Broken Bones and Teenage Boys

Mother Called the Doctor and the Doctor Said, “No More…” Well You Know The Rest!

As a mother of two teen boys I know a lot of things that I never in the world thought I’d know.  For instance, I know that young athletes play 6 innings of baseball in Little League and I can recite the names of every Yankee player on the team including all the relief pitchers.  I know that COD is not just a fish, but something that can unite a flock of adolescent boys and cause them stay up all night trying to “beat a level.”  I also know that it is possible to wear the same pair of socks two weeks in a row and not die of a skin disease. In that same venue, I know (only after standing in my boys’ bathroom last week on cleaning day) that there is actually a place in the world that smells worse than a gas station bathroom.  I have witnessed firsthand there are certain sounds that come out of a teenage boy’s body that can be so hysterically funny that a group of boys can laugh raucously about it for at least an hour, especially if one or more of them can imitate said noise.  But the most important tidbit that EVERY mother of teen boys should know is the phone number of their local orthopedic surgeon … by heart.

Believe it or not study after study shows that girls on average break more bones than boys.  But I’d like to talk to the scientists who conducted these studies because they certainly have never lived in my house or my friends’ homes who have boys.  So many many stories I could tell.  Where to begin?  How about with this week’s break?  I got a phone call from Gannan’s dad a few days ago asking me for the name of the orthopedic surgeon I usually take my sons to.  I of course spewed off automatically his name, age, wife’s name, address, favorite color and gift he wants for Christmas…What??  Don’t judge… I see him more each year than I do some of my own family members!  In the same conversation Gan’s dad told me that Gannan had a possible finger break and that if he needed a cast he was going to refuse it.  When I asked why, he told me that it would prevent him from playing video games.  I still have the wound on my tongue from biting it so hard.

Then there’s the infamous bike rodeo incident.  I think Gannan was 4.  I got a phone call at school from Gannan’s pre-school teacher.  She sounded frantic and a cautious… you know the kind of voice?  The one that says, “Please don’t sue us.”   For this break, (it was an ankle) it seems that little Gannan was exuberantly riding his training wheels through the parking lot when one of his feet slipped and got pinned in between the bike and the pedals—getting stuck there… stuck enough that they had to call the fire department to get him out.  When I arrived, the sight before me was akin to a scene out of some Denzel Washington movie.  Four fire trucks, an ambulance, concerned looking preschool teachers holding back a corral of screaming 4 year olds and several uniformed fireman with large tools surrounding my son.  Gannan was in full meltdown—snot hanging to his chin, crying… no no… wailing incoherently.  I ran to him like Lassie’s owner when Lassie came home.  Hair flying in the breeze, arms outstretched, moving piano music playing in the background—all, of course, in slow motion.  I dropped to my knees and put my arms around my tiny son and said, “There, there sweetheart.  Mommy is here.  Tell me where it hurts!”  Gannan immediately looked at me disgustedly (a look I have probably seen a million times since) and said, “I’m not crying ‘cause my leg hurts!  I’m crying ‘cause they’re taking apart my bike.”  Upon emphasizing the word “bike” Gannan started wailing again.  This would be the first of many breaks for Gannan.  Since then he’s broken a wrist, a collar bone, his ankle twice and an arm.  Heck we’ve been to the emergency room so many times, the doctors and nurses now recognize him and say things like, “Hey!  It’s the kid who loves to pogo stick!”  I really think it is time I get some revenue from my local hospital.

