Book Smarts

Today was the first day of classes and after teaching five college classes in one day, I am absolutely exhausted, so I am sharing an old story from 2000 when Elder would have been four years old . . .

I have been reading a book in which the author states that after each disciplinary action, you should discuss with the child his misbehavior and your response.  Common sense, right?  I had actually already made a habit of such talks, although I decided I could probably do better.  So, the other day, Elder misbehaved – I can’t even remember what – and I had to scold him.  It wasn’t anything of any major importance – he didn’t even get sent to his room.  But I thought I should follow the verbal reprimand with an explanation.  Right?  So, I finished my scold with, “And do you want to know why?” only actually pausing for a breath, not an answer.  But before I could continue, Elder, who had patiently listened to the reprimand, barely glanced in my direction, and in a voice of absolute indifference, said, “No,” and walked away, leaving me staring then blinking and deflating slowly.

I guess I need to read the book to Elder?

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Listen and Learn

Today, I am in the midst of grading final essays, which does not always positively impact my humor. So, I thought I would share an old story from 2000, when even at four years old, Elder knew one of life’s simple truths . . .

Last Wednesday, Dad dropped Mom off at the office, so she was with me when I picked the boys up from the babysitter.  On the short drive home, Elder was explaining something to his Mama — I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  But whatever it was, he apparently didn’t believe he was receiving the attention the matter warranted because he told her, very firmly, “Listen, Mama.  If you don’t listen, then you’ll never learn.”

. . . And of course, Elder has always believed we should be listening to him to do our learning.

What is painful is when he is right.

Nekkid Horses

Here is an old story from 2001 when Elder would have been not quite five years old and Younger not quite two . . .

Younger loves Toy Story I and II and, therefore, he loves all the related toys — Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Rex the Dinosaur and Bull’s Eye, Woody’s Horse. One Saturday, the boys and I decided to visit Mama and Papa — and my sister and nephew who were also at the house. On my way out the door, I grabbed Younger’s toys but I deliberately left Bull’s Eye’s saddle at home, as I figured it could easily be lost among all of Mom’s toys.

Once we were at Mom’s, I scattered the toys on the table in front of Younger then proceeded to converse with my sister as she made cookies. After a moment, my nephew appeared at my elbow to inspect Younger’s toys. Pointing at Bull’s Eye, he told me, “I have one of those.”

“Oh, you do?”

“Yep.”  He nodded. “But mine’s not nekkid.”

So, later, having heard my nephew’s comment, Elder dug through the basket of toys beside our sofa until he found the saddle. Unaware that I watched, he firmly stuck the saddle on Bull’s Eye back, muttering, “Well, now he’s not nekkid.”

But, you know, if horses without saddles are nekkid, I pass a farm on my daily trip to work that has some sorely embarrassed animals.

Recommended Ages

Yesterday was Younger’s eighteenth birthday, so today I thought I would share this story from 2004. For the record, Younger can still out talk the best of them . . .

My youngest nephew loves balls, so I thought I might buy him one as a little extra present at Christmas.  And I found one that resembled an octopus with a thousand legs, and uncharacteristically, I did not check the recommended ages.  I just bought it on a whim.  But, apparently, the hundreds of tentacles that actually attracted me to the ball is a danger to children under three.

My nephew is one.

Younger, however, is six.

“Mom,” he said, pulling the ball from the depths of the paper bag from the toy store.  “Owen is not over the age of three.  He cannot have this ball.”  Then he cast me a glance from the corner of his eye.  “You need to find someone who is over the age of three.  Like me.  I’m six.  I am over the age of three.  I could have this ball.  Can I have the ball, Mom?”

I believe that the children under the age of three simply cannot  out talk the children over the age of three, which is why they are not allowed to have the ball with the thousand tentacles.

And that is what they mean by recommended ages.

Love All Your Pieces

Elder turned twenty-one yesterday, so today I thought I would share one of my favorite moments with him when he was only five years old and I could still ignore the fact he would soon grow into a man . . .

Last night as I readied Elder for bed, I gave him a hug and a kiss.  Then I told him, “I love you.”  Without responding, he turned towards the bedroom, so I caught his arm and repeated, “I love you, Elder.”

“Mom,” he said, looking up at me with sincere blue eyes.  “I love you like a balloon that gets too full and pops.”

“Oh,” I murmured, both touched and impressed by his metaphor, not to mention the arms that he had spread wide to indicate the size of the balloon.

“And then,” he continued, dropping his arms and walking away, “I love all your pieces.”

. . . And for twenty-one years my love for him has filled and popped many, many balloons.

And I love all his pieces.

 

 

In the Dark

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2001 when Elder was four years old and only managed sarcasm by accident . . .

The other day, I was playing Nintendo with Elder.  More specifically, we were playing Mickey’s Road Rage – actually, their name for the sport is a little tamer but mine is much more descriptive, I think.  Anyway, when players race in certain cities, a layer of blue permeates the entire screen, giving the illusion of nighttime.  Seattle is one such city.

So, Elder and I were racing in Seattle, when I fell off a ramp – my character, not me.  I was actually sitting on the sofa.  Anyway, instead of landing on the road beside the ramp, I landed some ways back on the course, someplace deep in the shadowed night, and was promptly lost.  So, while Elder was speeding away, I was basically doing three-sixties and bouncing off walls, while one of Donald’s nephews repeated, “You’re going the wrong way” every few seconds or so.

Frustrated because I was losing to my four-year-old – again, I muttered, “I don’t even know where I am.”

To which, Elder offered, “In the dark?”

Yep.  Pretty much completely.

And always.

 

Tuesday Before Threesday

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2000. Elder would have been four years old . . .

Several times on Tuesday, for one reason or another, I found myself explaining to Elder that it was Tuesday — as opposed to another day in the week, such as Sunday.  On Tuesday, Mommy worked and he went to the babysitter.

That night, while we were eating dinner, he told me, “Mom, tomorrow is Threesday and on Threesday, you don’t have to work.”

Well, he’s kind of right.

I’ve never worked a Threesday in my life.