Posts Tagged ‘Alpha Tween


How Do You Solve a Problem Like Alpha Tween?

So it’s been a while, yeah? Last week was a travel week for work, so as happens around here, we lapsed into silence. I’m almost over jet lag, so hopefully I’ll have my act in gear sometime soon. I always want to post more, I just never seem to get around to it.

This week hasn’t started off that well around Casa De Dad Moon Rising. Well, I take that back. I’m happy to be home amongst my loving family (who are super awesome for letting me do things like travel to Alabama for a college All Star game and then jet to Vegas for a ‘retreat’ with another company) and everyone is healthy and glad I am back.

However, for Alpha Tween, this week is not going well. He’s 12 and apparently being 12 his brain has ceased functioning on a regular basis. He’s losing things at school, stuff he swears he recalls putting into his folders or backpack or somewhere else, but never ends up home.

And it’s starting to be important stuff, like his schedule of electives for next semester. If he doesn’t get that in (and it may already be too late) he’ll get whatever classes they give him, not the ones he wants. He’s also lost his day planner (which begs the question, is he even using it?) and two hats.

He’s really upset. I mean, my wife and I are upset, frustrated and angry because there has been tremendous time and effort spent (mostly by my lovely wife) giving this kid tools which should help him stay organized. But he’s really, really broken right now.

Alpha is, of course, in trouble for all this because it’s been a constant problem and all the support we’ve been giving him isn’t helping. Plus, he constantly looks us in the eye and tells us “A” when the answer is “B” or worse, we tell him to do something and he nods and “yups” us about it, then totally doesn’t do what he’s supposed to.

The thing is, I get that a 12 year old’s brain isn’t fully developed and doesn’t work at close to 100%. I get it and, frankly, I’m not sure MY brain works at 100% most days. Maybe not even 50%.

But there comes a point where excusing it or explaining it away doesn’t help. He needs to face consequences and maybe we have been bailing him out too much.

The problem for me is, I don’t know how to solve this. I have no idea how to help him, partly because my own memory is occasionally poor for certain things and partly because I just don’t know what is wrong.

And he’d really, really upset. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as down as he was this morning. He’s frustrated, angry and pretty depressed. He isn’t happy with himself but doesn’t understand why things are happening the way they are and seems to feel he is powerless to fix this.

I’m not sure what we can do to help him. We’ve given him tons of tools, he just isn’t utilizing them.

Maybe letting him fail at a few things as a consequence is the way to get him to learn. We all need to learn how to overcome obstacles and failure. Maybe by screwing up he can learn to motivate himself to improve.

Maybe it’s time for him to fail a little.

It’s sure as hell not easy to watch though.



My Son Wants a Hogwarts Scholarship

So, as you know (or maybe not), I write about the NFL for a living.

As I watched the Sunday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, the players were introduced to the TV audience by a little video presentation along the bottom of the screen.

During the first or second series of plays, the defense and offense of each team get a moment to say their name and what college they went to. I’m not sure why but it’s nice advertising for the universities, most of which don’t really need it.

Sometimes players will say their high school sometimes and some will make stuff up.

Sunday night, we saw this:

Alpha Tween was up at the time and I thought it was amusing so I told both he and my wife about it. Nobody found it quite as funny as I did but when the video popped up on Twitter and YouTube I dragged him into the office anyway.

He watched and laughed then looked thoughtful for a moment.

Alpha: “What if it was real? What if he really did go to Hogwarts?”

Me: “That’d be awesome.”

Alpha: “I could get a scholarship.”

So that’s the agenda now. Hell if Harry Potter and Greg Hardy could get scholarships to the Big H, why not my boy?

He’d look good in Gryffindor scarlet.


Because the Internet is Awesome, it’s already updated Hardy’s Wikipedia page:


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Sometimes Kids Will Surprise You aka My Child Has Become Socially Conscious

My kids are a constant source of surprises.

Sometimes those surprises are terrifying but for the most part, they are cause for wonder and joy.

