Friday, January 27, 2012

Something Right

He's been badgered, picked-on, hen-pecked, nagged, and tormented. He can't seem to get a word in  most of the time without being interrupted or corrected or talked-over. He knows--completely against his will--every girl power song by heart, including all the lyrics to the Mama Mia soundtrack. I feel for the kid, but I have no idea how to change this situation. Come on, as a newborn, he came home from the hospital --wrapped in a pink blanket-- to a house full of Barbies and baby dolls. I honestly don't know if he'd know how to act if all the estrogen was somehow magically sucked from our home. He'd probably plug in Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift, just so he could function normally.

During his short 12 years, the kid has been dressed as girl, had his Buzz Lightyear tent turned into a princess castle, and forced to compete in Dance Party 2 showdowns. He's had his Lego sculptures pulverized, his Star Wars marathons cut short, and his boyscout uniforms turned into Halloween costumes. He's had his brows plucked and his hair gelled. And through it all, he has remained such a guy! His favorite part of AFV is always the crotch shot section. He wishes everyday were Independence Day, just for an excuse to blow stuff up. Heck, last week he watched 4 full days of televised car auctions, interspersed with sports, of course. Only a guy could handle that, let alone enjoy it!

And yet, even surrounded with baby dolls and Barbies and Justin Bieber, Frank somehow figured out how to be the best kind of boy and the best kind of brother. His sisters don't know how good they've got it. Recently several of Kate's college friends and Sophie's high school friends have figured it out, though. They all want to marry him. I think when Frank grows up, he's gonna have to move to Utah.

It's curious that out of all my children, Frank is who has brought home the most demerit cards. ( For those non-Catholic parents, the demerit card is Catholic school's card stock, tangible admission of guilt, stamped by teachers and presented to parents, displaying a record of misbehavior,eventually resulting in the dreaded DETENTION!) I don't get it. My girls, God love them, are a bit opinionated, overly social, somewhat bossy, and just plain loud. How do they get away with it and he gets demerited? And on the rare occasion when the girls do get the card stamped, it's NEVER their fault! Of course! Even when one sister "shared" her answers with a friend or another "tossed, not threw" a desk across the room in defiance...or rather difference of opinion--it was never their fault.

Last week I received an email from Frank's teacher. The subject line read simply, "Frank." I quickly added up in my mind the number of demerits I had recently initialed. As far as I knew it wasn't detention time...yet. Cautiously, I opened the mail. By the time I was done reading, I was grinning from ear to ear. His class had enjoyed a guest speaker for the past week. At the end of the week, Frank--without prompting--approached the speaker and expressed his genuine appreciation for her time and expertise. He was so humble and grateful that his teacher, overhearing the conversation, was moved to tears and immediately thanked Frank and emailed me. Now, that's a Proud Mom Moment.

I've said before that I'm completely clueless as to how to raise a boy. I'm still not sure if I'm parenting right. I'm serious when I say that I think God gave me good kids because he knew I wouldn't know what to do with naughty ones. And for that reason alone, I know that even if I'm not parenting right, I MUST be doing something right.  Nevertheless, Frank is doing a lot of things right! If only there were a trophy for that.

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