“Piñatas and Gringos”

southwest mountain view

“mountain view” (c)Gracie K Harold 2014

“Piñatas and Gringos”

By Gracie K. Harold

I was seven years old in the early 1980’s when my family moved from the Lakeshore living of the Midwest to the Southwestern Desert of Arizona.  To say that we had culture shock is an understatement. We had driven cross country, towing a car behind us while the moving truck transported all of our belongings.  I remember my parents waking me up around 11:00 pm to show me the view from the mountainside gas station as we reached the “valley side” of the mountain range and began our descent into the city of Phoenix.  The lights from below us were a magical panorama of adventures to come.  Above us, the stars were breathtaking.  The scent of desert sage and citrus trees greeted us in the night air; and suddenly we were all wide awake with excitement.

We arrived at our new home just before midnight, and my brother and I barely contained our excitement when we discovered an in-ground swimming pool in our backyard.  Our parents jumped up and down as they squealed like children, “Time for a midnight swim!”  We had our swimsuits on in a heartbeat and ran out to the backyard, where celebration ensued in the pool.

Simultaneously, like a cheesy horror film; three things happened.  The floodlights turned on, blinding us with brightness.  The underground sprinkler system turned on in the little yard adjoining the pool, showering us at full pressure with cold water as we stared stupidly from the pool.  Next, we heard the creepy sound of a whirring motor and turned to see a mechanical floating thing emerge from the shadows under the diving board.  It started zipping through the water, with tentacles whipping back and forth underwater like twin anacondas.  The round part that was above water looked to be the same dimensions as my brother’s head; and the tentacles reached underneath at least 5 feet in each direction.  We thought we had all fallen into a science fiction nightmare in the middle of the desert.  My dad yanked me out by my arm as my mom screamed to my brother to “Get out! Quick! Swim to the side!”  I had never seen a little boy swim like a cartoon character until that moment.  His little arms went over his body as if he were a windmill; and both of my parents were waiting at the side of the pool to pull him out of harm’s way.  We grabbed our towels like they were combat helmets and made a hasty retreat into the house; where the sliding door was locked down like Fort Knox.  We changed into pajamas and huddled together on the living room floor until we fell asleep.

One minute after the realtor’s office opened the next morning; my parents were on the phone.

The realtor came over and showed my parents where to find (and also how to reset) the timers for the sprinklers and floodlights.  She adeptly redirected the spray from the sprinklers; and then she had the oddest smirk on her face when she heard my parents’ description of the motorized pool beast that almost ate my brother.  It turns out “the pool beast” was in reality a “pool porpoise”, otherwise known as a “pool sweep”.  It was designed to be a self-propelled pool cleaner; and would automatically move around obstacles in the pool while it cleaned.  In other words, it would never eat anyone, but would adjust its route around us. In the weeks and years to come, my brother and I actually grew comfortable enough with the “monster”  that we would race to grab the tentacles from underwater and drench each other with the pool spray.

Our next adventure happened when we were outside later that day.  Some old railroad ties were stacked on each other to mark our property line; and my brother and I went over to them to investigate the little creatures which dotted our makeshift “fence”.  We were overjoyed to watch the lizards of all sizes as they sunned themselves.  It was only a matter of time before we dared each other to pick one up.  On the count of three, we both courageously grabbed a lizard by the tail and grinned at each other in triumph.  The lizards unceremoniously snapped free of their tails and scampered away as we stood in shock staring at each other.  A split second later, we screamed in horror at the sight of our sibling holding a flailing tail which was somehow broken off of a lizard.  Realization sunk in, and we each looked at the flailing tail in our own hand; screaming in bloodcurdling yelps.  Our mother came running out of the house, certain that her beloved children were being kidnapped or stung by scorpions.

