Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello Forest

The boys had Monday off school. We needed to take advantage of having no school and no sports commitments, a real rarity! We needed what the boys and I call an "adventure day" where we go and do something fun and adventurous together. We usually go alone but this time my oldest son brought a friend.

We headed up to Big Basin, where we went last year for a camping trip. This time, we did the big Berry Creek Falls hike, a strenuous 11.5 hike through the redwood forest. A solid 5.75 hours of brisk hiking with few breaks.

No cell phone coverage, no people, no video games. Just the forest and lots and lots of snacks.

All the boys, even my 9 year old, were impressive hikers. A few times they patiently waited for me as I made my way up the steep long slopes, and most of the time I was bringing up the rear. My oldest even said, "Mom, you are a trouper!" Oh please.

We all enjoyed the hike for different reasons. I enjoyed the quiet of the forest, the beautiful scenery, the clean air, and the chance to chat or just listen to the conversation. The boys enjoyed the challenge and they love, even crave, being in the forest. I really do believe it is just good for boys to spend time in the relative wilderness. They felt responsible and independent, carrying what they needed, reading a trail map, estimating distances, helping each other when someone fell, peeing on a tree, spotting poison oak. I really got the feeling they could have done the hike without me, until my youngest fell and scraped up his leg exactly at the point where we were furthest from the ranger station. Then they were glad I was there with my first aid kit and LOTS of bandaids. It was my youngest who was in reality the trouper, finishing the hike without complaining until the very last quarter mile, when I was tired and sore myself.

But at the end of the hike, they were not too tired to climb the root structure of an enormous sequoia that fell more than thirty years ago. I had to force them back to the car so I could sit down.

On Being Gay (Child's View)

Shared by my nine year old recently:

"Mom, you know what would be good about being gay? You never have to go to the mall with your wife! And you can do manly stuff together like go dirt biking."

Other than stifle a guffaw, I wasn't sure how to react to that. There are just so many things to say, so many of them not appropriate for a nine year old level of understanding. So I just let it go. For now.

I'm not sure where the aversion to the mall came from. One thing's for sure, being gay does not give you a stay-out-of-the-mall card!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will Work for Food

Many of you may not know my assistant. He sleeps on the job but that's OK because I don't pay him much.



Now I'm suspicious.

I can be patient and get the most out of this.

I wonder what he wants.

I hope it's not a car.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dishing It Out

Today was a historic day.


I'm still feeling rather faint from shock.

I can't help but feel we've reached some sort of milestone. And whatever it is, I know I did not personally reach this milestone until I was at least seventeen years old. At least. And he's not quite thirteen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do You Wine?

We do. Quite a bit.

When my youngest son was in kindergarten, his class celebrated the 100th day of school. His homework for the celebration was to create something from 100 items we had around the house. I cast around for possible items: pieces of pasta, toothpicks, squares of toilet paper, nails, dust bunnies . . . it all seemed so usual, so I've-seen-it-before. Then I found the giant bag of corks. I have been saving them for some vague idea of a future craft project, possibly involving building furniture or an addition to the house. Seriously, I had a lot of corks. My son and I counted out 100 of them and it didn't even make a dent. Yes, I know you can now recycle natural cork at Whole Foods so stop it.

I gave him the corks and a hot glue gun and he went nuts. I still have the project he made.

He proudly carried it in to school, and only as I watched his backside round the corner, did I think about the fact that it just might not be a good idea to send your child to school with such a blatant example of your affinity for wine. Oh shit too late now.

Later that day the phone call came. "Umm, NICE project your son did for 100th day!" the Head of the Lower School said. I was horrified. I didn't even know her, she didn't know me, and now she has pegged me as an alcoholic mother. Oh great.

It turns out that the Head of the Lower School drinks her share of wine too and she actually thought it was funny that my son used corks. Whew.

