Wednesday, November 16, 2011

hum along

If you have a memory as bad as mine, you never remember lyrics anyway.  It is much easier to make them up.  Most of the kids' bedtime songs have made-up lyrics.  I remember them so much easier.

In the car tonight the boys started picking on each other and Pook told Bug, "You'd better be good."  I added "because Santa Claus is coming to town."  Pook then began to sing the song, but he'd started with his phrase, "You'd better be good" instead of "You'd better watch out."  Recognizing that he had the tune right but not the words, he was undeterred.  (You'll absolutely have to hum along or none of this will make any sense.)  "You'd better be good.You'd better be good. You'd better be good. You'd better be good.  You-ou-ou-ou had better... be good."  I was about to call the song quits after he'd sung it four or five times and Bug had joined in, but then he decided on a new tune.  Not new words, just a new tune.

(Begin to hum "We wish you a merry Christmas" now, in preparation for this new, exciting song.)  "You'd better be good. You'd better be good. You'd better be good.You'd better be good." And then I gave in and joined them.  Let me tell you, a three part harmony-ish-like-thing of "Carol of the Bells" with the exciting lyrics, "You'd better be good" was pretty awesome.  

Bug decided we should be singing a Thanksgiving song because (I have him so brainwashed) it is too early for Christmas songs. That led to "We're thank-a-ank-ful, We're thank-a-ank-ful." (Pick a tune.)

Then Bug did something in the back seat that annoyed his brother into saying,  "Don't be a jerk." (You know where this is going, right?)  "Don't be a jerk. Don't be a jerk. Don't be a jerk. Don't be a jerk...."  It took the rub off the calling-of-names.  Bug joined in, so I did too.  That had Bug in gales of giggles, Mama singing  "Don't be a jerk." to the tune I think of Jingle Bells.  He was unable to giggle and sing at the same time, so Pook returned to the oldie but goodie, "You'd better be good."

I tell you, our Carol of the Bells was good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

be nice, or else

I suppose it has happened slowly, in the boiling a frog sort of way.  Nevertheless, the arguments around here are too many and too frequent.  "But..."  "Do I have to?"  "He did it."  "Why do I always have to...?"

First I started responding to Bug's frequent "But..." sentences with the declaration that I did not want to discuss his bum/bottom/tushie.  He'd giggle and I could avoid having to respond to his excuses.  I hoped it would help him see just how often he used the word.  Maybe it helped, but (BUT!) not enough.

We tried offering arguments for 25¢.  As in, "I will have that argument with you for 25¢.  It helped too, but (BUT!) it required stamina and vigilance on the part of the adult.  That tends to fade after time.  I can stick with something pretty well for a while, but some are harder than others.

Right now we have a Heart Chart.  Five good getting-ready-for-school-mornings and they can earn ice cream after dinner. Our mornings have been better, however I put this in effect just before Halloween and the filled candy jar makes ice cream less of a draw now.

I'm not thrilled with using sweets as rewards.  They work, as does money, but they aren't my favorites.  So I'm going to use a combination this time and see if we can blast these bad habits away.

1) We'll continue with the heart chart in the mornings.
2) We'll go back to selling 25¢ arguments.
3) We will start dinner with a statement of thankfulness from each child concerning his sibling. What has your brother done today that makes you thankful that he's your brother?
4) I have decided that they will each choose an after dinner reward for their brother based on the way he was treated during the day.  In other words, if your brother has treated you well, give him candy for dessert.  If he's behaved in other ways, there are options varying from fruit to eggplant which are also available.

When I explained my ideas they were met with  "But if we have an argument with you and we win, do we get our money back?"  <>

Friday, November 4, 2011

and also

"Can I tell you about my book?"
     "I"ve read it.  It was good."
"Ok, but can I tell you about it?"

"Do you know how to draw a shark/robot/vampire...?"
     "How's this?"
"Well, I'll show you how."

"Want me to tell you about how we played freeze tag at PE today?"
     "Was it regular freeze tag?"
"Yeah, but let me tell you how we did it."

Such is a conversation with Bug.  Think he has a little teacher in him?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

she is not dead, but sleepeth

Here are the boys, Halloween 2011:
Bug chose to dress as a slice of Swiss cheese.
Pook dressed as his favorite thing- a Lego minifig

They'd chosen their costumes in plenty of time. My parents helped put them together with a good bit of cardboard this year. The yellow "cheese" is a thrift shop drapery.  The Lego head is made from a bucket, covered with paper and painted.

We had just the right route for Trick or Treating this year.  Our neighborhood isn't well arranged for this; the kids from their school who walk can't easily walk from street to street, making us have to choose since we live in the middle.  The loop we took included a nearby cemetery.  I've heard that the gravestones have never been identified so they can't be moved.  They're sort of between three cul-de-sacs up on a ridge. 

We visited on Halloween once before.  Every flashlight had either died or been lost by then so one dad lit the way with his phone.  This year I planned ahead and bought LED candles, which I placed on the gravestones while the kids were at school Monday.  I wasn't sure if I was making the place less creepy or more creepy, but I did think it would help us locate the stones in the dark.  I hope other neighbors visited also; we stopped on our way home and were alone there.

There are between two and five graves here.  I think.  There are enough pieces and parts of gravestones to be five, but I don't find writing on enough to be five.  In any case, the dates that are legible are of births in the late 1800's and deaths from the early 1900's, making the area just perfectly Halloween creepy.  Plus, that epitaph?  "She is not dead but sleepeth"-- yikes!

"Here lies one who in this life was a kind mother and fine wife.  She is not dead but sleepeth."