Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lists and Syndromes

My children are suffering from a serious case of grandparents-syndrome.   I used to catch it as a child myself, so I suppose it's hereditary, common to all Adam and Eve's children.   Charlie spent the six days I was in Ohio, turning into an insufferably spoiled child.   He and Jamie both think the magic of the sun has been transferred into their veins, and the universe has deviated its orbit to now revolve around them.  I did not get the memo.

On top of that, Charlie has become a koala bear, clinging to me with feats of defiance against gravity, lest I disappear into the night again.  ... a cranky koala bear because he hasn't been sleeping or eating terribly well.  ...a adolecent, cranky, koala bear because he suddenly has an attitude like a 16 year old girl.  Last week it felt like he could barely string two sentences together, and this morning he put his hands on his hips, with a glare and said "I don't think you're a very nice person anymore.  You get me my breakfast now or I won't be friends with you."   

Flabbergasted.  This stage will have a parent-induced short life span.  

Random things I want to remember about this year thus far.

1)  We paid Jamie to potty train Charlie.
2)  Jamie gave up training wheels.
3)  Charlie beat up an eight year old.
4)  Jamie lost his first tooth. 
5)  Charlie started preschool
6)  Jamie started First Grade

Thursday night the power went out...everywhere in San Diego.  From the coast to Arizona.   It was like the zombie apocalypse without any zombies (although Jim was prepared just in case).    Normally we have plenty of food but a messy house, but the one day of the year I have no food and a spotless house...the zombie-less apocalypse happens.   We went out to grab a bite to eat and a few groceries (because we didn't know how widespread the power outage was) and even walmart was closed.  There wasn't a single gas station open in the county.  The freeway was peppered with fuel-less vehicles on the side of the road.  We came back home to our disinfected, foodless house and Jim pointed out, we could live on rabbit stew indefinitely.   Truly, between the chickens, garden and well, we could weather emergencies quite well.   Sure, we'd have to go to bed every night at dusk because locating batteries and flashlights is something of a problem area for us, but nobody can complain about being well rested and well fed. 

I didn't sleep well, but it wasn't for lack of air conditioning, but rather the war I waged against black widows.   My natural sense of eyesight is so poor, I've learned to trust my children explicitly when they say something like "snake!" or "spider!".   They're straightforward little kidlets without the tendency to "cry wolf", but one of these days the joke will be on me when I jump three feet for an invisible rattlesnake.     So when I tried to wash Charlie's hands in the middle of the night and he kept twisting his legs around me trying to avoid being put down, saying "scary spider mamma...bad spider"  I knew it was a black widow.    That's the third time this month, that Charlie has seen and avoided a black widow directly in his path.  It freaked me out so bad, I went on a black widow hunt and killed two more.   Unbelievable.   No wonder I couldn't go back to sleep. 

Just in case there are a few people left out there who haven't been scared away from ever visiting me.  I got stung by a scorpion in my kitchen while Julie was here. 

Between that and the black widows, I sort of hop, gasp and dance through my house at night. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ahhhhh....sometimes I wish for the good old days where my only concern was keeping Jamie alive.    When he popped into this world unexpectedly, I got an unexpected dose of reality:  Keeping him as a living and breathing homosapien on this planet is hard work. 

Nothing's really changed on that front except now instead of I.V's and blood transfusions, it's paragliding with a paper bag off a cliff and trying to cut up lemons with forbidden kitchen knives (attempt number two today at homemade lemonade).


On top of all of that, (which I still maintain is a full time job) he now has to do things like read and write, start math, and go to school.  Suddenly zero to five years old seems like it was so easy.   I spent thirty minutes yesterday trying to stay calm, practicing my breathing like I was in a LaMaze class, while Jamie struggled to read things that were easy for him to read at the end of last year.   The letter U is apparently incomprehensible to him, but he can talk about epithelial tissue all day.    He can barely write his name (a prewriting worksheet is a rare form of torture unless it's disguised as a maze), but he can draw you a disgustingly detailed picture of the e.coli bacterium ("google images+germs" is his friend).

There are so many things about him that I don't understand.  To quote an Anne book, he's nothing like my personality, and I have at least a dozen of them.   When I was a kid, I had to prop my sleepy eyeballs up with spoons in the morning, while I surreptitiously shoveled my oatmeal down the garbage disposal.  I could barely remember my own name before 10am.  Jamie this morning made his own breakfast and had three lessons of math done, while I was still attempting to wake up.   Since it was before 10am, I couldn't figure out how he successfully completed math lessons he had no instructions for, until he proudly showed me the teacher's manual he'd gotten out of the bookshelf and meticulously copied all the correct answers from.    I was surely not prepared to give the "cheating talk" this morning, and like Amelia Bedelia, I don't think he really got it either.  He was rather proud of himself. 

Yesterday I was so depressed by his abysmal reading and writing capability, Jamie climbed into my lap and asked me what was wrong.   Since my Ohio trip to Nona's funeral, I've turned over a new leaf and am trying to be uber encouraging like she was.  I told Jamie that unless he stopped jabbering about connective tissue, and improved his handwriting, he was going to end up a doctor.  He must have taken it to heart, because at the moment, he's got magazines tied up all over Charlie as splints for all of Charlie's broken bones.    Charlie is wailing that he doesn't have any broken bones, but Jamie's not listening.  He tried to doctor the dog, but Barnabas is smarter (and runs faster than Charlie).   We all think Jamie's bedside manner could maybe improve, he's a little too gleeful.   
Maybe more writing worksheets will help.