28 May, 2011

complete with sprinkles.

We're in Amsterdam this weekend to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. Opa, the kids and the dog drove straight to C's house while Oma, M and I went to a furniture store to try to find a lamp for our dining room.

Suddenly M's phone rang. It was S, who was so wound up he kept tripping over his words. I heard M say: "WHAT?! You're KIDDING!" and my heart sank.

He hung up and started laughing. The dog apparently ate 13 cupcakes while no one was looking.

23 May, 2011

That kid cracks me up!

"So you cleaned out the dishwasher for my birthday this morning, huh?"


"Am I going to be able to find anything in the kitchen ever again?"

"Good question."

"You put the bowls in the silverware drawer, didn't you?"

"What?! NO! I hid the silverware in the bowls and then balanced them all on your best wine glasses!"

22 May, 2011

So far, so great.

It's my birthday. And as is with about half my birthdays, M is out of town. I've had a really nice weekend so far with the boys, though, and a good friend is coming over for coffee later. I slept in this morning and it looks like I've finally shaken the cold that's dogged me all week. This is the first morning I've woken up feeling good since Tuesday!

S has cleaned out the dishwasher and B came in this morning with a piece of peanut butter toast, a cup of coffee and the following (somewhat ramshackle) poem:

For Mama

I do not know wat I schuld have sead so I made you some coffe and bread.

Now it has come, the day, that its your Birthday.

Happy Birthday.

(Apparently he snuck out of bed last night to write this down. He had a whole story about a wild escapade to find a suitable pen. That kid cracks me up!)

21 May, 2011

Literal translations don't always work well.

Last weekend we were in Holland to celebrate M's grandma's 101st birthday. She rented out the wing of a restaurant and treated 60 or so of her offspring, offspring's offspring, and offspring's offspring's offspring (and their families) to a buffet dinner.

About halfway through B turned to me, batted his eyelashes innocently and asked: "So is S really allowed to go back for his 6th scoop of ice cream?"

I whistled to get S's attention and waved him over. "S, no more ice cream. No more sugar."

He looked at me, completely exasperated. "But I'm STARVING!"

"You're starving?! How is that possible-- we've been sitting at a buffet for 2 hours now."

"I know, but the only thing I've eaten tonight is a round piece of pig flesh!"

I actually snorted with laughter at that one. (But he still didn't get any more ice cream.)

17 May, 2011

How did that door get here?!

He gazes, completely perplexed, up at the new garage door and down at the fresh cement at the threshold. "How did that door get here?!"

I shake my head: "I have no idea. You probably ordered it and had it installed recently."

He looks at me, raises his eyebrows and scratches his head. When he pulls his hand away it's covered with blood. "Hey! I'm bleeding!"

"I know. You've fallen and hurt your head. Please come sit down over here next to me so that you don't fall again and hurt yourself even worse."

"What are we waiting for?"

"We are waiting for an ambulance-- someone needs to take a look at that wound on your head."

He sits down for a minute, but then hops back up again and staggers back over to the garage: "How did that door get here?!"

I shake my head: "I have no idea. You probably ordered it and had it installed recently."

"Hey! I'm bleeding!"

"I know. You've fallen and hurt your head. Sir? Please come sit down over here next to me so that you don't fall again and hurt yourself even worse."

"Who are we waiting for?"

This continues for 25 minutes and my heart is pounding. He's bleeding less now, but is totally confused; staggering left to right, sitting down, standing up; shaking his head in disbelief.

I call 911: "Hello. I think that someone called you about a half an hour ago to report that a man has fallen here on the A.strasse and I just want to confirm it."

The operator snickers: "Confirm what? That someone has fallen?"

My cheeks burn. "No. That an ambulance is on the way. This person is conscious but extremely confused. I think he has a concussion. The bleeding has pretty much stopped, but someone needs to take a look at the wound on his head."

It's a good thing I called, because they apparently have no record of the earlier call.

After I hang up I ask the man for his cell phone and call and leave a message for his son, who apparently lives nearby.

Within 3 minutes an ambulance arrives-- they ask me a couple of questions, but they're speaking muddy Schwäbisch, which I have a hard time understanding, and whatever I answer obviously doesn't satisfy them. They completely dismiss me, brush past, perform first aid, bundle the man into the ambulance and drive off.

I stand there on the sidewalk for several minutes feeling like a "stupid foreigner". It actually takes me a couple of days before I stop berating myself for sloppy grammar and remember that I did the right thing, that I acted compassionately and did the best I could in that difficult situation.

It's funny, isn't it, that it's so much easier to be kind to strangers than it is to be kind to ourselves?

10 May, 2011

Clearing up that "purplish-black cloud of ink"...

One of my boys is a chameleon. He's diplomatic and spends most of his time skimming across the surface of life. As long as nobody is angry with him he's usually doing just fine.

My other son is intense, opinionated and colorful. He's probably more self-assured than his brother, but he drinks deeply from the cup of life and that's not always easy for him.

Lately he's felt bullied in school; several classmates have been provoking him. He's tried ignoring them, but at a certain point their taunts become too much, he blows up and they laugh and call him a ticking time bomb.