However the worst break (or I should say BREAKS) we’ve had to deal with was the time that Aidan broke BOTH… I said BOTH of his arms.  It was a typical scenario.  I gave a direction.  Aidan ignored it.  Chaos ensued.  (Moms of boys all over the world are nodding their head right now!)  To make a long story short, we pulled in the driveway.  He ran, skipped and squealed towards our front yard tree shouting, “I am going to climb that tree!”  “DON’T YOU DARE!”  I said firmly as I hauled in the groceries through the front door.  I am a much wiser mom now and would therefore know that that phrase was not convincing enough.  If it happened now, I would have added “Or you won’t see the light of a video game for weeks.”  But live and learn!  Anyhoo!!  As I am sure you’ve figured out, Aidan climbed that tree and fell face first reaching out his hands to catch himself and breaking his right wrist and left elbow.  Of course two casts ensued, the ones that don’t allow the arms to bend.  When we returned home and for weeks later I found myself doing two things I never thought I’d do after Aidan’s second birthday.  The first was harmless—a job that no mother would object to doing.  Since my son could not feed himself, the task became mine.  Oh sure I teased.  Asked him what kind of baby food he liked best and other cheesy jokes like that, but meals became a wonderful way to spend time with my third grader.  However, the second job I was forced to perform due to Aidan’s unbending arms was no laughing matter and one that neither of us enjoyed.  Let’s just say that having to deal with a nine-year-old’s bathroom habits is NOT anywhere NEAR the pleasant experience a new mom has when changing her newborn’s diapers.

With all these bone breaks, hospital trips, casts on arms and legs, there is one piece of knowledge that all moms know from the moment that their children are born; that no matter the way the injury occurred, no matter the number of trips we take to our local orthopedic surgeon, nothing compares to the worry, sadness and helplessness we feel when our children are hurting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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  • The Timetable of Growning Up

    On Their Terms

    I know this is a column about teenage boys, but indulge me a minute while I talk to you about my 11 month old girl. I promise it will be a nice segue into a “boy tale.” My daughter Ila has been slow to develop physically. She was a preemie and so we kind of expected that she’d be delayed somehow. Cognitively she has impressed us with her massive vocabulary cheered on by her ever adoring two brothers who think that she is the most brilliant baby alive. But, she was slow to gain weight in the first few months. She was extremely late to roll, and even when she finally did, it was only one way (a habit she continues to this day.) We never thought we’d see her sit steadily let alone push to a seated position…but those skills came eventually although not adeptly. This past couple of weeks however her physical ability’s flood gates opened. She reaches, she points, she bangs on her piano like Liberace, she crawls faster than our old dog can run from her and has now discovered the many virtues of pulling up to a standing position; all this done in a matter of three weeks. Unbelievable!

    What does this have to do with teenage boys you ask? (Here is the promised segue!) Aidan, my 16 year old, is having a “flood gate” summer of his own. Not physically mind you, (although I am not sure when he got taller than me. It seemed to happen overnight.) But like my 11 month old, things I worried would never happen for him; goals I thought he might never reach seem to have come upon him all at once. Read the rest of this entry »

    The Teenage Blame Contortionist

    It’s ALL Mom’s Fault

    My thirteen year old, Gannan, is a blame contortionist. Lately when something isn’t right, no matter his actions, no matter his mistakes, he very adeptly twists, turns and wrings it into something that I did wrong. Take last night for instance, he was hungry. (Not an unusual occurrence. Teenage boys’ stomachs are colossal chasms.)

    Gannan: What can I eat mom?

    Me: Well there’s goulash left over. There’s potato salad, pasta salad, chips, strawberries….

    My voice trails off as Gannan’s entire being begins to protest my food list. He begins with a gigantic eye roll. This is followed by a body wave meant to indicate his disgust. It starts at his knees. They contort into crooked angles and knock together in a haphazard way. He then bends at the waist and pitches his arms out in front of him. It ends as he stands up straight and places his hands in his long shaggy hair, tugging a little.

    Gannan: UUHH! There is NEVER anything in this house to eat. Why don’t you shop better? (Mom’s fault- number one for those keeping score.)

    Me: Gannan I won’t be insulted. Please go and quietly get your food or go to your room. Your choice.

    I listen intently as his feet pad down the hall. I hear the clanking of jars as the refrigerator door opens. Heavy sighs permeate the silence as he makes the all important what-to-eat-decision. All of a sudden fast feet pad back down the hall.

    Gannan: There are Pizza Hut bread sticks in there!

