Sunday, September 13, 2015

That's What's Up

We've started a little routine where we walk to school every morning. It's about a half mile walk and it takes us about a half hour to walk. Which is a slow pace for anyone crunching the numbers. But provided we allow enough time for the inevitable dilly daddling, it's quickly become my favorite part of our day. 
We stop to pick up dandelions. We stare at rolly pollies. And the boys are usually heavy into their role playing as rescue bots, super heroes or dinosaurs. They are adorable and cute and happy and it's a pleasant little way for everyone to release some energy first thing in the morning.
And some days they even grab hands *completely on their own* to melt my heart into happiness.
One day I went to my parents' house for some last minute Disney preparations (and a free meal). Turns out if you put a cute baby on the floor, he quickly gets attacked by eager onlookers.
Can we take a minute to appreciate Eli's first homework assignment? Here's the conversation that happened as this was being completed:
Me: "Okay Eli, it says you need to draw a tree."
Eli: Draws tree then announces, "The tree is dead. Because it's September. And trees die in September."
Me: "Yeah. That's right. Trees do die in the fall. Now you need to draw an airplane."
Eli: "I don't know how to draw an airplane." ...successfully draws airplane...draws a squiggle dropping down then says, "That's a bomb." as he finishes with a circle at the bottom.
Me: "Okay. Now draw a cat and color your picture."
Eli: Draws cat. Begins to color the cat red while explaining, "The cat is bloody."

I can't decide if he's just a boy or if he's a serial killer in the making. It could go either way at this point.
Upon finishing his homework, he decided to draw a special note for his teacher on the back because he thinks she's so nice. He proudly and carefully drew her a heart and an apple. Nice to know he has a sweet side after his previous drawing of destruction.
One Saturday Lincoln wouldn't go down for his nap so I said, "I'll just take him shopping with me and he'll fall asleep on the way." We went to Joann's. We went to Payless. We went to Walmart. We were out about two hours and this is the face he gave me the whole time, refusing to show any sign of slumber. But somehow he was still contently sweet and happy and quiet the entire time!
Meeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaannnnnnwhile. Carson was home with a father who was in the shower and he decided to do an art project with permanent marker all in 15 minutes' time.
Look who finally has enough hair again to poke up into a tiny faux hawk!
The boys DESTROY our basement every chance they get. I finally buckled down and demanded they clean the disaster up one morning. Eli carefully sorted each toy into its proper container. When I came down to check on them, Eli sweetly said, "Mom! The Holy Ghost cleaned my heart!"

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, my son. Now keep cleaning.
We've worked out a pretty good system where we dangle Eli's computer privileges above his head all morning long to bribe him to get ready for school at a reasonable pace. If he gets ready without whining and on time, he gets to play computer after school. All was well up until that point.

After computer time, we usually run errands and have some free time until I let them watch a show in the afternoon right around the time Eli and Carson are about ready to bite each other's heads off and we need a little break. The problem was getting from computer time to show time without Eli begging me every five minutes to put on a show.

His life REVOLVES around electronics. He will hover around me all day begging and begging to be on some kind of screen. It drives me I-N-S-A-N-E! He plays so well when he isn't worried about screens but he gets all whiney and crabby and mopey if he's wandering around the house longing for his show time.

Enter the clock of screen time authority:
I decided to map out our day on a clock in a friendly, color coded manner. Would you believe it's made all the difference in the world?!?

Eli can see that he's got a big chunk of play time before we will do our afternoon show and he doesn't ask me if it's show time anymore because he can see for himself if the clock is on green! And CARSON has LOVED the clock. He will go to it every morning and give everyone an update of our schedule. He follows the clock so religiously that he will not let us leave for school until the clock hits the orange. It has been good for everyone!

As I was coloring in the clock and explaining all the colors to Carson, he meticulously studied each section and then said with grave concern, "But Mom. Where's your workout?" As my sister said, he's a good accountability partner!
We've slowly been adding back to our lawn after ripping out half of our plants that had died this year. In went two bushes that I'm praying we can keep alive.
Carson is my little buddy in the mornings. On Fridays Eli has short day, so he will ride his bike around the driveway while I try to scramble and get the lawn mowed before it's time to go pick Eli up from school. We're trying to start up a little joy school to keep him busy on a couple of the other days of the week.
One day Eli came home from school talking about how Mr. Van Natter was going to give them a party if they got so many coins. "Who is Mr. Van Natter?" I asked. "He's the prince of our school!" Eli replied.

I quickly realized that was his interpretation of the word "Principal." And then I laughed out loud.
Carson is cute. When he's not getting out of bed one million and twelve times after we have tucked him in for the night. The kid has never been a fan of sleep. For reasons unknown to me.
Some mornings the boys run off giggling and playing and skipping around the house in their own little imaginary world. This was such a morning when they built some kind of ramp on the stairs that held their attention from breakfast to lunch. This is my favorite kind of kid play. When they make up some kind of scene out of the unlikeliest of objects and get wrapped up in it for hours.
That same Saturday Jeff was so kind to encourage me to go on a nice run to get some much needed alone time. Not two steps out of my neighborhood and someone decided they wanted to join me on my run. That someone was a giant dog that looked like a bear cub.

