Friday, March 13, 2009

Five for Friday

1. So I have more than a couple 10 for Tuesday/Thursday/Wheneverday entries saved in my draft file. I thought about compiling them all into one giant catch-up issue for today, but it turns out they're all out of date and out of context. And this blog is nothing if not context. More context than you could ever possibly want. So here it it, fresh and tasty for Friday, with no stale observations about the presidential election or Christmas shopping. Christmas is so 2008!

2. Speaking of stale holidays, a full four weeks ago we went to a ward Valentine's Day party. Sam brought home a heart shaped helium balloon, which is still fully inflated, skimming the ceiling as I type. I'll admit it's kind of cool to see it hanging in there for so long, but its longevity has ruined my credibility. With all of the balloons through all the years, Sam and I have had that tough talk about how things just don't last forever. We've mourned helium, noble as it is, always escaping the confines of its flimsy balloon home. But here's this pesky balloon, exposing me as an atomic ignoramus. It's embarrassing.

3. Speaking of uncooperative balloons, here's another one. We were at a family carnival put on by the folks at Hunter's Hope a couple weekends ago. There was food, face painting, and at the end of a long line of screaming children accompanied by irritable parents, a trio of balloon twisting clowns. We waited for quite a while to get Sam's sword and Grace's long-stemmed daisy, but once we had them both children were fully satisfied. We immediately had the "balloons don't last forever/I don't want to hear any tantrums when that thing pops" discussion, and the children went on their merry, balloon-bopping way.

Soon enough, it was time time head home. Predictably, our children were not happy about this news, and began to voice minor protests. I assured them it really was time, and began to approach Grace with her coat. With the frightening fury of a two-year-old, she screamed "NOOOOOO!" and hit me with her balloon flower. It immediately popped. While Grace wailed in disappointment, I turned the other way and cracked up. (I don't want to encourage her bad behavior by laughing at it, you know, but sometimes karma has its own (hilarious) lesson planned.) When I finally composed myself again, I helped my crestfallen daughter into her coat, muttered something wise like "and that's why we don't hit mommy with our toys."

I couldn't help but notice Sam was pretty quick to get his own coat on, without the usual protests.

4. Can you believe it, I have another balloon story? So a couple nights later, Sam and I were snuggling through his bedtime routine. He's got a keen interest in law enforcement, so he's always asking questions about criminals. This particular evening, he was worried about bad guys breaking into our house and stealing our stuff. I told him that that wasn't very likely: we keep our lights on and our doors locked, and our fuzzy motion detector always lets us know when there's someone approaching the house. Most importantly, we don't really have anything valuable for someone to want to steal. Full of earnest concern, he asked, "But what about my balloon sword? That's valuable." I agreed, snuggling him a little closer so he couldn't see me laughing, and assured him that he still didn't need to worry about it.

5. This one's not about balloons, but it's got Sam at bedtime. So, when Coach is out of town, I sometimes let the kids sleep in my bed with me. It's usually pleasant and cuddly sweet, but on one particular night a couple weeks ago, the kids just would not settle down. After more than an hour of their bickering, wrestling, and kicking me in the head, I finally lost it and told them both to lie down and go to sleep immediately. I issued the famous "I don't want to hear another sound out of either of you," threat and grumpily punched my pillow back into shape. Their immediate silence only made me feel more guilty about losing my temper. So a few minutes later, I apologized for yelling. I asked Sam, "Do you know how much I love you? I love you so much."

He said, "Yeah, but there's something more important."

"Oh, what's that?" I asked.

"You're not allowed to yell like that in the house. Never do that again."

He's right. He's been reminded many times about outside voices and inside voices, and I definitely used an outside voice. I just hope that my chuckling did not make my apology sound insincere. Because I really was sorry. That kid really is sweet.

6. Speaking of my sweet kids, both of them are sick. Grace is recovering from what the doctor called a "raging" double ear infection, and Sam has pneumonia. I feel bad (as in, cruelly negligent) that they both got so sick, but they're both doing better after a couple days of antibiotics. And I know that's just how life goes. Balloons pop, kids get sick.

