Taking Stock of 2006
For our household, it is:
Reptiles and amphibians: 2
Guppies: six, that we know of as of this morning.
Skills: typing. catching grammatical mistakes everywhere, except for in my own work.
Dream: to write articles or stories about people and the things that are important to them.
Job: to daily demonstrate my ignorance on topics ranging from technology to kitchen sinks while earning--during some interminable assignments--Missouri minimum wage.
Proximity of reality to dream: They both involve writing, so pretty darn close, actually.
News agencies like to declare winners and losers for the year.
For us, the big winners in 2006 were:
J.J. Doubled his weight, especially in his head. People say that, due to his huge noggin and stylishly long hair, he looks like a very short 30-something man. For me, he's more like a colleague than a baby. Until he curls up on my lap with his bobba of milk and starts laughing for no reason whatsoever.
J.J. also developed instincts necessary to be the youngest of three brothers.
Do not walk across our dining room carrying a hotdog, ice cream, cookie or any other tasty treat because J.J. will take you down. He will tackle you and wrestle the food out of your hands just for agility practice. If he's not hungry, he will feed it to our dog.
Richie. Has a real command of the English language. Now begins every sentence with "Of course." Of course I'm watching Tom and Jerry. Of course I say bubble bottom every other word.
Also is controlling his potty mouth tendencies by saying these words in the bathroom. Our Parents as Teachers representative recommended this and it works great. Now, Richie steps into the powder room and says, "Poop in the Buttocks." Which is a bit redundant. But whatever. It works for him. He walks out, takes a deep breath and says, "Okay." He is ready to face the day potty talk-free. One day at a time.
Johnny. Started kindergarten. Knows all three verses of "Up on the Housetop." Has better handwriting than either of his parents. Expanded his horizons this year by reading one book that wasn't shelved in the science or reference section of the library. It was about the first Christmas stockings ever. I think he thought it was historical nonfiction.
Clutter. A big winner this year.
Well, the parents always lose, no matter what. If you're working enough hours to pay the bills, you're not spending enough time with the kids. If you're building towers with the kids, you probably will soon need a new roof and will wish you spent that time working.
If you're too nice, your kids will be spoiled. If you're too mean, they'll have issues. If you're just right, your kids will take their pick between the two previous options.
But the beauty of parenting is the kids create the illusion that you're a winner.
Take J.J., he claps when Justin walks in the door from work. He is in such a hurry to leap into his dad's arms that he trips over his own baby feet.
Or Richie. The other night, we were watching football. I asked Justin, "So is that guy down wherever his butt landed?"
As if cued by a teleprompter, Richie said, "Hahaha."
"It's actually where his knee hit," Justin said.
"Or is it where his booty landed?" I said, playing to the crowd.
Richie was dying laughing.
"You're pretty funny when Richie's in the audience," Justin said.
Or the other night we were reading a book called, "Would you rather?"
Would you rather...an eagle stole your dinner, an elephant drank your bathwater or a hippos slept in your bed?
Well, pretty soon, I realized the boys were having me go first so that they could copy my answers. This seemed odd. They are indifferent to my opinion on issues such as whether candy should be eaten in the morning or whether two boys should fight over two identical light sabers.
And yet, when it comes to eagle-elephant-hippo dilemnas, I'm a guru.
To me, that's a win.
So 2006 ends on a winning note. And you see, taking stock is a lot more rewarding than making resolutions.