Having a 10 Year Old

As adults we realize that the age milestones don’t matter as much. You aren’t that different the day after your birthday than the day before it. At ten though, that wasn’t the case, and today my son turns ten.

Looking back on his life, I see phases instead of years. The first phase was the worst. I know lots of people disagree with me, but let me put this in prospective. You have to feed him, change his dirty diapers, and care for him in every way; and in return he doesn’t let you sleep. You can’t even play with him, because he just lays there!

The next phase brought with it a little fun, but it was also the hardest so far as a parent. He was old enough play. Not as much as I would have liked, but we got to play around and watch cartoons together (although his taste in cartoons didn’t quite match mine). However, it also involved potty training. Xavier isn’t especially patient, and taking the time out of your busy play schedule to use the grown up potty seemed like a concept he would never grasp. I felt like we were banging our heads against the wall, but eventually Xavier decided it was time and started using the bathroom just in time to start the next phase, school.

The start of school brought another phase and a drastic change. Since I work from home, I was used to being around Xavier all day, but now it was different. Even with the changes, this phase was better than the last. Xavier was older and able to play even more things. We had a lot of fun playing frisbee with his friends after school. His taste in cartoons got better too, so we could enjoy superhero cartoons together! As he got older, he also got smarter, which made him much easier to talk to and relate to. It’s been a great phase, but I see it coming to an end.

The phases have only been getting better, so I look forward to the next phase, but I also look to it with some apprehension. As a parent, entering a new phase means that you really don’t know what to expect. Xavier turning ten signals the start of his transition into manhood, and I see it happening. He’s more independant than ever. He does far more grown up things, such as hunt and use a hatchet to chop down trees and fashion weapons. He’s also starting to show preferences in the things he learns, he’s starting to specialize his knowledge.

He’s growing up, and I love it.

The Bug Zoo – Victoria BC

So, Xavier is really into animals of any kind. While in Victoria BC we took him to visit the Victoria Bug Zoo. After paying $10 per person (there were six of us) we walked into a pretty small room in the back and were immediately unimpressed. I’m happy to say we were wrong. Our tour guide Mark was amazing. He REALLY knew his stuff, and was great about taking out many of the various bugs and making sure that everyone got a chance to hold them. The only downside was that Xavier was a little bummed that he couldn’t the scorpion or the tarantula because you had to be 19 to hold those. Other than that, we saw and held several species of stick bugs, katydids, praying mantises (the Orchid Mantis was absolutely beautiful), millipedes, and more. I wish I had been more proactive with the camera phone, but I was busy holding bugs (yes, I held every one they would let us). If you’re ever in Victoria, I highly recommend checking it out.

The Sex Talk and the Failing of the Church

Warning: This post is not rated G. It’s PG…or maybe PG-13. Just read it to yourself before reading it out loud.

Yet Another Warning: This post is also a bit of a rant. If you’re easily offended by someone saying “the church” is doing it wrong, or putting blame on religion or those that propagate it’s falsities, then do us both a favor and stop reading here. Comments will be moderated to make sure things stay clean and civil.

As I was driving Xavier to school today, we had one of those “sex talks” that most parents dread. Our church is just finishing a series called “The Best Sex Ever” and he saw the handout in the back seat of the car. He picked it up and read “The Best I’m not going to say that Ever”. I assumed it was an embarrassing thing for him to talk about, so as any good dad would do…I corrected him and said “The Best SEX Ever”. He said “it just feels like it’s a bad word that I shouldn’t say”. What?! Sex is amazing. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just a fact. It’s wonderful, it’s fun, it’s useful, it’s fun, it brings couples together…and it’s fun!

I immediately corrected him, explained to him that sex isn’t a bad word and that it isn’t “dirty” or “bad”. Instead it’s actually an amazing thing that he’s going to enjoy some day. Our conversation continued the rest of the way to school. I had to correct some misunderstandings that were caused by other boys sharing about things they didn’t understand. I wanted to make sure he understood that I’d always be there to answer questions about sex, which lead me to share with him a story about when I was in third grade.

There was another boy, a good friend of mine, that hung out with some older boys pretty regularly. We all knew what erections were (yes, this was third grade and yes, third grade boys know about erections…even 21 years ago), but he’d heard it referred to as a “boner”. He’d been curious, so he had asked why it was called that. I assume it probably seemed funny to the older boys when they explained to him that there was a bone that slid up when you got excited and that’s what caused the erection. Needless to say, this third grade friend of mine was excited to share what he’d learned. Remember, we’re only 8 years old with an extremely rudimentary understanding of anatomy, and he really believed what he was saying. I wasn’t as convinced. I went home and blindsided my dad with this newly acquired theory, and my dad put the issue to rest. There’s no bone. You can’t break it if you fall while you have an erection (although I don’t doubt it would hurt), etc. He took the time to answer all my questions.

