Raising Boys

It’s 6:45 a.m. I awake to the sun in my face, literally, as we still have yet to decide on curtains or blinds. I wear an eye mask but that still doesn’t stop the sun rising and shining directly into my face. In a weird way, I don’t mind it, even though I could always use more sleep.

I get dressed and ready in less than five minutes and go upstairs to wake our boys. “Rise and shine,” I say repeatedly in their respective rooms. Each boy wakes up the same way, almost every single day. The eldest remains in bed the longest even though his is the first room I go to each morning. One of them always tells me he’s tired and not ready for school, another gets out easily as long as I tickle his back and one son slowly takes in the light coming into his room with a little smile for me.

I get breakfast underway whilst cat and dog figure out if they need to go out for a pee. Even the dog and cat have a mutual understanding of how the house works and when to ask for attention. The cat, by the way, who follows me absolutely everywhere, has inevitably made a lasting impression on me and I’m afraid I’ve fallen in love. I scramble the eggs knowing that three of my boys will be ready, fed, teeth brushed and out the door in twenty minutes, but one boy barely gets out of the shower as I watch his eggs go cold.

The conversation in the car turns to the new nanny situation. My son asks, “Are we having five-star Hannah try out today?” He read the rating system on the nanny website and now calls everyone by their star rating. “Five star Hannah turned out to be two and a half stars so nope, no Hannah.” They are all quite confused about who the new nanny is going to be as I took Husband’s advice and tried out a bunch of girls.

We get to school and before the boys pile out of the car, the sunscreen stick is applied to their tanned faces. They look like true LA boys: shorts, t-shirts and disheveled hair. All of a sudden my eldest comes back to the car. “Crap,” he says quite startled. “What is it?” I ask with my heart beginning to race a bit. “I forgot my shoes,” he admits slowly. “Your shoes?? How can you actually forget your shoes???” He looks at me not knowing if I’m going to scream or laugh. The cars behind are getting impatient. I do what any sensible mother would do and take off my running shoes, which are two sizes too small for him, and give them to him. In the end I find out that my shoes were way too painful and he had to borrow the Dean of the Middle School’s shoes. Only in LA…he’d be caned for sure in London!

I go about my day getting absolutely nothing done. Yes, I managed to shop at two different supermarkets, one vet trip and the pet store for specialty food. I cleaned my car out, paid some bills and worked out. But 8:30 in the morning turned into carpool time in the afternoon before I could even shower, or pretend to have a life. Back in the car the boys came, with stories of the playground mostly. Just before home the negotiating began. Little one says, “Can I do a sonnet from that guy who wrote that big book to get some tv time?” Now, let me explain. Husband has been reading Shakespeare on Sundays to the boys for months now out of a large compilation called ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare. They are currently reading Romeo and Juliet and have to act it out, trading off who has to play Julia. But now, they have discovered that if they pick a sonnet and write it out, recite it and make an attempt at its meaning, daddy may let them have screen time during the week. It is hilarious to think that a seven year old thinks of Shakespeare as a guy who wrote a big book of strange words and if he copies them down, he’ll get to watch tv.

Dinner is normally a mix a my staple recipes involving some kind of meat with pasta or rice. In the event that I really couldn’t get anything done that day, there’s always take-out. They think it’s a treat to get a Panda Express and I view it as motherly laziness. Husband comes home for round two of dinner prep – yes, I do cook for him every night. I have usually eaten enough of the boy’s left-overs to be full and then have to eat another full meal with Husband to get our adult quality time in. I think that’s why I drink so much wine every night; who wouldn’t after two main meals?

Getting them to bed lately takes longer and longer. Little one won’t go to sleep unless he sees the others at least brushing their teeth. I want to say that I read to him every night but the truth is, what I do every night is sing with him. Every single night we sing two songs, the same ones since he was literally able to sing, and I scratch his back. And then the same for each of them. I find with all my boys they want to chat about very very personal things, thoughts or emotions, just as they’re slipping off into slumber. I used to think of it as a ploy to stay awake longer, but now I know it’s when they are at their most vulnerable and able to let go of their guards and share. It’s usually around 10:00 before I can relax and plop on the sofa. Double bill of Seinfeld leaves Husband and I laughing until the lights go off. It’s a weird form of meditation, Seinfeld, but it works as my mind enters a zone of total peace. Peace until 6:45 tomorrow morning, of course.

About Jennifer

Jennifer is from Beverly Hills and has lived between London and LA since 1994. She's been a writer for over 20 years in the world of film, tv, travel and magazines and has been a class rep eight times and counting...
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