In my check-in with Hadley last week we discussed the homework issue and determined that I’d spend an hour or so each week with Lil’B working on his school work and I decided to ask his mother to look over his packets first and mark the pages she most needed me to help him with so we could cover those first. I told her I’d spend an hour or so each week on his school work but I wanted to be able to do other things with him too and last week it took several hours to do his homework.
I also had a conversation with Lil’B about doing his work during the week. I reminded him of the time we went to the Children’s Fairyland and how much fun it was. And then I reminded him of the time we went Miniature Golfing and how much fun it was. And then I reminded him how last week we just sat at my house and worked on his homework, and how that wasn’t as much fun. I told him, “If you work on your school work a little bit each day, then there won’t be as much for us to do on Sunday, right? And then we can do other stuff, right?” He told me he’d work on his school work during the week and I reminded him, in front of his mother, when I was dropping him off. I’m crafty like that. (We’ll see if it works.)
I picked Lil’B up on Sunday at 11:00. I had told his mother, we would go somewhere and work on his school work for an hour or so before we did anything else. When I arrived I asked him to get his homework and he didn’t know where it was. He checked his backpack and his mother’s car and his bedroom and he couldn’t find it. Turns out his mother lost it! There are many reasons why this concerns me, but for the purposes of this post the significance is that with no homework packet to take with us, we were off the hook for the school work. However, I was going to take Lil’B to Half Moon Bay for the Pumpkin Festival and I knew it would be a bit of a drive. I also know that he’s supposed to do a certain amount of reading every day so I told him to grab a couple books and he could read them to me in the car. (I don’t know what a traditional second grade reading level is, but Lil’B is a really good reader!)
We went to McDonald’s to get some lunch (and so I could get some Monopoly game pieces) and he ordered the chicken nuggets happy meal. The woman behind the counter asked what he wanted to drink and I looked at him. He was quiet for a second and then he looked at me and said, “Coca?”
“You want Coke?!?” I asked. “You never have that. Are you sure?” He nodded so I nodded to he cashier. While the cashier was filling our order I leaned down to him and asked him if he was supposed to have Coke? I can’t remember if his mother told me anything about that or not. I just know he’s not supposed to have very much candy. He nodded yes to the question and I asked him why he wanted it. He shrugged. And then it hit me. “Did you order that because you see me drinking it all the time?”
He nodded and said, “Yes.”
“I guess I need to set a better example for you then, don’t I?” I said. I have a definite addiction to Diet Pepsi, but the thing is it is diet. I don’t even like the taste of regular soda. I pointed out to him that I don’t drink sugary drinks but I think the point was lost on him. Instead I made a point of how I don’t like regular Coke. How it’s yucky and nasty and he only drank about a third of the small cup he had. Mission Accomplished… perhaps. I’ll have to work on not drinking so much soda around him. I’m also not going to let him order it again.
We finished our lunch and headed out to the festival 30 miles away. Things went fairly smoothly for awhile. We crossed the San Mateo Bridge, my least favorite bridge because it’s the longest, and most of it is really low to the water… But I digress.
Just as we were approaching the highway 92, highway 280 interchange (I’m sorry, I know this means nothing to those of you not local) traffic came to a complete standstill. I decided to take a risk and I switched over to 280. I went nearly 10 miles north out of my way, before switching over to the beautifully scenic California State Route 1 along the coast line. The risk paid off and even though I went 20 miles out of my way, we got there much faster.
Finally we arrived at the Pumpkin Festival and we began making our way through the crowd. The Pumpkin festival was along several blocks of Half Moon Bay’s Main Street. There were tons of booths all along the street, and I told Lil’B to let me know if he saw something he was interested in. He headed straight down the street, ducking between people and around crowds. That boy’s legs are half the length of mine and I have a hard time keeping up with him sometimes… Of course he is a seven year old boy so he has, like, six times the energy I do, but still! It was all I could do to keep up with him. He stopped a couple times to look at various things but never wanted to do any of them.
We spent about ninety minutes there, had made it all the way up the street and back again and he was ready to go. However, we still had three hours before I was supposed to take him home, so we decided to go see Where the Wild Things are at a theater in San Francisco.
When I first moved to the Bay Area there was an entertainment complex called The Metreon that had just opened. The Metreon used to be an impressive place with multiple restaurants and stores, and a movie theater. It is much less now. On the top floor of the building at the time was an entire exhibit and store based on the book Where the Wild Things Are. When my mother and sister came to visit, we went to The Metreon and my mother was very interested to see the exhibit. She seemed to be familiar with the story. I don’t know if she read the book to me when I was a kid or not, but I have no memory of the story.
I took Lil’B to see this movie at his request, feeling like it was safe for his age, even though I didn’t know the story. I’m sorry to say that I failed to see the value in this movie. I do not understand the message it was trying to convey. When the movie was over and we got in the car, I asked Lil’B what he thought of the movie. He was silent for a long few seconds until I said, “It was kinda weird wasn’t it?”
He smiled and nodded, and then he said, “My favorite part was when he stood on the counter and said ‘Feed me Woman!’ and then ‘I’ll eat you up, Roaaar!’” I told him I strongly recommended he not try that with his mother.
The movie is only an hour and thirty-four minutes long and the show time was 4:30. There must have been more previews than I expected because the movie didn’t let out until about 6:25. I had told his mother I’d bring him back between 6:00 and 6:30 depending on traffic. I gave her a call as soon as we got to the car and fortunately, she was fine with our being late. I felt badly though. I’ve been his Big Brother for seven weeks already and we have a pretty good rapport going, but it has been only seven weeks and his mother and I don’t really know each other very well. It wouldn’t be hard for me to imagine that she was worried or upset so I was glad that she was not.
Next week we’re going to see Astroboy. Hopefully this one will be more entertaining for both of us. I told him and his mother I’d pick him up at 1:00 so we had time to work on his school work first (or after – depending on show times)
I think I’m getting the hang of this!