The story of Max and the soccer ball has become part of our family legend. This was first posted a short while before we left California on our journey across the US.
If you take a look at the advertisements, motherhood is all smiles and flowers and contentment. Now I am definitely a life-is-what-you-make-it kind of gal, and I find a great satisfaction in being a mother. However, I will be the first to tell you that motherhood has been filled with surprises, and I’m not talking about the floral variety. Kids, it seems, are predictably unpredictable.
I think back to the time before I had my own children and remember a warm July day when I went to pick up my stepdaughter from a class she was taking. She ran to meet me, arms held wide, and I scooped her up. My heart melted in the summer heat and I suddenly knew only one thing: I wanted to be a mother.
Fast forward a few years and my life is consumed with requests for raisins, arguments over who has the most crayons and a mountain of laundry that would intimidate the most veteran of climbers. I got all that I wished for and more.
In my early days as a mother, I learned that children will think of things to do that I never anticipated. They will then look both innocent and quizzical at the ensuing lecture and mutter something like, “Well, you didn’t tell me I couldn’t.”
One of my favorite examples occurred a few years ago. Upon hearing a loud racket, I entered the kitchen to find my two oldest boys on the floor, wrestling. Apparently, while one of the boys was washing the dishes, the other had walked through the kitchen and had been overcome by the desire — no, the need — to remove the socks of the dishwashing brother. This led to a solid whomping on the kitchen floor.
My astonishment at the situation was matched by theirs. I’d never told them not to remove another person’s socks while the sock wearer was washing dishes, and we’d never covered what would be an appropriate response to such a situation. How could they have known I’d disapprove?
Apparently, I didn’t learn much in the ensuing years. On a recent night in the Godfrey household, we were up late packing for a trip. We sent the younger kids up to bed. This prompted Atticus to start playing the piano. Of course.
It seems that Max had heard “go to bed” and concluded that my statement did not explicitly exclude playing soccer as long as he was in the bed at the time. He’s got a real great kick, that one, and the ball flew up and knocked down the light fixture. It shattered all the way down the stairs.
Not all my surprises are so exasperating.
Last week, Atticus and Max got into an argument as to what I am. One claimed that I am the best mother. The other insisted that I am not the best mother, I am the “bestest” mother. This was followed by the assertion that I am the quadruple best mom, which naturally led to an argument over whether “quadruple best” is more than “bestest” since “bestest” is not even a real word.
From the first two lessons, I should have learned to intervene. I should have corrected my boys and instructed them not to argue. Then I reconsidered. There was a vocabulary lesson in there, so that could count as language arts.
“Quadruple” is a math word, and there was some comparative analysis going on, so that could count as mathematics. Instead of breaking this one up, I handed each boy a cookie. I didn’t want to interfere with their education.
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