Monday, April 28, 2008

The Pirates of "Pen"zance

"Pens are most dangerous tools, more sharp by odds than swords, and cut more keen than whips or rods." --John Taylor

O nature's noblest gift -- my grey goose-quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!

Lord Byron

Be ye warned: this blog is long and has a certain tangent-esqu quality to it.

Why the pen quote? Well besides them being a bit of an obsession and an attempted solution for warding off disastrous emotional spending (when I have the irrational urge to buy something that I don't need, I've been able to redirect that urge to the purchase of an inexpensive pen), I wish to pen an experience I had with Reed the other day and the power of the pen.

Pens really are powerful tools and I am not going to write about how in our house pens and pencils have come to be used as weapons resembling swords and wands, but to what effects an angry boy with the newly acquired ability to read and write can cause.

Yesterday, Sunday, my boys were outside playing in the community back yard. It's been difficult defining what proper Sabbath day activities are when we let them out of the house. No sane person can keep a child in the house on a beautiful day unless they wish to torture themselves. So, out they go, but with instructions on how we play outside on Sundays. This is so psychotic and nearly impossible to reinforce with 6 year olds, but I tell them they can play at the slides and if other kids come over you can play with them (because it's unavoidable), but you can't follow them to other places in the yard (must not initiate play rule). I know this is so weird, but this is what I'm doing for now. I remember as a kid walking over to my friends houses on Sunday asking if they could play and being told they couldn't play on Sunday, sending home a saddened and very bored little girl. Well, the kids around here don't understand what the Sabbath day is, so after a big "huh?!" we call it family day. Playing does happen and it doesn't always stay at the slides, how could it? It's called playing and boundaries are hard to maintain when imaginations are involved.

Back to pens, Reed, Douglas, Vincent and Stanly were playing in the designated areas, each with swords (sticks), and aboard the Pirate ship formally known as the slides. Vincent and Stanly are about 2 years older than Reed and Douglas and because of age differences, there are often upsets in the ranks that the younger pirates don't always deal with in a mature manner. Mature manner example, "Oh, I do apologize for that stab in the lower abdomen, that truly was below the belt my good man. Please forgive me, now you may stab me once where ever you wish. But not the eye, mother says it won't survive a jab." On Saturday, Douglas was so mad that he took his saber and fatally stabbed my folding canvas chair in the heart. I would have made him walk the plank, but it's under construction at the moment.

Apparently, Reed received an unwanted stab from Stanly yesterday, leaving a small mark on his chest. Any offense that leaves physical proof is seen as almost deadly for Reed until it has a band aide on it. There must be some psychology term for this "everything is all better when a band aide can cover it" syndrome. I wonder what it's called when a kiss makes it all better? The balm of saliva? ….another tangent…

So Reed, instead of using a stick to inflict the mortal wound, decided to use the ink sword. I didn't realize what he was doing, but he kept coming into my room asking me how to spell words. First , "Dear", next "you", then "are". I thought, "oh what a good boy, doing the appropriate Sabbath day activity of writing a letter." Maybe it’s for grandmas or grandpas, or even me. When he had completed his letter he went to Chris to get an envelope than came to me to fold his letter for him. Apparently, I am more gifted in the paper folding department. Besides being curious, I had to look at the letter in order to fold it. Reed saw my eyes wander across the paper and he tried to hide the writing with his hand while saying "don't read it!" Apparently, he knew what he had written was not nice because the two words he didn't want me to know he had to sound out on his own. "Stanle" and "Stoopid". Needless to say a lecture, instead of a letter, was delivered. Had he succeeded in the delivery, the wound would have been deeper than a stab in the gut. Or maybe "Stanle" would have retaliated with a pen of his own.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Toilet paper, " more than meets the eye"

