Friday, May 28, 2010

Track Meet

We are so not track stars in this family. 

Husband's claim to fame was running in the 4 by 100 meter relay in elementary school and crossing over to the wrong lane and getting his team disqualified. 

I never made a track team. I was friends with people on the track team. In junior high I won the illustrious DSSA. The Dirty Sweat Sock Award at grade 9 graduation. It's also known as the coveted "But-Mr-Gagnon-I'm-Going-As-Fast-As-I-Can" award.  I was hands down the slowest runner in the class. So I used to run, jog, pretend to jog and even convinced the second and third slowest runners to pretend to jog with me and then I would claim "but Mr. Gagnon, I'm going as fast as I can".

That was the penultimate moment of my athletic. Someday I'll blog about the crowning jewel, making the grade 9 volleyball team.

But I digress.

Jackson made the track team  showed up for practices a lot and was selected to be on the 4 by 200  meter relay team.  I was quite thrilled. Okay, inside I was weeping like a reality TV star.  Jackson seemed pleased and even had a bit of a swagger.

I was thrilled when I found out that his race was early in the day.  Which meant Husband could come to the race and, I thought, I'd bring Sydney too and drop her off late for school.

While we had a little luck in Jackson's event being early, the wheel of weather fortune came up snake eyes.  Cold. Rainy.Windy.  I packed 2 changes of clothes, a towel, 2 jackets, a barrell of snacks and his rubber boots and hoped he could make it through 7 hours of inclemate weather.

Jackson chose our seats under the covered bleachers. He chose nearer the front which meant the rainy was blown into our faces.  Which we didn't really realize until all the dryer seats were taken.  It was about 8:30 when Jackson first told me he was bored -- he made it a whole 15 minutes.  He got enthused when the rest of his relay teammates grabbed him  to play in the puddles for some team bonding.

The events were delayed, probably something to do with rain peeing down, so Jackson was waiting, jumping over puddles and standing in the rain for close to an hour.  Without a jacket.

When his race came, he was on lane 1 and the lead off runner.  I couldn't see him run the end of his leg and was only happy that it didn't appear that he dropped the baton on the handoff, which is so something I would have done.

I learned two things about Jackson qua track athlete:

1.  He probably lacks the competitive edge to be a serious track star.  He ran faster during his warm up lap than he did in his race.  I've raced him and when he's motivated by a wager with Mommy for extra dessert, he can move like a cheetah.  But since they don't allow mothers in district track meets as a pacer, I guess we'll never know what he's capable of there.
2.  The boy loves the camera. I was cheering as I took photos and he looked at me and smiled.  I'm pretty sure he slowed down. Nothing like having a Mommy as a blogger.

You might say Jackson was a little proud of his 4th place ribbon.  But you would be vastly understating it.

Then he returned to the bleachers and the expectation was that he would remain for the rest of the day and cheer on his team.  But he was damp to the core. And with no body fat for insulation, he shivered. And was miserable.  Anyone that's been around this blog for 10 minutes or more, knows what Jackson miserable looks like.

I set him up in a dryish part of the bleechers with friends. I had to take Husband to the train, Sydney to school. I planned to go home for a cup of hot coffee and then return in the afternoon.  He initially seemed okay with that plan. I thought I might be able to break him out early if the weather stayed bad.

As I was walking off he said "you better bring me a warm jacket and every jacket you can find in the house".

I could tell his voice was breaking.  He wasn't about to make a scene.  But I know the torrent of emotion would go underground and make an appearance later in the safe harbour of our home.  You know, one of those underground volcanoes.

All's well that ends well.  In the end, I asked the grade 3 supervising teacher if Jackson needed to stay and she readily agreed he did not need to endure any further misery. An early exit and an afternoon warming up by the fire and Jackson is still basking in the glow of his yellow ribbon.

Pool, Meet My Children!

My preoccupation with swimming lessons for my kids continues to pay off.  They both passed to the next level of the Red Cross swim lessons. Jackson has been at the same level for YEARS.  You see, to float you need a minimum level of body fat.  Jackson has only a tiny amount in his ear lobes and between his nostrils and that does not make for easy floatation. So he has to make up for it with faster kicks.  Which he apparently, he can finally do.

Here are some shots of them enjoying the pool last weekend:
You may think Husband's only job was to catch Sydney. No, he was also the Chief Goggle and Mask Adjuster.

