Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Detective Skills

J&N had a little fight last night while I was making dinner. I heard the altercation and then crying so I went in to check. N was crying - J was jumping on the couch. I think we can all figure out what likely happened. But I am a reader, and having read way too many parenting books, I do try to incorporate the various discipline approaches in my day.

So I asked them both, "Tell me what happened here."

J says nothing. N says, "J hit me."

(Now we're getting somewhere...)

"Where did he hit you?" I ask.

N says, "In the living room!"

Sigh. The parenting books generally don't tell you how to keep a straight face while doing this stuff.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unpaved Misery

When you become a parent, the first thing you realize (or one of the first things, since everything comes at you in such quick succession) is that everything is relative. I've read this theme again and again in mommy blogs across the internet - no matter what your situation is, you have the right to think it's as great or sucky as you want to.

But really, I have to say, I have the WORST asphalt situation of any mommy in the world.

I grew up in a neighborhood of rentals. My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten and each could not afford a whole lot on their own. Still, I had everything I needed - food, clothes, heat - and more than I needed in many ways. But no matter what else we had - we had driveways and sidewalks in abundance.

My boys don't have that.

Just look, LOOK I say at the crappiness we call a driveway.

Crumbling driveway

Can you see it? Seriously. The top layer of concrete is chipping away to become gravel. There are chunks of what I will loosely call blacktop at the bottom of the drive which are coming up as we continue to drive (of course) over them, creating a sunken pit that threatens to take out the undercarriage of any of the foreign luxury sedans of our friends when they come over (we barely notice, having traded our little sedan for a full-blown kick-ass mini-van, which sits high enough off the ground). And it's on a hill, a very slight one - but still hill-ish.

My boys have had hardships, yes. They have asthma and allergies. They have daily breathing treatments. J has an ear infection right now. But for a three-year old, nothing compares to the hardship of a crappy driveway.

And yet, I kind of think that they don't even notice the crappiness (this again goes back to everything being relative. Maybe a crappy driveway is what they think everyone else has too). N just barrels along, feet furiously peddling across the crunching loam, into the garage and whipping around to make another pass. J does the same but he's slightly more fussy about the return. When he gets to bottom edge of where they are allowed to ride, he turns, ready to go back up the incline. He peddles against the pseudo-pavement, big front wheel turning fruitlessly in that way that only big wheels do (ah, that sound takes me back). He throws his head back and gives a whine/yelp/sigh that only mommy can interpret: "Why do we live in this hellhole? It is too hard to be a child who has no smooth surface on which to ride. I demand that you push me back up the - what did you call this thing - driveway? Well, whatever it is, I demand that you perform for me."

Do I have to add that daddy refuses to push him back up? He insists that J learn how to do it on his own. But I have a soft heart. And I remember what it was like to have miles of smooth sidewalk and driveways on which to roller skate and bike - and I die a little inside. Sniff.

My guys

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What Does It Mean...

...when my most precious angel baby N tells me "I want to kick people!"?

I told him to stop hitting and kicking his brother yesterday morning, oh about three minutes after waking up. His response: "I want to hit! I want to kick people!" Is that a boy thing? Did he have a bad dream? Or is he just a jerk in general? So I had to separate him from J by an incredibly strong barrier of throw pillows while they drank their OJ and watched Brum (oh how I love the British!).

And then only two minutes later, here's his smiling beautiful face again. How could I possibly be mad at that face?

J wasn't quite as forgiving (note that he wouldn't sit next to his dear bro).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why Oh Why Do They Hate Church?

Ok, not church. Just being away from us, for some reason I cannot fathom, because aren't we the icky parents? Separation anxiety is the technical term. (Why "anxiety"? Truly it should be described as "abject terror".)

This month we decided to try to be proper parents and take our heathen children to church. Yesterday was Week 2 of Sunday School! as we excitedly refer to it, in order to build the positive-ness. J&N are having none of it. Oh sure, afterward, it's all cookies! and toys! and lollipops! and school rocks! (I made up that last part.) But during the actual ACT of being IN school, it's all Screaming! and Crying! and Kicking! and Flailing! I, myself, was in tears leaving them this week, wondering what kind of horrible wretched mother could leave other normal people and their children with these two screaming wild banshees. I really did feel more bad for everyone else in the class having to put up with them than for my two guys! Sort of. Okay, I felt bad for leaving them too. But really, I was afraid the sweet and patient teacher would tell us to take our kids and get the heck out of there.

In my vision, they would love school and wonder why I had held them back from their educational destiny for so long. Little did I know that it would in reality be the exact opposite of my vision. The sweet and patient teacher told us it would probably take a few more weeks. So we'll keep it up as long as she can stand it. I'm sure they'll break her down by then.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Word Choice

The boys were rough-housing a bit last night and finally Jack got exasperated and shouted, "Nathan, stop acting like an idiot!"

Wow. Idiot. Not a fan of that word - at least when it's shouted at one of my children (even if it is one of my children doing the idiotic thing). So I shouted back from the other room, "Hey! We don't call each other idiots!"

Jack responded, very matter-of-fact, "I didn't call him an idiot. I said he was acting like an idiot."

And I had no response for that...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


9:45pm (i.e. way, way too late for little boys to still be awake).

Peeking through a crack in the doorway into the boys' bedroom.

Oh last week sometime, I lose track.

My god, how can they STILL be awake? Seriously.

The Scene
Two toddler boys, each in their own cribs, each peering down at the floor where they have strewn/thrown every item of clothing, pillow, blanket and stuffed "friends" from said crib.

N: Oh! I have a good idea!
J: Oh! A good idea!
N: We need a rope!
J: Oh! A rope!

Slip Slidin' Away

Last evening was the boys' first experience with the new slip-n-slide. Or the Battle Blaster Slide as it is now called, apparently. They've improved on the original design we adults remembered from fond childhood. There's a tube that runs the entire length of the slide which fills with water and sprays out in a small lovely fountain of arcs, keeping the slide continually refreshed. Then there's an enormous archway over the slide with car wash-like streamers through which to slide. And there's a pool at the end to catch the sliders themselves, cooling them in a small pond of grassy, muddy water (although this is better than landing on the grass and mud itself, I guess).

There has been, however, no improvement on the pain one inflicts upon oneself when sliding - the boys arrive at the other end of the slide, their protruding baby potbellies red and raw with scratches which they do not notice at all but which mommy continually fusses over.

In point of fact, the new design is more of a pain than the original, for us adults I mean. The boys don't understand how to run and hurl themselves at the thin plastic tarp, propelling downwards toward said grassy/muddy pool. Instead, we, loving parents, have to kneel or crouch down at the top of the slide while J&N lie down on their bellies ready for launch. Then there's a bit of an exciting buildup as we grab their calves and sort of bend them upward into a semblance of a handle, pushing the boys (individually of course) while counting down 1 - 2 - 3 - go! Then pushing/shoving/rocketing the boys down the tarp. Oh such fun. And it was only 105 degrees at 6pm yesterday!