Archive for the ‘kids’ Category
Yes, I’m doing a sponsored post to celebrate our anniversary, because if I’ve learned anything in twelve years of bliss it is that when opportunity knocks you best answer. Disney Story knocked, and the rest, as they say, is this post. Besides, I proposed at the Magic Kingdom (I was wearing a Foo Fighters shirt—romantic!), so it’s like circular.
Twelve years ago today Tricia and I were married. Man, we were beautiful. Then time pulled all of my hair out, left a couple of kids on our doorstep, and tricked us into thinking that the then was better than the now, but the truth is, the now is pretty good, too. Take that, Time!
Happy Anniversary, Tricia. Next year, a baker’s dozen!
For the record, I’m wearing a Foo Fighters shirt today, too, but it’s from a totally different tour.
There is a lot of overlap between childhood and springtime. One is full of growth and beauty, the other is just like that but louder. So it was that we found ourselves beneath a dance of sun and shade, slightly above the sea, with children laughing between rockets, balloons, paint, and poetry. Also, tinfoil.
We were among the invited guests at Hyundai’s “Epic Play Date” event just north of Santa Barbara, a day filled with some of your favorite bloggers (and me) and their families—each engaged in the pursuit of fun, food, and conversation. The kids hit the ground running, pausing only for sunscreen, sips of water, and the occasional ice cream. The parents kept pace behind them, somewhat sidetracked by kind words and friendly faces. I drank my body weight in lemonade.
“I told the balloon artist that I would be right back,” said my oldest as he ate his food entirely too fast, excused himself with a wave, and ran back across the field that stretched open between our table and his imagination.
“Me too,” said the youngest as he followed the path that blazed before him.
We watched them run straight and true, as if pulled by some invisible force, and when they got to the balloon booth they stopped. Collaborate. Listen. The balloons became what they hoped they would be, and the day spread like that until it ended, covered in whipped cream, sweat, and the most epic sort of tired.
The drive home was all beachfront and snoring.
This This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai .
Zane was given a Pride Award at school today for being trustworthy and an all around good egg. He was thrilled, proud, and goofy, which is just how we’ve raised him. I felt the same. Also, he managed to make it to the stage without anyone combing his hair, which was nice.
When the principal called him to receive his award she said our last name wrong, which is par for every course we play on (hence the header of this blog providing help to those having difficulty). Granted, the pronunciation today was far closer to correct than the time Atticus had a similar experience—so similar that I am not going to write about it again. I will, however, share the post from last time and let you, the reader, make the mental changes between my boys. Interactive!
The school multipurpose room is exactly as its name suggests, a room of multiple purposes — in a school. If you have children, or were, at one time, a child, you may have been in a multipurpose room. You may have been there for any number of reasons. That’s the beauty of it.
I was in the school multipurpose room because my oldest son was receiving an award, and he didn’t know it. I found a folding seat against a retractable wall in the small section that had been allotted for parents, and I waited.
When my son walked in with his class, he passed right in front of me. His face went from surprise to confusion to comprehension in about two steps, and I saw him raise his fist in the classic air punch motion of someone realizing that they are about to win something awesome. You may have experienced something similar in your own life. Or on TV. It’s a fun moment and great for ratings.
Then the principal took the stage (the stage providing just one of the many purposes that the room allows) and started passing out praise and Pride Awards. The kids were ecstatic.
“The next Pride Award,” she said, “goes to a boy who has shown excellence in all academic areas.” And then she listed them.
“Atticus Mayyow!” she said.
“Who?” I asked the parents around me, but they were all clapping into their iPhones and none of them seemed to register that one of the purposes of a room like the one we were in was to answer my questions. I’m pretty sure that’s a rule.
I looked over and saw my son walking through a crisscrossed applesauce sea of his classmates, beaming, and climb up the stage stairs to receive his award.
If you noticed the byline on your way into this article you may recall that it doesn’t say “Whit Mayyow,” and while I appreciate your not jumping to assumptions and conclusions, I should point out that my son’s last name is indeed the same as mine, and we pronounce it totally differently.