Escape from Home

Last weekend we had a 4 day weekend. Monday was the date to celebrate the birth of Queen Victoria.  Friday the kids were off school. 

So, with Husband's back improving and with FOUR DAYS OF NO SCHOOL and with pretty tolerable behaviour from the kids lately and FOUR DAYS OF NO SCHOOL, we thought a night away would do.  Did I mention FOUR DAYS WITH NO SCHOOL?  Have I ever mentioned how bored Jackson gets with FOUR DAYS WITH NO SCHOOL?

We decided to go the a casino.  Well, a hotel attached to a casino.  There are two things that delight our kids about staying in a hotel:

1. hotel pool.

2.watching TV in bed.

And so we splurged.  A hotel with pool, waterslide and a room with two TVs.  A night away would do us all good.

We had a 50 minutes drive to the hotel. About 15 minutes in Husband and I unilaterally cancelled our summer holiday trip (12 hours driving each way) and said we'd send them both to homework camp. I threaten that all the time, but this time we meant it.

They were bickering and arguing and wouldn't keep their hands to themselves even when I yelled and threatened bodily harm and worse: cancelling our trip to the pool.

They levelled off when we got to the hotel, and they mellowed out enough for us to contemplate plans for dinner.  They have a food fair in the casino where kids are not allowed. We debated bringing the food to the room but we decided the out trip to a restaurant would make sense.

We had not even ordered when we regretted our decision. Jackson had only one volume level of speaking, like he was standing next to a guy with a gas powered leaf blower.  His single purpose was to make Sydney laugh and be loud as loud as him, which he easily accomplished.  We asked and threatened and pleaded and begged and ordered better behaviour and all that was accomplished was a simultaneous spike in our blood pressure.

We used liberally these high quality parental statements:

  • "Do you know this hotel is costing more than a year of your allowance?" [note: this says more about how little we pay them for allowance than how much the hotel cost]
  • "We will never stay in a hotel again. Ever."
  • "Why are you torturing us?? What are you getting out of this??"
We left and told them a trip to the pool was very much in doubt. Husband and I secluded ourselves in the bedroom and tried to claw our way back from the brink of insanity. 

To their credit, they behaved well enough to earn the pool trip and did awesome in the pool.  However, when we were leaving, Sydney pouted, as only Sydney can, that she wanted to see Jackson's fast kicks.  And Jackson was wiped out by the hot tub and it was already past the weekend bed time.

She pouted and then upgraded to whimpering then whining and finally screaming.  Only a threatened timeout in the change rooms brought her back down to whimpering.

Jackson woke up the next morning early. He gamely amused himself for a bit but then hunger kicked in and his mood turned to what can generously be described as foul.  I guarantee that if I spoke to him the way he spoke to us in the vicinity of child welfare officials, they would call it emotional abuse and apprehend him.  I only wish there was a parent welfare agency for my protection.  I would have happily been apprehended at that point.

If only Jackson had adhered to the maxim "speak when spoken to" and remained a silent but hostile island.  But he treated us to a contant blast of vitriole which we all tried very hard to ignore as we sleepily shuffled down to breakfast.

I brought him back from the inferno in the elevator with two magical words. Breakfast. Buffet.

"Jackson I know you will like it for three reasons. One, you can pick all your own food. Two, you can eat as much as you want. Three, YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT."

We arrived buffet-land and Jackson started giving orders about where we were going to sit and who was allowed to breathe and Husband just steered him toward steaming vats of fat laden breakfast carbs and all was well with our world.

Sydney slept the entire way home which reduced (but strangely did not eliminate) the friction between them.

Husband and I are going to have to do a lot of yoga to be able to endure a 16 day, 2 province, 4 city road trip this summer.

The only thing worse would be 16 days at home.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock Stars

No words necessary.

What 8 1/2 Looks Like!

Yes, Jackson is FINALLY 8.5. 
We celebrated en famille with cinamon buns,an old family recipe handed down by my Auntie Pillsbury.
A shared gift (becasue you'll remember Jackson partook in gifts on Sydney's half birthday)
If you squint you can see Husband in the background
trying very hard to indulge me
and not roll his eyes.
These are the two missing Olympics mascots, which I refused to pay
 full price for and I finally picked them up for almost nothing.
(don't tell the kids the Olympics are over)
Sydney is sticking her tongue through her teeth,
just because she can.
And finally when asked, Jackson can legitimately name his age
"eight and a half".
And not say "eight and a quarter", as he has been.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writing Notes

Who knew my son would revive the art of letter writing.

