February 26, 2012

I raise you a javelin

Andrew is generally believed to be a reasonably intelligent child, which makes the fact that he managed to get his “good” soccer ball stuck in a tree today totally irritating baffling. Apparently he didn’t remember that those trees are in possession of numerous sporting goods captured by their upward arcing branches. He was genuinely surprised, after he and a friend threw a soccer ball as high as they could in the general direction of the tree, that it became lodged 25 feet above the ground. He pleaded with me to get it down but I assured him I had no tricks up my sleeve that would allow me to reach that ball. Mark, who had been outside,  heard the commotion and silently disappeared. I assumed that he was silently disappearing so that I could handle the situation without his interference. (Insert eye roll here…)

Imagine my surprise when he reappeared seconds later dragging a very long cardboard tube behind him. That tube? It looked familiar. That tube has been leaning in the corner of our garage for the last 10 years. That garage? We’re not quite ready for Hoarders, but we can see it from here. I’ve inquired about that long cardboard tube several times in the last 10 years. “Are we seriously keeping this?” “What are you EVER going to do with that?” “Do you really think anyone will use that again?” 

That tube? It holds a javelin. I’ll give you a second here to wonder why in the world we would have a javelin in our garage. The answer is that we apparently have a javelin in our garage to dislodge soccer balls from Bradford Pear trees.

javelin 2

Every experience has the potential to be a teaching moment. What I learned this afternoon was that even though I’m the parent that prepares 82% of my kids’ meals, does 74% of their laundry,  and does 99% of any caretaking that happens between 9 p.m.and 7 a.m., I will never be their favorite.  Why? Because I don’t know squat about a javelin.

In less than 30 seconds, Mark expertly pulled the javelin far enough out of its cardboard home to make the total reach long enough to push the soccer ball to freedom, which elicited cheers from Andrew, Thomas and the playmate. Then? He let them each have a turn to throw the javelin. He showed three small boys how to throw a very long, metal, pointed object in our backyard.

I quit.

I watched this nonsense from the deck and decided that if I couldn’t win the favored parent award I might as well try to throw a javelin. It turns out that I suck at that and should stick to laundry. Mark was, predictably, the only one of us that could actually make it stick in the ground.
javelin 1

I document all of this mostly as a reminder to myself. We all have our special gifts and we all make our contributions to the family unit. There will come a time, probably this week, when I feel a little sorry for myself, what with the 82% of feeding and 74% of the laundry and all, and this will serve as a good reminder. It takes a village to raise a couple of great little men and I am grateful that their dad is capable of doing 26% of the laundry and a far greater percentage of the stuff that they’ll actually remember when they’re older.

p.s. Any of you who are related to us should consider yourselves potential character witnesses should Andrew’s playmate’s parents call into question why in the world we let their child throw a javelin in our backyard today!

February 11, 2012

Robbing Peter to pay Paul, or something like that

At the beginning of each month, Andrew sits down with the new school lunch schedule and circles the ones he wants to eat and crosses out the ones he doesn't. Those big X marks translate to the desire for a sack lunch.

School lunch is $2.25, and while I know that I can prepare him a sandwich, fruit and yogurt from home for less, I have to admit that when we encounter a week with multiple X marks across the lunch calendar a part of me winces. School lunch is easier - for me - than packing a lunch. And, at my core, I'm pretty lazy. Most mornings the prospect of spending $2.25 for him to eat a hot lunch and drink a little carton of milk seems like a good trade.  

When his lunch account balance dips below $4.50, the school district sends me a little love note reminding me that it's time to add money to his card. I got that call this week and when I logged in to make a deposit, I noticed that his balance available seemed like an odd amount. I went ahead and added what should be approximately three months worth of lunch money and then, just on a whim, went to look at his transaction history.

Imagine my surprise to see that there has been hardly a day in the last two months when his lunch transaction DIDN'T include either an extra side, typically in the form of an extra roll with butter, or an extra milk. I can get on board with a roll and butter and it's hard to argue with the extra milk. However, the extra ENTREE he's been adding to his tab? Well, now; those are adding up with their alarming frequency. 

This probably explains why his pants are all too short. Looks like it's time to do more early-morning lunch packing so we can save our pennies for new clothes.