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!

family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Imagination Run Amok

When I picked up T.Puzzle after his first day back from spring break, his teacher immediately approached me as I entered the classroom.  I had to resist my fight or flight response.  Oh, how I wanted to run away.

She said, “We asked T.Puzzle what he did over break.  He told us he went to Africa.  Of course we didn’t think that was true.  We thought you would have certainly mentioned if you were traveling to Africa.  Then, he kept going with it.  When we asked him how he got there he said by plane.  What did you see there?  Giraffes and zebras.  Where did you stay?  He said he stayed at a hotel.”

Seems little mister had a whole array of imaginary African details.  He had his teachers and even the director of his school convinced for most of the day that we had gone to Africa.

For the record, we did not.

I am amused and frightened by this all at once.  Part of me is impressed a five year old could come up with such a believable, detailed story.  Part of me is very, very concerned.  Mostly I’m curious as to where we will ‘travel’ next.

T.Puzzle dressed as a lion for Halloween when he was a baby. Maybe his African dreams started then?
children, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Park Politics

Wise for their size.

Having spent spring break doing local things with my boys, we visited our share of parks. There was the park at the library, the park in our subdivision and the play area at the zoo.

My approach to the park experience, especially since the boys have mastered them in a physical sense, is to step back and let the social politics of parkdom unfold without intervening.

This is so much easier said than done.

Since the boys are older, they handle themselves well for the most part. There is less threat of spontaneous smack-downs so I can relax a little.

The part that I have to watch myself is if any of the other kids attempt to be mean to my boys. I find that sometimes even the quiet girls holed up in the cubby at the top of the slide use words that cut like daggers.

Here’s what one such little girl said to T.Puzzle when he tried to use the slide. “You can’t come up here. You can never be here while we are here. You have to go away forever!”

I heard some defensive words start to creep up my throat and as they almost toppled from my mouth, I bit my tongue and took a step back. As much as I was longing to intervene, I wanted T.Puzzle to handle it. j

He did. He sort stepped over the girl and her unfortunate minions, and slid away. T.Puzzle and Full Speed continued to ignore the girls and their ridiculous demands.

I learned a lot watching them.

The best way to handle mean people is to ignore them and live your life.

Spend time with the people who support you and slide away as fast as you can from the ones who don’t.