Monthly Archives: August 2010

beginning of the end

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Though the kids have been in school now for two weeks, when the weekend arrives, we’re right back into the thick of summer.  This past weekend, while I was out of town on my annual college girl’s weekend, the doll spent an afternoon at her cousins and the boy went to Cedar Point with Marg and her family.

The hubby took the boy shopping for some “cargo” styled shorts, for his impending trip, Saturday afternoon, while the doll spent the afternoon having a tea party over at her cousin’s house.  By the time they arrived to pick her up, the tea party had become a dinner party with invitations all around to stay and enjoy.   All the kids played especially well, even though the boy and his little cousin Jay were both fighting off summer colds.

Sunday morning, the boy went off to Cedar Point with Marg’s family.  Meanwhile the doll felt very sorry for herself as she was not invited along.  Her father tried to make her day better by taking her window shopping at the Mall and then treating her to Magic Wok for lunch.  But while she appreciated her father’s attempt, she was not a happy a camper. Seems her parents are just plain boring.   Woes the pity…..

When the boy finally arrived home, the doll wouldn’t allow me to hold a conversation with Marg’s parents, trying instead to become the center of attention.  When the time came for them to leave, upon hearing how much fun the boy had had, the doll said loudly, “Next time take me with you instead of leaving me here with them”.  Laughing we wished them a fond farewell and settled into the night.

I guess this weekend officially ended summer for them, even though we still have Labor day ahead of us.  Yes swimming in the pool for one more week, may be the final nail, but I believe this past weekend was the beginning of the end of summer.

grounding ain’t so bad

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A long time ago, someone told me that if you’re going to punish the child, make sure you don’t punish yourself.  Great advice… not so easy to take.  This week the kids have been grounded from playing on the computer, watching television and DS; harsh, but necessary.  When school began, I decided over the summer they had watched way too much TV, so they could only watch for an hour a day.  This has been wonderful, however on second thought; maybe a little TV can go a long way.

On Tuesday night, bored out of their minds, I suggested we play some of the many games we have collected over the years here at Casa Lewis.  The doll, always unimpressed, couldn’t be bothered with such trite things.  The boy, bored out of his skull, relented.  Seeing this, the doll, had to follow…no sense letting her brother find anything worthwhile without her. We played a game of scrabble.

The doll’s bedtime is 9 pm, and wouldn’t you know, we ran out of time.  She finished the game with 58 points, but I must add I didn’t help her; she owned all the points.   The boy and I continued on.  I personally will not allow the boy beat me, without a proper fight.  You know, if I didn’t he would never play with me again.  So we mashed it out.  Except every time he got stuck, he would say, “Help ME” then turn his tiles toward me.  Of course, me being his mom, not a real competitor at heart, would help him, thus beating me.  So essentially I won, not that I’m competitive or anything.

Two days later, the doll asked, can we play scrabble again?  This  from the girl, who cried during her spelling homework yesterday, expressing how much she hates spelling and reading.  The doll and I bribed the boy; he can watch TV Friday, with Dad’s discretion…   In the end he beat me by one point.  ONE POINT, though his father and I  helped him throughout.

See where I’m going here? I won again (not that I’m competitive or anything).  Actually if you look at the big picture, we all won.  I guess grounding the kids hasn’t been that bad,  the doll has improved her spelling and the boy has tolerated us… Win-win-win.  Those are the kind of odds I like.

odds and ends

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Once the doll’s bedroom was blessed, we had the task of removing her loft bed.  She decided she didn’t enjoy sleeping so close to the ceiling, plus the ladder leading up to the bed hurt her feet.   So, the hubby and I discussed bringing her old bed frame up from the basement and resetting her room back to how it was prior to the loft bed.  The thing was, her room looked like a tornado had come and claimed territory.

The bed was originally part of a bunk-bed system, complete with a desk and plenty of storage space. Before we put everything together, we decided to make sure she liked the top bunk first.  She slept in the loft for about six months. This decision to go back to her old bed has me wondering if we had set up the entire frame, would we still be having this problem?

