Category Archives: Star Wars

“sss-fear”

Tap, tap, tap… tap, tap, tap…

Hey, is this thing working?  Can anybody hear me?

This little old blog of mine is like a favorite hangout of my youth, one I haven’t visited in ages.  I’ve been away so long, and now, upon my return, I find it dreadfully neglected.  It needs some dusting, perhaps some weeding, definitely needs a broom taken to it to clear out the cobwebs.

I’ll try and get on that.

Where have I been? You may wonder.  Or maybe you don’t.  As the lyrics to that Tom Petty song go, maybe you don’t come around here no more, either.  I wouldn’t blame you. I realize it’s not much fun to hang around an old place like this, one where the proprietor can’t even be bothered with its upkeep.

I’ve just been doing other things.  Nothing exciting, nothing worth writing about or believe me, you’d have heard about them. Mostly, work. And reading books (hey, I bought myself a Kindle!), and running.  Lots and lots of running.  But not with the Kindle in my hand.  It seems a little delicate.  I JUST bought it, I don’t want to drop it.

And then, well, Snags is growing up.  And growing up means there just isn’t as much to share. 

There is this, though….

The other morning at breakfast Snags was telling me about the world and how in some parts of the world, because the world is a “sss-fear” (that’s sphere but he can’t pronounce it correctly) people are walking upside down.

“Mom,” Snags asked.  “Do you know why that is? Do you know WHY they can walk upside down and not fall off the planet?”

I was happy. I felt like it was the Final Jeopardy question and guess what?  I knew the answer! (Which is totally opposite of how I feel when he quizzes me about Star Wars, by the way).

“Um… gravity?” I replied.  (You see, I added the “um” before I said gravity so I wouldn’t sound too smug.  I’m a nice mom like that).

“No!” Snags replied.

“Not gravity?” I asked, stunned.

“Nope.  It has to do with the way the earth spins around and the angle it tilts and all that.”

Folks, I was a geography major in college.  I learned a little about the earth and how it spins and its tilt and “all that”.  The kid has mixed up gravity with the seasons.

But I let it go, because here, where we live, we’re in the middle of the snowiest winter on record, and schools have been closed for over a week and the roadways are one lane wide, and snow piles hide stop signs and swallow turn lanes.  It’s pretty grave, for sure.  I can see how Snags would confuse gravity and the seasons.

Now if I can only get him to say “sphere” instead of “sss-fear”.  I’ll try and get on that too. 

And oh, yeah… I’ll be back.

2 Comments

Filed under blogging, geography, kids, seasons, Snags, snow, Star Wars

Sunday School, Weenie Sabers, and The Sign of the Cross

I confess:  I miss the lazy Sunday mornings, the mornings where I could stay in bed, or if not in bed, at least in my pajamas, until almost noon, reading a book while Snags watched cartoons.  If we went to church, it was to the last mass of the day, but mostly we didn’t go at all. 

Now though, Snags is enrolled in Sunday school.  Our neighbor is his teacher. Her son is Snags’ friend. Two more of his friends from first grade are in his Sunday school class as well.  He enjoys it, and I’m glad.  Some weeks my neighbor drives him to Sunday School and my husband and I pick him up at the end and we all go to Mass together.  Other weeks we drop him off ourselves and go to mass while he’s in class.  Snags has decided we should alternate this.  One week he’ll go to church, the next he won’t.  I think he wants to ease back into it.

Most recently, Snags learned how to make the Sign of the Cross.  Last Sunday he happily reported: “Mom!  I earned a gold star for doing the Sign of the Cross right today!  I only had to do it twice to get it right!” 

“Wow,” I say in response.  “That’s great!”  I think back just a few weeks prior to this when he held up both hands and made an X with his forefingers.  “Isn’t THIS the Sign of the Cross?” he asked.  “No,” I said, “That’s more like the sign against vampires.”

Snags goes on to explain that it was difficult to make the Sign of the Cross in front of his Sunday school class because he was facing the class and because he holds the Wii nunchuck in his left hand… And no, I don’t have any idea what the Wii gaming system has to do with making the sign of the cross.  We have Wii Sports and We Ski, Star Wars the Force Unleashed, and Star Wars Legos, the Complete Saga.  Nowhere in that mix have I happened upon Wii Catholic Church, the Sign of the Cross (nunchuck required).  Go figure.

Next up in Sunday school learning, if you’re in First Grade and want to earn another gold star, is memorizing The Our Father.  “We can’t read it,” Snags informs me.  “We have to memorize it.”  I worry that he’ll mix it up with the rules of Tae Kwan Do he has to memorize.  Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, I’ll always finish what I start, sir!”

I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be teaching the rules of Tae Kwan Do to Snags.  I’d read them myself, of course, but when I got to number two, “I will always be a good brother or sister, sir!” I put the book away figuring that didn’t apply to Snags, as he’s an only child.  A week or two later his instructor corrected me, put it into perspective, and said to think about it in the biblical sense.

Which brings us back to Sunday school.  As Snags was going on about having to learn the Our Father, I thought to warn him that the Hail Mary is HAIL Mary, and not Hell Mary, as I once thought.  But before I could even form the sentence completely in my head, Snags took another breath and said, “And then we have to learn the Hell Mary!”

