BANG!

 

My 7-year-old son is in 2nd grade this year.  His homework is set up a little differently in that every week is given a list of things to do and he just needs to accomplish 5 of them by the next Friday.  Great. There are math worksheets, online spelling activities, and even some games.

Getting my kid to do homework is like getting my husband to drink an IPA.  It’s not going to happen.  But there is one homework activity he really likes, a game called BANG!  Basically, he has to cut out words that are typed on cardstock paper, put them in a bag, and shake them up.  In each set of words, there is the word BANG! on one card.  After you’ve mixed them all up, one person draws a card, reads it out loud to another person, and they have to correctly spell the word to get the point.  If you draw the BANG! card you have to give all your points to the other person.  Each week there are more cards that are added to pile.  So, by the end of the year, this is going to be the longest game ever!  I’m sure there’s a way to incorporate drinking.  I’ll get back to you on that.

One day, he comes home from school and asks if we can play BANG!  Keep in mind it’s one of those nights where there are about 47,000 things going on and I’m already running around like a chicken with my head cut off.   The 2-year-old wants her done, but not the way I’ve already done it. The 1-year-old is pissed only because it’s the afternoon and for no other reason.  My husband had just gotten home from work so he was busy receiving love and praise from the children simply for walking through the door. And I’m preparing 3 different meals for 6 people.  I looked at my 7-year-old with a look that could only be described as “are you fucking kidding me right now?” But I restrained myself.  I said, “Not tonight, honey. But maybe Mommy and Josh will play BANG! later.”  Mostly just to see if my husband was paying attention.  He was.  We both had a good chuckle through the chaos.  He laughed because of the play on words. I laughed because there was no way we would actually have mid-week sex.

We went through the evening as usual.  Ate, put the kids to bed, passed out on the couch watching something too stupid to even remember, went to bed.  Now, allow me to preface this next part with I am NOT a morning person.  I am barely a person at all in the morning.  I am an evil being that will rip your head off if you breath wrong.  All of which are great traits to have with children by the way.  spit takeThat being said, I get up with my son the next morning at 6:30, get him breakfast and sit in practical silence until it’s time for him to go to the bus. As I’m getting his things ready by the back door he says, “Oh hey, Mom. Did you and Josh play BANG! last night?” It was like manna from the comedy gods. So genuine. So sincere.  He definitely thought we were going to do his homework while he slept.  All I could think to say was, “No, we were too tired, but don’t talk to Josh about it. He’s pretty upset.”

I immediately told my husband the story to which he simply replied, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

I can’t wait until my son can read this when he’s older.

 

I Don’t Know How To Talk To People Who Are Good With Kids

Mr Rogers

I am, admittedly, a mediocre parent at best.  I mean, I love my kids, I don’t beat them, they are all still alive, and according to their pediatrician, they are healthy and thriving. But I am not a baby-talk mom.  I don’t do the whole pandering thing very well.  I talk to my kids like they’re just short adults who can’t drink.

Recently, I took the babies to a Story Hour at the public library.  The gals conducting the Story Hour were great.  One was older, in her late 60’s I would say.  The other a little younger, maybe in her 50’s.  They were very welcoming and patient and calm with the kids.  They spoke their language and read each story with the kind of enthusiasm I give a really well-crafted Old Fashioned.   I was not only in awe of them, I was painfully awkward around them.  My daughter has the social anxiety of someone who grew up at Grey Gardens, and wouldn’t let me go to save her life.  Both ladies would try to engage her in some conversation without forcing her or making her uncomfortable.  Saying things like, “I like purple. Do you like purple too?”  “Would you like to color with all your friends?” “Oh, I love your picture.”  And, “Aren’t they all just so great?!”

My daughter has the social anxiety of someone who grew up at Grey Gardens, and wouldn’t let me go to save her life.  Both ladies would try to engage her in some conversation without forcing her or making her uncomfortable.  Saying things like, “I like purple. Do you like purple too?”  “Would you like to color with all your friends?” “Oh, I love your picture.”  And, “Aren’t they all just so great?!”

I could NEVER do that.  I would say things like, “Would you like a Xanax?” “You’re never going to move out of your parent’s house if you can’t even talk to people,”  and “Your picture looks like Michael J Fox drew it.”  All grossly inappropriate.  Funny, but inappropriate.

Since the girl spawn wasn’t feeling awfully social, these ladies kept trying to engage me in conversation instead. They used nice words, didn’t make fun of anyone, didn’t say one swear word, and spoke with sincerity.  What kind of witchcraft is this?!?!

Them: “Oh it’s ok.  I have those kinds of days too.  We don’t always have to talk if we don’t want to.”

My Thoughts: “Yeah…It’s not ok to not speak to people who are speaking to you!  That’s fucking rude!  I’m not trying to raise an asshole over here.  I’m sorry she’s being so fucking weird!”

My actual words trying to sound like a good mother: “Oh yeah… (awkward laughter) It’s ok… (awkward laughter) She’ll get there…(awkward laughter) What are you going to do?… (awkward laughter) Thank you…”

I don't know what to do with my hands

The Russian, mail-order-bride mom spoke more fluent English than I did.  All I could think about was how uncomfortable I was, and how I couldn’t wait to get out of there, pound a beer, and drop a series of F Bombs just to bring be back to homeostasis.

So, to everyone out there who truly enjoys children in all their bizarre glory, and who can genuinely make the effort to engage them on their level, I applaud you. I find you weird and completely unnatural. But you are clearly a better person than me and much more qualified to raise my kids.