Saturday was beautiful. Gorgeous weather, bright blue sky.
I took the boys to a park with the intention of having a picnic, but they were too excited to eat. They ran off to the water and I calculated my distance as appropriate. I wanted to be close enough so that I could hear them if they got hurt, but far enough away that I wouldn’t know if and when they did disgusting stuff. I wanted them to go be brothers. Go be adventurous. Go be wild. Fall in and get filthy. maybe climb a tree and get a tick. step on a rusty hook and need a tetanus shot. Something. Anything.
I finished my salad and curled up under a tree. The other trees around us had already leafed out but the one above me had just started. Endless brown gray branches criss crossed and intersected across the endless blue. Tiny, delicate green leaves everywhere, just starting to appear. Dappled sunlight. Boys in the distance, being boys.
It was as perfect as it could possibly be. Then a sprinkler system came on (had no idea we had those there) and I had to get up and gather stuff and run. I picked a new spot. It was as perfect as it could possibly be. For fifteen minutes. Then another sprinkler popped up. I ran.
The boys were filthy and happy. Caden-9yr carried around a dead fish he’d found, impaled upon a half of a fishing rod he’d also found. Ethan-13yr and Seth-7yr made makeshift rods and nets with things previous fishermen had lost or left behind. It was EXACTLY what I’d been hoping for.
With the right motivation and circumstances, they can come together in sweet, creative, encouraging ways without any input from me at all. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere for me.
Later, we were at home and there was a minor disagreement and I called out to one of the boys, “be a problem solver!”
And then a few minutes later, “Hey! Remember when I used to say that all the time to y’all? ‘Be a problem solver!’”
They all said yes.
Then I collapsed onto my bed and laughed and yelled, “That was before we had really big problems though huh? HA! Sometime in the last year or so I stopped saying that to y’all.”
There was a long pause and then someone sarcastically muttered, “VERY funny, Mom.”
But they figured it out. Or forgot about it. And i stayed where I was and laughed.
It all worked out okay.
I’m thinking that’s usually the case with us. It’s all working out pretty well. These boys are growing up and impressing me daily with their character… I don’t exactly know how we got to this point, but I’m so grateful. It’s what I always prayed for them, but more than I ever expected so soon. Little else matters. They’re not perfect. They’re about as obnoxious as any three boys can be. But their ability to think and reason and process and rely on their OWN faith and their OWN convictions…. I wasn’t like that at their ages.
I was definitely the ‘stab a dead fish with half a fishing rod’ type… but this other stuff? That’s impressive.
* After work, I came home and put my oh so sore feet up in the air and watched Wicked Tuna. I kinda love that show.
* I’m so tired by the end of one of Mike’s weekends (that’s when I cram in all my work hours) that I can hardly talk or function.
* I communicate best with yes or no questions. If you ask me something harder, I just stare and shrug. The words cannot be found.
* YES, still liking the job. Although it does mean I hear more Taylor Swift music than any woman my age should have to hear. But absolutely no where else would be so accommodating of my desire to work only when it doesn’t affect my ability to attend all baseball games, kid functions, church, or in any other way interfere with my time with the kids. People there are pretty great. (No, they don’t read this. Kind people.)
* Work is pretty helpful for when there are big delays with other financial arrangements.
* Furniture. Still painting it. When have energy. Working toward big sale-y event in my mom’s cute-sy neighborhood. We think her neighbors might like the kind of stuff I do.
* Reassured kids I wasn’t dating or planning on it. I didn’t know this was necessary until one day at dinner all three freaked out when one child said the word ‘dating.’ They all jumped up and scooted their chairs back and around and did this weird reaction thing that made total sense to them. None to my mother and me. We were at a restaurant. I called them all back to me and pointed out that perhaps that meant we should discuss it. While I was at it, I reassured them that my mother isn’t dating either. They calmed down.
* They’re a bit on edge.
* As am I. For different reasons entirely. License plates all seem to have hidden messages. Ever noticed that? I try not to.
* It may be that the boys’ dad’s girlfriend is ‘about the same age and shape’ as their sister. That has the boys on edge. Just a thought.
* I haven’t met her. She’s probably lovely. But I can see how those details might confuse them. Might… seem odd. Those details are hardly anything negative or wrong… just perhaps a bit surprising to the boys. And only to the boys. I’m just glad they say she’s very nice.
