There’s A Story Here

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There’s a story here.

I’m not sure what the story is, but this is definitely not some random collection of dropped toys. Someone very deliberately arranged them exactly how he wanted them.

What story is he trying to tell, I wonder?

Is the circle of vehicles friendly or hostile?

Is the fireman in trouble or leading the group?

If leading, are they up to no good or about to save the world?

Is it significant that the fireman’s fire extinguisher is a foot away, well out of his reach?

Why is he lying down?

Maybe that indicates he’s in trouble. But I could have sworn the Autobots were the good guys. Maybe they found him collapsed and are now asking if he’s ok.

When did they assemble?

And why weren’t they put away when their creator went to bed?

And did I really need to use the flash, thereby exposing to the world how desperately we need to vacuum?

I’ll just ask that you pretend that’s the only part of the carpet that looks like that. And I’ll have to ask the boy to tell me the story. I know he’s got one.

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Riding in Cars with… Whomever

I am still trying to teach my husband the proper way to interact with other people in certain social situations. I’ve been trying for quite some time now and so far my teaching skills have proved sorely lacking.

Take today, for example. A friend and former coworker stopped by for a tour of the studio and to say hello. Our plan was to go out to eat lunch afterwards. This friend is still in his twenties, single, no kids – still enjoying a much more carefree life than ours. In fact, he ended up being a bit late because he was slow to get up after some heavy drinking at a party the night before. While he and my husband had met and like each other, he is essentially a stranger to Hal.

This doesn’t particularly bother Hal. You know how some kids have to try every public bathroom they encounter? As soon as you walk into a store or restaurant or someone’s house with such a kid, they immediately express an urgent need to use the facilities? Well, Hal has a similar obsession except his is an unquenchable desire to ride in other people’s cars.

As I walked into the house to get my things, I heard Hal ask the question.

“Daddy, can I ride in his car?”

I held my breath because I knew he would likely not answer appropriately.

“Well, Hal. That’s not up to me. You’ll need to ask him.”

Oh, no! I thought to myself. Wrong answer! See, my husband is of the opinion that everyone should be able to speak their mind and be truthful, no matter how uncomfortable. He’s not into the social niceties and hinting phrases that should be employed in situations like this.

By the time I got back outside, Hal was crawling into his booster seat that had been installed in the back of the other car. The friend was laughing. It sounded to me as if he was a bit in disbelief that he was about to transport our child into town in his car.

When I got into our car, I told my husband what he was supposed to say in a situation like that. “You don’t put people – especially people without kids – in a situation where they have to say no to a four-year-old. You just don’t do it. You should have said, ‘No, sweetheart. Why don’t you just ride with us?’ That way, if they are truly ok with him riding with them, they can say, ‘Oh, that’s ok. I don’t mind.’ But if they don’t want him to ride, you’ve let them off the hook.”

“If they don’t want him to ride with them, they should just say so.”

“Say no to a four-year-old?!”

“Yes. If they don’t want to do it.”

“Honey! You shouldn’t force people to do that.”

“I’m not going to serve as a barrier between my kids and other people.”

“Uggh! This is a tactful way to give them a way out if they don’t have it in them to tell the kid no but really aren’t comfortable taking the kid with them.”

“So what you are saying is that the next time a situation like this comes up, I need to tell him, ‘I don’t know. You need to go ask your mother.'”

“Well, I guess if you want it to go through two layers instead of just one, yes.”

“If that’s what it takes because I’m not going to do what you suggested.”

When they got to the restaurant right after us, I was waiting to open Hal’s door. “Is it everything you thought it would be?” I asked him.

The friend climbed out of the car laughing. “Oh, man, did we have some interesting conversations!”

I’m sure you did, buddy. I’m sure you did. The Facebook posts and blog entries pale in comparison to the real deal.

Garage Sale Frenzy

A wise woman waits until her children go to bed and then quietly gathers up the outgrown clothes and excess toys, books, and movies for a garage sale. A foolish woman takes her children to the garage sale that is reselling their pilfered possessions.

A woman such as me can fall from wisdom to foolishness with alarming speed.

And thus we found ourselves at the church garage sale. Everyone found items that they just absolutely had to have, thereby nicely replenishing the dent I had made in the accumulated “stuff” at home.

Hal found a singing Valentine’s bear that played “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes while a lighted sign spun in a circle and displayed messages. I always knew where he was because I could hear the bear. So could everyone else.

He also found a Cars jacket that he absolutely loved. I explained that it had been his when he was two but didn’t fit him anymore. “It doesn’t?”

“No, honey. See? It says ‘Infant, 24 months’. You aren’t an infant, are you? Not a baby?”

He agreed to put it back and then proceeded to point out all his other clothing including his dear Superman pants and Cars pajamas.

Jane came running to me all excited because she had found her favorite pair of her friend Madison’s shorts. “And the best part is that I don’t even have to try them on because I already know they fit!”

Daryl was livid when he looked through the DVDs and found Spy Kids and Woody Woodpecker and… “G Force! Daddy! She gave away G Force!” He glared at me as if we had become mortal enemies.

At one point, he showed me a crystal shaped perfume bottle. “Mommy, I thought this was a light, like a night light or something so I pressed the bottom like this {he pressed the ‘bottom’, which was really the top because he was holding it upside down} and then it sprayed on my face!”

After we paid for all of our new treasures, we drove down the road in our little Prius. After a few minutes, I grimaced. “Daryl. I really wish you hadn’t mistaken that perfume bottle for a light.”

It all started with a couple of matching trucks

Sitting at a traffic light with Hal.

“Mommy! There’s two trucks! Do you see them?”

“Yes, honey, I do.”

“No! Those two trucks over there! They are the same color!”

“Yes, Hal, I see them. They are both gray. One is bigger than the other one. Do you think one is the big brother and the other one is his little brother?”

“Yes!”

About then, a large red truck pulls up beside them.

“Look, Mommy! Another truck! It’s a red one!”

“Mm-hm. Is that their sister?”

“No. That’s the daddy.”

“How do you know it’s the daddy and not the sister?”

“Because their sister is dead.”

“Oh.”

Our light has turned green. As we pass in front of them, we see a white truck behind the little gray one in the turn lane.

“And the big white truck is the grandpa. And that other one is the mommy.”

“Ok.”

“And all the little cars are the grandmas.”

I am trying to not draw too many parallels between our make-believe truck family and Hal’s desires for our real one. Surely he loves his sister. Surely he does.