Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gesturing to a Flashback

The longer the boys have been home, the more and more their memories and thoughts of the Philippines have become fuzzy. We still have in depth conversations about the Philippines and the people that are there but it is more of Lucas and Eli touching base with us to ensure that what they remember is the same as they remembered last month.

Every once in awhile we can see a deja vu moment cross their paths. Tonight after work, I arrived home to find Sydney packing for a 3 day school trip to St. Louis, Lucas celebrating passing his timed division and Eli sitting on the floor in his room trying to untangle his kite line....yep that was so not happening. As I passed the doorway he said, "Mom! You have to help me." This kid does not ask for help often and since the kite is the toy of all toys this week, I set down and gave the impossible knotted line 20 minutes of my time. We came to the conclusion that we'd put a new string on it and not worry about the old.

As I went out of the room I told him to go ahead and put his things away and straighten his room while I changed. He came and found me 10 minutes later and wanted me to check to make sure it was done right. I did and he did great....picking up his own room is a lot harder since Lucas has moved to his own bedroom....big brother did a lot of the work before moving. I usually give him a high five for a good job but this time I gave him a thumbs up and he gave me a thumb bump with his.....that's when the deja vu moment happened.

He gasped, yelled "MOM!" We did this in the Philippines. We did this before. We did this in the Philippines!" And then he graced me with the most absolute joyful smile that lit his entire face. He said, "I remember this from before! YES!" and to top it off... a huge hug from my youngest son. Who knew the power of a thumb?

Friday, March 23, 2012

But She Was Nice To Me!

Rachel headed back to college and that has left a big "worry spot" for Lucas and Eli. Before she left they gave her the brotherly interrogation that if you've not lived through is amazing. It generally consists of no less than 1,000 questions involving eating, sleeping, school, driving, friends, teachers and apartment living.

The big catch this time was worrying that Rachel would be lonely....ummm....I'm thinking she's looking for some peace and quiet recovery time but that's just my educated mom guess....and possibly a little selfish wishing for myself.

Between them, Lucas and Eli decided that Rachel needed a pet. Rachel actually needed this conversation to end so she said, "Well I'd like one but Aunt Kathy (also her landlord) says I can't have one." We should probably apologize to my sister for throwing her under the bus...oops!

This totally shocked both boys silent....something that has only occurred a handful of times to date. Eli finally recovered enough to say, "But, but she was nice to us!" Pretty sure this may need some repair work before we see Aunt Kathy or the "Filipino Fire" may go on the offense for pet inclusion in her rental policies.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Salt and Pepper/Brown and White

We've been so lucky this past week to have Rachel home from college for spring break. I'm quite positive the longer she lives away the more culture shock she experiences when she comes home. The boys ask and ask about her the whole time between visits, then when she gets home they completely ignore her.....little brothers!

They figured out she was leaving soon and that has generated a lot of meal time conversations. You know those types of conversations that you know are going to generate a lot more than what they started out to be. Below is one of those conversations.

We have to greatly limit the salt intake for Lucas and Eli. I think they'd lick a salt block if we had one in the kitchen. We've explained that too much salt is not good for them and that it can lead to blood pressure and heart problems.....their understanding of this?.....Salt is bad for Filipinos. If you eat a meal with us and pick up the salt shaker you will be bombarded with their reasoning of salt intake.

How exactly limiting salt intake moved into an ethnicity education is beyond me but Eli was definitely the liaison of the conversation and took it upon himself to discuss the Asian/Caucasian mix of our family.

You probably should understand that he has no concept what so ever of this topic. He knows he is Asian we've always said we were white (easier than Caucasian). His wording is, "I'm brown, you all are white." Yep. His next leap in this conversation (he really does know better) was to pick up the salt shaker and proclaim, "I eat too much salt I will be white." Ummmm, no. I think we missed the part about blood pressure and heart disease, reviewed that part again and tried to be responsible and appropriate to topic. His next move was to look at Rachel, hand her the pepper and say, "Here, use the pepper then you will be brown like me." Sometimes a parent's best course of action when asked to explain the mysteries of the universe should be......"because I said".

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How'd I Do?

Spring is finally here and with it comes parent/teacher conferences! Yeah! I'm safe to say (sarcastically) that's the feeling of kids, parents and teachers in most places.

I remember when we attended the girls' conferences, ages ago, that we went and spoke to the teachers and maybe the girls would ask if they had good grades...maybe.

Not that way with Lucas and Eli. First we go to school and meet with the teachers, last night that was a total of 1 1/2 hours then we come home and have another hour long meeting with the boys, arranged by them. Let me tell you we better know exactly what the teachers had to say, explain all the paperwork that was shown, what they are good at, if they are smart and when will they be done going to school. No not as in when is summer break, more like never ever going back. Their biggest hang up with continuing on into Jr/Sr High? No recess. It's a big topic and they think that is just asking too much.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Amazing Intuition

Rough day at the old work place....I really question people and their belief that because a person works at a public institution it gives them the right to annihilate those people at their whim....long story not for here. Mike brought the boys by school as he was called in to work at the last minute. They took one look at me and went quietly to the car, good as gold on the way home. They came in the house, changed their clothes, did chores and are outside playing (yes I checked!) nicely with no fighting.

