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October 2006
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December 2006

Look, I'd love to post, I really would...

...but it's been snowing relentlessly all day, which should fill me with childlike joy, but instead drains all the spunk out of my bones, what with the cold and the snow and the dripping piles of snow gear all over the house. *sigh*

Rather than a proper blog I leave you with the following exchange:

Me : Get UP off the floor, GO downstairs, and BRUSH your teeth.

Raphael (scooting around the kitchen on his back) : I can't. I was just wondering why I'm here?

Me : Get up. You're too young to have an existential crisis.

Max (also not downstairs, brushing his teeth) : What's that?

Me : An existential crisis is when you say and do a lot of really stupid things while you try to figure out important stuff like "Why am I Here? What is my purpose in life?" Right now *I* am here to answer these questions for you, and the answers are: "Because you're not obeying your mother, and your current purpose in life is to floss and brush. More will be revealed in time."

Max : Sometimes I don't know what you're saying.

Raphael : (nods in sober agreement from the floor)

Me : *sigh*

But eventually they did brush their teeth, and a while after that they even went to sleep. And now I am yeilding to the temptation of a steaming hot bath. I shall sink into its restorative waters, read my book, and remind myself periodically to release the tension in my shoulders, as I do tend to carry them near my ears all winter long. As the stress and cold melt away I will at least know this: Sometimes it matters not why I'm Here, as long as I can end up here.


On the road

One of the nice things about our trip was having all our kids with us. It was also one of the stressful things about our trip, but kids are like that, are they not? Anyhow, after they were all tucked in bed (or in front of the TV, in Jennie’s case), Clay and I would huddle in our bed, talking about them. Did you see when they…Have you noticed how well…They seem to be enjoying…

On one of the last nights out, Clay and I shared a room with Raphael. He was sleeping, sprawled sideways in his queen bed. Jennie was in the adjoining room, watching TV. Max and Tre bunked with my parents.

I curled against Clay as he worked on his Sudoku puzzle and we chatted – again – about the kids. I peered past him at Raphael, who had flopped over into an ungainly pretzel, half tangled in the sheets.

Clay followed my gaze and shook his head. He climbed out of bed and lifted Raphael free of his blankets, turned him around, and settled him back on his pillow.
”Wow,” I whispered, “can you believe how big he is?” We stared at the boy in silence. “You know,” I went on, “they’re just gonna grow up and leave us.”

Clay nodded and slid back in bed next to me.

“They’re going to break our hearts.” I looked at him and he went on, “I mean, kids do. It’s a part of growing up, isn’t it?”

I listened to the soft breath of the youngest, to the muffled sound of the oldest’s TV, and parsed out the sentence in my head.

They – all of them, the entire boisterous lot

Are going to – inevitable as loving them

Break – away, apart, in pieces

Our hearts – we are together in this too.

And I slid down next to my husband, laid my head on his chest, and rested up for the days to come.


I'm back!

Sorry to disappear like that, y’all. I was out of town, off to Arizona for the Thanksgiving celebrations. Hey, did you know it’s all kinds of WARM there? Huh.

Anyhow, my mom and dad and the boys and Clay and Jennie, his daughter, and I all drove out to Arizona to spend part of the week with my brother Josh and his new wife, Terri. Now, driving roughly one million miles with eight people, half of them underage, may not sound like fun to YOU, but we had a blast.

No, really!

The kids did amazingly well on the road. They played and read and napped and listened to tape books. Dad rented two luxury cars for the trip, so everyone was as comfortable as possible. It was the most ease-filled road trip I’ve ever taken.

Josh and Terri were very sweet and welcoming. They are expecting a baby in June, and I would like to point out here that I did an ADMIRABLE job of not offering them one whisper of advice. I think. I’m pretty sure. I tried, anyhow. I cannot wait to see their baby – I cannot wait to see my big brother wrapped around that tiny finger.

Thanksgiving Day was just about perfect. Josh prepared two of the best tasting turkeys I’ve ever had the privilege of sinking my teeth into. Truly outstanding. Turkey is something you eat on Thanksgiving just because it IS Thanksgiving. THIS turkey would be a fabulous food to eat upon the occasion of…say…Monday. Or Tax Day. Or ANY DAY. Josh has become quite the cook, even if he is wrong about unsalted butter.

