Monday, April 30, 2012

Planning for the future: the basics

Not so long ago, the topic of succession planning came up at work.  As the name implies, it a corporate system for replacing senior management people when they the eventually leave their position.

This got me to thinking about home. We are sort of a mini corporation with Tony and me as part of the senior management team and Sam likely viewing himself as CIC (Child in Charge). Now that I've established our structure, the next step is a plan. 

This involves imagining what Sam’s life might look like one day; a pretty daunting task to be sure.

Because of the magnitude of that assignment, I’ve decided it best to start with the very basics: what Sam likes. So here goes: a quick summary of Sam’s favorites as reported to me last night by Sam. Trust me, this is important stuff to know.  

Favorite color:           Red
Favorite food:            Pizza
Favorite dessert:       Chocolate cake (Chocolate ice cream will do. Coming up closely from behind,
                                     chocolate ice cream.)
Favorite movie:          Shrek 2
Favorite teacher:       MaryKate
Favorite school:         Nashoba Learning Group
Favorite fruit:             Apple
Best friend:                Mommy (Sorry folks, I’m not relinquishing my spot easily.)
Basketball friend:       Dante
Favorite cousin:         Cosmo (Does my brother’s dog count as a cousin? I vote yes.)
Favorite sport:            Football
Favorite girl:               Mommy and Fiona (We are in a dead heat. Hmm.)
Favorite boy:              Sam (Why am I not surprised?)
Favorite place to go:  Nantucket
Other place to go:      To infinity and beyond (Good luck getting there.)
Best place to swim:    Big waves
Car to drive:                Red convertible (Need I say more? See below.)
Favorite season:         Summer (No surprises here.)
Favorite veggie:          Carrots (Really? Could have fooled me.)
Favorite salad:            Arugula (Don’t forget the dressing.)
Favorite game:            Wheel of Fortune (Still waiting for the $500,000+ he's won to date to show up
                                      I figure it takes time to secure that armored truck...)
What to do when
    you are bored:       Tickle Daddy (Preferably when he is sound sleep.)
Favorite song:           You Are My Sunshine
Favorite activity:       Sleeping (Judging from the number of times he was up last night, I question the 
                                    validity of this answer.)
Favorite pet:               Dog. (Preferably big.)
Favorite dog part:      Feet (Yes, it's true. Sam has a foot fetish.)
Best toys:                   Woody and Buz
Favorite TV show:     George Lopez
Most admired:            Shrek (One of my older blogs pretty much explains this one.)
Favorite thing:            Squeezes (Coming up as a close second: big hugs.)
Number of daily
    hugs/squeezes:      5,000 hugs. Every day. (Free advice: start early.)
Favorite day:               Saturday or Sunday (Did you really need to ask?)
Fun thing to do:          Drive the car to go shopping (Close second, go to Papa’s house.)
Favorite book:            The Cat in the Hat
Favorite author:          Dr. Seuss
Best book character:  Sam I Am (Come on. Did you really expect a different answer?)

Shoes or flip-flops:     Flip-flops (Barefoot is even better.)
Favorite flavor:            Chocolate (Was there ever another flavor?)
Favorite saying
  (this week anyway): Don’t give up Mommy, you need to go on.
                                      (Indeed I shall as, long as I can.)

Stay tuned. There’s lots more to come.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Monday night run

I turn to Sam and catch a dark expression as flits across his brow. So subtle, it is almost imperceptible. Did I imagine it? I watch more closely, searching his face. Nothing. Maybe I was wrong. Sam finishes his dinner without event and heads off to another room.

Moments later I hear a primal scream. Sam runs to the kitchen, dropping quickly to the floor in a loud thud. His scream morphs into a low and steady wail. Rigid, he props his body up with his elbows, his feet erect, high above his head. He tensely curls his legs toward his head and then straight up again.

“Sam, where do you hurt,” I ask. No answer.

Lost in some other place, he doesn’t hear me. He jumps up, crying as he runs in manic circles, eluding my grasp. I manage to get close enough to drop Tums into his mouth, hoping I’ve guessed the source of his distress. Hoping relief will come quickly.

Perhaps because I’ve ventured too close, he runs to the door. “Please don’t go.” I implore. “Please stay.” He pauses for a moment, almost listening, almost hearing me. But I lose him again as he runs to a different door. Before my eyes and within my reach, he bolts. And I am powerless to stop him.

