Monday, July 27, 2009

Weapons of Mass Destruction

I really admire those new mothers to sons who say they are going to try to discourage violent play in their households by not buying toy guns and knives and the like for their boys. I also would like to say good luck with that. Because they are soon to find out, as most mothers that I've spoken with that have tried to go down this path eventually find out, somehow, someway, boys will have toy weapons. They will take something and make it into a gun or a knife, no matter how benign that object may appear to anyone loaded with x chromosomes and over the age of 12.

Take paper airplanes. My kids discovered a page on how to make paper airplanes in The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden. Dangerous indeed. Paper on its own is relatively safe. It's lightweight, it can't be thrown very far, it doesn't hurt when you hit someone with it unless crumpled into a tight little ball. Barring a rogue papercut or two, I wouldn't consider paper itself very dangerous.

The actual process of building paper airplanes also went well. The boys sat down with John and very patiently folded their pieces of paper into the correct shapes to make the appropriate planes. No fighting, little arguing, just the anticipation of whether or not their airplanes would fly.

Then the testing came. And boy did they fly! The airplanes went from one side of the room to the other. They did spirals and flips, probably accidentally but the tricks were still magnificent. And this is where it began to deteriorate.

Jack's plane accidentally hit his dad in the forehead. John made a funny noise, keeled over and said, "You got me!" The game was on. No more peaceful gliding. No more loop-di-loos. No more seeing which plane would travel the greatest distance or who could catch their plane in mid air. The gauntlet had been thrown down. And John's head made a fantastic target.

It is amazing how quickly, in the hands of a boy, a toy can go from nice and quiet to destructive and hazardous. The paper airplanes became bombers with passengers crashing to fiery deaths as they pummeled John over and over in his face, head, belly, and backside. I considered asking him to put on safety glasses for fear he would lose an eye, and at one point when an airplane hit his throat thought he had been given an unscheduled and unneeded tracheotomy. Luckily, the sharp airplane points don't hold up to much abuse and they were dulled by his body in no time.

So to those moms out there who hope to stave off violent play in their homes, I wish you good luck. And remind you to keep a close eye on your husband. In my home he is often the instigator.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Simplest of Things

Luke will be playing flag football in the fall. He played baseball this summer and proclaimed it, "not his sport." He feels that football will be his sport because it will be full of action with "no stupid waiting around for something to happen." We'll see. He may play one game of football and wish for some of the sweet downtime of baseball.

In preparation for his football season, we bought him the pee-wee sized football that will be used in his league. He played with it a little, and then proclaimed it the best thing he has ever gotten. Ever. And over the course of a few days, he has not let it out of his sight. He sleeps with it. And every hour or so he restates that it is the best present that he has gotten in years. In his life even.

This from the kid that begged for the Robo-Quad for Christmas. And from the kid who couldn't live without the DRex Pet. And from the kid whose life would be ruined if he did not get the 3D Video Spy Car.

So come December when he is making out his list to Santa, I am going to remind him of his past technology overload and how he played a total of 7 minutes with all of these toys and how the simplest of gifts earned his top honors. And I hope he'll remember still how much he loved his football. Because Santa is not made of money. But, Luke will remind me that Santa doesn't need money. His elves make all the toys that kids ask for.

And I'll have to remind him that Santa has to buy all the materials, and microchips are very expensive.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Keeping Secrets

At their young ages, my boys still feel that they can come to me with secrets. They still trust me to keep their secrets, and when they have a secret burning inside of them that someone told them that they just have to get out, they know that they can share it with me. In a nutshell, they aren't teenagers yet.

I have to be careful with this, though. I have to clarify before hearing the secret my rules of nondisclosure. When the boys, usually Jack, come to me with, "If I tell you a secret do you promise you won't tell?" I have to say to them first, "Is someone in danger? Is someone going to get hurt? Is someone going to hurt someone else? Is someone doing something bad?"

If the answer to each of these questions is "No," then I agree to keep the secret. They know that if they answer "Yes" to any of the questions, that once I hear the secret I might have to tell someone else to protect the bearer of the secret. The boys have been fine with this arrangement so far because I've never had to tell the secrets they've shared with me. As I said before, they're not teenagers yet.

Jack came to me recently with a secret regarding a girl that he is close to and I won't share her name so as not to reveal his and her secret. When he told me that she told him a secret but it was too good to keep and he had to tell someone, I agreed to hear it and asked him my questions. He answered "No" to each of them (whew!) and I promised I wouldn't tell anyone.

"She met Joe Jonas and he asked her to marry him and her mom signed a contract saying she could marry him now even though she's not old enough."

The "she" he is talking about is ten years old.

I guess I need to have a talk with Jack about my questions and what it means for someone to be in danger or whether or not someone is going to get hurt. Because I think marrying Joe Jonas would qualify as imminent danger. Have you seen those pants he wears?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Caribbean Can Wait

Fourth of July was our 11th wedding anniversary. We didn't spend the weekend in St. Thomas, USVI where we got married,

but we did spend it in Marshall, MO and Shawnee, KS. That's just as good, right?

The boys think so, who spent Thursday night playing with farm kittens, riding the go-kart, and doing fireworks.

The boys think so, who spent Friday playing XBox with their good friends Gavin and Grant.

The boys think so, who spent Saturday morning at a Fourth of July parade collecting candy, even though there were occasional lulls in the booty.

The boys think so, who spent Saturday afternoon at Power Play, playing video games and Laser Tag and cashing in tickets for cheap junk that required super glue 30 minutes out of the building.

Indy thinks so, who spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday playing non-stop with his new friend, Ziggy, at the home of our hosts and the world's greatest dog park.

And John and I think so, who spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday watching our kids have a blast, being cooked great food, and hanging out with our friends and each other.