Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wait...I Gave The Wrong Speech?

The boys have been attending Nerd Camp (more on that later) this week. Two days in, Chris was pulled aside at drop-off to be told of a "behavior incident" involving Ross. He called me immediately upon return to the car, fuming, but I had to hang up without the story as my meeting was starting up. When I got home that night, Chris said Ross wanted to talk to me I waited.

Tonight, Ross came out with it. His camp group had been playing a game of keep-away and there was some shoving and he might have been a little rough. I thought it was odd that a day-camp counselor for 3rd and 4th graders would have reported some shoving to a parent but I come from a land where kids his age were left at home on their own during summer days while mom & dad worked - I'm told it's different now and I try my best to compensate.

I talked to Ross about two things. First, as a hockey player, he instinctively positions himself well during shoving. On skates, he can shove another guy and not fall over - in sneakers against a kid who does not play hockey, Ross is a brick wall. I told him he needs to remember that because he could easily hurt someone without meaning to. Second, I talked to him about "Little Man Syndrome." Ross is not a big kid - in fact, he's a pretty small kid and it's not news to anyone. He has been dwarfed by his two-years-younger brother since age 3; he knows the score. We talked about how small guys sometimes feel like they have to act tough to prove they are Real Guys...but how all the tough-acting really just makes them look silly and everyone else will tend to avoid them.

Ross seemed to digest both points pretty well and I tucked him into bed feeling that rare moment of parenting pride in a job well done. I got downstairs and Chris asked if Ross had told me - I said yes and explained the bones of what we'd talked about. A while later, Chris and I were joking about something and he said, "Here's the part where we sand the TEETH MARKS off the girl Ross bit." The look on my face while I processed this statement must have been a doozy because Chris immediately realized Ross hadn't let on about the bite.

Even with the kids in bed, I had to struggle for composure. When I reached it, I leveled a calculating gaze at Chris. "You mean to tell me that I gave the WRONG LECTURE? I was up there all understanding and patience, thinking he needed help learning how to navigate the world while 6" shorter than his peers when I should have been filing down his teeth?"


"We have more wine?"


"Good. We need it. NOW. Otherwise, I'm getting the belt sander."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nutritional Information

So, you've got one piece of sandwich left...

"But Mommy, that one's been on the floor."

"That's okay," I say blithely, "I swept today."

"But Mommy, it has dog fur on it."

"You can lick the dog fur off. Besides, dog fur is good for you, it has fibre and fibre makes you poop. "

"Eating dog fur makes me poop?" (the eager tone is unmistakeable)

"Yes, yes, absolutely."

And the last bite of sandwich disappears with gusto. I feel a little bit like a fraud....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

At The Pleasure of the Queen of All

My children are imprisoned (time out) at the pleasure of the Queen. One threw a hamper at the other, there was some pounding on walls, and I am just in too nice a mood to deal with such nonsense today. I got a good night's sleep and they are NOT going to spoil it! The House (mine) gets 10% of bets placed on how long it will be before the Queen deigns to free them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things You Should Take Note Of If You Are My Child

  • A shower does not require half a bottle of shampoo, especially if Mama has already given you your summer haircut.
  • If you tell me you have showered but I can still smell hockey hair when a foot away from your head, I will help you with a second shower and the water will be cold, since you used up the hot water in your first shower.
  • Since you used up your entire bottle of shampoo in your first shower (on who knows what, since it was not on your head), I will use the flowery awful kind I got in the giveaway that time and you will have to go to school smelling strongly of cheap perfume.
  • If someone asks you how the brothel was, I am not going to explain it to you.
  • Did I mention the cold water?
  • Because I am certain that I mentioned the cold water part before.
  • And I know we've discussed the shampoo part before.
  • In fact, you have had to use your allowance to buy more shampoo than you've been able to buy candy or toys.
  • So the water? Cold?
  • And the shampoo? Should still be in the bottle?
  • Why, oh why, were BOTH of you so shocked by the freezing floral cleansing treatment?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bye bye, boys!

I am apparently willing to drive four hours round trip for one night without children.

They were supposed to be picked up by their grandmother on Thursday for the weekend, so that I could go to a conference. And then she called and mentioned that if I wanted to drop them off on Wednesday afternoon, that would be fine too.

I could not get the words out of my mouth fast enough...

Now I feel just a little guilty. How eager should I look to get rid of my kids for the weekend?

Experienced WMs, help me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Keynote From This Morning's Address

"FINE. Keep as many pairs of decrepit shoes as you like, as long as you put them away - where they belong - on your own. If *I* find them out while not on your feet, *I* will put them away in the trash."

My guess is that we'll be down to only the pairs of shoes of which I approve within the week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Play with me

Mommy... come play with me... we can have a tea party....

(a tea party? huh? who are you and what have you done with my train obsessed boy?)

Okay. Hang on a second. You get everything set up and I'll be there. (lies, all lies)

Mommy, you need to come to the tea party. Everything is ready for you. I saved you the biggest cup because you're really, really big.

grrrr. okay. What are we having? (still on the couch, still on the internet)

Ice cream. Mommy, you need to really come and play. Not sit on the couch and pretend to play. You did that yesterday. Today, come and play with me.

