Monday, May 3, 2010

Springeth Commenceth

Two weeks ago, with the exception of the Chinese guy that lives on the corner, we were the only people in the entire neighborhood who hadn’t mowed their lawn yet. (The Chinese guy couldn’t care less about his yard. Or his house. He lives alone and drives an early nineties Toyota Tercel that looks even worse than his lawn does. I think the car used to be grey. It is now a rusty copper color. He keeps a large house only because he needs a place for his large family to stay when they visit from China. I know all of this because the neighbor across the street told me. He’s become sort of my hero. The Chinese man, I mean, for not succumbing to suburban convention.)

We have been in contact with our trusty sixteen-year-old lawn boy and he has since been over twice. I am currently seeking a landscaping intern who would like to work on our flower beds. We can’t pay, but we will write a wonderful recommendation for a job well done. I will also provide lemonade: not homemade, but Country Time. I like their commercials. I want that house by the pond with the willow tree and swing. Life is easygoing at that house. No one worries about getting their lawn mowed.

Spring is in full swing. I know this because my nose itches and runs like a faucet. The kids spend most of the days in the backyard. Ella found a grease puddle left behind by our old grill. She painted herself with sticky brown grease. It’s probably safe to say that the clothes she was wearing are ruined. The boys freak out if they get dirt in their fingernails, but Ella- give her a mud puddle or a grease puddle or a gravel pit and she is the happiest girl alive.

We went to the Red Wings (baseball team) opening day two Saturdays ago. It was 39 degrees outside and it rained intermittently. We hung out for four innings before the whining commenced. (John threatened not to bring me next time.)

There is something lovely about baseball. It’s a subtle sport. I love watching my brother watch baseball. He keeps meticulous record of the stats during the game and scrutinizes each pitch, each swing, each catch, each slide into first.

I wish I was that passionate about something.

The only person I know who loves baseball as much as Josh is, of course, Caleb, who still cheers for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has currently taken up throwing his baseball against the chimney outside; it bounces and he catches it. We have lost two pairs of pants to grass-stains because Caleb loves to slide. In our grass. You know, the grass that was just recently cut.

It's been a rough spring in the clothes department.

Everyone has praised Caleb’s baseball prowess since he was two years of age. I’m afraid he’s gotten a rather large head about it. It’s been a source of embarrassment for me. Today, my friend Lydia came over for dinner. He told her he was very, very good at baseball.

“I’m very, very good at baseball,” said Caleb.

“What’s the hardest part about baseball for you?” she asked.

“I’m really good at hitting and catching.”

”Yeah- but we want to know what the hardest part about baseball is for you,” I said.

“Hitting homeruns,” he admitted. “Because I’m a small guy.” (I’m aware that we may have a very serious Napoleon complex developing here.)

He’s most proud about his baseball abilities, but boasts about other accomplishments, too. Whenever we have visitors, he pulls out his baseball medals, his piano trophy, and mentions that he is in a special enrichment program at school. “For the smart kids,” he says.

It’s so mortifying.

We’re working on teaching Caleb humility. But how do you go about telling your kid he’s not actually the greatest thing since sliced bread? After you’ve been telling him for years that sliced bread has nothing on him? Do you bluntly say, “Look, kid- there will always be someone better than you are????”

I tried to explain what “humble” means. I’ve been meaning to get a children’s dictionary, but in the interim, I took Caleb to the computer and logged onto an online children’s dictionary.

Humble: 1. Not proud, modest. 2. A pie formerly made from the edible organs of a deer or hog. (Ew. A pie made of venison or pork would have worked just as well, I think.)

Modest: Not thinking too highly of oneself; humble.

Note how the child’s dictionary used modest to define humble and humble to define modest. Not cool, children’s dictionary creators. Pure laziness.

But I think Caleb is starting to get the picture. He’s a smart kid. Not that smart, but just smart enough. I’m not bragging about my kid.

Caleb is also quite proud that his two of his pictures from art class are going to be displayed in the school district art show.

“My two pictures are called Self Portrait and… and…” he couldn’t think of the second name. Today he remembered. “Self Portrait and Landscape!” he announced. One of these evenings, we are going to truck out to the art show to see Self Portrait and Landscape in all of their glory.

But we will not be telling him he’s the next Matisse (we’ve learned our lesson since assuring him he’s the next Albert Pujols.)

Pics from spring thus far:

March: John taunts me with friends' baby. "See this Holly? You can't have one. Ha ha ha ha!!!!"

We take a hike to see how syrup is made.

Caleb drills stump: does not find sap.

April: Ella makes an egg. Eureka.

We are troopers.

Winter has left Daniel most pallid.

Ben swings.

And skateboards.

Caleb plays the theme to Star Wars at the annual Pops recital.

Afterward, we take him out for ice cream. Caleb uses his straw to get every last bit. I think this is ingenious and plan to do the same next time I have ice cream. Have already bought straws from store.

May: Daniel and Ella view a farm animal (I forget what it was) at Springdale Farm.

Ella pets fuzzy bird creature after stealing my water bottle.


Toaster said...

I don't do any kind of sports events in under 60 degree weather, but when it is warmer, maybe we could all go to a game together. :)

Josh K said...

"[Chinese man] is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American please."

Holly said...

Hee. I was thinking Chinese man was probably not PC, but I'm not really a PC sort of girl. At least I didn't say Chinaman.

Anonymous said...

The first half was very Garrison Keillor-esque. Nice job.

Traci Michele said...

Loved this post.

Thanks for not saying Chinaman. Teehee.

I loved how you talked about his yard. And car.

Your writing rocks!

Once I saw a old Chinese women hulk a loogy in her yard.

It ruined my serene, peaceful walk. I still have nightmares. Not really. But, you know... her flem does haunt me at times.

Totally grossed me out :-)

Ruthanne....Empress of her World said...

Holy cow so much to say on this one...Go Ella, girl after my own heart, get dirty. Also, I love love love the pictures of Ben swinging and skateboarding. They are great. I love them muchos. Furthermore, Caleb's confidence, we did the same thing to Cara and didn't realize until later that she may never know what it means to feel unconfident. I think she turned out pretty good.

Holly said...

I think Cara turned out okay, too. I look forward to hearing about the Amish-American war. I'm a history buff, you know.