Saturday, February 10, 2007

Politics, Octopus, Comebacks and Chess

All right. All right. Kids care about politics. Not my kids. But some kids do. My kids care about Pokemon and potty language, which I am contantly talking about.

Anyway, my apologies to the author of Why Mommy is a Democrat. I shouldn't judge other children by my own. After all, my husband and I never discuss politics at home.

It's not that we don't care. It's just that we can't decide. So I would like to give my kids both the democrat and republican version of a children's book and let them decide, or better yet, see a little good in both parties.

But I can see where, if you felt strongly about something, you would want to share that with your children.

For instance, I feel strongly about the word "Poopy" not being used at the dinner table. It adds nothing. I share that view with my children in the hopes that, one day, they will agree with me.

On a different note, the other day, the school sent home a helpful paper titled, "How to teaseproof your kids."

A second grade teacher did this with his class. He told the kids that when someone teases them, they should give that bully a cool look. Then they should say a one-liner. Such as, "Thank you for sharing that with me."

I told the boys about this, and gave it a practice round.

"Okay, I'll be the big, bad bully," I said.

I looked at Johnny: "You eat worms for breakfast. And slugs."

Johnny gave me a cool look. Then he said, "Well, your mama's so dumb she puts lipstick on her eyeballs."

That wasn't what we practiced.

Still, if I can get rid of the "yo mama" comebacks, I think this will be a really good strategy.

Today, we went to a chess tournament. I spilled coffee in my lap.

"Oh great," I said. "People are going to think I wet my pants."

"If they do, just say, 'Thank you for sharing that with me,'" Johnny said.

See it worked. Try it, moms and dads.

Of course, none of the grownups pointed and laughed and asked if I wet my pants. Because I was wearing dark jeans.

On another unrelated note, at the grocery store yesterday, they were selling octopus for $4.99 per pound. At that price, you can't afford not to eat the slimy monsters.

So we took some home. The beauty of cooking octopus is you do not have to stir them. They stir themselves. No, not because they have eight arms. This isn't a fairlytale. Rather, the tentacles writhe around in the pan like live worms.

"Who put those worms in there?" Richie asked.

I guessed it was the octopus.

Gradually, the octopus turned from gray to purple.

I sauteed it in butter and garlic and served it for movie night.

It tasted like chicken. Intestines. Sprinkled with suction cups.

Johnny loved it. Richie and Justin didn't touch it. J.J. was sick--prior to the octopus incident.

I was on the fence. Until I realized that, with a little parmesan, it was quite tasty. As are chicken intestines sprinkled with suction cups.

Johnny, by the way, won the kindergarten division of the chess tournament--his first ever. Two hours later, he still hasn't put the trophy down.

This blog might seem a little lacking in, oh, I don't know, a point.

The point is, my son won his division in the chess tournament.

Sure, I shouldn't use this blog for shameless bragging about my child. I should use it to complain about my children. But allow me to give some background.

All week, I told Johnny, "You know, the kids there are going to be very good at chess. You might win all your games, but you might lose all your games. The important thing is that you try your hardest and shake hands with the other kid."

But before leaving this morning, Johnny told Richie, "When I come home, I'm going to have a trophy or a ribbon."

"You mean a frog?" Richie said.

He thought Johnny said, "ribbit."

During the tournament, Johnny kept walking over to the trophies and wondering if one was his.

"Probably not this time," I said. "You have to be in the top six."

Johnny won two, lost two, and had one draw.

We sat down for the awards ceremony and Johnny said, "I hope I win one of those trophies."

And I thought, "Well, that hope won't last for long."

Because I've been around long enough to know that hope is cheap when it comes to contests. To win, you don't have to be the most optomistic or have the most heart. You just have to be the best.

Then they said, "And now we're going to give an award to the best kindergartner."

And I thought the prize would go to the kid whose mom yelled at him everytime he lost. He seemed to be doing well.

And I worried that it would dash Johnny's hope that much more.

Then they said, "The award goes to Johnny Heos."

When they announced his name, he smiled so big that tears came to my eyes.

Before we left, I told him to pick up his hat and he said, "But mom, I have to hold the trophy with two hands."

So today, I learned that maybe hope does count for something. Not in my personal experience. But for my son it does.

And when you win that prize, you should hold onto with two hands. Victory is a fragile thing.


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2:46 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

What a wonderful blog - several laughs and such pride that Johnny won his first chess tournament! What a bright and brave boy he is!! The octopus sounds horrible, even though I did order it for lunch thursday. breaded with dipping sauce is the only way to go. I had an octopus salad in Opatia - another terrible way to eat it!!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Jeanne said...

Congratulations to Johnny! We are so proud of him. He was bursting to share his news on the phone with everyone. Who knew they had chess tournaments with children his age? Great blog Bridget!

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you win the chess tournament but still eat octopus for dinner, do you really win?

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Johnny!!

9:27 AM  
Anonymous PVD said...

when my boys were in kindergarten they used the chessmen as army guys. Aren't you glad your boys are more evolved? Congratulations Johnny, (Your grandma had already bragged, but that's her job!)

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this one!!!!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go John!!! We are proud of you!!! And the fact that you all ate octopus.

8:16 AM  

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