Terri’s family came over for the meal, and I had a very odd moment, when her mom hugged me hello and said, “You know, I read your blog.” She was so sweet and positive about it, but I felt like telling her, “Oh dear, I’m so sorry. Then you’ve already seen my best material.”

Nonetheless, the crowd was convivial and fun, the food was fabulous, and the trip on the whole was just about perfect. I am currently exhausted, so I will leave you with a few pictures and be back with a real blog tomorrow.

There was chess!

Tre_and_josh_chess

And Josh and Terri introduced us to a game called Set - which Max describes as feeling like having Pop-Rocks in your brain.

Max_playing_set

Jennie put up with the boys admirably, even when they persisted in doing things like sneaking up behind her to take her picture.

P1010165      

There was also swimming!

Raphi_swimming

Really, who could ask for more?


Related by more than blood

I’ve mentioned before Clay’s niece, Kate. She is fourteen, the daughter of Clay’s older brother Russ. Russ is a single dad, with all the attendant scheduling impossibilities, so we play backup for him. Kate has become a bonus satellite child for our family, and she is adored by all.

I have a special soft spot for her, because she reminds me so much of my Max. Like him she is quirky, emotionally and developmentally. Like him, she could be described as a tad…focus challenged. Like him, I expect great things of her. Since she seems to be cut from the same cloth, my mother-bear defensiveness of my conundrum of a son spills over onto her.

Now, I know it’s a common mothering fallacy we fall into, categorizing everyone according to the types we’ve given birth to. “Oh, Picasso? He was just like my Frank. I never could tell what Frank was drawing either.” However, here’s an example – tell me if you don’t agree.

About a month ago it was picture day at Monday school. I sorted through the boys’ clothes, looking for acceptable shirts. I had Raphael and Tre squared away and only Max left to clothe. I dug to the bottom of his laundry basket and pulled out a yellow shirt.
”Oh, this is nice,” I said, “how about this one, Max?” He glanced over, and shuddered.

“NO. Not yellow. I hate yellow.”

“Really? Why?”

“Yellow makes me mad.”

Well.

Ok.

I’ve learned not to delve too deeply into things like that with Max. There’s simply no use. I simply accept that I will not understand everything and move on.

Later that afternoon I was standing in my mom’s kitchen with Kate. The three of us were chatting. At that time Kate had a cast on one foot – purple. We were discussing the different colors of casts that are available.

“Red would be cool,” said Mom, “or yellow!”

Kate shuddered.

“NO. Not yellow. Yellow makes me angry.”

Hand to God, I swear that’s what she said.

I turned and looked at her. There aren’t a lot of people in the world like Max and Kate, and you know what that makes them?

Precious.


The momentum of the tongue

Raphael, I may have mentioned, talks a lot. He is a Talky McTalkerson. From Talksland. All day long it is a running commentary around here. He likes to tell me again what happened in Star Wars, episode ONE, not THREE, because he hasn’t seen three yet, when WILL he be thirteen again? Tre will be thirteen in two years, right?

Like that.

Two of his favorite subjects to visit and revisit are what he wants to do for his birthday and what he’s going to be for Halloween. (For the record, bowling, camping, Water World, Family Fun Center, and the back yard, and Count Dooku, Obi Wan, Anakin Skywalker, and Mario. In case you were wondering.) The way he manages to fill the air with all the words, I suspect he’s working at keeping all that tongue momentum going. One would hate to start over unnecessarily. Although I have to point out here, it has never stopped him in the wee hours of the morning. Ahem. Pity me.

Another thing he likes to do to keep inertia on his side is to ask me questions.

“Mom, what’s seventeen times twelve?”

“Mom, how old are you?”

“Mom, where do squirrels sleep?”

And I don’t know the answers to any of those, right off the top of my head. Yes, even the one about my age. I have to think. And remember what year it is. And sometimes ask Clay. It totally throws off my rhythm of tuning out 78% of the words, whilst making encouraging sounds. But tonight it backfired on him.

“Mem? When was I a baby?”

“Wha? Uh, you were a baby up until about three years ago. Or so.”

“When did I stop being a baby?”

“I…it’s not something you stop being one day. It’s a gradual process.”

“Well, when was I born?” Finally, one I can answer authoritatively.

“You,” I leaned over and looked him right in the eyes, “you, my boy, were born June 13, 2001.”

“HEY! That’s my birthday!”