But here's the part I'm still having trouble with, and the part where I really need advice from experienced parents. I'm paralyzed with ambivalence about the whole school situation. I kept him home for a couple days before I even took him to the doctor because he spent so much of the night coughing, and was just exhausted in the morning. When I finally did take him to the doctor, she said he could go back "whenever he's up for it." The trouble is, in the morning, he's never "up for it," and even on the best of days it takes considerable prodding to get him dressed and out the door. So two days this week I conceded that he needed extra rest and let him sleep until he woke up on his own, and then took him in to school. I got the usual disapproving looks from the ladies in the office for bringing him in late, but whatever. I'm the mom, right? My kid is sick. I'll do what's best for him. But then he comes home at the end of the day completely exhausted, and I think perhaps what's best for him might be to just let him stay home. But when I've done that (like today), by mid-morning he's planning parties, building forts and generally acting well enough to be at school. When I ask him, he's always too sick to go to school. He's only four. I don't want him thinking I'll spend the next 14 years falling for that trick. But on the other hand, he is only four. There's no need for me to be a cruel drill sargeant mommy, forcing him back to school when he's still got that eject-a-lung timbre to his cough.

So what's the right policy here?

7. Speaking of policies, what are the rules on counting to 7 when you're only shooting for 5? I should call this good and say I'm done, but there are a couple more things I've been meaning to tell you in one of these random conglomerate posts.

8. I've got a couple new blogs. This one was started by my friend Amber to compile and share the great deals she's sleuthed up for the good folks here in The Buff (although the fully-clothed are welcome to enjoy the savings as well). I'm practically the cheapest person she knows, so she invited me to blog there too. Watch for exciting posts on my beloved Yogurt Store and other great money wasting saving destinations.

I started this one a few months ago as sort of a creative journal for my jewelry making. Like everything else in my life, it's a work in progress. But it's really fun, actually, and I'm surprised at how much I enjoy the creative process of recording my creative process.

So feel free to visit at either of my new homes. Or visit my old/nearly defunct group homes for keeping track of angry grudges and weight loss. (Both of these are open to new contributors, so e-mail me if you're interested.) But don't worry, the human resources department will never let me out of my contract here, so Meaty Chunks will always be my primary bloggy residence.

9. Speaking of bloggy residences, thanks for visiting mine. I like it when you come over. We should do this more often.


Amber said...

That's hilarious about the Grace's balloon! I think in the case of Sam and school you just have to err on the side of caution when he's sick - of course he'll get more rest at home and be more perky during the afternoon. Besides, I always feel better in the mid morning/early afternoon hours and then...I crash (when I'm sick and sometimes when I'm not sick too).

Your blog always cracks me up and I'm astounded at how clever your writing is!

Lady said...

I know we already discussed this but I think, especially because Sam's so you, you can feel free to let him stay home and recover. Or I like the idea of taking them in late once they got the sleep they needed over night. My parents did that for us a time or two and I have been known to do it for my kids. I think the older Sam gets the more you might enforce the going to bed early and getting to school except when you are deathly ill. It's just so hard to make up all the work they miss when they are gone once they get older. I am much more lax about letting Ainsley miss.

Also - loved your karma story. I love when there are practical consequences for misbehavior.

Peanut said...

After reading this post, I really wish I could make balloon swords and daisies. Maybe I can learn.
I think the dirty looks ladies in the office should shove it. :) I think if Sam is sick and needs more sleep, he should be able to get that. Granted, there's a point where it becomes not OK--like my junior year of high school when one of my classmates viewed 1st period English as attendance optional instead preferring the extra sleep--he maybe showed up 20% of the time. But I'd say Sam's a far cry from that.

Ree said...

I can't believe you couldn't come up with 6 more balloon stories. But I agree, that a four year old can miss school at least until his cough is GONE. He's got years to learn about punctuality and perfect attendance.

Lady said...

supposed to say 'because Sam's so YOUNG, not so You - even though I am sure he very much THE BOSS.

Princess Gerty said...

I have the same school/sick dilemma! Last week both kids were so miserable when I tried to wake them up. But, as soon as it was announced that they were staying home, they both perked up with no symptoms. I took both kids in late to school. Usually, when they are waking up and don't feel good, I say, "let's see how you feel after you get dressed and eat breakfast." That usually gives me enough time to judge the seriousness of the "illness." If they seem okay, I send them to school, reminding them they can always go to the nurse at school if they feel bad. This has worked over thirty times, and only ONCE have I gotten a call from the nurse that my daughter really is sick (yes, I felt really guilty after that, but at least I had the assurance of a 2nd opinion.) Sorry for the long comment. Hope it helps.