Monday, September 24, 2012

Ready To Party!

It's hard to be the younger brother. He has to chase his older sister around, steal her toys, sneak into her room, pester her, etc. And worst of all, his older sister gets to do everything first. She gets to ride a 2-wheeler, roller blade, ride a school bus, even go to sleep away camp. His one consolation is that he gets to stay up later at night. Not to be outdone, she reminds him that he still takes naps. She recently attended several birthday parties. This really bothered him. She got to go somewhere fun AND eat cake. Life is unfair in his world. Today, the tides have shifted in his favor. Today, he got invited to a birthday party. And not just any birthday party. It's for his best friend, superhero, power ranger, secret agent, classmate. Putting aside his annoyance that his buddy is turning 5 before he does, he is all aflutter about this party. We talked about buying a present. This presents 2 problems for him. First, he has to pick out a present for someone else to play with and enjoy. Second, he got very worried that HE would have to pay for the present. He quickly informed me that his bank balance is hovering around zero. And, even if he had any money, he wasn't sure he would spend his money on cool toys for someone else. Even his best friend, secret agent, super hero, power ranger, classmate. I graciously offered to pony up the necessary greenbacks for this momentous occasion. I don't think he is considering it a loan. But, now the wheels are turning. Now he is intrigued by the almighty dollar and what you can acquire with it. He just has to find a way to get his hands on some without doing any actual work. I don't know what he is more excited about- the actual birthday party or throwing it in his sister's face that he got invited to something and she has to stay home. And he is frantically planning his birthday party. It's only 9 months away!
Party on, dude.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Is Always Watching?!

My son's behavior in God's house is far from stellar. He has screamed "num nums" (snacks) during the Communion offering. He has loudly announced when he is ready for Mass to be over. However, he is quite intrigued by this higher being that sees all, hears all and knows all. He was finally old enough to attend vacation bible camp this summer. We explained what he would learn that week. He was quite insulted that God was NOT his teacher. However, he enjoyed camp. He learned about the Bible, sang songs and, of course, ate snacks. He was in "heaven". He loves to say Grace at meals, even fighting with his sister for the privilege. He fails to see the irony of that. He asks lots of questions. At first, I thought he was trying to establish a deeper connection to God. Now, I realize he is taking stock. His questions include, but are not limited to: "Did God make everyone?" "How did God make everyone?" "Did God make trucks?" "Is God really old?" "How fast can God run?" "How does God go potty?" "Does God sleep?" "How can God see everyone?" "Why can't we see/hear him?" Today, he asked if God can REALLY see and hear everything. He got very worried when I told him God could and does see and hear everything. He asked if God could see him go potty, fight with his sister and get put in time out. How do I answer that? I don't want him to freak out about going potty. However, I kind of like the idea of having some reinforcements with the negative behavior. And I kind of like idea of God being on my side backing me up when I am faced with parenting challenges. I can add "because God is watching" to "Because I said so". When we got out of the car, he looked up at the sky and starting explaining, defending and justifying himself and his behavior. He followed it up with request that God go watch someone else for a while. And he promised to be good. I think God knows when he is being snowed. I think God will be keeping a sharp eye on my little guy. I watched my son's version of offering up a prayer to God and added one of my own - "Dear God, Thank you for having my back. Thank you for granting me the patience to deal with all these questions. And, thank you, for letting me witness this little exchange because I will remember it always." Amen.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vacation Styles

I like going on vacation as much as the next person. But, I've learned that people have different ideas about "vacation" and "fun". One friend likes her vacations to be sporty and athletic. And she thinks she is part Gladiator. So, I was quite happy to land in Hawaii for our 10 day trip to discover she has a sprained wrist. No crack of dawn grudge matches. I used my tennis racket bag to store my extra books and hair dryer. She did convince me to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise over a volcano then bike ride DOWN the volcano. That one, I am glad I did. It was an amazing experience. She is also lucky I didn't toss her INTO the volcano at 5:30 a.m. Another friend and I went to Toronto for shopping, theater and afternoon tea. When she learned of our itinerary, she bowed out, saying that having her teeth drilled would be more fun than getting all dressed up and sipping tea. We were not offended. We have all been on a trip with someone who didn't want to be there. Not exactly the fun experience everyone hopes for. This is why my friends stopped dragging me to dance clubs in 1993. That, and my horrifically bad dancing. My husband has convinced me to go to Disney 4 times. The first time we were engaged so I was still on my best behavior. Also, we were childless and didn't mind waiting in line. We slept in, went on some rides and experienced the night life. The second trip was with our 4 year old when I was 5 months pregnant. Not a traumatic trip until we all caught the flu. Flying while pregnant with the flu is NOT an experience I ever hope to relive. The third trip was with our 6 year old and 18 month old. I was apprehensive but our "militant Disney" friends planned the whole thing and it worked out great. They did all the planning. They told us what to do and when to do it. Blind obedience made it a successful trip. The fourth trip was the complete opposite. It started with us all trapped in a car for days on end, driving through all 63 states to get to "the happiest place on Earth". The trip ended with me getting heat stroke and breaking my camera. It's not the "happiest place on Earth". It is the hottest and most crowded place on Earth. My next trip will be great. Two high school friends and I are going to Cabo. Our plans include lounging by the pool and using the swim up bar to consume as much Diet Coke as possible. No scuba diving, no hang gliding, or any other death defying sports. Our goal is to exert as little thought and energy as possible. As an added bonus, they know I snore like a rhino with a head cold so I get my own room. No kids barging in at o'dark thirty demanding food. No cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, chores, etc. No place to be. Nothing to do. This vacation won't be about what we did on vacation. It will be about what we don't have to do. I want to sit back, relax with my friends and take advantage of every cheesy photo op I can find or create. Watch out, Cabo. Here I come with my camera. Say "cheese-y".

Who Was That Masked Child?

Most of my stories include the phrases "Was that out loud?", "It wasn't my fault!" or "In my defense...". Well, this morning, I think my darling daughter used all three phrases and not in a good way. Today was the first day of school and she was very excited. Clothes were selected, accessories were assembled, hair was styled and her breakfast order was placed. She woke up eager and ready to go to school. While she waited for breakfast to be ready, she and her brother tried playing together. It lasted maybe 5 minutes. Fights broke out because she was bossy and controlling and her bother is 4 (he resists all authority - including mom and dad's). Kids were chasing each other around the kitchen. I'm channeling my deeply buried inner June Cleaver and stirring oatmeal on the stove and ignoring the screams, crying and laughing. No, that is not a typo. They were laughing AND crying at the same time. I took away the toy they were fighting over and told them to sit down to eat. Sara responded with tragic wails about how I was ruining her day, her education and her life. This permanent emotional damage to my melodramatic daughter took place in less than 15 minutes. I was accused of "being mean just for the sake of being mean" and "never wanting her to be happy ever again". I am the meanest mom to ever grace the planet because I did not want to listen to fighting, screaming and crying at 7:00 a.m. Maybe she was secretly nervous about starting a new school. She had been asking to go all summer. She attended summer camp there. She went to orientation last week. These melodramatic outbursts are few and far between lately so I was thrown for a loop. Usually their fights last under 10 minutes and resolve themselves if ignored. While Christian was happily eating his pancakes, I ignored her claims of a scarred childhood. Once she realized that she needed to eat breakfast and get ready for school, she calmed down. She quickly ate, brushed her teeth and hair. She put on her shoes and backpack at warp speed. She was sitting and buckled in the car before I could even find my car keys. Who was that masked child throwing a fit?