Hail Mary,” I said, trying to suppress a laugh.  It’s “Hail Mary.”  There isn’t a cuss word in the prayer.  Snags started to get upset, he hadn’t meant to say a bad word.  I tried to reassure him, told him how I also thought it was Hell Mary when I was a kid, but that it’s not.  The apple, they say, doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Or is it, Great Minds Think Alike?

I keep meaning to tell my neighbor, the Sunday school teacher, about the Hell Mary.  That maybe she ought to explain to the children the difference between Hail and Hell, Fire and Brimstone, whatever.  But then her son was playing in my yard the other day, playing with plastic light sabers, fighting a battle against evil.  He took the light saber, stuck it between his legs, and deemed it a Weenie Saber. 

I’d mention this to my neighbor, but then Snags has been going around and using his favorite tag blanket as a whip. We recently let him watch the first Indiana Jones movie, the one where Indie goes in search of the Ark of the Covenant, the container that held the tablets of stone that the Ten Commandments were written on.  Only Snags doesn’t call it the Ark of the Covenant, he calls it the Ten Commandments Box. 

I wonder if it’s big enough to hold a Weenie Saber?

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Filed under boys, church, humor, kids, life, parenting, Snags, Star Wars

A Dear George Letter

Dear George Lucas,

Hi.  How are you?  We are fine.  More or less.  How would you like to come to our house for dinner?  What’s your favorite regular non-famous person kind of food?  I bet I could make it.  Really, come for dinner.  I have someone that I want you to meet.

My six year old son, Snags, loves your Star Wars movies.  Loves, LOVES, LOVES, LURVES them.  No, it’s true!  I swear!  I would NOT kid you about something like that.  This love, it’s SERIOUS.  So serious he has taken your movies, all 40 bajillion of them, and expanded them in his mind to include the SCENES YOU NEVER FILMED.  He describes them to me in great never ending detail day after day after day after day.  “Mom,” he says, “let me tell you something…”

Every sentence starts with, “And then Luke…” or “So then the Emperor…” or “But Darth Vader, he…” and I am sorry but I. CAN’T. TAKE. IT. ANYMORE!

“No!” I tell Snags,  “That’s enough. No more talk about Star Wars tonight.  Talk about something else.  Anything else.”

And my son, he’s six, right?  So he’s testing out his smart-mouthedness and he responds with “Well, I like dogs.  I could talk about dogs but then I would talk about dogs so much that you would get tired of hearing about dogs and so then I’d I just have to talk about Star Wars so I’ll just go ahead and talk about Star Wars now.  So then the Emperor…”

And so, I’d like to invite you to our house for dinner.  Nothing fancy.  Just bring yourself.  And oh, I don’t know, a tape recorder.  Snags has HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, YEARS worth of new Star Wars ideas for you.  And I notice you haven’t made a new Star Wars movie in like, a few years at least.  So you must be looking for SOMETHING to do. 

So come to my house, have dinner, listen to my son go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…  You’ll get a good meal and fodder for your next movie out of the deal.

So call me.  Tell me what day would be good for you and I’ll get cooking.

Sincerely,
Belle

4 Comments

Filed under humor, Star Wars

Jesus Versus Darth Plagueis

It’s 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and we are driving home after a morning filled with indoor soccer practice and an afternoon spent in a crowded mall buying Christmas presents for various friends and relatives.  The conversation in the car is about to take a sudden left and then a sharp right into the religion of the Star Wars obsessed, but right now I am still thinking about the mall…

Santa Claus was at the mall, but he’s taken a break, probably for lunch, and so we wait in line for his return.  Snags has scoped out Santa’s sled and determined that this is the REAL Santa, because “Look!  He’s got three XBOX 360s in his sleigh!  And why would he have those if he wasn’t the REAL Santa?”  Snags is torn between waiting not so patiently in line for Santa to return from where ever he’s ventured off to, and leaving the line to hunt him down somewhere in the mall, perhaps in the food court.

“I don’t think Santa wants to be bothered when he’s trying to eat his lunch,” I tell Snags.
 
He ponders this for a moment before he spots Santa’s coat and hat hanging from a hook near his sleigh.  He decides that I am probably right, that it might be hard to find Santa since he’s left his uniform behind.  “He might look like a regular guy out there.  Except,” Snags proclaims, “Santa has a long beard, right?  He couldn’t take that off!”  

I convince Snags that we should just wait where we are, Santa’s due back in 25 minutes anyway, and the line forming behind us has at least 30 people in it.

So we wait, and I listen and silently sigh while Snags goes on to ponder where Santa parked his reindeer.  He wants to look for them, but I know the parking lot is full of nothing but cars.

Eventually Santa returns, carrying a metal lunch box and a large thermos, proof that he was indeed on his lunch break.  But now he’s full and ready to have hordes of children sit on his lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, and get their picture taken with him.

When it’s his turn, Snags lies and tells Santa that yes, he’s been a good boy all year.  I know he’s lying because even though I cannot hear him speaking, I see his nervous glance in my direction as he answers.  His worry is palpable, I can tell he’s afraid I might jump forward and refute his claim to goodness.  I don’t.  I let him convince Santa that he is worthy of the three things he’s asking for this year: a Star Wars LEGO Star Destroyer, a Quadrilla Twist and Rail (made in China, full of lead?), and some kind of door alarm for his bedroom door.  I don’t understand this last request. I am not surprised by it, but this is the child who is afraid of fire alarms sounding and home security systems beeping.  An alarm on his bedroom door suggests he’s entered into therapy, the kind where the doctor purposely exposes you to your fears so that eventually they don’t scare you anymore.  And I know that is not the case.

