Saturday, September 23, 2006

The See-Saw Incident

It’s funny how the mind works when it comes to memories. Yesterday, we were at a school playground with the latest types of equipment - smooth brightly colored molded plastics and poly-coated steels on top of a thick matt of mulch - all there to provide my child with the greatest amount of enjoyment with the least amount of risk.

As I watched my youngest son (on the verge of turning 5 now) and another kid figure out the see-saw (after trial and error, they found that holding the see-saw level and both swinging a leg over at the same time got the ride started), my thoughts turned back to my days playing on the see-saw during school recesses. I loved the rides that really moved - the swings, the merry-go-round, and of course, the see-saw.

So in my minds eye, I’m reliving the feeling of flying up and down in a fairly controlled environment, feeling the breeze, smiling and laughing with a good friend. Then my mind takes a slight turn in the memory, and I remember the feeling of being at the top of the ride and slamming down hard onto the ground when that fickle friend decides to get off while they are at the bottom. Ah…, and then I remember the better friends that would faithfully stay seated while the person at the top slid down to where they were so both could get off at the same time.

And this is where my mind really honed in to one specific incident. You see, I grew up in the seventies. A reckless time when slides were slick hot metal that faced the sun and burned your thighs as you squeaked slowly down, monkey bars were tall metal structures built on top of hard compacted concrete-like earth, and swings pinched your fingers if you got high enough to get some slack in the chain. And, oh, the good ole’ days of wooden structures like see-saws that had paint chipping off and exposed splintery wood beneath.

So back to the incident. The bell had rung for recess to be over. We needed to leave the school equipment behind and line up at the door as quickly as possible. Fortunately that day, I had one of those faithful friends at the other end of the see-saw who allowed me to slide down in order to get off. And slide I did. On the way down a sharp pain stabbed me right in one of my cheeks that I sit on. I got off the see-saw and reached back (we wore skirts with shorts underneath). Yes, something was not right…there was definitely something in my cheek that was not there before. So I got to go to the school office.

While somewhat humiliating, I braced myself for what needed to be done. The woman proceeded to lift my skirt and pull down my shorts to expose my little white cheeks. She then proceeded to extract something and it was all over.

Until she showed it to me - an inch long piece of timber, half dull green paint and exposed wood, and half blood.

The end.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Son, The Mop

My boys like to “celebrate” at a restaurant whenever their dad comes back from being out of town. So last night we went to Applebee’s.

Everything was fine until the inevitable declaration by our 4 year old halfway through the meal that he needed to go to the restroom. Neither my husband nor I are ever thrilled to visit restaurant bathrooms during dinner, but he was squirming enough to make it necessary. Fortunately, our 7 year old son was squirming also and was willing to take his little brother. So off they went. Being a responsible father, my husband feels he can only allow them a few moments of independence so he got up to check on them.

As competitive boys, they often go into the same stall and, umm…, pee at the same time. Maybe to see who can go the fastest, the longest…who knows, I’m a girl and girls pee alone. So as my husband enters the bathroom, he finds splashes and puddles on the floor around the toilet…the general filth he usually describes to me after going into some men’s restrooms. He also finds Michael (7) already finished and standing outside of the stall. Apparently they had finished the competition, but his brother was still in the stall doing the other thing. So my husband immediately tries the stall door to see if Jonathan needs any help. It’s locked.

The conversation then goes something like this:

Dad: “Why is the door locked?”
Michael: “Because I locked it for him.”
Dad: “How did you lock the door and still be on this side?”
M: “I locked it from the inside and then I crawled out underneath the door.”
Dad (astonished and grossed out): “You crawled on your hands and knees out from under the door!!”
M (proudly): “No way dad! I slid out on my back!”