* I hope they weren’t worried about my dating a young boy-child type. HA. Oh….. I hope not. I didn’t think to ask. That wouldn’t happen. Much as I adore those three boys, the last thing I’d want is another one. That probably hasn’t occurred to them.
* See? this is why I don’t blog anymore. I’m so drained of everything that it comes out sounding like this.
* Did I ever tell you the diet coke thing did NOT last? I’m drinking again.
* I’d like to write. Like, fiction write. But did you see that last ‘sentence?’
* “Like, fiction write.”
* So maybe I’m not quite ready. It’s just that there’s so much stuff that needs to be written. Too bad words and I aren’t getting along better. It’s terribly inconvenient.
* Yesterday I asked my mom to meet me behind the Hooters. I needed to give her Callie to watch for a few hours.
* Never thought I’d ask anyone to meet me behind a Hooters. For any reason. Like, ever.
* I can hardly think straight. Talk. Write. Blog.
* I’m just here because I like y’all and i miss you when I’m gone.
The Underwear Thievery solution has not worked well. I said I’d let you know how it goes. i said I was optimistic.
I was wrong.
The boys so enjoy the process of adjudicating Underwear Thievery issues that the behavior has actually INCREASED and now constantly there are even MORE accusations and consequences and discussions and crimes than there previously were. Who knew? I should have made it less interesting. Less rewarding. I’ll tweak it.
From Jeana, on Underwear Thievery Issues:
“I thought these kind of arguments would stop when they got older, but recently i broke up a fight that started because someone sat on someone else’s bed naked, ‘with a bare butt, Mom!’ We need bare butt court.”
CAREFUL. Make bare butt court really NOT FUN. That’s what we’ve learned, I think.
Just hours after Jeana left that comment on the previous post, THE EXACT scenario played out here. Even stranger, because no one has ever lodged this particular complaint before in this home. VERY surreal.
One exception though, is that no one here says “bare” or “butt.” No one says butt because I’m weird like that and we have to say Butt-ox, it’s a compound word, yaknow.
Also, no one says ‘bare’ because it confuses Seth-7yr.
If you mention your ‘bare arms’ or your ‘bare feet’ or your ‘bare butt’ EVERY SINGLE TIME Seth-7yr will stop the conversation and question at length why you have ‘bear arms’ or ‘bear feet’ or a bear butt’ when you are not, in fact, a bear.
It gets tedious. (And I try to avoid any cue that has a child sincerely look at me and say, “you have a BEAR butt? WHAT?” and “NO I DO NOT.” Also, it derails Caden-9yr into discussing his natural bear-like furriness, a nonexistent quality that he obsesses over and before you know it you’ve spent ten minutes assuring a relatively hairless child that he is indeed NORMAL and un-furred.)
So in our house the other night Caden-9yr starts screaming that Seth-7yr has sat on his bed not with a “bear butt,” or a “bare butt,” but with a “TOTALLY NEKKID BUTT-OX.”
Which is the same complaint as made in Jeana’s home, but with a slightly different visual cue, amiright? I’m picturing a large hairless ox type creature, perched on the edge of Caden-9yr’s bed. i go in there and Seth-7yr is not just sitting on his bed. He’s making sure his totally nekkid buttoxen is ALL over the bed, since it got such a great reaction from his brother.
I told him to stop being obnoxious and to get in the shower and told Caden-9yr to change his sheets, because he HAD been alarmingly, um, thorough.
They’re so STRANGE, these particular children. Wonderful, but so very very strange.
Before devotional time tonight, a family meeting was held. This sometimes occurs when I have HAD IT with something or other and it needs to be addressed.
Such was the case.
I sat the boys down, told them to be QUIET until I asked for their input and introduced the subject:
All three boys are OFTEN guilty of underwear thievery. This brother takes that brother’s underwear, fight in the hall. Another brother takes another brother’s underwear, fight in the kitchen. And on. And on. DAILY. Everyone has plenty of underwear. But everyone wants everyone ELSE’S underwear. I don’t know why. I’ve seen the skid marks. I wouldn’t be so eager to thieve, but HEY, these are boys and I do not pretend to understand.
I’m so over this. DAILY I am called upon to referee who has taken whose underwear, why, and what should be done. (He’s WEARING it and you want it back NOW? No. That’s gross. He got away with it. Statute of limitations. No.)
