Sometimes I torture my son.
No, not like that!
It’s torture because he’s a teenager, and I’m his mom, and everything I do is automatically uncool and annoying.
The other day, he was wandering through the house, singing, “We can dance. We can dance.”
That same line, over and over and over.
So I chimed in.
“You can dance if we want to. You can leave your friends behind…”
He gave me a look that told me how much I could dance.
“’Cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, well they’re no friends of mine.”
“We can dance, we can dance –“
“But it’s the safety dance!” I protested.
My singing – and dancing – were seriously rejected. He abandoned me in the kitchen and went back out into the living room.
I heard him singing, “We can dance,” but it was quieter, almost like he was trying to make sure I didn’t hear him and join in.
I am officially uncool and annoying.
But I can dance if I want to.
It’s the only logical explanation for the way the last two Mondays have rolled.
Two weeks ago, we tried bowling for the first time all summer.
It was a roaring success! Sort of. The person I’d hoped to meet up with there couldn’t make it. That’s cool. I hadn’t let her know in advance, so it was my bad.
Simon had an awesome time bowling, didn’t want to stop until we’d managed all three of our games that had been included with our summer pass, and didn’t need juice or cookies to help him make it through. Awesomeness.
When we went to get ready and leave, it turned out that his handy dandy notebook, something that he can’t live without, had gone missing. Where, I don’t know. When, I don’t know. All I knew (and he knew) was that it had vanished.
My plans of hitting Starbucks and a thrift store on the way home also vanished. I knew we wouldn’t be able to do anything until we got a new notebook, which was sitting in the closet at home.
Cue a hurried drive home. Grabbing the notebook. Much rejoicing!
One week ago, we tried it for the second time.
I knew in advance that the person I’d wanted to see there wouldn’t make it, but that was okay – two other people (that I’d never met before) and their kids would be there. Massive panic attack. New people! New people! Alert! Alert! I almost didn’t go, but then I pushed through. It would be okay. Simon wanted to go, and I couldn’t let my anxiety get in the way of that. Right?
We went. The new people were cool. Simon had a great time, even if he did start getting distracted a bit during the second and third game. Anytime I asked him if he wanted to leave or keep bowling, though, he went and got a ball and bowled. Nice.
The weather was a bit crazy. It had just been raining when we got there, but about mid-way through our time, the guy on the PA system announced something about tornadoes and power going out and having to go to the bathroom to hide. Not that that bothered my anxiety. Nope. Not at all. Okay, let’s be honest. It powered the shit outta my anxiety. I soldiered on.
When we went to get ready and leave, no problems. Said good-bye. Swapped shoes. Went outside to find out that it had turned into a gentle drizzle. All good. Whew.
This time, we made it all the way to the car before the curse reared its ugly head. I started the car, settled in, heard the ding. It’s been dinging for weeks now, telling me to get it an oil change. I tell it to shut up. This time it wasn’t only telling me to get an oil change. This time, a new light came on. The light that tells me that one of the tires was low.
Did that mean I had a flat? I hadn’t noticed it when I got in. I drove out of the parking lot slowly. Didn’t notice anything. I knew there was a tire with low air, though, and I knew that if it was low enough for the car to notice, it needed to be fixed.
I went into the first gas station I saw that had a sign for air. It wanted $1.50 in quarters. Quarters that I didn’t have.
I went into the second gas station I saw that had a sign for air. It also wanted $1.50, but it took credit cards. Hallelujah! I got out, swiped my car, and waited for the air to turn on. I wanted a really long time before I realized that the air wasn’t working.
Again, I’d been hoping to stop off at Starbucks. This time, I stopped. What was the worst that would happen? I’d blow a tire in the drive thru and block everyone? I could live with that. I needed that coffee.
I drove home slowly, annoying other drivers around me. We made it home safe, and I figured we’d put some air in the tire later. (Which turned out to be another long story involving a missing tire gauge and unsuccessfully guessing which tire needed air and how much.)
Now it’s almost time for bowling again.
I’m planning on going.
Let’s hope that curse is finished with us.
ESY has started back up, but in the two weeks Simon had off, we did lots of fun things. One of those was to hit the Galleria up in Houston.
Now, before anyone thinks I’m a cruel mom who forces her poor child to go shopping, please realize that he ASKED for the Galleria. I tried to talk him out of it. I offered all sorts of other options. No dice. He wanted to go shopping.
Not that he actually shops, mind you. Nope, he much prefers wandering around, staring at things, stopping to eat a cookie, and, in the case of the Galleria, checking out their awesome two-story fountain.
We were wandering around because I am one of those people that always gets lost in a mall. And there it was! Simon was super excited, and I told him to go ahead and sit on the edge because the ledge is pretty wide, and if you’re right there, you can feel the spray of the water as it hits down, and you get a cool breeze from it rushing past you. It feels awesome in the dog days of July.
