Cricket Killer

It all started the other night right before bed. Bradley came running to me, “Mom, there’s a jumping black spider in my room! It’s really big, Mom!”

A spider jumping? I’m so confused. And ugh! I’m in the middle of getting the twins ready for bed- sitting on the toilet seems to take these two forever and Collin’s being Collin and needing constant supervision. And now I have to catch a spider in the boys’ room?! A jumping one, none the less. And all I really want to do is get these kids to bed because I’m tired and honestly, these kids are driving me nuts!

I really doubt there’s a spider, so I didn’t rush. “Where is it?” I ask Bradley as I go into the room and scan the walls and floor. He points to a corner by the closet, “There it is!” he exclaims.

I look, expecting to see lint or something silly that’s not a spider at all, but there was something there.

“It’s just a cricket,” I say, a little confused because I have never seen a cricket in the house before, especially on the second floor. They are usually in basements or something.

Yet there it was- a big fat cricket skimming along the baseboard. His black body shined in the light as I chased him down and tried to catch him with my bare hands. His legs felt spiny against my cupped hands and just when I thought I had him he would leap out of my hands and escape.

I can’t believe Bradley doesn’t know what a cricket is! I somehow feel I have failed him in some small way because every kid should be able to identify crickets, along with lightning bugs and rolly pollys (you know those grey things with lots of legs that roll into a little round ball when you flick them).

I told Bradley to keep a watch on him and I went and got toilet paper from the bathroom so I could catch it. I used to catch them with my hands when I was little, no big deal. I don’t know when I became such a wimp, the squirming fat body and sticky legs keep freaking me out. I feel as if I’m not setting a good example for the kids, squealing every time it jumps from my hands.

I pick it up with the toilet paper. I can feel its fat body squirming between my fingers. I run to the bathroom and fling the whole thing in the toilet. We watch it swim around the toilet bowl. It keeps trying to escape up the slippery sides of the bowl.

“Mom!” Bradley is entirely exasperated and a little upset by my actions. “Why did you do that?!” he demands. “It’s where we pee and stuff. Gross! It’s gonna die!”  (Hello?! Yea, that’s the whole point. But I didn’t say anything about that.)

I guess I should have/could have let the cricket go outside. It makes me think back to my science teacher in college. Seriously, she would NOT kill a fly. If there was an ant, bug, or spider, she would not hurt it and would get quite upset if you smashed him with your foot or slammed a book down on the insect. She would save the little creature by scooping it up on a sheet of paper and gingerly carrying it outside to let it free. How kind and caring. I guess I don’t always have it in me, considering I’m a cricket killer tonight.

So here was this experience where I could have taught Bradley some sort of lesson, like kindness or taking care of our environment because all animals and insects are important to our Earth…but instead I flushed the jumping black spider/cricket down the toilet.

Cricket killer.

But it’s bedtime! I don’t have the time right now to deal with a cricket and I lost my patience right after dinner when I started counting down the minutes until bedtime.

Maybe next time I will set it free. Maybe next time I will have some compassion for that annoying fly or pesky cricket that shouldn’t be in our house in the first place. Just maybe.

xxx

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A Letter to Santa

The other night Bradley sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote his letter to Santa. I love his first grade handwriting and creativity. I love the fact that he put directions on how to open the letter – that is the “rip” at the top of the page and an illustration!  But I think my favorite part is that he asks if he has been good or bad. Shouldn’t he just know? I thought most kids just said they were on the good list no matter what. He just cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh. I think he thinks there is some kind of chart, like the clip system at school.

santa letter In his letter he did list all of the nice things he did, like helping his sisters put on their shoes in the morning and working hard in school. On the other side was his list. Surprisingly it was a really short list! And at the end, he wrote “I am 7,” and circled it, just so Santa would know.

I “mailed” it to the North Pole this morning, which is basically dating it and putting it way in my cedar chest where I store all of my favorite keepsakes. I can’t wait to give him that pile when he is older.

I wonder what my Santa letters were like when I was little.

How do you save your Santa letters? Which ones are your favorites? I would love to hear your stories!

xxx

 

 

 

Five Stars for Magna Doodles

The boys were sprawled out on the living room floor, heads bent and getting along wonderfully. “Wow!” is all I could say and wish this happened more often. They were taking turns, there was no arguing, and they were really into what they were doing.