I pointed out that they were all three often guilty of Underwear Thievery. Two boys pointed at their underwear (which was not in fact their own), in agreement with this assertion. I thanked them that no one ever steals my underwear and I never steal theirs. I try to give credit wherever it is due, and this is minimal but HEY it was true so I thanked them.
Caden-9yr said, “that’s only because yours is made all weird and small in the front and they wouldn’t fit us. We need room there.”
I said nothing.
No one said anything.
It was a long pause. I doubted the truth of this, but knew better than to say it.
Then Ethan-13yr said, “Well. It sounds like you KNOW that for a fact. Have you tried them on?”
And THEN there was disorder in the court with shouted denials and accusations flew left and right about which boys have tried on various pieces of my clothing.
The following was decided:
In the event that the Underwear Thief has in his custody a pair of underwear that is in dispute, but he is NOT yet wearing them, the other members of the family vote on the underwear and the majority rules correct ownership. If the underwear is deemed thieved, it must be returned graciously and with an apology, end of saga. If the underwear is ON the Underwear Thief, the other members of the family vote on the underwear’s rightful owner and if it is deemed thieved, the underwear does not have to be immediately returned, however a 10 push-up penalty is assessed, with an additional 5 kisses to be given to the Mommy and 5 additional kisses must be sweetly offered to the rightful owner of the underwear and if that brother is so affronted by the crime, he can bequeath his 5 kisses to the Mommy who will then gladly accept them. A lack of graciousness or argumentativeness at any time will cause additional penalties to be added.
As an example, we began with the first potential underwear thief and I called Seth-7yr over to me and asked him to turn around so I could check the brand and size of underwear he wore. It was unanimously decided they were not his own. Push-ups and kisses.
Caden-9yr was next and it was debated at length and then determined he was actually the rightful owner of his underwear.
Then Seth-7yr decided to pull off Ethan-13yr’s pajama pants to see exactly what he was hiding – it WAS suspicious after all that he was voluntarily wearing pants and it mighta been in order to conceal an act of Underwear Thievery. Except he overzealously grabbed and pinched when he lunged for his pajama pants and Ethan-13yr collapsed into a writhing ball of pain on the floor. When he recovered, it was determined that he was in fact wearing his own underpants. Seth-7yr apologized. Not with a straight face. But still.
I’ll let you know how this goes.
Every year the third graders bring a shoe box and create a diorama of one of Jesus’ miracles. Excellent project. Except for the word diorama.
Ew. I just can’t stand that word.
Anyway. Caden-9yr considered his miracle options and then, on the way to school, in a thoughtful and earnestly sincere voice he said, “Mom. I think I want to do my project on when Jesus healed the ten leopards.”
“He healed the ten leopards.”
“Um…. ‘kay. I think that would be good. Perhaps this definitely does need a bit more research on your part. Good choice.”
By the time he came home from school, he was excited. He had gotten his subject matter approved AND was newly aware of the difference between a leper and a leopard. (That was a relief.) Ethan-12yr regaled him with the details of leprosy and Caden-9yr was more fascinated than ever with his miracle of choice.
“So a head could just FALL OFF a body?”
Ethan-12yr: “Well. Body parts just fall off. I don’t know about HEADS.”
Caden-9yr: “But a head IS a body part. And you said they fall off, BLOODLESSLY. Just… BAM. Gone.”
Ethan-12yr: “I think that’s more like fingers and toes.”
Caden-9yr: “MOM! CAN A HEAD JUST–?”
Me: “I have no idea Caden-9yr. If a head were to fall off, bloodless or otherwise, the person is dead and no longer a leper anyway, but in serious need of a miracle. Does that answer your question?”
Me: “Oh. I thought it was cute when you thought they were leopards.”
Caden-9yr: “I. DID. NOT.”
Ethan-12yr and me: “Yeah ya did.”
Ethan-12yr said something about headless leopards at this point and I wandered off to find something and missed the rest of the conversation.
That night I dreamed that Caden-9yr took his completed shoebox to school and received a failing grade because there was Elvis instead of Jesus and there were ten decapitated plastic leopard figurines instead of lepers. But it was a really COOL looking project. Really artsy and textural and well done, even though it was all wrong.
I liked it, anyway.
A+ on that miracle.