“Yup. Think about the name ‘BIRTHday.’” I said slowly. He opened his mouth, then paused. His eyes went dark and still as he rolled the words over in his mind.

And for a moment, he was silent.

Score, Raphael 7,000,004 – Mom, 1


I love, love love everyone’s contribution to my last post. Thank you for sharing, everyone. Possibly my favorite comment was the one from Carrien, where she says, “The strange thing is, as terrifying as those moments were, and as awful as I felt, I don't feel like a bad mother because of those. I feel like a bad mother when I cop out on the simple every day things, like being consistant, being present, overcoming my own inertia enough to do what's needed for their well being in that moment when I'd rather just close the door and let them scream at each other, or get ino the fridge again right after I told them not to. YOu know, the parenting stuff.”

Oh, well said. Well, well said.

Anyhow, for tonight I am shamefully succumbing to the siren call of a meme. I have been half-heartedly tagged by Heather, and I have highlighted the things on the list below that I have done. I am not nearly as interesting as I’d suspected I was, all this time.

Oh well. I also don’t want to be accused of posting a cheater blog, so I present you with a pre-meme nugget from my life.

Periodically one of the boys will play this joke upon another of the boys. Tonight it was Max who called out to Raphael,

“OH NO, LOOK AT THAT!”

When Raphael whipped around to see what the thing was behind him causing all the excitement, Max sang in a taunting sing-song,

“Made you look, made you look, now you’re in the baby book!”

This is a grievous wrong. It calls for much wailing and punching and promises NEVER TO PLAY WITH YOU EVER AGAIN, YOU BIG MEANIE.

“GENTLEMEN,” I said, irritated, “I do NOT know why that bothers you so much. NONE OF YOU have baby books. It is just one of the side benefits of having a photographically negligent mother. Move it along now.”

And now! Things I have done…or not.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain.

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone. Sooooo not answering this one. HI, MOM!
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it! Yes, and yet Max asks me seven trillion times a day, “Mem, do you love me?” It’s getting annoying, because WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, CHILD? Seriously, what more could I DO FOR YOU?
09. Hugged a tree. Dude. Try SMELLING a tree. Just the right pine tree bark gives off the scent of vanilla, or caramel, or some such sweetness.
10. Bungee jumped (IN New Zealand.)
11. Visited

Paris

(nope, neither in

France

or

Texas

)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise This particular pastime goes a long way towards explaining the grades I got the first semester at college. Yet, did you know that if you miss enough sleep the very ground will take on a tremor, sort of an emergent life-force that wobbles under your ratty, lace-less Keds? ‘Tis true.
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game I was at the Bronco’s game when Ed McCaffrey broke his leg. I HEARD it go CRACK. But then the next day was September 11th, and I never got to tell the story to anyone because meh, who cares? The world as we know it has ended.

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of

Pisa


17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables. Damn skippy.
18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon. No, but one landed outside our house when I was about eight years old. We lived in

Albuquerque

, and the place is simply lousy with hot air balloons in the fall.
22. Watched a meteor shower Watched? Yes. Seen any? Not necessarily.
23. Drunk champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment Do they happen at any other moment?

27. Had a food fight And I am so old and motherly that the very thought of it is making me tense now. Sigh.
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger Heh. Heh, heh.
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster My first official date with Clay was at Six Flags. It was thrilling and scary in more ways than one.
35. Scored a winning goal I was a soccer STAR when I was ten. A STAR.

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking That is probably the ONE thinhg I miss about my feckless youth. The dancing. Oh yes, the dancing.

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day Kim? Are you out there? Remember that weekend? Heeheeheehee.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment Oh yes. Many many moments.
39. Visited all 5 continents
40. Taken care of someone who was drunk
41. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
42. Watched wild whales
43. Stolen a sign
44. Backpacked
45. Taken a road-trip
46. Gone rock climbing
48. Midnight walk on the beach 

49. Gone sky diving
50. Taken a train through

Europe


51. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love. Ok, this one is STUPID. I mean, if you’re still heartbroken, doesn’t that mean you’re still in love? And if not, then isn’t it something else you’re suffering, like wounded pride? Ok, I’m tagging this one as true, because I will grieve what my ex did to himself and his kids, even though I’ve long since moved on. That actually is heartbreaking. Still a stupid question.
52. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table, and had a meal with them
53. Milked a cow
54. Alphabetized your CDs
55. Sung karaoke

