Little Boy History Lessons

martin-luther-king31This morning, I asked Bryce (age 6) if he knew who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, and why we celebrate him.

He responded with this…

“Yes, I know who he is.  He was a great man who went to jail, like thirty times, so that black people and white people could eat together.”

(Insert proud mom moment here.)

It’s a simple answer, yes.  A complete answer, no.  But through the eyes of a six-year-old, it’s one hell of a start.  🙂

Birthday Gifts

giphy-facebook_s[1]A conversation with my son, Bryce.   He will be turning five in a few weeks.

Me:   What do you want for your birthday?
Bryce:   A Dj set! (He then starts to imitate scratching records with motion and sound.)
Me:   So you can drop a fresh beat?
Bryce:   Yes!
Me:   Where did you learn about DJ turntables and scratching records?
Bryce:   America’s Cutest Cats!

Happy Friday everyone!

Wanda Says…Random Thoughts, Fancy Cars, Play-Doh and TMI.

cleaning ladyMy house is a bit of a mess and I keep waiting for someone else in this family to take some initiative and clean it.  Then I remind myself that everyone else is waiting for me to do it because as a stay home mom, that’s my job.  I’m looking at the floors and thinking I need a raise.  Or a glass of wine while I contemplate when I may feel like getting around to some housework.

I’m tired all the time.  I thought once I started working out a lot that I would have all this boundless energy.  All I have is sore muscles, some new muscles,  and constant cravings for caffeine and meat.

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Every Tuesday and Thursday when I go to the gym, there’s a black, Rolls Royce Wraith in the parking lot.  Seriously.  A freaking Rolls Royce!  Every week I see this car and I think…Really?  Because that’s your casual car?

Would you drive this to the gym?

Bryce has been begging me all day to play with his play-doh.  I hate play-doh.  It took forever to clean up the mess he made yesterday with his play-doh, and I just want it to disappear.  He likes to take several different colors, squish them all together and then shape it into a puddle.  Then he brings it to me and says, “Here’s another pool of vomit, mommy!”  He makes these “pools of vomit” and then expects me to save it and display it on the fireplace mantel.  He gets upset when I try to secretly throw them away.  He notices when they disappear from the mantel.  He doesn’t believe me anymore when I tell him I’m saving them in a special, secret location.  Did I mention that I hate play-doh?

My husband had to fly to Oakland today for a meeting with one of his clients.  He’s in the e-commerce business and he works with a variety of online retailers.   This particular client happens to be a company that makes products exclusively for adults.  *Ahem*  To be more specific, they sell sex toys.  Apparently, during the meeting, the company gave out goodie bags to all the executives.  He texted me a picture of the bag and said, “I can’t wait to go through TSA at the airport.”  He won’t tell me what’s in the bag.  He says it’s a surprise.  I don’t actually care about what’s in the gift bag, but I would give almost anything to watch him go through airport security with that bag.  It was a day trip so he didn’t take luggage with him.  It should make him feel better that everyone from his company got a gift bag, so they all have to go through airport security together, with sex toys in their possession.  (I’m crying laughing just thinking about it!)

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Because I won’t put up a picture of a sex toy, its funny, and topically, it’s somewhat relevant.

Have a great weekend!  😉

Wanda Says…On My Son’s Opinion of Green Poop.

shamrockParenting children is so glamorous. If I’m not pulling teeth, wiping bums, or determining the source of crusty residue left on various surfaces, then I’m a scientist/medical doctor in training attempting to help my children decipher their bodily functions and the source of any problems that arise.

I apologize for the gross topic of this post, but I had this conversation with my four year old son this morning, and for a lack of anything more interesting to write about, decided to share the poop story love with all of you.

You’re welcome, world.

This morning I heard Bryce muttering to himself in the bathroom.

Bryce:  Why is my poop green?  What makes green poop?

Me:  Is something wrong?  Do you need help?

Bryce:  Yes.  My poop is green mommy.

(I joined him in the bathroom, and yes, his poop was a shamrock green color.  WTH?)

Bryce:  Why?

Me:  I don’t know, buddy.  Maybe it has something to do with the blue icing you ate last night on the cake.  But it will be ok.  Poop changes color sometimes based on what you eat.

