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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Can’t See Your Eye for that Mouth of Yours

Braedyn’s 6th birthday proved to be an interesting roller coaster of ups and downs.

First, both Greg and I volunteered in his Kindergarten classroom, which he felt was quite a treat. BUT, he had a sub in his class, so he didn’t get all the usual birthday perks that his teacher usually provided birthday boys and girls. He took it in stride and enjoyed getting to hand out cookies to all the kids in the class as a way to celebrate his day. The best part about that was the cookies we brought turned all the kids’ lips and teeth black. It would have been chillingly zombie-like if it hadn’t been so dang cute.

Not really thinking, I had scheduled his 6-year wellness visit at the pediatrician’s on his birthday. Bad, mommy. Bad. However, the saving grace was he didn’t need any shots (not until the trip we’re all taking in a couple of weeks to get whatever it is we need for China). Greg suggested to Braedyn that “maybe Mommy will get you a treat after the doctor’s office.” Bad, daddy. Bad. Greg was thinking a little food treat, but Braedyn heard “treat” and instantly set his mind on a toy. And when I say “set his mind”, I mean the idea of a toy was like a snare catching a big, bad ass animal and not letting go. Since it was his birthday, I decided, against my better judgment, to take him to to a big, horrible, mega-store and let him pick out something less than $5.

Sigh.

Everything he wanted was of course more than $5, but I had drawn the line in the sand and I wasn’t wavering in my resolve. In fact, we talked about how he needed to find something that had a price starting with a 5 and then a period. It was a good life lesson, right? Well, I let him mull it over and look up and down the aisles… Look up and down the aisles and mull it over… *yawn* There was a complaint here and there about how he wanted things that were over $5, but I let them slide. It was his birthday after all. So, after an HOUR of this mulling and looking, I told him he had 5 minutes to decide. Tears. I calmly explained to him that this was supposed to be a small treat for being good at the doctor’s office and not a birthday present. I also explained to him that his aunts and uncles were looking for ideas of what to get him, so we could make a list of the toys he would like. With the 2 minute warning, I got screams. When I told him he had to pick, he told me I was mean because he wanted toys that were over $5.

*snap* <----- That would be the sound of the straw breaking the camel’s back.

I then told him CALMLY that we were leaving without anything, that he no longer was going to get a toy because his behavior was unacceptable. I’m certain people on the other side of the mega-square-foot store could hear the shriek that came from my son at that moment. Since I had already picked out a couple of other necessities from the evil, mega-corp, I still had go through the check out - with a tantruming 6 year old. I was wishing for a hot poker to the eye instead, but since I had no such luck, I had to endure. The woman ahead of us was telling the checker “that she’s never had any, and for that she was glad.” Kids. I’m sure she meant kids. Then another woman came up to me and put her arm around me and said, “You are doing a great job.” I’m fairly certain she meant that and wasn’t just being sarcastic. I think.

Since he still hadn’t let go of the $5 toy he grabbed when I told him time was up, I had to tell him we were not leaving the store with the toy. It was time to put it down. A young employee of the nefarious, mega-corp was trying to help me by telling Braedyn that if he left with the toy, the alarms would sound and he’d be arrested. Apparently that was enough for the iron grip to release. Then the employee offered him a piece of candy. I was thinking, “That’s nice. She must be handing out Halloween candy.” Um, that would be a no. Instead she pulled out an open bag of gummy worms that she obviously had during a recent break. Then I did a horrible thing. I let him have one. From an open bag. From a stranger. I guess in my desire to get the hell out of the store without another meltdown from my son, I said yes. Not an excuse, but still. It still makes me shudder to think of it now.

So things got back to normal after that. My obviously very tired son would not take a nap before we left for dinner at his favorite “lunch house”, Red Robin. What a treat that ended up being! No sarcasm here. Seriously! It was a blast! We happened to go on a night we never usually go on, and it was “Kids Night”. We had a magician doing tricks at our table that had the kids doing some serious jaw-dropping. Then there were the free ice cream sundaes and birthday song by the employees. And if that weren’t enough, there was an animal balloon maker wowing a slew of kids, mine included. The guy was absolutely amazing, and after my own balloon fiasco, I have an amazing amount of respect for his craft.

