Tag Archives: kids

my kingdom for a key…

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When the doll arrived back in town from her GirlScout camping trip, I informed the boy he was on the hook to pick her up. With both his father and I at work, walking three blocks to retrieve his sister didn’t seem like a hard request. “Okay, here is the key to the house, don’t forget it.” I said. “Wait, what do you want me to do?” He said through sleepy eyes. “Your sister is going to be dropped off at the Dees’ house on Eastglenn at about 12:15 pm. Do you know where that is?” I asked. Shaking his head back and forth, he said “No”.
“Do you remember where Ms. Karen lives?” I asked, not trying to confuse him, but rather give him a point of reference. He looked at me curiously then said “I think so…” “Well, she lives three houses further down the street. In other words if you reach her house, you’ve gone too far.”

He shook his head in acknowledgement and I left for work. Before I had even reached the end of our street he called me back “Okay, where am i supposed to go again?” “When you leave our house, turn left until it dead ends into the park. Turn right and walk up two blocks to Eastglenn and then turn left. The Dees’ live in a big white house on the left hand side of the street. Do you think you can help your sister carry her junk home?” I finished. “Peace of cake Mama.” He replied. “Okay so at about 12:10 you should walk over there right? And then call me when you arrive home safely alright?” “Okay mama”.

About a half an hour later I received a phone call from my dad. “Hi dad!” I said. “Hi mom…” The doll said in a barely audible, yet whimpered voice”. Hi doll, welcome home!” I replied. “Well that’s just it, we’re not at home, because the boy forgot the key!” In the background I could here the boy shout “It was an accident!” “Oh well doll, you’ll have to hang out with Grandpa until your dad gets off work”. I informed. More whimpering ensued along with an incredulous “Really?”

I could have been offended that the doll didn’t want to hang out with my dad, but I couldn’t blame her. Regardless of hearing aids he listens to two televisions on full blast, while he makes his rosaries. That alone is reason enough to find a more appealing place to go for an eleven (or most anyone) year old. “Hmmm, you could try calling your Grammy-she has a key to the house…” I suggested and before I long I received an additional phone call from the doll informing me that her grandmother was taking the kids out to lunch.

Later after work I said to the boy, “Thank you for picking up your sister…but next time, try to remember the key..” He smiled and said, “Your welcome mama. Eh….it all worked out AND I got a free lunch out of it…” Smiling back I said, “Your living a charmed life little man, but someday that charm won’t help. Please remember the key from now on”. To which I received the boy’s standard stock answer to just about everything “It was an accident!!”.

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May I take a moment…

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The doll, one of the nicest girls around, is a great help around the house

“Mom really?” The doll said while reading over my shoulder. “What?” I asked and quickly attempted to switch off the screen I was reading. “The dictator?” “What? Don’t you like the little pet names your brother gives you?” “If this was your brother Danny calling you that would you?” Smiling at her use of my younger brother I said “Naw, I’d have probably slugged him” Laughing at my response she added, “You see, I’ve used much restraint…” “That and your brother is bigger and stronger.” I added.

She maneuvered herself from behind me to the front; her clear design to sit on my lap. This has been one of the doll’s signature moves for years. As her weight came to rest on my legs, she turned her upper torso, looked directly at me and said “Mom how come none of your blogs ever start out with something nice about me and the boy?” Taken aback I briefly lost my ability to speak without a stammer
“Wha wha…ttt …Are…You woo woo ….Talking…About??” “Well I mean…” She began to back track. “Go on spit it out…” I said. “It’s just lately you’ve been mean.”

Letting the words sink in for a moment I eventually replied “Isn’t that what my blog implies?” “Mom you know what I mean…” “Hmmm well let’s see, in the last week I wrote about a funeral for a wild animal we held…and um…about how well organized you are. Hmmm…not too mean there” I replied with a sarcastic ring in my voice. “What about the one about my pants not staying up?” She asked. “Oh well that was more about you having a flat bottom more than anything else…” I said. “I hate having a flat butt” the doll added. “If its any consolation, you come by it naturally” I replied. Swatting me on the arm she said “It doesn’t”.

“So where were we?” I asked. “I just think you could be a little nicer when writing about me…” “..and your brother? I asked. Shrugging her shoulders she said “I suppose–though I bet that’s really hard” she giggled. Seizing the opportunity to tickle her I replied “Harder than you can imagine…” After a few moments of her twisting and leaning on me to stop I did just that. She then leaned down to give me a hug and asked “Mommy can I write the first line of your new blog?” Finding it difficult to say “No” while embraced in a hug I said “Sure”.