Over the last two months Alpha Tween has lamented to me that he isn’t “doing enough with his life.”

I have a very hard time wrapping my head around a 12 year old “not doing enough with his life” and when I’ve pushed him, it’s more that he isn’t doing enough for other people (charity work or helping his fellow man) more than he’s not experiencing life.

My wife tells me that it’s not uncommon for kids in middle school to become more motivated to change the world. I can’t speak to that—either because my memory is bad and I can’t remember worrying like this or because I was insanely shallow.

I’m fine with either, by the way.

But I’m told some kids go through this. I’ve offered suggestions in the past about how he could donate time and effort but I get the sense that everything seems too big to tackle head on right now—plus he’s in school on an extended schedule (8:20 am to 4:10 Monday-Thursday) and is constantly worried about getting other things taken care of in his free time.

So it shouldn’t surprise me—though it did—that when he wrote out a list of things he’d like for Christmas “donations to charities” was on the list.

I overheard my wife pressing him a bit as to what charities he’d want people to donate to and why—to think carefully and research where he wants money to go to so that he knows it’s being used effectively.

Right now he’s thinking about the Make-A-Wish Foundation (he was captivated by the Batkid story from a couple weeks back) and a Save the Rainforest charity.

I’m really proud of him. I’m not saying he decided “no presents for me, thanks” or anything—he still wants a Nerf gun and video games—but it’s heartening to see him care about others.

He always has—he’s an empathetic kid and we raise him in a house which is filled with discussions about all sorts of social issues.

As I see him becoming a man, things like this make he very happy with who he is going to be.

I think it’s rare and worthy of comment when a kid decides something like this is important enough to put on a Christmas list.

And given how much we’ve lost touch with what Christmas is supposed to be about—the giving and not the receiving—it’s heartening.

I don’t expect things like this.

But surprises like this are a wonderful bonus of being a dad.

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DOMA arrigato, Mr (and Mrs) Supreme Courto

I will probably lose some of you with the very next sentence, and I’m fine with that.

Today the US Supreme Court, after scaring the crap out of me with their Voter’s Rights ruling on Tuesday, slapped down DOMA and California’s Prop 8 and like many, I couldn’t be happier.


If that upsets you, please come back later. Or read on, but be forewarned, my happiness at the decision isn’t likely to decrease during this column.

On a smaller scale, the decision gave me a moment to consider not just the family and friends who are one step closer to being recognized as full people by the law, but how this sort of thing impacts my kids.

After “Hi Dad” the very first thing Alpha Tween said to me when I got home from one of the more frustrating days I have had in a long time (and day three of no sugar) was “The Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage!”

He said it with an interesting combination of excitement and “well what did you expect” in his voice that brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

On the one hand, he realizes this is monumental for human rights. He gets that this is a big deal, that as a nation we’re that much closer to the ideals this country was founded on so long ago, that people are people and liberty is deserved by all.

The kids don't quite get the disconnect. Human beings = equal rights, right?

The kids don’t quite get the disconnect. Human beings = equal rights, right?

On the other hand, he doesn’t get the fuss about two people of the same sex, who are adults and in love, being married.

That I have had to explain it to him more than once and he still is frustrated by the explanation, can’t wrap his noggin about it……

Excuse me, it’s a bit dusty in here.

There are days when, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if anyone in my house hears what I’m saying. There are times when I wonder if what I tell the boys resonates at all or if they are just politely nodding at the old man while wondering when they can get back to Harry Potter.

And then there are moments where I hear them say something simple, but profound and I realize that all I and the Wife have been striving for – to raise a pair of loving, kind and thoughtful boys who can go into the world and make a difference just by existing – it’s happening.

I’ve battled my own prejudices. I’ve held hate in my heart, even when I didn’t think I did and it was hard to open my eyes to it.

That my kids aren’t battling that makes me so happy I could fly. That I (we, really, I couldn’t do it without my wife) are able to have helped these boys build their character to a place where they truly (to paraphrase the great Doctor King) judge folks on the content of their character, not the color of their skin, their preference of partners, religion or any other surface trait.

