Saturday, June 20, 2009

Feverish About Summer

Ahh, the start of summer. It's what I've been looking forward to for the last few crazed months. The carefree days, the impromptu BBQs, the sleeping in, the time to sit and drink a glass of sun-brewed ice tea and read my book, the time to practice making art in my journal and tackle a couple other projects, the chance to get a pedicure.

What the hell was I thinking?

It's daily All Star baseball practice, a list of people I am trying to schedule BBQs or get-togethers with who have busier schedules than mine, my kids are sleeping in but I can't anymore even if I stay up later than they do, I tried to make sun-tea but forgot it outside for two days, my book is already due at the library anyway (I know, time to get a Kindle). I feel like I am spending alternate days at Costco trying to keep enough food in the house just for the boys, let alone enough to do any entertaining. And to make it worse, my family has fallen victim to a virulent virus (nice alliteration) that has so far claimed three of the five of us, myself included. We don't have it at the same time, we are staggered about two days apart, so there has been somebody feeling crappy for a whole week. It started with my oldest son who had such a high fever he was hallucinating and about as active as a wet sponge. Alarmed, I took him to the doctor who swabbed his nose for a culture. He was so out of it he told the doctor the swabbing felt good! She looked at me with alarm too. No influenza, meningitis or appendicitis. She told me to give him Tylenol, suppository if necessary, fluids, and then looked at me in a really pitiful way and said without any hope, "Well I hope the rest of you don't get it." Two days later I got it, then today my youngest son fell victim. My oldest is now recovered, feeling fine and ready to get out and about, but no one else is.

Today is my seventeenth wedding anniversary, and my husband and I are emailing each other from across the house because neither of us have the energy to move, he from the couch with a sick child, me from my computer trying to catch up on some email with a very foggy and pounding head. We are trying to convince each other to put the kids to bed, and trying to muster up energy to watch a movie together.

Let's hope this summer starts looking up real soon here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gossip Mom Sideswipes Friendship

I recently had a confrontation with one of those vindictive, overinvolved gossipy kind of mothers. Yeah, you know the type. It's a lot like avoiding a bad driver. You know she's a bad driver, you try to stay out of the way, but you are in the same traffic every day so the odds are she's going to sideswipe you or, worse, rear-end you. The hard part is that it is impossible to predict when the accident will happen. It comes out of no where. At the least you are going to have a little bit of body damage, a scratch or a dent.

So I got sideswiped by her. My nine-year-old son was wrongly accused of paying another boy to deliver a sexually harassing message to a female third grader at the end of the year pool party. And worse, he was accused of this in front of a group of little girls and several parents. And imagine, this woman's child was not even involved.

My son and I learned that yes, even adults can be wildly inappropriate. It makes the inappropriate stuff said by children occasionally to look like, well, kid stuff. We also had a lot of discussion together about the nature of friendship, and how friends don't try to hurt each other, they try to help each other. We talked about how you can tell if a friend is really a friend by some of their actions. This is tough stuff for a nine-year-old boy who really just wants to go outside, climb a tree with a giant squirt gun on his back, and lay in wait for a hapless victim like his brother to ride by on a bike or the dog to walk by.

I learned, again, that having good friends can make me realize the scratch I got from this sideswipe is in reality a funny story. That having a glass of wine with a friend who is determined to make me laugh about this story for the ridiculous thing that it is, is a gift. Giving us the gentle reminder, when we really need it, to look at things in perspective is another very valuable trait of friendship. I hope to be able to teach my son this, but I think this is one lesson he has to learn by experiencing for himself the difference between a true friend and a self-serving friend.

And I can't tell how much I appreciated this story from another friend of mine. He and his twin were in kindergarten. They had recently visited their diabetic grandmother and took a handful of her saccharin tablets. You know, the tiny white ones? They brought them to school and very fairly handed them out to all of the kindergartners. Finding they had some left over, they handed out seconds to some of the children. One of the girls, feeling slighted, told the teacher that the boys were handing out little white pills and that she did not get a second one and it wasn't fair. The teacher, in a panic that all her students had consumed some mysterious little white pills, grabbed one and rushed across the street to the pharmacy to ask what they were. She was told by the pharmacist that they were LSD tablets.