Last night, the last thing Husband said to me was "Jackson is on about getting some mission done on Club Penguin.  Just so you know, he's saying he's gonna get up at 5. Oh and his membership expires at midnight, but I renewed it."

Predictably, the next morning Jackson came into our room on the verge of tears.  "Where's Daddy?"

"On his way to work."

"Well, you better renew my membership."

The online Club Penguin membership was not showing as renewed and that was preventing him from doing what he was fixated upon. He was on the verge of a meltdown of biblical proportions.  Every fiber in his being was pulsing with fury over his inability to play his game.

I tried to suggest solutions, to problem solve, to distract and to soothe.

He was not entirely out of control. To his credit, save for a few incivilities hurled at me as the de facto and convenient target, he actually held it together pretty well.  He went to an old computer and started keyboarding.  A few minutes later he asked me to read a note he had written. It read as follows:

To: guy who made membership,

I hate you and you're a $%#! You know what devil I will come to your house shortly to kill you.

To: Mom

Send this to the devil please, thank you!

You know what I think about this? Well, I am glossing over the threat of violence as an indication of a future serial killer or poor marriage material.  But did you see the spelling in that note?  Perfect. And he got the correct usage of "you're" and "your". And he said both please AND thank you.

I am very proud. And I know that it makes my standards pretty low when a threat of homicide brings a smile to my heart.  But, you take what you can get around here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Photo Session for Two

I tried to take the kids pictures at the park last week.  It was a perfectly sunny day.  I have not quite figured out the settings for park-under-large-trees-so-light-is-filtered.  However, I thought the results were hilarious.

I think we're missing some one.
Sydney! Where are you?
I found her!
Would you sit down please?
Okay, now stay there!
Much better.

A Trip to the Dollar Store

Last week, the kids and I had some time to kill.  Husband was in to see the doctor for pain medication and his appointment was the we're-squeezing-you-in-because-you're-in-so-much-pain-but-we'll-make-you-sit-in-hard-chairs-to-cause-you-more-pain kind.  So time killage was required. First stop, dollar store.

I told the kids they each had $2 to spend.  They thought they had hit the jackpot as they usually have to spend their own money to buy the lead and cyanide laced crap they come home with if they can actually convince us to go in the first place.  They negotiated me up to $2.49 because I was trying to convince one of them to buy a gigantic frisbee as their choice but I ended up spending an extra $2.49 to buy that myself.

Sydney bought a notepad, of which we have about a thousand at home. Jackson bought army guys. 

You know, these kind:
Which I had not seen outside a Toy Story movie in a few decades.  But they were a good bargain. The kids are actually playing with them alot, which is keeping them  playing creatively and away from screens
The "good bargin" does not take into acccount lost wages and pain and suffering when Husband or I step on one and suffer a punture wound.

They kids had another dollar each left over and they were taken with the signs that were sold at the back of the store. The kind you find in stores  Like "No Smoking", "No exit" "Closed, please come again". 
But Jackson chose this one, which I admit is pretty funny:

Sydney looked carefully before selecting this one:
Which she explains mean "the good girls go to heaven and the bad girls do bad stuff but learn their lesson so they can go to heaven too."

I will miss 6 year old Sydney who takes everything at face value.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mudder's Day

Mother's Day started Friday afternoon with a tea in Jackson's class.  A bouquet of "flowers", iced tea and cookies awaited all the Moms.  And my favourite, an orignal Mother's Day poem (remember last years?)

My mom likes to cook steak because she loves to eat it, too.
My mom's favourite food is steak on the barbecue
My mom is happy when we play the Wii together.
My mom gets angry if I don't listen but I take it back after.
My mom is pretty when she wears her 2010 Olympics hoody.
I like to play Wii with my mom.
My mom is the GREATEST!

Love, Jackson
Sydney came home with gifts from school and from Sparks. And she wished me an ernest "Happy Mudder's Day" all weekend.  She was easily manipulated into extra cudddles.  She too came home with a poem -- the finish the sentence kind.  I left spelling as done by the author.

Super Mom

My mom likes to ... look at us play.
She doesn't like to .... scratch me.
I like being with my mom most when ... we watch tellavshin togeter.
My mom looks prettiest when ... she goes to cherch in a dress.
If I could give my mom something special it would be ... a kiss.
I love her very much because ... she cuddls with me evry day.
You are the best mom ever.
Love Sydney

A sweet day!