Lauren Holly’s Blog: Boys Are a Whole Different Ballgame
Courtesy Lauren Holly
Please welcome Lauren Holly for a one-time celebrity blog!
Best known for her roles in Dumb and Dumber and on NCIS and Picket Fences, the actress, 49, is currently starring in ABC’s new summer show, Motive.
In addition to her acting career, Holly is also mom to sons Azer, 11, George, 10, and Henry, 9, with husband Francis Greco.
In her blog, Holly compares her younger years to her boys’ childhood — and wonders if she should be worried for what’s to come.
I’ve been forced to examine myself as a mother. Am I what I thought I would be? Did childhood behaviors conceive my parenting skills?
There have been a number of events that happened recently that have brought on my introspection. One mood seeps from my past into my future and I welcome its attendance. Humor. I laugh at myself as a teenage dumbass and I laugh at my predicament as Mom.
It all started benignly enough while cooking dinner. My youngest wanted to help with the cooking. The recipe called for ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I tossed the measuring spoons to him, forgetting that he was standing on a step stool in order to work at the counter.
“How much?” he asked. Distracted by my own mixing I said, “A 1 and a 4.”
Dinner was torturous. Gasping and choking we came to find out he had interpreted my direction as four times the one. The big spoon. We went through the McDonald’s drive thru — an occurrence that has become way more frequent lately than I used to boast. Still, they did change that horrid fry oil, didn’t they?
It wasn’t until we finished our Quarter Pounders that I found out that my youngest, the chef, had had another issue that day. I had enrolled him on a computer website loved by his big brothers, a site that I had already checked out thoroughly.
That had become my common practice ever since the Christmas debacle. Then the boys had each gotten a laptop from Santa, all set up and ready to surf. After all the wrapping had exploded throughout the room, I scooted them out to try to regain order. It took me about 20 minutes until I called them to eat.
At bedtime that night, my oldest asked, “Why do men kiss women’s private parts?” He and his brothers had seen pictures on their computers. #$%$$#@!!! We forgot the parental controls — “hot chicks” could be searched. In 20 minutes. I couldn’t even turn a computer on until after college. Are you kidding me?
Anyway, Club Penguin seemed made for kids. Fun harmless games, and cute waddling penguins whom you could dress up and make talk. My little sweet boy put a hat on his and took him promptly to the screen where he could see some school friends’ charges. He waddled his up to another and typed his greeting. “Hi Ass.” With false pride he told me he was kicked out of his Arctic world for A WHOLE YEAR!
Ah yes, the bad words. My three are obsessed with them. I had always thought my thoughtful middle one was immune to that infection — that is until I heard him whisper the F word angrily to his brother over the intercom.
Even “boner” is on the list. Yup, that gem came from a 12-year-old neighborhood demon. My oldest son confided, “We have awesome talks when we lay on the trampoline and look at the sky.” Obviously.
My three wonderful little men had managed to add to their already full repertoire of farts, burps and endless mentions of other equally intriguing bodily functions. Where are my dainty girlie girls playing dress-up with their Barbies, quietly and in the corner? Why were these noxious things in my house and why did they multiply on the weekends?
I made more rules and gave out more rewards. I yelled, gave mean looks and sentenced consequences. I even tried 30-second free reign. That’s when I take them all into my bedroom and let them talk like sailors while I watch the watch. Oh, what joy this brings!
Hopefully some tactic worked well enough that when they leave my house they don’t cause me embarrassment. After all, my biggest concern, unfortunately truthful, is what will others think?
When I was their age, my memory is that I was an angel. From what I heard, my tantrum phase was over and we were smooth sailing. No more throwing myself on the ground and screaming loud and foul when I was told no. Charming.
No, my recollection of punishment inducing behaviors really comes into focus on my teenage years. There was the yearbook photo of me in my cheerleading uniform walking furtively between two friends. Seemingly innocuous, yet it hid many facts in plain sight. Both friends were part of the pot crowd. I was carrying a brown-papered bottle of Jack Daniels.
I had signed a creed vowing to abstain from many things. I had already had a warning — or the Friday night hell ride that erased my savings. See, my parents had decided to go to my grandparents and take my brothers for the weekend. They trusted me to stay alone, except for my best friend who would stay with me.
I’m sure they felt even more secure by leaving us with the light blue Plymouth Valiant, the car with the stick shift on the wheel. Both of us only had our learner’s permit. I couldn’t drive it — especially without a licensed driver — and not past 9 p.m. anyway. Didn’t matter. They were gone and we were going.
We realized pretty quickly that first gear was all we were getting. Still, the idea of going out in our car trumped going fast. All the way down to the lake parking lot we cruised. Friends were there hanging out drinking and talking. The thing the cool people do. That night we belonged. ‘Rents were gone, no curfew and we had our own car.
It was past midnight when the party crashed and we started our slow drive home up. “Started” being the most important word in that sentence. See, about half way there is a hill with a stop sign at the top. We have to cross a busy road at that intersection, as it is the only way home. Did I mention that I had to come to a complete stop at the top of that hill in order to check traffic before I go?
Back to the stick shift on the wheel. I couldn’t do it. It was look to avoid death and then roll back. Over and over again. At first the two of us found this extremely funny. Then the funniest thing became that we thought that the situation was funny. That chorus just kept playing.
Then we really lost control around three in the morning. I swear it was because of the laugh spasms gripping my body, but those backward rolls got longer and more erratic. That is to say every mailbox or flowerbed was taken out on the left side of the hill and beyond.
The racket woke the neighborhood and the police were called. Someone was watching over us — the officer who responded to the call was a relative of my boyfriend. I had to repair the damage with apologies, and then he even held traffic.
The rest of my weekend consisted of planting and $$. The biggest expense was the car. Varsity jacket? Nope. Ski club? Not this year. My coffers were barren. Somehow my parents didn’t find out until years later. Amazing since the color they painted that Valiant was thankfully discontinued along with that auto. Almost a match…
See, my worry is if those things happen to an earlier angel, what happens to a naughty boy? This is what keeps me up at night after a penguin blackballs my kid. Is there a cycle I need to break?
After all, it was my mother who gave my godmother a haircut. Long, lustrous hair was left intact on only one side of her head, the other side trimmed to the scalp.
Yeah, I fear there is trouble ahead. Hopefully, I’ll keep on laughing while I figure it out.
— Lauren Holly