I am mildly terrified of dogs. I can handle small dogs, but I shake to the core at the sight of a dog taller than my calf. Especially a dog taller than my calf unleashed. And ESPECIALLY a dog taller than my calf, unleashed, without an owner in sight, and charging directly at me -- AND THEN chasing after me as I'm trying to innocently get a little jolt of morning exercise.

I got a jolt alright. A half hour jolt of adrenaline as I tried to outwit this stray, collarless dog by sprinting across the busy street just as a line of cars was about to pass, trying to get him on the other side of a fence that would keep me on the sidewalk and him trapped in the fence, trying to make a quick left turn onto a side street where I'd throw myself into some bushes and hope he would attach himself to some other passerby.

No. Nothing worked. This dog chose me and followed me for my ENTIRE two-mile run that turned into a walk because I was too scared he would think I was prey if I started running. And then people would glare at me like it was MY dog darting out into the middle of the street or MY unleashed dog about to swallow their tiny lap dog whole. And I kept having to explain to people, "I'm sorry! He's not mine!"

He was like one of those socially awkward guys in high school who thinks they're in a relationship with you but you've really only ever said, "Hi" to them one time and that was enough for them to claim you as their own. What? That's never happened to you? It happened to me once and I can assure you the feeling was similar to that of being chased down by a possessive bear dog on a walk that could have otherwise been so pleasant.

So THEN I got home. And I was like, okay dog. This has gone too far. Like literally. You are too far away from your home now and you are never going to make it back. But I'm gonna go now..... so byyyyyyyyiiiiiieeeeeeee.

And it was not unlike dumping awkward high school teenage boy. Like...okay... I know you really like me, dude, but this was never supposed to go this far. It was funny at first but now this is just weird. I never liked you in that way. And now I have to dump you even though we were never really a thing. So I'm sorry. This is where this is going to end. You can stop following me now.

That's when I shut the door on the dog's face. LITERALLY. The dog tried to come into my house and I had to press his nose out of my front door to close the door. Not unlike the teenage boy thing that once happened less hypothetically than I would have wished.

And then I felt bad. He didn't see it coming. He thought we were in a committed relationship. And I abandoned him. And he stared at me with those big, puppy dog eyes for THREE HOURS as he sat panting on my front porch, waiting for me to change my mind. But we were never, ever, ever getting back together. And that's where the teenage boy one-upped the dog because the boy never did stoop to sitting on my stoop for three solid hours.
And then the dog vanished and I'm kind of hurt he doesn't want me anymore. What can I say? Girls always want what they can't have.

In less hairy news, I made a cute handout for my lesson this week! It turned out adorably so I had to show it off. I usually hate doing handouts because I feel like they just get thrown away, and adding a picture plus a treat to every lesson quickly adds up to be quite a bit of extra money! So I tend to hand out sparingly. But this one made the cut -- complete with a little baggy of Sour Patch Kids.
Here's the print for everyone dying to add this to your wall-of-handouts-you-otherwise-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with. 
And that's whuzzzzuuuppppp. 


Kim said...

This post had me laughing so much. The dog story and equating it to a guy who thinks he's in a relationship with you when you've only just said hi to him was hysterically funny. You always write the most enjoyable stories. Loved it!

And I loved all the other topics you touched on as well.

I'm sure you were so mad at Carson and his artistic abilities with the permanent magic marker, but look what a great story it provided for your blog.

Eli's bomb artwork was interesting/disturbing with the complete opposite of bombing on the other side for his teacher. Sweet.

LC said...

Sarah! I love this. First of all, I laughed so hard at Eli's drawings on his first homework assignment. Oh my gosh. SO funny. I'm so not used to little boy renderings of planes and trees. Izzy would have done that assignment so differently. I'm sure if Miles had any inclination to do something non-destructive with a marker, he would draw something similar. The bloody cat with the bomb falling on him really sealed the deal on that drawing. I wonder what his teacher thought haha. And then the sweet little heart on the back! That's good. That's how you know he's not a sociopath.

In other news, your hand out is so cute! I love it.

Also- the permanent marker. YIKES. Magic eraser or what? When I was little Max had a similar spree throughout our home- only he wrote "x"s over everyones faces in picture frames except his own, and signed his name to all the legs of the tables and trash cans. Good times all around. I feel your (and Jeff's) pain. Today Miles decided to coat the downstairs bathroom with honey while I blow dried my hair. YAY.

Good post.

Rebecca said...

Eli's pictures still get me! Especially the sweet ones to his teacher. Eli's teacher must love that little kid.

I'm so glad the clock of screen time authority has saved your days! What a great idea!

Love the dog/teenage boy comparison. I kept waiting for the analogy to break down at some point, but it never did!

Good work on the hand out. I know you had to dig deep to do that and it turned out adorably, so your young women must have loved it and your fellow leaders probably enjoyed ribbing you about making a handout.