Middle Schoolers Seeking Dating Advice From Crazy Parents: A True Story

My oldest son is now in middle school.

We have entered the big leagues, my friends.

The thought of String Bean walking through the doors of middle school sent me into a panic. All I could think about were my uncomfortable days of junior high.  I never wanted to relive those moments of hell again.

Fortunately, all my worrying was for nothing. String Bean has had a good run thus far.

Lately, he has been asking me some unique questions.  Questions that he has decided I am the best resource to ask.  Questions about dating.

Yes, dating.  Apparently something resembling this happens in sixth grade.

Sadly, I don’t want to share my middle school dating experiences which only consisted of one slow dance, a note that had the words, “Will you go out with me? Circle one: yes, no or maybe,” and being dumped by the said note-writer because I wasn’t allowed to go with he and his older brother to an amusement park.

Obviously, I was not the best person to ask.  I didn’t become a good person to ask until later in high school and in college.  Oh yes.  Good times.

So sorry – I digress. Back to String Bean.

“Mom.  Can I talk to you?” he said as he is working on his math homework.

“Sure thing, dude,” I said as I stared blankly at his math homework.  It looks more advanced than my college Algebra class.

“How do you know if a girl likes you?” he said, not making eye contact with me.

“Do you talk to the girl at school?”

“Yes. We sit near each other in Social Studies.”

“Have you talked to her about anything in particular like movies or Legos or anything?”

“Mom. Seriously? You think I am that dorky that I would talk to a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrlllll about Legos?”

“No, not at all. Probably not a good idea to talk about Legos.  I was just thinking about Legos for a second. My bad,” I said while looking at the Lego Shakepeare figure he gave me last week.

“How do I know if she likes me?” he said, starting to lose patience with me.

“Has she given you any hints that she likes you, such as giggles or whispers to her friends or smiles really big when you are around?” Yes, I am grasping here.  Failing like I failed many a math test.

“Yeah, kind of.  So, how do I ask her on a date?”

Wait a second.  A date? Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt???

“Umm. You could ask her if she likes Thor, and if she has seen any of the movies,” I said.  I am not sure where my response came from except for the fact I really like Thor.  Really like him.  And I want to see Thor, so I would take anyone to see it with me!

“OK.  Maybe I will talk to her about movies then,” he says and goes back to his homework.

Successful dodging of topic!  Hooray!

Later in the evening, as we are doing the bedtime ritual, I go to tuck String Bean in.

“Mom.  So how do I ask a girl on a date again?”

“Starting talking to her and then see where it goes,” I said, and, knowing full well The Captain was nearby, I added, “Maybe you should ask your dad because he is a guy also.”  Ha.

“Dad, how do I ask a girl out on a date?” he said.

The Captain appeared in the doorway looking completely baffled at the question, but without missing a beat, he replied, “You are too young to go on dates.  Now go to bed.”

String Bean looks at me and whispers, “See, Mom, this is why I asked you. Dad must not have had any dates in middle school.  He probably talked to girls about Legos.  Poor guy.”

They grow up too fast...

They grow up too fast…

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“You Old Hag” and other not-so-nice sayings

I knew that I had a wild child when he told my dear grandmother, Charlotte, that she was “nice stupid.”

My youngest, Squishy, has a way with words.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

When he was just a little dude at the tender age of three, he vocalized his feelings.  He didn’t hold back; he just said whatever was on his mind.

My dear grandmother, who was in her early 80s at the time, was talking to him asking him what he wanted to eat (she always wanted to feed all of us – all of the time).  He kept telling her that he wanted ice cream, but she had trouble decifering the toddler-speak.

Finally, when she asked him for the third time, he stood up, put his hand on his hips, and blurted out, “Mam-ma, you’re stupid.”

Enter epic parenting fail.

She, however, didn’t miss a beat, and, this time, she perfectly understood what he just said to her. No decoding needed.

“Luke, Mam-ma is not stupid.  Mam-ma is nice,” she calmly retorted.