Bryce:  So the blue icing and the chocolate cake made green poop?!

Me:  I’m not sure.

red velvet cupakeBryce:  What does red and green make?

Me:  Probably a brownish-gray color.  Why?

Bryce:  Well, then to turn my poop brown again, I need to eat some Red Velvet cake!  Can you get some of that for me, because we need to fix this!

LOL!  Little boy problems are so fun.  I heard him talking to himself a while later saying, “I never should have eaten that chocolate cake!”   😉

 

Update:  About two hours after I posted this, my family and I were shopping at the local mall, picking up some clothes for the kids.  In the middle of the girls department at Macy’s, I look over and Bryce has his pants down around his ankles, his underwear around his knees, bare-ass, inspecting the inside of his underwear!  He was so worried about the green poop, he said, with big fat tears in his eyes and a sad look on his face, “I had to make sure the green poop didn’t get into my underwear.”   We left the store and got him a Red Velvet cupcake just to ease his worries.  🙂

Wanda Says…No Bandits!

kid walking to schoolMy daughter Bryn is ten years old and in the fifth grade.  We live one block from her school.  At the beginning of the school year she begged me to let her walk to school by herself.  She had a convincing argument.  She said, “It’s only a block, mom, and I’m old enough to walk a block by myself.” (To be read with the required level of pre-teen sarcasm and eye rolling).

She’s right, of course.  When I was her age we played outside every day after school, running around the neighborhood, riding our bikes everywhere.  As long as we were home by the time the street lights came on, our mom wouldn’t stand in the yard shouting our names until we came running.  She is old enough to walk a block, and farther, by herself.

But life today isn’t the same as when I was her age.  The dangers are real, and I do not trust the general population with the safety of my children. I think most people are genuinely caring and look out for kids in their neighborhoods, but it’s the person late for work that accelerates too quickly down their driveway without watching for school age kids on the sidewalk, and the child predators who look like nice people just wanting to stop and chat for a few seconds that scare the shit out of me.  I feel bad that she isn’t allowed to run the neighborhood like I did at her age, but none of her friends are allowed to do that either.  All of her friend’s parents are just as cautious as I am.

But she’s ten, and she is responsible and knows how to cross a street, watch for traffic, and not talk to strangers.  I can’t choose to hold her back from something that is developmentally appropriate and allows her to grow because it scares me.  So the least I can do to allow her some measure of independence is to let her walk to school by herself.  She loves it.  She feels like such a big girl, and I love seeing that look of satisfaction on her face when she walks in the door after school.

But I hate it.  I hate not being there to watch over and protect her for the four minutes it takes her to walk one block.

I silently stress out every morning when we say good-bye at the front door.  I watch her walk down the driveway, and I don’t stop watching until she rounds the corner and is out of my line of sight.  And then I surreptitiously keep my eye on the clock.  I know that as long as the school doesn’t call here by 9am that she made it safely.  I start watching the clock again at 2:30pm. She’s usually home by 2:40pm, and then I take a deep breath and relax.

This is what I look like when I'm protecting my kids.  For real.

This is what I look like when I’m protecting my kids. For real.

I know this sounds obsessive and crazy.  Especially to a younger person who has never had kids.  But having children changes you.  Having children brings out your protective instincts in a way nothing else can.  I became the mother bear.  I am that dangerous female Grizzly that will rip your throat out if you even think about physically harming one of my children.  And I’m not alone.  Thankfully, I’m in good company with all the other Grizzly mothers at Bryn’s school.  We all agree that allowing our children to walk to school at a certain age is a necessary risk to help them mature, grow and learn to be responsible for themselves and recognize potentially dangerous situations and how to handle them.   They need to know how to apply and use all the advice we’ve given them. “Look both ways before you cross the street, don’t talk to strangers, be aware of who’s around you and if someone approaches you and tries to get you to go with them, you drop your backpack, scream for help and run like hell is chasing you.”  Well, I didn’t give her that last bit of advice in exactly those words, but she got the message.

No Bandits!

