I, too, was a cotton-headed ninny muggins once

By Melanie Yingst

Blame it on the spring-like weather, but something is in the air that is making small children act like cotton-headed ninny muggins.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, my darling 11 year-old has decided he would go on a poor decision making spree resulting in a phone call from school as well as a few emails from teachers documenting his less than stellar behavior in the last few days.

And I will admit other friends and family sharing their stories of their children’s “Naughty List” did make me feel a lot better. It must be in the air.

For example, last Friday I decided to enjoy a relaxing morning cashing in my overdue one-hour massage at a local spa. It was a gift from last year’s Christmas that I had been holding on to for way too long. I figured I’d take the morning off, grab an overpriced coffee and enjoy a “Me Morning.”

It was a beautiful frosty morning. I had my favorite CD playing as I drove to get a hot beverage to enjoy on the way to the spa.

I was good to go. As I sat in the parking lot of the spa, I was excited about my hour of bliss.

Then I made the mistake of checking my phone.

A voicemail from the school principal.

And it was a voicemail that killed my “Mom Mojo,” folks.

While the terms and conditions of the boy’s punishment were handled by his father, I couldn’t help but be filled with anger and disappointment as I walked in to the door of the spa. Even that babbling water feature annoyed me as I filled out paperwork.

Not even the calming sounds of the ocean mixed with Native American flute could not quite squash the spike in my blood pressure.

Parenting is grand isn’t it?

Despite the weight of my son’s less than stellar behavioral issues on my mind, I was determined not to let it ruin my day. Even as I was engulfed in the calm, serene environment and inhaled the heavy scent of lavender with every breath, I just couldn’t let it go.

I managed to have a lovely masseuse who was extremely helpful in grinding out all the knots in my neck as I plotted my son’s demise with my face in the U-shaped pillow. The U-shaped pillow was extremely useful to hide my angry tears.

At the beginning of my massage I had plotted to have all of his pre-purchased Christmas presents donated to every orphanage and shelter in Miami County. Next he would shipped off to military school to some cold and isolated place in Michigan.

As the masseuse continued going to war with the all the pent up tension in my whole body, my mind then wandered to the times of when I was in sixth grade.

I, too, was a cotton-headed ninny muggins as a “tween.”

I wasn’t exactly Student of the Month when I was 11-12 years of age either. In fact, the sixth grade was one of my more “mischievous” years in terms of scholarly citizenship. I was slightly relieved, although also disappointed, that my own sixth grade teachers retired before they had my son in school. I couldn’t help but to relive a little bit of those days and recall thinking adults were oblivious to any and all of our attempts of mayhem.

Boy we were ever wrong. I, too, spent a lot of time in detention in my junior high days, which is why I had hoped that this rite of passage would skip a generation. Well, much to my disappointment, it didn’t.

And it’s not going to.

When I did finally have a heart-to-heart with my son later that day, I wasn’t as angry as I was at the beginning of my morning. Had it not been for that hour-long massage, I’m sure his fate would have been much worse. Instead, it gave me time to reflect that we are not all perfect and we all can make bad choices from time to time, especially in these formative years. Yet, as long as we don’t keep making the same mistakes, forgiveness can go far. These are life lessons and some are going to be learned the hard way.

After we had a long talk about the less than stellar choices he had made that day, we hugged it out and pledged to restore that spark of trust again.

And with that being said, Evan’s bedroom and our bathroom and kitchen have never been cleaner.


By Melanie Yingst