Instead, she opened the door to find us shrieking and waving our hands as the lizard tails convulsed between our fingers.  “Drop it! Drop it! Drop it RIGHT NOW!” she commanded. Neither one of us had thought of that.  We obliged, and ran to her as the tails finished their writhing on the ground.  We didn’t know what was worse; thinking that we had killed the cute little lizards, or being so freaked out by their tails moving in our hands while disconnected from their bodies.   Once again, my parents were relieved when their local source of truth assured them that the lizards would indeed grow new tails; and that they were harmless little animals.

One of the most interesting places to visit was the local supermarket.  We had never seen piñatas in real life before.  Our hometown in Michigan had been largely influenced by European settlers; and the largest cultural experience that we had was once a year at the local art festival when we sampled egg rolls from the food booths.

I remember looking over our heads at the piñatas as they danced in the breeze of the air conditioning unit.  My dad asked a sales clerk, “What are those things hanging in the air?” She explained that they were piñatas, and that children hit them with broomsticks to get candy out of them for their birthdays.  My brother and I dropped our jaws and widened our eyes in amazement!  What a great idea!

My dad thanked the salesclerk, and the whole way home, my brother was quietly plotting something.  I didn’t have to wait long before he pulled my parents aside at home.  “Hey, my birthday is coming up; and I really want one of those candy things from the store!”  My dad answered, “Oh, you want a piñata? (It is very important at this point in my recollection to tell you that my father, and eventually everyone in my family pronounced it “PIN~a~teh”, as in a straight PIN, “a” as in the A in hat, and “teh” like the t sound. It was said through a Midwestern nasally voice; but with the arrogance of all of us who thought we were accomplishing assimilation with the locals.)

Weeks came and went, and my brother’s birthday was upon us.  With much pomp and carryings-on; the store bought piñata was hung up on our back patio amid whoops of celebration.  My parents decided NOT to blindfold my 5 year old brother, reasoning that giving a healthy boy a broomstick was close enough to living on the edge.  A quiet hush fell over us as he recoiled and swung, hitting the piñata. His hits became more fierce and determined until he knocked the thing off of the hook; and proceeded to pound it on the ground.  Still wielding the broomstick, he looked up from the tattered mess of crepe paper and voiced what we had just realized, “This PIN-a-teh has NO CANDY in it!!!!”  My dad cussed under his breath, my mother scooped up the battered remains into a bag, and took off in the car.

We later learned that she drove to the supermarket, marched up to the service desk; and refused to talk with anyone less than a manager.  When the hierarchy of the store arrived, mom recounted our story; demanding a refund because our PIN-a-teh was missing its candy!  Mom came home with a new PIN-a-teh, which she had stuffed with newly-purchased candy.  The birthday was redeemed; but I overheard mom telling dad that the salesgirl and manager actually giggled as she walked away.  “And they said something about me obviously being a ‘gringo’.  I wonder what ‘gringo’ means?”

Years later when I was enrolled in Spanish class, I recalled that conversation and laughed at how aptly that described us.  (If you don’t know what “gringo” means, it’s a Spanish slang word for a non-native; it can be also taken like the term “Rookie”). We were the epitome of a family of gringos.  We wanted so badly to fit in and acclimate well; yet we had done a comically horrible job.  Our family’s missteps, however; are minimal compared to the experience that my father’s co-worker had.

The co-worker and his wife were out for a peaceful weekend walk along one of the irrigation canals that ran around town.  As they strolled; the wife noticed a bedraggled, matted, soaking wet little animal that appeared to have been in a fight.  Their hearts went out to the poor creature; and the wife wondered how someone could abandon such a helpless Chihuahua.  They tried to call a veterinary clinic, but they couldn’t locate anyone in town that offered weekend hours.

They brought the animal to their house, gave it a bath; used their blow dryer on low heat; and let the pitiful critter sleep on their bed.  Monday morning, they brought their found animal into the vet clinic.  They were astonished when the veterinarian started laughing uncontrollably.  He finally caught his breath enough to explain that they had found an overgrown Mexican sewer rat!

Yes, literally, a Mexican sewer rat!!!

I have to say it…..EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

Can you imagine?!

