The Block Party


     This past weekend was our neighborhood’s annual block party, and my kids were so excited I honestly thought they were going to piss themselves.  From the moment they woke up on Saturday morning, they asked if it was time for the block party and proceeded to repeat that same question every five minutes for the next eight hours. When it was finally time to put up the barricades to block down the street, they couldn’t get out the door fast enough to tear up the pavement.

     To them, the absolute coolest part of the block party was the fact that they got to ride their bikes like complete maniacs all around the street without any fear whatsoever of being turned into roadkill by oncoming cars.  So, naturally, they were all about pimping out their rides with the other neighborhood kids for the big pet and bike parade. They used streamers, balloons, cards in the spokes, the whole nine yards till they had some super juiced up looking wheels to strut. And when it was time to march down the street, they happily joined the other whopping ten bikers in the procession, as well as three dogs, a hamster, and a toad.  I was seeing some major competition for the Macy’s Day Parade.  

     And it wouldn’t be a real block party if our kids didn’t gorge themselves on any and all kinds of crap they could get their dirty little hands on.  Our neighbors had rented a popcorn maker and a snow cone machine for all the kids, so, of course, my two munchers absolutely chowed down on multiple servings of each, thus killing any chance whatsoever of them eating anything substantial for dinner later on that night.  My daughter actually even had the balls to try to hide her third snow cone from me, but she clearly forgot about the eyes in the back of my head.  Lucky for her, I was just a little too go-with-the-flow (that’s code for too much Chardonnay) to get my panties all in a bunch over too much junkfood consumption.

     The festivities concluded with an outdoor movie on our front lawn.  We projected “Over the Hedge” onto a sheet hung from our front porch, while all the little shits from the hood sat littering our yard with popcorn and candy wrappings.  One of the other moms had given out glow stick bracelets, so each kid was gleaming with a combination of excitement and exhaustion by that point of the evening.  I was so glad when some other older punk from down the street announced a game of flashlight tag, which sent a good portion of our viewing audience off and running.  My kids were pooped, and so was I.  

     I thought for sure that my tired troops would take the rare opportunity to sleep in after such a long day of fun, but, of course, my kids seem to think that the early bird really does catch that jackass worm so they were up and at ’em, ready to get crackin’ on yet another day.  I have to hand it to the hubby once again for getting up with them and letting Mama get a little more shut-eye, cause I was completely worn out. When I finally did make my way downstairs, though, I happened to notice that a pink glowstick bracelet was sitting smack dab in the center of my dining room table, the table that’s completely off limits to all things kid-related.  

     When I picked up the bracelet, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that the damn thing had exploded from the inside out.  I had a big glob of pink goo staring at me from my beautiful cherry-colored wood table.  And when I tried to wipe up the goo, it decided to take that beautiful cherry color right along with it.  I literally gasped out loud with a “Oh no you didn’t” type of pronouncement when I saw that big glaring colorless streak on the otherwise shiny surface.  I wanted to wring my daughter’s neck for being so careless.  This was one of the last remaining places in the house that didn’t have a kid’s stamp of approval put on it.  I immediately declared the dining room table a no-fly zone for everyone, including my husband.  Nothing shall ever sit on that table again unless it’s a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas ham.

     Despite the glow stick fiasco, however, the block party was an absolute blast.  My kids are already asking when the next one is.  It’s gonna be really hard for them to get used to having to share the street with the cars again.  My son already tried to dash over to the other side on his scooter without even a second thought.  So, I guess we’re all slowly adjusting back to reality again.  For that one day, though, the kids got to rule the road, and to them, that’s a memory worth a thousand glow stick explosions and then some.


Too Much Together Time

1994-05-07[1]    It is becoming very clear to me with each passing day that we are getting more and more ready for school to start.  All this “together time” here at Grammy’s house is going to either drive my kids to claw each other’s eyes out or send this here mama straight to the loony bin.  Even fun activities that I am certain that they’ll like turn into shoving and/or shouting matches.  I’m wondering if we are going to be outlawed from Grammy’s neighborhood altogether by the end of our visit.

