Saturday, September 18, 2004

Week Three, THEME

As I rounded the corner to put the towels away in the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of Justin working away intently at something on his dresser. His attention being focused on something so directly was nothing new, he does it all the time: he has the uncanny ability to shut the door on the outside world when he's busy doing something in his own little world. So, I thought nothing of it as I continued on with my daily chores, buzzing from one room to the next. Put the towels away... ewe! the toilet needs to be scrubbed... grab the trash from the bathroom, pick up some clothes in the hallway...phew, what's that smell?...head back to the kitchen, dishes, counters, floors, more get the picture. My "mom sense alarm" didn't go off until I returned to Justin's room a little while later to put some clothes away. There on the floor was hundreds of tiny pebbles strewn about. As my eyes traveled up, I discovered another batch of rocks spread out on his bed... "What the?" came out when my vision settled on an overturned ceramic unicorn, whose bottom was filled with tiny pebbles. My mind quickly scanned over the conversations earlier in the day when the kids came home from school... they had dug holes on the playground... no, that wasn't it... something about putting rocks on the slide... no... ah-ha! Now I remembered! Emily had mentioned that Justin and another kid had been tossing rocks over their shoulders on the bus. I had quickly dismissed her comment; picturing two boys throwing fist size rocks on the bus.... nah, couldn't be. After all, I'm sure the bus driver would have marched him up our driveway by his ear if that were the case... right?

"Justin? What are all these rocks on your floor and bed?"



"I dunno..."

"Yes you do. Where did they come from? Have you been bringing rocks home from the park or the playground?"

Silence again, which is broken by his helpful sister. "I told you him and Hunter were throwing rocks over their seats on the bus."

"Yeah, but I thought you meant big rocks... " (yes, because the size of the rocks makes a difference mom, not the fact that he was throwing stuff on the bus...)

"No, Justin had those little rocks in his pocket."

"Justin? Are you bringing rocks home from the playground in your pocket?"



His voice came slowly and somewhat feeble, "But, I like them."

"But you can't bring them home, and you definately can't throw things on the bus. You'll get kicked off the bus!"

Well, this was great! Third week of school and my kindergarten son was already managing to find ways to get booted from the bus. We had to nip this one in the bud; I had to set a precedent. So, he patiently endured the whole lecture on throwing stuff on the bus, how someone could get hurt, how he wouldn't beable to ride the bus... the whole nine yards. Then of course, he lost Nintendo use for a couple of days (he lives and breaths Nintendo). After that was all said and done, it dawned on me that the stash of pebbles in his room was not the result of a one day project.

"So, have you been bringing home rocks in your pockets all week?"

"I like them..."

"Well, I know you like them, but you can't bring them home."

"Why not?"

(Oh, great... a why not question... quick, think of something mom!) "What if every little boy and girl that went to school brought home a pocket full of rocks every day, then what would happen?"

(silence - he's processing the information) "Then they would be gone?"

Phew, he understood! One point for me! "That's right, and then the playground would get all muddy and the teacher wouldn't let you go outside. So, leave the rocks at school - you cannot bring them home. Understand?"

As I vacummed up the pebbles all over the floor I couldn't help but chuckle. I mean, this kid had been slowly moving the rocks at the playground home, a pocket full at a time! I couldn't help but wonder how much more would he have brought home if I hadn't found them today? Would he have eventually moved his stash to the toy box when the unicorn became too small to hold his booty? It was already nearly full. His father was going to love this one. Now not only did I need to check his pants before he went out the door in the morning (to make sure they weren't backwards), but also needed to check his pockets when he got home. What if he decides he likes the swings and starts bringing them home one link at a time?


Blogger johngoldfine said...

Well, there! You've set a scene, put a picture in our minds of you buzzing around and then laid out a dialogue which indicates by its sound that you have an ear for conversation, not always a given for a writer.

When you talk with your kids, does the stairways girl ever get into your head and either talk to them directly or talk to you about what you're saying?

September 20, 2004 at 5:24 AM  
Blogger josiejo said...

The stairways girl inside me keeps to herself. Only bits and pieces of her voice manage to influence my parenting now. But her life makes it important for me to be consistent, steady, straightforward, and above all, clear. Not always easy with an 8 year old and 5 year old - but worth it.

September 20, 2004 at 10:34 AM  

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