...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scare At The Bookstore

One thing I work hard on with my kids is what to do if they get lost in public places, or if strangers try to touch them. I hammered this into Xavier's head when he was 2, and had him recite it back to me at random, like pop quizzes. He was always able to pipe up in his tiny voice and tell me word for word our rules:

When Lost:
*STAY where you are!!! Don't run off in panic!
*Yell for Mommy or Daddy
*Yell again if you dont hear us
*Find an adult, in uniform if possible, and tell them your Mommy is missing. Tell them our names, and tell them Mommy has a red stripe in her hair if you are with me.

If A Stranger tries to touch/grab you:
*Scream as loud as you can "THIS IS NOT MY DADDY/MOMMY!! HELP!"
*Kick, bite, scratch, anything you can to get away

Yet, for some reason, no matter how many times I go  over this (or any direction, really) with Ashe, when I ask him what I said his default response is "I dunno". If pressed hard, he'll repeat my directions, so I know he hears, but getting him to repeat it back is like trying to make cooked noodles stand up straight.

A few weeks ago, my fear about him not getting it came true.

Ashe, Soren, and I stopped at B&N one morning, to grab a book for Xavier. While there ashe wanted to play with the train table set up in the kids section. I agreed, motioned to a book rack 5 feet away, and said I would be right there with Soren. He nodded his head and went to play.

I sat down on the floor and for a few minutes watched Ashe happily play with other kids. Then Soren saw some Dora books on the rack, and I turned my head away to try and stop him from decimating them.

60 seconds.

It took 60 seconds of my attention turned from one child to another, for Ashe to look up, not see me, and race to the front of the bookstore looking for me. He didn't utter a sound. He just panicked. Everything I had tried to teach him went


The next thing I know I am hearing my son sobbing, NOT from the train table, but from further away, coming closer. An employee of the store comes around the corner, my 3 yr old in tow. He looks around and yells "WHOSE KID IS THIS?" I raced over to Ashe, gather his sobbing frame into my arms,  and thanked the man. He glared at me severely, muttering he was at the front door. Maybe it was Mommy guilt, maybe not, but I got the distinct impression he had judged me as a bad mom. Maybe I am. I don't know. I just know that I have really struggled to get Ashe to understand what to do in that situation, which he didn't. He panicked. And it was 60 seconds.

I calmed ashe down, then Soren who decided to cry sympathy tears with his older brother, and with Ashe clinging tightly to my hand, we left.

Suffice to say the whole way home, and all that day, and the next, AND the next, I did nothing but sit there and teach him again and again and again what to do if it happens again. After 3 days I can now get him to recite to me what to do.

But that might not help if he panics. And that panics me. I think maybe we'll forgo public places until he's 16.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Wasn't Supposed To Worry About THIS Talk!!!

Conversations in our household tend to have a way of twisting and turning from one topic to another, so that by the end of the discussion, you are nowhere NEAR where you started. I don't know if it's the way kids minds work, or just my own, but somehow I often find myself in deep discussions with the kids over topics I never in my wildest imagination could have envisioned being broached by them. Anywhere from wanting a Sea Lamprey for a pet (how many kids know what a Sea Lamprey even is???) to discussions on why Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear, and everything in between. We don't seem to HAVE normal conversations at the dinner table. Not in this house.

But one topic of conversation came up recently, that I thought I was saved from ever having to muddle through. Because I have 3 sons and no daughters. And how it came about started off innocently enough.

Last week, J was on a business trip back north. I had 3 days of the boys to myself. I promised them a pizza party on the last night if they did really well and helped me out while Dad was gone. They did a phenomenal job, and as promised, we bought pizza and celebrated our survival.

A common phrase from our boys is "I love (insert family member name here)". To which that person replies "I love you too." Unless it is Soren, who only screeches with delight and throws food at you in acknowledgement and to show that the feeling was reciprocated. And then they go off on a tangent on how we have the BESTEST family EVER!! (  I swear this is true. And I don't pay them to say it either. Really!!!) This night, Xavier said "I love Soren. I'm so happy he is a part of our family." Soren screeched, threw pizza at his eldest brother, and I smiled and said "Soren loves you too" as I picked up the half chewed crust and handed it back to my youngest.

And from this one, normal comment from Xavier, began a conversation that is too long to write here, as it lasted a good 30 minutes, but somehow went down twisty paths, hitting topics that parents have nightmares over when confronted with the possibility of being where I was put this night.

Soren was a surprise addition to our family. In other words, we weren't planning on having more children. But when we found out, and broke the news to Xavier (the only one old enough to really understand the significance of the situation)  all of us were excited. Xavier especially, because if he had his way, we would provide him with 30 brothers and sisters.

Coming back to the other nights conversation, Xavier asked how babies can be made when you don't "PLAN" them. If you have followed my blogs, you know that when I was pregnant with Soren, we had THE TALK as I was cooking porkchops and eggs. So he knows HOW babies are made. But at that age, the thought of S-E-X was GROSS. The thought of sex on its own was beyond his comprehension, and rightfully so.

Caught off guard, I asked if he remembered how babies were made. Then I said that when he grows WAY up and finds his life partner, sex is also something that is considered, umm.... fun. He looked at me askance, trying to judge if I was trying to pull his leg. Deciding I was telling him the truth, he asked if there was a way to protect yourself from making babies.

Seriously folks? At this point in time my mind is racing, mentally asking myself why am I always the one to get stuck with these conversations???? Why can't the boys ask J these??? 

Why me!!!!!

But I answered as simply as possible. Yes, there are. And when the time comes, I'll explain it all. But it won't be something he needs to worry about right now. He hasn't even hit puberty yet.

Which leads to questions about puberty. What happens? Why does it happen? Do girls go through the same things? No? You mean their voices don't change and go crazy? Well what happens to them then????!!!

