Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar?

By Sheilah

No he won’t take it in a cup, no he won’t take it on the moon, no he won’t take it at noon, no he won’t take it on a spoon. Dylan won’t touch the stuff—cough syrup will never pass his lips. He cringes at the thought. Not a drop. He won’t do it to save his skin, or his sore throat and cough. I’ve tried every brand over the years, and they all make him gag and throw it back up. See that purple spot? 2007, it was a good year. Orange over there? The year of Delsym. Don’t even mention “thin strips” lest we throw up in our mouths a little bit.

About once a year when he gets a cold we’re out of luck. We go old school: rest, water, vitamins, soup, fruits, veggies, Vick’s vapor rub is all we can do. He’ll happily swallow a pill, so when he got old enough the doc said Tylenol would work. But no cough drops or medicine-laced lollipops. He will take a squirt of nose spray occasionally. But one thing’s for sure—he will never be an addict. This is good news.

He just coughs up and out his cold, like we’re supposed to, like the cave men did. I kept him home from school two days last week because of the nasty phlegmy cough and sore throat. If he’d taken cough syrup, he could have gone to school, could have slept more soundly. Oh well.

We watched a few movies and got lots of reading in and played cards and built Legos and colored in Shel Silverstein’s poem pictures. It was a blast having him at home as a captive audience, not a moving target. I so enjoyed my cuddle time. One day he’ll swallow what’s good for him, and then he’ll be gone from me, at school with the others masking their symptoms. Darn.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Left, Right, Scooby-doo and Sly

Oh Heaven help the country because it’s that time again. The political debates are on, and with them come the blame game. Were any of these potential candidates ever raised by parents or some sort of guardian with scruples? Did they ever hear, “I don’t care who did it, just do what you’re supposed to do!” The left blames the right, the right blames the left, Democrats blame the Republicans, the Independents are just trying to get a word in edgewise, “and so on and so on and Scooby dooby doo-bee.”

What’s worse is that too many of us “Everyday People” seem to get in on the act with, “There were more jobs under this one, or gas prices are higher now than when so-and-so was in office.” Oh for goodness sake. “There is the blue one who can’t accept the green one for living with the fat one, for trying to be the skinny one.” Holy cow! Are you sure we’re not tucked back in 1968?  When did we all forget how to work together, to listen, or to have a true debate without slugging up dregs that have nothing to do with fixing a problem RIGHT NOW! Oh shame on us all.

Right about now I think all those on Capitol Hill could benefit from a little Sly and the Family Stone. “Sometimes I’m right, then I can be wrong.” Whew, honesty, no finger pointing, working to be right and admitting when wrong. Seems our politicians need to take a trip back into time to 1968. (I know some of them are old enough for a flash back.)  Sly’s song could teach them some values that don’t go out of style when you keep the best interest of the people at heart. After all, “We got to live together.” 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drop Kicking the Busybodies

What do you do when family members, friends, or for that matter, strangers, start to correct or discipline your children when you are standing right there? I nearly had a melt-down the other day when a complete stranger corrected my five-year-old son for saying the word “stupid.” Now, I don’t particularly care for that word and try, when using it, not to use it in reference to people. I teach my children the same practice, but sometimes things just don’t go the way you planned, no matter how good of an example you may be around children. My son came out with “That man is acting stupid, Mama,” when he witnessed a man cussing at the gas pump at our usual fill-up station. (Must have been the gas prices, but I digress.)

A lady stepped up, leaned over, and went to work on my son while we were waiting in line to pay. “Oh! You shouldn’t use that word! You could say he’s acting poorly. Doesn’t your mother tell you not to say that word? How would you feel if you were called stupid? You really need to learn better.” Aside from my temperature rising to the degree of the fires on the sun, I literally couldn’t get my jaw up off of the floor. Excuse me? Did I really just hear that happen right in front of me? By the time I gathered my wits, the lady was looking me up and down as if I was a Jerry Springer Mama. I took a deep breath, telling myself it wasn’t worth a fight and told her that I appreciated her concern and it’s always good for my son to hear from someone else exactly what I have said in the past (There was a part of me thinking; Geez! He didn't say a four letter word, it's not like he dropped the uh, queen mother of all dirty words!). I  also queried, “However, would you have permitted someone you didn’t know to correct your child while you were standing right there?”  Well, dang me for opening my mouth. She made a “Humph” noise and wrinkled up her nose like she smelled something bad and actually said I should be grateful for the help as it didn’t look like I was going to say anything, anyway. Being me, I couldn’t help myself. I laid my hands over my son’s ears and told her, with the biggest grin on my face, “Ma’am, you stepped in where you weren’t needed, asked for, or wanted, and honestly, how could you be so…(wait for it), stupid?”