As realization dawned on them, they were horrified! Their sheets!  Their towels! Their house!!!!  They had unwittingly brought a wild rodent into their home!  I think that their experience deserves the “Gringo Trophy”!  From that point on; when we would misstep in the name of acclimating; we would laugh and say, “At least I didn’t bring home a sewer rat!”

Eventually, we relaxed enough to really enjoy our new surroundings.  The car that we had towed behind us on our cross-country move was a Classic convertible.  Some of my favorite memories are of the Sunday afternoons we would spend exploring Route 66 and the other back roads of Arizona.

We also learned that if we were going to the bank, it was wisest to bring a book because the wait with just one person ahead of us would easily be 15 to 20 minutes.  This was because Arizona natives never seemed to be in a hurry for anything.  We learned how to slow down and enjoy the people around us.

Our favorite epiphany involved the beauty of simply sitting and watching the sunset; whether it was sitting on our patio or atop South Mountain.  The desert silhouettes provided the perfect foreground for the most gorgeous skies we had ever seen.

We still had misadventures along the way, and we still laugh at the mistakes that were made; but our experience taught me that when you are getting used to a new place or a new situation, things will probably go awry.  In our new life together, as in Arizona; things go smoother when I can laugh at myself and learn from my mistakes.  Honestly, I think that slowing down to simply enjoy one another as we discover this new life together will be the best part of our journey.

Below is a link to an Arneson pool sweep ad:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PYVWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yeYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2664%2C1461706

and here’s an image of our “pool monster”:

In reality, this measures approximately 4 feet from front to back.

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Sesame and Sunday

Coffee

Our son, Rex, is anaphylaxic to sesame.  In the past, he has needed an Epi-pen® Jr. injection after accidentally eating some sesame chips.  This past weekend, James and I cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids.  We have bought the same hot dog buns for months.  This weekend, we were in a frenzy due to a busy schedule and the fact that I am still tired and not quite up to 100% health yet.

We ate hot dogs Saturday night, and again Sunday afternoon.  Immediately after eating, we drove Rex and Ruby out to their grandparents’ home for a sleepover.  We noticed upon arrival that Rex had quite a few red marks on his neck.  He commented that they were bug bites from the bonfire we were at the night before.

We dismissed it, since he was exuberant and giddy.  We made plans for the two kids to stay in with an extra cell phone while grandma and grandpa went out for a bit, just around the corner.  We hugged our goodbyes and left for home.  20 minutes later, James picked up the hot dog bun bag and yelled, “Gracie! The buns list sesame as an ingredient now!”  I bolted over to him to inspect the bag as David said, “Mom!  Maybe those weren’t bug bites!”

I picked up my phone and frantically dialed the number for the cell phone that the kids had.  No answer…three times.  I texted. No response.

I texted my mom, and told her to call immediately.

She left her husband’s side to call me, and took off for home without even telling him what happened.

I asked if we needed to call an ambulance or not.  She said she would call back when she saw Rex.

Meanwhile, I called the allergist, who called the Emergency Room at the hospital.

Mom called back and spoke to James while I spoke to the Dr.

After I hung up, James and I hopped in our vehicle and took off for the hospital.  We packed caffeine as we assumed that we would be there for a long time.

We were at the hospital first, and I preregistered Rex before pacing and watching for the car that had my son in it.

They arrived, I rushed out and swooped him into a wheelchair, and marveled at the way he was giggling.

We pulled up to registration, and the nurse asked how many hot dog buns Rex had eaten.

I leaned over and asked him.

“None, mommy!  I didn’t eat any hot dogs. I had hamburgers!  A little voice in my head told me NOT to eat any hot dogs, so I didn’t.  Not yesterday either!”

We stared incredulously.  Thank God that this little man listened to that voice of warning!

The doctor checked him over just to be certain that the secondhand exposure hadn’t triggered his asthma, and he passed with flying colors.

