Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank God in heaven there's school tomorrow

"Thank God in heaven there's school tomorrow," my five-year-old son sighed yesterday. That's what a private, Catholic school education gets you...

His excitement centered around the arrival of these:

The Shoes. (For those who missed the "Shoe Saga," click here.)

The very ones he worked and slaved and toiled for...OK...not really. He did work hard, but well-meaning friends were fairly easy with their money for any task performed. And the shoes arrived today.

He was up, dressed and ready to go at 6:15 in the freakin' morning today. Ready to show off his shoes to the world. However, I will admit. He seems especially happy about these shoes because 1) they light up and 2) he earned the money himself. It's so sweet to see a little boy take so much pride in himself. Here's hoping it's a learned lesson he'll remember.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What a difference a week makes

This is a picture from Gabe's soccer game LAST week (he's second from right).

I have no such pictures from this week.

The weather was bad. Monsoon season bad. As we headed for the car before the game, Gabe yelled, "Are we gonna play in this stuff?!" I yelled back, "As long as there's no play. Even if there's a play. In fact, playing in a flood is FUN!"

His response? Well, if he was allowed to use The Bird, he would have flipped it.

In any case, bad weather = few kids showed = not much fun = run around like he's the Missing Link.

Last week? One goal. Two assists.

This week? One mad mom. And "What the hell are you doing out there?" yelled twice in frustration.

Oh, well. At least I got a good column out of it for next week. By the way, is it inappropriate to make my 5-year-old run laps?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He's too cute for jail

One would think he was talking about the Hope Diamond.

“They are the most awesome things I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” my five-year-old son waxed poetic after school one afternoon in excitement. “They are shiny and cool and AWESOME!”

“Yes,” I nodded in agreement, “but they cost $50.”
He ignored my comment and continued, “They light up and EVERYTHING!”
“Yes,” I nodded in agreement and repeated, “but they cost $50.”
He wrinkled his little blonde brows into a furrow and responded, “How much is $50?”
I laughed, “About $48 more than you have in your piggy bank.”
“Rats,” he mumbled in disappointment from the back seat.
But a simple matter of poverty had no effect on the little guy. For the remainder of the day, Tom Sawyer Baldwin took every opportunity to talk us into buying the shoes for him.
I finally cracked after hour #4.
“Listen up,” I said curtly. “It’s not your birthday. It’s not a holiday. So there is no way on God’s green earth your dad and I are buying you a $50 pair of shoes for no reason whatsoever.”
He opened his mouth to reply, but before he popped out another word I put up my hand to stop him and said, “That’s spending $10 on a shoe for every year you’ve been alive. That’s like me spending…oh…yikes.”
Doing that kinda of math was both difficult and embarrassing. “Uh, let’s just say I don’t have enough money in MY piggy bank for that kind of purchase.”
He stomped off in a huff with our Golden Retriever puppy trailing happily in his wake, oblivious to his sour mood.
I shouted after him, “Welcome to the real world, kiddo. It sucks.”
The dog must have thought I said “ducks” because she whipped around, tore back down the stairs and ran up to me in excitement. “DUCKS? WHERE?” her chocolate brown eyes shone, “Can I eat one?!”
My son’s only response was the slamming of his bedroom door.
The ungrateful little monster. Suddenly a roof over his head isn’t good enough, huh? Food on the table. Clean clothes to wear every day. Nice warm bed to sleep in. Video games and a lifetime supply of peanut butter. Not good enough?
Selfish little bugger.
Then a thought suddenly struck me, and I blanched. My mother was right! We CAN’T have everything we want!
I remember those days. Wanting something so badly, I would scream and cry and act like…well, an ungrateful little monster.
It was time to make deal.
“OK, here’s how it’s gonna go,” I said, sitting down beside him on his bed where he had chosen to sulk the day away. “If you want those shoes, you’ll have to earn the money to buy them yourself.”
He sighed and answered, “How long will that take?”
I shrugged, “It depends on how hard you work.”
So I scheduled some new tasks he could help with around the house, set a more-than-generous wage and made him promise not to unionize with the dog. By the time we finished negotiating, he was more excited than the time he saw Santa Claus at Kwickie Mart.
On a Tuesday.
In July.
But the excitement lasted all of 45 minutes.
He walked into my bedroom, sighed loudly and flopped on the bed. “I wish we had a color printer,” he said.
I raised an eyebrow and said, “We do. Why?”
He rolled over and said, “So I could print my own money and buy those shoes faster.”
Oh. Dear. God.
Part of me wanted to laugh at his crafty resourcefulness.
The other part wanted to find the nearest lawyer and put him on retainer.
‘Cuz chances are we’re gonna need one in the future.
I patted my son on the back in sympathy and said, “Well, our federal government prints money like it’s going out of style, but — unfortunately — they get a little grouchy when we mere peasants attempt to do the same.”
He shot me a look that clearly stated he thought I was insane, so I tried again. “We can’t print our own money, kiddo. That’s called counterfeiting, and it’s against the law. We’d go to jail.” I smiled at him, “And you’re too cute for jail.”
He processed that for a moment then answered, “But we’ll only go to jail if we get caught, right?”
Oh. Dear. God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Froggy went a courtin'

