Monthly Archives: April 2009

The NEW Golden Rule

A few months ago, our small boy had a school program where his starring line was actually a sentence fragment due to the vast number of kids who needed speaking parts and the apparent shortage of lines. He did a stand-up job delivering his half sentence clearly and with feeling:  “The golden rule says that we should treat others . . . .” at which point a classmate chimed in to complete the sentence. If I’d realized what a difference it would make to his comprehension, I would’ve made him learn the whole thing but I incorrectly assumed that participating in the sketch about how to treat others would be sufficient. Wrong.

Fast-forward to yesterday where a typical after-school scene unfolded — the 7 year old was rushing around to gather her things for Acro class, our small boy and his oldest sister were slowly unpacking their book bags in a contest to see who could take the longest and do the most things inbetween what I’ve asked them to do. During this time, Spencer was talking non-stop about his day. Because we’d already covered the important parts on the drive home, I was really only listening with one ear (the other one had been talked off already) — he had a great day, they played outside, he kept all his smiles (the K4 equivalent of a punishment system is the removal of a smiley face from beside their names). Then he started talking about the ‘golden rule’. I’m half listening, half wondering where the red-headed Acro pixie is, watching the clock, checking my email, and getting a little annoyed that no one is unpacking a darned thing. Suddenly I hear my oldest say — “Um, really, Buddy?” And because the hair stands up on my head when I hear that tone from her, I turned around to see the raised eyebrow that strongly implies ‘mom, you need to ask him to retell this one’ — and I did. This is what I heard . . .

Spencer: Mom, you know how the golden rule tells us to do to others what they do to us?

Mom: Well, that’s not exactly it, but sure, go on.

Spencer: Well today someone kicked me, so I kicked them back — I told them I had to do it to them because they did it to me and I had to follow the golden rule.

I know it’s probably a reflection on my parenting but I honestly had to turn around so he wouldn’t see my facial expression and the laughing tears I was holding back.  I tell you, I never thought the larger class size would be an issue — now I’m beginning to wonder!

The family that bounty hunts together. . .

It never ceases to amaze me how the sequence of events that lead up to the blog fodder are actually

potential blog fodder as well.

Distraught at the notion that his sisters received snail mail from Canadian pen pals (insert the what’s that aboot eh? here), the boy turned to his mother for comfort.  She in turn emailed me asking for an email from dear old dad to cheer him up.

Thinking quickly between meetings, I dredge up an old screenshot from my bounty hunter days in Star Wars Galaxies and send it along with a note that said:

Dear Spencer,
It has come to my attention that you did not receive a letter today.  Well, that just will not do, so I am sending you this letter complete with a cool picture that I am fairly certain looks cooler than the girl’s letters.
This is a pictu
re of your dear old dad years ago when I was the bounty hunter known as ‘Daddy Fett’.  I will have to tell you all about it someday. . .
Love, Dad.

This apparently had the desired effect and the boy made a miraculous and speedy recovery.

Fast forward to later the next evening.  Guy night.  Attempting to find pieces to the Lego AT-ST Imperial Walker from a box of millions of pieces.  Emma Kate arrives on the scene and the discussion turns to Daddy Fett.

Emma instantly created a new universe by stating ‘Hey, we could be a family of Fetts!  I’m Emma Fett!”

“And I’m Spencer Fett!” the boy responded.

Mommy Fett was laughing too hard to respond and Hanna Fett was fortunately out of the room; however she was inducted into the Fett Family on the way out the door to school the next morning.

So if you see us coming, be warned.  If there is a price on your head… you could be in for more than you bargained for.  Ever tried to run from three extremely extroverted kids?  You will be talked down before you even reach the door.

Pre-emptive Fail

So the oldest just turned 9 and thinks she turned 16.   While waiting for dinner, all three were discussing how soon they would be teenagers.  Already not a good sign. . .

So in a moment of parental wisdom / what was I thinking, I decided to seize the opportunity to have a conversation with them and discuss what was ahead for them.

Eloquently, I began with “The trouble with being a teenager is that you think you know everything”.

In hindsight, I should have stopped there, but continued and attempted to put it in perspective for them.

“Let’s see how old am I?” I asked…

“36” they all shouted in unison.

“Yes – there you go. I am 36 and I still don’t know everything.”

In a comment which will be long remembered and definitively identifies which side of the gene pool she comes from (mine), the 9 year old quickly responded.

