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Month of Gratitude

(Whoa Nelly, it’s been a long time since I posted. No real reason for that–the ups and downs of parenting Bobo continue apace, along with the hilarious anecdotes and unrepentant navel gazing. It’s occurred to me, but life’s been busy. I’ll try to write more, because it helps me when I do.)

Social media, especially lately, is more and more often a platform for instant delivery of messages of political outrage and urgency. That is, in part, why it exists, and believe me– I use it as such.

But I, along with many of my loved ones, am feeling tired and toxic from all of the vitriol. I saw someone (who was citing someone else, and so on, and so on) make a commitment to post a reflection of gratitude every day in November. We should, of course, cultivate a gratitude practice every single month of the year and not just the one with a contrived revisionist colonialist national day of thanksgiving in it. But this is also the season of elections, and my system needs a powerful antidote to all that crap in my system.

True to form, I’m getting this going three days late so might have to double up on the gratitude a couple of days. Somehow, reflecting on the richness of my life and community, I really don’t think that will be a problem. It will be a good exercise for me in intentionally redirecting my mind to awe and compassion–I imagine pretty damn challenging too. If anyone is interested in seeing how it goes (or doing it themselves), I’ll be using Facebook as a daily platform.


First Aid

Our scene is a tranquil early fall evening in the city. Mommy sits downstairs in her basement office resting after a long day, laptop open, trashy yet enjoyable TV playing in the background. A high-pitched sound is heard, first faintly, then growing louder.

Bobo: MOOOMMMY!!!!!

Not being born yesterday, mommy decides to wait this out for a minute. But the sound continues, swelling in intensity and urgency. She wrinkles her brow and mutes the television.


Mommy swings into action, her mind racing, trying to think of what he could have possibly gotten into. Was it something sharp?? Something hot?? An intruder?? As she runs up the stairs, she mentally locates the first aid kit and grabs her cell phone as she dashes through the kitchen in case an emergency call needs to be made. She bursts into the living room to find Bobo, snuggled in a blanket and watching a show on the iPad.

Bobo: Good, you’re here. Can you make me another grilled cheese?

Hearing no reply, Bobo looks up. He pauses, allowing himself to absorb the expression on Mommy’s face.

Bobo (slowly): Oh….nuts. Sorry. Sorry….



Planned Obsolescence.

“You should probably get that looked at”, said my husband as he watched me gingerly limp down the stairs with a basket of laundry. “ALL of it.”.

What he was referring to, and I am being careful not to offend anyone’s sensibility with TMI, is that for the past few months there have been several parts of me which have been hurting and bleeding at times when they should not.  My husband’s idea of a complete first aid kit involves a clean rag, super glue, and up-to-date tetanus shots, so I tend to not always take his medical advice.

But, I am almost forty-one.  You can ignore the funny noises your car makes for a while. Because, hey, it’s annoying but it still drives fine, right? But then you cringe a little as you remember how long it’s been since the last oil change, or brake service… wait, have they ever been replaced, or are these still the originals? You must have replaced them at some point, you tell yourself. And so you wrap yourself tightly in the last tattered shreds of denial and finally take the car into the shop, and before you know it the mechanics tell you need a pelvic ultrasound, physical therapy, bloodwork, and possibly oral surgery. And as your stomach sinks you reach for the  warranty you shoved in the glove compartment all those years ago, knowing what it will say before you even uncrumple and smooth it out to look.

Dragons and Robots

Last night Bobo was playing a game on the iPad in bed. I gave him the five minute warning, and then at the appointed time gently lifted it out of his hands. This sort of transition can spark major fireworks, so I suppose I was expecting that. But Bobo said “okay” and pulled his covers up to his chin and closed his eyes. I silently exhaled.  There was a pause and then he said, “Did you see how I made the switch like that? It was just like pushing the “change mode” button on a robot”. I told him I HAD seen, and how proud I was, and he sighed and smiled a slow, smeet smile.

Then it was time for Bobo Bedtime questions, except this time he knew all the answers.