Because this has been going on daily, the effect has snowballed. He's become increasingly agitated; his patience is thin and his fuse is short, which makes it even more rewarding for his classmates. They just wind him up and watch him go.

I am a firm believer in the therapeutic power of meditation and have tried to help lay a foundation for him. He's meditated sporadically in the past and has enjoyed it, but has never needed it as he does now. I've never seen him this out of balance.

Last Thursday his "monkey mind" was causing chaos: shrieking, throwing feces. I downloaded the second CD from the Indigo Dreams series for him and said: "Let's do an experiment. You meditate with these tracks every day for a week and see if you feel better."

We're 4 days in and he's regained his equilibrium-- he's back to his normal, happy self. Today someone tried to push his buttons at school and he was able to shrug it off and realized that the provocation was groundless.

Thank God for the Angry Octopus! And thank you, Lori Lite, for making these tools available to remind kids that even when they can't change their circumstances, they often have control over how they react to them...

09 May, 2011

I'm living in a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

S: (stretching) It's a BEAUTIFUL day out!

Me: (distracted) Mmmmhmmm.

S: I'm done with school and I don't have any homework!!!

Me: Mmmmmm!

S: OK, well if you need me I'll be down in my room with the shades drawn, chewing tobacco and listening to AFN...

08 May, 2011

I think he'll live...

The school called me this morning: Could I please come pick up Bram? He's feeling sick.

When I walked into B's classroom the Math teacher said: "May I help you?" I just smiled and nodded toward B, assuming she knew that he'd had me called. But instead she just looked puzzled as B packed his bag and left without a word.

B was surprisingly chipper on the way home, but he's never given me a false alarm before, so I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

We got home and he went straight to bed. Later on he made himself lunch: eggs with garlic and a decaf latte. Something tells me he's on the road to wellsville...

Happy Muthersday!

This morning I awoke to a cup of coffee, 4 ice cold feet under the sheets, and the following poem, read aloud for dramatic effect:

I like how you make my food
I like youre verry happy mood,
You make me Breackfast, Dinner, Lunch
And I love you (Pause) a bunch.
I like you even thow you only like 1 car (PT)
And you don't go to the bar,
I hope you have a wonderful May
(Pause) Happy Muthersday!

07 May, 2011

Fast Five.

Last week M and I probably got ourselves nominated as the worst parents on the planet. And it's only partly because kept the kids out past 10pm. On a school night. When S had a heavy German test the next day.

No, it's worse than that. We actually took them to a screening party Chrysler held for its employees for the German premier of "Fast Five".

All I can say is: wow.

We knew they'd love the cars, but on top of that they also got an eyeful of over-the-top violence and possibly the WORST ACTING ever recorded! I haven't seen the other 4 films, and definitely have no desire to correct that particular deficit.

S loved it, B said about halfway through that he was done, and could we please go home now.

We had a biiiiiig debriefing on the way home, and I was cracking up at the things that they noticed and remembered. The hot babes went right over their heads, but they were coming up with all kinds of inconsistencies in the film:
  • The evil crime boss needed to use his right hand for the fingerprint recognition for the safe but they took the prints of his left hand to break into it.
  • Vin Diesel and The Rock were fighting, fell through a window and had cuts all over their faces and yet in the next scene they looked normal
  • One of the cars gets totally destroyed and in the next scene its windows are all intact.
  • The Rock sweated profusely throughout the movie, and yet all the other actors looked fresh and cool
Oh, and they asked me if I think that Brazil is really like that. And I said: "If it's got lots of beautiful women in bikinis and slick mobsters and huge hulking men with machine guns?" And they said: "What?! No! If it's so violent."

06 May, 2011

Now with extra protein!

Tonight our salad was so fresh, so organic, that suddenly a worm slithered out and made a grand escape across S's dinner plate! :-P

When a tornado meets a volcano...

Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie" came on the radio this afternoon and S and B were singing along at the top of their lungs.

I couldn't help myself: "Guys, you know that the lyrics to this song are completely ridiculous, right?"

They erupt into giggles in the back seat. "Ye-hesssss!"

"What? So you realize that, right?"

"Yeah, because you say that *every single time* this song comes on the radio!"

Well at least I'm consistent. :-D

01 May, 2011

In his element

This morning the house was quiet. The Taekwando club was holding a fundraiser bbq at the school sportshall; M went to help out and S and B were thrilled to have an official reason to hang out and play tag with a lively crowd of other local kids.

I took advantage of the rare lack of chaos here to unpack some more boxes and organize one of our overflowing storage rooms.

Took a break at 2:30 to walk the dog and circled back around to the school to see if the TKD party was still going. I came around the bend and saw M manning a grill, wearing a cheesy photo-apron which gave the impression that he was shirtless, highly-muscled, and wearing a well-padded speedo. Relaxed and happy, he was surrounded by 4 other guys, who were all having a beer, egging each other on and cracking up.

M is very self-confident, but he is not someone who seeks out crowds or who normally enjoys being the center of attention. And yet here he was, completely in his element, handing out one-liners right along with the steaks he'd just grilled. I am so glad that we have ended up here and that we have the privilege of being a part of this community!