Monday, April 2, 2007

A Good Post Gone Bad

So, I've had this nice post floating around in my mind today, ideas coming and going, and jelling into something I thought would be a bit more meaningful after the general drivel I've been posting lately. Then, at dinner, we had The Incident. I would like to be the sort of parent that deals happily with things such as The Incident, but I will admit, I am the type of parent who can let little things turn into bigger things, particularly when those little things lead to more work for me. By now you're probably wondering what happened to rise to the level of Incident status. We were having an enjoyable dinner together, you know, those family dinners that are supposed to be such a key to the future success of our children. I had made tortellini carbonara, which is something the kids really like. Swim Chick likes it so much that she had run out of bacon and wanted more. She decided to obtain said bacon by grabbing it from Soccer Boy's plate. Without asking. He responded by grabbing his plate away, promptly sending his Sprite flying across the kitchen. If he had tried to hit every possible surface, he couldn't have done a better job of covering the floor, the wall, and the table.

Did I mention that I am the calmer of the two parents who live in this house when it comes to things like this? So after Adventure Guy and I had finished sharing our opinions about this behavior at the table with the children, our pleasant dinner had become definitively not so pleasant. They got the table cleared, some of the drink wiped up, and then I broke out the mop. I'm trying to view it as a good inspiration for some cleaning that probably needed to happen anyway, but I know I'll be finding hidden sticky spots for a while.

So, what was that nice post that I was going to write? Believe it or not, it was to be a treatise on "how well my children get along." Well, in reality, it was to be on "how well Swim Chick and Gym Girl get along." I'll be the first to admit that Swim Chick and Gym Girl often find themselves a bit annoyed with the antics of their favorite little brother. I think that is the way of the world. One of my great-aunt's favorite story about my childhood involves her arrival to our home just as one of my friends and I were removing my own dear little brother bodily from my room. And, I'm sure he deserved it!

In an effort not to lose my kind thoughts about my children, I will attempt to recapture the mood and share my positive feelings for the remainder of this post. A few days ago, I read Her Bad Mother's poignant post on deciding to add to her family and the mixed emotions that decision brings with it. I commented and said that both her life and that of her first child would be enriched by adding a new child to the mix. This morning, I was reminded of how true this is for our family.

My morning started out at 5:15 with my first trip to the gym for the week (more on how the Best Life thing is going later). I arrived home to find everyone up and about, quite a bit earlier than usual. Evidently Adventure Guy couldn't doze off again after my alarm, so he had gotten everyone up and was headed out the door on his way to before school care with Soccer Boy. Our bedroom is off of the kitchen, and I could hear Swim Chick and Gym Girl's conversation after I got out of the shower. They were working together preparing breakfast and making their lunches. I could hear Swim Chick filling Gym Girl in on some important fashion tips. It was so nice to hear the sisterly chatter. I didn't have a sibling close in age, and I really missed out on those types of interactions. When I checked in with them, Gym Girl informed me, "Dad woke us up fifteen minutes early, so we used our time wisely and straightened our hair." I then watched as they headed for the bus stop, united in their common goal of achieving silky, smooth hair, valiantly fighting the forces of nature: wind and humidity. Neither is yet willing to admit that she lost the battle at conception when she inherited my curly-hair gene. All I can say is, I'm glad they didn't waste that extra time this morning!

Even after The Incident tonight, I am pleased to report that Swim Chick and Gym Girl are upstairs working away on their projects that are due this week; Gym Girl researching the history of the Pledge of Allegiance on the Internet while Swim Chick has broken out the glue gun and Popsicle sticks to construct a cage for her mouse, one of the characters in Flowers for Algernon, the book she read for her project. Even their school assignments are an interesting juxtaposition. Gym Girl has spent much of 5th grade history learning about early-American history and the origins of our government. She is currently conducting a survey about whether or not Americans should be required to say the pledge. She'll collect and disaggregate the data and report the results to her class. Fortunately, most respondents have mentioned little details like freedom of religion and freedom of speech when they've explained their thought that requiring the pledge would be un-American. Meanwhile, her sister is reading what, to my knowledge, is her first book from the 100 most-banned book list. It's number 47. Oops, having just perused the list just now for the first time in a while, I realize she's well on her way to following in her mother's banned-book-reading, literature-loving footsteps. She's also read numbers 7, 9, 22, 27, 43, 51, and 96. And, I've been trying to get her to read the Judy Blume books that I loved at her age, many of which are on the list. She's just not into them.

In my attitude toward books and whether or not they should be banned, I am following in my own parents' footsteps. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house filled with books. My parents both read constantly and clearly enjoyed it. My mother still belongs to a book club that she and her friends started in the early '70s, and they've always selected a wide range of books for their discussions. If the book club read it, it was available in the house, and my parents never discouraged me from reading anything there. The one and only incident I remember about a "banned" book was that infamous title by Judy Blume, Forever. When word got out among the 5th grade parents that the book had been placed along with all the other Judy Blume books in the young adult section, my mother asked me if I'd read it. I truthfully reported that I had not. She simply said, "Well, that's a book I'd like you to save until you're a little older." I did, and I'll admit that it's not a book I'd want my 5th grader to read either, but I've always respected the way my mom handled the topic. I didn't feel like it was a "never" kind of thing, and I wasn't tempted to go out and get a copy.

Ahh, the joys of the rambling post. Now that I've managed to range from soft-drink spills to censorship, I believe my work here is done. Next up? Easter preparations. We've got cookies to bake and eggs to dye. I'm sure those activities will generate plenty of sibling interactions to report on!


Sock Girl said...

I'm with your girls on the hair thing. A fine use of 15 extra minutes :-)

Sounds like your kids have a great relationship.

Her Bad Mother said...

It's a good ramble. Everything from multiple children to banned books and beyond!