He turned as if he was about to leave the room, and then turned back, dropping his arms to his side and tilting his head ever so slightly.  The wheels were turning in that three-year-old brain of his.

And I was petrified by what he would say next.

“You’re right, Mam-ma.  You are not stupid… You are nice stupid,” and he did an about face and left the room.

This is when I knew I was in trouble.

At school, Squishy was (and is) the perfect angel.  It is just at home where his filter is lacking.

A few summers ago, when Squishy was six, he called my mother-in-law an old hag…in front of her bridge club.  (Yes, I am a proud parent – cough, cough).  Apparently he was “just kidding” and “only wanted some snacks.”  When she asked where he learned that phrase, he said “my mom.” I don’t recall ever in my life uttering the words “you old hag,” but in his mind, it was a free pass out of trouble.

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

More recently, he has been caught saying “shut your pie hole.”  Now I do know where this reference came from.  It is from the movie “The Sandlot” and The Captain was very excited the dudes liked the film.  Very excited, indeed, especially when Squishy not-so-subtly said this to my mother-in-law.

I found out about this gem of a phrase when I walked in on my mother-in-law discussing my “poor parenting choices” with a friend of hers.  She went on to tell the friend, “and she just laughs at what he says instead of disciplines him.”  Later I found that, once again, he blamed me for teaching him the phrase.  Hmmm.  Is there a trend going on?

When I addressed the behavior, he justified it by saying, “She wouldn’t stop talking, Mom.”

Touche, Squishy, touche.

Today is Jean Day Friday

One of my favorite bloggers, Tales from the Motherland, nominated me for a Liebster Award.  She is a wonderful writer, and I am truly honored for the nomination.

She made me laugh, however, with this comment: “…You’ve gotta tell me: why JeanDayFriday, when your name is Allison. Gotta know. ;-)

Surprisingly this is a question I get a lot. Sadly, the story is not too interesting.  But, I will share anyway, especially at the request of the amazing Dawn from Tales from the Motherland.

I wish this was a quirky tale, a fascinating one dealing with how the name of my blog arrived at me like a beacon of light.  I wish I could simply explain that my middle name is Jean, but, alas, it is not.  Truthfully, my blog name is nothing more than sheer desire to wear jeans to school each and every Friday. Oh yes.  That’s it.  Nothing more than honest vanity (or comfort).

A few years ago, my district began having jean days every Friday.  There was a dollar charge weekly, and those who paid, would get to wear jeans.  The dollars would go to something good for students – scholarships, fundraisers, etc.

At first, only a few people “bought” into the Friday jean-wearing craze.  But now, most participate and love it like I do.

So, each and every Thursday evening, my pal, Views from the Valley, and I would text something like this to each other: Tomorrow is jean day Friday!  Hooray!

This became a saying we used often.  If our Friday wasn’t going too well, we would say, “Hey, you know, it is Jean Day Friday!” Or if Thursday was less than desirable we would say, “At least tomorrow is Jean Day Friday!”

There are so many reasons this fit as my blog title.  For one, Fridays are just plain ol’ good days.  They signal the end of the work week, and the anticipation of the weekend.  Secondly, I dress professionally every day of the week, but Friday is a day where I can whip out the jeans and a school shirt and viola! I am ready for Friday!  Also, it is almost freeing in a strange, silly rebellious way.  I’m sporting jeans today and it’s Friday – Ha!  And most of all, it is something to look forward to, a glimmer of optimism/quirkiness and comfort.

So, I wanted my blog to give a similar mood, tone and feeling that I have when it is Jean Day Friday:  a quick, little smile in the week, and a reminder that it’s the little things that can make the days a bit brighter.

I wanted my blog to be fun and comfortable.  I wanted it to be a place where I could just be myself, close to the way I feel every Friday when I have my jeans on. I wanted it to be happy.  I hope it is some of those things.

Because it is Jean Day Friday after all.

Suz and I sporting on jeans on Friday.

