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Posts Tagged ‘conversations’

I’ve mentioned before that Big Brother has become something of a fussbudget when it comes to dinner.  And, I’m not exactly serving up brussels sprouts and organic chicken.   I’ll feed the kid Kraft mac & cheese, a chicken patty, spaghettio’s, whatever.  Just eat it, punk.   Nutritionally, he’s fine.  He loves all fruits and most vegetables, gets a boatload of protein from countless lunchtime pb & js.  But, the main course is killing me.
And his latest?  After I’ve indulged him by letting him request the night’s main course (I know, I know…I’m creating this monster), and he’s settled in his chair, he’ll proceed to eat everything else on the plate and then tell me his main course is cold.  “Mom?”  (“Yes, W.”)  “My mac is cold.  Will you reheat this for me?”
And, I do.  Once, sometimes twice.  But, it’s really starting to bug me.  The act is getting old.  So, when the request came a few nights ago, and subsequently the first reheat, I place the warmed meal in front of him.
“Is it too hot now, Mom?”
“I don’t think so, W”
But still, just in case, he talks to Little Brother (who will happily eat anything) and plays a bit.  Waiting for it to cool.  A minute or so later he deigns to lift his spoon.   And, for something like the nine milllionth time in nine million days he rolls his eyes and says to me…
“Oh no, Mom.  It’s cold again.”
Well, I lost it.  In a fit of total frustration, I raced over to the table.  Took the spoon out of his bowl, slammed it back down onto his placemat, yanked the bowl away, marched back towards the kitchen, threw the bowl in the micro and with my back turned to them said….(not quietly)
“You know what, W?!?   Next time, you won’t get a choice!  Next time, I’m serving you POOP!
Yup.  I said that.  I did.
And after about two beats of stunned silence later, from the table I hear,
“Mwaaahhhhhhhhhhh! Noooooo, Mom, please don’t serv…”
Oh my goodness.  Does my child actually believe that I would serve him feces?  Seriously?
Back at the table, wrap my arms around him.  “Oh, W.   Stop.   I wouldn’t do that.  I was kidding!  Really.  I promise, honey.  No poop for dinner.”
Sniffling.  Collecting himself.  “You wouldn’t?”
“Oh, no.  Of course not.  I mean, imagine the logistics of that.”

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When my friend Liza, who was my matron of honor (she hated the “matron” part) and is undoubtedly my most-tenured friend, recently asked me what the hell a “Serial Swooper” was, I realized I probably owe anyone reading this blog an explanation on its title.  Because, if Liza doesn’t get it….probably no one gets it.

I’m bilingual, you know. And so is my husband and, now, our kids.  I speak English and I speak Hills (my maiden name).   Because my Dad has always used a few words that are, as far as I know, completely of his own making.   Or, he takes words that mean something else and incorporates them into Hills vernacular with an entirely new definition.  One of these many words is the verb form of the word “swoop”.

“To swoop” is to remove something from somewhere else, usually in a quick motion, in an attempt to neaten up. To use the word in a sentence (a sentence often used as I was growing up)…”Marion.  Did you swoop my Wall Street Journal?”  Most likely, my father had been reading it, got up to do something else, left it on the couch (with all intentions of returning to it momentarily), and returned to find it was gone.  Not likely thrown out, mind you.  Most likely just “swooped” into a pile somewhere.  Because my mother’s style of “cleaning up”, like mine today, involved a number of well-organized piles.

And, no one is immune to my swooping, either.  Christmas week, as I lay in bed for a few extra minutes as Husband and my mother-in-law got up early with the boys, I hear this exchange from the living room.

“Grammie?”
“Yes, Big Brother”
“Where did you put my little chair?”
“I don’t think I did anything with it.  Did you ask your Mom if she swooped it?”
“Yes, Grammie.  And, she said you swooped it.”

There are more Hills words, of course.  And whole phrases.   Such as…
Zeeks — men’s underwear.
Panackacakees — pancakes.
FROST! — what you yell when someone (usually a teenager who isn’t listening) says “What?” for the hundredth time rather than “Excuse me”.   The explanation on this one is long and drawn out.  Just believe me when I tell you there actually IS an explanation.
Ratzenfratzen! — When something kind of bad happens and “Rats!” just isn’t good enough.
Really with you? — One of my favorites.  This, roughly translated, means “You can not be serious.”  Used situationally: “I think Elin should take Tiger back.”   “Really with you!?”
Rack — A synonym for “Yum”.  And if something is really good, you may even use the stronger emphasis form of Rack and say Rickety Rack.   And if it’s so good you can hardly stand it you might go as far as to say Rickety Rack, Reeky Fack.

Laughing out loud to myself.

You all must think we’re a pack of crazies.   But, seriously, my kids are using these words.  And, I’m actually pretty psyched about it.

So, anyway.   That’s why I’m a Serial Swooper.  Now you know.

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A couple days ago, Big Brother and I are in the car on a special “Mom & me” outing. I love these time and so does he. Just time spent away from the rugrat brother, with my undivided attention.

From the backseat of the car, he surprised me with this one:
“Hey, Mom?” As I’ve said before, he always waits for me to reply no matter what our proximity to each other.
“Yes?”
“How come you don’t love Daddy as much as you used to?”
What? Did he really just say that? I must have it wrong.

“What was that you just asked, sweetie?”
“You and Daddy? Why don’t you love each other like you did when you had me and Little Brother?”
What in the world?
“But, we do, honey. We love each other as much as we always have. Why would you think that?”
“Well, you told me that babies come from when two people love each other very much…”
“Yes.”
“And, then, you also told me that you and Daddy are done having babies.”
“Uh…huh.”
“So, you must not love each other very much anymore. Right?”
Logical little sucker, isn’t he?

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And, not the fluffy, cold, wet stuff. In fact, I more or less hate that kind of snow, despite being raised a Vermonter. Or maybe, I guess, because I was raised a Vermonter. But, I digress.

“Snow” in our household is an 8-inch tall, red elf with bendable legs and hat (he was named by Big Brother last year). He arrives the morning after Thanksgiving and he sticks around until Christmas Eve. His sole job, as Santa’s helper, is to WATCH each day and make sure the Schieffer boys are behaving themselves. Each night, after they go to bed, he flies to the North Pole and gives Santa his report of the day. And, each morning, they wake to find that he has relocated himself to a new perch in our house to commence the watch again.
Orwellian? Perhaps.
Ominous? Perhaps.
Threatening scare tactics? Perhaps.
Does it work? Damn straight.
My boys are perfect angels, most of the time, in Snow’s company. And, if they forget he’s there for a moment and lapse into pushing, shoving, shouting, whining, shrieking, complaining, pouting and other such regular behaviors, its pretty nice to simply get their attention, put a finger to my lips and say “Shhhhh….” and point to the little Man on the mantle.
This morning (a morning after what is becoming a nightly “eat your dinner” stand-off with Big Brother) I came into the kitchen to discover him having a little conversation mano-a-mano with the elf.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“Just talking to Snow.”
“What about?”
“Well….ravioli.”
Ahhhh. Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow.

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