Sunday, February 23, 2014

The things we know...... and the things we don't

My friend Peg and I have often discussed just how fantastic it would be if we could just get inside our kid’s head for five minutes! That is all we wanted, 5 minutes…. 5 minutes just to see what is really going on in there.

We never really know, we may think we do, but we really, really don’t.

As much as I think I know my son like the back of my hand, there are still times when I realize I do not know anything at all.

For example, during his 3rd year of swimming with Special Olympics, his coach yelled over to me one day at practice “He just figured out he can open his eyes with the goggles on!” – At that point in time, he’d been wearing the goggles for practice twice a week and during competitions for as I said, 3 years. It never occurred to me or anyone else for that matter that he didn't know he could open his eyes while wearing them. I suppose, that knowing him as I think I do, it should have, but – no, it did not.

I am relatively sure he does not understand “death”. Other than Bambi’s mother and Old Yeller (who was quickly replaced at the end), none of his favorite Disney characters ever die, really. If they do – it doesn't last. Someone kisses them, or a spell is cast and there they are, good as new. I try to talk to him about death, due to my " dropping dead" obsession and because everyone dies eventually. I never want him to think I just left him, but I really can not say that he understands it at all.

DC seems to live in the present. Things change and he just changes with them. I had a conversation with my friend, Toni a while back. Her daughter can watch something like Full House and relate it to her own life – high school, college, get a job, buy a car, get married, and have children. DC watches but does not relate any of this to his own life. He went to high school because I sent him. He moved on to "college" because I sent him and so on. I tell him what to do and he does it. I have tried to have conversations with him about what he thinks should come next in his life, but these conversations just tend to go to “dinner” or whatever meal or activity may be coming up. His future is not a concept he can grasp. He lives in the present and doesn't seem to think about anything changing in his life, things just change and he just goes with it.

– (Speaking of Full House – Just for the record…. having that many people all living under the same roof, would just send me right over the edge for good – just saying :) ) –

So the other night DC was on a ‘picture drawing’ roll – Flowers for Mom, Hearts for Mom, Birthday Cake for Mom and then this…..

Needless to say I was a little bit thrown. DC’s Dad and I divorced when DC was 3. At the time, I didn't try to explain it to him, I was too busy trying to get him diagnosed. It didn't seem to faze him, he still saw his Dad every week and I was sure he would not understand any attempt I could make at explaining it to him. He never seemed to think anything of it. As marriage is something I never had or have any desire to do again, it is not something we ever talked about. Other than adding “Baby for Mom” to his Christmas list a few years ago, I never really had any indication that he might realize that things may be different here than at his friends’ homes. I am still not sure that he does. It has always been this way – it is what he is used to.

Most of his friends do have parents that are together and they also have brothers and sisters. But I still do not think he relates that to his own life. But again, every time I think I have him figured out he does something like presenting me with a drawing of a three layer wedding cake specifically for “Mom” and he has me guessing all over again.

That five minutes in his head, would come in very handy right now, but since I can’t have that, I am going to assume that he just really loves Wedding Cake and he just wants to share with his Mom………….

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Everyone needs a little “fairy dust”

Harassing my co-workers for their paper towel rolls for a project this week, made me think about the reasons I don’t buy paper towels myself. This then led me to think about all of the other things I don’t buy, have to hide or make adjustments to, around the house.

Shampoo: This is no longer an issue, but at one time and for many years if I forgot to take the shampoo out of the shower, most of the bottle would be used to paint a masterpiece and the rest went down the drain…… every time.

Paper Towels: Paper Towels are for shredding and only for shredding. On the rare occasion that I do buy them, they have to be hidden on top of the refrigerator. Hiding the paper towels makes them not very convenient for me to use and forgettable, so there really isn’t any point  in buying them at all.

Paper: Every single piece of blank paper in the house has a Disney character’s name written on it. Teachers, Camp councilors and  anyone else I have to write a note to, receives that note on our exclusive custom stationary. After a few weeks of notes to camp, the Director finally asked “Do you guys do ‘A Character a day or something’?” No, unfortunately nothing that creative, I just can’t keep the paper out of the hands of my in-house stationary designer.

Construction Paper: Construction paper is also used specifically for character names, BUT according to the rule made up in his head,  these sheets can not and will not be saved. They MUST be cut up into small pieces with scissors and spread out all over the floor. He must also write on each sheet of  an entire package of paper before he begins the job of shredding/cutting. A few pieces just doesn’t do it. A package of construction paper will only last an hour or two after it has been opened.
He has been a bit better with the construction paper lately. He still writes his character names. He still will not save them as he does with plain white paper, but now at least, he rips them up, one at a time and throws them away. -  (say it with me….) Progress!

Baby wipes (or hand wipes): Wipes are used for “Cinderella chores” ; washing the floor and door. This could actually be a good thing if he didn’t use  20 of them to wash the same spot on the same floor and the same spot on the same door. We don’t buy wipes anymore.

Scotch Tape: Scotch tape can be used on anything and for anything. For the most part, it is used to tape up pages in his books. Some books require an entire roll for just the smallest tear. Scotch tape can also be used to build a drum out of a cup or a bowl. He covers the top of the cup or bowl with tape….. a two roll minimum of tape, and this is his drum. Yes, creative, and yes he figured this out by himself but now I have to hide my tape in the cellar if I hope to find any when I need it.