Suz and I sporting on jeans on Friday.

The Birds, the Bees and Puppies

You never know when you may have to explain the birds and the bees to your children.

I did not think this would come into play at their tender ages of 11 and eight, but thanks to my mother-in-law, I had the horror opportunity to tell them a little bit about how babies are made.

One Tuesday night as I was in the middle of teaching a tap class, I received a frantic voice mail from my mother-in-law, Salt.

It went a little like this:  “Allison, hey. We have a problem here. The dogs are stuck together and I don’t know what to do! They have been stuck for over 20 minutes and I can’t get a hold of anyone.  You must call me back as soon as you get this because I just don’t know what to do!”

Reluctantly I returned the call.

“Hi there.  I only have a minute because I am in between classes,” I said.

“Chewie and Maisy got stuck together!  It has been over 30 minutes!  I didn’t know what to do!” she wailed.

“Are they still stuck together?” I asked in a calm voice so I could try and assess the situation.

“No. Finally they got themselves unstuck.  I called the vet because I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” she exclaimed, her voice revealing how stressful it had been for her. “And the boys wanted to watch it the entire time!  I had to close the curtains!”

After hanging up with her and finishing teaching my dance classes, I ran my dudes to the store.

It would be an understatement to say there were a few questions that were asked.

“Mom, why were the dogs stuck together?”

“Mom, grandma said that Chewie’s penis had to shrink before they could be unstuck.  Why?”

“Mom, what does amorous mean?”

“Mom, why did grandma tell the vet the dogs were ‘getting it on’?  What does ‘getting it on’ mean and where were they getting it on to?”

“Mom, did you know that Chewie looked like he was doing the Harlem Shake on Maisy’s back?”

“Mom, Grandma kept trying to close the curtains so we couldn’t see the dogs. Why was she doing that?”

and the biggest question of all:

“Mom, is that how people make babies?”

OMG.

By this time, I am standing in front of the cashier at Kohl’s.  She is staring at me like I have lost my marbles (which, at that second, I wished was true).  Both boys were staring at me, too, waiting for answers.

Surely this should have been the exact moment I could’ve said, “Ask your father.”  But, alas, I am not that lucky.

I started lightly.  “Amorous means really, really lovey.”  Yes, I took the easiest question first.  Can you blame me?

Next answer: “Chewie probably doesn’t know the Harlem Shake,” but then I asked the stupidest question, “How exactly did this start?

Both dudes jumped at the chance to answer, speaking over each other.  The cashier looked at me like I had horns.

“Well, you see Mom, Chewie came inside and started following Maisy around. I mean, literally, (he uses this word a lot – he is 8) Chewie would not leave her alone,” Squishy chimed in.

“Yeah, and then he started to jump on her and stuff,” said 11-year-old String Bean with a wide-eyed grin, “And he wouldn’t stop, don’t be mad if I say this next part, Mom, OK?  Grandma said it wasn’t a bad word.”

“Ummm, OK, I guess?!” Fear bubbled up inside of me.

“Chewie started humping her.  That is what Grandma called it,” he said, looking at me to gauge my reaction.

Squishy interjects, “Yeah, Mom, it was crazy! It looked like this,” as he begins a vivid demonstration even Elvis would not have attempted on national TV.

“OK. You can stop showing me now,” I said as I pushed them out of Kohl’s.

“And Grandma said Maisy was a hussy.  What exactly is a hussy, Mom?  I’ve never heard of that word before.”

And so it goes.

As I tucked the dudes into bed that night, they were still buzzing about the events of the evening. They were hoping puppies would arrive soon (I did have to break down and explain how puppies are made), and they were bouncing off of the walls about the entire situation.

Squishy did have an ace up his sleeve.  “Mom, look at this!” he said, shoving his iPod in my face, “Here they are stuck together!”

Photographic proof of the event taken by an eight-year-old.  Amorous, indeed.

Stuck together.

Stuck together.

Hey, Santa!

