Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Declaration of Independence

The Right to Liberty

The other day was Prize day. We awarded our almost four year old with a cool metal swivel seat tricycle (think big wheel) for becoming potty trained. He has about an accident a day but diapers are no longer part of the routine. No longer a toddler, he was a full fledged “kid” with all the rights and privileges therein, allowance, solo baths, and his own not a hand me down bike.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Picking up the box, hearing the parts inside shift, I knew I was in for it, but the vision of my son’s happy eyes when he feasted on the red and black shiny new wheels over road my common sense. I would be Ubermom for a few minutes in my son’s eyes.

Johnny Boo was at pre-school. When I picked him up, I explained there was a big treat waiting for him. He pestered me all the way home for clues. Amazingly, saying it had three wheels elicited the deductive guess of a Robot Dinosaur which sent me mentally scurrying and worrying, would there be let down?

No, the box picture was sufficient to earn “Thank you! It’s my favors. My very favors thing.” From him. Satisfied, I opened the box and momentarily hyperventilated at the eight screws, sixteen washers, two large bolts and several metal components that resembled a fossil dig of bicycle parts. The directions were alas, only in Spanish, which I never learned.

Freedom of Speech

When I explained this might be difficult to my son, he brightly answered, “I speak Spanish…Hola.”

Okay, with translator help like that, I could still follow the pictures. Self censorship followed for the next twenty minutes.

Right to Assemble Peacefully

By this point outside on the first Spring feeling day of 2008, my daughter wanted to help too. She kept picking up the parts, leading me to scramble to keep everything together. The wind sent the box and directions flying, sending Johnny Boo and me running in opposite directions while Cupie Doll examined the screws and washers undeterred.

With my legs covering the washers and screws, the metal parts splayed over my lap, the directions weighted down by my cell phone and the wrench, with Cupie Doll and the baby strapped into the stroller howling in protest, I began the process of making a bike. I won’t say potty training was easier.

Right against Self Incrimination

Twenty five minutes later, the bike sat waiting it’s maiden voyage –but I sent the prize winner in to the bathroom, I thought it would be bad form if he christened it on it’s opening run.
The pedals were too far for his legs.

“I can’t reach.” He struggled, he wanted to enjoy the bike but it was essentially useless in this state.

Back over my legs again, fifteen minutes of hassle later, the bike was ready.

Johnny Boo had gone inside to watch cartoons.

Returning with the promise of cookies and juice as a snack, he got on the bike. The brake was a source of great interest and our first drive halted every two feet as he kept squeezing the handle. “I know how to stop!” he said delightedly. He then tried the pedals. His legs were still about an inch short for easy movement, but he could do it. His eyes glimmered with the knowledge, he had WHEELS.

Freedom of Petition

“Can we go for a ride?”
“Yes.” I pushed the stroller alongside him as we leisurely moved down the hill. “Can we go downtown?”

I should have asked a question at this point, but I was savoring the first of Spring sunshine and the cool breeze and the satisfaction of having made something work for a change...I was in my “I’m Ubermom” moment. Not quite listening, I said, “Yes.”

We came to the mail box and I made the turn for us to go back up the driveway.

Johnny Boo’s face darkened. “You said we could go downtown!” He folded his arms angrily.
That Ubermom feeling faded away.

“Downtown! Where Dad Works!” He sounded exasperated. How could Mom be this dense?

Due Process

Explaining that 20 miles on a tricycle in heavy traffic is not possible. He was three year old, he had a bike. That was supposed to mean freedom.

He felt betrayed.

After trying to reason with him, I opted for a 21st century solution and handed him the cell phone. “Here, talk to Dad.”

Freedom of the Press

As my two year old helped push him back up the hill while I pushed the stroller, he chatted with his father “I’m driving Dad, but Mom doesn’t know how to get to Downtown so I can’t come visit you.” He explained. I need a spin doctor.

Right to A Speedy Trial

Back at the house, I broke out the juice and cookie snack, “Do you like your prize?” I asked?
“Yes. But it can’t go downtown.” He said as he looked mournfully out the window at it parked on the driveway.

Woman’s Sufferage

My daughter had thoughtfully pocketed the tools needed to assemble his prize and stood next to his bike, pretending to fix it.

Maybe I’ll let her do it herself when she becomes potty trained. Visions of giving her a kid tool kit that she could play with made me briefly smile at the idea of her creative energies being channeled in a positive manner. I’d be an Ubermom again for providing her with the proper outlet for her intuitive curious nature. Her smile would beam and it would be a beautiful moment in mothering…

for more fully protected by the Constitution slices of humor, try http://www.humor-blog.com!

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