Friday, July 26, 2013

One of my friends mentioned that her son liked to read books with lots of facts then recite them to his parents. She said they find it exhausting. At first I was confused then it slowly dawned on me: Some parents listen when their kids go on and on and on. And on. What if my ignoring the incessant chatter negatively affects their self-esteem?

Since I don't want kids with low-self esteem, of course, I thought I better pull up my socks. One morning I tried really hard to actually listen. I also felt really guilty about not being a good listener up to this point (only the last 12 years or so) so I thought I would take them to the lake for the day to make it up to them. Fair trade, I thought. I also thought I should try harder to listen while I drive.  This is what it sounds like:

Mom, do you have any jobs for me to do for money?  I need more bills in my wallet.  I don't want to mow the lawn or wash the car.
What do you think spiders do for entertainment?
It's hot out, I am hot.
How long until we get to the lake?  Can I have pop there? Are there fish in the lake?  Remember the last time we went and I got a leech on me?  Gross.
People with big eyes freak me out.  Sharks used to freak me out but then I learned how to roll in the kayak.  I did it a bunch of times and now sharks don't scare me. Monkeys still freak me out, though. 
Oooh, I dropped it.  That will probably melt down there.
Did you see that ad for neosporin?
NO.  Mio Sport.
No, I haven't.

I felt like screaming but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop. And then we almost got hit by a semi.  Seriously.  Gigantic truck tried to change lanes into my lane.  My little car came up to his hub cab. It kept getting closer and closer, squeezing me towards the sidewalk. I finally got past him before he completely crushed us.  The almost accident seemed to last for about 10 minutes. It was probably only about 10 seconds but maybe longer because I actually had to take a breath mid-scream.  That's right - I don't honk at the semi, I scream, take a deep breath and scream some more. Brilliant. But I was able to stop screaming once I got my car past the semi.  So that's good news.

The lesson today is this: Listening to every word that comes out of your kids' mouths is dangerous. (Well, my kids' mouths, I don't know about your kids.  Maybe your kids spout beautiful poetry 24-7) From now on I will just take them to the lake or buy them expensive things to build their self-esteem. Or just buy them a can of pop. 

The lake is much better than getting hit by a semi.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My brain was protecting me from that memory

I had completely forgotten about this. Shortly after we returned from Florida, and I had the first inkling that we might not be the class act I imagine us to be(Redneck), our  front doorknob gave out.  I guess it was old and tired of turning all the time so it quit doing that. Sometimes we couldn't get into the house and sometimes we couldn't get out.  It was a fun little adventure for about a week. Especially the time I was stuck on the front step in -35C weather. PHD finally took out the doorknob and decided it couldn't be fixed. 

Here is yet another example of how differently we handle situations. I thought we should go to Home Depot and get a new doorknob, you know, one that turned, and maybe even locked.  Here was PHD's solution:

When I suggested that a tea towel jammed into the hole in place of an installed doorknob was less than ideal, he looked at me like I was insane, "Are you worried a tiny robber will stick his hand in and unlock the deadbolt?"  I said, "No, I am worried that I need to explain to you why it is ridiculous to use a dish towel as a doorknob."  What I was really worried about was that in that moment, I couldn't think of a single valid reason why we couldn't just use the towel to plug the hole. PHD has broken my common sense.  So I went to bed and had dreams about eyes peeking in the hole, or things slithering in. 

He did put in a doorknob about two days later.  Since then, I have figured out why you can't use a dishtowel as a doorknob.  The missing doorknob is just the beginning.  Next maybe you think the front lawn is a good place to keep a spare toilet, you get a gun rack in your truck, or maybe you get a goat as a pet. It all starts to seem reasonable.

It's a slippery slope people.

Friday, July 12, 2013

11 Ways To Torture Your Brother

  1. Threaten to post the password to his ipod on Facebook or YouTube.
  2. Go with him to the bank to reset his pin. When he seems to be trying to hide his new pin say things like "there's a camera right there watching you put that number in" or "Nooo, I didn't see what you entered...except the last four digits."
  3. Touch his stuff. Any of it. While he is looking right at you.
  4. Tell him you touched his stuff. Even when you didn't.
  5. Tell him you will only leave him alone while he is talking to that girl at the park if he will give you $20.
  6. Wait until Mom is really mad at him for something that is probably your fault, then give her a big hug. Smile at your brother at the same time.
  7. Go in his room. When he says get out, step out. Then step back in. Repeat until he tries to punch you. Tell Mom, "He just punched me! For NO reason!" When she isn't looking, step back into his room.
  8. Change the channel whenever he is watching anything. Consistency is key to eliciting an unreasonable reaction that might get him in trouble with the parents. 
  9. Crack your knuckles, shoulders, toes, whatever will activate that startle reflex.
  10. Speaking of startle reflex, hide around corners and jump out at least once a day.
  11. Don't forget to breathe. As loud as you can without hyperventilating. If you can figure out a way to breathe on him without him being able to reach you, even better.
Learning to scamper up a pole away from him is probably not a bad idea

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sink or Swim

I told the boys I was thinking about putting them in week long swimming lessons while I was on holidays so they would have to go twice a day but it would only be a week long.  This started a two-boy chorus of whining, groaning and complaining.  

Boy 2:  I am not taking swimming lessons.  I hate them.
Me: You have to take them.  It is an important lifelong skill and I am not allowing you to quit until you are done all the badges.
Boy 1: Well that isn't really quitting then, if we are all done.  That's like saying "You can quit school when you are done university." That isn't quitting, that's finishing.
Me:  Good point.  Let me rephrase: You are both finishing swimming and school. 

Throughout this exchange Boy 2 is making a noise that sounds like a Formula One race, "Reeeeeeeeeee, Reeeeeeeee. " I think it is meant to convey frustration but it could also be designed to drive me completely bats.  Under this extraordinary sensory pressure I come up with this:

"If we are ever in a flood like in Calgary, you will be glad you can swim.  It could save your life.  Or, (I am warming up, now) if you are ever stranded in the ocean, you don't want to be the slowest swimmer or you will be the one eaten by sharks. The best swimmers, are the safest, right?"

Boy 2: No, the people in the boats are the safest.
Me:  You are correct, and boats cost money so you have to finish school and get a good job so you can buy a boat!

Wait, what?

To recap, I think I won the argument that we weren't having about finishing school AND distracted them from refusing to take swimming lessons.  On a parenting scale of 1 - 10,  I rate myself a solid 7 this round.  If they start having shark nightmares I might have to scale that back a bit.

Checking for Sharks, or at least, slower swimmers