Boo!

With the kids away, it’s pretty quiet around here. Just me and my husband and the dog. So you can understand why I was a bit surprised to hear my husband suddenly shout “BOO!” and burst out laughing at the other end of the house.

Apparently, he had headed down the hall and Rose had decided to follow. She was far enough behind that he was able to slip into the closet before she made it to our bedroom. She walked in, looked around, and walked back out. Then she paused, as if convincing herself that he had to be in the bedroom.

She then returned to the room, checked the bathroom, walked back out into the hallway, and again paused.

A third time, she walked into the room and looked around. This time she actually entered the closet, which is not very big, looked on my side of the closet, then turned and walked out without noticing the fairly large man taking up the other half.

This time, she walked farther down the hall so my husband stepped out of the closet and moved to the bathroom. The dog heard movement and hurried back in to investigate. When she passed in front of the door, he jumped out and yelled “BOO!” The dog reacted as one might predict, which cracked him up.

See, all this time I thought my children were away. But, no. The oldest one, the most childish, the one who will never move out, he’s still here. And I’m very happy about that.

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Ball Games

“Daddy, what is your favorite ball game? Like, baseball, football, you know.”

“Playing or watching? And if watching, on TV or in person?”

“Playing.”

“Let me think.”

Now, I knew the answer to this. Of course I did. Hockey uses a puck so that leaves soccer. I know my husband. We’ve been married for over half our lives. So why was it taking him so long to answer?

“Ok, well there’s several.” What?! “Which one I like best changes. But I’d say soccer, foosball, and bocce.”

“What’s bocce?”

“It’s a yard game. Oh, and I love me a mean game of bingo.”

I may know my husband better than anyone else does, but he still manages to surprise me. Then again, I should have known that he’d look beyond sports when asked about ball games. Anything to catch a person off guard.

I am my Brother’s Keeper

“What your brother does has no bearing on what you do. You are your own person.”

This was the catchphrase of the weekend. It was first coined by my wise husband but was directed to each of the three children at various points by both of us, in this form or with slight modification. As in this exchange:

“Daryl, will you please put your laundry away?”

“What about Hal?! Why doesn’t he have to put HIS laundry away?”

“What I ask your brother to do is irrelevant to what I have asked you to do. Please put away your laundry.”

“But Hal doesn’t have to put his away!”

The most ironic part of this exchange is that I had every intention of telling Hal to put his laundry away. I just wanted Daryl to go first so there would be enough room on the couch to sort Hal’s clothes into piles. This is a necessary aid if I expect the three-year old to put the laundry where it belongs.

Another time, Jane had been told to unload the dishwasher, which is her regular chore, but she was not in the kitchen.

“Jane, why aren’t you unloading the dishwasher?”

“Because I told Daryl about one of his chores that he hasn’t done and he’s still not in there doing it.”

“What your brother does or does not do is not your concern. Go unload the dishwasher.”

“No! It’s not fair. I don’t have to do my chore until he does his.”

And here’s an ever popular one. It happens the same no matter who you speak to first.

“Please go practice your viola.”

“But Daryl hasn’t practiced his violin yet!”

Children have such an incredible sense of fairness, at least when the perceived inequity harms them. If you give one a piece of candy, you must give all one or it’s not fair. If you tell one to do a chore, the other must do one too. If one gets to spend the night with a friend, you better have something planned for the other.

With the focused attention on “You are your own person”, I hope this weekend has made a difference. I hope they have begun to learn that you do the right thing, you do what your parents tell you, you do what needs to be done, regardless of what anyone else is doing.

It’s not an easy lesson for anyone to learn, children or adults, so I am sure the lesson will be repeated many times. We each have only control over our own actions. We can’t control what other people do, so there’s no point in living our lives in comparison. Furthermore, a person will not get very far in life if they wait to act until someone else has done something.

Some Hairy Beast

One of my children had just completed their shower and was approaching me in another room.

“Mommy, I think I need to start shaving.”
“No you don’t. You are too young.”
“No I’m not! Just look at me! I’m getting so hairy and it’s even worse when I’m dry!”
“Nobody shaves their arms, Daryl, and men don’t shave their legs.”
“WHAT??!! Are you serious?! I’m just supposed to turn into some hairy beast?! I could become a whole new species of animal!”

The concerned child was my eight year old son. I had my back to him when he began speaking. I thought he was referring to an area that he would most likely shave at some point: his face. My natural response was Really? That baby face? You’ve got to be kidding me! So I was more than a bit surprised to turn around and see him, not rubbing his chin, but holding his wet arm up near his face and rubbing the fine blond hairs around.

I don’t think he even heard me ask “Have you seen your father?” He was too busy ranting about his pending metamorphosis into a hairy beast, which actually isn’t that far from reality if he takes after his father. My husband’s chest hair rivals that of Tom Selleck. And his beard, I’m not exaggerating, would put ZZ Top to shame. I just measured it at 18 inches from his chin. Not too long ago, he cut 8 inches to even it out, which was necessary after an encounter with an electric drill removed a chunk of it. He now routinely ties it in a knot to keep it out of his way. And he deftly tucks it under his shirt to eat.

I guess I should assure my son that he will not become a new species of animal, even if he does become a hairy beast. His father already beat him to it.