“Let’s Move!, but not so quickly”: Crazy School Bans & Lapses of Common Sense

A friend recently forwarded an article to me that really left me baffled.  The headline read, “School District Bans Running At Recess.”  My first thought was, this must be an urban legend.  So, I did what any responsible journalist, blogger, mom-with-a-mac would do; I researched and found that the ban on running at recess was just the tip of the iceberg!

Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, will have to change the name of her “Let’s Move!” initiative to “Let’s Move!, but not so quickly”.  Recently, a Collection of postage stamps commissioned by the White House to encourage kids to play sports and lead active lifestyles was recalled.  The stamps, “deemed unsafe by federal officials included illustrations of kids skateboarding without kneepads, doing a cannonball dive into a swimming pool, and doing a handstand without wearing a helmet…” according to a recent ABC News Post

I shared this story with the 3 Bros. in my Flying Circus (my sons) and they laughed hysterically.  One of them said, “who ever heard of wearing a helmet to do a handstand.”  Apparently White House Officials have!

It seems to me that there is something quite sinister going on here.  I believe this movement to bubble wrap our children and protect them from life’s bumps and bruises goes far beyond attempts to keep them safe.  I believe that there is a breed of people that excel in Politics and Educational Administration, who skipped prepuberty all together.  These freaks of nature were toddlers and then suddenly teens with nary a hop, skip or jump between developmental phases.  Perhaps they’ve forgotten how fun it was to climb a tree, turn cartwheels, jump rope and play a game that was not initiated or supervised by an adult, even if a scraped knee or competitive loss may have ensued!

My handsome hubbie is the chair of a local track and field event for children.  The name of the event includes the words Youth Races.  A parent asked why we gave children ribbons for placing 1st-3rd in their events.  He felt that this was not fair to the children who were less athletically inclined.  I wanted to remind him that the definition of the word “races” infers competition between runners.

I did however, point out that all of the children were given participation ribbons.  I told him that in our opinion, the Youth Races helped teach children valuable life lessons that should not be avoided because they may be uncomfortable at first. All of the children were winners for participating but not all could win the race.  It is important for children to learn to gracefully celebrate the achievements of others even when the results of the efforts of others surpass their own.  (It’s a lesson my son rehearses each year as the aforementioned dad’s son takes the coveted spot in the district spelling bee – EVERY year!)

Lest you think the madness stops with running at recess, cannon ball dives and handstands without helmets.  Here is a partial list of activities and traditions that have been banned by a school near you.

  1. New York Department of Education banned the words dinosaur, poverty, birthdays, divorce, Halloween and dancing, which “might elicit ‘unpleasant emotions’ in students.”
  2. BFFs now BANd.  That’s right, in an attempt to “save others’ feelings”, best friends are not allowed in some schools in the UK.
  3. Hand holding at school banned in Tennessee
  4. Red Ink banned because of it’s “confrontational” nature at schools in Australia and the UK.
  5. Because of its “aggressive” nature, dodge ball has been banned in schools in New Hampshire.  Adult dodge ball leagues conversely continue to grow by leaps and bounds (no pun intended).
  6. A school in New York has banned all non-motorized modes of transportation to and from school.  Again the Let’s Move generation is being asked not to move.
  7. Traditional sports balls banned in a Long Island Middle School.  Kids are given nerf balls to play with instead.
  8. Tag, touch football, and even soccer banned in schools across North America.
  9. Superheros no longer welcome in preschools.

Allowing our kids to have an active childhood, both physically and creatively does not come without its share of risks.  The 3 Bros in my flying circus have all been taken to the emergency room at a local hospital (one more than once) with various fractures and dislocations.  That being said, they also know what it is like to survey their pretend kingdom for hours in an ancient tree.  They’ve swam in streams and pretended to be Pioneer-Survivor-Warriors with fifteen other boys in our neighborhood.  They have childhood stories that will inspire their children to play and dream.

There is a Bible verse that I believe sums up a parenting perspective that may be lost on our generation of parents.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

I’d love to hear some of your favorite childhood memories involving play.  Please share in the comments below!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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The Cougar Roars!