I told Xavier that the information he hears at school could be accurate or could be just as wrong as what I had heard in third grade, but I promised that I’d always answer any questions he had. And I’d be happy to clarify/verify whatever he was hearing. He seemed to be happy with that, and he did ask a couple minor questions, but then we arrived at school. Still, the lines of communication are open.

The whole way home though, I thought about his comment about sex being a bad word. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. Now I accept a lot of the blame myself. I admit that there have been times when I’ve avoided the topic just because it’s awkward. That stops now. However, I don’t think all the blame lies on me. A kid doesn’t get the impression that a word is “bad” just because mom and dad don’t use it. As a test, I asked Xavier his impression on a couple words I’m pretty sure I’ve never (or VERY rarely) used around him. Penultimate. Irascible. Doppelgänger. Not a single one did he think was a bad word that shouldn’t be said.

Unfortunately, he goes to a Christian school, a Christian church, and has plenty of Christian friends he hangs around. And in my experience, Christians have a warped (and not-Biblical) view of sex. And they push it on everyone they can. Having an opinion is fine…I have them too. Pushing that opinion on others is a completely different, and far worse, thing. However, worse still, by orders of magnitude, is pushing those opinions on people under the guise of teaching the Bible!

A while back I hit a time in my life where I decided I needed to codify my beliefs. Too many things that I’d taken as Biblical fact were neither Biblical nor fact. There were too many inconsistencies, inaccuracies, etc. So I decided that I believe there is a God and that I think the Bible is accurate (although at times translation leaves a lot to be desired). I threw out everything else. Since then I’ve been working through many areas of life and deciding what I believe based on the things I know, rather than the things I was told. You’d be amazed how different you view the world when you do this. Sex is one of the many subjects I’ve tackled.

I’ll leave out many of the more controversial topics that I’m still working through and stick to the things that are clear, and yet often mistaught. First and foremost; sex is NOT dirty. Greg Rohlinger did a pretty good job (far better than I’ve seen in other churches, so bravo Greg) explaining this. Consider watching the series.

Second, sex does NOT have to be limited to the missionary position.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.Song of Solomon 2:3

Yep, that’s the Bible talking about oral sex!

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.Song of Solomon 4:3

Biblical description of oral sex, this time for her pleasure!

So how do people teach against these things? They simply bend “sexual immorality” to mean anything they want. Before you take someone’s word for it, check it out yourself. Research and try to figure out for yourself what that refers to, and by extension what’s right and wrong sexually.

Read all of Song of Solomon and look for the eroticism in the poetry. It’s sensual, erotic, explicit, and beautiful. That’s what I want and that’s what I want Xavier to have some day. And I will NOT sit by and listen while people with closed minds regurgitate what they were taught without ever questioning it, and I won’t subjugate my son to it. Wake up, or get out of my way. I’m on a mission to figure out the TRUTH.

Xavier Reading Green Eggs and Ham

Xavier has been getting so much better at reading! He’s started to really like to read Dr. Suess books (man after my own heart), mainly because he can now read well enough to make the rhymes sound “like a song”. I took a quick video of him reading part of Green Eggs and Ham. The audio isn’t great, but I’m so proud of him that I’m going to share it anyway!

Xavier’s Mario Themed Birthday

Yesterday we had Xavier’s birthday party, and it was a blast. He wanted it to be themed like Super Mario Brothers, and Christen really outdid herself. She had Super Mario Brothers balloons, centerpieces, piñata, etc. She even did themed food:

Platform Pretzels
The pretzel sticks were "platforms"

Turtle Shell Tangerines
The tangerines were "turtle shells"

Popcorn Clouds
The popcorn was "Clouds"

Super Star Sandwiches
The sandwiches were "Super Stars"

One Up Cake
The cake was a "One Up" on top, and an entire Super Mario Brothers level on the bottom, complete with bricks, question boxes, coins, piranha plants, etc! (Thanks again Amber)

Xavier with a sword, ready for the piñata
We don't really do anything normal, so while it may have had nothing to do with Super Mario Brothers, we used a wooden sword to take on the piñata

Piñata Fun
The piñata gave up all sorts of goodies for the kids

Trampoline Put To Good Use
The trampoline was put to good use by all the kids (and a few of the adults)

Fun On Xavier's New Toy
Xavier even shared his new toys, which were quite a hit

Thanks to everyone that came! It all turned out great and X had a blast!