Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Stories of Our Lives: The Three Amigos

Last Friday night, my niece Trinitty spent the night at our house. Trinitty is eight years old, about the same age as my son Riley and my step-son Khegan. The boys love playing with their cousin, but it is always quite the adventure!

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law, ambitious as they are, were scheduled to race in the Commit to be Fit Race, an annual 5K race held locally in Columbus, Ohio. The race was early Saturday morning, which conflicted with Trinitty’s soccer game, so being the wonderful aunt and uncle that we are, John and I naturally offered to take Trinitty to her soccer game. And being that the race was scheduled so early, it only made sense for Miss Trinitty to spend the night at our house, especially since the boys had been begging to have her over to play for more than a week now.

After picking up the boys from the babysitter on Friday afternoon, I swung by my in-laws to pick her up. Riley sat in the car with his nose in his video games while Khegan and I ran in to get Trin. She was packed and ready to go, with her Pokémon card collection in hand!

You see Pokémon card collections are very important to seven and eight year olds. Not only are Pokémon cards a cool “battling game” as Riley says, but they also seem to represent a type of currency amongst school-age children. Khegan likes Pokémon cards because, “you can trade `em and collect `em and stuff.” If you have the best cards, with the most powers, other kids will both fear you and want to be your friend.

So it was no huge surprise that when we got home the children wanted to spend the afternoon up in the loft playing Pokémon. Now it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day – the first day of May to be exact – and these energetic, vibrant, seven year olds wanted to spend the afternoon indoors! What I did next, it was what any New Breed Mom would do… I got out my soapbox and gave a little speech. “When I was a little kid I couldn’t wait until spring rolled around so I could spend my afternoons outside!”

After a few eye rolls and “aw mom’s”, the kiddos begrudgingly made their way outside to draw with sidewalk chalk, ride their bikes and scooters, and play secret agent man. A short while later I was reminded why three is harder than two. Both of my boys adore Trinitty and want to play with her equally, but one false move by any one of the three, and the trio becomes divided. It is now two vs. one, which isn’t any fun! It is extra not-fun if you are the mom trying to make everyone happy.

Being a New Breed who is quick on my feet, I say, “Ok, instead of playing two good guys hiding from one bad guy, let’s play Batman, Robin, and Cat Woman.” Well, the kids couldn’t possibly play that game because as everyone should know Cat Woman is a bad guy too, so they would still be playing two vs. one! After several minutes and much consideration it was determinate that they would play Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – all good guys! “Great!” I say, and I am about to go inside when I notice that my neighbor’s granddaughter was sitting on his front stoop with her baby doll in hand, looking ever so longingly at the trio, who by then were making a plan for this new game.

“Go and introduce yourself to the little girl,” I say. “She looks lonely and wants to play with you guys.” Though at first they weren’t all so receptive, I was finally able to coax the trio into talking to the little girl and inviting her to play. Trinitty took the lead, and as soon as she did the boys followed in suit. The trio became a foursome – two girls and two boys- all was right with the world again. The children spent the late afternoon and early evening running and skipping and playing and riding!

Then on to dinner (brauts – very yummy!), PJ’s, and then finally slumber party time! We set up an inflatable mattress in the loft for Trinitty to sleep on. The boys decided they wanted to sleep in the loft too, which they were permitted to do so long as they stayed calm and went to sleep. Soon they were all settled down watching a movie that miraculously they had all agreed on!

The next morning, after a breakfast cinnamon rolls with orange flavored icing, we all headed out the door to Trinitty’s soccer game. My husband had gotten up early that Saturday morning, to get our yard mowed before the rain that was expected for the afternoon. Well, it was a good thing he did because the rain arrived early!

Before we even made it to the soccer game, the rain was coming down. Now I may be a New Breed of Mom, but even New Breeds aren’t perfect. What kind of mom doesn’t carry several of those giant “soccer umbrellas” in her trunk? Me, that’s who! Although my boys play all sorts of sports – soccer, basketball, football, and this season baseball – the only umbrella I own is a small one that fits in my purse, which I occasionally use when I have to walk from the parking garage to my office in the rain.

I dropped John and the kids off (in the rain) near the soccer field while I went in search of a place to park. As I parked and walked back towards the fields (in the rain) I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe they would cancel the game. No such luck. So there we sat – John, the boys, and me – in the rain watching a muddy soccer game. Trinitty had quickly squeezed in under an umbrella that belonged to her teammate so at least she wasn’t getting soaked in between her playtime.

Luckily, there was another New Breed Mom that came to our rescue! She did carry several giant soccer umbrellas in her trunk, and so kindly shared an extra one with us. So there we sat, John and I on chairs, me holding Riley on my lap and him holding Khegan on his lap, all squashed together under the extra umbrella trying to stay dry! As we sat there (in the rain) I made a mental note that I must buy several of those giant umbrellas next time I go to Walmart.

My in-laws, who are not only ambitious 5K racers but also devoted parents, made it to the field in time to watch the last two quarters of Trinitty’s soccer game. They were also smart parents who brought an umbrella!

All and all it was a great time, having Miss Trinitty spend the night at our house. The boys really enjoyed her company and I learned a couple of lessons. Lesson #1: When planning a play date involving three children of the same age, it is wise to plan ahead for activities that will promote harmony among the trio. Lesson # 2: New Breed Moms must carry, at all times, several giant soccer umbrellas in their trunks!


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