Yes, you, Santa, the man in red with the belly bursting out of your suit, the laughter that is practically trademarked and the rosy cheeks from too much exertion after eating junk food.  You.  I have a bone to pick with you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

Look, jolly dude, I am getting tired of not being on your payroll.  You owe me big time.  I am so busy doing things for you, and I am getting sick of not getting any of the accolades.

You need to cough up some dough for this job I am doing for you, Santa.

Let me start with the search for the perfect gifts that I can’t even put my name on.  Yeah, I spent three hours hunting down an obscure Lego set, yet you get the smiles and the thanks.  Really?  Is this fair, Santa baby?  I don’t think so.  And now, both of my dudes want iPods.  These are not cheap, Kris Kringle, and, yet, your name will go on them.  That stinks, bearded man, it really does.  Will you set them up for the dudes?  No?  Oh, so add this to the list of another one of my grievances.

And then there is the Advent calendar.  Each night (or early in the morning when I wake up startled by the fact that I forgot the night before), I run and put little gifts in the Advent calendar.  Gifts that are “supposedly” from one of your minions.  Yeah, the elf that sneaks into our house, i.e. me, is getting ticked, Santa.  So are the dogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they get blamed when there is nothing left in the calendar.  Poor dogs, Santa.  Poor, poor dogs.  They sit, hearing the blame, and tuck their tales between their legs.  Is that fair, Kringle?  Shouldn’t you be sending a reliable elf each night that doesn’t have to swear through piles of essays to grade?  Yes, Santa, you should.  And you owe my sweet, innocent dogs.  Big time.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

And then the creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Do you know where he was one of the mornings?  Why he was sitting next to Mary and Joseph in our manger scene.  He actually moved Mary and the baby Jesus in order to fit in there.  Creepy?  Heck yes, Santa.  He also has these spooky, hollow eyes – I almost feel like he is following me (and even undressing me) with them.  It is a strange feeling, Santa, and one you both should be aware of.  The last thing that looked at me like that, the chocolate Easter bunny, met an untimely demise.  IMG_2889 The dogs are mad at him, too, because they were also blamed for his failure to relocate one evening. I am sure they would like to have him as a chew toy, Kringle, so you need to tell the Elf, who the dudes named Henry, to keep himself out of the dog’s reach.  And stay away from my martini glasses.  Seriously, Papa Noel, those are not for children.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

Oh, and Santa?  I just want you to know that I am leaving you carrots and celery this year.  They are for you so don’t try and pass them off to the reindeer.  Maybe it is time you join Cookie Monster in demonstrating a healthy lifestyle.  You need to be careful, Santa dear.  Plus, I have discontinued the candy tradition in the Advent calendar.  Why, you ask?  Have you ever witnessed an eight-year-old who has candy for breakfast?  No?  It is not pretty, St. Nick, but you wouldn’t know anything about that because you haven’t been there to talk a small child down from swinging on the chandelier.

Checking my list.  Twice.

Checking my list. Twice.

Your present this year is a lump of coal.  You are on my naughty list, Santa dude, yes indeed.  You may make it to my good list if, and only if, you can turn that coal into a diamond for me next year.

I need to go, Santa, I am bidding on eBay for a present that is completely sold out at Toys-R-Us.  You owe me.  Big time.  Ho, ho, ho.

Chasing Harry Potter (Legos)

My boys love Legos.  They LOVE them.  I can’t begin to describe this love, but it is very intense in their 11 and 8-year-old minds.  Legos are all over my finished basement.  I am not exaggerating this.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Seriously, I even found one on top of the toilet.  It was Yoda.  He was using the force to change the toilet paper roll (I wish!)

Have you ever stepped on a Lego?  It hurts more than a staple gun.  It is sheer pain, and, chances are, if you step on one, during your hopping and jumping and screaming, you will step on another.  Legos can cause serious injury.  You have been warned.