Honea rhymes with pony, and I can count the number of times that a stranger has pronounced it correctly on two fingers. It doesn’t really bother me, the name is some weird hybrid of Cherokee, Irish, and French, and most people call me “Honey,” which is so much better than “sweet cheeks.” However, the principal isn’t a stranger, and in my 41 years of politely grimacing through mispronunciations, this was, by far, the worst.
In fact, the two times that I have heard someone pronounce “Honea” correctly it nearly knocked me over. I have a flair for the dramatic.
“Who do you know?” I asked.
Turns out they both knew someone from one branch of my family tree or another, and as such they were able to read my name aloud without crinkling their nose like the ink smelled funny.
“It’s Ho-nee,” someone usually says when I just nod to “Honey” or whatever. The mispronunciations seem to bother my friends more than my family, and while I appreciate their concern, it isn’t really necessary. I’ve been called names before and most of them never hurt me.
My boys are just starting on their path of mispronunciations, and as such I have made a point of teaching them a few tricks of the trade. For instance, it is perfectly acceptable to quickly assist someone that is obviously struggling with the sounds of our name, but it is not okay to do it in manner that insults them for trying. It’s not like people are saying our name wrong on purpose. It’s not personal.
Unless it is, and then they can go with their gut.
My son stood on the stage and shrugged his shoulders at the witty banter that the principal put forth, but all he gave back was a smile. He has a quick wit and a great grasp of humor, but he is shy when attention is genuinely given and not earned as a result of his hammed up actions. Let’s call it selective modesty.
He took his Pride Award for Excellence in All Academic Areas and didn’t even flinch when someone else’s last name was put behind his first. He stood on the stage, held up his certificate, and looked right at me. His smile stretched from one sweet cheek to the other.
I took pictures while clapping into my iPhone and tried to capture as much of the moment as I could while still being in it, which is tricky. My smile was as wide as the one on his face, and my pride, if possible, perhaps even bigger.
It was a great moment for my son, whatever his name may be.
The post included here first appeared on Babble
“What do you do at recess?” I asked.
The first grader rambled off a list of activities and games that seemed rather extensive for a handful of twenty minute increments, but apparently recess is his day and he seizes it accordingly.
“Nothing,” said the 9-year-old without a hint of melancholy. It was just an answer, matter-of-fact, and heartbreakingly honest.
“You must do something,” I said.
“Yesterday I looked for N—, and I finally found him and some other kids in the far restroom. They were hiding behind the trashcan and playing on their phones.”
“What did you do?”
“They were being sneaky, we aren’t supposed to have phones, so I left.”
“Good. What about your other friends?” I asked, listing each of them one by one.
“He always plays handball,” he said. “He always plays…” and he responded to each name with an activity that didn’t interest him.
“It seems to me,” I offered, “and this is just a suggestion, but perhaps you should spend your time doing things you like rather than looking for other people. Go to the thing you enjoy, or make your own game to play. You have friends everywhere.”
“It’s too hot,” he replied, which was true. The first full week of school had been the hottest of the year, and the idea of playing anything outside was not very appealing.
“Well, it’s just a suggestion.”
“I got tired of looking around, so I lay beneath the big shade tree.”
“You lay there?” I asked. “Doing what?”
“Resting,” he said, “and thinking. Then S— sat next to me and read his book.”
“Is S— a nice kid? Do you play with him?”
“He’s nice, but I don’t play with him very often.”
We were all quiet for a spell, each of us looking through the direction of our choosing.
“Did you know that there is a door at the bottom of the big shade tree?” he asked. His brother perked up.
“It’s not a real door,” he continued, apparently concerned that we were too intrigued. “It looks like a real door, but it is small.”
“Did you open it?” asked his brother.
“Even if it was a real door I wouldn’t know how to open it. I showed it to S—,” he said, and then he looked back toward that faraway place.
“What do you think lives there?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I’m more curious about where it goes.”
“Any ideas?” I asked.
“I suppose,” he said, “that it could go just about anywhere.”
And then I stopped worrying about how he spends his recess.
This post first appeared on Babble, and since then he has taken a keen interest in handball. He still wonders about the door, and knocks on it from time to time.