Truth be told, I was tired.  Very tired! I hate to admit that I was tired because I am old.  Really old!  Becoming an Amazonian warrior princess at 50 has been no small feat.  Against all odds, I am fighting the good fight against cellulite, catastrophic gastronomic disasters, a withering brain, hot flashes, dry eyes and gravity.  The decision to declare war on aging was not made lightly.   Now that I have troops on the ground,  I am committed to fight until the day I die! As committed as I am now, you need to know I did not start out that way.

My initial plan was to sit back, relax and let nature run her course.  I should have known that marrying a man six years younger than I would complicate my decision to become a new type of model.  The African-American, plus-sized senior girl is definitely under represented in the Metamucil and Cialis ads.  It was a perfectly logical plan which was quite desirable as well. I could eat whatever I fancied, let my hair go grey and make some money for the family.  Sweet!

When handsome hubby met me, I was a smoking-hot, 35-year-old, six-foot one half-inch – head turner.  People would come up to me and ask “hey, are you a model?”  I’d smile sweetly and answer “oh no – not anymore, that ship sailed long ago.”  My astonished admirer would then say, “wow, no way, you could totally be a model today.”  “You should get back into it.  Why did you quit?”

About a year and a half ago, a stranger stopped me in Trader Joe’s and said “Excuse me ma’am, you’re very tall.  Did you model when you were younger?”  Ok, that did it!  When did grown folks start calling me ma’am? When did people begin to agree that my ship had not only sailed, it was docked at another port?

This was the moment I remembered who I am.  A strong-willed, cougar with some resources!  I declared war on aging and began collecting and using heavy artillery.

  1. BB and CC creams:  Who says my youthful glow and dewy days are behind me?
  2. Semi Permanent Hair Color With Grey Coverage Capabilities:  Or as we half centenarians like to say “shade enhancing highlights.”
  3. Beachbody DVDs:  This is serious boot camp, or should I say booty camp, except that it never ends 4-6 days a week, every week, 25-60 minutes per day for as many years as my body will allow.
  4. ReStore Eye Drops:  I won’t even mention what other areas of my body are much drier than they used to be.
  5. Ice Water and Our Freezer:  Drink a glass of ice water with my head in the freezer to combat hot flashes.
  6. Spanx:  Need I say more

Since embarking upon this regimen with military precision, I have won some major battles.  I’ve lost over twenty-five pounds, reversed gravity in some very important areas, have fabulous highlights, and only jiggle when my seven-year old smacks my butt (to watch it jiggle – ugh!). Our sons even say that mom now looks younger than dad. 🙂

Micah (the butt jiggler) recently proclaimed, “mom has guns!”  The other day at Trader Joe’s a man did a double take as I walked by!  (full disclosure, it could have been because I was wearing three-inch heels which made me almost 6’4″).  Handsome hubby is a happy hubby!  I’m healthy, and I have the stamina to play beach volleyball, hike and go bike riding with my family.   I know that one day, old age will win the war, but sharing life with my active young family makes fighting these daily battles worthwhile!  By the grace of God and with an arsenal of age defying weapons this Cougar will be roaring for decades to come.

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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“You’re Gonna Get Poned, Dad!” The Day of Reckoning.

Pioneer Survivor Warriors

Pioneer Survivor Warriors

The day began with an epic game of pioneer survival war. This game somehow involves the trampoline in my backyard, assorted nerf weaponry, homemade swords, shields, plastic grappling hooks, styrofoam battle axes, origami paper ninja stars and the twelve elementary school boys who live on our street – plus a few of their friends.  The greatest weapon ever unleashed upon our neighborhood pioneer survivors was Phoenix’s homemade war hammer which he proudly toted, slung over one shoulder.  This was a solid three pound section of oak four inches in diameter attached to a three foot long stick secured by heavy duty wood screws.