56. Lounged around in bed all day. But not since I became a mom, that’s for sure.

57. Gone scuba diving
58. Kissed in the rain
59. Gone to a drive-in theatre
60. Started a business
61. Taken a martial arts class
62. Been in a movie
63. Crashed a party
64. Gone without food for 5 days
65. Gotten a tattoo
66. Got flowers for no reason

67. Performed on stage

68. Been to

Las Vegas


69. Recorded music
70. Eaten shark 
71. Buried one/both of your parents. Boy, would they be irritated if I did!
72. Been on a cruise ship I STOOD on the QEII once. I didn’t actually CRUISE, but I boarded, looked around, and then got off. Does that count?
73. Spoken more than one language fluently

74. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over That’s what brought me to

Colorado

, actually.

75. Walked a famous bridge.

Royal Gorge

!
76. Had plastic surgery
77. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived. If I said “More than one,” would you be leery about riding with me?
78. Wrote articles for a large publication Not that they’ve been ACCEPTED by said publication. But I totally believed they fit.
77. Tried to lose weight seriously.

79. Piloted an airplane
80. Petted a stingray
81. Broken someone’s heart
82. Broken a bone
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Parasailed
86. Skipped all your school reunions My high school doesn’t do reunions.
87. Shaved your head
88. Caused a car accident Heh. Remember #77?
89. Pretended to be “sick” “I cannot go to school today said little Peggy Ann McKay…”
90. Swam in the

Pacific Ocean

91. Saved someone’s life. It was actually very sad.
92. Fainted First time I gave blood. I had been bouncing around, making fun of some guys who were feeling a little dizzy, and I passed out cold. Hubris, anyone? That’s not the ONLY time…
93. Been in the room while someone is giving birth I was there while I gave birth. For almost the entire time.

94. Hitchhiked
95. Adopted a child. No…but I wish…
96. Been caught daydreaming
97. Been to the Painted Desert
98. Called off a wedding engagement
99. Donated your blood. And the first time I did, I fainted! Oh wait, I already told you that…
100. Become a follower of Jesus Christ

And now that THAT is done, I tag...YOU.


Bad Mommy Moments

I was reading a post over at The Naked Ovary today, about a classic parenting moment. Baby swallowed (possibly) some coins. Yeah, yeah, been there, done that. No, not ME, my kids. I swallowed an entire Plen-T pack of gum when I was a kid. But that's another story.

Anyhow, people left comments about their bad parenting moments (look for mine, toward the bottom!), and I have to tell you, I was unimpressed. Some of them were cringe-worthy, but most of them? Please. Is that the best you’ve got? It reminded me of the magazine article I read the other day, about how often you’re supposed to clean things. This one “expert” explained that you really should wash your bra after no more than TWO WEARINGS – and then she went on to confess that she has gone as long as *gasp* FIVE DAYS between launderings.

Puh-leeeze.

Amateur.

Anyhow, in the spirit of sharing the REAL nitty-gritty bad parenting stories, here are three of mine. The worst of the worst, one for each child. Seatbelts buckled? Good.

                                                 * * * * * * * * * * *

When Tre was about six months old, I found him one day, sitting next to the baby gate.

“Hi there, sweetie,” I crooned, “whatcha doing?” He grinned and kicked his chubby legs at me, then turned back to the gate and pulled himself up to standing with it. Before my stunned eyes, he scrabbled his toes into the wee holes in the plastic webbing and started SCALING the gate. He got about halfway up, gripped the plastic hard with his toes, and dangled over at the waist. His fingers were outstretched, straining for…

Are you ready for this?

…for the kitty-litter box.

I snatched him up and turned him to look at me.

“No,” I said helplessly, “NO NO.”

He grinned at me again, and drool sluiced down his chin.

Sandy drool.

I stuck my finger in his mouth and swiped out a small wad of sand. I sniffed it. It smelled…it smelled April Fresh.

I spent the rest of the day washing his face, his hands, my hands, the inside of his mouth, all the while muttering, “It wasn’t kitty litter, it was sand. April Fresh SAND.”

                                                     * * * * * * * * * * *

Like that? Ok, this one’s BETTER.

When Max was about a year old, I decided it was high time for him to learn to sleep through the night. He would cry it out, by God, and learn to self-soothe. Max has never been a good sleeper (still isn’t, actually), and that first year was particularly rough. I was a bit strung out. (See? The excuses? See how I try, already, to make you feel sympathetic?)

