Thinking about Captain America

My oldest has developed a bit of a passion for the Captain America movies.  She likes to dress up like Peggy Carter, she has posters and pins on her purse, and she reblogs lots of Steve and Bucky things on tumblr.  What’s not to like, right?

One of the things that continually delights me as a mother is watching my kids develop their comedic chops.  My oldest, especially, has a very sharp, dry wit and occasional bursts of physical comedy that just slay me.  One of the things she’s got going is an almost spot-on imitation of her dad, which he denies is ANYTHING LIKE HIM, and then he laughs, and she mimics his laugh and it’s perfect.

One of the things my husband is soundly mocked for by all members of the family is his inability to blow his nose using only one hand.  He has allergies, he frequently needs to blow his nose, even when driving, and every stinking time, he carefully extracts a tissue, shakes it open, and then puts his elbows on the steering wheel so that he can place one hand on either side of his nose to blow.

Man, I’m all worked up just thinking about that stupid move he does.  I’ve demonstrated my own one-handed while driving nose technique multiple times, but he can’t, or won’t, even attempt it.  This is the man who will do au natural snot rockets into bushes if he doesn’t have a tissue, but put him behind the wheel, and he can’t manage without two hands on his face.

Even better?  He’ll randomly say to whomever is in the passenger seat “Hey, be ready to steer.”

NO.

So, my kids all have lots of pithy thoughts about this technique of his, and we like to make fun of him about it.  Last weekend, we were headed out for some family togetherness, when he started asking if we had any tissues in the car, because he felt a sneeze coming on.

All hell broke loose.  My son started braying like a donkey laughing about what would come next.  My youngest was like, JUST PULL OVER.  I couldn’t reach the box of tissues for him in the back, so I nudged my oldest to pull out her ear phones and hand it to me, and she shot me a look and said “What’s the matter, Dad?  You can’t steeee….eve?”

We all grew quiet.  I guess she had been trying to say both steer and sneeze and her brain combined it.  But the funniest part was when I asked her what she was trying to say, she just shrugged and said, “I was thinking about Captain America.”

My husband sneezed, and I handed him a tissue.

Stutter step

Last night, my husband called me on the way home from work, and announced that we would be taking a family walk after dinner. It was 5:30, I had zero plans for dinner, and hadn’t asked the kids to make a plan either.  Being a good sport (if a lousy planner) I promised to get something started on the stove, and would get the kids dressed in family-walk appropriate outfits and shoes before he got home.  I returned to my work in-box for a few last minute things, and was surprised by the bang of the front door moments later.  It was actually 6:30,  my husband was home, no dinner was started, the kids were still barefoot and one was in pajamas.

Whoops.

I logged off, threw a big pot of water on to boil, and recruited my oldest to help make spaghetti and salad for dinner.  Meanwhile, the hubs kicked the other two kids off of electronic devices and asked them to do some chores before dinner.  My youngest did her usual cheerful but lazy job at her chores, and my son basically melted down and was super-emo boy.  Oh man, just take away his computer forever.  Put things away?  No!  He will throw them all away, even the things that are not his, because he deserves no things at all.  Ever.

Teenagers are the absolute best at having nonsensical drama, but rather than allowing it to escalate, we told him to just eat dinner, and get his shoes on.  After a truly sulky dinner, we headed out into the beautiful evening.  My husband was spitting nails angry about tantrum boy, but the two of them walked on ahead, while I marshalled the two girls, the dog and a  handful of poo bags.  I don’t know what they were talking about up there, but watching them striding along angry with each other slowly gave way to them walking at a more moderate pace, shoulders bumping and heads closer together.  I don’t know what they were talking about – both of them said “nothing” when I asked.  But by the time we completed our walk, they were at peace with each other.  The dog had filled two poo bags, too.  Winners, every one of us.

There is a lot going on lately, and I’ve been feeling occasionally unequal to the task of attentive parenting. I get utterly lost in the details of my day-to-day routine – work, laundry, karate, drop offs and pick ups.  Just like last night, I look up and another summer week is gone.  So last night’s small parenting victory, spurred on by my husband’s current midlife panic about getting into shape, was a good reminder to change the scenery, talk about nothing, and let things go.

Except poo.  Pick up your own poo.