Monthly Archives: March 2011

language barriers…

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When the boy was in 4th grade, before school one day, he and a buddy discovered they could fit inside their lockers and still get the doors closed.  As a result, the boys were inside their lockers when the final bell sounded.  Upon hearing the bell, both boys bolted from the lockers but were denied permission to enter the class.  Instead they were sent to the office to receive a tardy slip.  When the attendance officer asked the boy why he was late getting to class, he responded, “Because our teacher is a flaming shitball”.  As you can imagine, the attendance officer was not expecting that answer.  Needless to say he was sent to the principal’s office, where she instructed him to call me and explain what happened.

I’ve never had a tougher time trying not to laugh as the boy struggled to say those words to me over the phone.  “Well, I uh, kinda…”  I could hear someone behind him saying, “There’s no kinda mister”.  “Well, um, I called Mrs. Klear a flaming shitball.”  “WHAT? You called her WHAT?”  “I’m sorry mom it just came out I didn’t mean to say it, it just came out, please don’t kill me….”   In all honesty, his assessment of his teacher wasn’t too far off the mark, but, that was beside the point.  Stifling a laugh, I put on my stern voice and told him to apologize to the principal and that we would talk about his consequences when he arrived home.

Fast forward to sixth grade camp.  Evidently we didn’t impress upon him enough that using colorful language would not be tolerated.  Apparently, you cannot tell classmates to “shut the hell up” or refer to your flashlight as an “f__k’ing” thing especially to an adult.  As a result the boy is serving a one day suspension at home with me.  His principal and I came to this agreement the other day, when I learned, he was not the only kid serving a suspension on Thursday.  We also agreed this would be one of the toughest days the boy has ever had at home.   Growing up is hard to do…

QoftD: Mom what do I have to do to get ice cream for dessert tonight? The doll asked me in a hopeful tone.  “Manufacture the stuff”.  “Oh pooh!”

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The most…

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I hate sixth grade.

While walking home from school a few weeks back, the doll observed some older kids taunting and teasing the boy.  I was not present, as I sent the kids ahead, while I waited for Mary to exit the school.  When I arrived home, the doll approached me and said, “Guess what mom?  Elle and I saw these two boys picking on the boy so I yelled and said, “Hey why don’t you pick on someone your own size!”  This is kind of funny, as my son is the same height as these two kids.  Elle shaking her head up and down in agreement added, “And we told them to knock it off!”  The boy who had retreated to his bedroom to change clothes found me standing in his doorway.  “Is this true?  Were there boys taunting you on the way home?”  “Mom, they’ve been doing it all year….

As the parent of a bullied child, I have a hard time reconciling myself to events of the day.  How can anyone find fault in this beautiful kid?  MY KID!  “Who are they?” I asked in the calmest voice I could muster.  “I think they’re 8th graders, but I don’t know their names.” He said in matter of fact voice.  “Get your yearbook” I ordered.  I had an idea who the boys were, simply because we all walked the same route home.  Finding the boys “mug shots” in the year book I had them pick out the boys.  All three picked the same kids.  A minute later I was on the phone to the principal complaining and the matter was taken care of.  A few days later, the principal called to assure me the boys were threatened with expulsion if they ever did that sort of thing again.

When the boy and I talked about the events, he was embarrassed two “little” girls came to his rescue.  What would others say about that?  I told him not to worry what the other kids think, as they are not important.  What matters the most is he has parents who love him tremendously and a little sister who is protective of her big brother because she loves him, very much.  “Okay mom” he said with a voice that didn’t convey much confidence.

….and the teasing continues, maybe not from those 8th grade boys, but from his own classmates, boys and girls alike.  Some things I’ve been able to fix by talking to their parents.  Some things he’s misinterpreted, simply because he’s conditioned now to believe the worst.  And a lot never gets divulged because he doesn’t tell us verbally.  Instead he gets frustrated and lashes out.  Then he’s in trouble.  He has told me on more than one occasion, “I’m screwed, no matter what mom, I’m screwed”.    He’s right.   My only recourse is to tell him over and over again, “What matters the most is that we love you.  Remember your mom and dad love you!”   Sadly I think, that’s not enough…

not having to ask….

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The boy and doll have so few chores  you would think they would have no problem  doing them.  Yet that is not the case.  Their dad’s new work schedule  requires him to work Saturdays.  This past Saturday the boy was celebrating his first full day home from camp by trying to live in a vegetative state in front of the television.