     Since the kids have learned to ride their bikes with no training wheels, we decided to bring them down here with us.  The only problem is that Grammy’s hood is much different than ours.  They actually have driveways, whereas we have unattached garages in the alleys behind our houses where we live.  My kids are not used to watching out for cars turning into and backing out of driveways.  They are used to just barreling down the sidewalk at full speed.  So, in order to prevent them from turning into pavement pancakes, Grammy came up with the idea to take their bikes down to the church around the corner and let them ride around the enormous parking lot.  It seemed like such a brilliant idea at the time.

     So, yesterday morning, I packed up the kids and the bikes and headed over to the church parking lot.  I thought the kids could get rid of some of their bottled up energy while I could sit and do a little bit of writing.  Really, though, I don’t know who I was kidding.  I mean, these were the same two wild banshees who were just caught using rackets as weapons in Grammy’s backyard.  And sure enough, we weren’t there for more than ten measley minutes before the claws came out once again.  All that massive amount of wide open space, and they decided that they both just absolutely had to be on the exact same strip of asphalt.  My daughter started screaming at my son, who then started screaming right back at my daughter.  This was then followed by an outburst of tears from my daughter and a series of smirking and snickering from my son, which led to further shrieking from my daughter.  It suddenly dawned on me that my children were about to throw down IN THE MIDDLE OF A CHURCH PARKING LOT!  I was seriously waiting for God to come bursting through the lobby doors right then and there, shaking his holy finger at my little heathens.  Either that or I was prepared to duck for the inevitable lightning that was sure to strike down at any given moment.  After this little moment of clarity about just where this whole sibling rivalry was all going down, I packed up the bikes and declared the ending of yet another “fun” little adventure. 

     When we got back to Grammy’s, the kids each enjoyed some “alone” time (AKA time out) while I took deep breaths and checked the calendar to see just how many days we have left of summer break.  I was so looking forward to having this week and next to really enjoy spending good quality time with the kids before they start back to school.  I’m having a hard time with the “quality” part of our time together because I’m too busy being pissed off at them!  I really didn’t want them to answer the question, “What did you do over summer vacation?” with a reply of, “beat the crap out of my brother/sister.”

No More Training Wheels


     Over the weekend, my twins finally learned to ride their bikes without training wheels.  I’ve been bugging my husband to take them out for weeks, because I knew he’d have WAY more patience than I would to deal with all the whining and crying that was sure to ensue. Apparently, my son got the hang of it right away, and after some over-the-top dramatic melt-downs from my daughter, she eventually figured it out as well.  

     They were pretty proud of their newfound skills and very much wanted to show them off to me, so I agreed to take them on a bike ride yesterday after they came home from camp.  Unfortunately, though, my daughter had to make the whole thing into a competition, as she typically does with everything concerning her brother.  As it turns out, my son is definitely the better bike rider at this point, which just boils my daughter’s blood.  (Of course, we tell them that they are both equally good, yada, yada, yada.) She does not want him to be better at anything and gets FURIOUS when he is. When he made it to the end of every block before her, she would scream and yell at him and get so agitated that she’d lose her balance and fall into the grass. And then she’d blame her brother — apparently, it was all his fault that she’d made herself fall down.  Luckily, my son was oblivious to all of her bitching at first and just kept going on his merry way.  But, after about five or six blocks of this all-out drama from my daughter, I had had enough. I declared the official ending to the bike ride, and we slowly made our way home.

     When we got home, the kids wanted to keep practicing on the sidewalk next to our house.  This plan, however, was just destined to be a disaster, because two wobbly new riders trying to go in opposite directions down the same path could not possibly end well.  I decided to sit in the back yard and just wait for the bottom to fall out. As predicted, my daughter kept falling down while trying to avoid my son and his bike and grew more and more pissed with each scraped knee. She was screaming at my son for being “in her way.”  Next thing I know, my son is putting his bike in the garage saying he’s sick of being blamed for everything and is done riding for the day, and my daughter is so upset that she’s PUTTING HERSELF IN TIME OUT in her room to cool off. What the??!!  After a long talk with my daughter about the importance of practicing new skills, having patience with herself AND others, and not having to be THE BEST AT EVERYTHING, she eventually calmed down enough to apologize to her brother.  

     I’m sure the neighbors were all thrilled to see the bikes be put away for the day after all the commotion we had just created.  I thought bike riding was supposed to be a fun, relaxing family thing to do together.  Wow, I could not have been more wrong!  Needless to say, I’m not looking too forward to our next bike ride any time soon. Maybe I’ll wear my ear plugs next time….