Usually Tim doesn't wake me when he leaves at 5, but he did this morning. Instead of going back to sleep I was lying there thinking up a Haiku to prepare myself for Monday morning breakfast.
Sour cherry pie
will get my kids out of bed
naughty fun breakfast
They didn't love the pie, but the novelty of it got them dressed. I've always wanted to give kids pie for breakfast. When I was little I read on the back of my cereal box that kids in New England eat apple pie for breakfast. I looked down at my sugar free cereal and screamed "MOM! I'm supposed to be eating apple pie for breakfast!" It got me nowhere, but it's been on my mind for 30 years.
My favorite Haiku story involves two of my roommates from college. They'd just moved to New York City together and were going to a classmates' birthday party. Sarah was writing a Haiku on the card. She read the first 2 lines out loud to Colin:
A New York birthday
should be so very heavy
Without missing a beat he shouted from the bathroom,
NOT UNLIKE YOUR LEGS!
The birthday girl did always have unusually stocky legs-not unlike Hillary Clinton's.
I've got quite a few tricks in my Tim-less school day morning arsenal. I discovered two weeks into it that shouting doesn't work. I recently asked Jack Peter nicely 5 or 6 times to finish his breakfast and go get dressed with no response. I finally dumped a 1/2 pint of water on him. It was, by far, my most effective parenting to date. Drenched, he ran right down and got dressed after a short, indignant session of weeping.
Jack Peter is 6 now. I think I'm entitled to expect a little more from him. As usual, his birthday did not pass un-noticed. He expects a wedding-size party every year for his birthday because we had an inadvertent rager for his 3rd birthday which set a bad precedent. This year, I got a "groupon" for a bounce house this year. You get what you pay for. The netting on the wall of the right side was perforated with kid-size holes. The guys came drunk at 9 am to the park to set it up. I called them to tell them things were winding down at 2-ish. They arrived at 6:30 to break it down. Poor napless Toby passed out on her face in the middle of it for part of the afternoon. I did not pass out face down despite sitting there with the dads drinking the entire time while every kid in the park had his/her way with the bounce house. It wasn't a bad way to spend a day, and all of the dads took pity on my Tim-less self and helped me clean everything up.
We decided to have it catered by our friend, John. He cooked for 80; 40 came. I invited all of JP's kindergarten, and 10% RSVP'd, so I had no idea. I was slightly self-conscious about the absurd amount of food, people and the bounce house-not to mention the 5 cases of beer I'd bought. JP's school is 80% below the poverty line. Apparently, my discomfort was unwarranted. Jack Peter's friend, Ny Brie's grandmother said to me, "I like what you've done here; it's simple. The kids can just grab food and run around! Black people don't do it like this, they make everything so COMPLICATED! First they'd close off the block, and then the RIBS and the COLLARD GREENS; this is nice, and I like this beer!" Ny Brie's grandmother also pulled me aside to tell me quite graphically how handsome one of the husbands was. She cracked me up. I was telling the couple after the party thinking they'd get a kick out of it. Unphased, they said, "Oh yeah...Rob can't go anywhere without a black woman hitting on him. He even gets everything free at Home Depot if there's a black woman at the register." Who knew?
We made capes for everyone that had the logo of GPFFJ on the back. GPFFJ is the "secret agent website" that Jack Peter and his best friend, Caspar "work" for. GPFFJ stands for nothing. The cape idea didn't really take off at the party, but watching my kids "fly" around the driveway when I'd completed the first 3 prototypes was priceless. Jack Peter wore his cape to school one day and came home telling me that Mrs. O'Brien was really jealous of his cape. Luckily we had a blue roll of vinyl disposable tablecloth. Vinyl disposable tablecloths are the raw material for DIY capes, and the black produces a decidedly trash-bag-ish effect that I didn't want for Mrs. O'Brien. Jack Peter made her a "ST" medallion for the back (super-teacher) He presented it to her the following day.
We didn't hear anything about the super teacher cape until Jack Peter's kindergarten "graduation". It was a ceremony at 10:30 am on a weekday. I'd miscalculated everything. The girls were starving. I had to work at noon. I kissed Jack Peter after a half an hour and headed out before the ceremony was over because the girls were ticking time bombs. The assistant teacher ran after me to tell me I had to stay for one last part of the ceremony. We traipsed back in, and Mrs. O'Brien announced that she'd received the best gift ever this year from one of her students. She donned her cape saying she'd ALWAYS wanted a super teacher cape.
I think it's safe to say that Jack Peter was one of Mrs. O'Brien's favorites. I used to think she was too hard on one of his classmates, but after spending a full day with this kid, I had to say to her, "Mrs O'Brien, I've always had a lot of respect for you, but after spending a day with John, my respect for you has tripled." She replied, "MULTIPLY THAT TIMES 170!" For some reason Jack Peter had $2 from Mrs. O'Brien in his pocket when we went to a Kentucky Derby party. Hoping for a life lesson, I asked him if he wanted to bet on a horse. Being Jack Peter, he did, and then his horse came in second, so his $2 magically turned into $29. Steel went so ballistic at his luck that the host of the party gave her $4. Great, Jack Peter learned that gambling does pay, and Steel learned, yet again, that pitching a fit does get you what you want.
I guess it's fair to say that disciplining my kids and discouraging bad behavior has been challenging. We hit an all-time low when they were mimicking me as I was trying to tell them to eat dinner. "Eat your broccoli, Steel! Ha Ha Ha!" All I could think was, "What the hell are they going to do when they're teenagers???" I took away a toy from Jack Peter, and they all stood up for him and told me they were going to throw all of my stuff away and then they were going to draw on my clothes with a sharpie.
I give them pie for breakfast justifying it to myself by writing a Haiku at 5 am, and this is how they repay me? I want to kill them, and then I'll hear them casually humming Loretta Lynn to themselves as they open the toy chest to play. There's not much cuter than their little voices singing, "One needs a spankin'; one needs a huggin' and ONE'S ON THE WAY!"