It’s been a pretty good summer so far.
I go to work as if nothing has changed, and my family goes to water parks, watches matinees at Cinemark, hangs out with friends, and dresses up like cows to eat a lot of free food at, as our youngest puts it, “Chick-a-Lay.” (Feel bad for me. I’m a victim!) Seriously though, it’s literally my job, and I’m glad that the kids are having a pretty great childhood. In the ever-so-wise words of One Direction, they are “Living while they’re young.”
Ever since April, My free nights and weekends have been monopolized with tree trimming. We’ve had two trees creep into our shingles and another that was on the verge of falling on my neighbors house (i.e. leaning at a 60 degree angle with a rotting trunk). I’ve enlisted my little Colombinos here and there to help me with said project. Unfortunately, I didn’t specifically say, “don’t use the random saw laying on the ground without my supervision.” Yes, I had a kid cut his finger. After I saw that it wasn’t serious, I was about to explain how that wasn’t mature and he needed to be careful and get instructions before he touched anything. However, my son, still dripping blood, preempted me and quickly said, “You don’t have to say anything. I already learned my lesson.” Truthfully, he learned his lesson over the next few weeks when he didn’t get to do fun stuff with his siblings in order to keep the wound from reopening.
A few weeks later, we were moving all of the wood that we cut to the woodpile. As we were setting logs, heavy-handedly, on the pile, a little rat shot out from underneath and darted under the fence into the neighbor’s yard. First, let me point out that I have known that rat was there for several weeks. Being a man in a family of seven with two bathrooms, on occasion I will relieve myself in the back-yard, especially if it is dark out. On one such occasion, I have observed our little friend scurrying around while my lazy dogs are lounging in the flowerbed deciding it’s not worth it. I too, decided it’s not a big deal and didn’t want to go to the trouble of killing an animal that isn’t inside our house. Also, I know Beth hates them. She hates squirrels, whom she believes are “socially acceptable rats”, and any time she is confronted with them, all logic escapes her. For these reasons, I allowed her and the rest of the family to live in blissful ignorance, until the woodpile episode. At this point, the “rat” was out of the bag. I immediately told the kids, “do not tell your mother.” That lasted until our first water break. We immediately went in and someone said, “Dad told us not to tell you about something.” An intense interrogation made another crack and they divulged their secret. This had the effect I thought it would, and Beth freaked out. After I dealt with the Beth, I talked to the kids. I asked them why they told mom about the rat after I asked them not to. Our oldest daughter, a champion of truth, said, “but you told us to always tell the truth and not keep secrets. We can only keep secrets if we are making something a surprise.” Dang. It stinks when past me interferes with what current me is trying to do.
Speaking of embarrassing moments, our little girl, on the way to my uncle’s house for the Fourth of July, was playing with one of the plastic whiffle-balls we had brought with us (for entertainment until it was time for fireworks). Beth told her, “If you get your finger stuck in one of those little holes, I’m going to laugh.” Sure enough, she got her finger stuck in the whiffle ball, and Beth started laughing at her. That made her cry which led to a flood of mixed emotions from the rest of the car. Some were in the empathy camp and told mom it wasn’t funny while examining how to get her finger out. Others, myself included, joined in the laughter. Our daughter through the midst of tears shouted to her mother, “It not funny!” This had the opposite effect on her mother. More laughter with about three people saying “Yes, it is!” Beth managed to turn around, and rip the whiffle-ball off like ripping off a Band-aid. Of course this hurt her more which lead to more tears and more laughter. After tears and laughs subsided, we talked about something Beth reminds us all the time… “being able to laugh at ourselves.” For adopted children, our kids have amazing confidence, but their Achilles heel is being teased, especially from one another. Farting is still one of the only things that they do that can be joked about. Everything else is off limits. This little problem reminded us we still have a long way to go… However, I mentioned the whiffle-ball at dinner a few nights ago, and our daughter cracked a smile. We’ll see how it goes.
Fireworks, driving boats, and our first honest-to-goodness camping trip are all in the books, and we’ve been super blessed to have these fun opportunities this summer. Also, our kids are becoming incredibly useful too. We’ve got a pair of lawn-mowers, and this has cut my yard-cutting time in half! The great thing is, they still think this is a treat, even in this heat! If they do what they are told and follow instructions, they GET to mow the yard. We don’t want to burn this, so Beth and I only laugh at them behind closed doors.
Parenting is still awesome!
At the dinnermesa,