The two ladies who work the counter in the store started laughing. They know me well (small town life will get you that), and have a fairly good idea of what kind of parent I am. I’m not the best or the worst, but they know I work it every day. They also knew this lady got off easy. Oh I ruffled her feathers and she left with a whole lot of muttering going on under her breath. I may have stepped right into the “lowering-yourself-to-their-level” playing field, but you don’t mess with my child right in front of me and expect to get away with it. Being football season with the Super Bowl just around the corner, she’s lucky I didn’t run the field for a major tackle. Just sayin’. Now tell me, what would you do?

Friday, January 20, 2012

And That's the Way of Life

Some days you wake up and you just know what you want to write about. And some days you wake up with TOO many ideas swirling around your head almost like the leaves. Do I write about the obnoxious landscaper next door who has decided that the leaves in that yard are labeled as mine and as such deserve to come back home? Maybe I should write about the funny "American Idol" comment made by my younger teen while watching it. Or I can write about the incredible improvement at assignment completion we've seen from the older son since the famous 'no Xbox for you' incident of 2011. Then there is my trip last weekend to the parents and the bittersweetness of it all or watching our older son walk into his school wearing his junior ROTC uniform and the wonder of how he got that old. I know I could get empathy for the fact that hubby is taking a vacation day today, and bless his heart, he really believes that my days are so open ended that I can accompany him anywhere to do anything his heart desires with no impact on my schedule...

The idea of writing today is sorta the way life is...there's the good, the bad, and the ugly all mixed in with the huh, the why's, the why not's. So maybe I'll just expand on a couple of things:

American Idol - it's our one and only reality show. The teens are musically inclined (they've been in band since 5th grade and there's no end in sight). My home state of North Carolina continues to do me proud. There've been several contestants, and even winners (Scotty, Fantasia, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry are a few), and the other night three more moved through. Prompting the following comment from the 13 year old, "So are you the ONLY North Carolinian who can't sing?" For the record, my Momma can't sing either so I am in FINE company. So there. Oh, and I totally recognize that while he did NOT get his ability to sing on key and play an instrument from me, that snarky, sarcastic sense of humor...oh, I KNOW where THAT came from.

The Xbox incident, well, I wrote about that in "Possum Momma Lives". And it worked. The child brought home straight A's (which was NOT the point, but he won't understand that until probably his 40's), and he is doing a MUCH better job with keeping straight his requirements. All it takes is the ability to unplug and to tune out the whining...incredible parenting skills which are totally underrated.

I'll touch on my parents and the ROTC uniform when I feel ready for a cry. Because that's how life is - you touch on what you're ready for, and you work your way through the other...while accompanying hubby to Best Buy and sneaking glances at your own to-do list.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Once Upon a Life

I have to admit to being a little bummed. They cancelled my favorite soap opera and the last day it aired was this past Friday, the 13th. Right now there are people out there shaking their heads at my confession. There are so many more worse things in life. But I enjoyed my story. That's what my grandma always called them, her "stories". 

A friend of mine and I were commiserating on Facebook about our loss, when someone just had to chime in with his opinion. Needless to say it was negative. And I don't care. He's entitled to his opinion. But I'm entitled to mine. Soap operas are a guilty pleasure. None of us are tuning in for the reality. I worked in two major corporations. No young, pretty thang was ensconced in the CEO's office wearing a tight skirt, sky high heels, and running things just 'cause daddy told her to, not even in the '80's (though our hair was pretty big). We realize that the dead don't come back, and certainly never with a new face AND a twin (hello, Victor Lord, Jr., and Todd Manning). It's simply not possible to be married that many times and maintain your standard of living, even for the rich. Alimony would have its way (yep, I mean you, Mrs. Victoria Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson Banks - had to Google that just to get it right). And our children do not suddenly shift overnight from pesky teenagers to medical school students - dang it. I'm not even touching on the under the mountain golden city, or the housewife by day, hooker by night stuff. 

But honestly, have you looked at television in general? None of television is reality. Even the reality is scripted and edited for maximum bang for the buck. That's why it's considered ENTERTAINMENT. I doubt there are very many law enforcement who look the way the women do on "The Closer" or any of the "Law and Order" series or the "CSI" ones. Personally, I don't go in for reality tv. I have enough relatives, neighbors and plenty of mirrors. I don't need to watch strangers be weird, for reality in my life. I want the escape. I want to see the incredible eighth wedding and KNOW that this time she really found love, and ohh, look at that dress. I want to have that hour of giggling over the sudden aging of a character or really how can a woman give birth to twins and not know it! Most of all, I want to be able to call my grandma and talk about the story one more time. But she's not around to, and we don't get soap opera reprieves in real life, and neither did One Life to Live.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teenage Son Takes Flight

One of the bedrooms in my house has become a dungeon. The door always closed and locked, the dirty washing only thrown out on occasions, and the moldy trash emptied only when there is no more room on the floor. Yes, this may be an exaggeration but, honestly, it is not far from the truth. My teenage son has turned into a hermit that growls in the morning and disappears as soon as he comes home from school. I wanted to say a gremlin but he is far too handsome for that.

