Maslow has nothing on Nintendo.
The hierarchy of needs claims that physiological needs, security, and love all come before things like achievement and problem solving. Maslow obviously never played the Lego Star Wars video game (is that not just the geekiest sounding thing ever?). You see, I could wake up in the morning, discover that I was too weak to move off of the couch (let alone care for relatively helpless progeny), and beg my husband to take mercy and he would insist that he couldn’t possibly get to the office late, let alone stay home all day. But if my kids happen to figure out how to get past the part of the snow level they have been stuck on in the Star Wars game right around the time Sean should be getting into the shower?
Let’s just say he was almost half an hour late getting out the door this morning. And they were all yelling and high-fiving when the level was beaten.
Wyatt is an exceptionally bright kid. It amazes me, sometimes, the things that come out of his mouth.
Last night, he was trying to get out of eating dinner, so he told me that his stomach was hurting.
“Well, if it’s that bad,” I told him, “you should probably just go ahead and lay down.” And, really, I meant it since I wasn’t entirely sure that there wasn’t something wrong since he had just fallen out of his chair. Not that falling out of the chair is anything unusual—it wouldn’t be a meal if Wyatt didn’t fall out of his chair—but he did manage to hit his chin so hard on the table that it instantly bruised. Since he doesn’t usually hurt himself while falling, I was open to the possibility that he might be sick.
After a few seconds of thinking about my response, he looked at me very seriously.
“Mom,” he said, “I really don’t think that that is going to be necessary.”
It was delivered in such a grown up way for someone who is only four. Sean and I both started laughing which, of course, offended Wyatt.
As I was telling the story to my parents later, we started discussing just how smart he is. I commented that I needed to start working on reading with him again. I had started briefly when Noah was just learning to sound things out (Wyatt was still three at that point) and decided to quit because Wyatt was picking it up more quickly that Noah and Noah was getting frustrated.
I went back home right after Sean had put the kids to bed.
“Wyatt grabbed one of Noah’s phonics books tonight and decided to read to me,” he told me.
Yep. Just like that. He still has to sound out each word, but he has very little problem doing it. If I work with him every day, he’ll be reading on his own in no time.
As I continue the saga that is potty training Caleb, I find myself in a familiar position. He has mostly mastered the proper disposal of solid waste, but is still making many sets of tires disappear from the fronts of Pull-ups on a daily basis. Wyatt was the exact same way.
This morning, I suddenly remembered how we got past it with Wyatt.
While Noah was having a school day with Grandma, I loaded the other kids up and drove to the mall. We went straight to the Build-a-Bear store (which, I discovered this past Saturday, should never under any circumstances be visited on Valentines Day unless you want to stand in line for an hour just to get into the store and make the vomit-inducing token of love that will likely be burned at the stake when things just don’t work out). I told Caleb to look around and tell me what his favorite animal there was. He very quickly honed in on an adorable elephant. I let him hold it, stroke it, and give it hugs. I used my phone to take pictures of him and the elephant together. I told him that we would come back and make him his own elephant after he had kept his Pull-up dry for three days in a row. That’s right, folks, I’m using the promise of a stuffed animal to bribe my kid to pee in the potty. I took the pictures to remind him just how much he wants it. And he WANTS it.
I’m just wishing I had worked on the concept of time before I made the deal.
A conversation at my house today:
Wyatt: (Crying) Noah kicked me!
Noah: He was yelling at me!
Me: Did you kick him?
Noah: He was yelling at me!
Me: Yes or no. Did you kick him?
Noah: HE WAS YELLING AT ME!
Me: Go to your room.
Noah: HE WAS YELLING AT ME!
Me: You’re yelling at me. Should I kick you?
The second half of my day with the kids today was a bit, shall we say difficult? As we were eating dinner and my kids were playing a rousing game of let’s see how many times we can almost spill the soda Daddy is letting us share, I finally looked at Sean and told him that I was “inside out.” Every so often, I reach a point where it feels like someone just ripped off my skin, flipped it over, and reattached it with every last nerve-ending exposed. Yeah. Once I reach that point, you had better not even think of TOUCHING MY AURA. Really. Just stay away.
By the time I was heading out the door to our Wednesday night youth activity at the church, I was one loud noise away from imploding into a quivering mass of gelatinous goo. A word to the wise husband: When your wife is in this state, don’t even think of saying, “Sure, another whole evening without kids,” as she is walking out the door. Even if you plan on trying to play it off as a joke. Because she may just contemplate un-ladylike hand gestures while muttering about the nine hours you get every day without kids.
Tonight’s activity at church involved all of the boys and girls doing different service projects (cleaning the church, making signs for a food drive, making cards for some of the members). I was asked to be in charge of one of the groups. The kids were split up using the count-off method. Somewhere out there, the “one, two, three, four” gods were laughing their collective butts off. I ended up with a group of one Beehive and three Deacons. For those who aren’t familiar, Beehives are 12-13 year old girls (this one just turned twelve), and Deacons are 12-13 year old boys. Girls at that age are at the height of self-consciousness. Boys that age? Aliens.
I think I know how slugs feel when you pour salt on them.