They were drawing on the Magna Doodle! And they were doing some really cute drawings. They would fill up the screen and show me their work, proud smiles plastering their cute little faces and their blue eyes lighting up.

But every time they would go to move the little orange handle across the screen to erase, I would silently cringe, wishing I could save that one for the scrapbook. But they created more little masterpieces over and over again.

Bradley eventually got bored and left the toy all to Collin. And even without his brother, Collin sat and drew pictures for a good 20 minutes, which is really good for this busy toddler who seems to never sit still unless Umi Zoomie or Bubble Guppies is on.

Collin and his creations, which are planes by the way.

So I give the Magna Doodle five stars for keeping my kids busy, playing cooperatively together, and using their imaginations. They drew planes and cars and people and animals and shapes and all kinds of stuff.

The downside, Mommy can’t save their little masterpieces. UNLESS I take a picture! (which I finally smarted up and started doing.)

The other amazing thing about this toy is that it is durable. Bradley got it for his second birthday, and he is almost seven…so the toy is about five years old. We have lost all the magnetic shapes or the dogs have eaten them, but it still works great after all these years, minus that it doesn’t erase completely and give you a clean plastic sheen-  you can still kind of see the old marks-  but the kids don’t seem to notice or know any difference.

I love little hands and their creations. Priceless!

xxx

Pluggers and Pipers or Maybe a Penguin

Bradley’s eating lunch and he says, “Mom, when I grow up I want to be a plugger.”
Me: “What’s a plugger? What do they do?”
Bradley: “I forgot. Maybe they are called a piper. What is it called, Mom, a plugger or a piper?”
Me: “Well, I’m not sure I understand. What do they do?”
Bradley: “I know what they do. I don’t know how to say it.” And he is getting a little frustrated.
Me: “Do you mean a plumber? They fix pipes.” I thought that was a good guess.
Bradley: “No.”
Me: “What about an electrician? They fix plugs.”
Bradley: “No.”
Me: “Well, maybe if you tell me what kinds of things they do on the job, I will know if it is a plugger or a piper.”
And we are going around in circles and getting no where with this conversation because he just can’t find the words to express what he is thinking.
So I do what every good mom does, I say, “Ask your Dad.”
It was funny hearing them go back and forth; plugger piper plugger piper. Sounds like a riddle.
“What do they do?” we keep asking.
Bradley knows, he just can’t find the words to explain and seems very tired of having this conversation with his parents. I mean, geesh, we should know, we are the parents! 
And we are all still clueless. What’s a plugger? A piper?
 
I’ll just chalk this one up to one of those funny conversations and move on. But I can’t help but keep wondering what in the world he is trying to say. I mean, this is what he wants to be when he grows up, for now. Last week he wanted to be a penguin.
 
xxx

The Death of a Toy Soldier

I picked up a dark green plastic army guy from the floor. I rolled it around in my fingers. A leg was missing and half of a small arm. As I twirled it in my fingers another leg fell off. “We have a casualty,” I announced to Bradley. It seemed appropriate since we were watching a G.I. Joe cartoon. I got up to throw it away.

“We have an injury,” I announced again, loudly so he would pay attention.

Brad yelled from outside, “What’s wrong?!” I can’t believe he actually heard me, he just turned off the lawn mower. He assumed it was one of the kids. Injuries are sort of common occurences around here with all these little ones (namely Collin).

I couldn’t help but laugh. “No, hunny. I was talking about an army guy. But way to be on the ball!”

I went to throw away the plastic toy. Before I plopped him in the garbage can next to the left over crust from lunch and dried out vegetables I announced, “We have a fatality, Bradley. He’s gone. There’s no saving him now.”

Just before I laid his battered plastic body to rest in the plastic cemetery (aka garbage can), I gave him one last farewell. “You led a good fight, soldier. May you find peace.”

Poor army guy. We sure do go through them. I think the dog chewed on that one. Lucky he wasn’t swallowed and left in the yard in a pile of poop. Garbage is a much better place to rest.

And I couldn’t help thinking about those toy soldiers in “Toy Story,” one of my favorite kids movies, and I really felt bad for the stupid plastic toy.

xxx

Mistakes in Crayon, Lucky Number Two, and Other Bradley-isms

It’s always the little things that I want to remember, like the way he looks when he first wakes up, how he eats his cereal, the way he swings his bat, the conversations we have (and just about every little thing about all of my kids). But these little things are the easiest to forget. You might be amused by them at the time. I may tell the funny story to my family or friends, but it fades… and they get older and there are so many things added that I want to remember. So I write them down and take lots of pictures to hang on to what I can.

