Playground Uprising

Sword Fighting

There are those among us who proclaim the perils of the sedative existence of a T.V. watching kiddo. These people are of course the folks who reside outside of the house of a boy who each day rolls up a legal size piece of paper and pops in Narnia in preparation for an all out epic battle of wills – likely concluding in an older boy grabbing his head and shrieking “Mom, Charlie is a sword fighting again.” And as I peak around the corner ~ the battle commences with jabs, and jolts, and leaps that could only make our one hundred and fifteen year old house feel like it just might not make it to the next century. Thus one not worry that these altercations are reserved for the T.V., I assure you that they rage at nap time as Charlie leaps upon his bed and peers into the mirrored wardrobe impressed by his dexterity, and in the grocery store as I ponder the advantages of fettuccine over rigatoni, and as one waits for our free Subaru oil change in the company of those who really just want to know the latest on the Casey Anthony trial.There are even little twinges of it as Charlie walks back down the aisle after attending children’s chapel, and though there are parts of me that are reluctant to claim the weapon wheeling bandit stalking the sanctuary ~ the one who corrected me yesterday when I said “Charlie, don’t you think it is a beautiful day?” To which he responded, “Mom that is something only princesses say ” ~but truth be known, I sure do love the gusto of boy who is willing to take on his world.


Game On – Again
December 31, 2009, 3:29 am
Filed under: Family, parenthood, parenting, potty training | Tags:

Today was Charlie’s first day in big boy underpants. Well perhaps second or third – FIRST – day if you count the other times we started and stopped to potty train Charlie because his dad ran out of hard liquor. We got off to a dry start thanks to the reminder from his preschool teacher that those absorbent training underwear really do beat the pants off of the Sponge Bob Leaky Pants designer ones we bought first go round. They provide the boy with a little coverage, a little “I got your backside Charlie” when the Backyardigans is on and there is no time for a station break. All in all the day was a big success. Success one – we are both still talking to each other. Success two – he put on the underwear without a single curse word (he knows several). Success three – he has mastered his stance (step on stool, stare backwards at the potty, brace you hands on the upper lid). Success four – we have all demonstrated our own canning ability to “pee the potty” and have rejoiced by wallowing down potty treats as we celebrate our own victories. Now as not to continue to parade our own accomplishment – we have had some minor technical difficulties. For one, though Charlie’s stance is good and his attitude solid – no complete sentence speaking human has yet to see any pee actually come out – which leaves a girl to wonder. But for now the boy is asleep and perhaps reminiscing about his earlier day’s visit to Victoria Secret to help his mom make some Christmas returns – when he shrieked – “look mom everyone here loves underwear” as he picked up a perfume bottle, turn it into a machine gun, and lit up the store. Updates to follow in 2010.

January 23, 2008, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Children, diet, Family


“So, Mac ~what is your favorite thing to eat?” Dr. X inquires as she walks into the exam room for the five-year old check-up.

 “McDonalds,” the boy offers boldly – assured he has gotten this test question RIGHT. Because, just that afternoon, after being subjected to yet another kindergarten readiness screening, I offered up the golden arches as a reward for a job DONE, not thinking our lunch scheme would enter into the afternoon interrogation. After all, I am a vegetarian and try to stay away from the slaughter – so  McDonalds drive -byes happen approximately three times a year – as a buy off for not yelling at or in the barbers, a reward for brotherly love, or when a minor hurricane  has shut down ALL other establishments offering food. A point I am too tired to offer up as Dr. X records a F next to “parent provides family with daily nutritious meals.” A fact further confirmed as she digs deeper and questions, “So Mac what type of green things do you have in your house?” And I am thinking, redemption, we have this baby in the bag – cause we gots spinach and endamame and green bean and peas – just falling out of the refrigerator. A homely image Mac fails to pull up as he replies– “Oh yes – I really like those green limes my daddy put in his DRINKS (extra emphasis on s) every single night.” Suppose  I should start joining daddy more often.  