    Me: Yes. What’s the matter with that?

    Gannan: NOTHING! I love those. Why didn’t you TELL me we had bread sticks??? (Mom’s fault-number two. Put it on your score card.)

    This time he happily rushes down the hall. Jars in the refrigerator clang louder as the door is opened with great gusto. I hear the whisper of the miniature pizza box that holds the breadsticks as it slides off of the fridge’s shelf. A pause in the sound….and then….an exasperated “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

    Feet pound down the hall back towards me.

    Gannan: Where’s the little cup of sauce?

    Me: There wasn’t any left to take home.

    Gannan: (Another body wave of disgust…see above, and then cue the whining.) Why does this always happen to me? Why didn’t you ask the waitress for more? (Mom’s fault-number three. Oh but there’s more!)

    His feet pummel the hall floor. A plate is yanked from its comfortable spot in the cupboard and the microwave door slams. I get more comfortable in my chair, hoping that the sustenance scene has played itself out.

    Losing my vigilance too soon, a hungry, ornery Gannan somehow shows up in the doorway; plate in hand, bottom lip drooping, eyes squished to slits, clearly out of his mind.

    Gannan: Why did you tell me to put blue cheese on these? They’re RUINED! (Mom’s fault-number four!)

    Me: (Stifling a snort.) What are you talking about Gannan? I never told you to…

    Not wanting to hear what I have to say lest it proves his ranting wrong, Gannan cuts me off.

    Gannan: This is just a waste of food. I’m not eating this. I’m going to my room where I’ll starve to death and THEN you’ll be sorry! (Mom’s fault-number five!)

    Me: I might not be sorry Gan….

    Gannan: Ha ha! Funny mom. This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you. It’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    To Date or Not to Date … That is the Question

    Girl Crazy!

    Take a close look at this torso. No. No. This is not the torso of some Harley Davidson road hog (although give it a few years….sigh.) This is not some code to conquer the latest video game. It isn’t even a cheat sheet for a multiple choice final. These are initials airbrush-tattooed to my 13 year olds core. Not just ANY initials mind you. These are the initials of the four girls he went with to the local amusement park; He, his friend, and the FOUR girls whose names match the letters on his sternum. My husband’s response? “Not bad odds Gan!” My response? Well I am not sure. At first, there was embarrassment. All I could think about was that the next day he was going to the beach with the WHOLE seventh grade class and ALL the teachers (with whom I used to teach) and that this tattooed advertisement for promiscuity (all right a little much..but it was how I felt at the time) would be on display for all to see. Once I got over that-(after a few eye rolls from my husband)-I vacillated between “well-he-is-a-growing-boy!” and “he’s-too-young-for-this-kind-of-thing.” But which is it?

    It isn’t that I would rather have my boys be monks. On the contrary, I worry equally about my 16 year old for the exact opposite reasons that I worry about the 13 year old. Painfully shy, going into his junior year, he has yet to find the nerve to ask a girl out. It isn’t that he hasn’t found one in which he’s interested. There have been several, but when pressed by me to call or invite them somewhere (do teens even call each other anymore?) I get an emphatic “NO WAY,” or an equally emphatic “MOM LEAVE ME ALONE!” It’s moments like these where I wonder and wallow about the lack of self esteem my very handsome oldest son has. My extremely imaginative pessimistic mind is no help either as it pictures lonely college days and even lonelier nights as Aidan grows old a single man because he was never secure enough in what he had to offer to a girl he admired. (I think I just saw my husband roll his eyes again.) Well at least we know his little brother has enough confidence for both of them.

