Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Kindergarten Honeymoon

Christian has started kindergarten. Like most kids, he was conflicted. He was excited. He was nervous. He was pumped. He was scared. Luckily, he knew a few of the kids in his class. Yes, there would be girls in his class. His pre-k class was all boys, so he had trouble wrapping his brain around the concept of boys and girls co-mingling for extended periods of time. We explained how things would go. The bus would pick him up and bring him home. No, it would not get lost. He would hang his backpack and lunch bag up and sit in his seat. His teacher would be in charge. When she talks, he should listen. Sit quietly, keep your hands to yourself, raise your hand to ask questions. Be nice, be patient, be kind, be respectful. We thought we had it covered. The first couple of days were great. He was excited and bursting with all news of the day. He told us who he sat with and what he learned. By around day 5, the bloom was coming of the rose. He wearily climbed off the bus dragging a backpack that covers most of his body. I asked about his day. "I don't think this kindergarten thing is going to work out for me, Mom. There are too many rules, it's too long and I don't like the snacks. We can try again when I am older." I explained that all the kids were adjusting to the new routine, schedule and rules. I assured him that he would get the hang of it in no time. The kindergarten honeymoon was over but he can't break up with it. Or his teacher. Who he thinks is cute so he is willing to give her another chance. Lucky lady.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Loosest Tooth

Christian lost his first tooth. This was a big deal in our house. We got daily, even hourly, updates about it's condition. "It's 80 pounds wiggly today. I can wiggle it 11 feet right now." But, mixed in with his excitement was fear. This was a new experience. Will it hurt a lot? Will it bleed? Can I still eat? Will the tooth fairy bring me a new tooth? Do they all fall out at once? Last night, the tooth literally fell into his lap. He was thrilled. "My tooth is out! I'm going to be rich!" We immediately sent out the bat signal and white smoke to all the family members who were equally invested in this momentous occasion in a young man's life. He found his tooth pillow and stuffed it in for the tooth fairy. Then we had long discussions about where to put the pillow. Do we put it under his pillow? Will the tooth fairy find it? Should we leave it on his dresser? We can't leave it on the floor because she might step on it and break it. Will she get lost and go to Sara's room? Let me tell you, I DID feel like sending up white smoke afterwards. A Papal Conclave is shorter and less serious than this kid making these life and death decisions. Finally, after much thought and discussion, the froggy tooth fairy pillow is 'gently' placed under his pillow. Imagine his shrieks of delight when he found the tooth fairy had left him a 'green rectangle money' in it's place. He proudly told me that he is now rich and can buy things. I don't think the kid understands the value of a dollar but he sure does know the value of the first lost tooth.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Silent Suffering

I picked Christian up from school today. His class was finishing up lunchtime. He came running up to me with a distressed and accusing look on his face. "Mom, you put CRUNCHY peanut butter in my lunch!" His face had disappointment with a hint of accusation all over it. I have to admit here and now, I did not feel too horrible about my parenting. Like it or lump it, kiddo. Turning to his teacher for sympathy of my own, I quipped, "He doesn't suffer in silence". She looked back at me and replied, "He doesn't do ANYTHING in silence." Well played, teacher. She gets to witness his mind in action for 16 hours a week. He is smart, funny and very, very chatty. His observations are both humorous and accurate. Nothing escapes this kid's attention. Right now he is obsessed with his first loose tooth. He wiggles it all day. And describes it in great and amusing detail. "It's 80 pounds wiggly. I can wiggle it 11 miles. Will the tooth fairy really leave me a money? Will she leave me a new tooth?" I don't have answers to all his questions and my answers are not nearly as fun. But, it sure does make the day (and time) fly by. No, Christian, we cannot actually see time fly. And we do not having flying clocks. Yes, he asked.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Cracked Angel

Every December, my mom would go to town decorating for Christmas. She made ornaments. She actually cut and sewed little ornaments. I would sit by her side and stuff the cotton in them for her. She decorated the house and baked loads of peanut brittle to use as a peace offering to the teachers who had the joy, honor and privilege of teaching her little angels for 8 hours a day five days a week. She wrote out and addressed zillions of Christmas cards with the mandatory picture of all 6 of us lined up like little minions dressed in matching moon boots or ski sweaters. She decorated the tree with a mix of handmade ornaments, store bought ones and ones created by us in school. My favorite part of Christmas decorating was watching her pull out the creche. It's been in her family for years. Amazingly, she let us play with it, even rearranging the figurines in it. That would explain the animals' missing horns, the chips in the wise men's crowns and the crack in the angel that watches over Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. When I felt my kids were old enough to have it around, I started pulling it out at Christmas. Unlike my mother, I have a strict "look but don't even think about touching" policy. I am hoping it will survive long enough to be passed down to another generation. Every year, I look forward to setting it up, just like my mother did for all those years. I smile when I see the cracked angel and chipped figurines. That angel watched over my family for years and has the scars to prove it. I like to think, like the angel, my mom is watching over my family.

Santa, Spies and the Holidays

God is always watching. Santa is always watching. Mom and Dad are always watching. The Elf on the Shelf is always watching. Poor Christian just cannot catch a break. There are spies everywhere. 'Tis the season for spying and repenting. And defending one's behavior. During this holiday season, Christian needs some back up. This morning, we were talking about what it means to be "naughty" or "nice". He asked if he had been "mostly good" this year. We talked about what behavior he could change or improve. I told him that he needs to work on listening, not fighting or whining, doing chores, cleaning up toys, and saying nice things. God, Mom, Dad, Santa and everyone would be happier if he fought less, whined less, and listened more. But, overall, yes, he is a nice and good boy who makes Mom and Dad proud. After thinking (plotting) for a couple minutes, he came up with a solution that works for him. "I have an idea, Mom. Santa can just ask Grumpy (grandpa) about my behavior. Then I'll get lots of presents." Christian learned a long time ago that Grumpy is his all-time defender. Well played, Christian. Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 15, 2013

God Got Bored

Today, Christian was telling me that he 'finally' figured out how the world works. I knew this was going to be a good conversation. The world according to Christian goes something like this: So, God spent a lot of days and nights making stuff - like mountains, animals, oceans, trees, plants, forests and jungles. Then He took a nap. Then He got bored so He made a guy. Then the guy got bored and lonely and needed a wife or a mom or a sister - some girl to play with and eat with and help with chores. So, God made a girl person. Then the guy decided she should be a wife so they can have babies to take care of. The man and wife could not figure out who was the boss so they took turns telling each other what to do. The man did not have any money to buy a house or tools to build one so they camped in a garden. My mom says camping is when people go on vacation and pretend they don't have a house. Then the girl did something against the rules and God put them both in a time out NAKED! And He put a snake in the garden to scare them. Then, when the guy and girl were sorry, God let them out of time out and gave them some clothes. So, if you are naughty and your parents are not around, God has to put you in a time out. The gospel according to Christian.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here Comes The Groom

Christian, age 5, has selected his bride. She is a middle-school cougar. He has planned their wedding down to the last detail. He wants a simple ceremony at church. He will have to leave partway through the ceremony to attend the children's liturgy. His bride will have to loan him a dollar for the offering basket. After the ceremony, he wants a small reception of pizza and hot dogs with pudding and M&M's for dessert. Dinner will not be followed by dancing. Instead, he would like a pool party. He has even picked out a small house for them to live in, in case she doesn't want to share his toddler bed with bed rails. She will have to learn to cook - mac and cheese, pizza, eggs and toast. And pack his lunch for school every day. He is not sure who will drive them everywhere until she learns to drive but love will conquer all.