Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm going to play! Perfect Moments Monday
There's a kind of snarky perfection to this--I'm not sure if that's the intent of the perfect moments theme, but here goes:
My boys are 4 years apart in age, 8 and 12. My younger has adhd, which intensifies behaviors that (I often suspect intentionally) irritate the older. The older is easily irritated, making himself the most tempting target. I remember an episode on the Simpsons, where some sanctimonious adult announces, "I will just now turn my back and bend over and tie my shoe", and does so, turning up the irresistible target of wriggling buttocks. The tension this creates in the children is unbearable, and they've nearly survived it without incident when the adult announces he's going to now tie his OTHER shoe. The rocks are launched from the slingshot.
Connor is that sanctimonious adult.
The boys can go from 0 to 80 in nothing flat. Sample conversation: Scott: "The sun goes this way...around the earth..." Connor: "No, the earth goes around the sun--DUMMY!!!" And they're off. Scott: "Well, you're stupid!" Connor: "Mom, Scott just called me stupid!" And I'm remembering my mom's remark from the past: "I want to knock your two heads together."
We were on a backpacking trip this past weekend because they had a holiday from school Friday. Neither wanted to go and they complained bitterly.
We were going to walk over to some low cliffs to watch the sunset and the boys were impatient to go. I'd dipped some water from the lake and had it on our little stove to boil. I wanted to purify it, and then let it cool overnight so we'd have cold drinking water in the morning. So we were waiting on the pot. To pass the time I asked Connor if he knew what the phrase, "A watched pot never boils" means.
He said, "Yes. If you're waiting for something it takes forever. But, one saying I've never gotten is, 'People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.' I don't get that. Is that like saying people who don't brush their teeth get cavities?"
All of the most perfect examples of hypocrisy I've ever heard or experienced vanished and left me with a lame example: "Well, it's more like someone criticizing people for sneezing really loud and then sneezing loudly themselves. It's about criticizing someone for something that you do yourself."
Much later we're in the car on the way home, Gary driving. I've already threatened the boys several times that we're going to take the next exit and sit in the car until they tell me they can control their bickering because it's not safe to drive with all the yelling in back. There's a sullen silence reigning when Gary said, "Man, that guy has big ears!"
"The driver in front of us. He has huge ears."
"How can you see that...oh!" When the light angle was just right this driver's ears were elephantine. Even several car lengths ahead and around a neck rest we could see them. Gary kept talking, "I don't think I've ever seen ears that big."
I couldn't help it, and started to laugh.
Connor was scandalized. "That's really MEAN of you guys! How would you like it if someone behind us was laughing at Dad's bald spot?"
We rounded a corner and the autumn light illuminated the inside of the car ahead again.
"There they are." said Gary. It took a moment to realize what "they" were, and this time I howled. I hadn't laughed like that in ages, with such complete abandon.
Connor spoke up again. "You guys are so mean! I can't believe you!"
I said, "Connor, we wouldn't laugh if we were in the same room as him. He can't hear us." Then, inspiration seized me: "I wouldn't punctuate any comment I'd make with, 'DUMMY!' Now that would be mean.'" I paused for effect, then, "Connor, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!"
Way to drive home a metaphor! He got it, too. Eyes dropped, "Awwww....be quiet..."
But I have a runner up for that perfect moment. Last night I took the boys to a matinee our local theater puts on as a school benefit. They were running "Night At the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian". The premise of the original "Night At the Museum" is a night guard at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City discovers that the exhibits come to life during the night. A magical ancient Egyptian tablet animates them. One of those exhibits is a mischievous, trouble-causing capuchin monkey.
The sequel finds the exhibits moved to the Smithsonian to be archived. Due to the capuchin's having stolen the Egyptian tablet all the exhibits in the greater institute (housed in 19 museums along the Washington Mall) come to life , including the first monkey in space (a capuchin) who happens to meet face to face with its counterpart from New York. There is a scene where the monkeys are slapping each other while the Ben Stiller character tries vainly to stop them, getting slapped himself and slapping them as well. Now THAT was a perfect image of my boys, verbally "slapping" each other, and me, trying to make it stop. I whispered to Connor, "That's US!"