    Girls, girls, girls. If you aren’t there yet moms and dads, you will be. I grapple with what is appropriate and at what age? The reel in my head sounds something like this, “If they start too early won’t they get, ehem, THERE faster?? But if they start too late, what does that say about their confidence? Don’t all teens need to experience young love, new love, broken-hearted love?” I am so unsure of the answers to these questions, and it seems that everyone else has an opinion. You already know my husband’s. Growing up as the tenth brother of ten brothers, he has seen it all, experienced it all and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. He is the biggest proponent of “boys will be boys.” A few friends of mine think that it is perfectly appropriate to discuss liking girls with their elementary-school-aged sons. A few others think you shouldn’t discuss girls at all. There are some scientific studies that claim if your son is between the ages of 10 and 12 that dating will cause them to perform poorly in school. Most experts found all over the internet think that 15 is an appropriate age to begin dating. But all are also quick to say that it really matters what the parent is comfortable with.

    The problem is that THIS parent doesn’t KNOW what she’s comfortable with! Maybe a monastery is the answer. OOOO! Three eye rolls from the hubby for just one column. I think it’s a new record!)

    What are your thoughts on this subject? When is it too early to date? When do you start worrying that your son isn’t dating? Let me know in the comments section below my bio! I’d love to hear your ideas!

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

     

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    Communicating with Teen Boys in the Age of Technology

    Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales by Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Logan Fisher

    When in Rome …

    At 9:00 in the morning in the middle of teaching my fifth graders a spelling lesson, I had a revelation that would change the way I parented forever. As with many discoveries that are eye-opening and cataclysmic, this one started from a seemingly banal conversation about the frustrations of parenting. It was on this very morning that my colleague burst into my classroom and announced, “Great news! Timmy has decided that he isn’t going to go to Alfred University in the fall!” Although I definitely detected the droll of sarcasm hanging off each word, I wasn’t quite sure how she wanted me to respond. After all, it had been just an hour before, over our morning cup of coffee, that she had shared the story of her son’s wonderful weekend visit to the college and the excitement Timmy felt over being accepted. How quickly things had changed!

    I asked, “How did you find this out?”

    “The same way I always find things out,” she quipped, “with a text message.” And to punctuate this fact she flung out her right arm, snapped opened her hand and allowed me to read the brief statement from her son:

    “Ma. I don’t think I want 2 go 2 L fred.”

    I could truly sympathize with my colleague. We had much in common. Both mothers of 2 teen boys, we often lamented about how we had no idea how to communicate with them effectively. Sometimes I felt that the boys and I were two different species living in completely separate habitats. When it came to communicating with them, I was an elephant, slow, gray and wrinkly, trumpeting my trunk, laboring each day. My boys were penguins, sleek and slippery, able to navigate two worlds, not cold seas and polar ice, but in this case, home and school with a technological ease that far surpassed this elephant’s ability. How could an elephant ever begin to comprehend the world of a penguin? How also could an Antarctic penguin ever fathom communicating with an African elephant?

    I empathized with her by saying, “At least your son told you. I am not so sure my teen would have told me at all!” This statement, however, did nothing to assuage her distress. Looking like all mothers do when they are disappointed and frustrated, she threw up her hands and stomped out of my room, but not before leaving me with just one tidbit…a tidbit that would change my parenting life as I knew it.

    “Well, just get him a cell phone with texting!” She said. “Teenage boys are better at faceless communication. Timmy proved that today!”

    And there it was, “faceless communication.” Maybe she had something there. Perhaps this was the answer to my communication problem with my sons. Were they more apt to talk to me if it was through an email or in a text? I decided to test my theory.

    At the end of the school day, I picked up my cell and text this message to my 16 year old:

    Me: How was school today?

    Much to my delight and surprise this is what I got back:

    Aidan: Gr8. I got 2 dance w/ Jane in gym. (The girl’s name has been changed to protect Aidan’s ego.)

    After deciphering the mystery language, I grinned from ear to ear. This was HUGE. His answer not only wasn’t the word “fine,” which seemed to be the only word in his dictionary lately, but I ACTUALLY got two details (a gold mine!) into his life. With his answer I now knew:

    1. He was dancing in gym. (But more importantly)
    2. He liked a girl.

    Those details felt so good, I was greedy for more. Treading lightly, not wanting to scare away the sleek penguin standing in front of me, I decided that there should be no sudden movements. So I texted back a question trying to sound as uninterested as I possibly could.

