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In November I won't be able to get away with this weekend summary nonsense.*

Sparky meets his match.
At Bryce's soccer game on Saturday, I watched him finally "get" the game. After weeks of somewhat half-hearted and mildly confused participation on the outskirts of the group, he confidently ran for the ball and made purposeful kicks toward - and this is amazing - the right goal. During a break, his coach asked the team if anyone would be willing to play for the opposing team, whose membership had dwindled down to three players. Bryce immediately raised his hand to volunteer. I was concerned, thinking he'd be really confused on the field: "Bryce, do you know what that means? You'll be trying to get the ball in the OTHER goal this time. " He nodded his head profusely, with a subtle undercurrent of DUH, MAN in his little eyebrow-arching expression and said, "yeah, mom. I know." The coach for the other team apparently spent the morning in a competition with himself over how much coffee he could consume, because the amount of near-psychotic energy he exuded caused Bryce to step back and look concerned. Bryce. Encountered too much energy. (Let's all pause and ponder the near impossibility of that scenario.)


Bryce (meek, for the first time ever): Yeah.


Bryce (concerned, looking around for me): Um. My dad? Used to call me. Sparky? When I was a baby.


I think Energetic Coach understands high needs kids, though, because Bryce ran faster and was more focused on actually running in the right direction than I've ever seen him on the soccer field. Energetic Coach kept screaming GGOOO! SPARKKKY! at the top of his insane lungs, so maybe that's the key to Bryce's cooperation: not just volume, but vein-bulging, eye-popping, vocal chord-shredding, make-everyone-think-you're-losing-it V-O-L-U-M-E.

God help us if he goes into politics.
Time is a big problem for us these days. This weekend I had to multi-task by talking to my dad on the phone while driving the kids around on various errands. During one such mobile conversation, I handed the phone to Bryce and he proceeded to talk about the most important thing in his life: his most recently acquired Happy Meal toy from McDonald's, a Hot Wheels car. After we hung up, I decided to take hold of this "teaching moment" (note to self: when these thoughts enter your head, just shove them out, you idiot): "Bryce, do you know why McDonald's gives happy meal toys with their food?"

"Yeah, because they want kids to have toys!"

"No. They give the toys away to make the kids interested, so their parents will BUY THE FOOD and spend their money."

"That's not true."

"Yes it is. McDonald's has to make money. Parents have money. Parents want to make their kids happy. McDonald's shows commercials on TV that make kids think they'll be happy if they have a new toy. The parents agree to take their kids to get a happy meal toy, and then they pay money for the food, so McDonald's gets their money, and the kids get their toys."

"Why do they do that? Why do they just want money? Are they just SELFISH?"

"Hmm. Yeah. I mean, no. Yeah. I mean, not technically. Blah blah capitalism blah blah Western civilization blah blah why did I bring this up?"

"So every single place we go WANTS MONEY?"

"Uh. Yes."


"Yes, the donut store, too."

"Well, wait. I have an idea, mom. I think McDonald's wants to make money so that they can put more into their McDonald's stores! So they can buy more happy meal toys and food."

"Well, no that's not what I -- uh. Hm. Actually. You're... sort of. Right. Crap!"

Oktoberfest 2006: "Whinefest" would be more accurate.
Sunday morning started like this: I woke at 6:15 a.m. to Quinn in my face saying, "I have a surprise in my blanket for you. It's pumpkin bread!" With this kid, I never know, so I bolted out of bed to check for stray food chunks in my bedroom. When I didn't find any, I put in a movie and poured some cereal, and performed an experiment - leaving him unattended while I went back to bed (after explaining that he needed to be very quiet and still, and basically not at all like himself). Twenty minutes later, after forcing myself to doze through what I suspected were sounds of the refrigerator door opening, I heard Bryce's tattletale sing-songy tone of voice at the bedroom door: "MO-OM! Quinn got out the LEFT-overs!!" I bolted up again, and found the refrigerator door open, a trail of cold noodles leading to the breakfast table, where Quinn had dumped a styrofoam box of restaurant food upside down in an effort to get to the delectable finger food he really wanted for breakfast: congealed macaroni and cheese.

Sunday continued like this: We complicated our lives by taking both kids grocery shopping, then to the gym, and finally, running on no naps or even attempts at naps, to Oktoberfest. But, but, but! Where was the chicken? Where was the beermeister? When would the kids be able to ride the rides? When would Kristen's ears bleed from the whining? Why were they out of potato pancakes when that's the ONE FOOD ITEM of which all family members are willing to partake? And why wouldn't Kristen do the chicken dance, what is wrong with her, does she have pride or something, and if so, does she not realize she forfeited that when she a.) got braces, b.) walked out in public with the shriekers, c.) came to Oktoberfest? And again, WHAT ABOUT THE RIDES ALREADY? WHEN CAN WE RIDE THE RIDES? WE HATE THIS BORING ART! IT IS BORING! WHY DO ADULTS HAVE TO LOOK AT BORING, BORING ART ANYWAY? RIDES! RIIIIIDDESSSS!!! WE HATE OKTOBERFEST, AAAA AAAA AAA!

Quinn stages a protest about the lack of seating, but can't convince Bryce to sit on the beer- and bratwurst-encrusted concrete.

First, no potato pancakes. Now, no dancing chicken. Why are we here? I hate this place.

See any above reference to rides, whining, or hatred of Oktoberfest.

*We're going to try to post daily during the month of November for National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. If we fail, we figure it's just one tiny addition to a huge, huge list. This means the following:

1.) Since I can barely manage to post three times a week these days, John will be forced to tell you about what he does all day long. Haven't you been wondering? I know I have.
2.) My posts may be a lot shorter. And full of tripe and filler, of course. (More than usual.)
3.) If such a thing is possible, my/our publishing standards are about to be lowered significantly.
4.) I might not be sleeping much.
5.) We've officially taken on too many commitments. We are very, very stupid.

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