I found out tonight that my son is "that kid."
Many of you who are reading this have either known Geoff his whole life, or you at least have known him from the blog, which I started writing when he was 3. He has given me the run for my money. Once in a while he is a sterling gentleman of letters: smart, polite, kind, refined. And sometimes he is Tyrannosaurus Geoff.
But most of the time, he's the joker, the prankster, the one who wants to make everyone laugh, and the one who eventually drives everyone out of their cotton picking minds because he doesn't know when to stop.
A year or so ago one of my friends emailed me. Her sons go to boy scouts with Geoff and she said "I just have to tell you... my boys love Geoff. They're sitting here at the dining table telling Geoff Stories from camping and laughing hysterically. They get him. They get it, they love him. He is a star to them. Just thought you'd want to know." She knows that I struggle with Geoff's behavior at school, and she knows there are parents in town who hate my kid and badmouth him and us left and right to anyone who will hear. So I appreciated it greatly to hear that not only had he had a great time, but he made the trip for a couple other guys.
Recently, Geoff has discovered mooning.
On a camping trip this past summer he mooned the scoutmaster's son.
And on this trip, he did it again. Not sure who the intended target was, but he let it fly. "I think I see the moon coming out!" he declared and dropped trou.
Now, TV and movies do not lie. Mooning is indeed funny. But it is also inappropriate, and when it is YOUR kid, it isn't quite as hysterical.
My neighbor gave Geoff a ride home and her son came in with Geoff and his gear. He wanted me to know about the mooning and he was laughing hysterically while he told me. His mom was slightly embarrassed by how funny he found it, but I told her that it's okay for him to think it's funny and laugh but I'm going to talk to Geoff about it. He told me that the scoutmaster gave Geoff a talking to, but since this was the second time that I would probably get a call. We talked about when stuff is funny, and how in this social climate a mooning can result in getting put on the sex offender registry or something.
20 years ago a mooning was nothing. Now, it can get you suspended from school even if it didn't happen during school.
We don't want that.
I want Geoff to be funny and make people laugh and have a great time. But I need him to know what is appropriate. And when it is appropriate. Maybe someday when it isn't a boy scout event and he's just with "the guys" it'll be funny. But right there and then, not appropriate. I talked to him a little bit.
Our discussion went like this:
Me: How was camping?
Me: Did you sleep in the cabin or out in tents or under the stars?
Him: I slept in the cabin but a bunch of guys slept out and then in the middle of the night they got cold so they went into their tents.
Me: Did you see the moon last night.
Him: There was no moon out last night.
Me: That's not what I heard!
He stood there and looked at me. busted.
Him: Did T tell you that? I'll kill him.
Me: Yeah -- but you're not going to kill him. He told me that because he wants to make sure that you don't do it again and get in amazing amounts of trouble.
So we talked about it, and how he gets it, and he won't do it again but I have a feeling he still will.
Like I said, I'm glad he likes to make people laugh and people like him. But I want him to get an appropriate laugh. And not get kicked out of boy scouts. Or something.