Monday, February 27, 2012

On Target

     Dude needed a basketball.  Well, Dude needs help with his hand-eye coordination / ball game playing ability and a basketball seemed the least likely to cause him much physical harm.  I'm not ready to place a baseball bat in his hands - arming Dude is dangerous.  And while soccer is pretty harmless, we're talking about a boy that trips over his own feet.  Putting a ball in front of those feet will not help matters.  So I decided - basketball it is!

     We went to Sports Authority last week and found a basketball for Dude.   Oddly, there was a junior archery set hanging on the pen holding the basketballs.   (Can anyone explain to me the connection between these two seemingly unrelated sports items or the reason for their close proximity?)   The archery set immediately grabbed Dude's attention.   He has seen Dad play a video game with archers in it and he decided that archery is what he really wants.   Hubs was willing to give it to him.

     Considering I was 20 minutes away from driving Hubs to the airport to leave on business for the week and in no position to handle an armed child alone, Hubs agreed this purchase could wait until he returned.  We left the store with the basketball and a promise to purchase the junior archery set as soon as Dad returned.

     Dude and I have been playing with the basketball and having fun, but every single day Dude reminded me that Dad promised to buy him an archery set when he came home.   Remember I mentioned I didn't think it was safe for Dude to hold a baseball bat?   I definitely fall into the "anti-archery set for my kid" category.   But Dad was coming home soon and a promise is a promise (especially to a 5 year old).
     Then opportunity presented itself - Dude refused to clean his bedroom.  This was my out!   I laid down the law.  Dude could NOT have an archery set until his room was clean!   This was met with yelling, frustration, and crying along with loud declarations from Dude that he is NEVER going to clean his room.   Bullseye!   Hubs came home and (thankfully!) backed me up on the "no archery set until your room is clean" edict.  Friday passed, Hubs was home, and we didn't own an archery set.   All was good.

     Saturday came and Dude was sick.   Poor guy had a fever.   How could he possibly clean his room?   And even if he did clean his room, he was definitely not in shape to go out in public and buy an archery set.  Nor was he well enough to play with this set in the backyard.  I was sure I had won another day without an archery set.

     Alas, Dude pulled it together and got his bedroom clean.   I held firm to the fact that he was not well enough to go to the store to buy his set.   Hubs decided I was right, but that he would go buy it for him.   Then he looked at Dude and asked "Do you want the set we saw at the store or would you rather have a Nerf one?"   I watched as the word "Nerf" danced in Dude's eyes overpowering images of the more authentic (dangerous) set he had his eye on in the store.   Thankfully, Nerf won.   Saturday afternoon saw Hubs fulfilling his promise of an archery set for Dude.

     This archery set is an indoor toy.  Dude spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday playing with it and is surprisingly good with it.   It's mostly harmless and I'm quite happy with the compromise that's been reached.  Dude even let the girls take a few turns with his bow and arrow.  His sisters also think the set is cool.   Then, Sunday night before dinner, Dude let us know that we are going to have to buy that junior archery set from Sports Authority after all - for Ball.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Little Einsteins Theory of Relativity

     Blondie and Ball were home sick so I turned Disney Junior on for them and let it runs its course.  During Little Einsteins, Ball yelled at the TV "Dude! You need to go super fast!"  I realized this is the most enthusiasm I have ever witnessed from any of my kids for any show I have ever played for them - ever.   I guess I'm glad that Little Einsteins is doing it for them because it seems to really be doing it for me. Without my consent Little Einsteins has weasled its way into my subconscious.

We're on a mission!

     Last year I went to a concert in downtown LA with my father.  It was one of my few excursions away from the kids and the icing on the cake was how cultured and grown up my outing was going to be.  As the orchestra started I surrendered to the music.  I quickly realized that I recognized the first piece of music; not from my 10 years in band.  No, I recognized this piece from an episode of Disney's Little Einsteins.  Here I am at my "grown up" outing, listening to this beautiful music while visions of Leo, June, Quincy, Annie, and Rocket fill my head.  It would almost be poetic considering I was at the Walt Disney Concert Hall if it weren't so annoying.

     Fast forward a year; a year without Little Einsteins in my house because my kids have moved on to different (I did not say better) shows.  Hubs and I were able to disappear one random weekday afternoon to catch a movie.  (I love being on a date in the middle of the day when the kids are wide awake and someone else is caring for them.)  We are both excited by the novelty of our "escape".  We decide to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

     This is the most grown up movie I have seen in a long time.  **spoiler alert**  About 2/3 of the way into the movie there is a torture scene where Professor Moriarty has Sherlock Holmes strung up like a fish on a hook and he begins to sing opera.  The music is beautiful and sharply contrasts the gruesome visual.  Once again, I recognize this particular song even though I am not familiar with opera.  Unfortunately, it is not until we are leaving the theater that I realize my music knowledge was garnered once again from Little Einsteins.  This time I say "unfortunately" because I really wish I had made the connection sooner.  Maybe visions of Rocket could have saved me from that particularly graphic scene in the movie.