Just this past morning there was some degree of hollering from the direction of the bathroom as someone found themselves stranded. I'm sure we all know what it means to be "stranded" in the bathroom. Well, I might as well confess that I was the one hollering. Why am I always the one to find that there is no more toilet paper? I guess I can't expect much while living in a house full of boys, and I the lone girl with high standards in toilet etiquette. It's amazing if they remember to put the toilet seat down at least once a week. Why don't I ever remember that this nearly impossible habit to form in boys is least remembered by me in the middle of the night, aaahh! I can vent for a long time on incorrect toilet usage of little boys, but to put it all into one encouraging word it would have to be: Focus! Well, they all seem to listen to me when I don't think they are and that morning Reed must have taken a mental note that mommy was left without toilet paper as she had to holler from her porcelain prison for help. So, this evening I was emptying Reed's backpack of papers from his day at school and ran across this one. Reed seems to understand more clearly the meaning of "wants" vs. “needs" unlike his brother Douglas (see earlier blog quote "I need it because I want it.") In this illustration Reed understands that Transformers are a "want" and after mommy's display of desperation he understands that toilet paper truly is a "need."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Pringtime" means more "Preckles"

spring_blossoms Today has been one of the nicest days of Spring we've had here in Lansing this year. Isaac and I took advantage of the mild temperature and played outside. I sat in a chair with my sun hat, sunglasses, water and book while Isaac ran around making grass stains on his pants and talk-talk-talking. He's always so verbal when he's out in his natural environment, the wild animal that he is.

Speaking of the sun, and that sun hat I was wearing, it is a newly acquired piece of my trousseau. I have recently noticed an increase of lines on my face - while some may call them laugh lines I don't quite buy that theory. If they were laugh lines, they would go away when I was done laughing and I'm not laughing at 8 am while looking at these lines in the mirror. Well my vanity has led me to some drastic measures, no not Botox injections, but the purchase of a sun hat.


Along with those "laugh lines" I also have, and have had for years, a plethora of freckles which have been noticed and commented on by my 3 boys. Yes, they are kisses from the sun and in my case the sun has been rather forward where propriety would suggest some degree of restraint. The boys have on a few occasions pinned me down and have tried to count them. They get to 20 and then skip to 1000 to save time. Why I mention these freckles, besides discussing skin preservation techniques, is that this morning Isaac made a very keen observation. While I was gone dropping the boys off at school Chris, who has been sick this past week, was still in bed when Isaac woke up. Almost every morning the boys wake up with fresh questions and observations. This particular morning Isaac came into the room to visit the still-sleeping Chris and woke him up to show him something very interesting, a freckle. Quote: He said "look-it here's a preckle!" Chris: "Yeah, that's a freckle" then Isaac said "it's mommy's preckle!" Well, it seems that freckles are catchy or can jump from person to person like fleas. I wonder if laugh lines do that? Hmmm, maybe I should start sitting closer to people to allow easier travel for these lines of mine.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Dougie the Bear

"I wish it didn't happen, but it did."

That was the line Douglas wrote in a get well letter to my mom. I really think I should send it into Hallmark for the best line ever written for a "get well" card. In saying "I wish it didn't happen" it shows that the sender really does care for the well being of the patient. Then to end it with "but it did" says that the healing person should deal with it and move on as best they can. Wow, so profound. Douglas is full of these kinds of statements.

"I need it because I want it."

This was a response Douglas gave to grandpa Williams when he was trying to get some more ice cream. It totally makes sense. If you want something bad enough that it could perhaps cause pain, sadness, or frustration in not having it, perhaps it does become a need, that is if one is to maintain the joy previously enjoyed while eating a full bowl of ice cream. Not that the giver of the ice cream will give into the expressed "need", but the suffering will at least be understood by the giver who is not giving any more. Life can sometimes be tough for people with such "needs".

“The spit is the shell of the kiss”

I was giving the boys good night kisses the other night and if anyone knows anything about kisses from parents, they must know that they need to be slobbery to be of any good. Not that my kisses are always like that, but for some reason Reed got one that night. He has gotten to a stage where he pretends kisses are gross. So, after I gave him his good night kiss, he said “gross!” (then wiped it off) and asked if he wipes off the kiss does that mean it’s gone? I replied no, that they are still there no matter what you do. Then Douglas who was on the bottom bunk bed thinking, expounded with the following statement: “The spit is the shell of the kiss.” See, you can’t get rid of a kiss, it remains even when the spit shell is gone. By the way Douglas still likes his kisses at bed time and often offers an Eskimo and butterfly kiss to boot.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom and Grandma

Love, Becky, Chris, Reed, Douglas and Isaac, and here’s a big wet kiss, ppppp..splish…splash…pop! I wish that there was a letter for the sound of a kiss in our alphabet.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Where do your loyalties lie?