While the kids were at school on Tuesday, I made the decision to dismantle the bed, cleaning her room as I went along.  The best part about the whole ordeal was that the next morning was garbage day, therefore, the doll got rid of a lot of junk and she just doesn’t know it yet.  I emptied out the bed’s storage space and found her misplaced American Girl Doll, Amber and placed her somewhere where the doll could find her.

When the doll came home from school and saw the shape of her bedroom, the first thing she noticed was Amber.  Grabbing me by the arm and leading me into the kitchen, she whispered, “Mom, did you bless Amber too?”  “Yes I did.” I said in return.  “Today or last night when you blessed the room?”  I could see this distinction was important to her, so I fibbed and said, “When I found her today, I walked down to Grandpa’s and baptized her with Holy Water.”  Breathing a sigh of relief, she responded with a “good”.  Amber it seems was the biggest perpetrator in the “Be mad at the doll for not taking me to Florida” conspiracy.

When the hubby returned home from work, we finished getting her bedroom in order and for the last two nights she has slept in her room, without complaint.  In fact this morning she even told me she likes the new configuration of her room and no longer feels afraid in there.  See what a little Holy Water, some bible verses and a fib, can accomplish!

“possession” part two

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After I agreed to talk with her bedroom “animals” the other night, she still resisted sleeping in her room, which made me think there was more to the issue than she was letting on.

A few weeks ago, while the boy was out of town, we traumatized the doll by having her watch the movie Poltergeist with us.  Though we warned her of the scary stuff, we enjoyed watching her reactions while she watched the movie.  I reminded her often, this was make-believe, not true just a fun scary movie.  I thought she understood though, I had forgotten how imaginations of eight year olds are actively over the top.

After school the other day, she had her girlfriend “Sweet” over to play.  While here, Sweet told the girls (Mary and Elle), that she could see ghosts and the doll’s room was filled with them.  Just what we wanted to hear, I thought.  “Sweet, please stop telling the doll that.  If there are ghosts in this house, they are peaceful, as we’ve lived here 15 years without incident.  They are just happy loving people live in this house.” They quit playing that game and I thought I’d put a stop to those fears. I was wrong.

“I still don’t want to sleep in that room mom, it creeps me out.”  “There are no ghosts in our house darlin’.  If there were, your father and I would have found them by now.  Trying to find a satisfactory conclusion to this mess I asked, “Would you go back to sleeping in your room, if I had Father Donnelly (our parish priest) bless the room?”  Shaking her head up and down, I realized how difficult that prospect would be.  “Well, Father is really busy, but what if I got some Holy Water and blessed the room, would that do the trick?”  Thinking it over for about ten seconds, she agreed.  “Alrighty then, I’ll go get some Holy Water from Grandpa and re-bless your room.” I said, rising from the couch preparing to leave.  Before I made it out the door, she asked, “Why does Grandpa have Holy Water?”  Smiling to myself, I said, “That’s another story for another time.  Just suffice it say he has some.

Arriving at my Dad’s he directed me to a container filled with Holy Water from the spring at Lourdes, France.  “Why do you need the water?” he asked.  “I’m going to re-bless the doll’s bedroom, as a safety measure for her.  She watched a movie a few weeks back and is afraid of her room now.”  Smiling, he said, “Don’t let her watch it again”.  I stopped at the computer and printed up a few bible verses (Galatians 3:25-29) to make the blessing all the more real for her, then walked her into her room for the blessing.  My nieces (Mary and Elle) were also present; having followed me home from Grandpa’s where their family was visiting.