Oops. Time for afternoon quiet time, kiddo.... let's go upstairs...

(I may have a small addiction to the internet, and maybe a small issue with playing tea parties)

Rhubarb? What The Heck Is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a stalky vegetable like celery, only less stringy and with bigger leaves. Rhubarb stalks are tender but crunchy and have a pungent, tart taste, like a good lemon or a puckery Granny Smith apple. Rhubarb is great baked into a pie (with or without strawberries) or stovetop cooked into a sauce that can be served over ice cream or a chunkier stewed form that's good on shortcake. Don't eat the leaves or roots, though, they're poisonous.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rhubarb Pie

We came home with a huge bag of fresh rhubarb from my grandmother's garden in Vermont. I cleaned and cut it into pie portions, froze a stash of them and saved a couple out to make right away. I did the first tonight - it smelled FABULOUS while baking. The children ignored the daily instruction to "wash up for dinner" and each of them had to be excused mid-meal to attend to things that should have been taken care of before they sat down...thereby earning themselves a No Dessert ruling. They were, therefore, sad-eyed and drooling while Chris and I feasted. Of course I made fresh whipped cream.

Admin post

As I just noticed Ashley was awarded 2 well deserved points, I realized I hadn't noted May's winner. Since May would be a 5-way tie among myself, Karen, Joy, Lisa, and Paige, I'm going to roll it over into Ashley is currently in the lead.

Karen's take on girl shoes

...went over pretty well Chez Stoll, Lisa. Sorry this is a blurry one taken with the cellphone...

Replacement Children

Last weekend was great...except for my two kiddos...with whom I had "had it up to here." So, as I was cajoling and them down right threatening them to get in the car I let slip what I was thinking. I told them both that if they did not stop acting up and start behaving I was going to take them back and get me some new kids. I was going to replace them. And replace them with GIRLS none the less. Much arguing and quite a few tears emerged at this point (at least they were in the car.) My 4 and 1/2 yo was still somewhat skeptical (the one arguing) my almost 3 yo was horrified (the one crying). So, I ask them if they will behave (much yes head nodding) and if they will listen (again much head nodding) and before I could get out the next phrase my almost 3 yo looks right at me and says, "mama, I behave...don't trade me, trade Kyle (his older brother)." Later that day, the boys are acting up around their dad...Kyle (not quiet as skeptical at this point)stops misbehaving and tells my husband not to tell me because I am going to trade them out. Ahhhh, peace.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sneaker Woes

The laces that came with Lars' sneakers are about 12" longer than they should be. As a result, even though the sneakers are high-tops, the laces drag the ground in a trip-hazard sort of way even when the shoes are well tied...and, let's be honest, the sneakers of a seven-year-old boy are rarely well tied. We've been meaning to replace the laces - really! - but somehow seven (ok, eight) months have passed and those darned laces are still too long. I finally made it over to Target to get replacements. Standing before the shoelace display, I was wondering what length would work (what? measure them before trying to buy? who?), when I realized the absurdity of buying new shoelaces for shoes that are already worn through at the I repositioned myself in front of actual shoes and called home. "Confirm sizes of the kids' sneakers for me, please?"

Chaos ensued. Chris could only validate one size; the other pair of shoes was too worn down to read. Lars began calling out names of friends of his that have sneakers like what he wanted. Ross started with a color - black - and wanted the kind with some letters, V-A-N-S. Their voices swam in and out of focus and I pictured the kids leaping at Chris like puppies, trying to get close to the phone to make sure their orders were placed. Finally, the kids settled a bit. I got Ross on the phone and asked if he wanted sneakers like the ones he has (sans letters) or if he must have the letters? When he didn't answer right away, I put in that the ones he has are $18 and the ones with letters are $36, then explained that we'd split the cost of the more expensive ones, if he wanted those. The idea of using $18 of his current $19 on shoes didn't hold much appeal, so he settled for ones without letters. I started to describe the three color and pattern choices in the shoes before me but got frustrated, so we hung up. I picked two pairs of shoes and got out of there.

I found the two skeptics at home, arguing. Ross clearly did not think anything in my bag would ever touch his feet. Lars looked worried about why Ross was looking like someone had covered the sun and wondering if he should also be concerned. "Ok," I said, "I'm going to give you the shoes I picked out. You can say whatever you want to - POLITELY - about them. If you don't like them, we'll take them back. IF YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF IN AN INAPPROPRIATE WAY," I raised my voice for emphasis, "Any inappropriate way, we will take these shoes back and arrange some very pink, probably sparkley GIRL SHOES for you to wear until your feet grow again." After a bit of mumbled discussion, they followed me downstairs.

With the threat of glaring girl shoes hanging over their heads, the boys viewed their new sneakers. Amazingly, both of them were happy with my choices! As they tried on their new shoes, Ross asked, "Mama, you wouldn't really have made us wear girl shoes, would you?"

I cheerily retorted, "Oh, yes I would have!"

"Told you," Lars sneered, and with that the boys ran off to continue their argument break in their new shoes.