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November 18, 2008

It’s Tough Being An Adult

And that’s all I have to say on that topic, except that it explains why I haven’t posted in a week.  I’ll pick up Monday.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 9:04 pmDeep Thoughts22 comments  

November 10, 2008

No, They’re Not Identical

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Drew

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Porter

When you have twins, people always ask you if they’re identical.  Drew and Porter are not.  Now that they are in the fourth grade, their differences are more pronounced than ever.  Porter weighs ten pounds more, is two inches taller, and looks like me and Finn.  Drew is skinnier and pale, and everyday the cleft in his chin resembles Bill’s even more.

The differences go beyond looks.  If my posts seem Porter-heavy, it’s because he’s always cooking up an experiment, asking a jillion unanswerable questions, or pointing out the inherent injustices in life.

But with Drew, it’s steadier.  I imagine that this must have been what it was like to raise Bill.  No drama.  Follows the rules.  Does chores without asking.

And it’s this last item that starkly demonstrates their differences.  The boys have duties around the house, and failure to perform them results in fines.  Most mornings after the boys leave for school I check their rooms and see who’s fallen down on the job.

They have to make their beds:
Drew’s Bed
dbed

Drew gets style points for neat pillow stacking.

Porter’s Bed
pbed

Porter’s bed features half-price Target bedding in colors guaranteed to calm a child down at night, but he didn’t even fake making it up.  Minus $1

They must leave their floors neat:

Drew’s floor

dfloor

No complaints here.

Porter’s floor

pfloor

Porter’s floor reflects his diverse interests, but a floor is where you walk. I’ve told him it’s permissible to shove everything in the closet as a quick cleaning strategy but he has not exercised even this minimum amount of effort. Fine $1.

Because male Glamores are hardwired to leave drawers open, I require them to close their dresser drawers  each morning:

Drew’s Dresser
ddresser

Porter’s Dresser
pdresser

Porter has lost another dollar.  This failure is even more egregious when you consider that I rarely have time to fold clothes and put them in anyone’s dresser, so the boys generally grab clean clothes straight from their laundry baskets in the “dining room.” Porter could have gotten dressed for a week without ever needing to open those drawers. The fact that they have been opened makes me worry about what’s inside.

Porter’s been known to keep cooking implements
drawer

and birdseed in his desk drawers, so my fears aren’t unwarranted.
wdrawer
But when it comes to what’s important, Porter is highly organized. Halloween candy, anyone?

Porter’s stash

porg

So I know he is capable of living an uncluttered life.  Whether he goes broke learning to do so is another issue.

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Hey! This Thursday, November 13 I’ll be appearing at Milestone Books in Vestavia City Center between 5 and 8 pm to sign copies of the book The Mothering Heights Manual for Motherhood, in which my essay “I Love You Like The Crazy You Drive Me” appears. I’ll also be doing a reading at some point during the evening, and if I find out an exact time I’ll post it. I’d love to see you there.

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Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Wednesdays: Bible Club, Smelly Van & Pink Thong

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 9:03 amBoys: Demented & Dangerous,Deep Thoughts,Uncategorized16 comments  

September 29, 2008

At Least She Isn’t Named Monica

I recently ran into a friend from high school.  I was delighted to learn that he’d gotten married in the last few years and has an eighteen month old daughter. But when he told me her name, I gasped.  I tried to hide it, but he looked at me strangely before showing me pictures of a beautiful little girl– complete with a fair complexion and dainty ears.

It’s just too bad that he had children when he did, and probably has no idea that there’s a whole generation of parents and children who will hear his daughter’s name and picture an ogre happily slurping earwax instead of juice boxes.

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Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Cocoa Puffs and Lady Lumps (in which I explain exactly what “junk in the trunk” is)

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 8:48 amDeep Thoughts25 comments  

September 15, 2008

Weepy Webelos

Porter heard that the local scout chapter was looking for new members. Whoever leaked the information knows how to capture a boy’s interest– Porter came home chattering about making a car for the Pinebox Derby, earning badges for shooting, and camping at the Talladega Super Speedway. Bill took both Drew and Porter to the informational meeting and they were instant scouting converts. I drove them to the Boy Scout store to purchase their outfits, which consisted of khaki skirts, olive pants, a jaunty plaid kerchief and assorted patches denoting their den and pack and so forth that must be ironed or sewn on. Porter is extremely pissed that ten days have gone by and I haven’t managed to attach the patches to the shirt yet. He has plans to earn every badge possible in record time.

Last Saturday was the first official Webelo scout outing. (Webelo is the rank below Boy Scout, I believe. Bill told the boys that it stands for “We Be Loyal Scouts” which is flat out wrong; it’s “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts” which of course is grammatically correct. Keep in mind, though, that Bill believed until law school that the Preamble of the Constitution began “We da peoples,” and you can forgive his mistake.)

We were to meet at 2pm sharp at the state park for the Top Gun competition. Because Bill would be coaching soccer and then heading to work, I was the designated Webelo parent for my crew. Porter was beside himself with excitement. The boys have been shooting all sorts of guns when they visit Bill’s parents in Auburn, and last weekend Porter proved to be adept at shooting skeet. He wondered aloud whether he’d get a patch if helped other scouts who were having trouble handling a gun.

