Thursday, July 31, 2008

Control Freak

I tend to be a joiner and, just maybe, a little bit of a control freak. When I attended the introduction meeting for my son's new elementary school in May I stayed around for the PTO meeting to see what it was about. I went into this determined to be only a distant participant, volunteering perhaps to bring muffins or cookies to bake sales from time to time but not committing to anything (a lesson I learned a long time ago). The meeting opened my eyes to the PTO and how effective they are at getting things done within the school. I learned that my child, while attending this school, will never have to sell anything. I learned that the PTO is board-driven and, as such, the only people with a vote are those that are actually on the board. The last little tidbit made my heart skip a beat. What? No vote? I can't just attend the meetings, give my feedback and raise my hand at vote time? It took me all of .5 seconds to decide that I HAD to get on the board. So much for no commitment.

During the course of the meeting, next year's PTO president mentioned that there was one position that needed to be filled by a Kindergarten parent: a Kindergarten liaison. Sounds simple enough right? I knew it was mine. I asked a ton of questions during the meeting (control freak anyone?) and got up immediately after it was finished and handed my card to the president, offering to be the Liaison, thus cinching my right to vote and be heard. I wasn't sure if I "got" the position until yesterday when I received a call from the PTO president. She welcomed me to the group and told me that the first activity was a teacher breakfast on Monday. She asked me if I could bring something to the school at 7:30am. 7:30AM! Geez. What have I gotten myself into? All of this so I can exert some level of control of the decisions made by my son's Parent/Teacher Organization. Was it worth it? That all depends on whether I am voting on parade floats or technology upgrades for my son's classrooms. The next 10 months will reveal the answer to this question. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It’s a Magic Number

Three is a fun age, isn't it? Let's hear it for three. My daughter (an adorable three-year-old) demanded milk this morning. There was no please, no pleasant voice, no question, simply a demand. This might be my most loathed childhood action. I realize that making demands is at the very heart of gaining autonomy but it is the lack of respect that I cannot tolerate. Doesn't, Mommy, can I please have some milk? mean the same thing as, Get me some more milk!? I have zero tolerance for the latter, regardless of whether the child saying it shares my DNA. When my own children make demands such as these I usually respond by refusing to respond. This doesn't always go well. Here's what happened this morning:

Precious Three-Year-Old Daughter: (in a demanding voice) Get me some MILK!

Me: No response

PTYOD: (in a slightly louder demanding voice): Get me some milk Mommy!

Me: No response

PTYOD: (in a loud, shrill, almost unbearable voice): Mommy! Get me some milk! I want milk! Mommy!

Me: No response

PTYOD: (doing her best impression of Axle Rose during that awful scream at the opening of "Welcome to the Jungle"): GET ME SOME MILK! I WANT MORE MILK!

Me: (quiet, calm) I don't respond to requests like that

PTYOD: Mommy, can I please have some more milk?

Me: Sure. I'll get you some

This strategy, although rough on the ol' ear drums, eventually gets me the response I want with my own kids. I don't really feel comfortable using this strategy for kids that are not mine. How do I go about handling these pesky demands in other people's children? Do I ignore them? Submit to their requests? Threaten them with physical violence? What do you do?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stealing My Thunder

I mentioned, in Tuesday's post, that the Hale/Byrne Fireworks Spectacular was a blogworthy affair that would be given due diligence in a later post. Well, Jacquelyn (a Byrne) has stolen my thunder (with my blessing and encouragement--I'm all about letting her do the work for me) and done a great job telling the story on her new blog, "Real Moms Don't Play Bunco." Check it out and give Jacquelyn a warm welcome to the Blogosphere.

We're off on a much-needed vacation tomorrow. I'll probably check in from time to time but it will be quiet around here for a while.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Anybody Missing a Goat and a Dog?


In lieu of anything that takes even an ounce of creativity (I'm fresh out), I present to you this story that was printed in our local newspaper today. It makes me feel a whole lot better about living in Tennessee where the only thing climbing on top of our German imports are the black bears.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Faux Guitar Prowess

PatrioticHow do you celebrate your patriotism? Me, I spend the day with good friends on the water fearing brain-eating amoebas and drowning my fears in Bud Light. Then, I head back to their house where I find myself, in particular my arm, between the bared teeth of two sweet but suddenly very territorial dogs (one of them my own). This incident left me with some nasty teeth marks in my arm and the need to recall the date of my last tetanus shot, which if memory serves me right, was 1992. Off to the emergency room we went.

Thankfully, there wasn't a soul in the waiting room and, hot damn!, Jeopardy was on. Jacquelyn kicked some butt in the country music category during the double Jeopardy round while I had a little visit with Dr. McDreamy. He cleaned my wound, shot me up with a tetanus vaccination, wrote me a script for some pain pills and antibiotics, and sent me on my way. I spent the next two days with my wrist wrapped in guaze and tape, looking like someone who had made a half-assed attempt at suicide.

All was not lost as Jacquelyn and I got back to her house in time to enjoy some delicious ribs and the Hale/Byrne Firework Spectacular (another blog for another day). During this time my son uttered these words several times with elaborate body gesturing, "This is the best night of my life!" It was A-freakin'-dorable and me and my dog bite injury (pity party anyone?) ate it up with a spoon. The grownups closed the night with a little Guitar Hero on the Byrne's Wii. I thought I would rocked the house but I was terrible, garnishing the title of, "The worst Wii player we have ever seen" by the Byrne Family. Go me! I have been singing, "Dream Police," a song that I only mildly enjoyed to begin with ever since.

My next mission: buying a Wii and Guitar Hero of my own to prove my prowess on a faux guitar. After all, what is a 33 year old mother without faux guitar prowess?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peanut Butter Edisons


The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in my son. Actually, he may be more of a haphazard inventor than an entrepreneur. He's really into inventing things, mostly food items. Almost all of them involve peanut butter, which makes sense considering it is the one and only source of protein in his diet. I've become somewhat of a peanut butter Edison myself, although our innovations have different origins. My sons come from a deep creative need whereas mine are born out of a lack of groceries and a burning desire to avoid Wal-Mart at all costs.

Two mornings ago, for example, I prepared a breakfast of fresh strawberries and Peanut Butter Boats, the latter consisting of ½ of a hotdog bun slathered in peanut butter. Yes, I am a genius. And yes, I do plan to copyright the idea. My kids thought they had died and went to heaven. My son went so far as to remove the boat from his plate in a dramatic interpretation of a boat crash, complete with sound effects. It was awesome.

Driven to up the ante on the peanut butter invention competition that has taken over breakfast in my house, my son came up with a radical idea this morning. Here's what he suggest:

Son: Mommy, this morning instead of doing just a Peanut Butter Boat, I have an invention. Let's put Honey Nut Cheerios on the Peanut Butter Boat.

Me: Interesting idea. What will we call it?

Son: A Peanut Butter Boat with Honey Nut Cheerios on it.

We're copyrighting that one too.