My husband entered the kitchen, walked right up to me and uttered a phrase never before said in the history of mankind.

“A frog urinated on my hand.”

Excuse me?

“A what did what on your hand?” I exclaimed.

He put his hand right up to my face and repeated, “A frog. URINATED.” He waved his hand two inches from my nose and continued, “On. My. Hand.”

I quickly brushed his hand of stickiness aside and replied in a most supportive manner, “Ewwwww!”

He hollered, “I KNOW! I didn’t know frogs could do that!”

My husband then began his tale of woe.

“I was in the garage,” he said, “when I noticed there was this frog. On the wall. Just sitting there.” He repeated, “On the wall. Like he owned the place.”

“Is he some kind of magic frog?” I asked in wonder. Maybe my husband getting squirted by a radioactive amphibian would bestow special froggy powers, kinda like Spider Man.

Only not nearly as cool.

“No, he’s not some magic frog,” my husband insisted. “He had these sticky, webby, suction cup things on his legs so he could stick to the wall.”

Yes, I’m sure “suction cup things” would be the correct scientific term here.

“I reached up to pull him off, grabbed him,” he said, “and felt something run down my hand!”

The look on his face was priceless, and I tried hard not to crack a smile. Really, really, really hard.

OK, maybe not so hard.

I snorted with laughter, pointed to his hand and said, “Well, you’re lucky he did a #1 rather than laying something else.”

“What?” he exclaimed as he walked over to the sink and grabbed the biggest bottle of soap he could find. “Like a #1 is any less gross than a #2?” He sniffed his hand, “And you won’t believe how much this stinks!”

I shrugged and said, “I’m just saying. Things could have been worse. It’s really just a matter of perspective.”

Mr. The Glass Is Half Empty was not amused and continued scrubbing at his hands like Lady Macbeth.

I admit I was curious. Blame my choice of avoiding college biology in favor of theater appreciation, but I had no idea frogs could pee. Or would pee. Or would want to pee.

So I got to thinking. Then really freaked out my husband by saying, “What if it wasn’t urine?”

He froze at the sink. Turned slowly, looked straight into my eyes with terror and asked, “What?”

I smiled and sweetly said, “What if it was…” pausing for dramatic effect….“something else?”

He gulped nervously, looked down at his hands and began to hyperventilate.

Oh, this was fun.

“Maybe the frog, you know, wants to be your boyfriend instead,” I hypothesized. Then I sat back and waited for the show to begin.

…Sooooo after my husband regained consciousness and picked himself up from the kitchen floor he tore into the office and began furiously banging keys on the computer.

I smiled. Like a puppet on a string.

I casually followed, walked up behind him and asked, “Whatcha doing?”

Hands shaking in fear, he kept hitting the wrong keys until finally screaming “AHA!” and sat back in the chair, pointing at the screen.

I leaned over to read, “Why do frogs pee when you pick them up?”



You CAN find anything on the Internet.

I continued to read the Web posting from the frog expert, someone who probably knows the correct term is NOT “suction cup things.”

“Right there!” my husband shouted. “It says right there that frogs pee when you pick them up because it’s a defense mechanism. And it stinks so predators won’t try to eat them. So there!”

He slumped back in his chair in vindicated relief.

I patted him on the back and said, “So, now you’re happy a frog peed on you?” Then I smiled and said, “Come on. I’ll get you a beer. That’ll make you feel better.”

He shook his head and turned back to the computer.

“What are you doing now?” I asked.

With determination, he answered, “Looking for frog leg recipes. Next time I see Kermit, he’s going down.”

Pee on him once, shame on you.

Pee on him twice, you’re dinner.