James started laughing first, then Ruby snickered, my mom chortled, Rex giggled, and I shook my head as I laughed at our failure to ask the most obvious of questions.

The doctor assured us that we did the right thing, and that we could rest assured knowing that we knew what to do if there had been an actual reaction.  He did join us in snickering over the craziness of our Sunday.

We hugged our two kids goodbye again, and mom said, “Oh, shoot!  I never told my husband where I was going or that I was leaving!”

I quickly sent a text message of explanation so that once he walked home, he could retrieve the phone which he had left for the kids.

James shook his head and snickered every half hour for the rest of the night, as we sat up watching movies (we both had downed more than our share of caffeine!)

So we forgot to ask a crucial question, and made an assumption, and drove in two separate frenzies to the hospital…but at the end of the day, we laughed.

We laughed because Rex is alive.  We laughed because we care so much about him that we would not hesitate to do it all again to keep him safe.  We laughed because perfection is not a prerequisite for parenting.  We laughed because we were together, flaws and all…and we.are.loved.

Thankful Thursday

"Arce Pirate Mechanics" (C) Gracie K. Harold 2014

“Arce Pirate Mechanics” (C) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Today, I am thankful for my husband James and the sarcastic humor that we share.  We saw the sign above, and the following was our commentary:

J: “Hmmm, I wonder if they are pirate mechanics…as in, ‘get off your arse, we’ll fix yer car.’ ”

Me: “But, mateys, we only accept doubloons, don’t yer know?”

J: “And fer tools, our hooks detach fer us to put on the tool extension we be needin’ ”

Me: “And we keep the doubloons right ‘ere in ar wooden leg!”

J: “And thar’s no need fer safety goggles when we already sport this eye patch, is thar?”

Hopefully, we made you laugh! What are you thankful for?

Comment below, or on my Facebook page, or via Twitter: @GracieKHarold #ThankfulThursday

“Across the Street From Normal” Preview

The proof of my book has arrived! I am slipping out a sneak preview because I.cannot.keep.it.a.secret 🙂 20140715-074238-27758244.jpg

The Vocal Mime

vocal mime

Vocal Mime @GracieKHarold 2014

 

I once persuaded a mime to *gasp* speak.

The autumn air was the perfect temperature on that fateful Halloween.  Our neighbor girl had  joined my family for a “Harvest Party” at our mega-church.  By mega-church, I literally mean that the campus sprawled out over acres of land.  The church event featured street performers of all types.  There were stilt-walkers, clowns, sidewalk artists, illusionists, and mimes.

My neighbor friend had to use the restroom.  We were at the end of campus that was in close proximity to the sanctuary building.  My mother didn’t want to walk any further until we knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that the restrooms were indeed open.  It was announced that we were expected to wait (or bounce in the case of my friend) until my mother returned from locating a “Person in charge”.

It was on that balmy night amid throngs of humanity pushing past us that my path intersected with the make-up caked-on, black-and-white-wearing, glove-ensconced mime man in the derby hat.

I admired his fashion panache immediately, and assumed he MUST be able to help us with our current bathroom dilemma.  I, in my artistic ignorance, assumed that he was a traditionally-painted clown who merely wanted to pay homage to the harlequins of years gone by.  (I was a rather nerdy child who loved researching things like “the history of clowns” in my free time.  Seriously, I did.)

I assured my friend that I would be back in a moment with an answer, and I stepped confidently away from where she was contorted in the “international bathroom dance”.  Pulling myself up to full height, I tapped the mime man on the shoulder and said, “My friend needs to go to the bathroom.  Is the sanctuary unlocked?”

The mime man proceeded to gesture me a strange series of movements.

I was confused.  I stood a bit straighter, and answered in a slightly louder voice, “My friend (pointing to her) needs to go to the bathroom (crossing my legs in the “potty stance”).  Is the SANCTUARY (pointing to the building) OPEN (opening my hands like a clam)?”

The mime man did something that looked like he was confused as he walked through an invisible door.

I repeated my above-mentioned question, LOUDER and with GRANDER gestures.