The most difficult thing that happened, for me anyway, was not the tantrum in the mega store, if you can believe it. It was a girl walking past us on our way to our car. She had a very large birthmark around her eye, and once I saw it I was nervous that Braedyn would say something. You know, since kids have that knack for pointing out things that seem different to them at some of the most awkward times. I glanced over to him just as his pointing finger was aiming, and as she walked passed us:

Braedyn: Hey, look at her eye!

The girl: Oh, THAT’s nice.

Me: He’s six. He doesn’t understand.

The girl: Fucking kid.

Me: I will explain it to him.

I am SO grateful the kids didn’t hear her swearing, and once in the car, we promptly had a discussion about birthmarks. We explained that it could hurt people’s feelings when you point out things that are different about them. We followed that up with a discussion that being different doesn’t make one bad or scary. We explained that we needed to be considerate of others’ feelings, so if they have a question about something they see that is different, they can always ask us. Of course, I’m saying this out of my mouth, but my head is thinking that I couldn’t see her eye for that ugly fucking mouth of hers. I understand it must be hard for her, and for that I am completely sympathetic. It’s just obvious that she either doesn’t have kids or has never been around any to see how they behave.

It was hurtful to me to hear someone say something so mean to my son. He wasn’t being mean; he didn’t do it to hurt her. When we had our talk with him, he said empathetically that he didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. He has a big heart, and I am very proud of him – even with a crazy tantrum thrown in once in a while. Keeps my parenting skills on their proverbial toes.

It’s hard to believe this all happened in one day. It was a lot for me; I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to my beautiful six year old boy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SOME Assembly Required.

I want to know what marketing genius came up with the idea to sell a toy that comes completely UNASSEMBLED. It’s brilliant. No costs associated with machine or child labor required to pre-assemble your nanoparticle toy.  The cost savings must be ENORMOUS. As such, screw anyone who tells you American kids are dumb.  Those people have never SEEN the toys that 5 year olds are putting together.

Braedyn has a birthday coming up and grandpa sent him a check and boy was he ready to spend it.  It just so happened the check was for the same amount as the BIONICLE he was just dying to get.  BTW, its capitalized because on all the packaging and in the books its always written out as BIONICLE, just incase you weren’t paying attention.

Not making this up.. B I O N I C L E.

So we went to the Toys-R-Us with new in store MiniMart (again, I am not making this up) where you can now pickup your iPod, BIONICLE, gallon of milk, all natural potato chips and a Hanson soda. I didn’t check to see if they had PBR and Clove cigarettes, but if they do, its a college students DREAM. 

“Dude, lets hit ToysRUs, you get the new Rock Band and the Drum Set while I get someone to score smokes and booze for us.”  A ONE STOP SHOP.

So we are browsing the aisle looking for the BIONICLE that he wants when he spots it.  The main character from the recently released direct to DVD BIONICLE:THE LEGEND REBORN in a LIMITED EDITION. It was the first and only time I have seen a 5 year old make a decision and stick to it. Instantly.

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I didn’t look closely at the box, or I would have noticed it said in GIANT BIONICLE lettering, 368 pieces.  It might as well have read “This toy contains more pieces than there are insurance lobbyists fighting health care reform.” 

Seriously.  The toy has 2 books of instructions and just in case you think I am making this up. Behold.  Book 1 & Book 2.  Even the boy was scared. See the fear.  Its real alright._IGP5676

 

So we buckled down.  We hit a couple road bumps, like missing pieces or the old man needing to get up and stretch, but after three Redbulls ( I just drank water) and TWO hours of assembly time it was complete and it was time for a nap (for me of course).

Behold BIONICLE MATA NUI with articulated fingers (assembled right here in Reno Nevada using child labor).