“The doll, one of the nicest girls around, is a great help around the house…” She typed. Turning to look back at me she said, now be nice and finish the sentence” “…she makes sure the chore lists are equally divided between the boy and herself; giving the boy the harder…..” “Mom!!” she yelled and swatted at my arms. Laughing I said “Just goes to show…once a mean mom always a mean mom” and proceeded to laugh and tickle her some more.

When all was said and done I said “You know doll this blog really does make you look pretty good and someday you’ll understand that more”. Getting up from my lap she said in feigned disgust “Well someday is too far away!”
and walked out of the room. Smiling at her exit I said to myself “Patience is a virtue…” Then returned to editing the days blog.

word choices…

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“Mama how come on the weekends you let me stay up until almost 11 pm but on school nights it’s 9:30 pm.?” The boy asked, trying to get me to reconsider bed time. “You have finals this week. Once you’ve graduated, then we’ll talk about extending your bedtime.” I answered. “But you know I test really well….” he tried. “Yes, and you’ll test better with more sleep..” I replied.

“Mama, today I had a Religion Final and a History Final” the boy informed. “How do you think you did?” I asked.  “I guess we’ll find out next week.” He replied. “No seriously, when you were taking the test, were you confident you knew the answers?” I retried. “I’m not sure, I guess we’ll see..” he replied with a smile. “Stop being obtuse!” I said to him. He replied, “I’m not being obtuse, I’m purposely hedging…”

****

Yesterday as I was coming home for lunch, I happened to pass by the park, where the eighth grade students were participating in a gym class sponsored softball game. What I noticed were the large amount of students (both boys and girls) still wearing their school dress code mandated-winter attire sweat pants, instead of shorts; on the warm (84 degree) Spring day. In that instant I realized I was not alone in my thinking not to purchase the boy new shorts for the final month of the school year. They all appeared to be a sweaty mess, my son included.

When I arrived home from work I took one look at the boy and said, “Your face looks melted to me. You need to go wash your face please…” He looked at me curiously and asked, “What do you mean by melted?” Cupping his chin between my right index finger and thumb, I said, “You can literally see the sweat lines bay, where the sweat just poured out your face.” Smiling back at me in understanding he said, “Oh, I see, you’re telling me I naturally glisten”.  “Nice word…go wash your face”.

****

I believe the boy’s favorite word of choice is “uncouth”. I’ve heard him call other students at school uncouth and then again the other night he called me “uncouth” as well. I smiled back at him and admitted, “You’ve lived with me for fourteen plus years. If you didn’t know I was uncouth before now, then you haven’t been paying attention.” “Could you at least make the attempt?” he asked. “No”. I replied. “Why?” He asked getting perturbed. “Because I’m having much more fun being uncouth around you than not.” I laughed.

He was not amused.

****

Also, the doll has three words that are her favorite to say….to her brother. I bet you already can guess what they are….

bull of embarrassments….

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The boy has a habit of closing down the laptop every time I draw near, to see what he’s watching. “What are you watching? I asked as he hurriedly turned off the page he was viewing and muttered, “Don’t you just hate when that happens?” “Why did you do that?” I asked, suspecting perhaps what he was viewing was not something he should have access to. “It’s just some Japanese anime…nothing important” He said in nonchalant voice. “Uh huh, and if that’s the case…why turn off the laptop when I’m checking on you?  Seems to me you’re trying to hide something.” I said. “Uh no mom, it’s not that bad. It’s about a culture that carries their ancestors ghosts around with them…” He began to explain. “Huh. If that’s the case, then why turn off the screen?”

He squirmed in the seat, trying to come up with an explanation I would buy before he finally said, “I get embarrassed okay?” “What?” “Mom, everything embarrasses me”. He said as if I should already know this. Taking a moment to think, before I responded, I agreed; he is easily embarrassed. “Well if that’s the case…then how come last year when you had questions about puberty, you came to me-and not your father?” I asked thinking I had him cornered. “Because you explain things better…” He said, catching me by surprise. “Okay, but don’t you think your dad may be able to answer some of your questions better?” I said in return. “No, because he’s just like me and gets embarrassed too.”

I’m not sure why, but during that conversation I felt like the proverbial “bull” in the china shop.

****

Hey Hub… Have you ever watched that Japanese Anime show the boy watches about the ancestors thingy majig?” I asked walking into our bedroom. “Yeah. Why? he replied. “Well when I tried to see what he was watching and he closed the laptop down on me.  Then when I suggested that maybe I should watch an episode with him-to ensure the show was harmless he announced you already had. Is the show okay?” “The show’s not bad, if that’s what you think; I found it boring. As for the boy, well he was probably embarrassed” His father informed.  “Hmm, that’s what he said too.”  I replied.