The teacher spent the rest of the year, unsuccessfully, trying to get the twins expelled.

So I actually can thank this gossip mom for reminding me about the value of true friends and about the value of laughter. It's a reminder I intend to carry with me all summer!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Morning Serenade

A few mornings ago I came down to the kitchen with the boys already getting their frozen waffles ready. My youngest son sings a lot. Well, he talks a lot too. But this morning he was singing, to the tune of Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard.

In case you need a refresher here is a link to the video and song on YouTube.

He changed the words though, to "She's hot, sticky and sweet, from her hair, to her dress," and was belting it out complete with air guitar. That's odd, I thought, as I rounded the corner.

Then I saw that he was singing to Mrs. Butterworth.

OK don't give me a hard time about this people, we're in a recession and so we take drastic measures: substituting Mrs. Butterworth for the real stuff once in a while.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mom's Softball Nightmare

We are in the throes of baseball playoffs, the cramming of last homework and projects due for the end of the school year, the flurry of social commitments for adults and children including but not limited to three end-of-year parties, a mom's night out party, a board/spouse party, two baseball end-of-year parties, a soccer end-of-year party and several "oh my god I'm about to have my children 24/7 let's go out to lunch" gatherings (skipping those this year sorry).

None of this freaks me out as much as the email I got tonight.

Our Little League is organizing a Mom's softball game.

Instantly I am transported back to high school, to the PE class that was the bane of my existence, an absolute torture for me from 7th grade until graduation. I hated the smelly crowded locker room with no privacy, I hated the sadistic female teachers that looked more like men, I hated the dorky PE uniform, I hated being outside on the grass that I was allergic to, I hated not knowing how to play any of the games. I hated the fact that I couldn't catch, throw, or hit a ball of any kind. Even a vollyball. Or a tennis ball. Really.

Most of all I hated the process of picking teams. I was the LAST person chosen for any team (except for academic decathalon but that's another story) every single time teams were picked for my entire PE career. Even my best friend would pick me last. She played varsity basketball and softball, and ended up going to college on a field hockey scholarship so I guess that is not such a shocker. I tried everything I could think of to get out of PE. I claimed I had my period for the entire swimming section (didn't work), I claimed I needed the time to take another AP class (didn't work), I offered to work in the library (didn't work), I claimed I'd rather be a trainer and help tape the ankles of those more able-bodied. That kind of worked, but when I entered the room where the taping happens, with all the weight-lifting equipment and the smell of BO and rubber and metal, and then I saw the disgusting feet of the Jr. varsity football players, I think I might have fainted. I really couldn't do that either.

I so clearly remember standing out in the field during a softball game during the end of my senior year, praying the ball would not come anywhere near me, looking around at all the other loser kids who weren't playing any kind of sport, and wondering how this humiliating experience could possibly be necessary for me to graduate. I was one of the top students in my class, already accepted to Santa Clara University, and I was out there trying my best to avoid proving, once again, that I had absolutely no hand-eye coordination. How is it possible that I can solve a Rubik's cube but I have never ever hit the ball with the bat?

My boys are good at sports to the same degree that I was horrible at them.

So back to the Mom's Softball game. I'm a reasonably fit person. My kids are good baseball players. I could imagine that I would not be the last person picked for the team. I mean, these people didn't know me in high school. They might assume I could play. But then imagine the disappointment! The embarrassment! My husband and kids, and all the other parents and coaches laughing!

A Mom's softball game sounds like the stuff of nightmares. I will let those moms who were captains of their teams, who played sports, who can hit and catch a ball, get out there in cute outfits and run the bases. I'm out of town that weekend.