Friday, May 8, 2009

Diary of a Mad Housewife: Micah at Six

On Sunday, Micah went to Zaire's birthday party, with, as it turns out, his favorite little skateboard keychain hidden in the gift bag with Zaire's gift.  Micah is not allowed to take little toys like that out of the house, because he will lose them -- he does lose them -- but that doesn't stop him from trying.  

"But Josh brought a Webkinz to church last week -- I want to show him mine!"  

"But I want to play Bakugon with my friend outside!"  

"No, no, really, we're allowed to take toys to school as long as we leave them in our backpacks!"

On Sunday, apparently he knew we would say "No," so he didn't even ask.  He just slipped the keychain in the first convenient hiding place, which just happened to be Zaire's gift bag. Unfortunately for Micah, he forgot that he had hidden it there, and there it stayed (and can I just say "I told you not to take small toys out of the house!  This is the reason you're not allowed to -- you always lose them!  This is exactly what I was talking about!")

In fact, Micah forgot so completely that it wasn't until Wednesday at school, when Zaire brought his new toy -- you know, the one Micah gave him -- and why wouldn't he think that Micah had given it to him, after all, since it was in the gift bag!?-- it wasn't until then that Micah remembered.  At which point, to his credit, he confessed everything to his teacher -- that he isn't allowed to take small toys out of the house, that he hid the skateboard in Zaire's gift bag, that he forgot -- but now, he concluded, now that he remembered, he wanted his skateboard keychain back.  His skateboard, not Zaire's.  Of course Zaire saw it completely differently -- and why wouldn't he, what with the skateboard being in his gift bag?  Micah's teacher actually called me mid-morning to see if I had any idea how to negotiate this, since both boys were pretty adamant that the skateboard was rightfully theirs, and pretty upset at the prospect of losing it.  I told her to keep the skateboard, and to tell them the grown-ups would figure out a solution.  That seemed to mollify them for the time being, but in the meantime, there had apparently been a lot of crying and angst.

That afternoon, I talked to Micah about it, and he agreed (pretty reluctantly) that Zaire could keep the skateboard keychain, because after all, he did find it in his gift bag, and how would you feel if someone tried to take back one of your gifts? ("Sad.")  And that I would try to find Micah another one if I could.   Then I mentioned that his teacher said he was pretty upset in class, and was crying.

"Yeah," he said, "but it's okay, because Masai and my friends took care of me."

"Oh yeah?  That's so nice," I said.  "How did Masai take care of you?"

"He patted my back."  

How sweet is that?  Pretty darn sweet, huh?

It was wild mayhem in Fernhill Park after school today as a puppy pack of boys and three little girls celebrated Micah's sixth birthday.  There were scooters and bikes and skateboards, and while the moms sat in the grass discussing "benign neglect" as a parenting philosophy, the boys removed their shirts in the heat of the afternoon, and then cajoled us into letting them ride without helmets ("it's so hot!"), and then managed to scrape their knees and elbows and even their bellies, but, thank goodness (because we sure couldn't take any credit), there were no concussions.  One of the girls scootered with the best of them (but kept her shirt on); the
other two picked flowers.  Micah got great stuff, the kids gorged on a skateboard cake I spent the day making (and only just got cleaned up from at 10:00 p.m.), and which, if I do say so myself, was pretty darn cool.  My camera is broken, but a friend has photos, which I'll try to add when I get them.

The day ended with a passel of neighborhood kids taking turns on Micah's new skateboard ramps (he's not good enough yet on the board, but the boy is pretty awesome on a razor scooter), until Micah got so tired and hungry that he just melted down. Some take-out lo mien noodles and a quiet hour of TV with Mama Julie seemed to top off a near-perfect day, and the boy is now sound asleep, blissfully surrounded by Bakugon whatever-they-are, legos, and of course, his menagerie of Webkinz reptiles.  

Photos courtesy of the insanely talented "Dee."


mamacate said...

Happy birthday, Micah! Good job on the negotiation...sounds like a very good one, and a very mature reaction from Micah AND his friends. Impressive!

Sara said...

what an awesome birthday :) Happy Birthday Micah!

and yeah *seriously* good job on the keychain negotiation.

Eric said...

Happy B-Day to the Big M!!!

Patrick said...

Wow, I would have been impressed by the skateboard cake all by itself, but it practically pales compared to the keychain story (I still want to see cake photos). Cracks me up when people (not all of them with the excuse of BEING SIX) don't think more than a step ahead re: hiding things in gift bags that are not, in fact, intended as gifts. But your line of reasoning sounds like it hit home in all the best ways. And yes, Masai and co sound like sweeties.

I love the idea of 'benign neglect'! Thanks for giving me a term to describe my present career approach.

Kate Haas said...

You made a skateboard cake? I am so impressed. This is a skill I need to acquire. Photos please! (And Happy Birthday, Micah!)

Marta said...

thanks all for your good wishes! micah had a great day. i'm still waiting for photos of the cake (kate, don't be too impressed, it wasn't that hard), and will post them when i get them.

i love my kids' school for so very many reasons, and the emphasis on conflict resolution and empathy is just one of them.

bathmate said...
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