So, I let her walk to school.  The first few weeks were the hardest for me.  About three weeks in I was sort of grilling her at the dinner table, trying to be nonchalant and casual about it.  I didn’t want to be up in her face with overly detailed questions, but I wanted to know how it was going.  I was obsessing, and I guess I wasn’t as subtle as I’d hoped because she looked at me and said, “It’s good, mom.  There’s no bandits!”  As she said this, she winked at me in a jaunty way and made finger guns.  LOL!

In that moment she made me laugh out loud with her cheeky sense of humor, eased my fears and reassured me that she truly is a big girl, which broke my heart a little too.  Now every morning when she leaves for school and kisses all of us good-bye, we all say, “No Bandits!”   🙂

Wanda Says…Why my husband’s gaming privileges are about to be revoked.

boy playing video gameA couple of days after my last post, On the subject of video games and prison lingo, this conversation took place with Bryce about another video game.

Bryce:  Mommy, will you watch me play this game?  It’s pretty cool.

Me:  Sure, I can watch for a few minutes.

Bryce:  Let me show you the characters first.

He starts flipping through these pages of characters on the game.  The graphics of this game are also cartoons, but I realized right away that it’s more of an adult cartoon style.  At least the detailed pictures were.  When the game is in play the characters all compress down into innocuous looking little people and they appear child-like.  But when you peruse the actual game roster the characters are all sexy fantasy creatures…who are well endowed and wearing very little clothing.  I saw picture after picture of female characters with their breasts hanging out and wearing small bikini style costumes to match their persona.  I was shocked, but Bryce didn’t seem to notice how exposed these characters were and the conversation continued…

Me:  I’m surprised daddy let you pick this game.

Bryce:  Why?  It’s fun.

He then shows me a picture of an exceptionally racy looking character and I almost choked on my tongue.

Me:  Who is that character?

Bryce:  She’s a Succubus.

Me:  For fuck’s sake!  (said quietly to myself so Bryce wouldn’t hear)

When I mentioned this little conversation to my husband, he had the decency to look embarrassed before he started laughing his ass off.  And when I mentioned writing this post to him he said, “What’s the big deal?  It’s a mythological creature……that could be painted on the hood of a Camaro.”

I rest my case.

On the subject of video games and prison lingo.

werewolfLast week Dan downloaded a new game to the ipad for Bryce.  The graphics of the game are cartoons, but the game is still a bit scary because all the enemies are monsters, like vampire bats and werewolves.

This was the conversation I had with Dan about the game last week.  Keep in mind that Bryce is only four years old, but because he has an older sister who loves video games, he’s more adept than most four year olds at playing them.

Dan:  I got this new game for Bryce.  At first you only had to shoot enemies with a bow and arrow, which didn’t strike me as being overly violent.  But now you have to defeat your enemies with a dagger, and that just seems too violent.

Me:  You think?  He’s four, and he has to defeat enemies with a dagger?  Is that the same game he asked me for help with the other day?  He told me he was in a “creepy situation” with a game and needed help getting out of the level.  I saw the vampire bats and told him to shut it off.”

(I want Dan and Bryce to have their own activities, you know, father/son stuff, so I don’t want to interfere.  Although I am a bit concerned, I’m trying to trust Dan’s judgment).

Dan:  Yeah, I’m not sure we’ll be keeping this game.

Two days later….

Dan:  Bryce, tell mommy what you did to the werewolf.

Bryce:  I shanked him with a shiv.

Me:  (epic sigh)

Wanda Says…On my son’s opinion of Corn Syrup.

boy with juiceMy kids love juice.

I don’t really serve them much juice because I know it’s the equivalent of giving them sugar water.  Now that they are a little older I buy reduced-sugar apple juice, or all natural juice boxes for their lunches.

Last week, in an attempt to switch things up a bit, my husband picked up some Sunny Delight at the store.  The kids love orange juice and he thought they would like it.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

As I was standing in the kitchen looking at the list of ingredients on the juice bottle, this is the conversation that went down as my son was drinking his orange juice….

Me:  Dan, this juice has corn syrup in it.  So we can finish the bottle, but let’s not buy this again.

Bryce:  This juice is delicious!  What’s corn syrup?