The doll meanwhile went to ballet rehearsal, while I went off to get my hair cut.  The boy was left to his own devices, however, was instructed to turn off the TV at a certain time.  I made sure his father called home to check on him.  He in turn had the boy’s Grammy call as well, giving the boy more to do than watch TV.  Though he could have also filled his time by getting the first load of laundry underway, or vacuuming the living room floor, but these never occurred to him.

When the doll and I returned home, the TV was indeed turned off, but the floor was littered with Bionicle pieces and parts.  As I entered, I also noticed the large quantity of dishes in the sink, waiting to be washed and a dried, and a full dishwasher waiting to be unloaded.   Feeling a bit frustrated, when the boy asked me “What are you making me for lunch?” I verbally lashed out.  “You know, you’re 12 years old, you should know how to make your own lunch by now.   In fact there are people in this house that should know how to do their chores without me asking them to!”

With that, movement began in the other room as the boy started to clean up his mess.  The doll entered the kitchen and began emptying the dishwasher, while I made homemade pizzas for lunch.  When the two showed me some cooperation, our day got better and better.

Q of TD?  “Mom, isn’t it cool you didn’t have to ask me to do this? The doll asked as she began emptying the dishwasher.  “Um I did ask you to do this doll…”  I said as I removed pizza ingredients from the freezer. “No you didn’t.  I just came in and started doing it all by myself without having been asked.”  “Doll, really, do you mean to tell me you didn’t hear me yell at the boy  just now about people living in this house not doing their chores?”  “Nope, I just figured I could do my chores to help you out”.  “Uh huh” I said.

Later while picking up clothing strewn across my living room floor, I came across the doll’s ballet outfit, right outside the kitchen door.  If she didn’t hear my complaint about chores getting done, I need to get her ears checked.  Instead I think she couldn’t resist the “dig” at her brother about being asked to clean up.  Too bad she’s so transparent.

see a penny pick it up..

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“Does this quarter belong to anyone?” Elle asked me.  The quarter in question, was sitting on the corner of one of our floor cabinets.  “Um, yes, it belongs to the doll, why?”  “Dang it!  I was hoping it would be a finders-keepers kinda quarter”.  Smiling, I said, “Well honey, if you find a quarter outside on the ground, that would be a ‘finders-keepers’ kind of quarter.  But if you find any money in my house, it belongs to me, the doll or the boy, got it?”  Shaking her head up and down in agreement, she added, “Well, the doll should put the money in her piggy bank instead of leaving it around for someone like me to find…”  Point taken.

Q of D: The boy’s buddy KLR spent the day with us yesterday, arriving at 10:30 am, playing Bionicles; tried teaching the boy how to ride a skate board at the park and accompanied the family to Wildwood Metro Park for hike on one of their many trails.  Any time we asked him if he wanted to do something with us, his reply was always yes, except the last question I asked.  “KLR, you want to go to church with us?” I asked, ten minutes before we were ready to leave.  “Um….I think it’s time I get going home” came his reply.  I guess, there are some places you can’t get a 12 year old to go, on his own.

My dad….

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“Your son in law is a jerk!” my father said to the man next to him in the bathroom.  The “son in law”  in question was Tom Cruise.  We were all in attendance at my nephew’s wedding a few years back when my dad saw the opportunity to spew what he thought to Marty Holmes, Katie Holmes’ father.   Thankfully, Marty Holmes did not take offense, but simply nodded and walked away.  My brother Chris, who had the misfortune of accompanying my father to the bathroom, stood off to the side mortified at what he heard.  Needless to say, this has become a family “funny” ever since.

When my mom passed away in 2005, it was as if the filter that normally stopped him from  keeping his opinion to himself, was turned off—permanently.  Today he says things at will, simply because as an 89 year old man, he doesn’t care.  This does not mean however, that he is not a caring man.  On the contrary, he may drive you nuts saying what’s on his mind, but in the next breath he’ll shock you with his generosity.

Such was the case the other night, when I stopped by to drop off his Girl Scout Cookies.  “Mar, Mar, would you help me do something on the computer?” he asked.  Though I hate his nickname for me, I answered “sure” without care.  Opening up his wallet, he grabbed a credit card and handed it to me.  “Even though they (Japan) tried their best to kill me at Iwo, they don’t deserve what’s happening to them now, could you help me donate $$ to the Japan Tsunami relief fund?”  In order to understand the magnitude of this request, I never thought I would ever hear a kind word about Japan come from his lips.