But, back to Lego Loves.  It is exciting when there are new Lego sets released. In fact, it is a feeding frenzy.  There are phrases such as, “Mom, I neeeeeeed this Lego set,” and, “I must have it today.  Can we go to Toys-R-Us?”  Pathetically, I get in on the action by saying things like, “Oh, yeah, that one is really cool,” and “Is Princess Leia included in that set? If so, we will have to get it!”

The Captain (my husband) gets frustrated with the Lego obsession.  His usual statements are, “Do we really need yet another Star Wars Lego set?” and, “Do we really even know what sets we have down there?”  (Side note:  Notice the “we” in his questions.  The “we” is not only directed at the dudes.  Oh, no.  Who has two thumbs and knows the “we” includes her?  Yeah, this girl.)

The Captain felt this way for a long time.  Until last November when Lego introduced the Harry Potter Hogwarts castle.

This set was the mecca of Lego wonderment.  It looked huge on the internet, and all of us (and I mean all) imagined ourselves in Hogwarts fighting along side of Harry defeating Valdomort.

It had to be ours.

And then, magic happened.  A coupon appeared in my inbox from the toy giant of all toy giants.  Thirty percent off all Legos (except Star Wars Legos, of course).  This was it! After all, who needed the Star Wars Legos when we could be at Hogwarts.  The magic, the mystery, the castle would be ours!  All ours!

So, I ventured to the palace of toys, grabbed the iconic castle and waltzed up to the register.  I presented my coupon and my rewards card (seriously, ten bucks off a later purchase – which would most likely be a Star Wars Lego set – was a supero dealio) and opened my wallet.

Panic.  No wallet was in my purse.  I proceeded to dump it out on the counter in front of the cashier.  Heat was rising in my face as I scrambled to remember where my wallet was.  Bells went off as I realized it was in another purse, and one I had carried for only a pathetic two hours that past weekend.

“Will you take a check?” I asked the cashier while he stared at the feminine hygiene products I was trying to sweep back into my purse.

“Yes, of course, with a driver’s license,” he said, stunned by the massive amount of lipstick, store receipts and gum wrappers that were plopped on the scanner.

“Well, that would be in my wallet, you see, which is in my other purse.  At home.  Thirty miles away,” I added the last bit more for effect.

“Sorry, m’am.  Can’t take a check without a license,” he said as he pulled the glorious castle from the bag.

“Stop!  Put that back!  I have a card in case of emergency – hang on and let me get it!”  Not only did he stop, but now the rest of the store is staring at the frantic woman who is pointing viciously at the cashier with the flashlight on her key chain.

The hallelujah choir began singing.  Birds chirped in the distance.  And a peaceful ocean breeze passed over me as I brought out the shiny blue card.

“Will this work?” I said, smiling like the Mad Hatter.

“Ah, sure,” said the cashier contemplating whether to finish the sale or have me committed.

As I walked out with the bag, glowing in my purchase, I shuddered when remembered the words once spoken to me by The Captain:

“Only use the emergency card in extreme emergencies.”

I stood there, keys in hand, glorious Lego castle encased in the brightly colored bag and paused for a moment thinking to myself: Does this qualify as an emergency?

Ode to the magic of Harry Potter.

It didn’t take me long to load the bag in my car and drive home with it.

I apologized to The Captain, but it wasn’t necessary.  Once he saw the amazing treasure, he, too, was wonder struck by its awesomeness.

Magical times.  Magical times indeed.

Bloggus Interruptis

Bloggus Interruptis: when a blogger takes a blogging hiatus for a period over four weeks.  Some key words associated with Bloggus Interruptis: writer’s block, blog insecurity, Vegas vacation, beach cocktails and many barrels of red wine.

I took a little break from my blog this summer.  It was going to be a short hiatus, but turned into more than a month of bloggus interruptis.

These were  good beach drinks!

The reality has set in, all that is left of the beach drinks are little umbrellas, I need to push past the writer’s block, give up my blog insecurities and jump into jeandayfriday like I originally planned.  So, in the words of the Terminator, “I’m back.”

