A Fine Example

The other day, Younger was explaining why he chose to spend the day with his grandparents rather than with video games.

“I won’t remember playing the video game in even a few weeks,” he told me. “But I will remember the day with Grandma and Grandpa.”

My heart expanding with motherly pride, I smiled softly at him. “That is a very mature decision-making process.”

“It’s how I look at doughnuts, too,” he continued. “If I don’t think I will remember eating the doughnut in a week, I don’t eat it.”

“Well,” I replied, “that’s why I eat six doughnuts if I eat one. I won’t likely forget that.”

Apparently, his maturity wasn’t learned through example.

 

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Wake Me Up

Since  Elder started kindergarten, I have always worked my schedule so that I was with the boys before and after school, except for the two years I worked part-time at the local army installation. But, now, for the next few months, I am again working part-time at the local army installation.

And, Monday, I had four hours of training and would leave with my husband long before the boys were awake for the day.

So, Sunday night, I told the boys, “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Okay, Mom,” they responded, their eyes never leaving their Smash tournament taking place on the television screen.

I finished some laundry then wandered back into the living room, halting behind the sofa. “Okay, well, good night, I guess.” I paused, folding my arms tight against my chest. “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Yeah, okay, Mom.” Neither one glanced in my direction, buttons clicking beneath their busy fingers as their Nintendo characters engaged in an apparently fierce battle. “Good night.”

I sighed. “Night. Love you.”

“Love you, Mom.”

And I retreated to my bedroom. “I worked hard to be here every morning their whole lives,” I told my husband, grumpily. “And they can’t even act sad about tomorrow.”

My husband offered that tolerant smile he has when he thinks I am being less than reasonable. “They’re eighteen and twenty-one,” he reminded me, gently.

“But I was supposed to get something out of it, too,” I wailed.

I guess he didn’t think that was any more reasonable, judging by his patting of my head.

Men.

They understand nothing.

Nothing.

And I am surrounded by them.

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.

 

A Penny Saved

The other day, Younger and my husband joined me in the cleaning of the house. Because Younger wanted a video game and the only way I agreed to take him to buy a video game was in a trade — his effort for my driver’s license.

His dad, on the other hand, is just an easy mark.

But as I rushed down the stairs in one of my many trips between floors, I stumbled to an awkward halt on the bottom stop.

My husband, one hand automatically and rhythmically and blindly pushing a mop over the hardwood floor, glanced up from the video he was watching on the phone in his other hand. “What?” As I blinked at him, trying to find my words, he added, a bit defensively, “I’m mopping.”

“Yes, you are,” I agreed, nodding my head. “You are mopping. Yes, you are.”

And I turned into the hallway without finding any additional words. Because help is, well, help, even if it is cheap help.

And I guess I can’t say he wasn’t worth the money.

Well, I could say it.

But I  won’t.

The Golden Years

A new video game was released on Tuesday. The same day Younger had to return to school after a short spring break.

He started coughing last Friday. “I think I will be sick on Tuesday, Mom.” Hack, hack. “I can feel it.”

“You’re going to school on Tuesday, Younger.”

All weekend, he kept trying. “I can feel it, Mom. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sick on Tuesday.”

He went to school on Tuesday.

And Wednesday.

Because I am a good parent.

Today, as I was packing my lunch (I also returned to classes this week after spring break), I mumbled, “Not sure I feel great today.”

“Me, neither, Mom,” Younger immediately responded. “I think we should stay home today.”

Because Younger is a bad influence.

Maybe one of these days he will be the good parent.

And I can be the bad influence.

Ah, yes, the “Golden Years.”

Because feeding our children what they once dished to us is golden.

What Does Tomorrow Matter

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2006. Younger would have been seven years old . . .

Younger does not like chicken.  Not even a little.  And mashed potatoes are only a little higher on his list.  So, yesterday, at school, for lunch, he ate grapes.  Then he wanted Pop Tarts immediately upon his arrival at home.  Instead, I fixed him a plate of leftovers – meatloaf and corn.  And, later, when he was still hungry, he consumed a corn muffin.

I thought he had been appeased.  But, apparently, I was temporarily insane, from which I was cured at bedtime when Younger’s caterwauling echoed through the house.

“Younger.”  My husband stuck his head in the boy’s bedroom.  “What is wrong now?”

“I’m hungry,” he wailed.

“I’m sorry,” my husband responded, leaving the child to persevere in his attempt at pitiful moaning.

But after a few more minutes of his racket, I climbed the stairs.  “Younger, I want you to stop.  Now.  Or you won’t be able to play Nintendo tomorrow.”

“What does tomorrow matter,” he cried dramatically,  “when I’ll starve to death tonight?”

And it was at that point that even I started to doubt he would live until morning.

The Questions

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Of course, Elder and Younger were home for the week, so I found myself asking all kinds of interesting questions —

How did you fit all those clothes and your sheets into one small basket?

Why can’t you guys hook your two game systems into different televisions instead of arguing over one?

Are we really having this argument . . . in my bedroom . . . at midnight?

What if I hadn’t noticed the Cheetos that were mixed in with your clothes and washed them?

Why is my sofa turned backwards and shoved against the door?

How many pairs of socks do you think you have lost beneath your sink?

How is asking you for a bagel insulting?

Do you not see the laundry basket? Is that the problem?

How old are the two of you?

Why would you throw the cat onto the dog?

Did you know you can drink from the same glass more than once?

Twenty and seventeen? And you’re still arguing over video games?

How am I supposed to fit all these clothes and sheets back into one small basket?

Why is one week so short?

And now, alone in my silent house, I only have one question —

How long until Christmas?