What you don’t see in the picture below is that the fountain had stopped. It goes through its cycle, and then it pauses. I guess that’s when the water is all feeding back for it to run again.
Simon was waiting patiently on the edge, when – SLAM – it started back up!
He jumped. Almost fell over backwards jumped. Then he got a huge smile and settled back to watch it.
So as the Daily Show always said at the end…here it is…your moment of Zen…
But there’s also the unexpected (and expected) things that happen.
- Having to repeatedly explain to Simon that licking the ocean – and the sand – is not good. (Is it bad that is the first thing on the “expected” list?)
- Telling Simon that no, we still had two days to go at the beach, but then, I promised, we could go home. Then telling him that, no, we still had one whole day to go. But, I promise, we will go home tomorrow.
- Every day, we had to go somewhere, regardless of where, to get Simon “reset.”
- When we were putting something on the big TV in the living room, I asked Simon if he wanted to watch Elf. He’d already said “no” to almost everything else. Elf always gets a yes. I have taught him well.
- Even though he had a box full of black and white crayons (from Dick Blick) and a huge box of 64 crayons, he still wanted to buy a box of 16 crayons at the super-expensive shop on island.
- Many, many fine grilled cheese sandwiches (and chicken fries) were eaten during the trip.
- He helped pick/pack his own toys this year. He couldn’t wait until it was Friday to do it. We had to keep putting him off.
- There’s still tar in the sand/water, and when it gets on you, it is awful hard to get off. (Not necessarily just about Simon, but he was one of the lucky ones to get the tar on him…)
- The transition from the house we’d been renting for the past nine years to a totally new house went off with almost no hitches!
- Simon actually colored in a velvet/paper car and put it together with glue!
- Simon tried an apple fritter! A whole bite! Of course, then he said no when we offered him more.
- While Simon needed to go somewhere to get “reset,” some days, the beach did the job. In the past, it always happened that he needed to go shopping somewhere.
- Simon requested to go to a Target. We had to find one down here because we normally just go to Wal-Mart.
- He didn’t immediately ask to go home once we got here, and when Patrick foolishly said that Simon could have more juice when we got home, Simon corrected him, saying, “beach house.”
- After day one, he immediately became uninterested in his iPad. He’s spent most of the trip coloring, watching DVDs, getting hugs, playing in the sand and in the water, and lying around on the floor.
- Libraries are all about getting books, but anytime we go anywhere else, Simon rejects all book options and doesn’t want to take them home. When we went to the thrift store here, he picked out – and wanted to bring home – a Thomas the Tank Engine story collection.
- The beach is a great motivator – which we knew already – but it really and truly works when it comes to getting him to use sentences. Nothing like being forced to say a full sentence in order to get into the ocean. The words come out pretty fast for that.
- The slinky lasted the entire trip before being destroyed on the final day.
For anyone who followed my day of live-tweeting Simon having a meltdown because of summer vacation and Dad having the nerve to go to his job, you have probably guessed that we have had some interesting days.
The Escalator of Doom!!!
Simon loves going to the mall. Who doesn’t, right? I blame my mall rat-ness on growing up in New Jersey. I could happily go to the mall almost every day. There’s no need to buy anything. It’s about walking around, people watching, drinking coffee, whatever else is happening. Luckily, Simon is the same way.
Since he’d been having a hard week, I asked him if he wanted to go to the mall.
Of course he did.
We got there, and after walking around for a bit, I told him that he could tell me if he wanted to go into any stores.
But as we walked close to a Journey’s Kids, he leaned in a bit, watching what was on their monitors. I asked if he wanted to go in.
We kept walking. He started leaning towards Dillard’s.
“Do you want to go into Dillard’s?”
I stopped. For real? Dillard’s?
“You want to go into Dillard’s?”
He was pulling my hand towards the overpriced department store already.
“What do you want in Dillard’s?”
“Escalators.” He gave me a look that told me just how stupid I was to have to ask that question.
We went in.
Found the escalators.
He gripped my hand, gave me his notebook (Blue’s Clues – Steve’s notebook) to hold for safekeeping, and we rode up the first one to the second floor.
“Do you want to go up again?”
Once again, that tight grip on my hand, and we were up on the third floor.
“Okay, do you want to walk around or go down?”
Easy enough, right? Right?
Oh my god, you don’t know how wrong.
I took his hand and his notebook, and we walked around the circle of escalators to go down.
Another crushing hand squeeze on my right hand, and I was trying to hold notebook in one hand and hang onto the railing with the left.
I started to step out onto the escalator.
He kept his grip and stood firm at the top.
One of my legs – the one on the step – kept moving further away. My left hand and arm kept moving away. The right side of my body, though, was trapped, held firm.