Anyhow, I did just like the book said. I put him down in his crib, awake but sleepy. He went to sleep, I went to sleep, and then he woke up an hour and a half later.

The rest of the night was this horrible, horrible dance, where I’d go into his room, pat him on the back, then turn and leave. He’d cry, I’d wait as long as I could, then go in again and try to soothe him – just like the book said – without picking him up.

After a few million hours of that, I decided that going in there was just upsetting him more. I steeled myself, stayed in my room, and after about 45 minutes of crying, he went to sleep. This was about 3:30 in the morning. A few hours later, as the first light of dawn began filtering through the windows, I tiptoed in to check on Max.

He was asleep.

He was sitting up, his fat wee leg WEDGED BETWEEN THE BARS OF HIS CRIB, his forehead resting against the bars, drool on his chin.

I died.

I unstuck his leg. He woke up and reached his arms out for me.

I picked him up and I died again, harder this time.

He tucked his head in the curve between my shoulder and neck.

And I died.

                                                     * * * * * * * * * * *

Am I done? I AM NOT!

When Raphael was three months old – well, my life was falling the heck apart. My marriage was breaking up, my husband (at the time) was…um…not himself, and I was in shock. That’s not an exaggeration. I lost 40 pounds in something like two months. I was not functioning well. (Again! With the sympathy bid!)

One day Tre had a soccer game. It was in the afternoon, and somehow I remembered that I had to bring the orange slices. I went to the store, then over to my parents’ house to cut up the oranges before the game. I climbed out of the van, Tre and Max bounced out to go visit my parents, and I grabbed the oranges.

I was standing in the kitchen, slicing oranges, when I looked up and saw the van, parked by the curb.

Huh, I thought. There’s the van. That must be where Raphael is.

Slice, slice.

That…must…be…

THAT’S WHERE RAPHAEL IS, OH MY LORD…

I dropped the knife and ran out to the van, where Raphael was sleeping peacefully in his car seat. Thank GOD it was September, and a cool afternoon.

I bought a baby monitor that day and carried it with me obsessively whenever I didn’t have Raphael in my arms.

                                                   * * * * * * * * * * *

Now THOSE are bad mommy stories! I’m telling you this because the truth is that I’m a pretty darn good mother, actually. But I think most of us delude ourselves about what we can expect of ourselves. Then, when we fall short of our ideals, we feel terrible. I am RIGHT NOW debating with myself whether I want to post this or delete it. But no one can be on top of things all the time, and kids never take a break. Good moms have bad, bad moments. You can only do what you can do.

And now that I’ve shared, it’s YOUR turn! Go ahead, make me feel like less of a loser, and together we can rejoice at the resilience of our kids.

                                                

                                                


Again, with the wisdom

“Boys!” I bellowed, “Time for jammies!” I was gratified to hear feet scurrying toward jammies from all corners of the house. Max came shuffling out of the bathroom.

“Hey, since my pants are already like this, I can just leave them. To save time!” he announced. I looked at him and sighed.

“No, honey. Leaving your pants around your ankles when you’re about to run down the stairs would actually NOT be a good idea.”

“Why?”

“Seriously?”

He looked at his pants, then back at me, then back at his pants…and nodded, comprehension dawning.

“Ohhhh, RIGHT. Because someone might SEE me.”


Voting by Urchin Finger

It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day to vote. The sun was shining, the temperature was mild, and when I sallied forth in the name of democracy at the crack of noon, there was hardly anyone in line to vote.

I barely had time to give the boys the high points of my election day speech (1 -“Voting is your DUTY as an AMERICAN and the only person who can take this precious precious privilege away from you is YOURSELF, if you are too apathetic to GET to the polls and VOTE! Except for you can’t yet, but when you are 18? VOTE!” and 2 – “So help me GOD, if you bump or nudge or push anything, if you rest your elbow where it shouldn’t be and you mess up my vote, you will spend THE REST OF YOUR LIFE in your room.”)

We filed into the little voting booth and set to work on an insanely long ballot. I let the boys take turns pushing the buttons for me, with small speeches on why. “See that? That’s an amendment to the Colorado Constitution, and you have to be REALLY CAREFUL about those, because if they turn out to be stupid, it’s hard to fix it. This one? Is stupid. So no. Push no. Right there. Good! Now it’s Max’s turn!”