     When you're a parent there really is no "escape" from your children.  Hubs and I go out for dates and spend most of the time talking about the kids.  Even when we aren't talking about the kids I am constantly wondering: what are they doing right now?   And now things that were once seemingly unrelated to my children, like an afternoon at the concert hall, are all relative thanks to Little Einsteins.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Toothpaste War

     I put Ball in time out this morning for brushing her teeth.  That's right.  And it wasn't even the kind of morning where nobody could do anything right and I was slapping kids in time out left and right just to get them away from me.  It was just a normal (kids being no more crazy than usual) morning.

     Let me begin by saying, my standards for my house are not high.  I live with 3 kids.  My life is constantly 1 step forward, 3 steps back.  While I am putting away one set of toys, the kids are getting out 3.  After we've spent 30 minutes cleaning a bedroom I hear all the toys being yanked back out while I am closing the bedroom door and walking away.  If I couldn't tolerate living like this, I would be a miserable human being.  I grudgingly traded neatness for happiness.

     What does this have to do with me putting Ball in time out for brushing her teeth?  That is a fair question.  Although my standards have significantly lowered in the neatness department, I do not like living in filth.  To me, this is the difference between having a kitchen counter littered with last weeks mail versus having a kitchen counter covered in coffee grounds.

     That being said, toothpaste is one of my "crazy" triggers.  Although I accept toothpaste is necessary:
1) Why can't kids get toothpaste out of a tube without smearing toothpaste all over the tube and cap?
2) Why does it have to stick to everything it touches?
3) Why does it have to be bright blue?
4) And why does it have to taste so good that my daughter is constantly brushing her teeth to satisfy her sweet tooth?
My four year old toothpaste taster is incapable of getting toothpaste out of the tube without making a mess, usually bright blue, in the bathroom sink or all over the counters.  This leads me back to question one and restarts my vicious toothpaste hate cycle.

     As much as I hate toothpaste, curbing Ball's love of toothpaste and therefore tooth brushing is something I try very hard not to do.  I go behind her and clean up globs of blue goo (mumbling things she shouldn't hear under my breath) because I think it's awesome that I have a kid who brushes her teeth 5 times a day. 

     That being said, as I was putting Ball's breakfast plate on the table I heard her announce from the bathroom that she was going to brush her teeth.  I calmly called "please don't brush your teeth right now."  (Why must she brush her teeth right before breakfast when she will be brushing them in 15 minutes after breakfast???)  Ball said "I'll be fast Mom, don't worry!"  (as if speed was at all a factor in my request)  To which a more forceful "Ball, do NOT brush your teeth right now" was delivered.  As I walked toward the bathroom she rinsed her toothbrush off, hopped off her stool, and with a huge blue goo smile on her face announced to me that she was all done.  And so Ball ended up in time out (mostly because she chose not to listen to me) but also because that huge blue goo smile sent me to my crazy toothpaste hating place and someone needed to be punished.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The "Tuck and Roll"

     Your house is cold and dark when you climb under your thick warm blankets.   You snuggle in as the heat spreads through your body and begins to pull you into a peaceful slumber.   And then it happens.   The freezing cold cuts you like a knife forcefully removing you from your happy place.

     The person you have chosen to share your bed with is a nocturnal predator.   In his (or her) own attempt to enter dreamland he has snugly wrapped himself up in your shared blankets.   He brings the blankets up to his chin and squeezes them tight to his body - the tuckUnconscious of the fact that there is another person in his bed, he turns over, taking the tightly wrapped blankets with him, leaving his partner in the cold - the roll.  You are an unfortunate victim of the "tuck and roll".

     If you are the 6'2", 180 pound person in this scenario, copying this action and reclaiming what is rightfully yours is a viable option.  If you are the smaller person, no amount of tucking or rolling will help you exact retribution.  Your only real option is to find another (probably inferior) blanket and cling to that one for dear life while fighting away nightmares about being a penguin in South America.

     You are not alone.  In the cold winter months ahead the number of victims will skyrocket.  Unfortunately, my only advice is; buy a superior back-up blanket and hang on tight (and maybe kick your partner if he tries to roll away with that one too).  Sleep well!