Leaning against the door frame I said, “So, I asked the boy, if he’s so embarrassed around me, how come I’m the one he picked to fill him in on puberty…and not you.” My hubby looked up from what he was doing, giving me his full attention before I continued, “He said it’s because you don’t explain things very well because you get too embarrassed too!” Smiling at me, the boy’s father shook his head up and down in agreement and then added, “The boy has his embarrassments, we shouldn’t make fun of them.”  “Whose making fun? I just wondered… so tell me are you too embarrassed to talk to your daughter about puberty?” I asked even though I already knew the answer. “I don’t have to talk to her, you’re doing a find job of that all on your own.” he replied patting me on the top of the head; wearing a smirk across his face before adding, “We all have embarrassments…”

Yes we do…and somehow being the “bull” in the family is not one of mine…

not so unique…

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I’ve always been under the impression that I have the most super incredible and unique children. Yet every where I turn, I’m told how not so unique they truly are. Now don’t get me wrong, they are the most incredible people I know.  Yet some of their responses and actions it seems, are universal….go figure.

The other day, while driving Mrs. K to the grocery store, for example, I was regaling her with stories about the boy’s trip to high school last week (https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/a-brief-week/). I expected her to be surprised by his responses and instead she said, “How very much like a boy”. Note, she said “A” boy not the boy.  Having raised three sons of her own, I’m sure she experienced some of the same reactions…but hearing her say that left me feeling a bit flat.

I have another friend who routinely reads my blog and leaves me messages that read, “Kids the world over are the same”.   She’s a retired teacher of 30 years or so and is probably a good expert, but darn it, we’re talking about MY kids…they are different in their same responses…even when they are not.  But then I’m pulled back, into an old Family Circle comic strip where “Not Me” and “I don’t Know”-the imaginary gremlins who wreck havoc about the house and realize, she’s more right than I am. Yet I’m still hopeful and  that my children will present themselves as free thinkers-unique in their own perspectives.

Unique response number one: When I asked why the doll did nothing but lay around the house on Friday, she replied, “Well the reason I didn’t pick up was because I took a nap.” Said with straight face; believing with all her might, that her response was a viable and good answer.

Unique response number two: The boy’s back peddling excuse explaining why loading and running the dishwasher wasn’t in his realm of possibilities on Friday said, “Sorry mom, but we still had some clean dishes…”

Mom’s not so unique response: minor meltdown. Go figure, universal responses from all of us. Darn it!

lazy

one for the road…

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Well we finished off  “Look Back” February and my kids couldn’t be happier.  “Mom, I don’t think you should use those things anymore. I mean who cares what we did as kids anyway?”  Giving her a mock sad face I replied, “Well, I liked seeing that your set personality really hasn’t changed all that much”.  “Well you don’t count” The doll replied. True I don’t; I’m biased.

What I learned looking back? The boy always had a cold. Hmm perhaps he does have allergies. The doll has always tried to be the boss of the family…and the boy has learned to let her. Both kids know how to push one another’s buttons and unfortunately, their parents as well.

Both kids are going through changes right now…”It’s not my fault my body’s changing! If it were up to me I’d just be Dixie (the dog)!” the doll shouted at me yesterday, unhappy I woke her up for school. “Well if that were the case then you’d be a bitch all the time!” I replied. She scowled at me in reply.

The other night I was talking to one of the boy’s classmates–who is as tall has he is, but still has the high, little boy voice. I had a hard time listening–my boy’s tenor has been low for so long now…I don’t remember what his little voice sounded like.

Maybe Mom’s the one going through changes..er….well,  that’s an entirely different blog…

Oct 20, 2003: We took some good walks at the park around the block and in the neighborhood, hoping all this good clean air would help the children fall asleep easier and maybe sleep in in then morning. But for some reason Friday night we couldn’t convince either one to go to bed at their bedtimes. The doll was just wired. The boy was far too interested in what was going on around him. At 8:30 pm I had the doll dressed and ready for bed. We’ve been weaning her off the bottle, giving her only four ounces at bedtime. Then she brushes her teeth, blows kisses at her Dad, brother and dog. Usually I place her in bed, give kisses and off to dreams land she goes. Instead she decided to jump up and down on the bed. Then she decided she didn’t like her pajamas or diaper because she whipped them both off. I was in the boy’s room, playing a video game with him listening to her yell and jump around. When I went into her room to settle her down I was shocked to see a bucked naked girl jumping in front of me. I picked her up, took her into the living room and gave her to her father, while I searched for our old pal…duct tape. the hubby redressed her and put a large piece of duct tape across her diaper.  Again she went through her bedtime ritual: blowing kisses to her Dad, brother and dog. I have her goodnight kisses, handed her a board book then turned on her musical bunny before I left her room. I went back into the boy’s room to resume the video game play with him. The doll resumed her protest for going to bed as well.

