Wow, what a week it has already been. I feel like I’ve been going non-stop for days and yet really haven’t accomplished much.
This week-end provided no opportunity for rest. Saturday I had a special training to attend with regard to Big Brothers and Big Sisters and some special circumstances in Little’s life. Normally, I do my laundry at Michelle’s house on the off Saturday (that being the Saturday opposite pay day). The training was very useful and informative but it didn’t end until 3:00 and I didn’t arrive at Michelle’s house until 3:30 or so. I only had three loads to do, but they were big loads so they took a while to dry.
I was at Michelle’s house until around 11:00 and then had to drive home and take the laundry back in the house and feed Mischa. He was rather insistent on his need for food and I can’t ever come straight in the house and go to bed. I am required to sit down for a little while and let him sit on me before I can go to bed (he’s not allowed in my bedroom.) I went to bed around 1:00 Sunday morning and got up at 9:00 or so in the morning.
I did some household chores, like cleaning the kitchen and the floors. I also started putting my laundry away while watching a very tedious episode of 90210 (If it doesn’t improve quick, it may get dropped) but I couldn’t finish because I had to get showered and ready to go pick up Little.
One of the things I talked about at the training was that Little doesn’t always answer me when I ask him questions or he’ll just say, “I don’t know.” Someone suggested to me that the best time to really talk to the Little’s is when you first pick them up, like in the car on the way to the activity. I explained that I usually try but that he doesn’t respond and since he’s still pretty short (he’s only 7 after all) I can’t even see him in my rear-view mirror to get an idea of if he’s paying attention, or if he can hear/understand me. Someone suggested that maybe he needed a booster seat in my car.
The law says he has to be 6 years old and 60 pounds or he has to sit in a booster seat. He’s got the 6 years old part, obviously, but I haven’t been able to find out how much he weighs. I asked his mother on the first outing how much he weighed but she couldn’t tell me. I asked her if he had to sit in the back seat and she said yes. Then I asked her if he needed a special seat and she told me she didn’t have one for him. So for the first three outings he road in the back seat of my Mitsubishi Endeavor without a special seat and without responding to much of what I said. I felt badly that we weren’t talking but I didn’t know what to do.
Saturday, after I started my first load of laundry, Michelle and I went to Target and I bought a booster seat suitable for 40-100 pounds. I wasn’t sure how Little would react to having to sit in it but he didn’t resist in the least and in fact was noticeably happy to have it.
Turns out, he couldn’t really see out of the car before, and while I couldn’t see him in the rear-view mirror he couldn’t really see me either. I’m not really sure what made the big difference, but this week he was so engaged and responsive, we talked the whole time we were in the car.
We went to Castro Valley to play Miniature Golf. Little told me he’d never been and I remember it was one of my favorite things to do when I was a little kid (I still like it a lot, shhhhh!). What I didn’t remember is how impatient I was when I played as a little kid. The place we went had two 18-hole courses and we were only doing one. I let Little pick the course and he headed straight for the one I hoped he’d pick. It was 95 degrees out when we got there (something I hadn’t accounted for in my planning) and the course he chose had a lot of water features and fountains which helped to cool the air somewhat. The problem was, it was the more popular course and a foursome of teenagers had just started that course when we arrived. Little didn’t want to have to wait for them. He wanted to get to the playing. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “I remember feeling like that when I was his age.”
When the teens moved on to the next hole we started out. He told me to go first on the first hole so he could see how it’s done and I did. I told him that after each person putts his ball toward the green, whoever gets closest to the hole goes and keeps going till he sinks his ball and then the next player goes. On the first hole, I got my ball closest to the hole and I told him I go until I sink the ball and etc., etc., etc. Before I even finished talking he was putting his ball. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “I remember feeling like that when I was his age.”
We moved along to the next hole and had to wait for the teenagers again. Little never got particularly antsy about having to wait but I could tell he didn’t like it. About four courses in, Little decided to putt first. Fine. While I was putting my ball, he went ahead and started working on sinking his ball. Hmmm, that’s not how this game works, but OK. By the ninth hole, he was running back and interfering with my ball and trying to finish putting my ball too. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “I remember feeling like that when I was his age.” I didn’t say anything for a few holes but finally I told him to putt his own ball and let me putt mine. I wanted to play too.
