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    Friday, June 6, 2008

    Summer Fun, Bribery, and Dodge Golf

    It’s not always easy for our family to have fun. Often Monkey’s sensory problems or Mom and Dad’s expectations/impatience get in the way. The following is a sample of issues that have ruined family fun time: “I don’t like my shoes.” “What is that smell?” “Ralph is staring at me.” I should explain that Ralph is the name I gave to an unfriendly-looking Indian chief in a painting at Texas Roadhouse. I thought giving him a name would make him less scary. Turns out, it only made things worse.

    So now that summer is upon us, I’m trying to think of fun things to keep my kids busy, active, not drooling in front of the TV. Both boys love the water, so swim lessons were an obvious choice. Maybe not so much. We had to bribe them to participate in “fun time.” But after a week, they’re used to the structure of class and doing better, but I did some brain-tickling eye rolls for the first couple of days.

    Summer fun also brought asthma to our little Monkey. I diagnosed this in April, but our doctor finally agreed with me a week ago. So Monkey had to learn to use an inhaler. Normally, they give kids with asthma breathing treatments, but that requires sitting still for ten minutes. Nope, not an option. So out came the bribing technique once again. We told Monkey we’d take him to Mr. Bigg’s if he successfully used his inhaler for a week.

    I’m happy to report, it worked. So yesterday we visited Mr. Biggs. I’m always a raging ball of nerves at these places because Monkey and Chunky are fast, destructive, and diabolically clever. (Also they have weird ideas about the necessity of clothing—but we’ll save that for another entry.) And of course, you never know when a random smell or uncomfortable shoe might attack and render family night unconscious.

    It turns out, our evening was a success. No one got lost or injured, despite the invention of our new game, Dodge Golf, and no one screamed until we got home. (Will have to tell Kory he must learn to live with the smell of his socks and stop waking the neighbors when he takes his shoes off at night.)

    No one should have to work this hard to have fun, but hey, my boys are worth it, and I’ve discovered the ultimate power play. It goes like this: “If you don’t _______, I’ll take away your Playstation.” Power! Power! HA HA HA! Power!

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