One day, while my handsome hubby and I were working in our office with the window open we heard a sound which neither of us could identify.  Woosh, Woooosh, Woooosh!  We looked outdoors and saw a 4’6” soldier dressed in camo swinging the weapon of mass destruction in circles over his head.  We quickly ran outside and declared a cease fire before there were any casualties.  Hubby and I, the Co-Dictators, have since revoked the right to bear war hammers.

The game came to a screeching halt when one of the boys heard the sound of an ice cream truck in the distance.  My screen door slammed open as Caleb, ran in shouting; “Mom! Dad! Can I have nine dollars?!  There’s an ice cream truck coming!”  Talk about inflation!  I remember asking for a dollar and getting laughed at, but nine dollars takes the cake.  Lulled into a semi state of insanity and overcome with nostalgia by the tinkling sound of warped music, I gave him six bucks and a high five.  I figured he could treat his friends and play the hero.  Thirty minutes later Caleb returned home for dinner with his two brothers and a friend from school who was sleeping over.  “We got ditched!”  “The ice cream truck never came!  We waited like three hours and it never came.”  (In prepubescent time three hours means fifteen minutes).  “Is dinner ready?”  Thankfully it was.

Dinner time at the 3 Bros Flying Circus is often so funny I have to use my napkin to wipe away the tears.  Any topic is fair game at our dinner table as long as it doesn’t involve bathrooms and internal organs.  The conversation got heated when dad entered the fray.  Noah, 12-year-old son: “Did you guys see the humongous ninety-nine story tree house on Ultimate Tree Houses?” Caleb, 10-year-old son: “Yes, it was awesomely ginormous!”  Connor, 12-year-old friend sleeping over: “Dude, that’s sick!”  Micah, 7-year-old son: “oooh, I want to see it!”  Dave, 44-year-old husband: “Ninety-nine stories would be nine hundred and ninety feet.  Minimum!  That’s a skyscraper Noah, and that’s impossible.”  Me, adult, whispering to 44-year-old husband:  “Sweetie, this is a 6th-grade-boy led conversation. Exaggeration is par for the course.”  Noah, now sensing the stakes have been upped because dad has challenged his story says intensely, “It is a skyscraper dad.”  Dave, now throwing all of his chips on the table, “Let’s google it!”  Noah, feeling every bit of  his twelve years says, “Prepare to say ‘I was wrong’!”  Caleb, feeling empowered by big bro, “YOU’RE GONNA GET PONED, DAD!”

We all left the dinner table and headed for the computer with baited breath as I, the de-facto referee, typed in the words “world’s largest tree house.”  Bam!  There she was in all her glory.  Ten stories and 10,000 square feet worthy of Cartoon Network’s Cribs.  Caleb, 10-year-old son to 44-year-old dad: “Oh, what now?!”  Connor, sleepover friend to 44-year-old: “You just got served, son!”  Dave, 44-year-old husband to all the kids: “Well, technically-speaking…”

I walked away from our dinner table that night with many thoughts and questions.  1) What in the world is a pioneer survivor warrior? 2)  Why did the ice cream truck not come down to our our cul-de-sac? It would have made a fortune! 3)  How is the world’s largest tree house not condemned? (take a look at the link below and you’ll see what I mean)  4) What is the derivative of the word ‘pone’?  5) When did my kids start feeling brave enough to taunt their dad?  6)  Why doesn’t he realize that he has to BRING IT when its 1-on-4?  No technically-speaking mumbo jumbo.  Just because he’s a man of God doesn’t mean he can’t have a good old school verbal smack down with his kids!  7)  And, finally, what took me so long to embrace God’s gift of grace?  A fabulously-hilarious and often perfectly-imperfect family life with the children and husband hand picked just for me!  Take a bit of unsolicited advice from the Ringmaster, celebrate the uniqueness of your family today.

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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WORLD’S LARGEST TREE HOUSE LINK BELOW:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/worlds-largest-tree-house-stands-10-stories-tall.html

“Nouveau Sports”: The Great Disrupter vs The Day of Silence

Shortly after halftime Noah’s soccer team scored yet another goal.  The sound of cheering and adulation was deafening and absolutely amazing particularly because it all seemed to be coming from one person.  The 6 foot 5 inch super fan sporting a bright yellow and purple Laker’s jersey, cargo shorts and flip-flops was pacing the sidelines and yelling the encouraging commands of “spacing, center the ball, and get on him!”.  This brave fan was once one among many of his kind at children’s sporting events. Sitting amongst the “take the fun out of sports brigade” this courageous rebel stood out like me at a KKK rally.