Forgive Those That Have Sinned Against Me Today
October 15, 2007, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Children, church, Family, parenthood, parenting

 My mother’s fire alarm went off this morning at 2am and again at 4am and just for good measure gave one last boom about 7am. I am just finding out about this last one because it triggered neighboring bathrobes drawn by inquiring noses to fill firemen in on “my mother’s situation,” the one that has taken her away from her non-burning house for the last six months. So upon getting the call from who Mac refers to as “our local community helper” I casted on the pearl necklace, in anticipation for the mad dash to church upon my return from my begrudged excursion to wonderland. In return flight from my “deactivate the fire alarm and unclog the toilet (an added bonus) mission” which brought forth memories of an equaling blaring and disturbed childhood, I attempted to radio the troops and bribe them to suit up for battle. Such plans however were debunked as I spilled coffee on myself while banging on the steering wheel while pleading with a tapped out cell phone. Though never fear … because when I entered the house to retrieve my clan dad assured me that he had done “everything” and I was relieved until slowly puzzling together that “everything” did not include bathroom runs, or belt buckles, or tucked shirts, or explosive diapers, or small details such as shoes. So I did the only thing a good wife could do and yelled obscenities and stomped my feet and sent the two oldest and baddest boys out the door and down the alley to drop one off at the nursery before the other could arrive at the pew to pray for his transgressions … while I battled the nuclear fallout that no good nursery volunteer should have to be exposed. With that treasure complete, I made my own way to the church just in time to sit down next to a boy and his dad that somehow misinterpreted the phrase “take mac to the nursery.” So we wiggled and jiggled and enjoyed communion on a level that made one minister gasp aloud and required hand wipes on the returning trip down the aisle (don’t ask). And then we were home and then we were not … finding our way to the soccer field and then in a blink of the eye it was dark, as if justifying the earlier metaphor, and a dad and a boy were saying their prayers and thanking Jesus for our blessings to which Mac concluded, “And please oh please Jesus forgive ALL of the PEOPLE who have SINNED against ME today.” And so now we are cleansed … already to begin anew.

ON …Randy Pausch: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Have you heard of Randy Pausch? Regardless of your answer stop reading NOW and go to:

Glad you are back … more upstanding and hopeful than but an hour ago.

“The brick walls are there to stop the people that don’t want it badly enough … they are there to stop the other people.” An inclusive person by nature, I love Dr. Pausch’s version of other, as if the margins and the constitutions just might not apply to us. Perhaps we are more and meant for bigger – perhaps the graduate school rejections and fruit instead of chips in the lunch bag were all preparing us for something just a bit smarter: a belief in revision. A timely sentiment as the semester, well on its way, has me questioning my daily leave from of a block builder and magazine eater as I trot up 95 to teach my second family of approximately one-hundred, 20 year olds – soon to be transformative teachers and I pray they will set forth on the Pausch path… and as you await their arrival, their push for change – enjoy your families and your life and in Dr. Pausch’s words “keep having fun.”

** Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article (the one my dear husband brought home to me) that first brought me in:

** And this is Dr. Pausch’s webpage:

Hillary Country
September 18, 2007, 12:57 am
Filed under: Children, Family, politics

Hillary Country. It’s what the sign said as we rode slowly past Iowan cornfields on our way to the 30th annual Harkin Steak Fry. A gentle gathering of a record 12,000 people, come together in an open field in support of voice, whether it be Hillary, Obama, Richardson, Dodd, Biden or Edwards. They showed up and amidst a quarrelsome inducing commentary of a Republican husband brought forth by duress and a sister in law who marks fifteen hours days of political service more often by the vibration of a cell phone than a good nights sleep, the ring of democracy was clear. And the T-shirts, and the buttons, and the free beer reminded me of our greatest privilege as Americans – the right to vote. So show up come the primaries and vote your heart, whatever your bearings may be, and take your children, for soon enough they will drop their Sponge Bob sippy cup to take up the torch to lead.

Can I eat Boogers?
September 12, 2007, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, parenting, Uncategorized

Did I mention that we are now back to “sleeping” in our house. For those folks that don’t have children this may seem like an insignificant feat, but for the rest of us – we know to have children go to sleep and stay asleep is akin to winning the Virginia Lottery. So, several nights ago I was alarmed when a wee voice took up hollering down the spiral staircase, “mommy I need you.” My first reaction was to scream “go back to bed before I throw you out on the streets” but with this urge suppressed I managed a, “honey what do you need?” Which was met by this inquisition: “CAN I EAT BOOGERS?” As if this was an innocent question under deep contemplation. But I knew better – having been privy to other similar conversations like “can I eat a dime?” and “can I flush a roll of toilet paper down the toilet?” These questions were actually not questions at all but undercover confessions to crimes already committed. So, I responded, “I would highly discourage it but for those friends that have already eaten boogers I think they will be just fine but perhaps they may want to refrain for doing it again in the future.” To which dad helpfully chimed in, “Son that is totally disgusting man.” So in an effort to squelch parental anxieties Mac shared – “You know the dime I ate mom – it came out in the toilet – this will too –so don’t worry.” And the evening concluded with mom and dad looking at each other – relieved he did not chose to eat a matchbox car.