Saturday was sizzling, and after the soccer game the boys were already red and sweating as they piled into the van. They changed into their scout uniforms as we drove down the expressway. Once we entered the park, Drew grew queasy and we had to stop twice so he could throw up before we reached the Top Gun site.

The competition was already running an hour-and-a-half late by the time we showed up.  While we waited, a Scoutmaster wearing full regalia gave us confusing instructions about what we were to do when we took our places at the range. Each boy had three large targets with circles on them. The targets were fasted on a line vertically with clothespins and the boys were to shoot at the bottom one in the prone position, at the middle one in the sitting position, and the top one in the standing position. Each Webelo also had a sheet of paper with one big target on it. The Scoutmaster told us that each boy should first take five shots at this sheet to establish the pattern of the gun, which I interpreted to mean whether it was shooting a little high or to the right.

At 3:45 our guys proceeded to the range and I saw why I hadn’t heard any shooting. In front of us were the tiniest BB guns known to man. If you thought it was a good idea to buy your four-year-old a BB gun, this would definitely be the size you’d want. They looked like they were manufactured before the Vietnam era, and may have had a small role in that war as well. I’m no gun expert, but I know a worn out gun when I see it.

No matter. The men running the range were all about gun safety, and rightly so, although it was hard to reconcile their stern admonitions with the sad weapons that lay in front of us. After we’d all been thoroughly briefed on safety goggles (TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES), cocking the gun and chambering the BB for your Webelo (OF COURSE I CAN DO THAT YOU MORON EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TITTIES AND NO PENIS), and the fact that we had twenty minutes and no longer to shoot at the paper and three targets (BECAUSE WE’VE SCREWED UP ALL DAY AND YOU GUYS ARE PAYING FOR OUR TARDINESS) it was time to commence.

There was one snafu, which I pointed out to the Scoutmaster.  I had two Webelos to manage, while everyone else had one. The Scoutmaster was completely bumfuzzled by the fact that one mother might show up with two children, and had I been forewarned of the situation, I certainly would have dragged Bill along with me. However, there were a number of Scouts wandering the grounds with no discernible duties, and I was sure the Master would motion one over to run the drill with one of my boys. Instead, he told me I could do both twins at the same time, although we wouldn’t be given any extra time to finish our shooting. In essence, Drew and Porter would be given ten minutes each while the other scouts got twenty. Nothing I’d seen so far led me to believe the Scoutmaster had an ounce of flexibility or humanity so I took the deal.

Now is the part where I must explain that Drew and Porter and I are fabulous at working out compromises and systems. We’re way past the point where multiples are horrifically hard work all the damn time (see ages 0 to 4) and into the finer points of sharing and rotating and working things out. So having less time than the other kids didn’t freak us out immediately; we just needed a couple of seconds to create a plan to deal with it.

I turned to the twins and told them we’d be shooting twice as fast as the other kids, but that was no big deal since they’d been shooting a lot lately and would certainly be able to hit the three targets and paper in ten minutes. I told them we’d rotate positions and showed them where the non-shooter was to stand.

“QUIT TALKING, MOM!” the Scoutmaster yelled at me.

“My boys need to know the plan if they’re going to be speed-shooting,” I told him. I might as well have been talking to the clouds.

“Scouts ready, and FIRE!” And the exercise began.

I started with Drew. He stood and fired at the paper, then got into the prone position and fired at his lowest target. I had two jobs: to cock the gun and chamber the bullet and to count his shots to ensure that he took no more than ten shots at each target. I was going to have him do all his targets, then switch to Porter, but the Scoutmaster was behind me and shouted, “ROTATE THE BOYS NOW!” so I had Drew retreat to the watching spot and motioned Porter to come up to the gun.

“My safety goggles are blurry,” Porter whispered.

“We’ll trade them with Drew’s,” I said. “Turn away from the range.”

I quickly yanked Drew’s goggles off and switched them with Porter’s. “NOT A GOOD IDEA, MOM!” the Scoutmaster shouted.

“Better idea than a boy shooting when he cannot see,” I muttered. “Ignore him and shoot, honey,” I told Porter.

“LESS TALKING AND MORE SHOOTING MOM,” the Scoutmaster said.

I turned around. “Listen, Sir. These boys have to rotate safely if they are going to rotate between each target, and if they are going to do so, we have to have a plan, and that requires me to communicate with them. By talking.”

I turned back around.

“Ok Porter, you do the white sheet first. That’s just to see the pattern of the gun, so take a couple of shots and then we’ll get to the targets.”

He did, and we concluded that the gun was shooting low and to the right.

Porter finished his prone position target, and then I had him go ahead and do his sitting position target since the Scoutmaster had momentarily disappeared and I could save time by avoiding a twin rotation.

Then Drew did his sitting and standing targets and Porter finished his standing target. There were two other boys still shooting when we finished.

“My God,” the dad next to me said. “I don’t know how you handled counting all that for two boys, much less with the Scoutmaster yelling at you.”