We had another enlightening session with Dr. Minivan today. The boys are out of school for a week for spring break and so we have lots of time that must be filled with activities in an attempt to avoid boredom, a state of mind that leads to craziness in both old and young. Just getting out of the house helps.

The color of our minivan was not worthy of these sexy mini van photos.

The first part of the morning was spent outside playing, and for mommy, reading on a blanket and asking Isaac not to bring her any more sand. Lunch time arrived and so did the need to drive around. I don't know why, but I feel like I haven't done anything unless I somehow get away from home during the day. That's probably a subject for another session with Dr. Minivan.

So off we went with the Doc. to visit the King and partake of his bovine-ian offerings. Lunch was good and on the way home we all started noticing the different kinds of cars on the road. It started with a bright green Jeep. So I asked the boys what color and kind of car they would like. Reed said he wanted a red one with big tires. Isaac didn't comment, but I could imagine his would be a rocket powered blue monster truck with flying capabilities. As for Douglas, I don't know what they've been teaching my boys in school or what kinds of guests they've had but I have the feeling they've invited a union worker from a GM plant because Douglas' answer to my question was: American! Then he specified that it would be a Dodge. What?! At age 6 the only details I could give about a car was the color and if it was a truck, van, car, or corvette (my Barbie had a pink corvette).

Lotus (or Locust)
Barbie's Corvette (too Pepto-pink for me)


Michigan's sad economy has rubbed off on my boy, or maybe he's been talking to the guy at the Muffler Man. We get our oil changed there and every time I go I get looks of disapproval as I wheel my Kia (Korean) minivan into the garage. I get an even bigger sideways head shaking when I pull in the Isuzu Trooper. To get that one fixed they have to send to Grand Rapids for parts as there are no spare parts for such a car in Lansing. I'm debating whether I should take Douglas to the GM plant and see if they would like a child for a spokesman in their next commercial or if I should take him to a European sports car dealership and set him right. He and I saw a bright yellow Lotus the other day and when I asked him today about that car he said "I don't want a Locust." Oh well. Those Dodge Ram trucks are pretty cool too.

Monster Truck-uck-uck-uck (that's the echo from the loud speaker)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Errant in my Errands

Douglas and Donald, twin engines

I just rescued the "bad guy" (see previous post) again, this time from boiling to death in the macaroni and cheese water. I'm so nice to this guy, my villain in distress. I must be the chairman of the committee that encourages humane treatment of the toys always labeled as the" bad guys." I actually rescued another toy, Douglas, not my son, but one of the twin engines from the Thomas train set. I was outside in the back with Isaac and happened to look down at the grass and right below me was the long lost train. I hadn't seen him since last summer and little did I know that he would be spending his winter in ice next to a frozen acorn. New grass had even started growing over him, he was becoming a victim of some fast growing jungle-esque Bermuda grass vines. To confess, I should really stop rescuing all of these toys as I want to get rid of a good chunk of them before we move (don't ask when that will be).

Besides being on call as a toy rescuer, I've been pretty busy today. I managed to accomplish all of my goals and even forced myself to go to the grocery store with Isaac. That is not an easy thing, but thanks to a bag of left over Easter candy, I was able to keep the boy in line. That technique for child-store-management is probably not approved by the "experts," but it's worth it in the end. And not getting the evil eye from other patrons who can't handle a scream with a pitch that could break glass, is also a comfort.

I'm sure there are other errand running moms out there who somehow get places while driving and have no recollection of how you got there. All of a sudden you look up and you're home in your parking spot and are a little disturbed that your conscious being was not a part of the process. Well, today during one of my many goal accomplishing errands, I found myself parked in front of the McDonald's drive thru speaker. My windows were partially cracked because of the warmer temps. we Michigan dwellers had today, and was surprised when I looked to my left and heard someone asking me what I wanted. Aahh! Feeling really stupid, I gathered my subconscious and conscious states together and ordered a medium diet coke. I am really loosing it! Rest assured that wherever this other personality leads us, we always get there safely. Rerouting may be the only inconvenience and maybe a few unwanted diet Cokes (though a diet coke is rarely an unwanted thing for me).

Merry Christmas!

December 2018 (Cliff’s notes version:  Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!) Dear Family and Friends (...