Thursday, September 29, 2011

Misadventures of Perspective

At times I feel like I've fallen into one of those movies in which you see one event from several different perspectives as you try to piece together the true course of events. Such it was this morning.

It had been a fairly unusual morning in which no one had asked me to find his backpack or her glasses or any one's shoes. About ten minutes before we needed to head out to the bus,I went looking for my strangely quiet children. I found all four of them involved in what looked like a silent rugby scrum. When I cleared my throat, they all jumped back with a chorus of "He/She started it!" So we retired to the Repentance Bench. (Note to Self: If all four children are going to the Repentance Bench together, we need a bigger bench) Sitting on the couch, facing the defendants, I started from my right and went down the bench.

Mom: "Austin, what did you do?"

Austin: "I was beating on Nicole because she-"

Mom: "I didn't ask what Nicole did, I asked what you did."

Austin: "Oh, I was beating up Nicole."

Mom: "Alex, what did you do?"

Alex (with his big cheeky grin): "I stole Cole's caterpillar."

Austin: "It was her favorite graham cracker."

Mom: "Austin, it's not your turn. Erika, what did you do?"

Erika: "I tried to pull Austin off of Nicole."

Mom: "Nicole, what did you do?"

Nicole (with a long suffering sigh and roll of the eyes): "Nothing."

Austin: "She did do something, she-"

Mom: "Austin, thanks, but it is Nicole's turn. Nicole, what did you do?"

Nicole (with another sigh): "I cried."

Austin (who still hasn't quite got the hang of the Repentance bench): "You didn't just cry, you-"

Mom: "AUSTIN! Nicole, you cried and that made Austin beat you up?"

Nicole: "Well, no. I cried and then told Alex he could never have another graham cracker until he was a grown up."

Austin: "And that's why I was beating her up. She can't talk to my brother like that."

Mom: "So, Alex stole Nicole's caterpillar graham cracker. Nicole cried and told Alex that he could never have another graham cracker. That made Austin angry so he started beating on Nicole. And Erika was trying to get Austin to stop. Right?"

Children: "Yep"

Erika (who catches onto things much faster than anyone else) hops down and says, "Sorry, Austin."

Alex (who has more experience with the Repentance Bench than anyone else) hops down and says, "I torry, Cole."

Nicole (with a very grudging tone of voice) says, "Sorry, Alex." and permits him to hug her.

Austin says, "Sorry, Nicole!"

Now everyone's happy and we all somehow managed to make it to the bus on time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Misadventures of Hearing Voices

I suppose my folly this time is an overactive imagination. With four children, I have at least two people speaking to me at any given time. I frequently find myself trying to sort through two (or three or four) long (and yes, usually pointless) stories punctuated by frequent shouts of, "Hey, I was talking first".

During such an occasion yesterday, I found myself thinking of how wonderful it would be to have an answering service. I think it would go something like this:

"You have reached Mom's Answering Service.

To express LOVE, please press 1

To express APPRECIATION, please press 2

To offer SERVICE, please press 3

To leave a COMPLIMENT, please press 4

If you need a hurt KISSED better, please press 5

If you want a story read to you, please press 6

If you want to be TUCKED In, please press 7

If you are bringing an eye patch to be put on, please press 8

If you want to show Mom a picture you made, please press 9

If you want to TATTLE on someone, please hang up and call Grandma

If you want something done, please hang up and call Daddy

If you want to whine, please hang up and call Dr Phil

If there is a mess to clean up, please hang up and clean it yourself.

If you want your diaper changed or your bottom wiped, you have definitely reached this recording in error.

If you want to tell an insanely long story, please hold .................and hold............and hold.............and hold............and hold........and hold.......and hold.........and hold.............

Monday, May 23, 2011

Misadventures of a Broken Trust

Nicole has recently discovered a new love, the crane machine at Wal-Mart. My folly that brought it about was parking on the wrong side of the parking lot. Because I was parked on the wrong side of the store, we had to pass the mysterious alcove containing all of the flashy quarter machines. The first time the girls asked to enter this wondrous place, I reluctantly agreed, on the condition that they realize that all of the machines cost money and I would NOT provide them with any change for the games. This satisfied them until that glorious day when the tooth fairy brought Nicole two shiny quarters. What higher earthly bliss could there be than in depositing your quarters into the machine for the chance to win a stuffed animal? The next trip to the store found us in front of a crane machine filled with stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. Nicole eagerly deposited her precious quarters, carefully moved the crane above her animal of choice, watched in awe as the crane lowered around the animals head and began to lift..... The animal raised ever so slightly before the crane slipped off and it fell back among it's fellow play things. Her disappointment was great, but thankfully, not overwhelming. I explained that the cranes were not made very strong because they were made to get your money, not to lose their toys.

When another tooth fell out, Nicole began to entertain hopes again. She came to me one day and confessed that she didn't really believe that the people who made the cranes were just after money. She felt that the cranes were made poorly because the people who made them had other things on their mind and must have just been in a hurry to get the job done. She then asked if I could take her back to Wal-Mart to try her luck again. I agreed that we could go while Erika was in dance. I wondered how many times she would throw her quarters away before realizing that those games are a scam. When we got to the store, Nicole carefully examined each and every machine, in fact, she spent more than ten minutes analyzing the machines to make sure she would pick the best. She carefully placed her quarters in the machine and began to move the crane. We held our breath as the crane came down around the head of a purple panda and began to lift.....up and over and down the chute. Nicole had won her panda bear! Great was her delight. And Great was her exultation that she had been right all along and the crane builders were really honest people who just wanted to help little girls get new toys.