A gorgeous mermaid costume hangs on my closet door. When I rearranged my closet last week, I found it and hung it up where I could see it because it makes me smile.
A friend bought it for me at an after Halloween clearance sale. I had mentioned wanting a mermaid outfit that wasn’t trashy. And she found one. It’s mostly a brilliant blue, with a flared gold metallic tail and a beige loose weave net type thing around the waist, in which are caught a few stray pearls for, you know, realism.
Seth-7yr was the first to ask about it. It was early one morning, before school. “WHY…. do you have a mermaid suit?”
I looked at him for a long, long time, and then confided in a whisper that I was sometimes a Secret Mermaid.
He looked back at me for a long time. Then he said, “Where do you GO in that? Anyway. You left the tags on.”
“True. I did. I go to Secret Mermaid places.”
“Are you, um, really?”
“OF COURSE. Now go get ready for school.”
He came back later and hugged me and whispered that he was going to tell ALL his friends that I was actually a Secret Mermaid.
I told him that of course he could do that, but he probably needed to consider how they would take the news. They might get jealous. Probably none of their moms are Secret Mermaids. It’s REALLY rare. Especially in West Texas. People here get all excited when they see a little bit of rain. Mermaids are practically unheard.
“Oh, it’ll be okay.” He hugged me really tightly and kissed my lower rib cage and ran off.
I don’t know what got into me. I’ve never perpetuated the Santa thing. The easter bunny thing. The tooth fairy thing. (Well. there was big tooth fairy drama last week, but let’s not even go there. UGH. She has it WAY harder than secret mermaids. There are actually tooth fairy rules and precedents and protocol she’d obligated to remember and follow OH THE STRESS.)
I don’t know why at that moment I went with the Secret Mermaid story with Seth-7yr. Maybe it’s just been such a rough couple of years of hard truths… and a little bit of fantasy seemed okay at the time. It was a ‘hey, you and I are in this strange and unique moment together… this shared suspension of disbelief. Let’s enjoy it for a minute before someone has a meltdown over a divorce issue.”
I think it may be time to cut the tags off.
I can’t possibly keep secrets from y’all so it’s best I just not say anything. Or make a total buttox of myself. the things running through my head are not for public consumption. hence, the absence.
I think I tore something in my left quad. Is that sentence even making sense? Do you tear something IN a quad, or simply tear a quad? Or some other phrasing? promptly after reading Sara claiming I’d somehow inspired her fitness turnaround years ago, I decided today was IT and I’d get to a class no matter what, and once I was there I KILLED it. It was a BLT class. Butt, Legs, Thighs. Then an abs class. I love that ‘about to throw up’ workout feeling. the whole body shaking in protest thing. all of it. It was nice to get reacquainted with all of that discomfort. I hurt from my upper abs all the way to my toes, and on all sides. Awesome.
I drove home, shaky, and when i got out of the car my legs gave way and I collapsed to the driveway. oops. Then over the next three days, every movement hurt, but more on the left side and my left leg kept giving out. Just shooting right out from under me and I’d fall or almost fall. Lovely. There was soreness and sleep disturbing bruising and I’m finally walking normally again, although too afraid to push it and go workout again just yet.
So I overdo things. What else is new? I like to ignore that voice that tells me to stop because surely that is the voice that will keep me flabby and out of shape. Ignoring it IS part of the process. But i have no idea when that voice becomes an important voice of self preservation and actually should be heeded.
There is a fine line there and I seem to miss it every time.
i hope your Easter went well. Mine was LOVELY. I spent my time with the babies in the nursery, then came home and did yardwork and read in the sun in the backyard in a terribly unflattering pink bikini because it was THAT warm. Then I cleaned house and was caught vacuuming naked by the neighbor across the street, who came to the door and knocked during Amazing Race and I yelled at her to hold on and then I grabbed a long winter coat (because my robe was in the dryer) and I opened the door and clutched the coat shut and she said, “you were vacuuming naked weren’t you?”
I’m not used to having neighbors who actually knock on my door. It will influence certain lifestyle choices in the future.
So glad she didn’t actually SEE me, and it was just the frantic clutching at a long winter coat that gave me away. Then I put on clothes, painted my toenails, and limped off to bed. It was kinda a great day. Hardly Easter-y at all…. but still nice.
Hope yours was Easter-y AND nice. And no one caught you vacuuming naked. Because that’s just embarrassing.