The opposing librarian  coach could not stand another moment of this outlandish noise.  I mean who ever heard of someone actually cheering loudly at a sporting event?  He motioned to the Sideline Referee who in turn walked over to the Main Referee at midfield and pointed to none other than – Pastor Dave, my hubby.  With the game on hold and every parent, and soccer player – including my twelve-year-old son watching intently, the referee walked over and teold my husband to either be quiet or move to the other side of the field.

Here is a bit of background on our sports crazed family.  My husband is a former All-American Volleyball Player who set a record for the most kills in a NCAA match while playing for Stanford.  He was raised by a father who played basketball at Princeton and semi-professional baseball.  His sister played volleyball for Princeton.  I played collegiate NCAA Volleyball, my father is a former NBA Player , my sister a former Olympian and Pro Beach Volleyball Player,  my brother a former Collegiate Basketball player, and brother-in-law once held the American Record in the 100-butterfly.  As the icing on the cake, my mother watches every NBA and NFL game that can be found at any time on any channel and can out coach anyone!  Our two families combined are the perfect storm of sports fanatics and world-class athletes.

I’d say we know a thing or two about sports, but these nouveau fans, and their anti-enthusiast lobby have blocked our swagger.  We can’t help it that our kids were born and bred for sports (well maybe not baseball we had a really bad season) and we love cheering them on VERY LOUDLY!  We don’t want our courts, nor our fields gentrified!  We want to paint our faces, wag our foam fingers, shake our booties and chest bump!  And most of all we want to maintain the right to embarrass our tweens!

After the stellar performances on the soccer field – my husband’s and my son’s – I asked my son Noah how he felt about what happened with his dad today?  He said, his teammate walked over to him and said, “Dude, the ref’s talking to your dad!”  My son’s response, “Not again!”  When and if Noah plays collegiate ball, he will be well equipped to handle the fans who await him and he will be unashamed of his loud and proud parents!

The “council of acceptable suburban parenting” (they don’t exist I made that up), has actually convinced our local and very popular soccer league which shall remain nameless to officially hold a “SILENT SIDELINES WEEK” (this part is true).

Here’s an excerpt from their website, “Once again this year, we will practice “silent sideline soccer” during all games played on Week 6. Only the players and referees will be allowed to say anything out loud during the silent soccer period. Parents are only allowed to clap to acknowledge good play. Coaches are asked to sit in a chair and are allowed to chat with their substitute players on the sidelines.”  We are doing this becausewait for it – “Players on the field should be encouraged to talk, this is one of the big benefits, once the players know they can communicate amongst themselves, then they will hopefully continue this throughout the rest of the season. Parents (and coaches) should be listening to their players communicate, this is normally impossible with all the “noise” generated on the sidelines in a normal game.”

Come on people!  We are on an express train to crazy town here.  If you don’t like the sound of demonstrative fans sign your kid up for tennis and golf.  If your player doesn’t know she can communicate with other players on the field teach her how to yell or do hand signals.

Know that you are welcome to join us no matter whatever your child’s skill level, we will encourage and cheer for them very loudly as well.  But remember when you step on the basketball court, soccer or LaCrosse field, you’re in our house and in our house we say go big or go home.

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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Goss Bucks: One of Many Reasons Why We Love Being Co-Dictators!

Image

Who says you can’t print your own money?  We can put that myth to rest today!  Assuming you can accept the oxymoronic title of Co-Dictatorship; you can print your own money, hire your kids for way less than minimum wage, and charge them for things that they would have gotten for free.