We walked into her bedroom and made the sign of the cross.  I read the bible verses aloud, and then proceeded to have the girls say an “Our Father” while I dumped small quantities of water onto my index and middle finger, to splash about the room.  When they completed their prayer, I looked at the doll and said, “Good?”  “Mommy, don’t forget to get those toys in the corner, and on my desk and my Pooh bear pillow”.  Each time I splashed the water, I made sure the girls got hit by some of the water, as reassurance I was not pretending.  When I finished I looked at the doll and said, “Well?”  Smiling back at me she said, “Okay, tomorrow I’ll sleep in my own bed… but, if any demons are in there…” I wouldn’t let her continue.  “Doll, if there were demons in there you would have heard “sizzling” noises when they were hit with the Holy Water.”  As if to prove my point, I approached the boy, who sat quietly reading in the living room, and hit him with a bit of water.  “See, no sizzling noises!” Laughing the girls agreed the boy was not a demon.  However, they suggested I try the water on the dog.  “Smiling back, I said, “Nah, she is a demon, we already know that!”

possession is 9/10’s of the law part one

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For the past few weeks the doll has harbored a deep distrust of her bedroom.  During the daytime, playing in there is fine, but once night time rolled around, she began refusing to sleep in her bed.  While her brother was out of town, I’d put her to bed in her room, only to find her asleep on the living room couch in the morning.  Once he returned, she begged him to sleep in his bottom bunk.  At first he thought that sounded kind of cool.  Now however, he wants his room back.

We kept asking her what the problem with the room was, but she couldn’t give us a definitive answer.  One day, her brother confessed her secret…she thought her stuffed animals were going to revolt and attack her during the night.  When I asked her about this, she quickly denied the accusation and then attacked her brother for “telling”.  Needless to say, nothing had been resolved.

Sunday night, we found both kids in the boy’s top bunk playing his DS game, an hour after bedtime.  As a result, they both lost TV/Computer/DS privileges for the week and the doll was informed yesterday of her impending move back into her bedroom.  All hell seemed to break loose on that idea.  The doll shaking her head back and forth in tears said, “Please don’t make me sleep in that room”.  “Where do you suppose you would sleep then doll?” I asked.  Pointing down she said. “Right here on the couch”.  “Sorry, doll that won’t work.  More tears ensued. She genuinely seemed afraid of her room.

Sensing there must be more to this story; I sat down next to her and told her the history of her bedroom.”You know, for the first ten years your father and I were in this house, we slept in that bedroom and never had a problem”.  “Really?” She said through the bursts of tears.  “Really, we have never ever had a problem with that room.”  Taking a deep breath she finally let us in on the problem,”You know, what really worries me about the room? When we were preparing to go to Florida, I sensed some of the stuffed animals were upset with me, because I told them I would take them with me, but you and Daddy told me I couldn’t.  I tried to explain to them that I wanted them with me, but wasn’t allowed.  When we returned, they continued to be upset with me.”

“Doll, your stuffed animals are there to love and support you.  You know Winnie the Pooh, does he ever get mad when Christopher Robin plays with Tigger or Eeyore? Or do you ever see the others get mad that Winnie the Pooh is Christopher Robin’s favorite guy?” My husband added, “No, they are just happy to be with Christopher Robin”.  The doll, calming down, looked at me and said, “No, I never saw them mad”.  “What about the movie Toy Story?  All the toys, when they come to life are there just to be Andy’s friend, right?  All they want to do is love and support Andy”.  All the time I was talking to her, I was wiping her tears from her face.  She thought for a moment then said, “So, they should only love and support me?  They shouldn’t be mad at me?”

You know, if they are “mad” at anyone it would be your parents, who forbade you from bringing them.  Do you want me to talk to them?” Before bed I did just that.  “Attention all of the doll’s toys: Her father and I determined who could go to Florida with her, therefore you should no longer harbor any bad feelings toward her.  If you do, we can give you away.  This is a happy room, if you don’t want to be here, tell the doll, and we’ll find you a new home”.  Looking at her I asked, “Well, do you hear any objections?”  She turned walked around the room then gave me thumbs up.  I suppose with the prospect of leaving their comfy home, the animals decided they had it pretty good after all.  Hopefully tonight she’ll be sleeping in her own bed in her own room.  Cross your fingers!

