Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Big, Bigger, Biggest

I just read a news story about one of the families that was featured on The Supernanny. I never watched this reality television show, but was familiar with its premise of sending the Supernanny into homes with overly rambunctious children (I’m being kind) to try to tame them. In 2005, the show was in the UK helping a woman with her five children, I think all of them boys under the age of eleven. Talk about your male-dominated households (MDH)! I do feel for the mother of this MDH. I have two boys and find it hard to channel their energy into something safe and non-destructive. I can’t imagine trying to do this with five boys, with dad making six. Anyway, I guess being on Supernanny didn’t work because TMZ reported that the three-year old in the family just burned the house down. He reportedly started the fire in the kitchen, and when the mom was trying to put it out he ran into the dining room and set the curtains on fire. The family is now staying in a hotel. Who can guess the only thing worse than living in a house with five boys? Living in a hotel with five boys. Well, that’s not true. The worst thing would be having your three-year old burn your house down and being forced to live in a hotel. I’m very thankful that no one was hurt. At least the mom will have a hotel maid service for awhile. Read the story here:

My kids, as far as I know, have never ever played with matches, or lighters, or candles, or anything else that might start a fire. In fact, Jack brought a fire extinguisher that he made home from school and had me set it by the stove in case of a grease fire. I think my boys are afraid of fire, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned because they don’t seem to be afraid of anything else. The more dangerous something is, the bigger the attraction. In physics, magnetism is one of the phenomena by which materials exert attractive or repulsive forces on other materials. Some well known materials that exhibit easily detectable magnetic properties are nickel, iron and their alloys. In motherhood, magnetism is one of the phenomena by which dangerous situations exert attractive forces on my sons. Some well known situations that exhibit easily detectable magnetic properties are any structures that are accessible for climbing, ledges dangling over death drops, and poisonous or rabid critters and their relatives.

Is danger a game to all boys, or just in my house? Or, I should say the game is, “Let’s do something that will scare the pants off of mom and see how she reacts.” If I don’t react sufficiently, because the older they get the more it takes to freak me out, they escalate the level of danger. They do this until they hit my breaking point, or until someone cries. With John’s help (as in, “Hey boys, come jump off of the bunk bed onto the other bed!”), they build up my resistance to their antics and I let things go on and on until someone gets hurt. An injury lowers my resistance and they have to build it up again by starting slow and working to bigger things. It goes something like this:

Big: Jump off of the couch onto the bean bag chair placed across the room.
Bigger: Jump off of the couch onto the bean bag chair placed across the room with a mouth full of apple.
Biggest: Throw your brother off of the couch onto the bean bag chair placed across the room.

Big: Point out the snake in the grass.
Bigger: Point out the snake in the grass while poking it with a stick.
Biggest: Pick up the snake (my kids are too scared for this one, but not my husband).

Big: Jump from the lowest bunk bed ladder rung onto the bottom bed.
Bigger: Jump from the highest bunk bed ladder rung onto the bottom bed.
Biggest: Jump from the top of the bunk bed to the twin bed on the other side of the room.

Big: Stand at the edge of the cliff that drops 1,000 feet to the water fall.
Bigger: Stand at the edge of the cliff that drops 1,000 feet to the water fall and throw rocks in.
Biggest: Climb over the edge of the cliff that drops 1,000 feet to the water fall (my didn't get away with this one, but my uncle and his son did.)

My uncle and cousin standing on the ledge above the waterfall. Doesn't look too bad, right?

Now, from a distance, you can see where my uncle and cousin are standing on the ledge above the waterfall. See the blue and red specks in the middle of the photo? That is them.

When I try to quash something that looks particularly dangerous, I get the “Boys will be boys” speech. Sometimes this works on me, but only when I can leave the room and compel my husband to take the blame when someone gets hurt (although, as you read under my “You Should’ve…” post, I get the blame anyway). Other times, I use the “Better safe than sorry speech” and force the activity to stop. I’m trying to find the balance between letting my boys be boys, and protecting them from hurt. If the boys wear themselves out during the day and fall asleep easily at bedtime, and the worst thing that happened that day was some shed tears and a band-aid or two, I figure that I succeeded in finding the balance for that day. Then I thank God for letting us survive another day, and pray for balance the next day.

1 comment:

Super MOM said...

I can totally relate MDH here too!
Here is my big, bigger, biggest to add:

Big - youngest son (4) figures out that if he moves exercise trampoline right up to the basketball goal, he can actually make it in the hoop like big bro!

Bigger - oldest son (7) decides that if lil bro can use the trampoline so can he and discovers the wonderful world of "dunking" while spinning on the way up. This was previously reserved for pro ball players, and had never attempted this before in real life.

Biggest - dad sees this and thinks little brother needs in on the "dunking" action and figures he can hop his 230lb butt on the trampoline and "toss" my 4 year old up in the air towards the goal in a spiral motion while he is holding a basketball (thats just as big as him)....

Needless to say, one small concussion later, the boys in my house are still trying to perfect that move??!!

What is the deal?