Monday, March 22, 2010

Age is Relative

I was watching a movie with my boys the other day (have you seen Band Slam? Great movie!), and it contained a preview for the new Twilight movie. The boys have always wanted to watch the Twilight movies, which amazes me since when they do have bad dreams they are usually about vampires. After seeing the preview for Twilight New Moon, I think they changed their minds about wanting to see it. The preview was scary and freaked them out.

And, being a mom who seldom gets to prove herself right, I couldn't resist a little I Told You So. "That's why you can't see the Twilight movies."

"What are they rated?" Jack asked.

"PG-13. But some PG-13 movies are closer to PG, like Harry Potter, and some PG-13 are closer to R, like Twilight. Does that make sense?"

I was expecting an argument about how if they get to see some PG-13 movies they should get to see them all, but they didn't argue. My explanation made sense to them. Or they were still too afraid from the Twilight preview to make their case for seeing it.

For Jack and Luke, aging is not a progression of years but a series of milestones based on rules and restrictions. These milestones include things such as when they can ride in the front seat of the car, when they can have a cell phone, and when they can watch Lord of the Rings. These types of milestones have deadlines associated with them that are moving targets. There is no set in stone age for when they can do these things.

If one of their milestones was "When can I drive a car?" I'd have a clear answer for them backed up by law and the fear of arrest. But, for now, I'll just have to continue to answer in vagaries. And I believe it is for this reason, and my fault entirely, that now my boys "Can't wait until we're M for Mature so we can play Bioshock."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Intruder Alert

The tornado siren was going off. It took me a few minutes to notice it fully because the t.v. was on and the sun was shining. It wasn't the first Tuesday of the month, so I knew it wasn't a test. I looked outside. No clouds whatsoever. I got online. No tornado warnings. So I guessed it was just a test after all.

When I picked the boys up from school, I asked them if they had a tornado drill.

"Yes! And a fire drill!"

They were both happy about the break in their monotonous day of learning.

"I like the tornado drill the best," Luke said, "because I get to go downstairs." Downstairs is the domain of the older children, and grades K - 2 rarely get to go down there.

"I like earthquake drills," Jack said, "because I get to crawl under my desk."

These drills are clearly games to them, but I think they understand the threat that drives the drills. They know the meaning of tornado and earthquake and what they have to do to stay safe in the event of one of these disasters.

Then Luke said, "In Kindergarten, I liked the Intruder Alerts because I got to hide behind my coat in my cubbie."

"What's an Intruder Alert?" I asked, having never heard the boys mention these before.

"We pretend there is an intruder and we get to hide."

What sounds like a game to play in the backyard during the long summer nights is actually the scary reality of the possibility of harm coming to my kids at school. Though they understand the threat of nature related dangers, I don't think they could ever grasp the reality of a person coming into a school and hurting children. I think that is beyond their little imaginations, and they have HUGE imaginations.

It saddens me that my kids have to take a break from school work and fun to practice skills to use in the event an intruder enters their school. Unfortunately, in our world today, it is necessary. So, although I am not happy that the need for these Intruder Alerts exist, I am happy that the school is taking steps to protect my kids. And I pray that the day never comes when they understand the real meaning of the Intruder Alerts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Neverending Nightmare

Now that I am "grown up" it is easy to forget the sheer horror I felt as a kid after having a particularly scary nightmare. I rarely have nightmares nowadays, and when I do they are made up of spiders, tornadoes, car crashes, or graduations where I discover I hadn't attended class all semester. These nightmares have an affect on me, but not the way nightmares surely did when I was a child and they were made up of monsters and my inability to scream or run away.

Jack had a nightmare recently about vampires. In his nightmare he was bitten by a vampire and I was shot and killed. He was, and still is, disturbed. While the possibility of him being bitten by a vampire is nonexistent, the possibility of me getting shot does exist even if that possibility is the minutest of the minute.

But it's not the part about me getting shot that has him upset. It's the vampire part. Usually when the sun comes up, bad dreams go away. This one just won't leave for Jack. He asked me to look at his neck for any marks. I did and told him I didn't see anything. "Look for two little spots close together." Nothing. "Why are you asking? Did you hurt your neck?" "No," he said. "The dream just seemed so real."

Ah. I was looking for vampire bites.

Then later he came up to me and said, "If I was a vampire, I'd run into the sun to die because I wouldn't want to live my life as a vampire. I don't want to drink blood."

I began reassuring him again that he has not been and would not be bitten by a vampire. EVER.

"I guess it wouldn't be so bad," he said, "if you and dad and Luke and Meemaw wouldn't mind if I bit you and then we could all be vampires together. And we would get to fly."

So then Luke and Jack started a conversation about the super powers held by vampires and Jack finally woke from his nightmare.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Step Number One...

When Luke is not listening, we sometimes call him our little evil genius. It is a running inside joke. He of course is not evil, but he has these underlying attributes that when combined with his smarts have the potential to form a potent and interminable adversary.

I know that he is a sweet, good-natured, caring boy who will grow up to be a sweet, good-natured, caring man. But those nano-second glimpses we get of his ability to manipulate; his scheming and conniving mind; and his enjoyment of pulling one over lend a slight corroboration to our nickname for him. Watching him is sometimes akin to watching Harry Potter - you know he is good but the potential exists for him to use his substantial power for performing dark deeds.

Lately I've been thinking that the evil genius joke has run its course. The superstitious bone in me thinks that if we say it enough, we may just cause it to be true. And I would hate for Luke to overhear our joking and get his feelings hurt.

But then I snapped this picture the other day while he was sleeping:

I think prerequisite number one of being initiated into the evil genius club is having the ability to sleep with your eyes open.

P.S. Way to go to the other genius in our family, my cousin Clayton, who scored big time on his ACT!