This is not to say that the kids are perfect. Good Lord no. Not close. But it’s a sign of progress.

Which brings us back to the ruling. While I’m ecstatic about it, it almost feels like the SCOTUS knocked DOMA down on a technicality in some ways. On top of that, the explanation of the dissenters in the verdict continue the same theme we’ve heard before which seems fear based.

Here’s what I think: the only way gay marriage is hurting my marriage is…um…wait………….I got nothing.

There is no way gay marriage hurts marriage of any other kind. Nobody is going to force your church, synagogue, temple or any other house of worship to marry two men if they don’t want to. Frankly, John Barrowman of Torchwood and Doctor Who said it best – and I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t find the quote –  why would I aspire to be part of something which doesn’t want me?

There’s your geek/nerd moment for the column.

It doesn’t mean people don’t want to be married, just that if they know you disapprove, why do you think they’ll come to your place of worship to get married?

Marriage, by the way, predates your notion of marriage. And I’m talking to everyone, even my atheist and agnostic friends. Marriage has been around since before monotheistic religions. It’s not a Jewish thing, nor a Christian thing, nor a Muslim thing – it’s a people thing.

It’s morphed over the lifetime of our world, it’s morphing now and will again. It’s a way for two consenting adults to join together in love. Isn’t there little enough of that as it is?

Once it was wrong for people of opposite skin color or religion to marry. Then we realized how barbaric it was and that changed. Welcome to marriage alterations part two.

Some of you will say “but Civil Unions are the same!” They aren’t. They don’t hold the same rights and privileges and you only need to Google a bit to find things which should make anyone with a soul reconsider their stance on the subject.

I get some of you will still disagree with this. I’m not going to judge or berate you. I won’t call you names or unfriend you. I hope that one day you’ll come around, as so many who were against desegregation and other Civil Rights causes came around (most of the time).

I’ll be here waiting. So will my family and we’ll keep fighting for those who lack the same rights we are lucky enough to have.

To my many gay friends, congratulations. May your love grow ever deeper each day.

In celebration here’s a link to Same Love by Macklemore. I’d post the video here, but I don’t seem to be able to get an embed code today.


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He’s devious, that Alpha Tween

Have you guys seen the Dikembe Mutumbo commercial for Geico? The one where he wanders from scene to scene deflecting anything airborne?

If not, check out the video below, then proceed with this story.

So this past weekend I’m sitting on the floor playing with Dog, because she demands my attention whenever I need to do work. (Right now, The Wife is home sick and entertaining her so I actually get work done.)

Internet, meet Roadkill. Roadkill already mt the road.

Internet, meet Roadkill. Roadkill already mt the road.

Anyway, I’m sitting on the dining room floor tossing one of Dog’s toys (a squirrel we call roadkill because, well, roadkill) when Alpha Tween comes by and sits down on the floor off to the side, sort of in the flight path of the roadkill tossing, but sort of not.

He strikes up a conversation about something (I can’t remember, I’m off sugar, brain no like work anymore no how) and we chat, all while I’m tossing the squirrel to Dog.  Dog is  is happily sprinting after it, leaping over the edge of the carpet (I don’t know why, maybe the pet equivalent of ‘step on a crack, break your mama’s back) and the three of us are all having a great time.

When all of the sudden, I toss the roadkill in the air and Alpha Tween reaches up and absolutely slaps it out of the air.

Dog and I both stare after the squirrel for a second, then, almost as one, turn to the kid.

Alpha Tween smiles, raises his hand and waggles his finger at me.

“No, No, No, not in my house.”

He then got up smiling and left.

I’m not even sure how the hell he saw that commercial.

All I know is the Dog is still offended.

No apparently, yes, in my house

No apparently, yes, in my house

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Bas doing the Geico no no no Dikembe Mutumbo commercial on me when I was throwing the dog toy.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages