Talking about divorce

I’ve been at a complete loss when it comes to talking to my kids about divorce. Malcolm absolutely will not talk. He knows the answers to my questions that will shorten the conversation.

But since he’s been back to school, I’ve been using the 20 minutes of reading he’s assigned every day to read “Mom’s House, Dad’s House” with him. It kind of seems like a breakthrough. He groans and complains all the way through it, but makes comments and asks questions that he’s never opened up about before. 

I don’t particularly like the book either and I change up the language and skip some sections. But this has been pretty enlightening.

I’m going to look for a book I might like better. Sitting there reading and not pressuring him to tell me how he feels seems to be exactly the way to get him to open up.

He has a friend

Ian’s classmates all drew pictures of him last week. Can you guess which of these was drawn by his new kindergarten best friend?

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Ok, I’ll give you a hint: one child couldn’t get enough detail on Ian’s weapons with a crayon so finished up with a pencil.

Ok, I have several questions. First, the face in the middle of the chest. That’s my first question. Second, is that a little robot minion on the right? Third, well, dagger claws everywhere possible is pretty efficient. Finally, the stick figure at the bottom right seems to have done nothing to deserve his fate.

Well, apparently the little guy on the right is Isaiah off in the background. Ian explained it to me. And the face on the shirt is because he was wearing his skull and crossbones shirt that day. And the little guy in the bottom right corner is a human who is evil. Ian added him.

I should have just asked him these questions first, but he won’t talk to me if I laugh when I hear his answers.

Super moon

My kids are begging me to let them stay up until the apocalypse. After some sage advice from Facebook, I knew talking to them directly, openly, and honestly was my only way forward.

Look, boys. We’re not going to have food, water, or transportation for months – possibly years. I need you to get your rest tonight because this is going to be bad. Really bad. I’m going out on the deck to watch for marauders. You get your rest for now and I’ll start screaming when I need you to wake up. Stay in here until you hear my signal.

I didn’t hear another peep out of them all night! I wish every night was the apocalypse!

Water on the floor

Dad: Ian! Don’t spill that water on the floor!
Ian: What water on the floor?
Dad: That glass of water on the table right there!
Ian: This one?
Dad: Yes!
Ian: This isn’t a glass of water on the floor. It’s on the table.

Crazy people

I haven’t had this happen in the entire 8 years I’ve been a parent. Took my kids to 7-11 to get snacks for “boys’ night”, our regularly scheduled night of staying up late and watching a movie. Friendly looking guy, probably a little drunk, says hi to the boys. They ignore him for the most part.

“Hey, can you guys ask this guy how he’s doing tonight?” he says.
More ignoring.
“They’re a little shy,” I say with a smirk and roll my eyes.
“It’s just common courtesy. They should know that,” he tells me, loud enough for it to be taken as something he wants my kids to hear.
Now I’m ignoring him.
Kids are joking around and Ian rustles some bags of snacks at kid-level.
“Hey, come on kids. Don’t mess up the shelf! This guy works hard!”
Turn quietly toward him and say in a hush, “I don’t need help parenting my kids.”
“I’m not parenting your kids! I’m just talking to them!”
“Don’t talk to my kids.”
“Whatever, man. I think it’s time for you to go. Just leave.”
“Now that you’re done telling my kids what to do you need to tell me what to do?”
“Just get out of here.”
Finish my transaction. Apologize to the clerk. Walk out.

My main goals: 1. Stand up, in front of my kids, to someone asserting authority they don’t have. 2. Avoid escalating the situation into something that would scare my kids.

I used to tell my kids, when they’d fret about monsters coming into our house, “monsters aren’t allowed in our house because they have mud on their feet. I would be so mad if I had to clean that up.” I wanted my kids, if they noticed anything, to notice me putting this guy on notice.

Took the kids back to 7-11 the next day to get a pizza. We were a walking, talking sideshow. The kids were singing “pizza pizza pizza!” and for some reason “nugget in a biscuit, nugget in a biscuit!” the whole way there.