“Yeah.  You don’t even know how old you are.”

Try to see things on my level. . .

During a recent visit from the cousins I went into the boy’s room and found my nephew in his favorite playtime position, on the floor surrounded by matchbox, hot wheels, and the dollar store brand cars – all lined up and ready to go.

It had been a while since I had been on the floor playing cars myself, so I decided to join him.  It was then that I realized a sound economic principle could be taught at even this age – and of course I took the opportunity.

On the topic of purchasing an automobile – when it comes to quality – you get what you pay for.

If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a ‘soprts’ car.

Fashion Sensing a Disturbance in the Force

“Wow Emma!” the boy exclaimed.  “You look just like Princess Leia Slave!” referring to Emma’s hair prep as they loaded into the car for school.

“No I don’t.  I look like Princess Leia ‘Sena-Nator’.  Emma replied.

Sometimes I wonder if introducing them to Lego Star Wars was a good idea for their first exposure to the saga.

No matter what the picture, or the character – live action or brick action – it’s not actually Star Wars.  It’s Lego Star Wars.

Things you hear at our house . . .


. . . and perhaps at yours, you tell me. Please. I mean it.

I’d be glad to know mine aren’t the only 2 having these deep theological discussions. I’m not even sure what started it, but as I put dinner in the oven, this is the part I overheard.

Emma: No buddy, Yoda was MUCH older than Jacob.

Spencer: But Bible people were really, REALLY OLD!

Emma: Yes, buddy, but Jacob only lived to be 130 and Yoda was 900. He was MUCH older.

Yes, coming along quite nicely, their education is.

Would you buy a used car from this face?

Tonight was not my favorite moment of the day. The time when I’m serving up food and receiving complaints instead of accolades from my children who apparently haven’t received enough lectures on the starving nations. Forgetting the fact that this particular infraction is punishable by all sorts of undesirable consequences, the boy squeaked out an “I don’t want THAT!” while making a face and shaking his head “NO” just to be sure I was clear on the fact that he wanted no part of the sweet potatoes made with brown sugar (for crying out loud!). Instantly sent to his room, he apparently had too much time to ponder how he would wrangle his way back into my good graces. After the meal, he came crawling up to my bed (where I was recovering from dinner with a quiet room and the tivo remote) to apologize — but instead of a traditional “I’m sorry mom” which would certainly have sufficed given the afternoon I’d had, I was treated to a far more inventive routine that went something like this.

Spencer: Mom, I’m sorry. But when I do this (the boy shook his head in imitation of his earlier crime) it really means (here he pauses for effect . . . and eyelashes . . . and freckles and . . . everything else that suckers are suckered by) THANK YOU, MOM!

Me: Yeah? (glancing into his serious little eyes with disbelief)  Well, I don’t buy that for a SECOND!!

At which point the boy smacked the covers with both hands and let out a familiar “AWW MAAAAAAN!” followed by a HUGELY sheepish grin.

Yes. I’ve learned. You cannot buy a used car from this small boy. No matter what. Really. Do NOT be the next sucker! You have been warned! (And can someone tell me where they learn this stuff? Seriously! I need to find that manual quickly!)

Omniscience – small boy edition

Part of our morning routine involves a brief time of “praying for the day” in the car on the way to school. One would think this event would engender feelings of good will and spirutality but as anyone with young children can testify, every moment stands alone as an opportunity for disagreement. Even prayer.

Over the years we’ve endured the ongoing debate as to the pronunciation of the word “Amen.” Then there was the fight over who would get to say THEIR teacher’s name FIRST in the order of the prayer (because that naturally made the teacher more important in the eyes of God). And lately it’s been the frustrating addition of “extra” prayers after each child has made their individual petitions. This is especially annoying to the one following the prayer dawdler because it means they need to practice the stressful virtue of patience . . .  which is in short supply at 7:22 in the morning. 

Today it was the last straw for Spencer who waited patiently for his turn until Emma Kate seemingly completed her prayer only to burst out in unison with him as he mimicked her plea of  “WAIT! I have ONE MORE PRAYER!” I struggled not to laugh but finally lost it when in the lull of Emma’s mortification I heard the boy mutter an irritated “I KNEW IT!”

I’m so glad we pray in the mornings. Goodness only knows what they’d say to each other if we DIDN’T!