After a while I noticed she was no longer yelling “Mom!!” and all indications were that she was asleep. I turned off the game, tucked the boy into bed and left to check on my doll. When I peaked into her room, I smiled and called her daddy over to look too. Standing there, we both smiled and shook our heads back and forth; there sound asleep our daughter laid completely naked. Evidently the duct tape wasn’t long enough to keep her from manipulating the straps off. Her diaper was on the floor, her pajamas in a heap next to them. I managed to get the diaper back onto her, placing a longer piece of tape across the straps and let her sleep shirtless. Hmm, I wonder what this child is trying to tell us?

Evidently we were pretty clueless back then….I wonder if things have changed….?

Looking back has been sweet….and fun….but looking forward, facing the future, living our lives; that’s where we’re headed.

love love love….

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I’ve talked before about the importance A A Milne’s character, Winnie the Pooh has played in my children’s life-the boy’s life most importantly.  For a few years there I was not the mother to “The Boy” instead Kitty Voman or properly translated from a two year old’s language; Christopher Robin. Pooh bear as he became known in my house has continued to be the boy’s best friend-even though today he’d rather not admit that out loud. Yet every vacation we take, Pooh bear still travels with us. I dare say, when he leaves for college, I believe he’ll find a place for that silly old bear.

July 7, 2003: After getting the kids ready for bed one night, I pulled out “The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh”. Before I could begin, the boy climbed into his top bunk and brought down the gang- Pooh bear, Piglet and Tod the Fox (different Disney character).  The doll sat on my lap drinking a bottle while the boy and his gang surrounded me us on the floor. Before I could begin, the boy had us look at the map of the “Hundred Acre Wood”. Pointing at a specific location he said “From here we can pick up which story should be read first”. After examining the map for a minute I decided we should start at the beginning. So I began reading about Edward Bear and his name transformation; about how to differentiate between male and female names by the word “Ther” as in Winnie Ther Pooh”. As the story progressed I was interrupted by a small pink stuffed pig. “Uh, Mrs. Marsha, uh, am I in this story?” “Well Piglet, I think we’ll just have to wait and see” I replied. “Oh, okay Mrs. Marsha”.  I began reading again, only to be interrupted by a golden bear wearing a red shirt with a scarf wrapped around his neck. “Uh, Mrs. Marsha, do you think I could have a small smackeral of honey?” “Now Pooh bear, you know it’s bedtime; you can eat something in the morning” I replied. “Okay” a disappointed bear said. I was about to continue the story again when Piglet once again interrupted and asked if he could have a glass of water. “Okay, break time” I declared.  While on break I was able to put the doll into her bed for the night and get the “boy” a sippy cup of water. “Now guys, that water is for all of you to share alright?” The boy nodded in agreement and I picked up where we left off in the story only to be interrupted once again. Smiling I announced, “Okay gang, if I get one more interruption that means you’re too tired to listen tonight and bedtime will commence okay?” I finished the story about an hour later-without additional interruptions and then I tucked the “guys” into bed; said “pers” (prayers) and gave them all kisses goodnight.  As I left the boy’s bedroom I marveled over our little evening. Whenever I read stories to the kids, I animate the characters voices to give emphasis to the story.  When the boy began talking to me in Pooh and Piglet voices, they were not his own.  He was imitating me, imitating them.  Talk about something cool…

Writing a comprehensive blog that covers both children is difficult. Many times I think I leave the boy completely out of the mix (which I’m sure he likes) and focus more on the doll. Then when I try and focus on the boy, the doll scrunches her nose and is disappointed I didn’t write about her.  No wins regardless. Looking back at these letters I see this little boy, with a wide open imagination whose future was so far off into the distance. Now in a short three months he’ll be graduating Junior High and making his way to High School.  This prospect worries me to no end. I know he’s going to be a success wherever he lands; yet there are days I wish, I was sitting in his bedroom, reading The Many Tales of Winnie the Pooh and being interrupted by the gang.

You know the saying is TRUE…Hindsight is 20/20.