Hearing noise Tony emerges. “Get him!” I direct, hoping Tony can run fast enough. Not convinced he can, I run to my car to follow.

By the time I reach the end of driveway, Tony is leading Sam back home. Surprised at the quick turnaround, I see why: Sam’s run is broken by a fall. His knees and elbows are badly scrapped; there are gashes on his hands and legs. “Bandage?” he asks hopefully, tearing up again. His earlier distress has been replaced by a more immediate need. He watches stoically as I clean and wrap his wounds.

Order is restored. The time lapse is so brief, I almost wonder if it happened. But his bandaged knees confirm the truth. I ask Sam what happened. “Did you hurt?” I ask. “Yes.” He points to his abdomen. Once again I remind him I can help and he shouldn’t run. “No run” he echoes, dismissing me as he drifts back to his world.

A few minutes later I remark rhetorically, “It would be so much easier if you just told me what was wrong.”  I don’t expect a response. I’ve never gotten one. For this reason, his reply catches me off guard. He glances up ever so briefly and flashes a quick, sly smile, saying:

“Get real, Pinocchio.”

With that I pause, unsure whether to laugh or cry. I shake my head and settle on a bit of both.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Parting the Red Sea with a chance of snow

I wake to the bellowing words, “No school!” The alarm clock reads 6 AM; time to start the day. I respond today (and most Mondays), “It’s Monday.  And yes, you have school.” This inevitably kicks off the Monday morning word volley:

No school. Yes school. No school. Yes school. No school. Sam. It’s Monday. You HAVE school.

That topic put to rest, Sam heads toward the bathroom saying “Mommy, Red Sea.” “Red Sea?” I ask. “Yes. Red Sea.” He responds.

What are we talking about? Something biblical? Imaginary? Random words? I probe, curious: “Do you see the Red Sea?” “Yes.” Sam answers.  “Where?” Sam stops and vaguely points. Now completely perplexed I ask again, “Where?” He pulls me into the bathroom and hands me a tube of Crest toothpaste. “Red C” says Sam as he shoots a look suggesting I am not very bright.

The Crest logo does indeed have a red C.

“Red C. Brush your teeth. Brush my Sam’s teeth.”  Says Sam. “Wouldn’t it just be easier to ask for toothpaste?” I ask. But there is no response. A question of wardrobe has emerged in its place.

“Get dressed. Pants. Socks.”  Maybe a shirt would be nice I suggest. “Yes shirt. Blue shirt. Yes, blue shirt. No school. Mommy! No school today!” Says Sam, kicking off a second word volley:

Yes, you have school. No school. Yes school. NO school. YES school.

I pull out my secret weapon by asking: “Don’t you want to see MaryKate?”  Sam brightens, “MaryKate. Yes. MaryKate.” Sam is very fond of MaryKate. She has been with him since day one at his current school and he is loyal. It is a toss up who he will one day marry: MaryKate or Fiona from Shrek.

The school issue resolved we are off to another topic.

“Scratch my itch!” says Sam. “Where?” I absentmindedly ask. He pulls down the rear right side of his underwear, exposing half a derriere. “Butt.” He waits expectantly and adds, “Scratch my butt.” Is that in my job description I briefly wonder. No I mentally confirm. Absolutely not. I do not scratch butts. “Scratch your own butt and pull up your underwear,” I direct as I make an exaggerated expression of distaste. Sam smirks and laughs.

“Snow.” He says, changing the subject once again. “I don’t see snow.” I say. He points out the window, “Snow.” And adds hopefully, “No school today?” Again I state, “I don’t see snow. Do you see snow?” “No” he finally admits, “No snow. Is rainy today. School?”  “Yes school,” I say definitively.

In an effort to help ease the transition back to school I segue: “Would you like to know the plan today?” I ask? “Yes! What’s the plan?” He asks eagerly.

“First go to school. See MaryKate, Alanna, Crystal, Missy, Tom and Heather and everyone.
Come home. See Kait. Then see Mommy. Is it a good plan?”

“Is a good plan.” Says Sam, adding “Sam school. Mommy work. Daddy work.” “Yes,” I confirm. “Everyone has a place to go and it is good.” Resolved to Sam’s satisfaction he wanders off mid sentence. I am dismissed as he returns to his world; that place only known to him as another week unfolds.

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