Before I split and became one of those horrible escalator accidents that you always seem to read about, I pulled myself back up to the top.
“Okay,” I told Simon. “You have to step off with me. Okay? It’s not safe otherwise. Ready?”
I tried again.
He stood there again.
I almost split in two trying to not fall down and snapped myself back to the top before I dragged him down with me.
“Let’s take the elevator down.”
We took the elevator down to the first floor.
“Now, do you want to keep walking? Or ride the escalator again?”
Up we went. Up we went.
“Should we take the elevator down?”
By now, my brain had moved onto the oh-my-god, we’re-gonna-die phase of the escalator riding. I could only think about the video that had been circulating the internet, the woman who got sucked into the escalator and killed.
But I’m a mom. I could do this. Maybe.
“Okay, we can try this. But you *have to* step off with me, okay? It’s not safe otherwise. You *have to* step when I do, okay?”
He took my hand. I held his notebook.
“One, two, three,” I counted.
He let go of my hand.
I went down the escalator, and he stayed at the top, watching me.
Was he going to try to follow me, trip and fall, and suddenly I’d be on the news as the mother who watched her child die in a freak escalator accident?
Was he going to freak out because I’d left him at the top?
Should I run back up the escalator?
Yeah, that wouldn’t work.
Instead, I told him to wait for me and watched him carefully as I ran down the escalator, ran around the corner, and came back up to him.
“We need to take the elevator down,” I told him.
“Escalator,” he demanded.
“You *have to* step off with me,” I said. “Do you understand?”
“We’re going to step on at three, okay?”
He grabbed my hand again. We braced ourselves.
And we did it!
We did it!
Down to the second level.
“Okay, we’re going to do it the same way. On three.”
We made it all the way down!
After that, he agreed to be done with the escalator, and I went and bought him a cookie at the Nestle stand.
We had survived the escalators of doom.
(Until yesterday, when we went and rode the escalators at Sears…but that’s a different story…)
Simon hates summer vacation.
It’s boiling hot out here.
I swear I saw a bird’s egg boil like the eggs on the counter in Ghostbusters.
Is that a red ant biting my toe?
Damn, it’s hot out here.
At least there’s some shade to sit in.
Wow, it’s sweltering in the shade.
Did I mention it’s fucking hot out here?
Did I bring enough juice and water?
Am I bad mother for sitting here writing while Simon tromps around the playground?
Is that pollen making me sneeze or do I have a cold?
Jesus Christ, it’s like an oven out here.
At least the playground has shade over it so it’s not too bad.
Note to self: headache + hot as Hades in park = worse headache
Where’s iced coffee when I need it?
If I throw away these tissues, will a swarm of wasps come out of the trash bin and chase me?
Nope, it’s too hot for the wasps, too.
The wasps are smarter than me; they’re hiding from the heat.
What are all those weird cocoons on the tree next to me?
Holy hell, they go all the way up and over my head!
What’s going to come out of them?
Maybe I should move.
Oh my god!
What just fell on my paper?
Wait, it was just a leaf.
Wow, he’s climbing up the side of one of the playgrounds! He’s never done that before.
No wonder we’re the only ones here.
Have we been here long enough for me to call it a morning without being a bad mother?
Have we been here too long, and I’m already a bad mother?
Why did I think coming to a park in Texas in August was a good idea?
Why is there summer vacation?
Cicadas! Shut up! You’re not helping my headache!
What? Other people are showing up?
Do they not realize the error of their ways?
Did I mention it’s hot out here?
Okay, he’s turning red.
Time to go home.
Begin my list of the day of things I’m grateful for: air conditioning in the Jeep
This is Simon’s second season/second year with the Heroes here in League City. It’s part of the Challenger League, a special needs Little League baseball thingy.
Here’s why it’s awesome: it’s normally one of the most relaxed ways of playing games.
Simon’s game today was at 10 a.m. Which was only a slight problem because we were out at a late movie last night, and so we set the alarm to get up in time to make it to his game on time. But then one of us (ahem, Patrick) reset the alarm when it went off without realizing it, and so we slept a bit more than we meant to.
We woke up at 10 a.m.
But we got Simon ready – he was totally up for it because most of the season got cancelled because of all the rain we’ve been having lately. And we got there less than half an hour late.
The game was already underway, but they got Simon slipped into the batting line-up.
Because we were late, he only got to play one and a half innings (instead of two), but he was still happy enough.
The best part, though, wasn’t even his playing.
The best part was that, near the very end of the game, during Simon’s team last at-bat, the last chance to bat, one of the other team’s players decided that he did want to bat after all. Apparently he hadn’t wanted to go during his team’s turn, but he changed his mind.
So he came up and hit.
Because why not?
Everyone had a good game. Everyone had fun. And then there was ice cream afterwards.
Only one game left this season. Hoping the weather doesn’t knock it out of the park.