Saturday, January 12, 2008

of ponyboys & parenting

Soooo...We got a new HDTV situation a couple of weeks ago and, through much obsessive tinkering hard work, my beloved man figured out how to program all of the channels so we can watch our favorite three series with ease. To our surprise (and by "surprise" I mean my indifference and his delight), we are now also entitled to enjoy whatever pay-per-view show is ordered in our vicinity. The first few times we stumbled upon someone else's evening choice, each was pleasantly banal - Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Live Free and Die Hard, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. But last night was a tad different. This is what was on and we were compelled to watch. In slight dismay. And awe. Let's just say that's not the Ponyboy I was dreaming of in 1983.

[Insert acceptable segue way here]

This morning, I amazed myself by coming up with 1) a calm demeanor in the face of a 9-year old ranting about not being able to type and wishing he had chosen to do it tomorrow instead and 2) a genius plan to keep everyone's sanity throughout the typing ordeal.

Yesterday, in smart parent mode, I told my son to schedule a time this weekend to finish his social studies paper in order to avoid a nuclear meltdown rush on Sunday evening. He chose this afternoon, but then invited a friend to come over after lunch so he maturely suggested this morning instead. However, faced with the task of doing homework rather than sitting in his underwear watching cartoons (because the fancy new TV also pulls in the craptacular kids' channels), he faltered. And by "faltered" I mean went ballistic. At my bedside, at 8:20 a.m.

Because God is good, I was able to say "Let's go get breakfast and talk about it" as opposed to "I AM GOING TO STRANGLE THE LIFE OUT OF YOU IN TWO SECONDS" while kindly shooing him downstairs. As I left my room, I spied the book we've been using to assuage our grief since the Harry Potter series ended reading at bedtime. I grabbed it and offered a deal to my still-raving fourth grader: For every few lines he typed (I marked intervals with a red pen), I would read a couple pages. Instant calm. And prolonged life for both of us.

On the other end of the personality spectrum, my daughter emerged from bed smiling & joyous even though she had been sleepwalking and barfing in the middle of the night. She was excited about this being the first day to sell her Girl Scout cookies and asked if she could put on her Brownie vest & skirt to solicit the neighbors. Please do, Dream Child! Of course it had to end - once she realized that we, the non-Scouting parents, would not be doing the actual talking for her, there was much sadness. Wailing, sobbing, stomping, whining, possibly some gnashing of teeth. But again, the grace of God was upon us as my husband & I calmly outlined how if she did her part of the business (contacting our close friends and relatives on her own), we would be willing to take the order forms to our workplaces. This was repeated mantra-like in a monotone voice for the next hour (yes, HOUR) until my best friend Jen stopped over and Paige quietly picked up her order form and recited her sales pitch. I am simply brilliant (today, anyway).