Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brotherly love

This morning I woke up at 6:30 or so and lay in bed, thinking about things. I couldn't really get back to sleep so I picked up one of the magazines that was nearby, a literary magazine. (Website not updated yet, but when it is, I expect one of my columns to be there.) I heard the kids get up one by one, but didn't hear any thumping, crashing, or arguing, so I stayed upstairs and read a few stories. They were really good! Not just the stories -- my kids! When I went downstairs (we had to get ready for church and a very long day which would include a Chuck E. Cheese party, which is a story in itself) (actually, church is a story in itself...kind of hard today but I am sure dragging the three of them there is the right thing to do), my middle son had got breakfast for his younger brother. They were all sitting together in the living room (they had eaten at the breakfast bar even though I know they wouldd prefer to eat in front of the TV).

The thing about brotherly love, though, is that it is sometimes displayed in ways that I do not think are loving; that certainly most would not think are loving. Taunting, teasing, poking, outright hitting, name-calling, gimme-that-it's-mine (even if they don't want it). It's tiring. Exhausting. By the end of this day, I had no energy left (I was wondering if I should take more vitamins), and I was back to asking the boys to do for each other. Oldest, get your brother an applesauce while you're up finishing that hot dog (which you must do before you qualify for dessert). "I care about your nutrition, honey." We all watched a few innings of the Red Sox after I gave them haircuts (outside).

The parts I left out were Chuck E. Cheese, the soccer field (random stop on the way home to kick balls at middle son who is being cultivated as a keeper, where we wound up watching some high school games, but the arguing over the sunglasses that ensured necessitated leaving) and then my oldest and me walking the dog. Both of us were begging him to poop, we were tired and sick of walking. Heat wave.

Which brings me to the grand finale, arguing over the fans. God help me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My kids have surpassed me

My oldest beat me in chess last night. Yes, he talked me into playing with him at his brother's den meeting. He told me about "en passant" -- whatever that is -- as he executed the move, and also didn't fully disclose the rule about getting your piece back when a pawn reaches the other side. The other mom that we usually play cribbage with isn't so thrilled with chess either and we thought maybe we could teach my son backgammon next time.

My youngest beat me in bowling! He is three. We went bowling with a bunch of people from church and with the bumpers he scored a 73. With the bumpers, I scored -- I don't know -- but far less, as did many of the other adults. There he is with Flat Stanley, who was visiting with us that weekend.

I am certain my middle would beat me in anything that has to do with baseball or soccer. He has become very good at both -- as has my oldest -- and they are both playing both sports this spring. What am I going to do in the fall when my youngest is old enough for soccer? God help me, I hope the older two are going to be on the same team. They are every other year or so, but currently are not. Tonight we had three practices. My middle had to choose between soccer and baseball. This past week, as the season is underway, I've wondered "what have I done" regarding signing them up for both. My mom said, "go ahead and sign them up for soccer in the spring, too, I'll be around to help." And then barely a month later she passed away unexpectedly. Sometimes I forget she is gone. She seems so close. But my schedule is hectic.

Work is unusually busy as I am working on two special projects in addition to being six weeks into my newly expanded role (because of layoffs -- other people's, so my constant mantra is "I am grateful I have a job, thank God I have a job, at least I have a job!"). I assume this is an adjustment period and it will level off. It has to because I cannot continue at this crazy pace. (Again backed up in my personal writing with four venues I want to submit to, in the immediate future, never mind this blog).
I never did write about the things I was so proud of about my older two (related to post below). I can't remember my oldest's offhand, though right now I just asked him to help his youngest brother because I needed a break, and he actually did. The thing about my middle son is that one time we were shopping together and he brought his own money, and wanted to get some candy. He chose identical things for his older brother and similar things for his younger. When we got home, he realized one of the things he bought was defective (some sort of licking and dipping thing, or liquid candy poured on solid candy -- something with multiple pieces-parts, anyway). He never even considered that the messed up one be his brother's; he saved the perfect one for him.
Tonight would have been Pasta Night, but we put that on hold for a couple of months while we have sports or scouts (or sometimes both) every night of the week. I am feeling like my social life is waning, and considering joining a gym. Seems kind of wacky since it is now time to be out on the bike path again, but perhaps a good way to offset all the Easter candy that I have been consuming and other stress eating I've been doing.
Blah blah blaaaaaahg. I really need to write more than once a month!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The day the TV broke

It was Saturday. I had to take the dog out for a walk. My youngest was with his dad and the older two were watching a show. I was just going to walk around the block so I figured I'd leave them peacefully on the couches -- they were both wiped out after soccer on a cold rainy morning. Dog is slow and walking him can be painful. What was more painful was when I got home and the boys began trying to out-tattle each other about who broke the TV. Apparently they were throwing Jenga blocks (those blocks have never been used for anything other than building and throwing, and each time I get close to collecting them all so I can donate the complete set to the goodwill bin at the supermarket, they get dumped out and redistributed. (It happened twice during the TV breaking weekend, when a ceramic piggy bank was also broken.).

I told the boys I didn't really care who threw the actual block that broke the TV. (The glass was not shattered, the picture is just ruined). Since they were both throwing them they are both responsible. I think they were surprised that I didn't yell at them. But I was exhausted after having to hold their freezing an unhappy brother for nearly an hour and a half at soccer, and then whatever else happened between that and the dog walking -- oh, right, my oldest's baseball practice at the batting cages and my trip to the supermarket to prepare for the dinner party I was planning for them and their friends that night (I was fuming and I really wanted to cancel their dinner party, but didn't want to punish their friends), complete with egg coloring and decorate your own cupcake -- I just told them "oh, well, I guess that will be the TV you watch for the next five years."
I rarely watch TV in the living room so it doesn't have to be my problem. The bummer is, it was a brand new flat screen TV that we got at Christmas time. A couple of my friends asked if it was under warranty. Duh, I don't think the warranty would cover user errors like Jenga negligence.
The good news is, the kids are watching less TV and are actually spending time in the basement (with their X-Box!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A room of his own

My oldest has his own room now. I caved and gave him the guest room/office. It is much better to have the kids separated. Now they all have equal space. The younger two share a huge room that was once two rooms -- the only thing is, the door is on my middle son's side and the closet is on the youngest's side. I have the room divided by a curtain and Uncle said he could build some sort of wall there if we want. Maybe. I like the idea of kids sharing a room. I liked all three of them together. But the room really was too cramped.

Now here's my office. (Well, there it is above. Why can't I get the pictures in here where I want them!? Arghhhhhh!)

So, the day I moved all the furniture around -- look where they end up! (Again, above.)

But no one will see it

I set up the nativity in the back yard again this year. In the past it has been out front near the fire hydrant that is on our property, and...