The mime man shrugged and walked away.

I was indignant.  My friend would wet her pants at any moment, and this fashionable historian was refusing to give us the answer that we needed.

I followed the mime man over to where a small crowd had gathered, and tapped him on the shoulder AGAIN.  I went through my spiel for the third time, adding exaggerated bounces to the potty dance, solemn prayer gestures to the sanctuary part, and mimicking his open-the-invisible-door-and-walk-on-through bit.

He threw up his hands in exasperation and stomped off.

I followed, wondering who would ignore a little girl in obvious need of a restroom. 

I tapped him on the shoulder again, and said, “Hey, Mister. I ASKED YOU A QUESTION!”

He whirled around and said, “Little Girl, I am a MIME.  I do not speak. I gesture, It is an art form which you have just ruined.  I DO NOT KNOW IF THE SANCTUARY IS UNLOCKED, I HOPE YOUR LITTLE FRIEND FINDS A BATHROOM. I have to go now as you made me break my mime-vow of silence.”  He burst into tears and ran for the parking lot.

“What happened to that man in the derby hat?”  I discovered that my mom had walked up beside me.

“I asked him if the sanctuary was unlocked so we could use the bathroom, and he started crying.”

Mom just blinked at me stupidly.  “Tell me what you did, Gracie, while we walk.”  We headed in the direction of the bathrooms as I retold my tale, complete with reenactment of gestures.

My friend speed walked into the haven of the unlocked restroom and found relief as I finished my story.

Mom simply shook her head, said, “Tsk tsk tsk, Gracie. Only you could make a mime talk…and cry.”  She started with a chuckle, and laughed on and off through the entire evening.

My family now refers to me in the following way: “Gracie is so stubborn that she can make a mime talk.”

I am, and I have. 😉

 

 

Pilates & Children

pilates & children I embarked on a new adventure today!  I invited the kids to join me in my pilates routine.  The following is a loose interpretation of the transcript:

Me: Okay, the mats are set up, the DVD is in; which workout would y’all like?  The “get moving in the morning”, “the cardio”, “the strength building”, or “the intro”?

Rex: “Get moving in the morning”

Me: Let’s do it, then! (Peaceful music plays on the screen, and the instructor launches in full throttle with marches, jumping jacks, scissor kicks, etc)

Rex, David & Ruby: (panting) Who is she? I think she’s a general or something!  She’s NOT even talking…the voice is a recording! That’s NOT FAIR!  Mom! WE-Can’t-Do-this! 

Me: (stopping the DVD) Which one should we do instead?

Rex: Not the cardiAC one!  It will give me a heart attack!

David: Let’s try the strength building so we can move on quicker to Daddy’s exercise program instead of “pi-lahhhh-tees”

Me: (switching episodes on the DVD), Here we go! (After 20 seconds of it)

Ruby: Mom!  This is crazy!  They go way too fast!

Me: Huh, I do this all the time…are y’all telling me that pilates is harder than you thought and your momma is tougher than you thought?

ALL 3: Nooooo, nope, uh-uh….nooooo….it’s just, um, early….yeah; early in the morning! uh huh!

Me: (flipping over to the intro) This time we are NOT stopping…we WILL do this; just go at your pace. As the intro starts, I begin rotating among the kids to ensure proper core tightening.  Rex crumbles into a human ball of giggles as soon as I get within 12 inches of his stomach.  Pretty soon I pause it so we can all finish laughing.

I restart the DVD and things go smooth for a bit.photo 1 (3) (The instructor starts the pelvic thrusts for strengthening)

ALL 3: Oooooooh….gross! Why is she humping in the air like dogs do in the spring? MOM! What kind of exercise is this anyway?!?!

Yup, Pilates & Children = a strong desire to have a beer and chocolate donut for lunch.

Why being a man is better. A slightly sarcastic post by James.

