Thursday, July 30, 2009

If I Ran Wal-Mart

The kids and I were shopping today because even though it’s summer and it’s their vacation time, I still like to eat. Trust me, this has been a matter of great consternation to my children who think they must spend the entire month of July playing Wii until their eyeballs pop out. Food? Well, that’s why God created pizza delivery, right?

We had to stand in line a long time waiting for our turn to buy fruits and vegetables. If you were behind us in line, you’d have heard something like this:

"No, Poptarts don’t count as fruit even if they do have pictures of strawberries on the label."

"I don’t know why Bubblicious isn’t a food group all in and of itself. An no we’re not buying any."

"No, we don’t need any king sized Snickers bars today, but thanks for making me aware of the
fact that they’re on sale."

"No, I don’t think anyone who passes up that kind of sale on a king-sized candy bar is an idiot. But thanks for asking."

Luckily my kids are at an age where they take "no" for an answer without the tears and temper tantrums. The woman ahead of me in line wasn’t so lucky. She had two preschoolers who kept putting things on the conveyor quicker than she could remove them. By the time she had her cart emptied, she’d acquired two princess cell phones, three king-sized candy bars and something from the Bubblicious food group. As she put all the extra items back, the girls found others to replace them. A colorful gift card. A packet of baseball cards. Some M&Ms.

As the mom turned to me in frustration, I smiled and told her "If I ran Wal-Mart, I’d stock the check-out aisles with canned carrots and corn. Then we wouldn’t have to keep telling our kids no."

"Let me know when you take over because I’m coming to your Wal-Mart," she said as she grabbed her kids and headed to the parking lot.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cute Bugs


Lauren screamed at me yesterday in such a way that brought me running.

"What’s wrong?" I asked, fully expecting to see amputated limbs.

"Mom, look. There’s ants all over the table."

Sure enough, the table was covered with the kind of tiny sugar ants it almost takes a microscope to see. I assured her that all would be okay. I have chemicals to take care of those kinds of problems.

"Noooooooo!!!!" She looked at me in horror like I’d just morphed into the kind of evil mom that makes her kids eat tofu. "You can’t kill them. They’re so tiny and cute."

Cute? They’re ants! If they were so cute, Ortho wouldn’t make a chemical specifically to annihilate them.

"Lauren, they’re bugs." I pointed out, fully intending to convince her that spraying the entire kitchen with ant killer was really the way to go.

"Please, Mommy. Can’t you just put them outside? They’re not hurting anyone."

It was her pleading tone and those bright blue eyes brimming with tears that made me scoop about twenty sugar ants into my hand and gently place them in the grass where they’d be free to live out the remainder of their short little lives in peace. I’d just have to spray the kitchen later after Lauren had gone to bed.

Then she took my hand and thanked me for saving them."They’re little and cute. Just like me."

And suddenly I got it. For months she’d been teased for being the shortest girl in the second grade. Even though she’s eight, she’s still stuck in a booster chair because her legs don’t quite reach the edge of her seat. And then there was the cashier who just last week asked if she was starting kindergarten this fall.

Through it all, I’ve just kept reminding her that she might be small, but she’s cute and she’s just the size God intended her to be. Just like those ants.

Instead of grabbing the ant killer chemical, I walked through the house with Lauren and saved every ant we found.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Faulty DNA

Something has happened recently in our household that turns the whole science behind DNA on its head. Our ten-year-old son has decided he’s a runner. For the last month, he’s been participating in 5K races and doing quite well.

How in the world could two people whose primary passion in life is watching grass grow produce a son who’s a runner? Now don’t get me wrong. Bob and I both feel running has its place. When being chased by a sabertooth tiger? Sure. When trying to get to Krispy Kreme before they shut the lights off and lock the doors? Absolutely. For a medal or a trophy? No way, no how.

Chris has become so passionate about running that he’s been encouraging me to join him. If you’re going to run marathons with your kids, you really ought to have them when you’re still young. Around the age of twelve would be about right. If I were twenty two, I’d have a prayer of keeping up with the child. As it is, I can only hope he’s still at the finish line when I finally crawl across long after all the other racers have gone home.

But I’m not the kind of mom who can tell her kids "no" when they’re passionate about something. That’s how I ended up playing three thousand consecutive games of Candyland when the boys were two. That’s how I ended up laying on the ground for days, pretending to be comatose when all three kids developed a passion for administering "first aid." And that’s why I’ve told Chris I’ll join him for a 5K as long as I can walk and not run.

Maybe with any luck, his passion will soon change to something Bob and I could more easily understand. Maybe we can introduce him to the comfortable front porch chairs where you have the best view to watch the grass get just a little taller.