I fork over $19.99 for two 5×7 shots of Snags forcing a nervous smile on Santa’s lap – nervous I’m sure because he still doesn’t know if he’s got Santa fooled or not, and he doesn’t know if a lying alarm might sound when he climbs down from Santa’s lap. 

Lately, before bed, Snags has been looking at an old book I have on Rome.  I bought it back in ancient times, when I was a Junior in High School, and went to Rome on a trip.  The book is full of glossy color photos of fountains and Roman architecture and statues.  Michelangelo’s Pietà has caught his eye, so I’ve been trying to explain it to him.  It’s Christmas time, and we should be celebrating Jesus’ birth, but Snags is currently worrying over Jesus’ death.  He won’t leave it until Easter and it must be playing somewhere in the back of his mind because now in the car, on our way home from the mall and Santa, we pass a church with a cemetery beside it.  Snags asks from the back seat, “Mom, why do all the gravestones have crosses on them?  It’s not like there are a whole bunch of Jesuses buried all over the place!”

My husband is driving and so we explain, as best we can, what the crosses mean.  Snags seems to understand and we continue on our way until the sudden left and sharp right come at us, like questions from a child’s mind so often do, out of nowhere…

“Mom,” Snags asks, “Do you know the difference between Jesus and Darth Plagueis?” 

My head starts to spin with the craziness of the question.  I feel like Dorothy in the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.  “Um…” I stall.  “Uh… let me think,” I say.

And here my husband starts to shake with silent laughter.  I can see him trying not to pump a fist into the air in triumph, trying not to say “Ha! He asked YOU!  You take that one…”

“Uh…”  I say.  “Jesus was a good guy, and anybody with Darth in their name is a bad guy?”  I venture.

“How about Jesus was a real person and Darth Plagueis is just a made up character in a movie?” my husband offers, trying to help me out, although I can see he’s still shaking with laughter.

“Yes, that, but also,” Snags says.  “Also, Jesus could save himself and Darth Plagueis couldn’t!” 

And I sigh and say that “Yeah, I see what you mean.” Although I don’t.  I have no idea who Darth Plagueis is, expect to know that he’s from Star Wars, and a bad guy to boot.  I say a silent prayer promising to take Snags to church on Sunday if lightening doesn’t strike us all down right then and there. 

It turns out that Darth Plagueis was a Sith Lord who found a way to prevent death and create life. The legend of Darth Plagueis is recounted in a brief scene in the movie Revenge of the Sith where Chancellor Palpatine tells the story to Anakin Skywalker.  “Ironic,” Palpatine says.  “He could save others from death, but not himself.”

And somehow, some way, Snags has remembered this scene, these supposed facts, and put them together into a Jesus versus Darth Plagueis scene in his mind.

Dinner and bedtime pass without incident as I think about what mass we should go to in the morning.  It will depend on what time I get back from my morning run.  My clothes are set out and ready to go.

But at 3:00 a.m Sunday morning I am awaken from sleep by Snags calling, “Mom! I need you!” I go into his room to find he’s gotten sick in the middle of the night and vomited all over the place.  It looks like I won’t be running in the morning after all.  And church won’t be seeing the likes of us this weekend either.  I guess Jesus and Darth Plagueis will have to work things out without us.  I hope the good guy wins.  His birthday is coming up, after all.

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Filed under Christmas, Darth Plagueis, humor, Jesus, LEGOs, life, Santa, Snags, Star Wars

Environmental Lessons

What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

Well that would be Blog Action Day.  And that would be today.  And the issue, or theme as it were? 

The Environment

What, you may ask, do I know about the environment?  Well, I know a little.  I know that environmental science was my favorite subject in high school oh so many years ago.  And I know that when I was in college and decided to change majors, I thought back to my high school days, remembered my love of environmental science, and went to the college’s library to do a bit of research.  It was there that I found Geography, a close cousin to environmental science, and the major I finally settled on.

If you reviewed my college transcripts from those days, you’d see that I focused much of my time and college studies on environmental hazards.  Scary hazards like tornados and earthquakes and global warming and the human toll and the human response necessary to deal with to such incidents.  I loved those courses and up until the horror and disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I would have told you that my perfect job, if I could get it, would be to work for FEMA. As the agency’s director.  But after witnessing that embarrassment, I’ve more or less changed my mind.  Plus, I have a young child and I don’t think I’m up to all the travel a job like that would entail.

And then there’s the fact that I don’t always do everything that I probably could be doing to help the environment.  I think they might ask you questions about your contributions toward saving the environment for positions like that.  You see, I don’t recycle much.  Papers, sure.  Beer bottles, sometimes.  I just don’t have it in me to wash and rinse and sort ALL the varieties of trash we generate in a day.  My husband though, he’s much more on top of all of that.  So while I don’t do much, he more or less makes up for my slack. Except for when he rinses out a bottle or jar and leaves it on the kitchen counter for what I deem an unacceptable length of time.  Then I throw it away in the regular trash can, with the chicken bones and old bread crusts.

