Friday, January 06, 2006

"I don't know what I was thinking."

"My little brother is a pest"

And so Hyphen Girl discovered a whole new level of provocation for younger brother as we made our way through Target's apparel area last night.

Most parents know that older siblings sneak into the bedrooms of sleeping younger siblings and install buttons into younger siblings psyche-surely this is why they know exactly which ones to push. I'm tempted to say Standing Long Jump has a thousand buttons, but really it boils down to one, and her name is Hyphen Girl.

"Look at this one" shoving tight little tweener tee into brother's face. "I could wear this one"

"Mommmmmm!" while simultaneously slugging older sister.

"Standing Long Jump hit me"

"Of course he did, you were provoking him and he reacted like 7 year old boys react."

I'm not sure there is a better training ground for humanity than sibling rivalry.

"SLJ, do you hit girls?"


"Even when HG is being mean?"


"Hyphen Girl do you want to spend the remainder of the evening as his personal servant-doing anything and everything he asks?"


"Your choice, be kind to him now, or serve him for the rest of the night."

Of course SLJ was just hoping for HG to slip up, what greater power than indentured servitude of an older sister.

All parents seem intent on understanding their kids and what make them tick; if we understand them we can devise the perfect parenting strategy, or least avoid total psychological destruction. While at one time I confused SLJ's fairly consistent, silent contemplation, with a depth of person, the more I get to know him the simpler he seems to me.

For example, at a recent dinner SLJ was delighted to see that I had added a bowl of applesauce to the table.

"Wow, we have four things on our plate tonight. Usually we only have three. Four things is like being a king"

If I'd only known sooner that applesauce would confer royalty upon my son.

We're basically back to the three item paradigm, I didn't want to let it go to his head, that and I always forget applesauce while at the store. It's in one of those seldom perused aisles. I don't even recall how it arrived home with us on that one occasion, and I like applesauce. Dinner is a simple meal in our home, leaves more room for conversation when you don't spend the entire meal coaxing the kids to eat. Not that they don't try new things, but we generally save that for weekends and school vacations. I prefer to let the kids chat about their days and talk with dad.

I think SLJ is going to be a hard working, simple man, who loves his family and his friends, I pray daily that he finds a good woman who appreciates him.

Every so often I coincidentally gain insight into my kids through another event. This morning as I gathered firewood, my winter loving dog was racing around the wood pile looking for a stick to fetch. Naturally every stick I picked up for my bundle was "the stick" Sorry Leila, I just don't think you can really get your jaws around that log. Finally I found one suited to the game and flung it across the yard. She was off in a spray of snow and came running back happily, stick in mouth,

-programming pause, I have to build a train-

One train and one phone call later....

"Throw it again, throw it again....." wag, wag "Psych!" (HT to Eddie Murphy... I've got some ice cream...)

You know the drill. Just as you reach for the stick, the dog grabs it up and runs off, and you are supposed to chase her. Makes for pretty good cross training in the summer when you aren't holding 50 pounds of fire wood on hard packed snow. But here comes my "what were you thinking, t-shirt, moment"

I grew up in a hunting family and all hunting families have dogs. Retrieving dogs to be precise. Our retrievers were black labs, to which countless hours of training were devoted. Throw training dummy in air, make shotgun sound, "sit....mark....Spot" and Spot would run like crazy scoop up training dummy and return at the sound of the whistle. Ironic how a whimsied summer game of chase the dog around the yard with a sock in his mouth could render all those training hours useless. Or, so I was told after the first hunt of the year. Apparently running amok with duck in mouth trying to induce a game of tag is not what a retrieving dog is supposed to do.


No doubt there will be many more "what were you thinking moments" with The Tribe, and while amusing, I don't need a Target tee to promote that fact.

Finally, I went for a swim last night. Actually, I made an attempt a swim workout last night. There was open swim time at the pool so the tribe went along and had fun while I took over a lap lane. You have no idea how hard it is to concentrate on laps when every arrival at the deep end is greeted with one of the tribe at the bottom of your lane waving up at you smiling and goofy and impressed with themselves, (they were taking turns) and every return to the shallow end was marked with a check in with Buck Naked who neither wanted to swim, nor go to the kids gym but rather preferred drawing pictures while on the pool deck. Buck Naked can't swim, but I also assumed he couldn't drown in the 20 seconds it took to return from the deep end. So, back to the deep end, Oh, look Trihubby's joined the bottom of the pool lane. If only they could rent some scuba equipment for Florida. It'd bring spectating to a whole new level. You could even sell tours....

What was I thinking


:) said...

I love your family!

Bolder said...

i love your family too!

you had me when you all did the 'Jessie Stensland' pose... now, the nicknames have just set the hook...

'course, your narration runs through my head like an episode of 'The Wonder Years'.

Comm's said...

you have the best storys about your tribe.

Chris said...

Men are such simple creatures. SLJ is proof that this holds true at even his age. A dollop of applesauce and you've made his day!

I, too, love your tribe! :)

Kewl Nitrox said...

Oh wise and honoured leader of the tribe, I have learnt much from your post. The thing about letting the offending sibling be the servant of the offended for the night is a real gem. I am gonna try it, and knowing my tribe, I may not have to wait very long indeed.

And, be thankful they are just standing and looking goofy. Mine tend to ask (at the top of their voices) "Papa, why are you so slow when you swim? The others are all so fast, but you are so SLOW..." (and on and on...) They must secretly work for TI.

Sixteen Chickens said...

I always think it's going to be so great to workout with my kids, and then when they actually go along with it I end up thinking I must have had a temporary lapse of sanity. Thanks for reminding me it of that. ;)

Keryn said...

Think of how motivating it would be to finish a swim with your family waving you on from the bottom!

You have fantastic stories about the tribe!