Me:  The syrup of corn.

Bryce:  I love the syrup of corn!

Me:  I’m just kidding Bryce.  It’s a sweetener made from corn and it’s really bad for you.

Bryce:  It’s not bad for me!  It’s so good for me!  I love this!  I love this corn syrup juice!

Me:  Well, enjoy it while it lasts because we’re not buying it again.

Bryce:  We are going to buy it again!  Aren’t we, daddy?  Right, daddy?  Right, daddy?  Say yes.  Say yes.  Say yes.

orange surpriseBased on Bryce’s behavior, I would say Sunny Delight is crack for kids.

Now he refers to Sunny Delight as corn syrup juice and everyday he asks for some.  Everyday he says, “Can I have corn syrup juice?  Corn syrup is so good for my body and you need to get me some more.  It’s good.  It’s soooooo good.  I love corn!  I will eat if for dinner if you put some syrup on it.”

Yeah, we are never buying this again.  Sorry, Sunny D.

 

Wanda Says…On my daughter’s opinion of wine and other nefarious substances.

Red RibbonThis week is Red Ribbon Week at my daughter’s elementary school.  You know, the whole ‘Just Say No to Drugs’ campaign. Yesterday was ‘Put Drugs To Sleep Pajama Day.’  Bryn wore her favorite pajamas to school and they had an assembly in the cafeteria.  Great.  No big deal.

I’m all for educating kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, until you (insert name of elementary school here) try and fuck with my wine.

My husband and I are causal drinkers.  We enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the evening.  We especially love wine.  It’s relaxing, it tastes good, and one glass at the end of a rough day is just enough to smooth out the edges of my stay-home-mommy-madness.

Bryn came home from school yesterday and this was the conversation she initiated with me:

Bryn:  Mom, we learned about drugs at school again this year, and guess what my teacher said.  Did you know that alcohol is the same as drugs?  Beer and wine is alcohol, and that’s the same as drugs.  My teacher said so.  So when you and daddy drink wine, you’re eating drugs.  When daddy drinks his Blue Moon Beer, he is eating drugs!  (She looks scandalized because now she thinks we’re drug addicts).

Me:  No, that’s not true.

Bryn:  Yes it is.  My teacher said so.

Me:  Bryn, alcohol is similar to drugs because if you consume too much of it, it can be harmful.  It can impair your senses and make you sick.  But if an adult drinks one or two glasses of beer or wine, it’s not the same as taking drugs.  Alcohol is not illegal like the drugs you’ve learned about.  It’s not the same.  It’s important for kids to learn about the dangers of drug use when you’re young so that when you are older you can make good choices and recognize unhealthy behavior, like taking drugs or drinking to much alcohol and acting irresponsibly.  Of course kids shouldn’t drink alcohol any more than they should do drugs, but an adult of legal age having a glass of wine is not the same as taking illegal drugs.

Bryn:  Yes it is.  My teacher said so.

Me:  Bryn, it isn’t the same.

Bryn:  Yes it is.

(At this point I’m trying not to raise my voice.)

Bryn:  I’m telling daddy that he eats drugs when he drinks his wine.

Me:  You go ahead and tell daddy that, and let me know how that works out for you.

After dinner, my husband poured himself a glass of wine.  I watched as Bryn eyed the wine with a practiced stink eye.  And then she said, “Daddy, guess what I learned at school today.”

I think I speak for both my husband and I, as well as many other parents of school age children when I say this…

Dear (Insert name of elementary school here), thank you for teaching my child that her parents, and most of her friends parents, are potential drug addicts.  Thank you for trying to deprive parents of the liquid life-support that we need in order for us to get through a school year.

How am I, and all the other parents, supposed to endure the endless hours of homework, common core bullshit, and instrument practice you send home each day?

screaming womanDo you have any idea how hard it is to sit for 15 minutes every night and listen to my child attempt to play the flute for the fifth grade band?  That shit is excruciating, and I can listen and be supportive and give her a thumbs up for her attempts to blow air into that God forsaken metal tube, and tolerate the horrific noise that sounds like dying birds only because of my dear friend, Chardonnay.

