Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Couldn't MAKE UP Material This Good

Maybe my sense of humor is just better now that grades have been turned in for the semester, but it seems like funny stuff is going on all around me lately. Some examples:

From around town
-A few weeks ago someone put a (real) stuffed bear on the roof of the Catholic Newman Center at the University campus. We pass it every morning when we drop Faisal off for school. One day last week Eva said, "What's that bear doing up there?!" "Probably growling," replied Daniel, totally serious.

On Friday, when Eva said, "What's that bear doing up there?!" Daniel said, "Hanging Christmas lights." Sure enough, someone had put a Santa hat on the bear and a string of Christmas lights in its paws.

Sadly, there was a wicked snow and wind storm Sunday, and the bear is no longer on the roof. I will hope that he was safely removed and not blown off.

-The same day we saw the bear with the Santa hat (in fact, immediately afterwards), I noticed that the car in front of us had a little Pekingese dog in its back window. A little Pekingese dog wearing a sweater. And eating a donut. With sprinkles. No joke.

From church
-As I've previously posted, I will be singing this coming Sunday in our church's Christmas Cantata. This past weekend, we were rehearsing a song that contains the line, "Watching wise men journey in a tiny caravan..." when the conductor stopped us to tell the guys in the back row (all adult professionals) to quit talking. "I know what you're laughing at," the conductor said. "Guys! Why didn't we get a bigger van?!" one of the guys in the back row blurted out. Great. Now nobody can sing that line without laughing.

-The kids had their Christmas program at church (Kyle has a video on his blog if you're interested). Daniel and Eva did about how you'd expect a 2- and 4-year old to do on a stage in a costume. At one point, though, there was a trio of 3-year old boys who were supposed to share a microphone to sing one verse of one song. One of the kids, though, pushed the other two out of the way, grabbed the mic, and put it right on his mouth. Of course, then, the other two kids started jockeying for their turn, and it turned into a bunch of pushing and trying to outdo each other's singing. The director of the play tipped the mic so none of them could reach it, causing them to finish the verse on tiptoe or jumping. I laughed so hard I cried.

-Friday we took the kids to Parents' Night Out, a free monthly babysitting service put on by one of the campus ministries at Truman. You basically drop your kids off at a local church for the evening, and the college students play with them, help them make a craft, and show them a movie. When I went to pick Daniel up, we were attempting to identify his craft bag from among the rows of colored-on paper bags. "Here it is!" Daniel said, grabbing a bag. "Does it say Daniel on it?" asked the student who had escorted me back to get him. The bag was prominently labeled (in one of the college students' handwriting) as "Weirk." "Oh, that's his dragon name," I said casually, before realizing that this makes me sound like a total lunatic. This student didn't even flinch, though, but smiled and said "Oh, okay!" and led us back into the hall. Thank goodness for her and for whoever humored Daniel by writing Weirk on his bag. Good to know that somebody else can appreciate our son's (frequently assumed) dragon identity.

From the mouths of our children
-The other day Eva was pointing out the window and saying something about a passing truck. It took me a minute to figure out that she was calling this pickup a "Pull-up truck." Potty training is coming along.

-Come to think of it, Eva says a lot of funny things. For breakfast she likes to have "eatmeal" or yogurt with "knowla" in it (what can I say, the girl likes her oats). She calls her Winnie the Pooh "Poop Bear," and recently told her feverish brother, "Don't worry, Daniel. Daddy's getting you some Tylephone."

-Not to be outdone, Daniel recently told Eva (who was playing dress-up), "Eva, you're the prettiest blutterfly I never sawn."

-Daniel has also recently taken to using the adjective "man-sized" to refer to things. Like, "That's a man-sized candy bar there!" or "Whew! That was a man-sized sneeze!" I have no idea where he picked that up, as it is probably the last thing that would ever come out of Kyle's or my mouth.

...So there you have it. A bunch of stuff that may or may not be as funny to you as it is to me. At least it's saved for posterity, in digital form, to embarrass my kids in 10-12 years.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Anger Management

Daniel is very interested in dragons and superheroes these days, so we've been letting him watch movies like The Incredibles and How to Train Your Dragon. He played these kinds of roles before we let him watch the movies, but sometimes I wonder whether we're feeding some very violent kinds of play. Today, for instance, he convinced me to partake in a rousing game of Trucks vs. Dragons. First, we had to line everything up like this:

The rules of this game, roughly quoted as he explained them to me are:

"Okay, so the Old Person (referring to me) takes the trucks, and I take the dragons, and they just PUNCH into each other really hard like they're trying to break something, 'cause these are REALLY mean dragons. Oh yeah, and Eva has all the flying things (referring to a plane, a helicopter, and Buzz Lightyear), and they're just going to stay over there and watch."

This was pretty much how the game went down, except that we had to start over a couple of times because I was not driving the trucks fast enough or hitting the dragons hard enough, and because eventually he decided that the dragons were going to pick up the trucks, "fly them in the air," and then drop them in a heap of ruins down the hallway. Here was the carnage at the end of all this:

I have to admit that I got bored pretty fast with the reality of Trucks vs. Dragons, despite my amusement with the name and object of the game. Once the trucks had been thoroughly destroyed, I took a break to make a phone call. In typical kid fashion, Daniel and Eva devolved into a screaming, hitting fight two feet from me the instant I got someone on the line. I finished the call with a lot of "uh-huh's," hoping that I sounded like I was hearing and understanding my end of the conversation. I hung up and very sharply explained that this behavior was not acceptable, and that now the person I was talking to likely has a terrible impression of both me and my rude, rude children.

Daniel then started into what seemed like an unrelated ramble, telling me all about the counselor at his school, and how she came to his class today and told them that sometimes kids have strong feelings, and might need to find something to do to calm down those strong feelings, like jump on a trampoline, or ride bikes, or run around in the yard, or take deep breaths, or sing a song or count to ten... Then he says to me, "Mommy, I see that you're having some strong feelings right now. I'm wondering if you should go jump on a trampoline or ride your bike or something."

Really, as a therapist I had to admire his use of the here and now in our session. I ended up telling him what a good idea that was, and how maybe I could just use a few minutes ALONE to take some deep breaths. Maybe I should have just asked to play another round of Trucks vs. Dragons.