Friday, January 15, 2010

Kids and Politics

I'm starting to think that kids could truly, honestly take over the political scene. Let's think about this for a moment. Kids are naturally motivational speakers, full of charisma and charm, able to persuade large crowds of people to do what they want. They get results, though sometimes we as the public turn a blind eye to their methods. Trust me, you'd rather not know the types of coercion they have at their disposal.

If one child figures this out, we're done for. They will be united and rise up to take over the world in less time than it takes to warm up a pop-tart (which is 13 seconds, I know).

Don't believe me? I have two words for you: SILLY BANDS.

For those of you not familiar with the term, let me enlighten you. These colorful little bands have transformed the lives of children (and parents) everywhere. Kids are picking up their toys, eating all their vegetables, and even going to bed on time without complaint all for the promise of these magic pieces of political power. I say it in awe and reverence....the SILLY BAND.

We will not mention at this point how the creator of the silly band is sitting at home still laughing in disbelief that parents are actually paying up to $7 for a pack of, well, rubber bands. People everywhere are still kicking themselves for not thinking this one up.

Anyway, every day my kindergartener and 4-year-old rush home to tell me of their winnings and trading escapades. I picture a scene similar to Wall Street. One must use the power of trading bands carefully and thoughtfully. Holding the current coveted band in your possession is a powerful thing not to be treated lightly. I can clearly see what would happen if one smart kid figures out the power he holds over other children when he is the owner of a rare band. We're talking PR people, secret service, even a Camp David set up on the playground, exclusively for the use of the kid in power.
Fortunately, no child has yet to tap into the pure power represented in the silly band phenomenon. But just you wait, when your kid bursts through your front door
with 19 candy bars, 3 DS systems, an iPOD, and a new bike, you will notice one thing missing: her soul. She has stepped into the world of politics and will stop at nothing. Silly bands = POWER. Dictators have gotten started with less influence than the kid on the corner holding the latest model of the silly band.

Do I overestimate their understanding and underestimate their innocence? If you think so for even a second, you are not a parent

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Annual Crying's not what you think

My eyes scan the area quickly for signs of lurking employees. It's as if I can FEEL their anxious eyes boring into me, just waiting for what they see as imminent disaster. And I can hardly blame them. After all, even a supermom cannot prevent EVERY disaster, and I have voluntarily placed myself in a situation that will require all my skills, all my training.

Here we are. The moment my kids have chattered about and I have prepared for since the last time we were here. The one place where time actually does stand still, only it's more like Matrix and I am moving in slow motion, beads of sweat forming on my brow as I move towards the imminent catastrophe.

The annual choosing of a Christmas ornament at Hobby Lobby.

I guide my excited daughters to the ornament area, which really should have a "KEEP OUT" sign for mothers and children. Happily for them, however, it is still legal for me to take my butter fingered kids to this dangerous land.

We arrive and they are starstruck, their eyes glazing over as they look up and around at the hundreds of glittering, jingling, beautiful ornaments they are to choose from. I remind them that they may choose one ornament that they feel a connection with this year, something that accurately portrays their personalities and interests. I'm still reminding them to choose something that has meaning, something they'll look back on with fondness and smile as they recall the special reason they chose their ornament when, in the middle of my inspiring speech, a glittery glass goldfish is shoved in my face.

A goldfish? First of all, fish have not had exactly the best run of luck with the Webbers. When I was a teacher, my fish actually committed suicide. I found them lying dead on the classroom floor next to the tank, ready to face death rather than another day under my care. At our house, one fish was euthanized when it showed even the slightest inkling of perhaps swimming sideways (if you turned your head just right you could really convince yourself that it was not well), the other was flushed for no other reason than 1.) the kids didn't care and 2.) Michael couldn't find the fish food. But hey, if that's what represents special meaning to my dear Olivia this year, then so be it.

My 28-lb. force of nature is by now running wildly thru the aisle, swaying dangerously close to fragile ornaments. I am pretty sure I see an employee sigh and standby with a broom and dustpan in hand.

Lauren chooses a Nutcracker ornament, which is actually a great one for her this year as she is obsessed with that play and we have watched it 19 times in two weeks. Olivia helps choose one for Leighanne (I cannot remember what it was since I was at this point holding her upside down by her foot as she lunged for the $35 crystal ornament of some kind).

We're finished! We did it! I gather my children and smile smugly at the broom-toting employee, whose heart almost audibly begins beating normally again as he watches us depart. Dare I say it? An ornament choosing expedition is actually going to end in success. No broken glass, no broken hearts.

And then, like in a race where you're two steps away from the finish line and your untied shoe lace trips you up, it happens.



Olivia is standing next to the carnage of her glass goldfish ornament on the floor which has exploded like someone put a firecracker inside it. Suddenly the smug smile is gone from my face and transferred to the employee, who is already making his way toward us.

I try to console my grieving child. Comforting children after an accident is part of my skilled training, after all. No big deal, I say, I'm sure in the hundreds of ornaments here we can find another one just like it.

We search. We scour. We look high and low (all while taking breaks to chase my toddler and pry her fingers off various fragile treasures and make her spit out the animal crackers she found on the floor). But alas, there is no duplicate of the precious goldfish, which of course causes even more pain and suffering. Seriously, how in the world did my daughter find the ONLY ornament in the whole store that doesn't have a twin?!

After much agony, another ornament is chosen. A lesser fish that will be tolerated, but not loved. I load my children in the car and breathe a sigh of relief that the annual day of choosing is over for another year. Will this tradition hold special memories for my girls in years to come? I hope so, but I don't know. I DO know that throughout the coming years my tree will be filled with ornaments that reflect their interests or just their whims at the time...and I will look back and smile. I pull out of the parking space and try to ignore the sight of that same employee lugging a trash bag of broken glass to the dumpster. Here's to making the moments count....sorry about that, Mr. Hobby Lobby man.

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