His very own scotch tape is now an item on all of his Christmas/Birthday lists. One friend in particular has been very creative with her gifts of scotch tape. He just loves them!
Pens: No matter how many pens I hide for myself, I can not ever find a pen. He has all of them…… somewhere, I don’t know where and he is not telling. He will return the pens that don’t work -  those are always readily available.

Buttons: If there is a button there, it needs to be buttoned. Years ago I thought I was being sneaky by removing the top button on all of his shirts so he would not insist on buttoning everything right up to his neck. I discovered I was not as slick as I thought I was one day when DC brought me one of his shirts to have the button removed. He knows there should be a button there and knows I’m cutting it off, but for some reason this is alright with him. Leaving it on and not buttoning it, is not.

Other clothes: All tags must be removed from all clothing. If he should find the smallest rip, tear or string, he will proceed to shred that article of clothing. It may take him all day, but he will make sure it can never be worn again. Just recently I mistakenly bought him a pair of jeans that had ready-made tears in them. When I realized, I was sure this would be a disaster, but for some reason, it was fine with him. He wears them quite regularly…….. figure that one out. I can not!

Salt: We do not keep salt or sugar on the table. Salt is used as fairy dust. If it is not being sprinkled on his food, then there is no other use for salt, except to be used as fairy dust. Crumbs, the cereal dust at the bottom of the cereal box, crushed chips and a number of other items can also be used as fairy dust, but salt is the ultimate in fairy dust.

I’ve been “Fairy-Dusted” many times, so has the kitchen, the living room, restaurant tables and his uncle when, a few years back, DC got his hands on some cotton candy sugar at a picnic (Cotton Candy Sugar = Pink and Blue Fairy Dust; what could be better!)  Delightfully he took a very large handful and “dusted” his Uncle’s head yelling;

“Think of a wonderful thought”  

His Uncle didn’t get it……..

But really…..who couldn’t use a little fairy dust every once in awhile?

(He is better with salt these days, but I  will not keep it on the table, it is just too much for him to resist)

Monday, February 3, 2014

File under: “Rules I thought I would never have to make”

As promised in "Looking Handsome in the Princess Room" here is the story about the next time DC met Snow White.

Right around this time last year we decided to go on a Disney Cruise. DC as you can imagine, was very excited. He loved the cruise, the shows, the mountain of bacon he tried to sneak every morning and of course, the characters on board, specifically the Princesses.

This particular evening we had just met one princess and were about to get in line for "Alice" when the boy that was managing the line told us that Alice was almost finished and ready to leave. We went and stood where DC could at least see her and explained that she was leaving soon so he would not be able to meet her. The "Line Manager" who must have been watching DC when he met the previous princess and also saw how excited he was just looking at Alice, came over to us and told us that Snow White was due out soon and he had arranged it so we would be second in line to see her. First in line would be the family of the woman who was playing Snow White (shhhh! I didn't say that!).

After everyone cleared away, he put us and "the family" in line. DC was over the moon and she hadn't even come out yet!

I think we have been to Disney every year - or close to every year since DC was 7 but he is always just as excited to see the princesses as he was the very first time. The "Line Manager", between dancing up and down the line, stopped to talk to DC a few times. He was getting a kick about how excited DC was.

Finally she came out. We waited through the family visit and pictures and then it was DC's turn. I took my regular position with the camera and Doug stood off to the side a little bit.
DC was having some sort of conversation with Snow White while I was taking pictures.

Next he gave her a huge hug, she seemed okay with that.

He got so excited, he picked her up and swung her around in a circle like a rag doll!
Did a get a photo? no… a video? no. We (the “Line Manager” included) were all too busy charging the little stage area because he was not letting her go!

I have to hand it to Snow White; she stayed in character the entire time!

“Oh MY! How strong you are!”

Obviously, he was not trying to hurt her, it was just a very exaggerated hug!
Snow White was fine - everyone was fine. We got our picture and left the area, but I felt it was necessary to make a new rule;


I didn't realize that the same people play the same princess parts for the duration of the cruise until a few nights later when we went to the Princess Room to see 4 princesses. I realized that it was the same Snow White. Oh boy, I was sure she was going to get security for DC’s visit.

When we got to the front of the line, the “Line Manager” from the other day was also there.

“Hey, I remember you!”

I said that I was sure that he did.

He turned to Snow White and said “Snow, do you remember DC?”

Snow White said “Oh My yes! You are very strong!”

I told both of them not to worry, we have a new rule and DC will not pick her up and spin her around.
DC walked up to Snow White and said

“I have to “Apolo  – gize” .

That was a complete surprise to me and  Snow White seemed to think it was cute. She told him everything was fine.
He proceeded to “Apolo – gize” to every other princess in the line. They all accepted his apology even though the rest of them had no idea what he was “Apolo – gizing” for.

I’m sure they were all informed later……..

The rule has been altered a bit since then. Now, anytime I know that we are going to meet anyone that he will be excited about,  I ask:

“What’s the rule?”

DC answers “Don’t pick up the people”

I think that should cover it.
There is another story about this vacation and I will get to it one of these days.