At the start of the summer, I set a few goals for myself.  One was to come up with a bi-weekly blog schedule.  The second was to exercise daily.  The third was to spend as much time with family and friends as possible.  I succeeded in only one of my goals: lucky number three.  Three is a magic number after all.

After getting behind on my blogging, I began to avoid it as I avoid scales and balancing my checkbook.  I would open the computer and see the WordPress bookmark on my bookmark toolbar and then gently close the computer and walk away.  I knew my blog was calling to me to write, but I began feeling insecure.  The inner voice started taunting me saying, “You don’t have anything to write about,” and, “Your writing is poopie,” and even, “You know you will be interrupted a million times so why even begin?”  Eventually, the inner voice got to me and I avoided my blog.

The inner voice started taunting my about the blogs I follow.  She would say, “You don’t have time to sit and read those and give them proper comments,” and, “The comments you make are silly,” and even, “How can you read all of these when you will be interrupted a million times?”  Darn the inner voice!

Bye bye inner voice!

So, as I mentioned, I’m back.  I have put the inner voice into a wine bottle, corked it and set it free in the high tides at Hilton Head.  It may find me again next summer, but hopefully I will have some strategies to deal with her nagging presence then.

But even with her on a journey to the ends of the ocean, I still have some questions for my fellow bloggers.

1.  How do you crush the inner voice of doubt?

2.  How do you manage the blogs you follow and give them a fair shake?

3.  What is a good blogging schedule?  Once or twice a week? Or more?

and lastly, 4.  How was your summer?

The Yes Mom

After watching, for the millionth time, Jim Carrey’s Yes Man, I began thinking about just saying yes to everything for a day.

Interesting prospect.  I just wonder how long it would take for folks to catch on.

Would you like to super size this? Yes.

Would you like to add a rental car with your hotel? Why, yes.

Would you buy me a puppy? Yes, of course.

But, seriously, some issues may arise from this.

At school: Mrs. M., can we leave the classroom and go to our cars and drive around for a while?

Mrs. M., can I be exempt from taking the final exam?

Mrs. M., can you buy me beer? Not gonna happen.

At home: Mommy, can you buy me the Lego Death Star for $499 bucks?

Mommy, can we get a giant boa constrictor?

Mommy, all first graders have a cell phone, so can I get one? Not gonna happen.

Maybe I am not ready to be a Yes Mom just yet… But maybe today, since we are in Walt Disney World, I can be a Yes Mom for one day.

Yes, I think that could work.  Just don’t let my dudes know about it, OK?  😉

The magic of saying yes – for one day!

Tales of the No Good, Very Bad Fourth Grade

String Bean is reaching the end of fourth grade. I must admit that it has been a no good, very bad school year for him.

He liked school in the third grade. He liked school in the second grade. He liked school in the first grade. He liked kindergarten and preschool.

He hates fourth grade.

The homework menace.

Each day after school is a struggle. He has more homework than I assign high school Language Arts students. Some days, we sit for over two hours while he works on his homework. This is not only torture for String Bean, but torture for The Captain and me.

I have to be honest when I say that the homework routine gets really draining. Who knew that 4th grade would be so hard? There are some days when I have come to be the peace maker during homework time. If String Bean gets frustrated, The Captain gets frustrated. The cycle is endless. It usually ends with tears (from the 4th grader) and me calming both parties down. I should have been in politics.

As a teacher, I want both String Bean and Squishy to love school. I want them to enjoy learning and become passionate about subjects that interest them.

But I do not have patience with a grade that is killing my child’s love of school.

The Salt Map of Ohio. I am not even going on record to say how long it took us to make this.

In fourth grade, String Bean had to make a salt map of the state of Ohio. I do not know what the point of this was besides seeing whose parents make the coolest project.

In fourth grade, String Bean had to create a brown bag book report. Now, I am all for book reports, but apparently the brown bag I sent along was not the correct brown bag. Minus 10 points for String Bean because I wasn’t correctly informed.

