Thursday, April 12, 2007


Eve tagged me a week ago with a meme about “5 current obsessions.” I’ve been thinking about it and coming up blank because, frankly, my life is rather boring and I’ve been obsessed with the same three things for the last 6 months (and two of those for the last 11 years): my family, my classes, and my blog. See? Boooooooring.

So since possession is 9/10ths of the law and this meme now belongs to me, I shall tweak it to fit my needs and focus instead on my children’s latest obsessions. Aside from the fact that I can drive to Krispy Kreme and they can’t, my kids lead far more interesting lives than I do.

Ethan is still obsessed with robins and birds in general. He has declared that March 24 (in honor of the dead robin found that day) shall be National Bird Day. Every year the country will join him in celebrating the lives of our feathered friends. We’ll build bird houses, scatter seed all around, and generally make the earth a chirpier place. He also requested that we eat French toast for dinner on National Bird Day, not that French toast has anything to do with birds but you know, any excuse for his favorite meal. I suggested chicken but Ethan didn’t think that was funny.

Like Imperial fighters around the Death Star, McKay’s life currently revolves around a certain Star Wars computer game. Last night when I insisted his computer time was over, he pouted and moped around as if I’d destroyed his one reason for living. “But there is nothing else to do!” he whined. I spouted off a perfectly reasonable list of alternatives to which McKay responded with a heavy sigh and a dramatic flop onto the couch. Apparently “writing in your journal” and “sorting socks” do not measure up to carrying out secret missions for Princess Leia and blowing up storm troopers.

I’m torn. Part of me realizes that McKay has become addicted to this game and that’s a bad thing. But the other part of me (the lazy mother part) loves the fact that he comes home from school and rushes in to practice the piano without being asked. He has even started getting up early so he can do his chores before school. Sure the game is at the center of his universe, but it’s a cleaner, more musical, highly motivated universe that his mother doesn’t have to spin. I think I can live with that.

Gabie’s obsessions are legendary, prolific and often smell of tuna. This week he has branched out into a love of caterpillars. He found one and has it living in a mason jar surrounded by leaves, sticks, wet paper towel and a homemade cardstock porta-potty (“because even caterpillars have to poop”). Last night Gabie – all teary-eyed – held his jar up for me to inspect: “Mom, I’m worried that my caterpillar’s dead. When I talk to him he doesn’t even move.”

What I wanted to say: “Maybe being plucked from his homeland, handled incessantly by a 5 year-old giant, shoved into a crowded jar and then whacked back and forth against walls of glass all day long while being carried around and shown to every child (and various adults) in the neighborhood has sent him into shock, or at the very least a little caterpillar-coma.”
What I really said: “I’m sure he’s just sleeping dear. Or maybe just scared.” Gabie thought for a minute and asked, “How do you un-scare a caterpillar?” Happy to have a reason to tell him this I said: (Please for pity’s sake!) “You LEAVE IT ALONE!”

Later, Gabie was still concerned and he asked me, “Mom, can caterpillars extinck?”
“Do you mean can they stink?”
“No, can they extinck? Like how dinosaurs extincked. Do you think caterpillars will all extinck and die out?”
“OH! I get it. No, I think they’ll be just fine, even this one.”
Call Webster’s; my son has invented a useful new verb.

Nora is obsessed with the toilet. I suppose there are worse things for a baby than a slippery, germ-infested, finger-pinching, occasionally-unmentionable-things-un-flushed-by-big-brothers-
containing drowning hazard, but I can’t think of any right now. We do our best to keep the bathroom doors closed, but she is always on the prowl and can spot an open door like a lioness can spot an injured gazelle left alone in the middle of the savanna. She sees her chance, she pauses mid-crawl, she cocks her head to verify the target, she (and this is the part that kills me) glances over her shoulder to see if she’s being watched because she knows she’s about to get in trouble, she smiles a guilty little smile, and then with lightning speed, she crawls for the bathroom as if her life depended on reaching it before being scooped up by her party-pooper parents. Or should I say anti-pooper-scooper party-pooper parents. I’m looking forward to seeing her get past this particular phase. Maybe we could train her to play McKay’s game so she’d stay out of trouble and do her chores.

Like a good virus, memes are meant to be shared. Also like a good virus, you usually infect your family first, so I tag klutzmom, tangent woman, and stay.


Heffalump said...

I have five boys, four of which are currently obsessed with all things Lego Star Wars. We got the Lego Star Wars II game for Christmas and our house has been everything Star Wars ever since. The boys are waiting impatiently for the Lego Star Wars I to come in the mail after one of them ordered it with his birthday money.

Heth said...

You have every right to tweak the meme, I like what you've done with it.

Adding the the Star Wars theme here, I just wondered exactly which game it is. I have to agree with you, having a video game obsessed child does have it's perks, mine also rushes to complete his chores.

Heffalump We have the StarWars Lego games and I think they are by far the cutest of all video games. (Can video games be described as cute?)

I'm so sorry about Nora's obsession Julie,I feel your pain. And also, if Ethan was up for genius status, I would nominate him for his request for french toast on Bird Day. What a brilliant choice.

Radioactive Jam said...

*I* thought "chicken" was hilarious.

Though I can understand how Ethan might not agree. Also I like French toast, so - I'm good with his plan.

bubandpie said...

Re: McKay's obsession. That is my exact dilemma with Bub. His new book-obsessiveness is constantly pulling me in opposite directions. Pro: He loves books! Con: Unusual attachments may be symptomatic of autism. Pro: Built-in motivation for just about anything, so long as his favourite book is included. Con: Massive tantrums on occasions when the book is not included. Sigh.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I will mark March 24th on the calendar so I don't forget.

We just got Cory's two year old pictures taken and he wouldn't part with his legos so they too are immortalized in his portrait. I think I see a future for him with this video game.

Un-scare - there is another new word for Webster.

Nora will probably join the "anti-pooper-scooper party-pooper" club soon enough.

The creativity flows abundantly in your family! I have been tagged for the same meme - I am still trying to figure about what to write.

Jennifer B. said...

I so relate to this-- "it’s a cleaner, more musical, highly motivated universe that his mother doesn’t have to spin." I have a love/hate thang with video games--it's frightening how much they can motivate my kids!

Dedee said...

So funny, the child that heads straight for the bathroom! I have one of those right now. I have a love/hate relationship with the little guilt smile! I think they are so cute, but I can't let them get away with it, so I can't smile at it. Ah well, the joys of parenting.

scribbit said...

I hate that Toilet Fascination stage, it just stinks--it's alright with your first one because you can control the door being closed. But once you have other children they NEVER close it. And worse yet, they tend to forget to flush and then the baby gets in there.

Melessa said...

We love the Star Wars lego game here too. In fact, now we have both versions (though hubby and I weren't motivated to buy game one until we saw game two). While I agonize over video game addictions as well, T's room has never been cleaner than when he's trying to butter me up for computer time. And I can live with that too.