Thursday, October 15, 2015

Six Flags And Holding!

Six Flags?  Well, I haven't been there in fifteen years!  The last time I went, it was with this guy that I had a mild crush on.  Oh and his parents went, too.  The whole thing was very strange.  I called out sick to work and ended up getting in trouble because the manager could tell I was on my cell phone and not my parents' home phone. Imagine!  Your boss thinking you were lying about being sick because you were calling from a cell phone!  As if anybody has any other means of communication these days!  I believe next time I need to call out sick (from the same company, unbelievably fifteen years later with about a decade hiatus in between), I will probably just text.

And the time before that?  Well, it was my senior trip!  Or was it my junior trip?  Or, crap, was it my eighth grade trip??? We took the big old yellow bus and I won a humongous stuffed dolphin from one of the carnie games.  That's about all I can remember.  The year was a haze, but the water rides were wet and wild and they were giving away stuffed dolphins like it was the end of the world.  And everybody thought $1 for a pop was a big deal.  What a crazy time, #classof98.

Did I also go with my parents at some point?  Oh sure.  My dad and I waited in long, winding line after long, winding line for each and every roller coaster, and my mother was pissed with a capital P.  Because what fun is it to drive over an hour up 294 only to sit on a series of benches while everyone experiences thrills of a lifetime?  No fun, that's the answer.  Live and learn.

But now the ride is not over an hour up 294.  It's 20 minutes down neighborhood streets, and I'm cruising in the back entrance of Six Flags like I practically own the place.  My husband and three kids now have season passes for the remainder of this year and all of next year.  Strolling through those front gates, though, is like walking through a time machine.  What year is it?  How have I aged so much?  And who are these adorable children with me?  What do you mean I birthed them???   Isn't this my eighth grade trip?  Don't I still have my whole life ahead of me???

What a different experience to go to Six Flags with my young children.  Now I am the adult escorting my child on their very first roller coaster.  Andy loved The Whizzer and even enjoyed our thirty minute wait last Monday while Chris (less of a wet rag than other parental units) waited nearby with Alex and Emily and a funnel cake. No complaints there, his plate was positively floating in powdered sugar! We hit all the kiddie rides, Chris and I taking turns riding with the boys versus waiting with the baby.  The sun shone brightly, promisingly, with all of the fun next summer will hold- provided we do not lose our souvenir 2016 free refill cups and/or have our on-loan stroller system stolen by shady looking patrons.  Andy and Alex think that the Six Flags is the greatest place on Earth, and I just may have to agree with them.  It's even better now; everything's better through the eyes of a kid versus a jaded teenager or a twenty year old faking sick on a cell phone with a goddamn antenna.

And yet, at Six Flags, there are glimpses of the past everywhere.  That same carousel, that spot where Shockwave used to be.  The place where the buses parked, a man-sized dolphin that looks like an old friend I once had.  How odd to revisit now.  How odd but wonderful.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bad Mushrooms!

Andy has been using the baby monitor to play psychological games on Alex.  Andy and I will be up in Emily's room while Alex is downstairs innocently eating breakfast next to the receiver.  Andy will whisper so softly into the transmitter that Alex's only guess will be that the voices are in his head and not aloud in the actual, living world.  "Alex," Andy will intone quietly.  "You smell like a butt, Alex. Alex, you smell like one butt, two feet, and three boogers.  Oh Alex.  You stink."

The first time I witnessed this, I thought it was hilarious and brilliant.  By the fourth or fifth time, I was no longer entertained, believing Andy's soft-spoken head games to be gently spouted from the mind of a psychopath.  There are moments when I look at and/or listen to my kids, and I am deeply troubled.  Last night, for instance, we read the book "Babar," the original story.  This is one of those books that I should have pre-read first, as the story starts with Babar's loving mother dying abruptly from a hunter's gunshot and goes on to the king of the elephants also dying (from eating a poisonous mushroom) and Babar pursuing an incestuous relationship with his cousin Celeste.  The whole tale was dark and disturbing.  However, Andy was appropriately appalled by the tale, and it was Alex who grew excited from the course of events.  "Read it again!" he exclaimed when I finished.  "I love that book!  I love the elephant dying from the bad mushroom!"

I should have also looked into "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" a little better.  That was the movie of choice for Family Movie Night a couple weeks ago (also known as Family Pause and Unpause The DVD Six Times Night.)  The movie ends with the peculiar Timothy Green basically dying.  The evening thus concluded with Andy crying about why people had to die and the futility of life.  I need to be better at prescreening our entertainment selections.  As in, I need to occasionally do it.

Sometimes, as a mother, I worry that I have glossed over Really Important Things and that my confidence in my kids is sometimes misplaced.  A couple weeks ago, one child purposefully peed on the other in the shower.  Now, how did I not properly convey the fact that urination on another person is not okay?  When was I supposed to have that talk?  I have witnessed my children mistreating other children in such an offhanded way that it is clear that they do not think they are doing anything wrong, and I have watched as they have done awful things to one another that they KNOW is wrong.  These boys can be just plain cruel to one another.  So far, they are both quite loving to Emily, but now she is still small and immobile and basically another teddy bear.  What will they do to her once she is no longer a novelty but another creature to get in the way and infuriate them?  I shudder at the thought.

Of course, the dynamics between all of them will shift and change direction almost constantly.  For even though the boys can act like they want to crawl inside each other's brains and ruin each other's lives in a primal sort of way, they are also each other's biggest protectors.  "I want one for Andy!"  Alex always announces when he gets something that Andy doesn't.  And Andy will proudly introduce Alex whenever he can.  "This is my brother!  He smells like one butt, two feet, and three boogers."  Alas, he often leaves that last part off.  Which is what I hope makes him an intrinsically good person.

Emily will have alliances with each brother, and sometimes they will have an alliance against her. Currently, she is most entertained by Alex and seems often bothered by Andy, awarding Alex with giggles and refusing to make eye contact with Andy.  This is because Andy gets right up in her face while Alex's charm is more off-handed and less intense.  This is also because Alex is, currently, the funnier of the two.  I'm sorry, Andy, but it's true.  You have a good sense of humor, but Alex is a fricking riot.  Don't worry, though, these things all change. And you have other great attributes, such as being overall LESS annoying than Alex.  See, boys, I am always ranking and judging you two against one another.  Like any good mother would.

I hope these kids all grow up to be normal, well-adjusted, wonderful adults, despite my missteps.  I try my best to be a good mother, but I fear that there must be something very important that I am missing, something huge that is yet unaddressed.  Other than the urination on other people thing and Alex's glee over elephants dying.  I hope I figure it out soon, that key to Perfect Parenting and Perfect Children.  And I hope it doesn't require a whole lot of one on one time.  Kidding!  Kind of.