Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let's Go Fly A Kite

The whole family went to Meadowbrook Park this morning. In tow were two recently purchased kites. We are on our, oh, about 9th kite in the past year. Previous ones were bought more on style than flight ability. We've had a shark, dragon, jet, a small fabric kite, another jet, another shark, and another fabric kite. All of them had little air time. They'd go up and then would turn and pancake into the ground. No amount of tail trimming made a difference.

Today we successfully launched a SpiderMan kite. Sadly our other kite, Buzz Lightyear performed just as Woody said, "You can't fly." Another ground slammer. Spidey is a traditional "bat" kite and it flew this morning like a champ. 

We were just south of the Prairie Play area in the big grassy field. The O was excited, but after a few minutes of kite flying he was ready for the playground. Sugarpop went with The O and the Happy Elf and I was ready to reel in the kite when she said, "Keep flying it, be 10 again!"

So for the first time in over 30 years I was 10 again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Old Men and The Old Man

The Old Men

The W and I went to the Illini Basektball Banquet last Tuesday. It's an annual thing we do with my parents and it's usually a quick evening (over by nine so babysitter, in this case Tia, Ali's sister, gets home at a decent hour). 

It's a typical "rubber chicken banquet", but when you're trying to feed 800 people what can you do? People will always woof down their meal regardless. 

Each tables seats 8-9 and we were maxed out at ours. Me, the W, my parents, a good family friend, two 40-ish buddies, and a pair of septuagenarian men. One of the gentlemen was sitting next to me. At all the tables the desserts are already set out. Usually they are centered in front of each place setting. That night they were scattered around like toys in our living room--all over the place. I didn't pay much attention to that fact until it we bounced the rubber chicken down our throats and turned to dessert. Alas I had no dessert in front of me. The closest one was by my elderly table companion. I could have grabbed it, but he had already placed a half-eaten dinner role on the plate and it was touching the cake--by rule he had claimed the cake.

Unfortunately the way the pieces were laid out if everyone had grabbed the cake to their left we would have been OK, but everyone was playing fast and loose with the rules of cake! By the time the dust had settled "my" piece of cake was eaten by one of the 40-ish dudes. He scored two pieces of cake that night (probably the best night of his life) and I . . .  none.

That's not the point of this story, but when you get gyped of cake you got to let someone know! What was a delight to see was that one of the old men had cleaned his plate of everything . . . all but the cooked carrots in the mixed vegetable medley. He had carefully segregated them so that at the end of his meal he had an island of cooked carrots in a sea of clean plate. 

It was revealing to see that whether 4 or 74, when you don't like cooked carrots, you ain't gonna like them, you ain't gonna get used to them, and you ain't gonna eat them.

The Old Man

Sugarpop, aka--the W, left for a conference in Toronto Friday morning. Last night she packed from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. Set her alarm, was up at 3:30 a.m., and out the door at 4:15 a.m. She'll be gone until late Sunday night. The fact that last time she was gone I experienced this and the fact that an earthquake shook the land a few minutes after leaving does not bode well for my fate this weekend.

So this afternoon I'm reading the paper and the boys are playing on the floor. I finish up the paper and start playing with the O and the Happy Elf. The Happy Elf and I got into playing "Cars" (the movie) and the O busied himself with his beloved Schleich animals.

A few minutes later the O had moved to the LazyBoy and was looking at a book. 

"What are you reading? I asked.

"I'm an old man and I'm reading the newspaper." he said.

"Oh. What's your name Mr. Old Man?"



Friday, April 4, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

Long time no blog. I should post more often and boy do I think about it, every time I'm away from the computer.

But ya' see the boys got sick. First The O during a day trip to the Field Museum over spring break. No yakking, but he crashed in the stroller after 20 minutes and that kicked the Happy Elf out of the stroller. Trooper that the Elf is, he walked the next two hours through the museum. And so ended the great debate: With a 2 and 4 year old do you take the double or single stroller on such an outing? The 2-seater seemed excessive. We figured both boys would be out exploring through the exhibits . . . barring illness. Needless to say we will be packing the 2-seater stroller and whatever contraption we purchase for baby girl Dragon.

So The O was down (this was Thursday) and by Saturday the Happy Elf punched his ticket for Fluville. By Sugarpop's and my ciphering, the Crud ran through them in about eight days.

Sugarpop's mom is still suffering some two weeks later. I contracted the Crud last Saturday, but soldiered on through the week (thank you new private office). Sugarpop felt it coming on Wednesday night, but with her built-in prego-super-immunity she woke up Thursday morning and felt OK. Sleep-deprived crazy? Yes! But CrudFree at least.

Several questions arose during The Seige on the Crud. Normally we try to limit TV time to 20 minutes, er 30, well maybe 1 hour, OK less than a couple of hours a day, but all the boys wanted to do was curl up on the couch and zone out. My own childhood, as best I recollect, involved the couch and TV--and this was with only 3 channels (How else can I explain my in-depth knowledge of "Dark Shadows"?). So thank you multi-channel digital TV of the present and special shout-outs to PBS Sprout and Noggin.

It seems we have settled on a policy that sick kids get all the TV they want. Standard Parenting procedure? Bueller?

Halfway through the Crud we also introduced small cups of Sprite. We figured they needed to stay hydrated and they were rejecting water, milk, and juice, as well as most medicines (thank you Triaminic Strips). The Sprite seemed to gladden their hearts a little and I remember when sick as a child that besides the couch and TV there was also 7-Up. "Just sip it." mom would say. And so those were the orders to the boys. Again it seemed to make things just a little better for them.

So we have become rule-benders when it comes to the kids and illness. What rules go out the window when your kids are sick?

Another issue that came up for the first time was: What does a parent do when they are sick? As grownups the flu would send us to our beds or couches with TV and Sprite. There we would lay and nap, maybe yak, and then nap some more. This was the first time I had been sick since the O was born. By the time I started illin' the boys were well onto recovery and back to pre-school and grandparents' child care. But the house schedule has me out the door by 5:30; "Emaw" or Grandpa Coach coming over around 8; the O and Sugarpop head off for preschool drop-off shortly after; and then Happy Elf and grandparent hang out in the house until noonish when they head over to "Emaw's" house until I pick up the boys there around 3:30. I guess normally the sick parent could just stay in bed until the house emptied, but my "parent-guilt" tells me if I was staying home shouldn't the kids be here too and give the grandparents a day off?

My own memory of my parents being ill involves dad in his chair with a migraine for an evening and in 20+ years living under my parents' roof I recall mom going up to bed before 8 pm twice. Once was after a Memorial Day cookout when after feeding our brood and cleaning up the kitchen she disappeared upstairs. I remember quietly going upstairs and cracking her door open. "Mom? Are you OK?"

"Yes. Just a little tired." she sighed.

The other instance was a Thanksgiving when, after hosting 26 people, serving pie, cleaning up, and wishing guests safe travels, she promptly went upstairs, threw-up, and went to bed. Next day? Right as rain baby, right as rain.

Maybe as parents we get a little tougher with common illnesses and are able to resist a total collapse of our health in order to take care of the kids. Here's hoping at least.

Anyway. Thank you moms everywhere--in our pasts, presents, and futures--who, even while prone over the toilet, want only to assure their kids that the world is safe, stable, and OK.