabby Fish Man

I like mussels.  (I think that may be from an 80's song...) 

So when I went to the farmers market this past Sunday and saw a fish man there selling fresh mussels, I was excited.

I asked the guy.  Are they debearded?  I only knew to ask this because I always see "make sure the mussels are debearded" in my recipes.  I've never actually had to debeard a mussel so I assumed his answer would be yes.  I just like to be thorough.

"No" he said.

"Oh...Can you show me how to do it?"

Exasperated by my lack of seafood preparation knowledge the annoyed fish man held up a sole mussel, pointed to the beard on it (a bunch of stringy weird seaweedy-like threads) and gave it a yank.

"Like that!"

He was the crabbiest fish man I'd ever met.  I commented on this to another mom standing next to me.  She agreed.  

"Does that hurt?  Them I mean?"

He looked at me like I was the stupidest person in the world, said "I don't know" and tossed the mussel back into the bucket.

"Mom!  Don't buy fish!  Fish are being extinct!"  Said Izzy.

"They're not being extinct - they're becoming extinct.  And they're not.  At least not these."  I didn't need one more ecologically motivated restrictions on my life.

I turned to the crabby fish man.  "The Pacific Salmon are being over-fished though, right?"  I hoped he would nod and let me buy my mussels without my daughter chastising me.

"They're ALL being overfished!  Soon we won't have any!"  That didn't seem like a very savvy thing to say saleswise.  Wow.  Crabby AND poor judgement.

I decided to buy the mussels anyway.  Like I said.  I likes me some mussels.

"I'll take 2 lbs."  As if I was unworthy of his bearded mussels, he tossed them in a bag and took my money.
When I got home and poured them into a colander and started to clean them.

Livi and Ben noticed I was doing something unusual and descended on me like fruit flies on a ripe peach.  "Whatcha doin?"

Making mussels.

What's a mussel?

It's a kind of fish.

What are you doing to them?

Washing them.

Are you keeping them?

No.  I'm going to cook them.

Are they alive?

Yes.

"Can we keep them?  As pets?"  I should have seen that coming. 

No.  I'm going to eat them.

WHAT?!

I'm going to eat them.

NOoooooo!

Yeessssssss!

"Awwwww.  That's so sad."

"No it's not.  They don't mind."  

They watched me lift each one and grab the little beard and yank it off.

"Does that hurt them?"

That's when it dawned on me...stupid questions make a fish man crabby.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'll Show You My Balls!

Something potentially incredibly embarrassing happened the other day.  Not to me, to my son...so it's all good.

We live on a little back street off a major road in LA.  It's tucked away so it's quiet and all the kids ride their bikes around in the summer afternoons.  We had some friends over with their girls for  an evening of bike riding (the kids) and sangria (for the grown-ups who had to sit around watching them on the curb).

The neighborhood boys saw us out on the street and came to ride with us.  They're great kids really.  But boys will be boys...and they're growing up fast. 

They decided it would be fun to stake claim to a patch of land on someone's yard and tell the girls they couldn't be there.  Of course nothing tells a group of girls "Get over here!" more than a group of boys saying "Don't come over here."

And every time the flock of girls - which is how they travel - rode by their "claimed patch" they'd taunt them - you know, just to send a message (the message obviously being "keep coming over, I'll keep taunting you, and together we'll have the best time ever."

I think the first remark was something like "Your bike is girly" and progressed to something like "Boys are faster than girls!"  These comments shocked and offended the girls SO much they had to keep riding by to see if they'd heard them right, squeal confirmation of their offendedness, and pedal IMMEDIATELY back to the grown-ups to report each and every affront.

Then Livi came back with "MOM!  Do you know what _____ said?  He said "Are you skinny or are you fat?"

It's not that the remark was so bad - I just didn't like where it was going.  But I knew how to put a stop to it.   I would use my "clever" adult abilities and "experience" to show those boys who they were dealing with.  MY girls wouldn't be victims.   I would make Livi look "cool" and that would shut them down once and for all.