The following is a guest post (in honor of Father’s day); by my husband James:

A quick something about me.  I love God (Yahweh), my beautiful wife Gracie, and our 6 children. I am a bit sarcastic and use lots of one-liner’s.  I like beer; dark is my favorite but I don’t discriminate against light beers.

@ShortsBrewing, @reformedpubcast, @foundersbrewing; @AngryOrchard, thank you for some deliciousness in life!

@ShortsBrewing, @reformedpubcast, @foundersbrewing; @AngryOrchard, thank you for some deliciousness in life!

I think God gave us beer for our enjoyment but not to abuse.  I like talking through theology while enjoying a good beer; that’s one of the reasons why we like @reformedpubcast on twitter.

One of my love languages is joking with people…just ask Gracie.  We have a constant running joke in our house, which consists of me saying, “Yet another reason why being a man is better than being a woman.”  I am totally joking with this, but I like to wait for a weird moment when we are together and just say a random number and give a reason.  Gracie laughs at me every time.

Some examples follow:

Reason #5: Have you ever walked down the hairspray aisle with the objective of finding the perfect product? Being a man is better.

Reason #67  why being a man is better; I can go to the bathroom by myself while in public settings.

Reason #55: As a man, I don’t have to try on 95 outfits in order to find 2 that fit.  This frees up lots of time for other things.  (Seriously, we need to find a store that serves beer to men while their wives try on clothes…I’m just sayin’…)

But all joking aside, I thank God for Gracie.  I couldn’t do life without her.  God knew us men.  We need help and partnership; otherwise known as relationship.  We are after all made in the image of a relational God.

I want to challenge you to take a moment to think of your relationships and be thankful for the people who are there to help, encourage, and cheer you on; as you continue on in your journey.

May God bless you and your relationships.  Whether it be marriage or friendship; HE always provides us with someone there to help us.

“Golf-ish”

“Golf is a good walk ruined.” – Mark Twain.  I loved repeating this quote once upon a time.  Now, however, it’s  obvious that I must recant publicly of that.  The reason? Today, James took me golfing. He set up the tee time; (which I knew ahead of time was different from TEA time), and we flirtaciously texted  each other throughout the day about our “date”…no kids, free golf, not a family member in sight, and an afternoon to golf.  James, being an avid golfer, was rather excited.  I was nervously excited; and very thankful that the man has a sense of humor, since I am well aware that athletic agility is not always my forte’.

This is as "golf-ish" as I get

This is as “golf-ish” as I get

First, I went to google and searched “hip golf outfits for modern women”.  I am not joking.  Why must they all wear spandex or skorts? I’m sorry, but it was humid today; what would ever possess me to wear extra  layers between my thighs?  I was also confused by the plethora of polo-styled shirts, again, it’s a question of sweat.

It was so humid that I made an executive decision and skipped most of my make-up, mostly because I don’t buy it to wipe it on the back of my hands…but today it would have melted in streaks; leaving me to look like a strange warrior of golf.   I decided to wear a nautical inspired tee shirt and a comfy skirt which I could freely exercise in.  (For the record, my tee shirt had an animal on the pocket…although I still am unsure about which animal it is…it’s definitely NOT a horse).

Second, I packed the golf clubs as James had directed.  I packed us each a sports drink, and I even changed into tennis shoes instead of sandals.  Away we went! We arrived, checked in for our tee time, and James walked me over to the first hole.

My first moment of confusion happened after James explained that I got to tee off between the front markers. (PS I just learned that they are the same color on every course; that’s thoughtful of the golf course designers to color-code!)  I thought that I had to hit off the top of the concrete part…mercifully I was stopped before that disaster! My first lesson in swinging a club while on a course commenced; and we were on our way.

We eventually found a comfortable rhythm which consisted of James reminding me “Remember, baby, it’s golf and not baseball….swing your arms like a pendulum between 2:00 and 10:00.”  I did pretty well, all in all…especially once I found my “golf song mantra”.  I kept singing, “England swing like a pendulum do, bobbies on bicycle two by two, WestminsterAbbey, the tower of Big Ben, the rosy red cheeks of the little children.”  (Roger Miller 1965). The cockney accent helped me remember to swing my arms properly like a proper British person; and the Big Ben part helped me remember the clock positions for my swing.

