Tag Archives: Kids

Conversations With a 7 Year Old (Temporary) Only Child

I .

“Mom, what’s a bachelor party?”

“It’s a party that men have before their wedding, one last night to go out and get crazy before they’re married.”

“Do they take their girlfriends?”

“No, it’s usually just their guy friends.”

“That’s no fair that girls don’t get a party!”

“Oh no, if girls want to, they can have a bachelorette party. Same idea, just all girls.”

“No boys?”

“Nope.”

“So you just go out with your own kind? All girls or all guys?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

(2 minutes of silence)

“Mom, I think those parties are really smart.”

“How come?”

“I think it’s a good idea to go out one last night, and figure out for sure if you’re gay or not.”

(More silence,while I try to unravel where that went off the rails.)

II.

“How was daycare today?”

(Big sigh) “Pretty much torture.”

“Oh, really? Which was worse? The jumpy castle, or the mini-golf? How dare those sadists put you though this? This clearly contravenes the United Nations Convention Against Torture! HAS ANYONE CALLED THE UN??!???”

“Mom, do you ever get tired of your own drama?”

III.

(We tried to go to a movie. Their Internet was borked, so no credit cards, the cash confused the hell out of the teenage cashiers, and the theatre’s Fro Yo stand was down. Screw that. We improvised by hitting Marble Slab instead.)

“What do you want, kiddo?”

“Chocolate. Large. With peanut butter cups and smarties and sprinkles and peppermint patties.”

“Sounds messy…..”

(Fixes me with the iciest, most laser-like glare on which I have ever been on the receiving end.)

Good.”

(Turns back to detachedly supervising the mix-in process.)

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Did Casanova Have a Mom?

Way back when The Boy was in kindergarten (6 months ago), they used to have a little something called “Show & Share”. 

 

And once they’d both showed and shared their little treasure, each student picked a classmate to ask a question about said item.  Every week, my son picked “Madison” to ask him a question.

 

“Why do you always pick Madison?” I asked, all innocent-like.

 

The Boy gives me his best “duh?” look.

 

“Because she’s beautiful.”

 

I saw them hold hands once, when they thought no one was looking.  Madison’s mom told me The Boy has been picking flowers (albeit, dandelions) at recess, to give to Madison.  The Boy was displeased when they weren’t in the same classroom this year.  Madison cried over their separation.

 

This morning, Madison’s dad brought her to school.

 

We were waiting for the first bell, hanging out by the playground.  I can hear Madison, excitedly stage-whispering to her dad, “That’s HIM!  That’s The Boy!”

 

She brings her dad over, introduces them. 

 

My son gives him a shy “Hey”, and runs off to play, cheeks blazing crimson.

 

Madison’s dad stares after him, sizing up The Boy.

 

I wonder what’s going through his head. 

 

And I want to go over and tell him that my boy is too little to be any trouble, he’s pretty much a large baby, and he still cries when he falls down, and he still needs to run his fingers through my hair over and over at night while we’re reading a story (it’s a security kind of thing), and he still reaches for my hand when we cross the street, and he still asks me to help with the “paper-work” if there’s been a particularly messy shituation, and he can’t get the tongue of his shoes to sit right, good god, he can’t even tie a pair of shoes, he still needs velcro, and he was still planning on marrying me, up until a couple of months ago, and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he’s in The System, and he was just a newborn last week, I swear to god, there hasn’t been enough time for him to grow up enough to be anyone’s crush.

 

But I don’t do that.

 

I stand there, and I catch his eye, and we give each other a shrug, that says, “Kids?!?  What are you gonna do?” 

 

And we give each other a resigned grin/grimace that says we’re pretty much in the same boat.

 

And neither one of us is even close to having our sea-legs yet.

I Love Him, I Love Him Not

 

This little girl is thinking:

 

A)  I have the smartest, handsomest, best big brother in the whole world!

 

B)  Wow!  That kid sure has a way with the cotton candy!  Hope I can wield a stick of floss that well when I get older!