Also, I don’t generally buy organic foods.  My most recent foray into the organic world was when I bought a bunch of fruit from Whole Foods, and with it, a bunch of fruit flies that I am still trying to vanquish from my home.  I’ve decided that from now I will stick to the pesticide laden apples and bananas that I can buy from my local grocery store.  I’ve rarely seen a fruit fly with a stomach of steel required to feast on that kind of fruit.  Plus, the well preserved fruits and vegetables don’t tend to rot during my drive home from the store.

I do however, remember the lessons I learned about the environment as a child, and I try to instill at least those values in my son:

People start pollution; people can stop it.  So don’t litter.  It will poison the water, the air will turn black with smoke, the fishes will die and the Indian Chief will cry.

Smoky Bear says “Only you can prevent wild fires.”  So don’t play with matches.

Close the door, you’re letting bugs in.

Close the door.  What are you trying to do, heat the neighborhood?

Don’t leave the door to the refrigerator hanging open.  What are you trying to do, cool the entire house?

Turn off the lights when you leave a room, you’re wasting electricity!  Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

Eat your vegetables.  There are starving children in other countries who would be happy to have your vegetables! (and by the way, piling them into a napkin and offering to mail those vegetables to the starving children will get you sent to your room faster than you can blink).

Don’t touch wild animals!  Do you want to get rabies?

and finally…

Stay on the path.  Do you want to get poison ivy?

On top of all that there is a new lesson, one I’ve only come to appreciate since my son was born.  TOY MANUFACTURERS USE WAY TOO MUCH PACKAGING.  Seriously.  Is toy theft that big of a problem?  A simple Star Wars Action figure, for example, is held in place by something like a dozen twist ties when it’s already encased in cardboard and plastic. My son wants to play with the toy RIGHT NOW, but it takes me forty minutes to free the toy from its twist tie asylum…

I’ll make this promise right now:  If toy manufacturers stop it with all the twist ties, I will do my part and recycle the cardboard part of the packaging.  Given that my son is six with years of toy ownership ahead of him, that action alone could make a big difference for the environment.

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Filed under blog action day, packaging, recycle, Star Wars, the environment, toys

The Assignment

The instructions were as follows:

instructions.jpg

Examples were provided:

examples.jpg

I read the instructions and went over the examples with Snags.  We made a list of things he might want to include in his picture dictionary.  The list contained items like: penguins, turtles, our dog, Luke Skywalker, soccer.

Confident that Snags understood what he was supposed to do, I left him with pencils and crayons and scissors and glue and I turned to the stove to get dinner underway.

It wasn’t long before I heard Snags call, “I’m done!”

I went to check.

This is what I found:

finishedproduct.jpg

It seems that instead of a picture dictionary, Snags had created a Movie Guide to Star Wars.

Yes, that is my handwriting above each character.  I wrote their names because:

a. the instructions said I could help

b. I didn’t feel like spelling each name out one letter at a time while Snags wrote them down, and

c. Dinner was still cooking on the stove

Here are some close-ups:

closeup1.jpg

closeup2.jpg

closeup3.jpg

closeup4.jpg

 closeup5.jpg

I don’t recall a scene in Star Wars where they eat cake.  Perhaps Jabba the Hutt served cake at one of his odd parties?  Or maybe cake just made it onto the page because Snags was doing this homework assignment on his birthday.

His teacher hasn’t seen it yet.  It’s due tomorrow.

***************************************************

Author’s note: This post would not have been possible without the help I recieved from the wonderful Jo at Jo Beaufoix. She told me how to insert photos into my post without breaking my sidebar.  Thanks, Jo!

9 Comments

Filed under cake, homework, Snags, Star Wars

Evil Genius Turns Six (or Happy Birthday Snags!)

My son turns six years old today.  It’s kind of unbelievable to look back at photographs from when he was born and remember the tiny baby he was, versus now, the child he has become.

He was a tiny thing, just 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and 19 ½ inches long.  Today he’s close to 60 pounds and just shy of 4 feet tall.

Back then he didn’t speak, he slept a lot and cried.  Now he won’t stop talking and he wakes up way too early in the mornings.  He still cries, but mostly only when he’s hurt or very mad.

Back then, as I struggled with my new role as a mother, I came upon a quote that immediately and ever since became one of my favorite quotes about parenting: The days are long but the years are short.  I don’t know who said that, but I believe that those are truest words ever spoken.  How did we get here?  Six years down the road from where we started?  The past is nearly all a blur.  That’s partly, I think, why I started writing.  To document the stories of our lives before they become blurry too.  The past… eventually it eludes us, stands just beyond our grasp laughing at us and at what we can’t remember because we are too busy dealing with the here and now.  And so I take the time to write things down before I forget them, before I get too busy with the next thing.  I will collect these stories, and one day I will publish them.  Most likely it will be my own personal endeavor, a book made on Blurb or somewhere similar, and bought only by myself.  But I will give the book to Snags.  And when he is 25 or 38 or 46 he can look back and remember with me, or with his own children, the things that we might have otherwise forgotten.

