Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekending with the Family

This weekend we were invited to our first ever preschool friend birthday party. In other words, we had to go to a birthday party that did not involve any of our friends. This had the potential for being super awkward. Or super boring. Or super awesome? What if we had to go to Chuck E. Cheese? What if a trip to Build a Bear was somehow involved? What if, god forbid, an actual clown would be there? I entertained a variety of frightening scenarios as we prepared to RSVP to the event.

But when Brent made the call, he discovered that it was a causal get together at the kid’s house and when he asked what we could bring, the hostess simply replied, “Beer.” Music to our ears- this was going to be our kind of kids’ party!

And so we arrived on Friday night with the two kids spiffed up in their button ups and a growler full of beer. And it was a classic Eugene experience, meaning it turned out that we knew just about everybody at the party and spent much of our time playing the old “You look familiar. Where do I know you from?” game. It was also a classic Eugene experience because the vegan cake was, of course, from Sweet Life and I started thinking that if they wanted to do a Eugene parody show, a la Portlandia, this party would be a great pilot episode.

It turns out that the only social awkwardness at the party belonged to Jack. He is kind of shy and sometimes it takes him awhile to warm up, and I’ve hesitated to write too much about this before because I don’t want him reading this in ten years and knowing that his mom worried about him being such a weirdo. But let’s be honest here, the kid is kind of weird. He stood around for the first hour or so with his hands in his pockets observing the partygoers’ shenanigans from afar. The other kids were running amok and destroying various parts of the house as preschool age invitees are wont to do. Meanwhile Sawyer ransacked the place along with the rest of the kids and managed to eat an entire plate of sliced tomatoes during the thirty seconds that he was left unsupervised near the food table.

Eventually Jack joined the pack of wily four and five-year-olds and by the end of the evening he was running through the house on a sugar-fueled high with the best of them, but still, the fact that he has to be cajoled into being a kid and doing kid things sometimes bothers me.

Sometimes I wonder if Jack is a grumpy old man trapped in the body of a preschooler.

Jack’s quirkiness manifested itself in another way this weekend when he got hold of a chore chart that was passed on to us by a well-intentioned friend. The concept is simple: a variety of “chores” are labeled on the chart and you get to spin a little knob when each job has been completed. I think that for any other kid, this thing might work like a charm, but for obsessive compulsive Jack, it created a monster. For two days his life centered around the chore chart and it was just like that Frog and Toad story where Frog loses his list of things to do for the day and then can't do anything. Or was it Toad who lost the list? Anyway, getting dressed is not on the chore chart and so Jack attempted to spend Saturday in his pajamas until we finally convinced him that getting dressed fell under the category of "using good manners." All day long he looked for things to do that would grant him access to the coveted chore chart knobs. He tidied his room, fed the chickens, and he even set the table. So the chore chart definitely has its advantages, if you have the patience for it. But then Jack woke up on Sunday morning, surveyed the chore chart lying innocently on the table, sighed as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders announcing, "I have a really big day today. So much to do on my chore chart." Also, the kid has been begging me for homework, since, you guessed it, "do your homework" is one of the chore chart chores. I think this is all very weird.

We went hiking and picnicking at Mount Pisgah on sunny Sunday.

I had drinks with some girl friends on Saturday night and the concept of "family time" came up in the conversation. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there's no better way to spend a Sunday. Throw in some loaves of bread, a super score on some fabric, a few minutes to work on a birthday project, and a big pot of soup and I'm happy as a clam.

Jack and Brent found this little guy croaking away in the backyard. This springy weather has us scheming up some new garden projects for the summer. More chickens, and herb garden, possibly a fire pit? I dream big.

Brent dug out the mint patch. I was sad to see it go (yes, I know it's only mint, but I loved that mint!) but happy to make room for some raspberries. Digging out the mint yielded bunches of wiggly worms that were just right for little hands. Unfortunately for those worms, these little hands enjoy feeding them to hungry chickens who began greedily circling the mint dig site hoping for a treat.

Here's hoping you were all out and about finding ways to savor this spectacular spring preview, that more BYOB style birthday parties will be in our future, that I get my herb garden, and that Jack can give the chore chart a well-deserved rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment