It is not uncommon to hear myself saying things like, “Yes, it is hard to sit down with a blaster in your pants.”
It is not uncommon to hear myself saying, “If you…then I’ll…” I know. You’re not supposed to threaten your child. I do it all the time. About throwing sticks and pointing guns at people’s heads. About taking Lego pieces out on the back deck (the spaces between the wood slats are just wide enough to lose all manner of things, forever). About taking Lego light sabers in the car (spent ten minutes taking the car seat apart yesterday to locate Darth Vader’s). About hitting your brother over the head with an eight pound hand weight (happened).
If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m writing about G here. The boy who inherited all my stubbornness but not my desire to please people, which I must say—while branding me a hypocrite at times—does a good job of balancing out my inherent tendency toward meanness when I’m hurt or sad or hormonal.
It is uncommon for me (not so much for Jonah) to actually get hit with one of those flying sticks. I guess yesterday was my lucky day, because in the midst of busily raking the leaves our front yard maple has deemed necessary to let loose a good month early, I experienced a mammoth and startling thunk to the forehead. The weapon of choice was a foot-and-half-long tree limb about an inch-and-a-half in diameter. The kind that’s all stringy and green and pulpy inside.
After momentarily losing it (Jonah had gone to fetch some bags to pick up dog poop and was thrusting them in my face even as I was keeled over in pain—“Mom! I said here’s the poop bags! Mom, I got them for you!”), I dragged both boys to the backyard to work it out. I made G look at the lump on my forehead. He sat on my lap, avoiding my eyes and wanting me to get over it so I could cuddle with him and let him know everything was okay. Which it was. Eventually. I apologized to Jonah for telling him to get those #@*!-ing bags out of my face. I reiterated how bad it was that I had said that word, that I was reacting to the surprise of getting whacked in the head more than anything. We went back to raking and chasing and bagging.
It is not uncommon for Jonah to bite his nails down to the quick once school gets going—especially at the beginning and after Christmas break. It is happening now. Messages have been sent to teachers and helpers to offer alternative activities (pretzels stick anyone?).
It is not uncommon to find a pool of yellow “water” on the floor in front of the toilet by stepping in it while I am scrambling to have one minute alone in a room with the door closed. It is not uncommon to have Batman tell you he got pee on his cape, or his shorts, or his unders, or his shoes…Boys are disgusting. God I love them. But still.
It is not uncommon for holidays to be difficult. For me, especially. We’re all out of normal routine, John usually still needs to work, and I just miss my family. Doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or Easter or Labor Day. I miss ’em, darn it. So what do I do? Spend three and half hours weeding our garden so that I can find the cucumbers (and the tomatoes and the strawberries that never berried). Physical exhaustion is a great mediator, and I discovered that J really gets into pulling weeds, even it means my parsley is a little worse for wear.
While it is uncommon to already be bagging leaves (up to 10 bags now) and for the birds to already be heading south (I’ve been told by several friends that these portend a long, hard winter), it is not uncommon for a twinge of personal melancholy to set in. While the change is invigorating, for sorts like me it means short days, less sun, and more grey skies. We’ve had a beautiful summer; I’m grateful for that.
In other news…
We discovered the Butterfly House yesterday, and serendipitously, a classmate from Jonah’s new school happened to be there. She said hello to him at least three times before I stepped in and asked Jonah who she was. Thank God for Jane. The BH is rather small, but you can try to tempt the creatures from their flowers with some sugar water on a q-tip. G and J were sweet enough (maybe it’s the calendula shampoo we use) for the butterflies to land on their hand and hair respectively. You can watch a monarch push out of his chrysalis, wings wet and curled. You can watch a caterpillar hang and build her chysalis. The butterfly’s proboscis is actually in two pieces before they roll it around in their mouths to form a functioning tube. Saw it happen.
Just outside the BH is the Log-O-Fun playground. All logs, all the time. Pretty sure it was G’s favorite part of the day. While climbing a particularly tall stump, J said, “This is the Best Day.” We took a short hike, which G immediately said he was too tired for, so I ended up carrying him on my back for thirty minutes up and down and up and through, swatting at the gnats that were determined to lodge themselves in my eye holes, nose holes, ear holes…you get the idea.
I should have ended it with “This is the Best Day,” right?