Thursday, April 19

Ya gotta pay attention

Today I'm on "vacation" so I can prep my bedroom for a makeover. My mission was delayed due to many breaks from clearing off my shelves to play with my niece. One of her favorite games is to make cookies with my mom who talks to an invisible camera as if they are hosting a cooking show. I wandered into their show today and was introduced as a special guest. At one point Little Miss asked me if I had a video camera. I said "No, but maybe I can get my hands on one and shoot you and grandma." The puzzled and concerned expression on her face can not be described. I immediately realized she's probably been hearing a lot about shooting this week. I quickly explained that taking someones picture is often described as "shooting" a picture. She seemed relieved to hear that I wasn't planning a rampage. Poor baby. I hate it when the news oozes into the world of kids. It's not fair.

My nephew was about 2 years old when 9/11 happened. On around 9/14 he walked into the room, took a look at the tv and wearily said "I'm tired of this show." He was right, we were all watching too much news at that time. We'd been turning off CNN when Little Man was around but he got wind of it anyway. Several months later, out of nowhere, he turned to me and said "The firemen go up the building but they can't come down." How do you respond to that? You choke back tears, nod, lie and say everything is ok when you know better. You try to influence them and push them in the direction of being good little people with integrity and compassion in spite of all the crap happening in the world.

After I accidentally terrorized Little Miss today, my sis-in-law came to pick up the kids and mentioned a comment Little Man's substitute teacher had made. She apparently said he had been a bit of trouble. My brother and sis-in-law are not screamers so Little Man shouldn't feel bad about admitting mistakes but he does. He's a really good kid who hates to be in trouble. Little Miss, on the other hand, doesn't seem to mind trouble at all. Anyway, when confronted with being in trouble, his eyes turned into those of a wide eyed cartoon character whose eyes just get wetter and wetter as they grow larger and larger. He was trying to be brave during the gentle questioning but was not taking it well. Finally, I said "Dude. I'm 40 years old and I mess up all the time. The trick is to admit you've messed up, try to fix it then decide how to not to mess up again." It was my way of explaining accountability. I went on to say "You know mom and dad don't yell. They just want to know what happened that's all. Don't worry about making mistakes. You're a kid, you're supposed to make mistakes sometimes." His wet eyes cleared up and he nodded. He seemed to understand.

The last time Little Man was in trouble it was for playing tag. I may have mentioned it here but apparently kids get in trouble for playing tag these days. Tag is now emotionally harmful to kids deemed "it". Strange how the tagless kids of today are the ones shooting everyone. I don't remember any "it" kids shooting anyone back when I was in school. Well, there was Carrie's little freak out but I don't think movies count.

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