Chardonnay understands that I need to stay calm and composed when I am unable to help my daughter with her fifth grade math.  Pinot Grigio understands when my daughter has three to four hours of homework every night.  Sauvignon Blanc is prepared to help me comfort and calm my child when she is overwhelmed and exhausted over the ridiculous responsibilities and pressures put on elementary school kids.

Additionally, let’s consider the extensive volunteer responsibilities you demand of parents.  For example, the only way I am even willing to volunteer at the school Halloween carnival in the food booth line, standing on my feet for two hours asking a thousand people if they want cheese on their hamburger, is because I know I get to go home and enjoy a glass of wine after my shift!  You cannot ruin wine for me, so stop trying.

wineSo, (insert name of elementary school here), take a moment to consider the impossible position you just put two hundred parents in tonight, trying to reassure their kids that we don’t do drugs.  Better yet, why don’t you just calm down, and have a glass of wine.  🙂

 

Wanda Says…True Confessions: My parental failure as the Tooth Fairy

tooth fairyMy Tooth Fairy track record was spotless…until today.

Last Friday night our family attended the annual Halloween Carnival at Bryn’s school.  At some point during the carnival, Bryn was eating a candy bar and accidentally ate a loose tooth.  She told me later she felt something hard while she was chewing but thought it was a peanut in the candy bar so she just swallowed it.  She showed me the gap in her teeth when we got home, and she expressed her concern that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come because she didn’t have a tooth to leave under her pillow.  I assured her it wouldn’t matter and the Tooth Fairly would come.  Keep in mind, Bryn is ten years old now, so that should tell you how good I am at playing the Tooth Fairy.

But I forgot.  I totally forgot.  Last night, I went into Bryn’s room to say goodnight and to collect my nightly snuggles.  This is what I found on her bedside table…

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It was so cute and totally something Bryn would do.  And of course I felt horrible that I had forgotten.   So I said, “Oh, that’s really sweet Bryn.  I’m sure the Tooth Fairy will come tonight.”  And then Bryn says, “Well, that note has been sitting there for three days and she hasn’t come, so I doubt it.”

Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of my heart breaking.  It’s the sound of my failure as a mother.  My daughter left a note for the Tooth Fairy in plain sight on her bedside table, and not only did I forget that she lost a tooth, but I totally failed to recognize it or pay attention.  I am an asshole.  It doesn’t take a lot to remember to give your kid a dollar for a lost tooth.  It’s not hard.  And I blew it.  Later, I went to bed vowing to rectify this situation.

I woke up this morning and dressed.  I walked down the hall to wake Bryn up for school and saw that damn note sitting on her bedside table.  I forgot again!  What the fuck is wrong with me?!  So I crept back to my room, gathered enough change to equal a dollar, and snuck into her room.  I put the change on her table and then collected the note and put it in my pocket.

I woke her up and started to get her clothes together for her.  I casually mentioned that the Tooth Fairy finally came.  Bryn looks at the money, then looks at me with the most perceptive, adult expression I’ve ever seen her wear.  She then says, “I find it interesting that the Tooth Fairy finally came after I showed you the note last night.  You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you?”  And she smiles.  It was a knowing smile.  It was a ‘you’re-busted-and-you-can’t-deceive-me-any-longer’ smile.

I did the only thing I could at that point.  I confessed.  She’s ten, and I was lucky I got away with the charade as long as I did.   I looked at her and said, “You’re right.  I am the Tooth Fairy.  I am so sorry I forgot about your tooth, but you can’t tell your brother!”

LeprachaunShe took it well, which was a relief.  When she was in third grade I had to tell her that Leprechauns weren’t real and she lost her shit.  She was so pissed at me.  But her class was building Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day and she kept going on and on about how she was so sure the trap she designed would work.  So her response this morning was a welcome relief.  She smiled, hugged me and acted like it was no big deal.  She got her money, which at this point is probably more important to her than believing in the Tooth Fairy.

Despite her forgiveness and understanding, I still feel like a bad mom.  There are only so many things we can do for our kids to instill a sense of magic and wonder in the world.  And I suppose the fact that she is old enough to know the truth signifies the end of some of that magic.  And that makes me sad.  😦