Friday, October 31, 2008

The Fun of Politics

When my kids laugh - and I don't mean a little giggle; I mean a full volumed, throat gurgling belly laugh - I love that sound so much that I don't want to ask them to stop doing the thing that's making them laugh, no matter how gross or inappropriate.

Luke's latest belly laugh inducing activity is joking about who he is going to vote for. His class is having a mock election, and he is having fun messing with John and me as to his voting choice. This came out of the blue, when he told us innocently in the car the other day that he was going to vote for John McCain. We all busted out laughing, and a new form of entertainment was born.

Every hour he is voting for someone different. Some of his candidates are very much boy-friendly (John Poop) and others make no sense whatsoever (I'm voting for False Alarm). The more nonsensical his candidate, the bigger the laugh.

So I asked him the other day what he would do if he were President. He said, "First thing, I would make Dad buy me a four-wheeler." I knew that one was coming after this experience.

"Next," he said, "no one would be able to have any toys because they would have to give them all to me." That got another round of laughter. I didn't bother telling him that he would never get elected with that platform. Instead I said, "Santa wouldn't appreciate that very much."

"Well, he would be FIRED," said Luke followed by more raucous laughter.

When that laugh turns sinister, I'll know it's time to worry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter Exercising

I once had to have an inspection to obtain an occupancy permit for a duplex I was renting.

The inspector walked through my home looking for the 12 or 13 extra people I was hiding in a house that was meant to be occupied by no more than 4. When he was finished he said, "The only violation I found was all the dust on your treadmill."

Hardy har har.

Well, 10 years later my treadmill isn't any less dusty as I am not much of a housekeeper when it comes to dusting humongous objects that are right in front of my face.

I have come up with a new use for that treadmill, and one that will keep me from going on long winter walks in the freezing winter cold in an attempt to wear out the energizer bunny in our house we call Indy.

He is walking at 0.5 miles per hour. We hope to have him up to 7 mph by Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Would You Expect...

from a family that names their puppy Indiana Chewbacca?

We have Obi-Wan Kenobi,

We have Indiana Jones,

And we have Indiana Jones.

You can call him Dr. Jones.

What is the trick to getting a dog to wear a costume? Lots and lots of cheese.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Laughs

A lady walks into a high-class jewelry shop. She browses around, spots a beautiful diamond bracelet and walks over to inspect it.

As she bends over to look more closely she inadvertently breaks wind. Very embarrassed, she looks around nervously to see if anyone has noticed her little accident and prays that a sales person doesn't pop up right now.

As she turns around, her worst nightmare materializes in the form of a salesman standing right behind her. Cool as a cucumber and displaying complete professionalism, the salesman greets the lady with, "Good day, Madam. How may we help you today?"

Very uncomfortably, but hoping that the salesman may just not have been there at the time of her little 'accident', she asks, "Sir, what is the price of this lovely bracelet?"

He answers, "Madam , if you farted just looking at it, you're going to s*%t when I tell you the price."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Only Other Country in the World

Whenever the boys want to know what is going on in another part of the world, they ask about China. And only China. If one were to listen to them and not know any better, one would think that China was the only other country in the world.

They want to know what time it is in China when they are getting ready for bed. They want to know what time it is in China when they are on their way to school. They want to know how long it takes to fly to China. They want to know if you could dig through the Earth and reach China.

Why so curious about China? I have no clue. But I do know that I better bone up on my China knowledge so that I can answer their questions correctly. Because right now, they think China is some kind of medieval type third-world with no modern amenities.

When Luke asked last night at bedtime what time it was in China, I said it was time for the boys and girls to go to school. He said, "No it's not. They don't have schools in China." Then when he asked the next morning on the way to school what time it was in China, I told him the boys and girls were in bed reading books and going to sleep. He said, "No they're not. They don't even have books in China."

"Yes they do," I said. "They have books and they go to school and they pretty much have everything and do everything that we have and do." An oversimplified explanation, I know, but the only thing I could muster at 8:30 am on the 5 minute drive to school.

"Oh yeah," said Luke. "Because all the toys we get say Made in China. Even the ones in Happy Meals."

"Those China people are great toy makers," said Jack.

I was just waiting for a follow-up question related to Santa and China, but it never came.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Worry Ripping

It's nice to be reminded that, when it comes to our kids, moms are all faced with the same general challenges, have the same worries, and work through the same types of frustrations.

