Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Family Prayer

When our sons were little, before they started at the public kindergarten near our house, they went to preschool at a Montessori school downtown, not too far from where I officed at the time. The woman who ran it was a saint and everything good about my children today can be directly attributed to her influence. The Lovely Bride and I still get a little teary talking about what a magical time that was, before the boys went feral.

Like any good preschool, this one had a music teacher who came in a couple of times a week. The kids learned some songs and played some instruments and had fun and eventually put on a show to display their talents.

The Lovely Bride and I went, of course, because who wouldn't want to watch a room full of four-year-olds sing "Rainbow Around Me" while banging drums and tambourines? After the performances, we gathered with the other families in the main room for a potluck and a chance to visit with parents we usually only saw on our way in or out the door.

"Does your son have older brothers?" one of the mothers asked after we'd exchanged pleasantries.

"Oh, God," I muttered. "What now?"

The Lovely Bride kicked me under the table. "Yes, he does," she answered. "Two of them. Why do you ask?"

"I was just curious," said the mother. "Your son and my daughter had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago."

"Oh, God," the Lovely Bride muttered.

"That's nice," I said, clenching my teeth and trying to smile at the mother. "Your daughter's a nice girl. It's nice that they're friends. Isn't that nice?" I asked the Lovely Bride.

The Lovely Bride closed her eyes and sighed. "What did he say?" she asked.

"He told my daughter he was a girl trapped inside a boy's body."

"Oh, God," I said.

"Oh, God," said the Lovely Bride.

"It's kind of funny," said the mother. "I mean, it's not funny if he really feels that way. It doesn't bother me if he feels that way, of course, not that my opinion should matter anyway." It was that kind of preschool.

When we got home a couple hours later the two older boys were watching television with the babysitter. We paid her and sent the youngest upstairs to color while we talked to his brothers.

"Come here," I yelled from the kitchen.

"What?" the oldest yelled back.

"Come here," I repeated. "Bring the other one with you."

Grumbling, they came upstairs. "What?" asked the middle one.

"Did you tell your brother he was a girl trapped inside a boy's body?" I demanded.

"Why do you ask?" said the oldest. Neither of them would make eye contact with me.

"Did it occur to you that maybe our family's screwed up enough already?" I asked.

The Lovely Bride kicked me under the table.

"Well it is," I continued. "And this kind of thing just makes it worse."

"Our family is not screwed up," she said.

"What would you call it?" I asked.

She paused and thought. "Special?" she guessed.

"Well, that's a lot better," I said.

"We're missing our show," the oldest reminded me.

"Go apologize to your brother," I told them.

They hurried upstairs to find him, eager to get back to the television.

"Sorry you're a girl," said the oldest.

"Me too," said the middle boy.

"Mom!" shrieked the youngest.

"We're special, alright," I told the Lovely Bride.

"Oh, God," she said.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Where In The World Is Snag 2011 - Day 1
























Where am I?

A. Yemen

B. Caught up in a hilarious case of mistaken identity

C. 523 steps from a hotel bar

D. Hoisted on my own petard

E. _____?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Civics Lesson

"I couldn't get my boarding pass to print this morning," my mother said.

"That's because you're on a no-fly list," I said.

"Don't be foolish," she said. "Why would I be on a list like that?"

"Because I informed on you?" I suggested.

"I'll need to get to the terminal early anyway," she said, ignoring me. "I imagine security will be increased because of recent events."

"You mean the NFL draft? I can see why Seahawks fans are upset, but I doubt they'll be storming the airport."

"No wonder your children don't listen to you," she said.

"Why would you want to go to Argentina anyway? Is it the next leg of your ongoing tour of the world's great dictatorships?"

"What are you talking about?" she asked.

"Cambodia. Norway. Now Argentina."

"Argentina's a lovely country."

"So is Germany. Scenery isn't the only thing they've shared."

"Oh, stop it," she said. "Argentina has an elected government that's no worse than ours."

"Like that's saying much," I muttered.

"At least I can't be accused of having raised a Republican," she mused. Then, turning to her grandsons, she added, "Although I otherwise failed miserably with your father."

"It's not your fault, Grandma," said the oldest. "He's just that way."

"Yeah, nobody likes him," said the youngest.

"Anything to add?" I asked the middle boy.

"They're right," he said.

"Great," I told my mother. "You got the kids to finally agree on something."

"Democracy is about finding common ground," she said.