Monday, May 6, 2013

Hold Your Fire

I've had this on my mind a while, but never thought to post about it until now. It's quite the southern tradition for fathers with daughters to threaten any boy's life who shows even a remote interest in their little princesses.

Now that I'm a mother to a son, I have some thoughts about this.

To those who may threaten Jude's life simply because he wishes to court your daughter, listen up!

His father and I will continue to work tirelessly to raise Jude right. Even just one month shy of two years old, Jude already knows to say "Please" and "Thank you". In fact, this weekend, he even said, "Yes Ma'am!"

He will learn how to treat women respectfully because his father sets that example in the way he treats me on a daily basis. Jude will witness a lot of things growing up in our house, but yelling, belittling, and hitting will not be among those things. While his father will primarily serve as Jude's chief role model, I too have a few things I intend to instill in him. Just as Jeffrey can show him how to treat a woman well, I will teach him about choosing the right kind of girl--the kind of girl who won't cuckold her man or stray from him because something "better" came along. That's the example I set for my son every day.

As far as worrying about whether Jude will put his hands all over your daughters and cause them shame, rest assured that if or when I find out about this imbecile behavior, I will snatch him bald-headed before you can even pull a trigger. However, bear in mind that he won't be the only one to blame in this scenario. It does take two to tango. Take comfort in knowing that when the time comes for Jeffrey and me to allow Jude to date, it's because we wholeheartedly trust that he can take a girl out and treat her with the utmost respect (but let's not confuse his respect for females with being a pushover).

Hopefully, if Jeffrey and I have done our jobs correctly, Jude will know when he gets to where he's old enough to date, he has picked a girl who has had a good raising like himself that engages in good conversation and loves life. And yes, I do hope he finds her pretty--both inside and out.

Jude does not come from the wealthiest family on the planet, but I can assure you he comes from one that loves him unconditionally and will stop at nothing to ensure his happiness and well-being.

Since I first found out Jude was going to be a boy, I have prayed that he will one day be a good husband and find a wife who loves him with everything she has. After all, Jude will eventually leave my nest to build his own. My realizing this is why I have a hard time around his birthday. Please realize that it may take a few relationships before he learns to recognize this sort of love.

Maybe instead of threatening bodily harm, you should stop and say a prayer or two that your daughters find some boy whose parents took a lot of time to think, pray, and discuss with their son about his future courtships. Just as Jeffrey and I lead by example, so do you. So in thirteen years or so, if you see Jude Brown driving down your driveway to pick up your daughter, just calm down and hold your fire.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Children's Literature As Told By a Cynic

Every night, I read Jude his bedtime story. Sometimes, I'll even read him two. This is one of my favorite parts of his routine as he loves a good story, and so do I. However, he does have his preferences, so like any good parent, I've taken to memorizing all of the favorites. Now, it's true that motherhood has changed me for the better, but there are those sarcastic parts of my psyche that still cling to me like barnacles to a ship. Even though, I love reading Jude his favorite books, sometimes I just can't help but to put that realist spin onto the story.

Take Pete the Cat, for example: A modern children's classic about a cat who, no matter what obstacle comes his way, chooses to always look on the bright side. One can find the lines "Does Pete cry? Goodness, no!" embedded in several parts of each book in the series.

Here's a brief excerpt from my version about the first book in the series where Pete continually steps in a pile of messes while wearing his brand new shoes:

...Oh no! 
Pete stepped in a large pile poop.
Did Pete cry? 
Hell yeah, he did! 
Those two pairs of Air Jordans didn't just fall out of the sky!...

And who can forget the classic nursery rhyme "Three Little Kittens"? Like Pete, a cat who hasn't figured out that he can walk all over God's creation sans footwear, the three kittens in this tale just keep on messing up the mittens they wear, much to their mama's dismay. 

Jeffrey and I have read this nursery rhyme to Jude since I was pregnant with him, so of course with that much practice in reading it, I've come up with my own version. Check out a snippet dealing with the aftermath of when the kittens ate pie while wearing their mittens:

..."Oh mother dear, see hear, see hear!
See, we have soiled our mittens!"
"Soiled your mittens?
You dumbass kittens!
What the hell's wrong with ya'll?"

Now, before anyone calls DHS on me for telling these stories to my child, bear in mind that I really do read the real versions of these to him and not the ones I make up. Jeffrey, however, gets an earful from me.

As bad as I want to be a published writer, I think it's safe to say that I can rule out a career in children's literature.