Gumball Lottery

In a recent post I talked about being an optimist.  I think I have passed this trait on to one of my daughters, as you will soon see.

Kevin is admirably serious about having a good relationship with his children.  To this end, he takes them on individual daddy/child dates.  He wants them to know that he cares about them and he wants to keep the lines of communication open, starting at an early age.  That’s great for me because it makes my job easier, right?!  I figure if the kids have a good relationship with their dad, it will help balance out the times I screw up as a mom!

Kevin lets the girls pick where they want to go.  They always go out for breakfast.  They usually pick the place where they can get the most sugary junk food in town.  This ends up being Starbucks, where they can get a frosted doughnut and also a hot chocolate with a pump of raspberry syrup.

Kevin is a protein guy, so he would much rather go somewhere else.  The other day he talked Clara into going to a local joint called Brunchies.  She agreed to go because she remembered, from the last time we were there, that there was a gumball machine by the register.

Before climbing into the car with her dad, she got out her wallet and dumped four quarters into the palm of her hand.  She is a generous junk-food-junkie.  She decided she would get a gumball for herself and also her three siblings.

As they waited to be seated, Kevin noticed a sign above the gumball machine: “If you get a red gumball, you get a free cookie.”  He pointed this out to Clara.

All throughout breakfast Clara kept on saying, “I’m going to get a red one.”  Kevin kept saying, “You probably won’t and that’s okay,” to keep her from being crushed.  But Clara would continue to insist, “I’m going to get a red one.”

On their way out, Clara stuck her first quarter in the gumball machine.  Out plopped a red one.  She stuck her second quarter in the gumball machine.  Out plopped another red one.  She stuck her third quarter in the gumball machine.  Out plopped a third red gumball.  At this point, the gal behind the register exclaimed, “I have never, ever seen anyone get three red gumballs in a row!”  The fourth quarter yielded an insignificant yellow gumball.  But, no matter.  Clara had already hit the cookie jackpot.

The cookies werIMG_6040 (1)e gargantuan; the size of her head.

Of all my kids, Clara is the biggest sugar addict.  It had to be HER that had this experience!

Guess where all the girls now want to go for their daddy dates?  You guessed it.  They want to go to the place where they can play Gumball Lottery.  Brunchies.

Sorry ‘bout ya, Starbucks.

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Color Follow-Up

Either Word Press won’t allow photos in the comments or I’m just really technologically challenged.  Probably the latter!  Here’s our new dining room color … the second time around.   And, also a goofy girl who should be studying …

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The Color of Optimism

I am an optimist.  But have you noticed that people who are pessimists don’t admit it?  They just say they are “realists.”  Yeah, whatever.  Anyway, I have this attitude that things are going to be okay.  And they usually are.  Life works out alright most of the time.

This is why I never buy paint samples.  I’m always optimistic that the first gallon of paint I get will turn out looking great on my wall.  I have probably purchased several dozen different colors over the years and I have liked them all.  See?  Things work out.  Why should I waste $3 on a paint sample, if I have always had such good luck?  (I guess I’m really cheap, too.)

I say that I have liked all the colors I’ve painted in the past, but that isn’t the entire truth. I knew ahead of time that I was painting a room Pepto-Bismol Pink, and that I would not like it.  But I painted it that color anyway to please my then seven-year-old daughter.  She chose the color and was very pleased about it.  Since I don’t have to be in her room more than five minutes a day, it was worth making her happy.

Recently it was time to paint our dining room.  The color had always been something short of blah.  I decided that it should be a vibrant, warm shade of blue.  I guess I haven’t really painted many things blue.  Come to find out, blue is a hard color to gauge from a little square color patch you analyze while standing in the aisle of a hardware store.

After I painted the room, I stood back to admire it.  I expected it to be a rich, solacing, festive blue color.  It was supposed to be an inviting and splendid backdrop for countless meals shared with friends and family.

As I stood there, trying to tell myself that I loved it, I realized with a sinking heart that it was an epic failure.  The more I stared, the more I felt like the color should be the backdrop of a sci-fi film set.  In the artificial light, the room took on an ominous, bluish glow.  I then told myself that I should just give it a day and, in the morning light, I would think it was fabulous.  Right?  Right.

When I woke up the next morning and went to inspect the room I realized exactly what kind of blue it was.  In fact, if you watched kids’ TV in the ‘80s, you would no doubt recognize it too.  Let’s just call it Smurf Blue. aa-smurf

Kevin told me very tactfully, but also very forcefully, that he really hated it.  So, nine days later I painted it again (without buying a paint sample in advance, of course).  And we loved it.

I will always be an optimist.  I just can’t help it.  Like I told Kevin, “I pick the first paint I like and go with it.  I pick the first guy I fall in love with [him] and go with it.”

It all works out.  Usually.

How to Grow a Boy

How does a chubby toddler finally sprout into a full-fledged little boy? In my experience, you can do two things to help make this happen.

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First you cut off his wispy curls.  I had a suspicion that as soon as I cut Carson’s hair he would stop being a baby and I was right.  We knew we needed to cut it for probably a month and I kept finding excuses.  His hair would look long and matted, and I would resign myself.  But then it would seem to curl up again and I would procrastinate.  I would say to myself: “Such a cute, curly-haired baby boy!  I’m so glad I haven’t chopped off his locks.”  But the long, matted days became more numerous than the cute, curly days and the deed was finally done.

The second way to convert a toddler into a boy is to take his beloved pacifier away.  At one point I think we owned about eight pacifiers. That number diminished gradually over time.  One by one, the pacifiers have been carried off to unknown corners of the house and abandoned, or thrown out of Carson’s stroller into the abyss of some park, neighborhood, or retail center.

Yesterday we were down to Carson’s last pacifier.  Since he is nearly two, I was not planning to purchase any more.  As I drove the carpool home from school, Carson was upset that I didn’t have any more crackers to give him.  In response to my egregious failure to act, he angrily—and fatefully—hurled his last pacifier far into the void of our minivan.

I have a suspicion that our mini-van is actually a black hole for toys, pacifiers, and especially library books.

At the time, of course, Carson had no clue what the consequences of this action would be.  He had no idea that his hand would never again grasp for any pacifier.  His mouth would never again experience the comfort that only a pacifier can bring.  Little did he know that this faded, crusty green pacifier was his last one.  Ever.

I did make one valiant effort to find the pacifier.  I pulled the van to the side of the road and ran my hands under all the seats.  Nothing.  At that point I decided I would make no more heroic efforts.  Babyhood is fading away.  Boyhood has come.  It’s time to face the music.  (Even when the “music” is basically toddler screams echoing in my ear!)

Later for his nap, and again at bedtime, when he asked for “blanky and passy” and I explained to him that he sealed his fate when he threw his passy away in the car, his lip quivered, and he sobbed mournfully from the center of his very being.  Seriously.  It was like his best friend had died or something.

Last night I took a peek at him sleeping in his bed, with his little-man haircut and no pacifier in his mouth, his head resting sweetly on his pillow.  He seemed so grown up.

I miss my baby boy.  I am also excited about the young man I see emerging more and more every day.  Such is the destiny of a mom—always looking back, always reaching ahead, and trying to savor the fleeting moments while they last.