Sunday, April 27, 2008

'Four on the floor!,' 'Do I leave my underwear on?' and other scenes from childhood's incubation chamber

Let me start this off by noting that pancake and sausage day is not a good time to begin a diet in earnest. But if you're beginning a diet with not much earnestness, it'll do.

Yesterday was our big boy's fourth birthday party. "How old are you?" asked the father of one of his junior pre-K classmates. "Three and a half!" he replied. He's still a bit confused about having a birthday party on a day that is not actually his birthday. So, three-and-a-half he remains until Tuesday, which coincidentally is dinner-out night, also known as no-bath Tuesday, or as my husband calls it, Dirty Tuesday.

We dine out on Tuesdays, because, as I've noted before, I work a marathon day on Tuesdays. Last Tuesday started off well. I had my home life well in place to get to the office even earlier than my usual early time--all this before my husband was even awake--when CRASH! from the breakfast counter, I knew what we'd been waiting for since we bought the barstools had finally happened. Emma tipped herself over.

She got right up, shaken, not injured. Phew.

On the floor were about a dozen well-greased ball bearings, a thick sludgy hard-to-clean grease. "Sorry, Mom." Derrr! Inner poise, inner poise, inner poise. "I'm just glad you're okay. Now go get dressed for school."

It did not come up easily--the grease--but it did come up. Even so, I blamed my husband for not being up helping me. How--I ask you, how--is it that he can sleep through the morning shenanigans of two children?

While contemplating the moral turpitude of my spouse's sleeping habits, I got my twice daily call from across the house for clothing clarification from my "three-and-a-half" year old. Hollered from his bedroom, every costume change requires a little guidance: "DO I LEAVE MY UNDERWEAR ON?"

Right back at him: "Yes!"

And again: "YES?"

One more time with feeling: "YES!"

Later, passing by Emma's room, I had to ask her--I mean there must be some sort of disciplinary remark even though falling over in the chair was a scary accident--what had she learned from the incident. "Four on the floor!" All right then.

Today is the last day of a week without television for my daughter, brought to us by the good people at her school. If she makes it through today without watching television, she'll have no more homework assignments, except reading, throughout the rest of the year.

No video games either, which I actually lament because playing video games has taught her how to have fun in a competitive arena. But whatev. I'm currently a slave to the political forces of public education, so no TV, no video games.

At this stage of our family's development, television is not an overwhelming force, anyway. My son could sit in front of it all day, but can easily be coaxed away, too. My daughter generally prefers socializing to TV watching. I like to use the TV as a method of creating peace between the kids when they get into each other's hair and peace in the house, when the racket gets too high.

No such luck today--and a rainy day at that--too bad. Perhaps a mother-daughter trip to the grocery store for us. She did point out, as I poured the syrup over her pancakes, so there'd be plenty for everyone, that I should have bought more syrup at the store. And she's right, I should have, but it didn't make the list.

Last week, I considered out loud whether or not to do some grocery shopping after the kids went to bed, but decided against it. My daughter remarked that she thought I should go, so that I could pick up her favorite cereal. "But I need a little me-time," I responded. "Mom," she said, "you get me-time when you're sleeping." excellent candidate for Westpoint, I should think. If she keeps her grades up.

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Blogger Dana said...

Your window into Americana is always such a lovely thing to be allowed to peek into. These underpinnings are the gold in life.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous allan said...

Daddyhood was one my favorite times of life. Just one boy, but what fun he could be. Now he's voluntarily out on the same dance floor as I am on Sunday nights. A big grin on his face, and making all the ladies feel special. He started for his mom's sake, but now he's out there for him.

Your boy and your story reminded me of those days...wouldn't go back, yet I miss them, too.

10:22 PM  
Blogger David N. Scott said...

Today is the last day of a week without television for my daughter, brought to us by the good people at her school. If she makes it through today without watching television, she'll have no more homework assignments, except reading, throughout the rest of the year.

Man, I wish Boo's school would do that. But I guess you send them to private school so people can be mean to them, right?

"Mom," she said, "you get me-time when you're sleeping."

Heh, heh. I know that one.

'Why do I have to go to bed?'

'Because your mom and I want to go to bed.'

'But you won't go to bed for another hour and a half!'

'Well, yes, dear. Your mom and I do like to have a conversation once in a while.'

1:02 AM  
OpenID vivianlouise said...

"me-time while you are sleeping"

Too funny. Though, when I'm not sleeping I do get me-time. It's just not the quality me-time I was hoping for, like me-time getting a pedicure, a massage, shopping, jetting off to London to tea with the Queen. You know, little things.

10:07 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

this was so excellent! besides Emma's me-time misapprehension I so loved Brendan's needing underwear clarification

2:14 PM  

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