So, I suggested she go back to the group of boys and say "Are you stupid or are you dumb?"  Scott looked at me like I was crazy.  My friends looked at me like I was crazy.  Clearly, I was crazy.  I just didn't know it...yet.  Damn, Sangria.

Off she pedaled.  Armed with her/my witty response.

Not 10 seconds later..."MOOOOooooooooom!"  Livi came pedaling back.  "Do you know what _____ said?  He said 'Not as dumb as you!!'"

Touche´.

And now I understood why kids shouldn't engage in verbal combat.  It escalates.  I hadn't counted on that. Wow.  Bad call.

So I told her, "You know what, honey?  I was wrong.  You shouldn't have said that.  I mean.  I shouldn't have told you to say that.  It was a really bad idea.  Just ignore them."

But I was too late.  I had fed the war.  The "lines" had been crossed and now this was going to be a game of one-upsmanship for all of them.  Girls on one side, boys on the other and they would taunt and torment each other til someone "won" - which meant someone ended up crying.  Most likely, it would be one of my kids.

"Seriously.  Don't go over there.  I was COMPLETELY wrong to tell you to say something back - it only makes the fight worse (of course, it would have been better if I'd accepted this premise 1 minute earlier).  This is a bad idea you guys.  Just leave them alone."

But the girls were already in a circle formation.  Plotting, planning, giggling about the things they could do to torment the boys who were waiting for their retaliation on their little plot of grass down the street.

They biked back to them.  Circling them the older boys like a bunch of codfish taunting a pool of sharks.  So, so naive.

And poor Ben.  Ben just kept practicing basketball and throwing hoops.  Alone.  In the driveway.  Stuck in a netherworld.  Unwilling to join the girls because it would show his support for them and he would lose his "manly status", and too shy (and inwardly loyal to the girls) to go join the boys.

Well, the taunts escalated (surprise, surprise - at one point I heard from Izzy that one of the boys said "your mother smells."  But I figured I deserved it).  Until finally the girls came back and said "They said we have no balls!"

I knew what the boys were saying, Scott knew what they were saying, my friends knew what they where saying.  The girls, did NOT.

So Livi said "I think we should tell them we DO have balls, but they can't see them!"

"YEAH!  A friend chimed in!"  And off they pedaled.

Of course we were howling with laughter.  It was absolutely not a good parenting moment but my God it was funny.

They came back and said "We told them we have balls and they're invisible!"

And THAT'S when Ben chimed in.  He was indignant.  "You CAN'T lie about having balls!  It's not right!  I'm going over there right now and showing them our balls!"

I couldn't let him do that.

He's at least one year younger than the youngest boy in the group and we have NO idea how long we'll be living on that street.  I couldn't let him march over there with an armful of all the balls we own (which is a lot) to show them that we do indeed have balls.  I couldn't!  He would NEVER live it down!

"Ben.  You can't do that."

"Why?????!"

"Because you can't.  They don't need to see our balls.  They know it's a joke.  They're fine."

"It's wrong to lie.   I have to show them our balls!"

Of course, with this, my friends and Scott were rolling in the street, laughing so hard, falling off the curb crying (we're really immature).  I tried SO hard to keep a straight face.  It was so hard. 

"Ben.  Trust me.  I'm doing you a favor.  You don't want to do that."

"I do!"

"No.  You don't.  You think you do now.  But trust me.  Later you'll thank me.  Let it go."

"But it's the right thing to do."

"It's not.  Go play."

He was SO incensed.  He couldn't BELIEVE I wouldn't let him show them his balls.  How dishonest I could be!

"Come on, it's time for dinner."  I tried to divert him.

All the girls came inside and washed up.  Ben had a grey huffy cloud over his head because he wasn't allowed to prove that we really had balls and his sister was lying.  He was mad.  He wanted to do what was right even if it meant defying the girls and facing a posse of older boys alone - with an armful of balls - just to stand up for what he believed in.  

And even though he didn't get to, I think it's evident.  My son has balls.  Anyone can see that.

I just don't think he has to show them to everybody.

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