And so on.

About halfway through one of the election judges called out to us,

“Hey! Those kids aren’t TOUCHING THE MACHINES, are they?”

“OH NO!” I called back blithely. After that I whispered my instructions to them. Bah. I believe myself to be well within my rights to let my children push the buttons for me. Much as blind people have to use Braille ballots, I have to have adaptations for my situation. I am a homeschooler and therefore have to vote by Urchin Finger. Deal.

Ah well. I did my duty as an American – perceived election fraud or not – and that’s what counts.

Happy election returns, everyone!


Kira whines and pontificates.

Remember that I mentioned that Raphael has the same teacher for Kindergarten that Max had a few years back? The beloved Ms. Sue?

Well.

Today I had to go back through my archives here, because I remember writing a glowing post about how GREAT Ms. Sue is and how much I LOVE her because she GETS Max. See, he’d had a preschool teacher who didn’t understand him, and it was an unhappy experience for everyone involved. Here, this post. Anyhow, I was careful to say how I didn’t think the preschool teacher was BAD or anything…that she was a great teacher…

I’m such a liar.

I’m a great big lie-y liar.

I couldn’t stand the preschool teacher. I thought she was uptight and controlling and humorless. I based this upon the following facts:

a) She did not enjoy Max.

b) WHAT? Did you NOT SEE A?

But then Max moved on into Kindergarten, where Ms. Sue beamed at him and the year was suffused in the warm golden glow of love and educational bliss.

I liked Ms. Sue.

A lot.

So riddle me this, my friends: If Ms. Sue is the GOOD teacher, the one with the wisdom and insight and patience to appreciate the precious and difficult, then why doesn’t she get along with Raphael?

When I arrive to pick him up, I always always ask how his day was. It was the same story today.

“Oh…rough,” she answered.

“Was it…the talking again?”

“The talking, and being silly. He likes to do things like run across the room and make faces – stuff like that. To make the other kids laugh.”

“Ah. Yes, the problem isn’t just that he likes to make kids laugh, it’s that he knows just how to do it, huh?”
”Right.” She rolled her eyes. “EVERYONE laughs.” She peered at him around my shoulder. He was getting a drink from the water fountain, so she raised her voice a bit to make sure he heard. “Everyone EXCEPT me, right Raphael?”

He turned, realizing she was talking to him, to see what she was saying. It seemed he hadn’t been drinking from the water fountain so much as funneling the water down his front. The front of his shirt was soaked, and plastered to his rubbery belly.

“Raphael!” Ms. Sue exclaimed, exasperated, “What did you DO? Is that what you’re supposed to do at the water fountain?”

Raphael patted his wet tummy thoughtfully, and I moved in to take his hand.

“Well, it’s not a big deal, is it? We’ll see you next week!” I said brightly, and we hurried away.

And here’s the thing: I know one large part of my problem at the moment is Mama Bear syndrome. That Woman is snarly and negative at my boy, and I wish to feast upon her still warm heart for the eye roll alone. I do recognize that this is perhaps…not as SANE or REASONABLE as one might hope.

But there’s more to the issue than my hackles. For instance, Raphael is not behaving in her class. I suspect it’s because he’s bored. Cliché, I know, but he needs to be challenged. I have a large new swathe of grey hair to prove it. I have learned through tough personal experience that a bored Raphael is a difficult Raphael.

Yet.

This doesn’t give him leave to misbehave.

For whatever reason, Ms. Sue doesn’t seem to be able to quell the bad behavior. She disapproves, but nothing’s changing. Which leads to the next big point…

Raphael hates school. He says it’s boring. And stupid. And circle time lasts too long. He always gets three strikes, and he doesn’t like going there.

So why, exactly, am I forcing him to endure a class that he doesn’t like, making his teacher’s life more difficult? It’s not like this is the bulk of his education, or even a large part. Monday school is fun. Play time. Hang out with other kids. Experience a classroom setting. None of this has to happen at age five. So why force it? And yet, this is not the last time he’s going to be bored. Dealing with boredom with grace is an important life lesson, is it not?

Input, please. Should I push through this bad patch or cut and run? Should I sit down with Ms. Sue and talk this out? What should I say? Or should I be focusing on Raphael, threatening his very life if he doesn’t behave in class?

And how do you like your Kindergarten teacher’s heart prepared?