There’s a gentleman that I know who through the years has asked about my son and told me about his son, already an adult.  This man came to the conclusion, from the stories I told him about Snags, that my son was destined for greatness.  “The only thing is,” he said, “I’m not sure if he’s going to be the President of the United States or a criminal mastermind.  You are going to have your hands full,” he warned.  “Keep on top of your son, nurture his skills, and push him toward good.  He’s smart… too smart, too crafty and too mischievous, he could go either way.  It’s your job to lead him in the right direction.”

And I’m trying, I really am.  But the other night I got a little taste of what the future might hold, and this kid of mine, he may turn out to be an Evil Genius despite my best efforts.  It was bedtime and I was reading out loud about the planet Saturn from a book called 4000 Things You Should Know.  “Saturn,” the book states, “is so massive, the pressure at its heart is enough to turn hydrogen solid.  That is why there is a layer of metallic hydrogen around the planet’s inner core of rock.”  And it goes on to explain that “Saturn is not solid, but is made almost entirely of gas, mostly liquid hydrogen and helium.  Only in the planet’s very small core is there any solid rock.” 

I tried to explain that in terms I thought an almost six year old would understand, so I  explained that air is a gas and that if it were on Saturn it would turn it into solid chunks.   

I continued reading and after a few minutes Snags interrupted and said, “Okay! We need to destroy Saturn.  We need to BLOW. IT. UP!” I looked at my son, innocent child turned comic book villain, and said no, that wasn’t right.  We shouldn’t do that.  But then I proceed to ask him why he thought we should blow up Saturn.

“Because,” he said, “there is no oxygen is space.  That’s because Saturn takes it all and turns it into rocks.  So if we destroy Saturn the rocks will turn back into air and people will be able to breathe in space!”

I laughed.  “Okay,” I said.  “I see your reasoning.  That sounds logical, but I don’t think I explained this right…  We don’t breathe the type of gas that Saturn turns into a solid.  That’s hydrogen, and we are breathing air which is made up of mostly nitrogen and oxygen, not hydrogen…” 

The next day, as I was shopping for Snags’ birthday present in Target, I was thinking about his plan to blow up Saturn.  I had to consider whether or not I was the best person to lead Snags away from the dark side… 

I was in one of the toy aisles and reaching out to take hold of a Star Wars transformer that could turn from an X-Wing into Luke Skywalker.  As luck would have it, it was the very last one they had.  And just as my fingertips brushed the package, a little boy zipped down the aisle at breakneck speed and grabbed the toy off the hook it was hanging from. Right from under my hand!  The child’s mother saw this and reprimanded him, told him to give the toy back to me, that I was looking at it and going to buy it.  The child handed the toy over to me, and I thanked him and then his mother. I thought that was the end of our conversation.

But then the woman asked me “Are you going to buy that?” and I said “Yes, I was thinking about it.” To which she puffed herself up like the Wicked Witch of the West Target and huffed “THINKING ABOUT AND BUYING ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!  WHICH IS IT?!”

I was stunned.  It took me a moment but when I recovered from her verbal slap I said I was going to buy it. Then, for fun, I continued to look at other Star Wars toys on the shelves, pulling them down, turning them over, reading the back and looking like I was weighing their merits against the transformer I said I was buying.

Eventually, I tuned my cart around and pushed my way out of the aisle.  I stopped to look at another toy, one that Snags has asked for before.  I pulled it off the shelf and put it in my cart.  Then I turned down the Barbie aisle, pulled the X-Wing/Luke Skywalker Transformer from my cart, and shoved it behind a bunch of Barbie Dolls.  I decided that I wasn’t going to buy it, but neither was the witch in the Star Wars aisle.  And that’s why I am not sure I will be much help when it comes to stopping my little evil genius from blowing up Saturn.  It’s for a good cause, after all.

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Filed under birthday, humor, Luke Skywalker, parenting, Saturn, Snags, Star Wars, transformers

Don’t Try This at Home

Snags has the imagination of a crazy person’s reality.  A schizophrenic’s perhaps.  I don’t know if he actually hears voices, but he certainly holds conversations with invisible people — people that aren’t exactly real, like Darth Vader and The Mystery Gang from Scooby Doo.   He once spent weeks, or maybe it was months, talking to Eric and Dr. Kaufman and the Phantom Virus, characters that were in Scooby Doo and The Cyber Chase.  Most recently, he’s been holding his hand to his ear as if it were a telephone and having conversations with Darth Vader and The Emperor.  And he’s been known to suddenly shout out in the middle of dinner for someone to “STOP FIGHTING OVER THERE WITH YOUR LIGHT SABERS!”  Then of course, there’s the fact that Snags has changed his identity many, many, many times over the past few years.  I’m not sure how it’s taken me this long to wonder why I haven’t ever hauled him off to the doctor to get this checked out.  A visit with a psychiatrist perhaps, to reassure myself that this is just his imagination at play and that he’s not actually CRAZY…

But anyway, given his imagination, I thought it would be fun to make up a story, something utterly impossible and fun, and share it with him.  After all, Snags usually likes my made up stories.  He often requests them.  “Mom,” he asks most nights before bed, “Can I have a telling story? Please? Just one short one before I go to sleep?” 

