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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Mars and Venus and maybe Saturn, too

You know how you're supposed to pretend that there really isn't much of a difference between the genders. Total codswallop. Do not buy it for a minute. Girls have social skills, even the ones that seem to be outcasts, nerds and geeks. They have some idea of how to make a phone call, handle a conversation, make a plan, have a goal. Boys...not so much. As a mom of both a boy and a girl, who happen to be the same age but absolutely and completely socially different, this can make for some really ugly competition and frustration.

Over vacation, the Girl was barely home. She made plans with everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. She hit malls in towns I've never even heard of, she went to the movies, she had sleepovers and she slept over other kids houses. She would run in to the house, yell as she tromped upstairs "I'm just getting some clean clothes" and be gone. I've never seen her happier. Busy, lots of plans, dinners out, phone calls galore. What girl doesn't want all that at the tender age of 13?

On the other hand, the Boy refused to make one phone call, didn't see a friend the whole week, and complained about being bored. We hit the library twice, we went shopping in some of his favorite haunts, he walked to the CD store nearby and picked up some music, and he played with his sister on DDR (which is still a HUGE hit!). But he WOULD NOT make a plan. OK, in his defense, most of his school friends he can't hang out with because they're smoking dope and he can't be around that. I admire him for setting up boundries for himeself and refusing to get caught up in the peer pressure of smoking dope. He's on way too many meds to add pot to the mixture, and he's acutely aware of that. Plus, he's been in enough trouble to last a lifetime and he knows he doesn't need any more.

BUT... because he won't make plans, he gets frustrated when he wants to get together with friends but they already have plans, or he has appointments that he's forgotten. I just don't know how to make him get that you have to plan ahead. Today at family therapy just he and I went, and we spent the whole hour working on this. I think some headway was made, but he's such an anxious little guy to begin with, and I see him in the grips of social anxiety because he's such a perfectionist about himself. My heart aches for him because I know what a great kid he is, and how much the other kids like him. I've seen it with my own eyes. It's just that HE doesn't know it, or he doesn't trust it. Being so much younger than his classmates has finally caught up with him. They're starting to drive, he's got 3 more years to think about it.

Watching your teen in pain is just the more horrifying feeling a parent can have. It is so much harder than watching your child get an injection or fall off a slide. This is the gut wrenching ache of fitting in, of social acceptance, of self-esteem. It's so painful for me to watch my kids when they doubt themselves. I can't make it better, and that's the worst hurt of all. No more kiss and make it better stuff. Boy do I miss that!
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3 Comments:

Blogger owlhaven said...

Wendy directed me here today. Yup, the sexes are very different, aren't they?
Mary, mom to 4 boys, 4 girls

27/2/06 11:26 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

That is so sad. I can only imagine. I feel so bad when one of my kids gets hurt. I couldn't imagine that kind of pain. I really like your blog. I tried clicking on that link you had from Sunday's post and it messed my pc up! LOL. I am not trying again. What is it??

Here from Wendy's!

27/2/06 11:37 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Tasha,

You should try it again. It's very funny and it doesn't have a lot of graphics or anything. It should work just fine. I checked it earlier.

28/2/06 12:45 AM  

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