I was feeling pretty triumphant myself. It was short lived.

As we stood in line to have our targets scored, I realized that the Scouts at the scoring table were carefully scrutinizing the white sheet of paper, the one we’d been told was to be used to establish the pattern of the gun. I jostled closer, and saw that the Scouts were adding the numbers on the target, and telling the kids who’d made a thirty-five or higher to take the paper to the red tent and get a badge.

I sidled back in line and glanced at Drew’s white paper. He’d hit it five times and had a forty-one. He’d get a badge. I looked at Porter’s. I remembered telling him to take only a couple of practice shots and sure enough, he had two shots in the ring right outside the bullseye for a total of eighteen.

I didn’t tell the boys what was about to happen. I let it all play out in front of the scorekeepers, who watched as Porter’s lip trembled and he wept.

“I didn’t know that was for a patch,” he mumbled. “I only shot at it two times.”

He was right. I’d encouraged him to take only two shots at it, because NO ONE had told us that white sheet of paper had anything to do with a patch. I hugged him tight while we walked with Drew to the red tent to get his patch.

It was a tough day for mothering. When we got home I congratulated Drew on earning his badge, and then told him that Porter was extremely upset that he hadn’t gotten his.

“He didn’t know that the white paper was for the badge, Mom. I didn’t know either. I just took five shots and hit it, and he didn’t shoot it five times because that man was yelling at us.”

“Well, it would really make Porter feel better if you say that when we go inside and tell Daddy what happened.”

We had a five minute pity-party in honor of Porter and the injustice of it all, and then we gorged on food Bill had picked up from the Greek Festival.

It will be a cold day in hell before I handle another Webelo outing.

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One Year Ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Sexy Singers, But Can They Spell?

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 11:59 amDeep Thoughts,Inventions, Creations, Experiments30 comments  

September 8, 2008

Hormones Fly In Junior High

Now that Finn has three weeks of Junior high under his belt and is no longer quite so mesmerized by the bountiful offerings of the lunchroom, he’s had time to make new friends and gauge how the adventure is affecting his old friends.  The stress and thrill of it all has already caused some friction.

The Tiny Kingdom has four elementary schools which run from kindergarten through grade six, and the junior high brings the students from all four schools together for grades seven through nine.  Our elementary school is the smallest of the four, and Finn says he has several classes in which he’s the only kid from his school.  He knows plenty of guys from playing sports, though, and seems to have made new friends quickly.

I sat Finn down for a frank talk before school started.  I felt like he’s mature enough to recognize the social maneuverings that inevitably go at this age, and  he’d be better equipped to deal with them if he was given a heads up about their existence.  He’s never lacked self-confidence, and I wanted him to be prepared to stand up for his friends if they were ostracized, and to defend himself if his self-worth was attacked.

I told him that when I was in junior high, I saw people change.  Some people decided that sports were the only thing that mattered.  Others sought popularity at all costs.  People who had been friends for years split up because one decided the other wasn’t athletic enough, pretty enough, or cool enough.  Others drifted apart because they matured at different rates, their interests changed, or they found they had different values.

I even got down to the nitty-gritty and talked about girls and the way they can act at this age.  I felt qualified to give this talk because I have a vagina and survived junior high. ( You know, there’s a reason we all loved The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink and those other movies that showed the cliques that form and the cruelty kids can inflict on one another.  It’s because they’re true.)

I told him that he might see girls dropping friends in order to join a “more popular” group.  He might see a couple of girls accorded special power, just because of their perceived status.  What was important for him to remember was to be there for his friends, especially the girls, because they’re in for a rough few years.

We talked about first impressions being important.  Teachers and peers form opinions of you quickly, and once formed, they’re hard to change.  On the other hand, you should try not to make the same mistake.  Don’t judge someone as a loser because he or she looks different.

It’s a difficult assignment – we make snap judgments about people all the time.  As an example, I reminded him of my irrational prejudice against double first names, which are extremely common in the South.  My first reaction is to conclude that the parents are either indecisive or snooty.  I have absolutely no evidence to back up either of these determinations, and I must often remind myself that in fact I have many close friends whose kids have two first names. They are just as entitled to believe that mothers who name their children after Scandinavian countries are ditzy, to say the least.  See?  We’re all different.  Our quirks plus a Coke make the world go round.

Bill overheard part of our conversation and thought it was unnecessary. Neither his parents nor mine ever had such a discussion with us.  But when I look at Finn, I see a whole lot of me, and I would have appreciated a warning about what lay ahead.

We had our talk about a month ago.  I’ve already heard through the grapevine that there are girls jostling for position, turning their backs on friends they’ve had since first grade, in order to be accepted by the “in” group.  Social climbing never stops, and I surely can’t prevent it.  I can only hope that Finn can see the bigger picture and be there for his friends, no matter how many first names they have.

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I have a post up at Deep South Moms.  Check it out!

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Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Not A Normal Day

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 7:40 amDeep Thoughts,School Today: Eraserboard Jungle,Tiny Kingdom Exclusive25 comments  


Welcome to the Kingdom

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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