Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cabin fever, 102.9* fever, Ernie Harwell and Spongy Sword Fights.  Ah summer time.

All four of us have strep throat.  Isn't that special?

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The above 4 lines have been preserved for your enjoyment. This is Henry's blog entry.   Anyway, because of the nasty bug, we're not able to do anything outside the house, at least anything in good conscience.

I'm sure there are desperate moms who have to go to the store, kids in tow, while dealing with the same situation.  We don't.  At least not for the classical reasons like milk, eggs, bread, ham, cheese. But if you throw 'sanity' onto the list it becomes a lot more salient to the argument for infecting the balance of humanity.

Ah sanity. A funny little word with Latin roots connected to 'insanity' or the chronic, habitual and prolonged exposure to small children.  Oops, I think that was my definition.

The key to not going crazy with kids is to not get sucked into their drama.  My kids are uniquely gifted at creating the kind of drama that requires attention, often of the medical variety.  Case in point: We were leaving T Ball practice Sunday.  I was speaking with some of the other parents about our game which is tonight.  Their older son was seated on his soccer ball on the grass next to my truck.  Henry came darting across the street, ran up to the kid and hauled off kicked the ball from underneath his tush.  Peaceful conversation turns into near loss of testicles.  I watched the whole thing.  And it was damn close.

I screech out at Henry in horror.  'Dude, what was THAT?'  He just looks at me with a quizzical look like "whaaaaat?" What happened after that is a kind of shame spiral--usually. But that time, I sort of unhooked from the spaz.   I unhooked from Henry's behavior. On the way home, I quietly asked Henry why what he did was a bad idea.  He explained in a measured way.   Then we moved on.  Perhaps he'll try it again tonight. Who knows?  But something in me has clicked the past couple of days.  Fueling situations like that with more drama and upset only makes the impression indelible rather than forgettable.  Some things you want them to remember but words never help.  Experience is the best teacher.  More precisely, the physics of experience.  Blah blah blah at any volume just impedes that.

If a situation seems really emotional, melancholic, tragic, super heated, super angry, I just get my internal dial and turn the whole thing down.

Anyway,  lots of exercise, lots of unhooking from the kids lately.  Great stuff. The other thing I've noticed is something I kind of learned from my dad when Ernie Harwell got fired.  I got as indignant as the rest of the world.  He went on a smear campaign and most of the world bought it hook, line and sinker. But my Dad just made the 'I ain't buyin' it' face.  He said, there's more to this story than meets the eye.  I cocked my head sideways and said, 'Hmm?' From that day forward, every time somebody had a 'thou doth protest too much' moment, I took a deep breath and my Dad's stance.  The space between stimulus and response is something we have control over.  The longer the space, the better the reaction in emotional situations, at least.  Even working under pressure, doctors, EMTs, cops, fireman all have to make split second decisions for sure. But they have to be able to think under pressure not just react.

The kids just got the spongy swords out. I hate the damn things--so does Jeff.
It's all over but the cryin.' Thank God it's just them today and not me. 

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