She has lost several quarters since that wonderful day, but her faith in the machine remains unshaken. I find myself worrying a little over whether her faith in my warnings will ever return (not that Nicole has ever had much faith in my warnings).

Misadventures of Sunday Morning

My folly this time lies in the fact that I'm unable to hold onto a thought long enough to bring it to fruition.

A few Sundays ago, as I got ready for church, I realized that my nylons had holes in them. I put on a skirt long enough to cover the runs and made a mental note to go get some during the week. After church, I left the holey nylons sitting on top of the dresser to remain as a constant reminder that I needed to replace them. A few days later, as I was walking out of my bedroom to go to the store, I tossed them into the trash knowing I was on my way to replace them. Unfortunately, the free cookies in the bakery and the other wonders of Target filled my imagination with such delights that mundane things like nylons were quickly driven out.

When Sunday rolled around again, as I got ready for church, the nylons were brought back forcibly to my mind. Oh, no! I had forgotten to buy my nylons. Wait, I could just get the others out of the bedroom trash, it's not like they would be covered by kitchen waste. Alas, Rick had emptied the bedroom trash can only the day before. What could I do? I could go out to the garbage can, couldn't I? If he'd only dumped it the day before then it wouldn't be covered by too much stuff. Thankfully, the mental picture of one of my neighbors on their way to church noticing my feet sticking out of my garbage can was enough to keep me from Sabbath Dumpster Diving. Thank Goodness for long skirts and sandals.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Misadventures of Early Morning

Instead of sharing my folly this time, I would like to share my deep, dark secret. People who know me know that I have four children. What is not commonly known is that I have a fifth child that I have to deal with. I try not to take her out in public, because she can be a bit of an embarrassment to me. Her name is Cricket. She looks a lot like Erika, but behaves a lot like Nicole. I think that, most of the time, she is about three or four years old. She is, of course, my inner child. I can't remember my psychology courses well enough to remember if the term for her is "ego" or "id". To me she is just "Cricket". She can be a lot of fun (she's responsible for the dictionary listed below in "TUESDAY Confusion"). She can also be a bit of a brat, throwing tantrums, sulking, stomping her feet, and, when she's really angry, refusing to talk to me at all. I am introducing her now because of an interesting conversation that we had this morning.

Katie:"The alarm went off. 5:00, Time to get up."
Cricket: "It's only 5:00. I don't want to get up."
Katie: "We need to get up and exercise."
Cricket: "My head hurts."
Katie: "Our head always hurts. That didn't stop us from going bowling last week."
Cricket: "But I don't feel good."
Katie: "It's 5 a.m., we're not supposed to feel good."
Cricket: "If you let me stay in bed, I promise that I'll do it later."
Katie: "It's Tuesday. You know we won't have time to do it later. If you get up now, we'll just do Level 1."
Cricket: "That's not true. You always say I only have to do Level 1, but when I get done, you always make me do Level 3, too."
Katie: "Once we finish Level 1, you usually don't mind moving onto Level 3."
Cricket: "But it's only 5:30. It is too early!"
Katie: "That's the best time to do it. If we do it early, we'll be done for the whole day."
Cricket: "That's not true. It's TUESDAY. You'll make me stay busy all day."
Katie: "That's why we have to get up and do it now."
Cricket: "But it's cold in the room."
Katie: "We'll only be cold for a minute. Once we get started, we'll warm right up."
Cricket: "But We're warm right now."
Katie: "Yes, we are warm right now."
Cricket: "And Our bed is so comfortable."
Katie: "It is comfortable, but....."
Cricket: "And it's 6:00. We don't have time to do Level 3 and Level 1."
Katie: "That's true. I don't think that we would be able to do both."
Cricket: "And You don't want to just do Level 1. You're supposed to be doing Level 3, You know."
Kate: "6:00 would be too early to go out to the family room and we can't do Level 3 in here."
Cricket: "If You wait a little bit longer, You can go out to the family room and do Level 3. Then it won't matter if You wake up the kids."
Kate: "That's true. It would be better to wait a few more minutes."
Cricket: "And Our bed is so warm and comfortable."
Kate: "Hmmmm, it is warm and comfor ......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Because we had already turned our alarm off, we over-slept and the real children almost missed the bus.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Misadventures of Disagreement

My folly this time was pursuing more education than I actually needed.

This morning, when I was helping Erika put her shoes on, Erika held up her left foot and said, "Mom, this is my right foot." I said, "No, that is actually your left foot, this (holding up her right) is your right foot." She thought about that for a minute then said, "But, Mom, this is my right because Nicole said, 'You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out.'" OOh, she had me there. How can I argue with legally copyrighted lyrics?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Misadventures of Distraction

My folly this time was (drumroll, please) getting too distracted.

Erika's imagination has been on overdrive lately. I'm always hearing things like, "For the game, I'm a dragon and you are trying to catch me", or I'm frantically running to save a child screaming, "Help!" only to discover that her cat was in danger. And I can't even count the number of times I've answered to "Mom" and been informed that she wasn't talking to me.

This afternoon, as I was messing around on the computer, Erika came in and said, "For the game, You are the Mom and I'm your little kid and you are reading this story to me." For the game? I guess it is time to stop letting the computer distract me, I've got stories to read.