That moment gave me a great deal of respect for my dad.  If he could find it in his heart to forgive and help a nation, he has vehemently hated all these years, then I think there is hope for the rest of us.

Qof the D:  What’s the big idea trying to make me go deaf?  The doll asked me this morning, while sitting on the toilet, holding her ears, as my idock played a Led Zeppelin song.  The idock was resting on the back of the toilet.  “Doll, if the music is too loud, turn it down…” I said, as I reached the dock and lowered the volume.  “Oh”, she giggled, “I thought you would be mad if I did”.  “So instead you decided to go deaf….?” Shrugging her shoulders she deadpanned, “ Stop it mom!”

Jinx

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When I was a kid, if two of us said the same thing at the same time, we would yell “Jinx!”  The first one to say the word would win, making the other kid fall silent until given permission to speak (usually right away).  The doll’s class mates play the same game, but with a twist. Instead of rendering the other child quiet, the “loser” has to buy the winner a pop.  The problem being, the thought of owing anyone a pop, makes them continue to say “Jinx, jinx, jinx” in unison over and over again.  What’s more, they get louder and louder as they go. It’s like the sheer volume will determine who the winner is.  Needless to say, I do not like “jinx” very much these days.

Doll and Jake got into a “jinx” match the other day while doing homework.  “Jinx, jinx, double jinx, double double jinx, triple jinx, to infinity jinx! “ louder and louder their voices rose, until I realized like a choir of backup singers, the other kids had joined in.  Over and over in unison, they kept repeating “jinx”!  I began to wonder if the kids thought, just saying the word “jinx” had a magical quality to it.  I mean honestly, the odds of actually receiving a pop were slim and none; plus this would explain their willingness to continue saying that word over and over again.  Finally no longer able to hide my annoyance at their continued used of the word…I said louder than their voices, “The next person who says jinx will get a pop dumped on their head!” A nervous laughter erupted, but the jinx war ended for the afternoon.  And not a minute too soon!

QofD:  Mom, why do some people stop liking food when they are grown up, that they loved as a kid?  “Well, as you grow up, you are exposed to many different tasting foods, which expand your palate.  For instance, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is not really good food. ““Wait Mom, you’re wrong, that’s good food!”  “Doll, I used to live on this stuff.  I ate it almost every day for lunch in college. My mom used to say, ‘If you don’t stop eating that you’re going to  turn into it’, that’s how much I loved Mac and cheese.  But, now to me it tastes like cardboard because there are so many better cheeses and pastas that make  food taste so much richer and better.  As you get older your taste buds grow and your desire for better tasting food grows too”. “Well, I’m still young, so can you please go back to buying Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for the boy and me?”  SSA (Standard Stock Answer) “We’ll see”.

noise levels

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The boy has been at camp for two days now and the doll keeps trying to figure stuff out.  At bedtime Monday night she asked, “Mom, do you think the boy is going to bed now too?”  “Yes” I said in reply.  Tuesday morning when it came time to wake up, she asked, through closed eyes and sleepy voice, “Why are you only yelling at me to get up?  Why aren’t you yelling at the boy?”  “Because you are the only one here…”  “Oh yeah!” she said opening her eyes and smiling.

The noise level in the house since the boy has been gone is just as loud, if not louder.  The only difference is my voice is not heard nearly as often trying to break up skirmishes between the kids.  Yesterday the girls screaming voices were so loud, I swear  several of our glasses began to crack and break.   Thing is, they weren’t screaming because they were afraid of spiders, or trying to scare one another or because they were hosting a screaming contest.  They were simply just screaming and laughing at/with another.  Something tells me ear plugs…or hear aids are in my future…

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Question of the Day:  Why do people smell differently?

Well, doll, while we both have the ability to smell, that does not mean we smell the same.  What smells yummy to you may smelly yucky to me.  “But mom, how come some people smell like flowers and some smell like food?”  Well, that could be the type of perfume they wear, their own body’s odor mixing into play; Could be the food they’ve eaten that day.  “You mean some people eat flowers?”  Well, some people do eat foods made from flowers, plants, etc.  “I guess it’s a good thing people don’t eat poop”.  Yah, good thing.