Dani Stone

I Hear Laugh Tracks


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Pushing the Gosh Ham Limits

Blatant blackmail photo

Blatant blackmail photo

My son Jacob is eleven. He started middle school this year. Not long ago, friends with older boys warned me this would be the year of hormone fluctuation, anxiety resulting from big changes at school and boundary-pushing. I have wise friends. Over the past six months he has refused to get his hair cut, his grades have dropped to the basement a few times and boundary-pushing is in full-swing.

There have been times when his bursts of independence have resulted in grounding, like the time I found out he was getting a D in Science stemming from three missing assignments. When I asked why he hadn’t completed them he performed an exaggerated shoulder-shrug and said, “I guess I just wasn’t feelin’ it.” BUZZER! Wrong answer, mister man.

Since he’s my firstborn, I’m often left wondering, “Well, how the hell do I handle these shenanigans?” I usually call my mother. Then go with my gut. Then call my mother again. Not knowing how tight to pull the apron strings is a constant internal struggle for me.

Then there are times when his offbeat humor catches me completely off-guard and I’m left wondering whether I should laugh or say, “Jacob that’s inappropriate.” I have a fairly juvenile sense of humor so even though I feel it’s my duty. . . *snicker*. . . I said doody. . . sorry.

So even though I feel it’s my du–responsibility to react in the proper parental way, sometimes my child just cracks me up and I lose all resolve.

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