I'm thinking I must look like the scariest, craziest person on the planet to have this kind of unprecedented, non-bribed, simultaneous behavior. I also know that I've successfully jinxed the golden attitudes by posting this. Oh well it was most appreciated while it lasts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Most Important Meal of the Day

We are experiencing another "transition" with the boys. They've decided that they don't need to eat breakfast. Their mother (me) says differently. Mom still trumps boys. Probably not winning a whole lot more of these food battles but this time, this issue I win.

In the whole "discussion" I explained that breakfast is important and why. Their argument, "our friends don't eat breakfast". Then I told them about kids who only get to eat when they are at school and they don't have enough to eat at home.

Lucas was absolutely floored. He said, "No only in Philippines. America everyone has food." That was followed up with a talk about how there are children in every country that don't get enough to eat, even America. I think it diminished the glitter of America in his eyes a little bit. But we haven't had any more arguments on breakfast consumption.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

English Acquisition Includes Swear Words

I suppose the title is pretty self explanatory. We are so proud of how far the boys' English has come....unfortunately today (I am not so naive as to think this was the first time) one of our sons, who shall remain "anonymous", decided he should practice his English in the area of school.....being heard.....and paying the consequences.

"Anonymous" did not waste any time with the petty ones, he mastered the really bad one right off the start. So this evening we talked about good words and bad words and words that we hear and don't understand but think they sound neat. We talked about not using a word unless we ask the meaning of the word first...preferably asking dad and mom.

I find it so hard sometimes to have these types of conversations with "anonymous" because he has the most unique way of talking out issues. I can't say it's a small adult conversation, more of a new perspective on an old issue that leaves me spinning to come up with the "correct, responsible parent response". He has his points.

Don't get me wrong.....swearing...not okay but in trying to explain which words are bad and which are okay (without pulling out every swear word I know) I simplistically said, "If you think saying a word would make someone feel bad, don't use it, it is probably a bad word. If you wonder wait until you come home and ask us." He sat quietly for a minute and then asked, "Ok, but you need to explain the rules better and not just bad words. Some kids take toys to school, some have bb guns (not at school), some have shooting video games. You need to explain why their parents say ok." And for those of you thinking, because I said so does not work here.

You think about it for a minute, how would you explain the degree of "badness" to words? And when you think you have that figured out contemplate how you explain that another student "saluting" another student under the lunch table is not acceptable even when they aren't caught. "Anonymous" is pretty black and white and in your face. He doesn't really see the need to hide these types of things. Thus when saying a swear word, it really doesn't cross his mind that:

  1. bad choice to say a swear word

  2. bad choice to say a swear word in hearing range of adult supervisors (never a good choice)

  3. just because a friend may whisper a word unnoticed that he should not repeat it let alone scream it.

I don't know. I don't have a cut and dry explanation for a "black and white" child. I do know that we had a pretty good talk about a lot of things for an hour after supper. Do I think he will swear again...yep. I'm not dumb. Did we both learn a little more about rules, explaining and the worry of a kid who just doesn't quite grasp what is acceptable and what's not? I sure hope so.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Living In A Dictatorship Part 2

If you read my previous post you will know all about the newly formed dictatorship of Eli. The latest from inside the realm is the establishment of and no deviation allowed from the approved language of his regime....that being English! ONLY!

He is very proud of his English, as he should be, he's worked hard and has learned so much of a tough language. Unfortunately, his success has left little patience or acceptance of those of us within his kingdom who deviate from the "correct ENGLISH!" He is a one man language enforcement agency.

He corrects his brother (which does not go over well), he corrects his sisters (which he's been informed have been speaking English long before he could speak any language), he corrects us but so far respectfully as long as we comply, he corrects the tv (he may have to take over all communication networks as they are totally NOT SPEAKING English only).

Before everyone goes politically correct, we've had the talks about not everyone speaks English and that is perfectly fine. His answer....true dictator that he is...."I speak English now, only English, EVERYONE speak ENGLISH!"

So my warning to all of you, once he succeeds in taking over the networks, your diversification of language and the proper usuage of such is going to be, shall we say, affected.....except for his favorite word.....DUDE!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apparently I Need A Keeper

I need a keeper. I have one. I didn't really want one. I have no choice. I am totally at the mercy of my keeper. His name is....Eli.

I also think my keeper may be heading up his own private dictatorship. So far he is a benevolent dictator/keeper. At what point do the oppressed realize their dictator is not what we think?....I may need to keep a close eye on this part.

My realization that we'd entered Eli's regime was this morning as I was getting ready for work. I came into the kitchen and looked at the clock to see how much time I had before needing to leave. Eli spotted me and "oh so thoughtful keeper" informed me, "Don't worry. You have plenty of time." Ok, thanks for that. A few minutes later I hear, "Ok you need to go, you leave now." However did I manage before him? I also need to know how to direct his organizational skills to entail cleaning his OWN room, brushing his OWN teeth and remembering to put his OWN deodorant on. I'm also considering a may be time.