Handsome hubby and I are very frugal.  Maybe I should restate that, handsome hubby is frugal and I love a bargain.  When it comes to shelling out the cash, his wallet is tighter than a spoiled clam.  So when the boys began asking for allowance, we realized we had to come up with a creative way to incentive them without actually giving them cold hard cash.

My sister, who is one of those high achieving, home schooling moms, who cans, bakes from scratch, plays professional volleyball, teaches Bible Studies and has a six-pack at 39 (I know…right?…)  told us about the sweet little activity she found in Family Fun Magazine.  She printed a picture of her children on a dollar bill and presented it to them.  They loved it.  David and I looked at each other and began brewing a plan that I must say is simply, brilliant.

The design of our money predictably did not highlight a cute picture of our three boys.  Instead, it features  the Co-Dicators’ Portrait.  We appropriately named our new currency the Goss Buck.  We printed and carefully initialed (our version of a high-tech watermark) the freshly printed bills in an inconspicuous place to ensure their authenticity and discourage a Goss kid counterfeiting ring.

Now, the Goss Buck ain’t just any ordinary ducat.  When I told one of our homeless friends about Goss Bucks, he began working on a conversion chart to determine how many Goss Bucks it would take to pay for a voyage on the Queen Mary II (true story which deserves a post of its own!)

Two nights ago, we unveiled the Goss Buck Valuation and Redemption Plan (GBVRP) for the 2013-2014 school year.  We called the boys in for a family meeting and handed them each a GBVRP which outlined their individual daily duties and pay rate on the upper portion and a redemption chart on the lower portion of the sheet.  Upon review, my oldest son, (who by-the-way once told us he wants to be just like Mr. Wonderful on the TV show Shark Tank) looked at us and declared, “these redemption items are a tad bit pricey.”

What, an eleven year old challenging our evaluation?  No he didn’t!  Need I say we were floored.  What did he not understand about the word Co-Dictatorship? Never mind the fact that it only exists in our Flying Circus!  As you may have imagined, his bravery in challenging our system led his brothers to chime in.  “Yeah, and why can’t we add in a fishing trip?”  “How many would it take for a trip to Sky High?”  “Excuse me, you forgot to add screen time to the Redemption Chart.”  My youngest and most observant son, Micah (7) said; “oh, and I would like to add a place for you to initial this daily when we finish our work so we ALL KNOW HOW MUCH YOU OWE US AT THE END OF THE WEEK.”

With our authority challenged and the good sense to be proud of our children’s ability to question the man (and woman).  We caved in negotiations, added the fishing and Sky High trips as well as the table which we initial daily.  We did however, hold firm to the omission of screen time.  We’re ok with the fact that the 3 Bros Circus now includes a “kiddie” union because that makes our three boys Goss Bosses!  Regardless of their seeming victory, always remember she who prints the money is still the Ringmaster!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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Surprisingly, Boys Love Girls: Twitterpation Strikes the Flying Circus!

Boy twitterpated

Twitterpated

Everybody knows boys between the ages of 7-12 are usually not so keen on girls, you know – cooties and all.  That’s why the conversation that took place while we were at a restaurant having dinner a few nights ago still cracks me up!  As my boys were talking, I flashed back to this scene in Bambi, you know the one where Bambi, Flower and Thumper (otherwise known as Caleb, Noah and Micah) are getting schooled about Twitterpation.

Their friend, the wise owl says “… Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.  For example:  You’re walking alone, minding your business.  You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face.  Woo-woo!”

The Goss boys didn’t wait for spring nor did they hold out for adolescence.  (I never realized how the end of that word is rightly pronounced less-sense.)  The dreaded disease for all boys everywhere hit the 3 Bros Flying Circus this Summer.  Bam, Bam, Bam like dominoes on Jessie Porter’s card table.

Twitterpation surprisingly struck my youngest son first.  When my hubby picked Micah (7) up from Young Writer’s Camp, his counselor said, Micah has a budding friendship.  He’s been carrying a girl’s books, opening her door and retrieving her lunch.  Now if you know my son Micah, you’d know that he once declined to jump in a bounce house because it was pink and had Dora the Explorer painted on it.