After this post about Luke's various aches and trips to the nurse, I received a lot of good advice and "hang in there"s from moms with similar experiences.

Once I stopped badgering the poor boy and he had time to think through it, he decided his need to go to the nurse may have been due to worrying about two things. The first is getting into Art class and not having a stool at his table. He is usually the last one in the room and all the stools around the table are spoken for so he has to go to another table and find a stool and carry it to his table. Seems relatively benign to me, but to him it is a big, embarrassing deal. His second worry has to do with the warm up exercises in PE. He feels he is not very good at jumping jacks.

So, his trips to the nurse have been on the days he has Art or PE, and typically only lasted long enough to miss the first few minutes of these classes and the activities causing him worry. One piece of advice I had gotten was to have Luke write down his worries on a piece of paper before he goes to school. We would put the worry paper in a drawer or I would carry it in my pocket all day. That would take the worry away from Luke and I would worry for him.

I asked him if he wanted to do that, and he was just a little interested. So I suggested he write his worries down and then after he's done we rip up the paper and throw it into the trash. He loved that idea, so before school I wrote the words, he drew a picture, and then he tore, punched, smashed and smushed that paper with the will of a lion ripping up his morning breakfast. Then he tossed his worries into the trash.

I was very encouraged by this process and thought certain it would help with Luke's worries, until Jack said, "Now that you ripped up your stool, you'll never have one when you get to Art."

That little s*$%. I think I may have melted his face off with the evil eye I gave him. That's when he decided it wasn't such a bad idea after all and wrote and ripped up his own worries. I wonder if my face was one of them.

And Luke hasn't been to the nurse since.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Country Boy at Heart

Although we have a relatively big yard, this is just something that probably wouldn't be possible in the city:

Usually timid when it comes to fast moving things meant to ride in, Luke was like Speed Racer on the 4-wheeler. Driving it was something he did without help, and did better than his older brother, so that's all it took for him to find his calling.

"I was going 40 hundred miles an hour," he said.

"And that didn't rip your face off?" I asked him.


I sure hope he doesn't ask Santa for a 4-wheeler.

What Would You Think...

...if, while inside the house at a family party, you heard your son outside yell to your husband:

"Hey Dad! If mom asks where I am tell her I'm in the house."

1. Would you think that, at 7 years old, your son has already figured out what (to quote my sister) an anal freak you are and knows that you will be the only one needing to verify his whereabouts?

2. Or would you think that, at 7 years old, your son knows who is the boss and wants to make sure everyone else knows it too?

I'm going with option number two.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Laughs

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

The first man had married a woman from Minnesota and had told her that she was going to do dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from North Dakota . He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a woman from South Dakota . He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye...enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Crying Wolf?

For the last several days at school, Luke has been going to the nurse with a stomach ache. He has been going at the same time every day, which leads us to believe something is triggering these aches whether real or fake.

That puts me in a quandary. Do I risk not listening to his complaints of discomfort only to find out later that he has some real medical problem? Or do I risk not seeking the deeper meaning and continue to subject him to something at school that is obviously causing him enough grief to miss some of his favorite things at school (gym and music).

So, I've been questioning him. "Is there someone bothering you? Is the teacher upsetting you? Is there something you are having a hard time with that you would rather not do? Is there anything you're not happy with at school? Tell me anything, you will not get in trouble and I can help."

Each of these questions was answered with a "That's not it. My stomach really hurt."

So I had to stop asking. I don't want Luke to think that I don't trust or believe him. If that ever happens, he'll never confide in me.

John and I figured out Luke hadn't gone Number 3 in a really long time. So we started feeding him copious amounts of raisins, apples and grapes. And that did the trick. We tried to convince him that was the source of his stomach ache and that he would not need to go the nurse anymore. "We'll see," he said.

I gently discussed the boy who cried wolf, and how using the nurse to miss something that he was trying to avoid could potentially make the nurse not listen to him closely when one day he is really, truly sick.

"But I was sick," was his response. Enough already. How many different ways can I ask him hoping to get a different answer?

Monday he came home from school very proud that he made it through the whole day without going to the nurse. Problem solved, I thought. Either the Number 3 or our talks did the trick.

