children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Shower Space

Siblings often are the people you love to hate.  When you are growing up they are your biggest competitors for just about everything.  If you are lucky, they are your biggest supporters, too.

Recently, Full Speed has become more and more frustrated with T.Puzzle.  I’ve definitely noticed the developmental gap widening between them.  Somehow, second grade seems almost light years away from kindergarten.   Eventually, T.Puzzle will catch-up to Full Speed and this gap will be much less noticeable.  Until then, it is T.Puzzle’s absolute delight to torment his older brother.

After a particularly challenging afternoon of brotherly quarreling, Full Speed was done.  We were all upstairs when Full Speed marched up to me and declared, “I’m going downstairs to take my shower.  I want to do it by MYSELF! T.Puzzle can do his after.”  The normal routine is to have them both head in to shower at the same time, but sensing Full Speed was ready to snap I acquiesced to his request.

He proceeded to trounce determinedly downstairs to get started.  T.Puzzle and I remained upstairs while I finished putting away some laundry.  I started to feel a little sad seeing Full Speed wanting his independence from his brother.

About two minutes later Full Speed comes racing back upstairs and zips into my bedroom.  I looked up, startled, and asked him what he needed.

“Um, actually, it’s pretty scary downstairs all by myself.  I think I want T.Puzzle to come with me.”

And just like that, the bonds of brotherhood were renewed.

Brothers for life!
Brothers for life!
children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Choked Up

We had friends over this weekend.  As the adults were sitting outside on the lanai, my friend’s son comes racing out to announce that “T.Puzzle is choking!”  We weren’t too concerned as he had just been reprimanded for being a poor sport over a Wii game.  He was full of tears and snot so we figured he was ‘choking’ as part of his tantrum.  Mad Dog went upstairs to investigate.  What did he find?  T.Puzzle straddling Full Speed with both of his hands wrapped tightly around his older brother’s neck.  Full Speed was so stunned by this choking attack he wasn’t even trying to defend himself.

Thankfully, Full Speed was uninjured.  And, thankfully, this happened around the kind of friends who understand that kids lose it and still love us anyway.  I tried to imagine if we were only acquaintances how T.Puzzle’s behavior would have gone over.  Something like, “Their house was lovely but man, that T.Puzzle is CRAZY!  Watch your backs!”

Of course T.Puzzle was punished for his temporary loss of sanity.  Mad Dog and I tried to keep it in perspective.  Imagine no matter how hard you tried or how fast you ran, you never, ever get to beat your older brother at anything.  That has to be a pretty frustrating way to live.

So, even though we understand his motivation, we will never condone choking your brother out.

Technically I guess that is one thing T.Puzzle is better at.

T.Puzzle as a toddler showing 4 year old Full Speed glimpses of attacks to come.
T.Puzzle as a toddler showing 5-year-old Full Speed glimpses of future attacks.
children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Always Do Your Best

We are finally home from a ten-day trip.  We had an awesome time in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Here are a few things I learned:

1. Directions in unfamiliar territory seem to be a hot-button issue in my marriage.  I don’t know what it is about not knowing where you are at that brings out the worst in me and my beloved.  Regardless of a few tense moments, we always managed to reach our destination.  For the most part, we also managed to still love each other even if we didn’t always like each other in the process.

2.  Spending time with my nieces and nephew was fantastic.  If I had it my way, I would have all my nieces and nephews live on my street and have them over as much as possible.

3.  No matter where you put my boys, they are in a constant competition with life and each other.  They had an hour-long debate over who came in first in a go-cart race.  If I thought Mad Dog and I were heated over directions, it was nothing compared to the constant chatter of winner vs. loser between our boys.  And, unfortunately, they never ever agreed to disagree.  Made for some long rides back to our cabin.

4.  So, their competitive streak has its downside, but surprisingly, it also has an immense upside.  We were at Dixie Stampede which is Dolly Parton’s dinner attraction.  The boys were selected by our server to be in a chicken chasing competition.  They strategized from the moment they were selected.  Full Speed instructed T.Puzzle where and how to run.  T.Puzzle was overwhelmed at first by the enormity of the arena and the crowd.  He stood quaking at the side of the gate right before they were sent in.  Once inside the big, gaping, dust-covered space, he looked at Full Speed and they both got that look of determination on their faces.  When the chickens were released, theirs didn’t stand a chance.  Full Speed ran so intensely after it he fell down nearly crushing the chicken.  They worked as a team and ran with such fire, the other two boys on the opposing side looked as if they were moving in slow-motion.  Even after they successfully crossed the finish line, T.Puzzle kept chasing his chicken.  He almost ran it all the way back to where the rest of show animals were being housed.

The boys show off their victory medals with pride.  Thank goodness they were on the same team!
The boys show off their victory medals with pride. Thank goodness they were on the same team!

I may get frustrated by the intensity of my boys, but I have to say, seeing them give their all in everything they do, even chasing a chicken, keeps me inspired to always do my best.

It’s good to be home!

children, family, health, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

That Bites

On our ride home from school, T.Puzzle complained of a mosquito bite on his elbow.

Full Speed shared his thoughts.

“I hope it wasn’t from a mosquito infected with West Nile or malaria.”

“What are those?,” asked poor, sweet T.Puzzle.

Before I had a chance to shut down Mr. Encyclopedia of Dangerous Facts, Full Speed went on to state how they are both deadly diseases and last year alone malaria killed nearly ONE MILLION people.  I could see him in the rear view mirror as he gesticulated vigorously to bring his point home.  He then leaned back in a just-terrified-my-little-brother, satisfied sort of way.

For T.Puzzle, mosquito bites are like having a big brother.  They are persistent and a threat to your well-being.

Even on the soccer field Full Speed orders around his little brother.  No wonder T.Puzzle's so feisty!
Even on the soccer field Full Speed orders around his little brother. No wonder T.Puzzle’s so feisty!
children, humor, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Count Me Out

Full Speed has a tendency to wake up angry. He naturally channels this anger at his brother which often culminates in physical violence. Full Speed was feeling extra saucy this morning and released a flurry of kicks and punches upon his brother. When it came time to brush teeth Full Speed had managed to stop the physical attacks (thanks to some threats and coaching from Mom). Instead, he attempted to keep his little brother intimidated by striking a menacing pose topped off with a fierce grimace. After being mostly whiny (and who can blame him?) T.Puzzle had enough and finally fought back landing a blow squarely on Full Speed’s stomach. At this point I didn’t care who started it, who kept it going or whatever.

“Guys, knock it off. The next person that hits or kicks their brother is getting their first strike of the day. You know the rule, hands and feet to yourselves while we brush teeth.”

Full Speed denied any culpability and surprisingly didn’t throw T.Puzzle under the bus, “Mom, T.Puzzle used his elbow so it doesn’t count.”

That’s when Mom started to count to keep her own aggression at bay.

I ended up counting to a million and seven.