Fast forward to 4th grade. We are at Back to School Night for the same son. The night has gone smoothly, we have met all the teachers, they are all fabulous, it's an idyllic place, the weather is warm. My husband and I are waiting outside the last classroom of the night, science, chatting with other parents. Suddenly the science teacher appears, heading straight for my husband and his name tag. "Oh you are R's dad! I have to tell you a funny story!"

Both my husband and I wince, our shoulders tense, and we look at each other with a smile/grimace that means, "Here we go again." We have heard many funny stories about our youngest son, not all of them funny, certainly all of them utterly unpredictable.

So in fourth grade this year, my son will be studying the oak woodland environment, in which the school is located. In class they were discussing oak trees and the many uses they have. Climbing, building, wine barrels. Apparently my son then informed the science teacher "some chardonnays are aged in stainless steel, not all of them are aged in oak." Or something to that effect. She thought it was quite funny and unusual. Thank goodness she wasn't around when my son was in kindergarten. She is definitely smart enough to make some kind of connection there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Smarmy Glam Out, Tough In

Clearly I need to get rid of that smarmy glamorous Teen Beat looking header on my blog. It just doesn't reflect reality any more. I need one featuring sports, muscles, and sweat. If I can get all three boys in the same place at the same time with good lighting, I will craft something.

Plus, I just found out my dad hates that picture. Yep, it's gotta go.

Muscle Man/Boy

My oldest son, almost thirteen, said to me the other day, "Mom, do you need help carrying that? Do you want me to use my awesome man-muscles?"

So I looked at him that night. I mean really looked at him.

Holy shit, he does have awesome man-muscles. Or teenager-muscles.

This really freaks me out. This is my first baby. How can he look like this?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Field Trip Already?

My sixth grader is off on a field trip already. Yes, we just started school and he has left today for five days in Yosemite to hike and a science-related curriculum. He packed his bag this morning before he left, just like his Dad does. I hate that. I have to be more organized ahead of time, but since HE had to pack, HE got to pick when to do it.

He got to school, met up with friends, and had not a trace of nervousness or trepidation getting on the bus. I wasn't surprised. He loves anything related to being outside, the forest, and camping. He is a very independent guy.

He is almost like a teenager. The almost part being the footed pajamas and the teddy bear that went into the suitcase. And the fact that he does not care what his friends might think about either one.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A New School Year

This morning, my middle son, eleven years old and a new 6th grader, was up early. For the 100-pound, almost five foot tall kid who is almost visibly growing, that is unusual. He loves his sleep, and likes to sleep in. It takes him a while to wake up in the morning. Sports-talk radio blares from his room for at least 20 minutes before he can rouse himself.

Last night was my birthday, and we were all up a little late eating an insanely rich dense chocolate-chocolate cake. So to see him up early, diligently studying at the kitchen table just made me smile. He is really getting a good start in school this year!

My husband came to the kitchen to say goodbye to him before leaving for the office. "Hey buddy, what are you studying there?" he asked, looking down at his paper. My son galnced up and said, "The football plays, Dad. I've got to memorize them."

My husband then gave me the goofiest smile, a combination of pride, amusement, and I-can't-believe-you-are-surprised-he's-obsessed-with-sports-don't-you-have-that-figured-out-yet look.

Apparently my son is taking his job as quarterback of the 5th/6th grade team very seriously. And apparently, the dad who never got picked to play the quarterback as a kid is enjoying himself a bit. I've got to get that book back out, Football for Dummies. I'm not totally sure what the quarterback exactly does.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not Quite on the Ball (Yet)

I thought I was mostly ready for the boys to back to school.

Then I had one of those "am I a bad mother?" thoughts this morning as my middle son, who lives for PE, is running out the door for carpool and shouts, "Mom, I need my PE uniform today!" Mad scramble as all three boys shoot up the stairs and through the house, doing an all-out sprint for their rooms. I know the shorts are in the washer. Been there for three days. Ooops. For god's sake, keeping track of school uniforms, baseball uniforms, soccer uniforms, and PE uniforms in addition to all the regular laundry is really testing my sanity. Not my brain, just my sanity.

Thank goodness it's going to be hot today. Those wet PE shorts should feel great.