Archive for August, 2008
Being the dutifully involved parent and ever trying to make things better for her child, no matter how indirectly, I am the newly minted secretary of our school district’s PTO. An easy job really, one that makes it look as if I’m doing a lot of work when all I’m really doing is writing minutes from the meeting. Truth be told, I enjoy volunteering when I can. So much has been given to us, so much help offered, so much caring displayed, that I can’t help but want to give some of that back. Plus it doesn’t hurt in the karma department.
Yet I suspect down the road, my memories of PTO will boil down to one in particular. At this morning’s district meeting for all K-8 parents, I watched my son’s class quietly come through the gymnasium on their way to music class. On their way back, I turned to wave at him as unobtrusively as I could, and he loudly whispered to his teacher, “Can I go give my Mommy a kiss?”
What possible better Mommy moment could there be?
An Angel has landed upon us. She is well disguised, with hair done, make-up on and wearing high-heeled shoes, but no wings. We know they are there, however - just hidden. She has made comments such as: “I want to make sure C is able to have the same snacks as everyone else;” “C, I know having the bigger box of crayons is important to you, and it’s not as important to some kids, so I think you should bring the bigger box;” and, “I moved his desk so he could see better, but I also moved the nice girl next to him along with him so he could continue to sit by her.”
I’m pretty sure she is descended from a cross between a fairy godmother and Mary Poppins. C can barely say her name without a salacious little grin forming on his lips. He wants to check out books about her favorite flowers at the library so he’ll know more about them. We had to drive by her house last weekend so he could see her street. He was thrilled to know we can almost see her house from ours, and I picture him peeking out his window after lights out in an attempt to see if the lights are still on in her house.
Mom’s not immune either; I have the feeling that this Angel is thinking about him after hours, wondering what she can do to further his enjoyment and learning. She patiently listened to all of his questions on the preview day, which wins major points in my book. Every once in awhile, someone really special comes into C’s life, and for that I am eternally grateful. She seems to get him, enjoy him and challenge him, which is difficult to wrap up all into one person.
In case you haven’t guessed, Miss Angel, whose real name is Mrs. B., is C’s teacher in 2nd grade. But it may as well be Heaven to C.
Someone showed C muscles recently, and tied muscles to protein. I’m not sure if he watched the weight lifters on the Olympics or if he saw a picture of Popeye, but enter the latest obsession: protein counts in food. Despite my attempts to talk to him about a balanced diet, he really only wants to eat high protein foods. It has nothing to do with cravings, or what his body needs, but rather with muscles and numbers.
This is C’s latest in a long stream of obsessions having to do with numbers. The idea of each food having a different protein content is very appealing to him. It makes sense of his world – he can compare and contrast and order. He’s starting to notice the other numbers on the labels too. Tonight he asked me what “deriby filer” is. Slow Mommy, but it took me a few minutes of questions to figure out he was talking about “dietary fiber.” Not wanting him to go overboard on that one, I again brought up the need for balance in his foods.
Perhaps I can use this latest obsession to help him both gain weight and eat foods he has feared in the past. The “failure to thrive” diagnosis that seems to follow him around like a lost puppy could maybe blossom into something resembling more than a big head atop a skinny body. If I could mock up a label for ice cream that reads “50 g protein” on it I might be in business. Or maybe I could turn macaroni and cheese into something desirable by giving it a very high protein content. Cakes, puddings and cookies? Yup, high protein. Eat all you want, kid. Rice crackers that he loves but have zero caloric value? Nope, C, low protein content, don’t eat those.
I think I might be on to something.
He’s back, he’s fine, C is delirious, and all is well with the world tonight.
I’ve been a single parent for the last couple of weeks, as Husband has enjoyed his 15 years-in-the-waiting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I used to love it B.C. (before C) when Husband would go out of town; I’d eat cereal in bed, stay up late reading, and watch chick flicks. Since C’s birth, however, I have enjoyed Husband’s trip less and less. The bed is too big, the house is too quiet, and things just don’t feel right.
This particular trip, one I ultimately declined to join (see here), has been challenging. C is at a tiring age (when is a restful age?), which leaves us zapped on a good day. Having all these days by myself is an exercise in new zapped heights. The worst, however, is the complete lack of communication available. Other than one phone call from Phantom Ranch (the only place on the canyon floor with a landline) on day 6 (well over a week ago now) of the trip, there is no way to have contact. C hasn’t said much, but the extra hugs and snuggles required throughout the days, especially at bedtime, have said it all.
You can therefore imagine my despair at hearing the news that there has been a massive flood in one of the side canyons. After some initial panic, and quickly finding something else for C to do, I devoured any internet information I could find. I have it in my head Husband is probably okay. I found an emergency contact number for the park service and talked to a ranger who said he’s not on the list of people who have been evacuated. As lovely and pleasant and calming as she was, I couldn’t help but wonder why the concern about people who are evacuated; it’s the un-evacuated I’m worried about. Having his name on a list of evacuees would be just fine with me, thank you very much.
I’ve been fielding calls all evening from folks whose spouses are with Husband’s trip and others who know Husband is on a trip. Probably, Husband is sound asleep, in a haze of post paddling exhaustion. Couple that with a bit of the good tequila they took and a beer or two, and he’s likely off in la-la land and will later chuckle at the concern of those of us topside.
I’ve had a few requests for a little more context about yesterday’s post, so here’s the rest of what I had originally written, but didn’t include:
We’ve always tried to shelter C from news and violent images; not only because we want to protect his emotional health, but because he is so innocent and naive. Even though his peers have mostly all seen Batman, Spiderman and every other “man” movie, C has no interest. Developmentally, he hasn’t hit the “boy who wants to see grown up movies he really shouldn’t see” stage. Combine that with his fear of death, and real world issues become way too scary for him to contemplate. Consequently, we’ve not yet talked with him about war, the military, and the like. When he asked what a soldier is, we told him a soldier protects our country. The inevitable, “Protects our country from what?” question never followed, thankfully.
So yesterday, you can imagine my surprise when C said to me, “Mommy do you want to know what I’d do if I was President? I’d not let anybody shoot anybody else.” To my knowledge, his only knowledge of “shooting” involved the spaceship shooting on Space Invaders. He might have borrowed this sentence from a classmate, or perhaps he knows more than I thought. I asked him some more context gathering questions, but all I could get was that they were talking in class about what they would do if they were elected President.
I asked him tonight if he knew what shooting someone meant, and he said no. I asked him if he knew how a person would feel if they were shot, and he said no. I asked him if he knew what a gun is, and he said no. “OH, I’ve got it, is it like a water gun?” he asked. I told him it was more serious than that, and then he quickly moved on to building a tower with blocks, happily unaware that we’d just had one of our many conversations in which I feel completely out of my league. Trying to figure out how to share age appropriate lessons with a child who is the equivalent of a 10 year old 3 year old is always a challenge.
“But would it tickle?” he asked a moment later.
Score: Innocence – 1, Worldliness – 0.