In fourth grade, String Bean has been sent home with four behavior slips. This is my quiet, Lego building child. Turns out, the behavior slips are not for what one would think are traditional “behavior” issues. One was for neglecting to put his name on his paper. One was for leaving his folder (which was empty) at home. One was for not have eight lines in a poem (he had seven). And the last one, the one that The Captain almost rocketed through the roof about, was when a girl tossed a swing that hit him on the back at recess, he told the teacher about it and the girl said it was his fault and he got into trouble. What a democracy!

As I look toward the light at the end of the tunnel, I hope I can salvage String Bean’s zest for learning. I hope I can remind him of what he liked about school before this year. I hope I can re-engage his curiosity in the world around him. I hope.

But, for now, I will hold my breath, hold my frustration and keep smiling to help him make it to the end of the fourth grade road.

Wish me luck.

I am ready for this sweet smile.

Field Day is the new Hunger Games

As an elementary kid, I was never too excited about field day.  According to my dad, I was a bit of a girly girl (still am!).

I’d rather be hanging with the daisies.

If there was an event in daisy chain necklace making, I would have won the gold.  If there was an event in skipping while singing, I would have been given a trophy.  If there was an event in twirling in circles until falling down dizzy, I would have received a first place ribbon.  Sadly, none of these options were available when I was in school.

We did have sack potato races, balloon tosses, one-legged races and egg/spoon races.  Those were fun.

At Squishy and String Bean’s school, their field day was much different.  Gone were the sack potatoes.  Vanished were the balloon tosses.  Abandoned were the eggs and spoons.  All were replaced by Olympic style battles fit for Odysseus and a slew of Titans. Or Katniss, her faithful Peeta and all of the psycho warriors from District 1.

Kid’s organized sports have nothing on Field Day.

As for preparing for the exclusive Field Day, there has been extensive training in gym class.  For the last month (I am not kidding) there have been time trials, practice races, and even qualifying heats.  With all of the suspense surrounding the day, both dudes were anxious and a little concerned about their events.  Who can blame them?  Training for the summer Olympics sounds vaguely similar to the festivities known as Field Day.

“Mom, you have to pack us water bottles for field day tomorrow.  It is going to be hot and we may get dehydrated,” he stated as if he was a pediatrician.

“OK.  Gotcha.  Anything else you need to get through these mighty games?” I asked, without a hint of sarcasm.

“We need to bring our best to the field,” he said.  I wondered if I let him watch Percy Jackson too often.

Field Day is serious business.

Next year’s Field Day dress code.

Prior to the start of the extreme games fun, as all of the students are gathered outside gripping their water bottles, an announcement came on the PA informing the students of the intricate procedures.  Maybe all of the important items were scattered around the cornucopia or something.

The static voice resembled something like, “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.” Oops – not really.  More like, “Off to the races we go!”

And, with that, String Bean and Squishy were both sacrificed for the games.

The lone ribbon.

After school, there were long faces.  There was only one ribbon given to my dudes.  It was the magical Participation ribbon that only first and second graders receive.  Wise fourth grade String Bean, tired from the exhausting day and discouraged from being ribbonless, dismissed himself to the basement to play on the iPad.  His parting words as he melted down the steps were of the final PA announcement that said, “Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next year to everyone else.”

Squishy lagged behind and, in his first grade humor, regaled tales of his success in the tug-of-war.

“Did you get a ribbon for tug-of-war?” I asked him.

“Nope.  But we were the champs!” he exclaimed, “And I was the reason we won because I was in the back of the line and used my massive muscles to pull the other side down.”

Triumph.

“Why didn’t you get a ribbon?” I inquired.

“Hmmm,” he pondered, “We really didn’t need a ribbon.  Our teacher told us we were awesome and gave us a hug.  That was better than a stupid ribbon,” he said with a big smile on his face.

“I agree, Squishy, I agree.”

Until next year when the games resume again.

True triumph.  Almost better than a daisy chain necklace.  May the odds ever be in your favor.