Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trippin' On A Sick Day

My second-grader stayed home with a fever today.  If you don't have a 7-year-old at your elbow, you should look into renting one.  The conversations are often thought-provoking and always entertaining.  Just last week, on his way out the door, he excitedly announced that class-jobs were going to be assigned that day.  But, right afterward, like any grown-up thinking things through, the nagging afterthought tumbled out, "I hope I'm not the caboose." 

Do you ever expect anyone to say "caboose"?!  Goodness, me.  He had me laughing all day at the thought of it.  That afternoon proved that wishes come true sometimes, but not always.  At least it was only for one week. 

Today's conversation included the question of which super-power I would choose.  You know...flying, breathing underwater, teleporting, or going back in time?  Flying, for me.  As much as I'd love to breathe underwater, I just don't think I'd use it as much as flying.  He chose going back in time.  Back in time, really?!  Yeah, like back to before school started.  Oh, I see.  Like a week ago.  Yeah, and back when you could fly and breathe underwater.  Wait a minute...is it possible to cheat in this game? 

But, then it occurred to me that it would probably be very difficult to be happy wherever you were, if you could always be somewhere else.  Especially if you went there by simply thinking about it.  If only I were at the ocean...

The ocean is beautiful, but it sure is hot.  If only I could be somewhere cooler, or with shade.  Like on a mountaintop...hillside...riverbank...you-name-it...if only...

And what if, in addition to always wanting to be somewhere other than where you were, you could only travel alone?  Even if you could manage to be content in one place, you'd probably be sad after a while, unless you're a super-duper introvert and never needed another person to enjoy life.  Ever. 

I mean, that sounds great, for a little while.  It reminds me of a trip I took by myself to Galveston some years ago.  That 24-hour-trip was the fruit of a little Mommy-math, which was the realization that I had three little boys at home and I hadn't been alone for 24-hours in five years.  I was overdue. 

I sat on the beach and read until I couldn't sit and read anymore.  I played the guitar.  I took myself to dinner that night and spent the hour at my table, watching a family with small children at their's.  The next morning, I was ready to go back home.  I learned a valuable lesson on that trip.  Sometimes, it's good to leave, just so you can be ready to come home again.

So, I'm grateful for my little mind trip today and the second-grader who bought my ticket, 'cause here I am - as happy as I can be on the sofa in my living room, with nowhere to go and nothing to see, but some kid-show-on-TV and a little boy in a recliner with a cold rag on his forehead. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From Hobby Lobby to the Dentist: All You Need to Know About Parenting

Today was the perfect day to describe parenthood in all its wonder.

Event #1:  I was at Hobby Lobby with my three boys to spend my gift card on some twine they needed to make bracelets.  Of course, each boy found some great clearance item they couldn't live without, so I agreed to chip in $5.00 for each one, and they would pay the rest.

On our way to check out, I bumped into an old friend, who had three kids in her cart and one by her side.  We talked about summer, school, her working out and me not, and the like.  During this conversation, her children didn't make a peep nor show one ounce of impatience, and her oldest is one year younger than my youngest.

Meanwhile, my boys were playing grab-ass, which ended with nutcrackers on the floor (Yes, Christmas stuff is out already), some very misplaced blame (Me!), and an embarrassed and ticked off someone (Me, again!).

I commended my friend for her well-behaved children.  She graciously thanked me and said that they often behaved more like mine, and we parted ways.

My boys and I had an emergency meeting the next aisle over in very hushed tones, the fruit of which was a silent march back to the clearance section, a return of all items that minutes before couldn't have been lived without, and a long, quiet ride home.

Parenting conclusion #1:  My boys are unbelievably ill-behaved and not at all suited to going out in public.  I am definitely doing something wrong.

Event #2:  After arriving home from Hobby Lobby, I assembled a birthday gift for my niece.  While I was doing so, my youngest decided he wanted to give everyone in our neighborhood a gift, to make them happy.  (I think after leaving Hobby Lobby empty-handed, he was acutely aware of how much the world at large was in need of happiness)!

I told him a note would accomplish the same thing and he instantaneously became an author, illustrator, Santa Claus, mailman, and delinquent.  He wrote and illustrated notes, walked to the neighbors' homes, rang the doorbell, dropped his happiness, and ran!  Fortunately, I'm friends with one of these neighbors on Facebook, so I copied his picture from his post thanking whoever it was.  He tagged me, so I guess he had a pretty good idea...                                          

Parenting conclusion #2:  I have one very thoughtful son.  Maybe I'm not totally failing as a parent.

Event #3:  4:00pm.  Dentist appointments for all three.  For the first time ever, I didn't go back with them - probably because I was still recovering from Hobby Lobby.  So, I stayed in the waiting area, availing myself of the Keurig-love and pretended I was on vacation. When they were all finished, the dentist and her staff came out to brief me, and they all gushed about how well-behaved and polite the boys were, and could I teach them how to train their kids like that? Ha!

Parenting conclusion #3:  I'm the best parent in the world!!!  Not really.  More like, don't trust the dentist!  Not really.  More like...my kids are like me and all of our fellow earthlings...Not as bad or as good as they seem in any given moment.  There but for the grace of God, go we.