So when I dropped him at school the next day, I told his teacher that I guess he really did have a stomach ache and the weekend activities solved that.

She said he had been standing by her desk at the same time that he had complained of stomach aches the week before. She asked him if he needed something. And he said, "My chin hurts. Can I go to the nurse?"

Did all of my questioning make him think that if he really had a stomach ache, he wouldn't get to go to the nurse because we wouldn't believe him but he did have a stomach ache so came up with a different ailment? Or did he come up with a different ailment because he needed to miss what was coming up in class and knew we were on to him? Problem not solved, and more confusing than ever.

A couple of things I know for sure: Something is going on at school that upsets him enough that he either gets a stomach ache from the stress of it or makes up the stomach ache to get out of it; and he is not yet ready to share what that is. And, we're in for a wild ride with him if at 5 years old he can analyze the situation and come up with a brand new ailment knowing we wouldn't buy the stomach ache complaint. At least the "my chin hurts" ailment was pretty see through. Hopefully all of his future parental deceptions are this transparent.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tickle My Fantasy

Luke is going to be Indiana Jones for Halloween. We had been looking for a whip for his costume that is a little more realistic than the one that comes with the costume.

We thought we might find one at the St. Louis Pirate Festival. This is the first time we had attended the Pirate Festival, but it will not be our last. This festival is not only an excuse for adults to dress up like pirates, speak in accents, and behave the way pirates would have. It's a great event for kids, who are given a scavenger hunt list that takes them on a search for treasure and pirate lessons (such as knot tying). If they find ten of the twelve things on the list, they are given the pirate oath and a pirate badge.

The scavenger hunt list included several vendor booths. If you weren't planning to buy anything at the festival, the scavenger hunt list almost guaranteed your mind would be changed. While walking past one of these vendors, we spotted the perfect Indiana Jones whip hanging on the outside of the booth. The only potential problem was its length. It was meant to be carried by an adult, so I was worried Luke would trip on it. I encouraged him to go in the store and look around some for a shorter whip. He refused, saying this was the whip for him. At only $5.00, I couldn't argue.

For the first few days after its purchase, Luke would not put his whip down. Whenever he showed people his whip, John chuckled about the name of the store where it was bought.

"What?" I'd say. "It was called Tickle My Fantasy. There's definitely some fantasy involved at a festival where you get to dress like a pirate."

It took me several days to realize that Tickle My Fantasy dealt in strictly S&M products. Thank goodness Luke ignored my urgings to browse the store for a shorter whip. I would have had a hard time explaining to him why he couldn't have the leather mask and handcuffs.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Laughs

Two old guys were golfing and one said he was going to see a Dr. Basil for a new set of dentures in the morning. His elderly friend remarked that he had gone to that same dentist two years ago.

"Is that so?" The first guy asked ... "Did he do a good job?"

The second guy said: "Well, I was playing this same course yesterday when a guy on the ninth hole hooked a shot. That ball must have been going 200 miles per hour when it hit me right on the nuts!"

First guy says: "What in the heck does that have to do with dentures?"

Second guy says: "That was the first time in two years that my teeth didn't hurt!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Opportunity for Teaching

John has been helping out with the upcoming election, canvassing neighborhoods in St. Louis and registering people to vote.

The boys and I picked up pizza on the way home the other night and I told them that daddy would not be eating dinner with us. I explained to them that he was helping people register to vote.

"What's that?" they asked.

I told them that we would soon vote for a new President of our country and in order to be allowed to vote you had to sign up so that everyone that voted got counted and the voting was fair.

"Oh yeah," said Luke. "Barack Obama and McCain."

I was very impressed with my 5-year old's knowledge of the presidential candidates.

"How do you know that?" I asked him.

"We talk about it at school. Almost everyone in my class is voting for Obama, but some are going with McCain." As if they really get to vote. As if they understand exactly what the issues are and how each candidate plans to address them. I don't even know that.

The next minute or two consisted of an amusing conversation between Jack and Luke about who was voting for which candidate and why. I asked them, "Do you know who the first President was?"

"George Lincoln," responded Jack.

I told them, "No, it was George Washington. Abraham Lincoln was another very important President."

"I remember him," said Luke. "He was in that National Treasure 2 movie."

My boys' knowledge of our country's current political issues - yes. My boys' knowledge of our country's history - not so much.