“Guess what happens if you are half dragon, Mommy? (yawn) Your hair shines like dragon scales, and when you are mad you get super strong and protective and end up saving everyone and all the villages… (yawn) and you I think have webbing between your fingers.”

And with that he grabbed my hand and fell asleep. I hope my beautiful dragon boy went to the place he was thinking of, where his golden hair caught the sunlight and the anger he tries so hard to push aside turned into strength, and he was the hero I know in my heart he is. Tonight I will check between his fingers.

Oops! He did it again… A Bobo Bedtime Sweepstakes. Enter Now!

It was a great first day of 3rd grade, but Bobo was tired and again lay down next to me to fall asleep.

Bobo: What’s a pruned serpent?

Me: Uh… I’m not sure.

Bobo: It’s like a Mayan god thing.

Me: Oh… a PLUMED serpent? That’s a religious symbol. It’s like a serpent with majestic feathers sticking up on its head, like this (demonstrates with hand gesture).

Bobo: Got it.

Pause. Yawn.

Bobo: What’s an animal that rhymes with ‘bazooka’?

Me: Uh…

Bobo: Never mind… I figured it out.

Me: What is it?

Bobo: gentle snoring

I can see now the pruned serpent question was his way of warming me up for the real thing, just making sure my brain was awake.

So…do you think you know the bazooka animal question? I have no prize to offer except bragging rights, but see if you can guess (he did tell me this morning what it was).

Follow Up.

Bobo was watching a show on the iPad and I sat down next to him a few minutes ago.

Me: Hey bud– remember when you were telling me about teleportation last night?

Bobo: What?

Me: You know, teleportation, and how you figured it out? Some friends of mine on Facebook want to know how it works.

Bobo (not looking up): You do that Facebook too much.

Me: I know. Let’s stay on track though. You said it was the sixth sense we have and you figured out how to convert it?

Bobo: No no… that’s for something else.

Me: So how do you teleport?

Bobo (still not looking up): Plasma.

Can He See Dead People?

Yesterday I escorted Bobo and a good buddy of his to the Minnesota State Fair for a couple of hours. Lest any out of towners think this is not a big deal, I read this week that our State Fair is  the 2nd biggest in the country second only to Texas, and that is only because theirs runs for more days and so has a bigger aggregate attendance. Figures that Texas would skew numbers to get ahead in the polls, but I digress. Our Fair is also the 3rd largest public event in the country. I am mostly ADHD-free and get whomped with overstimulation when I’m there, so was expecting the same from Bobo and he did not disappoint. After only a few minutes, his shoulders and his voice raised in volume and everything got more urgent and more irritable. We finally had a showdown over him giving me back my change from buying him a soda, and that brought a few tears out which actually vented out some stress and he settled . Then I plopped him and his easy-going buddy on a few rides at the Kidway and his central nervous system was in hog heaven. Not that we saw actual hogs at the Fair, because I like lots of other parents tend to sit up straight and listen when the state epidemiologist says things like new strains of swine flu and really, really not a good idea for children to go in the pig barn, people. I’d like to think the hogs this year are chilling out in the barn, stretched out and napping, maybe enjoying their swill in little cups with umbrellas, totally loving not having eleventy billion little kids yammering at them and trying to pet them. Probably every once in a while one of them pokes their head above the bars and whispers This is great but don’t forget we have to keep it going, guys. Someone fake a cough.

All of that to say that Bobo was righteously exhausted last night, and asked me to lie next to him while he fell asleep. He was quiet for a while, then said:

Bobo: Hey Mommy. I have totally figured out how to do teleportation.

Mommy (yawning): Really?

Bobo: Yeah. It’s actually not that hard. You know how we have five senses? But some people say we have six? I figured out what the sixth is, and how to condense it into energy…

Mommy (more awake): and what is the sixth sense? What do you do next?

Bobo:  [gentle snore]

Mommy: [lay still for about five minutes  reminding herself how stupid it would be to wake him to ask for the answer, then lay awake in her own bed for half an hour trying to figure it out for herself]