The following day, Micah came home from camp, jumped on the computer and asked.  “Mom how do you spell trampoline?”  Followed by, “is dad’s number 729-XXXX.”  Like any mom who respects her son’s privacy and treats him as an equal – NOT – I said, “move over boy and let me see what you’re doing.”  They don’t call me the Ringmaster for nothing!

The letter read:  Dear Mindy (name changed to protect the not so innocent),  Want to come over to my house for a playdate.  We can jump on my trampoline and I can teach you how to play Minecraft.  My dad’s number is 729-XXXX.  Give me a call.  Micah

I was surprised by my reaction when Mindy actually did text Micah (several times).  You would think that a Pastor’s wife would have tsk’d, tsk’d the bold moves of the little vixen, who by the way was two years older than Micah.  No  sir, I am ashamed to say that I walked around with a big smile thinking, “that’s my boy!”  Of course. after the fourth text we cut them off and let them both know that they are way too young to be text buddies.

Fast forward a about three weeks.  A few days ago while sitting in church at our school’s formal, reverent, convocation, I notice a girl two rows up continuously looking back at my oldest son Noah (12).  Each time she looked back, Noah gave her a smile and a nod.  Like the patient, subtle mom that I am – NOT – I leaned over and whispered, “Noah, is that girl looking at you?”  He answered “YUP, and I hope she’ll be in my class”.  I was floored…

Following convocation we all went out to dinner where Noah proceeded to tell his brothers about the girl in church.  Caleb (10, middle son and breakfast zombie) says “Oh man that’s nothing.  I saw a new girl in my class at the back to school picnic the other day and she is TURBO CUTE!  She walked by and was all (flipping hair in slow motion smiling and looking over his shoulder while batting eyelashes) and I was like (eyes wide open flashing a huge cheesy grin)!”

We all laughed until we cried and I’m sure that the folks sitting at the surrounding tables were entertained as well.  That night after everyone was asleep, I realized that I was exhibiting double standards.  If my boys were girls, I would not have found these stories funny and would be up praying for my daughters instead of praying for forgiveness for my own double standards.

I’ve had a couple of days to think and pray and have come to the conclusion that I’m happy that my boys are experiencing some mild symptoms of “twitterpation”.  We can talk with them and model for them the proper ways to respectfully enjoy the company of the wonderful creatures God created named girls.

In a few years, when they are inevitably fully twitterpated they will know that they can come to Mom and Dad for advice because we shared a letter, and a whisper, and a laugh!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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The Undead is Dead…at least for today!

Inquiring minds just had to know the results of yesterday’s resolve not to nag, bribe or strangle the Zombie at my breakfast table, otherwise known as Caleb.  (Yesterday’s post, “Zombie at My Breakfast Table” will catch you up to speed.)

You’ve heard of a leadership vacuum?  You know, the theory that if there is no clearly appointed leader, someone with leadership qualities will rise and fill the vacuum.  Today, I witnessed the nag vacuum.  That’s right, this morning as I stepped down from my position of Chief Nag and Executioner; my handsome hubby filled the vacuum.

As expected, Caleb crept into the kitchen, sat, stared and mumbled; unaware of the diabolical plan that the Ringmaster had set into motion.  He did not expect a mom who very calmly and sweetly said, “good morning Captain Caleb.  Your reward for joining us  this morning is a hug and a kiss from mom.”  That was it, no nagging or yelling – at least not from me…

Fifteen minutes later, Caleb (still sitting and staring and mumbling) gets blasted by his dad.  “Boy you better pick-up that spoon and eat right now…!!!!”  You know zombies, and now you know Caleb, neither are fazed by mere threats.  But, what this particular little zombie didn’t know is, the Ringmaster had transferred from her position as Chief Nag and Executioner to Master Manipulator Extraordinaire.

I, in the most saccharine tone I could muster, told my other sons “since you have eaten your breakfast and completed all of your morning tasks, you may watch Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil (my boys’ favorite show) until it’s time to leave for school.  Oh (pause) and by the way, Caleb, you’ll have to leave the room and move on with the morning routine.  So sorry Caleb, what a bummer huh?”

