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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Trouble with Five

The trouble with five is that your teeth are never in the right place. They get in the way when you fall; they seem to pull you along toward your brother when he’s ready to throw the Frisbee. They’re hard to brush, too, and Mom’s rarely satisfied that they’re truly clean (even when they are).

The trouble with five is all the energy and excitement. Sometimes there’s just no way to be still, whether you’re trying to get dressed for the day or ride in the car or go to sleep – too many thoughts and “what ifs” swirl around in your head until you can’t help but sing them out (sometimes over and over again).

The trouble with five is that ‘most everything is funny. Even if nobody else thinks so, you just need to laugh out loud (and that’s not always good). Your brother does the goofiest things; your friends make faces and noises in the classroom and your parents say and do things for no other reason than to tickle your funny bone. It usually works.

The trouble with five is that so much of the world is unpronounceable, and the other stuff – the stuff you can pronounce – is on a shelf just a little too high to reach.

The trouble with five is that your teacher is great (kinda like Mom, really), until the day she’s not. But nobody will believe that she’s mean now. The trouble with five is that the little girl who loved you when school started last fall won’t sit beside you now when Mom puts a smoothie in your lunch. And Mom keeps putting smoothies in your lunch!

The trouble with five is that it’s hard work, keeping track of whether you’re supposed to be Ninja Jay or Harry Potter or the Blue Knight when you play Ninjago-Harry Potter-Medieval Times after school. How do you decide if it’s best to use your sword or your light saber? The rules are pretty tricky.

The trouble with five is that there aren’t enough hours in the week to play with Play Doh. Or Legos. Or to paint. Or do puzzles. Or trace with stencils. Or dig in the backyard. Or hunt for rocks to add to your collection. Or learn about the moon.

The trouble with five is that it quickly – too quickly – turns into six.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oops! Forgot 1

Sometimes, it takes a village. . . or at least a goodly number of neighbors.

Why, you may ask, is The Husband up in the neighbor's tree? I'm surprised you had to ask: Didn't everyone's eldest son receive a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas?

The problem, you see, is that Boy #1 has yet to play with said helicopter. It came with very explicit instructions about its operation -- most importantly that one is not to attempt to fly it if the temperature is below 50 degrees or if there's the slightest bit of wind.

After several failed attempts by The Husband and The Grandfather (that would be my dad, who gifted the helicopter) to fly it a week or so ago, The Husband decided that the time was ripe last weekend. Unfortunately for him, he was mistaken.

Flying was going exceptionally well, I have to admit. I was just getting ready to remark that maybe he shouldn't take it quite so high (in the range of the 2nd story of The House), when the wind took it into our neighbor's tree.

You'd think it would be fairly easy to dislodge a smallish toy from the branches of a barren oak tree. You would be wrong.

One ladder, one long branch lopper, a comforter and several neighbors later. . .

and the heli was back in The Boy's hands. (Mind you, he still hasn't gotten to play with his toy. Ahem.)

I'll leave out the part where The Husband then dropped the lopper, which narrowly missed Boy #2 and caused this writer not a small bout of anxiety.

So. . .more surprises for us. It does, indeed, take a village. I'm just grateful the neighbors were all home to help.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Surprising 2013

We're not even halfway through January yet, and it's already shaping up to be a surprising -- and surprisingly good -- year.

Consider how we kicked off the new year here at The House. No wild parties or children carousing Lego bins until midnight. . . we hosted a 5K. I know, right?! And if you know The Family, you're even more surprised.

We were really impressed with the folks at Lifetime Fitness and their sponsoring Commitment Day on January 1. In a nutshell, they organized 5Ks in 30 cities around the country so folks could kick off their year with a healthy activity. Great idea, no? Except they wanted $40 for the privilege to run with several hundred of your closest strangers. Oh sure, they'd give you a t-shirt; and if you wanted to bring a kid along, that was OK, too. But seriously. Forty bucks?

As I was lamenting this exorbitant expense to The Husband, the words I was least expecting to hear actually came out of his mouth: "Why don't we organize our own?" After ascertaining that he did, in fact, realize none of us run (any distance, with any sort of regularity, and certainly not for enjoyment), I warmed up to the idea. Why not indeed?

So here's the brave band of souls that took to our neighborhood streets on Jan. 5. (We were having torrential downpours on Jan. 1 and we just weren't that committed.)

Yes, we're all facing away from the camera (everybody but Kirby, the wonder dog). Keeping our friends safe from wackos and predators.

It was surprisingly fun, even though the only ones who ran were our neighborhood Iron Man and his dog. Most of the kids rode bikes, although Boy #2 did a fantastic job of encouraging The Husband to run in spurts. I walked; no mystery there. We're thinking that we just might do it again next year.

Surprise #2 is that Boy #2 mastered his training wheels at a blistering pace, setting a personal best "international record in the cul-de-sac" (his words) of 8 laps around, plus a bonus roll almost all the way around the subdivision. Since he'd avoided the big boy bike for much of the past year, we'd resigned ourselves that maybe biking just wasn't his thing. Turns out he enjoys it quite a bit if the seat and training wheels are adjusted correctly, so everything's at the right height and his knees aren't up in his ears. My boy, the perfectionist. :-)

If the rest of 2013 continues in this vein, I might even have to send Christmas letters come December.