 

C)  Yeah, you think you’re so fricking cool with your big ‘ol puff of candy, while Mom told the woman “No, just a little one for the girl.”  Go ahead, show off.  Gloat about your diabetes on a stick, leave me with this toddler size joke-of-a-treat.  Enjoy your sugar rush, Skippy, and sleep with one eye open tonight.

Thanks, That Was Fun

 

I coached soccer this spring.  For a mixed team of 5 & 6 year olds.

 

Here’s what I was afraid of, in the beginning:

-The kids would hate me.

-I would hate the kids.

-The parents would not get my sense of humor.

-The kids AND the parents would realize I was a complete klutz.

-I would fall down/trip/wipe out.

-The other coaches would catch on that I knew nothing.

-The parents would expect little David Beckhams, 

and Mia Hamms,

when the best I could hope to deliver would be The Bad News Bears (whom I realize played baseball, but you see what I’m getting at).

-I would start to dread soccer nights, praying for rain.

 

Here’s what happened, instead:

-The kids seemed to like me.  When I see them at the playground, even now, they come up to me, call me “Coach”, want to talk to me.

-At the start of every new shift, I got 3 new kids out on the field, and every one of them was grinning ear to ear, ready to go, excited.

-Very few parents actually had anything negative to say.  The comments ran more towards, “You are a good, good woman for doing this.”

-I laughed my ass off.  At the kid who scored a goal, but inadvertently hit the other team’s goalie in the package, inhaled sharply, and said, “Oooh!  Right in the hot dog!”.  Or the kid who played a whole shift peeking out from beneath his dad’s jacket, because he didn’t want to get rained on.

-I watched the most competitive kids discover the art of passing to their team mates, and give up scoring opportunities, just to keep passing.

-I realized that the definition of a good soccer season was different for every single kid.  The kid whose favorite part of the game was sitting on the team blanket?  Had as great a season as the kid who liked scoring.

 

 

The biggest reward of the season came out of my biggest insecurity, though.

 

I have no killer instinct.  No competitive drive, in matters physical.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to impart  sense of competition to these kids.  Because I know that competition is important. It’s how we get shit done. 

 

But it turns out that on a beautiful spring night,  when you’re 5 or 6, and your parents  are cheering, and you’re running, and grinning, and eating watermeleon, and shaking hands at the end of the game,

 

competition just isn’t the most important thing.

 

 

grōs

 

 

Every now and again, I have a day.

 

A day where gross begets…more gross.  Like a stone of gross rolling down a gross-covered hill.

 

 

It started with a washcloth.

I pick it up, start washing my face.  And like a flower, opening to the sun, my brain starts to awaken.

That’s when I remember what the last thing I used the washcloth for was.  (And if I hadn’t remembered, the tell-tale whisps of brown, courtesy of the baby girl, would have clued me in.  Eventually.)

 

 

I had soup for lunch.  The label made it sound delicious.  I just wished I’d skipped looking at it.

It looked every Sunday morning of my 20’s.  Smelled a little like them, too, if I’m being honest.

 

 

I grabbed the banister on the way down the stairs.

And came up with a handful of someone else’s boogers.

No one would admit to it.  Apparently, a disgusting race of space hobos snuck in, left their awful little alien greeners on my woodwork, erased all our memories with their ooky little ray guns, then booked.

 

But the best, clearly, had to be saved for last.

Owen comes out of the girl’s room.

“Um, I don’t know when or how, but I think someone took a shit in her room.”

I was able to ascertain that while no bowel movement had actually been spotted, the smell in there was nearly eye-watering.

I ask the girl:  “Honey, do you know what stinks in here?”

“Ummm, maybe my ‘giner.  I don’t think I washed it good in the bath.”

(Oh sweet jesus baby girl, if that smell is coming from your “‘giner”, we’re running to the emergency room, post-haste.)

I toss the place.  Look in every nook.  Every cranny.  Every nook’s cranny.

Then, I go under the bed.

 

And there, in all its putrescent glory, is a sippy cup.