Marg

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The boy has a new friend, a girl; he met during the summer parks program.  After inviting her over to swim one afternoon, the boy informed me of his real like for this girl.  She’s a grade behind him in school, but, they have so many commonalities.  They read the same type of books, enjoy the same type of movies and love Pokémon games.  They’ve traded characters, evolved others and played very amicably together over the last week.

She attends a different school and did not begin classes until this week.  As a result she and the boy have been busy all weekend hanging out, playing DS games and and discussing different books.  Every day after school last week, once his homework was completed, he called or went over to her house.  Yesterday, she called and invited the family to go to the zoo with her family.  Unfortunately, our Sunday plans did not involve the zoo.

It’s funny how two peas in a pod can find one another.  Her mother expressed to me earlier in the summer how Marg didn’t have any friends in the neighborhood.  Add to that, the school she attended last year closed due to budget constraints.  Starting at a new school with no friends must be difficult, in and of itself.  At least now, she has one friend, in the confines of her neighborhood to help ease off the loneliness.  Win-win all around!

H E double hockey sticks

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During the school week I’ve decided to limit the children’s television viewing to an hour a day.  I came to the realization over the summer, that if they were occupied with other things, the TV became a secondary object.  Not a new concept surely, but one that has been very difficult to put into practice.  Today the kids have so many different choices for play, the TV should be the last thing on their minds, instead of the first.

So when the doll asked if she could turn on the TV after school on Tuesday, I told her “You can watch it for an hour–only.  If you choose to spend your hour watching the TV with your cousins, that’s fine, but no TV tonight”.  Somehow this was lost in translation, as she thought the hour with her cousins was exempt from her viewing time.  Around 8:00 pm, she asked, “Mom, can I turn on the TV?”  I have an hour yet to watch some TV” “No, you watched for an hour with your cousins this afternoon.  Sorry ’bout your luck.” I said in reply.  Unhappy with my response, she wandered around the house looking for other things to do.

In the meantime, I sat down and turned on the television for the first time that night.  As I switched between an Indian’s game and the History Channel, the doll sat down next to me and asked if she could watch what I was viewing.   I let her stay; thinking at least the show I was watching was educational.  Little did I know the show was called “Gates of Hell”.

I have a habit of falling asleep while watching TV.  My family is well aware of this issue and tries to use it to their advantage.  Like clockwork, I dozed off while watching that history channel program.  The doll, however, fearful I would wake up to the wrong channel playing continued to watch this show, which described six locations on earth considered to be “hell mouths”, one of which is inside a volcanic crater.  What caught her interest the most was a cross stationed just outside the volcanic crater, as a warning that hell was just a step away.  The crater, of course had an interesting name as well….Masaya, pronounced “messiah”.  As I snapped out of my slumber, I caught part of the history surrounding this crater which included human sacrifice and so forth. While the show was actually interesting, I decided the doll didn’t need to hear any more turned off the TV, sending the kids off to bed once and for all.

I sat down on our loveseat Wednesday afternoon and tried to read a book, while the doll and her cousin’s painted works of art on my kitchen table.  I became distracted from my reading, by the conversation coming from the kitchen.  “Mary, mommy and I watched a TV program yesterday about the gates to He…underworld, we’ll call it the underworld”, the doll said.  Mary, not quite understanding what the doll was talking about, asked, “Are you talking about “H.E.L.L.”  she whispered when she got to the “H” word.  Shaking her head up and down the doll said, “No, Mary, we can’t say that, so we’ll call it the underworld”.  Then Elle joined in, “Mary, you’re not supposed to spell or say that word.  That’s a bad word”.  Mary not giving up said, “You can say H.E.L.L. if you whisper the word”. That’s when I entered the conversation.  “Actually Mary, you should follow the doll’s path and say underworld, instead.  Or you could say H. E. double hockey sticks without getting into trouble.”  A puzzled look crossed her face, and then she asked, “What do hockey sticks have to do with hell?”  “Have you ever seen a hockey stick?”  “No”. She said. “Never mind then.  Just say underworld for now on okay?  All three girls nodded in agreement, and then went back to painting while Elle changed the subject to something more pleasant, their works of art.