So one afternoon a few weeks ago, I found myself a little bit bored and dare I say sick and tired of listening to Snags having one sided conversations with Darth Vader and the Emperor on his hand phone, and I decided to tell him a story…

But before I tell you more, let me give you a little bit of background on my inspiration for the story, which I took from Pinocchio, my own mother, and Bill Cosby…  Pinocchio, you may recall, is the story of a wooden puppet that gets turned into a real live boy. My mother, well she used to tell my brother when he was a kid, that she got him from a shelf in a department store and that she could return him at any time… And that sort of reminded me of Bill Cosby, and that bit where he says something like “…I brought you into this world and I can take you out, make another one that looks just like you…” 

It was with those thoughts in mind that I came up with this story. This story that I made up on the spot and thought was a pretty ingenious idea: both brilliant AND funny.  So funny, in fact, that I was chuckling in my mind the entire time I was telling it.  But oh, the wrath I brought down upon myself!

See, I told  Snags that he was originally a baby doll and that I bought him at Toys R Us. Everyone, I told him, all of our family and friends, and even strangers, thought I was crazy for carrying a doll around.  So I started to pray to God to turn the doll into a real boy and when he was 7 ½ weeks old, God did!  But, the night before that happened, right before I went to bed, I had tossed Snags the doll into my toy box because, well, he was just a doll… But then in the middle of the night a noise woke me up.  I heard something crying and there was a bad smell in my room.  Our dog had started barking, so I turned on the light to see what all the commotion was about and saw the dog barking at the toy box.  I got out of bed, went over to see what was going on, and lo and behold, there was Snags, alive and waving his arms and crying.  And he’d pooped his diaper!

I went on to tell Snags that the scar over his eye, the one we’d always told him he got from throwing himself on the floor and hitting his face on a toy when he was a baby, was really from the dog taking him out of the toy box and playing fetch with him when he was still a doll.  That, you see, is where the dog’s teeth had scratched his doll head…  Now, I thought this was all very funny, but apparently I was wrong.

Snags totally freaked out and screamed and yelled at me.  He was so stinking mad I couldn’t believe it.  “No!”  He screamed.  “You’re lying!  That’s not true!  I was never a doll!  Why would you say that?  I’m not going to trust you anymore!”

I was taken aback at his outburst and suddenly I felt very defensive.  It was just a story, after all.  A story I kind of liked, you know, since I made it up (even if Pinocchio and my mother had sort of been the inspiration for it). But still…

In my defensiveness, I’m a little ashamed to admit, I turned into a bit of a child myself and kept insisting the story was true, and that Snags shouldn’t be so upset.  In fact, I told him, “You can ask your dad and Uncle Dan when they get here.  They’ll tell you this is all true!”

And of course Snags did.  He ran screaming to my husband and his Uncle the moment they walked in the front door.

“Dad!”  He yelled. “MomsaidIwasadollandGodturnedmeintoaboyandIknowsheslying!”

“What?!” my husband responded. “She said what?”

“MomsaidIwasadollandGodturnedmeintoaboyandIknowsheslying!” Snags repeated.

My husband looked at me, shook his head in disgust and said, “Now WHY would you tell him THAT?” and my brother, Snags’ Uncle, started laughing.

“It’s NOT FUNNY!” Snags cried.  “It’s not true, either, is it Uncle Dan?” he insisted.

But my brother, well, he’s a lot like me and can’t resist a good moment when he sees it.

“Well yeah it’s true!” he said, with a big smile spreading across his face.

To which, Snags got even angrier.  My husband had to calm him down, and I had to admit that it was just a story.  But I still maintained it wasn’t such a big deal and he shouldn’t have gotten so upset about the whole thing.

And my brother, he seemed a little deflated when the truth came out. But I think that’s because up until the point where I had to come clean and admit that the whole “Snags was once a doll” story wasn’t true, my brother was probably thinking that if my mom ever did return him to that department store, at least there was a chance his nephew might be sitting on the shelf next to him. 
 

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Filed under dog, God, humor, identity, insanity, parenting, Scooby Doo, Snags, Star Wars, telling stories

This Thing Called Kindergarten

And here we are.  The first week of Kindergarten has drawn to a close and the second week is about to start.  Snags seems to be enjoying his new elementary school and his life as a Kindergarten student.  It’s different than preschool in a number of ways, but one difference in particular has Snags especially impressed.  Witness the conversation we had at breakfast this morning:

Snags:  “Know what I’m surprised about in elementary school?  That the toilet paper dispenser, if you’re running out of toilet paper, will just drop down a new roll that was up there, already unwrapped, that nobody’s used before!”

Me: “It wasn’t like that at preschool?” 

Snags: “No.”

Me: “What did you do if you ran out of toilet paper at preschool?”

Snags: “Called the teacher.  And you know what they gave you?  Tissues!” (and here you should note that the word “Tissues!” is said with disdain).

In the evenings, my husband and I ask Snags about his day while we all eat dinner together.  Over the past week, we’ve interrogated Snags enough to find out that the Kindergarteners practiced what to do for a fire drill.  They had a fire drill.  They drew pictures.  They participated in a scavenger hunt.  They played a copy cat game. 

Snags offered to teach me a new song he had learned in music class, but he claimed to need “those little Hawaiian drums that are stuck together” to do so. “Bongos?” I inquired. But he didn’t know what they were called.  Whatever they are, we don’t have any, so he retracted his offer. I’m a little sad that he refuses to sing me the song until I get a hold of the proper kind of drums.  But in the back of my mind I wonder if this isn’t all just a ploy on his part to get me to buy him some drums. 