The score card shows that Little beat me by about 6 strokes. It’s an estimation to be sure. I couldn’t always see him playing and don’t know how many of his wholes in one (he got three) were really holes in one, and I reduced the number of strokes on my plays whenever he interfered with the natural progression of the ball. Since he “beat” me, I don’t figure it matters too much that I was creative with the numbers.
“Oh, yeah,” I thought, “I remember feeling this way when I was his age.”
The score card also had a coupon on it for 60 tokens for the arcade for $10.00. Without the coupon you only get 40 tokens so this was a good deal and I had promised him we’d play arcade games as well.
As soon as we walked into the Arcade and before I could get the tokens he started running around the arcade. I grabbed the tokens and found him by the ski-ball games. I told him before we started playing games I wanted him to do a loop around the arcade and see what there was before he spent all the tokens in one thing. He looked at the air hockey table, he looked at the Mrs. Pacman game, he looked at the shooting games and he looked at the driving games. Would you believe we walked all around that arcade and played several different games and never once did he ask to play the shooting games!? Victory is mine! Hah hah hah!
No, really, I didn’t say one word to him about the shooting games. If he had asked to play one, I would have let him play it a couple times. I wouldn’t have let him spend all the tokens in it. He never even asked to play it. I was stoked!
Many of the games give out tickets and he ended up with about 420 tickets at the end of the tokens. THE BOY SPENT EVERY ONE OF HIS TICKETS ON CANDY!!
I know this isn’t particularly surprising; only, Little doesn’t get a lot of candy and in fact hasn’t asked for it once in our time together. I asked his mother when I picked him up the first time if she had any rules I needed to enforce like no candy, or gum or soda. She said no candy and no soda. Glad I asked. Later, Little told me he was allergic to candy. (So much for my idea to take him to the Jelly Belly Factory.) I asked his mother about the allergy. She said he’s not allergic; she just doesn’t let him have much. “Sometimes I give him a little, but if he has much he gets a little crazy,” she told me.
So I stood there watching the boy spend all his tickets on candy thinking, “Oh boy, this should be interesting.” All the candy went into a plastic bag and as we were walking back to the car, he started digging in the bag. I told him he could have one piece of candy and the rest he had to give to his mother and she could decide when he could have more. He got in the car and strapped himself into the newly christened booster seat and started digging through the bag. While I settled into the driver’s seat he selected a candy package and I turned to him and said, “Here, let me take the bag.” (I’m not a total dummy!) With about an hour to kill before he was due home I decided to take Little to the grocery store so I could buy the few items I had written down earlier with the intention of going after I dropped him off.
It turned out that the “piece” of candy he selected was a three in one item. It looked like a baby bottle and the nipple of the bottle was a sucker. The bottle part was two pieces, the bottom piece filled with what looked to me like Nerds and the top piece filled with a powder. I didn’t realize he was eating the powder until we were at the store, but I think it was probably intended to be mixed with water as a beverage a la Kool-Aid.
By this time, the sugar was coursing through his veins and at the store he made a B-line for the giant Halloween candy display, saying, “Cooool! Look at this candy! Woah! What’s this?! Cooool!”
I told him, he had enough candy in the car and we went on about our business. He never got particularly rambunctious but he did act almost like it was a drug he was addicted to. Every outing we’ve been on he’s had popcorn and/or hot dogs at the movie theater. He has drunk water even when other things were available. He’s a pretty fun and even tempered kid. But I made the mistake of introducing candy into his system and suddenly… Well… “One was too many and a thousand was not enough.” (I filed that away for next time!) I felt badly about it as we were heading back to his house and when I dropped him off I told his mother everything. She didn’t get upset, just seemed a little concerned and asked, “How did he behave?” Fortunately, he was fine, but I will definitely be vigilant about what I let him eat.
Next week we’re taking BART to San Francisco and a Cable Car to the Cable Car Museum. Little says he’s never been on BART or the Cable Car so these will be new experiences for him. I’ve never been to the Cable Car Museum so this will be a new experience for me. I can’t wait!
I was going to tell you about the emotional tumult that’s occurred as a result of my Healthy Selfishness post from Friday, and about the unbelievably fun (sarcasm is implied) time I’ve had the last three days at a Safety Fair we’ve had in our building lobby, but the unbelievable fun (sarcasm still implied) has just plain tuckered me out and it took longer than I thought it would to tell the story of my week-end, so you’ll all just have to wait for my next post to hear the rest.
Good night and good luck!