I was just starting to feel rather pleased with my progress when James grinned and said, “C’mon baby…hit that golfball!” I did…and somehow managed to chip it backwards photo 2 (2)between my legs.  I am NOT kidding.  I looked over to see James doubled over.  He gasped, “All-my-years, never-seen-that-one”. We laughed, and kept on.

One of the holes, I chipped it beautifully….into the mud bog.  Another hole, I drove it about 75 yards…across the two lane road next to the course.  My favorite, though, was the hole with the quaint little creek that  ran under a footbridge.  I didn’t land my ball in the water once; nope…I did it twice.  From the same spot.  See? I have MAD golfi-sh skills!

About this time, we were laughing and feeling rather romantic from all of the goofiness.  We had just mildly made out, and we looked up at the people on their golf cart a few holes behind us.  “Huh! That looks like my parents,” I said.  It was my parents.  Yup.

James quipped, “Well, I was going to sneak you out to the woods over there…but your parents are behind us!” What are the odds? Overall, it was a fun day just chitchatting and having fun frogging around without (mostly) any supervision.

Sometimes, as parents; we just need an escape from “normal life” and we just need to be a “normal” couple on a date. I can’t wait for the next tee time! photo 3 (1)

Spring Fever

2014-05-06 06.37.43

Have you ever bounced a Superball® in a hallway?  That’s what it was like watching three of our children wait for the bus this morning!  They could not sit still for the life of them!  They were seriously engaged in a samurai-inspired slow motion tableau involving three backpacks, a medicine bag, and a plastic hanger.  I am NOT kidding; I didn’t know whether to laugh louder or hide all traces of sugar from the cupboards!

In addition to their exploding anticipation for the holiday weekend; Rex had to take an extra dose of antihistamine this morning due to his allergies.  Most children would get sleepy or lethargic with said medicine; but Rex becomes more hyper!  He seriously lets loose like a bottle rocket!

In speaking with David’s Middle School teacher about our children’s inability to focus lately; she explained the phenomenon.  Her mentor had divulged that in Middle School after Spring Break, all of the developing hormones and the weather form a sort of “emotional tornado” that appears at random times throughout the day in the classroom.

It appears at home, as well!  Our 5 youngest range in age like stair steps; and it is Spring!  I spoke with Rex’s former teacher the other morning to tell her that I was praying for her and her colleagues throughout this Spring.  She quipped, “If they haven’t learned it before Spring Break, they’re not going to learn it!” and we laughed.

My beloved theatre professor, Dr. H, used to say, “Springtime is when the boys start thinking about what the girls have been thinking about all year!”  This was, I’m fairly certain, followed by a muttered prayer under his breath.  I have recently begun the same practice of muttering prayers for sanity under my breath…(and also prayers for calorie-free chocolate!)

I’ve been trying to figure out what they’re even thinking; and the following is the best I can do at deciphering their springtime train of thought:

“Yay, it’s warm outside so I can wear shorts! Oh we have sugar cereal! Woohoo only a few more days til school is done! Wow, I’m hot! The girl/guy I like thinks so too…hahaha, just kidding. Hey I should say that out loud, but wait, is that a squirrel in our tree?  That’s so hilarious how the squirrel eats with its paws! Oh, I should eat. I think mom is talking but I’m too busy trying to remember what I was going to say out loud. This food is good. Hmm…hanger or sword? I can’t stand still!  How many days til summer? I am so glad it’s warm!  Is that the bus?”

Seriously, I think their thoughts in the springtime are like a fast-moving train on tracks.  You can try to catch a glimpse of their thoughts; as if they were flowers on the other side of the tracks, but the train (like their thoughts) is a blur.  I say it again, Lord have mercy, and God bless the teachers everywhere!