      Me: Oh. Is that good?

    I immediately received this response.

      Aidan: Yeah. But I have to see her n Spanish cls 2moro. How should I act?

    I have to admit, with this response I felt like I won the lottery. I mean, here I was meandering in the corridors of Aidan’s maze-like mind, AND the maze keeper himself was asking my opinion. I was giddy. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

      Me: If I remember correctly, high school girls don’t like it if boys try too hard. Just give her a casual “Hey.” (Alright, alright, I use proper grammar even when texting. I mean I AM a teacher.)
      Aidan: K. Thx. ttyl. (For those of you who aren’t fluent in text abbreviations that means “Okay. Thanks. Talk to you later.” Now you don’t have to look it up like I did!)

    Since this enlightening conversation was longer than any other conversation that we’d had in months, I decided to become a student of the technology that my boys use on a daily basis. For each fad or gadget I studied I’d find a way to use it to connect with my oh-so-elusive boys. I now have my own Facebook page that allows me to “message” them or chat in an instant way. I use their email accounts to send them lists or information that they may need to keep for the long run–like the high school final exam schedule I just sent off to Aidan. I have even learned about some of their favorite video games so that we have things to chat about. (You’d be amazed how many life lessons I can wring out of “Call of Duty!”) By understanding the boys’ techno-world a little better, I am able to use it to my advantage when it comes to communicating with them. To think-an elephant communicating effectively with two penguins! Someone call the San Diego Zoo!

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales

    Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales by Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Logan Fisher

    I Beg To Differ!

    It started years ago when my boys were very young. Well-meaning moms at the playground, preschool and parks would cluck their tongues and sigh. After a few years of experiencing this over and over, I grew accustomed to what usually followed their wistful puffs of air. “You don’t know how lucky you are. Boys are SO much easier than girls.” I heard this statement so frequently that I began to believe the adage myself. Okay, perhaps I needed to believe it because as my boys grew older that ease promised to me by mothers of girls didn’t seem to exist in our world. My boys were NOT easy. Let me rephrase that, my boys ARE not easy. Even now at 16 and 13, Aidan and Gannan continue to challenge and test.

    That isn’t to say that mothers of girls have it easier. In fact, when watching friends of mine blessed with children of that particular sex, I am convinced that they don’t. Therefore, I have decided that neither set of parents have a cake walk of any sort. It is just that the problems experienced by each are vastly different. I am sure you have heard of the book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.” In that same venue we could say, “Sons are From Saturn, Daughters are from Jupiter.”

    For instance, boys are not great communicators. I therefore find myself performing criminal-like fetes to get them to share SOMETHING about their lives with me. I find that captivity–say in a locked and moving car–gets me results. Boys are also physical and clumsy. I shudder to think about the money spent on new windows, furniture, paint for banged up walls and repair men for broken appliances. Heck, I’ve had to replace the curtains in Gannan’s room four times in the last year. (Don’t ask!) When the fourth set ripped, and the rod broke, I told him that I hoped he enjoyed the great outdoors because he’d be seeing it through his naked windows from now on. These are just a few examples of the adventures in raising boys, but of course there’s more! How about the sassiness that seems to appear out of nowhere the moment they set foot in high school? Oh! What about the incessant competition? Ugh. Don’t get me started. Those boys can make a contest out of anything. I once suggested that they each say a reason why they love their brother, and Aidan and Gannan’s conversation went something like this:

    Aidan: Gannan, I love you because you don’t care if you take showers every day.

    Gannan: Aidan, I love you because you don’t care that I have more friends than you.

    Although it’s true that I have recently added a girl to our brood, for the sake of this column, I will be discussing, contemplating, and sometimes lamenting about my adolescent boys. Join me as I let you in on the challenging, funny and sometimes heart wrenching events with a boys’ spin that occur weekly, daily, hourly. Feel free to comment! We mothers of boys have got to stick together!


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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