Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Leadership Retreat & Unruly Adolescents

The weekend was spent mostly in meetings/retreat for the UCC church, but Friday night, we had book group. We discussed The Alphabet Vs. The Goddess and ate chicken peanut soup and butternut squash soup. I made the chicken soup & Hyacinth brought the squash soup, along with some smoked oysters in pasta shells. I had some snowflake rolls to go with the soups & Trader Joe's chocolate truffles for dessert. Those are really scrumptious. Our next book is Terry McMillan's Disappearing Acts, which we'll discuss on J's birthday.

Early Saturday morning, I drove to the golf club for the leadership retreat. We spent the morning talking about how to grow the church & the afternoon focusing on what our gifts are & what changes we'd like to see in the church in the coming year. We had lunch & dinner there & after dinner was a nice worship service. The sermon was all of our reflections. It was kind of like Friends Meeting, but not as quiet. After the service, I dropped Mike off at their kids' house where Vickie was already babysitting the grandbabies. We had interesting conversation about spirituality in the car.

Once home, I tasted some of J's turkey soup (she made 2 giant vats while I was gone...also took Pie bowling...sounds like they had fun. Boot spent the night at a friend's Friday night & was gone all day. Had he called & asked to spend a second night earlier, J & Pie could have gone out to the Olive Garden with my family, but he didn't call until 8...we let him stay & it seems to have been a mistake) & watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith with J. I also checked out the bible reference software Pie picked out as a gift for me. He is so sweet.

Sunday morning, I again headed out early for the retreat. We spent hours in a committee meeting & ran out of time for the Bible study the pastor had planned. But, he gave us the info so that we can pursue it on our own. On the way home, I picked up the new book club book, a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird for The Big Read, a couple cooking magazines and some gifts. I got J a book with all kinds of snowflake illustrations by various children's authors, Pie a small stuffed lion to remind him to be brave & be just who he is no matter what someone else (his brother) might want him to be, and a set of rubber Georgia Bulldogs bracelets for Boot. Pie loved his lion, J is putting her book on her desk at work, & Boot hasn't mentioned his bracelets...he was asleep when I got home, so I put them on his bed next to him. I don't know if he hasn't found them yet or just won't say anything. He is in one of his hateful phases, as evidenced later that night. I also picked up a darling little purple & white gingham dress & panty set, with a matching embroidered white sweater for a baby shower.

J & I ate some turkey soup, wrapped baby gifts (she had picked up bath stuff & a little purple & white sleeper for her), and headed out for Honey's daughter's baby shower. Honey is one of J's leads & we just love her. Her daughter is just 17 & is due with her first baby in a few weeks. I can't imagine how scary it must be for her, but Honey will help her & be a wonderful grandma. The shower was fun. I won a picture frame in the pin game. Honey made some great chicken wings & lasagna & the cake was adorable, with tiny sugar footprints all over it. But, my favorite part of the shower was getting to see the gifts. There were some darling little outfits! Almost all the girls there were also high school students. I wondered how many showers they've been to for friends of theirs already. After the shower, we stayed a little longer & talked about work stuff with some women who work with J.

We took the kids McDonald's for dinner & then ran a couple errands. When we got home, we were getting ready to fix ourselves some dinner. The kids were supposed to be in bed, but weren't. Boot used the excuse that he had to make sure his mom would wash his clothes while Pie told me he was shutting down his computer. I talked to him about why he should have been in bed, then started talking to Boot. Boot hates to get in trouble & often balks if we even talk to him about some kind of wrongdoing, without even giving him a consequence. He wasn't in trouble Sunday night, just getting a lecture about going to bed on time. He kept making excuses & was defiant with me. I told him I didn't need excuses, I just needed him to go to bed. I reached out to shut his door & turn the lights out. He decided I was reaching out for him & grabbed my arm hard & said, "You can't touch me!!!" & started wigging out. I said, "Boot, I don't want to touch you, I want you to GO TO BED!!!" He started crying & said, "I'm calling my dad! You can't touch me! You can't spank me!" practically in hysterics. I told him that I could, actually, according to the police, as long as I had his custodial parent's permission, which I do. But, since I can't remember ever having spanked him in the almost 5 years I've been parenting him & since I hadn't wanted to touch him or spank him & had made no indication that I would do so, I was astonished that he got so freaked out. I called J for help, but she couldn't hear me from the laundry room. He called his dad in tears & hysterics on his cell phone. I ended up getting the distinct pleasure of talking to his dad. His dad was not rude to me, surprisingly, & told me that as long as I don't use corporal punishment on his kid, we have no problem. J was upstairs by then. After I got off the phone with his dad, she decided to just go right to bed, no longer hungry. I got the dishwasher loaded & running, then went to bed myself. That kid's hair trigger temper & hysteria are going to cause him some major problems throughout his life if he doesn't learn to control himself. It was a perfectly hideous end to a very nice day. Another weekend tainted by one of his blow-ups. It fits the pattern, though. He usually does this the long weekend he is with us during visitation with his dad in July and again in January or February. He's got his brother so scared of him that Pie wants permission to lock his bedroom door if he feels scared...granted.

Last night, after I got home from school & J got home from work, he flipped out again & started crying & cussing because he is grounded this week for flipping out on me Sunday night. He's not the first kid ever to be grounded, but he acts like we are the most evil people ever, to punish him for acting up. My arm was still red an hour after he grabbed me & sore the next morning, yet we're the villains for grounding him? I don't think so. Anyway, he decided he needed to call his daddy & soon, I was on the phone with the guy being accused of "taking sides and practicing gender politics", being "pretty unChristlike for someone who recently professed a calling as a Christian", and being habitually dishonest. He kept telling me we'd just talk through our lawyers & he'd see me in court. He was mad that I hadn't told him that Boot grabbed me the night before. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, so I omitted it from what I told him. So what? He's never been supportive or helpful before when Boot has physically attacked me, so why would I bother to tell him? What a thoroughly delightful man.

Boot refused to come down for dinner & we didn't press the issue, deciding that a nice peaceful dinner was a better option than proving we can make him come to dinner. It was a very nice dinner indeed & we had fun with Pie. J made steak & bearnaise sauce while I steamed some asparagus & baked some potatoes. Pie adored his meal. He calls asparagus "trees" and had seconds. He also ate much of his brother's steak, with J putting the rest on a bun for his lunch today. He is thrilled about getting to take a "steakburger" to lunch. I hope it's good! I also made a cherry pie in honor of Pie Day. J & I each had a still-warm slice right before going to bed.

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