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Who are you again and why am I naked?

I am back.  I know, its been a long time since I have blogged.  I was kidnapped by agents of The Company.  I can’t talk about it, if I did, I would have to kill you.

After my daring escape I was left with severe injuries to my shoulder and right elbow.  Those coupled with my prior foot issues left me in a great deal of pain and crippled by night terrors of my torture and abuse from The Company. 

Really, its just so horrifying I can’t talk about it. 

So like any injured superspy I went to my local physician who subscribed a plethora of medications to help ease me back into society. These were not without side effects which were pointed out to me in a rather public way.

Several weeks ago the family attended another of Braedyn’s soccer games.  As we were heading toward the field I asked “which one are we on this week.”

Susanne replies “The same as last week.”

It was obvious to me that we were NOT headed towards the field we played on the week before so I say with absolute confidence (because you all know I am NEVER wrong) “no, we were on that field over there.”

My wife gives me a look that really couldn’t have been described any less than “are you fucking kidding me?” and says just as gently “UH NO, we were on THIS field over here,” pointing again in the WRONG direction (because you see, I KNOW I am right).

“Uh No, we sat right over there, “ I confidently point. 

At which point another mom from the soccer team replies. “No, that was the week before.  Last week we sat right here.” Pointing again in the opposite direction that MY PERFECT mind remembers.

And then Susanne leans over and says “Wow, those drugs did a real number on you.  I KNEW something was wrong last week.”

What? Me? In a complete altered state.  Well my dear readers, it turns out she was right (just this once we will let her pretend it happens more often than not).  I sat down (it so happens in almost the exact same spot as the prior week) and that’s when the small flashes of memory started coming back. 

It was like being in a really cool action movie, glimpses of memory coming back in quick little flashes, like in a Michael Bay movie where everything moves really fast and nothing makes any sense but you don’t care because it just LOOKS cool. Except it was flashes of my life which is more like the movie Parenthood except my wife is much hotter than Mary Steenburgen and I am so way better looking than Steve Martin, and funnier, except when I blog because I don’t want him to feel bad.

So it’s time for my meds again.  Now what was I doing and where are my pants?

Friday, October 2, 2009

You Yellin’ at ME?

Today was my second Friday volunteering for parent patrol at Braedyn’s school, where I help kids and parents cross the street. This volunteer job is not without its perks, let me tell you. I do get to make quite a fashion statement with my bright neon yellow jacket with the words PARENT PATROL across the back. And the hand-held stop sign gives such a rush of power. I mean, cars listen to me! My kids don’t even do that!

Stop

When asked if I would volunteer, of course I gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” I mean, what’s better than giving your self-esteem a boost doing your civic duty AND being a role model for your kids at the same time!? I did pick the busiest intersection however, which as a rookie parent patroller may not have been the wisest move. I did it in order to be right by the Kindergarten corner, so I could give sporadic glances over to my son in the play area.

So what – two cross walks. No biggie, you are thinking. Well, throw in soccer moms running late to school, cars coming from three directions, people coming from ALL directions, and you can see how this becomes a bit of a challenge.

Generally speaking, I get lots of “Go Parent Patrol” shout outs, many “good morning” acknowledgements, and lots of thank you’s. It is actually a nice way to start my Fridays.

And then, there are days like to today when a MOM YELLED AT ME WHILE DOING MY VOLUNTEER WORK. Yup. Yelled at me. She said that I can’t just jump in the street. Given how many cars and how many people were waiting on little ole me, I simply said, “I’m doing my best.” After she drove off, I kind of kicked myself for not ending that sentence with “bitch.”

I know it seems like an easy job, and for most of the time I am out there, it is. But there are about five minutes where the traffic, both auto and foot, is very high, and it is an intense job.

To that lady who yelled at my VOLUNTEER work today, I’d just like to say, if you think you can do a better job, I’ll show you where to get the brightly colored fashion-statement jacket, and I welcome you to do some VOLUNTEER work yourself. Bitch.