I have questioned myself frequently how my bubbly, blond haired boy morphed into a deep voiced young man, sprouting a moustache. I remember the days when he used to run around the house wearing rubber gloves on his feet pretending he was a duck, or throwing a cape over his shoulder and becoming a super hero. Time goes so quickly when raising children that it literally comes up and bites you on the bottom, derrière, or whatever you personally call it!

He has ditched Thomas the Tank Engine and Power Rangers. His whole life now revolves around texting and that mechanical box on the floor called Xbox 360. Some would argue that I should never had let him have the game box in his bedroom but, to be honest, I couldn't stand listening to guns blazing and assassins screaming all the time. I think I would go insane.

The Xbox has also become his social circle. The boys do not get together in person, they arrange to meet at a certain time, online, in a certain game. I just don't get this concept of socializing, maybe he will grow out of it. I have given up telling him to go out and get fresh air. It seems fruitless. It appears times have moved on and this mum is out of date.

If this scenario sounds similar to you then do not despair, there is a positive aspect to this situation. Firstly, they have to come out to eat at some point so I am always ready with a cookie or two (bribery works wonders), and secondly your son may find that gaming has given him an extra skill. Mine has.

Two Christmas's ago he received a remote control plane. He has never taken any interest in it. He could not manage to fly it successfully and was afraid to break it. This year my biggest kid, aka my husband, got a small plane too. So together, they went flying in a local field. The first flight was disastrous, the second better, the third ended in a tree, and after much frustration, my son hit the home run on the fourth flight.

The plane glided in the air, landed smoothly, and took off again with as much precision as any pilot. My husband on the other hand was crashing almost every time. This scenario went on for days with my husband's frustration level rising a little more each time. My son had progressed onto loop-de-loops and night flying with the little lights on the plane. He is amazing, but daddy wanted to know his secret. The answer was quite surprising. Very sensibly, he told him it was due to the skill he had learned from the game controller. He just looks at flying the plane the same way he does maneuvering his characters on the screen. Quite literally, he had increased his hand-eye coordination tenfold.

My hermit now comes out of his dungeon almost every day in order to fly his plane. He laughs and giggles, runs with a spring in his step, and shows signs of his pre-teen self. I guess you could say he has taken off but this mom is not ready for him to fly the coop just yet!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yucky Cheeses

By Sheilah

It was fun!!!! Some of the games sucked though, like one of the skee ball games swallowed my quarter! The rest of the games were good. Most of the games were jackpot games, you know, luck of the draw. I suck at those!!! I got 98 tickets! That is hardly any!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Chuck E. Cheese review by Dylan)

Oh the poor souls who have birthdays near the holidays. The poor lengths we go to overcompensating for their unfortunate birth dates. The Christmas wrapping paper around the special gifts just for the birthday, which aren’t that special at all. Why else would we venture 45 minutes on a cold winter-dark night to Chuck E. Cheese’s? I’ve got nothing.

A birthday party for a cutie pie 3-year-old, the sister of Dylan’s best buddy, a girl he knows so well that he knew exactly which doll to buy—her eyes must close, she must have clothes, and a bottle. There was no reason in heaven that we’d ever grace the velvet rope at the germ festival except for her. We’d been all of once to such a place in Dylan’s lifetime, and I just thank Lucky Jesus that he disliked it then as much as I did. I hear they’ve stopped the whole robotic characters dancing bit—too scary for kids, and adults alike.

The pizza is the same as my acid-trip flashbacks recalled. My taste buds dropped off. The clientele as well—we were overdressed in clean jeans. The entry, where they stamp your wrist in invisible ink—is a new thing. The three in our family were stamped 156, visible only upon leaving—their way to ensure you can’t leave with someone else’s kid, or pick up a stray one? When did Chucky earn his police badge? (I hear they stopped selling beer—can you imagine, a kids’ indoor amusement park where adults get bombed?)

His mere 98 tickets *won* ($20 plus dollars worth) got him one stretchy lizard and 2 sweet tarts, and since he wouldn’t eat the pizza, chicken nuggets on the way home. So we survived with the help of some Tums, and Dylan did have fun with his friends, but we all showered upon returning home, even though we were hours late for bed. You have to scrub that yucky cheeses smell out of you and good.