I know, that was a major blow below the belt: 1) my boys are never allowed to watch tv before school and 2) they are rarely allowed to watch any show at all on a school day period!

Do I have to tell you that from that point, Caleb finished his breakfast and his morning routine in five minutes!  Now that’s what I’m talking about!  The Undead is officially dead and Kick Buttowski rules!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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Zombie at our Breakfast Table!

If there is one thing I can’t understand it is the resurgence of zombie popularity.  Don’t get me wrong I love a throw back to the old school, but this zombie thing is one that really creeps me out.  When I say I’m creeped out it’s not for the reasons one might think.

As a kid growing up I was never afraid of zombies.  In fact, I thought they were hilarious.  The thought of a creature that dragged one gimpy leg, didn’t have the sense to put his arm down, moved at a snail’s pace and could not articulate a threat never intimidated me.  I was always a stellar athlete/ Tom-boy/Diva so I thought I could either outrun or outsmart the slow, poorly dressed, half dead idiot.

Fast forward forty years, I now have a zombie living under my own roof.  Believe me, this time, I am TERRIFIED.  I have gone to battle with this zombie everyday for ten years.  Every battle plan and strategic move I’ve made has led to defeat.  Just like those zombies in the old school horror flicks, this one just keeps coming back and is wearing me down!

My middle son Caleb, shuffles slowly to the breakfast table every morning.  With limbs not quite functioning as they should, he kicks his brothers under the table and knocks over glasses of milk. Staring into space he mumbles something that sounds like ughhhgrrr! Cautiously, I ask what’s wrong Caleb?  One of his brothers answers, he doesn’t like the breakfast again.  (We’re having eggs, if it were lunch time, he’d eat two!)

I blow through my arsenal.  Beginning with sweet reasonable words “Caleb eggs are super good for you and you love them. Remember you asked for two for lunch yesterday sweetie.”  Inevitably I move on to bribery “if you finish your breakfast in the next two minutes I’ll give you an extra Gossbuck!” (More on Gossbucks in a future post).  Refusing to admit defeat, I take my last stand which sadly usually involves yelling. “IF YOU DON’T EAT YOUR BREAKFAST I’M GONNA _______ !” On alternating days, “CALEB, TAKE SIX BIG BITES CLEAR YOUR PLACE AND DON’T ASK ME FOR FOOD AGAIN, EVER!”

What’s a ringmaster to do?  At this point, I realize I don’t have the strength, wisdom or self-control to handle this zombie day in and day out.  It is here in this moment that I need to seek God and ask for wisdom, patience and self-control.  Yes, I want to defeat the zombie, but I don’t want to deflate my son.

I actually googled, “how to defeat zombies” and came across the top ten ways to kill a zombie.  Most of them involved some very gruesome violent activities that Social Services would not approve of.  But one of them did capture my attention.

Tomorrow, when I hear the shuffling towards the kitchen followed by GRRRRR.  I’ll say good morning Captain Caleb.  I’ll let him sit and stare and spill and mumble.  When breakfast is over, and his plate is still full, I’ll give him a big kiss and move him through the rest of his morning routine (which by the way, he has no problem completing).

Why will I do this?  Well number 3 on that top 10 list reads:  “Starve the zombies out. A lot of people don’t understand that zombies will continue rotting indefinitely. A zombie only has a life span of 2-3 years, after which point they will be too corroded to be any threat.”

I figure, when he get’s hungry enough, he’ll eat.  What’s more important than being in the Clean Plate Club for breakfast?  My relationship with Caleb and his launch into his day!  I agree with #3 above.  This zombie most definitely will not survive, particularly if I starve him out.  Heck, Caleb will be a teenager in three years and will soon be eating everything in sight and I’ll have another monster to deal with.  God does answer prayers in mysterious ways!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

PS:  This post is being shared with fellow mommy bloggers as a Manic Monday post on Pending Perfection. If you’re having a Manic Monday or would like to read some other very funny, very real perspectives on parenting, hop on over and give some of the other blogs some love.

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