And so my friends, I found myself, with explicit questions from the peanut gallery guiding me, explaining female menstruation to an 8 yr old boy. Trying my damnedest not to blush or laugh out loud at the utter absurdity of the situation.

J called from the airport, interrupting my explanation of ovaries and eggs to a wide eyed audience, listening with rapt attention. The spell was broken, excitement of talking to Dad and telling him about our pizza party took over, and I was saved. But the moment I got the phone back, I grumbled to him "Why do I always get THOSE convos?  Why can't they go to you with these topics? You'll never believe what you just interrupted...."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Plight of the Playground

I've recently come to the realization that I cannot handle 2+ kids on my own when I go out to playgrounds. It's physically improbable. At least when 1 kid has just recently learned to walk, has had 2 older brothers to idolize, and is off and running to independence and parking lot doom.

Soren, 15 months now, is not only walking, but running. I don't think he ever walked, period. He just stood up one day, waddled, and then booked it.

So it's a fairly new experience for me to have a 3 yr old to watch over and chase after a "toddler" ( I use that term in the lightest sense as there is no toddling for Soren) while at a park. When Ashe was born, Xavier was old enough to play on the play ground fairly on his own, knowing to just check in with me when I called his name. Ashe on the other hand, is still prone to accidents, or losing me (note to self: must blog about the adventure we had at B&N the other day). So it's not as easy to keep track of him and a toddler hell bent on running to the parking lot as fast as his ten little toes can get him there.

I tried taking them to a TM park play date yesterday. I literally was able to listen to half a conversation before excusing myself and sprinting 20 yards to grab Soren, who had left the sand box and was making a beeline for the woods.(Note to self: blog about Sorens new favorite cuisine "Sand a la Sand") At the same time I hear Ashe screaming, always desperate for the spotlight... yay 3 yr old mentality, "MOMMY WATCH ME MOMMY WATCH MEEEE!" and he stands there jumping over and over.

To you moms from TM, thank you for your patience and good natured understanding, as I chased my children around the entire time. I promise, I WAS listening to you. One of the cool things about being a mom with multiple children is the fact I picked up this nifty talent to holding multiple conversations at once. 

But seriously people, I'm flipping exhausted! I realized the other day I'm finally really ok with my weight and I think I finally got there recently due to all the sprinting, adrenaline rushes, and panic when I look up 15 seconds later after telling Ashe no it's NOT ok to slide down a slide head first, only to see Soren trotting off on some new adventure, preferably as close to the play ground parking lot as possible. Or the woods. Or underneath the swings. And when he hears me running behind him, he turns to give me this impish grin, cackles maniacally, then books it with a burst of speed that would make Super Man jealous.

I was recently at a park with all 3 boys and noted that going to the park with multiple children is like watching an intense ping pong game, mixed with 50 yard dashes thrown in every 30 seconds. I think I may consider signing up for the next summer Olympics. Florence Griffith Joyner, you've got nothing on me. I'll meet you on the playground, anytime.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Memories

Yay!!! It's October, my favorite month of the year! The air gets cooler and crisp, and that smokey crunchy leave smell starts to waft through the breeze. But most importantly October means Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year!

 Halloween is awesome. I mean seriously, what other time of the year do you get to dress up anyway you want and get away with it? And let's not forget candy. How amazing is it that one night a year you get to dress up in crazy fun clothes and then get paid to do it with candy???? Yeah yeah, candy is for the kids. But in our house, we have whats called a candy tax. If I take the time to take my kids out at night I feel that it is only fair that I get a little treat too. The candy tax is determined by hold old the child is and how much work I have to do for them. If Im holding their bags or light sabers or masks from house to house, I get more candy. It's simple, fair, and my kids have never known anything different. It's pure genius (I think so at least). Everyone is happy!

One thing I noticed about myself though, is that over the past few years I've held back on dressing up. A part of that is due to having more kids to wrangle into their costumes and its just easier to throw something together that's not exactly what I would really want. Another reason is that J is not the dress up type and I feel odd being the only adult in full regalia. But this year I got to thinking about how much I love dressing in costumes, and my kids are still young enough to not be embarrassed by me. In fact, Ashe pleaded with me to be Robin this year as he has a Batman costume. And I realize that wont be the case for much longer. But the memeories of childhood Halloween last forever.

My favorite memory as a kid, was probably the reason why I love Halloween as much as I do now. When I was growing up we lived in a small town on a farm and our closest neighbors were at least a half mile away. It made for poor trick or treating. However one year my mom got this great idea to make it easier for us kids. She decided that we would use my pony as transportation. I wanted to be a Princess for halloween, and my mom and I decided to transform my pony into a unicorn. We made a horn and got nontoxic wash out pink hair dye spray which we sprayed on my ponys mane and tail. She was beautiful and fit for a princess.

Riding my "Unicorn" down the dark streets with my mom nearby, stopping to get candy was just awesome. And after Halloween, we tried washing out the hair dye on my pony but it wouldnt come out. So my poor pony had hot pink hair for about a month until it faded. The cars driving by our corral would stop often and people would stare. I still giggle when I think of that. It eventually faded with no ill effect.

And now as an adult I think about that memory and kind of wish my kids had a pony to have a memory like that. But since we don't (and won't) I think it's time to grow up a bit and do what I can to make my kids have an awesome Halloween. I want them to love it as much as I do so that when they have kids of their own they'll say to their wives "Man, my favorite holiday is halloween. I remember this one time, my mom was cool enough to dress up as Robin when I was Batman. It was so awesome!" If I can pass on that love of fun, and the knowledge that Halloween is for all, not just kids, I'll feel like I passed on an important lesson. Life can be fun/ you just have to take advantage of it. And have a candy tax!