Here are some of my favorites from the last month:

“Mistakes in Crayon”

As Bradley was getting dressed, out of the blue he says, “It’s okay if you make mis-snakes, I mean mistakes, Mom. Everybody makes mistakes,” he explains to me. “Sometimes I make mistakes in crayon.”

“Yeah. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes,” I agree.

“Yeah,” he says. “I make mis-snakes, I mean mistakes, in crayon at school sometimes, like when I do my ABC’s. Sometimes the teacher lets you start over. Sometimes she don’t. You never know what the teacher will say,” he tells me.

And I am not sure where all of this is coming from or why he’s talking about it now, while he’s deciding which pair of Lego Batman underwear to wear. But I go along with it. “Sometimes I make mistakes, too. But’s it’s important that we learn from our mistakes.”

“Lucky Number 2”

Bradley held up two fingers. “Mom, the number two must be lucky,” he said. “We have two eyes and two ears. We have two arms and two legs. And we have two parts to our butt so we can poop,” he says, laughing like he just figured out a silly secret.

Nice. Leave it to a boy to look at it in that perspective. I had to laugh, too.

“Veins”

Bradley sat at the table examining the blue lines in his hands and wrists.

“Mom, what if one of these vines break?”

“Vines?” I asked, puzzled.

“Yeah, these blue vines.”

I started to pay attention to see what he was talking about. “Oh, you mean veins.”

“Yeah. What do they do?”

“They help put blood through all of your body.”

“Oh,” he said. Obviously not what he expected.

xxx

And if I could understand half of what Collin says, I’m sure I could have a whole book of crazy kid stories. And with Elsie and Mallie coming right up behind Collin, it will definitely be interesting.

I love to hear kid-isms. What are some of yours?

xxx

The TRUE Story of the Tooth Fairy: Not My Best Parenting Moment

When Bradley woke up and found his tooth fairy money, I could hear his excitement. I heard him jump off his top bunk, I could tell he was smiling just by the sound of his bounce, and he came barging into the bathroom holding his money.

“Mom! She came!” he yelled. “Look at all the money she left me!” he said, holding a wad of ones.

“Wow! How much is there?” I asked, even though I knew. I’m a pretty darn good tooth fairy, if I say so myself.

“Let me count,” he said, going off to his bedroom.

I heard him counting each one very slowly; one, two, three, and so on.

“Five dollars! She left me FIVE dollars!” he said, giggling and doing a little dance. “AND she didn’t put in UNDER my pillow, she put in IN my pillow (meaning in the pillowcase). She’s tricky!”

“Wow! You are such a lucky boy,” I told him.

“Now I have seven dollars,” he said.

Now this wasn’t a problem until he said that he was going to put his money in his wallet, which we keep up high in a special spot so Collin doesn’t get it. He headed downstairs to put his money away and I thought, Oh, shit!  He’s going to find an empty wallet.

See, a few days ago I had “borrowed” a couple of dollars from Bradley’s wallet. We were going to the zoo for a field trip and I didn’t have any cash and no time to run to the ATM. So I took the couple of bucks out of Bradley’s wallet to feed the fish and goats. I was planning on putting it back and just forgot…until now, my “oh, shit!” moment.

I listened to him downstairs climbing onto the counter to get his wallet. I tried to figure out a way of telling him why his wallet was empty. I really hoped that maybe he thought that he had spent his money, but unlikely. I heard his footsteps coming back up the stairs. I was a little surprised at what happened next.

“Mom! The tooth fairy gave me some of my money, too! From my wallet! She IS tricky!” He thought this was great! And I could have been done with it, free and clear.

I could have let him think that the tooth fairy was “tricky” and put his money under his pillow along with what she gave him…but I didn’t. I told him the truth, that mommy took the money for the zoo and that I would give it back to him when I went to the bank. He didnt’ seem to mind.

NOT my best parenting moment…but pretty funny. Hey! I did give him FIVE bucks for that tooth, partly out of the “going rate” for the tooth fairy and partly out of guilt for taking his money in the first place.

xxx