Monday, May 15, 2006

Random weekend moments

Apparently it is true, as we grow as parents so do our super-parent powers.  Science may find labels to categorize what they do not understand, they may call it Mother’s Intuition, but I know the truth now.  I have been gifted. It is a gift that has grown in strength. I believe it feeds on the age-energy of my children. As the boys grow older so do my powers.  Inside of me is a growing force, an untapped wellspring of strength.  I a humble human now possess the power of conspiracy.  Let me give you an example.

Liam is across the park playing street hockey with his buddy. There is very little hockey going on, and a whole lot of head to head discussion.  My parent senses tingle and I head across the park to see what they are up to.  As the boys spot me coming they huddle closer, faint muttering drifting across to me in increased in fervor. As I get closer Liam pops up and says

Liam:     “Dad, J invited me over to watch a movie tonight”
Me:     “oh a movie, do his parents know?”
J:     “yeah, they said it was ok”
Liam:     “Can I go?”
Me:     “What movie?” Liam looks a little crestfallen at this. Hmmm a conspiracy to avoid that question?
Liam:     “King Kong”
Me:      “I dunno about tat movie, I am not sure it is appropriate….”
J:     “It’s PG-13 and Liam has seen all the Harry Potter movies”.
Liam:     “Yeah, and they are all PG-13”
J:     “And so was Spiderman, and that was as well”
Liam:      “And Star Wars and…
Me:      “I get the point boys”.

You think they had this all planned out ahead of time?

So I replied in the age old paternal tradition. "Go ask your mother."

Sunday night we are sitting at the table, supper is almost over and the last dredges of dessert are being consumed. Keegan picks up his bowl and moves it to his face trying to lick it clean.  I look over saying, “Keegan please don’t lick your bowl, it’s not nice manners.”.

He looks up at my face; he looks at Yvonne’s face. He looks back down into the bowl, a small puddle of melted ice cream and brownie crumb mush taunt him from the bottom. He looks back at us with a desperate look of consternation flickering across his features.  His eyes widen and his lower lips pouts forward. His gaze drops back to the hallowed ambrosia in the bowl and I hear a small voice. “Me not know how”.

Yvonne bursts out laughing and that particular lesson in manners  fades away.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

As If

It’s game 5. The Sens are behind 3 games to one in the series. It is crunch time; no mistakes or it is elimination. There are 3 minutes left in the first, the game is tied at 1 apiece. The Sens just got a tough penalty for too many men on the ice and are trying to kill it off. Upstairs my wife is respecting the sacred and hallowed institution of hockey play-offs and is watching the boys, letting me watch the game.

The phone rings. Since Liam is over at his friends place I figure maybe it is them calling and pick up the phone. Turns out it is my sister… dammit she should know better.

We have a little idle conversation as the period winds down, plans for traveling next weekend, why she’s not watching the game, how the kids are doing, why she’s not watching the game, what is the weather like, why is she not watching the game.

The period ends and she gets my full concentration. The conversation occurs as follows

Her: “So I have a question for you.”
Me: “What’s up?”
Her: “C (her son) has a really nice jacket that dad bought for him last year. It is in really good shape, but…”
Me: “But what?”
Her: “It’s a Maple Leafs jac..”
Me: “Not a chance.”
Her: “But it’s reversible.”
Me: “No way, thanks anyway. Do you want him to get beat up? Frick I might as well send him to school in a tutu.”

Gotta run the second period is starting.

p.s. Even though you called during the game I forgive you since you made me laugh. Love you sis.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The New Currency

It seems there must have been a lot of snuggling going on back in the summer of ’97 because all of Liam’s friends have birthdays in the April/May time frame.  For my boys; birthday parties seemed to really increase in terms of numbers around age 5.  I suspect this is mostly due to kids starting school and having a sizable pool of friends to invite.  When I think about this I feel sorry for Keegan who has a September birthday and won’t really know any of the kids in his class well enough to invite.  

A couple of years ago the golden gift was BeybBlades, when they went on sale Y and I would buy them by the case and save them for birthday distribution over the year. After Beyblades it was Battle B’damons and so forth and so on.

These days the modern 8-year-old currency is EB Gift Cards.  These can be used to purchase a fast variety of used video games. It is nice as a parent because you never have to worry about what you are going to buy. Never trying to guess what a kid would like, or worrying another person bought the same gift.  Also there seems to be 4 EB games within a 5km radius of where I work and live.  The downside is that they never go on sale so you are kinda stuck at a base present price for every birthday.

I was out driving at lunch to pick up a game card for tonight’s birthday party when I had this absurd image of an entire economy fueled by 8 year olds. Game cards as currency exchanging hands in a frenzy of buying and selling of used games. Central to this is the Bank of EB, setting commodity rates on the prices of games, announcing rate adjustments to help stimulate the economy.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I am officially old

It’s not like the signs were not on the wall.   We have the grey hairs in the goatee, not to mention the chest, the eyebrow and the “nether regions”. My barber now trims my ear hair during a cut.  I have the whole nose hair thing to deal with.  Add my surly disposition, my need to wear Cardigan’s in the winter and te fact that my age is quickly approaching the big 40.

