Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Say No!

A couple of weeks ago Laurence's school sent a letter home about a week-long program they were planning for last week to keep kids away from drugs & alcohol. Basically they were asking for student participation by dressing a certain way to go along with the slogan of the day. It sounded like a good idea, but I figured with Laurence being just in Kindergarten I wouldn't go thru all of this with him...give it a few years, right? Well, on Wednesday of last week when we were walking home from the bus stop he said, "Mom, why were some of the kids were dressed mismatched today?" I remembered "Drugs and Alcohol are No Match for Me" being one of the daily slogans, so I started in on a very simplified explanation. Surprisingly (no, really not surprisingly), he had a ton of questions, but he did seem to understand the concept. He said he'd heard of alcohol before, and knew that was "like wine & beer and stuff," and I said, "Yep, drinks for adults only." But he was confused about the drugs part. "Like what we get at the Target Pharmacy?" he asked, when I started the explanation with "drugs include pills & medicines..." I said, "Well, yes, but there's also drugs you can smoke, sniff in your nose, give with a shot, and people use them because they think it will be fun or make them feel good, but mostly they make people make really stupid decisions and do things that can hurt themselves or other people." That made sense to him. Not a bad explanation, hey? I was repeating this story to some friends today and they were impressed with my ability to think on my feet, and asked if I was available to talk to their kids, too. Why not? Though we didn't talk about compensation...

Anyway, clearly my little talk with Laurence last week had a big impact. Thursday he wore red (though I can't remember the slogan), and Friday he dressed in a Packers t-shirt to "team up against drugs and alcohol." So, we're off to a good start. It really sunk in, based on the conversation he had with some friends that were over the other night. They asked what he'd been doing at school and after some hesitation, I prompted him to talk about "mismatch day," etc. They seemed impressed and he proceeded to tell them, "It was to keep kids away from drugs and....." Then he looks at me, puzzled. I said, "That's a big word, do you remember? Starts with al..." and he shouts, "allergies!" (Insert giggles here. I tried not to laugh, really I did, but how could I not?) "Alcohol," I said. He smiled and said, "Oh yeah, alcohol. That's stuff only adults can drink. You know, like soda and stuff." Like I said, let's wait a few years to introduce this topic. Now hand me that Diet Pepsi!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take a Deep Breath, Count to 10, and Eat a Raspberry Danish

That's what I kept telling myself yesterday morning when I needed an extra dose of patience. The deep breaths and counting were supposed to keep me calm until my company arrived and we could dig into that raspberry cream cheese danish ring that was staring up at me from my standard-height countertop. I knew that would take away all my frustrations with Loic, who was being...well...very 2. While he can be extremely loving, affectionate, caring and downright funny, there are plenty of moments throughout the week when he tests my patience time and time again with his defiance and thirst for independence. Most people don't believe me, because he tends to be rather angelic when we're in the presence of others (we're talking scale the bookshelves, jump from the back of the sofa, have-no-fear angelic, but angelic non-the-less). Yesterday was one of those moments. He was finally calm at one point and involved in some important building block project in the living room, so I retreated to the bathroom for 1.2 minutes to comb my hair. Imagine my surprise when I returned to the kitchen to find the danish gone! Completely gone. Loic? No, he's still building. I rush to the other side of the counter and there she is. Eimer the lunatic d-dog, licking her chops. Not a crumb of the danish (that was bigger than her head, by the way) in sight. Great. Company arriving in 10 minutes and all I have left are the mini blueberry muffins, which she apparently turned her nose up at, and which I do not really care for. Clearly I need to raise the countertops. Thankfully my friends brought snacks, and I was able to rummage thru the cabinet & fridge and find some other stuff -- can't even recall now what the "stuff" was, since it came nowhere close in comparison to the scrumptious-looking danish. Not to worry, no one went hungry. Certainly not the dog! And not only did she deny me of my danish, but she didn't even get bloated. Nope, I could still see every one of her ribs. She can take her high metabolism and...oh, never mind. I'll forgive her -- she managed to make me forget my frustrations with that loving, affectionate, caring and downright funny, 2-year-old living in my house -- without even having to worry about calories.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Last night I went to a meeting and when I left, Laurence was busy making a gift for me which I was not permitted to see until complete, of course. Upon waking this morning he presented the gift to me. A handmade envelope held what I thought was a card, and is pictured to the right. On it, he'd printed the words, "An I Love You Book When I'm in School Mom." A smile spread over my face and he said, so seriously, "You can only look at this when I'm at school and you REALLY miss me." Guess how many times I've looked at it this morning, during the hour and a half he's been gone? Anyway, I opened the envelope to find the small cut up pieces of paper, each with a picture he drew. "I drew some of your favorite things!" And sure enough, he did. Above you'll see a giraffe looking down on an otter swimming, Eimer the lunatic dog (though I guessed a bird on this one -- oops), a waterfall, and my lilac bush bathing in the sun. I also found a jigsaw puzzle (another one of my favorite things) of a giraffe; this to keep me busy when I'm not blogging, of course. Has this boy got me pegged, or what? I was (and am) so touched by his thoughtfulness.

This morning before school he made "An I Love You Book for When I'm at School Dad," too. As he's drawing the individual pictures and I'm struggling to guess each one (they weren't nearly as obvious as my own), he said, "Here's a squid. And a diver's mask. This one's a stinky shoe..." I said, "Wow, I guess I didn't realize Daddy liked all of those things." He smiled and gave me a look I can't even describe and said, "Oh, these aren't things Daddy likes! They're things to make him laugh. I know Daddy loves to laugh!" He wouldn't tell me what Bill's puzzle is a picture of, and I can't wait until he gets home and puts it together to find out. In the meantime, I'm missing Laurence, REALLY missing Laurence, so I'm off to look at my gift.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Stranger's Curiosity

I went out for pizza last night with the family, and while we were searching for the perfect table I felt that somebody's-staring-at-me-feeling. Once we sat, I glanced around and sure enough, there's a woman staring right at me; she flashed me a pleasant smile when our eyes met, I smiled back, looked away, and thought, "Uh, oh. I must know her. But I DON'T know her. At least I don't think I don't... Maybe I do?" Something like this has been happening to me quite a bit lately (well, 2 or 3 times in the past few months, which is a lot more than usual), where I have an entire conversation in a public place with someone who clearly knows me, and I walk away completely dumfounded as to who they are. Must be the pregnant brain, I guess.

Anyway, back to the restaurant. A few minutes later I'm glancing around the room again and she's STILL staring -- we smile again, but nothing more. I whisper something to Bill about the woman sitting at 3 o'clock looking at us, and does she look familiar, but he says, "No." I figure she's listening to the kids and is simply amused. Soon the waitress comes by, takes our order, and is off again. Curious if we still seem intriguing I glance in the strange woman's direction once more. This time she speaks, "Do you know what you're having?" Oh! Sure, now it all makes sense. "No," I say, "we like to be surprised!" I focus back on my family and Bill gives me the strangest look and says, "But we just ordered...Cranky Sticks and a large cheese." I bust out laughing, containing myself enough to say, "She was talking about the baby! Clearly my belly is getting pretty obvious." He's laughing now too, and says something to the effect that I must be used to the questions strangers ask, because who wouldn't assume she was asking about food when we're sitting in a pizza joint? Imagine, as we did, how much more comical the situation could have been had HE answered her question with, "The usual. Cranky Sticks & a large cheese. And you?"