 

A sippy cup I haven’t seen for nigh on 2 weeks.

 

A sippy cup – of milk.

 

 

 

 

(Image is nasty by oh judy.)

Gloria Estefan Was Right: The Words DO Get In the Way

When I started this little blog, I didn’t know how to add pictures to posts.

 

Very patient people tried to teach me.  I tried to follow.  It was in vain.

 

I was so jealous of people who could combine images and words, to deliver that one-two punch that a perfect post carries.

 

The path of jealousy generally leads me down the path of self-righteousness.

 

“Only lazy bloggers rely on pictures.  I don’t NEED pictures.  I’ll just use words.  I’ll use the most perfect words, the ones that will evoke exactly what I want them to in the reader.  And they’ll never realize the images were missing.”

 

And then, thank christ, I figured out how to add pictures.

 

Sometimes, I like to think I can still crank out an evocative post, completely sans pictures.

 

And sometimes, I am thrilled when I find the perfect image for the words I’ve managed to string together.

 

But sometimes, the words just get in the way.

 

Like today.

 

I present, the 6-year old’s Monday Morning Art Project:

 

Halters and Show-Sticks and Babies, Oh My!

 

I.

 

I am not good with babies.

 

When other people gather round a newborn, cooing, sighing, jostling to be the first to hold them, I’m the one who volunteers to make coffee. When the newborns were mine, I was only slightly more at ease. And as much as I loved my babies, I just didn’t get them. I never really felt like I was good at the baby stage – the swaddling, the burping. The sacrifice.

 

Infancy was a stage in my children’s lives that I didn’t so much enjoy, as get through.

 

Other moms got sentimental about the ends of stages in their babies lives, shed tears when they packed up high chairs and cribs. I quietly, but gleefully, watched the parade of baby paraphernalia roll out my door the moment my daughter outgrew it. My daughter is doing amazing things. And she’s doing them far in advance of when her older brother did them. She can, without assistance, put a snowsuit on, go to the bathroom, empty the dishwasher (except for the knives, I promise), butter her own bread, and on and on.

 

I get so excited with each new achievement. Each step towards independence.

 

And then I get greedy for more.

 

Because she’s so capable, the things that she can’t do deplete the shallow store of patience I have left.

 

II.

 

I was a farm kid.

 

Want proof?

 

Here’s me, bustin’ mutton, circa 1980:

  

Seven years later, when I was 12, I joined 4-H. I raised a steer, from November to June. Every year for 6 years. I’d start with a 650 pound calf, all wild and untamed, and by the end of the season, I’d try to have a tame, 1200 pound steer that I’d take to Show & Sale. We’d groom these calves, back comb the ends of their tails into bouffants, clean the dirt out of their hooves, wipe the snot out of their noses. Parade them around a ring, make them stand pretty for a judge.

 

Even though we couldn’t afford it, my dad made sure we had shiny leather halters for our calves.

 

We’d wrap the end of the strap around our hand (even though we weren’t supposed to because it was dangerous and our arms would get ripped off if the calf suddenly took off or at least that’s what the adults promised would happen), and pull that calf wherever we needed it to go. We’d also go in with a show stick.

 

Because the steer needed to be standing squarely for the judges to assess them. But the steers didn’t know that. So we’d poke their feet with these sticks, the calf would raise his foot, and (hopefully) put it down where you wanted it.

 

III.

 

What the hell am I getting at?

 

Today was a day.

 

A day when I was lacking in patience/sleep/vodka.

 

Even though my little girl can get into a snowsuit like nobody’s business, she hasn’t mastered winter boots. Today, as I was trying to get out the door, she kept putting the wrong foot into the wrong boot. Over and over. I’d motion to her to lift her left foot, she’d lift her right. And so on, and so on. Once I got the boots on her, she was slow, so freaking slow, I finally just picked her up and strode across the yard to the car.

 

I sat behind the wheel, and in the midst of the “Oh shit, we’re late!” chaos, and thought.

 

 

 

I thought about how much easier it would be if the use of a halter and show stick were possible with kids.