But to be honest I always felt I was mentally young. I still know all the latest music. I still ca name the Saturday morning cartoons and those little whipper snappers of mine still have not bested me playing video games.

But today my world shattered. As I entered the local recreation center to register the kids for a summer camp there was teenage couple sitting, no sprawled on a bench engaging in some amorous behavior.  And my first thought was… bah, get a room, there is no need for ”Outward Signs of Affection” (thanks Mrs. F. that term will never be forgotten). Worse yet I almost said something to them as they pawed and groped there way to new hormonal heights.

Cripes I am old.

If you build it , they will come.

Boys, boys and more boys, I’ve got lot’s of them. With three very active, very rambunctious boys in my house you can imagine at times things get busy.  This is probably not news to anyone that knows my brood or me.  Life is busy, it stays busy, there is not an end in sight to this busy-ness, but truth be known that’s ok… both Yvonne and I are well aware of what the next 15-20 years of our life is going to look like. With this foreknowledge and a wife that is a planner, and by virtue of marriage, I a planner’s apprentice, we have made plans.

Notice the theme to this week?

We have a plan on how to deal with raising 3 boys in today’s society. The plan is pretty simple, but mostly deals with handling the teenage years.

  1. Keep the boys busy in organized stuff; sports, science club, music whatever. Keep them busy so they are not wandering the streets of suburbia in a testosterone induced haze of bored group mentality.

  2. Make our house the social center of their life, and the lives of their friends. Allow them to have their friends over. Feed their friends; Give them space to hang in comfort and privacy. Give them entertainment.  The idea is, give them a place where they want to hang out and you can keep an eye on them.  If they and their friends are in our basement, or swimming in our pool(future plan), I can see what they are up to. If they are somewhere else I can’t.

Yeah so having packs of teenage boys living in my basement is going to be hard on the furniture, the carpet, my nerves and the drywall (yes mom I remember the damage we did).  Yes, feeding the packs of boys may require me to start having groceries delivered in dump trucks… but if that is what it takes to keep the kids out of trouble then that is what it takes… We are planning for this.

Of course these (at least in my procrastinator’s mind) were always future plans. The pool will be installed in a couple of years. I will finish the work in the basement in a couple of years, I will invest in a fruit orchard , vegetable farm, meat packing plant in the future.

But as I have learned this week my plans do not always go as… well planned.

Yvonne took the day of work on Tuesday to help integrate our new nanny. Liam arrived home from school that afternoon, burst in the door, dropped his school bag and headed to the bathroom while yelling  “HiMomGottaPeeGoingBackOutToPlayHockey” all in a single breath. This is pretty standard after school activity.  While Liam was in the bathroom, Yvonne went to the garage to throw out some garbage. Imagine her surprise when she opened the door to find 3 other boys rummaging around in there.  A familiar face pops out of the “hockey gear bin” and she recognizes one of Liam’s friends. Who promptly says in the same one-breath-rush-of-words, “HiYvonneJustGettingTheHockeyGearReady”.
While at the same time running out the door with the other 2 kids hauling a net, a full set of goalie gear, 3 tennis balls, 4 sticks and what appeared to be 3 sets of roller blades (which I did not know we owned damn garage sale junky wife).

Last night Yvonne picked up the boys early for a Doctor’s app’t. She asked me to whip by the house and pick up a health card prior to meeting her.  When I pulled in front of the house there was a full-scale hockey game going on.  At least 5 kids(none ours), all our gear, the nets, bottles of water… etc. As I get out of the car one of the boys runs up and says “LiamSaidWeCouldPlayHereAndUseHisStuffTillHeGetsBack. WhereIsHe?”.  

There is nothing that occurred that was not part of the plan; boys hanging at our house, boys eating our food, boys using our stuff. I had just figured I had a couple of more years before it happened.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pan A, Plan B, Plan C

This was the plan.

I was going to take the summer off from coaching soccer.  I was going to focus this year on getting my certification for coaching hockey and then put on my coaches at next fall. Part of my reasoning was that Liam’s level of soccer was getting higher than any innate skill or knowledge of the game tat I might have. I also wanted to pick up coaching for Aiden, but at his level soccer is still more of a clinic style rather than practices and games.

It was a good plan… I liked it, meant the summer was going to be more relaxed and I would get the opportunity to watch the games rather than running around keeping the kids focused and chasing the ball.

Like I said that was the plan.

Somehow between here and there I got signed up to be a coach.  I am not quite sure how it happened.  They called me and I said I was not interested in coaching this year… then they informed me that they would be mailing out my team list.  I told them again I was not interested and they started to read off the names on the list to see if I recognized any of them.

Even odder in this whole process was the fact that when all the dust settled it turns out that I am coaching Liam’s team, 1 night a week practice, 1 night a week game and I am also coaching Aiden’s team with the Sat morning timeslot.

Like I said, it was a good plan…