In gym class they tossed beanbags in the air, “no higher than your nose or they’d blow the whistle at you.”  And finally, Snags walked another child to the nurse’s office.  “Why?” I asked.  “What happened?  Why did he need to go to the nurse?”  I don’t know,” Snags said. “I think his lip was bleeding.”  I’m still not clear if this incident was in any way related to the beanbag tossing.

Who do you sit with at lunch?” I asked one evening.

“My friends,” Snags replied.

“Yes,” I said.  “But what are their names?”  

“I don’t know.” He said with a shrug.  “I have to ask them.”

And later:

“Who did you play with on the playground?” I asked.  But Snags wasn’t telling.  “James?”  I prodded. “Did you play with James?”  Finally, he said yes, he had played with James.  “And guess who I saw?” He demanded.  “Who?”  I asked. “Megan?  No?  Okay, Andrew!” I guessed.  But no.  It wasn’t Andrew.  I couldn’t think of any other neighborhood children he might have seen on the playground.  But I didn’t have to keep guessing for long… 

“I saw three bounty hunters, two people from the dark side, and a person with 100 light sabers!” Snags proclaimed.

And that’s when I choked on my mac-n-cheese. 

This school… I don’t know.  I thought it was a good place, but bounty hunters on the playground?  Here? In suburbia?

Still, I was feeling pretty proud of Snags, so I thought it would be nice if, to celebrate the end of a successful first week of school, I made his favorite dinner of barbeque brisket and gave him a small gift.

I settled on buying him a Star Wars action figure.  He was happy with the special dinner and even more delighted with his gift, but the delight soon turned into something else altogether.  Because before I knew it, he was arguing with me.  Snags wanted to use the action figure to build a Star Wars model.  And not only that, he wanted the model to be permanent, the figure forever frozen in place with glue! 

His model parts included a toy bug habitat that he had busted the insides out of, and his brand new Boba Fet action figure.  Only Snags calls him Bobo Fat, like he’s some kind of overweight circus clown.  But I wasn’t agreeable to letting Boba Fet, only 3 days old in our house now, get ruined by a five year old with a bottle of Elmer’s. 

Eventually Snags dropped his insistence on the need for glue and decided that tape!  Scotch tape! Could be used to secure “Bobo Fat” into his model like he wanted.  I consented to the tape, since it’s a much less permanent method, and I handed over the dispenser.  I watched for a while as Snags proceeded to cover up all of the vent holes on top of the bug habitat. 

What are you doing?”  I asked.

“I’m killing him!”  Snags said.

“What?!”  I shrieked, horrified. “Don’t talk like that!” I said.  “That’s not nice at all.”

“I have to kill him,” he replied calmly. “He tried to kill Luke! I have to cover up all the air holes so he can’t breathe and he’ll die.”

I looked at my husband.  What should we do?  I pleaded with my eyes.  Who should we call?  The police?  A shrink?  I don’t think this is right, I tried to say.

But my husband, nonplussed about it all, just shrugged.

So I gave in.  “Fine!” I said.  “But don’t use all the tape trying to kill something that’s not even alive in the first place,” I added. And then I left the room.  I could hear Snags’ laughter in the background.  

Later, Snags brought his Star Wars model to me.  It was all sealed up with every possible crack covered.  Entrapped in the model without air Bobo Fat doesn’t stand a chance.  And since there’s no way to slip him any food, Bobo Fat might lose a bit of weight in there too.  I’ll check after Snags get’s home from Kindergarten tomorrow.

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Filed under Boba Fet, humor, Kindergarten, life, Snags, Star Wars

Use The Force, Luke!

My son, Snags, has been watching a lot of Star Wars lately.  He’s totally enthralled by it.  So much so, that he’s been sucked in, and he’s changed his own identity.  He calls himself Luke Skywalker now.  And if I want to get his attention, I have to call him that too. 

This is not the first time he’s changed his name.  Over his short life he’s been Eddie, Bob the Builder, Diego, Willy Wonka, Fred Jones, The Beast, and Peter Pan, to name just a few. 

The first time he changed his name publicly, Snags was three years old and we were out for a walk around our neighborhood.  Snags ran up to an elderly couple in their driveway.  “Hello!  What’s your name?” they asked him.  “Diego!” he lied. 

Diego?  Diego?  My husband and I just looked at each other.  Diego wasn’t his name.  What were we supposed to do?  But before we could do anything they pointed at our dog.  “And what’s your dog’s name?” they asked him.  “Kutchee!” he lied again.

My husband and I were shocked.  We didn’t know what to do.  And we didn’t know the elderly couple.  On one hand we didn’t think lying was appropriate, on the other hand, they were strangers.  So instead of telling them, “Oh, he’s just kidding!  His name isn’t Diego.  It’s Snags…” we simply gathered Snags up and wished the couple a nice evening.  Once we were a few blocks away we asked Snags why he had told the couple his name was Diego.  But he wouldn’t answer.

Not long after that he told the librarian that his name was Peter Pan.  I’m pretty sure she knew he was lying, but she was kind.  She helped him find the book he was looking for anyway. 