But, once there, the same clerk fro
m the previous night was like, “hey, that guy last night? He’s crazy.” I said, “I know! What’s his problem?” He said, “no, he’s crazy. He’s usually fine, but sometimes he’s off his meds or something. He started talking to a woman the other day and she was smiling politely as he talked, but then he says, “you shouldn’t smile. You’re prettier when you’re not smiling.” and she said, “ok, I’m good at not smiling. I usually don’t smile at all.” and then after a few more things I didn’t hear, she threw up her arms and shouted, “you should just go fuck yourself, asshole!” He’s not allowed in here anymore.”

And again the next day I filled up the tank in my rental car at the same 7-11 and the clerk spoke to another customer in a different language, “blah blah blah blah crazy blah blah blah blah.” Then turns to me, and I’m already smiling because I heard the word crazy and felt like I was possibly involved in whatever he was saying – telling me that he was talking about this crazy guy – and says, “I was just telling him about that crazy guy. He’s had altercations with him too. Everybody needs to know it’s not just them!”

This is so true about all of life. Crazy people can hurt your feelings, but you need to know that it’s because they’re crazy and not because they actually had any valuable contribution to make to the never ending process of figuring out who you are.

Looney Tunes

Ok, you have to watch old Looney Tunes cartoons with your kids.

Ian: “Sometimes when people don’t want their money they bury it. But we wouldn’t do that because we want to be rich! But also we sometimes spend it. You have to give people your money if you want stuff. Dad, where do you find caves that have gold and diamonds in them?”

Malcolm: “Wile E. Coyote *is* actually a genius. I mean, he’s really smart. But his ideas don’t always work out.”

Ian: “That slingshot should actually be for rocks.” (Wile E. Coyote is shooting himself at the Roadrunner with a big slingshot.)

Malcolm: “He should just stop testing it. If it didn’t work, jumping on it isn’t going to help him fix it.”

Ian: “That actually is a fat horse.” (half watching the “Oh Brunhilde/Kill the Rabbit” episode – and staring at his ipad)

Ian: “He’s a really bad acrobat.” (Wile E. Coyote again)
Mal: “He’s not an acrobat, Ian.”
Ian: “Oh, yeah. He wants to *be* an acrobat.”

Raise your hand

I hear whispered from the kids’ bedroom: “Ian, what are you doing?” mumbling “Ian, what are you doing?” rustling, mumbling. I shout “Are you guys in bed?” Hear rustling, then silence. Very sternly, “whoever’s in bed raise their hand.” Not a peep since.

Mercury in Retrograde

I swear to god, the fact that Mercury appears to change direction for a bit in the night sky means exactly one thing: Jesus is having second thoughts. Nothing else! You superstitious people have been driving me crazy this week! And also a smiling cyclops.

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Sing to yourself, dad

Singing along to the radio on the way to school this morning, Ian tells me, “dad! Can you please stop singing?”

Dad: “But I like singing!”
Ian: “Well, you can sing when you’re all by yourself.”
Mal: “Ian, you’re not the boss of dad.”
Dad: “It’s ok. I don’t mind being quiet if it’s bothering Ian.” Fun part of the song comes on again so I loudlly hum it to myself.
Ian: “Dad! Are you humming?”

lol.

Dad: “Yes.”
Ian: “It’s ok, I don’t mind if you hum.”

School paperwork daze

Tucked away in the usual packet of permission slips to allow the school to take care of my child’s basic needs that was sent home with him today:

Consent to release of information:

Consent is assumed if it is not expressly withheld. Non-consent will disallow the following:

Photo and name in annual yearbook.
Media release allowing media and school, to photograph, video, and interview him. These can be posted on the school’s or district website or social media accounts and used by private media outlets.
Photograph and directory information can be posted in school or district directory.

Directory information is defined as: Parent or guardian name, student’s name and address, home telephone number, home email address, photograph, date of birth, date of enrollment, grade level, enrollment status, degree or award received, major field of study, participation in athletic programs, and other information that would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It does not define “harmful” or “invasion of privacy” nor by whom that definition is made.

Any lack of response is considered consent.

I’m not fond of this form. Mixing consent for the yearbook with consent to allow him to participate in interviews and photographs by private media companies or SPS and posting them to SPS websites and social media channels is unfair. I would like to give consent for school and/or media release of this information on an individual basis but also not have him excluded from the yearbook.

Requiring blanket consent to these things just to have him included in the yearbook makes me uncomfortable. I’m going to send my comments to the school to see if there are any other options.

Am I missing something? This just doesn’t seem right.