After a while, getting dressed in the mornings became difficult.  He needed a tool belt, or a field journal, a “W” brooch to wear on his collar, an entire outfit of the color green, or a white shirt with a blue collar and blue pants to look like Fred.  White shirts aren’t a good choice for young boys who seem to think “shirt” is another word for “napkin”.

Each time my son would change his identity he’d insist that everyone address him by his new name.  Even his teachers.  We’d walk into preschool and the director would say hello and he’d ignore her.  “That’s funny!” He’d whisper to me.  “She doesn’t know my new name, does she?” he’d ask with a sly smile playing on his lips.

On his school papers he’d write his new name: Willy Wonka, he’d print.  The letters would be large and shaky and ill-formed and often backwards.  The alphabet of a child just learning how to write.  Eventually his teachers would concede, and while I never knew if they actually called him by his new name, his cubby would be re-labeled.  “Snags” would be replaced with a plastic label on which “Willy Wonka” was neatly punched out.

Sometimes my son would change his identity after only a day.  Like he was changing his underwear.  Other times it would be weeks, or even months before he’d turn into someone new.  Eventually another television show or movie would catch his fancy and he’d trade the old identity in for another, and we’d start all over.

At various times he’d think about his future and map it all out.  “When I get married,” he’d tell me, “I’m going to have 10 children.  Their names will be: Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, John, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Tinkerbell, and “Alltheotherpirates”.  And I’d listen to that and count them out on my fingers.  That’s only eight children,” I felt compelled to correct him.  But then I’d think how, maybe it was okay because if you actually had 10 children, you might forget a few of their names.

I imagine Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John would have it somewhat easy.  Peter could claim Pan as a middle name and simply go by Peter.   Wendy, Michael, and John are all nice, normal names.  Probably many of their friends and classmates will share the same first name.

But the others, I feel for.  I really do.  Captain Hook?  Even if the poor fellow uses Hook as his middle name, Captain as a first name sounds a little pretentious.  Or pet-like. “And this is my new cat, Captain.”  And how about Tinkerbell?.  Let’s hope he gives that name to one of his girls.  She’ll be teased enough with that name, but if Snags’ Luke Skywalker’s wife should bear only one female child, and they name her Wendy, then one of the seven boys is going to be beaten up at the playground on a daily basis.

And Mr. Smee?   That, to me, sounds like the lad is in some pretty big trouble.  Like when your mother or father calls you by your full name.  You just know you’re in for it.  You’ve gotten caught at something you’ve done and now, when your parents add Mister to your name you’re officially in trouble. 

The one I worry about the most is Alltheotherpirates.  Even I want to tease the child and he or she isn’t even born yet.

Then again, Snags’ Luke’s done this before, planned his future family out.  Only he had other children with other names.  When he thought he was Willy Wonka he decided his children would be named Charlie Bucket, Mike Teevee, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, and Violet Beauregarde.  This was brought up daily for months.

“But what if your wife doesn’t like those names?” I asked him. 

“Oh, she will!” he insisted.  “She won’t have a choice.”

And I don’t understand that.  Because in this household, things are more or less split 50/50.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t abide by a 1950′s traditional household where June Cleaver does all the cooking and cleaning and laundry and the man comes home after work and pours himself a drink and puts his feet up.  In my house, my husband often gets home from work before me and he unloads the dishwasher and starts dinner.  I admit I’d prefer that he have my Mojito all ready for me when I walk in the door, but he rarely does.  And that’s okay.  I understand he’s already got his hands full and he can’t take time out to make my drink because he’s busy with the Filet Mignon.  He knows I’d be mad if he let it burn…  So why Snags Luke Skywalker thinks he can dictate the number or names of the children he and his future wife will have, is beyond me.  He’s not learning that attitude here.
 
All I can think is he’s planning to use The Force upon his wife.  Perhaps then she’ll bend to his will.  Maybe with The Force he can mold her mind to not only agree with having ten children, but also with giving them the crazy names of his favorite movie characters. 

He demonstrated this to me just the other day.  I was at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast when Luke told me to close my eyes and “keep them closed until I tell you to open them.”  When I did open them, the kitchen light was on, where it had been off just a moment before.  It was also swinging on its chain. 

I was surprised.  I thought perhaps there was some kind of electrical surge, but Luke admitted that HE had actually turned on the light and set it swinging by using The Force!  When I feigned shock at his ability, he thought it uproariously funny and so he spent the next half hour flipping lights off and on and poking the hanging lamp with his plastic light saber, all the while insisting he was doing it with The Force.

When I told him to turn the lights and leave them out out so we could save some money on our electric bill, he obliged but moved the game along to transporting things, both needed and unneeded, to me.  Again, he used The Force to do this.  I had to close my eyes as he brought my book (needed), a jar of spaghetti sauce (unneeded), and a can of Diet Coke (morning caffeine fix, very much needed) to me where I was still sitting at the table.

Eventually I tired of the game and got what I thought was the greatest idea any mother ever had.  I suggested he use The Force to clean up his toys.  He looked at me.  Then he said, “I can’t.  The Force doesn’t work for that.  I’ve turned that program off.”  And he turned his back and walked away.  As I watched him retreat I thought, “Oh yeah, we’ll see what your wife thinks about that, Mr. Luke Skywalker!”

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Filed under children, identity, imagination, Luke Skywalker, Snags, Star Wars, The Force